be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Contribution to the society or community?

Immerse into the path of self-transformation freeing one's mind from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion, and be free from all sorts of impurities, is the greatest and truest contribution to the society or community, even without any intention to benefit anyone or to contribute anything. Other forms of contributions are secondary, and are impure and useless if one's mind is still functioning under the influence of ignorance and impurities.

Under a pure mind being free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, one can have the wisdom and compassion towards life, to make the correct choices and perform actions that would bring more peace and harmony than unrest and disharmony to oneself and the society or community.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Love ourselves?

Different people with different understanding and mentality interpret 'love ourselves' differently.

In yoga, to love ourselves, is to free our minds from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison, expectation, self-esteem, self-image, and all sorts of impurities of anger, hatred. jealousy, pride, arrogance, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, irritation, offensiveness, defensiveness, animosity, ill-will, agitation, depression, hurts, guilt, regret, fear and worry, and etc, where all these defilement is the real cause of unhappiness and suffering.

It's not about self-pampering by indulging one's own body and mind in some worldly sensual pleasurable activities or enjoyments, or be able to be free to do and say what we want to do and say disregards whether these actions and speech would generate harmful effects or painful sorrow in oneself and in others, to get rid of unhappiness and to feel happy, or trying to be strong and aggressive to be able to protect oneself from being bullied or hurt by anyone or anything that we think and believe or recognize as something undeserving, wrong, bad and hurtful. It doesn't mean that one should abuse oneself, or allowing others to abuse oneself, or shouldn't move away from abusive treatments. But one's mind isn't determined by others' unkind abusive behavior, and doesn't save hatred towards others' behavior that is unkind and abusive.

It's ignorance when we interpret compassion, non-attachment, non-aversion and observation as - If people want to slap your face, you should let them slap you, and ask them to slap the other side of the face as well. This is not what compassion is about.

Compassion, non-attachment, non-aversion, or observation doesn't mean that when we see someone is throwing a stone towards us, and we shouldn't move away. It's our decision whether we want to stay there and be hit by the stone, or move away from being hit by the stone, unless due to certain reasons, we are not aware of it or we can't move away. And even if we had tried to move away but we are still hit by the stone, it's our freedom to choose how we react towards this incident. By choosing to react with unhappiness, animosity, anger and hatred doesn't undo this incident.

Once one's mind is free from all these defilements, this mind will know what is being compassionate towards all beings, including being compassionate towards oneself. One will know how to love oneself and others without attachment and expectation. One will be free from the ignorance of expecting other beings to love us in the way that we think it should be, or be free from expectation towards oneself and others that everyone should behave in certain ways whether in life, in the society, in the world, in family, in friendships, or in relationships.

Be free from craving for love, attention, acknowledgement, support, liking, companionship, praise, compliment, rewards and all sorts of worldly egoistic conditional thinking and behavior.

When we give and love, we don't expect gratefulness and appreciation. We allow the fruit of action to be what it is, not necessarily is the way that what we think it should be. It doesn't matter those whom we give and love would be grateful, or appreciate, or love us, or not. There's no dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, unhappiness or hurt, if we truly know what is 'loving ourselves.'

When we think we are hurt by someone or something, it's because we think and expect that after what we give and how we love, we deserve to be receiving gratefulness, appreciation and love from those whom we give and love. We are disappointed and hurt by our own attachment and expectation. It's not because someone, or people in the world don't love us, or don't appreciate us, or stop loving us, or love us less, or prefer to love someone else.

One must learn how to love oneself before one knows how to love other beings.

Be free.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Expressing feelings of hurt or anger with violent behavior?

There's nothing wrong if our minds react towards some 'undesirable' experiences that the minds think is hurting us or bad to us, and we feel hurt or angry. That's how the mind is being conditioned to react and behave in certain ways.

Most egoistic minds will not like to hear this - It's the mind's own responsibility for how it reacts and feels towards all the pleasant and unpleasant, agreeable and disagreeable, desirable and undesirable experiences based on what the mind thinks and believes what things are, or how the mind perceives and understands everything, disregard whether other beings or objects have the intention to hurt us, or not.

And afterwards, if the mind continues to feel hurt and angry, it's its own responsibility. The mind chooses to continue to be determined, be influenced and be disturbed by the past 'hurtful' or 'bad' experiences and refuses or doesn't want to let go the feelings of hurt and anger.

It's not denying or ignoring there's something hurtful and try to convince ourselves that this is not hurtful, but, it is seeing the truth of things as it is and and observing the reality as it is. One doesn't need to torture oneself or be tortured by others to insist that hurts don't exist. Hurts exist from time to time in the reality perceived by the mind through the senses, but how it reacts towards hurtful experiences is its own responsibility. One can choose to be miserable or angry, or one can choose to forbear and let it go and be free.

Untrained minds will easily be influenced by different elements that it perceives or experiences through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and thinking, to act and react. But through yoga and meditation practice, the mind develops correct understanding towards all the actions and reactions towards all the perceptions of names and forms that are happening in the mind unceasingly.

Minds are being conditioned to think and behave in certain ways and have certain beliefs. Different minds have different ways of thinking and beliefs. Whenever the mind comes in contact with names and forms (objects, opinions, thinking, beliefs, behaviors, ways of doing things and etc) that are similar or agreeable with the thinking and beliefs in one's mind, this mind will generate liking and agreement and will project judgment of 'good', 'right', 'pleasant' or 'positive' onto these names and forms. Likewise, whenever the mind comes in contact with names and forms (objects, opinions, thinking, beliefs, behaviors, ways of doing things and etc) that are different or contradicted with the thinking and beliefs in one's mind, this mind will generate dislike and disagreement and will project judgment of 'bad', 'wrong', 'unpleasant' or 'negative' onto these names and forms.

It's not the experiences being 'bad', or 'wrong', or 'unpleasant', or 'negative' that have the quality to hurt or upset the mind. It's how the mind reacts or chooses to react based on what the mind thinks and believes what things are that is responsible for how the mind feels. The mind chooses to believe "This is hurtful. It's hurting me, I feel hurt, and continues to feeling hurt by this that was hurting me." The mind has the freedom to choose how it reacts towards all the experiences. It's its own responsibility for feeling good or bad, happy or unhappy, pleased or displeased, hurt or unhurt upon coming in contact with different experiences that it likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with, wants and doesn't want.

Be free from violent reactions (whether in thoughts, speech or actions) towards undesirable experiences is the basic teaching and practice of yoga and meditation.

There's nothing wrong with how one chooses to express or release one's frustration, anger, unhappiness or hurts. Some people feel better after they express or release their frustration, anger, unhappiness or hurts in some forms of violent behavior. But violent behavior that would hurt oneself and others or objects will not undo something that we don't like or don't agree with, but would generate more unnecessary damages in oneself and others, whether intentionally or unintentionally. And after feeling better, it doesn't guarantee that one wouldn't be continue to feel hurt and angry if one continues to hold on onto what the mind believes as hurtful or bad experiences.

It's the correct understanding about why do we feel frustrated, angry, unhappy and hurt, that allows us to let go the unnecessary reactions of frustration, anger, unhappiness and hurts towards all the 'undesirable' experiences. When the mind is free from frustration, anger, unhappiness or hurts, one doesn't need to suppress or express these feelings as there is none. One doesn't need to express or release these feelings through violent behavior to feel better or to feel good about oneself.

As yoga and meditation practitioners, one keeps the conditional subjective thinking and beliefs to oneself about how 'human beings' should or shouldn't think, believe and behave. Allow and respect others to be different from oneself or to have different ways of thinking, beliefs and behavior from oneself, even when one doesn't like and doesn't agree with these thinking, beliefs and behavior. If one doesn't know this teaching and practice of yoga, then even though one identifies as a 'vegetarian' who doesn't eat animal products or doesn't support killing animals for food, one isn't really practicing yoga of non-violence, when one mind is constantly being disturbed and influenced by reactions of frustration, anger, unhappiness and hurts towards undesirable or disagreeable experiences.

If there are people who practice yoga and meditation don't like or disagree with this teaching or practice of yoga about non-violence, they don't have to practice this teaching of yoga. Everyone is free to think, believe and behave the way that they want to think, believe and behave. It's one's freedom as well as one's own responsibility towards the well-being of one's mind.

Be free.

Sri Lalitha Sahasranama by Swami Nivedanananda

https://soundcloud.com/swami-nivedanananda/sri-lalitha-sahasranama

This is a very soothing chanting by Swami Nivedananada

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Practicing yoga and meditation is being a doctor/surgeon for one's own mind

Yoga and meditation practice being practiced with the correct understanding and attitude will allow oneself to be a doctor/surgeon for one's own mind. It is being a doctor/surgeon for one's own mind to find out and to eliminate the cause of 'mind diseases' - all kinds of suffering, to treat what needs to be treated, and to perform operation onto one's mind by oneself, to remove the cause of suffering - ignorance and impurities. One can only be one's own mind doctor/surgeon, as the ignorance and impurities in one's mind cannot be treated or removed by another being, even if the being is all wise and enlightened.

During the process of one's mind operation, it could be quite an unpleasant experience for many. If one's ego is stronger than the will for liberation, one will abandon and runaway from this purification process. One needs to have intense patience, forbearance, determination, perseverance, self-awareness, self-discipline and self-control dealing with one's own ego and stubborn mind impurities.

It is a prolonged and 'non-violent' gentle operation to 'destroy' or 'eliminate' the products of ignorance from the mind - egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion, and impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride, arrogance, self-esteem, ill-will, animosity, defensiveness, offensiveness, violence, vengeance, feelings of hurt, guilt, regret, fear and worry, and etc.

The ignorant egoistic mind is conditioned to think, behave, act and react in certain ways being conditioned by accumulated worldly and spiritual knowledge, information, social and cultural beliefs, and different types of religious or non-religious teachings coming from different sources from everywhere. Freeing the mind from any kind of conditional thinking, behavior, action and reaction, or in another term, quieting the restless thought activities of the mind, is freeing the mind from the veil of ignorance that hinders the mind to see the truth of things as it is.

If one's mind doesn't has any diseases, or is free from suffering, one doesn't need to perform yoga and meditation practice. One doesn't need to receive treatment to be cured from sickness, or to perform operation to remove any diseases, as there's none.

Meanwhile, being yoga teachers teaching yoga to other people is not about treating other people's 'mind diseases', or to perform operation onto other people's minds to remove 'mind diseases' and their causes from these minds, but it's to disseminate the knowledge of yoga and meditation practice to allow everyone to learn to become their own mind doctor/surgeon, to free themselves from ignorance and suffering.

May all be free.

Monday, April 11, 2016

How the mind reacts and feels is its own responsibility

How the mind feels, whether good or bad, happy or unhappy, is its own responsibility of how the mind chooses to react and feel towards all the perception of names and forms, under the influence of what the mind likes and dislikes, agrees with and disagrees with, based on what the mind thinks and believes what things are, and its expectation about how things should be like.

Whenever we think and say,
"You/he/she/they/it make(s) me happy."
or "You/he/she/they/it make(s) me unhappy"
or "You/he/she/they/it disappoint(s) me."
or "You/he/she/they/it make(s) me sad."
or "You/he/she/they/it make(s) me angry."
or "You/he/she/they/it hurt(s) me."
or "You/he/she/they/it are/is good."
or "You/he/she/they/it are/is bad."
or "You/he/she/they/it are/is right."
or "You/he/she/they/it are/is wrong."
or "This is something positive."
or "This is something negative."
or "This is pleasure or suffering."
or "This is happiness or unhappiness."
It's ignorance.
It's not the truth of what things are.

Everything is just what it is. Everything has no quality (whether intentionally or unintentionally) to control how the mind acts and reacts, what it feels and doesn't feel. It's the mind itself projecting different qualities or values onto all the names and forms that it perceives through the senses. The mind is conditioned by itself about how it thinks, behaves, acts and reacts, feels and doesn't feels.

Even when someone has the intention to do or give something to make another being to feel good or bad, it's up to that being for how it chooses to react and feel.

It's our own responsibility for how we feel coming from how our mind reacts towards all the names and forms that we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, based on our personal subjective thinking and belief about what things are, under the influence of the likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements of the ego. It's not the responsibility of something or someone has a particular intention or quality of being 'good' or 'bad', 'right' or 'wrong', for how we react and feel.

Highly intelligent and knowledgeable minds are not necessarily free from ignorance.

Not attach towards any particular ideas, philosophies, teachings, thinking and beliefs, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements that are existing in the mind will allow the mind be free from ignorance, to see things as they are.

Once the mind is free from ignorance, it stops react and feel the way that it used to react and feel towards all the perceptions of names and forms. The world is still what it is and it's impermanent, but how the mind perceives and understands about everything changed. Reactions of anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, pride, arrogance, low self-esteem, dissatisfaction, disappointment, depression, frustration, irritation, sadness, grief, fear, worry, hurts, guilt, regret, ill-will, animosity, defensiveness, protectiveness and etc, are unnecessary.

One stays away from unnecessary troubles and problems that are created by ignorant minds out of impurities of anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, pride, arrogance, low self-esteem, dissatisfaction, disappointment, depression, frustration, irritation, sadness, grief, fear, worry, hurts, guilt, regret, ill-will, animosity, defensiveness, protectiveness and etc.

Om shanti.

Live alone. Walk alone. - Swami Sivananda

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Trouble / problem makers?

Most untrained egoistic minds have trouble / problem making tendency. Either they create unnecessary troubles / problems for themselves and/or for others, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Yoga practitioners who are looking for peace in oneself and wishing for peace in the world, must develop self-awareness towards the troubles / problems making tendency in the mind and do our best not to be trouble / problem makers, or at least, minimize generating unnecessary trouble or problem for oneself and/or for others.

One who is still struggling on the path of self-inquiry should stay away from trouble / problem makers as much as possible, to avoid getting involve with unnecessary troubles or problems, unwittingly.

The world is full of untrained egoistic minds. Minds that are well-cultured, religious, spiritual, well-educated, literate, knowledgeable, intelligent, passionate, ambitious and righteous, are not necessarily be free from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and impurities. The minds might still be under the influence of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, pride, arrogance, dissatisfaction, disappointment, irritation, frustration, agitation, depression, ill-will, animosity, offensiveness, defensiveness, self-righteousness, fear and worry, to act and react.

Righteous prideful egoistic minds love to be trouble / problem solvers. If one knows how to stop generate troubles or problems, there's no trouble or problem that needs to be solved. Trouble or problem solvers are unnecessary.

Focus on self-evolution instead of trying to transform the world to be the way that we think it should be. The world will be peaceful as it is, if everyone knows how to transcend the ignorance and egoism in oneself.

Om shanti.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Yoga, in a simple way

If our mind can be in peace and remain equanimous, under any conditions and situations, especially when we lost what we like and want, or when we don't get what we like and want, or when we are getting what we don't like and don't want, and we are still be able to be kind and compassionate towards ourselves and other beings without discrimination towards different qualities of names and forms, including those whom we think are 'bad' and 'wrong', or those who are unkind to us whether intentionally or unintentionally, is yoga.

Saucha - Internal and external purity or cleanliness

One of the teachings or practice of yoga is the observation of Saucha - Internal and external purity or cleanliness.

Internal purity or cleanliness is to maintain purity or cleanliness of the mind by eliminate impurities from the mind, to allow the mind to be able to see the truth of things as it is, without being influenced by any impurities.

External purity or cleanliness is doing our best within our capability to maintain cleanliness of the physical body, the living environment and the yoga and meditation practice space to allow ourselves to be able to perform physical form of yoga and meditation practice in a clean and conducive practice space, and be able to perform all our duties and responsibilities towards ourselves and others with a healthy physical body.

There's no limitation for the internal mind purification or cleanliness, except lack of non-attachment, self-awareness, introspection, self-discipline, self-control, determination and perseverance in oneself. Meanwhile there's some limitation for external purification or cleanliness as there are external elements or factors that are beyond the control within our capability. Although most untrained minds will be affected and influenced more or less by external conditions, that's why external cleanliness is an important factor in yoga and meditation practice, but, all kinds of external limitations couldn't and wouldn't stop one from achieving internal purification or cleanliness, if one knows what is non-attachment.

I'll do my best to have a clean living and practice space for my personal physical yoga practice at home and while travelling. But, if a clean living and practice space or environment is not available for me to be performing physical form of yoga and meditation practice, it's okay. It won't stop me from performing internal yoga and meditation practice continuously.

For running the yoga retreats, I'll do my best to provide and maintain a clean living and practice space for the retreat guests. But, what is beyond the control within my capability, I'll let it be and allow the guests to practice non-attachment and learn to accept the reality that is not necessarily the way that how we would like it to be.

By having a clean living space to live in, or having a clean body for achieving physical good health and high fitness level, or having a clean practice space to perform physical form of yoga and meditation practice doesn't guarantee that one will be free from ignorance and suffering. It is the internal practice of non-attachment, non-craving and non-aversion that allows the mind to be free from ignorance and suffering, under any conditions and situations, whether a clean living and practice space is available to us, or not.

Om shanti.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Busy mind?

As yoga practitioners living among the worldly society, if we notice our mind is becoming too busy with too many things, ideas, or thought activities until we couldn't sleep or rest well, and we couldn't control our speech organ that we couldn't stop talking excessively and randomly about this and that in a social conversation with other people as the mind has too many ideas that need to be expressed, or our mind is easily distracted or pulled away from our main duty and responsibility, and this drains our energy level, then know that we need to retreat our mind from the worldly social activities and objects of names and forms, such like reduce books and news reading, or TV and movies watching, or internet surfing, and minimize mingling and socializing as much as possible.

Unless the mind knows what is non-attachment towards worldly social activities and objects of names and forms, and is not disturbed or affected or influenced by all these worldly inputs, then there's no need to retreat from worldly social activities and objects of names and forms.

Untrained mind keeps looking for some sorts of entertainment or stimulation, or else it gets bored or agitated and feel meaningless.

Rendering the restless busy outgoing mind to turn inward to be quiet, is what yoga practice is about. It's quietness with clarity. It's not the type of 'dullness' or 'cloudiness' that comes from the effect of taking some mind altering substances.

For those who are not serious in their yoga practice, they don't have to observe this practice or retreat their outgoing busy minds from worldly social activities and objects. It's everyone's freedom for what they want to do with their minds.

Om shanti.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Practice yoga with common sense

Though yoga is the unconditional and unlimited peace and freedom beyond the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, and beyond the impermanent worldly life experiences, situations and conditions, we need to practice yoga (in physical form) with common sense.

The mental form of yoga practice about annihilation of ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion, to have self-awareness and self-control, to be endowed with patience, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, forgiveness, determination, perseverance and concentration, and be free from impurities, is unconditional and unlimited by time and space, situations and conditions. One can be practicing yoga at anytime and anywhere, unrestricted and undetermined by time and space, situations and conditions, physical abilities and limitations, degree of intelligence and accumulated knowledge, different religious or cultural beliefs, and different types of personalities.

Meanwhile, the physical form of yoga practice consists of Pranayama practice, Asana practice, chanting and prayer, sitting meditation, and some other form of practices that require specific time and space, appropriateness and convenience, is limited by time and space, situations and conditions. For example, it's not suitable to perform yoga asana and pranayama practice immediately after eating a heavy meal, or certain yoga poses are limited by some physical limitations and injuries or illness and they are not necessarily suitable for all and everyone, or it's not suitable to perform chanting and prayer loudly at an inconvenient time and space that would cause disturbance to other people, or people with certain illness or physical limitations can't perform sitting meditation. And it's okay. All these limitations of the physical form of yoga practice do not and will not interfere or stop one from practicing yoga unceasingly in the mind.

Practice yoga with common sense.

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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