Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ahimsa Ctd.

Last September, I blogged about the yogic concept of Ahimsa, and related it back to a cousin of mine who was very ill.    Essentially, in practicing yoga one is supposed to practice ahimsa or non-violence.

Usually, when people first learn of ahimsa the tendency is to think it only applies in relation to others or animals, but the concept is much broader.    First, you must practice non-violence to yourself, because any violence you inflict on yourself, causes suffering in others.

I bring this up today because the cousin I wrote about last September died late last night. 

As I explained in my previous post, this cousin had a long history of doing some serious violence to herself.    She had been bulimic, anorexic, and addicted to drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.

It was probably the weakening of her body from this self-inflicted violence which led to her developing lung cancer, which in turn led to her death at age 44.

Through the years I had seen the suffering caused in others around her by her eating disorders and addictions, but death is so much worse.   Her mother, my Aunt, is my mother's sister.   My aunt has just suffered a tragedy that no mother should have to live through--the death of a child.  My mother naturally feels compassion for her sister's suffering, so she, in turn is suffering.

My cousin left behind two very young children who had to endure not only their mother's addictions, but her long illness and now the trauma of being left without a mother.

Our decisions as to what we eat affects more than our weight.   It effects our health.  Being overweight is more then just not liking the way you look in a mirror, it can lead to any number of afflictions that can shorten our lives, or, even worse, lead to us being incapacitated.   Both would cause suffering in those around us who love us.

So, even if you never intend to practice yoga in the broader sense, at least think about practicing ahimsa -- do not let your eating habits cause violence to yourself.  

Those around you will be happier for it.

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry for you loss.

    That is so true, we never think about how we are harming our bodies, and unfortunately the consequences does not effects us only, but also effects the very same people who are very precious to us that we don't want anyone to harm!

    May your aunt and your cousin's children find strength in dealing with this loss.