I reached a point in my Dark Night of the Soul that required intervention. I had been diagnosed with Addison’s Disease, meaning my adrenal glands, which regulate stress hormones, were completely burned out. I could no longer function. My friend sent me to the Cristine Center in Willard, WI (http://christinecenter.org/) for a spiritual retreat to get some much needed rest and rejuvenation. It was March 2008, and snow was falling in these beautiful woods. I checked in late at night, and I followed the nun in my car out to my assigned cabin.
“I’ve put you in our cabin called AHIMSA,” the nun said. “It means non-violence.”
I had never heard the word before but how fitting, I thought, considering I was struggling to survive domestic violence, which ultimately led me to this place.
The civil unrest in this country following the decision not to indict Officer Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, has weighed heavily on my heart. I have felt called to meditate upon ahimsa, again. Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word meaning “cause no injury” or “do not harm”. It refers to non-violence of all living things in thought, word, and deed. The premise is that all living things possess the spark of divine spiritual energy and to harm another is to harm oneself. It is believed that all violence has karmic consequences.
Jesus, in Matthew 5: 21-26, reveals that we are just as guilty of murder if we hold unjust anger or hatred in our hearts toward our fellow humankind, or if we insult them.
Gandhi’s path was of ahimsa. Consider some of his quotes on the subject:
“We may never be strong enough to be entirely nonviolent in thought, word and deed. But we must keep nonviolence as our goal and make strong progress towards it. The Attainment of freedom, whether for a person, a nation or a world, must be in exact proportion to the attainment of nonviolence for each.”
“Nonviolence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.”
“I am part and parcel of the whole and cannot find God apart from the rest of humanity.”
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it stands than to anything on which it is poured.”
“Woman is more fitted than man to make exploration and take bolder action in nonviolence … There is no occasion for women to consider themselves subordinate or inferior to men … Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity … If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior … If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with women … ”
Martin Luther King Jr.’s mission was ahimsa:
“Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon. Which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”
“Non-violence means not only avoiding external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”
“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”
I encourage you, my brothers and sisters, to meditate upon and practice ahimsa in thought, word, and deed. Envision what the world would be like if everyone held onto the virtue of ahimsa.
Let us hold the sentiments of the holiday season in our hearts throughout the year~
“Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward Men!”
I am free falling
through space and time
Riding on the wings of angels
Carried along by the Spirit.
At the right moment
My Divine parachute will open and
bring me to my destination.
I am the still point, I am the exposion
I am all and I am nothing
I am a ball of energy
Dancing among the trees.
I am a deer, eyes wide open,
looking after her fawn.
I am in the sound of the doe’s footsteps
Crackling the branches beneath the broken snow.
I am a cedar tree and
I am in the smoke of the incense
Burnt as a fragrant offering to
The Gods and Goddesses,
Carried up to the Most High
As a prayer for the Saints.
I am timeless and void, yet
I am here and now.