Selfless actions influence others without the intention to change or control others

Selfless actions could influence others as well as the condition or situation in the world, but without the egoistic intention to change or control others and the condition or situation in the world to be the way that the egoistic minds would like it to be, or think and believe how it should be.

There’s no disappointment, frustration, anger, hatred, or depression when things are not ‘being’ or ‘changing’ to be the way that the egoistic minds would like it to be, if actions that could influence others and the condition or situation in the world are being performed out of selflessness and compassion, selflessly and intentionlessly, without ‘good intention’ to be performing ‘good actions’ that the egoistic minds ‘desire’ or ‘hope’ to ‘change’ others and the condition or situation in the world to be ‘good’ the way that the minds think and believe what is good.

Similarly, most of the time, when ‘good minds’ have ‘good intention’ to tell the truth of ‘something not good’ about somebody or some organization might provoke the dissatisfaction, frustration, anger and hatred in the egoistic minds where their desires or agendas are being affected directly or indirectly by ‘the intentional good action’ of ‘telling the truth of something not good’.

Just look at our everyday life interaction with people around us, especially those whom we know. When we see someone whom we know does something that we think is wrong out of ignorance, we might have ‘good intention’ to tell the truth of ‘someone is doing something wrong out of ignorance’ and the consequence of that is usually very ‘unpleasant’ as either the person might react with feelings of hurt, shame, guilt, regret or self-blame towards oneself if this person suffers from low self-esteem, depression or over sensitive, or this person might react with feelings of being insulted, humiliated, belittled, intimidated, anger and hatred, if this person suffers from pride and arrogance. Unless the minds are free from ignorance and egoism, and be able to see, or hear, or coming in contact with the truth and allowing the truth to be what it is, but if people would do something wrong/bad out of ignorance it also means that they are not free from ignorance. And the minds that are not free from ignorance don’t have the ‘understanding’ and ‘ability’ to deal with ‘the truth’ openly and peacefully.

Most of the time, ‘the truth of something not nice’ told by others appears to be something hard, or harsh, or cruel, or dislikable, or disagreeable, or offensive, or hurtful, or insulting, or humiliating, or inappreciative, or ungrateful, or unsupportive, or negative, or unloving, or unkind to the egoistic minds, including knowledgeable and intelligent minds. Most egoistic prideful minds prefer to hear ‘nice things’ or ‘kind words’ about themselves. Many people say, “Don’t say anything ‘not nice’.”

And hence, ‘the truth’ must be self-aware or self-realized.

More importantly, the truth is just what it is. It’s neither positive nor negative, neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad, neither nice nor not nice. But impure egoistic minds that are functioning under the influence of duality interpret everything as positive and negative, right and wrong, good and bad, nice and not nice, and react spontaneously and emotionally influenced by the likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements coming from the egoistic mind based on the thinking and believe in the mind to judge and react towards all the perceived names and forms or experiences, to feel pleased or displeased.

That’s why the relation between ‘the truth’ and ‘silence’. And hence, the practice of ‘silence’ is very important and relevant in the path of yoga and Buddhism of self-inquiry and self-realization of the truth to attain liberation from ignorance and suffering.

This ‘silence’ doesn’t mean intentionally not seeing, not hearing, not smelling, not tasting, not feeling/sensing or not thinking ‘something that the mind thinks and believes as bad/wrong/negative/not nice’, or not performing any necessary actions. This ‘silence’ also doesn’t mean intentionally denying ‘the truth of something’.

Without any of the senses functioning, or without the idea of denying ‘the truth of something’, or being unable/unwilling to perform any physical or verbal actions doesn’t mean that the mind is free from the suffering of ignorance, egoism, restlessness and impurities. But, there’s no ego or ‘I’ being there to ceaselessly act and react out of ‘intention’ or ‘aspiration’ to change or control others or the world to be in certain ways, to be attaining or not attaining ‘certain qualities of names and forms’ that the ego desires or doesn’t desire to be identifying with or to be possessing when there is an ego, or the idea of ‘I’, existing and identifying with the modification of the mind, attaching onto and identifying with the actions and the fruit of actions (being passionate towards one’s actions and there’s attachment, identification and expectation towards the fruit of one’s actions.)

Be free from the idea or thinking of “I want others and the world to be like this and I don’t want others and the world to be like that.”

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Perform self-inquiry towards all the doubts in one’s mind

There’s nothing wrong with reading and memorizing and studying the teachings from the ancient scriptures of Yoga or Buddhism. Just that one needs to know how to unattached towards all the teachings in the scriptures, even if some or all of the teachings might seem to be agreeable or disagreeable to the mind based on what the mind thinks it knows, without blind-agreeing/disagreeing, blind-believing, or blind-following, but be determined to purify the mind to free the mind from egoism and impurities, to allow the mind to perform inquiry/investigation to inquire the truth of all these teachings whether they are true, or not.

At the same time, when the mind is still under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, the mind might generate disagreement or dislike towards some or all of the teachings, and out of the egoistic habit of the mind, it might feel disturbed or resentment towards the teachings that the mind disagrees with or dislikes. The disturbed mind would want to argue or debate or discuss about the truth of this and that, which the mind itself isn’t sure what it is. The mind that ‘knows’, would be in silence, allowing others to ‘understand’ or ‘interpret’ this and that in their own ways/versions.

It’s not so much about whether the teachings in the scriptures are all true, or not. Or whether there’s some misinterpretation coming from the impure mind while studying and analyzing the teachings, or there’s some misleading coming from those who ‘prepared’ the scriptures while putting the teachings into words/texts in a particular language, or there’s some imperfection while describing/translating the teachings into a particular language.

Any kinds of written texts or verbal words in any particular form of language is imperfect. That’s why the truth can only be realized through self-realization under a pure mind, and it can never be described/translated into the form of verbal or written words/texts of any languages. Buddha already stated that the truth can only be attained through self-realization via a pure and quiet mind reflection for the mind reflects upon itself to know thyself, it’s never through reading/studying/analyzing/debating/discussing or getting answers from anyone by asking questions, as one will never know whether all the answers from anyone is true, or not, unless one realizes the truth by itself.

Dhamma cannot be written down in words of any languages, and if the teachings had to be passing down through verbal form and be translated into other languages in verbal or written form, and be kept in the form of texts/words in any particular languages, it’s not perfect. Everyone who sincerely wants to follow the path of yoga or Buddhism, must work diligently on purifying and quieting the restless mind to allow the mind to inquire/reflect the truth of everything, including all the teachings from all the scriptures (any kind of teachings in text form or in verbal form of any particular language.)

And it’s not important at all whether the agreements and disagreements coming from the impure mind towards the teachings are true, or not. But it’s about the mind develops non-attachment towards all the teachings as well as all the impure mind reactions of agreements and disagreements towards everything based on ‘what the mind thinks it knows or understands’, without being disturbed by something that the mind disagrees with or dislikes, without being attached onto something that the mind agrees with or likes, remain equanimous being free from craving and aversion towards the duality of what the mind thinks and believes or understands as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, or ‘true’ and ‘untrue’, that is upmost important.

Any form of argument, debate and discussion that derived from impure minds are useless as the minds are functioning under the influence of impurities. If the mind is free from impurities, there’s no argument, debate or discussion. Swami Sivananda mentioned repeatedly many times in many of his books – Abandon all forms of argument, debate and discussion. Purify and silent the mind. Meditate and realize. Ajahn Chah mentioned in his teachings – There’s only one book to read – the heart, look within and know thyself. Buddha’s teaching – Do not blind-believing or blind-following, investigate the truth of everything via self-realization through purification of the mind and the annihilation of ignorance and egoism – attachment, identification, the desire of craving and aversion.

The truth is there as it is when the mind is pure and quiet, being free from the influence of duality, being free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance – egoism, impurities and restlessness of the modification of the mind. The truth is not a belief. The truth is just what things are. The truth is still the truth, that all are impermanent and selfless, including what the impure mind perceives as pleasurable enjoyment or painful suffering, regardless of what the mind thinks it knows or doesn’t know, or whether the mind agrees or disagrees with what it perceives based on what it thinks it understands, or whether the mind thinks itself is perfect or imperfect, or whether the world that the mind perceives through the senses appears to be pleasant or unpleasant, or whether the mind is happy or unhappy.

Those who had never read or come in contact with any scriptures or teachings, can still attain self-realization and be free from ignorance and suffering, when the mind is pure. Being free from ignorance and suffering doesn’t change the truth of impermanence and selflessness in all the names and forms, or doesn’t change all the names and forms to be the way that the impure egoistic minds would like them to be.

Silence upon realization of selflessness and compassion

As the world evolves towards what most people believe as higher quality of life with higher standard of living, somehow the teaching/practice of ‘silence’ in Yoga and Buddhism is being neglected, or abandoned, or denied, or criticized. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as that’s the way it goes.

It’s not easy for the impure egoistic passionate minds (that are being conditioned by worldly ideas, thinking and belief to think and behave, to aspire and inspire, to live life, to socialize and interact, to accumulate connections and relationships, to feel happy, confident, proud and meaningful) to penetrate the subtle meaning of silence. In many cases, silence would be perceived by the worldly egoistic passionate minds as ‘cowardliness’, ‘non-action/improper action’, ‘weakness’, ‘submissive towards other’s people bad and wrongful behavior’, or ‘passively encouraging evilness, bad ideas and wrong doings’. There’s nothing wrong with this common worldly thinking and belief, action and reaction.

Only the dispassionate minds could penetrate the subtle reason/meaning/action/practice of silence in the teachings of Yoga and Buddhism, where it’s beyond restraining the speech organ, physical and mental activities, or restraining the senses from going out chasing after the objects of the senses, but real silence comes naturally and effortlessly out of compassion upon realization of selflessness knowing what is going on in the mind of all the restless and selfless modifications of the mind perception of names and forms, egoism and the by-products of egoism, separateness, all forms of impurities, actions and reactions, intentions and expectations, aspirations and inspirations, enjoyment and suffering.

It’s being aware of and acknowledging the ignorance in one’s mind. It’s seeing the ignorance in this mind which is not any different from the ignorance in other minds. It’s seeing the truth of “the impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of the body and mind functioning and perceiving all the impermanent and selfless names and forms” as it is.

The highest Yoga Sadhana is forbearance to forbear the mind perception of unpleasantness, disagreement, undesirable experiences, constraint, selfless changes, difficulties, obstacles, challenging condition and situation, insult, humiliation, threat and hurt without violence, animosity, ill-will, anger and hatred, which include non-craving, non-aversion, non-justification, non-retaliation, non-contentious, non-bashing, non-criticism, non-judgment, non-expectation, and so on, upon experiencing what the worldly thinking and belief categorizes as stupid, selfish, unjust, bad, undeserving, wrongful, hurtful, unkind, harsh, cruel, unreasonable, provoking, or mischievous treatment/behaviors from others, especially if it’s coming from those whom we love, who are in some kind of relationship with us.

Upon realization of the truth of names and forms, the mind perception of suffering and the root cause of suffering vanished, or being free from ignorance and the consequences of ignorance – all kinds of suffering, all forms of yoga practice including forbearance become irrelevant or useless. It is needless to practice forbearance to forbear anything, as the mind has gone beyond all the modifications of the mind perception of duality, separateness and the worldly ideas, thinking, belief, actions and reactions. It is needless to practice yoga to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering, as the mind is free as it is.

After going through a prolong and unpleasant process of mind purification, the minds that are rendered pure and quiet are able to see the truth of names and forms as it is, realizing oneness/non-separateness among all the different qualities of names and forms, and the relation between silence, selflessness, compassion and non-violence, being free from the ego (the idea of ‘I’ exists as an individual being) and egoism, and the mind perception of ‘hurt and suffering’ vanished. There’s no need to ‘forbear’ something ‘hurtful and suffering’. There’s no need to be ‘healed’ from ‘hurt and suffering’. The mind is resting in silence peacefully, naturally and effortlessly, even under the great criticism/attack from many other passionate egoistic minds (those who identify themselves as ‘good people’ empowered by the sense of self-righteousness) in the world discouraging, condemning and disagreeing with the action/practice of silence.

There’s nothing wrong with most minds think and believe that people/human beings/mankind should react with ‘Intolerance and discouragement towards bad and wrongful treatments/behaviors’, to fight back and attack the ‘bad and evil beings’, to obtain revenge/justice/relief for themselves being ‘the victims’ of other people’s bad and wrongful treatments/behaviors, as that is how all the impure egoistic minds understand and being conditioned to react in certain ways upon receiving treatments/behaviors from others that the minds perceive, think and believe as ‘undeserving’, ‘shouldn’t’, ‘wrongful’ and ‘bad’.

To contemplate on this teaching –

Let’s say, there’s a couple who think they love each other and are committed to be a couple.

One of them behaves in the way that most minds/people would perceive, categorize, think and believe as terrible, bad, wrongful, or hurtful.

It’s normal that the other person will react and feel dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt by the partner’s bad, hurtful and wrongful behavior.

Out of dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt, this person has the urge to complain to other people about “My partner is so bad and terrible. He/she is like this and like that. He/she did this and did that. I love him/her so much. I am so nice to him/her, but this is how he/she behaves in return for my love and care. I don’t deserve to be treated like this.”

This person has the freedom to express his/her frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger and hurt, to do and say what he/she wants to do and say, but then it only indicates that this person doesn’t love the partner at all, when he/she would think and react in such way, and would do and say things that would hurt the partner in return out of the frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt that he/she strongly convinced that it’s caused by the partner’s being unloving and unkind with his/her bad, undeserving, hurtful and wrongful treatments/behaviors.

If the partner reacts with dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt towards this person’s action, and would react by doing and saying something that would hurt this person in return, then this also indicates that the partner also doesn’t love this person.

Both of them don’t love each other at all. They only love what they desire. They would have ill-thinking and ill-will towards each other, and would hurt each other when they don’t get what they like and want from one another, but they are getting what they don’t like and don’t want from one another.

If a person loves the partner, he/she will love him/her as he/she is, and won’t do or say anything with the intention of deliberately to ‘hurt’ him/her, even when the person receives so called ‘bad’, ‘wrongful’, or ‘hurtful’ treatment/behavior from the partner.

If the partner loves this person, he /she won’t be doing anything intentionally to ‘hurt’ his/her partner or the relationship. He/she will love the partner as he/she is, even when knowing that this person doesn’t love him/her, as he/she would do and say things to ‘hurt’ their partner when they are dissatisfied, unhappy, angry or feel hurt by something that they don’t like and don’t want. The partner won’t retaliate by doing or saying anything with the intention of deliberately to ‘hurt’ him/her in return for this person’s action of complaining to other people about the partner being ‘bad’ and ‘terrible’.

There’s nothing wrong when one knows/realizes that oneself doesn’t love the partner or anyone. “Because I don’t love you, that’s why I would do things that will hurt you and our relationship, or I would want to hurt you in return for thinking and believing that I am hurt by you and your bad, wrong and hurtful behavior.”

The thinking of “I love you so much, I am so loving to you. I deserve to be loved by you and I should be receiving loving treatment. I am very disappointed, unhappy, angry and hurt by your bad, wrongful and hurtful behavior that I don’t deserve. I need to tell other people about how bad, wrongful and hurtful you are, because it will make me feel better by getting support and agreement from others to also agree with me that I am good and you are bad, that I am right and you are wrong, and that’s why I am the ‘victim’ of other people’s hurtful behavior and I need/deserve support and sympathy from others.” is the cause of misery arising in the mind.

The realization of “I am unhappy, dissatisfied, disappointed, frustrated, angry and hurt is because I don’t love you, I only love what I like and want, and I am not getting what I like and want from you, but I am getting what I don’t like and don’t want from you.” is what allows the mind to be liberated from misery. There’s no need to ‘complain’, or ‘condemn’, or ‘redeem justice’.

It doesn’t mean that one allows other people to abuse one’s body and mind, but one doesn’t need to be disturbed or determined by other people’s unloving or unkind treatments/behaviors. One can let go of the partner and the relationship in peace. It’s when one couldn’t let go the partner and the relationship for some reasons, and hence, one is peaceless and suffering being ‘engaged’ or ‘stuck’ in a loveless relationship that is not the way that one would like it to be.

The thinking of “We are kind and loving people, and believing that we love other people and are kind to other people, but at the same time, thinking that we are somehow hurt by other people whom we ‘love’ very much. Believing and expecting that all mankind ‘should’ be loving and kind to one another.” is the cause of ‘hurt and suffering’. If we truly know what is love and how to love, we love everyone as they are, we love everything as it is. There’s no ‘hurt and suffering’ regardless of how other people think, feel, behave, act and react, and how things are.

It’s great liberation either when the mind realizes it doesn’t love anyone, and there’s nothing wrong for being loveless, or when the mind realizes unconditional love and loves everyone and everything as it is, without expecting everyone and everything has to be in certain ways, that everyone has to be kind and loving to one another, or has to be grateful, appreciative and thankful for goodness and other people’s love and kindness. One is free to love and give without possessiveness and ill-feelings/resentment, being free from egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment and expectation.

There’s nothing wrong when other people don’t love us, or don’t want to love us. Everyone has the freedom to love, or not to love anyone. Just that when there’s no love, people will do and say things that will hurt one another when their minds are being over-powered by dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurt and anger, including hurting people whom they think they ‘love’ very much, whether intentionally or unintentionally. There’s nothing wrong if we feel unhappy, disappointed, hurt and angry when we are not loved by those whom we would like to be loved by them, and we would feel hurt by their unloving treatments/behaviors towards us, but that thinking and reaction is merely due to ignorance in our minds.

It’s the craving and clinging towards ‘love and affection’ and ‘receiving loving treatments’ and ‘attaining a loving relationship’ to feel love, happy, confident, worthy, proud and meaningful about ‘I’ and ‘my life’ that causing suffering exist in the mind.

We feel disappointed, unhappy, angry and hurt is because things are not the way that we would like it to be. We didn’t get the ‘love and affection’ that we expect to be receiving from others, or be loved/sympathized/accepted/acknowledged/understood/supported/treated by others the way that we would like it to be, the way that we think it should be, to attain the sense of love, self-esteem, purpose, confidence, pride, happiness, completeness and meaningfulness, to be ‘who I am’.

If ‘yoga teachers’ truly want to help other beings/people to be free from the suffering of hurts/disappointment/anger/painful sorrow/grief/resentment/fear/loneliness/depression, it’s not by empowering the ignorance and egoism in others through ‘being a good listener listening to their complaints’, or ‘giving them the love and support that they are looking/craving for’, or ‘prescribing them with different types of healing practice’, or ‘being the healer that claimed to be able to heal their minds/souls from all kinds of hurts and suffering’, but it’s to give them the Dhamma, that will allow them to purify their own minds via their own self-effort and self-discipline, to attain self-realization to realize/see the truth of all the names and forms, to know what is going on in the mind, to know the root cause of all suffering, and free their own minds from ignorance, egoism and impurities. Buddha didn’t ‘take away’ the ignorance and impurities from people’s mind, neither did Buddha ‘heal’ other people from their hurts and suffering, but Buddha just gave the Dhamma to those who came to him for ‘guidance how to be free from suffering’, and allowing everyone whether to practice and free their own mind from ignorance and suffering, or not.

Those who live in the truth, they are peaceful and free as it is, regardless of whether there’s love or loveless towards others who restlessly act and react under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and would hurt oneself and others whether intentionally or unintentionally. There’s no need to forbear, or forgive, or let go anything, as they are free from disturbed, disappointment, resentment, anger, hatred and hurts. It’s everyone’s own responsibility to be aware of what is going on in their own minds and whether there’s self-control over their own actions and reactions, or not.

Be free.

The practice of silence to conquer the restless mind

This teaching is for those who want to conquer the restless mind, but they realize that the mind is so difficult to quiet down, that there will be ceaseless distracting random thoughts occupying the mind, especially whenever they try to sit down quietly limiting the physical movements and refraining the senses from going out chasing after the object of the senses, to train the mind in concentration and meditation.

It’s a common reaction of all the untrained impure minds when the physical body is being restricted from bodily movements and the mental habitual activities is being restricted, there will be random thoughts bubbling up to the surface of the mind. It’s part of the purification process. People should continue the practice by learning how to be aware of all these random thoughts without association, attachment, identification, craving or aversion, judgment and expectation, and allowing all these random pleasant and unpleasant thoughts arising and passing away, to clear up the past accumulated imprints. People expect that when they meditate, the mind will be free from any thoughts, and so, they’ll get very disappointed and demotivated after a few attempts trying to concentrate or meditate, they realize that the modification of the mind is even more agitated and violent whenever they try to concentrate or meditate. And without correct understanding, many people would give up and prefer to just live everyday life as they are, ‘happy happy go lucky’, be good, do good, without the need to deal with the unpleasant behavior of the mind that they don’t like to confront with. And that’s their freedom.

The biggest element in aid to conquer the restless mind is the observation of silence, of seclusion, solitude and renunciation from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions.

Some people think that those who want to conquer the mind should take up the challenge of living and mixing among the society, in order to allow the mind to practice concentration and meditation in everyday life having to deal with all kinds of challenging condition and situation, distractions and disturbance, while learning how to remain equanimous without being affected or determined by all the challenging condition and situation in life, without generating craving towards the pleasant life experiences and without generating aversion towards the unpleasant life experiences. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But what happens? After many years of ‘trying’ to practice yoga and meditation to conquer the restless mind, but the mind is still restless, or even more restless under the influence of ignorance and impurities.

Some even say that it’s very easy to be calm and quiet being in solitude and seclusion without dealing with other beings and worldly affairs. They think that one doesn’t need to deal with pleasantness and unpleasantness, craving and aversion, distractions and disturbance, actions and reactions, when being in solitude and seclusion. What they don’t know is that most minds will runaway from solitude and seclusion after some time, like fish out of water, and the modification of the mind is even more agitated and violent being restricted from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions that keep the mind stimulated, entertained, busy, or restless. That’s why so many people will say that meditation is very difficult, or they can’t meditate, or they don’t like meditation, or they don’t like to observe silence, of solitude and seclusion.

Whether one is surrounded by many other beings and happenings, or one is alone in solitude away from happenings, this mind has to deal with the impermanent and selfless changes of the physical body and the ignorant impure egoistic modification of the mind. Whether the mind is free, or not free, it’s always right here and right now. When the mind practices concentration and meditation, it’s always alone, regardless of whether there are other people around, or not.

Do not blind-believing or blind-following any teachings from anyone or somewhere, including all the teachings here. Contemplate and inquire the truth of all teachings and attain self-realization of the truth of all the teachings via direct experience.

Take note that living in the world and mixing in the society are two completely different things. Geographically and biologically, one will have to and always be living in the world, otherwise, this body will not be able to survive for long, but at the same time, know the importance of observing silence, of maximum solitude and seclusion, renouncing worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, in short, refraining from mixing in the society.

While living in the world, one will still have to deal with the impermanent and selfless condition and situation in the world that is ever challenging, and developing the strength of non-association, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation, and one learns how to conserve energy and not wasting energy into worldly affairs/activities/interactions that derived from ignorance and egoism, as well as empowering/feeding ignorance and egoism.

Observing maximum solitude and seclusion while living in the world, and renouncing worldly social relationships, activities and interactions doesn’t mean that one is completely isolated from the society and not performing any actions in the world. One can be performing unlimited selfless service in the world to benefit the society efficiently, but being free from mixing, or socializing, or accumulating relationships. One is care-less towards the worldly affairs, but can also be performing actions that benefit the world at the same time. Being compassionate towards all beings doesn’t mean that one has to be in a form of relationship with all beings. One can be kind to others without the need of knowing or contacting with the others. Contemplate on this, and be free to observe silence while living in the world and performing actions in the world.

For the ‘first class’ students of Dhamma, which are very few of them in this world, they don’t need to observe silence, of solitude, seclusion and renunciation from worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, as they are already grounded firmly in Dhamma. They can be mixing in the society like everyone else, behaving like everyone else, but their minds are ever pure and quiet. They don’t need to practice concentration or meditation at all. They are not separated from meditation. There’s no in or out of meditation.

For the other students of Dhamma, which is the majority of us, we do need to observe silence at some stage, of maximum solitude and seclusion, and renounce worldly social relationships, activities and interactions, as whether we are aware or unaware, the mind is constantly absorbing all the inputs of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts/imagination/projection/dreams, all the time, unwittingly. All these endless accumulated inputs are the ceaseless random thoughts that bubbling up to the surface of the mind during the practice of concentration and meditation, and many minds that haven’t develop a strong foundation of non-association, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation will be greatly disturbed, distracted and demotivated by this purification process. And this will never come to an end, unless we start reducing and limiting all these unnecessary mind inputs deriving from all kinds of worldly relationships, activities and interactions.

It’s like someone tries very hard to clean up the rubbish bin, but somehow, rubbish keep pouring into the bin, from someone and somewhere, endlessly. The bin will never be cleaned. The untrained impure egoistic mind is like a rubbish bin, taking in all kinds of rubbish (mind inputs) ceaselessly, unwittingly. And yoga and meditation practice of silence, solitude, seclusion and renunciation, is the most effective and practical way to free the mind from being a rubbish bin, and it’s not about to be a clean rubbish bin, but to realize its nature of namelessness, formlessness and attributelessness, that it is neither a dirty rubbish bin nor a clean rubbish bin.

Perform this test to know how the mind works. Sit down without moving the body and limbs, closing the eyes, and observe the natural breath coming in and going out for a few minutes. Very soon, unwittingly, random thoughts will arise and occupying the mind. And one will realize that all these random bubbling thoughts are the strongest imprints during the day, or from the last few days, or even from weeks/months/years before, or even forgotten.

Even Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and Swami Sivananda also had to retreat from the society to be focusing on their practice for some years in solitude, restraining the modification of the mind and attaining liberation. And then they came back to the society to disseminate the Dhamma to the other suffering minds whom in need of the Dhamma to be free from suffering.

By reducing and limiting the mind inputs not just allowing the mind to be purified effectively, but it also helps to develop a great mental strength that allows the mind to be uninfluenced, unaffected, undisturbed and undetermined by all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses. At this stage, the mind is safe and free to be mixing in the society and live everyday life like everyone else, but the mind is ever pure and quiet.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to think and believe, and what they want or don’t want to practice.

The importance of restricting worldly physical and mental activities

All kinds of yoga practice serve the purpose of changing the restless habits of the egoistic mind to render the mind calm and quiet to prepare the mind for meditation by weakening egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, and eventually annihilate egoism completely, rendering the mind pure and quiet being free from impurities and restlessness to see the truth as it is.

One of the important practice to change the restless habits of the mind to render the mind pure and quiet is by restricting the worldly physical and mental activities, even though it doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free from ignorance and suffering, if the mind doesn’t know how to be free from egoism. Such as full body paralysis or unconsciousness doesn’t mean that the mind is free from ignorance and suffering.

Some yoga practitioners think that they don’t need to restrict the worldly physical and mental activities to silent the thought activities, as they believe that all their worldly physical and mental activities are good and righteous actions derived from good and righteous intention, and all these good and righteous actions will be transformed into virtues and merits that will only bring good karma in return and there won’t be any bad karma in the making, that all their life experiences will only be good, joyful, pleasant, desirable and enjoyable, and void of all kinds of suffering.

Some young, fit and healthy ‘yoga teachers’ even proclaim that by practicing yoga, their physical body can defy old age, decay, or illness. The physical body of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and many enlightened Gurus in the past also had to go through the inevitable truth of impermanence and selflessness of decay, illness, old age and death/decomposition, even though the mind had attained liberation from the suffering of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness.

One of the common reason for many yoga practitioners who ignore the importance of silencing the thought activities is, they (the ever restless mind) don’t like/want to be quiet, but instead, they want actions/stimulation endlessly. Not just that they aren’t interested in silencing the thought activities, but they enjoy or indulge in the restlessness of ceaseless worldly physical and mental activities. Restricting the mind from the worldly physical and mental activities appears to be meaningless, boring and suffering for the minds that enjoy ceaseless actions/stimulation all the time. After sitting quietly for a few minutes, the restless minds will start to be agitated and want to be in action as soon as possible, eagerly want to see, hear, talk, imagine, move, express, play, or interact. And that is the normal behavior of the untrained minds. Without judgment or expectation, don’t give up and keep practicing until the mind is resting in the silence of thought, action and speech.

Many would justify that by performing the yoga asana practice that they enjoy doing regularly is indeed a form of meditation in action, and their body and mind would feel good each time after the yoga asana practice, that makes them think that they have already reached the goal of yoga. That’s their freedom of thinking and action.

In the beginning of the process of purifying the mind, the mind can’t avoid needing some kind of stimulation to keep the mind busy. And hence, the yoga practice at this stage is to replace unwholesome activities with wholesome activities to keep the mind busy as well as improving the mind concentration, such as performing karma yoga, chanting and prayer, or pranayama and asana practice. These activities might generate momentary effects of calming the mind, but it doesn’t free the mind from restlessness completely. As there are those who are ‘addicted’ towards performing karma yoga, chanting and prayer, pranayama and asana practice, where the mind will be agitated or frustrated, or feel meaninglessness when it can’t perform karma yoga, chanting and prayer, pranayama and asana practice over a period of time. Though there’s nothing bad with that, but the mind is not free. Eventually, the mind needs to learn how to breakaway from the clinging/addiction towards both wholesome and unwholesome stimulation to keep busy, to learn to be at ease in silence. This doesn’t mean that one is discouraged from performing wholesome activities, but the mind is free from clinging/addiction onto performing actions to keep the mind busy with some kind of activities to avoid dullness, boredom, loneliness or the sense of meaninglessness. The mind is free as it is.

Make use of the yoga practice as a tool to render the mind pure and quiet to prepare the mind for meditation, but without attachment or addiction towards the yoga practice or the momentary effects deriving from the yoga practice.

Those who truly want to conquer the restless egoistic impure mind to free the mind from the root cause of suffering (renouncing both good and bad karma that give rise to ceaseless births and deaths of life existence of the impermanent and selfless body and mind), they understand that all goodness, pleasantness and enjoyment in this worldly life of names and forms are impermanent and selfless, including the momentary pleasant effects deriving from performing the yoga practice, and hence they are aware of the importance of attaining liberation from the suffering of ceaseless births and deaths of the impermanent and selfless body and mind, and so, they would take all the practice of silencing the thought activities seriously.

Being aware of the preciousness of the fleeting impermanent and selfless life existence of this body and mind to attain liberation from suffering, they renounce both good and bad karma to transcend ceaseless births and deaths, by realizing the essence of inaction in all actions from the realization of selflessness, non-separateness, oneness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness and intentionlessness.

Those who love their worldly life existence with all the physical and mental worldly activities that they enjoy very much, will stop at the intention of performing good actions that bring good karma/consequences in return, and won’t be interested in silencing the thought activities or the modification of the mind, to transcend the restless and ceaseless births and deaths of the impermanent and selfless existence and function of the body and mind. And that’s their freedom.