Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha – Yoga is the restraint/annihilation of the modification of the mind – The entire worldly idea of ‘I’ and life existence cease existing. The perception of separateness and duality of good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, enjoyment and suffering, birth and death, and so on, vanished.
This is an important practice in yoga to silent the mind by stop feeding the thought current or thought activities by restraining the mind from projecting or expressing the thinking via speech and action. It’s the practice of awareness, non-attachment and letting go that eventually leads to complete silence or the annihilation of the entire worldly idea of ‘I’ and life existence. People who are passionate towards worldly idea of life existence, who aspire to build a positive world that is free from what they think is negative, would interpret this practice as oppression or suppression or degradation of the mind or human life existence or humanity, which the worldly minded think it’s something inhuman, abnormal, unhealthy, non-progressive and wrong. Those who are not interested in yoga and meditation practice, who are passionate about worldly idea of life existence, they don’t need to perform this practice. Those who think they are free from suffering or they don’t mind suffering, or who had transcended suffering, also don’t need to perform this practice.
Even the teachings and practice of yoga can be something ‘good’ and ‘amazing’ for some people, but it can also be something ‘not good’ and ‘wrong’ for many other people. It’s up to everyone on how the mind perceives and reacts towards everything, and whether the mind needs the teachings and practice of yoga to realize unconditional peace.
The practice of silencing the mind is greatly contradicted with the existing worldly ideas and values that emphasize on empowering self-identification, self-worth, self-development, personal and global achievement, and social community development, where people think human beings should progress forward by constant stimulating their minds and projecting their thoughts freely through expressing their ideas and feelings via speech and action, especially if it’s something ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ according to the thinking and belief consists of certain worldly ideas and values, cultural and religious belief and practice that people think it would benefit all humanity.
What most worldly minds don’t realize is that silencing the mind is the greatest form of serving humanity. There’s less a being under the influence of ignorance to generate ignorant actions into the world. All the higher technologies and engineering derived from high creativity and intelligence, doesn’t remove the ignorance, egoism and impurities in people’s mind and it doesn’t make the world to be free from what the impure minds recognize as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘wrong’, ‘suffering’, and all sorts of ‘fear’ and ‘violence’. People can enjoy the higher technology to live longer or younger or healthier or to enjoy higher standard of living and lifestyle, but it doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free from suffering, if the mind is not free from ignorance, egoism and impurities. As the highest technology also can’t alter the truth of impermanence. People will still hurt each other out of fear, in order to survive or to protect themselves and their loved ones and what they think is ‘good’, if the mind is not free from ignorance.
Many people who are interested in doing some form of yoga exercises regularly are either ignorant towards this teaching and practice, as the yoga teachers don’t teach this teaching in the yoga exercise classes, or, people know, but they don’t like and disagree with this teaching and practice. Whether people know or don’t know, like or dislike, agree or disagree, this is what yoga is about – Annihilation of mind activities.
The worldly idea of life existence appears when the mind moves, where there is habitual attachment and reaction towards the mind perception of names and forms through the senses. The worldly idea of life existence disappears when the mind is stilled, where there is pure awareness of mind perceptions without attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgement, intention or expectation.
A lot of time, the thinking and judgment from the impure mind is only partially true, or may not be true at all. The mind reaction of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, is also the by-product of ignorance, being influenced by egoism and impurities.
There’s nothing wrong when the mind thinks and believes that it has some ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ qualities, ideas and values that are worth to be shared with the world, and there is strong urge to project what it thinks and believes as ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ through speech and action, thinking that this would bring positive goodness to the society or the world, so that other people will also be inspired or be endowed with the same qualities, ideas and values. There’s good and generous intention or aspiration to share something great with the world to inspire others.
Everyone has the freedom to express their thinking through speech and action, there’s nothing wrong and it really doesn’t matter to those who are free from the influence of ignorance and egoism because they will not be affected or disturbed by other people’s thinking, ideas or feelings being projected through their speech and action. But in reality, there are many minds functioning under the influence of ignorance and egoism, that are not free from being disturbed by ungratified desires, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, who will be disturbed or intimidated or offended or hurt by other people of their thinking, ideas and feelings. Again, there’s nothing wrong with people expressing their thinking freely, as well as it’s people’s freedom and responsibility for how people react towards other people’s thinking, ideas and feelings. Just that impure minds can get very confused when being disturbed or intimidated, and might unwittingly or spontaneously hurt themselves or others out of the disturbed and confused state of the mind.
For example, there are women who don’t have or don’t want to have children would express their ideas or feelings about how ‘good’ and ‘blessed’ for them to have the joy of not having children. While the women who have or want to have children would express their ideas or feelings about how ‘good’ and ‘blessed’ for them to have the joy of having children. And sometimes, they might mock each other for justifying their respective ideology is somehow more superior or better than the other.
There’s nothing wrong with both different ideas or feelings towards the joy of having or not having children. It’s all good that some women find joy in not having children, while some women find joy in having children, as long as there’s no attachment or identification towards this idea or value to be who they are. Then it doesn’t matter whether they have or don’t have children, they are fine, being undetermined by any ideology to feel worthy, happy, confident, or meaningful, or not.
There are women who think and believe that having children is something ‘good’ and ‘blessed’, and they would love to have children, but for some reasons they couldn’t have any children, or they have children, but it’s not the way that they like it to be, and their minds are being in a state of suffering due to ungratified desires. Under the imbalanced state of the mind, they would feel greatly disturbed when women who have children keep boasting about their joy of having children, thinking that it’s something good and positive to inspire and encourage other women to also have the joy of having children, but it’s actually generating great disturbance for the women who would love to have children but they couldn’t. And then, there are some women who have children, but for some reasons, they feel regret about having children, and their minds are being in a state of dissatisfaction, frustration and regret, they might feel more disturbed for having children that they don’t really want, when the women who don’t have children keep boasting about their joy of not having children.
It’s not the fault of the people who boast or share about their thinking, values and feelings, when other people attach onto whatever they perceive and react towards what they perceive, taking other people’s expression of thinking and point of view seriously and personally, and feel disturbed or intimidated or hurt. Though there are many minds that are easily be affected, disturbed and intimidated by other people’s freedom of expression. For the mind that is free, it won’t be affected or disturbed or intimidated by other people’s freedom of expression. This mind doesn’t need to stay away from something that the worldly minded perceive as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘depressing’, or ‘meaninglessness’.
When the mind starts to develop awareness, correct understanding and compassion, it’s okay for the mind to have particular thinking and belief towards particular ideas or values, but it doesn’t need to project/express these ideas or values to inspire other people to also take up these values and ideas, even though the mind strongly believes that they are something ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’. Allowing everyone to have their own version of ideas and values, and it’s needless to boast about anything trying to inspire other people to be the same as ‘I’, to achieve what ‘I’ achieve, to live life as ‘I’ live. “I am happy. You should be like me, and you will be happy too.” But what is ‘good’ for ‘I’ might be something ‘painful’ for other people.
When teaching a yoga asana class, the yoga teacher can’t tell the students, “I can do this, so can you.” or “Nothing is impossible. You can do and achieve anything that you want.” to inspire or encourage the students to be able to do what the yoga teacher can do, because it’s not true. Not everyone has the similar physical structure, condition, ability and limitation to be able to perform the same action. People who take the teacher’s words seriously and force themselves beyond their limitation but still couldn’t achieve what they want to achieve, they might hurt themselves out of great expectation and disappointment. It’s okay that there are things that are impossible to reach or achieve due to certain circumstances. And it’s okay if people can’t perform certain actions due to certain limitation even after many years of practice and attempts. People don’t have to be able to do everything that the yoga teacher or other people can do, to have peace, or be compassionate, or to forgive someone or something that is hurtful. But the ability to go beyond all the ability and disability of the body and the mind, accepting the reality as it is, while performing actions without attachment or identification towards the actions and the fruit of actions, and allowing impermanent changes to be there as they are, that will allow the mind to be peaceful, compassionate and forgiving. And it’s okay if many people couldn’t realize this after many years of practice, and still be disturbed and determined by all the names and forms.
By accepting the reality in this present moment now, that the mind is not free, and it’s okay, and it’s impermanent and it’s not ‘I’, and without judgment or disappointment, keep practicing, without attachment or expectation towards the practice and the fruit of practice, and that is already what yoga is about.
For example, high performance and continuous achievement in any field is being perceived as something ‘good’ and ‘positive’ in the world. There’s nothing wrong with the idea of high performance and continuous achievement individually and globally, and many people can keep up with that idea with not much difficulty, but there are people couldn’t meet up with the expectation of high performance and continuous achievement, and they keep forcing the capability of the body and mind beyond its limitation to attain higher and higher performance and achievement until the function of the body and mind eventually breakdown, harming the entire body systems and suffered from restlessness, depression or insanity.
People can just do their best within their own capability, without trying to achieve what the world think is ‘good’ and ‘positive’, without pushing or forcing the body and mind beyond its limitation to compete with themselves or others to attain the sense of self-worth, achievement, confidence or meaningfulness, and without losing the clarity and sanity of the mind.
For the untrained mind, there are thought activities or thinking in the mind reacting towards the perception of names and forms, whether there is likes or dislikes and agreements or disagreements towards the perceived names and forms in the form of thinking, and naturally, there’s an urge to project/materialize this thinking through the speech and action, either intentionally or unintentionally. There’s an urge to express, to comment, to justify, to fight back, to argue, to attack, to revenge, to intimidate, to oppose, to criticize, to condemn, to aspire, to inspire, to admire, to love, to appreciate, to praise, to possess, or to control, and so on.
For the mind that has developed strong foundation in non-attachment and letting go, there is awareness towards the thought activities of the mind perception of names and forms of sight, sound, smell, taste, sensation and thinking/imagination/feeling, even though there might be likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements in the form of thinking due to the intellectual thought processing and recognizing the perceived names and forms, but it’s not necessarily that the thinking has to be projected/expressed/materialized through speech and action. In the end, all likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements in the form of thinking also will drop off. There are necessary actions being performed, without intention, attachment, identification, desires, judgment or expectation. Allowing the fruit of actions to be there as it is, allowing all the names and forms to be there as they are, and allowing them to change as they are.
There might be many intellectuals in the world would disagree with this or are against towards Silence of the mind. And that is their freedom of thinking and reaction.
This is what yoga practice is about – Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha
And it’s nothing to do with the physical condition, ability and limitation to do the yoga poses. It’s nothing to do with the knowledge of anatomy and physiology, or the precise physical alignment and different techniques on performing the yoga poses, or how one looks and feels in the yoga poses, or what are the names and benefits of the yoga poses, or the different types of qualifications and certifications sanctioned by such and such internationally recognized yoga alliance or association.
The mind that is free from impurities, ignorance and egoism, and is peaceful as it is being free from suffering, doesn’t need to be recognized, acknowledged, approved, authorized, or certified by anyone or any group, or any higher consciousness.