Living in a material culture, it’s difficult not to approach our activities and involvements without at least a glimmer of the thought, “What’s in it for me?” Ironically, when we’re able to banish that thought, we’re rewarded handsomely.
“Life should be chiefly service.” This was counsel of the great yogi Paramahansa Yogananda to his disciples. In this simple phrase lies a key to happiness.
Karmic Investment Yields Dividends
Working without a vested interest in the outcome but with another’s welfare in mind relieves us of the burden of ego. The mind becomes fully occupied with the action of the moment and egoistic judgments and concerns are put at least temporarily on hold. Many report that being immersed in selfless service produces a lightness of being, a “high” to which they are happily addicted! And, indeed, numerous sociological studies confirm that when activity is given freely for the benefit of others, the giver’s level of perceived happiness increases.
While the tenet of serving others is often most closely associated with Christianity, it is also a foundational idea of yoga philosophy. Yogic service springs from the practice of karma yoga, activity performed with the thought of God as the Doer and without attachment to the results.
Yoga views the normally perceived world around us as an illusion or dream of God (“maya”). Just behind what we take for concrete reality is the unchanging energy of godhead, present everywhere, infused in everything. From this perspective, abandoning the assumption of a cause and effect relationship between what we do and how the world manifests is a necessary first step toward realization of the primal energy that is the true Creator. When we remove personal attachment, we step out of the way of the free flow of that energy. By becoming a channel, we experience what flows through us. Gradually, we identify more and more closely with it, with what we truly are behind the illusion of our separate self.
Yogasync me: Create positive energy by sharing this sequence with a friend: