How to Start Living a Peaceful, Gentle Life Right Now
In the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions, ahimsa is the principle of nonviolence and compassion toward all living things; it is considered one of five great virtues of man; its origin is from the Sanskrit language: from a ‘non-, without’ + hiṃsā ‘violence’
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi promoted Ahimsa in his life and in his life's service. He applied Ahimsa to all arenas of life. He said, "Ahimsa is in Hinduism, it is in Christianity as well as in Islam... Nonviolence is common to all religions, but it has found the highest expression and application in Hinduism (I do not regard Jainism or Buddhism as separate from Hinduism)."
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Ahimsa tends to include the following loving lifestyle practices and leads to an overall more peaceful life:
- Practicing vegetarianism and even greater, veganism in both food and clothing choices
- Refraining from hunting and fishing whether to kill or to wound and release
- Eliminating the caging of animals and visiting animals in zoos (animal sanctuaries for the wounded would not apply here)
- Treating pets with love and respect, and creating structure within ourselves and for our pets so we may engender their obedience
- Refusing to patronize companies that practice cruelty toward animals
- Taking in abandoned pets in shelters
- Taking loving care of our own bodies with high frequency exercise such as yoga, martial arts, distance meditative walking; see our blog post of June 10, 2016 for one such simple exercise.
- Espousing moderation in what we take into our bodies such as quantities of food, alcohol, sugar, fats, drugs, tobacco
- Meditating daily for at least a short period of time being sure to include some form of prayer before or after
- Creating a home environment of peace and order that will support nonviolent tendencies within us
- Gently rejecting negative and destructive self-talk realizing this is the ego talking and not us and that exactly the opposite is true about ourselves; this is practicing non-violent thinking.
- Enriching our attitudes towards life by reading uplifting, inspiring books; see list in column 2, right.
- Slowing down if we tend to rush through life; getting present to life
- Recycling all that we don't use including clothing, furniture, tools; recycling food scraps
- Buying organic and vegan
- Walking or riding a bicycle whenever possible
- Cutting way back on our consumption of paper, plastic and synthetic products
- Becoming more acutely aware of our individual carbon footprint overall and how to reduce it