In May We Serve ~ Seva Foundation’s Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund
May is Meditation Month at Laughing Lotus! Dhyana, or meditation, is the seventh limb of Patanjali's Eightfold path of Yoga leading to Samadhi, complete union with Spirit. Through the mental practice of effortless meditation the mind becomes settled. By sitting, standing, or walking in focused silence, the heart relaxes and the brain is at ease. It is in this silence that we can find ourselves at peace, no matter what strife and stress the outside world brings and bring this peace to others in all we do.
In seeking to spread and share the fruits of yoga and meditation, turning compassion into action, this month Laughing Lotus supports Seva Foundation’s Nepal Earthquake and Relief fund for relief and rehabilitation efforts in response to the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that has caused enormous damage throughout Nepal. http://www.seva.org/Nepal_Earthquake_Fund With over three decades of experience working in Nepal, Seva's extensive network of clinics and partner hospitals are located throughout the country, including near the epicenter.
Based in Berkeley, Seva Foundation http://www.seva.org Founded by Ram Dass, Dr. Larry Brilliant and Wavy Gravy, 35 years ago ,started as a small group with a big idea, and the idea was this: To be fully human, we must translate our compassion and concern into useful service. That simple statement conveys something about the nature of compassion that is expressed in most spiritual traditions around the world — that compassion is not just about helping those less fortunate than ourselves, it's about the realization that we are all connected as one human family.
That sense of compassionate service motivates all of Seva's work, as they build programs that support people around the world in their efforts to build healthy communities. Seva's programs, spanning many cultures and over 20 countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Nepal, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Russia, Tanzania, Tibet/China, Uganda, United States (American Indian Sight Initiative) share certain fundamental principles:
Serving the Underserved: Our programs serve people who have been economically, politically, or otherwise marginalized. We change our program approach to relate to their culture and circumstances, reaching out in very different ways, for example, to nomads in Tibet, women in Tanzania, or indigenous Mayans in Guatemala. Our aim is to build a bridge of compassion between our donors and the people we serve — people around the world who have the fewest resources.
Building Healthy Communities: Seva embraces an expanded concept of health, recognizing that spiritual and cultural renewal, economic self-sufficiency, and basic civil and human rights are as important to well-being as medical care.
Promoting Sustainability: Seva's programs foster self-reliance and aim to reduce dependence on outside assistance. In the communities where we work, we share skills and technology appropriate for local conditions, assist local decision-making, and help launch projects that will become financially self-sufficient. This transfer of knowledge enables communities to care for their own, now and into the future.
Working Through Partnerships: We form long-term partnerships with those we serve. By developing close relationships with local organizations and community leaders, we build trust, mutual respect and cultural understanding. We honor the ability of communities to define their own solutions to the challenges they face.
Turn compassion into action: We are professionals, volunteers, and donors drawn to this work by the spirit of service.
Value different ways of knowing: We respect both the analytical and intuitive in all our work.
Promote a comprehensive concept of health: We recognize that spiritual and cultural renewal, economic self-sufficiency, environmental wellness, and medical services are important to well-being.
Expand self-reliance: We promote self-reliance and aim to reduce dependence on outside assistance. We seek sustainable solutions that come from within individuals and communities so our partners continue delivering services long after our involvement has ended.
In the words of Seva co-founder Ram Dass himself,"Helping out is not some special skill. It is not the domain of rare individuals. It is not confined to a single part of our lives. We simply heed the call of that natural impulse within and follow it where it leads us.” The aim of all yoga practices is experience our oneness with all. As we embrace silence this month at Laughing Lotus, we may come to the profound realization that without mindfulness practices, we are all, in the words of Bo Lozoff, "all doing time." So, sit, get quiet, and be free. And then, get involved; and remember, Love really does Save the Day!
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