Karma – well, laughing at “My Name is Earl” and the crossing off of his list, with my son, makes me realise that these ideas are percolating through to very popular culture.
Life somehow becomes much, much easier, when you start to see it through the eyes of karma.
There is something about looking at the intention of the action rather than actually what happened. Think about it, “its the thought that counts!”. If things turned out pear shaped and your intention was good, then what is the karma of the action?
In Yoga the concept of karma drives your actions and ultimately even your thinking.
The ultimate goal, is to act with no desire for an outcome. Hm tricky!? Well, maybe most actions we do are because we want something? A bunch of flowers, because we want to be forgiven? A present because we want to be loved? Cleaning the house because we want to impress someone?
For example, I remember when I first went in to work as a “karma yogi” at the London Yoga Centre, and someone broke a glass on the floor, I was quick to tell one of the Swamis who lived there ” so-and-so broke the glass and its there on the floor” Swami took a look at me and patiently said “In yoga, there is no blame, there is just a broken glass, the fact that you saw it, means it is your job to clean it up” My colleague had given me an opportunity to serve. What a turn around!
A beautiful shift of thought, an expansion takes place with this thought.
It was enticing to think that there is no blame, so no shame, therefore no guilt, and maybe no merry go round of passive aggression following guilt and shame? wow! This new idea made me feel light and free. If something presents itself to me, then it is my opportunity to clear my karmic debt. Excellent, jump at it!
Now, I am going to ask you to expand your mind even further.. not only is there no blame or agency, imagine if life were just a series of lessons for you. Every time something occurs, it is an opportunity for you to serve, to send out loving intention, to somehow neutralise everything bad (or in yoga we would say ignorant) that you have ever done. (“Forgive them, for they know not what they have done”) If the same thing keeps presenting to you, the same disappointment, the same let down, what is the lesson here? How can you relate to this scenario differently? How have you been acting in this way towards others, without even noticing it?
You know for sure, that if you bounce a ball off a wall, it will come right back at you? Well in the same way, any intention you send out, any action you take, will reverberate back to you in some way. Imagine everything you did was for the “greater good”, imagine gifting stuff, for the sake of it, not because you want something back, just because it feels good to give?
There are whole communities that work in this way, and have done for thousands of years. Our village works like this in many ways, without even realising it. It is the original way of communities. Can we get back there? Finding what the Gods are asking of me in this situation? and What have I got to learn from this scenario or this relationship? How can I serve here?
Maybe this is the “new” consciousness that is dawning, this understanding that with taking responsibility only for our own actions, and acting with pure intention of service, love and mercy, we will live in a beautiful world.
It is not easy, we are entrenched in an “owe you” or “sorry” society. But maybe just maybe, you could try for a day to just give, without any wish for any return, just give, because it is good for you. This is Karma Yoga.