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Karmic Yoga: Co-creating With the Spirit in the World

by John Gilmore

There is a new movement going on right now that became more popular in the 1990s. Since then many people have been discussing the warrior archetype, by going back to the original meaning of warrior. In days of old, of course, many warriors throughout the ages and across various civilizations, prepared for battles and fought in conflicts. There was, however, a difference between the warrior and the soldier and there still is. A soldier can be a warrior, but a warrior need not be a soldier.

The old idea of the warrior was a person who fought on three fronts. First he fought the battle against pride, deceit, arrogance and the fruit of mental manipulation. This battle was as important, if not more important, then the battle against the outsider. The true warrior firstly had to be more honorable than others. Secondly, he fought against the things that poisoned his community, like the things listed above. These attitudes, and the behavioral patterns that they fostered, were understood as being as destructive as any outside attack. Thirdly, he fought against invasions from competing tribes or nations.

The warrior was a self starter. He was an independent thinker whose loyalty was firstly to his community. He didn't just follow orders. He was trained to think, not to suspend thought during each campaign. You could not be a warrior without the ability to think. Today many social justice people consider themselves warriors of compassion, a term used by Mathew Fox, President of Wisdom University quite often.

He combines the old idea of the warrior with the old idea of compassion. In biblical terms compassion meant to work to bring about justice with the other. It didn't mean working for justice for those other people, it meant working with people who were suffering injustice. This implied relationship, not paternalism. Being compassionate was similar to the idea of doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with ones God that was seen as the ultimate end of Judaism by the prophet Malachi. As you can see, this is a very old tradition being revitalized.

Compassionate Warriors live out their beliefs. They have a code of ethics that require honor, dignity, self respect and respect for others. They, like warriors of old, are part of a mystical tradition, because being a warrior of compassion is a calling to help preserve humanity, the earth, and the community in which he lives. The main difference between a warrior of compassion and a social activist, is that the warrior of compassion does the inner work, so he doesn't carry the same disease that he is fighting against. If you are interested in transforming the world and make it more just, perhaps this is a path for you. It is a path of the spirit firstly. Secondly, it is doing Karmic Yoga where your work in the world and your spiritual beliefs can readily be seen.

Practicing Karmic Yoga at Your Workplace

Why do people think that their spirituality has to stop at their workplace? Some people even think that life has to stop at their workplace.

Spirituality is something that helps to enhance all facets of our lives. You can apply your spirituality to make your job better and to make other people's lives better at work. If you don't like your job, even stronger, if you hate your job, here is something that you can do.

The first step is discover what you like and what you don't like about your job. Make a list, if you need to�maybe you can remember all of the tasks and interactions you have on the job. To consider these things in depth may take some time, but we have lot of that. When you have completed the list, look at it and pick out the things that you don't like. Pretty simple so far, eh? Now think about them for a few moments.

What kind of skills would you need to do the least enjoyable�the horrible parts of that job (the ones that suck in other words) and maybe even enjoy them? What type of person would like the job that you have or to do the things that you don't like on the job? How would you feel about that type of person? Are the skills that you need some that you never developed because they were difficult, or because you weren't interested in them? Maybe you didn't want to be the type of person who would like that job. The person who would like the job might be part of your shadow, which is the part of yourself that you have rejected.

They could be the person that you would have been if you hadn't pressed down the very attitudes and behaviors that you need to enjoy your job. You can shake off all of the fear and discomfort and reclaim these parts of yourself, by developing the skills that you thought were worthless. When you do, all the energy that you are using to hold down all of these attitudes and behaviors will be released for you to use to enjoy life. You will not disappear as a person, your personhood will simply expand.

At your job, you can learn to reclaim old skills while you're using your job as a testing ground to master them and any other skills that you feel are necessary. Furthermore, you will be getting paid while you do it. What can be better than that? It's like being paid to go to school, when you think about it.

Let me say it one more time. You can do your life work at the job you are in now and get paid for it! That is excellent!

Dr. John Gilmore is a graduate of Wisdom University with a D. Min. in Reinventing Work and Spirituality. He is a Spiritual Director, Massage Therapist, Martial Arts Instructor and the writer of Life, Work and Spirituality, A Holistic Approach to Healthy Living. For more info.