“No man is to be judged by the mere nature of his duties, but all should be judged by the manner and the spirit in which they perform them.” – Swami Vivekananda
Explanation Of The Wisdom
Karma yoga is the meditative tradition of action and work. Its aim is to bring about integration, harmony and union through action.
It is a yogic path that is open to everyone, for we all have to work and perform various activities, whether physical or mental.
In fact, it is most suitable for the modern, activity oriented world and is ideal for those of us who find it easier to do something than nothing, which is everyone, for there is nobody who can do absolutely nothing.
It is impossible. There must always be some form of action, even if it is sleeping, day dreaming or trying to do nothing.
One of the basic precepts of karma yoga is very simple, yet very profound: don’t be attached to your actions and their consequences. Work then becomes play, it ceases to be work.
Work is generally done with a motive and expectation of results or reward, whereas play is done for its own sake. It is from attachment, not the work itself, that we become unhappy and discontented.
Work rarely harms anyone – it is the expectations, status, rewards and so on that cause the mental turmoil.
Therefore an important rule of karma yoga is to do your work, but not to become identified with it. Regard the work and its consequences (the fruit) as something completely separate from yourself.
Let me illustrate this with an example.
Imagine that you have just spent six months writing a book. It is your brainchild and all your own hard work. You are very proud of it and it is a part of you. Then somebody comes along, picks up the book, reads a few pages and abruptly asks:
“Which idiot of an author wrote this?” not knowing that it is you.
As a result you are insulted and angry, because your pride has been wounded.There are mental reverberations and besides having a furious argument with the critic of your book, you end up unhappy and depressed for many days.
The cause of the unhappiness is not really the critic, though of course he might have been a little more diplomatic; the cause lies with your attachment to the book, the fruit of your work and endeavour.
If you had regarded the book as something completely different to yourself, then you would not have suffered any upset and anguish as a result of the severe criticism.
If you had considered that the book is not you, that it is only an object outside your body and mind, and only the result of actions performed by you, then the emotional and mental upheaval would not have occurred.
It is only a matter of identification; yet wrong identification leads to unhappiness, whereas realistic identification leads to harmony in life situations.
Attachment brings pain and misery, while detachment brings about calmness and contentment. Try and change your existing attitudes and develop this detachment in every aspect of your life.
If in doubt, remember the priceless wisdom.
“Meditate on the breath (mindfulness meditation to build concentration and awareness skills) and then self-enquire (the teachings of Ramana Maharshi) until you are free of all psychological sufferings and ego. (aka enlightenment)
Do this everyday and trust in the process that eventually your mind will be healed.
Because all good things require training and patience.
Know that as long as you do the work, the results will eventually follow.”
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