Ahimsa — High Horse Dismount

I’m still shaking off the dismount from my high horse. I mindlessly climbed up there an hour ago, totally lost all oxygen to my brain … & coming down is a hard hit.

I feel like I have more of these moments than the average person. Moments when I think I’m right, have a better handle on the truth, & take it upon myself to enlighten someone else.And what’s more, I deeply desire to avoid conflict. So I find myself mindlessly using passive-aggressive techniques to convey “my” ever-so-correct point-of-view.Then (thankfully, & hopefully sooner than later) I realize where I am … precariously atop an imaginary pedestal.And so begins my descent back to myself.

As I prepare for the Full Moon Hatha Practice this weekend, the concept of ahimsa comes forward. Ahimsa is one of the yamas in the 8-limb path of Yoga. (Learn more about the yamas here.) Rolf Sovik of The Himalayan Institute explains:

In Sanskrit the prefix a means “not,” while himsa means “harming, injuring, killing, or doing violence.” Ahimsa, the first of the yamas and the highest ranking among them, is the practice of non-harming or non-violence. This is the key, the sages tell us, to maintaining both harmonious relationships in the world and a tranquil inner life.At a deeper level, ahimsa is less a conscious process than a natural consequence of yoga practice. As our journey unfolds, it leads to awareness of the peaceful and enduring core that is our true nature; the desire to prevent harm is a spontaneous expression of that awareness. We begin to realize that the inner self in others is identical to our own inner self, and we wish no harm to come to any being.

The name of this full moon — Full Hunter’s Moon — may seem antithetical to nonviolence. And yet how can we apply non-harming in our yoga asana practice … & then OFF our mat to things we are passionate about, to the goals we “hunt,” or the unjust systems we seek to dismantle?

Ahimsa applies not only toward how we act outwardly, but to how we think inwardly. My thoughts today conveyed a subtle form of harming, not only toward the person who’s actions I was judging, but also toward myself. Even now, my internal state is unsteady after my “high horse ride.”I hope I get the chance to meet this person again from the “peaceful & enduring core that is my true nature” … that is our collective true nature according to Yoga.May we use the tools of Yoga to ground ourselves in our True Nature & Ahimsa. And when you or I do take to our high horse, may our descent be quick & yet full of grace … with the will to begin again. And again.

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