Go beyond all the names and forms including transcendental experiences

During the practice of concentration, not all but most practitioners might experience different kinds of ‘transcendental’ or subtle experiences of perceiving or seeing certain subtle name and form of light/colour/shape, hearing certain subtle sound, smelling certain subtle smell, tasting certain subtle taste, or feeling certain subtle sensation. Just as the names and forms that manifest as ‘dream’ in the state of dreaming, all these are merely some ‘side-effects’ that may or may not arise during the state of concentration, sometimes are pleasant and sometimes are unpleasant, as part of the manifestation of the different Gunas/elements that are predominant at that time, influenced by the accumulated imprints in the mind, which all are also subject to impermanence and selflessness.

If there’s attachment and identification towards all these ‘experiences’, where the mind thinks and believes or acknowledges, “I am experiencing all these transcendental names and forms. I am perceiving a different reality. I am improving in my practice. I am enlightened, or I must be very near to enlightenment.” and there’s sense of pride and craving towards all these experiences, then this ‘transcendental experience’ has become an obstacle for the mind to transcend itself.

All these names and forms are part of the play or manifestation of the modification of the mind (both conscious and sub-concious, gross and subtle). It can serve as ‘a focus point’ to keep the mind in the present, or it can become ‘an obstacle’ if there’s attachment and identification coming from the impure egoistic habit of the mind towards all these names and forms that arise during the practice of concentration.

The path of yoga and meditation is all about annihilating the modification of the mind of egoism and impurities under the influence of ignorance, neither attaching towards/clinging onto or running away from the mind perception of ‘this reality’ or ‘this existence’, nor looking forward to be perceiving ‘another reality’ that is different from ‘this reality’ or to be experiencing ‘another existence’ that is different from ‘this existence’.

In meditation, it’s beyond ‘concentration’ and all that manifest in the state of concentration (perception of different reality), beyond all kinds of names and forms and qualities/attributes, or Gunas/elements.

Stand as a witness towards the modification of the mind perceiving all kinds of names and forms. The dispassionate minds forgo all kinds of ‘magnificent show/play/manifestation’ of lights, colours, shapes, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, whether gross/subtle/transcendental. While the passionate minds unwittingly ‘falling in love with’ and ‘chasing after’ all kinds of agreeable/desirable/incredible/magnificent names and forms.

There’s neither attachment towards what the mind thinks is or is not ‘transcendental experience’. Transcending even the ‘experience’ of meditation or absorption into silence/Samadhi. There’s neither “I am meditating” or “I am experiencing silence” or “I am entering Samadhi”. Who is there to experience ‘this or that’ in selflessness/oneness/non-separateness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness? Even when the mind thinks and believes that it is seeing/hearing/feeling/experiencing what it thinks and believes is ‘God’ or even ‘Devil’, let it passed too.

There’s neither craving towards ‘higher realm/transition’ or ‘heaven’ nor aversion towards ‘lower realm/transition’ or ‘hell’. Just annihilating/silencing the modification of the mind.

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Vairagya and Mumukshutva – dispassion and intense yearning for liberation

Mumukshutva is the intense yearning for liberation transcending the wheel of births and deaths of conditional impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of inevitable physical/mental/emotional restlessness and suffering powered by ignorance and egoism.

It’s the objective or goal of all forms of yoga practice and meditation. Many years of performing yoga practice and meditation without Vairagya and Mumukshutva, but enjoying and indulging in the momentary goodness of yoga and meditation practice and the pleasant fruit of ‘good karma’ deriving from ‘good actions’, is like gathering and keeping accumulated pure and clean food in a ‘bottomless’ and contaminated container.

Vairagya (dispassion) and Mumukshutva are the two sides of a coin. They co-exist together as one. It’s the ‘under current’ that pulls/leads the mind towards liberation.

Ignorance and egoism and worldly passionate desire/love/attachment/clinging is the ‘under current’ that generates/powers the whirlpool of Samsara, where the mind attaching onto/’loving and enjoying’ the wheel of births and deaths of countless worldly transitions of names and forms that is subject to impermanence and selflessness, where the mind gets lost in the boundless desires of craving and aversion, seeking love, pleasure, goodness, righteousness, kindness, comfort, satisfaction, meaningfulness, sense of purpose, conditional freedom and limited good condition in the modification of the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of names and forms, of worldly physical/mental/emotional/sensual activities/interactions/enjoyments/relationships/community support while unwittingly ‘indulging in’ the momentary physical/mental/emotional/sensual satisfaction and pleasure deriving from the gratification of the passionate desires, ignorantly mistaking egoistic passionate love/attachment/sympathy/empathy/clinging/charity/sacrifice as compassion.

Worldly people, including many yoga practitioners and yoga teachers who think they love yoga very much that they find yoga is something very meaningful and see themselves practicing yoga and teaching yoga to other people as the meaning/purpose of their life existence, would mistake Vairagya and Mumukshutva as a form of ‘negative thinking/behavior’, or ‘depression’, or ‘madness’. That shows how great is the power of ignorance.

“Neither charity, nor sacrifice, nor fame, nor fasting, nor begetting a good son, nor control of breath, nor victory over the enemy, nor the society of friends, nor Siddhis like Anima can stand in comparison with realisation of the Self.

You may cross the sea by walking or float in the air or support on hands the great mountain Maha Meru or drink poison like milk or eat fire like fried grains or fly in the sky or stand on fire or break iron or get wealth by the power of magic ointment. Yet can all these give you liberation?

You can become a king or Indra or a Sannyasin. You can stun others by Mantra-sakti or aim accurately or know the past, present and the future.

You can reduce anger by destroying lust or eradicating greed. Yet can all these help you in the attainment of liberation?

You might have conquered pride, delusion and envy. You might have dwelt in Brahma-loka or Vaikuntha-loka or Kailasa. Yet can all these stand in comparison with liberation? He is fit for liberation who regards all these as nothing.

You took bath in the Ganga, you did all the sixteen kinds of charity. You did crores of Japa. What is the use of all these things if you do not attain Self-realisation?

Can you acquire eternal bliss and supreme peace from the attainment of vast erudition or from possession of immense wealth or from the enjoyment of beautiful young ladies? No. The supreme undying bliss can be obtained only by realisation of the Self.

Who is wife? Who is son? Who are you? Wherefrom did you come? How wonderful is this Samsara? How are you related to one another? Think deeply on these matters.

Who are you? Who am I? Wherefrom have we come? Who is mother? Who is father? Think deeply on all these. Leave off this world which is a dream and seek the eternal.

Vairagya is the rein by which the uncontrollable mind is restrained. Ripe Vairagya is intense attachment to Atman bliss and strong dispassion for anything other than Atman.

If one considers even the position and happiness of Brahma as the dung of a cow, then only he has developed a real lasting Vairagya. Temporary fleeting dispassion is not Vairagya. It will not help the aspirant in the attainment of Self-realisation.

It is common to have dispassion for some particular objects by some cause or other. But by having dispassion for all objects at all times, one will get knowledge of the Self. You may get Atma-Jnana soon by the grace of the Guru, by devotion to him, and by practice of what he instructs.”

– Swami Sivananda

Ego, more than self-esteem, self-worth, pride and arrogance

In the world, ‘ego’ is mostly being interpreted as the quality of a prideful ambitious overly confident high self-esteemed and self-centered person who thinks and believes oneself possesses certain qualities or achievements that one and others would be proud of and should deserve respect, appreciation, acknowledgement, or glorification.

When people say, “He/She has a big/bad ego,” usually it refers to this is a proud and arrogant self-centered, self-obsessed, or overly confident and ambitious person that boasts and glorifies about one’s contributions or achievements.

When people say, “He/She doesn’t have an ego or he/she has a small/good ego,” usually it refers to this is a down to earth, humble and unselfish person, who keeps quiet about one’s contributions and achievements.

‘Ego’, is more than the reflection of self-esteem, self-worth, pride and arrogance of a person under the teachings of yoga and Buddhism. It’s not a quality to reflect whether a person is being arrogant and self-centered or being humble and non self-centered.

‘Ego’, is an idea of ‘I’ derived from ignorance and exists in the form of a continuous stream of thought-current in the thinking mind, that feeds on egoism, attached onto and identifies with certain qualities of names and forms to be existing as an individual being experiencing life, either enjoying pleasant/desirable/agreeable/joyful experiences or suffering unpleasant/undesirable/disagreeable/painful experiences, identifies as ‘the perceiver that perceives/experiences/thinks/feels’ and ‘the perceived names and forms of perceptions/experiences/thinking/feelings’ as well as ‘the performer of actions’ and ‘the receiver of the fruit of actions’, who desires and doesn’t desire, who agrees and disagrees, who fights and protects, who enjoys and suffers. It appears to be existing and real due to ignorance.

The ego exists and identifies/acknowledges itself as ‘I am good’ or ‘I am bad’, ‘I know’ or ‘I don’t know’, ‘I am confident’ and ‘I am not confident’, ‘I like, agree and desire’ or ‘I don’t like, don’t agree and don’t desire’, ‘I deserve’ or ‘I don’t deserve’, ‘I am proud’ or ‘I am humble’, ‘I am happy’ or ‘I am unhappy’, ‘I am positive’ or ‘I am negative’, ‘I am meaningful’ and ‘I am meaningless’, ‘I enjoy’ or ‘I suffer’, ‘I am selfish’ or ‘I am unselfish’, ‘I am highly confident, ambitious and self-centered’ or ‘I am non confident, non ambitious and non self-centered’, and etc.

The end of yoga or Buddhism practice, is upon the annihilation of the modification of the mind or restless thought-currents, when the veil of ignorance vanished, where the mind sees itself as it is, attaining Self-realization, or knowing thyself, or knowing who ‘I’ am, where the annihilation of the ego/the idea of ‘I’, or the realization of selflessness/egolessness/’I’lessness takes place, transcending ‘the wheel of births and deaths of the egoistic impure consciousness powered by ignorance and the by-products of ignorance that generates ceaseless cause and effect/good and bad karma that feeds the loop of births and deaths of ignorance and the by-products of that’, ‘returning’ to oneness, non-separateness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, birthlessness, deathlessness, void of/untouched by cause and effect/good or bad karma/merits and virtues.

It’s not about trying to be as ‘good’ as possible, where a ‘soul/mind’ will be judged as a ‘good or bad soul/mind’ upon the death of the physical body based on accumulated virtues and merits or good/bad karma, either to be sent to ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’ or ‘somewhere in between’, or to be reborn into respective higher or lower realm of beings experiencing life existence via the mind perceiving pleasant/unpleasant names and forms through the senses that are all subject to impermanence and selflessness, to be continuously ‘ignorantly’/’helplessly’/’unwittingly’ generating further ceaseless good/bad actions along with the consequences of actions, or cause and effect, or good/bad karma, that keeps fueling the wheel of restless births and deaths (restless transitions of life existence reaping the fruit of good/bad actions) that is subject to impermanence and selflessness, regardless of good or bad, desirable or undesirable, enjoyable or sufferable transitions.

Forgo the momentary ‘pleasantness’, ‘happiness’, ‘meaningfulness’ or ‘goodness’ of a conditional fleeting worldly life existence of restless selfless transitions. Even so called ‘heaven’ or ‘higher realms’ are impermanent transitions reaping the fruit of ‘good’ actions. It’s not liberation at all. Know thyself, the beginningless and endless infinite silent witness of all impermanent and selfless transitions.

The ego constant acts and reacts to create a condition or a world that ‘I’ desires, based on the endless desire of craving (What I want) and aversion (What I don’t want). The silent witness neither act or react nor there’s an ‘I’ aspiring/desiring to create a condition or a world that ‘I’ desires. There’s neither “I will be or I am missing all the people of family and friends, or names and forms of the objects of the senses/qualities/conditions/things/actions/enjoyments/pets/places/realms/world that I love very much.” where only the very few dispassionate ones can go beyond all the worldly connections/relationships/names and forms transcending all kinds of worldly social/cultural/spiritual/religious thinking and belief, actions and achievements (the fruit of actions).

“The knowledge of the Self, or Self-realization, or the annihilation of the mind, or Samadhi, is the only way to be free from the wheel of births and deaths.” as taught by Swami Sivananda.

Verbal diarrhea?

The yoga and meditation practice are supposed to be quieting the restless outgoing talkative mind. Usually after a complete session of traditional yoga practice or a meditation sitting in silence, the mind would be rendered so quiet that there’s nothing to say, or talk, or share, or complain about, especially for the next few hours or so. However, there are some restless minds that are suffering from ‘verbal diarrhea’ might can’t stop talking immediately after the practice session finished, after being restrained from talking during the 2 – 3 hours of yoga practice or 1 – 2 hours of meditation sitting in silence. This is a common behavior (sort of a side-effect) of the restless mind especially after people finish a long silent yoga and/or meditation retreat. Sincere yoga practitioners need to know how to free the mind from ‘verbal diarrhea’, especially after a long time observing silence.

Yoga practitioners need to be aware of whether their minds are suffering from ‘verbal diarrhea’, which is a sign of a seriously restless mind.

Meanwhile, there are some people who don’t really know/understand about the meaning of yoga and meditation practice which is mainly to silent/quiet the restless outgoing talkative mind, and they would want to engage in social conversation with other people immediately after the ‘yoga class’ finished, they might feel offended by some people whose minds are in silent mode after the yoga and meditation practice, where they are not interested in engaging in social conversation with anyone, but would rather be isolated from the rest of the people, to be alone, to be ‘resting’ in the state of quietness for as long as possible.

Those who attend sincere ‘yoga retreat’ that is about quieting the mind should have an understanding about this, so that they wouldn’t feel offended by some people who’s minds are in silent mode after the practice, and try not to ‘disturb’ these minds that are resting in silence during and after the yoga and meditation practice, which is the ‘precious’ state of mind for sincere yoga and meditation practitioners.

Majority of the people in the society who encourage ‘active engagement in conversation or talking with other people’ for promoting a ‘happier’ state of mind or ‘better’ physical/mental/emotional health, might not understand the greatness of silence, where the mind is free from all kinds of disturbs, unhappiness or suffering, being in the present moment free from desire of craving and aversion, being undisturbed/undetermined by pleasant/unpleasant or agreeable/disagreeable experiences, where people have nothing that they need to be ‘talking’, ‘sharing’ or ‘complaining’ about to other people.

Selflessness?

Just like ‘Self-inquiry’ and ‘Impermanence’, ‘Selflessness’ is one of the common words we come across in the teachings of yoga and Buddhism.

The ‘I’, where there’s a continuous stream of thinking/thought in the mind acknowledges as ‘I’ am an individual being with a physical body and thinking mind experiencing life, doesn’t exist. Out of ignorance, there arise the idea of ‘I’ exist as part of the modification of the mind acknowledging as an individual being, attaching onto/possessing such and such qualities of names and forms to be identified/recognized as this is what/who ‘I’ am, claiming ownership towards the physical body and the thinking mind (this is my body and my mind) and all kinds of connection with everyone and everything that the mind comes in contact with (my family and my belongings and etc), and at the same time also identifying with the physical body and the thinking mind as ‘I’ (This physical body and this thinking mind is ‘I’).

‘Selflessness’ is not something to be attained by accumulating certain amount of ‘merits and virtues’ or ‘good karma’ after performing many ‘good/righteous actions’ or ‘karma yoga/selfless service’, but it’s the ‘realization’ upon the mind seeing the truth of what is this ‘I’ where there’s a thinking in the mind thinks and believes as ‘I’. As long as there’s an idea, acknowledgement and identification of “I am a selfless being performing good actions or karma yoga/selfless service” the mind is still functioning under the influence of egoism.

The mind needs to be free from egoism, impurities and restlessness to realize ‘Selflessness’, where there’s no ‘I’ existing to enjoy or suffer, to be born or die, to know or don’t know, to desire or don’t desire, to be the performer of action and the receiver/enjoyer of the fruit of action, to be ignorant or be free from ignorance. It’s just the modification of the thinking mind perceiving all the names and forms through the senses via the sense organs of the physical body. It’s just the mind functioning and perceives, sees, hears, smells, tastes, feels, senses and thinks. There’s no ‘I’ existing to claim possession/ownership/control of the selfless modification of the mind or the ceaseless impermanent changes of the modification of the mind perceiving all the names and forms that are also impermanent and selfless. It’s coming from the mind being aware of the modification of the mind, while purifying and quieting itself to be free from restlessness, impurities and egoism, to be free from ignorance. It’s not something else ‘separated’ from the mind called ‘I’ being there to be aware of ‘my mind’ or to purify and quiet ‘my mind’, to free ‘my mind’ from restlessness, impurities, egoism and ignorance.

“I am not the mind. The mind is not ‘I’.” is not about ‘I’ am an existing being/soul separated/distinct from the mind. The mind is just being what it is, functioning as it is selflessly, where there’s no ‘I’ in the function of the mind which is supported/influenced by energy to be existing and functioning. Just like there’s no ‘I’ in all the cells/bones/muscles/organs/systems that forming the entire structure of the physical body which depend on nature to provide support that allows the physical body to be existing and functioning. The body and mind constantly functioning or performing actions selflessly, and there are also the consequences of actions following the actions (cause and effect). But, somehow, out of ignorance, there’s an idea of ‘I’ existing in the form of thinking claiming a personal identity and possession/ownership towards this and that, to desire and don’t desire, to agree and disagree, to enjoy or suffer, to aspire and expect, and so on. There’s an idea/identification of “I am the performer of my actions and I am the enjoyer of the fruit of my actions.”

It’s difficult/challenging for the egoistic mind that attached strongly onto a worldly self-identity attaching onto certain qualities of names and forms as this is ‘I’ or what ‘I’ am, to realize ‘Selflessness’. The egoistic mind that ‘possesses’ a self-identity thinks and believes that ‘I’ exist as an individual being experiencing life, this is ‘I’, this is my life, my body, my mind, my thinking, my belief, my feelings, my emotion, my idea, my creativity, my energy, my health, my fitness, my strength, my flexibility, my ability, my disability, my achievement, my failure, my look, my talent, my knowledge, my education, my house, my belonging, my pet, my family, my friends, my relationship, my duty, my responsibility, my rights, my aspiration, my inspiration, my sacrifice, my happiness, my suffering, my vision, my desire, my actions, my fruit of actions, my religion, my ‘God’, my world, my country, and so on. Not only there’s a personal identity, but there’s also a group identity, such like our family, our life, our thinking, our belief, our culture, our religion, our ‘God’, our action, our fruit of action, our achievement, our failure, our world, our country, our vision, and so on.

“I eat, I drink, I play, I work, I rest, I aspire, I inspire, I think, I believe, I feel, I express, I laugh, I cry, I learn, I share, I give and receive, I love and beloved, I perceive, I experience, I act, I react, I achieve, I live, I die. I am existing. How can it be possible that ‘I’ don’t exist?” It’s unthinkable for the egoistic mind about ‘Selflessness’ – ‘Egolessness’ – ‘I-lessness’.

That’s why it’s very essential for the mind to let go the attachment and identification towards any qualities of names and forms, especially the worldly conditioned egoistic way of thinking and belief in the mind that influence how the mind analyzes, judges, feels and reacts towards all and everything, as well as letting go attachment and identification towards the physical appearance/condition/ability/disability/achievement/non-achievement before the mind can reflect upon the truth of ‘Selflessness’.

Once the mind is free from the attachment and identification towards the impermanent and selfless qualities of names and forms as ‘I’, including the function of the physical body and the thinking faculty, naturally the mind will realize the truth of ‘itself’ or ‘the modification of the mind’, that there’s no ‘I’, knowing thyself. There’s neither “I know” nor “I realize” nor “I am free from ignorance” nor “I am free.”

As long as the mind is still mingling among the worldly passionate egoistic minds, that keep empowering/feeding the idea of ‘I’ and ‘the world of egoism of all kinds of attachment and identification’, it’s very difficult and almost impossible for the mind to be free from ignorance and egoism. And hence, the important practice of renunciation, seclusion, solitude and silence.

According to the teachings of Swami Sivananda, the mind just needs to spend at least five to six years in seclusion and silence being away/cutting off from the worldly affairs/activities/society/family/friends/relatives/connections/interactions that feeds/empowers egoism/restlessness/impurities/ignorance, the mind will realize the truth of ‘the mind perception of a worldly life existence of impermanent and selfless names and forms’. Although it doesn’t guarantee that everyone who try to practice silence in seclusion and solitude for a prolonged period of time will be free from ignorance and attain self-realization, as the mind might still be influenced by gross and subtle egoistic worldly/spiritual attachment hindering the mind from seeing itself/knowing thyself. And not many people are suitable for such practice, as most passionate minds would ‘go crazy’ after being in seclusion and solitude for some time. Worldly passionate minds can’t live or be without seeing/touching/communicating/interacting with other beings for even a short period of time, not to say for a prolonged period of time. That’s why it requires certain degrees of dispassion and right discrimination for someone to practice silence in seclusion and solitude, to allow the mind to realize ‘Selflessness’/’Oneness’/’Non-separateness’/’Namelessness’/’Formlessness’, where ‘suffering’ and ‘the end of suffering’ doesn’t exist.

Many people might understood ‘Selflessness’ as ‘an existing name and form such as a being/soul/mind that is free from selfishness, who is unselfish’, such as “I am a selfless/unselfish being/soul/mind”, or “I am performing selfless action to benefit other beings and other beings will be benefited from my selfless actions.”

If it’s selfless, then what/who is that ‘I’ being there acknowledging and identifying as “I am selfless/unselfish”? It’s just impermanent selfless function of the body and mind generating actions and the consequences of actions ceaselessly until the annihilation of the modification of the mind takes place, there’s no ‘I’ being there to be acknowledging/identifying as “I am selfless/unselfish.” or “I am good/bad.” And hence, silent the mind, or as Swami Sivananda taught, “Kill the mind.”

Selflessness is nothing to do with unselfishness. Regardless of living beings or non-living objects, all are impermanent and selfless or I-less, where there’s no ‘I’ within all the impermanent changes. There’s no ‘I’ existing to be identified as ‘I am selfless’, ‘I am a selfless being’, ‘I am unselfish’, ‘I am performing selfless service and other beings are benefited from my selfless service’, ‘I am kind and compassionate’, ‘I aspire to inspire others to be selfless, kind and compassionate’, and so on. There’s no “I want to be selfless.” or “I am becoming selfless.”

‘Selflessness’ is the realization of there’s no self or ‘I’, it’s not about training the mind to become ‘selfless’ or ‘unselfish’. None/nothing can train to become ‘selfless’, as there is no self or ‘I’ from the beginning. Everyone and everything is just selfless as it is. It’s due to ignorance, there is the idea of ‘I’ arise in the thinking mind materializing itself via egoism influencing the thinking pattern of the mind, where the idea of ‘I’ feeds on attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, to desire and don’t desire, to aspire and expect, to enjoy and suffer, to love and be loved, to be continuing ‘existing’ in the form of thinking possessing a worldly self-identity with certain qualities of names and forms.

The idea of ‘I’ can be annihilated by eliminating egoism from the mind. As the ‘I’ appears to be ‘real and existing’ is nothing but the thinking pattern of the mind functioning under the influence of egoism, and upon annihilation of egoism or the veil of ignorance, the idea of ‘I’ will vanish naturally.

Upon the realization of impermanence and selflessness, naturally the mind also realizes ‘timelessness’. Time doesn’t exist, it’s just ‘what the mind perceives’, and ‘both the mind (the perceiver) and what the mind perceives (the perceived)’ constantly changing, and the ceaseless impermanent changes as well as due to the function of memory, there’s remembrance towards the impermanent changes generate the false impression of ‘time’ or ‘I’. The mind is going through countless births and deaths of ceaseless thoughts arising and passing away generating the different states of the mind. The body is going through countless births and deaths along with all the impermanent changes that are happening in the physical body generating the different condition/appearance of the body. The mind and the body is never remain the same mind or the same body even for a moment until the body and the thinking faculty ceased functioning and existing.

There’s no “I am performing yoga practice. I am a yoga practitioner. I will be receiving the benefits of the yoga practice. I am free or not free from ignorance.” It’s just the mind performing the practice, and whether the mind will be free from ignorance, or not.

Be free.

Life is good and meaningful?

There’s nothing wrong when the mind perceives or acknowledges that ‘life is good and meaningful’ because of ‘the presence of something good and meaningful or the absence of something bad and meaningless’, or when the mind perceives or acknowledges that ‘life is bad and meaningless’ because of ‘the absence of something good and meaningful or the presence of something bad and meaningless’.

Just that the mind is still being determined by the presence and absence of ‘certain qualities of names and forms’. There’s no freedom, as there’s attachment towards the presence or the absence of certain qualities of names and forms to feel good and meaningful, or not. Even when the mind thinks and believes that ‘life is so good and meaningful’ or ‘life is so bad and meaningless’ due to ‘the presence and absence of certain qualities of names and forms’, all are subject to impermanence and selflessness. Whether it’s ‘good and meaningful’ or ‘bad and meaningless’, all and everything will pass away.

Yoga and meditation practice is to allow the mind to see things as they are, and be free. Life is just what it is, as it is. Life is neither ‘good and meaningful’ nor ‘bad and meaningless’ being undetermined by the presence or absence of certain qualities of names and forms that are subject to impermanence and selflessness.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they think and believe, and whether they want to be free, or not.

Some minds actually enjoy the state of restlessness, enjoy being determined by all the names and forms that are impermanent and selfless, where they would find moments of calmness, joyfulness, goodness and meaningfulness from time to time during those moments of ‘life is good and meaningful’ due to the presence or absence of certain qualities of names and forms, while trying their best to avoid coming in contact with anyone or anything that they perceive/believe/acknowledge as ‘bad’, ‘negative’ and ‘meaningless’, where they believe it will bring ‘badness’ or ‘negativity’ into their life if they come in contact with certain qualities of names and forms that they believe as ‘bad’ and ‘negative’. That’s their freedom, even though that’s no freedom at all.

Go beyond the idea of ‘I’

Upon realization of Selflessness/I-lessness and the only existence is the present moment now where there’s neither past nor future, all kinds of disturb, unrest, anxiety, fear, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurts, regret, guilt, painful sorrow, worry, animosity, offensiveness, defensiveness, unhappiness, pride, arrogance, and all kinds of connection/relationship/duty/responsibility with particular names and forms, vanished or ceased existing. All actions are being performed out of compassion, not out of the sense of duty and responsibility. There’s no need of ‘healing’ or ‘positive thinking’ to be free from ‘hurts’ or ‘negative thinking’.

Without the idea of ‘I’, life is just what it is – Impermanent, selfless, intentionless and desireless. It’s neither ‘good’ nor ‘not good’, transcending time, space and causation, as it doesn’t need to ‘be mould into’ or ‘be acknowledged’ as ‘good life’ or ‘not good life’ based on the existence and non-existence of certain qualities of names and forms that are limited by time, space and causation. It exists only at this present moment, transcending the memories of the past and the imaginations towards the future. It’s undetermined by all kinds of cultural/national/family/community/social/religious/spiritual ‘appropriateness’, ‘practices’, ‘rituals’, ‘achievements’, ‘activities’, ‘mourning’, ‘celebrations’ or ‘festivals’, undetermined by the mind perception of all the different qualities of names and forms, or any kind of thinking/belief/feeling/relationship/appearance/condition/ability/disability/conduct/experience, undetermined by cultural/national/social/racial/religious/political/personal/gender/professional ‘worldly identities’, transcending the sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, goodness, happiness and meaningfulness. Life is free as it is.

Being bound by the idea of ‘I’, life is being limited and conditioned by egoistic intention and desire, being determined by time, space and causation, of the existence and non-existence of certain qualities of names and forms that ‘I’ desire and don’t desire, to be acknowledged as ‘good life’ or ‘not good life’. Life isn’t just what it is, but it’s ‘my life’ and ‘the life that I desire it to be’, and from there, the idea of ‘I’ extends its possessiveness and authority onto the world, “This is ‘my world’ and ‘I’ want ‘my world’ to be the way that I desire it to be.”

Due to ignorance, life is being determined very much by a past and a future that ‘I’ desire or don’t desire. It’s being determined by ‘my’ cultural/national/family/community/social/religious/spiritual ‘appropriateness’, ‘practices’, ‘rituals’, ‘achievements’, ‘activities’, ‘mourning’, ‘celebrations’ or ‘festivals’, being determined by the mind perception of the different qualities of names and forms to feel, think, behave, desire, act and react, being bound by the actions and the fruit/results/consequences of actions, being determined by the different kinds of thinking/belief/feeling/relationship/appearance/condition/ability/disability/conduct/experience and all the cultural/national/social/racial/religious/political/personal/gender/professional ‘worldly identities’ of ‘mine’ or what ‘I’ think is ‘who I am’. The entire life is being juggled around the attainment of the sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, goodness, happiness and meaningfulness.

Unconditional peace

By being peaceful, realizing the unconditional peace untainted by ignorance and its by-products of egoism, impurities and restlessness, is the greatest form of contributing peace into the world.

This unconditional peace is there as it is, unlimited by time, space and causation, unconditioned by impermanence and selflessness, when the mind is being undisturbed/undetermined by all the mind perceptions of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, selflessly, ceaselessly, where all kinds of impurities and restlessness subsided, and all desires of craving and aversion vanished.

It’s like the mirror reflecting all kinds of names and forms, without any intention to be reflecting or not reflecting anything, but the mirror itself is being undisturbed/undetermined/unchanged by the objects of different names and forms or their reflections being reflected onto the mirror.

The mirror is neither good nor bad. It is just what it is. Whatever objects of different names and forms being reflected onto the mirror do not change the mirror to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Neither will the mirror projects qualities of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ onto the objects of names and forms, or their reflections being reflected on it.

Contemplate on this, and be free.

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.

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-initiated 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 inconvenient that would stop them from coming to learn and practice yoga with the teachers.

This is the second determination – learn to be self-initiated 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, while learning how to be aware of what is going on in their own minds. And eventually, they 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 to perform inquiry towards the yoga teaching of “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 in this present moment without attachment or identification, without 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.