The difference between non-attachment and positive thinking

It’s good and helpful to develop positive thinking especially when the mind is being influenced by negative thinking that generates unnecessary tension, fear, worry or unhappiness in the mind and further projecting all these impurities through speech and action into the environment in the relationships with others in everyday life.

Positive thinking is part of the many yoga practice, but it’s not the goal or the end of yoga practice, as the mind is still not free from attachment and identification towards names and forms that the mind perceives as positive and negative, and there is craving and clinging towards what the mind perceives as positive, and there’s aversion towards what the mind perceives as negative. The mind is not free from desire, duality and separateness. There’s desire of craving or longing for positiveness or goodness and there’s clinging onto positiveness or goodness with intention or expectation to control the reality to be the way that the mind thinks it should be and likes it to be.

There’s nothing wrong with “Think positively and optimistically, and everything will be good in your life and you can achieve anything that you want.” especially for the minds that are easily be disturbed or determined by names and forms that the worldly thinking and belief categorized as bad, negative, unhappiness and wrong. Just that the mind is not free from desires, even though the mind would feel happy and satisfied when the desires are being gratified, and its impermanent. Then pride might arise in this mind, “I am superhuman. I have superpower. I can control everything to be the way that I like it to be.” This mind is not free. And it’s okay, if that is what the mind wants. It’s everyone’s freedom for how the mind thinks and what it wants.

The mind that is free, is undetermined by gratifying desires of likes and dislikes, wants and don’t wants, to be happy, confident, meaningful or peaceful. It is peaceful as it is, undetermined by the world or the worldly thinking and belief, ideas and values, good and bad condition and situation.

Non-attachment is nothing to do with positive thinking. The mind that knows non-attachment doesn’t need to think positively. The thinking is just what it is. It is neither positive nor negative.

It’s about unattached towards what the intellect recognizes as positive or negative, good or bad, happiness and unhappiness, right and wrong. Undisturbed or undetermined by all the perceptions of name and form that are pleasant or unpleasant. Without attachment or identification towards the different states of the mind or the mind activities. Without intention or expectation towards the perceived reality to control the reality to be the way that the mind likes it to be. Allowing the reality to be what it is, and allowing the reality to change as it is.

The mind is free from being determined by coming in contact with positiveness and goodness and not coming in contact with negativeness and badness, to be peaceful. The mind is peaceful as it is.

The mind is free from desire, duality and separateness. Knowing that the quality of positiveness and negativeness are both impermanent. But, beyond positiveness and negativeness, is unconditional peace, that is undetermined by the qualities of name and form that the mind perceives through the senses, whether it’s positive or negative elements, good or bad condition and situation, and desirable/pleasant or undesirable/unpleasant life experiences.

If the reality is nice and pleasant, let it be. It will change, and allow it to change, without intention or expectation to control the reality not to be bad and negative.
If the reality is not nice and unpleasant, let it be. It will change, and allow it to change, without intention or expectation to control the reality to be all good and positive.

There are actions being performed out of compassion in everyday life, but there’s no attachment, identification, desires, intention or expectation towards the action and the fruit of action. There are beneficial actions being performed but there’s no intention or expectation that the fruit of actions will be all good and positive, or nothing bad and negative. Allowing the fruit of action to be what it is.

There’s no identification with all the impermanent changes of names and forms to be existing as ‘I’.

Life might be good and easy, enjoy and appreciate without attachment. It’s impermanent, and it doesn’t matter.
Life might be not so good and full of difficulties, but it’s okay. It’s impermanent, and it doesn’t matter.

Be free.

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Love dispassionately, desirelessly, compassionately and unconditionally

Whether the past experiences were something good or not good, pleasant or unpleasant, happy or unhappy, desirable or undesirable, let them go.

Whether the future will be okay or not okay, let it be.

Do our best, perform all our duties and responsibilities without forcing ourselves beyond our limitation, and let go the fruit of action.

Live in the present, and whether this present is good or not good, this is also impermanent.

Live as we are, without attachment, identification, craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation.

Love everyone as they are, without attachment, identification, craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation.

Love ourselves, be free from clinging and craving towards love and kindness from others. Allow others to love and be kind to us, or not.

If one knows how to take care oneself, which is taking care of one’s mind and loving oneself, one can love others dispassionately, desirelessly, compassionately and unconditionally. One stops hurting oneself and others, especially those whom we think we love and whom are in a relationship with us.

Be free.

Yoga retreat is not about running away from the reality that we don’t like and don’t want

Not running away from or denying, but confronting the reality that is not the way that we would like it to be, and being aware of this life existence, the world, the society and the surrounding environment is not necessarily ‘all good’ or perfectly the way that we would like it to be, or the way that we think it should be, with wisdom and compassion, without aversion or fear towards the reality that we think is ‘not all good’ or ‘imperfect’ or ‘challenging’, is our yoga practice.

Living in the world as we are, being aware of all kinds of uncertainty, insecurity, unrest, cautiousness, defects or imperfection in all aspects, and knowing how to remain equanimous and be in peace, without fear and worry, without being over-powered or determined by the reality that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, is what yoga practice is about.

This isn’t about trying to be ‘strong’. ‘Strength’ has a limit and is conditional. But wisdom and compassion is unconditional and unlimited.

Joining a yoga retreat is not about running away from the reality that we don’t like and don’t want, to be in a ‘safe and peaceful place’ without ‘bad people’ or ‘things that we don’t like and don’t want’, and be surrounded by ‘good people’ who are like-minded and doing things that make us feel good and happy.

People might think that yoga practice or yoga retreat should be conducted in a ‘special place’ or ‘out of the world place’, free from any ‘bad energy’ or ‘bad elements’, thinking that ‘yoga retreat’ means moving away from the imperfect world or running away from everyday life’s duties, responsibilities and cares, to have a few days or few weeks of ‘intentionally induced perfect form of reality’ of ‘peacefulness’ or ‘calmness’ or ‘problemless’. No doubt that being in a desirable ‘reality’ will give momentary relief or peace, but this doesn’t help us to be free from ‘fear’, ‘disturb’, ‘restlessness’ and ‘suffering’ when we go back to our everyday life living among the society or the world that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, that is not in our control to be the way that we would like it to be.

A real yoga retreat allows us to learn how to live in the world as it is, performing all our actions, duties and responsibilities without attachment or identification or expectation, without fear and worry. It’s learning about the mind and all its modification, about suffering and the cause of suffering, about how to transcend all kinds of ‘suffering’ or ‘restlessness’ or ‘impurities’ or ‘fear’, and how to confront the reality of life existence in this present moment that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, or the way that we think it should be, without fear and worry, and have peace wherever we are, unconditionally, being undetermined by all the impermanent changes of the qualities of names and forms.

Yoga, or unconditional peace, being free from ignorance and egoism, is not limited to a particular ‘place’, or ‘space’, or ‘activity’, or ‘condition’, or ‘quality’, or ‘name and form’.

Being positive and optimistic, denying or ignoring all kinds of ‘ignorant and unpleasant behavior and happenings’ in the world, in the society, or in the surrounding environment, and persistently thinking and believing that everyone are good, there’s no bad people; everything is good, there’s nothing bad; life is all good, there’s nothing bad; the world is all good, there’s nothing bad, and etc, doesn’t change the reality that we don’t like or don’t want to be the way that we would like it to be.

It’s like sweeping all the dust and rubbish and hide them under the cupboards and sofas, so that they are not in sight, it doesn’t mean that the room is all cleaned. And no matter how many times we sweep the floor, and throw out all the dust and rubbish out of the room, there will always be dust and rubbish accumulating here and there from time to time, unless everyone who enter the room stop bringing in dust and rubbish into the room. This is the same as looking after the mind. We do our best to ‘clean up’ the mind regularly and persistently, but impurities will still exist from time to time, until the root cause of impurities (ignorance and egoism) is uprooted completely.

When there’s no problem, there’s no need to anticipate a problem. When there’s a problem, confront it, without fear and worry.

Be free.

It’s everyone’s freedom to be free, or not

There’s only now

And even this now is impermanent

Why cling onto what the mind thinks (in now) it experienced in the past (remembrance of the past that doesn’t exist in now)

Missing the pleasant experiences and the contact with desirable objects of names and forms

Craving for the pleasant experiences and the contact with desirable objects of names and forms

Be disturbed and influenced by the past unpleasant experiences and the contact with undesirable objects of names and forms

Be disturbed and determined by wild imagination, anticipation, projection, speculation and expectation towards the future (doesn’t exist in now)

Be disturbed and determined by what the mind perceives/experiences in now that is also impermanent

It’s everyone’s freedom whether they want to cling onto the past experiences, the present experiences and the future anticipations, or be free

Not clinging/attaching onto the mind perception of all pleasant/unpleasant experiences or the contact with the objects of names and forms that are impermanent

There’s no clinging, craving or aversion towards the past, the present and the future

There’s no dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurt, regret, guilt, depression, meaninglessness, loneliness, anger, hatred, animosity, anxiety, fear and worry

There’s no egoistic identification and desires – I am this and I am not that / I want this and I don’t want that

One makes use of the present condition and ability of the existence and function of the body and mind and the opportunity that is available now to be doing something for oneself and others, but there’s no attachment or identification towards all actions and the fruit of actions

If something needs to be done in now, do it

If something cannot be done in now, let it be and let it go

Be free

*This freedom has nothing to do with whether the body can perform some yoga poses or is performing some yoga poses, or not. Or, whether the mind knows this or doesn’t know that. Or, whether the mind knows and performs some rituals of spiritual or religious or cultural practices, or not. Or, whether one believes or disbelieves in ‘God’. Or, whether ‘God’ exists, or not.

This freedom is available to all, if the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, it doesn’t matter whether people believe or disbelieve in ‘God’, whether ‘God’ exists or doesn’t exist. If the mind is under the influence of ignorance and egoism, one is not free, it doesn’t matter whether one believes or disbelieves in ‘God’, whether ‘God’ exists or doesn’t exists.

This freedom is the realization of impermanence and selflessness of life existence.

If people don’t like or disagree with or don’t want this freedom, if people prefer to be passionate towards the worldly life of all the past and present experiences and future expectation, and attach onto their actions and the fruit of actions, to gratify all the passionate desires and enjoy all the emotional ups and downs, full of self-justification and hypocrisy in mingling and social interactions, while blaming and criticizing everyone and everything (including oneself for being not good enough) that they think is bad and wrong for their mind reactions of dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurt, anger, unhappiness, fear and worry towards all their unpleasant/undesirable experiences, that’s their freedom.

Body image issue, where it shouldn’t exist in the first place

In the areas where people are struggling everyday to attain the basic food and water resources to survive, to have a place to rest and be sheltered from harsh weather, to be free from hunger, thirst, exhaustion, discrimination, hatred, war and violence, there won’t be such body image issue existing.

Meanwhile, in the modern commercialized society with higher technology and comfortable or fancy lifestyle, where economy and spending power is stable and strong, where basic and higher education came with various subjects and interests is accessible for everyone, where people have the luxury to indulge in physical and mental enjoyments of the senses of sights/visuals, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts/ideas/creativity/imaginations, where food is easily and excessively available in various forms and tastes, where food has gone beyond being a basic necessity of life but becoming an enjoyment of taste, where water and electricity supply and various modern facilities are available easily, where clothing is no longer a basic material to keep warm and be protected from insects and cuts but plays as an important role for self-image and self-esteem, where people are being presented with different choices of lifestyle and leisure activities, where people are interested in promoting health, beauty and fitness, and put importance into personal and general hygiene, where people can travel easily from one place to another, where people can have dreams and ambitions to be fulfilled, where countless opportunities are available for everyone, but then ridiculously, many people are being troubled by body image issue, which is truly unnecessary.

It doesn’t matter people are being knowledgeable, or intelligent, or talented and skillful in certain subjects, or highly educated, or having a successful career, or having a high profile in the community or society, or having a generous income and an easy comfortable high technology living standard, many people are being troubled very much by body image issue, unwittingly.

People’s state of mind, the sense of meaningfulness, confidence, self-esteem, happiness and sense of self-worth and well-being are very much determined by the body image consists of facial features, skin condition, hair condition, physical appearance, body shape, body composition, physical condition, physical ability and achievement, that they like or dislike, satisfied or dissatisfied with, based on a particular standard that they set for themselves to comply to.

People get depressed when they think they have a body image issue, that they are dissatisfied with and dislike their facial features, skin condition, body hair, hair condition and style, physical appearance, body shape, physical condition and ability as it is, that they prefer or desire their body to be something different from what it is now, according to what they think is better, nicer, healthier, fitter, stronger, younger, prettier, or more attractive.

To counter this body image issue, most people will try to achieve the body image that they would like to have, that they think is the best body image, that would give them the sense of satisfaction and good feelings about their bodies and themselves.

Even many of the yoga classes in the world are emphasizing on promoting improvement in physical appearance, physical condition and ability, to boost people’s self-esteem, confidence, sense of self-worth and well-being. And the yoga teachers/instructors aspire to portray a body image of ‘good’ or ‘fit’ or ‘healthy’ or ‘attractive’ or ‘high performance’ kind of physical appearance, condition and ability to inspire or motivate the yoga students to also achieve the similar form of body image (enhanced physical appearance, condition, ability and performance.) – “I can achieve this, so can you!” or “Yoga makes you look better and feel better!” But this is not the teaching and practice of yoga. This is empowering ignorance and egoism. It might give them momentary good feelings and confidence about their body and themselves (the ego) by achieving the kind of body image that they prefer, but it doesn’t help people to be free from the suffering of low self-esteem and depression derived from attachment and identification with the impermanent physical appearance, condition and ability to be who they are. Once the quality of the body image that they like, that they attached onto and identified with, that makes them feel good and confident about themselves starts to change into something else or is no longer available due to impermanence, they will suffer from disappointment, dissatisfaction, self-hate, self-criticism, low self-esteem, depression, self-harm, and so on.

When people think they are disturbed by body image issue, that is mainly due to ignorance and egoism. There is great identification and attachment towards the physical body and all that is related to the physical body, to be ‘I’, or what they think is who they are.

Realize yoga or selflessness, be free from identification and attachment towards the physical body, and body image issues won’t be existing at all. One will take good care of the well-being of the physical body, out of compassion, without attachment towards the impermanent physical appearance, condition and ability, without identification with the physical body as ‘I’, or ‘Who I am’. Be kind to the body, live a healthy lifestyle to benefit the physical body, and allowing the physical body to improve and change to be what it is, as it is, without any egoistic desire or intention or expectation to make or transform or change the physical body to be the way that ‘I’ would like it to be, so that ‘I’ will feel good, happy, satisfied and confident about ‘my’ body and ‘I’. This truly is loving our body, accepting the body as it is, while allowing all the changes to be there as they are, to be what they are.

Expecting the body to be the way that we like it to be, and constantly straining and forcing the physical body with intense physical training so that it will be able to do what we want it to do, and to look the way that we want it to look, to achieve the body image that we prefer/desire, is not loving our body, but it’s the ego loving what it likes and wants. “I want my body to be like this or to be able to do that.” Again, it’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their body, and how they want to treat their body.

Be free.