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.

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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.

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.

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.

Certificates for running and attending yoga courses?

Issuing and acquiring ‘Certificates’ for running and attending yoga courses are not yoga practice.

Yoga is nothing to do with ‘certification’, ‘certificate’, ‘yoga alliance’, ‘yoga association’, and so on.

All these names and forms are the products of ignorance, egoism, worldly ideas of identity, values, recognition, acknowledgment, fruit of actions, self/professional image and commercialism.

One doesn’t need certificates to have peace and compassion, or to forbear and forgive, or to love all beings unconditionally, or to show or guide other beings towards peace and compassion.

Having many ‘internationally recognized certifications’ from attending yoga courses affiliated with ‘yoga alliance’, or having all the knowledge/information about different types of yoga practice and knowing how to perform all the different types of yoga practice, doesn’t mean that we are, or will be free from ignorance and egoism and suffering. It doesn’t guarantee that one is peaceful and compassionate, or be able to show or guide other beings towards peace and compassion.

We won’t find certificates in self-realization of the truth.

We won’t find certificates in silence of the mind.

We won’t find certificates in selflessness and liberation from suffering.

Be free.