With a theme of ahimsa for January and in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his life’s work of peace and love for all, I’ve been sharing the following over the last few weeks:
“Always be sure that you struggle with Christian methods and Christian weapons. Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. Always avoid violence. ….I still believe that love is the most durable power in the world. Over the centuries men have sought to discover the highest good. … I think I have discovered the highest good. It is love. This principle stands at the center of the cosmos. As John says, ‘God is love.’ He who loves is a participant in the being of God.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., taken from a 1956 sermon titled, The Most Durable Power
“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must ever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ahimsa, often translated as non-harming, non-violence, non-killing towards or kindness for all beings, is the first and overriding/overarching Yama (ethical precept or guideline) of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. And the importance of ahimsa may be demonstrated by it being the very first step in the first of eight limbs of this path to freedom from suffering and enlightenment/self-realization.
Inspired by Lynne’s focus on ahimsa for Back Bay Yoga teachers for the month, I tried to maintain this theme throughout all my classes and with more awareness in my own practice in study, thoughts, words and actions. And it can be interesting to note how often we forget or are challenged in maintaining this towards ourselves.