The first principle: Live Your Truth because knowledge is not enough, was explored in the last blog.

In this blog we shall explore the second principle:

One Presence and One Power Unites Us All

Albert Einstein’s lifework was trying to discover the Unified Field Theory. The Butterfly Effect is a dramatic example. A butterfly flaps its wings in Miami, Florida and there is a hurricane in the Bahamas two weeks later. In the physical domain of existence we are all familiar with how interconnected the universe is and recognize that one presence and one power unites us all. However, the interconnectedness of the mind and body is truly amazing and Gandhi’s message shows us the way.  

Gandhi knew that since we are all interconnected, we should never harm any living being. Gandhi followed the principle of ahimsa, which is non-violence or compassion.

When practicing ahimsa, we carefully observe our thoughts, feelings and actions. We ensure that our thoughts, feelings, and actions are nonviolent. When we do so, we experience peace and promote health. Also, and as importantly, through living a life of ahimsa we promote health in our communities and the world.

That is the secret to Gandhi’s ahimsa practice: Non-violence in thought, word, and deed. Let me share with you an amazing story about non-violence in thought.

The Dali Lama tells a wonderful story about the practice of mental ahimsa:

“A senior monk I know spent 17-18 years in Chinese prison after 1959. In the 1980s he was released and was able to join me in India. Once, when we were chatting about his experiences, he told me that there had been dangerous moments during his imprisonment. I thought he meant threats to his life, but he said, ‘No, there were times when there was a danger of my losing compassion for my Chinese captors.’ This is an example of practice in action. He has since been examined by medical scientists who found he has no post-traumatic symptoms. He has physical pains, but no mental unease.”

This story shows that ahimsa is not some theoretical doctrine, it is a practice that must be lived. This story of adversity revealed the monks true character. Mahatma Gandhi eloquently stated, “Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.”

Now think about a small child of say 3 or 4 years old, they are naturally living ahimsa and recognizing that One Presence and One Power Unites us all.  Small children naturally express compassion and love, which is the cornerstone of ahimsa. As Martin Luther King, Jr said, “At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love.”

As the story from the Dali Lama articulates, we must be vigilant of our thoughts moment to moment. We must ensure that our thoughts are nonviolent. What happens if we are not vigilant of our minds and develop negative thoughts?

Negative thoughts manifest in our bodies as stress hormones, muscle spasms, elevated heart rate, elevated blood pressure, premature aging, anxiety, and depression. Persistent negative thoughts is violence. Through the intimate mind-body connection persistent negative thoughts manifest in our bodies. Nonviolence or ahimsa is an ancient practice that involves not only physical action but also the movement of thoughts. An ancient Chinese proverb articulates this Point:

Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words.

Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions.

Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits.

Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character.

Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.

I would add:

Be careful of your emotions, for your emotions can become countless restless thoughts. Emotional turbulence can lead to a myriad of negative and violent thoughts. In practicing ahimsa or nonviolence, we must be careful of our thoughts, emotions, and behavior. If our thoughts are negative, pessimistic, hypercritical, sarcastic, derogatory, angry, racist, bigoted,homophobic, Islamophobic, etcetera, we must pay attention and be careful with these thoughts as they arise. There is a specific mindfulness technique that can eradicate violent thoughts. In Eastern wisdom traditions, it is known as the silent witness. In modern psychology, it is called metacognitive awareness also known as “thinking about thinking.” This mindfulness technique can also apply to our feelings and emotions.

We shall explore specific mindfulness techniques that will help eradicate negative thinking and help engender happiness. In the next installment we shall see how meditation can be our medication and will harness a vacation state of mind every day. This is the vacation state of mind that produces joy and contentment that we see in small children every day.

There are Five Ancient Universal Principles that children live every day and allow every day to be filled with peace, joy, and contentment. I have created a mnemonic device that will help you remember the 5 principles for inner and outer transformation: L.O.V.E.S. The Answer. These principles have been around for thousands of years and they are universal and can be practiced with any religion.