“I will serve God through others, and by my service to Him release the hold the ego has on me. I am free in God!, I am free!”
(from Affirmations for Self-Healing by Swami Kriyananda)
Practicing Spiritual Friendship Through Service
Personal Reflection by Nayaswami Pushpa
I served at Guest Services at The Expanding Light from 2013–2020, until we closed due to COVID-19. When I was first offered the position I became aware that this was a specific opportunity for personal growth. I had worked in a number of service jobs in the past, and on reflection, I had often come up short at being truly service-full.
So with a new opportunity to embrace, I thought about the inner environment I wanted to create and uphold for the guests so that they could go deeper in their spiritual practices and experiences of God within. The beautiful outer environment of Ananda Village would work its own magic. When guests arrived they had often traveled far and were looking for relief from their stressful lives. I wanted to greet them and welcome them into an atmosphere of peace and serenity. I wanted them to feel appreciated, accepted, and welcomed so that they could better realize the purpose of their retreat.
I came up with the following pointers for myself, to keep in mind when the guest arrived and throughout their stay:
- Say a silent prayer to be a channel for God’s light and love
- Put aside all thoughts of my own agenda
- The guest becomes the foreground—I become the background
- Be generous with friendly smiles and focused attention
- Observe their mental and emotional states of being
- Based on my assessment, how can I best serve and support them?
- Make my own consciousness and voice calm and serene
- Magnetically invite them to join me in that calmness and serenity
- Be vigilant in regard to the above throughout their retreat
Practicing these ideas helped me realize that being serviceful is being a spiritual friend. During these years I opened my heart to more and more people. Interestingly, in the process I felt more loved than I ever had during this lifetime. I am deeply grateful to have had this opportunity to learn about service and spiritual friendship.
In divine friendship,
Nayaswami Pushpa for Thank you, God!
How Shall I Love Thee
A chant offering Ananda Mumbai and Pune
By Nayaswami Pushpa
Paramhansa Yogananda told Swami Kriyananda, “Your work will be lecturing, editing, and writing.” Kriyananda gave thousands of lectures, wrote 150 books, and composed over 400 pieces of music during his lifetime. He also edited many of Yogananda’s greatest written works. Swami lived a life of service to God through practicing and sharing the teachings of his guru.
In addition, Swami showed us that service could be fun. Yogananda said that we are here for our education and entertainment. P.G. Wodehouse, the quirky British humorist and playwright, was a favorite of Swami’s. As an extended family we would squish into the Crystal Hermitage dome with great anticipation to listen to Swami perform one of his inimitable renditions of Wodehousian readers’ theater.. Always creative, Swami would voice-act each character in the story, often leaving us laughing helplessly! It was as if he were the doting parent reading his beloved children a bedtime tale. God serving God! He taught us how to serve intensely, and then relax.
The highest service is offered without thought of reward or recognition. It is given for the joy of serving God through people. Our greatest fulfillment comes from fully offering up our energy and power to its source—God. Then we will transcend our limited identification with this physical world and soar freely in His Bliss.
In Divine Service
A blog written by Nayaswami Jyotish and Nayaswami Devi
What’s the difference between work and service?
We should view whatever gainful employment we seek as a service, never merely as work. The mere thought of hard work, indeed, often drains a person’s energies, whereas joyful, willing service opens inner floodgates to a boundless supply of energy. -Swami Kriyananda
Here are three keys to help you transform your attitude about your work into Joyful, Willing Service.
Do everything you do with the consciousness of inner peace. If you find yourself getting tense, nervous, or upset at work, take a break, breathe, or meditate for a few minutes — whatever helps you to return to a balance point of inner peace and centeredness. Consciously try to bring peace and calmness into every activity. You’ll find you get a lot more done, too, and at the end of the day, you’ll feel refreshed and uplifted.