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.