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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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My ego?

Some think and say, “I have a good, happy and kind mind. My mind is good, happy and kind.”

Some also think and say, “I have a good, happy and kind ego. My ego is good, happy and kind.”

The one who claims possession or ownership towards the mind or the ego, and being satisfied and proud of ‘my good, happy and kind mind/ego’, is the ego itself.

There is a separateness between ‘I’ and the object that ‘I’ thinks it belongs to ‘I’, that ‘I’ thinks and believes as ‘mine’, but at the same time, there is also self-identification that identifies itself as the object that ‘I’ think it’s ‘mine’. Such like, “I have a beautiful body and my mind is happy. I am beautiful and happy.” or “I don’t have a beautiful body and my mind is not happy. I am not beautiful and not happy.”

Whatever names and forms that the ego claims ownership and identification are just what they are and they are impermanent. They change as they are, they come and go as they are, they don’t belong to ‘I’, and they are not ‘I’. There is no ‘I’ in control of all the impermanent changes in all the names and forms.

Somehow, there is this idea of ‘I’ exists in the mind claiming identification, possession, ownership and control towards all these impermanent names and forms. Such like, “I want myself, my life, my mind and my body to be like this and not like that.” or, “I want my appearance and my relationships to be like this and not like that.” and so on. And the consequences of the idea of ‘I’ and the desire of ‘I want everything to be the way that I like it to be’ are restlessness full of mind impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, annoyance, anger, hatred, jealousy, hurt, regret, guilt, animosity, ill-will, offensiveness, defensiveness, pride, arrogance, depression, aggression, violence, discrimination, grief, sadness, painful sorrow, loneliness, meaninglessness, fear and worry. All these are the by-products of egoism of attachment, clinging, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation.

Meanwhile, when the ego wants to claim ownership and identification with certain qualities of names and forms, it also doesn’t want to be related or connected to, or be identified with certain qualities of names and forms that it doesn’t like or doesn’t want, that it perceives as something ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, ‘meaninglessness’, ‘unhappiness’ and ‘suffering’, based on a particular thinking, belief, cultural or religious teaching and practice about what is ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘positive and negative’, ‘meaningfulness and meaninglessness’, ‘happiness and unhappiness’, ‘pleasurable enjoyment and painful suffering’.

None can liberate another being. None can free the mind from ignorance and egoism, but the mind itself.

There is no ‘I’. There is no ‘my mind’ or ‘my ego’ or ‘my body’. It’s just the mind, the ego and the body. And they are impermanent.

The mind, the ego and the body are just what they are. They are neither good nor bad. But due to ignorance and egoism, suffering arise. That’s all.

Reflect and realize and be free.

Be free from ignorant expectation that leads to unnecessary disappointment

All disappointments derived from expectation. While some minds can get over disappointment easily and move on or hope for better and be driven to strive harder, but there are many minds couldn’t get over it, being hammered by huge/repeated/continuous disappointment, and might fall into low self-esteem or depression, affecting one’s physical and mental health as well as one’s relationships with everyone in life.

Most people think and believe that all human beings need to have some sorts of expectation to motivate and push themselves in everything that they pursue to attain great achievements and to be continuously improve.

In yoga, expectation is merely part of the egoism derived from ignorance, and it is truly unnecessary. When the mind is free from egoism, there’s no need to have expectation to motivate or push oneself to be good and be better, or to achieve something. One just do one’s best to perform all actions and allow the result of the actions to be what it is, without being determined by the actions or the result of the actions to be ‘I’, to be happy, and to feel proud and meaningful, or not.

There’s no disappointment when the result of the action is not as good as what we think it should be. There’s no pride and arrogance when the result of the action is as good as or better than what we think it should be.

There’s nothing wrong when people feel disturbed or offended or disappointed by other people didn’t response to their ‘friendliness’ and ‘kindness’ the way that they think how it should be, or when other people are not interested to have any social interactions with them. But, this is truly unnecessary.

When we practice yoga, we allow everyone to be what they are, without expecting everyone should be ‘good’ and be ‘warm’ and ‘nice’ to all other beings, or to ‘I’. We don’t expect everyone should behave in the way that we think all human beings should behave, or they shouldn’t behave in the way that we think they shouldn’t behave. We respect everyone as they are, that different people are being different from us and everyone else. But, there are many ‘good people’ in the world have expectation towards how other people should and shouldn’t behave, and be disappointed and disturbed when other people don’t behave the way that they think they should behave, and when they behave the way that they think they shouldn’t behave.

If we have expectation towards how other human beings should and shouldn’t behave or interact with the rest of the society, we will be very disturbed and disappointed, when we think and believe all human beings should be ‘socially active’ and be ‘warm’ or ‘nice’ to each other, especially to ‘I’, but there are people who are not ‘socially active’ and didn’t have the intention be ‘warm’ or ‘nice’ to other people, especially to ‘I’. This disappointment is truly unnecessary, and it’s derived from our own ignorant expectation. And we judge these people’s way of life or behavior as ‘bad and ‘wrong’, because we think everyone should somehow be active to ‘social interact’ with other human beings in a way that we think is ‘good’ and ‘right’.

When the mind is free from ignorance, we will know that there is nothing bad and wrong in other people for being socially inactive or didn’t have initiative or interest to be ‘warm’ or ‘nice’ to other people, especially to ‘I’. We won’t be disturbed or disappointed by other people who keep to themselves and are not actively sociable or they don’t particularly do something that we think is ‘warm’ and ‘nice’ gestures.

When other people didn’t have intention to disturbed or hurt us, didn’t interfere with our thinking and believe, didn’t criticize our way of life and behavior, and didn’t intentionally do or say something that is ‘not nice’ to us, and allow us to be what we are, then even though they didn’t do anything ‘extra’ that we think is ‘warm’ and ‘nice’ to other people or to ‘I’, they are already being very ‘good’ and ‘kind’ and ‘nice’ to us.

We, whom we think we are ‘good people’ and better human beings than other people whom we disagree with their thinking and belief, their way of life and behavior that we think is ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’, and we go around judging people and interfering with other people’s thinking, belief, ways of life and behavior that we don’t like and disagree with, we are actually the ones who are being ‘not nice’ to other people. And we get more disappointed when other people didn’t show gratefulness and thankfulness and appreciation towards our ‘warm’ and ‘nice’ gestures to them, as we expect other people should be grateful and thankful and appreciate when we are being ‘warm’ and nice’ to them. This is complete ignorant thinking and it’s truly unnecessary.

Meanwhile there are people in the world who are ‘socially active’ and are ‘warm’ and ‘nice’ to other people all the time, especially to ‘I’, but at the same time, they might do and say something that would disturb or hurt other people, and interfering with other people’s thinking and belief and way of life, judging and criticizing and complaining about other people, whether intentionally or unintentionally, sometimes in front of people, and other times, behind other people’s back.

Be grateful and thankful that there are people who keep to themselves and don’t disturb other people’s life and leave us alone, that allow us to be free to be who we are, how we think, what we believe, how we live and behave, that even though they are not intentionally or particularly being ‘sociable’ or ‘friendly’ or ‘warm’ or ‘nice’ to us, but at least they didn’t be ‘cruel’ or ‘not nice’ to us, or they didn’t disturb and hurt us.

Allow people to be ‘warm’ and ‘nice’ to other people, or not. If people want to be ‘warm’ and ‘nice’ to us, we receive with gratitude and appreciation. If people don’t have the initiative or interest to be ‘warm’ and ‘nice’, let them be. It doesn’t mean that they are not good or they are bad people. Be compassionate and understanding.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to think and believe and behave, and how they react and feel. If people want to have expectation, that’s their freedom. If people feel disappointed towards something, that’s also their freedom.

Be free.

Selflessness – Being free from the ego (The idea of I) and egoism

The ego is the product of ignorance in the impure mind where there is an idea of ‘I’ exists as an individual being with certain qualities of names and forms, such like, personal worldly identity and status, personality and characteristic, thinking and belief, physical condition and appearance, gender and sexual orientation, physical and mental ability and achievement, interest and talent, knowledge and memory, aspiration and inspiration, actions and the result of actions, family and relatives, relationships and possessions, social network and interaction, and all that the mind thinks and believes and identifies as ‘This is me or I’.

Selflessness is nothing to do with non-existence, as some people might ‘interpret’ it as non-existence. It’s beyond existence and non-existence. When people ‘misinterpret’ selflessness as non-existence, they might perform actions that would hurt themselves and others by thinking and believing that there won’t be any consequences of actions, and so, they think they can do whatever they like and want.

There is no ‘I’ to be existing or non-existing. There is no ‘I’ to be selfish or unselfish. There is no ‘I’ enjoy or suffer. There is no ‘I’ being happy or unhappy. There is no ‘I’ being good or bad. There is no ‘I’ as this or that. It’s just the mind functioning and perceiving names and forms through the senses. But due to ignorance, there is an idea of ‘I’ arise in the mind, that ceaselessly generates attachment and identification towards the impermanent quality of names and forms, and it judges and compares, intends and expects, acts and reacts, likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees, desires and doesn’t desire, creates and destroys, enjoys and suffers, aspires and inspires, being proud or humble, being happy and unhappy, feeling meaningful and meaningless, and etc.

The mind that is being free from the ego or egoism is a selfless mind or liberated mind. The entire yoga practice is MAINLY about freeing the mind from the ego or egoism to realize or attain selflessness, which is the nature of life existence. There is no ego in each individual cell in the body, or in the different life supporting systems, organs and glands, or in the sense organs and the senses, or in the oxygen, nutrients, minerals, water and energy that allowing the body and the mind to be existing and functioning, but, this ego that exists as an idea in the mind thinking that ‘I’ am the most important and the highest above all. “I want my body to be like this and be able to do that. I want my mind to be like this and achieve that. I want my life to be like this and accomplish that, and so on.” This ego is full of desires waiting to be fulfilled, and constantly pushing, forcing and hurting the body and the mind in order to gratify all its desires via the body and the mind. When its desires are not being gratified, or there’s some obstacles hindering the process of gratifying all its desires, the ego gets offended, humiliated, insulted, dissatisfied, disappointed, angry, hurt, unhappy, depressed, or suffer. And out of these impurities, the ego performs actions or inactions that would hurt the body and the mind, and/or other beings or objects.

Yoga practice is not about being able to perform this or that asana, or pose, or position, or movement, to gain health, beauty and fitness benefits, but it’s to train or purify the mind to eventually drop-off this idea of ‘I’, through annihilate egoism and the by-products of egoism of all sorts of impurities. When the mind is free from the idea of ‘I’ and ‘mine-ness’, there’s only pure awareness being in the present, being aware of all the perceptions of names and forms through the senses, and all the impermanent changes, functions and activities of the body and the mind, being free from desires of craving and aversion, selfish intention, expectation, attachment and identification.

There’s no ‘I’ being the performer of actions or the receiver of the fruit of actions. There’s no ‘I’ being the thinker or believer. There’s no ‘I’ being compassionate or uncompassionate. There’s no ‘I’ being ignorant or wise. There’s no ‘I’ being limited or unlimited. There’s no ‘I’ being free or not free. There’s no ‘I’ believe or disbelieve in God. There’s no ‘I’ am sinful or sinless.

There’s neither past nor the future. There’s neither good nor evil. There’s neither positive nor negative. There’s neither happiness nor unhappiness. There’s neither enjoyment nor suffering. There’s neither vegetarian nor non-vegetarian. There’s neither yogi nor non-yogi.

Be free.

Understanding unhappiness

“I am not happy is because of this. This is bad. This is wrong. This is hurting me. This makes me unhappy.”
“I am not happy is because of you. You are bad. You are wrong. You are hurting me. You make me unhappy.”

This is incorrect understanding towards unhappiness, or ignorant towards the truth of what is going on in the mind, that generates ceaseless reactions of unhappiness in our minds.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

“I am not happy is because I don’t like this. I don’t agree with this. I don’t want this. It’s nothing to do with whether this is bad and wrong, or being hurtful. This doesn’t make me unhappy. It’s my ungratified desire of what I like and don’t like, what I want and don’t want, that makes me unhappy.”

“I am not happy is because I don’t like something about you. I don’t agree with you. I don’t want you to behave in such way. It’s nothing to do with whether you are bad and wrong, or being hurtful. You don’t make me unhappy. It’s my ungratified desire of what I like and don’t like, what I want and don’t want, that makes me unhappy.”

This is the correct understanding that will free our minds from experiencing unhappiness due to ignorance.

Be free.