The Urban Yoga Den

…where it's all yoga.

Peace Tools: Gaining Counsel July 9, 2012

Clearly it is my life practice to find the tools to:
pause, assess, gain counsel, decide, then communicate.
Rather than cutting and running.
Yup.
Trying.

– Day 94 of Ahimsa Now: 100 Days of Intention

*  *  *

For the final quarter of my 100-day exploration of Ahimsa (for a brief background, see “The Roots of ‘Ahimsa Now: 100 Days of Intention’” at the bottom of this page), I am compiling my favorite Peace Tools – fail-safe practices for cultivating a reliable inner peace, which leads to a serene life and accountability to others.

*  *  *

In these final days of “Ahimsa Now: 100 Days of Intention,” I continue to identify and work on how my own fears and pain can make me act harmfully toward others.  Same old story, I know.  As described in past blogs, I have a history of being harmed, which makes me over-react at times.

There’s nothing like a moment of pause to keep me from striking out (with words or other actions) or running like hell (often in the form of quitting something or someone) when I think I might be in danger.

And in that moment of pause, there’s nothing like remembering to ask for an ear, for perspective, for guidance, for help.

Yoga trains me to take that pause.  And community reminds me to gain counsel.

*  *  *

A friend once remarked that his mind is a dangerous neighborhood…too dangerous to walk through alone.

I possess a great talent for conjuring up and telling myself negative stories.  Under this false reality and stress, I can make some pretty rash decisions on my own!  What if instead I paused to gained counsel…and then made a decision?  In my experience, every time I reach out and get honest with others about my feelings on a stressful situation, I receive immense love, compassion and understanding.  I might also receive rigorously frank opinions and lectures!  Either way, gaining counsel restores my peace instead of allowing me to stew in negativity.

Whether or not I follow my friends’, teachers’ and other guides’ advice, hearing opinions and cultivating perspective always makes my decisions more mature and sane.  And even if the final belief is that, yes, my well-being is at risk and I should get out…I at least leave in a responsible and accountable manner.

Gaining counsel is a Peace Tool for me.  I do it for the sake of my own peace and others’.

Ahimsa Now!

OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

*  *  *

The Roots of “Ahimsa Now: 100 Days of Intention”

“Ahimsa” is a Sanskrit word meaning, “Avoidance of Violence.”  It is mentioned in many ancient texts, including the Yoga Sutras, a collection of aphorisms handed down by yogic sage Patanjali approximately 5- to 7-thousand years ago.  In the Sutras, Ahimsa is one of the “Yama” – five recommended abstentions, or rules of conduct rooted in abstinence.  The five Yama comprise the first limb of Patanjali’s prescribed Eight Limbs of Yoga.

Avoidance of something takes great effort.  And if violence were not naturally inherent in human beings, we wouldn’t have to try to avoid it.  So, dreaming of launching “Ahimsa Now” – a nonprofit whose mission is rooted in Ahimsa – my responsibility is to come to understand the human impulse toward violence, and, to explore every available practice that impedes that impulse.

So from April 5 through July 13, 2012, I am committing to a 100-day exploration of Ahimsa.  Thanks for coming along.  OM Shanti Shanti Shanti.

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