The world is such that some things we hear these days are beyond our comprehension. If I dare to say, even rudely awakening.
Video of a human being beheaded in an open desert is shared widely via the media. In the name of religion, we are treating others inhumanely. We have all been slowly accustomed to view suffering as normal.As part of something that happens to us occasionally and to another person in another part of the world.
Something very dangerous is happening to humanity at large. We are slowly deviating from our true nature of a compassionate being. Many of us walk the planet everyday not knowing this is our true essence. This can change a person or break a person. And the worst of it all, we are unconscious of it.
We surrender to our body’s fright or flight mechanism by fighting even harder. We want to put up a brave front. We convince our mind that we are strong and further inflict injury to our mind and heart by not taking a break. Like a rubber band being stretched to its maximum capacity, we stretch and stretch further. Somewhere in between, all hell breaks loose and we crumble like a cookie.
We burn out.
If only, we paused.
If only, we were a tiny bit kinder to ourselves and others before that breaking point.
As the great master BKS Iyengar wisely said
“ Yoga teaches us to cure what need not to be endured and endure what cannot be cured”
Kindness in this modern, rushed, technological times has become a luxury. Count yourself lucky if you are helped in times of distress. In ancient days, our parents and ancestors were brought up practicing kindness. These days, we contemplate on kindness. We think twice. We retreat into our own shell taking care of only our home, our family and our loved ones.
Patanjali’s first yama or rightful self-restraint is ahimsa which simply means non violence.
The generally known term of ahimsa was always denoted to vegetarianism but digging in deeper into the real meaning of it, one can relate ahimsa to everything.
If I may put it to you very simply, it means what you think, say and do all resonates with this one word.
Yoga is nothing but an excellent experiment to prove this fact in a multidimensional way.
It means you think kindly of yourself and others.
It means you speak kindly to yourself and others.
It means you behave kindly to yourself and others.
Sometimes, it also means guiding another being into their own path of consciousness although that person may not be aware of it.
And the best place to begin is with you.
I have always been a believer of self love. I think that is ultimately the highest form of ahimsa. To love yourself. Only when you have practiced this, you are then able to love another being because you come from a place of self respect and realization that the world around you is your mirror image. You are ultimately the very person you serve with or without kindness.
From the practice of asanas, I have learnt that I should be kind to myself and respect my body’s own boundaries. If perfection of being in a posture was what I was aiming for, the pain and discomfort that comes from my muscles and joints was a reminder to be mindful and then let go of that perfection to avoid injury. I became kinder to my body. I stopped pushing my body to listen to me and I started listening to my body.
In being curious of experimenting how my breath can control my emotions, I practiced deep breathing at traffic light stops and instantly realised that I became calmer to reacting to a driver who cut into my lane without any indication. I became aware of the pause in between my breaths and escalated it to towards pressing the pause button when I was confronted in challenging human relationships. I reduced hurling words and raw emotions over time. I let it pass. Just like passing clouds and watched my life change.
Perhaps the best form of non-violence happened in my mind, with continued devotion towards yoga, I rehabilitated my thinking pathway. I rewired my brain’s neural network to be positive so that everything else can be responded positively as Sadhguru would say “I have the ability to respond every time and that everything is my responsibility.”Break it down. Responding- Ability.
Eventually, giving love for the sake of loving with no thought of its return became effortless. Love seems to be oozing out and spilling everywhere and along the way touching some other lives before coming back to me and nourishing me even more. In a way, it was like renewable energy.
Love comes in many forms.
So extend it through a smile, a hug, a genuine compliment, an inspiring deed or the selfless act of service.
The best part of it is that if your heart beats, then you can practice this form of ahimsa. That is the only requirement; for you to be alive. And when you do just that, it makes you more alive.
Label: Yoga Yama