I was struggling to come up with another ‘A’ topic, particularly because I am wanting to catch up to the current week as soon as possible. I decided to do another ‘spiritual’ but not directly ‘witchy’ topic, that of Ahinsa.
For those of you not familiar with the concept, Ahinsa is the first of the Yamas, which consists of the 5 restraints, and is the first branch of the 8 limbs of Raja Yoga. The concept is essentially this- do no harm (perform no violence, etc). Now, there is a lot more on this topic than I don’t feel qualified to talk about. I enjoy participating in Yoga and researching its limbs, and hell, even applying some of them, although I don’t stringently follow them. However, the reason I chose this topic was because of its controversy and similarity to the Wiccan Rede, and my disagreement with the way that these tend to be applied.
I despise violence. I do. I cringe at violent behavior, I can barely even hold a hand gun, that is the level of my aversion. But I am a firm believer of balance. While I think that we can minimize the level of our impact, control the damage we do, for us to live other things die. There is no way to never cause harm. If we are very diligent we can avoid violent behavior towards some of the animal kingdom, but tell me this- isn’t the harvest, the reaping of the Earth, and for many pagans the sacrifice of the God, a violent act? John Barleycorn is tore apart, Dionysus is the sacrificial bull, Osiris is cut into tiny pieces. There is no life without death, even the Christian mythos takes this concept.
While thinking of this, I realize how different the Eastern faiths are from even western paganism. It’s hard to wrap your head around sometimes. I think that concepts like Ahinsa are ones with noble intentions, impossible to live by, but perhaps they can be…transmuted…if one wants to adopt similar practices. Maybe instead of just becoming vegan (an option that many who pursue Ahinsa follow) you can research where all your food products come from. Try to find a happy medium that allows for both balance and compassion. Have a deep heart and a light touch, speak softly, tread mindfully.
I hope I haven’t offended anyone with this. This article itself was less about Ahinsa and more about mindful living (maybe I just needed the letter A lol). Again, I wasn’t very comfortable fully addressing the history of the word, as I am a novice with dealing with the concept. If you have any thoughts on Ahinsa or mindful living in general, let me know! Feel free to comment!