Ahimsa so far….
I really think that everything is in the intention. Intention brings awareness and awareness sprouts knowledge.
Just being aware every day that I am researching, practicing and observing the practice of ahimsa has given me tremendous insight into how often I cling to such fleeting moments and let them aggravate me. Being aware that I am becoming unsettled in a situation or environment has somehow created a new pattern in my mind, at first it was more subtle, things like noticing if I am talking about someone or even thinking about someone in a negative way and then asking myself ‘why is this bothering me’, ‘why am i giving this my energy?’ and then very quickly I am able to drop the thought and focus on something else – usually either my breath, a song or a chant. This then led me to start using the ‘noting’ technique, of just making a mental note of when I am experiencing something that is perhaps the opposite of my intention, for example, while trying to practice asana, I often start thinking about food – mental note – thought! Move on….
Then I found myself observing the violence in others, the way they talk about themselves, compare themselves to others or act in unconscious behaviours.
I also was not really very surprised to find the himsa (violence) in the yoga shala. From bad etiquette towards teachers and other students that seemed to come from a place of ego, to students, especially first timers, pushing themselves into positions that they are not ready for. I’m by no means clear of this, it’s only been through the practice in the last three weeks, that I feel a little less attached to my practice, for wanting more postures and not to use variations. It has been through my research, from the talks of buddhist monks, motivational speakers, respected authors, yoga teachers, yoga students within my social circle and philosophy talks I’ve been attending that I understand, yoga is not asana, it is a tool to get us to Samadhi, to awaken, to understand the illusion of life. Why do I want more postures? Is it for my personal development, surely not because I’m still yet to integrate a regular meditation into my practice, so is it my ego – I think yes!
The only reason for me to want more postures when i still can’t bound comfortably in Marichyasana or straighten my legs in Nivasana, is for my ego! What else would desire something difficult, complicated and nonsensical for mostly aesthetical reasons? MY EGO!
So in my pursuit to be less violent in my practice I also started to understand some more of about Satya – truthfulness and Santosha – contentment. Learning to be honest with myself regarding my progress and being content with my phase in the journey. I learnt to listen to my body, every morning, check in and understand my strengths and weaknesses, listen to my breath to understand where I’m struggling because I can’t breathe properly and then work there. To set an intention every morning which is always the same:
‘Ganesha, remover of obstacles, help me to remove my fear, my ego and stagnant energy, so I can create space within myself, space to love and share that love with those who i see and love, both near and far.’
Practicing ahimsa has had an immediate affect on my mindset, my patterns, my intentions and my space – finding joy in every moment, practicing not to associate attachment or aversion to my experience, so I can try and see it for what it really is, what it will teach me and where it will take me.
For me, this is so profound, 10 weeks of training and 3 weeks into my new tapas and every day is another realisation about the illusion of myself!