Worldly identifications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

Go beyond self-esteem and self-worth

For those who are not really interested in the path of yoga, they don’t need to ‘practice yoga’. People can just live everyday life as they are, don’t need to do anything to purify the mind, to render the mind quiet, to free the mind from the influence of worldly egoistic ideas, thinking, belief, behavior, action and reaction, to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance – egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering.

People can continue being passionate towards improving the quality of a worldly life that mostly emphasize on the gratification of the desires of wants and don’t wants.

From young to old, it’s all about developing and enhancing the qualities of name and form that the thinking mind attached onto and identifies as ‘I’, to carry on or adopt a particular cultural/religious/spiritual belief and practice that influence the way of life, to be ‘educated’, to accumulate ‘knowledge’, ‘skills’ and ‘qualifications’, to empower a high self-esteem and self-worth that builds on personality, confidence, self-image, body image, charm and attractiveness, physical and mental ability and achievement, to be accumulating relationships and friendships, to broadening social networks, to establish a livelihood and a social/community life, to enjoy sights/sounds/tastes/smells/sensations/imagination, to aspire and be inspired, to fall in love, to find a life partner or some lovers, to reprocreate, to build a family, to enjoy easier and more comfortable life, to contribute to the society or the country or the world, to attain acknowledgement, recognition, support, praise and compliments, to attain ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, purpose, pride, happiness, joyfulness, blessedness, gladness and meaningfulness.

For those who sincerely want to practice yoga and realize yoga, then go beyond a worldly life that emphasizes on developing and enhancing ‘self-esteem’ and ‘self-worth’ that derived from ignorance and egoism that feed on worldly ideas, thinking, beliefs and practice.

The necessity or importance of developing and enhancing ‘self-esteem’, ‘self-worth’, ‘confidence’, ‘self-image’, ‘body image’, ‘charm and attractiveness’, ‘physical and mental ability and achievement’, ‘the sense of existence/purpose/meaningfulness’, and etc, are nothing but the play of ignorance and egoism.

The sense of self-esteem and self-worth that builds on the qualities of names and forms, such as “I know something”, “I can do something”, “I achieved something”, “I am good”, “I look good”, “I feel good”, “I am strong”, “I am healthy”, “I have family and friends”, “I am contributing something”, “I am acknowledged and supported”, “My life/career/relationship is good and meaningful” and so on, is conditional and impermanent. It will break.

Yoga practitioners are supposed to eliminate the egoism and not empowering the egoism. It’s the ego that needs to have a high self-esteem to achieve ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, acknowledgement, self-worth, confidence, purpose, or meaningfulness. And thus it performs actions out of intention and aspiration. It attached onto and identifies with its actions and the fruit of actions. It is being determined and bound by the actions and the fruit of actions.

For those who are aware of this, actions are being performed out of compassion, without the need/aspiration of ‘developing’ and ‘enhancing’ self-esteem to achieve ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, acknowledgement, self-worth, confidence, purpose, or meaningfulness. Though that is what most people including highly educated and intelligent minds strongly believe in and are practicing, and that’s their freedom.

“Well done!”

“That’s very good!”

“You should be proud of yourself!”

“I am so proud of you!”

Most people think and believe that all these words are very essential positive encouragement and acknowledgement towards somebody’s achievement to enhance their self-esteem and self-worth, so that they will be motivated to strive harder to improve and be better, to attain continuous positive feedback and acknowledgement, to attain the sense of self-worth, accomplishment, purpose, meaningfulness. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Those who are free from ignorance and egoism don’t need any ‘positive words of encouragement or acknowledgement’ from anyone to motivate them to perform actions that will benefit all and everyone, and are not disturbed or discouraged by any ‘negative words of discouragement or non-acknowledgement’ to be continuing performing actions that will benefit all and everyone.

‘Yoga teachers’ who truly teach yoga in the yoga class don’t empower the egoism in the yoga students but to allow the students to develop correct understanding and direct experience towards the practice of yoga to eliminate the egoism.

By constantly giving the students ‘positive words of encouragement’ out of “good intention to encourage and motivate the students to be good, do good, to improve and be better” because the teacher thinks and believes that “the students who haven’t developed non-craving and non-attachment would be discouraged or lack of motivation to be good and do good, or to improve in their practice, if the teacher doesn’t give any ‘positive words of encouragement’ to the students”, don’t help to eliminate the egoism, but instead will only be empowering the egoism in the students. And if the students have already developed non-craving and non-attachment towards any kind of ‘positive words of encouragements’, then, ‘positive words of encouragements’ are needless in such yoga classes, as the students don’t need to hear any ‘positive words of encouragements’ to motivate them to be good, do good and to improve, neither the students will be discouraged or lack of motivation to perform their practice, to be good, do good and to improve, if the teacher never give any form of ‘positive words of encouragements.’

Be free.

Self-esteem and confidence

Any issues regarding self-esteem and confidence shouldn’t and doesn’t need to be existing at all. But due to ignorance and egoism, many people depend on self-esteem and confidence to be who they are, to be happy and feel meaningful, or not. Many people are suffering from mild to severe low self-esteem or low confidence that leads to the sense of meaninglessness and depression. Even many mental and psychological related studies and professionals also preach, think and believe that the development and empowerment of self-esteem and confidence is very important in life existence as human beings and it’s the key to personal and global growth, success and happiness.

Real confidence has nothing to do with self-esteem or confidence that builds on physical appearance, condition, ability and achievement, or mental state, ability and achievement, or desirable and undesirable life experiences, or good and bad relationships with parents, family, friends and the rest of the world. It is beyond all these names and forms, when the mind has gone beyond the identification of what the mind thinks is ‘I’ and ‘my’, where this identification of ‘I’ and ‘my’ with the different qualities of names and forms is just a by-product of the worldly thinking and belief, or family, cultural, social and religious belief.

It’s the ego that feels it has to be good enough for something, or for somebody, or for oneself. It also feels that it might be not good enough for something, or for somebody, or for oneself, based on what the thinking and belief recognize as ‘good’ and ‘good enough’, or what is ‘self-esteem and confidence’, ‘success’, ‘happiness’ and ‘meaningfulness’, and the relationship between them, where most people think and believe that ‘high self-esteem and confidence’ is related to ‘success’, and ‘success’ is related to ‘happiness’, while ‘happiness’ is related to ‘meaningfulness’. And many people are suffering because of this thinking and belief or trying to live up to this thinking and belief for their entire life, and passing this thinking and belief from generation to generation.

It’s the idea of ‘I’, or the ego, that needs to feel good about oneself, and wants other people to perceive oneself as good enough, and needs to attain or possess certain qualities of names and forms to be identifying with, that would make one feels good and proud of oneself and also would make other people feel good and proud of oneself, in order to be happy and live life meaningfully.

And all these qualities of names and forms are impermanent and there is no ‘I’ to be found in any of these names and forms, or to be in control of the impermanent changes, to be the way that ‘I’ like it to be. No matter how much influences we can influence the condition of the physical body and the state of the mind, to maintain the function and the life span of the body and the mind, the body and mind will still have to go through inevitable changes of decay, old age, discomfort, illness, weakness, ceased functioning, and decompose, or death.

Once the mind fully understood this, it will be free from the bondage of self-esteem and confidence. There’s no ‘I’ being good or not good enough. There’s neither high nor low self-esteem. There’s neither high nor low confidence.

One doesn’t need to be somebody with particular appearance, condition, ability or achievement, or have certain good and positive life experiences, or good relationships with anyone, in order to feel confident, happy, satisfied or meaningful.

One can have and appreciate all the attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship that is available in the present, but one doesn’t need other people’s attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship in order to feel confident, love, happy or meaningful. If all these qualities of names and forms are not available, one is still happy and peaceful as one is. One doesn’t feel lack of something or missing out anything, or one is not good enough to deserve love, happiness and meaningfulness.

And that’s real confidence. One doesn’t need to be confident or satisfied about oneself at all. One doesn’t need to feel proud of oneself, and doesn’t need other people to feel proud of oneself, to be ‘I’, or the good ‘I’, the successful ‘I’, the happy ‘I’, the meaningful ‘I’. One is happy and peaceful as one is, without any identification with any quality as ‘I’.

There is no thinking or identification of “I am a good and kind human being. I want to do good and be kind and be able to contribute towards humanity.” but goodness, kindness and contribution towards humanity are being manifested and performed through the body and mind out of wisdom and compassion.

If one doesn’t know this, one will always looking for or craving for attaining and possessing certain qualities of names and forms that one would like to relate oneself with, to be identifying with, to feel good and satisfied about oneself, to boost up one’s self-esteem and confidence to be who ‘I’ am, thinking that by attaining and possessing such qualities of names and forms will also make other people to give them the attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship that they want from other people, in order to be happy and feel meaningful. But then one is not free. And that’s one’s freedom of thinking and action.

Be free.

Be strong?

One doesn’t need to be strong or stay strong.

One just needs to embrace and accept oneself as one is.

Sometimes we think we are strong or strong enough, while sometimes we think we are not strong or not strong enough, and it’s okay. We don’t have to be strong at all, and we don’t have to be able to stay strong all the time.

Sometimes there are things that the body or the mind can do or achieve, while sometimes there are things that the body or the mind can’t do or achieve, and it’s okay. The body and the mind don’t have to be able to do or achieve all and everything all the time.

Most important, there is no attachment or identification with what the egoistic impure mind thinks and perceives about itself and/or others.

Whether the mind thinks ‘I’ am strong or not strong, and whether the body and the mind are able to do or achieve anything and everything, or not, all these qualities are impermanent, and it’s not who we think we are. It’s just the ego.

The ego is the one who enjoys and suffers, who wants that and doesn’t want this, and who feels satisfy or dissatisfy, happy or unhappy, fulfilled or disappointed, calm or disturbed, love or hate, and who feels hurt, offended, insulted, humiliated, disrespected, annoyed, frustrated, threatened, insecure, oppressed, discriminated, belittled, lonely, meaningless, low self-esteem, unconfident, doubt, guilty, regret, shameful, and so on. It is the one who needs to possess or attach onto certain qualities of names and forms to feel good, proud, confident and meaningful about itself and life. It is the one who would do anything that might hurt the body and the mind and others in order to attain or fulfill or protect all its desires of want and doesn’t want, or craving and aversion.

One just do one best within one’s ability, making use of the present condition and ability of the body and the mind, to do and achieve what is possible, and let go what is impossible in the present moment, being free from egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment and expectation.

It is the ego that wants to be strong and stay strong. It is the ego that wants the body and the mind to be able to do and achieve all and everything that it desires. It is the ego that wants to believe that everything is possible and nothing is impossible.

Be free from this ego. Be kind to the body and the mind, by embracing and accepting the body and the mind as they are. They don’t have to be good all the time. They don’t have to be perfect or to be the way that the ego would like them to be. It is okay that sometimes there are things that are possible and sometimes there are things that are impossible. Such like, it is impossible to undo the past, or to control everything to be the way that the ego likes it to be. And it’s okay.

It’s just the ego that needs to achieve and attach onto some qualities of names and forms that it likes and wants (what it thinks and believes as good, positive, happiness, success and meaningful), and rejecting the qualities of names and forms that it doesn’t like and doesn’t want (what it thinks and believes as bad, negative, unhappiness, failure and meaningless). Be free from this ego, there’s no need to depend on good qualities, good conditions, good abilities, good achievements, good results, good relationships, good life, good reputation, good image, good feelings, positive feedback, support and acknowledgement, to be peaceful, to be happy, to be confident, or to feel meaningful about the worldly life existence, or what we think is ‘I’. There is no ‘I’.

Be free from this ego, there’s no ‘I’ being strong or not strong. There’s no need to be strong. There’s no need to be confident. There’s no need to feel meaningful. It doesn’t matter how is the world and how is life and whatever experiences we go through from birth to death in this life existence, there is peace, right here and now. And this is liberation.

Liberation is not about fighting, changing and eliminating what we think is bad, evil, unjust, inequality and wrong in the world. Whatever we think is bad, evil, unjust, inequality and wrong in the world, is the product/consequence of ignorance and egoism in all beings, including those who think they are good and right, who think they are better than others and deserve better treatments from others. None can fight or change or eliminate ignorance and egoism in other beings, to change or control the world to be the way that we think is all good, evil-less, just, equal and right. Not even Buddha or any Gurus can change or remove ignorance and egoism of others.

Liberation is being free from ignorance and egoism in one’s mind. One will be peaceful as one is, which is nothing to do with whether the world and our life experience is all good, evil-less, just, equal and right, or not. It’s being undisturbed and undetermined by the products/consequences of other people’s ignorance and egoism.

The mind is being hardwired by worldly thinking and belief that based on egoism

Many people are not interested in letting go of the ego, while there are people who are interested in letting go of the ego, but they find that it’s not that easy to be free from the ego or egoism. This is because the mind is being hardwired by worldly thinking and belief that based on egoism.

The moment we were born into this world we were being nurtured under the worldly thinking and belief that based on egoism to identify this life existence of a body and a mind with certain qualities of names and forms to possess a strong worldly personal identity of “This is I”, “This is what I am”, “This is who I am”, “This is where I came from/belong”, “This is what I should believe”, “This is how I should think, behave, act, react and feel”, “This is good and right” or “This is bad and wrong”, “This is successful and meaningful” or “This is failure and meaningless”, “This is happiness” or “This is unhappiness”, and etc. We were being told that “This is who I am”, and if we behave like this and achieve this ‘quality’, then “I am good” or “I deserve happiness”, while if we behave like that and don’t achieve this ‘quality’, then “I am bad” or “I don’t deserve happiness”.

Human beings are being hardwired by the worldly thinking and belief that are influenced by a particular heritage/cultural/religious/political/social belief, values and ethics to feel good or happy or proud/meaningful about oneself or one’s existence if one conforms to that particular thinking and belief to live life, to behave, to act and react, or to think and feel. As well as to feel bad or unhappy or guilt/shameful about oneself or one’s existence if one doesn’t conform to that particular thinking and belief to live life, to behave, to act and react, or to think and feel.

The sense of belonging is one of the characteristics of the ego. Human beings are being hardwired to think and believe that everyone should attached onto and identified themselves with a personal identity as well as a group identity that make them feel that this is “who I am” and “where I belong”. It’s very difficult for many people to understand that the life existence of a body and a mind doesn’t really need any identifications or sense of belonging to be ‘somebody’, to feel secured, proud, good, confident or meaningful. Even ‘psychologists’ who deal with psychology problems (especially low self-esteem and depression), believe that human beings need to/should attached onto and identify themselves with a ‘strong’ personal identity as well as a group identity that make them feel that this is “who I am” and “where I belong”, to feel secured, proud, good, confident and meaningful about themselves. There’s nothing wrong with that, just that it doesn’t stop people from continuously be disturbed or determined by craving and aversion towards all the perceptions of names and forms, and experience suffering. As people are still not free from the root cause of all kinds of affliction and suffering – ignorance and egoism.

Ignorance doesn’t allow the mind to know that it can be free, peaceful, happy and live life meaningfully as it is, without any personal identifications or sense of belonging, being free from all kinds of insecurity, low self-esteem, meaninglessness, void, loneliness, craving, fear, affliction or suffering that arise due to ignorance and egoism.

Ignorance and egoism stop people from letting go of the ego or worldly personal identity with some qualities of names and forms. There is huge fear of the unknown. The mind doesn’t know why, but there is great fear or resistance towards not being ‘somebody’ that will make ‘I’ and other people to feel proud of.

Based on the thinking and belief that was being hardwired into the mind about what is good and bad, right and wrong, should and shouldn’t, that influence how one should think and behave and feel, the ego constantly judges itself as well as others, and has great expectation towards oneself and others to conform to that thinking and belief to think and behave and feel towards everything that the mind perceives or experiences through the senses. The ego ceaselessly looking for acceptance, approval, support, acknowledgement, agreement, attention, liking, love, respect, praise and compliment from the world or the society that it thinks it belongs to. The ego doesn’t want to possess or be related to anything that doesn’t conform to that thinking and belief. It will feel bad or shameful about itself and others who doesn’t conform to that thinking and belief. It wants to build a worthy reputation as well as would do anything to protect that reputation at any cost.

Even those who are practicing yoga, would also identify themselves as ‘such and such’ yogi, ‘I’ practice ‘such and such’ yoga, ‘I’ came from/belong to ‘such and such’ yoga lineage/school/group/community/affiliation, or ‘I’ have ‘such and such’ certifications and qualifications and years of experience.

It’s up to everyone’s self-inquiry and self-realization whether one will realize what is going on in this mind and be free from ignorance and egoism, or not.