be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Monday, May 17, 2010

About Sharing Happiness

We can only share happiness with others when we ourselves know how to be happy and are happy. If we are not happy (it means we don't know how to be happy), then how can we share happiness with others and ask others to be happy, when we don't have happiness in ourselves?

We can share our joy and happiness with all beings without any discrimination of human beings or non-human beings, good beings or bad beings, happy beings or unhappy beings, wise beings or ignorant beings, but we cannot give happiness to others nor can we make other beings to become happy.

If one can give happiness to others or can make another being to become happy, then there shouldn't be any beings being unhappy in the world, because we can just give happiness to everyone and make everyone happy. But it doesn't work like that. Not even Buddha nor any enlightened beings can make another being to become happy or to become enlightened. If it is so easy, we can just ask for happiness or enlightenment and be happy forever and be enlightened. It is all come from within ourselves. Happiness or enlightenment, it is up to our own efforts to realize them within ourselves. It cannot be given or be bought from someone else. All the teachers and teachings are there to guide us to attain true happiness and enlightenment by our own effort.

When beings are unhappy, have no peace in the heart, the mind is full of attachment, ignorance, anger, hatred, jealousy, arrogance, dissatisfaction, frustration, disappointment, doubt, fear and worry, the mind is feeling depressed and unhappy, then no matter how sincere we want to share joy and happiness with them, they will still be unhappy. We can give them what they want and tell funny stories that might make them feel good and happy for a few moments, but we can't really give them happiness or remove their unhappiness. Everyone has to remove unhappiness in them all by themselves on their own effort.

If the mind is not satisfied or is not happy, then no matter how sincere other people try to make us happy and care for us, or how nice is the environment and how good are the things happen in our lives, we will still be unhappy. Even though we have a good life and have many people to love us and care for us, we still can be unhappy when we are still having a lot of impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, lust, greed, arrogance, irritation, frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, doubt, fear and worry.

If our mind is satisfied and is happy, then everything is good and beautiful, everyone is nice and fine. It doesn't matter if the world is upside down and everything happens against our wish, but everything will be okay and there is no problem if the mind is satisfied and is happy.

The world is not a happy place nor a suffering place. It is our own mind being at peace or not at peace that gives us the impression that the world is a happy place or a suffering place. The world itself has no intention to be good or not good, to be suffering or be free from suffering.

No one can give us happiness nor can anyone takes away our happiness. It is our own mind.

No one can make us happy nor can anyone makes us unhappy. It is our own mind as well.

It is our own mind that is feeling happy when it is pure, calm and at peace, while it will be feeling unhappy when it is not pure, not calm and not at peace. We think that it is the things out there and whatever happens in our bodies and in our lives that make us happy or unhappy. In fact, it is nothing to do with anybody else or any happenings in our bodies or in our lives. We think that we are the one who is happy or unhappy, but it is not. It is the mind feels happy or unhappy. We are not the mind. The mind is not us. If we stop identify ourselves with the mind, we will be at peace all the time, not being affected or disturbed or influenced by the state of our mind. And the state of the mind whether it's happy or unhappy, it is also impermanent. True happiness comes when we are beyond the happy and unhappy feelings, and beyond the state of peacefulness or calmess when the mind is free from impurities. It's because this state of peacefulness and calmness is also impermanent. If we can unattach even to this temporary state of peacefulness and calmness that comes from the mind, then we will be beyond the mind and be truly at peace transcending all the states of the mind.

To be happy or unhappy, it is all up to our own self. The feeling of happy and unhappy is coming from the mind. If we are still attach to the mind, then we will think that we are happy or unhappy according to the state of our mind. The truth is, if we know how to not attach to our mind, we are just the awareness that is witnessing all the states of the mind, then no matter the mind feels calm or disturbed, happy or unhappy, good or bad, we will know that it is not us, it is just the mind. Go beyond the mind and go beyond the happy and unhappy feelings, we will be free from happiness and unhappiness, and be truly happy.

Happy feelings come from a peaceful mind, without fear and worry, without ignorance and other impurities. But true and lasting happiness is beyond this happy feeling that comes from a peaceful mind. Before we can go beyond the state of peaceful mind, we need to be able to achieve the state of peacefulness in the mind. We need to transcend Tamas (darkness) with Rajas (activeness), and transcend Rajas with Sattva (calmness). And then we can transcend sattva with non-attachment. Everlasting peacefulness comes when we are beyond all the three Gunas and not being affected by these gunas anymore.

How to make our mind peaceful?

By understanding the truth of everything. When we understand the truth of everything and know what is going on in our mind, then only we can accept the truth as it is. When we can accept the truth as it is, we can let go and not attach to anything. When there is no attachment at all, there is no fear, no worry at all. When there is no worry and no fear, peacefulness is there. When we are at peace, happy feeling is there, and true happiness is beyond the happy feeling that comes from the mind.

How to understand the truth of everything?

Materializing the yoga philosophy and its practice in our lives, such like Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are one of the ways for anybody to realize the wisdom that is already within us. By gaining control of the mind and not attach to the mind, wisdom will arise within us. With this wisdom, we will understand the truth of everything, accept the world as it is, accept everything as it is, accept everyone as they are, and accept ourselves as we are. We will be free from the past and the future, and be free from ignorance and unhappiness.

When we care for somebody who is unhappy and share our knowledge with others about how to attain true happiness, it is up to their own efforts whether they will be happy or they will remain unhappy. When the people are happy when we share happiness with them, actually it is not us that make them happy, but it is because their own mind is at peace and is satisfied for that time being. If anyone is happy, it is because after they understand the truth of things, and are able to accept the reality as it is and able to let go. It is not us make them happy. They can remain unhappy as well if they still don't understand the truth of things, and are not able to accept the reality as it is and not able to let go. That's all.

If we truly understand the truth and are wise, we will not be attached to the action of giving and sharing, and will not be disturbed nor be affected by the fruit of the action. We can give and share unlimitedly and unconditionally. We will be free from judgment, comparison, expectation, dissatisfaction and disappointment. We will never feel tired even though we give so much, if we are not identify as the doer of the action, and act without the influence from the ego but act from the selfless compassion. We are just the channel or the instrument for the universal consciousness to act in the world to help the suffering beings to come out from miseries. We act without any selfish intentions. It is only when we have selfish intentions behind all our actions, it will generate expectation, tensions, stress, attachment, tiredness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear and worry in us.

If we act out of selfless compassion to serve others, to carry out our multiple duties as a human being, as a friend, as a child, as a parent, as a citizen, as a teacher, as a student, as a brother or sister, as a leader, as an employee or employer, as a wife or husband, as a partner or companion, as "this" and "that" and so on..., then there will be no stress and tensions at all. There is no attachment. There is no fear and no worry. There is only love, joy and peace.

Give and share, and let go.

Be true. Be free. Be happy.

May all beings be happy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Go Beyond The Ego And The Mind, Be Free

When we say "I feel good when I do this", or "I feel good when others agree with me, praise me, thank me, like me as a person and for what I do", know that it is our ego and the mind is feeling good. It is still within the mind under the influence of the ego. It is not beyond the ego yet. The ego feels good and like to be praised, be thanked, be noticed, be knowned, be the giver, be the good person, be the lovely person, be the good child, good friend, good parent... The ego will not feel good anymore or it will feel bad when all these things are not happening.

And so, the craving for good feelings is there to encourage us to do those things that will make us feel good. The craving for good feelings is the main motivation for us to do this and that.

The point is, the things that we do to make us feel good can be something very good or can be something not very nice. It is not necessary that all egos are feeding on the good feelings that come from doing good. It can be good feelings that come from doing bad.

If doing good and be kind to others will make our ego and the mind feel good, and become a strong motivation for us to do more good and be kind to others, then this is very good indeed. Such like doing yoga asana stretching the body and calming the mind will make us feel good, give helps to others, making other people laugh, taking care of other people, share food with others, be friendly to everyone, show love and care to our family and friends, will make us feel very good. And most of the time, we like to and want to do all these acts is mainly because it makes us feel good about ourselves. There is nothing wrong to feel good, but we are still under the influence of the ego and the mind. We are still being subject to the things that we do and don't do to make us feel good or feel bad about ourselves. We are not free yet. We are being conditioned by the ego and the mind.

What if the things that we do to make us feel good are harmful for ourselves and for others? Such like some people might enjoy hurting other people's feelings or stealing or telling lies or making fun of other people or gossipping or excitement from peeking at other people's privacy or taking drugs and alcohol. This is not so nice then.

The best is if we can go beyond the ego and the mind. Go beyond the craving for good feelings. Go beyond the ego that always wants to feel good about itself. And do everything that is good for others and ourselves without the craving for good feelings or pleasure sensations, without the identification as the doer of the action, without the attachment to the fruit of the action, and without the influence from the mind and the ego.

If no one appreciate what we do, no one notice what we do, no one is there to thank us, no one is there to tell us that we are good, no one is there to encourage us, and even if others reject our kind acts, being ungrateful and say bad things about us and what we do, and we still be happy to give and share, then this is going beyond the ego and the mind. The true Self doesn't need all these things to motivate or demotivate it to act or not to act.

It is the ego that feeds on others reactions towards its actions. The ego needs all these things to motivate or demotivate it to act or not to act.

After a good yoga asana class, we will like to say that "my body feels so good now", "I feel so good now" or "yoga makes me feel so good", know that it is the body and the mind that are feeling good. And this good feeling that comes from doing yoga asana is temporary also. It will disappear after a while. We will miss that good feeling and will crave to have that good feeling again. This will definitely encourage us to come back for more yoga asana classes. This is totally nothing wrong or bad. This is very good. It is still one of the beneficial things to do for ourselves.

But if we attach to that good feeling and pleasure sensation that come from doing some yoga asanas and let it be the motivation for us to practice yoga asana, very soon we will feel not so good if we are not able to practice yoga asana the way that we usually like it to be, or when we are restricted by some physical injuries or restricted by weakness that comes from aging. We will also be demotivated if we attended a yoga asana class that is taught by another teacher with different styles. We might feel bad if the yoga asana practice is not agreeable with our body and the mind. We might be demotivated if the yoga teacher always teach the same asanas over and over again (this is due to the mind doesn't like to do the same repeated actions, it gets bored). All these are because the mind and the ego is craving for the good feelings and pleasure sensations that come from doing the things that they like only, but not doing the things that they don't like.

Such like certain people attach to certain asanas and only like to do those asanas. If we are being told not to do the asanas that we usually like to do for the next few months, and being told to do only the asanas that we usually don't like to do, we will be very demotivated and don't feel good at all. We want to choose to do certain asanas that we like and reject some other asanas that we don't like, especially those asanas that will make us confront with our inner fear. We also don't like to do the asanas that we think that we are not so good at, because the ego doesn't like to show off its weakness. It doesn't like to feel not good enough. It doesn't like to feel not so good at something. It wants to make sure that it is good at everything in front of other people. It will runaway from the things that it is not so good at.

We are still being subject to and influenced very much by the body and the mind.

Beyond the body and the mind, there is no feel, no feelings of good or bad.

Beyond the body and the mind, is freedom. Free from the conditions of the body and the mind. Free from what the body can do and cannot do. Free from the good and bad sensations that come from the body and the mind. Free from good and bad feelings. Free from craving and aversion. Free from judgment, comparison, competition and expectation.

What is the meaning trying so hard to maintain the ability of the physical body to perform many complicated asanas but if we are not free, still being conditioned by the good and bad feelings and sensations that come from the body and the mind?

Some people think that going beyond the body and the mind means trying to go beyond the ability of the physical body, challenging the body to go beyond its physical limitation. They would torture the body and ignore its condition and limitation. But in truth is, we need to accept the condition of our physical body from moment to moment. Accept the law of impermanence. Accept the changes of the physical body from moment to moment. Accept its condition and limitation that is also impermanent. Accept that this physical body has its limitation and is subject to impermanence, old age, illness, pain and soon it will die. Be happy and appreciate the body that we have now to do good for ourselves and for others.

We thought that we are not free being conditioned by the condition of the body and its ability to do this and that, but it is not.

We are not free being conditioned by the ego and the mind, and it's nothing to do with the ability of our physical body to do this and that.

The body can be paralyzed and full of pain, but we still can be free.

If we feel bad, know that it is the ego and the mind feel bad, not us. When we feel good, it is also the ego and the mind feel good, not us.

Go beyond the ego and the mind. Be free.

Om Shanti.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Are You Ready For Yoga?

No Doubt that yoga is for everyone and it is already within everyone. What we need to do is to purify and discipline the mind for us to be able to realize yoga in us.

But not everyone is ready to receive the great knowledge of yoga yet. It is because their minds are still full of impurities and the ego is still very dominant in them. They attach strongly to their own individual identity and personality and their knowledge, and are strongly identify with the mind and the ego. They are not ready yet to surrender the ego or to give up the identification with the body and the mind. They are not ready for becoming selfless. They are not even ready to be humble enough to learn.

Real yoga practice (not just using yoga asana as an exercise) will either generate strong resentment in them towards the deep philosophy of yoga and the disciplines in yoga practice, or it will trigger painful suffering in them physically or mentally or emotionally (being part of the purification process and due to lots of restrictions for the mind and the ego). Most of these people will not only drop out from the path of yoga due to they cannot accept the teachings of yoga, and they cannot endure hardship and discipline lifestyle, but they will condemn the teachings, the practice and the teachers as well. Their minds don't like to be disciplined and their egos are refusing to give in. Basically the path of yoga is asking the ego to "get lost" and to change the habits of the mind. Of course those people who attach strongly to the mind and who have a strong ego will be very uncomfortable with this control of the mind and thinning out of the ego, and are strongly against the teachings of yoga.

We cannot tell people who are very selfish and arrogant, or who doesn't know what is thoughtfulness, tolerance, patience, forgive, humility and selflessness, and to those who is petite mindedness and full of anger, hatred and jealousy, for them to let go of the differences of superiority and inferiority, to love, respect and be kind to all beings as one without discrimination, to let go of all judgments and comparison with other people and with our own self, and to sacrifice our own comforts and benefits to perform selfless service for other beings without any expectations and not asking for any rewards in return.

These divine qualities have no values and meanings for them who like to live in the egoistic and materialistic world that is full of judgment, comparison, competition and expectation everywhere, and only talk about worldly and personal success, sensual and material enjoyment as happiness. Again, all these are not wrong at all, but they cannot give us true and lasting happiness.

Only those who are tired of the impermanence of life existence, who are disgust about worldly sensual enjoyment, who are inquiring for the true knowledge to be free from ignorance and the worldly suffering, and are looking for true happiness, are fit and ready to walk the path of yoga.

For those who are not ready yet, they can continue enjoying their "perfect" worldly sensual pleasure life, chasing after the momentary pleasure and busy gratifying their unlimited lustful desires and cravings, and be happy with what they want for themselves.

The problem is many people don't really know what they really want in life.

There is nothing wrong with anyone who wants to live in the way of a "normal" worldly life according to what the mind thinks it should be. Be happy then. We can choose to spend our entire lifetime in eating, drinking, sleeping, working, playing, accumulating, socializing, feeling up and down, and having discontentment, fear and worry most of the time, or we can choose to know what is the real meaning of our life existence.

When the time is right, and when people are ready for spiritual evolve, everything will come naturally for them to walk the path of yoga. We can't force anyone who is not ready for yoga yet (real selfless yoga that develops non-attachment to the body and mind, and not trendy branded fitness yoga that develops strong attachment to the body and mind) to accept the teachings of yoga, or to follow intense yoga practice and the traditional disciplines seriously, because it will cause more harmful effects and unhappiness to themselves than giving them real beneficial effects and happiness.

In the meantime, we wish all beings be happy whether they are ready to walk the path of yoga yet or not.

Om Shanti.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Be Happy In Life Is Yoga

Some people think that yoga is something absolute that it cannot simply be grasped by normal human beings and even though some people might think they understand what yoga teaches about the absolute, but it seems like it is not easy to be practical in life.

Anybody from young to old, from low intelligence to high intelligence, everyone can practice yoga and attain yoga in their hearts.

In simple term, it's about knowing how to be happy in life no matter how is the condition and situation of our lives. Those who know how to be happy in life, being undetermined and undisturbed by the ups and downs, gain and loss, are indeed peaceful wise beings with great wisdom.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being unhappy. Don't see that it is something not good or as something negative. It is a natural way for us to express our emotion. Suppressing unhappy feelings in our hearts is not healthy for our mind and the body. Everyone has the freedom to be happy or be unhappy. Life goes on whether we are happy or unhappy. And being unhappy is taking up lots of energy from us and it might create more unhappiness for ourselves and other beings.
Happy and unhappy feelings are both impermanent and conditional. Knowing how to unattach towards impermanent conditional happy and unhappy feelings is the key to be happy unconditionally in life.

Since we have the freedom to choose to be happy or be unhappy even though life is not always the way that we would like it to be, then why don't we be happy instead of making ourselves and other beings miserable? Life will be so much easier if we are happy even though it looks like it is still the same life full of problems and undesirable experiences. Life is constantly changing from moment to moment. This constant changing phenomena is the permanent unchangeable truth. That's why we all experience and feel restlessness. And yoga practice is to guide us how to be free from restlessness and be at peace under any circumstances.

To be able to be happy in life can be very simple for certain people and it also can be very challenging for some other people. It is all subject to our mental attitude towards everything. If we want to be happy, we just need to change our own mental attitude especially we can't really change other people or change the world.

It is not necessary that having all our wishes come true and we will be happy. This is due to the characteristic of the mind is not easily satisfied and it is forever changing.

It is about able to have gratitude and contentment in whatever we do and whatever we have in life at the present moment now, not craving for the desirable things that we don't have and not moaning for the undesirable things that we have, being able to accept the truth of things are impermanence and non-self, accepting everything as it is, accepting everyone as they are, accepting ourselves as we are, being aware of we are not this body and not this mind, not attaching towards the thoughts, feelings and sensations, be able to let go of the past and the future, not having strong craving and aversion towards anything, and not attaching towards our fleeting momentary feelings of conditional happiness and unhappiness.

We can say that the weaker the ego is and the less attachment towards everything is, the easier it is for us to be happy and remain happy unconditionally.

When we are being in the present moment, we will find that there is no fear and worry.

Being free from fear and worry, and free from craving and aversion, there will be minimum tension being generated in our body and the mind. Peace is there upon the balance state of mind. Even this balance state of mind is impermanent, but it's important on the path of yoga.

Only with a balance state of mind, we can advance in the path of yoga, until we realize all and everything are one universal consciousness through realizing oneness.

Being happy in life unconditionally is being very close to yoga. And what lies beyond the feeling of being happy is yoga. It is beyond happiness and unhappiness. It is beyond the perception of the mind. It is beyond the perception of happy thoughts and happy feelings.

It is beyond "want to feel happy" and "don't want to feel unhappy". We need to accept that unhappiness does exist, and allow it to be exist, not trying to deny it or push it away, but we don't have to attach to it nor give it values, and let it go. We can't really attach to happy feelings either. We enjoy the happy feelings and let it go. By not having craving for happy feelings and not having aversion towards unhappy feelings will bring us peace of mind and be truly happy.

Having gratefulness and appreciation will bring us happy feelings. Doing good and be kind to other beings will also bring us happy feelings. But these feelings are not the end of suffering, if it is being conditioned by our mind that doing "this" and having "that" will make us happy, and while not doing "this" and not having "that" will make us unhappy.

Some people feel happy by hurting others and making others suffer, that is not real happiness. And so, it is not the path of yoga.

The path of yoga is true happiness that derives from non-violence towards ourselves and other beings. True happiness also derives from the realization of selflessness, being compassionate towards all beings, being wise and understanding about the truth of everything, being fearless and worry-less, and having unconditional love and peace in our hearts.

Even though happy feelings are still part of the impermanent selfless modification of the mind, it is still wiser than feeling unhappy most of the time while trying to reject or avoid unhappiness. Even if it is the ego that is the one who feels happy most of the time, it is indeed a happy ego - the Sattvic element. In the end, it's going beyond the three gunas of Tamasic, Rajasic and Sattvic. This is nothing bad at all. When the mind is pure, the ego is not our enemy but it is our good friend. Only when we have transcended the Tamasic and Rajasic state of mind and achieved the Sattvic state of mind, then we can go beyond the Sattvic state of mind and transcend both happiness and unhappiness, attaining everlasting unconditional peace.

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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'. Non-blind believing, non-blind following, non-blind practicing and non-blind propagating, but be open-minded to inquire the truth of everything. Be free. Be peaceful. Be happy.

About Meng Foong

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