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

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Let go of attachment towards this impermanent physical body... But with appreciation for it...

Yoga is not about challenging the physical body to go beyond its limitation, to become super strong and flexible, but it is about going beyond the identification with the body and mind, and going beyond the impermanent conditions and limitations of the body and mind...

This physical body is mortal. It is subject to impermanence, growth, changes, old age, decay, sickness and decomposition (death)... This is the Truth of this physical body, and no matter how much we spend our life time, money and effort to train the physical body to make it strong and flexible, and no doubt that we can make good use of this strong and flexible body as much as possible in our life, but we cannot change the Truth that this physical body will be losing it strength and flexibility (whether instantly due to accidents and injuries, or gradually due to the decaying effect of old age) and one day this body will stop functioning (decompose)...

Look at all the yogis in the past except those who left the world at young age... Most of them had developed the incredible super human strength and flexibility to perform all the complex yoga asana poses when their body was still young, but as their body grew older, their body were no longer as strong and flexible as they were before, and slowly losing their strength and flexibility, and their body started to show decaying effects, losing their youthfulness, losing their muscles tone and skin elasticity, losing their teeth and sense of taste and smell, losing their hearing and eye sight, losing their memory, losing their stamina, and gradually their body stopped functioning (decompose)...

That is the greatest teaching from all the yogis in the past, about the Truth of this physical body is impermanence, and it is conditional and limited...

There is a greater meaning for performing the yoga asana practice beside developing physical strength and flexibility, which is to render the body and mind pure and still for meditation, for higher spiritual realization, to be liberated from having birth and death, from having a mortal physical body and impure egoistic mind that is being conditioned and limited by impermanence and qualities of names and forms...

The physical strength and flexibility that come from the yoga asana practice is only one of the "side-effects" of the practice, it is not the main objective of performing the yoga asana practice...

It is the self-discipline and self-control that we develop by devote ourselves into the daily yoga asana practice that will change the habits or the thought currents of the mind... That is the objective of performing the yoga asana practice... It is the different body positions stimulating different energy centres (not coming from the physical strength and flexibility), the concentration and stillness being in the asana poses, and the breath control that is influencing the energy fields and thus influence the state of the mind...

The entire yoga asana practice is a process of purifying, stimulating, balancing, conserving, calming, unblocking and channeling the energy fields for approaching the source within, to go back to our purest consciousness before the existence of the body and the egoistic impure mind...

This is nothing to do with whether our body is super strong and flexible or not... It only requires a minimal strength and mobility to put our body into the different yoga asana poses, and we will still get the same effects of purifying, stimulating, balancing, conserving, calming, unblocking and channeling the energy fields. We don't have to be super strong and flexible to do some complex asana poses to have these effects... Even if some people have no physical strength and flexibility at all to perform any asana practice, through visualization and the chanting of OM verbally or mentally will also have the same effects of doing the yoga asana practice...

A strong and flexible body is just an instrument for us to be able to perform selfless service for ourselves and other beings to evolve towards higher consciousness, apart from having a better quality of life... There is nothing wrong with enjoying a better quality of life and having better condition of health, minimize illnesses, and extend youthfulness and life span to the maximum, but these are not the main objective of performing yoga practice...

Just by having a physical body as strong and flexible as a world class athlete, cannot guarantee to liberate us from ignorance, birth and death and suffering...

Even if the physical body is extremely strong and flexible, and able to perform many complex yoga asana poses, it doesn't guarantee that this mind is in good condition... And even if the mind is in a good condition in this present moment now, it is still subject to impermanence... It will change... That's why we are practicing non-attachment to go beyond all the impermanent states of the mind, and not identifying with the mind...

Just like the conditions and abilities of this physical body is subject to impermanence, this egoistic thinking mind is also subject to impermanence, changes, experiencing feelings and emotions of up and down, having reactions and attachments towards the qualities of names and forms, having likes and dislikes, wants and don't wants, craving and aversion, being ignorant of the Truth, having doubts and wrong identification with the body and mind, and being conditioned by the perception of names and forms, having endless dissatisfaction, disappointment, agitation, depression, greed, desire, anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, arrogance, fear and worry... Constantly being in a state of restlessness...

Unless we start to deal with the mind... Then only we can be free from being conditioned by our own mind and the physical body, whether our physical body is strong and flexible or not...

Being a physically fit world class athlete with super human strength and flexibility doesn't liberate us from suffering, birth and death... It is being free from impurities like egoism, selfishness, attachment, ignorance, anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, pride, arrogance, desire, dissatisfaction, disappointment, agitation, depression, anxiety, craving, aversion, fear and worry, and etc, and be free from being conditioned by impermanence, that will liberate us...

It is realizing that there is nobody there that exist as "I", there is nobody there to accumulate and possess wealth, health, knowledge, happiness or love, but the only existence is the awareness of being aware of the present moment now...

Attachment... What a great ignorance... A great impurity that will bind us without us being aware of its bondage... We think that we are being loving and kind, and we are showing love and affection towards the "object" that we love... But actually it is mere attachment towards the object of the senses...

There is a huge difference about being compassionate towards "something", and being attached to and show affection towards "something".

If it is mere compassionate loving kindness, there is no attachment. No disappointment. No expectation. No possessiveness. No unhappiness. No suffering... There is no sense of possessiveness, like "This is my... and it is mine...". There is no desire or expectation of getting any sense of satisfaction, achievement, acknowledgment, appreciation, pride, interaction, love and attention from any objects...

When the mind gets in contact with any objects of the senses that it likes, whether it is a human being, an animal, an insect, a plant, a shirt, a phone, a car, a house, a pillow, a movie, a photo, a piece of music, a cup, an apple, a view, a scenery, a sensation, a memory, a book, a letter, a finger nail, a yoga mat, a yoga pose, a feeling, a relationship, a friendship, a brand of something, knowledge, personal image, or anything that we can think of, within the body and outside the body, the mind will generate attachment, clinging and craving, and will want to possess these objects and show affection and love for these objects... But, all these objects are impermanent. They don't stay unchanged forever as what the mind like it to be... They will change into something different that the mind doesn't like nor appreciate... The mind starts to get dissatisfaction and disappointment due to the impermanence of all these objects. It wants something else. It keeps looking for new attachments that will bring some pleasant sensation of satisfaction... But, it will never be satisfied... When something happens to the objects that it loves, it becomes so annoyed, angry, upset, disappointed and unhappy...

The mind feels satisfied and happy now, because something that the mind likes and wants is there... But, when this object that the mind likes and wants is not there anymore, or when this object changed into something that the mind doesn't like and doesn't want, will the mind still be satisfied and happy? Nope... It becomes very disappointed and unhappy or depressed...

The stronger the attachment or "love and affection" towards any objects, the stronger the disappointment, dissatisfaction and unhappiness will be...

For example, if I broke a cup, just a normal cup, not "my favorite cup", not "somebody else's favorite cup", then I won't be unhappy about it and there's no body is going to be bother about it... But, if somebody broke "my favorite cup", or "somebody else's favorite cup", I might get very upset and angry, or somebody is going to be very upset and angry about it... That's the power of attachment...

Another example, somebody else's son passed away, we will feel sympathy and will let it go very easily... But, if it is "my son" had passed away, I will be very upset and depressed, and not so easy to let it go... And if there is somebody who is responsible for "my son" to passed away, I am not just upset and depressed, but I will also be very angry and hating towards that person who is responsible for "my son"s death... That's the power of attachment...

And the Truth is we don't own anything, we don't possess anything, not even this body and this mind... It is a complete delusion of having the idea that "This is my..." and "This is mine..."

All we can do is, appreciate the present moment now, for what we have and where we are and how we are...

The entire path of yoga and meditation is about letting go of attachment... Letting go of the body, the mind, the ego, the intellect, the objects of the senses, all the names and forms, sights, sounds, smells, taste, touch (sensations) and thinking (thoughts)... But with appreciation of all these things...

And the biggest attachment since we were born into this world, is the attachment towards our physical body and our egoistic thinking mind... Once we let go of all these attachments, we are what we are, we are not determined nor conditioned by any qualities of names and forms, including this body and this mind...

It is from the attachment towards the body and mind, all impurities, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, desires, pride, arrogance, craving, aversion, agitation, depression, restlessness, fear and worry arise...

When there's no attachments, there's no impurities...

When there's no impurities, peace is there...

Fully appreciate and make good use of this physical body for us to be here to learn, to experience, to evolve, but without attachment...

Be free...

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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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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