Injunction of Action and Inaction


“The sum total of our actions can create a temporary form of safety, but it rarely, if ever, provides the mental and emotional experience of safety.  The inner life of humanity is haunted by the implacable fact that the things we create and love are impermanent, and that the futures we are living into are uncertain.”

-Rolf Gates, Meditations on Intention and Being

Day 20 – Today in my readings of ahisma, I ask myself:  “What actions do I take to find balance, safety, ease within my life? I find peace and stillness in movement most every day: I cultivate better sleep habits (as this is the one thing that strongly correlates with physical health and healing); I discover new things and new ways to look at the world; and I temper my eating according to my current needs.  

Ahisma, according to Rolf, is our natural impulse, which is hampered by acquired fears.  And from our time spent on the mat we learn that “we should not draw lines around ourselves, and…we should see all beings as our brothers and sisters.”  Yoga, Rolf writes, offers us “a set of actions to take until we are ready for nonaction.”  Today, I was most ready for the inaction of mediation, preferring a long, deep stretch and pranayama to quiet my mind.

And while my actions toward myself feel true to the precept of ahisma, out in the real world, I fail to instill this.  For others, I tend to worry.  I worry about what my family will have for breakfast.  I worry about my children out in the world, getting to and from activities.  I worry about my job.  I worry about my students.  I worry.  And all my actions seem to stem from fear.  Worry is misplaced action.  And I seek safety within “an infinite number of actions” each day, such as timeliness, preparedness, advocacy, physical presence.


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