16954Ahimsa (from our web site, Meditation Station)
- Jan 26, 2010This is a very much longer than just saying
"Be good. Do good." but may be beneficial
as it is a more in-depth look at Ahimsa. Enjoy!
Ahimsa: The Basis for Meditation (Technique #92)
No matter what technique you are doing while
sitting in "formal" meditation, or are applying
to the rest of your life (perhaps like mindfulness,
or breath awareness, or mantra, or whatever), the
first step in the traditional path of Raja Yoga,
the Yoga of Meditation, is recommended to be
Ahimsa. Ahimsa is usually defined as non-violence.
But this goes far deeper than the usual implied
characteristics of non-violence, like not fighting
physically, or taking another's life. It deals
with not causing any harm whatsoever to anyone or
anything in any way. This means no actions that
cause verbal or emotional pain, anguish, suffering,
or even slight discomfort to any living thing is
what is called for. Since the failure to help ease
pain is pain causing, inaction can also be against
this common to all religions direction. So, we are
pointed to not causing suffering and to eliminate
it when we see it. This puts us in a very win-win
situation karma-wise. The things that distract us
from our meditation the most are the would-of,
should-of thoughts that fill our mind with guilt
and anger. Actually living our life in an Ahimsa
way never feeds the fire of inner gut-feeling pain
that knowing we have done wrong causes and eliminates
the mental poison called "Regret" that drowns us
in a tidal wave of suffering.
The Ahimsa Meditation Technique
A way to live your life seems more than just a
technique, but meditation can be considered a time
of attention and awareness, and that is certainly
advantageous at all times, not just for 20 minutes
in the morning and 20 minutes at night. Ahimsa is
based on a few basic meditation principles:
1) We have an inner Witness that has been present
since birth and is here now, as you are reading
these words. The Witness is the awareness that can
see if you have any tension in your body, what your
emotions are feeling, and what your mind is thinking.
2) There are only 3 types of actions (called
Gunas in Sanskrit): Tamas (actions that are
ignorant, habitual, dark, characterized by inertia,
and generally negative), Rajas (also ignorant and
negative, but usually are selfishness-desire based,
and active actions), and Sattva (pure, righteous,
light, holy selfless actions).
3) By Witnessing what is inappropriate (Tamas and
Rajas actions), we can eliminate those actions that
cause suffering and flow infinitely better with life.
It works this way...
Before every action, there are words. Before words,
there are thoughts. Before thoughts, the Witness IS.
At one with the Witness, the meditator is aware of
the actions, words, and thoughts. If they are of an
unrighteous or other negative label nature, both
of passive and active characteristic (Tamas/Rajas),
which is known by a "gut feeling", intuitively,
the meditator changes them spontaneously, effortlessly,
into righteous events (Sattva). This is Self-control.
How to do this? By witnessing your life as it
takes place. Your breath is always present while
there is life. By placing your attention on your
breath, you are here, now, present, and can Witness
your life as it takes place.
Several times during the day, remind your self
to Witness your breath. Do this in as many ways
as you can. When you first get up, give yourself
a mental direction to stop every hour on the hour
and refocus on your breath, and on your silent
inner Witness. If you see yourself doing anything
that is contrary to Ahimsa, redirect your actions
to Sattvic ones. So, if you see yourself mentally
cursing out your boss, for instance, change that
into a prayer for the well being of all who live.
This is just an example. You can also remind
yourself by leaving post-it notes to yourself
around your house or job site that just say
"Witness" or "Breathe" on them.
While you're at work, call yourself on your home
phone and leave a message on your answering machine
that will serve as a reminder when you get home
from work and check your messages. Be creative,
devise a game plan. Find ways that you can remind
yourself more and more often to be aware of your
breathe, Witnessing, and the principle of Ahimsa.
Eventually, you will Witness your life as it takes
place, and the replacing of negative actions with
righteous ones will become an automatic part of
your life, and you will never again have to even
ponder what Ahimsa is about. You will be living
it. Then, a state of transcendence of all Gunas
(Tamasic, Rajasic, and Sattvic actions) occurs.
The meditator then abides in life without reference
or reaction to the illusion of singular identification,
and the unity with the ever present, infinite
underlying essence of all creation, and all activity
is realized. This event of all events can only be
known experientially, not emotionally, physically,
or intellectually. It is a gift of Grace only, and
not as a result of meditation, or by going through
your pain, or by bliss-full visions, and so on.
Meditation clears the pathway of all that obstructs
the vision of the Witness.
So... breathe, Witness, and when you witness Tamas
or Rajas in your actions, or the actions going on
around you, change them into Sattva by acting or
refraining from action whatever is appropriate. But,
be sure to apply the kindness that is one and the
same in Ahimsa to yourself, as well as to others.
Be gentle when you see something negative in your
actions, words, or thoughts. Just say "Oh well" to
yourself and go on with the process of changing
negativity to loving positivity. And this will be
true Ahimsa, and that will be when you start living
happily ever after.
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