Karma Yoga For Happiness
by: Amy Twain
We know that Karma Yoga is mentioned in the Ishavasya Upanishad and the Bhagavad-Gita, but for so many students outside of India are quite unfamiliar with it. If you ask a class filled with students about the definition of Karma Yoga you will be quite lucky to get an answer. Karma Yoga is oftentimes translated as, “selfless service,” like giving to others with time or money or charity work. Karma means “work or action” so it really requires effort. And Yoga means a lot of things. We could always hear the meaning of Yoga as: unity, union or a calm or tranquil state of mind.
Karma Yoga is oftentimes overlooked by some of us. In most Hatha Yoga teacher training programs, we tend to emphasize or highlight it, but then move on toward the ideas of physical mastery. But physical mastery alone does not deliver or guarantee complete and total happiness. As a matter of fact, happiness truly occurs when the practice of Yoga becomes part of our daily lives off the mat. Still, karma is often referred to as negative. Bad luck is bad karma, yet good luck or good fortune is oftentimes thought of as an inner effort within our own control, which could happen because of our own efforts.
Our actions would have a positive or negative result. The theory or law of karma is complex, yet it is easy to grasp or understand. An easy and simple way in order to test this theory is to observe carefully and experiment in the happenings of our daily lives. Notice how many individuals out there who wait for somebody to greet them first? Then these people may feel unhappy, lonely or miserable simply because nobody even said hello to them. Now, this is “karma in practice.” But if the same individual were to greet every person that they meet, by giving them a warm smile, bowing, waving or through a firm hand shake, all of the energy will be positive.
The results or outcome of taking the initiative with just a mere friendly greeting would be a state of happiness. Then many people would respond in a similar manner, naturally. As we go through or experience our daily routine of our work and begin to socialize with other people, we may cause some small changes with our attitude or behavior toward others. As we go further, how many people actually listen to one another? Listening to other people also makes them happy and grateful. The mere effortless act of listening emphatically definitely costs us not even a single cent, but it truly makes everybody happy when we listen to them.
All that it requires is to give a little of our time to someone else. There is really no need to wait for the other person to make the first move or somebody else to be friendly and approachable first. When we create and initiate the positive action, we are setting the wheels of karma in motion and the end result is to find our own happiness.