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Friday, March 19, 2010

Beyond Action & Inaction - Nameless & Formless - Real Detachment

Real detachment is nameless and formless. It is beyond action and inaction. It is free from “this” and “that”, it is not about “yes” or “no”, nor “neither yes, neither no”. It can be “yes” and can be “no”. It is because everything has no certainty, all are impermanent and changing. Everything is just arising and passing away. Including all the dualities of positive and negative, good and bad, they all are impermanent names and forms that keep arising and passing away. When we understand this, we are actually detaching from “attachment” and “non-attachment”.

It is not by standing on the head, nor the feet can touch the head from behind, nor standing on one foot, nor by doing charity, nor by eating vegetarian food or non-vegetarian food, nor by not doing any so called prohibited acts will make a person enlighten. It is neither by letting go of all the previously mentioned practices and not performing any practices, nor by allowing the ego with its likes and dislikes, craving and aversion leads our lives, nor by not having any self-control or without the observances of morality, nor by allowing our desires run free will make us free from suffering.

But note that all these practices are very useful and important tools or steps for us to move forward towards self-realization and to regain our wisdom. When there is wisdom, there will be no ignorance. When wisdom is absent, ignorance is there. And because of this ignorance, we don’t know what is real and what is unreal. Not knowing the truth, we are in fear and worries. Having fear and worries, we have no peacefulness. Without peacefulness, we are discontented and unhappy. Due to this discontentment, We are searching for something to fill up the emptiness in our heart and are looking for some happiness or excitement trying to chase away the unhappiness or discontentment in us.

During this process of looking for happiness and satisfaction, we mistakenly identify ourselves with our body and the mind with the ego and the intellect. We attach to the body image and the characteristic and personality of this body and the mind. We have lots of likes and dislikes. We have lots of wants and don’t wants. We attach strongly to all the names and forms out there, giving them different values and meanings of “good” and “bad”. And this generates more reactions of likes and dislikes, craving and aversion. Having likes and dislikes, craving and aversion, we are constantly being disturbed or affected by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. We have lots of wants and don’t wants. But seems like nothing can give us true satisfaction or true happiness. All the things that we want and don’t want can only give us momentary satisfaction and happiness. The body and the mind keep chasing after this momentary fleeting feeling of satisfaction and happiness. The mind becomes restless. The body is restless too. This is creating more tensions into the body and the mind. The state of mind is constantly imbalanced. And thus more irritation, frustration, disappointment, unhappiness and suffering occur in us.

This is due to incorrect understanding, incorrect identification, incorrect effort, incorrect actions and incorrect thinking.

All the yoga practice of restraint, observance, asana, pranayama, withdrawal of the senses, concentration and meditation, including Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga and Jnana yoga are here to help us to purify all the impurities in our mind and to develop the qualities of right understanding, right view, right conducts, right thinking, right actions, right speech, right livinghood and right effort.

All these exercises or practice are to help us to develop willpower, determination, perseverance, courage, fearlessness, faith, confidence, independence, self-discipline, serenity, one-pointedness, patience, tolerance, acceptance, adjustment, accommodation, adaptation, forgiveness, letting go, generosity, humility, appreciation, gratitude, cheerfulness, truthfulness, non-attachment, loving kindness, compassion, wisdom and selflessness. And it is all these qualities that are leading us towards self-realization, by eliminating the ego and controlling of the mind.

Therefore, it is not merely by performing all the complicated or so called “advanced” asana poses that will make us enlighten. But by performing all these asanas, whether they are easy or complicated, whether our bodies can do this asana or cannot do that asana, we can accept the condition and limitation of our body, being comfortable with ourselves in the present condition, accepting the reality as it is, and thus we are developing all these important qualities in us that will eventually lead us to self-realization. Practicing all the asanas for many years without developing these inner qualities is merely a physical exercise that will give us a strong and flexible body, and maybe we will live longer and enjoying this world a little bit more, but it doesn’t remove the ignorance in us if we still attach strongly to our body and the mind, and are attach strongly to all the dualities of names and forms. Having strong ignorance, we cannot understand or see the truth in everything as it is. We superimpose everything with certain values, ideas and images. We cannot accept the law of impermanence that the body is eventually decaying and dying. We want to stop aging, stop decaying, stop weakening and stop the “death” of this body if it’s possible. We wish we could have supernatural power that can prevent this body from illness, pain, decaying, weakening and dying. We still have judgment, comparison, competition and expectation towards ourselves and other people.

Take a look at all the saints and sages in the past, even the strongest and most flexible yogis who can perform such complicated and perfect asanas, as well as the enlightened Buddha also must abandoned their bodies at one point. They were teaching us the most important truth of life existence of names and forms, which is impermanence. Who can escape impermanence? Not our physical body, not our mind, not our prana, not our feelings, not our ability, not our life existence, not our name and fame, health and wealth, happiness and unhappiness, not anything… except our true Self, the pure consciousness which is not affected by impermanence at all. Pure existence, pure knowledge and pure bliss. Eternal peace and forever exist.

Having the strong attachment towards our body and mind, we will try to perform all kinds of asana and pranayama to maintain the youth and strength of this body and reluctant of losing the youth and strength of this body. We want to be able to perform this asana and that asana, and yearning for perfection in the practice. We want to be stronger and more flexible, and challenging ourselves to do more complicated asanas. At the same time, we are still having impurities in us like anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, arrogance, disturbance, fear, worry, attachment, superiority, inferiority, good and bad, likes and dislikes, craving and aversion. We are not moving towards self-realization anymore but are attach to this body for keeping the ability of the body to perform all the asanas and to prolong this life existence. There is nothing wrong about this but we are still experiencing dissatisfaction, incompleteness and suffering.

Actually we just need to perform sufficient of asana practice and moderate pranayama practice for us to purify and calming our body and the mind, and to maintain a strong and healthy body for us to move on in the path of self-realization. We don’t have to challenge the limitation of our body. Cannot perform headstand or cannot touch the head with the feet from behind doesn’t stop a person attaining self-realization. Nor by not doing any pranayama practice will stop a person become enlightened. Nor by sitting not moving in a cave for a long time will guarantee us self-realization. Without hands and legs to perform so called asana and pranayama practice cannot stop a person experiences what is happening in the mind and will not stop him from realizing the Self. Having a weak and sick body doesn’t stop a person from self-realization and be at peace.

When we have developed firm detachment, everything will come naturally without us expecting anything. Pranayama happens naturally when our mind is calm and concentrated. As well as performing pranayama can help us to calm the mind and to have concentration.

No doubt that all the asana practice and pranayama if being practice in a correct manner and with right attitude can stimulate and purify the energy centers and energy channels in our body. This can help us to unleash and develop all the divine qualities that we need to move on towards self-realization. At the end, in this path of self-realization, there is no “goal” to be attained, there is no success or failure, there is no better or worst, but it is the present moment now that matter most. Because “now”, is the only reality. The past and the future doesn’t exist. Now is heaven, now is hell. Now is happiness, now is unhappiness. Now is ignorance, now is wisdom.

Again, by gaining the supernatural state of consciousness in yoga practice and meditation with certain names and forms but without real detachment in us, is not leading us towards self-realization but it can become an obstacle that we may caught up in the trap of playing with the energy fields and supernatural power, and it’s empowering our ego and arrogance. We are moving away from self-realization actually.

Until we have developed all these divine qualities in us, we are firmed and unmoved by whatever our mind and the senses come in contact with, and then we can let go of the practice with certain names and forms, and our practice is becoming nameless and formless naturally. Without any qualities, names and forms, there is not any identifications of anything. Just be. There is no differences between birth and death, happiness and unhappiness. Birth is death, death is birth. Happiness is unhappiness, unhappiness is happiness. Emptiness is form, form is emptiness. Our true Self is untouched by birth and death. There is no birth, there is no death. There is no beginning, there is no ending. Where is the “goal”? What is the “goal”?

When we have a lot of impurities, we do need to perform a lot of practice with certain names and forms to help us to purify our body and the mind. This is for us to have self-control and to achieve a balanced state of mind, where the wisdom will arise within us for us to have the pure knowledge to understand the truth of everything. It will remove ignorance in us and allow us to be able to accept the truth as it is. By accepting the truth as it is will allow us to be able to let go of all the identifications and attachment towards all the names and forms that we perceive through the senses in our mind. So that we can go back to our original state of pure consciousness which is nameless and formless, without any intentions or qualities. It is attributeless, beyond good and bad, beyond positive and negative, beyond birth and death, beyond happiness and unhappiness, beyond suffering and non-suffering, beyond existence and non-existence, beyond permanence and impermanence.

Most of us need to attach to certain practices that will eventually lead us to non-attachment towards all the practices. This might take a short time or a long time depending on our development in our practice and the level of purity. There are also minority people that are endowed with all the divine qualities from past lives, and don’t need any practices for developing what they already have.

All the practices and divine qualities are here to allow us to have a balanced state of mind, so that we can develop insight from within. Wisdom will arise when the mind is calm. Some people practice for many years but still haven’t develop a strong firmness and are still being disturbed and affected by the thoughts, feelings and sensations. When the mind is disturbed, concentration or meditation is impossible. Without concentration and meditation, wisdom cannot be seen. And thus we need to continue all our practices as being told by our ancient gurus. Some people evolve very quickly and develop concentration and one-pointedness within a short time. While some people are already “there” without any practices or extra effort.

With wisdom, everything will become clear to us. All doubts, confusion, fear and worry will be gone. Peacefulness is here. And hence, what is “attachment”? What is “non-attachment”?

Being a member of a “religion” doesn’t make us better beings or are happier than other people. Being a “Buddhist” doesn’t make us enlighten. Being a “yogi” doesn’t remove our ignorance and suffering. Not being “anything” doesn’t make us less compassion or less wise than other beings. Nor being “somebody” will make us more compassion and more wise than other people. Nor by not having any “religion” will give us freedom.

It is all about non-attachment and go beyond all the qualities of names and forms. It is practicing detachment in our heart from moment to moment, being at the present moment.

What is “religion”? What is a “buddhist”? What is a “yogi”?

Om Shanti.

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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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