be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Want to practice yoga? (11)

This is a basic yoga practice.

Let go of the attachment towards particular thinking and belief even if we think it's all good and right. Let go of expectation towards others that everyone should think and behave the way that we think it should be - "This is good, this is right, everyone should follow this, do this and be like this."

Or else, we would feel disturbed, upset, angry, unhappy and disappointed when we come in contact with other human beings who don't think and behave the way that we think all human beings should think and behave, or they don't do what we think is good and right, and they do what we think is bad and wrong. There's nothing wrong with this type of reaction, as most people would react in such way, but then know that we are not practicing yoga at all, even though we think we love yoga and like to do some yoga practice regularly.

When majority people are having the similar type of thinking, or beliefs, or behavior, it doesn't mean that this type of thinking, beliefs or behavior is 'right'. When majority people disagree with certain type of thinking, beliefs or behavior, it doesn't mean that this type of thinking, beliefs or behavior is 'wrong'.

It’s okay when other people think, believe and behave differently from us. It’s everyone’s freedom, even when people don’t like or disallow others to be free for being what they are.

How could we fight for freedom of action and speech when we couldn't allow other people to disagree with us, or behave the way that they behave, or being different from us?

That's also why yoga is nothing to do with politics, activism, criticism, or fighting for certain rights and recognition. Though there's nothing wrong with people getting involve in politics, activism, criticism and fighting for certain rights and recognition.

Yoga is not about trying to save the world, or change the world or other people to be what we think it should be, but it's self-evolution to free one's mind from ignorance and egoism, and thus be free from suffering, which has nothing to do with the qualities of names and forms, or the good and bad experiences and condition of life in the world. If people believe in saving the world, or changing the world or other people to be what they think it should be, that's their freedom and nothing wrong with that.

It's being free from egoistic attachment and identification with any qualities of names and forms to be who 'I' am that looking forward to be supported, recognized and acknowledged by other human beings or certain community. There's no need to fight for anything when one's mind is free from ignorance and egoism. One retreats from the worldly affairs that are the games of impure minds under the influence of ignorance and egoism.

It's okay if people dislike or disagree with the yoga practice of non-attachment and renunciation. It's okay if people who think they are practicing yoga, but they are not really practicing yoga. It's okay if people change the yoga practice to be something that they would like it to be. Let them be. We just look after or watch out our own minds and our yoga practice.

Though we can share the knowledge of yoga with others, but one's yoga practice and the fruit of one's practice is not something that can be shared, not even with our teachers, students, soulmate, parents, children, spouse, yoga partner, life companion, friends and etc.

In the beginning, a group of people get together to learn and practice yoga, but sooner or later, everyone will retreat to one's own practice, path and journey. Some people may cross path at one point. People may stay or move together in the same pace for some time, but then sooner or later, everyone will go their own way at their own pace.

One of the many obstacles in the path of yoga is distractions and influences from others, including those who practice yoga and don't practice yoga. And hence, partial or complete solitude and seclusion is very important for a yoga enthusiast who determines to be free from ignorance and suffering. For those who are passionate about worldly life, worldly activities and objects of names and forms, but they love to do some yoga practice to attain some benefits, then solitude and seclusion is unnecessary to them.

Just like there are people (whether yoga practitioners or non-yoga practitioners) who like to get stoned, or high, or chill out from the momentary effects of taking some substances, they have the freedom to do what they want to do with their minds, their bodies and their life existence, but that is not what yoga is about.

If people find that getting stoned from time to time is the meaning of life, that's their freedom. Life can be too hard and people need to have that few moments of 'being away' from hardships, or else their minds couldn't take it and would breakdown eventually. But, yoga practice allows people to realize unconditional peace without the influence of any substances, provided these yoga practitioners are really practicing yoga of non-attachment and renunciation, and hence they don't need to take any substances to unwind, or to relax, or to escape from unhappiness, as there's none. Or else, those who think they like to practice yoga, but they still need to rely on taking substances to unwind, or to relax, or to escape from unhappiness, because there is so much tension and unhappiness built up from time to time due to ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, craving, aversion and all sorts of impurities. Some yoga practitioners might even think that a group of people hangout together to get stoned is what sharing love and peace is about, that's their freedom of thinking and action, but that is not what yoga or sharing love and peace is about.

Om shanti.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Want to practice yoga? (10)

Many people are interested in yoga practice. Some are interested in the yoga asana practice as a form of physical exercise for mental and physical health, for beauty and fitness, for improving quality of life. Some are interested in the spiritual, emotional and physical healing effects of the yoga and meditation practice. Some are interested in the living philosophy of yoga. Some wants to know about the mind and life existence. Some are interested in attaining peace in oneself. Some are interested in achieving world peace and harmony among all beings. Some are interested in attaining transcendental experiences and psychic power. Some are interested in attaining liberation from the cycle of cause and effect, the wheel of birth and death, and be free from suffering. Some just want to have a few moments of 'me time' and quietness away from worldly life routines and activities. Some just follow the trend of yoga in the world. And so on. But, all these different interests have something in common - doing something or attaining something that the different minds could find satisfaction, fulfillment, comfort, freedom, happiness and meaningfulness.

It doesn't matter what is the main or sub interest, intention and motivation for us to be performing some yoga and meditation practice, or how much we think we know or don't know about yoga and everything else, and how long we have been practicing yoga and meditation, or whether we believe in spirituality and God existence, or not, what would lead us to peace is the ability or the understanding that allows us to respect all the different names and forms to be what they are, as they are; allowing everyone to be different from one another, and yet, everyone finds their own version of satisfaction, fulfillment, comfort, freedom, happiness and meaningfulness through different ways and different paths.

Some find peace through actions. Some find peace through actionless. And yet, peace doesn't come from actions or actionlessness.

Some find peace by believing in God. Some find peace by disbelieving in God. And yet, peace doesn't come from believing in God, or not.

There's no contradictory at all.

Whether performing (good and bad) actions, or not, some are peaceful while some aren't.
Whether believing in God, or not, some are peaceful while some aren't.

Whether we think we are good people who do good actions, or we think we are bad people who do bad actions, or we think we are just human beings who do both good and bad actions, or we think we are neither good nor bad people, we are just what we are, some of us are peaceful, while some aren't.

Even in the teachings of Buddhism, the one who had killed thousands of lives intentionally, could be liberated from suffering, and be in peace. It doesn't mean that by killing many lives intentionally will free us from suffering, as some people might comprehend this saying in such way when they come across with this teaching of Buddhism. Meanwhile many human beings who think we are good beings, who think we don't commit any wrong doings or killings, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and we condemn others whom we think they are bad and wrong based on what we think is bad and wrong, but we are not free from suffering, and aren't peaceful. Why?

That is what yoga and meditation practice is about - To find out what causes us not peaceful, or what allows us to be in peace, through our own effort, self-inquiry and self-realization.

Even by reading many books about yoga and meditation, attending many courses, hearing from other people discussing, debating, talking and teaching about yoga and meditation, knowing and memorizing all the teachings, names and terms, and the physical body can perform many movements and positions that require specific skill, technique, strength and flexibility, but, as long as we (the mind) haven't realize the truth by ourselves, we (the mind) are not free from ignorance, we (the mind) would still experience restlessness, dissatisfaction, void, meaninglessness, freedomlessness, hurt, fear or suffering. And if we (the mind) don't have self-control, out of restlessness, dissatisfaction, void, meaninglessness, freedomlessness, hurt, fear or suffering, we might generate actions that would inflict further hurt, unrest and disharmony in oneself and in others.

For example, if we (the mind) think we are somehow more or less superior than some other beings; or we expect everyone should behave according to our own personal thinking and belief; or we think we have to have this or do that, to be happy, or not; or we recognize something as bad and we don't like this bad thing, and we don't want to allow this bad thing to be existing within our existence or awareness, then we are very much under the influence of ignorance, even if we think we are super intelligent, knowledgeable and good beings, and we think we are better beings than some other beings.

Just like peace doesn't come from whether we eat vegetarian food or non-vegetarian food. Whether being a vegetarian or non-vegetarian, it doesn't guarantee that one will be peaceful, or not.

Peace doesn't come from whether our body is strong and flexible, or not. Whether the body is strong and flexible, or not, it doesn't guarantee that one will be peaceful, or not.

Peace doesn't come from whether our relationships with other people are good, or not. Whether the relationships with other people are good, or not, it doesn't guarantee that one will be peaceful, or not.

If we still couldn't understand this, then ask ourselves, "What makes us think that we are not peaceful?" or "What makes us not peaceful?" until we (the mind) are free from ignorance, and be in peace.

Some love and care their spouse, their children and their living environment or mother earth, they do their best for upkeeping the well-being and welfare of everyone and everything, and they are peaceful under any impermanent changes, circumstances, situations and conditions. While some others also love and care for their spouse, their children and their living environment or mother earth, they do their best for upkeeping the well-being and welfare of everyone and everything, but they are not peaceful. Why?

Om shanti.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

There's nothing wrong or bad about 'bad', 'negative' or 'unhappy' feelings and emotions

It's normal to have unpleasant feelings or emotions in us from time to time. There's totally nothing wrong or bad when there are feelings or emotions that the worldly thinking people label them as 'bad', 'negative' and 'unhappy' feelings and emotions.

Many people would 'advise' those who are going through some difficult time or emotional moments to stop being emotional as if emotions and being emotional is something not good, or bad, or wrong, or weak.

It's not about "Hey, you should look around you, count your blessings, and be grateful for all the little good things that you have or the bad things that you don't have. Stop being so ungrateful, negative and unhappy. Don't waste your life, time and energy in all these 'bad' feelings and 'negative' emotions. It's not good for you and the people around you."

Yoga and meditation practice is not about push away or avoid certain emotions and feelings that the mind recognizes as 'bad', 'negative', or 'unhappy'. Yoga and meditation practice is not about cultivate good and happy feelings and emotions, and fill the mind with only 'good' and 'positive' feelings and emotions. It's not about don't allow any 'bad' and 'negative' feelings and emotions to arise or exist in the mind.

The teachings of yoga never criticize or tease people who feel low, bad, sad, angry, negative, depress or unhappy from time to time, or once in a blue moon, or most of the time. The teachings of yoga never judge or label any kinds of feelings and emotions as something 'good' or 'bad', 'positive' or 'negative'. It is normal and okay for the mind to experience different types of pleasant and unpleasant feelings and emotions from time to time.

We allow our minds and other people's minds to perceive feelings and emotions that are unpleasant, that are unhappy. It's okay sometimes we don't feel like talking and want to have some time just for ourselves. It's okay sometimes other people don't feel like talking and want to have some time just for themselves. It's okay that we are not always happy all the time. We don't have to be happy all the time.

What we are practicing in yoga and meditation is to be aware of any feelings or emotions, without generate identification with these feelings and emotions as 'I' or 'mine'; without judging these feelings or emotions as 'good' or 'bad', 'negative' or 'positive'; without judging the mind as 'good' or 'bad', 'positive' or 'negative'; without expectation that 'I' only want to feel 'good' and have 'positive' emotions, and 'I' don't want to feel 'bad' or have any 'negative' emotions; without generate craving or aversion towards certain feelings or emotions that the mind likes or dislikes; without being over-powered by these pleasant and unpleasant feelings and emotions to influence our actions and speech; knowing that no matter they are pleasant or unpleasant feelings and emotions, they all are impermanent, that they will pass away; and allowing all these impermanent feelings and emotions to arise, to be there, to change and passing away.

Whether we like it, or not; attach to it, or not, they all will pass away sooner, or later. Just observe, without attachment, identification, judgment, craving, aversion, or expectation.

It's not about not welcoming or pushing away the 'bad' and 'negative' feelings and emotions. It's not about welcoming and cultivating or retaining 'good' and 'positive' feelings and emotions. They are neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, and they are impermanent. And it's not 'I'.

Accepting the reality in the present moment now as it is, whether it's pleasant or unpleasant, whether it's the way that we like it to be, or not. It's impermanent. Allowing all the impermanent changes to be there as they are. Whether the mind is at peace, or disturbed and unrest, it's impermanent and it's not 'I'.

Om shanti.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The yoga poses are neither easy nor difficult, neither comfortable nor uncomfortable, neither safe nor unsafe

The yoga poses or exercises are just what they are. They are neither easy nor difficult. They are neither comfortable nor uncomfortable. They are neither safe nor unsafe. They have no qualities nor intention to be easy or difficult, to make anyone feels comfortable or uncomfortable, to be safe or unsafe. It is coming from each individual physical condition, ability and limitation, the states of their mind, and how different bodies and minds react differently towards the poses and exercises that project the quality of easy or difficult, comfortable or uncomfortable, safe or unsafe onto every pose, or position, or exercise.

While doing the same poses or same exercises, some say it's easy, some say it's difficult. Some say they feel comfortable, some say they feel uncomfortable. Some don't experience any injuries, some experience some injuries.

It is true for each individual about that is how their body and mind reacts towards the poses or exercises, and that is how they feel and experience while doing the poses and exercises. It is their personal truth and individual perception of reality. But it is not the truth of the poses or exercises.

Injuries occur while doing the poses or exercises if the practitioners don't know their own physical ability and limitation, and they push their body to go beyond its limitation. Injuries don't occur while doing the poses or exercises if the practitioners know their own physical ability and limitation, and they don't push their body to go beyond its limitation. And yoga practice is really not about pushing the physical body to go beyond its limitation.

By pushing the body to go beyond its limitation, making the body more strong and flexible, and be able to do many of the yoga asana poses nicely, beautifully and in the perfect 'correct' alignment, doesn't guarantee us peace and compassion, or liberation from ignorance and egoism. It's about non-attachment, non-identification, desireless, non-craving, non-aversion, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, patience, forbearance, tolerance, and be free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, that lead us to peace and compassion. And all these has nothing to do with the physical conditions and abilities and skills to do the yoga poses or exercises. It's nothing to do with the different types of benefits of the yoga poses and exercises either.

If the truth of the poses or exercises is they are something easy or difficult, comfortable or uncomfortable, safe or unsafe, then everyone who do the same poses or same exercises will react and feel the same. But, everyone would react and feel and experience differently from one another while doing the same poses or exercises, and everyone would react and feel and experience differently when doing the same poses or exercises on different practice session.

The poses or exercises are just being what they are. They are neither easy nor difficult, neither comfortable nor comfortable, neither safe nor unsafe.

Different minds perceive the world differently because different minds project different qualities onto names and forms that they perceive under the influence of different thinking and beliefs. Some perceive the world positively and some perceive the world negatively, but the world is neither positive nor negative. No one could debate with one another about their own personal perception of different reality that different minds perceive under the influence of their own personal thinking and belief, as that is what their minds perceive and understand, but, the different perceptions of different minds are not necessarily the truth of what things are.

The world is just what it is. It is neither good nor bad. Everything is subject to impermanence, arising and passing away. Realize this and be free from attachment, pride and arrogance about 'I', 'my' thinking, 'my' belief, 'my' actions and the fruit of 'my' actions.

By understanding this, we let go of judgment or expectation towards everything and everyone. All the names and forms are neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither happiness nor unhappiness, neither right nor wrong. It's just different qualities being projected onto all the names and forms based on each individual mind being conditioned to think and believe about what things are, but it's not the truth of all the names and forms.

Those who don't see the truth or couldn't understand this, they will want to argue with everyone whom is different from them, who has different perception of reality from them, who has different thinking and belief from them about what things are. They will want to prove that they are right and others who are different from them, are wrong. They want to prove that what they believe as good and bad, right and wrong, is true, while any contradictions with their belief about good and bad, right and wrong, is false. 'Good people' who think or label themselves as 'good people', they are not free from ignorance if they think and label those whom they think are bad, or those whose thinking and behavior are different from their own thinking and behavior, as bad people.

Be free.

Om shanti.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Real love is free from bitterness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger and hatred

It’s very common to see unhappiness, bitterness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger and hatred exist in many of the love relationships. That is because people don’t really love the person who is in the relationship with them, but they only love what they like and want from the relationship, or from the person who are in a relationship with them. These people don’t even love themselves. They expect the ‘appropriate’ treatment and behavior from the person in the relationship with them to give them the love, the attention, the commitment, the companionship, the treatment, the satisfaction and the happiness exactly the way that how they like it to be, or the way that they think it should be, to make them feel good and happy, to feel that they are well-loved and well-deserved. If they are not getting what they like and want from the person in the relationship with them, or they are not getting what they want and what they think they deserved from the relationship, and they are getting something that they don’t like and don’t want, or are getting something that they think they don’t deserve to be getting, they feel unhappy, bitter, dissatisfied, disappointed and angry. They think that their relationship is not good. They think that the person in the relationship with them is not good enough, or is bad. Or some would think that it’s because themselves are not good enough, or are bad, that they don’t deserve to love and be loved, or to be treated in the ‘right’ way that they think they should be treated.

Most of the time, we think we love someone, but actually, we don’t. We only love what we like and want. We love certain qualities that we perceive about that person and the ‘good’ image that we project onto that person which we like very much. We love what we like and want that we could receive from that person. We love what we like and want that is available to us from being in a relationship with that person.

And hence, we would get very angry and unhappy, or feel hurt, bitter, dissatisfied and disappointed, when the qualities or the image that we like about that person has changed into something else that we don’t like and don’t want, or when we are not getting what we like and want from that person anymore, or when the relationship with that person and the companionship of that person that we love very much is no longer available to us.

Out of feelings of hurt, bitterness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger and unhappiness, we would do things and say things that would hurt ourselves and hurt the person whom we want to love, or whom we think we love very much and those whom he or she loves. Where is love? There’s no love. Only bitterness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger and hatred when we are losing what we like and want, when we don’t get what we like and want, and are getting what we don’t like and don’t want.

Real love is unconditional, being free from bitterness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger and hatred. We love the person as he is, as she is. We only wish him or her will have peace and happiness, even though he or she doesn’t love us (anymore), or doesn’t want to be in a relationship with us (anymore). We don’t have to allow ourselves to be abused or taken for granted, but, we could allow other people to love us, or not; to be nice to us, or not; want to be in a relationship with us, or not. Other people have the freedom to treat us the way that how they want to treat us. Other people have the freedom to behave the way that how they want to behave. We have the freedom to choose how we want to react towards other people's behavior, actions and reactions.

It is our own responsibility if we want to react with ill-thinking, ill-feelings, ill-will, and we want to feel hurt, or bitter, or dissatisfied, or disappointed, or angry. It is not because other people's behavior is bad or wrong.

How could we say "I love you" and "Since I love you so much, why don't you appreciate my love for you and why do you disappoint me and betray my love for you?" and "Why don't you love me the way that I like it to be, or how I deserve to be loved?" when we would do things and say things that would hurt him or her out of bitterness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger and hatred when we are not getting what we like and want from him or her, or from the relationship we have with him or her? Or we would have ill-will for the person whom we 'love' very much, we wish him or her should be punished or suffered for being 'bad' to us, when he or she doesn't want to love us, or doesn't want to be in a relationship with us (anymore)? Because we don't really love them at all if we would react with ill-will, bitterness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger and hatred in a relationship.

We expect that "I love you, you should also love me in return." and "I am very good to you, you should also be good to me." and "I uphold my commitment, duties and responsibilities towards you in our relationship, you should also uphold your commitment, duties and responsibilities towards me in our relationship."

It is not other people or the relationship we have with them is bad and wrong that disappoints us. We are disappointed by our own expectation towards other people or the relationships we have with them. We don't know what is love or how to love. We are being conditioned or brain-washed by our family cultural practice, or religious teachings, or social medias about how people should behave, about give and take, about relationships, and about code of conducts. We expect everyone should follow the same orders and code of conducts. That is what making us so unhappy and dissatisfied in any relationships, as we expect people should behave in certain ways and all relationships should be in certain ways, and if they don't turn out to be the way that how we expect them to be, or how we think they should be, we are unhappy and dissatisfied.

We have the right and freedom on how we want to react and feel. There's nothing wrong if we want to feel hurt, bitter and angry. But know that it's coming from our own reactions towards something that we don't like, don't want and don't agree with. It's not coming from other people being bad and wrong.

Most people don't like to hear all these. They just want to blame everything and everyone to be responsible for their reactions of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, bitterness, feelings of hurt, anger and hatred towards something that they don't like and don't want. There's no freedom and there's so much tension in oneself or in all our relationships with anyone, when we want to love others, or be loved by others.

And thus, those who know what is love and how to love, there’s no complaint, or criticism, or talk bad about their partners that they are not good enough, or are bad, even if they are really not good, or are really bad. Only those who don’t really love their partner would want to complain, criticize and talk bad about their partners out of dissatisfaction, disappointment, bitterness, unhappiness, anger and hatred because they are not getting what they like and want, but they are getting what they don’t like and don’t want. And they want to get agreement and support from other people by complaining to other people about their disappointment and unhappiness, to prove to themselves and other people that “I am good enough to deserve to be treated in a better way or in the right way, and it’s because my partner is not good, or is bad, and he or she doesn’t appreciate ‘my love’ and ‘what I’ve done’ for him or her, that is giving me problems and unhappiness, that is hurting me, or making me angry and miserable.”

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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