I like reading “The Tree of Yoga” written by B.K. Iyengar. It says that the root of the tree of yoga is Yama. Yama means our attitude towards our environment and consists of 5 restraints. One of Yama is Ahimsa. It means no violence or no killing. In my understanding no violence and no killing means not harming or hurting myself, any other living creature or environment by either thoughts, words or deeds, consciously or unconsciously. I have been thinking and trying to do Ahimsa since I learned it in the teacher training. I thought I was doing pretty well. For example I became a vegetarian as I didn’t want to kill any creatures which are not necessary to be killed. Also it is less harm for my body. And when I clean the house I try to suck only cobwebs, not the spiders with the vacuum or not using any nasty chemical. I tried not to use words that hurt anyone. Of course no physical violence to anyone and etc.
But the other day I just realised that the way I have been approaching Ahimsa is lacking the most important process. That is to know what I have been doing to the other creatures. I started observing my normal daily life refer to Ahimsa. I wake up in the morning and as soon as I step on the floor I probably hurt many microorganisms. By using electricity I hurt the environment. By driving a car I create pollution and hit a lot of insects and etc. My every movement is hurting something. I can’t live without hurting something. Then I took myself back through the journey of my life. The first thing that came up in my mind were the memories of fighting my sister. I definitely hurt my sister by words and deeds. I probably hurt my parents by doing something naughty during my teenage years. When I was in the 20s and early 30s I hurt my body by drinking and smoking or lack of sleep. I hurt my husband when I blamed him by saying “why you can’t find thing in the fridge”. I hurt my body doing yoga without hearing the voice from my body. I hurt my kids by not listening properly when I was busy. And so on and on and on……….. I could not stop thinking about how much I have been hurting others in my life. OMG!! My life up until now has involved hurting others. I am so harmful! When I was aware what I have been doing I could see clearly what I should do for Ahimsa from now on. I just don’t want to harm or hurt anymore. I don’t want to use the rest of my life to repeat that. Of course, I can’t be a completely harmless creature, but I can be a less harmful creature. In order to do that, I need to be more conscious whatever I do. I should choose each single action by thinking ahimsa. I can use my wisdom to avoid harming other creatures rather than me being comfortable or convenient. For example when I drug the willie bin I can choose to walk on the concrete not on the grass, every time when I go to the toilet I can think how many sheet of the toilet paper I really need to use, I can dry tomatoes under the sunshine, not using the dehydrator when it is sunny. I should say, “Please do…” rather than saying, “Don’t do …” to my kids. I should close the door without making sound so that I don’t harm other people’s ears. I shouldn’t eat more when I am full. I should distribute my weight evenly on my feet when I do yoga. Wow, everything can be done correctly by thinking Ahimsa.
I used to think what I CAN DO for Ahimsa and then “I DID Ahimsa. It sounds active and positive, but this totally came from EGO. Doing something that makes me feel good but it sometimes makes me arrogant too. But as long as I am aware that I can’t live without harming others and think what I shouldn’t do first it sounds passive and not attractive but it keeps me humble. Also I can appreciate for everything. Now I understand that why Yama is the root of the tree of Yoga and the Niyama is the Trunk. We should understand what we shouldn’t do to others which is Yama first then we should do what we should do which is Niyama. For example if I clean my place by using the nasty chemical the place might become clean which is the Sauca, cleanliness, one of Niyama, but I do harm environment. But if we think what we shouldn’t do to our environment first and choose how to clean we are doing both Ahimsa and Sauca. Thinking Ahimsa leads us to the answer and what we should do too.
One morning I was standing in my backyard and watching trees. They were so peaceful. The trees don’t harm each other. They are just keep smiling with their wonderful flowers and giving their fruits generously, even if we cut them down or steal their fruits. They never complain or take revenge on us. Nature is always giving me the best answer on how we should live in this world.