be free, be happy, be peaceful

May all find the teacher within to guide oneself towards unconditional love and peace

Sunday, May 17, 2009

chapter 12 - be independent


At the beginning of our practice, we need a good teacher and guidelines to show us the way, but as we march forward, we will soon become our own teacher and be able to walk on the path independently.


Everything will become our teacher. All we need is to have self discipline.

The six senses, the mind, the ego, the intellect are no longer the mischievous ‘friends’ that contaminate and misguide us but they have became our teachers in the end.

If we truly understand Dharma, we will know that our real teacher is in our heart.

He lives in our heart. We will not need many teachers if we find this one. He has never left us from the very beginning and is with us until the very end of worldly life's existence until we become one with Him. He is always there, watching us, guiding us, teaching us and blessing us.

It is our true Self.

Know this teacher and we will stop searching for a teacher with a name and form to guide us in the path towards enlightenment.

Pay respect to this very up close and personal teacher, listen to its guidance and follow its teaching.

Even when we were mischievous and engaged in wrongdoing He never condemned us, punished us or left us. He is always there to love us and care for our well-being, whether we know it or not. He is ever ready to give us all the wisdom and tell us the Truth if we know Him and aware of His existence and listen to His wise and compassionate voice.

If we don't know this great teacher, we will keep on looking for teachers from the outside with different names and forms, and still find that we are not truly satisfied because we don't really get the real meaning of Dharma. Even if we understand the meaning of Dharma, but we still do not know how to apply it in life and test it ourselves, to prove that it is the Truth.

It is like saying ''being detached from the ego'' and ''being desireless'' is very easy, but to become really detached from our ego and become desireless is not that easy. Many people have been struggling for many years and still find that these two elements continue to trouble them on and off. We might go to either one of the two extremities, but not find the balance point of the middle path, or otherwise we might be defeated by the strong ego and desires, and distance ourselves from our practice.

Always bear in mind that if we are becoming more self-controlled, patient, forgiving, selfless, positive, cheerful, humble, calm, confident, compassionate and having less fear, worries, selfishness, arrogance, anger, hatred, jealousy, evil and lustful thoughts, then know that we are advancing in the path of Yoga. But, if it is the other way round, then we know that we are not really practicing Yoga and whatever we are doing is actually enhancing our ego and ignorance, and generating lots of negative energy in us and around us.

When we start to realize and accept the Truth about the law of impermanence, suffering or misery, and the way to come out of misery, then we will become confident in the path of Yoga, and confident to share this supreme knowledge with other people who are in misery. It doesn't matter if we do not label ourselves with a name and form, such as ''yoga practitioner'' or ''yoga teacher'', or whether we have any intention to teach or to help others. We just want to appreciate this great opportunity for us to attain salvation and to share the path with many others who are also looking for salvation.

Because we develop mindfulness of our thoughts, actions and speech, we become confident on the path. This is the most important practice we must have every moment of our lives until our breath stops.

Even if we have a great teacher beside us, or in our lives, if we don't have mindfulness of thoughts, actions and speech, then it makes no difference whether we have the teacher or not. Having a teacher who keeps telling us what to do and what not to do, will be useless to us if we still don't get it and are not applying it in real life after having listened to all the instructions from the teacher. It is not because the teacher is not good enough or not teaching us, it's because we are so ignorant that we cannot perceive what the teacher tried to teach us.

If we are independent and have self discipline, we don't need a teacher to give us instructions all the time. In reality, even a very good teacher cannot be there for us all the time.

After practicing Dharma for sometime, we should find that our emotions are more stable, we can have stronger control over our anger, hatred, jealousy, arrogance and lust. We can forgive the people who hurt us with their actions and speech. We can forgive ourselves. We stop judging and criticizing ourselves and other people. We stop comparing ourselves with our own selves for our performance in the past and also stop having any expectations of our future performance. We accept ourselves as we are now at the moment, whether we feel good or don't feel good, or if we are improving or declining in our practice. None of it matters, it is not important.

In the past, we might have needed a few months or a few years to let go of certain anger and hatred, but as we practice Dharma or Yoga, we can let them go within a few weeks, or a few days. And then the more we continue to practice, we can let them go within just a few hours or a few minutes until one day we can let go any of uncomfortable feelings just within one breath. But this is still not the end of practice, although we may have gained very strong self control over our anger and hatred.

It is when everything that happens outside us does not affect us any more, and we do not generate any uncomfortable feelings towards slander, condemnation, gossip, criticism, humiliation, harsh words and evil actions towards us. No success or failure can affect our self confidence or make us become arrogant or suffer from low self esteem.

Then there will be no reason for us to let go of anything. There will be no more causes for us to get angry or to feel uncomfortable about. There will be no more reactions being generated, because we will have stopped generating likes and dislikes, craving and aversion. We stop giving good or bad valuation to all the things outside us. This is the goal of our practice.

This practice is hidden inside us. No one can see us practicing detachment every moment or judge us for our understanding of Dharma. We are our own witness and are the one and only real teacher who is with us all the time even when we are sleeping or going to the toilet.

So what if we make some mistakes or many mistakes or become evil and selfish at some stage in our life or during our practice? All we can do is be aware of our mistakes, forgive ourselves, let them go and move on with greater energy and understanding without carrying all this rubbish and burden from the past.

Even this very moment is becoming the past or history. We cannot deny the existence of the past but it is not real anymore, it is gone and we cannot go back to the past or change anything. The future is only a continuation of what we are now. The only reality that is real is only this present moment. If we are full of negativity now - not in the past, the next moment that is coming will be full of negativity. If we are full of positivity now, for sure the next moment will be positive.

It is us who determine what we are now and what we are becoming. We cannot blame anything or anyone for the results of our actions - happiness and unhappiness. We cannot rely or depend on anyone, not even our teachers, to save us from suffering. We attain our own salvation by ourselves through our own effort.

Neither wealth, nor health, nor studies, nor various certificates and qualifications, nor good looking appearance, nor good friends, nor spouse, nor parents, nor children can prevent us from old age, sickness, and death to this body. No one can gives us happiness or unhappiness. It is our own self.

If our own energy is not strong enough and we are not firm in our own practice, we will be very easily affected or disturbed by other people's energy especially negative energy. In this case we should be wise in choosing who we are mixing with in social life. We need good Satsanga - good company with positive energy that can uplift us in our practice. If there is no good Satsanga, it is better to stay in seclusion than to mix with people with negative energy. Because otherwise if our own practice is not strong enough, we might decline due to bad influences.

But if our own energy is very strong and we have a very firm practice in ourselves, then we will not be affected or disturbed by other people's energy - negative or positive. And we can mix with anybody in society and be at any place in the world and be unaffected or undisturbed by good or bad energy. In fact, we can help many people by sharing our positive energy with them, and uplift those people who are low in good energy and those who need some positive influence.

It is very important for us to remain cheerful all the time - the practice of Santosha. If we always feel good and are happy all the time, we can cheer up other people who are in distress.

May we all develop true practice of Dharma or Yoga, and become independent and attain salvation within this lifetime. It doesn't matter if it takes many more lifetimes for us to attain full enlightenment, but we just need to keep going and keep letting go of the past from moment to moment, until we have emptied ourselves and regain the purity of namelessness and formlessness.



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Know thyself. There is no existence of 'I'. Everything is impermanent. Be free, be peaceful, be happy.

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My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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