I was thinking about the need to be constantly practising Karma Yoga in everything that I do, now that my life is back to a more Westernised structure. Unlike at the Ashram, I now have to factor in many different new relationships, very different work (?), and finding time to do my yoga practise.
In trying to focus my attention and energy on others and not on myself, I am finding a lot of peace and growth. I found this guidance (below) from one of the great Souls of our generation, very useful. While we should not perform karma yoga (selfless service to others), with the intention of getting our heart’s desire, in fact the result of giving up oneself in order to satisfy the needs of others, creates a deep pool of kindness, appreciation and gratitude from which one’s own needs and desires will automatically be fulfilled.
Quoted directly from His Holiness, the Dalai Lama’s website.
“There is another fact concerning the cultivation of thoughts and emotions that cherish the well-being of others: one’s own self-interest and wishes are fulfilled as a by-product of actually working for other sentient beings. As Je Tsong Khapa points out in his Great Exposition of the Path to Enlightenment (Lamrim Chenmo), “the more the practitioner engages in activities and thoughts that are focused and directed toward the fulfillment of others’ well-being, the fulfillment or realization of his or her own aspiration will come as a by-product without having to make a separate effort.”
Some of you may have actually heard the remark, which I make quite often, that in some sense the bodhisattvas, the compassionate practitioners of the Buddhist path, are wisely selfish people, whereas people like ourselves are the foolishly selfish. We think of ourselves and disregard others, and the result is that we always remain unhappy and have a miserable time. The time has come to think more wisely, hasn’t it? This is my belief.
At some point the question comes up, “Can we really change our attitude?”
My answer on the basis of my little experience is, without hesitation, “Yes!” This is quite clear to me.
The thing that we call “mind” is quite peculiar. Sometimes it is very stubborn and very difficult to change. But with continuous effort and with conviction based on reason, our minds are sometimes quite honest. When we really feel that there is some need to change, then our minds can change. Wishing and praying alone will not transform your mind, but with conviction and reason, reason based ultimately on your own experience, you can transform your mind.
Time is quite an important factor here, and with time our mental attitudes can certainly change. “