Retreat and quieting the restless outgoing pleasure/stimulation seeking mind

Some people asked us, “What are the fun holiday activities we can do during the free time between the yoga and meditation practice sessions in the yoga retreat?”

Many people might be unaware of the yoga practice are being carried out in every moment whether during the yoga practice ‘sessions’ and outside the yoga practice ‘sessions’ during a yoga retreat, or in everyday life.

Not that ‘doing/enjoying some fun holiday activities’ are wrong or bad, but the yoga practice is all about changing the worldly behavior pattern/habitual action and reaction of the mind, filtering/reducing/restricting/limiting the physical and mental activities, to withdraw the outgoing tendency of the mind, to be quieting the restless pleasure/stimulation seeking mind, while freeing the mind from egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, to prepare the mind for meditation, to see the truth of things as it is, be free from ignorance and suffering that derived from ignorance.

In a ‘retreat’, this yoga practice of restricting the activities of the body and the mind and quieting the restless modification of the mind is being put into practice, seizing the opportunity of participating in a ‘retreat’ for an extended period of time, to be retreating from all kinds of worldly physical and mental activities that gratify the desire of craving for pleasurable actions, adventures, thrills, achievements, enjoyment and stimulation. Retreat participants should make use of the free time in between the yoga practice ‘sessions’ or other than performing daily task such like tidying/cleaning the living space, taking meals and shower, to ‘take rest’ and ‘be quiet’ physically and mentally, as well as observing the habitual action and reaction and the desire of gross/subtle craving of the mind especially during the time ‘not doing anything particular physically or mentally’ not even doing some kind of physical or mental yoga practice to occupy the mind, or when ‘boredom’ and ‘the sense of meaninglessness’ starts to manifest in the mind urging the mind to go out there to be doing something to get rid of the ‘boredom’ and ‘the sense of meaninglessness’.

The untrained mind usually doesn’t like to ‘be quiet physically and mentally’ being in the present moment reducing/limiting/restricting the physical and mental activities or ‘doing nothing particular’ not even some kind of ‘spiritual practice’ or ‘healthy/meaningful activities’ to be occupying the mind with ‘something’, as the mind will get bored and feel meaningless, and hence, it needs to be constantly seeking actions/adventures/thrills/achievements, enjoyment and stimulation. And hence, the restlessness. And yoga practice is to free the mind from this worldly thinking/belief/practice/habit of ‘constantly need to occupy the mind with something to keep it busy/restless so that it doesn’t get bored or feel meaningless’.

We don’t just reduce/restrict/limit/retreat from worldly physical and mental activities during a ‘retreat’ for a few days or weeks, we also practice partial or maximum retreat from worldly social affairs, activities and interactions as much as possible in our everyday life to stop feeding the desire and the outgoing pleasure/stimulation seeking tendency of the mind.

Contemplate on this, and find out whether oneself is practicing yoga to free the mind from the habitual worldly behavior pattern, to quiet/silent the restless modification of the mind, by renouncing/retreating from worldly egoistic physical and mental activities that empower egoism and restlessness, or just doing some kinds of ‘yoga practice’ a few hours a day regularly to be gaining some impermanent/momentary physical and mental benefits to gratify the desire of craving and aversion of the mind, to feel good, healthy and meaningful. And there’s nothing wrong either if oneself is not practicing yoga to change the habitual worldly behavior habit of the mind, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to quiet/silent the modification of the mind. But for those who sincerely want to practice yoga, they can contemplate on this.

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Looking after one’s mind living in the present embracing silence

In the path of yoga, looking after one’s mind, through observing maximum silence and seclusion, renouncing ‘worldly connections/relationships’, retreating from ‘worldly affairs/activities’, to be focusing on freeing one’s mind from ignorance, egoism, restlessness and impurities of pride, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, regret, guilt, desire, longing, craving, offensiveness, defensiveness, intimidation, hostility, agitation, depression, bitterness, misery, fear and worry, to be developing and maintaining the sanity, clarity and serenity of the thinking faculty, living in the present as it is, being at peace unconditionally, undetermined/undisturbed by the impermanent and selfless quality of names and forms, without violating/interfering/intruding all the different people/communities with different kinds of thinking/belief/disbelief/ideas/values/practice/way of life/behavior/action and reaction, without claiming ownership towards the world expecting ‘my world’ or ‘our world’ has to be in certain ways that the mind would like it to be, or the way that the mind thinks and believes how it should be, is the greatest form of selfless/unconditional love towards ‘the world’.

Many people including ‘yoga enthusiasts’ might disagree with this, where they perceive ‘silence’/’renunciation’/’non-association’/’dispassion’ as a form of ‘selfishness’/’irresponsibility’/’wrongfulness’, as they believe everyone’s duty of humanity is to be actively/passionately engaging in the worldly/social affairs/activities performing actions to ‘create’ a world/society the way that they like/desire/aspire, to ‘make’/’control’/’influence’ the world/society to be the way that they think how it should be, to be all ‘good’ and ‘right’ according to what they think and believe is ‘good’ and ‘right’, to be empowering/protecting/propagating their own particular ideas/visions/values, while either intentionally or unintentionally, condemning/interfering/intruding/oppressing/intimidating/eliminating/fighting/declaring war against others who are different from them, who don’t embrace the similar ideas/visions/values, who might be obstructing ‘my desire/aspiration towards ‘having’ a world that I think how it should be’. And that’s their freedom of thinking, action and reaction.

Looking after one’s mind embracing silence being at peace unconditionally free from ignorance, egoism, restlessness and all kinds of impurity, it’s the purest selfless/intentionless form of ‘karma yoga’ contributing to the society, even without much contact/involvement/association with the society and allowing the society being what it is.

Actions that arise/come from intention/desire/aspiration to ‘influence’/’change’/’control’/’create’ a world/society to be the way that ‘I’ desire it to be, that ‘I’ think and believe how it should be, are nothing to do with ‘karma yoga’, even if it’s out of what the mind thinks and believes as ‘good’ and ‘rightful’ intention/aspiration.

All and everything being here forming ‘the world’ being what it is, where the mind perceives ‘a world of names and forms through the senses’, but the world doesn’t belong to anyone or the mind. Once the mind generates attachment and claims possession/ownership towards the world, taking the perception of a worldly existence/manifestation of impermanent and selfless names and forms as ‘my world’ or ‘our world’, there will be intention/desire/expectation/aspiration/protectiveness to ‘make’/’influence’/’control’/’limit’ the world to be the way that the mind would like it to be, or the way that the mind thinks and believes how it should be, which unwittingly lead to the existence of all kinds of discrimination, interference, intrusion, intimidation, oppression, clash, conflict, violence, and etc.

Once the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, transcending all the different qualities of names and forms, being unattached towards or undetermined by ‘goodness’ and ‘badness’, ‘rightfulness’ and ‘wrongfulness’, ‘positiveness’ and ‘negativeness’, ‘meaningfulness’ and ‘meaninglessness’, this mind could be performing selfless/intentionless ‘actions’ in the world that promote peace and harmony effectively among the different names and forms, while allowing the world to be what it is, being impermanent and selfless, without possessiveness towards the world, without expectation/aspiration towards the world has to be in certain ways that ‘I’ like/desire/aspire, that ‘I’ think and believe how it should be, is truly ‘loving’ the world.

Peace manifest as it is when the mind transcends ‘goodness’ and ‘badness’, ‘rightfulness’ and ‘wrongfulness’, ‘positiveness’ and ‘negativeness’, ‘meaningfulness’ and ‘meaninglessness’, ‘action’ and ‘inaction’. But for that to happen, the mind needs to know how to look after itself that would free the mind from ignorance, egoism, restlessness and all kinds of impurity. Or else, the mind thinks and believes that everyone needs to perform actions to achieve ‘goodness’, ‘rightfulness’, ‘positiveness’ and ‘meaningfulness’ and getting rid of ‘badness’, ‘wrongfulness’, ‘negativeness’ and ‘meaninglessness’, in order to have peace and harmony in the world/society.

Beware of the hidden/subtle ‘ambition’/’desire’/’aspiration’/’intention’ that feed ignorance and egoism, that pulls the mind further away from yoga, while thinking and believing that “I am a good yogi performing lots of karma yoga to help the world to be a better place.”

Look into the world, where most countries need to have ‘authority’ and ‘law enforcement’ to ‘control’ the society to behave and not behaving in certain ways, to ‘create’ a world/society that conform to certain ideas/values/visions/beliefs/practice. Peace cannot be achieved by ‘controlling’ people to behave and not behaving in certain ways, or to think and not thinking in certain ways.

Peace is there as it is, when everyone has self-control out of own free-will, minding their own mind and have peace in themselves, without interference/intimidation/intrusion towards others who are being different from one another, and there’s no need the existence of ‘authority’ or ‘law enforcement’ to ‘control’ people should and shouldn’t behave or think in certain ways, that leads to further ignorant actions and reactions, violence, unrest and disharmony.

Be free.

The important teachings/practice of yoga

These are the important teachings/practice of yoga to subjugate the modifications of the mind, to remove the veil of ignorance, to eliminate the idea of ‘worldly existence’, to annihilate the ego/the idea of ‘I’, to transcend quality of names and forms/duality/time, space and causation/cause and effect, but yet, these teachings/practice are also being disliked/disagreed/criticized/ignored/denied/abandoned/least practiced by many of the yoga enthusiasts/practitioners/teachers.

There’s nothing wrong with many people who ‘do yoga’ on regular basis just want to attain some physical and mental benefits from performing the yoga practice and engaging in some yoga community activities to feel good, healthy and meaningful. Only those who have firmed determination or intense yearning for liberation can understand and treasure the importance of these teachings/practice.

For the minds that are deep rooted in worldly ideas, all these teachings/practice are being seen as ‘abnormality’, ‘selfishness’, ‘craziness’, ‘wrongfulness’, ‘negativeness’, ‘inappropriateness’, ‘unhealthy’, ‘regression’, ‘inhumane’, and etc. But in fact, all these teachings/practice practically and effectively lead to compassion/peace.

Silencing the modifications of the mind annihilating ignorance and egoism is the great compassion of embracing and upholding peace and harmony in the world.

If one single person in the world attained ‘silence/annihilation of the mind’ or ‘liberation from ignorance and egoism’, there’s less a person in the world generates ‘impure intention’, ‘egoistic desire/ambition’, ‘ill-feeling’, ‘disappointment’, ‘hurts’, ‘anger’, ‘hatred’, ‘fear’, ‘ill-thinking’, ‘ill-will’, ‘discrimination’, ‘prejudice’, ‘corruption’, ‘unrest’, ‘violence’, ‘disturbance’, ‘negativity’, ‘disharmony’, ‘tension’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘meaninglessness’, ‘destructive behavior’, ‘ignorant actions and reactions’, and so on, into the world.

It’s the most practical effective way to contribute peace and harmony into the world.

People might think and believe that they are kind and compassionate beings who embrace and uphold ‘peace and harmony in the world’, while aspiring or trying to create/empower/influence a society/community that behave in certain ways that they think and believe is ‘good’, ‘right’, ‘positive’ and ‘appropriate’, but unwittingly, everyone keeps contributing ‘unrest’ into the world out of the name of ’embracing and upholding peace and harmony in the world’, by fighting against those whom they think are destroying or obstructing ‘peace and harmony in the world’.

Most people want ‘peace and harmony’ that comply to some requirements and conditions, influenced by their own particular personal/social/cultural/religious/spiritual/philosophical/political way of thinking/belief/values/vision/practice/living, that unwittingly contributing to all kinds of discrimination and wars.

For those who truly wish for ‘peace and harmony in the world’ as it is, they can inquire and implement these teachings/practice of yoga –

Dispassion/indifference/dissociate/disinterest

Renunciation towards worldly attachments/identifications/affairs/ideas/objects/thinking/belief/values/practice/habits/relationships/connections/associations/mingling/interactions/activities/actions and the fruit of actions

Abandoning/renouncing worldly enjoyments of the senses/stimulation of the mind/longing/ambitions/fame/status/authority/pride/supremacy/glory

Desirelessness

Aloneness

Solitude

Seclusion

Silence

Transcending duality of good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, meaninglessness and meaningfulness, praise and condemn, gain and loss, heat and cold, pleasantness and unpleasantness, happiness and unhappiness, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, appropriateness and inappropriateness

Uninfluenced by the past desirable/undesirable experiences and the future imagination/anticipation/speculation/projection

Allowing all and everyone to be what they are, free from expectation/interference/control towards all human beings that ‘all human beings should and shouldn’t think/believe/feel/behave/act and react in certain ways’

Respecting the law of nature/impermanence

Inquire the truth of ‘selflessness’

Annihilation of the modification of the mind/the existence of ‘I’

“Passionately loving the world and claiming ownership/responsibility/authority towards the condition of the world by expecting/desiring/aspiring the world to be in certain ways that the minds think and believe how it should be, and being disturbed, frustrated, offended and hurt by the condition of the world that is not the way that the mind would like it to be, doesn’t help the world to have peace.

Letting go of passionate love towards the world, without claiming ownership/responsibility/authority to expect/desire/aspire the condition of the world to be in certain ways that the minds think and believe how it should be, without being disturbed, frustrated, offended or hurt by the condition of the world that is not the way that the mind would like it to be, and have peace in oneself, is the selfless compassion that will help the world to have peace.”

By performing all kinds of ‘yoga practice’ regularly for many years, but without implementing all these teachings/practice, the mind will still be disturbed, frustrated, offended and hurt by something that the mind doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with. There’s no peace in this mind.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life and what they want/don’t want to think and believe. People don’t have to implement these teachings/practice of yoga, if they don’t like or don’t agree with these teachings/practice of yoga.

Self-righteousness is not yoga practice (2)

Teaching yoga, or practicing yoga, is not about ‘I am an unique spiritual being’ being chosen by ‘God’ or ‘Guru’, being initiated/assigned/given a righteous ‘duty’ from ‘God’ or ‘Guru’, being ‘self-righteous’ for helping ‘God’ or ‘Guru’ to patrol/judge/control/criticize/discipline/punish other people’s actions and reactions, or to be interfering with other people’s thinking/belief/behavior/practice that are different from one’s thinking/belief/behavior/practice, that the mind thinks and believes as ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’, and interfering with other people’s different ways of life, actions and reactions, mental and physical activities that one’s mind doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, that one’s mind thinks and believes as ‘contradicting’ with the teachings and practice of yoga.

As all these ‘thinking’ and ‘actions’ coming from the mind acting and reacting towards the world of names and forms that the mind comes in contact with/perceives/experiences/acknowledges are nothing but the play of egoism born out of ignorance. Although most minds would think and believe that they are being the ‘good spiritual beings’ acting on behalf of ‘God’ or ‘Guru’, or upholding what they think and believe is ‘supremacy’, ‘authority’, or ‘righteousness’.

Teaching yoga is merely sharing the knowledge derived from one’s direct experience and self-realization, to give guidance to those who come to them to seek guidance to be learning and practicing yoga, while allowing everyone to be what they are, whether they want to take the guidance, or not; whether they want to learn and practice yoga as it is, or not; whether they want to develop awareness, correct understanding, initiative and self-discipline to discipline their own minds, or not; whether they are aware of all the egoistic urges/intentions behind all their actions and reactions, or not; whether they want to restrict their own mental and physical activities, to purify their minds to be free from egoism, impurities and restlessness, to silent the modifications of the mind, or not; and whether they want to perform inquiry towards the truth of everything and be free from ignorance, or not.

There’s no egoistic idea/desire/intention of “I want to be a yoga teacher to teach yoga to other people.” or “I am a yoga teacher performing action of teaching yoga to other people.”

Practicing yoga is also about allowing everyone and everything to be what they are, that everyone and everything are impermanent and selfless, while ‘working’ diligently to free one’s mind from ignorance and the consequences of ignorance.

Those who understand this, either they don’t need to perform any practice at all as they are peaceful as they are where their minds are free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, or if they are aware of the existence of ignorance, egoism and impurities in the minds, they will mind their own practice to discipline, to purify and to silent their own minds, while allowing all the other minds to be what they are, to be evolving as they are.

If ‘God’ or ‘Guru’ exists, they are ‘the selfless/mindless silent witness of pure consciousness’, being undisturbed/unaffected/uninfluenced/unchanged/unbothered by all the existing impermanent and selfless names and forms of different thinking/belief/behavior/way of life/actions/reactions of everyone and the consequences of that, or whatever is happening in ‘the world of ignorant egoistic impure minds functioning under ignorance, egoism and impurities’. If ‘God’ and ‘Guru’ exist, they don’t have egoism, or the ‘self-righteous’ urge or intention derived from egoism to be interfering with/patrolling/judging/controlling/criticizing/disciplining/punishing anyone or anything. If they have egoism, or the ‘self-righteous’ urge or intention derived from egoism to be interfering with/patrolling/judging/controlling/criticizing/disciplining/punishing everyone or everything, making sure everyone and everything ‘to be the way that I think it should be’, then they are not really God or Guru.

Such like some people would inflict anger, hatred, ill-will and violence towards others out of the excuse of ‘upholding peace’ or ‘upholding righteousness’. This is not yoga practice, although it’s everyone’s freedom for what they think and believe, and how they behave, act and react.

“In the name of God, I condemn you to hell.” or “These are bad and evil people, I hope that they will be punished with great suffering that they deserved.” Quite many minds/people would think and speak in such way ‘proudly’. No wonder, many of the saints and sages in the past renounced the world and retreated from the society/community to avoid wasting energy from dealing with such affairs.

Those who truly practice yoga, they withdraw the outgoing tendency of the mind, turning the mind inward to be ‘working’ diligently towards attaining/reaching that ‘pure consciousness of the selfless/mindless silent witness’, where they go beyond the egoistic urge/intention of interfering with/patrolling/judging/controlling/criticizing/disciplining/punishing anyone or anything.

If one is aware of this ‘self-righteous’ thinking and behavior existing in one’s mind, and is aware of oneself constantly feels dissatisfied, or frustrated, or disturbed, or angered, or offended by other people’s different thinking/belief/practice/behavior/way of life/actions and reactions that one’s mind dislikes and disagrees with, and couldn’t help oneself being over-powered by the ‘self-righteous’ urge or intention to be interfering with other people’s different thinking/belief/practice/behavior/way of life/actions and reactions, then either one can try to help oneself by developing will-power to free one’s mind from this self-righteous thinking and behavior, or one can try to seek ‘professional helps’ from the many ‘psychiatric professionals’, to have peace in oneself and stop generating ‘disharmony’ and ‘unrest’ into the surrounding environment, being free from restless impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, possessiveness, authoritarianism, offensiveness, defensiveness, hurts, hostility, animosity, aggressiveness, violence, ill-will, ill-thinking, fear and worry. That itself is a great contribution towards peace in oneself and peace in the world.

Look after one’s mind before it’s too late where one might be completely losing the reasoning power that allow yoga practice to be taking place, even if one is interested in yoga, or strongly believe in ‘God’ or ‘Guru’. One might be doing some form of ‘yoga practice’ or ‘rituals’ regularly, but couldn’t help being busy looking at other people and shouting at other people, “You people should be like this and shouldn’t be like that,” expecting everyone and everything ‘to be the way that I think it should be’. That’s everyone’s freedom of thinking and behavior. It’s everyone’s freedom whether to look after one’s mind, or they prefer to be busy minding about other people’s minds, and losing the sanity of their own mind being lost in ignorance.

Be free.

Purifying, calming and quieting the restless mind efficiently

All the different forms of external yoga practice must be accompanied by the internal yoga practice of annihilating egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, supported by the internal mental strength, flexibility and stamina of patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation, as well as cultivating the essential tools for self-inquiry and self-realization, such as awareness, dispassion, desireless, renunciation, self-discipline, self-reliance, seclusion, solitude, care-free, fearlessness and equanimity, to be efficiently purifying, calming and quieting the impure egoistic restless mind, to prepare the mind for spontaneous meditation into Silence (complete annihilation of the mind/birthlessness and deathlessness/attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness/oneness or non-separateness).

Even if one’s physical body is unable to perform any external yoga practice, it doesn’t stop the mind from performing internal yoga practice to annihilate egoism, impurities and restlessness, and be free.

Without the internal yoga practice of annihilating egoism and impurities which is nothing to do with the impermanent and selfless physical and mental condition, ability and limitation, the mind will always be disturbed by the mind perception of names and forms of all kinds of pleasant and unpleasant, desirable and undesirable, agreeable and disagreeable life experiences, where there’s clinging and craving towards pleasant/desirable/agreeable experiences and aversion towards unpleasant/undesirable/disagreeable experiences, even after many years and huge amount of external yoga practice that one has been performing or many years of teaching yoga and meditation practice to many other people, and getting all the momentary effects and benefits from the regular external form of yoga practice.

The mind might be rendered calm and quiet momentarily during and after all those external yoga and meditation practice, but it doesn’t last long, as very soon, the mind would unwittingly slip back into restlessness due to the stubborn egoistic mind habits of chasing after the objects of the senses, worldly enjoyments and stimulation, passionate desires of worldly and/or spiritual aspirations and ambitions, worldly social interactions and activities, and the ceaseless impurities generated through countless actions and reactions towards the mind perceptions of names and forms due to egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, where the mind is restless most of the time, even if the mind can attain certain degrees of relief from restlessness for a short period of time during deep sleep state, or during and after the different forms of external yoga practice.

By freeing the mind from egoism would allow the mind to be undetermined or undisturbed by the mind perception of names and forms, of quality and duality, or the good and bad/positive and negative/pleasant and unpleasant/desirable and undesirable life experiences, that allow the mind to be free from impurities and restlessness thoroughly.

And hence, the importance of the practice of silence for those who truly want to conquer the restless modification of the mind, to attain Silence.

After some time of practicing some kind of yoga and meditation practice regularly, one needs to perform self-introspection, “Is the mind still being determined or affected by the impermanent and selfless physical and mental condition, ability and limitation, as well as the worldly affairs, relationship, friendship, social activities and interactions, and worldly and/or spiritual achievements and acknowledgements to feel good, confident and meaningful, or not?” and “Is the mind still being determined by duality of good and bad/positive and negative/right and wrong/meaningfulness and meaninglessness/happiness and unhappiness, or all the mind perceptions of different qualities of names and forms, to feel good, positive, rightful, joyful and meaningful, or not?” or “Is the mind still being disturbed by what the mind thinks and believes as bad, wrong, negative, unhappiness and hurtful?” If the answer is yes, it means the mind is still not free, even if one has been performing yoga practice for a long time, or possessing many ‘yoga certifications’, and believing in ‘goodness’, ‘righteousness’ and ‘positiveness’.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want and don’t want to practice.