be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Sadhana advice from Swami Sivananda

If you give up idle talk and gossiping and idle curiosity to hear rumours and news of others and if you do not meddle with the affairs of others you will have ample time to do meditation.

Environments are not bad but your mind is bad. Your mind is not disciplined properly. Do not complain against bad environments but complain first against your own mind.

Train your mind first. If you practice concentration amidst unfavorable environments, you will grow strong, you will develop your will force quickly, you will become a dynamic personality.

Know things in their proper light. Do not be deluded. Emotion is mistaken for devotion. Violent jumping in the air during Sankirtan for divine ecstasy. Falling down in a swoon on account of exhaustion from too much jumping for Bhava Samadhi. Rajasic restlessness and motion for divine activities and Karma Yoga. A Tamasic man for a Sattvic man. Movement of air in rheumatism in the back for ascent of Kundalini. Tandri and deep sleep for Samadhi. Manorajya or building castles in the air for meditation. Physical nudity for Jivanmukta state. Learn to discriminate and become wise.

Do not utter such words as are calculated to bring your own self-glorification. You must forget at once what is bad. But you must not forget any good done to you by others. There is no expiation for that man who is ungrateful. Forget your good qualities. Forget the bad qualities of others. Forget the enmity of those who are inimical to you. Forget the good actions that you have done to others.

Do not be afraid of any other devil. Fear itself is the greatest devil. Kill this devil first. All other devils will take to their heels. All troubles are only imaginary. Fear comes of ignorance. There is fear where there is duality.

When you remain in the world, association with worldly persons is unavoidable. Cut short the conversation and the period of mixing with them.

The worldly duties are not ties. The world is the best teacher. You are not require to renounce the world and take shelter in the Himalayan cave to claim back your lost divinity. The world cannot stand in the way of your God-realisation. Live in the world but allow not the world to live in you. He, who living in the midst of temptations of the world attains perfection, is true hero.

If a yogi or a Sannyasin who is able to keep up serenity of mind while living in a cave in the forest, complains of disturbance of mind when he lives in the bustle of a city, he has no control of mind. He has no inner spiritual strength. He is not a practical Vedantin. He has no Self-realisation. He has not attained the goal of life. He is still within the domain of Maya.

A real yogi or a practical Vedantin is one who can keep perfect calmness of mind while performing intense activities amidst the bustle of a city. This is the central teaching of the Gita.

By destroying Vasanas and Sankalpas, you melt or annihilate the mind. By annihilating the mind, you kill egoism. By killing egoism, you know the Self. By knowing the Self you attain Self-realisation. By attaining Self-realisation you become free from all sorts of pains, tribulations and miseries. You enjoy supreme unalloyed bliss of the eternal and become That.

Destroy the Vasanas (of body, world and booklore). Withdraw the mind. Identified yourself with the Sakshi (silent witness of the mind).

You cannot wash the mind with soap and water to get rid of its impurities but if you eradicate desires and attachment, the mind will be purified of itself.

This Atman is Silence. The best conception of God is 'Silence'. Therefore learn to be silent. Make the mind silent, waveless, thoughtless and desireless. This is real silence.

The world is a big wheel. It is revolving unceasingly. The mind is the nave of this wheel. Those who are egoistic, proud, passionate and greedy are caught up in this wheel. If you can stop the mind from moving, the world-wheel will come to a standstill and you will be freed from the round of births and deaths. If you wish to stop the mind from moving, you will have to annihilate egoism, pride, desire and greed.

Truth dawns by itself upon the mind of the tranquil who are equally good and friendly to all beings. Tranquillity of the mind is attained by eradication of desires and thoughts. Mind is agitated by desires and thoughts. When desires and thoughts are controlled, the mind becomes as calm as the lake which is not agitated by the winds. Tranquillity cannot be attained within a week or a month. Practice for a long time is essential.

Do not enter into heated discussion with people. Restrain the senses. Annihilate Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes). Extend compassion to all creatures. You will soon attain immortality.

A real aspirant who thirst for Self-realisation should be absolute honest in every dealing. Honesty is not only the best policy in him, but also a strict rule of daily conduct.

Life is not a misery. One should live for hundred years by performing action without attachment. Life is not a bondage when it is looked with the proper light. Such a man of proper knowledge looks on all beings as his own Self and his self as all beings. To him everything is his own Self, and he is not affected by grief, delusion or sorrow of any kind.

The Atman is not born, nor does it dies. It has not come from anywhere and it has not become anything. Unborn, constant, eternal, primeval, this one is not slain when the body is slain. This Atman is hidden in the deep core of the heart of beings. It cannot be attained by any amount of reasoning, study or instruction. It comes only through the Supreme grace. A man of bad conduct, who has not ceased from crookedness, cannot hope to attain the Atman.

The road to Supreme is clothed with pricking thorns. It is sharp like the edge of a razor, hard to tread, a very difficult path! It can be trodden only with the help of knowledge obtained from men of wisdom. Knowing That, one is liberated from the terrible mouth of death.

The mind and the senses always run outwards. Only the man of self-discipline and perseverance can gaze inward and experience the state of Atman as it really is. The childish who have no knowledge of the Truth, run after external pleasures and they fall into the widespread of death. Only the wise, knowing the state of Immortality, seek not the stable Brahman among things which are impermanent here.

The Atman or the Brahman has no connection with the world of change. The goodness, the light, the pleasure and the beauty of the world is not to be found there even in name. That State is experienced when the senses cease to work together with the mind and when the intellect does not move, and when there is mere consciousness. When all desires which are lodged in the heart are liberated, then the mortal becomes immortal. Herein he attains Brahman.

Brahman is Truth, Knowledge, Infinity, Bliss. Brahman is Bhuma where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else and understands nothing else. It rests on nothing else. On it everything else rests. One who knows this rejoices in his own Self and rests contented in his own Self.

Sacrifice cannot bring salvation. They are mere temptations which bind one to birth and death. The deluded people think that mere sacrifice and charity constitute eternal blessedness. They are mistaken. What is not the effect of action is not attained by any amount of action. Brahman which is not done cannot be attained by what is done. Having scrutinised the nature of the world, a wise man should arrive at indifference and dispassion. He must approach a preceptor and learn Brahma-Vidya from him. Such a fortunate soul rends asunder the knot of ignorance.

There is no other duty for man except meditation on the Self. Dismissing all else, one should establish himself in the Self. There remains nothing to be done or attained, when the Self is experienced. There is nothing but Brahman. All this is Brahman.

Existence alone was in the beginning. This was one alone without a second. From that everything else was produced. The modifications of it are only apparent. There is no world except mere names and forms, mysteriously connected with one another. There is no sun or moon except mere colours or fictitious forms. When the colours are distinguished, the sun loses it sunhood, the moon loses its moonhood, things loses their thingness. Brahman alone exists.

The Self alone is dear. One who loves something other than the Self loses what he loves. The Self is the Absolute. One who knows this becomes indestructible. He is only a beast who considers he and his God are different. Not for the sake of this all this is dear, but for the sake of the Self this all is dear. By knowing that Self, everything else becomes automatically known, for the Self indeed is this all.

The Self is an ocean without a shore and a surface. It is mere Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. Where there is duality as it were, one can speak to the other, see the other and understand the other, but where everything is just one's own Self, then who can speak to whom, who can see whom, who can understand whom? This is the Supreme end. That is the Supreme blessing. That is the Supreme Bliss. On a part of this Bliss other creatures are living.

He who is without desire, who is freed from desire, whose desire is satisfied, whose desire is the Self - his Pranas do not depart. He being Brahman Itself, becomes Brahman immediately.

One who sees His own Atman in all beings, and all beings in his own Atman - he becomes fearless. He is not deluded by the objects of the senses. He is not particularly attached to any object or being. Time and space bow before him and withdraw. He lives in the one Great Present. There is neither a past nor a future for him. There is neither a 'here' not a 'there'.

The apparent change does not belong to the Atman. Nay, even death is not the end. It is but another apparent change. Life continues beyond. Man sleeps with one encasement and wakes up after a short while with another encasement! Death has lost its dread for him! He has achieved the impossible - he has eluded the grasp of Death itself!

The senses have been created with a natural tendency to flow out towards the objective universe. This externalisation dissipates the rays of the mind, weaken the intellect and blind the eyes of intuitive perception. Unity is falsely represented as diversity, the untrue appears to be True, pain appears to be pleasure, and shadows holds out greater charms that the Substance Itself. This is the path of 'Preya' (the Pleasant) which the dullwitted ignorant man pursues.

The Atman is Akarta, non-doer. It is Abhokta, non-enjoyer! Realisation of this Truth enables man to transcend Samsara or the cycle of births and deaths.

Renunciation is necessary, but inner renunciation born out of true knowledge that the Atman is Akarta and Abhokta, and that it is not affected by the actions of the sense-organs, is considered preferable to external renunciation of physical actions. Man should perform his duties, in the proper spirit. Such actions do not bind him, but on the other hand they help him to liberate himself.

The deluded attachment to men and women, friends and relatives, money and gold, has to be ruthlessly burnt to ashes! All the so-called duties of the world have to be kicked away for the sake of that glorious state of Self-realisation.

Kick off the world ruthlessly. Enough of tea and coffee, enough of soda, lemonade and crushes, enough of novels and cinemas, enough of races and aeroplanes, enough of father, mother, brothers, children, friends and relatives! You came alone and you will go alone.

A worldly-minded fashionable wife (or husband) is a sharp knife to cut off the life of the husband (or wife). Be wedded to Santi and have Vairagya as as the sons, and Viveka the magnanimous daughter and eat the delicious divine fruit of Atma Jnana which can make you immortal!

Application of soap to the body, oil to the hair, powder to the face, looking into the mirror a thousand and one times a day, wearing rings on the fingers - these and many like these will intensify your attachment to the body. Therefore give up all these things ruthlessly.

The cause of pain is love of pleasure. The cause of death is love of sensual life. Death is a horrible thing to him who is intensely attached to sensual life. Words like cremation, murder, death, corpse, burial, make the sensualist shudder at heart, for he is extremely attached to the body and the objects of the senses. "How to part with the sensual objects?" is his great cause of misery. Pity!

According to vedanta, annihilation of Adviya or ignorance leads to Samadhi. According to Patanjali Rishi, the aspirant attains Samadhi by removing the hold of Prakriti by practice and discipline.

The Vedantin enjoys the eternal bliss and natural easiness of Sahaja Samadhi. He remains as Sakshi or silent witness. He does not make any serious attempt to control the psychic stream or thought-current. He raises the Brahmakara Vritti by meditating on the significance of "Tat Tvam Asi" Mahavakya.

The Samadhi in the Jnani is effortless and spontaneous. Wherever the mind goes, there it experiences Samadhi. He rests in Samadhi always. There is no "In Samadhi" and "Out of Samadhi" for a sage. He enjoys freedom, bliss and peace, in all moments of his life.

Yogic Samadhi is analytical and discriminative. In this Samadhi greater stress is laid upon the discrimination between the Prakriti and the Purusha. In Jnana Samadhi, no discrimination is needed. Brahmakara Vritti, raised by an attempt to become identical with the Supreme Self or Brahma Chintana, destroys Avidya and dies by itself.

No more words. Enough of discussions and heated debates. Retire into a solitary room. Close your eyes. Have deep silent meditation. destroy the Sankalpas, thoughts, whims, fancies and desires when they arise from the surface of the mind.

You are left alone now. You have nothing to see and nothing to hear. There is none to cheer you. You will have to depend on yourself. Do not look backward. Forget the past. Forget the body and the world.

"Gathering his mind, the Yogi should retire to a mountain-cave, a temple or a secluded room. He should not associate with anything through mind, speech and action, for accumulation of and association with things cause misery to Yogis. He should cultivate indifference towards everything. He should be regular about his diet. Worldly gain should cause him no pleasure, nor worldly loss any sorrow. He should look upon one with an equal eye, both who censures him and one who bows before him. Whether good is happening to anybody or evil, he should not reflect. When there is gain he should not be besides himself with joy, nor should he worry when there is loss. He should look upon all beings with an equal eye and should remain unattached like the air. He who thus keeps his mind in health, works for others, cultivates an equal eye towards everything and everybody and lives for six months a regular disciplined life, can realise Brahman and attain Brahmanhood (Nirvikalpa Samadhi) himself." (Mahabharata - Santi-Parva)

"Humility, unpretentiousness, harmlessness, forgiveness, rectitude, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self-control, dispassion towards the objects of the senses, insight into the pain and evil of birth, death, old age and sickness, unattachment, absence of self-identification with son, wife, or home, and constant balance of mind in wished-for and unwished-for events, unflinching devotion to Me by Yoga, without other objects, resort to sequestered places, absence of enjoyment in the company of men, constancy in the wisdom of the Self, understanding the object of essential wisdom, that is declared to be real wisdom, all else is ignorance." (Bhagavadgita)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

It's everyone's freedom whether to receive or reject the gift of Dhamma

Many people like to attend 'yoga retreat' are not about giving importance towards the yoga practice to be learning and practicing yoga under the guidance of a yoga teacher who teaches yoga, to leave their ego and worldly habits behind for a period of time, to quiet and silent the mind, to learn how to apply the teachings of yoga into the yoga asana practice, as well as applying the yoga practice/teachings or the Dhamma practically into everyday life while living in the society, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Instead, they expect to be doing some form of yoga exercises/practice as a leisure activity while on a holiday that includes yoga and other holiday activities, where they expect the resort/staff/teachers to conduct/provide/lead/instruct/teach the yoga exercise sessions the way that they like it to be, in a resort style holiday environment, being away from any duties and responsibilities, and condition and situation in their everyday life that they don't like and don't want, to be indulging in pleasurable enjoyment of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and visualization, to be enjoying VIP treatments, resort facilities and services.

They are not interested to practice yoga in a simple place where it's not much different from everyday life condition for most people, or even more challenging for those who live a comfortable lifestyle where everything is conveniently available and accessible and being served by other people all the time, but one needs to perform daily tasks to take care of one's everyday living, just like in everyday life, but with additional restrictions of a more disciplined daily routine and limited social activities, or without personal assistant or servant to bring them what they want whenever they want, while learning and practicing yoga under the guidance of a yoga teacher who teaches yoga, so that when they go back into their everyday life, they can implement the yoga teachings/practice or the Dhamma into their everyday life while performing all their duties and responsibilities towards themselves and others, without the sense of superiority or inferiority, pride and arrogance, and dealing with all kinds of condition and situation that are not necessarily the way that they like it to be, be free from craving and aversion, without the need to runaway from what they don't like or don't want, and developing stronger self-discipline and reducing social activities to quiet the restless mind while living in the society, and realize unconditional peace that is beyond the impermanent qualities of names and forms, undetermined by time and space, causation, condition and situation.

If people feel that they can only have peace or practice yoga in a comfortable environment with very little distraction and without the need to deal with any discomfortable challenging condition and situation, and they find that it's very difficult for them to have peace or practice yoga in everyday life as there are lots of distractions and have to deal with many discomfortable challenging condition and situation in everyday life, then they haven't learn anything at all, even though they feel good and happy to practice yoga or do some yoga asana exercises in a comfortable distraction-less environment. A real yoga retreat should allow people to learn how to implement the teachings of yoga into everyday life and practice yoga and have peace under any condition and situation, with correct understanding, awareness, self-discipline, self-control, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation.

It's everyone's freedom whether they want to receive or reject the gift of Dhamma and whether they want to practice yoga, or not. Even some yoga teachers are not really practicing yoga, although they have been doing different styles of yoga asana practice and teaching different styles of yoga exercise classes for many years. And it's okay as everyone takes their own time to evolve. It doesn't matter after many years of doing and teaching yoga exercise, the mind is still not free from ignorance and egoism, and being over-powered by impurities.

Many people who like to do the yoga asana exercises regularly are not necessarily interested in the yoga teachings and practice about silencing the mind and the elimination of ignorance, egoism and impurities. That's their freedom. Even though many of them have been following some yoga teachers to be doing yoga asana exercises for some time or a long time, their minds are not necessarily be free from the desire of craving and aversion, and easily be disturbed and determined by the gratification of craving and aversion, and be influenced by impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, irritation, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurts, regret, guilt, offensiveness, defensiveness, animosity, ill-will, ill-thinking, pride, arrogance, agitation, depression, fear and worry, and so on, being restless or peaceless.

A teacher presents the same teaching or Dhamma to different people at the same time, some people take it and practice and realize and be free, while some people reject the Dhamma, as that is not what they like and want and agree with, they only want to do something that they like and want to do, to gratify their desire of craving and aversion, to enjoy and to feel good. And that's their freedom.

It's not the teacher is being good or not good. It's not the Dhamma is something good or not good. The teacher and the Dhamma are just what they are. They are neither good nor not good, but it's the people themselves, whether they want to take it, or not, and through their own effort of practice and attain self-realization, or not, that allows them to be free, or not. Whether the people want to take the Dhamma and practice and realize yoga, or they don't like and don't want to practice the Dhamma, it's not the responsibility of the teacher or the Dhamma.

Egoistic mind will try to runaway from something that it's experiencing now, that it doesn't familiar with, doesn't feel comfortable, doesn't like, doesn't want and doesn't agree with, that is different from or contradicted with one's thinking and belief and familiar worldly habits.

Those who teach yoga, they do not try to please the people who are learning and practicing yoga with them, or in anyway, to boost or empower or feed the ignorance and egoism of the people. But to guide the people to see or know what is going on in their own minds, develop awareness, self-discipline and self-control to deal with their own mind, to free their mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities through their own effort to purify and silent their impure restless mind, to see the truth of things as it is. Compassion is not about trying to make people happy by gratifying their desires of craving and aversion, but to allow them to know the root cause of a disturbed mind, or the source of unhappiness and suffering, even if they have to go through discomfort and unpleasantness.

The practice of yoga and the coming in contact with the Dhamma is not as pleasant as many people thought it is. The Dhamma might appear to be very different or contradicted with the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice. To realize Dhamma one has to let go attachment and identification towards the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice, to allow the mind to be open. Those who have strong attachment and identification with the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice would likely generate great disagreement, rejection or aversion towards the Dhamma. There are lots of impurities bubble up onto the body and the mind to be eliminated on the path of yoga towards the annihilation of ignorance, egoism and impurities. There will be lots of physical, mental and emotional discomfort arising and passing away. And it might take a long time for the mind to be purified to the deepest level. It requires lots of courage, patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance. forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation. It's quite an unpleasant or painful and even scary process for most minds, and many minds don't like to confront with this and rather to runaway from any unpleasantness or hardship. They just want to do the parts of the yoga practice that would give rise to momentary relaxation and good feelings, to gratify their desires of craving and aversion.

Those who truly practice yoga learn how to confront with what the mind perceives as unfamiliar, discomfortable and challenging condition and situation, with compassion, patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, or expectation.

Only through letting go all kinds of attachment and identification, and the desire of craving and aversion towards the pleasant and unpleasant mind perception of names and forms, not by pushing or running away from something that the mind doesn't like and doesn't want, that is discomfortable or challenging for the mind, will allow the mind to go beyond all the qualities of names and forms and be free from being disturbed or determined by all the different qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives as pleasant or unpleasant experiences, positive or negative experiences, that the mind likes or dislikes, wants and doesn't want.

Letting go and pushing away are two different things.

Letting go is unattached towards all the qualities of names and forms, allowing the unpleasant experiences to be there as they are, or allowing the pleasant experiences to be absent in this present moment, but remain at peace, without craving for something that is pleasant but it's not here, without aversion towards something that is here that is unpleasant, being undisturbed or undetermined by them. The mind is peaceful as it is regardless all the mind perceptions of pleasantness and unpleasantness, being free from disturbs due to ignorance, egoism and impurities.

While pushing away is do not allow any unpleasant experiences to be there, and expecting pleasant experiences to be available in the present the way that it likes it to be, and are being disturbed or determined by the presence of unpleasant experiences that the mind doesn't like and doesn't want, and the absence of pleasant experiences that the mind likes and wants. The mind is restless or peaceless being over-powered by frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, regret, ill-thinking, animosity, anxiety, fear and worry.

Be free.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Untruthfulness and dishonesty

Whether we like it or not, most people have been being untruthful or dishonest every once in a while or regularly. It's a habit that has been building up since childhood where the children are being brought up by their parents or elders with the habit of fictional and fantasized stories making and telling (untrue), joking (untrue), white lies (untrue), hypocrisy (untrue), boasting (not necessarily true), pleasing (most probably untrue), or acting (untrue) as something 'normal', 'appropriate manners' or 'play safe' to be interacting with other people in the family, in the relationships, in the society, in the social media, in the politics.

The children are being taught to be untruthful, dishonest and hypocrite by telling (white) lies, boasting, joking, pleasing or acting so that they do not upset or offend other people, or they should please other people, as one of the manners/politeness/appropriate behavior in their cultural and social practice.

A lot of time, untruthfulness and dishonesty is the by-product of fear.

Whenever the children are being aware of they might have done something they shouldn't be doing that they think it would upset their parents or their friends, and most probably, out of fear of being criticized, or scolded, or punished, or unloved by their parents or their friends, and fear of losing the supportive treatments from their parents or their friends, children would tell lies to hide the truth, being untruthful or dishonest. And this untruthful and dishonest behavior becomes a natural habit to 'play safe' and to 'please other people' in their childhood and continue to follow them into their adulthood.

When the children have the initiative to tell the truth or admit to their parents that they might have done something that they think it might upset their parents, and if the parents react with anger and aggressiveness towards the children or the incident, or inflict punishment onto the children, the children will tend to be untruthful or dishonest from then on. Instead, if the parents react with calmness, acceptance, forgiveness and letting go, knowing that by getting upset and angry won't undo what had happened, then the children will tend to be truthful and honest from then on. It also allows the children to learn to appreciate truthfulness and honesty, and learn about acceptance, forgiveness and letting go. Children making mistakes is a great learning process for both the parents and the children, to become responsible compassionate people, who accept and love themselves and other people as they are, even though they are not perfect.

Truthfulness and honesty is one of the important basic practice in yoga. Without it, numerous of other yoga practice are meaningless. But for many people who grew up under that kind of parenting or upbringing to behave 'appropriately' and 'politely' in their relationships with everyone, in the family, in the school, in the workplace, or in the society, being untruthful and dishonest is something 'right' and 'good', while being truthful and honest is something 'wrong' and 'bad'. They think that it's needless to abandon untruthfulness and dishonesty when they take up yoga practice, thinking that it's the 'normal' and 'correct' way of living and interacting with everyone in the society in order to have 'healthy' and 'happy' relationships with everyone.

How many conversations between people don't contain any untruthfulness or dishonesty?

Many people who are under the influence of the ego are either don't like the truth or being afraid of the truth. As most of the time, the truth is something difficult or unpleasant or painful for the untrained minds.

When people try to tell the truth of a 'good son' to his parents that their 'good son' isn't really good, the parents say, "No. Don't tell us (the truth). We don't want to know about it. Our son is all good. We brought him up to be good. He is a good boy."

People can't live and interact with other people 'normally' in this world without being untruthful or dishonest a little bit here and there.

While yoga is about the truth. No matter how difficult or unpleasant or painful is the truth, one has no fear of the truth.

And hence, those who truly practice yoga, they stay away from the society and observe seclusion and solitude, to avoid unnecessary untruthfulness and dishonesty.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Teach the children to accept and love themselves as they are

If we want to help to build a more peaceful and compassionate society, it's very important to have young generations that are selfless, peaceful, wise and compassionate, and hence, how the parents or caretakers and the influence of the surrounding environment for the children growing up to be adults/leaders that are endowed with awareness, self-discipline, self-control, independence, truthfulness, honesty, peace, wisdom and compassion is very crucial.

We need to teach the children how to accept and love themselves as they are, to develop awareness, independence, self-discipline and self-control, to inquire the truth of everything, to realize the truth of impermanence and selflessness, to be free from craving and aversion, to have unconditional peace and compassion, so that they don't need to depend on the qualities of names and forms that are impermanent to be who they are. They don't need to depend on receiving other people's love, kindness, acknowledgement, compliments, supports, friendships, relationships and companionship, or depending on a wishful desirable perfect world, to be who they are, to be proud, to be confident, to feel meaningful, to be happy, and to perform actions that are wholesome to themselves and others, out of free-will, out of compassion towards oneself and others, without attachment or identification towards the actions and the result of the actions to be who they are.

They know what are their ability and limitation. They are not defined by their ability and limitation to be who they are. They do their best to achieve what they want to achieve, but they have no attachment or identification towards the ability or limitation, the achievement or non-achievement. They allow other people to think, to judge, to compare, to expect, to like and dislike, to agree and disagree with towards their ability and limitation, but they are not affected or defined by other people's thinking, judgment, comparison, expectation, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements.

Being free from pride and arrogance, they know how to take consideration towards other people's advice, but without taking other people's advice blindly, and they know how to make use of the opportunity that is available to make decision and perform actions that they think are the best, without attachment or expectation towards the outcome of the decision made and the actions performed.

They can work in a group, cooperating with all levels and respecting all levels as equally important, without the sense of superiority or inferiority, knowing that the entire system requires every levels to work together for it to be functioning, but at the same time, they can work independently as well, when cooperation from others is not available.

The society will naturally have more peace and harmony by having less personal, family, relationship, social, political and religious problems if the children grow up to be adults/leaders in the society who are endowed with peace, wisdom and compassion, being free from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Unfortunately, most people who became parents are not free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, and are being conditioned and influenced by worldly, cultural, social and religious thinking and belief to live their life and how they bring up their children. Many children grow up to be adults/leaders living in the society with some sorts of psychological issues and behavior problems, full of discrimination, pride, arrogance, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, selfishness, aggression, violence, corruption, untruthfulness, dishonesty, offensiveness, defensiveness, animosity, depression, low self-esteem, hurts, regret, guilt, fear and worry. And then, when they try to runaway from or cover up what they think is not good or bad or negative or imperfect about themselves, that they don't like about themselves, that they don't want any others to know about it, they might create further and deeper problems for themselves and others, in their life and relationships, and in the society.

This is due to many parenting are influenced by the worldly, cultural, social and religious thinking and belief that emphasizing on empowering the ego of the children to boost their self-esteem or self-confidence or self-image by giving them praise and compliment and rewards to motivate and encourage them to be what the parents expect them to be and by giving them criticism and threat and punishment to discourage them to be what the parents don't want them to be, telling them that they need to do well and be good but also always be better and better, so that they can please other people, to attain praise and compliment, love, support, approval, agreement, acknowledgement and friendship or relationship from others to be who they are.

Whether they are aware of unaware of it, many parents bring up their children by emphasizing on the empowerment of the worldly egoistic nature with great attachment and identification towards the qualities of names and forms, to be somebody that the children and their parents and other people would be proud of. This empowerment of egoism generates separateness and discrimination, that give rise to many personal, family, relationship and social problems in one's life and in the society.

If children start early to develop correct understanding towards the thinking and behavior pattern, actions and reactions, craving and aversion, feelings and emotions, all sorts of mind activities and impurities, the ego and egoism, and train to eradicate egoistic thinking and behavior that give rise to restlessness and the impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, corruption, untruthfulness, dishonesty, violence, animosity, offensiveness, defensiveness, hurts, regret, guilt, fear and worry, they can be kind and compassionate towards other beings, but without expecting or craving for love and kindness and appreciation from other people in return, without clinging onto other people's love and kindness and appreciation to be who they are.

Children growing up suffering from low self-esteem is because of the parents make them think and believe that they have to be in certain ways and achieve certain qualities, in order to be accepted and be loved by their parents and other people. They were told that they don't deserve love and they shouldn't love themselves if they are not good enough, that they shouldn't accept themselves as they are, as they need to be better and better, and never stop being better. There will never a point that they are good enough so that they can accept and love themselves, as they are. Because the parents are so afraid that their children will stop improving themselves if they think they are good enough. And so, the parents make sure that their children never think that they are good enough.

When these children couldn't be in certain ways or achieve certain qualities, their parents will show dissatisfaction, disappointment and aggressiveness towards them, and this make them think and believe that they are not good enough, that they don't deserve acceptance and love from their parents and other people, or even from themselves. They don't know how to love themselves and they also don't know how to accept or love other people as they are, as they will also be like their parents, that they will also have expectation towards other people to meet up with their expectation towards other people, that they have to be in certain ways and achieve certain qualities, to be good enough, but they will never be good enough, as they need to be better and better.

If the children grow up knowing how to accept and love themselves as they are, unconditionally, they will always accept and love themselves as they are, regardless they are being in the way that their parents or other people expect them to be, or not, and whether they achieve the qualities that their parents and other people expect them to achieve, or not. And they will also know how to accept and love other people as they are, without expecting other people have to be the way that they think they should be, or to achieve certain qualities that they like and agree with.

It's not easy to guide children. Parents or caretakers who devote their time, effort, patience, love and acceptance towards the children unconditionally, is a great yoga practice. They don't need to be regularly doing some forms of yoga exercise, or breathing exercise, or chanting and prayer, or ritual, or to call themselves yoga practitioners or yogis, but by nurturing young children to grow up becoming responsible, peaceful and compassionate members of the family and the society, without egoism of attachment, identification and expectation, just do their best, and let go of the outcome, allowing the children to learn and evolve as they are, and love them as they are, unconditionally, is a great yoga practice and great contribution to humanity.

Be free.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Fine as it is

Most minds are being conditioned by the worldly thinking and belief about "One has to be happy in order to live life meaningfully, as well as one has to live life meaningfully in order to be happy."

What is "live life meaningfully" and what the mind believes as "happiness" is different for different people.

Be free from the thinking and belief about one has to be happy to live life meaningfully, and vice versa, is a great liberation.

It's okay that sometimes the mind is not okay, that the mind doesn't feel happy in this present moment, or for some time. It's impermanent, and it's not 'I'. It's okay that sometimes the mind doesn't feel living life meaningfully in this present moment, or for some time. It's impermanent, and it's not 'I'. The mind doesn't need to be happy or feel meaningful all the time.

People like to say "If there's no happiness, life is meaningless." and most people think and believe that happiness and meaningfulness is the presence of something good and positive and the absence of something bad and negative. Some people also say, "If there's no good health, there's no happiness."

Many people relate "live life meaningfully" as being able to do what we like to do, go where we want to go, live where we want to live, have a healthy body, have a decent livelihood, live a good quality of life, have different varieties of social circles/networks, make a lot of friends, and either live a happy single life, or find a good life partner/spouse to set up a happy family.

People who have a difficult life condition, or have been experiencing ill-treatment from other people, or have to deal with physical injury or health problems, or suffer from physical or emotional damages due to other people's ignorance and ignorant behavior, or couldn't make a living due to bad economy or oppression, or under went a painful divorce or break-up, or would love to have a family, but for some reasons, they couldn't have a family, it doesn't mean that they can't live life meaningfully or be happy, disregards all the ordeals or difficulties that they have to go through. All these undesirable experiences don't give rise to suffering or the sense of meaninglessness to those who truly practice yoga and realize yoga. Only those who are not free from ignorance and egoism, who attached onto qualities of names and forms to be happy and feel meaningful, or not, will be determined by all kinds of desirable and undesirable life experiences to be who they are, to be happy and feel meaningful, or not.

In yoga, it's about freeing the mind from this conditional thinking and belief about the achievement and possession of certain qualities of names and forms to be the reasons for one to be happy, or to deserve happiness and to live life meaningfully, or else, the absence of the achievement and possession of those qualities of names and forms will result in no reason for one to be happy, or to deserve happiness and to live life meaningfully.

One doesn't need to be happy or feel happy all the time, in order to feel meaningful or to live life meaningfully. One doesn't need to feel meaningful or to live life meaningfully, in order to be happy. One is peaceful and happy as one is.

Those who are free, they do their best to do what they like and want to do, and achieve what they want to achieve in this life existence, but they are not defined by what they like and want to do, or what they want to achieve, and whether they are able to do what they like and want to do, or achieve what they want to achieve, or not, in order to be happy, or to feel meaningful and to live life meaningfully, or not.

There's nothing wrong that many people believe that all human beings need to have motivation and expectation to keep pushing themselves, to keep improving, to attain success or higher and higher success in life, as well as to have faith in their religion or 'God', then they deserve happiness or will be blessed with happiness and living life meaningfully. Or else, they believe that those who are contented with the present moment as it is, or don't have any religion practice, or don't believe in 'God', they don't deserve happiness or will not be blessed with happiness or don't live life meaningfully. But, that's not the truth, because people can still be unhappy and suffering from all kinds of impurities in their own minds, if their minds are not free from ignorance and egoism, even if people attain success in life from time to time, or have a healthy body, or have a higher quality of life, or have a religion practice and believe in 'God'. Their minds will still be disturbed by something that they don't like, don't want and don't agree with. There's no peace.

If 'God' exists, and if 'God' is almighty and all love, 'God' bless all and everyone and everything to be sharing this space of the universe, disregards human beings believing or disbelieving in 'God', including all those that are non-human beings, that don't have any particular thinking and belief of a religion or 'God'.

While yoga practice is to inquire the truth of everything that the mind comes in contact with (including the teachings of yoga), and be free from being conditioned or limited by all kinds of worldly thinking and belief, freeing the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, being free from attachment, identifications, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, being free from anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, guilt, regret, violence, ill-will, animosity, speculation, anticipation, agitation, depression, sorrow, defensiveness, offensiveness, loneliness, anxieties, longing, fear and worry, being free from the pleasant and unpleasant past experiences and future imaginations, living in the present from moment to moment, to realize unconditional peace and love that is beyond all the worldly objects of different qualities of names and forms about what is and what is not "happiness" and "live life meaningfully".

One doesn't need to keep pushing the body and mind to go beyond its limitation in order to attain success, or higher success, in order to be happy, or to live life meaningfully. One can be very successful in everything that one wants to achieve, but one is not defined by the success or the achievements to be 'I', to be happy or to live life meaningfully.

One doesn't need to be someone that will make oneself and other people feel proud of, to be happy or to live life meaningfully.

One doesn't need to be good enough according to the worldly thinking and belief about what is "good enough", to be happy, or to deserve happiness and live life meaningfully.

It doesn't mean that one stops performing actions, but one doesn't need any motivation or expectation to motivate one to perform actions that are wholesome to oneself and others. Actions are being performed without the need of motivation or intention, without attachment, identification or expectation towards the actions and the fruit of actions.

It's okay if people don't like this yoga teaching and practice. That's their freedom.

Be free.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Self-esteem and confidence

Any issues regarding self-esteem and confidence shouldn't and doesn't need to be existing at all. But due to ignorance and egoism, many people depend on self-esteem and confidence to be who they are, to be happy and feel meaningful, or not. Many people are suffering from mild to severe low self-esteem or low confidence that leads to the sense of meaninglessness and depression. Even many mental and psychological related studies and professionals also preach, think and believe that the development and empowerment of self-esteem and confidence is very important in life existence as human beings and it's the key to personal and global growth, success and happiness.

Real confidence has nothing to do with self-esteem or confidence that builds on physical appearance, condition, ability and achievement, or mental state, ability and achievement, or desirable and undesirable life experiences, or good and bad relationships with parents, family, friends and the rest of the world. It is beyond all these names and forms, when the mind has gone beyond the identification of what the mind thinks is ‘I’ and ‘my’, where this identification of ‘I’ and ‘my’ with the different qualities of names and forms is just a by-product of the worldly thinking and belief, or family, cultural, social and religious belief.

It's the ego that feels it has to be good enough for something, or for somebody, or for oneself. It also feels that it might be not good enough for something, or for somebody, or for oneself, based on what the thinking and belief recognize as 'good' and 'good enough', or what is 'self-esteem and confidence', 'success', 'happiness' and 'meaningfulness', and the relationship between them, where most people think and believe that 'high self-esteem and confidence' is related to 'success', and 'success' is related to 'happiness', while 'happiness' is related to 'meaningfulness'. And many people are suffering because of this thinking and belief or trying to live up to this thinking and belief for their entire life, and passing this thinking and belief from generation to generation.

It's the idea of 'I', or the ego, that needs to feel good about oneself, and wants other people to perceive oneself as good enough, and needs to attain or possess certain qualities of names and forms to be identifying with, that would make one feels good and proud of oneself and also would make other people feel good and proud of oneself, in order to be happy and live life meaningfully.

And all these qualities of names and forms are impermanent and there is no 'I' to be found in any of these names and forms, or to be in control of the impermanent changes, to be the way that 'I' like it to be. No matter how much influences we can influence the condition of the physical body and the state of the mind, to maintain the function and the life span of the body and the mind, the body and mind will still have to go through inevitable changes of decay, old age, discomfort, illness, weakness, ceased functioning, and decompose, or death.

Once the mind fully understood this, it will be free from the bondage of self-esteem and confidence. There's no 'I' being good or not good enough. There's neither high nor low self-esteem. There's neither high nor low confidence.

One doesn't need to be somebody with particular appearance, condition, ability or achievement, or have certain good and positive life experiences, or good relationships with anyone, in order to feel confident, happy, satisfied or meaningful.

One can have and appreciate all the attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship that is available in the present, but one doesn't need other people's attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship in order to feel confident, love, happy or meaningful. If all these qualities of names and forms are not available, one is still happy and peaceful as one is. One doesn't feel lack of something or missing out anything, or one is not good enough to deserve love, happiness and meaningfulness.

And that's real confidence. One doesn't need to be confident or satisfied about oneself at all. One doesn't need to feel proud of oneself, and doesn't need other people to feel proud of oneself, to be 'I', or the good 'I', the successful 'I', the happy 'I', the meaningful 'I'. One is happy and peaceful as one is, without any identification with any quality as 'I'.

There is no thinking or identification of "I am a good and kind human being. I want to do good and be kind and be able to contribute towards humanity." but goodness, kindness and contribution towards humanity are being manifested and performed through the body and mind out of wisdom and compassion.

If one doesn't know this, one will always looking for or craving for attaining and possessing certain qualities of names and forms that one would like to relate oneself with, to be identifying with, to feel good and satisfied about oneself, to boost up one's self-esteem and confidence to be who 'I' am, thinking that by attaining and possessing such qualities of names and forms will also make other people to give them the attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship that they want from other people, in order to be happy and feel meaningful. But then one is not free. And that's one's freedom of thinking and action.

Be free.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The connection between low self-esteem and parenting

There's a huge connection between low self-esteem and the way of the parents bring up their children.

Low self-esteem is a form of mental illness. And there are quite many of the world population are suffering from some forms of mental illness, especially low self-esteem.

The main element that contributes to low self-esteem is the family brought up of how the parents bring up their children, where people are being influenced by the trends of the society on how they bring up their children, where the society emphasize on appearance, performance and achievements to be the important values of a society.

People feel that they need to look and behave and carry themselves in certain ways so that they will be accepted and respected by the family and the society. Their perception towards themselves of what they think is who they are and their life existence is very much being defined by their appearance, performance and achievements that is determined by the expectation, opinion, commentary, judgment and criticism from themselves and other people towards them.

Proudness is the shadow that follows low self-esteem. If low self-esteem is absent, proudness doesn't exist.

Those who suffer from low self-esteem need to feel proud of oneself. This is mainly the responsibility of how their parents brought them up. The parents have expectation towards their children and whether they are aware or unaware, whether intentionally or unintentionally, they are influencing the thinking and belief of their children to become the person that they want them to be and the way that they like it to be, and the way that they think is good for their children. They try to motivate their children to be they way that they like them to be by giving them praise and compliment, and they try to demotivate their children to be the way that they don't like it to be by giving them criticism and punishment. There's always assessment and judgment coming from the parents towards their children for how they look and behave, how they perform physically and mentally, and what they achieve or can't achieve. They will be happy and be nice to their children when their children fulfill their expectation, that they behave and achieve something the way that they like it to be. They won't be happy or be nice to their children when their children didn't fulfill their expectation, that they didn't behave or achieve something the way that they like it to be.

The parents hope that their children are 'good' enough and be competent to be able to compete with other people in the society to excel among the others and to be able to fit in into the higher or better class of the society. They want their children to be successful to be respected by the society and live life meaningfully, according to their thinking and belief about what is success and live life meaningfully.

Many parents will say this to their children, whether they are aware or unaware of the consequences of their action and speech, and whether they really mean what they say, or not. But the children will take it seriously, even if the parents didn't really mean what they say.

"You need to have some sorts of expectation towards yourself to improve and be better. Set up your goal and expectation and strive to achieve your goal and expectation. Then you are considered successful and well-deserved lots of love and happiness and respect from everyone."

 "Good boy/girl! Well done! You make us so proud, mummy and daddy love you so much. Keep it up and be better and better."

"You are so bad and terrible. Can't make anyone proud of you. You don't deserve love from anyone. Mummy and daddy don't want you anymore. We are so disappointed in you."

"If you are like this, mummy and daddy don't want to love you. Look at your sister/brother/friend, they are so much better than you."

"If you achieve this result, we will give you this and bring you there. If you don't, we won't give you this or bring you there. Let you stay at home by yourself. We only bring your brother and sister."

"Say please and thank you, or else, I won't give you what you want."

"Come on, you can do better than this, and you will make everyone proud of you."

"Are you a good boy/girl, or not? This is not good enough, you can be better than this. If you are very good, then people will love you. If you are not good, then no one will love you."

This is how the parents nurture their children to grow up becoming people who suffer from all sorts of mental illness.

They always feel bad and dissatisfied with themselves towards the ability, performance and achievements of their physical body and their mind. They always feel that they need to compare and compete with other people, including their siblings, their spouse, their friends, their classmates, their colleagues, their neighbours, and anybody. There is an instinct to constantly judge their and other people's appearance, ability, performances and achievements to compare and compete with one another. They were being told by their parents to think and believe that they are always not good enough and will never be good enough, that they always have to be better than what they are now. They want to be loved by their parents and everyone, but they think they must first be good enough, and they always afraid of being not good enough for their parents and other people, even though they know they are good enough for themselves. They always longing for praise and compliment, liking, support, agreement and acknowledgement from other people, especially the parents, siblings, friends and spouse. Or else, they will feel very dissatisfied, disappointed and depressed about themselves and their life.

It's so tiring to try to fulfill the expectation from their parents and the society and themselves, to be good enough that they can be proud of themselves in order to love themselves, and to please everyone expecting people will like and love and be nice to them, for their whole life, in the family, in love relationship, in friendships, in the school, in the workplace, or in the community. They are defined and determined by their actions and the result of their actions, and other people's reaction and treatment towards them to be who they are, to be happy and feel meaningful, or not.

Those who are free from low self-esteem don't need to feel proud of anything. They don't feel bad or dissatisfied about themselves for being what they are, as they are. They know what they can achieve and what is their limitation. But they are not defined or determined by their achievement or limitation to be who they are. They don't need praise and compliment, liking, support, agreement and acknowledgement from anyone. They are not affected or disturbed or determined by other people's expectation, opinion, commentary, judgment or criticism towards them. They are not determined or affected by their actions and the result of their actions. They don't need to be good enough the way that how the world think and believe as good enough in order to love themselves. They love themselves as they are, and they love everyone as they are.

This is the essence of yoga.

There are yoga practitioners including some yoga teachers are not free from the suffering of some forms of mental illness, and it's okay. There's nothing to be ashamed about if the mind is not free. Everyone takes their own time to practice and realize the truth and be free.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Learn how to be alone and do nothing, without feeling lonely, left out, unloved, unworthy or bored

Solitude or aloneness is being perceived by many people as something terrible or wrong that can happen to a human being. That is because people's minds are being conditioned to think and believe in that way. And there's nothing to be argued about as people's minds are thinking in certain ways and believing in certain beliefs. That's how people are being taught and brought up by their parents or the society for how people think and what to believe.

Many people never learn how to be alone by themselves and do nothing, without clinging onto other people, to be surrounded by other people to be interacting or communicating with them physically and mentally. They will feel lonely, left out, unloved, unworthy or bored, if there is a prolonged period of time that there are no people around them to be interacting with. They constantly looking/craving for physical and mental attention, love and companionship. A lot of time this is because the parents never teach or allow their children to learn how to be alone by themselves and do nothing, without feeling lonely, left out, unloved, unworthy or bored. The parents try to give maximum love and attention to their children and make their children always be busy with doing something and interacting with some other people, either mentally or physically, or both. They think this is good for them and to show that they love and care for their children very much.

That is also one of the important elements why there are people suffering from loneliness, low self-esteem, depression, boredom, unloved, unworthiness, meaninglessness, and so on. The children are being brought up in the way of building up intense attachment towards the love, attention and companionship from one or both of their parents or caretakers, but the parents or caretakers will not be always being by their side, and there will not be always somebody there to give them the attention, love and companionship that they like and want, that they cling onto and crave for. They never learn how to be alone by themselves and do nothing. Their minds are being used to interactive stimulation, receiving inputs and expressing outputs. These minds can't stand being silence without any inputs or outputs for a few moments. The sense of loneliness, left out, unloved, unworthiness, depression, meaninglessness and boredom kicks in as soon as they are being away from family and friends that are always being close by physically, to interacting with and doing things together all the time.

Just like for the children without a father or both parents, people might think that by showing them lots of love and attention will help them and benefit them. People like to say, "People need love." and they think that it means giving or showing love (affection) to other people who need love. But what people really need is realizing the unconditional unlimited love in themselves, without expecting love (affection) through receiving love (affection) from others. If people don't know how to teach or allow the children to be independent, how to love themselves and how to be alone by themselves, that they can be happy and live life meaningfully as they are, even without one or both of the parents being by their side physically or mentally giving them personal love, attention and companionship, then if the children don't get enough of love, attention and companionship from the people who are not being there for them all the time, these children will try to cling onto other people looking for attention, love and companionship.

It's okay that one doesn't have one or both of the parents being with them or to be there for them. Even if there is one or both of the parents being there for them, it doesn't mean that the parents have to or will be there all the time, that there are times that one or both of the parents might not be there for them temporary or permanently. And it's okay.

It's okay that one doesn't have anyone or friends and family members being with them or to be there for them. One can love oneself, whether doing something or doing nothing by oneself, and be happy and live life meaningfully being alone by oneself without anyone beside them to interact or communicate with physically or mentally. One has no craving for love, attention and companionship from other beings. One is peaceful as it is, being free from attachment and craving.

But all these children grow up without learning or knowing know how to be alone by themselves, and do nothing, without feeling lonely, left out, unloved, unworthy or bored. They suffer from loneliness, low self-esteem, unworthiness, boredom, depression and meaninglessness, if they think there's no one there being with them or to be there for them, to interact with them, to give them love, attention and companionship.

Sooner or later, everyone will have to deal with solitude or aloneness at some stage in life whether we like it, or not. It is a natural process of life. It's something wonderful if one knows the truth of aloneness or solitude. Only those who know this, will know.

Those who don't know, they have strong aversion or fear towards solitude, afraid of being alone by themselves, and they will be suffering from loneliness, low self-esteem, unworthiness, boredom, meaninglessness and depression if there's nobody being with them to be interacting or communicating with, physically or mentally. They think and believe that it's because they are not good enough, that's why they are being left out, unloved and being alone by themselves, that they are so pitiful without anyone, friends or family being with them, to give them love, attention and companionship, physically or mentally. They always feel that they are not good enough, that they need to be in competition with other people especially their brothers and sisters to get the maximum love and attention from their parents. They need other people to show thankfulness and appreciation for what they have done for others to feel that they and their effort of doing something are being appreciated and acknowledged. They always try very hard to please everybody to make everyone love them and acknowledge them that they are good enough and well-deserved with love and happiness. But, they don't realize that they don't have to please anyone to make other people love them. People who love them will love them as they are. Those who don't love them will not love them even if they try to please these people. And many people will take advantage of the people who want or need to be loved by other people.

Most parents or caretakers don't realize that it's how they bring up the children that had caused the children to think and believe like that, to be suffering from love seeking, attention seeking, lack of something, missing something, or craving for something, and suffering from loneliness, low self-esteem, depression, boredom, meaninglessness, and so on, through out their entire life, unless/until they realize the truth that they don't have to think and believe and suffer in such way. When they have their own family, that is also how they are going to bring up their children the way that how their parents brought them up, and most probably, their children will also end up like them, unless the children start to think for themselves and realize what is unconditional love from oneself towards oneself.

People also perceive the state of fullness or non-separateness, where one doesn't need any other beings to be there to show love, attention and companionship, to be interacting with, to feel loved and meaningful, as something horrible or wrong. They think that these people who don't need other beings being with them to be there for them, without feeling lonely, unloved, unworthy, meaningless, left out or bored, are impossible or insane or hard, and that these people must be so lonely and unhappy and live life meaninglessly for not needing anybody being there for them, where in truth, these people are peaceful, happy and live life meaningfully without being depending on other beings' love, attention and companionship to life live meaningfully, or to feel loved and worthy, or to be free from loneliness and boredom.

Those who think and believe that they need to have other people's love, attention and companionship to feel loved and worthy and meaningful, to not feel lonely and bored, are not free at all. But people don't see that. And that's their freedom of thinking and believe.

Doesn't need anyone to be there for one to be happy and live life meaningfully, doesn't mean that one is rejecting love and companionship from others, but, one will enjoy and appreciate all the love and companionship from others that are available in the present moment, without craving or clinging onto the love and companionship from others to be who they are, to feel happy and meaningful, or not. And when there is absence of love and companionship from others, one is still peaceful and happy and live life meaningfully as one is.

If people still can't understand this, no one can make them understand. One has to realize this by oneself through direct experience and self-realization. Even some yoga and meditation teachers also don't understand this. They teach about in order to counter loneliness, boredom, meaninglessness, depression, low self-esteem, or unworthiness, people need to have more friends to interact with, to play with, to communicate with, to share with. And it's okay.

Be free.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Expectation from the yoga students towards the yoga teacher

"How come the teacher didn't say anything about whether my execution is good or not, or whether I'm doing the postures and movements right, or not?"

In most of the "yoga classes" (yoga asana exercise classes), the teacher or the instructor will go around and adjusting the body of the students, correcting their poses and movements, and telling them whether they are good and whether they are doing it right, and constantly give encouragement to them to try harder, to do something that they don't want to do, or are not comfortable doing, or what they think they can't do. And of course, there's nothing wrong with that.

In the yoga class of learning and practicing yoga to eliminate ignorance and egoism to free the mind from suffering, the teacher seldom or does not go around adjusting or correcting their physical positions or movements, or give them appraisement whether they are good, or not, whether they are doing it right, or not. Because how they look in the positions or how well they execute the movements are irrelevant towards the elimination of ignorance and egoism to free the mind from suffering.

Wisdom and compassion and the ability to let go and forgive, is nothing to do with making the body more strong and flexible to be able to perform many yoga asana poses beautifully or to mastering the skill to perform the yoga poses. It's about putting the body in certain positions within the ability and comfort of the physical body and holding the positions comfortably as long as the body can stay in those positions comfortably without struggling, in order to bring the mind to be in the present to calm down and quieting the restless mind, to prepare the mind for meditation. And this is nothing to do with whether the yoga practitioner is performing the yoga poses in perfect alignment or not in the yoga asana practice.

Even when a person can perform all the yoga poses nicely in perfect alignment and executing all the movements correctly and gracefully also doesn't guarantee that this person is or will be free from ignorance and egoism and impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, arrogance, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, agitation, depression, hurts, regret, guilt, craving, aversion, ill-will, ill-thinking, fear and worry, and so on, if this person doesn't work on eliminating the egoism that feeds ignorance that gives rise to suffering and all sorts of disturbs and unhappiness.

The teacher who teaches yoga delivers the teachings and the guidelines for the practice to the students to perform their practice, and the teacher might or might not be observing their practice from time to time, but at the same time, without interference, judgement or expectation, allowing the students to experience the teachings while practice what they learn from the teacher about the teachings and the practice, disregards whether their understanding towards the teachings and the practice is perfect or imperfect, and whether they are following the guidelines accordingly, or not, but to inquire the truth of the teachings and the practice through their own direct experience, to develop understanding and awareness towards their own body and mind, to become the observer or the teacher towards their own mind, without attachment, identification, judgement, comparison and expectation.

The students learn to develop self-independence and self-discipline. They don't need to depend on a 'teacher' to tell them whether they are doing their practice correctly, or not, as they should be able to have the basic awareness of whether they are practicing correctly, or not, by being aware of the consequences of the action of doing the poses and movements. For example, the teacher teaches the students who have never seen fire, "Fire can burn your skin and flesh and it might cause painful sensation and damages. And hence do not touch the fire." and if the students still want to touch the fire, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and got burnt by the fire, that is not the teacher's responsibility. The teacher cannot be there every seconds watching the students to make sure they don't touch the fire so that they won't hurt themselves. The students will have to learn from their own direct experience and be responsible for looking after their own well-being. Just like parents can give advice as much as they can to their children, but they cannot be there all the time to control their children how they should act or react or behave, making sure that they only do good and the right thing, and don't do bad or the wrong thing.

Only the students themselves will know whether they are practicing yoga, or not. People can be doing yoga poses everyday for years, but they might not be practicing yoga at all, including yoga teachers. It's not about looking at the teacher and trying to imitate the teacher or other people. The yoga practitioners learn how to perform all their actions, practice, duties, and responsibilities out of compassion, without egoism, being free from attachment, identification, judgement, comparison and expectation towards the actions, the practice, the duties and responsibilities, as well as the result or fruit of the actions, the practice, the duties and responsibilities.

If the students don't feel comfortable while putting their body in a particular position or executing particular movements, they shouldn't proceed further or force their body to continue to perform the position or movements that the body feels discomfortable or painful, whether it's due the limitation of their body, or there's mind blockage of fear and worry, or it's due to incorrect understanding towards the practice. If it's due to their incorrect understanding towards the practice, the teacher will redeliver the guidelines of the practice to them, without expecting them to be fully understanding the practice right away.

The students learn to be aware that all their experiences, whether it's okay or not okay, are all impermanent. Through their own awareness and understanding, they learn how to make appropriate adjustment to put their body into the positions comfortably, or execute the movements in the way that suits their body most, without expecting a teacher constantly be there to make adjustments for them. Everyone has a different body with different condition and limitation. What is comfortable for some people might be very painful for other people. There's no best way to execute the movements or the best perfect look of the positions or poses, it's just what the body can do comfortably, in this present moment. And no body is aware of what is going on in one's body and mind but oneself, not even the yoga teacher.

For those who have been doing yoga poses for many years, how they look and how they feel in the poses or movements could be different in every practice. It is the truth of impermanence and selflessness. One can't even look and feel the same in one's different sessions of practice, then why should one look and feel the same as any others or the teacher in particular in their respective practice?

So what if some people's body are really inflexible and weak, and they don't look like everyone else while performing the yoga poses or while executing certain movements? It doesn't mean that they won't be able to realize unconditional peace and love or to let go and forgive something that is hurtful. It's really unimportant and irrelevant about the physical ability and limitation in the realization of selflessness, unconditional peace and love, and the ability to let go and forgive something that the mind perceives as bad, wrong, undeserving, hurtful, painful or disturbing.

A yoga teacher allows the yoga students to take their time to find their own way of putting their body comfortably in the poses without pushing or forcing their body beyond its limitation or disability in the present moment, or adjusting their body and mind by themselves to adapt and accommodate the practice, the poses or the movements with care and responsibility from themselves towards themselves.

What the students can do or cannot do, what the students want or don't want to do, and how the students interpret and execute the teachings and practice or how they look in the positions or movements are the students' freedom and responsibility. The yoga teacher is not here to control and judge every action of the yoga students. After learning the teachings and practice by coming in contact with the teachings from a teacher, it's up to the yoga students to interpret and perform the teachings and practice in their own pace, in their own way, by experiencing and inquiring the truth of these teachings and practice.

The students should be learning how to be aware of their practice and understand the practice via direct experience, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgement, comparison and expectation, and don't depend on the teacher to look at their practice and constantly telling them about how good or bad is their practice. It's not about how perfect do they look in the positions and how good they execute the movements, but it's about via the positions and movements, they learn about what is going on in their minds, about the ignorance and egoism and the consequences of ignorance and egoism, about the suffering and the cause of suffering, about the impermanence and selflessness of the physical body and the activities of the mind of all the ceaseless thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions, reactions and impurities.

In order to perform the exercise safely so that the yoga practitioners won't generate stress or injury onto the physical body has nothing to do with executing the yoga poses or movements in perfect alignment. It's by understanding and listening to their own body, just do what their body can do comfortably in this present moment, in a relaxed manner, without forcing or pushing their body beyond its limitation, without trying to follow the standard of the perfect alignment, there's no stress or risk of injury. In contrast, while trying to perform the positions or movements according to the perfect alignment that is beyond their physical limitation, to look exactly like other people or the teacher, building up tension from attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgement, comparison and expectation, could generate unnecessary stress and injury to the body and mind while trying to perform the yoga poses perfectly according to the standard of perfect alignment. Putting the body in the perfect alignment also doesn't guarantee that the mind is or will be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering. People who are physically fit, strong and flexible, and can perform many yoga poses skillfully in perfect alignment, are not necessarily be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering.

Be free.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Go beyond all the desirable and undesirable experiences

Go beyond all the desirable and undesirable experiences.

Free from clinging and craving towards desirable experiences.

Free from aversion towards undesirable experiences.

Just do one's best, perform actions to attain the life that one would like it to be, that one thinks is best for oneself and/or for others, but allow the fruit of actions to be what it is.

The sense of meaninglessness, disappointment, dissatisfaction, non-accomplishment, low self-esteem, hopelessness, depression, loneliness or emptiness doesn't present/arise/manifest/exist in such mind, even when there is the presence or existence of mind perception of names and forms that are not necessarily the way that the mind likes or wants it to be. There are effort or action being performed from moment to moment, making use of the life existence, the body, the senses, the mind perception, the knowledge, the talent, the skill, the opportunity, the condition, the situation, to be doing something for oneself and/or others, without attachment, identification, judgment, intention or expectation towards the effort or action and the fruit of the effort or action.

When there's dissatisfaction, unhappiness, disappointment, anger, meaninglessness, or depression manifest in the mind upon the absence of desirable experiences, hoping for something to happen but it didn't happen, or upon the presence of undesirable experiences, especially unpleasant experiences that involve other beings or people, that's the moment of the yoga practice of letting go takes place. Do not feed those thoughts/feelings/emotions. They will pass away, eventually.

None needs to be responsible for other people/being's ignorance. There's no need to suffer for other people/being's ignorant thinking, action and speech. There might be complicated condition or situation arise under the influence of other people's ignorance, but one deals with those complication without resentment, as resentment won't undo what had happened or make things better. Allowing the reality that the mind perceives in this present moment now to be what it is, as it is, that it's not necessarily the way that the mind likes or wants it to be, and it's okay. Need not be disturbed or determined by the reality that the mind doesn't like and doesn't want. Even when the perceived reality is the way that the mind likes or wants it to be, that is also impermanent. Appreciate and enjoy the desirable experiences without grasping or clinging onto the experiences that are desirable.

Once the mind is able to go beyond the desirable and undesirable experiences, there's no suffering or painful sorrow can manifest in this mind, even though the mind has to go through undesirable or unpleasant experiences.

Strength, flexibility, wisdom and compassion in yoga is referring to the ability of letting go both desirable and undesirable experiences, or to let go or forgive something that the mind perceives or recognizes as bad, wrong, undeserving, painful, or hurtful.

Having a fit, healthy, strong and flexible physical body doesn't guarantee that the mind is free. Performing yoga asana practice and other forms of yoga practice as well as teaching yoga for a prolonged period of time also doesn't guarantee that the mind is free. Having many people and things surrounding oneself and existing in one's life also doesn't guarantee that the mind is free. Having a positive, satisfied and happy mind when everything is the way that the mind likes or wants it to be also doesn't guarantee that the mind is free. Taking drugs, substances or intoxication that will give momentary relief, good feelings and calmness to the mind also doesn't guarantee that the mind is free. Attaining some sorts of extraordinary superpower of clairvoyance also doesn't guarantee that the mind is free, as having the power of clairvoyance also can't change the law of impermanence and selflessness.

But when things are not the way that the mind likes or wants it to be, when one is alone, when there's no acknowledgement/agreement/support/companionship/interaction/encouragement from anyone or anything, when one receives all kinds of ill-treatment and experiencing physical or mental discomfort, pain, weakness or disability, under any difficult, challenging or crucial condition and situation, and the mind is still peaceful as it is due to the realization of selflessness, correct understanding/wisdom and unconditional love/compassion (without under the influence of the effect of drugs or substances or intoxication that is impermanent), then this mind is free.

It's okay if the mind is not free, or not peaceful, or not okay. It's okay if this freedom is not the freedom that people are looking for. It's everyone's freedom for what they want and don't want. For those who are in search for this freedom of yoga, they can try to practice yoga, if they want.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Watch how the mind reacts towards all the perception of names and forms

What is yoga and what is the practice to realize yoga?

Yoga is the realization of unconditional peace and love that is undetermined and uncontaminated by what the mind thinks and believes as good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, pleasantness and unpleasantness, enjoyment and suffering, meaningfulness and meaninglessness.

The yoga practice is turning the outgoing mind inwards, purifying and silencing the mind to allow the mind to see the truth as it is, be free from ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, that give rise to suffering.

Developing the awareness that is being aware of or watching how the mind reacts towards all the perception of names and forms of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches/feels, and thinks, without identification with the impermanent states of the mind or the mind perceptions and reactions that ceaselessly arising and passing away, without judgment or expectation towards the function and the states of the mind and the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, without craving and aversion towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses.

It doesn't matter what the mind thinks and analyzes towards all the perception of names and forms as true or false, right or wrong, the yoga practice is training the mind to be open, being unattached towards the thinking and belief in the mind that is influencing the mind to judge and analyze everything as good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, pleasantness and unpleasantness, enjoyment and suffering, meaningfulness and meaninglessness. Being undisturbed by something that the mind doesn't like and doesn't agree with, being unattached towards what the mind perceives as nice and good, without clinging or craving towards what the mind likes and agrees with, and being unattached towards what the mind perceives as not nice and not good, without aversion towards what the mind doesn't like and doesn't agree with. Training the mind how to be at peace living in the world that is not necessarily the way that the mind thinks it should be or how the mind likes it to be.

Ask the mind, what really happens when the mind feels disturbed, offended, insulted, hurt, upset, disappointed, or angry? It's when the mind comes in contact with something that the mind doesn't like, doesn't agree with and doesn't want, or when the mind doesn't come in contact with what the mind likes, agrees with and wants. "I am disturbed, offended, insulted, hurt, upset, disappointed and angry is not because life and things are not good, people are not good, or the world is not good, but it's because I am experiencing something that I don't like, that I don't agree with, that I don't want, or I am not experiencing what I like, what I agree with and what I want."

If there are minds don't like or disagree with this teaching and practice of yoga, they don't have to take up this teaching or practice. But the ability of being undisturbed by what the mind doesn't like and doesn't agree with, is what the yoga practice is about, even if it's about the teaching and practice of yoga. It's everyone's freedom for how their mind reacts, thinks and feels.

The minds that are peaceful, being free from ignorance, egoism, impurities or suffering, being undisturbed or undetermined by all the perception of names and forms don't need to practice yoga. There's no fear, no loneliness, no meaninglessness, no dissatisfaction, no disappointment, no painful sorrow, no suffering or the end of suffering. There's no need to practice anything to be free from suffering.

The mind that doesn't know this, then even after long time of 'doing some forms of yoga practice regularly', there's no peace, as the mind is restless constantly attaching onto the mind perception of names and forms and generates craving and aversion towards the names and forms, being disturbed and determined by the likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, wants and don't wants towards all the perception of names and forms, that is coming from the mind itself of how the mind reacts, and it's not coming from the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Suffering is not due to bad karma, but ignorance

Not everyone believe in karma, but there are quite some people believe in karma, especially in Asian culture.

A lot of time, people would relate or refer any kind of suffering as the result of bad karma (the consequences of bad actions). If someone is going through some kinds of difficult situation or very unpleasant condition or painful experiences in life, where the body and/or the mind has to go through certain difficulty or pain, people would say, "Oh, this is due to bad karma. And it's good to go through suffering to burn-off the past accumulated bad karma." Although by saying so, it might make the person who is suffering feels a little better and make it easier to deal with suffering, but most suffering is unnecessary and can be avoided if we know how to avoid behaving ignorantly.

People like to give their opinion and say, "Oh. Such a terrible bad karma exists in your family. Your family has to go through all these suffering is because of your family past bad karma. You all must have done lots of bad things in the past. That's why your family has to suffer so much for it in this life." This is such ignorant thinking and belief and saying.

Even good people who have been doing a lot of good and right actions, and didn't do much bad or wrong in this world, and for those who believe that they have been accumulated lots of good karma in their past life are not excluded from experiencing physical, emotional and mental suffering if their minds are not free from ignorance and egoism. People like to say, "You are such a good person. You don't deserve all these suffering. It must be bad karma from your past life." And this is ignorant thinking and belief and saying.

For the strong ego, it would prefer to blame on past life bad karma for its suffering, than to acknowledge and admit that it's due to its ignorance in the present.

Those who know about suffering and the cause of suffering do not blame on past life and bad karma. It's ignorant behavior of actions and reactions in this life existence that people end up in many unnecessary suffering.

Most suffering is truly unnecessary, and the cause of these suffering is ignorance that gives rise to ignorant behavior, that leads to the consequences of ignorant behavior, which is unnecessary suffering that doesn't has to be existing in the first place.

For example, if a person is suffering from an illness, which is treatable and not too complicated, if the illness is being treated properly and immediately, but for some reasons, due to ignorance, one is not getting the proper treatment immediately, and this person has to suffer more painful consequences that could be avoided in the first place, and/or it might be too late to do anything even though one tries to get the proper treatment later on.

Another example, one who ignores the little small problems that arise in life which could be solved easily and immediately, but for some reasons, due to ignorance, all the unattended little small problems would turn into serious unsolvable big problems. And it might be too late to do anything even if one realizes and regrets towards one's ignorance.

Another example, one who knows that by mixing with those who have strong influence in getting into unnecessary troubles and by taking certain substances to get high can turn into addiction that would cause many forms of complication in health, life and relationship with others, but still want to take those substances to get high and hang out with those who have strong influence in getting into unnecessary troubles, and ends up in unnecessary suffering and troubles. That's pure ignorance.

And for another example, due to the strong ego, one pushes the body and mind beyond its limitation to achieve what the ego wants to achieve, and causing unnecessary damages into the body and mind, losing one's mobility and sanity, and requiring intensive care from others. This is not because bad karma. It's purely ignorance.

Due to ignorance, egoism and impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, lust, desires, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurt, guilt, offensiveness, defensiveness, pride, arrogance, fear and worry, and so on, one would generate actions and reactions that give rise to unnecessary suffering onto oneself and affecting others either directly or indirectly.

Even the most intelligent or virtue person in this world also can't escape the fundamental suffering of a life existence that is under the function of the physical body and mind perception of names and forms that is subject to impermanent changes and selflessness (All the impermanent changes and perception of names and forms are not in the control of an 'I', or how 'I' would like it to be).

If one is free from ignorance, then even though one is going through some kind of physical and/or mental suffering, one will not generate or react with further ignorant reactions that would bring further ignorant consequences. One would know how to transcend or go beyond the difficult condition, or unpleasant and painful experiences with correct understanding, wisdom and compassion, and remain equanimous being at peace, being undisturbed or undetermined by it, while being aware of the difficult condition, or unpleasant and painful experiences are impermanent and it's not 'I'.

Past life and karma (whether good or bad, easy or difficult) doesn't mean anything to the one who has realized unconditional peace and love, who is free from ignorance. There's no fear or aversion towards difficult condition, or unpleasant and painful experiences. There's no clinging or craving towards easy condition, or pleasant and enjoyable experiences.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Misconception towards self-love or self-compassion

Self-love or self-compassion is related to being self-centered in yoga.

While self-centered is being referred as self-obsessiveness by certain worldly thinking and belief as pampering oneself with enjoyments and laziness and fulfilling all desires at any cost, even if it would cause harmful damages in oneself and others.

There's nothing wrong if people want to be selfish and lazy, it's everyone's freedom for what they want to do with their life. It's just that those who are selfish and lazy, but can't help feeling guilty for being selfish and lazy, would feel better by justifying to themselves and others that they are practicing self-love or self-compassion.

In the teachings of yoga, being self-centered has nothing to do with self-obsessiveness/self-pampering/laziness. It's about being centered in the truth of selflessness (the state that is void of selfishness or unselfishness), performing all duties and responsibilities without being influenced or determined by the action and the fruit of action, and being compassionate towards the suffering in one's mind and others without being influenced, or disturbed, or determined by the suffering and the cause of suffering, which is ignorance and egoism, as well as all sort of impurities, thinking, belief, behavior, values and expectation that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism. It's nothing to do with self-pampering with enjoyments and laziness and the fulfillment of all desires.

Self-compassion is being persevered and determined to free one's mind from ignorance and the consequences of ignorance.

Being compassionate doesn't mean that sacrificing oneself in pursue of helping others or making others to be happy. None can make another to be happy. When others are happy it's because their desires of craving and aversion are being gratified by giving them what they like and want, and don't give them what they don't like and don't want. It's the ego thinking that 'I' am good and happy when 'I' can make others to be happy. It's about doing one best performing action without forcing oneself beyond limitation and be able to let go without guilt or regret, if one couldn't help as much as one would like to help. None can't help those who enjoy being ignorant and swimming in the pool of suffering, who are reluctant to help themselves, but only complain about all sorts of dissatisfaction and expect sympathy and help from others to gratify all their desires of craving and aversion.

The thinking of "I am not good enough to help or make others to be happy, and thus, I am unable to be compassionate and I am unhappy because others are unhappy." is due to the egoism of attachment, identification, judgment and expectation out of ignorance. It's nothing to do with compassion.

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