Karma Yoga – It’s a Bit Random

Some streets in the UK have an unusually high number of lottery jackpot winners. It’s still totally random but that’s the point – anything entirely random can appear in any pattern, even a pattern that seems ordered.

Karma Yoga – as presented in the Bhagavad Gita – advocates developing a sense of self – one’s identity – that’s not rooted in the trials and successes of everyday life. By not attaching to the outcome, any activity becomes an offering AND a reminder that true identity lies deeper than rewards and reprimands.

Student / trainee in froggies, gripping big toes.

But this doesn’t mean detached aloofness and isolation from mundane, everyday life. We have to stay engaged and participate fully, feeling every blow and every win just as much as ever before. If winning or losing meant nothing, then foregoing the results would be meaningless too. That’s a meaningless offering and we would make no progress in Yoga.

Like having multiple millionaire winners in one street, life is essentially random. We can’t really control events. We think we can, because random can imitate order, and we assume that we planned well if we succeed at something. More realistically, we just got lucky.

Of course, bad luck is pretty much guaranteed if we don’t try hard with things. It’s a skill. To go for it all the time, every time and be unaffected by the outcome is a practice in itself. But if events are random, then letting go of outcomes whilst staying fully present and engaged is the only sensible option – and it’s the wisdom of Karma Yoga.

Trainees smiling in the studio.

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