One day I came across a young man who felt he had been insulted and mistrusted. He just smiled and said – ‘It’s okay, I am transparent’, although seeing tears in his eyes I know that he was hurt and felt sad.
Well, if we still haven’t detached from our ego and names and forms yet, we can use this saying to help us to go through difficult situations and to train ourselves to become strong and not bother about any insult or abuse.
Transparent might be used to explain namelessness and formlessness, but even being labeled as ‘transparent’ is also a name and form. It is still bound by name and form. The person who said this still felt hurt, but was also being strong at the same time. There is still “a word” or “a sound” or “an action” being recognized as an insult but the person tries to endure or ignore the insult. There is still a person giving the insult and another person receiving the insult.
If we practice namelessness and formlessness, we won’t give any values to words, sounds, or actions. We see all negative and positive intentions are equal, all praise and censure are equal. When a person says something bad to us in a language that we don’t recognize, what is there for us to perceive as an insult? When a person does something bad to us in the way that we don’t recognize, what is there for us to perceive as abuse?
It is because we, or our mind, gives good and bad valuations to everything that we see and hear and makes us feel praised or insulted. It is our ego that likes praise very much but strongly rejects insults. If we can stop identifying with our mind and the ego, we will not be affected by what we see or hear. That is similar to the meaning of namelessness and formlessness. It is not that we can’t see or hear anything. The action is there, the sound is there, but if we give them no value at all, then “where” is the praise and “what” is the insult? When we are selfless, then “who” is being praised or insulted? When we realized that we are not separated from all, then “who” is there giving praise or insults? If there is praise or insult, ‘I’ am the one who give it to ‘myself’.
We can’t deny that we have a body to experience pain and pleasure. We have a life to live. We have responsibilities that we need to carry out. We have family and friends that need our attention and love and care. We have happy feelings and unhappy feelings. Everyone, including rich and famous people, has to go through all these so called life experiences, including those people who chose to renounce the world and become a Sannyasin – a monk or a nun, except their responsibility now is towards everybody and not just towards their families and friends. Sannyasins also have feelings, but one of their duties towards themselves is to detach from their feelings and emotions and not be affected by them.
Not being affected by our feelings doesn’t mean ignoring them or suppressing them, but by not identifying with them and letting them pass away.
Please take note that real detachment is not about letting go of our relationship with our family or our partner, or being irresponsible towards our family and our work.
It is letting go of the expectations and judgments towards our loved ones, so that their actions and reactions will not affect our tranquility, clarity, faith, practice, self-improvement and self-control.
Real detachment is detachment from our own mind, our thoughts, our ego, our physical body and our senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and thinking. Once we become detached from all these ‘things’ which are within our self, then whatever happens out there will not affect us at all. Everything out there will have no power to make us happy or unhappy.
And it doesn’t matter if we are with somebody or on our own, or whether we have a family life or are single and independent, or whether we renounce the world or stay in the world. Our faith and the meaning of life remain the same, our spiritual understanding and the goal of all spiritual practice remains the same.
It is not about neglecting or denying our life or what we are doing. It is about living in the world but not being affected by all the ups and downs in our life and all that is happening in the world. We see all beings are equal and everything that happens in the world is the same. Detach from the dualities of praise and censure, heat and cold, likes and dislikes, cravings and aversions, happiness and suffering, beauty and ugliness, young and old, strong and weak, healthy and ill, rich and poor, gain and loss, birth and death.
Detachment from duality and whatever we perceive with our mind and the senses is true detachment. We are being fooled and blinded by our own mind and the ego all the time. It is not the smart intellect that can give us peace of mind - in fact it gives us so many troubles, fears and worries.
Letting go of our fears and worries which make us so tense and anxious all the time is the real detachment.
To annihilate the ego is the essence of all detachment.
It is because of the ego that we need to practice detachment in order to transcend suffering. Without the ego, there is no suffering, there is no need for detachment and there is no need for Yoga practice. The world is okay, life is okay, everyone and everything is fine without this ego.
It is because of the ego that we have likes and dislikes, anger, greed, lust, jealousy, arrogance, depression and low self esteem, feel good or feel bad about ourselves and towards other people. It is because of the ego, we think that we are very good or not good enough. It is because of the ego that we want ‘this’ and don’t want ‘that’.
All this makes us suffer and feel unhappy, whereas in fact ‘thinking’ that our suffering is the fault of people and events out there, is what make us suffer and unhappy.
It is due to fears and worries that we want to be in power and in control of everything. If we truly understand the law of nature, we will stop wanting to control how things are, because we will have no more fears and worries, but we will have control over our own self and not desire to control anybody or anything outside of us. Our willpower is stronger than our mind, the ego and everything that can influence us.
A wise man will not try to manipulate or hypnotize anyone to do anything, even if it is out of a good intention because if manipulation or hypnotization works, people in the world could easily be manipulated or hypnotized to be good, to do good and the world would be in peaceful harmony. There wouldn’t be any wars or crimes. Although there were many saints and sages, like Buddha, in the world before, they didn’t use their power of enlightenment to manipulate or hypnotize anybody to listen to them and turn everybody into good people and take away people’s suffering with their great power. There would be no suffering in this world and no bad people in the world if any enlightened being could manipulate and hypnotize everybody easily with the power of hypnotism, to make the world into a harmonious place.
They did not.
Because of the law of nature, the law of karma and the Truth do not run by this way.
No doubt that the positive energy from an enlightened person can touch people’s hearts but it is up to everyone to think on their own, to act and to speak on one’s will. Everyone is the choreographer of their own destiny. If Buddha could have stopped all wars and suffering with his influencing power, he would have done it. But he didn’t, he just couldn’t.
Any act that is other than working on our own self-control is not the real practice for achieving liberation. Any so called short-cut that uses a certain type of manipulation or hypnotism or drug therapy which acts as an external energy to influence our mind or to control our thoughts, actions and speech, but not through self-enquiry, self-effort, self-control, purification and detachment, is not the path of self realization.
If a person sees some kind of image or hears some kind of sound in his attempt for achieving enlightenment by using external forces to help him and becomes attached to these phenomena, he might still be miserable and crave for more supernatural experiences by using such external forces. This is very far away from the Truth and self-realization.
If a person does all sorts of actions under hypnotism or under the influence of drugs without his own willpower to control his body and mind, and cannot perform the same actions without this external force, then this is certainly not the practice for self-realization, even if that action is supposed to be good for him.
Hypnotism is about influencing the energy fields in the body and mind, and manipulating the mind – it is an external force and causes temporary effect. If our mind is being controlled or influenced by an external force, it is not self-realization.
It is worst when some people with evil intention use the technique of hypnotism to rob somebody’s money or belongings.
Anything that arises and passes away – momentary, impermanent or temporary, which changes, is not real. Using drugs or hypnotism to help someone to get temporary relief from painful feelings or to perform certain acts or to experience something that is supernatural is not wrong - but it is not the end of suffering or the goal of our practice simply because it can’t permanently remove our ignorance - the cause of suffering. It can’t root out our ego, fears, worries, attachment to likes and dislikes, and it doesn’t destroy all our karma. It can’t liberate us from the cycle of birth and death – the body of suffering.
It is intuitional wisdom that leads us to liberation.
It is willpower and self-control - beyond all attributes, qualities, energies, elements, actions and inactivity, dualities, names and forms, which will free us from suffering permanently.
Prana affects or moves the mind, the mind affects the action and speech, but we learn to go beyond the mind, purify and control the mind. When our willpower is stronger than the mind (through self-control or self-restraint), the Prana (energy) no longer influences the mind and our willpower is the total controller of our action and speech. The Prana is influenced by the 3 gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas. Sattva makes us feel calm and peaceful, rajas makes us feel passionate and energetic, and tamas makes us feel lazy and negative. Our body and mind are governed by these gunas (energy). Vedanta teaches us to go beyond these 3 gunas, go beyond the energy and have total self-control over the body and mind. We should continue practice until we are one with all, where there is no internal or external energy, because there is no difference anymore. Internal is us, external is also us.
Real beneficial action for anybody should be done by oneself, with one’s willpower and with complete self-awareness.
Self-reliance and self-control is the path for liberation, absolute freedom. If we need to depend on anybody or anything to be ‘liberated’, it won’t be real liberation. This is the advice from all the saints and sages in the past.
May we all attain true freedom.