the yoga of action
According to ancient yogic texts there are four paths to realization. One of them is karma yoga, or the yoga of action. It is a science based on teachings in the Bhagavad Gita, but the notion of cause and effect have been discussed in both ancient and modern philosophical and scientific circles. There are many ways you can practice karma yoga or selfless service, but here are some reasons why:
1. Karma Yoga Means Union Through Action. Right now you might see yourself as a distinct and separate being in a Universe. That can feel lonely a times. According to many wisdom traditions, including yogic ones, it can be seen as ignorant thinking. Ignorance breeds suffering. When you practice selfless acts, you make the seeming space between yourself and another disappear. Francis Huxley once said, “the bee dreams up the flower and the flower dreams up the bee.” By practicing selfless acts toward another you are really practicing self-love and self-acceptance.
2. Causality is a Big Part of Karma. Causality affects everything – thoughts, words, actions and deeds, so literally, what you put out there is what you get back. Sanchita – the accumulated karma we have from everything we’ve done (good and bad) in this life and past lives, can be a doozey to deal with all at once. Think of every snide remark you ever made, or every time you were a little bit selfish. This one type of karma can be diffused through positive actions. Cause equals effect. Start doing good to start experiencing good. “Unkindness yields spoiled fruit.
3. Karma is Not the Same as Sin. There is no real definition of sin in the Sanskrit and Pali languages that match the Judeo-Christian notion that we can smited down by a God when we do wrong. Instead, we are responsible for all of our experiences, both good and bad. We tend to experience ”˜bad’ karma until we learn whatever lesson it is that is keeping us from putting good thoughts, actions and deeds into the pipe. What goes in, must come out the other end. So, while you can’t sin from a karmic perspective, you can reap what you sew.
4. It Makes You Feel Good! One of the best reasons to do something kind for someone else is because it makes you feel so good. Just like the runaway Hollywood hit movie, Pay It Forward indicated, you never know what one small act can do to change someone else’s life and to enrich your own in ways that seem beyond human comprehension.
5. According to the Butterfly Effect Karma Yoga is essential. This term in chaos theory suggests, as ancient karma yogis knew, that all circumstances and things are based on sensitive dependency conditions, i.e. a non-linear system. Like a ripple affect, good keeps on moving out into the world, and changes it accordingly.
6. Who Wouldn’t Want to Be Like Gandhi? One of the most famous karma yogis is Mahatma Gandhi. His action in the world to make change is unprecedented. He managed to empower an entire country to peacefully prohibit take-over by the British. His concentrated power and detachment through karma yoga practices cleared his mind and invigorated an entire generation.