be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Accumulated knowledge and self-realized knowledge...

It doesn't matter how many books we have read about yoga and meditation, accumulating lots of information about this and that, from here and there,

We can use those information to talk to other people about yoga and meditation,

Or to teach yoga and meditation classes to others,

And we might feel good and proud about ourselves can teach a relatively good yoga and meditation class based on the information that we acquired from the books, or heard from other people,

But then ourselves are not free from worldly self-image or identifications with different qualities of names and forms,

We attach and rely onto other people's reactions and feedback towards ourselves and our actions or performances, to feel good, happy, meaningful and confident, or not.

We are determined by the impermanent conditions and abilities of the physical body to be who we are,

We are determined by the efficiency of the function of our sense organs and the senses to be who we are,

We are determined by the accumulated knowledge or information to be who we are,

We are determined by a particular (or multiple) specie, gender, culture, race, nationality, belief, religion, points of view, personality, behavior, family ties, personal relationships, interests, talents, skills, sexual orientation, social lifestyle, way of life, living environment and condition, possessions, what we do and don't do, what we have and don't have, acknowledgements, individual or group achievements, worldly or spiritual achievements and contributions to be who we are,

We are not free from dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, irritation, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, animosity, regrets, guilt, feelings of hurts, fear and worry,

We perceive ourselves as victims of suffering, impermanence, crisis, unjust, discrimination, prejudice, racism, betrayal, fraud, lies, misunderstanding, or ill-treatment,

We still have many worldly desires need to be fulfilled, there are many worldly or spiritual activities we need to accomplish, to feel meaningful and confident about ourselves and life existence,

And we are disturbed and determined by whatever the mind perceives through the senses, and haven't realize unconditional love and peace, to be in harmony within oneself and with other beings or the environment,


We expect other beings and the environment that we don't like or disagree with will change into something that what we think and believe as the way it should be or the way that we like it to be,

As we are still very much being over-powered by the egoism, the worldly self-image and self-esteem, the actions and the fruit of actions, the conditioned and limited thinking and beliefs, the feelings and emotions, the desires, the likes and dislikes, the agreements and disagreements, the craving and aversion coming from the impure egoistic mind,

As we haven't realized the knowledge of the Self, about non-duality, non-separateness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness through our own self-realization,

It means we still need to work on disciplining ourselves, purifying and restraining the mind.

Keep practice.

Desires?

Whenever we feel unhappy or disappointed, ask ourselves, "What's really going on?"

We will see that it is deriving from unfulfilled desires. We have some desires that are not being gratified the way that we like it to be.

There's no problems.

It's just that we couldn't let go of desires, we are not free from desires, and we are still very much influenced by desires of wants and don't wants, including the desires of wanting something good and positive, and don't want something that is opposed to good and positive.

Om shanti.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Receiving compassionate love and actions from compassionate beings is not necessarily something that we would like it to be...

Receiving compassionate love and actions from compassionate beings is not necessarily something that we would like it to be, or the way that we expect it to be...

Some people might think that being compassionate and performing compassionate actions mean showing sympathy towards other beings' suffering and unhappiness, or to show loving kindness to suffering and unhappy beings is by giving them whatever they like and want, to make them feel happy by satisfying their desires of wants and don't wants.

But being compassionate towards other beings' suffering is not about giving them what they like and want to satisfy their desires of likes and dislikes, wants and don't wants, to give them momentary satisfaction and happy feelings, but it's about provide them with what they truly need, which is the gift of Dharma or wisdom, that will free them from the root cause of suffering or unhappiness, which is ignorance and egoism. And the practice of Dharma or knowledge to be free from suffering is not necessarily something that they like and want, nor it is something that they can agree with due to the deep rooted ignorance, nor it is an easy and pleasant journey for the egoistic mind in the process of eliminating ignorance and egoism. The ego will resist and reject.

A compassionate teacher of Dharma has no fear to give something that is good and beneficial but it might appear to be something quite unpleasant or disagreeable to the students, for the well-being of the students and the entire universe. The Dharma teacher doesn't take away the things that the beings think and believe are what making them unhappy and suffering, to make them stop suffering or stop being unhappy. The Dharma teacher also doesn't give the students what they like and want to make them feel good and happy by satisfying their desires of wants and don't wants, which will be detrimental for the well-being of the students by promoting and strengthening the ignorance, egoism, attachment, desires, greed, craving and aversion. Even though the students might be unhappy, dissatisfied, angry and hating the teacher for not giving them what they like and want. This might appear to be something really unpleasant for the student, but this is real compassionate love from the teacher to the student. Although the student might not see it as an act of loving kindness, as they will be dissatisfied and unhappy about not getting something that they like and want.

The only way to be free from suffering and unhappiness is to allow the beings to know the truth through their own effort and self-realization, to be free from ignorance, egoism, attachment, desires, greed, craving and aversion.

If the 'teacher' is impure and has selfish desires, and is attached to his or her actions and the result of the actions, then this teacher will give the students whatever they desire, like and want, to make them feel happy and satisfied, so that the teacher will be able to get something in return that he or she likes and wants from the students, whether the teacher is aware or unaware that this will be detrimental for the well-being of the students. The students might feel happy and satisfied for getting what they like and want. The students might see it as an act of loving kindness, because they are getting what they like and want, but indeed it is exactly opposing to what wisdom and compassion really are.

It's up to the students whether they want to have strong determination and will-power to let go of their desires of craving and aversion, and self-disciplining themselves for their own good. Or they can continue to fulfill their never ending desires of craving and aversion to get momentary satisfaction and happy feelings, but the root cause of dissatisfaction, unhappiness and suffering is still there.

A father out of passionate love for the child, might gives the child whatever the child likes and wants, as the father doesn't want the child to be unhappy, and the child might be happy and satisfied after getting what the child likes and wants, but this will be detrimental for the well-being of the child.

A father out of compassionate love for the child may not give the child what the child likes and wants that will be harmful to the child, not that the father wants the child to be unhappy, even though the child might be unhappy and dissatisfied for not getting what the child likes and wants, but this will be beneficial for the well-being of the child.

A compassionate being who has realized selflessness and compassion, who is free from ignorance and egoism, might be criticized by those who are unhappy and dissatisfied because they are not getting what they like and want, but this compassionate selfless being has no fear, nor be affected, nor disturbed, nor determined by both the positive and negative reactions coming from any beings towards the selfless compassionate actions being performed for the well-being of all beings.

Om shanti.

Know the difference between Sattvic and Tamasic...

Know the difference between being Sattvic and being Tamasic.

In Sattvic beings, they perform all the necessary actions, duties and responsibilities, but remain equanimous undisturbed nor determined by dualities, being free from desires of craving and aversion, being unaffected nor influenced by the actions and the fruit of actions.

In Tamasic beings, they think they should be just relaxed and chilled out by not performing any actions, duties and responsibilities, but unable to remain equanimous being disturbed and determined by dualities, being over-powered by desires of craving and aversion, being affected and influenced by the actions and the fruit of actions (including actionless).

And so, check the dominant Guna in our mind, and reflect upon our thinking and behavior. Do not mistaken ourselves being Sattvic but actually we are being Tamasic.

Om shanti.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Money cannot buy love, peace, compassion and wisdom... Let go of stinginess and be generous...

Yoga and its practice are not meant to be some kind of pleasurable sensual enjoyment such like paying some money for getting some service like spa treatments. It is a practice to develop dispassion or disinterest in pleasurable sensual enjoyment to let go of craving and aversion.

Yoga and meditation practice is a process to change the old habits of the mind that have been there deep rooted for a long time influencing the mind for as long as we live. It is stop giving what the mind likes and wants. It is calming the mind and stop stimulating the mind. It is quite unpleasant for the mind in the beginning of the yoga and meditation practice as it takes some time for the mind and the body to adjust, to adapt, or to get use to something that it wasn't familiar with, or to develop interest in something that it never interested before. As well as it is unpleasant for the mind to be not having something that it was addicted to, or used to familiar with. It is about letting go of desires of wants and don't wants. It is not about fulfilling the desires of wants and don't wants. The mind will resist. The mind will want to runaway.

If our will-power is weak, we will give in to the desires of the mind, and give ourselves many reasons or excuses why we should not continue the yoga and meditation practice temporary or permanently, and instead we look for some other activities that the mind enjoys, likes and craves for, to make the mind feels pleasant, stimulated, or excited.

We often hear many 'yoga' enthusiasts say, "I love yoga. I want to practice yoga. Yoga makes me feel so good." But then when they experience some discomforts or unpleasantness physically, mentally and emotionally, they want to runaway. They complain this is not the yoga that they were expecting, that the yoga and meditation practice is not the way that they think it should be. They say they only want yoga that will give them pleasant sensations and which is enjoyable. They don't want yoga that doesn't give them what they want and like. Be happy. In the end it is our own freedom for what we want for our life, and what we want to do with our body and mind. We take full responsibility for the consequences of our actions derived from our desires of wants and don't wants.

In order to allow the physical body to be able to perform the yoga asana poses comfortably, our body and mind will have to go through some unpleasant purification process while developing the skills, stamina, strength, flexibility, patience, perseverance, determination, forbearance, tolerance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, concentration, non-attachment, non-identification, non-expectation, non-judgment, non-comparison, faith and courage to be able to perform and hold the yoga asana poses comfortably for a period of time effortlessly without struggling. And this will allow us to realize selflessness and compassion. It is not at all about how good we look and feel during and after the yoga asana practice, nor what type of benefits we are going to get from performing all these yoga asana poses.

Money cannot buy love, peace, compassion and wisdom. It takes some efforts, self-control, self-discipline, patience, perseverance, determination, will-power, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, for us to eliminate egoism, attachment, desires, greed, craving and aversion from the mind to be free from ignorance and impurities, and to realize unconditional love, peace, compassion and wisdom.

Greed is also associated with stinginess. It's like, "If I can just pay as little money as possible and get as many things in return as possible, that would be very nice..."

Even highly intelligent or educated people might be influenced by stinginess and greed, and are not free.

Before we start practicing yoga, we need to learn to let go of stinginess and start to be generous.

If we cannot understand why we should let go of stinginess and be generous before we start to perform any yoga practice, we can never realize what is selflessness and compassion, even though we can be attending many yoga classes or yoga courses to learn and perform some forms of yoga practice, or if we have been practicing yoga asana for many years and our body has developed the skill, strength and flexibility to perform many yoga asana exercises beautifully in perfect alignment. All these qualities of names and forms have very little to do with what yoga really is.

Om shanti.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Yoga is for everyone, but there are different expectations coming from different people towards what they want from yoga...

When the 'yoga practice' appears to be something that they like and can agree with, they feel happy and satisfied, and they say this 'yoga' is very good. As they are getting what they want and like from this 'yoga' the way that they like it to be, or the way that they think it should be.

When the 'yoga practice' doesn't appear to be something that they like or can agree with, they feel unhappy and dissatisfied, and they say 'this' yoga is not good. As they are not getting what they want and like from 'this' yoga the way that they like it to be, or the way that they think it should be.

Sweets are something very nice to taste, but they can cause damage to our health. Medicine is not something nice to taste, but it can cure or relieve sickness. It's our own choice and freedom about what we want and don't want, but we also will be responsible for the consequences of our actions derived from our desires of want and don't want.

People who are interested in the yoga asana exercises the way that they like it to be, but they are not interested in the teachings of yoga, they will feel like fish out of water when they come in contact with serious yoga practice. They say they like yoga. They say they want to practice yoga. But actually they only like and want the type of 'yoga' the way that they like it to be, and the way that they think it should be. They don't really like yoga as it is, nor do they want to practice yoga at all.

They expect the yoga practice to be adjusted to accommodate their desires of want and don't want, rather than letting go of the desires of want and don't want, and allow the yoga practice and the result of the practice to be what it is. When they expect the yoga practice to give them certain pleasant sensations or certain results the way that they like it to be, but what they experience is not the way that they expect it to be, they complain and demand the yoga practice to be the way that they like it to be. They are completely over-powered by ignorance, egoism, attachment, desires, craving and aversion. There's nothing wrong with that. Just that they are not practicing yoga at all.

Yoga is just being what it is. It doesn't have intention to please anyone, to meet up everyone's expectation, nor to satisfy their desires about what they want and don't want from the yoga practice.

Be happy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Stories of a very special girl...

This is a true story of a little girl named Jacqueline.

She is going to be eight years old by end of this October.

We never had the chance to see her again after the first two outings that we brought her out to the countryside and to the beach when she was two years old, until few years later, we met her once during one of the Chinese New Years, but she couldn't remember us at all. And then I saw her once briefly when I was visiting this family, but the nanny had taken her away as soon as she arrived at the house. I didn't manage to talk to her. She only said to me, "Who are you? Can you bring me to your home? I want to go to your home."

This week, I got the chance to spend some time with her on this two hours visit to this family.

I kissed her cheek, and wanted to hug her, but she felt awkward and resisted. It reminded me that growing up in this family, there were no kisses or hugging.

She looks exactly like her mother when she was a little girl. She carries most of her mother's characters and behavior patterns.

But, she is not her mother. She is different. She is who she is. Their lives are different.

They don't live together, since she was born.

She was born into this world not by planned when her mother conceived her at fifteen years old. The father was a jobless teenager as well. Her parents were being told to get married just to get her birth certificate paper works done. They divorced not long after that. Her father left her with the mother. The mother didn't know what to do or how to bring up a baby. She found a job somewhere in the city, and she left Jacqueline with the grandmother.

She was brought up and living with her grandmother until she reached schooling age, then things started to change.

Jacqueline's mother met another young man when Jacqueline was still learning how to speak, and she married this young man later. Today, Jacqueline has a step sister and a step brother that she hardly meets, as Jacqueline was not welcome in the new family. Her mother's present husband and his family don't like Jacqueline, nor allow Jacqueline to live with them. Her mother didn't take Jacqueline with her into this new family. Maybe it is better to be like this, as there are problems in this new family, as Jacqueline's mother's husband was arrested and locked up by the police not long ago for some illegal matters.

When Jacqueline told me that she has a sister and a brother, she was in silence afterwards. She didn't mention about her mother or her father. She looked a bit sad and teary, but she didn't cry. She didn't manage to cry.

Due to the difficult life condition in this family, her grandmother could no longer commit to take care of her for full time. She was left with a nanny for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, who's job is only to feed her, send her to school, and bring her back from the school, and put her to sleep. Nothing else.

Once in a while the grandmother will come to see her, when the nanny needs to go somewhere and can't look after Jacqueline for that few days. But not once her birth parents would come to visit her. When the grandmother came to see her, she didn't go to school for days as the grandmother was busy in life, and she has to take Jacqueline with her wherever she goes.

Jacqueline told her great grandfather, who is paralyzed, and her granduncle who love and care for her very much, that they are not her real family. She seldom sees them, as she is 24 hours a day being with the nanny. When she has the chance to come over to the great grandfather's house, she doesn't talk to them, nor wants to be near to the great grandfather. She would argue with him over what TV channel he or she wants to watch, and argue over the volume of the TV, as the great grandfather needs to sleep most of the time. She said to 'Tai Goong', the great grandfather who adores her very much, "You are not my real 'Tai Goong' and you are not my real family." She thinks that the family from her birth father side, is her only real family. She puzzles everyday why her real family never come to see her. She feels unhappy, but she doesn't really know how to express her feelings and emotions, as nobody guided her on how to express herself.

She doesn't know what is sharing, or thoughtfulness, or thankfulness. We can't blame her, as she was never been taught about sharing, thoughtfulness and thankfulness.

She took and opened one of the few packs of biscuits that I gave to her, and she ate the biscuits by herself without knowing to say 'thank you', nor did she offer to anybody in the house. Then she said to me while pointing to another pack of biscuits, "I don't like this biscuit. I ate before. I didn't like it and I threw it away. Hahaha! Disgusting biscuits!" And she left the packaging on the chair after eating without knowing to throw rubbish into a rubbish bin. We can't blame her, as she was never been guided to do so. I gently told her to put the rubbish into the rubbish bag hanging on the wall. And she listened to me and put the rubbish into the bag.

I said to her, if she doesn't like any food she has, she shouldn't throw it away but to give to some other people. I also told her that when she receives something from anyone, she needs to say "Thank you.", and she should try to offer the food to people around before she start eating the food by herself. She didn't want to look at me at that time. She was pretending that she was ignoring me. But, after that I came back from the toilet, I saw her bringing the pack of biscuits that she didn't like to the great grandfather. She is a very smart and good kid. All she needs is some love, guidance and patient from everyone, and she'll be fine.

Her granduncle was taking a nap, and he snored quite loud while sleeping. Jacqueline started to complain that his snores were very noisy and disturbing. Then his phone rang, but he didn't wake up to answer the phone. Jacqueline went beside him and suddenly punched him really hard in his stomach. He jumped up in shock and shouted at her, "Hey! Why did you do that?" She shouted back at him, "Your phone was ringing! It was so noisy! And your snores were very noisy and disturbing!" And then she kicked and punched the granduncle a few more times.

If she ever did something naughty, she would only be shouted at. She was told not to behave like this and like that, and everyone told her that she is a 'bad' and 'naughty' girl, but she never understands why, as nobody in the house knows how to guide her patiently even though they wanted to love and care for her, as everyone said she is so pitiful being abandoned by her parents, that her parents didn't even come to visit her, nor bring her out, nor buy her anything.

The granduncle told me that she started to steal things from his shop lately. Why? Just because she wanted to bring something to give to her classmates in school, so that she might get some friendships in return. I told her to ask people if she wants something, but do not steal. She didn't want to look at me. At least she knew it was not okay to steal, or to take things that don't belong to her without asking permission.

She didn't know how to cry. She was not allowed to cry. She would be shouted at if she cries. She only knows how to react violently or aggressively whenever she feels upset, frustrated, or unhappy. But I can see that she is just a lost child.

I told her it was her great grandfather and granduncle's birthday. She said, "Why I didn't know it is their birthday today? Nobody tells me it is their birthday." I told her that she could wish "Happy birthday!" to the great grandfather and granduncle. In the beginning she didn't want to say anything. But afterwards, she got up to the granduncle and said, "Happy birthday!", and then she went to the great grandfather, and said, "Happy birthday!". Then she sat down in front of me, and said, "My birthday is in October." I said, "I know. It's 26th of October, right?" She nodded.

She is really intelligent and attentive on something that will interest her.

I brought her some drawing and painting materials when I arrived at the airport. She was very happy and told me that she likes drawing and painting. She was so excited when I asked her to draw and paint something on an exercise book that was available. She sat down and asked me what could she draw. I said, "You can draw anything that you like. What do you like?" She was thinking for a while, then she nodded her head, and started drawing. She drew a cat, a pond with a fountain and some fish. She drew carefully. She accidentally painted the colour outside the drawing. She said, "I made a mistake." I said to her, "It's okay. You are very good. You can draw and paint very nicely. I am amazed." I asked her if she likes cats. She said to me, "Yes! I like cats very much." She paid full attention from the beginning of the drawing until the end. She didn't leave the chair until she finished drawing and painting, nor did she was distracted or looked around on other things.

After she finished painting, I guided her to clean up the table and put things back in order. She listened and followed all the instructions.

I told her that I love her and I will come back to see her again before I left. She didn't want to say goodbye nor looked at me, when I left the house.

When I came back, I told Marc about everything. And we went to get her some new clothes, shoes (her shoes was broken when I saw her), and I did this video to send to her with a letter to tell her that we love her and she is always welcome to live with us during her school holidays, and sent to her together with some biscuits that she likes, and more painting materials.

We wish her lots of love and happiness. Hope to see her again soon.


Friday, August 1, 2014

The teachings/theory of yoga and its practice...

The teachings/theory alone without practice is useless. But, without the teachings/theory to based on, the practice will be like a car without functional indicators, brake lights or head lights, and is driven by an incompetent driver on the hilly road under a stormy condition. The teachings/theory and its practice exist together to support each other. Via the practice based on the teachings/theory, we allow the mind to investigate upon the truth of the teachings/theory, while purifying the mind until it realizes the truth through its own realization.

Without the teachings to support the practice, what are we practicing then?

If we perform 'yoga practice' without implement the teachings of yoga about non-identifications with the worldly self-image or the impermanent qualities of names and forms, about elimination of the egoism, about letting go of attachment, craving and aversion, into the yoga practice and our everyday life experiences, then no matter how much physical and mental benefits we will get from performing the 'yoga practice' regularly, we still won't be free from ignorance, egoism, attachment, craving and aversion, and be disturbed by restlessness and impurities that arise due to the reactions of the egoistic mind towards all the perceptions of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, constantly being disturbed and determined by what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks, and have no peace.

Just by hearing, reading, studying, preaching, talking and discussing about the teachings/theory of yoga without materialize them into practice is useless. Just by performing some forms of 'yoga practice' without implement the teachings/theory into it, the practice doesn't serve its purpose.

We can be performing 'yoga practice' for a long time, but our minds might still be influenced and over-powered by ignorance and egoism, and have no peace.

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

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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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