Conflict between the practice of influencing the state of the mind and observing the mind perception as it is?

Some people get confused by the yoga asana, pranayama and concentration practice that is about influencing the state of the mind (intentionally changing the state of the mind to be something different by purifying and rendering the impure restless wandering mind to be pure and calm and focus) and the practice of observing the mind perception of names and forms/thought activities and allowing the mind perception of names and forms/thought activities to be there as it is, without attachment, identification, judgment, expectation, craving or aversion towards the function/modification/thought activities of the mind, and allowing all the impermanent changes of all the names and forms to be there, as they are.

It seems like a contradiction of practice, but it’s not really.

The mind is like the lake and the state of the mind is like the surface of the lake. The reflections are being reflected as they are when the surface of the lake is still, and the reflections are contorted when the surface of the lake is moving. By rendering the state of the mind calm and still will allow the mind to see things as they are or allowing the perception of names and forms to be reflected as it is, but it doesn’t change the truth of the names and forms being what they are.

The modification/thoughts activities/perception of an individual reality of the mind is like the image/reflection of the sky or the sun or the moon being reflected on the surface of the lake, and no matter the images reflected on the lake is as they are or are contorted, (and if the lake has an egoistic thinking mind of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, craving and aversion towards the reflection of the sky, the sun or the moon on itself, and desires to change the sky, the sun or the moon to be the way that it likes it to be,) the lake doesn’t change the sky or the sun or the moon. And if the lake doesn’t exist, there’s no reflection of the sky, the sun or the moon, it still doesn’t affect the sky, the sun or the moon being there as they are.

The reflection on the surface of the lake doesn’t belong to the lake. The modification of the mind or the mind perception of pleasant/unpleasant/agreeable/disagreeable names and forms doesn’t belong to the mind.

Just like all the contents of good and bad qualities of names and forms existing in this space cannot affect the space and they don’t belong to the space. Neither will the space has desire to interfere with all the contents in it.

The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives something as good or not good existing in the space. The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives pleasant smells or unpleasant smells in the air. The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives beautiful happening or disgusting/horrible happening in this space.

Different minds perceive its personal/individual reality differently under the same condition and situation. Such like, different minds feel differently while being in a place full of ‘good’ happenings or being in a place full of ‘bad’ happenings. Death is neither good nor bad. Some people are sad and mourn for the death of the leader of the country/party/ideal/vision that they supported, while some other people are glad and celebrating it. Positive minds perceive names and forms positively, while negative minds perceive names and forms negatively, but it’s not the truth, as all the names and forms are just what they are, they are neither positive nor negative. The reality is just what it is, but qualities are being projected onto the perceived reality of the mind perception of names and forms out of the different states of the mind.

The modification/thought activities/perception of an individual pleasant or unpleasant reality, is like the reflections on the surface of the lake. The state of the mind (pure or impure, peaceful or peaceless, with good/bad attributes or attributeless) influences how the mind understands/reacts towards the perception of names and forms perceived through the senses, or life experiences, but all the perception of names and forms, or life experiences, or the understanding/reactions/modifications/activities cannot affect/hurt/disturb/change the mind, except due to ignorance and egoism, there’s a false identity in the mind (the ego) is being disturbed and determined by all the perception of names and forms, and has the desire/idea of changing the perceived reality to be the way that it likes it to be.

The practice of yoga asana, pranayama, concentration and self-inquiry serves as the tool to maintain and render the mind pure and calm to be fit for higher realization of freedom from ignorance and suffering. The yoga asana and pranayama practice is to prepare the mind to be fit/ready for self-inquiry and meditation by balancing the restless/agitated/dulled state of the mind via body positions/movements (yoga asana practice) and control of the breath (pranayama practice), to render the mind calm and quiet.

The concentration practice/exercises/training is to restraint the mind to focus at one point for a prolonged period of time, and to keep the mind in the present refraining the mind from wandering into the past or the future, or getting lost in random ceaseless thinking and imaginations. Meanwhile the practice of renunciation/solitude/seclusion is to free the mind from getting entangled in the mind perception of a worldly life existence.

These practice/training are developing the awareness to be aware of or to observe the modifications of the mind, rendering the mind to be calm and quiet, to be free from restlessness and to be open to inquire the truth/nature of everything, preparing the mind for meditation – seeing the truth as it is.

The inquiry into the truth/nature of names and forms will help to strengthen dispassion, right discrimination, non-attachment, non-identification, free from craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, and this will lead the mind to be less disturbed or completely undisturbed by all the perception of names and forms of a worldly life existence, and generate less impurities or completely be free from impurities, which eventually lead to the annihilation of ignorance and suffering of the mind perception of a worldly life existence of impermanence and selflessness.

The pure egoless mind stands as a witness witnessing/observing the mind perception of a reality as it is, or observing the mind perception of names and forms/the states of the mind/the activities in the mind/the thoughts/the feelings/the physical sensations, condition, ability and limitation/all the selfless impermanent changes, as they are, without interfering with all these modifications of the mind.

Whatever the mind perceives through the senses or comes in contact with, all the perceptions of names and forms/thoughts activities/images/individual reality, and all states of the mind are just what they are. They are impermanent and selfless. They don’t belong to the mind. The worldly life existence perceived by the mind is impermanent and selfless. It doesn’t belong to the mind. It’s neither ‘I’ nor ‘mine’. Suffering and all kind of corrupted thinking and behavior arise when there is ignorance, egoism and impurities in the mind that generate attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, thinking and believing that there’s ‘I’ and ‘mine’.

Without a calm and quiet mind, when the mind is in a state of impurity and restlessness due to egoism and impurities, it’s impossible for the mind to inquire the truth of things to be free from ignorance, as whatever is being perceived/understood through the senses are under the influence of or being contaminated by the impurities and restlessness. Just like a dirty, dusty and moving mirror cannot reflect the image of an object placed in front of it as it is. The mirror also cannot/doesn’t see itself without the help of another ‘mirror’ or ‘reflector’. And all the dirt, dust and movements don’t belong to the mirror. All the yoga, pranayama and concentration practice act as the tool to render the mind to be free from impurities and restlessness (cleaning up and stilling the ‘mirror’ to reflect the images as they are), and meditation is the ‘mirror’/’reflector’ to allow the pure and calm mind to see itself, as it is, beyond all the modifications of the mind.

That’s why it is very important to render the state of the mind pure and calm, in order to allow the mind to inquire the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance, and thus, allowing all the names and forms to be what they are. Or else, the ignorant egoistic minds desire to interfere with the names and forms that it doesn’t like to change/control it to be the way that it likes it to be, and there arise all sorts of suffering of discrimination, intolerance, interference, offensiveness, defensiveness, hostility, hatred, fear, violence, wars and etc.

It’s up to everyone to work on their own liberation through their own effort and pace.

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The yoga poses are neither easy nor difficult, neither comfortable nor uncomfortable, neither safe nor unsafe

The yoga poses or exercises are just what they are. They are neither easy nor difficult. They are neither comfortable nor uncomfortable. They are neither safe nor unsafe. They have no qualities nor intention to be easy or difficult, to make anyone feels comfortable or uncomfortable, to be safe or unsafe. It is coming from each individual physical condition, ability and limitation, the states of their mind, and how different bodies and minds react differently towards the poses and exercises that project the quality of easy or difficult, comfortable or uncomfortable, safe or unsafe onto every pose, or position, or exercise.

While doing the same poses or same exercises, some say it’s easy, some say it’s difficult. Some say they feel comfortable, some say they feel uncomfortable. Some don’t experience any injuries, some experience some injuries.

It is true for each individual about that is how their body and mind reacts towards the poses or exercises, and that is how they feel and experience while doing the poses and exercises. It is their personal truth and individual perception of reality. But it is not the truth of the poses or exercises.

Injuries occur while doing the poses or exercises if the practitioners don’t know their own physical ability and limitation, and they push their body to go beyond its limitation. Injuries don’t occur while doing the poses or exercises if the practitioners know their own physical ability and limitation, and they don’t push their body to go beyond its limitation. And yoga practice is really not about pushing the physical body to go beyond its limitation.

By pushing the body to go beyond its limitation, making the body more strong and flexible, and be able to do many of the yoga asana poses nicely, beautifully and in the perfect ‘correct’ alignment, doesn’t guarantee us peace and compassion, or liberation from ignorance and egoism. It’s about non-attachment, non-identification, desireless, non-craving, non-aversion, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, patience, forbearance, tolerance, and be free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, that lead us to peace and compassion. And all these has nothing to do with the physical conditions and abilities and skills to do the yoga poses or exercises. It’s nothing to do with the different types of benefits of the yoga poses and exercises either.

If the truth of the poses or exercises is they are something easy or difficult, comfortable or uncomfortable, safe or unsafe, then everyone who do the same poses or same exercises will react and feel the same. But, everyone would react and feel and experience differently from one another while doing the same poses or exercises, and everyone would react and feel and experience differently when doing the same poses or exercises on different practice session.

The poses or exercises are just being what they are. They are neither easy nor difficult, neither comfortable nor comfortable, neither safe nor unsafe.

Different minds perceive the world differently because different minds project different qualities onto names and forms that they perceive under the influence of different thinking and beliefs. Some perceive the world positively and some perceive the world negatively, but the world is neither positive nor negative. No one could debate with one another about their own personal perception of different reality that different minds perceive under the influence of their own personal thinking and belief, as that is what their minds perceive and understand, but, the different perceptions of different minds are not necessarily the truth of what things are.

The world is just what it is. It is neither good nor bad. Everything is subject to impermanence, arising and passing away. Realize this and be free from attachment, pride and arrogance about ‘I’, ‘my’ thinking, ‘my’ belief, ‘my’ actions and the fruit of ‘my’ actions.

By understanding this, we let go of judgment or expectation towards everything and everyone. All the names and forms are neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither happiness nor unhappiness, neither right nor wrong. It’s just different qualities being projected onto all the names and forms based on each individual mind being conditioned to think and believe about what things are, but it’s not the truth of all the names and forms.

Those who don’t see the truth or couldn’t understand this, they will want to argue with everyone whom is different from them, who has different perception of reality from them, who has different thinking and belief from them about what things are. They will want to prove that they are right and others who are different from them, are wrong. They want to prove that what they believe as good and bad, right and wrong, is true, while any contradictions with their belief about good and bad, right and wrong, is false. ‘Good people’ who think or label themselves as ‘good people’, they are not free from ignorance if they think and label those whom they think are bad, or those whose thinking and behavior are different from their own thinking and behavior, as bad people.

Be free.

Om shanti.

Practice yoga of selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness…

Many people like to do yoga asana exercises, as the yoga exercises, the breathing exercises, and the concentration while performing the yoga exercises can give many physical and mental health and fitness benefits when being done regularly. The body and the mind will feel good and light after the yoga asana and pranayama practice. The vast variations of the yoga exercises also give some sort of challenges and stimulation to the restless mind that craves to be stimulated and kept interested all the time. Or else the mind feels bored, dulled, depressed, meaningless, void or empty. But all these benefits and effects of performing the yoga exercises are impermanent and they are not the end of yoga practice.

Yoga practice is meant to allow the mind to go beyond all the qualities of name and form, to stop chasing after the objects of name and form, to be free from restlessness, to realize the truth of things as they are, and be free from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and thus be free from suffering.

The benefits and effects derived from the yoga asana practice that consumes lots of time, effort, concentration, patience, determination and perseverance of the body and the mind, can help to interest the mind to be busy doing some physical and mental activities that don’t just benefit oneself physically and mentally, but at the same time one won’t have the free time, free body and mind to be engaging in any unhealthy physical and mental activities that can harm oneself or other beings. It is very good even if one isn’t interested in the complete annihilation of ignorance and egoism.

All these benefits and effects are momentary, and don’t guarantee one freedom from ignorance and suffering, if one doesn’t know how to be free from egoism, attachment, identification, and desires of craving and aversion.

The root cause of suffering is ignorance (not knowing the truth of things). From ignorance, there arise egoism. From egoism, there arise attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion. From all these attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, there arise all sorts of impurities and restlessness. From impurities and restlessness, the mind has no peace and perceives suffering.

Most minds want to be free from suffering and have peace, but not many are interested when come to the yoga practice towards selflessness (the annihilation of egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion), attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness.

We can be putting our body in many different yoga asana poses after years and years of repeated practice of all these yoga poses, becoming more skillful and effortless while performing all these yoga poses, but, the mind might still be influenced by egoism and ignorance, it’s not free from attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, impurities and restlessness. The mind is constantly being affected, disturbed, influenced and determined by what it perceives through the senses of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks. There is no real peace which is beyond impermanence, which is not the momentary calmness, peaceful feelings and pleasant sensations that derived from performing some yoga exercises.

There is a common reaction of most minds who love yoga or love to do the yoga exercises – After we manage to perform certain yoga asana poses, the ever restless and dissatisfying nature of the egoistic mind will have this thought about “What next?” and try to do some other more challenging poses or new exercises that it never done before, one after another one. Even after the physical body has come to a point in achieving its highest strength and flexibility, the mind is still wondering “What next?”

By challenging and pushing the body to go beyond its physical limitation, and making the mind feels good doesn’t guarantee one peace and compassion. Peace and compassion has nothing to do with physical conditions and abilities, or the impermanent states of the mind. It is freedom from ignorance and egoism.

The restless mind is never contented with just doing the same few basic yoga poses everyday, which is all that we need to help to balance and calm the mind, preparing the mind for meditation. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what the mind does. It gets bored. It needs new toys, new interests, new stimulation.

Even though the body and mind is busy spending lots of time and effort into practicing yoga asana exercises, years after years, and attaining many benefits of the exercises, but we are not really practicing yoga at all, if we never train the mind to go beyond the qualities of name and form, to free the mind from ignorance, duality, egoism, attachment, identification, intention, expectation, desires, greed, dissatisfaction and restlessness. Instead we keep on trying to satisfy the desires of craving and aversion of the restless mind, keep on feeding and strengthening the egoism of the mind and all its modifications while performing the yoga asana practice.

May all be free, by practicing yoga, not just doing some yoga asana exercises.

Om shanti.

Fitness yoga exercise classes?

Yoga practitioners who live in the big city and wish to engage more time into their personal yoga practice by teaching some fitness yoga exercise classes in the big city to make a living to support their lives that also allow them to have the free time and space to perform their own yoga practice shouldn’t be bothered by what other people say about “These fitness yoga exercise classes are not about yoga and they are just a commercial ‘money making’ thing.” or “It’s wrong to modified traditional yoga asana practice into modern physical fitness exercise classes to make a living.”

Even if the fitness yoga exercise classes didn’t mention anything about the aspect of ‘spirituality’ whether intentionally or unintentionally, and it’s not about letting go of the egoism, desires, attachment, identification, craving and aversion at all, they do provide excellent and efficient physical fitness workout that can benefit many people disregard their personal cultural belief and religion practice, especially those who live a busy city lifestyle with limited personal time and space.

Although many yoga practitioners and teachers try to explain that yoga is universal, but, when we apply the name and form of ‘spirituality’ onto something that we believe is universal, then, not everyone will agree with ‘spirituality’ is universal friendly to all and everyone. As different people might have belief and disbelief about ‘spirituality’. Among those who believe in ‘spirituality’, different people or groups will have different names and forms of ‘spirituality’ that they think is belonged to them, and their ‘spirituality’ is better or purer than other forms of ‘spirituality’.

If something that is truly universal, it is free from being conditioned by any names and forms. It is nameless and formless beyond qualities of names and forms.

Fitness yoga exercise classes that don’t involve any aspects of ‘spirituality’ can bring the yoga practice to many levels and diversities of the society. As there are people do not wish to involve in the world of ‘spirituality’, which we can understand why, as there are many ‘weird’ people and ‘weird’ happenings going on in the world of ‘spirituality’ which are not necessarily what spirituality is about.

Not involving in the world of ‘spirituality’ doesn’t determine whether one is spiritual, or not. Just like not identifies oneself as good person, nor associating with other good people, doesn’t determine whether one is good, or not.

Without touching the aspect of ‘spirituality’, it is like any sports activities, it’s universal friendly. Anyone whether with or without a particular religion belief, being spiritual or non-spiritual, can take part in any kind of sports activities, if one is interested. Although great achievements and excellency in sports activities doesn’t guarantee anyone liberation from ignorance, egoism and suffering.

Living among the society, whatever people do and don’t do, there will always be somebody or some group in the society reacts towards something that they don’t like and don’t agree with, and criticize or condemn about this and that. Why should anyone be bothered?

Every living being comes into existence as a living being by oneself alone (even if there are multiple birth) and will leave this world by oneself alone (even if the life of multiple living beings is finished at the same moment). Self-realization or liberation from ignorance is attained by oneself alone. It has nothing to do with another being or group, not even all our past and present teachers and Gurus, or family and friends.

When a peaceful being prefers to be in solitude away from the society and keeps the path of liberation to oneself, and has no intention or interest in ‘teaching’ or sharing’ the path of liberation with any other beings, there will be criticism and condemn from somebody or some group about this being is selfish.

When a peaceful being has the intention or interest for ‘sharing’ the path of liberation with other beings, and tries to ‘teach’ or ‘guide’ other beings about the path of liberation, there will also be criticism and condemn from somebody or some group about one is not ‘teaching’ or ‘guiding’ other beings in the ‘correct and appropriate’ way according to what they think it should be.

Let them be. These minds that like to find faults in everything, and take pride and joy in criticism and condemn are restless. Most untrained minds are restless, or else there won’t be any criticism or condemn from anyone or anywhere about anything. The world will be very quiet and peaceful. Be compassionate towards all these restless minds, they are so unhappy and peaceless. Those who know non-attachment and non-identification will not be influenced by the points of view, thinking and beliefs of these restless minds. One shares what one is, or not, and it’s nothing to do with what others want and don’t want, like and dislike.

Among many forms of fitness exercises for attaining good health and fitness level, these yoga exercises adapted and modified from traditional yoga asana practice provide huge varieties and efficient fitness workouts for all levels of different physical conditions and abilities, to cater the personal requirements, the likes and dislikes of many different types of people, can promote fitness and obtain higher energy level, to induce good mood and relaxed state of the mind, to develop positive and clear thinking, to lower risk of injuries or contracting illnesses, to improve and maintain good physical and mental health condition, to improve quality of life, relationships, self-esteem and sense of meaningfulness. Although all these qualities of names and forms are still subject to impermanence, and don’t guarantee anyone liberation from ignorance and suffering.

The world will definitely be a better place with more people having a ‘cool and relaxed’ state of mind through performing yoga exercises regularly, there will be less conflicts and violence. It is better than taking some substances that might also can induce a momentary ‘cool and relaxed’ state of mind, but might bring other forms of side effects.

Eventually by obtaining and maintaining a well-balanced and ‘cool and relaxed’ state of mind through regular practice of some yoga exercises, naturally one can be evolving towards purity and higher consciousness, without any intention nor interest to involve in ‘purity’, or ‘higher consciousness’.

It is absolutely fine if people are not interested at all in the teachings of yoga about the elimination of egoism, desires, attachment, identification, craving and aversion. It’s definitely nothing wrong when there’s no mention about these yoga teachings in the fitness yoga exercise classes, but instead it is moving away from all these yoga teachings, whether intentionally or unintentionally, such like, strengthening the attachment and identification towards self-image, physical conditions and abilities, the empowerment of likes and dislikes, craving and aversion, the judgment and expectation towards the performance, and results orientated, and etc.

It isn’t being disrespectful towards the Gurus and the teachings of yoga when yoga (asana) practice in the world has been transformed into something that is very little to do with what yoga is about, which is to free the mind from egoism, attachment, identification, desires, craving, aversion and all sorts of impurities, to know the truth of names and forms, to eliminate ignorance and transcend suffering. And all these have nothing to do with whether one is spiritual, or not, whether one has a religion belief, or not, and whether one believes in the existence of an Almighty God or an individual soul, or not.

Yoga practice is to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, desires, impurities and suffering. And this alone is universal. Untrained minds are influenced by ignorance, egoism, impurities and experience suffering. A well-trained mind is free from the influence of ignorance, egoism, impurities and doesn’t experience suffering. An impure unrest mind creates havoc into the surrounding environment. A pure and peaceful mind doesn’t generate havoc into the surrounding environment. A closed mind generates offensiveness towards everything. An opened mind embraces all and everything.

It doesn’t matter where we come from, where we are now, who we are, what we are and how we are, we all have a mind and there are countless mind activities going on every moment, whether consciously or unconsciously. Without knowing this mind and its modifications, one generates disharmony in oneself and into the surrounding environment. Know thyself, is knowing this mind and its modification. There is no ‘I’.

May all be free, be peaceful, be happy.

If anyone doesn’t want to be free, or peaceful, or happy, let them be.

Om shanti.

Non-comparison and non-judgment…

Not long after the teacher mentioned about let go of comparison during the yoga asana practice, the student saw the teacher was teaching some of the movements being different from some other teachers, and started to compare and asked the teacher, “I saw you bring the feet in when you do this. My teachers at home said we should not bring the feet in.”

The teacher replied, “Your teachers must have their good reason why they tell the students that they should not bring the feet in while doing this movement. There’s nothing wrong in their teaching.

In the yoga asana practice here, it’s about using the yoga asana practice to help to balance and quiet the mind, to prepare the mind for meditation, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, identification and attachment, craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation. It’s nothing to do with achieving the perfect physical alignment at all.

If by having perfect alignment while performing all these yoga exercises will bring peace and compassion, then all those people who perform physical movements with perfect alignment are all peaceful and compassionate, be free from unhappiness and suffering, be free from anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurt, feelings of guilt, fear and worry.

People who don’t have the flexibility or strength to put their bodies into so call perfect alignment in the yoga asana practice can still be free from ignorance and suffering, realize unconditional love and peace, if they know what is non-attachment and non-identification, if they know how to free the mind from egoism and all sorts of defilements and impurities, and realize the truth, be free from ignorance.

It depends on each individual whether they will be comfortable or not in any physical movements. Everyone has a different body and different physical flexibility and limitations. We cannot tell the students that they have to do the movements in such and such way. By bringing the feet in or not in this movement, has nothing to do with peace and compassion. It’s about whether your body is comfortable or not while performing all these movements, and it’s about do what your body can do in the present moment now without forcing your body to go beyond its limitation. It’s not about trying to imitate other people especially the teacher, to be doing the exercises exactly the same like how other people do. We might be doing the same exercises, but everyone might look differently from one another.”

When we see two things that appear to be different, the mind is conditioned to make comparison and judgment, to decide which one is right, and then the mind will judge the other one that is different from this one must be wrong then.

But the truth of everything is that they are neither right nor wrong. Everything has their different reasons to be existing.

Once we know how to train the mind to let go of this habit of comparing and judging, we will start to see the truth of things as they are, and be free from ignorance.

Om shanti.