Go beyond self-esteem and self-worth

For those who are not really interested in the path of yoga, they don’t need to ‘practice yoga’. People can just live everyday life as they are, don’t need to do anything to purify the mind, to render the mind quiet, to free the mind from the influence of worldly egoistic ideas, thinking, belief, behavior, action and reaction, to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance – egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering.

People can continue being passionate towards improving the quality of a worldly life that mostly emphasize on the gratification of the desires of wants and don’t wants.

From young to old, it’s all about developing and enhancing the qualities of name and form that the thinking mind attached onto and identifies as ‘I’, to carry on or adopt a particular cultural/religious/spiritual belief and practice that influence the way of life, to be ‘educated’, to accumulate ‘knowledge’, ‘skills’ and ‘qualifications’, to empower a high self-esteem and self-worth that builds on personality, confidence, self-image, body image, charm and attractiveness, physical and mental ability and achievement, to be accumulating relationships and friendships, to broadening social networks, to establish a livelihood and a social/community life, to enjoy sights/sounds/tastes/smells/sensations/imagination, to aspire and be inspired, to fall in love, to find a life partner or some lovers, to reprocreate, to build a family, to enjoy easier and more comfortable life, to contribute to the society or the country or the world, to attain acknowledgement, recognition, support, praise and compliments, to attain ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, purpose, pride, happiness, joyfulness, blessedness, gladness and meaningfulness.

For those who sincerely want to practice yoga and realize yoga, then go beyond a worldly life that emphasizes on developing and enhancing ‘self-esteem’ and ‘self-worth’ that derived from ignorance and egoism that feed on worldly ideas, thinking, beliefs and practice.

The necessity or importance of developing and enhancing ‘self-esteem’, ‘self-worth’, ‘confidence’, ‘self-image’, ‘body image’, ‘charm and attractiveness’, ‘physical and mental ability and achievement’, ‘the sense of existence/purpose/meaningfulness’, and etc, are nothing but the play of ignorance and egoism.

The sense of self-esteem and self-worth that builds on the qualities of names and forms, such as “I know something”, “I can do something”, “I achieved something”, “I am good”, “I look good”, “I feel good”, “I am strong”, “I am healthy”, “I have family and friends”, “I am contributing something”, “I am acknowledged and supported”, “My life/career/relationship is good and meaningful” and so on, is conditional and impermanent. It will break.

Yoga practitioners are supposed to eliminate the egoism and not empowering the egoism. It’s the ego that needs to have a high self-esteem to achieve ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, acknowledgement, self-worth, confidence, purpose, or meaningfulness. And thus it performs actions out of intention and aspiration. It attached onto and identifies with its actions and the fruit of actions. It is being determined and bound by the actions and the fruit of actions.

For those who are aware of this, actions are being performed out of compassion, without the need/aspiration of ‘developing’ and ‘enhancing’ self-esteem to achieve ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, acknowledgement, self-worth, confidence, purpose, or meaningfulness. Though that is what most people including highly educated and intelligent minds strongly believe in and are practicing, and that’s their freedom.

“Well done!”

“That’s very good!”

“You should be proud of yourself!”

“I am so proud of you!”

Most people think and believe that all these words are very essential positive encouragement and acknowledgement towards somebody’s achievement to enhance their self-esteem and self-worth, so that they will be motivated to strive harder to improve and be better, to attain continuous positive feedback and acknowledgement, to attain the sense of self-worth, accomplishment, purpose, meaningfulness. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Those who are free from ignorance and egoism don’t need any ‘positive words of encouragement or acknowledgement’ from anyone to motivate them to perform actions that will benefit all and everyone, and are not disturbed or discouraged by any ‘negative words of discouragement or non-acknowledgement’ to be continuing performing actions that will benefit all and everyone.

‘Yoga teachers’ who truly teach yoga in the yoga class don’t empower the egoism in the yoga students but to allow the students to develop correct understanding and direct experience towards the practice of yoga to eliminate the egoism.

By constantly giving the students ‘positive words of encouragement’ out of “good intention to encourage and motivate the students to be good, do good, to improve and be better” because the teacher thinks and believes that “the students who haven’t developed non-craving and non-attachment would be discouraged or lack of motivation to be good and do good, or to improve in their practice, if the teacher doesn’t give any ‘positive words of encouragement’ to the students”, don’t help to eliminate the egoism, but instead will only be empowering the egoism in the students. And if the students have already developed non-craving and non-attachment towards any kind of ‘positive words of encouragements’, then, ‘positive words of encouragements’ are needless in such yoga classes, as the students don’t need to hear any ‘positive words of encouragements’ to motivate them to be good, do good and to improve, neither the students will be discouraged or lack of motivation to perform their practice, to be good, do good and to improve, if the teacher never give any form of ‘positive words of encouragements.’

Be free.

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Be free from all kinds of craving and clinging

Though this is the very basic teaching and practice of yoga, many people are not free from certain forms of physical, mental and emotional craving and clinging, both gross (aware) and subtle (unaware). It’s a practice that seems to be challenging or struggling for many yoga practitioners, including ‘yoga teachers’, mostly those who are passionate towards worldly life existence of an individual being with a personal identity and most probably at least one or a few group/community identity under the influence of worldly cultural and social ideas, activities, thinking and beliefs.

The minds that are not free from attachment and identification with some kind of impermanent qualities of names and forms as ‘I’, are not free from being determined by the presence/possession and absence/non-possession of certain qualities of names and forms to feel good, happy, confident and meaningful, or not.

There’s craving towards certain qualities of names and forms that the impure mind perceives or recognizes as ‘good’, ‘positive’, ‘well-deserving’, ‘acknowledgement’, ‘payback to one’s effort’, ‘higher standard’, ‘prideful’, ‘successful’, ‘lovable’, ‘joyful’ and ‘meaningful’, and there’s aversion towards certain qualities of names and forms that the impure mind perceives or recognizes as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘undeserving’, ‘non-acknowledgement’, ‘non-payback to one’s effort’, ‘lower standard’, ‘shameful’, ‘failure’, ‘unlovable’, ‘sorrowful’ and ‘meaningless’.

This is how most worldly minds think, believe, behave, live life, interact with one another, act and react, as most people/human beings grew up being taught/influenced by their parents, teachers, society and medias to develop a strong sense of ‘self-identity’ and ‘group identity’ attaching onto certain qualities of names and forms to be who they are, or who ‘I’ am. The entire life existence is very much based on upholding, or attaining, or possessing, or protecting, or passing down certain ‘values’ to feel happy, confident and meaningful, to live a proud, purposeful and meaningful life. Such as there’s nothing wrong when most minds would feel, think and believe that “It’s so good to practice yoga and it’s so meaningful to teach yoga to other people.” but the minds are not free.

It’s not easy for the minds to just ‘let go’ or ‘abandon’ all these identities of certain qualities that ‘generate’ the sense of ‘existence’ or more so the sense of ‘meaningful existence’, which is truly unnecessary to the liberated minds, but is upmost essential to the worldly impure minds.

There is the need of ‘aspiration’, ‘intention’, ‘motivation’, ‘inspiration’, ‘reward’, ‘encouragement’, ‘praise and compliment’, ‘recognition’, ‘acknowledgement’, ‘positive feedback’, ‘positive interaction’, ‘positive guidance’, and etc, for performing actions (of doing something that the mind perceives as ‘good’) or inactions (of not doing something that the mind perceives as ‘not good’).

As long as the mind is not free from this ‘worldly habitual thinking pattern’ under the influence of worldly thinking and belief where most people think and believe that there is a need of the existence of ‘positive beings’ to uplift/inspire ‘the other not so positive beings’ to ‘create’ a ‘positive world’, or there is a need of ‘spiritual beings with spiritual healing power’ or ‘magic pills’ to ‘heal’ all the ‘hurts’ or ‘take away’ all the painful sorrow and suffering of mankind, this mind will always be determined by the qualities of names and forms that are impermanent and selfless, and be disturbed by the absence and presence of what the worldly minds perceive as ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘positive and negative’, ‘appropriateness and inappropriateness’, ‘should and shouldn’t’, ‘auspiciousness and inauspiciousness’ and ‘meaningfulness and meaninglessness’.

The mind expects itself and everything that it identifies as ‘I’, such as ‘my body’, ‘my appearance’, ‘my ability’, ‘my mind’, ‘my belief’, ‘my feelings’, ‘my knowledge’, ‘my happiness’, ‘my confidence’, ‘my life’, or ‘my existence’ to be in certain ways that the mind desires, likes and agrees with, of the qualities that it craves to achieve, or possess, or identify with. The mind also expects others and everything that it relates to ‘I’, such as ‘my family’, ‘my relationship’, ‘my friends’, ‘my country’, ‘my community’, ‘my group’, ‘my world’, ‘my fellow human beings’, and so on, to be in certain ways that the mind desires, likes and agrees with. When things are not the way that the mind expects it to be, the mind feels disturbed, dissatisfied, disappointed, and either agitated or depressed.

Those who truly ‘help’ other beings to be free from ignorance the cause of suffering, they ‘guide’ the minds to become their own teacher, to be aware of what is going on in the mind, to inquire the truth of everything, and to attain self-realization, to be free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance – egoism and impurities empowered by worldly ideas, activities, thinking and beliefs.

Contemplate on “Positive thinking is a just a practice to counter negative thinking, but it’s not the goal of the yoga practice.” and “There’s nothing wrong with attaining good health and happy mind, but it’s not the goal of the yoga practice.” and go beyond positive thinking, good health and happy mind.

Realize this, “It’s okay when the mind is ‘negative or unhappy’ in the present moment, as even this state of ‘negativity or unhappiness’ is impermanent and will change. Without any intention or expectation to chase away the state of ‘negativity or unhappiness’ or to develop the state of ‘positivity and happiness’, without craving towards ‘positivity/happiness’ or aversion towards ‘negativity/unhappiness’, allowing the mind to be what it is, allow it to change as it is. The mind is just what it is. It is impermanent. It’s neither a positive nor negative mind, neither a happy nor unhappy mind. And it’s not ‘I’.”

Love and be kind to the mind as it is, even when it is negative or unhappy. This doesn’t mean that pampering the mind by gratifying all its desires, but be determined to free the mind from ignorance, impurities, egoism and suffering.

As long as there is an identity in the mind generates clinging/craving towards ‘positivity’ and aversion towards ‘negativity’, to change the mind to be the way that ‘I’ want it to be, the way that ‘I’ think it should be, the mind is not free, even though there’s nothing wrong with that. Instead of working on transforming a ‘negative mind’ into a ‘positive mind’, work on ‘being aware of what is going on in the mind, without attachment of craving and aversion towards all the ‘positive and negative’, ‘good and bad’, or ‘happy and unhappy’ thought activities as ‘I’. The mind doesn’t need to be ‘positive’, or ‘good’, or ‘happy’ when it is free from ignorance.

Practice yoga, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion and expectation, allowing the effects or the fruit of the practice to be there as it is. There’s no “I am doing the yoga practice and I will be receiving the effects or the fruit of the yoga practice.” The one who is free, or not free from ignorance, disturbs and suffering, it’s the mind. There’s no ‘I’ expects the mind will be free. The mind will be free as it is, when the idea of ‘I’ disappears.

Be free.

Worldly self-identity and group identity

As soon as one identifies with a quality of name and form, not to say, most minds identify with different qualities of names and forms simultaneously as ‘This is I with such and such qualities’, one generates separateness between ‘I’ and others who don’t identify with the similar qualities of names and forms, or who identify with some other kinds of quality of names and forms that are different from oneself.

No doubt that living in the modern society, everyone need to have a personal identity that allows people to have a registered given name and identity number, to be legalized to apply for a citizenship, to open a bank account, to enroll for school education, to find a job, to purchase property, to have a passport to travel, to be monitored/controlled by ‘certain organizations’, and so on.

For many people, personal identity doesn’t just stop at the legality purpose to be living and moving around in this world ‘legally’ and ‘conveniently’, but many people put high importance/necessity onto the self/group identification with certain qualities of names and forms to be acknowledged by oneself and others as ‘I’ or ‘This is I with such and such qualities’, to nurture/empower self-esteem and take pride in being ‘somebody with such and such qualities’ and to attain the recognition/respect/approval as ‘somebody with such and such qualities’ to feel satisfy, confident, happy and meaningful towards oneself and one’s life existence, which is truly unnecessary.

Self/group identification with qualities of names and forms gives rise to the sense of separateness that generate many side-effects of unnecessary ‘problems’ of discrimination/prejudice/hatred/bullying/violence in the world.

In the world where most minds are functioning under the influence of ignorance and egoism, and most people deliberately teaching/encouraging/influencing everyone to develop and empower a strong self and group identity that attached onto certain qualities of names and forms from very young age to be who they are, or ‘This is I’ and ‘This is my origin/ancestor/race/tribe/family/friends/relatives/community/social circle/culture/religion/spirituality/gender/sexuality/education/qualification/nationality/political stand, and so on, and that they should take pride for being identifying with those qualities of names and forms as ‘who they are’, and that they should protect/defend those qualities of names and forms AT ALL COST. And hence, all kinds of fear, discrimination, defensiveness, animosity, intimidation, offensiveness, prejudice, hatred, bullying and violence exist due to this ignorant egoistic prideful ‘self/group identity’.

People don’t need to discriminate, intimidate, condemn, bully and attack other beings just because one dislikes and disagrees with the others based on one’s attachment and identification with certain qualities of names and forms that is different from the others. But due to ignorance and egoism of attachment and identification with the sense of pride, arrogance and superiority towards certain qualities of names and forms, there are those who feel proudness and superiority towards their particular thinking and belief, as well as there are those who want their identification with certain qualities of names and forms that are different from the others to be verified, approved, acknowledged, accepted and respected by the others who are different from them in the society, to receive understanding, equal treatment, kindness and friendliness from others, to feel satisfy, happy, confident and meaningful about themselves and their life existence, but this actually creates the opportunity for discrimination to be existing.

One can have a particular way of thinking and belief/disbelief, way of life and way of doing things, skin colour, sexual orientation, genital organ, physical appearance, physical ability/disability, action and reaction. But, all these qualities of names and forms are not ‘I’ or ‘who I am’. One doesn’t need to be verified, approved, acknowledged, accepted and respected by the others who are different from oneself in the society, and one doesn’t need to rely on receiving understanding, equal treatment, kindness and friendship from others, to feel happy, satisfy, confident and meaningful about oneself and one’s life existence, if one knows yoga/dharma, or namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness/selflessness.

What other people want to think, believe, feel, act and react is their freedom, even when they are discriminating others who are different from them, whom they dislike and disagree with, but one doesn’t need to be determined or disturbed by other people’s thinking, belief, feeling, action and reaction that are not necessarily agreeable, pleasant, friendly, nice or kind, if oneself is free from ignorance and egoism of attachment and identification, or free from expectation towards how other people should and shouldn’t think and behave and treat others.

Anyone who identifies with any qualities of names and forms as ‘This is who I am with such and such qualities’, and expect to be verified, approved, acknowledged, accepted and respected by others, will never be free from generate discrimination towards others and perceive discrimination from others. This is a ‘natural’ behavior of all minds under the influence of ignorance and egoism. Most minds don’t like to be discriminated and will feel angry, disrespected, insulted, bullied, attacked and hurt when being discriminated, but then they don’t mind discriminating others, whether wittingly or unwittingly.

Not all who think themselves are ‘yogi/yoga practitioner’ or ‘Buddhist’ are all really practicing yoga and Buddhism. Those who truly practice yoga or Buddhism, they go beyond all the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms. They don’t have identification as ‘yogi’ or ‘Buddhist’. They only see a whole bunch of mortal beings that are subject to the suffering of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness, and all kind of names and forms are subject to impermanence and selflessness. All beings are mere moving skeletons covered with skin, flesh, blood, organs, nerves, glands, pus, pee and shit with limited life span that is subject to changes, decay, illness, old age and death/decomposition. There’s no superiority or inferiority. There’s no good people or bad people. There’s no black or white. There’s no male or female. There’s no enjoyable or non-enjoyable. There’s no separateness or discrimination or fear or hatred. The physical body that comes in different qualities of names and forms is being born to change, decay and decompose from the very beginning of it’s existence, regardless of what qualities of names and forms that everyone identify themselves with as ‘who they are’.

All these identifications and discrimination towards different identifications are truly unnecessary, if one knows how to transcend all the different qualities of names and forms. All these different qualities of names and forms are not ‘I’. Be free from any self/group identity with any qualities of names and forms. Neither this or that is ‘I’. Who and what is there to receive discrimination from anybody, if there’s no ‘I’ or ‘This is I with certain qualities of names and forms’?

If people want to discriminate others, or they are being discriminated by others due to attachment and identification with the qualities of names and forms to be who they are, and they are longing for endorsement, acknowledgement, acceptance, respect, approval, understanding or friendliness from others, that’s their freedom.

The mind that knows the truth of ignorance and egoism is free from any self/group identity. One will be free and peaceful, and allow others to be what/who they think they are, thinking and behaving as they are. None can remove or take away the ignorance and egoism in others, not even enlightened beings who were/are free from ignorance and egoism.

Those who know, some of them retreat from the worldly minded society that emphasizes on developing/empowering self/group identity, to conserve energy, to live a simple quiet life. Those who remain in the society, they are not determined or disturbed by the ignorance of others.

Self-inquiry into the truth of who/what am ‘I’

– Inquire the truth of all the names and forms that the mind thinks and believes, and identifies as ‘I’, such like the life existence, the existence and function of the mind, the states of mind, the thinking/thoughts, the feelings/emotions, the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, the belief, the vision/ambition, the inspiration/aspiration, the self-esteem/confidence, the self-image, the culture, the race, the nationality, the pride, the shame, the ‘good’ qualities, the ‘bad’ qualities, the species, the religion, the practice, the behavior, the personality, the family/relatives/friends relationship, the social network, the social status, the titles, the talents, the skills, the learning/education, the knowledge, the qualifications, the memories, the experiences, the career, the energy field/level, the mental health condition, the desires of craving and aversion, the likes and dislikes, the agreements and disagreements, the positive and negative thinking, the standard of right and wrong, the sense of meaningfulness and meaninglessness, the existence and function of the physical body, the physical look/appearance, the different stages of growing and aging, the gender, the sexual orientation, the facial feature, the skin tone and colour, the hair, the body shape, the physical ability and disability/limitation, the physical health condition, the different bodily systems, the clothing and accessories, the life style, the living condition, the interests/hobbies, the food option, the actions and the result of actions, the possessions/belongings, the livelihood, the wealth, the achievements, the contributions, the sacrifices, the expectations, the satisfaction/dissatisfaction, the guilt/regret, the hurts/disappointment, the happiness/unhappiness, the sorrow/grief, and so on.

– If this is ‘I’, then it should belongs to ‘I’ and it should be in the control of ‘I’ about how ‘I’ would like/want it to be. If it’s not in the control of ‘I’ about how ‘I’ would like/want it to be, it doesn’t belong to ‘I’, then it’s not ‘I’ or ‘mine’.

– Negate what is not ‘I’.

– Realize selflessness. There is no ‘I’. Just impermanent changes of names and forms, arising and passing away.

Suffering and restlessness exist because of the ‘existence’ and ‘identification’ of the ego/’I’ in the mind/the thinking. Realize the truth of ‘I’, there’s no suffering or restlessness. Absence of suffering and restlessness is peace. If ‘peace’ comes from experiencing/perceiving ‘good’ and ‘positive’ qualities of names and forms, or due to everything is the way that the thinking would like it to be, then this ‘peace’ is ‘conditional peace’ that is impermanent. The real peace derived from knowing the truth of ‘I’, being free from ignorance and egoism, is unconditional and undetermined by all the life experiences/the mind perceptions of different qualities of names and forms of ‘good and bad’/’positive and negative.’

Fearlessness, desirelessness, presentness, peacefulness, are all one

Beyond all the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, of all the births and deaths, togetherness and separateness, joy and grief, pleasure and pain, success and failure, pleasantness and unpleasantness, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, wants and don’t wants.

Beyond all the thinking and belief of good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, meaningfulness and meaninglessness, perfection and imperfection.

Being undetermined and undisturbed by the mind perception of impermanent names and forms that are limited and conditioned by time, space and causation, of cause and effect, of ceaseless actions and consequences of actions.

Being free from ignorance and egoism.

Being free from the past memories and the future imaginations.

Being free from longing, clinging, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurt, regret, guilt, pride, arrogance, hostility, depression, fear and worry.

The realization of selflessness and inaction in all actions, of countless selfless states of the mind arising and passing away.

Fearlessness, desirelessness, presentness, peacefulness, are all one.