Karma Yoga presents two distinct and related roadmaps for me. The first and obvious path is in the action of serving others. There are grand ways our communities need service. We are blessed by volunteers who provide service to shelters, churches, hospice, animal care and youth organizations.
There are also modest ways we can serve our communities. I pick up liter in my neighborhood. The Buddha said, “if you light a lamp for somebody it will also brighten your path.” My dog walks are prettier without sedentary trash in the sidewalk. My path is brighter.
The second Karma yoga path resembles an affirmation and is more nuanced. Simply put, the affirmation, “I work for God,” covers both the action of karma and the meaning of karma for me. When I employ this affirmation I am serving in divine form, even in work with financial compensation.
God has blessed us each with gifts which serve his people meaningfully. My gifts are teaching, inspiring and connecting. My dharma is to use these gifts with my creative skills in the fields of writing and visual art production.
This second path of Karma yoga additionally helps me manage my anxiety in my dharma framework. I relax when I repeat, “ I work for God.” I can take on challenges when I repeat this phrase because I know when I work for God everything falls into place. As Dharma Mittra says, “everything is perfect.” I resoundingly trust the channeling of God. I recognize that all my work is in service to God and the resulting abundance is God’s grace.
The Dalai Lama has said, “if you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.” This quote reminds me that even our children are never too small to make a difference. I encouraged my three children, from an early age, to discover their own dharma and effectively employ their karma yoga skills. I explained to them that God had given them unique gifts and it was their job to discover these gifts. God needs all of us to share these gifts with our community. When we share and give to our community, we are graced with meaningful lives. Children, with all of their purity, recognize that karma yoga is often precious and sweet. Brushing the dog or chatting with elderly neighbors are two activities that come to mind. Children are quite capable of being the mosquito the Dalai Lama references.
When we choose to work only for ourselves and personal gains then our karma is misaligned. If we work only for financial profit, for example, God does not bestow his gifts of peace and meaningfulness in our hearts. We receive God’s blessings in many forms when we embrace the notion of karma yoga. I believe that we can live a financially abundant life and still fulfill our karmic yoga destiny. Have you ever heard of Oprah Winfrey? Enough said.
I have chosen to use my gifts of creativity to create a collage for the Dharma Yoga Center using my God-given artistic skills. I will blog for the social media channels of Dharma Yoga.
I will be working for God, channeling community needs and using my dharma.
Pema Chodron beautifully shares “The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings you need to open your heart.” Enough said.