Peace, Not War

Ahimsa अहिंसा

Been seeing this word being thrown around a lot recently..

Literally, the word translates as non-harming.

But Ahimsa is not simply about causing physical harm. It is a practice about liberation (from suffering) and is about attitude of the mind, not just literal acts of violence. It is all-encompassing. Most of us do not participate in violent physical actions - this is the easy bit of the practice, but most of us do throw angry words, thoughts and looks.

Words as we know, carry shakti- energy. They can have long and far reaching consequences. When i meet people who are very critical and cynical in their outlook, i often wonder if this is because that is all they themselves receive in their lives, that they know no other way.. Words can cause harm for a lifetime and if it is causing a chain effect, then, many lifetimes!

Thoughts too have shakti. It may seem like keeping our thoughts to ourselves will not harm anyone, but i think negative thoughts have an impact on our own wellbeing. And of course, ahimsa is also about non violence to ourselves (first!)

So..the perfect practice of ahimsa is rare, if at all possible. I do not have a problem with people teaching about ahimsa but when people preach ahimsa in an angry way, it is rather ironic.. and i am trying to say this is with ahimsa in mind :-D

The practice of Ahimsa pushes us to consider our words, thoughts and actions towards any man or beast, especially when it makes us uncomfortable. It is not as simple as being a vegan. It is - can we be vegan and be kind to the farmer. Can we love dogs, fight against the dog meat trade without death threats? Can we continue to work through love when the darkness is pushing with all its might to fill our soul with hate...

This year, i had the privilege of meeting the founder of Soi Dogs, John Dalley. One of the things he spoke about was about fighting the dog meat trade. I was moved by how he spoke about this with kindness and non-judgement, even though he is determined to end this suffering. There was so much clarity in his vision.

Listening to him reminded me that change happens through love. It sounds all hippy-dippy but it is more effective than spreading hate. I find often times when people are busy arguing over right and wrong, the argument gets more attention than the issue. Whatever it is we want to save- dogs, sharks, elephants, trees- we need to inspire more people to love & care about them; take dogs into their homes, pay to see elephants, sharks, whales in the wild, walk amongst trees, be kind to the planet that sustains us...

Mahatma Gandhi popularized ahimsa and shows us that change is possible through non-violence...

Happy practicing...

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