What is freedom in yoga?

Freedom in yoga might not be the freedom that many would be interested in or looking for, as it opposes to what worldly freedom is about. To obtain this freedom in yoga it requires tremendous self-discipline, self-restriction, renunciation, seclusion, solitude, silence, will-power, determination and forbearance, where most people would prefer to live and enjoy a worldly passionate life (of eat, sleep, play, talk, enjoyment, stimulation, social interaction, building relationships, building self-esteem, empowerment of a personal identity, lust and reprocreate) than to live a life of desire-less, renunciation, seclusion, solitude, silence, self-discipline and self-restriction.

In the worldly thinking and belief, freedom might mean unrestricted freedom of thinking, action and speech, freedom of religion, freedom of going places, freedom of living a quality of life that I like it to be, and freedom of being free to be who I think I am or who I want to be.

There’s nothing wrong when people feel happy, confident and meaningful if they are living a quality of life the way that they like it to be or the way that they think it should be. There’s no suffering if one doesn’t attach onto the happy feelings, confidence and meaningfulness that derived from a quality of life that they like very much. But if one has attachment towards the happy feelings, confidence and meaningfulness that derived from a quality of life that they like very much, then there will be suffering when impermanence strikes, as life changes into something else and one is being separated from the life or people whom they love every much. And it’s okay, as people think and believe this is what life is about – swaying in between happiness and grief. But there are those who would choose to realize unconditional peace to be free from this restlessness of swaying in between happiness and grief.

In yoga, freedom is when the mind is completely be free from ignorance and egoism, not being conditioned or limited by any particular worldly cultural, social, religious and personal thinking and belief, being free from worldly attachment, identification, and passionate desires of craving and aversion. There’s no attachment and identification to be ‘somebody’ whom I think I am or whom I want to be. This freedom exists in all and everyone when the mind is ready to let go of worldly conditioned thinking and belief, and egoism of attachment, identification and passionate desires of craving and aversion.

People might have come in contact with some forms of teachings that would lead one to attain this freedom from ignorance and egoism, but not many are interested in obtaining this freedom. Meanwhile those who might be interested in this freedom, but they might not be determined enough to let go all the worldly conditioned thinking and belief, attachments, identifications and passionate desires of craving and aversion.

This freedom is nothing to do with whether one believes or disbelieves in God and spirituality, whether one has or doesn’t have a religion and religious practice, whether one does or doesn’t do ‘good actions’ and ‘bad actions’, whether one is being recognized as ‘good person’ or ‘bad person’, ‘happy being’ or ‘unhappy being’, ‘intelligent being’ or ‘unintelligent being’.

Just like the breath. It’s universal disregard all the different qualities of names and forms of all beings. It doesn’t belong to any particular thinking and belief, physical condition/ability/limitation, state of the mind, race, skin colour, language spoken, intellectual level, culture, religion, personality, talent, skill, creativity, behavior, education and social background.

All and everyone can realize this freedom without any discrimination towards all the different qualities of names and forms. What stops people from realizing this freedom is the deep rooted ignorance and egoism that hold them back from moving towards the life of desire-less, self-discipline and self-restriction.

One who practices yoga stops feeding the egoism of one’s mind as well as others’ minds. One could understand this naturally even without a teacher when one begins to observe the practice of silence. That is what yoga practice is all about – Starving the ego, until the ego is completely annihilated. But not many people would take seriously about the practice of silence and about stop feeding the egoism or starving the egoism, as people might not know what is the practice of silence and what is stop feeding the egoism or starving the egoism.

Without certain degrees of renunciation from worldly family/social life, it’s not easy for the mind to observe silence when there are always people around, especially family and friends, who want/expect to engage in communication and interaction and all sorts of worldly activities. Those who believe in ‘family and friends’ is the most important thing in life might not understand the greatness of the practice of renunciation/silence, and might criticize the practice of renunciation/silence as a form of selfishness/irresponsibility/inhumanity. Only a few could understand that renunciation and the practice of silence is indeed a great noble action, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to be kind to all beings without discrimination and to serve humanity, selflessly and compassionately.

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May all be free…

All kinds of suffering, unrest, ignorance, selfishness, unjust, violence, dissatisfaction, disappointment, and fear will always exist in the perception of names and forms in the worldly life existence of the ignorant and egoistic minds.

Buddha taught living beings how to be free from suffering.

Buddha didn’t teach living beings how to make the world of names and forms to be free from all kinds of suffering or unhappiness. Or Wishing there will only be desirable, pleasant and happy experiences, and no undesirable, unpleasant and unhappy experiences in the world of impermanent names and forms.

Buddha taught living beings to purify one’s mind, cultivate one’s kindness, to refrain oneself from evil thinking, action and speech.

Buddha didn’t teach living beings to ‘purify’ other beings’ mind, to make other beings to cultivate kindness, or to make other beings to refrain from evil thinking, action and speech.

As the world is just what it is. It is neither a suffering place nor a non-suffering place.

Suffering derives from ignorant of the truth and egoism.

To be free from suffering, one works on eliminating ignorance and egoism from one’s mind.

As the perception of the worldly life existence is not outside the mind. It’s within the mind.

Purify and tame one’s mind, and be free.

The world of impermanent names and forms will still be what it is. All other beings will still be what they are. But, one is free from suffering for being free from ignorance and egoism while living in the world of impermanent names and forms.

This is not selfish.

No one can change another being.

One might can influence others to work on their own salvation when oneself is fully purified and be free from ignorance and egoism, without the intention to change other beings or change the world to be the way that the egoistic mind desires, or thinks how it should be.

Purifying and taming one’s mind is the greatest contribution towards humanity and world peace and harmony.

May all be free…

How to help other beings who are in suffering?

To be able to help other beings to be free from all kinds of suffering in this world of impermanence, ourselves must first be free.

To be free from suffering is none other than to annihilate the egoism, practice non-attachment, let go of identification and desires of craving and aversion, go beyond all the names and forms, be free from ignorance, seeing the truth of things as they are, make use of this body and mind for attaining emancipation or Self-realization, and to perform selfless actions through this life existence.

Everyone must work hard independently by themselves through their own effort, concentration and determination to be free from ignorance, the root cause of all sufferings.

When we see other beings being in physical, mental and emotional suffering, and out of compassion, we might want to help as much as we can, to provide financial, medical, moral, physical, mental and emotional supports. But, all these supports have certain limitation. We might feel frustrated, disappointed, angry and depressed about situation that is out of our ability and control, or the reality is not the way that how we like it to be.

Whether the experiences that we go through in this life existence are pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad, joyful or sorrowful, easy or hard, all experiences are here to allow us to work on personal evolution and emancipation.

By letting go of egoism, attachment, identification and expectation, there’s no clinging or craving towards the pleasant or desirable experiences, there’s no aversion towards the unpleasant or undesirable experiences. The mind will be resting in a state of equanimity being free from all sorts of impurities like anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, distraction, agitation, depression, feelings of hurt, guilt, regret, ill-will, ill-thinking, fear, worry, and etc. An equanimous mind allows itself to perceive or reflect the truth of names and forms as they are, without being disturbed, or influenced, or determined by all the different qualities of name and form, whether they are pleasant or unpleasant. There’s no attachment onto all the perceptions of name and form.

This is not the same as those who are mean, hard and cold, without thoughtfulness, sympathy or empathy towards other beings difficulties or suffering.

If we are not free from ignorance, then even though we think we are quite intelligent, knowledgeable, skillful and compassionate beings, and we want to help other beings who are suffering all kinds of difficult conditions and situations, we can’t eliminate all the sufferings in the entire world due to many limitations of a worldly life existence. If we have attachment and expectation, we will be in a state of frustration, disappointment, depression and anger.

Everyone has the right and their own reasons to perform actions, or not, to decide what they want and don’t want.

Nobody can condemn another for what they think and believe, what they do and don’t do, what they want and don’t want, what they agree and don’t agree with.

Just like when somebody decides not to have any children in life due to certain reasons, that is his or her freedom of choice. No one can condemn this person for not wanting to have children.

If people want to have many children of their own and also love to adopt some other children who don’t have parents, or a family, or a home, within or exceed their capability, that is their freedom of choice. No one can condemn them for wanting many children. We have to take the responsibility for our decision to be having these children, and to provide and support them until they are independent. We also have to endure all the hardships that may arise due to the responsibility that we have committed ourselves into.

Untrained minds are unpredictable. A mind used to be very calm, positive, happy and kind might lose its balance under extreme condition, situation, pressure and desperation. One might be over-powered by selfish desires or survival instinct, loses its calmness and will abandon morality, self-control and righteousness, and commit violence or immoral behavior.

The best charity we can give to all beings is not about giving food, shelter, emotional and educational support, so that everyone can have the ability to make a living to feed themselves, or having the opportunity to have their own home and build a family, or having a sufficient comfortable living, or having higher education, but it’s the knowledge of how to be free from ignorance and suffering, to be able to live in peace and harmony from within, undetermined by any qualities of name and form, having the ability to maintain equanimity and clarity of mind, being free from the influence of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, ill-will, violence, or fear, under any circumstances, condition and situation.

As even by having opportunity in life to grow and improve, and knowing how to make a living to feed ourselves, or having a comfortable living and higher education, it doesn’t guarantee that we will be peaceful and live in harmony, if we are not free from ignorance. There’s no guarantee that once a being is being provided with the basic need for survival, this being will also be free from ignorance, egoism, attachment, craving, aversion, desires, greed, anger, hatred, dissatisfaction, disappointment, jealousy, offensiveness, defensiveness, violence, ill-will, fear and worry.

When a being is free from ignorance, then it doesn’t matter what is the life experience, or how is the life condition, or how is the environment, this being is not being affected, or disturbed, or influenced, or determined by all the impermanent pleasant and unpleasant experiences of the body and mind. When the mind is free from desires of craving and aversion, there’s no clinging onto life existence, there’s no suffering even though life can be really difficult and life threatening. This being will be able to confront any condition and situation calmly and patiently, and doesn’t crave for or expect any forms of assistance and support. This being doesn’t need to be free from suffering, as there’s none.

Om shanti.

Compassion and yoga practice

“It’s not easy to be free from the ego and the side products of the egoism like anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurt, fear and worry… But, keep practice. Keep letting go as much as we can. Try our best. No judgment. No expectation. Just keep practice and keep trying… And from time to time, without any expectation, we will see that our mind has changed its thinking pattern and reactions towards all the names and forms that it perceives through the senses due to the enhanced self-awareness, self-control and self-discipline… All our practice and efforts are not wasted.”

In the beginning, the ego might be very hard and stubborn. Through ceaseless practice, this ego will be soften and less stubborn. Eventually this ego will ‘dissolve’ completely, and the mind will be free from egoism, and just being what it is.

Anger is a by-product of the egoism. They exist together. Unless the egoism is completely gone, there will always be anger manifests in the mind from time to time whenever the mind experiences or perceives something that the ego doesn’t like, doesn’t want and disagrees with. Same as all the other impurities like hatred, greed, jealousy, stinginess, fear, worry, pride, arrogance, feelings of hurt, feelings of guilt, agitation, depression, dissatisfaction, disappointment, and so on, are all the by-products of the egoism.

Anger is not a negative or bad thing. It is neither good nor bad.

We were often being told by some other people that anger is not good, that we should not express anger as it will hurt ourselves and others. There is some truth in this saying, but, we were not told how to deal with anger, or how to be free from anger. We tend to suppress anger, and this doesn’t help at all, but instead it may cause further damage to ourselves (mental and physical health) and eventually it will become the main cause of conflict in our relationships with others.

The existence of anger allows us to know what is compassion.

If we don’t have self-awareness and self-control, then when our mind is over-powered by anger, we might be doing or saying something violent and hurtful that might hurt ourselves and others under the influence of this anger, which we might regret afterwards when our mind calms down.

If we have self-awareness and self-control, we will know how to be aware of anger when it manifests in the mind, acknowledge it and observe it with compassion towards ourselves and others so that we don’t generate actions and speech that will hurt ourselves and others. Be acknowledged that this mind is disturbed and upset in this present moment, and it’s okay. Knowing that this is impermanent. Without pushing away or suppressing this anger or agitation. Without identification with this anger. Without feeding or strengthening this anger with further negative thinking. Without judgment about this mind or this anger is not good, or it’s bad. Without expectation towards this mind that it has to be good and calm all the time, and anger shouldn’t exist in the mind at all. We allow this anger to be there, change and pass away, without being over-powered or influenced by it. Without hurting ourselves and others. In this way, we won’t be generating and accumulating tension into the body and mind.

Compassion is yoga practice. It’s the entire yoga practice.

For example, when someone is unhappy, dissatisfied and agitated, is showing anger to us, and blames us for his/her unhappiness, dissatisfaction and frustration. There might be two reactions coming from our minds –

1.) This being (I), the ego feels being victimized, attacked and hurt, and will react like this – ‘I’ did nothing wrong. ‘I’ don’t deserve to be treated like this. Why are you angry with me? It’s not my fault. Do not be angry with me. Angry is evil behavior. You shouldn’t be angry. You shouldn’t express your anger. And now, I am disturbed by your bad behavior, I am really ‘angry’ and ‘upset’ with you for you being angry and upset with me.

This is selfish thinking and reaction of self-protection without correct understanding of the mind and its modifications.

There’s no compassion in this being (I). Only selfish thinking and concerns about ‘I’ and ‘my feelings’.

This doesn’t help the person who is angry and unhappy to stop being angry and unhappy, and it doesn’t help this person to come out from the suffering of anger and unhappiness. As ourselves, are also influenced by ignorance and egoism, we are not free.

2.) The egoless and compassionate mind of this being (I) is aware of this person is suffering, is disturbed, unhappy and upset. Even though it is not the fault of this being (I), it is okay for this person to express his/her anger and unhappiness onto this being (I). He/she might get some reliefs from the tension of anger and unhappiness to a certain extend. Allow this person to express and behave as he/she is. This egoless mind is undisturbed, unaffected, undetermined, unhurt by this person’s expression and behavior out of anger and unhappiness. Without judgment towards this person as bad person, or judging this behavior as wrong or bad. Without expectation that this person should not be angry or unhappy, or shouldn’t express anger and unhappiness. Without identification as a victim of other people’s anger and unhappiness. Allow this person to express freely what is disturbing or upsetting him/her. Embrace him/her as he/she is, especially when his/her mind is disturbed, unhappy and frustrated. Being compassionate towards this being who is in suffering.

When this person starts to calm down as the anger and unhappiness fade away, this person might be able to see the truth of what is really happening, and be aware of the unconditional love coming from this being (I), and starts to be compassionate towards oneself and others, by seeing the truth of anger and unhappiness is coming from our own egoism, it’s not coming from anyone or anything that we dislike and disagree with. This person might start to be aware of the mind and the reactions of the mind, to develop self-awareness and self-control, and stop hurting oneself and others out of any impurities that manifest in the mind from time to time, due to the reactions of the ego towards the objects of names and forms that it doesn’t like, doesn’t want and disagrees with.

This might help someone who is suffering to come out from suffering.

Even if this person doesn’t come out from suffering after we showed compassion towards him/her, it’s okay. There’s no attachment, no judgment, no expectation. Let it be.

This is compassion. This is our yoga practice.

Keep trying and keep practicing. Soften the ego, and there will be less such reactions and impurities to arise in the mind. And upon the annihilation of the ego, there will be no such egoistic reactions in the mind for any impurities to arise in the mind, to influence the mind to behave violently and hurtfully towards oneself and others.

Om shanti.

Contribution to the society begins with the realization of unconditional love and peace in oneself…

When one realizes the truth of names and forms, and has gone beyond all the qualities of names and forms, realizes unconditional love and peace in oneself, then naturally one radiates love and peace into the world, without intention, desire, identification, attachment, prejudice or discrimination.

Just by being oneself as it is, have love and peace in oneself, have self-awareness and self-control, being free from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and impurities of pride, arrogance, anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, fear, worry, dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurt and guilt, violence, agitation, depression, judgment, expectation, prejudice, discrimination and etc, is the greatest contribution to the society.

One won’t be intentionally generate ill-thinking, ill-will, actions or speech that will promote unpeacefulness and disharmony in oneself and in others (human beings and non-human beings) who are sharing this space of the universe.

Whether one is able to be physically performing actions that will bring different types of selfless contribution to the society or not, it is something that will happen naturally as it is.

One who is free from ignorance and egoism is free from intention to be doing good or bad. Just like the elements of fire, water, wind, earth and ether. There’s no desire nor intention to benefit anyone nor to destroy anything, and yet, everything exists and stop existing influenced by these elements.

If we think we will be good enough if we are performing some actions or can have the opportunity to do something that we think is ‘contribution’ to the society, and we are not good enough if we are not performing some actions or can’t have the opportunity to do something that we think is ‘contribution’ to the society, then we are not free yet. Although by having such thinking will motivate us to be performing certain actions or to do something that will bring benefits to the society. But that is nothing to do with realization of the truth and be free from ignorance and egoism.

We can be performing none, or a little, or a lot of ‘selfless actions’ in this world, but there’s no intention, attachment, identification, desires, judgment or expectation towards all these actions and inactions. It doesn’t make us ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It doesn’t determine us to be ‘happy’ or unhappy, to feel ‘meaningful’ or ‘meaningless’.

Be free.