Our journey to peace continues with Ahimsa (non-violence) – the first of the five guidelines set forth in the Yama, the first limb of the 8 Limbed Path in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
Ahimsa is so foundational to living our yoga (and we are trying to keep this series short and sweet) that we have broken that down even further into the basic tenets of Ahimsa.
Last week we talked about how violence (in non-physical forms) may be showing up in your life. This week we’ll begin to look at ways we can grow our capacity to be non-violent as we experience everyday challenges.
The first step: kicking fear to the curb.
It could be argued that fear is the emotion most of the world’s problems and challenges are based on.
War, abuse, dictatorships, and the list could go on. These acts of greed, control and insecurity can all be traced back to one root emotion: Fear.
And fear creates violence. Physical or otherwise.
You need instinctual fear to survive dangerous situations. But there’s a difference between fear that keeps you alive and fear that keeps you from living.
The fear that keeps you from living is simply an emotional reaction in your mind to the unknown, the unfamiliar. That fear lives only in your imagination. You are in total control of it!
For example, you may have a fear around inversions. Say, headstand. It’s unknown to you. Unfamiliar territory. Going upside down when you are so used to being right-side-up. But the breakthrough that happens when you kick that fear to the curb, practice headstand-ing, and pop right up, is life-changing. Just ask anyone who has faced that fear and won!
Seeking out situations, experiences and people we would normally avoid out of fear provides incredible opportunity to learn new things about ourselves and about life.
As we grow from these new, once fearful experiences, our world-view expands, our tolerance of others grows, our minds and hearts open wide and … we have less need to be violent.
How do we do this? Find our courage. Not the courage to be fearless but the courage to experience fear without being paralyzed by it.
How do we find our courage? First, try facing a few small fears head on. Pick one and go after it. When you face it and win, it will change you.
Growth won’t happen in your comfort zone. Keeping yourself “safe” will only keep you stagnate.
Let fear be the stimulus to develop your courage.
Next week: We continue with the basic tenets of ahimsa and address creating balance in our lives. Not the tree pose kind, the get more space and live your life kind. 🙂 Stay with us on this path to peace!