Most Westerners have heard of the term karma and know it to mean bad mojo. (Admit it. You immediately went to Austin Powers saying “that’s bad mojo, baby”.) However, karma is simply a Sanskrit term that means a deed or action. While I do not completely comprehend all the details of the Hindu concept for karma, I have felt the positive vibe of doing a good deed and taking positive action for something I believe in.
What is Karma Yoga?
This brings me to Karma Yoga, which basically means putting that karma into action with no regard for getting something in return aka selfless service.
“By doing selfless service you purify your heart. Egoism, hatred, jealousy, ideas of superiority and all the kindred negative qualities will vanish. You will develop humility, pure love, sympathy, tolerance and mercy. Sense of separateness will be annihilated. Selfishness will be eradicated. You will get a broad and liberal outlook on life. You will begin to feel oneness and unity. Eventually you will obtain knowledge of the Self. You will realize One in all and All in one.” – Source: The Divine Life Society, www.dlshq.org
With that in mind, we decided in lieu of a traditional last minute gift giving guide, we would provide two very simple gifts for you to get a taste of good karma yoga.
2 Simple Ways to Generate Good Karma Yoga
- GO GLOBAL: Visit Kiva.Org for Last Minute Holiday Gifts: Buying and giving a Kiva gift certificate not only feels good, it is a lot of fun! Starting at just $25, they are so affordable that you could give this gift in addition to a nice bottle of wine or a cute yoga mat. Your loved one then visits the Kiva.org website, decides how to invest the money, and, voila!, Kiva then sends regular updates on the repayment status. Sattarova Marhabo, a 39 year old, widowed mother of two children in Tajikistan (see picture), is my first Kiva investment. She is just 3 years older than me yet has already survived unimaginable life challenges. After the death of her husband, Sattarova had to find ways to provide for herself and her family. For 11 years, she has run a business baking and selling the national bread, lepeshka. It has become a family business, with her now grown children helping her. Sattarova has already repaid 25% of my loan, which I can easily reinvest in another Kiva entrepreneur. Way to go Sattarova, I am thinking of you this holiday season! Learn more about Sattarova and other Kiva entrepreneurs here
- GO LOCAL: Find your local foodbank in two clicks! Feeding America (formerly known as America’s Harvest) has a nice little utility for finding the closest food bank in your area. Simply select your state from the drop down and then click on Go! (Be sure to click on Go! because on my browser it acted like it was reloading when it wasn’t.) If you live in a remote area, you may just want to search on your state name plus food bank in Google. For example, my parents live in Idaho and I quickly found www.idahofoodbank.org using search terms “Idaho Food Bank”. Giving to a food bank is very easy because most needed items can be found in your pantry and linen closet. The websites provide a list of needed items such as canned and packaged foods (no glass items), new and gently used blankets and towels, and travel size toiletries. Drop off the items on your way to work. It really couldn’t be any easier to give and it feels good, too.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on generating karma yoga in the comments. Is it still selfless service when you end up feeling so good?
Peace and cheer!