Karma yoga is one of the main paths of yoga that a practitioner can follow. The name comes from the Sanskrit term meaning “action” or “deed.” Therefore, it is the path of action, or selfless service towards others. It is considered by some that practicing karma yoga is the most effective way to develop spiritually.
Karma yoga is an ancient concept. The path of karma yoga is described in the Hindu sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita. It is also taught by zen teachers.
The intention when practicing karma yoga is to give selflessly for the good of others without thought of one’s self or attachment to the results of one’s actions. Acting in this way is considered the right way to approach service and it is said to purify the mind.
Karma yoga is relevant to all yogis because, to some extent, everyone must undertake some actions during their lifetime. By practicing karma yoga, all of these actions, even the most mundane, can become part of one’s spiritual path. Practicing karma yoga also means to fully accept one’s dharma, or life’s duty, and to let go of selfish desires. In doing so, one sublimates the ego.
Volunteering one’s time and effort is often used as an example of karma yoga, but, actually, all of the actions one undertakes can be karma yoga. It is considered the attitude to the action, rather than the action itself, which makes something karma yoga. This means acting with the right motives, in the right way, to the best of one’s ability, but surrendering attachment to the outcome. Some teachings recommend using chanting and mantras before and during the actions in order to develop the right mindset and approach to giving selflessly during one’s service.
This is accumulated past actions or karmas waiting to come to fruition. Sanchitta is the storehouse of every action you have ever done, in all the lifetimes you have ever lived. These are all of the unresolved past actions waiting to reach resolution.
This is the present action: what you are doing now, in this lifetime and its result.
Future actions that result from your present actions are called agami karma. As you attempt to resolve past karma, you unavoidably create new karmas that you may or may not be able to resolve in your present life. If you don’t resolve them now, they will go into the storehouse to be resolved in a future life.
Today I want us to focus on Parabda karma. What are the present actions of how you move, breath, walk, talk, think impacting the next present moment? In other words, what are you doing today that demonstrates you are taking 100% responsibility for your life?