To encourage and motivate others to do better and achieve higher goal in whatever fields, is indeed very kind and uplifting. It is a ‘positive’ action to encourage others to be positive, to do better and to be better. There’s nothing wrong with looking forward to a better personality and higher achievement. It is much reasonable and better than being ‘negative’ to discourage others to do better and to be better.
Yet, the one who needs to be better, and who needs ‘positive’ encouragements and motivations to do better, to be better is the ego. By being ‘positive’ to give encouragements and motivations to others to do better and to be better is actually empowering the egoism in others.
It seems like the spiritual teachers in the traditional lineage are very hard and cold, as they seldom mention expressions like ‘thank you’, or ‘very good’, or ‘I’ll give you something nice after you do this’, and etc… We criticize teachers or people who seldom or never express ‘positive’ encouraging or motivating actions and speech, praise and compliments to the students after they did ‘well’… But, these are great teachers who are actually helping the students to be aware of their ego, and to be able to eliminate the ego effectively.
For example, in our family cultural brought up, and in any educational or motivational courses, we believe that it is very wrong and impolite if we do not express ‘thankfulness’, and to give praise and compliments to others to encourage others to do better and to be better. From young, we were being motivated by ‘positive’ encouragement, praise, compliment, gratitude, appreciation and ‘rewards’ from our parents and teachers for us to be doing something good for ourselves. Or else without any promised ‘rewards’, we would be lack of motivation to do it. For example, the parents like to say “We will give you what you want if you are good.” or “We will buy you what you want if you get all As for your exam.” or ” We won’t give you what you want if you don’t do as we told.”
We will criticize and be disappointed with certain teachers for not saying ‘very good!’, or ‘you did very well!’, or ‘well done!’ when we think we did something right and good, as we (the ego) need affirmation from somebody to acknowledge us that ‘Yes! I did something right and good’ to feel good and to boost up our confidence, and to motivate us to do better and to be better. When we (the ego) don’t receive any ‘positive’ encouraging words, or praise and compliments that we expect to be receiving, we (the ego) will feel lack of motivation to do better or to be better.
In traditional yoga practice, we learn to let go of the ego, and no longer depend or rely on ‘positive’ encouragements, praise and compliment, or rewards to motivate us to do better or to be better, nor will we be demotivated by ungratefulness, inappreciation, ‘negative’ discouragement, criticism and condemn to be performing all our actions, duties and responsibilities. We do not need to hear ‘thank you!’, ‘very good!’ or ‘well done!’ to affirm us, to feel good and confident about ourselves, nor do we need these ‘positive’ encouragement to motivate us to be good or to be better.
Some people complain that the teacher was not good or the class was not good after attending certain yoga classes where the teacher didn’t give any ‘positive’ encouragements, praise and compliments to anyone whether the students did well or not. Or after we did something nice for others, we didn’t hear anyone say ‘thank you!’, or ‘very good!’, or ‘well done!’ to us.
Yes, yoga classes like that are quite boring and lack of motivations.
But, what we don’t know is that these are the great yoga classes and great teachers teaching what yoga practice is about – To eliminate the ego… Stop feeding the ego. Stop empowering the ego. Stop giving what the ego wants and likes. It is starving the ego to its elimination.
Those who have transcended egoism, they don’t need anyone to show gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation or acknowledgment for their selfless actions, nor will they be disturbed or get upset if there’s nobody showing gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation or acknowledgment for their actions performed. They also are not disturbed nor determined by any inappreciation, ungratefulness, negative criticism or condemn.
We show gratefulness and thankfulness for everything that the universe provides us out of our own free will. But the universe isn’t looking for any gratitude, appreciation, acknowledgment, praise and compliments for all its selfless actions being performed to support everyone and everything to be existing.
The elimination of the ego coordinates with the state of non-duality, by going beyond what our worldly mind perception and belief about good and bad, positive and negative, success and failure, praise and condemn, gain and loss, happiness and suffering, and this will free us from craving and aversion which is the source of restlessness, unhappiness or suffering.
None and nothing can ‘hurt’ or ‘insult’ the one who has transcended egoism and renounced the fruit of actions, who has realized non-duality, namelessness and formlessness.