Self-practice

Developing awareness and correct understanding along with self-discipline and determination, one doesn’t need to continuously attending yoga classes to be following the instructions of a yoga teacher/instructor to be performing the yoga practice, but out of own freewill and intense yearning for liberation, one retreats into seclusion and solitude to perform self-practice. One takes one’s natural pace to perform the practice at ease, without rushing or struggling or straining the body and mind beyond its limitation, and allowing the fruit of the practice to be there as it is.

Many people who attend yoga classes and those who provide yoga classes or other kind of yoga services, will look at or take consideration or give importance onto these factors –
– The qualifications/certifications/experience/background of the yoga teachers
– The professionalism and the ‘yogi’ look/appearance/image of the yoga teachers
– The atmosphere of the yoga practice space, such like the ‘spiritual/zen feel’, the decorations, the colour theme, the furniture, the fittings, the lighting, the plants, the sub-yoga products of ‘yoga attires’, ‘yoga mats’, ‘yoga accessories’ or ‘yoga health supplements’, the convenient facilities and other supplementary services, and/or other yoga family members of animals and pets.
– The surrounding environment of the yoga school or yoga studio, such like the scenery and the ‘quality’ of the neighbourhood.
– The degree of pleasantness of the enjoyment of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and imagination/visualization/stimulation, and so on.
– The money-worth element of the fees in comparison with the services or enjoyments provided, and the rewards/benefits/effectiveness/recognition/qualification that one would be getting from attending the yoga classes or performing the yoga practice.

Meanwhile, yoga and the yoga practice has nothing to do with all these names and forms. If the yoga teachers or the yoga classes providers don’t get this or don’t understand this, then they don’t know what yoga is. In the process of yoga practice of silencing the mind or meditation, the eyes are either closed or the mind is focusing/restraining within, and all the other senses are restrained/withdraw from the objects of the senses. What kind of scenery or environment or atmosphere is irrelevant to one’s practice. So as all the other factors.

Yoga is in the moment regardless of the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, environment, experience, time and space. It is not confined in a particular quality of name and form, environment, experience, time and space. If one can only find oneself or peace or the truth in a particular yoga practice environment, experience, time and space, such like being in the nature of forest or mountain or seaside, and doing a particular yoga asana practice or nature activity, then one doesn’t know what yoga is even though one might feel good and peaceful and meaningful being in that particular environment, experience, time and space, and doing that particular yoga asana practice or activity. The truth/yoga is always there as it is, regardless one is doing a particular kind of yoga asana practice or physical/mental activity, or not, and being in what kind of environment, experience, time and space. Peace, compassion and the ability to forgive and let go what that the mind perceives as ‘wrong’, ‘bad’, ‘hurtful’, ‘painful’, or ‘sorrowful’, is nothing to do with the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms.

There’s nothing wrong and it’s very common that most people who attend yoga classes will expect the yoga teacher/instructor to be looking at them and their practice, to tell them to do this and don’t do that, to correct their postures, to help them to push/challenge themselves beyond the limitation of their body and mind to make the body become more fit/strong/flexible and be able to do more ‘challenging’ yoga asana poses, to give positive feedback about their practice, to give encouragements of praise and compliments to motivate them to be continuing their practice, to be interacting in some kind of social conversation, to be involving in some form of social community activities together. Just that they haven’t learn/realize what yoga really is about, even after many years of attending many hours of yoga classes regularly, and performing the yoga asana practice in perfect alignment and attaining better health condition, developing fitter, stronger and more flexible physical body, being able to perform many complicated yoga asana poses, and generating momentary good, positive and meaningful feelings in their minds due to the effect of the yoga practice.

All these names and forms are nothing but the modifications of the conditional thinking and belief and behavior of the worldly egoistic impure minds. Yoga practice is mainly to free the mind from all these conditional thinking, belief and behavior of the worldly egoistic impure mind modifications.

One only needs a simple clean space free from dust or insects/animals to be practicing external yoga practice of yoga asana and pranayama practice. If there’s no clean space available to be practicing yoga asana and pranayama practice, or if the weather doesn’t permit such practice (extreme weather condition), or the environment is not suitable for such external practice (causing inconvenience to other beings), then one doesn’t have to be practicing external yoga practice of yoga asana or pranayama practice, but it doesn’t stop one from the unconditional unlimited internal practice of maintaining a calm and quiet mind, allowing the perceived reality/experience/qualities of names and forms that is not necessarily the way that the mind likes it to be, as it is, and be able to forgive and let go something that the mind perceives as ‘wrong’, ‘bad’, ‘hurtful’, ‘painful’ or ‘sorrowful’, without craving or clinging towards ‘good’ condition or pleasantness, without aversion towards ‘bad’ condition or unpleasantness.

Contemplate on this and be free.

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The mind only knows what it knows

Different people teach and guide other people in different ways or methods to perform the yoga practice, to inquire and reflect upon the teachings of yoga, to purify their minds, to eliminate ignorance, egoism and impurities, to realize unconditional love and peace that is undetermined by the qualities of names and forms that are impermanent and selfless, that is always there as it is, but this unconditional love and peace is unknown to the mind due to the veil of ignorance and impurities.

Not all who teach yoga to other people are evolving simultaneously with the similar realization through their own sincere practice. It’s like peeling away many different layers of ignorance/impurities to allow the mind to see the one knowledge but it appears to be in many different names and forms due to the different layers of ignorance and impurities. Meanwhile, all these knowledge appear in different names and forms will continue to lead the impure, but open mind towards the pure consciousness, until the deepest/last layer of ignorance/impurities is completely removed, the mind sees the truth as it is, selfless, oneness, nameless, formless, attributeless, birthless and deathless.

When different people learn and practice yoga under different people, they might learn different teachings and ways of practice that are distinct from one another. Some might like and agree with certain teachings and ways of practice, while some others don’t like and disagree with the same teachings and ways of practice. It is not because these teachings and ways of practice are good or not good, are right or not right, but they are mere different degrees/stages of realization. Also, different minds have different life experiences, temperament and personality, and hence, different minds react differently towards the different teachings and ways of practice taught by different people.

It’s the matter of whether the minds are open, or not, towards the different teachings/knowledge/ways of practice, by investigate/inquire/reflect upon the truth of all the different teachings/knowledge/ways of practice that they come in contact with from different people with different degrees/stages of realization.

There is nothing to be compared or argued about. The mind only knows what it knows, and what it doesn’t know, it doesn’t know. And there’s nothing wrong with there are things that the mind doesn’t know. It’s more harmful/dangerous when the mind is blind-believing in or propagating many things that it doesn’t really know whether they are true or untrue, just because those were what they heard from or taught by their beloved elders or teachers, or knowledge that they had read and accumulated from books, or the opinions and points of view that are agreed, liked, shared and supported by many other people or majority of the people. More important is that what the mind agrees or disagrees with and what the mind likes or dislikes under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, are not necessarily true/untrue.

It’s a great obstacle for the mind to evolve, to go beyond the ‘partial/incomplete/impure’ reality that the mind perceives under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, if the mind is not open towards what is unknown to the mind, to investigate the truth of something that is unknown or unfamiliar to the mind, but it reacts with intense rejection/disagreement towards something that it doesn’t know, or that is different from or contradicted with its existing thinking and belief and familiarity.

Just like people who never come in contact with apples before, would deny the existence of apples when being informed by other people whom have come in contact with apples. The minds that are open, neither believe nor disbelieve towards the existence of apples, until they directly come in contact with apples. Even so, the apples that were informed by others might appear to be different from the apples that they experience, but the origin of the different varieties (names and forms) of apples is rooted in the one same source, or else it’s not apple, it’s something else. Even if it’s something else, such like oranges, all kinds of names and forms are still existing on the one same truth – impermanence and selflessness. Beyond different kinds of impermanent and selfless names and forms, it’s namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, birthlessness and deathlessness. Realizing this, all kinds of fear and superstitious beliefs vanished. All kinds of positiveness/negativeness, meaningfulness/meaninglessness, goodness/badness, auspiciousness/inauspiciousness, happiness/unhappiness, suffering/non-suffering are nothing but the products of ignorant and impure minds.

Many ‘yoga teachers’ teach or guide other people about yoga that is about promoting positive thinking and good actions, accumulating good karma and developing ‘positive mind power’ to fulfill the desire of achieving a good and meaningful life, because that is all that they know about yoga, so far. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

While some teach or guide other people about yoga that is beyond ‘promoting positive thinking and good actions, accumulating good karma and developing ‘positive mind power’ to fulfill the desire of achieving a good and meaningful life’, because they have realized the higher knowledge of oneness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, selflessness, desirelessness, birthlessness and deathlessness. There’s neither positive nor negative. There’s neither good nor bad. There’s neither enjoyment nor non-enjoyment. There’s neither suffering nor end of suffering. There’s nothing to be known, nothing to be understood, nothing to be perceived, nothing to be connected with. There’s no other(s).

‘Yoga teachers’ must be vigilant to be cautious of (tiny) pride arising in one’s mind due to accumulated knowledge and achievements deriving from ‘reading books on yoga’, ‘attending yoga courses’, ‘attaining certifications’, or ‘teaching yoga/yoga classes to other people’. Praise, compliments, supports, agreements, appreciation, honour, respect, glorification or idolization from the yoga students, might be feeding the sense of pride in the mind unwittingly, if one is not cautious of it. One would think and feel that ‘I am a good yoga teacher’ or ‘I am an experienced yoga teacher’ or ‘I am well-loved and appreciated by all these students’. Those who are aware of the mischievous egoistic nature in one’s mind, will allow other people to show praise, compliments, supports, agreements, appreciation, honour, respect, glorification or idolization, or not, but one doesn’t interested in receiving any of these at all, and there’s neither attachment nor identification towards all these names and forms, then one is considered ‘safe’.

It’s the same as ‘yoga students’ who receive praise and compliments from the teachers or other fellow students, who have been accumulated knowledge and achievements deriving from ‘reading books on yoga’, ‘attending yoga courses’ or ‘attaining certifications’, who think and believe that oneself is ‘advanced yogi/yoga practitioner’ after practicing yoga for a long time, or having attended many ‘advanced yoga classes/courses’ and attaining many ‘yoga certificates’.

Those who are wise, won’t be telling themselves and others that “I am a wise being. I am very wise.”
Those who have been advancing in their yoga practice, won’t be telling themselves and others that “I am an advanced yogi. I am very advanced in yoga practice. I am practicing advanced yoga.”

Beware of pride and self-glorification.

Be free.

Before, during and after the yoga class

Attending yoga classes is what most people do when they think they want to learn and practice yoga.

Naturally, many people would also make use of the opportunity of joining yoga classes to be interacting or socializing with other people, to be making friendships or mixing into a ‘yoga community’, especially before and after the yoga class. People like to talk or have a conversation with other people getting to know each other, before and after the yoga class, and sometimes even during the yoga class, due to the restless outgoing passionate mind. Though there’s nothing wrong with that, just that it’s not what yoga practice is about.

Many people attend yoga classes are mainly for doing some yoga exercises to attain the goal of fitness training. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that, just that it’s not what yoga practice is about.

Silencing the mind or transcending the mind perception of worldly life existence of impermanent names and forms (which is the annihilation of the thinking mind under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities) is the main objective of performing all kinds of yoga practice, whether people like or agree with it, or not.

Getting to know about this mind or what is going on in this mind is the practice.

Restraining the outgoing mind to turn the mind inward for self-introspection is the practice.

Quieting the restless busy mind is the practice.

Withdraw the senses from the objects of the senses is the practice.

Reducing and restricting mind activities and imprints (inputs and outputs) is the practice.

Reducing and restricting social interactions, conversations and activities is the practice.

Purifying the mind to free the mind from impurities is the practice.

Eliminating egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation is the practice.

Letting go worldly ideas, objects, thinking, belief and behavior is the practice.

Being dispassionate and disinterest towards worldly affairs, objects, ideas, activities, social interactions and relationships is the practice.

Going beyond the mind perception of names and forms of a worldly life existence that is impermanent and selfless (there’s no ‘I’ existing to be in control of all the impermanent changes) is the practice.

Transcending the idea of ‘I’ and all kinds of fear and worry that exist due to the idea of ‘I’ is the practice.

Contemplating upon what is real and unreal is the practice – All kinds of impermanent names and forms in this worldly life existence perceived under the function of the mind is unreal. When the mind is absence there’s no world. The nameless, formless, attributeless, changeless, beginningless, endless, birthless, deathless Brahman is real.

Before and during the yoga class, there might be some doubts in the minds of the yoga students, there might be some questions that they would like to ask the yoga teachers to get some answers to clear their doubts if possible.

During the yoga class, under the guidance of the teacher, everyone should be focusing on their own practice, being aware of and unattached towards the mind activities and reactions while performing the yoga practice according to the present condition of the body and the state of the mind, working diligently to quieting the restless outgoing passionate doubtful mind.

After the yoga class (Yoga practice that is about silencing the mind, freeing the mind from restlessness due to egoistic attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation), the minds that truly immersed into the practice will be in a momentary state of quietness, calmness and question-less, due to the effect of the practice of quieting the mind. They’ll find that there are no more questions in the mind (the mind is silent), and if there is still doubt existing in the mind (the mind is moving), they understood that the answers to all their questions must be coming from their own direct experience and self-realization, it’s not coming from asking other people (the teachers) to get some answers, as it won’t clear their doubts, because they will never know whether the answers coming from other people (the teachers) are true, or not.

Those who know this, will continue to evolve and transcend the egoistic impure thinking mind, regardless any amount of difficulties and obstacles that might arise during the practice, without the supervision or guidance of any external teachers (in human form), without judgment or expectation, leading the mind towards silence of the mind – pure consciousness.

Those who don’t know this, will be doing some forms of yoga exercises under the instructions of some other people (the teachers) regularly, but their minds might still be conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking, belief and behavior, being busy with the worldly affairs, objects, ideas, activities, social interactions and relationships, finding attention, love, support, acknowledgment, companionship, satisfaction, fulfillment and meaningfulness in this mind perception of a worldly life existence, while regularly attending the yoga classes, meeting up and mingling with other yoga enthusiasts/community, talking about the past, the present and the future, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, intentions and expectations, aspirations and inspirations, inspiring and motivating each other, and planning outing, gathering and doing some social activities together. And that’s their freedom.

Be free.

Yoga classes, yoga courses and yoga retreats?

Those (the minds) who are free, who are peaceful, who are free from ignorance, egoism, doubts and impurities, they don’t need to learn or practice yoga. They don’t need to attend yoga classes, or yoga courses, or yoga retreats.

Those (the minds) who are not free, who are not peaceful, who are not free from ignorance, egoism, doubts and impurities, they might want to learn and practice yoga, by attending yoga classes, or yoga courses, or yoga retreats, to learn and practice yoga under one or a few yoga practitioner(s) (teachers) who know the teachings and practice of yoga.

Somehow, some of those (the minds) who are not free from ignorance and egoism, who are not peaceful, who are interested in attending yoga classes, or yoga courses, or yoga retreats, are ignorant towards oneself is being over-powered by pride and arrogance. They are not really interested in ‘learning’ and ‘practicing’ yoga under the guidance of other yoga practitioners. They think they know quite a lot about the teachings and practice. They think they have been doing yoga for quite some time or a long time. They think they are quite ‘experienced’ and ‘qualified’ yoga practitioners or yoga teachers, as they have attended one or many yoga workshops, yoga courses, or yoga teachers training courses. They think they are quite ‘advanced’ on the path of yoga. They are not ‘open-minded’ to learn and practice yoga under other people’s guidance to be free from ignorance, egoism, doubts and impurities. They attached strongly onto their habitual mind behavior pattern and their way of thinking and belief and practice. They cannot be opened to investigate or experience something that is different from their thinking, belief and practice.

They want to interfere with how the people running the yoga schools, the yoga studios, or the yoga retreat centres, and what the teachers teach and how the teachers teach the classes, or courses, or retreats. They criticize the way of the people running and teaching the classes, courses, or retreats, about the format, the schedule, the accommodation, the facilities, the environment, the staff, or anything that they think it’s not the way that they like it to be, or not the way that they think or expect it should be. There are many things that they dislike and disagree with, that they cannot tolerate or accommodate. They reluctant to adjust, adapt and accommodate something that is different from their habitual comfort zone, thinking, belief and practice.

They expect/demand the people to run the yoga schools, the yoga studios, or the yoga retreat centres the way that they like it to be, and they expect/demand the teachers to teach what they like and want to practice and don’t teach what they don’t like or don’t want to practice. They expect/demand the teachers to teach the classes, the courses, the retreats the way that they like it to be. They get very annoyed and irritated when the teachers teach something that they don’t like and don’t want to learn or practice, or the people running the classes, the courses, or the retreats the way that they don’t like and don’t agree with. They expect/demand everything about the entire space of learning and practicing yoga to be the way that they like it to be, or the way that they think it should be.

These people (the minds) don’t just not really learning or practicing yoga, though they think and believe that they are very ‘serious and advanced and certified’ yoga practitioners and yoga teachers, but they also generate inconvenience, disturbance, doubt and obstacle for others who are interested to learn and practice yoga, those who ‘are aware of’ or ‘know’ their minds are not yet completely free from ignorance, egoism, doubts and impurities. The minds that are free, they won’t be affected or influenced by the ignorance and impurities of others, but most minds are not free yet, they will still be affected and influenced by the ignorance and impurities of others. But, it doesn’t mean that these minds are bad or negative. All minds are free to behave the way that they want to behave and react the way that they want to react, whether they are aware of their own behavior and reaction, or not.

And hence, when one thinks and believes that oneself is an ‘experienced’ and ‘advanced’ and ‘certified’ yoga practitioner or yoga teacher, and one wants to inform/tell other people about how experienced and advanced one is on the path of yoga, then know that one doesn’t know what is yoga, yet. Those who know yoga, they have no attachment or identification towards the experiences or levels of their practice, or be proud and arrogant about what they know or realize from their practice. They mind their own practice and they don’t need to attend yoga classes, yoga courses, or yoga retreats.

Those who are not sure or have doubts about their practice or what they think they know, and are interested in attending yoga classes, yoga courses, or yoga retreats to learn and practice yoga under the guidance of other people, must learn how to allow the mind to be opened to learn and practice yoga under another person or other people, while not by pushing away or arguing about something that the mind dislikes and disagrees with, but to investigate the truth of everything that the mind comes in contact with through direct experience.

What the mind agrees with and what the mind disagrees with, are not necessarily the truth.

One doesn’t need to like and agree with everything, even if it’s part of the teachings and practice of yoga, but remain equanimous, being undisturbed or undetermined by what the mind dislikes and disagrees with, is already what yoga practice is about.

Be free.

How to renounce worldly life?

It depends on what does ‘worldly life’ means to different people. Different people give different meanings towards life existence and have different ways of life. If a particular ‘worldly life’ having a particular meaning with a particular way of life under the influence of a particular thinking and belief and values would lead the mind away from peace and harmony, or would lead the mind towards restlessness and unnecessary affliction, then one can take consideration to renounce the existing way of life under the influence of a particular thinking and belief and practice or behavior, to adopt a different way of life or changing the habitual mind behavior pattern, that would lead the mind towards unconditional peace and harmony, and have less or absence of restlessness and unnecessary affliction.

For some, one’s way of life is fine but there are too many unnecessary disturbance or distraction or difficulties that are energy, time and space consuming coming from the surrounding environment of people, activities and happenings, that generate great obstacle on the path of purifying and quieting the restless mind, then one can also take consideration of stepping back from coming in contact with all these worldly affairs and objects of names and forms, to allow the mind has the energy, time and space to focus on the practice.

Renouncing worldly life doesn’t mean that one is living outside the worldly minded society, to be alone in the wild. As even being alone in the wild, living in a simple and basic condition, it doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be or is peaceful, or be free from disturbance, restlessness and suffering due to ignorance, egoism and impurities.

It doesn’t mean that one needs to be in a space or place that is free from ‘worldly’ or ‘non-spiritual’ people and lives among a ‘non-worldly’ but ‘spiritual’ community, to be engaging in ‘non-worldly’ but ‘spiritual’ activities, like monks and nuns.

It also doesn’t mean that one abandons one’s worldly duties and responsibilities, not working to make a living to support one’s life and those under one’s care, but to live on the charity of others. Unless one’s worldly duties and responsibilities have come to an end, such as being free from looking after old parents or young children.

It’s about living in the world among the society as we are, no matter where and how we are and how is the environment, performing all our duties and responsibilities towards oneself and others under one’s care out of compassion, making an honest living that supports oneself and those under one’s care, but without attachment or identification towards any worldly social and cultural thinking and belief and practice or behavior, being free from egoism of passionate clinging onto worldly objects of names and forms, personal and community attachment and identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation that based on particular worldly thinking, belief and values, while minimizing, reducing and restricting worldly social networking, interactions and activities and the accumulation of social connections and relationships, observing maximum seclusion and solitude while living and moving in the society among the worldly minded, without being affected or disturbed or determined by all the pleasant and unpleasant events or happenings in the world, without being affected or influenced by the worldly social and cultural thinking and belief and practice or behavior.

It’s renouncing or abandoning egoism and impurities.

It’s renouncing the passionate desires of craving and aversion, the attachment and identification with worldly social and cultural thinking, belief, values and habitual behavior pattern of judgment and expectation based on those thinking, belief and values. At the same time, respecting others to be what they are, to have their own different thinking, belief and values, and to behave, act and react as they are.

It’s going beyond all the impermanent qualities of names and forms of good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, pleasure and displeasure, pleasantness and unpleasantness, gain and loss, success and failure, praise and condemn, superiority and inferiority, achievement and non-achievement, auspiciousness and inauspiciousness, meaningfulness and meaninglessness, and so on.

It’s non-attachment and non-identification towards all actions and the fruit of actions. Performing all actions, duties and responsibilities out of wisdom and compassion, and allowing the fruit of actions to be what it is, being undetermined or uninfluenced by the actions and the fruit of actions.

If one can only find peace outside the worldly minded society, void of duties and responsibilities, being isolated from the worldly minded society that is functioning under ignorance, egoism and impurities, but then, while being in the world, living or moving among the worldly minded society and perceiving all the impermanent names and forms through the senses, one couldn’t remain equanimous, being disturbed or determined or influenced by the unpleasant, undesirable and disagreeable events or happenings or disturbance deriving from attachment towards the mind perception of names and forms, of the worldly social and cultural thinking, belief and practice or behavior that are under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and the consequences of that, then one hasn’t realize the truth yet, or one hasn’t realize yoga.

Live in the world but not let the world live in you.

It’s the mental renunciation from worldly thinking and belief and habitual action and reaction under the influence of egoism. One can live and move in the world, but not let the world influence or determine the state of the mind. It’s the state of the mind of how the mind reacts towards all the perception of names and forms, being undisturbed and remain equanimous, while performing necessary actions, duties and responsibilities towards oneself and/or others under one’s care. The well-trained mind is disinterested in worldly objects and affairs, while living and moving in the world. It is free from passionate clinging and desire towards worldly objects and affairs. It doesn’t chase after the object of names and forms of the senses to gratify desire, as it is desireless.

Those who are peaceful and remain equanimous under any difficult, unpleasant, undesirable and disagreeable worldly conditions or circumstances, are true yogis.

Have peace by taming the outgoing restless mind and annihilating ignorance and egoism and impurities, not by controlling or changing the mind perception of an impermanent world of names and forms to be the way that the ego expects or likes it to be.

If the mind is super sensitive and easily be disturbed or distracted by the mind perception of names and forms of worldly objects and affairs, as there’s no strong foundation of non-attachment towards the mind perception of names and forms, then it would be better for this mind to move away from the society for a prolonged period of time, to minimize as much as possible the coming in contact with worldly affairs and objects of names and forms, to allow the mind to be free from unnecessary disturbance and distraction to conserve energy and to turn the mind inward for self-introspection or self-inquiry. Until the mind develops a strong foundation of dispassion and non-attachment (which will be ‘tested’ while living in the world), then this mind can live and move among the worldly minded society and coming in contact with ceaseless inputs or impressions of impermanent names and forms, but the mind is undisturbed or uninfluenced by all these names and forms.

Be free.