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Originating in ancient Eastern spirituality, ahimsa is becoming more prevalent as a principal of ethical living on a global scale. Its meaning can be described simply as “non-injury”. A slightly more complex meaning of ahimsa is “the removal of the desire to kill”. In this perspective Swami Sri Yukteswar elucidates that ahimsa not only involves abstaining from literal injury to another being. On a deeper level, it even applies to removing the intention of injury before any physical action is followed through.

We are all one in spirit, but at the physical realm of individuals it’s difficult to avoid absolutely all harm (it’s certainly not difficult, however, to live a vegan lifestyle). Even social media comments and posts can have undertones of violent energy. So how do we apply ahimsa in our lives? We need to understand that ahimsa is about our intentions. Do we have intentions to harm others? If yes, then this is not aligned with ahimsa. If we have no intention to cause harm, even if we accidentally step on a bug, etc. this is still to some degree in alignment with ahimsa because at the soul level we purely didn’t intend to do so.

This now comes down to being sincere with ourselves. I still notice thoughts arising in my mind that don’t necessarily align with ahimsa. Coming from a past of substance abuse and body image issues, I still experience remnants of negative thought patterns that indicate the mental health journey continues. It is important to clearly look at this inner misalignment to ahimsa, because the vibrations of our thoughts do affect the world and the lives of others. This is truly why I choose meditation twice daily along with positive affirmations, and other spiritual studies as often as possible. Many thanks to the Self-Realization Fellowship for supplying meditation lessons and techniques, which I am a student of to this day. Living a vegan lifestyle is definitely what ahimsa manifests as on an evolved, conscious level!

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