Yoga retreat for developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance and simplicity

Many people who are interested in doing regular yoga exercises as a form of health and fitness activity, they might also interested in participating in yoga retreats once in a while. And there are many yoga retreats everywhere in the world that would cater the demands and expectations of those who want to participate in yoga retreats.

Some people are looking for yoga retreats that allow them to learn about yoga and to be focusing and immersed into the traditional yoga practice for a period of time, to develop self-discipline and self-practice in everyday life, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, to realize unconditional love and peace that is beyond all the qualities of name and form, undetermined by life experiences, condition and situation, physical and mental ability, achievements and enjoyments. While many others are looking for yoga retreats that allow them to gratify the desires of craving and aversion, to be in a comfortable and desirable environment that emphasize on indulgence of the senses, self-pampering and socializing, that makes them feel satisfied, pleased, good, relaxed and peaceful, even though it’s impermanent.

Whether the retreat organizers are aware or unaware of it, most yoga retreats are not really about the yoga practice of guiding the yoga enthusiasts/practitioners into the yoga practice of annihilating ignorance and egoism to free the mind from the root cause of suffering – the desires of craving and aversion, but it’s actually providing the opportunity for empowering ignorance and egoism through gratifying their desires of craving and aversion, giving them momentary satisfaction and good feelings via pleasurable physical, sensual and mental enjoyments, by giving the mind what it wants and not giving the mind what it doesn’t want.

Most people are not really interested in the yoga practice of developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance and simplicity, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, and the desires of craving and aversion through participating in yoga retreats that allow the participants to learn about the essential teachings of yoga, to focus and immerse into the traditional yoga practice of annihilating ignorance, egoism and impurities, while not pushing away but confronting any impurity, difficulty, discomfort, fear, or blockage that the mind doesn’t like to confront with, that the mind would rather runaway from.

Most people are more interested in yoga retreats with holiday resort facilities that provide many types of pleasurable activities, facilities, services and enjoyments of sight, sound, taste, smell, sensation, and imagination, that emphasize on self-indulgence, self-pampering and socializing, to temporarily escape from what the mind thinks is ‘negative’, ‘unpleasantness’, ‘discomfortable’, ‘difficult’, ‘depressing’, ‘disturbing’ or ‘non-enjoyment’ in everyday life, to be in a relaxing comfortable environment that would gratified the desires of craving and aversion, to be doing activities that they enjoy doing, to be indulging in sensual pleasurable enjoyments, to be pampered physically and mentally, beside attending daily yoga exercise sessions, to feel good, relaxed, satisfied and pleased.

This type of yoga retreats that emphasize on pleasurable physical and mental enjoyments in a comfortable pampering environment are great for those who feel that there is a need to be temporarily moving away from everyday life where they have to carry out their duties and responsibilities, and dealing with all kinds of people whom are not like-minded, and situations and things that are not the way that they like it to be, that make them feel disturbed, frustrated, exhausted, drained, stressed or tensed, that they need to participate in a ‘retreat’ from time to time, to unwind and relaxed, even though it’s just a momentary relief derived from being away from what their mind perceives as undesirable disturbing environment or something that they don’t like, but to be in a desirable pleasant environment, while engaging in some activities that they like to do, the way that they like it to be, that make them feel good.

Though this is not what yoga practice is about, there’s nothing wrong with most yoga retreats in the world are of this kind as they are many people want and need this kind of yoga retreats. And it’s everyone’s freedom for what they like and want. It’s a business, where you give the customers what they like and want, to make them feel satisfied and happy, and to make sure they will continue to come back again and again to support your business.

The yoga retreats that are about yoga, the teachings and the practice, allow the participants to learn about their own mind and the root cause of suffering, and to practically immerse into the yoga practice of freeing the mind from ignorance to allow the mind to see the truth of things as it is, and freeing the mind from egoism through the practice of non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation, while developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance, simplicity, wisdom and compassion, to become their own teacher to perform self-practice that is beyond time and space, that allow them to live in the world as they are, perform all their duties and responsibilities, without attachment or identification towards the body and mind, the actions and the fruit of actions, without being disturbed or determined by all kinds of life experiences, people, situations and things that are not necessarily the way that they like it to be, allowing them to deal with ‘difficult’ and ‘challenging’ condition and situation with wisdom and compassion, that allow them to be able to let go what the mind used to perceive as ‘negative’, ‘bad’, ‘disturbing’, ‘frustrating’, ‘exhausting’, ‘depressing’, ‘hurtful’, or ‘stressful’, that they know how to partially retreat themselves in everyday life to conserve energy for performing yoga practice and to silent the mind, that they know how to minimize or stop generating and accumulating tension or stress, that there’s no need to participate in a ‘retreat’ to be away from everyday life to unwind or relaxed as there’s minimal or no tension and stress building up, and realize unconditional peace that is beyond the qualities of name and form, and all kinds of condition and situation.

A yoga retreat that allows people to develop correct understanding, awareness, self-practice, self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, simplicity, dispassion, wisdom and compassion, that eventually people don’t need to participate in any ‘retreat’ to retreat from everyday life experiences that are not the way that we like it to be of what the impure mind recognizes as ‘negative’, ‘bad’, ‘difficult’, ‘hurtful’, ‘distressing’, ‘disturbing’, ‘frustrating’, ‘depressing’, ‘discomfortable’, ‘non-enjoyable’, ‘unpleasant’, or ‘exhausting’. The mind is peaceful as it is and wherever it is, undetermined by the qualities of name and form, and all kinds of life experiences and impermanent changes, conditions and situations. One doesn’t need to go to a special place, or be with special people, or do special activities, or to participate in any kind of ‘retreats’ to find relaxation, calmness and peace that is determined by certain qualities of name and form, experience, activity, condition and situation, that is impermanent.

This type of yoga retreat is great for those who are looking for real peace or unconditional peace being free from ignorance and egoism through persevered discipline and restraint of one’s mind activities, but it’s not favorable for business. As there will be physical, mental and emotional unpleasantness during the purification process under going intensive yoga practice to eliminate ignorance and egoism. There will be rejection and disgust coming from the ignorant egoistic mind that doesn’t like to be disciplined or restrained. There’s disagreement and aversion coming from the egoistic mind towards the teachings of yoga that is different from the thinking and belief in the mind. And hence, this type of retreats are less popular, and are being criticized by those who expect pleasurable enjoyments, comfortable conveniences, customer service and social interactions in ‘yoga retreats’. Those who guide others onto the path of yoga don’t take it as a business, and hence, it doesn’t matter.


The importance of self-reliance on the path of yoga and meditation

The teachings of yoga in the scriptures has all the instructions and guidance that one needs for any yoga enthusiasts to progress on the path of yoga and meditation for Self-inquiry.

An untrained mind that is under the influence of ignorance and impurities, the impure intelligence is not able to fully understand or comprehend all the teachings of yoga. And hence, all the yoga practice are here to help us, to allow us to purify the mind to remove impurities and ignorance for us to realize the truth.

There will be doubts and confusion arise from time to time when we progress on the path of yoga and meditation for Self-inquiry.

Sometimes we might feel despair and have doubts in the teachings of yoga and the practice. We might want to attain help from somebody who might be able to clear all or some of our doubts, or to give us a lift on the path.

But, the answers that can clear all our doubts have to come from one’s self-realization.

We have doubts because our mind is under the influence of ignorance. If we are free from ignorance, there’s no need to seek any helps from anyone or anywhere to remove any doubts, as there is no doubt.

Even though somebody who has realized the truth is here to expound the Dharma to us, we will still have doubts about whether whatever this person said is true or not, due to ignorance. Same as even if we have read many books written by some enlightened beings about what they have experienced and realized from their yoga and meditation practice about selflessness, wisdom and compassion, but it still doesn’t remove the ignorance, egoism, attachment, craving, aversion, impurities, or suffering in us. Nor does it give us peace, or make us become compassionate.

Even if someone is speaking the truth, we still need to investigate the truth of it, through our own effort and inquiry, to find out whether it is the truth.

As all these information or knowledge are coming from other people’s realization. It’s not coming from our own direct experience or self-realization. And so, we will still have doubts being ignorant about the truth, continued to be disturbed and determined by duality that derived from the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms. The mind is still under the influence of egoism, attachment, identification, desires, craving, aversion, impurities and suffering. It continues to generate ceaseless reactions towards all the names and forms that it perceives through the senses based on what it likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with. It is over-powered by the desires of wants and don’t wants, being in a state of restlessness, swaying between satisfaction and dissatisfaction most of the time. It performs actions under the influence of egoism, subjective thinking and beliefs, judgment, expectation, selfish desires, craving and aversion. It is determined by the fruit of actions.

The answers to our doubts must come from one’s self-realization, then all the doubts will be cleared.

When our minds start to let go of egoism, attachments, desires, judgment, expectation, craving and aversion, be free from impurities and restlessness, naturally it starts to be able to connect with some of the teachings of yoga when hearing somebody expounds the teachings of yoga, and it starts to see the truth that it couldn’t see before, this is coming from the mind itself, seeing the truth as it is. It has nothing to do with the person who expounds the teachings, nor has anything to do with the teachings.

The teachers and the teachings are like the light, illuminate the space without intention nor expectation. They are just being what they are, exist without intention to illuminate particular space, nor expectation towards anything in return for their illumination.

In the dark, we need the presence of light to allow us to see. The light allows us to see, but it has nothing to do with what we see and don’t see. That’s why some might see the truth, while some others might still be ignorant about the truth, even though they all are hearing the same teachings, at the same time, from the same person.

Without the organ of eyes and the sense of vision, we can’t perceive sights. Without light, having the best vision in the world also can’t see anything in the dark. If the organ of eyes and the sense of vision doesn’t function properly or has some damages, we can’t see clearly or properly. If the vision is blocked by some other objects in front of it, we can’t see what is hindered by the blockage, even if the the organ of eyes functions properly and there is presence of light. We need to make effort to remove any blockages in front of us, or keep the eyes and vision function properly, so that we can see clearly or properly under the presence of light.

The light is just being what it is. It has no intention to be good or bad, to make anyone happy or unhappy, to allow anyone to see something or don’t see something. Some will make good use of the light to see what they want to see. Some don’t like the light, complain that the light is too bright or too dim not the way that they like it to be, or feel that the light is disturbing them, or complain that the light exposes something that they want to keep in the dark.

Yoga enthusiasts who realized the truth through self-realization, with or without the help of some teachers and the teachings, they become one with the light. There is no separateness between the teachers, the teachings and the students. All are one, when ignorance disappears. And the light continues to be what it is. Without intention nor expectation, some will make use of the light, some won’t make use of the light. Some like to be in the light, while some like to be in the dark. Some are grateful and appreciate the light, while some don’t show gratefulness nor appreciation. But all these won’t affect, nor disturb, nor influence, nor determine the light for being what it is.

As long as we still have doubts, then keep practice, without judgment, comparison, nor expectation.

Om shanti.