Self-esteem, pride and arrogance

Many people growing up being told to take pride or shame in what they do/don’t do, what they eat/don’t eat, what they achieve/don’t achieve, how they look and conduct, what and who they think and believe and identify as ‘who I am’ of a personal and community identity, taking pride/shame in ‘I’, ‘family’, ‘siblings’, ‘parenting’, ‘children’, ‘friends’, ‘school’, ‘social circle’, ‘career’, ‘nationality’, ‘race/tribe’, ‘culture’, ‘religion’, ‘spirituality’, ‘belief’, ‘political view’, ‘the actions and the result of actions’, ‘social status’, ‘financial status’, ‘possession’, ‘the sense of belonging’, ‘the sense of meaningfulness’, ‘the sense of achievement’, ‘social activity/contribution’, ‘recognition’, ‘appreciation’, ‘acknowledgement’, ‘qualification’, ‘certification’, ‘title’, ‘talent’, ‘skill’, ‘profession’, ‘knowledge’, ‘intelligence’, ‘righteousness’, ‘appearance’, ‘charisma’, ‘personality’, ‘life style’, ‘food choices’, ‘aspiration’, and so on.

The basic yoga practice is to let go and be free from that.

There’s neither pride nor shame.

All is impermanent and selfless.

This is true renunciation – Renouncing the ego and egoism.

There won’t be any personal/family/relationship/social/national/racial/religious/global issue that relates to self-esteem, pride and arrogance deriving from the ego and egoism.

The world could have more egoless human beings.

Ego, more than self-esteem, self-worth, pride and arrogance

In the world, ‘ego’ is mostly being interpreted as the quality of a prideful ambitious overly confident high self-esteemed and self-centered person who thinks and believes oneself possesses certain qualities or achievements that one and others would be proud of and should deserve respect, appreciation, acknowledgement, or glorification.

When people say, “He/She has a big/bad ego,” usually it refers to this is a proud and arrogant self-centered, self-obsessed, or overly confident and ambitious person that boasts and glorifies about one’s contributions or achievements.

When people say, “He/She doesn’t have an ego or he/she has a small/good ego,” usually it refers to this is a down to earth, humble and unselfish person, who keeps quiet about one’s contributions and achievements.

‘Ego’, is more than the reflection of self-esteem, self-worth, pride and arrogance of a person under the teachings of yoga and Buddhism. It’s not a quality to reflect whether a person is being arrogant and self-centered or being humble and non self-centered.

‘Ego’, is an idea of ‘I’ derived from ignorance and exists in the form of a continuous stream of thought-current in the thinking mind, that feeds on egoism, attached onto and identifies with certain qualities of names and forms to be existing as an individual being experiencing life, either enjoying pleasant/desirable/agreeable/joyful experiences or suffering unpleasant/undesirable/disagreeable/painful experiences, identifies as ‘the perceiver that perceives/experiences/thinks/feels’ and ‘the perceived names and forms of perceptions/experiences/thinking/feelings’ as well as ‘the performer of actions’ and ‘the receiver of the fruit of actions’, who desires and doesn’t desire, who agrees and disagrees, who fights and protects, who enjoys and suffers. It appears to be existing and real due to ignorance.

The ego exists and identifies/acknowledges itself as ‘I am good’ or ‘I am bad’, ‘I know’ or ‘I don’t know’, ‘I am confident’ and ‘I am not confident’, ‘I like, agree and desire’ or ‘I don’t like, don’t agree and don’t desire’, ‘I deserve’ or ‘I don’t deserve’, ‘I am proud’ or ‘I am humble’, ‘I am happy’ or ‘I am unhappy’, ‘I am positive’ or ‘I am negative’, ‘I am meaningful’ and ‘I am meaningless’, ‘I enjoy’ or ‘I suffer’, ‘I am selfish’ or ‘I am unselfish’, ‘I am highly confident, ambitious and self-centered’ or ‘I am non confident, non ambitious and non self-centered’, and etc.

The end of yoga or Buddhism practice, is upon the annihilation of the modification of the mind or restless thought-currents, when the veil of ignorance vanished, where the mind sees itself as it is, attaining Self-realization, or knowing thyself, or knowing who ‘I’ am, where the annihilation of the ego/the idea of ‘I’, or the realization of selflessness/egolessness/’I’lessness takes place, transcending ‘the wheel of births and deaths of the egoistic impure consciousness powered by ignorance and the by-products of ignorance that generates ceaseless cause and effect/good and bad karma that feeds the loop of births and deaths of ignorance and the by-products of that’, ‘returning’ to oneness, non-separateness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, birthlessness, deathlessness, void of/untouched by cause and effect/good or bad karma/merits and virtues.

It’s not about trying to be as ‘good’ as possible, where a ‘soul/mind’ will be judged as a ‘good or bad soul/mind’ upon the death of the physical body based on accumulated virtues and merits or good/bad karma, either to be sent to ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’ or ‘somewhere in between’, or to be reborn into respective higher or lower realm of beings experiencing life existence via the mind perceiving pleasant/unpleasant names and forms through the senses that are all subject to impermanence and selflessness, to be continuously ‘ignorantly’/’helplessly’/’unwittingly’ generating further ceaseless good/bad actions along with the consequences of actions, or cause and effect, or good/bad karma, that keeps fueling the wheel of restless births and deaths (restless transitions of life existence reaping the fruit of good/bad actions) that is subject to impermanence and selflessness, regardless of good or bad, desirable or undesirable, enjoyable or sufferable transitions.

Forgo the momentary ‘pleasantness’, ‘happiness’, ‘meaningfulness’ or ‘goodness’ of a conditional fleeting worldly life existence of restless selfless transitions. Even so called ‘heaven’ or ‘higher realms’ are impermanent transitions reaping the fruit of ‘good’ actions. It’s not liberation at all. Know thyself, the beginningless and endless infinite silent witness of all impermanent and selfless transitions.

The ego constant acts and reacts to create a condition or a world that ‘I’ desires, based on the endless desire of craving (What I want) and aversion (What I don’t want). The silent witness neither act or react nor there’s an ‘I’ aspiring/desiring to create a condition or a world that ‘I’ desires. There’s neither “I will be or I am missing all the people of family and friends, or names and forms of the objects of the senses/qualities/conditions/things/actions/enjoyments/pets/places/realms/world that I love very much.” where only the very few dispassionate ones can go beyond all the worldly connections/relationships/names and forms transcending all kinds of worldly social/cultural/spiritual/religious thinking and belief, actions and achievements (the fruit of actions).

“The knowledge of the Self, or Self-realization, or the annihilation of the mind, or Samadhi, is the only way to be free from the wheel of births and deaths.” as taught by Swami Sivananda.

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.

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.

Self-esteem and self-confidence?

Many ‘yoga teachers’ believe in and preach about yoga (asana) practice can help to improve low self-esteem or to develop self-confidence. It makes people feel good about themselves and have higher self-confidence when they are able to perform certain asana poses that they couldn’t perform before.

There’s no doubt that yoga (asana) practice can help to improve one’s self-esteem or to increase self-confidence, but this is not the objective of yoga practice at all.

Know that self-esteem or self-confidence is part of the characteristics or qualities of egoism. When the ego is eliminated, there’s no such thing as improving self-esteem or to increase/boost/develop self-confidence.

When we know what is the ego and let go of this ego, we don’t need any encouragements or compliments from anyone to motivate us to be doing what we are doing, or to be better, or to feel good about ourselves. We also will not be demotivated by not getting any encouragements or compliments, nor be determined by criticism or condemn.

Real yoga practice can be very uncomfortable for the egoistic mind, as it is about eliminating the ego, letting go of desires of wants and don’t wants, craving and aversion. It’s not about giving what the mind likes and wants, but it’s stop giving what the mind likes and wants. And usually the ego will reject this type of yoga practice, as it is like asking the ego to ‘retire’ and be silent.


Om shanti.

How to be happy or have a happy mind?

Before we can go beyond the identification with the mind or the ego, we identify with the mind and all its modifications as “I”, or “me”, or “my thinking and my feelings”… And we want to feel pleasantness, or we want to feel good, or we want happiness, or we want to be happy. And actually what we want is a happy mind. We like ourselves when we are happy, and other people will also like us when we are happy. And we will be more happy when other people like us when we are happy, and so on…

If so, we need to start with understanding the elements or qualities that influence or determine the states of mind. And try to remove, or eliminate, or reduce the qualities that make the mind feels bad and unhappy, and try to cultivate, or develop, or increase the qualities that make the mind feels good and happy.

Most of the time, the mind is swaying between the state of happiness and unhappiness. Occasionally, the mind is in a state of neutralness, neither happiness nor unhappiness, as there is no elements of happiness or unhappiness occupying the mind. There is no reason or cause for the mind to feel happy or unhappy. That is similar to momentary peacefulness, neither elevated nor depressed… But all these states of mind are impermanent. They will change and disappear. That’s why we can never be truly satisfied if we identify with the fluctuating mind as “I” or “me”.

An unhappy mind is when the mind is being occupied by impurities like anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride, arrogance, agitation, depression, anxiety, irritation, frustration, insecurity, fear, worry, craving, aversion, hurts, resentment, vengefulness, emptiness, meaninglessness, low self-esteem, cowardness, non-accomplishment, non-productiveness, suppression, offensiveness, defensiveness, doubts and etc that make our mind feels unhappy or feels bad… And so, when the mind is being free from these impurities, elements or qualities that give rise to unhappy or unpleasant sensations, the mind will be in a state of being absent of unhappiness… That’s why we try to avoid these elements, as we don’t like or don’t enjoy the state of unhappiness.

A happy mind is when the mind is being in a state of calmness, contentment, satisfaction, high self-esteem, courageous, clarity, joyfulness, love, meaningfulness, creativeness, productiveness, blessedness, gratefulness, thankfulness, appreciativeness, accomplishment, doubtless, fearless, worriless, and etc that make our mind feels happy or feels good… And so, when these elements or qualities that contribute happy or pleasant sensations are absent from the mind, the mind will be in a state of being absent of happiness… That’s why we keep looking for all these elements and try to maintain them, as we like and enjoy the state of happiness.

But know that these two elements that give rise to either happiness or unhappiness are impermanent, it doesn’t give true and lasting satisfaction… It is non-identification with the mind and its modifications that will bring realization of our true nature, which is attributeless, beginningless and endless, which is unconditional and unlimited peace and contentment…

There are many different elements or qualities that are influencing or determining the state of our mind. And all these elements or qualities can be cultivated, as well as can be eliminated… Sometimes when we don’t relate any of these elements with how we feel, we will say it is the hormonal system controlling how we feel. Sometimes we just feel depressed without any particular reasons… But know that the hormonal system is also influenced by the energy fields and the inputs that we feed the mind… And so, by influence or changing the energy fields or restrain what types of inputs that we feed to the mind, by performing physical activities or yoga exercises, controlling the breath, controlling our diet, controlling what we read and listen, controlling who we mix with, and etc, can help us to have control of how we (the mind) feel…

Usually our mind is in a mixture of these elements or qualities. That’s why we feel confused (not sure about whether we are happy or unhappy) and keep swaying between the state of happiness and unhappiness unceasingly, or we are not being purely happy or unhappy… Sometimes we feel happy and some other times we feel unhappy. We can’t really tell or distinguish whether we are happy or unhappy people.

When qualities that give rise to good and happy feelings are predominant in the moment, then we can say that we have a rather happy mind in the present moment…

These qualities that give rise to good and happy feelings usually are (but not limited to) positive thinking, optimism, patience, tolerance, acceptance, adaptation, adjustment, accommodation, forgiveness, cheerfulness, loving kindness, friendliness, thoughtfulness, respect, self-discipline, self-control, empathy, confidence, faith, correct understanding, right views, calmness, non-offensiveness, non-defensiveness, good-wills, unselfishness, humility, forbearance, and etc… As all these qualities make our mind not so easily to be annoyed, disturbed, irritated, frustrated, disappointed, upset, angry, depressed, unhappy and any other unpleasant feelings, whenever the mind comes in contact with the objects of the senses that the mind doesn’t like, doesn’t want and disagrees with, or when our mind doesn’t come in contact with the objects of the senses that the mind likes, wants and agrees with.

When qualities that give rise to bad and unhappy feelings are predominant in the moment, then we can say that we have a rather “unhappy” mind in the present moment…

These qualities that give rise to bad and unhappy feelings usually are (but not limited to) negative thinking, pessimism, impatience, intolerance, non-acceptance, non-adaptation, non-adjustment, non-accommodation, resentment, anger, hatred, animosity, greed, jealousy, pride, arrogance, impulsiveness, apathy, low self-esteem, faithlessness, incorrect understanding, wrong views, aggressiveness, offensiveness, defensiveness, ill-wills, selfishness, and etc… As all these qualities make our mind easily to be annoyed, disturbed, irritated, frustrated, disappointed, upset, angry, depressed, unhappy and any other unpleasant feelings, whenever our mind comes in contact with the objects of the senses that the mind doesn’t like, doesn’t want and disagree with, or when the mind doesn’t come in contact with the objects of the senses that the mind likes, wants and agrees with.

Our personalities, behavior, actions and reactions, feelings and emotions are reflected upon all these elements or qualities in our mind in the present moment…

It also depends on how strong is our attachment towards our mind or the ego, or attachment towards all the believes, educations, religious, cultures, social and family background that make up this “I”, to determine or influence us whether our mind will easily be happy or be unhappy…

A person who was very calm and happy can become very agitated or disturbed. A person who was agitated or disturbed can become very calm and happy. This is all due to the fluctuation of the different qualities in the mind…

Usually when we get the things that we agree with, that we like and want, we (our mind) will feel good and happy… And when we don’t get the things that we agree with, that we like and want, we (our mind) will feel bad and unhappy… When we get the things that we disagree with, that we don’t like and don’t want, we (our mind) will feel bad and unhappy… And when we don’t get the things that we disagree with, that we don’t like and don’t want, we (our mind) will feel good and happy…

It is about what our mind likes and dislikes, wants and doesn’t want, agreements and disagreements… It is not necessarily because of the things that we come in contact with are “good” or “not good”… As everyone has different points of views and categorizations about what is “good” and what is “not good”… And so, if we ever feel unhappy about something, it is because our mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want or disagree with the things and happenings that we come in contact with. It is not the things and happenings that make us unhappy. Like wise, if we ever feel happy about something, it is because our mind likes and wants, or agree with the things and happenings that we come in contact with. It is not the things and happenings that make us happy.

All these things and happenings have no qualities or intentions to make anyone happy or unhappy. For the same thing and same happening, some people will feel happy, but some other people will feel unhappy…

If we truly want to have sustainable happiness that lasts long, we need to work with reducing, minimizing or eliminating the qualities that give rise to bad and unhappy feelings, and increase, maximize or cultivate the qualities that give rise to good and happy feelings… As well as working on letting go of craving and clinging towards what we like and agree with, and letting go of aversion towards what we don’t like and disagree with…

And this practice is similar to letting go of the ego, as likes and dislikes, wants and don’t wants, agreements and disagreements, are all coming from the ego…

If we have a mind with lots of elements or qualities that contribute good and happy feelings, then we can say that, we are happy people with happy personality and behavior. But this won’t guarantee us pure happiness if we are still influenced by the qualities that give rise to bad and unhappy feelings that are existing in the mind together with the qualities that contribute good and happy feelings… And so, it is very important to try to eliminate all the qualities that give rise to bad and unhappy feelings.

Ultimately, if we know how to let go of the identification with the mind, then all these qualities are just qualities, they have no value or power to determine or influence us to be happy or not… There’s no need to hold onto, or identify with, or associate with, or attached to all these good and bad feelings that keep arising and passing away, as their essential nature is impermanent… It is just the mind being happy or unhappy being influenced or determined by all these qualities in this moment, it is not “I”, it is not “me”… There is no “I” or “me” being there experiencing all these impermanent feelings, but there’s an awareness that is aware of the mind is experiencing all these feelings and emotions… And this awareness is a silent witness or observer… It is unaffected, undisturbed, undetermined, uninfluenced, uncontaminated by all the modifications of the mind about good or bad, happiness or unhappiness, positive or negative…

But before we are able to be completely unattached to the mind and the ego, as long as we are still identifying with the mind and ego as “I” or “me”, and thinking that “I” am experiencing all these feelings and emotions, then we can work on countering negativities with positivities, or eliminating the “negative”, “bad” and “unhappy” elements or qualities from the mind, and replace with “positive”, “good” and “happy” elements or qualities… And be a happy person with a happy mind. Or else we can still be happy with ourselves for being an unhappy person with an unhappy mind… Or allowing ourselves (the mind) to be happy sometimes and be unhappy some other times…

Most important is that we are aware of all these good and bad feelings, and accept ourselves (the mind or ego) as we are, and have control over our actions and speech, so that we do not generate or inflict harmful, hurtful or disharmonious actions and speech onto other people or beings that we come in contact with, especially when our mind is in a disturbed or unhappy state of mind…

Sometimes when our mind is over-powered by impurities or qualities that are “unpleasant”, we are not happy, we might intentionally do or say something that will irritate or hurt some other people to feel good and excited, as that will make our ego feels strong and powerful by bullying other people or beings, by inflicting painful sorrow onto other beings physically or mentally, to get some sort of satisfaction, excitement, stimulation, or happy sensations… And sometimes we like the sensations that come from being angry and jealous. It gives the mind some sorts of stimulation or excitement… We enjoy being in a state of anger and jealousy. It makes our mind feels stimulated. We constantly looking for contradictions and arguments with other people to excite or stimulate our mind… Especially when we “think” we win over the arguments, it really empowering our ego, to feel “I” am strong, “I” am superior… Most of the time, it isn’t because we are right and intelligent, and other people don’t want to argue with us and let us “win”, but it is actually other people being emotionally matured and are smarter than us, and don’t need this kind of mind games to boost their egos, to feel strong, to feel superior…

If that is the case, we really need to seek consultations from somebody who doesn’t need to depend on hurting or harming other beings to be happy, who is self-controlled and is happy as he is or as she is… Or else when we are totally or completely over-powered by this type of behavior, we can’t control our own behavior anymore, then we might have to end up in mental institution or psychiatric hospital, and be controlled by drugs, and this will be wasting our life time and life existence to have the opportunity to do so many meaningful things for ourselves and other beings… In the beginning, we are behaving like this because we want to be strong, we want to have control over things or other people, we want to be the one in control of everything, but we end up lost control over ourselves (our mind), our sanity, our strength to be “what we want to be”… What a destructive way to try to gain control and power…

Om shanti.

Being strong vs real strength…

We think that we need to be strong, hard and aggressive to protect ourselves from being bullied or hurt by other people… But if we are really that strong, why do we still need to “be” strong, hard and aggressive to “protect” ourselves?

That means we are not really strong. We “pretend” to be strong. This is due to low self-esteem, not trusting ourselves, and need to depend on some external “protection shields” of being hard and aggressive to “protect” or to defend ourselves from potential bullies and hurts. Because of this sense of defensiveness, we will become offensive even before other people try to “bully” or “offend” us. In fact, nobody has the intention to bully us, it is our own fear and projection, thinking that “All these people are going to bully me, and so, I have to defend myself, I need to be strong and aggressive, so that I attack them first before anyone attacks me…”

Those who are truly strong, they don’t need to show that they are strong by being hard, aggressive, offensive or defensive. Instead their whole being projects gentleness and calmness.

Real strength comes from compassion and wisdom. It is being compassionate and wise. It is being free from doubts, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride, arrogance, low self-esteem, aggressiveness, violence, offensiveness, defensiveness, agitation, depression, fear, worry, craving, aversion, and attachment towards qualities of names and forms… There is no fear towards other people’s harshness, aggressiveness, bully or “potential” bully, offensiveness, arrogance, jealousy, criticism, condemn, slander, unfriendliness, and etc…

We are able to tolerate, adjust, adapt, accommodate, withstand, forbear and accept…

We are able to accept the reality of the present moment now as it is, not necessarily the way that we like it to be. We are able to adjust, adapt, accommodate, withstand and forbear any uncomfortable conditions and situations that we don’t like or disagree with…

We are able to perform actions without being influenced by any impurities in the mind. We are able to perform actions to help everyone including ourselves to evolve, to be peaceful and happy…

We are able to perform all our duties and responsibilities without attachment, without judgment, comparison and expectation. We perform actions and renounce from the result or the fruit of actions…

This is real strength.

We don’t need to be hard, aggressive, offensive or defensive to “protect” ourselves from getting bully or hurt from anyone…

It doesn’t matter what are the behaviors, actions and reactions of other people towards us, it is our own ego doesn’t like or disagree with their behaviors, actions and reactions, and feels irritated and unhappy about them. It is our ego that feels that we are weak, but we don’t like to be weak and don’t want other people to think that we are weak, and so we “pretend” to be strong, by being hard and aggressive to defend ourselves from any potential “attacks” from anyone…

No one can bully or hurt us but our own mind creations of fear. It is our own mind being ignorant and influenced by impurities… It is absence of compassion and wisdom.

Whenever we feel irritated or getting angry about other people’s offensive behavior, it is ourselves being defensive… We feel offended by other people’s actions and speech… It is coming from being low self-esteem and feel being intimidated by other people’s confidence all the time. This intimidation is not coming from other people. No one can intimidate us unless we allow that to happen by being low self-esteem. It is our own low self-esteem thinking that other people are trying to press us down, or bully us, or hurt us… Even if other people have the intention to intimidate us, but it won’t affect us if we are truly confident…

If  we don’t like other people to contradict with our actions and speech, we like and want other people to agree and support our actions and speech, as we will feel irritated, frustrated and unhappy when other people don’t like and disagree with us or our actions and speech, but out of our own offensiveness and defensiveness, we constantly contradict with other people’s actions and speech, criticize and attack other people with harsh speech and aggressiveness, then how can we expect other people not to be offended by our own offensiveness and aggressiveness? And when other people feel offended by our own offensiveness and aggressiveness, and react by being aggressive towards us, and we criticize them as “aggressive people” who bully and hurt us, and blame them for causing us painful sorrow and unhappiness?

When we start to attack other people with aggressiveness to show that “I am stronger than you, and I won’t let you bully or hurt me…”, then make sure that we will take full responsibility towards the consequences of our aggressive behavior… Don’t blame other people for being aggressive towards us.

And if there’s somebody is being aggressive towards us even though we didn’t offend anyone intentionally, we can choose to be gentle and remain calm, and move away… Allow this person to express what he or she wants to express, and let him or her be irritated and unhappy for being aggressive. We don’t have to disturb our own peace and happiness by throwing back aggressiveness towards him or her… Or we can choose to feel offended and start to be aggressive and offensive to defend ourselves and be irritated, frustrated and unhappy.

Om shanti.

“Are you selfless?” – An invalid question…

We won’t get an answer when we ask someone who is truly selfless, “Are you selfless?”, as there is nobody there to claim or identify as “I” am selfless…

The one who will give us an answer either “Yes, I am” or “No, I am not”, is coming from the egoistic thinking mind thinks or believes itself is being selfless or not…

If somebody tells us, “I am selfless”, then very obvious this “selfless” person is not really selfless…

It is pointless to ask someone who is free from suffering due to being free from the egoistic mind, “Are you free from suffering?”, as there is nobody there to experience suffering, nor there is anyone there being free from suffering…

If someone claims or identifies as “I am peaceful” or “I am happy” or “I am free” or “I am good” or “I am wise” or “I am compassionate”, that is the mind thinks and believes itself is peaceful, happy, free, good, wise and compassionate… Or when someone claims or identifies as “I am not peaceful” or “I am not happy” or “I am not free” or “I am not good” or “I am not wise” or “I am not compassionate”, that is the mind thinks and believes itself is not peaceful, not happy, not free, not good, not wise and not compassionate…

There is nothing wrong with the mind thinks and believes about “I am this or that” or ” I am not this nor that”… It is just the mind perception about itself as this and that with such and such qualities that it projects onto itself… This is just how the mind works and operates, reacts and thinks… And whatever the mind reacts, feels, thinks and believes whether it is something good or bad, positive or negative, happy or unhappy, pleasant or unpleasant, it’s all impermanent and “non-self”…

Realize this, there is no “I” being there experiencing “this” or “that”…

Go beyond the mind perception about “I” am this or that with such and such qualities that the mind projects onto itself, and we will be free from fear, worry, jealousy, anxiety, judgment, comparison, competition, expectation, discontentment, disappointment, restlessness and unhappiness that derive from pride, arrogance, low self-esteem, low confidence, self-doubt, self-criticism, self-expectation, self-image, or so called “professional image”…

Om shanti.

Letting go of the ego – Letting go of pride and arrogance…

This is not as easy as it says…

At least if we want, we can try our best…

To let go of the ego…

Letting go of pride and arrogance…

We don’t really need pride and arrogance to be “somebody”…

We don’t even need to be “somebody” to be living in this world…

This life existence do not exist without the sun, the air, the water, the earth and the space providing and supporting all beings to be exist in this world…

Life can be without pride and arrogance…

It will be less tensions and more peaceful…

 

If anyone is being happy and peaceful by possessing pride and arrogance, and wants to continue to be proud and arrogant, there is nothing wrong with that… Be happy being proud and arrogant…

Deep inside us, we know that actually we are not really confident and are not happy about ourselves, that’s why we need to possess pride and arrogance to feel good about ourselves, and to feel we are stronger and better than anyone else…

The ego is neither good nor bad. If we identify with the ego, we will be over-powered by the idea of “I” and “mine”, desires, cravings and aversions, and being restless busy with building up a worldly self-image or social status, and getting what we desire, and busy protecting the self-image that we built up for ourselves and protecting all the attachments, possessions and belongings, and be in fear and worry of losing what we think is “I” (that “built” on self-image, self-esteem, self-worth, accumulation of knowledge, wealth, health, relationships, achievements and etc…) If we know how to not identify with it, and just let it performs its necessary function for maintaining this life existence, we will be free and happy being “what we are”, and not trying to become somebody with certain image and qualities…


If we want to be truly confident and happy, we really need to let go of the identification with the ego, letting go of pride and arrogance that comes along with the ego…

We need to be able to accept ourselves as we are, and not looking forward trying to be somebody else that we are not, even if we “think” that we are not perfect… And when we realize the true nature of who we really are, which is perfect, attributeless, nameless and formless, there is no need of attaining “good qualities” to be proud and arrogant, to support us or to determine us to be “what we are”…

Before we can “let go of the ego”, we need to know who or what is this ego…

Whenever there is cognition about “I”, “my”, “mine”, “I am”, “I am not”, “I feel”, “I don’t feel”, “I like”, “I don’t like”, “I want”, “I don’t want”, “I agree”, “I don’t agree”, “I am peaceful”, “I am not peaceful”, “I am good”, “I am not good”, “I am positive”, “I am negative”, “I am happy”, “I am not happy”, “I am wise”, “I am not wise”, “I am compassionate”, “I am not compassionate”, “I am superior”, I am inferior”, “I am special”, “I am not special”, “I am a yogi”, “I am a yoga teacher”, “I am strong”, “I am not strong”, “I am so and so”, “I am this or that”, “I practice yoga”, “I don’t practice yoga”, “I am a vegetarian”, “I am not a vegetarian”, “I meditate”, “I don’t meditate”, “I did, I do, I will do”, “I didn’t do, I don’t do, I will not do”, “I have to”, “I need to”, “I wish to”, “I don’t wish to”, “I have”, “I don’t have”, “I am loved”, “I am not loved”, “I am accepted”, “I am rejected”, “I’ve succeeded”, “I’ve failed”, and in any other forms of identifications, qualities and perceptions about “I” or “me” or “my” or “mine”… Know that all these are the plays of the ego…

By surrendering the ego, we are letting go of the identification with all these “names and forms”, “qualities”, “self-judgment”, “self-evaluation”, “self-image”, “self-esteem”, “selfish desires”, “expectation”, and so on… This looks like it’s going against the worldly thinking of “Everyone needs to have certain self-image, self-evaluation and self-esteem to be somebody…” or “Everyone needs to have certain expectations to set as a goal to strive to be better and to be successful in life…”

In the path of yoga and meditation, we are going to let go of all these worldly thinking and concepts about “who we should be” and “how we should be”…

We don’t just expect ourselves to have certain self-image, but we also project qualities onto other people and give them certain image… And usually we will project an image with certain qualities that comes from our own mind perception onto other people, judging this person as “this” and that person as “that”, judging everyone “you are good” and “you are not good” based on what our mind believes what things are… But, how true is our belief, perception and judgment?

For example, we will expect a “yoga teacher” should have certain “yoga teacher” image, and he or she should behave or present himself or herself as what a “yoga teacher” should be behaving… We will expect a “yogi” should have certain “yogi” image, and he or she should behave or present himself or herself as what a “yogi” should be behaving…

And it’s not just that, we also think that a “yoga teacher” or a “yogi” should behave as what a “yoga teacher” or “yogi” should behave appropriately, so that other people can follow and imitate that appropriate “image”, and learn to become a “proper” yoga teacher or “proper” yogi…

And we get so disappointed by our own expectation onto how other people should behave, when other people didn’t “behave” the way that what we think they should be behaving…

We also get so annoyed and unhappy when other people project different images or judgments onto us, which are contradicted or different from what we think we are… Such like, when we think we are “a nice and good person”, but other people didn’t think so, and they think that we are “not nice and not good”… And if we identify with the ego, we will be so unhappy and upset when we are being projected by other people as “somebody who is not what we think we are”…

We expect other people to see us or judge us exactly as what we think we are or “what we want” them to think what we are, “a nice and good person”… We want to have a “good” image in other people’s mind… We want other people to think that we are “nice and good people”… And we have been doing lots of good, and have been nice and good to other people, how could they possibly think that “I am not nice and not good”…? They are wrong and misunderstood about “me”… And then we will want to justify ourselves or try to convince other people that we are what we think we are, “a nice and good person”, and not what they thought what we are not… And if other people still “judge” us differently from what we think we are, we’ll be more disappointed, unhappy and upset…

Those who have gone beyond the ego, they will not be bothered by how other people think about them, or judge them, or misunderstood them… Criticism, slandering or condemn won’t affect them, nor damage their confidence, nor change who they are and how they are… Neither praise and compliments will affect them, nor increase their confidence, nor change who they are and how they are… They are not determined, nor defined, nor conditioned by praise and condemn…

The one who is getting upset and feels insulted is the ego… The one who is getting delighted and feels appreciated is the ego… This is one of the characteristics of the ego…

The ego also likes to compare with others, having jealousy towards other people who are somehow “better”, or “happier”, or “smarter”, or “luckier”, or “stronger”, “fitter”, “wealthier”, or “more superior” than us…

The ego will look down on other people who are somehow “less good”, “less happy”, “less smart”, “less lucky”, “less strong”, “less fit”, “less wealthy”, or “more inferior” than us…

The ego will feel so happy and delighted when things turn out to be the way that it wants it to be…

The ego will feel so unhappy and disappointed if things didn’t turn out to be the way that it wants it to be…

The ego also will be so proud and arrogant about the knowledge that it has and the achievements that it attained, and it wants to be noticed and acknowledged by the world about what it knows and what it had achieved… It needs approval, agreement, attention, acknowledgment, support, appreciation and compliment from the world to be “somebody”, to feel good, to feel meaningful, to be confident, to be happy, to be special, to be important…

These are the most significant characteristic of the ego, accompanied by pride and arrogance, as well as attachment towards success and failure, praise and condemn, being conditioned and determined by success and failure, praise and condemn to be happy or not happy, to be confident or not confident, to feel meaningful or not…

When we are full of anger, we project anger onto other people, seeing and hearing everything that we see and hear as an object of anger or reason to be angry… When our mind is negative, we project everyone and everything as negative… Whatever we see and hear is negative… When our mind is positive, we project everyone and everything as positive… Whatever we see and hear is positive… But, the Truth is, everyone and everything is neither negative nor positive. Everyone and everything is just being what it is… They have no qualities nor intention to be negative or positive… They have no qualities to make us happy or unhappy…

Whenever “we” see, or hear, or experience something that “we” like and agree with, “we” feel good, excited, happy, satisfied, encouraged, motivated and so on… Actually that is the ego comes in contact with what it likes and agrees with… It is the ego feeling good, excited, happy, satisfied, encouraged, motivated and so on…

Whenever “we” see, or hear, or experience something that “we” don’t like and don’t agree with, “we” feel upset, unhappy, frustrated, irritated, agitated, discouraged, demotivated, disappointed, angry and so on… Actually that is the ego comes in contact with what it doesn’t like and disagrees with… It is the ego feeling upset, unhappy, frustrated, irritated, agitated, discouraged, demotivated, disappointed, angry and so on…

To let go of the ego, is to not identify with the ego, and not associate with its reactions towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives or experiences through the senses… And remain unattached towards all these perceptions of names and forms, being the observer or the witness of the mind and its activities…

When “we” feel hurt or feel insulted by somebody or something, that is the ego reacting when it is being challenged for its “power”, “knowledge”, “authority”, “confidence”, or “self-image”…

The ego will try its best to “make” other people to like it, to love it, to agree with it, to support it, to respect it, to trust it, to appreciate it, to compliment it, and so on…

The ego wants to be, and needs to be “somebody” with certain image and qualities that is being recognized, approved and acknowledged by family and friends, the society or the community of the world…

The ego identified and attached to certain self-image, identity, qualities, condition, abilities, thinking, concepts, believes, ideas, traditions, lifestyles, ways of doing things, judgments, possessions, achievements, and so on, to be “somebody”…

The one who wants to express thoughts, ideas, creativities, feelings, emotions, likes and dislikes, wants and don’t wants, agreements and disagreements, and so on, is the ego…

Justification and arguing is one of the characteristics of the ego… It doesn’t like to see or hear something that it doesn’t agree with…

The ego depends or relies on “personal” or “professional” image and worldly identifications and achievements, such like, personality, uniqueness, academic and sports achievements, sensual and material enjoyments, personal characteristic and physical appearance, physical and mental conditions and abilities, financial status, social status, religious status, spiritual status, work and social activities and achievements, family and love relationships, friendships, fellowships, material possessions, wealth accumulations, lifestyles, worldly point of views, judgments, expectations and so on, to be “somebody”, to be “special”, to be “important”, to feel good, to feel being needed, to feel meaningful, to feel confident, to feel worthy, and so on…

The ego being conditioned and determined by other people’s judgments, evaluations, comments, supports, attentions, liking, agreement, acknowledgment, acceptance, appreciation, and so on, to be “who we are” in this worldly existence…

The ego being conditioned and determined by “qualifications”, “certifications”, “social status”, “financial status”, “academic status”, “lifestyle status”, “leisure status”, “relationship status”, “family status”, “spiritual status”, “fitness status”, “health status”, “mental status”, “achievements”, “personalities”, “personal image”, “professional image”, and so on, to be “somebody” who is well-worth living as a “person” or “human being”…

“We” think that “we” need all these “things” to be “who we are”… But it is just the ego clinging onto, or depending on all these “things” or “qualities” to be “alive”, to be “strong” and to be “in control”…

When we identify with the ego, our confidence and sense of self-worth are swaying up and down, according to the identifications, self-image, impermanent qualities and achievements that we create for ourselves… We are restless trying to be “somebody” with such and such qualities, making ourselves so busy trying to build up a “lovable”, “perfect” and “healthy” self-image… We are also being busy trying to protect or upkeep this “self-image” that we have created for ourselves… We don’t want this “good” self-image to be damaged or contaminated by “bad” reviews or “bad” qualities…

We are full of fear and worry, craving, clinging and aversion…


We are in a state of restlessness being dissatisfied for being “who we are” and “how we are” in the present moment now, rejecting and not accepting ourselves as we are…

If we can just let go of this ego, we will be so free being who we are and how we are, in this present moment now, as we are… Not looking forward to try to become “somebody” that we are not…

We can continue to perform actions in the world, and do our best in our life to pursue all our dreams and goals, but we are no longer being determined, or defined, or conditioned by all these names and forms, and the results of our actions, what we can do and cannot do, what we can achieve and cannot achieve… We are free while at the same time performing necessary actions improving ourselves in life physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually…

We are always confident, it’s because we are free from being conditioned and determined by the ego, and not because we are “somebody” with such and such qualities and achievements…

We are always happy, it’s because we are free from tensions and discontentment that come from being dissatisfied about “who we are” and “how we are”, and not because we are “somebody”, or we are “this” and “that”, or we have “this” and “that”…

We can fully enjoy what we do in life for ourselves or for other people, but we are not determined nor defined by all these things (our actions, the fruit of our actions, and the reactions of other people towards our actions)…

Yoga and meditation practice is nothing but to eliminate this ego… And be free.

This is truly liberation, being free from the ego, be free from the “worldly standardized” self-image, social status, pride and arrogance…

Om shanti.

 

The importance of Mauna and Uparati – The practice of silence and renunciation from worldly activities

This practice of silence and renunciation from worldly activities is applicable for those who sincerely want to tread the path of entering into silence or attaining Samadhi – the ultimate freedom and real peace transcending the ego and the mind, transcending the perception of the world of names and forms, dualities and qualities, and be free from desires, greed, craving and aversion, and thus be free from ignorance and suffering. This practice will come naturally for those who already have the right discrimination about what is real and unreal. Naturally they will let go of chasing after of the unreal, and will know to appreciate and utilize the existence of this body and mind for what is real…

Any names and forms that is formed through combination of energy and elements, it is not real… It has a beginning and an end… It exists and will stop existing… It is conditioned by qualities of names and forms… It is impermanent and constantly changing… It is non-Self. There’s no existence of ‘I’ in the names and forms to be in control of all these impermanent changes.

What is real, is beyond qualities, names and forms… And thus it doesn’t has a beginning or ending. It doesn’t exist or stop existing. It is attributeless, it is not conditioned by qualities of names and forms. It is not affected by impermanence and it doesn’t change…

This practice of Mauna and Uparati is not just applicable and limited to the so called monks and nuns who leave the world to concentrate on their own Self-realization. The real renunciation is not conditioned by any names and forms, but it is happening in the mind, and it can be at anywhere and anytime, and in anyone…

People who know real renunciation can live in the midst of the world but will not be affected, nor influenced, nor determined, nor disturbed, nor conditioned by the world of names and forms… They are free from ignorance, egoism, anger, hatred, greed, desire, dissatisfaction, craving and aversion, anxiety, restlessness, fear and worry. Out of compassion and wisdom that they realize from Self-realization, they can perform so much works or actions to help the other beings to be free, to transcend the ego and the mind, ignorance and suffering… But without being affected by the fruit of their actions.

For people who really wish to attain success in the path of yoga and meditation, the practice of Mauna (silence) and Uparati (cessation from worldly activities) are very important practice to turn the outgoing tendency of the mind inward, in order to render the mind calm and be free from restlessness and unnecessary anxieties, cares and worries for Self-introspection or Self-inquiry.

The practice of Mauna and Uparati maybe seen as “anti-social” in the eyes of the worldly people, but it is a must if we really want to go deeper in the path of yoga and meditation to know the Truth of our existence and to attain real peace. Those whose minds are wild, incontrollable, restless and passionate are not yet ready to meditate, to contemplate upon the Truth… There is nothing wrong or bad about the mind being restless and passionate… Just keep practice purification of the mind and strengthening self-control…

That’s why all the (serious) meditation retreats for people who live in the busy world to immerse themselves in meditation practice for purifying and calming the mind, and to contemplate on the Truth, they have two most important observations which are, to observe silence or Mauna (to stop any interactions and communications with the world verbally, mentally and physically) and to refrain from worldly or daily habitual activities throughout the entire retreat. This is to allow the mind to quiet down, to take a few moments of “rest”… Within that few moments of “rest”, the mind is calm and quiet, be free from anxiety, restlessness, imaginations and speculations, and naturally, without any intention to know the Truth, the Truth will reveal itself…

Only a calm and pure mind can reflect upon the Truth without the influence of the ego, the thinking, impurities, judgments and expectations…

For people who really devote this life existence for Self-realization, and they know self-control, non-attachment and renunciation, they can live in the busy world, but being undisturbed, unaffected, uninfluenced, unconditioned, undetermined by the world, and practice meditation entering into silence. The world is always restless, but they are not influenced by the world. Their mind is at rest all the time… They are different from those who need to go to retreat centres repeatedly to have some sorts of “momentary” self-control, non-attachment and renunciation in the retreat centres, to find some moments of peace, but when come back out into the world, there is no self-control, nor non-attachment, nor renunciation, and there is no peace…

In the path of yoga (mind control), these two practices are unavoidable if we really want to know about this mind (the existence of “I” (the perceiver) and all the enjoyments and suffering (the perceived) that comes along with the existence of this “I”), and to be able to go beyond this mind and to transcend the ego, craving and aversion, and ignorance or impurities, as well as transcending all the qualities of names and forms (the state of duality that derives from the perception of names and forms).

Fear and worry, anger and hatred, greed and dissatisfaction, envy and jealousy, doubts and ignorance, craving and aversion, passionate desires, the attachments towards the body and mind, the attachments towards all the names and forms that are being perceived through this mind and body with the functions of the senses and sense organs, the wrong identification with the body and mind, the sensations, the feelings, the thinkings and the egoistic “I-ness” and “mine-ness”… – All these impurities “disconnect” us from our true nature, the eternal unconditional, attributeless wisdom, bliss and peace.

We think we are “this” or “that” with certain names and forms, behaviors, believes, religions, educations, cultures, habits, hobbies, talents, characteristics and personalities. We think we have something called “self-esteem” that is being determined by who we are and what we are, what we do and don’t do, what we can do and cannot do, and what we judge ourselves and others. We think we need to have certain qualities to create or develop something what we name as “confidence” in us.

The truth is, once we know this mind and what is this ego, then all the so called “self-esteem” and “confidence”, and all the other qualities of good and bad, happiness and suffering, names and forms that we use to judge ourselves and everyone and everything in this world, they all will disappear… They don’t exist at all…

There is no “I”… There is no “self-esteem” or “confidence”… There is no need to have “self-esteem” or “confidence” to feel that we are “somebody” or to make us become “somebody”…

“Self-esteem” and “confidence” exist when we think we are this body and mind, and we are “somebody” with certain qualities, names and forms…

When we truly know our true Self, the existent of “I” with certain qualities, names and forms, will disappear… Our true Self is nameless and formless, beyond names and forms… There is no good and bad. There is no positive and negative. There is no happiness and suffering…

In order to know our true Self, not just from reading books written by enlightened beings, or having heard from past saints and sages, or from some existing teachers or Gurus telling us about “who we really are”, we need to be able to observe the practice of Mauna and Uparati in some stage in our life… Just to take some “time off” from worldly activities and interactions… For the mind to have the opportunity to be free from restlessness, unnecessary cares and worries, to concentrate and focus inwardly for introspection, for self-inquiry, for self-realization, for experiencing the real inner peace, for knowing the Truth of existence and suffering…

Note that this real inner peace is not the momentary peaceful good feeling that comes from doing some meditation, asana and pranayama practice, or by not encountering any discomforts, pain and illnesses, or by doing the things that we like to do, or by getting the things that we want, where by this type of peaceful good feeling is conditioning and limited by the qualities of names and forms, and it is impermanent, it will change and disappear…

The real inner peace is unconditional, unlimited, undisturbed and unchanging… It is always there. Never increase nor decrease… Never exist nor doest it stop existing…

This renunciation is not selfishness as some people might think that it is… This is definitely not running away from our duties and responsibilities… It’s because the biggest duty and responsibility in this existence of “I”, is to know who am “I”… If we don’t know “who we really are”, we will have no peace, no wisdom, no compassion… And we cannot help other people to have peace, wisdom and compassion, if we ourselves are not peaceful, not wise, and not compassionate… If we want to help the world, we need to help ourselves first…

When this mind is restless, wild and uncontrollable, it makes us think that we are experiencing all the enjoyments and suffering in this world of names and forms with qualities of good and bad, pleasantness and unpleasantness…

When the mind is pure and be free from all sorts of impurities and ignorance, we’ll know that there is “nobody” there to experience “anything”… The world is just being what it is being “projected” from this mind… It is the mind projecting the “world”… When the mind stops, the world disappears… When the mind ceased existing, there is no “world”…

Impure mind projects impure world of names and forms… Positive mind projects positive world… Negative mind projects negative world… Fearful mind projects fearful world… Angry and hating mind projects angry and hating world… Compassionate mind projects compassionate world… Calm mind projects calm world… Pure mind projects pure world… No mind, no world…

The world is just being what it is. It is neither good nor bad, neither pure nor impure, neither positive nor negative, neither a happy place nor a suffering place.

Yoga and meditation is to “annihilate” the mind, to “eliminate” the ego, the thought waves or the mind activities…

It doesn’t matter if some worldly passionate minds think that this practice of Mauna and Uparati is impossible, contradictory, unnecessary and means no more “fun” in life… Everyone has the freedom to choose what to do in life and what way of living… Be happy.

The meanings of life and ways of living are vary in everybody…

The Buddha and all the other saints and sages chose to live a simple, self-controlled, desire-less and non-attachment way of life and find that entering into silence and attaining real peace is the meaning of life… And some other people choose some other forms of lifestyle and find that by attaining another form of excitement, enjoyment and happiness as the meaning of life… There’s nothing wrong… Be happy.

Contemplate on this teaching and be free…

Om shanti.