Learn how to free the mind from all kinds of disturbs and hurts

When a mind/person feels disturbed, unhappy, angered, disappointed or hurt by something, usually the impulsive reaction will be expecting some kind of sympathy or empathy from other minds/people, and looking forward to be comforted, loved, looked after, acknowledged, or supported by other minds/people. And most minds/people would also think and believe that that is how people should react towards other people’s state of minds that are disturbed, unhappy, angry, disappointed or hurt, to be there to be listening to what they think is disturbing their minds and comforting these suffering minds/people by showing them love, care, acknowledgement and support, to be sharing and lessening their ‘unhappiness’ or ‘suffering’, in terms of generating a ‘loving kindness’ society/community. There’s nothing wrong with that and it might give the troubled/disturbed/unhappy/angry/disappointed/hurt minds certain degrees of relieve, to feel better, but it doesn’t help them to be free from the root cause of the suffering from disturbs, unhappiness, anger, disappointment, or hurts. Instead, most probably it might be unintentionally empowering or feeding the attachment, clinging, craving or expectation in people’s mind.

Just like giving sugary fizzy drinks to the unhappy kids might make them feel happy, but they would crave for more sugary drinks to make them feel happy. As once the craving is being gratified, it would only intensify the craving. And if their craving is not being gratified, they would be more unhappy. That’s not freedom at all.

There’s clinging, craving and expectation towards receiving sympathy, empathy, love, affection, care, acknowledgement, or support from others, even though there’s nothing wrong with receiving sympathy, empathy, love, affection, care, acknowledgement, or support from others, as this is what most worldly minds/people believe and expect the society/community/family/relationship/friendship should be, but the mind is not free. If for some reasons, the mind doesn’t get what it thinks and believes it deserves to be getting from others, it will be more disturbed/unhappy/angry/disappointed/hurt and would do things that would hurt itself and/or others. This is not freedom.

As well as most egoistic minds would want to feel that they are needed by others to feel good and meaningful about themselves and their life existence, that they are capable to give and show love, care, affection, sympathy, empathy, acknowledgment and support to others who ‘need’ them. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that, just that these minds would feel bad or meaningless if for some reasons they think that they are not needed by some others, or when they think that other people do not appreciate what they give. This is not freedom.

Only those who can go beyond worldly thinking and belief can penetrate the real meaning of this teaching and practice. It doesn’t mean that everyone in the society will become ‘cold’, ‘heartless’ or ‘lack of sympathy/empathy’, but the minds are free from clinging, craving or expectation towards receiving the ‘deserving’ love, care, affection, sympathy, empathy, acknowledgment and support from others to feel loved, cared, worthy, comforted, acknowledged or supported, to feel good and meaningful, by knowing what is going on in the mind and be free from ignorance and egoism, and thus, be free from all kinds of disturbs, unhappiness, anger, disappointment, or hurts. One doesn’t need anyone to be there to be listening to one’s ‘troubles’, ‘unhappiness’ or ‘hurts’, to be ‘comforted’, as there’s no trouble, unhappiness or hurt existing in this liberated mind. One also can give and show sympathy, empathy, love, care and support to others without the attachment, identification, craving, intention or expectation in order to attain good and meaningful feelings towards oneself or one’s life existence. That is true freedom and compassion.

Yoga practice such like cleansing technique, breathing exercises, yoga asana exercises, chanting, prayer, or concentration practice, can also give the effects of relieving certain degrees of disturbs, unhappiness, anger, disappointment or hurts in the minds, but again, it doesn’t stop the mind from continuing be disturbed, unhappy, angry, disappointed, or hurt by something that they don’t like, don’t want and don’t agree with, that they think is bad, wrong, disturbing, unhappy, frustrating, disappointing, or hurtful, if the mind is not free from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Those who truly want to learn and practice yoga, it’s not about doing some forms of yoga practice to be getting some conditional and impermanent physical/mental/emotional benefits or getting some momentary relief from what they think is painful suffering, but they learn how to free the mind from the root cause of all kinds of suffering, of disturbs, unhappiness, anger, disappointment, or hurts.

Naturally, the society will have more physical/mental/emotional healthy minds/people, where the minds/people realized unconditional love from within, know how to look after themselves and love others unconditionally, being free from clinging, craving, aversion or expectation.

But not many minds/people would understand and appreciate the greatness of this freedom. Most minds/people believe in and want a society/community/family/relationship/friendship that builds on ‘needing each other’ all the time to feel love, good, happy and meaningful. That’s how people are being taken advantage by others who have selfish intention being in a relationship or friendship. Even in the world of yoga, some yoga teachers or so called ‘gurus’ take advantage of the yoga students for their vulnerability when the students longing or expecting to be receiving comfort, sympathy, empathy, kindness, love, care, affection, acknowledgment, or supports from the yoga teachers or ‘gurus’.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they think or don’t think, believe or disbelieve, want and don’t want. People don’t have to practice yoga of freeing the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, but just want to do some yoga practice regularly and engaging in social/community activities, to attain some momentary physical/mental/emotional benefits or relief, to attain some kinds of conditional and impermanent good, positive, loving, happy and meaningful feelings.

Work diligently to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, if one wants to attain or realize this freedom.

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Go beyond the sense of meaninglessness and meaningfulness

As long as the mind is still swaying in between the sense of meaninglessness and meaningfulness, rejecting the sense of meaninglessness and longing for the sense of meaningfulness, know that this is due to ignorance and egoism, and this mind is not free.

The ignorant egoistic mind is determined by the existence and non-existence of certain qualities of names and forms that generates either the sense of meaninglessness or the sense of meaningfulness. The mind recognizes and labels certain qualities of names and forms as ‘meaningful’ or ‘meaningless’, and has craving/longing towards what the mind recognizes and labels as ‘meaningfulness’ and has aversion towards what the mind recognizes and labels as ‘meaninglessness’.

For the mind that is not free from ignorance and egoism, there will always be the perception of the sense of meaninglessness towards the existence or the absence of certain qualities of names and forms, which leads to the longing for the sense of meaningfulness that the mind thinks it can be found in certain qualities of names and forms, with the intention to be free from the sense of meaninglessness.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying and appreciating all the nice experiences that make us feel good and happy, and the companionship of nice people who are nice to us, who like and agree with us, who are like-minded as us, who share the similar thinking, belief and values. But, what happen when all these nice experiences and the companionship of the people whom we like and want to be with are not available to us or are absent for a period of time? The mind feels dissatisfied, disappointed, unhappy, depressed and meaningless. The mind misses all the nice experiences and companionship of people whom the mind likes and wants to be with and interact with. The mind experiences suffering. This mind is not free, even if this is a good mind with good behavior and good will.

Realize yoga, be liberated from ignorance and egoism, there’s neither meaninglessness nor meaningfulness.

One enjoys and appreciates all the nice experiences and the companionship of other people who are like-minded, but one doesn’t miss anything or anyone when all these names and forms are not existing/available. One doesn’t miss any objects of names and forms of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations or thoughts, that the mind likes and agrees with. One doesn’t miss any activities that one would enjoy doing. One doesn’t miss any particular interaction or connection with anyone. One doesn’t miss anyone whom one loves and cares for. One doesn’t miss any ‘good’ things and ‘happy’ experiences that are not existing/available, that are absent in the present moment, or indefinitely.

By advising other people who feel meaninglessness in life to do or achieve something that will give them the sense of meaningfulness doesn’t help them to be free. It is not the teachings or practice of yoga.

Whenever the mind finds the sense of meaningfulness in certain objects or actions or experiences, may it be teaching yoga to other people, or the accomplishment in yoga practice, or doing charity works, or contribution to the less fortunate ones, or doing certain things that one feels accomplishment and satisfaction, or being treated with respect, love and kindness by other people, or living a higher quality of life, or having an intense faith towards ‘God’ or particular belief and practice, then know that this mind is not free. The mind that is free, is aware of all the perception of different qualities of names and forms, but there’s no sense of meaninglessness or meaningfulness existing. There’s no longing or missing towards something that the mind perceives as ‘good’ and ‘meaningful’.

All the names and forms are impermanent (good or bad, meaningless or meaningful), and the liberated mind is not determined by any ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘meaningless’ or ‘meaningful’ actions or experiences or objects of names and forms, to be existing, to feel meaningless or meaningful.

This realization/liberation derives from the persist practice of silence being in solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time.

Be free.

The importance of renouncing worldly life for those who want to realize yoga

Renunciation is an important part of yoga sadhana for those who are aware of the consequences of ignorance and egoism in oneself, who sincerely want to realize yoga to be free from ignorance and suffering. Those who just want to do some yoga exercise to gain some benefits to look good and feel good about oneself, who enjoy being passionate towards worldly life and social activities, who think ignorance doesn’t exist in them, they don’t have to follow the path of renunciation.

After learning and practicing yoga for some years having developed a certain degrees of non-attachment and correct understanding of the teachings and practice of yoga, yoga practitioners who want to realize yoga will have to eventually renounce the worldly life and retreat into solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time.

This is not about going for a short term of a few days or few weeks of yoga retreat holidays where people indulge in yoga related activities that they enjoy doing, that make people feel good and meaningful, spending time being with people who are like-minded, connecting and interacting with people who share the same ideas and values, while being able to stay connected and interacting with family and friends and the world, but it’s about renouncing the worldly life of all sorts of relationships with people or animals or things and social activities, and retreating into solitude and seclusion for at least 5 – 6 years. Allow everyone and everything to be what they are, as they are, without interference with anyone or anything expecting/wishing them to be the way that we think they should be.

Renunciation from worldly life or retreating into solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time might be perceived by many people, including those who think they love yoga and are practicing yoga, as ‘running away from life or the world’, or ‘being selfish and uncaring’ towards family, friends and the society, as most minds are being conditioned by worldly thinking and belief of a strong attachment and identification towards certain values of life consist of family and friends, social interactions and worldly affairs.

Our worldly life consists of all relationships and things and activities is what we think is what we are, and we take all these names and forms to be the highest value/meaning of life existence (family and friends, culture and spirituality or religion, what we do or don’t do, what we have or don’t have, what we achieve and don’t achieve, and what we contribute or don’t contribute to the society). For many people, it’s ‘wrong’, ‘bad’, ‘inappropriate’, ‘inhuman’, ‘selfish’ and ‘crazy’ to not connecting or interacting with family and friends, or the society. And it’s okay. Everyone has the freedom for how they perceive and understand and think about everything.

But this is also why people perceive/experience all kinds of suffering in this worldly life existence. And it’s okay, because people rather choose to go through suffering than to find out how to be free from suffering.

We might not like suffering and we don’t want suffering or what we think and believe as ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’, but we are not aware of the root cause of all suffering, and we don’t like or disagree with the teaching/practice that will lead us to realize the cause of suffering and how to be free from suffering, due to deep rooted ignorance and egoism.

At one moment, we feel good, happy, meaningful and contented when things are the way that we like it to be or how we think it should be, when our wishes and desires are being gratified. At another moment, we feel hurt, annoyed, frustrated, agitated, disappointed, dissatisfied, upset, unhappy, angry, hating, fear and worry when things are not the way that we like it to be or how we think it should be, when our wishes and desires are not being gratified. And we tell ourselves and others that this is life, this is human nature, this is normal for all human beings. But then, whether intentionally or unintentionally, we constantly do and say things that would cause damage and disharmony in oneself and in the world, out of hurt, annoyance, frustration, agitation, disappointment, dissatisfaction, upset, unhappiness, anger, hatred, animosity, fear and worry.

Whether we like and agree with it, or not, the entire practice of yoga is about the annihilation of egoism of attachment, identification and the desires of craving and aversion, to free the mind from impurities, to be free from ignorance, to transcend suffering.

Although one has been doing yoga practice for a long time and has heard about selflessness, but one cannot realize yoga (selflessness), if one doesn’t work on freeing the mind from the egoistic attachment and identification with the worldly life existence as ‘I’, ‘This is who and what I am’, ‘This is my body’, ‘This is my mind’, ‘This is my thinking/belief/culture/religion/ethnicity’, ‘This is my life’, ‘This is my family’, ‘These are my children’, ‘These are my friends’, ‘These are my brothers and sisters’, ‘This is where I belonged’, ‘This is my country’, and ‘This is my world’. All these names and forms are just what they are, they are impermanent, they don’t belong to ‘I’, and they are not ‘I’.

The ego constantly straining the body and the mind expecting the body and mind to be like this or like that, to be able to do this or that, to be able to achieve what ‘I’ like and what ‘I’ want. ‘I’ want my body and my mind to be like this, ‘I’ don’t like them to be like that. ‘I’ want my body and my mind to be able to do this and achieve that. And we think we love our body and mind, but we don’t. We just want the body and the mind to gratify all my desires or wishes of what I like and what I want.

When one realized yoga or selflessness, there’s no separateness of ‘I’ and what the mind perceives as ‘my family’, ‘my friends’, ‘my brothers and sisters’, and so on. There’s no ‘We are one big family’, ‘We are all human beings’, or ‘We are connected together’. There’s no ‘we’.

Connection exists only when there is still the perception of separateness of different individuals, that two or more separate objects/particles/souls/beings connect together. Connection doesn’t exist in oneness, or non-separateness. When there is connection, there is disconnection. It is still within the perception of duality. And the main teaching and practice of yoga is to realize non-duality, or oneness, or non-separateness. One doesn’t need to stay connected with any other beings to feel that we are connected to each other.

Those who really want to know what is yoga, they will realize it when the mind experiences complete silence being in solitude and seclusion, being cut off from the worldly life of all relationships with everyone and everything, and worldly objects and activities that the mind loves and familiars with, for a prolonged period of time.

We like to say we love yoga and we think we have been practicing yoga for a long time, and we feel satisfied, confident, good and happy when our body becomes stronger and more flexible and is able to do many of the yoga asana poses that we want to be able to do, but then we would give ourselves many ‘reasonable’ excuses about why we don’t need or don’t want to renounce worldly life to cut off all the tendencies of all kinds of attachment, clinging, longing and craving.

Some yoga practitioners would have no difficulty to perform their daily routine of yoga asana and pranayama practice regularly, and gaining great improvement in physical health and fitness level, strength and flexibility and skill to perform many of the yoga asana poses, and attaining momentary good and happy feelings, sense of self-worth, confidence and meaningfulness in the mind due to the effects and achievements from performing the yoga practice regularly, being able to live the life that they want, but not many are interested in observing complete silence in solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time, to be isolated from people and things that they love and the worldly life and activities that they are familiar with. The ego needs to feel loved and be connected with the world, to feel good, happy, confident, or meaningful.

Some people will have no difficulty to go into a silent retreat centre for a few weeks, and stop connecting and interacting with other people and stop doing the activities that they like to do for that few weeks, as they know this is just a very short term restriction, but when the mind has to go through a prolonged period of time being cut off from people and things and activities that they love and like, there will be pain/suffering arise in the mind.

Meanwhile, some people might think that they have developed a good foundation of non-attachment and detachment, because they can let go certain things in life, but most probably that is because the mind has found some other new attachment to cling onto, such like new friends, or new relationships, or ‘new toys’ to play with, or new activities to do in life.

While some people love to go for weeks and months of ‘yoga retreat’, but know that most of the yoga retreats in the world are not about silencing the mind, but it is about living with a community that are like-minded, doing activities and interacting with other people who share the similar ideas and values, which makes the ego feels comfortable, good, happy and meaningful, but this doesn’t help the mind to be free from ignorance and egoism.

Only when the mind can live in solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time, when the mind no longer needs to attach onto any beings or objects or activities to feel loved and connected, to feel good, happy, confident and meaningful about itself and life existence and the world, then this being can live and mix freely in the society, love everyone and everything unconditionally, care for humanity and benefit the world efficiently. There’s no loneliness, boredom, longing, clinging, craving, dissatisfaction, incompleteness, emptiness, void, meaninglessness, or fear in this mind.

“Do good to others, help others, give love and care to others, because it is meaningful and it makes us feel good and happy for being able to do good and give help, love and care to others.” – This is not the teaching of yoga at all. This is the ego needs to attach onto certain qualities of names and forms to feel good and happy and meaningful about itself and life existence. This is empowering the ego. It’s not freedom. The one who is free from the ego, simply just do good, just give help, love and care to others, NOT because ‘I’ want to or need to feel good and happy and meaningful about myself and my life for being able to do good, to give help, love and care to others.

The minds that are free from ignorance and egoism remain equanimous, peaceful and kind towards all beings without discrimination under any difficult conditions, situations and circumstances. These minds don’t need to renounce worldly life to retreat into solitude and seclusion, as they are free from egoism of attachment, identification, desires and impurities, and they are undisturbed/undetermined by all the perceptions of good and bad qualities of names and forms, and hence being free from all kinds of disturbs or suffering. These minds don’t need to display any yoga asana poses through the physical body to show that they are practicing yoga.

Be free.

Let go the ego

The ego constantly expects or looks for acceptance, love, care, kindness, support, recognition, approval, acknowledgement, attention, companionship, friendship, interaction, cooperation, encouragement, appreciation, praise and compliment, or anything that make the ego feels good, confident, proud and meaningful about itself from other people, or the group that it thinks it belongs to, or the society, or the world.

This ego will hurt itself and/or others if it doesn’t get what it’s looking for, thinking and believing that all its unhappiness, disappointment, dissatisfaction, frustration, anger and hurt are caused by other people’s bad and wrong behavior, or unkind, uncaring, unloving and unsupportive reaction and treatment, or inappreciation, or criticism, or unfriendliness, or selfishness, and so on.

Let go this ego. Be free from all these ‘unnecessary’ attachment, longing, clinging, expectation, craving and aversion.

The mind that is free from the ego doesn’t need acceptance, love, support, recognition, approval, acknowledgement, attention, companionship, friendship, interaction, cooperation, encouragement, appreciation, praise and compliment from anyone, or any group, or the society, or the world, to feel good, confident, proud or meaningful. The mind is free as it is, peaceful as it is.

No one can free other people’s minds from the ego. It has to come from within willingly and determinedly to let go the ego, the root cause of all ‘suffering’ and ‘problems’ of humanity.

No one is obliged to be kind, caring and loving to one another. Allow everyone to show love, care and kindness, or not. It’s the attachment and expectation towards the worldly thinking and idea about “Human should be like this or like that, and shouldn’t be like this or like that” that generates great disappointment in us towards what we think is ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, or ‘inhumanity’. But what we think is ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, or ‘inhumanity’ has no power to disappoint anyone. Be free.

The ego is also the one who wants to feel being ‘wanted’ or ‘needed’ by others, that there are people want me or need me, that ‘I’ am good enough, that ‘I’ am able to give love and care or inspiration and motivation to others, which give a sense of pride and meaningfulness to itself. Otherwise, the ego will feel bad and meaningless about itself, thinking and feeling that it is unneeded or unwanted by others, that it is not good enough, that no body wants or needs love and care or inspiration and motivation from it.

Once the mind is free from the ego, one can love and care for others unconditionally, without identification and attachment towards the action of giving love and care to others or the result of the action. There’s no expectation that people should be grateful and appreciative, or should show us love and care in return. One doesn’t need other people’s love and care and appreciation to feel loved, worthy or meaningful. One doesn’t need to feel loved, worthy or meaningful, at all. There’s no fear of being unloved, unworthy or meaninglessness. One does good to others, and loves and cares for others not because it will make ‘me’ feel good about ‘myself’ or expecting to receive love and care in return. And that is liberation.

Be kind, but don’t expect other people also be kind.

Be loving, but don’t expect other people also be loving.

Do good and don’t do bad, but don’t expect other people also do good and don’t do bad.

Drive with attentiveness and following the rules, but don’t expect other drivers also drive with attentiveness and following the same rules.

Love and peace to all.