Many people like to attend ‘yoga retreat’ are not about giving importance towards the yoga practice to be learning and practicing yoga under the guidance of a yoga teacher who teaches yoga, to leave their ego and worldly habits behind for a period of time, to quiet and silent the mind, to learn how to apply the teachings of yoga into the yoga asana practice, as well as applying the yoga practice/teachings or the Dhamma practically into everyday life while living in the society, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities.
Instead, they expect to be doing some form of yoga exercises/practice as a leisure activity while on a holiday that includes yoga and other holiday activities, where they expect the resort/staff/teachers to conduct/provide/lead/instruct/teach the yoga exercise sessions the way that they like it to be, in a resort style holiday environment, being away from any duties and responsibilities, and condition and situation in their everyday life that they don’t like and don’t want, to be indulging in pleasurable enjoyment of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and visualization, to be enjoying VIP treatments, resort facilities and services.
They are not interested to practice yoga in a simple place where it’s not much different from everyday life condition for most people, or even more challenging for those who live a comfortable lifestyle where everything is conveniently available and accessible and being served by other people all the time, but one needs to perform daily tasks to take care of one’s everyday living, just like in everyday life, but with additional restrictions of a more disciplined daily routine and limited social activities, or without personal assistant or servant to bring them what they want whenever they want, while learning and practicing yoga under the guidance of a yoga teacher who teaches yoga, so that when they go back into their everyday life, they can implement the yoga teachings/practice or the Dhamma into their everyday life while performing all their duties and responsibilities towards themselves and others, without the sense of superiority or inferiority, pride and arrogance, and dealing with all kinds of condition and situation that are not necessarily the way that they like it to be, be free from craving and aversion, without the need to runaway from what they don’t like or don’t want, and developing stronger self-discipline and reducing social activities to quiet the restless mind while living in the society, and realize unconditional peace that is beyond the impermanent qualities of names and forms, undetermined by time and space, causation, condition and situation.
If people feel that they can only have peace or practice yoga in a comfortable environment with very little distraction and without the need to deal with any discomfortable challenging condition and situation, and they find that it’s very difficult for them to have peace or practice yoga in everyday life as there are lots of distractions and have to deal with many discomfortable challenging condition and situation in everyday life, then they haven’t learn anything at all, even though they feel good and happy to practice yoga or do some yoga asana exercises in a comfortable distraction-less environment. A real yoga retreat should allow people to learn how to implement the teachings of yoga into everyday life and practice yoga and have peace under any condition and situation, with correct understanding, awareness, self-discipline, self-control, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation.
It’s everyone’s freedom whether they want to receive or reject the gift of Dhamma and whether they want to practice yoga, or not. Even some yoga teachers are not really practicing yoga, although they have been doing different styles of yoga asana practice and teaching different styles of yoga exercise classes for many years. And it’s okay as everyone takes their own time to evolve. It doesn’t matter after many years of doing and teaching yoga exercise, the mind is still not free from ignorance and egoism, and being over-powered by impurities.
Many people who like to do the yoga asana exercises regularly are not necessarily interested in the yoga teachings and practice about silencing the mind and the elimination of ignorance, egoism and impurities. That’s their freedom. Even though many of them have been following some yoga teachers to be doing yoga asana exercises for some time or a long time, their minds are not necessarily be free from the desire of craving and aversion, and easily be disturbed and determined by the gratification of craving and aversion, and be influenced by impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, irritation, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurts, regret, guilt, offensiveness, defensiveness, animosity, ill-will, ill-thinking, pride, arrogance, agitation, depression, fear and worry, and so on, being restless or peaceless.
A teacher presents the same teaching or Dhamma to different people at the same time, some people take it and practice and realize and be free, while some people reject the Dhamma, as that is not what they like and want and agree with, they only want to do something that they like and want to do, to gratify their desire of craving and aversion, to enjoy and to feel good. And that’s their freedom.
It’s not the teacher is being good or not good. It’s not the Dhamma is something good or not good. The teacher and the Dhamma are just what they are. They are neither good nor not good, but it’s the people themselves, whether they want to take it, or not, and through their own effort of practice and attain self-realization, or not, that allows them to be free, or not. Whether the people want to take the Dhamma and practice and realize yoga, or they don’t like and don’t want to practice the Dhamma, it’s not the responsibility of the teacher or the Dhamma.
Egoistic mind will try to runaway from something that it’s experiencing now, that it doesn’t familiar with, doesn’t feel comfortable, doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with, that is different from or contradicted with one’s thinking and belief and familiar worldly habits.
Those who teach yoga, they do not try to please the people who are learning and practicing yoga with them, or in anyway, to boost or empower or feed the ignorance and egoism of the people. But to guide the people to see or know what is going on in their own minds, develop awareness, self-discipline and self-control to deal with their own mind, to free their mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities through their own effort to purify and silent their impure restless mind, to see the truth of things as it is. Compassion is not about trying to make people happy by gratifying their desires of craving and aversion, but to allow them to know the root cause of a disturbed mind, or the source of unhappiness and suffering, even if they have to go through discomfort and unpleasantness.
The practice of yoga and the coming in contact with the Dhamma is not as pleasant as many people thought it is. The Dhamma might appear to be very different or contradicted with the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice. To realize Dhamma one has to let go attachment and identification towards the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice, to allow the mind to be open. Those who have strong attachment and identification with the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice would likely generate great disagreement, rejection or aversion towards the Dhamma. There are lots of impurities bubble up onto the body and the mind to be eliminated on the path of yoga towards the annihilation of ignorance, egoism and impurities. There will be lots of physical, mental and emotional discomfort arising and passing away. And it might take a long time for the mind to be purified to the deepest level. It requires lots of courage, patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance. forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation. It’s quite an unpleasant or painful and even scary process for most minds, and many minds don’t like to confront with this and rather to runaway from any unpleasantness or hardship. They just want to do the parts of the yoga practice that would give rise to momentary relaxation and good feelings, to gratify their desires of craving and aversion.
Those who truly practice yoga learn how to confront with what the mind perceives as unfamiliar, discomfortable and challenging condition and situation, with compassion, patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, or expectation.
Only through letting go all kinds of attachment and identification, and the desire of craving and aversion towards the pleasant and unpleasant mind perception of names and forms, not by pushing or running away from something that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want, that is discomfortable or challenging for the mind, will allow the mind to go beyond all the qualities of names and forms and be free from being disturbed or determined by all the different qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives as pleasant or unpleasant experiences, positive or negative experiences, that the mind likes or dislikes, wants and doesn’t want.
Letting go and pushing away are two different things.
Letting go is unattached towards all the qualities of names and forms, allowing the unpleasant experiences to be there as they are, or allowing the pleasant experiences to be absent in this present moment, but remain at peace, without craving for something that is pleasant but it’s not here, without aversion towards something that is here that is unpleasant, being undisturbed or undetermined by them. The mind is peaceful as it is regardless all the mind perceptions of pleasantness and unpleasantness, being free from disturbs due to ignorance, egoism and impurities.
While pushing away is do not allow any unpleasant experiences to be there, and expecting pleasant experiences to be available in the present the way that it likes it to be, and are being disturbed or determined by the presence of unpleasant experiences that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want, and the absence of pleasant experiences that the mind likes and wants. The mind is restless or peaceless being over-powered by frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, regret, ill-thinking, animosity, anxiety, fear and worry.