Ahimsa

It’s no secret that we’re living in divisive and fearful times.  Yoga at its very core means unity.

The first tenant of yoga is do no harm, yet judgment is everywhere and as harmful to the self as to the person or persons, you are slinging judgment at.  Stop and ask yourself: How many times a day you judge yourself? Others? And how much energy do you give to these thoughts?

Low self esteem, insecurities and self-doubt can lead people down a path of judgment. We all experience these moments. Maybe we judge ourselves in comparison to others. Ever glance at someone on a nearby mat and think how graceful and beautiful his or her practice is and start trash talking yourself?  The habits we discover on the mat we usually find off the mat as well. What kind of people we would have in our lives if we allowed them to talk to us the way we talk to ourselves?

Maybe we judge others because by making someone else less, we feel we become more. This rationale may work for a moment but moments don’t last very long. In the end it makes the division wider and the pain greater.  It’s difficult to sling mud and keep your own hands clean.  

It’s easy to embody our yoga when things are going well and we are all in a good mood but in the face of adversity who shows up?  If you squeeze an orange you get orange juice. Every single time. What you fill yourself up with is what is going to come out when life puts the squeeze on you.  How do you want to show up? What do you want to release when you are faced with the tough stuff?

Judgment in and of itself created division, the opposite of yoga. 

Sometimes we forget we are not our thoughts. We are NOT.  Don’t believe everything you think. Everything is energy, including you, me, all of us. Our energy speaks the moment we enter a room before we open our mouths.  Judgment creates negative energy. The end.

I am not immune to temptation. Thoughts can pull us into the future and into the past without warning. Yoga and meditation offer tools. These tools help us practice awareness. The moment we notice we are slipping into judgment we have moved out of autopilot. We are conscious.  We are aware. Mindfulness, another valuable tool, allows us to make an intentional choice to stop judging.  We can decide to change our thoughts. We can make a choice. If we are aware of something we can then decide if it is serving us or not. If it is we can strengthen it, If it’s not we can eradicate it.  Life is all about choices. What will you choose?