We’re causing our own misery.
15 June 2021 | Mick Timpson
One of the most profound and perhaps misunderstood realisations that come from yoga science is- that we all get what we ask for.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not talking about those American mindset courses that fool you into thinking you can raise income, increase popularity and enjoy unlimited success in life just by wanting, thinking and wishing it all into your lap. It’s the thinking bit that more often than not stops any of that manifesting.
Getting what we ask for, whether consciously or not , or in other words reaping what we sow appears to be a natural process. This is the rule of karma (which actually means work or action) but it also aligns with basic universal Newtonian laws such as cause and effect, action and reaction etc…
In life reaping what you sow is mostly seen as a negative thing but there is a positive flip side too. This week’s Monday Morning Modern Meditation session theme was non-harming. Known in yoga science Ahimsa. This is basically a non-judgmental and forgiving attitude towards things and others. In the yoga sutras Ahimsa is the first and most important observance or Yama.
Ahimsa works in two highly interconnected ways. For example if you choose to behave in a harmful way towards somebody in your thoughts, words and actions you will find the feelings of pain that you wanted to direct to the other as an experience will also come back to you at some point after the event. In other words the universe is set up to bite you back as soon as you decide to act selfishly, thoughtlessly and aggressively. In many ways Ahimsa takes us right to the core of Modern Meditation practice. It says that everything is interconnected. You and I at our core are basically the same. So if I choose to harm others I am hurting myself, and that includes all living things.
On a global scale we can see this fundamental law is being played out everywhere all of the time. The modern human mostly assumes (with some new and notable exceptions) that he/she is separate and distinct from this law of interconnectivity. For example, as we continue to consume more than we need the result is hunger, poverty and climate change. If we continue to manipulate natural systems for profit the result is a pandemic. If we continue to farm and fish to the levels we are at, the world’s natural resources and systems begin to deplete which will end up in everyone and everything suffering.
If there is one thing I know about regular Modern Meditation practice is that you will automatically tap into the flow change. Not so much man made change for profit but a higher creative and intelligent change that flows constantly into the world. All we need to do is prepare our mind-body to download or upload (whatever it feels like for you) this flow. This is what Modern Meditation is for. And it feels like compassion, joy, connectivity and wholeness. This is essential to what Ahimsa is. But if you go the other way you will close it off. Ahimsa provides us with a choice and an opportunity to reset how we live and work.
As Sylvia Earle said this week:
“We just have to pull up our socks, look around and say: OK, how much do we really need and how much of it is a choice? How can we have a really prosperous world, living within the natural systems that make our existence possible?”
Like all the Yamas and Niyamas this feeling of non-harming will grow naturally as you practice. Your natural empathy and compassion will flow up from the inside. Someday when you choose not to eat meat or fish you realise that deeper part of you of inter-connection is working and flowing into your actions and thoughts. It can be an amazing liberating feeling to take back control over what you eat.
You might notice Ahimsa operating in most everyday actions. Not treading on that spider, letting the fly out through the window, carefully rescuing the bee that gets caught in your curtains.
Remember though that being compassionate and non-judgemental in your everyday life ( skills that emerge through your practice) doesn’t mean giving up and being a victim. We discussed in the session the best example of this ahimsa in action of course with people people like, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and of course Gandhi who said:
“It is quite proper to resist an attack a system, but to resist and attack it’s author is tantamount to resisting and attacking oneself. To slight a single human being is to slight the divine powers within us, and thus harm not only not only that being but with him the whole world”.
These people changed entire countries by choosing to non judge and not harm. So remember this – It’s quite possible that what distinguishes us from other living creatures is that we are conscious of being conscious. This puts us surely into areas of greater responsibility. While other living creatures respond to their nature and have no other choice, we have a choice.
We can decide to change the world and make it different.
See you next week for POWER (its international Yoga Day too)