Hugging and touching?

In this era of the so called modern and highly developed society, most people perceive and observe the practice/habit/culture of ‘hugging’ and ‘touching’ as a form of showing love, acceptance and friendliness among beings, while they would feel awkward, bad and wrong, or even be offended, if some people don’t have or don’t observe the practice/habit/culture of hugging and touching.

Many yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers might also think and believe that ‘open mind’ and ‘loving kindness/warmness’ means people need to be affectionately hugging and touching one another to be showing non-discrimination, non-separateness, non-intimidation, love, acceptance and friendliness towards all beings, while the absence of hugging and touching is being perceived as ‘closed mind’ and ‘unloving-kindness’/’coldness’ that portrays the quality of discrimination, separateness, intimidation, lovelessness, non-acceptance and unfriendliness. Many also believe that the lack of hugging or touching by another being is highly detrimental to physical, mental and emotional health. They expect all beings, especially yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers should be constantly and actively hugging and touching all other beings that they come in contact with, to show that they are genuine yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers who embrace loving kindness, who are open minded and compassionate beings, while they would be puzzled by the very few of the yoga practitioners who don’t have or don’t observe such hugging and touching habit/culture.

For yoga practitioners who truly want to open their mind, is to be free from being conditioned by such worldly egoistic thinking, belief, values and practice, where the mind understands that ‘the existence and non-existence of open mind and compassion’ is nothing to do with ‘the presence and absence of physical hugging and touching another being’, where it’s nothing bad and there’s nothing wrong with the society having and observing the hugging and touching habit/culture, especially if the minds are pure and desireless, and it’s also nothing bad and there’s nothing wrong with those who don’t have or don’t observe the hugging and touching habit/culture either. Accepting all and everyone as they are, even though certain people behave in the way that goes against the thinking, belief, values and practice of the majority of the society.

Hugging and touching or not, doesn’t really determine the presence and absence of the quality of ‘non-discrimination’, ‘non-separateness’, ‘non-intimidation’, ‘love’, ‘acceptance’ and ‘friendliness’, while the quality of non-discrimination, non-separateness, non-intimidation, love, acceptance and friendliness aren’t necessarily have to be shown/portrayed by physical contact of hugging and touching one another.

Most people would feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely and meaningless upon the absence of physical/mental/emotional interaction of hugging and touching from some other beings. And hence, many people would think and believe that the solution is to be actively giving and receiving affectionate hugs and touches among beings.

It’s the ignorant egoistic passionate mind that has attachment and expectation towards the appropriateness and disappropriateness in social behavior and interaction that would feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely, meaningless, piteous or offended upon the absence or the lack of love and affection in the form of hugging and touching from other beings.

Contemplate upon why the ancient teachings/practice of yoga emphasized on the important observation of solitude and seclusion of non-physical/mental/emotional contact and non-physical touching with any other being, where yoga practitioners and spiritual seekers were being advised to observe solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time, to free the mind from the worldly habitual passionate desire of craving and clinging towards love and affection, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to silent/annihilate the modification of the mind.

One of the common practice/observation in the Ashrams is about none should be physically touching one another regardless of among the same or different gender, especially the swamis, monks and nuns. But, nowadays, in many of the ashrams, even many ‘modernized’ swamis, monks and nuns also don’t observe this practice anymore, and they mingling intimately with one another and the people who come to the ashrams, not to say many of the householders who identify themselves as ‘yoga practitioners’ or ‘yogis’. Many ‘yoga teacher training courses’ also emphasize on the physical hands on adjustment, where the many graduated ‘certified yoga teachers’ think and believe that it’s what a good and professional yoga teacher should be doing/practicing while teaching classes and while socializing/mingling with the students or the yoga community outside of the classes to develop stronger connection and relationship among one another.

There’s nothing wrong with the worldly egoistic thinking, belief, values and practice that propagates widely about “Everyone needs love, affection, hugs and touches.” But that is not yoga practice at all, as that is indeed empowering ignorance and egoism. It’s not any different from keep feeding sugary drinks to the children or keep providing drugs to the people to make them feel ‘happy and good’ from the momentary effects of sugary drinks or drugs and from the gratification of desires by giving people what they like and want. The yoga practice is to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to realize selflessness/oneness/non-separateness, where there’s absence of needing/craving/clinging towards physical/mental/emotional love, affection, hugs and touches from other beings. There’s no need of developing stronger connection or relationship between ‘I’ and ‘the others’ in selflessness/oneness/non-separateness, as connection or relationship doesn’t exist in selflessness/oneness/non-separateness. There’s neither ‘I’ nor ‘the others’. There’s no ‘I’ need to be healed by ‘spiritual healing hugs and touches’.

A truly ‘healthy and compassionate’ society exists along with the minds that are free from ignorance and egoism. Everyone can be kind and loving towards one another out of selfless compassion, not because everyone ‘needs’ to give and receive love and affection to and from one another through certain action in order to make the egoistic minds feel good, happy, love and meaningful, or not to feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely, meaningless, piteous or offended upon the absence/lack of love and affection through certain action from other beings, as the ignorant egoistic minds think and believe that it’s so bad and terrible if there’s absence/lack of any form of love and affection among one another.

Be free.

The ego exists in all and everyone and anyone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Yoga courses or classes is not a business trading object or service that we can sell or buy, even if there is some fees involved…

If we went to an Ashram or a yoga school and found that it is a very good place with good teachers, convenient facilities and conducive environment for learning and practicing yoga, naturally without the people in the Ashram or yoga school asked us to recommend the Ashram or the yoga school to anyone, and without any intention to expect any kind of incentive in return, we will recommend other people who are interested in learning and practicing yoga to go there, but we will never ask for any commission from the Ashram or yoga school for us to do this, nor will we ask for any discounted fees for ourselves to be taking courses there.

As yoga or yoga courses is not a business trading object. It is not like because we like the service from a massage spa centre and we are motivated to recommend it to other people, but we expect the massage spa centre to give us some commission in return or expect them to give us special rate on our future visits for their services. Then this action of recommending something good to other people is not genuine anymore. There are selfish motives or intention behind the action of recommendation, even though it is something good.

We never went to a massage spa near our yoga studio. But due to many of our retreat guests went there before, and had very nice experience, we would recommend it to any other of our guests who ask for recommendation for a good massage spa. We never received any commission from the massage spa centre for us to recommending so many people to go there for massage. We never intend to ask any commission from them, nor do we expect them to recommend anyone to come to us for yoga retreats, nor expect them to give us some sort of discounted rate for us to use any of their services. We recommend it because it has good reputation. If it has bad reputation, we won’t be recommend it to anyone, even if they want to give us commission or discount. We do not ask nor expect anything in return for recommending something good to anybody.

If we are looking for some sorts of commission or discounted fees from the Ashram or yoga school by recommending people to go there, as we think that yoga and yoga courses is like a business trading object or service, then we don’t really know what yoga is about (even though we have been practicing ‘yoga’ for a long time). We had no idea what is the yoga practice about selfless service, compassion, loving kindness, generosity, true charity, non-attachment, intention-less, non-expectation and renounce the fruit of action.

It is great virtue and merit for anyone to be supporting an Ashram or yoga school to run yoga courses or classes, to allow other people to be learning and sharing the greatness of yoga, provided that if they give their supports without attachment, without expectation towards any rewards or incentives in return.

An Ashram, or a yoga school doesn’t sell yoga, or wisdom, or compassion, or peace, or liberation. They can only provide teachers, teachings, disciplines, schedule or program, methods, guidance, supports, facilities and conveniences to the people to be learning and practicing yoga. It is up to the people’s own responsibility, discipline, effort and sincere practice, to realize or attain yoga, or wisdom, or compassion, or peace, or liberation.

The fees or donations from the people is not a business exchange of selling and buying a product or service, but mainly to support the cost or expenses that couldn’t be avoided in providing such courses, facilities, conveniences and environment to allow ourselves and other people to be learning and practicing yoga and become our own teacher. At the same time we also provide some supports to the teachers who need to support their own living and perform their own practice. What a great merit, even if we do not greed for attaining any merits by performing great virtue.

I never asked for any discounted rate for the fees of the yoga courses in the Ashram or from any other yoga schools when I didn’t have enough money to pay for the total expenses in the beginning, including course fee, flight ticket and visa fees, and my parents living and medical expenses. But I didn’t worry, and the money came to me on time when I needed it for paying all the expenses to go to the Ashram in India to learn and practice yoga. As I know yoga or the ‘fees’ for the yoga courses is not something to be negotiate nor trade about. It is not like we paid some money to a hotel for a hotel room, and expect certain types of service that worth ‘how much we had paid’ in return.

If we don’t have strong self-discipline to follow the tight schedule and curriculum, if we don’t have will-power and determination to forbear any difficulties or discomforts physically, mentally, or emotionally that arise in the process of purification, we will give up easily, or drop out and not finishing the course, no matter how much money we had paid for the course or it is a free course.

Especially in real yoga practice about eliminating the egoism is really not a very pleasant experience, it’s not like going to a spa massage which is about paying for a service that will give us momentary enjoyment and pleasant experiences, but it doesn’t help us to eliminate the egoism, craving and aversion, but in fact, it is empowering them.

Attending ‘real’ yoga courses is not about chasing after pleasant experiences, or learning to do a few challenging yoga asana poses. It is about letting go of craving towards pleasant experiences and aversion towards unpleasant experiences. It’s about letting go of pride and arrogance towards what we think we know about ourselves and things. It’s about letting go of what our mind believes what things are. There will be lots of discomforts and aversion manifested physically, mentally and emotionally during the purification process of eliminating the egoism, impurities and ignorance.

If we are able to forbear and withstand all these discomfortable manifestations that arise in our yoga and meditation practice, and be determined to continue the practice until we realize the truth, we will realize the unconditional joy and peace that comes from realizing the truth of things and ourselves, and being free from attachment, ignorance and egoism, craving and aversion, cause and effect, birth and death. There’s no fear and worry, anger and hatred, pride and arrogance, dissatisfaction and disappointment, hurtful thinking and feelings, or painful sorrow and suffering.

If our yoga students or retreat guests feel that the yoga courses or retreats were very good for them even though they had to forbear some discomforts during the course, and naturally recommending the yoga courses or retreats to other people, not because with the intention to bring us more ‘business’, and not because with the intention to get some incentive, commission or discount, but to allow other people to be sharing something really meaningful, then this type of recommendation is welcome.

If somebody says to us, “I love your yoga course/retreat. I will write you a very good review about my experience in your yoga course/retreat, and recommend other people to come to your place, but how much commission or discount can you give me in return?” We will tell them, we don’t need ‘good’ reviews that are not genuinely coming from the heart, nor interested in advertising the yoga courses or retreats to bring in more ‘business’.

You may read about the story about why and how I went to India to learn and practice yoga with this link – https://mydailyyogapractice.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/my-life-stories-part-6/

Om shanti.

Yogi? Guru? Yoga school? Ashram?

A (real) yogi is not determined by all the qualities of names and forms, nor to be judged by their actions and speech, personality or behavior, physical conditions or appearances, attires or accessories, actions or inactions…

If anyone try to look out for a yogi, or try to identify a yogi, and start looking at all these qualities of names and forms to judge and determine whether this or that being is a yogi or not, or is a “good” yogi or not, then we will never find it…

The real search is to find the “yogi” in ourselves… It is not looking out to see who is yogi and who is not… It is finding or realizing the highest teacher in us, and it’s not looking for teachers from the outside to set as an example, or to give us a lift, or to motivate us, or to push us to realize what we are here for.

That is what yoga practice is about. It is for us to realize the attributeless Self unconditioned by the qualities of names and forms, in us, beyond our egoistic thinking mind, conditioned and limited physical body, impermanent physical conditions and abilities, appearances, features, shapes, colours, language, personality, characteristic, actions and inactions, short lived or long lived, solitude or amongst the world, real or unreal, as all are here to serve the universe…

Real yoga practice is not necessarily to be found and learned from some other people (so called yoga teachers, or Gurus, or yogis), or from yoga schools, or from Ashrams. As the entire (pure) teachings of yoga is already within us, as our true nature is identical with the universal consciousness… This is the fundamental essential teachings of yoga. Our higher pure Self will guide the impure lower self when the time is right. And when the lower self become pure (the ego is eliminated) and it becomes one with the higher Self, there is no more separation or duality. There is no pure or impure self, higher or lower self, inferiority or superiority, good or evil, wise or ignorant, compassionate or selfish…

All our experiences through this body and mind, whatever we feel, see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think are our Gurus. When we experience suffering and painful sorrow, that is where the teachings and practice is. We don’t need to ask somebody else to inflict pain or suffering on us for us to learn about something or to realize about the Truth. Our own egoistic mind itself is the cause of all sorts of pain and suffering.

It is not about looking out at other beings, trying to find out, or judge, or determine each and everyone as good beings or bad beings, as saintly beings or evil beings, as selfish beings or selfless beings, as enlightened beings or ignorant beings, as compassionate beings or uncompassionate beings, as yogi or not yogi, as pure yogi or impure yogi, as Guru or not Guru, as real Guru or fake Guru, as yoga teacher or not yoga teacher, as good yoga teacher or bad yoga teacher, and so on…

Look within. That is the only real and pure yogi, Guru, yoga teacher, yoga teachings, yoga practice that we can rely on…

Take care of our own mind, our own actions and speech, why bother or be disturbed by other people’s mind, their actions and their speech?

Om shanti.

Non-comparison, non-judgment and non-expectation?

We may hear about somebody complains about this or that teacher is not good, or this or that school is not good, or this type or that type of yoga is not good… But it is actually our mind is not pure, full of negativities, defects, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements… That’s why we see or recognize all the negativities and defects in other people or in things, as that is the reflection of what our mind is…

If there is a quality that our mind cannot perceive or recognize, that is because in our mind there is no such quality. Just like when we couldn’t see or recognize the good qualities in other people, it’s because there is no such good qualities in our own mind to reflect upon… It doesn’t mean that these people don’t have good qualities in them but we just don’t see it or recognize it… And usually our mind is having a mixture of good and bad qualities, and thus we will see or recognize the same qualities in other people but not something that is beyond what our mind can perceive…

And we judge everything according to what our mind likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, as good or not good… If it is something what our mind likes and agrees with, we will say it is good… If it is something what our mind doesn’t like and disagree with, we will say it is not good… But this judgment of “good” and “bad” is coming from our mind according to what our mind believes what is “good” or “bad”… It is not what things really are…

For example, we ate “particular food” for the first time, and it tastes what we don’t like, and that was what our mind recognized or perceived – “That particular food is not good”, “It’s not tasty”, “I am not happy eating it”, and “I don’t like it”… When other people say to us, “That particular food is so good”, “It’s so tasty”, “I am so happy eating it” and “I like it”, as it tastes what they like, and we (our mind) will disagree with that. We might even argue with people to prove that our opinion is right and their opinion is wrong… But that particular food has no intentions or qualities to be good or not, to be tasty or not, to make us feel happy eating it or not, to make us like it or not… All these judgments are coming from what our mind believes what things are, according to our likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, but it is not what things really are…

We can only be aware of all the different qualities in each person, and accept everyone as they are without comparison, judgment and expectation, as everyone is also in the process of learning and transformation… We also be aware of all the different qualities in ourselves, and accept ourselves as we are without comparison, judgment and expectation, as ourselves are also in the process of learning and transformation… And if we are already pure and perfect, there won’t be any judgments towards anyone, nor comparing everyone, nor expecting everyone should be behaving, act and react in certain ways that we think that is what they suppose to behave, act and react… With the pure mind, all the qualities of names and forms disappear. The pure mind will perceive and accept everyone and everything as they are… They are not good or bad. They are not positive or negative. They are not happiness or suffering… They are just what they are.

When we see or attached to the different qualities of names and forms, we will start to have comparison and judgment about this person or that person is better or worst, and start to generate preferences and discrimination, likes and dislikes, and craving and aversion… Due to strong attachment toward all these judgments towards the different qualities of names and forms, the veil of ignorance in our mind is growing thicker and thicker… Our own evolution becomes more and more difficult, as the veil of ignorance is growing stronger than before… Why be disturbed and be bothered by other people being different from each other or being different from us, or expecting all of them to be the same, or to be like us, to determine, or to control, or to influence our own practice and evolution?

We respect and accept everyone to be free to think and believe what they want to think and believe, to behave, to act and react the way that they want to behave, act and react… And allow everyone to be different with one another, and be different from us. Why do we want to control other people or to change other people to think and believe, to behave, to act and react the same ways like us? Meanwhile we are full of aversion, rejection, anger and hatred if other people don’t like us the way that we are, and they want to control us or to change us to be the way that they think we should think, believe, behave, act and react…?

When we think we are good people, we do good things and don’t do bad things… We judge ourselves as “good beings”. And we criticize and judge other people whom we think they are not good like us, they don’t do good things like us, and they do bad things, as “bad beings”… We think we are more superior than them, and we are better human beings… We get angry and hating these people, and we don’t like them and don’t want them to be here in this world, or we want to control them and change them to be the way that we want them to be… We think we deserve to be here and all these “bad beings” don’t deserve to be here… We want to kill them all or we want them to be killed by somebody, and we curse and condemn them into hell… CAN we see now, how evil and selfish we are? We are not any different from these people whom we think they are bad and evil…

For example, alcohol exists for some medical reasons. When somebody abuse the use of alcohol and cause damages in their physical and mental health, it is not the fault of the alcohol… It is not the alcohol being bad… It is people’s own responsibility for abuse the use of alcohol and to consume it to the point that causes damages to themselves… Alcohol itself is not something good or not good… It has no quality or intention to be good or bad… It is whether we use it wisely or abusively, and reflect it as something good for medical reason, or reflect it as something not good for damaging our body and mind… It is our own intention and self-control that is responsible for our own behavior and the consequences of our behavior…

Even though there are many people practice yoga and meditation in the world, but everyone evolves on different levels and speeds. We cannot expect everyone has the same understanding and practice, and having the same way of thinking and behavior, actions and reactions, even though everyone is practicing “yoga and meditation”, or is practicing different types of “yoga and meditation” practice. Everyone has different degrees of ignorance and realization, different degrees of attachment, craving and aversion, and different strength of the egoism… Even though in the same Ashram or school of yoga, not everyone who involves in the teaching, administrative and management will be having the same characteristic and personality, actions and reactions…

Our practice is our own effort and for our own transformation, it is nothing to do with other people’s practice and transformation… It doesn’t matter if the teacher is not perfect nor completely pure yet, but it should not be an obstacle or distraction to influence or affect our own practice, nor stop us from performing our own practice and evolves on own level and speed. As the path of realization of truth is very personal. It is nothing to do with the quality of the teacher or the school…

Just like some people look at some “yogis” who are behaving “badly” in the world, and they judge and criticize “yoga” or “yoga practice” as something not good or evil, that it will make people behaving badly like all these “bad yogis”… Or they blame and judge the teacher of the “bad yogis” as bad teacher and is responsible for the “bad yogis” bad behavior… Or they judge the yoga schools where these “bad yogis” went to as bad schools… But this is complete ignorant way of seeing things and judging things… The “bad yogis” themselves is responsible for their own behavior…

People who learn under the same teacher or same school, also will have different levels of understanding, different degrees of ignorance and realization, different types of characteristic and personality, different degrees of attachment, different speed of evolution and etc… And all these different levels and degrees of transformation is nothing to do with the teacher or the school… Our own understanding, perception of things, degrees of ignorance and attachment, actions and reactions, characteristics and personalities, and speed of transformation is our own responsibility, it’s not the responsibility of the teacher or the school…

Even if we are aware of the imperfect or impure qualities in the teachers, that should not become obstacles or distractions in our own evolution… At the same time we ourselves accept the teacher as he is or as she is, without expecting the teacher should be perfect or should be on a higher level of understanding or transformation than us… As real teachers can be anyone and anything, not necessarily has to be a perfect saint or sage who is completely free from the ego, or who is completely selfless… The teacher or the happening is there to allow us to see or recognize the ignorance, impurities or selfishness in ourselves, and it’s not about seeing and recognizing the ignorance, impurities or selfishness in the teacher or in the happening, and be disturbed and affected by them…

A very good teacher or good school cannot guarantee all the students will be having the same degree of ignorance and realization, and evolve at the same speed of transformation… Buddha couldn’t make everyone be enlightened and be free from ignorance, nor could he give peace to anyone, nor could he remove suffering from anyone… As well as the ignorance, restlessness and suffering of everyone could not affect Buddha’s enlightenment, liberation and peace…

Everyone has the opportunity and should be given the opportunity to experience what they need to experience for them to learn and evolve in their own way and speed… Even though if they have to repeatedly go through many unnecessary meaningless unpleasant experiences… They have to learn from themselves and realize the truth by themselves. And through out the journey of transformation, there’s no judgment, comparison and expectation towards ourselves and other people even if they are our teachers… The teachers have their own evolution, and we have our own evolution…

If we haven’t realize the truth by ourselves, then no matter how many books talking about the truth that we have read, how many yoga classes and courses that we have attended, and how many good teachers that we have, we will still be influenced by the veil of ignorance in us and be disturbed by the impurities in our own mind, and be in miseries…

We read or heard about the terms about “being in the present moment” and the ways to be in the present moment, but it won’t liberate us until we know how to be in the present moment…

When we think we are disappointed by the teachers who are not as perfect as what we think they should be, actually we are disappointed by our own expectation towards the teachers, we expect them to be perfect… The disappointment is not coming from the teachers being imperfect… They and their imperfection didn’t disappoint us.

Mind our own mind, not other people’s mind, not even our teacher’s mind…

Om shanti.