Do no harm and avoid violence became one of the first discrepancies I faced after taking total personal responsibility for all my thoughts, words and actions I had ever created in any lifetime, dimension of reality or state of consciousness. I didn’t think about it; there was no consideration, I just wanted to stop harming. I very quickly realized that I was only hurting myself, when I projected my own inner turmoil onto my external world. Acting unconsciously out of fear and suffering created potential to harm others along the way with my thoughts, words and actions; and I did harm… It had to stop, there was that sense of knowing that came and the rest followed. It was a practice to begin with and I slipped around a bit at the beginning, but now I understand and embrace this virtue at the core of my practice. This is the beginning of Ashtanga Yoga, or the eight-limbed (rungs, when referred to as a ladder) Path to Enlightenment, as described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
This principle has guided me since the early days of my Journey even though I didn’t quite understand the depth of what I was doing back then. And so it may be for you as well… Not quite understanding why non-violence or non-harming could possibly be effective in today’s society since in almost every moment we are barraged with it. The news media is filled with reports of violence, the office is ripe with examples, music and television, video games and… the list goes on, doesn’t it. Why, I asked myself? Conditioned by societies promotion of it left me vacant to the Truth.
I understand now how important this, the first of the yamas, or codes of personal conduct with society, is to cultivate the experience of self-realization. Once integrated into one’s being as important to their path, it becomes easier and awareness brings the Light of Consciousness to this part of the experience. As with total personal responsibility, meditating deeply on what this meant to me brought me to higher ground. It forced a look at my thoughts, words and actions and their effect on others. I was able to see where I was out of alignment as I began to realize my connection to All that Is. Harming myself was what I was doing, in harming others…
Now that this virtue is fully seated within my being I am able to better evaluate my thoughts, words and actions on a moment to moment basis. It is a testament to knowing who I am. It has brought peace and tranquility to my life, this part of my practice alone. It has enabled me to understand the greater complexity of the simple path outlined by Patanjali and I understand now why it is the first step.
Beginning with non-harming, Patanjali is expressing the Path to Enlightenment is for everyone. If it only applied to sages and monks living in mountaintop seclusion where there is no one else to harm, why would he begin with Ahimsa. Everyone benefits when there is a peaceful society. Every human being can experience enlightenment and is searching for it whether they know it or not.
We must bring these principles into our daily lives in order to break the chains of bondage that have kept humanity in suffering and lack for so long. If we realize the harm we do on a daily basis and take total personal responsibility, a shift occurs. Energetic alignment to the Authentic Self begins and one starts to interact with the world more peacefully. The next time someone acts towards you out of ignorance, you will be more compassionate once you embrace Ahimsa. What good will come of harmful retaliation in even a thought… Much better to share Love and kindness. Just feel how your body feels when you let go of it. Feel the release as it washes over you, knowing that by choosing the higher vibration you are moving to higher ground. You are the one who brings peace to your world… Start now.
Practice Ahimsa for seven days. For one week, avoid violence; go as deeply as you want with it, but one thing I can assure you, no matter how deep you take it at these beginning stages, there is always more. Layers of the onion peeled only to reveal another layer. Awareness will assist your discovery and free-will to choose is your ally. Bring peace to your world and watch as the Universe responds in kind. See the doors opening to deeper discoveries about yourself as you carry ahimsa with you on your Journey.
Much Love and Kindness…
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