cloud

Ayurvedic Thai Yoga Therapy

Bliss

Ahimsa

Across cultural and theistic boundaries, one common thread continues to bind the diversity of ancient teachings: ahimsa. This Sanskrit word, which translated means non-violence or to do no harm, is a virtue held in the highest esteem whether of Christian, Judaic, Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, or Muslim faith. Fear, anger, and hatred blinds our ability to think and respond from a rational perspective, leading to continued instances of reactive violence and perpetuated cycles of karma. As self proclaimed dominant leaders of the world, we have an endowed responsibility to awaken and evolve towards realized oneness and compassionate living.

Suffering

There is much to be said for the strength of spirit to remain peaceful and positive despite suffering in the violence and anger surrounding us everyday. One would think that the hostile take over and occupation of Tibet by the communist Chinese government and the continued violence and abuse of its people would be just cause for a revolt or retaliation (see also www.savetibet.org). This peaceful Buddhist nation and their spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, have maintained their vow of nonviolence and look with optimism as their suffering illuminates other global acts of oppression and violence.

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved."
~ Helen Keller (1880-1968; author, activist, lecturer)

Fear

It is because we do not understand, we fear that which we do not know. Learning to communicate honestly at deeper elemental levels allows for the building of confidence and establishment of trust rather than the continued distillation of suspicion and fear. Through awakened consciousness and shared understanding we can learn to appreciate each other and evolve. If we were all non-violent, then there would be nothing left to fear.

"It is important to remember that not all hostages are chained within rooms. A lot of us are chained within our mythologies, within our history, within our fears, within our feelings of insecurity. And those chains, too, must be loosened."
~ Edward Daly (1963-present; writer, poet, painter)

Anger

Anger blinds us of our sense of reason and often leads to violent words or actions perpetuating further negative thoughts and emotional entanglement. The challenge here lies not in eliminating our anger and emotions, but in recognizing them and responding rather than reacting. It is within our ability to make frustrations constructive if only we take the time to seek their source and learn how to control our own emotions allowing us to communicate from a rational perspective.

"One way to deal with the anger toward one's enemy is to focus on the enemy's good qualities. On the one hand, our enemy creates problems for us. On the other, that very person gives us the opportunity to practice patience and tolerance, two qualities necessary for compassion and altruism."
~ Dalai Lama (1935- present; spiritual & political leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner, vegetarian)

Hatred

Hatred is a learned social behavior developed through the context of fear and anger. While interestingly, the opposite of hate is love which is an innate behavior we seek and return from the moment of birth. Wishing ill will upon another or thinking unkind thoughts is a direct reaction to our own emotions of fear and anger. Bad and evil are not a person or group of persons we can protect ourselves from or erradicate from the world, but are ideas and thoughts we have created within our own contextual reality. If you are going to hate, hate the sin not the sinner.

"Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers."
~ Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968; civil rights activist, youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate)

War

War, as a creation of man, is an effort to resolve conflict by resorting to the reactive means of violence rather than responding objectively to our differences and reaching a level of rational understanding. This continued mass propagation of "us" and "them" feeds anger and hatred to the point of dehumanizing entire nations of innocent people. One would think that our governments would realize after leaving behind generations of lingering violence that this archaic method of resolution is no longer effective in our modern world.

"In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them."
~ Thich Nhat Hanh (1926 - present; vietnamese Buddhist monk, Nobel Peace prize nominee, vegetarian)

Passive Aggression

Acts of violence aren't always forthright or evident in our everyday exchanges which is why it is important to be most vigil of ourselves. Jealousy, greed, lust, sarcasm, insults, labeling, rudeness, a nasty tone of voice, criticism, argumentativeness, judgmentalism, negativity, putdowns, frightening others, even the silent treatment are all forms of abuse and passive aggression. At the most subtle of levels it is clear that this internal churning of mind and emotions needs to be tempered with compassion if we are ever going to progress into a place of peace.

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these."
~ George Washington Carver (1865-1943; agricultural chemist, domestic refomer, artist, former slave, vegetarian)

Compassion

Compassion is an awareness and understanding of another's pain and suffering. This worldly existence is shared by all in adversity, whether human or animal, we possess the same feelings and emotions. It is our responsibility and gift as reasoning human beings to make a conscious choice and lessen this karmic cycle for us all rather than perpetuating and creating more.

"Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
~ Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926; humanitarian, political socialist, idealist, vegetarian)

Separation

War and the dinner table are excellent examples of how we have separated ourselves from the act of violence by paying someone else to do our killing for us. We have created entire aisles in the grocery store to select, purchase, "dress," and disguise the violence contained within a carnivorous diet. Our one connection with all of creation is through the experience of suffering and our shared desire towards contentment. It is suffice to say that there would be a greater reliance on plant based diets if one were forced to look into a frightened face and slit the throat of the animal they were about to eat.

"Alas, what wickedness to have one living creature fed by the death of another... in the midst of such wealth as Earth, the best of Mothers provides."
~ Pythagoras (569 BC-475 BC; philosopher, mathematician, vegetarian)

Evolution

Ethnic slavery, oppression of women, and exploitation of children has been practiced for eons across continents only to later be deemed immoral and inhumane. Just because something has been practiced for generations, thousands of years even, doesn't make it right. Continuing to move forward while blindly following customs that are no longer appropriate or applicable is just as noxious, as we ourselves are the lamb being condemned to slaughter.

"The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another, even the lowliest creature; to do so is to renounce our manhood and shoulder a guilt which nothing justifies."
~ Rev. Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965; German missionary, Nobel Peace Prize winner, physician, philosopher-theologian, vegetarian)

Lifestyle

Consumerism and consumption are acts of violence when there are tens of millions of people starving and homeless, yet one nation has the highest rate of childhood obesity and the greatest square footage of privately owned homes in the world. When there are wars being fought and young lives waged over natural resources, and the citizenry of that same one nation operates the largest and least energy-efficient vehicles on the market, we the people need to ask when is enough enough? Violent military action has been taken to ensure the protection of this materialistic lifestyle and mega corporations are further promoting this archetype abroad. The manner in which we choose to spend our money is a reflection of our perceived placement within society and our desire to maintain or adjust that position.

"Think of the poorest person you have ever seen and ask whether or not your next act will be of any use to that person. Civilization is the art of voluntary renunciation."
~ Mahatma K. Gandhi (1869-1948; Indian socialist, pacifist, lawyer, vegetarian)

Ahimsa, nonviolence in thought, word and deed is a level of compassion that can be found if only we take the time to still the mind and open our hearts. Making informed, conscious choices allows us to respond from a place of peace and knowing, rather than reacting out of fear and generations of misinformation. Love, respect, understanding, and appreciation for all others is vital for our continued spiritual evolution and global existence.

loka samasta sukhino bhavantu
May all being be happy and free.