Thai food and yoga

There are people who have been enjoying eating ‘Thai food’ in some restaurants cooked by some chefs who don’t really know what is ‘Thai food’, or the ‘Thai food’ that they have been enjoying eating are being modified and presented differently from the traditional authentic ‘Thai food’ to suit the taste of people who prefer to eat bread and potatoes than rice or noodles, or who aren’t use to spiciness or the intense taste of fish sauce, which is the main ingredient for ‘Thai food’. And one day, they have the opportunity to come to an authentic ‘Thai food’ restaurant and they order some ‘Thai food’ to eat, some would appreciate the authentic taste of ‘Thai food’, and are glad to have tasted the real ‘Thai food’, while some would feel very disappointed as it’s not what they expected, where it’s completely different taste or presentation from the ‘Thai food’ that they usually eat, where the food doesn’t served with bread or potatoes and they don’t like the taste of the authentic ‘Thai food’, and they don’t want to finish the food that they ordered while refuse to pay the bill, or request a partial billing, saying that “Your food is not good. I don’t like your food. At home, our ‘Thai food’ served with some bread or potatoes. Your ‘Thai food’ doesn’t served with bread or potatoes. I don’t want to pay for the food that I didn’t want to finish eating because I don’t like it and it doesn’t served with bread or potatoes.”

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they like and don’t like. There’s nothing wrong with people enjoy eating ‘Thai food’ that is not really ‘Thai food’ and rejecting authentic ‘Thai food’, but one still have to pay for the food that one ordered but didn’t want to finish eating because one didn’t like the taste or there is no bread or potatoes being served.

It’s similar as there are many people have been teaching ‘yoga classes’ in the world after attended and graduated from some kind of ‘yoga teachers training courses’ and call themselves ‘certified yoga teachers’, but not all these ‘yoga teachers’ are teaching yoga as it is, that allow people to develop the basic understanding about the elimination of ignorance and egoism, to be learning and practicing yoga that is not necessarily pleasant or enjoyable for the body and mind but might be very unpleasant and painful for the impure prideful egoistic mind during the purification process of the annihilation of ignorance and egoism. As a result, many people are learning and practicing what they think is yoga but not really yoga from all these ‘certified yoga teachers’ and they think that is how yoga practice should be done ‘correctly’ as taught by these ‘yoga teachers’.

When these people participated in a ‘yoga retreat’ or ‘yoga course’ that is about yoga and they have the opportunity to come in contact with the yoga practice of simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation, about the elimination of ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, of purifying and quieting the restless impure mind for meditation, that is different from the ‘modified yoga asana classes’ that they have been learning from their ‘yoga teachers’ for many years which is nothing to do with the elimination of ignorance and egoism to purify and quiet the mind for meditation, but these ‘yoga classes’ actually empowering the ignorance and egoism through the gratification of the desire of craving and aversion by pampering their body and mind in the enjoyments of the senses, some of them might develop certain degrees of understanding and would appreciate and glad to be learning and practicing yoga as it is, while some might feel greatly disturbed or disappointed and reluctant to continue learning and practicing yoga that is about yoga, and they want to quit the yoga retreat/course because they don’t like the yoga practice that is about yoga, as they refuse to make adjustment to adapt and accommodate to learn the different style of yoga practice being practiced differently from their usual way of practice. Some of them even ask for refund. And when they don’t get the refund as that would be supporting and empowering ignorance which is not yoga practice, they’ll get so angry and would do things with the intention to hurt the yoga teachers or retreat centres. This shows that they never learn what is yoga even though after many years of practicing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way under a particular teacher.

Yoga practice is all about making adjustment to adapt and accommodate condition and situation that the mind doesn’t like, or doesn’t familiar with, or doesn’t feel comfortable with, to allow the mind to be opened, to be able to be peaceful and compassionate under any condition and situation, wherever they are and whatever they are experiencing, being undisturbed by names and forms that the mind doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with.

As part of the yoga practice, one needs to learn how to let go of attachment and identification towards a particular style of yoga practice that one familiar with that one has been learning and practicing under certain yoga teachers or yoga centres, and learn how to adjust one’s body and mind to adapt and accommodate towards the yoga practice that one doesn’t familiar with or never experience before. If one can only practice yoga of a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way but couldn’t practice yoga anymore when that particular style of yoga in that particular way is not available, then one is not free even though one has been practicing particular style of yoga in a particular way for many years.

Yoga teachers who teach a particular style of yoga in a particular way need to learn how to allow their yoga students to be unattached towards that particular style of yoga being practiced in that particular way. But many ‘yoga teachers’ in the world are not free from ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, pride and arrogance towards their own particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way. Whether aware or unaware, many yoga teachers implant the strong attachment and identification towards their particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way into their yoga students’ minds, so that the yoga students will be faithful, loyal and supportive towards them and their style of yoga being practiced in a particular way. Those who teach yoga will allow all their students to be unattached towards their particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way, to be open-minded to go out there to learn from some other teachers with other types of different yoga practice and respect all types of different yoga practice even if one finds it challenging to make adjustment to adapt and accommodate the different practices that one doesn’t familiar with, and it doesn’t matter if one isn’t interested in practicing any of those different practices.

Before I left Kuala Lumpur and moved to Langkawi about 10 years ago, I told all the students to continue their practice, either by themselves or continue learning from other yoga teachers, and respect other teachers and their different ways of teaching and practice. Do not compare. They are just being different. More importantly, they might be practicing different style of yoga being practiced in a particular way, but always remember that regardless of all kinds of different style of yoga being practiced in many different ways, there’s only one yoga, the yoga of freeing the mind from ignorance and egoism, to purify and quiet the mind, to realize the truth of impermanence and selflessness, and be free, which is nothing to do with whether one is practicing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way; or one has some physical injuries that limit oneself from performing certain yoga poses; or one is severely physically ill and weak that one couldn’t perform any yoga asana poses at all; or whether the body is able to be completely comfortable while doing certain movements or holding certain poses; or what type of benefits that come from doing particular practices; or whether one knows the names of the poses or the muscles/bones/organs in any particular language; or whether one is able to perform all the yoga poses in ‘perfect alignment’; or how many years one has been performing the yoga practice under particular yoga teacher; or how many years one has been teaching yoga to other people; or whether one has attended many yoga teachers training courses and attaining how many yoga certifications, or not.

In the yoga class, it’s not about performing some yoga asana poses to make the body more healthy and illness-free, or be more strong and flexible, but it’s developing self-awareness, self-discipline, self-control and self-independence, as well as non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and non-expectation, to know what is going on in the body and mind, and accepting the reality of the physical condition and the state of the mind in the present moment now as it is. It’s about do what the body can do comfortably in the present moment now without forcing the body to go beyond its limitation regardless of whether the body is injury-free, or is suffering from some injuries or sickness. One learns how to make appropriate adjustment to adapt and accommodate the yoga asana or other yoga practice based on the condition of the body and the state of the mind in the present moment now. One doesn’t need to do anything that the body cannot perform in this present moment due to injury or sickness. One can stop and take rest as long as one needs to during a particular practice or in between different practices.

Being unable to perform any yoga asana poses or any form of physical practice due to any physical limitations, or injuries, or sickness, doesn’t stop the mind from performing the formless inner practice of awareness, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and non-expectation, and realize unconditional peace, and be free.

Most importantly, one is aware of everything is impermanent and selfless, regardless of whether one feels comfortable or uncomfortable during certain practices and whether one can do or couldn’t do certain movements or poses in this present moment. One learns to take full responsibility to look after the well-being of one’s body and mind without expecting somebody else, neither the teacher nor the doctor to look after the well-being of one’s body and mind. No body but oneself, knows directly and instantly what is going on in the body and the mind, not the teacher or the doctor. If there’s pain or discomforts, one do not proceed any further, or one can make some adjustment or modification. If there’s tiredness, one can take rest as long as one needs to.

If one needs to depend on a teacher or a doctor being there to be responsible to look after or supervise the well-being of one’s body and mind all the time, then one will never be able to realize what is yoga, even after many years of practicing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way under the supervision of a particular teacher, expecting the teacher to tell them what they should do and shouldn’t do, and constantly expecting the teacher to check on them, asking them whether they are comfortable, or not, and telling them whether they are doing it nicely, or not, and whether they are good, or not.

Just like a blind person needs to depend on a blind stick to find their way, while other people with healthy vision don’t need to depend on a blind stick to move around. By telling everyone that everyone must carry a blind stick with them in order to move around, or else, without a blind stick everyone can’t go anywhere or will injure themselves, is complete ignorance. And that is what happening in many yoga centres/schools/studios/ashrams with particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way. Without any particular equipment or props that they used to rely on while performing their yoga practice, these yoga students can’t practice yoga anymore, or they find it ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ for not having those equipment or props while performing the yoga practice. These students will never be free from ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification and desire of craving and aversion, even after many years of attending these kind of yoga classes doing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way, where the yoga teachers are either wittingly or unwittingly developing the circle of ‘my style/brand of yoga’, ‘my students’, ‘my clients’, ‘my members’, ‘my followers’, ‘my disciples’, ‘my supporters’, or ‘my admirers’.

Yoga retreat is not a place for mingling or socializing or interaction, but it’s a great opportunity to practice simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation while living among the society, to be by oneself moving away from worldly social interactions and activities to quiet the restless mind, to be reflecting upon the truth of names and forms, to be aware of the modifications of the mind to know thyself, besides looking after one’s daily duty and responsibility such as maintaining the tidiness and cleanliness of the accommodation/living environment/practice space and looking after one’s daily meals, while dealing with condition and situation that are not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, so that one can perform Yoga Sadhana at home observing simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation while living among the society performing one’s duty and responsibility in everyday life. At one stage, Swami Sivananda walked 15 km everyday to the nearby villages for Biksha (obtaining food by alms) besides performing daily Sadhana and selfless service while living a life of renunciation.

Many ‘yoga retreats’ in the world are not about quieting the restless mind via the practice of simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation, but it’s about being in an out of the world environment away from dealing with any duty and responsibility in everyday life, indulging in pleasurable enjoyments of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and visualization/imagination/anticipation/expectation, gratifying the desires of craving and aversion, promoting mingling and socializing, enjoying all kinds of conveniences of hotel facilities and services, which most worldly minds expect what ‘yoga retreat’ is about. Food is prepared and served by somebody. Cleaning up and laundry are done by somebody. Room tidiness and cleanliness is maintained by somebody. Everyone just needs to enjoy mingling and socializing with the other retreat participants, while indulging in pleasurable yoga activities, spa treatments and all kinds of hotel facilities and services during the retreat.

And this is ‘the world of yoga’ that is supposed to be about living a life of simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation from worldly activities/connections/interactions/enjoyments to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, but many people are unaware of the ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga retreats’ that they have been attending are not about Yoga Sadhana to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, but it’s actually empowering ignorance and egoism instead.

It’s everyone’s freedom whether to practice yoga as it is, or not.

 

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The great aspirations vs the reality

The minds that are free from ignorance and egoism don’t need to be inspired to have great aspirations to achieve something to feel good and meaningful towards life existence, but there’s nothing wrong with the minds that are still under the influence of ignorance and egoism need to be inspired to have great aspirations to motivate them to achieve something in life for them to feel good and meaningful about themselves and their life existence.

Anyone also can have great aspirations, to set as a direction in life with certain goals and visions to achieve what they want to achieve, or to be what they want to become. Though the reality of whether those aspirations will be materialized or turn out to be what they are, or not, is not necessarily the way that the minds imagine or anticipate, of what the minds expect it to be, or want it to be.

There are important elements or factors that allow people achieving all their aspirations and goals, which are hard-working, discipline, focus, attentiveness, patience, determination, perseverance, forbearance, tolerance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation, along side with the available intelligence, knowledge, technologies, interests, talents, skills, creativity, opportunity, assistance and cooperation from many other different fields and levels.

It’s very good for people to have great aspirations of “I want to do/achieve this and that” or “I want to be this and that”, but if the minds are over-powered by laziness, impatience, lack of discipline, distractions, inattentiveness, lack of determination, lack of perseverance, lack of forbearance, intolerance, incapability of accepting things as they are, reluctance of making adjustment, inability to adapt and accommodate, then those aspirations or goals might not turn out to be the best as they could be, even when intelligence, knowledge, technologies, interests, talents, skills, creativity, opportunity, assistance and cooperation from many other different fields and levels are available to the minds with great aspirations to achieve something that they want to achieve, or to be somebody that they want to be. These minds are being affected or disturbed very much by the hardship, challenges, distractions, or obstacles that might exist on the way towards achieving those aspirations, and be over-powered by dissatisfaction, disappointment, irritation, frustration, anger, self-criticism, meaninglessness, laziness, impatience, inattentiveness, or demotivation that arise in the minds due to lack of those important elements that allow the minds to be focused and persevered to achieve what they want to achieve. These minds would easily give up whatever they have started in the beginning with great aspiration and full of motivation, but then, everything that they have started will be abandoned halfway when those excited passionate feelings of aspiration and motivation slowly fade away.

For example, many people might have the aspiration of “I love the Earth/nature/world”, “I want to help to look after the Earth/nature/world” and “I support environmental and ecosystem friendly way of living.” That’s great.

Everyone can help to look after the environment and ecosystem by adopting a simple way of life or living.

But the reality is not always the way that the minds aspire it to be.

People like to talk and share about the issue of looking after the environment and ecosystem, and talk about living a simple life, but at the same time, living in the modern society, many people want to enjoy a healthy active lifestyle, be busy doing many things or create things and need to be presentable all the time in their active social life, by looking after their physical appearance, beautiful skin and hair that needed to be washed, cleaned and treated frequently especially with particular brand of body care, skin care and hair care products, while frequently applying the body with perfumes, lotion, moisturizer, beauty products, branded fashions and accessories, and couldn’t live without using iPhone or Gadgets that needed to be replaced with the latest/up to date model every now and then, or enjoy very much indulging in different forms of entertainments for the body and mind, or enjoyments of the senses and different types of leisure activities, and at home, people have the spending power to decorate their house with the latest designs of beautiful things, enjoying the conveniences and comforts of different kinds of electrical devices that would be replaced with new ones once in a while, where all these commercial products and leisure activities are mostly involved with some kinds of ‘exploitation’ and ‘pollution’.

Some people are also being passionate about bringing people to come together for some activities, frequently organizing birthday/anniversary/new year celebrations or cultural/spiritual/religious/sports festivals that require certain expenses, such as getting appropriate attires/costumes/decorations/food for the specific functions, or getting presents on daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis to please and motivate oneself or other people for a cause that worth ‘celebrating’ and ‘rewarding’, expending extra money, energy and effort, and generating extra waste products and rubbish.

But then, we still think and believe that we are very friendly towards the environment and ecosystem because we have the great aspiration in the mind to be good and responsible human beings who care for the environment and ecosystem of the Earth, and be passionate towards the activism for protecting the environment and ecosystem, as we think we love the Earth/nature/world very much.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they think, feel, act and react, and what they want and don’t want, what they aspire and don’t aspire, or what they achieve and don’t achieve.

Yoga retreat for developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance and simplicity

Many people who are interested in doing regular yoga exercises as a form of health and fitness activity, they might also interested in participating in yoga retreats once in a while. And there are many yoga retreats everywhere in the world that would cater the demands and expectations of those who want to participate in yoga retreats.

Some people are looking for yoga retreats that allow them to learn about yoga and to be focusing and immersed into the traditional yoga practice for a period of time, to develop self-discipline and self-practice in everyday life, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, to realize unconditional love and peace that is beyond all the qualities of name and form, undetermined by life experiences, condition and situation, physical and mental ability, achievements and enjoyments. While many others are looking for yoga retreats that allow them to gratify the desires of craving and aversion, to be in a comfortable and desirable environment that emphasize on indulgence of the senses, self-pampering and socializing, that makes them feel satisfied, pleased, good, relaxed and peaceful, even though it’s impermanent.

Whether the retreat organizers are aware or unaware of it, most yoga retreats are not really about the yoga practice of guiding the yoga enthusiasts/practitioners into the yoga practice of annihilating ignorance and egoism to free the mind from the root cause of suffering – the desires of craving and aversion, but it’s actually providing the opportunity for empowering ignorance and egoism through gratifying their desires of craving and aversion, giving them momentary satisfaction and good feelings via pleasurable physical, sensual and mental enjoyments, by giving the mind what it wants and not giving the mind what it doesn’t want.

Most people are not really interested in the yoga practice of developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance and simplicity, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, and the desires of craving and aversion through participating in yoga retreats that allow the participants to learn about the essential teachings of yoga, to focus and immerse into the traditional yoga practice of annihilating ignorance, egoism and impurities, while not pushing away but confronting any impurity, difficulty, discomfort, fear, or blockage that the mind doesn’t like to confront with, that the mind would rather runaway from.

Most people are more interested in yoga retreats with holiday resort facilities that provide many types of pleasurable activities, facilities, services and enjoyments of sight, sound, taste, smell, sensation, and imagination, that emphasize on self-indulgence, self-pampering and socializing, to temporarily escape from what the mind thinks is ‘negative’, ‘unpleasantness’, ‘discomfortable’, ‘difficult’, ‘depressing’, ‘disturbing’ or ‘non-enjoyment’ in everyday life, to be in a relaxing comfortable environment that would gratified the desires of craving and aversion, to be doing activities that they enjoy doing, to be indulging in sensual pleasurable enjoyments, to be pampered physically and mentally, beside attending daily yoga exercise sessions, to feel good, relaxed, satisfied and pleased.

This type of yoga retreats that emphasize on pleasurable physical and mental enjoyments in a comfortable pampering environment are great for those who feel that there is a need to be temporarily moving away from everyday life where they have to carry out their duties and responsibilities, and dealing with all kinds of people whom are not like-minded, and situations and things that are not the way that they like it to be, that make them feel disturbed, frustrated, exhausted, drained, stressed or tensed, that they need to participate in a ‘retreat’ from time to time, to unwind and relaxed, even though it’s just a momentary relief derived from being away from what their mind perceives as undesirable disturbing environment or something that they don’t like, but to be in a desirable pleasant environment, while engaging in some activities that they like to do, the way that they like it to be, that make them feel good.

Though this is not what yoga practice is about, there’s nothing wrong with most yoga retreats in the world are of this kind as they are many people want and need this kind of yoga retreats. And it’s everyone’s freedom for what they like and want. It’s a business, where you give the customers what they like and want, to make them feel satisfied and happy, and to make sure they will continue to come back again and again to support your business.

The yoga retreats that are about yoga, the teachings and the practice, allow the participants to learn about their own mind and the root cause of suffering, and to practically immerse into the yoga practice of freeing the mind from ignorance to allow the mind to see the truth of things as it is, and freeing the mind from egoism through the practice of non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation, while developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance, simplicity, wisdom and compassion, to become their own teacher to perform self-practice that is beyond time and space, that allow them to live in the world as they are, perform all their duties and responsibilities, without attachment or identification towards the body and mind, the actions and the fruit of actions, without being disturbed or determined by all kinds of life experiences, people, situations and things that are not necessarily the way that they like it to be, allowing them to deal with ‘difficult’ and ‘challenging’ condition and situation with wisdom and compassion, that allow them to be able to let go what the mind used to perceive as ‘negative’, ‘bad’, ‘disturbing’, ‘frustrating’, ‘exhausting’, ‘depressing’, ‘hurtful’, or ‘stressful’, that they know how to partially retreat themselves in everyday life to conserve energy for performing yoga practice and to silent the mind, that they know how to minimize or stop generating and accumulating tension or stress, that there’s no need to participate in a ‘retreat’ to be away from everyday life to unwind or relaxed as there’s minimal or no tension and stress building up, and realize unconditional peace that is beyond the qualities of name and form, and all kinds of condition and situation.

A yoga retreat that allows people to develop correct understanding, awareness, self-practice, self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, simplicity, dispassion, wisdom and compassion, that eventually people don’t need to participate in any ‘retreat’ to retreat from everyday life experiences that are not the way that we like it to be of what the impure mind recognizes as ‘negative’, ‘bad’, ‘difficult’, ‘hurtful’, ‘distressing’, ‘disturbing’, ‘frustrating’, ‘depressing’, ‘discomfortable’, ‘non-enjoyable’, ‘unpleasant’, or ‘exhausting’. The mind is peaceful as it is and wherever it is, undetermined by the qualities of name and form, and all kinds of life experiences and impermanent changes, conditions and situations. One doesn’t need to go to a special place, or be with special people, or do special activities, or to participate in any kind of ‘retreats’ to find relaxation, calmness and peace that is determined by certain qualities of name and form, experience, activity, condition and situation, that is impermanent.

This type of yoga retreat is great for those who are looking for real peace or unconditional peace being free from ignorance and egoism through persevered discipline and restraint of one’s mind activities, but it’s not favorable for business. As there will be physical, mental and emotional unpleasantness during the purification process under going intensive yoga practice to eliminate ignorance and egoism. There will be rejection and disgust coming from the ignorant egoistic mind that doesn’t like to be disciplined or restrained. There’s disagreement and aversion coming from the egoistic mind towards the teachings of yoga that is different from the thinking and belief in the mind. And hence, this type of retreats are less popular, and are being criticized by those who expect pleasurable enjoyments, comfortable conveniences, customer service and social interactions in ‘yoga retreats’. Those who guide others onto the path of yoga don’t take it as a business, and hence, it doesn’t matter.

Take good care of the body and mind?

Learning and practicing yoga actually is also about learning how to take good care of the overall well-being of the body and the mind in everyday life, but without attachment and identification towards the impermanent condition of the body and the mind.

It’s not just about doing some yoga asana and pranayama and meditation practice for a couple of hours a day regularly as a form of taking good care of the body and the mind, but more importantly in the rest of the time in everyday life, when the body and mind are not performing physical postures, breathing exercises, concentration and meditation practice, we need to know how to live in simplicity, how to conserve energy, when to take rest, when to work more, when to work less, when to eat more, when to eat less, how to relax or let go, how to stop generate unnecessary tension into the body and mind, how to stop pushing the body and mind beyond its limitation, and etc, to truly taking good care of the overall well-being of the body and mind.

Out of laziness, or stinginess, or particular obsessive compulsive disorder, or great ambition, or sociable personality, or caring personality, or lack of self-control and self-discipline, or some other issues, people might not rest well, eat well, work well, or relax properly, and the body and mind are either being in a state of lethargic or agitation due to accumulated strain and stress or restlessness, even though people try to do yoga asana and pranayama and meditation practice regularly. It’s like, now we sweep and mop the floor, and then, we bring more dirt and dust onto the floor, and repeat this process again and again.

When the condition of the body and mind be affected by the improper or imbalanced way of living, the mind becomes tired, cloudy, unfocused, short-tempered, depressed, irritated, impatient, aggressive or anxious easily. This will affect the yoga asana and pranayama and meditation practice, as well as the ongoing function of all the support systems in the body, the sleep quality, the mood, the thinking faculty, the clarity of the mind, the physical mobility, the health condition, the energy level, and the relationships with everyone and everything.

Learn how to live a simple yet balanced lifestyle is as important as doing the yoga asana and pranayama and meditation practice regularly. Simple yet balanced lifestyle has nothing to do with the commercial products of branded and trendy hype of ‘luxurious organic living’, or ‘organic clean eating’, or ‘calorie counting eating’, or ‘precise daily consumption limits of different food intake’, or ‘health and fitness products and supplements’, but it’s about incorporating the teachings of yoga of ‘Do our best’, non-attachment, non-identification, desireless, dispassion, right discrimination, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, renunciation, seclusion, solitude, silence, concentration or one-pointedness, contentment, generosity, forgiveness, patience, determination, perseverance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation into everyday life activities, to stop or minimize accumulation of unnecessary tension into the systems.

If one knows how to live a simple yet balanced lifestyle, if one knows how to conserve energy and doesn’t put unnecessary stress or strain into the body and mind, there’s no tension accumulated, and there’s no need to go anywhere or do anything to release tension, as there’s none.

“I am so busy and so stressed and so tired. I have not enough time to eat or sleep properly. I have so many friends and relatives. I need to care for so many people in my life. I have so many personal and social functions I need to attend. There’s so many things I want to do for myself and for everyone. My mind can’t turn-off. I would love a holiday but I will need time and energy for it, as I would be exhausted after coming back from holiday doing all the holiday activities and eating so much. I know I need complete rest. I need to stop doing things, physically and mentally. But then I will feel so guilty and unhappy if I didn’t manage to do my fitness workout everyday, if I didn’t meet up with my friends to stay connect, if I wasn’t there for my friends who need me to listen to their problems and complaints, if I didn’t achieve all my daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. So how?”

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life or how they spend their time and energy.

Be free.

A simple life?

Sometimes when we think we live a simple life, and we like things to be simple, we might not be aware of the desire, or intention, or expectation to live a healthy and good life, clinging onto what we think is good and healthy, and have aversion towards what we think is not good and unhealthy, is not really that simple.

We don’t just live life as it is. We have desires of want and don’t want.

We don’t just appreciate food and eat food as it is, but we have some demands and conditions about what type of food, where they come from, how they were produced and prepared, how does it taste, and etc.

We don’t just live in a place with a roof as it is, but we have some demands and conditions about what type of building, where is the location, how it was built, what are the extras, how is the surrounding environment and neighbourhood, and etc.

We don’t just have a physical body as it is, but we have some demands and conditions about how does it look, what type of body shape and body composition, how is the condition and abilities, and etc.

We don’t just take shower, but we have some demands and conditions about what type or brand of shower products, where they come from, how they were produced, and etc.

We don’t just wear clothes and shoes, but we have some demands and conditions about what is the style, texture and colour, what brand, where they come from, how they were made, what are they made from, what are the compliment accessories, and etc.

We don’t just live life as it is, but we want to have certain type of lifestyle and social life, involve in activities that we like to do, being in relationships that how we would like it to be, and there are some unfulfilled desires or ambitions waiting to be fulfilled, and etc.

Above all,

We don’t just practice yoga as it is, but we have some demands and conditions about what type of yoga or yoga classes, what types of benefits it gives to us, who is the Guru or teacher, what is the level or intensity, what are the qualifications and certifications that the teacher has or we can get, what type and brand of yoga mat and yoga clothing, and etc.

It’s not simple at all.

When the mind is completely free from the desires of want and don’t want, free from craving towards something that we like and aversion towards something that we don’t like; when we know how to live life as it is in the present, free from attachment, fear and worry; when we know how to appreciate when good things are there, but without clinging and craving towards the good things; when we know how to let go when good things changed and disappeared; and we are okay when good things are not there, or when bad things are there, without aversion towards losing the good things, or getting the bad things; then we do live a simple life.

Om shanti.

Why create unnecessary conditions and standards to limit ourselves?

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, we create some standards or conditions for ourselves to live up to, for achieving the type of life that we desire, or to be what we want to be.

If we have no attachment towards these standards or conditions that we create for ourselves, then there’s no harm for having these conditions or standards as a guideline to live the type of life that we desire, or try to be what we want to be. We do our best to live up to the standard or quality that we want for our life, and be what we want to be. But we are not determined by any of these conditions or standards of living to be who we are, to be confident, happy, meaningful and peaceful, or not.

If we have attachment towards certain conditions and standard of living that we desire, then this will not just generate unnecessary limitation to ourselves, we might also generate unnecessary inconvenience or tension to other people in order to fulfill our demands towards certain conditions or supports to achieve the life that we desire. We’ll get unhappy, dissatisfied, disappointed and frustrated towards certain obstacles that obstruct us to achieve the type of life that we desire (the way that we like it to be), and we’ll have fear and worry towards losing the conditions or supports that provide the type of life that we desire.

When we generate a demand for achieving certain conditions, or standards, or qualities that we like to have, it does not just depending on oneself to make it available or be practical. It requires many other elements or cooperation from many other people to make the condition to be available.

There are many people in the world who don’t have a choice of what type of life and living condition that they would like to have. When we live in an area that is free from war, unrest, violence, hunger, thirst, major natural disasters, and etc, we want to have something more than what the universe has been providing us. We don’t just need food, but we want food the way that we like and want. We don’t just live life, but we want to live life the way that we like it to be. We don’t just wear clothing, we want to wear clothing with particular quality, material, design, colour, style, or brand. We don’t just be as we are, we want to be somebody with certain qualities of names and forms, and we want to have certain image and appearance.

We’ll get upset and frustrated when we don’t get “the type of life” that we desire (the way that we like it to be), if we attached to or are determined by “the type of life” that we desire to be who we are, to be confident, happy, meaningful and peaceful, or not.

Sometimes we think we are simple minded, and we want to live a simple life. But, if we look at ourselves and our behavior, there are many demands about this and that to support “the simple life” that we would like to have. We “desire” a simple lifestyle, but when this simple lifestyle is unavailable the way that we think it should be, we’ll get frustrated, unhappy, dissatisfied and disappointed. As we are restricted by our demand towards certain conditions, or standards, or qualities that we want for our lives (It doesn’t matter whether it is something simple, or yogic, or organic, or exciting, or adventurous, or luxurious, or spiritual, or peaceful, or happy, or healthy, or quiet, or materialistic, or sensual, or compassionate, and etc.)

Real simplicity is not even about “want to live a simple life”, but be free from being conditioned by any desires of wants and don’t wants.

We can just live life the best that we can, as we are, in accordance to the reality in the present moment now, without attachment towards the desire of “must have” particular type of lifestyle or living condition the way that we would like it to be.

Be free.

Om shanti.