Karma Yoga is a spiritual teaching found in the Bhagavad Gita, one of the holy scriptures of Hinduism. It recommends a complete detachment of the self from our action – a concept that has also been expressed by other spiritual writers, for example Isaiah’s statement “Lord, thou will ordain peace for us for thou also has wrought all our works in us,” (Is. 26:12). This is a perfect summary of Karma yoga. Among the eight key teachings of karma yoga, three are particularly relevant to the art of blessing.

1. Do not desire any of the fruits of your action.

In other words, you become totally detached from the benefits of what you are doing – for instance, as you bless people you meet in the street whom you might never meet again. Because you will never see the results of your silent, unselfed blessings, these become a significant step toward inner liberation. You receive not the slightest expression of praise or gratitude for these silent blessings, which is one of the most wonderful dimensions of blessing. This constant selfless giving puts the ego – which normally constantly clamors for recognition – on a radical slimming down diet! This unending, daily, hour-after-hour selfless blessing of others will create in you a deep desire for the authentic, total happiness of every single creature, especially if you include t he environment, plants, and animals in your blessings …

2. Act without any attachment to the action itself.

In the practice of blessing, we get to a point where we bless for the sheer joy of blessing, as a silent perfume we send forth, a silent song. … Eventually you will have no more attachment to the act of blessing that to your own heartbeat – and spiritually speaking, blessing is the heart beat of the soul. Blessing becomes as natural as breathing and as effortless.

3. Consider not yourself as the cause or source of action.

The next natural step toward become a simple of witness of life in action is to become aware of the fact that because there is only one infinite, true cause in the universe – infinite, unconditional Love, the source of all good – we are not the cause of the blessing, any more than the song or the edelweiss are the cause of their own beauty and harmony. In utter awe, we observe Love acting as us (rather than through us). The apostle Paul wrote in a moment of deep mystical intuition, “Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians :20. Here Christ is to be understood in the sense of divine life, truth, and love in action – through and as our blessings – to heal the world. Like a lever, the simplest tools are sometimes the most efficient and powerful ones. Such is this gentle art.

Pierre Pradervand

Excerpt from The Gentle Art of Blessing, pages152-154