Feel offended by other people’s ‘non-sociable’ personality or practice of silence?

Walk alone, live alone, eat alone and meditate alone. Cut off all connections ruthlessly. Hide yourself away. Do not build ashram. Do not hoard disciples. Do not mix. Do not associate.

– Swami Sivananda (excerpts from Concentration and Meditation)

Many friendly sociable good people who are interested in yoga and meditation practice, but somehow, they don’t really understand the core teachings and practice of yoga and meditation of silencing the mind, would feel very intimidated or offended by the teachings and practice of turning the mind inwards for self-introspection and silencing the mind, through the practice of seclusion and solitude (cutting off from all social interactions and connections), where the sociable friendly good people would feel very uncomfortable and intimidated being with those who do not engage in social interactive activity and conversation. They criticize people who observe silence, seclusion and solitude as being ‘unfriendly’, as their minds are being conditioned by certain ideas and standards to categorize people into ‘friendly people’ or ‘unfriendly people’ in the social world based on what they think is friendliness and unfriendliness.

Those who don’t talk much, or don’t engage in a social interactive conversation with other people, or don’t invade or interfere with other people’s way of life, thinking and behavior, who don’t comment or acknowledge about other people (whether it’s something good or bad), are being recognized as ‘unfriendly’ or ‘uncaring’ in the sociable society.

“People in a room do not talk to each other is so wrong.” This is the thinking and belief of the worldly minded people.

People attending a ‘silent meditation retreat/course’ complain about people in the retreat/course are so unfriendly because they don’t talk or interactive with one another?!

But what kind of bad actions have these people who are being perceived by friendly sociable good people as ‘unfriendly and uncaring people’ done to other people? Nothing. In fact, they are helping the world to have less conflict and have more peace by observing silence when they do not go around judging or expecting other people to be in certain ways that they think it should be. They do their own things and don’t invade or interfere with other people’s way of life and do not generate inconvenience for other people. That is already a great contribution to the society. We should be grateful and thankful to them.

The nature of those who observe silence appear to be ‘not fun’, non-concerning and non-engaging with other friendly sociable people who expect all human beings should be fun to hang out with, should be active in social interaction, to be talkative, to be engaging and connecting with other human beings physically and verbally, it’s not surprised that why people feel ‘wrong’, ‘awkward’, ‘unwelcome’, ‘disrespected’, ‘hurt’, ‘offended’, ‘intimidated’, ‘unconcerned’, ‘unnoticed’, ‘unacknowledged’, and so on, when they come in contact with those who observe silence. All these reactions of a disturbed state of the mind are coming from their own minds reacting towards something that they dislike and disagree with, and it’s nothing to do with whether other people are being ‘friendly’ to them, or not.

People would feel disturbed and offended by other people whom they think are not being ‘friendly’ enough towards them, as they expect friendly treatment from others the way that they think it should be. There’s an issue with themselves, not with other people. Other people have the freedom to be friendly or unfriendly towards anyone.

Because of most friendly sociable good people would feel greatly disturbed and offended by other people who observe silence of the mind, that’s why it’s better for yoga and meditation practitioners to retreat from the society to observe seclusion and solitude.

‘Friendliness’ in the path of yoga and meditation is nothing to do with accumulating friendships, constantly visiting each other to stay connecting, to be hanging out from time to time to do some social activities together, and get into worldly conversation of commentary, criticism, mocking, flirting, boasting, story telling, mourning, grumbling, debate and discussion, and so on. ‘Friendliness’ in Yoga is when the mind is being free from ill-thinking, ill-will, anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear, offensiveness, defensiveness, judgment, expectation, interference, invasion, violence or hostility towards all and everyone, free from discrimination of friends or not friends, superiority or inferiority that based on personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements.

When people don’t do anything that intentionally to hurt us, or disturb our peaceful life, or cause inconvenience to us, or interfere with our freedom of thinking, action and speech or way of life and conduct, that is what true friendliness is about.

When people in the society who think they are friendly people criticizing or mocking those whom they think are unfriendly people, then they don’t know the true meaning of friendliness, as themselves are being unfriendly, by having such ill-thinking and criticism towards other people whom they feel offended or intimidated by their silence of action and speech, and they interfere with other people’s freedom of actions, to act or not to act (whether to talk to another being, or not talking to anyone, where not talking to other people when there are people around expecting people should talk to one another is being perceived as unfriendly, offensive and wrong for the worldly friendly sociable good people.)

There is nothing wrong, offensive or intimidating when people have no interest to engage in any ‘friendly’ and ‘caring’ conversation with us. But the expectation from us towards other people that all ‘normal’ and ‘good’ people must somehow be engaging in interactive conversation with us to show friendliness to us, is what make us feel offended, intimidated, or wrong, when we don’t receive the interaction the way that we expect it to be. We are the one who is intimidating and offending other people’s freedom of behavior. But we don’t see it this way.

If people truly love the world and want to build a peaceful harmony society, it’s not about expecting other people to conform to our own way of life, thinking, belief, culture and behavior that we think is the way it should be. But it’s to respect everyone to be different and allowing everyone to be different, without invading or interfering with other people’s way of life, thinking, belief and behavior that are different from ours.

It’s okay if people don’t want to be sociable with other people. It’s okay if people are not interested in engaging in some forms of interactive activities or conversation with us. It’s okay if people keep to themselves and are not interested to connect with anyone to live a quiet secluded life. At least they don’t do anything intentionally that would hurt or disturb our life or the environment. If we feel disturbed is because we are disturbed by our own mind reaction towards their behavior that we dislike and disagree with.

When people talk too much, or talk non-sense or subject that we aren’t interested in, especially when we want some quiet time to ourselves, or people want to know too many things that we prefer to keep to ourselves, we complain about them for being overly warm and too friendly and busybody.

When people don’t talk to us or interact with us, and don’t ask anything about us that we would like to share with other people, we also complain about them for being ‘cold’ and ‘unfriendly’ and ‘uncaring’.

Be free.

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Taming the urge to express the thought activities through speech and action

Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha – Yoga is the restraint/annihilation of the modification of the mind – The entire worldly idea of ‘I’ and life existence cease existing. The perception of separateness and duality of good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, enjoyment and suffering, birth and death, and so on, vanished.

This is an important practice in yoga to silent the mind by stop feeding the thought current or thought activities by restraining the mind from projecting or expressing the thinking via speech and action. It’s the practice of awareness, non-attachment and letting go that eventually leads to complete silence or the annihilation of the entire worldly idea of ‘I’ and life existence. People who are passionate towards worldly idea of life existence, who aspire to build a positive world that is free from what they think is negative, would interpret this practice as oppression or suppression or degradation of the mind or human life existence or humanity, which the worldly minded think it’s something inhuman, abnormal, unhealthy, non-progressive and wrong. Those who are not interested in yoga and meditation practice, who are passionate about worldly idea of life existence, they don’t need to perform this practice. Those who think they are free from suffering or they don’t mind suffering, or who had transcended suffering, also don’t need to perform this practice.

Even the teachings and practice of yoga can be something ‘good’ and ‘amazing’ for some people, but it can also be something ‘not good’ and ‘wrong’ for many other people. It’s up to everyone on how the mind perceives and reacts towards everything, and whether the mind needs the teachings and practice of yoga to realize unconditional peace.

The practice of silencing the mind is greatly contradicted with the existing worldly ideas and values that emphasize on empowering self-identification, self-worth, self-development, personal and global achievement, and social community development, where people think human beings should progress forward by constant stimulating their minds and projecting their thoughts freely through expressing their ideas and feelings via speech and action, especially if it’s something ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ according to the thinking and belief consists of certain worldly ideas and values, cultural and religious belief and practice that people think it would benefit all humanity.

What most worldly minds don’t realize is that silencing the mind is the greatest form of serving humanity. There’s less a being under the influence of ignorance to generate ignorant actions into the world. All the higher technologies and engineering derived from high creativity and intelligence, doesn’t remove the ignorance, egoism and impurities in people’s mind and it doesn’t make the world to be free from what the impure minds recognize as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘wrong’, ‘suffering’, and all sorts of ‘fear’ and ‘violence’. People can enjoy the higher technology to live longer or younger or healthier or to enjoy higher standard of living and lifestyle, but it doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free from suffering, if the mind is not free from ignorance, egoism and impurities. As the highest technology also can’t alter the truth of impermanence. People will still hurt each other out of fear, in order to survive or to protect themselves and their loved ones and what they think is ‘good’, if the mind is not free from ignorance.

Many people who are interested in doing some form of yoga exercises regularly are either ignorant towards this teaching and practice, as the yoga teachers don’t teach this teaching in the yoga exercise classes, or, people know, but they don’t like and disagree with this teaching and practice. Whether people know or don’t know, like or dislike, agree or disagree, this is what yoga is about – Annihilation of mind activities.

The worldly idea of life existence appears when the mind moves, where there is habitual attachment and reaction towards the mind perception of names and forms through the senses. The worldly idea of life existence disappears when the mind is stilled, where there is pure awareness of mind perceptions without attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgement, intention or expectation.

A lot of time, the thinking and judgment from the impure mind is only partially true, or may not be true at all. The mind reaction of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, is also the by-product of ignorance, being influenced by egoism and impurities.

There’s nothing wrong when the mind thinks and believes that it has some ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ qualities, ideas and values that are worth to be shared with the world, and there is strong urge to project what it thinks and believes as ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ through speech and action, thinking that this would bring positive goodness to the society or the world, so that other people will also be inspired or be endowed with the same qualities, ideas and values. There’s good and generous intention or aspiration to share something great with the world to inspire others.

Everyone has the freedom to express their thinking through speech and action, there’s nothing wrong and it really doesn’t matter to those who are free from the influence of ignorance and egoism because they will not be affected or disturbed by other people’s thinking, ideas or feelings being projected through their speech and action. But in reality, there are many minds functioning under the influence of ignorance and egoism, that are not free from being disturbed by ungratified desires, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, who will be disturbed or intimidated or offended or hurt by other people of their thinking, ideas and feelings. Again, there’s nothing wrong with people expressing their thinking freely, as well as it’s people’s freedom and responsibility for how people react towards other people’s thinking, ideas and feelings. Just that impure minds can get very confused when being disturbed or intimidated, and might unwittingly or spontaneously hurt themselves or others out of the disturbed and confused state of the mind.

For example, there are women who don’t have or don’t want to have children would express their ideas or feelings about how ‘good’ and ‘blessed’ for them to have the joy of not having children. While the women who have or want to have children would express their ideas or feelings about how ‘good’ and ‘blessed’ for them to have the joy of having children. And sometimes, they might mock each other for justifying their respective ideology is somehow more superior or better than the other.

There’s nothing wrong with both different ideas or feelings towards the joy of having or not having children. It’s all good that some women find joy in not having children, while some women find joy in having children, as long as there’s no attachment or identification towards this idea or value to be who they are. Then it doesn’t matter whether they have or don’t have children, they are fine, being undetermined by any ideology to feel worthy, happy, confident, or meaningful, or not.

There are women who think and believe that having children is something ‘good’ and ‘blessed’, and they would love to have children, but for some reasons they couldn’t have any children, or they have children, but it’s not the way that they like it to be, and their minds are being in a state of suffering due to ungratified desires. Under the imbalanced state of the mind, they would feel greatly disturbed when women who have children keep boasting about their joy of having children, thinking that it’s something good and positive to inspire and encourage other women to also have the joy of having children, but it’s actually generating great disturbance for the women who would love to have children but they couldn’t. And then, there are some women who have children, but for some reasons, they feel regret about having children, and their minds are being in a state of dissatisfaction, frustration and regret, they might feel more disturbed for having children that they don’t really want, when the women who don’t have children keep boasting about their joy of not having children.

It’s not the fault of the people who boast or share about their thinking, values and feelings, when other people attach onto whatever they perceive and react towards what they perceive, taking other people’s expression of thinking and point of view seriously and personally, and feel disturbed or intimidated or hurt. Though there are many minds that are easily be affected, disturbed and intimidated by other people’s freedom of expression. For the mind that is free, it won’t be affected or disturbed or intimidated by other people’s freedom of expression. This mind doesn’t need to stay away from something that the worldly minded perceive as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘depressing’, or ‘meaninglessness’.

When the mind starts to develop awareness, correct understanding and compassion, it’s okay for the mind to have particular thinking and belief towards particular ideas or values, but it doesn’t need to project/express these ideas or values to inspire other people to also take up these values and ideas, even though the mind strongly believes that they are something ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’. Allowing everyone to have their own version of ideas and values, and it’s needless to boast about anything trying to inspire other people to be the same as ‘I’, to achieve what ‘I’ achieve, to live life as ‘I’ live. “I am happy. You should be like me, and you will be happy too.” But what is ‘good’ for ‘I’ might be something ‘painful’ for other people.

When teaching a yoga asana class, the yoga teacher can’t tell the students, “I can do this, so can you.” or “Nothing is impossible. You can do and achieve anything that you want.” to inspire or encourage the students to be able to do what the yoga teacher can do, because it’s not true. Not everyone has the similar physical structure, condition, ability and limitation to be able to perform the same action. People who take the teacher’s words seriously and force themselves beyond their limitation but still couldn’t achieve what they want to achieve, they might hurt themselves out of great expectation and disappointment. It’s okay that there are things that are impossible to reach or achieve due to certain circumstances. And it’s okay if people can’t perform certain actions due to certain limitation even after many years of practice and attempts. People don’t have to be able to do everything that the yoga teacher or other people can do, to have peace, or be compassionate, or to forgive someone or something that is hurtful. But the ability to go beyond all the ability and disability of the body and the mind, accepting the reality as it is, while performing actions without attachment or identification towards the actions and the fruit of actions, and allowing impermanent changes to be there as they are, that will allow the mind to be peaceful, compassionate and forgiving. And it’s okay if many people couldn’t realize this after many years of practice, and still be disturbed and determined by all the names and forms.

By accepting the reality in this present moment now, that the mind is not free, and it’s okay, and it’s impermanent and it’s not ‘I’, and without judgment or disappointment, keep practicing, without attachment or expectation towards the practice and the fruit of practice, and that is already what yoga is about.

For example, high performance and continuous achievement in any field is being perceived as something ‘good’ and ‘positive’ in the world. There’s nothing wrong with the idea of high performance and continuous achievement individually and globally, and many people can keep up with that idea with not much difficulty, but there are people couldn’t meet up with the expectation of high performance and continuous achievement, and they keep forcing the capability of the body and mind beyond its limitation to attain higher and higher performance and achievement until the function of the body and mind eventually breakdown, harming the entire body systems and suffered from restlessness, depression or insanity.

People can just do their best within their own capability, without trying to achieve what the world think is ‘good’ and ‘positive’, without pushing or forcing the body and mind beyond its limitation to compete with themselves or others to attain the sense of self-worth, achievement, confidence or meaningfulness, and without losing the clarity and sanity of the mind.

For the untrained mind, there are thought activities or thinking in the mind reacting towards the perception of names and forms, whether there is likes or dislikes and agreements or disagreements towards the perceived names and forms in the form of thinking, and naturally, there’s an urge to project/materialize this thinking through the speech and action, either intentionally or unintentionally. There’s an urge to express, to comment, to justify, to fight back, to argue, to attack, to revenge, to intimidate, to oppose, to criticize, to condemn, to aspire, to inspire, to admire, to love, to appreciate, to praise, to possess, or to control, and so on.

For the mind that has developed strong foundation in non-attachment and letting go, there is awareness towards the thought activities of the mind perception of names and forms of sight, sound, smell, taste, sensation and thinking/imagination/feeling, even though there might be likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements in the form of thinking due to the intellectual thought processing and recognizing the perceived names and forms, but it’s not necessarily that the thinking has to be projected/expressed/materialized through speech and action. In the end, all likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements in the form of thinking also will drop off. There are necessary actions being performed, without intention, attachment, identification, desires, judgment or expectation. Allowing the fruit of actions to be there as it is, allowing all the names and forms to be there as they are, and allowing them to change as they are.

There might be many intellectuals in the world would disagree with this or are against towards Silence of the mind. And that is their freedom of thinking and reaction.

This is what yoga practice is about – Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha

And it’s nothing to do with the physical condition, ability and limitation to do the yoga poses. It’s nothing to do with the knowledge of anatomy and physiology, or the precise physical alignment and different techniques on performing the yoga poses, or how one looks and feels in the yoga poses, or what are the names and benefits of the yoga poses, or the different types of qualifications and certifications sanctioned by such and such internationally recognized yoga alliance or association.

The mind that is free from impurities, ignorance and egoism, and is peaceful as it is being free from suffering, doesn’t need to be recognized, acknowledged, approved, authorized, or certified by anyone or any group, or any higher consciousness.

Be free.

Truthfulness and worldly social mingling and interaction

To practice truthfulness (one of the basic practice of yoga), we learn how to minimize as much as possible from engaging in worldly social mingling and interaction, because these worldly social activities empower egoism and strengthen worldly ideas, which is the opposite of yoga practice.

If we analyze our daily interactions and conversations with other people, we will see that it’s mostly about the empowerment of egoistic personal and worldly attachment, identification, judgment, comparison, expectation, desires of craving and aversion, the past and the future. Yoga practice is to free the mind from all these mind activities of egoism. There is also intentional and unintentional hypocrisy, untruthfulness and ego flattering elements in many of the social interactions and conversations.

It’s a normal cultural social politeness for many people to be HYPOCRITE and UNTRUTHFUL and FLATTERING when interacting with other people, to maintain ‘good relationship’ with everyone in the society and this game of hypocrisy and untruthfulness exists even among family members, couples and friends.

Most people don’t want to know the truth as the truth is not necessarily something that they like or agree with.

Since little, everyone was being taught to be polite, to be good and say only good thing in front of everyone, to please other people, to gain love and liking, and acknowledgment/acceptance/recognition from other people, to maintain ‘good relationship’ with everyone, but then, behind people’s back, there’s complaints, gossips, slandering, back-biting, criticism, blame, or bitching. There are many this type of ‘good relationships’ everywhere in the worldly life. And this is being perceived as the ‘correct’ behavior or ‘normal’ way of life in the society and in the family. People don’t like truthfulness and straightforwardness. Being truthful and straightforward is something very rude and wrong.

Truth seekers don’t waste energy, time and effort in this worldly egoistic game of accumulating and cultivating such type of ‘good relationships’. And hence, the practice of silence comes into everyday life to minimize involving in unnecessary social game of hypocrisy, untruthfulness and flattering of the ego of oneself and others. Performing selfless service in a huge community, is not about cultivating and accumulating personal friendships or relationships at all, if one truly knows what is selflessness and selfless service.

There are not many ‘yoga and meditation enthusiasts’ have the understanding, initiative and willpower to cut down or cut off worldly passionate social activities. It’s a painful and contradicting process for the mind to retreat from worldly social activities, as it is going against ‘normal cultural thinking and behavior’. There are lots of ‘justifications’ coming from the egoistic mind to avoid or give up renunciation from a passionate worldly life of social activities.

Those who aren’t really interested in the path of yoga and meditation to free the mind from the root cause of all suffering – ignorance and egoism, they don’t have to practice truthfulness or dispassion or renunciation from worldly social activities.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life existence, and what they want to think and believe.

Listen?

In the civilized cultured loving and caring society, people might take this word of ‘LISTEN’ to be “Someone or a voice needs to be heard or be listened, and people should being sympathetic in listening to someone else ‘agony’, or ‘difficulty’, or ‘misery’, or ‘unhappiness’, or ‘painful sorrow’, or ‘hurts’, or ‘broken heart’, or ‘suffering’, or ‘grumbling’, and etc.”

It’s normal for people to share each other’s life experiences, ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions, either we want to tell our stories or we want ourselves to be listened by others, as well as we want to be a listener to listen to other people’s stories, whether it’s something ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘happy’ or ‘unhappy’. People like to connect and stay connect with other people by chatting regularly or catching-up once in a while to show that they care. And it would be seen as abnormal or inhuman or cold, if one doesn’t involve with such human social activities. We will feel lonely, isolated, abandoned, helpless, unworthy, unloved, not good enough, unhappy, depressed, disappointed, frustrated, or meaningless, if we think there’s nobody there to listen to us, or nobody wants to share with us.

People would think that as human beings, people should be caring and sympathetic to be there for other people when people need someone to be there to listen to what is troubling them. Caring people like to ask other people whom they think they might be ‘disturbed’, or ‘troubled’, or ‘hurt’ by something, “Do you want to talk about what is troubling/disturbing/hurting you? I’m here to listen. Maybe I can help you.” It’s selfish, uncaring, unthinkable, uncompassionate, inhuman, or wrong, if we don’t ask about other people’s ‘problems’, or ‘unhappiness’, or ‘painful sorrow’, or ‘suffering’, and etc. Or it’s ‘bad’ or ‘unhealthy’ if one observes silence of thoughts, actions and speech.

No doubt that by expressing, or talking, or grumbling, or bitching about our ‘frustration’, ‘disappointment’, ‘dissatisfaction’, ‘troubles’, ‘problems’, ‘difficulties’, ‘misery’, ‘grief’, ‘hurts’, ‘painful sorrow’, ‘agony’, or ‘suffering’, and etc, to other people may or may not give certain degrees of momentary relief to the ‘suffering’ or ‘unhappy’ or ‘troubled’ minds, but it won’t help the minds to be free from what they think is their ‘suffering’ or ‘unhappiness’, even if the people who listen to them might try to give them some ‘advice’, or ‘guidance’, or ‘care’, or ‘comfort’ that they think might can relieve their ‘pain’ or ‘solve’ their problems.

Sometimes, talking or complaining about what we think is our ‘problem’ to some other people actually creates further complication to the existing ‘problem’ and could generate some other unnecessary ‘problems’ to ourselves and other people. The listener of other people’s problems becomes a ‘problem maker’ or has a ‘problem’ in the end. We asked for advice from others, and someone was being very kind to listen to us and give us some advice and we took the advice, but when things didn’t turn out to be the way that we expect it to be, we blamed other people for giving us their ‘bad advice’, or we blamed ourselves for trusting the wrong person and taking the ‘bad advice’. This is due to most minds are impure, are not free from egoistic selfish desires, attachment, expectation and incorrect thinking.

In the path of yoga and meditation, we are learning to be a listener. It’s not so much about listening to other people’s ‘problems’ or ‘unhappiness’ to ‘share’ their ‘problems’ or ‘pain’, to say ‘nice things’ to comfort them, or to give them ‘good advice’ with the intention to help ‘solving’ their ‘problems’ (which is nothing wrong, but none can share, or solve, or take away another person’s ignorance and suffering), but it’s to learn how to open and quiet the mind to listen to the Dharma in here and now, and allow other people to also learn to listen to the Dharma, to be free from the root cause of all ‘problems’ and ‘unhappiness’. There’s no ‘problems’ that need to be solved at all.

People think that the person who is ‘troubled’ or ‘hurt’ needs a listener to listen to their ‘pain’, and this person will have less pain or no more pain, but in yoga, this person needs to be the listener, to know what is really going on in its own mind.

If one truly is ‘disturbed’, or ‘troubled’, or ‘hurt’ by something and they think that they need some help or guidance, instead of looking forward to talk and share about what they think is disturbing, or troubling, or hurting them, to be listened by some other people, to have someone there to share their disturbed feelings and thoughts, to get love and support from other people to feel better about themselves, one should learn how to be in solitude and silence, quiet the restless mind and try to LISTEN to the DHARMA.

If one TRULY LISTENS to the DHARMA that is here and now, with an open and quiet mind, one will realize or see the truth of the real cause of all their misery, trouble, problem, unhappiness, grief, painful sorrow, agony, or suffering. One doesn’t need to talk or complain about anything or doesn’t need anyone to be there to share or listen to one’s ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’, as there is none.

Being yoga teachers teaching yoga and meditation to others, is about teaching and guiding them on how to see and listen to Dharma, or how to perform self-inquiry to attain self-realization to be free from the cause of suffering – ignorance, egoism and impurities. This is wisdom and compassion. Or else, talking and listening to each other among the teachers and the students can easily turn into a scene of ‘corruption’ and ‘complication’, especially if the minds are not yet free from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

For example: The teacher is being ‘loving’ and ‘caring’ to share and listen to the ‘troubled’, or ‘heart broken’ and ‘vulnerable’ student’s ‘problems’ and disturbed ‘feelings’ and ’emotions’, and this ‘troubled’ or ‘heart broken’ and ‘vulnerable’ student feels a lot of affection, love and care from the teacher, and unwittingly ‘fall in love’ with the teacher. Or, the student becomes sensitive and suspicious towards what the teacher says and does, as the student would feel ‘disturbed’, ‘betrayed’, or ‘attacked’, when the teacher talks about the similar issues in front of other students as part of the teachings in general, but the student might think that the teacher is talking about him or her personally, and is exposing his or her personal issues, feelings and emotions that he or she doesn’t want to be exposed to any other people.

In yoga, the teachers don’t really need to know what are the students’ personal issues that they think they have. It doesn’t mean that the teachers don’t care about other people’s suffering. It’s because all issues derived from the same root of ignorance, egoism and impurities. The teachers just need to guide the students on how to free their minds from the root cause of all ‘problems’ and ‘suffering’ – ignorance, egoism and impurities, and allow the students to work their own way in their own pace and effort towards self-realization and liberation, without the need to ‘know’ or ‘listen’ to each individual’s different types of ‘issues’ that are ‘troubling’, or ‘disturbing’, or ‘hurting’ them.

When we attend a silent meditation retreat, there’s no talking or discussion with another person or teacher about what we think is our ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’, all we do is quieting the restless mind to allow the mind to see the truth of things as it is. It’s about knowing one’s mind and realizing the truth of suffering and rooting out the root cause of suffering. The past and the future doesn’t exist. No matter all our experiences from the past to the present were/are good or not good, happy or unhappy, pleasant or painful, deserving or undeserving, the only reality is the present moment, and even this present moment is impermanent. It’s about letting go egoism of all forms of attachment, identification, clinging, craving, aversion, desires, judgment and expectation, and thus be free from all sorts of impurities, and hence be free from suffering.

If people think they have ‘issues’ that involve other people whether in a relationship, or in a family, or in the workplace, or in the community, people should try to talk directly to the person/people involved to find the best solution. By talking or bitching or complaining behind people’s back to a third party doesn’t help, even though one might get some sympathy, agreement and supports from the third party who doesn’t really know what is going on. People who are truly practicing yoga and meditation should stay away from such worldly activities.

We think and believe that “I have ‘serious’ problems in my life that are really difficult to deal with, that are more important than anything else. I deserve some sympathy and love and care and support from other people. If not, I’ll feel depressed and hopeless and I think I want to ‘hurt’ myself to end my suffering.” It’s the ego that thinks ‘my problems and suffering’ are bigger and more important than anyone else problems and suffering. If we practice yoga and meditation, we allow the mind to be opened and we will see that what we think is our ‘serious’ life problems are truly nothing being compared to many other people’s suffering in the world. We’ll start to let go what was troubling us that we thought we couldn’t let go before. And this is the beginning of compassion.

If people couldn’t understand this teaching, or if people don’t agree with this teaching, that’s their freedom of thinking and belief.

Practice yoga of self-inquiry and self-realization, and be free.

Ignorance, egoism, suffering and selflessness, free from ignorance, egoism and suffering

Due to the ignorance in the mind, there is an existence in the mind perception of a self-identity of an individual being (the ego, what the mind thinks is ‘I’) that consists of the body and the mind, and many others would also include the soul, where they believe that the body and the mind is mortal and impermanent (The impermanent I), while the soul is immortal and infinite (The permanent I), even when people have no idea what is the soul and whether the soul exist or non-exist. Just because many different religious scriptures say so, and people would just believe that it must be true.

People believe that after the death of the body and the mind (decomposed / stop existing), the soul (the silent consciousness/witness that is infinite/immortal) will be responsible for the consequences of all the actions and inactions of the body and the mind from birth till death, and be judged by ‘God’, and be sent to heaven or hell, to enjoy or suffer, for all that is nothing to do with the soul, if it exists. For example, if the mind is evil and being the ‘driver’ or ‘master’ of the body, it performs evil actions through the body, and somehow, the innocent soul will be punished for those evil doings and be sent to hell to suffer. Again, it’s everyone’s freedom for what they believe or disbelieve. It’s also up to everyone’s self-inquiry into the truth of everything to know the truth to attain self-realization.

In Buddhism, Buddha never mentioned about God or the soul. There’s deliberate non-comment over the existence or non-existence of God and the soul. This itself is a great teaching, where Buddha didn’t interfere with people’s believe or disbelieve in God or the soul. It doesn’t matter. Whether someone believes God and the soul exist or non-exist, it doesn’t free this being from the perception or experience of suffering if there’s egoism.

Buddha taught everyone to inquire into the truth of everything through deep mind purification via the eight fold path, self-control, self-discipline, self-inquiry, desireless, non-attachment, observing and respecting the law of impermanence, selflessness, renunciation, and silence. If the mind experiences or perceives suffering, it’s in now. It’s neither in the past nor the future. This is important. It doesn’t matter people believe that there’s only one life, or there’s continuous transitions of life infinitely, the only existence is now, and liberation from suffering is neither in the past nor in the future, is in now. In one moment, the mind experiences suffering when there’s attachment, and in one moment this mind is free from suffering when there’s no attachment. Suffering and liberation from suffering has nothing to do with any beliefs that one inherited from birth or adopted later in life.

This self-identity (the ego) comes along with egoism of desires, attachment, identification, clinging, longing, intention and expectation, and it thinks it is the one who performs actions and it is the one who receives the fruit of actions, and it’s the one who enjoys and suffers, where all kinds of impurities of satisfaction/dissatisfaction, fulfillment/disappointment, contentment/greed, admiration/jealousy, calmness/anger, love/hatred, respect/discrimination, friendliness/animosity, joy/hurts, innocent/guilt, pleased/regret, pride/shamefulness, low self-esteem/arrogance, excitement/boredom, fullness/emptiness, meaningfulness/meaninglessness, courage/fear and peace/worry, and etc, arising and passing away in the mind reacting towards all the perception of names and forms through the senses, based on what ‘I’ think what things are, and what ‘I’ like and dislike, what ‘I’ agree and disagree with, what ‘I’ want and doesn’t want. The egoistic mind perceives suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction, when some or all of its desires are not being gratified, and hence the ego desires to escape or avoid or be free from suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction.

But then ignorance hinders the mind from knowing the truth of the root cause of suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction, where it thinks all its suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction is caused by the quality of the objects of names and forms that it comes in contact with (the presence of certain names and forms) or doesn’t come in contact with (the absence of certain names and forms), and the mind thinks that it could escape or avoid or be free from suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction through continuously and determinedly gratifying all its desires, by experiencing or coming in contact with certain qualities of names and forms, that it likes and wants and agrees with, that it thinks they have the quality that contribute pleasure, satisfaction, meaningfulness and happiness, such like doing something that makes it feels good, satisfied, happy and meaningful, and smoking/eating/drinking/touching/smelling/hearing/seeing/watching/reading/imagining something that will make it feels good, satisfied, happy and meaningful, while avoiding the experience or contact with certain qualities of names and forms that the mind doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with, that it thinks they have the quality that contribute unpleasantness, dissatisfaction, meaninglessness and unhappiness, that will make it feels disturbed, dissatisfied, unhappy or meaningless. And hence, the mind is suffering from restlessness.

The real cause of all suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction is not in the quality of names and forms that the mind perceives or doesn’t perceive through the sense, but it’s the ignorance and egoism that generates the idea/existence of ‘I’ that attached onto and identifying with the body and the mind, and the soul (for those who believe in the soul), where there are desires of craving and aversion and attachment towards what the ego likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with, wants and doesn’t want. Suffering exists is due to the existence of desires and attachment in the mind. If desires and attachment cease existing in the mind, suffering doesn’t exist.

The impure minds might interpret selflessness as non-existence of ‘my’ worldly life existence, where they think if ‘I’ doesn’t exist, then ‘my’ entire worldly life existence consisting the body and the mind in this world doesn’t exist at all. If people think or believe that is the truth, they will think that they can just do whatever they like as it doesn’t matter because all these worldly life experiences are not real, and they won’t suffer for the consequences of their actions. And so, all kinds of human suffering are not real, or non-existing. They believe that this worldly life existence is one long dream or a continuous flow of many dreams. In dreams, we can do anything that we want, but once we woke up, we are not responsible for whatever we did or experienced in all the dreams. There’s no consequences of actions in dreams, where we could experience death and injury in dreams, we could kill other people and be killed by others, and still, once we woke up from the dreams, we are still alive and non-injured, and there’s no responsibility of any consequences of actions performed in the dreams, as none of those actions or experiences are real. It’s just mere imaginations of the mind. If they feel satisfied in this dream of a worldly existence, they hope to stay in the dream (live forever in this life existence), and will be reluctant to be awaken in a different reality that is unknown to them (death of this life existence or next life). And if they are dissatisfied with this dream, they hope to be awaken in a different but better reality that is unknown to them (heaven or a better life in a better world).

And if all worldly experiences are not real, and suffering are not real, then there’s no need to talk about any kind of practices to be free from suffering, where everyone would be more selfish and immoral, and wouldn’t have self-control to refrain one’s behavior from causing harm to oneself and others.

But then this ‘understanding’ doesn’t bring people liberation from the suffering of the consequences of their actions in their worldly life existence (An existence in now that is subject to impermanence and consequences of actions), as the body and the mind continues to experience suffering even though there is the ‘interpretation’, or ‘understanding’, or ‘idea’ in the mind about worldly life existence is just a dream, all is not real. In dreams, everything might not be logical and are disorientated most of the time, such like old memories and fresh memories and wild imaginations might appear together at one time in a dream, and it’s okay, as once we woke up, we will know that all those images/experiences are not real, no matter how scary or painful or excited or violence was the dream. But, in this worldly life existence, in now, one will be treated as mentally ill, if one’s mind perceives mixed up images of some old memories with fresh memories and wild imaginations, and believes that all these images are real, and this will influence one’s behavior and affect one’s relationship with other people. It doesn’t matter if one strongly believes or disbelieves that this life existence is just a dream, all is not real, but if suffering arise due to attachment, suffering is here, it doesn’t disappear if we don’t like or don’t want this suffering.

This ‘interpretation’ or ‘understanding’ of selflessness or non-existence of ‘I’, is the outcome of the impure ignorant minds attached onto and identifying with the body and the mind as ‘I’ or ‘Who I am’. And so, these minds couldn’t go beyond the understanding of the body and the mind are existing and functioning in this present moment, and it’s mortal and impermanent, but then the existence and the function of the body and the mind is selflessness, that there’s no ‘I’ existing as an individual being to be mastering or in control of the impermanent existence, function, condition and state of the body and the mind. It’s just the mind functioning and perceiving all kinds of names and forms through the senses in the present, and the mind might keep jumping back and forth between the past memories and future wild imaginations and the perceptions through the senses in the present, and all these thoughts perceptions/activities, whether pleasant or unpleasant, desired or undesired, the perceiver (the mind), the perceived (the objects of names and forms), the past memories, the present experiences and the future wild imaginations, are impermanent and there’s no ‘I’ in control of the impermanent changes. All these experiences are here, in now, the only existence. The past doesn’t exist in now, just some remembrance of past experiences. The future doesn’t exist, just some wild imaginations, and they all are impermanent, and there’s no ‘I’ existing as the perceiver or the experiencer of all the pleasant and unpleasant, desirable and undesirable experiences in the present, or remembrance of the past, or wild imaginations of the future, in now.

This ‘I’ that the mind think is ‘who/what I am’ doesn’t exist or non-exist. There is injury in the body, the mind perceives this sensation of pain in the body, in now, and this sensation of pain is impermanent, and there’s no ‘I’ am in pain, or ‘I’ am suffering from painful sensation. There’s no disappointment or dissatisfaction when this painful sensation is here. There is pleasant sensation in the body, the mind perceives this pleasant sensation in the body, in now, and this pleasant sensation is impermanent, and there’s no ‘I’ am pleasant, or ‘I’ am enjoying pleasant sensation. There’s no disappointment or dissatisfaction when this pleasant sensation changed into something else or disappeared.

Once the ego is annihilated, there’s no one there to initiate desires of craving or aversion towards all the perception of names and forms, and hence, there’s no tension or restlessness in the egoless and desireless mind, there’s no one here to react with dissatisfaction, disappointment, greed, jealousy, anger, hatred, pride, low self-esteem, animosity, hurts, regret, guilt, fear and worry, and etc. The mind is aware of all the perceptions of names and forms (the past memories, present moment and future imaginations), in now, but it’s free from tension and restlessness, or suffering. There’s no clinging or aversion towards all the names and forms that are present in now, and there’s no craving or longing or aversion towards names and forms that are absent in now. It’s at peace, disregards all the perception of names and forms being here, as what they are. And all these names and forms have no intention or quality to contribute pleasure or suffering to the mind. There’s no ‘I’ being there to enjoy or suffer. There are actions being performed through the body and the mind, and there are consequences of actions, but there is no ‘I’ being there performing actions and to enjoy or suffer for the consequences of actions.

Just like all the internal organs and every single cells in the body, they are performing actions ceaselessly to support the existence and function of this body until they are worn out, but there’s no egoism in each of them to discriminate each other, to like or dislike and agree or disagree with each other, to be superior or inferior than one another, to be identified as the performer of actions or the receiver of the fruit of actions. But this egoism exists in the thinking mind due to ignorance, that initiates all kinds of suffering to itself, which is truly unnecessary.

Be free.