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 19 - contentment


Contentment or desire-less is the doctrine for happiness in this lifetime while we are having this short-lived physical body with the function of mind, intellect, ego and senses.

We will be fearless and worry-less if we let go the idea of want and not want.

We will be irritated either if we don’t get the thing that we want or having the thing that we don’t want.

It is the attachment towards the things that we are having now, and also longing for the things that we wish to have and resisting the things that we don’t want to have, which create all those fear and worries in us.

For example, if we always wish to have children in our life and we will be so disappointed if we couldn’t conceive a child or worrying if the child will be born with deformity. And if we don’t like to have children in our life, we will be having resistance or tension and so afraid of having a child. And if the partner accidentally got pregnant, we will be so troubled and unhappy.

But if we are not craving for having children and not resisting of having children as well, then we are at peace immediately. We will accept that we need to take responsibility if we do have children (whether healthy or unhealthy) and becoming more selfless as we became parents. We will not be unhappy or feeling lost either if we don’t have any children as well.

Take this example and applying it in everything in life, we will become fearless and worry-
less.

Understand this and become desire-less. Let go all the expectations towards ourselves and others. We will be at peace immediately.

At the end, the result will come naturally whether we have expectation or not. And due to great expectation, we will be having tension and this will reduce the quality of our work, and the result will be less perfect than what we expected.

If we do not know or cannot accept the law of nature, and cannot let go when the moment comes that we need to let go, then there is only one thing we can do, that is cutting down our cravings and wants.

If we can let go and be content, we can have as many of wants and enjoyments without attachment to them in our life and not caught in suffering in the future when impermanence strikes.
There’s nothing wrong at all in having enjoyments and be happy of it.

There’s also nothing wrong in wants, but it is the mind set that is causing us unhappiness if we don’t understand this law of nature and not staying detached.
Also the way in how we are getting what we want, is the crucial cause for us to be happy or unhappy in life in the future.

The main subject to be studied and understood in Yoga practice is how to transcend the suffering caused by the impermanent physical body and to satisfy its needs while we are here.

We need food and water to stay alive and have the energy to function properly. But how many of us are contented with just a basic simple meal, a few clothes to cover our body and living in simple accommodation?

Shopping has become a trend and a must for everybody even though we already have so many things in our houses. Because the mind likes to have new things all the time.

Fashion and those extra accessories have become a 'need' for many people. Trend has become a necessity for the modern lifestyle created by commercial idea such like household products, furniture and decorations, personal care products, hand phones, i-pod, laptops, cars, travelling, sports recreations, fitness, and all other things that we can see in the market.

Even education has become a commercial product. People are so attached to the certification coming from famous schools and institutes.

Spiritual practice such like Yoga, has become a commercial product as well. In order to suit the ego and the request of those people who only interested in physical fitness and beauty, some 'Yoga teachers' and 'Yoga centres' have eliminated the authentic teaching of Yoga - the spiritual part such like discrimination (Viveka), dispassion (Vairagya), moral conducts (Yama and Niyama), truthfulness (Satyam), chastity (Brahmacharya), chanting and meditation from their so called 'Yoga classes' and using the Yoga Asana postures to transform them into something trendy and fashionable fitness exercise. And make Yoga into something very luxurious and indulgent. Which is completely far away from simplicity, contentment and dispassion.

It is encouraging the people to have strong attachment towards their ego and the senses, where these people are looking for the outlook of the Yoga studio or centre, the luxurious decorations, the size of the studio, most important is that they are going to get what they had paid for, which is really out of the meaning of spirituality and Yoga.

They are also looking at the certification, the fame, the physics and the charm of the teachers, and also whether the teachers can perform those extra ordinary acrobatic movements or not.

These people are competing with other students and with the teachers as well. So much gossips and comparison in the studio and outside the studio. And their teachers are competing with other teachers all the time trying to get more students to like them and to attend their classes.

Where is the meaning of learning, practicing and teaching Yoga then?

Because those people who come for the classes are not interested in all these teaching of self control and selflessness. They want the other way round. They cannot and don't want to practice honesty, truthfulness, selflessness, morality, self control, or passion-less in their everyday lives. They say it is impossible to live a life of truthfulness and dispassion without lust. Hypocrisy is part of their lives.

There is no true Dharma in these 'Yoga classes'. It is enhancing the ignorance and attachment towards self image, selfishness, worldly enjoyment and worldly thinking.

Although all these are not wrong because everyone is free to do what they want to do and think what they like to think, but it is not right either if we want to spread the real meaning of Yoga.

Food has become an exotic, luxurious and commercial thing for many people who live in cities and who live in comfortable surroundings.

The mind is such a powerful influence to our craving for different types of taste and presentation of the food that we eat. The food industry is flourishing and blooming everywhere due to the demand of people looking for diversity and exotic tastes, to satisfy our cravings and our greed. Food is no longer a thing that we need to satisfy our hunger.

We always want more, bigger and better, and something different. We are never satisfied.

It doesn't matter how much enjoyment these things can give us, they will never give us lasting true happiness. They only give us a temporary happiness.

Once this happiness is gone, we will be feeling emptiness and meaningless. And then the ego will chase after some other things to gratify its craving for sensual enjoyment.

Our ego likes to show off and compare the things that we have with other people especially among our family and friends. Such as the house, the car, the job, the knowledge, the achievements, the success, the wealth, the fame, the leisure enjoyments, the physical appearance, as well as the beauty and intelligence of our spouses or our children.

Some people want to prove to their parents that they have achieved such and such success in life in order to gain their parents' love, or attention, or recognition. But actually no matter how much 'pressure' or 'expectation' that our parents have give us, it is our ego that want to show off something to fulfill its craving for love, attention and recognition. It has got nothing to do with our parents' attitude and expectation.

And also if there are other siblings in the family that are getting more love and attention from our parents, our ego will have jealousy and the idea of competition towards our siblings.

Feeling of low self esteem also is the reason why we want to prove to our parents or to anyone else such as our spouse, children, friends or other important people in our life.

Actually most of the time, our parents didn't mean to give us pressure or high expectations. They just want us to do right and have a good life. Their intention is out of love when they advised us to build up a good foundation when we were young and to avoid us to commit any wrong doings, so that we will not go into wrong direction. Not because the parents want to compete with other parents and to show off to other people that they have good children and their children have successful status in the society.

Even though if our parents are such a narrow minded people, selfish and ignorant, it is ourselves that decide what we want in life and what we want to do.

We create our own success and happiness doesn't matter it is recognized by our parents or other people or not, if we have correct understanding and true confidence.

We don't have to prove to anybody at all. Not even to our loved ones.

It is ignorance if we think we need to prove to somebody out there. We don't even need to prove anything to our own self.

We don't have to ask love from anybody because we just simply can't ask for love. Love is something that comes from the heart of a person, given by that person willingly and sincerely, not because of he or she has to give love to us due to his or her responsibility as our parent or as our spouse. Nor because of we ask for love from him or her.

We can give love to others but we cannot ask love from others. Love comes to us naturally.

So, we shouldn't blame our parents that they put pressure on us and make us work so hard in life just to please them, or to prove to anybody that we are successful or we are worth something. It is our ego that cannot take the criticism of being an 'unsuccessful' person (in the eyes of worldly people) and wants to get recognition. Low self esteem also makes us so unhappy and work so hard to try to please other people.

It is our ego that is giving the pressure and high expectation to ourselves, when we think that our parents will not love us as much as they love the other siblings if we are not having any kind of success in our life. Or we want to get more attention and more love from our parents because we think the love and attention that our parents gave us is not enough, even though our parents love us so much. It is never enough for the ego, it doesn't matter if thousands of people show love to us.

A wise person is not defined by any worldly success, but by the virtues and merits from his or her inner wisdom and compassion. Even all these virtues and merits don't mean anything to the wise one.

Because we want to prove our sense of self-worth and show that we are successful in life, our craving for food, fashion and material enjoyment has created so much rubbish and chemical pollution to the environment.

We should learn to develop contentment and self control in our lives and learn to appreciate simplicity and simple living. The world will have less rubbish and pollution then.

May we all develop right understanding and achieve true happiness.


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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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