Be free from all kinds of craving and clinging

Though this is the very basic teaching and practice of yoga, many people are not free from certain forms of physical, mental and emotional craving and clinging, both gross (aware) and subtle (unaware). It’s a practice that seems to be challenging or struggling for many yoga practitioners, including ‘yoga teachers’, mostly those who are passionate towards worldly life existence of an individual being with a personal identity and most probably at least one or a few group/community identity under the influence of worldly cultural and social ideas, activities, thinking and beliefs.

The minds that are not free from attachment and identification with some kind of impermanent qualities of names and forms as ‘I’, are not free from being determined by the presence/possession and absence/non-possession of certain qualities of names and forms to feel good, happy, confident and meaningful, or not.

There’s craving towards certain qualities of names and forms that the impure mind perceives or recognizes as ‘good’, ‘positive’, ‘well-deserving’, ‘acknowledgement’, ‘payback to one’s effort’, ‘higher standard’, ‘prideful’, ‘successful’, ‘lovable’, ‘joyful’ and ‘meaningful’, and there’s aversion towards certain qualities of names and forms that the impure mind perceives or recognizes as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘undeserving’, ‘non-acknowledgement’, ‘non-payback to one’s effort’, ‘lower standard’, ‘shameful’, ‘failure’, ‘unlovable’, ‘sorrowful’ and ‘meaningless’.

This is how most worldly minds think, believe, behave, live life, interact with one another, act and react, as most people/human beings grew up being taught/influenced by their parents, teachers, society and medias to develop a strong sense of ‘self-identity’ and ‘group identity’ attaching onto certain qualities of names and forms to be who they are, or who ‘I’ am. The entire life existence is very much based on upholding, or attaining, or possessing, or protecting, or passing down certain ‘values’ to feel happy, confident and meaningful, to live a proud, purposeful and meaningful life. Such as there’s nothing wrong when most minds would feel, think and believe that “It’s so good to practice yoga and it’s so meaningful to teach yoga to other people.” but the minds are not free.

It’s not easy for the minds to just ‘let go’ or ‘abandon’ all these identities of certain qualities that ‘generate’ the sense of ‘existence’ or more so the sense of ‘meaningful existence’, which is truly unnecessary to the liberated minds, but is upmost essential to the worldly impure minds.

There is the need of ‘aspiration’, ‘intention’, ‘motivation’, ‘inspiration’, ‘reward’, ‘encouragement’, ‘praise and compliment’, ‘recognition’, ‘acknowledgement’, ‘positive feedback’, ‘positive interaction’, ‘positive guidance’, and etc, for performing actions (of doing something that the mind perceives as ‘good’) or inactions (of not doing something that the mind perceives as ‘not good’).

As long as the mind is not free from this ‘worldly habitual thinking pattern’ under the influence of worldly thinking and belief where most people think and believe that there is a need of the existence of ‘positive beings’ to uplift/inspire ‘the other not so positive beings’ to ‘create’ a ‘positive world’, or there is a need of ‘spiritual beings with spiritual healing power’ or ‘magic pills’ to ‘heal’ all the ‘hurts’ or ‘take away’ all the painful sorrow and suffering of mankind, this mind will always be determined by the qualities of names and forms that are impermanent and selfless, and be disturbed by the absence and presence of what the worldly minds perceive as ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘positive and negative’, ‘appropriateness and inappropriateness’, ‘should and shouldn’t’, ‘auspiciousness and inauspiciousness’ and ‘meaningfulness and meaninglessness’.

The mind expects itself and everything that it identifies as ‘I’, such as ‘my body’, ‘my appearance’, ‘my ability’, ‘my mind’, ‘my belief’, ‘my feelings’, ‘my knowledge’, ‘my happiness’, ‘my confidence’, ‘my life’, or ‘my existence’ to be in certain ways that the mind desires, likes and agrees with, of the qualities that it craves to achieve, or possess, or identify with. The mind also expects others and everything that it relates to ‘I’, such as ‘my family’, ‘my relationship’, ‘my friends’, ‘my country’, ‘my community’, ‘my group’, ‘my world’, ‘my fellow human beings’, and so on, to be in certain ways that the mind desires, likes and agrees with. When things are not the way that the mind expects it to be, the mind feels disturbed, dissatisfied, disappointed, and either agitated or depressed.

Those who truly ‘help’ other beings to be free from ignorance the cause of suffering, they ‘guide’ the minds to become their own teacher, to be aware of what is going on in the mind, to inquire the truth of everything, and to attain self-realization, to be free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance – egoism and impurities empowered by worldly ideas, activities, thinking and beliefs.

Contemplate on “Positive thinking is a just a practice to counter negative thinking, but it’s not the goal of the yoga practice.” and “There’s nothing wrong with attaining good health and happy mind, but it’s not the goal of the yoga practice.” and go beyond positive thinking, good health and happy mind.

Realize this, “It’s okay when the mind is ‘negative or unhappy’ in the present moment, as even this state of ‘negativity or unhappiness’ is impermanent and will change. Without any intention or expectation to chase away the state of ‘negativity or unhappiness’ or to develop the state of ‘positivity and happiness’, without craving towards ‘positivity/happiness’ or aversion towards ‘negativity/unhappiness’, allowing the mind to be what it is, allow it to change as it is. The mind is just what it is. It is impermanent. It’s neither a positive nor negative mind, neither a happy nor unhappy mind. And it’s not ‘I’.”

Love and be kind to the mind as it is, even when it is negative or unhappy. This doesn’t mean that pampering the mind by gratifying all its desires, but be determined to free the mind from ignorance, impurities, egoism and suffering.

As long as there is an identity in the mind generates clinging/craving towards ‘positivity’ and aversion towards ‘negativity’, to change the mind to be the way that ‘I’ want it to be, the way that ‘I’ think it should be, the mind is not free, even though there’s nothing wrong with that. Instead of working on transforming a ‘negative mind’ into a ‘positive mind’, work on ‘being aware of what is going on in the mind, without attachment of craving and aversion towards all the ‘positive and negative’, ‘good and bad’, or ‘happy and unhappy’ thought activities as ‘I’. The mind doesn’t need to be ‘positive’, or ‘good’, or ‘happy’ when it is free from ignorance.

Practice yoga, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion and expectation, allowing the effects or the fruit of the practice to be there as it is. There’s no “I am doing the yoga practice and I will be receiving the effects or the fruit of the yoga practice.” The one who is free, or not free from ignorance, disturbs and suffering, it’s the mind. There’s no ‘I’ expects the mind will be free. The mind will be free as it is, when the idea of ‘I’ disappears.

Be free.

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Silence upon realization of selflessness and compassion

As the world evolves towards what most people believe as higher quality of life with higher standard of living, somehow the teaching/practice of ‘silence’ in Yoga and Buddhism is being neglected, or abandoned, or denied, or criticized. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as that’s the way it goes.

It’s not easy for the impure egoistic passionate minds (that are being conditioned by worldly ideas, thinking and belief to think and behave, to aspire and inspire, to live life, to socialize and interact, to accumulate connections and relationships, to feel happy, confident, proud and meaningful) to penetrate the subtle meaning of silence. In many cases, silence would be perceived by the worldly egoistic passionate minds as ‘cowardliness’, ‘non-action/improper action’, ‘weakness’, ‘submissive towards other’s people bad and wrongful behavior’, or ‘passively encouraging evilness, bad ideas and wrong doings’. There’s nothing wrong with this common worldly thinking and belief, action and reaction.

Only the dispassionate minds could penetrate the subtle reason/meaning/action/practice of silence in the teachings of Yoga and Buddhism, where it’s beyond restraining the speech organ, physical and mental activities, or restraining the senses from going out chasing after the objects of the senses, but real silence comes naturally and effortlessly out of compassion upon realization of selflessness knowing what is going on in the mind of all the restless and selfless modifications of the mind perception of names and forms, egoism and the by-products of egoism, separateness, all forms of impurities, actions and reactions, intentions and expectations, aspirations and inspirations, enjoyment and suffering.

It’s being aware of and acknowledging the ignorance in one’s mind. It’s seeing the ignorance in this mind which is not any different from the ignorance in other minds. It’s seeing the truth of “the impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of the body and mind functioning and perceiving all the impermanent and selfless names and forms” as it is.

The highest Yoga Sadhana is forbearance to forbear the mind perception of unpleasantness, disagreement, undesirable experiences, constraint, selfless changes, difficulties, obstacles, challenging condition and situation, insult, humiliation, threat and hurt without violence, animosity, ill-will, anger and hatred, which include non-craving, non-aversion, non-justification, non-retaliation, non-contentious, non-bashing, non-criticism, non-judgment, non-expectation, and so on, upon experiencing what the worldly thinking and belief categorizes as stupid, selfish, unjust, bad, undeserving, wrongful, hurtful, unkind, harsh, cruel, unreasonable, provoking, or mischievous treatment/behaviors from others, especially if it’s coming from those whom we love, who are in some kind of relationship with us.

Upon realization of the truth of names and forms, the mind perception of suffering and the root cause of suffering vanished, or being free from ignorance and the consequences of ignorance – all kinds of suffering, all forms of yoga practice including forbearance become irrelevant or useless. It is needless to practice forbearance to forbear anything, as the mind has gone beyond all the modifications of the mind perception of duality, separateness and the worldly ideas, thinking, belief, actions and reactions. It is needless to practice yoga to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering, as the mind is free as it is.

After going through a prolong and unpleasant process of mind purification, the minds that are rendered pure and quiet are able to see the truth of names and forms as it is, realizing oneness/non-separateness among all the different qualities of names and forms, and the relation between silence, selflessness, compassion and non-violence, being free from the ego (the idea of ‘I’ exists as an individual being) and egoism, and the mind perception of ‘hurt and suffering’ vanished. There’s no need to ‘forbear’ something ‘hurtful and suffering’. There’s no need to be ‘healed’ from ‘hurt and suffering’. The mind is resting in silence peacefully, naturally and effortlessly, even under the great criticism/attack from many other passionate egoistic minds (those who identify themselves as ‘good people’ empowered by the sense of self-righteousness) in the world discouraging, condemning and disagreeing with the action/practice of silence.

There’s nothing wrong with most minds think and believe that people/human beings/mankind should react with ‘Intolerance and discouragement towards bad and wrongful treatments/behaviors’, to fight back and attack the ‘bad and evil beings’, to obtain revenge/justice/relief for themselves being ‘the victims’ of other people’s bad and wrongful treatments/behaviors, as that is how all the impure egoistic minds understand and being conditioned to react in certain ways upon receiving treatments/behaviors from others that the minds perceive, think and believe as ‘undeserving’, ‘shouldn’t’, ‘wrongful’ and ‘bad’.

To contemplate on this teaching –

Let’s say, there’s a couple who think they love each other and are committed to be a couple.

One of them behaves in the way that most minds/people would perceive, categorize, think and believe as terrible, bad, wrongful, or hurtful.

It’s normal that the other person will react and feel dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt by the partner’s bad, hurtful and wrongful behavior.

Out of dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt, this person has the urge to complain to other people about “My partner is so bad and terrible. He/she is like this and like that. He/she did this and did that. I love him/her so much. I am so nice to him/her, but this is how he/she behaves in return for my love and care. I don’t deserve to be treated like this.”

This person has the freedom to express his/her frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger and hurt, to do and say what he/she wants to do and say, but then it only indicates that this person doesn’t love the partner at all, when he/she would think and react in such way, and would do and say things that would hurt the partner in return out of the frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt that he/she strongly convinced that it’s caused by the partner’s being unloving and unkind with his/her bad, undeserving, hurtful and wrongful treatments/behaviors.

If the partner reacts with dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt towards this person’s action, and would react by doing and saying something that would hurt this person in return, then this also indicates that the partner also doesn’t love this person.

Both of them don’t love each other at all. They only love what they desire. They would have ill-thinking and ill-will towards each other, and would hurt each other when they don’t get what they like and want from one another, but they are getting what they don’t like and don’t want from one another.

If a person loves the partner, he/she will love him/her as he/she is, and won’t do or say anything with the intention of deliberately to ‘hurt’ him/her, even when the person receives so called ‘bad’, ‘wrongful’, or ‘hurtful’ treatment/behavior from the partner.

If the partner loves this person, he /she won’t be doing anything intentionally to ‘hurt’ his/her partner or the relationship. He/she will love the partner as he/she is, even when knowing that this person doesn’t love him/her, as he/she would do and say things to ‘hurt’ their partner when they are dissatisfied, unhappy, angry or feel hurt by something that they don’t like and don’t want. The partner won’t retaliate by doing or saying anything with the intention of deliberately to ‘hurt’ him/her in return for this person’s action of complaining to other people about the partner being ‘bad’ and ‘terrible’.

There’s nothing wrong when one knows/realizes that oneself doesn’t love the partner or anyone. “Because I don’t love you, that’s why I would do things that will hurt you and our relationship, or I would want to hurt you in return for thinking and believing that I am hurt by you and your bad, wrong and hurtful behavior.”

The thinking of “I love you so much, I am so loving to you. I deserve to be loved by you and I should be receiving loving treatment. I am very disappointed, unhappy, angry and hurt by your bad, wrongful and hurtful behavior that I don’t deserve. I need to tell other people about how bad, wrongful and hurtful you are, because it will make me feel better by getting support and agreement from others to also agree with me that I am good and you are bad, that I am right and you are wrong, and that’s why I am the ‘victim’ of other people’s hurtful behavior and I need/deserve support and sympathy from others.” is the cause of misery arising in the mind.

The realization of “I am unhappy, dissatisfied, disappointed, frustrated, angry and hurt is because I don’t love you, I only love what I like and want, and I am not getting what I like and want from you, but I am getting what I don’t like and don’t want from you.” is what allows the mind to be liberated from misery. There’s no need to ‘complain’, or ‘condemn’, or ‘redeem justice’.

It doesn’t mean that one allows other people to abuse one’s body and mind, but one doesn’t need to be disturbed or determined by other people’s unloving or unkind treatments/behaviors. One can let go of the partner and the relationship in peace. It’s when one couldn’t let go the partner and the relationship for some reasons, and hence, one is peaceless and suffering being ‘engaged’ or ‘stuck’ in a loveless relationship that is not the way that one would like it to be.

The thinking of “We are kind and loving people, and believing that we love other people and are kind to other people, but at the same time, thinking that we are somehow hurt by other people whom we ‘love’ very much. Believing and expecting that all mankind ‘should’ be loving and kind to one another.” is the cause of ‘hurt and suffering’. If we truly know what is love and how to love, we love everyone as they are, we love everything as it is. There’s no ‘hurt and suffering’ regardless of how other people think, feel, behave, act and react, and how things are.

It’s great liberation either when the mind realizes it doesn’t love anyone, and there’s nothing wrong for being loveless, or when the mind realizes unconditional love and loves everyone and everything as it is, without expecting everyone and everything has to be in certain ways, that everyone has to be kind and loving to one another, or has to be grateful, appreciative and thankful for goodness and other people’s love and kindness. One is free to love and give without possessiveness and ill-feelings/resentment, being free from egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment and expectation.

There’s nothing wrong when other people don’t love us, or don’t want to love us. Everyone has the freedom to love, or not to love anyone. Just that when there’s no love, people will do and say things that will hurt one another when their minds are being over-powered by dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurt and anger, including hurting people whom they think they ‘love’ very much, whether intentionally or unintentionally. There’s nothing wrong if we feel unhappy, disappointed, hurt and angry when we are not loved by those whom we would like to be loved by them, and we would feel hurt by their unloving treatments/behaviors towards us, but that thinking and reaction is merely due to ignorance in our minds.

It’s the craving and clinging towards ‘love and affection’ and ‘receiving loving treatments’ and ‘attaining a loving relationship’ to feel love, happy, confident, worthy, proud and meaningful about ‘I’ and ‘my life’ that causing suffering exist in the mind.

We feel disappointed, unhappy, angry and hurt is because things are not the way that we would like it to be. We didn’t get the ‘love and affection’ that we expect to be receiving from others, or be loved/sympathized/accepted/acknowledged/understood/supported/treated by others the way that we would like it to be, the way that we think it should be, to attain the sense of love, self-esteem, purpose, confidence, pride, happiness, completeness and meaningfulness, to be ‘who I am’.

If ‘yoga teachers’ truly want to help other beings/people to be free from the suffering of hurts/disappointment/anger/painful sorrow/grief/resentment/fear/loneliness/depression, it’s not by empowering the ignorance and egoism in others through ‘being a good listener listening to their complaints’, or ‘giving them the love and support that they are looking/craving for’, or ‘prescribing them with different types of healing practice’, or ‘being the healer that claimed to be able to heal their minds/souls from all kinds of hurts and suffering’, but it’s to give them the Dhamma, that will allow them to purify their own minds via their own self-effort and self-discipline, to attain self-realization to realize/see the truth of all the names and forms, to know what is going on in the mind, to know the root cause of all suffering, and free their own minds from ignorance, egoism and impurities. Buddha didn’t ‘take away’ the ignorance and impurities from people’s mind, neither did Buddha ‘heal’ other people from their hurts and suffering, but Buddha just gave the Dhamma to those who came to him for ‘guidance how to be free from suffering’, and allowing everyone whether to practice and free their own mind from ignorance and suffering, or not.

Those who live in the truth, they are peaceful and free as it is, regardless of whether there’s love or loveless towards others who restlessly act and react under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and would hurt oneself and others whether intentionally or unintentionally. There’s no need to forbear, or forgive, or let go anything, as they are free from disturbed, disappointment, resentment, anger, hatred and hurts. It’s everyone’s own responsibility to be aware of what is going on in their own minds and whether there’s self-control over their own actions and reactions, or not.

Be free.

Freedom in all kind of relationships

Some minds are troubled/disturbed by the existence of relationships that are not the way that they would like it to be, and some minds are troubled/disturbed by the past relationships that were not the way that they liked it to be, while some minds are troubled/disturbed by the absence of relationships that they would like to have. The ever-restless clinging mind is always looking forward for ‘something’ that isn’t here, or a ‘reality’ that is not what it is in the present. There’s nothing wrong with that, as it is the nature of the impure egoistic mind, just that the mind is not free.

The minds that don’t know and the ones who think they know but they don’t really know what is going on in the mind of attachment and non-attachment, there is no peace or freedom regardless of whether they have a few or many relationships, or don’t have any relationships. The minds are being determined by the existence and non-existence of relationships, the quality of the relationships and the impermanent changes of the relationships. The minds are not being in the present, being determined or disturbed by the past pleasant and unpleasant experiences/memories and future anticipations/non-anticipations, as well as being determined by the perceived reality in the present.

The minds that attached onto worldly passionate thinking and belief in search for the sense of self-esteem, confidence, fulfillment, happiness and meaningfulness in the qualities of names and forms or relationships are not free from the impure modifications/reactions of the mind perception of dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hurts, regret, guilt, loneliness, boredom, meaninglessness, fear, worry, grief, painful sorrow and suffering, and be disturbed upon coming in contact with the names and forms or relationships that are not the way that the minds like, agree with and desire.

The minds that know what is going on in the mind of attachment and non-attachment, they are peaceful and free as it is, regardless of whether they have a few or many relationships, or don’t have any relationships. They are not determined by the existence and non-existence of relationships, the quality of the relationships, or the impermanent changes of the relationships. The minds are being in the present without being determined or disturbed by the past pleasant and unpleasant experiences/memories and future anticipations/non-anticipations, and being undetermined by the perceived reality in the present.

They love, unconditionally/compassionately. They don’t fall in/out love. They love all and everything as they are, as it is, without expecting or interfering with all and everything have to be in certain ways.

They are free to give, or not. And when they give, they give their best within their ability and capacity of what is possible and available in the present, without attachment towards the actions or the fruit of actions, being free from discrimination, identification, intention, expectation, greed, possessiveness, clinging, craving and aversion, and allowing others whether to accept, receive, appreciate and be thankful towards what they give, or not, and thus being free from dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hurts, regret, guilt, loneliness, boredom, meaninglessness, fear, worry, grief, painful sorrow and suffering, and be undisturbed upon coming in contact with the names and forms or relationships that are not necessarily the way that most mind would like, agree with and desire.

There’s no judgment and expectation towards others for how others think, believe, behave, act and react, desire and don’t desire. There’s no ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’. There’s only actions and the consequences of actions.

All kinds of violence/conflicts start from “Desire of expecting, interfering, changing, controlling, over-powering and oppressing others’ thinking, beliefs, behaviors, actions and reactions to be the way that ‘I’ think and believe it should be.”

There’s neither right nor wrong when the dispassionate minds don’t perceive sadness or grief towards the dead ones while the passionate minds perceive sadness and grief towards the dead ones. It’s just the different modifications of mind perception/reactions functioning either under the influence of ignorance, or free from ignorance.

These dispassionate attachment-free minds are being perceived by the worldly passionate minds, including many of the ‘yoga practitioners’ and ‘yoga teachers’ in the world as ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, ‘heartless’, ‘feelingless’, ‘cold’, ‘selfish’, ‘self-centered’, ‘uncaring’, ‘unloving’, ‘unsympathetic’, ‘inhuman’, ‘madness’, ‘weird’, ‘abnormal’, and so on. All these judgments/labels derived from the worldly passionate minds don’t affect or disturb the dispassionate minds being peaceful and free as it is. It’s everyone’s freedom for how they perceive, act and react, judge and expect, or seeing what they want/like to see and not seeing what they don’t want/like to see.

“How can a ‘normal’ human being don’t feel sad or grieve for the death of another being, especially someone who loved you and whom you love and related to you dearly? It’s so wrong and inhuman.”

Indeed, that’s how most minds think, believe, behave, act and react – ‘Normal’ human beings should behave, act and react in ‘certain ways’ and shouldn’t behave, act and react in ‘certain ways’ based on the worldly thinking and belief about what is ‘right and wrong’, ‘should and shouldn’t’.

For the minds that know, there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with all the different kind of mind perceptions, way of thinking, belief and disbelief, behavior, actions and reactions. It’s just the minds that don’t know what is going on in the mind, they are functioning under the influence of ignorance, while being ignorant towards ignorance, and thus, being disturbed by the modifications of the mind perception/reaction towards all the perceived agreeable/disagreeable names and forms, and all kinds of dissatisfaction, disturbance, hurts, restlessness and suffering arise in the mind. There is a desire/need of receiving kindness, interaction, understanding, acceptance, appreciation and acknowledgment, and there’s perception/reaction of hurts and the desire/need to be healed from hurts.

It’s like when the ignorant mind experiencing something that it perceives/recognizes as ‘hurtful’ and ‘wrongful’, it feels hurt and angry about something, and there’s a desire/need to be healed from ‘hurts’ and ‘anger’. But when the mind sees the truth of ‘hurt’ and ‘anger’, being free from ignorance, the mind no longer perceives/feels hurt or angry about anything. There’s no desire/need to be healed from anything.

Be free.

The basic humanity of thoughtfulness and self-initiative to look after things

The prerequisite for someone to be fit to learn and practice yoga even before the four means of Viveka, Vairagya, Mumukshutva and Shat-sampat to qualify someone as a Sadhaka, is about some basic humanity of thoughtfulness and self-initiative to look after things, whether the things belong to oneself, or don’t belong to oneself, and maintaining tidiness and cleanliness of the surrounding environment out of free-will and self-initiative, whether it’s a personal space or a public space, even when nobody is obliged to perform such thoughtful selfless actions, or even when one has to pay some fees to be staying at a particular accommodation, to be at a particular place, for a particular reason.

Those who aren’t aware of this very basic of humanity, especially money minded people who believe in “I’ll get 2 cents back for every 1 cent that I’ve paid,” they are unfit to learn and practice yoga, even if they have a strong and flexible physical body to perform many of the yoga asana poses nicely in perfect alignment, or they have attended many ‘yoga courses’ and attained many ‘Internationally recognized yoga certifications’.

The practice of silence to conquer the restless mind

This teaching is for those who want to conquer the restless mind, but they realize that the mind is so difficult to quiet down, that there will be ceaseless distracting random thoughts occupying the mind, especially whenever they try to sit down quietly limiting the physical movements and refraining the senses from going out chasing after the object of the senses, to train the mind in concentration and meditation.

It’s a common reaction of all the untrained impure minds when the physical body is being restricted from bodily movements and the mental habitual activities is being restricted, there will be random thoughts bubbling up to the surface of the mind. It’s part of the purification process. People should continue the practice by learning how to be aware of all these random thoughts without association, attachment, identification, craving or aversion, judgment and expectation, and allowing all these random pleasant and unpleasant thoughts arising and passing away, to clear up the past accumulated imprints. People expect that when they meditate, the mind will be free from any thoughts, and so, they’ll get very disappointed and demotivated after a few attempts trying to concentrate or meditate, they realize that the modification of the mind is even more agitated and violent whenever they try to concentrate or meditate. And without correct understanding, many people would give up and prefer to just live everyday life as they are, ‘happy happy go lucky’, be good, do good, without the need to deal with the unpleasant behavior of the mind that they don’t like to confront with. And that’s their freedom.

The biggest element in aid to conquer the restless mind is the observation of silence, of seclusion, solitude and renunciation from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions.

Some people think that those who want to conquer the mind should take up the challenge of living and mixing among the society, in order to allow the mind to practice concentration and meditation in everyday life having to deal with all kinds of challenging condition and situation, distractions and disturbance, while learning how to remain equanimous without being affected or determined by all the challenging condition and situation in life, without generating craving towards the pleasant life experiences and without generating aversion towards the unpleasant life experiences. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But what happens? After many years of ‘trying’ to practice yoga and meditation to conquer the restless mind, but the mind is still restless, or even more restless under the influence of ignorance and impurities.

Some even say that it’s very easy to be calm and quiet being in solitude and seclusion without dealing with other beings and worldly affairs. They think that one doesn’t need to deal with pleasantness and unpleasantness, craving and aversion, distractions and disturbance, actions and reactions, when being in solitude and seclusion. What they don’t know is that most minds will runaway from solitude and seclusion after some time, like fish out of water, and the modification of the mind is even more agitated and violent being restricted from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions that keep the mind stimulated, entertained, busy, or restless. That’s why so many people will say that meditation is very difficult, or they can’t meditate, or they don’t like meditation, or they don’t like to observe silence, of solitude and seclusion.

Whether one is surrounded by many other beings and happenings, or one is alone in solitude away from happenings, this mind has to deal with the impermanent and selfless changes of the physical body and the ignorant impure egoistic modification of the mind. Whether the mind is free, or not free, it’s always right here and right now. When the mind practices concentration and meditation, it’s always alone, regardless of whether there are other people around, or not.

Do not blind-believing or blind-following any teachings from anyone or somewhere, including all the teachings here. Contemplate and inquire the truth of all teachings and attain self-realization of the truth of all the teachings via direct experience.

Take note that living in the world and mixing in the society are two completely different things. Geographically and biologically, one will have to and always be living in the world, otherwise, this body will not be able to survive for long, but at the same time, know the importance of observing silence, of maximum solitude and seclusion, renouncing worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, in short, refraining from mixing in the society.

While living in the world, one will still have to deal with the impermanent and selfless condition and situation in the world that is ever challenging, and developing the strength of non-association, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation, and one learns how to conserve energy and not wasting energy into worldly affairs/activities/interactions that derived from ignorance and egoism, as well as empowering/feeding ignorance and egoism.

Observing maximum solitude and seclusion while living in the world, and renouncing worldly social relationships, activities and interactions doesn’t mean that one is completely isolated from the society and not performing any actions in the world. One can be performing unlimited selfless service in the world to benefit the society efficiently, but being free from mixing, or socializing, or accumulating relationships. One is care-less towards the worldly affairs, but can also be performing actions that benefit the world at the same time. Being compassionate towards all beings doesn’t mean that one has to be in a form of relationship with all beings. One can be kind to others without the need of knowing or contacting with the others. Contemplate on this, and be free to observe silence while living in the world and performing actions in the world.

For the ‘first class’ students of Dhamma, which are very few of them in this world, they don’t need to observe silence, of solitude, seclusion and renunciation from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, as they are already grounded firmly in Dhamma. They can be mixing in the society like everyone else, behaving like everyone else, but their minds are ever pure and quiet. They don’t need to practice concentration or meditation at all. They are not separated from meditation. There’s no in or out of meditation.

For the other students of Dhamma, which is the majority of us, we do need to observe silence at some stage, of maximum solitude and seclusion, and renounce worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, as whether we are aware or unaware, the mind is constantly absorbing all the inputs of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts/imagination/projection/dreams, all the time, unwittingly. All these endless accumulated inputs are the ceaseless random thoughts that bubbling up to the surface of the mind during the practice of concentration and meditation, and many minds that haven’t develop a strong foundation of non-association, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation will be greatly disturbed, distracted and demotivated by this purification process. And this will never come to an end, unless we start reducing and limiting all these unnecessary mind inputs deriving from all kinds of worldly relationships, activities and interactions.

It’s like someone tries very hard to clean up the rubbish bin, but somehow, rubbish keep pouring into the bin, from someone and somewhere, endlessly. The bin will never be cleaned. The untrained impure egoistic mind is like a rubbish bin, taking in all kinds of rubbish (mind inputs) ceaselessly, unwittingly. And yoga and meditation practice of silence, solitude, seclusion and renunciation, is the most effective and practical way to free the mind from being a rubbish bin, and it’s not about to be a clean rubbish bin, but to realize its nature of namelessness, formlessness and attributelessness, that it is neither a dirty rubbish bin nor a clean rubbish bin.

Perform this test to know how the mind works. Sit down without moving the body and limbs, closing the eyes, and observe the natural breath coming in and going out for a few minutes. Very soon, unwittingly, random thoughts will arise and occupying the mind. And one will realize that all these random bubbling thoughts are the strongest imprints during the day, or from the last few days, or even from weeks/months/years before, or even forgotten.

Even Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and Swami Sivananda also had to retreat from the society to be focusing on their practice for some years in solitude, restraining the modification of the mind and attaining liberation. And then they came back to the society to disseminate the Dhamma to the other suffering minds whom in need of the Dhamma to be free from suffering.

By reducing and limiting the mind inputs not just allowing the mind to be purified effectively, but it also helps to develop a great mental strength that allows the mind to be uninfluenced, unaffected, undisturbed and undetermined by all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses. At this stage, the mind is safe and free to be mixing in the society and live everyday life like everyone else, but the mind is ever pure and quiet.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to think and believe, and what they want or don’t want to practice.