In our new series, the four paths of spiritual growth, we explore the Four Yogas and how to apply them in our life in a practical and modern way. In this episode, we introduce the first path which is the Path of Karma or Karma Yoga and answer these questions:
・ What is Karma?
・ What is Karma Yoga?
・ Why is non-attachment the key to spiritual transformation?
・ What is selfless action and how can it be empowering?
・ What does it mean to escape the wheel of karma and be enlightened?
Watch the next Soul Session in this series on our YouTube Channel.
Debra Maldonado 00:01
Hello, welcome to Soul Sessions, another live episode. And today we are starting a brand new series.
Robert Maldonado 00:09
Yeah, it’s exciting. What is the series?
Debra Maldonado 00:12
This series is called Different Types of Spiritual Paths. A lot of people have questions about their spiritual exploration. Yoga philosophy actually has four distinct paths that overlap. We’re going to go over all four of them, and you can decide what path is the right for you and how to apply. It made so much sense when we talked about it. Today, we’re talking about karma yoga. So the title of this session is How to Burn Past Karma. How do we burn it up? It sounded like we’re gonna burn past karma really bad. We’re going to talk about what is karma? What is Karma Yoga and how do you practice it in your life? So, hang on to your hats. Karma is such a big term used in many different spiritual teachings, and coaches teach it, and there’s a lot of confusion as to what it is and how to not have bad karma, and what’s good karma and all that. So let’s start with what is karma?
Robert Maldonado 01:28
I’d like to preface it with our approach to it. We’re approaching it from the philosophical perspective. We’re not talking about religion. So obviously, if karma is part of your religion, that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about more of the Eastern philosophy, the Jungian perspective on karma, how he saw things from a psychologist’s point of view. Our approach essentially, we’re students of the mind, curious about how human beings have addressed this question of why do things work out the way they do for me? Is there a destiny or am I free to create my life?
Debra Maldonado 02:17
When we say the mind, we’re not talking about just the thinking mind, we’re talking about consciousness itself. So where does karma come from? Where’s the term coming from?
Robert Maldonado 02:28
Karma entered the western consciousness in the mid-1800s, people started to think about what were the seers from the East up to when they were meditating, looking inward and exploring consciousness.
Debra Maldonado 02:53
Then since they’ve developed the steam engine, we can actually travel more around the world, a lot of Yogis from India came to the US and started to enter other parts of the Western world.
Robert Maldonado 03:09
Especially relevant for our talk on the yogas — Vivekananda came at the turn of the century to America, he was in New York, he was in Chicago, he was here in California, established these Vedanta centers that really introduced a lot more people, and very important and creative people, to the idea of karma.
Debra Maldonado 03:37
So what is karma?
Robert Maldonado 03:38
From our perspective of Jungian coaching, it is our conditioning. In other words, when we interact as human beings, as conscious human beings, we interact with the environment, the results that we get from our actions feed back to our mind and condition our mind.
Debra Maldonado 04:06
Very early on, we have these conditioned selves. Then also, we inherit conditioning from our genetics, from our ancestors, and from every human being, there’s certain adaptability, like the baby suckles a breast, no one has to teach it, it’s an instinct. We have a lot of these karmic imprints on us as we enter the physical body.
Robert Maldonado 04:32
One of the translations is action, another translation is work. Then that concept of work and action, meaning taking action in the world, in the apparent reality that we call the material world, the attachments that we have to things, to wanting to get things, our desires, that are projected into the action that we want to get a certain result. That desire right there is what conditions us, it is what gives the environment the power to condition our own mind.
Debra Maldonado 05:16
We give it the environment, the environment doesn’t do anything to us, except we are our interaction with it, we decide how to respond to that environment. Do we shut down? Do we hide? Do we fight, flight or freeze basically. The conditioning is really very simple, that attachment is moving away from pain to pleasure. We’re always looking for that. For some people, pleasure is just not in pain, just numb. For some people it’s avoiding any kind of risk. We imprint it early in our life, we have these patterns that we store, that is basically our karma, from all the reactions and conditioning of that experience.
Robert Maldonado 06:06
You can say the sum total of our past actions is our karma. If you take every action you’ve ever emitted as a human being from the time you were born to right now, the sum total of those actions is your personal karma. Now there is no good or bad karma as people sometimes in the West define it.
Debra Maldonado 06:34
The ego defines it as good or bad.
Robert Maldonado 06:38
Let’s say in relative terms, from the point of view of the ego, good and bad is defined as to what gets me my goodies, things that I’m after, and what prevents me from getting those things. But it’s totally arbitrary. What is good for one person is bad for another person. There is no external definition of good and bad karma. It’s simply the accumulated sum total of your past actions.
Debra Maldonado 07:12
Then subjectively we decide. I think if you really look at it from a practical standpoint, how many times in our life have we experienced something that we have initially thought was negative, but actually led us into a place of where we needed to go? This idea of negative and positive is so subjective in that moment, and then we look back like “I’m so glad that happened to me because it actually catapulted me.” I think about when I worked in New York and had a really terrible boss, I’m like “What did I do to deserve this woman?” But having her not be nurturing, not be kind helped me decide, maybe I’m not happy here, and motivated me to move to Colorado and start a new world. I wish her well, thank you very much for your service. But the karma, I felt myself would be how I learned to respond to someone who’s mistreating me. I just didn’t say anything, I was very quiet. When we think of karma, it’s really how we respond to the environment. And then the environment is basically reflective of that karma.
Robert Maldonado 08:29
Speaking of misconceptions, another important misconception in the West is this misunderstanding that the ancient seers were not talking about a material universe. In other words, they were working from a very different paradigm, they did not see the material world as the absolute reality, as we do in the West, or physics sees it this way. They saw the universe as a conscious manifestation, everything was this pure awareness, made of consciousness. Therefore it leads us to a very different understanding if we adapt, or adopt their perspective, so that we can understand what they were meaning when they talked about karma. It leads us to a very different way of seeing karma if we are living in a conscious universe, because now we’re seeing that the interaction we’re having with objects, objects of our perception, people, things, situations in the manifest universe, they’re really us. They’re really a part of our awareness, part of our consciousness.
Debra Maldonado 10:02
We’re connected to it, not separate.
Robert Maldonado 10:05
That’s it. Because in a material universe, those things would be separate, we would be in our head being aware of things. But those objects would be separate from us, they would have their independent reality existence. In a conscious universe, that’s not the case, the object, just like you, the perceiver, are identical. You’re both existing in the same way, in the same space and time.
Debra Maldonado 10:33
One of our [inaudible] said that the ego is actually an object interacting with the other objects, but our true self is watching the whole play happen. When we see karma, we’re really seeing the ego’s conception of the patterns, but there’s a part of us that’s not touched by any of those patterns, we’re actually free of it, we’re just not aware that we’re already free. I just read recently Adi Shankara, one of the Vedanta teachers back in the 600 AD or something — it was a long time ago — he was talking about this guy who had donkeys that would take the dirty laundry out to the river. He did that every day, that was his job. One day, he asked his son to take the donkeys to the river. The son went, and he was like “They’re not tied up, but they won’t move. I don’t know why they won’t move.” So he said “I totally forgot. Every night before I go to sleep, I put my hand over their ankles, so they feel like they’re being tied to the stable. In the morning, I have to untie them, so they can go.” In the donkey’s mind that conditioning feels like it’s trapped, but it’s always been free. That’s how we need to approach karma. He was saying, that’s how karma is, we’re already free. But we’re going through the motions of getting ourselves tied up in this conditioning. We need a guide and a teacher to help us free your mind and remember that we’re already free. When I first started doing my spiritual growth, I felt like I had to work through all this karma, have to heal it, and I have to do these incantations and cleansing of it. Like material things stuck to me. I love the story because the way to get freedom is to realize that we’re already free. We’re going to talk about what is Karma Yoga? How do we free ourselves from the idea that we’re stuck, the idea that we’re limited like those donkeys who had the perception that I’m tied to this stable, I can’t go anywhere. How do we free ourselves? That’s what Karma Yoga is.
Robert Maldonado 13:15
And the third big misconception is that karma is some kind of cosmic retribution for our bad deeds which is a very Western idea of the sin being punished, it’s part of the Christian tradition. But it’s a misunderstanding of the philosophical concept of karma developed in East. It is not cosmic retribution. It is simply that our pure awareness has been diverted and forgotten because of our misperception of objects in the world. We think that we’re separate from these objects, and in mistakingly thinking that, we create this sense of separateness and create our own suffering. But it is mainly due to ignorance of the true nature of our awareness and reality. In the East, the whole process was to get back to that true understanding of what is the nature of my awareness, what is the nature of reality. That’s where yoga comes in. Yoga is the getting back to correcting the misperception, understanding that the objects of the universe and my awareness are identical, there is no difference. That is the non-dual philosophy.
Debra Maldonado 15:10
A lot of people would say — I’ve heard this before — that they’ve struggled, especially when I was working with single people, they were thinking — and I thought this too, that I must have done something terrible in a past life for me to have this terrible experience. I’m being punished. None of that is really in alignment with the Vedanta teaching, which is you’re not being punished from some force, because ultimately that would assume that good and bad are hardline, that there’s actually something really bad or something really good. People spend a lot of time like “Let me talk about my past lives.” I went to a spiritual coach one time when I was in Colorado. I just met her at a networking event, she’s like “I’ll do a session with you”, so I pay for a session. She’s like “You had a couple past lives where you left some doors open.” I said “Oh, no, what do I do with that?” She said “I closed them.” I’m like “Okay.” It was just weird that we have to worry so much about what happened, or if something happened, how do we get there and this feeling of helplessness that I can’t control what was in my past karma. It creates a lot of fear. How do I approach my life right now? Do I have to go do past life regressions and clear things up and heal the past? If you think about your life right now, if you think about who you were at five, we’ve had many lifetimes just in this life, we’re different person when we were five, we did things when we were kids that were silly, or when we were in our 20s. God knows I’ve done things I regret in my 20s and 30s. So how do you clean up all that? If you think about that, do you want to clean up everything in your past? No, we have to start focusing on what is arising in my mind today. That’s the process, that’s the idea that we can get so lost in. When I was a hypnotherapist I used to do regression work a lot, I regressed people and had them reprogram their memories. After a while, after working with people, I was like “They don’t need to know what happened earlier in life or another life, they just need to work with the emotion that’s being triggered right now.” I just stopped doing regression work because I felt like it was just extra story and extra layers feeding the ego. What we really need to do is work on what’s rising now. It’s such a cleaner way to work. It’s less time and effort because whatever is ripening — they call it the karma ripening — in this moment is really what you need to do.
Robert Maldonado 17:55
There’s certainly been a medicalization of spiritual techniques and processes in the West. Yoga, the way we define it in our process, is discipline. The translation of the word sometimes is defined as union or yoking. You can think of it as yoking our individual awareness to this universal mind, the true self, but in practice, it is the disciplining of our mind, of our own awareness, so that we can lead it back to the original perception that everything is one, everything is consciousness, not the separate appearance of things that we see in our ordinary perception.
Debra Maldonado 18:52
What we want to do to practice Karma Yoga is to be in the moment because I feel like people spend so much time trying to rehash the past, clean up the past, that they’re not even living their life. They spend years just analyzing and analyzing their childhood. And while that’s very informative, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think people get stuck in the past. They think “If I can fix what happened to me, or this event that happened to me, then my life will be good.” Your life can be good right now if you just look at it from a different perspective. It’s not about pushing what happened to you away, but it’s about having a higher understanding of what happened, which is much more powerful than actually feeding and agreeing that something harmed you, where you got harmed and you did harm, and you have to clean that up and ask people for forgiveness, all that stuff. It can be really overwhelming if you think about it. Every moment of our life we hurt people and they hurt us. It an impossible task for human being to try to clean all that up. How are you going to fix all that? You said that once to a couple of our clients, and it was like “You can get stuck there in regret.”
Robert Maldonado 20:16
When you start to apply some of these principles that what we perceive is essentially an interpretation that we’re making about life, so if all your past experiences are interpretations, what is the reality? How did those events really play out? There’s no way to determine that. It’s your subjective interpretation of what happened. People in those scenes that you call trauma, or your past events, your past karma, they will each define and describe that same experience in a very different way than you did. So which one is real? Is your interpretation right or is their interpretation the correct experience?
Debra Maldonado 21:12
I can give someone a compliment and have great intention and be kind. And it might be the worst thing for them because they can’t hear the compliment. In their mind, they make up a story of my intention, she’s trying to win me over. Or you say something constructive, and someone thinks that’s criticism. Our ego is so limited, it filters the truth. Looking at it from an ego’s perspective, of course, it feels that the world is terrible, there’s these terrible things and these terrible people, we have to be careful, we have to put up our walls and our boundaries. When we really start seeing things from the truth of that wholeness, we start to realize that there’s nothing to fear, realize how powerful we are. Then we can really be in the world and be with the good and bad, the dark and the light, dance with it versus be sucked in and feel like I’m going into this sinking hole that I can’t get out of, and blaming yourself “I must have been a terrible person in a past life to have this experience, it’s my bad karma ripening, I’m so terrible.” How does that help a person?
Robert Maldonado 22:35
What a lot of people resist is this idea that what they believe to be so real and so true in their life is very much illusory. It’s more dreamlike than we are led to believe. I would tell them that it’s not that we’re saying you can’t depend on any of that reality or you have to deny it or push it away. No, it happened. But it happened as a personal subjective experience. Now, what that means is that there is still a reality there. But the reality is not in the external events, it’s in increasing your awareness. That awareness is the reality that is consistent and constant. The events continuously change. If you notice, the way you recall your early experiences is much different today than it was when you were a teenager.
Debra Maldonado 23:44
I was thinking too, what you were just saying is that if you had an experience as a child that seemed very traumatic, like mom left me at the grocery store or parents got divorced, if you were having that same experience with the knowledge you have now, you would have reacted differently to it. But as a five year old, it might have been like the end of the world. So is the event it? No, it’s the perceiver of the event. And then you evolve. I think one of the things I learned from you, Rob, that was so profound, is when we have a difficulty with a parent that mistreated us or wasn’t there for us, you said that person doesn’t exist anymore because they’ve grown too. A lot of our clients are mothers, and they regret how they raised their kids now that they have this knowledge. That person that was the mother doesn’t exist anymore. That child doesn’t exist anymore. What exists is the awareness of who you were. But that’s the awareness of the truth. When you think of it from a material perspective, it’s like you’re collecting rocks, your karma rocks, the heavy ones and the light ones. You’re carrying your backpack through your life, and there’s solid things that are real, that have hurt you or that you’ve hurt others, and that you have to carry this burden. It’s just a perception. And that’s not really the truth.
Robert Maldonado 25:15
In the Gita, which is really the most accessible proponent of karma yoga, Krishna is explaining. “Why should I practice Karma Yoga?” Arjuna asked, “Why should I act the way you’re instructing me to act?” And Krishna simply tells him “Because it is the way to free your mind from the conditioning power of the environment.” In other words, Karma Yoga is designed to allow you to act in the world, to take action, to do your duty, to work and create, but to be free from its conditioning power over you. When you take action through Karma Yoga, your actions do not incur any karma, they leave no imprint on your psyche, on your mind. Now, how does that mechanism work? It’s simply that when we act out of the attachment, from the I, from the ego, the result of my action, either positive or negative, leaves a residue on my psyche, like I’m bound to that action, I’m beholden to it, because of my false perception that it is I who am taking the action. The action is really arising from a much deeper well called the true self. The true self is the one that is acting, we’re simply going along for the ride. But when we are attached to the ego, to the I and to the objects in the world, and we think those things are going to make me happy, those things are going to give me wealth or love or some kind of comfort, that attachment is what binds us. In karma yoga, the practice is to drop the attachment to the results — not to the action. You can still take all the actions that you need to take, but you drop the attachment to the result of the action. That liberates you from the karmic imprint.
Debra Maldonado 27:55
When we normally take action and get a negative result, we’re imprinted on it. We just think “I’m never going to do that anymore.” Like put your hand on a hot fire. We’re conditioned, our karma will not want us to go near fire. But what if we need to run in a burning building to save someone? That will limit us, our past karma would say “Don’t do that.” A lot of people think that non-attachment means you don’t care, and there’s no use to have goals. Because if you’re not attached, what is the use of having goals? But when we’re acting, we’re acting because there’s a lower desire and a higher desire.The lower desire is I want to feel good, I want to build up my ego, I want to be safe, I want to impress others, I want to fit in with the world, I want to have comfortable things. The higher desire is the true self wants to express itself through me in this physical world. That is the higher desire. The expression itself is the action. The result is just extra. That’s really what it is because I’m compelled to draw, I need to draw and paint. I’m compelled to be a coach, I need to coach, I need to share or teach. The attachment is do people like what I teach, are people giving me the thumbs up on YouTube and saying it’s great topic, or are they saying you don’t know what you’re talking about? That’s the karma. If you have that attachment, it’s not a pure action, because you’re doing it for your ego. You’re not doing it for the divine expression. When you do it for the divine expression that’s when all the magic happens. It feels like a lot of people think if I let go the attachment I’m not gonna be able to enjoy the result. You’ll actually enjoy it more. Because you’re free of the fear of it not turning out the way you want. An artist who draws a painting not to sell it. You’ll notice a lot of people draw art or create music, and it’s just for the creative part of it, but when they’re doing it to make money, everything limits them and their creativity shuts down. They’re creating something to sell, and it feels different because you’re attached to people liking it, and you’re using it to get money versus doing it out of your heart.
Robert Maldonado 30:25
So what does all this have to do with the divine path of Karma Yoga? The way Krishna explains it is that when you let go of that attachment to objects, which also entails letting go of the attachment to our ego, over identification with the individual body and mind that we inhabit. When we start to let go of that there is nothing for the results of those actions, meaning the karma, to bind to. If there is no you in the ego sense, then there’s nothing that binds you essentially. What it does, it leads you to the realization that you are completely free. You are the pure awareness that creates the universe, therefore you are not bound by karma.
Debra Maldonado 31:32
Now, I want to say this, because I hear people thinking “How is this even possible?” We’re not saying you do this in a weekend, I’m going to be non-attached. This is a process, your ego’s always going to try to attach itself to things. It’s such a big part. But as long as we have a body, we’re going to be dealing with this ego. So over time you just practice non-attachment. Over time, it gets easier. It’s just like anything else. Your mind is an instrument, it’s playing one tune. It’s that reaction, pleasure-pain reaction, you’re bringing in this other place for you to experience this body, but not be attached to it. It takes practice. So don’t think “Thank God, I listened to Deb and Rob’s Soul Session, I’m going to be free of attachment. No, it’s a practice. Don’t be hard on yourself when you get pulled in. Here’s a really good tip for you. Anytime you’re unhappy and suffering is when you’re attached. So ding, ding, ding, I don’t feel well, I must be attached to something. You can always just say “What am I attached to?” Every time we’re feeling that discomfort and fear or sadness, we could say “I’m attached to something that’s why I’m sad. It’s not the event itself, I’m attached to something about this event.” Then we’re free. What we tend to do is we want to rearrange the furniture of the world and get everyone to play a different game. I’d be better if this person would treat me nicer. We’re putting the power outside of us. But I love this work because you can really feel empowered to have your own experience of a life that’s independent of the apparent reality. You’re not tied to these objects anymore, hooked into them. You want to unhook yourself from those. We can experience pleasure, we can experience those things. It’s an integration of human life and spiritual life. It’s not to negate that suffering. But we’ll realize we suffer less when we realize who we really are. We don’t have the same edge or powerlessness and ache that we have if we didn’t do this work.
Robert Maldonado 33:55
It is a discipline like you say because yoga requires that we wake up our inner mind in essence, our true consciousness. That requires discipline. So Krishna explains it this way. He says “We’re distracted by all these myriad objects in the world. We’re chasing these shiny objects all the time, something new, some novelty.” He says you have to make your mind one-pointed, in other words, you have to focus on this because if you understand its ultimate conclusion that it’s going to free you from suffering and you’re going to be able to act in the world not out of ignorance, not out of egoism, but out of a higher purpose, to fulfill something much higher, then you understand the importance of it and you make it your central goal in life. You wake up in the morning and say “What am I doing? I’m working on my karma yoga”, meaning I’m focused on liberating my mind from suffering through this action that I’m taking. It’s not that you have to go to bed, it’s not that you have to go to the MLS or anywhere, that the very actions you’re taking today in this moment can liberate you if you apply them in this karmic yoga.
Debra Maldonado 35:37
Every time we take an action and not be attached, we have a chance to free yourself. What a lot of people will say is “It’s hard for me to be non-attached in the moment, I usually forget.” We’re taking action, we can set an intention, but we act all the time. So the second level, second catch is how we respond to the result. When we say non-attached through action, that’s really the height, the master level. But we could start with what is our response to a result and work through that emotion, that trigger of “That didn’t work out the way I wanted to”, or watch ourselves get overexcited about something, watch our attachment to things when they’re good. You’ll notice that there is a little voice in your head going “Don’t get too excited, this gonna fall apart tomorrow”, and you’re just paying attention to how your mind is getting hooked in to the good and the bad, the pleasant and unpleasant. Here’s the thing, it doesn’t mean that we have to get rid of it. We have to watch it and understand its nature. It’s not like “I can’t be too attached, I can’t feel suffering, I’m doing it wrong.” It’s “That’s interesting that my mind is really attached.” I always am conscious of how attached I am to you, and I’m like “That’s so interesting how my ego’s so attached to Rob.” But being aware of that helps me be less attached, it helps me understand its nature, so I can enjoy being with you and having a relationship but also be aware that I am a little attached to you and I know it’s going to end up being the cause of my suffering. One day when one of us decides not to be here, I mean, that’s going to be the end — but those things happen in life — working with what are current responses to the results that we don’t like, and being able to unhook ourselves there. Then it’s going to happen sooner in the process.
Robert Maldonado 37:49
A lot of people also ask for practical advice. They say “That metaphysical or spiritual understanding is great, but what do I do, give me something that I can do.” Here’s something practical that you can do. If you think about how you live your life, the goals that you have in your life, instead of just thinking from that perspective of I “I want, I want to be successful, I want to have love, I want to have a house and a car”, whatever it is, think in terms of “How can I give to people? How can I use my actions and talents in this world to help people, to ease their suffering a little bit, to give them a little bit of knowledge, to give them a little bit of hope” or anything like that. What you’re doing is you’re dissolving the ego right there, there is no sense of I in that action.
Debra Maldonado 38:54
And you feel whole, you’re overflowing, there’s no lack. When you’re taking the action the ego feels very much in lack. It’s always looking for more stuff, where when you’re giving— and I’m not saying just give your stuff away, and be selfless, and not have any boundaries. But more that idea of “Who I am is wonderful, how can I share who I am more with the world?”
Robert Maldonado 39:23
Absolutely. That selfless action is very powerful. It’s a very powerful technique. It’s not only been used in karma yoga, of course, in a lot of Christian traditions it’s also part of that you think of others before you think of yourself. If you do it in a spiritual sense with this deeper understanding that it’s not just you trying to help others and trying to be a good person so that that reflects well on you, building up the persona, then it becomes a spiritual practice. Have this burning up past karma. You burn it up because the actions that you’re taking are liberating you from that sense of I, from the conditioning of I.
Debra Maldonado 40:13
There was one post on LinkedIn years ago, where a guy took a picture of how he filled up their gas for them “This person didn’t have any money, and I’m such a good person, and I did this good deed.” All the comments were, why did you feel like you had to share that, can’t you just do a good deed without getting that glory around it. I guess there is something of you that wants to show that it’s good to give, but then it’s still that little hook, it’s still “pat me on the back, feed my ego a little bit, because I’m a good person.” We have to watch that we don’t need to do that good deed to prove that we’re a good person or to prove anything, we’re doing it out of our heart. When we do it, we don’t need to tell everyone.
Robert Maldonado 41:05
It goes back to the idea of a conscious universe, a lot of it is intention. It’s not actually in your reaction, but it’s intending that when you think of a person, when you interact with someone, you intend that they be happy, that they find their way instead of thinking “This person is in competition with me or trying to trigger me or something like that.” We’re simply intending that everyone find their way, everyone has it easier in life.
Debra Maldonado 41:44
Even the people that have hurt us or we perceived have hurt us — I always say, have an intention for them, because they acted out of ignorance, have the intention. Because what we want to do is we want to punish them for hurting us. But if you have the intention of them becoming aware, of finding their path, finding the answers, coming to terms with their own stuff and why they would do something that to you, then that is beautiful, because then you’re just letting it go, you acknowledged they did something wrong, but you’re saying “They did it out of ignorance”, you wish them to not be ignorant so they don’t hurt other people. If you wish harm on someone who’s harmed you, that’s only going to create more harm in the world. Because now if you wish harm on them, they’re going to get hurt again, and who knows what they would do. But if you hold the vision of them becoming and being aware, everything can shift, it can change the world. That’s really the practice of Karma Yoga, it’s internal, even though we’re acting, it’s internal. Another thing I want to say is that a lot of people ask about enlightenment, they read a lot of books, they listen to these calls. But we can hear these theories, we can talk about non-attachment, you can learn about it and understand it intellectually. But you really don’t know until you had a direct experience of it. The action gives us that direct experience of interacting with the psychic phenomenon that we’re dealing with. Being able to free ourselves is going to be the greatest teacher for us. We have to learn it intellectually so we can know what we’re doing. But the real learning is you going out there and integrating this into your life, integrating that non-attachment.
Robert Maldonado 43:39
These traditions that come from the Upanishads, from the Gita, karma yoga, we’re going to also be talking about gyana yoga, bhakti yoga, which is the devotional path of love, and raja yoga, which is the path of introspection, meaning meditation, visualization. If we combine them, if we find elements of these practices useful to us in our modern way of living, they’re going to help us free our mind and become better human beings, be able to create conscious businesses, be able to create projects that help humanity in general, but also to put our minds to solving these big problems that we’re facing as a species — climate change, pollution.
Debra Maldonado 44:54
It’s all born out of ego attachment. That’s commercialism. Getting into bigger, better house than your neighbor, and a new car, an SUV where you’re driving in a flat area, you don’t need an SUV for that. Being more conscious of the world in the connection we have. I think man has lost a lot of the connection to the natural world and animals, and what we’re doing.
Robert Maldonado 45:19
Just taking care of each other and taking care of the planet. All those things that are tied to our individual awareness of ourselves, and how we perceive our actions in the world. These philosophical ideas have been around for thousands of years for a good reason that they actually work. But like you say, we have to be able to apply them. They’re no good if we’re reading them as beautiful philosophy.
Debra Maldonado 46:00
Making a meme out of it and posting on Facebook and saying “Non-attachment is the key to freedom” but not practicing it. I think setting the intention also is very powerful. We train coaches, and a lot of times we say that your intention for that client actually will dictate how successful they’ll be in that coaching relationship. You seeing them as becoming, you seeing that person as growing and changing, that’s so powerful, it’s transmission of knowledge to a client, to have someone that believes in you and that can see your possibility more than you can and opening that door. And for ourselves, as a true self can see us doing such great things but our ego’s like “No, when I was seven, I pulled Susie’s hair, I teased her a lot and I deserve to have this bad karma because of that.” No, we’re free. We’ve always been free. Just like in The Wizard of Oz, just tap your heels, you’re already home. You always had the power within you, that’s what Karma Yoga helps us realize — I don’t need to be attached. We start getting out of that mind that keeps us stuck. So I am ready to go to the next class next week. Hope you’re having a great summer. We hope to see you soon. Don’t forget to subscribe if you push the button on the bottom of this video on YouTube and make sure you get announced when we’re going live every week. And make a comment. Please share how you feel, ask us questions. we have our team interacting too, that can help answer your questions as well. And we hope to see you soon.
Robert Maldonado 47:58
Join our Facebook group if you can. Are there any questions there?
Debra Maldonado 48:04
Yes. How can I practice non-attachment when I’m trying to use my creativity to build a coaching business where I do workshops for kids?
Robert Maldonado 48:13
Non-attachment — remember, it doesn’t mean that we’re not caring. On the contrary, it means we care enough to really consider how am I taking this action, what is the best possible way I can perform this action, which is creating the experience for kids that you’re doing. What you’re working with a non-attachment is you’re letting go of the attachment to a particular result. You have your target in mind as the action that you need to take in order to create that event. All you’re saying is whatever results I obtained from taking this action by creating this event, I will be okay with it.
Debra Maldonado 49:16
So when you take action to building your business and you say “I want to make $10,000 this month, I want to sell this workshop”, you’re doing it because you want to share your knowledge you don’t say “I’m good when I make X amount of sales” or “People like me now because I have good stuff and people are acknowledging that” — that’s attachment, your ego’s attached to the results. What happens is you get the opposite all the time, if there’s fear around you not being able to create, because what you’re doing is you’re saying I’m an object’s as a coach, these students are objects, they’re separate from me and I don’t have any control over that. With non-attachment you’re actually creating from a oneness, those students are already there, and you’re just reaching out and taking them. Obviously, this isn’t something you can do immediately. It takes practice, this is an evolution, this isn’t just a quick mind trick that you can do “I’m going to do this and I’m done.” You have to ask yourself — What am I? What is my response to my current results? What’s the emotions that I’m working with? Why am I cooked in? Why do I doubt myself? You have to ask yourself those questions because that’s going to tell you why you’re so attached. And that’s going to be purifying.
Robert Maldonado 50:32
I love this part of the question, she says “When you are building a business art, we focuse on outcome in a way.” It doesn’t mean you can’t think through the action and consider what would happen if I do this. What is going to happen when I put on this event, or do this promotion? You can think through it and use your intellect to predict what is going to happen. But if you ask yourself “Do I really need to be attached to the result? Do I need to feel terrible if it doesn’t play out that way? Or do I need to be completely enthralled and happy if it does?”
Debra Maldonado 51:20
That’s freedom. If you’re white knuckling it, going “I better get 10 people in this workshop because I gotta pay my bills”, guess what you’re going to get. You’re going to get the karma, the fear that you’re putting into it of “I’m not going to get it”, and that’s what’s going to show up. The results are going to show you where your mind is. That’s some of the things we teach in our coach training, the deepest driving desire. The results are always showing you where your mind is. If you’re getting a result and you’re triggered by it, you’re in fear, that’s because you’ve been putting the fear into it. It’s unconscious until you get the result. When you look at your result, you look at your response to it, your level of attachment to it. Then you have to ask yourself, why is this making me upset? You have to go deeper, it’s not just “I need to pay my bills, I need to be successful” and all that. There’s something deeper that you have to examine of why you’re so hooked into it. That’s what’s gonna free you.
Robert Maldonado 52:16
You focus on performing the action just the way you always do. All you’re doing is dropping the attachment, the I. The ego is extra in that whole process. You can certainly act and perform those actions without the attachment to the results.
Debra Maldonado 52:41
It seems counterintuitive, but the less attached you are, the more money you’ll make. You have the goal — if you’re not attached, it will flow, but if you’re attached, you’ll see lack. We think if we try really hard and work really hard, we’re going to get a better result. That’s kind of the Western way of approaching creating. Then there’s also the law of attraction, stuff where people focus really hard and do your vision board. It beads attachment because it says that there’s something out there that I’m attracting in, when we’re actually experiencing ourselves. So the less attached you are, the more abundance you can have because your true self is abundant. If you’re trying to create from ego, you’re going to get lack, you’re going to get mixed results, you’re going to be riding high when things are well, and if you have a low month, you’re going to be in fear, you’re going to be riding this roller coaster. But if you become aware of that true self that’s not attached, you’re able to really reach a lot of people, you’re going to able to enjoy the process, and it’s not going to feel so stressful. I promise you, I’ve done it both ways. Non-attachment is definitely more pleasant way to be.
Robert Maldonado 53:55
Great questions. Thank you.
Debra Maldonado 53:58
We do have a course on that too. If you’re wanting to go deeper into success, we have a workshop on that whole process of attachment and success and working with it because we train coaches. You might be interested in that one. Just go to our customer service, they’ll let you know where to find it. It’ll be the key to everything, just practicing that more than any marketing you do or quick strategy is working with that. Non-attachment is going to be the key for you and anything you want to create.
Robert Maldonado 54:32
So see you next week. We’re going to be talking about gyana yoga, which is the wisdom or knowledge yoga. We hope you join us. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you soon.
Debra Maldonado 54:51
Take care. Bye bye. Thank you for all your comments. I didn’t get to say hello to everyone. But thank you. We appreciate you here, and especially Megan who said she is glad she found the right program to join. She really enjoyed our topics. Thank you. Take care.
Robert Maldonado 55:07
Debra Maldonado 55:08