Selflessness – Being free from the ego (The idea of I) and egoism

The ego is the product of ignorance in the impure mind where there is an idea of ‘I’ exists as an individual being with certain qualities of names and forms, such like, personal worldly identity and status, personality and characteristic, thinking and belief, physical condition and appearance, gender and sexual orientation, physical and mental ability and achievement, interest and talent, knowledge and memory, aspiration and inspiration, actions and the result of actions, family and relatives, relationships and possessions, social network and interaction, and all that the mind thinks and believes and identifies as ‘This is me or I’.

Selflessness is nothing to do with non-existence, as some people might ‘interpret’ it as non-existence. It’s beyond existence and non-existence. When people ‘misinterpret’ selflessness as non-existence, they might perform actions that would hurt themselves and others by thinking and believing that there won’t be any consequences of actions, and so, they think they can do whatever they like and want.

There is no ‘I’ to be existing or non-existing. There is no ‘I’ to be selfish or unselfish. There is no ‘I’ enjoy or suffer. There is no ‘I’ being happy or unhappy. There is no ‘I’ being good or bad. There is no ‘I’ as this or that. It’s just the mind functioning and perceiving names and forms through the senses. But due to ignorance, there is an idea of ‘I’ arise in the mind, that ceaselessly generates attachment and identification towards the impermanent quality of names and forms, and it judges and compares, intends and expects, acts and reacts, likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees, desires and doesn’t desire, creates and destroys, enjoys and suffers, aspires and inspires, being proud or humble, being happy and unhappy, feeling meaningful and meaningless, and etc.

The mind that is being free from the ego or egoism is a selfless mind or liberated mind. The entire yoga practice is MAINLY about freeing the mind from the ego or egoism to realize or attain selflessness, which is the nature of life existence. There is no ego in each individual cell in the body, or in the different life supporting systems, organs and glands, or in the sense organs and the senses, or in the oxygen, nutrients, minerals, water and energy that allowing the body and the mind to be existing and functioning, but, this ego that exists as an idea in the mind thinking that ‘I’ am the most important and the highest above all. “I want my body to be like this and be able to do that. I want my mind to be like this and achieve that. I want my life to be like this and accomplish that, and so on.” This ego is full of desires waiting to be fulfilled, and constantly pushing, forcing and hurting the body and the mind in order to gratify all its desires via the body and the mind. When its desires are not being gratified, or there’s some obstacles hindering the process of gratifying all its desires, the ego gets offended, humiliated, insulted, dissatisfied, disappointed, angry, hurt, unhappy, depressed, or suffer. And out of these impurities, the ego performs actions or inactions that would hurt the body and the mind, and/or other beings or objects.

Yoga practice is not about being able to perform this or that asana, or pose, or position, or movement, to gain health, beauty and fitness benefits, but it’s to train or purify the mind to eventually drop-off this idea of ‘I’, through annihilate egoism and the by-products of egoism of all sorts of impurities. When the mind is free from the idea of ‘I’ and ‘mine-ness’, there’s only pure awareness being in the present, being aware of all the perceptions of names and forms through the senses, and all the impermanent changes, functions and activities of the body and the mind, being free from desires of craving and aversion, selfish intention, expectation, attachment and identification.

There’s no ‘I’ being the performer of actions or the receiver of the fruit of actions. There’s no ‘I’ being the thinker or believer. There’s no ‘I’ being compassionate or uncompassionate. There’s no ‘I’ being ignorant or wise. There’s no ‘I’ being limited or unlimited. There’s no ‘I’ being free or not free. There’s no ‘I’ believe or disbelieve in God. There’s no ‘I’ am sinful or sinless.

There’s neither past nor the future. There’s neither good nor evil. There’s neither positive nor negative. There’s neither happiness nor unhappiness. There’s neither enjoyment nor suffering. There’s neither vegetarian nor non-vegetarian. There’s neither yogi nor non-yogi.

Be free.

Seeing the truth in ourselves that is not necessarily what we would like it to be, is a great liberation

It’s common for someone to feel hurt, dissatisfaction and disappointment in a love relationship. That is because we think we love the person in the relationship with us, but we don’t.

When we think we are hurt, dissatisfied and disappointed because of his/her bad treatment to us or wrongful behavior, we will do and say things that would hurt/attack this person in the relationship with us. We would go behind his/her back complaining about him/her for this and that, telling other people, especially our family and friends about how bad he/she is. Meanwhile, we keep telling ourselves and other people, “I love him/her so much. I am so good to him/her. How could he/she do this and didn’t do that, to me. He/she doesn’t love me. I feel so disappointed and hurt.”

‘Hurt’ doesn’t exist if we truly love someone. If we truly love him/her as he/she is, we won’t do and say things that would hurt him/her even though he/she doesn’t love us and isn’t nice to us. We won’t expect him/her to treat us or behave in certain ways. He/she has the freedom to love us, or not, and to be nice to us, or not. And we have the freedom to decide whether to continue this relationship, or not, without feeling hurt or disappointed.

If we ever feel ‘hurt’ by someone whom we think we love very much, it actually tells us that we don’t really love that person, but we only love our selfish desires of what we like and want. The fact that we feel dissatisfied, disappointed and hurt is because our selfish desires are not being gratified from loving the one whom we think we love very much. We are dissatisfied and disappointed is because we are not getting what we like and want, but we are getting what we don’t like and don’t want. It’s not because he/she is bad or wrong. It’s not because he/she doesn’t love us or isn’t nice to us.

To fall in love with someone is not so difficult, but, to truly love someone beyond selfish desires, is very rare.

The realization of “I think I love you and I want to love you, but I realized I don’t really love you because I don’t love you as you are.” allows us to be free from the corrupted thinking and feeling of “I am disappointed and hurt by the one whom I love very much.” Instead, we question ourselves, “How could I demand anything from you or expect you to love me and be nice to me while I don’t really love you?” and “If I really love you, I won’t demand anything from you and won’t expect you to love me and be nice to me. I’ll love you as you are, no matter you love me, or not, and want to be nice to me, or not.”

This will free us from dissatisfaction, disappointment and hurt, even though the person in the relationship doesn’t love us or isn’t nice to us. Meanwhile, even though we love someone very much, as he/she is, we don’t have to allow someone who doesn’t love us and who is not nice to us to take our love for granted, we can let go this person and this relationship.

Seeing the truth in ourselves that is not necessarily what we would like it to be, is a great liberation.

It’s okay if we realize we don’t love someone, as long as we are aware of it and are being truthful and honest towards ourselves and the one whom we think we love, but not really. And this confrontation with the truth allows us to truly love this person, by freeing ourselves from corrupted thinking and feelings.

The end of ignorance, is peace.

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.

Observe all the names and forms as they are

The worldly restless impure egoistic minds keep looking for stimulation of inputs and outputs.

It doesn’t like to observe names and forms as they are.

It projects quality and duality onto all the perceived names and forms based on its likes and dislikes influencing by its thinking and belief.

Through remembering what it perceived or what it knows, it judges, compares and expects.

It clings, craves, rejects, agrees, disagrees, wants, doesn’t want, creates and destroys.

It has many forms of desires and great ambitions.

There’s aspiration and intention to perform actions and inactions motivated by its desires and ambitions.

It has ‘passionate’ aspiration and intention to ‘share’ what it knows and has, and ‘share’ what others know and have.

There’s nothing wrong with that, just that the mind is not free.

Even the mind that projects ‘good’ and ‘kind’ quality onto itself, desires to be ‘good and kind’ and thinking ‘positively and optimistically’, and performing good and kind actions to benefit the world, is not necessarily be free from selfishness. The one who thinks “I am not selfish. I want to be unselfish.” and recognizing other people are being selfish, is not necessarily be free from selfishness.

“I want the world to be good and I want to make the world good, so that I and my loved ones can have a good world to live in and have a good life.”

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

Silent the restless mind, abandon ‘positive thinking’ and ‘optimism’, be free from desires, and even the desire to be free from suffering, if one truly wishes to realize yoga.

Positive thinking and optimism is just an counteract for ‘negative thinking’ and ‘hopelessness’. It’s not the truth nor the end of suffering.

If ‘God’ exists, ‘God’ doesn’t have intention to make anyone or anything to be good or bad, positive or negative, happy or unhappy.

There’s neither positive nor negative, neither good nor bad, neither happiness nor unhappiness, neither elation nor depression.

Dharma doesn’t need to be shared, if one knows Dharma.

Peace and love doesn’t need to be shared, if one knows peace and love.

Be free from aspiration and intention, if one truly wants to realize yoga.

Don’t be ambitious.

‘Sharing’, ‘connecting’, ‘giving’ and ‘receiving’ are reflections of separateness.

‘Sharing’, ‘connecting’, ‘giving’ and ‘receiving’ don’t exist in oneness.

Who is sharing with whom? Who is connecting with whom? Who is giving? Who is receiving?

Be free.

Yoga retreat is not about running away from the reality that we don’t like and don’t want

Not running away from or denying, but confronting the reality that is not the way that we would like it to be, and being aware of this life existence, the world, the society and the surrounding environment is not necessarily ‘all good’ or perfectly the way that we would like it to be, or the way that we think it should be, with wisdom and compassion, without aversion or fear towards the reality that we think is ‘not all good’ or ‘imperfect’ or ‘challenging’, is our yoga practice.

Living in the world as we are, being aware of all kinds of uncertainty, insecurity, unrest, cautiousness, defects or imperfection in all aspects, and knowing how to remain equanimous and be in peace, without fear and worry, without being over-powered or determined by the reality that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, is what yoga practice is about.

This isn’t about trying to be ‘strong’. ‘Strength’ has a limit and is conditional. But wisdom and compassion is unconditional and unlimited.

Joining a yoga retreat is not about running away from the reality that we don’t like and don’t want, to be in a ‘safe and peaceful place’ without ‘bad people’ or ‘things that we don’t like and don’t want’, and be surrounded by ‘good people’ who are like-minded and doing things that make us feel good and happy.

People might think that yoga practice or yoga retreat should be conducted in a ‘special place’ or ‘out of the world place’, free from any ‘bad energy’ or ‘bad elements’, thinking that ‘yoga retreat’ means moving away from the imperfect world or running away from everyday life’s duties, responsibilities and cares, to have a few days or few weeks of ‘intentionally induced perfect form of reality’ of ‘peacefulness’ or ‘calmness’ or ‘problemless’. No doubt that being in a desirable ‘reality’ will give momentary relief or peace, but this doesn’t help us to be free from ‘fear’, ‘disturb’, ‘restlessness’ and ‘suffering’ when we go back to our everyday life living among the society or the world that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, that is not in our control to be the way that we would like it to be.

A real yoga retreat allows us to learn how to live in the world as it is, performing all our actions, duties and responsibilities without attachment or identification or expectation, without fear and worry. It’s learning about the mind and all its modification, about suffering and the cause of suffering, about how to transcend all kinds of ‘suffering’ or ‘restlessness’ or ‘impurities’ or ‘fear’, and how to confront the reality of life existence in this present moment that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, or the way that we think it should be, without fear and worry, and have peace wherever we are, unconditionally, being undetermined by all the impermanent changes of the qualities of names and forms.

Yoga, or unconditional peace, being free from ignorance and egoism, is not limited to a particular ‘place’, or ‘space’, or ‘activity’, or ‘condition’, or ‘quality’, or ‘name and form’.

Being positive and optimistic, denying or ignoring all kinds of ‘ignorant and unpleasant behavior and happenings’ in the world, in the society, or in the surrounding environment, and persistently thinking and believing that everyone are good, there’s no bad people; everything is good, there’s nothing bad; life is all good, there’s nothing bad; the world is all good, there’s nothing bad, and etc, doesn’t change the reality that we don’t like or don’t want to be the way that we would like it to be.

It’s like sweeping all the dust and rubbish and hide them under the cupboards and sofas, so that they are not in sight, it doesn’t mean that the room is all cleaned. And no matter how many times we sweep the floor, and throw out all the dust and rubbish out of the room, there will always be dust and rubbish accumulating here and there from time to time, unless everyone who enter the room stop bringing in dust and rubbish into the room. This is the same as looking after the mind. We do our best to ‘clean up’ the mind regularly and persistently, but impurities will still exist from time to time, until the root cause of impurities (ignorance and egoism) is uprooted completely.

When there’s no problem, there’s no need to anticipate a problem. When there’s a problem, confront it, without fear and worry.

Be free.