Appreciating what matter to us in life without attachment

Most of the time we don’t really know what matter to us in life until the moment we lost something that we didn’t realize it matters to us very much, or at the moment ‘death’ is approaching.

If we know what matter to us in life, and what doesn’t matter, we can have a clear direction of life and make all decisions without any doubt or regret.

We can put aside or go beyond many difficulties/challenges/fear because what matter to us in life is more important than anything else, but it also could lead us to the biggest fear/aversion towards losing what matters most to us.

That biggest fear towards losing what matters most to us in life can be overcome by being able to appreciate everything that matter to us in life in this present moment without attachment/clinging, which allows us to be able to let go what matter to us in peace, when impermanence strikes.

Many people would say that ‘appreciation without attachment’ is easy to say but difficult to do.

That’s why we need ‘practice’/’training’ and certain degrees of ‘patience’/’perseverance’/’determination’/’non-judgment’/’non-comparison’/’non-expectation’.

It takes time for the mind to be ‘trained’ to be unattached towards all the names and forms, and be undetermined/undisturbed by the truth of impermanence and selflessness, and things that are not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, and be able to let go everything in peace.

‘Non-attachment’ manifest as it is, naturally/effortlessly/intentionlessly, when the mind is free from ignorance, knowing the truth of impermanence and selflessness.

It’s okay that there are things that matter to us more than some other things and there are things that don’t matter at all to us, despite that we would more likely hearing many people say that everything matters. As surviving life is already challenging enough for many people. Sometimes we need to let go certain things to allow the mind/the thinking faculty to maintain certain degrees of sanity and clarity.

In the end, everything is equally matters and doesn’t matter at the same time upon realization of selflessness.

It’s good that human beings have the loving kindness for helping and supporting one another, but it’s okay that there are times we can’t help, or we can’t help as much as we would like it to be. We also need to allow everyone to learn how to look after themselves and take responsibility for their desires/actions and the consequences of their desires/actions.

Meanwhile some people don’t mind being attached strongly onto everything and suffering for the loss of what matter to them very much, or suffering for the things that are not necessarily the way that they would like it to be, as they think and believe that “That’s life and life should be like that.” And that’s their freedom of thinking/feeling/action/reaction.

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.

Take good care of everything to appreciate everything, but without fear of losing anything

Non-attachment doesn’t mean that we don’t take good care of anything. We take good care of everything – life, the body and the mind, the environment, the house, the relationships, the family, the world, and etc, to appreciate everything that we think is good – good life, good condition, good health, good experiences, good feelings, good environment, good living area, good relationships, good family, good situation of the world, and etc, but without attachment towards everything and without fear of losing anything that we think is good.

When we perform the yoga poses, we pay maximum attention, be vigilant and take care while coming into the poses, while holding or staying in the poses and while coming out or releasing from the poses, in a relaxed manner, without tension of fear, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison, or expectation.

It’s about relaxing the body into the postures without forcing or struggling, and quieting the restless worldly egoistic judgmental and expectational mind that keeps judging its performance and expecting certain results from all its effort to perform certain actions. There is minimum risk of injury, even if one couldn’t execute the yoga poses in so called ‘correct or perfect alignment’ due to certain limitation, if one knows how to relax while performing the yoga asana practice, and respecting the impermanent condition, ability and limitation of the body as it is, without forcing or pushing the body to go beyond its limitation. The risk of injury will still be there, even if one knows how to perform all the yoga asana poses in so called ‘correct or perfect alignment’, if one performs the yoga asana practice under the influence of ignorance and egoism, full of tension of judgment, comparison and expectation, and doesn’t respect the condition, ability and limitation of the body as it is, by forcing or pushing the body to go beyond its limitation. The body and the mind is not able to be relaxed due to trying to comply to the standard of ‘correct or perfect alignment’.

It’s really not important whether the body can perform all or some or none of the yoga poses. One doesn’t need to be able to do any yoga poses at all to free the mind from ignorance and egoism and suffering. Being able to perform many of the yoga poses in ‘perfect alignment’ regularly for a long time also doesn’t guarantee that one is practicing yoga or is free from ignorance and egoism. The yoga asana practice is just one of the tools to help to influence the state of the mind, to balance the mind, to quiet the mind, to prepare the mind for meditation. If one doesn’t know how to let go of the ego and egoism, and is full of passionate desires of craving and aversion, then even if one has been doing yoga asana practice in ‘perfect alignment’ for many many years and attained all kinds of health and fitness benefits from the regular yoga asana practice, but the mind is not free from suffering being disturbed and determined by all the perceptions of qualities of names and forms.

In the process of performing the yoga poses, it’s mainly about letting go the ego and egoism of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgement, comparison and expectation, to renounce the actions and the fruit of actions, to realize the truth of impermanence and selflessness of the life existence of the body and mind, to allow the restless mind to be free from restlessness, to be in silence. It’s nothing to do with how ‘good’ the body can do the yoga poses, or how many yoga poses the body can perform in ‘perfect alignment’, or not.

Perform all the yoga poses in a relaxed manner and accepting the body as it is, without forcing the body to go beyond its limitation, without judgment, comparison and expectation. There’s no need to think about how one should look or feel in the yoga poses because everyone has a different body and limitation, and everyone might look and feel differently while performing the same poses. And how we look and feel in the yoga poses is impermanent because the physical ability and limitation will change from moment to moment. We don’t have to look like other people, or the teacher. The body might feel strong, flexible, light and comfortable in one practice, and it might feel weak, stiffed, heavy and discomfortable in another practice performing the same poses or exercises.

It’s the same as in life, we are aware of the existence of certain risks, we pay maximum attention, be vigilant and take care while performing any tasks, in a relaxed manner, without tension of fear, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison, or expectation.

If there’s something we need to deal with in the present, we do our best to deal with it instantly in a relaxed manner, without fear. If we can’t or don’t know how to handle it, we let it be and take it as it is, without fear. There are things that we can do and there are things that we can’t do, and it’s okay. And what we can do or cannot do in the present, is impermanent.

Be free.

‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ is part of the human cultural values and practice, it’s nothing to do with yoga…

‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ is part of the human cultural practice, it’s nothing to do with yoga.

Gratitude, gratefulness and thankfulness are not necessarily has to be expressed in words like ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’.

Selfless actions are not influenced by human cultural values and beliefs. It is being performed whether there is politeness, acknowledgement, appreciation, gratitude, gratefulness, thankfulness, or not, before the actions, in the process of the actions, and after the actions.

If people want to say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’, let them be. Our actions are not determined by these ‘words’ or ‘appreciation’ from anyone.

If people don’t say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’, let them be. Our actions are not determined by the absence of these ‘words’ or ‘in-appreciation’ from anyone.

If we need to hear other people to say ‘Please’ for us to do something for them, or to give something to them, then only we will perform actions ‘happily’, then we are not really practicing yoga.

If we need to hear other people to say ‘Thank you’ to us for doing something for them, or giving something to them, then only we will feel satisfied and worthy, then we are not really practicing yoga either.

If it is something beneficial for everyone, without anyone says ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’, we will do it out of compassion.

If it is something detrimental for anybody, even somebody says ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’, we won’t do it out of compassion.

Perform all our actions, free from the influence of personal human cultural values and practice, free from egoism, identification, attachment, expectation, craving and aversion, go beyond worldly cultural thinking and beliefs.

There’s no ‘I’ to be ‘performing’ actions. There are no actions being ‘performed’. There’s nobody ‘benefited’ from ‘my’ actions. There’s no ‘I’ to be ‘receiving’ the fruit of actions. Although there are actions being performed through the mind and the body.

The elements of fire, wind, water, earth and ether don’t need any politeness, acknowledgement, appreciation, gratitude, gratefulness, thankfulness from anything and anyone to be performing their ceaseless actions of giving, providing and supporting everything and everyone to be existing.

Be free.