The Yamas and the Niyamas: Ahimsa Week 3 and Week 4

For this post, I will be combining entries for week 3 and week 4 of observing Ahimsa. The fall semester has started and my schedule is packed with work, school and studying among other things! I still hope to observe the next Niyama in the book next week.

Week 3:
Watch where you are running interference on other’s lives. Are you a worrier? A fixer? Discern the difference between help and support. Notice what you might be avoiding in your own life because you are so interested in others’ lives.

For the third week, I tried my best to not be too nit picky about things. If someone else does something or says something that I don’t completely agree with, I tried to erase thoughts of judgement that passed my mind. I especially took care of this with people close to me like my husband. It’s easy to tell him to do things my way, because I feel my perspective is correct. I realize that doing this means that I lack trust in him and his judgement. I resolved this by telling him what I think, but giving him freedom to do what he thinks is right. It was a bit difficult, since I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. However, I think I should apply this not only to him but to strangers; to not judge early and to give support rather than criticism.

Week 4: For this whole week, pretend that you are complete. There is no need to expect anything from yourself or to criticize or judge or change anything about you. […] Notice how much pleasure, kindness, and patience you can allow yourself to have with yourself.

This past week was actually a struggle. I have been feeling down and blue due to anxiety perhaps. I have been contemplating too much about death and have felt anxious, scared and frustrated about the thought of it. It has been a challenging week. School has also started, and I am busied by catching up with a lot of material, mostly review but the amount is pretty overwhelming. To top that off, my husband and I are moving to another state at the end of the month, adding to the stress of everyday life. I confided with my husband about this, because I have been feeling anxiety and fear for a while now, and sometimes I find myself having panic attacks at night. My first reaction was to be frustrated with myself for having those thoughts and feelings, but I discovered that this approach causes more harm than good. Instead, I should be kind to myself, love myself and be okay with my thoughts and feelings. The teaching of ahimsa, which is non-violence truly applies to my situation. To me, non-violence, is love, support, kindness and understanding of others, but more especially of self. Because we must work within ourselves first before we can truly help others.

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