Apart from achieving our personal ambitions in life, we should strive to keep the aim of “not to hurt or cause pain to any living being” too.
This is one of the highest principles of human life. I personally believe that I would like to give others what I would like to receive. I would not like to be hurt by others so I should not hurt anyone.
This is the aim of my life—of “human life.” Whilst the fulfilling of ambition gives us personal satisfaction, an aim of “not to hurt or cause pain to any living being” makes us rise higher in our spiritual development.
When carrying out our day-to-day interactions, we may not even realize that we are hurting the feelings of others. So, first of all, let’s try and understand the different ways by which we could be causing hurt to others intentionally or unintentionally, through our thoughts, speech, and actions in our day-to-day life.
When we harbor negative thoughts or opinions toward someone (i.e. “oh they are so useless, they do not understand, they are annoying”) the vibrations reach the other person for sure, which hurts the other person, and, in turn, that person too begins to harbor negative thoughts and opinions for us. Due to envy or dislike for someone, we may wish bad things onto others. This could hurt the other person, but it will hurt us in a much bigger way.
What can be the solution to this? Maybe we can oppose the negative thoughts for that person and counterbalance each of them with five good ones. Bad thoughts are unhealthy and good thoughts are healthy for us and for others too. Also, we can take a vow to utilize our intellect for solving problems and never to form negative opinions for others.
How do we tend to hurt someone with speech? For instance, when we are annoyed with someone, our underlying hurtful emotions arising out of our irritation for that person may get expressed through our words and could hurt the person. Words that try to establish authority over the other person are often laden with heavy expectations, they smell of an “I know better” attitude, and are demanding, bossy, stern, or even harsh in nature. Such words could be received adversely by the person concerned.
Words uttered with a sting in the heart come across hurtful and it could cause damage to the other person. Bitter words hurt the feelings of the other person and create a barrier in our relationship. Our words mirror our thoughts. So if we have perceived bad opinions about someone, it surely gets reflected sooner or later.
All we can do is to think before speaking. Imagine how we would feel and react in a similar situation? We can use words that are short, pleasant, to the point, and honest. When we think that the conservation is going to be difficult or if we have to interact with someone we dislike, we can take the time to pray to God that “May the other person not get hurt by my words. Please give me strength to say words that help pacify the other person.”
Sometimes, we may be insistent and demanding. Instead, let’s try to be willing to compromise and patiently listen to the point of view of the person concerned. Be selective in our choice of words by saying such words that inspire and bring about unity and the best in others.
Our conduct may be aggressive or, on occasion, violent, which could really hurt the other person. If our body language is pessimistic and pensive, it could affect the other person adversely. Our negative facial expressions could frustrate, demotivate, and even kill the optimism in the other person.
So as a solution to this, we can ask ourselves before we act, “Would I like if the other person acted with me in this manner?” If the answer is “yes,” we may proceed. But if the answer is “no” we should refrain ourselves from doing that act or behavior.
When we feel aggressive toward someone, keep praying within, “I do not want to hurt the other person. Oh, God! Please give me strength so that I do not cause any hurt to anyone.” But if wrong behavior does happen, then later on when things have calmed down, sincerely apologize for your behavior. We should internally feel remorseful whenever we have inflicted pain onto someone and ask for strength from God to overcome harmful emotions like anger or bitterness so that in future we do not become a reason to hurt someone.
Life is an echo of our intent.
So, if we maintain a caring and compassionate intent, results in our life too will be favorable.
All religious and spiritual paths propose that the essence of human life should be to not hurt any living being to the slightest extent. When we make a decision to not hurt others, subtle, magical changes take place within. We begin to gradually become aware of our actions, thoughts, and speech in situations and with people.
The more we practice the discipline of not to hurt others, the better we shall feel. Hence, every morning we should recite the following sentence five times: “May no living being be ever hurt to the slightest extent through my mind, speech, or body”
And whenever we find we’ve hurt someone, we can follow the three-step process called Pratikraman to reverse the aggression caused to someone successfully by asking for heartfelt forgiveness.
- Alochana: Confess the mistake. Here, we accept our mistake and confess it before God. For example, “Oh God. It was my mistake that I was angry with so and so, and as a result, I hurt their feelings.”
- Pratikraman: Ask for forgiveness for that mistake. Here, with all repentance in our heart, we sincerely apologize for our mistake before God. “Oh God, please forgive me for my mistake.”
- Pratyakhyan: Make a firm resolve to never repeat the mistake. Here, we pray to God, “Oh God, I vow that I shall never repeat this mistake again. Please give me strength to fulfill my vow.”
This is a scientific process that will yield beautiful, positive results for us and even to the person whom we might have hurt. As long as we are remorseful for our deeds and we do Pratikraman, upholding the sincere intent of not hurting others, our life will improve for the better.