Journal: Ahimsa and Compassion

Our journal questions this week are focused on the practice of gratitude and compassion. Practice ahimsa by finding a few quiet moments in your day for reflection and connection to your inner wisdom. Don't edit as you answer the questions but rather write freely without judgment.

Journal Compassion

What does being compassionate in your daily life mean to you? How can you be more compassionate towards yourself? Are there any people or situations that you could approach with more compassion?

Write about a time when your day has been improved by compassionate or kind behavior either by you to someone else, or when someone was kind and compassionate to you.

How do you show compassion and understanding to your friends?
How many of those compassionate acts could you practice to yourself?

Write a list of the day’s accomplishments and victories, no matter how small. Celebrate each one individually.

Affirmation: Ahimsa and Compassion

This week’s first affirmation is to encourage the daily practice of compassion.

Repeat this often to inspire you to replace violent thoughts and actions with ones of peace, understanding and compassion

Compassion1

Ahimsa and Gratitude

Gratitude is a beautiful counter to the negativity and harmful thoughts that can run wild in our minds!

Next time you're stuck in, for example, a grocery store queue and you find yourself tapping your foot, sighing, and silently cursing the people in front of you for being so slow, notice how this affects you both physically and mentally.

Who is benefitting from this internal violence? Who is harmed by this internal dialogue?

Practice ahimsa by taking this time to reset and find something in that moment that you can be grateful for, whether that's a few moments of peace and quiet to plan the rest of your day, or that we're lucky enough to have amazing stores that offer us foods from all over the world and convenience beyond what some people can imagine.

Meet the violent internal dialogue of impatience and anger with gratitude, and notice the weight lift from your shoulders as you step into the practice of ahimsa.

Gratitude

Developing compassion as an antidote to internal (and external) violence

We often find ourselves getting angry at ourselves or others and as a result we sometimes experience violence in our thoughts and actions. 

It's possible overcome some of this irritation in life, and the associated violence, by practicing compassion.

We're often quick to judge and get angry at someone that cut us off in traffic but (assuming there is no accident) who is harmed by the tirade of thoughts that go through our minds? The other driver certainly isn't aware or affected by them, but we arrive at our destination angry and frustrated, and carry that energy into the meeting, meal or home that we were travelling to, affecting not only ourselves but everybody we meet for the rest of the day. We replay the event as we tell others about it, bringing up the feelings and sensations of anger over and over again.

We do not know other peoples stories (even if we think we do). Their actions almost certainly were not a deliberate attack, but why do we act as if it's personal? What if that driver was rushing to be with a family member at a difficult time? What if they had spent the hours before caring for their child and had ended up being late and having to rush because they read just one more story to their favorite person? What if their thoughts were elsewhere because they were worried about a good friend or they were anxious about an upcoming interview? What if they were lost? What if it was simply an error in judgment? (What if they were just a inconsiderate person or bad driver?!)

What if we met the event with compassion?

When someone unknowingly pushes your buttons and the tirade of internal (or external) commentary begins, see if you can meet the moment with compassion and understanding.
Rather than swirling in a whirlwind of negativity and stories that only further escalate your feelings, practice compassion and let go of the need to judge and berate.

Not only will you feel the benefit of this practice, so will the person you're interacting with, and so might everyone else you encounter through the day!