Image / Michal Bednarek
"Members of some Jaina sects in India wear a mask to filter the air, lest they should unwittingly inhale and take the life of small creatures. This is a religious custom that few of us would find practical to follow. Nevertheless, upon closer inspection this extreme discipline suggests a useful lesson: Our life is built on the sacrificial death of others. With every breath, we are involuntarily murdering creatures - a massacre that not even a mask can prevent. For, we constantly annihilate billions of invisible microbes, so that we may live. We ourselves are a link in the great food chain of life, destined to die and be food for microbic creatures.
We need not stop breathing or feeding ourselves, or constantly "turn the other cheek," but we must appreciate how we owe our life to other beings and how they owe their lives to us. When we truly see this vast interconnectedness, it becomes very easy for us to cultivate an attitude of reverence for life, which is essentially an attitude of nonharming and of ego transcending love. Yoga means to sensitize us to the fact that we are not alone in the universe but are interdependent cells of a vast cosmic body. Spiritual life is largely a matter of taking responsibility for our destructive aggression, as it reveals itself to us in ever subtler forms. As Patanjali states, nonharming must be practiced under all conditions, which means in thought, word, and deed. Our self inspection can begin with our active life."
- Georg Feuerstein, from Yoga Morality
Dana Wyss Healing Arts
Breathe deeply, practice often, be well.