Hugging and touching?

In this era of the so called modern and highly developed society, most people perceive and observe the practice/habit/culture of ‘hugging’ and ‘touching’ as a form of showing love, acceptance and friendliness among beings, while they would feel awkward, bad and wrong, or even be offended, if some people don’t have or don’t observe the practice/habit/culture of hugging and touching.

Many yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers might also think and believe that ‘open mind’ and ‘loving kindness/warmness’ means people need to be affectionately hugging and touching one another to be showing non-discrimination, non-separateness, non-intimidation, love, acceptance and friendliness towards all beings, while the absence of hugging and touching is being perceived as ‘closed mind’ and ‘unloving-kindness’/’coldness’ that portrays the quality of discrimination, separateness, intimidation, lovelessness, non-acceptance and unfriendliness. Many also believe that the lack of hugging or touching by another being is highly detrimental to physical, mental and emotional health. They expect all beings, especially yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers should be constantly and actively hugging and touching all other beings that they come in contact with, to show that they are genuine yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers who embrace loving kindness, who are open minded and compassionate beings, while they would be puzzled by the very few of the yoga practitioners who don’t have or don’t observe such hugging and touching habit/culture.

For yoga practitioners who truly want to open their mind, is to be free from being conditioned by such worldly egoistic thinking, belief, values and practice, where the mind understands that ‘the existence and non-existence of open mind and compassion’ is nothing to do with ‘the presence and absence of physical hugging and touching another being’, where it’s nothing bad and there’s nothing wrong with the society having and observing the hugging and touching habit/culture, especially if the minds are pure and desireless, and it’s also nothing bad and there’s nothing wrong with those who don’t have or don’t observe the hugging and touching habit/culture either. Accepting all and everyone as they are, even though certain people behave in the way that goes against the thinking, belief, values and practice of the majority of the society.

Hugging and touching or not, doesn’t really determine the presence and absence of the quality of ‘non-discrimination’, ‘non-separateness’, ‘non-intimidation’, ‘love’, ‘acceptance’ and ‘friendliness’, while the quality of non-discrimination, non-separateness, non-intimidation, love, acceptance and friendliness aren’t necessarily have to be shown/portrayed by physical contact of hugging and touching one another.

Most people would feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely and meaningless upon the absence of physical/mental/emotional interaction of hugging and touching from some other beings. And hence, many people would think and believe that the solution is to be actively giving and receiving affectionate hugs and touches among beings.

It’s the ignorant egoistic passionate mind that has attachment and expectation towards the appropriateness and disappropriateness in social behavior and interaction that would feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely, meaningless, piteous or offended upon the absence or the lack of love and affection in the form of hugging and touching from other beings.

Contemplate upon why the ancient teachings/practice of yoga emphasized on the important observation of solitude and seclusion of non-physical/mental/emotional contact and non-physical touching with any other being, where yoga practitioners and spiritual seekers were being advised to observe solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time, to free the mind from the worldly habitual passionate desire of craving and clinging towards love and affection, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to silent/annihilate the modification of the mind.

One of the common practice/observation in the Ashrams is about none should be physically touching one another regardless of among the same or different gender, especially the swamis, monks and nuns. But, nowadays, in many of the ashrams, even many ‘modernized’ swamis, monks and nuns also don’t observe this practice anymore, and they mingling intimately with one another and the people who come to the ashrams, not to say many of the householders who identify themselves as ‘yoga practitioners’ or ‘yogis’. Many ‘yoga teacher training courses’ also emphasize on the physical hands on adjustment, where the many graduated ‘certified yoga teachers’ think and believe that it’s what a good and professional yoga teacher should be doing/practicing while teaching classes and while socializing/mingling with the students or the yoga community outside of the classes to develop stronger connection and relationship among one another.

There’s nothing wrong with the worldly egoistic thinking, belief, values and practice that propagates widely about “Everyone needs love, affection, hugs and touches.” But that is not yoga practice at all, as that is indeed empowering ignorance and egoism. It’s not any different from keep feeding sugary drinks to the children or keep providing drugs to the people to make them feel ‘happy and good’ from the momentary effects of sugary drinks or drugs and from the gratification of desires by giving people what they like and want. The yoga practice is to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to realize selflessness/oneness/non-separateness, where there’s absence of needing/craving/clinging towards physical/mental/emotional love, affection, hugs and touches from other beings. There’s no need of developing stronger connection or relationship between ‘I’ and ‘the others’ in selflessness/oneness/non-separateness, as connection or relationship doesn’t exist in selflessness/oneness/non-separateness. There’s neither ‘I’ nor ‘the others’. There’s no ‘I’ need to be healed by ‘spiritual healing hugs and touches’.

A truly ‘healthy and compassionate’ society exists along with the minds that are free from ignorance and egoism. Everyone can be kind and loving towards one another out of selfless compassion, not because everyone ‘needs’ to give and receive love and affection to and from one another through certain action in order to make the egoistic minds feel good, happy, love and meaningful, or not to feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely, meaningless, piteous or offended upon the absence/lack of love and affection through certain action from other beings, as the ignorant egoistic minds think and believe that it’s so bad and terrible if there’s absence/lack of any form of love and affection among one another.

Be free.

Being conditioned by egoistic thinking pattern unwittingly

The minds can still be functioning under the influence of conditional egoistic thinking pattern to behave, judge, expect, aspire, act and react, unwittingly, even if the minds have ‘good’ intention to be supporting and upholding ‘good’ values/practice/behavior, and believe in performing ‘good’ actions and standing up for protecting ‘goodness and righteousness’ in the world.

Yoga practice is to free the mind from conditional egoistic thinking pattern that most minds are unaware of, while thinking and believing that those thinking and beliefs are the important values of humanity.

Yoga practitioners can perform self-introspection to find out whether one’s mind is being conditioned by egoistic thinking pattern unwittingly, by asking oneself these questions, as most minds are unaware of itself is being conditioned to think and believe in such way, to behave, judge, expect, aspire, act and react.

– Is there a strong sense of belonging towards a particular name and form of family/relationship/friendship/social group/community/country/nationality/ethnicity/culture/religion/school/spirituality/profession/politic/any form of practice and etc, and one would do one’s best to uphold and protect that particular name and form that the mind thinks and believes, ‘This is where I belong, that I am being proud of being part of it, and I have the duty and responsibility to do my best to be protecting it from being hurt, damaged or destroyed by what I think and believe as negativity, badness and wrongfulness’, or I don’t know where I belong and it’s important for me to be in searching for something/somewhere that I belonged to, that can give me the sense of belonging?

– Does the mind thinks and believes that patriotism and loyalty towards something/somewhere that one belonged to, is a great value or quality that everyone should be cherished and be proud of, where ‘Betrayal of any kind is something terribly wrong and unforgivable, and those who commit any form of betrayal must be condemned and punished accordingly’?

– Does the mind thinks and believes that there are certain things/objects/lives that it likes and agrees with, that it understands as something important and appreciates very much shouldn’t be subject to ‘impermanent changes’ and don’t deserve ‘extinction’?

Not that patriotism and loyalty or upholding something that one’s mind thinks and believes is ‘good and righteous’ is something bad or wrong, but it promotes ‘separateness’ and ‘discrimination’ where it doesn’t allow the mind to go beyond the conditional thinking pattern that hinders the mind from realizing selflessness, oneness, non-separateness, namelessness, formlessness and attributelessness, which is the ultimate goal of yoga. Similarly, there’s nothing wrong with showing great appreciation towards something that the mind perceives as important, lovable and agreeable, but the intense attachment towards something that the mind thinks and believes is important, lovable and agreeable, and not allowing everything being what they are, where everything will change and disappear, is what hinders the mind from realizing ‘yoga’, or be free from ignorance and suffering.

Patriotism/Loyalty and the sense of belonging or the need to find where one belonged to don’t exist in selflessness. Due to ignorance and egoism, many yoga practitioners are still being conditioned by such egoistic thinking pattern, where they think and believe that they belong to certain ‘yoga lineage’, or ‘yoga family’, or ‘yoga community’. Similarly, the minds that are free from ignorance and egoism can be appreciating all the lovable and agreeable names and forms, but without attachment and are able to respect the law of nature (impermanence and selflessness) as it is, and be able to let them go, in peace.

Patriotism/loyalty and self-righteousness is not yoga practice. Yoga practitioners must work cautiously and diligently to free the mind from such egoistic thinking/belief/values/practice in order to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to realize selflessness/oneness/non-separateness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness, that leads the mind towards right discrimination towards the truth of everything and non-discrimination towards all the different qualities of names and forms that co-existing in this space, which all are subject to impermanence and selflessness.

Respect everyone being what they are

For the minds that attached onto and identified with the qualities of names and forms to be who/what they are, ‘respect’ is about showing admiration or acknowledgement towards oneself or others who possess or achieve certain qualities of names and forms that the minds think and believe as ‘superior quality’, ‘higher ability’, or ‘higher achievement’ that deserve ‘respect’ from others or the world. Most people ‘work’ very hard throughout their life to earn or gain ‘respect’ or ‘admiration/acknowledgement’ from the world, or others, especially those who are ‘related’ to them in their personal/community/social/professional life.

Whether wittingly or unwittingly, there is discrimination towards the different qualities, abilities/disabilities and achievement/non-achievement determining what and who are worthy or unworthy to be receiving respect from oneself and others.

Most people think and believe that showing/giving ‘respect’/’admiration’/’acknowledgement’ towards certain higher/superior quality, ability and achievement is a form of generosity/kindness/goodness or positive encouragement to motivate oneself or other people (to be continuously) to strive to be good or be better.

For the minds that (truly) practice yoga, that are free from attachment towards and identification with any qualities of names and forms, that are free from discrimination towards all the different qualities of names and forms, ‘respect’ is not about showing admiration or acknowledgement towards ‘higher’ or ‘superior’ quality, ability or achievement, but instead, it’s abandoning such worldly thinking and belief, values and practice that empowers egoism and ignorance. It’s transcending the discrimination towards what the worldly egoistic thinking and belief categorizing as ‘respectable’ and ‘non-respectable’. The mind is free from the desire of craving and aversion towards the worldly idea/values/practice of ‘respect and disrespect’, ‘praise and condemn’, ‘superiority and inferiority’, ‘meaningfulness and meaninglessness’, and so on.

The one who needs to earn or gain ‘respect’/admiration’/’acknowledgement’ from others or the world, by possessing or attaining certain higher/superior quality, ability or achievement, in order to be motivated (to be continuously) to strive to be good or be better, the one who needs ‘positive inputs/influences’, ‘positive thinking’, ‘positive encouragements’ and ‘the sense of meaningfulness’, is the ego. Those who are free from the ego and egoism don’t need to be receiving ‘respect’/’admiration’/’acknowledgement’ from anyone for anything, to motivate them (to be continuously) to be good, or be better. The selfless/egoless minds don’t need to have ‘positive inputs/influences’, ‘positive thinking’, ‘positive encouragements’ and ‘the sense of meaningfulness’.

Those who know yoga aren’t interested at all towards the worldly idea/values/practice of ‘one must work hard to be earning or gaining ‘respect’/’admiration’/’acknowledgement’ from oneself or others by possessing or attaining certain higher/superior worldly or spiritual quality, ability and achievement, and void of lower/inferior quality, disability and non-achievement.

In yoga, ‘respect’ is part of the effortless manifestation of compassion derived from a selfless ‘open-mind’ that unattached towards any quality of name and form, being ‘non-discriminative’ towards all and ‘accepting’ everyone being what they are, as they are, regardless of all the different higher and lower worldly or spiritual qualities, abilities and disabilities, achievements and non-achievements that present or absent in everyone, even if the worldly minds think and believe and recognize that there is the presence of certain qualities of ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ and the absence of certain qualities of ‘good’ and ‘right’ based on a particular social/cultural/religious/spiritual/political/philosophical thinking and belief about what is good and bad, what is right and wrong, where the minds generate dislike and disagreement, where the minds think and believe that they are ‘unworthy’ of receiving ‘respect’/’admiration’/’acknowledgement’ from anyone.

Respecting everyone being what they are doesn’t mean that one is agreeing and supporting others’ thinking, belief, behavior, values and practice that the minds think and believe as ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’, but one is undetermined or undisturbed by the existing and non-existing higher/lower quality, ability/disability, achievement/non-achievement that the world think and believe are ‘worthy’ or ‘unworthy’ of ‘respect’, without interference/discrimination/intimidation towards everyone being what they are, as they are. And all are impermanent.

Being ‘non-discriminative’ and ‘respectful’ towards all and everyone, or the mind is being ‘open’, doesn’t mean that one should be generously showing/giving ‘supports’ towards all kinds of thinking, belief, behavior, values and practice in the world, or blind-following, blind-practicing, blind-preaching and blind-promoting all the different kinds of thinking, belief, behavior, values and practice, but it’s about being unattached towards or non-associating with all the different kinds of thinking, belief, behavior, values and practice, regardless of whether the worldly thinking and belief referring something as ‘good and right’ or ‘bad and wrong’, while being non-discriminative ‘respecting’ and ‘allowing’ all these different kinds of thinking, belief, behavior, values and practice being there existing in this world as they are.

This kind of ‘respect’ of non-discriminative/non-interference/non-intimidation towards everyone regardless of all the different qualities of names and forms is essential for maintaining peace and harmony among all in the world. Be free from the worldly egoistic thinking/belief/practice of “Certain people deserve (higher) respect from others while some others don’t, being determined by who/what they are, of their particular background, gender, sexual orientation, way of life, race, belief/disbelief, position, status, caste, profession, ability, achievement, behavior, action and reaction, including what the world think is merit and virtue.”

Seeing the truth of names and forms as they are. They are just what they are, neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong, neither positive nor negative, neither meaningful nor meaningless.

Those who truly want to realize yoga of selflessness/oneness/compassion/unconditional peace need to be aware of the subtle attachment, identification and desire of craving and aversion towards the quality of names and forms projected by the ignorant impure egoistic mind. Learn how to transcend the modification of the mind of all kinds of thinking/belief/values/practice/behavior/habit/desire/intention/expectation/action and reaction.

The freedom of being free from ignorance and the suffering of the consequences of ignorance is attained through the realization of selflessness/oneness/attributelessness/namelessness/formlessness by transcending/going beyond/subjugating the modification of the mind that generates the separateness/duality manifested in the form of thinking and belief that gives rise to the notion of a worldly life existence consisting of ‘I and all the others’, ‘I and my world’, ‘I and my life’, ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘positive and negative’, ‘meaningfulness and meaninglessness’, ‘respectable and non-respectable’, ‘praise and condemn’, and so on.

Those who know this, they allow everyone being what they are, including whether people want to show ‘respect’ towards one another, or not. Those who don’t know this, they would feel disappointed, offended, disrespected, humiliated, belittled, hurt and angry when they think they aren’t getting the ‘respect’ that they expect to be getting, and they expect all ‘good’ human beings should behave in certain way to show ‘respect’ to one another, or else, those who don’t behave in such way would be labeled/condemned as ‘bad’ human beings.

Be free.

Unattached towards any thinking and belief, including the teachings of yoga

Why is it important to be unattached towards any thinking and belief, including the teachings of yoga?

We all need to make some unavoidable important decisions to suit the impermanent changes from time to time in our life. We will also come in contact with other people who have different thinking, belief and practice from us, from time to time, living in this space of the universe, whether we like it, or not.

If we attached strongly onto a particular thinking and belief in our mind that put importance and unimportance onto certain action, reaction, behavior and values, then we might have expectation towards ourselves and/or others to live life or behave in the way according to that thinking and belief. We will be very dissatisfied and disappointed with ourselves and/or other people if we or other people don’t live life or behave exactly in the way according to that thinking and belief. We might easily be disturbed or offended by other people’s different thinking and belief that put importance and unimportance onto certain action, reaction, behavior and values that are very different from ours. We would want to argue about whose thinking and belief is better or trying to persuade other people to take up our thinking and belief that we think is better, that we think is correct, that we feel very proud of. There’s disturbance, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, irritation, anger, hatred, offensiveness, defensiveness, hurts, fear and worry in the mind due to couldn’t accept or allow or respect other people to be different from us.

Due to ignorance, our perception or understanding towards the teachings of yoga might not necessarily be something that we can agree with, like or want to practice.

If we attached strongly onto the teachings of yoga based on how we perceive or understand the teachings, we might not want to practice yoga if we have certain disagreements or dislikes towards the teachings of yoga that we think is wrong or incorrect because it is contradicted with our own existing thinking/belief/practice. Or, we might want to change yoga into something else that we can agree with, like and want to practice. And if our minds agree with, like and want to practice the teachings of yoga as it is, then there might be inner conflict arise when we need to make a decision for something that might go against the teachings of yoga. We would feel very disturbed, confused, guilty or regret for being unable to practice yoga ‘perfectly’ or ‘exactly’ in accordance to the teachings of yoga as it is. And then, the impure egoistic mind that attached strongly onto the teachings of yoga might unwittingly judging others, both yoga practitioners or non-yoga practitioners, out of self-righteousness based on what the mind thinks it knows about the teachings of yoga.

It doesn’t mean that if we don’t attach onto the teachings of yoga, then we don’t need to respect the teachings of yoga and do whatever we like, even if it goes against the teachings of yoga. We should do our best to practice yoga as it is according to the ancient teachings of yoga, if the life condition and situation allows us to do that. But, life is impermanent.

There will always be some challenging unfavorable circumstances that we need to deal with from time to time. If we attached strongly onto the teachings of yoga, expecting ourselves to be able to follow ‘perfectly’ all the teachings of yoga to live life and practice yoga as it ‘supposed’ to be all the time, then we might not be able to continue our yoga practice or will give up the path of yoga entirely, when we think we can’t or it’s wrong to make adjustments in our life or in our practice to adapt and accommodate the challenging condition and situation that is also impermanent.

It’s about the inner stamina, strength and flexibility of patience, perseverance, determination, acceptance, forbearance and tolerance to accept the reality that is not necessarily in favor to our preferred way of life or our yoga practice in accordance to the teachings of yoga as it is, and be able to make suitable momentary adjustments to adapt and accommodate any challenging conditions or situations that arise from time to time in our life and in our practice. But, with correct understanding that these adjustments are also impermanent, as well as do our best to respect the teachings of yoga as it is if the condition permits. Yoga is still what it is, whether we need to make some adjustments, or not. It doesn’t change into something else, whether people agree or disagree with it, or whether people practice yoga as it is, or not.

It’s about being compassionate, respectful and non-discriminating towards this life, this body and this mind that is not perfectly the way that we would like it to be and towards others who are different from us, who have different thinking, belief and practice that put different importance and unimportance onto certain action, reaction, behavior and values that are different from ours. Being undisturbed or unoffended by other people’s thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction that are different from ours. Being undisturbed or unoffended by our impure perception/understanding of the teachings of yoga that our mind disagree with, doesn’t like and doesn’t want to practice.

Non-attachment is about being able to adjust, to adapt and accommodate any unforeseen circumstances of challenging condition and situation that arise in our life and our practice, whether it’s about the physical/mental condition, livelihood, sickness, injury, aging, or any issues with family/neighbourhood/environment/weather/religion/area/getting the basic needs for life maintenance, that need us to make some necessary adjustments on the path of yoga whether in terms of livelihood, or performing our own yoga practice, or teaching yoga to other people, to adapt and accommodate the impermanent changes of challenging condition and situation.

It allows us to continue our practice in a slightly different way than what we would like it to be, but at least we didn’t give it up just because we think it’s impossible to practice yoga under certain challenging condition or situation, due to we think we must follow exactly the teachings of yoga as it is, that we think we can’t or it’s wrong/impossible to make any adjustments. More importantly, it allows the mind to be opened to inquire/investigate/experience the truth of the teachings of yoga, without blind-believing or blind-following.

Be free.

How to see the truth of everything as it is and be free

People grieve and cry for the death of someone or something that they think and believe as good and right, that they love very much, that they think it doesn’t deserve to die. People feel glad and cheer for the death of someone or something that they think and believe as bad and wrong, that they hate very much, that they think it deserves to die.

Death is neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither happiness nor suffering, neither right nor wrong. It’s all about what we like and don’t like. When we feel grief and cry for ‘death’ is because we are losing something that we like. When we feel glad and cheer for ‘death’ is because we are getting rid of something that we don’t like.

Whenever we feel angry, upset, disturbed, hurt, sad or disagree about something, it’s not because people or things are being ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, or ‘suffering’. It’s because we come in contact with something that we disagree with based on our thinking and belief of what is right and wrong, good and bad, or we are not getting what we like and want, we are losing what we like and want, and we are getting what we don’t like and don’t want.

People mourn for the death of those whom they love, that matter to them (people or animals or insects), and don’t mourn for the death of those whom they have no likes or dislikes, that don’t matter to them, and cheer for the death of those whom they hate and disagree with.

And hence, this allows us to understand that ‘death’ is neither good nor bad, neither happiness nor suffering, neither right nor wrong, neither positive nor negative. It’s all subjective reactions influenced by attachment towards the likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, based on a particular personal thinking and belief.

It’s the desire of craving and aversion that generates unhappiness, disturb, hurts, resentment, painful sorrow and suffering in the mind. It is ignorance that causes the mind to think and believe that unhappiness, disturb, hurts, resentment, painful sorrow and suffering are caused by something bad, wrong, horrible, inhumane, negative or suffering.

Perform this inquiry into everything that our minds perceive and judge as good and bad, positive and negative, right and wrong, happiness and suffering.

Everything is just what it is. People are just being what they are. Things are just what they are. The world is just what it is.

There’s no clinging, craving, aversion, discrimination, hatred, fear, painful sorrow, or suffering.

There’s no good death or bad death. Everything is just arising and passing away.

If one doesn’t know this, one doesn’t know what is compassion, even though one identifies oneself as a compassionate being, and tries to be compassionate or practice compassion or perform compassionate actions.

Allow the mind to be open and see things as they are, uninfluenced by the conditioned/limited/subjective personal thinking and belief, egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, and ceaseless autonomous reactions of impurities.

If people don’t like or don’t agree with this, that’s their freedom of thinking, belief, actions and reactions.

Be free.

Right discrimination and non-discrimination in yoga

In the teachings of yoga, we would come in contact with the term ‘right discrimination’ and ‘non-discrimination’. Sometimes, the yoga teacher says – Develop ‘discrimination’ of the real and unreal, and some other times the yoga teacher says – Be free from ‘discrimination’ towards all the different qualities of names and forms. Some people might get confused.

Non-discrimination actually derives from right discrimination.

Right discrimination is the ability to inquire, to reason, to reflect upon the truth of names and forms. That all and everything is impermanent and selfless, or ‘I’-less.

Non-discrimination is upon the realization of selflessness and seeing the one same nature in all and everything beyond all the impermanent different qualities of names and forms, the mind is free from subjective discrimination towards all and everything based on personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, wants and don’t wants under the influence of certain conditional thinking and belief.

Without right discrimination, one sees all the different qualities in all the different names and forms, and generates subjective discrimination towards all and everything based on personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, wants and don’t wants under the influence of certain conditional thinking and belief.

Without right discrimination and non-discrimination, one will always be restless or peaceless, as the mind will always be affected, disturbed and determined by the personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, craving and aversion of the mind upon coming in contact with the objects of the senses, even if one identifies oneself as a yogi or yoga practitioner who has been practicing yoga and meditation regularly for a long time.

Om shanti.