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

Saturday, March 27, 2010

About Vichara - Self-inquiry

Self-inquiry is the main study in the path of Yoga. All the other yoga practices are there to help us in the inquiry of the Self. And this self-inquiry will lead us to self-realization. Self-realization is knowing our true Self. It can only be realized through a pure mind and pure intellect. By knowing our true Self, all the wisdom is unleashed. We will be full, content and at peace. It removes all the dissatisfaction, incompleteness and restlessness.

And thus all the yoga practices are there to purify our mind and the intellect to render our mind and the intellect pure and fit for self-realization. While all the divine qualities that we need to develop in our hearts is the fuel and light that keep us going and will lead us to the right direction towards self-realization.

There are many methods in the pursue of self-inquiry. But without a pure mind and tranquility, all the methods will not be effective.

The basic way is to purify ourselves first. Remove the impurities in us, such like anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, pride and arrogance, judgment, comparison, competition and expectation. Eliminate the ego. Develop non-identification with the body and mind. Letting go of the past and the future. Practice concentration and be at the present moment. Have control over our thoughts, action and speech. Letting go of all the doubts, fear and worry.

Develop strong faith, non-attachment, dispassion and right discrimination. Develop patience, forbearance, perseverance, determination, courage, cheerfulness, positive thinking, humility, simplicity, gratitude, contentment, acceptance, adjustment, accommodation, forgiveness, loving kindness, selflessness, compassion and wisdom. Renounce from the fruit of actions.

Abstain from gossiping, slandering, mocking, back bitting, meaningless conversation, telling lies, empty promises, lustful activities and immoral activities. Cultivate equality, sameness, oneness, non-separateness, non-duality.

Detach from the thoughts, feelings and sensations. Detach from likes and dislikes. Detach from craving and aversion. Detach from what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think.

Practice asana and pranayama to purify our mind and calming the mind. This is to render the body and the mind under controlled and strong enough to prepare ourselves for further self-contemplation.

Slowly develop strong habit in meditation, contemplating on the Truth. Engage in wholesome activities that will bring peace and harmony to oneself and other beings. Abstain from unwholesome activities that will bring disharmony and unpeacefulness for oneself and other beings.

Expand our minds. Expand our hearts. Develop unlimited and unconditioned compassion towards oneself and other beings.

Perform selfless service. Serve God and serve all without attaching to the action and the fruit of action.

Eventually we will know how to go beyond our body and the mind. We will go beyond all the phenomena in the world. We will be undisturbed, unaffected, uninfluenced by what is happening within and without our body. We will know that without this mind, the world doesn’t exist at all. Without this mind (our life existence in the world), who is this body? Where is my family? Who is my friend? What do I like and don’t like? What do I want and don’t want? What is good and not good? What is happiness and unhappiness?

Everything sprung from my mind. Without the mind, nothing exists, nothing matters, nothing to be perceived.

All the above practices are to purify our minds.

Once the mind is purified, everything will come into places for us naturally. We don’t have to go to anywhere to look for a teacher. The teacher is just right here within us. There is no use of reading many books, but not knowing the nameless, formless, eternal book of wisdom within us.

At the end, what is the purpose or reason for us to perform various types of yoga practices and wanting to attain self-realization? It is to acquire wisdom. And why do we want to acquire wisdom? So that we will have the knowledge to know the truth, remove all the doubts, ignorance and discontentment in us. Why do we want to remove doubts, ignorance and discontentment? So that we will be at peace, and attain true and lasting meaningful happiness. Why do we want to be at peace? It’s because we don’t want to have unhappiness and suffering. Why do we have unhappiness and suffering? It’s because we are ignorant, not knowing the truth, having painful sorrow, doubts, fears and worries. And why are we not knowing the truth and are ignorant? It’s because we don’t have wisdom, the pure knowledge. And why do we don’t have wisdom? It’s because of the veil of ignorance (impurities).

And So, everything that we do in the path of yoga is aiming at purifying our mind, remove all the impurities for us to attain wisdom. With wisdom, all our doubts, problems, unhappiness and suffering will be solved, disappeared.

This wisdom has got nothing to do with what our body can do and cannot do, nor it has anything to do with how many books that we have read in the world. Because all the knowledge that we can get through reading books cannot guarantee us true happiness and peace of mind. It cannot remove ignorance (not knowing what is real and unreal), anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, discontentment, pride and arrogance, irritation, frustration, disappointment, unhappiness and suffering from us. But the knowledge that we get from reading books can act as a subject for us to contemplate whether it is true or not true. This can help us to purify our intellect to develop discrimination of the real and unreal.

While wisdom that we all are having in us all the time, is the removal of all these afflictions and suffering. Because it teaches us and allows us to know the truth of everything, and to accept the reality as it is, and to let go. Wisdom is not something that we keep in the mind but it is what we live in. We live in wisdom and wisdom is reflected in our everyday lives, and keep us away from unhappiness, fear and worry.

May we all be endowed with all the qualities for us to move towards the state of no qualities.

May all attain self-realization (wisdom) through self-inquiry – Vichara.

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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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