Karma Yoga is a Yoga of action. Literally means “Meditation on-the-job with awareness” as eyes open meditation. We are always in action, our mind or body. Even in sleep, we dream, we are interacting.
The right way to perform the action is Karma Yoga which we do with an inner attitude of meditative awareness- controlling the senses by the mind. The meditation practice we do with our eyes closed trains us so that we can then take those skills out into the world, so the mental state continues with our eyes open.
We get many benefits such as concentration on the job helps us to work more efficiently, so the work goes more smoothly. We have a better observation of the response to the work. Observation of what is going on as the work unfolds keeps us on track.
By meditation, we expand our awareness which gives us a bigger picture of what we are doing, allowing us to make much better decisions. We are only witnessing the action. This ability to observe without becoming emotionally involved protects us from getting entangled in the dramas around us.
The next principle of Karma Yoga is that of service (Seva), where our actions are done in the world for the world and for the benefits of others. Our relationship with other people will become more positive and harmonious. If we are working for others, we don’t have personal expectations, so we don’t have the disappointment. Thus we avoid the stress that can hold us down in the lower levels. When we have an attachment, we are attracted to security, possessions, sensual pleasure, and enjoyment, the power of control, conditional love, solitude, boredom, and desire – which leads only to suffering.
So, undertaking activity without seeking personal reward and performing action without craving results is really related to non-expectation which means non-attachment. We just work for the welfare of the world and for the sake of the work itself, thus, we will have peace of mind.
“Don’t expect anything, then if you don’t get anything, - you won’t be disappointed". Initially, the practice of Karma Yoga is difficult because combining the concepts of efficiency, non-expectation, equanimity, egolessness, renunciation, and duty in one action is difficult. The thrust of Karma Yoga is to have these concepts combined in one thought, in one action, in one moment. Once these different ideas are combined, then we are practicing “Karma Yoga”!
Gradually, it will become second nature in all our actions, bringing peace of mind. Karma Yoga clears the mind of phobias, insecurities, and complexes and makes it steadier for further practices for the evolving in this life.
If we are practicing Karma Yoga as ‘meditation in action’, the efficiency will come automatically because the concentration on the job helps us to work efficiently. Observation keeps us on track. The expansion of awareness that develops with meditation allows us to observe the whole event or situation. Finally, in the witness position, we are not diverted from the job by the emotional sideshows going on around us.
“Try to make the job perfect – do it as a game but not compulsive imperative!”
Non-dealership is the attitude of only being the instrument, not the doer – the realization that we are not indispensable. People find this very difficult because we like our ego rewards, but when this is working properly, it is a wonderful feeling, the work just flows along guided by a higher force without our selfish ego blocking it.
Give the whole thing to a higher power. It can be the most difficult step but probably, if we have already successfully renounced ‘any ownership’ of the work, it is easy because we have nothing to give.
So, Karma Yoga properly lived is the ultimate anti-stress mechanism and takes us to the partnership with the supreme consciousness. We are just an instrument but not the doer. The work just flows along guided by a higher force without our selfish ego blocking it. It’s divine grace. We are only performing duty in this action world. The rest is we are just zero, the emptiness – we bring nothing to this world and we will carry nothing with us. We will carry only our Karma – either Good Karma or Bad Karma.
Through Karma Yoga, all life becomes a sacrament, as Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga become one at this high level – pure ultimate contentment !......