Karma isn’t bad luck, nor good luck for that matter. Karma is everything we’ve done, are doing and will do in the future and the accumulated results of all this action. It comes from ignoring our natural state of happiness (known as avidya). We accrue karma when we act in a certain way because we think that action will bring us joy, instead of realising our divine Self is already joy. This is how we become attached to things, places, people, habits and routines.
A good example for me is when a good friend makes me her vegan chocolate cake – I’ve termed it Raw Bliss because it tastes so delicious I easily become attached to eating it all. Yet when it’s all gone either I want more or I feel sick, my desire hasn’t been fulfilled. Karma yoga teaches that it’s not the cake making me happy, it’s that when I’m eating it, I have no wish for anything else in that moment. In that moment I am completely happy, I’ve fleetingly experienced my divine Self. But ignorant to my natural state of bliss, I’ve confused my joy with the cake. Instead of going to the Self directly, I go to the cake. When we continue to be clouded by avidya, this ignorance, we remain in the karmic cycle of action to fulfill desires, cravings, expectations and ambitions.
The only way to purify our karma is by realising the oneness of being. That is, when we recognise we are all connected, we are all from that same source of divinity and that pure happiness is already within us. Karma yoga teaches that one path to this realisation is selfless action, triggered by a selfless intention. We can practice this by serving and working without expectation of credit or reward and instead enjoy happiness in others. You can see my friend practices karma Yoga whenever she bake me cake, her reward is merely the enjoyment of seeing me happy! We can also practice Karma Yoga by acting and responding to any situation without anger, greed, hate, fear or jealousy. Similarly, if we practice forgiveness, acceptance of what is, gratitude for whatever we experience and have, our compassion for others builds – as does our own happiness.
Are you looking towards external source(s) of happiness in your life? How can you purify this attachment? Do you have a certain practice that, whenever you’re feeling vulnerable, reminds you that you are divine and not alone?
Who is more interested in this Raw Bliss Cake?