Monday, 6 February 2017

Is Spiritual Development Running you Ragged?


I don’t know about you but there have been, are times, when it seems that all my spiritual practises are actually causing me more stress rather than less. Given that the idea of spiritual practice is to develop inner peace and clarity of connection in mind-body-spirit and to Divine Mother it’s not a good thing or a step in the right direction to be run ragged in such a way. Why does it happen and what can we do to put a stop to it, to get our ‘life’ (time) back?

Just this morning I opened my eyes after morning agnihotra and meditation and was giving this very subject some thought. I thought about all that I do to foster health throughout my mind-body-spirit being. I thought about all that I have done in the past, all the practises I have given my time and effort to over many years and as I sat there feeling so calm and relaxed I thought about karma yoga and of what great benefit it is, how ridiculously productive it is to remember and practise karma yoga as part of one’s sadhana (spiritual) practise.

Karma yoga is the yoga of action. That is what karma means, action. So karma yoga is the yoga of your actions. It is doing the dishes, going to work, sweeping the floor, making the bed, watering the garden, feeding the family, wrapping a gift, making a card for someone, writing a letter… all of your actions can be yogic actions, all of your actions can be transformed into your sadhana (spiritual) practice by performing them as karma yoga.

You won’t be run ragged by karma yoga because it involves doing what you’d normally do though with a different focus/intention. You don’t need to set aside an hour day for karma yoga, you don’t need to go to a class. You just need to live your life with the attitude of service and awareness.

Karma yoga was not a form of yoga that I ever really gravitated towards, to be honest. However, as things often turn out… it is the yoga practise that is more dominant in my yogic life. Having spent so many years ‘working on myself’ has given me a perfect background of skills to employ in the art and act of karma yoga. I can apply almost all ‘healing myself’ skills I have learnt in life in karma yoga. The wonderful thing is, I don’t need to do most of those activities or have them as a focus in my life, I can just apply what I have personally gained from them in my daily karma yoga practise.

I have found the perfect balance and recipe (for me) is karma yoga + meditation + diet/lifestyle + agnihotra. Karma yoga needs to be balanced with meditation practise. Anything at all needs also to be balanced with meditation practise. What karma yoga does is give you the opportunity for you turn your everyday life into an opportunity for your spiritual development and overall wellbeing for your highest good. This is the beauty of karma yoga. It does not run you ragged, it is not asking you to perform more actions it is asking you to work at being more present in action. Actually you will find that in order to have more success with your karma yoga practise you need to do less action.

Less action because this means you can move, think and breathe more slowly rather than when you are in a rush. The slower you go, the better the chance you will have of being aware, mindful, and present.

So this is how you can avoid your quest for spiritual development, God realisation and personal development running you ragged in modern life, karma yoga.  It doesn’t ask more of you, it does not deem you as less or wanting, it only asks that you be present in your actions and hone that skill with the intention of opening your heart to Divine Mother and love.






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