Truthfulness and worldly social mingling and interaction

To practice truthfulness (one of the basic practice of yoga), we learn how to minimize as much as possible from engaging in worldly social mingling and interaction, because these worldly social activities empower egoism and strengthen worldly ideas, which is the opposite of yoga practice.

If we analyze our daily interactions and conversations with other people, we will see that it’s mostly about the empowerment of egoistic personal and worldly attachment, identification, judgment, comparison, expectation, desires of craving and aversion, the past and the future. Yoga practice is to free the mind from all these mind activities of egoism. There is also intentional and unintentional hypocrisy, untruthfulness and ego flattering elements in many of the social interactions and conversations.

It’s a normal cultural social politeness for many people to be HYPOCRITE and UNTRUTHFUL and FLATTERING when interacting with other people, to maintain ‘good relationship’ with everyone in the society and this game of hypocrisy and untruthfulness exists even among family members, couples and friends.

Most people don’t want to know the truth as the truth is not necessarily something that they like or agree with.

Since little, everyone was being taught to be polite, to be good and say only good thing in front of everyone, to please other people, to gain love and liking, and acknowledgment/acceptance/recognition from other people, to maintain ‘good relationship’ with everyone, but then, behind people’s back, there’s complaints, gossips, slandering, back-biting, criticism, blame, or bitching. There are many this type of ‘good relationships’ everywhere in the worldly life. And this is being perceived as the ‘correct’ behavior or ‘normal’ way of life in the society and in the family. People don’t like truthfulness and straightforwardness. Being truthful and straightforward is something very rude and wrong.

Truth seekers don’t waste energy, time and effort in this worldly egoistic game of accumulating and cultivating such type of ‘good relationships’. And hence, the practice of silence comes into everyday life to minimize involving in unnecessary social game of hypocrisy, untruthfulness and flattering of the ego of oneself and others. Performing selfless service in a huge community, is not about cultivating and accumulating personal friendships or relationships at all, if one truly knows what is selflessness and selfless service.

There are not many ‘yoga and meditation enthusiasts’ have the understanding, initiative and willpower to cut down or cut off worldly passionate social activities. It’s a painful and contradicting process for the mind to retreat from worldly social activities, as it is going against ‘normal cultural thinking and behavior’. There are lots of ‘justifications’ coming from the egoistic mind to avoid or give up renunciation from a passionate worldly life of social activities.

Those who aren’t really interested in the path of yoga and meditation to free the mind from the root cause of all suffering – ignorance and egoism, they don’t have to practice truthfulness or dispassion or renunciation from worldly social activities.

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

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.

Yoga retreat is not about running away from the reality that we don’t like and don’t want

Not running away from or denying, but confronting the reality that is not the way that we would like it to be, and being aware of this life existence, the world, the society and the surrounding environment is not necessarily ‘all good’ or perfectly the way that we would like it to be, or the way that we think it should be, with wisdom and compassion, without aversion or fear towards the reality that we think is ‘not all good’ or ‘imperfect’ or ‘challenging’, is our yoga practice.

Living in the world as we are, being aware of all kinds of uncertainty, insecurity, unrest, cautiousness, defects or imperfection in all aspects, and knowing how to remain equanimous and be in peace, without fear and worry, without being over-powered or determined by the reality that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, is what yoga practice is about.

This isn’t about trying to be ‘strong’. ‘Strength’ has a limit and is conditional. But wisdom and compassion is unconditional and unlimited.

Joining a yoga retreat is not about running away from the reality that we don’t like and don’t want, to be in a ‘safe and peaceful place’ without ‘bad people’ or ‘things that we don’t like and don’t want’, and be surrounded by ‘good people’ who are like-minded and doing things that make us feel good and happy.

People might think that yoga practice or yoga retreat should be conducted in a ‘special place’ or ‘out of the world place’, free from any ‘bad energy’ or ‘bad elements’, thinking that ‘yoga retreat’ means moving away from the imperfect world or running away from everyday life’s duties, responsibilities and cares, to have a few days or few weeks of ‘intentionally induced perfect form of reality’ of ‘peacefulness’ or ‘calmness’ or ‘problemless’. No doubt that being in a desirable ‘reality’ will give momentary relief or peace, but this doesn’t help us to be free from ‘fear’, ‘disturb’, ‘restlessness’ and ‘suffering’ when we go back to our everyday life living among the society or the world that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, that is not in our control to be the way that we would like it to be.

A real yoga retreat allows us to learn how to live in the world as it is, performing all our actions, duties and responsibilities without attachment or identification or expectation, without fear and worry. It’s learning about the mind and all its modification, about suffering and the cause of suffering, about how to transcend all kinds of ‘suffering’ or ‘restlessness’ or ‘impurities’ or ‘fear’, and how to confront the reality of life existence in this present moment that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, or the way that we think it should be, without fear and worry, and have peace wherever we are, unconditionally, being undetermined by all the impermanent changes of the qualities of names and forms.

Yoga, or unconditional peace, being free from ignorance and egoism, is not limited to a particular ‘place’, or ‘space’, or ‘activity’, or ‘condition’, or ‘quality’, or ‘name and form’.

Being positive and optimistic, denying or ignoring all kinds of ‘ignorant and unpleasant behavior and happenings’ in the world, in the society, or in the surrounding environment, and persistently thinking and believing that everyone are good, there’s no bad people; everything is good, there’s nothing bad; life is all good, there’s nothing bad; the world is all good, there’s nothing bad, and etc, doesn’t change the reality that we don’t like or don’t want to be the way that we would like it to be.

It’s like sweeping all the dust and rubbish and hide them under the cupboards and sofas, so that they are not in sight, it doesn’t mean that the room is all cleaned. And no matter how many times we sweep the floor, and throw out all the dust and rubbish out of the room, there will always be dust and rubbish accumulating here and there from time to time, unless everyone who enter the room stop bringing in dust and rubbish into the room. This is the same as looking after the mind. We do our best to ‘clean up’ the mind regularly and persistently, but impurities will still exist from time to time, until the root cause of impurities (ignorance and egoism) is uprooted completely.

When there’s no problem, there’s no need to anticipate a problem. When there’s a problem, confront it, without fear and worry.

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.

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.”