Violence is Natural

By |June 7th, 2017|Yoga Off the Mat|1 Comment|

What a terrible thing to say, but it’s true.
In the Tantra, there is a teaching that everything is eating everything else.
The universe births itself, then grows itself by eating itself.
In order to survive, life eats life. I suppose humans are no different.
But we have consciousness.
We have discrimination and the capacity to think ahead and go beyond
our instinct to kill as the first reaction.
That is a choice.
We can get angry, step back, slow it down, consider the bigger picture, and then choose to act with diplomacy. But if your life or your loved one’s life is truly threatened, we are all wired to kill out of self-defense. This comes from the deepest primordial instinct to stay alive. We are part of nature. It’s a good thing. But when your ideology is rigid, narrow, and fanatical, there will be trouble. This kind of violence is a crime and is unsustainable.

In Tantra, violence is not seen as something separate from us. Ahimsa (the yama of nonviolence, or kindness) is still practiced in Tantra, but violence is embraced as a reality of life. Violence is integrated into the fabric of reality. Life eats itself in order to grow itself. Tantra embraces the acts of nature that could be considered violent, as in a violent tornado, the stalking of a mouse by a hawk, when you hit a deer on the road with your car, or even giving birth.

When I first heard these teachings, I was mortified. But then I began to understand. I was able to expand my heart wide enough to include violence as a natural part of life. This helped me understand the goddess Kali, adorned in the shadow, with her necklace of baby skulls, holding […]