Ahimsa and Kindness

person holding clear and red floral ball

Photo by Javon Swaby on Pexels.com

Ahimsa or non violence is the foundation of all yoga philosophy. Most of us might think we are not violent people. We don’t go around bullying or hurting others or animals. We are loving and giving, and would never want to do any harm.

However, there are many ways that we unconsciously do “violence” on ourselves.

How often do you stay at your desk to get through your work without a break or refreshment? Are you pushing yourself to exhaustion?
Is your self talk kind and supportive, or do you judge yourself harshly and put yourself down?

To paraphrase Gandhi’s words “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Being forgiving and compassionate to yourself is the essential step to practicing ahimsa in the world.

This is fundamental for all of us on the path of yoga.
We must start with ourselves and allow the past damage of inner violence to heal.

Everything starts with our awareness of it.
Here are ways to bring about more awareness and change.

Decide to commit for one day to notice your internal conversations. Take time to journal and capture your thoughts.
At the end of the day. What did you notice? Is it time to change your conversation?
How can you start every thought with kindness?

An other practice is Loving Kindness Meditation. If your usual meditation is guided or based on mindfulness or mantra, commit to a loving kindness practice instead.Choose words that resonate with you.

May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you free of trouble and the causes of trouble
May you live your life with ease

metta-prayer

Getting over Anger with Loving Kindness

 

blossoming love

When we feel rising frustration and anger towards an other person, it’s time to tend to our selves, rather than act it out against the other.

Acting out our negativity only adds to the violent energy in the world. Our ego-mind may be pumped, but it doesn’t bring about resolution or peace.

pause

Instead, bring awareness to where you are right now. Place one hand to your belly, and the other above your heart. Take a few deep breaths. Allow the breath to become fuller and let it move down into the center of your being.

pauseFeel the warmth of your hands and the movement of the breath. Feel the connection to this tender and loving part of you.
Be present to what just occurred that was upsetting. Notice thoughts, emotions, sensations in the body, without judgment or creating a story.

Then say to yourself:

This person has a body and a mind, just like me

This person has feelings, emotions, and thoughts, just like me

This person has also felt sad, disappointed, angry and hurt, just like me

This person wishes to be free of pain and suffering, just like me 

This person wishes to be accepted and loved, just like me

This person wishes to be happy, just like me.

Then allow this loving kindness (metta) meditation to arise:

May this person be happy
May this person be healthy
May this person be free of suffering and the causes of suffering
May this person live their life with ease

This practice allows me to stay heart centered and lets the negative energy release.

Being kind feels so much better about the whole situation, the other person, and myself 💕