Ahimsa - What is non-violence?

Do you know anyone that claims to be a pacifist?  Is there anyone around you the preaches peace?  It's a hard thing to find, at least in the main stream media and news papers.  Fear sells, and it sells quit well.  I mentioned this in an earlier blog post, but the point of this one is to go further in depth into the Yogic concept of non-violence.

Ahimsa has three levels to it.  The first level is action, the second level is speech and the third level is though.  I can't not use Homey the Clown as an example.

Homey the Clown, didn't mess around.  He didn't take any crap from anyone.  So let's take a look at how Homey can server as an example of non-violence.  First, we have Homey's actions.  This angry clown carried around a sock full of something, maybe chalk.  If you pissed-off Homey the Clown, he would hit you with his sock.  "I don't think so! Homey don't play dat!"  This is an act of violence.  Homey clearly hit the poor kid with his chalk sock thingy.  Acts of violence tend to spread into other acts of violence.  Homie inspired a generation of people to start hitting their siblings with socks.  Sorry Mike. 

Violent speech is something that can hurt us just as much as physical violence.  If you can't hurt someone physically, then speech, or in this case, writing as well, can inflict damage.  Homey had a bad attitude.  I mean, the dude constantly complained about complaining.  "Speak softly and carry a big sock"  Right, keep those kids in line. 

Now this next level is the most important and fundamental.  While we will never be able to get inside Homie the Clown's head, we can probably guess at what he is thinking.  Violent though can be the source of violent behavior.  There is, however, no level with greater personal significance.  I will admit that it's a very high standard to hold anyone to non-violent though.  Good thing no one will ever really know but you, right?

Let's go into some examples of what is considered non-violence.

Defending one's self out of preservation is not considered an act of violence, if you have it in your mind that you have no other recourse.  Many a person has went to a martial arts class hoping to come out with the ability to kill a man with one touch.  The first thing that they will teach in many self defense classes is the best way to win a fight is to never get into one in the first place. 

Phony altruism for the sake of self aggrandizement is not a form on non-violence.  How many times have we seen charities or millionaires donate money with the caveat that their name be inscribed on the side of the building, or having a fund put in their name.

Do you like to protest?  How do you feel toward the people you are protesting?  Do you wish them harm or hope that they will drop dead?  There is a lot to say about loving your enemy, as Jesus taught. 

To know yourself is to know your tendencies.  So you might be violent now on some level.  So what.  We all are to some extent.  The ability to recognize your own tendencies and work to resolve them is the best anyone can be expected to do.  Advanced meditators can bring their peaceful awareness into the world and see what part they play in the cumulative violence in the world.  There will never be any edict, law or mandate that trumps self-empowerment.