Ahimsa

Ahimsa, "harmlessness," is a traditional discipline of yoga, but it is much more than the absence of harm or destruction. It is the absence of desire to harm or destroy.

Achieving ahimsa is achieving a neutral state, a zero point on the spiritual spectrum.

"Aw, he's harmless," is a strangely derogatory phrase commonly heard in daily life. But in the spiritual sense, harmlessness is no small accomplishment.

We have the opportunity to be harmless day by day, minute by minute. From there, which way?

  1. Observe all the passing desires of the heart, whether these are acted upon or not.
  2. Note their position on the spiritual spectrum.

Ahimsa can also be thought of as impartiality. Here is a "walking meditation" for the practice of impartiality.

On watching contests, sports events, or nature shows:

  1. Cheer for one side without becoming emotional over the outcome. Enjoy the game, appreciating the good catches, good hits performed by skillful players on either side.
  2. Change sides at half time.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain to fall on the just and the unjust. Be ye impartial as your Father in heaven is impartial.

This passage is usually translated as an exhortation to be "perfect," but the preceding verses (43-47) deal throughout with non-selective goodness, kindness, and graciousness. The Greek word used is teleioi, meaning "complete," "mature," "fully-formed," or "not broken into parts" — or as we say in English, "impartial."

Compare with Latin integer, meaning "whole" or "complete," which became integrite, "soundness," "wholeness" — now familiar in English as integrity.

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