The mirror and the mind

The mirror is just what it is, having the function of reflecting all kinds of image of the objects of different names and forms in front of it.

The mirror is not being contaminated/influenced/changed by the presence of the reflection of all the different objects of names and forms being reflected on it. Neither is the mirror being contaminated/influenced/changed by the absence of the reflection of any particular object of names and forms that is not present.

The mirror doesn’t analyze/judge/compare the different objects of names and forms.

The mirror has no likes or dislikes, agreements or disagreements and desires of want and doesn’t want towards the objects of names and forms.

The mirror has no intention or expectation to be reflecting/not reflecting any particular object of names and forms.

The mirror doesn’t have desire/intention/aspiration/expectation to be good or bad, or to influence/change/control all the names and forms to be the way that ‘I’ want them to be, or the way that ‘I’ think and believe how they should be.

The mirror doesn’t interfere with/influence/change the objects of names and forms being what they are, as they are.

The mirror doesn’t ‘hold on’, or ‘cling onto’, or ‘possess’, or ‘identifying with’ any particular reflection/image of the different objects of names and forms being reflected on it.

The mirror doesn’t enjoy or suffer and doesn’t become good or bad, positive or negative, happy or unhappy, meaningful or meaningless, useful or useless, regardless of the presence or absence of any kind of objects of names and forms being reflected/not being reflected on it.

As the mirror is selfless/egoless/’I’less/intentionless/desireless. It doesn’t has a self-identity, or self-image, or intentional duty/action of “I am a ‘beautiful’ and ‘useful’ mirror being here to ‘reflect’ the image of names and forms.”

Although the reflections/images of the objects of names and forms might be distorted/contorted/corrupted/blurred by some cracks/dirt/dust/stains/movements of the cracked/dirty/dusty/stained/non-stilled mirror, but the mirror is neither enjoying nor suffering, neither it’s being pleased or displeased by the crack/dirt/dust/stain/movements on it or the distorted/contorted/corrupted/blurred reflections/images being reflected on it. Neither will the selfless/egoless/’I’less objects of names and forms are being changed/influenced/contaminated by their distorted/contorted/corrupted/blurred reflections/images being reflected on the cracked/dirty/dusty/stained/non-stilled mirror.

The mind that is void of ignorance and egoism, is not different from the mirror, reflecting all kinds of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, selflessly/intentionlessly/desirelessly, being undetermined/uncontaminated/uninfluenced/unchanged/undisturbed by the presence or absence of all kinds of names and forms, of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts/thinking/belief/knowledge, all kinds of action/reaction, behavior, relationship, way of life, condition and situation, and all the impermanent changes of all and everything.

The selfless/egoless/’I’less mind is not being determined/contaminated/influenced/changed/disturbed/enjoyed or suffered/pleased or displeased by the presence or absence of any impurity.

Neither is the selfless/egoless/’I’less mind and the selfless objects of different names and forms being determined/contaminated/influenced/changed/disturbed/enjoyed or suffered/pleased or displeased by the distorted/contorted/corrupted/blurred/incorrect/false thinking or understanding towards the names and forms being perceived under the presence of impurities, or the truth of things as it is when the names and forms are being perceived under the absence of impurities, or the impermanent changes of all the names and forms.

The perception of the ‘existence’/’presence’/’experience’ of all kinds of goodness and badness, rightfulness and wrongfulness, positiveness and negativeness, fullness and emptiness, happiness and unhappiness, meaningfulness and meaninglessness, loved and unloved, deserving and undeserving, enjoyments and suffering is merely the mind is being ignorant towards ignorance, being limited by the particular passionate worldly egoistic thinking and belief to analyze, judge, compare, expect, desire, feel, aspire, inspire, act and react, enjoy and suffer, ceaselessly.

The ignorant egoistic minds argue – “We are living beings with a soul, thinking, passion, feelings and emotions. We are not a thing like the mirror that has no soul, thinking, passion, feelings and emotions.” If so, it shows that it’s the existence of a soul, thinking, passion, feelings and emotions are the ‘culprit’ of all kinds of disturbs, evilness, wrongfulness, hurtfulness, dramas, discrimination, anger, hatred, violence, conflicts, afflictions, miseries, or suffering.

After all, the mirror is not ‘the mirror’ and the mind is not ‘the mind’. They are just what they are.

Be free.

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Selfless actions influence others without the intention to change or control others

Selfless actions could influence others as well as the condition or situation in the world, but without the egoistic intention to change or control others and the condition or situation in the world to be the way that the egoistic minds would like it to be, or think and believe how it should be.

There’s no disappointment, frustration, anger, hatred, or depression when things are not ‘being’ or ‘changing’ to be the way that the egoistic minds would like it to be, if actions that could influence others and the condition or situation in the world are being performed out of selflessness and compassion, selflessly and intentionlessly, without ‘good intention’ to be performing ‘good actions’ that the egoistic minds ‘desire’ or ‘hope’ to ‘change’ others and the condition or situation in the world to be ‘good’ the way that the minds think and believe what is good.

Similarly, most of the time, when ‘good minds’ have ‘good intention’ to tell the truth of ‘something not good’ about somebody or some organization might provoke the dissatisfaction, frustration, anger and hatred in the egoistic minds where their desires or agendas are being affected directly or indirectly by ‘the intentional good action’ of ‘telling the truth of something not good’.

Just look at our everyday life interaction with people around us, especially those whom we know. When we see someone whom we know does something that we think is wrong out of ignorance, we might have ‘good intention’ to tell the truth of ‘someone is doing something wrong out of ignorance’ and the consequence of that is usually very ‘unpleasant’ as either the person might react with feelings of hurt, shame, guilt, regret or self-blame towards oneself if this person suffers from low self-esteem, depression or over sensitive, or this person might react with feelings of being insulted, humiliated, belittled, intimidated, anger and hatred, if this person suffers from pride and arrogance. Unless the minds are free from ignorance and egoism, and be able to see, or hear, or coming in contact with the truth and allowing the truth to be what it is, but if people would do something wrong/bad out of ignorance it also means that they are not free from ignorance. And the minds that are not free from ignorance don’t have the ‘understanding’ and ‘ability’ to deal with ‘the truth’ openly and peacefully.

Most of the time, ‘the truth of something not nice’ told by others appears to be something hard, or harsh, or cruel, or dislikable, or disagreeable, or offensive, or hurtful, or insulting, or humiliating, or inappreciative, or ungrateful, or unsupportive, or negative, or unloving, or unkind to the egoistic minds, including knowledgeable and intelligent minds. Most egoistic prideful minds prefer to hear ‘nice things’ or ‘kind words’ about themselves. Many people say, “Don’t say anything ‘not nice’.”

And hence, ‘the truth’ must be self-aware or self-realized.

More importantly, the truth is just what it is. It’s neither positive nor negative, neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad, neither nice nor not nice. But impure egoistic minds that are functioning under the influence of duality interpret everything as positive and negative, right and wrong, good and bad, nice and not nice, and react spontaneously and emotionally influenced by the likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements coming from the egoistic mind based on the thinking and believe in the mind to judge and react towards all the perceived names and forms or experiences, to feel pleased or displeased.

That’s why the relation between ‘the truth’ and ‘silence’. And hence, the practice of ‘silence’ is very important and relevant in the path of yoga and Buddhism of self-inquiry and self-realization of the truth to attain liberation from ignorance and suffering.

This ‘silence’ doesn’t mean intentionally not seeing, not hearing, not smelling, not tasting, not feeling/sensing or not thinking ‘something that the mind thinks and believes as bad/wrong/negative/not nice’, or not performing any necessary actions. This ‘silence’ also doesn’t mean intentionally denying ‘the truth of something’.

Without any of the senses functioning, or without the idea of denying ‘the truth of something’, or being unable/unwilling to perform any physical or verbal actions doesn’t mean that the mind is free from the suffering of ignorance, egoism, restlessness and impurities. But, there’s no ego or ‘I’ being there to ceaselessly act and react out of ‘intention’ or ‘aspiration’ to change or control others or the world to be in certain ways, to be attaining or not attaining ‘certain qualities of names and forms’ that the ego desires or doesn’t desire to be identifying with or to be possessing when there is an ego, or the idea of ‘I’, existing and identifying with the modification of the mind, attaching onto and identifying with the actions and the fruit of actions (being passionate towards one’s actions and there’s attachment, identification and expectation towards the fruit of one’s actions.)

Be free from the idea or thinking of “I want others and the world to be like this and I don’t want others and the world to be like that.”

The importance of restricting worldly physical and mental activities

All kinds of yoga practice serve the purpose of changing the restless habits of the egoistic mind to render the mind calm and quiet to prepare the mind for meditation by weakening egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, and eventually annihilate egoism completely, rendering the mind pure and quiet being free from impurities and restlessness to see the truth as it is.

One of the important practice to change the restless habits of the mind to render the mind pure and quiet is by restricting the worldly physical and mental activities, even though it doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free from ignorance and suffering, if the mind doesn’t know how to be free from egoism. Such as full body paralysis or unconsciousness doesn’t mean that the mind is free from ignorance and suffering.

Some yoga practitioners think that they don’t need to restrict the worldly physical and mental activities to silent the thought activities, as they believe that all their worldly physical and mental activities are good and righteous actions derived from good and righteous intention, and all these good and righteous actions will be transformed into virtues and merits that will only bring good karma in return and there won’t be any bad karma in the making, that all their life experiences will only be good, joyful, pleasant, desirable and enjoyable, and void of all kinds of suffering.

Some young, fit and healthy ‘yoga teachers’ even proclaim that by practicing yoga, their physical body can defy old age, decay, or illness. The physical body of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and many enlightened Gurus in the past also had to go through the inevitable truth of impermanence and selflessness of decay, illness, old age and death/decomposition, even though the mind had attained liberation from the suffering of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness.

One of the common reason for many yoga practitioners who ignore the importance of silencing the thought activities is, they (the ever restless mind) don’t like/want to be quiet, but instead, they want actions/stimulation endlessly. Not just that they aren’t interested in silencing the thought activities, but they enjoy or indulge in the restlessness of ceaseless worldly physical and mental activities. Restricting the mind from the worldly physical and mental activities appears to be meaningless, boring and suffering for the minds that enjoy ceaseless actions/stimulation all the time. After sitting quietly for a few minutes, the restless minds will start to be agitated and want to be in action as soon as possible, eagerly want to see, hear, talk, imagine, move, express, play, or interact. And that is the normal behavior of the untrained minds. Without judgment or expectation, don’t give up and keep practicing until the mind is resting in the silence of thought, action and speech.

Many would justify that by performing the yoga asana practice that they enjoy doing regularly is indeed a form of meditation in action, and their body and mind would feel good each time after the yoga asana practice, that makes them think that they have already reached the goal of yoga. That’s their freedom of thinking and action.

In the beginning of the process of purifying the mind, the mind can’t avoid needing some kind of stimulation to keep the mind busy. And hence, the yoga practice at this stage is to replace unwholesome activities with wholesome activities to keep the mind busy as well as improving the mind concentration, such as performing karma yoga, chanting and prayer, or pranayama and asana practice. These activities might generate momentary effects of calming the mind, but it doesn’t free the mind from restlessness completely. As there are those who are ‘addicted’ towards performing karma yoga, chanting and prayer, pranayama and asana practice, where the mind will be agitated or frustrated, or feel meaninglessness when it can’t perform karma yoga, chanting and prayer, pranayama and asana practice over a period of time. Though there’s nothing bad with that, but the mind is not free. Eventually, the mind needs to learn how to breakaway from the clinging/addiction towards both wholesome and unwholesome stimulation to keep busy, to learn to be at ease in silence. This doesn’t mean that one is discouraged from performing wholesome activities, but the mind is free from clinging/addiction onto performing actions to keep the mind busy with some kind of activities to avoid dullness, boredom, loneliness or the sense of meaninglessness. The mind is free as it is.

Make use of the yoga practice as a tool to render the mind pure and quiet to prepare the mind for meditation, but without attachment or addiction towards the yoga practice or the momentary effects deriving from the yoga practice.

Those who truly want to conquer the restless egoistic impure mind to free the mind from the root cause of suffering (renouncing both good and bad karma that give rise to ceaseless births and deaths of life existence of the impermanent and selfless body and mind), they understand that all goodness, pleasantness and enjoyment in this worldly life of names and forms are impermanent and selfless, including the momentary pleasant effects deriving from performing the yoga practice, and hence they are aware of the importance of attaining liberation from the suffering of ceaseless births and deaths of the impermanent and selfless body and mind, and so, they would take all the practice of silencing the thought activities seriously.

Being aware of the preciousness of the fleeting impermanent and selfless life existence of this body and mind to attain liberation from suffering, they renounce both good and bad karma to transcend ceaseless births and deaths, by realizing the essence of inaction in all actions from the realization of selflessness, non-separateness, oneness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness and intentionlessness.

Those who love their worldly life existence with all the physical and mental worldly activities that they enjoy very much, will stop at the intention of performing good actions that bring good karma/consequences in return, and won’t be interested in silencing the thought activities or the modification of the mind, to transcend the restless and ceaseless births and deaths of the impermanent and selfless existence and function of the body and mind. And that’s their freedom.

Expectation

Though it’s just a simple word, ‘expectation’ is one of the greatest influence in the human minds towards almost all and everything in the impermanent and selfless life existence. It gives motivation, hope and the sense of achievement and meaningfulness to many people.

Expectation from oneself towards oneself, towards the physical and mental ability or achievement, one’s effort and the outcome of one’s effort, and all kinds of relationship/connection with different beings and things.

Expectation from oneself towards other people, the society, the environment, or the world, to be the way that how one would like it to be, that one thinks and believes how it should be, and not to be the way that one thinks it shouldn’t be.

One might also being bound/determined by expectation from other people/the society towards oneself and unwittingly want to meet up with the expectation from other people/the society towards oneself, in order to earn liking, love, attention, respect, praise, compliment, agreement, acknowledgement, support, friendship, companionship, and etc, from other people/the society.

To many people, ‘expectation’ is a positive necessity or important motivation for making progress/improvement or to excel in the life of human beings. People think and believe that human beings need to have certain degrees of expectation from oneself and/or others to push oneself and/or other people around to progress, improve or excel in everything of life, throughout the different life stages of childhood, adulthood, parenthood, middle age, old age, education, learning, building social network, friendships, relationships, career, family, or contribution towards the society, the world, or life existence, and so on.

To those who see the truth of the mind perception of a worldly life existence that is impermanent and selfless, ‘expectation’ is unnecessary when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, as ‘expectation’ is merely part of the egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and comparison that relates to restlessness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, frustration, anger, hurt, greed, fear and worry, which leads to the accumulation of physical and mental tension that gives rise to tension/stress related physical and mental illness, abusive behavior towards oneself and others, family and relationships problems, social problems, and etc.

Those who have some basic correct understanding towards life existence that is impermanent and selfless, who know the ability and limitation of their body and mind, who are endowed with dispassion, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving/aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and intentionlessness, being unattached towards the actions and the fruit of actions, they don’t need any ‘expectation’ from oneself and/or others to motivate or push them to perform necessary and wholesome actions, to do good or improve.

They don’t have expectation towards other people, life, the society, or the world, ‘hoping’ or ‘expecting’ that everyone and everything to be in certain ways, but they just do their best according to the ability and limitation of the body and mind, make use of the available knowledge, skill and opportunity to perform necessary and wholesome actions through the body and mind for the well-being of oneself and/or others, but they allow the result of their actions or efforts to be there as it is, being undetermined by their actions/efforts or the fruit of their actions/efforts.

In the worldly egoistic thinking and behavior pattern, there is intention to inspire or motivate one to perform actions, then expectation towards the fruit of actions comes along. If the mind can realize the truth and be free from this worldly egoistic thinking and behavior pattern, that’s a great liberation, even though the life existence of the body and mind is still bound by the law of nature – Cause and effect, impermanence and selflessness. If the mind doesn’t realize this and is determined by this worldly egoistic thinking and behavior pattern, then one is not free, even though one can attain all the relationships and things that one would like to have in life, as one will always be disturbed/dissatisfied/disappointed by something that is not the way that how one thinks it should be, that one doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with.

Ask ourselves honestly about what is the motivation/intention that makes us think and feel that we need to have ‘something’ or ‘someone’. And once we have that ‘something’ or ‘someone’, naturally we have expectation towards that ‘something’ or ‘someone’ to ‘deliver’ what we expect to be ‘getting’, to ‘fulfill’ or ‘gratify’ the motivation/intention/reason/desire of why we need or want to have that ‘something’ or ‘someone’. What are we so afraid of if we don’t have that ‘something’ or ‘someone’ being there existing in our life, or if we lose that ‘something’ or ‘someone’?

“Do good, because it makes you feel good and happy.”
“Give, and you will receive more in return.”
“Do good, and goodness will return to you.”
“Be nice to other people, other people will be nice to you too.”
“I did this for you/I gave you this/I helped you, you should be grateful and thankful.”
“I help you, you help me too.”
“Be generous and help other people, and people will return your generosity and help.”
“Pray to God, and God will bless you with what you desire.”

Why not just be kind, be friendly, be generous, be helpful and be supportive, or just pray to God, without any intention/motivation/expectation?

Those who know, they will be kind/friendly/helpful/supportive towards all and everything according to one’s ability, without discrimination of ‘friends’ or ‘not friends’, and there’s no motivation/intention/expectation to be receiving something desirable/help/support/kindness/goodness/friendliness/friendships in return for being kind/friendly/helpful/supportive.

Those who don’t know, there is fear. Fear of not getting what they want and fear of losing what they want or getting what they don’t want. Fear of the unknown, nothingness, hardship, difficulty, boredom, loneliness, meaninglessness, helplessness, unloved, left-out, companionless, non-acknowledgement, and so on. There’s is this idea or thinking – “I deserve this and that in return for my efforts/kindness/helpfulness/friendliness/generosity/contribution.”

“I want to be good enough for myself and other people. I want to be able to accept myself being the way that I want myself to be, and I want other people to accept me being the way that they want me to be.” But why do we think that we need to be good enough/be in certain ways in order to be accepted by ourselves, or other people, or the society, or the world? We don’t have to.

Those who know the truth, who realized unconditional love and peace, being free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, or being free from attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, longing, judgment, comparison, expectation, boredom, loneliness, meaninglessness, depression, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness or suffering, they don’t need to do something, or be someone, or have something, to make them feel good, happy, confident, meaningful, thankful or grateful. All their actions are pure actions being performed out of compassion and selflessness.

Be free.

The difference between non-attachment and positive thinking

It’s good and helpful to develop positive thinking especially when the mind is being influenced by negative thinking that generates unnecessary tension, fear, worry or unhappiness in the mind and further projecting all these impurities through speech and action into the environment in the relationships with others in everyday life.

Positive thinking is part of the many yoga practice, but it’s not the goal or the end of yoga practice, as the mind is still not free from attachment and identification towards names and forms that the mind perceives as positive and negative, and there is craving and clinging towards what the mind perceives as positive, and there’s aversion towards what the mind perceives as negative. The mind is not free from desire, duality and separateness. There’s desire of craving or longing for positiveness or goodness and there’s clinging onto positiveness or goodness with intention or expectation to control the reality to be the way that the mind thinks it should be and likes it to be.

There’s nothing wrong with “Think positively and optimistically, and everything will be good in your life and you can achieve anything that you want.” especially for the minds that are easily be disturbed or determined by names and forms that the worldly thinking and belief categorized as bad, negative, unhappiness and wrong. Just that the mind is not free from desires, even though the mind would feel happy and satisfied when the desires are being gratified, and its impermanent. Then pride might arise in this mind, “I am superhuman. I have superpower. I can control everything to be the way that I like it to be.” This mind is not free. And it’s okay, if that is what the mind wants. It’s everyone’s freedom for how the mind thinks and what it wants.

The mind that is free, is undetermined by gratifying desires of likes and dislikes, wants and don’t wants, to be happy, confident, meaningful or peaceful. It is peaceful as it is, undetermined by the world or the worldly thinking and belief, ideas and values, good and bad condition and situation.

Non-attachment is nothing to do with positive thinking. The mind that knows non-attachment doesn’t need to think positively. The thinking is just what it is. It is neither positive nor negative.

It’s about unattached towards what the intellect recognizes as positive or negative, good or bad, happiness and unhappiness, right and wrong. Undisturbed or undetermined by all the perceptions of name and form that are pleasant or unpleasant. Without attachment or identification towards the different states of the mind or the mind activities. Without intention or expectation towards the perceived reality to control the reality to be the way that the mind likes it to be. Allowing the reality to be what it is, and allowing the reality to change as it is.

The mind is free from being determined by coming in contact with positiveness and goodness and not coming in contact with negativeness and badness, to be peaceful. The mind is peaceful as it is.

The mind is free from desire, duality and separateness. Knowing that the quality of positiveness and negativeness are both impermanent. But, beyond positiveness and negativeness, is unconditional peace, that is undetermined by the qualities of name and form that the mind perceives through the senses, whether it’s positive or negative elements, good or bad condition and situation, and desirable/pleasant or undesirable/unpleasant life experiences.

If the reality is nice and pleasant, let it be. It will change, and allow it to change, without intention or expectation to control the reality not to be bad and negative.
If the reality is not nice and unpleasant, let it be. It will change, and allow it to change, without intention or expectation to control the reality to be all good and positive.

There are actions being performed out of compassion in everyday life, but there’s no attachment, identification, desires, intention or expectation towards the action and the fruit of action. There are beneficial actions being performed but there’s no intention or expectation that the fruit of actions will be all good and positive, or nothing bad and negative. Allowing the fruit of action to be what it is.

There’s no identification with all the impermanent changes of names and forms to be existing as ‘I’.

Life might be good and easy, enjoy and appreciate without attachment. It’s impermanent, and it doesn’t matter.
Life might be not so good and full of difficulties, but it’s okay. It’s impermanent, and it doesn’t matter.

Be free.