Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ahimsa & Peace

Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word which is generally translated into non-violence in thought, word, and deed and is the first limb of the eight-limbed path of Ashtanga yoga. However, as an avid believer that your thoughts create your reality and you attract that which you place your attention upon, I choose to think of ahimsa as a call to promote peace, rather than to merely be non-violent.

For me, living ahimsa involves recognizing that we are all part of a Universe filled with infinitely beautiful and unique entities. Learning to give peaceful love to yourself, the planet, others and animals allows me to feel a deep sense of peace within my heart. This is because when you give love and peace you receive it as well. Therefore, the best way to advocate peace in your heart and in the world is give peaceful love to all.

But, even with this in mind, it can be difficult to have peaceful interactions with those you love. This is explain by western scient and yogic science, which both agree that the mind creates grooves that make it more difficult to change old habits. Luckily, that's not the end of the story. It is possible to create new paths in the mind. Changing your habitual thinking requires space to observe yourself, the situation, and the other person objectively. It also requires focus.

Daily meditation allows you to train your mind to observe your thoughts more objectively and focus your attention on positive goals. Using a mantra or repeated phrase such as "I am Peace" or "Om Shanti," which means peace in Sanskrit, can help you begin to identify with your true loving and peaceful Self. Once you have created a mediation practice, you will be able to approach challenging situations from a place that will allow you to ask yourself the following:
(1) What would Peace do in this situation?" and (2) "Will my actions promote or hinder peace in the world?" So I as you right now, how awesome is that?!

It would be disingenuous for me to say I have achieved perfect peace in my life. But, since I have begun the practice of yoga, meditation, and spiritual study, I have become much more peaceful towards others and within my heart. I am greatful for my growth, confident in my evolution and patient with the process. As you proceed on your personal journey, don't forget to be peaceful and patient with yourself, appreciate your growth and be thankful for the ability to see where there is room for even more growth.

By changing yourself, you are changing the world. And as I write these words, and you read them we are promoting peace. So be inspired, promote peace and, as Ghandi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Om shanti,

Ronda Jyoti Litwin