be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yoga and "certification"?

Nowadays, the system of the education and work-field is depending very much on the term ''certification''.

Of course, in most of the works that require specific knowledge and skill to perform the work, it needs people who are being trained in that particular knowledge and skill to perform that specific type of work.

There's nothing wrong at all for the requirement to have some sort of certifications to show that the person who will be doing the job knows about the work, and is being trained to do the work.

But when come to yoga practice, are we going to be given a certificate by 'God' or from an enlightened being, to certify us and for us to show it to other people telling everybody that ''we are enlightened beings'', or ''we are compassionate human beings'', or ''we are real yogis'', or ''we are yoga teachers'', or ''we are dharma teacher'', if we are free from ignorance and realize the unconditional peace and compassion, being kind to others, and share this wisdom with others?

Does an enlightened being need a piece of paper stating ''certificate of enlightenment'', and carrying it to wherever he goes and show it to other people telling them that he is enlightened?

There's nothing wrong with having a piece of paper to show that we have gone through certain training in such and such practice, but certainly it is not a statement of qualification for us to be recognized or acknowledged as a real practitioner or a genuine teacher.

Does having a certification from a famous school of yoga is a guarantee of a perfect yogi or a good and genuine yoga teacher?

Does a real yogi who had perfected in his practice and has profound knowledge of the Truth is not allowed and not qualified to teach yoga and dharma to anyone who desire to learn from him because he did not go through a recognized school or Ashram, and not having any ''yoga teachers training certifications''?

Did Buddha attain or receive a certificate from somewhere or somebody to acknowledge or enable him to teach dharma to all beings?

Did all the saints and sages, and yogis in the past before the existence of ''certification'', attain any so called ''Internationally recognized'' and ''Certified by an association of spiritual practice'' kind of certificate to prove that they were graduated from a school or Ashram and had attained ''such and such'' level of spiritual enlightenment?

Did they sit for an exam, get the passing marks and the certificate, and thus they were qualified to disseminate the teachings to other people, and the people who learned from them will be guaranteed for achieving excellent results as well? And if they did not sit for an exam, and did not have a certificate, does this mean they are not allowed to teach yoga and disseminate dharma?

Are we going to be guaranteed enlightenment after we have attended 200/500/1000 hours of courses, passed the final exam, and attained a piece of paper? It solely depends on our own practice and direct realization, but certainly it is nothing to do with passing examination, attaining certification, or how many hours of practice, study, participation and attendance in yoga courses.

Do we need a special place or classroom and a special timing to disseminate dharma or be kind to others? Not really.

Are we a ''yoga teacher'' if we are teaching a group of people doing some or all of the poses in the asana practice in a "yoga class"? Not really, unless it allows the mind to see the ignorance in itself, to remove ignorance to know the truth of names and forms, to develop non-attachment, or to realize unconditional peace and compassion, or selflessness.

Does spiritual practice, spiritual evolution or self realization has got anything to do with the knowledge of the anatomy of the physical body or sports science? What does knowledge of the bones and muscles has to do with meditation and insight? Does it mean that if people don't know anything about the anatomy and physiology or sports science, they will never be free from ignorance and suffering, or won't be peaceful, kind and compassionate? When we cut open our body, can we find where the mind is, and know how the mind looks like?

Maybe by understanding that after removing our skin, what left is some ugly smelly disgusting flesh and blood underneath the beautiful skin. And after we died, all the muscles and organs will decompose and what left is some bony structure, and this might help us to realize the truth of the physical body is nothing but bones, flesh, blood, nerves, glands, internal organs, urine and shit. And this will help us to develop strong detachment towards the physical body and detachment towards youthful, healthy, strong, beautiful, attractive, fashionable or presentable physical appearances.

A real yogi, or a dharma teacher, or an enlightened being, doesn't need this egoistic product of the worldly minded business of so called ''certification'' to acknowledge him, or to qualify him, or to allow him to share this beautiful knowledge with anyone who is sincere to realize about the Truth of selflessness and impermanence in all and everything, to practice in life what they have learned from some other peaceful and compassionate beings, to be developing right understanding, and heading towards Self-realization.

It is not the qualification or certification that allows us to be enlightened, to attain wisdom, to share unconditional love and peace with others, to know the Truth, to be peaceful, to be compassionate, to be kind, to be sincere and honest, to disseminate dharma in the world, and etc.

It is the real practice of detachment and self-control in us, in every moment in everyday life experiences, which is invisible or unknown to other people at all, that enable us to keep improving in our own practice, to realize the Truth, and thus being able to share the knowledge attained from our own practice and direct realization with other people without the notion of ''I am a teacher'', ''I am teaching yoga'', ''I am qualified and certified'', ''I am compassionate'', ''I am helping those who are in despair'', or ''I am earning money from teaching yoga''.

There is nothing wrong to receive money from the students as a form of appreciation from them and to be able to support our living and enable us to continue our own practice without worrying or struggling for living. But certainly not to greed for money making in order to attain worldly enjoyments and to satisfy our worldly desires. And the appreciation towards the teacher and the opportunity to be learning and practicing yoga, doesn't necessarily is in the form of money, but anything that is coming from the sincerity of the student to express his gratitude, that is within his ability.

Certainly we can not refuse to teach or not to share the knowledge of yoga with anybody who has no money or has nothing to give us, or even anyone who is being non-appreciative and non-thankful. Unless under certain condition and situation where we can not teach yoga to someone is due to something unavoidable, such as we need to be at somewhere else, or we need to do something else, or we are not able to teach due to sickness or injuries, or we need to focus in our own practice. It shouldn't be because of the person cannot give us some money or something in return.

It doesn't matter if there is only one student learning from a yoga teacher. A real yoga teacher is not determined by how many students he has, or whether he is famous or not, or whether he is getting high pay or not.

All beings, whether wise or ignorant, are their own dharma teacher doesn't matter if they go to a school or not, learning from a teacher or not, realized and understood dharma or not.

We don't need this piece of paper to prove that we are good or not good, qualified or not qualified. It's because dharma is already in all and everyone, whether we are aware of it, or not, whether we have a teacher, or not, and regardless of the degrees of ignorance.

If there is a real ''certificate'' approved by 'God' or the enlightened being, it will be something unconditional without names and forms coming from within. No one else can see this ''certificate'' with their eyes, but they will know what it is.

No one else but our own self, always know that whether we are sincere in our own practice, whether we are compassionate in sharing the knowledge of yoga practice with other beings (not out of the ego wants to teach other people for gaining respect and reputation, name and fame, or for getting money to fulfill our selfish worldly desires), whether we can share the wisdom of peace and compassion with those who are in painful sorrow and suffering.

A real yoga practitioner who is detached from names and forms doesn't need to tell everyone that ''I am a real yogi'', ''I am perfected in yoga practice'', ''I am a good yoga teacher or dharma teacher'', or ''I am a qualified and certified yoga teacher or practitioner, certified by such and such yoga schools'', or "I have been practicing and teaching yoga for how many years", and etc.

He is what he is. He does what he need to do. He doesn't need any worldly recognition, acknowledgement and approval from any organizations to disseminate dharma.

What is yoga and dharma if it is limited by this small piece of paper produced by the worldly minded people in the world of egoism/business/commercialism?

What is enlightenment and wisdom if it is limited by the perception of dualism about qualified or non-qualified, certified or non-certified?

Everyone is a qualified yoga practitioner from the beginning of existence and is a qualified yoga teacher when they share the knowledge of unconditional peace and compassion with others out of compassion, regardless of whether they had went to a formal school or Ashram, or not, whether they had attained a so called ''recognized certificate'', or not, but they had realized the Truth through their own realization. They know the path. They are selfless and peaceful, wise and compassionate.

Without peace, wisdom and compassion, "yoga classes" are just a product of the world of business, physical fitness, physical challenging exercises, competition and empowerment for the egoism and ignorance.

May we all develop right understanding, attain unconditional peace and happiness, and true freedom, in this precious life existence.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Be happy, now...

If there is no happiness, everything else will be meaningless.

Be happy with who we are, how we are, where we are and what we are doing now at this moment, is the most important thing in life.

Not longing to be there when we are here and not longing to be here when we are there.

Eat when we feel hungry, sleep when we feel tired, play when we feel energetic, sit when we feel low energy, cry when we feel need to, laugh when we feel happy and sing when we feel like to.

Don't mind about the criticism from other people.

This is our life, not his, not hers, not theirs.

When we come to this world, when we leave this world, does it concern anyone out there?

What can they do when our present life comes to the end?

What can they do when we have so much Karma to burn off?

They don't feel pain when we are burnt by fire. We are responsible for every karma we are going through. No one can take the pain for us. Not our parents, not our children, not our friends, not anyone that love us very much.

No one can take away our happiness or stop us from being happy.

No one can take away our sadness or stop us from being sad.

It is our rights to feel happy or feel sad. So be happy always doesn't matter we are happy or we are sad.

Appreciate good health when we are having it. No need to be sad when we don't have it. A sick body cannot stop us from being happy.

It is our own self.

Not complain when we are busy, not complain when we are not busy.

Enjoy being busy and doing things when we are busy, enjoy being free and doing nothing when we are not busy.

Life is not that hard when we know how to live it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

chapter 1 - we all want to be happy

Everyone wants happiness and don’t want unhappiness. We want to have good health, good living conditions, and good relationships with family and friends. We also want success, abundance and to enjoy life to the fullest. We want to fulfill all our dreams and desires if possible.

At the same time we also have fear of pain, suffering, disappointment, failure, old age, illness, death and the unknown.

We don’t want to be with the people that we don’t like and we don’t like the separation from our loved ones.

Even babies know the difference of comfort and discomfort. They will laugh when they feel good, and cry if they don’t feel good.

These are what the Vedanta (philosophy of Yoga) called attachments.

These are the common features of everyone, although everyone has different temperaments, beliefs and talents.

And there are some people who are also looking for spiritual evolution, seeking for enlightenment.

But not many people can have their lives as they wish and not having any disappointment, frustration and fear at all.

We are being conditioned by all sorts of feelings and emotions because we have the senses, differentiation of comfort and discomfort and we have likes and dislikes, needs and wants.

As a human being, it is our birth-rights to feel good or feel bad. It is very normal and nothing wrong to have negative feelings. Never label ourselves with the term ‘weak’ or ‘bad’ when we have negative feelings. They will go away after sometimes. It is the same for good feelings as well. They will pass away too. We don’t need to attach to neither one of them. And we need a lot of training to be able to detach from our feelings. This is Yoga practice.

Negative feelings do not bring much harm unless we attached to them and generate reaction. Even though we do not show it outside through action and speech, but the actual attachment is happening in the mind and it will create havoc sooner or later like a time-bomb waiting to blow up. It is like suppressing the anger deep inside and the fire of anger grows so intense and finally explodes.

The stronger the attachment towards the condition (both positive and negative), the stronger the disappointment, fear and worries there will be.
We just need to learn how to detach ourselves from these conditions either completely or just by decreasing the level or amount of attachment will help to reduce so much unhappiness.

Look at the people around us, how many people are really happy and content with what they already have?

Most of the people that we see in our neighborhood, on the street, in the society, they dress well, they look well, they eat well, they have studied or still studying, they have a job or doing business or being supported by somebody, they talk and laugh, they have a home to go back to, they have family or friends waiting for them, they look like they are enjoying life.
Look at ourselves. Aren’t we all the same having a life like this?

But deep inside our heart, are we really happy and satisfied with everything that we come in contact with?

If we have gratitude, appreciation and contentment, we will be thankful to have a life like this and feeling happy always, not complaining about anything at all. But do we?

There is still something bothering our mind. A feeling of ‘something is missing out’ but we don’t know what it is?

And some people had chose to take alcohol or drugs, or both to get a temporally ‘getaway’ from their problems. But this will only bring further destruction to our body and mind. It doesn’t really solve our problems.

There are some other people who are struggling everyday in life just to get a place to stay and have food to eat. Even though life is hard for them, they are not less humanity or less respect/value or less happy than people who are having better and easier life. They have the same equal rights just like anybody else.

But there are something in common among all of these people including everyone of us, which are, we all have fear and worries inside us whether we show it or not, there are planning for the future, there are some complaints about something, there is anger and dissatisfaction inside us, we all had experienced some disappointments before, we have things that we like and don’t like, and we all want to be loved by somebody or everybody.

How often that we ourselves have gone through or have seen or heard people shouting at each other, parents shouts at the children or vice versa, husband shouts at the wife or vice versa, friends and lovers shout at each other, teachers shout at the students or vice versa, youngster shouts at old people, boss shouts at the employee, or even some people are shouting at God or at themselves, so many arguments and conflicts here and there, and so on. Why? What is happening? Where did all these unhappiness come from? Why are we feeling upset and angry?

chapter 2 - why are we not happy?

We are not happy generally because we are not happy about ourselves; not happy with our lives, with other people and the happenings in the world. We are discontented about something or everything. We have lots of fears and worries. We want to enjoy life but we don’t really know how?

We cannot even please our own self because our mood and wants are changing all the time, and thus it is impossible to please everybody in this world of diversity.

Most of the time, we don’t know what we really want and don’t want.

We are afraid of losing "this" if we decide to choose "that" or vice versa. Indecisive is a common reason why people are not at peace, being troubled and unhappy in life.

And egoism is the main cause for all the unhappiness in us. Anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, arrogance, attachment, craving, aversion, low confidence, low self-esteem, depression, fears and worries are derived from the ego.

We are not happy because we don't have wisdom or right understanding at the moment. It doesn't matter if we had went through higher education or had read a lot of books and had attained lots of various certificates or having many talents.

Mainly because the knowledge that we attained from school did not teach us how to be happy. Or it has given us a huge wrong idea that our happiness is to achieve through worldly success, wealth, fame, material enjoyments and sensual pleasures.

All the knowledge that we could get from this world is conditioned and is limited. These knowledge and talents that we have cannot and do not guarantee us happiness. In fact they have promoted the pride and arrogance in us, empowering our ego, and thus make us more unhappy and discontent in life.

The more that we learn, the more that we realize that we are so ignorant and don't know much actually. This will make us become a humble person, which is good. But if we are attached to our ego strongly, this will make us feel low self-esteem, depressed and also will generate jealousy towards people who are better than us or know more than us.

And thus we are unhappy and not satisfy with ourselves. We will try to remove this dissatisfaction by trying to acquire more worldly knowledge and achievement in life. Again this is enhancing our ego, pride and arrogance, and makes us more unhappy.

It is like a snowball that rolls down a hill full of snow and attached itself with more and more snow, and become bigger and heavier.

The knowledge that we learn from school education certainly will benefit us to a certain extent; for us to be able to read and write; to communicate with others; and to have some skills for finding jobs to make some living.

But this knowledge cannot give us salvation, or remove our ignorance. It doesn't take away the pain; the suffering; the unhappy feelings; the negative thinking; the anger; the hatred; the jealousy; the greed; the fears and worries; the illness; the old age and death that everyone has to go through at one stage in life.

Look at so many people who are unhappy and even have gone crazy. Many of them are well educated and some of them are intelligent and materially successful wealthy people.

They may be very smart and intelligent, but it doesn't help them to transcend painful sorrow and suffering. The more they know and the more wealth that they have, the more emptiness and meaningless that they feel, because they know that we all are going to leave all these knowledge and wealth behind due to impermanence. We cannot forever own this success and wealth that we have now and we cannot forever be with the people who we love so much. And also knowledge and wealth cannot buy us true love or give us permanent true happiness.

Because without wisdom, we all don't know how to stay detached and let go.

And wisdom is entirely different from worldly knowledge.

It allows us to realize the Truth of all the things in this world that we perceive with our mind through the senses and let us understand what is happening in us that is making us unhappy and suffer.

It gives us the true confidence that has got nothing to do with the knowledge in the world and how much that we know about everything; and the true confidence is not affected by the ever changing phenomena; or the judgment and criticism from other people.

It helps us to be able to detach from worldly objects and the suffering cause by them. It also let us to be able to detach from duality which is the cause of likes and dislikes; cravings and aversions which is the cause for irritation, frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, and suffering.

It helps us to be able to let go our likes and dislikes; the past and the future.
It helps us to deal with our feelings and emotions; the anger; the hatred; the jealousy; negative thinking and evil thoughts.

It gives us the courage and strength to withstand all the discomforts that arise due to the functions of our mind; the ego; the intellect and the senses.

It gives us peace of mind and sustain happiness. It takes away our fear and worries.

It is the key to our salvation and self-realization.

When there is wisdom, there is no unhappiness or depression.

When there is wisdom, there is no fear.

May we all attain wisdom in this life now and be happy.

chapter 3 - What is Yoga

Yoga is about being happy in life and being happy about ourselves at the present moment NOW, not about wishing tomorrow will be better, or a happier next life, or migrating to a place free from unhappiness called Heaven. It's unconditional contentment beyond happy feeling that is also selfless and impermanent. There's no attachment and identification, or desire of craving and aversion towards the manifestation of pleasant and unpleasant feelings, or the perception of agreeable and disagreeable names and forms being perceived through the senses, or the desirable and undesirable life experiences, conditions and situations in the world. This unconditional contentment is there as it is, upon the annihilation of ignorance and egoism.

Yoga is a basic way of life that leads us to become a happier person upon liberation from ignorance and egoism, and seeing the truth of things as it is, being undetermined or undisturbed by all kinds of names and forms or experiences that are selfless and impermanent.

Life is just being what it is. It has no intention to make us happy or unhappy. Being happy or unhappy about life, doesn't change life being what it is, and it's constantly changing selflessly. Easy life, or difficult life, we can choose to live happily or sadly. It is all up to our own self.

We are conditioned by the law of nature, but we can set ourselves free from feeling unhappy and transcend suffering through the practice of Yoga and other teachings such as Buddhism.

Suffering is a state of the mind. We cannot change the state of our mortal physical body or control the world to be what we like it to be, but we can change the state of our mind and have control of how we feel.

There are similarities in Yoga and Buddhism and their goal is the same, self-awareness, self-inquiry, and self-realization or enlightenment.

It is just the name and form is different, but within all the saints and sages are the same consciousness, same wisdom and compassion.

In all living beings, regardless of the different qualities of names and forms in everyone, we are the same consciousness too. We all are the same when we feel happy or sad. We might speak different languages from one another and have different cultural way of living, thinking, belief, values and practice, but we all have the same feelings, expressions and reactions when we have hunger, thirst, anger, hatred, jealousy, fear, greed, passion, pain, tiredness, craving, and attachment.

We are no different from all the peaceful saints and sages when all the impurities are purified and eradicated from our mind, what left is only wisdom and compassion (the higher self). At the moment, when we are still having lots of impurities (ignorance and egoism), we are the impure consciousness (the lower self).

The consciousness before the purification process and after the purification process is the same one. The difference is just the presence and absence of impurities.

That’s why on the outside of us, we have different looks, personalities and behaviors, and having different languages and beliefs, but inside us, how the body system works and how the mind, the ego and the intellect work, are the same, no differences at all.

In the teachings of Yoga and Buddhism, all living beings are entitled to be liberated from ignorance, be free from suffering or unhappiness, all are equal.

The only thing that stops us from being liberated, is the impurities (ignorance) in the mind.

Only a peaceful mind can lead us to enlightenment or liberation. Due to ignorance, we are always trapped in fears and worries, and we are not at peace. Without a peaceful mind, we find it so difficult to get a glimpse of wisdom, or the Truth of names and forms. And so, we continue being trapped in fears and worries.

But it is not hopeless.

The practice of Yoga can help us to come out from this whirlpool of ignorance, through the practice of restraints (Yama), observances (Niyama), steady posture (Asana), control of the breath (Pranayama), withdrawal of the senses from the objects (Pratyahara), concentration (Dharana), meditation (Dhyana), and silence - the annihilation of the modification of the mind (Samadhi).

Yama and Niyama are the foundation for all other practices. They are – truthfulness – non telling lies (Satyam), non-injury (Ahimsa), non-stealing (Asteya), chaste – celibacy/controlling of sexual desire (Brahmacharya), non-covertness – non accepting bribe or gift (Aparigraha), cleanliness of body and mind – internal and external purity (Saucha), contentment (Santosha), austerity (Tapas), self-study (Swadhyaya) and surrendering the ego (Ishwara Pranidhana).

In short, they are the disciplines for mind purification and to develop self-control.

Without self-control, just by eating vegetarian food especially if we are chasing after the taste of the dishes (due to the salt, sugar, and flavoring that are added to the dishes) and to satisfy the craving for meat by eating the fake meat with the similar texture and taste of real meat, are not the true practice of Ahimsa and desire-less because we eat with the craving for taste and also we have no control over our thoughts, actions and speech.

Of course, there is nothing wrong to enjoy eating our food and appreciate the taste of it.

We need to be able to check our out going thoughts, actions and speech so that we won’t intentionally hurt other people physically or mentally, is the real practice of Ahimsa, even though how everyone reacts towards other people's thinking, actions and speech is everyone's own responsibility, and along with the control over the craving towards all the sensual pleasurable enjoyments, is the real practice of desire-less.

Yoga is the wisdom of life and the compassion of existence.

Yoga is realizing selflessness and compassion that leads towards unconditional love and peace.

In the end, there's nothing wrong or bad with the perception of unhappiness, as upon the realization of selflessness, there's no 'I' existing to be attaching or identifying with happiness or unhappiness. One won't be performing actions out of unhappiness that would hurt oneself and others. It's only when the mind is under the influence of ignorance, one could be constantly hurting oneself and others out of unhappiness, unwittingly. All is impermanent.

chapter 4 - limitation of our perception

Words are very limited, so is our perception. This physical body and all the existences in the world are limited by time, space and impermanence (existence).

We cannot describe through words in speech or writing, for something that is beyond our mind to perceive. There will be confusions, arguments, debates and misinterpretations from the original meaning of what is written or spoken. It’s because every single mind has different level of consciousness and perception, even though all minds have the same characteristics and same conditions.

What we can do is to try our best to present something which is close enough to the definite description or reflecting the meaning of the practice, so that our mind can perceive and we can learn something from it.

So are all the books that are talking about ways to achieve peacefulness and to unfold the wisdom within us and describing the ultimate truth towards self awakening and self realization.
Not everyone will have the same understanding after reading the same book. 

Some people may induce confuse in their mind when they read too many different types of teaching, they don’t know which one to follow or they try to follow everyone of them which is not really working that way.

We need to find a path that suits ourselves and concentrate on that path until the end. Of course at the same time we can keep an open mind towards other teachings and respect other’s practice.

Right education is so important for our younger generations because they are our future leaders of the world. If they have right understanding and right conduct, if they are selfless and wise, then there will be positive changes in the world later, socially or environmentally or politically and so on.

But sadly, lots of selfish and ignorant people have taken advantage of the education and media network to manipulate and corrupt the minds of these young people, implanting selfishness, racism, anger, hatred and untruthfulness into these naive young minds.

May we all develop correct understanding and do something right for the sake of ourselves and the future generations, and also for the welfare of the environment.

chapter 5 - where is Yoga?

Yoga is in our life every moment. In fact it is life itself.
Life is not outside us. It is the mind within us. Without the mind, life does not exist. Existence of life comes from the function of the modification of mind.

Yoga is not just within the two hours session that we are attending for Yoga Asana practice.

It is how we feel and deal with our feelings and emotions every moment in everyday’s life.

Be in the present moment, letting go of the past and letting go of the expectations for the future, constantly self purifying and becoming self independent.

Be the master of the body and mind, be the conqueror of our own life, develop openness of the heart and purify the mind constantly.

Learn to feel equanimous and be happy disregard the condition of the physical body and outer situations, free from impurities, detached from duality, and having unconditional calmness and peacefulness in the heart is Yoga.

To be in peace is not necessary has to be secluded from other living beings, running away from the world, or changing the law of nature. The hard or challenging condition that we are facing every moment is where we can practice letting go, purify ourselves and unfold the wisdom in us.

Wisdom is always there, unchanging and ever existing. It is currently being clouded by impurities (ignorance). Once the mind is purified, the veil of ignorance will be gone and wisdom is unveiled. We will see the world differently because the way how the mind perceives everything has changed.

When there is wisdom, there will be no fear at all.

Learn to live in harmony with the world, and learn to live in peace along with all the undesirable and unpleasant frustrations and obstacles in life.

Knowing our true self and accepting ourselves as we are from moment to moment by understanding the law of nature and respecting the ever-changing phenomena.

The fundamental practice of Yoga is the cultivation of morality (self control) and purification of the body and mind (Yama and Niyama), where mind is the essence for self transformation.

We are living in a routine of getting up everyday, go to school or work place, study or play, feeling happy or sad, laugh and cry, eat and drink, going to the toilet, seeing, hearing, talking, having fears and worries most of the time, having some dreams and desires to achieve, and go to sleep at the end of the day, until the moment our body dies and life comes to an end.

Although these routines looked like small little things or seemed like normal in life, these are the places where we learn about our true self, who we really are, and to transcend the suffering due to the existence of life.

But this is not the end of existence because the universal consciousness continues to exist after the death of this physical body, manifesting in countless names and forms to redeem the fruit of action that the ignorant egoistic mind had created through out its life existence under the influence of attachment, identification and expectation.

All these are the practice of Yoga.

chapter 6 - how to become fearless

Everyone has fear, it doesn’t matter if they are different types of fear such as fear of pain, or responsibility, or relationships, or not being wanted, or fear of not being loved, of not having anything, fear of darkness, failure, loneliness, sickness, old age, death, or bad things that might happen to us.
Above all is the fear of the unknown.

If we have fear, we won’t have peace in our heart.

People living in the forest have their own fears. People living in the city or rural villages also have their own kinds of fear. Rich people, poor people, everyone has fear. There are different fears everywhere.

What is fear?

Generally it is just a feeling of insecurity that arises in our mind due to the imagination or thoughts in the mind projected into the future. We are actually afraid of something that has not yet happened. It is a bunch of fearful thoughts and imagination of ‘what if this happens?’ and ‘what if that happens?’

If someone goes into the jungle, he is afraid that he might see a tiger. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. If he does see a big tiger in front of him, he will be afraid that the tiger might attack him, hurt him and kill him (imagination), but at this stage it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe the tiger will attack him, maybe not. And if the tiger really attacks him, at this stage, with his body full of adrenaline, he will forget his feeling of fear and try to save himself by running away or fighting the tiger. Maybe he will die of a heart attack caused by extreme fear even before the tiger actually attacks.

Fear exists for us to keep away from trouble and act as a life minder. Fear exists so that we will be cautious in our actions and speech. Fear is not a negative thing until it goes beyond an alarm to save our lives from a real dangerous situation. Fear consumes so much of our vital energy (Prana).

Fear of doing bad is not negative at all. Fear of telling lies and harming others is positive as well.

We don’t want to do bad because we have self control. We avoid hurting others due to compassion and love - not because we are afraid of being punished, nor afraid of being condemned and having bad reputation.

If we can detached from all the names and forms in the world, if we can detached from our ego and our mind, we will become fearless.

If we developed wisdom and courage, they will chase away the fear in us.

So, why not we relax our mind, free from fear and worries when there is nothing actually happening? Unless something is really happening now, then only we think of how we should deal with the situation with a calm and peaceful mind.

chapter 7 - Become truly confident

We will also have full confidence about our own selves if we have wisdom, correct understanding and equality, free from lustful desire, greed, cravings and aversions, fear and worries.

Real confidence is when we know exactly what we want and what we are doing, without the attachment to the fruit of action and without pride. It is not affected by compliments or censures from other people.

It has got nothing to do with our external appearance, our status in the society, our achievements, our study of the knowledge in the world, our talents and abilities, our wealth or health, nor any name and form at all.

It is the strong faith and believes in ourselves that keep us going in life and keep doing what we are doing with sincerity whether we are getting any support from others or not, if other people acknowledge our work or not, recognize us or not, praise us or not, condemn us or not.
And we shouldn’t do things that we are reluctant to do and without sincerity just to get the attention from other people.

It is no harm to do things to please other people and make people happy if we are sincere and the actions are righteous according to the teaching of right conduct, even if we are so reluctant to do it.
But it is doing more harm for everyone if we do things that are not righteous to please other people to get their attention, or love, or on account of any selfish intention.

That is true confidence. It doesn’t change even though everything else is under going changes. It is the ego feeling good or not good if a person self esteem is based on the judgment from other people and the things that he has done or hasn't done.

Of course there is nothing wrong to feel good if we are kind to others and have attained certain achievements but let us not become arrogant and always remain humble. Let this happiness come from doing good be one of the motivations for us to do more good then.

At the beginning we might be not good at what we are doing, but determination and perseverance and true confidence will let us keep going until one day we are good at it, despite discouragement or criticism from others especially from the people who we look up to.

It doesn’t matter what type of expectation from other people, it is us, ourselves that doing the work, not those people. Be happy even though we have not yet successful in all our pursues.

Now that we are not success yet doesn’t mean that we will not be success in the future. Most important is that we keep on going until the end of the journey doesn’t matter how many times we fall down on the way.

So what if we are not success according to the worldly point of view, but we had did our best effort? That is already a great achievement.

At the end, if we can detached from the term ''success'' and ''failure'', give no value to these name and form, then we will be free from the craving for success and the aversion for failure.

We don't need any name and form to define us as successful or unsuccessful in life.

It is the wisdom that free us from all the duality in this world, free us from the mind and the ego, that is giving us the true confidence.

chapter 8 - Free from duality

Every existence has a cause to be here.

If there's no mind perception of suffering, there's no cause for yoga to exist. When there is mind perception of suffering, there is yoga. Wisdom exists because there is ignorance. When there is no ignorance, there is no need for us to look for wisdom. We are the embodiment of wisdom if there is no ignorance.

We are looking to become enlightened because we feel suffering under the selfless impermanent existence of this body and the modification of the mind, we feel being not free in this worldly life existence. We want to be free from suffering, or to be in a state where there is only peace and happiness.

When the mind realizes non-separateness or oneness, being free from duality, it will not perceive the limited body and the world of selfless impermanent names and forms as a form of suffering. This mind has transcended the term of suffering, and hence, there is no longer a need for this mind to look for a way out.

This mind will observe the world as it is without interfering with the law of nature. It remains calm even though the world is chaotic.

There is no difference between something so called positive and negative because both positive and negative are selfless and impermanent. Something that we called ‘good’ exist only if there is something ‘bad’, to show that ‘this is something good’ and ‘that is something bad’, and vice versa.

Everything has to go through the same process of formation and disintegration. Thus everything is the same, no difference and non-dualism. If we understood this, we will have no sense of superiority or inferiority, and we will let go all the judgments, criticisms and comparisons, which are the common habits of everyone under the influence of ignorance.

All these egoistic habits and other impurities are determining what type of mentality each individual has. It is all in our mind, molding what type of personality that we have.

Such as auspiciousness and inauspiciousness. They exist in our mind if we acknowledge them and give them their respective meaning.

If we believe that there is something called auspicious, of course there will be something called inauspicious following it like a shadow. Every moment we will be so cautious when we do something or having something that is related to auspiciousness, and we will try to avoid doing something or not having anything that is related to inauspiciousness. We will become so tensed and exhausted all the time.

If we can let go labeling things as something auspicious and inauspicious, then life will be so much easier and tension-free. We can have more energy and attention to do many other meaningful things in life.

When the mind sees no difference in birth and death, praise and censure, poverty and abundance, enjoyment and suffering, gain and lost, happiness and unhappiness, or all type of duality are the same, all are selfless and impermanent, then this mind is dwelling in the state of non-duality, it found peace and rest.

There are no more arguments and searching.

This person can have wealth, health, wants, relationships and responsibilities, but is free from attachment, identification and desire of craving and aversion, and thus, void of suffering.

To be in peace is not necessary has to be secluded from other living beings, run away from the world, or changing the law of nature. The hard condition and situation that we are facing every moment is where the mind can practice letting go, purifying itself, and unfold the wisdom within.

Learn to be okay, disregard the impermanent condition of the physical body and the surrounding environment, free from ignorance, egoism, impurities and duality, and resting in calmness and peacefulness is the heart of yoga.

chapter 9 - detachment

Detachment doesn’t mean irresponsible or non-caring as some people may perceive the meaning of it.

It is being fully responsible in one’s duty or responsibility but staying detached from the fruit of actions and free from expectations, without judgment and criticism about him self or other people, the duty and the outcome.

Even the state of calmness and peacefulness is impermanent, because it is a quality of the state of mind. It will be disturbed by our feelings and emotions. We should not be attached to this state of calmness as well. As long as we are aware of the changes in our heart, as soon as the state of calmness is being disturbed and we are able to observe this change and let go instantly and not being frustrated about it, then very soon the state of calmness will reappear again.

Calmness and peacefulness are always there. It is only when we have fears and worries or excitements, it will be disturbed and we are not in the state of equilibrium for temporary. When fears and worries or excitements subsided, this state of equilibrium will be restored. It is a constant changing process of being calmed and being disturbed.

Every moment is detach, detach and detach… until one day there is no need to detach from any sensation when all the impurities are eradicated from our mind, when the senses, mind, intellect and ego ceased functioning. We have no more fear and worries, even though the surroundings are always disturbing.

Real detachment is detaching from our ego and the senses, detached from the body and the mind.

Detached from dualism - likes and dislikes, craving and aversion, comfort and discomfort, heat and cold, praise and censure, strength and weakness.

Detached from name and form, lustful desires and sensual enjoyments and also detached from our knowledge and abilities.

Detached from what we can do and cannot do and also what we have done and have not done.

Detached from anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, selfishness, pride, caste, social status, fame, wealth, success, failure, health, illness, happiness and unhappiness, virtues and merits, clinging, longing, fear, worries, excitements and all sorts of good and evil intentions.

Detached from the past experiences and memories, and detached from the future's expectations and plannings.

Detached from our practice and achievements.

Detached from our qualifications and certifications.

Detached from criticism, comparison and judgment towards ourselves and towards other people.

Detached from all our good and bad feelings.

Detached from birth and death, and our life.

Detached from all the happenings in the world.

Most important is to detach from the fruit of action.

chapter 10 - actual practice

Knowing our true self and accepting ourselves as we are from moment to moment by understanding the law of nature and respecting the ever-changing phenomena.

All these are the practice of Yoga.

Although these philosophies seemed like just a theory, but there will be no practice available without a theory as the guideline.

Practice means carry out the theory of a teaching.

We often say ‘I know this and that’ and ‘I had learnt this and that’. But it doesn’t mean anything unless we actually practicing it. It is like we know lots of theory from the books but what we think, act and speak is not the same as what we know.

It is like we know what is patience, but we have no patience at all.

It is like if we ask people to be truthful but we ourselves are not being truthful.

chapter 11 - Truthfulness

If we want to know the Truth, we ourselves need to be able to be truthful to ourselves and to others at all time. Only then the Truth will reveal itself to us. There shouldn’t be any hypocrisy and dishonesty in our daily conducts and during our conversations and dealings with others.

But how many of us are afraid of being true in front of others?
We are afraid of letting others know about our little secrets and weaknesses. We are afraid of being honest and straightforward. We like to boast a little about everything.
But remember that it is the ego that is doing all of these actions if we are attached to the ego and identified ourselves with it.

There is no sincerity at all in any relationship or dealing if there is trace of untruthfulness in it. Everyone is wearing a mask or a few masks designed by own self to suit the people out there in order to gain their friendship and money. There’s nothing wrong but lack of sincerity. It is just a deal to get what we want from other people. And since we are untruthful to others, we can never develop trust in others because we have the notion that others will not be truthful to us too.

What friendship is there if we cannot be truthful to each other? It is just a game that people like to play nowadays.

True friends are not many and if we have one, we are very lucky and grateful. It is difficult to preserve a long term and good friendship, but it is so easy to break one up.

Anyway friends are real friend if they can lift us up in conscience and morality, becoming a better person. And if they don’t but pull us down, they became our enemy instead.

Nowadays, many people see this noble act (truthfulness) as a weakness in the world of business and competition. This is because they have selfishness and want to protect their own benefits.

There is nothing wrong to protect ourselves. But our untruthfulness and lies will be hurting the people who believe in our words and trust us with their sincere heart.

When there is no truthfulness, there will be no trust. If there is no trust, we will have no peace in the mind at all whether in a relationship or friendship or partnership in business.
It will be very unhappy for ourselves, if others don’t have trust in us or if we don’t have trust in anyone that we are dealing with. We will be troubled by doubt every moment. It’s so exhausting for our mind.

Once we told a lie or didn't deliver our words, our trustworthy will be destroyed for a very long time. We need to make sure that we mean what we say and we can deliver what we have promised other people.

In order to cover up a lie, we need to make up so many lies after that. Even others won’t know about it, but we will always know the truth and it will torment our mind forever.

chapter 12 - be independent

At the beginning of our practice, we need a good teacher and guidelines to show us the way, but as we march forward, we will soon become our own teacher and be able to walk on the path independently.

Everything will become our teacher. All we need is to have self discipline. The six senses, the mind, the ego, the intellect are no longer the mischievous ‘friends’ that contaminate and misguide us but they have became our teachers in the end.

If we truly understand Dharma, we will know that our real teacher is in our heart.

He lives in our heart. We will not need many teachers if we find this one. He has never left us from the very beginning and is with us until the very end of worldly life's existence until we become one with Him. He is always there, watching us, guiding us, teaching us and blessing us.

It is our true Self.

Know this teacher and we will stop searching for a teacher with a name and form to guide us in the path towards enlightenment.

Pay respect to this very up close and personal teacher, listen to its guidance and follow its teaching.

Even when we were mischievous and engaged in wrongdoing He never condemned us, punished us or left us. He is always there to love us and care for our well-being, whether we know it or not. He is ever ready to give us all the wisdom and tell us the Truth if we know Him and aware of His existence and listen to His wise and compassionate voice.

If we don't know this great teacher, we will keep on looking for teachers from the outside with different names and forms, and still find that we are not truly satisfied because we don't really get the real meaning of Dharma. Even if we understand the meaning of Dharma, but we still do not know how to apply it in life and test it ourselves, to prove that it is the Truth.

It is like saying ''being detached from the ego'' and ''being desireless'' is very easy, but to become really detached from our ego and become desireless is not that easy. Many people have been struggling for many years and still find that these two elements continue to trouble them on and off. We might go to either one of the two extremities, but not find the balance point of the middle path, or otherwise we might be defeated by the strong ego and desires, and distance ourselves from our practice.

Always bear in mind that if we are becoming more self-controlled, patient, forgiving, selfless, positive, cheerful, humble, calm, confident, compassionate and having less fear, worries, selfishness, arrogance, anger, hatred, jealousy, evil and lustful thoughts, then know that we are advancing in the path of Yoga. But, if it is the other way round, then we know that we are not really practicing Yoga and whatever we are doing is actually enhancing our ego and ignorance, and generating lots of negative energy in us and around us.

When we start to realize and accept the Truth about the law of impermanence, suffering or misery, and the way to come out of misery, then we will become confident in the path of Yoga, and confident to share this supreme knowledge with other people who are in misery. It doesn't matter if we do not label ourselves with a name and form, such as ''yoga practitioner'' or ''yoga teacher'', or whether we have any intention to teach or to help others. We just want to appreciate this great opportunity for us to attain salvation and to share the path with many others who are also looking for salvation.

Because we develop mindfulness of our thoughts, actions and speech, we become confident on the path. This is the most important practice we must have every moment of our lives until our breath stops.

Even if we have a great teacher beside us, or in our lives, if we don't have mindfulness of thoughts, actions and speech, then it makes no difference whether we have the teacher or not. Having a teacher who keeps telling us what to do and what not to do, will be useless to us if we still don't get it and are not applying it in real life after having listened to all the instructions from the teacher. It is not because the teacher is not good enough or not teaching us, it's because we are so ignorant that we cannot perceive what the teacher tried to teach us.

If we are independent and have self discipline, we don't need a teacher to give us instructions all the time. In reality, even a very good teacher cannot be there for us all the time.

After practicing Dharma for sometime, we should find that our emotions are more stable, we can have stronger control over our anger, hatred, jealousy, arrogance and lust. We can forgive the people who hurt us with their actions and speech. We can forgive ourselves. We stop judging and criticizing ourselves and other people. We stop comparing ourselves with our own selves for our performance in the past and also stop having any expectations of our future performance. We accept ourselves as we are now at the moment, whether we feel good or don't feel good, or if we are improving or declining in our practice. None of it matters, it is not important.

In the past, we might have needed a few months or a few years to let go of certain anger and hatred, but as we practice Dharma or Yoga, we can let them go within a few weeks, or a few days. And then the more we continue to practice, we can let them go within just a few hours or a few minutes until one day we can let go any of uncomfortable feelings just within one breath. But this is still not the end of practice, although we may have gained very strong self control over our anger and hatred.

It is when everything that happens outside us does not affect us any more, and we do not generate any uncomfortable feelings towards slander, condemnation, gossip, criticism, humiliation, harsh words and evil actions towards us. No success or failure can affect our self confidence or make us become arrogant or suffer from low self esteem.

Then there will be no reason for us to let go of anything. There will be no more causes for us to get angry or to feel uncomfortable about. There will be no more reactions being generated, because we will have stopped generating likes and dislikes, craving and aversion. We stop giving good or bad valuation to all the things outside us. This is the goal of our practice.

This practice is hidden inside us. No one can see us practicing detachment every moment or judge us for our understanding of Dharma. We are our own witness and are the one and only real teacher who is with us all the time even when we are sleeping or going to the toilet.

So what if we make some mistakes or many mistakes or become evil and selfish at some stage in our life or during our practice? All we can do is be aware of our mistakes, forgive ourselves, let them go and move on with greater energy and understanding without carrying all this rubbish and burden from the past.

Even this very moment is becoming the past or history. We cannot deny the existence of the past but it is not real anymore, it is gone and we cannot go back to the past or change anything. The future is only a continuation of what we are now. The only reality that is real is only this present moment. If we are full of negativity now - not in the past, the next moment that is coming will be full of negativity. If we are full of positivity now, for sure the next moment will be positive.

It is us who determine what we are now and what we are becoming. We cannot blame anything or anyone for the results of our actions - happiness and unhappiness. We cannot rely or depend on anyone, not even our teachers, to save us from suffering. We attain our own salvation by ourselves through our own effort.

Neither wealth, nor health, nor studies, nor various certificates and qualifications, nor good looking appearance, nor good friends, nor spouse, nor parents, nor children can prevent us from old age, sickness, and death to this body. No one can gives us happiness or unhappiness. It is our own self.

If our own energy is not strong enough and we are not firm in our own practice, we will be very easily affected or disturbed by other people's energy especially negative energy. In this case we should be wise in choosing who we are mixing with in social life. We need good Satsanga - good company with positive energy that can uplift us in our practice. If there is no good Satsanga, it is better to stay in seclusion than to mix with people with negative energy. Because otherwise if our own practice is not strong enough, we might decline due to bad influences.

But if our own energy is very strong and we have a very firm practice in ourselves, then we will not be affected or disturbed by other people's energy - negative or positive. And we can mix with anybody in society and be at any place in the world and be unaffected or undisturbed by good or bad energy. In fact, we can help many people by sharing our positive energy with them, and uplift those people who are low in good energy and those who need some positive influence.

It is very important for us to remain cheerful all the time - the practice of Santosha. If we always feel good and are happy all the time, we can cheer up other people who are in distress.

May we all develop true practice of Dharma or Yoga, and become independent and attain salvation within this lifetime. It doesn't matter if it takes many more lifetimes for us to attain full enlightenment, but we just need to keep going and keep letting go of the past from moment to moment, until we have emptied ourselves and regain the purity of namelessness and formlessness.

chapter 13 - Fundamental practice

Cultivating morality, faith, patience, self control, tolerance, forbearance, perseverance, determination, confidence, will power, chastity, positive thinking, courage, fearlessness, flexibility, concentration, forgiveness, truthfulness, straight forwardness, righteousness, loving kindness, humility, equanimity, simplicity, respect, gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation, adjustment, adaptation, cheerfulness, contentment, generosity and selflessness. All these positive qualities will lead us to greater self realization. They are not the qualities of self realization because at the state of self realization, there are no quality, no positive nor negative, no names and no forms.

They are the fundamental practices for purification of the mind, developing firm determination, will power and right conducts, which act as a strong base for advancing in the practice of meditation.

chapter 14 - True freedom

When there are no more impurities in our mind, we don’t need to have self-control to avoid wrong doings. We won’t need self-control anymore if all our conducts are righteous when our mind is pure, free from the influence of impurities.

This is true freedom. Real freedom is not that we can do what we want to do and like to do. But it is when the mind is free from any impurity that is influencing the thoughts, actions and speech all the time. All these impurities will bring us painful sorrow and suffering in the end.

It is not about we can be at anywhere that we want to be at. It is about we are happy and content at wherever we are in the present moment, and there's no longing to be in another place while we are here. And we are always here, even though where we are is impermanent.

When there is no contentment in the mind, we will never be contented with wherever we are, wherever we go, whatever we do, whatever we have, and how success we are.

It is not about we can have all the things that we want and like. It is doesn't matter we have everything or don't have anything, we are happy and content as we are, and be free from greed and attachment towards everything, including love, family, friends, possessions, enjoyments, money, fame, power, knowledge, appearance, health, success and everything else that we can think of.

It is when the mind is free from fear and worries, selfishness, pride, lust, anger, hatred, jealousy, ignorance, greed, craving and aversion, hurts, regrets, guilt, offensiveness, defensiveness, animosity, hostility, and all sorts of impurities.

It is when there is pure awareness that is aware of the ego and the thoughts activities in the mind, that is beyond all forms of duality, good and evil, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, right and wrong, and the egoistic desires of craving and aversion, where good and bad karma, enjoyment and suffering, birth and death are not distinct from each other.

This is true freedom in yoga. Maybe there are different people have different definitions of freedom, that is their freedom of thinking and belief.

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About Yoga

Know thyself. Everything is impermanent and selfless. There is no 'I'. There is no 'I am selfless'/'I am not selfless'. There is no 'I am hurt'/'I need to be healed from hurt'. Be free, be peaceful, be happy.

Om shanti

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