Experimenting with Ahimsa: For Others

The most profound moment in my experiment happened on a night when a couple of coworkers in my vicinity were being incredibly negative. They were saying nasty things about their customers and they were both getting each other more worked up. They started to get louder and louder, and I started doing my mantra in my head. I repeated it a couple of times, feeling annoyed at how hard it was to hear my thoughts over their noise. I started to get frustrated with these people for the way they were acting. But all the while I kept chanting in my head, partly now to drown out my own reaction to their negativity, and at one point, spontaneously, I realized I didn’t just want to chant for myself anymore—I wanted to chant for them, too. So I silently dedicated a couple of chants to my coworkers, wishing for them to find more happiness and peace within themselves, because happy people don’t talk like that. I wished for their minds to be inspired and filled with divine qualities. And then I felt at peace.

This was a beautiful moment because, suddenly, it wasn’t just about me anymore. I wasn’t just concerned about my own peace. I almost feel guilty admitting that, for most of the rest of the experiment, I was too busy trying to find my own inner peace to worry too much about what other people were doing. There was just this one spontaneous moment when it dawned on me that I wasn’t the one who needed the most help here.