Self-impose imaginary imprisonment of fear

what the mind categorizes asMost minds appear to be calmed and relaxed when they are being in a space or environment that is within their comfort zone and familiarity. But once they are out of their comfort zone and have to confront with a space or environment that is unknown or unfamiliar to them, and dealing with the condition and situation that is not the way that they like it to be, all kinds of fear will over-powering the mind in the form of imagination, anticipation, speculation and projection. They are no longer calmed or relaxed being outside of their comfort zone.

Yoga practice isn’t limited to be performing some yoga practice in a calming, relaxing and hassle-free environment, that make the mind feels safe, convenient, good and comfortable, but, yoga practitioners should learn how to confront with condition and situation that is not necessarily the way that they would like it to be, that is outside their comfort zone, and still be able to be calmed and relaxed outside their comfort zone.

Most minds feel good, calmed and relaxed when they attend a retreat in a ‘safe’, ‘hassle-free’, ‘protected’, ‘convenient’ and ‘enjoyable’ environment. But then the minds will not progress further in yoga, if they prefer not to step outside their comfort zone, and didn’t learn how to be ‘okay’ under challenging condition and situation that is outside their comfort zone and familiarity.

Fear towards the unknown, unfamiliarity and what the mind categorizes as ‘unsafe’ environment is indeed a self-impose imaginary imprisonment from the mind to itself, even when there’s nothing ‘fearful’, ‘bad’, or ‘dangerous’ really happening in the present moment.

Even though the minds might feel calmed and relaxed performing the yoga practice and be able to perform the yoga practice nicely and effortlessly, and feel ‘safe’ and ‘comfortable’ being in a space within their comfort zone and under a ‘safe’ environment, but the minds are not free at all, as the minds won’t be calmed and relaxed anymore once it’s out of their comfort zone having to deal with condition and situation that is not necessarily the way that they like it to be.

Those who are free from being over-powered by fear of all kinds of fearful imagination, they deal with whatever needs to be deal with that is existing in the present moment, calmly. The mind is free from all kinds of ‘fearful’ imagination, anticipation, speculation and projection towards something that isn’t existing in the present moment.

People who really want to practice yoga and know what is yoga, must allow themselves to step outside their comfort zone, to confront with condition and situation that they don’t feel comfortable with, that they aren’t familiar with, and learn to be ‘okay’ outside their comfort zone and familiarity. Though there’s nothing wrong if people reluctant to step outside their comfort zone. Be happy.

Retreat?

A retreat centre is a place for Sadhana, to retreat the mind from worldly habits of social interactions and activities to silent the restless mind. Live alone, sit alone, walk alone, eat alone, meditate alone. It’s not an open house for community social recreation activities making social connections hanging out together busy chatting and gossiping, plotting and planning to chase away boredom and loneliness and empowering worldly attachments and identifications. Even in everyday life, one observes silence as much as possible renouncing worldly social interactions and activities, immerse in solitude and seclusion to be determined to annihilate the modification of the mind. Very few people indeed have this understanding and determination.

The basic teachings and practice of yoga vedanta

  • Let go the worldly/personal identification with the body and mind as ‘I’. The body and mind is not me, I am not the body or the mind.
  • Free the mind from pride and arrogance, superiority or inferiority towards any quality of names and forms that the mind identifying with as ‘I’ and ‘mine’. One’s thinking, belief, culture, education, religion, spirituality, gender, nationality, profession, knowledge, talents, skills, ideas, ability, achievement, family, relationship, friendship, marital status, social status, contribution, experiences, and etc. All these names and forms are not me, I am not all these names and forms.
  • Allow the mind to be opened towards what it knows and doesn’t know, do not blind-believe or blind-disbelieve. Undetermined or undisturbed by what the mind disagrees with, dislikes or doesn’t want.
  • Unattached towards any ideas, thinking and belief, including the existing ideas, information, thinking and belief in the mind coming from somewhere and everywhere.
  • Inquire the truth of everything, including all the teachings of yoga coming from different teachers or Gurus and reading books as well as all the existing worldly/social/cultural/religious thinking and belief in the mind that influence how the mind thinks, judges, acts and reacts.
  • Inquire what is this ‘I’, what is the ego and egoism.
  • Inquire what is suffering and the cause of suffering.
  • Unattached towards the physical body, the appearance, the physical health and fitness condition, the pleasantness and unpleasantness, the limitation, the ability and disability, the achievement and the impermanent changes.
  • Unattached towards the function of the mind, the state of the mind, the thinking, the belief, the thought activities, the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, the feelings and emotions, the known and unknown, the likes and dislikes, the agreements and disagreements, the desirable and undesirable.
  • Free the mind from the past memories and future imaginations. Train the mind to stay in the present as much as possible, effortlessly, gently, patiently, via persist practice without force.
  • Free the mind from craving and aversion.
  • Free the mind from judgment, comparison and expectation towards oneself and others.
  • Inquire what is the mind and what is going on in the mind.
  • Inquire the truth of ‘hurts’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘grief’, ‘painful sorrow’, ‘dissatisfaction’, ‘frustration’, ‘irritation’, ‘disappointment’, ‘anger’, ‘hatred’, ‘low self-esteem/low confidence’, ‘guilt’, ‘regret’, and all kind of impurities, including what the mind perceives as ‘happy’ and ‘positive’ feelings and emotions.
  • Be kind to the body and the mind, take care of the well-being of the body and mind, accepting the body and the mind as it is even though they are not perfect.
  • Purifying and rendering the mind pure, focus, balance, calm and quiet via the observation of Yama and Niyama and different types of Kriya, Yoga Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana practice, without attachment towards the practice or expectation towards the fruit of the practice, allow Samadhi to happen naturally when the practice is matured, intentionlessly, spontaneously and effortlessly.
  • Filtering inputs and outputs of the mind. Quiet and silent the mind.
  • Reduce or refrain from unnecessary worldly affairs, social networking, relationship building, mingling, interactions and activities, that give rise to ceaseless desires, restlessness and impurities.
  • Adopt a simple and quiet lifestyle, looking after the basic needs of the life maintenance of the body and mind, and divert maximum attention, importance, effort, time and energy into maintaining internal and external purity/cleanliness, quieting the thought current, developing one-pointedness and sharpening the intellect for the quest of the truth, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities.
  • Abandon or let go self-harm, superstitious thinking and belief, blind-believing, blind-following, politics, arguments, debates, discussions, conflicts, envy/jealousy, discrimination, bias, all kind of corruptions, gossips, vain talks, boasting, story telling, lying, plotting, scheming, manipulating, exploiting, worrying, anticipating, day dreaming, worldly/spiritual ambitions of gaining attention/support/fame/respect/title/power/acknowledgment/authorization, petite-mindedness, mischievousness, evilness, violence, worldly indulgence of the senses, physical/mental addictions, drugs abuse, intoxication, sexual misconducts, hypocrisy/untruthfulness in daily conducts and relationships with others, the desire to control/expect relationships/things/life/the world to be the way that ‘I’ like it to be, and all kind of conducts/desires driven by passion and lust.
  • Develop self-independence, self-control, self-discipline, self-inquiry, self-introspection, awareness, dispassion, right discrimination, correct understanding, right livelihood, straightforwardness, truthfulness, simplicity, patience, perseverance, determination, acceptance, tolerance, forbearance, forgiveness, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation.
  • Unattached towards all actions (action and inaction) and the fruit of actions. There’s no ‘I’ am performing actions or ‘I’ am the receiver of the fruit of actions. There’s no “I am good person doing good actions and will be receiving goodness in return.”
  • There is neither ‘I’ am selfish nor ‘I’ am unselfish. There’s no ‘I’ am selfless or ‘I’ perform selfless actions, or ‘I’ receive the fruit of selfless actions.
  • Inquire the truth of all and everything – Impermanence and Selflessness.
  • Inquire the many names but all are ONE – ‘silence’, ‘liberation’, ‘compassion’, ‘unconditional love’, ‘unconditional peace’, ‘inaction in actions’, ‘selflessness’, ‘egolessness’, ‘I-lessness’, ‘non-duality’, ‘oneness’, ‘non-separateness’, ‘fearlessness’, ‘intentionlessness’, ‘neither good nor bad’, ‘neither positive nor negative’, ‘attributelessness’, ‘namelessness’, ‘formlessness’, ‘birthlessness and deathlessness’, ‘beginninglessness and endlessless’, ‘beyond the thinking mind’, ‘beyond the worldly/social/cultural/religious thinking and belief’, ‘beyond the mind perception of names and forms’, ‘beyond pleasantness and unpleasantness’, ‘beyond happiness and unhappiness’, ‘beyond positive and negative’, ‘beyond meaningfulness and meaninglessness’, ‘beyond suffering and end of suffering’, ‘beyond good and bad karma’.
  • Unconditional love and peace, compassion and the ability to forgive and let go what the mind perceives as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, ‘undeserving’, ‘hurtful’, ‘sorrowful’, ‘painful’ and so on, are nothing to do with the impermanent and selfless physical conditions, appearance, strength, flexibility, stamina, limitations, ability and disability, the impermanent and selfless states of the mind, the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, the intelligence, pleasant/unpleasant life experiences, or the condition and situation of the world. Identifying ourselves with any quality of names and forms that the mind perceives as ‘good’, ‘positive’, ‘meaningful’, ‘rightful’, ‘healthy’ and so on, doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free.
  • Identifying as ‘good people’ being ‘good’ and doing ‘good’, also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, disturbance, unhappiness, loneliness, meaninglessness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, hatred, jealousy, hurts, fear and worry, and all kinds of suffering.
  • Do our best making use of this life existence of the body and mind for bringing peace to oneself or the world without attachment, identification, judgment, comparison, or expectation. Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize, and let it go.
  • Peace is in this present moment when the mind is free from ignorance, egoism and impurities. It’s not being left behind in the past or to be found in the future. It’s not in the next life or in another life form.
  • Inquire the truth of all the teachings and practice mentioned here.

It’s everyone’s freedom whether they want to take up this practice or the teachings, or not.

Be free.

Sadhana advice from Swami Sivananda (3)

Excerpt from Essence of Vedanta

Fitness for Wisdom

One who is fit for receiving Wisdom of the Self shall receive it ‘in due time.’ Self-effort and passage of time work simultaneously and one cannot be distinguished from the other, for Providence and Personal exertion cannot be separated as they both work simultaneously and are interdependent. Rather, these are only two names for one and the same force of action.

Sri Sankaracharya had already exhorted that one has to undergo the disciplinary stages of Viveka, Vairagya, Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha, Samadhana, and Mumukshutva before getting initiate into the mystery of Existence. One should not be initiated into the Truth of the Absolute unless he is found well developed in all these qualities.

Nowadays generally we find that aspirants do not have a strong desire for liberation. They may have a ray of Viveka and Vairagya of a mild variety. But it is very difficult to find an aspirant who cares for nothing but final Emancipation, who treats the whole world and its contents as mere straw, who meditates incessantly upon how to attain Salvation from embodied existence.

It is not easy to understand the meaning of Liberation.

How can it be possible for raw men of the world to realise the nullity of earthly existence and of worldly activities? Even advanced aspirants sometimes have got strong desire for doing something wonderful in this world, something which none has done before. Such people cannot have a real desire for Liberation. And such people are unfit for receiving Brahma Vidya.

It is only the Uttama-Adhikari, the best qualifier, who cares for nothing, who is totally indifferent to the ways of the world, who is ever silent and serene due to the dawn of proper knowledge, who is ever the same among the diverse men of the world, who is undisturbed by the distracted activity of the world, who is calm and peaceful, who has withdrawn himself from the bustle of life, who cares not for either death or life, who is unmindful of what is happening in the world, who is careless towards either this or that, that is really fit to receive the Ultimate wisdom of the Absolute!

Even if there is the slightest desire lurking inside other than the Realisation of the Absolute, the man will not be able to comprehend the true import of the Vedantic instructions by the Spiritual Teacher (Preceptor). He will have thousands of doubts and distractions in the mind which will entirely pull him down from the Vedantic Meditation.

A person should be desire for nothing else, than the realisation of Brahman. There should be no other thought throughout the day than of the way of attaining Self-realisation.

Every thought, every speech, every action, nay, every breath of the person should illustrate the method of realising the Absolute. Such a person is fit to receive Vedantic Wisdom.

Withdrawal From Multiplicity

Self-restraint is the opposite of self-expression. The latter tends towards Pravritti or life in the variegated Samsara, and the former leads to the Highest Integration through Nivritti of stepping back to Truth.

The creative diversifying power is turned in and sublimated into the spiritual splendour.

The withdrawal from multiplicity and centring oneself in Unity is effected through self-restraint which is the austere transformation of the creative objective force into the conscious Power that causes the blossoming of the sense of individual finitude into the expanse of objectless consciousness.

Variety is the meaning of manifestation. Every individual force is a copy of the limitless creative force and the natural tendency of this energy is to move towards the creation of multiplicity. This is the reason why the control of the action of creativity is found to be difficult in the case of those who are tied to individual physicality. An individual finds it hard to properly direct the cosmic habit unless he takes recourse to process of Spiritual Realisation. A spiritual Sadhaka goes to the source of this objectified energy and compel the force to diffuse itself in the serene Ground-Noumenon.

A person who has let loose the flow of the creative force gets entangled in the process of multiple-creation and ever remains away from the knowledge of the Non-Dual Truth of his Eternal Self. This is the root-background of the universal ethics that self-control is imperative to a seeker after the Absolute Reality.

Those who have discriminatively grasped the spiritual character of human life refrain from the instinctive practice of self-multiplication and devote themselves to the glorious task of directing the potential energy to conscious contemplation on the Spiritual Ideal through the triple transformation of the active emotional and intellectual aspects of the general human nature.

Such integrated persons possess a mighty power of understanding, analysis and meditation.

The Chhandogya Upanishad says that when purity and Sattva are increased, there is a generation of immense memory which paves the way to the shattering open of the knot of self.

The most intricate technic of the art of Self-realisation is mastered by the genius of an austere who has learnt to expand his formative lower into the plenitude of limitless life. Such austere spiritual beings flow with the lustrous spiritual strength which handles with ease even the most formidable of the diversifying forces of nature.

Fear is unknown to them and their divinised energy is centred in the Self to be utilised in transcending the realm of the ego-sense. They establish themselves in the unbroken vow of leaping over phenomenon into the heart of Existence. Such is the glory of self-restraint!

The control of the objective instincts is the preparation for world-renunciation in the quest of the Ultimate Essence. An abandonment of earthly nature effected by a distaste for particularities is what marks the character of a true austere Sadhaka. He should not enter the household, for, his path leads to Unity and not the creative social activity.

Alone and unfriended should he carry on the duty of Self-integration through unceasing selflessness and remembrance of the Divine Ideal. Selfless service polishes the self and rubs the ego and thus renders the person fit for the higher life of Dhyana and Brahma-Chintana.

A cutting off from acquaintance with relatives is necessary, for, Nivritti-Marga does not allow of any transient connections.

Sadhana advice from Swami Sivananda

If you give up idle talk and gossiping and idle curiosity to hear rumours and news of others and if you do not meddle with the affairs of others you will have ample time to do meditation.

Environments are not bad but your mind is bad. Your mind is not disciplined properly. Do not complain against bad environments but complain first against your own mind.

Train your mind first. If you practice concentration amidst unfavorable environments, you will grow strong, you will develop your will force quickly, you will become a dynamic personality.

Know things in their proper light. Do not be deluded. Emotion is mistaken for devotion. Violent jumping in the air during Sankirtan for divine ecstasy. Falling down in a swoon on account of exhaustion from too much jumping for Bhava Samadhi. Rajasic restlessness and motion for divine activities and Karma Yoga. A Tamasic man for a Sattvic man. Movement of air in rheumatism in the back for ascent of Kundalini. Tandri and deep sleep for Samadhi. Manorajya or building castles in the air for meditation. Physical nudity for Jivanmukta state. Learn to discriminate and become wise.

Do not utter such words as are calculated to bring your own self-glorification. You must forget at once what is bad. But you must not forget any good done to you by others. There is no expiation for that man who is ungrateful. Forget your good qualities. Forget the bad qualities of others. Forget the enmity of those who are inimical to you. Forget the good actions that you have done to others.

Do not be afraid of any other devil. Fear itself is the greatest devil. Kill this devil first. All other devils will take to their heels. All troubles are only imaginary. Fear comes of ignorance. There is fear where there is duality.

When you remain in the world, association with worldly persons is unavoidable. Cut short the conversation and the period of mixing with them.

The worldly duties are not ties. The world is the best teacher. You are not require to renounce the world and take shelter in the Himalayan cave to claim back your lost divinity. The world cannot stand in the way of your God-realisation. Live in the world but allow not the world to live in you. He, who living in the midst of temptations of the world attains perfection, is true hero.

If a yogi or a Sannyasin who is able to keep up serenity of mind while living in a cave in the forest, complains of disturbance of mind when he lives in the bustle of a city, he has no control of mind. He has no inner spiritual strength. He is not a practical Vedantin. He has no Self-realisation. He has not attained the goal of life. He is still within the domain of Maya.

A real yogi or a practical Vedantin is one who can keep perfect calmness of mind while performing intense activities amidst the bustle of a city. This is the central teaching of the Gita.

By destroying Vasanas and Sankalpas, you melt or annihilate the mind. By annihilating the mind, you kill egoism. By killing egoism, you know the Self. By knowing the Self you attain Self-realisation. By attaining Self-realisation you become free from all sorts of pains, tribulations and miseries. You enjoy supreme unalloyed bliss of the eternal and become That.

Destroy the Vasanas (of body, world and booklore). Withdraw the mind. Identified yourself with the Sakshi (silent witness of the mind).

You cannot wash the mind with soap and water to get rid of its impurities but if you eradicate desires and attachment, the mind will be purified of itself.

This Atman is Silence. The best conception of God is ‘Silence’. Therefore learn to be silent. Make the mind silent, waveless, thoughtless and desireless. This is real silence.

The world is a big wheel. It is revolving unceasingly. The mind is the nave of this wheel. Those who are egoistic, proud, passionate and greedy are caught up in this wheel. If you can stop the mind from moving, the world-wheel will come to a standstill and you will be freed from the round of births and deaths. If you wish to stop the mind from moving, you will have to annihilate egoism, pride, desire and greed.

Truth dawns by itself upon the mind of the tranquil who are equally good and friendly to all beings. Tranquillity of the mind is attained by eradication of desires and thoughts. Mind is agitated by desires and thoughts. When desires and thoughts are controlled, the mind becomes as calm as the lake which is not agitated by the winds. Tranquillity cannot be attained within a week or a month. Practice for a long time is essential.

Do not enter into heated discussion with people. Restrain the senses. Annihilate Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes). Extend compassion to all creatures. You will soon attain immortality.

A real aspirant who thirst for Self-realisation should be absolute honest in every dealing. Honesty is not only the best policy in him, but also a strict rule of daily conduct.

Life is not a misery. One should live for hundred years by performing action without attachment. Life is not a bondage when it is looked with the proper light. Such a man of proper knowledge looks on all beings as his own Self and his self as all beings. To him everything is his own Self, and he is not affected by grief, delusion or sorrow of any kind.

The Atman is not born, nor does it dies. It has not come from anywhere and it has not become anything. Unborn, constant, eternal, primeval, this one is not slain when the body is slain. This Atman is hidden in the deep core of the heart of beings. It cannot be attained by any amount of reasoning, study or instruction. It comes only through the Supreme grace. A man of bad conduct, who has not ceased from crookedness, cannot hope to attain the Atman.

The road to Supreme is clothed with pricking thorns. It is sharp like the edge of a razor, hard to tread, a very difficult path! It can be trodden only with the help of knowledge obtained from men of wisdom. Knowing That, one is liberated from the terrible mouth of death.

The mind and the senses always run outwards. Only the man of self-discipline and perseverance can gaze inward and experience the state of Atman as it really is. The childish who have no knowledge of the Truth, run after external pleasures and they fall into the widespread of death. Only the wise, knowing the state of Immortality, seek not the stable Brahman among things which are impermanent here.

The Atman or the Brahman has no connection with the world of change. The goodness, the light, the pleasure and the beauty of the world is not to be found there even in name. That State is experienced when the senses cease to work together with the mind and when the intellect does not move, and when there is mere consciousness. When all desires which are lodged in the heart are liberated, then the mortal becomes immortal. Herein he attains Brahman.

Brahman is Truth, Knowledge, Infinity, Bliss. Brahman is Bhuma where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else and understands nothing else. It rests on nothing else. On it everything else rests. One who knows this rejoices in his own Self and rests contented in his own Self.

Sacrifice cannot bring salvation. They are mere temptations which bind one to birth and death. The deluded people think that mere sacrifice and charity constitute eternal blessedness. They are mistaken. What is not the effect of action is not attained by any amount of action. Brahman which is not done cannot be attained by what is done. Having scrutinised the nature of the world, a wise man should arrive at indifference and dispassion. He must approach a preceptor and learn Brahma-Vidya from him. Such a fortunate soul rends asunder the knot of ignorance.

There is no other duty for man except meditation on the Self. Dismissing all else, one should establish himself in the Self. There remains nothing to be done or attained, when the Self is experienced. There is nothing but Brahman. All this is Brahman.

Existence alone was in the beginning. This was one alone without a second. From that everything else was produced. The modifications of it are only apparent. There is no world except mere names and forms, mysteriously connected with one another. There is no sun or moon except mere colours or fictitious forms. When the colours are distinguished, the sun loses it sunhood, the moon loses its moonhood, things loses their thingness. Brahman alone exists.

The Self alone is dear. One who loves something other than the Self loses what he loves. The Self is the Absolute. One who knows this becomes indestructible. He is only a beast who considers he and his God are different. Not for the sake of this all this is dear, but for the sake of the Self this all is dear. By knowing that Self, everything else becomes automatically known, for the Self indeed is this all.

The Self is an ocean without a shore and a surface. It is mere Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. Where there is duality as it were, one can speak to the other, see the other and understand the other, but where everything is just one’s own Self, then who can speak to whom, who can see whom, who can understand whom? This is the Supreme end. That is the Supreme blessing. That is the Supreme Bliss. On a part of this Bliss other creatures are living.

He who is without desire, who is freed from desire, whose desire is satisfied, whose desire is the Self – his Pranas do not depart. He being Brahman Itself, becomes Brahman immediately.

One who sees His own Atman in all beings, and all beings in his own Atman – he becomes fearless. He is not deluded by the objects of the senses. He is not particularly attached to any object or being. Time and space bow before him and withdraw. He lives in the one Great Present. There is neither a past nor a future for him. There is neither a ‘here’ not a ‘there’.

The apparent change does not belong to the Atman. Nay, even death is not the end. It is but another apparent change. Life continues beyond. Man sleeps with one encasement and wakes up after a short while with another encasement! Death has lost its dread for him! He has achieved the impossible – he has eluded the grasp of Death itself!

The senses have been created with a natural tendency to flow out towards the objective universe. This externalisation dissipates the rays of the mind, weaken the intellect and blind the eyes of intuitive perception. Unity is falsely represented as diversity, the untrue appears to be True, pain appears to be pleasure, and shadows holds out greater charms that the Substance Itself. This is the path of ‘Preya’ (the Pleasant) which the dullwitted ignorant man pursues.

The Atman is Akarta, non-doer. It is Abhokta, non-enjoyer! Realisation of this Truth enables man to transcend Samsara or the cycle of births and deaths.

Renunciation is necessary, but inner renunciation born out of true knowledge that the Atman is Akarta and Abhokta, and that it is not affected by the actions of the sense-organs, is considered preferable to external renunciation of physical actions. Man should perform his duties, in the proper spirit. Such actions do not bind him, but on the other hand they help him to liberate himself.

The deluded attachment to men and women, friends and relatives, money and gold, has to be ruthlessly burnt to ashes! All the so-called duties of the world have to be kicked away for the sake of that glorious state of Self-realisation.

Kick off the world ruthlessly. Enough of tea and coffee, enough of soda, lemonade and crushes, enough of novels and cinemas, enough of races and aeroplanes, enough of father, mother, brothers, children, friends and relatives! You came alone and you will go alone.

A worldly-minded fashionable wife (or husband) is a sharp knife to cut off the life of the husband (or wife). Be wedded to Santi and have Vairagya as as the sons, and Viveka the magnanimous daughter and eat the delicious divine fruit of Atma Jnana which can make you immortal!

Application of soap to the body, oil to the hair, powder to the face, looking into the mirror a thousand and one times a day, wearing rings on the fingers – these and many like these will intensify your attachment to the body. Therefore give up all these things ruthlessly.

The cause of pain is love of pleasure. The cause of death is love of sensual life. Death is a horrible thing to him who is intensely attached to sensual life. Words like cremation, murder, death, corpse, burial, make the sensualist shudder at heart, for he is extremely attached to the body and the objects of the senses. “How to part with the sensual objects?” is his great cause of misery. Pity!

According to vedanta, annihilation of Adviya or ignorance leads to Samadhi. According to Patanjali Rishi, the aspirant attains Samadhi by removing the hold of Prakriti by practice and discipline.

The Vedantin enjoys the eternal bliss and natural easiness of Sahaja Samadhi. He remains as Sakshi or silent witness. He does not make any serious attempt to control the psychic stream or thought-current. He raises the Brahmakara Vritti by meditating on the significance of “Tat Tvam Asi” Mahavakya.

The Samadhi in the Jnani is effortless and spontaneous. Wherever the mind goes, there it experiences Samadhi. He rests in Samadhi always. There is no “In Samadhi” and “Out of Samadhi” for a sage. He enjoys freedom, bliss and peace, in all moments of his life.

Yogic Samadhi is analytical and discriminative. In this Samadhi greater stress is laid upon the discrimination between the Prakriti and the Purusha. In Jnana Samadhi, no discrimination is needed. Brahmakara Vritti, raised by an attempt to become identical with the Supreme Self or Brahma Chintana, destroys Avidya and dies by itself.

No more words. Enough of discussions and heated debates. Retire into a solitary room. Close your eyes. Have deep silent meditation. destroy the Sankalpas, thoughts, whims, fancies and desires when they arise from the surface of the mind.

You are left alone now. You have nothing to see and nothing to hear. There is none to cheer you. You will have to depend on yourself. Do not look backward. Forget the past. Forget the body and the world.

“Gathering his mind, the Yogi should retire to a mountain-cave, a temple or a secluded room. He should not associate with anything through mind, speech and action, for accumulation of and association with things cause misery to Yogis. He should cultivate indifference towards everything. He should be regular about his diet. Worldly gain should cause him no pleasure, nor worldly loss any sorrow. He should look upon one with an equal eye, both who censures him and one who bows before him. Whether good is happening to anybody or evil, he should not reflect. When there is gain he should not be besides himself with joy, nor should he worry when there is loss. He should look upon all beings with an equal eye and should remain unattached like the air. He who thus keeps his mind in health, works for others, cultivates an equal eye towards everything and everybody and lives for six months a regular disciplined life, can realise Brahman and attain Brahmanhood (Nirvikalpa Samadhi) himself.” (Mahabharata – Santi-Parva)

“Humility, unpretentiousness, harmlessness, forgiveness, rectitude, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self-control, dispassion towards the objects of the senses, insight into the pain and evil of birth, death, old age and sickness, unattachment, absence of self-identification with son, wife, or home, and constant balance of mind in wished-for and unwished-for events, unflinching devotion to Me by Yoga, without other objects, resort to sequestered places, absence of enjoyment in the company of men, constancy in the wisdom of the Self, understanding the object of essential wisdom, that is declared to be real wisdom, all else is ignorance.” (Bhagavadgita)

It’s everyone’s freedom whether to receive or reject the gift of Dhamma

Many people like to attend ‘yoga retreat’ are not about giving importance towards the yoga practice to be learning and practicing yoga under the guidance of a yoga teacher who teaches yoga, to leave their ego and worldly habits behind for a period of time, to quiet and silent the mind, to learn how to apply the teachings of yoga into the yoga asana practice, as well as applying the yoga practice/teachings or the Dhamma practically into everyday life while living in the society, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Instead, they expect to be doing some form of yoga exercises/practice as a leisure activity while on a holiday that includes yoga and other holiday activities, where they expect the resort/staff/teachers to conduct/provide/lead/instruct/teach the yoga exercise sessions the way that they like it to be, in a resort style holiday environment, being away from any duties and responsibilities, and condition and situation in their everyday life that they don’t like and don’t want, to be indulging in pleasurable enjoyment of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and visualization, to be enjoying VIP treatments, resort facilities and services.

They are not interested to practice yoga in a simple place where it’s not much different from everyday life condition for most people, or even more challenging for those who live a comfortable lifestyle where everything is conveniently available and accessible and being served by other people all the time, but one needs to perform daily tasks to take care of one’s everyday living, just like in everyday life, but with additional restrictions of a more disciplined daily routine and limited social activities, or without personal assistant or servant to bring them what they want whenever they want, while learning and practicing yoga under the guidance of a yoga teacher who teaches yoga, so that when they go back into their everyday life, they can implement the yoga teachings/practice or the Dhamma into their everyday life while performing all their duties and responsibilities towards themselves and others, without the sense of superiority or inferiority, pride and arrogance, and dealing with all kinds of condition and situation that are not necessarily the way that they like it to be, be free from craving and aversion, without the need to runaway from what they don’t like or don’t want, and developing stronger self-discipline and reducing social activities to quiet the restless mind while living in the society, and realize unconditional peace that is beyond the impermanent qualities of names and forms, undetermined by time and space, causation, condition and situation.

If people feel that they can only have peace or practice yoga in a comfortable environment with very little distraction and without the need to deal with any discomfortable challenging condition and situation, and they find that it’s very difficult for them to have peace or practice yoga in everyday life as there are lots of distractions and have to deal with many discomfortable challenging condition and situation in everyday life, then they haven’t learn anything at all, even though they feel good and happy to practice yoga or do some yoga asana exercises in a comfortable distraction-less environment. A real yoga retreat should allow people to learn how to implement the teachings of yoga into everyday life and practice yoga and have peace under any condition and situation, with correct understanding, awareness, self-discipline, self-control, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation.

It’s everyone’s freedom whether they want to receive or reject the gift of Dhamma and whether they want to practice yoga, or not. Even some yoga teachers are not really practicing yoga, although they have been doing different styles of yoga asana practice and teaching different styles of yoga exercise classes for many years. And it’s okay as everyone takes their own time to evolve. It doesn’t matter after many years of doing and teaching yoga exercise, the mind is still not free from ignorance and egoism, and being over-powered by impurities.

Many people who like to do the yoga asana exercises regularly are not necessarily interested in the yoga teachings and practice about silencing the mind and the elimination of ignorance, egoism and impurities. That’s their freedom. Even though many of them have been following some yoga teachers to be doing yoga asana exercises for some time or a long time, their minds are not necessarily be free from the desire of craving and aversion, and easily be disturbed and determined by the gratification of craving and aversion, and be influenced by impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, irritation, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurts, regret, guilt, offensiveness, defensiveness, animosity, ill-will, ill-thinking, pride, arrogance, agitation, depression, fear and worry, and so on, being restless or peaceless.

A teacher presents the same teaching or Dhamma to different people at the same time, some people take it and practice and realize and be free, while some people reject the Dhamma, as that is not what they like and want and agree with, they only want to do something that they like and want to do, to gratify their desire of craving and aversion, to enjoy and to feel good. And that’s their freedom.

It’s not the teacher is being good or not good. It’s not the Dhamma is something good or not good. The teacher and the Dhamma are just what they are. They are neither good nor not good, but it’s the people themselves, whether they want to take it, or not, and through their own effort of practice and attain self-realization, or not, that allows them to be free, or not. Whether the people want to take the Dhamma and practice and realize yoga, or they don’t like and don’t want to practice the Dhamma, it’s not the responsibility of the teacher or the Dhamma.

Egoistic mind will try to runaway from something that it’s experiencing now, that it doesn’t familiar with, doesn’t feel comfortable, doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with, that is different from or contradicted with one’s thinking and belief and familiar worldly habits.

Those who teach yoga, they do not try to please the people who are learning and practicing yoga with them, or in anyway, to boost or empower or feed the ignorance and egoism of the people. But to guide the people to see or know what is going on in their own minds, develop awareness, self-discipline and self-control to deal with their own mind, to free their mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities through their own effort to purify and silent their impure restless mind, to see the truth of things as it is. Compassion is not about trying to make people happy by gratifying their desires of craving and aversion, but to allow them to know the root cause of a disturbed mind, or the source of unhappiness and suffering, even if they have to go through discomfort and unpleasantness.

The practice of yoga and the coming in contact with the Dhamma is not as pleasant as many people thought it is. The Dhamma might appear to be very different or contradicted with the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice. To realize Dhamma one has to let go attachment and identification towards the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice, to allow the mind to be open. Those who have strong attachment and identification with the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice would likely generate great disagreement, rejection or aversion towards the Dhamma. There are lots of impurities bubble up onto the body and the mind to be eliminated on the path of yoga towards the annihilation of ignorance, egoism and impurities. There will be lots of physical, mental and emotional discomfort arising and passing away. And it might take a long time for the mind to be purified to the deepest level. It requires lots of courage, patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance. forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation. It’s quite an unpleasant or painful and even scary process for most minds, and many minds don’t like to confront with this and rather to runaway from any unpleasantness or hardship. They just want to do the parts of the yoga practice that would give rise to momentary relaxation and good feelings, to gratify their desires of craving and aversion.

Those who truly practice yoga learn how to confront with what the mind perceives as unfamiliar, discomfortable and challenging condition and situation, with compassion, patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, or expectation.

Only through letting go all kinds of attachment and identification, and the desire of craving and aversion towards the pleasant and unpleasant mind perception of names and forms, not by pushing or running away from something that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want, that is discomfortable or challenging for the mind, will allow the mind to go beyond all the qualities of names and forms and be free from being disturbed or determined by all the different qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives as pleasant or unpleasant experiences, positive or negative experiences, that the mind likes or dislikes, wants and doesn’t want.

Letting go and pushing away are two different things.

Letting go is unattached towards all the qualities of names and forms, allowing the unpleasant experiences to be there as they are, or allowing the pleasant experiences to be absent in this present moment, but remain at peace, without craving for something that is pleasant but it’s not here, without aversion towards something that is here that is unpleasant, being undisturbed or undetermined by them. The mind is peaceful as it is regardless all the mind perceptions of pleasantness and unpleasantness, being free from disturbs due to ignorance, egoism and impurities.

While pushing away is do not allow any unpleasant experiences to be there, and expecting pleasant experiences to be available in the present the way that it likes it to be, and are being disturbed or determined by the presence of unpleasant experiences that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want, and the absence of pleasant experiences that the mind likes and wants. The mind is restless or peaceless being over-powered by frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, regret, ill-thinking, animosity, anxiety, fear and worry.

Be free.

People’s power?

People’s power is no doubt very powerful, of course. There’s no doubt that other than the greatest power of nature, it’s the people’s power that is so powerful and influential that it influences the condition or situation of the world, in a country, in a community, in a company, or in a family, through their thinking and behavior, making the world a better or worse place to be in. But what is influencing the people’s thinking and behavior is more powerful. And so, what happen if ignorance, egoism and impurities is the power that influencing many people in the world to think, behave, act and react?

Even those who think they are good people who want to be good, who do good actions and don’t do bad actions are not necessarily be free from the influence of ignorance and egoism and impurities. If the mind thinks and feels, “I am disturbed, disappointed, frustrated, threatened, depressed, angered or hurt by something that I think is bad, negative and wrong”, know that this is ignorance, though there’s nothing wrong with this reaction of thinking and feeling in such way reacting towards certain perceptions of names and forms that the mind believes as bad, negative and wrong. The power of ignorance is so great that the mind doesn’t even know it is under the influence of ignorance, thinking that it is wise or smart enough, or it is wiser or smarter than others. And the ego doesn’t like to hear or be pointed out that it is the product of ignorance, and would feel offended or humiliated or intimidated.

The wise won’t be disturbed nor determined by the ignorance of others of all sorts of ignorant thinking and behavior, or what the mind thinks and believes as bad, negative or wrong. If one will be disturbed and determined by the ignorance of others of their ignorant thinking and behavior, or what the mind thinks and believes as bad, negative and wrong, or be disturbed by the condition and situation of the world that is not how one would like it to be, then this mind is under the influence of ignorance.

One can choose not to be disturbed or determined by the ignorance of others of all sorts of ignorant thinking and behavior, or not.

The wise don’t have any intention to change the world. They allow everyone to be free from ignorance, or not, through everyone’s own interest and effort. If people are not interested in freeing their mind from ignorance, that’s their freedom.

Even the enlightened liberated beings can’t change the world or take away the ignorance in others or remove ignorance from the world. If not, the world is already be free from ignorant beings/thinking/behavior. One can only free one’s mind from ignorance through self-initiative, self-effort, self-discipline, self-inquiry and self-realization.

If there are people have the great ambition to be ‘superhero’ to change and save the world, that’s their freedom.

The YTTC or Yoga Teachers Training Courses is about being a platform for truth seekers who are interested in attaining liberation from ignorance and suffering to learn and practice yoga to become their own teacher to perform self-practice/Yoga Sadhana, to attain self-realization and independence, and when one is free from ignorance and suffering, the world will have less a being under the influence of ignorance. And one can share one’s self-realized knowledge of yoga with others, where yoga asana practice is one of the many practices to purify and quiet the mind to prepare the mind for meditation. But nowadays, many YTTC are not about developing serious self-practice or Yoga Sadhana to free oneself from ignorance and egoism, but, it’s mainly about to be equipped with some ‘teaching technical information’ for ‘teaching yoga (asana exercise) classes’ to most people who are not really interested in the elimination of egoism through the practice of silence, desireless, dispassion, self-discipline, self-inquiry and self-realization, but more interested in empowering egoism and gratifying their worldly passionate desires of craving and aversion especially towards enhancing physical health and fitness level, physical appearance and ability through performing the yoga asana exercises, while some others are interested towards developing mental psychic power for different reasons or intentions.

“I have been doing some yoga regularly for some time. Now, I want to learn and do more yoga. Can you teach me?”
“Really?”
“Yes! I am really interested to learn to do all the yoga poses that I am still not able to do. I also want to know what are the different muscles groups that we use in the different yoga poses and their specific benefits related to health and fitness. I hope to become a yoga teacher to teach yoga classes someday. I need to make my body healthier, fitter, stronger and more flexible so that I can do lots of the yoga poses to be qualified to join the yoga teacher training course. I also want to feel better about myself, because right now, I am not very happy with myself, my yoga practice, my physical appearance, my health and fitness level, my job, my life and my relationship. Many yoga teachers say yoga can gives us lots of benefits to improve health and fitness, and make us look good and feel good about ourselves, and become superhuman with superpower to do anything that we want to do with our body and mind. They say yoga can make our body stay young and strong, that we won’t get sick and we can defy aging. They say by doing yoga we can defy gravity and we can fly. And they say practice yoga can also have all our desires come true. I want a better life, a better body, a better relationship and a better job. I really want to learn and do yoga!”
“I can teach you yoga. But first, you will need to let go all these desires of what you want and don’t want.”
“This is not the yoga that I want to learn and do.”
“Be happy then.”

Uparati – cessation from worldly activities

Uparati is one of the important practice or observation in yoga and meditation. It comes naturally when the time has come. It’s doubtless, struggle-less and obligation-less.

It is renouncing family ties and friends, worldly duties and responsibilities, moving away from the social world, the society and worldly activities, and channel the entire life existence or energy into self-inquiry – to perform the greatest duty and responsibility towards oneself and the society. Although many people in the society might not like to hear this, or they would disagree with this.

The worldly minded won’t be able to grasp the greatness of Uparati. It’s unthinkable for those being conditioned in a worldly life made out of a society with social interactions. Our minds are being conditioned to think and believe that ‘this’ is who we are and what we are, and ‘this’ is how we should live, think and behave. Some would criticize those who renounce the society and worldly activities, especially if the person who renounces the social world is someone they know personally and close to in life. It’s normal to have such reaction and it’s their freedom of thinking, expression, action and speech.

Uparati appears to be an outdated extreme practice for many people, including many of those who think they love yoga and like to do yoga, and even many of those who teach yoga. Yoga enthusiasts who live in a modern comfortable living environment with modern technology, who enjoy social activities and interactions would criticize the practice of Uparati as something ‘backward’, ‘old fashion’, ‘needless’, ‘uncaring’ or ‘cold’. As those who renounce the world would also renounce from teaching yoga to others. Some may see this as ‘selfishness’ – keeping the knowledge of yoga to oneself without sharing the knowledge of yoga with others, but then they don’t like or criticize the essential yoga practice of renunciation. Those who practice Uparati also renounce family and friends circle. This would be criticized by their family and friends and the society as ‘weird’, ‘unacceptable behavior’, ‘anti-social’, ‘craziness’, ‘betrayal’ and ‘selfishness’, but then everyone keeps hurting themselves and the people whom they love out of impurities if they are not free from ignorance and egoism. This is ignorance.

If one is free from ignorance and egoism, one will encourage others to be free from ignorance and egoism as well.

Suffering derived from ignorance and egoism, and all kinds of names and forms are conditioned by the law of impermanence, whether in the ancient time or now. Having higher and greater knowledge of science and technology, and having comfortable living environment doesn’t guarantee that one will be free from ignorance and egoism, or is free from suffering. One might still suffer from anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurts, guilt, grieve, depression, agitation, animosity, ill-will, fear and worry, due to egoism of attachment, identification, craving and aversion.

The practice of Uparati is impossible for those whose minds are still very much attached to the worldly life existence of names and forms. People with kind hearts and well-behave, who love lives and who have good intention to make the world to be a better place are not necessarily unattached towards worldly life existence of names and forms and be free from suffering, unless they are free from ignorance and egoism. Those who believe life cannot be without passionate desires, family ties, relationships, friendships, community or social interaction and contribution, community and personal success and achievements, and “Do what will make you happy” as the meaning and value of life existence might not appreciate the greatness of Uparati. There’s nothing wrong with people choose to spend their lives in eat, drink, enjoy, interact and reproduce. It’s everyone’s freedom about what one wants to do with one’s life, body and mind.

In yoga, if we truly love our family and friends and the world, we work diligently and be determined to free our minds from ignorance and egoism.

Those who are fit to observe Uparati are those who see this life existence in this world of impermanent names and forms as a precious time and space to transcend ignorance and suffering. All the other goals of life are secondary, and will only flourish and truly benefit one’s life and the society when one has transcended ignorance and suffering. Or else, one’s actions and the consequences of actions will always be influenced by ignorance and impurities, disregard how good is one’s intention to be good, do good and hope for good.

One can live among the society, and perform wise actions out of compassion that would benefit the society, being free from egoism, unattached towards one’s actions and the fruit of actions, after one has attained self-realization.

Be free.

It is very difficult to renounce family, children, relations, possessions, property, wealth. One in a million only can take to renunciation. – Swami Sivananda

Yoga practice for emancipation…

“I am not the body, the body is not mine.
I am not the mind, the mind is not mine.”

This is the basic teaching and practice of yoga. But, for some, it seems to be almost impossible for the mind to be free from ignorance, to go beyond names and forms, to be free from being conditioned by the idea of “I” and all that is related to “I”.

It is up to everyone to inquire or investigate into the truth of this teaching and all the other teachings from anywhere, and realize the truth through our own Self-inquiry.

Some people want to be able to go beyond all the names and forms, but find it difficult to practice non-attachment in everyday life. Many people don’t want to go beyond the body and mind, to be undetermined by the impermanent changes of the body and mind to be “I”, and be free. They rather cling onto the idea of “I” and life existence, being passionate about “I” and everything that is related to “I”. They are determined by the impermanent body and mind, and all the qualities of name and form that they perceive through the senses to be “I”, whether wittingly or unwittingly. They give themselves reasonable excuses why it is not necessarily to practice non-attachment or to renounce the world, to be peaceful and happy. They believe that life should be full of passionate desires waiting to be fulfilled to keep life going and meaningful, or else it isn’t life. Dispassion and desire-less is unbearable and wrong for them. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s their freedom of choice for what they want to do with their life.

For those who are determined to be free from suffering, to be able to help other suffering beings efficiently, they will focus their entire life time and existence into the path of emancipation, gradually moving away from worldly ideas and passionate desires.

Due to the veil of ignorance, the ego, or the idea of “I” in the mind, generates attachment and identification with all these qualities of names and forms to be “This is I”, to be existing, to be acknowledged, to be known. There’s strong attachment and identification with the thinking, the belief, the knowledge, the state and the ability of the mind, and the condition, the ability and the appearance of the physical body, as well as all the relationships with other beings and objects, to be “I”.

We are being determined by the impermanent qualities of the body and mind, and the relationships with other beings and objects to be confident, to be satisfied, to be happy, to be worthy and meaningful, or not. And all these qualities of name and form are subject to impermanence. And hence, the mind is constantly restless and dissatisfied. The stubborn attachment and identification doesn’t allow the mind to be free from the idea of “I” and all that is related with “I”. And this doesn’t allow the mind to see the truth of existence, which is I-lessness.

Upon the realization of the truth of I-lessness, the mind will be liberated from all sorts of suffering that derived from ignorance.

From the attachment and identification with qualities of name and form to be existing, the egoistic mind generates ceaseless desires of wants and don’t wants, craving and aversion, where all sorts of suffering arise.

“Is it necessarily to renounce the worldly social life and activities to be free from ignorance and suffering?” Well, it depends on each individual whether we have strong self-discipline and an undistracted mind, or not.

If our mind has rooted firmly in non-attachment, and is undistracted or uninfluenced by whatever the mind comes in contact with, or interacts with, being undisturbed or unaffected physically, mentally or emotionally, then we can mix freely into the society and involve with social activities freely, unrestricting the activities of the body and mind, while having the strong self-discipline and concentration maintaining one-pointedness towards the complete annihilation of ignorance.

If our mind has not yet develop a strong foundation of non-attachment, and is easily distracted and be influenced by whatever the mind comes in contact with, or interacts with, easily being disturbed and affected physically, mentally and emotionally, then we will need to renounce worldly social activities for a period of time, to allow the mind to be quiet and still for a sustained period of time to be able to reflect upon the truth as it is.

If emancipation is not what we are looking for, then be free to live a passionate and unrestricted worldly life. Be happy with what we want for our life. But then when we experience disappointment and suffering, and feel hurt, disturbed, angry, or depressed about the reality that we don’t like and don’t agree with, it is our own choice as well.

Anyway, there are no shortage of New Age ‘yoga teachers’ in the modern world teach about “Follow all your desires, be passionate and indulge in worldly sensual enjoyment” as liberation. Why bother about renunciation to perform Sadhana that is so wrong, unnatural and painful for the worldly egoistic mind. As even when someone tries to renounce the world, it doesn’t guarantee that this being will be liberated, if there’s no real renunciation.

Some might think that we are now existing in an new era, renunciation is outdated. Some people who love their yoga and meditation practice might think that there’s no need to renounce the world, they have already gotten the benefits that they wanted from their yoga and meditation practice. Some think that they are somehow smarter than those past enlightened beings who all had went through renunciation, seclusion and intense Sadhana for many years to attain liberation, and then came back to the world to help other beings to attain liberation. It’s our own freedom for what we want for our lives.

Be happy.

Desires…

When desire is absent from the mind, whether it’s wanting something or doesn’t want something, the mind is peaceful, happy and content during those precious moments of being free from desires.

When desires arise in the mind, but are not being gratified, the mind feels disturbed, unhappy, upset, disappointed and frustrated.

We think that we will be happy and contented if we can gratify all our desires, but the more we gratify the desires, the more desires or craving will arise to be gratified. The mind is forever restless and dissatisfied.

Once a desire is being gratified, it’s like adding fuel to the fire. The desires will multiply and grow stronger.

To be free from desires, the only way is to stop gratifying any desires. It’s like stop adding fuel to the fire. Eventually all desires will die out completely.

Be free from desires, if we truly want to be in peace.

By performing yoga asana and meditation practice everyday, or attending countless retreats, or trying to accumulate and possess qualities of a ‘good being’, won’t bring us peace, nor make us being free from unhappiness or suffering, if the mind is not free from desires.

When we have interest in learning and practicing yoga and meditation, are we working on the annihilation of desire and egoism, or are we expecting the yoga and meditation practice can fulfill our desires whether it’s personal desires or universal desires? Even setting good and positive intention or aspiration before, during or after the yoga and meditation practice, wishing everything to be good and positive, is also a desire. We are not free.

We’ll get depressed, disappointed and frustrated with ourselves or others for being not good enough if our personal and universal desires are not being fulfilled the way that we desire it to be.

Mumukshutva is the only ‘desire’ that will allow us to have the strong will-power and determination to renunciate both the worldly passionate and spiritual desires, and render the mind one-pointed towards emancipation.

There are many people who ‘love’ yoga and meditation practice, as well as like to attend yoga retreats from time to time, including ‘yoga teachers’, but only a few are interested in serious yoga sadhana that is about moving the mind away from worldly objects, affairs, activities, sensual enjoyment and social interactions. Solitude of being away from all these worldly activities for a few days or weeks will make them feel so ‘wrong’ and depressed, not to say seclusion for a few years.

While living in this world having the function of the body and mind, having certain knowledge, skills and talents, we do our best for the well-being of ourselves and for the world, while allowing everything to be what it is, without any desires, intentions, or expectations to make everything to be the way that we want it to be, or the way that we think it should be.

Just like the elements of fire, wind, water, earth and ether. Without any desires, intentions, or expectations to influence or determine everything to be existing or cease existing, but everything exists and cease existing because of the cohesion or dissolution of all these elements.

Om shanti.

All physical activities should be completely suspended, all attachments should be ruthlessly cut asunder completely for five or six years, if you want to practice Dhyana Yoga, if you want to realise God through concentration of mind. Newspaper-reading and correspondence with friends and relatives should be completely stopped; as they cause distraction of mind and strengthen the world-idea. Seclusion for a period of five or six years is indispensable.

Swami Sivananda

Yoga in the commercial world and practicing yoga while living among the society…

The means of yoga is to attain annihilation of the egoism, realize unconditional peace through the self-realization of the truth, be free from ignorance, and thus transcend suffering.

The mission of yoga being spread into the society of the commercial world is for the sake of world peace. It’s not so much about getting some health and fitness benefits from performing the yoga asana exercises. Though there’s nothing wrong about that.

World peace has to start from individual peace that is unconditional, undetermined by physical conditions and abilities, or qualities of names and forms. When one has attained unconditional peace in oneself, one is no longer being affected nor disturbed by any impurities or disturbance that exist in the world. One will be free from ill-will and violence, and will not generate disharmony in oneself or into the surrounding atmosphere. And this is how yoga contributes to world peace.

Yoga practice is about self-awareness, self-discipline, self-control, self-restraint, self-transformation, self-realization. It’s not about to convert other people to abandon their existing beliefs or religious practice, and to believe in the teachings of yoga and to take up the yoga practice, nor to change other people to behave the way that we think they should behave, nor to change the world to be the way that we think it should be.

Yoga practice is eliminating the egoism and ignorance through the practice of non-attachment and non-identification, and letting go of craving and aversion. All these yoga practice can be incooperated into any existing beliefs or religious practice that one already has, without interfering what one used to believe and practice.

While allowing the existing beliefs and practice to be there, one also allows the mind to be opened. One learns how to stay detached from the existing beliefs and practice, without identification with the beliefs and practice to be who ‘I’ am. One also doesn’t attach towards the teachings of yoga, but will perform self-inquiry inquire into the truth of everything, including the existing beliefs and practice, as well as the teachings of yoga.

For many people, it is not that easy to have the determination and perseverance to perform serious yoga practice (Sadhana) while living among the society in the commercial world, unless the aspirant has developed a strong foundation of non-attachment (Vairagya) and right discrimination (Viveka). As there are many distractions around that will hinder one to immerse into the yoga and meditation practice especially if the aspirant has not yet developed a strong foundation of non-attachment, non-identification, right discrimination, self-discipline and self-control. One might be influenced by the worldly thinking and beliefs, and easily swayed into the worldly passionate desires and greed.

Most of the contents in the worldly social conversations in everyday life are strengthening worldly ideas, identifications, desires and attachments. It is empowering the egoism without us being aware of it. We tend to move away from the path of yoga and meditation, while thinking that we are pure enough, and we love yoga very much.

And thus, it is quite useful for someone who truly wants to be free from ignorance and to realize unconditional peace, by having the company of the wise (Satsanga) if there is one, or by attending yoga and meditation retreats once in a while, provided that these yoga and meditation ‘retreats’ are about the yoga and meditation practice, and it’s not about indulge in luxury sensual enjoyment ‘treats’. It can help to remind ourselves about Dharma, and to re-ignite the desire to attain liberation (Moksha).

Om shanti.

Plunge into your Sadhana, right now…

If you are aware of the state of your mind
is imbalanced,
restless,
swaying back and forth
between satisfaction and dissatisfaction,
between elevation and depression,
between happiness and sadness,
between feelings of love and hate,
between meaningfulness and meaninglessness,
between high confidence and low confidence,
between clarity and confusion,
between affirmation and doubts,
between energetic and low energy,
between motivated and demotivated,
and etc,
it is a sign telling you that you might have forgotten your Sadhana,
and have left your meditation practice far behind.
It’s time to pick up your Sadhana and meditation practice again.
No one can do it for you.
No one can tell you how you should live your life or use your time and energy,
or what you should do and shouldn’t do.
No one can control you for what you do and don’t do.
You’ll need to have intense self-discipline and determination to let go of your unnecessary “worldly affairs” which distract you and pull you away from your Sadhana,
and plunge into your Sadhana,
right now.
If you truly want to free your mind from restlessness,
and have peace.
Especially if you think you want to help the world to be a better place.

Om shanti.

Dispassion?

Dispassion is gradually developed as we sincerely perform Yoga Sadhana with the correct understanding and attitude. It is a natural renunciation, or disinterest in worldly objects, activities, and sensual enjoyments. As the mind is less and less running out to chase after names and forms.

Real dispassion comes from realizing the truth of worldly things, or objects, or activities, or sensual enjoyments (all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses), and stop chasing after all these impermanent names and forms.

There is no craving or clinging towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives or recognizes as pleasant, or good, or positive, or happiness.

There is no aversion towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives or recognizes as unpleasant, or bad, or negative, or suffering.

The mean of Yoga Sadhana is to be conserving and directing the energy or attention into performing yoga and meditation practice, or engaging the body and mind in performing Yoga Sadhana, to purify the mind, to remove ignorance, impurities and egoism, to transcend the conditioned and limited thinking egoistic restless mind, to be free.

This is not about run away from our duties and responsibilities, or throw away all our relationships and belongings, and think that we are practicing non-attachment, or detachment, or dispassion, as this doesn’t give us liberation either if the mind is not free from ignorance, impurities and egoism.

It is living in the world, as we are, performing all our duties and responsibilities towards ourselves and others (whether we know or don’t know, without discrimination, or preferences, or priority), without being affected, nor disturbed, nor influenced, nor determined by all these worldly objects, relationships, duties and responsibilities, and renounce the fruit of all our actions.

All our actions including spiritual practice, is being performed without attachment, without expectation. There is no selfish desires, or intentions, or ambitions about ‘I’ want to do this and that, or ‘I’ want to get this and that, or ‘I’ want to be this or that. There is no success and failure, gain and loss, good and bad, happiness and unhappiness in the actions and objects, if we truly know what is dispassion.

This is not feelingless, or emotionless, or being ‘cold’. This is in fact great compassion towards all beings including ourselves, being undetermined or uninfluenced by the impermanent qualities of names and forms, being free from ignorance, impurities and egoism.

If we think and desire, ‘I’ want to be good, and ‘I’ do many good actions, and ‘I’ expect something good in return, and ‘I’ expect ‘I’ to be acknowledged or recognized by the world as a good person, then this is not what yoga is about.

If we think and desire, ‘I’ don’t want to be bad, and ‘I’ don’t do bad actions, and ‘I’ expect nothing bad in return, and ‘I’ expect ‘I’ not to be acknowledged or recognized by the world as a bad person, then this is also not what yoga is about.

If we think and desire, ‘I’ want to be compassionate, and ‘I’ perform many compassionate actions, and ‘I’ expect the world to be benefited by my compassionate actions, and ‘I’ expect ‘I’ to be acknowledged or recognized by the world as a compassionate person, then this is not what compassion is about.

If we think and feel, ‘I’ am a good and righteous being, ‘I’ love and care for the world, ‘I’ am a better person than those whom ‘I’ think they don’t love nor care for the world, ‘I’ am angry and hating those whom ‘I’ think they don’t do anything to make the world a better place, ‘I’ am angry and hating the people that make the world a suffering place, ‘I’ will be happy and at peace when all the bad people and bad happenings that ‘I’ don’t like and don’t agree with disappear from the world, then this is not what yoga is about.

Observe all these thinking and feelings. They are not caused by what is happening out there in the world. They arise in the mind, as soon as the ego reacts towards all the perception of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches, and thinks based on what the ego likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with. When the ego is eliminated, there won’t be such reactions in the mind. It is not the world that troubles us, it is the ego.

Just by reading or hearing all these teachings won’t liberate us from ignorance and egoism. We need to divert the mind from all sorts of worldly distractions, to be performing Yoga Sadhana to purify the mind. It’s not selfishness to divert our energy and attention to concentrate on performing Yoga Sadhana. This is indeed a noble action, to take care of our minds first, before we can truly take care of other beings. We need to be free egoism and ignorance and suffering, being undetermined by the worldly objects of names and forms, before we can help other beings to be free as well.

Meditate, go beyond the ‘I’, and all that comes from this ‘I’.

Realize unconditional peace of who we really are, then we can truly benefit the world just by being who we really are, being at peace.

The satisfaction and happy and good feelings coming from being able to do what we want to do, go where we want to go, achieve what we want to achieve in the world, is conditional, limited, and impermanent. It is not the ultimate unconditional peace coming from the practice of dispassion and discrimination towards all the worldly names and forms, including this body and this mind. Undetermined by all these impermanent names and forms to be identifying as ‘who we are’.

Once we realize this, it doesn’t matter if we are performing some actions or not in the world, there is no difference. There is no selfish intentions, desires nor expectation to motivate or demotivate us to perform actions or not. There is no criticism towards those who are not free yet, who are over-powered by ignorance, impurities and egoism. There is no criticism towards those who seem like ‘not doing’ anything for the world, or ‘not caring’ for the world.

When the mind is silent, the world ceases to exist. What is good and bad? What is happiness and suffering? What is positive and negative? What is right and wrong?

The one who is dispassionate, not allowing the mind to go out chasing after worldly objects, who is restricting and controlling his/her mind to sit still in the chamber of his/her heart, who has conquered his/her mind, who’s mind is free from worldly desires, is going to benefit the world a lot. With the unwavering, desireless pure mind, he/she can live in the world, being undistracted by worldly objects and affairs, and ‘performs’ selfless actions to serve the world/universe.

There’s no difference between action and inaction, when one knows what is dispassion.

Those who are passionate towards the world, and those who are compassionate towards the world, are both performing some actions in the world, but the difference is;

The love towards the world that motivate or demotivate us to perform certain actions, but will result in anger, hatred, discrimination, dissatisfaction and disappointment in us when things don’t happen the way that we think it should be, is passionate love that binds us to suffering.

The love towards the world (whether performing some actions or not) that won’t result in anger, hatred, discrimination, dissatisfaction and disappointment in us when things don’t happen the way that we think it should be, is compassionate love that doesn’t bind us to suffering.

Om shanti.

Forbearance?

In the teachings of yoga, forbearance is the highest Sadhana. Without forbearance, we will be over-powered by impurities that arise due to the craving and aversion coming from the ego towards what it likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, and generate reactions that might bring harmful effects onto ourselves and other beings.

The weaker is the ego, the easier is the practice of forbearance, and vice versa. When the ego is very strong, forbearance seems like impossible, as pride and arrogance is predominant in the mind, and the mind will be over-powered by anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, fear and worry, and will generate reaction that will cause disharmony in oneself and others.

Those who have very little forbearance, will perceive everything negatively, like to find faults in everything and blames on others for their unhappiness, and complain a lots about this and that which they don’t like and disagree with.

In the beginning, when we practice the teachings of yoga about forbearance, we try to forbear any discomfortable or difficult conditions and situations in life without generate aversion. We try to forbear insults without generate reaction of anger, hatred, ill-will, retaliation, or vengeance. We try to walk away from other people’s behaviors that are violent or unkind. If we couldn’t walk away and are caught up in such situations, we endure and be patient. As this will also pass away.

At this stage, our mind still categorizes certain actions and speech are insulting, certain conditions and situations are discomfortable and difficult, and the ego will feel insulted or unhappy when it comes in contact with all these undesirable experiences. As well as we are still identifying with the egoistic thinking mind as ‘I’. And thus, we (the egoistic mind) need to have certain degrees of forbearance, forgiveness, patience, tolerance, adaptation, adjustment, accommodation for us to withstand all these life experiences that the mind recognizes and categorizes as ‘insult’, ‘discomforts’, ‘difficulty’ or ‘suffering’, have self-control over our thoughts, speech and action, without generate reaction that will cause further unnecessary harmful effects onto ourselves and other beings.

When we know about the truth of things, which everything is just what it is. They are not something good or bad, positive or negative, happiness or suffering, easy or difficult, praise or condemn, compliment or insult, as well as the ego is weakened or eliminated, then there is nobody, or ‘I’ being there to experience ‘insult’, ‘discomforts’, ‘difficulty’ or ‘suffering’. There is no need to forbear anything, as there is no ‘insult’, ‘discomforts’, ‘difficulty’ or ‘suffering’ that ‘I’ need to forbear.

That is real freedom or liberation. Liberation is not in the future, which we believe it will happen after we perform lots of virtues and merits. Liberation is not about getting everything that we like and want, and not getting anything that we don’t like and don’t want. Liberation is being aware of the present moment now while accepting the reality as it is, without craving and aversion towards the qualities of names and forms that the mind likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with. And thus stop generating reaction that will bring cause and effect that binds us to the birth and death.

Liberation is in this very moment, when there is no attachments, no craving or aversion in the mind, when we know about the truth of names and forms, and have transcended the identification with the ego, the body and the mind.

Forbearance is indeed advance yoga practice. To forbear physical, mental and emotional discomforts in the beginning of our yoga practice until we realize the truth, and there is no need of the practice of forbearance at all. Being able to perform many hours of yoga asana practice that require certain degrees of skills, strength, flexibility and stamina, is not really advance practice if we don’t know the practice of forbearance, easily being disturbed and determined by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think that we don’t like and don’t agree with. We are irritated, frustrated and unhappy when we come in contact with what we don’t like and disagree with, or when we are not getting what we like and want.

Forbearance is not separated from the practice of Mauna, or silence. To not react towards any insults and discomfortable or unpleasant experiences, and restrict the egoistic mind to express itself through thoughts, action and speech, to refrain it from generating harmful thinking, action and speech out of anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, fear or worry.

Forbear injuries (physically, emotionally, mentally), forebear insults, forbear humiliation, forbear undesirable circumstances, conditions and situations, is highest Sadhana.

Under any circumstances, do not generate anger, hatred, violence, retaliation, or vengeance.

The power that supports forbearance is forgiveness and the power that heals all injuries and hurts is unconditional love.

Love all beings as they are. See the ignorance behind all the actions and reactions that are hurting ourselves and other beings.

Be kind and compassionate towards ourselves and other beings.

Stop hurting ourselves and other beings by dissolving all under current of anger, hatred, violence, retaliation, or vengeance in us with forbearance, forgiveness and unconditional love.

Om shanti.

Non-attachment? (2)

Non-attachment is nothing to do with how many things we have or don’t have, or how less things we have.

It is about being undetermined nor affected by all these impermanent names and forms.

It is not attached to this life existence and the functions of this body and mind.

It is not attached to the physical conditions, appearance and abilities.

It is not attached to the states of mind (elevation, calmness, depression).

It is not attached to the qualities of names and forms.

It is about not being affected, nor disturbed, nor influenced, nor determined by what the mind perceives through the senses of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks, and not generate craving towards names and forms that the mind likes and agrees with, and not generate aversion towards names and forms that the mind dislikes and disagrees with.

It is not attached to the thinking and beliefs in the mind that is conditioned and limited by the impermanent qualities of names and forms, and contaminated by the craving and aversion coming from egoism and ignorance.

It is about letting go of the ego. As all attachments are derived from selfish desires, intention and expectation, craving and aversion of the ego towards what it wants and doesn’t want.

All kinds of unhappiness or suffering derive from attachments due to ignorance and egoism.

Remove ignorance and egoism brings us real non-attachment as well as realizing compassion, be free from restlessness, dissatisfaction, unhappiness or suffering, and be free from generating good and bad karma that binds us into countless birth and death.

Compassion is not separated from non-attachment, or egolessness, or selflessness.

Without non-attachment, all our actions and reactions are over-powered by fear, worry, anger, hatred, jealousy, possessiveness, self-protection, selfish desires, selfish intentions or motives, selfish expectation, and all sorts of irritation, frustration, agitation and depression. It is not possible to be compassionate when we are being over-powered by all these impurities due to attachments, ignorance and egoism.

There is no doubt that yoga practice is in life (it is not only to be found in seclusion), but it doesn’t mean that we indulge in gratifying all the craving and aversion of the egoistic mind, and being over-powered by the ego to achieve whatever the ego wants and doesn’t want. It is not yoga Sadhana, when we indulge in sensual enjoyments by keep feeding or giving what our body and mind wants and likes towards the worldly objects of names and forms, empowering the craving and aversion, or egoism. This is totally going against or towards the opposite direction of all yoga practice is to be eliminating the ego.

It is (egoistic lower)self-denial, and it’s not empowering the (egoistic lower)self. When the ego is completely vanished, there is no ‘I’, or ‘I am’, or ‘I want’, or ‘I don’t want’ attaching to all the actions and inactions coming from this body and mind, even if the intention or motive is ‘good’ and ‘kind’. It is not pure action that is free from the bondage of Karma, if we still ‘have’ good intention to motivate us to perform action or inaction.

The sun, the air, the water, the earth and the space have no (good or bad) intention to be performing ceaseless actions of giving, providing and supporting everything and all beings to be exist. They have no expectation that anything or any beings will be existing and be grateful because of their existence and contribution. They are not affected nor determined by the reactions (gratefulness and ungratefulness) of any beings towards their existence and contribution. They have no discrimination of good beings or evil beings. They give to all and everything. That is egolessness, selflessness, non-attachment, or compassion.

It is living in the world but not being affected, nor influenced, nor determined by the world, letting go of selfish desires and expectation, perform selfless service without discrimination, and surrender, or give up, or renounce the fruit of all our actions. This is harder than being secluded from the world, as there are so many temptations in the world of names and forms that will be distracting the person from performing his or her Sadhana ‘properly’.

It is not about trying to be a ‘hero’ or ‘world saver’ for humanity. That is an idea coming from the ego. Naturally when we take care of our Sadhana, when the ego is eliminated, there is unlimited and unconditional peace and love in ourselves. And with this unconditional peace and love in ourselves, we are benefiting the whole world, even without any intention nor expectation that the world will be benefited by this peace and love. Without the idea of ‘I am benefiting the world’, or ‘My existence and actions are benefiting the world’.

It is whenever the mind comes in contact with the objects of the senses, we let go of the egoism, craving and aversion towards all these names and forms.

That is real non-attachment.

It is not about ‘running away’ or ‘ throwing away’ all our duties and responsibilities, or what our egoistic mind thinks or believes as something not good, or unhappy, or suffering, or problems.

It is carry out all these duties, responsibilities, and being with what our mind believes as something not good, or unhappy, or suffering, or problems, but not being affected nor determined by all these names and forms.

It is being able to accept the reality as it is, not necessarily the way that we like it to be. Nor trying to control or change the reality that the mind doesn’t like, to be something that it likes it to be.

It is being able to love and accept all and everyone as they are, including ourselves, even if our mind dislikes or disagrees with certain qualities of names and forms that it thinks is imperfect or not good.

The one who really knows non-attachment, though moving or living in the world, but will not be moved nor influenced by the world.

Om shanti.

Yoga practice (Sadhana)?

Yoga practice (Sadhana), not the common one or two hour(s) yoga class in yoga studios or yoga clubs, is not something that like a leisure activity that we call “hobby” or “things that we like to do”, but it requires strong commitment, forbearance, determination and self-discipline…Be happy.

What does “friends” means on the path of compassion?

In the path of yoga and meditation or Buddhism or compassion, friendliness is part of our practice. But we might get confused as at the same time, we also always read or hear about the practice of seclusion or retreat from active sociable lifestyle, for any sincere Sadhakas to be able to go deeper into our yoga and meditation practice.

At some stage in our life, we will need to let go of our worldly duties and live a secluded life to concentrate on our own Sadhana.

Being “friendly” towards all beings on the path of compassion, is different from the worldly perception of what “friends” means. In the worldly perception or understanding, “friendships” might means getting to meet up with other people, to know and interact with other people, making and accumulating “friends” with those who can share with each other, to care for each other, to support each other, to hang out with, to spend time with, to do some activities with, to eat, drink, play and chat with, to cry and laugh with, somebody to talk to, somebody whom we can count on and lean on, to help each other during difficulties, to be there for each other during good and bad times, to celebrate or to mourn together… Or we can only be “friend” with people whom we like and agree with, and we cannot be “friend” with whom we don’t like and disagree with… Or “friends” means those who have similar believes, thinking, point of view that can “work” or “do things” together… And, anyone who are not in these “categories” or if they are very different from us, then they are “not friends” or they are “enemies”. There are conditions in looking for “friends” or being “friendly” towards another being.

We have attachment towards “friends” or “friendships”. We have so much expectation towards what a “friend” or a “good friend” or a “true friend” should be like… Such like when something not very nice happens, we would likely to say this, “You are “my” friend, why you treat me like this? You shouldn’t do this to me…” We’ll get disappointed by “our” friends many times, but that disappointment is coming from our own expectation towards how “our” friends should behave or treat us. It is not coming from “our” friends being not nice or not friendly to us or not being a “friend” for us… If we like “our friends” very much, we enjoy the times being together, we will generate clinging and craving towards this “friend” or this “friendship”… If we don’t like “our friends”, we didn’t enjoy the times being together, we will generate aversion towards this “friend” or this “friendship”…

In the path of compassion, yoga, meditation or Buddhism (all these different names and forms are not different from each other – it’s all about realizing egolessness or selflessness to transcend “suffering”), “friendliness” towards all beings means not having any ill-will or hatred or discrimination towards all beings whether “good or bad” beings, “human or non-human” beings, without judgment, expectation, likes and dislikes, agreement or disagreement… We are able to be kind and compassionate towards all beings…

In another terms, all are “friends” to us, we are “friends” for all beings, whether beings I like or not, whether beings I agree with or not, whether beings I know or not, whether human or non-human beings, whether “good” or “bad” beings, there is no difference… And not limited to social “friends” whom we like, whom we agree with, whom we know, whom we spend time with, share life with, do things with, hang out with, get together with, chat with, eat with, drink with, adventure with, growth with, enjoy with, suffer with and so on…

It also means, it is not necessarily that there have to be some people in our life whom we can hang out with, do things with, share life with and so on, to have “friends”, to be “friendly”…

And there is a greatest friend or “being” for us to love, to share with, to be there for good and bad times, is ourselves… But, how many of us know about this friend… We keep looking out for another being as “friend” who will love and care for us… And when we try to “love” ourselves, we tend to become selfish, only think and concern about our own feelings, desires and benefits… We “love” ourselves with selfishness which is the cause of our own unhappiness…

If we know this selfless “friend” who is there with us all the time, there is no loneliness whether we have “friends” or not…

That’s why being “friendly” to all beings and live in seclusion is not contradict with one another on the path of compassion…

Some people get confused with or reject towards some teachings or advice coming from some great Gurus or Yogis or saints and sages in the past telling us about practice “friendliness” and be “friendly” towards all beings, but don’t “mix” with people or don’t “make friends”, live a secluded life concentrate on performing our own Sadhana… What it means is, treat all beings equally, respect all beings, have no ill-will or hatred towards any beings, no differences or separation between those I categorized as “my friends” or “not my friends”…

All these great saints and sages, those who were living in the world, doing a lot of karma yoga (selfless service) serving the world, being with and dealing with different types of beings, they were friends to all beings, but they “didn’t” desire to make or accumulate “friends” to spend time with, to hang out with, to do things with, to chat with, to eat and drink with, to play with, to enjoy with, to share with, to practice with, and so on… And yet they are sharing with all beings all the time, they are “friendly” towards all beings, close or far away, known or unknown, be seen or unseen, in actions or in inactions…

The practice of seclusion, it doesn’t mean that we have no more friends and be lonely being alone by ourselves without any friends… But there is no loneliness and all are friends, without the “necessity” of having a so called “social life” which means having some “friends” or people whom we missed without their presence in our life, whom we want to spent time with or hang out with or do things with, for us to attain some sort of excitement or to remove unhappiness or loneliness… There is no distractions of anything that can cause restlessness… There is no vain talks, gossips, slandering, back-bitting, criticisms, judgments, discriminations, complaints, hypocrisy, lies, untruthfulness, politics, exploitations, and etc that generate disharmony in ourselves and in others…

Our Guru Swami Sivanandaji told us to be “care-less” in order to succeed in our Sadhana, it doesn’t mean that we don’t care for other beings, but it means “Care for all beings without attachment, without being disturbed, nor distracted, nor affected, nor influenced by other beings and social activities, which derives from knowing what is real “friendliness”… He also mentioned in his books or teachings repeatedly many times, about don’t make or accumulate “friends” or do not mix, as one of the important observations in order to be succeed in meditation, it is not contradictory with the practice of “friendliness” and compassion at all, as “friendliness” and compassion is not about having a social life or accumulating “friends”… It is free from ill-will or hatred towards all beings whether they are “good” or “evil”, whether we like them or not, agree with them or not, or whether they like us and agree with us or not…

Evil is “evil” as it appears to be opposite to what is “good and kind” to allow us to be justified as good and kind, and so, “evil” is not really evil… And “good” is not really good when there is hatred towards “evil” as hatred is associate with “evil”…

Of course, there is nothing wrong with having a “social life” and involved with “social activities” as long as there is no attachment… As social life and activities don’t give us “distractions” unless we (the mind) are being distracted and influenced by them…

As we can be having many “friends” in life, but not necessarily that we are completely be free from ill-will or hatred towards other beings… By making and accumulating many “friends” also doesn’t guarantee that we will be free from “loneliness” or we are being “friendly”…

We might be “friendly” towards those whom we like and agree with, but we might not necessarily be “friendly” towards those whom we dislike and disagree with, especially those whom we “think” that they are “bad” or “evil” or “wrong”, those who are not nice and not kind to us and others, and those who hurt us and others physically or emotionally… Look at ourselves, how often that we are easily being disturbed or angry with somebody that we don’t know personally, nor who comes in contact with us personally, but whom we “think” or “heard” that they are “bad and evil” beings who perform “bad and evil” actions but it is not necessarily the truth as what we think it is…

Restlessness, anxieties, agitation, depression, fear, worries, disturbs, troubles, conflicts, arguments, debates, anger, dissatisfaction, disappointment, violence, ill-will, energy deprivation, jealousy, envy, desires, distractions or lack of concentration that derives from worldly “social life” and “social activities” which are the main obstacles in the path of yoga and meditation, can be reduced to minimum when we practice seclusion from “social lifestyle” and yet living in the world performing actions serving the world without attachment and distractions… Especially those of us who are still easily being distracted, or disturbed, or influenced, or affected, or determined by other beings and social activities due to lack of non-attachment or detachment, lack of wisdom and compassion… As we are still being over-powered by ignorance, desires, craving and aversion and all other impurities like anger, hatred, greed, dissatisfaction, jealousy, pride, arrogance, fear, worry, expectation, and etc…

We can try to meditate everyday but still, our mind is restless, our ego is strong… We continue to experience suffering or unhappiness, and be miserable… We keep judging ourselves and others as good or bad… We keep having expectation towards ourselves and others about this and that… We still have ceaseless desires to be fulfilled, to be satisfied… Forever restless…

Until one day, when the ego and selfish desires have completely vanished, then there is no difference at all whether having an active social lifestyle or not, as by then we are no longer being distracted or influenced by anybody or anything, and we can mix freely with anybody whether positive or negative beings, active or inactive beings, wise or ignorant beings, happy or unhappy beings… We are always full of energy and yet be in calmness… We might be performing actions in life for other beings, but we also have time and space for our own Sadhana, not neglecting ourselves nor being distracted from perfoming our own Sadhana…

Not performing any actions for other beings doesn’t mean that we didn’t perform karma yoga as part of our practice. It’s because by taking care of our own Sadhana is the greatest karma yoga selfless service being perform onto ourselves and will be benefiting other beings naturally, when we have peace and compassion in us.

Again, this practice is only an advice to those who are sincere to transcend “suffering”, to be free from restlessness, discontentment, low self-esteem, anger, hatred, fear, worry, and etc…

Om shanti.

Be happy.