I just had more of an understanding click inside of myself about ahimsa (non-violence). I watched the movie Captain Richards. It’s a movie depicting Captain Richard’s experience in having his cargo ship taken over by a group of Somali pirates. The move left me feeling very sad. Sad at what he experienced, sad about what even led the Somalis into this situation and sad about a world where military, weapons and fighting is deemed necessary and normal. As we drove home from the movie, my partner was talking about a friend who recently went hunting. I remarked how I just don’t understand the need to kill an animal. He stated, “Well, it will save him some money on his grocery bill.” Then it hit me. Even this act of killing another animal shows ignorance into the meaning of ahimsa. People often ask me why I’m vegetarian and I give them explanations of health and the environment. But it goes beyond that. It is not necessary for most people in this world to kill an animal in order to get the nourishment we need. It is not necessary to inflict violence on another person to work through conflict. It is not necessary to beat ourselves up because we aren’t perfect. The ignorance of what we perceive as necessary to survive or to get our way or to be the best person we can ends up inflicting violence upon others and ourselves. And I’m reminded that it comes back to me. I can’t stop warlords, I can’t stop someone from hunting…I can practice ahimsa and stop myself from living in this ignorance. In this sadness and turmoil, I feel closer to a sense of peace within myself. I feel my eyes are open a little further and I feel a letting go of a little more of judgment. Gaining a deeper understanding that everyone is in their own struggle with ignorance, including myself, lessens anger and increases compassion within me that may have to potential to travel outside of me into the world.