Once I did voluntary service at the Palo Alto Art Center, California, but the purpose was to learn and enrich myself by offering my skills of communicating and organizing a desired guided tour for school children who would visit the art center. This category of volunteering enriched me intellectually, culturally and helped me bond with fellow humans from a totally different environment and psyche.
I also volunteered when I visited the Kala Ashram in Adilabad. This space is a congregation zone of artistic, cultural and socially conscious people, and I usually preferred to help in the kitchen that was run by the artist’s wife.
In another instance, during my teenage years, I volunteered to clean the feet of a woman who had developed a fungal infection between her toes. When I was cleaning her feet, the feeling was of being in prayer communicating to God.
Whether there is an agenda or not, different kinds of volunteering have different values to teach us. At different times, my mindset was quite varied. Sometimes the feeling of gaining was there.
At other times the core of my heart prompted me to serve so as to feel gratitude that my emotions are tuned to feel compassion and empathy for others. Certainly there is a higher cause that drives my life, which is quite difficult to explain, as it is all experiential. Before I started practicing meditation, my experiences of connection with humanity were quite sporadic. The feeling of oneness would erupt in me, sometimes for a month or maybe many months. This was like a reminder that happened to me in the form of a good book, a film, or a performance. But today, every moment I am mindful of how deeply I am connected to this beautiful world. Now I send loads of blessings to my pet cats, as they have taught me how we are also connected to the animal world. In fact, loving them has increased my compassion for other creatures and expanded the space in my heart.
In the core of my heart I try to do good for others with what little I have, whether it is in my presence, knowledge or money. I might not be able to bring change in individual lives, but making others happy through small deeds means a lot to me.
When I have time I usually go to government schools and organize camps for adolescent girls to educate them about health, hygiene and life skills. I love to hear their stories, which inspire me every day to do what I am doing.
One small act by each individual can bring a positive transformation in the society. The Pay It Forward movement is one step to show care and love for our ecosystem. It’s like a mother caring for her children with no expectation, just giving her child the best she can to nurture life.
There is a deeper meaning to life than the mundane routine and it lies in discovering every day that I am deeply connected with everyone and all beings around me. If someone is in pain it pains me, and I feel happy when people are joyful.
I find this external connection deepened by diving deep within myself every day.
I am part of a volunteer research group that helps to scientifically prove simple but profound facts about wellness and health.
I believe in giving without remembering and receiving without forgetting. The joy in gifting anonymously is a wonderful experience, and it touches hearts with gratitude towards the Ultimate.The ego is not flattered and my intention is achieved.
I have always been curious about the secrets of the universe – how the world functions, people and their motivations. This curiosity drives me to learn and acquire knowledge and understanding of the world. Once I know myself, I can share my understanding with others. I live to be a good example, to inspire others through my thoughts and actions, to be happy and share the happiness and positivity whenever possible.
I actively volunteer in a non-profit organization that spreads peace and universal brotherhood. Being a certified Yoga teacher, I also volunteer in teaching Yoga in my locality and in spreading awareness about the benefits of Yoga and meditation.
I had a first-hand experience of the pay it forward concept when one fine morning I was in queue to collect my breakfast at the drive-through of Starbacks. When I went to the payment window, the vendor told me with a beautiful smile that the driver in front of me had already paid my bill. That incident made my day. I was taken by surprise and kept wondering who it was. I was going through a rough time, and that small gesture of selfless love reminded me that there is still so much positivity in this world. My perspective became positive and motivated for the day ahead.
Soon after I did the same thing for someone else and it didn’t stop there! Since then I have started helping people in numerous ways, like filling up change money for someone in the shopping queue or public transport, being more generous to sidewalk beggars and restaurant waiters. I also now give donations to social causes I believe in.
Simple gestures of kindness and generosity can totally change our perspective about people and bring a positive outlook towards life. They bring an attitude of sharing rather than hoarding, giving rather than always taking. We become altruistic and collaborative.