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Nonviolence is Only a Breath Away: Guest Blog Series

Breathing connects us all, we share our breath with the oceans, we breathe with the plants, we breathe with the animals, insects and microbes and we breathe with each other.

Beyond the internet and cell phones, what has eternally connected us is our breath and gravity. It has grounded that connection for us since eternity. Breathing connects us all, we share our breath with the oceans, we breathe with the plants, we breathe with the animals, insects and microbes and we breathe with each other. Life is connected by our breath across all nations, across all religions, across all world views. Mahavira, the 24th and last Tirthankara (Path-finder) of this era, who lived 2500 years ago in north India, consolidated the basic Jain teachings of nonviolence, peace, harmony and reverence for life and living. Bhagwan Mahavir was deep in meditation. His closed eyes radiated an extraordinary peace and serenity. A bird flew in and sat close to him. When he opened his eyes, the bird got frightened and flew away. Lord Mahavir thought of the violence inherent in the very opening of the human eye. Non-violence, or a-himsa is not only the absence of violence but it is the lack of fear and the presence of an all-embracing love for life and all that supports life. Nonviolence does not mean not to hurt anyone but it is about building capacity of our innate abilities for compassion, peace, nonviolence, equanimity, forgiveness, truthfulness, renunciation and non-attachment. Breathing Practice:  To practice, simply focus and put all your attention on your breathing.  Inhale-watch your breath coming in.  Hold your breath-Exhale. Do this with your eyes closed for about five minutes. Notice and journal the effects on your body and mind. Hema photo coloredDr. Hemlata Pokharna is a long-time supporter of Play for Peace. She teaches courses on spirituality and Medicine at the University of Chicago. Independently she is the director of Journeys of Life. She trains people to develop skills to connect with self through Meditation and Focusing, and connect with others through Nonviolent communication. We are honored that Dr. Pokharna has agreed to be a regular writer for our Guest Blog Series!  
Play for Peace's Guest Blog Series is a new service we offer the Play for Peace Community, bringing in diverse perspectives on topics relevant to our work. Find a new Guest Blog here every Wednesday!