Some people have been attending yoga (asana) classes for some time, but they said they never came across the yoga teachings about non-attachment and non-identification. They never heard about the teaching of yoga (Vedanta) about “I am not the body, the body is not me. I am not the mind, the mind is not me.”
One thing that they usually hear from most yoga teachers is about positive thinking, to think and feel positively. They said even they have been practicing “positive thinking” as taught by most yoga teachers, and they have became more “positive” and cheerful than before, some even took up healthy vegetarian diet, but still it didn’t help them to be free from low self-esteem, restlessness and unhappiness. It didn’t really free their mind from reactions towards perception of names and forms, and continue to experience unhappiness or suffering because they are disturbed and affected by what their mind perceives through the senses, and be angry, frustrated and unhappy whenever they experience something that their mind perceives as something negative, bad and sad, or when they come in contact with qualities of names and forms that their mind doesn’t like or doesn’t agree with.
This is because they haven’t practiced non-attachment towards qualities of names and forms, and non-identification with their body and mind. They haven’t developed awareness to stand as a witness towards the activities in the mind, nor have awareness about the play of the ego yet.
They are still identifying with the impermanent body and mind as who they are, and have attachment towards the qualities of names and forms to influence and determine whether they will be happy and confident, or not. They are still influenced very much by the craving and aversion towards what the mind perceives and labels as good and bad, positive and negative, happiness and suffering. They attached strongly to the personal thinking and beliefs in their mind, and have strong disagreement and dislikes towards something that is different from what they think and believe what things are. And thus their mind constantly reacts towards the qualities of names and forms that they like and dislike, agree and disagree with. Their mind is disturbed and influenced by impurities like irritation, frustration, anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, dissatisfaction, disappointment, animosity, self-protection, fear and worry that derived from the constant reactions of craving and aversion in their mind.
Non-attachment towards the qualities of names and forms is actually freeing our mind from being disturbed, or affected, or influenced, or determined by the impermanent qualities of names and forms that our mind perceives through the senses, as the mind is able to see the truth of all these names and forms as they are, or realizing what is non-duality, that everything is just being what they are, they are neither something good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither happiness nor suffering. There is no more attachment or craving and aversion towards what our mind used to believe as good and bad, positive and negative, happiness and suffering.
It is the ego that reacts in accordance to the craving and aversion towards what it likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with. When the ego doesn’t come in contact with what it likes and wants, or when it comes in contact with what it doesn’t like and doesn’t want, the ego will be dissatisfied, frustrated and unhappy. And there is restlessness and tension that derived from constant fear about losing something that it likes, or fear of coming in contact with something that it doesn’t like and doesn’t want. And hence, there is no peace.
By letting go craving and aversion, we are letting go of the ego and freeing the mind from egoism.
Non-identification is stop identifying with the impermanent body and mind as “I”, nor being determined by the impermanent pleasant and unpleasant experiences through the function of the body and mind perception. As there is no “I”, it’s just the body and mind being here functioning, perceiving and reacting towards names and forms. And thus, there is no “I” being here to be identifying nor associating with all these impermanent perception of names and forms, to experience happiness or suffering.
And this is freedom.