Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Ahinsa is Life: Celebrating the Eight Days of Foregiveness
Introducing guest blogger,with a transcription of a talk by Pujya Gurudev Chitrabhanuji, my mentor for over forty years. He is the spiritual leader of seekers of peace world wide, who embrace Ahimsa, a main tenant of the ancient Jain tradition; a message most relevant for our times. Some Jains conclude the celebration Thursday evening. I'll participate at the Hindu-Jain Temple in Murraysville PA.
“As we meditate we come to know ourselves. We discover the sacred beauty of life.”
Ahinsa is not a philosophy. Ahinsa is not a religion. Ahinsa is a feeling of life. Many people say, “Ahinsa means don’t hurt anybody. Don’t kill.” That is one meaning, but it is secondary. The first meaning is: “Don’t hurt yourself.” When you hurt some body, you are already violent inside; you lose the feeling of amity. Ahinsa is the road from enmity to amity. From hostility to love! Ahinsa is a subtle thing. It cannot be grasped unless we go deep into ourselves. As we meditate we come to know ourselves. We discover the sacred beauty of life. Unless we have that experience, we may use the word Ahinsa, but it will only be lip service. It will just come from language; it will not emanate from experience. To practice Ahinsa, one has to remove the veil of ignorance about oneself. One has to experience life.
Once we have the experience, we make an inner commitment to practice Ahinsa in three areas: with our actions; with our words; and with our thoughts.
Every night we review our day and ask, “Did I harm myself? Did I have any negative thoughts and feelings toward anybody? Did I criticize anybody? Did I judge anybody?” As we develop the tenderness in ourselves, we see the tenderness in others and become more compassionate toward others. Oncewe see the sacred beauty of life in ourselves, we see that sacred beauty in others. We do not see that person as a man or a woman or a person from a certain sect orreligion. All these obstacles evaporate. Unless we see beyond the barriers, there won’t be peace in the world.
We may talk about peace; but inside we go on creating separation. Some say, “My religion is best; itis the only true religion. And, if you don’t start to practice my religion, you will go to hell.” Such dogmatism and bigotry is also a form of violence. When we practice Ahinsa,we try to understand what others are saying, what they are conveying, what they arefeeling. We listen beyond the words. Once you start practicing, your life becomes an inspiration. Wherever you go your eyes will speak; your feelings will speak; your words will speak; your actions will speak. And people will be changed. Not by your words, but by what they see. When we experience the sacred beauty of life, we experience peace. We inspire peace. Then, there will be peace. There will be peace.
Ahinsa and a meditative mind go hand in hand. Meditation is seeing things as they are. And when you see, you feel and you experience. A child is not thinking; it is experiencing. That is why it does not think that you are old or young, beautiful or ugly. It does not discriminate. It sees life. It connects with life. In meditation we get in touch with life; its depth, its joy, its beauty, its ecstasy. This is our source. But when we think, the mind either worries about the future or has regrets about the past. So, the present slips through our fingers. In meditation, we just feel and live. We are in tune with the experience of life. Life is the experience. Life is not permanent. Life is change. Whatever action comes, it comes from our source. That source we experience and expand in meditation. We tune in. We connect to ourselves, our body, our cells, our vibrations. And we progressively evolve in this change.
If we look at a ray of the sun, one ray, it is white and bright. But if it enters a prism, it becomes like a rainbow. The ray shows only one color, but now in the prism it appears in seven colors. What happened? It isa connection. The drop of water is hanging on the leaf. The sun ray touches it and you see the rainbow in thesmall drop of water You don’t see color in the rain, but there in that small drop it sparkles like a rainbow. The connection makes the change. When we meditate and have pure awareness, we see our own light. We see our own rainbow.
As meditators, we let the addiction to control melt away. We do not live in the future or in the regretful past, but in the pleasant present. Every moment life isvpulsating and moving. We connect each day with oursource and feel the dawn of life. If Ahinsa and a meditative state go hand in hand, then Ahinsa also opens us to the humanity within us and in others. One evening Tagore was writing at a table near the window in the light of his table lamp. He wrote for an hour and a half and it was getting late; he became tired and turned off the lamp to go to sleep. To his
surprise, Tagore saw that the room was flooded with moonlight. The moonlight had been in his room for hours, but he had not noticed. Only when he switched off the table lamp, did he see. And he writes, “My table lamp ego did not allow the God-like moon to flood into my life.” As long as we have the small ego lamp, we don’t see the flood of cool, natural light; our ego looks only for that which confirms our beliefs and ideas. “Oh, he speaks of something different from my
religion, my belief, my ideas, and my dreams...I don’t want to hear that.” But if you turn off the ego, you realize the very presence of God within you. Once this door opens, you become open. You can listen to others and learn. Everywhere you can see many viewpoints.
In the partnership of love and marriage, you don’t treat your partner as an object of pleasure. Your partner is a partner sharing love; is a partner sharing feeling; is a partner sharing your divinity. And when you look into his or her eyes, you realize that you don’t want to hurt your partner with criticism, finding fault, or blaming the family, You want to understand.
When people are not aware of who they are, they go on criticizing, pinching, nagging each other. They do it in the name of perfection, in the name of improvement, in the name of caring, in the name of helping. But violence is present because there is no understanding. No reverence. No love. When we have negativity and hate, do we feel joy? Do we feel love? Do we feel pleasantness? Do our eyes smile? Do our limbs dance? No! Negativity stifles, constricts and
In one Indian town, a woman came to see me. She told me that her mother was sick and wanted me to come and bless her. But I saw that this woman was very old so I asked, “You have a mother?” Yes,” she said. I was curious and asked, “How old are you?” She answered, “I am ninety.” Ninety? I was surprised. A ninety-year old daughter comes to take me to her mother? I asked, “How old is your mother?” “She’s one hundred and ten,” the woman told me. So, I went there. I saw. The mother’s skin was so soft and tender. I touched her and it was like touching the holiest, highest, purest soul. So peaceful! I asked, “What is the secret of your longevity?” And she said, “I love everyone. I don’t hate anybody. When anything happens I tell myself it
is my karma. Nobody is responsible for my pain. I am responsible for my pain.”
When we feel the divinity, we can feel the cool, refreshing light of love and joy. We understand our humanity; we understand neighbors, family, people, and the world in which we are living.
Love and Blessings,
Many Species - One Planet - One Future
I See You ~ Namaste ~
Yours in Wellness, Gratitude, Vitality and the Rhythm of Nature,
Suzen Sharda Segall
This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information:© Suzen Sharda Segall 2010, CelebratingtheInnerHealer.com http://www.wellnesstraining.com/ http://www.celebratingtheinnerhealer.blogspot.com/ Suzen Sharda Segall, Wellness Personal Trainer/Consultant, designer and facilitator of BodyArts Therapeutics, has provided an integrated approach to health and wellness for a wide variety of populations, internationally,for over thirty-five years