Violence is thought to be an insult to the one who gave us life. Many yogis, in effort to respect other creatures through the practice of non-violence, avoid the consumption of animal products. This is the premise behind vegetarianism. But what about the devoted vegetarian who is abusive to his/her family? Ahimsa calls us to live with integrity, by acting consistently with kindness in all aspects of our lives.
Sean Corn, a popular Jewish yogi from New Jersey, delivers a strong message about our role in promoting peace. She passionately believes that we are all soldiers and it is our time to take a stand for the safety and harmony of our communities. We must become soldiers for peace.
One of our greatest challenges these days is to learn how to deal with our rage and fear in ways that don’t add to the violence, but diffuse it. Remember the old adage ‘an eye for an eye until the whole world is blind’? The state of the world today is a good example of what happens when we fight violence with violence: it is unsuccessful in bringing the true change we want to see. Violence comes from fear and ignorance and the way to rise above it is through education, dedication and a shift in perception.
One master told his students that if they couldn’t say anything nice, not to say anything at all. Your mother may have made similar sentiments. The same goes for our actions, if you can’t do anything good, don’t do anything at all. This is better than acting out of violence.
What are you doing to bring about more peace and less violence in the world? It doesn’t take much to practice non-harm on a daily basis. We can start on a personal level, by being gentle and accepting with ourselves. We can practice ahimsa within our families, taking time to listen and share love. And we can employ ahimsa on a global level by seeking to understand other cultures and becoming stewards of the earth.
In yoga, you don’t have to be a particular age, weight, color or gender to practice this ancient healing discipline. There is an open invitation for people of all ages and stages to come together and focus on leaving a legacy of kindness.
As we prepare for the holiday season ahead, let’s consider ahimsa in all we do and say and choose to make love, not war.