The middle path and renunciation

The teachings of Yoga and Buddhism is being practiced on the middle path. It’s neither leaning towards indulging oneself in pleasurable enjoyment nor intentionally torturing oneself in difficulties and painful suffering, but it’s living a life of simplicity without drowning in greed/discontentment/stress towards achieving higher success/achievement/enjoyment/comfort/security in life, and without struggling under insufficiency of daily needs to be looking after the well-being of the body and mind while living in the world, independently and self-sufficiently, as much as possible.

The path of renunciation is indeed the middle path, though many people would categorize it as one form of extremity. One can renounce the worldly life consisting of worldly passionate social relationship, connection, interaction and activity without torturing one’s body and mind in painful suffering, while living a modest simple way of life, being in seclusion and solitude most of the time, where one would perform necessary actions and dealing with other people/beings if necessary, but without engaging in worldly social interaction and activity, and without attachment or clinging towards worldly relationships and connections as well as pleasurable enjoyment of the senses.

No doubt that everyone needs to ‘work’ or performs action to be looking after the life of the body and mind, but for the yoga practitioners, one doesn’t need to spend entire life time and energy into achieving worldly success and achievement in ‘work’ to be more wealthy, successful and secured financially, but after spending some time and energy into ‘working’ to acquire enough livelihood, one can spend more time and energy into looking after the well-being of the body and mind, which isn’t about building relationships and connections by engaging in worldly social interactions and activities, just like what most people, including mental health professionals would think and believe that active engagement in passionate social interactions and activities to be building relationships and connections is essential for mental and emotional health.

For the yoga practitioners, looking after the mental and emotional health is more about retreating from all those worldly relationships, connections, interactions and activities to quiet the restless activity of the mind, mentally and emotionally, understanding that all joy and happiness deriving from engagement in pleasurable, desirable and agreeable relationship, connection, interaction and activity, will change and disappear eventually. Impermanent changes might not affect or disturb the minds that have developed strong foundation in dispassion and non-attachment, but most of the untrained passionate minds that attached strongly onto names and forms that are pleasurable, desirable and agreeable would be determined by impermanent changes, and be affected and disturbed mentally and emotionally.

It’s neither right nor wrong in the two contradicting approach towards looking after the well-being of the mind mentally and emotionally, it’s just different understanding or realization towards what is suffering and the cause of suffering. The worldly passionate minds think and believe that the lack of social relationship, connection, interaction and activity is the cause of mental and emotional illness/suffering, and thinking that the solution is through seeking comforts deriving from active engagement in passionate social relationship, connection, interaction and activity, to feel good and better. While the dispassionate minds stop empowering or gratifying the desire of craving and clinging towards passionate social relationship, connection, interaction and activity that might make the mind feels good and better momentarily, but working diligently to root out egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, which is the root cause of all restlessness and suffering, to allow the mind realize unconditional peace that is nothing to do with momentary pleasant good and meaningful feelings deriving from engagement in desirable/agreeable passionate social relationship, connection, interaction and activity.

The mind is peaceful as it is, regardless of the impermanent condition of life, the body, the mind and the world.

Be free from gross and subtle attachment, clinging and craving

This teaching is more suitable for those who are endowed with intense yearning for liberation, who are aware of ignorance and egoism and the consequences of it.

Those who are not interested in transcending the mind perception of a worldly life of names and forms, but merely interested in doing certain favorite yoga asana and breathing exercises of particular style and brand to attain some health and fitness benefits, to attain momentary physical/mental/emotional relief, pleasantness and calmness deriving from performing the different types of yoga and meditation practice, while enjoying all kinds of worldly relationship, connection, interaction and activity with other people/beings who are like minded, whom one perceives as one’s family, friends and relatives, that give rise to the sense of meaningfulness, satisfaction and fulfillment, to chase away the sense of dissatisfaction, meaninglessness and loneliness, they don’t need to practice the teaching of yoga about renunciation, solitude and seclusion, to renounce all kinds of worldly relationship, connection, interaction and activity, to efficiently free the mind from both gross and subtle attachment, clinging and craving towards desirable/agreeable relationships, connections, interactions and activities that gives rise to the sense of meaningfulness, goodness and fulfillment.

The worldly passionate mind would perceive discomfort/unrest/suffering/unhappiness/meaninglessness/loneliness/emptiness when it is being cut off from the familiar worldly relationships, connections, interactions and activities for a certain period of time. People, including mental health professionals, think and believe that people will be mentally and physically sick and die due to loneliness, emptiness and meaninglessness, if without connecting, contacting, communicating and interacting with some other human beings. That’s their freedom of thinking and belief. And hence, the practice of renunciation, solitude and seclusion is definitely not for them, as they will be crazy, sick and die due to being over-whelmed by the sense of loneliness and meaninglessness deriving from practicing renunciation, solitude and seclusion, as it’s too painful, difficult, terrible, guilty and depressing for them to be without worldly relationship, connection, interaction and activity.

Only those who are determined to transcend the worldly life of impermanent selfless names and forms, who are endowed with the intense yearning for liberation, even when life experience and condition is rather good and comfortable, knowing that all is impermanent and selfless, would be interested in the practice of renunciation, solitude and seclusion, being dispassionate towards the fleeting worldly life of names and forms, of worldly affair and condition that are being limited by cause and effect and impermanence, powered by ignorance and egoism, and hence, they could renounce all kinds of worldly connection, relationship, interaction and activity, without much difficulty, allowing the mind be able to be free from not just gross but also subtle attachment, clinging and craving towards worldly connection, relationship, interaction and activity.

Those who chase after the sense of meaningfulness, goodness and fulfillment deriving from being passionately engaging in worldly social and spiritual connection, relationship, interaction and activity, where they think and believe that the attainment/presence of the sense of meaningfulness, goodness and fulfillment is the meaning of life existence, or the highest achievement of their spiritual practice, or the goal of yoga and meditation practice, they would perceive the teaching and practice of renunciation, solitude and seclusion as something out of date, absurd, abnormal, negative, selfish, meaningless, or even useless.

In the many social cultural belief and practice, renouncing worldly relationship, connection, interaction and activity are being perceived as unacceptable inappropriate wrongful way of being. People would be criticized and condemned by the passionate egoistic family, friends and relatives, if they don’t engage in family, relative and friends social visit/meet up/get together/celebration, not to say, completely cutting off all kinds of contact and communication. There’s nothing wrong with that, as it’s everyone’s freedom for what they think and believe as well as what they want to do and don’t do with their life. These minds are not free, as they would loose the sense of meaningfulness and goodness, if for some reasons, desirable/agreeable worldly connection, relationship, interaction and activity are unavailable, especially for a prolonged period of time, that give rise to the sense of meaninglessness, emptiness, uselessness and loneliness to the mind.

The gross and subtle attachment/clinging/craving towards all kinds of relationship, connection, interaction and activity is one of the greatest obstacle for many yoga practitioners, including so called ‘yoga teachers’. The great spiritual ambition/aspiration to be connected with people/other beings/nature, or fellow yoga community/family as much as possible, to be as meritorious and virtuous as much as possible, desiring to be transitioned towards better or higher realm of existence, to create/build yoga community, yoga school and/or yoga ashram, to hoard ‘family/friends/brothers/sisters’, ‘students’, ‘disciples’ and ‘followers’, under the ‘good intention’ to share ‘yoga’ or ‘love’ with as many beings as possible, are indeed the sign of subtle attachment/clinging/craving that the mind doesn’t even aware of. All these names and forms of relationship/connection/interaction/activity/merit/virtue/better or higher realm or transition/the sense of meaningfulness, goodness and fulfillment deriving from spiritual aspiration, achievement, contribution, action and interaction, don’t exist for the silent mind.

Though renouncing worldly relationship, connection, interaction and activity, the dispassionate minds can still be performing actions that would be beneficial towards oneself and the world, but it’s free from any ‘ambition’, ‘aspiration’, or ‘intention’, without expecting life or the world has to be in certain way according to particular desire, thinking and belief, but allowing life and the world being what it is. This ‘intention-less action’ is unthinkable for most passionate egoistic minds that believe in all actions must be inspired by and performed out of intention/aspiration and motivation to bring out certain result/success/achievement that they expect how it should be. These minds need to be driven by certain intentional motivation/expectation as well as certain result/achievement/recognition/acknowledgement/accreditation/appreciation/compliment/encouragement to perform all kinds of action.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they know and don’t know, what they understand and don’t understand, and what they think and don’t think.

Online yoga class?

“Do you offer any ‘online yoga class’?”

What other yoga teachers do and don’t do is their freedom. What yoga practitioners/enthusiasts desire and don’t desire is their freedom. There’s neither right nor wrong.

I don’t have any interest or intention to run or teach ‘yoga classes’, not to say to organize ‘online yoga class’.

There were/are different type of people with different temperament/understanding and state of the mind, who want to learn yoga from us by participating in a compact yoga course in the form of yoga retreat over a few days to a few weeks. The yoga retreats emphasize on guiding and allowing the yoga practitioners/students to develop correct understanding, dispassion, right discrimination, self-inquiry, self-control, self-discipline and self-independence to be able to perform mental/physical self-practice internally/externally wherever they are without the need of attending ‘yoga classes’, by performing the different practices that serve the purpose of purifying and quieting the impure outgoing egoistic mind, to work on eliminating the ego and egoism diligently and independently, to be opened and turning the mind inward to investigate/inquire into the truth of everything, allowing the mind to see/realize the truth of names and forms as it is, to know what is going on in the restless self-cognitive thinking mind or knowing Thyself, be free from ignorance and the consequences of ignorance.

How everyone reacts towards the teachings and the different practices, or whether the students would be interested in developing the correct understanding, dispassion, right discrimination, self-inquiry, self-control, self-discipline and self-independence, or not, and whether they developed the correct understanding, dispassion, right discrimination, self-inquiry, self-control, self-discipline and self-independence, or not, it’s their own freedom, effort and responsibility. Everyone has their own pace treading the path of yoga.

Many of those who ‘expect’ the ‘yoga retreat’ or the ‘yoga practice’ to be the way that they desire it to be, that gives them what they think they should be getting/enjoying from ‘joining yoga retreat and performing yoga practice’ the way that they like and want, that gives them pleasurable sensual enjoyments, that gratifies their desire of craving and aversion, that makes them feel pampered and loved, wouldn’t appreciate and would reject this kind of ‘yoga retreat’ or ‘yoga practice’, and they would complain and criticize this kind of ‘yoga retreat’ or ‘yoga practice’ that they don’t like, don’t agree with and don’t want. And that’s their freedom.

Those who allowed their mind to be opened to inquire the truth of everything, while being self-initiated to perform yoga practice practically in everyday life to work on eliminating the ego and egoism diligently and independently, to free the mind from ignorance and the consequences of ignorance, who understand/realize the importance of dispassion, renunciation, seclusion, solitude and silence, would appreciate this type of ‘yoga retreat’ and ‘yoga practice’. They would have the basic understanding, dispassion, right discrimination, self-inquiry, self-control and self-discipline to be performing the internal/external practice accordingly. They don’t need to attend ‘yoga classes’, not to say ‘online yoga classes’ to be following some verbal/visual instructions/motivations to be motivated to perform some yoga practice or exercises, in order to stay calm/positive and healthy by keeping the body and mind busy engaging/occupying with some ‘healthy positive mental/physical activity’, to get rid of negativity, anxiety, boredom, or the sense of loneliness/meaninglessness due to the present global epidemic situation and prolonged social/physical distancing/isolation.

The existence of ‘yoga classes’, and particularly ‘online yoga classes’ in this present situation are very good for those who don’t have the basic understanding, dispassion, right discrimination, self-control, self-discipline and self-independence, who need to receive motivations/encouragements/guidance to be doing some healthy physical activity, to keep occupying the mind with healthy mental/physical activity, particularly in this present global epidemic situation, where people are being isolated/refrained from their everyday habitual social/mental/physical/emotional activity and interaction. Sort of like experiencing the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms of breaking away from certain mental/physical/emotional/relationship addiction/attachment/craving/desire, which is something very common that happens to many people who attend silent meditation retreats.

There’s nothing wrong with many yoga practitioners/enthusiasts who can’t or reluctant to perform self-practice independently, as they don’t have the basic understanding, dispassion, right discrimination, self-control, self-discipline and self-independence, and they don’t have the knowledge and confidence to perform the yoga practice by themselves, even after have been attending regular ‘yoga classes’ for many months/years, that mostly emphasize on social/mental/emotional/physical ‘connection’, ‘sharing’, ‘companionship’, ‘encouragement/motivation’ and ‘interaction’ among the community of the yoga teachers and the fellow yoga students while attending yoga classes/yoga retreats. That’s their freedom of thinking, belief, desire, action and reaction.

Those who know this, and/or who have been practicing yoga of renunciation, dispassion, solitude, seclusion and silence as it is, will not have any issue dealing with this global epidemic situation that requires efficient prolonged social/physical isolation/distancing for weeks/months or even years. They are free from boredom, anxiety, fear, worry, loneliness, or meaninglessness.

The sincere yoga practitioners can make use of this time being, or this great opportunity from this global epidemic situation to be starting practicing silence.

Those who aren’t interested in the yoga practice of disciplining and quieting the mind, don’t have to practice silence. They can continue to entertain the mind to keep the mind busy mingling and interacting with one another through all kinds of social media. It’s everyone’s freedom what they desire and don’t desire.

Living in the present

The minds that know how to ‘live’ in the present, time doesn’t exist, but only a reflection of impermanent selfless changes. These minds are fearless and worryless being free from craving towards particular desirable/agreeable/pleasant condition and aversion towards particular undesirable/disagreeable/unpleasant condition. The function of the thinking mind or the state of the mind will go through impermanent selfless changes, but the nameless/formless/attributeless universal consciousness beyond the egoistic self-cognitive thinking mind, is birthless/deathless/changeless/infinite.

The mind can make use of the existing available condition, knowledge, talent, skill, experience and opportunity in the present moment to be performing actions looking after the well-being of one’s life and/or others, without attachment towards the actions and the fruit of actions. Passionate optimistic people even propagate that people can create/develop the desirable condition, knowledge, talent, skill, experience and opportunity intentionally, if they aren’t existing/available in the present. There’s nothing wrong with that. The only difference is that there’s no satisfaction/dissatisfaction, pleasure/disappointment, happiness/unhappiness, success/failure, pride and arrogance/shame and guilt/regret in the minds that are free from attachment towards the actions and the fruit of actions.

The minds that know this, all actions are being performed out of selfless compassion, intentionlessly. It’s nothing to do with attaining the sense of goodness, happiness, righteousness, positiveness and meaningfulness or getting rid of the sense of badness, unhappiness, wrongfulness, negativeness or meaninglessness. As the minds that are free from the ego and egoism don’t need to attain the sense of goodness, happiness, righteousness, positiveness, or meaningfulness, to feel good, happy, righteous, positive, or meaningful, as these minds are void of the sense of badness, unhappiness, wrongfulness, negativeness, or meaninglessness, regardless of all the impermanent selfless changes of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses. There’s not even the idea of “I am a selfless compassionate being performing selfless compassionate actions that are beneficial to the world.” not to say, “I want to be a kind and compassionate human being who performs kind and compassionate actions that will benefit the world.”

The worldly passionate minds that are being conditioned to think and believe that all human beings need to live life and perform actions in the way that would give rise to the sense of goodness, happiness, righteousness, positiveness and meaningfulness, couldn’t comprehend this. These minds are being ‘troubled’ by the absence of the sense of goodness, happiness, righteousness, positiveness, or meaningfulness, and would be ‘disturbed’ by the presence of the sense of loneliness, lovelessness, badness, wrongfulness, unhappiness, negativeness, or meaninglessness. The practice of silence, solitude, seclusion and renunciation from worldly affair and relationship is extremely painful, wrong, lonely, loveless, negative and meaningless to them.

“Being alone, living alone, without coming in contact or interacting with family and friends and the society for a prolonged period of time is something unhealthy, sad, wrong and terrible.”

For the worldly minds, everyone should be physically/mentally/emotionally closely ‘connecting’ to one another, be able to love and care for one another, be able to give and receive love from one another, (sort of) being free from loneliness/aloneness by being with some others, to be physically/mentally/emotionally connecting and interacting with some others, is the highest meaning and the joy of life existence. There’s nothing wrong, but it’s not freedom in yoga.

In yoga, (regardless of whether being by oneself alone, being physically distant from any other beings and without interacting with some others physically/mentally/emotionally, or being physically/mentally/emotionally surrounded by some other beings and constantly interacting with other beings,) the realization of unconditional peace of namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness/selflessness, being free from ignorance and egoism, being free from attachment and longing towards the sense of goodness, happiness, righteousness, positiveness, or meaningfulness deriving from certain quality of names and forms of the companionship of others and interaction with some other beings physically/mentally/emotionally, is indeed a great liberation. Though the worldly passionate minds don’t appreciate this liberation. For them, this is not the liberation that they want, because they think and believe life is so sad and loveless if nobody needs to depend on one another to feel love, to be giving and receiving love physically/mentally/emotionally among one another. And that’s everyone’s freedom of thinking, belief, feeling, action, reaction and desire.

Even many ‘yoga teachers’ who think they love practicing and teaching yoga would also think and believe in such way. They are not interested in dispassion, renunciation, silence, solitude, seclusion, or celibacy. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, some yoga practitioners aren’t working on silencing and annihilating the modification of the mind, but they are working on empowering egoism, desire of craving and aversion, passion and lust, and stimulating the modification of the mind. There are such saying – “Change what you don’t like until you are happy and satisfied.”; “If you don’t like how you look or how you feel, change it!”; “If you don’t like your eyes or your skin colour, change it to be the way that you like!”; “If you aren’t happy or satisfied with your life or relationship, change it!”; “If you don’t like the world, change it and make it the way that you like and prefer!”; “Be strong! Be in power! Be in control! You deserve everything that you desire!” And that’s their freedom. But that’s not yoga practice.

Any tiny or huge ‘amount’/’measurement’ of physical/mental/emotional distance makes no difference for the mind that realizes oneness/non-separateness/selflessness. The adept yogi is never lonely even when being alone, or non-coming in contact and non-interacting with some other beings physically/mentally/emotionally for a short while or for a prolonged period of time. Those who don’t know this, even after ‘practicing yoga’ for a long time, would feel lonely, sick, unhealthy, bad, wrong, unhappy, meaningless or depressed, when being physically/mentally/emotionally distant from some other beings for a prolonged period of time.

Many people can’t live without coming in contact and interacting with some others even for a few hours/days/weeks, not to say, for months/years. They would be suffering from loneliness and sadness, because the untrained egoistic mind perceives time and separateness, where time without actions or interactions (silence), is dulled, boring, empty, lonely and meaningless. Even many medical professionals think that in order to be ‘cured’ from loneliness and sadness, is to be with and interacting with some other beings physically/mentally/emotionally as much as possible. Though there’s nothing wrong with it, that is not yoga practice, but indeed a huge obstacle on the path of yoga towards liberation from ignorance and egoism.

Many people including some ‘yoga teachers’ believing in and promoting “Do what makes you feel good, happy, righteous, positive and meaningful” while encouraging people to be kind and do good by propagating “Be kind and do good or help others because it makes you feel good, happy, positive and meaningful.” Though there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not yoga practice. It doesn’t help the mind to be free from the ego and egoism, but actually empowering the ego and egoism. The yoga teachings taught, “Stop doing what your mind likes that makes your mind (the ego) feels good, satisfy and happy.” in order to know Thyself, to realize unconditional peace as it is, which is not coming from doing/achieving something that the mind thinks it will make the mind (the ego) feels good, satisfy and happy.

Just be kind. Just do good. Just help others. Not because “I need or want to be kind and do good and help others because it will make me feel good, happy and meaningful.” In yoga, that’s no freedom at all.

Those who truly practice yoga, there’s no need to do/achieve something to feel good, happy or meaningful, but just being peaceful as they are, being free from ignorance, egoism, desire of craving and aversion. Imagine a world where all and everyone realize this unconditional peace, in stead of thinking and believing that all beings need to attain and feel love from some other beings, longing to be loved or touched by some other beings to feel good, happy, satisfy or meaningful, and people would perceive dissatisfaction, disappointment, badness, unhappiness, sadness, loneliness or meaninglessness upon the perception of lacking love and interaction from some others. Though it’s everyone’s freedom for what they think, believe, feel, act and react.

For those who truly want to practice yoga, must work diligently on the elimination of the ego and egoism, removing the veil of ignorance, silencing and annihilating the modification of the mind.

Teaching yoga?

Teaching yoga, is never ‘my intention’ or ‘my aspiration’. It’s allowing life being what it is. In this moment, life is here, and if some people want to learn yoga, and somehow, they want to come to us to learn about yoga, and so, that is what I am doing. Doing my best to organize a time and space to allow the teaching and practice to be happening. If nobody comes looking for us, I live life as it is.

In this present time, there might be some challenges and difficulties that all beings have to go through reluctantly, not just within a relationship, a family, a community, a country, or a continent, but also globally. Some minds might be lost in certain ‘chaos’/’fear’/’panic’/’unrest’/’uncertainty’/’disappointment’, while some minds are busy dealing with all kinds of ‘problem’ bravely and calmly, but yet, this is also the time where certain minds would be ignited to learn and practice yoga seriously, to give oneself some time to look after one’s mind, to put aside all the worldly affairs, to turn the mind inward, to transcend the impermanent life existence of a selfless body and restless modification of the mind, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to realize unconditional peace.

Many people would think and say that they love yoga and are doing certain brand and style of yoga practice regularly, and yet, most minds don’t really want to learn yoga or practice yoga. Many people want to know what type of physical/mental/emotional/spiritual benefits that they will be getting from performing such and such brand and style of yoga practice. Even many of the yoga schools and yoga teachers are promoting mostly about “What benefits/advantages people can get from attending their brand and style of yoga courses or yoga classes.” Even though there’s nothing wrong with such ‘inspiration’/’encouragement’ to attract more people to be learning and practicing yoga, but yoga practice is not about performing certain actions and expecting certain result/fruit of the actions in return, but it’s renouncing the result/fruit of actions.

Many yoga teachers think that they love teaching yoga as it makes them feel good and meaningful, but they aren’t really practicing yoga. Those who truly practice yoga, there’s no identification, attachment or craving towards the sense of goodness and meaningfulness.

Many minds interested in joining particular ‘yoga community’ wearing particular brand of ‘yoga clothing’ doing particular style/brand of yoga asana/breathing/concentration/relaxation/mindfulness/healing exercises/practices on particular brand of ‘eco friendly’/’organic’/’high-tech material’/’printed with precise alignment for positioning the hands and feet for the yoga poses’ type of ‘yoga mat’ with particular ‘yoga accessories’ and ‘yoga props’, as well as adopting a particular trend of ‘clean eating’ and ‘yogi look’ that would make the body and mind looking and feeling yogic, good, strong, healthy, righteous, spiritual and meaningful.

Most minds also interested in having resolution/affirmation/aspiration/intention/expectation and desire of ‘achieving certain goals from performing the yoga practice’, longing to be inspired and empowered, to be acknowledged by oneself and others as “I am part of the ‘yogic’, ‘good’, ‘strong’, ‘healthy’, ‘righteous’, ‘spiritual’, or ‘meaningful’ beings.”

Minds constantly feel hurt and offended by “What I and my community/my culture/my religion/my spirituality believe as bad, wrong, negative, hurtful or don’t deserving” or “What I don’t like, don’t agree with and don’t want.”

Minds constantly longing for ‘good/pleasant condition’, ‘love’, ‘kindness’, ’empathy’, ‘understanding’, ‘appreciation’, ‘acknowledgement’, ‘recognition’, ‘healing from hurts’ and ‘agreeable/desirable/pleasant treatments/interactions/reactions’.

The absence of ‘good/pleasant condition’, ‘love’, ‘kindness’, ’empathy’, ‘understanding’, ‘appreciation’, ‘acknowledgement’, ‘recognition’, ‘healing from hurts’ and ‘agreeable/desirable/pleasant treatments/interactions/reactions’, is terrible, bad, wrong, negative and suffering.

Dispassion? Silence? Solitude? Seclusion? Renunciation? Selflessness? Desirelessness? Non-attachment? Non-identification? Non-craving/aversion? Non-expectation? Intentionlessness? Namelessness/formlessness? Attributelessness? Beyond right and wrong? Neither positive nor negative? Beyond actions and the fruit of actions? Annihilation of the modification of mind? For many yoga enthusiasts, “This is not the yoga that I know and not the yoga practice that I want to practice. All these teachings/practices sound so wrong.”

Many minds might be interested in attending yoga classes/retreats/workshops/courses, or even have ‘good’ intention/aspiration to be teaching yoga to others, and are interested in the practice of calmness/relaxation/concentration/mindfulness that would give momentary good feelings/pleasant sensations to the body and mind, but not many are interested in practicing yoga of renouncing the world, of dispassion, silence, solitude and seclusion, to silent and annihilate the restless egoistic passionate modification of the mind.

Meanwhile, the untrained mind thinks and believes that life existence needs to be occupied and stimulated by all kinds of worldly relationship/social/cultural/religious/spiritual/political/commercial affair and activity, busy with mingling, socializing, interacting, aspiring, inspiring, empowering, planning, scheming, plotting, creating, multiplying, accumulating, gathering, hoarding, defending, fighting, intruding, judging, comparing, discriminating, commenting, praising, complimenting, criticizing, condemning, agreeing, disagreeing, celebrating, mourning, and so on. Or else, life is boring, dulled, empty and meaningless.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what worldly passionate minds do. That’s what minds think and believe that all human beings should be doing, to live life passionately, to be contributing to the society or to be caring for the world, to attain the sense of existence, prosperity, achievement, goodness, righteousness and meaningfulness.

Everyone has their freedom to think, to believe, to feel, to act and react, to desire and don’t desire, to live life as they are.

There’s always something going on here and there, from time to time, in life, or in the world that we are living in, of the mind perception of a worldly life existence. If the mind knows what is non-attachment, this mind is peaceful as it is, regardless of perceiving pleasantness/unpleasantness deriving from desirable/undesirable names and forms/conditions/situations/experiences. If the mind is interested in performing yoga practice that would help to develop awareness, mindfulness, calmness, relaxation, or concentration, but not knowing what is non-attachment, then this mind will always feel disturbed and hurt by what the egoistic mind perceives and judges as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, ‘terrible’, ‘undeserving’, ‘painful sorrow’, or ‘suffering’.

For example, most minds have the egoistic habit of complaining about many things that they think and believe as disappointing and frustrating, and would complain about “I would like to be able to practice concentration, and be able to concentrate without struggle, but it’s so disappointing and frustrating because I just can’t concentrate.” The ‘problem’ is not about the mind cannot concentrate due to any reasons, but there’s egoistic attachment, identification, judgment and expectation where the mind reacts towards the state of the mind not being the way that it would like it to be, or the way that the ego expects it to be. The state of the mind is just what it is. It’s impermanent and selfless (not ‘I’). The well-trained mind can be aware of all the selfless impermanent changes as they are, regardless of the state of concentrating or scattering, but without reacting with disappointment or frustration towards the state of the mind is not being in certain way (that the thinking egoistic assertive mind would like it to be).

It is the aversion towards what the mind perceives and judges as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, ‘terrible’, ‘undeserving’, ‘painful sorrow’, or ‘suffering’, that is why the mind reacts and feels disappointed, frustrated, disturbed and hurt. The world is just what it is – the consequences of ignorance and egoism. Someone/something is ‘hurting’ someone, and someone feels being ‘hurt’ by someone/something, are the consequences of ignorance. Free from ignorance, there’s no ‘I’ being hurt by anyone or anything. There’s no ‘I’ that needs to be healed from hurt.

Similarly when the egoistic mind wants to ‘control’ the state of the mind being in certain way, and reacts with disappointment and frustration when the state of the mind is not being the way that it desires it to be, the mind also wants to ‘control’ the world (the names and forms that it perceives through the senses) being in certain way, and reacts with disappointment and frustration when the world is not being the way that it desires it to be.

Great advice from the Gurus/teachers in the past – Stay away from the worldly affairs particularly politics.

In yoga, realizing unconditional peace and being at peace as it is, being free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, being free from anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurt, offensiveness, defensiveness, painful sorrow, fear and worry, while living in the world of impermanent names and forms powered by cause and effect, transcending the impermanent quality of names and forms, of the impermanent selfless function and existence of the body and mind, birth and death, success and failure, pleasantness and unpleasantness, enjoyment and suffering, praise and condemn, and so on, is indeed the highest contribution to the world or humanity.

The stronger the ego is, the greater the passionate desires/ambitions/aspirations are. For those who want to practice yoga, it’s about annihilating the ego, free the mind from passionate desires/ambitions/aspirations to create a world that ‘I’ think how it should be, and go beyond what the mind thinks and believes how things should and shouldn’t be, without controlling the world to be in certain way, without expecting the world to be in certain way, respecting the world being what it is, respecting the law of nature (impermanence and selflessness), not necessarily the way that ‘I’ think how it should be, not necessarily the way that ‘I’ desire/expect/aspire it to be, is indeed promoting peace and harmony into the world of diversity.

Those who don’t want to practice yoga, they don’t have to practice yoga of dispassion and desireless. They are free to be ambitious/aspirational to change the world to be the way that they think how it should be, to create a world that they desire it to be, just know that there are many others who also desire a world differently from one another.

Just like some desire to paint the world blue, some prefer painting it yellow, while some prefer painting it green, and some prefer painting it with combination of many different colours. And hence, everyone is fighting against each other to be in power to paint the world with the colour that they desire. There will be more peace and harmony in the world of diversity, of different names and forms, of different thinking and belief, if nobody desires to paint the world with any particular colour that they prefer, and allowing the world being what it is. All kinds of conflict/discrimination/prejudice/hatred/unrest begin with ‘desires’/’ambitions’/’aspirations’ – “I want the world to be like this and not like that.” even if the mind thinks and believes it’s the best for everyone. And all minds under the influence of different thinking and belief would think and believe that their particular thinking and belief are the best for everyone.

Be free.

Feedback for yoga teachers?

Question – How to give feedback to the yoga teacher or tell the yoga teacher in the yoga class to talk less, and not giving too much unnecessary instructions/explanation so that I can be focusing within and be mindful to observe what is going in my body and mind, to observe and connect with my thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations?

Why are you being in a yoga class anyway, especially if you already knew what is the practice of mindfulness and how to turn the mind inward to be observing what is going in the body and mind, and would prefer a mindful practice in silence without the need of following some verbal teachings/instructions/guidance to be performing certain practice that you want to practice?

In the same yoga class, some people would think that the teacher talks too much about the teachings of yoga or gives too many unnecessary instructions that they already knew, while some others would think that the teacher is not talking enough about the teachings and didn’t give enough instructions that they would like to receive from the teacher, according to the different reactions of the different minds that have different understanding and expectation. Some will complain that the yoga class is too intense, while some will complain that it’s too gentle, and some will say it’s just nice, not too intense or overly gentle.

The yoga classes and the yoga teachers are just being what they are. There’s nothing wrong with the yoga classes, or the yoga teachers, or how the yoga teachers conduct the yoga classes. There’s also nothing wrong with yourself and your wish to have some silent moments to be quiet and be mindful towards what is going on within the body and mind. It’s just that most yoga classes are not about ‘performing your own self-practice in silence’. Yoga classes are for people to be learning the teachings of yoga and following the guidance/instructions of a yoga teacher to be learning how to perform the practice. Yoga classes are meant to be somebody constantly delivering the teachings of yoga and giving guidance/instructions to be guiding the people performing the yoga practice. And after the people develop the basic understanding towards the teachings of yoga and learnt how to perform most of the basic yoga practice, they should retreat into solitude and seclusion to be performing self-practice in silence without looking at anyone or listening to some instructions/guidance/explanation to be doing any form of yoga practice.

The frustration and dissatisfaction coming from your mind towards the yoga class is not being the way that you want it to be, and the yoga teacher is being the way that you think it shouldn’t be, is not because there’s something ‘wrong’ or ‘inappropriate’ with the yoga class or the yoga teacher, or how the yoga teacher conducts the yoga class. It’s about you have certain expectation towards the yoga classes to be the way that you think how it should be and not to be in certain way that you think it shouldn’t be, as well as you are not getting what you think you should be getting from a yoga class or the yoga teacher.

If you truly know what are the basic teachings and practice of yoga, and are truly practicing yoga, you would allow the yoga classes and the yoga teachers to be what they are, not necessarily the way that you think how it should be. There’s no attachment and expectation towards the practice and the result of the practice. There’s no attachment and expectation towards the yoga classes, the yoga teachers or how the yoga teachers conduct the yoga classes. There’s mere awareness/acknowledgement towards all the modifications of the mind, including whatever the mind perceives or experiences, as well as towards the habitual behavior of the mind of how the mind reacts spontaneously towards all the perception of names and forms or experiences regardless of pleasant/unpleasant, agreeable/disagreeable and desirable/undesirable names and forms/experiences, without generate attachment, identification, craving and aversion, judgment or expectation towards all the perceived names and forms or experiences has to be or not to be in certain ways.

You should know how to apply the practice of non-attachment, non-craving, non-aversion and non-expectation, inside or outside the yoga class or self-practice, while performing particular yoga practice, or not, And not being distracted/disturbed/annoyed/frustrated by all the names and forms that your mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want which your mind perceives through the senses, of what is going on within and without the body and mind, and allowing all the names and forms/experiences being there as they are. Knowing that they all are impermanent and selfless.

If you truly are performing mindfulness, there’s no frustration or dissatisfaction towards the surrounding environment or the mind itself, for not being able to be focused, to be mindful, to be observing towards what is going on in the body and mind of the thoughts, feelings and sensations due to you think there’s distraction, or disturbance, or annoyance coming from the external names and forms/experiences that your mind perceives/experiences (in this case, it’s about the way how the yoga teacher conducts the yoga class.) Learn how to be mindful towards the mind is unable to be focused or mindful in this present moment now, knowing that even this is impermanent.

Yoga practice is about freeing the mind from the ego and egoism, being a silent witness that is aware of and acknowledging all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses without interference, grasping/attachment, or the desire of craving and aversion, as well as being aware of all the habitual egoistic mind reactions towards all the names and forms, and letting go any existing craving and aversion and expectation towards the names and forms should or shouldn’t be in certain way, should or shouldn’t exist, without attachment towards whatever the mind perceives from within or without the body and mind, remain equanimous under any condition and situation, without judgment and expectation towards all the names and forms/experiences to be or not to be in certain ways based on what the mind thinks and believes what things are, and what the mind likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with, or wants and doesn’t want.

It’s about knowing what is selflessness/egolessness/’I’lessness and performing necessary actions out of selfless compassion, not out of egoistic desires, that are free from egoism of attachment, identification, craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation.

If you are practicing mindfulness, you should be mindful towards all the reactions coming from your mind towards the mind perception of names and forms without attachment towards or identification with what is going on in the mind or the modification of the mind of thoughts, feelings, sensations, actions, reactions, memories, imaginations, and so on. It’s about disassociation with the modifications of the mind and not being disturbed by what is going on in the mind, being a silent witness witnessing all the modifications of the mind. It’s not about trying to be free from any external disturbance/distractions from the names and forms/experiences that the mind perceives through the senses. It doesn’t mean that one should be deliberately be in an extreme condition to be practicing yoga, but if a better condition is unavailable, then one learns how to adapt, adjust, accommodate. It doesn’t mean that one should be deliberately confronting with all kinds of difficulty to be practicing yoga, but if there’s unavoidable difficulty, then one learns how to tolerate and forbear.

You think and believe that it’s the happenings outside your body and mind distracting/hindering your mind to be focused and be mindful of what is going on in the body and mind, but actually, all the ‘distraction’/’disturbance’/’hindrance’ are all coming from your mind constantly reacting towards the mind perception of names and forms of what you think is happening outside the body and mind, as your mind doesn’t know what is non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion and non-expectation.

If you already learnt and knew about the practice of turning the mind inward to be mindful of the impermanent and selfless changes in the body and mind, you shouldn’t be ‘disturbed’ by the surrounding environment, and you don’t need to be attending yoga classes or be in a yoga class to be following some guidance (the way that you think how it should be) to be performing your yoga practice or mindfulness practice. You should be performing self-practice in solitude and seclusion, in silence, especially if you think mindfulness can only be done or achieved in a silent environment without any ‘distracting’/’disturbing’/’annoying’ sounds, noises, talking, instructions, or happenings.

Your mind wants/desires to perform the practice of mindfulness and wants to be able to be focused and mindful observing the thoughts, feelings and sensations while attending yoga classes to be doing some yoga practice composed by a yoga teacher, but feels unable to focus and mindful, as your mind thinks and believes that it’s because of the teacher constantly talking and giving instructions in the yoga class that you think is unnecessary, distracting, disturbing and annoying.

Actually, the ‘distraction’/’disturbance’/’annoyance’ existing in your mind is due to your mind generates attachment towards the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, and reacting with aversion and frustration being generated towards something that your mind thinks is ‘hindering’ you from doing what you want to do, and there’s craving towards certain names and forms/experiences that you prefer which is ungratified – I want to be able to be mindful to be observing the thoughts, feelings and sensations, but I can’t do that as the teacher is so annoying. There’s expectation towards a particular environment or situation that you think and believe will allow your mind to be mindful without any external distraction/disturbance/annoyance coming from outside the body and mind.

Learn how to be mindful of all the names and forms that your mind perceives through the senses wherever you are and whatever the surrounding environment is. Needless to choose a particular environment to be mindful towards something that you choose to be mindful about.

Yoga classes are a ‘product’ to meet the demand of the worldly minds that are interested in doing some yoga exercises to look good and feel good, to be fit and healthy, but not so much about learning how to be silent, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, to free the mind from passionate desires of craving and aversion, to renounce the worldly affair, relationships and activities, to turn the mind inward resting in the chamber of the heart.

Yoga classes that are about delivering the teachings of yoga and teaching those who are interested in yoga and the yoga practice about how to perform the yoga practice are meant to be someone being there delivering the teachings verbally and physically, while giving instructions on how to perform the different practices. Different teachers have their own way/style of delivering the teachings and how they teach other people to be performing the yoga practice, so that these people can perform all the yoga practice by themselves after learning about the teachings and how to perform the yoga practice. The yoga teachers are just being the way as they are.

Most commercial yoga classes are about a yoga exercise instructor giving instructions leading a group of people doing some physical movements/exercises that would give certain health and fitness benefits to the people, they are not so much about a person delivering the teachings of yoga about freeing the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities to the students so that they can contemplate upon the teachings, by performing the yoga practice that they learnt in the yoga classes, to purify and quiet the mind, to allow the mind to inquire and see the truth of things. If you think you can perform your own self-practice and you want to go deeper into the practice, but you would like to have certain supervision from some others (teachers) who are more experienced as you aren’t very sure about the practice, then you can look for and participate in either long silent meditation retreat or long silent yoga retreat that are more serious towards silencing and looking into the mind.

Most worldly passionate egoistic minds that aren’t aware of ignorance and egoism in themselves would generate great aversion towards some of the teachings of yoga that they don’t like and disagree with, and generate frustration if they hear or come in contact with any teachings/practice that they don’t like and disagree with. Most minds also generate aversion/dissatisfaction/disagreement towards certain way of the yoga practice and certain style of the class format, or how the teacher delivers specific teachings or how the teacher guides the students performing specific practice. But, it doesn’t matter whether the teachers are ‘good’ or ‘not good’ based on the judgment and expectation of the mind, it’s not so much about the teacher or the yoga class is ‘good’ or ‘not good’, but it’s about how this mind reacting under the influence of ignorance and egoism, and impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration and so on.

If this mind knows what is going on in itself, this mind doesn’t need to attend any yoga classes at all to be performing some yoga practice, but there’s nothing wrong also if this mind is being in a yoga class, but then this mind will allow all the talking or teaching or instructions of the yoga teacher in the yoga class to be there as they are, regardless of whether the mind likes or dislikes, agrees or disagrees with the talking, or the teachings, or the instructions. The practice is about developing non-attachment towards all the mind perception of names and forms without being disturbed or determined by the mind perception of names and forms. It’s not about being in a most perfect desirable environment so that the mind won’t be ‘disturbed’ by any names and forms that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want, in order to be able to be mindful to be observing the thoughts, feelings or sensations.

What’s the point of developing the practice of mindfulness or observation towards thoughts, feelings and sensations, but not knowing what is non-attachment/non-craving/non-aversion, and constantly feel being ‘distracted’/’disturbed’/’annoyed’/’dissatisfied’/’frustrated’ by the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses towards the surrounding environment, or be disturbed by what is going on in the mind itself, of all kinds of thoughts, feelings, sensations, agreements/disagreements, likes/dislikes, actions and reactions, and the result of actions and reactions?

Be free.

Hugging and touching?

In this era of the so called modern and highly developed society, most people perceive and observe the practice/habit/culture of ‘hugging’ and ‘touching’ as a form of showing love, acceptance and friendliness among beings, while they would feel awkward, bad and wrong, or even be offended, if some people don’t have or don’t observe the practice/habit/culture of hugging and touching.

Many yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers might also think and believe that ‘open mind’ and ‘loving kindness/warmness’ means people need to be affectionately hugging and touching one another to be showing non-discrimination, non-separateness, non-intimidation, love, acceptance and friendliness towards all beings, while the absence of hugging and touching is being perceived as ‘closed mind’ and ‘unloving-kindness’/’coldness’ that portrays the quality of discrimination, separateness, intimidation, lovelessness, non-acceptance and unfriendliness. Many also believe that the lack of hugging or touching by another being is highly detrimental to physical, mental and emotional health. They expect all beings, especially yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers should be constantly and actively hugging and touching all other beings that they come in contact with, to show that they are genuine yoga practitioners or spiritual seekers who embrace loving kindness, who are open minded and compassionate beings, while they would be puzzled by the very few of the yoga practitioners who don’t have or don’t observe such hugging and touching habit/culture.

For yoga practitioners who truly want to open their mind, is to be free from being conditioned by such worldly egoistic thinking, belief, values and practice, where the mind understands that ‘the existence and non-existence of open mind and compassion’ is nothing to do with ‘the presence and absence of physical hugging and touching another being’, where it’s nothing bad and there’s nothing wrong with the society having and observing the hugging and touching habit/culture, especially if the minds are pure and desireless, and it’s also nothing bad and there’s nothing wrong with those who don’t have or don’t observe the hugging and touching habit/culture either. Accepting all and everyone as they are, even though certain people behave in the way that goes against the thinking, belief, values and practice of the majority of the society.

Hugging and touching or not, doesn’t really determine the presence and absence of the quality of ‘non-discrimination’, ‘non-separateness’, ‘non-intimidation’, ‘love’, ‘acceptance’ and ‘friendliness’, while the quality of non-discrimination, non-separateness, non-intimidation, love, acceptance and friendliness aren’t necessarily have to be shown/portrayed by physical contact of hugging and touching one another.

Most people would feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely and meaningless upon the absence of physical/mental/emotional interaction of hugging and touching from some other beings. And hence, many people would think and believe that the solution is to be actively giving and receiving affectionate hugs and touches among beings.

It’s the ignorant egoistic passionate mind that has attachment and expectation towards the appropriateness and disappropriateness in social behavior and interaction that would feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely, meaningless, piteous or offended upon the absence or the lack of love and affection in the form of hugging and touching from other beings.

Contemplate upon why the ancient teachings/practice of yoga emphasized on the important observation of solitude and seclusion of non-physical/mental/emotional contact and non-physical touching with any other being, where yoga practitioners and spiritual seekers were being advised to observe solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time, to free the mind from the worldly habitual passionate desire of craving and clinging towards love and affection, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to silent/annihilate the modification of the mind.

One of the common practice/observation in the Ashrams is about none should be physically touching one another regardless of among the same or different gender, especially the swamis, monks and nuns. But, nowadays, in many of the ashrams, even many ‘modernized’ swamis, monks and nuns also don’t observe this practice anymore, and they mingling intimately with one another and the people who come to the ashrams, not to say many of the householders who identify themselves as ‘yoga practitioners’ or ‘yogis’. Many ‘yoga teacher training courses’ also emphasize on the physical hands on adjustment, where the many graduated ‘certified yoga teachers’ think and believe that it’s what a good and professional yoga teacher should be doing/practicing while teaching classes and while socializing/mingling with the students or the yoga community outside of the classes to develop stronger connection and relationship among one another.

There’s nothing wrong with the worldly egoistic thinking, belief, values and practice that propagates widely about “Everyone needs love, affection, hugs and touches.” But that is not yoga practice at all, as that is indeed empowering ignorance and egoism. It’s not any different from keep feeding sugary drinks to the children or keep providing drugs to the people to make them feel ‘happy and good’ from the momentary effects of sugary drinks or drugs and from the gratification of desires by giving people what they like and want. The yoga practice is to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to realize selflessness/oneness/non-separateness, where there’s absence of needing/craving/clinging towards physical/mental/emotional love, affection, hugs and touches from other beings. There’s no need of developing stronger connection or relationship between ‘I’ and ‘the others’ in selflessness/oneness/non-separateness, as connection or relationship doesn’t exist in selflessness/oneness/non-separateness. There’s neither ‘I’ nor ‘the others’. There’s no ‘I’ need to be healed by ‘spiritual healing hugs and touches’.

A truly ‘healthy and compassionate’ society exists along with the minds that are free from ignorance and egoism. Everyone can be kind and loving towards one another out of selfless compassion, not because everyone ‘needs’ to give and receive love and affection to and from one another through certain action in order to make the egoistic minds feel good, happy, love and meaningful, or not to feel rejected, unloved, left-out, depressed, lonely, meaningless, piteous or offended upon the absence/lack of love and affection through certain action from other beings, as the ignorant egoistic minds think and believe that it’s so bad and terrible if there’s absence/lack of any form of love and affection among one another.

Be free.

Yoga practice and practice yoga?

What is yoga practice and practice yoga?

Yoga practice is a combination of different ‘mind cleansing’ tools and techniques to ‘clean up’/’purify’ the restless/impure egoistic mind to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance. One who practices yoga is practically using those ‘mind cleansing’ tools and techniques to be engaging in a ‘mind cleaning up process’, constantly, inexhaustibly, determinedly and diligently, until the mind is free from ignorance, knowing the truth of impermanence and selflessness, knowing thyself.

Many yoga enthusiasts who identify themselves as ‘yoga practitioners’/’yoga teachers’ might have the ‘knowledge’ of the ‘yoga practice’ and might be doing some kind of ‘yoga practice’ or delivering the ‘knowledge’ of the ‘yoga practice’ to other people regularly, but not many are actually practicing yoga as it is (cleaning the mind efficiently, freeing the mind from restlessness, impurities, egoism, ignorance or suffering). There’s intense reluctance to let go worldly attachment/identification/thinking/belief/desire/relationship/objects/pleasurable enjoyments of the senses. There’s still attachment and clinging towards the world of qualities of names and forms with all kinds of ‘relationship’, ‘ties’ or ‘connection’, being determined very much by the presence and absence of certain qualities of names and forms, and the quality/condition of relationship/ties/connection to be confident/happy/meaningful, or not. There’s an identity/ego that longing to be empowered, acknowledged, understood, agreed with, empathized, pampered and loved. And there’s nothing wrong with it as that’s their freedom. But for those who truly want to practice and realize yoga, they will practice yoga as it is, to be determined to free the mind from ignorance, regardless of any amount of difficulties and obstacles.

Just like cleaning up a ‘rubbish dump’ that is full of rubbish. It’s not just about the cleaning process to clear away those existing rubbish, but more importantly, it’s about stop generating/bringing in more rubbish into that area as well.

The mind is sort of like a ‘rubbish dump’. The yoga practice is not just about ‘clearing away’ the existing ‘impurities’, ‘restlessness’, ‘egoism’, ‘ignorance’ or ‘suffering’ which is already a challenging task that requires great effort, discipline, initiative, patience, forbearance, perseverance and determination, but more importantly, it’s to stop generating/accumulating/empowering ‘impurities’, ‘restlessness’, ‘egoism’, ‘ignorance’ or ‘suffering’, to silent/annihilate the restless modification of the mind. And hence, the importance of the practice of silence and renunciation.

The difference between a ‘rubbish dump’ and the restless/impure egoistic mind is that the ‘rubbish dump’ can be cleaned up and maintained ‘rubbish free’ by many people working together, but, for ‘cleaning up’ the restless/impure egoistic mind, it can only be done alone by the mind itself, not even ‘God’, or ‘Guru’, or any amount of ‘good friends’ and ‘good teachers’ can help to ‘clean up’ this mind, to free this mind from ignorance and all kinds of suffering, as all the rubbish of ‘impurities’, ‘restlessness’, ‘egoism’, ‘ignorance’ or ‘suffering’ is ‘generated’/’accumulated/empowered’ from/by the mind itself, and no other can ‘take away’/’remove’/’eliminate’/’stop generating’/’stop accumulating’/’stop empowering’ those ‘rubbish’ except the mind itself.

Meanwhile, there are some benefits/side-effects/by-products of the yoga practice such as better physical health and fitness condition and the sense of well-being/confidence/goodness/meaningfulness/joyfulness/peacefulness that come along with the different yoga practice, but they are just like spraying a lot of air freshener and putting plenty of beautiful fragrant colourful flower petals that bring some freshness smell and appearance into the area of the ‘rubbish dump’, but it doesn’t really ‘clean up’ the ‘rubbish dump’.

Doing some form of ‘yoga practice’ regularly or teaching ‘yoga classes/courses’ to many other people for many years also doesn’t necessarily means that one is practicing yoga. Some even take the ‘image’ or ‘characteristic’ of certain ‘yogis’/’sadhus’ with a particular ‘yogi’/’sadhu’ appearance in particular position and gesture while enjoying the momentary ‘intoxication/hallucination/highness/calmness’ from taking certain drugs/substances or certain ‘yoga practitioners’/’yoga teachers’ enjoying intimate relationships with random people as what ‘yoga practice’ and ‘practice yoga’ is about.

Non-duality in silence

‘Silence’ is a very common yet important word/teaching/practice/observation/realization in yoga and Buddhism.

In silence, there’s neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither meaningfulness nor meaninglessness, neither enjoyment nor suffering, neither satisfaction nor dissatisfaction, neither attachment nor non-attachment, and so on. What and who is there to be arguing/complaining/moaning/mourning/unhappy/angry/disturbed/offended/hurt/belittled/disrespected/suffering/enjoying/craving/liberated in silence?

As long as the mind is still being conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking, ideas, beliefs, values and practice to act and react ceaselessly towards all the perceptions of names and forms (of agreeable/disagreeable, pleasant/unpleasant, desirable/undesirable experiences), and is functioning under the influence of ignorance and egoism, the mind couldn’t go beyond the mind perception of names and forms that generates the impression of duality, which doesn’t allow the mind to see the truth of things as it is.

And hence, the importance of renunciation from worldly affairs/family ties/relationships/connections/interactions/activities and observation of seclusion and solitude for a certain period of time when the mind is ready, to free the mind from being conditioned by worldly thinking, ideas, beliefs, values and practice unwittingly, where the understanding of the mind is being influenced by the subjective judgment towards everything based on a particular thinking and belief that conditioning how the mind analyzes, judges, feels, acts and reacts, where the mind is being ignorant towards the ignorance and egoism in the mind, even if the mind is being highly knowledgeable, super intelligent, talented and skillful in doing something or many things in the world, and having the good intention to be doing something good.

Being highly knowledgeable, super intelligent, talented and skillful, and having the good intention to be doing something good, also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, and hence, unwittingly be disturbed or determined by the mind perception of names and forms through the senses of what the mind sees, hears, smells, tastes, senses/feels and thinks/understands, where the mind is unwittingly being over-powered by the passionate desires of craving and aversion towards the different qualities of names and forms that the mind likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with, wants and doesn’t want based on a particular thinking/belief/values/practice, that generates and determines the sense of satisfaction/dissatisfaction, happiness/unhappiness, goodness/badness, positiveness/negativeness, meaningfulness/meaninglessness, rightfulness/wrongfulness, completeness/incompleteness, accomplishment/non-accomplishment, appropriateness/inappropriateness, unloneliness/loneliness, worthiness/unworthiness, pleasurable enjoyment/painful suffering, and so on. The mind is not free.

It’s everyone’s freedom whether they think there’s a need to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, or not. The minds that are ignorant towards the ignorance in the mind, they don’t think there’s a need to be free from ignorance, and that’s their freedom of thinking and action. There’s nothing wrong if the mind perceives/experiences suffering but it doesn’t think there’s a need to be free from the cause of suffering. Some minds are aware of suffering and knowing its nature of impermanence, and be unattached towards the perception of suffering, or it hasn’t get tired of restlessness while enjoying momentary satisfaction derived from the gratification of its passionate desire of craving and aversion, or prefer to be getting momentary relief from suffering through taking drugs/substances and getting help/sympathy/love/support/attention from others, and it doesn’t think there’s a need to be free from suffering.

Only the dispassionate ones who are aware of ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, can understand the greatness of liberation from ignorance, the root cause of suffering/restlessness, and would have intense yearning for liberation and be determined to silent the restless modification of the mind to transcend the selfless existence and function of the restless egoistic impure modification of the mind derived from ignorance.

Unfortunately, majority of the society (including yoga enthusiasts and health professionals), where the minds are not free from ignorance and egoism, where the minds think, behave, analyze, judge, act, react and live life in a particular way according to what the worldly egoistic social/cultural/religious thinking/belief/values/practice categorized as ‘normal’, ‘right’, ‘good’, ‘healthy’ or ‘sane’, they would think/believe/categorize/condemn human beings who think/behave/act/react/life life differently from the ‘normal’ human beings, who don’t think, behave, act, react and live life like the majority of the society are ‘abnormal’, ‘wrong’, ‘bad’, ‘unhealthy’, ‘insane’ or ‘mentally ill’. There would be strong criticism or disagreement coming from the majority of the society of family/friends/relatives/community/health professionals towards the practice of silence as they can’t perceive/understand beyond what their minds know/believe and are being ignorant towards their minds are being conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking and belief to think, believe, act, react and behave in certain ways.

Only those who are determined to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance where the mind is functioning under the influence of worldly egoistic thinking/belief/values/practice/action/reaction to think, act, react, behave and live life in a particular way that the worldly minded egoistic society think and believe as something normal/right/good/healthy/sane for all human beings, can renounce the world effortlessly regardless of any amount of difficulties and obstacles. In the past, Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and many other saints and sages ‘had to’ renounce/retreat from the society to be in seclusion and solitude for many years, to be able to ‘conquer’ the restless modifications of the mind and successfully attained Silence or liberation, not to say in this era.

A better meaningful way of life?

For many people, spending most of the time being with other people (family, friends, community and other communities), focusing on bonding, socializing, interacting, connecting, sharing, knowing, eating, drinking, talking, listening, looking, laughing, playing, empowering, encouraging, aspiring, inspiring, remembering, projecting, anticipating, expecting, creating, planning, plotting, suggesting, contributing, commenting, complimenting, criticizing, gossiping, complaining, entertaining, enjoying, doing social/community activities together, upgrading their quality of life/standard of living, fulfilling passionate desires and achieving personal worldly ambitions and spiritual or religious goals, getting involve with achieving a world that complies to a particular vision, to attain the sense of in control, satisfaction, goodness and meaningfulness, is living life. For them, “This is a better meaningful way of life.”

For some people, being by oneself most of the time, as much as possible, focusing on one’s action, practice, duty and responsibility, talk less or talk nothing, without commenting on worldly affairs, or gossiping about other people’s affairs, or criticizing/interfering with other people’s different ways of life, thinking, belief, action and reaction, minding one’s life and one’s mind, being at peace unconditionally, respecting everyone being what they are, as they are, neither admiring/praising certain qualities that appear to be superior than others nor condemning/criticizing certain qualities that appear to be inferior than others, and stop contributing impurities, unhappiness, unrest, anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, grudges, conflicts, discrimination, violence, disharmony and disturbance into the surrounding environment or the world, is living life. As for them, having peace in one’s mind free from desire/hostility/animosity/fear/intimidation/offensiveness/defensiveness is the highest form of contribution to the society or the world peace. It’s nothing to do with “This is a better meaningful way of life.” or “Other ways of life is less good and meaningless.”

There’s nothing selfish about that at all, though for many people, the part of ‘not mingling/mixing with the society without getting involve in any form of social activities’ might appear to be ‘selfish’ or ‘rude’ or ‘unhealthy’ or ‘non-progressive’ for those who believe in a better world is about ‘all human beings should be getting involve with the social activities’, ‘community contribution’ and ‘worldly activism’, where they need as many other people as possible to get involve in their social activities to be supporting, cooperating or working with them to create a ‘better’ world that they think how it should be.

Whether wittingly or unwittingly, there will be some people would want to interfere with others who are different from them, whom they dislike and disagree with, and they would try to influence/control/covert/discipline/condemn/punish other people who don’t support or follow their vision for creating a world that they desire, that complies to their liking, values, vision, thinking and belief.

Yoga and meditation practitioners is about having unconditional peace in oneself as contributing peace into the world by focusing on looking after, purifying and quieting one’s mind, and it’s never about trying to influence/control/convert/discipline/condemn/punish others to also be like oneself to make a ‘better’ world that complies to one’s liking, values, vision, thinking or belief, especially those who have realized Impermanence and Selflessness.

The world doesn’t belong to anyone. Many people would think and believe that the world belongs to everyone, and hence, it’s everyone’s duty and responsibility to ‘cooperate together’ to make the world ‘a better place’, but how true is that? The standard and meaning of ‘a better place’ is according to whom and what? Different people desire a world with their own particular way of life according to their own liking, values, vision, thinking and belief. If everyone insist on making the world to be the way that they desire, that they think how it should be, what will happen in the world? People are getting frustrated and fighting against one another, to over-powered one another, in order to create a world that they desire. Even so, it’s everyone’s freedom for their thinking, belief, desire, action and the consequences of their action.

Swami Sivananda taught, “Even if all the leaders are taken out of the world now, the world will run on smoothly, probably more smoothly. Even if all the people retire into the forest, the world will go on.”

The world is so quiet and peaceful when everyone have gone to sleep and there’s nobody performing any actions in the world with the great aspiration to make the world to be in any particular way that different people desire and think how it should be.

In yoga, it’s not about the sense of duty and responsibility towards the world, but out of compassion, love the world as it is, not necessarily the way that ‘I’ desire it to be. One doesn’t claim possession/ownership towards the world being ambitious to make the world to be the way that ‘I’ desire it to be and the way that ‘I’ think how it should be. One just do one’s best to look after one’s mind, to stop contributing impurities and unrest into the world, and respecting the law of nature – Impermanence and Selflessness.

Be free.

Selflessness?

Just like ‘Self-inquiry’ and ‘Impermanence’, ‘Selflessness’ is one of the common words we come across in the teachings of yoga and Buddhism.

The ‘I’, where there’s a continuous stream of thinking/thought in the mind acknowledges as ‘I’ am an individual being with a physical body and thinking mind experiencing life, doesn’t exist. Out of ignorance, there arise the idea of ‘I’ exist as part of the modification of the mind acknowledging as an individual being, attaching onto/possessing such and such qualities of names and forms to be identified/recognized as this is what/who ‘I’ am, claiming ownership towards the physical body and the thinking mind (this is my body and my mind) and all kinds of connection with everyone and everything that the mind comes in contact with (my family and my belongings and etc), and at the same time also identifying with the physical body and the thinking mind as ‘I’ (This physical body and this thinking mind is ‘I’).

‘Selflessness’ is not something to be attained by accumulating certain amount of ‘merits and virtues’ or ‘good karma’ after performing many ‘good/righteous actions’ or ‘karma yoga/selfless service’, but it’s the ‘realization’ upon the mind seeing the truth of what is this ‘I’ where there’s a thinking in the mind thinks and believes as ‘I’. As long as there’s an idea, acknowledgement and identification of “I am a selfless being performing good actions or karma yoga/selfless service” the mind is still functioning under the influence of egoism.

The mind needs to be free from egoism, impurities and restlessness to realize ‘Selflessness’, where there’s no ‘I’ existing to enjoy or suffer, to be born or die, to know or don’t know, to desire or don’t desire, to be the performer of action and the receiver/enjoyer of the fruit of action, to be ignorant or be free from ignorance. It’s just the modification of the thinking mind perceiving all the names and forms through the senses via the sense organs of the physical body. It’s just the mind functioning and perceives, sees, hears, smells, tastes, feels, senses and thinks. There’s no ‘I’ existing to claim possession/ownership/control of the selfless modification of the mind or the ceaseless impermanent changes of the modification of the mind perceiving all the names and forms that are also impermanent and selfless. It’s coming from the mind being aware of the modification of the mind, while purifying and quieting itself to be free from restlessness, impurities and egoism, to be free from ignorance. It’s not something else ‘separated’ from the mind called ‘I’ being there to be aware of ‘my mind’ or to purify and quiet ‘my mind’, to free ‘my mind’ from restlessness, impurities, egoism and ignorance.

“I am not the mind. The mind is not ‘I’.” is not about ‘I’ am an existing being/soul separated/distinct from the mind. The mind is just being what it is, functioning as it is selflessly, where there’s no ‘I’ in the function of the mind which is supported/influenced by energy to be existing and functioning. Just like there’s no ‘I’ in all the cells/bones/muscles/organs/systems that forming the entire structure of the physical body which depend on nature to provide support that allows the physical body to be existing and functioning. The body and mind constantly functioning or performing actions selflessly, and there are also the consequences of actions following the actions (cause and effect). But, somehow, out of ignorance, there’s an idea of ‘I’ existing in the form of thinking claiming a personal identity and possession/ownership towards this and that, to desire and don’t desire, to agree and disagree, to enjoy or suffer, to aspire and expect, and so on. There’s an idea/identification of “I am the performer of my actions and I am the enjoyer of the fruit of my actions.”

It’s difficult/challenging for the egoistic mind that attached strongly onto a worldly self-identity attaching onto certain qualities of names and forms as this is ‘I’ or what ‘I’ am, to realize ‘Selflessness’. The egoistic mind that ‘possesses’ a self-identity thinks and believes that ‘I’ exist as an individual being experiencing life, this is ‘I’, this is my life, my body, my mind, my thinking, my belief, my feelings, my emotion, my idea, my creativity, my energy, my health, my fitness, my strength, my flexibility, my ability, my disability, my achievement, my failure, my look, my talent, my knowledge, my education, my house, my belonging, my pet, my family, my friends, my relationship, my duty, my responsibility, my rights, my aspiration, my inspiration, my sacrifice, my happiness, my suffering, my vision, my desire, my actions, my fruit of actions, my religion, my ‘God’, my world, my country, and so on. Not only there’s a personal identity, but there’s also a group identity, such like our family, our life, our thinking, our belief, our culture, our religion, our ‘God’, our action, our fruit of action, our achievement, our failure, our world, our country, our vision, and so on.

“I eat, I drink, I play, I work, I rest, I aspire, I inspire, I think, I believe, I feel, I express, I laugh, I cry, I learn, I share, I give and receive, I love and beloved, I perceive, I experience, I act, I react, I achieve, I live, I die. I am existing. How can it be possible that ‘I’ don’t exist?” It’s unthinkable for the egoistic mind about ‘Selflessness’ – ‘Egolessness’ – ‘I-lessness’.

That’s why it’s very essential for the mind to let go the attachment and identification towards any qualities of names and forms, especially the worldly conditioned egoistic way of thinking and belief in the mind that influence how the mind analyzes, judges, feels and reacts towards all and everything, as well as letting go attachment and identification towards the physical appearance/condition/ability/disability/achievement/non-achievement before the mind can reflect upon the truth of ‘Selflessness’.

Once the mind is free from the attachment and identification towards the impermanent and selfless qualities of names and forms as ‘I’, including the function of the physical body and the thinking faculty, naturally the mind will realize the truth of ‘itself’ or ‘the modification of the mind’, that there’s no ‘I’, knowing thyself. There’s neither “I know” nor “I realize” nor “I am free from ignorance” nor “I am free.”

As long as the mind is still mingling among the worldly passionate egoistic minds, that keep empowering/feeding the idea of ‘I’ and ‘the world of egoism of all kinds of attachment and identification’, it’s very difficult and almost impossible for the mind to be free from ignorance and egoism. And hence, the important practice of renunciation, seclusion, solitude and silence.

According to the teachings of Swami Sivananda, the mind just needs to spend at least five to six years in seclusion and silence being away/cutting off from the worldly affairs/activities/society/family/friends/relatives/connections/interactions that feeds/empowers egoism/restlessness/impurities/ignorance, the mind will realize the truth of ‘the mind perception of a worldly life existence of impermanent and selfless names and forms’. Although it doesn’t guarantee that everyone who try to practice silence in seclusion and solitude for a prolonged period of time will be free from ignorance and attain self-realization, as the mind might still be influenced by gross and subtle egoistic worldly/spiritual attachment hindering the mind from seeing itself/knowing thyself. And not many people are suitable for such practice, as most passionate minds would ‘go crazy’ after being in seclusion and solitude for some time. Worldly passionate minds can’t live or be without seeing/touching/communicating/interacting with other beings for even a short period of time, not to say for a prolonged period of time. That’s why it requires certain degrees of dispassion and right discrimination for someone to practice silence in seclusion and solitude, to allow the mind to realize ‘Selflessness’/’Oneness’/’Non-separateness’/’Namelessness’/’Formlessness’, where ‘suffering’ and ‘the end of suffering’ doesn’t exist.

Many people might understood ‘Selflessness’ as ‘an existing name and form such as a being/soul/mind that is free from selfishness, who is unselfish’, such as “I am a selfless/unselfish being/soul/mind”, or “I am performing selfless action to benefit other beings and other beings will be benefited from my selfless actions.”

If it’s selfless, then what/who is that ‘I’ being there acknowledging and identifying as “I am selfless/unselfish”? It’s just impermanent selfless function of the body and mind generating actions and the consequences of actions ceaselessly until the annihilation of the modification of the mind takes place, there’s no ‘I’ being there to be acknowledging/identifying as “I am selfless/unselfish.” or “I am good/bad.” And hence, silent the mind, or as Swami Sivananda taught, “Kill the mind.”

Selflessness is nothing to do with unselfishness. Regardless of living beings or non-living objects, all are impermanent and selfless or I-less, where there’s no ‘I’ within all the impermanent changes. There’s no ‘I’ existing to be identified as ‘I am selfless’, ‘I am a selfless being’, ‘I am unselfish’, ‘I am performing selfless service and other beings are benefited from my selfless service’, ‘I am kind and compassionate’, ‘I aspire to inspire others to be selfless, kind and compassionate’, and so on. There’s no “I want to be selfless.” or “I am becoming selfless.”

‘Selflessness’ is the realization of there’s no self or ‘I’, it’s not about training the mind to become ‘selfless’ or ‘unselfish’. None/nothing can train to become ‘selfless’, as there is no self or ‘I’ from the beginning. Everyone and everything is just selfless as it is. It’s due to ignorance, there is the idea of ‘I’ arise in the thinking mind materializing itself via egoism influencing the thinking pattern of the mind, where the idea of ‘I’ feeds on attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, to desire and don’t desire, to aspire and expect, to enjoy and suffer, to love and be loved, to be continuing ‘existing’ in the form of thinking possessing a worldly self-identity with certain qualities of names and forms.

The idea of ‘I’ can be annihilated by eliminating egoism from the mind. As the ‘I’ appears to be ‘real and existing’ is nothing but the thinking pattern of the mind functioning under the influence of egoism, and upon annihilation of egoism or the veil of ignorance, the idea of ‘I’ will vanish naturally.

Upon the realization of impermanence and selflessness, naturally the mind also realizes ‘timelessness’. Time doesn’t exist, it’s just ‘what the mind perceives’, and ‘both the mind (the perceiver) and what the mind perceives (the perceived)’ constantly changing, and the ceaseless impermanent changes as well as due to the function of memory, there’s remembrance towards the impermanent changes generate the false impression of ‘time’ or ‘I’. The mind is going through countless births and deaths of ceaseless thoughts arising and passing away generating the different states of the mind. The body is going through countless births and deaths along with all the impermanent changes that are happening in the physical body generating the different condition/appearance of the body. The mind and the body is never remain the same mind or the same body even for a moment until the body and the thinking faculty ceased functioning and existing.

There’s no “I am performing yoga practice. I am a yoga practitioner. I will be receiving the benefits of the yoga practice. I am free or not free from ignorance.” It’s just the mind performing the practice, and whether the mind will be free from ignorance, or not.

Be free.

Approaching a teacher asking to be accepted as student of yoga

Traditionally, when someone is interested in finding a teacher to learn, study and practice yoga and meditation under the guidance of this person (the teacher), one needs to approach the teacher humbly asking to be accepted as a student of yoga under this teacher, serving the teacher without asking/expecting “What am I getting from learning yoga under you?” or “What can you (the teacher) give me in return for offering fees/donations to you to be learning and practicing yoga from you and serving you?”

The teacher will then observe and test this person to see whether this person is fit to be a student of yoga. Once the person is accepted to be a student of yoga, this person will live closely to the teacher for many years, where in the first few years are merely doing some random ‘work/service’ in daily life, such like housekeeping/cooking/gardening/cleaning/washing serving the teacher (very important/efficient initial purification to eliminate worldly habits of egoism and impurities) before being initiated into the practice. There’s high degree of segregation/non-physical contact among the teacher and the student. It’s not like nowadays, most people are looking forward to be touching and hugging as the way to show friendliness, love and care.

The teacher doesn’t advertise/boast about “I am a certified/qualified/experienced/internationally recognized/affiliated yoga teacher” and “What kind of benefits/certification/qualification/result/achievement you will get if you attend my classes/courses learning yoga from me.” but instead, “It’s a hard-work. There will be lots of unpleasantness/pain and hardships/obstacles that you need to deal with by yourself. You have to walk the path alone by yourself. You need to be determined, persevered and vigilant to discipline your own mind until you attain self-realization.” And the students of yoga will be determined to finish their learning under the teacher no matter how much difficulties and obstacles arise during the physical/mental/emotional purification process, while developing discipline and independence in their own practice, as one day, they will have to leave the teacher, or the teacher will leave.

It’s not about to be ‘qualified’ as ‘yoga teachers/masters’, be ‘affiliated’ with ‘yoga alliance’ to be ‘conducting yoga classes’ to teach ‘yoga classes’ or ‘conducting yoga courses’ to be ‘training yoga teachers to teach yoga or conduct yoga classes/yoga courses to other people’. As a ‘yogi’ who knows yoga doesn’t need to be ‘trained’ to be ‘qualified’ to be ‘certified yoga teacher’ and ‘affiliated with’ such and such ‘yoga organization/alliance’ to be ‘recognized/authorized’ to teach yoga to anyone. It’s neither about ‘correct/proper physical alignments’, ‘teaching techniques’, ‘effects/benefits of the yoga practice’, ‘healing’, ‘connecting’, ‘sharing’, ‘hugging’ and ‘touching’.

Nowadays, this tradition is no longer be seen/practiced/appreciated. One of the reason would be the existence of ‘sincere teacher of yoga’ and ‘sincere student of yoga’ is very rare now.

In this modern commercialized world of ‘higher education and higher quality of life with worldly social values and practice’, the ‘yoga teachers’ have to ‘advertise’ or ‘boast’ about their ‘certification/qualification/recognition/affiliation/experiences/achievements’ and ‘to be presenting’ something ‘unique, enjoyable, innovative and attractive’ to attract people to be interested to come to attend the ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga courses’ conducted by them, while gratifying the people’s desire of craving and aversion, by giving them what they want/like and don’t give them what they don’t want/like, to make them feel treasured, appreciated, valued, pampered, satisfied and empowered. Both the teacher and the students also want to develop and maintain an inter-dependent ‘connection/relationship’ where the students ceaselessly need to receive attention, love, care, support, acknowledgement, advice or feedback from the teacher, while the teacher wants to ‘be close’ to the students, ‘be there’ for the students, ‘be connecting’ with the students, or ‘be loved/needed/glorified/supported/respected’ by the students.

Because most egoistic impure minds are being conditioned deeply by the worldly thinking behavior pattern, almost all of the ‘yoga enthusiasts’ or the ‘prospect/potential students/clients’ of the ‘yoga school/yoga studio/yoga centre’ will have some kind of ‘request’ or ‘expectation’ towards the ‘yoga school’, ‘yoga studio’, ‘yoga center’, ‘yoga classes’, ‘yoga courses’ or ‘yoga teachers’ to meet up their ‘requests’ and ‘expectation’ in terms of the ‘quality’ of the ‘professional profile/image’, ‘qualification’, ‘certification’, ‘recognition’, ‘affiliation’, ‘organization’, ‘experience’, ‘achievement’, or ‘result orientation’, and above all, “How much and what do I get from paying this amount of ‘fees’/’donation’ to the ‘yoga school’/’yoga studio’/’yoga centre’/’yoga teacher’ for attending the ‘yoga classes’/’yoga courses’.”

Many of the untrained worldly egoistic impure minds will have doubt/insecurity towards their own ‘determination’ being determined by whether they will like/enjoy ‘the teacher’s over-all presentation/image/charm/professionalism/credibility/teaching style’ or ‘the classes’ or ‘the practice’, or not, where they are unsure/unwilling to pay fees in advance which might be ‘non-refundable’ if they want to ‘give up’ when they experience discomfort or difficulty, or when they ‘don’t like/enjoy’ the ‘teacher/classes/practice’, while the truth of the purification process deriving from performing ‘serious/intense/persevered yoga and meditation practice to eliminate ignorance/egoism/impurities/restlessness’ is inevitably ‘unpleasant’ and ‘painful’ physically/mentally/emotionally for all egoistic impure minds. Even before the students come to the ‘yoga school/yoga studio/yoga centre’ to begin learning and practicing yoga under the teacher, the test/obstacle derived from the purification process already started. All kinds of obstacles manifest in the form of physical/mental/emotional discomfort and doubt.

Unfortunately, there are quite many stories of ‘impure yoga teachers’ existing in the world ‘taking advantage’ of the attention/love seeking ‘yoga students’, where people looking forward to be ‘touched’, creating many forms of ‘corruption’, and then there are ‘impure yoga students’ who didn’t get what they like and want from the teachers and they criticized and bitched about the teachers with the intention to hurt/damage the teacher’s reputation, that makes it even harder and more challenging for ‘yoga enthusiasts’ to ‘surrender’ all doubts/insecurity, to be opened to approach a teacher to ask to be accepted as ‘student of yoga’ and to ‘serve’ the teacher without attachment, identification and expectation, to be effectively purifying and eliminating egoism and impurities, to free the mind from restlessness and the veil of ignorance.

There’s neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad. It’s just how things are in this world.

Anyway, ‘sincere teachers of yoga’ and ‘sincere students of yoga’ will meet each other in due time and due cause. There’s no ‘attachment’, ‘identification’ or ‘expectation’ towards each other. The students/practitioners ‘serve’ the teacher humbly for years, surrendering the ego and worldly passionate desire/ambition/thinking/belief/social behavior pattern, and developing self-discipline. After learning/receiving the teachings from the teachers, the students retreat into seclusion and solitude, working diligently and independently towards purifying and silencing the modification of the mind, to perform self-inquiry upon the truth of everything, to attain self-realization and total annihilation of the mind or the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of countless ‘births’ and ‘deaths’ of names and forms (thoughts/feelings/emotions/relationships) arising and passing away, of ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering.

“You are left alone now.” – Swami Sivananda

The important teachings/practice of yoga

These are the important teachings/practice of yoga to subjugate the modifications of the mind, to remove the veil of ignorance, to eliminate the idea of ‘worldly existence’, to annihilate the ego/the idea of ‘I’, to transcend quality of names and forms/duality/time, space and causation/cause and effect, but yet, these teachings/practice are also being disliked/disagreed/criticized/ignored/denied/abandoned/least practiced by many of the yoga enthusiasts/practitioners/teachers.

There’s nothing wrong with many people who ‘do yoga’ on regular basis just want to attain some physical and mental benefits from performing the yoga practice and engaging in some yoga community activities to feel good, healthy and meaningful. Only those who have firmed determination or intense yearning for liberation can understand and treasure the importance of these teachings/practice.

For the minds that are deep rooted in worldly ideas, all these teachings/practice are being seen as ‘abnormality’, ‘selfishness’, ‘craziness’, ‘wrongfulness’, ‘negativeness’, ‘inappropriateness’, ‘unhealthy’, ‘regression’, ‘inhumane’, and etc. But in fact, all these teachings/practice practically and effectively lead to compassion/peace.

Silencing the modifications of the mind annihilating ignorance and egoism is the great compassion of embracing and upholding peace and harmony in the world.

If one single person in the world attained ‘silence/annihilation of the mind’ or ‘liberation from ignorance and egoism’, there’s less a person in the world generates ‘impure intention’, ‘egoistic desire/ambition’, ‘ill-feeling’, ‘disappointment’, ‘hurts’, ‘anger’, ‘hatred’, ‘fear’, ‘ill-thinking’, ‘ill-will’, ‘discrimination’, ‘prejudice’, ‘corruption’, ‘unrest’, ‘violence’, ‘disturbance’, ‘negativity’, ‘disharmony’, ‘tension’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘meaninglessness’, ‘destructive behavior’, ‘ignorant actions and reactions’, and so on, into the world.

It’s the most practical effective way to contribute peace and harmony into the world.

People might think and believe that they are kind and compassionate beings who embrace and uphold ‘peace and harmony in the world’, while aspiring or trying to create/empower/influence a society/community that behave in certain ways that they think and believe is ‘good’, ‘right’, ‘positive’ and ‘appropriate’, but unwittingly, everyone keeps contributing ‘unrest’ into the world out of the name of ’embracing and upholding peace and harmony in the world’, by fighting against those whom they think are destroying or obstructing ‘peace and harmony in the world’.

Most people want ‘peace and harmony’ that comply to some requirements and conditions, influenced by their own particular personal/social/cultural/religious/spiritual/philosophical/political way of thinking/belief/values/vision/practice/living, that unwittingly contributing to all kinds of discrimination and wars.

For those who truly wish for ‘peace and harmony in the world’ as it is, they can inquire and implement these teachings/practice of yoga –

Dispassion/indifference/dissociate/disinterest

Renunciation towards worldly attachments/identifications/affairs/ideas/objects/thinking/belief/values/practice/habits/relationships/connections/associations/mingling/interactions/activities/actions and the fruit of actions

Abandoning/renouncing worldly enjoyments of the senses/stimulation of the mind/longing/ambitions/fame/status/authority/pride/supremacy/glory

Desirelessness

Aloneness

Solitude

Seclusion

Silence

Transcending duality of good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, meaninglessness and meaningfulness, praise and condemn, gain and loss, heat and cold, pleasantness and unpleasantness, happiness and unhappiness, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, appropriateness and inappropriateness

Uninfluenced by the past desirable/undesirable experiences and the future imagination/anticipation/speculation/projection

Allowing all and everyone to be what they are, free from expectation/interference/control towards all human beings that ‘all human beings should and shouldn’t think/believe/feel/behave/act and react in certain ways’

Respecting the law of nature/impermanence

Inquire the truth of ‘selflessness’

Annihilation of the modification of the mind/the existence of ‘I’

“Passionately loving the world and claiming ownership/responsibility/authority towards the condition of the world by expecting/desiring/aspiring the world to be in certain ways that the minds think and believe how it should be, and being disturbed, frustrated, offended and hurt by the condition of the world that is not the way that the mind would like it to be, doesn’t help the world to have peace.

Letting go of passionate love towards the world, without claiming ownership/responsibility/authority to expect/desire/aspire the condition of the world to be in certain ways that the minds think and believe how it should be, without being disturbed, frustrated, offended or hurt by the condition of the world that is not the way that the mind would like it to be, and have peace in oneself, is the selfless compassion that will help the world to have peace.”

By performing all kinds of ‘yoga practice’ regularly for many years, but without implementing all these teachings/practice, the mind will still be disturbed, frustrated, offended and hurt by something that the mind doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with. There’s no peace in this mind.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life and what they want/don’t want to think and believe. People don’t have to implement these teachings/practice of yoga, if they don’t like or don’t agree with these teachings/practice of yoga.

Self-righteousness is not yoga practice (2)

Teaching yoga, or practicing yoga, is not about ‘I am an unique spiritual being’ being chosen by ‘God’ or ‘Guru’, being initiated/assigned/given a righteous ‘duty’ from ‘God’ or ‘Guru’, being ‘self-righteous’ for helping ‘God’ or ‘Guru’ to patrol/judge/control/criticize/discipline/punish other people’s actions and reactions, or to be interfering with other people’s thinking/belief/behavior/practice that are different from one’s thinking/belief/behavior/practice, that the mind thinks and believes as ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’, and interfering with other people’s different ways of life, actions and reactions, mental and physical activities that one’s mind doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, that one’s mind thinks and believes as ‘contradicting’ with the teachings and practice of yoga.

As all these ‘thinking’ and ‘actions’ coming from the mind acting and reacting towards the world of names and forms that the mind comes in contact with/perceives/experiences/acknowledges are nothing but the play of egoism born out of ignorance. Although most minds would think and believe that they are being the ‘good spiritual beings’ acting on behalf of ‘God’ or ‘Guru’, or upholding what they think and believe is ‘supremacy’, ‘authority’, or ‘righteousness’.

Teaching yoga is merely sharing the knowledge derived from one’s direct experience and self-realization, to give guidance to those who come to them to seek guidance to be learning and practicing yoga, while allowing everyone to be what they are, whether they want to take the guidance, or not; whether they want to learn and practice yoga as it is, or not; whether they want to develop awareness, correct understanding, initiative and self-discipline to discipline their own minds, or not; whether they are aware of all the egoistic urges/intentions behind all their actions and reactions, or not; whether they want to restrict their own mental and physical activities, to purify their minds to be free from egoism, impurities and restlessness, to silent the modifications of the mind, or not; and whether they want to perform inquiry towards the truth of everything and be free from ignorance, or not.

There’s no egoistic idea/desire/intention of “I want to be a yoga teacher to teach yoga to other people.” or “I am a yoga teacher performing action of teaching yoga to other people.”

Practicing yoga is also about allowing everyone and everything to be what they are, that everyone and everything are impermanent and selfless, while ‘working’ diligently to free one’s mind from ignorance and the consequences of ignorance.

Those who understand this, either they don’t need to perform any practice at all as they are peaceful as they are where their minds are free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, or if they are aware of the existence of ignorance, egoism and impurities in the minds, they will mind their own practice to discipline, to purify and to silent their own minds, while allowing all the other minds to be what they are, to be evolving as they are.

If ‘God’ or ‘Guru’ exists, they are ‘the selfless/mindless silent witness of pure consciousness’, being undisturbed/unaffected/uninfluenced/unchanged/unbothered by all the existing impermanent and selfless names and forms of different thinking/belief/behavior/way of life/actions/reactions of everyone and the consequences of that, or whatever is happening in ‘the world of ignorant egoistic impure minds functioning under ignorance, egoism and impurities’. If ‘God’ and ‘Guru’ exist, they don’t have egoism, or the ‘self-righteous’ urge or intention derived from egoism to be interfering with/patrolling/judging/controlling/criticizing/disciplining/punishing anyone or anything. If they have egoism, or the ‘self-righteous’ urge or intention derived from egoism to be interfering with/patrolling/judging/controlling/criticizing/disciplining/punishing everyone or everything, making sure everyone and everything ‘to be the way that I think it should be’, then they are not really God or Guru.

Such like some people would inflict anger, hatred, ill-will and violence towards others out of the excuse of ‘upholding peace’ or ‘upholding righteousness’. This is not yoga practice, although it’s everyone’s freedom for what they think and believe, and how they behave, act and react.

“In the name of God, I condemn you to hell.” or “These are bad and evil people, I hope that they will be punished with great suffering that they deserved.” Quite many minds/people would think and speak in such way ‘proudly’. No wonder, many of the saints and sages in the past renounced the world and retreated from the society/community to avoid wasting energy from dealing with such affairs.

Those who truly practice yoga, they withdraw the outgoing tendency of the mind, turning the mind inward to be ‘working’ diligently towards attaining/reaching that ‘pure consciousness of the selfless/mindless silent witness’, where they go beyond the egoistic urge/intention of interfering with/patrolling/judging/controlling/criticizing/disciplining/punishing anyone or anything.

If one is aware of this ‘self-righteous’ thinking and behavior existing in one’s mind, and is aware of oneself constantly feels dissatisfied, or frustrated, or disturbed, or angered, or offended by other people’s different thinking/belief/practice/behavior/way of life/actions and reactions that one’s mind dislikes and disagrees with, and couldn’t help oneself being over-powered by the ‘self-righteous’ urge or intention to be interfering with other people’s different thinking/belief/practice/behavior/way of life/actions and reactions, then either one can try to help oneself by developing will-power to free one’s mind from this self-righteous thinking and behavior, or one can try to seek ‘professional helps’ from the many ‘psychiatric professionals’, to have peace in oneself and stop generating ‘disharmony’ and ‘unrest’ into the surrounding environment, being free from restless impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, possessiveness, authoritarianism, offensiveness, defensiveness, hurts, hostility, animosity, aggressiveness, violence, ill-will, ill-thinking, fear and worry. That itself is a great contribution towards peace in oneself and peace in the world.

Look after one’s mind before it’s too late where one might be completely losing the reasoning power that allow yoga practice to be taking place, even if one is interested in yoga, or strongly believe in ‘God’ or ‘Guru’. One might be doing some form of ‘yoga practice’ or ‘rituals’ regularly, but couldn’t help being busy looking at other people and shouting at other people, “You people should be like this and shouldn’t be like that,” expecting everyone and everything ‘to be the way that I think it should be’. That’s everyone’s freedom of thinking and behavior. It’s everyone’s freedom whether to look after one’s mind, or they prefer to be busy minding about other people’s minds, and losing the sanity of their own mind being lost in ignorance.

Be free.

Go beyond worldly social thinking and beliefs

Most minds are not interested in the teaching of yoga about going beyond worldly social thinking and beliefs. For them, “Why do people want to do that? It’s strange and crazy for anyone to have such idea or practice.” and “Social relationships, activities, mingling and interactions are very good and positive for improving friendship, bonding, understanding and harmony among each other in the society.”

Just like many passionate minds would think and believe that “Being sociable is similar to friendliness and being non-sociable is similar to unfriendliness.”

In yoga, “Being sociable and non-sociable is irrelevant to friendliness and unfriendliness. One can be friendly and kind towards all without selfish intention or discrimination of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, good people and bad people, friends and not friends, while at the same time being non-sociable or disinterested towards social relationships, activities, mingling and interactions. On the other hand, being actively sociable doesn’t mean that the mind is being friendly and kind towards all without any selfish intention or discrimination of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, good people and bad people, or friends and not friends.”

In the path of yoga to eliminate ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness from the mind, one needs to learn how to go beyond all the worldly social thinking and beliefs by renouncing social relationships, activities, mingling and interactions, as all these social relationships and activities will only empower or feed the ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment, expectation, restlessness and impurities, unless the mind is already being free from ignorance and egoism, then one can mix freely into the society without being influenced by the society, without being disturbed by what is happening in the world, and without being entangled in the worldly ideas, thinking, beliefs, values, practices, relationships and activities.

It’s not that the social thinking and beliefs, relationships, activities, mingling and interactions are something ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’, but for the yoga enthusiasts who are sincerely seeking liberation from suffering, or more precisely, to be free from the cause of suffering – Ignorance, the minds need to go beyond all kinds of worldly ideas of social thinking, beliefs, values and practices by renouncing social relationships, activities, mingling and interactions, as all these social activities are feeding/empowering ignorance, egoism, passions and restlessness, which hinders the mind to see the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance and the product of ignorance – Suffering. If the mind is not free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering, the mind is not free, even after many years of practicing ‘yoga’ or teaching ‘yoga’ to others.

Some of the common social thinking and beliefs such as,

“Everyone needs to have family, relatives, friends and community, to enjoy life, to be happy and feel meaningful. It’s hard, pitiful, unfortunate, lonely, joyless and meaningless to be by oneself without family, relatives, friends and community.”
*In yoga, one is not determined by having or not having family, relatives, friends and community, to enjoy life, to be happy, or to feel meaningful, or not, in order to be free from ignorance and suffering, or not. The mind that is free from ignorance and egoism doesn’t need to enjoy life, or to be happy, or to feel meaningful. One is peaceful as one is, when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism and its by-products of boredom, loneliness, fear, clinging, expectation, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, animosity, pride, hostility, painful sorrow, unhappiness, emptiness, incompleteness and meaninglessness.

“One needs to be ‘educated’ and ‘knowledgeable’ to be confident to achieve success in everything, to enjoy a higher quality good life with loving and supportive family and relationships, in order to achieve happiness and meaningfulness.”
*In yoga, being educated and knowledgeable doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness, disturbs and suffering. Wisdom of being free from ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness, is nothing to do with ‘worldly education’ and ‘worldly knowledge’. Wisdom, or knowing the truth of names and forms, allows the mind to have peace, being free from disturbs and suffering, regardless of whether the mind is ‘educated’ and ‘knowledgeable’, or not; whether life is good and comfortable, or not; whether there’s loving and supportive family and relationships, or not. The liberated mind doesn’t need to be confident to achieve success in everything to have a higher quality good life. Neither by having or not having a higher quality good life is related to having loving and supportive family and relationships, or not. Neither by having or not having loving and supportive family and relationships is related to the attainment of the sense of happiness and meaningfulness. Neither by attaining or not attaining the sense of happiness and meaningfulness is related to whether the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, or not. The mind that is free from ignorance and egoism, doesn’t need to attain the sense of happiness and meaningfulness. One is happy and peaceful as one is, being free from ignorance and egoism, being unconditioned and undetermined by the quality of names and forms.

“One needs to aspire and be inspired to be somebody endowed with certain qualities of names and forms that make oneself and others be proud of, to attain love, acceptance, respect, support and acknowledgement from oneself and others.”
*In yoga, the mind that is free from ignorance and egoism doesn’t need to aspire or be inspired to be ‘somebody’ that would make oneself and others be proud of. Neither does one need to attain love, acceptance, respect, support or acknowledgement from oneself or others.

“One needs to keep setting higher and higher expectation/goal towards oneself in order to keep pushing oneself beyond one’s limitation to achieve higher success and better result.”
*In yoga, the mind that is free from ignorance and egoism doesn’t need to have any expectation/goal towards oneself, anyone or anything, or to push oneself beyond the physical/mental limitation that is impermanent and selfless, but still perform countless actions of what is possible in the present that would benefit oneself and others, or to keep improving, intentionlessly, while allowing the fruit of the actions to be what it is.

“One should help others so that one will receive help from others in return.”
*In yoga, one helps others unconditionally regardless of whether others will be grateful and show appreciation, or will give help to oneself in return, or not.

“Be kind to others and others will be kind to you in return.”
*In yoga, one be kind to others unconditionally without selfish intention/expectation to be receiving kindness or friendship in return. Be kind to all without discrimination even when others are being unkind to oneself, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

“Everyone needs continuous/on going inspirations, positive encouragements, love, supports and acknowledgements from others to be doing something good for oneself and others, or to refrain from doing something bad to oneself and others.”
*In yoga, the selfless/egoless mind doesn’t need any (continuous/on going) inspirations, positive encouragements, love, supports and acknowledgements from anyone to be doing something good for oneself and others, or to refrain from doing something bad or hurtful to oneself or others. It’s the prideful egoistic impure idea of ‘I’ or the ego that needs continuous inspirations, positive encouragements, love, supports and acknowledgements from others to motivate oneself to be good and do good, or to refrain from be bad and do bad. If the egoistic minds don’t get such ‘motivations’, they are reluctant to be good and do good, or refrain from be bad and do bad. That’s not freedom at all.

“Everyone needs love and affection. Give love and affection to others, and others will have love to love themselves and love others. Giving love to others will make oneself feels good and meaningful.”
*In yoga, when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, one doesn’t need to receive love and affection from anyone to feel loved, or to have love. Everyone just need to realize unconditional love in oneself, where there’s no lack of love/craving for love/aversion towards loveless and there’s no separateness of ‘I’ and ‘others’. There’s no ‘I’ am ‘giving love’ to ‘others’, or ‘others’ are ‘receiving love’ from ‘I’, but out of compassion, teach and allow everyone to be free from ignorance and egoism to realize unconditional love in oneself, where everyone doesn’t need to receive love from others to feel loved or to have love, and everyone doesn’t need to feel good and meaningful from the action of ‘giving’ and ‘loving’.

“Everything is possible. Nothing is impossible.”
*In yoga, everything is possible, including both possibility and impossibility. Possibility is possible. Impossibility is also possible. It’s okay sometimes things are not possible, such like one couldn’t stop the physical body from impermanent changes of aging, decaying and death/decompose, or one couldn’t undo the past, and whether it’s possibility or impossibility, all are impermanent.

Worldly minds, including many yoga enthusiasts, are functioning under the influence of the social thinking and beliefs perceiving everyone and everything as ‘good or bad’, ‘right or wrong’, ‘positive or negative’, ‘normality or abnormality’, ‘meaningfulness or meaninglessness’, ‘appropriateness or inappropriateness’, ‘friendliness or unfriendliness’ and ‘nice or not nice’.

“This is a good/bad person.”
“This is so positive/negative.”
“This is so meaningful/meaningless.”
“This is a friendly/unfriendly person.”
“This is a nice/not nice person.”
“Yoga teachers/practitioners need to ‘be positive’ and say only ‘positive words’ to influence/encourage others also to be positive.”
And so on.

In yoga or Buddhism, it’s not necessarily so. Upon knowing what is going on in the mind and seeing the truth of impermanence and selflessness in all the names and forms, naturally, one stops judging and labeling everyone and everything into ‘this’ and ‘that’, upon perceiving/experiencing all kind of different experiences, thinking, beliefs, actions, reactions and behaviors.

“You are being nice to me, but it doesn’t mean that ‘you are a nice person or your are not a not nice person’.”
“You might not behave in a good way, but it doesn’t mean that ‘you are a bad person or you are not a good person’.”
“You are feeling happy or unhappy in this moment, but it doesn’t mean that ‘you are a happy person or you are an unhappy person’.”
“Yoga teachers don’t need to ‘be positive’ or say only ‘positive words’, they just need to teach yoga as it is, and the teachings are neither positive nor negative, although many impure minds might not like or agree with the teachings, and perceiving and judging everything as ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ according to the worldly thinking and beliefs, while passionate minds might be disturbed by the teachings that they dislike and disagree with, that is not necessarily something that they think it should be.”

The minds that are free from ignorance and egoism are not ‘passionate’ or ‘interested’ towards the attainment and accumulation of worldly objects of names and forms, the cultivation and achievement of worldly passionate desires/ambitions and the engagement in all kinds of human social relationships, activities, interactions, excitement, enjoyment and entertainment because these minds are void of the by-products of ignorance and egoism, where the minds are free from the sense of low self-esteem, low confidence, negativeness, unhappiness and meaninglessness.

These selfless/egoless minds don’t need to develop or empower the sense of high self-esteem, self-worth, confidence, positiveness, happiness and meaningfulness through the attainment and accumulation of worldly objects of names and forms, or the cultivation and achievement of desires/ambitions, or the engagement in social relationships, activities, interactions, excitement, enjoyment and entertainment, in order to chase away the sense of low self-esteem, low self-worth, low confidence, negativeness, unhappiness and meaninglessness. It doesn’t mean that these minds don’t perform any actions to improve or be successful in whatever they venture, but all actions are free from attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation.

These quiet peaceful liberated minds might be perceived by the other majority of the society, including passionate sociable ‘yoga practitioners/teachers’ and health professionals as a form of ‘unhealthiness’, ‘selfishness’, ‘abnormality’, or even, ‘insanity’, as these minds don’t think and behave, act and react, and are not interested towards engaging in the worldly passionate sociable family/community way of life like all the other majority in the society. They are peaceful as they are, being free from ignorance, egoism, passions, discrimination, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, animosity, violence, fear, boredom, loneliness, longing, hurts, meaninglessness, incompleteness and restlessness, being immerse in silence, seclusion and solitude, allowing the world and everyone to be what they are, as they are, and all are impermanent and selfless, which the worldly passionate sociable minds perceive as a form of ‘unhealthiness’, ‘selfishness’, ‘abnormality’ and ‘insanity’.

It’s everyone’s freedom for how they perceive, think, feel, act and react, and what they want to do with their life, body and mind.

The practice of silence to conquer the restless mind

This teaching is for those who want to conquer the restless mind, but they realize that the mind is so difficult to quiet down, that there will be ceaseless distracting random thoughts occupying the mind, especially whenever they try to sit down quietly limiting the physical movements and refraining the senses from going out chasing after the object of the senses, to train the mind in concentration and meditation.

It’s a common reaction of all the untrained impure minds when the physical body is being restricted from bodily movements and the mental habitual activities is being restricted, there will be random thoughts bubbling up to the surface of the mind. It’s part of the purification process. People should continue the practice by learning how to be aware of all these random thoughts without association, attachment, identification, craving or aversion, judgment and expectation, and allowing all these random pleasant and unpleasant thoughts arising and passing away, to clear up the past accumulated imprints. People expect that when they meditate, the mind will be free from any thoughts, and so, they’ll get very disappointed and demotivated after a few attempts trying to concentrate or meditate, they realize that the modification of the mind is even more agitated and violent whenever they try to concentrate or meditate. And without correct understanding, many people would give up and prefer to just live everyday life as they are, ‘happy happy go lucky’, be good, do good, without the need to deal with the unpleasant behavior of the mind that they don’t like to confront with. And that’s their freedom.

The biggest element in aid to conquer the restless mind is the observation of silence, of seclusion, solitude and renunciation from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions.

Some people think that those who want to conquer the mind should take up the challenge of living and mixing among the society, in order to allow the mind to practice concentration and meditation in everyday life having to deal with all kinds of challenging condition and situation, distractions and disturbance, while learning how to remain equanimous without being affected or determined by all the challenging condition and situation in life, without generating craving towards the pleasant life experiences and without generating aversion towards the unpleasant life experiences. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But what happens? After many years of ‘trying’ to practice yoga and meditation to conquer the restless mind, but the mind is still restless, or even more restless under the influence of ignorance and impurities.

Some even say that it’s very easy to be calm and quiet being in solitude and seclusion without dealing with other beings and worldly affairs. They think that one doesn’t need to deal with pleasantness and unpleasantness, craving and aversion, distractions and disturbance, actions and reactions, when being in solitude and seclusion. What they don’t know is that most minds will runaway from solitude and seclusion after some time, like fish out of water, and the modification of the mind is even more agitated and violent being restricted from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions that keep the mind stimulated, entertained, busy, or restless. That’s why so many people will say that meditation is very difficult, or they can’t meditate, or they don’t like meditation, or they don’t like to observe silence, of solitude and seclusion.

Whether one is surrounded by many other beings and happenings, or one is alone in solitude away from happenings, this mind has to deal with the impermanent and selfless changes of the physical body and the ignorant impure egoistic modification of the mind. Whether the mind is free, or not free, it’s always right here and right now. When the mind practices concentration and meditation, it’s always alone, regardless of whether there are other people around, or not.

Do not blind-believing or blind-following any teachings from anyone or somewhere, including all the teachings here. Contemplate and inquire the truth of all teachings and attain self-realization of the truth of all the teachings via direct experience.

Take note that living in the world and mixing in the society are two completely different things. Geographically and biologically, one will have to and always be living in the world, otherwise, this body will not be able to survive for long, but at the same time, know the importance of observing silence, of maximum solitude and seclusion, renouncing worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, in short, refraining from mixing in the society.

While living in the world, one will still have to deal with the impermanent and selfless condition and situation in the world that is ever challenging, and developing the strength of non-association, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation, and one learns how to conserve energy and not wasting energy into worldly affairs/activities/interactions that derived from ignorance and egoism, as well as empowering/feeding ignorance and egoism.

Observing maximum solitude and seclusion while living in the world, and renouncing worldly social relationships, activities and interactions doesn’t mean that one is completely isolated from the society and not performing any actions in the world. One can be performing unlimited selfless service in the world to benefit the society efficiently, but being free from mixing, or socializing, or accumulating relationships. One is care-less towards the worldly affairs, but can also be performing actions that benefit the world at the same time. Being compassionate towards all beings doesn’t mean that one has to be in a form of relationship with all beings. One can be kind to others without the need of knowing or contacting with the others. Contemplate on this, and be free to observe silence while living in the world and performing actions in the world.

For the ‘first class’ students of Dhamma, which are very few of them in this world, they don’t need to observe silence, of solitude, seclusion and renunciation from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, as they are already grounded firmly in Dhamma. They can be mixing in the society like everyone else, behaving like everyone else, but their minds are ever pure and quiet. They don’t need to practice concentration or meditation at all. They are not separated from meditation. There’s no in or out of meditation.

For the other students of Dhamma, which is the majority of us, we do need to observe silence at some stage, of maximum solitude and seclusion, and renounce worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, as whether we are aware or unaware, the mind is constantly absorbing all the inputs of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts/imagination/projection/dreams, all the time, unwittingly. All these endless accumulated inputs are the ceaseless random thoughts that bubbling up to the surface of the mind during the practice of concentration and meditation, and many minds that haven’t develop a strong foundation of non-association, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation will be greatly disturbed, distracted and demotivated by this purification process. And this will never come to an end, unless we start reducing and limiting all these unnecessary mind inputs deriving from all kinds of worldly relationships, activities and interactions.

It’s like someone tries very hard to clean up the rubbish bin, but somehow, rubbish keep pouring into the bin, from someone and somewhere, endlessly. The bin will never be cleaned. The untrained impure egoistic mind is like a rubbish bin, taking in all kinds of rubbish (mind inputs) ceaselessly, unwittingly. And yoga and meditation practice of silence, solitude, seclusion and renunciation, is the most effective and practical way to free the mind from being a rubbish bin, and it’s not about to be a clean rubbish bin, but to realize its nature of namelessness, formlessness and attributelessness, that it is neither a dirty rubbish bin nor a clean rubbish bin.

Perform this test to know how the mind works. Sit down without moving the body and limbs, closing the eyes, and observe the natural breath coming in and going out for a few minutes. Very soon, unwittingly, random thoughts will arise and occupying the mind. And one will realize that all these random bubbling thoughts are the strongest imprints during the day, or from the last few days, or even from weeks/months/years before, or even forgotten.

Even Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and Swami Sivananda also had to retreat from the society to be focusing on their practice for some years in solitude, restraining the modification of the mind and attaining liberation. And then they came back to the society to disseminate the Dhamma to the other suffering minds whom in need of the Dhamma to be free from suffering.

By reducing and limiting the mind inputs not just allowing the mind to be purified effectively, but it also helps to develop a great mental strength that allows the mind to be uninfluenced, unaffected, undisturbed and undetermined by all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses. At this stage, the mind is safe and free to be mixing in the society and live everyday life like everyone else, but the mind is ever pure and quiet.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to think and believe, and what they want or don’t want to practice.

Learn to be alone and independent

If one wants to practice yoga and meditation, one needs to learn to be alone and independent, as well as allow others to also learn to be alone and independent, learning to look after oneself.

Somehow quite many people think and believe that ‘aloneness’ of solitude and seclusion is something ‘wrong’ and ‘selfish’. Many people, including health professionals and yoga teachers, would think and believe that it’s ‘abnormal’ and ‘unhealthy’ for the body and the mind if someone is being ‘isolated’ from other human beings for a prolonged period of time, that people would get sick and die due to loneliness and without any ‘physical touch/contact’ or ‘mental connection/interaction’ with other human beings. So they believe, and so they become. It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to think and believe.

For yoga practitioners, one must inquire the truth of everything. Do not blind-agreeing, blind-believing, blind-following, or blind-sharing any information of anything coming from anyone or any source.

Look into the history, of those who had been observing serious prolonged solitude and seclusion, voluntary being isolated from other human beings in the society to cut-off social activities, communication and interaction, to minimize mind inputs of worldly ideas, habits, thinking and belief, to quiet the restless modification of the mind, they were able to conquer their minds and attained the knowledge that liberates the mind from ignorance and suffering. These liberated minds were no longer be influenced or determined by all the others in the society of all kinds of thinking and belief and behavior.

Yoga practitioners who truly want to be free from ignorance and suffering, must inquire the truth of all those worldly thinking and belief coming from someone and somewhere, while letting go the worldly habit of minding other people’s worldly affair, allowing others to learn to be independent to look after their own minds, or not.

No doubt that all living beings must depend on nature to provide the source of energy in the form of food, water and air for survival, and human beings living in the modern society are limited by necessary dependence on some others for certain things. Such as those who don’t farm or cook, will have to depend on those who involve in farming, transporting, food processing, handling and cooking, to allow food to be available to them. Or, people who don’t know how to build a house need to depend on house builders to build houses for them. Or, babies, toddlers and young children need the attentive care and guidance from others who are physically/mentally/emotionally matured. Or, those who have physical or mental limitation or illness, also need to depend on other people to look after their everyday living and to rehabilitate. Or, most people depend on clean treated running water, gas and electricity supply to their home for modern living convenience. Or people who are critically sick need to depend on health professionals who have the knowledge of medicines and treatments for all kinds of critical illness, and depending on the availability of the medicines or treatments to counter that particular illness.

Otherwise, most people could be physically, mentally and emotionally independent most of the time for most of the things in everyday life, but people just wouldn’t, where people are either reluctant to look after themselves physically, mentally and emotionally even when they could, but they rather depending on other people to be there for them physically, mentally and emotionally, or people have fear and aversion towards the sense of lovelessness, companionlessness, loneliness, boredom and meaninglessness.

Survival instinct, love seeking, companion seeking, loneliness, boredom and meaninglessness are some of the significant reasons why people don’t like or don’t agree with ‘aloneness’ and ‘independence’. Meanwhile there are selfish greedy people in the world also don’t like the society to be ‘independent’ as that means they can no longer easily ‘manipulate’ or ‘control’ the society to get what they want.

It’s common that many people want to think and believe that all human beings somehow NEEDING each other in life. People like to think and feel, “My children need me”, “My family needs me”, “My friends need me”, “My partner needs me”, “My students need me”, “My pets need me”, “My country needs me”, and so on. Or “I need my children/my family/my friends/my partner/my students/my pets/my country being there for me, or else my life is empty, lonely, bored, joyless and meaningless.”

It makes the egoistic minds feel good and meaningful about themselves when they think they are needed by other people or beings, that they can contribute something to other beings. If everyone is physically, mentally and emotionally independent and doesn’t really need anyone to be there for them physically, mentally and emotionally, then this ‘craving for needing one another in life’ will not be gratified. People are no longer be able to attain that kind of good and meaningful feelings coming from the perception of “I am needed by some others. I am a useful being. I can contribute to the family/society/country/world/humanity.” But, this is only because of ignorance and egoism.

The mind can be free from the idea of “I am needed by some others” or “I want to be there for some others” and be free from the craving for attaining good feelings and the sense of meaningfulness coming from being needed by others, but still being kind and generous and helpful to those who really need physical, mental and emotional care and support from others, unconditionally without discrimination of ‘superiority or inferiority’, ‘people whom I know or don’t know’, ‘people whom I like or don’t like’, or ‘people whom I agree with or disagree with’.

And then there are those who become physically, mentally and emotionally frustrated, exhausted and restless deriving from pushing oneself beyond one’s limitation to look after other people who want to or need to depend on the others physically, mentally and emotionally. This is because the egoistic mind would feel bad, guilty and regret if they think they are not always there or couldn’t be there for people who want to or need to depend on them. And if their body and mind breakdown due to over exhaustion from looking after others, themselves need to be looked after by some others. If one can’t even look after oneself properly, then how can one look after the others efficiently?

When the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, it can truly serve the world efficiently, selflessly and unconditionally, under a pure, calm, dispassionate, desireless and selfless mind.

In the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre/Ashram, most people see the sequence of the teachings of Swami Sivananda as SERVE, LOVE, GIVE, PURIFY, MEDITATE, REALIZE. That is also what Swami Sivananda taught and had written in most of his books.

SERVE, LOVE, GIVE is when the mind turning outward performing selfless actions in the world (Karma Yoga) to serve the purpose of purifying the mind via the elimination of egoism through selfless service. While PURIFY allows the mind be free from impurities and restlessness to meditate and realize the truth of selflessness. MEDITATE is when the mind turning inward ceased all actions or studies in the world, stands as the silent witness towards the mind perception of a world of names and forms. And REALIZE is the fruit of meditation.

SERVE, LOVE, GIVE are supposed to help in the elimination of egoism while performing karma yoga/selfless service, however, it’s because most minds are not free from ignorance and egoism, that’s why they need to be purified. While SERVE, LOVE, GIVE under the influence of ignorance and egoism could actually empowering ignorance and egoism, and would generate more impurities and restlessness into the mind than to purify the mind, which in fact, hindering the mind to meditate and realize.

And so, the more efficient way might be first taking care of PURIFY (by turning the mind inward via dispassion, renunciation, solitude, seclusion and silence), MEDITATE and REALIZE, and then this mind that is free from ignorance and egoism can truly SERVE, LOVE, GIVE through performing selfless actions or Karma Yoga in the world, efficiently, selflessly and unconditionally. At this point, even though the body and mind is performing actions in the world, but the mind is unmoved/unaffected/undetermined by the actions and the fruit of actions. This mind is void of restlessness or exhaustion. This is INACTION in ACTIONS that doesn’t bind the mind to karma.

In fact, meditation practice being done with the correct understanding and attitude is the best mind purification, as during the time of sitting quietly by oneself, moving the body and mind away from worldly interactions and activities, turning the attention inward, withdrawing the senses from the sense objects, witnessing/observing the mind activities without association/identification with the modifications of the mind, without craving, aversion, judgment and expectation, without intention, the mind is being purified naturally and efficiently.

PURIFY, MEDITATE, REALIZE is indeed the mind SERVING, LOVING, GIVING the mind itself, and thus, purifying itself. Upon the realization of Selflessness, this mind can truly SERVE, LOVE, GIVE to others.

And hence, the importance of silence, solitude and seclusion, aloneness and independence for those who truly want to practice yoga and realize yoga.

One must look after one’s mind before one can truly benefit the others.

Those who disagree with this don’t have to take up this teaching. Be free.

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.

In the end, it’s what matters most to oneself

For some people, to be able to contribute to humanity, to help and serve other beings selflessly is what matters most.

For some people, to be able to think and move freely, to go everywhere freely is what matters most.

For some people, to have peace and harmony is what matters most.

For some people, to have joy and happiness is what matters most.

For some people, to be able to love and be loved is what matters most.

For some people, to have good health is what matters most.

For some people, to have a shelter from harsh weather and be free from hunger and thirst is what matters most.

For some people, to have a complete and happy family is what matters most.

For some people, to have a successful career that support a stable income and comfortable living is what matters most.

For some people, to have one or many good friends to support each other is what matters most.

For some people, to be able to achieve all their ambitions, to do whatever they like to do and enjoy whatever they want to enjoy is what matters most.

For some people, to accumulate wealth and power is what matters most.

For some people, they want to have all and everything, if possible.

For some people they don’t know what they want or what matters most.

For some people, they thought they know what they want and what matters most, but not really.

There’s neither right nor wrong, it’s just about what matter to oneself in the end.

For those who practice yoga and meditation, to live in the present being free from desires of craving and aversion, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism and the suffering of the consequences of ignorance and egoism, is what matters most.

For many people, “If people don’t kill themselves out of tiredness, restlessness, unhappiness, depression, dissatisfaction, disappointment, loneliness, boredom, hurts, guilt, regret, painful sorrow and meaninglessness, and be grateful for being alive and appreciating life, family and friends, be positive keep on fighting for the values of life or what they think is ‘humanity’, try to create or contribute to a ‘better world’, and be optimistic never give up searching for happiness, satisfaction and meaningfulness through engaging in ‘constructive’ ideas/objects/relationships/friendships/activities in this impermanent worldly life existence, it’s good enough for existing as a ‘human being’.”

There’s nothing wrong with passionate worldly desires/ambitions/relationships/activities, as it’s what most people think and believe what (lively and meaningful) life existence is about. In the end, it’s what matters most to oneself.

Meanwhile, for those who sincerely want to practice yoga and realize yoga, silencing/annihilating the mind to attain Self-realization to know the truth of the mind/thyself/what the mind thinks is ‘I’, or liberation from ignorance/suffering, is what matters most.

Stop feeding worldly passionate thinking/beliefs/ideas/objects/ambitions/social interactions/activities/relationships/desires to the mind, to annihilate the idea of ‘I’ existing in a selfless worldly life existence of the objects of the senses of impermanent names and forms, is the essence of the traditional yoga practice. For many people, including yoga practitioners and yoga teachers, would perceive this kind of yoga practice of dispassionate/disinterest towards ‘worldly life of ambitions, enjoyments, relationships, interactions and activities’, and renouncing ‘worldly social affair and family life’ as ‘lifelessness’ or ‘meaninglessness’, and they would not like to practice ‘this kind’ of yoga.

One can think and believe that one has been practicing many different types of yoga practice for some time or a long time, and receiving the many benefits of the regular and persist ‘yoga practice’, but at the same time, the mind is still very much engaging/entangling in the passionate worldly life of worldly affairs/objects/activities/thinking/beliefs/ideas/ambitions/relationships/desires under the influence of egoism of attachment and identification towards certain qualities of names and forms, then this mind is not free, even though one might feel good, happy and satisfied with having certain desirable achievements and relationships in the present, upon coming in contact with the qualities of names and forms that the mind likes and desires, and not coming in contact with the qualities of names and forms that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t desire.

Some yoga practitioners would think and believe that they are quite ‘dispassionate’ and ‘being unattached’ towards all the worldly affairs/contacts/objects/ideas/relationships/activities/interactions while they are living/mingling among the society/community and actively engaging in ‘what/how all ‘good, normal and healthy’ human beings do in everyday life.’

If one wants to know the truth of one’s mind, one can practice serious solitude and seclusion for at least 5 to 6 years, being away from all kinds of worldly affairs/contacts/ideas/objects/activities/relationships/interactions, and one will see the truth of this mind. Fear, doubt, loneliness, emptiness, boredom and meaninglessness kick in and most minds will want to run away from the practice of solitude and seclusion after a prolonged period of time due to the under current of ignorance and subtle attachment and identification towards worldly life of names and forms. They will tell themselves and others that it’s not necessary to practice solitude and seclusion as part of the yoga practice, and it’s better and more meaningful to practice yoga of living a ‘good, normal and healthy’ everyday life just like all the other ‘normal’ human beings, building relationships and accumulating friendships, enjoying and engaging in worldly interactions and activities, mingling into the society to ‘serve other beings’, do some work to make a living, do some yoga and breathing exercises, do some meditation practice, do some healthy recreation activities, go for holidays from time to time to unwind.

“Helping/sharing with others makes me happy, good family relationships and friendships makes me happy, being with family and good friends makes me happy, experiencing or doing this makes me happy. They give me the sense of meaningfulness in life existence.” What happens when all the ‘names and forms’ that make me happy and give me the sense of meaningfulness changed into something else and is no longer available?

Some people had the ability and opportunity to do all the things that they wanted to do, went and travel everywhere that they wanted to go, met with many other people and experienced many different cultures, obtained the vast knowledge of many things in this world, attained great success in their career and had a nice family and friends circle and wide social networks, being admired by many people in the world, had a comfortable lifestyle, but still, the mind was not free from suffering.

Be free.

The path of renunciation

This teaching is for those who wish to attain liberation from suffering deriving from ignorance, egoism and impurities. Those who want to spend their entire life time into attaining a good and comfortable life and be contented with the attainment of a good and comfortable life don’t need this teaching.

For those who are not free yet, ‘friends’ or ‘association with worldly minded people’ can be one of the great obstacles on the path of yoga and meditation, as the impure minds will easily be influenced or determined by someone or something, unwittingly. For those who are free, they can mix freely into the society without being influenced or determined by anyone or anything.

One should not be overly confident with oneself being uninfluenced or undetermined by others, thinking that one is capable to juggle between worldly busy social life activities and one’s yoga practice, as the very advanced practitioners also would not guarantee that their minds can be completely free to mix into the society without being influenced at all by anything.

Living in the society with all the modern higher technologies, communications, conveniences, comforts and pleasurable enjoyments of the senses, there will be ‘friends’ who will advice you not to take yoga and meditation practice seriously and encourage you to develop all sorts of passionate desires and worldly ambitions, and taking your time and energy away from yoga and meditation practice of silencing the mind to be actively getting involve with social mingles, interactions and activities, pursuing worldly ambitions and the gratification of passionate desires.

There are also many other ‘spirituality/yoga enthusiasts’ nowadays might also give you many ‘other alternative’ suggestions other than the traditional practice of self-discipline or self-control, of renunciation and restraining the mind activities/modification.

Many people, including those who think they love yoga and meditation practice, aren’t aware of the downfall effect of egoistic attachment and identification towards a worldly life existence of putting importance and values into nurturing a ‘good and meaningful’ worldly life of worldly ambitions, passionate desires, social mingles, interactions and activities. To them, all these worldly passions, ideas, objects, values and activities are the normal, the right, the positive and meaningful way of life. That’s their freedom of thinking and belief.

For people who realize/know the root cause of all the worldly problems and suffering of mankind is nothing but the mind is functioning under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and so, they renounce such ‘normal’, ‘good’ and ‘meaningful’ worldly life of names and forms by retracting from nurturing worldly ambitions, passionate desires, social mingles, interactions and activities, and divert the time, effort, energy and focus into silencing/annihilating the mind to attain liberation from the mind perception of such a fleeting embodied life existence. But, such a ‘noble’ way of life is being perceived by the worldly minded people as ‘abnormal’, ‘weird’, ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, or ‘meaningless’.

And hence, the worldly minded people, including many yoga and meditation enthusiasts would strongly disagree with and discourage about the practice of renunciation from the worldly life of family, friends, relatives, relationships and society/community, of social mingles, interactions and activities, or the practice of seclusion and solitude and silencing/annihilating the mind.

For the worldly minded people who attached onto and identified with the worldly life of mind perception of names and forms as ‘who they are’, it’s so wrong or crazy not to interact with or talk to other human beings. They can’t live for a day, or a few hours of not coming in contact with, not interacting with, or not talking to another human being. They will become crazy. They suffer from endless boredom and loneliness. They try to get involve in many physical or mental or verbal activities and interactions with other(s) to escape boredom and loneliness. They say this is ‘love’, and so, they have to be actively connected or interacting with ‘someone’ or ‘something’. Or else they will feel lack of love or absence of love in themselves, or in their life, or in the society/the world. If they go to attend ‘silent meditation retreat’, they would be so confused and disturbed by how come everyone keeps their head down, not looking at each other, not touching each other, not responding to other people’s ‘friendliness’, and not talking, working, playing, interacting or communicating with one another.

While some people also say, “Yoga is love.” and thus they share ‘love’ with many people ‘unlimitedly’, by getting into uncommitted lustful ‘love/intimate’ relationship with many people at the same time. “We love, comfort and support each other. We don’t get into committed couple relationship. We don’t want to possess each other. We don’t want to be selfish. Love is for all. We should be free to love/be intimate with as many people as we like.” so they said. That is not Yoga. It’s mere passion and lust. You will see married/unmarried ‘yoga teachers’ getting into love/intimate relationship with the yoga student or many different yoga students. There’s no self-restraint or self-control at all. And they justify that it’s yoga of love and sharing.

That’s why in the serious spiritual constitutions, people are not allowed to be touching/hugging one another, because most minds are not pure and are not free from lustful desire, craving and clinging. There will be many ‘corrupted misconducts’ arising here and there. But, the worldly minded people can’t understand this at all.

This observation of ‘non-touching’ or ‘non-hugging’ is strongly disagreed by the worldly minded ‘good and loving’ people, including some ‘yoga enthusiasts’ who believe in all human beings should somehow physically contacting with some other human beings or animals, constantly touching and hugging one another, to be giving and receiving ‘love’, or else people ‘could be sick’ or ‘even die’ from the absence of ‘love’ due to lack of touching or hugging from other human beings, so they think and believe, and so they become, being conditioned by that thinking. They might feel much better or even be ‘cured’ from certain sickness after being touched or hugged by some others. That’s their freedom of thinking and belief. But, it’s not the truth. Why? Those who are not conditioned by this thinking, won’t be sick or die from the absence of touching or hugging from some other beings. And no matter ‘touching’ or ‘hugging’, or not, everyone will have to face death eventually, alone, by oneself.

Buddha and many saints and sages renounced worldly life and relationships for many years, they didn’t die of isolation and solitude, but they attained enlightenment, or certain degrees of freedom from suffering. They walked the middle path, neither too tight nor too loose. It meant to be neither torturing the body nor pampering the body while performing practice or Sadhana of purifying and restraining the mind activities/thought-current/modification. One must know how to eat well and eat enough, and not taking extreme fasting or fussy about food variety or overly eating. One must know how to rest or sleep well, not too much or too little. One must know how to perform the Sadhana in balance, not too much or too little. One must know how to balance between resting and training the body and the mind. One must know how to conserve energy for performing Sadhana. One must know how to turn the outgoing mind inward by refraining from over-stimulation and restlessness of chasing after the objects of the senses. And thus the path of renunciation from worldly ambitions, passionate desires, social mingles, interactions and activities is very crucial to free the mind from over-stimulation and restlessness and to conserve energy for Sadhana.

Whether people want to be conditioned by particular thinking and belief, or not, it’s their freedom of choice. While yoga and meditation practice is to free the mind from being conditioned by any thinking or belief. As the truth is not a thinking or belief, it’s just what things are, or seeing things as they are.

Upon the realization of unconditional love, all beings are love itself. This is pure love or unconditional love, not the conditional passionate lustful loving affection under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities. One will never be lack of love. One doesn’t need to be receiving or sharing ‘love’ from someone, or something, or somewhere, to feel ‘love’, to have ‘love’, to accumulate ‘love’.

If the ‘love’ can be lacking, absent, increasing or decreasing, appearing or disappearing, that is conditional passionate ‘love’.

Many people, including yoga enthusiasts, say, “I have abundance of love. If you don’t have love or you are unloved, I’ll give or share with you some of my love, and you will have love and be loved.”
Real yoga practitioners or yoga teachers say, “You are love itself. You just need to realize this. You don’t need love from me or anyone or God, to make you feel loved or have love.”

The greatest effort and true contribution one can give to the world for the sake of humanity, is working diligently to attain self-realization through transcending the mind and its modification of a worldly life existence by limiting or restraining the mind from association with worldly objects, ideas, thinking, belief, values and activities, or human beings who attached strongly onto all these worldly names and forms.

Be very patient, without any expectation to realize anything. After some time being isolated from all these worldly names and forms, the mind starts to realize the ‘unrealistic’ of the worldly life existence of all those names and forms, thinking, belief and behavior. Though be vigilant. There might be some practitioners who haven’t realize anything even though they practice renunciation for some time, they would become more passionate and lustful than they were before, after a few years being ‘refrained’ from worldly ideas, objects, activities, interactions and beings. This is because they are lack of the foundation of Yama, Niyama, Viveka, Vairagya, Shatsampat and Mumukshutva.

Before the mind attains final dissolution/disintegration, it’s utmost important to reduce or minimize or refrain from coming in contact with worldly minded passionate people or ‘good friends’ who would pull you away from the path of silencing the mind, but encourage you to put importance into stimulating your mind into endless restlessness, passion, anger, lust, desires, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride and heroism, by nurturing endless worldly ambitions and passionate desires, and engaging in social mingles, interactions and activities.

A good and comfortable life condition also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and all kinds of painful sorrow, fear, or suffering. Advanced or developed countries endowed with higher education opportunity and higher technologies also doesn’t guarantee the people’s mind or thinking are free from selfishness, fear, discrimination, racism, anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, bias, violence, crime, corruption, exploitation, or be free from conflicts or wars. Even among the so called spiritual or morality emphasized constitutions also are not free from such impurities due to the great influence of ignorance and egoism.

Contemplate on this, if one really wants more peace and harmony in the world –

Those who are able to ‘let go’ the world, can do more work for the world efficiently, out of compassion, in peace, without attachment, identification, craving/aversion, judgment or expectation. Those who passionately ‘love’ the world very much and couldn’t let go the world, as they think and believe that it is selfish and wrong to ‘not care’ for the world that is not the way that they like it to be, and out of frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurt, fear, anger and hatred towards what is happening in the world that they don’t like, don’t want and don’t agree with, that they think is bad or wrong, they can’t really help the world to be better or more peaceful, as they generate so much tension/impurities in themselves and into the environment, even though they try to perform ‘good and righteous’ actions that they think and strongly believe that are ‘benefiting’ or ‘helping’ the world.

What’s the point of provoking other people’s anger and hatred through social media and some other platforms so that all those mentally and emotionally disturbed, angry and hating people can support our cause of “Trying to bring ‘goodness, peace and harmony’ into the world?” Or, perhaps, bringing ‘goodness, peace and harmony’ into the world is not our intention/goal at all, but merely to get enough supporters to gratify our desire of achieving a ‘perfect’ world that we prefer, the way that we like it to be, even if it’s achieved by creating more disturbs, anger and hatred in the society towards the things that we don’t like and don’t want, in order to get the supports that we need to make the world to be the way that we like it to be and not to be the way that we don’t want it to be.

Just like being disagreeable and angry with the parents who discipline/punish their children out of disagreement and anger, and we want to discipline/punish these parents for disciplining/punishing their children out of being disagreeable and angry with their children?

The sun, the moon, all the planets, the water, the earth, the air/wind, the space don’t interfere with one another, although unintentionally/unwittingly, they are influencing or inter-related to one another. If there is individual-will of egoism in them to ‘interfere’ or ‘control’ or ‘over-power’ each other, the universe can’t be here at all. “I want the universe to be like this.” “No. I want the universe to be like that.” “NO. I want the universe to be the way that I think it should be!”

It’s everyone’s freedom whether to practice yoga and meditation, or not, and what they want to do with their life existence of the body and mind.