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Miracle Karma Yoga

Joining of  the East and West

Mother Teresa has lived a life of dedicated action.


    Before discussing Miracle Karma Yoga, it is important to draw a distinction between the traditional yoga idea of karma and how the Course describes karma. Below is an excerpt from the autobiography “Memory Walk in the Light,” which explains the paradox that karma exists and does not exist: 

    Parts of the Old Testament depict God as being righteously wrathful, which contradicts the idea that God is all-loving. Similarly, even the New Testament provides an image of God offering righteous justice that would send some of His children to hell to be punished forever. This belief in divine justice provides an illusory picture of God made in the image and likeness of man, not the other way around. In my study of the Course, I discovered that God’s idea of justice is that everyone deserves heaven, and I found nothing that contradicts that God is Love. 

    The Course offers spiritual principles that are different than some ideas in the Bible and also different from some commonly held ideas in Eastern philosophy. For example, the Course takes the position that evil, sin, and guilt are illusory. In order for me to accept this viewpoint, I had to reconcile this understanding with my former study of karma. The idea of hell is that we have to pay for our grave mistakes, and this is very similar to the concept in yoga philosophy of paying for our karma. However, the Course maintains that, as far as God is concerned, there is no such thing as karmic retribution. The belief in karma means our sins have real effects that cause real damage, and we will have to pay for that damage. In the past I would keep an account of the offenses of others the way some people collect stamps. Occasionally I would cash in the accumulated stamps by releasing my pent-up grievances in a display of private or even on rare occasions public emotion. But then, with the help of the Course and the application of forgiveness, I was able to discard this foolish and unloving practice. Similarly, those who believe in hell also think of karma as God’s collecting of stamps—His accounting system, which He uses as a means of judging our worthiness for heaven or hell. The Course would say that those who see God as a judge with a karmic accounting system are just projecting their own judgments onto God, making Him into an ego image of themselves. 

    The belief in karma is the idea that our past actions determine what we deserve and produce our present positive or negative circumstances. We appear to live our lives under the effects of karma, but this appearance is due entirely to our own belief in karma. God has nothing to do with this cherished, self-imposed belief in assigning rewards and punishments based on past actions. According to the Course, karma does not exist because the past does not exist and has no real power to determine our conditions. Nevertheless, the past can affect us if we allow it to do so by believing in it and by specifically believing in guilt, which in turn requires self-assigned punishment. The Course does affirm cause and effect, but it maintains that the past cannot be the cause of anything. Cause and effect occurs through our present choices that are the cause of our current circumstances. 

    We are accustomed to believing the past can affect us, so it is hard to accept the Course saying, “…the past is gone, and what has truly gone has no effects.”1 Let’s use a simple illustration to explain this difficult idea. Imagine a ship, which was loaded with cargo in New York, is currently at sea headed toward London. In this analogy, New York represents the past, and London represents the future. The ship stands for the present and for the individual mind, which only functions in the present. If I said that the ship is carrying New York, no one would believe such an impossible idea. Yet many people do believe the mind carries the past, even though this is quite impossible. New York is gone and has no effect on the ship, just as the past is gone and has no effect on the mind. It is true that the cargo was loaded in the past in New York, but only the cargo that is on the ship now can have any effect. Similarly, only the thoughts we have in our mind now can have any effect on us. The cargo can be dumped off of the ship at any present moment, and likewise we can let go of any thoughts presently in the mind, including any memories or thoughts related to the past. Cause and effect do take place, but only in the present where we can decide what to keep in the mind and what to discard. This puts us in control of what we experience. Discarding unhealthy thoughts and keeping healthy thoughts will be calming to the mind. Similarly, discarding healthy thoughts and holding onto unhealthy thoughts will be disturbing to the mind. The only cause of our current condition is a present decision in the mind. 

    My former understanding of karma, represents the traditional Eastern philosophy that there are three kinds of karma: The first is accumulated karma, which is the total of all past experiences. The second is fruit-producing karma, which is experienced now and must be experienced. And the third is new karma that will produce fruit in the future. In my mind I thought of the accumulated karma as past karma, the fruit-producing karma as present karma, and the new karma as future karma. Now I realized there is no such thing as past or future karma. There is only present karma, which I prefer to call present cause and effect.  It is the cause and effect occurring in the mind in each present moment. Decisions may have been made in the past, but these would have evaporated if the mind is not holding these decisions currently. We could have loaded our minds with mental cargo at any time in the past, even in past lives. Past lives can affect us now only because of the thoughts we currently hold in the conscious or subconscious mind about them. That is why it was so important for me to bring my traumatic experiences to my conscious awareness so I could become fully aware of this unhealthy mental cargo stored away in back of my mind. Then I could make a current decision to throw that emotional turmoil overboard. This is why I have been and continue to be motivated to bring the hidden pieces of my shadow puzzle out of the darkness and to release them into the light through forgiveness. 

    The stored thoughts in the mind are constantly renewed, and it is this keeping of them in our present consciousness that makes them affect us. In this sense the mind is like a computer that stores information and will hold it until we decide to delete it. If no new decisions are made, former decisions automatically remain in effect and are currently active in the mind. That is why miracles of forgiveness involve changing our minds to remove decisions currently in the mind, which could have been decided long ago, but remained in effect in each present moment since then. Old decisions that currently continue to remain in the mind involve holding on to illusions, such as illusions of the past. Consequently, miracles replace our illusions about the past and reveal the reality of divine truth that is always within us now. 

    Our present choices and actions can affect our navigating through the world of form, but can have no effect on who we are in reality. By forgiving ourselves and others, we can let go of our false beliefs in the past. Also, forgiveness helps us to let go of the negative effects of our present choices by showing us that our own mind is investing in ego-based illusions that do not have the power to produce effects. Forgiveness heals our minds by replacing these illusions with the truth of our reality—the truth that God is our only Cause. Since God is our Cause, we are His Effect, His holy Son. Our purity may appear to be lost in the illusions of this world, but when God created us in eternity, the holiness He gave us must be forever ours. 

    Instead of requiring retribution for our mistakes, God only forgives by overlooking all errors and seeing the truth of our holiness and oneness with Him. Although we may think our actions deserve rewards or punishments, God always knows we deserve only love at all times. In God’s loving awareness, all of our errors in thought or behavior evaporate altogether into nothingness. Unfortunately, we have the tendency to hold on to the memory of these unloving acts and to blame ourselves for them. In contrast to the accusations we make against ourselves, God sees only our innocence so we remain holy in His eyes. Nevertheless, believing in guilt, we would make the mistake of punishing ourselves with karmic retribution. We would hold ourselves accountable for the past mistakes God has already forgiven. We may even believe we have done something that is unforgiveable. Yet there is nothing that cannot be forgiven because everything has already been forgiven. This must be so because of the unwavering Love of our Father. No matter what sins we think we have committed or what punishment we think we deserve, God still sees us as being just as sinless as when he created us in His own image of holiness with no stain of guilt and fully deserving of heaven at all times. The only question we need to ask ourselves is this: “Can we learn to see ourselves with the eyes of love as God sees us in our true holiness?” 

    In his article “Karma” quoted below, Robert Perry, the founder of the Circle of Atonement, summarizes the paradox of karma. He explains that karma seems to exist because of our belief in it, yet karma does not exist as far as God is concerned: 

    So to summarize what we’ve seen, I am picturing two lines, one of karma and one of no karma, both running in parallel. On the line of karma, I made choices in the past, and those choices did determine my present condition, but only because I held unto them and punished myself for them, only because of my magical belief that they had the power to create me in their image. At the same time, on the line of no karma, God has constantly cancelled out those choices, constantly forgiven me, in the knowledge that my choices have literally no power to create me. He knows that He created me, and in doing so gave eternal holiness. No matter what I’ve done, that holiness always remains my true condition. It always remains my present reality. And I can always lay hold of it in that same present—now.1

1. T-28.I.1:8, p. 589
2. The entire article by Robert Perry can be found on the Circle of Atonement website at by entering the word “karma” in the search function. Among several articles on the subject of karma, Robert’s is the one simply titled “Karma.” 

Karma Yoga picture

When you dedicate your actions to God,
 you can have fun getting your hands dirty
— or even your face dirty.


    The Hindu ideal of karma yoga takes ordinary actions and everyday mundane work and elevates these to divine expressions. Karma yoga can be practiced by simply doing your work as a service to God without any thought of receiving the fruits of your labor. Karma yoga is sometimes considered to be the yoga of “work.” However, it is more accurately understood as the yoga of “dedicated action.” In fact, the verb “kri,” meaning to do, is the root word from which the word karma is derived. So any action can be an expression of karma yoga, if that action is performed with dedication to the divine. By dedicating the action to God, the action becomes selfless and a divine expression. 

    Miracle Karma Yoga is the Christian yoga of selfless action. Of course, Christianity has had a long history of advocating and manifesting service as a Christian ideal. Service is the horizontal approach to the divine through expressing love to others in contrast to the vertical approach to the divine through inward seeking of God. Seekers who make progress going within during meditation and contemplation as a vertical experience are often inspired to find balance in their lives through selfless outer service to others. The West has been focused very much on material progress and in turn produced a society that has valued social service, especially in a material sense, to a higher degree than in the East. The Christian expression of social service has been understood as an expression of Christian love, as exemplified by the life and teachings of Jesus. 

    However, the selfless action of Miracle Karma Yoga is more than simply social service. Like all the yoga expressions, Miracle Karma Yoga involves a turning inward, which is often missing from social service. Other forms of yoga involve changing the focus from an initial external orientation to an internal orientation. But Miracle Karma Yoga involves the reverse direction—having an inner dedication initially to the divine and then going outwardly to express the divine through actions. This inner dedication separates Miracle Karma Yoga from social work. It is not enough to just make a dedication inwardly; you must carry your divine alertness with you in the actions as they are being performed. 

    In Miracle Karma Yoga every action is dedicated to the divine and becomes worship manifested in action. This sanctifies everyday life, making even the most mundane actions become worship. Worship is giving. In Hindu karma yoga the emphasis is on giving to God without thought of personal reward. Instead of the broader Hindu idea of karma as dedicated action, the word “karma” is most commonly associated with the law of cause and effect. In Hindu philosophy because of the law of karma, good actions produce good results, such as rewards, and bad actions produce bad results, such as punishments. This Hindu understanding of karma is the basis for the belief in reincarnation in which we encounter the fruits of our karma reaped from past lives. Traditional karma yoga advocates giving both the good and bad results to God. 

    Miracle Karma Yoga recognizes the paradox of karma described in the section above titled “The Paradox of Karma,” which explains how karma exists only because of your belief in it, but it does not exist from God’s perspective. You believe in karmic retribution, yet God does not share your belief because it is entirely illusory. Although you are bound by the self-made law of karma, this is not God’s law. Karma is a self-imposed accounting system in which you assign to yourself rewards and punishments according to your self-evaluation of our own actions based on our firm belief in guilt. Imagine going to court and being entirely acquitted by the judge (God), who says you are innocent. But instead you refuse to accept your innocence. You go into a room and pretend that it is a prison, even though it has no bars and no locks on the doors. Thus you make yourself into a prisoner, although you have not been sentenced except by yourself. The process of letting go of self-inflicted guilt and accepting forgiveness helps you to resign your role as karmic accountant and to recognize that you are only and always under God’s law of Love. One aspect of Miracle Karma Yoga is to recognize that we are not bound by karma and that God gives us only his love and forgiveness as He recognizes our eternal holiness in His sight. 

    The other aspect of Miracle Karma Yoga takes into account your current condition of imagining that you are bound by karma. Although you bind yourself with your belief in karma and guilt, you can overcome karma by giving the fruits of your actions to God so you accumulate no karma and are surrendering all of yourself to God. This may sound like a simple idea, and it is. But because of the human tendency to want to focus on meeting one’s own needs primarily, it is hard to keep focused on giving to God with no thought of oneself. Jesus addressed this by saying, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be given you besides.”1 

    The virtue that manifests by practicing Miracle Karma Yoga is purity of heart—which here means purity of intention. When you have no motivation directed toward what you will get from your actions, you can act with a pure heart for love of God alone. Each of the aspects of Miracle Yoga that will be described include a manifestation of forgiveness as “looking and overlooking,” which is a combination of attachment to the divine and non-attachment to anything not divine. In Miracle Karma Yoga, the “looking” is a looking to God and the “overlooking” is an overlooking of the ego. Specifically in Miracle Karma Yoga you are looking first inwardly at the divine in making your dedication and then looking at the divine manifesting through you in your outer actions stripped of ego desires. You are overlooking your ego desires. The separating of ego desires from actions gives a sense of inner freedom that comes from knowing that you are doing God’s will and provides a release from anxiety caused by investing in the ego. 

    Perhaps the best example that can be found of Christian selfless action is the life of Brother Lawrence. His book, entitled The Practice of the Presence of God, is recommended as a primer on the practice of letting your activities become a divine expression. The following quotation explains Brother Lawrence’s outlook: 

    He [Brother Lawrence] said that our sanctification does not depend as much on changing our activities as it does on doing them for God rather than for ourselves. The most effective way Brother Lawrence had for communicating with God was to simply do his ordinary work. He did this obediently, out of a pure love of God, purifying it as much as was humanly possible. He believed it was a serious mistake to think of our prayer time as being different from any other. Our actions should unite us with God when we are involved in our daily activities, just as our prayer unites us with Him in our quiet time.2

     Brother Lawrence was a perfect example of Miracle Karma Yoga and was also an example of Miracle Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of love. Under ideal circumstances all activities can be done for the love of God. However, not every seeker will be filled with divine love, and certainly not all the time, as was the case with Brother Lawrence. Consequently, if the feeling of love is not the motivation, you can be motivated simply by the high ideal of wanting to do God’s Will. Thus you can dedicate your actions to doing God’s will rather than doing your own will and in so doing be manifesting Miracle Karma Yoga. 

    So much time and energy is spent on satisfying the desires of the ego that the time spent devoted to God with no thought of self can become a freeing experience. At times you may find yourself in conflict between wanting to satisfy ego desires and wanting to follow spiritually motivated desires. Sometimes you may notice that your actions are expressions of ego desires, even though you want to perform actions dedicated to God. In this case, there is a lack of harmony between your ego-based actions and your wanting to follow divine inspiration. The result is tension and anxiety leading to fear or in other words the loss of the awareness of inner peace and love. This means you have dual goals that are conflicting. 

    The solution to conflicting goals is adopting a single unified goal. The mind has many different thoughts which are often in conflict with one another, and through meditation you choose one thought as your single focus. This single thought becomes your unified goal that produces a unified mind and therefore brings peace to the mind. Similar to this inward practice of unifying the mind by adopting a unified goal in meditation, Miracle Karma Yoga is designed to be an outer way of unifying the mind and producing peace. In Miracle Karma Yoga the unified goal is the dedication of your outer actions to God. Being successful at practicing Miracle Karma Yoga means holding firmly to the single goal of dedicated action, which enables you to let go of conflicting goals based on satisfying ego desires. It is not necessary to willfully stop ego desires and the actions they produce. Ego-based desires and actions will fall away naturally as you keep your focus on maintaining your unified goal of dedicated action. This single-minded dedication, like the single-mindedness of meditation, brings peace to the mind. 

    The problem with any spiritual philosophy is the gap between the ideal and the practical application of that ideal. In contrast to the ideal intention of practicing total selfless motivation in karma yoga, you may be faced with the fact that you generally live a life based often on meeting the needs of the self and body. Consequently, you may feel that the perfect ideal of karma yoga can be particularly challenging and beyond your capabilities. It may be unrealistic and foolish to think that you could remove all your personal desires from your actions and dedicate them entirely to God. 

    Fortunately Miracle Karma Yoga offers a less exalted form of karma yoga than the totally selfless service, which is nearly saint-like. Just as a person can be a Christian without being a perfect follower of Christ, a person can be practicing karma yoga to a certain degree by any form of service, such as being a teacher or social worker, even if some selfish motives are mixed with unselfish motives. Yet your job is not your only way of expressing karma yoga. Any action, no matter how mundane, can be an expression of karma yoga, if that action is performed with a spiritual motivation. 

    Traditionally karma yoga involves being totally desireless so all of the fruits of your actions are given to God with no thought of gaining for yourself. Miracle Karma Yoga does not require this total desirelessness. Miracle Karma Yoga advocates the expression of enlightened self-interest. This requires a positive goal orientation and discipline necessary to achieve goals. Instead of trying to remove desires, you decide to choose goals that express spiritually oriented desires rather than selfish desires. Rather than seeking to experience no fruits of your actions, you seek the fruits of the Spirit—“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”3 Seeking such fruits is not entirely selfless from the perspective of traditional karma yoga, but it does express enlightened self-interest that would lead you in the direction of waking up to your oneness with God. 

    It would be unrealistic to expect that you can or should dedicate all of your actions to God. It is enough to just increasingly incorporate dedicated action into your life as part of a natural growth process. Even if you want to increase your practice of dedicated action, you may find that you forget to do so. To help you remember to practice dedicated action, you can incorporate your dedication of activities into your daily routine. Saying grace at meals on special occasions is a commonly accepted practice, but you can choose to get in the habit of blessing your activity of eating whenever you eat during the day. After your meditation practice, you may want to inwardly dedicate all your activities of the day to God. This enables your actions to be offered as a service in which you give the fruits of your work to God. One last recommendation of adding the dedication of your actions to your daily routine is to schedule times for mini-meditations. Perhaps you can decide to have a mini-meditation every morning, afternoon, and evening so that three times a day you take a minute or two to make contact with the divine within and dedicate the upcoming few hours to God. 

    Miracle Karma Yoga involves dedicating your actions to God, but each separate act of dedication is an expression of a larger dedication—the dedication of your whole self to God. You can make your dedication to God or a more personalized dedication to Jesus. Today’s society is very compartmentalized. Because of compartmentalization, it is easy to separate off your religious life and expression from the rest of your life and feel justified in doing so since that is the norm of Western society. Miracle Karma Yoga affords the opportunity to perceive your whole life in all of its activities in the world, even sitting on the toilet, as a divine expression. The idea is to encourage a sense of prayerfulness throughout the whole day.

      The Course encourages you to make the dedication of all your actions to the Holy Spirit, Who serves the function of being the link between you and God the Father. Also, the Holy Spirit provides the link between you and all your brothers and sisters in Christ. If you give Him permission to guide you, the Holy Spirit reminds you of your divine nature of love while you navigate through the world of form. The Holy Spirit can even guide you when you sleep if you allow Him to do so. 

Yet the Holy Spirit, too, has use for sleep, and can use dreams on behalf of waking if you will let Him.
     How you wake is the sign of how you have used sleep.  To whom did you give it? Under which teacher did you place it? Whenever you wake dispiritedly, it was not given to the Holy Spirit. Only when you awaken joyously have you utilized sleep according to His purpose.4

    In addition to the function of dedicating your individual actions to the Holy Spirit, you have a larger function that God has assigned to you. You have been given a unique function in God’s divine plan. There is a deep satisfaction in knowing that you have accepted your part in God’s plan. You also have the following reassurance from the Holy Spirit: 

Once you accept His plan as the one function that you would fulfill, there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you without your effort. He will go before you making straight your path, and leaving in your way no stones to trip on, and no obstacles to bar your way. Nothing you need will be denied you. Not one seeming difficulty but will melt away before you reach it. You need take thought for nothing, careless of everything except the only purpose that you would fulfill. As that was given you, so will its fulfillment be. God's guarantee will hold against all obstacles, for it rests on certainty and not contingency.5    

    God’s plan is for you and all your brothers and sisters to wake up in Heaven. When it says in the quotation above that the Holy Spirit will remove all obstacles, it does not mean that you will be given whatever you think you need in the world. It means that the Holy Spirit will give you whatever you truly need to help you to awaken and to help you assist others in awakening. You have a unique place in God’s plan that only you can fulfill. Your part in God’s plan is called your “special function,” and it always includes the application of forgiveness in the divine plan. The link to information on this website about your special function of forgiveness is below.

1. Matthew 6:33
2. Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence, (Springdale, Pennsylvania: Whitaker House, 1982), pp. 20-21
3. Galatians 5:22-23
4. T-8.IX.3:8, 4:1-5, p. 158
5. T-20.IV.8:4-10, pp. 432-433

Click here for information about your special function of forgiveness

Memory Walk in the Light: 

My Christian Yoga Life as

"A Course in Miracles"


Read the full introduction to this autobiography


Donald James Giacobbe



    “The central message of the Course is forgiveness, and the key to yoga is opening to the divine presence. As a teacher of Miracle Yoga based on Course principles, my goal is to live my life as an expression of forgiveness and openness to the experience of Spirit.”


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