be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Monday, September 23, 2013

Who is feeling happy and unhappy?

It is the mind who feels happy or unhappy. It's the mind who wants to feel happy and be happy. It is the ego reacts towards what it likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with, that generates happy feelings and unhappy feelings in the mind.

If the mind gets what it likes and agrees with, it feels happy. Or else it doesn't feel happy or it feels unhappy. And so, the mind has craving towards the objects that it likes and agrees with.

If the mind gets what it doesn't like and doesn't agree with, it feels unhappy. And so, the mind has aversion towards the objects that it doesn't like and doesn't agrees with.

If we attached and identified with the egoistic mind strongly, and thinking this body and mind is 'I', then when we attend a yoga asana exercise class that is only about fitness training, physical strength and flexibility, without implementation of the teachings of yoga about non-attachment and letting go of the ego, craving and aversion, and etc, then this type of yoga asana exercise class will be something fun and enjoyable activity for the mind.

By doing the yoga asana exercises that the mind likes to do, and the body is able to do, can make the body and mind feels good and happy during and after the practice, for a period of time. Yoga asana teachers or instructors who are leading the yoga asana exercise class usually give the people what they want that will make them feel happy and feel good about themselves. They try not to give the people what they don't want that will make them feel unhappy or don't feel good about themselves. The yoga asana teachers try to make the yoga students 'happy' by giving them 'what they want and like'. But this is really not what yoga practice is about.

It is like giving sweets to the children, it will make them happy, but we know that it is not good for them.

Yoga practice is stop giving the mind what it likes and wants, but train it to let go of craving towards what it likes, and let go of aversion towards what it doesn't like. Restricting the outgoing mind from chasing after momentary satisfaction and happy feelings that comes from getting what it wants and not getting what it doesn't want, and turning the mind inward for self-introspection, or reflection, or meditation.

Just by chasing after the impermanent good and happy feelings coming from performing some yoga asana exercises that our egoistic mind likes to do and the body is able to do, doesn't give us liberation from unhappiness or suffering. As the root cause of unhappiness and suffering, which is the attachment towards the impermanent qualities of names and forms, such like attach to pleasant sensations and good feelings, and the identification with the egoistic thinking mind and the impermanent condition and abilities of the physical body, is still there, even though the mind feels good and happy by getting what it likes and wants.

Having the strong identification with the egoistic mind, when we attend a yoga class which emphasize on the teachings of yoga about non-attachment and letting go of the ego, letting go of the idea of 'I' and 'mine', letting go of the worldly self-image that is based on qualities of names and forms that the body and mind possessed, letting go of attachment towards the condition and abilities of the body and the states of the mind, letting go of attachment towards the conditioned habits, thinking and beliefs in the mind, letting go of craving for pleasant experience, and aversion towards unpleasant experience, letting go of anger and hatred, pride and arrogance, fear and worry, letting go of attachment towards the qualities of names and forms, letting go of judgment, comparison and expectation, and be able to accept everyone and everything as they are, out of compassion, then this type of yoga class will be a very unhappy and unpleasant experience for the mind. There will be lots of resistance and aversion from the ego, as all these teachings is telling the ego to 'get lost' or 'disappear'.

Some people react strongly and get very irritated and angry being in the yoga class where the yoga teachers teach or talk about non-attachment and compassion. As these essential teachings of yoga are something completely the opposite of the nature of the ego and what the mind being conditioned to think and believe what things are.

The ego is strongly attached towards what it likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with, and generate strong aversion towards something that it dislikes and disagrees with, and will react with annoyance, irritation, agitation, frustration, anger and hatred, especially when the teachings are contradicted with what it was conditioned to think, to believe, to behave, to act and react.

Many people think yoga classes or the yoga asana exercises are here to give people happiness, make them feel good and happy, make them feel positive and develop higher self-esteem or confidence about themselves. But this type of thinking and the intention or motivation that motivate them to do the yoga asana exercises doesn't really give them true confidence, but only boosting or empowering the egoism, which is the complete opposite direction of what yoga really is about. As it is the ego that wants to feel good and happy. It is the ego that needs to feel positive and have confidence. By making the ego happy and feel good about itself when the body is able to perform certain asana that it couldn't do before will only give momentary good feelings to the mind, or will tune up the egoistic 'confidence' for a few moments, but it is not the true confidence that comes from realizing the truth and being free from ignorance.

If people are not looking forward for liberation, but they only interested in chasing after momentary satisfaction and happy feelings from getting what they want, and not getting what they don't want, then be happy. There's nothing wrong with that. Life already has lots of complications that sometimes our mind finds them too much to handle, why not just try to be happy by doing what we like to do, and getting what we want to get, to make us feel happy, even though these happy feelings don't last long. Some people attain good and happy feelings by being good and do good. That is very good. But there are also people in the world who will do things that will hurt other people in order to get some sort of satisfaction and happy feelings.

There is nothing wrong with 'want to be happy'. But while we chase after some momentary happy feelings from getting what we want, and not getting what we don't want, we might generate some actions and reactions that will cause disharmony and harmful effects in oneself and in others.

In yoga practice, we are also striving for happiness, but it's more likely about realizing our true nature being peaceful as it is, the unchanging, unconditioned and unlimited eternal peace and happiness that is being free from restlessness, unhappiness and suffering that derived from ignorance, egoism and attachment.

This unconditional peace and happiness is not coming from getting what our egoistic mind likes and agrees with, or not getting what our egoistic mind doesn't like and disagrees with.

In the end, it is up to us, what we want for ourselves in this life existence.

There's no judgment of right or wrong, appropriateness or inappropriateness in whether we are only interested in conditional momentary happiness, or we are interested in unconditional eternal happiness.

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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