be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Monday, September 30, 2013

To challenge others, or be challenged by others is part of the play of the ego

Those who are free from egoism and ignorance are not affected, nor determined, nor be challenged by anyone through their action and reaction derived from egoism and ignorance. Nor will they have any intention or desires to challenge anyone for anything.

If we try to show or to prove that we are right or we are fearless by accepting other people's challenge to be doing something that ourselves don't desire to do, then it clearly means that this is coming from the reaction of the ego feels that it is being challenged and doesn't want to be judged by others as 'coward' or 'weak' if we don't accept the challenge. We are not really fearless if we accept other people's challenge to prove that we are right and fearless, as we have fear of being judged or denigrated by others if we do not accept their challenge.

Such like accepting somebody's challenge to do something that will hurt ourselves, or will hurt another being physically or mentally, to show that we are free from fear of doing such actions, is not what fearlessness is about.

Everyone has different types of fear in life. One might have no fear towards certain things, but will have fear towards some other things in life. Somebody who has no fear of jumping off an airplane, might have fear towards certain responsibilities and commitments in life. Somebody who has no fear towards responsibilities and commitments in life, might have fear towards some tiny insects. Somebody who has no fear towards all kinds of insects, might have fear of losing something that they love very much, and so on.

Nobody can challenge another person for anything when one has not completely be free from fear yet. The one who has conquered fear and is completely fearless out of being free from egoism and ignorance, will not try to challenge anyone, not even themselves, to be doing anything that they have no intention to do. The one who is free from egoism won't be disturbed by any challenge as 'challenge' doesn't exist in them, even if others try to challenge them for something out of egoism and ignorance.

Just like nobody can judge or criticize another when one is not perfect yet. And those who are perfect will not be judging or criticizing anyone and anything, nor will they be affected or determined by any judgments or criticism from others. Judgment and criticism doesn't exists in those who are free from egoism and ignorance.

To challenge others and be challenged by others is part of the play of the ego. This game of to challenge and be challenged only exists in those who are not free from egoism yet.

Reflect, contemplate, and realize the truth of our true nature, and be free from egoism and ignorance, and realize fearlessness.

Fearlessness is not about challenging other beings to be fearless towards certain things in life. It is being fearless to recognize, to acknowledge and to accept the truth of the ignorance in our impure mind and the selfish egoism is the root cause of all afflictions and suffering that arise in oneself, and to be fearless to let go of the ego, the worldly identity or self-image, to be fearless to let go of identification with the body and mind and all the qualities of names and forms that are possessed by the body and mind, to be fearless to let go of all sorts of attachments, to be fearless to be living in the present moment without worrying about the future, to be fearless to accept and love ourselves and other beings as we are, without discrimination, superiority or inferiority, judgment, comparison and expectation.

Om shanti.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Action and inaction? To act or not to act?

Everything is an action.

Actionlessness is also an action.

Sitting quietly, not moving the body to be doing some physical movements, and not making any speech, is an action of restricting the physical action and speech.

Quieting the mind, bringing the mind to rest in the inner chamber of the heart, restricting it from running out to chase after objects of names and forms or desires, is an action of restricting the thought waves.

Everyone has to be performing some sorts of actions all the time consciously with certain amount of free will and self-effort, whether it is sleeping, dreaming, awaking, sitting, standing, walking, talking, thinking, worrying, speculating, planning, imagining, remembering, eating, playing, looking, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, reflecting, meditating, introspecting, and etc. On top of that there are lots of ceaseless autonomous actions are going on all the time in the physical body that are not in our will control (whether we are aware of it or not), like breathing, heartbeats, blood circulation, immunity, hormones secretion, regeneration, and etc.

There is not a single moment that the body and mind is not performing some sorts of actions, or there's isn't any actions at all, unless this body and mind ceased functioning or existing.

If we know about non-attachment or non-identification with the body and mind, if we are free from egoism, then all these actions is not different from inaction, which doesn't generate karma, or cause and effect, or birth and death, even though there is some pleasant and unpleasant, or agreeable and disagreeable consequences derived from all these actions.

If we don't know what is non-attachment or non-identification with the body and mind, if we are influenced by egoism to be performing all these actions, then all these actions will generate good and bad karma, or cause and effect, or birth and death, even if we choose not to act, it is still an action that will generate some consequences.

The difference in all actions (to act and not to act) is depending on the purity of the mind.

If the mind is influenced by egoism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, then all actions being performed through the body and mind (whether they are good or bad actions, to act and not to act) are influenced by egoism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, and will be bound by good and bad karma, and generate birth and death.

If the mind is free from egoism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, and is identical with the attributeless, nameless and formless Self, then all actions being performed through the body and mind (whether they are good or bad actions, to act and not to act) will not be bound by good and bad karma, and be free from birth and death.

Whether all these actions that we think and believe is good or bad, the consequences of these actions (to act or not to act) are not necessarily the way that we think it should be.

For example, if we think we have performed some 'good' and 'right' actions, and we should be receiving something 'good' in return, and we refer 'good' as something that is pleasant and happy, but then the consequences of our 'good' actions are not necessarily will be something pleasant and happy, as it can be something very unpleasant and unhappy.

If we think we didn't do any 'bad' and 'wrong' actions, and we shouldn't be receiving something 'bad' in return, and we refer 'bad' as something that is unpleasant and unhappy, but then the consequences of not generating any 'bad' actions is not necessarily will be something free from unpleasantness and unhappiness, as we still can be experiencing something unpleasant and unhappy, even when we think we didn't do anything 'bad' and 'wrong' as what we think and believe.

This doesn't mean that there is no good and bad karma at all, nor there is anything wrong with the law of karma, cause and effect.

It is about whether we are free from egoism and ignorance, or not. As what we think and believe what things are, is not necessarily the truth of what things really are. Our thinking and beliefs are being conditioned and limited by ignorance and incorrect information. By knowing a lot of things doesn't guarantee that we are free from being ignorant about the truth of things.

The conditioned thinking and beliefs in our mind about what things are, whether 'this is something good and right', or 'that is something bad and wrong', is not necessary the truth of what things really are. As all these thinking and beliefs are based on relativity and subjectivity, unless the mind is completely be free from egoism, dualism, attachment, ignorance and impurities.

When the mind is free from egoism, dualism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, the mind will perceive the truth of names and forms as they are, free from qualities, differences or separateness that are generated by the mind, being conditioned by what the mind believes what things are. Everything is just being what it is. They are not something good or bad, positive or negative, happiness or suffering.

That's why even if we think we have done something 'good and right', but it's not necessarily the truth of what things are, and we expect some 'good', 'pleasant' and 'happy' consequences in return, but we will be so disappointed, when reality, or the result of our action of doing something 'good and right' doesn't turn out the way that we think it should be.

If we think we haven't done something 'bad and wrong', but it's not necessarily the truth of what things are, and we expect there won't be any 'bad', 'unpleasant' and 'unhappy' consequences in return, but we will be so disappointed, when reality, or the result of our action of not doing anything 'bad and wrong' doesn't turn out the way that we think it should be.

In the end, it is about non-identification as the doer of the action nor the enjoyer of the fruit of the action. It is about non-attachment towards all actions being performed through this body and mind (to act and not to act) and renounce the fruit of action, without expectation of anything in return.

If we want or expect something good in return, or we don't want any bad in return, and that desire motivates us to perform good actions, or demotivates us to perform bad actions (to act and not to act), even if there is something good and nothing bad in return, but we are not free from the bondage of karma, birth and death.

There's nothing wrong with to act and not to act.

But we accept all the consequences of all actions (to act and not to act), as they are.

It is for sure that there will be consequences derived from any actions, but all these consequences is not about good or bad. They are not something good or bad. The consequences are just being what they are.

There are many other elements that will affect the outcome or result of any actions. It is not just about if we believe it is something good, then it will bring something good in return according to what we believe what is 'good' and 'bad'.

Even if we have planted the same batch of seeds on a piece of land at one time, but still not all the seeds will grow at the same speed and in the same size and shape, nor will all plants bear fruits at the same time, nor the fruits from each plant will be ripen at the same time, nor all the fruits will look and taste the same. When we planted the same type of trees as our neighbours, we cannot expect the qualities of the trees that we planted on our piece of land will be exactly the same as our neighbour's trees planted on their piece of land, even though we got the seeds from the same source, and the trees are getting the same amount of sunshine, and same amount of water from the same source.

Just like in the same religion, or spiritual practice, or cultural background, there are still many people having different types of thinking and understanding, personality and behavior, actions and reactions, and different degrees of ignorance and attachment. We cannot judge anyone or anything based on a specific names and forms, or based on certain action and reaction.

Om shanti.

Friday, September 27, 2013

If we truly believe in God and love God, we will love all unconditionally...

If we truly believe in God existence, and God is almighty, then God doesn't need anyone to defend or protect God from any insults or damages, as there is nobody can insult God, or can cause any damages to God, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Unless God is like a human being, with an ego that is being defensive, and easily being offended, disturbed and getting angry towards the things that the ego doesn't like and doesn't agree with.

How can anyone insult God and cause damages to God, if God is almighty?

If there is no insults and damages can be done onto God as God is almighty, then there is nobody needs to be punished by God for 'generates' insult or damage, as there won't be one. Then who are we to judge and punish anyone in the name of God?

God doesn't need to be angry at anyone, nor hating anyone or being discriminating, if God is almighty and loves all unconditionally. Then why are we being so angry and hating some other beings, for we think God is being insulted or damaged by someone or something, while God is undisturbed, nor affected, nor hurt, nor contaminated by anyone or anything?

If we truly believe in God and love God, we will see God in everyone and everything. We will love all unconditionally. We won't be discriminating, nor being angry or hating anyone and anything.

If we think we believe in God wholeheartedly, and we love God very much, and out of intense love for God, we want to protect God from any insults or damages, we get angry with and hating some beings whom we think they are insulting God or are causing damages to God, and we want to punish these beings in the name of God, then very obvious that we don't really believe in God's almightiness, nor do we love God at all. As all these anger and hatred are coming from our own selfish egoism, and definitely it's not coming from God, who is almighty and all compassionate.

It we think God will be insulted and damaged by some actions or speech from some human beings, then we don't really believe in God's almightiness. If God will be easily insulted or damaged by someone or something, and has discrimination and loves with conditions, then why do we still want to rely or believe in this 'God' that can be easily insulted and damaged by someone or something?

Same as Dharma, or the Truth. It doesn't need anyone to defend, or protect it from any destruction or contamination, as Dharma, or the Truth can never be destroyed nor contaminated by anyone or anything, even if the world stops existing.

If we think Dharma can be easily destroyed or contaminated by someone or something, then why do we still want to rely or believe in this 'Dharma' that can be destroyed and contaminated easily?

Om shanti.

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.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Anything and anyone can teach us yoga, it doesn't necessarily have to be a person who called a 'yoga teacher'...

Yoga can be found in everywhere. It is not limited in yoga classes doing some yoga practice. It is in this present moment, if the mind is free from being conditioned by restlessness, impurities and suffering that derived from ignorance, egoism and attachment.

Everything and everyone is a Dharma teacher, exists to teach us and guide us towards liberation. Anything and anyone also can make us see, or realize the ignorance in ourselves, and allow us to contemplate upon the truth.

It doesn't necessarily have to be a human being, or a person who called a 'yoga teacher', who is teaching 'yoga' in 'yoga classes' that can or will teach and guide us towards liberation.

Peace and compassion is not in the yoga practice, but it is our true nature. It's always there, never increase nor decrease, no matter we realize our true nature or not. It is not contaminated by the good and bad qualities that one possessed through the body and mind. It is not contaminated by the actions and inactions done by this body and mind.

Yoga practice being practiced with correct attitude will help us to realize the truth, but by doing some yoga practice in yoga classes doesn't guarantee us peace and compassion. It might bring some visible physical and mental benefits to our body and mind. The body will be healthier, and the mind will feel calmer and happier. But these by-products are just part of the effects of the yoga practice that is conditioned by impermanence, as they arise in the body and mind that is subject to impermanence.

The attainment of good condition of the physical body and calmness of the mind through the yoga practice, is not the end of our yoga practice. Although there's nothing wrong with seeing this as the goal of our yoga practice.

It is going beyond the identification with the good and bad condition of the physical body, and all states of the mind, and realization of the truth via meditation with the calm and pure mind, and the elimination of ignorance and egoism that allows us to realize our true nature, the unconditional peace and compassion.

It is being free from attachment towards the limited thinking and beliefs in the egoistic mind that are conditioned by the likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, craving and aversion from the ego, and be free from being conditioned or determined by the impermanent condition and abilities of the physical body, that allows us to be free from being conditioned by dualities, qualities of names and forms, separateness and discrimination, dissatisfaction and disappointment, fear and worry, pride and arrogance, frustration and irritation, anger and hatred, and all sorts of anxieties, doubts, painful sorrows, restlessness and suffering.

Yoga practice has some elements of Hinduism, but it is not a religion practice. It is not some religious ideas and commandments that we have to abide to, or else we will be judged as 'bad' yogis or 'bad' beings, and will be punished, or will be condemned to 'hell'.

Yoga teachers are not here to convert anyone to believe in any religious beliefs, nor force anyone to be practicing yoga in certain ways that we think they should be practicing, nor trying to control or change other beings to behave the way that we think they should behave.

It is not that if we do not practice yoga correctly, or by stop practicing yoga will make us a 'bad' yogi, and we will be punished accordingly for not being a 'good' yogi.

It is up to us, whether to take up the practice seriously, or not. It is up to us, whether to let go of egoism and attachment, or not. It is up to us, whether to realize the truth to be free, or not.

There is no judgment, or comparison, or expectation, through out the journey, whether we are good 'yogis' or not.

No one can force, or control, or change another being to be practicing yoga accordingly to what it 'supposed' to be, or to make another one to be free from ignorance and egoism.

It is up to us, whether we want to be free from ignorance and egoism, or not.

It is our own free will and effort to practice, to purify our mind, to let go of attachment, to remove ignorance and egoism, to be free.

No one can remove or take away ignorance and egoism from anybody, but oneself.

No one can give liberation to anybody, but oneself.

If we are free from ignorance and egoism, we will be peaceful, and be free from suffering. We won't generate action and reaction that will hurt ourselves and others intentionally, if we are peaceful, being free from impurities and suffering.

If we are not free from ignorance and egoism, we will be affected and disturbed, influenced and determined by whatever the mind perceives through the senses, we are not at peace. Without self-control, we might generate action and reaction that will hurt ourselves and others, being over-powered by anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, fear and worry.

That's all.

This is real compassion. There's no judgment, comparison, expectation, discrimination, criticism, condemn, or punishment. We are able to allow everything and everyone to be what it is, and accept everything and everyone as it is, even though we cannot agree with them, or it is not how we like it to be.

If we think we are better human beings than those whom we think and judge as 'bad' and 'evil', or we think we are good and compassionate beings who care for the world very much, we are angry with those who are 'bad' and 'evil' for their 'bad' and 'evil' behaviors that inflict suffering onto other beings, we criticize them, and condemn them to be punished accordingly so that they will suffer physically and mentally as what we think they deserve, then we are not any different from them, nor are we 'good' and 'compassionate' beings.

If we think, somehow we have better understanding of everything than some other people, and we live life 'correctly' and 'healthily', we are being proud of ourselves for what we think we know and what we do and don't do, and we criticize others who are being different from us, we think they don't live life 'correctly' or 'healthily', and we try to change them to be like us, then we are not any different from those whom we think they are being 'ignorant' for not living life 'correctly' or 'healthily'.

We are the same, being influenced and over-powered by ignorance and egoism, even though we try to be good, do good and not doing anything bad, if we ever have any ill wills, or 'sense of superiority' towards any beings who is different from us, whom we disagree with, whom we think and judge as 'ignorant', 'bad' and 'evil'.

If we are not free from ignorance and egoism, that is already a great suffering in us. There is no need of any additional 'punishment' to be inflicted onto us physically or mentally to punish us, if we are not 'perfect', or not being a 'good' yogi, or 'good' human being.

The ultimate meaning of yoga is liberation, or freedom from separateness, dualities, qualities of names and forms, conditions and limitations. If yoga and its practice will be conditioned and limited by worldly thinking and beliefs, be limited by specific rules and regulations, then it is not yoga anymore.

Even though in yoga, we have this teaching about the four basic requisites for us to be qualified as a Sadhaka, which are:

1.) Viveka (discrimination of the real and unreal),
2.) Vairagya (dispassion),
3.) Mumukshutva (intense yearning for liberation), and
4.) Shat-sampad (the six virtues)
a.) Sama - tranquility of the mind
b.) Dama - self-restraint or control of the senses
c.) Uparati - cessation from worldly activities
d,) Titiksha - forbearance or the power of endurance
e.) Sraddha - faith in God or the universal consciousness, Scripture and Self
f.) Samadhana - concentration or one-pointedness of mind,


but all these requisites have nothing to do with the physical conditions and abilities to perform the yoga asana exercises, or how much Sanskrit we know, or how many yoga courses we have attended, or how many 'recognized certifications' we have attained, or whether we can stand on our head, and balance on our hands and feet perfectly, or whether we are Hindus, or not.

If we ever hear this, "To be a good 'yogi' or 'yoga teacher', one needs to participate in some sort of yoga courses for how many hours, able to be strong and flexible enough to do some yoga asana with the perfect 'correct' alignment, able to do headstand or hand and leg balancing pose perfectly, able to chant a few chantings and prayers with perfect pronunciation, and attain some sort of qualifications and certifications that are recognized by such and such international yoga alliance, and we need to have certain 'professional' yogi image, behavior and appearance, and so on..." then take it as a good opportunity for us to reflect, and to find out what is the truth.

When we hear this, "You look like a yogi." or "You don't look like a yogi." or "As a yogi, you should look like a yogi." We allow other people to think and to believe in their own way, to act and react towards what they perceive, but we know that yoga is beyond all the qualities of names and forms.

There might be some people react strongly when they read this. Again, take it as an opportunity to reflect and find out who is reacting, and why?

Om shanti.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Yoga Teachers who teach yoga? Or, Yoga Instructors or Fitness Instructors who teach different types of yoga asana exercise classes?

There are lots of 'yoga classes', or more precisely, 'yoga asana exercise classes' everywhere nowadays.

It's very good, as yoga asana exercises are really good for everyone physically, mentally and emotionally.

Although not many yoga classes are being taught in accordance with the traditional lineage of what yoga practice really is about, which is to attain Self-realization, it really doesn't matter.

Even if majority people are practicing yoga asana exercises regularly to gain some benefits physically, mentally and emotionally (being disinterested in the spiritual part of the yoga practice), it is still a very good pastime wholesome activity for anyone to be participating in. As during those hours of yoga asana exercises, at least we are not participating in any unwholesome activities.

There is no need to compare between yoga teachers who teach yoga to other people, or yoga instructors or fitness instructors who teach yoga asana exercises to other people, as these are two complete different things.

Real yoga teachers don't really need to be teaching yoga asana exercises to other people, in order to teach yoga to anybody. As peace and compassion is nothing to do with how many yoga asana exercises that we can do, or how good we can perform the yoga asana exercises, or whether we know about anatomy and physiology or not.

Yoga practice is about non-attachment and detachment (letting go of attachment if there is attachment). It is about letting go of the ego, craving and aversion. It is about non-identification with the things that we are not, such like the body and mind. It is about unaffected, undisturbed, uninfluenced, undetermined by whatever the mind perceives through the senses. It is about being aware of reality as it is, and accept the reality in the present moment now as it is. And allow impermanent changes to happen as it is, and accept all the changes as they are from moment to moment, without craving for something that we like which is not here, without clinging onto something that we like in the present moment, without aversion towards something that we don't like in this present moment. All these are nothing to do with the physical condition and abilities to perform the yoga asana exercises, even though yoga asana exercises can help us to purify and calm the mind, to prepare the mind for meditation.

There is no need to criticize yoga asana exercise teachers, or fitness instructors for not able, or not interested to teach the spiritual side of yoga, as even just by guiding people to be doing some yoga asana exercises everyday to many people who are only interested in gaining a better quality of life through doing some yoga asana exercises, is already a great thing to do. The teachers or the instructors themselves are benefited greatly from giving the yoga asana exercise classes, as themselves need to be doing their own yoga asana practice quite regularly, so that they are able to up keep their skills and abilities in performing the yoga asana exercises, in order to lead other people to be doing the similar yoga asana exercises.

Eventually, as we practice yoga asana exercises regularly, naturally the body and mind is being purified to a certain degree that will allow certain shifts in our consciousness unintentionally, even though in the beginning, we have no interests at all about spirituality, purification and self-transformation. That will bring us to start to be interested to know more about the deeper meaning of yoga and its practice.

Real yoga teachers don't need to call or identify themselves as 'yoga teachers'. They don't need to be qualified, or certified, or recognized by such and such 'international yoga alliance'. They don't need to go through any yoga teachers training courses to study yoga philosophy, to learn to do some yoga asana exercises, to learn about anatomy and physiology, to learn some chantings and prayers, to learn how to do some karma yoga, and to pass any theory and practical examinations, to attain one or many 'certification' to be graduated as 'yoga teacher'. They don't even need to be performing any so called 'yoga practice', as they are already free from ignorance, egoism and attachment. They are free from impurities, restlessness, or suffering. They are free from craving and aversion. They realized their true nature which is unconditional love and peace, all wise and compassionate. They are at peace as what they really are.

These nameless and formless beings are sharing this unconditional love and peace with other beings who come in contact with them that need some ignition or guidance to realize their own true nature, to be free from ignorance and egoism, without intention, without attachment, unconditioned and unlimited by time, space and causation. Their natural action of sharing the knowledge of yoga is beyond names and forms. This compassionate action of sharing the knowledge of yoga with other beings without intention nor attachment, is not different from being actionless, actions that are not bound by cause and effect, that won't generate good or bad karma, and is free from birth and death.

Any beings, any things, any happenings that are good or not good, agreeable or disagreeable to us are our yoga teachers, when it allows us to see the ignorance and egoism in us, to allow us to reflect upon the truth.

So, whether Yoga Teachers who teach yoga, or, Yoga Instructors or Fitness Instructors who teach yoga asana exercises, are all good.

If we ever feel disappointed in those who we think they are 'yoga teachers' but they are not as perfect as what we think they should be, know that that disappointment is coming from our own expectation, expecting 'yoga teachers' should be perfect like 'God', as there are not many 'yoga teachers' are perfect and are free. There are many people are just 'yoga instructors' or 'fitness instructors' who teach yoga asana exercises only.

Most important, there is nothing wrong for being imperfect, or is not free yet. Everyone is being there for each other, helping and supporting each other to move towards Self-realization, that's all.

Only those who haven't realized the truth yet, will be seeing all the different qualities of names and forms in others, and seeing the defects or imperfections in beings who are not free yet, and generate agreements and disagreements, and have frustration, disappointment, or dissatisfaction in themselves, constantly being affected and disturbed by other people's actions and inactions, or generate aversion and discrimination towards others whom they disagree with.

Those who know the truth, only see the one true nature in all beings which is unconditioned, unlimited, undetermined and uncontaminated by the different qualities of names and forms possessed by each individual, nor be affected by their actions and inactions. And this allows them (who know the truth and are free) to be completely compassionate towards all beings without discrimination of good and bad beings.

Om shanti.

Monday, September 16, 2013

What do we want for ourselves and this life existence?

When we are asleep, the mind is busy with dreaming, unless it goes into deep sleep. When we are awake, the mind is always so busy with thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, eating, playing, fulfilling desires, projection, imagination, anticipation, planning, creating ideas, generating agreements and disagreements towards what it comes in contact with, generating craving and aversion towards what it likes and dislikes, looking forward for social inputs, interactions, communications and expression, to know, to share, to be doing something all the time. It needs to get attention from the outside world, to acknowledge its existence and contribution in the world. Being restless all the time. Or else it gets bored, feels lonely and meaningless.

That's why some people are spending lots of time in everyday life on yoga and meditation practice in solitude to calm down and quiet the mind, moving the mind away from worldly desires and activities, free the mind from restlessness, to render it one-pointed and stilled, to contemplate upon the truth. Using this body and mind to perform the greatest selfless service to the universe, which is our own liberation. If we are not free, how can we help other beings to be free, or expect the world to be free form suffering?

This is a natural activity to those who are disgusted with the restlessness of the mind, and sincerely want to be free from this conditional and limited worldly life existence of qualities of names and forms, be free from the offensive and defensive egoism, be free from limitless selfish desires and dissatisfaction, be free from suffering that arise from ignorance and impurities, egoism and attachment, cause and effect, birth and death.

When ourselves has attained liberation, realize the unconditional love and peace beyond the body and the mind, we may or may not, perform actions out of compassion and wisdom, to serve other beings, to help other beings to be free as well, without attachment nor obligation.

Without peace, wisdom or compassion, without non-attachment and non-expectation, we cannot fully help the world efficiently, even if we have great intention to make the world a better place, as we will be affected, disturbed, influenced and determined by other people's actions and reactions, our own actions and reactions, and the result of our actions. We are contributing negativities into the world while trying to keep the world away from negativities that we don't like and don't agree with.

We want to be free to have our own choice, thinking, beliefs, and goals of life. We also need to allow other beings to have freedom of choice, thinking, beliefs, and having different goals of life. It is so contradicting when we want to have the freedom to be what we want to be, do what we want to do, but we try to control and change other beings who are different from us, whom we dislike and disagree with, expecting other beings to be the way that we think they should be, or the way that we like and agree with.

Those who love being restless, who like to enjoy worldly activities, who are passionate towards worldly affairs and objects, shall continue spending most of the time in everyday life being busy chasing after worldly objects of names and forms, to try to satisfy the limitless desires, or with great ambition to contribute to the world with some positive policies, creative ideas and talents, try to change the world to be the way that we like it to be, to make this life existence as meaningful as possible, as successful as possible.

There's nothing wrong with 'enjoying' this life existence as much as possible before the function of this body and mind comes to an end. Be happy with ourselves, who we think we are, and what we want for ourselves. But with self-control that we do not generate harmful effects onto other beings while fulfilling our desires.

Most important, is knowing what we really want with this impermanent worldly life existence through the conditional and limited function of this body and this mind that is not in our control at all, totally depending on energy and elements to be functioning and existing.

No matter what we want for ourselves, we accept the consequences of all the choices and actions being performed through this body and mind. We accept reality as it is after doing our best for ourselves and for others.

Om shanti.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

How the mind reacts based on what the mind believes what things are...

If we think we are good and righteous people that we can judge another person's behavior as right or wrong based on what our mind believes what things are, and we think and believe that 'bad' people should be punished as what they deserved, and seeing 'bad' people being punished by somebody else, or by ourselves, will make us feel so good or better, then this is not in accordance with the teachings of Yoga or Buddhism about non-violence, wisdom and compassion anymore. As it will make us not any different from those whom we think that they are ignorance, and cause suffering onto us, or other people out of ignorance.

The mind reacts based on what the mind believes what things are, but it is not necessarily the truth of what things really are.

The story below is to explain sometimes what we see, or perceive, and understand, and react in accordance to what our mind believes what things are, or how we should be reacting, is not necessarily the truth of what things really are. And no matter what, we shouldn't react with violence to fight against violence, no matter how much we 'disagree' or 'angry' with other people's violent behavior that we think and believe as 'wrong' and 'bad'. As that makes us not any different from those whom we think and judge as wrong and bad.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

A and B was fighting. B got knocked out in the fight.

C, who happened to know B, saw this, and 'understood' that A had hurt his friend, B.

C reacted by getting 'angry' with A, and wanted to get revenge for B, and attacked A physically. A was hurt by C.

H, a foreigner who didn't know A, B or C, came in trying to stop C from hurting A, as he thought C shouldn't hurt A, but it turned into a fight with C, as C thought that H was one of A's affiliates, since H was trying to 'help' and 'rescue' A.

By then, another passer-by, D, who didn't know what had happened, came and saw that A and B were injured on the ground, and it 'looked like' H was hurting C, and maybe A and B as well. D reacted out of righteousness, and wanted to stop H for his 'wrong' behavior, and attacked H physically.

E, F and G came along right after D. What they saw and 'understood' was that H seemed like the 'bad' person and was hurting so many people, while they believed that D was the righteous brave man who fought the 'bad' guy to stand up for the other 'victims'. They were cheering when they saw H was being punished and hurt by D, as they think H should be punished for his 'wrong' behavior, and they also joined in to beat up H as well.

Here was what had happened in the beginning before A and B started fighting each other.

B started to attack A physically out of an argument. A fought back out of self-protection, and unintentionally B was hurt physically. H happened to be there and witnessed what was happening.

Then C showed up when B was injured by A out of self-protection, not knowing what happened before that, and reacted immediately in anger to beat up A.

E, F and G were locals who have prejudice and discrimination towards foreigners like H. They think and believe that all these foreigners are 'bad' people who commit crimes in their country.

H, a foreigner who couldn't explain what had happened in the locals language, came forward trying to stop C from hurting A, whom H thought was the 'victim' of the whole scenario, and got into the fight with C, until D came along with E, F and G who were being righteous, thought that H was the 'bad' guy hurting so many people, and joined together to attack H.

The teaching in this story is -

Do not react out of anger or righteousness recklessly before knowing the whole truth, nor react out of the conditioned prejudice discrimination coming from our mind towards other people, as what our mind perceives, thinks and believes are not necessarily what things really are. We must be free from violent thinking, action and speech, in order to help other beings to be free from committing violence, as violence cannot resolved by violence, but will generate more violent reactions or consequences. How can we expect the world to be free from violence when ourselves react violently towards violence?

When our behavior is causing suffering onto other beings, it is because of ignorance. Nobody can remove ignorance from another being. We cannot change or control other beings to be free from ignorance. It has to come from each individual's own realization, and remove ignorance from oneself. We cannot change the world to be free from ignorance, but each being has to free oneself from ignorance, then the world will be changing naturally.

When we are free from ignorance, we are being compassionate towards all beings including ourselves. As we won't hurt ourselves anymore, and won't be hurting other beings out of ignorance.

Ourselves is free from being conditioned by ignorance, and other beings also will be free from being affected or disturbed by the ignorant behavior from us if we are conditioned by ignorance.

Om shanti.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Home cooked vegetarian food recipe - Stir-fried Enoki Mushroom

This is one of the vegetarian recipes that sometimes we prepare for our yoga retreat guests here in Langkawi.

Stir-fried Enoki Mushrooms (serves 2-3 people)

4 packs of Enoki mushrooms, remove the roots, washed, drained and separated

3 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1 cube inch ginger, chopped finely

1 small green chilly, chopped

A bit of cooking oil

Sesame oil

Salt and black pepper

x x x x x x x x x x x x

Heat up cooking oil in medium heat. Add garlic, ginger and green chilly. Stir gently until fragrant or lightly browned.

Add Enoki mushrooms, stir well. There will be liquid coming out from the mushrooms. Add salt and black pepper to taste, and sesame oil. Turn the heat up to high. Stir well for about 2 minutes, until the liquid thickened.

Serve hot with rice, or just as a snack.

Bon Appétit!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Want to attain peace through yoga and meditation practice?

If we want to have peace, it is not necessarily that we have to be attending some sort of yoga classes or yoga courses, or to learn yoga from some 'yoga teachers' or 'Gurus'.

There are people who do not attend yoga classes or yoga courses, and never have a yoga teacher or Guru, but it won't stop them from realizing the truth, realizing unconditional love and peace, and be free.

Peace is not only be found within certain types of spiritual practice, nor does it limited by time, space and causation. It is not attained from the outside through somebody's else effort to give us peace.

Peace is always here within us. Wherever we are, whatever we do, peace has never left us.

Even Buddha, the enlightened one, couldn't give enlightenment to anybody, or remove ignorance or suffering from anyone, or to give peace to anyone.

Buddha attained liberation, through his own effort and contemplation upon the truth, out of great will power, determination, and perseverance.

It is not necessarily that we need a teacher to be there to show us how to bring our mind to be in the present moment, or to be aware of what is going on in our mind.

We are our own teacher, when we are able to be aware of our own mind activities just by restricting the mind from its usual inputs and outputs for a period of time. We will start to understand and be aware of how our mind works, or functions. We can develop self-awareness and mindfulness through our own experience in our everyday life even without any teachers to teach us anything about reflection or contemplation.

Even if a teacher is in front of us, being very close to us, but the teacher cannot eliminate our ego for us. The teacher cannot purify our mind for us. The teacher cannot stop our mind from generating attachment, craving, clinging, and aversion.

Everything and everyone that we come in contact with, and every experience that we go through in life, is our natural Dharma teachers, whether all these different names and forms are something agreeable or disagreeable, pleasant or unpleasant, happy or unhappy, as we wish or not as we wish. They are here to ignite us to develop self-awareness and mindfulness, to reflect upon the truth.

Be our own teacher.

Without self-discipline or self-control, it is useless even if we have many teachers being here to guide and show us about many types of practices that can be helpful to us to conquer our own mind.

It isn't necessarily that we have to be doing some yoga poses to be free.

It isn't necessarily that we have to be performing some forms of ritual ceremonies to be free.

It isn't necessarily that we have to know all the Sanskrit names and words to be free.

It isn't necessarily that we have to know about anatomy and physiology to be free.

It isn't necessarily that we have to be physically healthy, strong and flexible to be free.

And so on.

Being a person with such and such 'educational backgrounds', 'social status', 'beliefs', 'cultures', 'qualities', 'personalities', 'experiences', 'qualifications', 'names and forms', do not guarantee us liberation from ignorance and egoism.

Being able to debate about worldly or spiritual matters also doesn't guarantee us peace and compassion.

It is all happening in our own mind, observing all the mind perception of names and forms, without generate attachment towards whatever the mind perceives through the senses, without generate reactions of craving and aversion. Being aware of reality as it is, without trying to control or change the reality that we don't like or don't want to be something that we like or want it to be.

Constantly inquire about 'Who am I?', or who is this one whom we identify as 'I', who we think is the doer of actions, and the enjoyer of the fruit of actions?

If we realize and see 'God' or the universal consciousness in everything, love and peace is beyond all the names and forms, unconditioned or uncontaminated by any good and bad qualities of names and forms. We will respect all beings as they are without discrimination, not necessarily that we are agreeing with everyone's thinking and behavior.

No matter how many yoga classes or discourses we have attended in the past, or how many yoga books we have read, or how many times we have heard about the teachings of yoga and vedanta, or how many 'yoga teachers' or 'Gurus' we have, it all comes back to our own faith, determination, perseverance, will power, forbearance, patience, self-discipline, self-control, non-attachment, non-identification, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, letting go of the ego, desires, craving and aversion, to purify the mind, to stop stimulating the mind, to render the mind calm and pure, to be free from egoism, ignorance, attachment, restlessness and impurities, to contemplate upon the truth, to realize the truth by ourselves, and be free.

As we can accumulate and memorize all the knowledge or information that we gathered from reading and hearing, but it won't free us from egoism and attachment. We will have doubts, as all these knowledge is not coming from our own self-realization. We will have pride and arrogance, if we attached to the knowledge that we have gathered through reading and hearing.

Until we realize the truth by ourselves, we will still be affected, disturbed, influenced and determined by all the qualities of names and forms due to ignorance and egoism, wrong identification and attachment towards the body and the mind, and being over-powered by impurities, such like anger and hatred, dissatisfaction and disappointment, pride and arrogance, fear and worry.

No body can purify our mind for us, or can take away fear and worry in us, or can give us unconditional peace and love, or can remove egoism and ignorance in us to realize the truth. We need to purify our mind to remove ignorance, to let go of egoism and attachment, and realize the truth which is already there in us, through our own effort and persistent practice, and be truly free.

Sufficient amount of solitude, silence, renunciation from worldly activities, such like, giving up newspaper or magazine reading, novel reading, movies watching, partying, mingling, publicity, arguing, criticism, slandering, vain talk, telling lies, gossiping, backbiting, boasting, avoid too much eating, fasting, sleeping, awaking, idling, moving, walking, talking, or heavy physical activities, are all important practice for render the mind calm and clear, which is nothing to do with attending yoga and meditation classes or courses from a teacher.

This is not being shallow-minded or closed-minded, as this is a common basic teaching from many different saints and sages who have walked the path before us.

We think we are so great and smart. We think that we are now living in a modern world, and all these old-fashioned practice are no longer suitable to be practiced in modern life society, and we criticize all these traditional teachings as outdated and useless. We (the egoistic mind) love the world so much. We care about what is going on in the world and we want to be the world saver. We want to demolish all the bad people, stupid people, bad things, corruption, injustice, violence, and all other evil doings. Well, if we think we are so right and so good, then be happy with the 'modern' lifestyle and 'modernized' spiritual practice, and what we believe is the best to 'save' the world from getting worst.

As all the saints and sages in the past never insisted on trying to persuade, or to convert anyone to be like them. It is everyone's freedom to do what they want to do, live how they want to live their life, believe in what they want to believe, and be what they want to be.

Om shanti.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Teaching yoga?

Teaching yoga really is not just about leading a group of people doing some yogic cleansing practice, breathing exercises, concentration exercises, chantings, meditation practice, yoga exercises and yoga poses, and teach about the essence of the teachings of yoga. But all these actions are being performed without the ego, identification, attachment, personal likes and dislikes, and with great compassion coming from realization of unconditional love from within.

As there are many people interested in learning and practicing yoga from all over the world, but not many are interested in letting go of the ego and worldly attachment. Many people who are interested in joining yoga classes are only interested in attaining some sort of pleasurable sensations and good feelings to satisfy the craving and aversion of the ego.

There’s nothing wrong with people only interested in performing the yoga (asana) practice to attain physical good health and fitness, and good feelings, to enjoy a better quality of life. But there will be strong resistance coming from the ego towards the unpleasant experience of the purification and the process of depriving the ego when come to serious yoga and meditation practice.

Even some people who came with great expectation hoping that yoga and meditation will "get rid of" or "solve" all their personal "problems", they are reluctant/unwilling to let go of the ego, to go beyond the body and the mind, to remove the root cause of all "problems". This resistance is coming from the ego. They expect just by doing the yoga (asana) practice an hour a day for a few times a week, can make all their "problems" disappear. But after many years attending daily yoga (asana) classes regularly, they are still troubled by "world problems", "life problems", "financial problems", "relationship problems", "health problems", "unhappiness", "disappointment", "dissatisfaction", "fear", "worry", "anger", "hatred", "pride", "arrogance", "doubts", and etc…

By allowing everyone to take their time to work on eliminating the ego, through their own freewill and self-discipline, without judgment, comparison and expectation, but at the same time, the yoga teachers have to propagate the essential teachings of yoga, without swaying away from the fundamental teachings of yoga (the annihilation of the egoism and ignorance), is also allowing the yoga teachers themselves to realize unconditional love, compassion and wisdom.

There’s no attachment towards success and failure, praise and criticism in the action of "teaching yoga". There’s no looking forward for some sort of satisfaction, achievement, good feelings, acknowledgment, praise and compliments, self-confidence, self-image, and so on, where all these are actually empowering the egoism, instead of eliminating the egoism.

Om shanti.

Are we really practicing yoga?

We are not really practicing yoga, if we are being conditioned by what our mind believes what things are.

Anything that we believe and think is 'not good' or 'not perfect' is conditioned by subjective 'standards' coming from our own perception and recognition about what things are, but it is not coming from the objects themselves.

In different cultural beliefs, being "fat" can be 'not good' for some people, but can be 'very good' for some other people. What we think is 'not perfect' can be 'perfectly as it is' for some other people.

Things that might seem like "big problems" for us, might be "no problems at all" for some other people.

It is up to us, how we want to conditioned our mind, or free our mind from conditions.

We either limit ourselves by generate a lot of "standards" and "qualities" for ourselves to live up to, or limit ourselves by allowing other people's "standards" and "qualities" to determine us.

We also apply our own type of "qualities" and "standards" onto everyone and everything, expecting everyone and everything should also comply to these "qualities" and "standards", and be judged by these "qualities" and "standards". We categorize everyone and everything into categories according to our own "standards" of what is 'good' and 'not good'.

The point is, we are free, until the moment we start to apply 'beliefs', 'ideas', 'standards', and 'qualities' onto ourselves and towards other people and everything. Expect ourselves, other people and things have to be like this or like that. Making ourselves not free, and disturbing other people as well.


Just by doing some yoga asana exercises and poses, or pranayama, or studying, discussing, talking, reading and hearing the philosophy of yoga, or chanting and praying in Sanskrit everyday, but without practicing the true meanings of non-dualism in everyday life, constantly being disturbed, affected and determined by the good and bad qualities of names and forms, and generate craving and aversion towards what we like and dislike, agree and disagree with, being influenced by discrimination, anger, hatred, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear and worry, not knowing the practice of non-attachment and non-identification, then it is like performing lots of actions improving the function of the mind, the body, the hands, the feet, and the sense organs, having a good condition 'vehicle' with full tank of fuel, but we forgot to learn how to 'drive' this good condition 'vehicle' towards Freedom or Moksha.

Om shanti.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Intimidated by other people's physical conditions and abilities in yoga (asana) practice?

If we have been putting in the same amount of time, discipline and effort into our daily yoga (asana) practice, just like those who have been spending lots of time, discipline and effort to keep the body and mind busy engaging in regular yoga (asana) practice, whether for spiritual growth, or for health and fitness reason, or for both;
we won't have the free space in the mind, nor have the free time to be busy looking at other people's 'performance' or result of a persistent and regular practice, and feel either envy, or intimidated by other people's physical conditions and abilities, and spiritual improvement.

Although yoga, or unconditional love and peace is nothing to do with the levels of physical conditions and abilities, but naturally, there will be certain amount of improvement in physical conditions and abilities, as an 'unavoidable' side effect coming from regular yoga (asana) practice, whether we are aiming at it or not, or whether we like it or not.

We do not intent nor expect to gain any physical fitness, strength and flexibility while performing the yoga (asana) practice, as that is not the objective or goal of performing yoga (asana) practice, and our basic yoga practice is non-identification with the impermanent conditional physical body and the thinking mind. But the physical and mental effect coming from the regular yoga (asana) practice is still there.

The body will gain certain degrees of fitness, strength and flexibility, and the mind will gain certain degrees of calmness and peace. But that is not the end of our yoga practice. We need to use that physical condition and state of mind that is conducive for meditation, to contemplate upon the truth, to go beyond the body and mind, to remove ignorance, to be free from being conditioned by egoism, duality, qualities of names and forms.

We will never feel intimidated by anyone or anything, if we truly practice yoga and meditation.

Om shanti.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dispassion?

Dispassion is gradually developed as we sincerely perform Yoga Sadhana with the correct understanding and attitude. It is a natural renunciation, or disinterest in worldly objects, activities, and sensual enjoyments. As the mind is less and less running out to chase after names and forms.

Real dispassion comes from realizing the truth of worldly things, or objects, or activities, or sensual enjoyments (all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses), and stop chasing after all these impermanent names and forms.

There is no craving or clinging towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives or recognizes as pleasant, or good, or positive, or happiness.

There is no aversion towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives or recognizes as unpleasant, or bad, or negative, or suffering.

The mean of Yoga Sadhana is to be conserving and directing the energy or attention into performing yoga and meditation practice, or engaging the body and mind in performing Yoga Sadhana, to purify the mind, to remove ignorance, impurities and egoism, to transcend the conditioned and limited thinking egoistic restless mind, to be free.

This is not about run away from our duties and responsibilities, or throw away all our relationships and belongings, and think that we are practicing non-attachment, or detachment, or dispassion, as this doesn’t give us liberation either if the mind is not free from ignorance, impurities and egoism.

It is living in the world, as we are, performing all our duties and responsibilities towards ourselves and others (whether we know or don’t know, without discrimination, or preferences, or priority), without being affected, nor disturbed, nor influenced, nor determined by all these worldly objects, relationships, duties and responsibilities, and renounce the fruit of all our actions.

All our actions including spiritual practice, is being performed without attachment, without expectation. There is no selfish desires, or intentions, or ambitions about ‘I’ want to do this and that, or ‘I’ want to get this and that, or ‘I’ want to be this or that. There is no success and failure, gain and loss, good and bad, happiness and unhappiness in the actions and objects, if we truly know what is dispassion.

This is not feelingless, or emotionless, or being ‘cold’. This is in fact great compassion towards all beings including ourselves, being undetermined or uninfluenced by the impermanent qualities of names and forms, being free from ignorance, impurities and egoism.

If we think and desire, ‘I’ want to be good, and ‘I’ do many good actions, and ‘I’ expect something good in return, and ‘I’ expect ‘I’ to be acknowledged or recognized by the world as a good person, then this is not what yoga is about.

If we think and desire, ‘I’ don’t want to be bad, and ‘I’ don’t do bad actions, and ‘I’ expect nothing bad in return, and ‘I’ expect ‘I’ not to be acknowledged or recognized by the world as a bad person, then this is also not what yoga is about.

If we think and desire, ‘I’ want to be compassionate, and ‘I’ perform many compassionate actions, and ‘I’ expect the world to be benefited by my compassionate actions, and ‘I’ expect ‘I’ to be acknowledged or recognized by the world as a compassionate person, then this is not what compassion is about.

If we think and feel, ‘I’ am a good and righteous being, ‘I’ love and care for the world, ‘I’ am a better person than those whom ‘I’ think they don’t love nor care for the world, ‘I’ am angry and hating those whom ‘I’ think they don’t do anything to make the world a better place, ‘I’ am angry and hating the people that make the world a suffering place, ‘I’ will be happy and at peace when all the bad people and bad happenings that ‘I’ don’t like and don’t agree with disappear from the world, then this is not what yoga is about.

Observe all these thinking and feelings. They are not caused by what is happening out there in the world. They arise in the mind, as soon as the ego reacts towards all the perception of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches, and thinks based on what the ego likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with. When the ego is eliminated, there won’t be such reactions in the mind. It is not the world that troubles us, it is the ego.

Just by reading or hearing all these teachings won’t liberate us from ignorance and egoism. We need to divert the mind from all sorts of worldly distractions, to be performing Yoga Sadhana to purify the mind. It’s not selfishness to divert our energy and attention to concentrate on performing Yoga Sadhana. This is indeed a noble action, to take care of our minds first, before we can truly take care of other beings. We need to be free egoism and ignorance and suffering, being undetermined by the worldly objects of names and forms, before we can help other beings to be free as well.

Meditate, go beyond the ‘I’, and all that comes from this ‘I’.

Realize unconditional peace of who we really are, then we can truly benefit the world just by being who we really are, being at peace.

The satisfaction and happy and good feelings coming from being able to do what we want to do, go where we want to go, achieve what we want to achieve in the world, is conditional, limited, and impermanent. It is not the ultimate unconditional peace coming from the practice of dispassion and discrimination towards all the worldly names and forms, including this body and this mind. Undetermined by all these impermanent names and forms to be identifying as ‘who we are’.

Once we realize this, it doesn’t matter if we are performing some actions or not in the world, there is no difference. There is no selfish intentions, desires nor expectation to motivate or demotivate us to perform actions or not. There is no criticism towards those who are not free yet, who are over-powered by ignorance, impurities and egoism. There is no criticism towards those who seem like ‘not doing’ anything for the world, or ‘not caring’ for the world.

When the mind is silent, the world ceases to exist. What is good and bad? What is happiness and suffering? What is positive and negative? What is right and wrong?

The one who is dispassionate, not allowing the mind to go out chasing after worldly objects, who is restricting and controlling his/her mind to sit still in the chamber of his/her heart, who has conquered his/her mind, who’s mind is free from worldly desires, is going to benefit the world a lot. With the unwavering, desireless pure mind, he/she can live in the world, being undistracted by worldly objects and affairs, and ‘performs’ selfless actions to serve the world/universe.

There’s no difference between action and inaction, when one knows what is dispassion.

Those who are passionate towards the world, and those who are compassionate towards the world, are both performing some actions in the world, but the difference is;

The love towards the world that motivate or demotivate us to perform certain actions, but will result in anger, hatred, discrimination, dissatisfaction and disappointment in us when things don’t happen the way that we think it should be, is passionate love that binds us to suffering.

The love towards the world (whether performing some actions or not) that won’t result in anger, hatred, discrimination, dissatisfaction and disappointment in us when things don’t happen the way that we think it should be, is compassionate love that doesn’t bind us to suffering.

Om shanti.

Yoga Sadhana - Poems on mind-conquest by Swami Sivananda

Shave the mind - Swami Sivananda

This is real shaving for saints, Sadhus and Swamis.

This makes the man perfectly clean and clear.

This constitutes real Tyaga or Sannyasa,
Shave the mind with the crop-razor, discrimination;
Shave the mind with safety razor, of Vichara;
Shave the mind with the Gillette blade of meditation.

Use the strap of dispassion for sharpening the razor,
Use the oil of Satsang for sharpening it in the whetstone.

Shaving the Vasanas is only partial face shaving.

Shaving Raga-Dvesha is also partial shaving.

Shaving the egoism entirely is full shaving.

Dattatreya and Mansoor shaved their minds well.

Ramdas and Kabir shaved only their minds.

Shaving the head is indeed nothing, nothing.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Mental Pose - Swami Sivananda

Mental pose is mor eimportant than the physical pose;
It is more difficult than the practice of Asanas.

Keep the mind also steady and fixed it on the Lakshya.

Keep it in a balanced state.

Let is not sink down or jump with emotion.

Be always serene, tranquil and calm.

Fill it with joy, cheerfulness and zeal.

Curb the thoughts, desires and cravings.

Annihilate likes and dislikes and building castles in the air.

When the mind is more steady and poised,
The physical pose also will be perfect and steady.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Slay the mind - Swami Sivananda

How can I rely on this world!

It has no real existence,
The body is like froth or a bubble.

Everything is perishable;
Kings, poets, scientists,
Have been reduced to dust.

This world is but a long dream.

Days and nights are passing away;
The senses and mind are deceiving.

I have detected the dacoit.

That dacoit is the mind;
It cannot deceive me now.

I have slain the mind
With the sword of discrimination.

I have bound out the Atmic Pearl;
I enjoy the bliss of eternal;
Sivoham, Sivoham, Sivoham.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

The mind-river - Swami Sivananda

Mind-river flows steadily
In two directions.

It runs along the plane of discrimination;
Now the desires are thinned out;
The aspirant attains desirelessness.

He reaches the goal of Moksha.
He attains immortality and freedom.

It also runs along the plane of objects;
Now desires are intensified;
The mind falls into the abyss of ignorance
And perishes.

O man! allow the mind-river
To run towards the ocean of eternal bliss,
Through the practice of dispassion, discrimination and meditation.

And be happy forever.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Sadhana for mind control - Swami Sivananda

If you give up reading newspapers,
If you abandon playing cards,
If you reduce your time spent
In playing tennis, football and billiards,
You will have ample time to do Sadhana.

Mind is very treacherous;
If you think, when the alarm rings at 4 a.m.,
I will get up after 10 minutes,
You will never get up.
You will sleep till 8 a.m.

If you begin to take a few raisins
When you fast on Ekadasi,
The determination will slacken;
You will try to take some plantains, milk,
Then, two laddus, half a seer of milk, etc.

Therefore be firm in your determination.

Come what may, stick to your resolve.

Be adamant; do not give a long rope to the mind;
Cut all temptations in one stroke.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Freedom?


Most people want to be free. We are born with the basic instinct to be free. There’s always a strong desire towards freedom. If someone is not looking for freedom, it is most probably because they are already free, they don’t need to be free from anything.

In the world, many people want to have freedom of living, expression, thinking, action and speech, freedom to think what they want to think, say what they want to say, behave the way they want to behave, do what they want to do, and go where they want to go, without being limited by restrictions, conditions, rules and regulations, freedom to be what they want to be, freedom to get all the things that they want to get, freedom of choice, freedom of belief, freedom of religion, freedom of education, freedom of arts and cultures, freedom of relationships, freedom of marriage, freedom of lifestyle, freedom of sexual orientation, freedom of opinions and points of view, freedom from crime, violence, injustice, racism, discrimination, prejudice, riot, war, killing, conflict, and corruption, freedom from hell, punishment and imprisonment, freedom from natural disasters, freedom from fear and worry, freedom from unhappiness, sadness, madness, injury, hurt, disappointment, illness, hunger, thirst, weakness, immobility, old age, separation from the people and things that we love, being with the people and things that we don’t like, and mortality. And there are many more that we can think of. It can be anything that makes us think that we are not free, and we want to be free from that which make us not free.

In Yoga and Buddhism absolute freedom or ultimate liberation has very little to do with all these worldly thinking about what freedom is.

The point is, our true nature is always free. There is no need to look for freedom to be free.

What make us think, feel and believe that we are not free is ignorance, being ignorant about the truth of who we really are.

We think and feel that we are not free because we identify with the body and mind as ‘I’, which is conditioned by qualities of names and forms that are subject to impermanence. There is no real and permanent satisfaction that we can attain through this ‘I’.

If we truly know what is freedom, and respect the meanings of freedom, the desire to be free from all the above ‘what we think that which make us not free’ will vanish, as we are free.

We allow and respect everything and everyone to be what they are, as they are, without trying to control things or beings to be what we want them to be, or what we think they should be.

The perception of ‘not being free’ and the desire to be ‘free’, comes from the mind being ignorant about the truth. Egoism is the side product of ignorance. Attachment, craving and aversion, are the side products of egoism. Fear and worry, anger and hatred, and all the other impurities that we perceive as ‘suffering’ are the side products of attachment, craving and aversion.

In Yoga and Buddhism, if we want to be free, we go to the root cause of ‘what makes us not free’ and remove that root cause. We only need to bring the mind to be free from ignorance and egoism, to realize the truth, then all the other impurities that arise due to ignorance and egoism, will vanish.

There is no need to be free from anything that our impure mind used to think and believe made us not free.

Being free from being conditioned by conditional and limited function of the mind, and the perceptions of the qualities of names and forms through the function of the body and the senses, is what true freedom is about. It is not about being free from all the conditions and qualities that we think are causing us to be ‘not free’.

It’s like when we say somebody’s ‘speech’ is hurtful and bad, and make us feel hurt and bad, it is not the truth. It is not the ‘speech’, nor the person who made the ‘speech’ that cause us to feel hurt and bad. It is the perception of our own mind when comes in contact with the speech, and generates reaction towards the speech. The intellect recognizes, analyzes and understands the speech as something ‘hurtful’ and ‘bad’, because that is what our mind is being conditioned to think and believe what things are. Then the ego generates aversion towards what our mind dislikes and disagrees with, and generates unpleasant feelings of what the mind perceives as ‘hurt’ and ‘bad’.

Our mind is conditioned to function, act and react in certain ways.

Yoga and meditation practice is here for us to change this conditional habit of the mind, or to deprogram and reprogram how the mind acts and reacts upon coming into contact with the objects of the senses. This will change how the mind perceives, thinks, acts and reacts. This is the way to ultimate freedom.

It is not about avoiding, or pushing away, or eliminating the conditions and qualities that make us feel ‘not free’, but to be free from being conditioned, or determined by the thinking and beliefs in the mind, thinking and believing it is those conditions and qualities that make us ‘not free’.

When we are free, naturally other beings also will be free from being hurt, or affected and disturbed by us, as we stop reacting the way that we used to react when we were not free, and won’t generate any harmful or disturbing thoughts, action and speech, if we know the truth of freedom and are free. This is compassion.

Real and absolute freedom is in the moment when we realize the truth, being free from ignorance, egoism, and impurities. In other terms, the mind is free from suffering, restlessness or anxiety that derives from attachment, or craving and aversion towards the good and bad conditions and qualities, which are subject to impermanence. There is no craving and clinging to the good conditions and qualities. There is no fear and worry, or aversion towards the bad conditions and qualities.

What we think and believe is ‘not free’, is no longer something ‘not free’. That is freedom.

Being free from being conditioned, or affected, or disturbed, or influenced, or determined by what the mind perceives through the senses of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks. That is freedom.

Being free from being conditioned or determined by the impermanent conditions and abilities of the physical body and the states of the mind. Being free from the identification with body and mind as ‘I’. That is freedom.

Totally surrender to the universal consciousness. Accept the reality as it is, without trying to control, or change any reality that we don’t like, into what we would like it to be, or what we think it should be. Just give, do our best, and allow the fruit of our actions to be what it is. Without expecting the result to be the way that we think it should be.

Being free from duality and separateness that derives from ignorance and egoism, which is also the root cause of all types of suffering, unpeacefulness, restlessness, anxiety, fear and worry.

Om shanti.

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About Yoga

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

Om shanti

About Me

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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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