Take this journey with me. Take yourself back to a moment in your life when you felt hurt, betrayed or unable to handle what was happening.
Can you remember how you felt? What you were thinking? What your body was doing? How you handled it? How you felt afterward?
The nice thing about looking back is that time can often give us perspective. Can you now look back on this moment and sit with this feeling without judgment or blame, aware of it as though it were someone else’s feelings? This requires a great level of non-attachment and genuine curiosity.
Sit with it now. Feel it. Open up to it. Be ok with it being there.
Today’s sacred principle of yoga is Ahimsa - the principles of kindness and compassion, toward yourself and others, in words, thoughts and actions.
Now bring yourself back to that moment when you felt hurt, betrayed or overwhelmed. Try your best to hold in your mind the image of the person you were with, or if you were alone, an image of yourself. If you're thinking of someone else, imagine that you are that other person, and you're able to experience all of his or her most powerful and impactful memories.
This is empathy - connecting with another with the genuine intention to understand, rather than react. If you're thinking of yourself, take a moment to clearly recall the most meaningful and traumatic moments of your own life.
The exercise above may seem like a lot to take on, but the simple intention to do it will shift things for you.
Life can be hard, and it is in difficult moments when the true test of our own ability to be patient and curious takes place. It is much easier to sit in silence and feel relatively non-reactive. But can you do it when confronted with great conflict, anger, or chaos?
Being compassionate and kind to yourself and others means, in the least, absolute non-violence. This means being disciplined enough to observe your actions and ego and to continuously seek out opportunities to learn the lovely and the painful realities about yourself. Inside and outside of your meditation space.
This is your challenge. Practice total, absolute Ahimsa for twenty-four hours. Watch yourself closely with great love, passion and curiosity. Get to know yourself in great detail, in great depth.
David Procyshyn is a yogi, massage practitioner, videographer, father and founder of DoYogaWithMe.com. He currently lives with his two year old son, Noah, in Victoria, BC, Canada.