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

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Elimination of the egoism requires great forbearance, determination and perseverance...

To make the mind happy is not very difficult, we just need to give the mind what it desires, likes and wants. But the mind seems like always dissatisfied and greedy. Its desires, likes and wants are endless.

To let go of the identification with the egoistic mind that is swaying between craving and aversion all the time, and to eliminate egoism (realizing selflessness, and unconditional love and peace), is not as easy as making the mind happy. In fact, the mind will experience extreme pain and discomfort in the process of letting go of attachment. There will be great aversion and resistance coming from the mind (the ego).

It really takes great amount of patience, perseverance, determination, will-power, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, self-discipline, self-control, self-introspection, humility, acceptance, adjustment, accommodation, adaptation, cheerfulness, faith and courage, for us to realize unconditional peace and love.

Adequate amount of discrimination of the real and the unreal, and dispassion towards worldly objects and enjoyments are also very important.

Truly, if we attached strongly towards what our mind is being conditioned to believe what things are (being closed minded), and are strongly rooted in ignorance, dualism and egoism (self-righteousness - having strong aversion and hatred towards what is contradicted and different from our own beliefs), even though we would like to learn and practice yoga, but when we go deeper into this path of eliminating the egoism, to realize unconditional peace and love through yoga and meditation practice, it is like drinking extreme bitter medicine. It is not a pleasant experience.

It is a process of self-destruction of the lower impure self (the egoism). There will be lots of struggles and topples. If we don't have strong self-discipline, forbearance, will-power or determination, we might give up yoga and meditation practice, and would rather chase after momentary satisfaction that comes from keeps giving the mind what it likes and wants.

The easier path to eliminate the egoism is Karma yoga (selfless service without attachment towards the action and the fruit of action) and Bhakti yoga (complete surrender or devotion towards the highest consciousness). But even so, obstacles may arise to test our faith, forbearance and perseverance.

The truth is not coming from intellectual analyzing, thinking or beliefs. It is being aware of the reality of things as they are, when ignorance and egoism is removed, when the mind is calm and free from impurities. Just like a still and clean mirror will reflect the image of the object placed in front of it as it is. If the mirror (the mind) is shaking (desires, craving and aversion, action and reaction) and dirty (impurities like anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, fear and worry, etc), then the image of the object appears on the mirror will be distorted.

There are many people really love and enjoy the 'effects' of the yoga asana practice, but there is also intense fear and aversion in us in letting go of the ego, or the worldly identification as 'I'. We are reluctant to let go of what we think who we are. We are afraid of losing this 'I' and all that belongs to 'I'. Just like all living beings have fear towards death and the unknown, the ego has fear towards self-extinction.

Those who can forbear any obstacles, difficulties and discomforts, and know that only by destroying the lower impure self (the egoism), we will then be truly free being who we really are, as we are, not because 'I' am somebody with such and such qualities, will persist in the practice and reach the end of practice. All kinds of fear and dissatisfaction will disappear, due to the presence of wisdom and compassion, when the veil of ignorance is removed along with the extinction of egoism.

As now, who we think we are (the ego), is being conditioned and determined by our worldly self-image, physical appearance, physical condition and abilities, social status, material belongings, relationships with family and friends, career, as well as the conditioned and limited perceptions of names and forms, knowledge, thinking, culture, religion and beliefs in the mind, to be who we are.

All these objects and qualities are conditioned and limited by impermanence, ignorance and impurities. It is non-satisfactory and emptiness in its nature. Even though occasionally we will feel good, satisfied and happy when we give the mind what it likes and wants, but due to attachment towards all these impermanent qualities to be who we are, we are full of pride and arrogance, fear and worry, greed and dissatisfaction, anger and hatred, frustration and disappointment, restlessness, craving and aversion, action and reaction that are bound by cause and effect, or Karma, or birth and death.

In the end , it is up to ourselves about what we really want with this life existence. Maybe we just want to enjoy life as much as we can, and are not interested about transcending suffering, birth and death. That's our choice and our own responsibility. If we don't want to let go of the self-identification that has a worldly image with certain qualities of who we think we are, then be happy, and continue to be that 'person'.

If we are getting tired of the restless and dissatisfied egoistic mind, being aware of the fleeting impermanence or emptiness in worldly objects, the body and the mind, and realizing all our 'problems' and 'suffering' is derived from egoism, ignorance and attachment, craving and aversion, action and reaction, and thus, we are determined to realize something that is real and unconditional, then we shall persist in our yoga and meditation practice until we are free from ignorance and egoism, transcend the body and mind, birth and death.

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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