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Reflection on Non-harming

This is the first in our series of poems and reflections on the ten ethical principals of yoga. Ahimsa, or non-harming, is the first principal of yoga.

The Waking

 

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground!   I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

– Theodore Roethke

Dusk

This poem is the voice of my heart, singing my self to sleep.   I love its steady rhythm, the soothing waves of vowels.  Perhaps I heard these sounds as an infant – my head rests on my mother’s chest, her heartbeat and her lullaby holding me as safely as two warm arms.  I may not understand the words of the song, but my body knows their meaning.

So it is with the attitude of non-harming.  We disengage the minds in order to understand what non-harming  brings us, hear the gentle certainty in its simple verbs.  We wake, we learn, we feel , we hear.  God blesses.

When we live in non-harming there is no direction other than forward.  We learn by going where we have to go.


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