Why is karma yoga an important vehicle for conscious awakening?

In the simplest sense, you could say that Karma Yoga is using your karma as a way of coming into ‘yog’, or union with God, by using the “stuff” of your life. Using it as the way in which you do work in the world, and acknowledging whether or not that work in the world is a vehicle for spiritual awakening.

In books like the Bhagavad Gita, Karma Yoga is specified as Krishna saying to Arjuna, “Do what you do, but offer the fruits of it to me” …. That’s what karma yoga is.

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What is the ultimate act of compassion?

A conversation on compassion with Ram Dass & Raghu Markus

Raghu Markus: Can you talk about how we go about cultivating compassion so that we start to become more kind to ourselves and to others?

Ram Dass: We’ve lived our lives with negative images of ourselves, from childhood on, and we’ve built upon those images, and built upon them, and they became very heavy weights. These thoughts about us are a part of our ego, and they’re manifested through our roles of child or husband, wife, breadwinner, all of those roles. They’re built upon the thoughts of, “I’m not truthful” or “I’m not likable”, “I’m not good” – all of those negative images. Once you identify with your soul you start to taste the love in your true self, in your spiritual heart and it’s different than all of the loves you’ve ever had. It’s just different; it’s unconditional love.

Now you have the clarity and the vantage point of being able to see your incarnation through the perspective of the soul – it gives you a panoramic view of your incarnation. Only then can you develop compassion, first for yourself and then for others.

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How can we begin to heal the world?

If we are to help heal the world, we need to remember that it is a sacred place.

Our actions need to be positive statements, reminders that even in the worst times there is a world worth struggling for. We need to find ways to keep the vision alive, to acknowledge but not get caught in the dark side. To remember that even the worst aspects of suffering are only part of the whole picture. We need to enter lightly.

Entering lightly means not ignoring suffering but treating it gently.

We don’t want to ignore another’s pain, but our becoming depressed or angry about it doesn’t relieve it and may increase it. The delicate balance is in allowing ourselves to feel the pain fully, to be sad or angry or hurt by it, but not be so weighted down by it that we are unable to act to relieve it. It is a matter of ends and means again: to create a caring, loving, peaceful world, we need to act with care and love and peace.

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How does embodying our own truth facilitate freedom for all?

The question is about the balance between inner work (work on yourself) and outer work. I’ll tell you, each person has got to intuitively trust themselves about where they are and what they can handle. If you look at a lot of social activism, you will find many people who are deeply entrapped in righteousness and anger.

And they will guilt trip you continually for not doing more. And if you say, “I’m going to go home and meditate,” they look at you like you’re killing little children. You’ve got to have incredible strength, and you feel like some kind of a viper for saying, “I’m going to take the afternoon off to go swimming.” I was in New York working with the homeless. And I’m so good. I am so good. Seva is good and I’m good. And we do good things. And it’s all wonderful.

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The Answer to Dying

The answer to dying is to be present in the moment. And the way in which you die is by being conscious at the moment of dying and saying, ‘Right! Look at this! Far out! Look at this energy!’

Be fully conscious now. People say to me ‘Is this the Aquarian Age do you think? Do you think the Apocalypse is about to occur? Are we in the dark as part of the Kali Yuga? What do you think?’ And I say ‘I have no idea!’ ‘Are the dark forces going to win? Is somebody going to push the button? Have you noticed that as you go around the world the tremendous resurgence of the living spirit?’ All I say is that as I get higher I notice highness every where I look, but that’s just my projective system I don’t know what’s going on out there. But the further point it that I don’t care, that’s my predicament. I’m not waiting for the Messiah, I don’t care whether there’s an avatar or if there isn’t an avatar.

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Ram Dass on the Importance of Inner Social Action

There have been many dark ages throughout history.

As we now enter into a seismic shift within our government, and within our collective consciousness, we can’t help but empathize with the feelings of fear, division and anger that now personally affect so many within our society. It’s sometimes difficult to remember to consider the “long view” in the scheme of things; and to remember that there has always been light to balance out the darkness.

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