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!
We find ourselves surrounded by greed, oppression and propaganda in the modern world. Consumerism is glamorized by its very limitations in material possession and hierarchy. It is overwhelming for countless individuals to navigate involvement in this societal labyrinth. What our soul truly craves “…cannot be found in the things or conditions of the world” (Br. Anandamoy, 1998). Quenching our spiritual thirst involves union (yoga) with our indestructible, changeless Spirit.
Who do we become once we liberate ourselves from the illusions of separation, expectation, and attachment? In truth, our potential is infinite. May we step beyond the confines of the current paradigm and enter into an immense place of possibility, offering abundance of peace, compassion, and oneness for All.
Meditation is an ancient yoga technique which accelerates our progress towards the goal of Self-Realization. It enables the practitioner to unite with higher states of consciousness, transcending attachment to illusory separation, change, duality, etc.
Dusty Miller was a rescued turkey who resided at Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary and recently passed away peacefully due to a weak heart. He was one of the most well-known residents at the sanctuary because of his bold presence. Siobhan, the main operator of Cedar Row, was the only human who had closely bonded with him.
I remember enjoying several musical conversations with Dusty in turkey language, his soft voice cooing in diverse notes within the span of seconds. One experience I shared with Dusty affected me on an inexpressibly deep level. It happened during a work visit in July 2018, while cleaning the chicken coop with another volunteer. I was crouching to scrub a feed bucket as Dusty approached. We were about an arm’s length away ̶ maybe even closer to a wing’s length.
The intensity of unfamiliar closeness with a powerful form of sentience struck me all at once. His riveting presence managed to capture every single drop of my attention. The stillness of those moments moved me to such heightened awareness that I couldn’t comprehend anything more than our two souls connecting. Dusty had healed me through this pure, genuine union.
My courage floundered once he hobbled closer with one more step. I wish that I had the strength to accept his innocent curiosity, but in that moment my fear won over. The stillness was broken, and I made a rise to standing. To a sensitive soul like Dusty, I think that my choice to become defensive amplified his edginess.
A friend once told me that “vulnerability is the greatest armour”, at York Lane Art Collective while I was working on the above portrait of Dusty (for the Summer of Peace open house in June 2018). These wise words had proven to be true with Gabe the goose, who ceased biting once I met him at eye level; and Dusty Miller, for the short minute in which I allowed myself to be 100% vulnerable. These kinds of transformative connections with sentient life are what I hope to honour through my artivism. Dusty leaves us inspired to face the challenges of life with surety and confidence.
Painting photographed by David Leasa (@dkleasa)
Canvas frame built by Joe Guzvinec (@deepinfiniteye)