Mahatma Gandhi was the father of ahimsa, for him it went beyond actions. He said “Ahimsa means not to injure any creature by thought, word, or deed."
Deborah Adele insightfully suggests that our harmful thoughts can be so subtle; sometimes we may even mistake them for love. “worrying about others” as a form of violence—saying that by trying to fix others we take away their power to help themselves. Instead, it would be more loving to support them and encourage them.
So often the thoughts directed towards ourselves are the subtlest and the most hateful.
What we often uncover at the very foundation of harmful actions, words, or thoughts is fear.
Why do we hurt others? Because we are afraid of being hurt. Why do we worry about our children? Because we are terrified of losing them. Why are so hateful towards ourselves? because we are scared we won’t belong.
I’ve personally done a lot of self-investigation and work on helping myself be comfortable with who I am. But there are still times where I’m caught unawares and the negative chatter in my head prevails.
It’s in those moments that I realise that I will never change those thoughts or actions with the thoughts or actions that created them.
The antidote to violence is compassionate witnessing. What does this mean? It means we start with ourselves - to mindfully witness our thoughts as they arise and try to become detached from the suffering they create. We breathe.
In my experience, and through working with my nutrition and spiritual coaching clients, journaling and meditation are by far and away the most invaluable tools.
As we go into this upcoming festive period, we will have many more opportunities to come face to face with all the reasons we [re]act the way we do and recreate behaviours that we probably thought we’d healed already.
This is a great time to practice self-compassion, brush up on our meditation practices and get those pens and notebooks out because what follows self-compassion is compassion to others.
We need more of that spread everywhere.
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