By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Are there any secrets of Karma Yoga and where can we find them? Within the Bhagavad Gita, Karma Yoga is mentioned as a spiritual discipline, which is based upon giving and service without the desire for rewards. We might also say that Karma Yoga points us toward supreme consciousness through selfless service and actions of giving. There has been much written concerning the true intentions of those who give. However, actions that are thoughtful and kind cannot be dismissed lightly. It should be noted that those who help others tend to make a habit of it, they always offer to help, and true Karma Yogis have proven track records of good behavior, kindness, and giving.
The concepts and secrets of Karma Yoga should not be so difficult to practice. Yet, many people who understand the principle, still struggle with giving. There are many reasons for this. Therefore, let us take a look at the reasons why Karma Yoga may be difficult, and some of the inner workings within this discipline.
1. “How can I give to someone who is selfish?”
Some of us may have people around us, who would take everything we have, without acknowledging our actions of giving. These are difficult circumstances, but there are some solutions. If your circle of friends is collectively selfish, you may be wasting your time, and it might be time to find new friends. When we are children, we might learn hard lessons about the children with whom we associate. We learn about being “guilty by association.”
If we are friendly with a band of thieves, we are presumed to be a thief as well. This is unfortunate, but if you constantly give to a person who does not appreciate your good intentions, you are likely wasting your time. Unless, you are a very forgiving person, it may be difficult to be a “fountain of unlimited giving.”
There are only a few souls, per century, who can manage to master the complete extinction of desire and suffering. To give is one thing; but to give everything you have is impossible for the vast majority of humanity. Therefore, look inside of yourself and see what actions of giving you can live with. We know that giving is good, but we may not be one of the few enlightened souls of this century.
2. “When I give, how do I know it is going to a good cause?”
The act of giving is in itself a good cause. We do not know how services and funds of a charity are distributed. In fact, if you walk outside of any public place, where people are soliciting for a charity, you don’t know if those people are working for a legitimate charity.
However, your giving of funds should be done with the best of intentions and should make you feel better. This brings about states of happiness. When you perform selfless service for a good cause, you most likely know much more about the legitimacy of that particular cause.
In summary, the act of giving, or performing selfless service, such as we know in Karma Yoga, creates inner happiness. At the same time, giving without pursuing a reward always comes back to you – even if it was done in secret. If you are concerned with the legitimacy of a cause, you may want to inquire further so that your time and efforts are not wasted. One of the secrets of Karma Yoga is that sometimes, no action is the best path and wisest choice.
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