Passionate mind and dispassionate mind

There’s nothing wrong with passionate mind or dispassionate mind. They just have different prospect and interest towards life existence, and how they live and act in the world.

Both minds can also be endowed with kindness and generosity and good will, to be good, to do good and to hope for the best for the world. Though the meanings of what is best for the world and the way of achieving what is best for the world can be very different for the passionate minds and the dispassionate minds.

In terms of Satsanga as one of the important elements for the yoga practitioners to progress in the path of yoga, especially those who haven’t develop a strong foundation of non-attachment and they are easily be affected or influenced by other people’s thinking, belief and behavior, and they attached onto their actions that are being performed out of good intention and they are affected or determined by the outcome of their actions very much, then they need the company of the dispassionate (less conflicts), and avoid the company of the passionate (more conflicts). Satsanga doesn’t matter for those who had developed strong non-attachment, who are not affected or influenced by other people’s thinking, belief and behavior, who don’t attach onto their action and are not affected or determined by the outcome of the action, there’s no difference between the company of the passionate or the dispassionate for them, but for the sake of conserving energy to not wasting energy into unnecessary issues created by the passionate minds, the yoga practitioners should also avoid the company of the passionate.

Those who are passionate are not bad people. They can be very good people who believe in goodness and righteousness and maintaining the order of the society or the environment. They can be doing many good actions in the world that they think are the best for the world. Just that the passion or intense love towards what they love, what they believe in, or what they think how the world should be like and how people should think and behave (act and react), could generate unnecessary disturbance or disharmony in themselves, and create disturbance and disharmony for others.

Passionate mind will feel hurt, frustrated, irritated, disappointed, distressed, depressed and angry, when things are not the way that it thinks it should be, or the way that it wants it to be, and under the influence of impurities, it will generate hurtful or violent action and speech to project the disturbed state of mind. There’s attachment towards the action being performed, and there’s expectation towards the fruit of action has to be the way that it thinks it should be. This is a mind that changes according to whether the experiences are something that it likes and wants, or something that it doesn’t like and doesn’t want. This mind projects kind qualities when it is happy and satisfied, when things are the way that it likes them to be, but it projects unkind qualities when it is upset and dissatisfied when things are not the way that it likes them to be. At one moment, it can be very kind and friendly, and in another moment, it can be very unkind and hostile.

Dispassionate mind won’t feel hurt, frustrated, irritated, disappointed, distressed, depressed or angry, when things are not the way that it thinks they should be, or the way that it would prefer them to be, and won’t generate hurtful or violent action and speech as the mind is free from disturb, ill-thinking or ill-will. This mind projects kind qualities disregard whether things are the way that it likes them to be, or not. Even when things are not the way that it would like them to be, this mind is still kind and compassionate. It doesn’t have ill-thinking or ill-will to hurt those who are different from them, who dislike or disagree with them, and who against them or hurt them.

There might be necessary action being performed, to bring awareness to others who are under the influence of ignorance, but there’s no attachment or expectation towards the action and the fruit of action. If others are getting offended and upset for being ‘lectured’ by other people and they continue to be ignorant, let them be. None can change another being, or remove the ignorance in others. None can change the world to be the way that one thinks it should be.

Yoga teachings doesn’t discriminate good or bad people. But it points out the distinction between passionate minds and dispassionate minds on the path of yoga towards peace and harmony in the society or in the world. Even good people who have good intention to perform good action might be under the influence of passion. These minds are not free. Yoga practice is to free the mind from passion, to be dispassionate, while living in the world, do one best performing necessary actions for the sake of peace and harmony in oneself and in the world, and let it go.

Be free.

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Compassion and wisdom – How to be free from suffering

Many people asked, “How to be free from suffering, especially suffering that is inflicted by other people’s ignorant behavior out of ignorance?”

Only through self-realized compassion and wisdom can free one’s mind from suffering. Obtaining sympathy and empathy from others can only console the mind for momentary relief, but it doesn’t free the mind from the root cause of suffering – Ignorance, egoism and impurities. It doesn’t matter what kind of suffering that the mind thinks it is suffering from, it’s all out of ignorance. The mind who thinks it is experiencing suffering, the object of suffering, and the cause suffering, may it be something physically, mentally or emotionally unpleasant or hurtful inflicted by others, intentionally and unintentionally, or it’s due to some unforeseen circumstances, are all the products of ignorance.

Even the liberated, compassionate and wise Buddha also couldn’t free other beings from suffering. He could only give them the teachings and it’s up to everyone’s own awareness, effort, perseverance, self-inquiry and self-realization to free one’s mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, and thus, be free from suffering.

When there is a thinking of “I am the victim of suffering” and “I am the victim of the cause of suffering”, where there is an identification from the mind being identified as the sufferer, and there is attachment and judgment towards the suffering and what the mind thinks is the cause of suffering, this mind won’t be able to see the truth of the suffering and the cause of suffering. And hence, the mind couldn’t be free from suffering even though there are plenty of sympathy and empathy coming from other people towards this mind that it thinks it is suffering from some kind of suffering.

Compassion and wisdom allows the mind to stand as a third party looking into the mind that thinks it is the sufferer or an victim, the suffering and the cause of suffering, WITHOUT egoism of judgment, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, intention or expectation. It allows the mind to see the truth of the existence of the sufferer or the victim, the object of suffering and the cause of suffering, as it is.

When the mind experiences something that the mind doesn’t like, doesn’t agree with and doesn’t want, there arise suffering in this mind. When the mind doesn’t experience something that it likes, agrees with and wants, there arise suffering in this mind. When the mind losing something that it likes, agrees with and wants, there arise suffering in this mind. It’s all in the mind from the mind, it’s not coming from the objects of name and form that the mind is experiencing. It’s the mind rejecting the reality that it perceives or experiences that is not the way that the mind likes and wants it to be, but is the way that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want, that is why suffering exists in the mind. It’s egoism of attachment and identification towards the physical body and the thinking mind, that generate great fear and aversion towards having bad condition, not having good condition, losing good condition, physical and mental limitation, loneliness, decay, weakness, injury, sickness, pain, hunger, thirst, disability, old age, separation from people and things that we love, the unknown, insecurity, and death. The mind is suffering from peacelessness or restlessness of ungratified desires of craving and aversion, dissatisfaction, greed, lust, passion, disappointment, anger, hatred, hurt, animosity, hostility, humiliation, pride, arrogance, ill-will, ill-thinking, violence, fear and worry, and etc.

Out of fear, craving and aversion, there’s violence, unrest, war, killing, sexual assault, hostility, discrimination, hatred, corruption, and all sorts of human-made ignorant happenings in this world.

And hence, out of wisdom, the mind realizes that all suffering are deriving from impurities born out of ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation. It’s really nothing to do with the objects of name and form that the mind experiences/perceives which the mind thinks are ‘bad’, ‘horrible’, ‘undeserving’, ‘wrong’, ‘hurtful’, ‘negative’ or ‘suffering’, that the impure mind thinks it’s the cause of its suffering.

And out of compassion from this mind towards itself that is under the influence of the ignorant thinking about itself is the sufferer or an victim, and being compassionate towards the mind perception of suffering and the cause of suffering, this mind is able to let go the thinking about itself as the sufferer or the victim and what it used to perceive as ‘suffering’, and thus, the sufferer, the suffering and the cause of suffering all disappear from the mind that is wise and compassionate. And knowing that whether they are pleasant or unpleasant sensations, desirable or undesirable experiences, enjoyable or hurtful experiences, happy or unhappy experiences, deserving or undeserving experiences, present or past experiences, they all have no quality or intention to be something pleasurable or suffering, and they are impermanent, and it’s not ‘I’.

‘I’ am not the sufferer, the sufferer is not ‘I’. ‘I’ am not the suffering, the suffering is not ‘I’. ‘I am not the cause of suffering, the cause of suffering is not ‘I’. There’s neither ‘I’ exists to be suffering, or there is suffering existing, or there’s a suffering ‘I’ needs to be free from suffering. There might be painful and unpleasant sensations or limitation in the body due to injury or sickness, but there is awareness knowing that the body is not ‘I’, ‘I’ am not the body. And the body and the painful sensations or the injury or the sickness or the function of the body are all impermanent. There’s no identification or attachment towards the impermanent changes of the body and life existence. There’s no fear or aversion towards painful and unpleasant sensations, injury, sickness, separation from people and things that we love, and death or the end of this life existence. And hence, suffering doesn’t arise in the liberated mind.

It’s the intense aversion towards something that the mind recognizes as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘horrible’, ‘unhappy’, hurtful’, ‘unpleasant’, ‘wrong’, ‘undeserving’, ‘sad’, ‘fearful’, or ‘suffering’, that the mind doesn’t like or doesn’t agree with and doesn’t want, that intensify the ‘suffering’ state of the mind. If the mind is free from craving or aversion towards any names and forms that are pleasant or unpleasant, then the mind will be aware of something is not nice, or greatly unpleasant, or not right that the mind is experiencing through the physical body, but the mind won’t perceive it as an suffering, and knowing that this is impermanent, and it’s needless to hold on onto this unpleasant experience, and allow the memory of this experience to be there, without pushing it away, and this memory has no power or quality to make the mind suffers, unless the mind allows itself to be continuously be disturbed or determined by this memory, and suffers.

When the mind is endowed with compassion and wisdom, this mind will know that all kinds of hurtful or painful experiences inflicted by human beings are deriving from ignorant behavior out of ignorance, whether intentionally or unintentionally. There’s no need to blame oneself or others by thinking that “I am a victim of other people’s ignorant behavior. And I am in great suffering because of other people’s ignorant behavior out of ignorance.” or “It’s because I am not good, that’s why I am experiencing this and I am suffering.” Because, the wisdom will allow the mind to understand, “I am not ignorant to behave ignorantly. Somebody else is ignorant to behave ignorantly. Why do I have to suffer for other people’s ignorant behavior out of ignorance? I don’t have to, even though there might be some damages or painful sensations inflicted onto this body and mind caused by other people’s ignorant behavior out of ignorance. If I allow myself to be suffering for other people’s ignorant behavior out of ignorance and generating further damages to this body and mind due to anger and hatred, then it’s out of my ignorance.” And out of compassion towards this body and mind that is physically, mentally and emotionally be affected by other people’s ignorant behavior out of ignorance, this mind will let go and move on without resentment, anger, hatred, hurt, guilt or blame. This mind doesn’t even need to forgive anyone or anything, as there’s no anger or hatred or resentment or hurt in this mind. This doesn’t mean that this mind is allowing or encouraging other people to be ignorant to perform ignorant behavior onto this body and mind.

By telling the people who are under the influence of ignorance about the damages and pain that they have done onto other people’s body and mind won’t undo what had happened and won’t remove the ignorance from the people’s mind. It has to come from everyone’s self-aware and self-realize towards the ignorance in them and the consequences of ignorant behavior, and out of their own free-will and self-control, they want to be free from ignorance and stop behaving ignorantly. If people are free from ignorance, they won’t behave ignorantly in the first place. And because of ignorance, they are ignorant towards their ignorant behavior, and continue to be ignorant, even though they are being pointed out that they are ignorant.

Out of our own ignorance, we can tell the wise about something that we think is ignorant about them, “You are ignorant. What you do is so ignorant.” And the wise won’t be disturbed, and it’s our own ignorance for having such statement towards the wise who are not ignorant at all. But we can’t tell this to the ignorant, even if it’s out of good intention trying to bring awareness to someone about their ignorance and their ignorant thinking, actions and behavior, it’s because of ignorance, they will be very offended, disturbed and upset, as the ignorant are being ignorant towards the ignorance in their minds. By telling those who are under the influence of ignorance that they are ignorant, won’t take away the ignorance in them. And so, it’s pointless to tell anyone whom we think they are ignorant that they are ignorant and to stop being ignorant, whether they are really ignorant, or not, because the wise are not ignorant at all, and the ignorant will still be ignorant.

Whether those who inflict ignorant actions out of ignorance onto other people will finally receive the consequences of their actions, or not, and whether they will repent and apologize, or not, it really doesn’t matter to the liberated minds and it’s not their intention to make them suffer or be punished for their actions out of ignorance.

If the mind needs to see the ignorant people to suffer or be punished for their ignorant actions, to feel better and satisfied, then this mind is not free, even though it might feel better and satisfied in this present moment by gratifying its desire of wishing the ignorant people to suffer or be punished for their ignorant actions, as this mind is also under the influence of ignorance and egoism and impurities.

May all be free.

Taming the urge to express the thought activities through speech and action

Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha – Yoga is the restraint/annihilation of the modification of the mind – The entire worldly idea of ‘I’ and life existence cease existing. The perception of separateness and duality of good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, enjoyment and suffering, birth and death, and so on, vanished.

This is an important practice in yoga to silent the mind by stop feeding the thought current or thought activities by restraining the mind from projecting or expressing the thinking via speech and action. It’s the practice of awareness, non-attachment and letting go that eventually leads to complete silence or the annihilation of the entire worldly idea of ‘I’ and life existence. People who are passionate towards worldly idea of life existence, who aspire to build a positive world that is free from what they think is negative, would interpret this practice as oppression or suppression or degradation of the mind or human life existence or humanity, which the worldly minded think it’s something inhuman, abnormal, unhealthy, non-progressive and wrong. Those who are not interested in yoga and meditation practice, who are passionate about worldly idea of life existence, they don’t need to perform this practice. Those who think they are free from suffering or they don’t mind suffering, or who had transcended suffering, also don’t need to perform this practice.

Even the teachings and practice of yoga can be something ‘good’ and ‘amazing’ for some people, but it can also be something ‘not good’ and ‘wrong’ for many other people. It’s up to everyone on how the mind perceives and reacts towards everything, and whether the mind needs the teachings and practice of yoga to realize unconditional peace.

The practice of silencing the mind is greatly contradicted with the existing worldly ideas and values that emphasize on empowering self-identification, self-worth, self-development, personal and global achievement, and social community development, where people think human beings should progress forward by constant stimulating their minds and projecting their thoughts freely through expressing their ideas and feelings via speech and action, especially if it’s something ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ according to the thinking and belief consists of certain worldly ideas and values, cultural and religious belief and practice that people think it would benefit all humanity.

What most worldly minds don’t realize is that silencing the mind is the greatest form of serving humanity. There’s less a being under the influence of ignorance to generate ignorant actions into the world. All the higher technologies and engineering derived from high creativity and intelligence, doesn’t remove the ignorance, egoism and impurities in people’s mind and it doesn’t make the world to be free from what the impure minds recognize as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘wrong’, ‘suffering’, and all sorts of ‘fear’ and ‘violence’. People can enjoy the higher technology to live longer or younger or healthier or to enjoy higher standard of living and lifestyle, but it doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free from suffering, if the mind is not free from ignorance, egoism and impurities. As the highest technology also can’t alter the truth of impermanence. People will still hurt each other out of fear, in order to survive or to protect themselves and their loved ones and what they think is ‘good’, if the mind is not free from ignorance.

Many people who are interested in doing some form of yoga exercises regularly are either ignorant towards this teaching and practice, as the yoga teachers don’t teach this teaching in the yoga exercise classes, or, people know, but they don’t like and disagree with this teaching and practice. Whether people know or don’t know, like or dislike, agree or disagree, this is what yoga is about – Annihilation of mind activities.

The worldly idea of life existence appears when the mind moves, where there is habitual attachment and reaction towards the mind perception of names and forms through the senses. The worldly idea of life existence disappears when the mind is stilled, where there is pure awareness of mind perceptions without attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgement, intention or expectation.

A lot of time, the thinking and judgment from the impure mind is only partially true, or may not be true at all. The mind reaction of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, is also the by-product of ignorance, being influenced by egoism and impurities.

There’s nothing wrong when the mind thinks and believes that it has some ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ qualities, ideas and values that are worth to be shared with the world, and there is strong urge to project what it thinks and believes as ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ through speech and action, thinking that this would bring positive goodness to the society or the world, so that other people will also be inspired or be endowed with the same qualities, ideas and values. There’s good and generous intention or aspiration to share something great with the world to inspire others.

Everyone has the freedom to express their thinking through speech and action, there’s nothing wrong and it really doesn’t matter to those who are free from the influence of ignorance and egoism because they will not be affected or disturbed by other people’s thinking, ideas or feelings being projected through their speech and action. But in reality, there are many minds functioning under the influence of ignorance and egoism, that are not free from being disturbed by ungratified desires, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, who will be disturbed or intimidated or offended or hurt by other people of their thinking, ideas and feelings. Again, there’s nothing wrong with people expressing their thinking freely, as well as it’s people’s freedom and responsibility for how people react towards other people’s thinking, ideas and feelings. Just that impure minds can get very confused when being disturbed or intimidated, and might unwittingly or spontaneously hurt themselves or others out of the disturbed and confused state of the mind.

For example, there are women who don’t have or don’t want to have children would express their ideas or feelings about how ‘good’ and ‘blessed’ for them to have the joy of not having children. While the women who have or want to have children would express their ideas or feelings about how ‘good’ and ‘blessed’ for them to have the joy of having children. And sometimes, they might mock each other for justifying their respective ideology is somehow more superior or better than the other.

There’s nothing wrong with both different ideas or feelings towards the joy of having or not having children. It’s all good that some women find joy in not having children, while some women find joy in having children, as long as there’s no attachment or identification towards this idea or value to be who they are. Then it doesn’t matter whether they have or don’t have children, they are fine, being undetermined by any ideology to feel worthy, happy, confident, or meaningful, or not.

There are women who think and believe that having children is something ‘good’ and ‘blessed’, and they would love to have children, but for some reasons they couldn’t have any children, or they have children, but it’s not the way that they like it to be, and their minds are being in a state of suffering due to ungratified desires. Under the imbalanced state of the mind, they would feel greatly disturbed when women who have children keep boasting about their joy of having children, thinking that it’s something good and positive to inspire and encourage other women to also have the joy of having children, but it’s actually generating great disturbance for the women who would love to have children but they couldn’t. And then, there are some women who have children, but for some reasons, they feel regret about having children, and their minds are being in a state of dissatisfaction, frustration and regret, they might feel more disturbed for having children that they don’t really want, when the women who don’t have children keep boasting about their joy of not having children.

It’s not the fault of the people who boast or share about their thinking, values and feelings, when other people attach onto whatever they perceive and react towards what they perceive, taking other people’s expression of thinking and point of view seriously and personally, and feel disturbed or intimidated or hurt. Though there are many minds that are easily be affected, disturbed and intimidated by other people’s freedom of expression. For the mind that is free, it won’t be affected or disturbed or intimidated by other people’s freedom of expression. This mind doesn’t need to stay away from something that the worldly minded perceive as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘depressing’, or ‘meaninglessness’.

When the mind starts to develop awareness, correct understanding and compassion, it’s okay for the mind to have particular thinking and belief towards particular ideas or values, but it doesn’t need to project/express these ideas or values to inspire other people to also take up these values and ideas, even though the mind strongly believes that they are something ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’. Allowing everyone to have their own version of ideas and values, and it’s needless to boast about anything trying to inspire other people to be the same as ‘I’, to achieve what ‘I’ achieve, to live life as ‘I’ live. “I am happy. You should be like me, and you will be happy too.” But what is ‘good’ for ‘I’ might be something ‘painful’ for other people.

When teaching a yoga asana class, the yoga teacher can’t tell the students, “I can do this, so can you.” or “Nothing is impossible. You can do and achieve anything that you want.” to inspire or encourage the students to be able to do what the yoga teacher can do, because it’s not true. Not everyone has the similar physical structure, condition, ability and limitation to be able to perform the same action. People who take the teacher’s words seriously and force themselves beyond their limitation but still couldn’t achieve what they want to achieve, they might hurt themselves out of great expectation and disappointment. It’s okay that there are things that are impossible to reach or achieve due to certain circumstances. And it’s okay if people can’t perform certain actions due to certain limitation even after many years of practice and attempts. People don’t have to be able to do everything that the yoga teacher or other people can do, to have peace, or be compassionate, or to forgive someone or something that is hurtful. But the ability to go beyond all the ability and disability of the body and the mind, accepting the reality as it is, while performing actions without attachment or identification towards the actions and the fruit of actions, and allowing impermanent changes to be there as they are, that will allow the mind to be peaceful, compassionate and forgiving. And it’s okay if many people couldn’t realize this after many years of practice, and still be disturbed and determined by all the names and forms.

By accepting the reality in this present moment now, that the mind is not free, and it’s okay, and it’s impermanent and it’s not ‘I’, and without judgment or disappointment, keep practicing, without attachment or expectation towards the practice and the fruit of practice, and that is already what yoga is about.

For example, high performance and continuous achievement in any field is being perceived as something ‘good’ and ‘positive’ in the world. There’s nothing wrong with the idea of high performance and continuous achievement individually and globally, and many people can keep up with that idea with not much difficulty, but there are people couldn’t meet up with the expectation of high performance and continuous achievement, and they keep forcing the capability of the body and mind beyond its limitation to attain higher and higher performance and achievement until the function of the body and mind eventually breakdown, harming the entire body systems and suffered from restlessness, depression or insanity.

People can just do their best within their own capability, without trying to achieve what the world think is ‘good’ and ‘positive’, without pushing or forcing the body and mind beyond its limitation to compete with themselves or others to attain the sense of self-worth, achievement, confidence or meaningfulness, and without losing the clarity and sanity of the mind.

For the untrained mind, there are thought activities or thinking in the mind reacting towards the perception of names and forms, whether there is likes or dislikes and agreements or disagreements towards the perceived names and forms in the form of thinking, and naturally, there’s an urge to project/materialize this thinking through the speech and action, either intentionally or unintentionally. There’s an urge to express, to comment, to justify, to fight back, to argue, to attack, to revenge, to intimidate, to oppose, to criticize, to condemn, to aspire, to inspire, to admire, to love, to appreciate, to praise, to possess, or to control, and so on.

For the mind that has developed strong foundation in non-attachment and letting go, there is awareness towards the thought activities of the mind perception of names and forms of sight, sound, smell, taste, sensation and thinking/imagination/feeling, even though there might be likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements in the form of thinking due to the intellectual thought processing and recognizing the perceived names and forms, but it’s not necessarily that the thinking has to be projected/expressed/materialized through speech and action. In the end, all likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements in the form of thinking also will drop off. There are necessary actions being performed, without intention, attachment, identification, desires, judgment or expectation. Allowing the fruit of actions to be there as it is, allowing all the names and forms to be there as they are, and allowing them to change as they are.

There might be many intellectuals in the world would disagree with this or are against towards Silence of the mind. And that is their freedom of thinking and reaction.

This is what yoga practice is about – Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha

And it’s nothing to do with the physical condition, ability and limitation to do the yoga poses. It’s nothing to do with the knowledge of anatomy and physiology, or the precise physical alignment and different techniques on performing the yoga poses, or how one looks and feels in the yoga poses, or what are the names and benefits of the yoga poses, or the different types of qualifications and certifications sanctioned by such and such internationally recognized yoga alliance or association.

The mind that is free from impurities, ignorance and egoism, and is peaceful as it is being free from suffering, doesn’t need to be recognized, acknowledged, approved, authorized, or certified by anyone or any group, or any higher consciousness.

Be free.

Yoga retreat for developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance and simplicity

Many people who are interested in doing regular yoga exercises as a form of health and fitness activity, they might also interested in participating in yoga retreats once in a while. And there are many yoga retreats everywhere in the world that would cater the demands and expectations of those who want to participate in yoga retreats.

Some people are looking for yoga retreats that allow them to learn about yoga and to be focusing and immersed into the traditional yoga practice for a period of time, to develop self-discipline and self-practice in everyday life, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, to realize unconditional love and peace that is beyond all the qualities of name and form, undetermined by life experiences, condition and situation, physical and mental ability, achievements and enjoyments. While many others are looking for yoga retreats that allow them to gratify the desires of craving and aversion, to be in a comfortable and desirable environment that emphasize on indulgence of the senses, self-pampering and socializing, that makes them feel satisfied, pleased, good, relaxed and peaceful, even though it’s impermanent.

Whether the retreat organizers are aware or unaware of it, most yoga retreats are not really about the yoga practice of guiding the yoga enthusiasts/practitioners into the yoga practice of annihilating ignorance and egoism to free the mind from the root cause of suffering – the desires of craving and aversion, but it’s actually providing the opportunity for empowering ignorance and egoism through gratifying their desires of craving and aversion, giving them momentary satisfaction and good feelings via pleasurable physical, sensual and mental enjoyments, by giving the mind what it wants and not giving the mind what it doesn’t want.

Most people are not really interested in the yoga practice of developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance and simplicity, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, and the desires of craving and aversion through participating in yoga retreats that allow the participants to learn about the essential teachings of yoga, to focus and immerse into the traditional yoga practice of annihilating ignorance, egoism and impurities, while not pushing away but confronting any impurity, difficulty, discomfort, fear, or blockage that the mind doesn’t like to confront with, that the mind would rather runaway from.

Most people are more interested in yoga retreats with holiday resort facilities that provide many types of pleasurable activities, facilities, services and enjoyments of sight, sound, taste, smell, sensation, and imagination, that emphasize on self-indulgence, self-pampering and socializing, to temporarily escape from what the mind thinks is ‘negative’, ‘unpleasantness’, ‘discomfortable’, ‘difficult’, ‘depressing’, ‘disturbing’ or ‘non-enjoyment’ in everyday life, to be in a relaxing comfortable environment that would gratified the desires of craving and aversion, to be doing activities that they enjoy doing, to be indulging in sensual pleasurable enjoyments, to be pampered physically and mentally, beside attending daily yoga exercise sessions, to feel good, relaxed, satisfied and pleased.

This type of yoga retreats that emphasize on pleasurable physical and mental enjoyments in a comfortable pampering environment are great for those who feel that there is a need to be temporarily moving away from everyday life where they have to carry out their duties and responsibilities, and dealing with all kinds of people whom are not like-minded, and situations and things that are not the way that they like it to be, that make them feel disturbed, frustrated, exhausted, drained, stressed or tensed, that they need to participate in a ‘retreat’ from time to time, to unwind and relaxed, even though it’s just a momentary relief derived from being away from what their mind perceives as undesirable disturbing environment or something that they don’t like, but to be in a desirable pleasant environment, while engaging in some activities that they like to do, the way that they like it to be, that make them feel good.

Though this is not what yoga practice is about, there’s nothing wrong with most yoga retreats in the world are of this kind as they are many people want and need this kind of yoga retreats. And it’s everyone’s freedom for what they like and want. It’s a business, where you give the customers what they like and want, to make them feel satisfied and happy, and to make sure they will continue to come back again and again to support your business.

The yoga retreats that are about yoga, the teachings and the practice, allow the participants to learn about their own mind and the root cause of suffering, and to practically immerse into the yoga practice of freeing the mind from ignorance to allow the mind to see the truth of things as it is, and freeing the mind from egoism through the practice of non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation, while developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance, simplicity, wisdom and compassion, to become their own teacher to perform self-practice that is beyond time and space, that allow them to live in the world as they are, perform all their duties and responsibilities, without attachment or identification towards the body and mind, the actions and the fruit of actions, without being disturbed or determined by all kinds of life experiences, people, situations and things that are not necessarily the way that they like it to be, allowing them to deal with ‘difficult’ and ‘challenging’ condition and situation with wisdom and compassion, that allow them to be able to let go what the mind used to perceive as ‘negative’, ‘bad’, ‘disturbing’, ‘frustrating’, ‘exhausting’, ‘depressing’, ‘hurtful’, or ‘stressful’, that they know how to partially retreat themselves in everyday life to conserve energy for performing yoga practice and to silent the mind, that they know how to minimize or stop generating and accumulating tension or stress, that there’s no need to participate in a ‘retreat’ to be away from everyday life to unwind or relaxed as there’s minimal or no tension and stress building up, and realize unconditional peace that is beyond the qualities of name and form, and all kinds of condition and situation.

A yoga retreat that allows people to develop correct understanding, awareness, self-practice, self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, simplicity, dispassion, wisdom and compassion, that eventually people don’t need to participate in any ‘retreat’ to retreat from everyday life experiences that are not the way that we like it to be of what the impure mind recognizes as ‘negative’, ‘bad’, ‘difficult’, ‘hurtful’, ‘distressing’, ‘disturbing’, ‘frustrating’, ‘depressing’, ‘discomfortable’, ‘non-enjoyable’, ‘unpleasant’, or ‘exhausting’. The mind is peaceful as it is and wherever it is, undetermined by the qualities of name and form, and all kinds of life experiences and impermanent changes, conditions and situations. One doesn’t need to go to a special place, or be with special people, or do special activities, or to participate in any kind of ‘retreats’ to find relaxation, calmness and peace that is determined by certain qualities of name and form, experience, activity, condition and situation, that is impermanent.

This type of yoga retreat is great for those who are looking for real peace or unconditional peace being free from ignorance and egoism through persevered discipline and restraint of one’s mind activities, but it’s not favorable for business. As there will be physical, mental and emotional unpleasantness during the purification process under going intensive yoga practice to eliminate ignorance and egoism. There will be rejection and disgust coming from the ignorant egoistic mind that doesn’t like to be disciplined or restrained. There’s disagreement and aversion coming from the egoistic mind towards the teachings of yoga that is different from the thinking and belief in the mind. And hence, this type of retreats are less popular, and are being criticized by those who expect pleasurable enjoyments, comfortable conveniences, customer service and social interactions in ‘yoga retreats’. Those who guide others onto the path of yoga don’t take it as a business, and hence, it doesn’t matter.

Allowing the mind to see the truth as it is

Disregards what are the different qualities of names and forms that we think and believe and identify as ‘I’, or THIS is who I am, even when we think we are bad or not good enough or we think other people are bad or not good enough, all minds can be free from ignorance and suffering, and realize unconditional peace and love. We just need to know how to allow the mind to see the truth of all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses as it is, be free from ignorance, and thus be free from suffering that arise due to ignorance.

Open mind is when the mind is uninfluenced by or unattached onto any particular thinking and belief and egoistic likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, being free from judgment and expectation, to just see the truth of names and forms as it is.

Minds that attached/identified strongly onto certain cultural, social, spiritual, religious or superstitious thinking and belief, it’s not easy for them to see the truth as it is, unless they willingly to let go attachment and identification, and be opened. These minds recognize, analyze, judge, and generate likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements onto all the names and forms that the minds perceive through the senses of what they see, hear, smell, taste, touch/feel and think, and expect all the names and forms to be the way that they think it should be, based on the thinking and belief about what is good and bad, right and wrong, should and shouldn’t, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, appropriateness and disappropriateness, meaningfulness and meaninglessness, and so on.

The mind that is opened, it stands as a witness towards all the names and forms as they are, respects everything as they are. Just like the sun, the wind, the water, the earth and the space, they have no egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, pride, superiority, separateness, judgement, discrimination, intention, or expectation. Just like all the cells, internal organs, sense organs and life supporting systems, they have no egoism and ceaselessly performing action to support this body and mind, until they ceased functioning.

The mind that is under the influence of the ego doesn’t want to let go all the perceived names and forms, but it determines to interfere with everything that it perceives through the senses, applies judgment of good and bad, positive and negative, right and wrong, enjoyment and suffering, and generates craving and aversion towards all these names and forms, and desires to possess names and forms that it likes, and desires to destroy or get rid of names and forms that it doesn’t like. If it doesn’t get what it desires, if it gets what it doesn’t desire, it gets dissatisfied, disappointed, annoyed, furious, unhappy, angry, hating, and violent.

The egoistic mind thinks and believes that “(I) am more superior and important than other beings, and (I) deserve and have the rights to do and say what (I) like to do and say, but (I) don’t allow other beings who are different from (I), to do and say what they like to do and say, which (I) don’t like and don’t agree with. (I) am right and good. You are different from me. You are wrong and bad. (I) deserve to live and be here. You don’t deserve to live and be here. (I) can do what I want to do. You cannot do what you want to do. Just because (I) am more superior and important and deserving than you.”

Even the richest person, or the most beautiful person, or the most intelligent knowledgeable person, or the most powerful influential person, or the most healthy illness-free person, or the most religious person, or the most compassionate and wise person, or the oldest person in the world will also have to go through changes, decay, weakness, aging and death, just like everyone else. What is superiority, pride and arrogance? It’s merely the ignorant and selfish ego.

Some people have fear towards ‘open mind’, as they have been told or informed by ‘somebody’ that open mind is something ‘evil’ and ‘wrong’, that their souls might somehow ‘float away’ and don’t know how to ‘come back’ into the mind or the body, and that they might be inviting or allowing ‘evil spirits’ to come into the mind and take over the mind.

Those who have the greatest fear towards open mind are not the people who were being told to be fear of open mind, but they are those who try to induce or provoke fear in the people towards open mind, as they can no longer be able to ‘control’ or ‘influence’ these people to ‘manipulate’ them, in order to achieve their own selfish desires and personal agenda. It’s because once people allow their minds to be opened and see the truth as it is, being free from ignorance, they won’t be influenced or manipulated by anyone or anything.

The people who have selfish desires and personal ambitions make use of the ignorance, egoism, feelings and emotions in other people to manipulate them to ‘involuntarily’ helping them to achieve their selfish desires and personal ambitions, through provoking fear, or anger and hatred, or racism, or separateness, or intolerance, or violence, and etc, in the people’s mind to make people go against each other, to have fear towards each other, to cause unrest in the society, so that the people are too busy dealing with fear, anger and hatred, and won’t have time and energy and attention to be aware of what is really going on behind all these unrest, so that the people won’t unite together to hinder the selfish people from achieving their selfish desires and personal ambitions.

Some people might also ‘misinterpret’ open mind as to experience and try everything that they come in contact with, without any self-control or hesitation or responsibility, it doesn’t matter if these ideas, things and activities would be harming themselves and others, to prove to themselves and others that they are ‘cool’ and ‘fearless’ and ‘different’ and ‘special’, that they are ‘in-control’ of themselves, that they are not conformed to the ‘normal’ behavior of the society. What they don’t realize, is that they are already being ‘influenced’ or ‘controlled’ by the idea of want to be disobedient and want to be ‘cooler’ than others and ‘different’ from others. This is not what ‘open mind’ is about. This is not freedom.

Open mind is not about trying to be good or to be the opposite of good.

Either we think we want to be different and special, or we want to be all same and equal, we are not free. As long as there is clinging and craving towards something or idea that we like and agree with, and aversion towards some other thing and idea that we don’t like and don’t agree with, we are not free, even if we think and believe that our thinking and belief is the best, all good and perfect. Be free from anger and hatred towards something or someone that we think and believe as bad, wrong and evil. If we don’t like haters who hate us, don’t be one.

Allowing all the different names and forms to be what they are, as they are, without attachment or identification, craving or aversion towards all these names and forms, without trying to change the names and forms to be the way that we like it to be, or the way that we think it should be. Being undisturbed by all the different qualities of names and forms being perceived through the senses, and that is freedom.

Be free.