be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Sunday, May 17, 2009

chapter 3 - what is Yoga

Yoga is all 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.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Yoga to me is LIFE, the process of learning, accepting, focusing and concentration….and it is part of the life…..

    How often are we really sitting down and looking at ourselves?? We are so busy with other people, busy with works, busy with so many things and yet busy with nothing…and we claimed that life is so tiring….there is no even a small space for ourselves…

    Many of us thought Yoga is a trend, if you practice Yoga, you are so up to trend; if you practice Yoga, you will be definitely FREE FROM STRESS; if you practice Yoga, you will get ‘this’ and ‘that’….and once you practiced and get nothing out of it, you started to blame…. As what Meng Foong used to said, practice Yoga is to learn how to let go all the expectation. When you learn to let go the expectation and outcome, this is already the outcome of it.

    I read in one of the book, it is a book entitled “Yoga for Dummy”, book borrowed from Meng Foong…I am not quite sure what is the actual words the author used, but he mentioned that Yoga is a tool to connect the mind, body and spirit. When you are practicing Yoga, you create the awareness, you focus and concentrate as you need to stay at the same asana (post) for few minutes, you unconsciously build up the patient, tolerance & confident. You need to overcome the discomfort, the pain and your fears. You have indirectly train you mind, strengthen you mind and your body.

    Yoga let you experience yourself what it is mean by letting go, overcome your fears and relax you mind and body. By doing to asana (post), you will face a lot of obstacles, uncertainty, doubts and a lot of question will pop up ‘ Sure or not’, ‘I don’t think so’, “HUH!! Are you sure”, I don’t think I am ready for this’, “I am not flexible, this post I surely cannot do’..and bla bla bla….but this doesn’t mean any bad thing…along the process and practices…you mind will start wondering instead of doubt. You will notice that your body can do much more than you expected. You will start to open up your heart, letting go some of the ‘NO’, ‘SURE OR NOT’ thoughts and you start to ask yourself, ‘May be I can’, ‘No harm for trying’, ‘Hmm..actually I can do that!’, ‘Unbelievable, I can do that too’, ‘Ohh…finally I can do that’…and this is where the confident comes ….and you start to realize that all these years, you have been living in fears, doubts and worries but not realizing that you can do much more than you though. You realized that nothing is big deal. If you fall, you wake up and do it again and you believe that you can do it one day. You noticed that the post you cannot do before, now you can do it easily.

    You start to look back your life…and asking yourself…how many things you have missed out. Am I going to carry on with such a life that living in fears, doubts and worries. You might start to laugh secretly at yourself, what a waste of energy living in fears, doubts and worries but the fact is that there is nothing to be worried, doubted or feared as we have no control of the past and future. And the only one we have the contril is the “STATE OF MIND”

    It is true enough to believe that HAPPINESS is just right inside of us. Someone tend to enjoy a happier life doesn’t mean they have any magic words or spell or super power..it is merely because he or she learn HOW TO LET GO…..

    ReplyDelete

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