Ahimsa is the first and probably most important practice encouraged by many yogic traditions. Ahimsa is an ancient Sanskrit word which translates to non-violence or not causing pain. It goes deeper than the physical act of causing violence or pain.Practicing it is about becoming non-violent in every way possible. Even through our words and our thoughts, we can inflict pain.Violence can show up in many forms: through our actions, how we speak to others, being passive aggressive, gossiping, negative thoughts and more.
Whether we choose to practice non-violence because of a certain spiritual beliefs or simply because we are human and sometimes have the calling to be a better person, we can all relate. So where do we start?
Often people begin their commitment to Ahimsa or “non-violence” through efforts and actions outside of themselves and where they are at, maybe through goodwill such as charities or change in lifestyle or diet ( becoming vegan/ vegetarian). All of those are wonderful and each journey is different, but I invite you to also become conscious or aware of how you may be inflicting harm or negativity within yourself, your loved ones, your surroundings.
Most of the time the practice takes place somewhere else, rather than in the here and now. There is no acceptance of current harm but rather just going and showing love and good will elsewhere. In reality the time we find ourselves violent is when spending time with our closest friends, family members, pets, or where we feel in our “comfort zone”. We will have a stressful day somewhere else,trying to keep our best image, and then come home and lose it with our loved ones or simply release all of our “stuff” on them- whether that is by simply complaining without asking permission if they can or want to be present to listen, or by giving them a bad attitude simply because, well, “ I had a bad day." Well this is our ahimsa at best and i truly believe it is oftentimes overlooked and it is exactly where we should start - AT HOME IN OUR COMFORT ZONE.
“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family. “-Mother Teresa.
It is important to bring harmony, peace and love to our homes and to those who surround us and of course ourselves. It might actually be much harder, because it takes huge courage and honesty with yourself to even accept that you might be taking advantage of your relationship by putting your negativity on your partner or child, that you might be hurting those you love most by not being present for them because you were busy being present for everyone else or maybe that you gossip or talk bad about people you care dearly about and etc. At the end of the day we all have moments. It is always a practice but it is becoming aware and conscious that makes a difference.
The practice of non-violence (ahimsa) is also a way to realize that you are not separate from others and when we choose to hurt, be mean or simply ignore others we are essentially doing it to ourselves too.
Self growth and self awareness is one of the hardest journeys that require an incredible amount of courage and honesty to first take a look at all your darkness with acceptance and courage to actually make a change. Non-violence doesn't end at not-killing and starting it at home with those who you see and probably affect the most will have the biggest impact as it is not by the opinion that things change, but by example.
Most of us walk unaware or choosing to ignore or take for granted people we love and care most for, looking for ways to make “the world a better place” and help those in need. While it is an incredible act to do so, non-violence and becoming someone who can make a difference can start by accepting where you are wrong and where you hurt those possibly closest to you. Invite you to take a big sip of courage and take a look at your surroundings and those around you with no excuses but rather acceptance and see how you can practice ahimsa (not causing harm) in relation to people and things around you or within you.
Thank you for taking the time and reading.
Photo by beautiful person and soul Kristen Nicole