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Karma - Anchoring in the Changeless

Part 3 - Anchoring in the Changeless

“All things arise, suffer change and pass away. This is their nature. When you know this nothing perturbs you. Nothing hurts you. You become still.” - Song of the Avadhut

Cause and effect (aka karma) is unending wheel, an infinite loop, the wheel of birth and death and all opposites.

Every event is the result of a cause and every result in turn becomes a cause. This is the great problem of karma. We cannot stop it. In fact every attempt to stop karma or slow it down or direct it down channels we would prefer actually creates more of it and not necessarily the more that we want. ALL ACTION CREATES KARMA. And, as you may have noticed, life is nothing but action.

But, there IS a way to act without creating karma. In fact, there is a whole path of yoga devoted to it and it is called, quite appropriately, Karma Yoga.

You see, it isn't the action itself that creates the karmic effect. It is our relationship to it.

As it says in the quote above, "All things arise, suffer and pass away. That is their nature." So, you see, it isn't about us changing the nature of things. We can't. It is about coming into harmony with things as they are. And, there are two components to this:

  1. Allowing things to be as they are which leads to

  2. Acting without attachment to the results

Obviously this is not at all how we have been taught to be. We often find things totally unacceptable and most would ask, "What is the point of doing something (anything) if you don't want to get the result from your effort?" Needless to say I wouldn't get a job and tell the boss, "Oh no, I don't need a salary." The boss would be incredulous but then say "Cool!" and forthwith give himself a raise.

All the yogas point toward a goal that is beyond the immediate fruits of our efforts. The word "yoga" is a Sanskrit term that means "to yoke" or "union". It is way more than the version of it that has been reduced in the west to mere exercise or an outfit from luluelemon. (as fetching as they may be).

Yoga seeks to yoke oneself to the highest aspiration, which is union with the divine. It seeks to free you from dependence on the ever changing and anchor you in the changeless.

Taking a big step backwards and looking at the tendency of your life you will find that of all the things you worked for, most, if not all, have passed away or dramatically changed. That, which you thought was the best thing that ever happened to you 10 years ago, is now just a memory. Some things, you believed were going to be absolutely wonderful, turned out to be a nightmare. The thing that both yoga recognizes and that karma clearly illustrates is, nothing is ever going to stay the same. All things must pass.

Taking a sober look it then, we have to ask, of what value is it to work so diligently towards a goal that you know in advance is only going to fade away. Yoga, properly understood, points towards that which does not fade away. And, through its various paths, seeks to anchor you in that changeless dimension.

But, by the way, that doesn't mean you don't do anything. This isn't a recruitment blog for heading off to some monastery and renouncing the world. That is only more karma. It is a call to reconsider the relationship you have with what you are doing.

But how to do that? How to allow? How to accept what is happening when it sucks? It seems impossible to live in the world without an attachment to the fruit of our efforts. Well, truth is, it is impossible. We can't accomplish this, while we act from the common level of consciousness that we normally inhabit. But it can be done by cultivating a very different kind of consciousness. This this is accomplished through The Two Yogas, one of which is the least known of the yogic paths and another one which partakes of all of them but I kind of made it up: Jnana Yoga and the Yoga of Allowing.

(To be continued)


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