The world of yoga

People asked us how come we don’t run/teach yoga classes and teachers training courses?

Yoga practice is about taming/quieting the restless mind to free the mind from suffering of restlessness and impurities derived from ignorance and egoism by realizing selflessness (birthlessness, deathlessness, attributelessness, namelessness, formlessness) through the practice of dispassion, renunciation, silence, self-inquiry, concentration, meditation, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and non-expectation that require a high degree of open-mindedness, right discrimination, intense yearning for liberation, will-power, perseverance, independence, self-control and discipline.

After one learned about the teachings and practice from someone who has direct experience of the teachings and practice, one implements these teachings and practice in everyday life, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, which is nothing to do with attending regular ‘yoga classes’ or attending ‘yoga teachers training course’ to become ‘certified professional yoga teacher’ to teach/conduct ‘yoga classes’.

Most people don’t really interested to learn and practice yoga when they are interested in joining ‘yoga classes’, as they wouldn’t/couldn’t let go the thinking and belief which they think and believe is who they are (the main hindrance towards the realization of selflessness.) They just want to do some physical exercises to keep fit and be healthy, to feel good and look good. And it’s nothing wrong. Everyone has the freedom for what they want and don’t want, and what they think and believe.

Most ‘yoga classes’ are existing mostly as one of the healthy leisure activities for health and fitness enhancement by doing some yoga asana, relaxation and breathing exercises, just like any other personal/group fitness training exercise classes, which is a very healthy activity. It’s very good that people would love to do some form of physical exercise regularly for maintaining good health and vitality to enjoy a higher quality of life. And some highly talented people even transformed yoga asana practice into amazing acrobatic performance, it’s very inspiring for people to take up some physical fitness training to look good and feel good, and not spending time and energy in unhealthy/unwholesome activities.

The initial objective of ‘teachers training courses’ is about oneself learning and practicing the teachings of yoga to purify one’s mind, to awaken/realize the teacher within to become one’s own teacher, to discipline one’s mind to be free from ignorance and egoism. It’s not about training people who are interested in ‘teaching yoga classes’ or ‘running yoga courses’ to become ‘certified professional yoga teachers’ and issue/authorize them with ‘recognized certification’ to conduct yoga courses/teach yoga classes according to the different types of teaching style from different types of yoga school. It’s training one’s own mind to be it’s own teacher. Upon self-realization of yoga/oneness/selflessness, one might or might not share the direct experience with others.

‘Yoga retreats’ are also being ‘transformed’ into self-pampering/indulgence of the senses getaway that empowers the egoistic desires of carving and aversion, or being ‘transformed’ into ‘mystical healing’ camp. Even so, it’s neither right nor wrong. That is what most minds like and desire. It really doesn’t matter. In the end, yoga is still what it is, whether people are learning and practicing and teaching yoga as it is, or not. The truth won’t be affected/contaminated by any add-on/take-out elements, although the creative worldly minded can transform the teachings and practice of yoga into something that they prefer.

Most of the serious yoga practitioners don’t really run/teach ‘yoga classes’, or ‘yoga courses’, or ‘yoga teachers training courses’ although they might be teaching yoga to many others. Sharing the teachings and practice of yoga with others doesn’t necessarily has to be in the form of conducting yoga classes/courses/retreats. Some might have been teaching ‘yoga classes’ in the beginning, but after some time, they renounced the worldly social life and activities to concentrate on their own practice, upon realization that renunciation from worldly affair/interaction/activities/relationships is the greatest compassion towards oneself and all beings. Everyone is responsible for their own practice to look after their own mind, to discipline/quiet/purify their own mind, to deal with the consequences of their own ignorance, to become their own teacher, to free their own mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities via their own effort.

Meanwhile, ‘yoga teachers training courses’ are no longer about learning and practicing yoga to become one’s own teacher to be self-independent, to perform self-inquiry, to silent/annihilate the mind to attain self-realization, but the identity and qualification of a ‘yoga teacher’/recognition/authorization/certifications/association/commercial value/career value are the drive for conducting/participating yoga teachers training courses.

This is the world of yoga, and there’s nothing wrong or bad with it.

Many people think that they like and love yoga, but not really. When come to serious yoga practice, most people would turn away or justify that it is not yoga (the way that they think it should be.) And there’s nothing wrong, as all minds take their own pace and own path to evolve and realize.

In the silent meditation retreat that doesn’t charge any fees (donate as you like, or even nothing), quite many people would want to runaway or quit after a few days observing silence, for not being able to talk to other people, can’t have physical/eye contact with other people, not able to express as they like, can’t do what they usually like to do, can’t eat what they usually like to eat, no stimulating entertainment for the mind, sleeping on hard bed in basic accommodation, and they have to sit for meditation for more than 10 hours a day, while lots of physical/mental/emotional discomforts arise and random thoughts bubbling up to the surface of the mind. Some people would stay until the retreat finishes, but they don’t really observe silence throughout the entire retreat, such like they are still talking/whispering/making signs/interacting with their friends and keeping their phones with them, even though it’s not allowed. But, there’s nothing wrong with that either, as it’s how most worldly minds would behave, out of loneliness, boredom and meaninglessness derived from being refrained from their usual worldly stimulation/activities.

Most minds would ‘cheat’ to be comfortable and not to be uncomfortable. It’s not about what’s right and what’s wrong. And it’s not about how good is one’s yoga practice and meditation experience, but it’s the ability to confront/deal with all the things that the mind doesn’t familiar with, doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, while not coming in contact with the things that the mind familiars with, likes and agrees with, being free from craving and aversion, be able to forbear difficulties and unpleasantness equanimously, and free the mind from restlessness/impurities out of ignorance and egoism, that matters most.

The mind won’t evolve/progress and keeps running round and round in the loop of worldly ideas/thinking/belief, if it keeps swaying in between craving and aversion, running away from difficulties and unpleasantness and what it doesn’t like (the mind perception of the qualities of bad, negative, wrong, meaninglessness and unhappiness,) and chasing after what it likes and desires (the mind perception of the qualities of good, positive, right, meaningfulness and happiness,) even after many years of attending ‘yoga classes’ and ‘yoga retreats’ or doing yoga asana and breathing exercises regularly, or possessed many ‘yoga certifications’ and given ‘yoga classes’ to many people.

Be free.

Advertisements

Not the kind of yoga retreat that most people expect it to be

We have been running yoga retreats in Langkawi for the past nine years. The retreat evolves over the years as we learn, as well as it changes to adapt the different condition and situation according to the circumstances that exist from time to time which are not in our control.

The main objective of running the retreats here is to allow those who truly want to learn and practice yoga to come here for a few days up to a few weeks to learn and practice yoga and meditation as much as possible, so that they can take away the basic understanding and direct experience of the teachings and practice of yoga, which allowing them to practice yoga and meditation practically and independently when they go home back into their everyday life, wherever they live, under any conditions or situations.

We don’t have intention to create an ‘out of the world’ place with holiday resort environment to pamper the guests with hotel customer service and resort facilities or pleasurable enjoyment and indulgence for the senses, to empower or gratify the egoistic desire of craving and aversion of the mind, to make the minds feel pampered, deserving, satisfied, good and happy momentarily by giving the mind maximum pleasurable enjoyments that it likes and wants.

We do our best to provide a simple, clean and tidy place for performing the yoga and meditation practice, and give maximum guidance to the people who sincerely want to learn and practice yoga and meditation to know what is going on in one’s mind, to transcend suffering, to free the mind from the cause of suffering – ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Non-commercial yoga and meditation practice is not what most people expect it to be. Most of the time, it’s not necessarily comfortable or fun. Instead, there is a lot of persevered ongoing hard work and the purification process is quite challenging for many, that many people would give up easily if they don’t have the basic correct understanding of the teachings of yoga and lack of determination, patience and forbearance to endure or withstand difficulties or discomforts that arise during the purification process to eliminate egoism and impurities, to transcend the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of names and forms.

Most people would think and imagine, or expect and desire ‘yoga practice’ and ‘yoga retreat’ as one kind of pleasurable leisure health and fitness activity and enjoyment, to momentary unwind from stress, exhaustion and burnout, or to escape worldly everyday life and environment that is not necessarily the way that they like it to be, and hence, many of those who provide or conduct ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga retreats’ also make use of the trend/demand of ‘yoga classes’ and ‘yoga retreats’ to provide ‘yoga classes’ and ‘yoga retreats’ that are being marketed as a ‘pleasurable leisure health and fitness activity and enjoyment in an out of the world environment’ to meet up with the expectation and desire of many people.

Those who expect ‘yoga retreats’ that provide ‘pleasurable leisure health and fitness activity and enjoyment’ in an ‘out of the world’ holiday resort environment with all kinds of convenient service and facilities other than the basic facilities, and expecting to be receiving hotel customer service and pleasurable enjoyment and indulgence of the senses will be very disappointed when they attend the retreats here. This is definitely not the kind of ‘yoga retreat’ that they expect/desire it to be.

People who attend the retreats here need to ‘work’ on purifying one’s mind, letting go egoism, and to ‘endure’ any challenging discomfortable or undesirable condition or situation that may or may not arise, that is not necessarily the way that they like it to be. In the end, the mind realized that the disturbance arise in the mind perceiving all kinds of challenging condition and situation is due to the reaction of craving and aversion in the mind itself, it’s nothing to do with the condition and situation being what it is. “I don’t agree with this. I don’t like this. I don’t want this.”

Only those who sincerely want to learn and practice yoga and meditation to know one’s mind, to transcend the mind perception of names and forms will ‘appreciate’ this kind of retreat that guides the mind to go beyond the gratification of the desire of craving and aversion of “only want to enjoy pleasurable indulgence of the senses as much as possible and don’t want to have any difficulties or discomforts”, but ‘working’ diligently to render the mind calm and quiet to allow the mind to see the ignorance, egoism and impurities in one’s mind, while living in the world as we are, dealing with everyday live conditions and situations that are not necessarily the way that we like it to be, that is not in our intention or control of how we like it to be.

We don’t expect everyone would appreciate this kind of yoga retreat or yoga practice. It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life, body and mind, or how they perceive yoga and yoga practice.

This life is impermanent and it’s closer to death every moment. This is the truth of all living beings. Death is not something negative, bad, sad, sorrowful, inauspicious, fearful, or horrible, it doesn’t matter what is the scientific cause of death, or how and when it happens. Whether some die without much prolonged physical/mental painful suffering, while some die after much prolonged physical/mental painful suffering, it’s still death, neither good death nor bad death. The only difference is whether the mind is able to let go in peace, or not, confronting the process or moments of death.

Be happy.

Friendliness towards all beings without discrimination, intention and expectation

This teaching is a contemplation for those who are interested in learning and practicing yoga and meditation, to silent the restless impure egoistic mind. Those who are not interested in practicing yoga or meditation to silent the mind don’t need to observe or contemplate on this teaching.

Friendliness in yoga is nothing to do with sociable talkative personality or behavior, or being sociable to be accumulating personal connection and friendship with as many people as possible.

Being friendly to all beings doesn’t mean that one has to be sociable and talkative, or accumulating many personal friendships that involve engagement in physical/verbal/mental interactions and activities from time to time.

Being sociable and talkative doesn’t necessarily mean that one is being friendly towards all beings without the influence of egoistic discrimination of likes and dislikes, selfish intention and expectation.

Quite many people, including health professionals think and believe that being quiet or not being talkative, especially in young children, is something ‘sick/unhealthy’, ‘bad’, ‘negative’, or ‘wrong’. The best time for yoga and meditation practice is when everyone else has gone to sleep. Why? Because it’s the only precious time of quietness and peacefulness available on earth in that time zone without people doing things, playing, arguing, negotiating, making noises, shouting, or talking. Does that quietness and peacefulness on earth when everyone/the minds being away in sleep, being non-interacting, non-talking, or non-action causes more chaos in the world? Nope. Instead, when people/the minds are awake, many people criticize other people who don’t talk much as being unhealthy, disturbing, rude and unfriendly?

The friendliness in yoga and meditation practice is about respecting all beings as they are, being free from superiority or inferiority, without egoism of attachment, identification, possessiveness, discrimination of likes and dislikes, desire of craving and aversion, intention or expectation, without dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurt, fear, offensiveness, hostility, ill-thinking, or ill-will towards all beings, be undisturbed and without interference towards other people being different from oneself, or having different thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction from oneself, without intention of accumulating friendships or companionship from other people to get rid of boredom or loneliness, or to be accessible to support and help whenever one needs one, without expecting other people have to behave, act or react the way that one thinks it should be, or expecting other people to treat oneself the way that how one would like to be treated.

People who would feel disturbed or offended if other people do not join in their conversation, or are disinterested in their invitation to a function or event, are due to their own expectation towards how other people should response towards their ‘friendliness’. People get unhappy, disappointed or offended when they don’t get the response that they expect to be getting from other people. Those who are truly friendly won’t mind at all if other people are not interested to participate in any conversation or event.

Those who are truly friendly, it’s not necessarily that they are sociable, or talkative, or actively interacting with other people. They might be very quiet and mind their own things. But, they have no ill-will, ill-thinking, ill-talking, judgment, criticism, condemn, gossip, slander, disrespectfulness, animosity, offensiveness, interference or expectation towards other people’s different way of life, thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction.

Take a look into most of the usual conversations among people, we will see that these conversations are mostly full of talking about hanging onto the past, projecting into the future, planning, plotting, scheming, worldly/personal attachment, worldly/personal identification, pride, desire, fear and worry, and lots of complaint, moaning, dissatisfaction, disappointment, blame, ill-will, ill-thinking, ill-talking, criticism, condemn, gossip, slander, back-biting, story telling, untruthfulness, justification, boasting, manipulation, as well as interference or expectation towards other people’s way of life, thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction. Not that all these activities are bad or wrong, but the yoga and meditation practice is to free the mind from all these worldly habits of physical/verbal/mental/emotional activities/restlessness of impurities.

It’s very common that when people want to talk to other people and they expect other people to talk to them in response to their ‘friendliness’, but then they would feel greatly disturbed or offended if other people don’t response to their ‘friendliness’, or when other people talk about things that they don’t like and don’t want to hear, that they disagree with.

The most effective way to help oneself or anyone to be free from all the ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’ that one thinks and believes is what disturbing one’s mind that one feels and thinks that one needs to talk to other people to talk about one’s problem or suffering to seek help or advice, is to be quiet and listen. Listen to the Dhamma that is here and everywhere when the mind is quiet, and the mind sees the truth of ‘unhappiness’, ‘problems’, or ‘suffering’. It’s not about expecting someone, or other people, or guru, or God to be there to listen to one’s problems, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, hurt, fear, worry, complaint, blame, moaning, or bitching about other people that one feels angry or unhappy with, that one doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, so that one will feel slightly relieved or feel better about oneself for a few moments, but then the mind continues to be restless and disturbed by the ongoing worldly life experiences that are not necessarily the way that one likes it to be, or the mind perception of names and forms that the ego doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with, while thinking and believing that one’s ‘unhappiness’, ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’ are caused by the experiences or qualities of names and forms that the mind thinks and believes as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, or ‘negative’.

Performing yoga and meditation practice, especially attending silent meditation retreats or courses, will allow people with a disturbed/unhappy/suffering mind to learn to be quiet and listen to or seeing the Dhamma that will free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, and thus be free from all kinds of ‘unhappiness’, ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’, and one doesn’t need to talk/complain/boast about anything. One doesn’t need someone, or other people, or guru, or God to be there to listen to one’s complaints, as there’s none. The mind is silent and peaceful, so as the surrounding environment is also undisturbed by a silent peaceful mind. That is true friendliness towards all beings and the environment.

Be free.

The practice of silence – Mauna (2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Stop feeding the desire of craving and aversion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conflict between the practice of influencing the state of the mind and observing the mind perception as it is?

Some people get confused by the yoga asana, pranayama and concentration practice that is about influencing the state of the mind (intentionally changing the state of the mind to be something different by purifying and rendering the impure restless wandering mind to be pure and calm and focus) and the practice of observing the mind perception of names and forms/thought activities and allowing the mind perception of names and forms/thought activities to be there as it is, without attachment, identification, judgment, expectation, craving or aversion towards the function/modification/thought activities of the mind, and allowing all the impermanent changes of all the names and forms to be there, as they are.

It seems like a contradiction of practice, but it’s not really.

The mind is like the lake and the state of the mind is like the surface of the lake. The reflections are being reflected as they are when the surface of the lake is still, and the reflections are contorted when the surface of the lake is moving. By rendering the state of the mind calm and still will allow the mind to see things as they are or allowing the perception of names and forms to be reflected as it is, but it doesn’t change the truth of the names and forms being what they are.

The modification/thoughts activities/perception of an individual reality of the mind is like the image/reflection of the sky or the sun or the moon being reflected on the surface of the lake, and no matter the images reflected on the lake is as they are or are contorted, (and if the lake has an egoistic thinking mind of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, craving and aversion towards the reflection of the sky, the sun or the moon on itself, and desires to change the sky, the sun or the moon to be the way that it likes it to be,) the lake doesn’t change the sky or the sun or the moon. And if the lake doesn’t exist, there’s no reflection of the sky, the sun or the moon, it still doesn’t affect the sky, the sun or the moon being there as they are.

The reflection on the surface of the lake doesn’t belong to the lake. The modification of the mind or the mind perception of pleasant/unpleasant/agreeable/disagreeable names and forms doesn’t belong to the mind.

Just like all the contents of good and bad qualities of names and forms existing in this space cannot affect the space and they don’t belong to the space. Neither will the space has desire to interfere with all the contents in it.

The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives something as good or not good existing in the space. The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives pleasant smells or unpleasant smells in the air. The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives beautiful happening or disgusting/horrible happening in this space.

Different minds perceive its personal/individual reality differently under the same condition and situation. Such like, different minds feel differently while being in a place full of ‘good’ happenings or being in a place full of ‘bad’ happenings. Death is neither good nor bad. Some people are sad and mourn for the death of the leader of the country/party/ideal/vision that they supported, while some other people are glad and celebrating it. Positive minds perceive names and forms positively, while negative minds perceive names and forms negatively, but it’s not the truth, as all the names and forms are just what they are, they are neither positive nor negative. The reality is just what it is, but qualities are being projected onto the perceived reality of the mind perception of names and forms out of the different states of the mind.

The modification/thought activities/perception of an individual pleasant or unpleasant reality, is like the reflections on the surface of the lake. The state of the mind (pure or impure, peaceful or peaceless, with good/bad attributes or attributeless) influences how the mind understands/reacts towards the perception of names and forms perceived through the senses, or life experiences, but all the perception of names and forms, or life experiences, or the understanding/reactions/modifications/activities cannot affect/hurt/disturb/change the mind, except due to ignorance and egoism, there’s a false identity in the mind (the ego) is being disturbed and determined by all the perception of names and forms, and has the desire/idea of changing the perceived reality to be the way that it likes it to be.

The practice of yoga asana, pranayama, concentration and self-inquiry serves as the tool to maintain and render the mind pure and calm to be fit for higher realization of freedom from ignorance and suffering. The yoga asana and pranayama practice is to prepare the mind to be fit/ready for self-inquiry and meditation by balancing the restless/agitated/dulled state of the mind via body positions/movements (yoga asana practice) and control of the breath (pranayama practice), to render the mind calm and quiet.

The concentration practice/exercises/training is to restraint the mind to focus at one point for a prolonged period of time, and to keep the mind in the present refraining the mind from wandering into the past or the future, or getting lost in random ceaseless thinking and imaginations. Meanwhile the practice of renunciation/solitude/seclusion is to free the mind from getting entangled in the mind perception of a worldly life existence.

These practice/training are developing the awareness to be aware of or to observe the modifications of the mind, rendering the mind to be calm and quiet, to be free from restlessness and to be open to inquire the truth/nature of everything, preparing the mind for meditation – seeing the truth as it is.

The inquiry into the truth/nature of names and forms will help to strengthen dispassion, right discrimination, non-attachment, non-identification, free from craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, and this will lead the mind to be less disturbed or completely undisturbed by all the perception of names and forms of a worldly life existence, and generate less impurities or completely be free from impurities, which eventually lead to the annihilation of ignorance and suffering of the mind perception of a worldly life existence of impermanence and selflessness.

The pure egoless mind stands as a witness witnessing/observing the mind perception of a reality as it is, or observing the mind perception of names and forms/the states of the mind/the activities in the mind/the thoughts/the feelings/the physical sensations, condition, ability and limitation/all the selfless impermanent changes, as they are, without interfering with all these modifications of the mind.

Whatever the mind perceives through the senses or comes in contact with, all the perceptions of names and forms/thoughts activities/images/individual reality, and all states of the mind are just what they are. They are impermanent and selfless. They don’t belong to the mind. The worldly life existence perceived by the mind is impermanent and selfless. It doesn’t belong to the mind. It’s neither ‘I’ nor ‘mine’. Suffering and all kind of corrupted thinking and behavior arise when there is ignorance, egoism and impurities in the mind that generate attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, thinking and believing that there’s ‘I’ and ‘mine’.

Without a calm and quiet mind, when the mind is in a state of impurity and restlessness due to egoism and impurities, it’s impossible for the mind to inquire the truth of things to be free from ignorance, as whatever is being perceived/understood through the senses are under the influence of or being contaminated by the impurities and restlessness. Just like a dirty, dusty and moving mirror cannot reflect the image of an object placed in front of it as it is. The mirror also cannot/doesn’t see itself without the help of another ‘mirror’ or ‘reflector’. And all the dirt, dust and movements don’t belong to the mirror. All the yoga, pranayama and concentration practice act as the tool to render the mind to be free from impurities and restlessness (cleaning up and stilling the ‘mirror’ to reflect the images as they are), and meditation is the ‘mirror’/’reflector’ to allow the pure and calm mind to see itself, as it is, beyond all the modifications of the mind.

That’s why it is very important to render the state of the mind pure and calm, in order to allow the mind to inquire the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance, and thus, allowing all the names and forms to be what they are. Or else, the ignorant egoistic minds desire to interfere with the names and forms that it doesn’t like to change/control it to be the way that it likes it to be, and there arise all sorts of suffering of discrimination, intolerance, interference, offensiveness, defensiveness, hostility, hatred, fear, violence, wars and etc.

It’s up to everyone to work on their own liberation through their own effort and pace.