Karma Yoga

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Have you ever wondered what you could do to make an impact in this world? Do you have a passion for a social issue that affects your community? While many people have the goodwill, they often lack the path and the time to take action. As an inspiration, I’d like to introduce the Melton Foundation. It is a 20-year-old organization devoted to making global citizenship tangible. The Melton Fellows from around the world work together to address global challenges. They define global citizenship as awareness of, and responsibility for, our actions as they can affect communities, and the world at large.

The impact of the Melton Foundation, from the perspective of mindfulness, can be described through Karma yoga, which teaches selfless action. It’s an act without consideration of personal self-centered desires, likes or personal gains. Through Karma yoga, a person orients oneself towards acting in accordance with one’s duty, without being attached to the end results of one’s deeds. In other words, Karma yoga is the yoga of action, specifically renouncing the results of those actions rather than hoarding the results for ourselves.

Seizing upon this idea, the Melton Foundation’s 100 Acts of Global Citizenship is a bold new program designed to help busy but committed people take action in small ways. Acts of global citizenship vary greatly in scope, impact, timeframe and effort and share the following qualities:

  • They are simple acts that any one person can do to address a social issue.
  • They can be done with or within a community, and can be executed in two hours or two days.
  • Acts can use any methodology or format–from starting a conversation with friends and family, to making and distributing online materials.

Some of the examples include taking action against climate change by convincing one’s own family to recycle more; taking photos and blogging about the informal economy of New York City, in order to start a conversation about the future of the ‘informal city’; or going on a 48-hour juice diet, and sharing the results on social media with friends to promote healthy lifestyles.

These acts take place at the workplace, in the neighborhood, or online, and they exhibit qualities of Karma yoga. They are actions in accordance with a passion to create a better world, without attachment to the end results. They are examples of mindfulness beyond meditation; real acts of goodwill and compassion. Some of these acts may go unnoticed, or they might spur other people to do good deeds; to live or act better–or they may not. That’s not the point. They are examples of selfless service to our global community. When you consider living a more mindful lifestyle, remember the teachings of Karma yoga, through which real, yet selfless change can make a difference in your community and beyond. tj

The complete article can be found in Issue #276 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.


Written By:

Judit Torok

Tokyo Journal columnist Dr. Judit Torok is a philosopher, intercultural thinker and yoga instructor. She was born in Hungary and learned Japanese fluently at an early age. She has visited Japan many times and worked for a Japanese company for more than a decade. She received her doctorate degree in philosophy at the New School University and uses her intercultural background and education as a springboard to focus on theories of ethics, aesthetics and multicultural marginality. She is an energetic, creative and certified yoga instructor who promotes a holistic and healthy lifestyle for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, incorporating general wellness, alternative medicine and nutrition into her classes.


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