Ha…after years of practice I have found that there is a name to my practice. Karma Yoga. I was listening to a dialogue between Ken Wilber and Roger Walsh and Roger mentioned the practice of Karma Yoga. It is what Bucky Fuller did for most of his adult life…what has informed the ground of my life and work for most of my adult life, even though I have been challenged, stretched, and fallen down many times in my practice. Which is what makes it such a great practice.
These notes are taken from the interview…full credit to Roger Walsh.
Karma yoga is a millennium old tradition spoken about in the Bhagavad Gita. It is one of four foundational yoga’s. (In Vedic Sanskrit, the more commonly used, literal meaning of the Sanskrit word yoga which is “to add”, “to join”, “to unite”, or “to attach” from the root yuj, already had a much more figurative sense, the yoking or harnessing of oxen or horses.)
Karma Yoga is the yoga of doing. Transforming ones work in the world into a spiritual practice. It is service oriented, the practice of awakening service or as Sri Aurobindo said, transforming the whole act of living into an uninterrupted yoga.
The act of Service;
1. Should draw and attract us- in other words, you do what is spontaneously arousable from within you to do.
2. Make use of our talents – do what you are good at, that you have skill in.
3. Draw satisfaction – enjoy your service.
There are 3 keys to Karma Yoga
Before any activity is done
1. The activity is offered up with the understanding the activity will be done in the service of a higher goal. For example, the welfare and awakening of all. The aspired goal is one of trans-egoic purpose. In other words, the goal of the service transcends the gratification and reinforcement of ones ego.
2. One then attempts to do the activity as impeccably as possible while adhering to the transcendental goal. This is where integrity comes to play. Service that is whole and complete.
3. Paradoxically, one simultaneously attempts to release attachment to the outcomes. That is, one releases any egocentric cravings that the outcomes should match ones personal goal’s.
Is this easy? No way. You might be able to embrace one of the steps, maybe even two, but all three together, and to keep doing this…hard. Which is why it is a spiritual practice.
That little constant voice that says I can become wealthy and famous for doing this. Or…I can just fudge this area a little…not aim for impeccability and integrity here. Or..I really want to do this for myself..for my own means and ends. (Nothing wrong with that as long as you don’t pretend you are doing it for other reasons.)
The net result…Inner exploration and outer service become one
Karma Yoga is a powerful way of transforming ones work and ones contribution in the world into a deep spiritual practice.
We go into ourselves to go more effectively out into the world, and we go out into the world to more effectively go deeper go into ourselves.
Our challenge today is to heal partial perspectives, which depends on our level of human development. The more able we are to hold multiple perspectives, the more able we are to face the most complex of challenges we face as a society. Psychological and spiritual maturation only occurs through a constant commitment to practice.
I love the idea of Karma Yoga because it is not something you have to put aside time for. It is a way of being. And it asks of you to show up in the purity of service to something far bigger than the little self.