This article consists of 6 parts:
Today you can read part 2: The power of love – ahimsa
Today we dive into Ahimsa – non violence. This is one of 5 yamas (self restraints) in the eight folded path of yoga.
Ahimsa means love, harmlessness, non killing, non violence. For anyone on the spiritual path it should mean absence of any harmful intention whatsoever.
In his book: Four chapters on freedom –Swami Satchitananda Saraswati gives three beautiful examples of ahimsa.
- In Indian history there have been many great people who could convert the most cruel and devilish hurts. Mahatma Ghandi, who was a devote of ahimsa, did not harbour any ill will, but he too had enemies and was finally shot down.
- Lord Buddha had developed the practice of ahimsa so much so that he converted any cruel person into a kind hearted one.
- In the ashram of Patanjali, the cow, goat and tiger could live, eat and drink together because of the ahimsa practiced by the great sage (master).
The attacks in Beirut and Paris left hundreds dead. In the news I see people across the world being scared and uncertain. France and Russia bombed Islamic State targets in Syria on tuesday last week, punishing the group for attacks in Paris. Apparently this violence was designed to set us up against each other, to smother our hope with fear.
This news really makes me scared and sad. How can the world be so cruel? How can world leaders come to the decision to fight violence with violence?
Fear – trust
For me fear is very much related with trust. Whenever I have a feeling of fear it is usually related to lack of trust. In this case: In relation to the attacks on “Syria, I am fearful many innocent people will be killed. This makes me sad and gives me a feeling of powerlessness.
The negative always gives a push to the positive
What can I do on this? Nothing. The only thing I can do right now is transform my sad (negative) thoughts to more positive ones in order that I keep on enjoying life.
The meaning of life is something we create every day with our own actions and thoughts. Instead of blaming other people, I’d like to always ask what can I learn from a situation and how I can move forward?
The things that are happening in the world right now remind me more than ever that the negative always gives a push to the positive.
There is no force more powerful in our world than love
That’s a phrase I hear people talk about a lot these days. Swami Satyananda Saraswati has very interesting comments about this. He says : For a lot of people love means security or defence against fear or death and nothing more. It is a psychological necessity but love is actually something much greater. Christ was crucified, his opponents stoned Mohammed, the great Sufi sain Mansoor was tortured by the Muslims and his skin was peeled off. The most important thing is not to oppose even violent people. When you practice ahimsa, you practice enmity, disapproval. In India such a person is called ‘ ajata shatru’: born without an enemy.
In this context I think it’s very interesting to learn from Tibet. Tibet’s non violent struggle for freedom is relevant and important to the rest of the world. How did the Tibetians managed to keep their freedom non-violent for so long? According to the website of ‘friends of Tibet’ the answer lies in the personality of the Dalai Lama and his Buddhist believes. His uncompromising attitude towards violence and his unquestioned moral authority among the Tibetan people have prevented the Tibetans in Tibet and in exile from taking up arms. Also the non-violent philosophy of the Dalai Lama is fed by his judgement that Tibet’s distinct cultural and ethic identity can best be preserved through a policy of dialogue with the Chinese authorities.
For Buddhists everywhere life in all it’s diverse forms is sacred. To be born as a human being is a privilege because it gives a person the opportunity to attain enlightenment, the highest spiritual goal of being freed from the cycle of birth and rebirth. By killing a person you are committing the worst negative act because you are depriving that person of the chance of becoming enlightened. On the other hand Buddhists believe that your enemy is your best teacher because he teaches you the virtues of patience and tolerance, virtues vital on the difficult path of enlightenment.
Don’t expect Peace from God, Buddha or the Government.
The Dalai Lama described the terrorists as ‘short sighted’ adding that there was ‘ no basis or justification for killing others’.
Dalai Lama: ‘ We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. Humans have created this problem and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place’. We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic value, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody’s interest. So let’s work for peace within our families and society and not expect this from God, Buddha or the government
As mother Therese once said: “We ourselves may feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the sea. But the ocean would be diminished because of that drop’.
The things that are happening right now in the world do inspire me more than ever to spread the love. When I talk about love I talk about a verb – something you apply by doing it. God is in ourselves. Don’t believe in external things. Only believe in yourself and work together. The things which happened in Paris make me more aware that I want to connect and collaborate with like-minded individuals and companies to create a tidal wave of compassion and consciousness in the world.
Brighten up your day! Create a rainbow 🙂
The interconnected nature of the world is becoming more and more apparent. It is getting harder and harder for us to deny it. According to this principle , if you fight someone, you are fighting yourself. If you love someone, you are loving yourself. If you are creating a rainbow to brighten someones day, you are brightening your own day.
Here are ten things, which help me release an emotion that is bothering me and shift to a more positive state of mind 🙂
- Decide I am not the victim; I am responsible for my own well-being.
- Decide to change the tone of my thoughts from negative to positive
- Surround myself with positive people
- Meditate or do asana practise
- Take a shower. (the energy of water can literally help to wash away an emotion and shift to the next)
- Make a list for what I am grateful for in this moment in my life
- Sing (releases emotions)
- Help someone else
Four chapters on freedom, Swami Satyananada saraswati, Yoga publications Trust, Munger, Bihar India