Theme of the month – Karma Yoga – November 2020
We often think of karma as an eye for an eye type of thing – ie you do something bad and something bad will happen to you. I think the fact that the likes of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are still in power and thriving are proof that the universe doesn’t work quite that simply.
Karma, according to the ancient Indian texts, means action and selfless service. Karma is all about taking the next right action or making the next right choice. In other words, be a good human and don’t be attached to the outcomes of what you do (don’t expert constant reqward for being a good human). And the law of karma? Well essentially, it impacts you, so in the simplest of terms if you’re a good human you will feel better and if you are a massive a-hole then you will probably end up bitter and unhappy. I am simplifying somewhat! And then it talks a lot about reincarnation and gets a bit complex so maybe that’s another blog for another time.
Tonight at FYS we start our new weekly yoga for mental wellness class, a free class open to everyone, offering a variety of classes and practices all aimed at helping us all stay emotionally robust and well during the winter (and a pandemic)
Global anxiety is high at the moment (especially with a US election tomorrow), people are getting very sick and some are dying of a virus we don’t yet understand, peoples lives are being impacted in a major way – whether financially, emotionally or otherwise – and our governments have proven they are not our saviours.
So what can we, the little individual do? We can care, we can offer free yoga to those in need, we can drop an extra tin in the fodbank or donate £2 to charity or in a homeless persons tin.
Back in 2018 Jo Mary Longman wrote our blog about karma yoga and she said:
“What karma asks of us is that we live up to our highest ideals, and if we fail to do that in the service of our own desires and ego, then it will be our life’s work to shed the layers of karma and break out of the cycle of selfish motivation in order to fully realise ourselves. According to the laws of karma, if we haven’t managed this by the end of this lifetime, we will be reborn again and again to face the same challenges until our karma is dissolved.
Pretty heavy stuff! But although karma can seem like a life sentence on the one hand, yoga offers it as one of many paths to liberation. Karma is very closely linked to dharma, our life purpose, or rather our duty to fulfil in this life. We cannot avoid our dharma, it will impel us to act and it is how we act in our dharma that determines our karma. But our dharma may not be entirely in line with the accepted way of things. For some people, acting in accordance with their dharma will require great strength of will and conviction to stay true to their path and act without recourse to ego. As an example of this, when BKS Iyengar decided to pursue a profession teaching yoga he was cast out by his family, having brought shame and dishonour upon them by this choice. Knowing that his dharma was a greater cause than his own desire for approval and inclusion, Iyengar persevered and died having guided countless people along their own path toward liberation.
The path of karma yoga, the path to liberation from our karma, requires us to give up our attachment to the consequences of our actions, insofar as they are directed toward our own advantage. Or more simply, stop making it all about you! Once we stop worrying about how things might affect us and acting in a way that attempts to control the outcome, our actions can instead be governed by goodwill and compassion toward others. Once we get out of the way, the action itself is the focus, and the intention with which it is done can be in service to a greater cause, irrespective of the consequences.
Or, as Gandhi put it when summing up his life, ‘Renounce and enjoy’!”
So to sum it all up and to reiterate …be a nice human and don’t be attached to the outcomes of what you do…
So, don’t forget we have a new free yoga class starting this evening at 7.30pm, spread the word to those who may benefit from the class and when you come to classes this month, you may hear a little about What Krishna says about Karma yoga in the Gita or you may hear our teachers talk about how they practice karma yoga.
Hare Krishna! Saturday morning mantra this week (November 8th) will be all about Krishna, join me on instagram live at 9am
Love to you all at this very insane and trying times