12/18/2012 12:18 am ET Updated Feb 16, 2013

The Best Karma Yogi in the World Is Santa

Karma yoga is perfection in action where our activity is of benefit to others, such as doing good, giving without wanting anything in return, and benevolent service. So who could be a better karma yogi than Santa Claus? Although his appearance may fool you, mainly because he has a habit of eating a lot of cookies, he does get good exercise going up and down all those chimneys. He also has a huge heart, loves to hug children, and is always smiling, which are signs of a good yogi.

For Santa is more than just a jolly old guy in a red outfit. A true yogi is someone who displays wisdom and compassion, and Santa is an excellent example. He sees everyone as his family, is always helping others, and he cares about you whether you're naughty or nice. Such fine qualities are ones we may all want to emulate.

1. He makes us do good and feel good. Now that's a big one, as many of us oftentimes act selfishly and badly.

2. He gives, endlessly, to everyone, all over the world, all at pretty much the same time. This indicates a truly generous heart, one that takes great joy in giving without needing to receive.

3. Yet he does not give blindly. Rather, he judges what is the most appropriate gift for each. This shows great discernment, as giving needs wisdom in order to be of most benefit.

4. He encourages rituals and invokes magic in every child's life: letter writing, stocking filling, decorations, parades, milk and cookies. Ritual is an essential part of honoring anything that is greater than us, and magic is the beauty of the unknown.

5. He listens to our pleas and requests and reads our letters, meaning he takes the time to hear us and pays attention, which we could all do a lot more of.

6. He has great psychic powers: He flies in the sky with reindeer, descends chimneys without getting covered in soot, goes by many names and forms, and is extraordinarily elusive. Has anyone actually ever seen him?

7. He knows where we live. In other words, he is inside every one of us.

8. Most importantly, he lifts our spirits at the darkest time, bringing us laughter and joy, which is undoubtedly the greatest gift of all.

Through giving to others, a la Santa, we turn selfishness into generosity and connect to basic goodness within us, a quality of kindness that is easy to lose touch with. Giving -- whether a smile, our time, a listening ear -- is profoundly joyful, both to the one who is receiving and the one who is giving.

If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. -- Bob Hope

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