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Yoga in Practice: Helping Negative People – Part 1

Do you know someone with a perennial dark cloud over his or her head? You’re thinking: “I want to avoid negative people, not waste my time helping them out.” What if this person is a family member, or loved one, who has turned bitter for some reason? You care deeply for this person and want to help.

Helping people is an example of selfless service, without seeking a reward of any kind. We also know this as Karma Yoga. Mahatma Gandhi is a classic example of a Karma Yoga practitioner.

However, how many of us can be as kind, or as enlightened, as Mahatma Gandhi? You really don’t have to; all you have to do is your personal best. Isn’t this what Yoga, or “Unity,” is all about? We accept that we have limits in our Yoga practice, but we are persistent in our efforts to do better next time.

Some of the most negative people I have met – have
everything, but they don’t see the “field of diamonds” in their own backyard. Everything is always better somewhere else. No matter how much love they get, or how many possessions they acquire, they are never happy. Some of these people create their own environment and cannot see it. Through observation, you will notice that “money cannot buy happiness.” The saddest people on this earth are the extremely poor and the extremely wealthy. This is not a rule, and there are exceptions. Some of the extremely wealthy people practice Karma Yoga, by helping, and giving,
to the less fortunate.

Jesus once said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Why is this philosophy so close to Karma Yoga? There is a simple answer: We are obligated to help the less fortunate because it is morally right. This is a universal principle in every religion.

Helping the poor, and giving to the poor, will make the wealthy person sleep better at night. If you follow any religion, you will notice that there is a price to be paid in the next life, or in the after life, for gluttony. However, the price is being paid now, in this life, and on this earth.

How can I say this? The only people of great wealth who are happy are the givers. Those who do public service and help others have found a way to put their status and money to work for the common good.

As Andrew Carnegie once said, “Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community.”

© Copyright 2005 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

Paul Jerard is the director of Yoga teacher training at Aura in RI. He’s a master instructor of martial arts and Yoga. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness. He wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students wanting to be a Yoga teacher.