Self-inquiry – Try contemplate upon “What is this (I)?” instead of “Who am I?”

For those who are interested in the teaching and practice of Yoga or Buddhism, the main similar practice is about self-inquiry, to inquire the truth of individual being existence by contemplating upon “Who am I?” where most people interpreting as “Knowing who we really are, or who is the real ‘I’.”

Because of the literal meaning of the words being used in the question of “Who am I?” regardless of being translated into whatever languages, the mind takes it as there is a permanent self-existence (of who I really am) undergoing the process of reincarnation of being born in countless different life existence/transformation existing as different individual being under different names and forms, and I am trying to filter and drop off all kinds of imperfect momentary identity of different names and forms in order to uncover and reconnect with my real identity of who I really am, where many minds believe and desire that “who I really am” or “the real I” is something ‘spiritual’, ‘pure’ and ‘perfect’ that is imperishable, indestructible, unchangeable, permanent, absolute and infinite, with some kind of ‘transcendental superpower’ where all kinds of ‘miracles’ happen under my command/wish, having all my desired imaginations/wishes come true where everything will be exactly the way as I wish, with absolute unlimited freedom to be whatever I want to be, being with those who I want to be with, go wherever I want to go and do whatever I want to do, where there’s no limitation of hunger, thirst, old age, weakness, injury, sickness, death or suffering, but only desirable pleasant enjoyment.

And hence, the mind is ‘stuck’, couldn’t go beyond what it thinks it knows, where the mind is unable to transcend the selfless modification of the mind perceiving all kinds of names and forms of a worldly life existence, couldn’t go beyond the idea of ‘I’ where the mind thinks and believes ‘I’ exists as an individual being hoping/desiring to have better transformation in better world, hindering the mind from self-realization, to realize selflessness, or ‘I’lessness, or egolessness, to be free from the ego, or the idea of I of the existence of an individual being existing and experiencing (different) life existence or impermanent transformation.

Self-inquiry is more about contemplation upon “What is this ‘I’ that ‘I’ think and believe as an individual being existing and experiencing a worldly life existence that is comprised of all kinds of duality, where (I think) I experience desirable and undesirable experiences, where (I think) I feel happy/satisfied and unhappy/dissatisfied, where (I think) I try to learn many things to be able to survive and satisfy my desire of craving and aversion, to find and achieve the meaning of my life existence, to set goals/directions for my life, where (I think) I was born, where (I think) I live a life, where (I think) I have many different kinds of happy/unhappy relationship with different individual beings, where (I think) I enjoy and suffer, where (I think) I will die, and where (I think) I will be transforming into another name and form either in the same world or in a different world according to the good/bad deeds that I have been doing and accumulating.”

If the mind replaces the inquiry of “Who am I?” with “What is this ‘I’ that ‘I’ think is ‘me’ or ‘myself’, whom ‘I’ think and believe is existing as an individual being experiencing this life existence of happiness and unhappiness, who is doing all these thinking, who performs actions and enjoying the fruit of actions?” then this will allow the mind to ‘look at’ or investigate ‘itself’ from a different perspective, sort of like a (non-existent) third party to investigate/inquire the modification of the mind, or what the ignorant egoistic mind thinks and believes is the existence of an individual being perceiving/experiencing this and that, and without attachment and identification towards the selfless and impermanent modification of the mind perceiving names and forms of a worldly life existence, and be able to eliminate the ego/the idea of ‘I’ and egoism, where the mind can be free from the idea of ‘I’ and egoism, and absorbed into Silence/Samadhi (The annihilation of the modification of mind), transcending names and forms, births and deaths, actions and the fruit of actions, enjoyment and suffering.

There’s no ‘I’ am selfless, or I am performing selfless actions. There’s no ‘I’ am selfish or unselfish. There’s no ‘I’ am good or bad. There’s no ‘I’ am transforming into this or that. There’s no ‘I’ am enjoying or suffering.

The mind (or the thinking faculty as part of the function of this physical body,) is functioning and perceiving all kinds of names and forms in this present moment, restlessly acting and reacting, generating actions that bring along pleasant/unpleasant consequences of actions, and that’s all. The modification of the mind, or the thought currents, or the thought activities, ceaselessly arising and passing away selflessly, countless births and deaths happening, in this present moment. Neither it’s ‘I’ nor there’s ‘I’. There’s neither past nor future. There’s neither performer of actions nor the enjoyer of the fruit of actions.

Contemplate upon the teaching of “The world of names and forms is the by-product of the modification of mind. There is no perception of the world or life existence (in Silence/Samadhi/Annihilation of the modification of mind)” along with the process of performing self-inquiry.

Fearlessness and desirelessness are ‘the two sides of a coin’. Similarly, selflessness/oneness/non-separateness/attributelessness/namelessness/formlessness/birthlessness/deathlessness and fearlessness/desirelessness are ‘the two sides of a coin’.

As long as there is still the ego, or the idea of ‘I’ exists along with the modification of the mind, there’s ceaseless births and deaths (in this present), there’s an ‘individual being’ existing and experiencing the world of a worldly life existence being satisfied or dissatisfied with this or that, there’s egoism of attachment/identification/craving and aversion/judgment/comparison/expectation, there’s survival instinct, there’s separateness, there’s desire and fear, there’s possessiveness and protectiveness, there’s ceaseless actions and the fruit of actions, which gives rise to endless births and deaths (in this present) within the modification of the mind.

As Swami Sivananda mentioned in his teachings, “Kill the mind,” or in another term, “Annihilate the modification of the mind,” if the mind thinks the word ‘Kill’ is inappropriately used as the mind believes it’s representing the quality of violence, non-compassionate, unkind, unloving, negative, bad and wrong. This is nothing to do with ‘killing’, ‘changing’, ‘controlling’, ‘over-powering’, ‘influencing’, ‘uplifting’ or ‘inspiring’ other minds. It’s about this mind silencing its own modification, attaining Silence/Samadhi.

Want to reform the system of the world?

Human beings, regardless of one’s gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, belief and nationality, whom themselves, or who are aware of some others, have been experiencing certain kinds of discrimination whether coming from within their own ‘group’ or coming from some other ‘groups’, who have ‘good’ intention and aspiration of getting involve in different types of activism/protest with the intention/aspiration to reform the highly corrupted system of the world, who want to promote peace and harmony in the world, who really want the world to be free from all kinds of discrimination among the enormous diversities in the world, people need to work on reforming oneself first, by conquering one’s human nature that is under the influence of ignorance and egoism as well as the basic survival instinct, which is the mother of all kinds of corruption and discrimination either existing within the same ‘group’, or among the different ‘groups’.

All kinds of activism and protest are useless, if people think and believe that there are something wrong/incorrect with the world or with certain people’s thinking, beliefs and behavior, and trying to reform the world or certain people’s thinking, beliefs and behavior to be in certain way that they desire and agree with, that they think how it should be, but without reforming themselves first.

Once everyone knows how to reform oneself, free from being the slave of ignorance, egoism and survival instinct, there is no need of any kind of activism and protest to be existing, to go against ‘this’ or ‘that’ in any society, anywhere in the world.

Many people think and believe that education is the most important thing in the world for developing a healthy society and prosperity, and it’s true, but it depends on what type of education.

If it’s just education to have the knowledge, skill and qualification to be able to find a job/do a business, to make a living in the world of capitalism and consumerism, that supports the world economy and prosperity, as well as education that is under the influence of certain ‘morality practice’, ‘spiritual practice’, ‘religious belief’ or ‘political interest’, that is feeding egoism which empowers ‘personal/social identification’ which generates all kinds of separateness/comparison/discrimination between ‘I’ and ‘the others that are not I’, that encourages ‘greed’, ‘selfishness’, ‘possessiveness’, ‘the sense of belonging’, ‘pride’, ‘heroism’, ‘nationalism’, ‘loyalty’ and ‘patriotism’, where it doesn’t want or allow the people to question the truth of everything, or be able to think and live life independently, that would ‘threaten’ the ‘existence’, ‘power’ and ‘profits’ of all sorts of ‘authority’, it won’t stop/eliminate all kinds of corruption and discrimination in the world.

The education should be emphasizing on self-control, self-discipline, self-inquiry, self-investigation, self-realization, self-reliance, physical/mental/emotional independence and open-mindedness, of how to be free from ignorance, egoism and impurities – the root cause of all kinds of humanity problem in the world, besides developing the knowledge and skill to be making a living in the world of capitalism and consumerism, or to be able to live a self-contained/self-sufficient way of life that doesn’t need to depend on the society of capitalism and consumerism, or the economy/prosperity of the world.

The education on self-control, self-discipline, self-inquiry, self-investigation, self-realization, physical/mental/emotional independence and open-mindedness, of how to be free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, is universal. It has nothing to do with any particular ‘morality practice’, ‘spiritual practice’ or ‘religious belief’, as ignorance, egoism and impurities also exist in so called ‘morality practice’, ‘spiritual practice’ and ‘religious belief’, not to say, in ‘political interest’.

Corrupted education is sort of like ‘parents’ who want to ‘mould’ their children to be in certain way, to ‘train’ their children to be obedient and don’t question anything about their ‘authorization’ and ‘whatever they want their children to listen and follow’. If the children behave according to their ‘rules’, or achieve ‘what the parents want them to achieve’, which pleases them, then they would give their children some ‘praising’ and ‘rewards’, but if their children don’t behave according to their ‘rules’, or don’t achieve ‘what the parents want them to achieve’, then they would give their children some ‘disciplinary’ and ‘punishment’. And the parents want the children to become ‘somebody’ that they want them to become, and expect the children to ‘give’ the parents what they desire to be getting from the children. “Do something and be somebody that make us feel proud.” The ‘corruption’ of the entire society, of the ‘authority’, of the ‘system’ in the world, is deriving from this kind of ‘family relationship’.

Beware of anything that sounds like this, “Just obey. Do not question my authorization. This is the Truth and you must believe in this Truth. It’s sinful and punishable if you disbelieve in this Truth or have any doubt towards this Truth.”

In yoga and Buddhism, it’s all about attaining self-realization towards the truth of everything. It’s not a sin or punishable if one is ignorant towards the truth or is doubting the truth of something. The Truth is not a belief. The Truth doesn’t need anyone to believe in it nor doesn’t like anyone to disbelieve in it or has doubt in it.

“Do not blind believing, blind following, or blind practicing anything, even if it’s coming from your parents, elders, school teachers, religious teachers, best friends, members of the society, famous philosopher, or popular political leaders. Inquire and investigate the truth of everything, including all the teachings here.” There’s no ‘authority’ to ‘discipline or punish’ anyone for being ignorant under the influence of ignorance.

It’s about being aware of the ignorance in oneself.

It’s needless to be looking for a great teacher here and there.

None can teach, or discipline, or liberate anyone who isn’t aware of ignorance in oneself, while those who are aware of ignorance in oneself, then the impermanent and selfless modifications of one’s mind, as well as one’s actions and the consequences of one’s actions, is one’s greatest teacher towards knowing Thyself, and be free from ignorance.

Compassion is not something that can be obtained from receiving, learning, training or education. Compassion manifests as it is upon the annihilation of ignorance, egoism and impurities, upon the realization of selflessness.

Compassion is not about giving people whatever they like and want and desire, and don’t give them what they don’t like, don’t want and don’t desire, in order to make them feel good, satisfied, meaningful and happy, or so that people won’t feel bad, dissatisfied, meaningless and unhappy, though that is what most people understood as ‘compassion’ – give people happiness/convenience/comfort and take away their unhappiness/suffering/discomfort.

Compassion is there as it is, when the mind is free from egoism of attachment, identification, expectation, judgment, or desire of craving and aversion, ‘respecting’ the law of nature – Cause and Effect, Impermanence and Selflessness, ‘respecting’ the world as it is and everyone as they are (existing and functioning under the law of nature), ‘allowing’ everyone to take their own pace and effort to know their own minds, to know Thyself, realizing what is actually going on in their own minds, to realize selflessness, being free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, transcending the mind perception of a worldly life existence of impermanent and selfless names and forms, be able to deal with all kinds of pleasant/unpleasant, agreeable/disagreeable, desirable/undesirable experience, condition and situation independently and equanimously, being free from suffering deriving from ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation.

Feedback for yoga teachers?

In the last few months, there were hundreds of blog views coming from the search word “Feedback for yoga teachers”.

Looking at the pandemic lockdown and social distancing situation, it’s normal that many yoga teachers who used to conduct yoga classes to be making a living would move their classes onto the online social media platform. And hence, as the ‘new normal’, there are now many online (guided) yoga classes.

Personally, I neither encourage/support nor discourage/unsupport ‘the old normal’ yoga classes, or ‘the new normal’ online yoga classes, as it’s everyone’s freedom for what they do and don’t do, even though I myself am not interested in conducting ‘yoga classes’ in the past, not to say to be conducting ‘online yoga classes’ in the present. In the world of capitalism and consumerism, if there’s a demand requesting certain service and product, and there will be somebody offering the service and product, especially if people are interested in learning to do some yoga exercises as a healthy leisure activity, it’s something very good for the society to have ‘yoga classes’ or ‘online yoga classes’.

First of all, it’s a new thing for both the ‘yoga teachers’ and the ‘yoga students’. The process of teaching and learning yoga (asana) practice in a physical present yoga class is no doubt being quite different from teaching and learning yoga (asana) practice via online yoga class.

The teacher can’t be paying attention to many students at the same time in physical present yoga classes, not to say in online yoga class, where there’s a rather small computer screen with many different small windows of the different people joining the ‘online yoga class’. Unless it’s a one to one private yoga practice session, or private online yoga practice session.

Even though, in many of the physical present yoga classes, the yoga students are being advised not to turn/tilt their head to be looking at the teacher or the others while performing most of the yoga asana positions or exercises, as it might cause certain muscular sprain or injury around the neck and shoulder area, but many of the students would still be spontaneously turning/tilting their head while performing many of the yoga asana poses/exercises in order to take a look or glance at the teacher and/or the others under their own different intentions/motivations/reasons for doing that, mostly it’s curiosity, or trying to imitate, or trying to compare, or being unsure/unclear about the practice and being not confident towards one’s performance or execution. Not to say, in the online yoga classes, the entire attention is to be turning the head in a particular angle to be constantly looking at the computer screen, to be following some instructions and imitating the teacher and/or the others to be doing the yoga asana poses or exercises.

Of course, there will be many opinions coming from different participants who want to ‘improve’ their experience on the online yoga class, and want to give feedback/advice/suggestions to the yoga teachers who conduct the online yoga classes, and most of the teachers also welcoming ‘feedback’ from the participants to improve the experience on teaching online classes and to improve the quality of their online classes. Mostly it’s either about the positioning of the camera so that they can have a better view angle to see more clearly towards how the teacher demonstrates the practice/exercise, or something to do with the usage of microphone and volume control, or the pacing/intensity of the particular practice/exercise/routine, or the format and contents of the yoga class, or about the background and the layout of the room use for giving the online class, the impact of the surrounding environment, the music (most commercial yoga classes use music to create certain atmosphere), and etc. It’s all about the whole experience or the mind perception of names and forms of different qualities that are agreeable or disagreeable to the minds of everyone.

Yoga practice is about freeing the mind from such attachment and desire of craving and aversion towards the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, of what the eyes see, what the ears hear, what the nose smells (in this case, what the participants smell or don’t smell is nothing to do with the yoga teacher or the online yoga class), what the tongue tastes, what the body or skin senses, as well as what the mind experiences, thinks, feels, acts and reacts.

Yoga practice is about dispassion, renunciation, silence, solitude, seclusion, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, self-control, self-discipline, self-reliance, self-inquiry, self-realization, inquiring the truth of names and forms, inquiring the truth of ‘I’, knowing thyself, the elimination of the root cause of suffering – ignorance, egoism and impurities, the annihilation of the modification of the mind, transcending the wheel of birth and death, cause and effect, or attaining liberation or Samadhi. All these has nothing to do with ‘qualified/certified yoga teachers’, ‘yoga teachers certification’, ‘yoga classes’, ‘different brands and styles of yoga school, lineage, practice’, ‘physical ability/disability/limitation’, ‘physical health condition’, ‘worldly condition and situation’, ‘surrounding environment’, ‘proper precise physical alignment while doing the yoga poses/exercises’, ‘yoga props’, ‘yoga mats’, ‘yoga attires and accessories’, ‘yoga scents’, ‘yoga music’, ‘yoga super food’, and etc.

If one is truly teaching or practicing yoga, it’s really not about whether the yoga teacher is good or not good; whether the many different details of the yoga class are good or not good; whether the practice/exercise/routine is good or not good; whether the contents of the yoga class is good or not good; whether the way that the teacher conducts the yoga class is good or not good; whether the instructions are good or not good; whether the result of the teaching, the yoga class and the practice is good or not good; or whether the teaching skill of the yoga teacher is good or not good; not to say, whether the students/participants/somebody’s performance, or execution, or physical alignment is good or not good; whether one’s body and mind feels good or not good, being comfortable or uncomfortable throughout the practice.

It’s about there’s an opportunity where someone is there delivering the teachings and practice of yoga that would lead the minds towards self-realization and liberation from ignorance and suffering, without attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, as well as someone is there receiving, learning and practicing the teachings and practice of yoga without attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, to transcend the worldly life existence of a body and mind that is subject to impermanence and selflessness; to transcend the mind perception of qualities, names and forms that are impermanent and selfless; to go beyond duality of good/bad, right/wrong, positive/negative, meaningfulness/meaninglessness, praise/censure, success/failure, heat/cold, pleasantness/unpleasantness, happiness/unhappiness, enjoyable/non-enjoyable, and so on; to go beyond the egoistic likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements based on the worldly conditioned passionate egoistic social/cultural/spiritual/religious/political thinking and belief; to tame the outgoing tendency of the restless mind, turning the mind inward; to be in the present; to quiet, silent and annihilate the modification of the mind; to perform self-inquiry; to free the mind from the veil of ignorance, egoism and impurities; to realize the truth of suffering and the root cause of suffering; to realize selflessness and attain liberation from ‘mind stuff’, or ‘modification of the mind’, or ‘all that related to the mind perception of an impermanent selfless worldly life existence’, or ‘endless suffering deriving from the bondage of birth and death, cause and effect’.

In short, it’s about guiding the minds to be free from ignorance, egoism, impurities and suffering (upmost important), while in the process of doing or not doing some forms of physical and mental practice under many different names, brands, ways or styles (not important at all).

Either through physical present yoga session or online yoga class, whether the teacher is teaching yoga as it is, or not; whether the students of yoga will be learning and practicing yoga as it is, or not; with correct understanding, attitude and mentality or not; and realize yoga, or not, it’s their own effort and responsibility.

Feedback about the quality of the yoga teacher, the venue/environment/background, the technical issues, the teachings, the teaching skill, the interactive skill, the creativity, the charisma, the atmosphere, the yoga class, the practice, the result, or the entire experience, is truly irrelevant in the process of eliminating ignorance, egoism, impurities and suffering in one’s mind, or in the process of letting go/renouncing worldly conditioned passionate egoistic thinking, belief, values, practice, actions, reactions, expectations, desires, aspirations, inspirations, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, and etc.

Positive thinking vs dispassion and non-attachment

Positive thinking might be able to make the mind feels a little bit better momentarily, but it’s not the end of practice, as it doesn’t really help the mind to transcend ignorance and be free from suffering, as the mind is still being determined by the qualities of names and forms, where there’s craving/clinging/grasping towards the quality of names and forms that is likable, agreeable, pleasing and desirable for the mind, and there’s aversion towards the quality of names and forms that is dislikable, disagreeable, unpleasing and undesirable for the mind. There’s intentional egoistic tendency of changing something that the mind doesn’t like into something else that is less dislikable for the mind, as the mind is being affected/determined/disturbed/influenced by the quality of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses. This mind is not free, even though by thinking positively might give momentary relief to the mind from continuously drowning in negative thinking.

While dispassion and non-attachment would allow the mind to transcend ignorance and be free from suffering, being aware of the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms regardless of what the worldly minded perceived or recognized as good/bad/positive/negative quality of names and forms, but without being affected/determined/disturbed/influenced by any quality of names and forms, going beyond all the pleasant/unpleasant and desirable/undesirable or good/bad and positive/negative qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses of a worldly life existence.

By telling worldly egoistic passionate people to think positive in the midst of pandemic, lockdown, political tension, economy downturn, discrimination, fear, hatred, violence, unjust, corruption, worry and uncertainty, would most probably inflict further disappointment and frustration in the passionate egoistic minds that are being affected/determined/disturbed/influenced very much by the quality of names and forms or the unpleasant/undesirable condition and situation in the world. Such as “Things will get better for sure.” or “Everything will be fine in the end. Don’t worry.” or “We are good people. God will take care of us. Nothing bad is going to happen to good people like us.”

In yoga or Buddhism, it’s okay even if everything is not going to be fine in the end, and regardless of whether one thinks and believes oneself is a good person or not, whether one believes or disbelieves in God, it still doesn’t change the truth of impermanence and selflessness.

While the practice of dispassion and non-attachment is about seeing the truth of things as it is, even if it’s something really bad and terrible for the worldly egoistic passionate minds, without intentionally denying, or pushing away, or trying to change the unpleasant/undesirable condition or situation of the world, although one can perform kind and beneficial compassionate actions for oneself and/or others in the world selflessly at anytime and anywhere, but without expecting everything will be good and nothing bad, or expecting more good and less bad, knowing clearly that all is impermanent and selfless, without attaching onto the impermanent and selfless function of the body and mind or the perception of a worldly life existence of all kinds relationships and experiences that is being conditioned by actions and the consequences of actions, and hence, the mind is not being affected/determined/disturbed/influenced by it, remain equanimous and at peace as it is, even when disaster and death is approaching. This mind is free as it is, it doesn’t need to think positive at all, to be hopeful, wishing everything will be positive and good the way that the mind would like it to be.

It’s okay and there’s nothing wrong to react and feel negative, depressed, sad, angry, dissatisfied or disappointed towards the worldly condition and situation that the mind perceives and recognizes as unpleasant/undesirable/bad/negative, allowing the mind to react and feel as it is, but the mind knows clearly that even this feeling is impermanent and selfless, it’s not ‘I’. Need not be influenced or over-powered by this feeling to perform more actions that would most probably bring further unpleasant/undesirable consequences of actions.

Positive thinking is like leadership or having a leader, regardless of good or bad leader, who is being given the responsibility or power by a group of people (or the majority of the people under the system of democracy) to lead them, where these people need a leader to decide for them what to think and what to do, and be responsible for all the actions and the consequences of actions, as they are unable to think and act independently and incapable to take responsibility for performing action and the consequences of their action fearlessly. But, that is not a solution to all the problems in the world. Or else, the world would already be free from all kinds of problems since long time ago when leaders started to be existing in the world to lead a community or nation, if by having leader to lead a community is the way to a better world.

A really efficient community of the world doesn’t need any leader at all, not even a good leader, as everyone can think and act independently, wisely and responsibly, being free from ignorance, petite mindedness, separateness, discrimination and fear.

The teaching and practice of yoga doesn’t propagate leadership, or to create and train good/magnificent leaders that lead a group of followers who are dependent on the leader to give them a set of rules and regulations on what or how to think and act, or to live life and behave. It emphasizes on training/practice that would allow each and everyone to be able to be thinking and acting independently, wisely and responsibly, where none needs any leader or a set of rules and regulations to tell them what to think and act, or how to live life and behave, being free from ignorance, petite mindedness, separateness, discrimination and fear, by realizing selflessness, oneness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness.

Somehow, most of the worldly education/cultural/social/political system emphasized on producing great leaders to lead a bunch of followers to create a world that they think how it should be. While a very rare good and wise leader might bring some goodness to its community, but for how long this good leader can serve the community? What happen when this good leader is gone? Unless this good leader abandons leadership and transforms into a great teacher that would teach and train all and everyone to be independent, wise and responsible.

A truly great teacher never try to be a leader who leads a group of followers of a community and receives the power to hoard/guard/guide/protect that particular community. He or she will teach and allow all and everyone to become independent and wise, and be responsible for their own action and the consequences of action, to be free from ignorance and egoism, to be free from suffering and the cause of suffering.

Some would argue that there are too many people who are under the influence of ignorance, and hence, there is an inevitable need to have wise leaders to lead the huge amount of ignorant people. Just like many people emphasize on the importance of cultural/religious/community dependence and support, where many people believe that people would be lost and can’t live without depending on a particular culture/religion/community support. There’s nothing wrong with that, but even the enlightened Siddhartha Gautama Buddha never intended to be a wise leader leading a group of ignorant followers (as that would be so exhausting, going everywhere to help to solve everyone’s never ending problems due to ignorance.) He taught all and everyone about how to be free from ignorance and be independent, even though not all and everyone would attain success. Just like an ignorant leader can’t do anything to influence a group of wise people, a wise leader also can’t do anything to influence or change a group of ignorant people, not to say to take away or remove other’s ignorance. It has to come from each and everyone to be aware of ignorance and be self-initiated to be free from ignorance.

When someone fell and got hurt, a Buddha, or a great teacher, doesn’t go and comfort this person, “Oh no! Poor you. Such a bad thing happened to you. You don’t deserve this. But hey, I’m here for you. I will heal you and make you feel better.” Instead, they suggest, “If you want, you can see the truth from this experience. Falling and wounded is neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative. Look into the action and the consequence of action. You fell, and there’s a wound, and there’s painful sensation. And look at the impermanence and selflessness of it, regardless of whether you like it, or not.” and “Whether you think and feel it’s okay or it’s not okay, of how you react towards this experience, it’s your own responsibility. It’s nothing to do with what you think and believe as right or wrong, or who’s responsible for the fall and the wound.” And this is true compassion, but most people would prefer the first version than the later one.

One can be living closely with a wise man for many many years, obeying and following the guidance/discipline of the wise man about how to think and act, live life and behave, but oneself never investigate the truth and is being comfortable with somebody else being there to tell oneself what to think and act, or not, but still one is not free from ignorance, where one doesn’t know what to think and act, how to live life and behave independently once there’s no more guidance/discipline from the wise man, unless one realizes ignorance in oneself, investigates the truth of everything, realizing the truth of things and eliminating ignorance through one’s own effort, and becomes independent.

Online yoga class?

“Do you offer any ‘online yoga class’?”

What other yoga teachers do and don’t do is their freedom. What yoga practitioners/enthusiasts desire and don’t desire is their freedom. There’s neither right nor wrong.

I don’t have any interest or intention to run or teach ‘yoga classes’, not to say to organize ‘online yoga class’.

There were/are different type of people with different temperament/understanding and state of the mind, who want to learn yoga from us by participating in a compact yoga course in the form of yoga retreat over a few days to a few weeks. The yoga retreats emphasize on guiding and allowing the yoga practitioners/students to develop correct understanding, dispassion, right discrimination, self-inquiry, self-control, self-discipline and self-independence to be able to perform mental/physical self-practice internally/externally wherever they are without the need of attending ‘yoga classes’, by performing the different practices that serve the purpose of purifying and quieting the impure outgoing egoistic mind, to work on eliminating the ego and egoism diligently and independently, to be opened and turning the mind inward to investigate/inquire into the truth of everything, allowing the mind to see/realize the truth of names and forms as it is, to know what is going on in the restless self-cognitive thinking mind or knowing Thyself, be free from ignorance and the consequences of ignorance.

How everyone reacts towards the teachings and the different practices, or whether the students would be interested in developing the correct understanding, dispassion, right discrimination, self-inquiry, self-control, self-discipline and self-independence, or not, and whether they developed the correct understanding, dispassion, right discrimination, self-inquiry, self-control, self-discipline and self-independence, or not, it’s their own freedom, effort and responsibility. Everyone has their own pace treading the path of yoga.

Many of those who ‘expect’ the ‘yoga retreat’ or the ‘yoga practice’ to be the way that they desire it to be, that gives them what they think they should be getting/enjoying from ‘joining yoga retreat and performing yoga practice’ the way that they like and want, that gives them pleasurable sensual enjoyments, that gratifies their desire of craving and aversion, that makes them feel pampered and loved, wouldn’t appreciate and would reject this kind of ‘yoga retreat’ or ‘yoga practice’, and they would complain and criticize this kind of ‘yoga retreat’ or ‘yoga practice’ that they don’t like, don’t agree with and don’t want. And that’s their freedom.

Those who allowed their mind to be opened to inquire the truth of everything, while being self-initiated to perform yoga practice practically in everyday life to work on eliminating the ego and egoism diligently and independently, to free the mind from ignorance and the consequences of ignorance, who understand/realize the importance of dispassion, renunciation, seclusion, solitude and silence, would appreciate this type of ‘yoga retreat’ and ‘yoga practice’. They would have the basic understanding, dispassion, right discrimination, self-inquiry, self-control and self-discipline to be performing the internal/external practice accordingly. They don’t need to attend ‘yoga classes’, not to say ‘online yoga classes’ to be following some verbal/visual instructions/motivations to be motivated to perform some yoga practice or exercises, in order to stay calm/positive and healthy by keeping the body and mind busy engaging/occupying with some ‘healthy positive mental/physical activity’, to get rid of negativity, anxiety, boredom, or the sense of loneliness/meaninglessness due to the present global epidemic situation and prolonged social/physical distancing/isolation.

The existence of ‘yoga classes’, and particularly ‘online yoga classes’ in this present situation are very good for those who don’t have the basic understanding, dispassion, right discrimination, self-control, self-discipline and self-independence, who need to receive motivations/encouragements/guidance to be doing some healthy physical activity, to keep occupying the mind with healthy mental/physical activity, particularly in this present global epidemic situation, where people are being isolated/refrained from their everyday habitual social/mental/physical/emotional activity and interaction. Sort of like experiencing the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms of breaking away from certain mental/physical/emotional/relationship addiction/attachment/craving/desire, which is something very common that happens to many people who attend silent meditation retreats.

There’s nothing wrong with many yoga practitioners/enthusiasts who can’t or reluctant to perform self-practice independently, as they don’t have the basic understanding, dispassion, right discrimination, self-control, self-discipline and self-independence, and they don’t have the knowledge and confidence to perform the yoga practice by themselves, even after have been attending regular ‘yoga classes’ for many months/years, that mostly emphasize on social/mental/emotional/physical ‘connection’, ‘sharing’, ‘companionship’, ‘encouragement/motivation’ and ‘interaction’ among the community of the yoga teachers and the fellow yoga students while attending yoga classes/yoga retreats. That’s their freedom of thinking, belief, desire, action and reaction.

Those who know this, and/or who have been practicing yoga of renunciation, dispassion, solitude, seclusion and silence as it is, will not have any issue dealing with this global epidemic situation that requires efficient prolonged social/physical isolation/distancing for weeks/months or even years. They are free from boredom, anxiety, fear, worry, loneliness, or meaninglessness.

The sincere yoga practitioners can make use of this time being, or this great opportunity from this global epidemic situation to be starting practicing silence.

Those who aren’t interested in the yoga practice of disciplining and quieting the mind, don’t have to practice silence. They can continue to entertain the mind to keep the mind busy mingling and interacting with one another through all kinds of social media. It’s everyone’s freedom what they desire and don’t desire.

My life stories – Part 12 (A new beginning)

My life Stories – Part 12
Stories from my past memories – childhood, family, friends, growing up, poverty, integrity, dreams come true, finding peace and happiness, Buddhism, Yoga, and now…

After more than 10 years living and running yoga retreats in Langkawi, we left Langkawi for good early this month. And so, here we are, starting a new chapter of life living on another island in Malaysia.

Now that we have left Langkawi, I would like to summarize some of our experiences in Langkawi as part of my life stories.

We are thankful to the nature of Langkawi which is the main reason we had been living there for a decade, even though there were some ‘difficulties’ that we had to deal with for living and running yoga retreats legally in Langkawi, that we didn’t really talk about in the past. We weren’t denying the unpleasant experiences that we encountered in Langkawi. We acknowledged all kinds of difficulty that we had to deal with, and lived with them, but we tried to focus more on promoting the beauty of Langkawi when we were living and running yoga retreats there. Initially, we thought of living in Langkawi for as long as possible, as we love the slow pace of living that is still available in Langkawi, but the time has come for us to let it go and be at somewhere else.

One of the reasons that made me decide to leave Langkawi, is that my dear father and big brother who had went through many difficulties and hardships in life, who were the very few loving kind-hearted and down to earth human beings in my life had passed away respectively over the last two years. My father passed away on the 30th of December, 2017, while my big brother who had been looking after our paralyzed father for many years, passed away on the 30th of June, 2019. They had suffered a lot their entire life even though they took things lightheartedly and smiled through all the hardships. I respect their resilience a lot. My family was my motivation to work hard making a living to support their life. Now that my parents and my big brother were gone, I don’t need to work so hard anymore. This body is not getting any younger as well.

Although I myself had also been through many hardships, I can choose to live life differently from my family. I chose to live a life that has more wise impact. Life doesn’t need to be wasted in deliberately dealing with ignorance and the consequences of ignorance in the world. Yoga practice talks about endurance or forbearance towards difficulties, but it doesn’t mean that we should be wasting life and energy dealing with the ignorance and the consequences of ignorance in the world. We can choose to be in an environment that has more wise impact, if possible. If that’s not possible, it’s okay. We accept the reality as it is, and live with it.

Living in a different environment on another island also has certain ‘unpleasantness’ or ‘difficulties’ that we need to deal with. Life and yoga practice isn’t about expecting perfection and avoiding imperfection, but it’s about no matter where we are, we learn to allow the world to be what it is, not necessarily the way that we would like it to be.

On Langkawi, the blooming development for tourism might be benefiting many of the plumbers, electricians and metal smiths in Langkawi, but that also means that there’s very limited plumber or electrician or metal smith would come to our house to do a little bit of work. Even though more and more new guesthouses and hotels have been building in Langkawi which provide jobs and business for the hardware shop, the construction company, the construction workers, the plumbers, the electricians or the metal smiths, but there are also more and more existing guesthouses and restaurants couldn’t survive due to the reduced tourists flow in the past few years.

It’s really difficult to find someone skillful enough to do something for us in Langkawi. And when we were able to find someone to do things for us, they couldn’t deliver a good quality of workmanship or service. We couldn’t even get a tailor to make a curtain for us. Once a tailor took our order and our cloth for making curtain, and then she went disappear along with our cloth, couldn’t be contacted for many years until now. We heard that some rich expatriates on the island import all their building materials and skillful workers from other countries to build their houses that live up to the European standard.

Once a dishonest air-conditioner installer recommended by a ‘friend’ cheated us by installing a one horse power air-conditioner claiming that it’s a two horse power air-conditioner that we had requested. It’s our own responsibility for trusting our ‘friend’ and his recommendation, and we didn’t know much about air-conditioning. And then the newly installed air-conditioner had problem, we tried to contact him for months also couldn’t get in touch with him. And so, we went to our ‘friend’ who recommended him, then only we found out that he had cheated us and were avoiding us deliberately. And it’s pointless to bring this issue to the police, which I will explain later.

After that this ‘friend’ recommended another air-conditioner mechanic to us, and he came once to fix a problem of the air-conditioner, but after that he was too busy to come to do even just a normal routine chemical service. And finally, we got another company from Kuah to service the air-conditioners, but with higher price than usual as they were reluctant to come to our place in the beginning saying that it’s too far for them to come.

Another very important reason is that my husband would like to live a healthy lifestyle, cooking and eating healthy vegetarian food, swimming and enjoying some outdoor time and space outside the house, he couldn’t do so while we were living in Langkawi. One time he got serious sun burnt (for doing some painting under the shade at the car porch) and needed to be treated in the hospital.

We had moved and lived in three different houses within the last ten and a half year in Langkawi. When we spent some time outside the house, we either suffered from heat-stroke, sun burnt, hornet stung, or poisonous ants and mosquitoes bite. There were countless insects, leeches, rats, poisonous centipedes, snakes, monitor lizards and scorpions coming into the house through gaps and holes of the door, windows and ceiling, or coming in through the drains, where we needed to keep doors closed all the time and putting a brick on top the cover of the drain so that rats, monitor lizards and snakes couldn’t come in from there.

Most of the non-sliding windows in the house were unable to be opened as they were blocked by the mosquito netting, while the entire house was having very low ceiling and non-insulated wall, where constant heat was accumulated in the house throughout the day even when the sliding windows that we replaced some of the non-sliding windows were opened and with the fans switched-on. We reluctantly needed to use the air-conditioner all day and night if we were in the house, or else, we would be suffering from heat-stroke and overly sweating and wouldn’t have a proper rest/sleep. The house was like an oven. It built up heat due to the poor structure. We had a thermometer in the house, and if without the air-conditioner switched-on, the temperature could go up above 35 degrees Celsius, even when the outside temperature was actually a lot lower. And if we were cooking, the temperature went up even higher. The room that was less hot in the house was the yoga hall, as the ceiling there is slightly higher, and we had the sliding windows installed that can be opened. Still, we needed to use the air-conditioner during the yoga sessions in the afternoon, as it would be too hot.

There were rats living on the ceiling and snakes living in the post box, in the gap of the ceiling and under the rubbish bin. In the first wooden house, we had to put rat trap onto the ceiling everyday, and every time when we caught one, we would bring it out in the car and release it into the bushes about a few km away from the house. But, this process never had an end as there were so many rats around our neighbourhood. There were a group of scorpions living outside the back of the wooden house, and hence we didn’t go to that area unless we had to.

There were tiny insects coming into the house if we didn’t have the outside lights turned-on but with the inside lights switched-on at night. I had to ‘get rid of’ so many insects and poisonous centipedes everyday in order to be able to live in the house, and to ensure a clean and safe practice environment for our retreat guests. My work of constantly cleaning the entire place was ceaseless. We had to ask the cooperation from the guests to keep the place as clean as possible to avoid attracting insects, particularly ants or mosquitoes, into the yoga hall. As once the ants found food in the yoga hall, they will return with many others, and also making their nest somewhere in the house, and it would be more difficult to keep them out.

Being bitten by poisonous ants and hornets is no fun at all. We both, especially my husband, had been bitten by ants and hornets numerous times while working in the garden. I have a few scars on my skin were from the ants bite. And we gave up, in the end. We also told the retreat guests not to hang around at the garden in the last two years, as there were too many ants and hornets that give nasty bites, or even allergic reaction that could lead to death in certain people. My husband had been admitted to the hospital a few times due the nasty hornet stung, where his body reacted badly to the hornet stung. This house was also no longer suitable for running the retreats, if our guests would be attacked by ants and hornets.

There were also too many house lizards in the house that generate huge amount of ‘shits’ everyday, where I needed to clean up everyday, and sometimes, a few times a day especially when we had the retreats going on. And then there was constant sand mining activity in this area that generates so much dust around the house.

Though the sea is very close to us, only about 5 minutes drive away from our house/yoga studio, and we loved to be on the beach, while my husband would love to swim in the sea, but we never wanted to get into the sea for two reasons. One is that there are too many jelly fish, some of them are extremely poisonous, already with several death cases in the past due to jelly fish stung. My husband nearly lost his life being stung by jelly fish while swimming in the sea of Pantai Cenang not long after we moved to Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur. He had stopped breathing when we arrived in the hospital and the medical people performed CPR on him immediately and gave him injections to be able to breathe again. He was suffering from extreme pain throughout the body for the next few weeks, and wasn’t fully recover until more than one year later. Another reason, is that the sea here is highly contaminated/polluted by the drainage and sewage system in that area (Pantai Cenang). Even the dolphins and turtles that used to come close to the seashore also had stopped coming here many years ago. For those reasons, my husband wouldn’t swim in the sea ever again even though it’s conveniently close by. More than a year ago, he started swimming at the pool in one of the big hotel not too far from our house, but the quality of the pool water wasn’t great, and half a year ago, this hotel had stopped operating. Then my husband found another hotel that allowed him to swim at their pool, again he only went for a few months and then stopped going, as the pool water was in a terrible condition.

We were paying tourist’s price for almost everything due to it’s a touristy island. Langkawi depends solely on tourism and almost everything are imported from the main land of Malaysia, or from the neighbouring countries, or even from countries far away. Most of the imported produce are catering for meeting the demand of tourism, and yet, many things are either non-available, or shortage of supply, or commonly out of stock for many weeks/months, or having higher price tags due to shortage of supply on the island. Food like chickpeas, sesame seeds, certain brand of muesli, certain brand of jams, cheese (though there are very limited choices of cheese/jams/muesli here) and eggs are often out of stock for some time (from a few days to a few months). Once we couldn’t get sesame seeds for two months and muesli was out of stock for half a year, and there’s no Parmesan cheese for the last few months. While the big hotels and the many restaurants that cater for tourists might have the priority to be getting their supplies adequately.

The things that are very cheap in Langkawi are the duty-free goods such as chocolates, sweets, alcohols and cigarettes, which we don’t consume. The imported cars, dining and kitchen wares are duty-free as well, but how many cars, dining and kitchen wares that we actually need? Before GRAB exists in Langkawi, taxis are the only public transport available on the island and the fare is even more expensive than in Kuala Lumpur. As residence of Langkawi, we were paying the same taxi fare as the tourists.

Whenever we needed to see a dentist, we had to travel to Penang or Kuala Lumpur, as the only dentist that we knew in Langkawi was incompetent, where my husband’s teeth and gums were seriously damaged by the dentist after one visit. From then, we would go to Penang or Kuala Lumpur for dental works. We also took the opportunity to do some shopping for things that we couldn’t get in Langkawi during our trips to Penang or Kuala Lumpur.

Other ‘problems’ such as neighbouring cats constantly coming into the garden and the terrace leaving behind dead animals/birds, shit/pee, fur and fleas. Unfortunately, when we asked the cooperation from the retreat guests to not feed or stroke the cats to not encourage them to keep coming to the terrace, some of the cats lover weren’t happy about that. We loved to have cows and buffaloes hanging around the paddy field, but they would break the fence from time to time trying to eat the grass from within the garden. We love animals and certainly we don’t hate animals, but they gave us too much work to deal with, unintentionally.

The entire family members of the house opposite us was well-known for drug intoxication, house breaking-in and stealing. We didn’t know about it until after our house was broken in, as if we had knew before we rented this house, we would look for some other houses. Again, it’s our own responsibility for not investigating more detailed about the surrounding neighbourhood. And of course, in order to rent out their houses successfully, the landlord wouldn’t mention anything about all houses here were being broken into countless times in the past. But anyway, it doesn’t matter which area in Langkawi, most houses had been broken into at least once before.

Langkawi had the highest record of drug addicts in Malaysia. Someone who had been living in this village for many years in the past told us that almost the entire villagers of all ages are all drug addicts. And due to drugs problems, house break-in is so common in Langkawi. While I was filing police report AGAIN for another house broken-in, the police said to me, “We know them. They are our neighbours and relatives. If we have proof and we will catch them. We will bring them to court, and it depends on the judge whether giving them warning and releasing them immediately, or sending them to prison for a few days or few weeks. And after a few days/weeks lock-up in the prison they are all out again, and will continue doing what they love to do. This process will continue to go on.”

Even children in the primary school are already smoking cigarette and maybe some other ‘stuff’ and are involving with many ‘illegal’ activities. We heard story about some drug dealers would give free sample of ‘sweets’ to the children outside the school to get them hook on it, and then these children would buy ‘sweets’ from them and/or become one of their runners.

One of our friend’s house was broken into four times within a month, and one time, the thief ‘carelessly’ left behind his Identity Card. When they brought the Identity Card to the police and told them, “This is the person who broke-into our house and stole our stuff.” The police took the Identity Card from him and said, “Ah! This is my relative. I will give this I.C. back to him. Thank you for returning the I.C.” This is why it’s pointless to go to the police.

In the beginning, after we moved to Langkawi living in the wooden house close to Pantai Cenang, we were so naive that we didn’t think of locking the gate at all. One day when we came back from the outside, the gate was wide opened and there were cigarette butts left on the terrace. Then we knew that Langkawi people are so ‘friendly’ that they would come into your house without invitation if your door are not closed or locked. And so, to avoid ‘uninvited guests’ we started to lock the gate. Not so much to keep people away as they can climb in easily if they want, but to keep cows and buffaloes away as they would damage all the plants in our garden. In less than a year, the wooden house was broken-into when we were away, even with the gate locked. When our friends from Europe came for holiday and stayed at the Airbnb house in the same village, their wallets were stolen when he was in the shower. He even saw the guy running away and he tried to run after him but lost him in the end.

Later we rented another house about 2 minutes walk away from the wooden house, where we used the wooden house only for the yoga sessions and the other house for living and cooking meals for the retreats. We needed to spend a few thousands Ringgit on this house to redo the flooring and the wiring before we could actually live in that house. And the old landlord of this house would walk around our house in the middle of the night with a ‘Parang’ knife, not so much about being a security guard for us and keeping ‘uninvited guests’ away, but it’s to check on us every night whether we had ‘invited guests’ staying with us, and whether we did anything that he didn’t want us to do in his house, or not. As we were told that we were not allowed to have any other ‘guests’ staying with us, that we couldn’t have non-halal food and drink or activity in the house. One night, he actually knocked on our door holding the ‘Parang’ wanted to see if there was anything that shouldn’t be there. Other than that, he and his wife were nice people. We loved to talk to them from time to time. They told us about their life stories in Langkawi, and some history of Langkawi.

Five years later, we needed to find another house for living and running the yoga retreats, due to the existing ‘problems’ with the wooden house. The house on stilts was leaning to one side seriously until we couldn’t close the door anymore, plus the issue with the building permit renewal, as well as our landlord wanted to take back the house that he rented to us for their own stay because their house was going to be demolished to make way for the new highway. They were happy about that because they were getting huge compensation from the authority, which later they used it for building a guesthouse. When I went to renew the building permit for 2014, the authority said that they couldn’t renew that permit anymore because the temporary permit only valid for five years. After five years, we need to make new application for the permanent permit, which requires a lot more money (that we didn’t have) and all kinds of document from the landlord, which the landlord didn’t have. And so, I went to cancel our business license and was getting ready to go through the entire ‘painful’ process of applying for a new temporary building permit and new business license for the new place.

For a few months, we were looking around for a suitable house to live and run yoga retreats, until we found this house beside the paddy field. We had to spend most of our savings to renovate the house and create a garden to make it good enough for living and running yoga retreats. We didn’t make a lot of money from teaching yoga, but we managed to save some money because we lived a very simple non-materialistic and non-sociable life.

Not long after we moved into the new place, some kids climbed over the fence coming into the compound, and when they saw us, they said they just wanted to ‘see’ if they can ‘borrow’ something from us (after they had climbed in without asking permission.) And we told them not to do that again (for climbing over the wall to come into our compound and ‘borrow’ or ‘take’ things as they like.) And then one night, whether it’s related to those kids, or not, our house was being attacked where there were broken glasses in the terrace and garden, resulting from someone throwing light bulbs into the garden and the terrace area. We went to the police station to file a police report for that incident even though knowing that the police won’t do anything about it.

Even when we first arrived in Langkawi, we received a ‘threatening’ email from an expatriate who was a ‘yoga teacher’ and runs a business in Langkawi for more than twenty years, who thinks she is the head of the expatriate community in Langkawi, who wasn’t happy that we came to Langkawi to teach yoga and run retreats, and wanted to ‘lecture’ us about how we should or shouldn’t run our yoga classes and retreats in certain way. We didn’t want to react or response to that, and continued to do what we wanted to do. Later, we heard from some other expatriates about the annoyance that they were getting from her as well.

In less than one year living there, our house was broken-into. And then, followed by two other attempts of breaking-in, where they damaged the mosquito netting trying to come in through the windows, but after knowing that we were at home at that time, they fled. There were blood drops on the floor during the break-in and the police came and took some sample, but we were never being updated about whether they identified and caught anyone, or not. When we asked the police what can we do to protect ourselves if we would be attacked by the thieves, the police told us that we can try to fight back but never to the point of causing serious injury or death to them, as we will be prosecuted for injuring/killing others even for self-defense.

After that, our landlord asked us to keep all the outside lights and some of the inside lights on throughout the night all the time to avoid house break-in, especially when we were not at home, to pretend that someone is at home. Our electric bill was extremely higher than it should be due to the need to use air-conditioners all day and night because of the house was too hot all the time, as well as the need to have many of the lights on throughout the night for just trying to minimize the chances of getting house break-in.

Because our landlord reluctant to fix the broken grill due to the house break-in, they asked us to find someone to fix it. And so we asked someone recommended by a ‘friend’ to come to install a new grill. The guy came and took some deposit from us, and he didn’t come back to us for a long time, and we couldn’t get in touch with him, until we told our ‘friend’ that we will bring this issue to the police, then only our ‘friend’ gave us back the deposit from his own pocket, and he would deal with the guy himself. Then we ‘found’ another metal smith who said he would make the new grill for us, came to our house and took some measurements. And then many weeks later, when we called him as we didn’t hear back from him, he told us that the grill was ready and he would come to install on the next day, and we were waiting for him to come on that day, but he didn’t show up and didn’t call us, and didn’t want to answer our phone calls from then on. This was ridiculous, but it’s because they all have other more ‘important’ big projects to do. We were just some small business that didn’t interest them.

Within the last 5 years, we had tried to call various plumbers, electricians and air-conditioner mechanics to come to do some plumbing, electrical and air-conditioning works for us, none would come, saying that they were too busy with their respective projects with the many hotels and guesthouses. And those (recommended by the landlord) who would come to do a bigger renovation for the house in the beginning to make the house more suitable for living and running the retreats, they delivered a bad quality of workmanship, where the sliding windows, the paint work, the toilets, the doors, the plastering work, the wiring, the car porch and the terrace were of low quality and had lots of defects. And there’s nothing much we can do about it unless we spent more money on it to re-renovate it again, which we couldn’t afford.

In Langkawi, either you might have the money, but you can’t get anyone to do things for you, or, you paid the money and have the people to do things for you, but they are incompetent to deliver good enough quality of workmanship. The guesthouses and restaurants owners whom we knew, were all frustrated about the working quality and attitude of the local people that they could get in Langkawi.

The low quality wooden doors of the house were being affected badly by both the dryness/heat/sunlight and the humidity/rain, where the door repeatedly going through a process of shrinking or expanding causing it couldn’t be closed properly/at all or couldn’t be opened smoothly/at all, and as time goes by, the doors were rotting away. The house was built on refilled rubbles on top of the paddy field, where the flooring and the wall is seriously uneven and cracking through time, and the cracks on the wall and the flooring were widening/deepening in an incredible speed within the past five years. And the owner was being acknowledged about all the problems, but didn’t want to do anything about it. He said, “Oh, that’s normal-lah. Every two years the intense vibrations from the LIMA airshow will shake the house a bit.” There were moisture coming through the ground leaving stains at the lower parts of all the walls in the entire house as well. We had tried to repaint the wall to cover those stains, but very soon, the stains built up over the new paint. It’s pointless. This is due to the bad foundation of the house that they didn’t do right when they first built the house. And that’s common in most of the local houses in Langkawi.

And then, there were many ‘hassles’ that we had to go through yearly for just trying to live a life as well as to be running yoga retreats (legally) in Langkawi.

In order to have a business license and permit to run yoga retreats legally in Langkawi, I had to bear ongoing hassle of ‘threats’ coming from ‘the authority’ and ‘the law of rules and regulations’, where I had to go through the ‘painful’ renewal process repeatedly every year. Not just that I had to pay expensive fees for getting the initial application paper work done (more than 8 thousands Ringgit for the two different houses) and the yearly renewals for the building permit and business license, but I was being ‘threatened’ legally to bear all cost where the building or the house that I rented for living and being legalized/permitted to teach yoga and run yoga retreats need to be demolished, if I want to stop running yoga retreats and cancelling or discontinue renewing the building permit, or if for any reasons, the authority stops renewing the permit.

They said it’s their ‘fault’ and ‘mistake’ in the process of granting me with the building permit under my name, where it should be done under the landlord’s name (which no one told me about that), BUT, even though it’s a mistake from them, it’s still law binding that being the permit and license applier and holder, I am legally obliged to demolish the house/building, and be responsible for all the cost to demolish the house/building if I ever cancelling or discontinued to renew the permit, or if the authority decides to stop renewing the permit, and that it’s my responsibility that I had to negotiate any existing compensation to be paid to the landlord/house owner for demolishing his house or building under that rule and regulation, where the landlord/house owner wittingly rented the house/building to me, acknowledged and allowed me to run yoga retreats in the house or the building, and was aware of this ‘ridiculous’ rule and regulation.

The entire process of applying for the building permit and the business license took more than nine months. And from the very beginning, the authority, the owner and I, we all knew that I was only renting a house and simply just want to apply for a business license to be running yoga retreats legally in Langkawi. And the owner had to sign a paper granting me with the permission to teach yoga and apply for a business license to teach yoga legally in that house. In order to apply for the business license, I needed to apply for a temporary building permit for the house, which had cost me thousands of Ringgit each time. And if without the permission letter from the owner, the authority couldn’t process my application. And so, they knew that I am only renting an existing house, but they only have one application format, which is “Application of requesting permission to build a yoga studio on this land.” I told them, “This isn’t right, because I didn’t build the house, the house was already existing and I am only renting the existing house to live and teach yoga there. I am not asking permission to build a new building of yoga studio on that land.” They said, “We know. But it doesn’t matter. This is the only format that we have in order to grant you a temporary building permit that allows you to apply for the business license. We are here to help you.”

And so, every year, I had to renew the building permit in order to renew the business license. And then when I wanted to renew the temporary building permit for year 2018, the authority asked me to signed a legally binding acknowledgement about I will have to demolish the building and bear all the cost and compensation to any party, if I, or the authority, decide to cancel the building permit. I wasn’t comfortable with that, and told them that I didn’t want to get involved with such ‘trouble’ for just trying to do things legally. I was ready to let go everything and stop teaching yoga in Langkawi at that time. My father had just passed away a few days ago. I was quite emotional. Then they told me, “Hey, don’t worry. It’s just some standard paper work. It won’t affect you because we have the permission letter from the owner. The owner will be responsible for complying to the rules and regulations. Not you. When you stop business or stop living there, you just go. If anything, we deal with the owner. No problem.”

“But then, I am the one who had the name and signature on that legally binding document. It doesn’t matter what you say, I am the one who is legally bound by this.” Then they asked me to contact the owner to explain the situation to him. They also said that they would help me by changing the holder name of the permit to the owner’s name, as it was their mistake in the beginning where they should have use the owner’s name to apply for the temporary building permit, and not using my name. And when the owner came to the office, the owner asked the officer, “What happen if she had to demolish my house as requested by the authority?” The officer said, “Oh! That depends on your rental agreement with her. You can request and negotiate compensation from her.” What?!

Does this hurt your brain as well? And this is the system that everyone who wants to do things legally in Langkawi has to comply to.

That means, either I didn’t want to demolish the house as I was only renting the house, the house doesn’t belong to me, but then I would be prosecuted by the authority for not obeying the rules and regulations, or, I obeyed the rules and regulations from the authority, spent money (that I don’t have) to demolish the house (which is illegal for me to do that), and then be sued by the owner and had to pay compensation (that I don’t have) to him for demolishing his property that he rented to me.

Even though they had created a letter for me and the owner to sign stating that we requested to change the holder name for the temporary building permit, but when I wanted to renew the permit for year 2019, the name hadn’t been changed at all, it was still under my name, but they accepted the legal binding document was being signed by the owner, and not me. Even so, I was really uncomfortable with the whole affair. I just wanted to do things legally, but it’s so difficult and complicated and PAINFUL to do things legally in Langkawi, while there are so many illegal businesses and tourist yogis teaching yoga classes on Langkawi illegally didn’t need to go through all these ridiculous hassles that I had to go through for trying to do things legally.

On top of that, we had to pay higher rental than what the local people are paying as my husband is a European and I am a Malaysian Chinese. Normally the locals would pay only half of what we paid for the similar house.

The three houses that we rented for living/running yoga retreats were rundown and unmaintained by the owners, where we needed to spent quite a lot of money to renovate and maintain the condition of the houses in order for them to be functional and good enough for living as well as to run yoga retreats. When people came for attending the yoga retreats and said, “Oh, what a nice place you have for living and for hosting the yoga retreats.” that is because we had spent most of our savings into making the space suitable for running the yoga retreats and comfortable enough for the people who come to attend the yoga retreats.

Anyway, when I went to cancel the permit before we moved, unsurprisingly, they gave me a letter stating that I am being requested to demolish the building/house. The officer said to me, “Your permit is successfully cancelled. My boss said you need to demolish the building.” while pointing to the respective sentence. But then, he immediately said to me, “You can ignore this sentence. You don’t really need to demolish the house. You are just renting the house. We won’t do anything. Next time if the landlord want to have a permit, he can do so with the existing file.” I told him, “Really? This is a legal binding document that is directing to my name, how can you tell me to ignore this sentence? Why don’t you give me a letter that is without that sentence?” He said, “This is a standard order from the boss. We can’t change that.” There’s nothing more I could say. I can’t change the system. I left and let it be.

The village also has another issue. There is serious rubbish problem. The locals are not keen on keeping the surrounding environment clean and rubbish free. They throw rubbish everywhere as they like. In the beginning we went out to the street around the village to pick up all the rubbish. And then, we realized that not just it didn’t bring awareness to the people, but we were actually encouraging them to throw more rubbish everywhere, as they feel it’s okay for them to throw the rubbish everywhere because there were two ‘stupid’ people living here now will clean up the rubbish for them. And so, we stopped doing that.

We would try our best to keep the front of our house as clean as possible by picking up any rubbish being thrown by random people passing by. But somehow, our next door neighbours weren’t really helpful as they would just throw anything over their fence into the paddy field. The paddy field is no longer being cultivated but had turned into a rubbish dumpsite full of food waste, plastic wraps, bags, containers and bottles as well as unwanted old broken furniture, and etc. We had talked to the neighbours a few times requesting them that maybe they could stop throwing rubbish over the fence like that. But, they still do what they want to do. The paddy field in front of our house used to be so picturesque but it wasn’t anymore. And then from time to time, the other neighbours would burnt some rubbish with all kinds of plastic material that generate toxic fumes.

Another reason is that on the 1st of July 2019, I could have been injured or losing my life on the highway towards Kuala Lumpur for attending my brother’s funeral because of the ‘dishonesty’ and ‘incompetency’ of the car workshop that I had been bringing my car for regular service and repair in the past 10 years. Some how, they installed expired and non-compatible tyres to my car where they were in so bad condition that they could have exploded and caused serious damages to myself and/or others during my long driving journey from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur that day, which I only realized how lucky I was when my second brother saw the serious damages of the tyres and immediately brought the car to a nearby tyre shop near the funeral place to change the tyres immediately. Everyone said that it was incredible that the tyres didn’t explode when it could easily have, while I was driving at a fast speed on the highway that day. Again, it’s my own responsibility for entrusting the car to that workshop and have limited knowledge about car and tyres.

I told my husband, “Okay. That’s enough. We leave Langkawi. I want to appreciate the remaining life time in peace not being threatened by dishonest people and the ridiculous system of this island.” I am not fear of death, I am ready to leave anytime, but if possible, I do not want to suffer unnecessary suffering due to other people’s dishonesty.

Despite all the mentioned difficulties, we did have a very good long term grass-cutting man who would come to cut the grass for us once every two months in the past 10 years. We are thankful for that. And the good thing about living in Langkawi is there’s no traffic jam (yet) and there are nice waterfalls, even though the locals have the habit of leaving rubbish everywhere and maintenance is not great. And we are thankful to Langkawi and the houses that we lived in, allowing many retreats had been happening and people from all over the world came to be learning and practicing yoga with us there, allowing us to share yoga with so many people. Thank you for all the supports.

We chose to move to Penang Island for start, and then we will see what happen. If we have to move somewhere else, it really doesn’t matter. The system in Penang Island could be worst or maybe better than Langkawi, we don’t know yet. And many parts of the world are going through certain difficulties. I don’t need to have a yoga studio or retreat centre. I don’t need to teach yoga restricted to a particular place.  I don’t need to teach yoga at all. I just want to have a place to live and do my own practice, if possible. If it’s not possible, I live and practice as I am. As a writer and editor, my husband can live anywhere. And in terms of the writing and reading scene, social, music, arts and cultural development, Penang has a lot more to offer than in Langkawi.

Finding a place to rent in Penang also wasn’t easy for us. We had to spend quite some money coming here twice to be looking for a place. We met some ‘good’ people helping us in certain things, we also met some ‘helpful’ people who only interested to take advantage of us. Anyway, we found a good enough place and paid the deposit to reserve it, even though the owner has some issues and doesn’t want to give us long term contract. As the moving out from Langkawi is the most complicated difficult part. We need to have a place secured even if it’s temporary. Once we arrived in Penang, then even though if we have to find another place later within Penang, or if we need to move to another place in Malaysia, or even outside Malaysia, it will be a lot easier in Penang than in Langkawi.

In this new place, my husband can swim everyday at the 50 metres well-maintained swimming pool, we seldom use the air-conditioner as the place is well ventilated, the windows can be opened and closed, we don’t have to keep lights on when we are not at home or when we go to sleep, there are security guards, there’s convenience of getting grocery and fresh produce, there’s no lizard shit, no cats leaving behind dead animals/shit/pee/fleas, no snakes or centipedes coming into the house, there’s a balcony to sit out comfortably without being eaten by ants and mosquitoes, there’s nice hill view and sea view from the windows and balcony, we can cook if we want with many choices of fresh produce available, or there’s plenty of restaurants or food courts nearby that have plenty choices and good quality of food at reasonable price (not tourists price), the people working in the shops and restaurants are friendly and courteous, my husband can read and write under proper lighting, there’s fast speed internet, there are many reading, writing, arts and cultural events in Penang for my husband’s interest, there’s hiking trails nearby, there’s good rubbish management, I found a car workshop where the people are really helpful, and many more, so far.

All is impermanent.

Be happy.

Life is uncertain and Death is certain

Life is uncertain, but death is certain.

Death is a great teacher of life existence. The healthiest, the strongest, the happiest, the wealthiest, the kindest, the greatest, the most intelligent and knowledgeable, the most talented, successful and famous, or the most loved and respected, will also have to bow down to DEATH.

There’s no guarantee about anything in this worldly life existence of uncertainty, but for sure, death will come one day, sooner or later, regardless of whether it’s natural cause or unnatural cause, intentional or unintentional, expected or unexpected, slowly or instantly, wittingly or unwittingly, having none/few/many friends, having an easy life or difficult life, being ignorant or wise, have done none/few/many good actions or bad actions, have been good or bad/right or wrong/positive or negative/happy or unhappy/healthy or unhealthy. Everyone is dying immediately following the moment of birth, but most people either don’t realize this or they trying to be positive and hope for the best. Death is not a bad or negative thing at all.

“Tribute to my big brother who had lived a difficult but great honest life, who was content and generous, who was forbearing and forgiving, who had been smiling through all the hardships, who had delivered all his duties and responsibilities as a great son, a great brother, a great husband and a great friend to many beings, who had been sacrificed greatly to be looking after our family during the difficult time, and looking after our beloved bedridden father unconditionally for many years until he left the world. And now, my big brother had left this world without any painful suffering but with a smile on his face on the 30th of June 2019. Thank you brother.”

Beginner, intermediate, advanced yoga practitioner?

Just as the name and form of ‘Buddhist’ doesn’t mean anything for those who truly practice ‘Buddhism’, the worldly name and form of ‘yoga practitioner’ or ‘yoga teacher’ also doesn’t really mean anything in yoga of selflessness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness, not to say ‘experienced’, ‘inexperienced’, ‘certified’, ‘qualified’, ‘good’, ‘bad’ yoga practitioner/yoga teacher, or even ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘advanced’ yoga practitioner.

Some people never done any ‘yoga practice’ before, but they know what is non-attachment and they are peaceful as they are. Some due to physical limitation/sickness/injury/weakness that they can’t do much physical ‘yoga practice’, but they know what is non-attachment and they are also peaceful as they are. The mind is free from disturbs/hurts/dissatisfaction/disappointment/anger/hatred/jealousy/fear/worry/offensiveness/defensiveness/loneliness/depression/hostility/animosity, and etc, being undetermined by the mind perception of names and forms under any circumstances in life or the condition of the world that one is living in.

There’s neither beginner/intermediate/advanced yoga practitioners or yoga practice. It’s either one is practicing yoga or one is not practicing yoga, in this present moment.

It’s neither about how long one has been ‘practicing yoga’, nor how much ‘physical yoga practice’ one has done in the past, nor how much physical/mental benefits one has been receiving from performing the ‘physical yoga practice’ regularly. Whether one is practicing yoga, or not, is undetermined by the selfless impermanent physical and mental condition/ability/disability/limitation to be performing certain actions/movements in the world, or whether one is highly intelligent, knowledgeable, educated and talented, or not.

In this present moment, despite how long one has been ‘practicing yoga’ and how much ‘physical yoga practice’ one has been doing, when there’s egoism of attachment/identification/desire of craving and aversion/judgment/comparison/expectation influencing/over-powering the function of the mind, the mind is not free, unwittingly being in a state of restlessness occupying by ceaseless desires/actions/reactions/impurities being determined by the selfless impermanent qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives/experiences through the senses of what the mind sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches, feels or thinks. The mind is missing someone or something that the mind likes and desires but is absence/unavailable to the mind in the present moment, may it be a person, an animal, plant, food, house, toy, music, sport, climate, thing, scenery, sound, smell, taste, sensation, feeling, and etc. There’s clinging/craving/longing towards the names and forms/experiences that give rise to the sense of confidence, pride, goodness, happiness, meaningfulness, positiveness, togetherness, rightfulness, worthiness, success, accomplishment, satisfaction, well-treated, well-deserved, well-loved, well-lived, and etc. Then even though one has been performing certain ‘physical yoga practice’ for a few hours a day regularly for a long time, one isn’t practicing yoga at all, as one is being passionate towards the worldly life/ideas/values/relationships/activities and being busy/restless chasing after the objects of the senses to gratify the endless desire/craving/longing, and doesn’t know what is non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison, or non-expectation.

Some teachers/yoga schools teach that everyone need to start with ‘beginner physical yoga practice’ for certain years then they can begin learning/practicing the nameless/formless ‘advanced mental yoga practice’. Some teachers/yoga schools even teach about ‘yoga practice’ should be done during certain ‘auspicious hours’ and one shouldn’t practice yoga during the ‘inauspicious hours’. There’s neither right nor wrong with that. Just that, when someone is suffering from great mental disturbs, distress, restlessness, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, fear, painful sorrow and etc, in this present moment, does this person need to wait for many years later to be allowed to start practicing non-attachment and letting go as well as looking/inquiring into the truth of the mental modification to free the mind from the root cause of all suffering? Just like if the hand is contacting with fire, do you have to wait for a few more minutes/hours to move the hand out of the fire? Or when someone is suffering a condition/injury that needs emergency medical operation, does this person need to wait for an ‘auspicious timing’ which can be a few days/weeks/months later to allow the doctor to perform the operation?

Inquire the truth of everything. Do not blind-believing, blind-following, blind-practicing, blind-propagating, blind-agreeing/disagreeing with anything.

The one who is practicing yoga eliminating egoism/restlessness/impurities or purifying/quieting the modification of the mind is the mind itself.

The mind that is practicing yoga is free from any identification with any quality of names and forms that are impermanent and selfless, such as the physical body, the function/modification of the mind, the yoga practice/duty/responsibility, all kinds of worldly social/cultural/religious/political/commercial thinking/belief/practice/values/image, or the knowledge/intelligence/talent/skill/relationships/ties/connections/way of life/actions and the fruit of actions/pleasant or unpleasant experiences as ‘I’.

One might be performing many ‘good actions’, but there’s no attachment/identification of “I am a good person who do many good actions and I will be receiving all the goodness in return.”

There’s no expectation towards other people must also perform ‘good actions’ that ‘I’ believe as ‘good’.

The mind is okay and has no problems under any condition and situation, where one can have many things or few things or nothing in life, without being determined by it, as the mind is free from attachment, desires, craving and aversion, being unlimited/undetermined by all the selfless impermanent changes of pleasant/unpleasant, agreeable/disagreeable, desirable/undesirable experiences/condition/situation/relationship.

One doesn’t miss anyone or anything that the mind perceives/recognizes as good, pleasant, meaningful, agreeable and enjoyable, but is absent/unavailable in the present moment.

One might perform actions that would benefit oneself and others, but without identification towards the actions or expectation towards the fruit of actions.

One does one’s best when performing any actions/duties/responsibilities and allowing the fruit of actions to be what it is, without attachment/identification/judgment/expectation, being undetermined by the fruit of actions.

One is not determined/disturbed/offended/hurt/intimidated/depressed/unhappy/dissatisfied/disappointed by the perception of all kinds of names and forms of unpleasant/undesirable/disagreeable sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, feelings/emotions/thoughts, or the world is not being the way that the mind would like it to be.

One doesn’t need to be empowered to achieve/attain/possess certain quality of names and forms that give rise to the sense of confidence, pride, goodness, happiness, meaningfulness, positiveness, togetherness, rightfulness, worthiness, success, satisfaction, well-deserved, well-loved, and etc, although one can be very successful in whatever one does in life and enjoying good relationships with someone. Being undetermined by the sense of confidence/goodness/meaningfulness and etc, doesn’t mean that one doesn’t perform any actions that would bring benefits and improvement in life, or one doesn’t have a particular way of life that is most suitable and beneficial for oneself.

Loneliness, or depression, or dissatisfaction, or disappointment, or fear, is absent in the mind that is free from egoism, under any circumstances, condition, situation, environment, restriction or limitation.

The mind remains equanimous and clear under extreme difficult or challenging condition or situation.

There’s need not to forgive or let go anything, as the mind is unhurt/unoffended/undisturbed/undetermined by all the names and forms that are not the way that the mind would like it to be, as the mind is free from attachment/identification/craving/aversion/judgment/expectation towards any names and forms, but allowing the names and forms to be what they are, as they are.

One is not determined by the presence or absence of family ties, relationships, friendships, companionship, community, society, connections, duty, responsibility, ability/disability, achievement/non-achievement, good/bad conditions, pleasant/unpleasant experiences, actions or the fruit of actions.

The mind is free from passionate aspiration/ambition/desire to change/control/influence the world to be the way that ‘I’ think how it should be, but allowing the world to be what it is, even though one can be performing actions that are beneficial to the world.

One doesn’t need to be relaxed/unwind/entertained/pampered from time to time, as there’s no tension building up/accumulated.

One doesn’t need to attain love, support, agreement, acknowledgement, recognition, validation, sympathy, empathy or understanding from anyone, or to be ‘somebody’ that one and others would be proud of.

One doesn’t need to be in certain ways or achieve something to please oneself or others.

There’s neither gratefulness nor ungratefulness, appreciation nor inappreciation, deserving nor non-deserving.

There’s no low self-esteem, pride or arrogance. There’s no need empowerment to develop/attain the sense of confidence.

The mind is unattached towards or being free from being determined by the present and past pleasant/unpleasant/happy/unhappy experiences and future imagination/anticipation/projection.

There’s no ‘bucket list’/’to do list’ that needs to be fulfilled/accomplished before one dies. There’s no unfulfilled/ungratified desire/ambition. There’s no regret or guilt. One just performs action and achieves what is possible in this present moment.

There’s no fear/aversion towards impermanent changes, difficult condition, aging, weakening, decaying, unattractiveness, aloneness, sickness, old age, death, or separation with people and objects that one loves.

The mind is free from being determined by the perception of duality. One is free and peaceful as it is. One doesn’t interfere with other people’s different thinking/belief/values/practice/ways of life/desires/actions/reactions.

There’s nothing that the mind needs to complain/argue/debate/justify to prove that ‘I’ am right. There’s neither right nor wrong.

For many people including many yoga enthusiasts, this might not be the life or freedom that they want, and this appears to be ‘dry’, ‘cold’, ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, ‘sad’, ‘mad’, ‘insane’, ‘abnormal’, ‘joyless’, ‘lifeless’ and ‘meaningless’ to them, and that’s their freedom of thinking and desire. Many people enjoy passionate way of life indulging in all kinds of attachment/identification/expectation/relationships/desires/stimulation/enjoyment/entertainment, enjoying restlessness and emotional roller coaster, enjoying the endless gratification of desires that lead to excitement/satisfaction or disappointment/dissatisfaction, and be ambitious/empowered to ‘save the planet/the world’ or change the world to be the way that they think how it should be, as the way of living a lively and meaningful life, where many people just want to do the ‘physical yoga practice’ to get some health and fitness benefits but not interested at all in the practice of dispassion and renunciation to be quieting the mind to free the mind from ignorance/egoism/impurities/restlessness, which they perceive as ‘meaningless things to do’ and ‘a dulled way of life’, and that’s their freedom of thinking and what they want to do with their life.

There’s nothing wrong with different people with their impermanent different states of mind, sometimes positive, sometimes negative, sometimes happy, sometimes unhappy, sometimes peaceful, sometimes disturbed, sometimes cheerful, sometimes depressed, sometimes excited, sometimes angry, sometimes disappointed, sometimes motivated, sometimes demotivated, sometimes okay, sometimes not okay, and so on. Just that under the influence of ignorance/egoism/restlessness/impurities and the ambition/desire to fight for ‘a world that they think how it should be’, sometimes people would hurt themselves and/or others out of disturbs, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, jealousy, fear, survival instinct and other impurities. For those who want to free the mind from such restlessness, who want to stop hurting themselves and others out of ignorance, egoism and impurities, they can practice yoga, if they want.

In yoga, everyone just need to ‘save oneself by freeing one’s mind from ignorance and suffering’, which is an intense challenging/painful task for most minds, in order to help the world to be a better place. It’s not about fighting against other people to ‘save the planet/the world from being the way that one thinks it shouldn’t be’. Most passionate minds couldn’t understand this, and they believe everyone should be angry with/hating/fighting against what they think and believe is ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ to ‘save the world from badness and wrongness’, and they want to provoke anger and hatred in other people towards what they think is ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ to be supporting their mission to ‘save the world’, and that’s their freedom.

It’s always easier to be disturbed than to be undisturbed by what the mind perceives as ‘disturbing’.

Be free.

By-products of the thinking mind

Due to the function of the physical body processing all the physical inputs, there are some by-products (waste products), such as pleasant/unpleasant sensations, sweat, carbon dioxide, dead skin/tissues, pee and shit, and etc.

Similarly, upon the thinking mind processing all the mind inputs, there are also by-products, such as egoism, all kinds of impurity, emotions, feelings, actions, reactions and the consequences of action/reaction, and so on.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s the physical body and its by-products, or it’s the mind and its by-products, they all are impermanent and selfless. And they are not ‘I’.

Learn to be aware of the impermanent changes of the physical body and its by-products as well as the impermanent thinking mind and its by-products (all the mental/emotional modifications/activities), without attachment, identification, craving/aversion, judgment, comparison, or expectation. Allowing all these impermanent and selfless names and forms to be there as they are, arising and passing away.

Due to the function of the physical body, the body processes the food/liquid after eating/drinking, while the by-products of that, of sweat/pee/shit being generated has to be ‘letting go’, and one would just let them go and clean up the sweat/pee/shit and the body by oneself, to maintain personal and public hygiene and cleanliness, to help lower the risk of contracting or spreading diseases/illnesses in oneself and others in the surrounding environment. More importantly, when someone is sweating, peeing or shitting, one doesn’t need anyone being there accompanying/watching/listening or to help to clean up the waste products and the body, unless it’s a small infant/child or adult that is physically dependent on others for handling such matters. And there’s nothing wrong if someone wants to ask help from others for handling such matters, even when one is capable to handle it by oneself.

Similarly, due to the function of the thinking mind, the thinking mind processes all the mind inputs, while the by-products of that, of actions/reactions/emotions/feelings/the consequences of action and reaction being generated that need to be ‘letting go’. The mind would just let them go and ‘clean up’ the mind by itself, to maintain personal and public peace and harmony, to help minimize causing ‘disturbs’/’damages’ to itself and others in the surrounding space. When the mind is processing all these mental/emotional modifications/activities of the mind (the by-products of the thinking mind), it doesn’t need anyone being there accompanying/watching/listening or to help to ‘clean up’ the mind, unless it’s a mind that is mentally/emotionally dependent/disabled, whether due to genetic inheritance, sickness or injury. Though there’s nothing wrong if someone wants to ask help from others for dealing with such matters, even when one is capable to deal with it by oneself.

All the food, drinks and oxygen being consumed by the physical body and the by-products of all the sweat, carbon dioxide, pee and shit etc, are not ‘I’.

Similarly, all the mind inputs and the by-products of all the mental/emotional modifications/activities, are not ‘I’.

There’s no ‘I’ that can be found before/during/after the existence/function of this physical body and the thinking mind.

Infants/children can be trained to be physically independent as they grow up day by day, so does the mind can be trained to be mentally/emotionally independent. Yoga and meditation practice can transform the mind if being done with the correct understanding, perseverance and determination. Unfortunately, most minds are being ‘conditioned’/’educated’ by the worldly egoistic society to think and believe that all minds (human or living beings) must depend on ‘something/someone else’ mentally/emotionally. Quite many yoga practitioners/teachers also think and believe that all human beings need to be there for one another to look after one another mentally/emotionally all the time, or else, it’s so sad, terrible, lonely, helpless, joyless and meaningless, if one is being alone by oneself.

Do a self-check on whether the mind is being conditioned/educated to think and believe in certain way, such as, “Being alone, living alone, walking alone, eating alone, doing things alone, or solving problems alone by oneself is so sad, terrible, lonely, helpless, joyless and meaningless.” Most minds will say ‘yes’. But how true is that? It’s not necessarily so. Although people don’t necessary have to be alone by oneself, but minds that are mentally/emotionally independent have no problem/difficulty being alone, living alone, walking alone, eating alone, doing things alone, or solving problems alone by oneself, and are happy and peaceful as it is.

Look after this mind, before it’s too late where it really needs to depend on others/substances to be able to function/think/behave properly.

Be free.

Seeing the truth of all relationships with beings and things

All kinds of relationship with beings and things don’t exist to the minds that are free from ignorance and egoism.

All kinds of relationship/connection between ‘I’ and other beings and things exist due to the perception of separateness out of ignorance and egoism.

Upon the realization of non-separateness/oneness, being free from ignorance and egoism, there’s neither ‘I’ nor ‘I’ am being separated/different from something that is not ‘I’, and hence, there’s no ‘I’ and something that is separated/different from ‘I’ being connected in a form of relationship.

There’s neither being in certain relationships nor not being in any relationship.

There’s neither good relationship nor bad relationship.

There’s neither craving towards ‘good relationships’ nor aversion towards ‘bad relationships’.

Upon seeing the truth of all kinds of ‘relationship’ with all beings and things, the mind is free from all kinds of suffering/affliction/painful sorrow/fear/worry derived from attachment/identification/clinging/craving/aversion towards all kinds of beings and things.

‘Relationship’ and the attachment/identification/values/meaningfulness/gratefulness/appreciation towards good relationships with family, friends and relatives, and other form of beings and things exist in the minds that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism.

It’s very difficult for the minds to see the truth when there is intense attachment/identification/clinging/craving/aversion towards the existence or absence of all kinds of good and bad relationship with different form of beings and things that the mind likes and dislikes, agrees with and disagrees with, and desires and doesn’t desire. These minds sway restlessly and ceaselessly between happiness/joy/meaningfulness and unhappiness/painful sorrow/meaninglessness, being determined by the existence or absence of desirable and undesirable ‘relationships’ with all beings and things.

The body and mind that was born into a ‘family’ and a living environment with many kinds of difficulty, challenge and suffering, and be surrounded by ‘friends’ and ‘relatives’ that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism, is considered ‘a good and auspicious transition’ on the path of yoga, that helps this mind to be determined and undistracted towards transcending the mind perception/modification of impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of names and forms.

When the mind is still under the influence of ignorance and egoism, this kind of difficult/challenging/disharmony ‘relationships’ with ‘family’, ‘friends’ and ‘relatives’ are being perceived as the cause of ‘suffering’ for this mind. The mind falls into a state of bitterness/dissatisfaction/disappointment/meaninglessness/depression/anger.

When this mind is free from ignorance and egoism, this kind of difficult/challenging/disharmony ‘relationships’ with ‘family’, ‘friends’ and ‘relatives’ are indeed ‘the teachings’, ‘the Dharma’, ‘the teacher’ and ‘the stepping stones’ that lead the mind towards liberation. There’s no bitterness/dissatisfaction/disappointment/meaninglessness/depression/anger exists in this mind.

Most minds forgo the path of dispassion and renunciation to silent/annihilate the modification of the mind to transcend impermanent and selfless worldly life existence due to attachment/identification/clinging onto and appreciating/indulging in good/harmonious/desirable ‘relationships’ with ‘family’, ‘friends’ and ‘relatives’ as well as other beings and things that are impermanent. And that’s their freedom for what they think and feel and desire.

The dispassionate minds see the truth of all kind of ‘good or bad relationships’, and be free.

The basic teachings and practice of yoga vedanta

  • Let go the worldly/personal identification with the body and mind as ‘I’. The body and mind is not me, I am not the body or the mind.
  • Free the mind from pride and arrogance, superiority or inferiority towards any quality of names and forms that the mind identifying with as ‘I’ and ‘mine’. One’s thinking, belief, culture, education, religion, spirituality, gender, nationality, profession, knowledge, talents, skills, ideas, ability, achievement, family, relationship, friendship, marital status, social status, contribution, experiences, and etc. All these names and forms are not me, I am not all these names and forms.
  • Allow the mind to be opened towards what it knows and doesn’t know, do not blind-believe or blind-disbelieve. Undetermined or undisturbed by what the mind disagrees with, dislikes or doesn’t want.
  • Unattached towards any ideas, thinking and belief, including the existing ideas, information, thinking and belief in the mind coming from somewhere and everywhere.
  • Inquire the truth of everything, including all the teachings of yoga coming from different teachers or Gurus and reading books as well as all the existing worldly/social/cultural/religious thinking and belief in the mind that influence how the mind thinks, judges, acts and reacts.
  • Inquire what is this ‘I’, what is the ego and egoism.
  • Inquire what is suffering and the cause of suffering.
  • Unattached towards the physical body, the appearance, the physical health and fitness condition, the pleasantness and unpleasantness, the limitation, the ability and disability, the achievement and the impermanent changes.
  • Unattached towards the function of the mind, the state of the mind, the thinking, the belief, the thought activities, the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, the feelings and emotions, the known and unknown, the likes and dislikes, the agreements and disagreements, the desirable and undesirable.
  • Free the mind from the past memories and future imaginations. Train the mind to stay in the present as much as possible, effortlessly, gently, patiently, via persist practice without force.
  • Free the mind from craving and aversion.
  • Free the mind from judgment, comparison and expectation towards oneself and others.
  • Inquire what is the mind and what is going on in the mind.
  • Inquire the truth of ‘hurts’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘grief’, ‘painful sorrow’, ‘dissatisfaction’, ‘frustration’, ‘irritation’, ‘disappointment’, ‘anger’, ‘hatred’, ‘low self-esteem/low confidence’, ‘guilt’, ‘regret’, and all kind of impurities, including what the mind perceives as ‘happy’ and ‘positive’ feelings and emotions.
  • Be kind to the body and the mind, take care of the well-being of the body and mind, accepting the body and the mind as it is even though they are not perfect.
  • Purifying and rendering the mind pure, focus, balance, calm and quiet via the observation of Yama and Niyama and different types of Kriya, Yoga Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana practice, without attachment towards the practice or expectation towards the fruit of the practice, allow Samadhi to happen naturally when the practice is matured, intentionlessly, spontaneously and effortlessly.
  • Filtering inputs and outputs of the mind. Quiet and silent the mind.
  • Reduce or refrain from unnecessary worldly affairs, social networking, relationship building, mingling, interactions and activities, that give rise to ceaseless desires, restlessness and impurities.
  • Adopt a simple and quiet lifestyle, looking after the basic needs of the life maintenance of the body and mind, and divert maximum attention, importance, effort, time and energy into maintaining internal and external purity/cleanliness, quieting the thought current, developing one-pointedness and sharpening the intellect for the quest of the truth, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities.
  • Abandon or let go self-harm, superstitious thinking and belief, blind-believing, blind-following, politics, arguments, debates, discussions, conflicts, envy/jealousy, discrimination, bias, all kind of corruptions, gossips, vain talks, boasting, story telling, lying, plotting, scheming, manipulating, exploiting, worrying, anticipating, day dreaming, worldly/spiritual ambitions of gaining attention/support/fame/respect/title/power/acknowledgment/authorization, petite-mindedness, mischievousness, evilness, violence, worldly indulgence of the senses, physical/mental addictions, drugs abuse, intoxication, sexual misconducts, hypocrisy/untruthfulness in daily conducts and relationships with others, the desire to control/expect relationships/things/life/the world to be the way that ‘I’ like it to be, and all kind of conducts/desires driven by passion and lust.
  • Develop self-independence, self-control, self-discipline, self-inquiry, self-introspection, awareness, dispassion, right discrimination, correct understanding, right livelihood, straightforwardness, truthfulness, simplicity, patience, perseverance, determination, acceptance, tolerance, forbearance, forgiveness, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation.
  • Unattached towards all actions (action and inaction) and the fruit of actions. There’s no ‘I’ am performing actions or ‘I’ am the receiver of the fruit of actions. There’s no “I am good person doing good actions and will be receiving goodness in return.”
  • There is neither ‘I’ am selfish nor ‘I’ am unselfish. There’s no ‘I’ am selfless or ‘I’ perform selfless actions, or ‘I’ receive the fruit of selfless actions.
  • Inquire the truth of all and everything – Impermanence and Selflessness.
  • Inquire the many names but all are ONE – ‘silence’, ‘liberation’, ‘compassion’, ‘unconditional love’, ‘unconditional peace’, ‘inaction in actions’, ‘selflessness’, ‘egolessness’, ‘I-lessness’, ‘non-duality’, ‘oneness’, ‘non-separateness’, ‘fearlessness’, ‘intentionlessness’, ‘neither good nor bad’, ‘neither positive nor negative’, ‘attributelessness’, ‘namelessness’, ‘formlessness’, ‘birthlessness and deathlessness’, ‘beginninglessness and endlessless’, ‘beyond the thinking mind’, ‘beyond the worldly/social/cultural/religious thinking and belief’, ‘beyond the mind perception of names and forms’, ‘beyond pleasantness and unpleasantness’, ‘beyond happiness and unhappiness’, ‘beyond positive and negative’, ‘beyond meaningfulness and meaninglessness’, ‘beyond suffering and end of suffering’, ‘beyond good and bad karma’.
  • Unconditional love and peace, compassion and the ability to forgive and let go what the mind perceives as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, ‘undeserving’, ‘hurtful’, ‘sorrowful’, ‘painful’ and so on, are nothing to do with the impermanent and selfless physical conditions, appearance, strength, flexibility, stamina, limitations, ability and disability, the impermanent and selfless states of the mind, the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, the intelligence, pleasant/unpleasant life experiences, or the condition and situation of the world. Identifying ourselves with any quality of names and forms that the mind perceives as ‘good’, ‘positive’, ‘meaningful’, ‘rightful’, ‘healthy’ and so on, doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free.
  • Identifying as ‘good people’ being ‘good’ and doing ‘good’, also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, disturbance, unhappiness, loneliness, meaninglessness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, hatred, jealousy, hurts, fear and worry, and all kinds of suffering.
  • Do our best making use of this life existence of the body and mind for bringing peace to oneself or the world without attachment, identification, judgment, comparison, or expectation. Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize, and let it go.
  • Peace is in this present moment when the mind is free from ignorance, egoism and impurities. It’s not being left behind in the past or to be found in the future. It’s not in the next life or in another life form.
  • Inquire the truth of all the teachings and practice mentioned here.

It’s everyone’s freedom whether they want to take up this practice or the teachings, or not.

Be free.

Suffering is the greatest motivation for the path of liberation

People might think that love, happiness, kindness and all kinds of goodness are inspiring people to take up yoga practice. Though it’s true, but they are not the motivations to motivate people to live a life of dispassion to transcend the mind perception of a worldly life existence of names and forms that is subject to impermanence and selflessness.

Suffering is the greatest inspiration or motivation for people to be determined to work diligently and seriously towards liberation from the mind perception of a worldly life existence of names and forms, or the modifications of the mind under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Just like a country that is full of corruptions, it’s similar to a fruit tree that is sicked from the root to the branches to the leaves and to the flowers and the fruits. Nothing is going to change, or move forward towards liberation from corruptions, when everyone is enjoying the fruits of the sicked tree, even though they are bitter and sour and are infested by worms, but at least it can feed their hunger. They are reluctant to let go of this tree as they don’t know if there will be another tree that can provide them with enough fruits that can feed their hunger, and so, they are ‘comfortable and satisfied enough’ to hang on to this tree, even though they would complain about the fruits are bitter and sour and have worms in them.

The condition or situation has to be so bad, so bad that there’s no fruit at all for anyone, not even bitter and sour fruits with worms, or the tree dropped dead completely, then everyone will have no choice but to abandon this tree to look for some other fruit trees that might provide them fruits to feed their hunger. Or else, they will keep watering the tree keeping the tree alive, hoping the tree continues to provide them with enough fruits, even if they are bitter and sour and are infested by worms. From time to time, they might consider giving up the tree out of frustration and disappointment, but in the end, they won’t give it up, as long as the tree will continue to provide them with the ‘fruit’ that can feed their hunger, especially sometimes the tree would occasionally give fruits that might still infested by worms, but they are less bitter and sour, and even slightly sweet. As everyone is already used to the fruits with worms, and so, they are very happy and satisfied with the less bitter and sour, and sweeter fruits once in a while.

Under good life condition and not too much difficulties in the moment, when the life situation is not very good but not too bad either, where people can still ‘enjoy life’ even though there are many problems or corruptions everywhere due to ignorance, egoism and impurities, people would just enjoy the seemingly ‘good condition’ of comforts, enjoyments and conveniences in life, even though all these are impermanent, hoping that the good life condition will last as long as possible, or will become even better, and they will be reluctant to let go all the impermanent comforts, enjoyments and conveniences to tread the path that is not necessarily pleasant, while it could be very unpleasant and challenging, but would lead them towards highest liberation.

It’s only when the beings experience great suffering, not just a little suffering or unhappiness, then they would be inspired, or be motivated, or be determined to work their very best seriously for attaining liberation from suffering of a worldly life existence of a limited body with an impure egoistic thinking mind that is impermanent and selfless.

The experience or the perception of great suffering is not a bad thing at all when it motivates the beings to live a life of dispassion that leads towards highest liberation from the modifications of the mind, or the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of names and forms.

Be free.

Mental and emotional independence

The core/essential teachings and practice of yoga is about purification of the mind transcending the human egoistic nature/worldly thinking and belief/feelings and emotions/behavior/action and reaction, the impermanent condition, ability and limitation of the physical body of birth, growth, changes, sickness, weakness, old age and decomposition (death), the selfless function of the mind, the states of the mind, the modifications/activities of the mind, the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, the egoism, the impurities, the veil of ignorance and attaining liberation from the suffering of the mind perception of a worldly life existence that is subject to impermanence and selflessness.

In the process of the transformation from the lower human nature (selfishness/tendency to hurt oneself and/or others) to the higher human nature (unselfishness/tendency not to hurt oneself and/or others), and then transcending even the higher nature to go beyond the lower/higher or the bad/good human nature (selflessness/attributelessness), the thinking mind needs to be disciplined for developing certain essential qualities that allow the mind to go beyond the impermanent and selfless mind perception of a worldly life existence of qualities of names and forms.

These essential qualities are the basic foundation of both the practice of Yoga and Buddhism for mind purification, such like dispassion, correct understanding, right view, right effort, right livelihood, truthfulness, honesty, simplicity, austerity, contentment, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, intentionlessness, patience, perseverance, determination, acceptance, detachment/letting go, forgiveness, tolerance, forbearance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, one-pointedness, right concentration, care-free, fearlessness, renunciation, solitude, seclusion, calmness, self-discipline, self-control, self-inquiry, self-effort, self-realization, or being unaffected/undisturbed/undetermined/uninfluenced by the mind perception of pleasant/unpleasant, agreeable/disagreeable, likeable/dislikeable impermanent qualities of names and forms through the senses.

All these qualities existing in the mind are also reflecting as mental and emotional independence in a being. One will know how to deal with challenging or difficult condition and situation equanimously and solve problems by oneself.

One doesn’t need to rely on or depend on attaining/possessing, or experiencing, or coming in contact with the impermanent quality of names and forms of good condition, good environment, good life experience, good livelihood, good standard of living, good relationships, perfect unbroken family/society, good image, good reputation, social status, health status, possessions, knowledge, skill, gratification of desire (of getting what I like/not getting what I don’t like/not losing what I like/losing what I don’t like), achievements, physical and mental abilities, or getting attention, love, liking, agreement, support, appreciation, acknowledgment, kindness, respect, comfort, friendship, companionship from anyone or anything, to feel good, happy, confident, love and meaningful, or to perform necessary actions that would benefit oneself and/or others.

One is peaceful as one is, being mentally and emotionally independent, where the mind processes all the mind perception of names and forms or thought activities/feelings/emotions as it is, uninfluenced by egoism or worldly family/racial/social/cultural/religious/spiritual thinking and belief, being open-minded to inquire/question/investigate the truth of everything, including the teachings of Yoga and Buddhism, without blind-believing, blind-following, blind faith, or blind-actions and reactions, and being free from emotional exploitation/burden/blockage.

This is also what and why most people fear of – Mental and emotional independence in people could also means that those impure selfish greedy ambitious minds are losing the ‘power’ or ‘opportunity’ to control/influence/manipulate/exploit/threaten other people to be the way that ‘I’ like it to be, to help ‘I’ to get what ‘I’ want, or gratify ‘my’ desires, or achieve ‘my’ ambitions, or create the life/relationship/family/parenthood/business/career/community/society/politic/nation/world/security/enjoyment/situation that ‘I’ desire, that would help me to achieve what I want to achieve. Regardless whether this ‘I’ is a partner, a spouse, a parent, a child, a sibling, a friend, a teacher, a student, a member of the community/society, a citizen of a country, a leader of a country, a business person, an employer, an employee, a politician, a political party, a society, a group of people, an association, an affiliation, a company, and etc.

Whether people are aware or unaware of themselves having personal goal/ambition/agenda, they don’t like the idea of mental and emotional independence, as it would threaten/obstruct their personal goal/ambition/agenda.

Most parenting methods and children psychological development/training and education are mostly about empowering egoistic human nature that is empowering/encouraging mental and emotional dependence, as mental and emotional independence is ‘threatening’ the egoistic worldly family/cultural/social/religious/political/commercial thinking/belief/values/behavior of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion and expectation in all the relationships/dealings among people.

Contemplate on these familiar worldly thinking/belief/practice/values -:

“Of course I want my children/my partner/my friends/my teachers/my students/my community/my employee/my employer/my clients/my followers/my disciples/my supporters to attached onto me, to hold on to me, to need me, to rely on me. They need me to be there for them. They need my presence, my attention, my love, my care, my affection and my guidance/advice/approval/agreement/consent/opinion/support/help/service. I am needed by them. I will feel so worthless, lonely, bored, unloved, demotivated, depressed, empty and meaningless if I am not needed by anybody.”

“I love my children and my children will love me.”

“I am nice to you and you will be nice to me too.”

“I am giving you something nice and you will give me something nice too.”

“I will be disappointed, unhappy and angry, and I won’t be nice to you, if you don’t love me, or are being ungrateful/unappreciative, or are not nice to me.”

“This is who you are. Don’t forget or abandon this. This is your root, your ancestors, your name, your gender, your role, your obligated behavior, your thinking, your belief, your culture, your spirituality, your religion, your God, your parents, your family, your friends and relatives, your community, your nationality, your motherland, your dignity, your pride, your duty and this is your life. All these are who and what you are. You need love and consent from all these that make you who you are, or else you will be sick and die due to lack of love, loneliness and meaninglessness. You need to attain love, support, agreement, acknowledgement, cooperation, companionship from them. You must love them and they will love you and bless you with your desires come true, happiness, goodness and prosperity. You should fight/hurt/destroy the threats upon you and them at all cost to protect all these values of what make you who you are.”

The impure egoistic possessive minds want and expect strong attachment and dependence among family members, community members, parents and children, siblings, friends, citizens, human beings, and etc. They encourage the development/empowerment of a strong personal/cultural/religious/family/worldly/community/national identity that build on mental and emotional dependence among each other. Mental and emotional independence appears to be something ‘wrong’, ‘unhealthy’, ‘bad, ‘crazy’, ‘inappropriate’, ‘sickness’, or ‘impossible’ for many people even though different people come from different backgrounds of culture/thinking/belief/practice. Reasoning, or analytical thinking, or questioning the truth of things are being considered as ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ for many people who have personal goal/ambition/agenda that depend on the ‘support’ from other people.

There is no doubt that physical, mental and emotional independence can be limited and restricted due to circumstances. Such like infants and young children/physically or mentally ill or injured or disabled people/old people/emotionally or mentally disturbed people will need special attention and care, physical help, mental help, emotional support from other people to support and help them in their everyday living, to go through difficult moments, or need to be physically depending on other people for many things during the time of young age, sickness, injuries, weakness, old age, immobility, or suffering from mental or emotional disability.

One can be mentally and emotionally independent even though one is physically depending on other people for many things in life, unless one is suffering from mental and emotional disability. Just like those who are not suffering physical limitation or disability don’t need to rely or depend on others physically, so as, those who are not suffering from mental or emotional disability don’t need to rely on or depend on others mentally or emotionally. But then, how come so many people glorify and advocate mental and emotional dependence among each other, thinking that it’s not possible or it’s not good for human beings to be mentally and emotionally independent?

Be free.

Be free from the belief of ‘positive mind power’ to ‘change’ the world

There’s nothing wrong with ‘positive’ minds strongly believe in ‘positive thinking’ or ‘positive mind power’ to change the perceived reality that they don’t like to be something that they prefer, and wish for ‘positive qualities in the world’ to ‘change’ or ‘make’ the world to be (more) good, peaceful and harmony, or even better, if the world can be all good, peaceful and harmony.

It’s better to have ‘positive’ good and kind thoughts than ‘negative’ bad and evil thoughts, in one’s mind. And most ‘positive’ minds have ‘wishful thinking’ of ‘changing’ the world via ‘positive mind power’.

It’s just not the objective of yoga and meditation practice.

No doubt that ‘positive thinking’ in one’s mind can motivate oneself to perform actions that ‘might’ benefit oneself and the world in certain ways, but developing ‘positive mind power’ with the intention/wish/desire to change the world to be the way that the mind would like it to be, is not part of the yoga and meditation practice. If one’s mind is free from ignorance and impurities, it would definitely help the world to have less an ignorant and impure being, but it doesn’t take away or eliminate ignorance and impurities from other beings in the world.

The ‘positive thinking’ in yoga practice is to allow the mind to counter ‘negative thinking’ and to ‘cheerfully’ deal with difficult condition and situation that is not necessarily the way that the mind would like it to be, to be persevered in one’s yoga and meditation practice on the path towards self-realization and liberation from ignorance and suffering. It’s not about to develop ‘positive super mind power’ to ‘wish’ and ‘change’ the world to be something that it is not, or ‘wish’ and ‘change’ other beings to be someone whom they are not.

The space is still what it is, whether people think it is too small and wish that it is bigger, or people think that it is too big and wish that it is smaller.

The sun is still what it is, whether people think it is not the way that it should be and wish that the sun to be something else that it is not.

The world is still what it is, whether people think that it has too much bad and wish that it has less bad and more good, or people think that it has too much good and wish that it has less good and more bad.

The world will still be full of ignorant and selfish and impure beings with ignorant thinking, belief and behavior, and the consequences of ignorance, no matter how many ‘positive and kind’ people try to collect ‘positive mind power’ with positive intention/hope/wish for ‘world peace’ or ‘a world free from ignorance’. Wars/riots/conflicts/discrimination/unjust/violence/greed were/are/will be still going on here and there, among countries or communities or families or species or tribes or genders, and within a country or community or family or tribe or species or gender, due to ignorance, egoism and impurities in all the minds.

People think and believe, “I am inspired by Buddha.” But Buddha didn’t intent to ‘inspire’ anyone. There are many weren’t inspired by Buddha. But Buddha didn’t intent to ‘not inspire’ anyone.

The real practice of yoga and meditation is to silent this restless mind, that is here, functioning and perceiving all the good and bad qualities of names and forms. All the other aspirations and inspirations are merely the play of ignorance/egoism or Maya. Yoga and meditation practice is not about developing or attaining ‘positive thinking super mind power’ to be ‘wishing’ or ‘changing’ the ‘worldly life existence’ or ‘the world of human beings existence’ to be the way that ‘I’ think it should be – All good and nothing bad, or The world should be a place of more happiness or enjoyment and less unhappiness or suffering.

The world is still what it was/is/will be. Buddha and other saints and sages didn’t wish or change the world to be something different than what it was/is/will be. They didn’t ‘change’ or ‘take away’ the ignorance and suffering in the beings through generating ‘intention’ or ‘wish’ or ‘resolution’ or ‘positive thinking’ or ‘super mind power’ to make all beings in the world be free from ignorance and suffering. If they could, they would already have ‘made’ the entire world free from all ignorance and the consequences of ignorance. There won’t be any ignorance or suffering in any beings or in the world. They could only work on self-realization and upon the attainment of liberation, out of compassion, selflessly, they shared their path or knowledge and experience with others who also wished to attain liberation from suffering to work on their own salvation via self-effort, self-purification, self-discipline, self-inquiry and self-realization.

They didn’t or couldn’t ‘change’ or ‘interfere with’ or ‘influence’ those who weren’t interested in liberation, but only wanted to create a ‘better world of higher quality of life and pleasurable enjoyment that they desired’, to also be interested in the liberation from ignorance and suffering. They didn’t ‘get angry with’ or ‘disappointed with’ or ‘punish’ those who were ignorant and selfish, who weren’t interested in purity, purification of the mind, dispassion, desireless, self-discipline, self-control, self-inquiry, self-realization and silence of the mind.

There’s no ‘heroism’ to try to ‘save’ the world from ‘inhumanity, evilness and destruction’, but compassionate actions are being performed selflessly, without expectation to ‘change’ the world.

There’s no frustration or dissatisfaction or disappointment or anger or unhappiness or sorrow when one doesn’t get the cooperation or support from others for something that one thinks and believes as good and right.

There’s no pushing away or denial towards something that the worldly minded would perceive as ‘negative’, as this mind perceives everything as it is, neither positive nor negative.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to think and believe, and what they want to do with their life, body and mind.

This teaching is a contemplation for those who want to practice yoga.

The mind only knows what it knows

Different people teach and guide other people in different ways or methods to perform the yoga practice, to inquire and reflect upon the teachings of yoga, to purify their minds, to eliminate ignorance, egoism and impurities, to realize unconditional love and peace that is undetermined by the qualities of names and forms that are impermanent and selfless, that is always there as it is, but this unconditional love and peace is unknown to the mind due to the veil of ignorance and impurities.

Not all who teach yoga to other people are evolving simultaneously with the similar realization through their own sincere practice. It’s like peeling away many different layers of ignorance/impurities to allow the mind to see the one knowledge but it appears to be in many different names and forms due to the different layers of ignorance and impurities. Meanwhile, all these knowledge appear in different names and forms will continue to lead the impure, but open mind towards the pure consciousness, until the deepest/last layer of ignorance/impurities is completely removed, the mind sees the truth as it is, selfless, oneness, nameless, formless, attributeless, birthless and deathless.

When different people learn and practice yoga under different people, they might learn different teachings and ways of practice that are distinct from one another. Some might like and agree with certain teachings and ways of practice, while some others don’t like and disagree with the same teachings and ways of practice. It is not because these teachings and ways of practice are good or not good, are right or not right, but they are mere different degrees/stages of realization. Also, different minds have different life experiences, temperament and personality, and hence, different minds react differently towards the different teachings and ways of practice taught by different people.

It’s the matter of whether the minds are open, or not, towards the different teachings/knowledge/ways of practice, by investigate/inquire/reflect upon the truth of all the different teachings/knowledge/ways of practice that they come in contact with from different people with different degrees/stages of realization.

There is nothing to be compared or argued about. The mind only knows what it knows, and what it doesn’t know, it doesn’t know. And there’s nothing wrong with there are things that the mind doesn’t know. It’s more harmful/dangerous when the mind is blind-believing in or propagating many things that it doesn’t really know whether they are true or untrue, just because those were what they heard from or taught by their beloved elders or teachers, or knowledge that they had read and accumulated from books, or the opinions and points of view that are agreed, liked, shared and supported by many other people or majority of the people. More important is that what the mind agrees or disagrees with and what the mind likes or dislikes under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, are not necessarily true/untrue.

It’s a great obstacle for the mind to evolve, to go beyond the ‘partial/incomplete/impure’ reality that the mind perceives under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, if the mind is not open towards what is unknown to the mind, to investigate the truth of something that is unknown or unfamiliar to the mind, but it reacts with intense rejection/disagreement towards something that it doesn’t know, or that is different from or contradicted with its existing thinking and belief and familiarity.

Just like people who never come in contact with apples before, would deny the existence of apples when being informed by other people whom have come in contact with apples. The minds that are open, neither believe nor disbelieve towards the existence of apples, until they directly come in contact with apples. Even so, the apples that were informed by others might appear to be different from the apples that they experience, but the origin of the different varieties (names and forms) of apples is rooted in the one same source, or else it’s not apple, it’s something else. Even if it’s something else, such like oranges, all kinds of names and forms are still existing on the one same truth – impermanence and selflessness. Beyond different kinds of impermanent and selfless names and forms, it’s namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, birthlessness and deathlessness. Realizing this, all kinds of fear and superstitious beliefs vanished. All kinds of positiveness/negativeness, meaningfulness/meaninglessness, goodness/badness, auspiciousness/inauspiciousness, happiness/unhappiness, suffering/non-suffering are nothing but the products of ignorant and impure minds.

Many ‘yoga teachers’ teach or guide other people about yoga that is about promoting positive thinking and good actions, accumulating good karma and developing ‘positive mind power’ to fulfill the desire of achieving a good and meaningful life, because that is all that they know about yoga, so far. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

While some teach or guide other people about yoga that is beyond ‘promoting positive thinking and good actions, accumulating good karma and developing ‘positive mind power’ to fulfill the desire of achieving a good and meaningful life’, because they have realized the higher knowledge of oneness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, selflessness, desirelessness, birthlessness and deathlessness. There’s neither positive nor negative. There’s neither good nor bad. There’s neither enjoyment nor non-enjoyment. There’s neither suffering nor end of suffering. There’s nothing to be known, nothing to be understood, nothing to be perceived, nothing to be connected with. There’s no other(s).

‘Yoga teachers’ must be vigilant to be cautious of (tiny) pride arising in one’s mind due to accumulated knowledge and achievements deriving from ‘reading books on yoga’, ‘attending yoga courses’, ‘attaining certifications’, or ‘teaching yoga/yoga classes to other people’. Praise, compliments, supports, agreements, appreciation, honour, respect, glorification or idolization from the yoga students, might be feeding the sense of pride in the mind unwittingly, if one is not cautious of it. One would think and feel that ‘I am a good yoga teacher’ or ‘I am an experienced yoga teacher’ or ‘I am well-loved and appreciated by all these students’. Those who are aware of the mischievous egoistic nature in one’s mind, will allow other people to show praise, compliments, supports, agreements, appreciation, honour, respect, glorification or idolization, or not, but one doesn’t interested in receiving any of these at all, and there’s neither attachment nor identification towards all these names and forms, then one is considered ‘safe’.

It’s the same as ‘yoga students’ who receive praise and compliments from the teachers or other fellow students, who have been accumulated knowledge and achievements deriving from ‘reading books on yoga’, ‘attending yoga courses’ or ‘attaining certifications’, who think and believe that oneself is ‘advanced yogi/yoga practitioner’ after practicing yoga for a long time, or having attended many ‘advanced yoga classes/courses’ and attaining many ‘yoga certificates’.

Those who are wise, won’t be telling themselves and others that “I am a wise being. I am very wise.”
Those who have been advancing in their yoga practice, won’t be telling themselves and others that “I am an advanced yogi. I am very advanced in yoga practice. I am practicing advanced yoga.”

Beware of pride and self-glorification.

Be free.

Words of wisdom are neither good nor bad

Words of wisdom are neither good nor bad. They are just what they are. They have no intention or quality to be useful or useless, to be meaningful or meaningless, or to be enlightening or disturbing.

Words of wisdom can be useful and meaningful and enlightening for those who are aware of ignorance in oneself, but they are useless and meaningless and disturbing for those who are not aware of ignorance in oneself.

All minds that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism are being conditioned or influenced by many different types of thinking and belief that are being imprinted into the mind since the birth of this life existence coming from family and cultural background, religious background, parenting, schooling, social mixing and interaction, social medias, and all kinds of information sources, to live life, to think and feel, to act and react.

Most of the time, we don’t really inquire the truth of everything that were passed down to us from generation to generation, and everything that we come in contact with, and we usually put our ‘trust’ onto ‘reliable’ or ‘respectable’ sources to feed or occupy our minds with many different information and ideas, until we start to doubt about something and then we would question or investigate the truth of it, to find out whether it’s true, or not. But that usually won’t happen until we got into trouble and suffer for the consequences of our own ‘incorrect’ or ‘ignorant’ understanding, thinking, belief, way of living, conduct and behavior.

If people don’t question the truth of everything, everyone just live life, think and feel, act and react as how they were being told or informed or influenced by the elders, parents, caretakers, friends, society, communities, groups, associations, gangs, politicians, religious authorities, school teachers, philosophers, and so on.

In Yoga and Buddhism, one has to question the truth of everything including all the teachings or scriptures of yoga and Buddhism, of what all the teachers said and taught. The real teachers won’t be insulted or disrespected or humiliated when the students neither agree nor disagree with what the teachers or any sources informed them, but they would perform self-practice and self-inquiry to realize the truth of the teachings through self-effort and self-realization.

It’s okay if we don’t know many things. It won’t do any harm if we don’t know everything and we are aware of we are ignorant or don’t know the truth of something. But it would be very harmful to oneself and others, if we blind-believe in and blind-agree with and blindly sharing information and ideas that we don’t know whether they are true, or not.

So as there are many ‘yoga teachers’ teach yoga to other people according to what they have learned and heard from the yoga courses that they have attended, just because the books/scriptures/teaching manuals and their teachers say so. Some people don’t mind if the teachings are true, or not, as long as they have some ideas of yoga poses practice sequences with some technical information and interesting spiritual stories to teach in the yoga classes to satisfy the people’s enthusiasm and intention of joining the yoga classes, and earn a living. And there’s nothing wrong with that and it’s everyone’s freedom. One is willingly to present something that one doesn’t really know what does it really means, while others are willingly to follow something that they don’t know where it would lead them to.

The wise never aspire or intent to make other beings to see what they see, or to know what they know. The teachings are everywhere for everyone to take it (practice and realize), or leave it.

Be free and be happy.

Be good, do good?

In the ‘civilized’ society, it’s a courteousness to tell someone, “You are such a good and wonderful person.” when we see this person behaves nicely and does something good.

Many people from ‘civilized’ background would feel awkward or disturbed or unappreciated or discouraged when they come to the traditional yoga ashram, the people from the ashram seldom praise or compliment the visitors/guests/students after they have done something nice or achieve something good in the ashram. They think that these swamis/teachers/workers maybe either are unaware of the visitors/guests/students’ good behavior, intention, contribution and achievement, or they are very stingy to give praise or compliment to other people, or they don’t want to encourage the people to do more good or achieve higher results, or they don’t appreciate the goodness and achievement of other people. They expect ‘nice’ reaction from other people, such like, “You are good!”, “Well done!”, “Thank you!”, “You are so nice!”, “You are such a lovely and helpful person!”, and etc.

This expectation towards particular ‘nice’ reaction from other people is coming from ignorance and egoism. It’s the ego that wants and needs to be acknowledged that they are good, that they have done something good, that they have achieved something good, so that they would feel being appreciated and encouraged for their good action and effort to continue to be good and do more good. There’s nothing wrong with this worldly egoistic courteousness. Just that those who truly practice yoga and know what is yoga, they won’t judge anyone or empower the ignorance and egoism in the people who come to them to learn and practice yoga.

Those who are free from ignorance and egoism don’t need any acknowledgement or appreciation or encouragement from others to be good, to do good or to achieve something. Only those who are not free from ignorance and egoism would need acknowledgment, appreciation and encouragement from others to motivate them to be nice, to do good, or to achieve something, or else they would feel disappointed, discouraged. By giving them what they want (acknowledgment, appreciation and encouragement), might encourage them to do good and to improve, but it doesn’t help them to be free from ignorance and egoism, instead it is empowering or strengthening the ignorance and egoism in them. This is not what compassion or kindness is about. It doesn’t help the society or the world to be better even though there are some ‘nice’ people trying to do ‘nice’ things in the world under a condition that their action and effort are being acknowledged and appreciated. And it doesn’t guarantee that these ‘nice’ people won’t be doing anything that would generate ‘disharmony’, ‘problems’, or ‘inconvenience’ to themselves and other people.

Most of the time, we behave differently and do things differently according to the state of the mind that is impermanent.

When the mind is in a calm and happy state, we are more patience, tolerant and accommodating, and we might behave nicely and do nice things for ourselves and other people. But it doesn’t mean that “I am a good person.” It’s the same as for other people. It doesn’t mean that “They are good people.”

When the mind is in a disturbed and unhappy state, we are impatient, intolerant and unaccommodating, we might behave badly and do hurtful things to ourselves and other people. But it doesn’t mean that “I am a bad person.” It’s the same as for other people. It doesn’t mean that “They are bad people.”

It’s just people with impure mind functioning under the influence of ignorance and egoism.

If one truly wants to be good and do good, it’s not so much about trying to behave nicely and do something nice to please other people or to make other people feel good and happy, but it’s to free the mind from ignorance and egoism and impurities, and thus, one stops generating unnecessary disharmony or problems or inconvenience to oneself and other people.

Those who are free from ignorance and egoism, there’s no judgment towards oneself and others as good or bad. Everyone is just what they are, as they are, in the present. There’s no attachment or identification, carving or aversion, or discrimination towards the recognition or acknowledgment of ‘good people’ or ‘bad people’.

If people don’t like or don’t want or disagree with this teaching and practice of yoga, that’s their freedom. People believe that “People should be nice to each other and say nice things to each other and show appreciation and encouragement for goodness in people to encourage them to do more good.” But, it doesn’t stop people from saying ‘bad’ things about other people behind people’s back. And then, people would feel disappointed and discouraged to do good or improve, if they don’t get the ‘nice’ reaction that they expect from other people, to be acknowledged, to be appreciated, to be praised and complimented for what they have done and achieved that they think is good and deserving. That’s courteousness of a ‘civilized’ society.

Be free.

Ignorant towards ignorance

The power of ignorance is so great that the mind doesn’t even know it is under the influence of ignorance, thinking that it is wise or smart enough, or it is wiser or smarter than others. And the ego doesn’t like to hear or be pointed out that it is the product of ignorance, and would feel offended or humiliated or intimidated.

Those who are aware of there’s ignorance in themselves would be able to learn and evolve.

Be free.

People’s power?

People’s power is no doubt very powerful, of course. There’s no doubt that other than the greatest power of nature, it’s the people’s power that is so powerful and influential that it influences the condition or situation of the world, in a country, in a community, in a company, or in a family, through their thinking and behavior, making the world a better or worse place to be in. But what is influencing the people’s thinking and behavior is more powerful. And so, what happen if ignorance, egoism and impurities is the power that influencing many people in the world to think, behave, act and react?

Even those who think they are good people who want to be good, who do good actions and don’t do bad actions are not necessarily be free from the influence of ignorance and egoism and impurities. If the mind thinks and feels, “I am disturbed, disappointed, frustrated, threatened, depressed, angered or hurt by something that I think is bad, negative and wrong”, know that this is ignorance, though there’s nothing wrong with this reaction of thinking and feeling in such way reacting towards certain perceptions of names and forms that the mind believes as bad, negative and wrong. The power of ignorance is so great that the mind doesn’t even know it is under the influence of ignorance, thinking that it is wise or smart enough, or it is wiser or smarter than others. And the ego doesn’t like to hear or be pointed out that it is the product of ignorance, and would feel offended or humiliated or intimidated.

The wise won’t be disturbed nor determined by the ignorance of others of all sorts of ignorant thinking and behavior, or what the mind thinks and believes as bad, negative or wrong. If one will be disturbed and determined by the ignorance of others of their ignorant thinking and behavior, or what the mind thinks and believes as bad, negative and wrong, or be disturbed by the condition and situation of the world that is not how one would like it to be, then this mind is under the influence of ignorance.

One can choose not to be disturbed or determined by the ignorance of others of all sorts of ignorant thinking and behavior, or not.

The wise don’t have any intention to change the world. They allow everyone to be free from ignorance, or not, through everyone’s own interest and effort. If people are not interested in freeing their mind from ignorance, that’s their freedom.

Even the enlightened liberated beings can’t change the world or take away the ignorance in others or remove ignorance from the world. If not, the world is already be free from ignorant beings/thinking/behavior. One can only free one’s mind from ignorance through self-initiative, self-effort, self-discipline, self-inquiry and self-realization.

If there are people have the great ambition to be ‘superhero’ to change and save the world, that’s their freedom.

The YTTC or Yoga Teachers Training Courses is about being a platform for truth seekers who are interested in attaining liberation from ignorance and suffering to learn and practice yoga to become their own teacher to perform self-practice/Yoga Sadhana, to attain self-realization and independence, and when one is free from ignorance and suffering, the world will have less a being under the influence of ignorance. And one can share one’s self-realized knowledge of yoga with others, where yoga asana practice is one of the many practices to purify and quiet the mind to prepare the mind for meditation. But nowadays, many YTTC are not about developing serious self-practice or Yoga Sadhana to free oneself from ignorance and egoism, but, it’s mainly about to be equipped with some ‘teaching technical information’ for ‘teaching yoga (asana exercise) classes’ to most people who are not really interested in the elimination of egoism through the practice of silence, desireless, dispassion, self-discipline, self-inquiry and self-realization, but more interested in empowering egoism and gratifying their worldly passionate desires of craving and aversion especially towards enhancing physical health and fitness level, physical appearance and ability through performing the yoga asana exercises, while some others are interested towards developing mental psychic power for different reasons or intentions.

“I have been doing some yoga regularly for some time. Now, I want to learn and do more yoga. Can you teach me?”
“Really?”
“Yes! I am really interested to learn to do all the yoga poses that I am still not able to do. I also want to know what are the different muscles groups that we use in the different yoga poses and their specific benefits related to health and fitness. I hope to become a yoga teacher to teach yoga classes someday. I need to make my body healthier, fitter, stronger and more flexible so that I can do lots of the yoga poses to be qualified to join the yoga teacher training course. I also want to feel better about myself, because right now, I am not very happy with myself, my yoga practice, my physical appearance, my health and fitness level, my job, my life and my relationship. Many yoga teachers say yoga can gives us lots of benefits to improve health and fitness, and make us look good and feel good about ourselves, and become superhuman with superpower to do anything that we want to do with our body and mind. They say yoga can make our body stay young and strong, that we won’t get sick and we can defy aging. They say by doing yoga we can defy gravity and we can fly. And they say practice yoga can also have all our desires come true. I want a better life, a better body, a better relationship and a better job. I really want to learn and do yoga!”
“I can teach you yoga. But first, you will need to let go all these desires of what you want and don’t want.”
“This is not the yoga that I want to learn and do.”
“Be happy then.”

Children grow up without a ‘proper’ family is NOT something terrible, bad or suffering

In the conditional worldly thinking and belief, people normally and naturally think and believe that if children grow up without a ‘proper’ family, it MUST be something ‘terrible’, ‘bad’ or ‘suffering’.

Children grow up without a ‘proper’ family is NOT something terrible, bad or suffering. Growing up without a ‘proper’ family might not be easy and it might be more challenging and requires more effort and self-discipline than other children who grow up in a ‘proper’ family, but it is not something terrible, bad or suffering.

There’s nothing wrong with people being sympathetic or empathetic, and to show sympathy or empathy towards other living beings who experience something that they believe as ‘terrible’, ‘bad’ or ‘suffering’, but it doesn’t mean that this type of ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ thinking and belief and sympathetic/empathetic reaction will benefit the children who unwittingly having such ‘abnormal’ growing up condition.

Most people react with “Oh! This child is so pitiful for having no father, or mother, or both parents. What an unfortunate and suffering life this child has.” or “Oh! So sad. This child must be so unhappy to not having a father, or a mother, or both parents, or family, or siblings, or relatives, or friends.”

People have the freedom for what they want to think and believe, and how they want to feel and react. But if people really want to help the children without a ‘proper’ family, people should stop ‘feeling sorry’ for the children. People need to stop making the children think and believe that people should be or are ‘feeling sorry’ for them because it is something terrible, bad or suffering for them to grow up without a ‘proper’ family. By making the children to think and believe that it is something terrible, bad or suffering for having no ‘proper’ family, that they deserve ‘special treatments’ or extra love, attention and support from other people, it will only encourage the children to develop stronger attachment/desire/craving for ‘love’, ‘attention’ and ‘support’ from other people. This doesn’t help or benefit them at all.

If people truly want to help the children who don’t have a ‘proper’ family, they can teach and guide the children how to love themselves without the need of self-pity, self-blame, sympathy and empathy from other people, or envy towards other children who have a ‘proper’ family. It will be good if there are people being there to show sympathy, love and support for them, but if there’s no sympathy, love and support from other people, it’s fine. It’s totally okay for not having a ‘proper’ family, if one knows how to love oneself, being free from ignorance and egoism, being unconditioned by conditional worldly thinking and belief. There’s no bitterness, sorrow, anger, hatred, low self-esteem, defensiveness, offensiveness, envy, fear and worry for having a more challenging growing up life condition than other people.

People can be peaceful and happy as they are, with or without a ‘proper’ family, or parents, or siblings, or relatives, or friends. But if people are being conditioned to think and believe that children grow up without a ‘proper’ family, or parents, or siblings, or relatives, or friends, it must be something terrible, bad or suffering, that they should feel bad about themselves, that other people should feel sorry for them, or people need to have a ‘proper’ family, or parents, or siblings, or relatives, or friends in order to be happy and live life meaningfully, or else they will be suffering from loneliness and they are ‘doomed’ to be unhappy and live life meaninglessly, then that is what the children will become – Restlessly craving for ‘love’, ‘attention’ and ‘support’ from other people or ‘somebody’, for them to feel loved, happy and meaningful. Or else, they will feel unloved, unhappy and meaningless. They will always be dissatisfied and disappointed either with themselves for being ‘not good enough’ or with other people for being ‘unloving’, ‘unsupportive’, or ‘unsympathetic’, when they are not getting the right amount of love, attention and support that they think they deserve to be getting from other people.

When one knows how to love oneself, one will be free from restless desire/craving for love, attention and support from other people, and this freedom from desire/craving for love, attention and support allows one to be happy and peaceful as one is.

Or else, children might grow up having a ‘proper’ family and receive lots of love, attention and support, but they might not be free from attachment/desire/craving towards something that will make them feel happy and meaningful, as they think they need to have or they expect ‘love’, ‘attention’ and ‘support’ from other people for them to feel loved, happy and meaningful. They are not free at all, as they don’t know how to love themselves.

Be free.