Non-Violence. At first this seems like a no-brainer. After all, we all know we shouldn't run around hitting people and murdering our neighbors. But when we explore this topic a bit further we become aware of the endless subtelties in which violence can creep into our lives. For instance, what were you thinking this morning, when you were running late for work, about that little old lady driving 15 mph in front of you for three miles? I am willing to bet it was not a pleasant thought, possibly even violent, depending on whether or not you had had your morning coffee. Our disgust and impatience with others is a form of violence. Even if we keep it to ourselves, we are disturbing our own peace of mind and setting ourselves up for a doozy of a day. So do we squelch our impatience, try to ignore it, will it away? No, we explore. What is really going on here? Well, I slept an extra fifteen minutes, then spent too much time harvesting my artichokes on Farmville, now I'm late, and this lovely lady is not to blame. She's retired and is in no hurry. Lucky her. Tomorrow I better get up earlier.
If you are not buying that one, here is another one: Today was an interval running day for me at the gym. This means 1.5 minutes running as fast as I can while keeping good form, then one minute walking recovery, then another 1.5 minutes all-out. This goes on and on until you think you're ready to drop. Violent? Uh, yeah. Here is the dilemma: Do I quit while I'm ahead, saying, "Oh, this is really not good for my precious body", or do I get one or two more in. The reason for this exercise, after all, is to improve my cardio-respiratory capacity. You have to do the work to get the results. If I am on the verge of injury or illness, I must stop and protect the sanctity of my body. If I am just a wimp, then I am not doing myself any favors. Do you see where I am going with this? Honing our awareness means questioning our resolve from time to time, a little self-analysis, and a great deal of honesty.
Feel free to share your ahimsa stories - the more the merrier!