There comes time in life when we lose our way, and everything gets mixed or confused. Our own system of principles and beliefs, which seems pretty harmonious, falls apart. We start to doubt our own abilities, not being able to complete our tasks or achieve our goals. What should we do in this case? What’s the best way to stay focused without hurting ourselves and others?
In our articles, we often mention the three principles of Yoga, which are the basis of its entire philosophy. People start practicing yoga when they intuitively understand the necessity for the application of these principles. Alternatively, they discover their simplicity and grandiosity and adopt them instantly, because the three principles of Yoga touch every single string of our soul.
The three principles of Yoga are:
- The Principle of Kindness(Ahimsa): We should try our best to do no harm to any living being, unless it is necessary. When it is impossible to do no harm we should follow our duty.
- The Principle of Effectiveness or Logic (Brahmacarya): We shouldn’t waste our energy or direct our consciousness on things that don’t lead us to the goals we have set in our work, studies, leisure or yoga. Before we get involved in any activity, we should ask ourselves whether it leads us to our goals — if not, then we should give it up ruthlessly
- The principle of helping all living beings: “I will do my best to help all living beings eliminate suffering if they wish so and if I am able to (help them). By eliminating suffering outside, I eliminate suffering inside myself. Eventually, there will be no reasons left for suffering.”
The main goal of Yoga is an absolute, unconditional freedom from all possible restrictions.The three principles of Yoga are the starting point of the way to freedom.
What is Kindness? What does it Mean to be Kind? What is the relation between our duty and kindness? Kindness and the Law of Rita.
Kindness is above logic. There are no logical reasons to be kind. Every day we encounter cases of cruelty, impudence, and cynicism in the world. It seems that whoever managed to “snatch the bigger piece of pie” is right.
However, this is far from the truth. There is a theory about the sources of such delusion. Within the philosophy of Yoga, Maya is the concept that makes us see things differently from what they are. Illusion and deception are the by-products of Maya. Many people think that there is no need to take into account the motives and feelings of other people. They believe that by treating others badly they make themselves look powerful and respectful. But Karma — the law of cause and effect — assures that any act, whether a good or a bad one, will return back like a boomerang. Thus, sooner or later, you reap what you sow.
It is worth mentioning the associative links that Maya generates. Flows of our vitality connect our Higher Self with the external world. As those connections multiply, we gradually start identifying ourselves with our bodies, emotions, and thoughts — the manifestations of self rather than its transcendental essence and unlimited potential. Anything that harms our manifestations the least, begins to be perceived as a direct threat to life. Such a response was formed during the whole evolution of living beings.
Automatic reactions help survive in critical situations.
Very often the situation only seems critical, while our reaction is excessive. To be kind means to realize that negative actions of others towards us are usually due to ignorance. Either a person doesn’t know about the law of karma, or they associate themselves with their external manifestations and feel threatened. Do not get angry and overreact. Take control over hard-wired but inadequate instincts.
However, there are situations when we cannot but cause harm. In such cases, our duty is the best judge of our behavior. Minimizing suffering of other living beings should become the main priority then.
Duty is the other side of freedom.
Our duty is determined by the fact that someone, at some time in the past, limited their freedom for our freedom to expand, so that we may develop. In other words, duty is a set of rules with which we have knowingly or unknowingly agreed in the past and which we have pledged to abide by. If we observe the obligation until the agreed moment, we limit our own sufferings as well as those of others. If we break the promise, we trigger a wave of negative consequences. For example, when raising us, our parents infringed on their freedom so that we could grow up healthy and prosperous. We repay this debt by taking care of them when they age. If we refuse to follow these rules, our parents suffer and, as a result, in the future, we suffer too. Financial debt is another example of duty. By signing a loan agreement, we agree with all the conditions specified. By violating at least one of the obligations, we become subject to fines and penalties and additional damage imposed by the crediting institution.
To be kind is to live by the Law of Rita.
The Law of Rita is the law of being in harmony with the surrounding world. When we shift our attention to the outer Universe, we may clearly see what needs to be done. To follow the Law of Rita is to act nor out of fear of persecution or threat, neither to get a reward or attention, but merely to make the world a little more beautiful, clean and kind.
“You must make the good out of the bad because that is all you have got to make it out of.” Willie Stark
We have to mention one more thing: what’s the connection between kindness and honesty? Can honesty towards others violate the principle of Kindness?
Yoga says that we cannot achieve its highest goal — freedom, without being honest with ourselves and with others. However, if motivated by our ambitions rather than by duty, we tell the truth which hurts and makes others suffer, the negative karma will return the suffering back on us. Telling the truth to prevent greater harm is the only way to avoid negative consequences.
Don’t go to extremes
Some people decide to do only good deeds, to help the entire Universe, and to trust everyone. Having assumed such a role, they tend to fall under the influence of others and waste their resources literally “burning out”. This is when the Second principle of Yoga, the principle of Efficiency or logic, should be followed. Read more about the Second principle of Yoga in our next article.
Yoga recommends practicing the “May all living beings be happy!” meditation frequently for a deeper understanding of the principle of Kindness. During this meditation we focus on the heart area in the center of our chest, and recite three times the phrase “May all living beings be happy!” Saying it for the first time we think of all the people we know and love. For the second time we think about all the people we will never know. Finally, for the third time, we think about all those who we consider to be our enemies. We wish them happiness from the heart.
I want to be kind! I can be kind! I will be kind!
When you feel weak and desperate, and the world seems turned upside down, the very first thing that Yoga insists on is to be kind! Our problems and troubles do not depend on other living beings. They are our own actions and thoughts. Forgive yourself for past inappropriate reactions and remember about your true self, that the human essence is infinite, omniscient and boundlessly potential. Reveal your own self through Yoga.
Reveal yourself through Kindness!
Article author : Mirra
Drawing author : Vita Krim
Redaction: Eva Rami,Olga Belous
Curator of the project: Kerigona
Translators: Larisa Skibina, Tatiana Sugrue