Be Gentle: Ahimsa

After a few days of observation I formulated a little more of a rough experiment. I began with an observation; my most violent/harmful thoughts are directed towards myself. I want to live with more ahimsa. Then I formulated a hypothesis: when I practice sadhana 15 minutes a day and increase ahimsa towards others by catching negative thoughts and treating them with kindness, negative thoughts towards myself will decrease. And finally the actual experiment; to do sadhana 15 minutes a day, to keep tally of negative self-thoughts, to keep a tally of negative thoughts towards others and if the other is present to smile and treat them with kindness, if the other is not present to breath and imagine them happy. It goes without saying that keeping tracks of every single thought is near impossible. And determining what is negative or harmful is another obstacle. My tallies were absolutely a rough estimate, but still very telling for me. The action of needing to take out a pen and mark my harmful thoughts made me very aware of them. It was a pleasant surprise that the numbers greatly decreased.

Self          Others

Day 1:        8             8

Day 2:       19         21

Day 3:       1            4

Day 4:       6            5

Day 5:       2            4

Day 6:       4            6

Day 7:       3            3

Day 8:       2           3

It quickly became apparent to me that harmful thoughts towards myself led to harmful thoughts towards others, and vice versa. They fed off of each other, making the tallies in each category equal or nearly equal most days. It was very hard to keep true track with so much vritti. As the days went by I used a little different criterion for what was marked as a tally. I may have had more than 2 negative thoughts towards myself on day 8, but they held less weight than they did on day 1. I had a few parallel experiences during the first half and second half of the experiment. The first time I encountered the experiences I attached to my thoughts. The second half I had a very light sensation where I said to myself “wow, that could feel really bad right now, but it just doesn’t.” It was a rather liberating feeling.