In the Sikh culture, Seva is a concept that means selfless service for altruistic purposes – it is service on behalf of, and for the betterment of, the community.
I have a multicultural family and recently my niece visited me from Dubai where she lives with her Australian husband. They had heard about the Grouse Grind so we all set off to climb the mountain one morning. On the way up I had the opportunity to get to know my niece’s husband and we had the opportunity to talk about the differences in our cultures and our appreciation for our mixed marriages. We discussed how the differences in our upbringing and our culture offered both of us truly enjoyable and enriching experiences.
My son, Aaron, loves that we celebrate Diwali (the Indian Festival of Lights) as well as Christmas and not just because he likes the double gifting However, my husband and I see it more as an opportunity for Aaron to embrace and adopt different cultural experiences – experiences that will help him find the true meaning of his life.
Despite his youth, Aaron understands and appreciates the meaning of Seva. For example, he washed Grandma’s deck while we were on a recent visit to my mother-in-law’s. He helped with the gardening because he knew it was difficult for Grandma, and made it a point to set the table for dinner. These were little gifts from Aaron to Grandma, fulfilling Seva.
Seva is simply being of service to others. Seva in its purest form can be the most meaningful of gifts: kindness, patience, and acceptance of others, and Seva extends beyond our family and those we know – Seva embraces all of humanity.
Sometimes the lesson of Seva is just learning from, and respecting each other’s cultures, regardless of race, language or religion. Seva is the gift we can all share and should share. This Canada Day add Seva to your celebrations.
Have a very Happy Canada Day!
Mindy Tulsi-Ingram, Chief Gift Officer
Green & Green, Gifts with Flair