Nonviolence is the supreme law of life.

  Hindu proverb

The Sanskrit word for nonviolence is ahimsa: a means “not” or “without”; himsa is violence. This may sound negative, but in Sanskrit a word constructed in this way stands for a state both perfect and positive. Ahimsa implies that when every trace of violence is removed from the mind, what is left is our natural state of consciousness: pure love. Unfortunately, that love has been buried under layer upon layer of ill will and selfish conditioning. To have love bubble up to the surface of our life, all we have to do is systematically remove all those layers.

There are three kinds of violence: one, through our deeds; two, through our words; and three, through our thoughts. Most of what we call violence is in the form of action, and it is with our actions that nonviolence naturally begins. But as long as our minds harbor violent thoughts, that incipient violence will find its way somehow into our speech and behavior. The root of all violence is in the world of thoughts, and that is why training the mind is so important.

Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran

The homework is to first turn to Yoga sutra II.35 as translated by BKS Iyengar. He states that when one is established in Ahimsa “one’s aggressive nature is relinquished and others abandon hostility in one’s presence.”  Practice Ahimsa and see for yourself if others abandon hostility in your presence. Second, observe in general how thoughts precede action. Consider what it would take to create space between thought and action and what the implications would be.

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