Purifying, calming and quieting the restless mind efficiently

All the different forms of external yoga practice must be accompanied by the internal yoga practice of annihilating egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, supported by the internal mental strength, flexibility and stamina of patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation, as well as cultivating the essential tools for self-inquiry and self-realization, such as awareness, dispassion, desireless, renunciation, self-discipline, self-reliance, seclusion, solitude, care-free, fearlessness and equanimity, to be efficiently purifying, calming and quieting the impure egoistic restless mind, to prepare the mind for spontaneous meditation into Silence (complete annihilation of the mind/birthlessness and deathlessness/attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness/oneness or non-separateness).

Even if one’s physical body is unable to perform any external yoga practice, it doesn’t stop the mind from performing internal yoga practice to annihilate egoism, impurities and restlessness, and be free.

Without the internal yoga practice of annihilating egoism and impurities which is nothing to do with the impermanent and selfless physical and mental condition, ability and limitation, the mind will always be disturbed by the mind perception of names and forms of all kinds of pleasant and unpleasant, desirable and undesirable, agreeable and disagreeable life experiences, where there’s clinging and craving towards pleasant/desirable/agreeable experiences and aversion towards unpleasant/undesirable/disagreeable experiences, even after many years and huge amount of external yoga practice that one has been performing or many years of teaching yoga and meditation practice to many other people, and getting all the momentary effects and benefits from the regular external form of yoga practice.

The mind might be rendered calm and quiet momentarily during and after all those external yoga and meditation practice, but it doesn’t last long, as very soon, the mind would unwittingly slip back into restlessness due to the stubborn egoistic mind habits of chasing after the objects of the senses, worldly enjoyments and stimulation, passionate desires of worldly and/or spiritual aspirations and ambitions, worldly social interactions and activities, and the ceaseless impurities generated through countless actions and reactions towards the mind perceptions of names and forms due to egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, where the mind is restless most of the time, even if the mind can attain certain degrees of relief from restlessness for a short period of time during deep sleep state, or during and after the different forms of external yoga practice.

By freeing the mind from egoism would allow the mind to be undetermined or undisturbed by the mind perception of names and forms, of quality and duality, or the good and bad/positive and negative/pleasant and unpleasant/desirable and undesirable life experiences, that allow the mind to be free from impurities and restlessness thoroughly.

And hence, the importance of the practice of silence for those who truly want to conquer the restless modification of the mind, to attain Silence.

After some time of practicing some kind of yoga and meditation practice regularly, one needs to perform self-introspection, “Is the mind still being determined or affected by the impermanent and selfless physical and mental condition, ability and limitation, as well as the worldly affairs, relationship, friendship, social activities and interactions, and worldly and/or spiritual achievements and acknowledgements to feel good, confident and meaningful, or not?” and “Is the mind still being determined by duality of good and bad/positive and negative/right and wrong/meaningfulness and meaninglessness/happiness and unhappiness, or all the mind perceptions of different qualities of names and forms, to feel good, positive, rightful, joyful and meaningful, or not?” or “Is the mind still being disturbed by what the mind thinks and believes as bad, wrong, negative, unhappiness and hurtful?” If the answer is yes, it means the mind is still not free, even if one has been performing yoga practice for a long time, or possessing many ‘yoga certifications’, and believing in ‘goodness’, ‘righteousness’ and ‘positiveness’.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want and don’t want to practice.

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Yoga retreats run by Yoga Now Malaysia in Langkawi

The teachers at Yoga Now Malaysia welcome anyone who is sincerely interested in learning and practicing yoga with them by participating in their yoga retreats or workshops, however, there might be people who want to join a retreat or workshop at Yoga Now Malaysia might not understand what the teachers teach in the yoga retreats or workshops here, assuming that the retreats or workshops to be in certain ways that they expect it to be, and they might not like the kind of retreats or workshops run by Yoga Now Malaysia, where they would feel regret or disappointed for joining a retreat or workshop here that is not what they anticipated what it is.

Everyone has the freedom to like or dislike something. The teachers respect everyone as they are for what they like and don’t like.

Yoga Now Malaysia don’t discriminate anyone by filtering everyone before accepting the retreat or workshop requests from anyone, but in order to avoid some people who might not understand what the teachers teach in the retreats and workshops, or what kind of retreats or workshops are running by Yoga Now Malaysia, but they sign up for a retreat or workshop without proper understanding of what the teachers teach in the yoga retreats or workshops here, and end up quitting the retreat or workshop half way, generating disharmony in themselves and wasting the time, energy and effort of both parties, it would be better if people understand a little more about what the teachers teach in the yoga retreats and workshops before they sign up for a yoga retreat or yoga workshop run by Yoga Now Malaysia in Langkawi Island.

The yoga retreats and workshops are for those who sincerely want to learn and practice yoga that is about freeing the mind from the cause of suffering – Ignorance and its by-products of egoism, impurities and restlessness. Some people might think and believe that they sincerely want to learn and practice yoga, but they don’t really want to practice yoga that is about yoga. They only love certain part of the yoga practice and the commercial retreat activities that they know, that they like, which they enjoy, that make them feel good, healthy, happy and meaningful. And there’s nothing wrong with that if people just want to do some yoga exercises and enjoy some social/community activities that make the minds feel good and meaningful.

The retreats and workshops teach yoga that allow people to know what is going on in their minds to know the root cause of all kinds of disturbs, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hurts, unhappiness, painful sorrow, fear, worry, loneliness, meaninglessness, or suffering, and work diligently to free their own minds from the root cause of all kinds of disturbs, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hurts, unhappiness, painful sorrow, fear, worry, loneliness, meaninglessness, or suffering. It’s not a pleasant process for most egoistic prideful minds upon coming in contact with the truth of what is going on in the mind as the ego is going to be eliminated/destroyed through the realization of the truth, where the truth is the opposite of everything that the ignorant egoistic mind used to think and believe what things are. There will be intense resistance coming from the egoistic prideful mind.

Those who never practice yoga before, and those who have been practicing yoga but they come with an open mind will appreciate the retreats and workshops as they are and will learn something invaluable for the rest of their life. Those who come with closed mind and expectation, or have doubt and hesitation towards the teachers or the retreat or workshop, will not be able to allow the retreats or workshops to be what they are and couldn’t learn anything. And there’s nothing wrong with people have doubts or hesitation towards the teachers that they never met before, and towards the retreat or workshop that they never attended before. But when the doubt and hesitation is too over-whelming, it will affect their perception towards everything.

Yoga Now Malaysia is a simple home based small yoga studio situated in a small village that run flexible dates retreats and workshops which are subject to availability and the teachers run retreats and workshops even if there’s only one person attending. Most of the retreats and workshops have only one person joining and occasionally there might be a few people over-lapping with one another during the same dates. The retreats are not fixed dates retreats with a group of people.

There is only one room available at Yoga Now. For those who want to stay at the accommodation at Yoga Now, they need to know that it will be only themselves staying there regardless of whether there are other people joining a retreat or workshop during those dates, or not.

People who truly want to learn and practice yoga should have no problem with living alone and being the only person in a retreat. As yoga practice or Sadhana is about live alone, eat alone, walk alone, meditate alone.

This is the first determination – learn to be by oneself.

Meals are not provided. Everyone needs to look after their own meals and there are many existing restaurants about 3 Kilometres away that cater to all budgets and tastes. Yoga Now Malaysia is not a hotel or guesthouse. There’s no room service or housekeeping for the accommodation at Yoga now. The teachers will clean up the accommodation thoroughly before the guests check-in and after the guests check-out. But, during the retreat, people who stay at the accommodation at Yoga Now need to be self-initiative and self-reliant to look after the cleanliness and tidiness of their living space. Those who arrange their own accommodation somewhere else also need to arrange their own transport between their accommodation and the yoga studio to attend the retreat sessions.

Some people say that they don’t want to join the retreat because there’s no food or transport included, they feel that it’s very inconvenient and troublesome. While some even say that they initially wanted to join the retreat at Yoga Now Malaysia, as they have heard or read about the food used to be provided at the yoga retreats at Yoga Now Malaysia was very good, but then they don’t want to come for the retreat when they found out that food is not included anymore. It shows that learning and practicing yoga with the teachers from Yoga Now Malaysia is not a priority, but food and all kinds of conveniences are more important to them.

Yoga Now Malaysia doesn’t advertise anywhere and doesn’t have any signboard. Upon confirmation of the yoga retreat, directions to the yoga studio will be given to those who need to arrange their own transport to the yoga studio. They need to be self-reliant to follow the directions that Yoga Now gave them and not depending on taxi drivers to bring them here, as taxi drivers don’t know where the yoga studio is even when people give them an address. Address doesn’t mean anything to the taxi drivers, as it is a house in a village where there’s no street/road name. People who followed the directions would have no problem finding the yoga studio, only those who refused to follow the directions but depend on the taxi drivers would have problem finding it.

Those who really sincerely want to learn and practice yoga with the teachers from Yoga Now Malaysia, food is not that important and there’s nothing too much troublesome and inconvenience that would stop them from coming to learn and practice yoga with the teachers.

This is the second determination – learn to be self-initiative and self-reliant.

The retreats or workshops don’t teach any particular style of yoga, or any particular kind of yoga practice designed specifically for particular type of rehabilitation of physical injuries or illnesses, neither it’s for any kind of ‘healing’ or ‘detoxification’. It’s also not a fitness yoga camp to attain physical fitness/strength/flexibility/ability to do some yoga poses. But everyone do their best to perform the practice without attachment or expectation, and allowing the result or the fruit of practice to be there as it is. And eventually, they learn to become their own teacher, when they developed awareness, openness, correct understanding, self-reliance and self-discipline, then everyone and everything and all the pleasant and unpleasant experiences are there to teach us something.

In the yoga retreats or workshops here, people learn to allow their mind to be opened, to inquire the truth of everything, including all the teachings of yoga, regardless of whether they like or dislike, agree or disagree with some of the teachings and practice, and whether they want or don’t want to practice some of the teachings and practice.

They learn about not to blind-believing, not to blind-following, not to blind-practicing, not to blind-agreeing or not to blind-preaching/sharing about anything that they read, or heard from somewhere and someone, even from this yoga retreat or workshop that they attended, but to purify and quiet the mind, to inquire or investigate the truth of everything, and realize the truth by themselves, to be free from ignorance.

They learn about “The body is not I, I am not the body. The mind is not I, I am not the mind.” and let go of attachment and identification with the impermanent and selfless body and mind as who they are. All kinds of problems and suffering that people think they have, started with the ignorant egoistic attachment and identification with the impermanent and selfless existence and function of the body and mind as ‘I’.

They learn how to unattached towards any particular thinking and belief in the mind that influenced them how they judge and react towards everything that the mind comes in contact with, or experiences, or perceives, which is not necessarily the truth of things. Quite many people do not like this teaching or practice of letting go the attachment and identification towards their particular thinking and belief that they have been identifying with as who they are, for a long time.

This is the third determination – learn how to unattached and unidentified with particular thinking and belief or any qualities of names and forms to be who they are, developing awareness, openness, correct understanding, self-reliance and self-discipline, and becoming their own teacher.

In the yoga retreat or workshop, people learn to develop awareness, self-discipline, self-reliance and self-control, to take full responsibility for all their actions and reactions and the consequences of their actions and reactions. How the mind reacts towards all the mind perception of names and forms is it’s own responsibility, whether the mind reacts and feels good or bad, happy or unhappy, satisfied or dissatisfied, positive or negative, like or dislike, agreement or disagreement, want or doesn’t want, pleased or displeased, loved or unloved, pleasant or unpleasant, motivated or demotivated, calm or disturbed, peaceful or peaceless, enjoy or suffer.

They learn to take full responsibility to look after themselves, the well-being of the body and the mind, and be free from clinging onto and longing or craving for love, care, support, encouragement, praise, compliment, acknowledgement, achievement, agreement, friendship, companionship, relationship, connection, or interaction, being immersed in solitude and silence, being in the present, being free from boredom, loneliness, unhappiness, low self-esteem, unworthiness, guilt, regret, pride, arrogance, craving, aversion, longing, the sense of meaninglessness and all kinds of dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, anger, hatred, jealousy, fear, worry, offensiveness, defensiveness, agitation, depression, painful sorrow, or suffering.

This is the fourth determination – learn to take full responsibility towards one’s actions and reactions and the consequences of one’s actions and reactions, and look after the well-being of one’s body and mind.

They learn how to observe any physical injuries or illnesses that they have and the existence of any kinds of ‘hurts’ or ‘disturbs’ or ‘painful sorrow’ or ‘suffering’ in the mind by letting go of egoism, without generating attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, and learn to see the truth of impermanence and selflessness. Once the mind realizes or sees the truth of impermanence and selflessness, there is no need of any kinds of ‘healing’. All the good and bad condition of the physical body, and all the different states of the mind of all kinds of thought activities of reactions towards all the mind perception of names and forms, and all kinds of pleasant and unpleasant life experiences, are just what they are, that they are neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative.

They learn to perform all their actions, practice, duties and responsibilities without attachment and identification, and allowing the result or the fruit of actions to be what they are, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison or expectation. Being undetermined by the actions or the fruit of actions.

This is the fifth determination – learn to free the mind from egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, while do one’s best to perform any necessary actions, duties and responsibilities.

All the yoga practice in the retreat sessions are to purify and quiet the mind, to free the mind from egoism, impurities and restlessness, to prepare the mind for meditation, to allow the mind to reflect or inquire upon the truth of everything and be free from ignorance, and thus be free from the by-products of ignorance – All kinds of disturbs, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hurts, unhappiness, painful sorrow, fear or suffering.

This is the sixth determination – learn how to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness, to allow the mind to see the truth of names and forms – Impermanence and selflessness.

Yoga practice is about letting go of the past good or bad/happy or unhappy/pleasant or unpleasant/desirable or undesirable/agreeable or disagreeable experiences, to free the mind from continuously being disturbed or determined by the past good or bad/happy or unhappy/pleasant or unpleasant/desirable or undesirable/agreeable or disagreeable experiences. And without attachment towards all the good or bad/happy or unhappy/pleasant or unpleasant/desirable or undesirable/agreeable or disagreeable experiences in the present moment now, being undetermined by all the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, and remain equanimous without clinging/craving towards the pleasant experiences, without aversion towards the unpleasant experiences. Also to free the mind from attachment and the desire of craving and aversion towards the future that doesn’t exist and being determined by the imagination/anticipation/projection/expectation towards the future.

And hence, the yoga teachers are not interested to be engaging in worldly social conversations and won’t be asking the guests about their past of what were their thinking and feelings/what they did or didn’t experience, or talking about the past experiences and projecting into the future, or what was/is their physical condition, ability and limitation, or how they think and feel in the present, to allow the guests to stop feeding or empowering the attachment and identification towards the past experiences and all the impermanent and selfless qualities of names and forms that are not who they are, and be aware of all the modifications of the mind without attachment, or identification, or desire of craving and aversion.

This is the seventh determination – learn how to be in the present, free the mind from being conditioned and determined by the past experiences or the future imagination. And without attachment towards all the pleasant and unpleasant experiences in the present moment as even this present moment is impermanent.

Yoga practice is about silencing the ever restless mind, or the annihilation of the modifications of the mind. It’s not important whether the physical body is in good or bad condition, or whether life is good or not good/easy or difficult, or what the body can do or cannot do, or whether the body is comfortable or uncomfortable, or whether the body suffers from certain injuries or illnesses, or not. It’s to go beyond the attachment and identification with the body and mind, but looking after the well-being of the body and mind out of compassion, not out of egoistic desire of “I want my body and mind to be like this, and I don’t want my body and mind to be like that.” and with the correct understanding of performing the yoga practice within one’s ability in the present and without forcing the body to go beyond its limitation. Allowing the practice and the fruit of the practice to be what it is. Allowing the body to be changing or improving naturally, without attachment and expectation. Without clinging onto or craving for injury-free/illness-free or good condition of the physical body, without aversion towards injury/illness or the bad condition of the physical body.

No matter how much limitation of physical movements and discomforts due to the existing injury or illness, one be determined to attend all the sessions even without much physical practice/movements, but just being aware of the limitation and discomforts without generating attachment, identification, craving and aversion, remain equanimous. And that’s already a great practice, greater than doing many yoga asana poses/exercises in the sessions that people enjoy doing, that make them feel satisfied and happy, but full of attachment, identification, judgment, comparison, expectation, craving and aversion.

This is the eighth determination – develop patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation.

Not that the teachers don’t care about the students, when they don’t ask about the students’ well-being, as it is not important at all about how is the physical condition (injuries/illness/ability and limitation) or the state of the mind (happy or unhappy/positive or negative), when one truly understands what is yoga and is truly practicing yoga. And more importantly, it’s to allow the students to be unattached towards and undetermined by the impermanent and selfless condition and function of the body and mind, and learn to be independent, to observe what is going on in their body and mind, to realize the truth of impermanence and selflessness, to look after the well-being of their body and mind by themselves, to realize wisdom and unconditional love from within, be free from clinging and craving for receiving love, help, support or kindness from others, allowing others to show love, help, support and kindness to oneself, or not, without being determined by other people’s actions and reactions, where they don’t need to rely on a teacher, or anyone to be there for them, to be practicing yoga, to be doing something beneficial for themselves or others, to feel loved and supported, to feel being helped or looked after, to be motivated, to be acknowledged, or to feel meaningful.

There’s no need to have somebody there to comfort oneself, to be listening to one’s ‘problems’ or ‘complaints’, as there’s no ‘problem’ or ‘complaint’ when one knows yoga, when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism.

This is compassion and liberation, although many people might not understand or agree with this. It’s normal that most people who attached strongly onto the worldly passionate thinking and belief couldn’t understand this teaching and practice particularly and have strong disagreements towards this teaching and practice, unless they go beyond all the worldly passionate thinking and belief. And that’s their freedom of thinking, actions and reactions.

Those who don’t understand, they have expectation towards everyone and everything to be in certain ways that they like and agree with. They expect the teachers should behave or treat them in certain ways. They expect the retreat should be run in certain ways. They feel offended, disappointed and hurt when people or things are not being the way that they want it to be, or when they are getting what they don’t like and don’t agree with, or when they are not getting what they like and agree with, and when something that they like has changed into something that they don’t like, or is being disturbed, or is no longer existing or available. As long as the mind is still functioning under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, people would keep hurting themselves and others out of ignorance, egoism and impurities.

This is the ninth determination – to realize compassion or unconditional love, to stop hurting oneself and others out of ignorance, egoism and impurities.

All these practices and realization are nothing to do with the impermanent and selfless physical condition, physical appearance, physical ability and limitation; or the impermanent and selfless state of the mind; or how strong and flexible is the physical body to perform the yoga poses; or how many yoga poses the body can perform nicely and comfortably; or how long they can hold a particular yoga pose comfortably; or whether they perform the yoga poses in so called ‘perfect alignment’, or not; or whether they believe or disbelieve in God (existence); or whether they have or don’t have a religion belief and practice; or what type of religion belief and practice that they have; or what type and style of yoga they are practicing; or how long they have been practicing yoga; or who are their yoga teachers; or what type of food that they eat or don’t eat; or whether the minds think they are good or not good, positive or negative, happy or unhappy.

This is the tenth determination – to free the mind from being conditioned and determined by qualities and dualities and any thinking and beliefs.

It’s important as part of the yoga practice for the fees must be paid fully before the start of the retreats or workshops. Fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. In case of sickness or emergency that one couldn’t finish the retreat, one can replace the unattended retreat sessions on some other time in the future when retreat or workshop is available. The fees is about the retreat guests showing sincerity and determination to attend the yoga retreat or workshop, as well as to show appreciation and gratitude towards the yoga teachers and supporting the maintenance of the retreat centre to conduct such retreats and workshops to allow other people to learn and practice yoga to be free from ignorance and suffering. This is very important as part of the yoga practice of elimination of ignorance and egoism.

It’s not about paying some money in exchange for some customer services or commercial products in return. It’s about one gives before receive anything or even doesn’t receive anything in return. It’s not about one will ‘give’, after one received something that one likes and desires, and one will be reluctant to ‘give’ if one thinks one didn’t receive something that one likes or desires.

The teachings and practice of yoga is available anywhere and anytime that is nothing to do with ‘fees’ at all, such like anyone who visit this Blog can learn and practice yoga from all the posts about yoga here if they want, for free, but the daily/weekly/monthly/yearly maintenance of the living space and practice space of a retreat centre that allow people to come to learn and practice yoga under the teachers needs to be maintained by fees/money, to pay rental, bills, business license fee, building permit fee and lots of maintenance to upkeep the entire place. Even when there’s no retreat or workshop happening, when the teachers don’t teach classes or receive any fees, the teachers are still ‘working’ everyday to upkeep the entire place. But people don’t see this. They think that the teachers only ‘work’ when they are teaching classes. The teachers will be teaching as long as somebody sincerely wants to come to learn and practice with them. Sooner or later, even if someone wants to come to learn and practice yoga, the teachers will not be here anymore.

All the teachings, practice and realization are invaluable. It’s not something that one can buy or pay with some money and one will be free. But the fees in the form of money has its important function. Some people are not aware of they are exploiting the yoga teachers when they negotiate the fees with the teachers to get discount so that they can spend the saved money on something else, or thinking that the yoga teachers shouldn’t receive any fees as they believe that teaching yoga should be something charitable or as a service, expecting that all yoga teachers should have some full time or part time job or business, or beg for donations from the public to support their living and perform selfless service to teach yoga for free or at very low fees. That’s how people started to exploit yoga teachers thinking that that’s the way it should be. Even some yoga teachers would think like that. But it’s not. What they don’t understand is that the fees is not about paying for the teachers for their actions of teaching yoga, but it’s for many things that allow the teachers to be available here to teach yoga to other people at a particular time and space. If the teachers or the time and space are not available due to some reasons, then even though somebody want to pay some fees to the teachers, the teachers also cannot be here to teach yoga to anyone.

The retreat guests need to have certain degrees of determination and open mind to surrender all the doubts and hesitation towards paying non-refundable fees before the start of the retreat or workshop to be determined to finish the retreat or workshop regardless of any physical or mental discomforts/dislike/disagreement/aversion towards some of the teachings or practices and also due to the physical/mental/emotional purification process that may arise during/before/after the retreat or workshop, without forcing the body beyond its limitation, without hurting the body. If it’s too tired or sicked to perform any physical practice, one doesn’t need to do any form of physical practice, but still be practicing yoga by being present in the retreat sessions. But many people don’t get this. They would want to quit as soon as there’s some tiredness, dislikes, disagreements, discomforts or sickness.

Usually when there’s doubt or hesitation towards paying the fees before the retreat started is due to there are a lot of ‘what if’ over-powering people’s mind, and they afraid of they might regret or don’t like the retreat and will loose their money if they want to quit and won’t get any refund for quitting. They prefer to play safe by trying out without payment, and if they like it then they will pay. Or else they won’t pay if they don’t like it. But this type of petite mentality is one of the hindrance in the yoga practice. One should be determined to finished something that one started no matter how challenging it appears to be by putting aside all the impulsive likes and dislikes, craving and aversion.

Not about asking anyone to be compared with myself, but just to let people know that it’s possible to be determined to finished everything that we have started no matter how much challenges and obstacles and difficulties are there. Initially, I didn’t have enough money to pay for the yoga teachers training course when I paid the deposit to sign up for the course, but I never asked for any discounted rate or special rate from the Ashram, and somehow I managed to earn enough to pay for the fees and flight ticket and other expenses as well as supporting my parents’ living by working hard. My body was sicked for more than three weeks during the one month course when I was attending the first yoga teachers training course at Sivananda Ashram in 2005, but I never missed any classes, or quit. Neither did I expect to be receiving sympathy, empathy, attention, love and care from anyone. I looked after myself and knowing that it’s part of the purification process and it’s impermanent. And the next year, after came back from the advanced teachers training course and attended my first silent Vipassana meditation retreat, my whole body and face suffered from some kind of serious skin rash for more than one and half year. Again, it didn’t bother me at all. When I was young, the so called ‘astrologer’ said that I will never be a champion no matter how hard I try, but I managed to be a champion twice, and be qualified to represent Malaysia for competing in world championship in Sport Aerobics Competition. It’s all about determination, perseverance, discipline, focus, patience, forbearance, hardworking and independence.

For those who have developed a strong foundation of correct understanding towards the teachings and practice, where they have become their own teacher, then naturally and effortlessly, they are dispassionate towards a worldly passionate way of life and would renounce worldly social affairs, desires, relationships, connections, activities and interactions, immersing into the practice of silence, solitude and seclusion, to be focusing in their own practice to attain complete annihilation of the modification of the mind.

This might be the last but not least determination – to attain complete annihilation of the modification of the mind.

Everyone has the freedom to decide what they want or don’t want to practice after learning about the teachings and practice of yoga in the retreats or workshops, there’s nothing wrong if they don’t want to practice some of the teachings or practice, but more importantly, they learn to allow their mind to be opened, to be undisturbed by something that their mind dislikes, disagrees with, and doesn’t want to practice, but at the same time, allow the mind to be opened to inquire or investigate the truth of everything that the mind agrees or disagrees with, being aware of whatever the mind agrees or disagrees with are not necessarily the truth. That is already getting into the practice, even if they dislike, disagree with and don’t want to practice some of the teachings or practices of yoga. Then in everyday life, dealing with many people and things that are not necessarily that they like or agree with, but they are not disturbed by what they don’t like and don’t agree with, and have peace.

That is true compassion towards oneself and others, where one stops hurting oneself or others out of all kinds of impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, offensiveness, defensiveness, frustration, unhappiness, depression, pride, arrogance, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurts, regret, guilt, craving, aversion, impatience, intolerance, ill-will, animosity, unrest, fear or worry, under the influence of ignorance and egoism.

One is peaceful as one is, regardless of all kinds of mind perception of pleasant or unpleasant experiences, and all the impermanent changes of the different states of the mind, the mental achievement, ability and limitation; the physical achievement, ability and limitation, and the impermanent and selfless physical condition of aging, decaying, weakening, pain, illness and eventually stop functioning and decompose.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life, body and mind, but also be responsible for all their decisions and desires, actions and reactions, and the consequences of their decisions, desires, actions and reactions.

Be happy.

Distraction, inattentiveness, boredom, irritability, impatience, intolerance and outgoing pleasure seeking tendency

Distraction, inattentiveness, boredom, irritability, impatience, intolerance and outgoing pleasure/fun/enjoyment/excitement/adventure/interaction seeking tendency are some of the obstacles for those who have interest or aspiration in learning and practicing yoga, especially when joining a serious yoga and/or meditation retreat which emphasizing on learning and practicing traditional yoga and meditation to quiet the restless mind, to purify the mind impurities, to eliminate egoism, to allow the mind to reflect upon the truth of names and forms and all the teachings, to allow the mind to know what is going on in the mind or to know thyself, to free the mind from ignorance and suffering, the by-products or consequences of ignorance.

Holding a position such as sitting forward bend for more than a few seconds would appear to be challenging or unbearable for these minds. The minds get bored, impatient and irritable when holding the sitting forward bend or in a lying position during the relaxation for a prolong period of time quietly in stillness. The minds also reluctant to proceed a little more or further in the entire practice once experiencing slight tiredness or discomforts, as they don’t want to forbear or tolerate slightest of tiredness or discomforts.

These minds enjoy very much constant movements of the physical body such like sun salutations, but only as long as there’s absence of tiredness or discomforts. They also prefer the back bending series or challenging balancing series more than the other positions as these movements excite/stimulate the energy fields or the mind, not so much of holding the positions for a prolong period of time, but just to get into the positions and out of the positions quickly. It’s the same as for all the other positions, these minds get into any positions quickly in a rush and don’t like to stay in the positions for longer than a few seconds and eagerly want to come out from the positions quickly. If they ‘have to’ stay in the positions, they won’t stay still for a second, they would move around, such like looking around or playing with their fingers, toes, skin, hair, or clothing.

These minds have intense dislike or aversion towards aloneness or being with people that don’t interest them; non-talking or talking about things that don’t interest them; non-interaction or interaction with people that don’t interest them; silence/quietness or noises/sounds/speech that they don’t like; mental and physical stillness or mental and physical training/practice/activity that they don’t like; restricting the thought activities or focusing the mind at one point for a prolong period of time; or listening to the teachings of yoga of the annihilation of ignorance and egoism, of desireless, dispassion and renunciation that appear to be non-interesting, or irrelevant, or disagreeable to the minds.

Usually, these minds will feel regret for participating in such retreat and eagerly want to give up half way through the retreat and think of many ‘reasonable’ excuses to ‘runaway’ from the retreat.

“It’s so fun and pleasurable when we can be attending parties/celebrations/festivals, dancing and listening to upbeat loud musics, eating, drinking and smoking while talking, flirting, gossiping and laughing with many like-minded ‘friends’ and enjoying outdoor adventurous activities while looking at beautiful scenery are so much more enjoyable and meaningful and well-worth money spending than participating in these kind of ‘retreats’ about holding some tiring, boring and discomfortable positions in closed eyes and observing the breath without moving, talking or interaction for many hours for many days, and have to be listening to some ‘boring’ and ‘ridiculous’ teachings of ‘disciplining/restricting our thinking/actions/speech’, to be quiet, to be still, to be dispassionate and letting go our passionate desires and what we like to enjoy very much.”

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

The practice of silence to conquer the restless mind

This teaching is for those who want to conquer the restless mind, but they realize that the mind is so difficult to quiet down, that there will be ceaseless distracting random thoughts occupying the mind, especially whenever they try to sit down quietly limiting the physical movements and refraining the senses from going out chasing after the object of the senses, to train the mind in concentration and meditation.

It’s a common reaction of all the untrained impure minds when the physical body is being restricted from bodily movements and the mental habitual activities is being restricted, there will be random thoughts bubbling up to the surface of the mind. It’s part of the purification process. People should continue the practice by learning how to be aware of all these random thoughts without association, attachment, identification, craving or aversion, judgment and expectation, and allowing all these random pleasant and unpleasant thoughts arising and passing away, to clear up the past accumulated imprints. People expect that when they meditate, the mind will be free from any thoughts, and so, they’ll get very disappointed and demotivated after a few attempts trying to concentrate or meditate, they realize that the modification of the mind is even more agitated and violent whenever they try to concentrate or meditate. And without correct understanding, many people would give up and prefer to just live everyday life as they are, ‘happy happy go lucky’, be good, do good, without the need to deal with the unpleasant behavior of the mind that they don’t like to confront with. And that’s their freedom.

The biggest element in aid to conquer the restless mind is the observation of silence, of seclusion, solitude and renunciation from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions.

Some people think that those who want to conquer the mind should take up the challenge of living and mixing among the society, in order to allow the mind to practice concentration and meditation in everyday life having to deal with all kinds of challenging condition and situation, distractions and disturbance, while learning how to remain equanimous without being affected or determined by all the challenging condition and situation in life, without generating craving towards the pleasant life experiences and without generating aversion towards the unpleasant life experiences. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But what happens? After many years of ‘trying’ to practice yoga and meditation to conquer the restless mind, but the mind is still restless, or even more restless under the influence of ignorance and impurities.

Some even say that it’s very easy to be calm and quiet being in solitude and seclusion without dealing with other beings and worldly affairs. They think that one doesn’t need to deal with pleasantness and unpleasantness, craving and aversion, distractions and disturbance, actions and reactions, when being in solitude and seclusion. What they don’t know is that most minds will runaway from solitude and seclusion after some time, like fish out of water, and the modification of the mind is even more agitated and violent being restricted from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions that keep the mind stimulated, entertained, busy, or restless. That’s why so many people will say that meditation is very difficult, or they can’t meditate, or they don’t like meditation, or they don’t like to observe silence, of solitude and seclusion.

Whether one is surrounded by many other beings and happenings, or one is alone in solitude away from happenings, this mind has to deal with the impermanent and selfless changes of the physical body and the ignorant impure egoistic modification of the mind. Whether the mind is free, or not free, it’s always right here and right now. When the mind practices concentration and meditation, it’s always alone, regardless of whether there are other people around, or not.

Do not blind-believing or blind-following any teachings from anyone or somewhere, including all the teachings here. Contemplate and inquire the truth of all teachings and attain self-realization of the truth of all the teachings via direct experience.

Take note that living in the world and mixing in the society are two completely different things. Geographically and biologically, one will have to and always be living in the world, otherwise, this body will not be able to survive for long, but at the same time, know the importance of observing silence, of maximum solitude and seclusion, renouncing worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, in short, refraining from mixing in the society.

While living in the world, one will still have to deal with the impermanent and selfless condition and situation in the world that is ever challenging, and developing the strength of non-association, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation, and one learns how to conserve energy and not wasting energy into worldly affairs/activities/interactions that derived from ignorance and egoism, as well as empowering/feeding ignorance and egoism.

Observing maximum solitude and seclusion while living in the world, and renouncing worldly social relationships, activities and interactions doesn’t mean that one is completely isolated from the society and not performing any actions in the world. One can be performing unlimited selfless service in the world to benefit the society efficiently, but being free from mixing, or socializing, or accumulating relationships. One is care-less towards the worldly affairs, but can also be performing actions that benefit the world at the same time. Being compassionate towards all beings doesn’t mean that one has to be in a form of relationship with all beings. One can be kind to others without the need of knowing or contacting with the others. Contemplate on this, and be free to observe silence while living in the world and performing actions in the world.

For the ‘first class’ students of Dhamma, which are very few of them in this world, they don’t need to observe silence, of solitude, seclusion and renunciation from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, as they are already grounded firmly in Dhamma. They can be mixing in the society like everyone else, behaving like everyone else, but their minds are ever pure and quiet. They don’t need to practice concentration or meditation at all. They are not separated from meditation. There’s no in or out of meditation.

For the other students of Dhamma, which is the majority of us, we do need to observe silence at some stage, of maximum solitude and seclusion, and renounce worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, as whether we are aware or unaware, the mind is constantly absorbing all the inputs of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts/imagination/projection/dreams, all the time, unwittingly. All these endless accumulated inputs are the ceaseless random thoughts that bubbling up to the surface of the mind during the practice of concentration and meditation, and many minds that haven’t develop a strong foundation of non-association, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation will be greatly disturbed, distracted and demotivated by this purification process. And this will never come to an end, unless we start reducing and limiting all these unnecessary mind inputs deriving from all kinds of worldly relationships, activities and interactions.

It’s like someone tries very hard to clean up the rubbish bin, but somehow, rubbish keep pouring into the bin, from someone and somewhere, endlessly. The bin will never be cleaned. The untrained impure egoistic mind is like a rubbish bin, taking in all kinds of rubbish (mind inputs) ceaselessly, unwittingly. And yoga and meditation practice of silence, solitude, seclusion and renunciation, is the most effective and practical way to free the mind from being a rubbish bin, and it’s not about to be a clean rubbish bin, but to realize its nature of namelessness, formlessness and attributelessness, that it is neither a dirty rubbish bin nor a clean rubbish bin.

Perform this test to know how the mind works. Sit down without moving the body and limbs, closing the eyes, and observe the natural breath coming in and going out for a few minutes. Very soon, unwittingly, random thoughts will arise and occupying the mind. And one will realize that all these random bubbling thoughts are the strongest imprints during the day, or from the last few days, or even from weeks/months/years before, or even forgotten.

Even Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and Swami Sivananda also had to retreat from the society to be focusing on their practice for some years in solitude, restraining the modification of the mind and attaining liberation. And then they came back to the society to disseminate the Dhamma to the other suffering minds whom in need of the Dhamma to be free from suffering.

By reducing and limiting the mind inputs not just allowing the mind to be purified effectively, but it also helps to develop a great mental strength that allows the mind to be uninfluenced, unaffected, undisturbed and undetermined by all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses. At this stage, the mind is safe and free to be mixing in the society and live everyday life like everyone else, but the mind is ever pure and quiet.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to think and believe, and what they want or don’t want to practice.

The importance of restricting worldly physical and mental activities

All kinds of yoga practice serve the purpose of changing the restless habits of the egoistic mind to render the mind calm and quiet to prepare the mind for meditation by weakening egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, and eventually annihilate egoism completely, rendering the mind pure and quiet being free from impurities and restlessness to see the truth as it is.

One of the important practice to change the restless habits of the mind to render the mind pure and quiet is by restricting the worldly physical and mental activities, even though it doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free from ignorance and suffering, if the mind doesn’t know how to be free from egoism. Such as full body paralysis or unconsciousness doesn’t mean that the mind is free from ignorance and suffering.

Some yoga practitioners think that they don’t need to restrict the worldly physical and mental activities to silent the thought activities, as they believe that all their worldly physical and mental activities are good and righteous actions derived from good and righteous intention, and all these good and righteous actions will be transformed into virtues and merits that will only bring good karma in return and there won’t be any bad karma in the making, that all their life experiences will only be good, joyful, pleasant, desirable and enjoyable, and void of all kinds of suffering.

Some young, fit and healthy ‘yoga teachers’ even proclaim that by practicing yoga, their physical body can defy old age, decay, or illness. The physical body of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and many enlightened Gurus in the past also had to go through the inevitable truth of impermanence and selflessness of decay, illness, old age and death/decomposition, even though the mind had attained liberation from the suffering of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness.

One of the common reason for many yoga practitioners who ignore the importance of silencing the thought activities is, they (the ever restless mind) don’t like/want to be quiet, but instead, they want actions/stimulation endlessly. Not just that they aren’t interested in silencing the thought activities, but they enjoy or indulge in the restlessness of ceaseless worldly physical and mental activities. Restricting the mind from the worldly physical and mental activities appears to be meaningless, boring and suffering for the minds that enjoy ceaseless actions/stimulation all the time. After sitting quietly for a few minutes, the restless minds will start to be agitated and want to be in action as soon as possible, eagerly want to see, hear, talk, imagine, move, express, play, or interact. And that is the normal behavior of the untrained minds. Without judgment or expectation, don’t give up and keep practicing until the mind is resting in the silence of thought, action and speech.

Many would justify that by performing the yoga asana practice that they enjoy doing regularly is indeed a form of meditation in action, and their body and mind would feel good each time after the yoga asana practice, that makes them think that they have already reached the goal of yoga. That’s their freedom of thinking and action.

In the beginning of the process of purifying the mind, the mind can’t avoid needing some kind of stimulation to keep the mind busy. And hence, the yoga practice at this stage is to replace unwholesome activities with wholesome activities to keep the mind busy as well as improving the mind concentration, such as performing karma yoga, chanting and prayer, or pranayama and asana practice. These activities might generate momentary effects of calming the mind, but it doesn’t free the mind from restlessness completely. As there are those who are ‘addicted’ towards performing karma yoga, chanting and prayer, pranayama and asana practice, where the mind will be agitated or frustrated, or feel meaninglessness when it can’t perform karma yoga, chanting and prayer, pranayama and asana practice over a period of time. Though there’s nothing bad with that, but the mind is not free. Eventually, the mind needs to learn how to breakaway from the clinging/addiction towards both wholesome and unwholesome stimulation to keep busy, to learn to be at ease in silence. This doesn’t mean that one is discouraged from performing wholesome activities, but the mind is free from clinging/addiction onto performing actions to keep the mind busy with some kind of activities to avoid dullness, boredom, loneliness or the sense of meaninglessness. The mind is free as it is.

Make use of the yoga practice as a tool to render the mind pure and quiet to prepare the mind for meditation, but without attachment or addiction towards the yoga practice or the momentary effects deriving from the yoga practice.

Those who truly want to conquer the restless egoistic impure mind to free the mind from the root cause of suffering (renouncing both good and bad karma that give rise to ceaseless births and deaths of life existence of the impermanent and selfless body and mind), they understand that all goodness, pleasantness and enjoyment in this worldly life of names and forms are impermanent and selfless, including the momentary pleasant effects deriving from performing the yoga practice, and hence they are aware of the importance of attaining liberation from the suffering of ceaseless births and deaths of the impermanent and selfless body and mind, and so, they would take all the practice of silencing the thought activities seriously.

Being aware of the preciousness of the fleeting impermanent and selfless life existence of this body and mind to attain liberation from suffering, they renounce both good and bad karma to transcend ceaseless births and deaths, by realizing the essence of inaction in all actions from the realization of selflessness, non-separateness, oneness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness and intentionlessness.

Those who love their worldly life existence with all the physical and mental worldly activities that they enjoy very much, will stop at the intention of performing good actions that bring good karma/consequences in return, and won’t be interested in silencing the thought activities or the modification of the mind, to transcend the restless and ceaseless births and deaths of the impermanent and selfless existence and function of the body and mind. And that’s their freedom.