June is the month where the whole LGBTQ+ community looks forward to. It’s the month where we celebrate our accomplishments, but also to be aware of the long road we still have to go. June is a month of awareness and therefore it’s important to keep on writing about it. Especially in moments of crisis, where protesting and celebrating is on the down-low.
But don’t worry, in this article we won’t be talking too much about the history of pride-month, and to what rights we have gained. Nor will it be about what we’d still like to achieve. This article will be about community. And mostly about the LGBTQ+ community and those who are also walking the yogi path (or have any other spiritual practice).
And as the title of the article already says, it’s all about Karma Yoga in this article. Because, in times like this, where we can’t gather with too many people, it’s good to keep on giving back anyway.
Let’s start to break down the term Karma Yoga first.
What Is Karma Yoga?
Alright, I’m hoping to be able to keep it short on this one. You might (or not) know that there are three types of yoga. Hold on, I’m talking about types of yoga not styles of yoga. These types, or paths, are not the same as the styles of yoga. The four yoga paths are actually the intention you put into your yoga practice whatever style you are actually practicing.
So, one of these paths is Karma Yoga. Which is the yoga of action. Or completely translated: Union (yoga) through action (Karma).
If you know anything about the Hindu religion or even Buddhism, you might already have an idea of what Karma involves.
Just as a quick summary, which really doesn’t reflect the principles of Karma greatly. But there is so much information out there, so if you are wanting to go deeper into how karma works, you’ll for sure find something!
In the Hindu culture, Karma is an accumulation of good or bad deeds that you’ve done in your entire life. These will reflect on how you’ll be coming back in your rebirths. This will go on until you transcend Karma and live a morally good life (enlightened). And then you’ve reached the end of the cycle of death and birth.
But what has this got to do with Yoga? Well, within Karma yoga we want to live a life where we observe our thoughts, actions and just our entire being. It is to live the truth and to align it with your true self.
This is going to bring us to another concept, to reach this state, which is Seva. Seva doesn’t have to incorporate Karma Yoga, but it actually goes hand in hand very often.
If you want to learn more about all of these concepts there are many great ancient scriptures where you can read more about Karma.
The best scripture to read though will be the Bhagavad Gita. Which is basically THE scripture that talks about Karma.
What is Seva?
I know, this article is getting long and it looks like I lost direction a bit, as this was supposed to be about the LGBTQ+ community. But don’t worry, I haven’t lost the goal, it’s just important to tell you about these constructs before moving on the the next part.
So, let’s talk a bit about Seva. Seva is translated into “the act of selfless service“. Can you see already why Karma and Seva are going hand in hand?
Within this practice, people will do work, mostly in an ashram. However, it might also be done as volunteer work. It’s up to you basically, as long as you keep yourself to the principles of seva. Which is not to expect anything in return for the service given.
It’s not just about doing the work and helping others, but it’s also about love. By giving up the expectation of the work, it is hoped that you’ll find unconditional love.
The moment you get something in return for your service (if it’s food or an apple), technically it isn’t seva anymore. Technically, of course.
How to put Karma and seva together in the LGBTQ+ community
And now we’ve reached the point that I actually wanted to talk about. What can you and I do selflessly for our beloved brothers and sisters?
It’s actually been something that I’ve thought about a lot in the past couple of months. And I’ve written a blog about it as well.
Even though I’m going to talk a bit about doing Seva for a certain community, know that you are free to do whichever work you feel like you should be doing.
For me, I started to realise that even though I’m part of this community, I haven’t done a lot for them… By writing a lot about it, I hope there will be more awareness. And I really talk now about the LGBTQ+ Community with a spiritual practice.
And I have to add that I haven’t come across a lot of projects or retreats that are specifically for community building. There are great projects of course, and they are easy to find, but not a lot of them incorporate things like religion, meditation or other spiritual practices.
And why is this important? Well, there are many men, women and anyone in between, that doesn’t really know where they belong. I never really felt part of the LGBTQ+ community as I never really felt connected to them. That said, I was always longing to find more people that were into yoga, meditation and that were gay.
Luckily there are more and more spaces, even though they are still minimal.
Which is why it would be good to support people who are actually creating spaces for people who feel the same.
Spiritual Gay Movements
So, hoping that you find your way into this article, I’ll be talking about a couple of movements within the spiritual LGBTQ+ world. If you have a project you want to include on this list, please send an email and I’d be happy to include it down below!
The Radical Faeries or Radfaes have been founded by Harry Hay and John Burnside. It’s a movement that exists out of different local circles. So if you’d ever love to found another circle in your area, you are very welcome to do so.
These circles exist over the entire world, even though they’re mostly taking place in Europe and the United States. Just have a look here to see if there’s one near you!
The Faeries do a great job and they might look a bit quirky, but they just try to make sure that we have the time and space to embrace everything that we feel like we need to experience. Even though it might all sound weird, there are many types of gathering going on. Just check it out and see if something fits for you!
And of course, don’t forget that if you’d like to be a part of something bigger, it might be good to offer your service to them as well!
This project comes a bit closer when we are talking about karma yoga and seva. Mark has his own yoga space in Paris, where he offers naked yoga. But on the side, he has an amazing project which he’s working on in the French countryside.
At this moment he’s in the process of creating a queer ashram. A space where people can come together and discover more about yoga, spirituality and their own sexuality. And everything in between!
It will be a great meeting space to meet like-minded people and to find yourself.
But he cannot do it alone.
At this moment Mark has got a couple of options available. You can decide to support him financially by donating to the project. Which is the easy way to gain some karma.
There’s also another way to support and build some good Karma, which is by doing Seva. There are no steady programs at the moment, so be sure to contact Mark if you are interested in helping him out. With him, you’ll be talking about a program that suits both of you. Doing work and yoga to find out more about being selfless and find love for yourself, the project, and the world in general.