The Bhagavad Gita refers to Karma Yoga as a spiritual practice where there is no presence of self-interest. Karma Yoga in the Gita describes the performance of action with no self-reward other than the benefit of others.
This description is self-deception in action because the person has a self-interest. The first interest is joy while serving others, and the second, a promised spiritual liberation.
- What is Meant by Karma Yoga?
- Good Karma Yoga
- Principles Of Karma Yoga
- Karma Yoga Poses
- How To Practice Karma Yoga In Daily Life
- Karma Yoga Examples?
- What is The Aim of Karma Yoga?
- Self-Inquiry and Karma Yoga
- Non-Duality and Karma Yoga
- Meditation and Karma Yoga
- Mindfulness and Karma Yoga
- Awareness, Consciousness and Karma Yoga
- Spirituality and Karma Yoga
What is Meant by Karma Yoga?
Yoga means UNION; Karma means ACTION. Therefore Karma-Yoga is ONE IN ACTION. In other words, it refers to the one source, awareness, Consciousness, or the “Absolute” taking action or in movement. Let’s not forget that the Bhagavad Gita is an interpretation of a particular teaching or pointer. The Gita, as well as the Bible or other spiritual literature, cannot be taken literally.
Language can be misleading. We communicate with the premise that we are separate beings. We see the world as a unique phenomenon with a “you,” a universe, and the other. Therefore, when we read other Gita, we think that Karma Yoga means a person seeking selfless action for the benefit of the other person; Yet, we still seek spiritual liberation at the end. How can that be called selfless? Can you see how contradictory that sounds?
Good Karma Yoga
There’s no good nor bad Karma Yoga; Life in action does not stand on moral ground. Karma Yoga is a phenomenon beyond righteousness and evil. The fruit of Karma Yoga might be spiritual growth, but even saying that is misleading. There is a perfection in life regardless of the ups and downs, the joy or suffering, beyond all the dualities; we might even call it BLANACE, where everything just IS.
Bad or good are human values; they are psychological tags and NOTHING to do with Karma Yoga. Karma Yoga is following your nature and intuitive calling. If you push against it, your body-mind mechanism will suffer. If you surrender to it, you will have peace of mind. A surrender needs to happen on its own.
If by good Karma Yoga you mean peace of mind, then sure! That is possible, but if you have a personal agenda of searching for peace of mind, then it will be impossible. That’s the predicament. “You” must vanish as a personal agent. “You” must reduce your ego almost to Zero; the result then is peace of mind, but no one is claiming anything. You might notice it as the absence of suffering and your joyful state, but it will be irrelevant even then.
Principles Of Karma Yoga
There’s a lot of misleading information about the “principles” of Karma Yoga. We have a strange necessity of complicating simple things. Ten steps for this, a process for that, etc., it is part of our psychological need to create a structure for everything to “control it” or amuse ourselves with childish games.
There is only ONE principle in Karma Yoga: Let go of the feeling of control and LET LIFE FLOW. Stop getting in the way of your true self, this arrogance of free will, all your struggles, your “pushing” against the wind of Consciousness are futile. Everything becomes beautiful, beauty itself, when your ego relaxes into its TRUE PURPOSE.
Karma Yoga Poses
Twisting your body like a pretzel has nothing to do with Karma Yoga. Body poses can help with health and energy, but they are necessary for living Karma Yoga.
You might have a physical disability that affects your mobility and still live a life of genuine Karma Yoga. Karma Yoga is about doing what life, Consciousness, and nature is calling you to do. It is as simple as that.
How To Practice Karma Yoga In Daily Life
Karma Yoga requires a very fine and focused introspective ability. In Karma Yoga, the task is to listen to that part of you with no psychological fearfully baggage. It isn’t easy to do this. The mind is so astute and needy that it will trick you into believing that a certain goal or desire is free of self-interest.
There’s a pretty simple approach you can use to start exploring Karma Yoga in your daily life.
Whenever you face a challenge of are making an important decision, stop and ask yourself these questions:
What is the most intelligent action I can take here?
Does that action come from love, compassion, and empathy?
Since I did the best according to my abilities and understanding, can “I” let life flow in peace?
When you feel satisfied with your answers, you’ve started living Karma Yoga; there’s no remorse nor anxiety, you know you did the best you could. You know that the outcome, no matter good or bad, will be handled the same way, with intelligence and love. THIS IS KARMA YOGA!
Karma Yoga Examples?
Perhaps one of the best examples of living Karma Yoga is Richard Alpert (a.k.a. Ram Dass). Richard went through a spiritual transformation on a trip to India in 1967, where he met Neem Karoli Baba, also known as Maharaji. This encounter helped Richard realize and re-discover the nature of who he was. From this point on, Ram Dass begins living Karma Yoga.
I asked him,Ram Dass
“Maharaji, how can I know God?”
and he said, “Feed people.”
That was such a weird answer that I assumed the translator screwed up,
so I figured I’d rephrase it,
“Maharaji, how can I get enlightened?”
and he said, “Serve people.”
Ram Dass lived life under one simple principle: Serve people, feed people, love everybody, remember God.
I wrote more about Ram Dass here: Richard Alpert (a.k.a. Ram Dass)
What is The Aim of Karma Yoga?
If there’s a purpose for Karma Yoga, it is for a body-mind mechanism, or human being, to connect its non-conceptual intention with Consciousness itself. From that state of mind and point of Consciousness, the possibility of peace, love, empathy, and compassion can effortlessly arise.
It is like a wave embracing its form and dance instead of trying to push against the wind and the ocean, which is how most people live.
Benefits Of Karma Yoga in Daily Life
There is no one to celebrate whatever benefits arise from living Karma Yoga personally. The positive impact that living karma brings is giving its fruits to life as a whole.
Imagine you cut your finger with a sharp object, and it starts to bleed; you would immediately attend your wound, there would be no philosophical arguments or spiritual perspectives of how to attend the wound, who’s going to do it, why, etc. You would wash with water, clean it, maybe apply medication, and protect it with a bandage.
Notice that at no point was there any sense of victim nor hero. There was no story other than the situation at the moment and the action needed. Your wounded hand did not have to thank your other hand; it is the same body. Karma Yoga is the same; we are all taking care of each other.
Karma Yoga Healing
Karma Yoga can heal both body and mind by getting rid of all the tension and stress of controlling life. There is a tremendous weight lifted when this happens, and an immense energetic space opens up.
Karma Yoga is a type of surrender, but not a forceful one. This surrender is not a decision; it’s a relaxation that happens by itself. It is like taking a pair of tight shoes off. It is like grasping for air underwater and coming up to the surface and breathing. It’s almost like getting stuck, a stickiness that’s been washed and clean.
But again, you cannot do or push this to happen with your intellect. All you can do is realize and try to understand who you truly are, or in better words, focus on discovering who you are NOT! This is a simpler and more achievable task. See the false and false, push away misconceptions and mental waste, and see how things are, not how you want them to be. If you are interested in this exploration, check out this: Find Out Who You Are
Self-Inquiry and Karma Yoga
Self-Inquiry is a great tool for exploring Karma Yoga. If you take the time to inquire about your “own” nature, it can take you to an amazing path of discovery and epiphanies. The act of inquiry means observation; when you allow yourself to be curious, question your own beliefs and listen to new ideas, a new chapter in your story opens.
You might be thinking about how you can take this trip or where to start. You’ve already had! This article, the one you’re on right now, has helped with that task already. We’ve explored and inquired about many aspects of Karma Yoga, its true meaning, ways to apply it in our daily lives, its principles, examples, etc. You are already on the path of Self-Inquiry.
To learn more about the practice of Self-Inquiry, go to this article: The Path Of Self Inquiry.
Non-Duality and Karma Yoga
Karma Yoga means the ONE source in ACTION. It is also what Non-Duality teaches. One, not two. Living nonduality is Living Karma Yoga; it means understanding a non-divisive phenomenon. Nonduality means no separation; it teaches that there is only ONE thing happening and that there is no such thing as “others.”
Check out this article about Non-Duality; it has plenty of examples and exercises.
Meditation and Karma Yoga
The only true relation between Mediation and Karma Yoga is that if meditating is your calling, it is part of your Karma Yoga, meaning that it is what you do; it is part of your life. Meditation will not “fix” your life, nor will it create a connection with your karmic and yogic nature. Meditation can help clear your mind, calming it, making it less noisy.
Meditation can help you have a healthier state of mind, which is very helpful for exploring any new practice, method, philosophy, or teaching, including Karma Yoga.
There are plenty of Meditation styles and techniques. We have a wide selection of free exercises you can try. Feel free to browse and experiment with them here: The Self Inquiry, Mindfulness & Non-Duality Meditation Exercises.
Mindfulness and Karma Yoga
Mindfulness is a result of Karma Yoga. When a person reaches the state of living Karma Yoga, every action takes place without a sense of personal gain. Therefore, there is no narrative behind the person’s intention. This phenomenon is what Mindfulness is all about, the absence of chaotic toxic unnecessary thinking.
A mindful person does not act from purely intellectual reasoning, and there are no fear, extreme desires, or insecurities to attend to. A person practicing true Mindfulness listens to an inner voice, a pearl of intuitive wisdom that all human beings carry within, which is Karma Yoga’s representation.
Awareness, Consciousness and Karma Yoga
Karma Yoga is movement, a play of action which unfolds within Consciousness, awareness, or the absolute. Consciousness does not carry human values nor plays in moral grounds; therefore, it has no relation other than they are all ONE substance, no separation, no duality. You can also say that Consciousness is nothing, Karma Yoga is action, and nothing and something is happening and not happening.
Spirituality and Karma Yoga
Many words have been casually overused and downgraded for many years to the point of losing their true essence; Spirituality is one of them. Spirituality has nothing to do with dogmatic religious beliefs. Spirituality is a recognition of wonder and beauty within life. Living in harmony, conscious connection with your nature, following your Tao intuition, or Karma Yoga are perfect examples of true spirituality.
We can notice how Karma Yoga, Spirituality, Meditation, and Mindfulness are deeply interconnected; they all have a relationship with each other. They are all part of ONE play emerging from Consciousness, awareness, or the absolute. Karma Yoga is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful spiritual paths that any human being could take. If you have this calling, honor it, surrender to it, and let it work through you, that is all you need to do.