Hugging and touching?

In this era of the so called modern and highly developed society, most people perceive and observe the practice/habit/culture of ‘hugging’ and ‘touching’ as a form of showing love, acceptance and friendliness among beings, while they would feel awkward, bad and wrong, or even be offended, if some people don’t have or don’t observe the practice/habit/culture of hugging and touching.

Many yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers might also think and believe that ‘open mind’ and ‘loving kindness/warmness’ means people need to be affectionately hugging and touching one another to be showing non-discrimination, non-separateness, non-intimidation, love, acceptance and friendliness towards all beings, while the absence of hugging and touching is being perceived as ‘closed mind’ and ‘unloving-kindness’/’coldness’ that portrays the quality of discrimination, separateness, intimidation, lovelessness, non-acceptance and unfriendliness. Many also believe that the lack of hugging or touching by another being is highly detrimental to physical, mental and emotional health. They expect all beings, especially yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers should be constantly and actively hugging and touching all other beings that they come in contact with, to show that they are genuine yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers who embrace loving kindness, who are open minded and compassionate beings, while they would be puzzled by the very few of the yoga practitioners who don’t have or don’t observe such hugging and touching habit/culture.

For yoga practitioners who truly want to open their mind, is to be free from being conditioned by such worldly egoistic thinking, belief, values and practice, where the mind understands that ‘the existence and non-existence of open mind and compassion’ is nothing to do with ‘the presence and absence of physical hugging and touching another being’, where it’s nothing bad and there’s nothing wrong with the society having and observing the hugging and touching habit/culture, especially if the minds are pure and desireless, and it’s also nothing bad and there’s nothing wrong with those who don’t have or don’t observe the hugging and touching habit/culture either. Accepting all and everyone as they are, even though certain people behave in the way that goes against the thinking, belief, values and practice of the majority of the society.

Hugging and touching or not, doesn’t really determine the presence and absence of the quality of ‘non-discrimination’, ‘non-separateness’, ‘non-intimidation’, ‘love’, ‘acceptance’ and ‘friendliness’, while the quality of non-discrimination, non-separateness, non-intimidation, love, acceptance and friendliness aren’t necessarily have to be shown/portrayed by physical contact of hugging and touching one another.

Most people would feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely and meaningless upon the absence of physical/mental/emotional interaction of hugging and touching from some other beings. And hence, many people would think and believe that the solution is to be actively giving and receiving affectionate hugs and touches among beings.

It’s the ignorant egoistic passionate mind that has attachment and expectation towards the appropriateness and disappropriateness in social behavior and interaction that would feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely, meaningless, piteous or offended upon the absence or the lack of love and affection in the form of hugging and touching from other beings.

Contemplate upon why the ancient teachings/practice of yoga emphasized on the important observation of solitude and seclusion of non-physical/mental/emotional contact and non-physical touching with any other being, where yoga practitioners and spiritual seekers were being advised to observe solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time, to free the mind from the worldly habitual passionate desire of craving and clinging towards love and affection, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to silent/annihilate the modification of the mind.

One of the common practice/observation in the Ashrams is about none should be physically touching one another regardless of among the same or different gender, especially the swamis, monks and nuns. But, nowadays, in many of the ashrams, even many ‘modernized’ swamis, monks and nuns also don’t observe this practice anymore, and they mingling intimately with one another and the people who come to the ashrams, not to say many of the householders who identify themselves as ‘yoga practitioners’ or ‘yogis’. Many ‘yoga teacher training courses’ also emphasize on the physical hands on adjustment, where the many graduated ‘certified yoga teachers’ think and believe that it’s what a good and professional yoga teacher should be doing/practicing while teaching classes and while socializing/mingling with the students or the yoga community outside of the classes to develop stronger connection and relationship among one another.

There’s nothing wrong with the worldly egoistic thinking, belief, values and practice that propagates widely about “Everyone needs love, affection, hugs and touches.” But that is not yoga practice at all, as that is indeed empowering ignorance and egoism. It’s not any different from keep feeding sugary drinks to the children or keep providing drugs to the people to make them feel ‘happy and good’ from the momentary effects of sugary drinks or drugs and from the gratification of desires by giving people what they like and want. The yoga practice is to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to realize selflessness/oneness/non-separateness, where there’s absence of needing/craving/clinging towards physical/mental/emotional love, affection, hugs and touches from other beings. There’s no need of developing stronger connection or relationship between ‘I’ and ‘the others’ in selflessness/oneness/non-separateness, as connection or relationship doesn’t exist in selflessness/oneness/non-separateness. There’s neither ‘I’ nor ‘the others’. There’s no ‘I’ need to be healed by ‘spiritual healing hugs and touches’.

A truly ‘healthy and compassionate’ society exists along with the minds that are free from ignorance and egoism. Everyone can be kind and loving towards one another out of selfless compassion, not because everyone ‘needs’ to give and receive love and affection to and from one another through certain action in order to make the egoistic minds feel good, happy, love and meaningful, or not to feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely, meaningless, piteous or offended upon the absence/lack of love and affection through certain action from other beings, as the ignorant egoistic minds think and believe that it’s so bad and terrible if there’s absence/lack of any form of love and affection among one another.

Be free.

Truthfulness?

The path of yoga and Buddhism is about realizing the Truth and respecting the Truth as it is, regardless of whether the Truth is being perceived as something pleasant or unpleasant, agreeable or disagreeable, desirable or undesirable to the worldly impure egoistic minds.

Many minds/people like to talk about ‘truthfulness’ and see it as an important value of life, but then ironically, most minds/people don’t welcome and can’t handle certain ‘truthfulness’ or ‘the truth’ being something that they don’t like and don’t want. Many people prefer themselves and everyone else to be playing a game of ‘untruthfulness/lies/hypocrisy/pretension/acting’ in all forms of relationship that would portray “Everything being the way that they like and want, that would appear to be all good and positive and nothing bad and negative”, or they would try to ignore, or deny, or hideaway whatever that they don’t like and don’t want, such as “Don’t tell me about it. I don’t want to know anything about it.” so that they can have ‘the peace and harmony’ in their lives, in their relationships with their family, relatives and friends. There’s plentiful of untruthfulness/lies/secrets/manipulation in all kinds of human’s relationship except in the rare ones that are free from the influence of the ego and egoism. Back-biting exists in many relationships as well, where people pretend to be nice to one another in front of everyone, saying only nice and positive things in front of people in order to maintain ‘peace and harmony’ in the family, work place, friends circle, personal relationship and the society, but then, many minds/people couldn’t avoid back-biting behind people’s back to express and/or release their frustration, dissatisfaction and disappointment towards what they don’t like and disagree with.

The mind can never avoid some kinds of interaction that involve certain ‘untruthfulness/lies/hypocrisy/manipulation’ dealing with all kinds of human’s relationship.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to present many different images of certain ‘quality’ on different occasions that conform to the many different thinking and beliefs of the many different minds/people that one comes in contact with and interacts with, in order to please everyone, to not offending anyone, to not making anyone feel unhappy, dissatisfy, disappointed or upset, to maintain ‘peace and harmony’, or to be surviving in a competitive world of names and forms, or to gain love, liking, help, support and comfort from others, but that would be supporting and empowering ignorance and egoism in oneself and others, while yoga practice is mainly to free the mind from ignorance and egoism.

The minds that would be disturbed, offended and upset easily by what the minds don’t like and disagree with, or what the minds perceive as unpleasant, disagreeable, bad, wrong, negative or inappropriate, is due to ignorance and egoism. None need to be untruthful, hypocrite, lie, pretend or act while being or interacting with other minds that are free from ignorance and egoism, as these minds won’t be disturbed nor offended nor upset by all kinds of name and form that are being perceived by the worldly impure egoistic minds as unpleasant, disagreeable, bad, wrong, negative or inappropriate.

In Buddha or Satguru, or any beings that are free from ignorance and egoism, the mind is undetermined and undisturbed by all the selfless impermanent names and forms, being free from the desire of craving and aversion and expectation towards all and everything to be in certain way. All kinds of suffering/unhappiness/painful sorrow/hurts/depression/loneliness/meaninglessness don’t exist in them, as there’s neither craving for something pleasant and agreeable nor aversion towards something unpleasant and disagreeable. And hence, there’s needless of the existence of any other being or family and friends being there to be loving/liking/supporting/helping/comforting them, although they would allow anyone to be kind and friendly supporting or helping them and/or other beings in many ways, while without encouraging or empowering the ignorance and egoism in the beings, but allowing the beings to also realize selflessness and compassion, being free from all kinds of suffering/unhappiness/painful sorrow/hurts/depression/loneliness/meaninglessness, being undetermined and undisturbed by all the pleasant/unpleasant, agreeable/disagreeable, desirable/undesirable names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, where the need of gaining love, liking, support, help or comfort from some others is absent, and without egoistic intention to be making and accumulating ‘family ties and friendships’, they can be ‘kind’ and ‘friendly’ towards all and everyone unconditionally without discrimination of ‘friends or not friends’, ‘family or not family’ and ‘good or bad beings’, without the need or craving of gaining love, liking, help, support and comfort from others.

Real peace and harmony is unconditional, derived from the absence of ignorance and egoism, being undisturbed by the mind perception of names and forms through the senses that is subject to impermanence and selflessness. It’s being free from all kinds of suffering, restlessness and impurities upon the annihilation of ignorance and egoism. ‘Peace and harmony’ that is subject to the existence and non-existence of certain quality of names and forms, being determined by certain condition and situation that the mind desires, likes and agrees with, that is achieved and needs to be maintained through certain actions, is not real.

Those who are free from being conditioned by worldly thinking and belief would understand this and are free from the sense of loneliness and meaninglessness. Those who are being conditioned strongly by worldly thinking and belief wouldn’t or couldn’t understand this and would be perceiving the sense of loneliness and meaninglessness from time to time or most of the time. And hence, the importance of renunciation to free the mind from being conditioned by worldly thinking and belief for sincere yoga practitioners.

One can choose to perform certain actions in the world and be engaging in certain forms of relationship and interactive activity with some others selflessly without any attachment, but not because of one thinks and believes that one has to perform such actions in the world and must be engaging in certain forms of relationship and interactive activity, as one would think and feel bad, wrong, negative, meaningless, unhappy or suffering if one doesn’t or couldn’t perform such actions in the world, or doesn’t engage in certain forms of relationship and interactive activity with some others. That is freedom in yoga or Buddhism.

Meaning / Purpose of life existence

Most minds look for the ‘meaning/purpose of life existence’ in certain qualities of names and forms, of worldly affairs, actions, activities, interactions, relationships, achievements, objects, conditions, quality of life, contributions, selfless service, and etc.

“Find something or do something in life that make you feel meaningful that give you the sense of purpose of life existence, so that life wouldn’t be meaningless and purposeless.” That’s what many people think and believe and propagate. People are suffering from ‘meaninglessness’ or ‘loneliness’ because they try to find the ‘meaning/purpose of life’ in the worldly names and forms (conditions/relationships/actions/activities/experiences/achievements) that are limited by impermanence and selflessness, that are perishable.

There’s nothing wrong with the minds finding ‘meaning’ or ‘purpose’ of life existence in certain qualities of names and forms, of worldly affairs, actions, activities, interactions, relationships, achievements, objects, conditions, quality of life, contributions, selfless service, and etc. Especially when there’s no attachment towards all the perishable qualities of names and forms that give the mind the sense of ‘meaning’ or ‘purpose’ of life existence.

Those who practice yoga or Buddhism, they don’t seek the ‘meaning’ or ‘purpose’ of life existence in anything that is subject to impermanence and selflessness, that is perishable. Even ‘life’, or ‘life existence’, or anything that is existing or related to this ‘life existence’, including the physical body and the modification of the mind, all actions and the fruit of actions, and the ‘yoga practice’ and the result of the ‘yoga practice’, regardless of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ qualities and ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ elements, are all subject to impermanence and selflessness.

For those who practice yoga or Buddhism, the very basic inquiry is to look into the physical body and the modification of the mind to see the truth of impermanence and selflessness of the existence and function of the physical body and the mind, that allows the mind to drop off the attachment and identification towards the physical body and the mind perception of names and forms and the related worldly life existence, as the basic foundation that leads the mind towards Self-realization, realizing selflessness/egolessness/’I’-lessness/oneness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness.

The physical body needs constant maintenance, to be fed from time to time to be functioning/existing/surviving, while generating/disposing many by-products at the same time, and constantly balancing between physical/mental activities and rest. When it didn’t get fed enough, it will feed on itself (‘eating’ itself), withdrawing energy, liquid, minerals and nutrients from the body itself to feed itself to be continuing functioning/existing/surviving. If the energy supply stopped for more than a certain period of time, when it no longer can function/survive by ‘eating’ itself, the body will stop functioning and decomposing, or ‘death’. There’s nothing good or bad, positive or negative, happiness or unhappiness, meaningfulness or meaninglessness, purposefulness or purposelessness about the birth and death of the physical body (of oneself and others), and all those impermanent changes of growth, decaying, aging, deteriorating and illness/injury/pain/discomfort in between birth and death. It’s the same as the modification of the mind perceiving all the names and forms of a life existence through the senses via the sense organs of the physical body, that rely on Prana/energy/food/oxygen/water/nutrients/minerals supply to be functioning, constantly changing selflessly under the influence of all kinds of inputs/elements/Gunas/cause and effect.

Once the mind goes beyond the attachment and identification towards the selfless and impermanent function/existence of the physical body and the modification of the mind, then all kinds of ‘pleasant/unpleasant’ relationships/experiences/possessions/qualities of names and forms are just being what they are, neither meaningful nor meaningless, neither purposeful nor purposeless. There’s need not finding/having a ‘meaning/purpose of life existence’ in the worldly life and all that exist in it. Though one can ‘cherish’ all the good and happy moments/experiences with all and everyone that one loves and appreciates, but without clinging onto or labeling ‘this and that’ as meaningful or ‘this and that’ as the purpose of (my) life existence. It’s like watching ‘the loved ones’ or ‘the precious ones’ passing away one by one, while being aware of this is the truth of all existence of names and forms that are impermanent and selfless. It’s just whether the mind can make use of ‘this’ and ‘now’, the perception of a worldly life existence in this present moment to transcend ‘itself’, or ‘the thought current of a worldly existence of names and forms/objects of the senses’, or ‘the ignorance towards itself’.

One just makes use the physical body, the thinking mind, the knowledge, the learning, the education, the skills, the talents, the conditions and the opportunities to be doing something for oneself and others. Without the need of the ‘meaning/purpose of life existence’.

Above all, the one that needs to have the ‘meaning/purpose of life existence’ to feel good and meaningful to be existing, is the ego.

Freeing the mind from being conditioned by worldly thinking and belief

The minds that are under the influence of ignorance, that are ignorant towards itself is being conditioned by worldly egoistic social/cultural/religious thinking and belief, are being limited to be in certain ways and not to be in certain ways to feel good, happy and meaningful, or not. There will be judgment or identification of “If I’m like this, I’ll be okay, good and happy. And if I’m not like this, I’ll be not okay, not good and not happy.” or “If life is like this, it’s good and meaningful. And if life is not like this, it’s not good and meaningless.” or “Things/people should be like this or shouldn’t be like that, then it’s right and good, or else it’s bad and wrong.”

Such as many ‘yoga teachers’ would think and believe that they need to attend Internationally recognized ‘yoga teachers training courses’ and be ‘qualified’ and ‘certified’ to be ‘yoga teachers’, to be ‘authorized’ and ‘allowed’ to teach yoga to other people, and need to be attending ongoing ‘yoga courses’ to be upgrading one’s knowledge and teaching skills, and also believing that ‘possessing all these names and forms’ would also make them responsible ‘good’, ‘well-trained’ and ‘well-informed’ yoga teachers. Or, many ‘yoga students’ who think and believe that ‘yoga teachers’ who attended Internationally recognized ‘yoga teachers training courses’ to be ‘qualified’ and ‘certified’ to be ‘Internationally recognized yoga teachers affiliated with such and such yoga alliance/association/organization’ as well as attending ongoing ‘yoga courses’ to be upgrading their knowledge and teaching skills or those who have been ‘teaching yoga’ for such and such years, that they must be ‘good and responsible yoga teachers’, or else, they are not good or responsible yoga teachers. But yoga and teaching yoga to others are not determined by all these names and forms at all.

Such as many people including many yoga enthusiasts and physical/mental health professionals, who think and believe that ‘the practice of silence’, ‘seclusion’, ‘solitude’, ‘dispassion’, ‘renunciation from worldly affairs/ties/connections/relationships/activities/interactions/communications’, ‘refraining the mind from going out chasing after the objects of the senses that stimulate the mind and to gratify the desire of craving and aversion which empower the ego/egoism that feed the ignorance’, or ‘reducing/limiting mind imprints of ceaseless inputs and outputs to silent the restless modification of the mind’ are something ‘sad’, ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘unhealthy’, ‘insane’, ‘mad’, or ‘meaningless’, as all these observances appeared to be contradicted with the ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’ worldly thinking/belief/values/behavior/practice/way of living. But, these are the observances that would free the mind from ignorance and suffering.

The egoistic minds that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism need the presence of someone else or something to be constantly acknowledging/validating one’s existence or purpose, or to feel ‘needed/wanted’ by other people, to be acknowledged and identified by oneself and others as “I am a lovable, knowledgeable, intelligent, generous, friendly, helpful, good, kind and caring person who is needed/wanted by other people to be there in their life.”

Meanwhile, the minds that are free from ignorance, that are not being conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking and belief, are free being anyway, being undetermined by the quality of names and forms, impermanent changes, time, space and causation (actions and the consequences of actions), without judgment or identification of “If I’m like this, I’ll be okay, good and happy. And if I’m like that, I’ll be not okay, not good and not happy.” or “If life is like this, it’s good and meaningful. And if life is not like this, it’s not good and meaningless.” or “Things/people should be like this or shouldn’t be like that, then it’s right and good, or else it’s bad and wrong.”

The selfless minds that are void of ignorance and egoism don’t need the presence of anyone or anything to be constantly acknowledging/validating one’s existence or purpose, or to feel ‘needed/wanted’ by other people, to be acknowledged and identified by oneself and others as “I am a lovable, knowledgeable, intelligent, generous, friendly, helpful, good, kind and caring person who is needed/wanted by other people to be there in their life.” even though they might be performing actions that are ‘helping’/’supporting’/’benefiting’ other people, without attachment, identification or association.

The minds that are void of ignorance and egoism have no ‘problems/troubles/disturbs/hurts/disappointment/dissatisfaction’ that need to be ‘shared with’ or ‘heard by’ other people, and don’t need other people keep asking oneself “How are you/Are you okay?”, to feel being noticed, acknowledged, heard, understood, sympathized, empathized, cared, liked, loved, helped, supported or touched by ‘other people’.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what and how they think/believe/behave/desire/don’t desire. Only those who have sufficient awareness to be aware of and acknowledge the ignorance in one’s mind would have initiative to free the mind from ignorance.

Being alone doesn’t induce the sense of ‘loneliness’. Being alone is not something sad, bad, or unhealthy. It’s the thinking that is under the influence of worldly social/cultural/religious thinking and belief about “Loneliness is deriving from being alone, and being alone is something sad, bad and unhealthy.” that causing the mind thinks and feels lonely, sad, bad and unhealthy for being alone. As there are many people who are not alone also would suffer from ‘loneliness’, while there are people who often being alone by oneself don’t suffer from ‘loneliness’, neither will they feel disturbed when surrounded by other people, just that they don’t associate/involve with other people’s actions and reactions, and they do not interfere with other people’s different ways of thinking/belief/behavior/practice/living.

Most mental health professionals would suggest and encourage people who suffer from ‘loneliness’ to be with other people, to talk to other people, to interact with other people, or to engage in some form of physical/mental/emotional activities with other people so that they will feel less lonely, and it might make people feel less lonely when their minds are being busy with the engagement with physical/mental/emotional activities with some other people, but it doesn’t really free the mind from the suffering of ‘loneliness’. Because ‘loneliness’ is not caused by being alone, or isolation from other people, or not engaging in any activities with other people.

It’s the egoism of attachment/clinging towards the presence of other people being around and the desire of craving for receiving acknowledgement, attention, empathy, sympathy, love, care, liking, understanding, or support from other people and the attachment/craving towards the mind stimulation of inputs and outputs derived from engaging in social physical/mental/emotional interactions/activities with other people, that the mind feels lonely/miserable/sad/wrong/unhealthy for being alone without any physical/mental/emotional contact with ‘someone’ or ‘something’ for an extended period of time. It’s like the addiction towards certain substances and the mind will feel great/satisfied/happy/relieved momentarily within the effectiveness of the substances, but once the effect of the substances is gone, the mind will crave for getting the effect of the substances again, and again, and it will feel uneasy/unhappy/dissatisfied/irritated/agitated/anxious/aggressive/sad/miserable/sicked if it’s craving for the effect of the substances is not being gratified over an extended period of time.

Just like low self-esteem, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, anger, fear, worry, guilt, regret, pride, arrogance, unhappiness, meaninglessness and etc, ‘loneliness’ is the by-products of ignorance and egoism and being conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking and belief to think/feel/analyze/judge/behave/desire/act and react towards all the mind perception of names and forms or life experiences in certain ways, it’s not coming from particular environment, condition, situation, people, things or happening being sad, bad, wrong, negative, depressing, disappointing, disturbing, hurtful or unhealthy. Such as by giving the mind what it likes and wants and not giving the mind what it doesn’t like and doesn’t want would give momentary satisfaction to the mind, but it doesn’t free the mind from ‘dissatisfaction’. By doing what the mind likes to do and achieving what the mind wants to achieve might give the mind the momentary sense of confidence, happiness and meaningfulness, but it doesn’t free the mind from the sense of ‘low self-esteem’, ‘unhappiness’ and ‘meaninglessness’.

‘Loneliness’ doesn’t exist in the selfless/’I’less/egoless and silent mind. In silence and selflessness, who is there to perceive/experience/feel/identify with loneliness, low self-esteem, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, meaninglessness, hurts, anger, fear, worry, guilt, regret, pride, arrogance and etc?

Be free.

Retreat?

A retreat centre is a place for Sadhana, to retreat the mind from worldly habits of social interactions and activities to silent the restless mind. Live alone, sit alone, walk alone, eat alone, meditate alone. It’s not an open house for community social recreation activities making social connections hanging out together busy chatting and gossiping, plotting and planning to chase away boredom and loneliness and empowering worldly attachments and identifications. Even in everyday life, one observes silence as much as possible renouncing worldly social interactions and activities, immerse in solitude and seclusion to be determined to annihilate the modification of the mind. Very few people indeed have this understanding and determination.

Mental and emotional independence

The core/essential teachings and practice of yoga is about purification of the mind transcending the human egoistic nature/worldly thinking and belief/feelings and emotions/behavior/action and reaction, the impermanent condition, ability and limitation of the physical body of birth, growth, changes, sickness, weakness, old age and decomposition (death), the selfless function of the mind, the states of the mind, the modifications/activities of the mind, the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, the egoism, the impurities, the veil of ignorance and attaining liberation from the suffering of the mind perception of a worldly life existence that is subject to impermanence and selflessness.

In the process of the transformation from the lower human nature (selfishness/tendency to hurt oneself and/or others) to the higher human nature (unselfishness/tendency not to hurt oneself and/or others), and then transcending even the higher nature to go beyond the lower/higher or the bad/good human nature (selflessness/attributelessness), the thinking mind needs to be disciplined for developing certain essential qualities that allow the mind to go beyond the impermanent and selfless mind perception of a worldly life existence of qualities of names and forms.

These essential qualities are the basic foundation of both the practice of Yoga and Buddhism for mind purification, such like dispassion, correct understanding, right view, right effort, right livelihood, truthfulness, honesty, simplicity, austerity, contentment, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, intentionlessness, patience, perseverance, determination, acceptance, detachment/letting go, forgiveness, tolerance, forbearance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, one-pointedness, right concentration, care-free, fearlessness, renunciation, solitude, seclusion, calmness, self-discipline, self-control, self-inquiry, self-effort, self-realization, or being unaffected/undisturbed/undetermined/uninfluenced by the mind perception of pleasant/unpleasant, agreeable/disagreeable, likeable/dislikeable impermanent qualities of names and forms through the senses.

All these qualities existing in the mind are also reflecting as mental and emotional independence in a being. One will know how to deal with challenging or difficult condition and situation equanimously and solve problems by oneself.

One doesn’t need to rely on or depend on attaining/possessing, or experiencing, or coming in contact with the impermanent quality of names and forms of good condition, good environment, good life experience, good livelihood, good standard of living, good relationships, perfect unbroken family/society, good image, good reputation, social status, health status, possessions, knowledge, skill, gratification of desire (of getting what I like/not getting what I don’t like/not losing what I like/losing what I don’t like), achievements, physical and mental abilities, or getting attention, love, liking, agreement, support, appreciation, acknowledgment, kindness, respect, comfort, friendship, companionship from anyone or anything, to feel good, happy, confident, love and meaningful, or to perform necessary actions that would benefit oneself and/or others.

One is peaceful as one is, being mentally and emotionally independent, where the mind processes all the mind perception of names and forms or thought activities/feelings/emotions as it is, uninfluenced by egoism or worldly family/racial/social/cultural/religious/spiritual thinking and belief, being open-minded to inquire/question/investigate the truth of everything, including the teachings of Yoga and Buddhism, without blind-believing, blind-following, blind faith, or blind-actions and reactions, and being free from emotional exploitation/burden/blockage.

This is also what and why most people fear of – Mental and emotional independence in people could also means that those impure selfish greedy ambitious minds are losing the ‘power’ or ‘opportunity’ to control/influence/manipulate/exploit/threaten other people to be the way that ‘I’ like it to be, to help ‘I’ to get what ‘I’ want, or gratify ‘my’ desires, or achieve ‘my’ ambitions, or create the life/relationship/family/parenthood/business/career/community/society/politic/nation/world/security/enjoyment/situation that ‘I’ desire, that would help me to achieve what I want to achieve. Regardless whether this ‘I’ is a partner, a spouse, a parent, a child, a sibling, a friend, a teacher, a student, a member of the community/society, a citizen of a country, a leader of a country, a business person, an employer, an employee, a politician, a political party, a society, a group of people, an association, an affiliation, a company, and etc.

Whether people are aware or unaware of themselves having personal goal/ambition/agenda, they don’t like the idea of mental and emotional independence, as it would threaten/obstruct their personal goal/ambition/agenda.

Most parenting methods and children psychological development/training and education are mostly about empowering egoistic human nature that is empowering/encouraging mental and emotional dependence, as mental and emotional independence is ‘threatening’ the egoistic worldly family/cultural/social/religious/political/commercial thinking/belief/values/behavior of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion and expectation in all the relationships/dealings among people.

Contemplate on these familiar worldly thinking/belief/practice/values -:

“Of course I want my children/my partner/my friends/my teachers/my students/my community/my employee/my employer/my clients/my followers/my disciples/my supporters to attached onto me, to hold on to me, to need me, to rely on me. They need me to be there for them. They need my presence, my attention, my love, my care, my affection and my guidance/advice/approval/agreement/consent/opinion/support/help/service. I am needed by them. I will feel so worthless, lonely, bored, unloved, demotivated, depressed, empty and meaningless if I am not needed by anybody.”

“I love my children and my children will love me.”

“I am nice to you and you will be nice to me too.”

“I am giving you something nice and you will give me something nice too.”

“I will be disappointed, unhappy and angry, and I won’t be nice to you, if you don’t love me, or are being ungrateful/unappreciative, or are not nice to me.”

“This is who you are. Don’t forget or abandon this. This is your root, your ancestors, your name, your gender, your role, your obligated behavior, your thinking, your belief, your culture, your spirituality, your religion, your God, your parents, your family, your friends and relatives, your community, your nationality, your motherland, your dignity, your pride, your duty and this is your life. All these are who and what you are. You need love and consent from all these that make you who you are, or else you will be sick and die due to lack of love, loneliness and meaninglessness. You need to attain love, support, agreement, acknowledgement, cooperation, companionship from them. You must love them and they will love you and bless you with your desires come true, happiness, goodness and prosperity. You should fight/hurt/destroy the threats upon you and them at all cost to protect all these values of what make you who you are.”

The impure egoistic possessive minds want and expect strong attachment and dependence among family members, community members, parents and children, siblings, friends, citizens, human beings, and etc. They encourage the development/empowerment of a strong personal/cultural/religious/family/worldly/community/national identity that build on mental and emotional dependence among each other. Mental and emotional independence appears to be something ‘wrong’, ‘unhealthy’, ‘bad, ‘crazy’, ‘inappropriate’, ‘sickness’, or ‘impossible’ for many people even though different people come from different backgrounds of culture/thinking/belief/practice. Reasoning, or analytical thinking, or questioning the truth of things are being considered as ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ for many people who have personal goal/ambition/agenda that depend on the ‘support’ from other people.

There is no doubt that physical, mental and emotional independence can be limited and restricted due to circumstances. Such like infants and young children/physically or mentally ill or injured or disabled people/old people/emotionally or mentally disturbed people will need special attention and care, physical help, mental help, emotional support from other people to support and help them in their everyday living, to go through difficult moments, or need to be physically depending on other people for many things during the time of young age, sickness, injuries, weakness, old age, immobility, or suffering from mental or emotional disability.

One can be mentally and emotionally independent even though one is physically depending on other people for many things in life, unless one is suffering from mental and emotional disability. Just like those who are not suffering physical limitation or disability don’t need to rely or depend on others physically, so as, those who are not suffering from mental or emotional disability don’t need to rely on or depend on others mentally or emotionally. But then, how come so many people glorify and advocate mental and emotional dependence among each other, thinking that it’s not possible or it’s not good for human beings to be mentally and emotionally independent?

Be free.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be free.

The importance of renunciation, seclusion and solitude

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be free from craving for love

Some feel hurt when they think there’s no one love them. Some feel hurt when they think they love someone whom they don’t really love. Some feel hurt when they are loved by someone who doesn’t really love them. Some feel hurt when they aren’t getting the love that they want. Some feel hurt when they are losing the love that they like. No matter what, people will feel hurt, whether they want to love someone, or they want to be loved by someone.

There’s nothing wrong with ‘love’. People say ‘love’ hurts and advise other people not to love, if they don’t want hurt. This is incorrect understanding.

It’s the desires of craving towards ‘love’ and the aversion towards ‘love-less’, and the expectation towards how ‘love’ should be like, is why people feel hurt, or lonely, dissatisfied, disappointed, unhappy, depressed, meaningless, miserable, or suffer, when they want to love or be loved by someone.

Realize what is ‘love’ and learn how to love, is yoga.

Be free from craving for love, whether from family, love relationship, friendship, community, or any other forms of beings and objects of names and forms.

When the mind is free from craving for love, there is peace, it doesn’t matter one is loving someone, or not, and whether one is loved by someone, or not.

Loneliness?

Loneliness doesn’t exist in the minds that are free from ignorance and egoism, even when being by oneself alone, without engaging in any personal relationship or friendship or contact with anyone, or without engaging in any forms of mental or physical social interactions and activities, as there is no sense of separateness of time, space and causation in the minds that are selfless/compassionate. The minds are peaceful and contented as they are, being free from clinging onto the existing companionship, love and support from other beings, being free from craving towards the companionship, love and support from other beings that are non-existing in the present, being free from aversion towards the absence of companionship, love and support from other beings in the present, and being free from aversion towards losing the existing companionship, love and support from other beings.

The sense of loneliness and all the other forms of impurities such like separateness, restlessness, dissatisfaction, meaninglessness, emptiness, boredom and all sorts of fear will keep following the egoistic minds that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism, wherever they are and whatever condition they have, even when these minds are having a good life in a good living environment and a good condition of the physical body, and they are surrounded by many other beings, being engaged in different relationships and friendships with many other beings, and being busy with all sorts of worldly mental and physical social interactions and activities, as there are attachment of clinging, craving and aversion in the mind that give rise to the sense of loneliness and all other forms of impurities.

Realize selflessness and be free from ignorance and egoism, being unattached towards the life existence and function of the body and mind that are selfless and subject to impermanence, and being undetermined by any qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses that are also impermanent, and the mind will be free from loneliness and all other forms of impurities.

Otherwise, the mind ceaselessly looking for or relying on companionship, love and support from other beings to occupy itself with some forms of mental or physical social interactions and activities, to get rid of loneliness, dissatisfaction, boredom, emptiness, meaninglessness and so on. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get rid of loneliness by keeping the mind busy engaging with someone or something, but then the mind will be in a state of restlessness, which it will come to a point where the mind goes wild and couldn’t ‘unwind’ or ‘shut down’ naturally, and affecting the mental and physical health and relationships with everyone in long term. In serious cases, people might hurt themselves and/or others either out of loneliness or restlessness.

For those who are sincere in their yoga practice to ‘know thyself’, to be free from ‘suffering’, who might think that they have a ‘good’, ‘contented’, ‘positive’ and ‘happy’ mind, can try to live alone in solitude and seclusion being isolated from ‘the world’ for a prolong period of time, and one will find out the true state of the mind, or whether the mind is free, or not.

Be free.