There Is No Conflict Between Meditation and Service


Is it all right for a person on spiritual path (who does meditation regularly) to neglect the wishes of his children, wife (like go for a movie and do activities with children which may not be of any spiritual value but may provide joy and happiness to them). I have an understanding that spirituality is to become one with God. Also, all Gurus say God is in everyone.

—Suma, India


Dear Suma,

Your question is one that has been asked by sincere seekers for millennia: Does living only for God require one to distance oneself from all worldly activities?

Paramhansa Yogananda, and our line of gurus, stressed, especially for householders, the importance of nishkam karma (desireless action) or “being in the world but not of it.” How does one live in the world but be not of it? The key is to adopt an attitude of service, to perform ones duties lovingly, faithfully, and responsibly, not for self-gratification, but for the benefit of others.

Developing an attitude of service is as important as meditation. You might say service is meditation in action. Like meditation, serving others breaks down our ego’s hold on our awareness and behavior. Participating fully in raising children, with the attitude of selfless service, is a golden opportunity to learn how to serve and love everyone — an opportunity to discover the presence of God in all activity.

There is no conflict between meditation and service. Meditation and service go together naturally. A genuine attitude of service helps one go deep in meditation and deep meditation helps one’s service become ever more selfless.

Warm regards,
Puru (Joseph) Selbie