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

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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.

How yoga is being perceived as one type of physical health and fitness exercise

Some people asked us if we teach TTC (Yoga Teachers Training Course). No, we don’t.

Anyone who has realized selflessness and unconditional love and peace through self-realization, who knows the path to free the mind from suffering that derived from ignorance and egoism (attachment, identification, worldly desires, craving and aversion), not necessarily that one has to be a yoga practitioner and disregards how long one has been practicing yoga, one can share the knowledge of selflessness and unconditional love and peace with anyone, without the necessity of becoming a ‘yoga teacher’ to ‘teach yoga classes’. One doesn’t need to attend TTC to be trained to become ‘qualified yoga teacher’ to ‘teach yoga classes’ to share the realization of selflessness and unconditional love and peace with other beings. One doesn’t need ‘approval’, or ‘authorization’, or ‘qualification’, or ‘certification’, or ‘affiliation’, or ‘graduation from TTC with excellent results’ to share the knowledge of unconditional love, peace and fearlessness through self-realization with other beings who are in search for liberation from ignorance and suffering.

Attending TTC and graduating with excellent results from TTC doesn’t determine that one is, or will be free from ignorance and egoism. Teaching yoga is nothing to do with ‘professionalism’, or ‘teacher training’, or ‘certification’, which is part of the worldly ideas born out of egoism.

TTC are a platform or medium for anyone, including those who have never done any yoga practice before but who have the interest to know about yoga, to be open-minded and be humble to learn about the teachings of yoga, and begin their self-practice with self-discipline to purify the mind to free the mind from egoism and ignorance. Once the mind is purified and has realized selflessness and unconditional love and peace, one can share the knowledge of selflessness and unconditional love and peace with other beings without intention, without identification, without attachment.

Meanwhile many of the ‘professional TTC allied with yoga alliance’ are about being a platform or medium for people who think they know a lot about yoga and that they are good enough or ready to become ‘yoga teachers’, and they think they need to attend ‘internationally recognized TTC allied with yoga alliance’ to be trained ‘how to teach/conduct professional, safe, effective, creative, fun and motivative yoga asana exercise classes’ to acquire some kind of ‘internationally recognized certification allied with yoga alliance’ so that they can find a job called ‘yoga teacher/instructor’ to teach/conduct ‘yoga asana exercise classes’ in yoga centre or fitness centre or community centre, and lots of these TTC exist to cater to their ‘needs’ to provide the appropriate ‘training’ and ‘certification’ that they are looking for.

These ‘professional’ TTC also teach about the teachings or philosophy of yoga but emphasize mainly on training the people about how to teach/conduct a ‘yoga asana exercise classes’, about how to give instructions, how to perform the yoga poses, what to do or what not to do, what are the benefits of the different yoga poses, the breathing exercises, the relaxation and the other practices, how to make physical adjustments, what are the ‘correct alignment’, general knowledge to share in the class (about diet, lifestyle, positive thinking, anatomy, physiology, health and fitness, stories telling, philosophy, and etc), how to interact, what is a ‘good teaching technique’, or a ‘good practice’, or a ‘good class’, how to make the students or clients happy and satisfied, how to ‘touch’ people’s heart, and etc. It is a great contradiction because during the philosophy class they teach/talk about “perform all your actions without attachment and identification, renounce the fruit of actions and allowing the fruit of actions to be there as it is” but then in the ‘yoga asana classes’ is about feeding the egoism of both the teachers and the students – empowering the identification and attachment towards the action and the result of the action. Such like, “I am a good yoga teacher who teach/conduct good yoga classes” and “I am a good yoga student/practitioner who performs the yoga poses nicely and achieves good results/improvement from the practice”

Love and peace has nothing to do with how a person look or feel while being in particular yoga poses, or what is the physical condition, ability and limitation, or what type and how much benefits coming from the yoga practice. People don’t have to put their bodies in any particular yoga poses to be kind and compassionate, or to be peaceful. The impermanent physical condition, ability and limitation doesn’t determine a being would be free from ignorance, egoism, impurities and suffering, and be compassionate and peaceful, or not.

If one truly knows what is yoga or has realized selflessness and unconditional love and peace, one doesn’t need to attend TTC to learn how to conduct ‘yoga classes’ to attain ‘certification’ to be ‘authorized’ to become ‘professional internationally certified yoga teacher’ to be teaching or passing the knowledge of yoga to other beings, or to be compassionate towards oneself and all beings.

No doubt that there are ‘TTC graduates’ who realize yoga through the practice of silence, self-inquiry, dispassion and right discrimination, and they may or may not be teaching ‘yoga classes’.

The attachment towards the performance/results/effects/benefits of the yoga practice, and the emphasis on the technical/professional teaching instructions about “the correct body alignment of each yoga pose”, or “how a yoga pose/position should look like”, and the ‘positive’ encouraging words, cheering and hand clapping to congratulate or give encouragement, such like ‘Well done!’, ‘You can do it!’, ‘You did it!’, ‘That’s very good!’, ‘You’re amazing!’, ‘Awesome!’, ‘Feel strong!’, ‘Be strong!’, ‘Let’s boost your confidence and self-esteem!’, ‘Yoga strengthens your body and mind’, ‘Yoga elevates your mind!’, ‘Yoga makes you feel great!’, ‘You should be proud of yourself!’, ‘I am so proud of you!’, and etc, as the core structure or important qualities of the ‘yoga exercise classes’ are indeed feeding the egoism (attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation).

But there is nothing wrong with all these TTC producing ‘internationally certified yoga teachers’ teaching ‘yoga asana exercise classes’ because most people who want to attend yoga classes are only interested in doing something that will make them feel good and look good, or give them the benefits/effects/results that they want. Being conditioned by worldly ideas, people evaluate a ‘yoga teacher’ based on their ‘qualification’ and ‘certification’, their ‘professionalism’, their ‘ability’ to give a ‘good yoga exercise class’ that can make them look good and feel good physically and mentally, or their up-to-date tips/general knowledge on the latest styles and techniques and about health and fitness. Many people are not interested in the practice of silence, quieting the mind, self-inquiry, dispassion and self-discipline to be free from ignorance and egoism, mainly it’s because people don’t think their minds are influenced by ignorance, they don’t think they need to free the mind from egoism, as they love their ego of who they think they are. They don’t see what’s wrong with egoism. They enjoy being passionate about worldly life and social activities, and spend most of their effort on gratifying all their desires, and do what will make them feel good and happy as the meanings of life.

All these TTC graduates are ‘good people’ who have ‘good intention’ and hope to ‘be qualified’ to share yoga with other people, and it makes them feel meaningful and happy when their students look good and feel good about themselves after taking yoga exercise class with them. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with that.

It’s like many children don’t like to eat healthy food, the parents or care-taker might give them something that they like in return, such like desserts, to persuade them to eat the healthy food that they don’t like to eat. And the parents feel happy seeing their children eating the healthy food and enjoying the desserts afterwards. So everyone is happy. That sounds very ‘good’. Eventually, some of the children might start to realize why it is important to eat the healthy food, and even without any desserts in return, they will eat the healthy food out of their own choice. But very few children will have the self-realization, and in the end, they are addicted to the desserts, and they won’t be happy unless they have their desserts. Just like people won’t do something that is good for them or other people unless they will get something that they like and want in return. This is not yoga.

Imagine when a great ‘yogi’ who has attained self-realization and is compassionate comes to the yoga centre and offer himself to share the knowledge of yoga to whoever are interested in learning and practice yoga, and the yoga centre staff ask him, “Do you have internationally recognized either 200 hours or 500 hours yoga teacher certification allied with yoga alliance?” The yogi tells them, “No.” And they tell him, “Sorry, we only employ ‘qualified’ professional yoga teacher with internationally recognized yoga teacher certification allied with yoga alliance to conduct yoga classes here.”

Everyone has the freedom to choose what they want to do with their life, their bodies and minds. If people are contented with living a restless passionate worldly life full of attachments and identifications, and are okay with being the slave of their desires of cravings and aversions, and enjoying doing some yoga exercise regularly that will make them look good and feel good, that’s their freedom.

Be free.

Looking for yoga?

It’s common that people who are interested in yoga and have the desire to learn and practice yoga in order to know what yoga really is about, they will try to go to a ‘place’, or ‘school’, or ‘ashram’, or ‘person’, where they think and expect that it would deliver them what they are looking for. Some people might found what they were looking for. But for some others, they are disappointed as they couldn’t find what they are looking for.

It is not whether a particular place, or school, or ashram, or person, has the power or quality to make people ‘see’ or ‘find’ yoga, or not. People might go to the same place, or same school, or same ashram, or same person, and some would ‘find’ yoga there, while others couldn’t. This is due to whether our minds are being opened, or not.

Yoga could be ‘found’ or ‘seen’ in anywhere and everywhere, but, if we try to look for yoga in a particular place, or school, or ashram, or person, most likely we will be disappointed, because the mind is not opened. But, when we let go of any expectation towards ‘finding yoga’ in a particular place, school, ashram, or person, and stop trying to look for yoga in a particular place, school, ashram, or person, but, just allowing our minds to be open and observe what is going on in our own minds, in this present, from moment to moment, observing all the impermanent changes of the states of mind, actions and reactions, thoughts and feelings that ceaselessly coming and going which are not in the control of ‘I’ of how ‘I’ would like it to be, we will start to ‘see’ yoga here and there, anywhere and everywhere. There’s no separation from yoga. There’s no ‘I’ am looking for ‘yoga’, or, ‘I’ found ‘yoga’.

The eyes serve as a tool to ‘see’ lots of names and forms of different shapes and colours, but it can’t ‘see’ itself. And yet, it was never being separated from itself.

Feedback for yoga teachers?

There’s nothing abnormal or wrong for the ‘yoga students’ to provide feedback to the ‘yoga teachers’ who conduct the ‘yoga classes’ for them to learn and practice yoga, and it’s normal for the ‘yoga teachers’ who conduct the ‘yoga classes’ would appreciate feedback from the ‘yoga students’ as part of the worldly thinking or ideas about ways to improve or evolve.

Just that it’s moving away from the teachings and practice of yoga about eliminating the egoism. This is part of the plays of egoism. It actually ‘holds back’ the mind from going beyond the perception of duality. It empowers attachment and identification with qualities of names and forms, as well as attachment and identification with the actions and the result of the actions.

A ‘yoga teacher’ who ‘teaches’ yoga to other beings should be able to be aware of the modification of one’s mind and the actions and reactions, without attachment and identification with all these names and forms. There’s no attachment or expectation towards one’s action of teaching yoga to other beings and the results or consequences of the action of teaching. The ‘yoga teacher’ allows the ‘yoga students’ to develop awareness towards the modification of their own minds, and to act and react in their own way, or to express their thoughts/ideas/suggestions/advice out of their own perspective, or not, towards the process of transmitting or receiving the teachings of yoga to or from other beings.

It’s not about – “I know I am a good yoga teacher and I can teach good yoga classes, and so, I don’t need any feedback, suggestions or advice on how to be a better yoga teacher to give better yoga classes.” or “I don’t know whether I am a good yoga teacher, or not. Or whether I teach good yoga classes, or not. I need feedback/suggestion/advice from the students or other people to tell me whether I am good or not good, or how I can improve myself to be better yoga teacher to teach better yoga classes.” As yoga really is nothing to do with all these names and forms. One can be identified or acknowledged as a ‘very good’ yoga teacher who can teach ‘very good’ yoga classes, but that doesn’t mean that this yoga teacher is free from ignorance and egoism, or, vice versa.

This is nothing to do with ‘pride’ and ‘arrogance’ or ‘humility’, ‘improvement’, ‘constant learning’, or ‘the way how it should be’. Feedback/suggestion/advice coming from minds that are not free from ignorance, egoism, duality and qualities of names and forms, is irrelevant towards one’s mind evolution towards selflessness. The minds that are free from ignorance, egoism, duality and qualities of names and forms, don’t ‘require’ or ‘provide’ feedback/suggestion/advice. As peace and compassion is nothing to do with whether the teacher is a ‘good’ yoga teacher who teaches ‘good’ yoga classes, or whether the yoga students are ‘good’ yoga students who perform their ‘yoga practice’ or ‘yoga poses’ ‘correctly’ and ‘perfectly’, or not. Just like to be able to let go of attachment, it’s just ‘let go’. There’s no thinking about “how to let go”, “how fast or slow to let go”, or “one should let go in this way or that way which is the ‘good’ or ‘right’ way”.

In a ‘yoga asana class’, whether it’s a group class or a private individual class, there are countless mind reactions arise from different states of minds and different physical conditions. At one moment, the mind and the body is at ease with the practice, and in another moment, the mind and the body is not at ease with the practice. And this changes from moment to moment. For the same practice, different minds and different bodies react differently. One might suggest that the practice is too rush or too intense, another might suggest the practice is too slow or too gentle, while another might suggest that the practice is just nice, it’s not too rush and not too slow or it’s not too intense and not too gentle.

Teaching ‘yoga classes’ is not about trying to gratify everyone’s craving and aversion towards their personal likes and dislikes towards the style, or type, or way of practice, and to adapt to the familiarity or habit of each individual. It’s not about trying to be a ‘good’ yoga teacher to teach ‘good’ yoga classes to create ‘good’ yoga students to achieve ‘good performances’ or ‘good results’. It’s about doing one’s best making use of one’s opportunity, ability and knowledge, without attachment and identification towards one’s action and the results or consequences of action. It doesn’t matter if one’s mind or other minds think or judge that ‘this action’ or ‘the result of this action’ is ‘good’ or ‘not good’. It’s about guiding the students towards the annihilation of ignorance and egoism.

A ‘yoga teacher’ or ‘yoga student’ will never be free from ignorance and egoism, if this ‘yoga teacher’ or ‘yoga student’ is still ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’ yoga according to the ‘ways’ of the worldly modification/thinking/ideas of the egoistic mind.

There is no egoistic intention or identification of “I am here to teach or share yoga with other beings”, not to say, “I am, or I want to be a ‘good’ yoga teacher who can teach or share ‘good’ yoga classes to other beings.”

Realize the essence of the teachings of yoga about selflessness, non-attachment, non-identification, non-duality, non-separateness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness, and be free.