On April 15th when I was listening to NPR and thinking about tax day, I heard that it was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, it was also the 2 year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. Then this weekend was the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, I could hardly believe that 20 years has gone by. Sadness comes over me each time I am reminded of these terrible events.
So sitting here writing this on a grey and gloomy Patriots Day in Massachusetts thinking about this years marathoners, I can’t help thinking about these horrific events, and how sad it is that 70 years after the revelation of the genocide of the holocaust that the human race still commits such violent acts against one another.
Yoga says that Ahimsa (non-violence) is one of the 5 laws of life. These are 5 practices to help us live a better life, and reach enlightenment. Practicing non-violence helps us to live as a better person, but there is more to non-violence then not physically harming someone. Most of us are not going out and committing acts of terrorism. So how do we cultivate non-violence in our lives.
The practice of Ahimsa to me is similar to the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “love your neighbor as yourself”. If we treated everyone as we want to be treated the world just might become a better place to live in. We can practice Ahimsa towards others, so if you don’t want to be gossiped about don’t gossip, don’t want to be bullied or made fun of don’t bully others. We can practice Ahimsa towards ourselves, take a good look at how you speak to yourself. If we spoke to others like we talk to ourselves we wouldn’t have many friends. These are just a few ways we may be behaving violently without thinking of it as violence.
I maybe naive,these historic events are such major acts of violence how can they be changed by my individual shift in behavior and attitude. I say that we have to try, as individuals this is something we can do to help change the world. In yoga we call this a practice, I also like to think of it as cultivating non-violence. Your practice is like a garden it needs to be tended, watered, fertilized, weeded and finally harvested. You won’t be able to change all of your thoughts and actions overnight it takes time just like growing your garden. So start cultivating, big changes happen by small acts of individual people.