Ahimsa or Non-violence ?
(A: absence of, not ; himsa: pain or suffering)
In popular understanding we think of himsa or violence as acts of war. Countries go to war; religious groups run riots; animals are slaughtered and nature damaged. All acts of violence.
These all seem as acts done by others, we are not part of these atrocious acts. We are peace loving and non-violent people. And at the deepest soul layer it is true, we want only peace.
But if one scratches, just a little below the surface of the human existence, one can easily observe aggression or violence in themselves and others.
Violence in simple conversations. Violence in wanting more of everything – food, clothes, things, people, places and experiences. Violence against our own family members whom we care for. It all comes from wanting more for ourselves vs others- more money, attention, control, power, praise and prestige.
All the violence created in words, thoughts and actions towards others is in reality aggression towards one’s own self.
Ahimsa is a deep yogic practice. Observing all actions, words, emotions and feelings for little or big acts of hidden aggression. Bringing awareness dissolves all violence away slowly but surely.
Then the path to real peace light up on its own.
“ Maitri- karuna -muditaupekshanam sukha-duhka-punya-apunya-vishayanam -bhavanatash chitta prasadanam” Patanjali 1.33
The mind becomes purified by cultivating feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion for the suffering, delight for the virtuous, and indifference towards those we perceive as wicked or evil.