Ahimsa and Growing Pains

Today I receive a livid email in my INBOX from a man who apparently had a very strong reaction to my blog and to me.   I have decided to write about it in hopes that we can all understand why we act and react as we do.   Apparently this person became so irate that he chose to write.    “YAY more YOGA books and rants from ASURAS!”      He went on in a violent manner with rancor and profanity.    I did not particularly want to read the rest of the email, but it was obvious that the writer was truly suffering.  So I continued to read.

This is an interesting example of why we suffer.   Truly anything can cause  one to suffer,  but suffering is due to the particular seeds one has  planted in his/her own mind.    I have written some things that irritated  this person to such an extent that he chose to lash out, instead of merely dismissing them.   The words he chose appear to be due to  a desire to insult and hurt me.   I  can feel how stirred up his energy was writing the email.    Perhaps, he wrote because he imagined what my reaction would be to the words and images he had chosen in his own mind.

What are we to do as yogis when someone acts out  violently  or attacks with an angry voice and profanity?   How should one react when  harshly criticized or called names?

Surely it is a good teaching and test of my practice  and sense of equanimity.   Especially, since I am sharing my thoughts and my self rather bravely, in the first place,  by writing a blog, so open to the public,  of  my inner thoughts and about my life.    I do the blog for my growth and to share with fellow aspirants on this particular path — nothing more.     The questions  I am asking myself today are:    1) is there something that I should be doing differently and  2)  what can  I do to help the unhappy person who critiques me so readily and mightily?   Surely this person writing with such sarcasm and anger is only reinforcing those negative tendencies in his own mind and in fact setting himself up to inflict more pain on himself in the future.   Fortunately for me, the email has become fodder for my own practice and the blog.    And the blog is to help others.

As yogis, we all know the importance of the first restraint (yama) of Yoga, ahimsa (non-harming).   If we are to be authentic on this path, we must always be kind to our self and to others.  We must harm no one, not even by accident or negligence.      And too, we all know the law of karma, that when you act in a way that hurts someone, a seed is planted in your mind which ripens later on creating suffering for you.    Whenever you are aware of yourself doing something or even thinking something the seeds of karma are planted and once planted must ripen.

If  I am  to be authentic on this path, I must always be kind to myself and to others and  harm no one, not even by accident or negligence.   And I must be aware that it  is more important to watch my own thoughts  than it is to monitor the thoughts or actions of others.    It is critical that I acknowledge and correct my wrong thinking  and mistaken thoughts about others as soon as I see them.  Only then can I slowly eliminate negative seeds and plant good ones.  When thoughts and images in my mind begin to cause energies to rise up within me that create negative emotions, I stop them immediately,  through self control and by conjuring up their antidote.   The antidote comes from realizing that my way of experiencing  anything that happens  is always due to what I expect will happen.    You can shape your experiences by correcting your expectations.   This works every time.

Self control is one of the best spiritual practices I have.   Self control is a means of protecting my self from my own impurities and those of others.  It is certainly a useful way of avoiding pain until I have corrected my own mistaken thinking.

I think, we do not generally do enough self study in Yoga.   We do asana and pranayama and mantra and meditate, but without self control the results are uneven.  We must work vigilantly to correct the mistakes of our egoism, such as, a sense of personal attainment or pride.  To accomplish this, we  need self control.

Life is short, this work is difficult and we all have alot of work to do and so I will keep bloging,  come what may, into my Inbox.

    • Johanne Abran
    • May 4th, 2010

    Bonjour Durga,

    I have been reading your blog since December. I just read todays blog. Many thoughts are in my mind but I do not always know how to express them because of language barriers and other things too. But I will say that I feel a lot of love and gratitude towards you.

    So, I will only say THANK YOU!

    Johanne Abran

  1. Well said, To be kind to one self and others, is the true essence of divinity. Love.

    • Mona
    • August 10th, 2012

    Yes you are right on. This work is hard. So so difficult and there is not a lot of time. I need to stay on track and I am hungry for peace and love.
    So I’ll read on.

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