An exploration of Ahimsa and non-violent living.
Over the past few weeks I have watched many people share a horrible and sickening video on social media of animal cruelty at Fair Oaks Farm, (this video contains disturbing material) a Coca-cola company, with comments of how they are planning to boycott the company. While I applaud the efforts and reaction, this video just skims the surface of a much deeper and wider issue then you can even imagine.
First I'm going to ask you a question:
Is the truth an inconvenience to your habits?
Many of my friends know that I do not eat meat and rarely consume any dairy. I made this choice over 11 years ago for two reasons:
1) HEALTH: it is the only thing that "cured" my mysterious and chronic digestive problems.
2) ANIMAL WELFARE: the more I researched, the more I didn't want to support the systematic harm and cruelty to animals as I practice Ahimsa = non-violence.
This video exploits the actions of one farm. ONE FARM! There are 1000's. Let that sink in. This horrible cruelty happens every, single day across this country and let's not even talk about the world. The systematic abuse and cruelty to animals is something that most people use the "out of sight, out of mind" tactic and most kids don't even know or associate meat or milk with an animal.
I challenge you to take a look at a slaughterhouse video! Just once. I once read that if a slaughterhouse had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.
Big Ag is one of the largest lobbying groups in D.C. and they actively push their agendas so Congress will lean in their favor. This big machine is churning out mass quantities to feed billions a diet that has been bastardized into what we call the Standard American Diet, i.e. SAD (isn't it ironic the acronym is SAD?). The only way we can change this is with our wallets and the way we eat and consume.
CONTROL THE FOOD = CONTROL THE PEOPLE
So, if you are going to boycott this company, I applaud your efforts. But I encourage you to not just stop there. Start Googling...or maybe not...because it might just change your lifestyle.
One way to shift your lifestyle is by incorporating the Ahimsa into your daily activities.
Ahimsa or non-violence from a yogic perspective can be a powerful way to shift your perspective and develop a new way of "loving and caring" about all living beings. Compassion is the center of non-violence and learning how to act from a point of compassion is the beginning of seeing and living in your truth. Yoga is a great way to access ahimsa in our daily interactions. By practicing yoga daily, you can confront your own inner negativity without judgement and with compassion towards yourself. Learning how to control your tendencies towards violence opens the door for transformation. You can free yourself from acting on these negative feelings or becoming consumed with their power.
Some ways to incorporate Ahimsa into your daily activities:
1) Whatever your diet choice, you should practice self-love in all that you do. Eating a healthy and clean diet is important to maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit. Some yogis choose not to eat meat or consume other animal by-products as a way to clean-up their diets and conscious impact.
2) Have Compassion - let go of attachment to the outcome of a situation and accept events as they are with an open heart, letting go of reacting in any negative way and replacing those feelings with kindness and acceptance. “I don’t mind what happens.” - J. Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher revealed this was the secret to his happiness and contentment.
3) Move your body with intention - love your body. Instead of letting the limits of your body create stress and negative self-talk, make the decision to intentionally respect and even love the limitations of your own body. Perform your yoga asana practice (poses) gracefully, but do it without force. Let go of the notion that all yoga or exercise has to be done with "power" to be effective.
4) Watch your thoughts - Sit quietly and while tuning in to your body, begin to watch as your thoughts form. Cultivate an awareness of your own thoughts to find if there are hints of violence against yourself or others in your life. Awareness doesn’t mean reaction, though. You don’t need to push these thoughts away, just recognize them. Observe as they come into your consciousness, and then watch as they again leave. I describe the process as watching them float by on clouds. Acknowledge - Observe - Acknowledge, don't hold-on to the thoughts and allow them to manifest as stress or illness, i.e. violence.
5) Make wise, eco-friendly product choices for your yoga practice. Starting with your Yoga Mat! - Best Yoga Mats Based on In-Depth Reviews
So, I ask you again:
IS THE TRUTH AN INCONVENIENCE TO YOUR HABITS?