Be the Cause

Seva Immortal

Anonymous Poem read at the Seva Cafe last night:

We are unbound with love & gratitude
Suffer not in silence brothers
Ours deeds of service, nameless, unrestrained
Dispersing into the four corners of the universe,
Seva abides at street corners, in the pockets of simple men.

Sisters, you have premitted Seva to stream through you.
Observe it flowing into the souls of every people.
You have taken today’s memory & transformed it as tomorrow’s dream.
Your seeds of selfless compassion are dwelling alive.

My brothers & siters –
You are the essence of Seva,
You are the fulfillment of God’s purpose,
You are the brilliant glow within the dark alleys of life.
You have awakened the heart of every man through your selfllessness.

As the calming tide returns to the shore,
We shall all come home to each other.
Let us not hasten the tide,
let us allow Seva to prosper among, within us & around us

Because of You
As I glimpse in the mirror,
Seva stands before me.

Its a secret!

Last Saturday, as I walked into the Royal Cup Coffee Shop, I was greeted by Rajeev.  He said that a package had arrived for me, I asked him from whom, he said he didn’t know.  I couldn’t figure out why a package would come to our Seva Cafe location and not to our PO BOX Address but I was too distracted to try to piece the logic together. 

I was setting up for our regular Seva Cafe location when Rajeev finally handed the package over to me.  It had already been opened.  I looked on the Priority Mail package and noticed that instead of putting their name and address, the sender had only left the word: “Smile!”.  I immediately recognized that this was something special in my hands and consequently a desire to share this gift with others arose.  I took the package over to the where five new volunteers were sitting and I showed them the package.  Ever since they arrived the new volunteers were asking me questions of what the Seva Cafe was.  Here, I thought, was an opportunity to show them in action.  Before I opened the package, I told them that these are the kinds of things that happen here.

We opened the Priority Mail package and inside we discovered a book, a note, and a self-addressed envelope.  I first proceeded to read the note out loud:

Sukh bhai,
I read this book from start to finish in one sitting.  I have never done this before.  I hope this book finds you well and has the same profound effect on you that it had on me.  I know this breaks the rules, but I would like you to read my secret before mailing it.  Thank you for helping me,

I contemplated the latter part of the letter for a moment.  Not quite understanding what rules were being broken and what this person’s secret was, I proceeded to look at the book for some clues.  The book was entitled: “The Secret Lives of Men and Women“.  It was a compilation of selected secrets submitted to  Individuals anywhere could send in their secrets by depicting them on a postcard.  It allows them to share their common humanity with others, and relieves them of a burden that they may have been carrying for a long time.  I opened the book to a random page and the ‘realness’ of the human experience hit me immediately.  A postcard with a woman confessing that she is more afraid of aging than of dying, and another photograph of a priest with “Some Days, it feels more like a noose!!” written on his clerical collar.

Then it hit me.  The self-addressed envelope contained the secret of this anonymous sender, and they actually wanted me to read their secret before it made its way to  I looked inside the envelope unsure of what secrets were awaiting me.  I pulled out, with little surprise, a Smile Card.  One the smile card was hand written the anonymous senders secret: “I can’t give gifts or do community service without expecting something in return.”  … and at the bottom in big bold letters: “Not Anymore!“ 

In that moment, we all wondered if we do service without expectation.  Maybe that was a secret that all of us were harboring and was unleashed through the courage of this anonymous sender.  I also thought about all the secrets that I keep locked up in myself.  How the things that actually make me human are the things that I try so hard to hide from others.  I keep my own pain and anger locked away so that others won’t think poorly of me.  That’s my secret.


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