be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Friday, December 28, 2018

Thai food and yoga

There are people who have been enjoying eating 'Thai food' in some restaurants cooked by some chefs who don't really know what is 'Thai food', or the 'Thai food' that they have been enjoying eating are being modified and presented differently from the traditional authentic 'Thai food' to suit the taste of people who prefer to eat bread and potatoes than rice or noodles, or who aren't use to spiciness or the intense taste of fish sauce, which is the main ingredient for 'Thai food'. And one day, they have the opportunity to come to an authentic 'Thai food' restaurant and they order some 'Thai food' to eat, some would appreciate the authentic taste of 'Thai food', and are glad to have tasted the real 'Thai food', while some would feel very disappointed as it's not what they expected, where it's completely different taste or presentation from the 'Thai food' that they usually eat, where the food doesn't served with bread or potatoes and they don't like the taste of the authentic 'Thai food', and they don't want to finish the food that they ordered while refuse to pay the bill, or request a partial billing, saying that "Your food is not good. I don't like your food. At home, our 'Thai food' served with some bread or potatoes. Your 'Thai food' doesn't served with bread or potatoes. I don't want to pay for the food that I didn't want to finish eating because I don't like it and it doesn't served with bread or potatoes."

It's everyone's freedom for what they like and don't like. There's nothing wrong with people enjoy eating 'Thai food' that is not really 'Thai food' and rejecting authentic 'Thai food', but one still have to pay for the food that one ordered but didn't want to finish eating because one didn't like the taste or there is no bread or potatoes being served.

It's similar as there are many people have been teaching 'yoga classes' in the world after attended and graduated from some kind of 'yoga teachers training courses' and call themselves 'certified yoga teachers', but not all these 'yoga teachers' are teaching yoga as it is, that allow people to develop the basic understanding about the elimination of ignorance and egoism, to be learning and practicing yoga that is not necessarily pleasant or enjoyable for the body and mind but might be very unpleasant and painful for the impure prideful egoistic mind during the purification process of the annihilation of ignorance and egoism. As a result, many people are learning and practicing what they think is yoga but not really yoga from all these 'certified yoga teachers' and they think that is how yoga practice should be done 'correctly' as taught by these 'yoga teachers'.

When these people participated in a 'yoga retreat' or 'yoga course' that is about yoga and they have the opportunity to come in contact with the yoga practice of simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation, about the elimination of ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, of purifying and quieting the restless impure mind for meditation, that is different from the 'modified yoga asana classes' that they have been learning from their 'yoga teachers' for many years which is nothing to do with the elimination of ignorance and egoism to purify and quiet the mind for meditation, but these 'yoga classes' actually empowering the ignorance and egoism through the gratification of the desire of craving and aversion by pampering their body and mind in the enjoyments of the senses, some of them might develop certain degrees of understanding and would appreciate and glad to be learning and practicing yoga as it is, while some might feel greatly disturbed or disappointed and reluctant to continue learning and practicing yoga that is about yoga, and they want to quit the yoga retreat/course because they don't like the yoga practice that is about yoga, as they refuse to make adjustment to adapt and accommodate to learn the different style of yoga practice being practiced differently from their usual way of practice. Some of them even ask for refund. And when they don't get the refund as that would be supporting and empowering ignorance which is not yoga practice, they'll get so angry and would do things with the intention to hurt the yoga teachers or retreat centres. This shows that they never learn what is yoga even though after many years of practicing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way under a particular teacher.

Yoga practice is all about making adjustment to adapt and accommodate condition and situation that the mind doesn't like, or doesn't familiar with, or doesn't feel comfortable with, to allow the mind to be opened, to be able to be peaceful and compassionate under any condition and situation, wherever they are and whatever they are experiencing, being undisturbed by names and forms that the mind doesn't like, doesn't want and doesn't agree with.

As part of the yoga practice, one needs to learn how to let go of attachment and identification towards a particular style of yoga practice that one familiar with that one has been learning and practicing under certain yoga teachers or yoga centres, and learn how to adjust one's body and mind to adapt and accommodate towards the yoga practice that one doesn't familiar with or never experience before. If one can only practice yoga of a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way but couldn't practice yoga anymore when that particular style of yoga in that particular way is not available, then one is not free even though one has been practicing particular style of yoga in a particular way for many years.

Yoga teachers who teach a particular style of yoga in a particular way need to learn how to allow their yoga students to be unattached towards that particular style of yoga being practiced in that particular way. But many 'yoga teachers' in the world are not free from ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, pride and arrogance towards their own particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way. Whether aware or unaware, many yoga teachers implant the strong attachment and identification towards their particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way into their yoga students' minds, so that the yoga students will be faithful, loyal and supportive towards them and their style of yoga being practiced in a particular way. Those who teach yoga will allow all their students to be unattached towards their particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way, to be open-minded to go out there to learn from some other teachers with other types of different yoga practice and respect all types of different yoga practice even if one finds it challenging to make adjustment to adapt and accommodate the different practices that one doesn't familiar with, and it doesn't matter if one isn't interested in practicing any of those different practices.

Before I left Kuala Lumpur and moved to Langkawi about 10 years ago, I told all the students to continue their practice, either by themselves or continue learning from other yoga teachers, and respect other teachers and their different ways of teaching and practice. Do not compare. They are just being different. More importantly, they might be practicing different style of yoga being practiced in a particular way, but always remember that regardless of all kinds of different style of yoga being practiced in many different ways, there's only one yoga, the yoga of freeing the mind from ignorance and egoism, to purify and quiet the mind, to realize the truth of impermanence and selflessness, and be free, which is nothing to do with whether one is practicing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way; or one has some physical injuries that limit oneself from performing certain yoga poses; or one is severely physically ill and weak that one couldn't perform any yoga asana poses at all; or whether the body is able to be completely comfortable while doing certain movements or holding certain poses; or what type of benefits that come from doing particular practices; or whether one knows the names of the poses or the muscles/bones/organs in any particular language; or whether one is able to perform all the yoga poses in 'perfect alignment'; or how many years one has been performing the yoga practice under particular yoga teacher; or how many years one has been teaching yoga to other people; or whether one has attended many yoga teachers training courses and attaining how many yoga certifications, or not.

In the yoga class, it's not about performing some yoga asana poses to make the body more healthy and illness-free, or be more strong and flexible, but it's developing self-awareness, self-discipline, self-control and self-independence, as well as non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and non-expectation, to know what is going on in the body and mind, and accepting the reality of the physical condition and the state of the mind in the present moment now as it is. It's about do what the body can do comfortably in the present moment now without forcing the body to go beyond its limitation regardless of whether the body is injury-free, or is suffering from some injuries or sickness. One learns how to make appropriate adjustment to adapt and accommodate the yoga asana or other yoga practice based on the condition of the body and the state of the mind in the present moment now. One doesn't need to do anything that the body cannot perform in this present moment due to injury or sickness. One can stop and take rest as long as one needs to during a particular practice or in between different practices.

Being unable to perform any yoga asana poses or any form of physical practice due to any physical limitations, or injuries, or sickness, doesn't stop the mind from performing the formless inner practice of awareness, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and non-expectation, and realize unconditional peace, and be free.

Most importantly, one is aware of everything is impermanent and selfless, regardless of whether one feels comfortable or uncomfortable during certain practices and whether one can do or couldn't do certain movements or poses in this present moment. One learns to take full responsibility to look after the well-being of one's body and mind without expecting somebody else, neither the teacher nor the doctor to look after the well-being of one's body and mind. No body but oneself, knows directly and instantly what is going on in the body and the mind, not the teacher or the doctor. If there's pain or discomforts, one do not proceed any further, or one can make some adjustment or modification. If there's tiredness, one can take rest as long as one needs to.

If one needs to depend on a teacher or a doctor being there to be responsible to look after or supervise the well-being of one's body and mind all the time, then one will never be able to realize what is yoga, even after many years of practicing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way under the supervision of a particular teacher, expecting the teacher to tell them what they should do and shouldn't do, and constantly expecting the teacher to check on them, asking them whether they are comfortable, or not, and telling them whether they are doing it nicely, or not, and whether they are good, or not.

Just like a blind person needs to depend on a blind stick to find their way, while other people with healthy vision don't need to depend on a blind stick to move around. By telling everyone that everyone must carry a blind stick with them in order to move around, or else, without a blind stick everyone can't go anywhere or will injure themselves, is complete ignorance. And that is what happening in many yoga centres/schools/studios/ashrams with particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way. Without any particular equipment or props that they used to rely on while performing their yoga practice, these yoga students can't practice yoga anymore, or they find it 'wrong' or 'bad' for not having those equipment or props while performing the yoga practice. These students will never be free from ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification and desire of craving and aversion, even after many years of following these kind of yoga teachers doing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way.

Yoga retreat is not a place for mingling or socializing or interaction, but it's a great opportunity to practice simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation while living among the society, to be by oneself moving away from worldly social interactions and activities to quiet the restless mind, to be reflecting upon the truth of names and forms, to be aware of the modifications of the mind to know thyself, besides looking after one's daily duty and responsibility such as maintaining the tidiness and cleanliness of the accommodation/living environment/practice space and looking after one's daily meals, while dealing with condition and situation that are not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, so that one can perform Yoga Sadhana at home observing simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation while living among the society performing one's duty and responsibility in everyday life. At one stage, Swami Sivananda walked 15 km everyday to the nearby villages for Biksha (obtaining food by alms) besides performing daily Sadhana and selfless service while living a life of renunciation.

Many 'yoga retreats' in the world are not about quieting the restless mind via the practice of simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation, but it's about being in an out of the world environment away from dealing with any duty and responsibility in everyday life, indulging in pleasurable enjoyments of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and visualization/imagination/anticipation/expectation, gratifying the desires of craving and aversion, promoting mingling and socializing, enjoying all kinds of conveniences of hotel facilities and services, which most worldly minds expect what 'yoga retreat' is about. Food is prepared and served by somebody. Cleaning up and laundry are done by somebody. Room tidiness and cleanliness is maintained by somebody. Everyone just needs to enjoy mingling and socializing with the other retreat participants, while indulging in pleasurable yoga activities, spa treatments and all kinds of hotel facilities and services during the retreat.

And this is 'the world of yoga' that is supposed to be about living a life of simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation from worldly activities/connections/interactions/enjoyments to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, but many people are unaware of the 'yoga classes' or 'yoga retreats' that they have been attending are not about Yoga Sadhana to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, but it's actually empowering ignorance and egoism instead.

It's everyone's freedom whether to practice yoga as it is, or not.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Distraction, inattentiveness, boredom, irritability, impatience, intolerance and outgoing pleasure seeking tendency

Distraction, inattentiveness, boredom, irritability, impatience, intolerance and outgoing pleasure/fun/enjoyment/excitement/adventure/interaction seeking tendency are some of the obstacles for those who have interest or aspiration in learning and practicing yoga, especially when joining a serious yoga and/or meditation retreat which emphasizing on learning and practicing traditional yoga and meditation to quiet the restless mind, to purify the mind impurities, to eliminate egoism, to allow the mind to reflect upon the truth of names and forms and all the teachings, to allow the mind to know what is going on in the mind or to know thyself, to free the mind from ignorance and suffering, the by-products or consequences of ignorance.

Holding a position such as sitting forward bend for more than a few seconds would appear to be challenging or unbearable for these minds. The minds get bored, impatient and irritable when holding the sitting forward bend or in a lying position during the relaxation for a prolong period of time quietly in stillness. The minds also reluctant to proceed a little more or further in the entire practice once experiencing slight tiredness or discomforts, as they don't want to forbear or tolerate slightest of tiredness or discomforts.

These minds enjoy very much constant movements of the physical body such like sun salutations, but only as long as there's absence of tiredness or discomforts. They also prefer the back bending series or challenging balancing series more than the other positions as these movements excite/stimulate the energy fields or the mind, not so much of holding the positions for a prolong period of time, but just to get into the positions and out of the positions quickly. It's the same as for all the other positions, these minds get into any positions quickly in a rush and don't like to stay in the positions for longer than a few seconds and eagerly want to come out from the positions quickly. If they 'have to' stay in the positions, they won't stay still for a second, they would move around, such like looking around or playing with their fingers, toes, skin, hair, or clothing.

These minds have intense dislike or aversion towards aloneness or being with people that don't interest them; non-talking or talking about things that don't interest them; non-interaction or interaction with people that don't interest them; silence/quietness or noises/sounds/speech that they don't like; mental and physical stillness or mental and physical training/practice/activity that they don't like; restricting the thought activities or focusing the mind at one point for a prolong period of time; or listening to the teachings of yoga of the annihilation of ignorance and egoism, of desireless, dispassion and renunciation that appear to be non-interesting, or irrelevant, or disagreeable to the minds.

Usually, these minds will feel regret for participating in such retreat and eagerly want to give up half way through the retreat and think of many 'reasonable' excuses to 'runaway' from the retreat.

"It's so fun and pleasurable when we can be attending parties/celebrations/festivals, dancing and listening to upbeat loud musics, eating, drinking and smoking while talking, flirting, gossiping and laughing with many like-minded 'friends' and enjoying outdoor adventurous activities while looking at beautiful scenery are so much more enjoyable and meaningful and well-worth money spending than participating in these kind of 'retreats' about holding some tiring, boring and discomfortable positions in closed eyes and observing the breath without moving, talking or interaction for many hours for many days, and have to be listening to some 'boring' and 'ridiculous' teachings of 'disciplining/restricting our thinking/actions/speech', to be quiet, to be still, to be dispassionate and letting go our passionate desires and what we like to enjoy very much."

It's everyone's freedom for what they want to do with their life, body and mind.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The great aspirations vs the reality

The minds that are free from ignorance and egoism don't need to be inspired to have great aspirations to achieve something to feel good and meaningful towards life existence, but there's nothing wrong with the minds that are still under the influence of ignorance and egoism need to be inspired to have great aspirations to motivate them to achieve something in life for them to feel good and meaningful about themselves and their life existence.

Anyone also can have great aspirations, to set as a direction in life with certain goals and visions to achieve what they want to achieve, or to be what they want to become. Though the reality of whether those aspirations will be materialized or turn out to be what they are, or not, is not necessarily the way that the minds imagine or anticipate, of what the minds expect it to be, or want it to be.

There are important elements or factors that allow people achieving all their aspirations and goals, which are hard-working, discipline, focus, attentiveness, patience, determination, perseverance, forbearance, tolerance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation, along side with the available intelligence, knowledge, technologies, interests, talents, skills, creativity, opportunity, assistance and cooperation from many other different fields and levels.

It's very good for people to have great aspirations of "I want to do/achieve this and that" or "I want to be this and that", but if the minds are over-powered by laziness, impatience, lack of discipline, distractions, inattentiveness, lack of determination, lack of perseverance, lack of forbearance, intolerance, incapability of accepting things as they are, reluctance of making adjustment, inability to adapt and accommodate, then those aspirations or goals might not turn out to be the best as they could be, even when intelligence, knowledge, technologies, interests, talents, skills, creativity, opportunity, assistance and cooperation from many other different fields and levels are available to the minds with great aspirations to achieve something that they want to achieve, or to be somebody that they want to be. These minds are being affected or disturbed very much by the hardship, challenges, distractions or obstacles that might exist on the way towards achieving those aspirations, and be over-powered by dissatisfaction, disappointment, irritation, frustration, anger, self-criticism, meaninglessness, laziness, impatience, inattentiveness, or demotivation that arise in the minds due to lack of those important elements that allow the minds to be focused and persevered to achieve what they want to achieve. These minds would easily give up whatever they have started in the beginning with great aspiration and full of motivation, but then, everything that they have started will be abandoned halfway when those excited passionate feelings of aspiration and motivation slowly fade away.

For example, many people might have the aspiration of "I love the Earth/nature/world", "I want to help to look after the Earth/nature/world" and "I support environmental and ecosystem friendly way of living." That's great.

Everyone can help to look after the environment and ecosystem by adopting a simple way of life or living.

But the reality is not always the way that the minds aspire it to be.

People like to talk and share about the issue of looking after the environment and ecosystem, and talk about living a simple life, but at the same time, living in the modern society, many people want to enjoy a healthy active lifestyle, be busy doing many things or create things and need to be presentable all the time in their active social life, by looking after their physical appearance, beautiful skin and hair that needed to be washed, cleaned and treated frequently especially with particular brand of body care, skin care and hair care products, while frequently applying the body with perfumes, lotion, moisturizer, beauty products, branded fashions and accessories, and couldn't live without using iPhone or Gadgets that needed to be replaced with the latest/up to date model every now and then, or enjoy very much indulging in different forms of entertainments for the body and mind, or enjoyments of the senses and different types of leisure activities, and at home, people have the spending power to decorate their house with the latest designs of beautiful things, enjoying the conveniences and comforts of different kinds of electrical devices that would be replaced with new ones once in a while, where all these commercial products and leisure activities are mostly involved with some kinds of 'exploitation' and 'pollution'.

Some people are also being passionate about bringing people to come together for some activities, frequently organizing birthday/anniversary/new year celebrations or cultural/spiritual/religious/sports festivals that require certain expenses, such as getting appropriate attires/costumes/decorations/food for the specific functions, or getting presents on daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis to please and motivate oneself or other people for a cause that worth 'celebrating' and 'rewarding', expending extra money, energy and effort, and generating extra waste products and rubbish.

But then, we still think and believe that we are very friendly towards the environment and ecosystem because we have the great aspiration in the mind to be good and responsible human beings who care for the environment and ecosystem of the Earth, and be passionate towards the activism for protecting the environment and ecosystem, as we think we love the Earth/nature/world very much.

It's everyone's freedom for what they think, feel, act and react, and what they want and don't want, what they aspire and don't aspire, or what they achieve and don't achieve.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Help oneself, love oneself, take care oneself

There are those who would lie and steal, and keep telling untrue pitiful stories to themselves and others to justify their own ignorance and ignorant life decision making and behavior and the consequences of their ignorance.

People don't like to take responsibility for their ignorance and the consequences of their ignorance, but they like to tell themselves and other people about their pitiful life stories of how pitiful/helpless is their tragic and sympathy deserving difficult and challenging life conditions and situations in order to get other people's sympathy, moral and financial support, but actually in truth, most of the difficulties and challenging life conditions and situations are deriving from their ignorant thinking/belief/behavior/decision making and their passionate lustful desires and greedy ambitions of living a passionate enjoyable comfortable lifestyle with big money spending high living expenses as well as having children and grandchildren that they couldn't manage to support emotionally/financially, or to bring up properly with patience and the correct guidance, but the ignorance of themselves has become the children's 'role model' of what they are becoming, of getting into financial debts, messy troubles and broken relationships with children at young age, where they don't have the emotional/financial support, patience and correct guidance that their children need from the parents, and 'out of desperation', they would lie and steal and telling themselves and other people about untrue pitiful stories of themselves that they deserve to get sympathy, help, love, care and support from other people.

The grandchildren are unwittingly becoming exactly like their parents and grandparents, if this ignorance doesn't stop, if these grandchildren don't know how to think; if they don't help themselves as they expect the deserving help from others; if they don't love themselves as they expect the deserving love from others; if they don't take care themselves as they expect the deserving care and support from others; but just being there in their most sympathy deserving look expecting sympathy, love, affection, care and support from other people, by ceaselessly telling and reminding themselves and others untrue pitiful stories about how much they deserve sympathy, love, affection, care and support from other people, they will become the same as their parents and their grandparents.

People who really want to 'help' others who are living with difficult and challenging life condition and situation, must be aware of this ignorant thinking, belief and behavior in most people.

Most of the time, people might think and believe that themselves are very sympathetic and compassionate people who are generously helping 'those poor pitiful suffering people', by showing people sympathy, help, love, affection, care and support that they think and believe that these people deserved to be getting from other people, but they are actually empowering the ignorance in people as well as in themselves.

Out of this ignorant sympathetic reaction, people keep telling the young children from broken family with financial difficulty that they are so pitiful, that they deserve sympathy, help, love, affection, care and support from other people, without knowing that many of these children would become the victims of people with selfish intention and get caught in young age childbearing, child marriage or sexual exploitation/abuse, because they are longing to receive 'help', 'love', 'affection', 'care' and 'support' emotionally and financially from other people.

If people truly want to help others (young children or adults) who are living with hard and challenging life conditions and situations to come out from that kind of difficult challenging life condition and situation, it's to teach and guide these people towards liberation from ignorance, the root cause of suffering, that how they should learn to help themselves, to love themselves and to take care themselves by freeing themselves from ignorant thinking and behavior and the consequences of ignorance, without the ignorant idea or thinking of 'these poor pitiful suffering people' deserve to be receiving sympathy, or help, or love, or care, or support from other people.

While those who receive sympathy, help, love, care or support from other people need to learn how to be free from the ignorance of the thinking and belief of they should expect or they deserve sympathy, help, love, care and support from other people, and other people are 'obliged' to show them sympathy, help, love, care and support just because they think and believe that their life conditions and situations are somehow more difficult and challenging than many other people.

Many people would justify to themselves that "Out of desperation derived from having to live under difficult and challenging life conditions and situations, they think and believe that it's okay to tell lies and steal and tell 'as pitiful as possible' untrue stories to get moral and financial help and support from other people that they think and believe that they deserve to be getting. And if they don't get what they think they deserve to be getting, they'll get disappointed, unhappy and angry, and when they are disappointed, unhappy and angry, they would do destructive things/actions that would hurt themselves and others, and they blame life and the world for their actions and reactions or behavior, as they think and believe that their destructive hurtful behavior is due to life and the world is being cruel and harsh on them."

While other ignorant minds/people also empower that ignorant idea/thinking/belief about it's because life and the world is being cruel and harsh on people, that's why people would behave like that. "Oh, such pitiful people. They behave like that because life is so hard and cruel on them."

That's the huge ignorance that most minds/people who think themselves are 'good and compassionate human beings' don't see in themselves.

One doesn't need to tell lies and steal, or involve in activities that hurt oneself and others, and doesn't need to behave in a destructive way towards oneself and/or others, no matter how hard and difficult life is, or how cruel and harsh the world is. It's mere ignorance when people justify their self-destructive hurtful behavior as the result of a hard and difficult life that they have. Those who understand, they won't empower this ignorance. Those who don't understand, they would get offended by this teaching. And that's their freedom of thinking, actions and reactions.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Go beyond worldly social thinking and beliefs

Most minds are not interested in the teaching of yoga about going beyond worldly social thinking and beliefs. For them, "Why do people want to do that? It's strange and crazy for anyone to have such idea or practice." and "Social relationships, activities, mingling and interactions are very good and positive for improving friendship, bonding, understanding and harmony among each other in the society."

Just like many passionate minds would think and believe that "Being sociable is similar to friendliness and being non-sociable is similar to unfriendliness."

In yoga, "Being sociable and non-sociable is irrelevant to friendliness and unfriendliness. One can be friendly and kind towards all without selfish intention or discrimination of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, good people and bad people, friends and not friends, while at the same time being non-sociable or disinterested towards social relationships, activities, mingling and interactions. On the other hand, being actively sociable doesn't mean that the mind is being friendly and kind towards all without any selfish intention or discrimination of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, good people and bad people, or friends and not friends."

In the path of yoga to eliminate ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness from the mind, one needs to learn how to go beyond all the worldly social thinking and beliefs by renouncing social relationships, activities, mingling and interactions, as all these social relationships and activities will only empower or feed the ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment, expectation, restlessness and impurities, unless the mind is already being free from ignorance and egoism, then one can mix freely into the society without being influenced by the society, without being disturbed by what is happening in the world, and without being entangled in the worldly ideas, thinking, beliefs, values, practices, relationships and activities.

It's not that the social thinking and beliefs, relationships, activities, mingling and interactions are something 'bad' or 'wrong', but for the yoga enthusiasts who are sincerely seeking liberation from suffering, or more precisely, to be free from the cause of suffering - Ignorance, the minds need to go beyond all kinds of worldly ideas of social thinking, beliefs, values and practices by renouncing social relationships, activities, mingling and interactions, as all these social activities are feeding/empowering ignorance, egoism, passions and restlessness, which hinders the mind to see the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance and the product of ignorance - Suffering. If the mind is not free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering, the mind is not free, even after many years of practicing 'yoga' or teaching 'yoga' to others.

Some of the common social thinking and beliefs such as,

"Everyone needs to have family, relatives, friends and community, to enjoy life, to be happy and feel meaningful. It's hard, pitiful, unfortunate, lonely, joyless and meaningless to be by oneself without family, relatives, friends and community."
*In yoga, one is not determined by having or not having family, relatives, friends and community, to enjoy life, to be happy, or to feel meaningful, or not, in order to be free from ignorance and suffering, or not. The mind that is free from ignorance and egoism doesn't need to enjoy life, or to be happy, or to feel meaningful. One is peaceful as one is, when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism and its by-products of boredom, loneliness, fear, clinging, expectation, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, animosity, pride, hostility, painful sorrow, unhappiness, emptiness, incompleteness and meaninglessness.

"One needs to be 'educated' and 'knowledgeable' to be confident to achieve success in everything, to enjoy a higher quality good life with loving and supportive family and relationships, in order to achieve happiness and meaningfulness."
*In yoga, being educated and knowledgeable doesn't guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness, disturbs and suffering. Wisdom of being free from ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness, is nothing to do with 'worldly education' and 'worldly knowledge'. Wisdom, or knowing the truth of names and forms, allows the mind to have peace, being free from disturbs and suffering, regardless of whether the mind is 'educated' and 'knowledgeable', or not; whether life is good and comfortable, or not; whether there's loving and supportive family and relationships, or not. The liberated mind doesn't need to be confident to achieve success in everything to have a higher quality good life. Neither by having or not having a higher quality good life is related to having loving and supportive family and relationships, or not. Neither by having or not having loving and supportive family and relationships is related to the attainment of the sense of happiness and meaningfulness. Neither by attaining or not attaining the sense of happiness and meaningfulness is related to whether the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, or not. The mind that is free from ignorance and egoism, doesn't need to attain the sense of happiness and meaningfulness. One is happy and peaceful as one is, being free from ignorance and egoism, being unconditioned and undetermined by the quality of names and forms.

"One needs to aspire and be inspired to be somebody endowed with certain qualities of names and forms that make oneself and others be proud of, to attain love, acceptance, respect, support and acknowledgement from oneself and others."
*In yoga, the mind that is free from ignorance and egoism doesn't need to aspire or be inspired to be 'somebody' that would make oneself and others be proud of. Neither does one need to attain love, acceptance, respect, support or acknowledgement from oneself or others.

"One needs to keep setting higher and higher expectation/goal towards oneself in order to keep pushing oneself beyond one's limitation to achieve higher success and better result."
*In yoga, the mind that is free from ignorance and egoism doesn't need to have any expectation/goal towards oneself, anyone or anything, or to push oneself beyond the physical/mental limitation that is impermanent and selfless, but still perform countless actions of what is possible in the present that would benefit oneself and others, or to keep improving, intentionlessly, while allowing the fruit of the actions to be what it is.

"One should help others so that one will receive help from others in return."
*In yoga, one helps others unconditionally regardless of whether others will be grateful and show appreciation, or will give help to oneself in return, or not.

"Be kind to others and others will be kind to you in return."
*In yoga, one be kind to others unconditionally without selfish intention/expectation to be receiving kindness or friendship in return. Be kind to all without discrimination even when others are being unkind to oneself, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

"Everyone needs continuous/on going inspirations, positive encouragements, love, supports and acknowledgements from others to be doing something good for oneself and others, or to refrain from doing something bad to oneself and others."
*In yoga, the selfless/egoless mind doesn't need any (continuous/on going) inspirations, positive encouragements, love, supports and acknowledgements from anyone to be doing something good for oneself and others, or to refrain from doing something bad or hurtful to oneself or others. It's the prideful egoistic impure idea of 'I' or the ego that needs continuous inspirations, positive encouragements, love, supports and acknowledgements from others to motivate oneself to be good and do good, or to refrain from be bad and do bad. If the egoistic minds don't get such 'motivations', they are reluctant to be good and do good, or refrain from be bad and do bad. That's not freedom at all.

"Everyone needs love and affection. Give love and affection to others, and others will have love to love themselves and love others. Giving love to others will make oneself feels good and meaningful."
*In yoga, when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, one doesn't need to receive love and affection from anyone to feel loved, or to have love. Everyone just need to realize unconditional love in oneself, where there's no lack of love/craving for love/aversion towards loveless and there's no separateness of 'I' and 'others'. There's no 'I' am 'giving love' to 'others', or 'others' are 'receiving love' from 'I', but out of compassion, teach and allow everyone to be free from ignorance and egoism to realize unconditional love in oneself, where everyone doesn't need to receive love from others to feel loved or to have love, and everyone doesn't need to feel good and meaningful from the action of 'giving' and 'loving'.

"Everything is possible. Nothing is impossible."
*In yoga, everything is possible, including both possibility and impossibility. Possibility is possible. Impossibility is also possible. It's okay sometimes things are not possible, such like one couldn't stop the physical body from impermanent changes of aging, decaying and death/decompose, or one couldn't undo the past, and whether it's possibility or impossibility, all are impermanent.

Worldly minds, including many yoga enthusiasts, are functioning under the influence of the social thinking and beliefs perceiving everyone and everything as 'good or bad', 'right or wrong', 'positive or negative', 'normality or abnormality', 'meaningfulness or meaninglessness', 'appropriateness or inappropriateness', 'friendliness or unfriendliness' and 'nice or not nice'.

"This is a good/bad person."
"This is so positive/negative."
"This is so meaningful/meaningless."
"This is a friendly/unfriendly person."
"This is a nice/not nice person."
"Yoga teachers/practitioners need to 'be positive' and say only 'positive words' to influence/encourage others also to be positive."
And so on.

In yoga or Buddhism, it's not necessarily so. Upon knowing what is going on in the mind and seeing the truth of impermanence and selflessness in all the names and forms, naturally, one stops judging and labeling everyone and everything into 'this' and 'that', upon perceiving/experiencing all kind of different experiences, thinking, beliefs, actions, reactions and behaviors.

"You are being nice to me, but it doesn't mean that 'you are a nice person or your are not a not nice person'."
"You might not behave in a good way, but it doesn't mean that 'you are a bad person or you are not a good person'."
"You are feeling happy or unhappy in this moment, but it doesn't mean that 'you are a happy person or you are an unhappy person'."
"Yoga teachers don't need to 'be positive' or say only 'positive words', they just need to teach yoga as it is, and the teachings are neither positive nor negative, although many impure minds might not like or agree with the teachings, and perceiving and judging everything as 'positive' and 'negative' according to the worldly thinking and beliefs, while passionate minds might be disturbed by the teachings that they dislike and disagree with, that is not necessarily something that they think it should be."

The minds that are free from ignorance and egoism are not 'passionate' or 'interested' towards the attainment and accumulation of worldly objects of names and forms, the cultivation and achievement of worldly passionate desires/ambitions and the engagement in all kinds of human social relationships, activities, interactions, excitement, enjoyment and entertainment because these minds are void of the by-products of ignorance and egoism, where the minds are free from the sense of low self-esteem, low confidence, negativeness, unhappiness and meaninglessness.

These selfless/egoless minds don't need to develop or empower the sense of high self-esteem, self-worth, confidence, positiveness, happiness and meaningfulness through the attainment and accumulation of worldly objects of names and forms, or the cultivation and achievement of desires/ambitions, or the engagement in social relationships, activities, interactions, excitement, enjoyment and entertainment, in order to chase away the sense of low self-esteem, low self-worth, low confidence, negativeness, unhappiness and meaninglessness. It doesn't mean that these minds don't perform any actions to improve or be successful in whatever they venture, but all actions are free from attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation.

These quiet peaceful liberated minds might be perceived by the other majority of the society, including passionate sociable 'yoga practitioners/teachers' and health professionals as a form of 'unhealthiness', 'selfishness', 'abnormality', or even, 'insanity', as these minds don't think and behave, act and react, and are not interested towards engaging in the worldly passionate sociable family/community way of life like all the other majority in the society. They are peaceful as they are, being free from ignorance, egoism, passions, discrimination, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, animosity, violence, fear, boredom, loneliness, longing, hurts, meaninglessness, incompleteness and restlessness, being immerse in silence, seclusion and solitude, allowing the world and everyone to be what they are, as they are, and all are impermanent and selfless, which the worldly passionate sociable minds perceive as a form of 'unhealthiness', 'selfishness', 'abnormality' and 'insanity'.

It's everyone's freedom for how they perceive, think, feel, act and react, and what they want to do with their life, body and mind.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Worldly identifications

One of the great obstacles or challenges for the yoga enthusiasts to be free from egoism is the intense attachment towards worldly identifications with some qualities of names and forms to be existing as 'I'.

It's 'unthinkable' for the egoistic minds to be 'functioning' or 'aware of the mind perception of a worldly life of names and forms' without any identifications with some qualities of names and forms to be acknowledged by oneself and others as 'This is I'.

There's great fear towards losing the sense of the existence of 'I', or 'selflessness/'I'-lessness', or being unable to be acknowledged by oneself and others as "I am this and that", if without any of the identifications that the egoistic thinking mind would like to acknowledge itself and be acknowledged by others that "I exist as an (unique/special/distinctive/meaningful) individual being with such and such qualities of names and forms."

Similarly, most minds have great fear towards letting go all kinds of superstitious thinking, beliefs, values and practices that were being ingrained into the minds from very young age by their elders, parents, relatives, friends, school teachers, religious teachers, the community and the society. Very few minds would question the truth of all those thinking, beliefs, values and practices, to inquire the truth of everything that was told or informed by everyone, and would just blind-believing, blind-following, blind-practicing and blind-passing on all these thinking, beliefs, values and practices. As most people would 'label' themselves or be 'labeled' by others as 'bad person' or 'traitor' towards one's root and ancestor's cultural background and family values, if they don't embrace or follow or pass down those thinking, beliefs, values and practices.

For many people, this is the 'normal', 'good', 'productive', 'positive', 'healthy', 'successful', 'meaningful' and 'rightful' way of life or living.

Not only that there was a 'basic identity upon birth' that relates to a 'given name', a 'gender', a 'family', an 'ethnicity', a 'birth place', a 'nationality' and a 'security ID number', but everyone was growing up being conditioned by the society to identify oneself with a 'sexual orientation', a 'personality', a 'physical appearance', a 'self-image', a 'body image', a 'physical condition', a 'mental state', a 'religion', a 'culture', a 'lifestyle', a 'trend', and etc. Most minds are being 'encouraged' by the society to be constantly 'developing' and 'possessing' further more other qualities of names and forms to empower or strengthen that 'self-identity', that would allow the minds to feel proud, confident and meaningful towards the existence of 'I' under such identifications. Such like, "I am a 'good', 'strong', 'healthy', 'fit', 'beautiful', 'attractive', 'stylish', 'successful', 'intelligent', 'knowledgeable', 'positive', 'multi tasking', 'talented', 'well-informed', 'well-behaved', 'inspirational', 'generous' and 'kind loving' human being on top of all the identifications with a particular belief, religion, spirituality, culture, caste, sect, educational level, social status, community group, political views, profession, interests, qualifications, certifications, achievements, contributions, possessions, relationships, connections, and so on.

There are some common sayings such as -
"Be good, do good, and life will be all good and you will be happy."
"Be nice and friendly to other people, and other people will be nice and friendly to you."
That is not necessary true.

But everyone has been circulating that kind of sayings especially from the elders to the youngsters, or from the yoga teachers to the yoga students. Many people experiencing disappointment, depression and meaninglessness because they have such expectation towards life, where everyone and everything has to be in certain ways based on those sayings.

Many times, life is not necessarily all good and people are not happy even after they are being good and they have done many good. And it's okay.

People don't have to be happy all the time. Just be good and do good, and allow the fruit of actions to be what it is, not necessarily has to be the way that we would like it to be.

Sometimes, people are not being grateful or appreciative towards our kindness and friendliness, and are not being nice or friendly to us when we are being nice and friendly to them. And it's okay.

People don't have to be grateful and appreciative, and be nice and friendly to others, if they don't want to. Just be nice and friendly to others, without the expectation that other people should be grateful and appreciative, and be nice and friendly to us in return.

The most practical way in the yoga practice to eliminate egoism from the mind is via renunciation of what most minds being conditioned to think and believe as the 'normal' and 'meaningful' way of life. Moving the mind away from the egoistic worldly social cultural thinking and beliefs, ideas, relationships, connections, interactions and activities, and letting go novels, news and magazines reading, radio listening, movies watching and theater visiting. Be determined to observe seclusion and solitude for at least five or six years, cutting off all kinds of worldly social cultural inputs, ideas, connections, activities and interactions, to allow the mind to be free from being conditioned by worldly thinking and beliefs that are all about empowering worldly attachment and identification. Only then the mind can see the truth of names and forms as it is.

Once the mind is free from being conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking and beliefs, it is no longer being determined by any of the worldly identifications with qualities of names and forms to be existing as 'I'. There's no need to feel proud, confident or meaningful towards "I am somebody endowed with this and that prideful, superior and meaningful qualities."

There's no 'I' being there that needs to be empowered, be acknowledged, be motivated, be inspired, be loved, be proud, be confident and be meaningful. There's no 'I' being there to be strong, be weak, be happy, be unhappy, be positive, be negative, be good, be bad, be hurt, be healed, be pleased, be displeased, be praised, be insulted, be selfish, be unselfish, be unfree or be free.

While the entire world emphasize on the empowerment of a strong self-identity nurtured with the qualities of names and forms of particular social/cultural/ethnicity/nationality ideas/values/practices, yoga practice is mainly to free the mind from all these identifications with any qualities of names and forms.

Even the idea of "I am a yoga practitioner practicing yoga of annihilating ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness" and the desire of "I want to practice yoga to be free from ignorance and suffering" vanished from the minds that know thyself.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Selfless actions influence others without the intention to change or control others

Selfless actions could influence others as well as the condition or situation in the world, but without the egoistic intention to change or control others and the condition or situation in the world to be the way that the egoistic minds would like it to be, or think and believe how it should be.

There's no disappointment, frustration, anger, hatred, or depression when things are not 'being' or 'changing' to be the way that the egoistic minds would like it to be, if actions that could influence others and the condition or situation in the world are being performed out of selflessness and compassion, selflessly and intentionlessly, without 'good intention' to be performing 'good actions' that the egoistic minds 'desire' or 'hope' to 'change' others and the condition or situation in the world to be 'good' the way that the minds think and believe what is good.

Similarly, most of the time, when 'good minds' have 'good intention' to tell the truth of 'something not good' about somebody or some organization might provoke the dissatisfaction, frustration, anger and hatred in the egoistic minds where their desires or agendas are being affected directly or indirectly by 'the intentional good action' of 'telling the truth of something not good'.

Just look at our everyday life interaction with people around us, especially those whom we know. When we see someone whom we know does something that we think is wrong out of ignorance, we might have 'good intention' to tell the truth of 'someone is doing something wrong out of ignorance' and the consequence of that is usually very 'unpleasant' as either the person might react with feelings of hurt, shame, guilt, regret or self-blame towards oneself if this person suffers from low self-esteem, depression or over sensitive, or this person might react with feelings of being insulted, humiliated, belittled, intimidated, anger and hatred, if this person suffers from pride and arrogance. Unless the minds are free from ignorance and egoism, and be able to see, or hear, or coming in contact with the truth and allowing the truth to be what it is, but if people would do something wrong/bad out of ignorance it also means that they are not free from ignorance. And the minds that are not free from ignorance don't have the 'understanding' and 'ability' to deal with 'the truth' openly and peacefully.

Most of the time, 'the truth of something not nice' told by others appears to be something hard, or harsh, or cruel, or dislikable, or disagreeable, or offensive, or hurtful, or insulting, or humiliating, or inappreciative, or ungrateful, or unsupportive, or negative, or unloving, or unkind to the egoistic minds, including knowledgeable and intelligent minds. Most egoistic prideful minds prefer to hear 'nice things' or 'kind words' about themselves. Many people say, "Don't say anything 'not nice'."

And hence, 'the truth' must be self-aware or self-realized.

More importantly, the truth is just what it is. It's neither positive nor negative, neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad, neither nice nor not nice. But impure egoistic minds that are functioning under the influence of duality interpret everything as positive and negative, right and wrong, good and bad, nice and not nice, and react spontaneously and emotionally influenced by the likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements coming from the egoistic mind based on the thinking and believe in the mind to judge and react towards all the perceived names and forms or experiences, to feel pleased or displeased.

That's why the relation between 'the truth' and 'silence'. And hence, the practice of 'silence' is very important and relevant in the path of yoga and Buddhism of self-inquiry and self-realization of the truth to attain liberation from ignorance and suffering.

This 'silence' doesn't mean intentionally not seeing, not hearing, not smelling, not tasting, not feeling/sensing or not thinking 'something that the mind thinks and believes as bad/wrong/negative/not nice', or not performing any necessary actions. This 'silence' also doesn't mean intentionally denying 'the truth of something'.

Without any of the senses functioning, or without the idea of denying 'the truth of something', or being unable/unwilling to perform any physical or verbal actions doesn't mean that the mind is free from the suffering of ignorance, egoism, restlessness and impurities. But, there's no ego or 'I' being there to ceaselessly act and react out of 'intention' or 'aspiration' to change or control others or the world to be in certain ways, to be attaining or not attaining 'certain qualities of names and forms' that the ego desires or doesn't desire to be identifying with or to be possessing when there is an ego, or the idea of 'I', existing and identifying with the modification of the mind, attaching onto and identifying with the actions and the fruit of actions (being passionate towards one's actions and there's attachment, identification and expectation towards the fruit of one's actions.)

Be free from the idea or thinking of "I want others and the world to be like this and I don't want others and the world to be like that."

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Perform self-inquiry towards all the doubts in one's mind

There’s nothing wrong with reading and memorizing and studying the teachings from the ancient scriptures of Yoga or Buddhism. Just that one needs to know how to unattached towards all the teachings in the scriptures, even if some or all of the teachings might seem to be agreeable or disagreeable to the mind based on what the mind thinks it knows, without blind-agreeing/disagreeing, blind-believing, or blind-following, but be determined to purify the mind to free the mind from egoism and impurities, to allow the mind to perform inquiry/investigation to inquire the truth of all these teachings whether they are true, or not.

At the same time, when the mind is still under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, the mind might generate disagreement or dislike towards some or all of the teachings, and out of the egoistic habit of the mind, it might feel disturbed or resentment towards the teachings that the mind disagrees with or dislikes. The disturbed mind would want to argue or debate or discuss about the truth of this and that, which the mind itself isn’t sure what it is. The mind that ‘knows’, would be in silence, allowing others to ‘understand’ or ‘interpret’ this and that in their own ways/versions.

It’s not so much about whether the teachings in the scriptures are all true, or not. Or whether there’s some misinterpretation coming from the impure mind while studying and analyzing the teachings, or there’s some misleading coming from those who ‘prepared’ the scriptures while putting the teachings into words/texts in a particular language, or there’s some imperfection while describing/translating the teachings into a particular language.

Any kinds of written texts or verbal words in any particular form of language is imperfect. That’s why the truth can only be realized through self-realization under a pure mind, and it can never be described/translated into the form of verbal or written words/texts of any languages. Buddha already stated that the truth can only be attained through self-realization via a pure and quiet mind reflection for the mind reflects upon itself to know thyself, it's never through reading/studying/analyzing/debating/discussing or getting answers from anyone by asking questions, as one will never know whether all the answers from anyone is true, or not, unless one realizes the truth by itself.

Dhamma cannot be written down in words of any languages, and if the teachings had to be passing down through verbal form and be translated into other languages in verbal or written form, and be kept in the form of texts/words in any particular languages, it’s not perfect. Everyone who sincerely wants to follow the path of yoga or Buddhism, must work diligently on purifying and quieting the restless mind to allow the mind to inquire/reflect the truth of everything, including all the teachings from all the scriptures (any kind of teachings in text form or in verbal form of any particular language.)

And it’s not important at all whether the agreements and disagreements coming from the impure mind towards the teachings are true, or not. But it’s about the mind develops non-attachment towards all the teachings as well as all the impure mind reactions of agreements and disagreements towards everything based on ‘what the mind thinks it knows or understands’, without being disturbed by something that the mind disagrees with or dislikes, without being attached onto something that the mind agrees with or likes, remain equanimous being free from craving and aversion towards the duality of what the mind thinks and believes or understands as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, or ‘true’ and ‘untrue’, that is upmost important.

Any form of argument, debate and discussion that derived from impure minds are useless as the minds are functioning under the influence of impurities. If the mind is free from impurities, there’s no argument, debate or discussion. Swami Sivananda mentioned repeatedly many times in many of his books – Abandon all forms of argument, debate and discussion. Purify and silent the mind. Meditate and realize. Ajahn Chah mentioned in his teachings – There’s only one book to read – the heart, look within and know thyself. Buddha’s teaching – Do not blind-believing or blind-following, investigate the truth of everything via self-realization through purification of the mind and the annihilation of ignorance and egoism – attachment, identification, the desire of craving and aversion.

The truth is there as it is when the mind is pure and quiet, being free from the influence of duality, being free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance – egoism, impurities and restlessness of the modification of the mind. The truth is not a belief. The truth is just what things are. The truth is still the truth, that all are impermanent and selfless, including what the impure mind perceives as pleasurable enjoyment or painful suffering, regardless of what the mind thinks it knows or doesn’t know, or whether the mind agrees or disagrees with what it perceives based on what it thinks it understands, or whether the mind thinks itself is perfect or imperfect, or whether the world that the mind perceives through the senses appears to be pleasant or unpleasant, or whether the mind is happy or unhappy.

Those who had never read or come in contact with any scriptures or teachings, can still attain self-realization and be free from ignorance and suffering, when the mind is pure. Being free from ignorance and suffering doesn’t change the truth of impermanence and selflessness in all the names and forms, or doesn't change all the names and forms to be the way that the impure egoistic minds would like them to be.

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

Om shanti

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