Go beyond all the names and forms including transcendental experiences

During the practice of concentration, not all but most practitioners might experience different kinds of ‘transcendental’ or subtle experiences of perceiving or seeing certain subtle name and form of light/colour/shape, hearing certain subtle sound, smelling certain subtle smell, tasting certain subtle taste, or feeling certain subtle sensation. Just as the names and forms that manifest as ‘dream’ in the state of dreaming, all these are merely some ‘side-effects’ that may or may not arise during the state of concentration, sometimes are pleasant and sometimes are unpleasant, as part of the manifestation of the different Gunas/elements that are predominant at that time, influenced by the accumulated imprints in the mind, which all are also subject to impermanence and selflessness.

If there’s attachment and identification towards all these ‘experiences’, where the mind thinks and believes or acknowledges, “I am experiencing all these transcendental names and forms. I am perceiving a different reality. I am improving in my practice. I am enlightened, or I must be very near to enlightenment.” and there’s sense of pride and craving towards all these experiences, then this ‘transcendental experience’ has become an obstacle for the mind to transcend itself.

All these names and forms are part of the play or manifestation of the modification of the mind (both conscious and sub-concious, gross and subtle). It can serve as ‘a focus point’ to keep the mind in the present, or it can become ‘an obstacle’ if there’s attachment and identification coming from the impure egoistic habit of the mind towards all these names and forms that arise during the practice of concentration.

The path of yoga and meditation is all about annihilating the modification of the mind of egoism and impurities under the influence of ignorance, neither attaching towards/clinging onto or running away from the mind perception of ‘this reality’ or ‘this existence’, nor looking forward to be perceiving ‘another reality’ that is different from ‘this reality’ or to be experiencing ‘another existence’ that is different from ‘this existence’.

In meditation, it’s beyond ‘concentration’ and all that manifest in the state of concentration (perception of different reality), beyond all kinds of names and forms and qualities/attributes, or Gunas/elements.

Stand as a witness towards the modification of the mind perceiving all kinds of names and forms. The dispassionate minds forgo all kinds of ‘magnificent show/play/manifestation’ of lights, colours, shapes, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, whether gross/subtle/transcendental. While the passionate minds unwittingly ‘falling in love with’ and ‘chasing after’ all kinds of agreeable/desirable/incredible/magnificent names and forms.

There’s neither attachment towards what the mind thinks is or is not ‘transcendental experience’. Transcending even the ‘experience’ of meditation or absorption into silence/Samadhi. There’s neither “I am meditating” or “I am experiencing silence” or “I am entering Samadhi”. Who is there to experience ‘this or that’ in selflessness/oneness/non-separateness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness? Even when the mind thinks and believes that it is seeing/hearing/feeling/experiencing what it thinks and believes is ‘God’ or even ‘Devil’, let it passed too.

There’s neither craving towards ‘higher realm/transition’ or ‘heaven’ nor aversion towards ‘lower realm/transition’ or ‘hell’. Just annihilating/silencing the modification of the mind.

The practice of silence to conquer the restless mind

This teaching is for those who want to conquer the restless mind, but they realize that the mind is so difficult to quiet down, that there will be ceaseless distracting random thoughts occupying the mind, especially whenever they try to sit down quietly limiting the physical movements and refraining the senses from going out chasing after the object of the senses, to train the mind in concentration and meditation.

It’s a common reaction of all the untrained impure minds when the physical body is being restricted from bodily movements and the mental habitual activities is being restricted, there will be random thoughts bubbling up to the surface of the mind. It’s part of the purification process. People should continue the practice by learning how to be aware of all these random thoughts without association, attachment, identification, craving or aversion, judgment and expectation, and allowing all these random pleasant and unpleasant thoughts arising and passing away, to clear up the past accumulated imprints. People expect that when they meditate, the mind will be free from any thoughts, and so, they’ll get very disappointed and demotivated after a few attempts trying to concentrate or meditate, they realize that the modification of the mind is even more agitated and violent whenever they try to concentrate or meditate. And without correct understanding, many people would give up and prefer to just live everyday life as they are, ‘happy happy go lucky’, be good, do good, without the need to deal with the unpleasant behavior of the mind that they don’t like to confront with. And that’s their freedom.

The biggest element in aid to conquer the restless mind is the observation of silence, of seclusion, solitude and renunciation from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions.

Some people think that those who want to conquer the mind should take up the challenge of living and mixing among the society, in order to allow the mind to practice concentration and meditation in everyday life having to deal with all kinds of challenging condition and situation, distractions and disturbance, while learning how to remain equanimous without being affected or determined by all the challenging condition and situation in life, without generating craving towards the pleasant life experiences and without generating aversion towards the unpleasant life experiences. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But what happens? After many years of ‘trying’ to practice yoga and meditation to conquer the restless mind, but the mind is still restless, or even more restless under the influence of ignorance and impurities.

Some even say that it’s very easy to be calm and quiet being in solitude and seclusion without dealing with other beings and worldly affairs. They think that one doesn’t need to deal with pleasantness and unpleasantness, craving and aversion, distractions and disturbance, actions and reactions, when being in solitude and seclusion. What they don’t know is that most minds will runaway from solitude and seclusion after some time, like fish out of water, and the modification of the mind is even more agitated and violent being restricted from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions that keep the mind stimulated, entertained, busy, or restless. That’s why so many people will say that meditation is very difficult, or they can’t meditate, or they don’t like meditation, or they don’t like to observe silence, of solitude and seclusion.

Whether one is surrounded by many other beings and happenings, or one is alone in solitude away from happenings, this mind has to deal with the impermanent and selfless changes of the physical body and the ignorant impure egoistic modification of the mind. Whether the mind is free, or not free, it’s always right here and right now. When the mind practices concentration and meditation, it’s always alone, regardless of whether there are other people around, or not.

Do not blind-believing or blind-following any teachings from anyone or somewhere, including all the teachings here. Contemplate and inquire the truth of all teachings and attain self-realization of the truth of all the teachings via direct experience.

Take note that living in the world and mixing in the society are two completely different things. Geographically and biologically, one will have to and always be living in the world, otherwise, this body will not be able to survive for long, but at the same time, know the importance of observing silence, of maximum solitude and seclusion, renouncing worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, in short, refraining from mixing in the society.

While living in the world, one will still have to deal with the impermanent and selfless condition and situation in the world that is ever challenging, and developing the strength of non-association, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation, and one learns how to conserve energy and not wasting energy into worldly affairs/activities/interactions that derived from ignorance and egoism, as well as empowering/feeding ignorance and egoism.

Observing maximum solitude and seclusion while living in the world, and renouncing worldly social relationships, activities and interactions doesn’t mean that one is completely isolated from the society and not performing any actions in the world. One can be performing unlimited selfless service in the world to benefit the society efficiently, but being free from mixing, or socializing, or accumulating relationships. One is care-less towards the worldly affairs, but can also be performing actions that benefit the world at the same time. Being compassionate towards all beings doesn’t mean that one has to be in a form of relationship with all beings. One can be kind to others without the need of knowing or contacting with the others. Contemplate on this, and be free to observe silence while living in the world and performing actions in the world.

For the ‘first class’ students of Dhamma, which are very few of them in this world, they don’t need to observe silence, of solitude, seclusion and renunciation from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, as they are already grounded firmly in Dhamma. They can be mixing in the society like everyone else, behaving like everyone else, but their minds are ever pure and quiet. They don’t need to practice concentration or meditation at all. They are not separated from meditation. There’s no in or out of meditation.

For the other students of Dhamma, which is the majority of us, we do need to observe silence at some stage, of maximum solitude and seclusion, and renounce worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, as whether we are aware or unaware, the mind is constantly absorbing all the inputs of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts/imagination/projection/dreams, all the time, unwittingly. All these endless accumulated inputs are the ceaseless random thoughts that bubbling up to the surface of the mind during the practice of concentration and meditation, and many minds that haven’t develop a strong foundation of non-association, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation will be greatly disturbed, distracted and demotivated by this purification process. And this will never come to an end, unless we start reducing and limiting all these unnecessary mind inputs deriving from all kinds of worldly relationships, activities and interactions.

It’s like someone tries very hard to clean up the rubbish bin, but somehow, rubbish keep pouring into the bin, from someone and somewhere, endlessly. The bin will never be cleaned. The untrained impure egoistic mind is like a rubbish bin, taking in all kinds of rubbish (mind inputs) ceaselessly, unwittingly. And yoga and meditation practice of silence, solitude, seclusion and renunciation, is the most effective and practical way to free the mind from being a rubbish bin, and it’s not about to be a clean rubbish bin, but to realize its nature of namelessness, formlessness and attributelessness, that it is neither a dirty rubbish bin nor a clean rubbish bin.

Perform this test to know how the mind works. Sit down without moving the body and limbs, closing the eyes, and observe the natural breath coming in and going out for a few minutes. Very soon, unwittingly, random thoughts will arise and occupying the mind. And one will realize that all these random bubbling thoughts are the strongest imprints during the day, or from the last few days, or even from weeks/months/years before, or even forgotten.

Even Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and Swami Sivananda also had to retreat from the society to be focusing on their practice for some years in solitude, restraining the modification of the mind and attaining liberation. And then they came back to the society to disseminate the Dhamma to the other suffering minds whom in need of the Dhamma to be free from suffering.

By reducing and limiting the mind inputs not just allowing the mind to be purified effectively, but it also helps to develop a great mental strength that allows the mind to be uninfluenced, unaffected, undisturbed and undetermined by all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses. At this stage, the mind is safe and free to be mixing in the society and live everyday life like everyone else, but the mind is ever pure and quiet.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to think and believe, and what they want or don’t want to practice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Silent Retreat…

Silent retreat.

A period of renunciation.

Retreat from worldly affairs, social activities, personal duties and responsibilities, and from other beings.

To perform the greatest duty and responsibility of mankind.

To focus on oneself.

To take care the well-being of oneself.

To find peace within, to make peace with oneself and others.

Some don’t like it. It’s normal.

Some have fear and anxiety towards the idea and practice of silence. It’s normal too.

Some have high expectation from it. It’s okay.

Some runaway from it. It’s okay too.

Some fall in love with it. Not surprise either.

Some neither like nor dislike it. It’s just another experience.

Whatever it is, it’s the mind.

Attending one or many silent retreat(s) doesn’t guarantee anything.

The mind can be even more restless and turbulent for being restrained in silent retreat.

Confronting impurities in our own mind can be quite unpleasant.

It’s like try to clean up a long time blocked drainage system.

As we begin the cleaning process, more unpleasant stuffs being released and come up to the surface during the process.

Keep cleaning up the existing blockage little by little, and stop building up more blockage.

Fear not.

Be bold.

Be indifferent.

Be determined.

May all be free, be peaceful, be happy through silencing one’s very own restless mind.

Who is being compassionate?

“I am compassionate. I am a compassionate being. I am compassionate towards other beings suffering. I am disappointed, frustrated and angry with other people who are not compassionate towards other people suffering.”

“I am compassionate” doesn’t mean anything.

Before the egoism is eliminated, there’s no compassion. There might be sympathy and empathy, but it’s not compassion.

If the ego is absent upon annihilation of egoism, who is there to identify as a compassionate being and being compassionate, and condemn others for being compassionate-less?

Compassion is free from the influence of egoism and all the egoistic qualities and its side products of impurities.

Compassion is spontaneous and natural.

Compassion is unconditional without any discrimination.

Compassion is free from attachment and identification.

Compassion is free from intention and expectation.

Compassion is free from judgment, criticism, blame and condemn.

Compassion is free from influences of anger, frustration and disappointment.

Compassion is free from influences and discrimination of religion, politic, region, nationality, professionalism, gender, age, sexual orientation, cultural belief, background, behavior, physical and mental condition, personal interest and benefit, personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements.

Compassion is undetermined by feelings and emotions, praise and condemn, compliment and criticism, success and failure.

Compassion is beyond separateness, qualities, names and forms, action and action-less.

Compassion is perform action (including action-less) without attachment, identification, intention, expectation, and renounce the fruit of all actions (including action-less).

There’s no “I am good. I want to be good. I want to do good. I perform good action. The result of my good action must be good.”

There’s no expectation “Everyone should be good, do good, perform good actions, and the result of good actions must be good.”

Perform all actions, abandon the doer-ship, and allow the fruit of actions to be what it is.

Even though we might not be completely compassionate, but it doesn’t matter. Just by intentionally doing some good actions to benefits other beings is already very good for humanity. We don’t have to be a superhero that can clear away all the suffering in the world. Even enlightened beings also cannot remove the ignorance and suffering in other beings. We can just do our best for what we can do, to be kind to ourselves and others, without attachment and expectation.

Be happy.

Yoga practice for emancipation…

“I am not the body, the body is not mine.
I am not the mind, the mind is not mine.”

This is the basic teaching and practice of yoga. But, for some, it seems to be almost impossible for the mind to be free from ignorance, to go beyond names and forms, to be free from being conditioned by the idea of “I” and all that is related to “I”.

It is up to everyone to inquire or investigate into the truth of this teaching and all the other teachings from anywhere, and realize the truth through our own Self-inquiry.

Some people want to be able to go beyond all the names and forms, but find it difficult to practice non-attachment in everyday life. Many people don’t want to go beyond the body and mind, to be undetermined by the impermanent changes of the body and mind to be “I”, and be free. They rather cling onto the idea of “I” and life existence, being passionate about “I” and everything that is related to “I”. They are determined by the impermanent body and mind, and all the qualities of name and form that they perceive through the senses to be “I”, whether wittingly or unwittingly. They give themselves reasonable excuses why it is not necessarily to practice non-attachment or to renounce the world, to be peaceful and happy. They believe that life should be full of passionate desires waiting to be fulfilled to keep life going and meaningful, or else it isn’t life. Dispassion and desire-less is unbearable and wrong for them. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s their freedom of choice for what they want to do with their life.

For those who are determined to be free from suffering, to be able to help other suffering beings efficiently, they will focus their entire life time and existence into the path of emancipation, gradually moving away from worldly ideas and passionate desires.

Due to the veil of ignorance, the ego, or the idea of “I” in the mind, generates attachment and identification with all these qualities of names and forms to be “This is I”, to be existing, to be acknowledged, to be known. There’s strong attachment and identification with the thinking, the belief, the knowledge, the state and the ability of the mind, and the condition, the ability and the appearance of the physical body, as well as all the relationships with other beings and objects, to be “I”.

We are being determined by the impermanent qualities of the body and mind, and the relationships with other beings and objects to be confident, to be satisfied, to be happy, to be worthy and meaningful, or not. And all these qualities of name and form are subject to impermanence. And hence, the mind is constantly restless and dissatisfied. The stubborn attachment and identification doesn’t allow the mind to be free from the idea of “I” and all that is related with “I”. And this doesn’t allow the mind to see the truth of existence, which is I-lessness.

Upon the realization of the truth of I-lessness, the mind will be liberated from all sorts of suffering that derived from ignorance.

From the attachment and identification with qualities of name and form to be existing, the egoistic mind generates ceaseless desires of wants and don’t wants, craving and aversion, where all sorts of suffering arise.

“Is it necessarily to renounce the worldly social life and activities to be free from ignorance and suffering?” Well, it depends on each individual whether we have strong self-discipline and an undistracted mind, or not.

If our mind has rooted firmly in non-attachment, and is undistracted or uninfluenced by whatever the mind comes in contact with, or interacts with, being undisturbed or unaffected physically, mentally or emotionally, then we can mix freely into the society and involve with social activities freely, unrestricting the activities of the body and mind, while having the strong self-discipline and concentration maintaining one-pointedness towards the complete annihilation of ignorance.

If our mind has not yet develop a strong foundation of non-attachment, and is easily distracted and be influenced by whatever the mind comes in contact with, or interacts with, easily being disturbed and affected physically, mentally and emotionally, then we will need to renounce worldly social activities for a period of time, to allow the mind to be quiet and still for a sustained period of time to be able to reflect upon the truth as it is.

If emancipation is not what we are looking for, then be free to live a passionate and unrestricted worldly life. Be happy with what we want for our life. But then when we experience disappointment and suffering, and feel hurt, disturbed, angry, or depressed about the reality that we don’t like and don’t agree with, it is our own choice as well.

Anyway, there are no shortage of New Age ‘yoga teachers’ in the modern world teach about “Follow all your desires, be passionate and indulge in worldly sensual enjoyment” as liberation. Why bother about renunciation to perform Sadhana that is so wrong, unnatural and painful for the worldly egoistic mind. As even when someone tries to renounce the world, it doesn’t guarantee that this being will be liberated, if there’s no real renunciation.

Some might think that we are now existing in an new era, renunciation is outdated. Some people who love their yoga and meditation practice might think that there’s no need to renounce the world, they have already gotten the benefits that they wanted from their yoga and meditation practice. Some think that they are somehow smarter than those past enlightened beings who all had went through renunciation, seclusion and intense Sadhana for many years to attain liberation, and then came back to the world to help other beings to attain liberation. It’s our own freedom for what we want for our lives.

Be happy.

Practice yoga of selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Om shanti.

Yoga asana practice – Padma Bakasana, Kakasana, Titibasana

Asana practice – Padma Bakasana, Kakasana, Titibasana
Through the effort, concentration and perseverance while learning to come into any poses, it helps us to develop non-attachment towards the qualities of names and forms by letting go of judgment, comparison and expectation while practicing the asana poses.
Not identifying as the doer of actions nor the enjoyer of the fruit of actions.
Perform all our duties and renounce the fruit of actions.
Om shanti.

Yoga Asana Practice – Transition into Padma Bakasana, kakasana and Titibasana

About yoga teachers and teaching yoga…

“Yoga teachers” are those who had found the inner teacher within themselves, and are free from ignorance and restlessness, and are sharing the path of unconditional love and peace with some other beings, out of compassion, without attachment. They don’t need to tag themselves as “yoga teachers” or “certified yoga teachers” or “certified yoga teachers with many years of experience” or “yoga teachers who came from which yoga school” or “yoga teachers who learn under which Guru”… As all these names and forms and qualities are irrelevant. There is nothing wrong or bad with all these worldly perception of names and forms and qualities for “sharing” the path towards unconditional love and peace, but they mean nothing to those who have gone beyond names and forms and qualities…

The worldly minded need to see or hear all these names and forms and qualities about so and so, about this and that, but all these names and forms and qualities are meaningless on the path towards unconditional love and peace. As even though all beings have different backgrounds or experiences, and have different levels or degrees of ignorance or realization, but the unconditional love and peace in all beings is the same, no differences… It doesn’t change, nor increase, nor decrease, nor disappear due to the different degrees of impurities or ignorance… It is not affected nor contaminated by our actions and inactions in life experiences… And thus there is no judgment towards anyone or anything. As even a so called “good person” who did a lot of good actions and didn’t do any bad actions, is not guaranteed with peace and happiness, or be free from ignorance, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, pride, arrogance, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear and worry…

It is about not attach to what is called “good” and what is called “bad”…

It doesn’t mean that we can do a lot of “bad” actions but will be free from the consequences… Some people misunderstood this teaching and take it as an excuse to justify our wrong doings that will hurt ourselves and other beings, and do whatever we feel like doing but being irresponsible for our actions. But what we didn’t know is that we did all the “good” or “bad” actions with the identification as the doer and the enjoyer of the actions, and we have selfish intentions coming from the ego with attachment and expectation towards our actions and the result of our actions… “I did this..” or “I didn’t do that…” or “He/she/they did this…” or “He/she/they didn’t do that…”

Whether our intention or expectation to perform or not to perform any “good” or “bad” actions is to attain some sort of good feelings, or excitement, or satisfaction, or pleasant sensations, or to express unhappiness, dissatisfaction, anger, jealousy, disagreement, or due to reactions out of fear and worry, we are still being affected and disturbed by our/other people’s actions and inactions, and the result of our/other people’s actions and inactions…

That’s why even though if we did a lot of good actions, try to be good and do good and try not to do any bad actions, we can still be not peaceful, unhappy and constantly being disturbed by anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, arrogance, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, restlessness, fear and worry that arise in our own mind, which has nothing to do with all the qualities of names and forms that we perceive through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind…

We “expect” that, if we do good, we will “receive” something good in return, and we will not “receive” any bad in return… But when this is not happening according to what we think it should be, we will be so disappointed and unhappy… We identified ourselves as “good” people who do good, and being proud and arrogant about ourselves for being good, and we might also expect other people to do good, and if other people don’t do good, we’ll get unhappy and frustrated, and judge them as “bad” people, and we are “good” people who do good, and we deserve to be here, and those who are “bad”, they don’t deserve to be here… And so on… Being so unhappy being disturbed by what other people do (bad actions) and don’t do (good actions)…

Just like in a yoga class while everyone is doing the same exercise but not everyone will be looking the same as everyone has a different body type with different degrees of strength and flexibility and different types of physical limitations. But all these differences of qualities and names and forms cannot determine whether one is peaceful and another one is not. Love and peace is nothing to do with whether we can perform all the yoga exercises in a “perfect body alignment” or not… It is not about if our feet is pointing at certain degrees and angle, and we will be guaranteed peace, or else if our feet is not pointing at that certain degrees and angle, and we will not have peace…

Teaching yoga is sharing the wisdom of yoga with anyone who is looking for unconditional peace, and guiding other beings on how to find the inner teacher within themselves and be free from ignorance and restlessness… If we haven’t realized our own inner teacher yet, and have not found peace and are not free from ignorance, then how can we “teach” or “guide” other beings to be free? Even if we have an enlightened Guru sitting in front of us, to teach us or guide us, but it is still our own effort to realize love and peace… If we are reluctant to let go of ignorance, nobody can remove ignorance for us, not even an enlightened being can take away another beings suffering or ignorance…

Real yoga teachers don’t need the title of “yoga teachers”. They don’t need to be “trained” to “become” “yoga teachers”… They don’t need a specific time and space to share and teach yoga… They are naturally “yoga teachers” when they are in peace and they have the “opportunity” to be there guiding other beings towards unconditional love and peace…

Out of compassion, it is a very natural action to share and guide other beings onto the path towards unconditional love and peace…

It is not so much about “I want to be a yoga teacher and I want to teach yoga…” or “I want to teach these people and these people will learn from me and will be benefited from my teaching and sharing…” and then we go to a yoga school, to learn how to do some yoga poses and some other yoga practice, and learn how to organize a yoga school or to teach a yoga class, and then pass the exam, get one or many recognized certificates, and start teaching yoga or run a yoga school…

There is nothing wrong or bad to have a specific time and space for people to participate in yoga classes performing yoga practice, as the “conditioned” lifestyle in the world nowadays, as well as the “limited” time and space that people have in their working and living conditions, there is a need to have some sort of organized time and space for people to come together to learn and practice yoga… But love and peace is beyond that conditioned and limited time and space of the timing and the hall for performing yoga practice… Yoga practice is happening in our heart wherever we are, at anytime, in any situations and conditions, every moment…

It is not so much like “Oh, it’s a one hour class, and it is a “certain style” of yoga, and so, I have to teach this class with these certain practices in such style within an hour…” or “Oh, it’s the day for “certain” practice, and so, today I perform this “certain” practice…” or “Oh, today our intention/Sankalpa is forgiveness, and let’s practice forgiveness today…”

Beside having a fixed “routine” that we perform everyday to gain maximum result by performing repetitive practice of the same “routine” and to develop continuous and steady mind concentration, to make it into a natural habit for yoga practice regularly, yoga practice is being performed according to the present condition and situation of what the body and mind need in this present moment… It can be very different from moment to moment… If we have nose blocked now, we stop performing heavy asana practice, do some light practice and maybe perform neti kriya to help to ease the nose blocked. And if we are low energy now, we can perform some asana practice that will boost up our energy level… If we are agitated now, we can perform some yoga practice that will calm down our mind and balance the energy field… Maybe in the same class, some people need to do more forward bends, and some people need to do more backward bends, and some need to perform longer relaxation, in that present moment… And all the yoga practice is to develop non-attachment towards the body and mind by letting go of the ego, develop mindfulness, concentration and steadiness, to allow the mind to be quiet to meditate upon the Truth… And this is not limited by specific time and space… It is happening from moment to moment continuously…

It is also not so much about going to one particular yoga centre and attending one specific type of yoga class, nor it is about going to different yoga centres attending different types of yoga classes, follow whatever the teacher/teachers tell us to do in the class, but it is more about getting to know the practice through our own experience, and realize the inner teacher within us (we are our own highest teacher), and know what we are doing and what we suppose to do, without the need of following instructions from the teacher for us to perform our practice. This requires inner strength and flexibility like self-discipline, perseverance, determination, adjustment, adaptation, acceptance, accommodation, tolerance, cheerfulness, truthfulness, and etc…

It is not about “I can only practice yoga in a yoga centre, in a yoga class under the instruction of a teacher, or in certain type of comfortable condition, or else I can’t practice yoga or I don’t know what should I do by myself…”

A real yoga teacher is allowing the students to learn to be their own teacher and stop depending on him or her to practice yoga… This might be contradicted with the policy of many yoga schools and yoga centres as that is part of their source of income, sustaining people to keep coming back for the classes, as well as attracting new people to join the classes and continuing to come regularly… And some might bring up more different types of new “yoga practice” or “yoga classes” to make more “interesting” courses for attracting more people to “invest” into ongoing refresher courses or further studies… And some like to use the phrase of “There is no ending of learning, and we need to keep learning until our last breath…” Well, that is similar to “There is no ending of suffering, and we are born to be suffering forever… There’s no way out…”

But yoga is to allow people to come to a point that they can stop “learning” and “practicing”, and it is possible to be free from ignorance and realize unconditional love and peace at anytime…”

We need to look for peace and happiness (for example, performing yoga practice), because we are not peaceful and are not happy… If we are peaceful and happy, we don’t need to do anything to be peaceful and happy (end of yoga practice)… As we are peaceful and happy. It is our true nature. It is not coming nor accumulating from doing something or not doing something… It is by stop attaching or identifying with the body and mind, which is not “us”…

Teaching yoga is the person himself or herself has realized the Truth about unconditional love and peace from within, and be free from ignorance, and naturally he or she knows what and how to share with other beings who are looking for unconditional love and peace, by guiding them on how to realize the inner teacher within themselves that will lead them towards unconditional love and peace… Yoga teachers cannot “give” love and peace to the students, and “make” them peaceful and happy…

Maybe by showing loving kindness to people can “make” them feel good and being loved for sometimes, but it won’t take away their root cause of unhappiness – ignorance… Everyone has to remove ignorance through their own effort and be free from unhappiness that derives from ignorance, and realize the unconditional love and peace within themselves, and be truly happy… When a person is truly happy from within, then whether other people are nice to him/her or not, he/she will still be happy… Because his/her happiness is not coming from the conditional impermanent objects from the outside… When a person has not found the happiness from within, even when other people are nice to him/her, even though he/she is “smiling” and “laughing” in front of other people, he/she will still be unhappy being dissatisfied or disappointed with him/herself, or with other people, or with life, or with the world, and etc…

Some people might think that only those who have been practicing yoga for some time and they already know about yoga, and are having a strong and flexible physical body to be “good” in performing most of the yoga poses, are qualified to attend yoga teachers training course… But it’s not really like that. Anyone who doesn’t know anything about yoga, or have never done any yoga practice before, or doesn’t have good physical strength and flexibility, can go to a yoga school or ashram and participate in a yoga teachers training course, as the objective is not about trying to become a yoga teacher, but to learn more about yoga and its practice, and devote ourselves into the practice and realize the effects or benefits of the practice through our own effort and realization, and to realize unconditional love and peace from within, and be free from ignorance, and then naturally we’ll know how to guide other beings on how to be free form ignorance and realize unconditional love and peace…

We don’t “learn” to “become” yoga teachers, nor “learn” how to teach yoga, nor “learn” how to “become” a “good” yoga teacher… We don’t need to call ourselves “yoga teachers”, nor judging/tagging ourselves as “good” or “bad” yoga teachers… If we still have doubts in our own practice, then obviously we are not ready to “teach” or “guide” others towards liberation from ignorance, but of course we can still teach other people to perform some yoga exercises for attaining health and fitness benefits… If we know what we are doing, then even though we are not “perfect”, we can share our knowledge and experience with others, as we are walking on the path of yoga together, learning, practicing and sharing at the same time… At one moment, one might be the teacher of the others, and at another moment, another one is the teacher of us… There is no superiority nor inferiority…

It is not like “Oh, I read lots of books and know more than you, you should listen to me and learn from me…” or “Oh, My teacher is an enlightened Guru, so you should listen to me and learn from me…” or “Oh, I have been practicing yoga longer than you, so you should be learning from me…” or “Oh, I know how to do all the yoga poses and know all the names and terms in Sanskrit, so you should learn from me…” or “Oh, I can stand on my head and you can’t, and so you should listen to me and learn from me…” and etc… It is more likely to be “Oh, you are so peaceful, please tell me and teach me how to attain peace as well…” or “Oh, you are free from suffering, you can teach me how to be free from suffering…”

But then everyone and everything is our teacher, not only people in a specific manners and background can be our teachers, nor only things that are in specific conditions can teach us something… But above all, look beyond all these qualities of names and forms, and find the inner teacher (the higher Self) within us (the lower self), who is the only one and always there every moment with us, for us, guide us towards unconditional love and peace… When we realize this inner teacher within us, all and everything is our great teacher (including the people and things that we don’t agree with and don’t like…).

It is not about teaching a yoga class according to the guidance and informations written or printed in the books, or teaching the class by imitating some other yoga teachers styles of teaching, but teaching the yoga class with the wisdom that we realized from our own sincere practice, knowing what are the effects of the yoga practice, and how these yoga practice can help us in realizing the unconditional love and peace that is already there in us… It is not about “Well, according to what the teachers said or what the books told us, and this is the Truth we should all believe in…”

If we still need to rely on doing something, or experience something, or possess something, or attain something, or eat something, or drink something, or smoke something, or see something, or hear something, or smell something, or taste something, or feel something, or think about something that we like and agree with, for us to feel good, or to be happy, or to be confident, or to be meaningful, then know that we still need to keep practice or keep purify the mind to realize the wisdom of unconditional love and peace that is not coming from all these external worldly names and forms with different qualities that our mind likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with…

It is not about to feel good, or to be happy, or to be confident, or to feel meaningful… It is going beyond the attachment towards the intention and expectation to feel good, to be happy, to be confident and to feel meaningful…

Here is a link to a blog post written by one of the students who is now teaching and sharing yoga with many others – http://yogakee.blogspot.ie/2012/06/becoming-yoga-teacher.html

Om shanti.