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Yoga Sutra of the Day

November 7, 2009


Banksy's work in London.

Ahimsa pratisthayam tat samnidhau vaira tyagah.  When you cease harming others, others will cease to harm you.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         -Yoga Sutras, II:35

For me, this sutra has to do with changing the entire outlook of how you face the world.  Are you fighting against the world, waiting for the everything to come down on you?  Or are you a part of the world, supported by the earth, blessed to be breathing air, tasting the bounty and enjoying the landscape?  When you take harm out of your life it changes the way you see the world and it begins to breakdown that veil of separateness between you and everyone else.  If the world around you is not separate from  you, there is no reason to be aggressive or cause harm because it would only be hurting yourself.  You can see yourself in others and understand that we are all in the same boat, trying to to be happy and free, and compassion blossoms.

Ahimsa goes beyond just physical non-harming, it means not thinking negative or harmful thoughts about anyone or anything.  This is a practice of training your mind and changing the way you see yourself in the world.  And when you begin to harness non-harming, you radiate harmony.  You experience kindness because that is what you are becoming.  Do something for someone else without expectation, and create kindness in the world.

Sharon Gannon writes in this month’s focus at Jivamukti:

Compassion is an essential ingredient of ahimsa. Through compassion, you begin to see yourself in other beings. Compassion trains the mind to see beyond outer differences of form. You begin to catch glimpses of the inner essence of other beings, which is happiness. You begin to see that every single creature desires happiness.  When you recognize that cows, pigs, and chickens, as well as all animals raised for food, want happiness just like you do, you recognize kindred souls. The distinction between you and other beings wears thin as awareness begins to dawn.


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