My Auntie Joanne exemplified harmlessness. An artist, teacher, and lover of all things beauty, nature, and her home. Painting was her calling and her works are all on display in my home.
As a role model, she exuded grace and in the face of ugliness she would choose not to cause injury or harm to others. Her practice of harmless living was witnessed and envied by me. But my aunt, compassion just seemed to be her constant state of mind with self-control, respect, and peaceful conflict resolution. Twenty years after her passing I still find myself learning to emulate her way of being and strive to be more like her.
How do you practice living within the space of harmlessness?
Harmlessness, often referred to as “ahimsa” in Sanskrit, is a principle and ethical concept that emphasizes the avoidance of harm or violence toward all living beings. It is a fundamental tenet in various philosophies, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and even non-religious ethical systems. The core idea of harmlessness is to promote kindness, compassion, and non-violence in one’s thoughts, words, and actions. (with yourself first!!)
Key aspects of harmlessness include:
1. Non-violence: Avoiding physical harm or violence toward other beings, including humans, animals, and the environment.
2. Non-aggression: Refraining from aggressive behavior, both physically and verbally. This includes not engaging in hostile actions or hurtful speech.
3. Compassion: Cultivating empathy and a deep sense of caring for the well-being of others. It involves striving to understand and alleviate the suffering of others.
4. Respect for life: Recognizing and respecting the intrinsic value of all living beings, regardless of their species, race, or background.
5. Peaceful conflict resolution: Encouraging the use of peaceful and non-violent means to resolve conflicts and disagreements.
6. Self-control: Exercising self-discipline and restraint over one’s impulses and reactions, especially in situations where anger or aggression may arise or be always present.
Harmlessness is not just about refraining from physical violence but also extends to mental and emotional harm. It involves cultivating a mindset of goodwill, understanding, and harmony in all interactions. By practicing harmlessness, individuals aim to create a more compassionate and peaceful world and contribute to the well-being of all beings.
It’s important to note that the concept of harmlessness can vary in interpretation and expression depending on cultural, philosophical, and religious contexts. However, at its core, it promotes the idea that our actions and choices should not cause harm to others or the world around us.
“Teacher, what does it mean to work on yourself?” the student asked.
The teacher replied: “It is to stop waiting for the others to change”
The others can be the tough teachers when you are practicing self-awareness. Especially when you’re dealing with an unchosen life change or traumas.
Beginning your practice: Try for just a week, begin to hold yourself in deep divine compassion and harmlessness. Each day for seven days simply jot down the judgments and hurts that arise and how within those moments you held yourself in a safe, gentle and nontoxic manner. What did it feel like? What did you need in those experiences? You can perhaps use the affirmation “It is safe for me to be me”.
You might want to read an oldie and goodie blog “May I be Happy” https://www.kristendarcy.com/may-i-be-happy/
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