I first came across the word Ahimsa when I started to read and learn about Non Violent Communication.
According to Wikipedia : Ahimsa (Ahinsa) (Sanskrit: अहिंसा IAST: ahiṃsā, Pāli: avihiṃsā) means ‘not to injure’ and ‘compassion’ and refers to a key virtue in Hinduism and Jainism. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hiṃs – to strike; hiṃsā is injury or harm, a-hiṃsā is the opposite of this, i.e. cause no injury, do no harm Ahimsa is also referred to as nonviolence, and it applies to all living beings—including all animals—in ancient Indian religions.
Ahimsa is a powerful word. A word that can open many doors if you are ready to open them.
I have been recently asked to do a value exercise and doing so I had to think and rethink and re re think my 3 most important values. While I was happy with 2 of them, one was still not “feeling” correct to me. That’s why I had to rethink it a lot until came the light bulb moment : Ahimsa.
Ahimsa is a core belief and value of mine. It doesn’t mean I am doing it perfectly. But this is an aspirational value, in other words something I am aiming at putting at the core of everything I do.
Ahimsa triggered the process of personal growth I have started and that I happily share and discuss with those around me. This personal growth path I have started impacts the four areas that are referenced in this blog:
- Personal growth
- Work / Career growth
- Improved Health
- Better World
Personal growth is about me / about us. How to live more mindful and connected to ourselves but also to others. Using Ahimsa or Non Violence in this area means more empathy towards others but also towards myself. It’s is about hearing what the person is saying (rather than hearing what I think the person is saying) and connect with the person feelings (rather than the feelings I think the person should have). This is about being true and honest to others and to oneself with respect to our differences in thinking and behaving. But especially being non violent to one’s self is about listening to ourselves more and acting / behaving in accordance to our true values and principles.
- For those that had seen the previous version of this blog (that was called “Humans and Behaviours”), Ahimsa triggered the change to “Next Level”.
Work / Career growth is self explanatory. As stated in the introduction of this blog : ”My core belief is that everything is interlinked. Each and every aspects of our lives are linked and so are we as individuals.” Which means that the Alessandra in the private sphera is the same person that the Alessandra in her working environment. The behaviours, feelings, triggers and habits are the same and as a consequence growth opportunities spotted in the private area can definitively be applied to the the working environment.
Improved Health is about activities and food. Ahimsa with regards to food comes to our eating habits and especially on how to make these happen in true and full respect of who we are, of our body and the food we eat. I have chosen the path of a whole food plant based diet (will detail this in an blog post later on) for this reason. Physical activities are also something that activates our health and as a result can help us to be more centered and connected. Diving into a sport or a physical activity is also a good introspection exercise to help us identify our strengths and weaknesses and how to make a change stick to our life.
Better world is dealing with the actions I put out there and which direction I choose to give to those actions. Ahimsa can be caring about the animals, the environment, about politics or how to grow children. I love this sentence from Ghandi : “Be the change you want to see in the world“. This is exactly it. If I want to see more respect, more compassion and less injuries in the world I’d better start to act accordingly myself.
As I said above everything is interconnected. When I apply something in an area of my life it will cascade to other areas if I do it from the core center of who I am and what my values are. Which means that Ahimsa is not about saying yes to everything, it is instead be aware of our boundaries and being able to say no.
Ahimsa is one of the most powerful deconditioning tool I know as it invites us to think, behave, speak and act differently. But especially to bring critical thinking and empathy into our day to day life. As the philosopher Immanuel Kant said : ”Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one’s own understanding without another’s guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one’s own mind without another’s guidance”.
I hope this post will give you the wish to open some of your path doors with me.