What goes through your mind when you hear or find yourself in a situation where someone is shooting a gun? What does cursing do to your brain? What happens to your mental status when you get angry? In all these situations, there is a destabilization of the mind-body nexus. Himsa in vedic philosophy refers to violence and is defined as an intentional use of force or power on self or against a person or a group resulting in a physical harm, injury or death.
Himsa/violence also refers to mental violence, harm or disturbance perpetrated on self or others. Any individual who harbors severe judgment, anger, rage, envy and/or negativity towards self or others is committing Himsa or violence at the level of the mind and emotions.
Mental violence has profound effects on the health of an individual and studies have shown that
(a) victims experience depression, low self-esteem and helplessness coupled with somatic complaints,
(b) victims experience serious psychological disturbances including panic disorders, phobias and anxieties that may last for several years and
(c) victims’ ability to trust and form emotional attachments are severely impacted.
Ahimsa (non-violence), is the opposite of Himsa and refers to a natural inner peace and a non-harming attitude. Individuals practicing mental non-violence have given up on their hostilities, ill-will or aggression. Violent tendencies are replaced with kindness, acceptance and love. Practicing mental non-violence on oneself helps to cultivate empathy and compassion towards others.
As you practice mental non-violence, notice how it brings in more desirable thoughts. That alone will bring in more happiness, satisfaction, clarity, pure joy and bliss.
So how about cultivating some mental non-violence in our lives starting now!!