By-products of the thinking mind

Due to the function of the physical body processing all the physical inputs, there are some by-products (waste products), such as pleasant/unpleasant sensations, sweat, carbon dioxide, dead skin/tissues, pee and shit, and etc.

Similarly, upon the thinking mind processing all the mind inputs, there are also by-products, such as egoism, all kinds of impurity, emotions, feelings, actions, reactions and the consequences of action/reaction, and so on.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s the physical body and its by-products, or it’s the mind and its by-products, they all are impermanent and selfless. And they are not ‘I’.

Learn to be aware of the impermanent changes of the physical body and its by-products as well as the impermanent thinking mind and its by-products (all the mental/emotional modifications/activities), without attachment, identification, craving/aversion, judgment, comparison, or expectation. Allowing all these impermanent and selfless names and forms to be there as they are, arising and passing away.

Due to the function of the physical body, the body processes the food/liquid after eating/drinking, while the by-products of that, of sweat/pee/shit being generated has to be ‘letting go’, and one would just let them go and clean up the sweat/pee/shit and the body by oneself, to maintain personal and public hygiene and cleanliness, to help lower the risk of contracting or spreading diseases/illnesses in oneself and others in the surrounding environment. More importantly, when someone is sweating, peeing or shitting, one doesn’t need anyone being there accompanying/watching/listening or to help to clean up the waste products and the body, unless it’s a small infant/child or adult that is physically dependent on others for handling such matters. And there’s nothing wrong if someone wants to ask help from others for handling such matters, even when one is capable to handle it by oneself.

Similarly, due to the function of the thinking mind, the thinking mind processes all the mind inputs, while the by-products of that, of actions/reactions/emotions/feelings/the consequences of action and reaction being generated that need to be ‘letting go’. The mind would just let them go and ‘clean up’ the mind by itself, to maintain personal and public peace and harmony, to help minimize causing ‘disturbs’/’damages’ to itself and others in the surrounding space. When the mind is processing all these mental/emotional modifications/activities of the mind (the by-products of the thinking mind), it doesn’t need anyone being there accompanying/watching/listening or to help to ‘clean up’ the mind, unless it’s a mind that is mentally/emotionally dependent/disabled, whether due to genetic inheritance, sickness or injury. Though there’s nothing wrong if someone wants to ask help from others for dealing with such matters, even when one is capable to deal with it by oneself.

All the food, drinks and oxygen being consumed by the physical body and the by-products of all the sweat, carbon dioxide, pee and shit etc, are not ‘I’.

Similarly, all the mind inputs and the by-products of all the mental/emotional modifications/activities, are not ‘I’.

There’s no ‘I’ that can be found before/during/after the existence/function of this physical body and the thinking mind.

Infants/children can be trained to be physically independent as they grow up day by day, so does the mind can be trained to be mentally/emotionally independent. Yoga and meditation practice can transform the mind if being done with the correct understanding, perseverance and determination. Unfortunately, most minds are being ‘conditioned’/’educated’ by the worldly egoistic society to think and believe that all minds (human or living beings) must depend on ‘something/someone else’ mentally/emotionally. Quite many yoga practitioners/teachers also think and believe that all human beings need to be there for one another to look after one another mentally/emotionally all the time, or else, it’s so sad, terrible, lonely, helpless, joyless and meaningless, if one is being alone by oneself.

Do a self-check on whether the mind is being conditioned/educated to think and believe in certain way, such as, “Being alone, living alone, walking alone, eating alone, doing things alone, or solving problems alone by oneself is so sad, terrible, lonely, helpless, joyless and meaningless.” Most minds will say ‘yes’. But how true is that? It’s not necessarily so. Although people don’t necessary have to be alone by oneself, but minds that are mentally/emotionally independent have no problem/difficulty being alone, living alone, walking alone, eating alone, doing things alone, or solving problems alone by oneself, and are happy and peaceful as it is.

Look after this mind, before it’s too late where it really needs to depend on others/substances to be able to function/think/behave properly.

Be free.

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There’s nothing wrong or bad with ‘bad’, ‘negative’ or ‘unhappy’ feelings and emotions

It’s normal to have unpleasant feelings or emotions in us from time to time. There’s totally nothing wrong or bad when there are feelings or emotions that the worldly thinking people label them as ‘bad’, ‘negative’ and ‘unhappy’ feelings and emotions.

Many people would ‘advise’ those who are going through some difficult time or emotional moments to stop being emotional as if emotions and being emotional is something not good, or bad, or wrong, or weak.

It’s not about “Hey, you should look around you, count your blessings, and be grateful for all the little good things that you have or the bad things that you don’t have. Stop being so ungrateful, negative and unhappy. Don’t waste your life, time and energy in all these ‘bad’ feelings and ‘negative’ emotions. It’s not good for you and the people around you.”

Yoga and meditation practice is not about push away or avoid certain emotions and feelings that the mind recognizes as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, or ‘unhappy’. Yoga and meditation practice is not about cultivate good and happy feelings and emotions, and fill the mind with only ‘good’ and ‘positive’ feelings and emotions. It’s not about don’t allow any ‘bad’ and ‘negative’ feelings and emotions to arise or exist in the mind.

The teachings of yoga never criticize or tease people who feel low, bad, sad, angry, negative, depress or unhappy from time to time, or once in a blue moon, or most of the time. The teachings of yoga never judge or label any kinds of feelings and emotions as something ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. It is normal and okay for the mind to experience different types of pleasant and unpleasant feelings and emotions from time to time.

We allow our minds and other people’s minds to perceive feelings and emotions that are unpleasant, that are unhappy. It’s okay sometimes we don’t feel like talking and want to have some time just for ourselves. It’s okay sometimes other people don’t feel like talking and want to have some time just for themselves. It’s okay that we are not always happy all the time. We don’t have to be happy all the time.

What we are practicing in yoga and meditation is to be aware of any feelings or emotions, without generate identification with these feelings and emotions as ‘I’ or ‘mine’; without judging these feelings or emotions as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘negative’ or ‘positive’; without judging the mind as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘positive’ or ‘negative’; without expectation that ‘I’ only want to feel ‘good’ and have ‘positive’ emotions, and ‘I’ don’t want to feel ‘bad’ or have any ‘negative’ emotions; without generate craving or aversion towards certain feelings or emotions that the mind likes or dislikes; without being over-powered by these pleasant and unpleasant feelings and emotions to influence our actions and speech; knowing that no matter they are pleasant or unpleasant feelings and emotions, they all are impermanent, that they will pass away; and allowing all these impermanent feelings and emotions to arise, to be there, to change and passing away.

Whether we like it, or not; attach to it, or not, they all will pass away sooner, or later. Just observe, without attachment, identification, judgment, craving, aversion, or expectation.

It’s not about not welcoming or pushing away the ‘bad’ and ‘negative’ feelings and emotions. It’s not about welcoming and cultivating or retaining ‘good’ and ‘positive’ feelings and emotions. They are neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, and they are impermanent. And it’s not ‘I’.

Accepting the reality in the present moment now as it is, whether it’s pleasant or unpleasant, whether it’s the way that we like it to be, or not. It’s impermanent. Allowing all the impermanent changes to be there as they are. Whether the mind is at peace, or disturbed and unrest, it’s impermanent and it’s not ‘I’.

Om shanti.

Do cheerful people only have happy feelings and don’t have any unhappy feelings?

Being cheerful doesn’t mean that there is not any unhappy feelings and there’s only happy feelings all the time.

There’s nothing wrong with happy and unhappy feelings. It’s part of the normal function of the mind to react upon coming in contact with the objects of the senses that the mind likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with. Or, due to mood swing caused by hormones imbalanced. But cheerful people know that all these feelings are impermanent. They do not have clinging or craving towards happy feelings, or aversion towards unhappy feelings. When happy feelings are absent, they are still cheerful as they are. When unhappy feelings arise in the mind, they are still cheerful as they are.

Those who know non-attachment towards happy and unhappy feelings, they are not being determined by all these fleeting happy and unhappy feelings to be who they are, to be happy or not, to be confident or not, and to feel meaningful or not.

Cheerful people might have unhappy feelings when their minds come in contact with the objects of name and form that the mind dislikes and disagrees with, or when they are not getting the names and forms that the mind likes and wants. Or, when their hormones are imbalanced. But, they know how to let go of unhappy feelings more easily and quicker than those who have attachment towards all the perception of names and forms to be determining them to be who they are, to be happy or not, to be confident or not, and to feel meaningful or not.

The lesser and weaker attachment towards any names and forms, there will be less reasons or lower chances to be unhappy, and vice versa.

Those who have less demand and less expectation, who are less fussy and easily content, who are patient, tolerant, generous, forgiving, adaptable, adjustable and accommodating will have less trigger of unhappy feelings, and vice versa.

Go beyond the identification of ‘happy being’ and ‘unhappy being’.

Keep practicing non-attachment without expectation until the mind is completely be free from any impurities that derived from ceaseless reactions towards objects of name and form influenced by the desires of craving and aversion.

We will realize unconditional peace that is beyond all kinds of happy feelings, and undetermined by any qualities of name and form, when we are free from the desire of want to feel happy and want to be a ‘happy being’, or don’t want to feel unhappy and don’t want to be an ‘unhappy being’. But, allow all the happy and unhappy feelings to come and go without generate attachment or identification, without craving or aversion.

Love ourselves as we are even though the mind is not being happy all the time.

Be free.

How are you? Are you okay?

Many people like to greet another person with this common greeting sentence “How are you?” or “Are you okay?”

Most people don’t really interested to know how we are, but it’s just a common natural greeting sentence when we see somebody. It is not a question at all.

There are some people who really care and they really mean it, when they ask “How are you?” or “Are you okay?”

Some people don’t just ask people “How are you?”, but also to the other beings, like insects and animals, or plants, or even things.

Are we ready to listen, when we ask somebody “How are you?” or “Are you okay?”

Some people don’t mind when sharing other people’s stories and feelings that are uplifting and cheerful, but they mind when other people start to complain and mourn about negative things.

As there will always be somebody who needs to talk to someone, and needs someone to be there to listen to them about how they feel and what is troubling them, especially when they feel disturbed and unhappy.

Sometimes we only feel comfortable to talk about what is going on in our life and how we really feel, to someone who we know close enough that we feel comfortable to share with.

But sometimes, we rather talk to somebody who don’t really know about us, about what is going on in our life and how we really feel. We just want to let out some frustration, to get some relieves from stress, without being judged, nor getting more unnecessary troubles coming from gossips among family and friends who know us.

Sometimes complete strangers who are selfless and wise can be good listeners. They are the third party who don’t really involve in what is going on in our personal life, who will not give one-sided judgment and opinion. It’s not an obligation for them to be listening to our frustration, unhappy feelings and problems. They don’t really get any incentive or advantage from listening to our problems, but spending their time and energy to listen to our frustration, unhappy feelings and problems. They also have to withstand the negative vibrations from us for being unhappy and frustrated. They also will wish for us all the kind wishes without expecting anything in return.

Anybody whom we know or don’t know, who is selfless and wise, can be a good listener. Their presence for being there, and their free will to share our ‘unhappiness’ by being a listener, will help us to reduce and minimize our ‘problems’, or to be free from what we think is ‘problem’.

Somebody whom we know or don’t know, who is impure, might not be a good listener. Their presence and their sharing our ‘unhappiness’ by listening to our ‘problems’, might not help us to reduce or minimize our ‘problems’, but might make our ‘problems’ become greater.

How many of us truly care for other people and ask them “How are you?” or “Are you okay?” when we see them?

Are we just saying it as a greeting sentence, but we are not really interested in knowing what is happening to them, or how they actually feel?

Are we having selfish intention and expectation by showing ‘care’ to other people, by expecting something in return? Such like expecting someone to be there for us in return, when we need to talk to somebody, or when we feel lonely and bored.

Are we doing it for any personal benefits or business incentive in return, when we show interest to know about other people’s stories of their life and how they feel?

Are we just being busybody and like to gossip about other people’s problems in life, when we expect someone to talk about themselves by asking them “How are you?” or “Are you okay?”

Or are we being compassionate and sincerely want to show care for anybody whom we meet in the present moment now, really care to know if they are fine and at peace? Being ready to spend some of our time and energy to be there for these people if they need to talk to us, who happen to ask them “How are you?” or “Are you okay?”

Out of compassion, without any selfish intention, without any expectation, without judgment, without getting attached, nor disturbed, nor influenced, nor annoyed by listening to other people’s unhappy feelings and problems, just be there for somebody who needs a good listener to release what is troubling them at that very moment. Sometimes they will know what they need to do after the relief from talking to somebody. They don’t need a judge or an adviser.

About twenty years ago, there was a woman who suffered long term depression. Whenever somebody greeted her with “How are you?”, she would burst into tears and started to talk about her problems and unhappiness in life. But, gradually nobody wanted to greet her with “How are you?” anymore. They just said “Hi!” or “Good morning or good afternoon” to her. Some people even tried to avoid her when they saw her coming. Such is the world.

Be ready, even if we are not really interested in knowing about what is going on in other people’s life or how they feel, when we greet them with this sentence “How are you?” or “Are you okay?”, as somebody might breakdown in tears and couldn’t stop talking about their problems, frustration and complaints. Be compassionate, as that is why we are the one to be there for that person, at that moment. Be unattached, just be a listener.

Sometimes people want to share their success, joy and happiness with us when we greet them with “How are you?” Then be happy for them. Be a good listener. Do not feel intimidated nor be jealous about other people’s success, joy and happiness.

This is part of our yoga practice.

Om shanti.