- (in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jainist tradition) respect for all living things and avoidance of violence toward others.
Sanskrit, from a ‘non-, without’ + hiṃsā ‘violence’.
Definitions from Oxford Languages
So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.
E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
The thing most spiritual teachings don’t mention about the practice of non-violence, is the amount of grief one ends up carrying when one lets go of the anger.
Anger is not wrong, certainly not at this time in our world, for oh so many reasons. In fact, it is appropriate, and has been appropriate, again and again and again throughout this past year. But anger arises, and then it subsides. It ebbs and flows. It is only when we freeze it in place and assign it to one person, one group, one way of thinking or being or behaving that it can begin to eat us from the inside. But the gift it offers is the idea that ‘if only so and so were gone or whatever, if only such and such were different,’ then I wouldn’t have this anger. And with this idea arises the illusion of control of others and control of the world we all watched play out these past few days.
If we are trying to find a spiritual approach to all of this worldly chaos, though, we will want to let the anger find its proper place in our experience of things, arising here and there, then settling back down again. When we do that, however, what arises in us might be the grief and sorrow and broken-heartedness of seeing principles and ideals that we have cherished torn down before our very eyes.
Oscar Wilde said ‘hearts are made to be broken.’ Perhaps. But spiritual truths tell us that everything that happens, happens for a reason. And the reason always is about progressive change. It is our job to look for the good, to look for the next right step forward that can move us in the direction of that progressive change. And to do that, we must find the willingness not to turn away from our grief, not to pretend it isn’t there; and not ever to allow it to covered up with the idea that it is the fault of the other and the anger this idea will set off within us.
The depth of our grief is evidence of how deeply we have loved. And it is the love that the grief uncovers for us that will show us the way forward.