Friendliness towards all beings without discrimination, intention and expectation

This teaching is a contemplation for those who are interested in learning and practicing yoga and meditation, to silent the restless impure egoistic mind. Those who are not interested in practicing yoga or meditation to silent the mind don’t need to observe or contemplate on this teaching.

Friendliness in yoga is nothing to do with sociable talkative personality or behavior, or being sociable to be accumulating personal connection and friendship with as many people as possible.

Being friendly to all beings doesn’t mean that one has to be sociable and talkative, or accumulating many personal friendships that involve engagement in physical/verbal/mental interactions and activities from time to time.

Being sociable and talkative doesn’t necessarily mean that one is being friendly towards all beings without the influence of egoistic discrimination of likes and dislikes, selfish intention and expectation.

Quite many people, including health professionals think and believe that being quiet or not being talkative, especially in young children, is something ‘sick/unhealthy’, ‘bad’, ‘negative’, or ‘wrong’. The best time for yoga and meditation practice is when everyone else has gone to sleep. Why? Because it’s the only precious time of quietness and peacefulness available on earth in that time zone without people doing things, playing, arguing, negotiating, making noises, shouting, or talking. Does that quietness and peacefulness on earth when everyone/the minds being away in sleep, being non-interacting, non-talking, or non-action causes more chaos in the world? Nope. Instead, when people/the minds are awake, many people criticize other people who don’t talk much as being unhealthy, disturbing, rude and unfriendly?

The friendliness in yoga and meditation practice is about respecting all beings as they are, being free from superiority or inferiority, without egoism of attachment, identification, possessiveness, discrimination of likes and dislikes, desire of craving and aversion, intention or expectation, without dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurt, fear, offensiveness, hostility, ill-thinking, or ill-will towards all beings, be undisturbed and without interference towards other people being different from oneself, or having different thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction from oneself, without intention of accumulating friendships or companionship from other people to get rid of boredom or loneliness, or to be accessible to support and help whenever one needs one, without expecting other people have to behave, act or react the way that one thinks it should be, or expecting other people to treat oneself the way that how one would like to be treated.

People who would feel disturbed or offended if other people do not join in their conversation, or are disinterested in their invitation to a function or event, are due to their own expectation towards how other people should response towards their ‘friendliness’. People get unhappy, disappointed or offended when they don’t get the response that they expect to be getting from other people. Those who are truly friendly won’t mind at all if other people are not interested to participate in any conversation or event.

Those who are truly friendly, it’s not necessarily that they are sociable, or talkative, or actively interacting with other people. They might be very quiet and mind their own things. But, they have no ill-will, ill-thinking, ill-talking, judgment, criticism, condemn, gossip, slander, disrespectfulness, animosity, offensiveness, interference or expectation towards other people’s different way of life, thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction.

Take a look into most of the usual conversations among people, we will see that these conversations are mostly full of talking about hanging onto the past, projecting into the future, planning, plotting, scheming, worldly/personal attachment, worldly/personal identification, pride, desire, fear and worry, and lots of complaint, moaning, dissatisfaction, disappointment, blame, ill-will, ill-thinking, ill-talking, criticism, condemn, gossip, slander, back-biting, story telling, untruthfulness, justification, boasting, manipulation, as well as interference or expectation towards other people’s way of life, thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction. Not that all these activities are bad or wrong, but the yoga and meditation practice is to free the mind from all these worldly habits of physical/verbal/mental/emotional activities/restlessness of impurities.

It’s very common that when people want to talk to other people and they expect other people to talk to them in response to their ‘friendliness’, but then they would feel greatly disturbed or offended if other people don’t response to their ‘friendliness’, or when other people talk about things that they don’t like and don’t want to hear, that they disagree with.

The most effective way to help oneself or anyone to be free from all the ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’ that one thinks and believes is what disturbing one’s mind that one feels and thinks that one needs to talk to other people to talk about one’s problem or suffering to seek help or advice, is to be quiet and listen. Listen to the Dhamma that is here and everywhere when the mind is quiet, and the mind sees the truth of ‘unhappiness’, ‘problems’, or ‘suffering’. It’s not about expecting someone, or other people, or guru, or God to be there to listen to one’s problems, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, hurt, fear, worry, complaint, blame, moaning, or bitching about other people that one feels angry or unhappy with, that one doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, so that one will feel slightly relieved or feel better about oneself for a few moments, but then the mind continues to be restless and disturbed by the ongoing worldly life experiences that are not necessarily the way that one likes it to be, or the mind perception of names and forms that the ego doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with, while thinking and believing that one’s ‘unhappiness’, ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’ are caused by the experiences or qualities of names and forms that the mind thinks and believes as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, or ‘negative’.

Performing yoga and meditation practice, especially attending silent meditation retreats or courses, will allow people with a disturbed/unhappy/suffering mind to learn to be quiet and listen to or seeing the Dhamma that will free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, and thus be free from all kinds of ‘unhappiness’, ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’, and one doesn’t need to talk/complain/boast about anything. One doesn’t need someone, or other people, or guru, or God to be there to listen to one’s complaints, as there’s none. The mind is silent and peaceful, so as the surrounding environment is also undisturbed by a silent peaceful mind. That is true friendliness towards all beings and the environment.

Be free.

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The practice of silence – Mauna (2)

For those who want to experiment what is the practice of silence is about, it’s not necessarily that they have to be living in the forest or in a cave, as that can create many inconveniences, challenges and difficulties for the novice. They can experiment the practice of silence by attending a silent meditation retreat (not the commercialized luxury yoga retreat that emphasized on pleasurable enjoyment of the senses) at a dedicated retreat centre that provides the environment and facilities that allow people to be engaged in the practice of silence for a period of time – https://www.dhamma.org

For others who would like to observe silence in everyday life while living in a village or town or city, where one needs to look after one’s everyday living/livelihood and/or looking after other people under one’s care, it’s not possible to observe complete silence at home for a prolonged period of time, as one still have to be regularly engaging in the worldly activities of coming in contact with other people from time to time, to live everyday life of getting to work, or doing business, and getting to shops to get supplies for daily needs and feeding oneself and/or those under one’s care, and etc, though it’s still possible to observe a few hours of complete silence being away from stimulation of worldly activities of mind inputs and outputs of talking/outing/interacting/communicating/messaging/phoning/shopping/discussions/debates/worrying/physical fitness training/munching outside of basic meal times/playing musical instrument or games/reading news, magazines, or novels/listening to songs, music, talks or story telling/watching TV programs, advertisements, movies, shows performance, theater, or entertainments, and all forms of social contacts and activities during that few hours (even just for half an hour, if time and space constraint) when staying awake outside of sleeping hours.

Sleeping doesn’t count as observing silence as the mind will be unconsciously/involuntary being actively processing the memories or imprints of inputs, outputs, actions, reactions and emotions via dreams, except during the deep sleep mode where thought activities ceased, even when all the bodily systems still continue to be functioning autonomously/ceaselessly for maintaining life or staying alive.

Practicing partial silence in everyday life beside the few hours of complete solitude and seclusion restricting the mind inputs and outputs as mentioned above, it’s about filtering the inputs and outputs by:-

– Choosing inputs and outputs that will bring more correct understanding, quietness, peace and harmony to the mind of oneself and others. Avoid inputs and outputs that will inflict greater attachment, identification, expectation, craving and aversion, passionate desire, restlessness, stupidity, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, lies, untruthfulness, hypocrisy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, grief, depression, hurt, hostility, violence, ill-thinking, fear and worry, and other impurities in the mind of oneself and others.

– Reducing and limiting the physical and mental engagement in social life interactions and activities as much as possible, such like disinterest or care less towards worldly affairs, or other people’s affairs, allowing everyone to develop correct understanding, self-introspection, self-discipline and self-realization, to know what is going on in their minds, to learn to love themselves and to look after their own minds and life independently (many passionate friendly sociable good people would disagree with this, as they don’t know/understand what is beyond the worldly thinking and belief of the ‘normal’, ‘friendly’, ‘caring’, ‘good’ and ‘appropriate’ human behavior. Looking after one’s mind by purifying and silencing one’s mind to be free from ignorance and egoism, to stop unwittingly and constantly ‘hurting’ oneself and others out of ignorance and egoism and impurities is the most efficient, compassionate and friendliest way to truly care for the world and other beings)

– Talk only when necessary of something important or in the case of emergency.

– Talk less by minimizing and cutting short conversation using simple words of ‘Hello’, ‘Good morning/afternoon/evening/night/day/bye’ and ‘Thank you’ upon coming in contact with other people in everyday life.

– Learn how to be free from boredom, loneliness, left-out or meaninglessness.

– Stop feeding the desire of craving and aversion.

– Give up the worldly nature/tendency of curiosity, busybody, minding other people’s affairs, heroism, gossiping, discussion, debate, commenting, flirting, bonding, connecting, networking, relationship building, teasing, blaming, fault finding, back-biting, criticism, argument, justification, complaining, moaning, mourning, day dreaming, building castle in the air, and etc.
Looking after the overall well-being and livelihood of oneself and/or those under one’s care, perform daily tasks of maintaining the living space, without attachment or expectation, and performing social selfless service of pure and compassionate actions without attachment, identification, discrimination, bias, judgment, comparison or expectation and renouncing the fruit of action, without personal/political/commercial/religious agenda and ambition, or selfish intention and desire, doesn’t contradict to the practice of silence.

– Give up personal friendships accumulation, but be friendly to all by freeing one’s mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, without discrimination of personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, desires of craving and aversion, possessiveness or expectation towards others, develop understanding and respect towards other people’s different ways of life and values of life, thinking, belief, practice, action and reaction, or behavior under different life condition and situation, and develop tolerance, forbearance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, forgiveness and letting go.

– Do not interfere with other people’s freedom of thinking and belief and way of life, or intrude other people’s privacy and personal or living space. Do not try to convert or change or correct other people’s thinking/belief/way of life that we don’t like or don’t agree with. Mind our own mind and life. What other people want and don’t want to think, feel, believe, practice, behave, act or react, and the consequences of their actions are their freedom and responsibility. Let everyone learn to take the responsibility for their actions and looking after themselves.

– Stay away from ignorant trouble-makers if possible, if it’s not possible to stay away, then endure the challenges or difficulties that arise due to other people’s ignorance and the consequences of their ignorant behavior, instead of trying to control or change or correct them or hoping that they will go away. Even this ‘challenging and difficult’ situation out of other people’s ignorance is also impermanent. Do not feed ignorance with ignorance. Confronting people under the influence of ignorance will only generate greater ignorant reactions and unnecessary damages. It’s the prideful arrogant ego that thinks and believes that “I can control or change or correct/educate these ignorant people to stop behaving ignorantly.” It’s up to everyone to be aware of ignorance in themselves, and want to be free from ignorance or stop behaving ignorantly. Buddha can only guide people who are aware of ignorance and suffering in themselves on how to be humble to look into their mind to see the truth, but Buddha can’t remove the veil of ignorance in anyone, so that they will be aware of ignorance in themselves. Trying to control/change/correct ignorant people by fighting or conflicting with them will only provoke more ignorant reactions. It’s like telling most arrogant people, “Hey! Don’t do this. You are so stupid.” they will be more determined to do it.

– During the practice of silence in everyday life, if the mind is struggling with boredom, loneliness, or meaninglessness, one can divert the time, energy and attention/importance into the inquiry or contemplation of the truth of names and forms, study the teachings of yoga and the existing thinking and belief in one’s mind to investigate the truth of it, or developing one-pointedness of the mind focusing at one object internally or externally, or perform Japa or chanting, or do some light yoga asana practice, until the mind starts to be at ease without much usual habits of worldly physical or mental activities, one can then channel the time, energy and attention into meditation, starting with observing the natural breath as it is, when this practice becomes effortless/non-struggle, one can then observe the physical sensations moving the awareness from point to point through out the body, without attachment, judgment, expectation, craving or aversion towards the pleasant or unpleasant sensations arising and passing away. When the practice become effortless, when the mind becomes quiet, naturally, the mind sees the truth as it is, insights or wisdom will arise upon the vanish of the veil of ignorance.

It’s absolutely possible to not having (or turn-off) TV, internet connection, phone connection, radio, music player, games and other convenient entertainments for the senses at home. Or, not going to the cinema, theaters, concerts, invitations, parties, events, functions, amusement park, entertainment centres, fancy restaurants, clubhouse, social interactive cafe, pleasurable enjoyment outlet, commercial malls, and so on.

It’s also possible to reduce and minimize social communications, interactions and activities, the accumulation of friendship and relationship, minimize contact with family and friend circle and the neighbours, minimize engaging in the community activities of the village/town/city, maximize solitude and seclusion outside the time when one has to come in contact with other people for work or getting daily needs for living/survival or in the case of emergency. Family and friends who truly love and accept us as we are, will not be offended or unhappy by our non-sociable way of life, or the practice of silence, seclusion and solitude. Those who truly know what is love will let go the people whom they loved. The family and friends who will complain and be offended, that’s their freedom for how they think, feel and react, but then we understand that it’s their ignorance, egoism and impurities that cause them to think, feel and react in such way. We can let them be and be unaffected and undetermined by their ignorance.

Basically, one must know how to be undisturbed or not be bothered by how the society/other people perceive, think and judge about one’s practice of silence and renouncing social interactions and activities, as there will always be some kind of non-understanding, non-acceptance, non-accommodating, disrespectfulness, interference or intrusion towards other people’s privacy and freedom of life, judgment, disagreement, dissatisfaction, disappointment, expectation, gossip, criticism or condemn coming from people of family, friends, relatives, community, or those who don’t even know the practitioner personally, due to ignorance, egoism and impurities. If one doesn’t know how to be undisturbed by all these worldly reactions from other people, it will only cause more unhappiness and disturbance in one’s mind being determined and disturbed by other people’s thinking and belief, and other people’s expectation and intrusion towards one’s way of life or practice. If so, the practice of partial silence in everyday life becomes impossible or being contradicting towards the ‘normal’ way of life of the society or the worldly minded people.

Both sociable and non-sociable way of life is neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong. Just that for one who is aware of the ignorance and suffering in one’s mind, who wants to be free from ignorance and suffering, the practice of silence is essential, though not everyone is suitable for this practice. It requires tremendous will power, perseverance, self-discipline, mental and emotional independence, fearlessness, dispassion and non-attachment deriving from the basic understanding of yoga, suffering and the cause of suffering, ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, the mind and the modifications of the mind, the ego and egoism, and the not necessarily easy or comfortable, but ‘correct’ and ‘efficient’ way/path to be free from ignorance and suffering.

People who don’t talk much, don’t interact much, who are not responsive towards other people’s ‘friendliness’ or ‘interest to be interacting with other people’, are being perceived or understood by the society/worldly minded people as ‘abnormality’, ‘rude’, ‘unfriendly’, ‘unhealthy’, or ‘uncaring’. Even many yoga enthusiasts of yoga practitioners and yoga teachers are also not free from this type of perception, thinking and belief.

Non-sociable is not the same as anti-social. It’s normal that people would perceive or think that the practice of silence is anti-social, or non-contributing to the society or the world, or being selfish. But they don’t know that silence of the mind is the highest and purest form of contribution towards humanity and the society or the world and our loved ones, by freeing one’s mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, stop hurting oneself and/or others out of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and being non-intrusive/non-interference/respectful towards other people’s freedom of different ways of life, thinking, belief, practice and behavior. If people want to judge, that’s their freedom. Let them be.

If one seriously wants to implement the practice of partial silence into everyday life, then one can try one’s best to avoid coming in contact with or staying away from worldly minded people who strongly believe in and advocate ‘certain thinking and beliefs of how human beings should and shouldn’t behave and live life’, ‘ideal of building a perfectly all good and bad-free world’, ‘ideal of changing the world to be the way that they think it should be’, ‘be in control’, ‘be in power’, ‘be strong’, ‘be passionate’, ‘be sociable’, ‘be inspired’, ‘be interactive’ and ‘community values’ way of life, or those who attached strongly onto and be proud towards their own way of life and values of life, who want to convert and correct other people whom they dislike and disagree with, and they get offended or disturbed by other people’s different ways of life or values of life, and they expect other people should also be like them having the similar way of life and values of life.

Those who truly practice yoga and meditation, who are truly friendly, kind and compassionate, is nothing to do with being outspoken, talkative, sociable or interactive, and actively engaging in worldly social, community, cultural, family and friends affairs, interactions and activities. They have no identification as ‘friendly, kind and compassionate people’. They might be performing actions that would benefit the world silently, but they don’t intent/aspire to change the world to be all good and nothing bad. They don’t expect other people to also be like them. They have no attachment or identification towards their actions and they have no expectation towards the fruit of their actions, allowing the fruit to be what it is. They don’t interfere with or intrude other people’s freedom of different ways of life, thinking, belief, practice and behavior, even though the mind might dislike or disagreeable with those ways of life, thinking, belief, practice and behavior. They don’t try to covert or change or ‘correct’ other people who are different from them to also be like them. They allow the law of nature to be what it is. They are free from craving or clinging towards ‘goodness’ and aversion towards ‘badness’. They respect everyone to be what they are, as they are, even if they are not very nice, or behave nastily or destructively, due to ignorance. They allow everyone to experience, learn and evolve at their own cause and pace, even if the entire world or humanity will be destroyed by ignorance. Because none can free another being from the consequences of their own actions or their own suffering deriving from ignorance, egoism and impurities, but oneself.

One will be very disappointed if one expects everyone to be good and do good and nothing bad and evil. The world is a platform for human beings under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities to ‘play’, to ‘have fun’, to ‘procreate’, to gratify their desires of creating something that they like and destroying something that they don’t like. Greed, dissatisfaction, discrimination, bias, unjust, corruption, anger, hatred, jealousy, lust, hurt, offensiveness, hostility, ill-will, fear, worry, hunger, thirst, conflicts, violence, wars and etc are everywhere. There are also some goodness, good deeds, kindness, empathy, sympathy, charity, assistance, higher technologies, pleasurable enjoyments and entertainment, good family, good relationship, good behavior, good understanding, good friendships, good community, good companion, good life, good environment, good condition, good situation, good people, and so on. But no matter how much badness and how much goodness, all are impermanent. Appreciate and support all the goodness but without attachment, clinging or craving towards goodness, and do not appreciate or support badness but without aversion towards badness, if one wants to be free.

Those who are free and peaceful, they don’t need to observe all the above practice or observation of silence to render the mind pure and quiet to allow the mind to see the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance and be peaceful. They can live alone away from the society, or live with other people among the society, but they are not influenced or disturbed by what is happening in the world, or the ignorance, egoism, impurities, or interference of other people, remain equanimous in peace.

The practice of silence is for those who sincerely want to know the truth of one’s mind and suffering. Those who have no interest in knowing the mind, who don’t need to be free from suffering, who are happy with everything as it is, they don’t need to do this practice.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life, body and mind.

The path of renunciation

This teaching is for those who wish to attain liberation from suffering deriving from ignorance, egoism and impurities. Those who want to spend their entire life time into attaining a good and comfortable life and be contented with the attainment of a good and comfortable life don’t need this teaching.

For those who are not free yet, ‘friends’ or ‘association with worldly minded people’ can be one of the great obstacles on the path of yoga and meditation, as the impure minds will easily be influenced or determined by someone or something, unwittingly. For those who are free, they can mix freely into the society without being influenced or determined by anyone or anything.

One should not be overly confident with oneself being uninfluenced or undetermined by others, thinking that one is capable to juggle between worldly busy social life activities and one’s yoga practice, as the very advanced practitioners also would not guarantee that their minds can be completely free to mix into the society without being influenced at all by anything.

Living in the society with all the modern higher technologies, communications, conveniences, comforts and pleasurable enjoyments of the senses, there will be ‘friends’ who will advice you not to take yoga and meditation practice seriously and encourage you to develop all sorts of passionate desires and worldly ambitions, and taking your time and energy away from yoga and meditation practice of silencing the mind to be actively getting involve with social mingles, interactions and activities, pursuing worldly ambitions and the gratification of passionate desires.

There are also many other ‘spirituality/yoga enthusiasts’ nowadays might also give you many ‘other alternative’ suggestions other than the traditional practice of self-discipline or self-control, of renunciation and restraining the mind activities/modification.

Many people, including those who think they love yoga and meditation practice, aren’t aware of the downfall effect of egoistic attachment and identification towards a worldly life existence of putting importance and values into nurturing a ‘good and meaningful’ worldly life of worldly ambitions, passionate desires, social mingles, interactions and activities. To them, all these worldly passions, ideas, objects, values and activities are the normal, the right, the positive and meaningful way of life. That’s their freedom of thinking and belief.

For people who realize/know the root cause of all the worldly problems and suffering of mankind is nothing but the mind is functioning under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and so, they renounce such ‘normal’, ‘good’ and ‘meaningful’ worldly life of names and forms by retracting from nurturing worldly ambitions, passionate desires, social mingles, interactions and activities, and divert the time, effort, energy and focus into silencing/annihilating the mind to attain liberation from the mind perception of such a fleeting embodied life existence. But, such a ‘noble’ way of life is being perceived by the worldly minded people as ‘abnormal’, ‘weird’, ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, or ‘meaningless’.

And hence, the worldly minded people, including many yoga and meditation enthusiasts would strongly disagree with and discourage about the practice of renunciation from the worldly life of family, friends, relatives, relationships and society/community, of social mingles, interactions and activities, or the practice of seclusion and solitude and silencing/annihilating the mind.

For the worldly minded people who attached onto and identified with the worldly life of mind perception of names and forms as ‘who they are’, it’s so wrong or crazy not to interact with or talk to other human beings. They can’t live for a day, or a few hours of not coming in contact with, not interacting with, or not talking to another human being. They will become crazy. They suffer from endless boredom and loneliness. They try to get involve in many physical or mental or verbal activities and interactions with other(s) to escape boredom and loneliness. They say this is ‘love’, and so, they have to be actively connected or interacting with ‘someone’ or ‘something’. Or else they will feel lack of love or absence of love in themselves, or in their life, or in the society/the world. If they go to attend ‘silent meditation retreat’, they would be so confused and disturbed by how come everyone keeps their head down, not looking at each other, not touching each other, not responding to other people’s ‘friendliness’, and not talking, working, playing, interacting or communicating with one another.

While some people also say, “Yoga is love.” and thus they share ‘love’ with many people ‘unlimitedly’, by getting into uncommitted lustful ‘love/intimate’ relationship with many people at the same time. “We love, comfort and support each other. We don’t get into committed couple relationship. We don’t want to possess each other. We don’t want to be selfish. Love is for all. We should be free to love/be intimate with as many people as we like.” so they said. That is not Yoga. It’s mere passion and lust. You will see married/unmarried ‘yoga teachers’ getting into love/intimate relationship with the yoga student or many different yoga students. There’s no self-restraint or self-control at all. And they justify that it’s yoga of love and sharing.

That’s why in the serious spiritual constitutions, people are not allowed to be touching/hugging one another, because most minds are not pure and are not free from lustful desire, craving and clinging. There will be many ‘corrupted misconducts’ arising here and there. But, the worldly minded people can’t understand this at all.

This observation of ‘non-touching’ or ‘non-hugging’ is strongly disagreed by the worldly minded ‘good and loving’ people, including some ‘yoga enthusiasts’ who believe in all human beings should somehow physically contacting with some other human beings or animals, constantly touching and hugging one another, to be giving and receiving ‘love’, or else people ‘could be sick’ or ‘even die’ from the absence of ‘love’ due to lack of touching or hugging from other human beings, so they think and believe, and so they become, being conditioned by that thinking. They might feel much better or even be ‘cured’ from certain sickness after being touched or hugged by some others. That’s their freedom of thinking and belief. But, it’s not the truth. Why? Those who are not conditioned by this thinking, won’t be sick or die from the absence of touching or hugging from some other beings. And no matter ‘touching’ or ‘hugging’, or not, everyone will have to face death eventually, alone, by oneself.

Buddha and many saints and sages renounced worldly life and relationships for many years, they didn’t die of isolation and solitude, but they attained enlightenment, or certain degrees of freedom from suffering. They walked the middle path, neither too tight nor too loose. It meant to be neither torturing the body nor pampering the body while performing practice or Sadhana of purifying and restraining the mind activities/thought-current/modification. One must know how to eat well and eat enough, and not taking extreme fasting or fussy about food variety or overly eating. One must know how to rest or sleep well, not too much or too little. One must know how to perform the Sadhana in balance, not too much or too little. One must know how to balance between resting and training the body and the mind. One must know how to conserve energy for performing Sadhana. One must know how to turn the outgoing mind inward by refraining from over-stimulation and restlessness of chasing after the objects of the senses. And thus the path of renunciation from worldly ambitions, passionate desires, social mingles, interactions and activities is very crucial to free the mind from over-stimulation and restlessness and to conserve energy for Sadhana.

Whether people want to be conditioned by particular thinking and belief, or not, it’s their freedom of choice. While yoga and meditation practice is to free the mind from being conditioned by any thinking or belief. As the truth is not a thinking or belief, it’s just what things are, or seeing things as they are.

Upon the realization of unconditional love, all beings are love itself. This is pure love or unconditional love, not the conditional passionate lustful loving affection under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities. One will never be lack of love. One doesn’t need to be receiving or sharing ‘love’ from someone, or something, or somewhere, to feel ‘love’, to have ‘love’, to accumulate ‘love’.

If the ‘love’ can be lacking, absent, increasing or decreasing, appearing or disappearing, that is conditional passionate ‘love’.

Many people, including yoga enthusiasts, say, “I have abundance of love. If you don’t have love or you are unloved, I’ll give or share with you some of my love, and you will have love and be loved.”
Real yoga practitioners or yoga teachers say, “You are love itself. You just need to realize this. You don’t need love from me or anyone or God, to make you feel loved or have love.”

The greatest effort and true contribution one can give to the world for the sake of humanity, is working diligently to attain self-realization through transcending the mind and its modification of a worldly life existence by limiting or restraining the mind from association with worldly objects, ideas, thinking, belief, values and activities, or human beings who attached strongly onto all these worldly names and forms.

Be very patient, without any expectation to realize anything. After some time being isolated from all these worldly names and forms, the mind starts to realize the ‘unrealistic’ of the worldly life existence of all those names and forms, thinking, belief and behavior. Though be vigilant. There might be some practitioners who haven’t realize anything even though they practice renunciation for some time, they would become more passionate and lustful than they were before, after a few years being ‘refrained’ from worldly ideas, objects, activities, interactions and beings. This is because they are lack of the foundation of Yama, Niyama, Viveka, Vairagya, Shatsampat and Mumukshutva.

Before the mind attains final dissolution/disintegration, it’s utmost important to reduce or minimize or refrain from coming in contact with worldly minded passionate people or ‘good friends’ who would pull you away from the path of silencing the mind, but encourage you to put importance into stimulating your mind into endless restlessness, passion, anger, lust, desires, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride and heroism, by nurturing endless worldly ambitions and passionate desires, and engaging in social mingles, interactions and activities.

A good and comfortable life condition also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and all kinds of painful sorrow, fear, or suffering. Advanced or developed countries endowed with higher education opportunity and higher technologies also doesn’t guarantee the people’s mind or thinking are free from selfishness, fear, discrimination, racism, anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, bias, violence, crime, corruption, exploitation, or be free from conflicts or wars. Even among the so called spiritual or morality emphasized constitutions also are not free from such impurities due to the great influence of ignorance and egoism.

Contemplate on this, if one really wants more peace and harmony in the world –

Those who are able to ‘let go’ the world, can do more work for the world efficiently, out of compassion, in peace, without attachment, identification, craving/aversion, judgment or expectation. Those who passionately ‘love’ the world very much and couldn’t let go the world, as they think and believe that it is selfish and wrong to ‘not care’ for the world that is not the way that they like it to be, and out of frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurt, fear, anger and hatred towards what is happening in the world that they don’t like, don’t want and don’t agree with, that they think is bad or wrong, they can’t really help the world to be better or more peaceful, as they generate so much tension/impurities in themselves and into the environment, even though they try to perform ‘good and righteous’ actions that they think and strongly believe that are ‘benefiting’ or ‘helping’ the world.

What’s the point of provoking other people’s anger and hatred through social media and some other platforms so that all those mentally and emotionally disturbed, angry and hating people can support our cause of “Trying to bring ‘goodness, peace and harmony’ into the world?” Or, perhaps, bringing ‘goodness, peace and harmony’ into the world is not our intention/goal at all, but merely to get enough supporters to gratify our desire of achieving a ‘perfect’ world that we prefer, the way that we like it to be, even if it’s achieved by creating more disturbs, anger and hatred in the society towards the things that we don’t like and don’t want, in order to get the supports that we need to make the world to be the way that we like it to be and not to be the way that we don’t want it to be.

Just like being disagreeable and angry with the parents who discipline/punish their children out of disagreement and anger, and we want to discipline/punish these parents for disciplining/punishing their children out of being disagreeable and angry with their children?

The sun, the moon, all the planets, the water, the earth, the air/wind, the space don’t interfere with one another, although unintentionally/unwittingly, they are influencing or inter-related to one another. If there is individual-will of egoism in them to ‘interfere’ or ‘control’ or ‘over-power’ each other, the universe can’t be here at all. “I want the universe to be like this.” “No. I want the universe to be like that.” “NO. I want the universe to be the way that I think it should be!”

It’s everyone’s freedom whether to practice yoga and meditation, or not, and what they want to do with their life existence of the body and mind.

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.

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.