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.

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Positive thinking is not the goal of yoga practice or the end of suffering

We don’t teach positive thinking in our yoga classes and retreats, although for those who are under the influence of ‘negative thinking’, whom are being very negative towards everything that they perceive, we would encourage them to develop ‘positive thinking’ to counter the ‘negative thinking’. But that is not the goal of yoga practice.

In the beginning of yoga practice, when the mind is still influenced or over-powered by what the mind believes or recognizes as negative names and forms, we need to develop positive thinking to counter any negative thinking, but that is not what yoga is about – liberation from ignorance or the end of suffering.

When people try to be positive, think positive and stay positive, it’s because these minds are not free from ignorance and are being ignorant of the truth of names and forms. The mind perceives or recognizes quality of ‘negative’ in the objects of names and forms projected from the mind based on what the mind believes as something ‘negative’. The perception of negativity is still existing in the mind, but the mind tries to push away or deny the perception of names and forms that it believes as ‘negative’, and tries to convince itself that everything is ‘positive’ and good. It’s denying and running away from the reality that it perceives and believes as ‘negative’ that it doesn’t like and doesn’t want.

The mind is not free constantly trying to ‘turn’ everything that it recognizes as ‘negative’ into something that the mind believes as ‘positive’. But as long as the mind still thinks and believes that there’s quality of ‘negative’ and ‘positive’, and it doesn’t want something ‘negative’, but it wants everything ‘positive’, the mind will be forever restless as it tries to maintain ‘positive’.

Everything is just what it is, it is neither positive nor negative. But the mind projects the qualities of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ onto everything that it perceives based on what the mind thinks and believes as ‘positive’ and ‘negative’.

Trying to stay positive is not freedom at all. The mind is not free, constantly being in a state of craving towards quality of ‘positive’ and aversion towards quality of ‘negative’.

In the end, we will see that be positive, think positive and stay positive is not the end of suffering.

Yoga is going beyond what the mind believes and recognizes as ‘positive’ and ‘negative’. It is awareness being aware of the perception of names and forms without projecting qualities of ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ onto all the objects of names and forms, and allows everything to be what it is – neither positive nor negative.

The realization of non-duality, or attributelessness, or non-separateness, or oneness is real freedom that allows the mind to be in peace, being free from restlessness.

There’s no need to generate clinging or craving towards what the mind used to believe as ‘positive’, and there’s no need to generate aversion towards what the mind used to believe as ‘negative’. The mind will be free from restlessness coming from aversion towards quality of ‘negative’, or fear of being negative, and be free from clinging or craving towards quality of ‘positive’.

There’s no need to think and stay positive to counter negativity as ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ doesn’t exist in the objects of names and forms. They only exist in the mind when the mind is under the influence of ignorance. There’s no need to turn ‘negative’ into ‘positive’, when the mind is free.

Om shanti.

Param Vairagya – Absolute Dispassion – Neither attachment nor non-attachment

When all the duality of

Good and bad

Right and wrong

Positive and negative

Happiness and suffering

Light and darkness

Gain and loss

Praise and condemn

Success and failure

Appropriateness and inappropriateness

Norm and abnormal

Sane and insane

Birth and death

Are not different from one another

All fear and worry vanished

There’s neither craving nor aversion

There’s no attachment towards either side

Detachment doesn’t exist

There’s neither attachment nor non-attachment

Neither positive nor negative, everything is just what it is…

The teaching of yoga and Buddhism is about seeing the truth of things as they are, and allow all the names and forms to be what they are, without generate clinging or craving towards what the mind wants to think and believe as positive, good and happiness, without generate aversion towards what the mind wants to think and believe as negative, bad and unhappiness.

Everything is just what it is. It is neither positive nor negative, neither good nor bad, neither happiness nor unhappiness.

The truth is still the truth, whether we know about it, or not; whether we like it, or not; whether we agree with it, or not. Everything is subject to impermanence. This life existence comprising the body and mind is subject to changes, discomfort, old age, sickness, weakness and death, or decomposition. The truth doesn’t change according to whether our mind is being positive or negative, good or bad, happy or unhappy.

Being super positive, super good and super happy, while denying something that the mind recognizes as negative, bad and unhappiness, won’t bring the dead back to life, nor prevent the body and mind from experiencing pain or unpleasantness, or else there won’t be painful sorrow exists in the world due to losing someone whom we love very much. It won’t make other beings to be free from negativity, anger and hatred, or stop being bad and unhappy.

The positive and optimistic people need to be positive and optimistic shows that they do perceive and recognize something as negative, bad and unhappiness, but they want to convince that everything that they are going to experience will be all positive, good and happy, and they don’t want to experience something that they perceive and recognize as negative, bad and unhappiness. They are not free from the perception of duality, craving and aversion. Or else, they don’t need to be positive and optimistic at all, if truly there is no negative, bad and unhappiness existing in their mind perception.

Impermanent changes are always there. ‘Good’ things are changing. ‘Bad’ things are changing. They change due to their respective cause and at their own pace. If somebody who claims to be having the ‘super mind power’ to influence and change something to be all good and nothing bad, then the world is already all good and nothing bad.

There are many ‘good’ people everywhere in the world always wishing or praying for the best and goodness in oneself and in others. It’s very good, but it doesn’t stop ‘bad’, ‘miserable’ and ‘undesirable’ things and happenings continue to be existing here and there. It doesn’t make all kinds of suffering and painful sorrow to disappear from everyone’s life. It doesn’t remove ignorance and egoism in all beings. Or else, every beings in the world will be selfless, peaceful, wise and compassionate.

Practicing yoga or Buddhism is not about to be positive and optimistic, but to see the truth of things as they are (whether it is something pleasant or unpleasant, whether we like or dislike, agree or disagree with it), without attachment, craving or aversion, without identification with the impermanent body and mind to be who we are, without being affected or determined by all the impermanent qualities of name and form to be peaceful, happy, confident and to feel meaningful, or not.

Before we see the truth of things as they are, we need to stay positive and to counter negative thinking with positive thinking, so that we won’t be ‘drowned’ by negative thinking. When we see the truth of things as they are, there is no need to be positive or to have positive thinking.

Be free from ignorance, egoism and all the modifications of the egoism is the ultimate freedom. It’s not about denying or keep away from something that the mind perceives and recognizes as negative, bad and unhappiness, or changing something that we don’t want into what we would like it to be.

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.

Action and inaction? To act or not to act?

Everything is an action.

Actionlessness is also an action.

Sitting quietly, not moving the body to be doing some physical movements, and not making any speech, is an action of restricting the physical action and speech.

Quieting the mind, bringing the mind to rest in the inner chamber of the heart, restricting it from running out to chase after objects of names and forms or desires, is an action of restricting the thought waves.

Everyone has to be performing some sorts of actions all the time consciously with certain amount of free will and self-effort, whether it is sleeping, dreaming, awaking, sitting, standing, walking, talking, thinking, worrying, speculating, planning, imagining, remembering, eating, playing, looking, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, reflecting, meditating, introspecting, and etc. On top of that there are lots of ceaseless autonomous actions are going on all the time in the physical body that are not in our will control (whether we are aware of it or not), like breathing, heartbeats, blood circulation, immunity, hormones secretion, regeneration, and etc.

There is not a single moment that the body and mind is not performing some sorts of actions, or there’s isn’t any actions at all, unless this body and mind ceased functioning or existing.

If we know about non-attachment or non-identification with the body and mind, if we are free from egoism, then all these actions is not different from inaction, which doesn’t generate karma, or cause and effect, or birth and death, even though there is some pleasant and unpleasant, or agreeable and disagreeable consequences derived from all these actions.

If we don’t know what is non-attachment or non-identification with the body and mind, if we are influenced by egoism to be performing all these actions, then all these actions will generate good and bad karma, or cause and effect, or birth and death, even if we choose not to act, it is still an action that will generate some consequences.

The difference in all actions (to act and not to act) is depending on the purity of the mind.

If the mind is influenced by egoism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, then all actions being performed through the body and mind (whether they are good or bad actions, to act and not to act) are influenced by egoism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, and will be bound by good and bad karma, and generate birth and death.

If the mind is free from egoism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, and is identical with the attributeless, nameless and formless Self, then all actions being performed through the body and mind (whether they are good or bad actions, to act and not to act) will not be bound by good and bad karma, and be free from birth and death.

Whether all these actions that we think and believe is good or bad, the consequences of these actions (to act or not to act) are not necessarily the way that we think it should be.

For example, if we think we have performed some ‘good’ and ‘right’ actions, and we should be receiving something ‘good’ in return, and we refer ‘good’ as something that is pleasant and happy, but then the consequences of our ‘good’ actions are not necessarily will be something pleasant and happy, as it can be something very unpleasant and unhappy.

If we think we didn’t do any ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ actions, and we shouldn’t be receiving something ‘bad’ in return, and we refer ‘bad’ as something that is unpleasant and unhappy, but then the consequences of not generating any ‘bad’ actions is not necessarily will be something free from unpleasantness and unhappiness, as we still can be experiencing something unpleasant and unhappy, even when we think we didn’t do anything ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ as what we think and believe.

This doesn’t mean that there is no good and bad karma at all, nor there is anything wrong with the law of karma, cause and effect.

It is about whether we are free from egoism and ignorance, or not. As what we think and believe what things are, is not necessarily the truth of what things really are. Our thinking and beliefs are being conditioned and limited by ignorance and incorrect information. By knowing a lot of things doesn’t guarantee that we are free from being ignorant about the truth of things.

The conditioned thinking and beliefs in our mind about what things are, whether ‘this is something good and right’, or ‘that is something bad and wrong’, is not necessary the truth of what things really are. As all these thinking and beliefs are based on relativity and subjectivity, unless the mind is completely be free from egoism, dualism, attachment, ignorance and impurities.

When the mind is free from egoism, dualism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, the mind will perceive the truth of names and forms as they are, free from qualities, differences or separateness that are generated by the mind, being conditioned by what the mind believes what things are. Everything is just being what it is. They are not something good or bad, positive or negative, happiness or suffering.

That’s why even if we think we have done something ‘good and right’, but it’s not necessarily the truth of what things are, and we expect some ‘good’, ‘pleasant’ and ‘happy’ consequences in return, but we will be so disappointed, when reality, or the result of our action of doing something ‘good and right’ doesn’t turn out the way that we think it should be.

If we think we haven’t done something ‘bad and wrong’, but it’s not necessarily the truth of what things are, and we expect there won’t be any ‘bad’, ‘unpleasant’ and ‘unhappy’ consequences in return, but we will be so disappointed, when reality, or the result of our action of not doing anything ‘bad and wrong’ doesn’t turn out the way that we think it should be.

In the end, it is about non-identification as the doer of the action nor the enjoyer of the fruit of the action. It is about non-attachment towards all actions being performed through this body and mind (to act and not to act) and renounce the fruit of action, without expectation of anything in return.

If we want or expect something good in return, or we don’t want any bad in return, and that desire motivates us to perform good actions, or demotivates us to perform bad actions (to act and not to act), even if there is something good and nothing bad in return, but we are not free from the bondage of karma, birth and death.

There’s nothing wrong with to act and not to act.

But we accept all the consequences of all actions (to act and not to act), as they are.

It is for sure that there will be consequences derived from any actions, but all these consequences is not about good or bad. They are not something good or bad. The consequences are just being what they are.

There are many other elements that will affect the outcome or result of any actions. It is not just about if we believe it is something good, then it will bring something good in return according to what we believe what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

Even if we have planted the same batch of seeds on a piece of land at one time, but still not all the seeds will grow at the same speed and in the same size and shape, nor will all plants bear fruits at the same time, nor the fruits from each plant will be ripen at the same time, nor all the fruits will look and taste the same. When we planted the same type of trees as our neighbours, we cannot expect the qualities of the trees that we planted on our piece of land will be exactly the same as our neighbour’s trees planted on their piece of land, even though we got the seeds from the same source, and the trees are getting the same amount of sunshine, and same amount of water from the same source.

Just like in the same religion, or spiritual practice, or cultural background, there are still many people having different types of thinking and understanding, personality and behavior, actions and reactions, and different degrees of ignorance and attachment. We cannot judge anyone or anything based on a specific names and forms, or based on certain action and reaction.

Om shanti.

Buddhist vs yogi?

There’s no doubt that there are some differences in the practice in Buddhism and Yoga towards the realization of Truth, to transcend suffering.

But, the essential teachings and the end of Yoga and Buddhism practice are the same, such like the law of impermanence, conditioned and limited existence of the body and mind, mind perception of names and forms through the sense organs and the senses, consciousness, intellect, egoism, ignorance, impurities, attachment, craving and aversion, cause and effect, action and reaction, desires, restlessness, dissatisfaction, suffering, the root cause of suffering, the path of transcending suffering, the end of suffering, the middle path, peace, fearlessness, non-discrimination, non-hatred, non-violence, non-judgmental, non-expectation, intention-less, self-control, morality, truthfulness, humility, simplicity, forgiveness, patience, tolerance, gratitude, contentment, perseverance, determination, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, purification of the mind, awareness, mindfulness, selfless service, renounce the fruit of action, non-attachment, live in the present moment, observation, self-introspection, self-inquiry, observing silence (of thoughts, action and speech), solitude, renunciation, meditation, accepting the reality as it is, realizing the true nature of oneself, oneness, non-separateness, attributelessness, namelessness, formlessness, non-dualism, Self-awakening, Self-realization, selflessness, compassion, wisdom, transcending birth and death, entering silence or Samadhi.

The true nature of all beings is the same – This is the most important teaching of Yoga and Buddhism. Beyond the different qualities of names and forms ‘possessed’ by the ‘Yogi’ and the ‘Buddhist’, a real yogi is not different from a real Buddhist, and vice versa, if we truly practice the teachings of yoga or Buddhism.

If we think we are ‘Yogis’ and we are part of the family of ‘Yogis’, or if we think we are ‘Buddhists’ and we are part of the family of ‘Buddhists’, but we couldn’t see beyond the different qualities of names and forms, and generate separateness between ‘Yogis’ and ‘Buddhists’, and criticizing one another, then we are not really ‘Yogis’ nor ‘Buddhists’.

If the end of Yoga and Buddhism practice is separated or different from each other, then it becomes something limited and conditional (It means that if we attain highest realization in yoga practice, we will go to a ‘peaceful place’ only accessible for yogis only, and if we attain highest realization in Buddhism practice, we will go to a ‘peaceful place’ only accessible for Buddhists only). If that is what Yoga and Buddhism is about, then I don’t want to practice Yoga nor Buddhism. I don’t want to be a yogi nor a Buddhist.

Same as in Yoga practice itself, there are different paths, methods and styles. If the end of all these different paths, methods and styles will be different or separated from one another, then it is not Yoga anymore. If Hatha yogis will end up in a particular ‘place’ only for Hatha yogis, and Jnana yogis will end up in a particular ‘place’ only for Jnanis, and so on with all the other different practices, then it is something limited and conditional. It’s not the ultimate freedom that we are looking for.

If there is a ‘peaceful place’ only welcomes or receives particular beings with certain qualities, I don’t desire to be there, even if it is a ‘heaven’.

May all beings be free, be happy – Wishes from Yogis and Buddhists

Om shanti.

Yoga, India, Indian, Hinduism?

Some good yogis feel ‘yoga’ is being manipulated. They want to protect the lineage of ‘authentic yoga’. They insist that yoga belongs to India, or Indians, or Hinduism. I respect what they think and believe – according to history the practice of ‘yoga’ did start in India, and was rooted in Hinduism.

But even though the practice of yoga originated in India that doesn’t mean that yoga only belongs to India, or Indians, or Hindus. Yoga is for all of humanity. It exists in the universe for all beings to transform spiritually, to be liberated from suffering.

Being in India, or being an Indian, or being a Hindu doesn’t guarantee us peace and compassion or enlightenment. If it did then every Indian, or Hindu or anyone in India would know yoga and have attained self-realization, there wouldn’t be any ignorant beings, and suffering would not exist in India, or for Indians, or for Hindus.

If yoga belongs to India and Hinduism, then no one else but only Indian and Hindus can be ‘allowed’ or ‘qualified’ or ‘authorized’ to realize yoga of selflessness, or compassion and unconditional peace, to be free from suffering, while all the others who are not Indian or Hindu will never realize yoga, or be selfless, compassionate and peaceful, or be free from suffering. But, yoga doesn’t belong to anyone with a particular quality of name and form. All and everyone are subject to the suffering of impermanence and selflessness, and anyone also can realize selflessness and be free from suffering upon liberation from ignorance. Just like if ‘God’ exist, ‘God’ doesn’t belong to anyone.

Although we all live in different regions in the world, have different nationalities or skin colour, features, or cultures, or language, or beliefs and religious influences, we all come from the same source.

How can we limit and condition yoga to a certain region and religion when the basic teaching of yoga is oneness or non-separateness? What is the difference between this religion and that religion, or being religion-less? What is the difference between this nationality and that nationality on this tiny little earth compared to all the other planets in the universe? Even though we all have different beliefs, religions (or not), characteristics, personalities and appearances we are all living beings sharing the same space in the universe, dependent on the elements of fire, wind, water, earth and space to exist. Beyond names and forms our true nature is the same. We are not different nor separated from one another.

Yoga exists in all beings regardless of where we are, who we are, what we are or how we are.

The teachings of yoga and Buddhism are all about selflessness, non-dualism, oneness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness. Even though the practice might be different, the end of the practice is not different from each other. If this is not what yoga is – oneness or non-separateness, then I don’t want to practice ‘yoga’ nor share ‘yoga’ with other beings. Those who think ‘yoga’ belongs to them can keep their ‘yoga’ for themselves.

When the Buddha attained enlightenment he never claimed that he founded Buddhism, nor do the teachings and practice of Buddhism belong to any race, sect or caste, nationality, or religion, or being. It always existed in all beings regardless of the differences of names and forms, or whether beings are separated by time, space and causation, and whether we realize Dhamma or not. The Dhamma of Buddhism existed before Buddha realized the truth and became enlightened. Buddha didn’t own the teachings of Buddhism or Dhamma. Dhamma doesn’t belong to anyone or any place. Anyone and everyone, even the most ignorant beings, or the most evil beings in the universe, can realize Dhamma and attain enlightenment. It is within every being and beyond time, space and causation. Other beings in other regions of the world attained enlightenment before and after Buddha.

Even though the Buddha came from India, attained enlightenment in India, and taught Buddhism in India, dhamma didn’t originate in India. Dhamma does not come from a geographical region or era – it is beyond time and space. Dhamma does not belong to anyone.

Om shanti.

Watching the ego, every moment…

Sometimes we might say this, “I want my teacher to be like this with such and such “image” and “qualities” that I like and agree with… I don’t want my teacher to be like that with such and such “image” and “qualities” that I don’t like and don’t agree with…”

And, “I want my teacher to teach me the way that I want to be taught or like to be taught…”

Or as a teacher we might say this, “I want to teach the way that I want to be taught or like to be taught…”

Can we “see” how the ego plays in these “thoughts expressions”?

It is all about “me” or “I”, “What I want” and “What I like”…

A student comes to a teacher to learn something from the teacher, but the student is expecting the teacher to “meet up with” his expectation about how the teacher should teach and what to teach? Or else, he will judge and criticize about this teacher is a “bad” teacher…

Knowing that we need to learn about something from somebody whom we have not known yet, we will have an intention to look out for a teacher… But, naturally we will start judging the teacher from his “appearance”, his “speech”, his “character”, his “background”, his “lineage”, his “teachers”, his “experience”, his “success”, his “name and fame”, his “qualifications”, his “knowledge”, his “poise”, his “way” of teaching, or his “way” of doing things, before we “choose” him and “accept” him as our teacher, because we would like to have a “good” teacher… We are “judging” this person/teacher whether he is “qualified” and “good enough” to teach us or not…? We are trying to find a teacher that fit into our “imagination”, “standard” or “expectation” about how a “good” teacher should be like, or “the type of teacher” that we like to have… Or maybe the teacher is also looking at the student whether this person/student is “qualified” enough to learn from him or not? The teacher is trying to find a student that fit into his “imagination”, “standard” or “expectation” about how a “good” student should be like, or “the type of student” that he likes to have…

Hmmm…

It seems like we think we “know” more than what we think anybody knows (and among these people that we “judge”, is the person who we will choose to be our teacher)… That’s why we are so arrogant to think that we are “knowledgeable” enough to judge whether anyone is, or will be a good teacher or not… If so, how come we still need to look out for a teacher, if we think we “know” more than all these people out there when we start “judging” them?

If we are sincere and humble, we will see everyone and everything as our teachers, and we will respect all teachers without any judgment and expectation, and not “categorizing” and “labeling” them as “good” or “bad” teachers… We will take the teacher as he is and accept the teacher as he is, even if he is not the way that we think he should be…

If we truly know what is humility, it is also because we have found the greatest teacher above all, our higher Self… But not everyone has met this teacher yet, and still searching for a teacher or teachers…

There is no good or bad about the way of how the teachers teach, there is only whether the students are being humble and open-minded, or being proud and arrogant, and closed-minded…

As the one who is truly humble and open-minded will not criticize about anyone or anything, especially his teachers… And since all is his teachers, there is nobody or nothing to be criticized about…

And as a teacher, if he is humble and compassionate enough, he won’t be judging the students as “good” or “bad” students, nor judging himself as “good” or “bad” teacher… And if the teacher is humble and wise, he won’t be affected nor determined by how the students “judge” him, whether the judgment is “positive” or “negative”, “praise” or “condemn”…

If the teacher is selfless, he is not identified with the image or identity as a “teacher”, not to say the tags or labels of “good” and “bad”… He is not attached to his action of teaching, and is not attached to the fruit of his action of teaching…

Watching our ego, every moment…

Watch out, when we have this idea of “I am a good teacher” or “I am a good student” or “I am a good person”, or “I want to be (acknowledged as) a good teacher” or “I don’t want to be (acknowledged as) a bad teacher”… So much judgment coming from ourselves judging ourselves… When in yoga, we are supposed to be practicing letting go of all judgments and identifications to know what is selflessness…

To whom, we are good? To whom, we are bad? In whose standard, we are good? In whose standard, we are bad? Judge by what? Judge by whom? The universe doesn’t judge anyone, who are we to judge ourselves or anyone, or to be judged?

Be happy.

Om shanti.

Keep practice…

A yoga student was very excited coming into headstand after practicing regularly and told his teacher, “Teacher, I can stand on my head now!”

The teacher asked him, “Are you now free from anger, desires and worries?”

The student answered, “Not really…”

The teacher compassionately said to him, “Keep practice…”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is reflecting about peace, desire-less, compassion and wisdom is nothing to do with whether we can stand on our head or not, or whether we are able to do and achieve what we want to do and achieve or not…

“Keep practice” also doesn’t necessary mean keep practicing the asana poses until we manage to perform the asana poses, or we can hold the poses longer than before, but what it really means is, keep practicing non-identification and non-attachment, and even after we devote lots of time, efforts and energy into our yoga asana practice, we are not attached to the efforts nor the fruit of the efforts…

What’s the point if we are now able to perform the asana poses that we were not able to perform in the past, but we are not free from continue being disturbed and conditioned by anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, ignorance, fear and worry that derive from attachment and identification with the body and mind?

When anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, ignorance, fear and worry are subjugated due to non-identification and non-attachment towards the body and mind, the yoga student doesn’t even need to announce that he is now free from impurities… So as yoga asana practice. The yoga asana practice is supposed to be rendering our mind calm and pure, to prepare the mind for meditation upon the Truth… It is not about how good we look and how good we feel in performing the asana poses… it is accepting the physical ability in the present moment now as it is, and knowing that even this condition and the ability of the physical body now whether it is in good or bad condition, it is impermanent… We do not identify with this impermanent condition and ability of the physical body to perform the yoga asana poses… There is nothing to be excited about when our body is able to perform certain asana poses after some practice, and there is nothing to be frustrated about when our body is not able to perform the asana poses even after a long time of practice…

After we are able to catch our feet with our hands in the sitting forward bend, we’ll ask, “What next?”

After we are able to balance on our hands in Bakasan or Kakasan, we’ll ask, “What next?”

After we are able to stand on our head and our hands in headstand and handstand, we’ll ask again, “What next?”

Then we try to stand on the head without hands support, and we’ll ask, “What next?”

Maybe we can try to invent more challenging poses then? Such like “one finger handstand” since many yoga teachers like to say that “everything is possible”, just need to keep practice… Kindly note that this physical body has its limitations and is conditioned by impermanence. We cannot force the body to go beyond its limitations or else we will be injuring the body, but what the sentence “everything is possible” means, we can go beyond the identification with the physical body and be free from being conditioned by the conditions and ability of the physical body, that we are not determined by this physical body, as we are not this body and this body is not us. It is just an instrument for us to realize this Truth…

This craving for “What next?” can keep going until the moment our body is not able to do any poses any more… Then we’ll start to realize that this ceaselessly chasing after the sense of achievement that come from being able to perform the asana poses, is not what we are looking for, after spending years and years in trying to perform all the yoga asana poses…

This voice that keep asking “What next?” is coming from the never satisfied nature of the mind…

That’s why even though if our physical body is capable to perform many complicated asana poses, it never bring us to real unconditional contentment, as we have wrong identification with the impermanent body and the dis-satisfactory mind… Always not satisfied, always wanting more and more, just like drug and alcohol abuse, one dose is not giving any effects anymore, we need double dose, and then triple dose, and so on….

As all these achievements in performing the asana poses are “dis-satisfactory” in its nature – impermanence”.

If during and after the yoga asana practice, whether we are able to perform the yoga asana poses or not, but we are not identified with the ability of the physical body in performing the asana poses, and there is no expectation whether our body will be more flexible and strong or not after the practice, nor expecting our body will be able to perform the asana poses much better in the next or future practice, nor expecting what are the benefits from performing the asana poses, nor expecting ourselves will be more peaceful and calm… But, allowing all the benefits, strength and flexibility, skills to perform the asana poses, peacefulness and calmness to come by itself naturally as it is, not because we are expecting any of these to happen the way that we want it to be, then this will bring us towards unconditional peace…

In traditional yoga class, the teacher doesn’t tell the students what are the benefits when they perform the asana poses, as yoga asana practice is supposed to help us in developing non-identification with the body and mind, and non-attachment towards our actions or efforts, not attaching to or not expecting for the fruit of our actions or efforts. And even if the students don’t know what are the benefits from doing the asana poses, the benefits will still be there as it is, it won’t disappear nor decrease…

The practice of intention-less which is the key to the practice of non-expectation and non-attachment, is to let go of any intentions, even if it is good intention… If there is a good intention, we attach to the idea of “we are doing something good”, and will “expect” someone will be benefited from this good intention, and “expect” something good in return… Attachment is there… We are not free yet.

This is to eliminate the craving habit of the egoistic mind of “I want something good… I don’t want something bad…”

And by practicing yoga asana together with the practice of non-attachment in the mental level, will definitely bring us towards freedom, or unconditional peace and real happiness that is not being conditioned by any qualities of names and forms…

This is the yoga practice while performing the asana poses or while trying to learn to perform the asana poses…

Able to accept the condition and the ability of the physical body in the present moment now as it is and allow the benefits to come and improvement to happen naturally as we practice regularly everyday few hours a day, without identification, attachment, judgment, comparison and expectation…

This is Karma Yoga being perform onto ourselves… Being kind and compassionate towards ourselves by bringing our body and mind to concentrating in a few hours of yoga asana practice daily… As all the yoga asana poses require huge amount of concentration in the present moment now, and this will not let the mind wanders into the past or the future within the time of practice, and there is no opportunity for the body and mind to get involve in immoral or unkind thoughts, actions and speech… During the time of practice, we are controlling and restricting our thoughts, actions and speech, and this is already benefiting the world by not committing any selfish, harmful or negative thoughts, actions and speech into the surrounding environment. This is being kind and compassionate towards the world…

Beside controlling and restricting the thoughts, actions and speech as our main practice by devoting our energy, effort and time into yoga practice as many hours as possible everyday in life, another main reason to perform all the yoga practices (Not limited to Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi, Kriyas, study of the scriptures, chanting and prayers, selfless service, developing divine qualities such like patience, perseverance, will-power, determination, courage, positive thinking, cheerfulness, generosity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, sexual energy conservation and channeling for spiritual realization, acceptance, adjustment, accommodation, adaptation, forgiveness, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, non-attachment, non-identification, letting go, and etc…) is to purifying, unblocking, balancing, conserving, generating, and channeling the energy fields in the body for spiritual realization or self-realization…

But all these practice has to work with letting go of desires and attachments that come from the ego… Such like, having the idea of “I am doing this practice, so that I will gain such and such benefits or achievements…” or “I am practicing “non-attachment”, so that I will be free from suffering and unhappiness…” It doesn’t bring us to peace…We can be performing all these yoga practices for many hours everyday for many years, but as long as we have attachment and identification with the doer of the actions and the enjoyer of the fruit of the action, we are not free and be restless being disturbed by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think…

The body and the mind will be benefited in performing the yoga practice, but… Our true nature doesn’t need all these benefits to be what it is or to “make” it peaceful… It is unconditional peace… The mind needs the yoga practice to experience peace, but our true nature is always peaceful…

There is no “I”. There is no practice. There is no fruit of the practice. There is no “I” am doing the practice. There is no “I” will be enjoying the fruit of the practice…

The ego gets a momentary excitement and the sense of success or achievement when it gets the benefits or results as what it was expecting while performing any actions… And the ego gets disappointment and frustration and sense of failure when it doesn’t get the benefits or results as what it was expecting while performing any actions…

Such like, “I did a lot of yoga practice, and thus I am healthy, strong and flexible and I feel good…” or “I didn’t practice much or didn’t practice at all, and thus I am not so healthy, not strong and not flexible, and I don’t feel good…” As all these identification and expression is coming from the egoistic mind – the idea of “I” and all that “I” experience and all that “I” get and don’t get from “my” actions and inactions, good and bad actions… It is the mind feels good or doesn’t feel good… It is not us. We are just the observer or the witness being aware of what the mind is experiencing from moment to moment through the body with the functions of the sense organs and the senses, which is being conditioned by impermanence, the qualities of names and forms, thought patterns, actions and inactions, and speech…

So, whether our body can perform all the poses level by level or not, or our body cannot perform many of the yoga poses, it really doesn’t matter… As What the body capable to do and not capable to do, it is just the body… And the condition and ability of the physical body to do this or that, is nothing to do with the unconditional real peace that comes from our true nature…

A person who’s body cannot perform headstand or handstand can still be selfless, peaceful, wise and compassionate…

Some people ask, “Why some people can do all the “complicated” yoga poses and some people cannot do the “simplest” yoga poses?”

Simply it’s because whether their body can do or cannot do these poses… And through constant practice, their body will gain physical and mental strength, flexibility, stamina, confidence, faith and courage, and might be or will be able to perform some or all of the asana poses, simple or complicated… But whether their body can do or cannot do these poses, is nothing to do with whether they will be peaceful or not…

Another effect that comes from holding the body being in the yoga poses for a period of time, can help to influence the energy fields in the body effectively, either activating, stimulating, energizing or calming and balancing… And this will make the body and mind feel good during and after the practice, but again this is just the body and mind experiencing some impermanent conditional good feelings… And if the mind is rendered calm and still during or after the asana practice, that is the moment to meditate and contemplate on the Truth, and not lost in attachment towards that good feelings and pleasant effects of the asana practice…

And to render the mind calm and still doesn’t need to have a strong and flexible body to perform the most complicated asana poses, but just by performing some very simple poses that even a sick person with weak bones and muscles also can perform will give the same effects of calming and stilling the mind… It is through will-power and breath control…

People who are flexible and strong can be peaceful if they know non-identification and non-attachment… People who are inflexible and not strong can also be peaceful if they know non-identification and non-attachment…

People who are flexible and strong can be not peaceful if they don’t know non-identification and non-attachment… People who are inflexible and not strong can also be not peaceful if they don’t know non-identification and non-attachment…

At the end, no need to compare or compete with anybody in the yoga asana practice, as liberation or peace is not attain through comparison or competition… It is not like, “I am better than you in performing the asana poses, and I can do more asana poses than you can, and so, I should be more peaceful, selfless, wise and compassionate than you…”

This is the test – If now everything happened is all good and according to what we wished for, and so we are peaceful and happy… But if one day, we experience some “bad” things that we don’t want and don’t like in our life, and we will be disturbed or determined by it, and are not peaceful and not happy anymore, then know that we still need to keep practice…

Om shanti.