Observe all the names and forms as they are

The worldly restless impure egoistic minds keep looking for stimulation of inputs and outputs.

It doesn’t like to observe names and forms as they are.

It projects quality and duality onto all the perceived names and forms based on its likes and dislikes influencing by its thinking and belief.

Through remembering what it perceived or what it knows, it judges, compares and expects.

It clings, craves, rejects, agrees, disagrees, wants, doesn’t want, creates and destroys.

It has many forms of desires and great ambitions.

There’s aspiration and intention to perform actions and inactions motivated by its desires and ambitions.

It has ‘passionate’ aspiration and intention to ‘share’ what it knows and has, and ‘share’ what others know and have.

There’s nothing wrong with that, just that the mind is not free.

Even the mind that projects ‘good’ and ‘kind’ quality onto itself, desires to be ‘good and kind’ and thinking ‘positively and optimistically’, and performing good and kind actions to benefit the world, is not necessarily be free from selfishness. The one who thinks “I am not selfish. I want to be unselfish.” and recognizing other people are being selfish, is not necessarily be free from selfishness.

“I want the world to be good and I want to make the world good, so that I and my loved ones can have a good world to live in and have a good life.”

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

Silent the restless mind, abandon ‘positive thinking’ and ‘optimism’, be free from desires, and even the desire to be free from suffering, if one truly wishes to realize yoga.

Positive thinking and optimism is just an counteract for ‘negative thinking’ and ‘hopelessness’. It’s not the truth nor the end of suffering.

If ‘God’ exists, ‘God’ doesn’t have intention to make anyone or anything to be good or bad, positive or negative, happy or unhappy.

There’s neither positive nor negative, neither good nor bad, neither happiness nor unhappiness, neither elation nor depression.

Dharma doesn’t need to be shared, if one knows Dharma.

Peace and love doesn’t need to be shared, if one knows peace and love.

Be free from aspiration and intention, if one truly wants to realize yoga.

Don’t be ambitious.

‘Sharing’, ‘connecting’, ‘giving’ and ‘receiving’ are reflections of separateness.

‘Sharing’, ‘connecting’, ‘giving’ and ‘receiving’ don’t exist in oneness.

Who is sharing with whom? Who is connecting with whom? Who is giving? Who is receiving?

Be free.

The ego exists in all and everyone and anyone

The ego exists in all and everyone and anyone, whether educated or non-educated, intelligent or non-intelligent, knowledgeable or non-knowledgeable, religious or non-religious, wealthy or poor, men or women, young or old, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, yoga practitioners and non-yoga practitioners, yoga teachers and non-yoga teachers, and so on.

If the ego can easily be eradicated, then the entire world would be in peace and harmony.

Though it’s not easy, fear not. Keep practicing. Root out the ego and egoism, patiently and diligently.

The entire worldly cultural, educational, religious, spiritual, social and political system is all about empowering the ego and egoism. It is normal and the right thing to do for human beings to empower self-identification, self-image and self-achievement. It would be wrong and strange if one abandons self-identification, self-image and self-achievement.

Even in the world of yoga which is ‘supposed’ to be all about starving the ego and eradicating egoism and separateness, but now mostly is all about empowering the ego and fueling egoism and separateness.
“I am a yogi.”
“I am a healer.”
“I am an experienced/good yoga practitioner.”
“I am an experienced/good yoga teacher.”
“I am X or Y brand yogi.”
“I am a Christian/Muslim/Buddhist/Hindu/Atheist/… yogi.”
“I am a certified and qualified yoga teacher.”
“I am a yoga teacher affiliated with such and such yoga alliance or yoga association or yoga school.”
“I have been practicing and teaching yoga for how many years and have taught in such and such yoga schools/ashrams and have taught how many yoga students.”
“These are my yogi family/friends/brothers/sisters/gangs.”
And all kinds of ‘yoga brands’, ‘yoga lineage’, ‘yoga schools’, ‘yoga festivals’, ‘yoga retreats’, ‘yoga courses’, ‘yoga healing products’, ‘yoga health food’, ‘yoga apparels’ and ‘yoga accessories’, and so on.

“Do not associate. Do not build ashrams. Do not hoard disciples. Do not mix. Live alone. Walk alone. Eat alone. Meditate alone.” – Swami Sivananda

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.

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.