Ahimsa Starts at Home

When I think about ahimsa (non-harming), I can’t help but think of the adage “charity starts at home.

In order to take care of others, we must first take care of ourselves. The same is true with ahimsa. In order to develop or foster an Attitude of Compassion for others, we must establish the capacity to treat ourselves compassionately.

Do you beat yourself up when you make a mistake? Is it hard for you to forgive yourself when you repeat the same mistake? Are you quick to notice and dwell on you
“faults?” If we were to adopt self ahimsa, we will begin to let go of failure and frustration. Only when we let go, can we begin to change.

In Mark Nepo’s , Book of Awakening, he writes, “Repetition is not failure. Ask the waves, ask the leaves, ask the wind.

“There is no expected pace for inner learning. What we need to learn comes when we need it, no matter how old or young, no matter how many times we have to start over, no matter how many times we have to learn the same lesson. We fall down as many times as we need to to learn how to get up. We fall in love as many times as we need to to learn how to hold and be held. We misunderstand the many voices of truth as many times as we need to to truly hear the choir of diversity that surrounds us. We suffer our pain as often as is necessary for us to learn how to break and how to heal. No one really likes this, of course, but we deal with our dislike in the same way, again and again, until we learn what we need to know about the humility of acceptance.”

As we enter fall, make a commitment to let go of what you no longer need so that you can prepare for the growth of spring that is to come.

Today I ask you to identify just one way you diminish who you are by not being compassionate with where you are on this journey we call life. “I am not….” fill in the blank.

Then commit to letting go of that during your practice today. Pay attention to the negativity that arises in your mind as you become challenged, and then let it go. Change your tune from “I am not…” to “I am….”

We are not perfect. We will never be perfect. We will always be a work in progress. And that is why this is called practice.


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