Teach the children to accept and love themselves as they are

If we want to help to build a more peaceful and compassionate society, it’s very important to have young generations that are selfless, peaceful, wise and compassionate, and hence, how the parents or caretakers and the influence of the surrounding environment for the children growing up to be adults/leaders that are endowed with awareness, self-discipline, self-control, independence, truthfulness, honesty, peace, wisdom and compassion is very crucial.

We need to teach the children how to accept and love themselves as they are, to develop awareness, independence, self-discipline and self-control, to inquire the truth of everything, to realize the truth of impermanence and selflessness, to be free from craving and aversion, to have unconditional peace and compassion, so that they don’t need to depend on the qualities of names and forms that are impermanent to be who they are. They don’t need to depend on receiving other people’s love, kindness, acknowledgement, compliments, supports, friendships, relationships and companionship, or depending on a wishful desirable perfect world, to be who they are, to be proud, to be confident, to feel meaningful, to be happy, and to perform actions that are wholesome to themselves and others, out of free-will, out of compassion towards oneself and others, without attachment or identification towards the actions and the result of the actions to be who they are.

They know what are their ability and limitation. They are not defined by their ability and limitation to be who they are. They do their best to achieve what they want to achieve, but they have no attachment or identification towards the ability or limitation, the achievement or non-achievement. They allow other people to think, to judge, to compare, to expect, to like and dislike, to agree and disagree with towards their ability and limitation, but they are not affected or defined by other people’s thinking, judgment, comparison, expectation, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements.

Being free from pride and arrogance, they know how to take consideration towards other people’s advice, but without taking other people’s advice blindly, and they know how to make use of the opportunity that is available to make decision and perform actions that they think are the best, without attachment or expectation towards the outcome of the decision made and the actions performed.

They can work in a group, cooperating with all levels and respecting all levels as equally important, without the sense of superiority or inferiority, knowing that the entire system requires every levels to work together for it to be functioning, but at the same time, they can work independently as well, when cooperation from others is not available.

The society will naturally have more peace and harmony by having less personal, family, relationship, social, political and religious problems if the children grow up to be adults/leaders in the society who are endowed with peace, wisdom and compassion, being free from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Unfortunately, most people who became parents are not free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, and are being conditioned and influenced by worldly, cultural, social and religious thinking and belief to live their life and how they bring up their children. Many children grow up to be adults/leaders living in the society with some sorts of psychological issues and behavior problems, full of discrimination, pride, arrogance, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, selfishness, aggression, violence, corruption, untruthfulness, dishonesty, offensiveness, defensiveness, animosity, depression, low self-esteem, hurts, regret, guilt, fear and worry. And then, when they try to runaway from or cover up what they think is not good or bad or negative or imperfect about themselves, that they don’t like about themselves, that they don’t want any others to know about it, they might create further and deeper problems for themselves and others, in their life and relationships, and in the society.

This is due to many parenting are influenced by the worldly, cultural, social and religious thinking and belief that emphasizing on empowering the ego of the children to boost their self-esteem or self-confidence or self-image by giving them praise and compliment and rewards to motivate and encourage them to be what the parents expect them to be and by giving them criticism and threat and punishment to discourage them to be what the parents don’t want them to be, telling them that they need to do well and be good but also always be better and better, so that they can please other people, to attain praise and compliment, love, support, approval, agreement, acknowledgement and friendship or relationship from others to be who they are.

Whether they are aware of unaware of it, many parents bring up their children by emphasizing on the empowerment of the worldly egoistic nature with great attachment and identification towards the qualities of names and forms, to be somebody that the children and their parents and other people would be proud of. This empowerment of egoism generates separateness and discrimination, that give rise to many personal, family, relationship and social problems in one’s life and in the society.

If children start early to develop correct understanding towards the thinking and behavior pattern, actions and reactions, craving and aversion, feelings and emotions, all sorts of mind activities and impurities, the ego and egoism, and train to eradicate egoistic thinking and behavior that give rise to restlessness and the impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, corruption, untruthfulness, dishonesty, violence, animosity, offensiveness, defensiveness, hurts, regret, guilt, fear and worry, they can be kind and compassionate towards other beings, but without expecting or craving for love and kindness and appreciation from other people in return, without clinging onto other people’s love and kindness and appreciation to be who they are.

Children growing up suffering from low self-esteem is because of the parents make them think and believe that they have to be in certain ways and achieve certain qualities, in order to be accepted and be loved by their parents and other people. They were told that they don’t deserve love and they shouldn’t love themselves if they are not good enough, that they shouldn’t accept themselves as they are, as they need to be better and better, and never stop being better. There will never a point that they are good enough so that they can accept and love themselves, as they are. Because the parents are so afraid that their children will stop improving themselves if they think they are good enough. And so, the parents make sure that their children never think that they are good enough.

When these children couldn’t be in certain ways or achieve certain qualities, their parents will show dissatisfaction, disappointment and aggressiveness towards them, and this make them think and believe that they are not good enough, that they don’t deserve acceptance and love from their parents and other people, or even from themselves. They don’t know how to love themselves and they also don’t know how to accept or love other people as they are, as they will also be like their parents, that they will also have expectation towards other people to meet up with their expectation towards other people, that they have to be in certain ways and achieve certain qualities, to be good enough, but they will never be good enough, as they need to be better and better.

If the children grow up knowing how to accept and love themselves as they are, unconditionally, they will always accept and love themselves as they are, regardless they are being in the way that their parents or other people expect them to be, or not, and whether they achieve the qualities that their parents and other people expect them to achieve, or not. And they will also know how to accept and love other people as they are, without expecting other people have to be the way that they think they should be, or to achieve certain qualities that they like and agree with.

It’s not easy to guide children. Parents or caretakers who devote their time, effort, patience, love and acceptance towards the children unconditionally, is a great yoga practice. They don’t need to be regularly doing some forms of yoga exercise, or breathing exercise, or chanting and prayer, or ritual, or to call themselves yoga practitioners or yogis, but by nurturing young children to grow up becoming responsible, peaceful and compassionate members of the family and the society, without egoism of attachment, identification and expectation, just do their best, and let go of the outcome, allowing the children to learn and evolve as they are, and love them as they are, unconditionally, is a great yoga practice and great contribution to humanity.

Be free.

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Children grow up without a ‘proper’ family is NOT something terrible, bad or suffering

In the conditional worldly thinking and belief, people normally and naturally think and believe that if children grow up without a ‘proper’ family, it MUST be something ‘terrible’, ‘bad’ or ‘suffering’.

Children grow up without a ‘proper’ family is NOT something terrible, bad or suffering. Growing up without a ‘proper’ family might not be easy and it might be more challenging and requires more effort and self-discipline than other children who grow up in a ‘proper’ family, but it is not something terrible, bad or suffering.

There’s nothing wrong with people being sympathetic or empathetic, and to show sympathy or empathy towards other living beings who experience something that they believe as ‘terrible’, ‘bad’ or ‘suffering’, but it doesn’t mean that this type of ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ thinking and belief and sympathetic/empathetic reaction will benefit the children who unwittingly having such ‘abnormal’ growing up condition.

Most people react with “Oh! This child is so pitiful for having no father, or mother, or both parents. What an unfortunate and suffering life this child has.” or “Oh! So sad. This child must be so unhappy to not having a father, or a mother, or both parents, or family, or siblings, or relatives, or friends.”

People have the freedom for what they want to think and believe, and how they want to feel and react. But if people really want to help the children without a ‘proper’ family, people should stop ‘feeling sorry’ for the children. People need to stop making the children think and believe that people should be or are ‘feeling sorry’ for them because it is something terrible, bad or suffering for them to grow up without a ‘proper’ family. By making the children to think and believe that it is something terrible, bad or suffering for having no ‘proper’ family, that they deserve ‘special treatments’ or extra love, attention and support from other people, it will only encourage the children to develop stronger attachment/desire/craving for ‘love’, ‘attention’ and ‘support’ from other people. This doesn’t help or benefit them at all.

If people truly want to help the children who don’t have a ‘proper’ family, they can teach and guide the children how to love themselves without the need of self-pity, self-blame, sympathy and empathy from other people, or envy towards other children who have a ‘proper’ family. It will be good if there are people being there to show sympathy, love and support for them, but if there’s no sympathy, love and support from other people, it’s fine. It’s totally okay for not having a ‘proper’ family, if one knows how to love oneself, being free from ignorance and egoism, being unconditioned by conditional worldly thinking and belief. There’s no bitterness, sorrow, anger, hatred, low self-esteem, defensiveness, offensiveness, envy, fear and worry for having a more challenging growing up life condition than other people.

People can be peaceful and happy as they are, with or without a ‘proper’ family, or parents, or siblings, or relatives, or friends. But if people are being conditioned to think and believe that children grow up without a ‘proper’ family, or parents, or siblings, or relatives, or friends, it must be something terrible, bad or suffering, that they should feel bad about themselves, that other people should feel sorry for them, or people need to have a ‘proper’ family, or parents, or siblings, or relatives, or friends in order to be happy and live life meaningfully, or else they will be suffering from loneliness and they are ‘doomed’ to be unhappy and live life meaninglessly, then that is what the children will become – Restlessly craving for ‘love’, ‘attention’ and ‘support’ from other people or ‘somebody’, for them to feel loved, happy and meaningful. Or else, they will feel unloved, unhappy and meaningless. They will always be dissatisfied and disappointed either with themselves for being ‘not good enough’ or with other people for being ‘unloving’, ‘unsupportive’, or ‘unsympathetic’, when they are not getting the right amount of love, attention and support that they think they deserve to be getting from other people.

When one knows how to love oneself, one will be free from restless desire/craving for love, attention and support from other people, and this freedom from desire/craving for love, attention and support allows one to be happy and peaceful as one is.

Or else, children might grow up having a ‘proper’ family and receive lots of love, attention and support, but they might not be free from attachment/desire/craving towards something that will make them feel happy and meaningful, as they think they need to have or they expect ‘love’, ‘attention’ and ‘support’ from other people for them to feel loved, happy and meaningful. They are not free at all, as they don’t know how to love themselves.

Be free.

Children grow up without a father or a mother or both parents

Of course, it would be good if the children grow up in an environment that they are being loved and supported by both ‘loving’ parents.

If due to unforeseen circumstances, one of the parents is not there to love and support the children as they grow up, it would be good if at least there is a ‘loving’ father or mother being there to love and support the children.

If due to unforeseen circumstances, both of the parents are not there to love and support the children as they grow up, it would be good if they can depend on some other people’s charity, love and support until they become independent.

If due to unforeseen circumstances, there’s nobody being there to love and support the children as they grow up, that they have to depend on themselves and nature, it would be good if the children know how to love themselves and be independent without self-pity, self-blame and bitterness, no matter how difficult and harsh it can be.

If due to unforeseen circumstances, the children grow up in an environment where one or both of the parents or the care taker, is ignorant, unloving, selfish and abusive, it would be better if the children grow up without the parents or any care takers. Growing up in an environment surrounded by and under the influence of ignorant people with ignorant behavior can be worst than being alone not be surrounded by ignorant people with ignorant influences. Children grow up under the care of one or both of the parents are not necessarily well brought up to have the correct understanding of life and be free from unhappiness and suffering, who won’t hurt themselves or other beings out of ignorance and egoism, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

If life appears to be challenging and difficult, most important is that one knows how to love oneself, and has peace and compassion. It’s not a suffering or unfortunate if one grows up being abandoned or unloved or unsupported or being abused, if one has self-awareness and self-realization, be free from ignorance and egoism. There’s no need of self-pity, self-blame, anger, hatred, envy, bitterness, defensiveness, offensiveness, fear or worry.

Being alone, by oneself, of solitude, is not something ‘bad’ or ‘difficult’ or ‘hardship’ or ‘suffering’. It’s indeed a great ‘fortune’ to immerse into the silence of solitude, of peace and compassion, being free from ignorance and egoism.

Many people are surrounded by some or many other people, of family and friends, but they are not necessarily peaceful and be free from suffering.

Be free.

The relationship between the parents and the children

This article is about the relationship between the parents and the children in ‘conventional’ family affairs/relationships. It’s not about sensitive cases involve ‘unconventional’ single parenting out of sexual abuse and rape.

Before two people in a love relationship want to create/bring in new lives/beings/children to form a family, they need to know what is love. Real love. Unconditional love. If not, it is the main factor why there are conflicts/unhappiness/affliction exist in many families which create broken children growing up into broken relationships/family of their own.

When the parents create/bring a new life/being into the world, they never, and couldn’t ask the permission/consent of this being for creating this life and bringing this being into the world, as this life/being didn’t exist until the parents had created this life/being whether through sexual intercourse or higher technology, whether intentionally or unintentionally, whether wittingly or unwittingly. Children are being born without their own free will or consent, but unwittingly out of the parents’ desire to have children, or out of both or one of the parents’ act of lust even though they have no desire to have any children. And yet, many parents think and believe that these beings/children belong to them, where they think that they have the authority on the children about how they want to treat and bring up the children and whether they will love and care for them, or not. The parents also think that children are born with the obligation, duty and responsibility towards their parents and all the other family members.

There are many parents don’t have any intention to have children, but the child is conceived accidentally out of their act of lust, and these children are ‘unwelcome’ in their life/relationship. Maybe some parents might change their minds to ‘welcome’ the child into their life/relationships, and will love and care for the child, but some parents might ‘perceive’ the child as a ‘burden’ to their life/relationship, and they don’t love or care for the child. Some even abandon the child to their relatives, or children homes, or on the streets. Maybe the abandon child will get love and care from some other people, maybe not. Meanwhile, some didn’t abandon the ‘unwelcome’ child, but they don’t love the child at all and this generates great damages to the child’s overall well-being. The parents don’t see that it’s their own responsibility for conceiving the child out of their act of lust whether wittingly or unwittingly, and yet, they blame the existence of the child for ‘giving’ them ‘problems’.

Most parents who intentionally and wittingly to create lives/children to form a family think and believe that it is because of love. Two people love each other and want to create children/family that ‘belong’ to both of them, that they share together. Some parents create/bring in children to build a stronger connection/relationship/bond between the two of them, or as fuel to keep their relationship alive. This is a complete selfish desire to have children, but people don’t see it as selfishness. Children are being born because the parents want to gratified their desire to have children to form a family to be the connection/bonding medium for their relationship.

Some parents do ‘love’ their children unconditionally, but some might not realize that their desire to have children is selfishness, and their ‘love’ towards their children is conditional/possessive love that comes with great expectation/condition. Some don’t even have the love, patience, effort and time to ‘nurture’ and ‘look after’ a child, but just because they have the basic instinct/desire to be a mother or a father, and so, they produce children.

Many parents don’t realize that there are hidden selfish intentions/conditions in bringing/creating new lives into their relationship/family. Many parents expect something in return by creating/bringing in children onto their life/relationship. They think that by having children it will ‘bring’ joy and happiness into their life. They think that by having children it will give them meaningfulness in life or take away their loneliness/boredom. They think that by having children it will ‘keep’ their marriage/relationship to stay alive and connected. They think that by having children, they will grow up to bring back money to support their life. They think that by having children, the children will look after them when they are old or sick. They think that by having children, they will be loved. They think that by having children, it will make their life or relationship complete. They think that by having children, it will make them become a real man and a complete woman.

There are many people get married merely to form a family life and reproduce, which they think it’s a ‘solution’ or ‘investment’ for them to deal with unhappy relationship/marriage, loneliness, emptiness, old age and sickness.

Many parents have expectation towards their children that the children have to love and care for the parents in return for the love and care that the parents have been giving to their children. They expect/think that all children ‘are obliged to’ or ‘should naturally’ show love and care to their parents as it is the duty and responsibility of the children towards their parents. The children should appreciate and be grateful and thankful to their parents for bringing them into the world, feed them and nurture them, and so, all children should show gratitude by giving their love and care to their parents in return. This is conditional love / selfish love / possessive love. And when they think their children don’t love and care for them, or don’t love and care for them enough, they feel disappointed and hurt. They are disappointed and hurt by their own expectation towards the idea of having children. They don’t love their children. They love what they think they can get from having children.

Either they feel sad about their children unloving behavior, or they feel bad and sorry for themselves for being unloved by their own children, or they feel disappointed, hurt and angry with their children for not loving them or care for them after they have been showing lots of love and care to bring their children up, or after they have invested so much ‘time’, ‘effort’, ‘money’ and ‘love’ for the children’s upbringing, welfare and education.

It’s common and natural that the parents would feel disappointed or hurt or angry if their children don’t love them or don’t love them enough, but then know that this is because these parents don’t really love their children, but they only love what they think they should be receiving from having a family life by having children. And thus, when they don’t get what they think they should be getting from creating/having a family, they react in such way.

If the parents truly love their children, they will love their children as they are and won’t be disappointed or upset or feel hurt, even if the children are not good to their parents or don’t love their parents, or don’t behave the way that what people think all ‘good’ children should behave, or if they think their children didn’t carry out the duty and responsibility of being the children of their parents. People feel disappointed, hurt and upset in children/family affairs is because they think they love their children/family but they don’t really know what is love or how to love. This is absolutely nothing to do with how the children treat their parents, or whether the children are being good and loving to their parents, or not.

It’s normal for the parents to show love and care for their children, but many don’t realize that they have great expectation towards their children to be the type of people that they would like them to be, that the children are obliged to listen to and follow all their commands/wishes, and they must show love and care in return for the parents’ love and care for them.

When the parents want to be recognized as ‘good parents’, ‘good father’ and ‘good mother’, they put so much pressure onto the children to make sure they grow up to be ‘successful’ people that will make their parents, friends and relatives feel proud of. The parents feel proud of themselves to be able to produce and bring up children that appear to be ‘somebody’ that they feel proud of. Or else, they are frustrated/disappointed with themselves and their children as they couldn’t produce and bring up children to be ‘somebody’ that would make them feel proud of. Meanwhile, the children grow up becoming people who keep looking for acknowledgement from other people, to make people feel proud of them, to feel “I am good enough” in order to feel confident, meaningful, and being loved. Or else, they feel disappointed/depressed about themselves for unable to be ‘good enough’ to make their parents or other people to feel proud of. And this affects their relationship with everyone else. These are the ‘values’ that were passing down from generations to generations of what a family means and what to expect from creating a family.

If the children are born out of real love, where the parents have the unconditional love and knowledge of life to give to another life/being unconditionally, then the parents wouldn’t think/expect that their children are born with the duty and responsibility as children towards their parents and all the other family members, that the children are obliged to love and look after their parents and all the other members in the family. The parents will just do their best to nurture the children, teach them to love and look after themselves, until the children are independent, they’ll let them go and allow the children to evolve to be what they are. As well as the children shouldn’t be taught or feel that it’s a duty and responsibility for being the children of their parents and being one of the family members, that they are obliged to give something back in return and to love and look after their parents and the rest of the family members. But, out of everyone’s own free will, out of unconditional love, out of compassion, everyone do their best to be kind to oneself and each other, to love and look after oneself and one another without expecting anything in return. There’s no disappointment, hurt, anger, bitterness or unhappiness. Everyone loves and accepts one another as they are.

It’s not because it’s an obligation, duty and responsibility, that’s why the children ‘have to’ love and look after the parents and the other family members. It’s not because of gratitude towards the parents’ love and care for them, that’s why the children ‘have to’ love and care for the parents in return. It’s even without obligation, duty or responsibility, a being can show love and care for other beings. It’s even other beings don’t show love and care for a being, this being can still be loving and kind towards other beings.

May all families have peace and harmony, being free from suffering/affliction/unhappiness that derived from ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desires and expectation.

My life stories – Part 9

My life Stories – Part 9

Stories from my past memories – childhood, family, friends, growing up, poverty, integrity, dreams come true, finding peace and happiness, Buddhism, Yoga, and now…

I drove more than 2000 Km on a road trip in the last three weeks. I was taking a break from running yoga retreats and to know more about Malaysia. I also wanted to concentrate on my own yoga practice and share yoga with some old friends.

My husband wanted to participate in a 3 days Vipassana silent meditation retreat in the newly opened vipassana centre at Penang Hill in Penang Island. It was the centre’s first course only for old students. It’s like a trial course to ensure the centre is ready to run longer courses.

We left Langkawi a few days earlier to visit a few historical towns in Malaysia before going into Penang.

We picked up our car from the car ferry port in Kuala Kedah and took the scenic old road (K1) driving at around 60 Km an hour towards Sungai Petani. It was really a nice drive as the road was in good condition, and the scenery was beautiful and calmed over looking the green paddy fields, with hills and trees along the way.

We had a quick stop at Pantai Merdeka. There’s not much to say about the place, except the nice sea breeze. There’s no beach for swimming. We also went to Bujang Valley or Lembah Bujang in Malay to visit the historical site of Malaysia where the archaeologists and researchers found historical traces of Hinduism and Buddhism artifacts dated more than 2000 years old. It was an eye opener for me to know about the history background of Malaysia.

We stayed in Sungai Petani for two nights in a new budget boutique hotel called T+ Hotel located opposite the Pantai Medical Hospital near the Sungai Petani exit from the North South Highway. It was a very nice and reasonable priced hotel. There was big enough space in the room for me to do some yoga asana practice.

We left Sungai Petani and arrived in Penang two days before the meditation retreat. We found a guesthouse called Red Inn Heritage in Love Lane off Lebuh Chulia. It was a very nice backpackers place with very friendly and helpful staff. They gave us a small room with outside shared toilet, but it doesn’t matter as long as I could continue my yoga asana practice in the room – a space about 3 x 6 feet.

We got up at 4.00 am. My husband made use of that coolest time of the day to do some writing in the common sitting area of the guesthouse. He was writing for a collection of short stories to be published in Malaysia soon. Meanwhile I did my personal yoga asana and pranayama practice in our room for about two and a half hours.

Later when the gentle morning sunlight came, we went for a walk around the streets of George Town. It’s the best time to walk outdoor in the early hours to enjoy the cooler temperature in Malaysia. We enjoyed Penang very much walking along the main streets and side streets in the old heritage site of George Town, and tasting the local street food and fresh fruit juice. The nutmeg juice, passion fruit juice and amra juice were fantastic.

After the morning walk and breakfast, we drove around the island via Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi heading towards Balik Pulau and came back through Bayan Lepas. It was a nice drive. We also visited an old Nutmeg confectionery on the road, where my husband tasted the homemade nutmeg juice. His lips went numb for awhile after drinking the juice. It was a harmless mild reaction towards nutmeg. Nutmeg juice is believed to be good for digestion and wind relieving.

We came back to the guesthouse and took a nice shower and continued to walk along the streets exploring George Town. We enjoy walking. We walked a lot everywhere we go – in the city or the country side. It is a very good gentle exercise for everyone of any age.

In the evening, my husband started to complained about pain in one of his ankles. This was probably because of walking too much over these two days. It depends on our body conditions. Sometimes too much exercise within a short period of time isn’t necessarily good for the body. Everything has to be balanced. If we feel muscle tightness or soreness, or easily get tired after a short and gentle exercise, then it’s the body is telling us we need to do more regular physical exercise to improve overall fitness. It might be a sign of Calcium deficiency as well.

Because of the discomfortable pain in his ankle, my husband wanted to see a doctor before attending the silent meditation retreat. I asked the man at the fruit juice stall for recommendation of a good Chinese Medicine Therapist in Penang. He recommended us a Chinese “Tit Da” who has a small consultation room inside a food court in Lebuh Kimberly.

A very kind couple sitting next to us overheard our conversation. They offered to send us to the place with their car. We took their offer as my husband felt so much pain in his ankle on every step he took. The couple was very helpful by leading us to the Chinese doctor and introduced us. It seemed like he was quite well-known for the locals in Penang. The price for consultation and massage for the local people who suffer muscular-tendon injuries is also very reasonable.

While the doctor was rubbing some medicine oil onto my husband’s leg and massaging his foot, he looked at my feet and said to me, “Your life is very hard. You had to work and support your family ever since you were very young.”

I smiled and replied, “Yes, I know. But it doesn’t matter as long as I am happy.”

He said, “It is very lucky that you can let go everything easily, or else it would be very suffering for you.”

I smiled.

He then looked at my feet again, and said, “Your parents don’t love you.”

I laughed and replied, “My parents love me very much.”

He said, “Nope. Your parents don’t love you or care for you, but they only concern about the money you bring back home to them.”

I kept quiet and smiled, as I didn’t need to argue with him whether my parents love me or not, or whether how much my parents love me to determine how much I will love them in return. What he told me didn’t make me unhappy or upset. I am not influenced by what other people say. I am also not determined by how much other people love me, or how other people treat me, or what is the response from other people towards my love and care for them, for me to be kind to them. But, it gave me a reflection about there are many people easily being disturbed and manipulated by what other people say.

There are people who are easily being disturbed or influenced by what other people say, especially words coming from a fortune teller, or religious person, or spiritual person, or respected person, or good friend. How many people’s life or relationships were damaged because the fortune teller told them something that made them feel bad, angry, unhappy, have fear and worry, and have doubts towards the people whom they loved even though nothing is happening?

If a fortune teller told a woman about her husband will leave her one day for another woman, this woman will be so unhappy from then on, and doesn’t trust the husband anymore, even though the husband is very loving and doesn’t have any intention or interest to have any love affair with another woman. Eventually, this woman becomes paranoid and will generate lots of tension in the relationship, and cannot trust or love the husband sincerely. she is always worrying that the husband will be with another woman. Eventually if the husband couldn’t take it anymore and breaks down, and gives up this relationship, it’s not because the prediction from the fortune teller is true, but it’s the woman herself being so ignorant that she would rather believes in a fortune teller’s word than believing in herself and her husband who loves her very much and sincerely. It’s a pity. How many relationships were broken because of this cultural practice of fortune telling?

Everyone has the freedom to say what they want to say, but we don’t have to believe in what other people say, or be influenced and determined by what other people say. We don’t need to go to fortune tellers or astrologers, to ‘know’ about the future if we know how to live in the present, be free from craving and aversion, fear and worry. We would do our best in life, and allow life to be what it is, without expecting life to be the way that how we like it to be, or not to be the way that we don’t like it to be.

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

It’s true that my life was very hard. He was right about that. That was what I perceived in the past too. A hard life, poor me.

It’s true that if I wasn’t able to let go easily, I would be very unhappy and miserable having such a ‘hard life’.

He was right when he said that my parents were expecting money from me all the time. That was because they had no choice but to depend on me to bring home some money, because my sister and brothers are living in difficult conditions. I am the only one that they could count on for helping out the living expenses of the family. There’s nothing wrong with supporting our parents if we are capable to do so. I had been supporting my parents since I was fifteen years old until now. But, I am very glad that I was given the opportunity to be kind and compassionate towards myself and other beings, as this family is also one of the beings. It doesn’t mean that my parents don’t love me when they expect me to support their living. They loved me and everyone in the family very much.

Meanwhile some people are having children because they believe and expect their children would and should support their living later in life in return. They expect their children to carry out the duty of a child towards parents, to look after and take care of them when they are old. While the children are being told that it is an obligation to support their parents and family in return. Those who think they are obliged to support their parents and family, but they are not willingly to do so, or they are not capable to do so, will be very unhappy, under pressure and exhausted. Some might feel guilty or blame themselves for being unable to give or support their parents. While some people want to feel good about themselves by supporting their family, as it makes them feel proud about themselves for being able to give, for being a ‘good’ child, or ‘good’ human being. They give is not for the sake of giving, but to gain some sorts of satisfaction about themselves in return. There’s nothing wrong with all these conventional thinking and beliefs, but yoga practice is to free the mind from these conditional thinking and beliefs.

No one is obliged to support their family, as what traditional family would believe so. But people would willingly to support their family, especially their old parents, unconditionally, out of love, not out of obligation, if they are capable to do so. There is no stress or ill-feelings in this act of kindness. People shouldn’t feel bad about themselves if they are not able to give.

All the hardships were in the past. I let go of hardships. I don’t hold onto hardships.

Although I still need to support my father and my brother who has to take care of my father 24 hours a day and he cannot work at the same time, but it really doesn’t matter as long as I am still able to give. I am grateful that somebody who is dear to my father whom my father feels comfortable with, is taking good care of him. I won’t feel bad or unhappy if one day I am not able to give anymore, I will let them go.

I don’t need to continue to feed the past unhappy memories that doesn’t exist anymore, or let them influence how I should think and feel, to behave, to act or react in the present moment now. These past memories can’t determine the future either. I freed myself from being the slave of past happenings or memories. But by sharing my past stories might bring some light to someone who is going through hardship or is unhappy in life just like what I had went through.

There’s no secret and it’s not difficult to be free. Just keep practicing letting go. Forgive and let go.

In the past when I was deluded by ignorance, I felt and thought that my parents didn’t love me or care for me. But that couldn’t determine that my parents were bad parents or had treated me badly because of what I felt and thought. It was all my own delusion and personal projection about them being unloving and unfair to me. I was really miserable, angry and full of hatred because of my own projection resulted in wrong understanding. I had shouted at my parents ruthlessly hurting their feelings many times, but they never angry with me for my heart-breaking behavior and accepted me as I was, and they allowed me to express how I felt and thought. Even if they had treated me badly which they didn’t, it really doesn’t matter. I can still love them and care for them out of compassion.

After I understood about life and realized love and peace in myself, I stopped seeing there’s any problems or unhappiness in my life. I only feel gratefulness and contentment for the unconditional love and formless support that my parents and the universe had been giving me even though at certain times, I felt and thought that they didn’t love me or care for me in the past out of my own projection.

Sometimes our parents caught up in some difficult moments in life to support our living until they can’t pay much attention to their children, and they are physically and mentally exhausted by working very hard to provide the family with a better life condition or just to make enough for a living, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t love their children. I can truly understand it now, but not in the past though. That’s why I was very unhappy and angry. In the past, even though my father earned very little salary every month, he still afforded to bring us to the seaside for picnic on every weekend or brought us to the cinema for a movie, to spend his free time with his family. He doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, and doesn’t go out for entertainment at all, except with us, with his family. It was only after the financial crisis in our family started, it’s no longer affordable for us to have such outing anymore. There were times during the difficult moments, we didn’t have food or money for the next meal.

When life is hard and there is no food on the table to feed their children, how could anyone think about some other things, not to say to provide some leisure enjoyments to their children? It doesn’t mean that the parents don’t love their children. When they can provide the basic necessities for living out of love, they will also want to give the best education and living environment to their children to have a better life and brighter future. But, sometimes in the process of striving to give as much as they can give to their children, they can’t manage to take care of everything at one time. They only have one head, two arms, two legs and one body. While working hard for living they cannot be with their family all the time.

Some unhappy and angry children who hate themselves or hate their life and their parents, they might blame their parents for given birth to them while they were not financially stable enough to feed their children and couldn’t afford to bring them up in a good environment. But, take a look at so many financially stable families with children, are they all happy or in peace and harmony? It’s not necessarily that being financially stable is a guarantee that the children will be happy and well loved. Without a high income also doesn’t determine that the children in that family will be unhappy and unloved. Love is not measured by money. It’s ourselves, individually how we are able to cope with different living environments and conditions.

It’s not necessarily the fault of the parents when the children continue to be angry and unhappy about life as they grow into adulthood.

Maybe in some cases of an unhappy family are because of irresponsible parents who neglect or abuse their children deliberately, but the grown up children should learn to take responsibility for themselves and their life no matter how much hardship they had been through in their childhood. There are people who came from broken family or had had some very bad childhood experiences with their parents, they can be very successful and happy in life now. It really depends on ourselves whether we want to be disturbed and determined by our parents ignorance and be miserable all the time, or we can forgive and let go, and move on our life, and be free.

Whether the parents had succeeded or failed in giving what the society thinks and believes is appropriate growing up condition to their children, as their children we should be thankful and grateful for all their sacrifices and hardships that they had went through. Sometimes our parents had done their best, but still life could be very hard on them. They might also feel depressed, disappointed and frustrated with life, and when they come home from work, if the children complain, shout, cry and demand for this and that, or misbehave, it can be very tough for the parents as well.

Some children understood the sacrifices and hardships that their parents had went through, and be grateful and appreciate what life had brought to them. They strive to do well and be happy in life to repay their parents with love and understanding, and provide a happy environment for their parents. There are also children who couldn’t understand their parents sacrifices and hardships, and be angry and hating their parents for neglecting them, or didn’t support them, or didn’t give them what they want, or put too much pressure on them to do well in life while they were growing up. And they continue to be unhappy, angry and dissatisfied in life after growing up and after having their own family, and they blame their parents to be the reason why they are unhappy in life.

It’s rare to have parents who can have a flexible or short hour job to support a family and give maximum attention to their children at the same time. My mother was a full time house wife who took care of us whole time before our family financial crisis. Then she had no choice but to go out to do some business to help out the living expenses during the financial crisis. She worked wasn’t because she was greedy or being ambitious, or wanted to be a successful business woman, and neglected us to chase after her own dream.

Even if she was chasing after her own dream after having a family, there’s nothing wrong with that. A woman, whether single or married, with or without children, should be able to have her dreams come true and has her own time doing something that she likes to do, even if she has certain duty and responsibility towards her family. Everyone will be busy at some stage in life and we might not be able to do everything at one time. Tolerance, adjustment, understanding and support should come from the children towards their parents as well, and it doesn’t has to be merely coming from the parents towards their children.

It’s not easy to be parents, especially when they try to do their best to be good parents. Some children complain about their parents didn’t support them enough. Some complain what their parents give them is not what they want. Some complain about the parents didn’t care for them or didn’t pay enough attention to them. Some complain about the parents pay too much attention on them and make them feel pressured. Some complain about the parents didn’t love them while some complain the parents love them too much. One expectation clashes with another expectation. Parents have expectations towards the children while children have expectations towards the parents. This is all the play of ignorance and egoism.

Nobody can give me stress or put pressure on me, as nobody can influence me with their expectation or projection onto me. I don’t have to bother about other people’s expectation on me, as I didn’t even have expectation for myself. As this me is just an impermanent name and form. It’s neither something good nor bad. It’s just what it is.

I don’t need to behave as what others think I should behave.

For example, in this world of names and forms. The world thinks that I should behave like a “woman” or a “42 years old woman”. Or I should behave like a “yogi” or a “yoga teacher”. Or I should behave like a “Chinese”, a “wife”, a “daughter”, a “citizen of a country”, a “Buddhist”, a “sister”, a “friend”, a “human being”, a “good person”. Or I should behave as what I think I should behave because I project myself as this and that. Or I should behave like what other people think I should behave because other people project me as this and that. In the end of life, who cares how others think and judge about “me”? I don’t mind.

A mad person and a liberated being, they both might behave the same, they both don’t mind how the world thinks or judges about them, but one is without awareness or self control, and is restless, but the other one is with awareness and self-control, and is peaceful.

I was, and I am grateful for what life had brought to me in the past, and what life gives me in the present moment. Even if the experiences was not, and is not always pleasant or easy.

I am not affected, nor influenced, nor determined by other people’s thinking and behaviors, or how others treat me. Not even my parents, or my partner in life can determined me for how I should behave or feel, to act or react. “I” am not even responsible for “my” life existence, how can anybody else be responsible for my life? This life belongs to all the elements and energy, influenced by the impurities in my mind, my thoughts, my actions and my speech. But they don’t belong to “I”. “I” don’t own this life. One day this life will come to an end. It’s not in the control of “I” about how long this body and mind will continue to be functioning and existing. Anytime the heart will stop beating, the lungs will stop breathing, and the body will decompose.

Just like I don’t own happiness. And certainly I do not create happiness. Peace is always there whether I am aware of it, or not. “I” or the ego can be miserable sometimes even though peace never come or go, never increase or decrease. “I” or the ego is always too busy with the impurities in the mind, being busy with reactions towards all the perceptions of name and form through the senses.

Nothing is more important than being happy and grateful towards ourselves, and to love ourselves as we are. Whether we think there’s nobody loves and cares for us, or there is really nobody to show love and care for us, or we are being treated badly or unfairly by others, as long as we know how to love ourselves, unselfishly, unconditionally, compassionately, everything will go into their respective places. Loving ourselves is the initial manifestation of compassion. And compassion is the key to ultimate freedom from suffering.

I stopped looking for love and attention from the world or from anybody. I don’t need to look for love and attention from others for me to feel loved. Loneliness doesn’t exist in me, wherever I am, alone or being with somebody. Some people still feel lonely even though they have family and many friends being with them. Because loneliness isn’t coming from being alone. It is a feeling of emptiness or void that is nothing to do with whether there is some other people being with us, or not. Many people don’t like or have fear towards loneliness or emptiness. If we want to be free from loneliness, we need to know the Truth of who we really are, and realize non-separateness or oneness. Loneliness doesn’t exist because ‘I’ don’t really exist. The mind perceives loneliness as the mind thinks it’s separated from what it perceives. Physically and mentally there is a sense of separateness, and is limited by time, space and causation. But beyond the body and the mind, and perception of names and forms, there is no separateness.

I am grateful and appreciate all the love existing in the world and in all beings.

Everyone has the freedom to apply judgment onto anything and anyone, but we don’t need to be determined by other people’s judgment, not even judgment coming from our own mind towards ourselves.

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

It’s needless to be jealous or admire somebody else who have a better life conditions than us. There are many others who have worst life conditions than us, like those who live in war zones, who live in anger and hatred, fear and worry, or those who suffer hunger, thirst and diseases.

What is there to be complained about and to generate hatred and disharmony among people, when life existence is depending on the universe to provide all beings with the basic necessities and supports for life existence, especially when we have a good quality of living environment? What is good life and bad life, if there is no element of fire, air, water, earth and space?

What is pride and arrogance, when death is approaching nearer and nearer since the first moment of birth?

It’s all ignorance. In the process to strive for peace and humanity, we are generating more hatred and killings in the world. In the process to strive for more happiness and enjoyments, we are damaging the existing happiness and enjoyments. In the process to strive for better health conditions, we are damaging the existing good health condition.

Good condition, good health, money, power or intellect cannot guarantee us peace of mind. Peace is freedom from ignorance, egoism, selfishness, attachment, craving, aversion, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, discontentment, disappointment, pride, arrogance, fear and worry.

In our personal yoga practice, there’s no need to be jealous or admire some others who have attained higher spiritual understanding or achievement than us. We just need to keep practicing letting go of the egoism and attachment, without any expectation towards the fruit of our practice.

Poverty, difficult moments, obstacles, failures, and not getting any love, support and attention cannot stopped us from being peaceful and happy.

But, ignorance, egoism, attachment, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, discontentment and expectation, will pull us away from peace and happiness.

Once we are free from ignorance, once we let go of egoism, attachment, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, discontentment and expectation, there is nothing that can make us suffer or happy, or give us suffering or happiness. Old age, pain, weakness, stiffness, sickness or death of this mortal physical body cannot give us suffering or make us suffer. Youthfulness, pleasant sensations, strength, flexibility, good health or longevity of this mortal physical body cannot give us happiness or make us happy.

Our true nature is always peaceful as it is, unconditioned by any qualities of names and forms.

When we have gone beyond dualities of good and bad qualities, there is no hard or easy, good or bad, happiness or unhappiness, success or failure, auspiciousness or inauspiciousness, praise or condemn, action or inaction.

When suffering disappears, there is no need to look for happiness.

Be forgiving. Be generous. Be compassionate. Not attach to any names and forms. If there is attachment, we learn to let go. We will know what is true happiness that is unconditional, that isn’t coming from any physical, or mental, or worldly achievements, conditions or objects. It is from within unconditionally.

Life will always be kind to us when we are able to let go of all the dissatisfaction and greed, let go of expectation towards life, ourselves and others.

There is no fear, no worry. Without fear and worry is happiness. It isn’t about being able to do what we want to do, go where we want to go, getting what we like and want, or not getting anything that we don’t like and don’t want.

Take good care of our own thoughts, actions and speech, and everything will be taken care of naturally. For example, I can decide I want to be happy no matter how is the condition of life and this physical body. That is the freedom coming from my will power, undetermined by the impermanent conditions of name and form. Or, I can decide that I want to control my speech, be silent for certain hours or days, or only utter kind words whenever I speak. If my mind wants to express violence through my physical body and speech organ, I can decide that I don’t move the body or don’t speak. This is the practice of self-control. We are the master of our own mind and not being the slave of the impurities in the mind. Be aware of the mind but not involve or associate with the mind. This is yoga. This is meditation.

Whether it is good and happy experiences or bad and unhappy experiences, all experiences are part of the purification process. I am grateful and thankful, and appreciate all kinds of experiences in life.

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

While my husband was participating in the silent meditation retreat, I drove the car on my own towards Kuala Lumpur. I stayed 4 nights in a budget hotel called De Nice Inn in OUG square at Old Klang Road. It’s an okay hotel with helpful staff, but they don’t have non-smoking rooms. Anyway, I let the room air out for one whole day and the smell of cigarettes was gone. The room was small, but I managed to squeeze in my usual yoga asana practice while staying here.

Besides doing my own practice in the hotel room, I had arranged to meet up with some old students and friends in their home to practice yoga asana with me during my few days in Kuala Lumpur, to encourage them to develop self-practice at home. Their lives are very busy with many responsibilities of a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a charity club member, a community member, a full time mother, driver and tuition teacher to their children, as well as the maid for the house doing all the cleaning, washing, laundry, cooking and shopping.

After four nights in Kuala Lumpur, I drove back to Penang to meet up with my husband and continued our journey back to Kuala Lumpur as my husband wanted to attend a monthly reading session in Bangsar runs by Sharon Bakar.

We stayed for two nights in Taiping at a reasonable priced new hotel called Taiping Perdana. The room was big and the staff were very efficient and nice. We walked into the town and tasted some local hawker’s food. We also went to the Lake Garden and enjoyed a splash in a river nearby called the Burmese Pool. Taiping is a very peaceful town.

From Taiping to Kuala Lumpur, we took the old road (K5) as well, but it wasn’t a nice road with lots of potholes. We stopped by at Kuala Selangor for dinner and decided to join the fire-flies watching boat tour. We almost turned back halfway as the road to the fire-flies watching jetty was very dark and narrow, and the signs were not very clear. There were many people waiting to go on the boats, so we decided not to do the trip this time as we might arrive in Kuala Lumpur too late for my friend to meet us in their home. The traffic from Kuala Selangor to Subang was congested. We found out the next day from newspaper that the congestion was because Klang was hit by a flood that day.

On this second trip to Kuala Lumpur, we stayed with my friend and her family in their home in Subang USJ. It was a very beautiful home stay experience. It was a very lovely harmonious home. They both are very loving and cheerful couple. So are their children – open-minded and cheerful. We received warm welcome from the entire family and had a few days of great sharing. My husband had a wonderful time being with the kids and chatting with my friend’s husband. The elder daughter who is only nine years old, but already played piano for four years. She was practicing and played a very nice piece of music on our first night there. Both the children speak excellent English and communicate very well with my husband. They were very self-discipline on taking care of themselves for their homework and studies. No wonder they always attained very good results in school.

I did a yoga asana practice session with my friend. The children also tried to imitate what we were doing for fun.

After 17 days of travelling, we finally headed back to Langkawi. It was a long journey from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Kedah. We took the North South Highway (E1) this time. As usual we made a stop-over at Penang for one night and the next day, we continued driving towards Kuala Kedah to send the car to the car ferry-port before 1.00 pm. And we made it for the 1.30 pm passenger ferry from the ferry-port next to the car ferry-port.

Nice to be back to our little simple home in Langkawi.

We will be busy with retreats again in the next few weeks.

Om shanti.

PS:/ Anyway, the ‘Tit Da’ Chinese doctor mentioned that my husband loves and cares for his wife very much. That’s very true. I truly appreciate my husband’s love and care for me, without intention, without expectation, without attachment, without craving and clinging. Love and peace to all of you.