Ahimsa, or Yoga Is Not Something I Own

May 18, 2010

I often hear people refer to their more virtuous behavior characteristics as something they own with pride. “I’m a nice person”. “I help people”. “I do yoga”. “I’m a vegan”. Ahimsa is non-killing, non-violence, and it is a dedicated awareness of the wholeness of Life, becoming a value of your life.

It isn’t just a physical level non-killing. If you are a vegetarian but kill the hearts of people with cruelty, cold glances and destructive, abusive words, you are a violent person and the vegetarianism does nothing for you in terms of ahimsa, in terms of all of Life. Attacking, invading the psyche of other people, most probably fueled by your “I-ness”, your own ego, you may not kill physically but you are killing psychologically, hurting by eyes, hurting by words.

Many people in the modern world addicted to smoking cigarettes, another ego weakness, somehow hypocritically choose to be vegetarian or vegan with a spiritual purpose. They carry their good deeds as badges toward validation of the goodness of their characters, missing the point completely. You don’t do one thing and then do another that is the opposite and take credit. These people may as well just eat all the meat they can and kill the animals themselves; the resultant action would be the same in terms of non-killing, but probably more in line with honesty. Ahimsa is one of the Yamas that are built upon wholistic living, an intelligent, harmonious relationship.


3 Responses to “Ahimsa, or Yoga Is Not Something I Own”

  1. Diane said

    I *heart* your non-mincing of words.

  2. Gavin said

    I agree with you, however, everyone has their own path and individual level of awareness which takes them back to self. As a youth in the 70’s – -I was brought up holistically, never received shots and always ate very well (juicing, raw foods, free range meat, meditation). My decision to be vegetarian is based on my understanding and love for my family — care in nurturing other souls bound by the awareness that ‘meat is murder’. I am open to eating meat – however, my immediate family is not. Being the sole provider of their daily intake – the respect and admiration for their principles inspires me to keep with this otherwise hippy and hypocritical tradition.

    I began meditating when I was 12, and turned to TM and yoga for many years to achieve clarity, which I can honestly say I owned.

    The smoking aspect is pure ego. I quit smoking for 18 years, only to pick it up again to cope with depression and failure in understanding longevity and comradery. When someone you love unconditionally dies right in front of you, it leaves an impact so deep that substance abuse does factor into being, and the challenge seems small in comparison to achieving clarity.

    At a very young age I was introduced to paradox paradigms and unfortunately now live my life in reaction to this forced spiritual consumption. My true nature is free of all this dis-ease, and I appreciate recent times poisoning my system in order to better understand the common man.

    None of these things -vegetarianism – drugs – smoking – drinking – do I identify with. They are merely aspects noting negative traits bestowed upon me that diminish humility and engage my being with a greater sense of ego. With this awareness — I am free of all of it.

  3. metalyoga said

    So here we are, a year and a half later, are you really free of it? Are you free of your aspects, that with your awareness, are so free that you still were too weak to say “No”? Perhaps you have gained the strength by now, and therefore the awareness of freedom? Can you read your words and still stand behind them?
    It is ok to have these battles with your ego, as it will always tell you little secret ways to have it all, and you did a great job with the above words to make it sound plausible to do anything your ego desires. The importance is in how the war is won.

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