Yoga retreat is not about running away from the reality that we don’t like and don’t want

Not running away from or denying, but confronting the reality that is not the way that we would like it to be, and being aware of this life existence, the world, the society and the surrounding environment is not necessarily ‘all good’ or perfectly the way that we would like it to be, or the way that we think it should be, with wisdom and compassion, without aversion or fear towards the reality that we think is ‘not all good’ or ‘imperfect’ or ‘challenging’, is our yoga practice.

Living in the world as we are, being aware of all kinds of uncertainty, insecurity, unrest, cautiousness, defects or imperfection in all aspects, and knowing how to remain equanimous and be in peace, without fear and worry, without being over-powered or determined by the reality that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, is what yoga practice is about.

This isn’t about trying to be ‘strong’. ‘Strength’ has a limit and is conditional. But wisdom and compassion is unconditional and unlimited.

Joining a yoga retreat is not about running away from the reality that we don’t like and don’t want, to be in a ‘safe and peaceful place’ without ‘bad people’ or ‘things that we don’t like and don’t want’, and be surrounded by ‘good people’ who are like-minded and doing things that make us feel good and happy.

People might think that yoga practice or yoga retreat should be conducted in a ‘special place’ or ‘out of the world place’, free from any ‘bad energy’ or ‘bad elements’, thinking that ‘yoga retreat’ means moving away from the imperfect world or running away from everyday life’s duties, responsibilities and cares, to have a few days or few weeks of ‘intentionally induced perfect form of reality’ of ‘peacefulness’ or ‘calmness’ or ‘problemless’. No doubt that being in a desirable ‘reality’ will give momentary relief or peace, but this doesn’t help us to be free from ‘fear’, ‘disturb’, ‘restlessness’ and ‘suffering’ when we go back to our everyday life living among the society or the world that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, that is not in our control to be the way that we would like it to be.

A real yoga retreat allows us to learn how to live in the world as it is, performing all our actions, duties and responsibilities without attachment or identification or expectation, without fear and worry. It’s learning about the mind and all its modification, about suffering and the cause of suffering, about how to transcend all kinds of ‘suffering’ or ‘restlessness’ or ‘impurities’ or ‘fear’, and how to confront the reality of life existence in this present moment that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, or the way that we think it should be, without fear and worry, and have peace wherever we are, unconditionally, being undetermined by all the impermanent changes of the qualities of names and forms.

Yoga, or unconditional peace, being free from ignorance and egoism, is not limited to a particular ‘place’, or ‘space’, or ‘activity’, or ‘condition’, or ‘quality’, or ‘name and form’.

Being positive and optimistic, denying or ignoring all kinds of ‘ignorant and unpleasant behavior and happenings’ in the world, in the society, or in the surrounding environment, and persistently thinking and believing that everyone are good, there’s no bad people; everything is good, there’s nothing bad; life is all good, there’s nothing bad; the world is all good, there’s nothing bad, and etc, doesn’t change the reality that we don’t like or don’t want to be the way that we would like it to be.

It’s like sweeping all the dust and rubbish and hide them under the cupboards and sofas, so that they are not in sight, it doesn’t mean that the room is all cleaned. And no matter how many times we sweep the floor, and throw out all the dust and rubbish out of the room, there will always be dust and rubbish accumulating here and there from time to time, unless everyone who enter the room stop bringing in dust and rubbish into the room. This is the same as looking after the mind. We do our best to ‘clean up’ the mind regularly and persistently, but impurities will still exist from time to time, until the root cause of impurities (ignorance and egoism) is uprooted completely.

When there’s no problem, there’s no need to anticipate a problem. When there’s a problem, confront it, without fear and worry.

Be free.

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The power or function of memory is neither good nor bad

Most people, are interested in boosting the power or function of the memory. So that one can remember as much as possible all the knowledge and skills that one has been learning, to do things, to remember everyone and everything that one has come in contact with from the past to the present. Otherwise, for most people, there’s no meanings or values in life existence, if one doesn’t remember any knowledge or skills that one has been learning and doesn’t remember the people/relationships that one has come in contact with and are related to. They want to remember ‘love’ and ‘happiness’ and ‘goodness’ and ‘achievements’. People want to remember everyone and everything, and be remembered by others, to be existing, to be meaningful, to be alive.

Meanwhile some people try their very best to forget all those unpleasant/unhappy/painful/hurtful memories that are disturbing and hurting them in the present now.

This power or function of memory is neither good nor bad. It has its benefits to humanity and some defects as well.

If a mind is free from ignorance and egoism, this mind can make use of the power of memory to remember all its learning and knowledge or skills to be doing something that would benefit oneself and others without attachment, identification, judgment, or expectation. One will not have craving or aversion towards the past pleasant/unpleasant experiences/feelings, and will not be disturbed or determined by being aware of the memory of all these past pleasant/unpleasant experiences/feelings, in the present now. There’s no judgment or expectation towards oneself or others based on the past pleasant/unpleasant experiences/feelings. There’s no suffering or miseries exist in this egoless mind.

Due to ignorance, the ego clings onto the past memories of pleasant/happy and unpleasant/unhappy experiences/feelings.

When remembering the pleasant/happy/accomplishing/satisfying experiences/feelings that are already gone and don’t exist in the present, there is suffering/unrest/dissatisfaction derived from missing and craving towards all those pleasant experiences/feelings.

When remembering the unpleasant/unhappy/painful/hurtful/fearful/regretful/guilty/disappointing/dissatisfying experiences/feelings, that are already gone and don’t exist in the present, there is suffering/unrest/unhappiness/painful sorrow/hurts/fear/regret/guilt/disappointment/dissatisfaction derived from aversion towards all those unpleasant experiences/feelings, continuously be disturbed or determined by all those unpleasant experiences/feelings, which is unnecessary.

And due to ignorance, people don’t just want to have a good and highly efficient function of the memory to remember the past of this life existence from birth till the present which one could barely remember a little bit of here and there without the precise/exact details, there are also many people who ‘believe’ in various/countless past lives before this life existence, and they are not just very interested in knowing/finding out what were their past lives, but they are also be disturbed or determined by what they think they know about their past lives. And not just that, they also very interested in knowing/finding out what will be their future lives, and be disturbed or determined by what they think they know about their future lives.

When people are dissatisfied with and don’t want to confront the reality that they perceive in the present, they try to runaway from this reality that they don’t like and don’t want, by imagining they have a better/nicer/happier reality in the past or in the future, being in an imaginary reality that they prefer, that they created for themselves, and somehow they might feel better and safer being in that imaginary reality. That’s their freedom.

People’s minds are already very busy/restless being disturbed and determined by the perceived experiences in the present now, not to say, to also be disturbed and determined by the past memories and the future imagination/anticipation/projection/expectation/speculation. “This is who I was and this is what I am and this is what I will be.”

People are being disturbed and determined mentally/emotionally/physically by the ignorant/egoistic attachment and identification towards the desires of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation towards all the perceived names and forms or experiences, whether it’s in the present, or remembering the past, or imagining the future.

Maybe people’s life in the present is not complicated/excited/busy enough, life is so dulled and bored, that’s why people try very best to bring back the past and project into the future, to spice up their life in the present?

So, if past lives exist, and someone somehow ‘recalls’ some good/pleasant/joyful/meaningful and bad/unpleasant/hurtful/painful/fearful memories of one’s past lives, and then so what? Missing the past pleasant past lives experiences and people whom one loved very much in past lives? What if one finds out that the people whom one loved very much in past lives are now one’s greatest enemies whom one hates and hurts very much in the present? Or be disturbed by the past unpleasant past lives experiences and people whom had hurt one very much in past lives? What if one finds out that the people whom had hurt one very much in past lives are now one’s best friend or lover or family or respected personal whom one loves very much in the present?

It’s truly unnecessary.

And so, when one truly realized the truth of what is going on in this mind, and goes beyond all the memories of past pleasant/unpleasant, or rightful/wrongful, or good/bad experiences/feelings, being free from attachment and identification with the past, the last moment and before, then there will be complete freedom in all the relationships with everyone now, in the present, it really doesn’t matter what happened just now, or yesterday, or last week, or last month, or last year, or last 20 years. It’s only the present moment. And even this present moment is impermanent. And this is actual lasting liberation that comes from the realization of the truth, it’s not the same as the momentary ‘high effect’ of numbing the mind through drugs and alcohol intoxication.

People, including some yoga and meditation practitioners, who like to relate YOGA and MEDITATION or HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS with getting high through drugs and alcohol intoxication, are only trying to momentary escape/runaway from suffering or miseries that they don’t want. They’ll go back to their suffering and miseries again, once the numbing effect of the drugs and alcohol disappeared. That’s their freedom for what they want to do with their body and their mind. It’s neither right nor wrong. But, yoga and meditation or higher consciousness has nothing to do with getting high through drugs and alcohol intoxication. People who truly practice yoga and meditation and have gone beyond the attachment or identification with the life existence of the body and the mind don’t need to get high or momentary relief by taking drugs or alcohol, as they don’t need to escape or runaway from suffering or miseries, as there’s none. There’s no craving for the momentary pleasant sensations/effects/relieves coming from the effect of drugs and alcohol.

If people couldn’t understand this, or one understood this, but one dislikes and disagrees with and doesn’t want this liberation due to the mind is conditioned to think in certain ways or believe in certain beliefs, or one understood this, but one couldn’t let go attachment and identification, that’s their freedom.

It’s okay whether the power or function of memory is good or not so good. It’s okay if the mind couldn’t remember this or that. It’s okay if the mind couldn’t remember everything and everyone as it was and as it is. It’s okay if the mind remember some past unpleasant/unhappy experiences or feelings. It’s okay if the mind couldn’t remember some past pleasant/happy experiences or feelings. It’s okay if the mind couldn’t remember someone who is somehow related to this body and this mind.

Be free.

The world is just what it is

The world is just what it is

It’s neither good nor bad

Different minds perceive different reality

It’s neither right nor wrong when different minds perceive the world differently

It’s all the play of mind perception under the influence of ignorance and egoism

And lots of personal and social selfish desires, intentions and expectations

The egos expect and want to make the world to be the way that they like it to be

Different egos expect and want different world

The egos say they love the world, but they don’t love the world as it is

The egos don’t like the world being what it is

“I want my/our world to be like this and not like that”

The egos complain that

There is too much of what they don’t like and don’t want

There is too little of what they like and want

The egos get offended when other egos expect them to behave in the way that other egos want them to behave

And yet, the egos expect other egos to behave in the way that they want other egos to behave

They expect other egos to respect them as they are

And yet, they don’t respect other egos to be what they are

If people

Don’t like to hear this

Don’t agree with this

And feel offended and insulted and disturbed and hurt by this

Then know that that’s the ego’s reaction out of ignorance

Let go of the ego

Silent the mind

The world is just what it is

Do what you think is good for the world

Without attachment

Without expectation

Without identification

But, know that

Different minds have different standard and idea about what is good for the world

Just do your best

If you think it’s too much

If you are going to lose your sanity

If you don’t want to play the games run by the egos

Then

Be kind to yourself

Retreat from the world

Let everyone takes care of themselves

Be free

Truth?

Most of the time, the truth is not something agreeable or pleasant to the minds that are not free from attachment and identification towards certain conditioned thinking and beliefs influenced by ignorance and egoism. Most people perceive their own reality under the influence of conditional thinking and beliefs, they don’t see the truth as it is. Those who are not free from ignorance and egoism might have heard about the truth from others, but they might not like the truth, or don’t agree with the truth realized by others. Because they haven’t realized the truth through their own realization. They perceive everything based on their own thinking and beliefs and they live in their own personal reality. And people shouldn’t believe in the truth realized by others, even if it’s coming from Buddha or any saints and sages. Everyone has to realize the truth by themselves.

People want or expect the truth to be something that they like and want, that is agreeable to their own personal worldly thinking and beliefs. Everyone who attached to different thinking and beliefs would perceive their own personal reality differently from one another. Everyone has their own perception of reality that is being different from one another and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the universal truth is still the one same truth whether people like and agree with it, or not, whether people think and believe it’s the truth, or not. As the truth is not a belief, or intellectual analysis. It’s the way of how things are, as they are. But most people don’t want things to be what they are, but they want things to be the way that how they like and want it to be, or the way that they think it should be.

mp3 audio file – yoga practice and teachings

This is a mp3 recording from one of the retreat’s guests Angela, during the intensive yoga retreat held from June 7th – 10th, 2011.

The entire retreat took place at Senari Bay Resort which is located just right in front of the ocean.

Thanks to Angela and all the other retreat participants in sharing this yoga class with all.

Please click on the link below to download the mp3 file.

http://www.yoganowmalaysia.com/mengfoongyogaclass.mp3

Be happy,

Meng Foong