Karma – Action
Neither bad nor good, karma means work or action.
Many Sanskrit words and concepts that we’ve adopted such as guru, pundit, mantra and yoga are often misused and misunderstood. Karma, in particular, has gotten a bad rap. It is a neutral term and simply means an action. Actions produce a result, or phala. Therefore, Karma Phala describes your present circumstances. That is, the decisions you’ve made and the actions you’ve taken in the past have created your current reality. As Paul tells us in the Bible, “For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
It’s universal and timeless.
Moreover, the subject of karma is deep. A full understanding of this concept is complex. However, an acceptance of this principle is key to our spiritual growth. It’s a path to living a moral and purposeful life. Above all, its a way that we can find solace in accepting that there are reasons for the way things are. From this premise, comes empowerment.
“You are free to choose. But you are not free to alter the consequences of your decisions.”
– Ezra Taft Benson
Karma Yoga is a way to live with conscious awareness.
We all want peace and happiness. Yet life is full of discord and sorrows. Karma Yoga teaches us how we can increase joy and reduce suffering for ourself and others. Regardless of belief, living an ethical life with integrity is worthwhile.
Swami Vivekananda explains the karma theory:
It does not believe in chance and it keeps God out of the equation. We are the creators of our own destiny.
Our present experience is determined by our past actions.
Our future experience will be determined by what we do here and now.
We shape our own future.
Detachment is key.
Karma Yoga is one of many paths yoga offers us. It is a practice of working for work’s sake, with no other motive than “it is right to do right.” Another way karma yoga is practiced is to do your work as a devotion to your Higher Power.
Furthermore, both approaches foster detachment. When we surrender our attachment, we cultivate mindfulness. Detachment frees us from anxiety and stress. Finally, Karma Yoga promotes joy in present moment engagement.
Walking the Walk – A Karma Yoga Manual by Swami Tyagananda (Amazon)