Worldly identifications

One of the great obstacles or challenges for the yoga enthusiasts to be free from egoism is the intense attachment towards worldly identifications with some qualities of names and forms to be existing as ‘I’.

It’s ‘unthinkable’ for the egoistic minds to be ‘functioning’ or ‘aware of the mind perception of a worldly life of names and forms’ without any identifications with some qualities of names and forms to be acknowledged by oneself and others as ‘This is I’.

There’s great fear towards losing the sense of the existence of ‘I’, or ‘selflessness/’I’-lessness’, or being unable to be acknowledged by oneself and others as “I am this and that”, if without any of the identifications that the egoistic thinking mind would like to acknowledge itself and be acknowledged by others that “I exist as an (unique/special/distinctive/meaningful) individual being with such and such qualities of names and forms.”

Similarly, most minds have great fear towards letting go all kinds of superstitious thinking, beliefs, values and practices that were being ingrained into the minds from very young age by their elders, parents, relatives, friends, school teachers, religious teachers, the community and the society. Very few minds would question the truth of all those thinking, beliefs, values and practices, to inquire the truth of everything that was told or informed by everyone, and would just blind-believing, blind-following, blind-practicing and blind-passing on all these thinking, beliefs, values and practices. As most people would ‘label’ themselves or be ‘labeled’ by others as ‘bad person’ or ‘traitor’ towards one’s root and ancestor’s cultural background and family values, if they don’t embrace or follow or pass down those thinking, beliefs, values and practices.

For many people, this is the ‘normal’, ‘good’, ‘productive’, ‘positive’, ‘healthy’, ‘successful’, ‘meaningful’ and ‘rightful’ way of life or living.

Not only that there was a ‘basic identity upon birth’ that relates to a ‘given name’, a ‘gender’, a ‘family’, an ‘ethnicity’, a ‘birth place’, a ‘nationality’ and a ‘security ID number’, but everyone was growing up being conditioned by the society to identify oneself with a ‘sexual orientation’, a ‘personality’, a ‘physical appearance’, a ‘self-image’, a ‘body image’, a ‘physical condition’, a ‘mental state’, a ‘religion’, a ‘culture’, a ‘lifestyle’, a ‘trend’, and etc. Most minds are being ‘encouraged’ by the society to be constantly ‘developing’ and ‘possessing’ further more other qualities of names and forms to empower or strengthen that ‘self-identity’, that would allow the minds to feel proud, confident and meaningful towards the existence of ‘I’ under such identifications. Such like, “I am a ‘good’, ‘strong’, ‘healthy’, ‘fit’, ‘beautiful’, ‘attractive’, ‘stylish’, ‘successful’, ‘intelligent’, ‘knowledgeable’, ‘positive’, ‘multi tasking’, ‘talented’, ‘well-informed’, ‘well-behaved’, ‘inspirational’, ‘generous’ and ‘kind loving’ human being on top of all the identifications with a particular belief, religion, spirituality, culture, caste, sect, educational level, social status, community group, political views, profession, interests, qualifications, certifications, achievements, contributions, possessions, relationships, connections, and so on.

There are some common sayings such as –
“Be good, do good, and life will be all good and you will be happy.”
“Be nice and friendly to other people, and other people will be nice and friendly to you.”
That is not necessary true.

But everyone has been circulating that kind of sayings especially from the elders to the youngsters, or from the yoga teachers to the yoga students. Many people experiencing disappointment, depression and meaninglessness because they have such expectation towards life, where everyone and everything has to be in certain ways based on those sayings.

Many times, life is not necessarily all good and people are not happy even after they are being good and they have done many good. And it’s okay.

People don’t have to be happy all the time. Just be good and do good, and allow the fruit of actions to be what it is, not necessarily has to be the way that we would like it to be.

Sometimes, people are not being grateful or appreciative towards our kindness and friendliness, and are not being nice or friendly to us when we are being nice and friendly to them. And it’s okay.

People don’t have to be grateful and appreciative, and be nice and friendly to others, if they don’t want to. Just be nice and friendly to others, without the expectation that other people should be grateful and appreciative, and be nice and friendly to us in return.

The most practical way in the yoga practice to eliminate egoism from the mind is via renunciation of what most minds being conditioned to think and believe as the ‘normal’ and ‘meaningful’ way of life. Moving the mind away from the egoistic worldly social cultural thinking and beliefs, ideas, relationships, connections, interactions and activities, and letting go novels, news and magazines reading, radio listening, movies watching and theater visiting. Be determined to observe seclusion and solitude for at least five or six years, cutting off all kinds of worldly social cultural inputs, ideas, connections, activities and interactions, to allow the mind to be free from being conditioned by worldly thinking and beliefs that are all about empowering worldly attachment and identification. Only then the mind can see the truth of names and forms as it is.

Once the mind is free from being conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking and beliefs, it is no longer being determined by any of the worldly identifications with qualities of names and forms to be existing as ‘I’. There’s no need to feel proud, confident or meaningful towards “I am somebody endowed with this and that prideful, superior and meaningful qualities.”

There’s no ‘I’ being there that needs to be empowered, be acknowledged, be motivated, be inspired, be loved, be proud, be confident and be meaningful. There’s no ‘I’ being there to be strong, be weak, be happy, be unhappy, be positive, be negative, be good, be bad, be hurt, be healed, be pleased, be displeased, be praised, be insulted, be selfish, be unselfish, be unfree or be free.

While the entire world emphasize on the empowerment of a strong self-identity nurtured with the qualities of names and forms of particular social/cultural/ethnicity/nationality ideas/values/practices, yoga practice is mainly to free the mind from all these identifications with any qualities of names and forms.

Even the idea of “I am a yoga practitioner practicing yoga of annihilating ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness” and the desire of “I want to practice yoga to be free from ignorance and suffering” vanished from the minds that know thyself.

Go beyond the sense of contentment, joy and meaningfulness

This teaching is for those who want to go beyond the limited mind perception of ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘meaningfulness and meaninglessness’, who are interested in transcending worldly life existence of the function of an impermanent and selfless physical body and the mind perception of names and forms that is subject to the suffering of ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness, birth, hunger, thirst, ungratified desires, separation from people and things that one loves, coming in contact with people and things that one dislikes and disagrees with, impermanent changes, decay, old age, illness and death, but somehow, the mind is still being determined by the qualities of names and forms, and be disturbed by the situation in the world that is not the way that the mind would like it to be.

Those who have already gone beyond ‘goodness’ and ‘badness’, ‘meaningfulness’ and meaninglessness’, being peaceful as they are, being undisturbed or undetermined by all the qualities of names and forms, they don’t need this teaching.

Those who are aware of the truth of impermanence and selflessness, but they are not interested in silencing the modification of the mind to transcend the mind perception of a worldly life existence of restless ceaseless births and deaths, instead, they just want to enjoy life to the maximum. That’s their freedom.

Those who are not interested in transcending the worldly life existence of a body and mind that is subject to suffering, who believe in positive thinking/mind power to change the world to be a better place, who attached onto the presence of ‘goodness’ or ‘meaningfulness’ and the absence of ‘badness’ or ‘meaninglessness’, to feel good, content, happy and meaningful in life, they don’t need to take up this teaching and practice. Be happy.

The teaching and practice of yoga to eliminate ignorance and egoism is beyond the desire of craving and aversion towards names and forms. There’s neither clinging onto pleasant/desirable worldly life experiences nor aversion towards unpleasant/undesirable worldly life experiences. But merely seeing the truth of impermanence and selflessness of the body and mind as it is, and making use of this worldly life existence as the precious platform to transcend the mind perception of a worldly life existence of an impermanent selfless body and mind that is subject to the suffering of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness.

One can develop great tolerance and forbearance to endure suffering when suffering arise, repeatedly, without aversion, but one doesn’t have to endure any suffering at all. Suffering doesn’t exist upon the annihilation of the cause of suffering – The modification of the mind under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities.

There is hidden attachment that bind the mind to worldly life existence that is unaware by the mind that attached onto ‘goodness’ and ‘righteousness’ that give rise to the sense of ‘contentment, joy and meaningfulness’ towards the ‘achievement’ of “I am living a good and meaningful life doing the good and the right things. Life is good and meaningful.”

Just as the impure mind easily falls in love with or attached onto the objects of names and forms that appear to be good, pleasant, attractive, beautiful, lovable, enjoyable, fun, or cute. The mind naturally attached onto the sense of ‘contentment, joy and meaningfulness’ deriving from “I am doing the good and the right thing” achieving what the mind perceives as ‘goodness’ and ‘righteousness’.

There’s nothing wrong with appreciating ‘goodness’ and it’s very good to feel ‘contentment, joy and meaningfulness’ due to the presence of ‘goodness’ and the absence of ‘badness’. Just that the mind could unwittingly attached onto the presence of ‘goodness’ that give rise to the sense of ‘contentment, joy and meaningfulness’, where the mind will be disturbed/disappointed/dissatisfied when the presence of goodness is disturbed/interrupted/unavailable.

Many people like to engage in community works because the minds can easily find the sense of ‘contentment, joy and meaningfulness’ working or serving in a particular community, to be able to contribute to the community and seeing others getting the help/assistance that they need to achieve a similar goal. This is very good especially for those who suffer depression.

Within a particular community, even though everyone is not perfect and there might be conflicts of different opinions and personal desires of want and doesn’t want, but all are following the similar values, thinking and belief, and are doing their best to work their way towards the same goal under the same vision of that particular community. For example, a Buddhist engaging in selfless service/karma yoga to serve the others in the Buddhist community, or a Muslim engaging in serving the others in the Muslim community, or a Christian engaging in serving the others in the Christian community, or someone engaging in serving a particular community in need of shelter, food, love and care.

It’s even better, as what most people would hope for, if regardless of all the different religious/cultural/spiritual/social/national/political thinking and belief, everyone has one similar universal goal of achieving the similar ‘good and meaningful life’, where everyone works together to maintain peace and harmony in the diverse world of different groups of communities with different thinking and belief, values and way of life, while respecting each other for being different from one another without interference/intrusion towards others who are different from ‘I’ or ‘my thinking and belief’ and ‘my community of a particular values, thinking and belief’. That would be so nice, a world without fear, discrimination, prejudice, hatred, unrest, animosity, invasion, intrusion, clashes, violence, wars, killings, and etc.

But the reality is not necessarily the way that the mind would like it to be. For those who don’t know yoga/dharma, this is depressing and negative. For those who know yoga/dharma, this is not depressing or negative. It’s just the truth of the world of impure minds functioning under the influence of ignorance and egoism.

The different communities of different thinking and belief, values and way of life, goal and vision that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism will most likely being protective/defensive towards their own community out of survival instinct, discriminating/condemning/bullying/attacking others who are not from one’s community, and treating the other communities that are different from oneself as potential enemies that might generate threats to one’s community. There is always unrest, distrust, offensiveness, animosity, tension and fear towards the others might offend/intrude/invade/conquer oneself. This is truly unnecessary, but that’s the way it is in this world due to ignorance and egoism.

It’s not difficult to attain the sense of ‘contentment, joy and meaningfulness’ while serving in a particular community that has the similar goal and vision, thinking and belief, even though everyone is not perfect. But when come to the reality of a world of diversity, of different communities with different thinking and belief about what is right and wrong/good and bad, having different ways of cultural/religious/social/spiritual practice, different values and ways of life with different goals and visions that give rise to different meanings of ‘good and meaningful life’, where most of the minds are not free from the influence of ignorance and egoism, there will be many challenges and difficulties and frustration.

The mind would feel disappointed, tired, frustrated and depressed about the situation in the world that is under the deep influence of ignorance and egoism, that is not in the control/desire of ‘I’ about how ‘I’ would like it to be, no matter how good ‘I’ am, how much good actions/sacrifices ‘I’ have done, how positive/optimism is my mind, or how much ‘I’ want to help to bring peace and harmony into the world.

The mind will be in great disappointment, tiredness, frustration and depression, if one has ‘wishful thinking’ or expectation towards all beings in the world should put aside all the differences and work together towards living in peace and harmony among all the different communities.

If the mind can be free from attachment and ‘wishful thinking’ or expectation, and goes beyond that ‘disappointed, tired, frustrated and depressed’ reaction in the mind, and starts to see the truth of the nature of the impure minds and understand that this is the nature of the beings in the world under the influence of ignorance and egoism, it will let go the ‘wishful thinking’ of hoping everyone will be free from selfishness to work together to make the world a peaceful harmony place that is free from fear, discrimination, hatred, prejudice, unjust, corruption, violence, bullying, oppression, invasion, intrusion, killings, wars and all sorts of human religious/cultural/racial/national/social/political tension, clashes and conflicts.

When the mind is free from ignorance and egoistic attachment, there’s no difference between ‘good life’ and ‘not good life’, or ‘meaningfulness’ and ‘meaninglessness’. Life is just what it is. It’s neither good nor not good, neither meaningful nor meaningless. This mind will be free from disappointment, tiredness, frustration and depression towards the reality of a world of diversity under the influence of ignorance and egoism that is not necessarily the way that it would like it to be based on certain thinking and belief about what is ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’ and ‘meaningful and meaningless’.

Once the mind is free from the attachment towards a particular thinking and belief about ‘goodness or badness’ and ‘righteousness or wrongfulness’, this mind can serve the world of different diversities, without attachment towards a particular thinking and belief, without discrimination/interference towards the different thinking and beliefs, without being disturbed by the reality that is not necessary pleasant or nice. There’s neither contentment nor discontentment, neither meaningfulness nor meaninglessness. The world is just what it is. Minds are just what they are, mostly behaving under the influence of ignorance and egoism restlessly.

Even those who are highly educated are not necessary free from ignorance and egoism that generate discrimination, prejudice, hatred, violence, or intrusion towards others who are different from them whom they disagree with and dislike, as they attached onto their own thinking and belief about what is ‘goodness and badness’ or ‘righteousness and wrongfulness’ to judge and condemn everyone and everything. And that’s their freedom. But they have no peace due to the egoistic reactions and impurities in their minds towards names and forms that they dislike and disagree with.

One can be doing lots of selfless service/karma yoga to serve others in a community under one similar thinking and belief (not too challenging), or serve others in the world of different communities under different thinking and belief (extremely challenging), but one is undetermined or undisturbed by one’s action and the fruit of action.

Not even attached onto, “Even if I can bring joy/goodness/happiness/meaningfulness/awareness to just one person, and change this person’s life, it’s already good enough.” Let it go.

There’s no disappointment, tiredness, frustration or depression, if the world is still full of fear, discrimination, hatred, prejudice, unjust, corruption, violence, bullying, oppression, killings, wars and all sorts of human religious/cultural/racial/national/social/political tension, clashes and conflicts everywhere, even though one has done a lot to serve others in the world, to bring awareness, peace and harmony into the world.

Fine as it is

Most minds are being conditioned by the worldly thinking and belief about “One has to be happy in order to live life meaningfully, as well as one has to live life meaningfully in order to be happy.”

What is “live life meaningfully” and what the mind believes as “happiness” is different for different people.

Be free from the thinking and belief about one has to be happy to live life meaningfully, and vice versa, is a great liberation.

It’s okay that sometimes the mind is not okay, that the mind doesn’t feel happy in this present moment, or for some time. It’s impermanent, and it’s not ‘I’. It’s okay that sometimes the mind doesn’t feel living life meaningfully in this present moment, or for some time. It’s impermanent, and it’s not ‘I’. The mind doesn’t need to be happy or feel meaningful all the time.

People like to say “If there’s no happiness, life is meaningless.” and most people think and believe that happiness and meaningfulness is the presence of something good and positive and the absence of something bad and negative. Some people also say, “If there’s no good health, there’s no happiness.”

Many people relate “live life meaningfully” as being able to do what we like to do, go where we want to go, live where we want to live, have a healthy body, have a decent livelihood, live a good quality of life, have different varieties of social circles/networks, make a lot of friends, and either live a happy single life, or find a good life partner/spouse to set up a happy family.

People who have a difficult life condition, or have been experiencing ill-treatment from other people, or have to deal with physical injury or health problems, or suffer from physical or emotional damages due to other people’s ignorance and ignorant behavior, or couldn’t make a living due to bad economy or oppression, or under went a painful divorce or break-up, or would love to have a family, but for some reasons, they couldn’t have a family, it doesn’t mean that they can’t live life meaningfully or be happy, disregards all the ordeals or difficulties that they have to go through. All these undesirable experiences don’t give rise to suffering or the sense of meaninglessness to those who truly practice yoga and realize yoga. Only those who are not free from ignorance and egoism, who attached onto qualities of names and forms to be happy and feel meaningful, or not, will be determined by all kinds of desirable and undesirable life experiences to be who they are, to be happy and feel meaningful, or not.

In yoga, it’s about freeing the mind from this conditional thinking and belief about the achievement and possession of certain qualities of names and forms to be the reasons for one to be happy, or to deserve happiness and to live life meaningfully, or else, the absence of the achievement and possession of those qualities of names and forms will result in no reason for one to be happy, or to deserve happiness and to live life meaningfully.

One doesn’t need to be happy or feel happy all the time, in order to feel meaningful or to live life meaningfully. One doesn’t need to feel meaningful or to live life meaningfully, in order to be happy. One is peaceful and happy as one is.

Those who are free, they do their best to do what they like and want to do, and achieve what they want to achieve in this life existence, but they are not defined by what they like and want to do, or what they want to achieve, and whether they are able to do what they like and want to do, or achieve what they want to achieve, or not, in order to be happy, or to feel meaningful and to live life meaningfully, or not.

There’s nothing wrong that many people believe that all human beings need to have motivation and expectation to keep pushing themselves, to keep improving, to attain success or higher and higher success in life, as well as to have faith in their religion or ‘God’, then they deserve happiness or will be blessed with happiness and living life meaningfully. Or else, they believe that those who are contented with the present moment as it is, or don’t have any religion practice, or don’t believe in ‘God’, they don’t deserve happiness or will not be blessed with happiness or don’t live life meaningfully. But, that’s not the truth, because people can still be unhappy and suffering from all kinds of impurities in their own minds, if their minds are not free from ignorance and egoism, even if people attain success in life from time to time, or have a healthy body, or have a higher quality of life, or have a religion practice and believe in ‘God’. Their minds will still be disturbed by something that they don’t like, don’t want and don’t agree with. There’s no peace.

If ‘God’ exists, and if ‘God’ is almighty and all love, ‘God’ bless all and everyone and everything to be sharing this space of the universe, disregards human beings believing or disbelieving in ‘God’, including all those that are non-human beings, that don’t have any particular thinking and belief of a religion or ‘God’.

While yoga practice is to inquire the truth of everything that the mind comes in contact with (including the teachings of yoga), and be free from being conditioned or limited by all kinds of worldly thinking and belief, freeing the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, being free from attachment, identifications, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, being free from anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, guilt, regret, violence, ill-will, animosity, speculation, anticipation, agitation, depression, sorrow, defensiveness, offensiveness, loneliness, anxieties, longing, fear and worry, being free from the pleasant and unpleasant past experiences and future imaginations, living in the present from moment to moment, to realize unconditional peace and love that is beyond all the worldly objects of different qualities of names and forms about what is and what is not “happiness” and “live life meaningfully”.

One doesn’t need to keep pushing the body and mind to go beyond its limitation in order to attain success, or higher success, in order to be happy, or to live life meaningfully. One can be very successful in everything that one wants to achieve, but one is not defined by the success or the achievements to be ‘I’, to be happy or to live life meaningfully.

One doesn’t need to be someone that will make oneself and other people feel proud of, to be happy or to live life meaningfully.

One doesn’t need to be good enough according to the worldly thinking and belief about what is “good enough”, to be happy, or to deserve happiness and live life meaningfully.

It doesn’t mean that one stops performing actions, but one doesn’t need any motivation or expectation to motivate one to perform actions that are wholesome to oneself and others. Actions are being performed without the need of motivation or intention, without attachment, identification or expectation towards the actions and the fruit of actions.

It’s okay if people don’t like this yoga teaching and practice. That’s their freedom.

Be free.

Self-esteem and confidence

Any issues regarding self-esteem and confidence shouldn’t and doesn’t need to be existing at all. But due to ignorance and egoism, many people depend on self-esteem and confidence to be who they are, to be happy and feel meaningful, or not. Many people are suffering from mild to severe low self-esteem or low confidence that leads to the sense of meaninglessness and depression. Even many mental and psychological related studies and professionals also preach, think and believe that the development and empowerment of self-esteem and confidence is very important in life existence as human beings and it’s the key to personal and global growth, success and happiness.

Real confidence has nothing to do with self-esteem or confidence that builds on physical appearance, condition, ability and achievement, or mental state, ability and achievement, or desirable and undesirable life experiences, or good and bad relationships with parents, family, friends and the rest of the world. It is beyond all these names and forms, when the mind has gone beyond the identification of what the mind thinks is ‘I’ and ‘my’, where this identification of ‘I’ and ‘my’ with the different qualities of names and forms is just a by-product of the worldly thinking and belief, or family, cultural, social and religious belief.

It’s the ego that feels it has to be good enough for something, or for somebody, or for oneself. It also feels that it might be not good enough for something, or for somebody, or for oneself, based on what the thinking and belief recognize as ‘good’ and ‘good enough’, or what is ‘self-esteem and confidence’, ‘success’, ‘happiness’ and ‘meaningfulness’, and the relationship between them, where most people think and believe that ‘high self-esteem and confidence’ is related to ‘success’, and ‘success’ is related to ‘happiness’, while ‘happiness’ is related to ‘meaningfulness’. And many people are suffering because of this thinking and belief or trying to live up to this thinking and belief for their entire life, and passing this thinking and belief from generation to generation.

It’s the idea of ‘I’, or the ego, that needs to feel good about oneself, and wants other people to perceive oneself as good enough, and needs to attain or possess certain qualities of names and forms to be identifying with, that would make one feels good and proud of oneself and also would make other people feel good and proud of oneself, in order to be happy and live life meaningfully.

And all these qualities of names and forms are impermanent and there is no ‘I’ to be found in any of these names and forms, or to be in control of the impermanent changes, to be the way that ‘I’ like it to be. No matter how much influences we can influence the condition of the physical body and the state of the mind, to maintain the function and the life span of the body and the mind, the body and mind will still have to go through inevitable changes of decay, old age, discomfort, illness, weakness, ceased functioning, and decompose, or death.

Once the mind fully understood this, it will be free from the bondage of self-esteem and confidence. There’s no ‘I’ being good or not good enough. There’s neither high nor low self-esteem. There’s neither high nor low confidence.

One doesn’t need to be somebody with particular appearance, condition, ability or achievement, or have certain good and positive life experiences, or good relationships with anyone, in order to feel confident, happy, satisfied or meaningful.

One can have and appreciate all the attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship that is available in the present, but one doesn’t need other people’s attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship in order to feel confident, love, happy or meaningful. If all these qualities of names and forms are not available, one is still happy and peaceful as one is. One doesn’t feel lack of something or missing out anything, or one is not good enough to deserve love, happiness and meaningfulness.

And that’s real confidence. One doesn’t need to be confident or satisfied about oneself at all. One doesn’t need to feel proud of oneself, and doesn’t need other people to feel proud of oneself, to be ‘I’, or the good ‘I’, the successful ‘I’, the happy ‘I’, the meaningful ‘I’. One is happy and peaceful as one is, without any identification with any quality as ‘I’.

There is no thinking or identification of “I am a good and kind human being. I want to do good and be kind and be able to contribute towards humanity.” but goodness, kindness and contribution towards humanity are being manifested and performed through the body and mind out of wisdom and compassion.

If one doesn’t know this, one will always looking for or craving for attaining and possessing certain qualities of names and forms that one would like to relate oneself with, to be identifying with, to feel good and satisfied about oneself, to boost up one’s self-esteem and confidence to be who ‘I’ am, thinking that by attaining and possessing such qualities of names and forms will also make other people to give them the attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship that they want from other people, in order to be happy and feel meaningful. But then one is not free. And that’s one’s freedom of thinking and action.

Be free.

The importance of renunciation, seclusion and solitude

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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