Surrendering desires, intention, expectation

When someone wants to join a ‘yoga course’ or ‘yoga retreat’, it’s normal that there’s a desire, or intention, or expectation towards the experience or the fruit/result of such effort/action being performed.

It’s mostly about “What will ‘I’ get or be benefited from doing this?”

“I am here to learn something that will lead me to freedom and peace.”
“I am here to attain peace and happiness.”
“I am here to be free from unhappiness and suffering.”
“I am here to heal myself (my body, my mind and/or my soul.)”
“I am here to be unwind/relaxed to feel good/peaceful.”

And that is also the reason why people keep going for courses and retreats again and again, but the mind is still desiring/expecting to learn ‘something that will lead me to freedom and peace’, or to attain peace and happiness, or to be free from unhappiness and suffering, or to be healed, or to be unwind/relaxed to feel good/peaceful.

Contemplate on the teaching of “The mind and the body is not I. I am not the body and the mind.”

Contemplate on what is intentionlessness. Neither good intention to motivate good actions nor bad intention to motivate bad actions, but good actions are being performed while bad actions are being refrained.

Contemplate on what is “There’s no ‘I’ perform actions, or ‘I’ receive the fruit of actions.” even though there are ceaseless actions and the consequences of actions, or cause and effect arising and passing away being the by-products of the impermanent existence/life maintenance of the body and the restless egoistic mind.

It’s the body and the mind performing the practice, and the body and the mind will be receiving the fruit/effect of the practice. And the body and the mind is impermanent and selfless regardless of being in good or bad condition/state. It’s not ‘I’ am performing the practice and ‘I’ will be receiving the fruit/effect of the practice.

In many of the ‘yoga classes’, the ‘yoga teacher’ would ask the students to create a good/kind/positive/happy/meaningful ‘intention’ or ‘aspiration’ in their mind before and/or after the class to achieve something that they desire through their efforts of performing the practice or ritual. Such like, “I am awesome!”, “I am positive!”, “I am strong!”, “I am healthy!”, “I am good!”, “I am enough!”, “I am perfect!”, “I am happy!”, “I am compassionate!”, “I am love or I am loved!”, “I wish the world be good!”, “I wish my children good health!”, or “I wish everyone love, peace, joy and happiness!”

It’s all about ‘I’ and what ‘I’ desire to be/to have, or what ‘I’ desire other people/the world to be/to have. That’s why the mind doesn’t progress any further after many years of ‘practicing yoga’ because the mind is still holding on strongly onto the idea of ‘I’ as well as ‘intention’ or ‘expectation’ that is about gratifying the desire of craving and aversion, because that is what they have been learning/practicing for many years by attending ‘yoga classes’ regularly. There is something that they desire and something that they don’t desire that they hope to be gratified from performing some kinds of action, practice, or ritual. Hoping that everything will be good the way that they like it to be, that they think/believe it should be, and nothing bad.

There’s nothing wrong, and it’s very good to have good and positive thinking/thoughts than to have bad and negative thinking/thoughts, but it can become a great obstacle on the path of yoga. Even though the mind and the body is getting the momentary effects/benefits of performing the practice regularly, the mind is not free because the mind is still under the influence of ignorance and egoism.

Surrendering any desire/intention/expectation and all that is related to the idea of ‘I’ and ‘my’, just do the best while performing actions/practice and allowing the fruit of actions/practice to be what it is, is the teaching and practice of yoga. This is real ‘non-attachment’ or ‘renunciation’.

Some people said, “I don’t really know why I am here. I have no intention to be here. I don’t know what to expect. But somehow, I’m here.” And that ‘allows’ their minds to be open towards any possibilities, without being bound/limited by any particular desire, intention, expectation, aspiration, anticipation, imagination, or projection.

Once the mind realized selflessness/desireless/non-craving and non-aversion, there’s no need to repeatedly attending ‘yoga classes’, or ‘yoga courses’, or ‘yoga retreats’ with the intention/expectation to learn something that will lead one to freedom and peace, or to attain peace and happiness, or to be free from unhappiness and suffering, or to be healed, or to be unwind/relaxed to feel good/peaceful, because this mind is free and peaceful as it is.

There’s no “I need to learn something that will lead me to freedom and peace.”

There’s no “I need to attain peace and happiness.”

There’s no “I need to be free from unhappiness and suffering.”

There’s no “I need to heal myself (my body, my mind and/or my soul.)”

There’s no “I need to be unwind/relaxed to feel good/peaceful.”

Meanwhile, it’s not as easy as it says for the mind to be free from ignorance and egoism, or be free from disturbs or suffering, and hence, most minds still need to go to someone/somewhere to learn and practice yoga.

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Fine as it is

Most minds are being conditioned by the worldly thinking and belief about “One has to be happy in order to live life meaningfully, as well as one has to live life meaningfully in order to be happy.”

What is “live life meaningfully” and what the mind believes as “happiness” is different for different people.

Be free from the thinking and belief about one has to be happy to live life meaningfully, and vice versa, is a great liberation.

It’s okay that sometimes the mind is not okay, that the mind doesn’t feel happy in this present moment, or for some time. It’s impermanent, and it’s not ‘I’. It’s okay that sometimes the mind doesn’t feel living life meaningfully in this present moment, or for some time. It’s impermanent, and it’s not ‘I’. The mind doesn’t need to be happy or feel meaningful all the time.

People like to say “If there’s no happiness, life is meaningless.” and most people think and believe that happiness and meaningfulness is the presence of something good and positive and the absence of something bad and negative. Some people also say, “If there’s no good health, there’s no happiness.”

Many people relate “live life meaningfully” as being able to do what we like to do, go where we want to go, live where we want to live, have a healthy body, have a decent livelihood, live a good quality of life, have different varieties of social circles/networks, make a lot of friends, and either live a happy single life, or find a good life partner/spouse to set up a happy family.

People who have a difficult life condition, or have been experiencing ill-treatment from other people, or have to deal with physical injury or health problems, or suffer from physical or emotional damages due to other people’s ignorance and ignorant behavior, or couldn’t make a living due to bad economy or oppression, or under went a painful divorce or break-up, or would love to have a family, but for some reasons, they couldn’t have a family, it doesn’t mean that they can’t live life meaningfully or be happy, disregards all the ordeals or difficulties that they have to go through. All these undesirable experiences don’t give rise to suffering or the sense of meaninglessness to those who truly practice yoga and realize yoga. Only those who are not free from ignorance and egoism, who attached onto qualities of names and forms to be happy and feel meaningful, or not, will be determined by all kinds of desirable and undesirable life experiences to be who they are, to be happy and feel meaningful, or not.

In yoga, it’s about freeing the mind from this conditional thinking and belief about the achievement and possession of certain qualities of names and forms to be the reasons for one to be happy, or to deserve happiness and to live life meaningfully, or else, the absence of the achievement and possession of those qualities of names and forms will result in no reason for one to be happy, or to deserve happiness and to live life meaningfully.

One doesn’t need to be happy or feel happy all the time, in order to feel meaningful or to live life meaningfully. One doesn’t need to feel meaningful or to live life meaningfully, in order to be happy. One is peaceful and happy as one is.

Those who are free, they do their best to do what they like and want to do, and achieve what they want to achieve in this life existence, but they are not defined by what they like and want to do, or what they want to achieve, and whether they are able to do what they like and want to do, or achieve what they want to achieve, or not, in order to be happy, or to feel meaningful and to live life meaningfully, or not.

There’s nothing wrong that many people believe that all human beings need to have motivation and expectation to keep pushing themselves, to keep improving, to attain success or higher and higher success in life, as well as to have faith in their religion or ‘God’, then they deserve happiness or will be blessed with happiness and living life meaningfully. Or else, they believe that those who are contented with the present moment as it is, or don’t have any religion practice, or don’t believe in ‘God’, they don’t deserve happiness or will not be blessed with happiness or don’t live life meaningfully. But, that’s not the truth, because people can still be unhappy and suffering from all kinds of impurities in their own minds, if their minds are not free from ignorance and egoism, even if people attain success in life from time to time, or have a healthy body, or have a higher quality of life, or have a religion practice and believe in ‘God’. Their minds will still be disturbed by something that they don’t like, don’t want and don’t agree with. There’s no peace.

If ‘God’ exists, and if ‘God’ is almighty and all love, ‘God’ bless all and everyone and everything to be sharing this space of the universe, disregards human beings believing or disbelieving in ‘God’, including all those that are non-human beings, that don’t have any particular thinking and belief of a religion or ‘God’.

While yoga practice is to inquire the truth of everything that the mind comes in contact with (including the teachings of yoga), and be free from being conditioned or limited by all kinds of worldly thinking and belief, freeing the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, being free from attachment, identifications, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, being free from anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, guilt, regret, violence, ill-will, animosity, speculation, anticipation, agitation, depression, sorrow, defensiveness, offensiveness, loneliness, anxieties, longing, fear and worry, being free from the pleasant and unpleasant past experiences and future imaginations, living in the present from moment to moment, to realize unconditional peace and love that is beyond all the worldly objects of different qualities of names and forms about what is and what is not “happiness” and “live life meaningfully”.

One doesn’t need to keep pushing the body and mind to go beyond its limitation in order to attain success, or higher success, in order to be happy, or to live life meaningfully. One can be very successful in everything that one wants to achieve, but one is not defined by the success or the achievements to be ‘I’, to be happy or to live life meaningfully.

One doesn’t need to be someone that will make oneself and other people feel proud of, to be happy or to live life meaningfully.

One doesn’t need to be good enough according to the worldly thinking and belief about what is “good enough”, to be happy, or to deserve happiness and live life meaningfully.

It doesn’t mean that one stops performing actions, but one doesn’t need any motivation or expectation to motivate one to perform actions that are wholesome to oneself and others. Actions are being performed without the need of motivation or intention, without attachment, identification or expectation towards the actions and the fruit of actions.

It’s okay if people don’t like this yoga teaching and practice. That’s their freedom.

Be free.

Self-esteem and confidence

Any issues regarding self-esteem and confidence shouldn’t and doesn’t need to be existing at all. But due to ignorance and egoism, many people depend on self-esteem and confidence to be who they are, to be happy and feel meaningful, or not. Many people are suffering from mild to severe low self-esteem or low confidence that leads to the sense of meaninglessness and depression. Even many mental and psychological related studies and professionals also preach, think and believe that the development and empowerment of self-esteem and confidence is very important in life existence as human beings and it’s the key to personal and global growth, success and happiness.

Real confidence has nothing to do with self-esteem or confidence that builds on physical appearance, condition, ability and achievement, or mental state, ability and achievement, or desirable and undesirable life experiences, or good and bad relationships with parents, family, friends and the rest of the world. It is beyond all these names and forms, when the mind has gone beyond the identification of what the mind thinks is ‘I’ and ‘my’, where this identification of ‘I’ and ‘my’ with the different qualities of names and forms is just a by-product of the worldly thinking and belief, or family, cultural, social and religious belief.

It’s the ego that feels it has to be good enough for something, or for somebody, or for oneself. It also feels that it might be not good enough for something, or for somebody, or for oneself, based on what the thinking and belief recognize as ‘good’ and ‘good enough’, or what is ‘self-esteem and confidence’, ‘success’, ‘happiness’ and ‘meaningfulness’, and the relationship between them, where most people think and believe that ‘high self-esteem and confidence’ is related to ‘success’, and ‘success’ is related to ‘happiness’, while ‘happiness’ is related to ‘meaningfulness’. And many people are suffering because of this thinking and belief or trying to live up to this thinking and belief for their entire life, and passing this thinking and belief from generation to generation.

It’s the idea of ‘I’, or the ego, that needs to feel good about oneself, and wants other people to perceive oneself as good enough, and needs to attain or possess certain qualities of names and forms to be identifying with, that would make one feels good and proud of oneself and also would make other people feel good and proud of oneself, in order to be happy and live life meaningfully.

And all these qualities of names and forms are impermanent and there is no ‘I’ to be found in any of these names and forms, or to be in control of the impermanent changes, to be the way that ‘I’ like it to be. No matter how much influences we can influence the condition of the physical body and the state of the mind, to maintain the function and the life span of the body and the mind, the body and mind will still have to go through inevitable changes of decay, old age, discomfort, illness, weakness, ceased functioning, and decompose, or death.

Once the mind fully understood this, it will be free from the bondage of self-esteem and confidence. There’s no ‘I’ being good or not good enough. There’s neither high nor low self-esteem. There’s neither high nor low confidence.

One doesn’t need to be somebody with particular appearance, condition, ability or achievement, or have certain good and positive life experiences, or good relationships with anyone, in order to feel confident, happy, satisfied or meaningful.

One can have and appreciate all the attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship that is available in the present, but one doesn’t need other people’s attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship in order to feel confident, love, happy or meaningful. If all these qualities of names and forms are not available, one is still happy and peaceful as one is. One doesn’t feel lack of something or missing out anything, or one is not good enough to deserve love, happiness and meaningfulness.

And that’s real confidence. One doesn’t need to be confident or satisfied about oneself at all. One doesn’t need to feel proud of oneself, and doesn’t need other people to feel proud of oneself, to be ‘I’, or the good ‘I’, the successful ‘I’, the happy ‘I’, the meaningful ‘I’. One is happy and peaceful as one is, without any identification with any quality as ‘I’.

There is no thinking or identification of “I am a good and kind human being. I want to do good and be kind and be able to contribute towards humanity.” but goodness, kindness and contribution towards humanity are being manifested and performed through the body and mind out of wisdom and compassion.

If one doesn’t know this, one will always looking for or craving for attaining and possessing certain qualities of names and forms that one would like to relate oneself with, to be identifying with, to feel good and satisfied about oneself, to boost up one’s self-esteem and confidence to be who ‘I’ am, thinking that by attaining and possessing such qualities of names and forms will also make other people to give them the attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship that they want from other people, in order to be happy and feel meaningful. But then one is not free. And that’s one’s freedom of thinking and action.

Be free.

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.

Who is being unhappy and wants to be happy?

It’s the ego that is being unhappy and wants to be happy. Minds that are free from ignorance and egoism is peaceful and joyful as it is and don’t need to feel good and meaningful, or to be happy.

Most minds will try to do something that they like and enjoy, and to achieve something that they want to achieve, to feel good and happy and meaningful.

There’s also nothing wrong with people want to do good and be kind to others because it makes them feel good and happy, but, that’s not the teaching or practice of yoga.

Yoga practice is not about trying to do something to make the ego feels good and happy and meaningful (as this is empowering the ego and egoism) but, it’s to remove the root cause of unhappiness – ignorance and egoism. Once the root cause of unhappiness is eliminated, one will be happy as one is.

When the mind is free from egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, and expectation, one will be peaceful and happy as one is. One doesn’t need to do something, or not do something, to feel good and happy or meaningful. One doesn’t need to take intoxication/alcohol/drugs or to achieve certain results, social status and network, health condition, fitness level, body image, physical and mental ability and good relationships, to feel good and happy and meaningful. One doesn’t need other people’s love, acceptance, support, acknowledgment, recognition, friendliness and companionship, or any entertainment, enjoyment, achievement and success to be happy or feel good and meaningful.

The teaching and practice of yoga is to abandon all these egoism, one will be peaceful and happy as one is. One can perform good actions and be kind to others out of compassion, without selfish intention or expectation of “I am doing all these because I want to feel good and meaningful and be happy.”

Be free.