The difference between love and compassion

Question – What’s the difference between (passionate feeling of) love and compassion (selflessness)?

One doesn’t necessarily must have passionate feeling of love towards all and everyone for enabling one to be compassionate and kind towards all and everyone, or not to be hurtful and unkind towards all and everyone.

Having lots of passionate feeling of love towards certain beings or objects doesn’t necessarily mean that one will be compassionate and kind, or wouldn’t be unkind and hurtful towards all and everyone.

Without feelings of love towards anyone or anything doesn’t necessarily mean that one isn’t compassionate or couldn’t be compassionate, or one will be unkind to others, or one wouldn’t be kind to others.

Under the presence of compassion, one can be compassionate and be kind to all and everyone, and won’t be hurtful and unkind to anyone or anything, even though one doesn’t have passionate feeling of love towards certain beings or objects.

Under the absence of compassion, one even can be hurtful and unkind towards certain beings or objects that one loves out of ungratified desires and impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, feelings of hurt, offensiveness, defensiveness, fear and worry, either intentionally or unintentionally, not to say one could be hurtful and unkind towards certain beings and objects that one doesn’t love or disagrees with, intentionally.

Even though compassion can be present or absent due to the presence or absence of ignorance, but compassion is always there, never appear or disappear, regardless of whether the mind is free or not free from ignorance, where compassion is ‘unveiled’ upon the absence of ignorance and compassion is ‘hidden’ under the presence of ignorance.

Passionate feeling of love is influenced and determined by desire of craving and aversion, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements towards the different quality of names and forms, and is conditioned by impermanence and will change, while compassion is unconditioned by desire of craving and aversion, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, beyond all the qualities of names and forms, and it doesn’t change, neither increase nor decrease.

The sun, the earth, the water, the air and the space don’t have passionate feeling of love towards all and everything for them to be there supporting all and everything to be here, selflessly, intentionlessly and ceaselessly.

Contemplate on this and realize selfless/intentionless/ceaseless compassion. Be free from attachment/craving/clinging towards conditional passionate love deriving from ignorance and egoism.

Love?

The minds that haven’t realize unconditional desireless dispassionate love or compassion of selflessness/oneness/non-separateness, would keep hurting oneself and others, whether wittingly or unwittingly, even when everyone thinks and believes that one loves oneself/others and others love oneself, or everyone desires/hopes for a loving community where everyone would be loving and kind to one another.

The ‘problems’ that people relate to ‘insufficient of love/touch/hug’, or ‘loveless’, or ‘unloved’, or ‘loneliness’ has nothing to do with the absence/non-existence/insufficiency of ‘I love you’, ‘You love me’, ‘We love each other’, ‘Developing a loving community’, or ‘I love myself’.

It’s whether the mind realizing unconditional desireless dispassionate love or compassion, beyond quality of names and forms, of selflessness/oneness/non-separateness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness, free from desire and passion, free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering, or not.

‘I love you’, ‘You love me’, ‘We love each other’, ‘Developing a loving community’, or ‘I love myself’ present/exist only in duality or separateness under the veil of ignorance. They don’t mean anything and don’t exist in selflessness/oneness/non-separateness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness.

The presence/existence/acknowledgement of ‘I love you’, ‘You love me’, ‘We love each other’, ‘Developing a loving community’, or ‘I love myself’ without realizing unconditional love or compassion of selflessness/oneness/non-separateness doesn’t guarantee that one doesn’t hurt oneself or others out of ungratified desires/expectations, dissatisfaction, disappointment, defensiveness, offensiveness, pride, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurt, guilt, regret, grief, sorrow, fear and worry deriving from ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, expectation, judgment/action/reaction based on certain worldly social/cultural/religious/spiritual thinking/belief/values/practice.

Even without the presence/existence/acknowledgement of ‘I love you’, ‘You love me’, ‘We love each other’, ‘Developing a loving community’, or ‘I love myself’, but one doesn’t hurt oneself and others if the mind realizes selfless/nameless/formless/attributeless/desireless unconditional love or compassion, being free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance – Egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering.

Neither there is the idea/identification/acknowledgement/presence/existence/attribute of ‘I am compassionate’, or ‘I love you unconditionally’, or ‘I love all compassionately’, or ‘Developing a compassionate community’, or ‘I am being kind and compassionate towards myself’ in oneness/non-separateness/selflessness.

‘Building/developing a loving community’ is unnecessary when the minds are free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, realizing compassion of selflessness/oneness/non-separateness, where none would hurt oneself or others, where there’s absence of the desire to give love and receive love, to attain/feel love, goodness, righteousness, positiveness and meaningfulness, to avoid lovelessness, badness, wrongfulness, negativeness and meaninglessness.

Just like drugs/medicines are useless/needless if there’s absence of sickness/injury. But still, some people hang onto drugs/medicines using them as a pleasurable enjoyment.

Desireless and dispassion leads to the realization of selfless compassion is LIBERATION in yoga/Buddhism, but it would be perceived by most passionate minds that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism as ‘lovelessness’, or ‘meaninglessness’, or ‘joylessness’, or ‘selfishness’, or ‘inhuman’, or ‘wrong and negative’. And hence, the idea of “Everyone needs love/Everyone needs to love one another/Everyone needs to give love and receive love/Without love, life is meaningless” is widely propagated in the world and empowering the passionate desire for love in everyone that directly/indirectly bring along the consequences of all kinds of suffering/’problems of humanity’ deriving from ungratified desires (lack of love, loveless, not enough love, unloved, not the love the way that it should be). That’s their freedom of thinking, belief, action and reaction. Out of love towards what they love, people would hurt anyone/anything that would hurt what they love. Out of desire/aspiration/intention/expectation for achieving/building/developing a world that they desire, that complies to their certain ideal of a world of ‘all good/positive/happiness and nothing bad/negative/unhappiness’, people would strive to achieve what they want to achieve and eliminate any obstructions/obstacles in their way to achieve their ‘desire’, at all costs.

The sun doesn’t think and feel ‘I love you’ or ‘I am compassionate’ and hence it gives light and heat and energy to the world ceaselessly.

The immune system in the body doesn’t think and feel ‘I love you’ or ‘I am compassionate’ and hence it protects the physical body from potential health risks until it breaks down.

The heart and the lungs don’t think and feel ‘I love you’ or ‘I am compassionate’ and hence they keep working all day all night giving life to and maintaining life of this physical body until they ceased functioning.

The plants don’t think and feel ‘I love you’ or ‘I am compassionate’ and hence they turn into food or nutrients or energy for the physical body to consume to be surviving.

‘Bondage of desire and passionate love’ is being perceived as something ‘meaningful, right, good and positive’ while ‘Liberation of desireless and dispassion’ is being perceived as something ‘meaningless, wrong, bad and negative’ for the worldly minded society, including many ‘yoga enthusiasts’.

Opening the mind by freeing the mind from being conditioned by certain worldly social/cultural/religious/spiritual thinking/belief/values/practice to allow the mind to inquire the truth of everything, to see the root cause of all kinds of suffering or ‘problems of humanity’ – Ignorance and the consequences of ignorance, is what yoga and meditation practice is about.

There’s nothing wrong with the idea of ‘I love you’, ‘You love me’, ‘We love each other’, ‘Developing a loving community’, or ‘I love myself’ existing in the world, and there’s nothing wrong either without any of these ideas present/existing under the manifestation of compassion, or selfless unconditional love.

If the mind insists on thinking and believing that “Without the idea/presence/existence/acknowledgement/propagation of ‘I love you’, ‘You love me’, ‘We love each other’, ‘Developing a loving community’, or ‘I love myself’ in the world in life, it would be so bad, wrong, negative, terrible, sad, piteous, meaningless and joyless,” then this mind is being ignorant towards itself is being conditioned by worldly social/cultural/religious/spiritual thinking/belief/values/practice, even if one has been ‘learning’/’studying’/’practicing’/’teaching’ yoga for some time or a long time.

“We need to give and show love to people and tell people ‘I love you’ so that they’ll know they are loved (by others/by so many people), so that they will feel love and have love, so that we can build/develop a loving community that love one another.” That’s widely propagated in the world, for the sake of love.

In yoga or Buddhism, that’s not freedom at all.

In yoga, the greatest gift is giving dhamma/wisdom that allow people to reflect/inquire the truth of everything and realize selflessness and compassion, be free from ignorance and egoism, be free from the suffering from endless passionate desire for love, or craving/longing for love and clinging onto love.

Do not blind-believing, blind-following, blind-practicing, blind-propagating, or blind-agreeing/disagreeing.

Be opened. Inquire. Reflect. Contemplate. Realize.

Realize unconditional selfless intentionless desireless dispassionate compassion.

Fighting for peace and looking for love?

Peace is always there as it is, never increase nor decrease, undetermined by the mind perception of a worldly life existence of names and forms that is subject to impermanence and selflessness.

The moment the mind is free from peacelessness/disturbance/impurities/ignorance that veiled the mind from knowing thyself/seeing the truth of names and forms, which is selflessness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness, unlimited by time, space and causation, peace is there as it is, selflessly, desirelessly, intentionlessly and effortlessly.

This unconditional peace is unconditioned, unlimited and undetermined by qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, transcending all kinds of pleasant and unpleasant condition or situation that are impermanent and selfless, where there’s no ‘I’ existing desire/aspire/intentional to be influencing or controlling all the names and forms to be exactly the way that ‘I’ desire it to be, or the way that ‘I’ think and believe how it should be.

If ‘peace’ is something ‘separated’ from the perceiver, where it has to be achieved/attained with effort by fighting for it, by fighting against certain qualities of names and forms that ‘go against’ or ‘oppose to’ peace, being determined by the presence of particular pleasant and agreeable name and form, condition and situation, or the absence of particular unpleasant and disagreeable name and form, condition and situation, then that’s not the unconditional peace as mentioned in the teachings of yoga, that is not something ‘separated’ from the perceiver.

Effort is required in the process of eliminating ignorance and impurities to allow the mind to see/know thyself, but peace is always there as it is, effortlessly, regardless of whether the mind is free, or not free from ignorance and impurities.

Being at peace, or the mind is peaceful as it is, being undisturbed/undetermined by ‘badness’, ‘wrongfulness’, ‘negativeness’ and ‘unrest/hatred’ is already ‘helping’ the world to have less a peaceless/disturbed/hateful being who is disturbed, dissatisfied, angry and hating towards ‘badness’, ‘wrongfulness’, ‘negativeness’ and ‘unrest/hatred’, whether intentionally or unintentionally generates more unrest/hatred in the world by ‘fighting’ against ‘badness’, ‘wrongfulness’, ‘negativeness’ and ‘unrest/hatred’ to achieve/protect what the mind thinks and believes as ‘goodness’, ‘rightfulness’, ‘positiveness’ and ‘peacefulness’.

It’s the same as ‘love’.

Due to ignorance, the minds/people think and believe that ‘love’ is a particular quality with particular name and form to be found in relationship/connection among one another, to be achieved/attained/possessed through effort, or sacrifice, or offering, or virtues/merits, goodness and kindness, or appreciation and gratitude, or ‘good karma’, or sharing, or giving/receiving via thoughts, actions and speech, being motivated by the aspiration to be looking for ‘love’ by growing/cultivating/developing/empowering ‘love’, longing/hoping/expecting/desiring to be receiving/giving/sharing ‘love’ among one another through relationship/connection/contact, regardless of living beings, animals, plants, or objects, to attain the sense of liveliness, joyfulness, warmth, worthiness, or meaningfulness.

The mind thinks, believes and says –

“Everyone/We/I need love.”
“Everyone/We/I want love.”
“Love is sharing/giving/receiving among all and everything.”
“Without love, life is joyless and meaningless.”
“I love/don’t love you.”
“I/You deserve/don’t deserve to love or be loved.”
“I love you more/less.”
“My love is pure/impure.”
“I feel/don’t feel love.”
“I am loved/unloved.”
“I have/don’t have love.
“No one loves me. I am so loveless and lonely.”
“We need to love others (or give love to others) so that others won’t be loveless and lonely.”

There’s nothing wrong with that, but the mind is not free, still being conditioned by particular thinking pattern under the influence of ignorance.

This ‘love’ is being perceived/acknowledged as a quality of name and form, just like ‘feeling’, ‘action’, ‘thought’, ‘sensation’, ‘sight’, ‘sound’, ‘smell’, ‘taste’, ‘energy’, ‘water’, ‘air’, ‘temperature’, and etc, that is being perceived by the mind, that is separated/distinct from the perceiver, where there’s notion of ‘I’ perceive/don’t perceive the object/quality of name and form, or ‘I’ have/possess or don’t have/don’t possess particular quality of name and form.

This ‘love’ is limited by ‘quality’ and ‘quantity’, conditioned by time, space and causation.

The mind feels dissatisfied, disappointed, hurt, angry, jealous, loveless, lonely, left out, unsupported, joyless, meaningless, unworthy, undeserving, depressed, miserable and suffer when it thinks ‘love’ is absence, or unavailable, or not enough, or not the way that the mind desires it to be, or not the way that the mind thinks how it should be.

Contemplate on this, realize unconditional love and peace, beyond ‘quality’, ‘quantity’, ‘relationship’ and ‘connection’, transcending time, space and causation.

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, and to feel less lonely or to escape loneliness. 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.

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 family/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 family/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 and 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, unworthiness 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.