Ahimsa is the practice of being compassionate. Ahimsa is translated to mean without injury. I think of Ahimsa as the minimization or harm. Sometimes referred to as non-violence, Ahimsa is one of the cardinal virtues associated with Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
In many Indian life philosophies, ahimsa is inspired by the premise that all living beings all have the remnants of the vital life energy. And as the Dalai Lama words convey, to experience true and lasting happiness in this world, we are to treat other living creatures the way we would like to be treated.
Compassion can be defined as a response to the suffering other sentient beings that motivates or inspires another to offer assistance or help. Compassion moves people to offer physical, spiritual, or emotional help to the pain or struggle of other people or sentient beings.
As people’s mindsets, economies, and governments change, practicing compassion in the world today is critically important in shaping a sustainable future for the next seven generations to come. Here are some ways that we all can practice compassion in our daily lives.
- Practice inclusivity. Include more people in the conversation.
- Eat consciously. Track down where your food comes from. Research how your food gets to your plate. Make informed, compassionate choices.
- Let go of self-sabotaging belief systems.
- Use affirmative language. Repeat to yourself as many times as it takes and convince yourself that you are a truly compassionate person.
- Be forgiving and understanding.
- Hug people more frequently. Hug people for longer amounts of time.
- Be kind to yourself. Care take of your body and mind.
- Be generous. Look for charitable organizations to give money to.
- Express appreciation. Be thankful. Cultivate a mentality of gratitude.
- Spend your money at businesses that are ethical and sustainable.
- If you see a person on the street who appears homeless, give money to the person and be non-attached to the idea of what the person will use the money for.
- Smile more frequently.
- Allow people to be themselves.
- Avoid judging other people’s behaviors that you do not agree with.
- See the similarity in difference.
- Focus on the commonalities between people.
- Be mindful. Focus on the breath.
- Practice seated meditation.
- Spend time immersed in nature.
- Be of service to other people.
- Treat all humans with respect and dignity.
I hope this has been helpful to you or at least triggered a thought or two. Consider sharing other ways of making the world a better place through compassionate living. Namaste.
Christopher Bueker is a mindfulness teacher, Yoga instructor, blogger, and public speaker; he teaches at various Yoga studio and centers in Cincinnati, Ohio. Christopher is passionate about community building, healthy living, and permaculture. More information can be found at his website, The Mindful Communicator at ChristopherBueker.com.