What is Karma Yoga?
A multi-layered word, “Karma” can be understood at the simplest level, as “action” and “reaction”. It includes thoughts, words and deeds. “Yoga” translates as “union”, the harmonizing of mind, body and spirit. It is the union of the individual consciousness with a higher consciousness.
Karma Yoga is the “Yoga of Action”. While fulfilling the demands of daily responsibilities, we can bring a state of awareness into every action we take. By focusing our energies on the actual task at hand, we become more productive and efficient.
Karma Yoga is a dynamic term, made for the realities of modern life.
Karma Yoga is a complex philosophy, which has been studied at very deep and esoteric levels, which we may study at a future time with our distinguished seminar speakers. In our monthly meetings, we focus on some practical aspects of Karma Yoga. Our approach emphasizes a disciplined use of techniques to help us deal with competing demands, and work more efficiently. The basic lesson of Karma Yoga is managing the busy mind, and it sharpens the ability to focus on the task at hand.
Every thought, word and deed is an opportunity for contemplation and awareness.
We promote the practice of a relaxed awareness of body, breath and mind during our daily activities. In our sessions, we develop techniques to enable us to do this realistically. Over time, it can result in understanding and releasing deeply held tensions of body and mind. As we develop a relaxed, objective awareness of our own actions, there could be a shift in our approach to problems. Choosing action over a natural reaction to the “other” person’s behavior, one may try alternative approaches to the problem. This proactive approach can help us resolve difficult issues, and better handle our own emotions.
Karma Yoga enjoins us to focus on the present moment. One of the more difficult aspects is to not dwell in the past or future. The results of our actions are not in our hands. Success and failure depend on forces beyond our control. The karma yogi must accept responsibility for his or her actions, and move on. Ultimately, the lesson of Karma Yoga philosophy is to develop equanimity in all situations, and not remain attached to either the pleasant or the unpleasant.
Above: Examples of the variety of everyday situations and experiences where Karma Yoga can be practiced.
Karma Yoga as a practical philosophy results in:
Clarity of mind about our own motivations
Understanding the limits of our body and mind
Doing the best we can, regardless of results
Keeping the focus on our own actions, not those of others
Remaining aware of the present, and not dwelling in the past or future