Selflessness – Being free from the ego (The idea of I) and egoism

The ego is the product of ignorance in the impure mind where there is an idea of ‘I’ exists as an individual being with certain qualities of names and forms, such like, personal worldly identity and status, personality and characteristic, thinking and belief, physical condition and appearance, gender and sexual orientation, physical and mental ability and achievement, interest and talent, knowledge and memory, aspiration and inspiration, actions and the result of actions, family and relatives, relationships and possessions, social network and interaction, and all that the mind thinks and believes and identifies as ‘This is me or I’.

Selflessness is nothing to do with non-existence, as some people might ‘interpret’ it as non-existence. It’s beyond existence and non-existence. When people ‘misinterpret’ selflessness as non-existence, they might perform actions that would hurt themselves and others by thinking and believing that there won’t be any consequences of actions, and so, they think they can do whatever they like and want.

There is no ‘I’ to be existing or non-existing. There is no ‘I’ to be selfish or unselfish. There is no ‘I’ enjoy or suffer. There is no ‘I’ being happy or unhappy. There is no ‘I’ being good or bad. There is no ‘I’ as this or that. It’s just the mind functioning and perceiving names and forms through the senses. But due to ignorance, there is an idea of ‘I’ arise in the mind, that ceaselessly generates attachment and identification towards the impermanent quality of names and forms, and it judges and compares, intends and expects, acts and reacts, likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees, desires and doesn’t desire, creates and destroys, enjoys and suffers, aspires and inspires, being proud or humble, being happy and unhappy, feeling meaningful and meaningless, and etc.

The mind that is being free from the ego or egoism is a selfless mind or liberated mind. The entire yoga practice is MAINLY about freeing the mind from the ego or egoism to realize or attain selflessness, which is the nature of life existence. There is no ego in each individual cell in the body, or in the different life supporting systems, organs and glands, or in the sense organs and the senses, or in the oxygen, nutrients, minerals, water and energy that allowing the body and the mind to be existing and functioning, but, this ego that exists as an idea in the mind thinking that ‘I’ am the most important and the highest above all. “I want my body to be like this and be able to do that. I want my mind to be like this and achieve that. I want my life to be like this and accomplish that, and so on.” This ego is full of desires waiting to be fulfilled, and constantly pushing, forcing and hurting the body and the mind in order to gratify all its desires via the body and the mind. When its desires are not being gratified, or there’s some obstacles hindering the process of gratifying all its desires, the ego gets offended, humiliated, insulted, dissatisfied, disappointed, angry, hurt, unhappy, depressed, or suffer. And out of these impurities, the ego performs actions or inactions that would hurt the body and the mind, and/or other beings or objects.

Yoga practice is not about being able to perform this or that asana, or pose, or position, or movement, to gain health, beauty and fitness benefits, but it’s to train or purify the mind to eventually drop-off this idea of ‘I’, through annihilate egoism and the by-products of egoism of all sorts of impurities. When the mind is free from the idea of ‘I’ and ‘mine-ness’, there’s only pure awareness being in the present, being aware of all the perceptions of names and forms through the senses, and all the impermanent changes, functions and activities of the body and the mind, being free from desires of craving and aversion, selfish intention, expectation, attachment and identification.

There’s no ‘I’ being the performer of actions or the receiver of the fruit of actions. There’s no ‘I’ being the thinker or believer. There’s no ‘I’ being compassionate or uncompassionate. There’s no ‘I’ being ignorant or wise. There’s no ‘I’ being limited or unlimited. There’s no ‘I’ being free or not free. There’s no ‘I’ believe or disbelieve in God. There’s no ‘I’ am sinful or sinless.

There’s neither past nor the future. There’s neither good nor evil. There’s neither positive nor negative. There’s neither happiness nor unhappiness. There’s neither enjoyment nor suffering. There’s neither vegetarian nor non-vegetarian. There’s neither yogi nor non-yogi.

Be free.

Being peaceful and compassionate doesn’t mean that the body and mind don’t experience unpleasantness

Whether we feel comfortable or uncomfortable being in a yoga pose or in a particular position, or in a situation in life, it has nothing to do with peace and compassion.

Being peaceful and compassionate doesn’t mean that the body and mind don’t or won’t experience or perceive unpleasantness.

One can be peaceful and compassionate as one is, unconditionally, being undetermined or undisturbed by all the impermanent changes of the condition of the body and the state of the mind, and all the perceptions of pleasant and unpleasant sensations, sights, sounds, smells, tastes and thoughts.

If one can only be peaceful and compassionate when one perceives or experiences pleasant names and forms, and doesn’t perceive any unpleasant names and forms, but then one won’t be peaceful or compassionate when one perceives unpleasant names and forms, then that is just the momentary state of the ignorant egoistic mind being ‘peaceful and kind’ or ‘peaceless and unkind’ being conditioned and determined by the qualities of names and forms, it’s not the unconditional peace and compassion that one realizes from being free from ignorance and egoism.

The one who is free, will be peaceful and compassionate as one is under any condition or situation, no matter what is the physical condition or the state of the mind, whether it’s pleasant or unpleasant.

Be free.

When there’s doubt whether in the yoga asana practice or in life

When there’s doubt whether in the yoga asana practice or in life, especially in relationships, we learn to take responsibility to make decision for ourselves, either we go beyond the doubt and endure whatever difficulty or challenge that we think we are dealing with, and make some adjustments to adapt and accommodate whatever difficulty or discomfort, proceed with what we want to venture, or, if we think we can’t go beyond the doubt, we can let go what we would like to do or have, without regret or guilt towards the decision that we made, no matter what is the outcome or consequences of our decision made.

When we attempt to perform certain yoga asana poses that we are not familiar with and there’s doubt towards our physical ability or fear of the risk of injury, we learn to take the responsibility to make decision for ourselves, either we go beyond that doubt and proceed with the attempt to perform the yoga poses without tension or fear or struggle or pushing the body beyond its limitation, especially when the body is capable and is ready to do the poses, but the mind has doubt and fear, and it doesn’t matter if we still can’t do the yoga poses after we have tried our best, or if we think we can’t go beyond that doubt, we think and believe that our body is not capable or is not ready to do the poses, we can let go of trying to perform those yoga poses in this practice session. There’s no regret afterwards towards the decision that we made for ourselves.

It’s really not important whether we can perform all the yoga poses, or not. It’s about learning how to deal with fear and doubt while we perform the yoga asana poses. It’s okay if we can’t go beyond the fear or doubt in this present, but we can try again in the next practice, or the next next practice, it doesn’t matter if one day finally we can perform the yoga poses without fear or doubt, or we still can’t do them even after many attempts for many years. It’s really not important and it has nothing to do with the realization of unconditional love and peace.

It’s the same as in life situations, especially in relationships. When there’s doubt in a relationship and we are not sure whether we want to continue to be in the relationship, or not, we can either go beyond the doubt and do our best to develop unconditional love, patience, tolerance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation to over-come whatever difficulties that we think we are encountering in a relationship, or if we think we can’t go beyond the doubt, if we think we can’t have the unconditional love, patience, tolerance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation to continue the relationship that is challenging for one or both parties, we can just let go of the relationship, even though we think we love the person in the relationship with us, as loving someone doesn’t mean that we have to be in a relationship with that person, to ‘keep’ the love, the person and the relationship to be mine and ours.

Sometimes we have to let go a relationship out of love, real love. As loving each other doesn’t necessarily mean that two people are suitable to be sharing a life together in a relationship or living together under the same roof.

It’s okay if we are aware that we are not as loving or kind as what we would like us to be. We don’t have to love anyone, because most of the time, we don’t even love ourselves, we only love what we like and what we want. And it’s okay if we don’t love anyone or ourselves, as long as we are aware of it. It’s okay if we realize we don’t really love the person in the existing relationship with us. And it would be better to be aware of “I don’t love you” than to think or believe that “I love you”, but at the same time “I’ll do and say things that would hurt you and our relationship, because I don’t really love you, but I only love what I like and what I want. And I am unhappy or feel disappointed, angry and hurt when I don’t get what I like and what I want in this relationship with you.”

There’s neither regret nor guilt, once we made a decision and we take the responsibility for the consequences of our decision made.

Some people do not want to make decision for themselves and ask other people to give them advice and make the decision for them, so that, if the consequences of the decision made turn out to be good, everyone will be happy, and if the consequences of the decision made turn out to be bad, they can blame other people for it.

Be free.

Take good care of the body and mind?

Learning and practicing yoga actually is also about learning how to take good care of the overall well-being of the body and the mind in everyday life, but without attachment and identification towards the impermanent condition of the body and the mind.

It’s not just about doing some yoga asana and pranayama and meditation practice for a couple of hours a day regularly as a form of taking good care of the body and the mind, but more importantly in the rest of the time in everyday life, when the body and mind are not performing physical postures, breathing exercises, concentration and meditation practice, we need to know how to live in simplicity, how to conserve energy, when to take rest, when to work more, when to work less, when to eat more, when to eat less, how to relax or let go, how to stop generate unnecessary tension into the body and mind, how to stop pushing the body and mind beyond its limitation, and etc, to truly taking good care of the overall well-being of the body and mind.

Out of laziness, or stinginess, or particular obsessive compulsive disorder, or great ambition, or sociable personality, or caring personality, or lack of self-control and self-discipline, or some other issues, people might not rest well, eat well, work well, or relax properly, and the body and mind are either being in a state of lethargic or agitation due to accumulated strain and stress or restlessness, even though people try to do yoga asana and pranayama and meditation practice regularly. It’s like, now we sweep and mop the floor, and then, we bring more dirt and dust onto the floor, and repeat this process again and again.

When the condition of the body and mind be affected by the improper or imbalanced way of living, the mind becomes tired, cloudy, unfocused, short-tempered, depressed, irritated, impatient, aggressive or anxious easily. This will affect the yoga asana and pranayama and meditation practice, as well as the ongoing function of all the support systems in the body, the sleep quality, the mood, the thinking faculty, the clarity of the mind, the physical mobility, the health condition, the energy level, and the relationships with everyone and everything.

Learn how to live a simple yet balanced lifestyle is as important as doing the yoga asana and pranayama and meditation practice regularly. Simple yet balanced lifestyle has nothing to do with the commercial products of branded and trendy hype of ‘luxurious organic living’, or ‘organic clean eating’, or ‘calorie counting eating’, or ‘precise daily consumption limits of different food intake’, or ‘health and fitness products and supplements’, but it’s about incorporating the teachings of yoga of ‘Do our best’, non-attachment, non-identification, desireless, dispassion, right discrimination, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, renunciation, seclusion, solitude, silence, concentration or one-pointedness, contentment, generosity, forgiveness, patience, determination, perseverance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation into everyday life activities, to stop or minimize accumulation of unnecessary tension into the systems.

If one knows how to live a simple yet balanced lifestyle, if one knows how to conserve energy and doesn’t put unnecessary stress or strain into the body and mind, there’s no tension accumulated, and there’s no need to go anywhere or do anything to release tension, as there’s none.

“I am so busy and so stressed and so tired. I have not enough time to eat or sleep properly. I have so many friends and relatives. I need to care for so many people in my life. I have so many personal and social functions I need to attend. There’s so many things I want to do for myself and for everyone. My mind can’t turn-off. I would love a holiday but I will need time and energy for it, as I would be exhausted after coming back from holiday doing all the holiday activities and eating so much. I know I need complete rest. I need to stop doing things, physically and mentally. But then I will feel so guilty and unhappy if I didn’t manage to do my fitness workout everyday, if I didn’t meet up with my friends to stay connect, if I wasn’t there for my friends who need me to listen to their problems and complaints, if I didn’t achieve all my daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. So how?”

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life or how they spend their time and energy.

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.”