There’s a principle coined by Sri Swami Sivananda on developing love. It’s called the practice of Ahimsa, which is another name for truth or universal love. It’s divine and pure. Love and “selfless service” go hand in hand. “Man attains peace by injuring no living creature,” Sivananda taught.
But the practice of Ahimsa extends beyond the touchy-feely premise of cultivating mere thoughts and feelings of love. It’s a “non-harming” heart of a Yoga — and Hippocratic oath. According to the oath, it’s our duty because there’s one religion — the religion of love and of peace. There is one message, the message of Ahimsa.
So if you’re hard on yourself and push beyond limits without thinking of your body, your health or well being, you’re guilty of harm. You’re just not fulfilling your ‘duty.’ I’ve been guilty of this more times than I can recount.
What about others. Have you caused others pain or grief? Perhaps you choose wounded people because you relate to someone who you aren’t threatened by. Think about when you hurt such a person. Any willingness to harm or hurt another stems from fear. By enacting/cultivating a personality of non-harm, you diffuse and overcome fears — by understanding and owning them. Take responsibility for those fears. Branding them your b*tch! Not letting it dictate your vision or view. Be more mindful of clinging and rejecting, of your willingness to grapple with mind states, however painful the encounter — it frees you from suffering.
The kicker: Without a daily practice, or becoming cognizant of results, this simply won’t work. It takes work.
If you find this ideal too lofty — beware. This type of thinking can lead you down a slippery slope, succumbing to self-interest.
Ahimsa, or refraining from causing pain to any living creature, is a distinctive quality emphasized by Indian ethics. Ahimsa or non-violence has been the central doctrine of Indian culture from the earliest days of its history. Ahimsa is a great spiritual force.