Without violence

The world is full of violence, unfortunately. Some say it may just be a part of human nature but this is definitely not the only way we can respond. The "news" reaches us daily, from drug lord atrocities, to military casualties, to crimes right in our own city or neighborhood. It assaults us but even as we are forced to absorb it we must continue with our day and so in order to cope, we develop a shield. We find justification for the violence, or think that it will not extend to us, or accept it as a requirement of living. Some maybe even turn the news off, trying to block it out. Some philosophies find additional ways to deal with this toxic presence and one concept in yoga may help us not only simply cope, but rather return a different way of being back to the world.

Ahimsa is the sanskrit word that literally means "without violence". In other words, the goal that we do no harm, that we do not kill or harm others. In some versions, this can extend even to a bug on the sidewalk, or plants in the garden. Entwined in this overall idea is that violence of every kind can entail negative karmic consequences, but I honestly feel that even if we do not follow the ideas of karma, violence or acceptance of it in any form can be damaging to us.

What can we do to practice ahimsa? We might first try to expose ourselves to less violence, in order to increase our sensitivity to it. Seeking out comedies over horrors, or dramas over weapon flicks could be one step. We might chose to read the news online rather that hear conflict after murder on the nightly news. Next we can work on this in our interactions with others. Violence can exist in tone or thought even when subtle, so trying to find kindness towards everyone that we interact with can reduce any even mildly violent tendencies. Thinking of someone each person helps or loves, or thinking of their best traits may help, if it someone that is not necessarily our best friend. This might allow them to find ahimsa as well, and become more peaceful and positive.

In yoga, we can be careful with our own limits, not pushing ourselves to pain or if we experience any, finding a very safe place to recover and rest. Conversely as we find a peaceful place, enjoying and reveling in the delight! This can even include internal comments to ourselves. Do we speak lovingly to ourselves or even about ourselves to others?

The bottom line here is, love yourself, do not be violent to yourself in any way. Take the time to care for yourself, listen to your needs, and work to meet them as best you can. This will begin to emanate kindness and peace to all aspects of your life. Perhaps someday this will be the world.


1 comment:

E. Michelle said...

Hi Kat,
I liked what you said at the end about loving ourselves. Unless we truly love ourselves how can we love something/someone else? I believe that if most people would probe deeply into their feelings, they would learn that they really don't love themselves at all and just this revelation can set them on a different course.

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