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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be free.

Are we really practicing yoga?

We are not really practicing yoga, if we are being conditioned by what our mind believes what things are.

Anything that we believe and think is ‘not good’ or ‘not perfect’ is conditioned by subjective ‘standards’ coming from our own perception and recognition about what things are, but it is not coming from the objects themselves.

In different cultural beliefs, being “fat” can be ‘not good’ for some people, but can be ‘very good’ for some other people. What we think is ‘not perfect’ can be ‘perfectly as it is’ for some other people.

Things that might seem like “big problems” for us, might be “no problems at all” for some other people.

It is up to us, how we want to conditioned our mind, or free our mind from conditions.

We either limit ourselves by generate a lot of “standards” and “qualities” for ourselves to live up to, or limit ourselves by allowing other people’s “standards” and “qualities” to determine us.

We also apply our own type of “qualities” and “standards” onto everyone and everything, expecting everyone and everything should also comply to these “qualities” and “standards”, and be judged by these “qualities” and “standards”. We categorize everyone and everything into categories according to our own “standards” of what is ‘good’ and ‘not good’.

The point is, we are free, until the moment we start to apply ‘beliefs’, ‘ideas’, ‘standards’, and ‘qualities’ onto ourselves and towards other people and everything. Expect ourselves, other people and things have to be like this or like that. Making ourselves not free, and disturbing other people as well.

Just by doing some yoga asana exercises and poses, or pranayama, or studying, discussing, talking, reading and hearing the philosophy of yoga, or chanting and praying in Sanskrit everyday, but without practicing the true meanings of non-dualism in everyday life, constantly being disturbed, affected and determined by the good and bad qualities of names and forms, and generate craving and aversion towards what we like and dislike, agree and disagree with, being influenced by discrimination, anger, hatred, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear and worry, not knowing the practice of non-attachment and non-identification, then it is like performing lots of actions improving the function of the mind, the body, the hands, the feet, and the sense organs, having a good condition ‘vehicle’ with full tank of fuel, but we forgot to learn how to ‘drive’ this good condition ‘vehicle’ towards Freedom or Moksha.

Om shanti.

Intimidated by other people’s physical conditions and abilities in yoga (asana) practice?

If we have been putting in the same amount of time, discipline and effort into our daily yoga (asana) practice, just like those who have been spending lots of time, discipline and effort to keep the body and mind busy engaging in regular yoga (asana) practice, whether for spiritual growth, or for health and fitness reason, or for both;
we won’t have the free space in the mind, nor have the free time to be busy looking at other people’s ‘performance’ or result of a persistent and regular practice, and feel either envy, or intimidated by other people’s physical conditions and abilities, and spiritual improvement.

Although yoga, or unconditional love and peace is nothing to do with the levels of physical conditions and abilities, but naturally, there will be certain amount of improvement in physical conditions and abilities, as an ‘unavoidable’ side effect coming from regular yoga (asana) practice, whether we are aiming at it or not, or whether we like it or not.

We do not intent nor expect to gain any physical fitness, strength and flexibility while performing the yoga (asana) practice, as that is not the objective or goal of performing yoga (asana) practice, and our basic yoga practice is non-identification with the impermanent conditional physical body and the thinking mind. But the physical and mental effect coming from the regular yoga (asana) practice is still there.

The body will gain certain degrees of fitness, strength and flexibility, and the mind will gain certain degrees of calmness and peace. But that is not the end of our yoga practice. We need to use that physical condition and state of mind that is conducive for meditation, to contemplate upon the truth, to go beyond the body and mind, to remove ignorance, to be free from being conditioned by egoism, duality, qualities of names and forms.

We will never feel intimidated by anyone or anything, if we truly practice yoga and meditation.

Om shanti.

Give yourself 15 minutes, to get you going in daily yoga asana practice…

Before the start of yoga asana practice, it’s normal that our mind feels reluctant to move the physical body. We will give ourselves ‘reasonable’ excuses to escape a two hours of daily yoga asana practice.

The point is, even before we bring the body to perform daily yoga asana practice, to overcome that ‘laziness’ or ‘struggle’ is our real yoga practice.

To develop strong self-discipline in anything that we want to pursue is indeed our yoga practice. It’s not so much about how good we are in what we are doing. But to keep up the discipline is where the practice is.

It is only the first 15 minutes of physical movements that we feel ‘struggle’. After 15 minutes or so, it will turn into ‘enjoyable’ and ‘energizing’ that you don’t want to be disturbed until you finish your daily two hours routine.

That’s why I encourage anyone to do some yoga asana practice even just for 15 minutes (It’s a trick, but it works). Because that is what you need to get your body going. You will no longer need someone to ‘push’ you to ‘finish’ your daily 2 hours routine. As the energy fields in your body will tell you, “Yes! Keep going… 15 minutes is not enough.”

Om shanti.

Why being determined by life when we can make good use of life existence for benefiting ourselves and others?

Why being determined by life when we can make good use of life existence for benefiting ourselves and others?

It doesn’t matter our life condition is ‘good’ or ‘not so good’, or whether it is the way that we like it to be or not, we don’t have to be determined by it to be peaceful or not.

When our life is in ‘good’ condition, we take the advantage and opportunity to make good use of it for benefiting ourselves and others, without feeling proud and arrogant. Knowing that even this ‘comfortable’ condition will change and pass away.

When our life is in ‘not so good’ condition, we allow ourselves to accept the reality as it is, allow ourselves to be temporary excused from certain duty and responsibility, without feeling guilty, depressed or unhappy. Knowing that even this ‘difficult’ condition will change and pass away. We also allow other beings to show loving kindness and develop compassion towards those who are in ‘not so good’ conditions, and to be grateful and appreciate the ‘good’ condition that they have.

Appreciate this life existence, this body and this mind, and the time being, to do something beneficial and meaningful for ourselves and others. Such like, love ourselves and accepting ourselves as we are, stop criticizing ourselves and stop hurting ourselves with anger and hatred, fear and worry. And do the same towards other beings.

Time doesn’t really exist in reality. It is just the perception of the mind perceiving changes of the qualities of names and forms that is subject to impermanence. Time exists in the mind, but it doesn’t belong to the mind, or who we think we are. There’s no such thing as ‘my time’ or ‘wasting my time’. But then it seems like in this moment there is ‘time’ for us to spend freely to be doing something (performing beneficial actions that will promote harmony in ourselves and others) or doing nothing (refrain from performing harmful actions that will promote disharmony in ourselves and others).

Make good use of the thinking and reasoning power of the mind, the hands, the feet, the speech organ and the hearing organ, for ourselves and others.

When there are moments that we need to take a break from doing something, we enjoy doing nothing (such like when we don’t have any specific duty or responsibility to be carried out, or when our body experiences some illness or injuries, or any degeneration or malfunctions of the body and mind).

When we have the potential and opportunity to make use of this body and mind to do something good for ourselves and others, we perform all our actions with gratitude and joy, but without attachment or expectation towards the result of our actions. Be grateful that we are being given the opportunity to use the thinking mind, the creativity, the ideas, the hands, the feet and the speech organ for doing something good or nice for ourselves and others.

Do not let the life conditions, the body and the mind to determine us, or to ‘influence’ us to be peaceful or not, or to be ‘used’ by the ego to magnify its false existence as ‘I’. Instead, we make use of them to do something that is beyond our own belief, thinking or imagination of what we can do with this life opportunity.

When we perform actions with expectation, we are bound by our actions, and be determined by the result of the action. We are not free. This life existence is being used by the ego to accomplish its desires of craving and aversion.

If we know how to perform all actions whether it is for ourselves or for others, without attachment or expectation towards the result of the action, we are free. This life existence is being used for something beneficial for all beings.

When our mind starts to expand by cultivating compassion towards other beings and performing all our actions to benefit all beings, it will stop focusing on personal life problems. Personal life problems are still there, but it will become less and less important until it vanished from the mind. There’s no problem or unhappiness at all, even though there are ups and downs, and obstacles in life.

Om shanti.

Strength and Flexibility?

The greatest strength and flexibility is realizing the truth of our true nature, which is wisdom and the unconditional love or compassion, which also manifested, or can be found or seen in patience, tolerance, perseverance, determination, forbearance, forgiveness, adaptation, accommodation, adjustment, acceptance, non-violence, non-hatred, non-discrimination, non-judgment, non-expectation, non-attachment, non-possessiveness, non-dualism, non-separateness, namelessness and formlessness, egolessness or selflessness, beyond the identification as ‘I’ and all the mind perceptions with all the different qualities of names and forms.

This can be illustrated as being free from egoism or ignorance, or being free from craving and aversion, or being free from all the impurities and restlessness, or being free from desires of want and don’t want, or being free from fear and worry, or being free from anger and hatred, or being free from being conditioned by the mind and the perception of names and forms through the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking.

Realize this real strength and flexibility, there is even no need to forbear nor to endure anything that the mind thinks or believes as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, or ‘suffering’. There’s no longing nor clinging onto what the mind thinks or believes as ‘good’, ‘positive’, or ‘happiness’. As in truth, all the perceptions of good and bad, positive and negative, happiness and suffering, they don’t really exist at all. It is all manifested in the mind itself and will dissolve in the mind itself once the mind realizes its true nature, which is nameless and formless, attributeless, beginningless and endless, birthless and deathless.

The optimum physical strength and flexibility that we can attain through this physical body cannot be compared to this real strength and flexibility that allow us to be existing and living in this world of names and forms, but being able to ‘forbear’ and ‘withstand’ any ‘difficult’ and ‘discomfortable’ conditions and situations, and being unaffected, undisturbed, uninfluenced, undetermined by all these names and forms, but able to fully utilize this life existence, or the body and mind, to be performing some beneficial actions for all beings, but knowing that everything is impermanent, there is no attachment at all towards all the actions being performed and the fruit of the action.

There’s no disappointment nor depression about “Why bother and waste energy in performing actions, as everything is impermanent, everything will come to an end?”

In Buddhism, the monks spend lots of time, doing ‘something’ occupying the mind with ‘something’, so that the mind doesn’t have spare ‘space’ or ‘room’ for any ‘evil’ thinking, or speculation, or imagination, or projection. As the mind is being restrained to be in the present moment on the physical actions being performed.

Same as when we perform yoga asana practice, it is not so much about gaining some physical or mental benefits from spending some time and energy doing the practice, but mostly it’s to engage the body and mind in some wholesome activities, as there are energy in the body and mind that needs to be directed to ‘somewhere’. At the same time, refraining the body and mind from some unwholesome activities while engaging in the yoga asana practice. And that itself is a great purification process for the mind, as well as it is benefiting the whole world of life existence, as this body and this mind is not generating any harmful thoughts or actions into the world during that time being.

There is a very efficient practice in Buddhism about realizing and accepting impermanence, and practicing non-attachment and letting go. Everyone will spend lots of time and energy, sincerely and attentively to make ‘complicated’ and ‘beautiful’ mandala using coloured sand or different colours beans on the ground, and as soon as it is finished, they will mess it up with their own hand, to realize what is perform all our actions for the benefits of all beings, but without attachment towards the action or the fruit of the action.

If we don’t know the truth, we will feel very meaningless and wasting energy or effort to perform actions but then in the end it is nothingness or emptiness. But when we know the truth, there is no gain when we perform any action, nor there is any loss when the fruit of our actions experience impermanence and disappear. There is no wasting energy or effort at all. It is beyond creation and emptiness. There is nothing being created. There’s no actions being performed. Names and forms are not different from emptiness. Emptiness is not separated from names and forms.

Perform Karma yoga, or selfless service is what we can do for ourselves and others with this body and this mind, to make good use of them. Karma yoga is not just about performing beneficial actions for others, but it is not separated from performing beneficial actions for ourselves. There’s no difference whether the actions being performed is for ourselves or for others, there’s no priority nor less priority, superiority nor inferiority, as whether it is for ourselves or for others, it is the same and is benefiting everyone. There’s no intention to be good, or to do good, or to be benefiting anyone, or to be receiving anything good in return. Just perform action and let go. And that is selflessness or compassion.

It doesn’t matter everything will come to an end, we do our best and let go. As this body and this mind has some ‘spare time’ and ‘energy’ that doesn’t belong to them, to be spent without gaining or losing anything. Why not use it for something constructive and beneficial for all beings?

Om shanti.

How to practice non-attachment or non-identification with the body and mind?

There are many people who are interested in practicing yoga and meditation, but they say it is not easy for them to practice the basic teaching of non-attachment or non-identification with the body and mind. They will be easily being determined by the attachment towards the body and mind, and couldn’t help themselves being disturbed physically, mentally and emotionally all the time. They are affected, disturbed, influenced and determined very much by what they see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. They want to have peace, but it seems like very difficult for them to be peaceful.

The body and the mind is just like a car and the driver. And the life experience in this world is like the experience of driving on the road.

We cannot expect everyone will drive, follow the same rules, act and react on the road like us. We can pay full attention on the road and try to drive safe, but we cannot have expectation onto other drivers also should do the same. We will be risking ours and other beings safety, and be very frustrated and disappointed, if we expect everyone to drive, follow the same rules, act and react on the road like us.

It’s the same in life. We cannot expect everyone to think, behave, act or react in the same way as we think, behave, act or react. We can do our best trying to perform what our mind believes is good and right, but we cannot expect other beings to have the same ideas and mentality. We cannot control or change other beings to think, behave, act and react like us. We will only hurt ourselves by getting disappointed, frustrated and angry, and will cause further tension and harmful effect onto other beings when we react out of disappointment, frustration and anger, if we expect other beings to be the way that we want them to be.

Without the car, there’s no need of a driver. Without a driver, the car doesn’t go anywhere. Having the car and a driver, but it still depends on fuel, battery, air, water, and all the parts of the car to be functioning properly, and etc for the car to be moving and go where the driver wants to go.

Without the body, there’s no need of a mind. Without the mind, the body is useless, it doesn’t act nor perceive anything. Having the body and a mind, but it still depends on energy, oxygen, water and nutrients for it to be functioning.

The car needs maintenance and so does the physical body. The car will have problems if it is being over-used and not well-maintained, so does the physical body. And no matter how well we take care of the car or the physical body, the car or the body will still be conditioned by impermanence, and will go through ‘old age’, ‘weakness’, ‘injury’, ‘illness’, and ‘death’ or ‘decomposition’. They belong to the elements of fire, water, wind, earth and ether. The car owner doesn’t own the car, and the mind (what we think we are) doesn’t own the body. It is the body that is made of elements and being conditioned by qualities who is experiencing impermanence and ‘death’. There is no ‘I’ being there to experience impermanence and ‘death’.

The driver needs to be endowed with certain qualities for him to drive the car safely and responsibly. Such like proper driving skill and ethics, calmness, attentiveness, responsibility, patience, thoughtfulness, clear vision, obeying the traffic rules and etc, so that his action of driving the car doesn’t cause any harmful casualties or damages to himself or to other beings, people, or the environment. If the driver is reckless and irresponsible, he is risking his own and other beings safety as well.

Same as the mind, it needs to be endowed with certain qualities for it to use the physical body, hands and feet, and the organ of speech, morally and responsibly. Such like purity of thoughts, calmness, concentration, responsibility, patience, forbearance, perseverance, self-control, self-discipline, thoughtfulness, respect, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, forgiveness, generosity, open-mindedness, loving kindness, clear thinking, right conduct or action, right speech, right view, right intention, right understanding or knowledge, right livelihood, right effort, right concentration. right mindfulness, and etc, so that its action and reaction through the physical body doesn’t cause any harmful damages to itself or to other beings, people, or the environment.

The one who needs to be purified, and who is performing yoga and meditation practice, is the mind. The one who needs to practice non-attachment and non-identification with the functions, conditions and abilities of the body and the states of mind, is the mind itself. The one who needs to let go of the egoism, is the mind itself. The one who needs to realize the truth and be free from ignorance, is the mind. The one who is observing the thoughts, action and reaction, feelings, emotions, and sensations, and not generate craving and aversion towards all these experiences or perceptions of names and forms, is the mind itself. But there is no ‘I’. There is no ‘I am’. There is no ‘I am performing action’.┬áThere is no ‘I am receiving the fruit of action’.

Ignorance causes the mind to attach and identify with the physical body. The mind thinks and believes that the conditions and the abilities of the physical body is what it is. It feels good and bad, happy and unhappy, positive and negative, being influenced and determined by the impermanent conditions and abilities of the physical body, as well as whatever it perceives through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin and thinking.

The mind thinks and believes that the body belongs to it, and thus, it thinks and says, “This is my body. This body is mine”.

The mind thinks and believes that all the sensations, feelings, emotions, beliefs and thinking belongs to it, and thus, it thinks and says, “These are my sensations, my feelings, my emotions, my beliefs and my thinking”.

The mind attached to the appearance, conditions and abilities of the physical body as ‘I’, and thus, it thinks and says, “This is my look, my conditions and my abilities”. As well as attachment towards all the ideas of “This is my study, my knowledge, my pride, my confidence, my self-esteem, my culture, my religion, my country, my point of views, and etc”. And so, whatever changes and experiences that is happening in the body and in the mind, the mind attached to them and identified with them, and be disturbed, affected, influenced and determined by all these changes and experiences of the qualities of names and forms.

But all these pleasant and unpleasant, desirable and undesirable changes and experiences are impermanent and they don’t belong to the mind. They come and go as they like, without asking any permission from the mind. That’s why all the idea of ‘I’ and ‘my’, is incorrect understanding as all these names and forms don’t belong to the mind at all.

From the attachment towards the physical body, the mind attached to all the relationships that come in contact with this physical body, and thus, it thinks and says, “My family, my partner, my children, my friends, my enemies, and etc”. And this generates separation and distinction of superiority and inferiority, priority and less priority, likes and dislikes, wants and don’t wants. And hence, the mind is being conditioned by all kinds of relationships with people, animals, insects, plants, nature, material belongings, jobs, and etc, and be determined to be happy or unhappy according to the conditions of all these names and forms, whether they are something that the ego likes or dislikes, agrees or disagrees with.

And the mind becomes restless, anxious, agitated, depressed, dissatisfied, disappointed, frustrated, irritated, have fear and worry, as it attached to all the impermanent qualities of names and forms that it perceives from moment to moment.

The point is, all the different qualities of names and forms have no intention or power to affect, or disturb, or influence, or determine the mind to be happy or unhappy, to feel good or bad. All the names and forms are not something good or bad, positive or negative, happiness or suffering. It is coming from the mind itself, being attached to what the mind thinks and believes what things are, categorizing and labeling everything with the judgment of good and bad, positive and negative, happiness and suffering. And what the mind thinks and believes what things are, is not necessarily the truth of things. What the mind thinks and believes is being contaminated or influenced by ignorance and impurities, as well as likes and dislikes, agreement and disagreement coming from the ego.

When the mind comes in contact with what the mind recognizes as good, positive and happiness, the mind will feel good and happy. When the mind comes in contact with what the mind recognizes as bad, negative and suffering, the mind will feel bad and unhappy.

The car doesn’t belong to the driver. The driver doesn’t own the car, as it is not in his control of the function of the car. The car doesn’t drive the driver. The driver drives the car. The driver will be affected by the condition of the car, if the driver attached to the car. But the driver will not be affected by the condition of the car, if the driver doesn’t attach to the car. The driver make full use of the car for conveniences, but the driver shall not be determined by the car.

Same as the body and mind. The body doesn’t belong to the mind. The mind doesn’t own the body, as it is not in the mind’s control of the function of the body. The body doesn’t make use of the mind. The mind makes use of the body. The mind will be affected by the condition of the body, if the mind attached to the body. But the mind will not be affected by the condition of the body, if the mind doesn’t attached to the body. The mind makes good use of the body for performing meaningful and beneficial actions in the world, but the mind shall not be determined by the body. And there is no attachment towards all the actions being performed through the body. And thus, the mind is free from being conditioned by the action and inaction, and the fruit or the result of the action.

By understanding the truth of things and who we really are, there is no gain or loss whether it’s coming from action or inaction. There is no guilt or pride whether it’s coming from action and inaction. As this body and mind is not ‘I’, there is no ‘I’ being here to gain anything or lose anything. But this life, the body and mind, have all the opportunities to be doing something that is meaningful and beneficial for ourselves and others. There is also plenty of ‘time’ that doesn’t belong to ‘I’ waiting to be spent, without attachment, without expectation, without to give or to receive. Make good use of this life existence to do something meaningful without attachment or identification, and not being determined by life existence to be who we are and how we feel. There is no success or failure, gain or loss when we understand this.

There is no fear and worry about getting the things that we don’t like and don’t want, or not getting the things that we like and want, or losing the things that we love. There is no craving or clinging towards ‘good’ things, ‘good’ happenings, ‘good’ experiences, or happiness. There is no aversion or fear towards ‘bad’ things, ‘bad’ happenings, ‘bad’ experiences, or suffering.

Free from craving and aversion. Free from egoism. Free from being conditioned by the subjective conditional beliefs and thinking in the mind. Free from anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride, arrogance, agitation, depression, frustration, irritation, anxiety, defensiveness, offensiveness, fear and worry. Free from generating good or bad karma. Free from being conditioned by the qualities of names and forms. Free from being conditioned by the impermanent condition of the body and mind. Free from duality, attachment, judgment and expectation. Free from ignorance.

These are real freedom for the mind. And the mind will dissolve itself into its true nature of without qualities and dualities, without birth and death, without existence and non-existence.

The true nature of all beings doesn’t need to be liberated from suffering, as there is no suffering. The one who experiences suffering is the mind. The mind needs to be free from ignorance. The mind is not something good or bad. The mind is just being what it is, and it is not ‘I’. There is no ‘I’ being here to be liberated.

And thus, there is no attachment towards the mind or the identification as ‘I’.

Contemplate on this teaching and be free.

Om shanti.

Healing process is happening constantly even if we don’t have intention to heal anything…

The entire yoga and meditation practice is a purification process, or it has healing effects for physical, mental and emotional defilements, even if we have no intention at all to purify or to heal anything.

Just like each single cell in the physical body is unceasingly going through regeneration process, even if we are not aware of it. It is not in our control that how we want to regenerate this cell or that cell. It is happening naturally by itself.

That’s why we don’t really have to be intentionally to heal this or that, physically, mentally or emotionally, as healing process is happening from moment to moment. As we perform yoga and meditation practice, the energy fields within and without the body will perform its duty to heal anything that need to be healed, naturally. We don’t really need to set any intention, nor to be troubled and worried, nor wishing for some healing process to be happening onto the body and mind.

Just perform all our yoga and meditation practice without expectation that it will bring us any healing effects or benefits in return, but allow the healing process and benefits to happen naturally by itself, as it is. There’s no rush. There’s no expectation that “I want all injuries, pain, illness, weakness, old age and death to go away…”, nor “I don’t want to have any injuries, pain, illness, weakness, old age and death…”.

There’s no craving towards good conditions. There’s no aversion towards bad conditions. There’s no fear and worry towards so called “bad” or “undesirable” conditions, such like illness, weakness, injuries, pain, old age and death, which is actually the truth of all living beings, and it’s a natural process of the body and mind that we can’t avoid.

It is being aware of the reality as it is, not necessary the way that we like or want it to be, and allow the reality to be what it is.

We cannot blame the universal consciousness for all the “bad” happenings and “undesirable” conditions that all beings have to go through. And the universal consciousness has nothing to do with all these things that we don’t like and don’t want, nor will the universal consciousness does something about it, or to change it into something that we prefer it to be. It is our own ignorance, egoism, attachment and desires, and came into being, forming body and mind with the function of the senses, having this life existence to reap the effect caused from our action and reaction. It’s our own responsibility for all that our body and mind experiences in this life existence.

We do our best to try to attain and maintain the best condition of the body and mind as much as possible, by performing some physical exercises, spiritual practice, mental development practice, yoga and meditation practice regularly, and live a healthy lifestyle and observe a balanced diet, engage in wholesome activities, have self-control over our own action and speech or behavior, to benefit all beings, including ourselves. It is not because of having aversion, fear and worry towards old age, illness, injury, pain, weakness and death, or any “bad” conditions.

All the efforts that we spent to purify the mind and to improve the condition of the physical body is simply just to show appreciation towards this body and this mind, or this life existence, to make good use of this body and this mind, or this life existence to serve the universe, for humanity, for ourselves to evolve and to help other beings to evolve, out of compassion, without the intention or expectation that we will be receiving something good in return.

There is no need to have selfish desires and expectation to act as motivation force for us to perform actions or practice that will benefit the body and mind.

Totally surrender to the nature, or the universe, to take care of the result of our practice or our actions, or to heal anything that needs to be healed, and to bring us to ultimate freedom.

This impermanent body and mind is subject to impermanent changes. It is conditioned and limited by old age, illness, weakness, injury, pain, physical and emotional hurts, and death. And thus they need to go through certain healing process from time to time. But our birthless, deathless, attributeless true nature is not being conditioned nor limited by impermanent changes, old age, illness, weakness, injury, pain, hurts, or death. There’s no need to have any healing process, as there is nothing that need to be healed.

And thus, realize our true nature, and stop identifying with the body and mind, let go of egoism and attachment, and be free.

It is also pointless to expect certain healing process to be happening when we attend some yoga and meditation classes, hoping to heal something that is hurtful in our body and mind, if we keep generate tension and inflict hurtful damages into our body and mind, physically, mentally and emotionally in our everyday life experiences with all sorts of impurities like anger, hatred, jealousy, ill will, petty-mindedness, fear and worry, etc, due to ignorance and attachment.

If we really wish for efficient and complete healing, we need to learn how to stop hurting our body and mind, stop generating tension nor inflict hurtful damages into our body and mind, by practicing non-attachment and letting go in everyday life, letting go of our ego, not being disturbed, nor affected, nor influenced, nor determined by all the qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, and have love and peace in us. And then, naturally the body and mind will heal itself even without us intentionally to be engaged in any healing process.

The biggest “disease” that every being have from the beginning of this life existence, is IGNORANCE. This is the cause of all the other physical and mental illness. Remove this “disease” of ignorance by immersed our body and mind in consistent yoga and meditation practice without attachment, and surrender everything else to the universe to take care of it.

Om shanti.

Yoga (Asana) Classes?

One of the yoga students requested the yoga teacher to give a “gentle” yoga asana session this morning, as after a few days of continuous yoga asana practice, the physical body was experiencing discomfort sensations like muscles fatigue, tightness and soreness.

This was what the teacher taught in the class today…

This is what yoga practice is about. It is being aware of the reality of the present moment now as it is, and accept the reality as it is, without generate craving or aversion towards the pleasant or unpleasant experiences… This physical body is now experiencing discomfortable sensations coming from a few days of yoga asana practice, is actually a great opportunity for us to learn how to accept the reality of the present moment now as it is, even though it’s not necessarily the way that we like it to be, nor the way that we think it should be. As well as we are learning, experiencing, observing and accepting about the truth that everything is impermanent. It doesn’t matter they are pleasant or unpleasant sensations, thoughts, conditions or feelings, they all are impermanent…

The yoga asana class is just being what it is. It is not an intense session nor a gentle session. In the same yoga asana class, there are some students might be very fit, strong and flexible physically, and some others might be less fit, less strong and less flexible… Those who have stronger physical condition and are familiar with the yoga asana poses and exercises, they will say this yoga asana session is an easy and gentle session (for them). While the others who have poorer physical condition and are not so familiar with the yoga asana poses and exercises, they will say that this yoga asana session is a difficult and intense session (for them). But the yoga asana poses and exercises in the yoga asana classes have no qualities nor intentions to be something easy or difficult, gentle or intense… The yoga asana class is neither a beginner level nor advance level class. When our body can do it, our mind will judge “it’s easy”, and when our body cannot do it (yet), our mind will judge “it’s difficult”. The same exercises everyone is doing, some will say it’s easy, and some will say it’s difficult, but the exercises itself has no quality or intention to be something easy or difficult…

Yoga, or peace and compassion, is not determined by how strong and flexible we are to perform the yoga asana poses, nor it is about how perfect we can perform the asana poses, nor how good we look and feel during and after performing the asana poses or exercises, nor whether we can perform all the yoga asana poses or not…

And performing the yoga asana poses and exercises in a yoga class is not about trying to attain good feelings or pleasant sensations, or to avoid unpleasant sensations… It is not about “I only want to do the yoga poses and exercises that I like to do, and I don’t want to do the yoga poses and exercises that I don’t like to do…”, or “I only want to do the exercises that will make my body feels comfortable, and I don’t want to do any exercises that will make my body feels uncomfortable…”

Yoga asana practice in yoga classes are here for us to find out what is the ego and how to be free from the ego, or how to let go of the ego… It is for us to practice non-attachment or letting go of attachment. It is for us to practice letting go of the identification with the body and mind. It is about letting go of craving and clinging onto the objects or conditions that we like and agree with, and letting go of aversion towards the objects or conditions that we don’t like and disagree with…

Yoga asana practice and its exercises are here for us to purify the mind, to remove impurities, to balance the mind, to calm the mind, to silent the mind and to channel or direct the mind to contemplate on the Truth of things, names and forms, and to inquire who am “I”… It is to eliminate ignorance to know the Truth… During the yoga asana class, we are limiting or restricting our thoughts, physical activities and speech by focusing on learning and performing the exercises and yoga poses. Most of the yoga poses request paramount of concentration being in the present moment, and letting go of fear, for us to be able to do it. And during this period of time our body and mind is being busy engaging in performing wholesome yoga asana exercises, and stop engaging in unwholesome thinking, physical activities and speech.

Attending yoga (asana) classes is not about expecting the teacher to give us something that we prefer, or what we like it to be, or what we can agree with… It is about learning to be open-minded to adapt and accommodate the exercises that we are not familiar with, and to adjust ourselves into any types of exercises with knowing our own physical limitations, and we do our best without forcing, nor trying to challenge our physical body to go beyond its limitations. We don’t have to force ourselves to perform all the exercises in the yoga class. We don’t have to look like other people in the yoga class, or be like the yoga teacher when we perform the asana poses, as we all have a different body and having different physical limitations. We should know when to take some rest and when to continue practice. We should know whether it is the ego rejects to continue the practice, or it is the physical body has come to its limitations and it needs to take some rest… We learn to become our own teacher and take full responsibility for taking care of the well-being of our body and mind.

We learn to forbear or withstand certain amount of physical “discomforts” coming from performing the yoga exercises (this discomfortable sensation is not the same as the sharp painful sensations coming from muscular tendon injuries due to pushing our body over its limitations, which is an alarm warning us that we should not go beyond that limitation), and allow the physical body to improve its stamina, strength and flexibility gradually as we practice regularly. And allowing the physical body to continue to practice the exercises that it doesn’t familiar with until it can adjust and adapt into all these yoga exercises.

Unless the physical body is experiencing or suffering from certain injuries or illness, then we should allow the physical body to take some rest and avoid performing certain physical activities that will stimulate or exaggerate the injuries or illness. In order to improve physical fitness level, we need to “push” the physical body to its maximum limits, but not beyond its limitations, so that we can train the body to become fitter, stronger and more flexible without injuring it…

In the beginning of our yoga asana practice, it is normal that our body will feel discomfort, struggle, tiredness and soreness from time to time, as the physical body needs regular practice to adjust and adapt into the physical activities that it doesn’t familiar with, and it needs to take sufficient rest in between practices. Then only the physical body can improve its overall fitness level with continuous regular practice… Eventually as we continue performing the exercises while enduring some discomfort sensations due to the unfamiliar physical activities, the stamina, strength and flexibility will improve, and all these muscles fatigue, tightness and soreness will become less and less… Our body will develop stronger endurance, stamina, strength and flexibility.

This practice of non-attachment is not just being observed or practiced in yoga classes while performing the yoga exercises, but it is every moment in our heart, in our life, we are practicing non-attachment. We learn to accept the reality of the present moment now as it is, even though it is not what we like it to be. We accommodate the discomfortable or difficult situations or conditions. It is not about trying to change the situations or conditions that we don’t like, into something that we like it to be to accommodate us, but we are able to adjust and adapt ourselves into any discomfortable, or difficult conditions or situations. When we experience some discomfortable situations or difficult conditions in life, we do not, or cannot ask life to be easy and gentle on us… Instead we accept the reality as it is, adjust and adapt ourselves into any discomfortable or difficult conditions and situations, and accommodate the present conditions or situations that we don’t like or disagree with, in peace…

This is the inner strength and flexibility that we want to develop in our yoga practice while performing the yoga asana exercises… It is about life. It is not just in a yoga class performing some yoga asana poses, and telling ourselves and other people that we are practicing yoga, or we have done our yoga practice everyday, but then in life, we attached to the body and mind, over-powered by the ego, and we are constantly being affected, disturbed, influenced, determined by our craving and aversion towards the situations and conditions that we like and dislike, agreeable and disagreeable… It is about being able to be undisturbed, unaffected, uninfluenced or undetermined by the qualities of names and forms that our mind perceives through the senses of what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, without generating craving and aversion… It is knowing and accepting the truth of things as they are. Knowing that everything is just what they are… They are not something good or bad, positive or negative, happy or suffering…

Compassion is not just about performing some good and kind actions in the world. It is about accepting the reality as it is, and accepting everything and everyone as they are… There is no fear, no worry, no anger, no hatred, no greed, no dissatisfaction, no selfish desires, no selfish expectation, no discrimination towards all the different qualities of names and forms, no preferences of likes and dislikes, no attachment towards the qualities of names and forms, no jealousy, no possessiveness, no pride, no arrogance, no disappointment, no criticism, no condemn, no attachment towards the actions and the result of the actions… It is realizing what is non-duality, namelessness and formlessness, oneness, non-separateness, and being free from dissatisfaction, restlessness, unpeacefulness or suffering that comes along with impurities or ignorance…

In the process of learning and trying to perform the yoga practice and yoga asana poses or exercises in yoga classes, we are actually developing inner strength and inner flexibility. These are the positive qualities that will allow us to realize unconditional peace and compassion that will free us from ignorance, doubts, impurities, restlessness, dissatisfaction, anger, hatred, disappointment, fear, worry, unhappiness or suffering.

The physical strength and flexibility are just a side product coming from performing the yoga exercises. It is not the main purpose of performing the yoga practice.

We should be developing patience, perseverance, determination, will-power, forbearance, withstand, acceptance, tolerance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, cheerfulness, courage, positive thinking, observation, mindfulness, awareness, thoughtfulness, humility, concentration, being in the present moment, one-pointedness, self-disciplinary, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, non-identification, non-attachment and letting go of the ego, during the process of learning and practicing the yoga asana poses, breathing exercises, chanting, studying or contemplating on the yoga teachings, selfless service, self-control or self-restraint, concentration exercises and meditation practice.

These positive qualities act as a medium, or a tool, or an instrument for us to render the mind calm and pure, for meditation or contemplation upon the Truth, to realize our true nature as it is, which is unconditional peace and compassion.

Without these positive qualities, it is not easy for us to realize peace and compassion, as we will be easily be annoyed, frustrated, irritated, angry, disappointed or hurt by the objects of the senses or names and forms that we don’t like and disagree with. There is no peace, as we are constantly being affected, disturbed, influenced, determined or over-powered by all the impurities that arise in the mind coming from the reactions of the egoistic mind towards what it perceives through the senses, from moment to moment.

When we hear the yoga teachings about “Go beyond the physical body”, it doesn’t mean that we challenge our physical body to go beyond its limitations to make it stronger and more flexible than what it is now, but it is about go beyond the attachment or identification with the physical body. Let go of the identification with the impermanent conditions and abilities of the physical body as “I”, as making the body stronger and more flexible, or being able to perform many asana poses, is not a guarantee of peace and compassion… Peace and compassion doesn’t come from being physically strong and flexible…

Being a “vegetarian” or “non-vegetarian” is not a guarantee of peace and compassion…

Being a good person or bad person is not a guarantee of peace and compassion…

Performing good actions or bad actions is not a guarantee of peace and compassion…

Being highly educated or having limited education is not a guarantee of peace and compassion…

Being artistic or not, creative or not, intelligent or not, is also not a guarantee of peace and compassion…

Being in good conditions or bad conditions in life, is not a guarantee of peace and compassion…

Having a good physical condition or poor physical condition is not a guarantee of peace and compassion…

Peace and compassion is our true nature as it is. It is realizing the Truth, realizing namelessness and formlessness, or attributeless-ness, or non-duality, or oneness, or non-separateness…

It is going beyond the attachment towards all the qualities of names and forms that will allow us to realize our true nature which is unconditional peace and compassion.

Yoga is not about being positive… It is about not attached to the qualities of names and forms, or to go beyond what our mind believes is positive and negative, happiness and suffering, good and bad… As it is not the truth of what things really are. Everything is just what it is. They have no qualities or intentions to be good or bad, positive or negative, happiness or suffering… All these “qualities” are coming from our own mind, what our mind wants to believe what things are…

And so, allow the teacher to teach whatever the teacher wants to teach in the yoga class, without expecting the yoga class to be something that we prefer or what we like it to be… But we adjust and adapt ourselves into the practice that are new to us, or being different from what we familiar with… In the same session, some students will prefer more gentle form of exercises, and some will prefer more intense form of exercises, even if the class is stated “gentle yoga class” or “intense yoga class”… As we all have different expectation or projection towards what types of gentleness is “gentle” and what is not, or what types of intensity is “intense” and what is not… A gentle class can be too gentle for certain people or might not be gentle enough for some other people. An intense class can be too intense for certain people or might not be intense enough for some other people… Everyone has different types of physical stamina, strength and flexibility, different types of physical limitations, and different types of likes and dislikes towards certain asana poses or exercises…

The physical exercises and its effects that come from attending yoga (asana) classes are here for us to be aware of our ego, and not being influenced by craving and aversion that comes from the ego…

Om shanti.

Confidence? Success? Happiness?

In this world of names and forms, when we talk about happiness, somehow we will relate it to how successful we are in life, which also leads to how confident we are in order to be happy, whether we relate happiness to being successful in life or not…

As what we usually believe in our mind, is that success is very much relate to confidence even though confidence is not a guarantee of success. We believe that confidence is the key to success. But, sometimes, we are not confident at all, but still we are able to be successful in what we want to do, unless we don’t act at all… Sometimes maybe we are very confident, but it doesn’t mean that we will be successful in all the things that we want to do…. Above all, whether we will be successful in what we want to do or not, we still can be confident without being affected by whether we are successful in what we want to do or not…

Confidence doesn’t guarantee success, and success doesn’t guarantee happiness. Why? As long as we identify ourselves with the impure mind and the selfish ego, we will still be affected by ignorance and impurities in our mind, affected by craving and aversion coming from the ego, then no matter how successful we can be, we will still be in miseries, full of fear and worries, anger and hatred, pride and arrogance, dissatisfaction and disappointment. There is no peace. How can there be happiness?

In the untrained mind, usually we will feel good and happy (or confident) when we are able to do what we want to do, or attain what we want to attain, or else, we will be feeling bad and unhappy (or not confident) if we couldn’t do what we want to do, or couldn’t attain what we want to attain… But this is not real happiness. This is just impermanent good feelings that fluctuate according to the qualities of names and forms, or determined by the conditions and abilities of the body and mind…

There is nothing wrong to put some make up on the face or the body, or to wear certain style of clothing, or decorate the face and body with some accessories and ornaments.

Just know that all these qualities of names and forms that we apply onto the face and body, are just some appearances with certain style of image that we try to apply onto this physical body and telling ourselves and the world, “Hey! This is me…”, but it doesn’t determine us for who we really are.

We can allow our ego to enjoy itself by changing the physical appearance through changing how we look and what we wear, but without attaching to the ego to identify as who we are, nor allowing the ego to determine whether we will be happy or not, as confidence, thinking and feelings are “products” derived from the ego attaching to the qualities of names and forms to think and feel good or not. But know that this is just the function of the ego. It is not who we really are.

We are who we are. We are not the ego. The ego is not us.

The ego needs to look good to feel good. The ego needs to be successful to be confident. Our true nature doesn’t need to look good to feel good. Our true nature doesn’t need to be successful to be confident. It is always peaceful and truthful as it is. It doesn’t need to be confident, to think positive, or to feel good.

If we attached to the ego, or identifying with the ego as us, then we will believe or think that we need to depend or rely on how we look, or what we wear, or what we can do and attain, to be confident, to feel good and be happy about ourselves and our life, and we don’t know the unconditional true confidence which is not coming from the physical appearance, physical condition and physical ability, nor determine by how the mind feels whether it is positive or negative feelings. That real confidence is our true nature being aware of the truth of things as they are, and not being determined by all the impermanent changing qualities of names and forms, nor being determined or influenced by the impurities that are arising and passing away in the mind.

The conditional confidence that comes from physical condition, ability and appearance, and which is influenced by the state of mind as well as achievements or success that we could attain in life, is impermanent. It is forever fluctuating and will fade away eventually. It is not real.

How can we hang on to something that is not permanent, not real, to be “somebody” who we identify as who we are, or what we like us to be?

True confidence is a state of being that is being free from ignorance or impurities like doubts, anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, arrogance, dissatisfaction, disappointment, craving, aversion, fear and worry, etc… It is not what we think “confidence” is, which built on how we look, how we feel, what we have, what we know, what we can do, where we are, or who we think we are…

It is only when we are not attached to all these impermanent qualities of the condition and ability of the physical body and its appearance, stop identifying with the ego, stop identifying with the qualities of names and forms, then our whole being will be naturally “confident” as it is, which is unchanging or unmovable. We don’t need anything nor do something to give us confidence. There is nothing can take away this unconditional confidence which is our true nature, because it is the truth, being free form ignorance, doubts or any impurities, uncontaminated by the qualities of names and forms.

That is unconditional confidence that is beyond the qualities of the body and mind…

Realize this and be free, be truly confident as we are, not because who we think we are, or how we look, or how we feel, or what we have, or what we know, or what we can do, or where we are…

I am that I am. I am not this nor that. Without qualities. Fearless. Doubtless. Unconditioned and unlimited by names and forms…

We don’t need to be “pretty”, or “beautiful”, or “slim and fit”, or “strong and flexible”, or “successful”, or “famous and influential”, or “in good health”, or “in good relationships”, or be “positive”, or be “happy”, or be anything that we relate to what we think “confidence” comes from.

Om shanti.