Looking after one’s mind living in the present embracing silence

In the path of yoga, looking after one’s mind, through observing maximum silence and seclusion, renouncing ‘worldly connections/relationships’, retreating from ‘worldly affairs/activities’, to be focusing on freeing one’s mind from ignorance, egoism, restlessness and impurities of pride, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, regret, guilt, desire, longing, craving, offensiveness, defensiveness, intimidation, hostility, agitation, depression, bitterness, misery, fear and worry, to be developing and maintaining the sanity, clarity and serenity of the thinking faculty, living in the present as it is, being at peace unconditionally, undetermined/undisturbed by the impermanent and selfless quality of names and forms, without violating/interfering/intruding all the different people/communities with different kinds of thinking/belief/disbelief/ideas/values/practice/way of life/behavior/action and reaction, without claiming ownership towards the world expecting ‘my world’ or ‘our world’ has to be in certain ways that the mind would like it to be, or the way that the mind thinks and believes how it should be, is the greatest form of selfless/unconditional love towards ‘the world’.

Many people including ‘yoga enthusiasts’ might disagree with this, where they perceive ‘silence’/’renunciation’/’non-association’/’dispassion’ as a form of ‘selfishness’/’irresponsibility’/’wrongfulness’, as they believe everyone’s duty of humanity is to be actively/passionately engaging in the worldly/social affairs/activities performing actions to ‘create’ a world/society the way that they like/desire/aspire, to ‘make’/’control’/’influence’ the world/society to be the way that they think how it should be, to be all ‘good’ and ‘right’ according to what they think and believe is ‘good’ and ‘right’, to be empowering/protecting/propagating their own particular ideas/visions/values, while either intentionally or unintentionally, condemning/interfering/intruding/oppressing/intimidating/eliminating/fighting/declaring war against others who are different from them, who don’t embrace the similar ideas/visions/values, who might be obstructing ‘my desire/aspiration towards ‘having’ a world that I think how it should be’. And that’s their freedom of thinking, action and reaction.

Looking after one’s mind embracing silence being at peace unconditionally free from ignorance, egoism, restlessness and all kinds of impurity, it’s the purest selfless/intentionless form of ‘karma yoga’ contributing to the society, even without much contact/involvement/association with the society and allowing the society being what it is.

Actions that arise/come from intention/desire/aspiration to ‘influence’/’change’/’control’/’create’ a world/society to be the way that ‘I’ desire it to be, that ‘I’ think and believe how it should be, are nothing to do with ‘karma yoga’, even if it’s out of what the mind thinks and believes as ‘good’ and ‘rightful’ intention/aspiration.

All and everything being here forming ‘the world’ being what it is, where the mind perceives ‘a world of names and forms through the senses’, but the world doesn’t belong to anyone or the mind. Once the mind generates attachment and claims possession/ownership towards the world, taking the perception of a worldly existence/manifestation of impermanent and selfless names and forms as ‘my world’ or ‘our world’, there will be intention/desire/expectation/aspiration/protectiveness to ‘make’/’influence’/’control’/’limit’ the world to be the way that the mind would like it to be, or the way that the mind thinks and believes how it should be, which unwittingly lead to the existence of all kinds of discrimination, interference, intrusion, intimidation, oppression, clash, conflict, violence, and etc.

Once the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, transcending all the different qualities of names and forms, being unattached towards or undetermined by ‘goodness’ and ‘badness’, ‘rightfulness’ and ‘wrongfulness’, ‘positiveness’ and ‘negativeness’, ‘meaningfulness’ and ‘meaninglessness’, this mind could be performing selfless/intentionless ‘actions’ in the world that promote peace and harmony effectively among the different names and forms, while allowing the world to be what it is, being impermanent and selfless, without possessiveness towards the world, without expectation/aspiration towards the world has to be in certain ways that ‘I’ like/desire/aspire, that ‘I’ think and believe how it should be, is truly ‘loving’ the world.

Peace manifest as it is when the mind transcends ‘goodness’ and ‘badness’, ‘rightfulness’ and ‘wrongfulness’, ‘positiveness’ and ‘negativeness’, ‘meaningfulness’ and ‘meaninglessness’, ‘action’ and ‘inaction’. But for that to happen, the mind needs to know how to look after itself that would free the mind from ignorance, egoism, restlessness and all kinds of impurity. Or else, the mind thinks and believes that everyone needs to perform actions to achieve ‘goodness’, ‘rightfulness’, ‘positiveness’ and ‘meaningfulness’ and getting rid of ‘badness’, ‘wrongfulness’, ‘negativeness’ and ‘meaninglessness’, in order to have peace and harmony in the world/society.

Beware of the hidden/subtle ‘ambition’/’desire’/’aspiration’/’intention’ that feed ignorance and egoism, that pulls the mind further away from yoga, while thinking and believing that “I am a good yogi performing lots of karma yoga to help the world to be a better place.”

Look into the world, where most countries need to have ‘authority’ and ‘law enforcement’ to ‘control’ the society to behave and not behaving in certain ways, to ‘create’ a world/society that conform to certain ideas/values/visions/beliefs/practice. Peace cannot be achieved by ‘controlling’ people to behave and not behaving in certain ways, or to think and not thinking in certain ways.

Peace is there as it is, when everyone has self-control out of own free-will, minding their own mind and have peace in themselves, without interference/intimidation/intrusion towards others who are being different from one another, and there’s no need the existence of ‘authority’ or ‘law enforcement’ to ‘control’ people should and shouldn’t behave or think in certain ways, that leads to further ignorant actions and reactions, violence, unrest and disharmony.

Be free.

Learn to be alone and independent

If one wants to practice yoga and meditation, one needs to learn to be alone and independent, as well as allow others to also learn to be alone and independent, learning to look after oneself.

Somehow quite many people think and believe that ‘aloneness’ of solitude and seclusion is something ‘wrong’ and ‘selfish’. Many people, including health professionals and yoga teachers, would think and believe that it’s ‘abnormal’ and ‘unhealthy’ for the body and the mind if someone is being ‘isolated’ from other human beings for a prolonged period of time, that people would get sick and die due to loneliness and without any ‘physical touch/contact’ or ‘mental connection/interaction’ with other human beings. So they believe, and so they become. It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to think and believe.

For yoga practitioners, one must inquire the truth of everything. Do not blind-agreeing, blind-believing, blind-following, or blind-sharing any information of anything coming from anyone or any source.

Look into the history, of those who had been observing serious prolonged solitude and seclusion, voluntary being isolated from other human beings in the society to cut-off social activities, communication and interaction, to minimize mind inputs of worldly ideas, habits, thinking and belief, to quiet the restless modification of the mind, they were able to conquer their minds and attained the knowledge that liberates the mind from ignorance and suffering. These liberated minds were no longer be influenced or determined by all the others in the society of all kinds of thinking and belief and behavior.

Yoga practitioners who truly want to be free from ignorance and suffering, must inquire the truth of all those worldly thinking and belief coming from someone and somewhere, while letting go the worldly habit of minding other people’s worldly affair, allowing others to learn to be independent to look after their own minds, or not.

No doubt that all living beings must depend on nature to provide the source of energy in the form of food, water and air for survival, and human beings living in the modern society are limited by necessary dependence on some others for certain things. Such as those who don’t farm or cook, will have to depend on those who involve in farming, transporting, food processing, handling and cooking, to allow food to be available to them. Or, people who don’t know how to build a house need to depend on house builders to build houses for them. Or, babies, toddlers and young children need the attentive care and guidance from others who are physically/mentally/emotionally matured. Or, those who have physical or mental limitation or illness, also need to depend on other people to look after their everyday living and to rehabilitate. Or, most people depend on clean treated running water, gas and electricity supply to their home for modern living convenience. Or people who are critically sick need to depend on health professionals who have the knowledge of medicines and treatments for all kinds of critical illness, and depending on the availability of the medicines or treatments to counter that particular illness.

Otherwise, most people could be physically, mentally and emotionally independent most of the time for most of the things in everyday life, but people just wouldn’t, where people are either reluctant to look after themselves physically, mentally and emotionally even when they could, but they rather depending on other people to be there for them physically, mentally and emotionally, or people have fear and aversion towards the sense of lovelessness, companionlessness, loneliness, boredom and meaninglessness.

Survival instinct, love seeking, companion seeking, loneliness, boredom and meaninglessness are some of the significant reasons why people don’t like or don’t agree with ‘aloneness’ and ‘independence’. Meanwhile there are selfish greedy people in the world also don’t like the society to be ‘independent’ as that means they can no longer easily ‘manipulate’ or ‘control’ the society to get what they want.

It’s common that many people want to think and believe that all human beings somehow NEEDING each other in life. People like to think and feel, “My children need me”, “My family needs me”, “My friends need me”, “My partner needs me”, “My students need me”, “My pets need me”, “My country needs me”, and so on. Or “I need my children/my family/my friends/my partner/my students/my pets/my country being there for me, or else my life is empty, lonely, bored, joyless and meaningless.”

It makes the egoistic minds feel good and meaningful about themselves when they think they are needed by other people or beings, that they can contribute something to other beings. If everyone is physically, mentally and emotionally independent and doesn’t really need anyone to be there for them physically, mentally and emotionally, then this ‘craving for needing one another in life’ will not be gratified. People are no longer be able to attain that kind of good and meaningful feelings coming from the perception of “I am needed by some others. I am a useful being. I can contribute to the family/society/country/world/humanity.” But, this is only because of ignorance and egoism.

The mind can be free from the idea of “I am needed by some others” or “I want to be there for some others” and be free from the craving for attaining good feelings and the sense of meaningfulness coming from being needed by others, but still being kind and generous and helpful to those who really need physical, mental and emotional care and support from others, unconditionally without discrimination of ‘superiority or inferiority’, ‘people whom I know or don’t know’, ‘people whom I like or don’t like’, or ‘people whom I agree with or disagree with’.

And then there are those who become physically, mentally and emotionally frustrated, exhausted and restless deriving from pushing oneself beyond one’s limitation to look after other people who want to or need to depend on the others physically, mentally and emotionally. This is because the egoistic mind would feel bad, guilty and regret if they think they are not always there or couldn’t be there for people who want to or need to depend on them. And if their body and mind breakdown due to over exhaustion from looking after others, themselves need to be looked after by some others. If one can’t even look after oneself properly, then how can one look after the others efficiently?

When the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, it can truly serve the world efficiently, selflessly and unconditionally, under a pure, calm, dispassionate, desireless and selfless mind.

In the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre/Ashram, most people see the sequence of the teachings of Swami Sivananda as SERVE, LOVE, GIVE, PURIFY, MEDITATE, REALIZE. That is also what Swami Sivananda taught and had written in most of his books.

SERVE, LOVE, GIVE is when the mind turning outward performing selfless actions in the world (Karma Yoga) to serve the purpose of purifying the mind via the elimination of egoism through selfless service. While PURIFY allows the mind be free from impurities and restlessness to meditate and realize the truth of selflessness. MEDITATE is when the mind turning inward ceased all actions or studies in the world, stands as the silent witness towards the mind perception of a world of names and forms. And REALIZE is the fruit of meditation.

SERVE, LOVE, GIVE are supposed to help in the elimination of egoism while performing karma yoga/selfless service, however, it’s because most minds are not free from ignorance and egoism, that’s why they need to be purified. While SERVE, LOVE, GIVE under the influence of ignorance and egoism could actually empowering ignorance and egoism, and would generate more impurities and restlessness into the mind than to purify the mind, which in fact, hindering the mind to meditate and realize.

And so, the more efficient way might be first taking care of PURIFY (by turning the mind inward via dispassion, renunciation, solitude, seclusion and silence), MEDITATE and REALIZE, and then this mind that is free from ignorance and egoism can truly SERVE, LOVE, GIVE through performing selfless actions or Karma Yoga in the world, efficiently, selflessly and unconditionally. At this point, even though the body and mind is performing actions in the world, but the mind is unmoved/unaffected/undetermined by the actions and the fruit of actions. This mind is void of restlessness or exhaustion. This is INACTION in ACTIONS that doesn’t bind the mind to karma.

In fact, meditation practice being done with the correct understanding and attitude is the best mind purification, as during the time of sitting quietly by oneself, moving the body and mind away from worldly interactions and activities, turning the attention inward, withdrawing the senses from the sense objects, witnessing/observing the mind activities without association/identification with the modifications of the mind, without craving, aversion, judgment and expectation, without intention, the mind is being purified naturally and efficiently.

PURIFY, MEDITATE, REALIZE is indeed the mind SERVING, LOVING, GIVING the mind itself, and thus, purifying itself. Upon the realization of Selflessness, this mind can truly SERVE, LOVE, GIVE to others.

And hence, the importance of silence, solitude and seclusion, aloneness and independence for those who truly want to practice yoga and realize yoga.

One must look after one’s mind before one can truly benefit the others.

Those who disagree with this don’t have to take up this teaching. Be free.

Asteya and Aparigraha – Non-stealing and non-covetousness

From the surface meaning of the word Asteya or non-stealing, it’s about not stealing or not taking anything that doesn’t belong to us, whether those things has an owner or not, or belonged to somebody or not.

And, from the surface meaning of the word Aparigraha or non-covetousness, it’s about not coveting, or not possessing, or not grasping, or not greedy towards worldly objects or material and sensual enjoyments. As well as not accepting bribe or supporting bribery.

Both of them are related to greed. Greed is one of the characteristics of egoism.

Practicing Asteya and Aparigraha, abstaining from stealing and coveting, can help to eliminate greed from one’s mind and helps eliminate egoism on the path of self-inquiry.

There are some teachings beyond these literal meanings.

Before we know what is the ego and the truth of names and forms, when we are still influenced by greed, then the practice of non-stealing and non-covetousness has its importance and merits.

When one is observing the practice of Asteya and Aparigraha, one doesn’t need to acknowledge others or to glorify oneself for observing Asteya and Aparigraha, one just is. There’s no attachment or identification of “I am observing Asteya and Aparigraha.”

When we know what is the ego and the truth of names and forms, and we are free from the influence of greed, then all these practice don’t mean anything, or are useless. One who is free from egoism and ignorance doesn’t need to practice Asteya or Aparigraha as one doesn’t need to remind oneself or to restrain oneself not to steal or not to be greedy, as there is no greed or the desire to steal existing in this mind.

Greed exists in many places that we might not be aware of. There are many ‘spiritual’ aspirants fall into the trap of greed without being aware of it. Greed doesn’t just apply to attachment, craving, longing and grasping towards worldly material objects and achievements.

Longing for merits and virtues is a form of greed. Longing for accumulating good karma by performing good actions is a form of greed. Longing for spiritual achievements, entitlements and acknowledgement is a form of greed. Longing for agreement, supports and association is a form of greed. Longing for good conditions, good relationships and happiness is also a form of greed. Longing for something that we like and want may it be something good and right which doesn’t exist in the present moment now is a form of greed. Longing for assistance or blessing from any external source is a form a of greed. Longing for good health and longer life span is also a form of greed. Longing for changing the world to be the way that we think it should be is also a form of greed. Longing to have bigger and more yoga centres is also a form of greed. Longing to be a great yoga teacher to teach yoga is also a form of greed.

One is free from greed when one is completely free from attachment, identification, clinging, longing, craving and aversion, whether towards spiritual or worldly objects and achievements.

One will enter into silence when all forms of gross and subtle greed, desire, attachment, clinging, longing, grasping, craving and aversion subsided.

The realization of unconditional love and peace has nothing to do with the quantity or amount of Karma yoga or selfless service that we can perform through this life existence. Performing lots of charity work or volunteering service might generate some satisfactory happy and joyful feelings, and sense of meaningfulness in the mind, but it doesn’t guarantee us liberation from ignorance and suffering, if we don’t know what is performing actions without the influence of egoism, without intention, without attachment, identification, craving and aversion.

When we know the truth of names and forms, we will realize there is nothing in this life existence that the mind perceives through the senses that really belongs to ‘us’, or who we think is ‘I’, including the existence of the body and the mind, and their functions.

We can be in a relationship with someone. But, this relationship and the person in the relationship with us don’t belong to us. We will generate ‘problems and unhappiness’ for ourselves and the person in the relationship with us, if we think we own this relationship and the person in the relationship with us, or we think they belong to ‘I’.

If there is nothing belongs to anyone in this worldly existence of names and forms, there’s no such accusation of somebody ‘steals’ or ‘takes’ something that ‘belongs’ to somebody else. It’s the same as the teachings of yoga about oneness or non-separateness, and selflessness or I-lessness. The idea of something being stolen from someone by someone (objects and subjects) doesn’t exist when we realize oneness or non-separateness.

This doesn’t mean that one can take advantage of this teaching to ‘take’ or ‘steal’ anything that we like and want, thinking that “I am not stealing anything from anyone, as everything doesn’t belong to anyone anyway.” This is corrupted thinking influenced by ignorance.

Just like someone might take advantage of the teachings of yoga about “everything is just what it is, it is neither good nor bad” to be doing bad actions, while thinking that “I didn’t do anything bad as there is no bad.” It is the desires, intention, attachment and identification that makes the difference. While being ‘aware’ of such actions are ‘bad’ and still intentionally doing ‘bad’, while thinking and believing that there is no ‘bad’, doesn’t free one from the consequences of actions, or the bondage of cause and effect.

It also doesn’t mean that one can ‘take’ or ‘steal’ other people’s spouse or children freely, or one can ‘take’ or ‘steal’ other people’s ‘belongings’ or ‘properties’ influenced by some egoistic selfish desires and greed, and thinking ‘I’ am not committing any violation or intrusion towards anyone’s existing life and property. Taking anything that doesn’t ‘belong’ to us is ‘stealing’, even when there are no owners for anything. Everything and anything is not just doesn’t belong to anyone, but also doesn’t belong to ‘I’.

When one is free from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, craving, aversion, and all sorts of impurities, when one is beyond all the perceptions of name and form, one won’t be ‘taking’ or ‘stealing’ anything or anyone from anybody or anywhere.

When we are living on the earth, being in this space, and consuming the sunlight, the water and the air to be existing, did we ever ask permission from them, or did they give us any permission? The elements of fire, water, wind, earth and ether pervade the entire body and mind, did they ask the permission of this body and mind, or did the body and mind give permission to them?

The elements of fire, water, wind, earth and ether don’t exist if the universe doesn’t exist. And vice versa.

The universe exists because of the elements, and the elements exist because of the universe.

But out of compassion, everyone and everything co-existing and depending on one another to be existing. The sun, the water, the air, the earth and the space have no intention to be involved in actions of ‘giving’ and ‘taking’. They have no intention to allow or disallow anything to be existing or not. They have no identification of ‘I’ am ‘giving’ something from ‘I’ to someone or something for everything to be existing, or ‘I’ am ‘taking’ something from someone or something for everything to cease existing, it doesn’t matter who they are, what they are, how they are, where they are.

And above all, there’s no ‘I’ involved in all these ‘gives and takes’ that is happening from moment to moment.

Before the realization of selflessness or I-lessness, all actions are bound by the idea of give and take, and are not free from the bondage of cause and effect.

Upon the realization of selflessness or I-lessness, all actions are neither give nor take, or are beyond giving and taking, and are free from the bondage of cause and effect.

Om shanti.

Strength and Flexibility?

The greatest strength and flexibility is realizing the truth of our true nature, which is wisdom and the unconditional love or compassion, which also manifested, or can be found or seen in patience, tolerance, perseverance, determination, forbearance, forgiveness, adaptation, accommodation, adjustment, acceptance, non-violence, non-hatred, non-discrimination, non-judgment, non-expectation, non-attachment, non-possessiveness, non-dualism, non-separateness, namelessness and formlessness, egolessness or selflessness, beyond the identification as ‘I’ and all the mind perceptions with all the different qualities of names and forms.

This can be illustrated as being free from egoism or ignorance, or being free from craving and aversion, or being free from all the impurities and restlessness, or being free from desires of want and don’t want, or being free from fear and worry, or being free from anger and hatred, or being free from being conditioned by the mind and the perception of names and forms through the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking.

Realize this real strength and flexibility, there is even no need to forbear nor to endure anything that the mind thinks or believes as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, or ‘suffering’. There’s no longing nor clinging onto what the mind thinks or believes as ‘good’, ‘positive’, or ‘happiness’. As in truth, all the perceptions of good and bad, positive and negative, happiness and suffering, they don’t really exist at all. It is all manifested in the mind itself and will dissolve in the mind itself once the mind realizes its true nature, which is nameless and formless, attributeless, beginningless and endless, birthless and deathless.

The optimum physical strength and flexibility that we can attain through this physical body cannot be compared to this real strength and flexibility that allow us to be existing and living in this world of names and forms, but being able to ‘forbear’ and ‘withstand’ any ‘difficult’ and ‘discomfortable’ conditions and situations, and being unaffected, undisturbed, uninfluenced, undetermined by all these names and forms, but able to fully utilize this life existence, or the body and mind, to be performing some beneficial actions for all beings, but knowing that everything is impermanent, there is no attachment at all towards all the actions being performed and the fruit of the action.

There’s no disappointment nor depression about “Why bother and waste energy in performing actions, as everything is impermanent, everything will come to an end?”

In Buddhism, the monks spend lots of time, doing ‘something’ occupying the mind with ‘something’, so that the mind doesn’t have spare ‘space’ or ‘room’ for any ‘evil’ thinking, or speculation, or imagination, or projection. As the mind is being restrained to be in the present moment on the physical actions being performed.

Same as when we perform yoga asana practice, it is not so much about gaining some physical or mental benefits from spending some time and energy doing the practice, but mostly it’s to engage the body and mind in some wholesome activities, as there are energy in the body and mind that needs to be directed to ‘somewhere’. At the same time, refraining the body and mind from some unwholesome activities while engaging in the yoga asana practice. And that itself is a great purification process for the mind, as well as it is benefiting the whole world of life existence, as this body and this mind is not generating any harmful thoughts or actions into the world during that time being.

There is a very efficient practice in Buddhism about realizing and accepting impermanence, and practicing non-attachment and letting go. Everyone will spend lots of time and energy, sincerely and attentively to make ‘complicated’ and ‘beautiful’ mandala using coloured sand or different colours beans on the ground, and as soon as it is finished, they will mess it up with their own hand, to realize what is perform all our actions for the benefits of all beings, but without attachment towards the action or the fruit of the action.

If we don’t know the truth, we will feel very meaningless and wasting energy or effort to perform actions but then in the end it is nothingness or emptiness. But when we know the truth, there is no gain when we perform any action, nor there is any loss when the fruit of our actions experience impermanence and disappear. There is no wasting energy or effort at all. It is beyond creation and emptiness. There is nothing being created. There’s no actions being performed. Names and forms are not different from emptiness. Emptiness is not separated from names and forms.

Perform Karma yoga, or selfless service is what we can do for ourselves and others with this body and this mind, to make good use of them. Karma yoga is not just about performing beneficial actions for others, but it is not separated from performing beneficial actions for ourselves. There’s no difference whether the actions being performed is for ourselves or for others, there’s no priority nor less priority, superiority nor inferiority, as whether it is for ourselves or for others, it is the same and is benefiting everyone. There’s no intention to be good, or to do good, or to be benefiting anyone, or to be receiving anything good in return. Just perform action and let go. And that is selflessness or compassion.

It doesn’t matter everything will come to an end, we do our best and let go. As this body and this mind has some ‘spare time’ and ‘energy’ that doesn’t belong to them, to be spent without gaining or losing anything. Why not use it for something constructive and beneficial for all beings?

Om shanti.

Yoga workshops?

Strength, flexibility, stamina and skills to perform the asana poses are not attained just by a few hours of practice in a workshop, but consistent practice regularly after attending a workshop, will bring tremendous improvement in all these elements.

Peace and compassion is not determined by how fit and strong we are physically, but with a strong and healthy body it allows us to perform yoga sadhana and karma yoga selfless service for ourselves and other beings to evolve in life.

Om shanti.

Keep practice…

A yoga student was very excited coming into headstand after practicing regularly and told his teacher, “Teacher, I can stand on my head now!”

The teacher asked him, “Are you now free from anger, desires and worries?”

The student answered, “Not really…”

The teacher compassionately said to him, “Keep practice…”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is reflecting about peace, desire-less, compassion and wisdom is nothing to do with whether we can stand on our head or not, or whether we are able to do and achieve what we want to do and achieve or not…

“Keep practice” also doesn’t necessary mean keep practicing the asana poses until we manage to perform the asana poses, or we can hold the poses longer than before, but what it really means is, keep practicing non-identification and non-attachment, and even after we devote lots of time, efforts and energy into our yoga asana practice, we are not attached to the efforts nor the fruit of the efforts…

What’s the point if we are now able to perform the asana poses that we were not able to perform in the past, but we are not free from continue being disturbed and conditioned by anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, ignorance, fear and worry that derive from attachment and identification with the body and mind?

When anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, ignorance, fear and worry are subjugated due to non-identification and non-attachment towards the body and mind, the yoga student doesn’t even need to announce that he is now free from impurities… So as yoga asana practice. The yoga asana practice is supposed to be rendering our mind calm and pure, to prepare the mind for meditation upon the Truth… It is not about how good we look and how good we feel in performing the asana poses… it is accepting the physical ability in the present moment now as it is, and knowing that even this condition and the ability of the physical body now whether it is in good or bad condition, it is impermanent… We do not identify with this impermanent condition and ability of the physical body to perform the yoga asana poses… There is nothing to be excited about when our body is able to perform certain asana poses after some practice, and there is nothing to be frustrated about when our body is not able to perform the asana poses even after a long time of practice…

After we are able to catch our feet with our hands in the sitting forward bend, we’ll ask, “What next?”

After we are able to balance on our hands in Bakasan or Kakasan, we’ll ask, “What next?”

After we are able to stand on our head and our hands in headstand and handstand, we’ll ask again, “What next?”

Then we try to stand on the head without hands support, and we’ll ask, “What next?”

Maybe we can try to invent more challenging poses then? Such like “one finger handstand” since many yoga teachers like to say that “everything is possible”, just need to keep practice… Kindly note that this physical body has its limitations and is conditioned by impermanence. We cannot force the body to go beyond its limitations or else we will be injuring the body, but what the sentence “everything is possible” means, we can go beyond the identification with the physical body and be free from being conditioned by the conditions and ability of the physical body, that we are not determined by this physical body, as we are not this body and this body is not us. It is just an instrument for us to realize this Truth…

This craving for “What next?” can keep going until the moment our body is not able to do any poses any more… Then we’ll start to realize that this ceaselessly chasing after the sense of achievement that come from being able to perform the asana poses, is not what we are looking for, after spending years and years in trying to perform all the yoga asana poses…

This voice that keep asking “What next?” is coming from the never satisfied nature of the mind…

That’s why even though if our physical body is capable to perform many complicated asana poses, it never bring us to real unconditional contentment, as we have wrong identification with the impermanent body and the dis-satisfactory mind… Always not satisfied, always wanting more and more, just like drug and alcohol abuse, one dose is not giving any effects anymore, we need double dose, and then triple dose, and so on….

As all these achievements in performing the asana poses are “dis-satisfactory” in its nature – impermanence”.

If during and after the yoga asana practice, whether we are able to perform the yoga asana poses or not, but we are not identified with the ability of the physical body in performing the asana poses, and there is no expectation whether our body will be more flexible and strong or not after the practice, nor expecting our body will be able to perform the asana poses much better in the next or future practice, nor expecting what are the benefits from performing the asana poses, nor expecting ourselves will be more peaceful and calm… But, allowing all the benefits, strength and flexibility, skills to perform the asana poses, peacefulness and calmness to come by itself naturally as it is, not because we are expecting any of these to happen the way that we want it to be, then this will bring us towards unconditional peace…

In traditional yoga class, the teacher doesn’t tell the students what are the benefits when they perform the asana poses, as yoga asana practice is supposed to help us in developing non-identification with the body and mind, and non-attachment towards our actions or efforts, not attaching to or not expecting for the fruit of our actions or efforts. And even if the students don’t know what are the benefits from doing the asana poses, the benefits will still be there as it is, it won’t disappear nor decrease…

The practice of intention-less which is the key to the practice of non-expectation and non-attachment, is to let go of any intentions, even if it is good intention… If there is a good intention, we attach to the idea of “we are doing something good”, and will “expect” someone will be benefited from this good intention, and “expect” something good in return… Attachment is there… We are not free yet.

This is to eliminate the craving habit of the egoistic mind of “I want something good… I don’t want something bad…”

And by practicing yoga asana together with the practice of non-attachment in the mental level, will definitely bring us towards freedom, or unconditional peace and real happiness that is not being conditioned by any qualities of names and forms…

This is the yoga practice while performing the asana poses or while trying to learn to perform the asana poses…

Able to accept the condition and the ability of the physical body in the present moment now as it is and allow the benefits to come and improvement to happen naturally as we practice regularly everyday few hours a day, without identification, attachment, judgment, comparison and expectation…

This is Karma Yoga being perform onto ourselves… Being kind and compassionate towards ourselves by bringing our body and mind to concentrating in a few hours of yoga asana practice daily… As all the yoga asana poses require huge amount of concentration in the present moment now, and this will not let the mind wanders into the past or the future within the time of practice, and there is no opportunity for the body and mind to get involve in immoral or unkind thoughts, actions and speech… During the time of practice, we are controlling and restricting our thoughts, actions and speech, and this is already benefiting the world by not committing any selfish, harmful or negative thoughts, actions and speech into the surrounding environment. This is being kind and compassionate towards the world…

Beside controlling and restricting the thoughts, actions and speech as our main practice by devoting our energy, effort and time into yoga practice as many hours as possible everyday in life, another main reason to perform all the yoga practices (Not limited to Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi, Kriyas, study of the scriptures, chanting and prayers, selfless service, developing divine qualities such like patience, perseverance, will-power, determination, courage, positive thinking, cheerfulness, generosity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, sexual energy conservation and channeling for spiritual realization, acceptance, adjustment, accommodation, adaptation, forgiveness, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, non-attachment, non-identification, letting go, and etc…) is to purifying, unblocking, balancing, conserving, generating, and channeling the energy fields in the body for spiritual realization or self-realization…

But all these practice has to work with letting go of desires and attachments that come from the ego… Such like, having the idea of “I am doing this practice, so that I will gain such and such benefits or achievements…” or “I am practicing “non-attachment”, so that I will be free from suffering and unhappiness…” It doesn’t bring us to peace…We can be performing all these yoga practices for many hours everyday for many years, but as long as we have attachment and identification with the doer of the actions and the enjoyer of the fruit of the action, we are not free and be restless being disturbed by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think…

The body and the mind will be benefited in performing the yoga practice, but… Our true nature doesn’t need all these benefits to be what it is or to “make” it peaceful… It is unconditional peace… The mind needs the yoga practice to experience peace, but our true nature is always peaceful…

There is no “I”. There is no practice. There is no fruit of the practice. There is no “I” am doing the practice. There is no “I” will be enjoying the fruit of the practice…

The ego gets a momentary excitement and the sense of success or achievement when it gets the benefits or results as what it was expecting while performing any actions… And the ego gets disappointment and frustration and sense of failure when it doesn’t get the benefits or results as what it was expecting while performing any actions…

Such like, “I did a lot of yoga practice, and thus I am healthy, strong and flexible and I feel good…” or “I didn’t practice much or didn’t practice at all, and thus I am not so healthy, not strong and not flexible, and I don’t feel good…” As all these identification and expression is coming from the egoistic mind – the idea of “I” and all that “I” experience and all that “I” get and don’t get from “my” actions and inactions, good and bad actions… It is the mind feels good or doesn’t feel good… It is not us. We are just the observer or the witness being aware of what the mind is experiencing from moment to moment through the body with the functions of the sense organs and the senses, which is being conditioned by impermanence, the qualities of names and forms, thought patterns, actions and inactions, and speech…

So, whether our body can perform all the poses level by level or not, or our body cannot perform many of the yoga poses, it really doesn’t matter… As What the body capable to do and not capable to do, it is just the body… And the condition and ability of the physical body to do this or that, is nothing to do with the unconditional real peace that comes from our true nature…

A person who’s body cannot perform headstand or handstand can still be selfless, peaceful, wise and compassionate…

Some people ask, “Why some people can do all the “complicated” yoga poses and some people cannot do the “simplest” yoga poses?”

Simply it’s because whether their body can do or cannot do these poses… And through constant practice, their body will gain physical and mental strength, flexibility, stamina, confidence, faith and courage, and might be or will be able to perform some or all of the asana poses, simple or complicated… But whether their body can do or cannot do these poses, is nothing to do with whether they will be peaceful or not…

Another effect that comes from holding the body being in the yoga poses for a period of time, can help to influence the energy fields in the body effectively, either activating, stimulating, energizing or calming and balancing… And this will make the body and mind feel good during and after the practice, but again this is just the body and mind experiencing some impermanent conditional good feelings… And if the mind is rendered calm and still during or after the asana practice, that is the moment to meditate and contemplate on the Truth, and not lost in attachment towards that good feelings and pleasant effects of the asana practice…

And to render the mind calm and still doesn’t need to have a strong and flexible body to perform the most complicated asana poses, but just by performing some very simple poses that even a sick person with weak bones and muscles also can perform will give the same effects of calming and stilling the mind… It is through will-power and breath control…

People who are flexible and strong can be peaceful if they know non-identification and non-attachment… People who are inflexible and not strong can also be peaceful if they know non-identification and non-attachment…

People who are flexible and strong can be not peaceful if they don’t know non-identification and non-attachment… People who are inflexible and not strong can also be not peaceful if they don’t know non-identification and non-attachment…

At the end, no need to compare or compete with anybody in the yoga asana practice, as liberation or peace is not attain through comparison or competition… It is not like, “I am better than you in performing the asana poses, and I can do more asana poses than you can, and so, I should be more peaceful, selfless, wise and compassionate than you…”

This is the test – If now everything happened is all good and according to what we wished for, and so we are peaceful and happy… But if one day, we experience some “bad” things that we don’t want and don’t like in our life, and we will be disturbed or determined by it, and are not peaceful and not happy anymore, then know that we still need to keep practice…

Om shanti.

Yoga is about eliminating the ego to realize selflessness, but how?

Teaching yoga, not about teaching some yoga asana poses or exercises as fitness exercise class, but teaching and guiding the beings on how to develop non-attachment, non-identification, letting go of the ego, and how to transcend the mind and the body, transcend “suffering”, “restlessness”, “dissatisfaction”, “unhappiness”, “fear”, “worry”, and etc via yoga practice (not limited to yoga asana and pranayama practice), to realize the one nature of all beings – real peace that is unconditional, is not like doing a business selling a “product” or “service” to the people as like in the fitness, health and beauty industry, or in the modern “yoga” industry where there are so many varieties of “yoga classes” and “yoga accessories” on the “yoga market” to suit different types of mind interests or desires… But yoga is only one…

It is not a religion that trying to convert other people to believe and to follow its teachings, or else “God” will punish anyone who does not believe in its teachings and does not follow the practice accordingly… Every beings has the choice or freedom whether to follow the path and take up the practice, or not… Some people take up the complete practice, but many people only want to take up certain parts of the teachings and practice that they like and agree with… And there is nothing wrong with either choice…

It is our freedom whether we want to be selfish and ignorant, or if we want to be selfless and be free from ignorance… It is our freedom whether we want to be in peace, or we don’t mind at all if we are not in peace…

We cannot make anyone to believe, or to practice, or to realize according to what we believe and practice and realized.. It is everyone’s freedom… It is like, “I am peaceful, and if you are peaceful too, that’s good. But if you are not peaceful and are interested to know why I am peaceful and would like to follow the way of how to be peaceful, you are welcome to practice and realize yoga. But if you are not interested, then be happy with what you want and don’t want… I am peaceful as I am, anyway…”

If someone doesn’t enjoy food that is not the taste that he likes it to be, then even if somebody want to be nice to him and give him “very good” food for free everyday, it is not going to make him satisfied and happy… Because it is not something that he wants and likes… Some people like to live in restlessness, or else they’ll feel like fish out of water… Let them be.

Yoga (selflessness) is not a thing that we can “pay” with some “money” to buy and possess… But it is realizing the Truth by letting go of the ego (giving up pride, arrogance, desires, identities, attachments, likes and dislikes, craving and aversion, and etc). This truth is here, in this present moment… We don’t need to “buy” it from somebody or from some organizations who claim that they can “make” us “become” anything that we want to be… We are who we are, why do we need somebody else to make us to become “us”?

No doubts that by practicing yoga asana exercises everyday will make our mind feels good, make our body strong and healthy, and be able to enjoy a higher quality of life, but there is no guarantee that all beings who are learning and practicing “yoga” will be liberated and be free from ignorance, impurities, unhappiness or “suffering”, and is peaceful being undisturbed or undetermined by qualities of names and forms… It depends on our non-attachment towards the mind and whatever the mind is experiencing from moment to moment, and not attach to any names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, that will lead us to peace…

It is just the body and mind experiencing some momentary conditional good feelings and good condition as part of the effects of the yoga exercises, but we are not the body, we are not the mind… The body is not “I”, the mind is not “I”. As long as we are still identified with the body and mind (which are impermanent and constantly changing) and are subject to conditional circumstances to feel good and happy, being over-powered by the craving for “good condition” and aversion towards “bad condition”, then we will never be free… Our sense of well-being swaying up and down according to the conditional changes of qualities… Forever restless… Maybe some people just want to keep working on satisfying the cravings of the body and mind, and enjoying that momentary satisfaction or sense of achievement when they get what they want, and are not interested to go beyond that, it is not wrong. Be happy.

It doesn’t guaranteed that after how long and how much we had performed the “yoga practice” that we will be free from ignorance… But it doesn’t matter, because whether we’ll realize the one nature of all beings, or not, it doesn’t change the Truth about who we really are… Even if we don’t believe in the nature of all beings is unconditional peace, and we are not peaceful in the present moment now, this nature of peace is always there… We can deny the body and the mind and everything else that we perceive in this life existence, but we cannot deny that which is denying everything…

Some beings never done any “yoga practice” before but they are liberated and are free from ignorance… I’ve seen people who do not practice “yoga” at all but they are selfless, peaceful and compassionate beings… Some beings did a lot of yoga practice everyday for years but still not free from ignorance yet… Even if they are learning from “famous” yoga gurus or teachers… It is not the responsibility of the teachers for any being’s liberation… Teachers are just being there to show the way… Liberation is coming from the beings themselves and through their own effort (how much they are ready to give up or let go of attachment towards worldly attachments, identities, possessions, desires, craving and aversion)…

As the real yoga practice is dealing with purifying and controlling the mind, and many impurities will arise in the process of purification, it is really not a “nice” and “comfortable” experience in the journey towards true freedom… We’ll start to see the “ugly” side of our personality or thinking or behavior or reaction, when we are not getting what we want and are getting what we don’t want… The ego doesn’t like to know or admit about its own selfishness and foolishness… Most “minds” will try to runaway or avoid this uncomfortable experience and give in to the desires, craving and aversion (always looking for pleasant experiences, and rejecting unpleasant experiences, to gratified all its desires of likes and dislikes, wants and don’t wants)…

There is nothing wrong if a real yogi who knows the Truth and what is yoga, but does not “interested” or “desired” to “teach” yoga to the public. That doesn’t mean that they are selfish and not want to share the greatness of yoga with other beings… They don’t “have to” share yoga with other beings intentionally, but that won’t stop them from radiate love, peace, wisdom and compassion into the universe… Even if they are interested to share and “teach” yoga to the public out of compassion, it is really depending on the beings themselves whether they will be willingly to let go of their ego, pride and arrogance, and letting go of the identification with the body and mind and worldly self-image, to be open-minded and be really humble to practice “yoga” sincerely, or not, and realize yoga by themselves…

There might be many so called “yoga practitioners” and “yoga teachers” nowadays worldwide on the yoga “market” or “industry”, but how many of us are really a “yogi”? Many who call ourselves “yogis”, “yoga practitioners”, “yoga teachers” and talk about the teachings and practice of yoga and teach other people to perform the yoga poses, but how many of us are sincerely practicing non-identification with the body and mind, letting go of the ego, practicing non-attachment towards all the qualities of names and forms, realizing the Truth of non-duality, and are desire-less and selfless? How many are truly practicing “yoga” or are just doing some “yoga exercises” for many hours everyday, but not knowing how to be free from being conditioned by qualities of names and forms, craving and aversion, and ignorance? How many are so called “in love” with “yoga” but continue to indulge in worldly desires, gossiping. slandering, boasting, telling lies, hypocrisy, mocking, back-biting, complaining, and condemning the yoga teachings that they don’t agree with? Some people only fell in love with certain parts of the yoga practice that they like but criticizing the others practice or teachings that their “ego” doesn’t agree with and doesn’t like…

Even not all the “experienced” yoga practitioners are already transcended names and forms, and are still being over-powered by the ego, still have attachment towards spiritual attainment, physical and mental achievements, attached to their actions and inactions, and the fruit of their actions, not to say those who are still struggling in the ocean of ignorance… Even a well-trained in spirituality great being like Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita was once deluded by ignorance and needed the guidance of Krishna…

A sincere “yoga seeker” who is interested in looking for a yoga teacher to learn and practicing yoga will come to a “teacher” with a humble heart and opened mind, and learn and “serve” under the teacher for purifying the mind and eliminating the ego… During the time of being with the teacher or learning from the teacher, he will be asked to do a lot of Karma Yoga – selfless service, performing all duties and responsibilities without attaching to the actions and the fruit of the actions… This will help the student to let go of judgment, expectation, desire and attachment… And when the student’s mind is matured enough, when his mind is free from impurities, desires and restlessness, when his ego is eliminated through performing selfless service without attaching to the action and the fruit of the action, without expecting anything in return for all his actions, the teachings or the Truth will arise in the his pure and serene mind naturally.

The teacher need not to say anything or to teach him anything, but only guides him in daily life performing selfless service for many years to purify his mind and eliminating his ego. As the truth is already there in him “waiting” to be realized, it is not coming from nor attaining from the outside. All he needs to do is remove all impurities and eliminating the ego… Yoga practice like Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi is not leading to “freedom” when the student’s mind is full of passionate desires and attachments… If a yoga student’s mind is full of impurities, desires and being over-powered by the ego, then no matter how much yoga practice and teachings that the teacher tries to teach him or give to him, it is meaningless… It is like a dirty bowl and we want to put the best clean and tasty food inside it… The food will be contaminated by all the dirts…

The basic qualities in a yoga “seeker” are –

1.) Viveka (discrimination of real and unreal)
2.) Vairagya (dispassion or detachment)
3.) Mumukshutva (intense yearning for liberation)
4.) Shat-sampat (consists of the six virtues as below)
a.) Sama – tranquility of the mind
b.) Dama – self-restraint or control of the senses
c.) Uparati – cessation from worldly activities
d.) Titiksha – forbearance or power of endurance
e.) Sraddha – faith in God, Scripture and Self
f.) Samadhana – concentration or one-pointedness of mind

If a being doesn’t have or doesn’t develop all these qualities while performing the yoga practice, then by performing the yoga practice doesn’t really bring them to peace, but instead it will be empowering the ego, pride and arrogance, craving and aversion, which lead to more restlessness (opposite of peace) – Such like “I am a “lovely princess” after I practiced yoga, and I am an “evil monster” when I didn’t practice yoga…” That is the state of mind changing according to the momentary conditional influence from the yoga practice. It is not the unconditional real peace…

When the yoga students perform selfless service in the Ashram, nobody will come and tell them, “Hey, you did a good job.” nor “Thank you.” nor “You are a good yogi.” nor “Well done, keep it up.” and etc… This is to starve the ego, not feeding the ego with what it wants… As the one who is longing for or depending on all these response or reaction of appreciation, acknowledgment, compliment, thankfulness, encouragement, agreement and etc, to make him feels good about what he did and to motivate him to perform actions, is the ego… The ego will grow stronger if we keep feeding the ego with what it wants…

Without anyone showing appreciation and thankfulness in names sand forms, or even if there is criticism or condemnation for their efforts and contributions, it doesn’t mean that all efforts and actions are “meaningless”… The sun is always there shining ceaselessly providing light, heat and energy to the universe, whether the beings acknowledge or not acknowledge about the contribution of the sun… Same as water, air, earth and space… It doesn’t matter human beings are grateful or are ungrateful for their intention-less contribution to the universe or not, they are always there providing and supporting all beings to be exist in the universe… They exist for all other beings to be exist without the intention to be there, to exist and to give, nor there is expectation about everything will be exist and be grateful because of their existence for all other beings to be exist… And they don’t need to be exist at all if there is nothing to exist…

The real appreciation and gratefulness is nameless and formless beyond thoughts, speech and actions… When anyone knows how to perform all actions selflessly, compassionately without attaching to the actions or the fruit of the actions, without expecting any response of appreciation, acknowledgment, compliment, thankfulness, encouragement coming from anybody to feel good about what he did and to be motivated to perform actions, then this person is free from being conditioned by the ego… His mind is one-pointed in the present moment, and radiates peace and compassion without any intentions, and will not be disturbed by the qualities of names and forms perceived in the mind through the senses…

This practice of renouncing from the fruit of action is being practiced when we are performing all the yoga practice such like yama, niyama, yoga asana, pranayama, concentration, meditation, studying the scriptures, and etc.. We do not expect any benefits or rewards in return from our efforts and actions… Because “we” don’t need any benefits or rewards at all… But we allow all the benefits to come naturally by itself as it is, not because we expect the benefits to be there as what we want it to be… There is no identification as the doer of the actions and the enjoyer of the fruit of the actions… The ego needs some kind of benefits or rewards to motivate him to perform actions, but the nature of all beings doesn’t need any motivations to be what it is…

When the ego is eliminated, there is no good or bad, happiness or suffering, positive or negative, success or failure, praise or condemn, appropriateness or inappropriateness, auspiciousness or inauspiciousness, pleasantness or unpleasantness, action or inaction, birth or death, gain or loss…

When a being is free from the ego, there is no hypocrisy in him… Pretentiousness and untruthfulness is completely vanished and absent in him…

Although there are not many real yogis are interested in “teaching” yoga to the public, this doesn’t mean that there are no real yogis sharing the wisdom of peace and compassion in the world… Real yogis are not necessarily to be recognized through “fit and strong and flexible” physics, nor to be recognized through the skill in performing some yoga asana and meditation poses or teaching some “yoga classes”, nor to be recognized by how much charity works with names and forms that they had performed… They might not be doing any yoga poses nor talk about anything about “yoga”… But they are not separated from yoga and meditation every moment… They are meditating without name and form, ceaselessly from moment to moment and already in one with the universal consciousness – Selflessness, which we name it as Yoga… And without intention, they radiate love and peace to all beings unlimited by names and forms, time and space, without discrimination or judgment or expectation…

Anyone who is completely selfless and compassionate is a real yogi… They do not need to perform “yoga practice” in certain name and form to purifying and calming the mind, as their mind is already pure and calmed… Anyone who can perform a lot of yoga asana poses but is not free from the ego yet, still being over-powered by impurities, desires, craving, aversion, pride, arrogance, attachments, judgment and expectation, and has not realized his real nature of unconditional peace and compassion, is not necessary a yogi… They are just striving to be a “yogi”… And real yogis don’t need to call or tag themselves “yogis” either… There is no identification with names and forms…

Selflessness and compassion is nothing to do with physical appearances or the physical conditions and the abilities to perform the asana poses. It is not defined by actions and inactions. As real yogi is already beyond actions and inactions… A perfected Yogi is also a Jnani, there’s no separation between a yogi and a Jnani, they both are selfless, peaceful, wise and compassionate, and they both can be a chronic disease or cancer patient, but they are not touched by the sickness or weakness of the physical body, nor are they suffer due to the impermanent condition of the physical body that is decaying from moment to moment…

Once a being realized selflessness in performing Karma Yoga – renouncing the fruit of actions, naturally he is devoting to the universal consciousness (Bhakti Yoga), he is radiating wisdom (Jnana Yoga), he is the master of his own mind (Raja Yoga)… All these paths are not separated from each other when a being realized selflessness…

In fact, there are plenty of these “yogis” out there disseminating love and peace into the world without posing as “Jnani”, “yogis” or “yoga teachers”… They don’t make “noise” or “advertise”. They don’t intentionally show an “image” of “Jnani” or “yogis” or “yoga practitioners” or “yoga teachers” to the world. They might not mix with the “yoga community” or the “yoga association” or the “yoga affiliation” or the “yoga organization” or the “yoga movement”… They might not announce themselves as “yogis”. They might not announce themselves as “yoga teachers”. They might not give “yoga classes”. They might not take “yoga students”… They might not possess recognized “certifications” and “qualifications”… But they are ego-less liberated compassionate wise beings who transmit the vibration of unconditional love and peace into the universe every moment unceasingly, just by being presence, without any intentions nor expectations to benefit the world nor try to change the world to be a “better” place, nor try to control anyone to behave “accordingly”, nor “hope” or “expect” the world will change into something that they want it to be…

In traditional lineage of yoga, the teacher doesn’t really “give” the students what they “want” or “desire” or “expect”, but will give them what they need to be free from the ego and ignorance, allowing them to deal with their egos whenever they are not getting what they want or desire or expect… Even if they’ll get angry or frustrated because the teacher does not “please” them by giving them what their egos want to see, or hear, or experience, but those are the great moments for them to recognize and root out their egos and to free themselves from the ego… Until their ego is eliminated, their mind is tamed, and is free from craving and aversion… Meanwhile, the universe will provide all beings with what is necessary without their expectation or without them “wanting” anything…

In traditional yoga lineage, the teacher seems like is “very hard” on the students (more precisely – hard on their egos), but it is all out of love and compassion… At the end, without the teacher showing us anything in names and forms, our ego melts away, without the veil of ignorance, the Truth reveals itself to us… It is not easy to be a real yoga teacher… But the real yoga teacher doesn’t mind. Those “yoga teachers” who do mind, are not really free from the ego yet…

Om shanti.

The practice of mind control (Raja Yoga) – renunciation and silence

There are many different types of personalities or temperaments in those who are interested in learning and practicing the ancient techniques of how to control the mind and how to be really peaceful and happy through the path of yoga and meditation.

It doesn’t matter what type of personality that we have, some of us (the mind and the ego) might prefer a passionate outgoing life and like to be active and sociable, some of us might prefer to live a quiet inner life and have less social activities for conserving energy and focus on yoga and meditation practice for Self-realization, and some of us find a balance point between the active sociable outgoing life and the quiet inner life (this exists in those who have self-discipline and self-control).

There is nothing wrong with all these different types of temperaments in different people.

That’s why there are many different paths in yoga to suit all types of temperaments people.

People who are outgoing and like to be active and sociable are suitable for Karma Yoga (the path of selfless action or renounce from the fruit of action) and Bhakti Yoga (the path of devotion).

People who are not outgoing are suitable for Raja Yoga (the path of mind control) and Jnana Yoga (the path of wisdom).

All paths are not separated from each other and will lead to mental peace, contentment and annihilation of the ego (selflessness and compassion) if the practice is being performed with correct attitude and effort. You’ll see Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Raja Yoga in connection with each other. You’ll be practicing all these paths at the same time when you come to the state of purity and selflessness.

But, no matter which type of yoga or what type of path, the practice of non-attachment, dispassion and right discrimination, having intense yearning for liberation and the cultivation of the sixfold paths – tranquility of mind, control of the senses, satiety (renounce from worldly objects, enjoyments and activities), the power of endurance and forbearance, immovable faith (in God for those who believe in God or in Self for those who disbelieve in God, in the teacher, in the teachings), and indifference (balance of mind or equanimity), are the essential basic qualities or cultivation in a Sadhaka or Yogi.

The path of mind control is to turn the outgoing mind inward and make the mind introspective.

In order to achieve this inward state of mind, the observation of Self-restraint (control of our own thoughts, action and speech), morality, silence (Mauna) and celibacy (control of sexual desire), the practice of Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses from the objects of the senses) and one-pointedness of mind (concentration), lessening the number of thoughts, the cultivation of mental non-attachment and reduction of wants and desires, avoid too much talking or walking, avoid too much eating or fasting, avoid too much physical activities, avoid too much mixing with worldly minded people, avoid novel and newspaper-reading, avoid visiting cinemas or movies watching, develop Antarmukha-Vritti (making the outgoing tendency of the mind turn inward upon itself), and etc, all these are the very important practice in the path of yoga and meditation.

These practice are not just to purify and calming the mind, but also to conserve energy and channel the externalizing energy turn inward for spiritual Sadhana to realize the Truth.

All these practice can be performed and should be performed while living in the midst of the distracting world of names and forms. If we only can observe these practice while in an Ashram or in a retreat centre for a short period of time, but once we go back into the worldly life, we cannot or do not follow and continue all these practice, and are constantly being distracted and disturbed by all the names and forms, then whatever practice we perform will not bring us to the real peace (free from doubts, ignorance, fear and worry).

At one moment we might feel peaceful and at some other times, we might feel unpeaceful and restless due to the fluctuation of the mind activities or mental thought-waves (come from all the inputs – perception of names and forms through the senses; and outputs – expression of ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions and egoism through action and speech, physically and mentally).

Yoga and meditation is to starve the mind or deprive the mind from activities (ideas and thoughts) by Vairagya and Tyaga (renunciation of desires, objects and egoism).

But this type of inner life is being criticized by the passionate worldly people as “anti-social”. But a true Yogi or Sadhaka is not a bit disturbed nor moved by this type of criticism that comes from the worldly minded people, it’s because they cannot understand the importance of the practice of renunciation and silence, and they have not yet experience the eternal and real inner peace that comes from renunciation and silence. Worldly minded passionate people seek after the momentary and conditional satisfaction and happy feelings that come from doing the things and getting the objects that we want and like. There is nothing wrong with this. But when things don’t turn out the way that we want them to be, we’ll get disappointed, frustrated and unhappy, forever restless being influenced and over-powered by all the attachments, and the craving and aversion in our own mind.

When the mind is rendered pure, calm and at peace, undisturbed nor distracted by all the names and forms, then this Yogi or Sadhaka can mix freely in the world to perform selfless service but will not be influenced nor affected by the world and the fruit of action, as he is firmly established in non-attachment and renunciation. He can be truly compassionate when he knows non-attachment and renunciation. He won’t be disturbed nor affected by the result of his compassionate actions. There is no difference between respectful and disrespectful, success and failure, good and bad beings, censure and praise, happiness and suffering. He is unconditioned by all the names and forms of good and bad.

Be free. Be really peaceful and happy.

Om shanti.

When the outgoing tendencies of the mind are arrested, when the mind is restrained within the heart, when all its attention is turned on itself alone, that condition is Antarmukha-Vritti. The Sadhaka can do a lot of Sadhana when he has this inward Vritti. Vairagya and introspection help a lot in the attainment of this mental state.

He who has controlled his mind is really happy and free.

Concentration and Meditation – Swami Sivananda

Want to learn and practice yoga? Put down the ego first…

In the old times when a person approached a yoga Guru or yoga teacher with the intention to learn about yoga and wanted to practice yoga, he would be very humble and patient to serve this Guru or teacher for many years.

It was actually a great process of purification for the mind, as well as eradicating the ego.

The Guru or the teacher didn’t teach him any so called yoga and meditation practices, not until his ego was eradicated and his mind was free from impurities. He would only be asked to observe some code of conducts (morality) and to do any works in the house or in the ashram as selfless service or Karma yoga (unattached to the action and the result of the action), to purify the mind and to eradicate the ego – This is also the practice of non-attachment.

By this stage, he had actually finished most of his yoga practice (attaining the state of selflessness), which was through purifying the mind, and be free from the ego and impurities. Naturally he would already have the wisdom and a clear mind to digest and absorb whatever the Guru or the teacher wanted to teach him.

And with a desire-less, pure and calm mind that didn’t wavering here and there, he could easily meditate in a firm and steady asana seat, his breath was naturally rendering calm, he could observe the mind and go beyond the mind effortlessly, not being disturbed by all the names and forms (sights, sounds, smells, taste, touch and thoughts), and attain the highest state of pure consciousness, pure existence, pure knowledge and pure bliss.

That’s why Sat Guru Swami Sivananda taught us to mind our own fundamental practice of purifying the mind and eradicating the ego, and everything will fall into place for us naturally when the mind is free from impurities and when the ego is eradicated.

When the mind is free from impurities and the ego is eradicated, we are our own Guru, our very own teacher… Here is where the path of Self-realization begins.

If we still need a Guru or a teacher to tell us and guide us what do we need to do or to answer the doubts in our mind due to ignorance, then we are still on the outside of the path of Self-realization.

Yoga = Selflessness = Ego-less = Unconditional and unlimited compassion and wisdom = Eternal peace = Yoga

If our “yoga and meditation practice” did not bring us towards ego-less or selflessness, compassion and wisdom, then that is because we haven’t go through the initial process of purification of the mind and eradication of the ego yet. It’s like a container without a closing bottom underneath, no matter how much water we pour into the container, the container can never hold any water in it.

If we put some very tasty food into a bowl that is full of dirts and impurities, then the food will be contaminated and doesn’t taste good anymore. Clean the bowl first, then we can put any food into it, and the food will be free from contamination of dirts and impurities, and will taste as good as it is.

Purify the mind, and all our doubts about everything will be disappearing by itself. The Truth will reveal itself to us naturally when the mind is calm and free from impurities. We will perceive everything as it is, not necessary the way that we want it to be perceived, or the way that we want it to be…

When the mind is pure, there is nothing can affect, or disturb, or influence, or determine us. We are what we are, as we are. We are not “this”, we are not “that”. We are not “happy” nor “suffering”. We are not “good” nor “bad”.