Go beyond self-esteem and self-worth

For those who are not really interested in the path of yoga, they don’t need to ‘practice yoga’. People can just live everyday life as they are, don’t need to do anything to purify the mind, to render the mind quiet, to free the mind from the influence of worldly egoistic ideas, thinking, belief, behavior, action and reaction, to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance – egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering.

People can continue being passionate towards improving the quality of a worldly life that mostly emphasize on the gratification of the desires of wants and don’t wants.

From young to old, it’s all about developing and enhancing the qualities of name and form that the thinking mind attached onto and identifies as ‘I’, to carry on or adopt a particular cultural/religious/spiritual belief and practice that influence the way of life, to be ‘educated’, to accumulate ‘knowledge’, ‘skills’ and ‘qualifications’, to empower a high self-esteem and self-worth that builds on personality, confidence, self-image, body image, charm and attractiveness, physical and mental ability and achievement, to be accumulating relationships and friendships, to broadening social networks, to establish a livelihood and a social/community life, to enjoy sights/sounds/tastes/smells/sensations/imagination, to aspire and be inspired, to fall in love, to find a life partner or some lovers, to reprocreate, to build a family, to enjoy easier and more comfortable life, to contribute to the society or the country or the world, to attain acknowledgement, recognition, support, praise and compliments, to attain ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, purpose, pride, happiness, joyfulness, blessedness, gladness and meaningfulness.

For those who sincerely want to practice yoga and realize yoga, then go beyond a worldly life that emphasizes on developing and enhancing ‘self-esteem’ and ‘self-worth’ that derived from ignorance and egoism that feed on worldly ideas, thinking, beliefs and practice.

The necessity or importance of developing and enhancing ‘self-esteem’, ‘self-worth’, ‘confidence’, ‘self-image’, ‘body image’, ‘charm and attractiveness’, ‘physical and mental ability and achievement’, ‘the sense of existence/purpose/meaningfulness’, and etc, are nothing but the play of ignorance and egoism.

The sense of self-esteem and self-worth that builds on the qualities of names and forms, such as “I know something”, “I can do something”, “I achieved something”, “I am good”, “I look good”, “I feel good”, “I am strong”, “I am healthy”, “I have family and friends”, “I am contributing something”, “I am acknowledged and supported”, “My life/career/relationship is good and meaningful” and so on, is conditional and impermanent. It will break.

Yoga practitioners are supposed to eliminate the egoism and not empowering the egoism. It’s the ego that needs to have a high self-esteem to achieve ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, acknowledgement, self-worth, confidence, purpose, or meaningfulness. And thus it performs actions out of intention and aspiration. It attached onto and identifies with its actions and the fruit of actions. It is being determined and bound by the actions and the fruit of actions.

For those who are aware of this, actions are being performed out of compassion, without the need/aspiration of ‘developing’ and ‘enhancing’ self-esteem to achieve ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, acknowledgement, self-worth, confidence, purpose, or meaningfulness. Though that is what most people including highly educated and intelligent minds strongly believe in and are practicing, and that’s their freedom.

“Well done!”

“That’s very good!”

“You should be proud of yourself!”

“I am so proud of you!”

Most people think and believe that all these words are very essential positive encouragement and acknowledgement towards somebody’s achievement to enhance their self-esteem and self-worth, so that they will be motivated to strive harder to improve and be better, to attain continuous positive feedback and acknowledgement, to attain the sense of self-worth, accomplishment, purpose, meaningfulness. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Those who are free from ignorance and egoism don’t need any ‘positive words of encouragement or acknowledgement’ from anyone to motivate them to perform actions that will benefit all and everyone, and are not disturbed or discouraged by any ‘negative words of discouragement or non-acknowledgement’ to be continuing performing actions that will benefit all and everyone.

‘Yoga teachers’ who truly teach yoga in the yoga class don’t empower the egoism in the yoga students but to allow the students to develop correct understanding and direct experience towards the practice of yoga to eliminate the egoism.

By constantly giving the students ‘positive words of encouragement’ out of “good intention to encourage and motivate the students to be good, do good, to improve and be better” because the teacher thinks and believes that “the students who haven’t developed non-craving and non-attachment would be discouraged or lack of motivation to be good and do good, or to improve in their practice, if the teacher doesn’t give any ‘positive words of encouragement’ to the students”, don’t help to eliminate the egoism, but instead will only be empowering the egoism in the students. And if the students have already developed non-craving and non-attachment towards any kind of ‘positive words of encouragements’, then, ‘positive words of encouragements’ are needless in such yoga classes, as the students don’t need to hear any ‘positive words of encouragements’ to motivate them to be good, do good and to improve, neither the students will be discouraged or lack of motivation to perform their practice, to be good, do good and to improve, if the teacher never give any form of ‘positive words of encouragements.’

Be free.

The egoless desireless mind doesn’t need to be empowered or inspired

Be free from the idea of ‘the need to be empowered/inspired’ or ‘the necessity of empowerment/inspiration’.

The sun, the space, the earth, the water and the wind don’t need to be empowered/inspired for being what they are. They are what they are, being there allowing all and everything to be forming and disintegrating, selflessly, intentionlessly and unconditionally.

Human beings with the impure egoistic thinking mind (men, women, old people, young people, teenagers, children, or anybody) think and believe that all human beings need some kind of empowerment/inspiration to be empowered/inspired to be performing actions that would benefit themselves and/or others, or to be somebody that they want to be (other than what they are, as they are), or to attain better quality of life and higher sense of happiness/satisfaction/achievement/worthiness/meaningfulness, to build a higher personal development that contributes to a better society in the world.

Human beings are indeed being ’empowered/inspired’ to develop a strong egoism since the day they were born, to develop a strong personal and worldly attachment, identity, self-image, personality, nationality, thinking, belief, culture, religion, family ties, social interaction, education, ambition, desire, aspiration, creativity, achievement, possession, success, enjoyment, confidence, pride, sense of meaningfulness, satisfaction, happiness, and so on.

Minds are being influenced/empowered from everywhere to think and believe that “Even when this is very good, but there will always something better, that this is never good enough, that they should never be contented with themselves or everything as they are, that they need to continuously strive to be better, and better, and there’s no end to higher ambition/achievement/enjoyment/pleasure/happiness/satisfaction, and etc.”

All those empowerment ideas are nothing but empowering the egoism of greed, dissatisfaction, pride, personal identity, self-image, gratification of worldly desires and ambitions, and etc, and the consequences of that – restlessness, so that the world economy/materialism/commercialism can continue to survive for the wealthy people continue to amass more wealth under the ‘support’ of all the ’empowered’ human beings with all their ‘inspired’ great desires and worldly ambitions.

Many people don’t really love themselves, even though they might think that they love themselves very much, but actually they love what they like and want (their desires and the gratification of desires) more than loving themselves as they are. They want/expect their body and mind to be like this and not like that, or to be able to do/achieve this and that. The ever dissatisfied and greedy ego doesn’t/won’t/can’t love the body and mind as it is.

While some people can’t love themselves as they are because they think and believe that ‘they are not good enough’ or ‘they will never be good enough’, and so, they can’t like or love themselves as they are (dissatisfaction or dislike towards the qualities of names and forms that they identified with as ‘I’).

And hence, all those ’empowerment ideas’ are ‘blooming’ or ‘trending’ in this world, to inspire/motivate/encourage people to think and believe that they can desire/achieve whatever they desire/want to achieve, that they can be strong and powerful to attain a higher quality and comfort of life, that they will be treated/respected/loved/supported the way that they deserve if they possess those higher qualities, so that they will feel good, satisfied, confident and meaningful about themselves, in order to like and love themselves, or to receive love, respect, compliment, support, acknowledgement or friendship/companionship from other(s).

People ceaselessly and restlessly pushing their body and mind to go beyond its limitation, with the help of special diet/supplement/drugs/training/higher education, technology and equipment, until the function of the body and mind breakdown, until they need to depend on more drugs for the body and mind to be able to function properly, to be ‘normal’ again, to relieve tension, to unwind, to have a few moments of rest, until the life force depleted and death takes place, and the body and mind ceased functioning and existing.

The bodily systems and the mind are unwittingly suffering from restlessness, overuse, sleep deprivation, hyperactive, lethargic, mood swing, depression, anxiety, nervous breakdown, immune system breakdown, indigestion, hormone imbalance, in focus, cloudiness, stress and stress related physical illness and different forms of mental illness, due to the empowered ego is being empowered/inspired to push the limits of the body and mind to achieve or fulfill unlimited and higher worldly desires and ambitions of the empowered ego. Again, it’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life existence, their body and mind.

Meanwhile, out of good intention, some people try to empower others by telling others that “You are good, you are good enough, you are more than good enough. You deserve more.” by empowering them to think and believe that they are good and strong and worthy, so that they are empowered/motivated to be able to achieve something that they want to achieve, so that they will feel better, satisfied, happy, confident and meaningful about themselves by being able to achieve something or fulfill their desires, so that they will like and love themselves. But that’s not liberation or the end of suffering for these people if they need to rely on attaining/possessing certain qualities of names and forms, or achievements and gratification of desires in order to think and believe that they are good, or good enough, or more than good enough, or they deserve much more, to feel better, satisfied, happy, confident and meaningful about themselves, so that they can like and love themselves.

Yoga and yoga practice is to free the mind from all those restlessness derived from ignorance and egoism empowered by worldly endless passionate desires, ambitions, ideas, thinking, belief and values.

Be free from attachment and identification with qualities of names and forms as ‘I’, and be free from all the worldly ideas and beliefs about “One shouldn’t be content with what one is and has, that oneself and all these will never be good enough, that one should always strive to be better, and better, and there’s no ending of higher achievement/desire/happiness/success/satisfaction/pleasure.” or “Be empowered. Be inspired. You are good. You are strong. You can achieve all your desires.” and be free from clinging/craving towards the need of appreciation, compliment, acknowledgement, love, support, friendship, or companionship from other(s), in order to live life happily, confidently and meaningfully.

Those who practice yoga don’t need to be empowered or inspired by anyone or anything, to feel good, confident, successful, or meaningful about oneself or life existence upon the realization of non-separateness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness. One doesn’t need to be ‘somebody identifying with/possessing certain qualities of names and forms or achievements’, in order to live life happily, confidently and meaningfully. One is peaceful as one is, unconditionally.

It doesn’t mean that one doesn’t perform any actions that would benefit oneself and/or others. One can be actively performing actions that would benefit oneself and others, but without pushing the body and mind beyond its limitation, without stress, without intention/expectation/craving for receiving appreciation, compliment, acknowledgement, love, support, friendship, or companionship from others in return, in order to feel happy, confident and meaningful.

There’s no dissatisfaction, discontentment, fear, low self-esteem, low confidence, depression, self-hate, unloved, loneliness, meaninglessness, or lack of something that isn’t here.

There’s no aversion towards impermanent changes, old age, illness, weakness, aloneness, separation from things and beings that one cherished, or death.

It doesn’t mean that the world is moving backward or stagnant, if everyone loves themselves as they are, in fact, it’s the opposite. The world will be full of peaceful and compassionate people, and hence the world will be free from all sorts of mental illness, stress, depression, low self-esteem, low confidence, pride, arrogance, greed, corruption, exploitation, offensiveness, self-harm, discrimination, violence, wars, and etc. But, most minds are not free from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Even if there are more and higher technologies existing in the world for certain people to enjoy a more comfortable and advanced lifestyle, they can live longer, younger and healthier, it doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free from ignorance, egoism, impurities and suffering from restlessness, anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, regret, guilt, fear, worry, boredom, loneliness, hostility, unrest, discrimination, violence, doubts, conflicts, disagreement, and etc.

There’s nothing wrong with good condition, comfort and convenience deriving from higher technologies and the ability to attain the higher quality of life. If one knows how to unattached or not clinging onto all the good condition, comfort and convenience in one’s life, but making use of the good condition to work on attaining salvation transcending the mind of life existence, that’s great. But, how many attached or cling onto the good condition, comfort and convenience, and got lost in all the pleasurable indulgence and enjoyment? And how many would be grateful and thankful for all the bad condition, discomfort and hardship in their life allowing them to detach from worldly life existence to work on transcending the mind of ignorance, egoism and impurities?

It’s everyone’s freedom for how they want to think, believe and feel, or what they want to do with their life, body and mind.

Be free.

Yoga is not about achieving better or highest qualities through the yoga practice

Yoga is not about achieving better or highest qualities through the yoga practice, but it’s about going beyond all the impermanent good and bad qualities of names and forms to realize selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness.

Even the good or highest qualities that one can achieve in this world of names and forms, including what the mind thinks is the highest performance and benefit that one can achieve from the yoga practice are also impermanent. Such like, one can achieve calmness and relaxation of the mind after a yoga asana and pranayama practice session, and one feels good when the mind is calm and relaxed, but even this calmness and relaxation of the mind is impermanent. If the yoga practitioners generate attachment of clinging and desire of craving onto this impermanent state of the mind deriving from yoga asana and pranayama practice, this yoga practitioner will soon be disappointed and dissatisfied when he/she couldn’t repeatedly achieve such effect from the yoga asana and pranayama practice due to unforeseen circumstances. One should make use of the calmness state of the mind attained from the yoga practice to meditate upon the truth, but without clinging or craving onto this calmness state of the mind. Even this will change and pass away. When this calmness state of the mind passes away or is unavailable for some reasons, it doesn’t affect/decrease/remove the unconditional peace that one realized from non-attachment and non-identification, and being free from the desire of craving and aversion.

The annihilation of egoism is the core of all kinds of yoga practice with different names and forms. The effects or benefits of both the physical and mental yoga practice are not the goal or the objective of yoga practice.

‘Advancing in yoga’ is nothing to do with the enhanced physical ability for performing more complex/challenging form of yoga asana practice, or the improvement of the physical health condition, or the achievement of greater ability to perform physical and mental activities, or the enjoyment of a higher quality of living. But the mind has developed a profound realization of the existence and function of the body and mind and the cause of suffering, and the mind has established firmly in dispassion and right discrimination, undetermined by all the impermanent qualities of names and forms.

One’s liberation from suffering has nothing to do with the condition of the world or the surrounding environment, or the suffering that exist in all other beings in the world due to ignorance and egoism. One can be peaceful even though many other beings undergo painful suffering. One can be compassionate and show sympathy towards other beings’ suffering, but one is undisturbed by it. Those who haven’t realized selflessness and compassion, including many yoga practitioners as well as yoga teachers might not understand or agree with this, and might criticize this as ‘selfishness’ or ‘cold-hearted’. Just like there are people, (including those who enjoy doing the yoga practice to get the effects or benefits of the yoga practice) criticize the teachings of Bhagavad Gita because they read the context with a closed mind that is being conditioned and limited by worldly social, cultural, religious and personal thinking and belief, under the influence of ignorance and egoism.

‘Good and kind’ people might think and believe that as long as there are evilness and bad people existing in the world, none will ever have peace, and everyone should be miserable and suffer for all the bad qualities that exist in the world. People think and believe that all kinds of evilness and bad people must be eliminated from the world because only by then they (the good and kind people) can have peace and be free from suffering while living/existing in this world. This is deep ignorance. The world might appear to be not peaceful, having all kinds of evilness, wrong doings, inhumanity and chaos here and there, but unconditional peace exists in all and everyone disregard the good or bad condition of the world, or the good or bad qualities existing in the world.

Many people are seeking liberation from discrimination, racism, bias, prejudice, violence and hatred in this world of diverse names and forms, and fight for their rights and respect from others for being who they think they are, but a yogi doesn’t seek liberation from discrimination, racism, bias, prejudice, violence and hatred in this world of diverse names and forms, but is seeking liberation from ignorance and egoism, the seed of suffering. The yogi also doesn’t fight for the rights and respect from others for being ‘who I think I am’, because there is no ‘I’/ego exists in the selfless mind to be identifying as “This is I”, “This is my right”, or “I deserve respect from others”. People might want to change/expect/control the world to be the way that they like it to be and to change/expect/control other people to behave the way that they think how people should behave. The yogi doesn’t interested/intend to change the world or discipline other people, but only to purify and discipline one’s own mind to be free from ignorance and egoism.

There’s no “I am a yogi”, “I am a beginner/advance yogi”, “I practice yoga”, “Yoga is good/not good”, “I am good or not good at yoga practice”, “I love yoga”, “I like/don’t like this type of yoga”, “Yoga gives me such and such effects or benefits”, “I am a yoga teacher”, “I want to be a yoga teacher”, “I am a good/advance/experienced/qualified/certified yoga teacher”, and etc.

Be free.

‘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.

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.

Seeking freedom through the knowledge of life

Why does my family has to suffer so much even though they are really good and kind-hearted people? They don’t do bad things and they have helped many people whom they know and don’t know from the past until the present. They give and give without discrimination and never expect gratefulness or rewards in return for the kindness and friendliness they shown to others, or from those who receive kindness and friendliness from them. Friends and relatives and strangers took advantage of my family’s kindness and friendliness, until they got themselves into lots of unnecessary problems and troubles where everyone in the family is affected physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.

Why did my childhood best friend kill herself even though she had everything she ever wanted? She came from a wealthy family background. She was intelligent, highly educated and knowledgeable. She had a high paid job and was financially independent. She had a wide social network, friends and family in her life. She did all the activities that she liked to do and went for holidays in places that she liked to go. She also had her childhood dream came true about having her own children as the greatest achievement and happiness in life.

It’s because happiness and freedom from suffering is nothing to do with being good and kind-hearted, or do good and don’t do bad, or attaining high level of education and accumulating knowledge, or having high income and success in career, or having dreams come true and achieving whatever we want to achieve that we think it will make us happy, or give us happiness.

Education and knowledge might provide the useful information, facts and skills for people to do something in life to live and survive and interact with other beings in this world, and to build a society with all the high-tech conveniences coming from the latest technologies, engineering and inventions. They might help to improve quality of life and influence our way of life and conduct. But receiving education and accumulating knowledge as well as different types of qualifications and certifications doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free from ignorance, confusion, corrupted thinking and selfishness, or know how to make wise decisions, or won’t behave selfishly and ignorantly, or won’t experience suffering and unhappiness.

Educated people are not necessarily be free from dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, feelings of hurt, and fear, or won’t be engaging in immoral conducts and violent behavior. There’s no guarantee that those who have been receiving education on morality will uphold morality. It’s a personal awareness and conscience with self-control and self-restraint that one would refrain oneself from engaging in immoral conducts or activities.

For example, there are laws in some countries that would punish convicted thieves by cutting off their hand(s). The risk of getting their hands cut off will not stop the thieves from committing theft, although if the thieves are caught and prosecuted under those laws, it might be physically challenging for them to commit theft again without their hands. But, there are thieves that don’t need to perform theft at the scene personally, or with their hands physically, and theft are still existing everywhere and anytime. With their hands cut off under those laws might let them experience inconvenience in everyday life in return for their actions of stealing, just like how they cause financial, physical, mental and emotional damages and inconvenience to those whom they steal from, but it doesn’t necessarily remove greed from their minds, or stop them from stealing again and again. Those who disagree with inhumane treatment or physical punishment for criminal say that people needs to receive proper education to reduce crime rate in the society. But receiving proper education on ‘Do good and don’t do bad’ doesn’t necessarily will remove ignorance, greed, desires of craving and aversion, and the urge to cheat and steal from the criminal minds. Meanwhile, all kinds of inhumane treatment and physical punishment also don’t guarantee that the criminals would be free from ignorance and won’t commit crime again and again.

Living in the world of many ignorant minds that generate all kinds of stupidities in the society intentionally and unintentionally, we might feel frustrated and annoyed by many things that are not in our control to be the way that how we would like it to be. We feel angry or disturbed by some thinking and behavior that are contradicted with our thinking and belief about what is right and wrong, good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable, appropriateness and inappropriateness.

We think we are more intelligent than other people that we can change the world or the society to be the way we think it should be. The more we try to change the world to be the way that we want it to be, the more frustrated and disappointed we become. It’s because none can change another being’s ignorant behavior. None can free another being from ignorance. Study under the greatest teacher in the world and receiving all kinds of worldly knowledge also doesn’t guarantee that one will be free from ignorance and suffering. One can only change and improve oneself, and free oneself from ignorance through one’s effort of persistent self-discipline, self-control, self-awareness, self-inquiry and self-realization.

The cause of suffering and unhappiness is ignorance. Ignorance is not knowing the truth of life existence, or who we really are. Suffering, and the freedom from suffering is unrelated to whether we think we are good or not, knowledgeable or not, well-educated or not, religious or not, spiritual or not, well-cultured or not, and believing in God existence or not.

By learning, knowing and gathering lots of information, facts and skills about this and that doesn’t mean that the mind is free from ignorance. We can be highly educated and knowledgeable about many things in the world that we live in, we can read and write and speak many different languages, we can be kind-hearted, friendly and sociable, we can be doing many good actions and not doing anything that we believe as bad actions, we can be very talented and creative, but because of ignorance, we might still be determined, disturbed and affected by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, whether it’s something that we like or dislike, agree or disagree with, and we experience suffering of unhappiness, grief, frustration, irritation, depression, discontentment, disappointment, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, feelings of hurt, guilt, regret, animosity, humiliation, insult, ill-thinking, ill-will, doubt, fear and worry.

Knowing how to build a beautiful and practically functional house doesn’t guarantee one and those who live in the house will be peaceful and happy. Knowing how to save lives through advanced medical skills and effective medicines doesn’t guarantee one and those whose lives were saved will be free from ignorance, unhappiness and suffering. Those who perform charity and those who receive charity also doesn’t mean that they will be free from feelings of hurt, anger, jealousy, discontentment, disappointment, fear and worry, and be peaceful and happy.

It doesn’t matter who we think we are, or what we are, we will experience suffering and restlessness if the mind is functioning under the influence of ignorance.

Ignorance brings along egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and all sorts of impurities which is why we experience suffering and restlessness. It is nothing to do with whether our lives, or the world, is the way that we think it should be, or not.

It doesn’t matter what kind of social status we think we have in the society, and what we know or don’t know, our minds constantly react towards all the perception of names and forms through the senses of what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, based on the conditional thinking and belief in the mind under the influence of ignorance. Suffering and restlessness is the responsibility of the mind itself for being ignorant of the truth of names and forms, when it generates attachment, identification, craving and aversion towards all the impermanent names and forms that it perceives, or comes in contact with.

Whenever the mind comes in contact with the objects of names and forms that it likes and agrees with, it generates clinging and craving towards them. Whenever the mind comes in contact with the objects of names and forms that it dislikes and disagrees with, it generates aversion towards them. When the craving and aversion is not being gratified – when it is getting what it doesn’t like and doesn’t want; when it doesn’t get what it likes and wants; when it is losing what it likes and wants, the mind reacts with all sorts of impurities like dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, animosity, feelings of hurt, fear, worry, and so on. The mind is suffering from its own reactions of impurities.

By learning how to free the mind from ignorance and impurities, and attaining the knowledge of life through mind purification, self-inquiry and self-realization, will lead us to unconditional peace and happiness, disregards what is the condition of our lives and the situation of the world we live in. We will have peace and be happy as we are, undetermined by the impermanent changes of names and forms, pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and different types of thinking and behavior that our minds agree or disagree with. We adjust ourselves to adapt and accommodate any life conditions and situations, and not expecting life to change into something that can accommodate all our desires of craving and aversion.

If the mind is under the influence of ignorance and egoism, and generates attachment, identification, craving and aversion towards all the impermanent qualities of names and forms to be identifying as ‘I’ and ‘my life’, then even though everything might be the way that we like it to be, or nothing is the way that we don’t like it to be, our minds will still be restless and anxious if there is attachment towards what we like and don’t like, as we will have fear towards losing the things that we like and want, and we don’t want the things that we like and want to change into something that we don’t like and don’t want, even when they are not happening or don’t exist in the present moment. There is fear towards old age, sickness, separation from our loved ones, coming in contact with the ones whom we don’t like and disagree with, not getting what we want, losing what we like, getting what we don’t want, disability, and death. And everything will change and pass away, whether we like it, or not.

It is the awareness of being able to see the truth of things as it is and allowing the truth to be what it is, and being free from egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion and all sorts of impurities, that allow the mind to be in peace, disregards all the impermanent changes that are happening ceaselessly inside and outside this body and mind, which are not in the control of ‘I’ to be the way that how ‘I’ would like it to be. The body and mind depends on so many elements to be existing and functioning, they don’t belong to ‘I’, not to say all the pleasant and unpleasant experiences perceived through the senses.

We make use of the existing knowledge, information, facts, skills, talents and creativity that we have to perform actions that we think and believe would be beneficial to ourselves and the society, but without attachment towards our actions and the results of our actions. We are not determined by our actions and the results of our actions to be who we are. We just do our best for what we think is the best, and allow the world to evolve in its own way and rhythm.

Freedom from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion is the real freedom of unconditional peace and happiness beyond all the impermanent qualities of names and forms.

The world is just what it is. It is neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither a happy place nor a suffering place. It’s how the mind reacts towards all the names and forms that it perceives through the senses that generates the ignorance of duality, personal identity and separateness. All sorts of fear and anxieties arise from duality, personal identity and separateness. It’s not because of the names and forms that we perceive or experience are being bad, or wrong, or negative, or unhappiness, that generates restlessness and suffering in us. The attachment, the identification and the desires of craving and aversion towards all the names and forms that the mind believes as good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, is the real cause of suffering.

Suffering exists as long as the mind is under the influence of ignorance. Suffering doesn’t exist when the mind is free from ignorance.

Freedom of the mind is beyond the freedom of thinking, actions and speech in the society, or beyond any physical and mental limitations. We might be restricted by some forms of physical and mental limitations, and are unable to think, or do, or say what we would like to think, or do, or say in our personal life, or in the society, but it doesn’t stop us to achieve freedom of unconditional peace.

There is a saying of “Do what will make us happy” circulating in the world of social media. Somehow, freedom to do whatever we like to do that we think will make us happy, is not the real freedom, as there are people who find happiness, or enjoyment, or excitement in performing actions that hurt themselves or other beings, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

May all be free.

Eating by oneself? Enjoy the silent moment and be aware of the eating process…

We think and believe that eating by oneself is somehow ‘not right’ or ‘not healthy’. We think there should be some kind of social conversation or interaction with some other people while having meals. We don’t feel ‘happy’ to be having our meals by ourselves. We think it is strange and anti-social to be having meals by oneself.

But nobody would think and believe that when we do big and small ‘business’ in the toilet by oneself is anything ‘not right’ and ‘not healthy’.

In the Ashram, we eat in silence. Even though there might be many people eating together at the same time in the huge dining hall, we should maintain silence and concentrate on our eating process. We don’t talk nor socialize while eating. Same as during chanting session, yoga asana practice, or meditation practice, we don’t talk or socialize. We don’t think there’s any anti-social elements in it. We don’t think it is ‘not right’ or ‘not healthy’. There must be reason why it is conducive for our yoga and meditation practice to be in silence most of the time.

When we realize what is oneness and non-separateness, beyond names and forms, there’s no separation between ourselves and everyone and everything, even when we appear to be alone by ourselves in this moment now.

Minds…

Agreement and disagreement…

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There’s nothing wrong with having agreements and disagreements towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thinking. It is a common worldly minded cultural practice about as an individual human being, we need to study, survey, research and interact, to accumulate data and information, to develop a strong personality with our own personalized thinking and belief, to have individual opinions and points of view, to react towards all our experiences, to assert agreements and disagreements, to show likes and dislikes, to comment and to criticize, to have desires of wants and don’t wants, to be passionate and aggressive, to live life, to exist.

Or else the mind ceased existing. This is the ultimate means for the path of yoga and meditation, about annihilation of the mind, but it’s contrary for the worldly minded. Yoga and Meditation is quieting or silencing the mind, subdue all the modifications of the mind.

Agreements and disagreements are coming from the egoistic mind based on what the mind thinks and believes what things are. And the thinking and beliefs in the mind about all the names and forms are not necessary the truth of what things really are. All these thinking and beliefs are very subjective. They are ethnically, culturally, religiously and individually influenced and modified.

Agreements and disagreements in the mind cannot disturb nor influence us to be peaceful, happy and confident, or not, as they are just being what they are, and have no intention nor quality to be something good or bad, positive or negative, right or wrong, unless we give meanings and values to them, and we attached to all these thinking and beliefs in the mind to be who we are and to react towards everything that we experience in life, and generate craving and aversion towards the likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, wants and don’t wants coming from egoism. And thus, our minds will be in a state of restlessness, being elevated or depressed, as the ego constantly reacts towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses.

If the mind is trained to allow and to be aware of all these thinking and beliefs to be there in the mind as they are, but without attachment towards all these thinking and beliefs, agreements and disagreements to determine to be who “I” am, nor reacts towards the objects of names and forms based on these thinking and beliefs, then the thinking and beliefs are just some modifications of the mind, and they cannot influenced nor determined the mind to be peaceful, happy and confident, or not.

If the untrained mind attached strongly towards the thinking and beliefs in the mind to react and judge everything that it perceives in everyday life experiences, especially if it is something contradicted or different from what the mind believes what things are and how things should be like, then our minds will be easily disturbed, affected, influenced and determined by the egoistic reactions towards all these disagreeable names and forms, and have no peace. The egoistic mind will be easily dissatisfied, disappointed, insulted, agitated, irritated, frustrated, offended, feels hurt, or depressed, when comes in contact with the things that it doesn’t agree with and doesn’t like, that it believes as bad, negative, or wrong.

All the names and forms are just being what they are, it doesn’t matter our minds aware of them or not, like them or not, agree with them or not, based on what our minds think and believe they are good or bad, positive or negative, happiness or suffering, right or wrong. They don’t have intention nor quality to give us satisfaction or dissatisfaction, to give us good or bad feelings, to give us confidence or not, to give us peacefulness or not. It’s all coming from our minds react towards all these names and forms, and generate craving and aversion towards what it likes and dislikes, what it agrees and disagrees with, based on what the mind thinks and believes what things are.

Contemplate on this, and be free.

Om shanti.

Criticism

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If what others say or criticize about us is true, why are we unhappy?

If what others say or criticize about us is not true, then we shouldn’t be unhappy at all.

And so, either what others say about us is true or not true, there’s no reason for us to be unhappy.

It is just a reaction coming from the egoism if the mind feels unhappy about something, it’s all because it is something that the ego doesn’t like, doesn’t want, and doesn’t agree with.

A well-trained mind free from egoism will not react the same.

Be happy.

Yoga classes?

Yoga classes are in great demand, as there are many people interested in joining yoga classes. And there are many “yoga classes” available in many places in the world, where people can attend one or a few “yoga classes” everyday, or a few days weekly or monthly, or once in a while. But, what is a yoga class?

Yoga classes that exist under certain names and forms that are available in particular time and space, with some teachers giving some forms of yoga teachings and giving instructions on how to perform some yoga practice (including the basic observations of Yama and Niyama, yogic cleansing practice, selfless service, study of the teachings of yoga, chanting, yoga asana practice, pranayama, concentration and meditation practice), act as the doorway to yoga, or as a foundation for us to start to perform our own yoga practice to eliminate ignorance and egoism. And yoga practice exist everywhere and in every moment, unconditioned and unlimited by name and form, time and space. It is not limited in a “yoga class” getting some instructions from a teacher to tell us what we should do and shouldn’t do.

When we attend some “yoga classes” or “yoga courses”, our motivation or intention is to learn about yoga and the yoga practice which can lead us to realize yoga, under a teacher’s guidance and advice. But, we have to walk the path by ourselves. The teacher cannot do the practice for us, cannot eliminate the ignorance and egoism in us, cannot free us from suffering. Nether by attending “yoga classes” regularly due to the reason we don’t have self-discipline to be performing our own regular yogic practice will guarantee us liberation. It’s not about attending a “fitness training exercise class” doing some yoga asana exercises under the instructions of a teacher, to attain some physical and mental fitness and health benefits, to boost our confidence, self-worth and physical performance. Though there is nothing wrong with this intention and expectation for attending “yoga (asana) classes”. As just by performing regular yogic exercises without the intention for spiritual realization will also bring some basic purification effects to the practitioner. But without the practice of non-attachment and letting go of the egoism, ceaseless impurities keep arising in the mind, which hinders the mind to see the Truth of things as they are.

There are people who carry out the teachings of yoga in all aspects in everyday life, but they don’t or never attend any yoga classes at all.

After we learn about the teachings and practice of yoga from some yoga teachers, and have certain degrees of awareness, basic understanding, non-attachment, self-control and self-discipline; then the entire worldly existence is a yoga class or journey that allows us to materialize the yoga teachings and practice at everywhere and in every moment.

Every single life experience that made out of the objects of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, and thoughts, are the yoga teachers who carry the teachings of yoga. The mind itself is the greatest teacher among all, as well as the yoga practitioner. The mind is teaching and training itself. And what enable the mind to be at peace, and be free from egoism and attachment, unattached towards all the perceptions of names and forms, unaffected, undisturbed, uninfluenced and undetermined by all the pleasant and unpleasant life experiences, and be free from any impurities, is the yoga practice. Realization of the ultimate Truth, of selflessness, oneness, non-duality, fearlessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness, transcending birth and death, is yoga, or liberation.

The moment the mind comes in contact with the objects of the senses, perceiving names and forms, whenever there are thought activities or thinking process happening in the mind, there is when and where the yoga practice is happening. The yoga class, the yoga session, the yoga teachings and the yoga practice, the teacher and the student, are all happening in the mind in this present moment now, no matter who we think we are, where we are, how we are, in actions or actionless, under any conditions or circumstances, yoga practice exists in every moment of life existence.

Observe, be aware, no attachment… Perform necessary actions, duties and responsibilities, selflessly without identification.

There’s no success nor failure, no good nor bad throughout the journey.

Just that, when there is attachment, suffering exists. When there is no attachment, suffering doesn’t exist.

Om shanti.