Ahisma, The Basic Basis For Meditation
- This is possibly going to be the next featured meditation technique
on Meditation Station. I hope you find it helpful.
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 Ahisma. Ahisma 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 Ahisma 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 Ahisma 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. Ahisma 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
yourself 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
Ahisma, 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. There are many very down to earth practical ways to remind
yourself. 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 breath, Witnessing, and the
principle of Ahisma. 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 Ahisma is about. You will be living it.
Then, a state transcendent 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. You
will cease all accumulation of "bad karma", and fill with purity and
holiness by the divine cleansing power of righteous action. And this
will be living in Ahisma, and that will be when you start living
happily ever after.