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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

About Pride And Arrogance

In real, yoga is not separated from us. Every being is endowed with Yoga since the beginning of existence. For any of us who can’t perceive this non-separateness and still see the separation of Yoga from ourselves, then we can say that Yoga is open to all and everyone deserves it and everyone is free to practice yoga and attain Yoga (freedom, Moksha, transcend suffering, true happiness, eternal bliss…).

For anyone who wants to go deeper into the real practice of yoga, and not just brushing at the surface of the door of yoga, there are a few fundamental inner qualities that will shine as the “light” in the path for us to find or to see our true Self where the wisdom for liberation is “stored”.

Basically anyone also can open the “door” of yoga (the “door” is never locked) and walk into the realm of yoga on the path of self-realization. But without the help of the “light”, we will be encountering many obstacles on the way or might be lost on the path because we can’t see the path under the absent of “light”. That’s why in the traditional lineage of yoga, the person who wants to look for a teacher and wants to be initiated into the path of yoga, needs to have certain fundamental inner qualities to enable him or her to walk on this path of self-realization.

The first one is Viveka – discrimination of the real and the unreal (basic wisdom). The second one is Vairagya – dispassion (free from clingings, attachments, craving and aversion). The third one is Mumukshutva – intense yearning for liberation (the one goal that we are attached to before self-realization happens). The fourth one is Shatsampat – the six virtues (Sama – tranquility of mind, Dama – self-restraint or control of the senses, Uparati – cessation or renounce from worldly activities, Sraddha – faith in God, Guru, Scriptures and the Self, Titiksha – forbearance or power of endurance to withstand difficult situations and discomfortable conditions, Samadhana – concentration or one-pointedness of mind).

But even before anybody is endowed with these four qualities, the aspirant should possess one very basic virtue, which is humility – free from pride and arrogance. Anyone who desires to learn and to attain higher wisdom, must be humble and surrender the ego – the pride and arrogance.

Pride and arrogance is the reflection of the strong ego. Without humility, without letting go of the pride and arrogance, we cannot receive more than what we knew even though the teacher is there to guide us and the scriptures are there to teach us. It is a big hindrance in the path of acquiring wisdom.

Without humility, success in the path of self-realization is impossible. Because it is the opposite direction of self-realization. It is our own mind with the ego and the intellect which can only perceive things with certain names and forms that is obstructing us to know the Self. Since the Self is nameless, formless, beginningless, endless, causeless, timeless and attributeless, and so, it cannot be perceived by the mind and the limited intellect, and it is indescribable with human languages and words.

Many yoga practitioners who are on this path of self-realization, will come to a stage that we feel “stuck”. We will have doubts and will want to give up. We cannot comprehend the meanings of the ancient teachings and cannot accept the teachings at all. Because we are still trapped within our own minds and couldn’t go beyond our minds. We are still attached strongly to our individual character and personality, our way of thinking, believes and cultures. We are still attached strongly to our minds which is functioning under the influences of the ego, the intellect and the sub-consciousness. And the mind cannot see itself nor can it perceives what is beyond itself. The only way is to disidentify with the mind, stand as a witness watching the mind and observe whatever the mind perceives through the senses. And this requires great humility by letting go of the ego, pride and arrogance, as well as the previous knowledge that we think what we know about the world of dualities with all the names and forms, good and bad, positive and negative.

Look at the ancient teachings, it is all about eliminating the ego, surrender the lower self, serve God (since everything is God, it also means serve all), non-attachment and keep going (perseverance and determination).

A man need to know how to be a “proper” man before he can go beyond “man” or “himself” to attain a higher realm. A being need to be at peace before he can go beyond this peacefulness.

Pride and arrogance need to attach to certain things to express itself. Such like the family name and status, the wealth and health, the fame, the knowledge, the educational level, the job title, the physical body, the appearance, the thinking, the talents and abilities, the culture, the religion, the social status, the achievement, the success, the possession, the relationships and etc… This is due to we are not confident about ourselves, the ego need things from the outside to give us the sense of self-worth and to fill up the emptiness in our hearts.

It is only when we are not truly confident about ourselves, we will have pride and arrogance when we have achieved some accomplishment to feel good about ourselves and thinking that we are better than other people, and wanting to show off and prove to other people that we are somebody with such and such accomplishment.

If we are truly confident about ourselves, there is no need for us to show off to other people about our pride and we don’t need to be arrogant about anything at all nor there is a need to feel more superior than anyone else.

Pride and arrogance is a play of the ego. But if we do not know how to not attached to the ego, we will be controlled by the ego without us being aware of it.

If we are not attached to the ego, we will not have reacted towards the sense of insecurity coming from the ego, and will not need to be proud and arrogant about ourselves and our accomplishment.

When we realize that we are the Self, which is full and content, we won’t need pride and arrogance to protect ourselves or avoid from being looked down or humiliated by somebody. There is no such thing as “humiliation” when we are identified with the Self and are not attached to any names and forms. When we are not attached to names and forms, what is “pride and arrogance”? What is “low self-esteem and humiliation”?

May we all be free from pride and arrogance, and be truly confident by attaining the highest knowledge of the Self.

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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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Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
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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