We Are All One

January 29, 2013
Katherine Austin Wooley


By Amanda Hessling


The liberation of my body and soul, the Jivamukti, has been through the practice of karma yoga, the offering of the fruit of one's actions to the Whole, the One, the Divine.


When I first arrived at Karma Yoga, I did not know what ‘karma yoga' truly meant. I knew karma was a Hindu concept that essentially encompassed the phrase "what goes around, comes around" and yoga meant union, yolking, oneness. I never took the time to contemplate the reason that Katherine named the studio Karma Yoga, but even on my earliest visits here, my Soul was working behind the scenes.


At my second class, Marianne was my teacher, and I surprisingly found myself not sweating, twisting, or lunging for my individual self but for the World, my Brothers and Sisters. I was automatically channeled to work through my body in order to give to Mother Earth.


Little did I know, this was the true meaning of karma yoga: selfless action.


After that blissful experience offering my efforts to Divine, I realized: this was what I came here to do. The exact reason for arriving at this studio and on this planet was right in my face, in bright, neon lights above the studio - my purpose is to practice karma yoga. <3


Hence, it was no surprise that upon picking up the book, Jivamukti Yoga by Sharon Gannon and David Life, I was attracted to the section, ‘Karma Yoga: What You Think, Say and Do.' As I began to read, I felt as if the authors spoke directly to me: "[w]hen we are suffering from self-pity and loneliness, a surefire cure is to care more for others and the reductions of their suffering." (Gannon & Life, 39)


My mother once told me, "Your life will change when you start caring for others more than yourself."


I resented her advice, feeling that not caring enough for myself is exactly what brought me into a pit of depression and self-loathing. However, she had a point. I had tipped the scale and was suffering because I wasn't able to see beyond my own problems. I hadn't realized that I could be of service to others - I felt so small myself, felt so much in need.


Through my practice at Karma Yoga and additional self-reflection, I came to remember that We are all One. Mustering the strength and compassion to think of another is like shining light into a mirror - the light, the efforts, the love, comes right back to brighten, to nourish you. The "other" is you!


A Stanford psychologist associated with Yoga Journal, Kelly McGonigal, once said that when she feels suffering, she breathes into the place of emotional tension and pain - much like we do with our physical bodies in yoga practice - and thinks of how bringing love and acceptance into this place, in herself, could help the many others that are suffering with that same pain.


Now, this is what I do when I am feeling distraught. It feels right, holistic and comforting in a profound way. In the practice of Karma Yoga, we help ourselves by helping another - this is the Truth of Life.

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