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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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.