18 March 2013

more on ahimsa/non-violence

So, having ascertained that ahimsa, non-violence, is the 1st step in yoga, what does that mean, how can we start??

We start with ourselves. This is crucial, for, when we try to impose ahimsa onto someone else else, we are using force, & this is himsa, violence, the opposite of ahimsa. We need to start by being non-violent to ourselves, be kind to yourself. And, we also need to not allow others to be violent, or mean, in any way or form, to us. We need to find ways to stop holding grudges, or resentment. This is not only violence to others, but also we are then being violent to ourself.

When we have grudges a lovely technique (not a yoga one!) is to, each day or evening, write out that you wish that........(add person/s name/s) never has ............(whatever they said/did to you that is causing the resentment) happen to him/her/them. I did it once for 2 weeks. 2 weeks!!! morning & night. At the end of that period, the person who gave me the technique, a lovely Narcotics Anonymous success, asked if I still had resentment. "No!" I answered. "I'm angry!" His reply: "That's great. It's about not holding resentment, not about not being angry." Wise words. Resentment, grudges, are often internalising situations...they cause us to seethe. the grudge grows. But when we progress to being angry about whatever caused the situation, we move into a more externalising mode, & are more likely to do something about the problem.

In the meantime, you can learn what it feels like when you are non-violent to yourself. Sit, eyes closed, body still, & allow yourself to relax & quieten. Become aware of the gentle & rhythmic breath moving inside the body, relaxing with each exhale.....continue. Move into the non-physical space (hridayakasha) of the spiritual heart. The spiritual heart is the heart chakra, anahata. Notice how the heart space gently expands on the inhale, & relaxes back to it's physical size on the exhale.....silently repeating 'so' on the inhale, 'ham' on the exhale.....continue..... Let go of expanding/relaxing the heart space, let go of so-ham, stay with the heart space....... Deep within this space we come close to the true essence of ourself.....allow the feeling of caring & goodness, goodwill come from the centre of the heart space & travel through your body/mind.........come to being aware of what this feels like..........withdraw the awareness from the heart space; now come to being aware of your whole body & slowly open the eyes.

This is a beautiful way to learn what the feeling & vibration of non-violence is like.

17 March 2013

the fast track in spirituality

Sometimes we meet someone who soars high, spiritually, faster & seemingly easier than others. What are their magic gifts?

According to the great yoga sage Patanjali (who lived long ago), there is only 1 big quality that you need, and this is it: the quality of earnestness. A person who is earnest in their spiritual journey has the correct attribute. We don't have to be smarter, richer, better looking, we just have to be earnest about what we are doing.

This, of course, applies to everything in life. Whatever you are earnest about, is easier to accomplish. We awake eager to fulfill whatever we have to do, when we are earnest about something. We find ways to make whatever we are earnest about, to work.

And, when we are earnest, as opposed to just desiring or being determined, we do whatever we can to stay on track. And this brings us to other attributes that we do, in order to keep going in the best way that we can.

One of these is constant practice (abhyasa), or, we keep doing our practices, we keep being earnest, and we come to realise that we need to do other things as well.

We need to be a decent person, who has integrity. We decide never to use the spiritual power that we have built up ourselves and also the power that we have received, in a harmful way. We decide not to hurt others (ahimsa is non-violence).

Although earnestness is a quality, and abhyasa and ahimsa are also definitely a quality, ahimsa is actually the 1st step in yoga. Non-violence is the 1st step according to Patanjali. Most of us have to come to this step, but I have met people who consciously aim to never hurt, hold grudges.

This single step is crucial, for one cannot truly grow spiritually when one does mean things to others, tell lies about others, steal.... these are all other steps we need to move away from and they all stem from himsa, which is violence.

When you come across someone who professes to be spiritual, or Highly Evolved, or a self-proclaimed guru, watch, listen carefully. Do they genuinely practice ahimsa?