Learn how to be alone and do nothing, without feeling lonely, left out, unloved, unworthy or bored

Solitude or aloneness is being perceived by many people as something terrible or wrong that can happen to a human being. That is because people’s minds are being conditioned to think and believe in that way. And there’s nothing to be argued about as people’s minds are thinking in certain ways and believing in certain beliefs. That’s how people are being taught and brought up by their parents or the society for how people think and what to believe.

Many people never learn how to be alone by themselves and do nothing, without clinging onto other people, to be surrounded by other people to be interacting or communicating with them physically and mentally. They will feel lonely, left out, unloved, unworthy or bored, if there is a prolonged period of time that there are no people around them to be interacting with. They constantly looking/craving for physical and mental attention, love and companionship. A lot of time this is because the parents never teach or allow their children to learn how to be alone by themselves and do nothing, without feeling lonely, left out, unloved, unworthy or bored. The parents try to give maximum love and attention to their children and make their children always be busy with doing something and interacting with some other people, either mentally or physically, or both. They think this is good for them and to show that they love and care for their children very much.

That is also one of the important elements why there are people suffering from loneliness, low self-esteem, depression, boredom, unloved, unworthiness, meaninglessness, and so on. The children are being brought up in the way of building up intense attachment towards the love, attention and companionship from one or both of their parents or caretakers, but the parents or caretakers will not be always being by their side, and there will not be always somebody there to give them the attention, love and companionship that they like and want, that they cling onto and crave for. They never learn how to be alone by themselves and do nothing. Their minds are being used to interactive stimulation, receiving inputs and expressing outputs. These minds can’t stand being silence without any inputs or outputs for a few moments. The sense of loneliness, left out, unloved, unworthiness, depression, meaninglessness and boredom kicks in as soon as they are being away from family and friends that are always being close by physically, to interacting with and doing things together all the time.

Just like for the children without a father or both parents, people might think that by showing them lots of love and attention will help them and benefit them. People like to say, “People need love.” and they think that it means giving or showing love (affection) to other people who need love. But what people really need is realizing the unconditional unlimited love in themselves, without expecting love (affection) through receiving love (affection) from others. If people don’t know how to teach or allow the children to be independent, how to love themselves and how to be alone by themselves, that they can be happy and live life meaningfully as they are, even without one or both of the parents being by their side physically or mentally giving them personal love, attention and companionship, then if the children don’t get enough of love, attention and companionship from the people who are not being there for them all the time, these children will try to cling onto other people looking for attention, love and companionship.

It’s okay that one doesn’t have one or both of the parents being with them or to be there for them. Even if there is one or both of the parents being there for them, it doesn’t mean that the parents have to or will be there all the time, that there are times that one or both of the parents might not be there for them temporary or permanently. And it’s okay.

It’s okay that one doesn’t have anyone or friends and family members being with them or to be there for them. One can love oneself, whether doing something or doing nothing by oneself, and be happy and live life meaningfully being alone by oneself without anyone beside them to interact or communicate with physically or mentally. One has no craving for love, attention and companionship from other beings. One is peaceful as it is, being free from attachment and craving.

But all these children grow up without learning or knowing know how to be alone by themselves, and do nothing, without feeling lonely, left out, unloved, unworthy or bored. They suffer from loneliness, low self-esteem, unworthiness, boredom, depression and meaninglessness, if they think there’s no one there being with them or to be there for them, to interact with them, to give them love, attention and companionship.

Sooner or later, everyone will have to deal with solitude or aloneness at some stage in life whether we like it, or not. It is a natural process of life. It’s something wonderful if one knows the truth of aloneness or solitude. Only those who know this, will know.

Those who don’t know, they have strong aversion or fear towards solitude, afraid of being alone by themselves, and they will be suffering from loneliness, low self-esteem, unworthiness, boredom, meaninglessness and depression if there’s nobody being with them to be interacting or communicating with, physically or mentally. They think and believe that it’s because they are not good enough, that’s why they are being left out, unloved and being alone by themselves, that they are so pitiful without anyone, friends or family being with them, to give them love, attention and companionship, physically or mentally. They always feel that they are not good enough, that they need to be in competition with other people especially their brothers and sisters to get the maximum love and attention from their parents. They need other people to show thankfulness and appreciation for what they have done for others to feel that they and their effort of doing something are being appreciated and acknowledged. They always try very hard to please everybody to make everyone love them and acknowledge them that they are good enough and well-deserved with love and happiness. But, they don’t realize that they don’t have to please anyone to make other people love them. People who love them will love them as they are. Those who don’t love them will not love them even if they try to please these people. And many people will take advantage of the people who want or need to be loved by other people.

Most parents or caretakers don’t realize that it’s how they bring up the children that had caused the children to think and believe like that, to be suffering from love seeking, attention seeking, lack of something, missing something, or craving for something, and suffering from loneliness, low self-esteem, depression, boredom, meaninglessness, and so on, through out their entire life, unless/until they realize the truth that they don’t have to think and believe and suffer in such way. When they have their own family, that is also how they are going to bring up their children the way that how their parents brought them up, and most probably, their children will also end up like them, unless the children start to think for themselves and realize what is unconditional love from oneself towards oneself.

People also perceive the state of fullness or non-separateness, where one doesn’t need any other beings to be there to show love, attention and companionship, to be interacting with, to feel loved and meaningful, as something horrible or wrong. They think that these people who don’t need other beings being with them to be there for them, without feeling lonely, unloved, unworthy, meaningless, left out or bored, are impossible or insane or hard, and that these people must be so lonely and unhappy and live life meaninglessly for not needing anybody being there for them, where in truth, these people are peaceful, happy and live life meaningfully without being depending on other beings’ love, attention and companionship to life live meaningfully, or to feel loved and worthy, or to be free from loneliness and boredom.

Those who think and believe that they need to have other people’s love, attention and companionship to feel loved and worthy and meaningful, to not feel lonely and bored, are not free at all. But people don’t see that. And that’s their freedom of thinking and believe.

Doesn’t need anyone to be there for one to be happy and live life meaningfully, doesn’t mean that one is rejecting love and companionship from others, but, one will enjoy and appreciate all the love and companionship from others that are available in the present moment, without craving or clinging onto the love and companionship from others to be who they are, to feel happy and meaningful, or not. And when there is absence of love and companionship from others, one is still peaceful and happy and live life meaningfully as one is.

If people still can’t understand this, no one can make them understand. One has to realize this by oneself through direct experience and self-realization. Even some yoga and meditation teachers also don’t understand this. They teach about in order to counter loneliness, boredom, meaninglessness, depression, low self-esteem, or unworthiness, people need to have more friends to interact with, to play with, to communicate with, to share with. And it’s okay.

Be free.

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Expectation from the yoga students towards the yoga teachers

“How come the teacher didn’t say anything about whether my execution is good or not, or whether I’m doing the postures and movements right, or not?”

In most of the “yoga classes” (yoga asana exercise classes), the teacher or the instructor will go around and adjusting the body of the students, correcting their poses and movements, and telling them whether they are good and whether they are doing it right, and constantly give encouragement to them to try harder, to do something that they don’t want to do, or are not comfortable doing, or what they think they can’t do. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with that.

In the yoga class of learning and practicing yoga to eliminate ignorance and egoism to free the mind from suffering, the teacher seldom or does not go around adjusting or correcting their physical positions or movements, or give them appraisement whether they are good, or not, whether they are doing it right, or not. Because how they look in the positions or how well they execute the movements are irrelevant towards the elimination of ignorance and egoism to free the mind from suffering.

Wisdom and compassion and the ability to let go and forgive, is nothing to do with making the body more strong and flexible to be able to perform many yoga asana poses beautifully or to mastering the skill to perform the yoga poses. It’s about putting the body in certain positions within the ability and comfort of the physical body and holding the positions comfortably as long as the body can stay in those positions comfortably without struggling, in order to bring the mind to be in the present to calm down and quieting the restless mind, to prepare the mind for meditation. And this is nothing to do with whether the yoga practitioner is performing the yoga poses in perfect alignment or not in the yoga asana practice.

Even when a person can perform all the yoga poses nicely in perfect alignment and executing all the movements correctly and gracefully also doesn’t guarantee that this person is or will be free from ignorance and egoism and impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, arrogance, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, agitation, depression, hurts, regret, guilt, craving, aversion, ill-will, ill-thinking, fear and worry, and so on, if this person doesn’t work on eliminating the egoism that feeds ignorance that gives rise to suffering and all sorts of disturbs and unhappiness.

The teacher who teaches yoga delivers the teachings and the guidelines for the practice to the students to perform their practice, and the teacher might or might not be observing their practice from time to time, but at the same time, without interference, judgement or expectation, allowing the students to experience the teachings while practice what they learn from the teacher about the teachings and the practice, disregards whether their understanding towards the teachings and the practice is perfect or imperfect, and whether they are following the guidelines accordingly, or not, but to inquire the truth of the teachings and the practice through their own direct experience, to develop understanding and awareness towards their own body and mind, to become the observer or the teacher towards their own mind, without attachment, identification, judgement, comparison and expectation.

The students learn to develop self-independence and self-discipline. They don’t need to depend on a ‘teacher’ to tell them whether they are doing their practice correctly, or not, as they should be able to have the basic awareness of whether they are practicing correctly, or not, by being aware of the consequences of the action of doing the poses and movements. For example, the teacher teaches the students who have never seen fire, “Fire can burn your skin and flesh and it might cause painful sensation and damages. And hence do not touch the fire.” and if the students still want to touch the fire, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and got burnt by the fire, that is not the teacher’s responsibility. The teacher cannot be there every seconds watching the students to make sure they don’t touch the fire so that they won’t hurt themselves. The students will have to learn from their own direct experience and be responsible for looking after their own well-being. Just like parents can give advice as much as they can to their children, but they cannot be there all the time to control their children how they should act or react or behave, making sure that they only do good and the right thing, and don’t do bad or the wrong thing.

Only the students themselves will know whether they are practicing yoga, or not. People can be doing yoga poses everyday for years, but they might not be practicing yoga at all, including yoga teachers. It’s not about looking at the teacher and trying to imitate the teacher or other people. The yoga practitioners learn how to perform all their actions, practice, duties, and responsibilities out of compassion, without egoism, being free from attachment, identification, judgement, comparison and expectation towards the actions, the practice, the duties and responsibilities, as well as the result or fruit of the actions, the practice, the duties and responsibilities.

If the students don’t feel comfortable while putting their body in a particular position or executing particular movements, they shouldn’t proceed further or force their body to continue to perform the position or movements that the body feels discomfortable or painful, whether it’s due the limitation of their body, or there’s mind blockage of fear and worry, or it’s due to incorrect understanding towards the practice. If it’s due to their incorrect understanding towards the practice, the teacher will redeliver the guidelines of the practice to them, without expecting them to be fully understanding the practice right away.

The students learn to be aware that all their experiences, whether it’s okay or not okay, are all impermanent. Through their own awareness and understanding, they learn how to make appropriate adjustment to put their body into the positions comfortably, or execute the movements in the way that suits their body most, without expecting a teacher constantly be there to make adjustments for them. Everyone has a different body with different condition and limitation. What is comfortable for some people might be very painful for other people. There’s no best way to execute the movements or the best perfect look of the positions or poses, it’s just what the body can do comfortably, in this present moment. And no body is aware of what is going on in one’s body and mind but oneself, not even the yoga teacher.

For those who have been doing yoga poses for many years, how they look and how they feel in the poses or movements could be different in every practice. It is the truth of impermanence and selflessness. One can’t even look and feel the same in one’s different sessions of practice, then why should one look and feel the same as any others or the teacher in particular in their respective practice?

So what if some people’s body are really inflexible and weak, and they don’t look like everyone else while performing the yoga poses or while executing certain movements? It doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to realize unconditional peace and love or to let go and forgive something that is hurtful. It’s really unimportant and irrelevant about the physical ability and limitation in the realization of selflessness, unconditional peace and love, and the ability to let go and forgive something that the mind perceives as bad, wrong, undeserving, hurtful, painful or disturbing.

A yoga teacher allows the yoga students to take their time to find their own way of putting their body comfortably in the poses without pushing or forcing their body beyond its limitation or disability in the present moment, or adjusting their body and mind by themselves to adapt and accommodate the practice, the poses or the movements with care and responsibility from themselves towards themselves.

What the students can do or cannot do, what the students want or don’t want to do, and how the students interpret and execute the teachings and practice or how they look in the positions or movements are the students’ freedom and responsibility. The yoga teacher is not here to control and judge every action of the yoga students. After learning the teachings and practice by coming in contact with the teachings from a teacher, it’s up to the yoga students to interpret and perform the teachings and practice in their own pace, in their own way, by experiencing and inquiring the truth of these teachings and practice.

The students should be learning how to be aware of their practice and understand the practice via direct experience, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgement, comparison and expectation, and don’t depend on the teacher to look at their practice and constantly telling them about how good or bad is their practice. It’s not about how perfect do they look in the positions and how good they execute the movements, but it’s about via the positions and movements, they learn about what is going on in their minds, about the ignorance and egoism and the consequences of ignorance and egoism, about the suffering and the cause of suffering, about the impermanence and selflessness of the physical body and the activities of the mind of all the ceaseless thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions, reactions and impurities.

In order to perform the exercise safely so that the yoga practitioners won’t generate stress or injury onto the physical body has nothing to do with executing the yoga poses or movements in perfect alignment. It’s by understanding and listening to their own body, just do what their body can do comfortably in this present moment, in a relaxed manner, without forcing or pushing their body beyond its limitation, without trying to follow the standard of the perfect alignment, there’s no stress or risk of injury. In contrast, while trying to perform the positions or movements according to the perfect alignment that is beyond their physical limitation, to look exactly like other people or the teacher, building up tension from attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgement, comparison and expectation, could generate unnecessary stress and injury to the body and mind while trying to perform the yoga poses perfectly according to the standard of perfect alignment. Putting the body in the perfect alignment also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is or will be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering. People who are physically fit, strong and flexible, and can perform many yoga poses skillfully in perfect alignment, are not necessarily be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering.

Be free.

Go beyond all the desirable and undesirable experiences

Go beyond all the desirable and undesirable experiences.

Free from clinging and craving towards desirable experiences.

Free from aversion towards undesirable experiences.

Just do one’s best, perform actions to attain the life that one would like it to be, that one thinks is best for oneself and/or for others, but allow the fruit of actions to be what it is.

The sense of meaninglessness, disappointment, dissatisfaction, non-accomplishment, low self-esteem, hopelessness, depression, loneliness or emptiness doesn’t present/arise/manifest/exist in such mind, even when there is the presence or existence of mind perception of names and forms that are not necessarily the way that the mind likes or wants it to be. There are effort or action being performed from moment to moment, making use of the life existence, the body, the senses, the mind perception, the knowledge, the talent, the skill, the opportunity, the condition, the situation, to be doing something for oneself and/or others, without attachment, identification, judgment, intention or expectation towards the effort or action and the fruit of the effort or action.

When there’s dissatisfaction, unhappiness, disappointment, anger, meaninglessness, or depression manifest in the mind upon the absence of desirable experiences, hoping for something to happen but it didn’t happen, or upon the presence of undesirable experiences, especially unpleasant experiences that involve other beings or people, that’s the moment of the yoga practice of letting go takes place. Do not feed those thoughts/feelings/emotions. They will pass away, eventually.

None needs to be responsible for other people/being’s ignorance. There’s no need to suffer for other people/being’s ignorant thinking, action and speech. There might be complicated condition or situation arise under the influence of other people’s ignorance, but one deals with those complication without resentment, as resentment won’t undo what had happened or make things better. Allowing the reality that the mind perceives in this present moment now to be what it is, as it is, that it’s not necessarily the way that the mind likes or wants it to be, and it’s okay. Need not be disturbed or determined by the reality that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want. Even when the perceived reality is the way that the mind likes or wants it to be, that is also impermanent. Appreciate and enjoy the desirable experiences without grasping or clinging onto the experiences that are desirable.

Once the mind is able to go beyond the desirable and undesirable experiences, there’s no suffering or painful sorrow can manifest in this mind, even though the mind has to go through undesirable or unpleasant experiences.

Strength, flexibility, wisdom and compassion in yoga is referring to the ability of letting go both desirable and undesirable experiences, or to let go or forgive something that the mind perceives or recognizes as bad, wrong, undeserving, painful, or hurtful.

Having a fit, healthy, strong and flexible physical body doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free. Performing yoga asana practice and other forms of yoga practice as well as teaching yoga for a prolonged period of time also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free. Having many people and things surrounding oneself and existing in one’s life also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free. Having a positive, satisfied and happy mind when everything is the way that the mind likes or wants it to be also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free. Taking drugs, substances or intoxication that will give momentary relief, good feelings and calmness to the mind also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free. Attaining some sorts of extraordinary superpower of clairvoyance also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free, as having the power of clairvoyance also can’t change the law of impermanence and selflessness.

But when things are not the way that the mind likes or wants it to be, when one is alone, when there’s no acknowledgement/agreement/support/companionship/interaction/encouragement from anyone or anything, when one receives all kinds of ill-treatment and experiencing physical or mental discomfort, pain, weakness or disability, under any difficult, challenging or crucial condition and situation, and the mind is still peaceful as it is due to the realization of selflessness, correct understanding/wisdom and unconditional love/compassion (without under the influence of the effect of drugs or substances or intoxication that is impermanent), then this mind is free.

It’s okay if the mind is not free, or not peaceful, or not okay. It’s okay if this freedom is not the freedom that people are looking for. It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want and don’t want. For those who are in search for this freedom of yoga, they can try to practice yoga, if they want.

It’s just the thinking or thought process

The idea of the existence of ‘I’, and everything that ‘I’ think ‘I’ know, or perceive, or experience, or feel, whether ‘I’ think ‘I’ enjoy or suffer, or ‘I’ am good or bad, is just the thinking or thought process. Countless births and deaths of different forms take place ceaselessly along the thought process. At one moment ‘I’ am a calm and happy being, and at another moment ‘I’ am a restless and unhappy being.

“I am in suffering. My mind is hurt. Can you heal me and my mind?”
“Well, if that is true,” with my hand out, “Now, give me what you think is the suffering ‘you’ and give me your wounded mind, and I’ll heal you and your mind.”
“……………”

There’s no ‘I’ existing that can be hurt, or needs to be healed. The mind is just what it is, it cannot be hurt, and hence, it doesn’t need to be healed. Throw a stone or light a fire into the space, does the space gets hurt or burnt?

“I am suffering” and “My mind is hurt” is just a thinking, thought process, perception of names and forms.

Due to ignorance, there’s attachment and identification towards the thinking or thought process of “I am hurt. I am in suffering. I need to be healed.” and hence, suffering exists.

Let go the thinking of “I am hurt or I am in suffering and I need to be healed”, there’s no suffering.

The importance of renunciation, seclusion and solitude

This is not about against happiness or meaningfulness. But it’s about being free from attachment towards names and forms that give rise to the sense of happiness and meaningfulness, to realize unconditional peace that is unconditioned by names and forms that are impermanent, that is beyond the sense of happiness and meaningfulness.

All minds will feel good, happy, meaningful, loved and blessed when one is in the company of other people or family and friends who are like-minded and engaging in interactive activities with other people, appreciating good people, good company, good condition, good relationship/friendship and meaningful life. Though the mind might not necessarily be free from loneliness, meaninglessness, missingness, unhappiness and longing for interaction, when one is unable to be with other people, family or friends who are like-minded, and is not engaging in interactive activities with other people for a period of time, if there is attachment, clinging and craving towards good people, good company, good condition, good relationship/friendship and meaningful life.

It’s not difficult for us to feel happy and loved when we are constantly surrounded by people who are like-minded and engaging in some forms of interactive activities together, doing something that we enjoy doing, and it makes us feel good, happy, contented, loved and blessed. But when we are unable to see or be with the people whom we love for a prolonged period of time, and we are not doing something that we like to do together for some time, we’ll start to miss each other, missing the presence or togetherness or companionship and doing the things that we like to do together, and then the sense of loneliness, meaninglessness, missingness, unhappiness, and longing for interaction with other people, family and friends start to manifest in the mind. This is normal, but it also indicates that the mind is not free from ignorance and egoism, even though the mind might feel good, happy, contented, loved and blessed when we are being with other people, family and friends, whom we love to be with, and engaging in interactive activities together from time to time.

There’s attachment towards love and affection, supports and interactions from people around us. This is normal for most people, but this is also the cause of suffering.

There’s nothing wrong with the mind feels loved, blessed and happy when we are being with people whom we like and doing activities that we enjoy doing together. We should appreciate all the good condition, good people, good company, good relationship/friendship and meaningful life. But, a well-trained mind is free from loneliness, meaninglessness, missingness, unhappiness or longing for interaction, when it is not coming in contact with people, things and activities that it loves and enjoys.

If yoga practitioners want to know how much we have improved in the yoga practice, we can try practicing seclusion and solitude for a prolonged period of time, renouncing social activities and cutting off all sorts of communications with other people, especially family and friends whom we love very much, as well as refraining from worldly interactive activities that we enjoy doing on regular basis, for at least two to three years, or extended to five or six years. It’s normal that worldly minded people are strongly against and disagree with the practice of seclusion and solitude, and that’s their freedom of thinking and belief. Those who still have young children or old parents that they need to take care of, they are not ready to practice renunciation. They need to perform their worldly life duties. They can practice seclusion and solitude later.

When the mind is being isolated from people, things and activities that it likes and enjoys for a prolonged period of time, most minds would want to run back into our daily pleasure of being together and interacting with other people, family and friends who are like-minded, and whom we miss very much if we don’t see them or be with them for some time. These minds have not advanced in the path of yoga, even though they might have been doing some forms of yoga activities that they enjoy doing for years, and they have learned about the teachings of yoga, and they feel happy, meaningful, loved and blessed for having nice people around them and doing things that they enjoy doing regularly, but they have not yet apply the teachings of yoga into everyday life practically, if their minds depend on being with people whom they loved and doing things that they enjoy doing to feel happy, meaningful, loved and blessed. The mind that practices yoga, that is free, will still be happy as it is, even if there are unkind and disagreeable people around, and for some reasons, it is unable to do what it would like to do. This mind doesn’t need to feel loved or blessed or meaningful at all.

Yoga practitioners who think there’s no need to practice non-attachment, as they are very happy enjoying a good life and they are enjoying doing some forms of yoga activities regularly, they don’t have to practice seclusion and solitude. They can continue their everyday life the way that they like it to be.

Some think that they have given up worldly activities, enjoyments and community, but then they don’t realize that they have attached onto what they call ‘spiritual’ or ‘non-worldly’ activities or enjoyments or community. It’s still a form of attachment that will lead to suffering, whether it’s worldly attachment or non-worldly/spiritual attachment. In worldly life, the mind feels unhappy and meaningless when it doesn’t get to see or be with or interacting with people from its community, family and friends, and then in spiritual life, the mind feels unhappy or meaningless when it doesn’t get to see or be with or interacting with its spiritual community, family and friends.

Just like letting go an unhealthy lifestyle but then attaching onto a healthy lifestyle, is not the end of suffering. For many people, they don’t see or can’t understand that attachment towards a healthy lifestyle would also lead to suffering. But, when the healthy lifestyle that they love very much is inaccessible for some unforeseen circumstances, they will then understand. Just like people get very upset and frustrated when the good things that they love very much are being damaged or destroyed by some other people, or there’s obstacles that obstruct them from getting the good things that they love and want.

Yoga practitioners who think non-attachment is indeed a very important element in the path of yoga, but they think they don’t have attachment towards what they like to do and enjoy in everyday life, they can try to practice seclusion and solitude for a prolonged period of time, to see how much the mind has developed in non-attachment.

Unattached towards both worldly and non-worldly/spiritual activities, enjoyments and community.

If the mind is well-developed in non-attachment, this mind can live in the world as it is and appreciate all the good people, good company, good condition, good relationship/friendship and meaningful life, but it’s free from clinging and longing, and suffering. It’s unconditioned or undetermined by the impermanent qualities of name and form, whether it’s in the form of worldly or non-worldly/spirituality. When all these good and meaningful names and forms changed and disappeared or are unavailable, there’s no suffering.