be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Sunday, September 19, 2010

We All Take Responsibility For Ourselves

We all take responsibility for ourselves, for our actions, decisions, intentions, expectations and the consequences of our actions.

When we are disappointed and feel hurt, it is because we allow ourselves to be disappointed and be hurt. Nothing can make us angry or sad if we aren't attached to the mind, the ego and the happenings out there.

When we are contented and feel happy, it is because we allow ourselves to be contented and be happy. Nothing can make us content and happy but our own mind is pure, free from attachment, tensions, fear, worry, craving and aversion.

It is not the things out there that cause us dissatisfaction, irritation and frustration. It is our own mind likes the agreeable and dislikes the disagreeable.

We are the one who make the decision wanting to perform any actions and we should take the responsibilty for whatever consequences that arise due to our actions.

No one can force us to perform any actions that we don't want to perform if we don't want to. If it is out of fear, pressure or desperation, or even if it is out of compassion and righteousness, and we commit actions that generate undesirable consequences, then it is our own responsibility and should not blame on anything for the consequences of our actions.

It is our own will to perform or not to perform any actions and speech, to go there or not to go there, to be here or not to be here.

I took the decision to be at a place at certain timing without any undesireable intentions, but if I still encounter with undesireable encounterings, then it is my own responsibility to be at that place, at that time.

In every step that we take, in every movement that we make, there is a risk or some risks that we are taking. Whether we are sleeping, sitting, standing, walking, running, breathing, eating, drinking, dancing, exercising, hiking, skiing, boating, working, driving, getting into relationships, having children, buying something and anything else that we can think of that we did, are doing and will want to do, there are risks in everything. We should know the risks and be willingly to take the risks and be responsible for ourselves.

We are the one who wants to go into the forest to take a walk. We trip over a tree branch and fall onto the ground and hurt ourselves. We can't be saying that "Stupid forest! Stupid tree branch! Look what you did! You cause me pain and suffering"


We made the decision to eat fish, but accidently we swallowed a fish bone and hurt our throat, we can't be blaming the fish - "Stupid fish! You cause me pain and suffering!". Or we can't be blaming the person who caught the fish, or who prepared the fish, or who cooked the fish, or who served the fish - "Stupid people! You cause me pain and suffering!"

It is us who decide to eat fish, who want to put the fish into our own mouth, and who are careless enough to swallow a fish bone and got hurt.

If we decide to do anything - to eat poisonous food or to do some physical exercises, we are the one who should take full responsibility for our ownselves for any consequences that may arise.

Even if we don't want to go anywhere and do nothing, and are sitting there not moving, and got hit by a falling tree beside us, it is still our own responsibility.


During a yoga asana class, although we are following the instructions from the yoga teacher or instructor to perform such and such exercises, it is still our own responsibilty to take care of our own body. We should never put the responsibility solely onto the teacher to make sure that we won't experience discomforts or won't suffer injury. The teacher might be teaching incorrect methods or techniques and being careless and irresponsible, but it is our own responsibility to decide whether we want to listen to this teacher or not, and whether we want to follow this teacher's instructions or not.

Even if the teacher is teaching very good methods and techniques, and are very careful and responsible, but the risk of getting discomforts or injuries will still be existing. It is up to ourselves to take that responsibility whether our body can take how much physical training and how far it can go.

Let's say that there are 10 people in a yoga asana class, and everyone is performing the same exercises, but some of them might be encountering difficulty but not the others. And so, it is subject to the condition of our own body whether we will be encountering discomforts or not, in performing the exercises. It is our own responsibility to do or not to do any exercises, and not because our teacher ask us to do, and we have to do it, even though we know that our body is not capable to do it yet. We can't be saying that "It's the teacher fault or the exercise fault that cause my body to get hurt and experience discomfort"


We know our own body more than anyone else, not the teacher nor any doctor. We are the one who had made the decision to follow a class under a certain teacher or instructor, to put our body into certain positions, and to observe the ability of our physical body to be comfortable in all the positions and exercises, and are not challenging our body to go beyond its limits.

If the teacher or instructor wants to help us and pushes or pulls our body into certain position and somehow we experience muscle pull or muscular tendons/ligaments injury, it is still our own responsibility for allowing the teacher or instructor to do so. If we are not comfortable in pushing our body over its limits, then we should ask the teacher not to push or pull us into any positions. None other people but our ownselves who can be responsible for all the comfort and discomfort sensations in our body and the mind.

We should know when we can push a little more or to stretch a little further.

We want to play with fire and got burnt by fire, it's our own responsibility, don't blame the fire. We can have control of the steering wheel while driving a car, but there is still some other things that are not in our control, such like the engine breaks down, or the battery runs out, or the tyres puncture, or some other cars run into our car and cause accident and damages. Somebody runs amok and stabs us with a knife, we have to take the responsibility that it just happens that we are being there at that time and unwittingly has become the most vulnerable "victim". We are greedy and got cheated by somebody in some business affairs, it is our own responsibility. We want to get involve with nasty people in doing nasty business and got into troubles, it is our own responsibility.
We want to cross the road and are unfortunately being knocked down by a car, it is our own responsibility. We made some enemies and are being attacked by the enemies, it is our own responsibility.

We have to take careful precautions for doing anything but we can't have control of how other people act and the consequences of their actions even if it involves some other innocent people.

Anyway yoga is not about the ability of the physical body to perform such and such asanas. It is not about challenging our body to go beyond its limits. It is not about to achieve perfection in all the asana poses or to achieve perfect physical flexibilty and strength.

In an yoga asana class, everyone has different physical flexibility and strength. everyone might be doing the same exercises but may not look the same.

Yoga asana practice is suppose to be yourself, be comfortable with your body at the present moment now. Not comparing with anybody or with ourselves in our past experience. And not trying to imitate anybody to be looking exactly the same, not even imitating the teacher. From moment to moment, the condition of the body and the mind is not the same anymore. It's constantly changing. We cannot expect the body to perform actions exactly the same as what the body could perform in the past nor expect to feel the same sensations as in the past of how we felt in performing the same exercises. Yesterday I can touched my toes comfortably, but maybe not today. This morning I was not comfortable in performing backward bends, but in the afternoon I can perform backward bends comfortably. It is up to the condition of the physical body at this present moment now to perform any exercises comfortably or not. We cannot expect the body to have the same flexibility and strength all the time.


Yoga is about accepting ourselves as we are, accept the condition of our body and the mind as it is as this present moment now, this is what our body can do and cannot do. It is about be comfortable with ourselves, with our body, with our mind, with the present moment now, with our life, with the world, and be comfortable with where we are, how we are, what we are doing and not doing, and what we are able to do and not able to do.

Yoga is about being at the present moment now, not being disturbed or influenced by the past or the future.

Yoga is about non-attachment towards the world, the life, the body, the mind, the intellect, the ego, the thoughts, the feelings, the sensations, the senses and whatever the mind perceives through the senses.

Yoga is about letting go of fear and worry. It's about acceptance, forgiving, surrendering the selfish ego and letting go.


Yoga is about unselfish love, unconditional love, unlimited love, eternal peace, purity, compassion, wisdom, oneness and non-duality.

Yoga is about realizing our true Self and go back to our true nature.

Yoga is happening every moment in our hearts in our lives. It's not about trying to make ourselves to be perfect human beings or good beings, nor trying to make other people to be perfect and good. It is no matter what the condition of the body and the mind is, we remain equanimous, calm and at peace, not being disturbed or affected by all the changing phenomena.

Yoga is about going beyond or transcend the energy, the state of mind, the duality, and the qualities of all the names and forms.

Yoga is definitely not about pushing ourselves to challenge the body to go beyond its limits or to achieve perfection in all the yoga exercises.

Even if we can achieve perfect super physical flexibility and strength, it doesn't guarantee us true happiness or freedom from impurities, dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

It is the inner flexibility and inner strength that will bring us peace of mind and lead us to our true Self, and to realize the love, peace, compassion and wisdom in us.

All the asana practice should be performed in a relaxed manner and not suppose to be competitive and struggling at all. It is about developing inner flexibility, inner strength, non-attachment, non-judging, non-comparing, non-expecting and being aware of the present moment now while performing all the yoga physical exercises.

It's about knowing the nature of the mind and not being over-powered by the mind. It's about being the witness or observer who is witnessing or observing whatever the body and mind is experiencing at the present moment now. It's about not attached to the thoughts, feelings and sensations and know that all these things are impermanent in nature no matter they are positive or negative, good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant.

It's about being free undisturbed by the condition of the body and the mind, as well as unaffected by the condition of the life and the world.

Even though when we say that we are not the mind, we are not the body, we are not the doer for all our actions and speech, but this mind and this body are still our responsibility whether to allow the mind and the body to commit in any actions and speech. Even if this mind and this body is conditioned by energy and elements, but we should have the will power to be stronger than the mind and the body to control our actions and speech, and not push away the responsibility of our actions and speech onto the energy and the elements to determine what we act and say.

May all be happy.

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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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