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

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

About Non-identification With The Body And Mind



Non-identification with the body and the mind – I am not this body, this body is not mine. I am not this mind, this mind is not mine. It also means identification with the supreme attributeless eternal Self.

This is the essential teaching of yoga. All the other practices are to help us to attain this realization of the Self.

It doesn’t mean that we should neglect our body and the mind, torturing them and not respect them. Instead we should be appreciating our lives, be grateful to have this life existence to be here to experience so many things and to learn what is selflessness and to return to our original state of consciousness which is beyond existence and non-existence, beyond birth and death, beyond good and evil, and beyond names and forms. We should take good care of this body and the mind, and make them strong and healthy for us to walk the path towards self-realization. But at the same time we do not attach to the impermanent condition and limitation of this physical body and the mind. They are great instruments for us to evolve spiritually. By doing wholesome acts with this body and the mind that are beneficial to all beings including our own self, and by attaining self-realization, is the best way to show appreciation and respect towards our body and the mind.

By having this mortal physical body and unrest mind, it allows us to experience what is suffering and how does worldly life existence being limited and conditioned by impermanence. Suffering is a great experience for us to start searching for the real meanings of life. Once we know the real meanings of life, we won’t see or feel that the world and life existence as something suffering nor not suffering. It is just being what it is.

And by having this unrest mind, limited intellect and forever dissatisfied ego, they allow us to realize the defects or imperfection of the functions of this conditioned body and mind which give us all the experiences of different names and forms, which creates all the suffering and discontentment in us.

We are sure to be thankful to this body and mind, and all the experiences of this life existence that act as the pathway for us to go back “home”. And with all the practices of purification, detachment, observances, refrains and restrains, self-control, concentration, meditation and immovable faith which will unleash the wisdom and compassion in us that act as the bright lights that shine on the entire path for us to see the direction and to avoid or remove any obstacles on our way “home”. While positive thinking, cheerfulness, letting go, humility, forgiveness, adjustment, fearlessness, contentment, patience, determination and perseverance are the fuels for us to reach “home” – the eternal peace.

Yoga and Buddhism never condemn this mortal and changeable body and mind as something bad. But the compassionate teachings of yoga and Buddhism tell us about the defects of this life existence of body and mind, because they want us to realize the deficiency and dissatisfaction of having this temporary body and mind, and to know how to not attach to everything that is related with this body and mind, and we will not get lost in the indulgence of momentary worldly pleasure and enjoyment, or get lost in painful suffering and unhappiness, cravings and aversions, and totally forget about the real meanings of life. They want us to realize that all the good and bad experiences that we are having in this life existence are the same, no differences at all. Both good and bad experiences, likes and dislikes, happiness and unhappiness/suffering are very temporary and not the real us. They do not and cannot determine us as good or bad beings. They are just some products of the mind under the functions of the mind, the intellect, the ego and the senses.

The wisdom of yoga and Buddhism allows us to develop right view and right understanding about the worldly life existence, about all the phenomena that we are experiencing under the functions of the mind and the senses.

By having wisdom and compassion, we will know that we all are the same no differences at all, beyond all the names and forms, beyond good and evil, beyond happiness and unhappiness, beyond living beings and non-living beings. We all have to go through impermanence and we all depend on the elements to be exist here. Without these elements, we all are nothing, no body. And hence what is “good” beings and “bad” beings? What is “superiority” and “inferiority”? What is “living beings” and “non-living beings”? What is “happiness” and “suffering”?

When we are hungry and thirsty, we all are the same. When we have anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, lustful desires, arrogance, selfishness, irritation, frustration, depression, aggression, disappointment, we all are the same. When we are happy or sad, we all are the same. When we are selfless, compassionate and wise, we all are the same. When we were born and when we die, we all are the same. We all have the same functions and habits of the body and the mind. It is just the level of understanding and self-control is different from each being and creates the different behaviors and different personalities among all beings. And we all have different appearances, sexes, beliefs, cultures, characters, languages, skin colours, likes and dislikes, and interests, but after take away all these changeable and temporary names and forms, we all are the same deep inside us.

The sun, the water, the air, the earth and the space treat all and everything equally without any differences of good beings or bad beings, modern beings or ancient beings. In fact we all are ancient beings from the very beginning of existence going through many times of births and deaths, and manifestations of different names and forms. The elements of nature act selflessly and have no expectations at all and just give and provide unceasingly. And this is selflessness. In fact we all are the same selfless consciousness as all these elements of nature.

But having the impure and unrest mind, we don’t see or can’t see our true nature at the moment. We think we are this and that. We think we are “sick” when our body experiencing illness and pain. We think we are “weak”, “ugly” and “old” when our body is experiencing decaying and old age. We think we are “not good” when our mind is having negative and bad thoughts and feelings. We think we are “incapable” and “bad beings” when our body couldn’t perform the things that we wanted to do. We think we are “good being” when our body did some good actions and our mind felt good. We think we are “suffering” and “sad” when our body and the mind is experiencing uncomfortable and bad conditions. But we are not. It is just the body and the mind experiencing some good and bad conditions, comfortable and discomfortable sensations, happy and unhappy feelings. It is not us. The body and the mind is going through unceasing changes under the law of impermanence, from good to bad, from bad to good, but our true nature is not being affected by this at all.

We think we all are different from all and everything. We have discrimination of all the dualities, attach strongly to everything with all the names and forms, have likes and dislikes, and have great expectations for all our actions. We think we own the body, the mind and our lives existence. But it is not really so. All the thoughts, feelings and sensations that we are experiencing from moment to moment unceasingly, they all are very momentary and don’t belong to us at all. They come and go as they like. They don’t need to ask for our permission to stay and change and disappear. We have no control at all when all these thoughts, feelings and sensations crop up in our body and the mind. We have no choice but to witness all these phenomena that is happening in our body and the mind, and have awareness of what is going on and not attach nor react to all these thoughts, feelings and sensations, if possible. We can have self-control over the thoughts by being aware of them and let them go, not attach to them. And we can have control over the actions and speech so that our actions and speech is not harmful to other beings and ourselves. But we can’t have control of our thoughts anymore if the mind gone mad. We will be having imaginations and illusions all the time, don’t know what is real and unreal anymore. And we can’t have control over the ability of our body anymore when the nerves, or the brains, or any of the internal organs, or the glands, or any of the body systems doesn’t function properly. And thus how can we say we own the body and the mind?

Maybe for a temporary time we own the body and the mind, and do what we want to do and think what we want to think. But can we have a forever young, strong, flexible, healthy and undecaying body? Can we avoid old age, illness and death to this physical body? Can we be at our best state of body and mind forever and not having any changes, or declines, or damages to our “perfect” state of the body and the mind, being healthy and strong, young and fit, beautiful and attractive, feel happy and contented for this “perfection”? Can we just feel good, positive and happy all the times and not having bad feelings, negativity and unhappiness? Can we move our limbs or see with our eyes when the nervous system breaks down? Can we just experience pleasant and comfortable sensations and not having unpleasant and discomfortable sensations at all? Can we go back to the past and undo things that were unhappy and not good or preserve those happy and good things? We can’t. Not even an enlightened being can avoid all these changes or impermanence that is happening in the body and the mind. But the enlightened beings do not identify with the body and the mind, and know how to not attach to them and stand as a witness towards all the changing phenomena in the body and the mind and not react to them, and remain equanomous and peaceful all the time.

And we all are the attributeless unchanging Self. Our hearts can remain selfless, compassionate, wise and peaceful, unaffected, uninfluenced and undisturbed by all the phenomena that is happening in our body and the mind, as well as all the phenomena that is happening surrounding the body in our lives in the world.

This body and the mind is just being temporary with us and they function on their own. Even when we are asleep have no awareness of the physical body and the mind, they still continue to function unceasingly without the need of our control. When the breath stops coming, when the heart stops beating, do we still own this body and the mind? They don’t really belong to us and they are not us. They are just the body and the mind. We are who we are, the awareness that is aware of all the phenomena that is experiencing through the functions of the body and the mind.

We are not “good”, we are not “not good”, we are not “good” nor not “not good”. We are not anything. We are what we are, and being what we are. It is true that sometimes the mind feels good and sometimes it feels bad. While sometimes the mind is positive and behaving in “good ways”, and sometimes it is negative and behaving in “bad ways”. But know that these are not our true self. It is not us. It is an action and reaction of the body and the mind while experiencing different names and forms of happiness and unhappiness in the world of perception.

We need to be responsible for all our thoughts, actions and speech, but know that all these do not affect our true self at all. Our true self is untainted by good and evil, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, action and non-action.

Once we realize that we are not this body and not this mind, we will be fully responsible for all our thoughts, actions and speech, very carefully we will control all our thoughts, actions and speech. Because we know that it is these three things that are generating all the good and bad karma that will give us the good and bad experiences in worldly life existence, which means we will not be free and being bound by the limitations and conditions of worldly life existence that has the differentiation of happiness and unhappiness, births and deaths, good and bad, likes and dislikes, and lots of impurities of the mind.

It doesn’t mean that we can do whatever we want and don’t have to be responsible for our actions. We need to have positivity (good, kind and wholesome acts) to eradicate negativity (evil, unkind and unwholesome acts) in us. But once there is no more negativity, there is no need to have positivity. Everything and every act is becoming pure. And thus we will be free from both dualities. When there is no more dualities, there is no likes and dislikes, happiness and unhappiness, craving and aversion, good and evil, positive and negative, birth and death.

May all beings be free and go back home to eternal peace.

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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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