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Article XLV: Karma Yoga

When considering any action from a Vedantic perspective, one may evaluate three aspects: 1) the intent, 2) the selflessness, and 3) the detachment. The enlightened karma yogi can dance with righteous intent, free from selfishness, and free from attachment. However, in a practical sense, it may be impossible for the spiritual aspirant to meet these ideals. Nonetheless, one can evaluate if one is dancing for a lustful intent, or for an expression of inner-joy. One can evaluate if one is dancing for one's own pride and acclaim, or for the benefit of others' entertainment. And one can evaluate if one is dancing for the results, or for detached righteousness. In reality, these evaluations of dancing or any other action are not so clear cut. There is a spectrum of combinations of intent, selflessness, and detachment that is perfectly pure in only the enlightened being. However, by considering these aspects of action and striving for perfection, one can approach enlightenment. Depending on the intent, the selflessness, and the detachment, an action can bring one closer to enlightenment, take one further away from enlightenment, or keep one at the same distance from enlightenment. By striving to have righteous intent for selfless and detached acts, one can approach enlightenment with each action. By becoming more attuned with the inner-Self, one acts with righteous intent, selflessly, and detached. And by acting with righteous intent, selflessly, and detached, one becomes more attuned with the inner-Self. Therefore, one must search within to determine the righteousness, selflessness, and detachment, and one must follow that inner-guide to approach enlightenment. A great man once said that we are not human beings with a spiritual experience, but we are spiritual beings with a human experience. According to Vedanta, our true nature is infinitely Divine, and we must simply uncover, or dis-cover, that inner Divinity. Karma yoga is to join with the Divine through the path of righteous, selfless, and detached action.

East-West Counseling & Meditation -- Modern Psychiatry Integration -- Himalayan Philosophy -- Penn & Stanford Medicine
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