Tag Archives: kindness

Ahimsa

220px-Ahimsa.svg
Happy Sunday yogis, friends, friends of friends, strangers, christmas elves…

In the spirit of the holiday season, I present you with two interpretations of ahimsa.
From Patanjali’s yoga sutras:
2.35 As a Yogi becomes firmly grounded in non-injury (ahimsa), other people who come near will naturally lose any feelings of hostility.
(ahimsa pratishthayam tat vaira-tyagah)

ahimsa = non-violence, non-harming, non-injury
pratishthayam = having firmly established, being well grounded in
tat = that, of his or her
vaira-tyagah = give up hostilities (vaira = hostility, enmity, aggression; tyaga = abandon, give up)

Given here is Kino, the fabulous youtube celebrity of Ashtanga yoga, and Sri Swami Satchidananda, spiritual teacher. The important takeaway here is what Ahimsa means to YOU. Kino and Swami cannot use their fame to ahimsa the evil out of the world. But if we, one-by-one, commit to kindness in our daily lives, we can!

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Alexander the Great Meets a Yogi

The Yogi

The Yogi

“When Alexander the Great was busy conquering the world far and wide, he came at last to India.

When he was about to return to his country, he remembered that his
people had asked him to bring to them an Indian yogi. They had heard
a lot about yogis and were very desirous of seeing one, meeting him,
hearing him speak and receiving his blessings. Alexander was told
that the yogis dwelt in the forest.

In quest of a yogi he went to a forest. Sure enough, he found one
sitting underneath a tree, in deep meditation. He waited patiently
until the yogi opened his eyes. They shone with a strange, mystic
light.

Reverently, Alexander requested the yogi to accompany him to Greece,
saying.

“I will give you everything you need or ask for. But, pray, do come
with me. My people would love to meet you!”

The yogi quietly answered, “I need nothing, I am happy where I am.”

This was the first time that anyone had turned down Alexander’s
request. He could not control himself. He flew into a rage.

And unsheathing his sword, he thundered, “Do you know who is
speaking to you? I am the great king Alexander. If you will not listen to me. I shall
kill you- cut you into pieces!”

Unperturbed, the yogi answered. “You cannot kill me. You can only
kill my body. And the body is but a garment I have worn. I am not
the body. I am that which dwells within the body.”

The yogi continued, “You say you are a king. May I tell you, who you
are? You are a slave of my slave!”

Stunned. Alexander asked. “How am I a slave of your slave?”

In a voice tender with compassion, the yogi explained. “I have
mastered anger. Anger is my slave. See, how easily you gave way to anger. You are a
slave of anger, and, therefore, a slave of my slave!”

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This delightful story reminds me to never become a slave to my negative emotions, and most of all my temper. Pain and difficulty will always try to spark a reaction from you, but it’s up to you to respond as an ‘Alexander,’ or a ‘Yogi.’ The more we stoke the fires of anger, sadness, and struggle in our lives the more power we give them. In this case, Alexander may not have seen his anger as a weakness, but the yogi shed light on the strong influence that it had over Alexander’s life. As yogis, our practice is a bulletproof armor to stop the external forces that persuade us to define ourselves by these negative emotions. And that is truly powerful.

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Tongue Tied – The Four Gates of Speech

1.  Is it truthful?

2.  Is it necessary to say?

3.  Is it the appropriate time?

4.  Is it a kind thing to say?

Think of how much more simple life would be if we only considered these four questions every time we spoke. I am an impulsive speaker-if it’s in my head it’s out my mouth. It may cut the amount I speak in half if I were to use this process of elimination with what I say. Oh dear.

I first read these in Anusara Yoga’s ‘ethical guidelines,’ and then later discussed them again in my own teacher training. I like these ideas because it’s so much more specific than saying ‘be nice,’ or ‘treat others how you would like to be treated.’ Those are gray areas for most people; what is nice, anyways? These are questions you can ask yourself. They are specific enough that they can narrow what you think to what you say down to the most honest, necessary, kind things. They are also broad enough that they can be applied to any situation. This is Ahimsa.

Real life examples:

1.  Is it truthful?

If I say that hideous shirt looks great when she tries it on we can all just go home and stop walking around this stupid mall!

“That’s not my favorite one on you, you should keep looking if you’re not positive.”

2.  Is it necessary to say?

That car nearly killed me making a right turn when I had the walk signal and he’s on his phone! Typical! What is wrong with you?! I’m going to go all furious pedestrian on this asshole.

A deep breath, an acknowledging wave, and a moment of gratitude that nobody was actually hurt…

3.  Is it the appropriate time?

I should definitely irrationally lash out and confront my boyfriend about this situation right now in front of all of these people!

Pause, collect yourself, and confront him at a time when you can both be honest and speak calmly.

4.  Is it a kind thing to say/Is there a kind way to say it?

Crap! My mocha is supposed to be no whip! The barista messed it up again and now I’ll be ten minutes late.

“Excuse me, whenever you get the chance can you scoop some of this whipped cream off for me? Thank you so much.”

Have a wonderful Tuesday.

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Ahimsa

balasana: kindness, humbleness, innocence

Ahimsa: kindness and non-violence towards all living things including animals; it respects living beings as a unity, the belief that all living things are connected.

“Be kind, for everyone is fighting a great battle” – Plato

“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of babies- “God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” – Kurt Vonnegut

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao Tzu

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” -Dalai Lama

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23

“Always find time to get love and give it right back.” -The Blue Scholars

BE NICE. 

 

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