As a practitioner of the principle of ahimsa, albeit a poor practitioner, I have had to acknowledge the hypocrisy in my life as I move closer to embracing certain qualities. By definition, Ahimsa relates to non-harmfulness. Meaning that as a practitioner I do not wish harm to any living creature or even to any lifeless object. The principal is about the intent, rather than the action itself. It is an attitude of universal benevolence.
To practice means to have the intent to better the craft.
The practice of ahimsa is a long stride for me. I wax and wane on my commitment toward liberation and freedom from conflict. I have long taken the position that I cannot sell what I do not use, in other words, I cannot teach the concept of ahimsa unless I embrace that attitude in my thoughts, actions, and words.
According to Swami Kriyananda, “Ahimsa, rightly understood, is the ultimate weapon; it turns one’s enemy into a friend, thereby banishing the possibility of further conflict. In the practice of yoga, it is important to understand that the same life flows in the veins of all creatures.”
In my day-to-day, I find myself brandishing resentment like a badge of honor. I blame others for not meeting my needs and providing me with the liberty I need to justify self-care. Rather than taking a position of self-love and self-respect, I routinely engage in behaviors that cause me harm for fear of disappointing someone else. That action in and of itself is harmful.
The principle of Ahimsa should be practiced in the subtle body as well as in the visible body. To harm in any way, even in the slightest way through disrespect, in ill-thought, or contemptuous action will cause me harm as well as the object of my negativity.
The perfect practice of Ahimsa is very rare.
I recently decided to step away from a career I love. I did not have a plan going forward. I only knew that I was engaging in harmful behavior by trying to keep on keeping on. My body and spirit were broken.
When I am practicing being me, mindfully, I immediately feel the repercussions of my brutish attitudes. I am aware when I have become contemptuous of my humanness. I know when I have stepped out of bounds with others.
Ahimsa allows me to be compassionate without judgment of my self or others and guides my right action so that I do not contribute to the suffering of myself or others.