Go beyond self-esteem and self-worth

For those who are not really interested in the path of yoga, they don’t need to ‘practice yoga’. People can just live everyday life as they are, don’t need to do anything to purify the mind, to render the mind quiet, to free the mind from the influence of worldly egoistic ideas, thinking, belief, behavior, action and reaction, to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance – egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering.

People can continue being passionate towards improving the quality of a worldly life that mostly emphasize on the gratification of the desires of wants and don’t wants.

From young to old, it’s all about developing and enhancing the qualities of name and form that the thinking mind attached onto and identifies as ‘I’, to carry on or adopt a particular cultural/religious/spiritual belief and practice that influence the way of life, to be ‘educated’, to accumulate ‘knowledge’, ‘skills’ and ‘qualifications’, to empower a high self-esteem and self-worth that builds on personality, confidence, self-image, body image, charm and attractiveness, physical and mental ability and achievement, to be accumulating relationships and friendships, to broadening social networks, to establish a livelihood and a social/community life, to enjoy sights/sounds/tastes/smells/sensations/imagination, to aspire and be inspired, to fall in love, to find a life partner or some lovers, to reprocreate, to build a family, to enjoy easier and more comfortable life, to contribute to the society or the country or the world, to attain acknowledgement, recognition, support, praise and compliments, to attain ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, purpose, pride, happiness, joyfulness, blessedness, gladness and meaningfulness.

For those who sincerely want to practice yoga and realize yoga, then go beyond a worldly life that emphasizes on developing and enhancing ‘self-esteem’ and ‘self-worth’ that derived from ignorance and egoism that feed on worldly ideas, thinking, beliefs and practice.

The necessity or importance of developing and enhancing ‘self-esteem’, ‘self-worth’, ‘confidence’, ‘self-image’, ‘body image’, ‘charm and attractiveness’, ‘physical and mental ability and achievement’, ‘the sense of existence/purpose/meaningfulness’, and etc, are nothing but the play of ignorance and egoism.

The sense of self-esteem and self-worth that builds on the qualities of names and forms, such as “I know something”, “I can do something”, “I achieved something”, “I am good”, “I look good”, “I feel good”, “I am strong”, “I am healthy”, “I have family and friends”, “I am contributing something”, “I am acknowledged and supported”, “My life/career/relationship is good and meaningful” and so on, is conditional and impermanent. It will break.

Yoga practitioners are supposed to eliminate the egoism and not empowering the egoism. It’s the ego that needs to have a high self-esteem to achieve ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, acknowledgement, self-worth, confidence, purpose, or meaningfulness. And thus it performs actions out of intention and aspiration. It attached onto and identifies with its actions and the fruit of actions. It is being determined and bound by the actions and the fruit of actions.

For those who are aware of this, actions are being performed out of compassion, without the need/aspiration of ‘developing’ and ‘enhancing’ self-esteem to achieve ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, acknowledgement, self-worth, confidence, purpose, or meaningfulness. Though that is what most people including highly educated and intelligent minds strongly believe in and are practicing, and that’s their freedom.

“Well done!”

“That’s very good!”

“You should be proud of yourself!”

“I am so proud of you!”

Most people think and believe that all these words are very essential positive encouragement and acknowledgement towards somebody’s achievement to enhance their self-esteem and self-worth, so that they will be motivated to strive harder to improve and be better, to attain continuous positive feedback and acknowledgement, to attain the sense of self-worth, accomplishment, purpose, meaningfulness. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Those who are free from ignorance and egoism don’t need any ‘positive words of encouragement or acknowledgement’ from anyone to motivate them to perform actions that will benefit all and everyone, and are not disturbed or discouraged by any ‘negative words of discouragement or non-acknowledgement’ to be continuing performing actions that will benefit all and everyone.

‘Yoga teachers’ who truly teach yoga in the yoga class don’t empower the egoism in the yoga students but to allow the students to develop correct understanding and direct experience towards the practice of yoga to eliminate the egoism.

By constantly giving the students ‘positive words of encouragement’ out of “good intention to encourage and motivate the students to be good, do good, to improve and be better” because the teacher thinks and believes that “the students who haven’t developed non-craving and non-attachment would be discouraged or lack of motivation to be good and do good, or to improve in their practice, if the teacher doesn’t give any ‘positive words of encouragement’ to the students”, don’t help to eliminate the egoism, but instead will only be empowering the egoism in the students. And if the students have already developed non-craving and non-attachment towards any kind of ‘positive words of encouragements’, then, ‘positive words of encouragements’ are needless in such yoga classes, as the students don’t need to hear any ‘positive words of encouragements’ to motivate them to be good, do good and to improve, neither the students will be discouraged or lack of motivation to perform their practice, to be good, do good and to improve, if the teacher never give any form of ‘positive words of encouragements.’

Be free.

Advertisements

Be free from all kinds of craving and clinging

Though this is the very basic teaching and practice of yoga, many people are not free from certain forms of physical, mental and emotional craving and clinging, both gross (aware) and subtle (unaware). It’s a practice that seems to be challenging or struggling for many yoga practitioners, including ‘yoga teachers’, mostly those who are passionate towards worldly life existence of an individual being with a personal identity and most probably at least one or a few group/community identity under the influence of worldly cultural and social ideas, activities, thinking and beliefs.

The minds that are not free from attachment and identification with some kind of impermanent qualities of names and forms as ‘I’, are not free from being determined by the presence/possession and absence/non-possession of certain qualities of names and forms to feel good, happy, confident and meaningful, or not.

There’s craving towards certain qualities of names and forms that the impure mind perceives or recognizes as ‘good’, ‘positive’, ‘well-deserving’, ‘acknowledgement’, ‘payback to one’s effort’, ‘higher standard’, ‘prideful’, ‘successful’, ‘lovable’, ‘joyful’ and ‘meaningful’, and there’s aversion towards certain qualities of names and forms that the impure mind perceives or recognizes as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘undeserving’, ‘non-acknowledgement’, ‘non-payback to one’s effort’, ‘lower standard’, ‘shameful’, ‘failure’, ‘unlovable’, ‘sorrowful’ and ‘meaningless’.

This is how most worldly minds think, believe, behave, live life, interact with one another, act and react, as most people/human beings grew up being taught/influenced by their parents, teachers, society and medias to develop a strong sense of ‘self-identity’ and ‘group identity’ attaching onto certain qualities of names and forms to be who they are, or who ‘I’ am. The entire life existence is very much based on upholding, or attaining, or possessing, or protecting, or passing down certain ‘values’ to feel happy, confident and meaningful, to live a proud, purposeful and meaningful life. Such as there’s nothing wrong when most minds would feel, think and believe that “It’s so good to practice yoga and it’s so meaningful to teach yoga to other people.” but the minds are not free.

It’s not easy for the minds to just ‘let go’ or ‘abandon’ all these identities of certain qualities that ‘generate’ the sense of ‘existence’ or more so the sense of ‘meaningful existence’, which is truly unnecessary to the liberated minds, but is upmost essential to the worldly impure minds.

There is the need of ‘aspiration’, ‘intention’, ‘motivation’, ‘inspiration’, ‘reward’, ‘encouragement’, ‘praise and compliment’, ‘recognition’, ‘acknowledgement’, ‘positive feedback’, ‘positive interaction’, ‘positive guidance’, and etc, for performing actions (of doing something that the mind perceives as ‘good’) or inactions (of not doing something that the mind perceives as ‘not good’).

As long as the mind is not free from this ‘worldly habitual thinking pattern’ under the influence of worldly thinking and belief where most people think and believe that there is a need of the existence of ‘positive beings’ to uplift/inspire ‘the other not so positive beings’ to ‘create’ a ‘positive world’, or there is a need of ‘spiritual beings with spiritual healing power’ or ‘magic pills’ to ‘heal’ all the ‘hurts’ or ‘take away’ all the painful sorrow and suffering of mankind, this mind will always be determined by the qualities of names and forms that are impermanent and selfless, and be disturbed by the absence and presence of what the worldly minds perceive as ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘positive and negative’, ‘appropriateness and inappropriateness’, ‘should and shouldn’t’, ‘auspiciousness and inauspiciousness’ and ‘meaningfulness and meaninglessness’.

The mind expects itself and everything that it identifies as ‘I’, such as ‘my body’, ‘my appearance’, ‘my ability’, ‘my mind’, ‘my belief’, ‘my feelings’, ‘my knowledge’, ‘my happiness’, ‘my confidence’, ‘my life’, or ‘my existence’ to be in certain ways that the mind desires, likes and agrees with, of the qualities that it craves to achieve, or possess, or identify with. The mind also expects others and everything that it relates to ‘I’, such as ‘my family’, ‘my relationship’, ‘my friends’, ‘my country’, ‘my community’, ‘my group’, ‘my world’, ‘my fellow human beings’, and so on, to be in certain ways that the mind desires, likes and agrees with. When things are not the way that the mind expects it to be, the mind feels disturbed, dissatisfied, disappointed, and either agitated or depressed.

Those who truly ‘help’ other beings to be free from ignorance the cause of suffering, they ‘guide’ the minds to become their own teacher, to be aware of what is going on in the mind, to inquire the truth of everything, and to attain self-realization, to be free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance – egoism and impurities empowered by worldly ideas, activities, thinking and beliefs.

Contemplate on “Positive thinking is a just a practice to counter negative thinking, but it’s not the goal of the yoga practice.” and “There’s nothing wrong with attaining good health and happy mind, but it’s not the goal of the yoga practice.” and go beyond positive thinking, good health and happy mind.

Realize this, “It’s okay when the mind is ‘negative or unhappy’ in the present moment, as even this state of ‘negativity or unhappiness’ is impermanent and will change. Without any intention or expectation to chase away the state of ‘negativity or unhappiness’ or to develop the state of ‘positivity and happiness’, without craving towards ‘positivity/happiness’ or aversion towards ‘negativity/unhappiness’, allowing the mind to be what it is, allow it to change as it is. The mind is just what it is. It is impermanent. It’s neither a positive nor negative mind, neither a happy nor unhappy mind. And it’s not ‘I’.”

Love and be kind to the mind as it is, even when it is negative or unhappy. This doesn’t mean that pampering the mind by gratifying all its desires, but be determined to free the mind from ignorance, impurities, egoism and suffering.

As long as there is an identity in the mind generates clinging/craving towards ‘positivity’ and aversion towards ‘negativity’, to change the mind to be the way that ‘I’ want it to be, the way that ‘I’ think it should be, the mind is not free, even though there’s nothing wrong with that. Instead of working on transforming a ‘negative mind’ into a ‘positive mind’, work on ‘being aware of what is going on in the mind, without attachment of craving and aversion towards all the ‘positive and negative’, ‘good and bad’, or ‘happy and unhappy’ thought activities as ‘I’. The mind doesn’t need to be ‘positive’, or ‘good’, or ‘happy’ when it is free from ignorance.

Practice yoga, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion and expectation, allowing the effects or the fruit of the practice to be there as it is. There’s no “I am doing the yoga practice and I will be receiving the effects or the fruit of the yoga practice.” The one who is free, or not free from ignorance, disturbs and suffering, it’s the mind. There’s no ‘I’ expects the mind will be free. The mind will be free as it is, when the idea of ‘I’ disappears.

Be free.

Self-esteem and confidence

Any issues regarding self-esteem and confidence shouldn’t and doesn’t need to be existing at all. But due to ignorance and egoism, many people depend on self-esteem and confidence to be who they are, to be happy and feel meaningful, or not. Many people are suffering from mild to severe low self-esteem or low confidence that leads to the sense of meaninglessness and depression. Even many mental and psychological related studies and professionals also preach, think and believe that the development and empowerment of self-esteem and confidence is very important in life existence as human beings and it’s the key to personal and global growth, success and happiness.

Real confidence has nothing to do with self-esteem or confidence that builds on physical appearance, condition, ability and achievement, or mental state, ability and achievement, or desirable and undesirable life experiences, or good and bad relationships with parents, family, friends and the rest of the world. It is beyond all these names and forms, when the mind has gone beyond the identification of what the mind thinks is ‘I’ and ‘my’, where this identification of ‘I’ and ‘my’ with the different qualities of names and forms is just a by-product of the worldly thinking and belief, or family, cultural, social and religious belief.

It’s the ego that feels it has to be good enough for something, or for somebody, or for oneself. It also feels that it might be not good enough for something, or for somebody, or for oneself, based on what the thinking and belief recognize as ‘good’ and ‘good enough’, or what is ‘self-esteem and confidence’, ‘success’, ‘happiness’ and ‘meaningfulness’, and the relationship between them, where most people think and believe that ‘high self-esteem and confidence’ is related to ‘success’, and ‘success’ is related to ‘happiness’, while ‘happiness’ is related to ‘meaningfulness’. And many people are suffering because of this thinking and belief or trying to live up to this thinking and belief for their entire life, and passing this thinking and belief from generation to generation.

It’s the idea of ‘I’, or the ego, that needs to feel good about oneself, and wants other people to perceive oneself as good enough, and needs to attain or possess certain qualities of names and forms to be identifying with, that would make one feels good and proud of oneself and also would make other people feel good and proud of oneself, in order to be happy and live life meaningfully.

And all these qualities of names and forms are impermanent and there is no ‘I’ to be found in any of these names and forms, or to be in control of the impermanent changes, to be the way that ‘I’ like it to be. No matter how much influences we can influence the condition of the physical body and the state of the mind, to maintain the function and the life span of the body and the mind, the body and mind will still have to go through inevitable changes of decay, old age, discomfort, illness, weakness, ceased functioning, and decompose, or death.

Once the mind fully understood this, it will be free from the bondage of self-esteem and confidence. There’s no ‘I’ being good or not good enough. There’s neither high nor low self-esteem. There’s neither high nor low confidence.

One doesn’t need to be somebody with particular appearance, condition, ability or achievement, or have certain good and positive life experiences, or good relationships with anyone, in order to feel confident, happy, satisfied or meaningful.

One can have and appreciate all the attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship that is available in the present, but one doesn’t need other people’s attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship in order to feel confident, love, happy or meaningful. If all these qualities of names and forms are not available, one is still happy and peaceful as one is. One doesn’t feel lack of something or missing out anything, or one is not good enough to deserve love, happiness and meaningfulness.

And that’s real confidence. One doesn’t need to be confident or satisfied about oneself at all. One doesn’t need to feel proud of oneself, and doesn’t need other people to feel proud of oneself, to be ‘I’, or the good ‘I’, the successful ‘I’, the happy ‘I’, the meaningful ‘I’. One is happy and peaceful as one is, without any identification with any quality as ‘I’.

There is no thinking or identification of “I am a good and kind human being. I want to do good and be kind and be able to contribute towards humanity.” but goodness, kindness and contribution towards humanity are being manifested and performed through the body and mind out of wisdom and compassion.

If one doesn’t know this, one will always looking for or craving for attaining and possessing certain qualities of names and forms that one would like to relate oneself with, to be identifying with, to feel good and satisfied about oneself, to boost up one’s self-esteem and confidence to be who ‘I’ am, thinking that by attaining and possessing such qualities of names and forms will also make other people to give them the attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship that they want from other people, in order to be happy and feel meaningful. But then one is not free. And that’s one’s freedom of thinking and action.

Be free.

Body image issue, where it shouldn’t exist in the first place

In the areas where people are struggling everyday to attain the basic food and water resources to survive, to have a place to rest and be sheltered from harsh weather, to be free from hunger, thirst, exhaustion, discrimination, hatred, war and violence, there won’t be such body image issue existing.

Meanwhile, in the modern commercialized society with higher technology and comfortable or fancy lifestyle, where economy and spending power is stable and strong, where basic and higher education came with various subjects and interests is accessible for everyone, where people have the luxury to indulge in physical and mental enjoyments of the senses of sights/visuals, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts/ideas/creativity/imaginations, where food is easily and excessively available in various forms and tastes, where food has gone beyond being a basic necessity of life but becoming an enjoyment of taste, where water and electricity supply and various modern facilities are available easily, where clothing is no longer a basic material to keep warm and be protected from insects and cuts but plays as an important role for self-image and self-esteem, where people are being presented with different choices of lifestyle and leisure activities, where people are interested in promoting health, beauty and fitness, and put importance into personal and general hygiene, where people can travel easily from one place to another, where people can have dreams and ambitions to be fulfilled, where countless opportunities are available for everyone, but then ridiculously, many people are being troubled by body image issue, which is truly unnecessary.

It doesn’t matter people are being knowledgeable, or intelligent, or talented and skillful in certain subjects, or highly educated, or having a successful career, or having a high profile in the community or society, or having a generous income and an easy comfortable high technology living standard, many people are being troubled very much by body image issue, unwittingly.

People’s state of mind, the sense of meaningfulness, confidence, self-esteem, happiness and sense of self-worth and well-being are very much determined by the body image consists of facial features, skin condition, hair condition, physical appearance, body shape, body composition, physical condition, physical ability and achievement, that they like or dislike, satisfied or dissatisfied with, based on a particular standard that they set for themselves to comply to.

People get depressed when they think they have a body image issue, that they are dissatisfied with and dislike their facial features, skin condition, body hair, hair condition and style, physical appearance, body shape, physical condition and ability as it is, that they prefer or desire their body to be something different from what it is now, according to what they think is better, nicer, healthier, fitter, stronger, younger, prettier, or more attractive.

To counter this body image issue, most people will try to achieve the body image that they would like to have, that they think is the best body image, that would give them the sense of satisfaction and good feelings about their bodies and themselves.

Even many of the yoga classes in the world are emphasizing on promoting improvement in physical appearance, physical condition and ability, to boost people’s self-esteem, confidence, sense of self-worth and well-being. And the yoga teachers/instructors aspire to portray a body image of ‘good’ or ‘fit’ or ‘healthy’ or ‘attractive’ or ‘high performance’ kind of physical appearance, condition and ability to inspire or motivate the yoga students to also achieve the similar form of body image (enhanced physical appearance, condition, ability and performance.) – “I can achieve this, so can you!” or “Yoga makes you look better and feel better!” But this is not the teaching and practice of yoga. This is empowering ignorance and egoism. It might give them momentary good feelings and confidence about their body and themselves (the ego) by achieving the kind of body image that they prefer, but it doesn’t help people to be free from the suffering of low self-esteem and depression derived from attachment and identification with the impermanent physical appearance, condition and ability to be who they are. Once the quality of the body image that they like, that they attached onto and identified with, that makes them feel good and confident about themselves starts to change into something else or is no longer available due to impermanence, they will suffer from disappointment, dissatisfaction, self-hate, self-criticism, low self-esteem, depression, self-harm, and so on.

When people think they are disturbed by body image issue, that is mainly due to ignorance and egoism. There is great identification and attachment towards the physical body and all that is related to the physical body, to be ‘I’, or what they think is who they are.

Realize yoga or selflessness, be free from identification and attachment towards the physical body, and body image issues won’t be existing at all. One will take good care of the well-being of the physical body, out of compassion, without attachment towards the impermanent physical appearance, condition and ability, without identification with the physical body as ‘I’, or ‘Who I am’. Be kind to the body, live a healthy lifestyle to benefit the physical body, and allowing the physical body to improve and change to be what it is, as it is, without any egoistic desire or intention or expectation to make or transform or change the physical body to be the way that ‘I’ would like it to be, so that ‘I’ will feel good, happy, satisfied and confident about ‘my’ body and ‘I’. This truly is loving our body, accepting the body as it is, while allowing all the changes to be there as they are, to be what they are.

Expecting the body to be the way that we like it to be, and constantly straining and forcing the physical body with intense physical training so that it will be able to do what we want it to do, and to look the way that we want it to look, to achieve the body image that we prefer/desire, is not loving our body, but it’s the ego loving what it likes and wants. “I want my body to be like this or to be able to do that.” Again, it’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their body, and how they want to treat their body.

Be free.

Be strong?

One doesn’t need to be strong or stay strong.

One just needs to embrace and accept oneself as one is.

Sometimes we think we are strong or strong enough, while sometimes we think we are not strong or not strong enough, and it’s okay. We don’t have to be strong at all, and we don’t have to be able to stay strong all the time.

Sometimes there are things that the body or the mind can do or achieve, while sometimes there are things that the body or the mind can’t do or achieve, and it’s okay. The body and the mind don’t have to be able to do or achieve all and everything all the time.

Most important, there is no attachment or identification with what the egoistic impure mind thinks and perceives about itself and/or others.

Whether the mind thinks ‘I’ am strong or not strong, and whether the body and the mind are able to do or achieve anything and everything, or not, all these qualities are impermanent, and it’s not who we think we are. It’s just the ego.

The ego is the one who enjoys and suffers, who wants that and doesn’t want this, and who feels satisfy or dissatisfy, happy or unhappy, fulfilled or disappointed, calm or disturbed, love or hate, and who feels hurt, offended, insulted, humiliated, disrespected, annoyed, frustrated, threatened, insecure, oppressed, discriminated, belittled, lonely, meaningless, low self-esteem, unconfident, doubt, guilty, regret, shameful, and so on. It is the one who needs to possess or attach onto certain qualities of names and forms to feel good, proud, confident and meaningful about itself and life. It is the one who would do anything that might hurt the body and the mind and others in order to attain or fulfill or protect all its desires of want and doesn’t want, or craving and aversion.

One just do one best within one’s ability, making use of the present condition and ability of the body and the mind, to do and achieve what is possible, and let go what is impossible in the present moment, being free from egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment and expectation.

It is the ego that wants to be strong and stay strong. It is the ego that wants the body and the mind to be able to do and achieve all and everything that it desires. It is the ego that wants to believe that everything is possible and nothing is impossible.

Be free from this ego. Be kind to the body and the mind, by embracing and accepting the body and the mind as they are. They don’t have to be good all the time. They don’t have to be perfect or to be the way that the ego would like them to be. It is okay that sometimes there are things that are possible and sometimes there are things that are impossible. Such like, it is impossible to undo the past, or to control everything to be the way that the ego likes it to be. And it’s okay.

It’s just the ego that needs to achieve and attach onto some qualities of names and forms that it likes and wants (what it thinks and believes as good, positive, happiness, success and meaningful), and rejecting the qualities of names and forms that it doesn’t like and doesn’t want (what it thinks and believes as bad, negative, unhappiness, failure and meaningless). Be free from this ego, there’s no need to depend on good qualities, good conditions, good abilities, good achievements, good results, good relationships, good life, good reputation, good image, good feelings, positive feedback, support and acknowledgement, to be peaceful, to be happy, to be confident, or to feel meaningful about the worldly life existence, or what we think is ‘I’. There is no ‘I’.

Be free from this ego, there’s no ‘I’ being strong or not strong. There’s no need to be strong. There’s no need to be confident. There’s no need to feel meaningful. It doesn’t matter how is the world and how is life and whatever experiences we go through from birth to death in this life existence, there is peace, right here and now. And this is liberation.

Liberation is not about fighting, changing and eliminating what we think is bad, evil, unjust, inequality and wrong in the world. Whatever we think is bad, evil, unjust, inequality and wrong in the world, is the product/consequence of ignorance and egoism in all beings, including those who think they are good and right, who think they are better than others and deserve better treatments from others. None can fight or change or eliminate ignorance and egoism in other beings, to change or control the world to be the way that we think is all good, evil-less, just, equal and right. Not even Buddha or any Gurus can change or remove ignorance and egoism of others.

Liberation is being free from ignorance and egoism in one’s mind. One will be peaceful as one is, which is nothing to do with whether the world and our life experience is all good, evil-less, just, equal and right, or not. It’s being undisturbed and undetermined by the products/consequences of other people’s ignorance and egoism.