In the moral codes of the yoga tradition, we aspire to ahimsa, or non-harming, in thought, word, and deed. Which seems easy, on its surface. At least, intellectually.
I like to think of it as a dedicated adherence to giving everyone (plant, animal, human animal) around you the best life it is possible, in your power, to give.
But then there's that sticky part of the practice we tend to overlook, namely kindness in *thought.* You know that old saying, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all?" Well, ahimsa demands that if we can't say anything nice, well, we shouldn't say it, but we also can't think it, either.
After all, how kind is it, how generous is it, to keep your big mouth shut, only to poison yourself (and, yes, others) with the thoughts you just subjugated to the seemingly safe habitat of your mind-body?
This doesn't mean that we avoid debate, that we avoid disagreement. Indeed, ahimsa encourages transparent, open, honest debate, honest discussion. We are on a quest to get it all out in the open, in other words. We don't mistake disagreement for hatred, for fear.
This just in: *we are not always right.* We aren't. None of us is. We make mistakes, we attack people, we rush to judgment, we're impatient, we lash out, we hurt others in order to feel better about ourselves.
But here's the thing--we aren't honest about it. We push that down until we get so angry, we have to move that baggage out by dumping it on another group/party/gender/whatever.
I don't know. I think I'd rather get my dirty linens out, give them a good washing in the backyard, hang them up, and passersby be damned. Maybe if I let them see mine, they'll let me see theirs. Then we can share the chore, share the clean-up, and grow closer in the doing of this work.