The practice of silence – Mauna (2)

For those who want to experiment what is the practice of silence is about, it’s not necessarily that they have to be living in the forest or in a cave, as that can create many inconveniences, challenges and difficulties for the novice. They can experiment the practice of silence by attending a silent meditation retreat (not the commercialized luxury yoga retreat that emphasized on pleasurable enjoyment of the senses) at a dedicated retreat centre that provides the environment and facilities that allow people to be engaged in the practice of silence for a period of time –

For others who would like to observe silence in everyday life while living in a village or town or city, where one needs to look after one’s everyday living/livelihood and/or looking after other people under one’s care, it’s not possible to observe complete silence at home for a prolonged period of time, as one still have to be regularly engaging in the worldly activities of coming in contact with other people from time to time, to live everyday life of getting to work, or doing business, and getting to shops to get supplies for daily needs and feeding oneself and/or those under one’s care, and etc, though it’s still possible to observe a few hours of complete silence being away from stimulation of worldly activities of mind inputs and outputs of talking/outing/interacting/communicating/messaging/phoning/shopping/discussions/debates/worrying/physical fitness training/munching outside of basic meal times/playing musical instrument or games/reading news, magazines, or novels/listening to songs, music, talks or story telling/watching TV programs, advertisements, movies, shows performance, theater, or entertainments, and all forms of social contacts and activities during that few hours (even just for half an hour, if time and space constraint) when staying awake outside of sleeping hours.

Sleeping doesn’t count as observing silence as the mind will be unconsciously/involuntary being actively processing the memories or imprints of inputs, outputs, actions, reactions and emotions via dreams, except during the deep sleep mode where thought activities ceased, even when all the bodily systems still continue to be functioning autonomously/ceaselessly for maintaining life or staying alive.

Practicing partial silence in everyday life beside the few hours of complete solitude and seclusion restricting the mind inputs and outputs as mentioned above, it’s about filtering the inputs and outputs by:-

– Choosing inputs and outputs that will bring more correct understanding, quietness, peace and harmony to the mind of oneself and others. Avoid inputs and outputs that will inflict greater attachment, identification, expectation, craving and aversion, passionate desire, restlessness, stupidity, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, lies, untruthfulness, hypocrisy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, grief, depression, hurt, hostility, violence, ill-thinking, fear and worry, and other impurities in the mind of oneself and others.

– Reducing and limiting the physical and mental engagement in social life interactions and activities as much as possible, such like disinterest or care less towards worldly affairs, or other people’s affairs, allowing everyone to develop correct understanding, self-introspection, self-discipline and self-realization, to know what is going on in their minds, to learn to love themselves and to look after their own minds and life independently (many passionate friendly sociable good people would disagree with this, as they don’t know/understand what is beyond the worldly thinking and belief of the ‘normal’, ‘friendly’, ‘caring’, ‘good’ and ‘appropriate’ human behavior. Looking after one’s mind by purifying and silencing one’s mind to be free from ignorance and egoism, to stop unwittingly and constantly ‘hurting’ oneself and others out of ignorance and egoism and impurities is the most efficient, compassionate and friendliest way to truly care for the world and other beings)

– Talk only when necessary of something important or in the case of emergency.

– Talk less by minimizing and cutting short conversation using simple words of ‘Hello’, ‘Good morning/afternoon/evening/night/day/bye’ and ‘Thank you’ upon coming in contact with other people in everyday life.

– Learn how to be free from boredom, loneliness, left-out or meaninglessness.

– Stop feeding the desire of craving and aversion.

– Give up the worldly nature/tendency of curiosity, busybody, minding other people’s affairs, heroism, gossiping, discussion, debate, commenting, flirting, bonding, connecting, networking, relationship building, teasing, blaming, fault finding, back-biting, criticism, argument, justification, complaining, moaning, mourning, day dreaming, building castle in the air, and etc.
Looking after the overall well-being and livelihood of oneself and/or those under one’s care, perform daily tasks of maintaining the living space, without attachment or expectation, and performing social selfless service of pure and compassionate actions without attachment, identification, discrimination, bias, judgment, comparison or expectation and renouncing the fruit of action, without personal/political/commercial/religious agenda and ambition, or selfish intention and desire, doesn’t contradict to the practice of silence.

– Give up personal friendships accumulation, but be friendly to all by freeing one’s mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, without discrimination of personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, desires of craving and aversion, possessiveness or expectation towards others, develop understanding and respect towards other people’s different ways of life and values of life, thinking, belief, practice, action and reaction, or behavior under different life condition and situation, and develop tolerance, forbearance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, forgiveness and letting go.

– Do not interfere with other people’s freedom of thinking and belief and way of life, or intrude other people’s privacy and personal or living space. Do not try to convert or change or correct other people’s thinking/belief/way of life that we don’t like or don’t agree with. Mind our own mind and life. What other people want and don’t want to think, feel, believe, practice, behave, act or react, and the consequences of their actions are their freedom and responsibility. Let everyone learn to take the responsibility for their actions and looking after themselves.

– Stay away from ignorant trouble-makers if possible, if it’s not possible to stay away, then endure the challenges or difficulties that arise due to other people’s ignorance and the consequences of their ignorant behavior, instead of trying to control or change or correct them or hoping that they will go away. Even this ‘challenging and difficult’ situation out of other people’s ignorance is also impermanent. Do not feed ignorance with ignorance. Confronting people under the influence of ignorance will only generate greater ignorant reactions and unnecessary damages. It’s the prideful arrogant ego that thinks and believes that “I can control or change or correct/educate these ignorant people to stop behaving ignorantly.” It’s up to everyone to be aware of ignorance in themselves, and want to be free from ignorance or stop behaving ignorantly. Buddha can only guide people who are aware of ignorance and suffering in themselves on how to be humble to look into their mind to see the truth, but Buddha can’t remove the veil of ignorance in anyone, so that they will be aware of ignorance in themselves. Trying to control/change/correct ignorant people by fighting or conflicting with them will only provoke more ignorant reactions. It’s like telling most arrogant people, “Hey! Don’t do this. You are so stupid.” they will be more determined to do it.

– During the practice of silence in everyday life, if the mind is struggling with boredom, loneliness, or meaninglessness, one can divert the time, energy and attention/importance into the inquiry or contemplation of the truth of names and forms, study the teachings of yoga and the existing thinking and belief in one’s mind to investigate the truth of it, or developing one-pointedness of the mind focusing at one object internally or externally, or perform Japa or chanting, or do some light yoga asana practice, until the mind starts to be at ease without much usual habits of worldly physical or mental activities, one can then channel the time, energy and attention into meditation, starting with observing the natural breath as it is, when this practice becomes effortless/non-struggle, one can then observe the physical sensations moving the awareness from point to point through out the body, without attachment, judgment, expectation, craving or aversion towards the pleasant or unpleasant sensations arising and passing away. When the practice become effortless, when the mind becomes quiet, naturally, the mind sees the truth as it is, insights or wisdom will arise upon the vanish of the veil of ignorance.

It’s absolutely possible to not having (or turn-off) TV, internet connection, phone connection, radio, music player, games and other convenient entertainments for the senses at home. Or, not going to the cinema, theaters, concerts, invitations, parties, events, functions, amusement park, entertainment centres, fancy restaurants, clubhouse, social interactive cafe, pleasurable enjoyment outlet, commercial malls, and so on.

It’s also possible to reduce and minimize social communications, interactions and activities, the accumulation of friendship and relationship, minimize contact with family and friend circle and the neighbours, minimize engaging in the community activities of the village/town/city, maximize solitude and seclusion outside the time when one has to come in contact with other people for work or getting daily needs for living/survival or in the case of emergency. Family and friends who truly love and accept us as we are, will not be offended or unhappy by our non-sociable way of life, or the practice of silence, seclusion and solitude. Those who truly know what is love will let go the people whom they loved. The family and friends who will complain and be offended, that’s their freedom for how they think, feel and react, but then we understand that it’s their ignorance, egoism and impurities that cause them to think, feel and react in such way. We can let them be and be unaffected and undetermined by their ignorance.

Basically, one must know how to be undisturbed or not be bothered by how the society/other people perceive, think and judge about one’s practice of silence and renouncing social interactions and activities, as there will always be some kind of non-understanding, non-acceptance, non-accommodating, disrespectfulness, interference or intrusion towards other people’s privacy and freedom of life, judgment, disagreement, dissatisfaction, disappointment, expectation, gossip, criticism or condemn coming from people of family, friends, relatives, community, or those who don’t even know the practitioner personally, due to ignorance, egoism and impurities. If one doesn’t know how to be undisturbed by all these worldly reactions from other people, it will only cause more unhappiness and disturbance in one’s mind being determined and disturbed by other people’s thinking and belief, and other people’s expectation and intrusion towards one’s way of life or practice. If so, the practice of partial silence in everyday life becomes impossible or being contradicting towards the ‘normal’ way of life of the society or the worldly minded people.

Both sociable and non-sociable way of life is neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong. Just that for one who is aware of the ignorance and suffering in one’s mind, who wants to be free from ignorance and suffering, the practice of silence is essential, though not everyone is suitable for this practice. It requires tremendous will power, perseverance, self-discipline, mental and emotional independence, fearlessness, dispassion and non-attachment deriving from the basic understanding of yoga, suffering and the cause of suffering, ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, the mind and the modifications of the mind, the ego and egoism, and the not necessarily easy or comfortable, but ‘correct’ and ‘efficient’ way/path to be free from ignorance and suffering.

People who don’t talk much, don’t interact much, who are not responsive towards other people’s ‘friendliness’ or ‘interest to be interacting with other people’, are being perceived or understood by the society/worldly minded people as ‘abnormality’, ‘rude’, ‘unfriendly’, ‘unhealthy’, or ‘uncaring’. Even many yoga enthusiasts of yoga practitioners and yoga teachers are also not free from this type of perception, thinking and belief.

Non-sociable is not the same as anti-social. It’s normal that people would perceive or think that the practice of silence is anti-social, or non-contributing to the society or the world, or being selfish. But they don’t know that silence of the mind is the highest and purest form of contribution towards humanity and the society or the world and our loved ones, by freeing one’s mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, stop hurting oneself and/or others out of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and being non-intrusive/non-interference/respectful towards other people’s freedom of different ways of life, thinking, belief, practice and behavior. If people want to judge, that’s their freedom. Let them be.

If one seriously wants to implement the practice of partial silence into everyday life, then one can try one’s best to avoid coming in contact with or staying away from worldly minded people who strongly believe in and advocate ‘certain thinking and beliefs of how human beings should and shouldn’t behave and live life’, ‘ideal of building a perfectly all good and bad-free world’, ‘ideal of changing the world to be the way that they think it should be’, ‘be in control’, ‘be in power’, ‘be strong’, ‘be passionate’, ‘be sociable’, ‘be inspired’, ‘be interactive’ and ‘community values’ way of life, or those who attached strongly onto and be proud towards their own way of life and values of life, who want to convert and correct other people whom they dislike and disagree with, and they get offended or disturbed by other people’s different ways of life or values of life, and they expect other people should also be like them having the similar way of life and values of life.

Those who truly practice yoga and meditation, who are truly friendly, kind and compassionate, is nothing to do with being outspoken, talkative, sociable or interactive, and actively engaging in worldly social, community, cultural, family and friends affairs, interactions and activities. They have no identification as ‘friendly, kind and compassionate people’. They might be performing actions that would benefit the world silently, but they don’t intent/aspire to change the world to be all good and nothing bad. They don’t expect other people to also be like them. They have no attachment or identification towards their actions and they have no expectation towards the fruit of their actions, allowing the fruit to be what it is. They don’t interfere with or intrude other people’s freedom of different ways of life, thinking, belief, practice and behavior, even though the mind might dislike or disagreeable with those ways of life, thinking, belief, practice and behavior. They don’t try to covert or change or ‘correct’ other people who are different from them to also be like them. They allow the law of nature to be what it is. They are free from craving or clinging towards ‘goodness’ and aversion towards ‘badness’. They respect everyone to be what they are, as they are, even if they are not very nice, or behave nastily or destructively, due to ignorance. They allow everyone to experience, learn and evolve at their own cause and pace, even if the entire world or humanity will be destroyed by ignorance. Because none can free another being from the consequences of their own actions or their own suffering deriving from ignorance, egoism and impurities, but oneself.

One will be very disappointed if one expects everyone to be good and do good and nothing bad and evil. The world is a platform for human beings under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities to ‘play’, to ‘have fun’, to ‘procreate’, to gratify their desires of creating something that they like and destroying something that they don’t like. Greed, dissatisfaction, discrimination, bias, unjust, corruption, anger, hatred, jealousy, lust, hurt, offensiveness, hostility, ill-will, fear, worry, hunger, thirst, conflicts, violence, wars and etc are everywhere. There are also some goodness, good deeds, kindness, empathy, sympathy, charity, assistance, higher technologies, pleasurable enjoyments and entertainment, good family, good relationship, good behavior, good understanding, good friendships, good community, good companion, good life, good environment, good condition, good situation, good people, and so on. But no matter how much badness and how much goodness, all are impermanent. Appreciate and support all the goodness but without attachment, clinging or craving towards goodness, and do not appreciate or support badness but without aversion towards badness, if one wants to be free.

Those who are free and peaceful, they don’t need to observe all the above practice or observation of silence to render the mind pure and quiet to allow the mind to see the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance and be peaceful. They can live alone away from the society, or live with other people among the society, but they are not influenced or disturbed by what is happening in the world, or the ignorance, egoism, impurities, or interference of other people, remain equanimous in peace.

The practice of silence is for those who sincerely want to know the truth of one’s mind and suffering. Those who have no interest in knowing the mind, who don’t need to be free from suffering, who are happy with everything as it is, they don’t need to do this practice.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life, body and mind.

Pratyahara – Withraw the senses from the sense objects

When we observe the practice of Silence or Mauna, we are restraining the mind from going out through the senses to chase after the objects of the senses, of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts, and thus reducing comparisons, judgments, expectations, imaginations, anticipations, projections, scheming, plotting, arguments, justification, and etc.

This is part of the yoga practice of Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses from the objects of the senses.

When one limits or reduces the activities of the sense organs and the senses, the mind has less objects to perceive, to compare, to judge, to comment, to argue, to generate likes and dislikes, to generate agreements and disagreements, to generate desires of wants and don’t wants, to expect, to be disturbed, to be restless, and thus it helps to allow the mind to quiet down to the maximum.

It is being care ‘less’ about the world and the surrounding beings and things. Most important it is being care ‘less’ towards what the mind thinks and feels. Some might think and judge that this is a ‘selfish’ behavior or practice for being ‘uncaring’ for what is going on in our surrounding environment, about other beings and happenings. But it is not so at all.

This is a great noble action to take care the well-being of oneself, so that when one is liberated from ignorance and realize unconditional love and peace, one can contribute to the society by being at peace, without generating disharmony and violence in oneself or into the surrounding atmosphere. And hence, one is able to care for the world efficiently.

The untrained mind is always chasing after the objects of names and forms to be stimulated, to enjoy, to be existing, to express, to be acknowledged, to take pleasure in the sense objects of names and forms.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the mind wants to see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, unceasingly chasing one after another one. It is always busy with seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking. And thus the mind is ever restless. Restless state of mind doesn’t allow the mind to see the truth as it is.

And hence, in the beginning, we need to limit and reduce the inputs of names and forms to quiet the mind, by withdrawing or retreating the senses from the sense objects, to allow the mind to have a break from seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking, to have moments of stillness to see the truth. When the mind starts to see the truth as it is, then there is no need to limit any kinds of inputs, as the mind won’t be chasing after the objects of names and forms anymore.

The mind is aware of all the sense objects of names and forms perceived through the senses, but without generate attachment, identification, clinging, craving or aversion. It doesn’t take pleasure in the sense objects anymore, it doesn’t need to be acknowledged, to be stimulated, to be existing, but it is resting in peace, in silence.

Om shanti.


In the teachings of yoga, forbearance is the highest Sadhana. Without forbearance, we will be over-powered by impurities that arise due to the craving and aversion coming from the ego towards what it likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, and generate reactions that might bring harmful effects onto ourselves and other beings.

The weaker is the ego, the easier is the practice of forbearance, and vice versa. When the ego is very strong, forbearance seems like impossible, as pride and arrogance is predominant in the mind, and the mind will be over-powered by anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, fear and worry, and will generate reaction that will cause disharmony in oneself and others.

Those who have very little forbearance, will perceive everything negatively, like to find faults in everything and blames on others for their unhappiness, and complain a lots about this and that which they don’t like and disagree with.

In the beginning, when we practice the teachings of yoga about forbearance, we try to forbear any discomfortable or difficult conditions and situations in life without generate aversion. We try to forbear insults without generate reaction of anger, hatred, ill-will, retaliation, or vengeance. We try to walk away from other people’s behaviors that are violent or unkind. If we couldn’t walk away and are caught up in such situations, we endure and be patient. As this will also pass away.

At this stage, our mind still categorizes certain actions and speech are insulting, certain conditions and situations are discomfortable and difficult, and the ego will feel insulted or unhappy when it comes in contact with all these undesirable experiences. As well as we are still identifying with the egoistic thinking mind as ‘I’. And thus, we (the egoistic mind) need to have certain degrees of forbearance, forgiveness, patience, tolerance, adaptation, adjustment, accommodation for us to withstand all these life experiences that the mind recognizes and categorizes as ‘insult’, ‘discomforts’, ‘difficulty’ or ‘suffering’, have self-control over our thoughts, speech and action, without generate reaction that will cause further unnecessary harmful effects onto ourselves and other beings.

When we know about the truth of things, which everything is just what it is. They are not something good or bad, positive or negative, happiness or suffering, easy or difficult, praise or condemn, compliment or insult, as well as the ego is weakened or eliminated, then there is nobody, or ‘I’ being there to experience ‘insult’, ‘discomforts’, ‘difficulty’ or ‘suffering’. There is no need to forbear anything, as there is no ‘insult’, ‘discomforts’, ‘difficulty’ or ‘suffering’ that ‘I’ need to forbear.

That is real freedom or liberation. Liberation is not in the future, which we believe it will happen after we perform lots of virtues and merits. Liberation is not about getting everything that we like and want, and not getting anything that we don’t like and don’t want. Liberation is being aware of the present moment now while accepting the reality as it is, without craving and aversion towards the qualities of names and forms that the mind likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with. And thus stop generating reaction that will bring cause and effect that binds us to the birth and death.

Liberation is in this very moment, when there is no attachments, no craving or aversion in the mind, when we know about the truth of names and forms, and have transcended the identification with the ego, the body and the mind.

Forbearance is indeed advance yoga practice. To forbear physical, mental and emotional discomforts in the beginning of our yoga practice until we realize the truth, and there is no need of the practice of forbearance at all. Being able to perform many hours of yoga asana practice that require certain degrees of skills, strength, flexibility and stamina, is not really advance practice if we don’t know the practice of forbearance, easily being disturbed and determined by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think that we don’t like and don’t agree with. We are irritated, frustrated and unhappy when we come in contact with what we don’t like and disagree with, or when we are not getting what we like and want.

Forbearance is not separated from the practice of Mauna, or silence. To not react towards any insults and discomfortable or unpleasant experiences, and restrict the egoistic mind to express itself through thoughts, action and speech, to refrain it from generating harmful thinking, action and speech out of anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, fear or worry.

Forbear injuries (physically, emotionally, mentally), forebear insults, forbear humiliation, forbear undesirable circumstances, conditions and situations, is highest Sadhana.

Under any circumstances, do not generate anger, hatred, violence, retaliation, or vengeance.

The power that supports forbearance is forgiveness and the power that heals all injuries and hurts is unconditional love.

Love all beings as they are. See the ignorance behind all the actions and reactions that are hurting ourselves and other beings.

Be kind and compassionate towards ourselves and other beings.

Stop hurting ourselves and other beings by dissolving all under current of anger, hatred, violence, retaliation, or vengeance in us with forbearance, forgiveness and unconditional love.

Om shanti.

The practice of silence – Mauna

The observation of silence – Mauna, is not just limited to the restriction of speech but it’s also about reducing and restricting the senses inputs and stimulations of the mind. It is calming down the thought current and free the mind from restlessness. It is not merely practicing silence of speech, but also silence of the mind.

This will help to purify the mind to a deeper level.

It is like emptying and cleaning the rubbish bin. Stop putting in more rubbish and bringing out the existing rubbish from the bin and give it a good clean up. It is stop stimulating the mind and allow it to have a moment of stillness.

It is about changing the habit of the mind that likes to react towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses every moment. It is restricting the mind to react whenever it wants to react towards whatever it perceives.

This will lead our mind to stop reacting towards what it likes and dislikes, what it agrees and disagrees with, and allow the mind to develop inner qualities, such like patience, forbearance, non-attachment, letting go, tolerance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, acceptance, forgiveness, self-introspection and self-control over the thoughts, actions and speech. All these inner divine qualities will lead the mind to realize God consciousness or the universal consciousness – Selflessness and compassion.

It is not just about not talking.

By controlling the speech organ not to talk or speak whenever the mind wants to express itself through speech or verbal expression, it is actually controlling the mind from its egoistic habitual reaction towards all the objects of the senses or whatever it perceives through the body and mind.

It is about being the master of the mind and be “the one” in control of the mind, instead of being the slave of the impure egoistic mind activities and being over-powered by the impurities of the mind. It’s about stop generating craving towards what the mind likes and agrees with, and stop generating aversion towards what the mind dislikes and disagrees with. Allowing the mind to be open towards all the perceptions of names and forms through the senses, being free from attachment or identification towards the perceiver and the perceived. Through this practice, the ego will be annihilated.

Beside stopping the mind from reacting towards the sense objects by refraining the mind to express itself through speech by observing non-talking, non-justification, non-arguing, non-interaction and non-communication with the world, and just stand as a witness or the observer witnessing or observing all the names and forms that are being perceived in the mind, we also refrain the mind from reacting or expressing through physical actions, body language and facial expression, during the practice of silence – Mauna.

It is a total restrain over the thoughts, actions and speech. The mind becomes silent.

The practice of reducing or purifying senses inputs – sights, sounds, smells, taste, sensations (touch) and thoughts, and stop generate craving and aversion towards all these names and forms, is observing Mauna. When we stop generate new reactions of craving and aversion towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, the old accumulated tensions or karma that derived from past cravings and aversions, will appear to the surface of the mind to be purified, or to be letting go.

The practice of Mauna is a very efficient and important way for us to realize the Truth of ourselves and about suffering.

The practice includes but not limited to:-

– No verbal or written communication and interaction with other people.

– No eyes contact or body contact with other people. Not looking at other people nor take interest in other people’s affairs.

– No body language or facial expression to make any communication or interaction with other people.

– Reduce and limit the inputs (sight, sound, smell, taste, sensation and thoughts) and outputs (ideas, communications and interactions) of the mind. Such like not reading novels, magazines and newspaper, not watching movies and TV programs, not listening to music, not playing sports games, not writing, not doing intense physical activities, not sleeping on soft bed, not using perfumes or fragrances, and divert the mind to contemplate on Dharma only whenever the mind thinks of any worldly objects, and etc.

– Control and minimize the habit of self-talking in the mind (talking to ourself in the mind). The speech organ maybe not performing any talking verbally, but the mind continues to talk to itself in the mind. This is very common for many people. It shows that how restless the mind is, and it doesn’t like to be in silence for a single moment, even though from the appearance the body is silent and stilled, not performing any speech and actions.

– Controlling sexual desire. Transform or channel the sexual energy for spiritual practice and spiritual realization.

– Conserve energy by limiting worldly mental, physical and speech activities, and use the energy for spiritual practice and to perform selfless service for ourselves and for other beings.

– Reduce wants and worldly desires and sensual enjoyments.

– Restricting the usual daily habits of the body and mind. Such like dependent on “taking” certain “substances” or “doing” certain “things” to feel good…

– Restricting the usual reactions of the body and mind towards all the names and forms. Such like when we hear something that we don’t agree with, we would like to argue about it…

– By limiting and reducing verbal, physical and mental activities. This will stop any stimulations of the mind. Allowing the whirlpool of the restless mind to have the opportunity to “settle down”. When the mind is pure and calm, we will be able to “see” the Truth of everything as it is, not being contaminated by the impurities and restlessness in our mind…

– Restrict the mind from trying to express itself at anytime through verbal speech, facial expression and body language/sign. Such like learn to observe anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, arrogance, anxiety, agitation, depression, fear and worry, and let them go without react towards any of these impurities…

– Observe the thoughts (thinking) and not identify nor associate with the thoughts.

– Make the outgoing mind turns inwards concentrating and resting in the chamber of the heart.

May all spiritual aspirants be determined to observe Mauna – Silence of thoughts, actions and speech for some period of time in the path of yoga and meditation for spiritual realization to know the Truth.

Note that this practice of silence is “possible” for those who really want to know how to transcend suffering. For people who never suffer, or haven’t experience any suffering, or don’t know what is suffering, and are not interested in transcending suffering, this practice is not possible for them. It’s because this practice will generate some “discomforts” or “pain” or “suffering” in the body and the mind, due to we stop feeding the body and the mind with what it usually likes to think, do, say, see, hear, smell, taste, and touch… It is “not fun” but “miserable” for the mind that likes to chase after worldly sensual enjoyments…

We will see our mind’s true behavior when we start to restrict the mind from getting what it usually gets in everyday life… We will notice that we are not actually “the person” whom we think what we are… All the anger and frustration kick in as the body and mind is being cut off from its usual addictions, activities, lifestyle and enjoyment, and when its craving is not being gratified…

We will find out that our own mind is not actually as “obedient” as what we thought it was. And we will become humble and stop judging and criticizing other people whom we think that they have a “bad” mind that is not as “good” as ours… It’s because we will realize that our own mind is not any better than anyone else mind…

We thought that we are super nice and calm people, but not really…

We thought that we are patient and compassionate people, but not really…

We thought that we are loving and unselfish people, but not really…

When we stop giving the mind what it likes and wants…

And so, this confrontation with the “ugly dark side” of our own mind, is not a “good” thing for someone who is very proud and arrogant… But it is a very good thing for someone who is willing to give up pride and arrogance…

This is simply because we are able to see the truth of our own mind when we practice Mauna for a period of time, and turn the outgoing mind inward for self-introspection…

When come to the point if we are able to perform all our actions and speech out of selflessness and compassion, without any attachment, selfish desire and expectation, when all our thoughts, actions and speech are pure, then even though we are performing some thinking, actions and speech, but it is not contradicting with the practice of silence at all… That is what the teachings talk about inaction in action…

Om shanti.

The importance of Mauna and Uparati – The practice of silence and renunciation from worldly activities

This practice of silence and renunciation from worldly activities is applicable for those who sincerely want to tread the path of entering into silence or attaining Samadhi – the ultimate freedom and real peace transcending the ego and the mind, transcending the perception of the world of names and forms, dualities and qualities, and be free from desires, greed, craving and aversion, and thus be free from ignorance and suffering. This practice will come naturally for those who already have the right discrimination about what is real and unreal. Naturally they will let go of chasing after of the unreal, and will know to appreciate and utilize the existence of this body and mind for what is real…

Any names and forms that is formed through combination of energy and elements, it is not real… It has a beginning and an end… It exists and will stop existing… It is conditioned by qualities of names and forms… It is impermanent and constantly changing… It is non-Self. There’s no existence of ‘I’ in the names and forms to be in control of all these impermanent changes.

What is real, is beyond qualities, names and forms… And thus it doesn’t has a beginning or ending. It doesn’t exist or stop existing. It is attributeless, it is not conditioned by qualities of names and forms. It is not affected by impermanence and it doesn’t change…

This practice of Mauna and Uparati is not just applicable and limited to the so called monks and nuns who leave the world to concentrate on their own Self-realization. The real renunciation is not conditioned by any names and forms, but it is happening in the mind, and it can be at anywhere and anytime, and in anyone…

People who know real renunciation can live in the midst of the world but will not be affected, nor influenced, nor determined, nor disturbed, nor conditioned by the world of names and forms… They are free from ignorance, egoism, anger, hatred, greed, desire, dissatisfaction, craving and aversion, anxiety, restlessness, fear and worry. Out of compassion and wisdom that they realize from Self-realization, they can perform so much works or actions to help the other beings to be free, to transcend the ego and the mind, ignorance and suffering… But without being affected by the fruit of their actions.

For people who really wish to attain success in the path of yoga and meditation, the practice of Mauna (silence) and Uparati (cessation from worldly activities) are very important practice to turn the outgoing tendency of the mind inward, in order to render the mind calm and be free from restlessness and unnecessary anxieties, cares and worries for Self-introspection or Self-inquiry.

The practice of Mauna and Uparati maybe seen as “anti-social” in the eyes of the worldly people, but it is a must if we really want to go deeper in the path of yoga and meditation to know the Truth of our existence and to attain real peace. Those whose minds are wild, incontrollable, restless and passionate are not yet ready to meditate, to contemplate upon the Truth… There is nothing wrong or bad about the mind being restless and passionate… Just keep practice purification of the mind and strengthening self-control…

That’s why all the (serious) meditation retreats for people who live in the busy world to immerse themselves in meditation practice for purifying and calming the mind, and to contemplate on the Truth, they have two most important observations which are, to observe silence or Mauna (to stop any interactions and communications with the world verbally, mentally and physically) and to refrain from worldly or daily habitual activities throughout the entire retreat. This is to allow the mind to quiet down, to take a few moments of “rest”… Within that few moments of “rest”, the mind is calm and quiet, be free from anxiety, restlessness, imaginations and speculations, and naturally, without any intention to know the Truth, the Truth will reveal itself…

Only a calm and pure mind can reflect upon the Truth without the influence of the ego, the thinking, impurities, judgments and expectations…

For people who really devote this life existence for Self-realization, and they know self-control, non-attachment and renunciation, they can live in the busy world, but being undisturbed, unaffected, uninfluenced, unconditioned, undetermined by the world, and practice meditation entering into silence. The world is always restless, but they are not influenced by the world. Their mind is at rest all the time… They are different from those who need to go to retreat centres repeatedly to have some sorts of “momentary” self-control, non-attachment and renunciation in the retreat centres, to find some moments of peace, but when come back out into the world, there is no self-control, nor non-attachment, nor renunciation, and there is no peace…

In the path of yoga (mind control), these two practices are unavoidable if we really want to know about this mind (the existence of “I” (the perceiver) and all the enjoyments and suffering (the perceived) that comes along with the existence of this “I”), and to be able to go beyond this mind and to transcend the ego, craving and aversion, and ignorance or impurities, as well as transcending all the qualities of names and forms (the state of duality that derives from the perception of names and forms).

Fear and worry, anger and hatred, greed and dissatisfaction, envy and jealousy, doubts and ignorance, craving and aversion, passionate desires, the attachments towards the body and mind, the attachments towards all the names and forms that are being perceived through this mind and body with the functions of the senses and sense organs, the wrong identification with the body and mind, the sensations, the feelings, the thinkings and the egoistic “I-ness” and “mine-ness”… – All these impurities “disconnect” us from our true nature, the eternal unconditional, attributeless wisdom, bliss and peace.

We think we are “this” or “that” with certain names and forms, behaviors, believes, religions, educations, cultures, habits, hobbies, talents, characteristics and personalities. We think we have something called “self-esteem” that is being determined by who we are and what we are, what we do and don’t do, what we can do and cannot do, and what we judge ourselves and others. We think we need to have certain qualities to create or develop something what we name as “confidence” in us.

The truth is, once we know this mind and what is this ego, then all the so called “self-esteem” and “confidence”, and all the other qualities of good and bad, happiness and suffering, names and forms that we use to judge ourselves and everyone and everything in this world, they all will disappear… They don’t exist at all…

There is no “I”… There is no “self-esteem” or “confidence”… There is no need to have “self-esteem” or “confidence” to feel that we are “somebody” or to make us become “somebody”…

“Self-esteem” and “confidence” exist when we think we are this body and mind, and we are “somebody” with certain qualities, names and forms…

When we truly know our true Self, the existent of “I” with certain qualities, names and forms, will disappear… Our true Self is nameless and formless, beyond names and forms… There is no good and bad. There is no positive and negative. There is no happiness and suffering…

In order to know our true Self, not just from reading books written by enlightened beings, or having heard from past saints and sages, or from some existing teachers or Gurus telling us about “who we really are”, we need to be able to observe the practice of Mauna and Uparati in some stage in our life… Just to take some “time off” from worldly activities and interactions… For the mind to have the opportunity to be free from restlessness, unnecessary cares and worries, to concentrate and focus inwardly for introspection, for self-inquiry, for self-realization, for experiencing the real inner peace, for knowing the Truth of existence and suffering…

Note that this real inner peace is not the momentary peaceful good feeling that comes from doing some meditation, asana and pranayama practice, or by not encountering any discomforts, pain and illnesses, or by doing the things that we like to do, or by getting the things that we want, where by this type of peaceful good feeling is conditioning and limited by the qualities of names and forms, and it is impermanent, it will change and disappear…

The real inner peace is unconditional, unlimited, undisturbed and unchanging… It is always there. Never increase nor decrease… Never exist nor doest it stop existing…

This renunciation is not selfishness as some people might think that it is… This is definitely not running away from our duties and responsibilities… It’s because the biggest duty and responsibility in this existence of “I”, is to know who am “I”… If we don’t know “who we really are”, we will have no peace, no wisdom, no compassion… And we cannot help other people to have peace, wisdom and compassion, if we ourselves are not peaceful, not wise, and not compassionate… If we want to help the world, we need to help ourselves first…

When this mind is restless, wild and uncontrollable, it makes us think that we are experiencing all the enjoyments and suffering in this world of names and forms with qualities of good and bad, pleasantness and unpleasantness…

When the mind is pure and be free from all sorts of impurities and ignorance, we’ll know that there is “nobody” there to experience “anything”… The world is just being what it is being “projected” from this mind… It is the mind projecting the “world”… When the mind stops, the world disappears… When the mind ceased existing, there is no “world”…

Impure mind projects impure world of names and forms… Positive mind projects positive world… Negative mind projects negative world… Fearful mind projects fearful world… Angry and hating mind projects angry and hating world… Compassionate mind projects compassionate world… Calm mind projects calm world… Pure mind projects pure world… No mind, no world…

The world is just being what it is. It is neither good nor bad, neither pure nor impure, neither positive nor negative, neither a happy place nor a suffering place.

Yoga and meditation is to “annihilate” the mind, to “eliminate” the ego, the thought waves or the mind activities…

It doesn’t matter if some worldly passionate minds think that this practice of Mauna and Uparati is impossible, contradictory, unnecessary and means no more “fun” in life… Everyone has the freedom to choose what to do in life and what way of living… Be happy.

The meanings of life and ways of living are vary in everybody…

The Buddha and all the other saints and sages chose to live a simple, self-controlled, desire-less and non-attachment way of life and find that entering into silence and attaining real peace is the meaning of life… And some other people choose some other forms of lifestyle and find that by attaining another form of excitement, enjoyment and happiness as the meaning of life… There’s nothing wrong… Be happy.

Contemplate on this teaching and be free…

Om shanti.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be free. Be really peaceful and happy.

Om shanti.

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

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

Concentration and Meditation – Swami Sivananda