Listen?

In the civilized cultured loving and caring society, people might take this word of ‘LISTEN’ to be “Someone or a voice needs to be heard or be listened, and people should being sympathetic in listening to someone else ‘agony’, or ‘difficulty’, or ‘misery’, or ‘unhappiness’, or ‘painful sorrow’, or ‘hurts’, or ‘broken heart’, or ‘suffering’, or ‘grumbling’, and etc.”

It’s normal for people to share each other’s life experiences, ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions, either we want to tell our stories or we want ourselves to be listened by others, as well as we want to be a listener to listen to other people’s stories, whether it’s something ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘happy’ or ‘unhappy’. People like to connect and stay connect with other people by chatting regularly or catching-up once in a while to show that they care. And it would be seen as abnormal or inhuman or cold, if one doesn’t involve with such human social activities. We will feel lonely, isolated, abandoned, helpless, unworthy, unloved, not good enough, unhappy, depressed, disappointed, frustrated, or meaningless, if we think there’s nobody there to listen to us, or nobody wants to share with us.

People would think that as human beings, people should be caring and sympathetic to be there for other people when people need someone to be there to listen to what is troubling them. Caring people like to ask other people whom they think they might be ‘disturbed’, or ‘troubled’, or ‘hurt’ by something, “Do you want to talk about what is troubling/disturbing/hurting you? I’m here to listen. Maybe I can help you.” It’s selfish, uncaring, unthinkable, uncompassionate, inhuman, or wrong, if we don’t ask about other people’s ‘problems’, or ‘unhappiness’, or ‘painful sorrow’, or ‘suffering’, and etc. Or it’s ‘bad’ or ‘unhealthy’ if one observes silence of thoughts, actions and speech.

No doubt that by expressing, or talking, or grumbling, or bitching about our ‘frustration’, ‘disappointment’, ‘dissatisfaction’, ‘troubles’, ‘problems’, ‘difficulties’, ‘misery’, ‘grief’, ‘hurts’, ‘painful sorrow’, ‘agony’, or ‘suffering’, and etc, to other people may or may not give certain degrees of momentary relief to the ‘suffering’ or ‘unhappy’ or ‘troubled’ minds, but it won’t help the minds to be free from what they think is their ‘suffering’ or ‘unhappiness’, even if the people who listen to them might try to give them some ‘advice’, or ‘guidance’, or ‘care’, or ‘comfort’ that they think might can relieve their ‘pain’ or ‘solve’ their problems.

Sometimes, talking or complaining about what we think is our ‘problem’ to some other people actually creates further complication to the existing ‘problem’ and could generate some other unnecessary ‘problems’ to ourselves and other people. The listener of other people’s problems becomes a ‘problem maker’ or has a ‘problem’ in the end. We asked for advice from others, and someone was being very kind to listen to us and give us some advice and we took the advice, but when things didn’t turn out to be the way that we expect it to be, we blamed other people for giving us their ‘bad advice’, or we blamed ourselves for trusting the wrong person and taking the ‘bad advice’. This is due to most minds are impure, are not free from egoistic selfish desires, attachment, expectation and incorrect thinking.

In the path of yoga and meditation, we are learning to be a listener. It’s not so much about listening to other people’s ‘problems’ or ‘unhappiness’ to ‘share’ their ‘problems’ or ‘pain’, to say ‘nice things’ to comfort them, or to give them ‘good advice’ with the intention to help ‘solving’ their ‘problems’ (which is nothing wrong, but none can share, or solve, or take away another person’s ignorance and suffering), but it’s to learn how to open and quiet the mind to listen to the Dharma in here and now, and allow other people to also learn to listen to the Dharma, to be free from the root cause of all ‘problems’ and ‘unhappiness’. There’s no ‘problems’ that need to be solved at all.

People think that the person who is ‘troubled’ or ‘hurt’ needs a listener to listen to their ‘pain’, and this person will have less pain or no more pain, but in yoga, this person needs to be the listener, to know what is really going on in its own mind.

If one truly is ‘disturbed’, or ‘troubled’, or ‘hurt’ by something and they think that they need some help or guidance, instead of looking forward to talk and share about what they think is disturbing, or troubling, or hurting them, to be listened by some other people, to have someone there to share their disturbed feelings and thoughts, to get love and support from other people to feel better about themselves, one should learn how to be in solitude and silence, quiet the restless mind and try to LISTEN to the DHARMA.

If one TRULY LISTENS to the DHARMA that is here and now, with an open and quiet mind, one will realize or see the truth of the real cause of all their misery, trouble, problem, unhappiness, grief, painful sorrow, agony, or suffering. One doesn’t need to talk or complain about anything or doesn’t need anyone to be there to share or listen to one’s ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’, as there is none.

Being yoga teachers teaching yoga and meditation to others, is about teaching and guiding them on how to see and listen to Dharma, or how to perform self-inquiry to attain self-realization to be free from the cause of suffering – ignorance, egoism and impurities. This is wisdom and compassion. Or else, talking and listening to each other among the teachers and the students can easily turn into a scene of ‘corruption’ and ‘complication’, especially if the minds are not yet free from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

For example: The teacher is being ‘loving’ and ‘caring’ to share and listen to the ‘troubled’, or ‘heart broken’ and ‘vulnerable’ student’s ‘problems’ and disturbed ‘feelings’ and ’emotions’, and this ‘troubled’ or ‘heart broken’ and ‘vulnerable’ student feels a lot of affection, love and care from the teacher, and unwittingly ‘fall in love’ with the teacher. Or, the student becomes sensitive and suspicious towards what the teacher says and does, as the student would feel ‘disturbed’, ‘betrayed’, or ‘attacked’, when the teacher talks about the similar issues in front of other students as part of the teachings in general, but the student might think that the teacher is talking about him or her personally, and is exposing his or her personal issues, feelings and emotions that he or she doesn’t want to be exposed to any other people.

In yoga, the teachers don’t really need to know what are the students’ personal issues that they think they have. It doesn’t mean that the teachers don’t care about other people’s suffering. It’s because all issues derived from the same root of ignorance, egoism and impurities. The teachers just need to guide the students on how to free their minds from the root cause of all ‘problems’ and ‘suffering’ – ignorance, egoism and impurities, and allow the students to work their own way in their own pace and effort towards self-realization and liberation, without the need to ‘know’ or ‘listen’ to each individual’s different types of ‘issues’ that are ‘troubling’, or ‘disturbing’, or ‘hurting’ them.

When we attend a silent meditation retreat, there’s no talking or discussion with another person or teacher about what we think is our ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’, all we do is quieting the restless mind to allow the mind to see the truth of things as it is. It’s about knowing one’s mind and realizing the truth of suffering and rooting out the root cause of suffering. The past and the future doesn’t exist. No matter all our experiences from the past to the present were/are good or not good, happy or unhappy, pleasant or painful, deserving or undeserving, the only reality is the present moment, and even this present moment is impermanent. It’s about letting go egoism of all forms of attachment, identification, clinging, craving, aversion, desires, judgment and expectation, and thus be free from all sorts of impurities, and hence be free from suffering.

If people think they have ‘issues’ that involve other people whether in a relationship, or in a family, or in the workplace, or in the community, people should try to talk directly to the person/people involved to find the best solution. By talking or bitching or complaining behind people’s back to a third party doesn’t help, even though one might get some sympathy, agreement and supports from the third party who doesn’t really know what is going on. People who are truly practicing yoga and meditation should stay away from such worldly activities.

We think and believe that “I have ‘serious’ problems in my life that are really difficult to deal with, that are more important than anything else. I deserve some sympathy and love and care and support from other people. If not, I’ll feel depressed and hopeless and I think I want to ‘hurt’ myself to end my suffering.” It’s the ego that thinks ‘my problems and suffering’ are bigger and more important than anyone else problems and suffering. If we practice yoga and meditation, we allow the mind to be opened and we will see that what we think is our ‘serious’ life problems are truly nothing being compared to many other people’s suffering in the world. We’ll start to let go what was troubling us that we thought we couldn’t let go before. And this is the beginning of compassion.

If people couldn’t understand this teaching, or if people don’t agree with this teaching, that’s their freedom of thinking and belief.

Practice yoga of self-inquiry and self-realization, and be free.

Wisdom vs intelligence and accumulated worldly knowledge

Wisdom reflects peace and freedom from suffering. Meanwhile intelligence and accumulated worldly knowledge in a person doesn’t necessarily guarantee that one will be peaceful or free from suffering.

One doesn’t need to know ‘the knowledge of how to build a house’ to have peace and be free from suffering. Knowing ‘the knowledge of how to build a house’ doesn’t guarantee that one will be peaceful and free from suffering. Though one can use ‘the knowledge of how to build a house’ to benefit oneself and others. Being a doctor with the knowledge of medicine and all kinds of illnesses, and using this knowledge to be doing something useful for one’s and others’ health condition also doesn’t guarantee that one will be peaceful and free from suffering. Being a psychologist with the knowledge of psychology and all kinds of psychological illnesses, and using this knowledge to benefit oneself and others also doesn’t guarantee that one will be peaceful and free from suffering.

Intelligence and accumulated worldly knowledge is neither good nor bad and it can be used for something good or bad, and it’s uncorrelated with peace and wisdom.

Wisdom is one with peace. They manifest in oneness.

When there’s peace, there’s wisdom. When there’s wisdom, there’s peace. And vice versa.

Whenever one finds ‘peace’ in any particular quality of name and form, or experience, or action and inaction, or the result of action and inaction, or object, or space, or place, or condition, or situation, then very soon this ‘peace’ will change and disappear.

It’s the same as compassion is uncorrelated with ‘love’ towards the world and the worldly names and forms.

People talk about ‘love the world’ and ‘love for peace in the world’. But without wisdom, this ‘love’ towards ‘love the world’ and ‘love for peace in the world’ is merely a form of attachment and affection (derived from ignorance and egoism) towards worldly names and forms that are impermanent. Out of ‘love’ towards the world and desiring ‘peace that we want’ in the world, people ‘desire’ to make the world to be the way that how we would love it to be, and would ‘destroy’ any ‘obstruction towards having the world to be the way that how we would love it to be’ at any cost. The by-products of this love towards ‘love for the world’ and ‘love for peace in the world’ is restlessness – a mixture of happiness/satisfaction/meaningfulness/peacefulness/victory (when the world and the worldly names and forms that one loves are the way that how one would love it to be) and unhappiness/dissatisfaction/meaninglessness/peacelessness/failure (when the world and the worldly names and forms that one loves are not the way that how one would love it to be).

Out of ‘love’ towards what we believe as ‘peacefulness’, ‘kindness’, ‘good’ and ‘right’, we ‘hate’ what we believe as ‘peacelessness’, ‘evilness’, ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’. ‘Hating’ what we believe as ‘peacelessness’, ‘evilness’, ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ is nothing to do with compassion. Compassion is not about ‘accepting’, ‘allowing’ and ‘supporting’ what we believe as ‘peacelessness’, ‘evilness’, ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ either. But, it’s freedom from the ‘suffering’ of ‘hatred’, ‘anger’, ‘dissatisfaction’, ‘disappointment’, ‘craving’, ‘aversion’, ‘hurt’, ‘regret’, ‘guilt’, ‘violence’, ‘ill-will’, ‘ill-thinking’, ‘animosity’, ‘offensiveness’, ‘defensiveness’, ‘obsessiveness’, ‘possessiveness’, ‘fear’ and ‘worry’, being undetermined or undisturbed by what we believe as ‘peacelessness’, ‘evilness’, ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’.

The wise abandon ‘love’ towards the world of worldly names and forms that are impermanent, but resting in unconditional peace of wisdom and compassion.

Be free.

People’s power?

People’s power is no doubt very powerful, of course. There’s no doubt that other than the greatest power of nature, it’s the people’s power that is so powerful and influential that it influences the condition or situation of the world, in a country, in a community, in a company, or in a family, through their thinking and behavior, making the world a better or worse place to be in. But what is influencing the people’s thinking and behavior is more powerful. And so, what happen if ignorance, egoism and impurities is the power that influencing many people in the world to think, behave, act and react?

Even those who think they are good people who want to be good, who do good actions and don’t do bad actions are not necessarily be free from the influence of ignorance and egoism and impurities. If the mind thinks and feels, “I am disturbed, disappointed, frustrated, threatened, depressed, angered or hurt by something that I think is bad, negative and wrong”, know that this is ignorance, though there’s nothing wrong with this reaction of thinking and feeling in such way reacting towards certain perceptions of names and forms that the mind believes as bad, negative and wrong. The power of ignorance is so great that the mind doesn’t even know it is under the influence of ignorance, thinking that it is wise or smart enough, or it is wiser or smarter than others. And the ego doesn’t like to hear or be pointed out that it is the product of ignorance, and would feel offended or humiliated or intimidated.

The wise won’t be disturbed nor determined by the ignorance of others of all sorts of ignorant thinking and behavior, or what the mind thinks and believes as bad, negative or wrong. If one will be disturbed and determined by the ignorance of others of their ignorant thinking and behavior, or what the mind thinks and believes as bad, negative and wrong, or be disturbed by the condition and situation of the world that is not how one would like it to be, then this mind is under the influence of ignorance.

One can choose not to be disturbed or determined by the ignorance of others of all sorts of ignorant thinking and behavior, or not.

The wise don’t have any intention to change the world. They allow everyone to be free from ignorance, or not, through everyone’s own interest and effort. If people are not interested in freeing their mind from ignorance, that’s their freedom.

Even the enlightened liberated beings can’t change the world or take away the ignorance in others or remove ignorance from the world. If not, the world is already be free from ignorant beings/thinking/behavior. One can only free one’s mind from ignorance through self-initiative, self-effort, self-discipline, self-inquiry and self-realization.

If there are people have the great ambition to be ‘superhero’ to change and save the world, that’s their freedom.

The YTTC or Yoga Teachers Training Courses is about being a platform for truth seekers who are interested in attaining liberation from ignorance and suffering to learn and practice yoga to become their own teacher to perform self-practice/Yoga Sadhana, to attain self-realization and independence, and when one is free from ignorance and suffering, the world will have less a being under the influence of ignorance. And one can share one’s self-realized knowledge of yoga with others, where yoga asana practice is one of the many practices to purify and quiet the mind to prepare the mind for meditation. But nowadays, many YTTC are not about developing serious self-practice or Yoga Sadhana to free oneself from ignorance and egoism, but, it’s mainly about to be equipped with some ‘teaching technical information’ for ‘teaching yoga (asana exercise) classes’ to most people who are not really interested in the elimination of egoism through the practice of silence, desireless, dispassion, self-discipline, self-inquiry and self-realization, but more interested in empowering egoism and gratifying their worldly passionate desires of craving and aversion especially towards enhancing physical health and fitness level, physical appearance and ability through performing the yoga asana exercises, while some others are interested towards developing mental psychic power for different reasons or intentions.

“I have been doing some yoga regularly for some time. Now, I want to learn and do more yoga. Can you teach me?”
“Really?”
“Yes! I am really interested to learn to do all the yoga poses that I am still not able to do. I also want to know what are the different muscles groups that we use in the different yoga poses and their specific benefits related to health and fitness. I hope to become a yoga teacher to teach yoga classes someday. I need to make my body healthier, fitter, stronger and more flexible so that I can do lots of the yoga poses to be qualified to join the yoga teacher training course. I also want to feel better about myself, because right now, I am not very happy with myself, my yoga practice, my physical appearance, my health and fitness level, my job, my life and my relationship. Many yoga teachers say yoga can gives us lots of benefits to improve health and fitness, and make us look good and feel good about ourselves, and become superhuman with superpower to do anything that we want to do with our body and mind. They say yoga can make our body stay young and strong, that we won’t get sick and we can defy aging. They say by doing yoga we can defy gravity and we can fly. And they say practice yoga can also have all our desires come true. I want a better life, a better body, a better relationship and a better job. I really want to learn and do yoga!”
“I can teach you yoga. But first, you will need to let go all these desires of what you want and don’t want.”
“This is not the yoga that I want to learn and do.”
“Be happy then.”

The function of memory and the existence of ‘I’

The existence of ‘I’ is very much influenced by the function of memory to remember all or some of the relationships and experiences with everyone and the objects of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, and the accumulated knowledge and skills through remembering all its learning and training from the past till the present, with all kinds of imagination, anticipation, speculation, projection and expectation, plus all the thought activities of pleasant and unpleasant reactions of feelings and emotions towards all the good and bad, desirable and undesirable experiences.

If the mind couldn’t remember certain experiences in the past, it won’t relate itself with those experiences and will have no identification with those experiences. At some points, the mind might confuse some wild imaginations and the dreams that it remembers as part of the life experiences that it thinks it experienced in life. Under the function of memory, most of the time, the mind doesn’t remember things exactly as they were. A lot of the details of the memories are doubtful and confused. And the ego attached onto these blurred memories of the past to be identifying as ‘I’, and judges itself and everyone and everything based on these memories.

If the function of memory doesn’t exist, or the mind couldn’t recall all that it perceived of what it saw/heard/smelled/tasted/felt/thought/knew/acknowledged/learned/experienced/practiced/acted/reacted/acquired/possessed, or what it liked and didn’t like towards all the perceived names and forms, there’s no remembrance of an existence or identification of ‘I’ and any relationships with anyone in the present. Whatever was being processed in the mind wasn’t being stored as a conscious memory to be recall into the present, though there will be subtle imprints of all the present reactions of craving and aversion towards all the perceptions of names and forms being stored in the subconscious mind where all these subtle imprints of craving and aversion would bubble up to the surface of the conscious mind during the deep mind purification process, when the mind stops reacting with craving and aversion towards all the perceptions in the present.

Without memory storage of what it perceives through the senses and what is being processed through the thinking faculty, the mind won’t remember a continuous/permanent identity that attached onto some qualities of names and forms that comes with certain accumulated knowledge, experiences and relationships with everyone to be identifying as “This is what I was/am from the past till now.” This mind won’t be influenced by any particular ethnic and social background, culture, knowledge, idea, practice, thinking, belief, or learning, to apply any judgment, comparison, or expectation that based on the memories of past experiences of accumulated knowledge, ideas, beliefs, actions and reactions towards all the mind perceptions of names and forms in this existence now, such like, “I had this before. This was good, I liked this. I want this again.” or “I had that before. That was bad, I didn’t like that. I don’t want that again.”

Even though there might be spontaneous reaction of craving or aversion towards the mind perception of names and forms in the present now, but then, the mind won’t be able to remember this experience and its reaction of craving and aversion towards this experience. All experiences will appear to be something new or unknown to it. The desire of craving and aversion on the conscious level are very much influenced by the memories of the past pleasant and unpleasant experiences. “I experienced this before or I know this, I remember either I had liked this and I want this again (craving), or I didn’t like this and I don’t want this again (aversion).” Meanwhile, the subtle desires of craving and aversion that continuously bubble up to the surface of the conscious mind which the memoryless mind doesn’t remember or doesn’t know what they are or where they come from, but somehow there are ceaseless reaction of craving and aversion towards all the names and forms being generated due to these subtle imprints of desires.

If the mind developed awareness towards the existence of these subtle desires of craving and aversion, without attachment towards these desires or identification with them, or it is uninfluenced by these existing subtle desires to generate more reactions of craving and aversion, this mind is free.

That’s why for those who take seriously in the path of yoga and meditation, the practice of renunciation and seclusion, reducing and restricting mind inputs of all sorts, or the contact with objects of names and forms, or social interactions and activities in the world, is a very important observation to minimize and restrict the accumulation of subtle imprints of under current desires even if the mind has no awareness or memories of all its reactions of craving and aversion towards all the perceptions of names and forms.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their worldly life existence of the impermanent and selfless body and mind.

For those who are absolutely okay with the impermanent and selfless function of the body and mind, who are free from clinging and craving towards good condition and free from aversion towards bad condition, and aren’t disturbed or determined by all kinds of suffering in the world of names and forms that derived from ignorance and egoism and impurities, they don’t need to practice yoga and meditation, as they are free as they are.

Be free.

Friendliness is about respecting everyone to be different from oneself, to be what they are, as they are

Friendliness doesn’t necessarily mean making social contacts or personal friendships and hanging out together, connecting, interacting and socializing with other like-minded people. It is about respecting everyone, whom we know or don’t know, to be different from oneself, to be what they are, as they are, being free from discrimination, judgment, expectation, superiority/inferiority and self-righteousness.

Those who are open-minded and free from egoism will not interfere with other people’s thinking and belief that are different from them, and won’t be disturbed or offended by other people’s thinking and belief that one doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, and have peace and harmony in oneself. And they allow other people to dislike or disagree with their thinking and belief, being undisturbed and not be offended or insulted by other people’s dislike and disagreement towards oneself. But not many are open-minded and egoless. Lots of conflict, argument and violence derived from closed-minded and egoistic mind reactions towards what the ego doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, being disturbed and offended by one’s dislike and disagreement towards other people’s thinking and belief that is different from oneself, or be disturbed and offended or insulted by other people’s dislikes and disagreements towards one’s thinking and belief which one thinks is right, or true, or superior.

Putting the blame onto other people’s thinking and belief and behavior that our minds think and believe as wrong and bad, that we don’t like and don’t agree with, for the peacelessness and disharmony in us, is ignorance. It’s how the ego reacts towards something that it doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, that causes the peacelessness and disharmony in the mind.

In yoga or Buddhism, friendliness is the ability to be able to be aware of all the different qualities of names and forms in different people or beings, and be able to respect everyone as they are, even though we might not like or agree with them of their thinking, their beliefs, or their behavior, without judgment or criticism, without trying to change or control those whom we dislike or disagree with to be what we would like them to be, or to be the way that we think they should be. Instead, we have self-awareness, self-discipline and self-control over our own thoughts, actions and speech, being free from discrimination or prejudice that based on our personal likes and dislikes or agreements and disagreements influenced by our own personal thinking and belief about what things are and how things should be like.

One can keep one’s personal thinking and belief as well as what one practices or doesn’t practice to oneself, and allows other people or beings to have their own thinking and belief, and what they practice or don’t practice that are different from oneself, without interfering with other people’s freedom of thinking, actions and speech, even if their thinking, actions and speech might cause disturbs or harmful damages to themselves and other beings. But, allowing everyone to develop self-awareness, self-discipline and self-control over their own thoughts, actions and speech via self-realization for the well-being of themselves and others.

The pride and arrogance towards ‘I’ am better and more superior than all the others is why the ego constantly judging and criticizing and interfering with other people or beings that one doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with. The thinking and belief of ‘I’ am good and right, ‘I’ want the world to be good and right, ‘I’ want other people to be good and right, ‘I’ should correct these people or beings whom ‘I’ think they are not good and wrong, whom I think their thinking and belief and behavior are inferior than mine, is merely coming from the ego, it’s not the teachings or the practice of yoga.

In yoga and Buddhism, if one truly wants to do good and be good and wants the world to be good, one focuses and works diligently on self-inquiry by taming and quieting one’s mind through self-discipline and self-control, to be determined to free one’s mind from ignorance and egoism, and allows everyone to be what they are, as they are, and allows the world to be what it is, as it is. If everyone knows this and frees their minds from ignorance and egoism, the world will be free from all kinds of discrimination, prejudice, hatred, jealousy, greed, possessiveness, fear, exploitation, conflict, war, or violence. All these affliction arise due to people want to interfere with other people’s thinking, belief and behavior that one doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with.

Find out what really happens when there is conflict or argument or unrest between two people? May it be between the parents and their children, the husband and the wife, two friends, two strangers, two neighbours, two religions, two communities, or two countries. It’s all deriving from ignorance and egoism and impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, possessiveness, exploitation, selfish desires and expectations, feelings of hurt and insult, pride and arrogance, offensiveness and defensiveness, or fear and worry. It’s not because one party is ‘good and right’ and the other party is ‘bad and wrong’. If either one party is truly ‘good and right’, there’s no conflict or argument at all. There will be peace and harmony in oneself even when the mind perceives and is aware of something is ‘not good or wrong’ based on the thinking and belief in one’s mind.

If people want to believe or disbelieve in God, that’s everyone’s freedom.

Be truly friendly. Only when one knows what is true friendliness, one will also know what is compassion. Or else, even though one talks about and promotes compassion, and wants to be compassionate, but one couldn’t be truly compassionate if one’s mind isn’t free from ignorance and egoism yet.

Be free.