How Practicing Ahimsa is a Giant Leap for Mankind – Part I of V

photo courtesy of mike sasso

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. Mother Teresa

ahimsa is defined as an “entire abstinence from causing any pain or harm whatsoever to any living creature, either by thought, word or deed. . .(therefore). . .non-injury requires a harmless mind, mouth and hand.” Sri Swami Sivananda

ahimsa is one of five yamas, or codes of conduct, in the yoga sutras.  patanjali fashioned the format of his sutras, or rules, after buddha’s teachings and so for me the two separate teachings have become one in my life. nonviolence, compassion, understanding, caring – these are all words used to describe ahimsa. from what i’ve shared about my history, people are often shocked and in disbelief at how i describe my old behavior. it was, to say the least, appalling and the opposite of nonviolence. toward myself and others. i can share it today because i see it clearly for what it was – a lack of ahimsa, on every level.

embracing ahimsa has taken some time to assimilate. years, in fact. and i may never arrive completely. the selfishness i lived in created such misery for myself and people around me, i didn’t see a different avenue, a way out. until i started searching for answers in books, teachers and my yoga practice. each insight from spiritual books read, teachers listened to and my yoga practice allowed me to quiet the crazy conversations in my head a little more and move deeper and deeper into stillness. and in that stillness i found the light of all that is, the spaciousness to just Be. i was able to recognize and heal years of mindless, destructive behavior and see every living thing as equal. when i recall how those changes began and are continuing still, i feel i’ve lived many lives during this one. i accept living in this form, this body and living in the eternally present light that resides in us all.

is it possible to live in ahimsa every moment? because there are unintentionally crushed insects while we’re walking or driving, animals that die because we’ve encroached into their territory, drivers that we think should have their license revoked and angry people difficult to be around. i can’t bring myself to kill the giant grasshoppers and snails that devour my magnolia bushes and cacti, but i can set poison out for rats – no problem. that one i’m working on. so it’s an ongoing practice of mindfulness within ahimsa. i’m eating less and less meat for both health and humanitarian reasons. i’m looking at the world i live in a broader framework, not just what i do in the space around me. because i belong to all of you and you to me and we belong to the planet.

start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world. Oprah

About tari brand

Hi everyone! I'm so glad you're here. I hope you move closer to what your spiritual truth is in this place we call earth from reading my journal. I've been investigating for over 30 years why we're here, in this moment, and have found countless ways to help others relax and enjoy the ride. Hope you'll join me!
This entry was posted in awakening, buddhism, mindfulness, yoga and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to How Practicing Ahimsa is a Giant Leap for Mankind – Part I of V

  1. This is such a beautiful post! I just got back from a week long Vipassana (or mindfulness) silent retreat in California and this so deeply resonates with me in this moment. We may have used ever so slightly different language, but the message was the same in the precepts we took. Thank you for sharing your place on this path. I will be sharing some of mine in the coming days on our blog – thisishardforme. Namaste.

    • Wiseman says:

      This makes everything so copltmeely painless.

      • tari brand says:

        it can be painless if we see all things as exactly as they are instead of trying to make them into something else or someone else. ahimsa practice allows non violence to permeate and change our violent reactions into peaceful ones. thanks!

  2. Tari, I haven’t heard that word before…”ahimsa”…it’s lovely. Thank you for explaining it so well. I’m on a similar path…..and developing lots of patience, compassion and understanding as I go. I have an second site that ties more specifically with my own practice…called Reflections from a Friend….in the blog roll to the right on my “regular” : ) blog…. a warm smile to you, kathy

    • tari brand says:

      reflections from a friend. i will visit your site. ahimsa is one of the 5 yogic yamas, or ways of conducting oneself. i discovered that if i practice ahimsa and work toward being that nonviolent, compassionate being, almost every action stems from there. it leaves my mind open and accessible. thank you for the warm smile and have a beautiful day!

  3. I think it’s wonderful that you can be so open about where you are right now in your journey and support others in finding their own way. We are all doing the best we can with the tools that are currently available to us, and as we learn and grow – more tools inevitably become available. Thank you so much for sharing this post – it’s a really powerful one. Knowing that we are all on this planet becoming conscious of our actions is a comfort to me.

    • tari brand says:

      thank you so much for such kind words. more and more people are beginning to understand and maybe they are just the reason we’re doing what we do. for me, though, it helps so much to concretize my thoughts and understandings. you’re the best, jodi.

Comments are closed.