Changing the conditioned thinking pattern of the mind

The thinking pattern of the untrained minds is unwittingly being conditioned by certain worldly social cultural or religious/spiritual thinking/belief/disbelief/ideas/values/practice, including the minds that think and believe that they are ‘good minds’ or ‘good beings’ with ‘good ideas’, ‘good merits’, ‘good virtues’, ‘good belief’, ‘good conduct’, ‘good personality’, or ‘good characteristic’, that identify themselves as ‘good people’ with ‘good and righteous behavior’ in the world, or the minds that think and believe that they are not ‘good enough’ and they aspire to be ‘good enough’ to be identified/recognized/acknowledged as ‘good minds’, ‘good beings’, or ‘good people with good and righteous behavior’.

Not that ‘being good’ or ‘doing good’ or ‘good behavior’ is something bad or wrong, but the minds that are free from ignorance and egoism, are free from such identification/recognition/acknowledgement attached onto any quality of names and forms complying to certain worldly/social/cultural or religious/spiritual thinking/belief/disbelief/ideas/values/practice about what is good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, or meaningfulness and meaninglessness.

Those who sincerely want to transcend the modification of the mind, who are determined to free the mind from ignorance and all kinds of suffering that derived from ignorance, need to work diligently on changing the thinking pattern of the mind, freeing the mind from such conditioned thinking/belief/values/practice/identification.

Those who just want to do some yoga practice regularly to attain some impermanent physical and mental health and fitness benefits, as well as those who just want to be good and do good to accumulate good karma/virtues/merits as much as possible hoping to have a better next life ‘transition/incarnation’ or entering ‘blissful heaven’, they don’t need to inquire into this basic yet important teaching and practice of yoga.

The untrained ignorant egoistic minds are like a ‘sponge’ that absorbs everything that is possible whether wittingly or unwittingly, while thinking and believing and identifying itself as ‘the sponge that filled with whatever it absorbs/contains/holds’, such like, ‘I am a good sponge that absorbs/contains/holds all the good elements’ or ‘I am a bad sponge that absorbs/contains/holds all the bad elements’.

The selfless minds are free from such thinking/belief/identification.

Contemplate on this, and be free.

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Life is good and meaningful?

There’s nothing wrong when the mind perceives or acknowledges that ‘life is good and meaningful’ because of ‘the presence of something good and meaningful or the absence of something bad and meaningless’, or when the mind perceives or acknowledges that ‘life is bad and meaningless’ because of ‘the absence of something good and meaningful or the presence of something bad and meaningless’.

Just that the mind is still being determined by the presence and absence of ‘certain qualities of names and forms’. There’s no freedom, as there’s attachment towards the presence or the absence of certain qualities of names and forms to feel good and meaningful, or not. Even when the mind thinks and believes that ‘life is so good and meaningful’ or ‘life is so bad and meaningless’ due to ‘the presence and absence of certain qualities of names and forms’, all are subject to impermanence and selflessness. Whether it’s ‘good and meaningful’ or ‘bad and meaningless’, all and everything will pass away.

Yoga and meditation practice is to allow the mind to see things as they are, and be free. Life is just what it is, as it is. Life is neither ‘good and meaningful’ nor ‘bad and meaningless’ being undetermined by the presence or absence of certain qualities of names and forms that are subject to impermanence and selflessness.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they think and believe, and whether they want to be free, or not.

Some minds actually enjoy the state of restlessness, enjoy being determined by all the names and forms that are impermanent and selfless, where they would find moments of calmness, joyfulness, goodness and meaningfulness from time to time during those moments of ‘life is good and meaningful’ due to the presence or absence of certain qualities of names and forms, while trying their best to avoid coming in contact with anyone or anything that they perceive/believe/acknowledge as ‘bad’, ‘negative’ and ‘meaningless’, where they believe it will bring ‘badness’ or ‘negativity’ into their life if they come in contact with certain qualities of names and forms that they believe as ‘bad’ and ‘negative’. That’s their freedom, even though that’s no freedom at all.

Worldly identifications

One of the great obstacles or challenges for the yoga enthusiasts to be free from egoism is the intense attachment towards worldly identifications with some qualities of names and forms to be existing as ‘I’.

It’s ‘unthinkable’ for the egoistic minds to be ‘functioning’ or ‘aware of the mind perception of a worldly life of names and forms’ without any identifications with some qualities of names and forms to be acknowledged by oneself and others as ‘This is I’.

There’s great fear towards losing the sense of the existence of ‘I’, or ‘selflessness/’I’-lessness’, or being unable to be acknowledged by oneself and others as “I am this and that”, if without any of the identifications that the egoistic thinking mind would like to acknowledge itself and be acknowledged by others that “I exist as an (unique/special/distinctive/meaningful) individual being with such and such qualities of names and forms.”

Similarly, most minds have great fear towards letting go all kinds of superstitious thinking, beliefs, values and practices that were being ingrained into the minds from very young age by their elders, parents, relatives, friends, school teachers, religious teachers, the community and the society. Very few minds would question the truth of all those thinking, beliefs, values and practices, to inquire the truth of everything that was told or informed by everyone, and would just blind-believing, blind-following, blind-practicing and blind-passing on all these thinking, beliefs, values and practices. As most people would ‘label’ themselves or be ‘labeled’ by others as ‘bad person’ or ‘traitor’ towards one’s root and ancestor’s cultural background and family values, if they don’t embrace or follow or pass down those thinking, beliefs, values and practices.

For many people, this is the ‘normal’, ‘good’, ‘productive’, ‘positive’, ‘healthy’, ‘successful’, ‘meaningful’ and ‘rightful’ way of life or living.

Not only that there was a ‘basic identity upon birth’ that relates to a ‘given name’, a ‘gender’, a ‘family’, an ‘ethnicity’, a ‘birth place’, a ‘nationality’ and a ‘security ID number’, but everyone was growing up being conditioned by the society to identify oneself with a ‘sexual orientation’, a ‘personality’, a ‘physical appearance’, a ‘self-image’, a ‘body image’, a ‘physical condition’, a ‘mental state’, a ‘religion’, a ‘culture’, a ‘lifestyle’, a ‘trend’, and etc. Most minds are being ‘encouraged’ by the society to be constantly ‘developing’ and ‘possessing’ further more other qualities of names and forms to empower or strengthen that ‘self-identity’, that would allow the minds to feel proud, confident and meaningful towards the existence of ‘I’ under such identifications. Such like, “I am a ‘good’, ‘strong’, ‘healthy’, ‘fit’, ‘beautiful’, ‘attractive’, ‘stylish’, ‘successful’, ‘intelligent’, ‘knowledgeable’, ‘positive’, ‘multi tasking’, ‘talented’, ‘well-informed’, ‘well-behaved’, ‘inspirational’, ‘generous’ and ‘kind loving’ human being on top of all the identifications with a particular belief, religion, spirituality, culture, caste, sect, educational level, social status, community group, political views, profession, interests, qualifications, certifications, achievements, contributions, possessions, relationships, connections, and so on.

There are some common sayings such as –
“Be good, do good, and life will be all good and you will be happy.”
“Be nice and friendly to other people, and other people will be nice and friendly to you.”
That is not necessary true.

But everyone has been circulating that kind of sayings especially from the elders to the youngsters, or from the yoga teachers to the yoga students. Many people experiencing disappointment, depression and meaninglessness because they have such expectation towards life, where everyone and everything has to be in certain ways based on those sayings.

Many times, life is not necessarily all good and people are not happy even after they are being good and they have done many good. And it’s okay.

People don’t have to be happy all the time. Just be good and do good, and allow the fruit of actions to be what it is, not necessarily has to be the way that we would like it to be.

Sometimes, people are not being grateful or appreciative towards our kindness and friendliness, and are not being nice or friendly to us when we are being nice and friendly to them. And it’s okay.

People don’t have to be grateful and appreciative, and be nice and friendly to others, if they don’t want to. Just be nice and friendly to others, without the expectation that other people should be grateful and appreciative, and be nice and friendly to us in return.

The most practical way in the yoga practice to eliminate egoism from the mind is via renunciation of what most minds being conditioned to think and believe as the ‘normal’ and ‘meaningful’ way of life. Moving the mind away from the egoistic worldly social cultural thinking and beliefs, ideas, relationships, connections, interactions and activities, and letting go novels, news and magazines reading, radio listening, movies watching and theater visiting. Be determined to observe seclusion and solitude for at least five or six years, cutting off all kinds of worldly social cultural inputs, ideas, connections, activities and interactions, to allow the mind to be free from being conditioned by worldly thinking and beliefs that are all about empowering worldly attachment and identification. Only then the mind can see the truth of names and forms as it is.

Once the mind is free from being conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking and beliefs, it is no longer being determined by any of the worldly identifications with qualities of names and forms to be existing as ‘I’. There’s no need to feel proud, confident or meaningful towards “I am somebody endowed with this and that prideful, superior and meaningful qualities.”

There’s no ‘I’ being there that needs to be empowered, be acknowledged, be motivated, be inspired, be loved, be proud, be confident and be meaningful. There’s no ‘I’ being there to be strong, be weak, be happy, be unhappy, be positive, be negative, be good, be bad, be hurt, be healed, be pleased, be displeased, be praised, be insulted, be selfish, be unselfish, be unfree or be free.

While the entire world emphasize on the empowerment of a strong self-identity nurtured with the qualities of names and forms of particular social/cultural/ethnicity/nationality ideas/values/practices, yoga practice is mainly to free the mind from all these identifications with any qualities of names and forms.

Even the idea of “I am a yoga practitioner practicing yoga of annihilating ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness” and the desire of “I want to practice yoga to be free from ignorance and suffering” vanished from the minds that know thyself.

Be free from all kinds of craving and clinging

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be free.

Freedom in all kind of relationships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be free.