Spirituality is an important part of many people’s lives, and one of the major concepts deeply rooted within the core of many spiritual practices is that of Ahimsa – a Sanskrit term that translates to “non-violence” or “non-harming” and is a central tenet of many spiritual traditions. Ahimsa is the practice of living in a way that causes no harm to oneself or others, and is a way of living in harmony with the world.
Let’s explore five ways in which any spiritual person can live by Ahimsa and strive to live more ethically.
1. Attitude of Compassion
On a daily basis, we can practice ahimsa through compassion by being mindful of our words and actions. We can strive to be kind and respectful to everyone we encounter, and to treat all living beings with the respect they deserve. On a larger scale, we can practice ahimsa through compassion by advocating for animal rights and speaking out against animal cruelty. We can also support organizations that are working to protect animals and their habitats, and we can donate to charities that are working to end animal suffering.
Source: Tiny Rescue Ahimsa Tee
Self-love is an important part of ahimsa because it is impossible to practice non-violence towards others if we do not first practice it towards ourselves. When we practice self-love, we are showing ourselves kindness, compassion, and respect. We are also recognizing our own worth and value, and treating ourselves with the same care and consideration that we would show to others. You can cultivate self-love in your life by celebrating the small wins, speaking to yourself as you would with a friend, and practicing mindfulness.
3. Respect Animals and Nature
When it comes to respecting nature and animals, ahimsa encourages us to be mindful of our consumption and how it affects the world around us. We should strive to reduce our consumption of animal products, as well as our consumption of resources such as water, energy, and land. This also includes the food we eat, clothes we wear, cosmetics we buy, and brands we support. When there is complete transparency about what goes into each product, we can make informed decisions and vote with each dollar spent!
4. Start Meditating
Meditating and ahimsa are deeply connected. Meditation is a practice of self-reflection and awareness that can help us cultivate a sense of peace and compassion for ourselves and others. When we meditate, not only do we become more present but we become more mindful of our thoughts and actions, and can become more aware of how our actions may be causing harm to others, and we can choose to act in a way that is more in line with ahimsa. Meditation can also help us to cultivate a sense of connection with all living beings. To begin meditating, you can utilize free guided meditations that are available on the internet.
5. Eat Plant-Based
Source: Tiny Rescue Ahimsa Tee
The vegan lifestyle is based on the idea that animals should not be exploited for human benefit. Vegans believe that animals have the right to live free from suffering and exploitation, and that humans should not use animals for food, clothing, entertainment, or any other purpose. By abstaining from consuming animal products, vegans are actively working to reduce the suffering of animals and to promote a more compassionate lifestyle. In addition to being a way to practice ahimsa, going vegan also has many other benefits. It can help reduce the suffering of animals, reduce the environmental impact of animal agriculture, and improve human health.
Gratitude and ahimsa (non-violence) are deeply connected. Gratitude is an attitude of appreciation and thankfulness for the blessings we have in our lives. It is a recognition that we are not alone in this world and that we are surrounded by people, places, and things that bring us joy and support. Ahimsa is a recognition that all life is interconnected and that we should strive to treat each other with respect and kindness. Practicing gratitude can be as simple as taking 5 minutes out of your day to write down whatever comes to mind without overthinking what you are writing. Not only is this good for you physically, mentally, and emotionally, but but you’ll begin to feel a greater sense of compassion towards all living beings!
7. Be Mindful of What You’re Buying
Source: Tiny Rescue Ahimsa Sweatshirt
Ahimsa is an important concept to keep in mind when making purchasing decisions. It means being mindful of what you are buying and supporting cruelty-free brands. This means avoiding products that have been tested on animals, contain animal-derived ingredients, or are produced in a way that harms animals. When shopping for products, it is important to read labels and research the company to make sure that their practices are in line with your values. Many companies are now offering cruelty-free products, so it is easier than ever to find products that are not tested on animals.
8. Volunteer With Non-Violent Initiatives
Volunteering with non-violent initiatives that help animals is a great way to make a difference in the world. There are many different ways to get involved, from working directly with animals to advocating for their rights. Sadly, about 6.3 million animals enter U.S. shelters every year. Not only can you consider adopting or fostering an animals, but shelters are also in need of volunteers to walk dogs, clean cages, and provide socialization and enrichment activities. You can also consider working with various animal rights organizations who work to protect animals from exploitation and abuse. Volunteers can help with research, fundraising, and advocacy campaigns.
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Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
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- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, donate if you can, grow your food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!