I learned something new-yes in the New Year. I attended a group meditation with the Art of Living Philippines group and they imparted some enlightening advice when it was time to leave. This was to practice the four (4) S’s (I have no idea how to spell that). These S-starting words were simply:
Seva-which means “selfless” service. This is doing something for someone else with no expectation of reward or compensation. This is not necessarily a monetary donation (although that is always helpful) but rather an activity that is for the betterment of someone’s life or even the overall enviroment. When I attended a silent yoga retreat several months ago, our seva consisted of us taking up brooms and dustpans and sweeping and gathering of fallen leaves, twigs, and even dirt from the surrounding areas. This was to help clear the way for passersby and to help in the cleanliness and tidiness of our retreat space. The next day our seva found us planting seeds and helping some farmers harvest fruit and vegetables that they had planted. It was hard work, especially since we were not used to it, but it certainly was akin to an active meditation.
Seva work can also mean volunteering at a youth center, an orphanage, NGO, helping to feed at a soup kitchen, or, the simplest, helping out at home. Give your helpers for example a break and actually clean out your room, your bathroom or even your car, inside and out.
The next S we were encouraged to practice was Satsang which means truth (sat) and company (sang). It was explained to us that satsang consists of having a group activity wherein you can all speak or share your truths. This could be a small gathering of like-minded friends and peers. This gives one a chance to be enhance and raise his or her vibrations especially if the goal is common in the group. A book club for example, will read and discuss a book that they all enjoy and give their insights-this is a form of Satsang in my opinion although I have participated more in Satsangs after a meditation wherein we talk about our experiences during the meditation and see if there are any messages for the individual or for the group in general. I have also experiences satsangs that had singing and dancing, quite fun! And people really got into the joyful spirit of letting their hair down and chanting at the top of their lungs and getting into free movement.
The third S was one that I felt I’d have the most difficulty with, Sadhana or spiritual practice. To commit oneself to a regular, spritiual practice, be it prayer, meditation, going to temple, anything that would enhance the connection to the Divine was greatly encouraged by our teachers. A sacred time and space should be set aside everyday (if possible) or even three times a week. It was more the consistencyof the practice that was stressed. Meditation daily of 5-10 minutes or a devotion of 30 mins every week etc was not specified, it was more that it had to be committed to and followed through. Why? Because in honoring this sacred appointment you were paying homage to not only your creator, but to yourself. In doing regular sadhana you raise your vibrations and attract more abundance in your life. Setting your intention for more love, better health or even financial wellness is further encouraged as you start your meditation, prayer or even reflection. Imagine all the riches of the universe now being allowed to get to you because you’ve allowed yourself to be open to receive so much more!
And the last S? Was to simply SMILE! This is an instant upper, if someone smiles at you, smile back even if you’re don’t really feel like that. Your mood will instantly shift and you never know you can always make someone’s day simply by smiling at them. Even your own energy changes when you’re met with a smile as opposed to a sc0wl. If you’ve read or watched Eat, Pray, Love (the book was waaaay better) you may recall the lead character being advised to do a “smiling meditation” to sit in silence and imagine every cell of her body, every organ, every part she could feel just smile. Almost like your entire body is covered in smileys. This is a simple tool that can be done anytime and anywhere, a smile is universal. Turn those corners of your mouth up and to quote Broadway’s most famous orphan, “Smile darn ya, smile!” Happy, happy Saturday everyone! May the four S’s bring you benevolent outcomes. 🙂
*all images taken from the various sites on the Internet, many thanks to those who shared!