Karma yoga is the spiritual path that embraces life and everyday living as a way to spiritual development and progress.
Rather than the path of seclusion, karma yoga sees in the everyday challenges of life countless opportunities to learn, deepen and multiply our many good qualities – love, compassion, patience, peacefulness, strength – in the face of the many experiences that test our equanimity. Living itself is our sadhana – our training ground in selflessness, egolessness, humility and detachment.
Our meditation teacher, Sri Chinmoy, once offered us a simple exercise in this light: he invited us to imagine a beautiful flower in our spiritual heart and to feel that this flower embodied a quality of our souls, a quality we wished to cultivate.
Imagine the flower opening and expanding, he said, until the soul-flower and the quality it embodies fills every part of your being. The fragrance of the flower is the fragrance of your soul – love, peace, inner poise, whatever quality you have chosen.
When you go out into your world, the activities of the day, be conscious of the inner flower, the soul’s quality, and offer it to everyone you meet. If you practise this self-offering you will multiply this quality in your nature very quickly. Whatever you imagine and offer from your heart will grow inside you – this is what you will eventually become.