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The Small Side of Ahimsa
Making Ahimsa Personal

But while practicing Ahimsa towards others, don't forget about yourself. Treat your body with the same sort of care that you would any prized possession. No matter what town you call home, your body is where you live, so avoid harming it with polluting substances and keep it healthy. Neglecting your body is doing it harm. Even more importantly, be aware of your thoughts - when you make a mistake do you beat yourself up over it? Do you ever engage in vengeful thinking? When you are stressed out, do you forge ahead anyhow without taking a break? All this harms your psyche and has a direct effect on your attitude, not to mention your health. Negative thoughts, even if you are trying to repress them, also have an effect on the way you treat others. Of course you can't just banish all negative thoughts - the point is to be aware of them and then consciously choose not to act on or believe them.

(Article continued below.)

The reason why the world is in the mess it is in right now is because so many billions of people are behaving in harmful ways. It's that simple. Ahimsa is your chance to stop adding to the situation and instead do some good. If everyone was more conscious of their actions and behaved with more consideration - even by just ten percent - the living conditions of the world would improve to an amazing degree. This type of change can only happen one person at a time. On an even more personal scale, it starts for you one thought and one act at a time. Even if you don't have an ounce of altruism (or don't think you do), Ahimsa offers many rewards. It will reduce your level of stress and make your life more pleasant. If you behave nicely to others, they will most often respond in kind. Life won't seem so difficult. The world will seem to be a less hostile place - ironic, since the only part of it that has changed is you. Your outside world really is a reflection of what goes on inside of you. If you want proof, practice Ahimsa for a day or two and see what happens.

The most exciting benefit of practicing Ahimsa to any degree is that it will increase your capacity to love. In fact, to practice Ahimsa is to learn how to love. And like any valuable lesson, it is best to go at your own pace. All you need to do is begin.

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