Worldly identifications

One of the great obstacles or challenges for the yoga enthusiasts to be free from egoism is the intense attachment towards worldly identifications with some qualities of names and forms to be existing as ‘I’.

It’s ‘unthinkable’ for the egoistic minds to be ‘functioning’ or ‘aware of the mind perception of a worldly life of names and forms’ without any identifications with some qualities of names and forms to be acknowledged by oneself and others as ‘This is I’.

There’s great fear towards losing the sense of the existence of ‘I’, or ‘selflessness/’I’-lessness’, or being unable to be acknowledged by oneself and others as “I am this and that”, if without any of the identifications that the egoistic thinking mind would like to acknowledge itself and be acknowledged by others that “I exist as an (unique/special/distinctive/meaningful) individual being with such and such qualities of names and forms.”

Similarly, most minds have great fear towards letting go all kinds of superstitious thinking, beliefs, values and practices that were being ingrained into the minds from very young age by their elders, parents, relatives, friends, school teachers, religious teachers, the community and the society. Very few minds would question the truth of all those thinking, beliefs, values and practices, to inquire the truth of everything that was told or informed by everyone, and would just blind-believing, blind-following, blind-practicing and blind-passing on all these thinking, beliefs, values and practices. As most people would ‘label’ themselves or be ‘labeled’ by others as ‘bad person’ or ‘traitor’ towards one’s root and ancestor’s cultural background and family values, if they don’t embrace or follow or pass down those thinking, beliefs, values and practices.

For many people, this is the ‘normal’, ‘good’, ‘productive’, ‘positive’, ‘healthy’, ‘successful’, ‘meaningful’ and ‘rightful’ way of life or living.

Not only that there was a ‘basic identity upon birth’ that relates to a ‘given name’, a ‘gender’, a ‘family’, an ‘ethnicity’, a ‘birth place’, a ‘nationality’ and a ‘security ID number’, but everyone was growing up being conditioned by the society to identify oneself with a ‘sexual orientation’, a ‘personality’, a ‘physical appearance’, a ‘self-image’, a ‘body image’, a ‘physical condition’, a ‘mental state’, a ‘religion’, a ‘culture’, a ‘lifestyle’, a ‘trend’, and etc. Most minds are being ‘encouraged’ by the society to be constantly ‘developing’ and ‘possessing’ further more other qualities of names and forms to empower or strengthen that ‘self-identity’, that would allow the minds to feel proud, confident and meaningful towards the existence of ‘I’ under such identifications. Such like, “I am a ‘good’, ‘strong’, ‘healthy’, ‘fit’, ‘beautiful’, ‘attractive’, ‘stylish’, ‘successful’, ‘intelligent’, ‘knowledgeable’, ‘positive’, ‘multi tasking’, ‘talented’, ‘well-informed’, ‘well-behaved’, ‘inspirational’, ‘generous’ and ‘kind loving’ human being on top of all the identifications with a particular belief, religion, spirituality, culture, caste, sect, educational level, social status, community group, political views, profession, interests, qualifications, certifications, achievements, contributions, possessions, relationships, connections, and so on.

There are some common sayings such as –
“Be good, do good, and life will be all good and you will be happy.”
“Be nice and friendly to other people, and other people will be nice and friendly to you.”
That is not necessary true.

But everyone has been circulating that kind of sayings especially from the elders to the youngsters, or from the yoga teachers to the yoga students. Many people experiencing disappointment, depression and meaninglessness because they have such expectation towards life, where everyone and everything has to be in certain ways based on those sayings.

Many times, life is not necessarily all good and people are not happy even after they are being good and they have done many good. And it’s okay.

People don’t have to be happy all the time. Just be good and do good, and allow the fruit of actions to be what it is, not necessarily has to be the way that we would like it to be.

Sometimes, people are not being grateful or appreciative towards our kindness and friendliness, and are not being nice or friendly to us when we are being nice and friendly to them. And it’s okay.

People don’t have to be grateful and appreciative, and be nice and friendly to others, if they don’t want to. Just be nice and friendly to others, without the expectation that other people should be grateful and appreciative, and be nice and friendly to us in return.

The most practical way in the yoga practice to eliminate egoism from the mind is via renunciation of what most minds being conditioned to think and believe as the ‘normal’ and ‘meaningful’ way of life. Moving the mind away from the egoistic worldly social cultural thinking and beliefs, ideas, relationships, connections, interactions and activities, and letting go novels, news and magazines reading, radio listening, movies watching and theater visiting. Be determined to observe seclusion and solitude for at least five or six years, cutting off all kinds of worldly social cultural inputs, ideas, connections, activities and interactions, to allow the mind to be free from being conditioned by worldly thinking and beliefs that are all about empowering worldly attachment and identification. Only then the mind can see the truth of names and forms as it is.

Once the mind is free from being conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking and beliefs, it is no longer being determined by any of the worldly identifications with qualities of names and forms to be existing as ‘I’. There’s no need to feel proud, confident or meaningful towards “I am somebody endowed with this and that prideful, superior and meaningful qualities.”

There’s no ‘I’ being there that needs to be empowered, be acknowledged, be motivated, be inspired, be loved, be proud, be confident and be meaningful. There’s no ‘I’ being there to be strong, be weak, be happy, be unhappy, be positive, be negative, be good, be bad, be hurt, be healed, be pleased, be displeased, be praised, be insulted, be selfish, be unselfish, be unfree or be free.

While the entire world emphasize on the empowerment of a strong self-identity nurtured with the qualities of names and forms of particular social/cultural/ethnicity/nationality ideas/values/practices, yoga practice is mainly to free the mind from all these identifications with any qualities of names and forms.

Even the idea of “I am a yoga practitioner practicing yoga of annihilating ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness” and the desire of “I want to practice yoga to be free from ignorance and suffering” vanished from the minds that know thyself.

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Worldly self-identity and group identity

As soon as one identifies with a quality of name and form, not to say, most minds identify with different qualities of names and forms simultaneously as ‘This is I with such and such qualities’, one generates separateness between ‘I’ and others who don’t identify with the similar qualities of names and forms, or who identify with some other kinds of quality of names and forms that are different from oneself.

No doubt that living in the modern society, everyone need to have a personal identity that allows people to have a registered given name and identity number, to be legalized to apply for a citizenship, to open a bank account, to enroll for school education, to find a job, to purchase property, to have a passport to travel, to be monitored/controlled by ‘certain organizations’, and so on.

For many people, personal identity doesn’t just stop at the legality purpose to be living and moving around in this world ‘legally’ and ‘conveniently’, but many people put high importance/necessity onto the self/group identification with certain qualities of names and forms to be acknowledged by oneself and others as ‘I’ or ‘This is I with such and such qualities’, to nurture/empower self-esteem and take pride in being ‘somebody with such and such qualities’ and to attain the recognition/respect/approval as ‘somebody with such and such qualities’ to feel satisfy, confident, happy and meaningful towards oneself and one’s life existence, which is truly unnecessary.

Self/group identification with qualities of names and forms gives rise to the sense of separateness that generate many side-effects of unnecessary ‘problems’ of discrimination/prejudice/hatred/bullying/violence in the world.

In the world where most minds are functioning under the influence of ignorance and egoism, and most people deliberately teaching/encouraging/influencing everyone to develop and empower a strong self and group identity that attached onto certain qualities of names and forms from very young age to be who they are, or ‘This is I’ and ‘This is my origin/ancestor/race/tribe/family/friends/relatives/community/social circle/culture/religion/spirituality/gender/sexuality/education/qualification/nationality/political stand, and so on, and that they should take pride for being identifying with those qualities of names and forms as ‘who they are’, and that they should protect/defend those qualities of names and forms AT ALL COST. And hence, all kinds of fear, discrimination, defensiveness, animosity, intimidation, offensiveness, prejudice, hatred, bullying and violence exist due to this ignorant egoistic prideful ‘self/group identity’.

People don’t need to discriminate, intimidate, condemn, bully and attack other beings just because one dislikes and disagrees with the others based on one’s attachment and identification with certain qualities of names and forms that is different from the others. But due to ignorance and egoism of attachment and identification with the sense of pride, arrogance and superiority towards certain qualities of names and forms, there are those who feel proudness and superiority towards their particular thinking and belief, as well as there are those who want their identification with certain qualities of names and forms that are different from the others to be verified, approved, acknowledged, accepted and respected by the others who are different from them in the society, to receive understanding, equal treatment, kindness and friendliness from others, to feel satisfy, happy, confident and meaningful about themselves and their life existence, but this actually creates the opportunity for discrimination to be existing.

One can have a particular way of thinking and belief/disbelief, way of life and way of doing things, skin colour, sexual orientation, genital organ, physical appearance, physical ability/disability, action and reaction. But, all these qualities of names and forms are not ‘I’ or ‘who I am’. One doesn’t need to be verified, approved, acknowledged, accepted and respected by the others who are different from oneself in the society, and one doesn’t need to rely on receiving understanding, equal treatment, kindness and friendship from others, to feel happy, satisfy, confident and meaningful about oneself and one’s life existence, if one knows yoga/dharma, or namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness/selflessness.

What other people want to think, believe, feel, act and react is their freedom, even when they are discriminating others who are different from them, whom they dislike and disagree with, but one doesn’t need to be determined or disturbed by other people’s thinking, belief, feeling, action and reaction that are not necessarily agreeable, pleasant, friendly, nice or kind, if oneself is free from ignorance and egoism of attachment and identification, or free from expectation towards how other people should and shouldn’t think and behave and treat others.

Anyone who identifies with any qualities of names and forms as ‘This is who I am with such and such qualities’, and expect to be verified, approved, acknowledged, accepted and respected by others, will never be free from generate discrimination towards others and perceive discrimination from others. This is a ‘natural’ behavior of all minds under the influence of ignorance and egoism. Most minds don’t like to be discriminated and will feel angry, disrespected, insulted, bullied, attacked and hurt when being discriminated, but then they don’t mind discriminating others, whether wittingly or unwittingly.

Not all who think themselves are ‘yogi/yoga practitioner’ or ‘Buddhist’ are all really practicing yoga and Buddhism. Those who truly practice yoga or Buddhism, they go beyond all the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms. They don’t have identification as ‘yogi’ or ‘Buddhist’. They only see a whole bunch of mortal beings that are subject to the suffering of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness, and all kind of names and forms are subject to impermanence and selflessness. All beings are mere moving skeletons covered with skin, flesh, blood, organs, nerves, glands, pus, pee and shit with limited life span that is subject to changes, decay, illness, old age and death/decomposition. There’s no superiority or inferiority. There’s no good people or bad people. There’s no black or white. There’s no male or female. There’s no enjoyable or non-enjoyable. There’s no separateness or discrimination or fear or hatred. The physical body that comes in different qualities of names and forms is being born to change, decay and decompose from the very beginning of it’s existence, regardless of what qualities of names and forms that everyone identify themselves with as ‘who they are’.

All these identifications and discrimination towards different identifications are truly unnecessary, if one knows how to transcend all the different qualities of names and forms. All these different qualities of names and forms are not ‘I’. Be free from any self/group identity with any qualities of names and forms. Neither this or that is ‘I’. Who and what is there to receive discrimination from anybody, if there’s no ‘I’ or ‘This is I with certain qualities of names and forms’?

If people want to discriminate others, or they are being discriminated by others due to attachment and identification with the qualities of names and forms to be who they are, and they are longing for endorsement, acknowledgement, acceptance, respect, approval, understanding or friendliness from others, that’s their freedom.

The mind that knows the truth of ignorance and egoism is free from any self/group identity. One will be free and peaceful, and allow others to be what/who they think they are, thinking and behaving as they are. None can remove or take away the ignorance and egoism in others, not even enlightened beings who were/are free from ignorance and egoism.

Those who know, some of them retreat from the worldly minded society that emphasizes on developing/empowering self/group identity, to conserve energy, to live a simple quiet life. Those who remain in the society, they are not determined or disturbed by the ignorance of others.

Go beyond the impermanent selfless physical body

It’s normal and nothing wrong that many people are being determined by everything that is related to their physical body to be who they are, being determined by the condition, ability/disability and appearance of the physical body to feel satisfy, confident, meaningful, good and happy, or not.

There is expectation towards the physical body to be the way that they desire it to be. And if their physical body doesn’t turn out to be the way that they expect it to be, they feel disturbed, disappointed, dissatisfied, unhappy, frustrated or depressed about themselves and their life. This is truly unnecessary if one practices yoga and knows what is yoga.

For those who truly want to practice yoga and realize unconditional peace, the non-attachment and non-identification with the impermanent selfless physical body is one of the important teaching and practice of yoga, alongside the non-attachment and non-identification with the thinking mind, the cultural and social thinking and belief, the feelings and emotions, the desires and all the perceptions/experiences of names and forms.

Go beyond the impermanent selfless physical body and realize unconditional peace.

The mind that perceives all the names and forms through the senses via the physical body won’t be determined or disturbed by the impermanent changes of health condition/strength/flexibility/ability/performance/energy level/appearance/aging/decaying/mortality of the physical body.

The youthfulness, good health, great strength, super flexibility, skillful abilities, high performance, high energy level and desirable appearance of the physical body cannot avoid/defeat/conquer impermanent selfless changes, decay, sickness, injuries and mortality. The strongest and healthiest person in the world would also breakdown instantly if being hit by a strong impact, or poisoned, or infected by life threatening viruses.

The world greatest super talented, fit and skillful sportsmen/sportswomen and incredibly strong and flexible acrobatic performers and world class gymnasts also would suffer from disappointment, depression, hurts, painful sorrow, sickness, injuries, degeneration, old age and death.

Seek not identity, satisfaction, confidence, sense of meaningfulness and happiness in the existence and function of this impermanent selfless physical body.

For the yoga or peace seekers, this life existence of the impermanent selfless physical body is just a momentary transition to allow the selfless restless mind under the influence of ignorance and egoism to be liberated from the suffering of ignorance, egoism and restlessness through transcending/silencing the modification of the mind.

Non-attachment and non-identification with the physical body and the thinking mind as ‘who I am’ doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t appreciate the existence and function of the physical body and the thinking mind, or does not maintain the well-being of the physical body and the thinking mind, but out of compassion, one appreciates and maintains the good condition of the physical body and the clarity/sanity of the thinking mind for performing yoga and meditation practice without attachment, identification and expectation towards the existence and function/the ability and disability of the physical body and the thinking mind.

This is the basic practical yoga practice that would bring the mind towards the realization of unconditional peace, not by performing lots of physical yoga asana exercises. By performing/practicing/teaching lots of yoga asana exercises regularly for many years, possessing the knowledge of the yoga asana exercises and gaining the maximum benefits from doing the yoga asana exercises doesn’t guarantee that the mind will have peace, if one has attachment, identification and expectation towards the existence and function of the physical body and the thinking mind as ‘who I am’, to feel good, happy, satisfy, meaningful and confident, or not.

Those who couldn’t or don’t do any yoga asana exercises for some reasons, they will have peace if they know what is non-attachment, non-identification and non-expectation towards the impermanent selfless physical body and thinking mind, being undetermined and undisturbed by the selfless impermanent changes of the body and mind.

When the mind knows how to be undetermined and undisturbed by the impermanent changes of the body and mind, the mind would also know how to be undetermined or undisturbed by the mind perception of all the different qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches/feels/senses and thinks.

That is what yoga is about, resting in peace in the NOW while experiencing all the ups and downs, pleasantness and unpleasantness, agreeable and disagreeable life experiences, or happy and unhappy relationships through this selfless impermanent mortal life existence of the function of the body and mind perception of a worldly life of impermanent names and forms of beings, relationships and things.

One doesn’t need to momentarily escape unhappiness or tension by taking any substances of drugs or intoxicants that could give many damaging side-effects to the function of the body and the thinking mind. One doesn’t need to rely on attaining/possessing ‘good and positive’ qualities and the gratification of desires of craving and aversion to feel good, happy, meaningful and confident, or not. That is real freedom or liberation.

Yoga is not about possessing great virtues and merits from performing good actions and accumulating good karma to have a better rebirth to a better/easier/less suffering next life experience, or self-punishing to inflict physical pain/injury to remove sins, or to be ‘migrating’ to a place called ‘heaven’ after death. Though that is people’s freedom if that is what they believe in and that’s what they want.