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.

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Root out pride and arrogance

For some reasons people are aspired to attain or possess certain qualities in order to be eligible or qualified to feel proud and arrogant towards themselves and/or others.

People are being encouraged to cultivate pride and arrogance as well, as somehow they think it’s very good/important to be able to be proud and arrogant about something that they think it deserves to be proud of, that would make them feel somehow more stand out, unique and better than some others.

“Do something and be someone that make yourself and other people feel proud of.”

People like to encourage and support other people to stay motivated and to be better by telling people, “I’m so proud of you!” People grew up with the thinking/belief/values/aspiration of need to be attaining or possessing certain qualities to feel proud of themselves and also make other people feel proud of them.

“I want to be proud of myself. I want other people to be proud of me.”

People would feel inferior, bad, depressed and disappointed towards themselves when they think they haven’t or couldn’t attain or possess certain qualities that allow themselves and others to feel proud of.

Those who want to attain liberation must contemplate on all these worldly social cultural thinking/belief/expectation, to see the truth of it. All these are nothing but the play of egoism – It’s merely the ego that needs to feel proud and needs others to feel proud of ‘I’ in order to feel satisfied, loved, motivated, appreciated, acknowledged, good, happy, confident and meaningful.

Meanwhile, some people think and believe that they are not at all proud and arrogant, as they are aware of the downside of pride and arrogance, and they don’t want to be associated with pride and arrogance, but they aren’t aware of themselves are already being over-powered by pride and arrogance. Without awareness, people can be proud of the thinking of ‘I am not a proud and arrogant person. I practice humility. I am very humble.’

In Yoga, pride and arrogance is the by-product of egoism born out of ignorance. It’s one of the great obstacles that hinders the mind to be opened to learn and practice yoga and meditation, to inquire the truth.

If we sincerely want to learn and practice yoga and meditation, we need to first learn how to identify pride and arrogance and free the mind from it. But, it’s really not easy for people to let go pride and arrogance, as it is a part of their strong identity of themselves.

Even many ‘graduated/certified/qualified/experienced yoga teachers’ are being proud and arrogant towards themselves for having attended one or many ‘yoga teachers training courses’ attaining one or many certifications or qualifications in this or that, that they had studied and practiced yoga under one or many ‘famous’ or ‘popular’ yoga teachers/Gurus/schools, as well as their years of experience in practicing and teaching yoga, or they have recruited certain numbers of yoga students, or they had taught in certain yoga schools or yoga centres or yoga festivals or yoga conventions, or they had participated in some ‘yoga competitions’ and won certain awards, or they have done such and such charity works, or they have been contributing articles of yoga or being ‘interviewed’ in such and such magazine or social media, and so on. Most people would justify that their intention of getting all the attention, admiration and publicity is for promoting yoga to more people in the world. But, how pure and true is that?

Two of the common characteristics of pride and arrogance that exist in many yoga practitioners who already have been practicing certain style(s) of yoga for some time, or ‘graduated/certified/qualified/experienced yoga teachers’ who have attained many certifications/qualifications/experiences from attending different yoga courses and have been teaching ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga courses’ for some time :-

“I am experienced/qualified/knowledgeable/advanced yoga practitioner/yoga teacher. I know enough and I have long time experience in practicing/teaching yoga. I don’t need someone to lecture me about yoga/yoga practice/teaching yoga, or tell/teach me the many things that I already knew.”

“This is different from the yoga that I have been learning/practicing/teaching for many years. I don’t agree with this, I don’t like this. I don’t want this.”

When there is such pride and arrogance, the mind is closed, being unable to be opened to inquire/investigate the truth of something that is beyond what the mind thinks it knows, or something that is different from or contradicted with the existing familiar practice, thinking and belief in the mind, that the mind doesn’t know or doesn’t familiar with. We won’t/can’t learn anything that we actually didn’t know but we think and believe that we already knew very well, even if there’s a great teacher or great teaching in front of us.

Be free.

The mind only knows what it knows

Different people teach and guide other people in different ways or methods to perform the yoga practice, to inquire and reflect upon the teachings of yoga, to purify their minds, to eliminate ignorance, egoism and impurities, to realize unconditional love and peace that is undetermined by the qualities of names and forms that are impermanent and selfless, that is always there as it is, but this unconditional love and peace is unknown to the mind due to the veil of ignorance and impurities.

Not all who teach yoga to other people are evolving simultaneously with the similar realization through their own sincere practice. It’s like peeling away many different layers of ignorance/impurities to allow the mind to see the one knowledge but it appears to be in many different names and forms due to the different layers of ignorance and impurities. Meanwhile, all these knowledge appear in different names and forms will continue to lead the impure, but open mind towards the pure consciousness, until the deepest/last layer of ignorance/impurities is completely removed, the mind sees the truth as it is, selfless, oneness, nameless, formless, attributeless, birthless and deathless.

When different people learn and practice yoga under different people, they might learn different teachings and ways of practice that are distinct from one another. Some might like and agree with certain teachings and ways of practice, while some others don’t like and disagree with the same teachings and ways of practice. It is not because these teachings and ways of practice are good or not good, are right or not right, but they are mere different degrees/stages of realization. Also, different minds have different life experiences, temperament and personality, and hence, different minds react differently towards the different teachings and ways of practice taught by different people.

It’s the matter of whether the minds are open, or not, towards the different teachings/knowledge/ways of practice, by investigate/inquire/reflect upon the truth of all the different teachings/knowledge/ways of practice that they come in contact with from different people with different degrees/stages of realization.

There is nothing to be compared or argued about. The mind only knows what it knows, and what it doesn’t know, it doesn’t know. And there’s nothing wrong with there are things that the mind doesn’t know. It’s more harmful/dangerous when the mind is blind-believing in or propagating many things that it doesn’t really know whether they are true or untrue, just because those were what they heard from or taught by their beloved elders or teachers, or knowledge that they had read and accumulated from books, or the opinions and points of view that are agreed, liked, shared and supported by many other people or majority of the people. More important is that what the mind agrees or disagrees with and what the mind likes or dislikes under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, are not necessarily true/untrue.

It’s a great obstacle for the mind to evolve, to go beyond the ‘partial/incomplete/impure’ reality that the mind perceives under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, if the mind is not open towards what is unknown to the mind, to investigate the truth of something that is unknown or unfamiliar to the mind, but it reacts with intense rejection/disagreement towards something that it doesn’t know, or that is different from or contradicted with its existing thinking and belief and familiarity.

Just like people who never come in contact with apples before, would deny the existence of apples when being informed by other people whom have come in contact with apples. The minds that are open, neither believe nor disbelieve towards the existence of apples, until they directly come in contact with apples. Even so, the apples that were informed by others might appear to be different from the apples that they experience, but the origin of the different varieties (names and forms) of apples is rooted in the one same source, or else it’s not apple, it’s something else. Even if it’s something else, such like oranges, all kinds of names and forms are still existing on the one same truth – impermanence and selflessness. Beyond different kinds of impermanent and selfless names and forms, it’s namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, birthlessness and deathlessness. Realizing this, all kinds of fear and superstitious beliefs vanished. All kinds of positiveness/negativeness, meaningfulness/meaninglessness, goodness/badness, auspiciousness/inauspiciousness, happiness/unhappiness, suffering/non-suffering are nothing but the products of ignorant and impure minds.

Many ‘yoga teachers’ teach or guide other people about yoga that is about promoting positive thinking and good actions, accumulating good karma and developing ‘positive mind power’ to fulfill the desire of achieving a good and meaningful life, because that is all that they know about yoga, so far. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

While some teach or guide other people about yoga that is beyond ‘promoting positive thinking and good actions, accumulating good karma and developing ‘positive mind power’ to fulfill the desire of achieving a good and meaningful life’, because they have realized the higher knowledge of oneness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, selflessness, desirelessness, birthlessness and deathlessness. There’s neither positive nor negative. There’s neither good nor bad. There’s neither enjoyment nor non-enjoyment. There’s neither suffering nor end of suffering. There’s nothing to be known, nothing to be understood, nothing to be perceived, nothing to be connected with. There’s no other(s).

‘Yoga teachers’ must be vigilant to be cautious of (tiny) pride arising in one’s mind due to accumulated knowledge and achievements deriving from ‘reading books on yoga’, ‘attending yoga courses’, ‘attaining certifications’, or ‘teaching yoga/yoga classes to other people’. Praise, compliments, supports, agreements, appreciation, honour, respect, glorification or idolization from the yoga students, might be feeding the sense of pride in the mind unwittingly, if one is not cautious of it. One would think and feel that ‘I am a good yoga teacher’ or ‘I am an experienced yoga teacher’ or ‘I am well-loved and appreciated by all these students’. Those who are aware of the mischievous egoistic nature in one’s mind, will allow other people to show praise, compliments, supports, agreements, appreciation, honour, respect, glorification or idolization, or not, but one doesn’t interested in receiving any of these at all, and there’s neither attachment nor identification towards all these names and forms, then one is considered ‘safe’.

It’s the same as ‘yoga students’ who receive praise and compliments from the teachers or other fellow students, who have been accumulated knowledge and achievements deriving from ‘reading books on yoga’, ‘attending yoga courses’ or ‘attaining certifications’, who think and believe that oneself is ‘advanced yogi/yoga practitioner’ after practicing yoga for a long time, or having attended many ‘advanced yoga classes/courses’ and attaining many ‘yoga certificates’.

Those who are wise, won’t be telling themselves and others that “I am a wise being. I am very wise.”
Those who have been advancing in their yoga practice, won’t be telling themselves and others that “I am an advanced yogi. I am very advanced in yoga practice. I am practicing advanced yoga.”

Beware of pride and self-glorification.

Be free.

Yoga classes, yoga courses and yoga retreats?

Those (the minds) who are free, who are peaceful, who are free from ignorance, egoism, doubts and impurities, they don’t need to learn or practice yoga. They don’t need to attend yoga classes, or yoga courses, or yoga retreats.

Those (the minds) who are not free, who are not peaceful, who are not free from ignorance, egoism, doubts and impurities, they might want to learn and practice yoga, by attending yoga classes, or yoga courses, or yoga retreats, to learn and practice yoga under one or a few yoga practitioner(s) (teachers) who know the teachings and practice of yoga.

Somehow, some of those (the minds) who are not free from ignorance and egoism, who are not peaceful, who are interested in attending yoga classes, or yoga courses, or yoga retreats, are ignorant towards oneself is being over-powered by pride and arrogance. They are not really interested in ‘learning’ and ‘practicing’ yoga under the guidance of other yoga practitioners. They think they know quite a lot about the teachings and practice. They think they have been doing yoga for quite some time or a long time. They think they are quite ‘experienced’ and ‘qualified’ yoga practitioners or yoga teachers, as they have attended one or many yoga workshops, yoga courses, or yoga teachers training courses. They think they are quite ‘advanced’ on the path of yoga. They are not ‘open-minded’ to learn and practice yoga under other people’s guidance to be free from ignorance, egoism, doubts and impurities. They attached strongly onto their habitual mind behavior pattern and their way of thinking and belief and practice. They cannot be opened to investigate or experience something that is different from their thinking, belief and practice.

They want to interfere with how the people running the yoga schools, the yoga studios, or the yoga retreat centres, and what the teachers teach and how the teachers teach the classes, or courses, or retreats. They criticize the way of the people running and teaching the classes, courses, or retreats, about the format, the schedule, the accommodation, the facilities, the environment, the staff, or anything that they think it’s not the way that they like it to be, or not the way that they think or expect it should be. There are many things that they dislike and disagree with, that they cannot tolerate or accommodate. They reluctant to adjust, adapt and accommodate something that is different from their habitual comfort zone, thinking, belief and practice.

They expect/demand the people to run the yoga schools, the yoga studios, or the yoga retreat centres the way that they like it to be, and they expect/demand the teachers to teach what they like and want to practice and don’t teach what they don’t like or don’t want to practice. They expect/demand the teachers to teach the classes, the courses, the retreats the way that they like it to be. They get very annoyed and irritated when the teachers teach something that they don’t like and don’t want to learn or practice, or the people running the classes, the courses, or the retreats the way that they don’t like and don’t agree with. They expect/demand everything about the entire space of learning and practicing yoga to be the way that they like it to be, or the way that they think it should be.

These people (the minds) don’t just not really learning or practicing yoga, though they think and believe that they are very ‘serious and advanced and certified’ yoga practitioners and yoga teachers, but they also generate inconvenience, disturbance, doubt and obstacle for others who are interested to learn and practice yoga, those who ‘are aware of’ or ‘know’ their minds are not yet completely free from ignorance, egoism, doubts and impurities. The minds that are free, they won’t be affected or influenced by the ignorance and impurities of others, but most minds are not free yet, they will still be affected and influenced by the ignorance and impurities of others. But, it doesn’t mean that these minds are bad or negative. All minds are free to behave the way that they want to behave and react the way that they want to react, whether they are aware of their own behavior and reaction, or not.

And hence, when one thinks and believes that oneself is an ‘experienced’ and ‘advanced’ and ‘certified’ yoga practitioner or yoga teacher, and one wants to inform/tell other people about how experienced and advanced one is on the path of yoga, then know that one doesn’t know what is yoga, yet. Those who know yoga, they have no attachment or identification towards the experiences or levels of their practice, or be proud and arrogant about what they know or realize from their practice. They mind their own practice and they don’t need to attend yoga classes, yoga courses, or yoga retreats.

Those who are not sure or have doubts about their practice or what they think they know, and are interested in attending yoga classes, yoga courses, or yoga retreats to learn and practice yoga under the guidance of other people, must learn how to allow the mind to be opened to learn and practice yoga under another person or other people, while not by pushing away or arguing about something that the mind dislikes and disagrees with, but to investigate the truth of everything that the mind comes in contact with through direct experience.

What the mind agrees with and what the mind disagrees with, are not necessarily the truth.

One doesn’t need to like and agree with everything, even if it’s part of the teachings and practice of yoga, but remain equanimous, being undisturbed or undetermined by what the mind dislikes and disagrees with, is already what yoga practice is about.

Be free.

Friendliness is about respecting everyone to be different from oneself, to be what they are, as they are

Friendliness doesn’t necessarily mean making social contacts or personal friendships and hanging out together, connecting, interacting and socializing with other like-minded people. It is about respecting everyone, whom we know or don’t know, to be different from oneself, to be what they are, as they are, being free from discrimination, judgment, expectation, superiority/inferiority and self-righteousness.

Those who are open-minded and free from egoism will not interfere with other people’s thinking and belief that are different from them, and won’t be disturbed or offended by other people’s thinking and belief that one doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, and have peace and harmony in oneself. And they allow other people to dislike or disagree with their thinking and belief, being undisturbed and not be offended or insulted by other people’s dislike and disagreement towards oneself. But not many are open-minded and egoless. Lots of conflict, argument and violence derived from closed-minded and egoistic mind reactions towards what the ego doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, being disturbed and offended by one’s dislike and disagreement towards other people’s thinking and belief that is different from oneself, or be disturbed and offended or insulted by other people’s dislikes and disagreements towards one’s thinking and belief which one thinks is right, or true, or superior.

Putting the blame onto other people’s thinking and belief and behavior that our minds think and believe as wrong and bad, that we don’t like and don’t agree with, for the peacelessness and disharmony in us, is ignorance. It’s how the ego reacts towards something that it doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, that causes the peacelessness and disharmony in the mind.

In yoga or Buddhism, friendliness is the ability to be able to be aware of all the different qualities of names and forms in different people or beings, and be able to respect everyone as they are, even though we might not like or agree with them of their thinking, their beliefs, or their behavior, without judgment or criticism, without trying to change or control those whom we dislike or disagree with to be what we would like them to be, or to be the way that we think they should be. Instead, we have self-awareness, self-discipline and self-control over our own thoughts, actions and speech, being free from discrimination or prejudice that based on our personal likes and dislikes or agreements and disagreements influenced by our own personal thinking and belief about what things are and how things should be like.

One can keep one’s personal thinking and belief as well as what one practices or doesn’t practice to oneself, and allows other people or beings to have their own thinking and belief, and what they practice or don’t practice that are different from oneself, without interfering with other people’s freedom of thinking, actions and speech, even if their thinking, actions and speech might cause disturbs or harmful damages to themselves and other beings. But, allowing everyone to develop self-awareness, self-discipline and self-control over their own thoughts, actions and speech via self-realization for the well-being of themselves and others.

The pride and arrogance towards ‘I’ am better and more superior than all the others is why the ego constantly judging and criticizing and interfering with other people or beings that one doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with. The thinking and belief of ‘I’ am good and right, ‘I’ want the world to be good and right, ‘I’ want other people to be good and right, ‘I’ should correct these people or beings whom ‘I’ think they are not good and wrong, whom I think their thinking and belief and behavior are inferior than mine, is merely coming from the ego, it’s not the teachings or the practice of yoga.

In yoga and Buddhism, if one truly wants to do good and be good and wants the world to be good, one focuses and works diligently on self-inquiry by taming and quieting one’s mind through self-discipline and self-control, to be determined to free one’s mind from ignorance and egoism, and allows everyone to be what they are, as they are, and allows the world to be what it is, as it is. If everyone knows this and frees their minds from ignorance and egoism, the world will be free from all kinds of discrimination, prejudice, hatred, jealousy, greed, possessiveness, fear, exploitation, conflict, war, or violence. All these affliction arise due to people want to interfere with other people’s thinking, belief and behavior that one doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with.

Find out what really happens when there is conflict or argument or unrest between two people? May it be between the parents and their children, the husband and the wife, two friends, two strangers, two neighbours, two religions, two communities, or two countries. It’s all deriving from ignorance and egoism and impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, possessiveness, exploitation, selfish desires and expectations, feelings of hurt and insult, pride and arrogance, offensiveness and defensiveness, or fear and worry. It’s not because one party is ‘good and right’ and the other party is ‘bad and wrong’. If either one party is truly ‘good and right’, there’s no conflict or argument at all. There will be peace and harmony in oneself even when the mind perceives and is aware of something is ‘not good or wrong’ based on the thinking and belief in one’s mind.

If people want to believe or disbelieve in God, that’s everyone’s freedom.

Be truly friendly. Only when one knows what is true friendliness, one will also know what is compassion. Or else, even though one talks about and promotes compassion, and wants to be compassionate, but one couldn’t be truly compassionate if one’s mind isn’t free from ignorance and egoism yet.

Be free.