Silence upon realization of selflessness and compassion

As the world evolves towards what most people believe as higher quality of life with higher standard of living, somehow the teaching/practice of ‘silence’ in Yoga and Buddhism is being neglected, or abandoned, or denied, or criticized. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as that’s the way it goes.

It’s not easy for the impure egoistic passionate minds (that are being conditioned by worldly ideas, thinking and belief to think and behave, to aspire and inspire, to live life, to socialize and interact, to accumulate connections and relationships, to feel happy, confident, proud and meaningful) to penetrate the subtle meaning of silence. In many cases, silence would be perceived by the worldly egoistic passionate minds as ‘cowardliness’, ‘non-action/improper action’, ‘weakness’, ‘submissive towards other’s people bad and wrongful behavior’, or ‘passively encouraging evilness, bad ideas and wrong doings’. There’s nothing wrong with this common worldly thinking and belief, action and reaction.

Only the dispassionate minds could penetrate the subtle reason/meaning/action/practice of silence in the teachings of Yoga and Buddhism, where it’s beyond restraining the speech organ, physical and mental activities, or restraining the senses from going out chasing after the objects of the senses, but real silence comes naturally and effortlessly out of compassion upon realization of selflessness knowing what is going on in the mind of all the restless and selfless modifications of the mind perception of names and forms, egoism and the by-products of egoism, separateness, all forms of impurities, actions and reactions, intentions and expectations, aspirations and inspirations, enjoyment and suffering.

It’s being aware of and acknowledging the ignorance in one’s mind. It’s seeing the ignorance in this mind which is not any different from the ignorance in other minds. It’s seeing the truth of “the impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of the body and mind functioning and perceiving all the impermanent and selfless names and forms” as it is.

The highest Yoga Sadhana is forbearance to forbear the mind perception of unpleasantness, disagreement, undesirable experiences, constraint, selfless changes, difficulties, obstacles, challenging condition and situation, insult, humiliation, threat and hurt without violence, animosity, ill-will, anger and hatred, which include non-craving, non-aversion, non-justification, non-retaliation, non-contentious, non-bashing, non-criticism, non-judgment, non-expectation, and so on, upon experiencing what the worldly thinking and belief categorizes as stupid, selfish, unjust, bad, undeserving, wrongful, hurtful, unkind, harsh, cruel, unreasonable, provoking, or mischievous treatment/behaviors from others, especially if it’s coming from those whom we love, who are in some kind of relationship with us.

Upon realization of the truth of names and forms, the mind perception of suffering and the root cause of suffering vanished, or being free from ignorance and the consequences of ignorance – all kinds of suffering, all forms of yoga practice including forbearance become irrelevant or useless. It is needless to practice forbearance to forbear anything, as the mind has gone beyond all the modifications of the mind perception of duality, separateness and the worldly ideas, thinking, belief, actions and reactions. It is needless to practice yoga to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering, as the mind is free as it is.

After going through a prolong and unpleasant process of mind purification, the minds that are rendered pure and quiet are able to see the truth of names and forms as it is, realizing oneness/non-separateness among all the different qualities of names and forms, and the relation between silence, selflessness, compassion and non-violence, being free from the ego (the idea of ‘I’ exists as an individual being) and egoism, and the mind perception of ‘hurt and suffering’ vanished. There’s no need to ‘forbear’ something ‘hurtful and suffering’. There’s no need to be ‘healed’ from ‘hurt and suffering’. The mind is resting in silence peacefully, naturally and effortlessly, even under the great criticism/attack from many other passionate egoistic minds (those who identify themselves as ‘good people’ empowered by the sense of self-righteousness) in the world discouraging, condemning and disagreeing with the action/practice of silence.

There’s nothing wrong with most minds think and believe that people/human beings/mankind should react with ‘Intolerance and discouragement towards bad and wrongful treatments/behaviors’, to fight back and attack the ‘bad and evil beings’, to obtain revenge/justice/relief for themselves being ‘the victims’ of other people’s bad and wrongful treatments/behaviors, as that is how all the impure egoistic minds understand and being conditioned to react in certain ways upon receiving treatments/behaviors from others that the minds perceive, think and believe as ‘undeserving’, ‘shouldn’t’, ‘wrongful’ and ‘bad’.

To contemplate on this teaching –

Let’s say, there’s a couple who think they love each other and are committed to be a couple.

One of them behaves in the way that most minds/people would perceive, categorize, think and believe as terrible, bad, wrongful, or hurtful.

It’s normal that the other person will react and feel dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt by the partner’s bad, hurtful and wrongful behavior.

Out of dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt, this person has the urge to complain to other people about “My partner is so bad and terrible. He/she is like this and like that. He/she did this and did that. I love him/her so much. I am so nice to him/her, but this is how he/she behaves in return for my love and care. I don’t deserve to be treated like this.”

This person has the freedom to express his/her frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger and hurt, to do and say what he/she wants to do and say, but then it only indicates that this person doesn’t love the partner at all, when he/she would think and react in such way, and would do and say things that would hurt the partner in return out of the frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt that he/she strongly convinced that it’s caused by the partner’s being unloving and unkind with his/her bad, undeserving, hurtful and wrongful treatments/behaviors.

If the partner reacts with dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt towards this person’s action, and would react by doing and saying something that would hurt this person in return, then this also indicates that the partner also doesn’t love this person.

Both of them don’t love each other at all. They only love what they desire. They would have ill-thinking and ill-will towards each other, and would hurt each other when they don’t get what they like and want from one another, but they are getting what they don’t like and don’t want from one another.

If a person loves the partner, he/she will love him/her as he/she is, and won’t do or say anything with the intention of deliberately to ‘hurt’ him/her, even when the person receives so called ‘bad’, ‘wrongful’, or ‘hurtful’ treatment/behavior from the partner.

If the partner loves this person, he /she won’t be doing anything intentionally to ‘hurt’ his/her partner or the relationship. He/she will love the partner as he/she is, even when knowing that this person doesn’t love him/her, as he/she would do and say things to ‘hurt’ their partner when they are dissatisfied, unhappy, angry or feel hurt by something that they don’t like and don’t want. The partner won’t retaliate by doing or saying anything with the intention of deliberately to ‘hurt’ him/her in return for this person’s action of complaining to other people about the partner being ‘bad’ and ‘terrible’.

There’s nothing wrong when one knows/realizes that oneself doesn’t love the partner or anyone. “Because I don’t love you, that’s why I would do things that will hurt you and our relationship, or I would want to hurt you in return for thinking and believing that I am hurt by you and your bad, wrong and hurtful behavior.”

The thinking of “I love you so much, I am so loving to you. I deserve to be loved by you and I should be receiving loving treatment. I am very disappointed, unhappy, angry and hurt by your bad, wrongful and hurtful behavior that I don’t deserve. I need to tell other people about how bad, wrongful and hurtful you are, because it will make me feel better by getting support and agreement from others to also agree with me that I am good and you are bad, that I am right and you are wrong, and that’s why I am the ‘victim’ of other people’s hurtful behavior and I need/deserve support and sympathy from others.” is the cause of misery arising in the mind.

The realization of “I am unhappy, dissatisfied, disappointed, frustrated, angry and hurt is because I don’t love you, I only love what I like and want, and I am not getting what I like and want from you, but I am getting what I don’t like and don’t want from you.” is what allows the mind to be liberated from misery. There’s no need to ‘complain’, or ‘condemn’, or ‘redeem justice’.

It doesn’t mean that one allows other people to abuse one’s body and mind, but one doesn’t need to be disturbed or determined by other people’s unloving or unkind treatments/behaviors. One can let go of the partner and the relationship in peace. It’s when one couldn’t let go the partner and the relationship for some reasons, and hence, one is peaceless and suffering being ‘engaged’ or ‘stuck’ in a loveless relationship that is not the way that one would like it to be.

The thinking of “We are kind and loving people, and believing that we love other people and are kind to other people, but at the same time, thinking that we are somehow hurt by other people whom we ‘love’ very much. Believing and expecting that all mankind ‘should’ be loving and kind to one another.” is the cause of ‘hurt and suffering’. If we truly know what is love and how to love, we love everyone as they are, we love everything as it is. There’s no ‘hurt and suffering’ regardless of how other people think, feel, behave, act and react, and how things are.

It’s great liberation either when the mind realizes it doesn’t love anyone, and there’s nothing wrong for being loveless, or when the mind realizes unconditional love and loves everyone and everything as it is, without expecting everyone and everything has to be in certain ways, that everyone has to be kind and loving to one another, or has to be grateful, appreciative and thankful for goodness and other people’s love and kindness. One is free to love and give without possessiveness and ill-feelings/resentment, being free from egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment and expectation.

There’s nothing wrong when other people don’t love us, or don’t want to love us. Everyone has the freedom to love, or not to love anyone. Just that when there’s no love, people will do and say things that will hurt one another when their minds are being over-powered by dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurt and anger, including hurting people whom they think they ‘love’ very much, whether intentionally or unintentionally. There’s nothing wrong if we feel unhappy, disappointed, hurt and angry when we are not loved by those whom we would like to be loved by them, and we would feel hurt by their unloving treatments/behaviors towards us, but that thinking and reaction is merely due to ignorance in our minds.

It’s the craving and clinging towards ‘love and affection’ and ‘receiving loving treatments’ and ‘attaining a loving relationship’ to feel love, happy, confident, worthy, proud and meaningful about ‘I’ and ‘my life’ that causing suffering exist in the mind.

We feel disappointed, unhappy, angry and hurt is because things are not the way that we would like it to be. We didn’t get the ‘love and affection’ that we expect to be receiving from others, or be loved/sympathized/accepted/acknowledged/understood/supported/treated by others the way that we would like it to be, the way that we think it should be, to attain the sense of love, self-esteem, purpose, confidence, pride, happiness, completeness and meaningfulness, to be ‘who I am’.

If ‘yoga teachers’ truly want to help other beings/people to be free from the suffering of hurts/disappointment/anger/painful sorrow/grief/resentment/fear/loneliness/depression, it’s not by empowering the ignorance and egoism in others through ‘being a good listener listening to their complaints’, or ‘giving them the love and support that they are looking/craving for’, or ‘prescribing them with different types of healing practice’, or ‘being the healer that claimed to be able to heal their minds/souls from all kinds of hurts and suffering’, but it’s to give them the Dhamma, that will allow them to purify their own minds via their own self-effort and self-discipline, to attain self-realization to realize/see the truth of all the names and forms, to know what is going on in the mind, to know the root cause of all suffering, and free their own minds from ignorance, egoism and impurities. Buddha didn’t ‘take away’ the ignorance and impurities from people’s mind, neither did Buddha ‘heal’ other people from their hurts and suffering, but Buddha just gave the Dhamma to those who came to him for ‘guidance how to be free from suffering’, and allowing everyone whether to practice and free their own mind from ignorance and suffering, or not.

Those who live in the truth, they are peaceful and free as it is, regardless of whether there’s love or loveless towards others who restlessly act and react under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and would hurt oneself and others whether intentionally or unintentionally. There’s no need to forbear, or forgive, or let go anything, as they are free from disturbed, disappointment, resentment, anger, hatred and hurts. It’s everyone’s own responsibility to be aware of what is going on in their own minds and whether there’s self-control over their own actions and reactions, or not.

Be free.

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Looking for ‘Guru’ in this era?

Is it important to have a Guru? Yes. But not looking out. Look within.

The one and only real and reliable ‘Guru’ is the mind itself through persist mind purification and self-inquiry/reasoning the truth of everything to attain self-realization, not someone puts on a ‘Guru/Yogi appearance’ in the public who claimed to be enlightened ‘Guru’ with ‘supernatural healing power’ that can take away your doubt and ignorance to give you ‘shortcut’ to enlightenment, or heal your pain and suffering. This one and only ‘Guru’ is with you all the time, you (the mind) just didn’t/haven’t realize it yet.

There are plenty of ‘Dharma teachers’ and so called ‘certified yoga teachers’ in the world nowadays to give people some kind of guidance towards the path of transcending the mind perception of names and forms/births and deaths, but this mind itself is the only real and reliable ‘Guru’.

If there is an external ‘Guru’ of yours, the ‘Guru’ will come to you when the cause is ripen, without the Guru’s intention to be coming to you and without your intention to be looking for someone to be your ‘Guru’. If someone comes to you and try very hard to persuade you to believe that “I am your Guru”, then you should runaway from this person/being as far/soon as possible. Because real ‘Guru’ doesn’t need to do anything to persuade anyone that this is your Guru. One will know that “This is the Guru”, when the time has come. If you still don’t know and have doubt, that means the time hasn’t come yet.

If people still think and believe that there’s somebody who ‘looks’ and ‘acts’ like a ‘Guru’ with some kind of ‘supernatural healing power’ is a great ‘Guru’ somewhere in this world, and hoping that this ‘Guru’ will free them from suffering, or lead them towards enlightenment, that’s their freedom of thinking and belief.

Some desperate suffering minds take those with dreadlocks on the head and tattoos all over the body and either be naked or wear orange robes while put themselves in a particular ‘yoga pose’ or perform some sort of ritual and dance, who are stoned smoking ganja most of the time as ‘Gurus’. While some others take those who are the leader of a particular ‘yoga community’ or ‘yoga organization’ or ‘yoga school’ as ‘Gurus’. That’s their freedom of thinking and belief and action.

Seek the ‘Guru’ within by developing the basic foundation of self-discipline, self-control, self-inquiry, right discrimination and self-independence, and contemplate upon the instructions from the ancient Scriptures to guide one’s mind onto the path of yoga, refrain from misconducts, drugs and intoxicants, practice dispassion and renunciation, retreat into solitude and seclusion, to silent the restless modification of the mind, to move the mind away from worldliness, to annihilate egoism, to contemplate upon the truth of everything and attain self-realization of the truth of Dharma, to realize the one and only ‘Guru’ which is the mind itself.

It’s only those who reluctant to let go worldly ideas, activities, objects, desires, enjoyments, comforts and all kind of relationships will try to find an external superhuman ‘Guru’ with ‘supernatural healing power’ in the world in this era.

Those who are passionate, who don’t like ‘unpleasantness’ or ‘hard work’, and always looking for ‘miracles’ or ‘easy way out’ or ‘shortcuts’ or ‘magic pill’ to solve all their ‘problems’, while still indulging in their everyday life worldly activities without letting go their worldly enjoyments, relationships, comforts, desires, habits and ideas, will try to look for an external ‘superhuman Guru’ to show them ‘miracles’. And that’s how people are easily be manipulated and exploited in this world that is full of ignorance, greed and lust.

Inquire the ancient teachings and practice of yoga – “NO PHYSICAL TOUCHING”, “OBSERVE CELIBACY”, “DISPASSION”, “RENUNCIATION”, “DESIRELESSNESS”, “SECLUSION”, “SOLITUDE” and “SILENCE”.

Take a look at the world of yoga nowadays, is all about ‘hugging’ to show love and care, and ‘touching’ especially in the yoga asana class to make ‘physical adjustments/corrections’ for the students, and then continuing ‘hugging’ and ‘touching’ each other outside the yoga class as a form of love sharing and healing process, or even giving and receiving ‘special healing touch’ or ‘special healing massage’.

People say, “All beings need love, touches and hugs. All beings will be sick and die out of touchlessness, huglessness, lovelessness and loneliness.” That is part of the worldly idea, belief and practice. It’s not what yoga teaching and practice is about.

When the mind is pure and free from lustful desire, there’s nothing wrong with physical ‘hugging and touching’, but how many minds in this world are pure and free from lustful desire? Very few indeed.

How many desperate suffering confused minds were/are being taken advantage or being exploited and abused physically/mentally/psychologically/sexually/financially by greedy lustful people because all these desperate suffering confused minds try to look for and depend on a ‘superhuman Guru’ to ‘guide’ them onto the path of enlightenment, to liberate them from pain and suffering, or to ‘heal’ them from something that they think it has to be ‘healed’ by a ‘Guru’ with ‘supernatural healing power’?

Everyone was/is looking forward to be ‘touched’ or ‘healed’ by a ‘superhuman Guru’. And they got/get what they want, in a different way – Some people were/are physically ‘touched/molested/raped’ by lustful people who claimed themselves as ‘Gurus’ with ‘spiritual enlightenment’, where people are being sexually taken for granted/assaulted, wittingly or unwittingly. This is pure ignorance of both parties – People who are looking forward to be ‘touched’ or ‘healed’ by someone who claimed to be a ‘Guru’ with ‘supernatural healing power’, and those lustful people who claimed to be ‘Gurus’ who can ‘touch’ or ‘heal’ what people believe that need to be ‘touched’ or ‘healed’.

Knowing that all desperate suffering confused minds that are under the influence of ignorance want to be someone ‘special’ in the world, to be loved by ‘someone special’, to be treated/healed with ‘special love and care’ and ‘miracles’, these ‘superhuman Gurus’ manipulate and take advantage of the desperate suffering confused minds to satisfy their lustful desire and greed.

When people have the intention to go to a ‘superhuman Guru’, they have something that they want/expect from the ‘superhuman Guru’. “Oh Guru, please bless me this and that.” While pseudo ‘Gurus’ also want/expect something from them, as well.

Those who are peaceful being free from suffering, ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion and expectation, who are desireless, who don’t need to see/experience ‘miracles’, there’s no need to go to a ‘superhuman Guru’. ‘Miracles’ and ‘superhuman Guru’ are useless to them.

For those who have intense yearning for liberation, all and everything that the mind comes in contact with will naturally become ‘the Guru’ that allows the mind to see/reflect upon itself (knowing thyself) and seeing the Dharma/the truth of impermanence and selflessness in all the names and forms. ‘The Guru’ manifests in all and everything, when the mind is ready to ‘see’. Be patient, be persevered, while keep purifying and disciplining the mind. Without intention/expectation to find a ‘Guru’, the Guru is (already) here.

Your own mind and all your mind perception/experiences of everything, your perception/experience of painful sorrow and suffering, your actions and the consequences of your actions, and the self-realization of the selfless impermanent changes within the body and mind through self-inquiry, is your greatest Guru, your real Guru. None other than this mind and the realization of the truth from within, is your ‘Guru’.

Observe all the names and forms as they are

The worldly restless impure egoistic minds keep looking for stimulation of inputs and outputs.

It doesn’t like to observe names and forms as they are.

It projects quality and duality onto all the perceived names and forms based on its likes and dislikes influencing by its thinking and belief.

Through remembering what it perceived or what it knows, it judges, compares and expects.

It clings, craves, rejects, agrees, disagrees, wants, doesn’t want, creates and destroys.

It has many forms of desires and great ambitions.

There’s aspiration and intention to perform actions and inactions motivated by its desires and ambitions.

It has ‘passionate’ aspiration and intention to ‘share’ what it knows and has, and ‘share’ what others know and have.

There’s nothing wrong with that, just that the mind is not free.

Even the mind that projects ‘good’ and ‘kind’ quality onto itself, desires to be ‘good and kind’ and thinking ‘positively and optimistically’, and performing good and kind actions to benefit the world, is not necessarily be free from selfishness. The one who thinks “I am not selfish. I want to be unselfish.” and recognizing other people are being selfish, is not necessarily be free from selfishness.

“I want the world to be good and I want to make the world good, so that I and my loved ones can have a good world to live in and have a good life.”

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to think and believe, and what they want to do with their life existence.

Silent the restless mind, abandon ‘positive thinking’ and ‘optimism’, be free from desires, and even the desire to be free from suffering, if one truly wishes to realize yoga.

Positive thinking and optimism is just an counteract for ‘negative thinking’ and ‘hopelessness’. It’s not the truth nor the end of suffering.

If ‘God’ exists, ‘God’ doesn’t have intention to make anyone or anything to be good or bad, positive or negative, happy or unhappy.

There’s neither positive nor negative, neither good nor bad, neither happiness nor unhappiness, neither elation nor depression.

Dharma doesn’t need to be shared, if one knows Dharma.

Peace and love doesn’t need to be shared, if one knows peace and love.

Be free from aspiration and intention, if one truly wants to realize yoga.

Don’t be ambitious.

‘Sharing’, ‘connecting’, ‘giving’ and ‘receiving’ are reflections of separateness.

‘Sharing’, ‘connecting’, ‘giving’ and ‘receiving’ don’t exist in oneness.

Who is sharing with whom? Who is connecting with whom? Who is giving? Who is receiving?

Be free.

Unconditional happiness beyond qualities of names and forms

Most people are looking for happiness, or want to be happy. Those who are happy, they don’t need to look for happiness, or desire to be happy. When we think and feel we want to be happy, it’s because we are not happy. We are not happy is because we think we are not free. We think we are not free is because ignorance.

Under the influence of ignorance, we think happiness is coming from freedom of thinking, action and speech, and doing what we like to do, be who we want to be, achieve what we want to achieve, receive love and support from other people, be acknowledged and approved by other people, have good health, good livelihood and good living condition, and being with people whom we loved and who love us. But, all these qualities of names and forms will only give us momentary happy feelings that are impermanent. We fall into great misery and painful sorrow when impermanence strikes, when we lose all the good qualities that we think will make us happy, if we are determined by all these names and forms to be who we are, to be happy, or not. It’s not the unconditional happiness that is beyond all the qualities of names and forms, when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism.

When we seek happiness through certain qualities of names and forms that we like and desire, and we will feel happy when we get what we like and want, it doesn’t mean that we won’t experience unhappiness anymore, or we will be free from impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride, arrogance, feelings of hurt, guilt, regret, fear and worry. By achieving happiness through doing and getting what we like and want doesn’t mean that our surrounding living environment will be free from names and forms that we don’t like and don’t want. And thus our minds are constantly restless being in a mixture state of happiness and unhappiness. There’s no permanent satisfaction. The craving for what we desire and the aversion towards what we don’t desire is what hinders the mind from realizing the unconditional happiness beyond qualities of names and forms.

If we know how to be free from the desire of craving and aversion towards happiness and unhappiness that comes from ignorance and egoism, we will be happy as we are. We do not rely on any qualities of names and forms to be happy, or not. Even when there is restriction or limitation of thinking, action and speech, and we are unable to do what we like to do, unable to be who we want to be and not achieving what we want to achieve, or, we are not receiving love and support from other people, unacknowledged and disapproved by other people, not having good health, good livelihood and good living condition, and not able to be with people whom we loved and who love us, we are still happy as we are. This happiness isn’t determined by or coming from any qualities of names and forms.

Ignorance is not knowing the truth of names and forms.

To free the mind from ignorance, we need to free the mind from impurities. To free the mind from impurities, we need to free the mind from egoism. To free the mind from egoism, we need to free the mind from ignorance, as egoism derives from ignorance. It is a loop that has no beginning or ending.

Due to ignorance and egoism, the ego attached towards the impermanent physical condition and ability, the impermanent states of the mind, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements based on certain conditional thinking and belief, knowledge, achievements, possessions, and all kinds of relationships, to be identifying as ‘I’. This ‘I’ is constantly disturbed by the craving and aversion towards all these impermanent qualities of names and forms, and being restless and experience suffering when the craving and aversion is not being gratified the way that it likes it to be. The ego is determined by the gratification of its craving and aversion to be happy, or not. There is no possibility for contentment and peace, due to the truth of impermanence in all the names and forms, as well as this ‘I’ is a false understanding and identification. This constant restlessness hinders the mind to be free from ignorance.

That’s why it’s not an easy task to be free. But, it’s possible if we know how to discipline and purify the mind by restricting the mind activities and quieting the mind by moving the mind away from worldly objects of names and forms, to breakdown this loop of ignorance. And hence, retreat for observing silence exists to help to discipline and purify the mind efficiently.

Retreat for the observation of silence is to disconnect with our worldly life connections, family and friends, social interactions, habits, personal or religious and cultural belief and practice. It doesn’t mean that we abandon our life, family and friends, and our personal or religious and cultural belief and practice, but, it’s to allow our minds to have the opportunity to be free from the contact with the objects of names and forms that are directly and indirectly related to restlessness, distractions, cares and anxieties, and allowing the mind to be opened for contemplation on the truth.

It’s normal that people have fear towards letting go certain religious or non-religious thinking and belief that influence the way of life and conduct, self-image and personal identity. There is fear of the unknown consequences of letting go those thinking and belief. There is fear of exile, criticism and condemn from the ‘group’ that we think we belong to. There is fear of being unaccepted by the society. There is fear of non-existence. The ignorant minds constantly seek recognition, agreement, approval, support and acknowledgement from the society to be who we think we are, or who we want to be. This is one of the obstacles that hinders the mind to see the truth of names and forms as it is.

Those who have gone beyond the idea of ‘I’, or the identification with qualities of names and forms to be identifying as ‘I’, they don’t even attach onto their devotion towards the teachings and practice of yoga to identify oneself as ‘yogi’, not to say to attach onto certain conditional worldly thinking and belief. Meanwhile other beings can have the freedom of thinking to refer or label them as ‘yogi’.

Many people who think they love yoga and practice yoga might think and believe that yoga is to connect with all and everything. We think we need to connect with other people or something that we think is not ‘I’, which are separated from ‘I’, is ignorance. Upon the realization of selflessness and non-separateness, there’s no connection with anything that is not ‘I’, as there’s no ‘I’ that generates separateness. Just like when people think they want to make connection with God, it’s because they think they are something separated from God. Oneness is beyond connection that consists of more than one party.

The essential yoga practice of silence, is to retreat and disconnect the mind from the society and all sorts of worldly life connections and social activities. Retreat from worldly life connections and social activities, and isolation from other people including family and friends, help tremendously to turn the mind inward for self-introspection and self-inquiry to see the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance, and thus be free from unhappiness and suffering.

Though freeing the mind from ignorance is the greatest contribution to the society and world peace, the practice of silence in solitude and seclusion might appear to be ‘selfishness’, ‘anti-social’ or ‘abnormal behavior’ by the worldly minded people who attached to worldly life conditioned by certain thinking and beliefs about how human beings should and shouldn’t behave. Most minds would want to runaway after a few days of observing the practice of silence in solitude and seclusion, not to say to be completely cut off from the social world for many years.

In the tradition of yoga, to be isolated from the society and be in seclusion for a long period of time for at least five to six years is a very important observation. One should learn how to be happy and comfortable with oneself in solitude, being isolated from all other beings, before one mixes into the society, or gets involve in any kind of relationships with anyone, without expecting someone or something that is not ‘I’ to make us happy, or give us happiness. Or else we generate so much tension and unhappiness in ourselves and those whom we want to love and be loved.

When one is free from ignorance and egoism, one doesn’t need to be loved, be supported, be acknowledged, be approved, or be connected, to feel meaningful or be happy. One will be free whether being in a relationship, or not. There’s no loneliness. When one knows how to be happy as one is, the society will be benefited tremendously by the existence of this being, without any intention from this being to benefit anyone or anything.

But, many yoga practitioners nowadays who attached strongly to their worldly social life don’t just not interested in observing this traditional practice, but they condemn this practice. And that is their freedom of thinking, action and speech.

Be free.

Seeking freedom through the knowledge of life

Why does my family has to suffer so much even though they are really good and kind-hearted people? They don’t do bad things and they have helped many people whom they know and don’t know from the past until the present. They give and give without discrimination and never expect gratefulness or rewards in return for the kindness and friendliness they shown to others, or from those who receive kindness and friendliness from them. Friends and relatives and strangers took advantage of my family’s kindness and friendliness, until they got themselves into lots of unnecessary problems and troubles where everyone in the family is affected physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.

Why did my childhood best friend kill herself even though she had everything she ever wanted? She came from a wealthy family background. She was intelligent, highly educated and knowledgeable. She had a high paid job and was financially independent. She had a wide social network, friends and family in her life. She did all the activities that she liked to do and went for holidays in places that she liked to go. She also had her childhood dream came true about having her own children as the greatest achievement and happiness in life.

It’s because happiness and freedom from suffering is nothing to do with being good and kind-hearted, or do good and don’t do bad, or attaining high level of education and accumulating knowledge, or having high income and success in career, or having dreams come true and achieving whatever we want to achieve that we think it will make us happy, or give us happiness.

Education and knowledge might provide the useful information, facts and skills for people to do something in life to live and survive and interact with other beings in this world, and to build a society with all the high-tech conveniences coming from the latest technologies, engineering and inventions. They might help to improve quality of life and influence our way of life and conduct. But receiving education and accumulating knowledge as well as different types of qualifications and certifications doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free from ignorance, confusion, corrupted thinking and selfishness, or know how to make wise decisions, or won’t behave selfishly and ignorantly, or won’t experience suffering and unhappiness.

Educated people are not necessarily be free from dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, feelings of hurt, and fear, or won’t be engaging in immoral conducts and violent behavior. There’s no guarantee that those who have been receiving education on morality will uphold morality. It’s a personal awareness and conscience with self-control and self-restraint that one would refrain oneself from engaging in immoral conducts or activities.

For example, there are laws in some countries that would punish convicted thieves by cutting off their hand(s). The risk of getting their hands cut off will not stop the thieves from committing theft, although if the thieves are caught and prosecuted under those laws, it might be physically challenging for them to commit theft again without their hands. But, there are thieves that don’t need to perform theft at the scene personally, or with their hands physically, and theft are still existing everywhere and anytime. With their hands cut off under those laws might let them experience inconvenience in everyday life in return for their actions of stealing, just like how they cause financial, physical, mental and emotional damages and inconvenience to those whom they steal from, but it doesn’t necessarily remove greed from their minds, or stop them from stealing again and again. Those who disagree with inhumane treatment or physical punishment for criminal say that people needs to receive proper education to reduce crime rate in the society. But receiving proper education on ‘Do good and don’t do bad’ doesn’t necessarily will remove ignorance, greed, desires of craving and aversion, and the urge to cheat and steal from the criminal minds. Meanwhile, all kinds of inhumane treatment and physical punishment also don’t guarantee that the criminals would be free from ignorance and won’t commit crime again and again.

Living in the world of many ignorant minds that generate all kinds of stupidities in the society intentionally and unintentionally, we might feel frustrated and annoyed by many things that are not in our control to be the way that how we would like it to be. We feel angry or disturbed by some thinking and behavior that are contradicted with our thinking and belief about what is right and wrong, good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable, appropriateness and inappropriateness.

We think we are more intelligent than other people that we can change the world or the society to be the way we think it should be. The more we try to change the world to be the way that we want it to be, the more frustrated and disappointed we become. It’s because none can change another being’s ignorant behavior. None can free another being from ignorance. Study under the greatest teacher in the world and receiving all kinds of worldly knowledge also doesn’t guarantee that one will be free from ignorance and suffering. One can only change and improve oneself, and free oneself from ignorance through one’s effort of persistent self-discipline, self-control, self-awareness, self-inquiry and self-realization.

The cause of suffering and unhappiness is ignorance. Ignorance is not knowing the truth of life existence, or who we really are. Suffering, and the freedom from suffering is unrelated to whether we think we are good or not, knowledgeable or not, well-educated or not, religious or not, spiritual or not, well-cultured or not, and believing in God existence or not.

By learning, knowing and gathering lots of information, facts and skills about this and that doesn’t mean that the mind is free from ignorance. We can be highly educated and knowledgeable about many things in the world that we live in, we can read and write and speak many different languages, we can be kind-hearted, friendly and sociable, we can be doing many good actions and not doing anything that we believe as bad actions, we can be very talented and creative, but because of ignorance, we might still be determined, disturbed and affected by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, whether it’s something that we like or dislike, agree or disagree with, and we experience suffering of unhappiness, grief, frustration, irritation, depression, discontentment, disappointment, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, feelings of hurt, guilt, regret, animosity, humiliation, insult, ill-thinking, ill-will, doubt, fear and worry.

Knowing how to build a beautiful and practically functional house doesn’t guarantee one and those who live in the house will be peaceful and happy. Knowing how to save lives through advanced medical skills and effective medicines doesn’t guarantee one and those whose lives were saved will be free from ignorance, unhappiness and suffering. Those who perform charity and those who receive charity also doesn’t mean that they will be free from feelings of hurt, anger, jealousy, discontentment, disappointment, fear and worry, and be peaceful and happy.

It doesn’t matter who we think we are, or what we are, we will experience suffering and restlessness if the mind is functioning under the influence of ignorance.

Ignorance brings along egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and all sorts of impurities which is why we experience suffering and restlessness. It is nothing to do with whether our lives, or the world, is the way that we think it should be, or not.

It doesn’t matter what kind of social status we think we have in the society, and what we know or don’t know, our minds constantly react towards all the perception of names and forms through the senses of what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, based on the conditional thinking and belief in the mind under the influence of ignorance. Suffering and restlessness is the responsibility of the mind itself for being ignorant of the truth of names and forms, when it generates attachment, identification, craving and aversion towards all the impermanent names and forms that it perceives, or comes in contact with.

Whenever the mind comes in contact with the objects of names and forms that it likes and agrees with, it generates clinging and craving towards them. Whenever the mind comes in contact with the objects of names and forms that it dislikes and disagrees with, it generates aversion towards them. When the craving and aversion is not being gratified – when it is getting what it doesn’t like and doesn’t want; when it doesn’t get what it likes and wants; when it is losing what it likes and wants, the mind reacts with all sorts of impurities like dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, animosity, feelings of hurt, fear, worry, and so on. The mind is suffering from its own reactions of impurities.

By learning how to free the mind from ignorance and impurities, and attaining the knowledge of life through mind purification, self-inquiry and self-realization, will lead us to unconditional peace and happiness, disregards what is the condition of our lives and the situation of the world we live in. We will have peace and be happy as we are, undetermined by the impermanent changes of names and forms, pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and different types of thinking and behavior that our minds agree or disagree with. We adjust ourselves to adapt and accommodate any life conditions and situations, and not expecting life to change into something that can accommodate all our desires of craving and aversion.

If the mind is under the influence of ignorance and egoism, and generates attachment, identification, craving and aversion towards all the impermanent qualities of names and forms to be identifying as ‘I’ and ‘my life’, then even though everything might be the way that we like it to be, or nothing is the way that we don’t like it to be, our minds will still be restless and anxious if there is attachment towards what we like and don’t like, as we will have fear towards losing the things that we like and want, and we don’t want the things that we like and want to change into something that we don’t like and don’t want, even when they are not happening or don’t exist in the present moment. There is fear towards old age, sickness, separation from our loved ones, coming in contact with the ones whom we don’t like and disagree with, not getting what we want, losing what we like, getting what we don’t want, disability, and death. And everything will change and pass away, whether we like it, or not.

It is the awareness of being able to see the truth of things as it is and allowing the truth to be what it is, and being free from egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion and all sorts of impurities, that allow the mind to be in peace, disregards all the impermanent changes that are happening ceaselessly inside and outside this body and mind, which are not in the control of ‘I’ to be the way that how ‘I’ would like it to be. The body and mind depends on so many elements to be existing and functioning, they don’t belong to ‘I’, not to say all the pleasant and unpleasant experiences perceived through the senses.

We make use of the existing knowledge, information, facts, skills, talents and creativity that we have to perform actions that we think and believe would be beneficial to ourselves and the society, but without attachment towards our actions and the results of our actions. We are not determined by our actions and the results of our actions to be who we are. We just do our best for what we think is the best, and allow the world to evolve in its own way and rhythm.

Freedom from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion is the real freedom of unconditional peace and happiness beyond all the impermanent qualities of names and forms.

The world is just what it is. It is neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither a happy place nor a suffering place. It’s how the mind reacts towards all the names and forms that it perceives through the senses that generates the ignorance of duality, personal identity and separateness. All sorts of fear and anxieties arise from duality, personal identity and separateness. It’s not because of the names and forms that we perceive or experience are being bad, or wrong, or negative, or unhappiness, that generates restlessness and suffering in us. The attachment, the identification and the desires of craving and aversion towards all the names and forms that the mind believes as good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, is the real cause of suffering.

Suffering exists as long as the mind is under the influence of ignorance. Suffering doesn’t exist when the mind is free from ignorance.

Freedom of the mind is beyond the freedom of thinking, actions and speech in the society, or beyond any physical and mental limitations. We might be restricted by some forms of physical and mental limitations, and are unable to think, or do, or say what we would like to think, or do, or say in our personal life, or in the society, but it doesn’t stop us to achieve freedom of unconditional peace.

There is a saying of “Do what will make us happy” circulating in the world of social media. Somehow, freedom to do whatever we like to do that we think will make us happy, is not the real freedom, as there are people who find happiness, or enjoyment, or excitement in performing actions that hurt themselves or other beings, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

May all be free.