I wander around my garden, touching the vegetables and plants that row and adorn my house, plants that I have lovingly nurtured. Their gift in return is bringing colour, perfume and tranquillity to our home. I see some of these vegetables that are not doing so well, with the frost and then others that are covered in insects – eagerly enjoying their morning feed. I transfer a few insects away, but let most of them feed as they please, there is plenty for all of us in our little garden. I feel deeply connected to nature, and this energy is connected back to me, we are intertwined.
This small exercise in mindfulness: taking one step after the other, breathing in the fresh air and allowing my senses to come alive, reminds me of the uniqueness and importance of being a human. That as a human being I have an important role to play, to extend compassion, goodwill, understanding and respect for others – all living beings. That is my part to play in humanity. These values know no boundaries across preferences, race, religion, or even country. I have no need to disturb those little creatures, (some would say pests) as they do not disturb me, we can live in our little garden harmoniously together.
When we stray from our own definition of Humanity, Yoga as a “science of the mind” encourages us to master the thoughts, these ripples are trying to intrude into our being. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali simplify this beautifully: “The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga” (Yoga Sutra: 1.2).
The beginning steps, and fundamentals of Raja Yoga sit in this way of thinking, those actions not to do and those to do – Yama and Niyama respectively. The first of them is the recognition of Ahimsa, or non-violence/non-killing. This powerful Yama extends to and beyond ourselves to any other living being, small or great, even those hungry insects in my garden. When we do good deeds, extending our humanity: our compassion and understanding to others, to even the tiniest of creatures, we can begin to sow positive habits. These positive habits flow on and out, creating a life more peaceful, loving and blissful and ultimately, moving away from actions that bring negativity into our lives.
Shiva Samhita describes the Means of Perfection in Yoga (Chapter 3, 38-41) and paraphrased: “the great yogi should …….use pleasing words, and show tolerance and forgiveness…..” amongst many other desired qualities.
Everything has cause and effect, so we must implement discrimination in our daily life, but why also waste one”s precious energy on negative activities and the killing of small creatures, when it could be better spent, making positive changes in our lives. We are but an extension of nature. We are all deeply connected with each other and nature, why disturb that balance? Yoga in its true essence is all these things and more for me. Despite the country or circumstances where and in which I live, it is my way of living, my ability for a “Right Life” and to have Discrimination over my thoughts, words and actions, as The Shiva Puri Baba”s (Sri Govindananda Bharati) teachings encourage us to follow. The concept that although I can enjoy my senses, I am not controlled by them, I have self mastery, well at least the proper knowledge to work towards that state!
Yoga at its highest form, finding our own Truth, has no boundaries or limitations. Only we as humans can limit our own capacity to discover this truth, to live our lives as we feel proper. Each day we have the choice to live a Right Life, with awareness and discrimination, compassion, tolerance and understanding, to be mindful in our daily interactions and how we impact others and then ultimately ourselves.
By living with discrimination, by conserving our precious energy for positive and uplifting activities, mindful of non-violence principles we can live a happier, healthier life, extending out peaceful vibrations to the world. Om shanti, shanti, shanti.
(The writer is the founder of BeBliss Yoga, Meditation, Women’s Health and Holistic Coaching, Australia)