Friday, May 1, 2015

A message from Rachel Wilson...

A life of non-violence. 

Ahimsa, which can be translated as "non-violence", is the first of the yamas, ethical foundations that make up Patanjali's eight-limbed path of Yoga as outlined in the Yoga Sutras.  According to Mahatma K. Gandhi,
"Ahimsa means not to injure any creature by thought, word or deed. True ahimsa should mean a complete freedom from ill- will and anger and hate and an overflowing love for all. Ahimsa is the attribute of the soul and therefore to be practiced by everybody in all the affairs of life."

In the Sutras themselves, Patanjali addresses the origins of violence and the method to put it to rest.  "Negative thoughts give rise to violence...they are caused by greed, anger or delusion...Through introspection comes the end of pain and ignorance." (Yoga Sutras II.34)  

According to Patanjali, we do not have to identify with our negative thoughts, and can turn our focus from existing programming and patterns, to intentionally focus on compassion, self-study and care for humanity.
In "An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life," The Dalai Lama describes this type of active engagement with the prinicple of nonviolence:
"Nonviolence does not mean that we remain indifferent to a problem. On the contrary, it is important to be fully engaged. However, we must behave in a way that does not benefit us alone. We must not harm the interests of others. Nonviolence therefore is not merely the absence of violence. It involves a sense of compassion and caring. It is almost a manifestation of compassion. I strongly believe that we must promote such a concept of nonviolence at the level of the family as well as at the national and international levels. Each individual has the ability to contribute to such compassionate nonviolence. 

How should we go about this? We can start with ourselves. We must try to develop greater perspective, looking at situations from all angles. Usually when we face problems, we look at them from our own point of view. We even sometimes deliberately ignore other aspects of a situation. This often leads to negative consequences. However, it is very important for us to have a broader perspective.

We must come to realize that others are also part of our society. We can think of our society as a body, with arms and legs as parts of it. Of course, the arm is different from the leg; however, if something happens to the foot, the hand should reach down to help. Similarly, when something is wrong within our society, we must help."

I wish for everyone in the om my yoga community to have wonderful month and soak in the beauty of Spring.  I hope to see many of you at one or both of the studios and always appreciate your support when you attend our classes and events.  I pray that this month, your inner peace runs so deeply that your compassion spreads out into a world in deep need of love and healing.

"Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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