This is the basic teaching and practice of yoga. But, for some, it seems to be almost impossible for the mind to be free from ignorance, to go beyond names and forms, to be free from being conditioned by the idea of “I” and all that is related to “I”.
It is up to everyone to inquire or investigate into the truth of this teaching and all the other teachings from anywhere, and realize the truth through our own Self-inquiry.
Some people want to be able to go beyond all the names and forms, but find it difficult to practice non-attachment in everyday life. Many people don’t want to go beyond the body and mind, to be undetermined by the impermanent changes of the body and mind to be “I”, and be free. They rather cling onto the idea of “I” and life existence, being passionate about “I” and everything that is related to “I”. They are determined by the impermanent body and mind, and all the qualities of name and form that they perceive through the senses to be “I”, whether wittingly or unwittingly. They give themselves reasonable excuses why it is not necessarily to practice non-attachment or to renounce the world, to be peaceful and happy. They believe that life should be full of passionate desires waiting to be fulfilled to keep life going and meaningful, or else it isn’t life. Dispassion and desire-less is unbearable and wrong for them. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s their freedom of choice for what they want to do with their life.
For those who are determined to be free from suffering, to be able to help other suffering beings efficiently, they will focus their entire life time and existence into the path of emancipation, gradually moving away from worldly ideas and passionate desires.
Due to the veil of ignorance, the ego, or the idea of “I” in the mind, generates attachment and identification with all these qualities of names and forms to be “This is I”, to be existing, to be acknowledged, to be known. There’s strong attachment and identification with the thinking, the belief, the knowledge, the state and the ability of the mind, and the condition, the ability and the appearance of the physical body, as well as all the relationships with other beings and objects, to be “I”.
We are being determined by the impermanent qualities of the body and mind, and the relationships with other beings and objects to be confident, to be satisfied, to be happy, to be worthy and meaningful, or not. And all these qualities of name and form are subject to impermanence. And hence, the mind is constantly restless and dissatisfied. The stubborn attachment and identification doesn’t allow the mind to be free from the idea of “I” and all that is related with “I”. And this doesn’t allow the mind to see the truth of existence, which is I-lessness.
Upon the realization of the truth of I-lessness, the mind will be liberated from all sorts of suffering that derived from ignorance.
From the attachment and identification with qualities of name and form to be existing, the egoistic mind generates ceaseless desires of wants and don’t wants, craving and aversion, where all sorts of suffering arise.
“Is it necessarily to renounce the worldly social life and activities to be free from ignorance and suffering?” Well, it depends on each individual whether we have strong self-discipline and an undistracted mind, or not.
If our mind has rooted firmly in non-attachment, and is undistracted or uninfluenced by whatever the mind comes in contact with, or interacts with, being undisturbed or unaffected physically, mentally or emotionally, then we can mix freely into the society and involve with social activities freely, unrestricting the activities of the body and mind, while having the strong self-discipline and concentration maintaining one-pointedness towards the complete annihilation of ignorance.
If our mind has not yet develop a strong foundation of non-attachment, and is easily distracted and be influenced by whatever the mind comes in contact with, or interacts with, easily being disturbed and affected physically, mentally and emotionally, then we will need to renounce worldly social activities for a period of time, to allow the mind to be quiet and still for a sustained period of time to be able to reflect upon the truth as it is.
If emancipation is not what we are looking for, then be free to live a passionate and unrestricted worldly life. Be happy with what we want for our life. But then when we experience disappointment and suffering, and feel hurt, disturbed, angry, or depressed about the reality that we don’t like and don’t agree with, it is our own choice as well.
Anyway, there are no shortage of New Age ‘yoga teachers’ in the modern world teach about “Follow all your desires, be passionate and indulge in worldly sensual enjoyment” as liberation. Why bother about renunciation to perform Sadhana that is so wrong, unnatural and painful for the worldly egoistic mind. As even when someone tries to renounce the world, it doesn’t guarantee that this being will be liberated, if there’s no real renunciation.
Some might think that we are now existing in an new era, renunciation is outdated. Some people who love their yoga and meditation practice might think that there’s no need to renounce the world, they have already gotten the benefits that they wanted from their yoga and meditation practice. Some think that they are somehow smarter than those past enlightened beings who all had went through renunciation, seclusion and intense Sadhana for many years to attain liberation, and then came back to the world to help other beings to attain liberation. It’s our own freedom for what we want for our lives.