Just be kind and friendly without expecting kindness and friendliness in return

“Be kind and friendly to others and others will be kind and friendly in return. Treat others the way that we want to be treated.” This is the common saying that is wide spread or shared among people or on social medias.

Many yoga enthusiasts or practitioners/teachers might not be aware of this is not part of the yoga practice, but actually it’s empowering egoism and ignorance, hindering the mind from realizing yoga of selflessness/non-attachment/non-identification/non-craving/non-aversion/non-expectation. Just like, most people who like to perform some kind of yoga practice would expect certain health and fitness benefits coming from performing the yoga practice regularly. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of intention/expectation, but it’s moving away from what yoga practice is about. People would feel disappointed or demotivated once they think they are not getting what they expected to be getting.

Very few would just be kind and friendly to others, and allowing others to be what they are, to be kind or unkind, to be friendly or unfriendly towards oneself or others, without attachment/judgment/craving/aversion towards all the different treatments from different people, without craving towards certain pleasant or agreeable treatments, without aversion towards certain unpleasant or disagreeable treatments, without being disturbed or determined by other people’s different states of the mind that manifest in particular behavior, action and reaction, without expectation that everyone should think/feel/behave/act and react in certain ways, or everyone should treat one another in certain ways that the mind thinks and believes how it should be.

This doesn’t mean that we are supporting/encouraging people to behave ‘badly’ or ‘wrongly’, but it’s not to be disturbed or determined by other people’s behavior that we think is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’. By trying to change or condemn other people’s behavior that we think is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ won’t stop people from behaving in such way, but actually it empowers the ‘motivation’ of those who deliberately want to behave in such way to gain certain ‘response’, or ‘satisfaction’, or ‘accomplishment’, or ‘revenge’, or ‘excitement’, where they would be more motivated to behave in such way.

Just like, by having good intention telling ignorant minds that they are ignorant won’t stop the minds from being ignorant, but most probably, it might provoke more ignorant reactions in these minds under the influence of ignorance.

Most people who would behave in a destructive way won’t care at all about being condemned or punished or hurt. Their minds are not able to think and act rationally, where they don’t care about their own personal life and death, not to say about other people’s life and death. It would make them feel more happy and fulfill if other people are being ‘disturbed’ or ‘hurt’ by their intentional destructive behavior or action. If people are looking for peace, they would deliberately generate unpeacefulness in the world. If people are looking for non-violence, they would generate more violence in the world. If people are looking for good economy, they would induce bad economy.

It has to come from everyone’s own self-realization and self-control to not behave in certain ways with the intention to disturb or hurt or annoy others. If those who are being disturbed or hurt by other people’s destructive behavior would also behave in a destructive way with the intention to hurt them in return, that doesn’t help the world to have less ignorant destructive behavior. It only adds more unrest, disturb, anger and hatred, and the consequences of that into the world. Everyone keep trying to hurt one another to redeem something, or to express/relieve their frustration, agitation, anger and hatred.

Being deep rooted in worldly social cultural thinking, belief, values and practice, people expect all human beings should treat one another in certain ways that they think and believe as ‘the right and good way’. People feel disappointed or offended or hurt if some other people don’t behave in such way.

Most minds/people want to feel “I am someone special and important and meaningful in other people’s heart or life” to feel meaningful in life or to feel ‘I am existing’ and don’t want to feel ‘meaningless’ or ‘non-existence’. Oneself is discriminating ‘oneself’ that one doesn’t like and doesn’t want to be.

People would feel being ‘unloved’, ‘unnoticed’, ‘unattended’, ‘left out’, ‘low self-esteem’, ‘undeserving’, ‘disrespected’, ‘discriminated’, ‘belittled’, ‘humiliated’, ‘insulted’, ‘hurt’, ‘disappointed’, ‘angry’, ‘unworthy’, ‘unappreciated’, ‘abandoned’, ‘unheard’, and so on, when they think they are not receiving the ‘rightful’ and ‘deserving’ treatments that they expect how themselves or everyone should be treated, or when they think they are receiving treatment from others that they think is ‘wrong’ or ‘undeserving’.

There’s nothing wrong with the worldly social cultural practice where ‘good and kind’ people would try their best to give other people what they want and don’t give other people what they don’t want in order to ‘make’ other people feel ‘loved, supported, good and meaningful’ and to ‘make sure’ that they don’t feel ‘unloved, unsupported, bad and meaningless’, with the intention to stop/prevent people from behaving in a destructive way towards themselves and others. Just that it doesn’t help people to be free from the root cause of suffering and destructive behavior – ignorance and egoism and impurities, where people are being determined by the gratification of the desire of craving and aversion, by getting what they like and what they think they deserved, and not getting what they don’t like or what they think they don’t deserved, and vice versa, to feel loved, supported, good, happy, satisfied, worthy, confident and meaningful, or not.

The teaching and practice of yoga emphasize on dispassion and renunciation which will lead towards the realization of compassion. Being dispassionate is also being compassionate towards the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of all kind of agreeable and disagreeable names and forms that are not necessarily the way that the mind would like it to be. Abandoning the worldly habitual egoistic actions and reactions based on worldly social and cultural thinking/belief/values/practice.

Many people are unwittingly attached onto the worldly social and cultural thinking/belief/values/practice, influencing how they think, feel, act and react, being passionate towards ‘changing’ the world to be the way that they would like it to be, or ‘building’ a world that they think is better than ‘this one’, or preparing themselves to ‘enter’ into a ‘world’ that is ‘all good and nothing bad’. People feel frustrated and hurt by the world that is not the way that they think and believe how it should be, and hence, they aspire to change or control the world to be the way that they think and believe how it should be, the way that they desire it to be. That’s the beginning of all kinds of discrimination.

All lives/beings/objects exist in this space due to the selfless intentionless support from the sun, the air, the water, the earth and the space. The sun, the air, the water, the earth and the space don’t have an ego being there to discriminate anyone, to have any desire/intention/expectation to change/control the world to be in certain ways. But somehow, there’s the idea of ‘I’ or the ego existing in the form of thinking in human minds being there discriminating everyone and everything into good and bad, right and wrong, should and shouldn’t, having the desire/intention/expectation to change/control the world to be in certain ways, or more precisely, to be ‘my way’, and being interfering/intrusive/oppressive/violent towards ‘other ways’ that are not in line with ‘my way’, that are opposing/obstructing ‘my way’.

“Come to us. Join us. You won’t be alone. We will help you and support you. We will be there for you. We will grow strong and powerful as one big community and we can conquer the world to be ‘ours’. But, you must listen to our instructions. You must obey, follow, support and propagate our belief, vision, values and practice.”

“Support us by voting for us to be in power. And we will do our best to help you to achieve what you want. If you didn’t support or vote for us, why should we do anything for you?”

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to think/believe/follow/participate/associate with/support, or how they feel/behave/act and react, but for those who want to practice yoga, who want to realize yoga, who really want to be free from the inevitable suffering of the mind perception of a worldly life existence that is subject to impermanence and selflessness, who really wish for peace in the world, they can try to inquire into this teaching.

Just do one’s best to perform ‘wholesome actions’ that might benefit the world but without the expectation towards how people should be treating one another or behaving in certain ways, and let go the intention/desire/expectation to change or control the world to be the way that ‘I’ think and believe how it should be. Respecting everyone being what they are, as they are. If all minds know this, there won’t be discrimination, hatred, offensiveness, interference, intrusion, oppression, prejudice, violence or war existing among all the different names and forms. But most minds are ignorant of this. Whether aware or unaware, everyone try to be in power and in control of others. And that’s the way the world is. Ignorance bring along discrimination which lead to anger and hatred that lead to deeper ignorance and more discrimination and more anger and hatred, it never ends.

Peace to all, starting from oneself, this mind, this existence.

Need not conquer the world. Just need to conquer this mind.

The practice of silence to conquer the restless mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The importance of renunciation, seclusion and solitude

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Control other people’s mind?

Quite often this search word “how to control other people’s mind” came to this blog.

If we really want to control other people’s mind, well, we need to know how to control our own mind first.
And when we are able to control our own mind, then naturally we won’t have this desire of want to control other people’s mind.

Om shanti.

Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodhah

YOGA CHITTA VRITTI NIRODHAH… (Yoga Sutras by Patanjali)

The path of yoga is about mind conquest. Dispassion, discrimination, renunciation, meditation are the means to destroy the mind. Eradicate all desires, thoughts, likes and dislikes, craving and aversion. Mind is the dividing wall between the individual soul and the Supreme soul. If the mind is destroyed, the individual soul becomes identical with the Supreme soul.

Conquest of Mind – Swami Sivananda

*This is nothing to do with whether our body is flexible and strong enough to be able to perform some “acrobatic” asana poses or not…