Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ahimsa (non-violence)

Recently failure has been on my mind quite a bit. I have began meditating on the word failure and how I connect with that word. I realized I have viewed myself as a failure for most of my life. I have seen myself as weak, undisciplined and irresponsible. If it wasn't enough that I personally thought this about myself I unconsciously was trying to prove it to the rest of the world. I aligned myself with people who also believed I was a failure, looking back on my life I see all of these people, teachers, coaches, and mentors. They not only believed I was undisciplined and weak, but made it their mission to either prove I was or to "beat the laziness" out of me.  At first I was only able to see these people, all the people who wanted to be my personal soul crushers. I became angry realizing how many people tried to beat me down, especially when I already did such a good job of it without them.  However, as I continued meditating on this I began to see that I was standing there agreeing with them.
As this dawned on me I also began to see other people, people who had stood along side me, cheering me on. People who saw me for who I am and made it a point to build me up and encourage me in whatever I was doing at the time. I wasn't given a bad deck of cards, I wasn't the unlucky person who happened to only know negative people, no, I chose to be around those people. I chose to agree with the people that saw me as inherently flawed and needing to be fixed. Even though for every person in my life who wanted to see me fail, to prove that I was who they thought I was, there was someone else standing along me, walking with me, cheering me on and telling me with complete confidence that I was greater than I could imagine. 
It seems a little crazy, to be sitting around listening to a bunch of people who don't believe in you, but it makes me wonder how many of us do that.  We only listen to the negative people in our lives, we chose to align ourselves with our negative inner voice.  
Ahimsa, meaning non-violence, is one of the five Yamas outlined in the Yoga Sutras.  In January we were celebrating my sons second birthday with our family, My son and his cousins were playing in his room when all of a sudden a wail let out from one of the cousins, someone had been hit. I will never forget my mother-in-law walking into the room and saying "no violence!" I started laughing because most people would have said "no hitting", but she used the word violence and I think appropriately.  This is a more appropriate use of Ahimsa than how most of us think of being violent.  A broader definition of Ahimsa is given to us by  Nischala Joy Devi in the secret power of yoga she translated Ahimsa as "Embracing reverence and love for all (Ahimsa), we experience oneness." See we can be violent or harming in our thoughts, our words and our actions.  Often times in yoga we talk about Ahimsa in reference to a our physical practice, honoring our body's by not doing a posture that might be harmful. Often times, however, I think we push our body's because of negative personal beliefs about ourselves. What if we first and foremost practiced non-harming thoughts? What if we spoke to ourselves the same way we would speak to a loved one or a child? Personally not only am I happier when I am being kind to myself, but I am more kind to other people. In what ways are you unkind to yourself? How could you realign your thoughts or action to more loving?  

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