No doubt that by doing some yoga asana and pranayama practice regularly can gives some momentary effects of calmness, relaxation, pleasant sensations, good feelings, and many health and fitness benefits to the practitioner, but, it doesn’t stop one’s mind from being influenced, or disturbed, or determined by all the perceptions of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses based on what the ego likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with, wants and doesn’t want under the influence of a particular worldly egoistic thinking and belief, if one doesn’t work on the annihilation of ignorance by eliminating the ego and egoism of attachment, identification, and desire of craving and aversion.
The ego is the idea of ‘I’ exists as an individual being that identifies with and attaches onto particular worldly egoistic thinking and belief, culture, family brought up, education system, accumulated knowledge and life experiences, the actions and the result of actions, duties, responsibilities, achievements, contributions, family ties, friends and social circle, relationships, personality, interest and liking, social identity and image, personal identity and image, physical appearance, physical and mental condition and ability, gender, and so on, to be ‘I’.
Those who have strong attachment and identification with particular worldly thinking and belief and all kinds of qualities of names and forms might have been practicing yoga asana and pranayama practice for many years, but due to the worldly attachment and identification, they might still be influenced, be disturbed, and be determined by all the perception of names and forms, and feel dissatisfied, or disappointed, or offended, or hurt by the names and forms that the ego doesn’t like, doesn’t agree with and doesn’t want, if they didn’t work on eliminating the egoism (the fuel that feeds ignorance) and the annihilation of ignorance.
Attending yoga asana and pranayama classes for many years regularly doesn’t guarantee that one is free from being disturbed by the by-products of ignorance and egoism – the ceaseless reactions of impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, lust, pride, arrogance, offensiveness, defensiveness, feelings of hurt, guilt, regrets, fear and worry, and so on. The mind is restless, swaying between the calmness effect of the yoga asana and pranayama practice and the disturbance of the ceaseless egoistic reactions of impurities.
The ego also constantly looking for love, attention, affection, connection, companionship, sense of belonging, accomplishment, acceptance, respect, agreement, acknowledgment, approval, support, liking and compliment to feel ‘I’ exist, ‘I’ am somebody, ‘I’ am loved, ‘I’ am good, ‘I’ am right, ‘I’ am confident, ‘I’ am happy, ‘I’ am complete, or ‘I’ am meaningful. Root out this ego, one will be free and peaceful as one is.
If the mind is not free from ignorance and egoism, everyone will keep hurting oneself and others out of selfish desires and impurities, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Everyone is looking for ‘love’ and they frequently fall in love with something or someone, but then, out of ignorance and egoism, they keep hurting the thing or person that they think they ‘loved’ very much. It’s all about ‘me’, ‘my feelings’, ‘my happiness’, and what ‘I’ like and what ‘I’ want. When we don’t get what we like and want, and we are getting what we don’t like and don’t want, we will feel disappointed and dissatisfied, and we will hurt anything and everyone, including ourselves. There’s no love. Just possessiveness. To possess something or someone to make us feel good and meaningful about ourselves, to be existing. When our desires or wishes are not being gratified, we feel disturbed, dissatisfied, disappointed, hurt, angry and unhappy. We don’t love anything or anyone, not even ourselves.
One will only know what is love and how to love, when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism.
Yoga practice about the annihilation of ignorance and egoism to transcend suffering, is universal. It is beyond all the different qualities of names and forms.
It doesn’t matter whether we have a religious belief and practice and believe in God, or not. It doesn’t matter we eat vegetarian food or non-vegetarian food. It doesn’t matter we think we are good or bad. It doesn’t matter how long we have been practicing yoga and meditation. As long as the mind is functioning under the influence of ignorance and egoism, the mind will perceive suffering and has no peace. The mind will always be disturbed and determined by the qualities of names and forms (mind perceptions of everything and all kinds of life experiences) that the ego doesn’t like, doesn’t agree with and doesn’t want.
It’s everyone’s freedom whether they want to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, or not, or they just want to attain the momentary effects of calmness, relaxation, pleasant sensations, good feelings, and health and fitness benefits from doing the yoga asana and pranayama practice. There’s no right or wrong, no good or bad. It’s just what everyone wants to do with their life, their body and mind.