See Life’s Activities as Service

Question

I have lost a lot of interest in my daily life except when it comes to meditation, yoga class, or anything to do with yoga (this has been going on for many years). It seems to get worse the more I do Kriya. It makes me sad and causes anxiety. Any suggestions on how to become more engaged in life? All I can think about is achieving the goal of enlightment. I have just figured that I have been self-centered.

—Michelle Wilson, US

Answer

Dear Michelle,

What you are feeling is not uncommon. As Yogananda said, “Once you have tasted God, all else seems like stale cheese.” But Yogananda’s guru Sri Yukteswar also said, “As long as we breathe the free air of earth we should render grateful service.”

Instead of seeing what your activities lack, try to see your activities as opportunities to give. It may be true that outward activities no longer give you the satisfaction or fulfillment they once did, but it isn’t true that your outward activities are no longer important to your spiritual life. Our outer activities energize us and give us opportunities to give selflessly to others. Selfless service refines the ego, expands the ego, and loosens the hold the ego has on our consciousness. An attitude of service is essential to our eventual realization.

You need not be engaged in what people typically think of as spiritually- or service-oriented activities to be serviceful. You can be serviceful in a causual conversation. Give love, encouragement, and positivity to the other person. You can be serviceful buying groceries. Give your checker a smile, be thankful in your heart. You can be serviceful in any job. Think of the wellbeing of the people around you. Pray for them (silently and without their knowing). Think of small kindnesses you can perform for them. Take an interest in, and care about, the lives of your co-workers. Interact with your family and friends as if they are particularly special opportunities to learn to love.

The wonderful thing about service is the more you give the better you feel. The more you love others, the more you love God. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Not because that is a requirement to get into heaven but because in giving you become a channel for love, compassion, friendliness, and caring — and as it flows through you, you are filled with it.

Warm regards,
Joseph (Puru) Selbie