From a fall teaching at the Lighthouse Center
The Way of Ahinsa
Today our meditation is on Ahinsa. Meditation is to experience peace. Peace is possible only in the presence of Ahinsa. So, Ahinsa is the need of our journey. What is Ahinsa? Ahinsa is feeling reverence for all life.
A for Awareness
“A” stands for awareness. We need to see our own Self in the mirror of consciousness. And seeing ourselves, we draw our own portrait of what we want to become and of what we really are. If we go lovingly closer to our Self and experience our Self, we will be able to experience peace with others as with our Self. We will experience our true Self. “I am sentient energy; I am the one who is animating everything. So, why do I not animate my Self and those who come in touch with me?” Then we peacefully portray our own picture in harmony with the universe. We experience that “I am animating the body, I am animating the senses, and I am animating whatsoever I touch.”
This is the journey to self-realization. Though we often resist this, this journey has to start with ourselves. But the light of self-realization can be dazzling as even daylight to a person who has been sleeping for a long time in the dark. One has to train one’s eyes to be ready to take the light of such realization, and we do that with meditation and increased awareness.
As we become aware of our loving sentient energy, we go deeper and deeper to experience that “I am here to know my ‘I’-ness.” When it dawns, we realize our oneness with all life. This is Ahinsa.
H for Harmony
Then “H” comes for harmony. “I will be a harmonious presence on this earth and will cause no harm.” This is respect for all life. That can happen with Reverence for Life.
Vibrations of violence beget violence. If we focus on violence, then violence will be our habit. But if every day we think, “I am going to experience the presence of peace,” we start feeling peace.
Gradually we engulf ourselves with peaceful vibrations. If we live in this way, this will become our shield. This will become our support. This will also become our protector from outside violence.
Vibrations of violence or vibrations of peace do not come from outside; they come from inside. In the beginning, there will be some kind of conflict, but respect your life. Say, “I am not going to create any violence to myself.” And if any negative thought of hate, anger, resentment comes, say: “No, I don’t want it. I am peace.” Tell those violent thoughts, “Get out.” Take them out just as we tell children, “Please, don’t make noise; I want to sleep.” In the same way, we tell our mind what to do. Sometimes it is easy to tell others, but it is much more difficult to tell our own self.
Violence percolates from negativities. Each individual has to take charge of oneself and create harmony in oneself. Unless we create peace inside, we won’t be able to create peace outside. To tell others we use words but to tell ourselves, we have to have the experience of peace. It is easy to say words, but it is a challenge to tune into the feeling. To connect within, we meditate and experience the peaceful presence of Reverence for Life. This way, the practice of harmony gradually permeates every cell of our being.
I for Integration
Then the ‘I’ in Ahinsa is for integration. Integrate everything: body, mind and soul. Let us bring equanimity, equality and consideration to all races, all religions, all ethnic groups, and all life. Take out the division from your mind. Take out: “She is a Christian. He is a Jew. She is Chinese. He is Indian.” These are all walls of conditions. These walls are not outside; they are built inside our mind. These walls are separating us from others and the presence of our own life.
Integrate! Be integration! We need a heart which integrates all, a heart which understands that all want to live, all want to have peace, all want to eat; there is no difference among all of us. Love does not have time to waste on hate. Love knows how to forgive. Love knows how to forget. Love knows how to move on. This way we are working on integrations and slowly we feel integrated.
First, start with the mind, then with the words, then with the deeds. We integrate the way we think, speak and act. When we say, “Thank you,” the thanks is first in our thinking, then it comes in our words, and then in our action. If a person is receptive, he does not wear “gloves,” then the feelings touch him or her. But for vibrations to be sincere, they must be harmonious, integrated and whole: integration of thoughts, expressions and deeds.
N for Nobility
Nobility reminds us of our magnanimous quality of the soul. It generates the feeling of generosity and compassion of all living beings. Nobility is a generous virtue of thought, word and action. It knows how to forgive. Forgiveness is liberation – liberation from hate, revenge and animosity – which comes from conditioning. By forgiving we liberate our soul from the negativity. Nobility also knows that not to forgive is a commitment to sorrow and suffering.
Nobility is the nature of the spirit. It is never mean, it does not discriminate, it does not come from birth or wealth, post or position. It emanates from a compassionate heart of amity. Its feeling of love flows towards all – small or big. It has no walls of prejudice of group, race or religion.
S for Service
The “S” in Ahinsa stands for service. Serve somebody. Let your life be a service. Through service we become alive. Have you thought how many people and things serve us? We breathe air; we drink water; we eat vegetables; we wear clothes; always we are receiving the services of other living beings. And in exchange, what are we giving? We exploit people, animals and the earth. Day by day, the earth is losing its beauty, its energy. If we don’t respect the earth, we will not respect life anywhere.
We need to serve and make service a part of our living. We need to live and help to let live. Some people ask, “Where can I go to serve?” I say, “Serve wherever you are. There is no need to go anywhere.” You can do service in many ways. Ask, “Today, how can I serve other living beings?” In this way, we contribute. One more person serving is a blessing to the earth.
A for Abstinence
The last “A” of Ahinsa stands for abstinence. Abstinence from those things which pollute our vibrations. Abstinence from products which cause pain and suffering. Abstinence from liquor which confuses our thinking. Abstinence from foods which do not give health. Unhealthy foods may taste good but they hurt our body, thinking and life. Our cells are created from the foods we eat, and according to the foods we eat, our vibrations are created. It influences our thinking, our reasoning, our sensing. To promote vibrations of peace and harmony, therefore, we need to abstain from harmful products and the foods which come from violence and suffering. The senses are a gateway to all kinds of vibrations.
So, my friends, as we meditate, we realize that “I am a living presence in this body. I am sentient, conscious energy. I am Love. I am Peace. I am Compassion. I am animating body. I am these senses, these brain cells, and all my existence, as I feel myself. I am Ahinsa.” This is the way we can live with Reverence for Life and Be A Blessing to this World.
Love and Blessings,