The ultimate goal of any yoga is to find balance. Hence, karma yoga is no different. It’s the pursuit of equilibrium via action. Not just any action, though. The goal is right action. This is where guidance is often needed. Which actions will serve dharma is the question?
While some debate the meaning of karma yoga. Some claim it is service while others define it as any activity that is done with ananda and joy. While others say it is serving others as a way to serve god. In the Bhagavad Gita, karma yoga is specified as Krishna saying to Arjuna, “Do what you do, but offer the fruits of it to me”. Whatever the definition matters not, really. But the intention does. If what we do becomes a process of liberation instead of entanglement, that is karma yoga.
We should be less concerned with the outcome. Karma yoga focuses on doing what is needed without worrying about fulfillment, nor likes and dislikes. It is a selfless act that aims to break karma. Karma means action. If action transforms into yoga, the action should be redemptive. When activity binds us, it is karma. Dissolving karma helps us achieve the balance we require to continue our journey. So the question is not about how much activity we do. It is the attitude that matter. How we perform the activity is what matters most. If we dread and despise the work it is karma. If we dance through the work it becomes karma yoga.
Start with Meditation
A moment of stillness in the morning prepares the self for the day. Set up intentions that lead to right actions. Set up goals that offer support to self and others. Meditation is a way to quiet the chatter, too. And this decreases negativity and readies us for balance. The less chatter, the less thinking and all action will begin to come from within, from the heart.
Avoid thinking about Self
Ego is the trickster. Even when we help others, we are looking to quench ego’s thirst to feel important and garner attention. We don’t do it for others, we do it for how we feel as a result. When we do service with the wrong attitude and intention, we are attaching ourselves further into karma. Help others without any expectation. Without waiting for a thank you or any number of positive outcomes. The power of giving will shift the energetic fields and karma yoga will become friend rather than foe.
Step by Step
Doing karma yoga isn’t something we need to drown ourselves in. As a matter of fact, if we try to do to much at once, we’re likely to get exhausted even before the real work has begun. Start small and be consistent. Reject the body and brain when they make excuses for why we don’t need to do karma yoga. It is falsehood and distraction. Stand strong in balance. The more we practice this behavior, the more is will come as second nature.
Build many Bridges
The more connections we can make between karma yoga and liberation, the closer we are to breaking the karmic structures. Do as many activities in a day with a joyful heart. Smile and be grateful for life and living. These are gifts we’ve been given, so let their qualities transfer into action. Become a witness to action. Remove boundaries. Embrace all that is light. Let karma yoga work its alchemy on your mind, body, and soul.
Become a Seeker
Find others who are on a similar path. Join communities whose mission is teaching and practicing karma yoga. When we seek others, others are already seeking us. With pure intention, those who are meant to help us will appear as if out of thin air. And with plenty of support and guidance, engaging in karma yoga will slowly but surely become an integral part of our lives.