The ego exists in all and everyone and anyone

The ego exists in all and everyone and anyone, whether educated or non-educated, intelligent or non-intelligent, knowledgeable or non-knowledgeable, religious or non-religious, wealthy or poor, men or women, young or old, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, yoga practitioners and non-yoga practitioners, yoga teachers and non-yoga teachers, and so on.

If the ego can easily be eradicated, then the entire world would be in peace and harmony.

Though it’s not easy, fear not. Keep practicing. Root out the ego and egoism, patiently and diligently.

The entire worldly cultural, educational, religious, spiritual, social and political system is all about empowering the ego and egoism. It is normal and the right thing to do for human beings to empower self-identification, self-image and self-achievement. It would be wrong and strange if one abandons self-identification, self-image and self-achievement.

Even in the world of yoga which is ‘supposed’ to be all about starving the ego and eradicating egoism and separateness, but now mostly is all about empowering the ego and fueling egoism and separateness.
“I am a yogi.”
“I am a healer.”
“I am an experienced/good yoga practitioner.”
“I am an experienced/good yoga teacher.”
“I am X or Y brand yogi.”
“I am a Christian/Muslim/Buddhist/Hindu/Atheist/… yogi.”
“I am a certified and qualified yoga teacher.”
“I am a yoga teacher affiliated with such and such yoga alliance or yoga association or yoga school.”
“I have been practicing and teaching yoga for how many years and have taught in such and such yoga schools/ashrams and have taught how many yoga students.”
“These are my yogi family/friends/brothers/sisters/gangs.”
And all kinds of ‘yoga brands’, ‘yoga lineage’, ‘yoga schools’, ‘yoga festivals’, ‘yoga retreats’, ‘yoga courses’, ‘yoga healing products’, ‘yoga health food’, ‘yoga apparels’ and ‘yoga accessories’, and so on.

“Do not associate. Do not build ashrams. Do not hoard disciples. Do not mix. Live alone. Walk alone. Eat alone. Meditate alone.” – Swami Sivananda

Renouncing worldly social activities

All physical activities should be completely suspended, all attachments should be ruthlessly cut asunder completely for five or six years, if you want to practice Dhyana Yoga, if you want to realise God through concentration of mind. Newspaper-reading and correspondence with friends and relatives should be completely stopped; as they cause distraction of mind and strengthen the world-idea. Seclusion for a period of five or six years is indispensable.
– Swami Sivananda 

 

The practice of renouncing worldly social activities, as well as seclusion and solitude, is contradicted with the conditioned thinking and belief of the worldly minded sociable community where most people have strong attachment or clinging towards family and friends, worldly identities and social activities.

There’s no need justification for oneself and about one’s yoga practice, when one is practicing yoga and has the correct understanding of the mind and the mind stuffs. There will be criticism and condemn coming from the worldly minded people who are conditioned to think and behave in certain ways, whom also expect other people should also think and behave in certain ways, to be socially and culturally accepted in the society.

In certain social culture, having a friend or some friends come together to engage in conversation consisting of gossip, complain, mourn, criticism, condemn and back-biting is seemed to be a totally normal and acceptable behavior. But those who choose to stay away from such social interactions and conversations, and stay away from people who like to engage in such activities would be criticized for being unfriendly and impolite. In certain family bring up, acting to be agreeable and speaking lies to say nice things in front of others while they have bitterness, ill-thinking and ill-will towards others, but they want to complain and criticize and speak bad about others behind their backs is being recognized as a form of cultural politeness and socially acceptable behavior. But this is not yoga practice.

Those who practice seclusion and solitude and renouncing social activities, they minimize social activities and contacts with other human beings as much as possible including family and friends, as they can generate great distraction, polluting one’s mind with worldly ideas and attachments, pull one away from one’s yoga practice and disrupt one’s regular practice routine by taking up one’s time, space and energy for yoga practice, if one doesn’t have strong self-discipline and certain degree of non-attachment. This would be criticized by the passionate worldly minded sociable community as anti-social, cold, selfish, uncaring and unfriendly, which are being seen as abnormal, or wrong, or inappropriate, or unacceptable behavior to them. And hence, only those who are bold and have strong affirmation in their yoga and meditation practice for self-realization can take up the practice of renunciation, seclusion and solitude. All the others are just clinging onto the worldly names and forms and be happy with what the minds think and believe as worldly achievements, while doing some forms of yoga practice as part of their life activities to relieve stress, to be healthier and to feel better. There’s nothing wrong with that.

In yoga, it’s a noble act to benefit the society by focusing one’s life existence, time and energy for conquering one’s impure and outgoing mind, to be free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, so that one can truly benefit and care for the society. Those who take seriously in this practice, they don’t talk much. They don’t mingle. They don’t spread further negativity or impurities into the society through social talking and mingling. They don’t commit actions of gossips, criticism, condemn, back-biting, boasting, flirting, teasing, telling lies, hypocrisy, finger-pointing, blames, complaints, grumble, mourn, and etc. They don’t encourage or support others to engage in such activities by keeping themselves away from such activities or conversations.

Those whose minds are tamed, purified, one-pointed, undistracted and free from worldly passionate desires after underwent intense disciplines and restrictions, can then mix freely into the society and perform selfless actions to serve the worldly community without egoism, attachment and identification, while being undisturbed, or unaffected, or uninfluenced, or undetermined by the worldly activities, actions and the fruit of actions.

The worldly minded sociable community including many of those who think they love yoga, who practice or teach yoga, they might not be able to appreciate or understand the great value of renunciation nor will they have any interest in this practice. In fact, they criticize and condemn others who uphold renunciation, seclusion and solitude.

For most people, it’s possible for them to cut off from the society for a short period of time, as they know they will be back into the society very soon, but it’s impossible for them to be cutting off from family and friends and social activities for a prolonged period of time to allow the mind to have the prolonged period of being free from stimulation, to be quiet, to be in silence. The mind will resist and give itself many ‘rational reasons’ not to practice renunciation, seclusion and solitude.

Renunciation, seclusion and solitude can be developed through gradual process for most people who have strong attachment towards worldly identities, social activities, family ties and friendships. Such like attending short and long silent meditation retreats from time to time, giving themselves and their family and friends a ‘rational reason’ that “I will be away or won’t be in contact with the society, family and friends for some time.” and “It’s totally okay if I don’t mingle, don’t talk, don’t read news or books, don’t look at others, don’t mind about others or the world, and don’t interact or associate with anyone, as I am in such a setting for it.” Some people will start to appreciate such a great relief from being away from worldly social activities and relationships, but for many others, their minds are like fish out of water. There is no guarantee that after attending some silent retreats one will develop detachment and non-attachment towards worldly names and forms which is what yoga and meditation practice is all about.

Om shanti.

P/S : We can’t and won’t run yoga retreats when family and friends are visiting us. When we are running retreats, we don’t accept any family or social visits as it disrupts the retreats. Personally, when I am not running yoga retreats or teaching classes or writing about yoga, I retreat from the social world as much as possible.

 

The lineage of yoga is being contaminated or manipulated by some impure beings?

Out of  love and protection towards the lineage of yoga and meditation, some good beings are being angry and worried about the lineage of yoga might be destroyed, or contaminated, or manipulated by some people in the world who are involving in practicing and teaching yoga and meditation without correct understanding or pure intention.

It is normal and nothing wrong to be worried and upset about this. Anyone also will feel sad when seeing something “good” is being contaminated or destroyed.

The point is, we don’t have to be angry or worried about whether the lineage of yoga will be destroyed, or contaminated, or manipulated by some impure beings, as there is no one, or nothing can destroy, contaminate or manipulate the essence of the teachings of yoga or the lineage of yoga. When we think like that (even though it is out of our love towards the lineage of yoga), it shows that we don’t really have faith in Dharma/Dhamma, or in God, or in the universal consciousness, or in the Self… As all these names and terms are not separated nor different from each other.

The true Self is identical with the universal consciousness. And the true Self will not and cannot be contaminated, nor affected, nor destroyed, nor hurt, nor wounded by anyone, or anything, or qualities, or elements… This teaching is indicated in the Bhagavad Gita.

Ashochyaan anvaschochastwam prajnaavaadaamshcha bhaashase;
Gataasoon agataasoomshcha naanushochanti panditah.
(commentary by Swami Sivananda – Thou hast grieved for those that should not be grieved for, yet thou speakest words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the death.)

Acchedyo’yam addaahyo’yam akledyo’shoshya eva cha;
Nityah sarvagatah sthaanur achalo’yam sanaatanah.
(commentary by Swami Sivananda – This Self cannot be cut, burnt, wetted or dried up. It is eternal, all-pervading, stable, ancient and immovable.)

When we say Dharma/Dhamma is not affected, nor contaminated, nor hurt by anything or anyone, but it’s existence with name and form (the appearance and qualities) in this world is still conditioned by impermanence. It can be destroyed, be contaminated, be manipulated. But the essence or the true nature of Dharma/Dhamma, or the Truth, cannot be destroyed, nor contaminated, nor manipulated. We need to be able to accept the qualities of names and forms (the appearance of Dharma/Dhamma in the world) is subject to changes and impermanence.

Buddha had mentioned about everything that is existing with certain qualities of names and forms, is impermanent, even Dhamma also will be disappearing from the world, but the essence of Dhamma or the Truth can never be contaminated, nor manipulated, nor destructed by anyone or anything…

So what if the authentic lineage of yoga is gradually disappearing from the world? There must be a cause for that to happen, and the truth about everything is, all the names and forms are subject to impermanence.

If everyone is free from ignorance, if everyone is wise and compassionate, if everyone is pure and enlightened, then there is no need of this practice or that practice, including yoga, meditation, Buddhism or any other forms of practice…

It is because people are not free and are not pure, that’s why everyone should take up some forms of practice that can help them to be free, to be pure, to be wise, to be compassionate…

Yoga, meditation, Buddhism and other types of practice, are not specially prescribed for the wise, compassionate, peaceful and selfless beings, as all these beings are already free. They don’t need yoga, meditation, Buddhism or any other forms of practice to help them to be free, as they are free…

And so, it is not abnormal, nor strange, nor bad, when we see so many people are practicing and teaching yoga in the world now without “correct understanding” or “pure intentions”, as these beings are the one who needed yoga, meditation, Buddhism, or any other forms of practice mostly and urgently, to attain correct understanding and be pure through all these practice.

Out of compassion, anyone are welcome to practice yoga, meditation, Buddhism, or any other forms of practice, as that is what all these practices are here for…

And thus, why be angry and upset towards all these “impure happenings” that are going on in the world of yoga, meditation, Buddhism, or any other forms of practice?

If the door of yoga and meditation is only accepting and be opened to those who are pure and wise, so that the lineage of yoga is not being contaminated nor manipulated by all these beings that are not free yet, who are not enlightened yet, then there are only few people in the world are qualified to practice yoga and meditation…

Indeed, we should try our best to protect Dharma/Dhamma as much as we can, as long as we can, so that more beings (who are not free, who need Dharma/Dhamma) will be benefitted from the lineage of yoga to be free. But out of compassion, we need to allow and accept all these impure beings into the world of yoga and let them mess around a bit, allow everyone to take their own time to purify, to transform, and be wise and pure. Just like bringing up children. We have to accept them as they are, allow them to make mistakes and learn to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions, allow them to learn and transform in their own ways and pace, allow them to be who they are, and love them as they are.

We don’t have to be worried and angry about all these things that are going on in the world of yoga and meditation that seem to be “corrupted”, or “not so pure”, or “not so authentic”, if we truly love yoga, love God, love Dharma/Dhamma, love our Self and love all beings.

I don’t even identify myself as pure being, that’s why I am still performing my practice regularly as much as I can…

Who am I to judge or criticize other beings for being not pure?

It is okay if in the beginning there are many people who are not pure, who try to do yoga, but are not doing the yoga practice the right way, nor with correct understanding, nor with pure intentions. Everyone starts with being impure and ignorant, and then transformation happens as we practice and when the time is right.

In the beginning when I first started teaching yoga (exercise) class in the dance studio, I had no idea what yoga is or is not. I had no intention to be a yoga teacher to teach yoga classes. I didn’t like yoga asana exercises, as I thought they were boring and too slow for me. I didn’t even think that I will be giving yoga classes and share yoga with so many people in the present now. My main motivation to teach yoga (exercise) classes beside my full time job as aerobics instructor in the past, was to earn a living to support myself, my parents and to help out my poor family.

The income that came from teaching yoga classes before I went to India, allowed me to be able to pay for my course fees, flight ticket and other expenses, as well as some monthly financial support for my parents when I was not around.

You may read the more detailed story about what brought me to India and how I managed to have the money to go to India to learn yoga, from this link MY LIFE STORIES  – PART 6

As I went deeper into the practice while at the same time giving yoga classes, I allowed myself to transform from within, and I owed this to the opportunity given to me by the universe. The universe was and still is so kind to me. It accepted me when I was ignorant, and be compassionate towards me and my family for my family’s poor living condition, and gave me the opportunity to teach “yoga classes” to improve my earning to support myself and my family, but most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to learn about yoga, and to practice yoga, and to transform myself into a more peaceful being. And I serve the universe by sharing these learning and transformation with other beings, where the universe bring us to meet each other.

Protect and preserve the Dharma/Dhamma in us by destroying the ego, impurities and ignorance in us. Trust and have faith in the universal consciousness, allow the universal consciousness to take care of everything else. We are underestimating the power of the universal consciousness if we think Dharma/Dhamma is going to be contaminated or manipulated by some impure beings. As even if that is happening, there is something for everyone to learn from. A fake guru, or an impure yogi, or a bad yoga teacher can teach us a lot about many things that we need to learn.

Om shanti.

Unconditional peace and happiness beyond good conditions of life and worldly knowledge…

It doesn’t matter what is the condition and ability of this physical body and the state of this mind, as long as we are still attached to this body and this mind, and being conditioned and influenced by the selfish egoistic mind with all the impurities like attachment towards sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thinking, being over-powered by likes and dislikes, craving and aversion, desires, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride, arrogance, fear, worry, depression, agitation, restlessness, judgment, expectation, doubts, ignorance and etc, we are not free…

How could we be truly “happy and peaceful” when we are being over-powered by all these impurities even though we try to attain “peace and happiness” through practicing yoga and meditation, and learning about the anatomy and physiology about this physical body, and learning about the techniques to perform the asana poses and breathing exercises, and knowing the benefits of performing the asana poses and breathing exercises?

There is no doubt that by attaining what we like and want to attain, we will feel (momentary) good, excited and happy. But these good and happy feelings and excitement don’t last long, it will change and disappear, and non-satisfying…

There is no doubt that by having a healthy, strong and flexible physical body and being knowledgeable will bring us towards a better quality of life and for us to be able to make good use of this good condition of the physical body and the knowledge that we have to serve ourselves and other beings in the world to improve. But even by having a healthy, strong and flexible physical body, and worldly knowledge cannot guarantee us peace and happiness if we are identified with the selfish egoistic impure mind, if we didn’t try to let go of the ego… We will be disturbed and affected all the time by the reactions of the mind towards whatever it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks, and be conditioned by the craving and aversion coming from the egoistic mind towards what it likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with…

If we know how to not identify with the body and the mind, if we know how to observe the reactions of the mind without associating with it, and let go of the craving and aversion coming from the ego, undisturbed and unconditioned by whatever the body and the mind is experiencing from moment to moment, we will know what is unconditional peace and happiness that is not conditioned by any impermanent qualities of names and forms…

Through sincere and consistent practice of yoga and meditation with the right effort and attitude, it can help us to develop non-attachment or non-identification towards the body, the egoistic mind and whatever the mind perceives through the senses, rendering it pure and calm to be free from impurities and restlessness, to be able to observe the reality of thing as it is…

When a being is free from the ego, there is no argument or justification or criticism towards anything that seems to be “different” from what it is, or what it thinks and believes, as all the dualities and qualities had disappeared from the mind perception of names and forms… There is no “agreement” nor “disagreement”. Everything is just being what it is. They are not something good or bad. They are not something positive or negative. They are not something happy or suffering. They have no power or intention to be good or bad, to be positive or negative, to make us happy or suffer.

This is compassion. This compassion is nothing to do with the impermanent conditions, qualities and abilities of this physical body, whether we are being “good” or “not good”, “healthy” or “not healthy”, “perfect” or “imperfect”, performing many “actions” or not performing any “actions”, whether being “vegetarian” or “non-vegetarian”, being able to perform the asana poses or not, being knowledgeable or not, knowing anatomy and physiology or not, knowing all the names and terms in Sanskrit or not, knowing all the Scriptures, Sutras, chanting and prayers or not…

As by being “good” or “healthy” or “perfect”, or performing many “actions”, or being “vegetarian”, or being able to perform the asana poses, or being knowledgeable, or knowing anatomy and physiology, or knowing all the names and terms in Sanskrit, or knowing all the Scriptures, Sutras, chanting and prayers, is not a guarantee of peace and happiness…

And by being “not good” or “not healthy” or “not perfect”, or not performing any “actions”, or not being “vegetarian”, or being unable to perform the asana poses, or not being knowledgeable, or not knowing anatomy and physiology, or not knowing all the names and terms in Sanskrit, or not knowing all the Scriptures, Sutras, chanting and prayers, it doesn’t mean that there will be no peace and happiness…

Even an “uneducated” or “unintelligent” or “physically disabled” person can attain peace and happiness if this person know what is non-attachment, dispassion and egolessness… It is through purifying the impure restless mind, and through this pure and calm mind, realizing the truth of thing as it is, that allows us to be free…

By knowing, hearing, seeing, reading, understanding the words about “peace and happiness” won’t guarantee us peace and happiness. It is by realizing it through realizing the truth…

By knowing or having a lot of things and worldly knowledge won’t guarantee us peace and happiness, but knowing the truth of things will bring us to peace and happiness.

Having the best doctor and best medicine to cure the most difficult physical illness also will not remove ignorance and suffering, nor give us peace and happiness. That’s why Swami Sivananda let go of being a medical doctor and plunged into Yogic Sadhana and meditation to attain the wisdom to be a “mind doctor” to help other beings to be free from ignorance and suffering.

Throw away all our relationships and material belongings also won’t guarantee us peace and happiness.

It is by realizing selflessness or compassion, being free from the attachment towards the perception of names and forms, qualities and dualities, being free from ignorance and impurities, that allow us to be in peace and happiness.

We need to “heal” ourselves when there is something that need to be “healed” as we experience “hurt” and “painful sorrow” due to ignorance and wrong identification with the body and mind. When we are free from ignorance, there is nothing that need to be “healed” as there is no “hurt” and “painful sorrow”…

The physical body and the mind will experience “suffering”, restlessness and dissatisfaction from time to time, due to ignorance, desires, craving and aversion, impurities and impermanence, but there is no “I” being there to experience any “suffering”… Suffering exists when we think that we are this physical body and this thinking mind, there is “I” being here experiencing suffering. Suffering doesn’t exist when we realize the truth about there is no “I” nor “me” nor “mine”.

Even though when we think we know a lot about this and that, believe in what we think is “right” and “good”, but as long as we are still being disturbed and affected by anger and hatred towards something that our mind couldn’t accept or couldn’t agree with, still want to argue and hating towards something that is different from what we think we know and believe, then we are not free yet… It means that the ego, pride and arrogance are still very strong… Then we still need to observe many rules and observations, and keep practice until we realize what is compassion, selflessness, beyond the ego, beyond the perception of names and forms, non-attachment, desire-less, dispassion, non-duality, non-separateness, unconditional peace, and end of suffering…

Realize this, and be free.

Om shanti.

What does “friends” means on the path of compassion?

In the path of yoga and meditation or Buddhism or compassion, friendliness is part of our practice. But we might get confused as at the same time, we also always read or hear about the practice of seclusion or retreat from active sociable lifestyle, for any sincere Sadhakas to be able to go deeper into our yoga and meditation practice.

At some stage in our life, we will need to let go of our worldly duties and live a secluded life to concentrate on our own Sadhana.

Being “friendly” towards all beings on the path of compassion, is different from the worldly perception of what “friends” means. In the worldly perception or understanding, “friendships” might means getting to meet up with other people, to know and interact with other people, making and accumulating “friends” with those who can share with each other, to care for each other, to support each other, to hang out with, to spend time with, to do some activities with, to eat, drink, play and chat with, to cry and laugh with, somebody to talk to, somebody whom we can count on and lean on, to help each other during difficulties, to be there for each other during good and bad times, to celebrate or to mourn together… Or we can only be “friend” with people whom we like and agree with, and we cannot be “friend” with whom we don’t like and disagree with… Or “friends” means those who have similar believes, thinking, point of view that can “work” or “do things” together… And, anyone who are not in these “categories” or if they are very different from us, then they are “not friends” or they are “enemies”. There are conditions in looking for “friends” or being “friendly” towards another being.

We have attachment towards “friends” or “friendships”. We have so much expectation towards what a “friend” or a “good friend” or a “true friend” should be like… Such like when something not very nice happens, we would likely to say this, “You are “my” friend, why you treat me like this? You shouldn’t do this to me…” We’ll get disappointed by “our” friends many times, but that disappointment is coming from our own expectation towards how “our” friends should behave or treat us. It is not coming from “our” friends being not nice or not friendly to us or not being a “friend” for us… If we like “our friends” very much, we enjoy the times being together, we will generate clinging and craving towards this “friend” or this “friendship”… If we don’t like “our friends”, we didn’t enjoy the times being together, we will generate aversion towards this “friend” or this “friendship”…

In the path of compassion, yoga, meditation or Buddhism (all these different names and forms are not different from each other – it’s all about realizing egolessness or selflessness to transcend “suffering”), “friendliness” towards all beings means not having any ill-will or hatred or discrimination towards all beings whether “good or bad” beings, “human or non-human” beings, without judgment, expectation, likes and dislikes, agreement or disagreement… We are able to be kind and compassionate towards all beings…

In another terms, all are “friends” to us, we are “friends” for all beings, whether beings I like or not, whether beings I agree with or not, whether beings I know or not, whether human or non-human beings, whether “good” or “bad” beings, there is no difference… And not limited to social “friends” whom we like, whom we agree with, whom we know, whom we spend time with, share life with, do things with, hang out with, get together with, chat with, eat with, drink with, adventure with, growth with, enjoy with, suffer with and so on…

It also means, it is not necessarily that there have to be some people in our life whom we can hang out with, do things with, share life with and so on, to have “friends”, to be “friendly”…

And there is a greatest friend or “being” for us to love, to share with, to be there for good and bad times, is ourselves… But, how many of us know about this friend… We keep looking out for another being as “friend” who will love and care for us… And when we try to “love” ourselves, we tend to become selfish, only think and concern about our own feelings, desires and benefits… We “love” ourselves with selfishness which is the cause of our own unhappiness…

If we know this selfless “friend” who is there with us all the time, there is no loneliness whether we have “friends” or not…

That’s why being “friendly” to all beings and live in seclusion is not contradict with one another on the path of compassion…

Some people get confused with or reject towards some teachings or advice coming from some great Gurus or Yogis or saints and sages in the past telling us about practice “friendliness” and be “friendly” towards all beings, but don’t “mix” with people or don’t “make friends”, live a secluded life concentrate on performing our own Sadhana… What it means is, treat all beings equally, respect all beings, have no ill-will or hatred towards any beings, no differences or separation between those I categorized as “my friends” or “not my friends”…

All these great saints and sages, those who were living in the world, doing a lot of karma yoga (selfless service) serving the world, being with and dealing with different types of beings, they were friends to all beings, but they “didn’t” desire to make or accumulate “friends” to spend time with, to hang out with, to do things with, to chat with, to eat and drink with, to play with, to enjoy with, to share with, to practice with, and so on… And yet they are sharing with all beings all the time, they are “friendly” towards all beings, close or far away, known or unknown, be seen or unseen, in actions or in inactions…

The practice of seclusion, it doesn’t mean that we have no more friends and be lonely being alone by ourselves without any friends… But there is no loneliness and all are friends, without the “necessity” of having a so called “social life” which means having some “friends” or people whom we missed without their presence in our life, whom we want to spent time with or hang out with or do things with, for us to attain some sort of excitement or to remove unhappiness or loneliness… There is no distractions of anything that can cause restlessness… There is no vain talks, gossips, slandering, back-bitting, criticisms, judgments, discriminations, complaints, hypocrisy, lies, untruthfulness, politics, exploitations, and etc that generate disharmony in ourselves and in others…

Our Guru Swami Sivanandaji told us to be “care-less” in order to succeed in our Sadhana, it doesn’t mean that we don’t care for other beings, but it means “Care for all beings without attachment, without being disturbed, nor distracted, nor affected, nor influenced by other beings and social activities, which derives from knowing what is real “friendliness”… He also mentioned in his books or teachings repeatedly many times, about don’t make or accumulate “friends” or do not mix, as one of the important observations in order to be succeed in meditation, it is not contradictory with the practice of “friendliness” and compassion at all, as “friendliness” and compassion is not about having a social life or accumulating “friends”… It is free from ill-will or hatred towards all beings whether they are “good” or “evil”, whether we like them or not, agree with them or not, or whether they like us and agree with us or not…

Evil is “evil” as it appears to be opposite to what is “good and kind” to allow us to be justified as good and kind, and so, “evil” is not really evil… And “good” is not really good when there is hatred towards “evil” as hatred is associate with “evil”…

Of course, there is nothing wrong with having a “social life” and involved with “social activities” as long as there is no attachment… As social life and activities don’t give us “distractions” unless we (the mind) are being distracted and influenced by them…

As we can be having many “friends” in life, but not necessarily that we are completely be free from ill-will or hatred towards other beings… By making and accumulating many “friends” also doesn’t guarantee that we will be free from “loneliness” or we are being “friendly”…

We might be “friendly” towards those whom we like and agree with, but we might not necessarily be “friendly” towards those whom we dislike and disagree with, especially those whom we “think” that they are “bad” or “evil” or “wrong”, those who are not nice and not kind to us and others, and those who hurt us and others physically or emotionally… Look at ourselves, how often that we are easily being disturbed or angry with somebody that we don’t know personally, nor who comes in contact with us personally, but whom we “think” or “heard” that they are “bad and evil” beings who perform “bad and evil” actions but it is not necessarily the truth as what we think it is…

Restlessness, anxieties, agitation, depression, fear, worries, disturbs, troubles, conflicts, arguments, debates, anger, dissatisfaction, disappointment, violence, ill-will, energy deprivation, jealousy, envy, desires, distractions or lack of concentration that derives from worldly “social life” and “social activities” which are the main obstacles in the path of yoga and meditation, can be reduced to minimum when we practice seclusion from “social lifestyle” and yet living in the world performing actions serving the world without attachment and distractions… Especially those of us who are still easily being distracted, or disturbed, or influenced, or affected, or determined by other beings and social activities due to lack of non-attachment or detachment, lack of wisdom and compassion… As we are still being over-powered by ignorance, desires, craving and aversion and all other impurities like anger, hatred, greed, dissatisfaction, jealousy, pride, arrogance, fear, worry, expectation, and etc…

We can try to meditate everyday but still, our mind is restless, our ego is strong… We continue to experience suffering or unhappiness, and be miserable… We keep judging ourselves and others as good or bad… We keep having expectation towards ourselves and others about this and that… We still have ceaseless desires to be fulfilled, to be satisfied… Forever restless…

Until one day, when the ego and selfish desires have completely vanished, then there is no difference at all whether having an active social lifestyle or not, as by then we are no longer being distracted or influenced by anybody or anything, and we can mix freely with anybody whether positive or negative beings, active or inactive beings, wise or ignorant beings, happy or unhappy beings… We are always full of energy and yet be in calmness… We might be performing actions in life for other beings, but we also have time and space for our own Sadhana, not neglecting ourselves nor being distracted from perfoming our own Sadhana…

Not performing any actions for other beings doesn’t mean that we didn’t perform karma yoga as part of our practice. It’s because by taking care of our own Sadhana is the greatest karma yoga selfless service being perform onto ourselves and will be benefiting other beings naturally, when we have peace and compassion in us.

Again, this practice is only an advice to those who are sincere to transcend “suffering”, to be free from restlessness, discontentment, low self-esteem, anger, hatred, fear, worry, and etc…

Om shanti.

Be happy.