Respect everyone being what they are

For the minds that attached onto and identified with the qualities of names and forms to be who/what they are, ‘respect’ is about showing admiration or acknowledgement towards oneself or others who possess or achieve certain qualities of names and forms that the minds think and believe as ‘superior quality’, ‘higher ability’, or ‘higher achievement’ that deserve ‘respect’ from others or the world. Most people ‘work’ very hard throughout their life to earn or gain ‘respect’ or ‘admiration/acknowledgement’ from the world, or others, especially those who are ‘related’ to them in their personal/community/social/professional life.

Whether wittingly or unwittingly, there is discrimination towards the different qualities, abilities/disabilities and achievement/non-achievement determining what and who are worthy or unworthy to be receiving respect from oneself and others.

Most people think and believe that showing/giving ‘respect’/’admiration’/’acknowledgement’ towards certain higher/superior quality, ability and achievement is a form of generosity/kindness/goodness or positive encouragement to motivate oneself or other people (to be continuously) to strive to be good or be better.

For the minds that (truly) practice yoga, that are free from attachment towards and identification with any qualities of names and forms, that are free from discrimination towards all the different qualities of names and forms, ‘respect’ is not about showing admiration or acknowledgement towards ‘higher’ or ‘superior’ quality, ability or achievement, but instead, it’s abandoning such worldly thinking and belief, values and practice that empowers egoism and ignorance. It’s transcending the discrimination towards what the worldly egoistic thinking and belief categorizing as ‘respectable’ and ‘non-respectable’. The mind is free from the desire of craving and aversion towards the worldly idea/values/practice of ‘respect and disrespect’, ‘praise and condemn’, ‘superiority and inferiority’, ‘meaningfulness and meaninglessness’, and so on.

The one who needs to earn or gain ‘respect’/admiration’/’acknowledgement’ from others or the world, by possessing or attaining certain higher/superior quality, ability or achievement, in order to be motivated (to be continuously) to strive to be good or be better, the one who needs ‘positive inputs/influences’, ‘positive thinking’, ‘positive encouragements’ and ‘the sense of meaningfulness’, is the ego. Those who are free from the ego and egoism don’t need to be receiving ‘respect’/’admiration’/’acknowledgement’ from anyone for anything, to motivate them (to be continuously) to be good, or be better. The selfless/egoless minds don’t need to have ‘positive inputs/influences’, ‘positive thinking’, ‘positive encouragements’ and ‘the sense of meaningfulness’.

Those who know yoga aren’t interested at all towards the worldly idea/values/practice of ‘one must work hard to be earning or gaining ‘respect’/’admiration’/’acknowledgement’ from oneself or others by possessing or attaining certain higher/superior worldly or spiritual quality, ability and achievement, and void of lower/inferior quality, disability and non-achievement.

In yoga, ‘respect’ is part of the effortless manifestation of compassion derived from a selfless ‘open-mind’ that unattached towards any quality of name and form, being ‘non-discriminative’ towards all and ‘accepting’ everyone being what they are, as they are, regardless of all the different higher and lower worldly or spiritual qualities, abilities and disabilities, achievements and non-achievements that present or absent in everyone, even if the worldly minds think and believe and recognize that there is the presence of certain qualities of ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ and the absence of certain qualities of ‘good’ and ‘right’ based on a particular social/cultural/religious/spiritual/political/philosophical thinking and belief about what is good and bad, what is right and wrong, where the minds generate dislike and disagreement, where the minds think and believe that they are ‘unworthy’ of receiving ‘respect’/’admiration’/’acknowledgement’ from anyone.

Respecting everyone being what they are doesn’t mean that one is agreeing and supporting others’ thinking, belief, behavior, values and practice that the minds think and believe as ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’, but one is undetermined or undisturbed by the existing and non-existing higher/lower quality, ability/disability, achievement/non-achievement that the world think and believe are ‘worthy’ or ‘unworthy’ of ‘respect’, without interference/discrimination/intimidation towards everyone being what they are, as they are. And all are impermanent.

Being ‘non-discriminative’ and ‘respectful’ towards all and everyone, or the mind is being ‘open’, doesn’t mean that one should be generously showing/giving ‘supports’ towards all kinds of thinking, belief, behavior, values and practice in the world, or blind-following, blind-practicing, blind-preaching and blind-promoting all the different kinds of thinking, belief, behavior, values and practice, but it’s about being unattached towards or non-associating with all the different kinds of thinking, belief, behavior, values and practice, regardless of whether the worldly thinking and belief referring something as ‘good and right’ or ‘bad and wrong’, while being non-discriminative ‘respecting’ and ‘allowing’ all these different kinds of thinking, belief, behavior, values and practice being there existing in this world as they are.

This kind of ‘respect’ of non-discriminative/non-interference/non-intimidation towards everyone regardless of all the different qualities of names and forms is essential for maintaining peace and harmony among all in the world. Be free from the worldly egoistic thinking/belief/practice of “Certain people deserve (higher) respect from others while some others don’t, being determined by who/what they are, of their particular background, gender, sexual orientation, way of life, race, belief/disbelief, position, status, caste, profession, ability, achievement, behavior, action and reaction, including what the world think is merit and virtue.”

Seeing the truth of names and forms as they are. They are just what they are, neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong, neither positive nor negative, neither meaningful nor meaningless.

Those who truly want to realize yoga of selflessness/oneness/compassion/unconditional peace need to be aware of the subtle attachment, identification and desire of craving and aversion towards the quality of names and forms projected by the ignorant impure egoistic mind. Learn how to transcend the modification of the mind of all kinds of thinking/belief/values/practice/behavior/habit/desire/intention/expectation/action and reaction.

The freedom of being free from ignorance and the suffering of the consequences of ignorance is attained through the realization of selflessness/oneness/attributelessness/namelessness/formlessness by transcending/going beyond/subjugating the modification of the mind that generates the separateness/duality manifested in the form of thinking and belief that gives rise to the notion of a worldly life existence consisting of ‘I and all the others’, ‘I and my world’, ‘I and my life’, ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘positive and negative’, ‘meaningfulness and meaninglessness’, ‘respectable and non-respectable’, ‘praise and condemn’, and so on.

Those who know this, they allow everyone being what they are, including whether people want to show ‘respect’ towards one another, or not. Those who don’t know this, they would feel disappointed, offended, disrespected, humiliated, belittled, hurt and angry when they think they aren’t getting the ‘respect’ that they expect to be getting, and they expect all ‘good’ human beings should behave in certain way to show ‘respect’ to one another, or else, those who don’t behave in such way would be labeled/condemned as ‘bad’ human beings.

Be free.

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Thai food and yoga

There are people who have been enjoying eating ‘Thai food’ in some restaurants cooked by some chefs who don’t really know what is ‘Thai food’, or the ‘Thai food’ that they have been enjoying eating are being modified and presented differently from the traditional authentic ‘Thai food’ to suit the taste of people who prefer to eat bread and potatoes than rice or noodles, or who aren’t use to spiciness or the intense taste of fish sauce, which is the main ingredient for ‘Thai food’. And one day, they have the opportunity to come to an authentic ‘Thai food’ restaurant and they order some ‘Thai food’ to eat, some would appreciate the authentic taste of ‘Thai food’, and are glad to have tasted the real ‘Thai food’, while some would feel very disappointed as it’s not what they expected, where it’s completely different taste or presentation from the ‘Thai food’ that they usually eat, where the food doesn’t served with bread or potatoes and they don’t like the taste of the authentic ‘Thai food’, and they don’t want to finish the food that they ordered while refuse to pay the bill, or request a partial billing, saying that “Your food is not good. I don’t like your food. At home, our ‘Thai food’ served with some bread or potatoes. Your ‘Thai food’ doesn’t served with bread or potatoes. I don’t want to pay for the food that I didn’t want to finish eating because I don’t like it and it doesn’t served with bread or potatoes.”

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they like and don’t like. There’s nothing wrong with people enjoy eating ‘Thai food’ that is not really ‘Thai food’ and rejecting authentic ‘Thai food’, but one still have to pay for the food that one ordered but didn’t want to finish eating because one didn’t like the taste or there is no bread or potatoes being served.

It’s similar as there are many people have been teaching ‘yoga classes’ in the world after attended and graduated from some kind of ‘yoga teachers training courses’ and call themselves ‘certified yoga teachers’, but not all these ‘yoga teachers’ are teaching yoga as it is, that allow people to develop the basic understanding about the elimination of ignorance and egoism, to be learning and practicing yoga that is not necessarily pleasant or enjoyable for the body and mind but might be very unpleasant and painful for the impure prideful egoistic mind during the purification process of the annihilation of ignorance and egoism. As a result, many people are learning and practicing what they think is yoga but not really yoga from all these ‘certified yoga teachers’ and they think that is how yoga practice should be done ‘correctly’ as taught by these ‘yoga teachers’.

When these people participated in a ‘yoga retreat’ or ‘yoga course’ that is about yoga and they have the opportunity to come in contact with the yoga practice of simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation, about the elimination of ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, of purifying and quieting the restless impure mind for meditation, that is different from the ‘modified yoga asana classes’ that they have been learning from their ‘yoga teachers’ for many years which is nothing to do with the elimination of ignorance and egoism to purify and quiet the mind for meditation, but these ‘yoga classes’ actually empowering the ignorance and egoism through the gratification of the desire of craving and aversion by pampering their body and mind in the enjoyments of the senses, some of them might develop certain degrees of understanding and would appreciate and glad to be learning and practicing yoga as it is, while some might feel greatly disturbed or disappointed and reluctant to continue learning and practicing yoga that is about yoga, and they want to quit the yoga retreat/course because they don’t like the yoga practice that is about yoga, as they refuse to make adjustment to adapt and accommodate to learn the different style of yoga practice being practiced differently from their usual way of practice. Some of them even ask for refund. And when they don’t get the refund as that would be supporting and empowering ignorance which is not yoga practice, they’ll get so angry and would do things with the intention to hurt the yoga teachers or retreat centres. This shows that they never learn what is yoga even though after many years of practicing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way under a particular teacher.

Yoga practice is all about making adjustment to adapt and accommodate condition and situation that the mind doesn’t like, or doesn’t familiar with, or doesn’t feel comfortable with, to allow the mind to be opened, to be able to be peaceful and compassionate under any condition and situation, wherever they are and whatever they are experiencing, being undisturbed by names and forms that the mind doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with.

As part of the yoga practice, one needs to learn how to let go of attachment and identification towards a particular style of yoga practice that one familiar with that one has been learning and practicing under certain yoga teachers or yoga centres, and learn how to adjust one’s body and mind to adapt and accommodate towards the yoga practice that one doesn’t familiar with or never experience before. If one can only practice yoga of a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way but couldn’t practice yoga anymore when that particular style of yoga in that particular way is not available, then one is not free even though one has been practicing particular style of yoga in a particular way for many years.

Yoga teachers who teach a particular style of yoga in a particular way need to learn how to allow their yoga students to be unattached towards that particular style of yoga being practiced in that particular way. But many ‘yoga teachers’ in the world are not free from ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, pride and arrogance towards their own particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way. Whether aware or unaware, many yoga teachers implant the strong attachment and identification towards their particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way into their yoga students’ minds, so that the yoga students will be faithful, loyal and supportive towards them and their style of yoga being practiced in a particular way. Those who teach yoga will allow all their students to be unattached towards their particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way, to be open-minded to go out there to learn from some other teachers with other types of different yoga practice and respect all types of different yoga practice even if one finds it challenging to make adjustment to adapt and accommodate the different practices that one doesn’t familiar with, and it doesn’t matter if one isn’t interested in practicing any of those different practices.

Before I left Kuala Lumpur and moved to Langkawi about 10 years ago, I told all the students to continue their practice, either by themselves or continue learning from other yoga teachers, and respect other teachers and their different ways of teaching and practice. Do not compare. They are just being different. More importantly, they might be practicing different style of yoga being practiced in a particular way, but always remember that regardless of all kinds of different style of yoga being practiced in many different ways, there’s only one yoga, the yoga of freeing the mind from ignorance and egoism, to purify and quiet the mind, to realize the truth of impermanence and selflessness, and be free, which is nothing to do with whether one is practicing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way; or one has some physical injuries that limit oneself from performing certain yoga poses; or one is severely physically ill and weak that one couldn’t perform any yoga asana poses at all; or whether the body is able to be completely comfortable while doing certain movements or holding certain poses; or what type of benefits that come from doing particular practices; or whether one knows the names of the poses or the muscles/bones/organs in any particular language; or whether one is able to perform all the yoga poses in ‘perfect alignment’; or how many years one has been performing the yoga practice under particular yoga teacher; or how many years one has been teaching yoga to other people; or whether one has attended many yoga teachers training courses and attaining how many yoga certifications, or not.

In the yoga class, it’s not about performing some yoga asana poses to make the body more healthy and illness-free, or be more strong and flexible, but it’s developing self-awareness, self-discipline, self-control and self-independence, as well as non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and non-expectation, to know what is going on in the body and mind, and accepting the reality of the physical condition and the state of the mind in the present moment now as it is. It’s about do what the body can do comfortably in the present moment now without forcing the body to go beyond its limitation regardless of whether the body is injury-free, or is suffering from some injuries or sickness. One learns how to make appropriate adjustment to adapt and accommodate the yoga asana or other yoga practice based on the condition of the body and the state of the mind in the present moment now. One doesn’t need to do anything that the body cannot perform in this present moment due to injury or sickness. One can stop and take rest as long as one needs to during a particular practice or in between different practices.

Being unable to perform any yoga asana poses or any form of physical practice due to any physical limitations, or injuries, or sickness, doesn’t stop the mind from performing the formless inner practice of awareness, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and non-expectation, and realize unconditional peace, and be free.

Most importantly, one is aware of everything is impermanent and selfless, regardless of whether one feels comfortable or uncomfortable during certain practices and whether one can do or couldn’t do certain movements or poses in this present moment. One learns to take full responsibility to look after the well-being of one’s body and mind without expecting somebody else, neither the teacher nor the doctor to look after the well-being of one’s body and mind. No body but oneself, knows directly and instantly what is going on in the body and the mind, not the teacher or the doctor. If there’s pain or discomforts, one do not proceed any further, or one can make some adjustment or modification. If there’s tiredness, one can take rest as long as one needs to.

If one needs to depend on a teacher or a doctor being there to be responsible to look after or supervise the well-being of one’s body and mind all the time, then one will never be able to realize what is yoga, even after many years of practicing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way under the supervision of a particular teacher, expecting the teacher to tell them what they should do and shouldn’t do, and constantly expecting the teacher to check on them, asking them whether they are comfortable, or not, and telling them whether they are doing it nicely, or not, and whether they are good, or not.

Just like a blind person needs to depend on a blind stick to find their way, while other people with healthy vision don’t need to depend on a blind stick to move around. By telling everyone that everyone must carry a blind stick with them in order to move around, or else, without a blind stick everyone can’t go anywhere or will injure themselves, is complete ignorance. And that is what happening in many yoga centres/schools/studios/ashrams with particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way. Without any particular equipment or props that they used to rely on while performing their yoga practice, these yoga students can’t practice yoga anymore, or they find it ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ for not having those equipment or props while performing the yoga practice. These students will never be free from ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification and desire of craving and aversion, even after many years of attending these kind of yoga classes doing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way, where the yoga teachers are either wittingly or unwittingly developing the circle of ‘my style/brand of yoga’, ‘my students’, ‘my clients’, ‘my members’, ‘my followers’, ‘my disciples’, ‘my supporters’, or ‘my admirers’.

Yoga retreat is not a place for mingling or socializing or interaction, but it’s a great opportunity to practice simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation while living among the society, to be by oneself moving away from worldly social interactions and activities to quiet the restless mind, to be reflecting upon the truth of names and forms, to be aware of the modifications of the mind to know thyself, besides looking after one’s daily duty and responsibility such as maintaining the tidiness and cleanliness of the accommodation/living environment/practice space and looking after one’s daily meals, while dealing with condition and situation that are not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, so that one can perform Yoga Sadhana at home observing simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation while living among the society performing one’s duty and responsibility in everyday life. At one stage, Swami Sivananda walked 15 km everyday to the nearby villages for Biksha (obtaining food by alms) besides performing daily Sadhana and selfless service while living a life of renunciation.

Many ‘yoga retreats’ in the world are not about quieting the restless mind via the practice of simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation, but it’s about being in an out of the world environment away from dealing with any duty and responsibility in everyday life, indulging in pleasurable enjoyments of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and visualization/imagination/anticipation/expectation, gratifying the desires of craving and aversion, promoting mingling and socializing, enjoying all kinds of conveniences of hotel facilities and services, which most worldly minds expect what ‘yoga retreat’ is about. Food is prepared and served by somebody. Cleaning up and laundry are done by somebody. Room tidiness and cleanliness is maintained by somebody. Everyone just needs to enjoy mingling and socializing with the other retreat participants, while indulging in pleasurable yoga activities, spa treatments and all kinds of hotel facilities and services during the retreat.

And this is ‘the world of yoga’ that is supposed to be about living a life of simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation from worldly activities/connections/interactions/enjoyments to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, but many people are unaware of the ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga retreats’ that they have been attending are not about Yoga Sadhana to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, but it’s actually empowering ignorance and egoism instead.

It’s everyone’s freedom whether to practice yoga as it is, or not.

 

Unattached towards any thinking and belief, including the teachings of yoga

Why is it important to be unattached towards any thinking and belief, including the teachings of yoga?

We all need to make some unavoidable important decisions to suit the impermanent changes from time to time in our life. We will also come in contact with other people who have different thinking, belief and practice from us, from time to time, living in this space of the universe, whether we like it, or not.

If we attached strongly onto a particular thinking and belief in our mind that put importance and unimportance onto certain action, reaction, behavior and values, then we might have expectation towards ourselves and/or others to live life or behave in the way according to that thinking and belief. We will be very dissatisfied and disappointed with ourselves and/or other people if we or other people don’t live life or behave exactly in the way according to that thinking and belief. We might easily be disturbed or offended by other people’s different thinking and belief that put importance and unimportance onto certain action, reaction, behavior and values that are very different from ours. We would want to argue about whose thinking and belief is better or trying to persuade other people to take up our thinking and belief that we think is better, that we think is correct, that we feel very proud of. There’s disturbance, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, irritation, anger, hatred, offensiveness, defensiveness, hurts, fear and worry in the mind due to couldn’t accept or allow or respect other people to be different from us.

Due to ignorance, our perception or understanding towards the teachings of yoga might not necessarily be something that we can agree with, like or want to practice.

If we attached strongly onto the teachings of yoga based on how we perceive or understand the teachings, we might not want to practice yoga if we have certain disagreements or dislikes towards the teachings of yoga that we think is wrong or incorrect because it is contradicted with our own existing thinking/belief/practice. Or, we might want to change yoga into something else that we can agree with, like and want to practice. And if our minds agree with, like and want to practice the teachings of yoga as it is, then there might be inner conflict arise when we need to make a decision for something that might go against the teachings of yoga. We would feel very disturbed, confused, guilty or regret for being unable to practice yoga ‘perfectly’ or ‘exactly’ in accordance to the teachings of yoga as it is. And then, the impure egoistic mind that attached strongly onto the teachings of yoga might unwittingly judging others, both yoga practitioners or non-yoga practitioners, out of self-righteousness based on what the mind thinks it knows about the teachings of yoga.

It doesn’t mean that if we don’t attach onto the teachings of yoga, then we don’t need to respect the teachings of yoga and do whatever we like, even if it goes against the teachings of yoga. We should do our best to practice yoga as it is according to the ancient teachings of yoga, if the life condition and situation allows us to do that. But, life is impermanent.

There will always be some challenging unfavorable circumstances that we need to deal with from time to time. If we attached strongly onto the teachings of yoga, expecting ourselves to be able to follow ‘perfectly’ all the teachings of yoga to live life and practice yoga as it ‘supposed’ to be all the time, then we might not be able to continue our yoga practice or will give up the path of yoga entirely, when we think we can’t or it’s wrong to make adjustments in our life or in our practice to adapt and accommodate the challenging condition and situation that is also impermanent.

It’s about the inner stamina, strength and flexibility of patience, perseverance, determination, acceptance, forbearance and tolerance to accept the reality that is not necessarily in favor to our preferred way of life or our yoga practice in accordance to the teachings of yoga as it is, and be able to make suitable momentary adjustments to adapt and accommodate any challenging conditions or situations that arise from time to time in our life and in our practice. But, with correct understanding that these adjustments are also impermanent, as well as do our best to respect the teachings of yoga as it is if the condition permits. Yoga is still what it is, whether we need to make some adjustments, or not. It doesn’t change into something else, whether people agree or disagree with it, or whether people practice yoga as it is, or not.

It’s about being compassionate, respectful and non-discriminating towards this life, this body and this mind that is not perfectly the way that we would like it to be and towards others who are different from us, who have different thinking, belief and practice that put different importance and unimportance onto certain action, reaction, behavior and values that are different from ours. Being undisturbed or unoffended by other people’s thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction that are different from ours. Being undisturbed or unoffended by our impure perception/understanding of the teachings of yoga that our mind disagree with, doesn’t like and doesn’t want to practice.

Non-attachment is about being able to adjust, to adapt and accommodate any unforeseen circumstances of challenging condition and situation that arise in our life and our practice, whether it’s about the physical/mental condition, livelihood, sickness, injury, aging, or any issues with family/neighbourhood/environment/weather/religion/area/getting the basic needs for life maintenance, that need us to make some necessary adjustments on the path of yoga whether in terms of livelihood, or performing our own yoga practice, or teaching yoga to other people, to adapt and accommodate the impermanent changes of challenging condition and situation.

It allows us to continue our practice in a slightly different way than what we would like it to be, but at least we didn’t give it up just because we think it’s impossible to practice yoga under certain challenging condition or situation, due to we think we must follow exactly the teachings of yoga as it is, that we think we can’t or it’s wrong/impossible to make any adjustments. More importantly, it allows the mind to be opened to inquire/investigate/experience the truth of the teachings of yoga, without blind-believing or blind-following.

Be free.

Feel offended by other people’s ‘non-sociable’ personality or practice of silence?

Walk alone, live alone, eat alone and meditate alone. Cut off all connections ruthlessly. Hide yourself away. Do not build ashram. Do not hoard disciples. Do not mix. Do not associate.

– Swami Sivananda (excerpts from Concentration and Meditation)

Many friendly sociable good people who are interested in yoga and meditation practice, but somehow, they don’t really understand the core teachings and practice of yoga and meditation of silencing the mind, would feel very intimidated or offended by the teachings and practice of turning the mind inwards for self-introspection and silencing the mind, through the practice of seclusion and solitude (cutting off from all social interactions and connections), where the sociable friendly good people would feel very uncomfortable and intimidated being with those who do not engage in social interactive activity and conversation. They criticize people who observe silence, seclusion and solitude as being ‘unfriendly’, as their minds are being conditioned by certain ideas and standards to categorize people into ‘friendly people’ or ‘unfriendly people’ in the social world based on what they think is friendliness and unfriendliness.

Those who don’t talk much, or don’t engage in a social interactive conversation with other people, or don’t invade or interfere with other people’s way of life, thinking and behavior, who don’t comment or acknowledge about other people (whether it’s something good or bad), are being recognized as ‘unfriendly’ or ‘uncaring’ in the sociable society.

“People in a room do not talk to each other is so wrong.” This is the thinking and belief of the worldly minded people.

People attending a ‘silent meditation retreat/course’ complain about people in the retreat/course are so unfriendly because they don’t talk or interactive with one another?!

But what kind of bad actions have these people who are being perceived by friendly sociable good people as ‘unfriendly and uncaring people’ done to other people? Nothing. In fact, they are helping the world to have less conflict and have more peace by observing silence when they do not go around judging or expecting other people to be in certain ways that they think it should be. They do their own things and don’t invade or interfere with other people’s way of life and do not generate inconvenience for other people. That is already a great contribution to the society. We should be grateful and thankful to them.

The nature of those who observe silence appear to be ‘not fun’, non-concerning and non-engaging with other friendly sociable people who expect all human beings should be fun to hang out with, should be active in social interaction, to be talkative, to be engaging and connecting with other human beings physically and verbally, it’s not surprised that why people feel ‘wrong’, ‘awkward’, ‘unwelcome’, ‘disrespected’, ‘hurt’, ‘offended’, ‘intimidated’, ‘unconcerned’, ‘unnoticed’, ‘unacknowledged’, and so on, when they come in contact with those who observe silence. All these reactions of a disturbed state of the mind are coming from their own minds reacting towards something that they dislike and disagree with, and it’s nothing to do with whether other people are being ‘friendly’ to them, or not.

People would feel disturbed and offended by other people whom they think are not being ‘friendly’ enough towards them, as they expect friendly treatment from others the way that they think it should be. There’s an issue with themselves, not with other people. Other people have the freedom to be friendly or unfriendly towards anyone.

Because of most friendly sociable good people would feel greatly disturbed and offended by other people who observe silence of the mind, that’s why it’s better for yoga and meditation practitioners to retreat from the society to observe seclusion and solitude.

‘Friendliness’ in the path of yoga and meditation is nothing to do with accumulating friendships, constantly visiting each other to stay connecting, to be hanging out from time to time to do some social activities together, and get into worldly conversation of commentary, criticism, mocking, flirting, boasting, story telling, mourning, grumbling, debate and discussion, and so on. ‘Friendliness’ in Yoga is when the mind is being free from ill-thinking, ill-will, anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear, offensiveness, defensiveness, judgment, expectation, interference, invasion, violence or hostility towards all and everyone, free from discrimination of friends or not friends, superiority or inferiority that based on personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements.

When people don’t do anything that intentionally to hurt us, or disturb our peaceful life, or cause inconvenience to us, or interfere with our freedom of thinking, action and speech or way of life and conduct, that is what true friendliness is about.

When people in the society who think they are friendly people criticizing or mocking those whom they think are unfriendly people, then they don’t know the true meaning of friendliness, as themselves are being unfriendly, by having such ill-thinking and criticism towards other people whom they feel offended or intimidated by their silence of action and speech, and they interfere with other people’s freedom of actions, to act or not to act (whether to talk to another being, or not talking to anyone, where not talking to other people when there are people around expecting people should talk to one another is being perceived as unfriendly, offensive and wrong for the worldly friendly sociable good people.)

There is nothing wrong, offensive or intimidating when people have no interest to engage in any ‘friendly’ and ‘caring’ conversation with us. But the expectation from us towards other people that all ‘normal’ and ‘good’ people must somehow be engaging in interactive conversation with us to show friendliness to us, is what make us feel offended, intimidated, or wrong, when we don’t receive the interaction the way that we expect it to be. We are the one who is intimidating and offending other people’s freedom of behavior. But we don’t see it this way.

If people truly love the world and want to build a peaceful harmony society, it’s not about expecting other people to conform to our own way of life, thinking, belief, culture and behavior that we think is the way it should be. But it’s to respect everyone to be different and allowing everyone to be different, without invading or interfering with other people’s way of life, thinking, belief and behavior that are different from ours.

It’s okay if people don’t want to be sociable with other people. It’s okay if people are not interested in engaging in some forms of interactive activities or conversation with us. It’s okay if people keep to themselves and are not interested to connect with anyone to live a quiet secluded life. At least they don’t do anything intentionally that would hurt or disturb our life or the environment. If we feel disturbed is because we are disturbed by our own mind reaction towards their behavior that we dislike and disagree with.

When people talk too much, or talk non-sense or subject that we aren’t interested in, especially when we want some quiet time to ourselves, or people want to know too many things that we prefer to keep to ourselves, we complain about them for being overly warm and too friendly and busybody.

When people don’t talk to us or interact with us, and don’t ask anything about us that we would like to share with other people, we also complain about them for being ‘cold’ and ‘unfriendly’ and ‘uncaring’.

Be free.

Friendliness is about respecting everyone to be different from oneself, to be what they are, as they are

Friendliness doesn’t necessarily mean making social contacts or personal friendships and hanging out together, connecting, interacting and socializing with other like-minded people. It is about respecting everyone, whom we know or don’t know, to be different from oneself, to be what they are, as they are, being free from discrimination, judgment, expectation, superiority/inferiority and self-righteousness.

Those who are open-minded and free from egoism will not interfere with other people’s thinking and belief that are different from them, and won’t be disturbed or offended by other people’s thinking and belief that one doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, and have peace and harmony in oneself. And they allow other people to dislike or disagree with their thinking and belief, being undisturbed and not be offended or insulted by other people’s dislike and disagreement towards oneself. But not many are open-minded and egoless. Lots of conflict, argument and violence derived from closed-minded and egoistic mind reactions towards what the ego doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, being disturbed and offended by one’s dislike and disagreement towards other people’s thinking and belief that is different from oneself, or be disturbed and offended or insulted by other people’s dislikes and disagreements towards one’s thinking and belief which one thinks is right, or true, or superior.

Putting the blame onto other people’s thinking and belief and behavior that our minds think and believe as wrong and bad, that we don’t like and don’t agree with, for the peacelessness and disharmony in us, is ignorance. It’s how the ego reacts towards something that it doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, that causes the peacelessness and disharmony in the mind.

In yoga or Buddhism, friendliness is the ability to be able to be aware of all the different qualities of names and forms in different people or beings, and be able to respect everyone as they are, even though we might not like or agree with them of their thinking, their beliefs, or their behavior, without judgment or criticism, without trying to change or control those whom we dislike or disagree with to be what we would like them to be, or to be the way that we think they should be. Instead, we have self-awareness, self-discipline and self-control over our own thoughts, actions and speech, being free from discrimination or prejudice that based on our personal likes and dislikes or agreements and disagreements influenced by our own personal thinking and belief about what things are and how things should be like.

One can keep one’s personal thinking and belief as well as what one practices or doesn’t practice to oneself, and allows other people or beings to have their own thinking and belief, and what they practice or don’t practice that are different from oneself, without interfering with other people’s freedom of thinking, actions and speech, even if their thinking, actions and speech might cause disturbs or harmful damages to themselves and other beings. But, allowing everyone to develop self-awareness, self-discipline and self-control over their own thoughts, actions and speech via self-realization for the well-being of themselves and others.

The pride and arrogance towards ‘I’ am better and more superior than all the others is why the ego constantly judging and criticizing and interfering with other people or beings that one doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with. The thinking and belief of ‘I’ am good and right, ‘I’ want the world to be good and right, ‘I’ want other people to be good and right, ‘I’ should correct these people or beings whom ‘I’ think they are not good and wrong, whom I think their thinking and belief and behavior are inferior than mine, is merely coming from the ego, it’s not the teachings or the practice of yoga.

In yoga and Buddhism, if one truly wants to do good and be good and wants the world to be good, one focuses and works diligently on self-inquiry by taming and quieting one’s mind through self-discipline and self-control, to be determined to free one’s mind from ignorance and egoism, and allows everyone to be what they are, as they are, and allows the world to be what it is, as it is. If everyone knows this and frees their minds from ignorance and egoism, the world will be free from all kinds of discrimination, prejudice, hatred, jealousy, greed, possessiveness, fear, exploitation, conflict, war, or violence. All these affliction arise due to people want to interfere with other people’s thinking, belief and behavior that one doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with.

Find out what really happens when there is conflict or argument or unrest between two people? May it be between the parents and their children, the husband and the wife, two friends, two strangers, two neighbours, two religions, two communities, or two countries. It’s all deriving from ignorance and egoism and impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, possessiveness, exploitation, selfish desires and expectations, feelings of hurt and insult, pride and arrogance, offensiveness and defensiveness, or fear and worry. It’s not because one party is ‘good and right’ and the other party is ‘bad and wrong’. If either one party is truly ‘good and right’, there’s no conflict or argument at all. There will be peace and harmony in oneself even when the mind perceives and is aware of something is ‘not good or wrong’ based on the thinking and belief in one’s mind.

If people want to believe or disbelieve in God, that’s everyone’s freedom.

Be truly friendly. Only when one knows what is true friendliness, one will also know what is compassion. Or else, even though one talks about and promotes compassion, and wants to be compassionate, but one couldn’t be truly compassionate if one’s mind isn’t free from ignorance and egoism yet.

Be free.