Panoptic Human: Yamas & Ahimsa

Welcome to my series on Yamas, or in yogi-speak, abstinences.
If you prefer to listen to this lesson, you can do that here:
In yoga, there are 8 stages of unfoldment toward achieving “cosmic consciousness” (yogi speak for reaching a state of consciousness higher than that of an ordinary human; reaching a state consciousness pre-dating the habitation of your consciousness within your human meat-suit; for more, check out this article from Deepak Chopra).
We could consider cosmic consciousness to be somewhat like having a “panoptic” consciousness: taking into account¬†all things and permitting all things to be seen and known, rather than simply abiding within the universe inside of our own heads.
The first step in the 8 Stages of Unfoldment is Yama, or abstinences.
Yamas are intense psychological work. It’s going to be hard.
Observing our Yamas will:
  1. Cleanse our Astral Channels (the paths by which energy moves throughout our light-body; more on those here),
  2. Focus our energies (which are scattered from a crazy lifestyle),
  3. Direct our energies for our own health and happiness and sanity — and that of those around us — as well as for our own spiritual practice.


Now, let’s be honest, if you’re a householder, our intention to be in alignment to our Yama is more important than 100% strict adherence. To strive for perfection would be ridiculous.



To strive for perfection would scatter and distract our energy, leading to emotionality, impulsiveness, and over-rationalization of otherwise unfavorable behaviors.

(If you’re not living in a cave or a temple, you’re a householder).

The first and most important of our Yamas is Ahimsa — nonviolence.
When cultivated, the¬†actor, that’s you, begins to see her own spirit or life-force in all life-forms, and begins to treat others as though they are herself.
From a scientific perspective, we Homo Sapiens share between 99.9% of the same DNA.
We are truly no different from one-another.
If we are no different, why should we treat each other differently?
Here’s another one:
We share 96% of our genes with Chimpanzees,
90% with an Abyssinian Cat,
80% with a domesticated Cow,
and 60% with a banana. More on that, here.
You are no different than the person next to you, the pet sitting on you, the meat you are eating, and the plant which you’ll gorge on later.
I don’t mean to get a little woo-woo, but we share the same blue-print with everything that surrounds us.
Ahimsa aligns us to this truth.
Following Ahimsa creates good Karma, or good automatic behaviors at the level of our subconscious and unconscious mind.
Karma is a law of cause and effect. To break it down, consider this:
“Everything I do is a result of everything I have done.”
This is karma in action.
Through alignment to Ahimsa, we engage in non-violent behaviors, making them more automatic in the future.
Alignment to ahimsa leads to relaxation and non-agitation in the mind, allowing for improved concentration.
Improved concentration allows for improved meditation and stillness practice.
Improved meditation and stillness practice leads to more “Cosmic Consciousness”, Panoptic consciousness if you prefer, illumination (realization of a thing which you were not previously aware), or enlightenment if you prefer that term.
Practicing Ahimsa magnetizes it in your own life.
You’ve seen this in action: when life is good, more good things flow into it.
When life is hard, everything seems to go wrong.
When one person you know of dies, there are sure to be 3 more.
This is magnetism, and practice of Ahimsa brings less violence in your own life.
This allows us to live a happy and harmonious life with others and with nature. As my spiritual teacher likes to say, “We are a part of nature, not apart from it.”

We practice Yamas at three levels:

  1. Intellectually or Mentally / Baudhika in yogi-speak,
  2. Verbally / Vachika,
  3. Physically / Sharirik.

The sane way to approach this is beginning from the more obvious level, working towards the most subtle.

Today, we begin with Sharirik Ahimsa, refraining from killing, hitting, striking, bruising, and physically harming others.

More importantly, and much more challenging, we refrain from causing physical harm to ourselves.

This is especially difficult as we unknowingly do this through our own lifestyles:

  • Prioritizing work over sleep,
  • Work over happiness,
  • Cheap and quick foods over responsibly raised, real food.

These things cause physical harm to our bodies.


Going a bit deeper, we practice Ahimsa by being mindful of:

  1. the violence which we commit to others (a co-worker, spouse, friend, stranger in traffic, a dog, a bug, a tree, a wall),
  2. violence which we commit to ourselves,
  3. violence which we allow others to do,
  4. and violence which we knowingly or unknowingly encourage others to do.


Lastly, we must be conscious of time, place, and circumstance when it comes to our Yamas.

What is violent in one circumstance may not be so in another:

  • Killing an animal for fun.
  • Killing an animal for food when you have plenty.
  • Killing an animal for food when it is scarce.
  • Killing an animal to save the life of a small child.

Every circumstance is different.

As you go about your life from this point onward, we must remember that there is always a choice, and we must ask ourselves:

“What is the least violent path to take in situation?”

“What path will cause the least amount of harm?”


When I say, “here we go”, you must recognize that we’re getting into the “cheese-factor,” the stuff that might embarrass you or make you feel silly.

In my experience in training and coaching and meditation, it’s these cheesy things that tend to be delicious…err, I mean the most beneficial.


So, Here we go (which means, read this aloud):

“With every breath that I breathe, I am becoming more and more non-violent towards myself and others.”

“With every breath that I breathe, I am becoming more and more non-violent towards myself and others.”

“With every breath that I breathe, I am becoming more and more non-violent towards myself and others.”

Your path toward becoming a Panoptic Human, one who takes into account the whole at one view, who permits everything to be seen, has begun.

In sanskrit, AUMM / OM is said to vibrate at the same frequency as the Universe and the spark of the big-bang,

Shanti means Peace.

So, I say Om Shanti to you.

The light of that divine-spark, the light of the big bang within me sees, and celebrates the light of that spark within you.



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