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Ahimsa is about removing violence from our thoughts, speech and actions, and replacing it with compassion. An extreme example could be physical aggression, but violence doesn't have to be related to the use of force at all. We may think "I would never beat someone up" and yet yell at them when we're angry, and the same violence is behind both. So let's consider the subtle implications of violence and how they manifest in our lives.

Violence in speech - When we say something harmful to someone, there may not be physical contact at all, and yet the violence can be extreme. When we criticize people because they did not act to our expectations, ridicule/humiliate/slander/undermine them, when we talk about them behind their backs with second intentions (e.g. showing how important we are because we know their business, making fun of them, or intention to cause harm for some other reason). Before we speak (whether it is to that person or about them), we can think to ourselves: "Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?" -  if the answer is yes, then we will start to bring Ahimsa into our speech, and gradually into our thoughts and our way of being as well. 

Violence in thoughts - When we wish someone had less, or suffered more, or knew how hard it was, or should be humiliated as they have done to us, or shouldn't have gotten to where they are, or whatever it may be, those are thoughts that are not based on compassion and true aspiration to help. What we want to eliminate is not just the act of demonstrating violence but the tendency to commit that act, which can start with a single thought.

Violence as a response to violence - Our thoughts and actions have great potential to change the lives of others around us, so if we aim that they cause no pain or injustice to anyone that surrounds us, they will have a positive effect on others. If we don't, then we may be starting a chain of low level emotions that we don't know where it will end. We can look at angry people with compassion and kindness... because often the people that are most upset, are the ones that most need love. And yet we are inclined to only give love to people who are giving us good vibrations and already have love. 

Violence against other living things - Envisioning to minimize the suffering we cause in animals and plants. Apart from physical or psychological violence against animals, we can also consider healthy alternatives to our diet that would cause less suffering to animals for example. An ideology that some cultures adopt is to eat the element of lower level of consciousness available. In some countries where there are several months of snow and ice, that may be animals, and in other countries that have fresh fruit and vegetables that would be the choice. It is said that the recurring eating of animals will lead the mind away from the spirit of compassion and towards violence.

Violence towards ourselves - One of the hardest forms of violence is the one we direct at ourselves. Often, we are the biggest critics of ourselves, and demand much more of ourselves than of everybody else. We push ourselves to the point of exhaustion, and still judge ourselves for all the little things we did wrong along the way. We feel bad about a situation for years and do nothing to change it. We wrongfully consider that we are a specific type of person and dislike ourselves because of it, when in fact we can be exactly whatever we want to be. We give up on ourselves, forget to look after ourselves, and do not appreciate ourselves regardless of how much we try. The principle of compassion needs to be applied to ourselves too. That includes love, forgiveness, comprehension and appreciation. Only when we are truly able to apply these values to ourselves will be able to experience compassion in its greatest sense: for everything and everyone. This one can be harder to deal with because we tend to demand of ourselves more than others, because we know ourselves deeply and can see all the parts that we don't like as much and because we are not someone we can avoid.

Consider why violence is there in the first place. Violence is often a manifestation of power through force instead of consciousness. If we are able to be aware of the exact moment where our violence takes place, we may realize what is causing it and uncover its patterns. Whether it is generated by anger, fear, jealousy, pride or anything else, we can consider the reasons that are causing that feeling in the first place. And at the same time think to ourselves: "how would I see this from the point of view of compassion?"