Karma yoga is one of the main paths of yoga that any practitioner can follow. It is described in the Hindu sacred text, as the Bhagavad Gita. Practising karma yoga is the most effective way to develop spiritually. The name comes from the Sanskrit term meaning ‘deed’ or ‘action.’ It is the path of action or selfless service towards others. Karma yoga is an ancient concept.
The spiritual path allows us to pay attention, rather than look for attention. We get to perform our actions without any intention or expectations, seeing life from a broader perspective. Karma yoga takes us closer to our ideal state and spiritual goals. Continually practicing karma yoga will bring about different thoughts from us that allows us to give selflessly for the good of others without self-attachment to the results of our actions.
When what we do becomes a process of liberation instead of entanglement, we know it’s karma yoga. The nature of the activity isn’t important, whether it’s work, or talking to someone, or just going for a walk. Where we are capable of involving ourselves as if that is our life, it transforms us, and action becomes liberating. That is karma yoga.
Karma yoga taught by zen teachers, if practiced regularly gives relevance to how we live our lives. Volunteering our time and effort is used as an example of karma yoga; based on these principles, actions undertaken can be karma yoga. It is the attitude to the action that matters, rather than the action itself. This means acting with the right motives, in the right way, doing our best, but surrendering our attachment to the outcome.
Some teachings recommend using mantras and chanting, before and during the actions, so that we’re able to develop the right mindset and approach to giving selflessly. Although chanting keeps us present and focused, practising and working on a particular mind set and simply being kind to each other is all that is needed here.
Being kind and caring, compassionate, tolerant, patient and understanding are all the things we should be working towards so that we can give selflessly, without expecting things back in return.