Retreat and quieting the restless outgoing pleasure/stimulation seeking mind

Some people asked us, “What are the fun holiday activities we can do during the free time between the yoga and meditation practice sessions in the yoga retreat?”

Many people might be unaware of the yoga practice are being carried out in every moment whether during the yoga practice ‘sessions’ and outside the yoga practice ‘sessions’ during a yoga retreat, or in everyday life.

Not that ‘doing/enjoying some fun holiday activities’ are wrong or bad, but the yoga practice is all about changing the worldly behavior pattern/habitual action and reaction of the mind, filtering/reducing/restricting/limiting the physical and mental activities, to withdraw the outgoing tendency of the mind, to be quieting the restless pleasure/stimulation seeking mind, while freeing the mind from egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, to prepare the mind for meditation, to see the truth of things as it is, be free from ignorance and suffering that derived from ignorance.

In a ‘retreat’, this yoga practice of restricting the activities of the body and the mind and quieting the restless modification of the mind is being put into practice, seizing the opportunity of participating in a ‘retreat’ for an extended period of time, to be retreating from all kinds of worldly physical and mental activities that gratify the desire of craving for pleasurable actions, adventures, thrills, achievements, enjoyment and stimulation. Retreat participants should make use of the free time in between the yoga practice ‘sessions’ or other than performing daily task such like tidying/cleaning the living space, taking meals and shower, to ‘take rest’ and ‘be quiet’ physically and mentally, as well as observing the habitual action and reaction and the desire of gross/subtle craving of the mind especially during the time ‘not doing anything particular physically or mentally’ not even doing some kind of physical or mental yoga practice to occupy the mind, or when ‘boredom’ and ‘the sense of meaninglessness’ starts to manifest in the mind urging the mind to go out there to be doing something to get rid of the ‘boredom’ and ‘the sense of meaninglessness’.

The untrained mind usually doesn’t like to ‘be quiet physically and mentally’ being in the present moment reducing/limiting/restricting the physical and mental activities or ‘doing nothing particular’ not even some kind of ‘spiritual practice’ or ‘healthy/meaningful activities’ to be occupying the mind with ‘something’, as the mind will get bored and feel meaningless, and hence, it needs to be constantly seeking actions/adventures/thrills/achievements, enjoyment and stimulation. And hence, the restlessness. And yoga practice is to free the mind from this worldly thinking/belief/practice/habit of ‘constantly need to occupy the mind with something to keep it busy/restless so that it doesn’t get bored or feel meaningless’.

We don’t just reduce/restrict/limit/retreat from worldly physical and mental activities during a ‘retreat’ for a few days or weeks, we also practice partial or maximum retreat from worldly social affairs, activities and interactions as much as possible in our everyday life to stop feeding the desire and the outgoing pleasure/stimulation seeking tendency of the mind.

Contemplate on this, and find out whether oneself is practicing yoga to free the mind from the habitual worldly behavior pattern, to quiet/silent the restless modification of the mind, by renouncing/retreating from worldly egoistic physical and mental activities that empower egoism and restlessness, or just doing some kinds of ‘yoga practice’ a few hours a day regularly to be gaining some impermanent/momentary physical and mental benefits to gratify the desire of craving and aversion of the mind, to feel good, healthy and meaningful. And there’s nothing wrong either if oneself is not practicing yoga to change the habitual worldly behavior habit of the mind, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to quiet/silent the modification of the mind. But for those who sincerely want to practice yoga, they can contemplate on this.

Advertisements

Retreat from the world?

Retreat from the world or renouncing the world is about being kind to one’s mind, to allow the mind to take care of itself.

It’s moving away from the so called ‘normal’ or ‘conventional’ worldly life that is subject to some particular thinking and belief that are influenced deeply by commercial and political ideas, and social or cultural or religious belief and practice. It’s moving the mind away from all kinds of worldly ideas, beliefs, custom, people, affairs, politics, activities, events, movements, objects, social medias, commercials, mingling, socializing, interactions, communications, novel reading, news reading, magazine reading, TV and movies watching, entertainments, talks, debates, gossips, criticism, slander, condemn, story telling, lies, hypocrisy, passions, desires, clinging, craving, ambitions, trends and hypes, and etc, to live a life of seclusion and solitude for a prolonged period of time.

Worldly activities such like talking, mingling, social interaction and communication, novel and news reading, movies watching, political analysis and debates, ideology discussions, and etc, are the main cause of restlessness of the mind and the fuel that feeds ignorance and egoism.

When the mind is free from ignorance and egoism through taking essential care for this mind, one can mix freely in the world but won’t be influenced by all the names and forms, and be undisturbed by the worldly conditions and situations.

If one truly wants to care for the world, but due to ignorance and egoism, one’s mind is being influenced by all the names and forms, and be disturbed very much by the conditions and situations of the world, then one should try to take care of one’s mind first. Otherwise, how can one help others when one’s mind is as lost and suffer as all the others’.

“You hurt me, and hence, I hurt you too.”
“You are unkind to me, and hence, I am unkind to you too.”
“I want myself to be good. I want the world to be good. I want everyone to be good. I’ll feel disappointed and angry if myself is not good enough, if the world is not good, if everyone is not good enough.”
“I want to contribute to the world. I want to be a hero to save the world. I would do anything to hurt anyone who would get in my way to do what I want to do, to be what I want to be, to achieve the world that I want.”

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

Unconditional happiness beyond qualities of names and forms

Most people are looking for happiness, or want to be happy. Those who are happy, they don’t need to look for happiness, or desire to be happy. When we think and feel we want to be happy, it’s because we are not happy. We are not happy is because we think we are not free. We think we are not free is because ignorance.

Under the influence of ignorance, we think happiness is coming from freedom of thinking, action and speech, and doing what we like to do, be who we want to be, achieve what we want to achieve, receive love and support from other people, be acknowledged and approved by other people, have good health, good livelihood and good living condition, and being with people whom we loved and who love us. But, all these qualities of names and forms will only give us momentary happy feelings that are impermanent. We fall into great misery and painful sorrow when impermanence strikes, when we lose all the good qualities that we think will make us happy, if we are determined by all these names and forms to be who we are, to be happy, or not. It’s not the unconditional happiness that is beyond all the qualities of names and forms, when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism.

When we seek happiness through certain qualities of names and forms that we like and desire, and we will feel happy when we get what we like and want, it doesn’t mean that we won’t experience unhappiness anymore, or we will be free from impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride, arrogance, feelings of hurt, guilt, regret, fear and worry. By achieving happiness through doing and getting what we like and want doesn’t mean that our surrounding living environment will be free from names and forms that we don’t like and don’t want. And thus our minds are constantly restless being in a mixture state of happiness and unhappiness. There’s no permanent satisfaction. The craving for what we desire and the aversion towards what we don’t desire is what hinders the mind from realizing the unconditional happiness beyond qualities of names and forms.

If we know how to be free from the desire of craving and aversion towards happiness and unhappiness that comes from ignorance and egoism, we will be happy as we are. We do not rely on any qualities of names and forms to be happy, or not. Even when there is restriction or limitation of thinking, action and speech, and we are unable to do what we like to do, unable to be who we want to be and not achieving what we want to achieve, or, we are not receiving love and support from other people, unacknowledged and disapproved by other people, not having good health, good livelihood and good living condition, and not able to be with people whom we loved and who love us, we are still happy as we are. This happiness isn’t determined by or coming from any qualities of names and forms.

Ignorance is not knowing the truth of names and forms.

To free the mind from ignorance, we need to free the mind from impurities. To free the mind from impurities, we need to free the mind from egoism. To free the mind from egoism, we need to free the mind from ignorance, as egoism derives from ignorance. It is a loop that has no beginning or ending.

Due to ignorance and egoism, the ego attached towards the impermanent physical condition and ability, the impermanent states of the mind, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements based on certain conditional thinking and belief, knowledge, achievements, possessions, and all kinds of relationships, to be identifying as ‘I’. This ‘I’ is constantly disturbed by the craving and aversion towards all these impermanent qualities of names and forms, and being restless and experience suffering when the craving and aversion is not being gratified the way that it likes it to be. The ego is determined by the gratification of its craving and aversion to be happy, or not. There is no possibility for contentment and peace, due to the truth of impermanence in all the names and forms, as well as this ‘I’ is a false understanding and identification. This constant restlessness hinders the mind to be free from ignorance.

That’s why it’s not an easy task to be free. But, it’s possible if we know how to discipline and purify the mind by restricting the mind activities and quieting the mind by moving the mind away from worldly objects of names and forms, to breakdown this loop of ignorance. And hence, retreat for observing silence exists to help to discipline and purify the mind efficiently.

Retreat for the observation of silence is to disconnect with our worldly life connections, family and friends, social interactions, habits, personal or religious and cultural belief and practice. It doesn’t mean that we abandon our life, family and friends, and our personal or religious and cultural belief and practice, but, it’s to allow our minds to have the opportunity to be free from the contact with the objects of names and forms that are directly and indirectly related to restlessness, distractions, cares and anxieties, and allowing the mind to be opened for contemplation on the truth.

It’s normal that people have fear towards letting go certain religious or non-religious thinking and belief that influence the way of life and conduct, self-image and personal identity. There is fear of the unknown consequences of letting go those thinking and belief. There is fear of exile, criticism and condemn from the ‘group’ that we think we belong to. There is fear of being unaccepted by the society. There is fear of non-existence. The ignorant minds constantly seek recognition, agreement, approval, support and acknowledgement from the society to be who we think we are, or who we want to be. This is one of the obstacles that hinders the mind to see the truth of names and forms as it is.

Those who have gone beyond the idea of ‘I’, or the identification with qualities of names and forms to be identifying as ‘I’, they don’t even attach onto their devotion towards the teachings and practice of yoga to identify oneself as ‘yogi’, not to say to attach onto certain conditional worldly thinking and belief. Meanwhile other beings can have the freedom of thinking to refer or label them as ‘yogi’.

Many people who think they love yoga and practice yoga might think and believe that yoga is to connect with all and everything. We think we need to connect with other people or something that we think is not ‘I’, which are separated from ‘I’, is ignorance. Upon the realization of selflessness and non-separateness, there’s no connection with anything that is not ‘I’, as there’s no ‘I’ that generates separateness. Just like when people think they want to make connection with God, it’s because they think they are something separated from God. Oneness is beyond connection that consists of more than one party.

The essential yoga practice of silence, is to retreat and disconnect the mind from the society and all sorts of worldly life connections and social activities. Retreat from worldly life connections and social activities, and isolation from other people including family and friends, help tremendously to turn the mind inward for self-introspection and self-inquiry to see the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance, and thus be free from unhappiness and suffering.

Though freeing the mind from ignorance is the greatest contribution to the society and world peace, the practice of silence in solitude and seclusion might appear to be ‘selfishness’, ‘anti-social’ or ‘abnormal behavior’ by the worldly minded people who attached to worldly life conditioned by certain thinking and beliefs about how human beings should and shouldn’t behave. Most minds would want to runaway after a few days of observing the practice of silence in solitude and seclusion, not to say to be completely cut off from the social world for many years.

In the tradition of yoga, to be isolated from the society and be in seclusion for a long period of time for at least five to six years is a very important observation. One should learn how to be happy and comfortable with oneself in solitude, being isolated from all other beings, before one mixes into the society, or gets involve in any kind of relationships with anyone, without expecting someone or something that is not ‘I’ to make us happy, or give us happiness. Or else we generate so much tension and unhappiness in ourselves and those whom we want to love and be loved.

When one is free from ignorance and egoism, one doesn’t need to be loved, be supported, be acknowledged, be approved, or be connected, to feel meaningful or be happy. One will be free whether being in a relationship, or not. There’s no loneliness. When one knows how to be happy as one is, the society will be benefited tremendously by the existence of this being, without any intention from this being to benefit anyone or anything.

But, many yoga practitioners nowadays who attached strongly to their worldly social life don’t just not interested in observing this traditional practice, but they condemn this practice. And that is their freedom of thinking, action and speech.

Be free.

Busy mind?

As yoga practitioners living among the worldly society, if we notice our mind is becoming too busy with too many things, ideas, or thought activities until we couldn’t sleep or rest well, and we couldn’t control our speech organ that we couldn’t stop talking excessively and randomly about this and that in a social conversation with other people as the mind has too many ideas that need to be expressed, or our mind is easily distracted or pulled away from our main duty and responsibility, and this drains our energy level, then know that we need to retreat our mind from the worldly social activities and objects of names and forms, such like reduce books and news reading, or TV and movies watching, or internet surfing, and minimize mingling and socializing as much as possible.

Unless the mind knows what is non-attachment towards worldly social activities and objects of names and forms, and is not disturbed or affected or influenced by all these worldly inputs, then there’s no need to retreat from worldly social activities and objects of names and forms.

Untrained mind keeps looking for some sorts of entertainment or stimulation, or else it gets bored or agitated and feel meaningless.

Rendering the restless busy outgoing mind to turn inward to be quiet, is what yoga practice is about. It’s quietness with clarity. It’s not the type of ‘dullness’ or ‘cloudiness’ that comes from the effect of taking some mind altering substances.

For those who are not serious in their yoga practice, they don’t have to observe this practice or retreat their outgoing busy minds from worldly social activities and objects. It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their minds.

Om shanti.

Want to join a yoga retreat?

What does the ‘retreat’ in yoga retreat mean?

Many people think yoga retreats are for people to enjoy a yoga ‘treat’ or ‘re-treat’ for oneself, where a group of people who like to do some yoga exercises come together to engage in a social ‘yoga’ meeting and interaction with some other people, and pampering their body and mind in pleasurable enjoyments.

It’s normal for people to think like that as there are many yoga retreats in the world that are not about retreating from worldly social interactions and activities, to turn the outgoing mind inward for self-inquiry. These yoga retreats are not about retreating from the social world to allow the participants to focus on their yoga and meditation practice to quiet the mind, but they are more into engaging in social activities and interactions getting to know some other people, and getting a nice ‘treat’ to pamper oneself in some pleasurable bodily and mentally enjoyments.

But, retreat is about retreating or renouncing from worldly affairs, objects, ideas, habits, social activities and sensual enjoyments, to quiet the mind, to have a period of time and space to focus on one’s yoga and meditation practice, to be with oneself, to observe one’s mind, to deal with one’s mind impurities, to limit mind inputs and outputs, even when there are some other people are participating in the same retreat. Everyone should minimize social talking or interactions as much as possible, to allow the mind to have the opportunity to move away from restlessness and its usual habits of actions and reactions, to calm and quiet the mind to know oneself. It makes no difference whether it is a personal private retreat or it’s a group retreat with other participants.

If people are more interested in worldly affairs, objects, activities, ideas, social meeting and interactions than their own personal yoga and meditation practice to conquer their minds through quieting the mind and the elimination of ignorance and egoism, and they expect to be meeting with other people in the ‘retreat’ to be socializing with one another, they can participate in many other kinds of social activities organized by many different people and organizations around the world. As those who expect to have social interactions in a yoga retreat, they might be disturbing other retreat participants who join the retreat mainly for a retreat.

Although yoga retreats are not necessarily including the observation of complete silence, but all participants should try to minimize and restrict their speech, mental and physical activities, to conserve energy for yoga and meditation practice, and allowing the mind to have some moments of quietness to contemplate upon the truth of all the teachings of yoga.

Om shanti.

Reform ourselves first, if we truly want to see reformation in the society…

Free ourselves from ignorance first, if we wish the world to be free from ignorant beings and happenings.

Have peace in ourselves first, if we want a peaceful world.

We cannot expect everyone else, except ourselves should be changing, so that we can have a better society that is free from ignorant beings and happenings, so that we can have a peaceful world to live in.

Out of pride and arrogance, we think that we are better human beings than others. We think that we are ‘good’ people, and we are angry with all the ‘bad’ people in the society. Thinking that everyone else except ourselves, are contributing and being responsible for the problems in the society or in the world.

The restlessness in us that comes from dissatisfaction, discrimination, anger and hatred towards other people’s ignorance are in fact polluting the society and the world, not any less than those who we think they are responsible for all the ‘problems’ that we have.

Reform ourselves first, if we truly want to see positive changes, or reformation in the society.

If we, or every beings know how to ‘clean up’ and ‘control’ ourselves, the world will start to change. It is not about ‘changing’ others, or ‘clean up’ others, or ‘control’ others…

In tradition, whether in Buddhism, or Yoga teachings and practice, is all about ‘reforming’ or ‘transforming’ ourselves. We retreat ourselves from the world, or worldly affairs, to concentrate on our own ‘reformation’, remove ignorance and egoism, until we are free, and have peace. Being undisturbed, unaffected, uninfluenced, and undetermined by all the qualities of names and forms in the world, then only we can ‘help’ to bring certain awareness into the world to ‘help’ other beings to be free from ignorance and egoism, and attain wisdom, or correct understanding, and thus will have correct thinking, actions and speech. And so, the society will start to change or reform.

Om shanti.

Yoga retreat?

‘Retreat’ is a period of special time and space of solitude for us to be with ourselves, to retreat from worldly social interactive activities, to allow the mind to have the opportunity to move away from restlessness and its usual habits, to turn the outgoing mind inwards for introspection, for self-inquiry, to know our-Self, even if there are other people being in the same retreat.

Real (spiritual) retreats are not designed for socializing or mingling. It’s an opportunity for us to practice solitude. As solitude is an important element in conquest of mind or fear. Some people’s mind are fear of being with people, they want to be alone to feel safe. While some people’s mind are fear of being alone, they want to be surrounded by some other people all the time. But both of them also is about fear. Fear derives from ignorance and attachment. There’s no peace in ourselves, always thinking that something bad is going to happen on us, or somebody is going to hurt us, either when we are alone, or when we are being with some other people. We generate so much tension into the environment.

If we are afraid of being with ourselves even just for a few days, and ‘have to’ cling onto other people in the retreat all the time, please be considerate that we still have to respect other people in the retreat centre who purposely coming here to have their own time and space for themselves for some personal spiritual practice. As we are disturbing other people’s precious time and space to be with themselves being in the retreat centre.

But, we cannot expect everyone to be understanding this simple and basic principle about ‘retreat’. As there are many other yoga retreats in the world that are not really about silence the mind for self-inquiry, but more like commercialized luxury pleasurable enjoyment and socializing kind of yoga holidays.

In the end, it’s about compassion. Being compassionate towards those who are influenced by ignorance and whose mind is out of their own control, being over-powered by fear. Spiritual practice are here for beings who have fear, to learn to deal with fear, and to let go of fear. But, most of us refuse to confront with the fear in us, and choose to avoid what we are fear of.

Most important is being compassionate towards ourselves by letting go of fear.

Om shanti.

Retreat ourselves in everyday life, not just during silent retreats…

What are we doing in silent retreats?

We practice intense or serious non-attachment…

Retreat from the attachments in our life. Retreat from names and forms that we always see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think… Retreat from our everyday worldly activities, actions and speech… Retreat from our usual behavior pattern or routine… Retreat from our daily life worries and cares… Retreat from interaction, communication, discussion, debate, argument, expression, reaction, expectation, wanting, talking, mingling, socializing, mixing, gossiping, criticizing, judging, comparing, justification, worldly sensual pleasure and enjoyments, and etc…

We stop giving the mind what it wants and likes… We stop gratifying the craving and aversion of the mind… We move the mind away from its usual activities and enjoyments… This will not be easy nor comfortable for the mind… It will reject and resent… It will experience irritation and frustration… It will want to runaway from the retreat and go back to its usual habits, activities and enjoyments…

Meditation is not about making the mind to become creative and artistic, no doubt that many people who practice meditation regularly will naturally be developing the creativity and artistic side of the mind… They will have many creative ideas and imaginations… But, this is not the purpose of meditation. It is just one of the side-effects of meditation… Those who are not careful about this, will tend to attach to the “side-effect” of meditation, attach to the increasing creativity and ideas, and spend their energy and time into worldly social activities…

Meditation is stopping the mind from being creative. It is about absorbing or entering into silence, into namelessness and formlessness… There is no colours, no shapes, no forms, no qualities, no sights, no sounds, no smells, no taste, no sensations, no thinking, no thoughts, no creativity, no ideas, no imaginations, no interaction, no passions, no desires, no perception, no reaction, no happiness, no unhappiness, no good, no bad, no birth, no death, no fear, no worry, no gain, no loss, no ignorance, no excitement, no depression, no enjoyment, no suffering, no cessation of suffering, no ego, no mind, no intellect, no body…

The mind absorb into its source – The highest consciousness or the universal consciousness.

There is no meditator, no meditation, no fruit of meditation…

And this practice should not just be practice during or limited in silent retreats… It should be practice in our everyday life moderately, if we really want to be free from the bondage of birth and death, be free from suffering that co-exist with the body and the mind…

Talk less… If we really need to talk, may it be the speech of Dharma or the Truth… Even though most of the time, the Truth is not something that we want or like to hear… Sometimes, the Truth can be hurtful and painful, but it will release us from heavier suffering and ignorance…

Reduce or limit worldly passionate activities, socializing, interacting, gathering, stimulation of the mind…

There is no more attachment or clinging onto worldly materials, relationships and affairs… There is no more craving for love, care, support and attention from the world or relationships with anyone… There is no more depending on any worldly achievements to be confident, to be happy, to be somebody… Not even depending on any spiritual achievements to be confident, to be happy, to be somebody… The one who is beyond all names and forms, is a free being…

Those who retreat themselves moderately in everyday life but still living amidst in the busy and “interesting” world, might be criticized by worldly minded people as loner, insociable, unfriendly, strange, arrogant or care-less, but it doesn’t matter… Because the wise will not argue with the ignorant, and will not mind about worldly perception, judgment, criticism and comment coming from the worldly minded… They will only be compassionate towards the beings who are over-powered by ignorance…

In those who had tasted the joy of detachment and dispassion, only they will know and appreciate the joy of trouble-free that comes from non-attachment and retreating from worldly passionate activities… And they are not interested to attain some sort of momentary satisfaction or happy feelings that come from worldly passionate activities…

They will spend their existing energy in their own practice and to help the world silently, not getting any attention from the world… They are the beings who really know how to help the world but without being known of who they are and what they do, and without being affected by the world and the result of their compassionate actions…

It is common that during or immediately after a silent retreat, we will be able to taste the joy of retreating ourselves from worldly passionate activities and relationships, experience care-free and worry-less, but very soon once we step back into our life in the worldly society, we start to attach to our worldly activities and relationships, and move away from detachment and dispassion, and be miserable again…

Om shanti.

The importance of Mauna and Uparati – The practice of silence and renunciation from worldly activities

This practice of silence and renunciation from worldly activities is applicable for those who sincerely want to tread the path of entering into silence or attaining Samadhi – the ultimate freedom and real peace transcending the ego and the mind, transcending the perception of the world of names and forms, dualities and qualities, and be free from desires, greed, craving and aversion, and thus be free from ignorance and suffering. This practice will come naturally for those who already have the right discrimination about what is real and unreal. Naturally they will let go of chasing after of the unreal, and will know to appreciate and utilize the existence of this body and mind for what is real…

Any names and forms that is formed through combination of energy and elements, it is not real… It has a beginning and an end… It exists and will stop existing… It is conditioned by qualities of names and forms… It is impermanent and constantly changing… It is non-Self. There’s no existence of ‘I’ in the names and forms to be in control of all these impermanent changes.

What is real, is beyond qualities, names and forms… And thus it doesn’t has a beginning or ending. It doesn’t exist or stop existing. It is attributeless, it is not conditioned by qualities of names and forms. It is not affected by impermanence and it doesn’t change…

This practice of Mauna and Uparati is not just applicable and limited to the so called monks and nuns who leave the world to concentrate on their own Self-realization. The real renunciation is not conditioned by any names and forms, but it is happening in the mind, and it can be at anywhere and anytime, and in anyone…

People who know real renunciation can live in the midst of the world but will not be affected, nor influenced, nor determined, nor disturbed, nor conditioned by the world of names and forms… They are free from ignorance, egoism, anger, hatred, greed, desire, dissatisfaction, craving and aversion, anxiety, restlessness, fear and worry. Out of compassion and wisdom that they realize from Self-realization, they can perform so much works or actions to help the other beings to be free, to transcend the ego and the mind, ignorance and suffering… But without being affected by the fruit of their actions.

For people who really wish to attain success in the path of yoga and meditation, the practice of Mauna (silence) and Uparati (cessation from worldly activities) are very important practice to turn the outgoing tendency of the mind inward, in order to render the mind calm and be free from restlessness and unnecessary anxieties, cares and worries for Self-introspection or Self-inquiry.

The practice of Mauna and Uparati maybe seen as “anti-social” in the eyes of the worldly people, but it is a must if we really want to go deeper in the path of yoga and meditation to know the Truth of our existence and to attain real peace. Those whose minds are wild, incontrollable, restless and passionate are not yet ready to meditate, to contemplate upon the Truth… There is nothing wrong or bad about the mind being restless and passionate… Just keep practice purification of the mind and strengthening self-control…

That’s why all the (serious) meditation retreats for people who live in the busy world to immerse themselves in meditation practice for purifying and calming the mind, and to contemplate on the Truth, they have two most important observations which are, to observe silence or Mauna (to stop any interactions and communications with the world verbally, mentally and physically) and to refrain from worldly or daily habitual activities throughout the entire retreat. This is to allow the mind to quiet down, to take a few moments of “rest”… Within that few moments of “rest”, the mind is calm and quiet, be free from anxiety, restlessness, imaginations and speculations, and naturally, without any intention to know the Truth, the Truth will reveal itself…

Only a calm and pure mind can reflect upon the Truth without the influence of the ego, the thinking, impurities, judgments and expectations…

For people who really devote this life existence for Self-realization, and they know self-control, non-attachment and renunciation, they can live in the busy world, but being undisturbed, unaffected, uninfluenced, unconditioned, undetermined by the world, and practice meditation entering into silence. The world is always restless, but they are not influenced by the world. Their mind is at rest all the time… They are different from those who need to go to retreat centres repeatedly to have some sorts of “momentary” self-control, non-attachment and renunciation in the retreat centres, to find some moments of peace, but when come back out into the world, there is no self-control, nor non-attachment, nor renunciation, and there is no peace…

In the path of yoga (mind control), these two practices are unavoidable if we really want to know about this mind (the existence of “I” (the perceiver) and all the enjoyments and suffering (the perceived) that comes along with the existence of this “I”), and to be able to go beyond this mind and to transcend the ego, craving and aversion, and ignorance or impurities, as well as transcending all the qualities of names and forms (the state of duality that derives from the perception of names and forms).

Fear and worry, anger and hatred, greed and dissatisfaction, envy and jealousy, doubts and ignorance, craving and aversion, passionate desires, the attachments towards the body and mind, the attachments towards all the names and forms that are being perceived through this mind and body with the functions of the senses and sense organs, the wrong identification with the body and mind, the sensations, the feelings, the thinkings and the egoistic “I-ness” and “mine-ness”… – All these impurities “disconnect” us from our true nature, the eternal unconditional, attributeless wisdom, bliss and peace.

We think we are “this” or “that” with certain names and forms, behaviors, believes, religions, educations, cultures, habits, hobbies, talents, characteristics and personalities. We think we have something called “self-esteem” that is being determined by who we are and what we are, what we do and don’t do, what we can do and cannot do, and what we judge ourselves and others. We think we need to have certain qualities to create or develop something what we name as “confidence” in us.

The truth is, once we know this mind and what is this ego, then all the so called “self-esteem” and “confidence”, and all the other qualities of good and bad, happiness and suffering, names and forms that we use to judge ourselves and everyone and everything in this world, they all will disappear… They don’t exist at all…

There is no “I”… There is no “self-esteem” or “confidence”… There is no need to have “self-esteem” or “confidence” to feel that we are “somebody” or to make us become “somebody”…

“Self-esteem” and “confidence” exist when we think we are this body and mind, and we are “somebody” with certain qualities, names and forms…

When we truly know our true Self, the existent of “I” with certain qualities, names and forms, will disappear… Our true Self is nameless and formless, beyond names and forms… There is no good and bad. There is no positive and negative. There is no happiness and suffering…

In order to know our true Self, not just from reading books written by enlightened beings, or having heard from past saints and sages, or from some existing teachers or Gurus telling us about “who we really are”, we need to be able to observe the practice of Mauna and Uparati in some stage in our life… Just to take some “time off” from worldly activities and interactions… For the mind to have the opportunity to be free from restlessness, unnecessary cares and worries, to concentrate and focus inwardly for introspection, for self-inquiry, for self-realization, for experiencing the real inner peace, for knowing the Truth of existence and suffering…

Note that this real inner peace is not the momentary peaceful good feeling that comes from doing some meditation, asana and pranayama practice, or by not encountering any discomforts, pain and illnesses, or by doing the things that we like to do, or by getting the things that we want, where by this type of peaceful good feeling is conditioning and limited by the qualities of names and forms, and it is impermanent, it will change and disappear…

The real inner peace is unconditional, unlimited, undisturbed and unchanging… It is always there. Never increase nor decrease… Never exist nor doest it stop existing…

This renunciation is not selfishness as some people might think that it is… This is definitely not running away from our duties and responsibilities… It’s because the biggest duty and responsibility in this existence of “I”, is to know who am “I”… If we don’t know “who we really are”, we will have no peace, no wisdom, no compassion… And we cannot help other people to have peace, wisdom and compassion, if we ourselves are not peaceful, not wise, and not compassionate… If we want to help the world, we need to help ourselves first…

When this mind is restless, wild and uncontrollable, it makes us think that we are experiencing all the enjoyments and suffering in this world of names and forms with qualities of good and bad, pleasantness and unpleasantness…

When the mind is pure and be free from all sorts of impurities and ignorance, we’ll know that there is “nobody” there to experience “anything”… The world is just being what it is being “projected” from this mind… It is the mind projecting the “world”… When the mind stops, the world disappears… When the mind ceased existing, there is no “world”…

Impure mind projects impure world of names and forms… Positive mind projects positive world… Negative mind projects negative world… Fearful mind projects fearful world… Angry and hating mind projects angry and hating world… Compassionate mind projects compassionate world… Calm mind projects calm world… Pure mind projects pure world… No mind, no world…

The world is just being what it is. It is neither good nor bad, neither pure nor impure, neither positive nor negative, neither a happy place nor a suffering place.

Yoga and meditation is to “annihilate” the mind, to “eliminate” the ego, the thought waves or the mind activities…

It doesn’t matter if some worldly passionate minds think that this practice of Mauna and Uparati is impossible, contradictory, unnecessary and means no more “fun” in life… Everyone has the freedom to choose what to do in life and what way of living… Be happy.

The meanings of life and ways of living are vary in everybody…

The Buddha and all the other saints and sages chose to live a simple, self-controlled, desire-less and non-attachment way of life and find that entering into silence and attaining real peace is the meaning of life… And some other people choose some other forms of lifestyle and find that by attaining another form of excitement, enjoyment and happiness as the meaning of life… There’s nothing wrong… Be happy.

Contemplate on this teaching and be free…

Om shanti.