be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Retreat ourselves in everyday life, not just during silent retreats...

What are we doing in silent retreats?

We practice intense or serious non-attachment...

Retreat from the attachments in our life. Retreat from names and forms that we always see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think... Retreat from our everyday worldly activities, actions and speech... Retreat from our usual behavior pattern or routine... Retreat from our daily life worries and cares... Retreat from interaction, communication, discussion, debate, argument, expression, reaction, expectation, wanting, talking, mingling, socializing, mixing, gossiping, criticizing, judging, comparing, justification, worldly sensual pleasure and enjoyments, and etc...

We stop giving the mind what it wants and likes... We stop gratifying the craving and aversion of the mind... We move the mind away from its usual activities and enjoyments... This will not be easy nor comfortable for the mind... It will reject and resent... It will experience irritation and frustration... It will want to runaway from the retreat and go back to its usual habits, activities and enjoyments...

Meditation is not about making the mind to become creative and artistic, no doubt that many people who practice meditation regularly will naturally be developing the creativity and artistic side of the mind... They will have many creative ideas and imaginations... But, this is not the purpose of meditation. It is just one of the side-effects of meditation... Those who are not careful about this, will tend to attach to the "side-effect" of meditation, attach to the increasing creativity and ideas, and spend their energy and time into worldly social activities...

Meditation is stopping the mind from being creative. It is about absorbing or entering into silence, into namelessness and formlessness... There is no colours, no shapes, no forms, no qualities, no sights, no sounds, no smells, no taste, no sensations, no thinking, no thoughts, no creativity, no ideas, no imaginations, no interaction, no passions, no desires, no perception, no reaction, no happiness, no unhappiness, no good, no bad, no birth, no death, no fear, no worry, no gain, no loss, no ignorance, no excitement, no depression, no enjoyment, no suffering, no cessation of suffering, no ego, no mind, no intellect, no body...

The mind absorb into its source - The highest consciousness or the universal consciousness.

There is no meditator, no meditation, no fruit of meditation...

And this practice should not just be practice during or limited in silent retreats... It should be practice in our everyday life moderately, if we really want to be free from the bondage of birth and death, be free from suffering that co-exist with the body and the mind...

Talk less... If we really need to talk, may it be the speech of Dharma or the Truth... Even though most of the time, the Truth is not something that we want or like to hear... Sometimes, the Truth can be hurtful and painful, but it will release us from heavier suffering and ignorance...

Reduce or limit worldly passionate activities, socializing, interacting, gathering, stimulation of the mind...

There is no more attachment or clinging onto worldly materials, relationships and affairs... There is no more craving for love, care, support and attention from the world or relationships with anyone... There is no more depending on any worldly achievements to be confident, to be happy, to be somebody... Not even depending on any spiritual achievements to be confident, to be happy, to be somebody... The one who is beyond all names and forms, is a free being...

Those who retreat themselves moderately in everyday life but still living amidst in the busy and "interesting" world, might be criticized by worldly minded people as loner, insociable, unfriendly, strange, arrogant or care-less, but it doesn't matter... Because the wise will not argue with the ignorant, and will not mind about worldly perception, judgment, criticism and comment coming from the worldly minded... They will only be compassionate towards the beings who are over-powered by ignorance...

In those who had tasted the joy of detachment and dispassion, only they will know and appreciate the joy of trouble-free that comes from non-attachment and retreating from worldly passionate activities... And they are not interested to attain some sort of momentary satisfaction or happy feelings that come from worldly passionate activities...


They will spend their existing energy in their own practice and to help the world silently, not getting any attention from the world... They are the beings who really know how to help the world but without being known of who they are and what they do, and without being affected by the world and the result of their compassionate actions...

It is common that during or immediately after a silent retreat, we will be able to taste the joy of retreating ourselves from worldly passionate activities and relationships, experience care-free and worry-less, but very soon once we step back into our life in the worldly society, we start to attach to our worldly activities and relationships, and move away from detachment and dispassion, and be miserable again...

Om shanti.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The importance of Satsanga, Kutsanga & Asanga in the path of yoga and meditation

There are wise spiritual beings (Satsanga) that can uplift us, help us and guide us in the path of yoga and meditation to evolve towards higher consciousness. These Satsanga will encourage us to immerse in spiritual practice and to move away from worldly passionate activities, such like gossiping, back-biting, slandering, mocking, teasing, greed, craving, clinging, worldly desires and attachments, and building castles in the air...

There are worldly minded beings (Kutsanga) that can pull us down, distract us and move us away from our yoga and meditation practice to evolve towards higher consciousness, especially if we are still being affected very much by the qualities of names and forms, and the energy fields of other people, and we have no strong self-control and non-attachment. These Kutsanga will distract and discourage us from immerse in spiritual practice, and will lead us and encourage us to get involve with more worldly passionate activities which cause great distraction and obstacles.

There is a teaching or advice from our ancient Gurus saying that – If there is no good or wise company (Satsanga), then it is better to be alone (Asanga) than to be with evil company or worldly minded company (Kutsanga).

In the beginning of the path of yoga and meditation, it is very important to choose what type of inputs that we bring into our mind, especially if we have no strong self-control and non-attachment, and are easily being affected and influenced by sights, sounds, smells, taste, sensations and thoughts, and being affected and influenced by other people's energy fields.

Until one day, we have developed strong self-control and non-attachment, and are not being affected or influenced by all these elements and energy fields, then we can mix freely with anyone no matter they have bad influences or negative energy fields. When we are unaffected and uninfluenced by other people energy fields, we can be truly compassionate to help to uplift other people instead of being pull down by them.

When we still don't have strong self-control and non-attachment, it is not being selfish or arrogant at all to keep away from evil company or worldly minded company. This is being kind and compassionate towards ourselves. To admit that we are not that "strong" yet to be unaffected or influenced by other people's energy fields, and to allow ourselves to evolve spiritually to be free from ignorance and suffering. Only when we ourselves are free from ignorance and suffering, we can be kind and compassionate towards other beings to help other beings to evolve and be free from ignorance and suffering. If we ourselves are ignorant and in suffering, how can we guide others to be free from ignorance and suffering?

So, do not feel bad when we have to say "no" and to keep away from certain worldly minded company for the sake of our own spiritual growth, if we are still easily being affected and influenced by other people's energy fields. It is a noble and compassionate action to take care ourselves.

When we have non-identification with the body and mind, when we are free from attachments, personal desires and expectation, craving and aversion, then we can mix freely with anybody and not being affected and influenced by any elements of sights, sounds, smells, taste, sensations and thoughts.

The wise foresee troubles, and do not intentionally invite troubles, and will naturally keep away from unnecessary troubles, and are able to focus its attention and energy onto spiritual practice and self-evolution.

The ignorant doesn't foresee troubles, and will invite troubles, and will be drawn towards unnecessary troubles, being busy with worldly passions, troubles and worries, and have no interest and energy for spiritual practice.

Om shanti.

Knowing the truth of things as it is and be truly happy...

By coming in contact with many things and knowing a lot of things through reading, seeing, hearing or experiencing cannot guarantee us liberation from restlessness and suffering, and to be in peace and happiness...

It is by knowing the truth of things as it is, that will free us from being conditioned by the qualities in names and forms, and free us from restlessness and unhappiness that derive from attachment towards the qualities in names and forms due to being ignorant about the truth of things as it is...

That's why it is not by studying and reading many books and philosophies, or by hearing many teachings, philosophies and stories from this person and that person, or by experiencing "good" and "bad" happenings in life, that will free us from restlessness and unhappiness...

We can be reading many books on philosophies and teachings coming from different enlightened beings or spiritual teachers, but we will still have doubts and ignorant about the truth of things because all those knowledge are not coming from our own realization...

We can be seeing and hearing about other people's experiences about this and that, but still we are not being liberated from fear and worry, pride and arrogance, anger and hatred, dissatisfaction and greed, craving and aversion, and etc...

We can be experiencing many "good" and "bad" things in our life and in our spiritual path in search for liberation, but still, we are not being free from the impurities and suffering that arise in the mind whenever the mind comes in contact with the objects of the senses. We are identifying with the doer of the actions and inactions, identifying with the enjoyer of the fruit or the result of the actions and inactions, and identifying with the one who is experiencing all the "good" and "bad" experiences...

Even though Buddha had told us about the Four Noble Truth about suffering, and we may have heard about it many times from books or from people who talk about it, but we are still being conditioned by attachments towards the qualities in names and forms, being over-powered and determined by the perception of "good" and "bad", "happiness" and "suffering", "positive" and "negative", "auspiciousness" and "inauspiciousness", "respectfulness" and "disrespectfulness", "appropriateness" and "inappropriateness", "praise" and "insult" and etc, that derive from the function of our conditional thinking mind, the ego, the intellect, the body and the senses...

We still have craving towards the qualities of names and forms that are being categorized or recognized as "good", "happiness" and "positive" and etc, and have aversion towards the qualities of names and forms that are being categorized or recognized as "bad", "suffering" and "negative" and etc...

Many people had heard about the teaching about non-dualism, namelessness and formlessness, but, how many people are actually be free from being conditioned and determined by all these qualities in names and forms, and still attached strongly to all the perceptions about good and bad, happiness and suffering, positive and negative, auspiciousness and inauspiciousness, respectfulness and disrespectfulness, praise and insult,and etc...

Many people talk about it, preach about it, teach about it, but, how many people are still caught up in attachment towards the perception of names and forms (sights, sounds, smells, taste, sensations and thoughts), the body, the mind, the ego and the intellect?

May we keep practice non-attachment... And if there is attachment, we practice letting go of attachment...

At the beginning, we might need to go through many unsuccessful attempts to not attach to names and forms, but there's no judgments, keep practice letting go, and non-attachment... Until one day, the practice will become effortless, when we start to develop insights about the truth of things as it is... Then there is no need any efforts at all to not attach to any names and forms and be free...

When we know the truth of things as it is, there is no anger, no frustration, no dissatisfaction, no disappointment and no unhappiness even though when we see, or hear, or experience something that is "bad" or "wrong", and when something that is "good" or "right" is not happening...

There is nothing wrong if we still be angry, frustrated, dissatisfied, disappointed and unhappy when we see, or hear, or experience all these "bad" and "wrong" happenings, and when we don't experience any "good" and "right" happenings... The one who is being angry, frustrated, dissatisfied, disappointed and unhappy is our selfish and arrogant ego that was being challenged, and it doesn't like or disagree with certain names and forms when the mind comes in contact with the objects of the senses...

But, know that by being angry, frustrated, dissatisfied, disappointed and unhappy cannot help to improve anything or to make things become better... It is meaningless and wasting energy...

When we still being disturbed and affected by the "good" and "bad" qualities in names and forms, it indicates that we are still attached towards our mind, our ego and our intellect... No matter how many years of yoga and meditation practice that we have did in the past, it didn't free us from restlessness and suffering... Because we are never in peace constantly being disturbed and affected by all the names and forms due to not knowing the truth of things as it is and have attached onto these names and forms...

May all beings be happy. Be truly happy... Real happiness is not something to be experience or to be found later in the next moment, or next day, or next week, or next year, or next life, or next birth, or after death, or after we did a good action, or when we are being judged as "good" people or "good" beings... But it's right now, in this very present moment... By knowing the Truth of things as it is, and not attach to any names and forms, and not being disturbed, nor affected, nor determined, nor conditioned by the impermanent qualities in names and forms...

When we are free from attachments, we will be undisturbed, unaffected, undetermined and unconditioned by the qualities of names and forms, and thus being free from restlessness and unhappiness that derive from attachments... And then, we can help ourselves and other beings to evolve towards higher consciousness, out of compassion, without any intentions, judgments, comparisons, expectations or attachments towards the fruit or the result of the actions... Just like the universe, allowing and accepting everyone and everything to be exist in the universe... The universe has no intention to be "good" or "bad", or judging this is "good" or "bad", or expecting this will be "good" or "bad"...

Real "yogi" or "Buddhist" or "yoga teacher" does not need to name or label themselves as "yogi" or "Buddhist" or "yoga teacher", and are not determined by how much "yoga practices" or "Buddhism practices" or "yoga classes" that they have been performing, are performing and will be performing... But, they are free from restlessness and suffering by knowing the truth of things as it is, in this present moment now...

There is no doer of the actions... There is no action being performed... There is no enjoyer of the fruit or the result of the action...

There is no yogi, no yoga practice, no fruit of yoga practice...

There is no suffering, no cause of suffering, no cessation of suffering, no path of transcending suffering...

There is no yoga teacher, no teaching yoga, no yoga students, no fruit of teaching yoga...

Om shanti.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Yoga practice exists to transcend ignorance and suffering...

Yoga practice exists for beings who are in suffering and who wish to transcend suffering...

If somebody who is peaceful, who is free from suffering, then this being doesn't need to practice yoga... Because this being already knew the Truth about suffering, which is the end of yoga practice...

If our body is sick, then we need to consult a medical doctor and take some medicine to cure whatever sickness that we have and be free from sickness... If our body is not sick, we don't need to consult any doctor or take any medicine to cure anything...

We are not peaceful and not happy, that's why we are looking for peace and happiness... If we are already peaceful and happy, we don't need to look for peace and happiness...

Suffering derives from ignorance...

Ignorance is not knowing the Truth of things...

If we know the Truth of things, there is no ignorance, there is no suffering, there is no need of yoga practice...

If we are free from suffering and are in peace, we don't need to learn or practice yoga... We are already one with yoga, not separated from yoga...

If we are peaceful and happy, we don't need to do something or not doing something to have peace or to attain peace...

We will be peaceful and happy no matter what we do or don't do...

The looking, searching and craving for peace and happiness have come to an end...

Yoga practice is there to help us to remove ignorance, to transcend suffering... Without ignorance, there's no suffering... Without suffering, peace is there...

If we have been performing a lot of yoga and meditation practice, but as long as we are not completely be free from ignorance, we will still be conditioned by unhappiness and suffering because we have craving, clinging, aversion or attachment, that derive from not knowing the Truth of things - being ignorant of the Truth of things...

And the greatest ignorance is being ignorant of ignorance...

When the mind is full of impurities, and is agitated and not calm, then we need to practice yoga and meditation to help to purify the mind and to render it calm and still... If the mind is free from impurities and is calm and in peace, there is no need of any "actions" or "practice" to make the mind pure and calm... It is pure and calm...

When the body and the mind is full of tensions, we need to perform some "actions" or "practice" or "relaxation" to help to release tensions in the body and the mind... If there is no tensions in the body and the mind, there is no need of relaxation or practice or "actions" to release anything... We need relaxation because we are not relaxed... If we are relaxed, do we still need "relaxation" to be relaxed?

And beyond the impermanent forever changing states of the mind, beyond the conditional momentary peaceful calmness of the mind that derives from performing yoga practice, pranayama practice, concentration and meditation practice, is our true nature - unconditional and unlimited real peace that is always there, unchanging, untouched by all states of the mind... It is neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither happiness nor suffering...

The peaceful calmness feeling that comes from the mind after some yoga, pranayama, concentration and meditation practice is impermanent... It will be disturbed and will disappear...

If we are able to go beyond this peaceful state of mind and not attached or clinging onto it, just be aware of the mind being calm or not calm, we are free from being conditioned by any names and forms that the mind is experiencing from moment to moment through the body and the senses of what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think... We are always peaceful... That is our true nature, unconditional peace... This peace doesn't exist nor stop existing... It is not a quality that arise, change and pass away... It is beyond birth and death, beyond existence and non-existence...

There is no craving for peacefulness or happiness... There is no aversion towards unpeacefulness or unhappiness... It is full, content and whole...

Om shanti...

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Know thyself. There is no existence of 'I'. Everything is impermanent. Be free, be peaceful, be happy.

Om shanti

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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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