Another morning yet again, how fortunate we are that keeps happening, am I right? Every time I walk in the 5AM hour, I’m becoming more convinced it’s where the magic happens and each day I see the same determined souls out moving and grooving and it makes me smile…
Lately, I keep seeing these t-shirts that say, “Do no harm, but take no shit.”And bumper stickers and every time it makes me think of Ahisma, which is one of the five yamas on the eight limb path of yoga…I bet you just said, “WHAAAAT?” A brief PSA, yoga isn’t just the bendy leg wrapped around you head pick your nose with your little toe action and then breathe. It’s not just handstands and expensive spandex pants or saying Namaste all the time. I would describe yoga as an ethical path that leads you to a best version of yourself and the world. It’s a journey like everything else.
I’m not a yogi, I would never refer to myself as a yogi anymore than I would call myself a Buddhist. But I have studied both and try to incorporate what I’ve learned into my life. Am I always supremely calm and conscious of my every thought? Nope. Am I constantly awesomely aware? Nope. But I try and when I teach this movement I try to explain, the poses are Asana and the breathe is Praynayama, which are two of the eight limbs that are together considered to be yoga. It’s always seemed abit odd to me that we are selling just a fragment of yoga as “yoga”.
I know there’s abit of controversy around who gets to say what yoga means to another person, which I think is similar in who gets to say what God means to another person. I’m someone who likes to know where an idea began and the eight limb path is where this idea began. It seems to me that asana and pranayama, are a physical manifestation of the other limbs. It’s an exploration and an expression of the ideas yoga discusses explored thru the movement of the human body. You are moving the ideas thru you so to speak. For most in the West, yoga is just exercise but that’s a conversation for another day…
All that being said, the whole, “Do no harm, but take no shit” feels very odd, it’s like Namaste and “Don’t mess with Texas” all in one breath. I get what you’re driving at, it’s the whole I’m going to be nice, understanding, compassionate, and loving until you fuck with me. Then it’s on…you wanna be a karmic badass…you don’t want to be taken advantage of, you don’t want to waste your good empathy on a person who is just using your goodness…right?
Ahisma, which is non-harming, is abit controversial here in the West as it seems to always erupt into a big debate about being a vegan or not. I’ve seen and heard more hostile words exchanged over all that and bag of chips then I can remember. And the irony is not wasted here, where you threaten humans over protecting animals…which threatening is a form of harm, is it not? And while I do agree that ahisma indicates we should revere all life and probably abstain from eating animals, I’m also pretty certain that Ahisma speaks to self harm as well. I always feel like that’s the boat we’re all missing. AND how we harm ourselves with our outward actions toward others…
Self-harm and I’m talking about all the negative shit you are saying to yourself, about yourself, inside yourself which ends up dictating your behavior. The stuff that leaks out into your interactions with others. It’s also all the bullshit stories we tell ourselves to excuse or explain away our behaviors. You know what I mean, we all do it, I don’t think anyone is exempt. I’m just not sure everyone is aware they are doing it. In fact, the longer I’m here on Earth, the more convinced I am that we replicate our inner world outside of ourselves. And again, I’m not sure we are all aware of that situation either. I just recently started coming to that discovery myself.
Because self realization my friends, It’s the trip no one wants to take, because it’s not easy. As I’ve been moving thru this divorce and now single life, I can see my own role. I see all the choices I’ve made in life. Clear as day. I’m not without responsibility and I want to take it. I want to examine the pain I caused and experienced and the choices and the whys. Because if I don’t, I’m certain to travel this path again and again. I don’t want that for myself. I can see where I harmed myself and hurt another human at the same time.
What’s really odd, is the more I look inside and change, the more change I can see in my interactions with others. Again, it’s not easy, it’s not comfortable and it’s not something that you ever finish. It’s the deep dig. Lately, I feel different with other people because I’ve been working to change how I feel in here, inside. I find myself thinking more before I speak and differently. Less reactively. And if I do over react, I can see it now. I can examine it and that’s how I’m gonna learn to do no harm and not tolerate my own shit. Maybe I can put that on a shirt?