Be free from craving and aversion towards identification with good or bad quality

None need to be ‘good’ or ‘good enough’ to have peace, not to say to be ‘perfect’.

Free this mind from egoism of craving towards certain quality of names and forms that the mind would like to possess or be identifying with as ‘I’.

Free this mind from egoism of aversion towards certain quality of names and forms that the mind wouldn’t like to possess or be identifying with as ‘I’.

Accepting the imperfection of all kinds of names and forms as it is.

All the ‘perfect’ and ‘imperfect’ qualities of names and forms are impermanent and they are not ‘I’. There’s needless of the egoistic identification with any quality of names and forms as ‘I’, or ‘I am this/I am not that’.

Be free from aversion towards the acknowledgement of ‘being stupid’ or ‘not smart enough’ in learning or doing something in this world. One doesn’t need to try very hard to ‘not being stupid’ or try to ‘be smart’.

It’s okay sometimes the egoistic mind realizes and acknowledges itself is being stupid or not as smart as one would like oneself to be, and would make certain mistake unwittingly or doesn’t understand about something and doesn’t know how to do certain things. Whether it’s something that the mind perceives or acknowledges as ‘perfection’ or ‘imperfection’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it’s impermanent and it’s not ‘I’. The mind that is free from the idea of ‘I’ or the ego, has no such ‘problem’ or ‘reaction’ towards the quality of names and forms that is impermanent and selfless.

Then even though one is aware of oneself is not as smart as one would like oneself to be or is less smart than many other people, but the understanding of non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and non-expectation, is already being wiser than many people who are under the influence of ignorance and egoism, who try very hard to ‘be smart’ or try to ‘outsmart’ other people in order not to be acknowledged by oneself and others as ‘I am stupid’ or ‘I am not smart enough’, or to be acknowledged by oneself and others as ‘I am not stupid’ or ‘I am smart enough’, and would be very disappointed, frustrated and unhappy with oneself for being acknowledged as ‘being stupid’ or ‘being not smart enough’.

Be free.

Inquire the truth of everything

The prerequisites for the mind to inquire the truth of everything –

An open mind that is unattached towards any particular way of thinking and belief to analyze or judge everything. Letting go all kinds of subjective judgment and comparison.

Free from expectation towards everything that everything has to be/not to be in certain ways. Allowing everything to be what they are, even if the mind dislikes and disagrees with it. Being undisturbed by names and forms that the mind dislikes, disagrees with and doesn’t want.

Free from pride and arrogance or low self-esteem (they both are the same thing.)

Free from blind-believing, blind-following, blind-practicing, blind-preaching, blind-sharing.

Free from fear towards ‘religious authority’, ‘superstitions’, ‘criticism’, ‘condemn’, or ‘the truth that is not necessarily the way that the mind believes what it is or how the mind would like it to be’.

Being aware of the mind is ignorant towards the unknown, or many things that are beyond the knowledge of the mind, and is aware of the mind is functioning/perceiving/understanding everything under a particular way of thinking and belief in the mind that influence how the mind perceives, analyzes, judges, feels, acts and reacts towards all the mind perception of names and forms, which is nothing to do with the truth of what things are.

The state of the mind of calmness, quietness and purity, being free from stimulation, incorrect/corrupted thinking, restlessness and impurities.

It’s like the function of a mirror.

The mirror that is cracked/contorted, or is shaky, or is full of dust and dirt, cannot reflect the image of things as it is. The reflection of things is distorted/contorted, or blurred, or not what it is. Even though the reflection/image of things are distorted/contorted, blurred and not what it is, being reflected onto a cracked/contorted, shaky and dirty mirror, it doesn’t change the truth of the things. The truth of things is still what it is, being undetermined, unaffected, undisturbed, or unaltered by the cracked/contorted, shaky and dirty mirror.

Just like a mind that is functioning under the influence of the defilement of ignorance or incorrect and corrupted thinking, or is restless, or is under the influence of egoism and impurities, cannot reflect the truth of things as it is. The perception or understanding of things are incorrect, corrupted, blurred, or not what it is. Even though the perception or understanding of things is incorrect, corrupted, blurred and not what it is, being perceived under a mind that is over-powered by ignorance/incorrect or corrupted thinking, restlessness and impurity, it doesn’t change the truth of things. The truth of things is still what it is, being undetermined, unaffected, undisturbed, or unaltered by the ignorant, corrupted, restless and impure state of the mind.

And thus, all the different forms of yoga practice is to be calming, quieting and purifying the mind, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness, to allow the mind to reflect/see things as they are, being free from the influence of any particular worldly cultural/social/religious/spiritual/national/racial/political/educational/philosophical idea, accumulated knowledge, thinking, belief, value and practice to analyze or judge everything.

Reflect upon the truth of things as it is. Everything is just what they are. Neither good nor bad. Neither right nor wrong. Neither positive nor negative. Neither meaningful nor meaningless. Neither happiness nor unhappiness. Neither spiritual nor non-spiritual. Neither superior nor inferior.

Be free.

Purifying, calming and quieting the restless mind efficiently

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Non-comparison in yoga

“If I can do it, so can you!”
“Look! It’s possible for them, it should be possible for you too!”
“This is so easy. You should be able to do it.”
“Think positive! Believe in yourself! You can do it!”

All these motivational positive encouragements comparing someone with others to motivate a person to achieve something and the practice of positive thinking to motivate someone to perform a task, are nothing wrong or bad. But, this is not the teaching and practice of yoga.

There are different conditions, abilities and limitations in different people. And all kinds of conditions, abilities and limitations are impermanent and it’s not ‘I’.

The easiest or most comfortable positions or practice for some people might be challenging or very uncomfortable for some other people, and vice versa. Different people come from different life backgrounds and experiences have very different reactions towards the positions and practice. We can never compare one with another about what they can do or can’t do, and what they should do or shouldn’t do.

It’s about knowing the conditions, abilities and limitations of the body and mind in the present moment now, and perform actions that are possible in the present moment, and achieve what is possible in the present moment, without comparison with the past conditions, abilities and limitations, without comparison with other people’s conditions, abilities and limitations, without forcing the body and mind beyond its present conditions, abilities and limitations. Meanwhile, being aware of the conditions, abilities and limitations in the present moment now are impermanent and there’s no identification with any conditions, abilities and limitations to be identifying as ‘I’.

It’s just what is possible and impossible in the moment without attachment towards the possibilities or impossibilities that are impermanent.

There’s nothing wrong or bad with ‘impossibilities’. It’s okay if something is being ‘impossible’ and for us to be experiencing ‘impossibilities’. It’s okay that there are things which our body and mind can’t do or can’t achieve in the present moment, or even until the last moment of the existence of this body and mind. But we do our best, and keep doing our best, without attachment towards our efforts and the results of our efforts.

‘Anything is possible’ doesn’t mean that everything is possible. It’s about being open-minded towards any possibilities (both possibility and impossibility), without expectation towards anything to be possible or impossible. It’s okay if there are things that are not in our control or wishes to be the way that we like it to be or the way that we think it should be. By telling ourselves and others that ‘everything is possible’, but only limited to the things that we want to achieve or things that we want them to happen, and for the things that we don’t want them to happen, we don’t want them to be possible, is denying and running away from the reality that we don’t like and don’t want.

Acknowledging that ‘not everything is possible’ makes ‘anything is possible’ possible. Allowing the possibility for possibilities and impossibilities.

It’s okay if we can’t do something that we would like to be able to do or achieve something that we would like to achieve. What we can do or can’t do and what we achieve or don’t achieve, has nothing to do with the realization of unconditional peace and compassion.

Everything is just what it is. It is neither possible or impossible.

Thinking positively won’t change the truth of impermanence and selflessness to be what it is. Thinking positively every moment hoping everything is good and pleasant, that the world will be free from all kinds of suffering, will not stop different beings from experiencing different kinds of suffering. It’s the actual effort of self-inquiry to be free from ignorance through self-realization of the truth of suffering will free oneself from suffering. It’s nothing to do with positive thinking.

Be free.

Pratyahara – Withraw the senses from the sense objects

When we observe the practice of Silence or Mauna, we are restraining the mind from going out through the senses to chase after the objects of the senses, of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts, and thus reducing comparisons, judgments, expectations, imaginations, anticipations, projections, scheming, plotting, arguments, justification, and etc.

This is part of the yoga practice of Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses from the objects of the senses.

When one limits or reduces the activities of the sense organs and the senses, the mind has less objects to perceive, to compare, to judge, to comment, to argue, to generate likes and dislikes, to generate agreements and disagreements, to generate desires of wants and don’t wants, to expect, to be disturbed, to be restless, and thus it helps to allow the mind to quiet down to the maximum.

It is being care ‘less’ about the world and the surrounding beings and things. Most important it is being care ‘less’ towards what the mind thinks and feels. Some might think and judge that this is a ‘selfish’ behavior or practice for being ‘uncaring’ for what is going on in our surrounding environment, about other beings and happenings. But it is not so at all.

This is a great noble action to take care the well-being of oneself, so that when one is liberated from ignorance and realize unconditional love and peace, one can contribute to the society by being at peace, without generating disharmony and violence in oneself or into the surrounding atmosphere. And hence, one is able to care for the world efficiently.

The untrained mind is always chasing after the objects of names and forms to be stimulated, to enjoy, to be existing, to express, to be acknowledged, to take pleasure in the sense objects of names and forms.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the mind wants to see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, unceasingly chasing one after another one. It is always busy with seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking. And thus the mind is ever restless. Restless state of mind doesn’t allow the mind to see the truth as it is.

And hence, in the beginning, we need to limit and reduce the inputs of names and forms to quiet the mind, by withdrawing or retreating the senses from the sense objects, to allow the mind to have a break from seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking, to have moments of stillness to see the truth. When the mind starts to see the truth as it is, then there is no need to limit any kinds of inputs, as the mind won’t be chasing after the objects of names and forms anymore.

The mind is aware of all the sense objects of names and forms perceived through the senses, but without generate attachment, identification, clinging, craving or aversion. It doesn’t take pleasure in the sense objects anymore, it doesn’t need to be acknowledged, to be stimulated, to be existing, but it is resting in peace, in silence.

Om shanti.

Non-comparison and non-judgment…

Not long after the teacher mentioned about let go of comparison during the yoga asana practice, the student saw the teacher was teaching some of the movements being different from some other teachers, and started to compare and asked the teacher, “I saw you bring the feet in when you do this. My teachers at home said we should not bring the feet in.”

The teacher replied, “Your teachers must have their good reason why they tell the students that they should not bring the feet in while doing this movement. There’s nothing wrong in their teaching.

In the yoga asana practice here, it’s about using the yoga asana practice to help to balance and quiet the mind, to prepare the mind for meditation, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, identification and attachment, craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation. It’s nothing to do with achieving the perfect physical alignment at all.

If by having perfect alignment while performing all these yoga exercises will bring peace and compassion, then all those people who perform physical movements with perfect alignment are all peaceful and compassionate, be free from unhappiness and suffering, be free from anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurt, feelings of guilt, fear and worry.

People who don’t have the flexibility or strength to put their bodies into so call perfect alignment in the yoga asana practice can still be free from ignorance and suffering, realize unconditional love and peace, if they know what is non-attachment and non-identification, if they know how to free the mind from egoism and all sorts of defilements and impurities, and realize the truth, be free from ignorance.

It depends on each individual whether they will be comfortable or not in any physical movements. Everyone has a different body and different physical flexibility and limitations. We cannot tell the students that they have to do the movements in such and such way. By bringing the feet in or not in this movement, has nothing to do with peace and compassion. It’s about whether your body is comfortable or not while performing all these movements, and it’s about do what your body can do in the present moment now without forcing your body to go beyond its limitation. It’s not about trying to imitate other people especially the teacher, to be doing the exercises exactly the same like how other people do. We might be doing the same exercises, but everyone might look differently from one another.”

When we see two things that appear to be different, the mind is conditioned to make comparison and judgment, to decide which one is right, and then the mind will judge the other one that is different from this one must be wrong then.

But the truth of everything is that they are neither right nor wrong. Everything has their different reasons to be existing.

Once we know how to train the mind to let go of this habit of comparing and judging, we will start to see the truth of things as they are, and be free from ignorance.

Om shanti.

Teaching yoga?

Teaching yoga really is not just about leading a group of people doing some yogic cleansing practice, breathing exercises, concentration exercises, chantings, meditation practice, yoga exercises and yoga poses, and teach about the essence of the teachings of yoga. But all these actions are being performed without the egoism, identification, attachment, personal likes and dislikes, and with great compassion coming from realization of unconditional love from within.

As there are many people interested in learning and practicing yoga from all over the world, but not many are interested in letting go of the ego and worldly attachment. Many people who are interested in joining yoga classes are only interested in attaining some sort of pleasurable sensations and good feelings to satisfy the craving and aversion of the ego.

There’s nothing wrong with people only interested in performing the yoga practice to attain physical health and fitness, and good feelings, to enjoy a better quality of life. But there will be strong resistance towards the unpleasant purification process and the process of depriving the ego, when come to serious yoga and meditation practice.

Even some who came with great expectation hoping yoga and meditation will ‘get rid of’ or ‘solve’ all their personal ‘problems’, are reluctant to go beyond the ego, the body and the mind, to remove the root cause of all ‘problems’. As this resistance is coming from the ego itself. They expect just by doing the yoga practice an hour a day for a few times a week, can take away all their ‘problems’. But after many years attended daily yoga (asana) classes regularly, they are still troubled by ‘life problems’, ‘financial problems’, ‘relationship problems’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘disappointment’, ‘dissatisfaction’, ‘fear’, ‘worry’, ‘anger’, ‘hatred’, ‘pride and arrogance’, ‘doubts’ and etc…

To allow everyone to take their time to work on eliminating the ego, by their own freewill, without judgment, criticism, comparison and expectation, but at the same time, has to be firmed on propagating the essential teachings of yoga, without swaying away from the fundamental teachings of yoga, will allow the yoga teachers to realize unconditional love, compassion and wisdom.

There’s no attachment towards success and failure, praise and criticism in the action of ‘teaching yoga’. There’s no looking forward for some sort of satisfactory, achievement, good feelings, acknowledgment, praise and compliments, self-confidence, self-image, and so on, that are actually empowering the egoism, instead of eliminating the egoism.

Om shanti.

Non-comparison, non-judgment and non-expectation?

We may hear about somebody complains about this or that teacher is not good, or this or that school is not good, or this type or that type of yoga is not good… But it is actually our mind is not pure, full of negativities, defects, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements… That’s why we see or recognize all the negativities and defects in other people or in things, as that is the reflection of what our mind is…

If there is a quality that our mind cannot perceive or recognize, that is because in our mind there is no such quality. Just like when we couldn’t see or recognize the good qualities in other people, it’s because there is no such good qualities in our own mind to reflect upon… It doesn’t mean that these people don’t have good qualities in them but we just don’t see it or recognize it… And usually our mind is having a mixture of good and bad qualities, and thus we will see or recognize the same qualities in other people but not something that is beyond what our mind can perceive…

And we judge everything according to what our mind likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, as good or not good… If it is something what our mind likes and agrees with, we will say it is good… If it is something what our mind doesn’t like and disagree with, we will say it is not good… But this judgment of “good” and “bad” is coming from our mind according to what our mind believes what is “good” or “bad”… It is not what things really are…

For example, we ate “particular food” for the first time, and it tastes what we don’t like, and that was what our mind recognized or perceived – “That particular food is not good”, “It’s not tasty”, “I am not happy eating it”, and “I don’t like it”… When other people say to us, “That particular food is so good”, “It’s so tasty”, “I am so happy eating it” and “I like it”, as it tastes what they like, and we (our mind) will disagree with that. We might even argue with people to prove that our opinion is right and their opinion is wrong… But that particular food has no intentions or qualities to be good or not, to be tasty or not, to make us feel happy eating it or not, to make us like it or not… All these judgments are coming from what our mind believes what things are, according to our likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, but it is not what things really are…

We can only be aware of all the different qualities in each person, and accept everyone as they are without comparison, judgment and expectation, as everyone is also in the process of learning and transformation… We also be aware of all the different qualities in ourselves, and accept ourselves as we are without comparison, judgment and expectation, as ourselves are also in the process of learning and transformation… And if we are already pure and perfect, there won’t be any judgments towards anyone, nor comparing everyone, nor expecting everyone should be behaving, act and react in certain ways that we think that is what they suppose to behave, act and react… With the pure mind, all the qualities of names and forms disappear. The pure mind will perceive and accept everyone and everything as they are… They are not good or bad. They are not positive or negative. They are not happiness or suffering… They are just what they are.

When we see or attached to the different qualities of names and forms, we will start to have comparison and judgment about this person or that person is better or worst, and start to generate preferences and discrimination, likes and dislikes, and craving and aversion… Due to strong attachment toward all these judgments towards the different qualities of names and forms, the veil of ignorance in our mind is growing thicker and thicker… Our own evolution becomes more and more difficult, as the veil of ignorance is growing stronger than before… Why be disturbed and be bothered by other people being different from each other or being different from us, or expecting all of them to be the same, or to be like us, to determine, or to control, or to influence our own practice and evolution?

We respect and accept everyone to be free to think and believe what they want to think and believe, to behave, to act and react the way that they want to behave, act and react… And allow everyone to be different with one another, and be different from us. Why do we want to control other people or to change other people to think and believe, to behave, to act and react the same ways like us? Meanwhile we are full of aversion, rejection, anger and hatred if other people don’t like us the way that we are, and they want to control us or to change us to be the way that they think we should think, believe, behave, act and react…?

When we think we are good people, we do good things and don’t do bad things… We judge ourselves as “good beings”. And we criticize and judge other people whom we think they are not good like us, they don’t do good things like us, and they do bad things, as “bad beings”… We think we are more superior than them, and we are better human beings… We get angry and hating these people, and we don’t like them and don’t want them to be here in this world, or we want to control them and change them to be the way that we want them to be… We think we deserve to be here and all these “bad beings” don’t deserve to be here… We want to kill them all or we want them to be killed by somebody, and we curse and condemn them into hell… CAN we see now, how evil and selfish we are? We are not any different from these people whom we think they are bad and evil…

For example, alcohol exists for some medical reasons. When somebody abuse the use of alcohol and cause damages in their physical and mental health, it is not the fault of the alcohol… It is not the alcohol being bad… It is people’s own responsibility for abuse the use of alcohol and to consume it to the point that causes damages to themselves… Alcohol itself is not something good or not good… It has no quality or intention to be good or bad… It is whether we use it wisely or abusively, and reflect it as something good for medical reason, or reflect it as something not good for damaging our body and mind… It is our own intention and self-control that is responsible for our own behavior and the consequences of our behavior…

Even though there are many people practice yoga and meditation in the world, but everyone evolves on different levels and speeds. We cannot expect everyone has the same understanding and practice, and having the same way of thinking and behavior, actions and reactions, even though everyone is practicing “yoga and meditation”, or is practicing different types of “yoga and meditation” practice. Everyone has different degrees of ignorance and realization, different degrees of attachment, craving and aversion, and different strength of the egoism… Even though in the same Ashram or school of yoga, not everyone who involves in the teaching, administrative and management will be having the same characteristic and personality, actions and reactions…

Our practice is our own effort and for our own transformation, it is nothing to do with other people’s practice and transformation… It doesn’t matter if the teacher is not perfect nor completely pure yet, but it should not be an obstacle or distraction to influence or affect our own practice, nor stop us from performing our own practice and evolves on own level and speed. As the path of realization of truth is very personal. It is nothing to do with the quality of the teacher or the school…

Just like some people look at some “yogis” who are behaving “badly” in the world, and they judge and criticize “yoga” or “yoga practice” as something not good or evil, that it will make people behaving badly like all these “bad yogis”… Or they blame and judge the teacher of the “bad yogis” as bad teacher and is responsible for the “bad yogis” bad behavior… Or they judge the yoga schools where these “bad yogis” went to as bad schools… But this is complete ignorant way of seeing things and judging things… The “bad yogis” themselves is responsible for their own behavior…

People who learn under the same teacher or same school, also will have different levels of understanding, different degrees of ignorance and realization, different types of characteristic and personality, different degrees of attachment, different speed of evolution and etc… And all these different levels and degrees of transformation is nothing to do with the teacher or the school… Our own understanding, perception of things, degrees of ignorance and attachment, actions and reactions, characteristics and personalities, and speed of transformation is our own responsibility, it’s not the responsibility of the teacher or the school…

Even if we are aware of the imperfect or impure qualities in the teachers, that should not become obstacles or distractions in our own evolution… At the same time we ourselves accept the teacher as he is or as she is, without expecting the teacher should be perfect or should be on a higher level of understanding or transformation than us… As real teachers can be anyone and anything, not necessarily has to be a perfect saint or sage who is completely free from the ego, or who is completely selfless… The teacher or the happening is there to allow us to see or recognize the ignorance, impurities or selfishness in ourselves, and it’s not about seeing and recognizing the ignorance, impurities or selfishness in the teacher or in the happening, and be disturbed and affected by them…

A very good teacher or good school cannot guarantee all the students will be having the same degree of ignorance and realization, and evolve at the same speed of transformation… Buddha couldn’t make everyone be enlightened and be free from ignorance, nor could he give peace to anyone, nor could he remove suffering from anyone… As well as the ignorance, restlessness and suffering of everyone could not affect Buddha’s enlightenment, liberation and peace…

Everyone has the opportunity and should be given the opportunity to experience what they need to experience for them to learn and evolve in their own way and speed… Even though if they have to repeatedly go through many unnecessary meaningless unpleasant experiences… They have to learn from themselves and realize the truth by themselves. And through out the journey of transformation, there’s no judgment, comparison and expectation towards ourselves and other people even if they are our teachers… The teachers have their own evolution, and we have our own evolution…

If we haven’t realize the truth by ourselves, then no matter how many books talking about the truth that we have read, how many yoga classes and courses that we have attended, and how many good teachers that we have, we will still be influenced by the veil of ignorance in us and be disturbed by the impurities in our own mind, and be in miseries…

We read or heard about the terms about “being in the present moment” and the ways to be in the present moment, but it won’t liberate us until we know how to be in the present moment…

When we think we are disappointed by the teachers who are not as perfect as what we think they should be, actually we are disappointed by our own expectation towards the teachers, we expect them to be perfect… The disappointment is not coming from the teachers being imperfect… They and their imperfection didn’t disappoint us.

Mind our own mind, not other people’s mind, not even our teacher’s mind…

Om shanti.

Yoga asana practice – Padma Bakasana, Kakasana, Titibasana

Asana practice – Padma Bakasana, Kakasana, Titibasana
Through the effort, concentration and perseverance while learning to come into any poses, it helps us to develop non-attachment towards the qualities of names and forms by letting go of judgment, comparison and expectation while practicing the asana poses.
Not identifying as the doer of actions nor the enjoyer of the fruit of actions.
Perform all our duties and renounce the fruit of actions.
Om shanti.

Yoga Asana Practice – Transition into Padma Bakasana, kakasana and Titibasana

Teaching yoga asana class – Put ourselves into the student’s physical condition and abilities…

There are different people with different physical fitness levels and physical limitations that come to a yoga asana class. Some of them might be very flexible and some of them are not so flexible. Some of them might be very physically fit and have no physical limitation, and some of them are not so physically fit and might have some physical limitations. It doesn’t matter what are their fitness level, strength, flexibility, stamina, ability, and physical limitation, everyone has to perform the asana exercises according to their own physical conditions and abilities.

Even though everyone is doing the same exercises, but, not necessarily that everyone will be looking the same in the exercises. Some might need to adjust a little with the feet slightly point out or the hands slightly turn out. Some might need to keep their legs slightly apart, while some might need to keep their legs together. Some might not be able to keep their body and head at the exact “angle” like what the teacher demonstrates. Some might not be able to extend their leg completely straight. Some might not be able to sit up right, maintaining the spine as straight as what the teacher usually ask them to be. And it’s okay.

Yoga, or in another terms – peace, is nothing to do with whether our body can perform the yoga exercises “perfectly” or not. So called “perfect” asana poses cannot determine or guarantee a person will be free from ignorance and suffering or not, or will be peaceful or not. If a person can be free from ignorance and suffering and attain self-realization by being very strong and flexible physically, and is able to put the body in many different types of complicated positions, then all the world class athletes, gymnasts and contortionists would already be free from ignorance and suffering and are peaceful, and be free from impurities, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, pride, arrogance, animosity, ill-will, fear, worry, or suffering. Maybe some of them are liberated from suffering and are peaceful, but it isn’t coming from their physical conditions and abilities. Because if the peacefulness is coming from certain conditions and abilities of their physical body, then this peacefulness will change according to the impermanent changes of the condition and ability of the physical body. It is not the real peace that is unconditional.

We don’t have to be physically “perfect”, or healthy, or fit, or strong, or flexible, to have peace. Peace can be realized by anyone under any conditions as long as they know what is non-attachment, selflessness and compassion, when they know how to go beyond their own body and mind, not identifying with the body and the mind as ‘I’, and be free from craving and aversion and all sorts of impurities and ignorance. Real peace is being free from anger, hatred, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, animosity, envy, jealousy, pride, arrogance, ill-will, ill-thinking, feelings of hurt, guilt, regret, doubt, offensiveness, defensiveness, agitation, depression, fear and worry.

Whether we can stand on our head or not, we all can have peace.

Whether we can touch our toes with our hands or not, we all can have peace.

Whether we can put our heels down on the floor completely or not, when we perform the downward dog, we all can have peace.

Whether we can bend our body forward with our body and face completely resting on the legs or not, we all can have peace.

Whether we speak the same language or not, have the same cultural practice and religious belief or not, we all can have peace.

Whether we live a simple lifestyle or a luxurious lifestyle, we all can have peace.

As long as we know what is non-attachment.

Whether we are thin or fat, looking good or not looking good, smart or not smart, fit or unfit, flexible or not flexible, strong or not strong, healthy or not healthy, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, success or failure, young or old, men or women, single or not single, being alone or with many people around us, have an easy life or a difficult life, being here or there, doing something or not doing anything, being able to see, or hear, or smell, or taste, or touch, or think, or read, or write, or walk, or sing, or dance or not, and so on, we all can have peace.

Real peace is nothing to do with all these impermanent qualities of names and forms. Peace is already there in everyone, unconditioned and unlimited by all the qualities of names and forms. Ignorance is what makes the mind thinks it is suffering or not peaceful. We just need to free the mind from ignorance and all sorts of impurities, and go beyond the ego, the intellect, the conditional worldly thinking and belief, and be free and be at peace, resting in the one selfless, attributeless, nameless and formless nature of all the names and forms.

People who cannot sit up right due to certain physical limitations, or who cannot move the body or the limbs to perform any yoga asana poses, also can have peace if they want to, and know how to be in peace. And if a person can sit up right and perform many yoga asana poses, but doesn’t know anything about non-attachment, he or she cannot “find” peace even though he or she is “looking” for peace.

While teaching yoga asana classes, naturally I will put myself into the student’s physical conditions and limitations. I demonstrate the positions and movements in the way to suit the condition of the students physical body and their physical limitations. Such like some of them might have back problems, or knee problems, or neck injury, or muscle tightness or soreness, or flu, or nose blocked, or headache, or any physical discomforts and limitations, or just simply being unfit, lack of stamina, strength or flexibility, or have fear, I will guide them to perform the poses or movements according to their physical conditions and abilities.

The physical condition and ability in this present moment now is impermanent, it will change from moment to moment. Sometimes the body is more energetic, more strong and flexible, and sometimes the body is less energetic, less strong and flexible. We need to perform the exercises according to the condition of the body at that present moment and according to the needs of the body and the mind in the present moment.

Maybe the body needs to do more forward bending to calm down the energy field. Maybe the body needs to do more backward bending to stimulate and energize the energy level. Maybe the body is recovering from certain injuries, and we need to make some adjustment to adapt the poses or to modify some of the asana exercises. Maybe we were able to perform certain poses easily and comfortably in the past, but in the present moment, our body cannot do it comfortably. Maybe certain exercises that we didn’t feel comfortable doing in the past, but in this moment, our body can do it easily and comfortably. We let go of all the pre-judgment about what our body can do and cannot do from the past experience, and be very open-minded for what the body can do and cannot do in the present moment.

We can’t be teaching the same variations of yoga asana exercises to all the students and ask them and expecting them to be able to perform all the same asana exercises according to the “standard” of what is called “perfect asana poses or sequence”. There is no “perfect asana poses or sequence”. Everyone is “perfect” in their own way of doing it and is “perfect” being able to accept themselves as they are, and respect their body as it is, and be comfortable and relaxed in all the asana exercises, being in the present moment, be free from the past and the future, be free from judgment, comparison, expectation, craving and aversion, and be in peace.

Performing all the asana exercises or poses without judgments, comparisons and expectations, no matter what types of conditions of the physical body is, in the present moment. And from moment to moment, the conditions of the physical body is constantly changing, impermanent. We are able to observe and be aware of the present condition of the body, and are able to accept the condition of the body as it is, that in this present moment now, this is what the body can do and cannot do. Knowing that this is impermanent, without attachment towards the physical condition and ability in the present moment, we allow all the impermanent changes to be there as they are. Not comparing ourselves with anybody, not even with our own self in the past experiences.

Everyone performs the exercises or the yoga asana practice according to each individual’s present condition of the physical body, out of selflessness and compassion, without any intentions or expectations to gain any benefits from doing the practice, but allow the benefits to be there as they are, not because “I” want to gain some sorts of benefits, or want to become more healthy, or more strong, or more flexible, or more peaceful, or more happy. Not even longing to become more wise and compassionate. Wisdom and compassion is not “something” that we can gain or learn from the outside, but it’s through realization of the truth, when all the impurities and the ego is annihilated. Merely by performing the asana poses “perfectly”, or “precisely”, or in “perfect alignments”, cannot guarantee nor determine that we will be free from impurities or the ego, and be free from suffering.

Most of the time, I won’t be demonstrating the asana poses as what I usually do in my own personal practice. I will put myself into their position. I will demonstrate and perform the exercises according to what their body are capable to do and be comfortable at, allowing them to be able to relax into all the exercises without trying to imitate or compare with the teacher who are more strong and flexible than them physically. And allow them to gradually develop courage, faith, physical stamina, strength and flexibility as they practice from time to time. By showing them that even if I “cannot” extend my legs completely straight or even if I “cannot” reach forward “properly” in a forward bend, it is okay, and it doesn’t mean that we are not good at yoga, or we are not suitable to practice yoga asana exercises. We still can be in peace even though we cannot perform the yoga asana exercises or poses “nicely” or “perfectly”.

When the students are able to accept their body as it is, and be comfortable with themselves in doing the yoga asana exercises without judging themselves or comparing with anybody, and they are able to relax into the asana poses without forcing or struggling to go beyond their physical limitations, I will then show them that as they practice, the physical strength and flexibility will be improving, and they will be able to stretch their body and limbs further, and slowly they will be able to come into the asana poses which require certain degree of strength, flexibility, stamina, faith and courage.

As yoga teachers, we are there to guide the students for what their body can do in the present moment, and it changes from moment to moment. It’s not about showing them what we (our body) can do.

We cannot set a goal for the students, telling them that they have to be able to do this and that after a specific time. Everyone takes their own time to develop the fitness level of the physical body and the skills to perform the exercises. Everyone takes their own time to let go of fear and worry. Yoga asana practice is not some fitness training that everyone sets a goal for themselves, that they want to be able to achieve “such and such results” in a certain period of time. Realization won’t “happen” even though if we set ourselves 3 months, or 3 years, or 30 years time to attain realization, if we didn’t practice with the correct understanding, attitude and mentality. If we perform the practice with the right understanding and attitude, realization of the truth will happen naturally even though we didn’t have the intention or expectation to attain self-realization.

Just like when we do the yoga exercises, even though if we don’t know anything about the benefits of the exercises, the benefits will still be there. The benefits won’t change, or become more when we have expectation for the benefits. The benefits won’t disappear or become less, even if we don’t know what are the benefits of doing the exercises and without any expectation for the benefits. It will still be there.

I’ll explain to the students before they start learning and performing the yoga poses and exercises, about the pose or the exercise itself, is not something “easy” or “difficult”. It is subject to our own each individual physical condition and ability. When our body can do it and feel comfortable, our mind will judge “this is easy”. And when our body cannot do it and feel uncomfortable, our mind will judge “this is difficult”. But, the same exercise everyone is doing, some will say it’s “easy” and some will say it’s “difficult”. But, the exercise itself has no intentions or qualities to be easy or to be difficult. It is all coming from the subjective judgment in our own mind upon how our body and mind react towards the exercises. By understanding this, we learn to let go of any judgments towards everyone and everything in the world. That they are not something “bad”, and they are not something “good”. Everyone and everything is just being what it is.

After the class finished, there is no “good class” or “bad class”, as all our experiences in the class is different in each individual. Some might say its a “good class”, but, some might say its a “bad class”. Again that is nothing to do with the class itself. It is coming from each individual state of their mind. Positive mind projects everything positively. Negative mind projects everything negatively. Those who know how to go beyond positive and negative, they project everything neither positively nor negatively.

Whether it is a “good class” or a “bad class”, it is not coming from the teacher or the class. Even if the teacher taught a “great” or “awful” class.

There are many conditions that will “influence” each individual whether they will think or “judge” it is a “good class” or not. For example, maybe some people still don’t know how to let go of the ego yet, having judgment, comparison and expectation while doing the exercises, and forcing themselves to go beyond their physical limitations, and struggling in performing the exercises without respecting the conditions of their own body. They get discomfort, pain and soreness, and building up more tensions during the practice, instead of letting go of tensions and be relaxed and peaceful during and after the practice. Some people might have some physical and mental purification process going on, and they experience so much discomforts or resistance during the practice, instead of being in peace and harmony with the practice.

If we experienced a “good class” and “gain” some mental peace or physical relaxation from the practice in the class, we appreciate that present moment of how the body and mind feels, but without attachment, without craving or clinging. Know that even that peaceful moment and good feeling is momentary, it’s impermanent. It will change, be disturbed and disappear.

If we experienced a “bad class” and not “gaining” any mental peace or physical relaxation from the practice in the class, we don’t have to force ourselves to appreciate that unpleasant experience, but, just be aware of it without attachment, without generate aversion towards that “bad” experience, and let it go. Know that no matter how unpleasant it is, all are impermanent. It will change and disappear.

This understanding will lead us to be undisturbed, or unaffected, or uninfluenced, or undetermined by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. Because all the names and forms are not something “good” or something “bad”. “Good” and “bad” is coming from our own mind, it’s not coming from the objects.

This will lead us to true happiness and real peace that is unconditioned and unlimited by any qualities of names and forms or impermanence.

With this unmovable peaceful state of consciousness or awareness, we are able to perform lots of selfless compassionate actions in the world to help ourselves and the world to evolve, but, without being disturbed, or affected, or influenced, or determined by the world and the law of impermanence, and all the conditional qualities of names and forms.

Out of compassion, we perform selfless actions, and let go. Without attaching to our actions and the fruit of the actions. Without attaching to our yoga practice and the result of the yoga practice. Allow the fruit of actions and the result of the yoga practice to be there as it is. Without judgment, comparison or expectation. And be free.

Om shanti.