In Yoga there is a Niyama, an important tenet or cardinal virtue, called Ahimsa. This restraint calls for us to “cause no injury,” to do no harm. Gandhi believed, and lived, this principle.
As I have contemplated Ahimsa, and its application to my life, I pondered how much harm I have done to others through thoughtless words and actions. I found many times I failed to pause before I spoke, when I didn’t hold back that which would do harm.
I also found many times I harshly critiqued, harshly chastised, harshly reprimanded myself for my humanness. I have judged myself as a failure in many things. While hesitant to do harm to another, I have willingly done harm to myself.
And then there was this moment. A tiny tiny moment in my life, which taught me the beauty of lovingly applying Ahimsa to myself.
In the quiet early morning hours while cuddling my daughter, who had awoken crying saying “mommy, I so scared, I so scared,” a moment happened, one so small I almost missed it. As her little body wrapped all around mine, her warm breath caressing my neck, she quietly said “you’re a good mommy to me.”
So many times a day I harshly judge myself as failing. My voice too loud, my reprimand too harsh, my patience too short. I see my faults as though graffiti covering me from head to toe, visible to everyone, even strangers. I harm myself every day with my lack of grace for my humanity, for my imperfect nature, for my humanness.
Yet, in that small moment my daughter taught me Ahimsa. She shined the light on the divine energy that is not only in everyone around me, but also within me.
My prayer for you today is that you too may have a moment of Ahimsa: a moment of pause that gives light to the compassion you may have forgotten to extend to yourself. For you too are a good mother, a good wife, a good sister, a good daughter.
You really are.