Thursday, March 10, 2011

Karma Yoga: Giving & Nonattachment

Karma Yoga is the yoga of action, the work of doing good for the sake of good, not doing good for the sake of receiving good. We give just to give, not to get in return. (If we have this mentality, we will, indeed, get everything that we need. We will be taken care of.) This is non-attachment. We must resist the natural inclination towards resentment when we feel we are giving more than we are getting in return. We perform the actions we do because it is what we can do, it is what we want to do, it is our very best work and we believe in what we are doing. We do not perform these actions merely for the end-product, for the results they yield.

It is simple. If we are in the position to, we take care of others. Many people are not in the position to, for a wide array of reasons: physical handicap to mental immaturity to socioeconomic situation to geographic location. If we have, we must share. This becomes our dharma, our duty. If we have been granted the gift or the fortune to live comfortably and have the resources to care for ourselves, we then care for others. And what I mean by "live comfortably" is very relative. There are those who live in comfort so lavish and so extreme, that it is borderline perverse to even consider not sharing this with others. Then there are those who live in a general kind of comfort. I would include myself in this category. To have a comfortable life does not mean you are never challenged nor periodically worry over where you will get the money to pay for something. To have a comfortable life may mean that your actual life, your health, your wellbeing, is not being threatened or jeopardized on a regular basis.

Even during an "economic meltdown," many of us, as Americans, are some of the wealthiest, luckiest, and most liberated individuals on the planet and we have a duty to serve others. It does not have to be someone on the other side of the world to count. There are plenty in this country who need. There are plenty of people in your own community who need. There are people in your own family who need--in different ways. Begin to consider these ways. It is not just financial, it is not just physical. It is mental, emotional, and spiritual.

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