yoga is a way of life.. For inner peace and good health, practice yoga

yoga is a way of life.. For inner peace and good health, practice yoga

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Teachings: A Respectful Being

In the past few weeks, I have noticed a flood of wonderful teachings come my way and I want to share some of them with you. I find they interlace with each other and have a common bond, which is respect: acting from an awareness that everything is sacred and our bodies and the world are the same temple.

When visiting the Rubin Museum of Art in the city (which specializes in art of the Himalayas) on Valentine's Day, there was an exhibit of Jain Images of Perfection. Jainism has an ancient past and is one of India's three classical religions together with Hinduism and Buddhism. According to the brochure, "At the heart of Jainism is an ethic of nonviolence, ahimsa, and a respect for all living things. Ahimsa continues to guide the daily lives of all Jains, who are strict vegetarians. An ancient faith emphasizing the sanctity of all life, Jainism was an influence on the nonviolent political movement of Mahatma Gandhi."

In this month's Yoga Journal, a short article is centered around having respect for all things, living or not. Showing respect for your home by removing your shoes when you enter. Not slamming doors. Hanging your clothes instead of dropping them on the floor. Being grateful for a warm blanket. Leaving a place better than the way you found it. The author says, "When I respect my wife, she is kinder to me. Likewise, with loving care, a tree will bear us sweeter fruit. If we do not respect other people, they will not be willing to help us when we are in need. If we do not respect the planet, it will not remain habitable."

An article I read in The New York Times Magazine recently talks about a new theory in psychology, called "ecopsychology," which is dedicated to the relationship between environmental issues and mental health and well-being." Glenn Albrecht, a professor in Australia, writes about the term he devised called solastalgia, a word that comes from Latin and Greek and is defined as "the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault, a feeling of homesickness while still being home." Albrecht estimates that solastalgia "is a global condition, felt to a greater or lesser degree by different people in different locations but felt increasingly, given the ongoing degradation of the environment."

And in my "More Language of Letting Go" daily reader, the entry today shares a few words about work. You can do an average job of it, or really put your best into it and make it a wonderful, rewarding experience. It shows a tremendous amount of self-respect when you take charge and give your very best to everything you do. I have success with it when I do... clients respond, work seems to pour in more and more, and I feel more fulfilled with my career.

I find that when I have respect for the tiniest of creatures (I always escort ants and spiders outside in a glass and never, ever kill them), for my home, for my body, for those close to me, for strangers, for my work, for the earth itself, I feel better about myself because good energy goes out and returns to me. I have much more I would like to do, like walking more instead of driving/polluting, being more compassionate when out in the congested area where I live. It certainly is challenging to find peaceful solutions in our complicated modern society. But I think it is the many small efforts of respect we make that add up to truly living in the present moment, and when we live in the present moment, we find the luxury to be in harmony with all that is.


  1. Wonderful thoughts!! When you are non-violent with others you are actually being non-violent with your self.

    These articles may interest you:


  2. Anish/Jain Chronicler,
    Thank you so much for the links! I'm so glad you found me. I have discovered in my life that when I punish others, I punish myself. I'm grateful to have more information about the Jain view of karma which I can identify with as it as I seek to be more pure in my actions. And I am familiar with ahimsa through my study of yoga and Patanjali's teachings of the yamas and niyamas. Practicing compassion starts with one's self. I plan on writing more about these topics and though I still must keep learning, I love to share what I have found meaningful with others. I appreciate your looking in and helping me! I invite others who read my blog to also read these links to become more familiar with Jainism's philosophy. --Audrey