What do yoga practitioners practice in yoga?

“What do yoga practitioners practice in yoga?”

There are many different types of ‘external yoga practice’ that can be seen or recognized through various physical appearances and activities ‘representing’ different lineage or path under different names and forms or brands and styles, but all kinds of external practice must be accompanied by the internal practice of VIVEKA (right discrimination), VAIRAGYA (dispassion/renunciation), SHATSAMPAT (six fold path) and MUMUKSHUTVA (intense yearning for liberation). Or else, performing many of the different forms of external yoga practice regularly might bring some momentary effects or benefits (the sense of calmness, joyfulness, goodness, meaningfulness, healthiness) to the practitioners, but it doesn’t lead the mind towards the elimination of ignorance and egoism and the complete annihilation of the modification of the mind, which is the ultimate goal of yoga (although there aren’t many yoga enthusiasts are practicing yoga for this reason, and that’s their freedom), transcending all forms of name and form (the mind perception of impermanent pleasant and unpleasant life experiences) as well as all the momentary desirable/non-desirable, agreeable/disagreeable or enjoyable/non-enjoyable side-effects or by-products that may or may not arise throughout the internal and/or external yoga practice.

The external yoga practice is most probably being limited by time, space and causation, while the internal yoga practice is unlimited, transcending all kinds of condition and situation, names and forms that are subject to impermanence and selflessness. As long as there’s the modification of the mind, the practice is always available or present right here and right now. If there’s a ‘limitation’, then this ‘limitation’ is coming from the impure egoistic outgoing passionate mind itself, either rejecting the practice or giving up the practice for some reasons. And even this ‘limitation’ is impermanent.

Those who are endowed with the four means of yoga, might not be seen or recognized from their appearance or activity, as they don’t necessarily have to be performing any particular form of external yoga practice that representing particular lineage or path under a particular name and form or brand and style, although there’s great assistance coming from the external practice to conquer the impure restless state of mind.

It doesn’t matter with or without practicing a particular lineage or path of yoga under certain names and forms or brands and styles, but more importantly, practicing the teachings of yoga to silent the modification of the mind, to free the mind from restlessness deriving from ignorance and egoism, to realize selflessness/oneness/non-separateness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness/birthlessness/deathlessness.

Being conditioned by egoistic thinking pattern unwittingly

The minds can still be functioning under the influence of conditional egoistic thinking pattern to behave, judge, expect, aspire, act and react, unwittingly, even if the minds have ‘good’ intention to be supporting and upholding ‘good’ values/practice/behavior, and believe in performing ‘good’ actions and standing up for protecting ‘goodness and righteousness’ in the world.

Yoga practice is to free the mind from conditional egoistic thinking pattern that most minds are unaware of, while thinking and believing that those thinking and beliefs are the important values of humanity.

Yoga practitioners can perform self-introspection to find out whether one’s mind is being conditioned by egoistic thinking pattern unwittingly, by asking oneself these questions, as most minds are unaware of itself is being conditioned to think and believe in such way, to behave, judge, expect, aspire, act and react.

– Is there a strong sense of belonging towards a particular name and form of family/relationship/friendship/social group/community/country/nationality/ethnicity/culture/religion/school/spirituality/profession/politic/any form of practice and etc, and one would do one’s best to uphold and protect that particular name and form that the mind thinks and believes, ‘This is where I belong, that I am being proud of being part of it, and I have the duty and responsibility to do my best to be protecting it from being hurt, damaged or destroyed by what I think and believe as negativity, badness and wrongfulness’, or I don’t know where I belong and it’s important for me to be in searching for something/somewhere that I belonged to, that can give me the sense of belonging?

– Does the mind thinks and believes that patriotism and loyalty towards something/somewhere that one belonged to, is a great value or quality that everyone should be cherished and be proud of, where ‘Betrayal of any kind is something terribly wrong and unforgivable, and those who commit any form of betrayal must be condemned and punished accordingly’?

– Does the mind thinks and believes that there are certain things/objects/lives that it likes and agrees with, that it understands as something important and appreciates very much shouldn’t be subject to ‘impermanent changes’ and don’t deserve ‘extinction’?

Not that patriotism and loyalty or upholding something that one’s mind thinks and believes is ‘good and righteous’ is something bad or wrong, but it promotes ‘separateness’ and ‘discrimination’ where it doesn’t allow the mind to go beyond the conditional thinking pattern that hinders the mind from realizing selflessness, oneness, non-separateness, namelessness, formlessness and attributelessness, which is the ultimate goal of yoga. Similarly, there’s nothing wrong with showing great appreciation towards something that the mind perceives as important, lovable and agreeable, but the intense attachment towards something that the mind thinks and believes is important, lovable and agreeable, and not allowing everything being what they are, where everything will change and disappear, is what hinders the mind from realizing ‘yoga’, or be free from ignorance and suffering.

Patriotism/Loyalty and the sense of belonging or the need to find where one belonged to don’t exist in selflessness. Due to ignorance and egoism, many yoga practitioners are still being conditioned by such egoistic thinking pattern, where they think and believe that they belong to certain ‘yoga lineage’, or ‘yoga family’, or ‘yoga community’. Similarly, the minds that are free from ignorance and egoism can be appreciating all the lovable and agreeable names and forms, but without attachment and are able to respect the law of nature (impermanence and selflessness) as it is, and be able to let them go, in peace.

Patriotism/loyalty and self-righteousness is not yoga practice. Yoga practitioners must work cautiously and diligently to free the mind from such egoistic thinking/belief/values/practice in order to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to realize selflessness/oneness/non-separateness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness, that leads the mind towards right discrimination towards the truth of everything and non-discrimination towards all the different qualities of names and forms that co-existing in this space, which all are subject to impermanence and selflessness.

Right discrimination and non-discrimination in yoga

In the teachings of yoga, we would come in contact with the term ‘right discrimination’ and ‘non-discrimination’. Sometimes, the yoga teacher says – Develop ‘discrimination’ of the real and unreal, and some other times the yoga teacher says – Be free from ‘discrimination’ towards all the different qualities of names and forms. Some people might get confused.

Non-discrimination actually derives from right discrimination.

Right discrimination is the ability to inquire, to reason, to reflect upon the truth of names and forms. That all and everything is impermanent and selfless, or ‘I’-less.

Non-discrimination is upon the realization of selflessness and seeing the one same nature in all and everything beyond all the impermanent different qualities of names and forms, the mind is free from subjective discrimination towards all and everything based on personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, wants and don’t wants under the influence of certain conditional thinking and belief.

Without right discrimination, one sees all the different qualities in all the different names and forms, and generates subjective discrimination towards all and everything based on personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, wants and don’t wants under the influence of certain conditional thinking and belief.

Without right discrimination and non-discrimination, one will always be restless or peaceless, as the mind will always be affected, disturbed and determined by the personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, craving and aversion of the mind upon coming in contact with the objects of the senses, even if one identifies oneself as a yogi or yoga practitioner who has been practicing yoga and meditation regularly for a long time.

Om shanti.

Righteousness, fearlessness, criticism and condemn…

There’s nothing wrong when people make criticism and condemn towards other people and things that they dislike and disagree with. That is their freedom of thinking, actions and speech.

Letting go of the desire to criticize and condemn, no matter what our mind think how right we are, and how wrong they are (those whom we dislike and disagree with), is one of the observations for yoga and meditation practitioners.

When some people might think that being righteous and supporting the freedom of speech means they should criticize and condemn anyone that they dislike and disagree with, to make a standpoint that they are good and right, and the one whom they criticize and condemn are bad and wrong, and to provoke ‘righteousness’ in others, to get supports from others to also criticize and condemn what and who they dislike and disagree with, it doesn’t matter if it will induce anger, hatred and violence in those whom they criticize and condemn, is an act of righteousness and fearlessness, then this is not the right discrimination and fearlessness that we are talking about in yoga and meditation practice.

This is pure ignorance, whether intentionally or unintentionally to provoke and induce anger, hatred, violence and disharmony between us and other beings who are different from us, whom we dislike and disagree with, whom we think they are wrong, and we are right, based on what our own thinking and beliefs about what is right and what is wrong.

It is the tendency of the egoism to criticize and condemn. ‘I’ am good and right, and what is oppose to what ‘I’ think and believe as good and right, is bad and wrong. As a righteous and good being, ‘I’ should criticize and condemn what ‘I’ believe is bad and wrong. It is the ego that doesn’t want to let go of the desire to be righteous, to be a critic, to be the one who has the right thinking and righteousness to teach other people a lesson, to punish other people for their wrong doing based on what our minds believes what things are and how people should think and behave.

For example, when one get so angry and hating others who criticize and condemn something that he/she strongly agrees with and believe in, and what he/she believes is so right and nothing bad, but one might not aware of himself/herself is constantly criticizing and condemning some other thing that he/she strongly disagrees with and what he/she believes is so wrong and nothing good.

If we want to help the world to be a more peaceful and harmony place, how can we constantly generate unrest and disharmony into the world by constantly generate criticism and condemn in action and speech that will bring more disharmony, anger and hatred among all beings who are different from one another than to bring more peace and harmony in oneself and into the society.
It’s purely the play of ignorance and egoism.

To help to maintain peace and harmony in the society, is by stop sharing or giving information (resources from somewhere) that will provoke disharmony, doubts, anger and hatred among the different diversities in the society. Meanwhile there are many people being unaware of themselves are being used by some politicians or medias to achieve what they want to achieve for their personal goals.

As yoga and meditation practitioners, while living among the society, if possible, one can learn to observe, unattached and uninvolved with the ‘games’ that worldly people are playing to gain their personal interests and benefits.

That was what the Gurus and teachers in the past had advised anyone who wants to practice yoga and meditation, to stay away from gossips, criticism, condemn, slander, back-biting and so on.

Use the time and energy that we spend on criticism and condemn to be performing our yoga and meditation practice will be more helpful for maintaining world peace.

Om shanti.