Karma yoga is the yoga of action. It is the principle of self-less service, of preemptively surrendering the fruits of one’s work and doing what needs to be done with no expectation for reward or punishment. In Hindu theology, Hanuman is the embodiment of this principle. Here, then, is:
The Karma Yogi’s Mantra
“It is not about me.
I am here to serve.
I am doing my duty.
I do the best I can.
I offer up the results of my efforts, good or bad.”
With mixed results, I’ve been experimenting with how to share what with whom. Information, eye contact, earth-space – these things and more are for sharing. What we share composes the grounds upon which ‘relationship’ plays out, and ‘relationship’ accounts for the majority of life’s peaks and pitfalls.
What do you share?
It’s a serious question. I invite you to honestly ponder, if only momentarily, what it is you choose to share with the humans you interact with in this life.
A key step here is to separate what you hope to share from what actually transpires. It takes practice to become clear about this.
Everyone I know shares laughs. What else? Food, yes, but think on an energetic level.
Pause here for contemplation.
(My initial list includes: healing hugs, joy in play, and true attention or presence; except when not, then it’s sardonic intellect and tamasic inclinations)
…and I forget who, but one of the wizened faculty asked me to imagine a statistic, to come up with a percentage-value weighing my contributions to the community in terms of positive and negative poles.
He did not make me name the number (no need to make me lie out loud), but asked me to keep the idea with me, and to aim for 51%, that’s all.
(I must have taken this advice to heart, because at the end of my senior year, I was inducted into the Torch Society, in recognition of extra-ordinary contributions to the Suffield community. I’m not bragging — it’s not a big deal — I just think it’s interesting to see how much things changed in the course of little more than 18 months.)
Having since studied the principles of the Law of One series (see: Law of One Study Guide), I find that this way of measuring progress is widely recommended throughout creation.
Here, Ra frames it in terms of Service-to-Self (STS) opposed to Service-to-Others (STO). Ra makes it known that 51% really is all you need. A higher number is better of course, but if you’re over 50%, you’re on a good course, getting ready to ascend.
“Real service consists in working for those whom one does not know personally… By and by, the sphere of our service will enlarge itself to embrace the whole world… We should serve the humblest human beings, even those whom we never see, with respect and honor and looking upon them as gods and not as our servants. We should, in other words, serve the whole world.”
For me, this concept has helped tremendously, however gradually, over the course of years. I start the process by stopping to notice what impact my presence is having on any given situation: am I offering a higher probability of gentleness and joy? or of suspicion and shame? Am I giving inspiration or discouragement?
I hate this question when I’m already irritated, but having been asked, it acts to slow me down and zoom me out, from which vantage point I can choose a new approach; or maybe the same one, if it still suits me. First comes the noticing – only then are we conscious enough to make what we can fairly call a choice.
We are making choices constantly. To begin with, we chose a human birth custom-designed to present us with the proper sequence of subsequent choices. Sights and sounds, names and form interact in an intricately staged play (I prefer the word lila) of which we are writer, director, props, 5th Business & star.
We create great dramas to which suffering is inherent.
Is it not true that at times we don’t even bother to audition for the role we were literally born to play? Or at times, overact our roles as extras and then shrink from the spotlight? Or the opposite, thrive unnoticed until ready for our raucous solo debut?
Everyone comes out of nowhere.
~ ~ ~
It is a constant balancing act to identify and perform our proper roles. One of the primary ways this struggle takes shape for me concerns how to share my writing.
I used to keep it all to myself, thinking a) it was not worthwhile, and b) that I risked being seen as egotistical if I engaged in any self-promotion — and my ego could not have that.
Then it dawned on me that keeping it to myself was just as much a symptom of ego as giving it out, because that falsely presumes it’s mine to begin with.
So I began giving it away everywhere, only to encounter devastating indifference, since the people I pushed it on had not necessarily requested anything to read or contemplate.
Lately, I have learned to enjoy elephant for its flexible level of formality, but more for the fact that it makes my pages available while in no way imposing them on anyone. Once sought, they are simple to find, but it’s the initial intention that I’m after.
(Note: this is a horrendous attitude in terms of promotion and publicity. No wonder no one clicks…)
I am going to write, that much is sure; whether anyone reads or not has nothing to do with me, is after-the-fact. I hope people are drawn to it, and get something from it, because I feel it is a significant part of my service in this birth, and we all want our contributions to be appreciated.
Ego wants appreciation.
Non-acting Atman does what must be done through me, then rests.
As it is, I insist on nothing and can only give suggestions, point to the path as I see it, and maybe at best explain the way I understand certain semiotic constructions. That said, I’ve probably posted too many spontaneous poems on the Facebook entity; long, frivolous poems that lack polish. Oh well. We all start somewhere.
“I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, composing a love-note to humanity.”
Born on planet Earth, David Telfer McConaghay has since wandered across its surface in search of something which, when found, kindly insists that he continue searching. His immediate family lives in Minneapolis, MN, though he also feels at home in Washington D.C.; Grass Valley, CA; Bogotá, Colombia; and now, almost Boulder, CO. He completed his B.A. in English & Creative Writing at The George Washington University in 2008. Experiences at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm are the primary source of any yogic inspiration David aka Sri Nivasa may express. He plays on Facebook HERE and can be followed on Twitter HERE