Ahimsa: The Cosmic Law of Non-Hurting
Peace for one must be peace for all.
Prosperity for one must be abundance for all.
Food for one must be health for all.
Harmony cannot be achieved at any level while any form of life suffers.
It is the divine drive within us to strive for peace – to feel good, to have plenty of food, and to laugh and thrive in the fullness of life. Our natural tendency is to lead a life of non-harm, what my tradition calls ahimsa. Firstly, ahimsa is about cultivating personal awareness and consciously making this a primary goal in our everyday life. When we become accustomed to the remarkable achievement of culling awareness in our minds, we see how it immediately transforms our speech, and actions through restraint from causing injury, pain, or hurt to any living being at any time. In turn, physical health is safeguarded. We see beauty only from the untainted mind of ahimsa, the core reality installed in the heart. To experience this reality, first we must become awakened to the exploration of living through the conscious mind, thoughts, and action.
The Vedic way of living is rooted in the system of dharma, cosmic law. From the beginning, my tradition has advocated harmony among all people and all life forms, and this awareness has led to the ethical virtues that formed the Hindu lifestyle rooted in inner harmony, non-violence, and non-hurtfulness, as well as reverence for all forms of life and the protection of nature’s resources. But over time, many of us have learned to live by means of our minds, senses, and desires. We adopted the idea that compassion, harmony, and health can actually exist apart from the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the thoughts we think. We ignore the fact that life depends most of all on the principle of harmony for nature to replenish her sustenance, nourishment, and nurturance.
It is time we awaken to the wisdom of the living ahimsa and recognize that a mind filled with peace and happiness is the primary nourishment for humanity without which the body dies, breath desists, life dies, and earth dies.
Living ahimsa is living a life of non-hurting instead of a life of hurt. If the paramount karma of humanity is to manifest harmony during this transformational time, then we must first understand what it means to live healthfully and peacefully. Neither peace nor health can be gained without first cultivating inner harmony and health for all humankind. Peace for one must be peace for all. Prosperity for one must be abundance for all. Food for one must be health for all. Harmony cannot be achieved at any level while any form of life suffers.
For too long, we have contributed to the erroneous belief that diseases, like wars, are inevitable occurrences in our lives. This is false. Our basic nature is rooted in good health and inner harmony. If we are secure in this knowledge, we can easily attain these conditions. First, we must shift our thinking and our beliefs before we can influence the global consciousness. To mine the treasure trove of living in ahimsa, we must make the commitment to cultivate inner harmony our first priority. In so doing, we will reap abundant health, happiness, and prosperity.
Daily Practices for Peace
As we hone the mind of ahimsa, it will afford us the greatest opportunity for perfecting our Inner Medicine potential for healing. Taking pause to wind down, and contemplate each day garners a deep sense of awareness and keeps the mind alert. Eating wholesome foods in accord with the seasons preserves nature and life, the material that nourishes our personal, everyday awareness. Protecting nature and her species, recognizing the trillions of dollars of gifts she freely gives to us each and every day will connect us to consciousness.
We are composed of energy, elements, rhythms, vibrations, and memory. The five elements continually transmute into each other creating atoms, molecules, minerals, foods, and life forms. The mind is the keeper of the elements, and through its transformation the body of life is formed. Your relationship to your mind can unravel the vast mystery of your timeless karma.
*This article is adapted from Maya Tiwari’s book, Abundance: From Feast to Fast.