Who am I?

The self-inquiry of “WHO AM I?” is the main teaching and practice of yoga and Buddhism.

Some people might interpret it as about finding the true ‘I’, or the original ‘I’, with a permanent identity of a specific quality or state of being/consciousness. They understand it as about remembering or reconnecting with or going back to a true or original identity of who they really are. For example, if there is a man who was a happy person with good behavior when he was younger, but now he is unhappy and behaves badly, people who know him would say, “You have changed. This is not who you really are. Your true self/original nature is happy and has good behavior.”

People think this is what “find out who we really are” is about, that there is a true self/original identity with a particular quality (that we prefer, that we think is better), but we have changed or have lost that original quality or have forgotten our root/true self/original identity, and we think that the inquiry of “WHO AM I?” means to find out or remember our root/original identity and to regain or reconnect with that identity.

For those who believe in the soul, they take the “soul” to be the real ‘I’. “I am the soul. The soul is immortal. I am immortal. The soul is purity. I am purity.”

Under the influence of ignorance and egoism, most people want their identity (whom or what they think is who they are) to be associated or identified with some qualities of names and forms that their minds believe as ‘pure’, ‘superior’, ‘good’, ‘not bad’, ‘right’, ‘positive’, ‘strong’, ‘honorable’, or ‘acceptable’ in their belief, or culture, or religion, or society, and people don’t want their identity to be associated or identified with some qualities of names and forms that their minds believe as ‘impure’, ‘inferior’, ‘bad’, ‘not good’, ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, ‘weak’, ‘dishonorable’, or ‘unacceptable’ in their belief, or culture, or religion, or society.

In yoga and Buddhism, the inquiry of “WHO AM I?” is about realizing the truth of selflessness or ‘I’-lessness or egolessness. That there is no ‘I’ existing as an immortal/mortal being or permanent/impermanent being. There is no ‘I’ to be identifying with any quality of name and form with an immortal/mortal identity or permanent/impermanent identity of “This is I” or “This is the true I” or “This is the immortal I” or “This is the permanent I” or “This is the pure I”. There’s neither true nor false identity. There is neither permanent nor impermanent identity. There is neither pure nor impure I. There is neither “I am suffering” nor “I am free from suffering”. It’s not even “I am nothingness” or “I don’t exist”. There is no ‘I’ to be this or not this. There is no ‘I’ to be existing or non-existing.

For example, someone from an Indian family with Hinduism background who was born and grew up in England is an English citizen and somehow not practicing Hinduism, those who know this person would tell this person, “Don’t forget who you really are, your native country, your original culture, your true religion and your people. You are an Indian and you are a Hindu, and Indians are your real family. Any others who are not Indian are not your people or family. When other people attack India, Indians and Hindus, they are attacking you. You must stand up to protect your country, your culture, your religion and your people or family.” But in truth, this person is neither ‘Indian’ nor ‘English’ or ‘non-Indian’, neither ‘Hindu’ nor ‘non-Hindu’.

Some says, “We all are human beings and one same family disregards all the different backgrounds and qualities of names and forms.” But, even this is not “who I really am”. There’s neither ‘human beings’ nor ‘non-human beings’, neither ‘one family’ nor ‘many different families’.

It’s just the mind functioning under the influence of ignorance that generates the idea of ‘I’ or ego of the existence of an identity which attaches to certain qualities of names and forms to be existing. The mind perceives and recognizes different qualities of names and forms, and experiences different states and takes different forms due to attachment and reaction towards all the perceptions of names and forms. When there’s attachment and desires arise in the mind, the mind experiences suffering when these desires are not gratified. The mind that experiences suffering wishes to be free from suffering. The mind finds a way or path to be free from the cause of suffering. If the mind realizes the truth, being free from ignorance and egoism (the cause of suffering), and that brings to the end of suffering. The mind forms and deforms (births and deaths) countlessly in different states or names and forms, ceaselessly, and all states or names and forms arising and passing away impermanently, endlessly. In one moment, the mind is calmed, loving, contented and peaceful. In another moment, the mind is disturbed, unloving, discontented and restless. But there is no ‘I’. There’s no ‘I’ am good or bad. There’s no ‘I’ am happy or unhappy. There’s no ‘I’ enjoy or suffer.

People might also interpret selflessness as a quality or a state of unselfishness.

In yoga and Buddhism, selflessness is beyond the quality or the state of unselfishness. There is no ‘I’ am being selfish or unselfish.

Go beyond the idea of ‘I’. Go beyond all the qualities of names and forms. Go beyond mortality and immortality. Go beyond existence and non-existence.

Due to ignorance and egoism, people try very hard to search for a ‘true/original identity’ to be identified as ‘who I am’ or ‘This is who I really am’, but they won’t find it no matter how, because there’s no ‘I’ to be identified with a particular identity as ‘who I am’. Upon the realization of selflessness/I-lessness/egolessness, the mind realized the truth of ‘who I am’ and be free from all sorts of restlessness and suffering derived from ignorance and egoism.

Contemplate on this, and be free.

The mind only knows what it knows, and what it doesn’t know, it doesn’t know…

What is precious for the dispassionate is being perceived as worthless for the worldly minded, and what is meaningless for the dispassionate is being perceived as meaningful for the worldly minded.

Noble yoga practice such like renouncing the world being dispassionate and disinterest towards worldly matters, activities and social interactions, and the observation of noble silence, seclusion and solitude restricting the mind’s inputs and outputs quieting the restless mind, to divert the entire energy and attention onto the sublimation of the mind, is being recognized or seen as ‘abnormal’, ‘wrong’, ‘not good’, ‘uncivilized’, ‘outdated’, ‘rude’, ‘selfish’, ‘unfriendly’, ‘uncaring’, ‘inhuman’, ‘crazy’, ‘unhappy’, ‘suffering’, and so on, by the worldly minded and so called ‘civilized’ society especially family, friends and relatives, including some of those who think they like yoga and are practicing yoga.

Everyone has the freedom of thinking, belief, opinion, expression, action, speech and way of life. What is ‘abnormal’ to the society, is very much based on something that is unfamiliar and unenjoyable for the majority, or something that is being different from the majority. Such like most people live a ‘normal’ life of mingling, mixing and socializing with other human beings building relationships, networks, connections, engaging in social interactions and activities. That is what they think is the progressive way of life to build a progressive world and society.

Meanwhile, there are some people who prefer to live a quiet life without mixing into the society. They have no intention to be different from anyone else, neither do they object or criticize other people’s way of life that are different from them. They are happy as they are and they don’t have to be doing something ‘fun’ or ‘enjoyable’ to make them feel happy or enjoying life. But those who attached strongly onto their particular thinking and belief and the way of life that they think is ‘normal’ and ‘good’, they might not know how to respect other human beings who are different from them, who live a way of life that is different from the majority. They expect every human beings should also follow the way of life that they think is ‘normal’ and ‘good’. If others are not interested in the way of life that they live, they will criticize these people who live a different way of life as ‘abnormal’, ‘not good’ or ‘wrong’.

They think that those who renounce the world, who stay away from the society to observe silence, seclusion and solitude, and being dispassionate and disinterest in worldly matters and social interactions and activities must be ‘mad’, ‘mentally sick’, ‘unhappy’, ‘miserable’, ‘lonely’ and ‘suffering’ people, because themselves don’t enjoy or don’t like being in silence, seclusion and solitude, or being by oneself without social mingling and interaction with some other human beings. They are like fish out of water. They will feel so uncomfortable, unhappy, miserable, lonely and suffer if they have to be away from mingling, socializing and interacting with some other human beings for a period of time. And so, this makes them think that those who observe silence, seclusion and solitude must be ‘crazy’, ‘mentally sick’, ‘unhappy’, ‘miserable’, ‘lonely’ and ‘suffering’.

The worldly minded expect all human beings should conform to their worldly thinking and beliefs about all human beings should act and react or behave according to what they believe as socially acceptable behavior and proper way of life.

Such like, they think and believe that people should live life passionately towards worldly social life and activities which they believe that is what a meaningful and happy life is about, or else, life must be meaningless, dull and unhappy for those who are dispassionate and disinterest towards worldly objects of names and forms. They think that people should be doing something that they believe as ‘fun’ and ‘enjoyable’ or achieving something that they think and believe as something ‘good and meaningful’ to be happy and meaningful, that will make them and other people to feel proud of themselves. This is nothing wrong and it’s their freedom of thinking and belief and what they want to do with their life.

“It’s abnormal to not mix into the society and not having ‘friends’ to socialize with or not being passionate towards anything. You must be so miserable and lonely.” People said.

“It’s crazy to not interact or do things with other human beings. It’s so ridiculous to not do something ‘fun’ and ‘enjoyable’ that will make you happy. You must be so unhappy and suffering.” And they said.

“It’s rude to not talking to another human being. This is so wrong, uncivilized, unfriendly and selfish behavior.” So they said.

These are so called ‘normal’ thinking and belief of the worldly minded. They label those who don’t think like them or don’t believe in what they believe, who don’t live life or do things like them, who don’t act and react or behave like them, as ‘abnormal’, ‘crazy’, or ‘uncivilized’ people.

Different minds find their own paths to transcend the modification of the mind. Different minds eliminate egoism and ignorance through different paths. Some yearn for ultimate liberation, while many don’t. And it’s okay.

There’s nothing to be argued about.

The mind only knows what it knows, and what it doesn’t know, it doesn’t know. And it’s okay.

Those who see the preciousness of renouncing worldly ideas, passionate desires, social interactions and activities, and turning the mind inward and enjoying the silence, have nothing to be argued about with those who don’t see what they see. They respect everyone to be what they are and have the freedom of thinking, belief, expression, opinion, judgment, behavior and way of life.

If majority people observe silence and take care of their own minds, and be free from egoism and ignorance, being free from desires, lust, greed, jealousy, resentment and fear, the world will be more peaceful having less human’s discrimination, prejudice, clashes, conflicts, arguments, crimes, hatred and violence, that are due to impure minds under the influence of ignorance and egoism. And this has nothing to do with ‘God’ or ‘religions’ or ‘spirituality’.

Om shanti.

“Let the world have its own ways. Mind your own affairs. Clean your mental factory. That man who does not interfere with others is the most peaceful man in the world.” – Swami Sivananda

Still looking for teachers?

The one who thinks one enjoys and suffers, is oneself.

The one who thinks one believes and disbelieves, is oneself.

The one who thinks one performs actions and inactions, is oneself.

The one who thinks one receives the fruit of actions and inactions, is oneself.

The one who is and isn’t aware of the impurities in one’s mind, is oneself.

The one who identifies with the impurities in one’s mind, is oneself.

The one who is over-powered by the impurities in one’s mind, is oneself.

The one who purifies and annihilates the impurities in one’s mind, is oneself.

The one who attaches and detaches, is oneself.

The one who is passionate and dispassionate, is oneself.

The one who is ignorant, is oneself.

The one who can free oneself from ignorance, is oneself.

The one who perceives good and bad, positive and negative, is oneself.

The one who goes beyond dualities, is oneself.

The one who perceives suffering, is oneself.

The one who can free oneself from suffering, is oneself.

The one who is and isn’t influenced by anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, lust and fear in oneself, is oneself.

The one who feeds and starves anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, lust and fear in oneself, is oneself.

The one who lacks of self-discipline and self-control, is oneself.

The one who is determine and persevere, is oneself.

The one whose mind is disturbed and restless, is oneself.

The one whose mind is calm and content, is oneself.

The one who meditates and realizes, is oneself.

What teachers are you still looking for?

‘Good people’?

The term ‘good’ might mean differently for different people. What is ‘good’ for some people might not be ‘good’ for some other people, and vice versa.

What happens when we recognize some people as ‘good people’, and we tell them, “You are a good person.”? Usually it’s when our minds perceive and feel touched by some qualities in these people which our minds recognize and agree as ‘good’ qualities based on the thinking and belief in our minds about what are ‘good’ qualities. What are ‘good’ qualities for some people might be different for some other people.

Most of the time, when people act and react or behave in the way that our minds like and agree with, our minds would identify and categorize these people as ‘good people’. For example, when someone gives us what we want, or when someone gives us the help that we needed, or when someone fulfills our desires, or when someone shows agreement/ approval/support/encouragement/appreciation/gratefulness/thankfulness towards something that is directly or indirectly concerning ourselves, our lives, our thinking, our beliefs, our values, our visions, and our actions, then our minds will react with delight, and will acknowledge and identify this person as one of the ‘good people’. We will tell this person, “Oh, you are such a good/nice/wonderful person.”

But what happens when people don’t act and react or behave in the way that our minds like and agree with, or they act and react or behave in the way that our minds dislike and disagree with, our minds would identify and categorize these people as ‘not good people’. What happens when a person doesn’t give us what we want, or doesn’t give us the help that we needed, or doesn’t fulfill our desires, or doesn’t show agreement/ approval/support/encouragement/appreciation/gratefulness/thankfulness towards something that is directly or indirectly concerning ourselves, our lives, our thinking, our beliefs, our values, our visions, and our actions? Our minds will react with dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness and resentment. Our minds will categorize and identify this person as ‘not a good person’ or ‘not a nice person’, just because they don’t give us what we want or they give us what we don’t want, or our desires are not being gratified, or we are not getting what we like and want in the way that we think it should be or the way that we would like it to be.

This shows that in many cases, what our minds think and recognize and identify as ‘good people’ and ‘not good people’ can be impulsive judgments based on our desires of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, and wants and don’t wants, and based on a particular thinking and beliefs about how people should and shouldn’t act and react or behave.

We can perform inquiry by applying this mind behavior of judging what is ‘good’ and ‘not good’ onto anything that we can think of – ‘good citizen’, ‘good teacher/student’, ‘good father/mother’, ‘good son/daughter’, ‘good brother/sister’, ‘good husband/wife’, ‘good friend/lover’, ‘good man/woman’, ‘good Buddhist/Christian/Muslim/Hindu/and others’, ‘good yogi’, and so on… And we will see, most of the time the judgment about what is ‘good’ and ‘not good’ is based on what pleases us, or not, according to our thinking and beliefs about how everyone should/shouldn’t behave, our personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, and the way that we think it should be and what we want them to be.

For example, when our teacher gives us what we like and want, we will say, “This is a good teacher.” and when our teacher doesn’t give us what we like and want, we will say, “This is not a good teacher.”
Or, when our husband/wife behave in the way that we want them to behave and gives us what we want, we will say, “You are a good husband/wife.” and when our husband/wife doesn’t behave in the way that we want them to behave and doesn’t give us what we want, we will say, “You are not a good husband/wife.”

When people feel happy and satisfied as they are pleased when we gratified all their desires and they tell us, “You are such a good/lovely/nice person.” we can ask them, “Let’s see if I couldn’t please you when I can’t gratify all your desires of what you want and don’t want, will you still think and say that I am a good/lovely/nice person?”

The teachings and practice of yoga and meditation is to free the mind from all sorts of worldly attachment and identification with qualities of names and forms, and be free from impulsive judgements based on desires of craving and aversion under the influence of personal thinking and beliefs.

‘Good people’ who ‘want’ to be good and do good, who want to be recognized/labeled as ‘good people’, are not necessarily ‘peaceful and happy’ if there is egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and expectation. The possession of some ‘good’ qualities in oneself and the identification as ‘good people’ doesn’t determine that one will be peaceful and happy.

It doesn’t mean that one has to be in good mood and behave ‘nicely’ or ‘appropriately’ all the time, so that one will not be disqualified as ‘good people’. Those who do their best to be good and do good might not be always ‘right’ and ‘know best’ all the time, or won’t make any mistakes and bad decisions in life. It’s okay that we are not always right and we could be wrong some of the times, that we don’t know best, that we are not in good mood all the time or we might not behave ‘nicely’ and ‘appropriately’ some of the times, and that we might make mistakes and bad decisions in life, as long as we are aware of the ‘wrong’, ‘deficiency’, ‘bad mood’, ‘bad behavior’, ‘mistakes’ and ‘bad decisions’, without denial or self-criticism towards all these ‘not good’ qualities, without attachment and identification, and are not being over-powered by pride and arrogance to justify the ‘bad’ qualities relate to oneself, or try to blame some other people or things for the qualities that we don’t like about ourselves.

Most people growing up and living their entire lives being told or disciplined to be ‘good’, to do ‘good’ and to be ‘good people’, or to have a ‘good and meaningful life’ according to particular guidelines or standards about what is ‘good’ and ‘good people’, about what is ‘good and meaningful life’. Many people ended up being disappointed and unhappy with themselves or other people for not being able to be perfectly ‘good’ or live a ‘good and meaningful life’ as what they expect themselves and other people to be.

Peace and happiness is not determined by whether we think we are ‘good people’ or ‘not good people’ and whether we live a life that is ‘good and meaningful’, or not. It is whether we think we are ‘good’ and ‘good enough’, and having a ‘good and meaningful’ life, or not, there is no egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and expectation. When we perform actions that we think and believe are ‘good’ actions or when we behave in the way that we think is ‘good’, it’s not because we want to be ‘good people’, or we want to live a ‘good and meaningful’ life. It’s not because we want to be recognized and acknowledged by ourselves or other people as ‘good people’.

There’s nothing wrong and it’s okay if other people don’t recognize/acknowledge us as ‘good people’ or they recognize/acknowledge us as ‘not good people’ when they feel unhappy, dissatisfied, disappointed and resent when we didn’t give them what they want, or didn’t fulfill their desires of craving and aversion, or we didn’t act and react or behave in the way that they expect us to be. That’s their freedom of reaction, thinking and expectation.

Everyone is just what they are, and they act and react or behave as they are. It’s neither good nor not good, neither nice nor not nice, neither right nor wrong.

Allowing everyone to be what they are, as what our minds think whether they are ‘good people’ or ‘not good people’, it’s not the truth of who they are. What our minds think and what other people think whether ourselves are ‘good people’ or ‘not good people’, it’s not the truth of who we are.

There’s no ‘I’ to be identify as ‘good people’ or ‘not good people’.

Be free.

The practice is in the moment observing or witnessing impermanent states of the mind

The states of the mind are impermanent. Whether it’s calmed or disturbed, kind or unkind, grateful or ungrateful, forgiving or unforgiving, positive or negative, happy or unhappy, it’s impermanent.

The practice is in the moment observing or witnessing impermanent states of the mind, without generate attachment, identification, judgment, expectation, craving or aversion towards any pleasant or unpleasant states of the mind.

Be free.

Non-comparison in yoga

“If I can do it, so can you!”
“Look! It’s possible for them, it should be possible for you too!”
“This is so easy. You should be able to do it.”
“Think positive! Believe in yourself! You can do it!”

All these motivational positive encouragements comparing someone with others to motivate a person to achieve something and the practice of positive thinking to motivate someone to perform a task, are nothing wrong or bad. But, this is not the teaching and practice of yoga.

There are different conditions, abilities and limitations in different people. And all kinds of conditions, abilities and limitations are impermanent and it’s not ‘I’.

The easiest or most comfortable positions or practice for some people might be challenging or very uncomfortable for some other people, and vice versa. Different people come from different life backgrounds and experiences have very different reactions towards the positions and practice. We can never compare one with another about what they can do or can’t do, and what they should do or shouldn’t do.

It’s about knowing the conditions, abilities and limitations of the body and mind in the present moment now, and perform actions that are possible in the present moment, and achieve what is possible in the present moment, without comparison with the past conditions, abilities and limitations, without comparison with other people’s conditions, abilities and limitations, without forcing the body and mind beyond its present conditions, abilities and limitations. Meanwhile, being aware of the conditions, abilities and limitations in the present moment now are impermanent and there’s no identification with any conditions, abilities and limitations to be identifying as ‘I’.

It’s just what is possible and impossible in the moment without attachment towards the possibilities or impossibilities that are impermanent.

There’s nothing wrong or bad with ‘impossibilities’. It’s okay if something is being ‘impossible’ and for us to be experiencing ‘impossibilities’. It’s okay that there are things which our body and mind can’t do or can’t achieve in the present moment, or even until the last moment of the existence of this body and mind. But we do our best, and keep doing our best, without attachment towards our efforts and the results of our efforts.

‘Anything is possible’ doesn’t mean that everything is possible. It’s about being open-minded towards any possibilities (both possibility and impossibility), without expectation towards anything to be possible or impossible. It’s okay if there are things that are not in our control or wishes to be the way that we like it to be or the way that we think it should be. By telling ourselves and others that ‘everything is possible’, but only limited to the things that we want to achieve or things that we want them to happen, and for the things that we don’t want them to happen, we don’t want them to be possible, is denying and running away from the reality that we don’t like and don’t want.

Acknowledging that ‘not everything is possible’ makes ‘anything is possible’ possible. Allowing the possibility for possibilities and impossibilities.

It’s okay if we can’t do something that we would like to be able to do or achieve something that we would like to achieve. What we can do or can’t do and what we achieve or don’t achieve, has nothing to do with the realization of unconditional peace and compassion.

Everything is just what it is. It is neither possible or impossible.

Thinking positively won’t change the truth of impermanence and selflessness to be what it is. Thinking positively every moment hoping everything is good and pleasant, that the world will be free from all kinds of suffering, will not stop different beings from experiencing different kinds of suffering. It’s the actual effort of self-inquiry to be free from ignorance through self-realization of the truth of suffering will free oneself from suffering. It’s nothing to do with positive thinking.

Be free.

Self-inquiry – The path of yoga and meditation

The most basic and yet most important teaching and practice of yoga and meditation is Self-inquiry to transcend the modification of the mind, to be free from ignorance and egoism and the consequences of ignorance and egoism – suffering. All the other different types of yoga practice is to help to purify and quiet the mind to allow the mind to perform the task of self-inquiry.

Self-inquiry is withdrawing the senses from the sense objects and turning the outgoing mind inward to attain self-realization and be free from ignorance.

There are lots of things that are beyond our knowledge or awareness, or there are many things that we don’t know, that are unknown to us.

There are things that we think we know, that we are aware of, but we might not truly understand or we don’t know whether it’s true or false.

There’s nothing wrong and it’s common that people will try to gain knowledge or accumulate information and data through reading and studying books on subjects that they are interested in. We might analyze and apply agreement or disagreement towards the knowledge of information that we come in contact with from reading books and hearing from others. But by gaining knowledge and accumulating information and data through reading and studying the knowledge or research coming from other people doesn’t determine that one will be free from ignorance and egoism and suffering.

There’s nothing wrong and it’s common as well that people like to ask some other people questions about things that they want to know with the intention to get some answers or explanations for things that they don’t know or don’t understand, in hope that it will clear their doubts. But by getting some answers or explanations from other people for all our questions won’t remove our ignorance because we will never know whether the answers that we get from other people are true or not.

For example, if we never come in contact with ‘apple’ before, but now, it comes to our knowledge or awareness for the first time, and we want to know what is this ‘apple’. We may ask other people, “I don’t know what is ‘apple’, can you tell me what is ‘apple’?” Even though other people try to explain to us what is ‘apple’ in details, and we could imagine or visualize about ‘apple’ from what other people described to us, but we will still don’t know exactly what it is until we come in contact with an apple, looking at it, holding it, smelling it, tasting it and digesting it. And our perception of the apple can be very different from other people. Some people think it’s tasty and they like it, while some people think it’s not tasty and they don’t like it. But the apple is just what it is. It is neither good nor not good. It has no intention or quality to be tasty or not tasty, or to make anyone like it or not.

It doesn’t matter whether we think something that we come in contact with is being perceived by our minds as something good or not good, and whether our minds like it or not, agree with it or not, all the names and forms are impermanent and selfless.

By hearing other people talk or teach about the practice of non-attachment and be unaffected or undisturbed by the perception of names and forms, will not take away attachment in us, and we will still be affected and disturbed by our own perception of names and forms, unless we develop non-attachment in us. By hearing other people talk or teach about selflessness, will not take away the egoism in us, unless we realize selflessness.

And hence, the answers that will clear all our doubts have to be coming from self-inquiry and self-realization.

By reading a lot of books about the things that interest us, or going for courses to learn about everything that we want to know also won’t free our mind from suffering and the cause of suffering, which is about dealing directly with the mind and its modification.

Whether we think there are many things that we don’t know or we think we know many things, it doesn’t determine that whether one will be peaceful and compassionate, or not, and it doesn’t affect the truth to be what it is. The truth of impermanence and selflessness in all the names and forms will still be what it is. The truth doesn’t change into something different from what it is, no matter we think we know about many things or we don’t know much.

Whether we think we know or don’t know about science, anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology, psychology, dietary, nutrition, geology, astronomy, astrology, history, mathematics, architecture, engineering, sociology, politics, and so on, it doesn’t change the truth of impermanence and selflessness. It doesn’t determine that whether we will be peaceful and compassionate, and be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering, or not. Even doctors who know about medicines and how to treat many illnesses for other people and psychologists who study about psychology and treat psychology problems for others, are not necessarily be free from impurities and suffering, unless they realize the truth of suffering and be free from the cause of suffering.

Fitness instructors who are physically fit and healthy, and have the knowledge of fitness training and are endowed with creativity for designing motivative and effective fitness exercise routines to other people to train to become fit and healthy, are not necessarily be free from impurities and suffering, unless they realize the truth of suffering and be free from the cause of suffering.

Well-trained and certified yoga teachers who have the knowledge about the teachings and practice of yoga, who teach other people about the teachings and practice of yoga also are not necessarily be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering, unless they attain self-realization and be free from ignorance and egoism.

Meditate and realize.

May all be free.

Can’t help those who don’t love or help themselves

The teacher teaches the students how to solve their problems. The teacher doesn’t solve the students’ problems for them.

The students must know how to love and help themselves to receive the help and guidance from a teacher. Even a teacher with great wisdom and compassion also can’t help those who don’t love or help themselves, and those who are proud and arrogant and closed-minded.

Those who don’t love or help themselves will always put responsibility onto other people for their unhappiness and suffering, blaming this and that for their ignorance and the consequences of their ignorance. Such like, “It’s because of this or that, that’s why I did this or I didn’t do that.” or “It’s because of this or that, that’s why I am unhappy or I hurt myself and others.”

The teacher teaches the students how to love themselves and how to help themselves to be free from ignorance and suffering. The teacher doesn’t suffer for the students’ ignorance and the consequences of their ignorance. The teacher shows the students the way to be free from the cause of unhappiness. The teacher doesn’t make the students happy by giving them what they want that they think will make them happy. The teacher doesn’t take away the students’ unhappiness or the cause of the students’ unhappiness. The teacher allows the students to experience unhappiness due to ignorance and take responsibility for their unhappiness.

The teacher allows those who don’t love or help themselves to be responsible for themselves, their actions and the consequences of their actions. Allowing them to learn from ignorance and the consequences of ignorance.

Be happy.

Different teachers, teachings and ways of practice for different minds

There are many different teachers, different forms of teachings, and different ways of practice to approach and cater different minds. It’s all about leading the impure egoistic minds towards the annihilation of egoism and ignorance and suffering.

In the beginning, when one still has confusion and doubts about the teachings of yoga and its practice, when one thinks and feels that one is not free, then one needs to go around to learn and practice yoga under the guidance of different teachers with different teachings and ways of practice, to find the path with particular teachings and way of practice that suits one best.

When one’s mind shows intense liking and agreement towards particular teachers and particular ways of practice, then naturally, one will ‘wish’ or ‘expect’ everyone else should also learn and practice yoga under these teachers or follow these ways of practice that one likes and agrees with. But it doesn’t mean that these teachers and the ways of practice are the best of all or suitable for all and everyone.

It’s common that people want to share something that they think is ‘great’ or ‘the best’ with other people, and they will try to ‘promote’ particular teachers or ways of practice that they like and agree with, to other people whom they know or don’t know.

There’s no best teacher or best teachings or best way of practice. Everyone finds their own teacher, the teachings and the way of practice that suits them best. And if one doesn’t see the ONE teacher in oneself, one will always have doubts even though one has been going to many ‘great’ teachers to learn and practice many different ways of ‘great’ practice, for a long time.

Everyone keeps their own personal liking and agreement towards particular teachers and ways of practice to themselves, and allowing others to find their own teachers and ways of practice, without interference or judgment or criticism towards other people’s preferences of different types of teachers and ways of practice.

Go beyond all the likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements towards any particular teachers, teachings and ways of practice coming from the egoistic mind. The teachers, the teachings and the ways of practice that we don’t like and don’t agree with, are not necessarily that they are ‘bad’ and ‘no good’ for other people.

The one who has found the teacher in oneself, sees the teacher, the teachings and the practice in all and everything disregard the personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements influenced by particular thinking and belief of the impure egoistic mind. One doesn’t need to go everywhere looking for any particular teachers, or teachings, or ways of practice. The teacher, the teachings and the practice is right here, right now. Those who haven’t found the ONE teacher in oneself, will have to keep looking out for ‘great’ teachers, ‘great’ teachings and ‘great’ ways of practice, to help and guide them onto the suitable path, until the minds are free from doubts and ignorance. Those who think they are very intelligent, spiritual and good beings are not necessarily be free from doubts and ignorance, and thus, they are still looking for someone or something, hoping to get the help and guidance that will clear all their doubts.

Mind our own practice. Take care our own mind. It’s nothing to do with other people’s minds and suffering, not even those whom we identify as our family, our parents, our partners, our children, our teachers who teach us yoga, or our students who learn yoga from us. And this is not being selfish. It’s compassion.

Everyone will meet their respective teacher, teachings and way of practice at the right time and right place.

Be free.

Yoga in life?

Yoga in life is not about doing some yoga exercises or yoga poses anywhere and anytime, beyond the yoga classes/schools/centres/studios/rooms. It’s about whether the mind is able to remain equanimous under any challenging conditions and situations, or not. It’s about whether the mind is open towards (or unattached onto) all the pleasant and unpleasant, agreeable and disagreeable, desirable and undesirable life experiences being free from craving and aversion, or not. It’s about being aware of any impurities in the mind without identification or association with them, without being over-powered by them, without judgment, and allowing them to arise, change and pass away. It’s about taking the responsibility to perform necessary actions and making wise decisions in difficult circumstances under a calm mind reflecting wisdom and compassion without fear, fault finding, blame, guilt or regret, beyond the worldly conditioned thinking, belief, and judgment.

It’s not about setting positive intention or aspiration, hoping that everything in life or the world, to be the way that we like it to be, or the way that we think it should be.

The varieties of yoga practice that exist under certain names and forms which are limited and restricted by time and space, impermanence, conditions, limitations, conveniences, appropriateness, religious or cultural beliefs, are there to help and prepare the mind to be open – unattaching towards any thinking and belief, and respecting all kinds of different names and forms to be what they are.

If one’s mind is not open, then one is not ready yet to receive and practice the teachings of yoga in life. As one’s mind will constantly be disturbed by the judgments towards everything based on the worldly thinking and belief under the influence of the personal likes and dislikes, the subjective agreements and disagreements that influence how the mind reacts towards all the desired and undesired experiences or everything that the mind comes in contact with, of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks.

Just like when the mind is being conditioned to believe in certain thinking and beliefs about what to think and how to behave, and it expects everyone should also think and behave in accordance to those thinking and beliefs, then this mind will always be disturbed by something that it comes in contact with which it thinks and believes as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’ and ‘negative’, which it doesn’t want, dislikes and disagrees with. The mind is disturbed by its desires of craving and aversion. It is disturbed when things are not the way that it likes them to be, or, when things are the way that it doesn’t like them to be.

It is the mind’s responsibility on how it perceives, interprets, understands and reacts towards all kinds of life experiences, whether it’s our own experiences or it’s about other people’s experiences. If the mind is not open, the mind will be disturbed and upset by some experiences that the mind perceives, believes and judges as ‘negative’, ‘wrong’ and ‘bad’. It isn’t that the objects that the mind comes in contact with are being ‘negative’, ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ that is causing the disturbance or upset in the mind. It’s how the mind being conditioned to react towards all the perceptions of names and forms based on the desires of craving and aversion, the personal likes and dislikes, the subjective agreements and disagreements conditioned by what the mind thinks and believes what things are, and the expectation of the mind towards everything about how things should be like.

If one wants to know what the teachings of yoga in life is about, then allow the mind to be open, and be free from judgment, expectation, personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements. Then one will be able to see that everything in life is teaching us yoga and allowing us to practice and realize yoga. One becomes one’s own teacher.

There are ceaseless happenings in our life and around us, from moment to moment, whether it’s something pleasant or unpleasant, whether it’s something desired or undesired, whether it’s about ourselves or other people, whether it’s someone we know or don’t know and like or don’t like, and whether it’s somewhere near or far away. All that comes to our knowledge or awareness, or all the perceptions of names and forms, is here teaching us yoga and allowing us to practice and realize yoga, to be free from ignorance and realize unconditional peace.

It’s all happening in the mind, unlimited by causation, time and space, the worldly knowledge and experiences, the thinking and beliefs, the worldly self-image and identifications, the states of the mind, the impermanent physical conditions, limitations and abilities, the qualities of names and forms, the lineage of yoga, the yoga poses, the yoga mats, the yoga attires and accessories, the yoga books, the yoga classes, the yoga schools, the yoga teachers, the yoga certifications, and so on.

Be free.

Yoga teacher and the students on headstand practice

Headstand is the first basic pose in the traditional Hatha Yoga asana practice.

One doesn’t need to be super strong and flexible to perform headstand.

What allowing one to come into the headstand is both the body and mind is able to be relaxed when coming up into the headstand, while holding the headstand, and while coming down from the headstand, without tension, judgement, comparison and expectation.

What hinders people to come into the headstand and holding it, is fear. The fear of falling, fear of injury, fear of pain, fear of death and fear of the unknown.

Headstand is an effective asana to stimulate and purify the crown energy centre and rendering the mind calm and quiet for meditation, as well as giving many other physical and mental health benefits, if it is being performed with the correct understanding and technique, and without the interference of the egoism.

Although it is a great asana for many people, there are some people are not suitable to practice headstand due to certain physical limitations and health complications. People who don’t have those physical limitations like neck injuries and had performed heart surgery before, and don’t have health issues like serious high or low blood pressure, heart problems, eyes diseases, nose and ears infection, intense nose-blocked or headache, or have been advised by their doctor that they are not suitable to practice headstand for some reasons, but if they have great fear of performing the headstand (fear of falling and injuries), then they also are not suitable or ready to practice headstand yet, until they know how to deal with fear, and not being over-powered by fear. If they have great tension in the body and mind due to intense fear while learning to come into the headstand, it will only bring them more harms than benefits. Otherwise, anyone can practice headstand by learning how to come up into the headstand in a gentle and relaxed manner, and keep practicing until one can stay in the headstand for a prolonged period of time, comfortably. But one doesn’t need to be able to perform headstand in order to be peaceful and compassionate. It’s okay if people can’t perform headstand, or any of the yoga asana poses, due to certain physical restrictions.

Falling, whether during the yoga asana practice, or in life (whether physically, mentally or emotionally), is not something bad or negative. It’s neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative. It’s part of the learning process to allow the mind to be more open and wise. When one learns how to perform the challenging asana poses under a calm and fearless mind, one would be able to remain calm and stress-free when performing any challenging tasks in life under any conditions and situations.

Just like when we learn how to stand up and walk when we were toddlers, falling was merely part of the learning process. But, we continued to learn how to stand up and walk, again and again, no matter how many times we fell. And gradually, we developed the stability and learned how to stand up and walk without falling.

As parents, they do their best to guide and assist the children until they are able to stand and walk by themselves, in their own pace, without being pushy, without judgment, comparison and expectation. This includes allowing them to fall during the learning process before they develop the stability. The children also continue to learn how to stand and walk, again and again, no matter how many times they fall. The parents allow the children to take responsibility for their action and the consequences of their action.

This is the same as when come to teaching, guiding and assisting the yoga students to come into the headstand.

The yoga teacher should have no fear to teach the headstand to the students, and without fear about allowing the students to learn how to fall in a relaxed manner, bringing the risk of physical injury to the minimum. And allowing the students to take responsibility for their action and the consequences of their action. The teacher must endowed with patience and compassion to guide the students coming into the headstand, in their own pace, without being pushy, without judgment, comparison and expectation. Meanwhile, the students should learn how to confront the fear and overcome it, while developing acceptance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, patience, perseverance, forbearance, non-attachment, non-identification, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, self-awareness, self-control, self-discipline and be free from craving and aversion, during the process of learning and performing the yoga asana poses.

Sometimes, some of the students see other people fall down from the headstand, they might generate fear and worry in themselves towards the headstand practice, even though the people who had fell didn’t hurt themselves, and they didn’t allow the fall to stop them from continuing their practice. One must learn not to be affected by one’s past experience of falling or other people’s falling from the asana poses, and do not let fear and worry to stop oneself from continuing to perform one’s own practice.

Fearlessness is part of selflessness. The one who has fear towards something, is the ego. Yoga is the realization of selflessness – the annihilation of the ego. The practice of headstand is confronting fear and be free from fear. The health benefits derive from the headstand practice are just some side-effects. Practicing headstand against the wall might bring health benefits to the practitioner, but it doesn’t allow the practitioner to confront fear and conquer it, instead, it is running away from dealing with fear.

Whether one can perform the yoga asana poses, or not, it’s really not important at all. Even after many times of practice, one might still unable to perform some or many of the yoga asana poses and might fall from time to time, and it’s fine, just keep practicing. What matter is, the practice of letting go of the egoism and not being over-powered by fear. Do our best, perform all our duties and responsibilities, without attachment towards our action and the result of our action, allowing the result to be what it is.

If the students have great fear of performing headstand and refuse to take responsibility for themselves, then they are not ready yet to practice headstand.

Be free.

Difficult life conditions and low education level don’t make a being bad or immoral

Difficult life conditions and low education level are neither something good nor bad. It doesn’t make a being good or bad.

People might easily relate crimes and criminals with those who live in difficult life conditions or have low education level.

There are people might use the difficult life conditions and low education level as an excuse to commit crimes or immoral conducts.

But, difficult life conditions and low education level don’t make anyone a bad being or a criminal, to commit crimes or immoral conducts.

Those who might have difficult life conditions or low education level, but are endowed with integrity, self-respect and self-control, they strive diligently to improve oneself and one’s life condition, through right livelihood, morally and rightfully.

There are those who might have easier life conditions and higher education level than many others are not necessarily be free from greed or won’t be committing crimes and immoral conducts. Out of greed, they would lie, cheat, steal and harm other beings. Out of pride and arrogance, there are those who believe they are more superior than other beings would discriminate and abuse other beings whom they believe are inferior than them.

One must be endowed with integrity, self-respect and self-control, so that one won’t be over-powered by greed to commit crimes or immoral conducts, disregard the living condition and education level that one has. One must be endowed with wisdom and compassion being free from ignorance and egoism, to be free from pride and arrogance, discrimination and abuse.

There’s no superiority or inferiority. All are merely composition of elements and will decompose into elements. All are impermanent and selfless.

Those who are free, are not determined by any life conditions or education levels, and they don’t need to plead any recognition or acknowledgement from any other beings, to be ‘somebody’ who needs recognition or acknowledgement.

And this is nothing to do with religion or spirituality.

May all be free.

Look after our own minds

If we truly love the world we live in,

If we truly love whatever we think we love,

If we truly love peace in ourselves and peace in the world,

Then look after our own minds.

“Out of ‘love’ towards my self, my life, my body, my mind, my feelings, my home, my family, my friends, my children, my relationship, my marriage, my freedom, my rights, my happiness, my possessions, my God, my religion, my lineage, my ancestor, my teacher, my students, my school, my practice, my ‘yoga’, my planet, my world, my community, my space, my environment, my pets, my country, my culture, my beliefs, my point of view, my abilities, my profession, my knowledge, my achievement, my reputation, my image and identity, I would do anything to preserve and protect all that I ‘love’ very much.”

If we think we ‘love’ this and that, and out of ‘love’, we would do anything to preserve and protect what we think we ‘love’ very much, to be the way that ‘I’ think they should be and the way that ‘I’ want them to be, then know that we don’t know what is love.

Be free.

Be free…

There are people think they believe in God existence, and they believe in God.

There are people think they don’t believe in God existence, and they disbelieve in God.

There are people think they used to believe in God existence and they believed in God, but not anymore.

No matter which one we relate to what we think, it really doesn’t matter.

Why?

Because –

If God exists, and if the God that people believe in is almighty, selfless and compassionate, is all good and kind, then whether people believe in God, or don’t believe in God, or stop believing in God, it makes no difference, and it really doesn’t matter. This God loves all without attachment and expectation, without offensiveness, discrimination, anger and hatred.

If people believe God is the creator and destroyer of all and everything, then this God will still carry out the duty of creating and destroying no matter whether people believe in the existence of God, or not. As well as God will exist no matter whether people believe in the existence of God, or not.

If God doesn’t exist, then whether people believe in God, or don’t believe in God, or stop believing in God, it makes no difference, and it really doesn’t matter. God doesn’t exist, no matter whether people believe in the existence of God, or not, and whether people believe in God, or not. Everyone has their freedom for what they want to think and believe.

If the God that people believe in is NOT almighty or compassionate, it’s egoistic, arrogant, worldly minded, petty-minded, corrupt, bribery, bias, offensive, discriminating, angry and hating, full of attachment and expectation, and is NOT good or kind, then what’s the point of believing in this God?

Whether we think God exists, or not, and whether we think we believe in God, or not, it has nothing to do with one’s liberation from ignorance and suffering upon the self-realization of selflessness.

Be free.

“Do I love myself, unconditionally?”

Whenever we think and feel that “I am hurt by this or that” we need to ask ourselves, “Do I love myself, unconditionally?”

If we love what we like and want more than loving ourselves as we are, then we will only be happy and satisfied when everything is the way that we like it to be, by having all our desires fulfilled. But when things are not the way that we like it to be, and we are not able to gratified our desires, we will feel hurt, unhappy and angry. This is because we don’t love ourselves as we are, as we are not able to accept ourselves as we are, being dissatisfied and disappointed with the reality that we don’t like, that we don’t want. We are hurt by our own dissatisfaction and disappointment towards ungratified desires or unfulfilled expectation towards ourselves and everyone else.

It’s really nothing to do with whether everything is the way that we like it to be, or not. Or whether other people love us, or not. Or whether other people treat us the way that we think it should be, or not. Or other people’s behavior is wrong and hurtful, or not.

Loving ourselves is different from selfishness. When we truly love ourselves, it’s not being selfish at all. It’s not about gratification of the desires of craving and aversion, or self-indulgence without restriction, but there is self-discipline, self-restriction and self-control to free the mind from being influenced or over-powered by egoistic desires of craving and aversion. It’s about being compassionate towards ourselves and everyone else. We stop hurting ourselves and others out of ignorance, selfishness and impurities.

May all learn how to love ourselves, unconditionally, and be free.

Yoga teachers and teaching yoga?

“Who can teach yoga?”

“Anybody, who knows what is yoga, who is peaceful and compassionate, who knows about impermanence and selflessness, who knows what is the cause of suffering and how to be free from suffering. It’s not necessarily someone who has been practicing yoga for a long time, who is strong and flexible to do many of the yoga asana poses, or who had attended ‘yoga teachers training course’, and obtained or possessed ‘internationally recognized’ yoga teacher certifications.”

“But, isn’t that all yoga teachers must have recognized yoga teachers certification to be allowed to teach yoga legally?”

“Do you think someone who is free from ignorance and suffering, who is peaceful and compassionate, has to attend some ‘yoga teachers training courses’ to be trained to be a ‘yoga teacher’, to be authorized by some ‘authorities’ and obtains ‘internationally recognized certifications’ sanctioned and approved by some ‘yoga associations’, and be allied to some ‘yoga alliances’, in order to radiate peace and be compassionate, to share the knowledge of yoga and guiding other beings to be free from ignorance and suffering? Is a person not allowed to be kind to other beings because this person hasn’t attended ‘kindness training’ and doesn’t have a recognized ‘certification of kindness’ sanctioned by a ‘kindness association or kindness alliance’?”

“I will not learn yoga from someone who hasn’t been through professional yoga teachers training, who doesn’t have ‘internationally recognized yoga teachers certification’. ‘Yoga teachers’ who don’t have a recognized certification are not allowed to teach yoga classes in many countries. Yoga centres in many countries only employ ‘internationally certified’ yoga teachers.”

“Isn’t that true… It’s your freedom of thinking and freedom of choice then.”

Whether people are well-educated and highly intelligent, or not, many would think that those who teach yoga must go through some forms of professional yoga teachers training to be qualified and certified as ‘yoga teachers’ before they are allowed to teach yoga, and they also think that only those who have been practicing yoga for quite a long time, who are physically strong and flexible to execute many of the yoga asana poses ‘beautifully’, or who have the ‘qualifications of a yoga teacher’, are qualified to attend yoga teachers training courses and be certified as ‘yoga teachers’ to conduct ‘yoga classes’ to teach yoga to other people.

These are the worldly ideas and values derived from conditioned thinking and belief under the influence of ignorance.

There are many ‘internationally certified and affiliated’ yoga teachers or instructors conduct many different types of ‘yoga classes’ everywhere in the world. Most of them teach yoga (asana) classes with different brand names according to the modules, styles and techniques that they learned from one or different types of ‘yoga schools’. Some might even invent their own brands, styles, sequences and techniques of ‘yoga’. Most of them even trademarked or copyrighted their new invention of ‘yoga’ that is adopted, modified and transformed from the traditional yoga practice. It’s normal that many people are confused and uncleared about the tradition of yoga of its practice and purpose.

“People tell me that I could do all the yoga poses easily and beautifully, that I am strong and flexible, and they say I should become a yoga teacher. Should I?”
“What do I need to do in order to become a yoga teacher?”
“Is there a minimum years of yoga practice in order to become a yoga teacher?”
“How many and which yoga asana poses that I need to be able to perform in order to become a yoga teacher and teach yoga?”
“Do I need an internationally recognized yoga teachers certification to teach yoga in this country?”
“Do these yoga schools and yoga teachers affiliated with internationally recognized yoga association and yoga alliance?”
“Do these yoga courses issue internationally recognized certifications approved and sanctioned by internationally recognized yoga association and yoga alliance?”

In the commercial world of ‘education systems’, ‘qualifications’ and ‘certifications’, a person is obliged to obtain and possess some sorts of qualifications and certifications issued and recognized by ‘internationally recognized’ yoga association and yoga alliance to work as a ‘yoga teacher’ or ‘yoga instructor’ to conduct yoga (asana) classes to be teaching safe and result orientated ‘yoga exercise’ to other people. No doubt that those who teach yoga exercise fitness classes are better off being conformed and regulated under certain ‘rules and regulations’ regulated by ‘those who know what they are doing’, so that they have the basic knowledge to provide safe and effective physical training for other people by teaching varieties of ‘yoga (asana) classes’ with different brands, styles, techniques and routines, that have been adopted and modified from the traditional yoga asana practice. But, yoga is not about teaching or participating in yoga asana exercise classes. Yoga poses, or asana practice is just one part of the many yoga practice to help to influence the mind, to render the mind calm and quiet for meditation. It’s not necessarily that people have to perform yoga asana practice to be practicing yoga, or to be peaceful and compassionate.

If people think teaching yoga to other people is about becoming a certified ‘yoga teacher’ by attending internationally recognized ‘yoga teachers training courses’ to attain ‘internationally recognized certification’ issued and sanctioned by internationally recognized ‘yoga association’ and ‘yoga alliance’, or one needs to go through some sorts of professional yoga teachers training to learn how to teach yoga in order to teach yoga, or how many years of yoga practice will qualify someone to be a yoga teacher, or a yoga teacher needs to have certain level of strength and flexibility to perform and demonstrate the yoga asana poses when teaching yoga classes, or teaching yoga is about training the students to push the body beyond its limitations to achieve maximum strength and flexibility, to be able to perform as many yoga asana poses as possible, and to execute the yoga poses in perfect alignment, or a person needs to have recognized certificate(s) to teach yoga, or teaching yoga means teaching different types of yoga asana classes labeled with different levels, brands and styles, then very obviously they don’t know what is yoga, and so, how can they teach yoga, even though they possess ‘internationally recognized’ yoga teachers certifications?

Teaching yoga is not about teaching yoga asana (fitness exercise) classes. It’s nothing to do with becoming a ‘yoga teacher’ by attending yoga teacher training courses to attain internationally recognized certifications or qualifications issued and sanctioned by ‘internationally recognized’ yoga association and yoga alliance, so that one can teach yoga exercise classes adopted from traditional yoga asana practice. It’s dealing with the mind and its modification, the function of the mind, the perception of names and forms (the worldly life existence), the states of the mind, the habits and behavior of the mind, the actions and reactions of the mind, the impurities of the mind, the ignorance and suffering of the mind, and the liberation of the mind.

Yoga practice is about the elimination of ignorance, egoism and impurities, to free the mind from being conditioned by worldly thinking and beliefs, to realize selflessness and unconditional peace beyond all the impermanent qualities of names and forms.

Unconditional peace and compassion is not determined by how good a person can execute the yoga poses, or how long a person has been performing the yoga asana practice, or what type of qualification or certification a person has obtained and possessed from attending yoga classes or courses from yoga schools.

Whether a being is liberated from ignorance and suffering, and is peaceful and compassionate, or not, it has nothing to do with ‘yoga associations’, ‘yoga alliance’, ‘yoga schools’, ‘yoga classes’, ‘yoga courses’, ‘yoga teachers training’, and ‘yoga teachers qualifications and certifications’.

There are some qualities which can determine a yoga aspirant – Viveka, Vairagya, Shat-sampat and Mumukshutva. And all these qualities has nothing to do with being in yoga class, attending yoga class, teaching yoga class, being strong and flexible, performing some yoga poses, yoga schools, yoga association, yoga alliance, yoga teachers training courses, and certifications. Yoga practice is about Vichara, to perform self-inquiry to know the truth of names and forms. One can learn and practice yoga anywhere, anytime. One can teach yoga anywhere, anytime. All the names and forms are teaching us yoga, it’s not limited to a human being who identifies himself/herself as ‘yoga teacher’. Anything and anyone and all our experiences that can teach us about impermanence and selflessness, that allow us to realize compassion and be compassionate, is our yoga teachers. In the end, both the teacher and the student is the mind itself.

The one who is free from ignorance and suffering, who is peaceful, wise and compassionate, doesn’t need to attend any ‘yoga teachers training courses’ to be trained to become a ‘yoga teacher’ to teach yoga. This being doesn’t need to be certified, authorized and approved by ‘yoga schools’, ‘yoga associations’, or ‘yoga alliance’ for being peaceful and compassionate, to radiate peace and compassion, and to guide other suffering beings onto the path of selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness, to also realize unconditional peace and compassion. This being doesn’t need the title of ‘yoga teacher’, or naming the act of sharing the knowledge of unconditional peace and compassion as ‘teaching yoga’. It’s free from egoistic attachments and identifications of ‘I want to teach yoga’, ‘I teach yoga or yoga classes’, ‘I am a yoga teacher’, ‘I am an internationally qualified and certified yoga teacher’, ‘I am qualified and certified to teach yoga’, ‘I am a good and experienced yoga teacher’, or ‘I have been practicing and teaching yoga for xx years.’

The realization of ‘Selflessness’ which leads to unconditional peace and compassion is undetermined by all the worldly impermanent qualities of names and forms. It doesn’t belong to a particular being, species, gender, sexual orientation, age, social status, intellect, personality, behavior, impermanent states of the mind, physical appearance, physical condition, limitation and ability, worldly education and knowledge, worldly commercial ideas, thinking and beliefs, worldly achievements and contributions, personal belief, cultural belief, religious belief, spiritual practice, yoga class, yoga school, yoga association, yoga alliance, or how many years of yoga practice.

If people want to think and believe that they will only learn and practice ‘yoga’ under the guidance of a ‘yoga teacher’ who possesses and advertises ‘internationally recognized’ qualifications and certifications, and those who want to teach ‘yoga’ think that they need to possess ‘internationally recognized’ qualifications and certifications, and be authorized by ‘internationally recognized yoga associations and yoga alliance’ to teach ‘yoga’ to other people, then the ‘yoga’ that they practice and teach will be what they think what it is. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Yoga is not about achieving peace and happiness by having the life or the world to be the way that we like it to be, but, it’s realizing the unconditional peace being undetermined by all the impermanent good and bad qualities of names and forms, pleasant and unpleasant or desirable and undesirable experiences.

Whether a person is practicing yoga, or not, it’s not determined by being content and happy when everything is the way that we desire it to be, but, it is seen whether the mind is able to be peaceful and compassionate under any challenging, difficult, undesirable and discomfortable conditions and situations, being free from all sorts of impurities, ill-will and ill-thinking when everything is not the way that we like it to be

Be free.

Is it important to free the mind from ignorance and impurities?

Someone asked, “Is it important to free the mind from ignorance and impurities?”

It depends on ourselves, about what we want for ourselves in this impermanent life existence, and what we want to contribute to the world from this life existence.

Everyone has their freedom for what they want for their life, or what they want to do with their body and mind.

It’s our own choice whether we are aware of the ignorance and impurities in our minds and their influence towards our life experience, whether we want to do something about the cause of unhappiness and suffering, whether we want to free our minds from ignorance and impurities, to attain real freedom and peace.

Everyone has different ways of life and meanings of life to live up to. There’s no right and wrong, better or worse. It’s just personal choice and preference, and might be influenced by certain circumstances.

There are people who don’t mind being restless swaying in between happiness and unhappiness, satisfaction and dissatisfaction, elevation and depression, calmness and agitation, fulfillment and disappointment, and they enjoy being the slaves of passions, desires, craving and aversion.

There are people who are passionate towards the worldly life of impermanence and try to make the most out of it to enjoy life to the maximum, while they can.

There are people who spend most of their life time making a living, to survive and to feed their family.

If people are happy with that, they don’t need to do anything other than living a worldly life the way that they like it to be, or the way that they think life should be, while trying to accomplish what they think is their meanings of life.

Meanwhile there were/are people who didn’t/don’t practice yoga and meditation, but, they did/do many amazing things for themselves and for the world.

In yoga, to conquer one’s mind and attaining liberation from ignorance and suffering is being seen as the greatest meaning of life existence and the greatest contribution to the world. But, there are not many indeed.

Om shanti.

See things as they are…

People complicate about the ‘TRUTH’. They think the ‘TRUTH’ is something sacred, and belongs to a particular religion teaching and practice.

One doesn’t need to be educated and knowledgeable, or know how to read and write and count, or be able to stand on their head or hands, or perform a particular religion practice or ritual, or believe in ‘God’, or not, to know the truth of names and forms.

The truth of names and forms is very simple – it’s seeing everything as it is. It’s not a belief, or a teaching, or a philosophy. It doesn’t belong to any particular person, or being, or sect, or culture, or religion, or society. The truth is always the same truth that applies to all and everyone, disregards all the different qualities of names and forms. The truth of names and forms is simply IMPERMANENCE and SELFLESSNESS. It’s nothing to do with ‘God’, ‘religion’, ‘good and evil’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘happiness and unhappiness’, ‘knowledgeable and not knowledgeable’, ‘intelligent and not intelligent’.

Meanwhile the cause of suffering is ignorance towards the truth of names and forms. Highly knowledgeable and intelligent people are not necessarily be free from ignorance and suffering, if they attach onto their knowledge and intelligence, and have pride and arrogance towards what they think they know and who they think they are. Those who think they have been practicing yoga for many years and attended many yoga and meditation classes and courses, are not necessarily be free from ignorance and suffering. They might still be disturbed by the names and forms that they like and don’t like, agree and don’t agree with, and suffer from dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, agitation, restlessness, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, feelings of hurt, loneliness, insult, humiliation, animosity, defensiveness, offensiveness, fear and worry. And it’s okay, because everyone takes their own time to evolve, as to be aware of the egoism in oneself, and the elimination of egoism is quite a challenging task and unpleasant journey.

Those who see the truth never argue or debate with those who don’t see the truth, and they can’t make others who don’t see the truth to see the truth. They allow everyone to see the truth, or not, and respect everyone has different perception of reality, thinking, belief, opinion and behavior from others.

But, if our minds are not free from ignorance and egoism, and attached onto certain thinking, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge, we don’t see the truth of things as it is, even though the truth is so simple. Our minds analyze everything based on particular thinking and belief, and judge everything based on what we think we know. What we don’t know, and what is different from our thinking and belief, we will deny, resist, or object. We don’t want the truth that is not something that we like and want. We expect the truth to be the way that we like it to be, or the way that we think it should be. We will argue and debate with others who have different perception of reality, thinking, belief, opinion and behavior from us, and try to convince others that we know better than others. These are the games of the egoism.

Those who know the truth, and they allow the truth to be what it is and are able to live in harmony with the truth, there’s no attachment towards all the impermanent names and forms, and knowing that ‘I’ doesn’t exist at all. And hence, suffering doesn’t arise in them.

Those who don’t know the truth, or those who don’t like the truth to be what it is, or are unable to live in harmony with the truth, but they want to challenge or go against the truth, and they want to control things or the world to be the way that they desire it to be, there’s attachment towards all the impermanent names and forms, and there’s identification with certain names and forms as ‘I’. And hence, suffering arise in them.

To see things as they are, we need to free the mind from being conditioned by particular culture, religion, philosophy, thinking, belief, and all kinds of knowledge about this and that we have been accumulating from here and there, to just observe the nature of everything that the mind perceives through the senses. It’s not difficult to see the truth of things, but it’s challenging for many egoistic minds to let go what we think we know and who we think we are. As the greatest hindrance that stop the mind from seeing the truth as it is, is what the mind thinks it knows and who it thinks it is.

Our minds are being conditioned to think and behave in certain ways, and to believe in certain values and beliefs influence by our family and cultural brought up, and school education. We might become more intelligent and knowledgeable through receiving all kinds of education and knowledge about this and that, but not only it’s actually feeding and empowering the egoism and ignorance in us, it’s also a great obstacle for us on the path of yoga to be free from egoism and ignorance. – “This is me. This is who I am. I am intelligent and knowledgeable. I am proud of what I know and who I am.” and we can never realize what is selflessness due to this great attachment towards the idea of ‘I’, what we think we know, and who we think we are, even though we think we have been practicing ‘yoga and meditation’ for many many years.

Be free.

Let go all kinds of worldly identifications

There is no freedom to be found in trying to seek recognition and approval from this society that consists of all kinds of different conditioned cultures, thinking and beliefs. There will always be disagreement, discrimination and hatred coming from different communities that are different from one another where they attached strongly onto their particular culture, thinking and beliefs, as all kinds of ignorance generated by ignorant minds will always exist in the world.

The law created by the worldly minded doesn’t stop anyone from experiencing discrimination and hatred from others who don’t like and don’t agree with the others who are different from them. Prosecution and imprisonment doesn’t stop the ignorant mind from being ignorant, discriminating and hating towards what is different from itself that it doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with. No matter how good and intelligent we think we are, it doesn’t determine that we are more superior than anyone else whom we don’t like and don’t agree with, whom we criticize and condemn.

One can only take care one’s mind to realize what is selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness, through one’s effort, and be free from all kinds of worldly identifications with different qualities of names and forms, and let the world to be what it is. Allowing all the other minds to be influenced by ignorance, or be free from ignorance, evolve at their own cause and pace.

Those who truly want to know what is yoga, must be determined to meditate and realize what is selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness. All kinds of benefits coming from the regular yoga practice are just some side-effects. They don’t give liberation without the realization of selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness.

Beyond all the impermanent qualities of names and forms, conditioned worldly cultures, thinking and beliefs, and all sorts of worldly identities of who and what we think is ‘I’.

There is no ‘I’ or ‘not I’.

There is no ‘human beings’ or ‘not human beings’.

There is no ‘this nationality’ or ‘not this nationality’.

There is no ‘male’ or ‘not male’.

There is no ‘female’ or ‘not female’.

There is no ‘something not male and not female’ or ‘not something not male and not female’.

There is no ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ or ‘bi-sexual’.

There is no ‘married’ or ‘unmarried’.

There is no ‘friends’ or ‘not friends’.

There is no ‘alone’ or ‘not alone’.

There is no ‘religious’ or ‘not religious’.

There is no ‘spiritual’ or ‘not spiritual’.

There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

There is no ‘positive’ or ‘negative’.

There is no ‘gain’ or ‘loss’.

There is no ‘success’ or ‘failure’.

There is no ‘superiority’ or ‘inferiority’.

There is no ‘yogi’ or ‘not yogi’.

It’s just impermanent qualities of names and forms that keep changing. The world is always running by many egoistic minds that are not free from ignorance and selfishness yet. Those minds that are free from ignorance, they don’t run the world. They let the world runs itself.

Inequality and discrimination and all kinds of impurities generated by many ignorant minds will always exist in this world of names and forms perceived by the mind under the influence of ignorance.

Only when one has gone beyond all the identifications with qualities of names and forms, and be free from ignorance, one will be in peace and harmony resting in one’s nameless and formless nature, transcending all the inequalities and discrimination derive from the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, and be undetermined by all the other minds that are not free form ignorance yet.

Be free.

Inquire the truth of everything of what we’ve been told or informed that influence our thinking and behavior

Since we were new born babies, when we began to perceive the world of names and forms through the senses, we were told many stories and information about this is who we are and this is who we should become, or this is what we should do and shouldn’t do, or this is how we should behave and shouldn’t behave, or what is meaningfulness and meaninglessness, by our parents, care takers, relatives, neighbours, school teachers, religious teachers, spiritual teachers, friends, society, politicians, activists, icons, social and commercial medias, scientists, researchers, historians, artists, philosophers, and many others, as well as our own imagination.

Our minds are being conditioned to think, believe, and behave according to all these stories and information we’ve been told. Meanwhile our reasoning power also functions under the influence of these conditioned thinking and belief. All kinds of agreements and disagreements coming from our minds are based on this reasoning power that is influenced by these conditioned thinking and belief.

It doesn’t matter what our minds think and believe what things are and how things should be like, and what we agree and disagree with, the path of yoga and meditation is to inquire the truth of everything, including all the stories and information we have been told and informed by all and everyone, even if it’s coming from our most beloved people in our lives, or most respected human beings in the world.

And thus, the inquiry into the truth of everything is not done by the reasoning power of the intellectual minds that functions under the influence of the agreements and disagreements based on different types of conditioned thinking and beliefs, but, it’s through freeing the mind from attaching towards any kinds of thinking and beliefs, to allow the mind to be able to see the truth of things as it is, uninfluenced by any conditioned thinking and beliefs.

When one knows about this, one is not affected or determined by all kinds of psychological influential actions and speech coming from different types of individuals or groups for fulfilling their selfish purposes out of their self-interests. When one is free from the influence of all kinds of conditioned thinking and beliefs to think, to act, and to speak, that is the true freedom of thinking, action and speech.

A student may ask the teacher – What do you believe and don’t believe? or, Do you believe in this? But, what the teacher believes and doesn’t believe, and whether the teacher believes in this, or not, is nothing to do with the truth, or with the student’s realization of the truth. Realization of the truth doesn’t come from agreeing, accepting and adopting what the teachers, or other people believe or don’t believe.

May all be free.