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.

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Be open-minded, not to be limited by any thinking and belief

Most of the ‘unnecessary problems’ in the world, of fear, animosity, hostility, discrimination, prejudice, racism, hatred, unjust, bullying, invasion, intrusion, condemn, unrest, violence, oppression, clashes, conflicts, killings, wars, and etc, is due to most minds are limited by a particular thinking and belief that influence one’s judgment towards everything, way of life, way of doing things, behavior, action and reaction. It’s not because there are many different kinds of thinking and belief that create the sense of separateness that is responsible for the ‘problems’ in the world. It’s not that there will be no more ‘problems’ in the world if all minds have one same thinking and belief.

The sense of separateness is coming from the mind itself due to ignorance and egoism, it’s not coming from the different qualities of names and forms. The minds that are free from ignorance and egoism are free from the sense of separateness even though the minds perceive all the names and forms that are different from one another.

The different kinds of thinking and belief are just what they are. They are neither good nor bad. It doesn’t matter there is only one type of thinking and belief exists in the world, or there are many types of thinking and belief co-exist in the world, they are not the ‘problem’.

Some people try to convert or reform everyone in their society or in the world to have only one uniform of thinking and belief to solve ‘problems’ in their society or in the world. It doesn’t help, as even under the same family, the same culture, the same religion, the same society, the same race, the same nationality, or the same political party, there will always be different opinions/points of view/likes and dislikes/agreements and disagreements that generate conflicts/discrimination/bullying/oppression/unrest/tension among one another due to ignorance and egoism of pride and arrogance, superiority and defensiveness towards ‘I’.

Even children would hurt their own parents, and vice versa, or lovers/spouse/siblings will hurt each other either intentionally or unintentionally due to ignorance and egoism. Out of ignorance, there are painful consequences onto oneself and others derived from actions being performed under the influence of passionate lustful desires, intoxicants and drugs abuse, mischievous and destructive urge, survival instinct, fear, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, jealousy, hurts, irritation, agitation, obsession, possessiveness, pride, boredom, mental illness, ill-will and ill-thinking, and all sorts of impurities.

The ‘problem’ is ignorance and egoism, regardless of what type of thinking and belief/disbelief.

It’s when the mind attached onto and identified with any particular thinking and belief and certain qualities of names and forms as ‘I’ or ‘my family/community/race/culture/nation/religion’, and generates pride and arrogance, superiority and defensiveness towards the attachment and identification towards such thinking and belief and qualities of names and forms to judge and condemn and interfere with others whom are different from oneself, whom one dislikes and disagrees with, based on one’s particular thinking and belief, that’s where all the problems begin.

It’s not about not thinking in certain ways or not believe in anything. Autonomously, the mind will be thinking in certain ways and believing/disbelieving in certain things. And it’s fine, as long as there’s no attachment or identification, the sense of pride and arrogance, superiority and defensiveness towards that particular way of thinking and the belief and disbelief about certain things in the mind. This mind won’t be offended/threatened/intimidated by any other kinds of thinking and belief that are different from it’s thinking and what it believes or disbelieves.

It’s about being open-minded, unattached towards any particular thinking and belief to be identifying as ‘I’, and see things as they are, without being limited by any particular thinking and belief to judge and interfere with everyone and everything, allowing everyone and everything to be different from one another, to be what they are, as they are, without expecting everyone and everything has to be the way according to any particular kind of thinking and belief/disbelief.

Yoga and meditation practice is about freeing the mind from ignorance and egoism of attachment and identification towards any particular thinking and belief, letting go or be free from being limited or determined by any family/cultural/social/religious/spiritual/racial/national/political thinking and belief, to allow the mind to be opened to see things as they are, be free from judgment and expectation. The mind will also be free from desire of craving and aversion towards what the mind likes and dislikes, agrees with and disagrees with, that are based on particular thinking and belief.

This mind will have peace, regardless of how many kinds of thinking and belief that are different from one another are existing in the world.

More important is that, regardless of all the different kinds of thinking and belief/disbelief, whether the mind believes or disbelieves in ‘God’, ‘spirituality’, ‘ghost’, ‘evil spirits’, ‘angels’, ‘karma’, ‘reincarnation’, ‘heaven and hell’, ‘black magic’, ‘astrology’, ‘miracles’, ‘auspiciousness/inauspiciousness’, and so on, the truth is still the same – The existence and function of the body and mind, and all the names and forms (quality of good or bad) is subject to impermanence and selflessness.

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.

Peace in silence?

The untrained minds might want to have some ‘peace in quietness’ once in a while when they feel that they need to be unwind and rejuvenate from restlessness and tiredness derived from over-activities, over-stressed and over-stimulation. But, after a few moments or a few days of ‘peace in quietness’, the minds want to get back into the daily routine of actions, stimulation and adventure as soon as possible. The minds need some sorts of excitement, stimulation, interaction of inputs and outputs, the sense of accomplishment or achievement, and acknowledgement from others, to feel good and meaningful about life and about themselves of what the minds think and believe as who they are, or who ‘I’ am.

Some say, people just need to know how to balance between quietness/relaxation and excitement/stimulation. Most minds like to hear this. Many yoga teachers also preach about this – The balance of everything.

“Come for yoga class/yoga retreat and do some yoga exercises when you feel restless/tensed/tired/burn-out and need to be unwind/relaxed/rejuvenate/re-energized from restlessness, tension, over-tiredness, or burn-out.”

Though there’s nothing bad or wrong with that, yoga practice is more about learning how to free the mind from ignorance and egoism to minimize/reduce/stop generating unnecessary restlessness, tension and exhaustion into the body and mind, so that one doesn’t need to be unwind or relaxed at all, than to do some yoga practice once in a while to unwind and relaxed, then generate more tension and tiredness in everyday life, and then come back again for more yoga practice to unwind and relax, repeatedly and ceaselessly.

Most minds don’t really like the teachings of yoga about quieting the restless mind to be in silence, to annihilate the modification of the mind completely, not just for a few moments or a few days of quietness to be unwind from restlessness and exhaustion, but then the minds eagerly want to get back into worldly activities of interactions, stimulation and excitement, as the restless egoistic mind can’t stand being in quietness for too long. The minds that are used to restlessness and stimulation will feel unease, bored, lonely and meaningless after being in quietness, away from restlessness of physical and mental activities of interactions of inputs and outputs, stimulation and excitement for some time.

There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just the common behavior/reaction of the ever restless ‘I-ness’ mind.

Yoga and meditation practice is training the mind to eventually drop-off the ‘I-ness’ being immersed in quietness. There’s no unease, boredom, loneliness and meaninglessness. And hence, the mind doesn’t need to be engaging in any sort of physical or mental activities to get excitement, stimulation, interactions of inputs and outputs, the sense of accomplishment or achievement, and acknowledgement from others, to feel good and meaningful. The ‘I’-less/selfless mind rests in peacefulness and quietness, as it is.

Self-inquiry into the truth of who/what am ‘I’

– Inquire the truth of all the names and forms that the mind thinks and believes, and identifies as ‘I’, such like the life existence, the existence and function of the mind, the states of mind, the thinking/thoughts, the feelings/emotions, the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, the belief, the vision/ambition, the inspiration/aspiration, the self-esteem/confidence, the self-image, the culture, the race, the nationality, the pride, the shame, the ‘good’ qualities, the ‘bad’ qualities, the species, the religion, the practice, the behavior, the personality, the family/relatives/friends relationship, the social network, the social status, the titles, the talents, the skills, the learning/education, the knowledge, the qualifications, the memories, the experiences, the career, the energy field/level, the mental health condition, the desires of craving and aversion, the likes and dislikes, the agreements and disagreements, the positive and negative thinking, the standard of right and wrong, the sense of meaningfulness and meaninglessness, the existence and function of the physical body, the physical look/appearance, the different stages of growing and aging, the gender, the sexual orientation, the facial feature, the skin tone and colour, the hair, the body shape, the physical ability and disability/limitation, the physical health condition, the different bodily systems, the clothing and accessories, the life style, the living condition, the interests/hobbies, the food option, the actions and the result of actions, the possessions/belongings, the livelihood, the wealth, the achievements, the contributions, the sacrifices, the expectations, the satisfaction/dissatisfaction, the guilt/regret, the hurts/disappointment, the happiness/unhappiness, the sorrow/grief, and so on.

– If this is ‘I’, then it should belongs to ‘I’ and it should be in the control of ‘I’ about how ‘I’ would like/want it to be. If it’s not in the control of ‘I’ about how ‘I’ would like/want it to be, it doesn’t belong to ‘I’, then it’s not ‘I’ or ‘mine’.

– Negate what is not ‘I’.

– Realize selflessness. There is no ‘I’. Just impermanent changes of names and forms, arising and passing away.

Suffering and restlessness exist because of the ‘existence’ and ‘identification’ of the ego/’I’ in the mind/the thinking. Realize the truth of ‘I’, there’s no suffering or restlessness. Absence of suffering and restlessness is peace. If ‘peace’ comes from experiencing/perceiving ‘good’ and ‘positive’ qualities of names and forms, or due to everything is the way that the thinking would like it to be, then this ‘peace’ is ‘conditional peace’ that is impermanent. The real peace derived from knowing the truth of ‘I’, being free from ignorance and egoism, is unconditional and undetermined by all the life experiences/the mind perceptions of different qualities of names and forms of ‘good and bad’/’positive and negative.’