Learn how to free the mind from all kinds of disturbs and hurts

When a mind/person feels disturbed, unhappy, angered, disappointed or hurt by something, usually the impulsive reaction will be expecting some kind of sympathy or empathy from other minds/people, and looking forward to be comforted, loved, looked after, acknowledged, or supported by other minds/people. And most minds/people would also think and believe that that is how people should react towards other people’s state of minds that are disturbed, unhappy, angry, disappointed or hurt, to be there to be listening to what they think is disturbing their minds and comforting these suffering minds/people by showing them love, care, acknowledgement and support, to be sharing and lessening their ‘unhappiness’ or ‘suffering’, in terms of generating a ‘loving kindness’ society/community. There’s nothing wrong with that and it might give the troubled/disturbed/unhappy/angry/disappointed/hurt minds certain degrees of relieve, to feel better, but it doesn’t help them to be free from the root cause of the suffering from disturbs, unhappiness, anger, disappointment, or hurts. Instead, most probably it might be unintentionally empowering or feeding the attachment, clinging, craving or expectation in people’s mind.

Just like giving sugary fizzy drinks to the unhappy kids might make them feel happy, but they would crave for more sugary drinks to make them feel happy. As once the craving is being gratified, it would only intensify the craving. And if their craving is not being gratified, they would be more unhappy. That’s not freedom at all.

There’s clinging, craving and expectation towards receiving sympathy, empathy, love, affection, care, acknowledgement, or support from others, even though there’s nothing wrong with receiving sympathy, empathy, love, affection, care, acknowledgement, or support from others, as this is what most worldly minds/people believe and expect the society/community/family/relationship/friendship should be, but the mind is not free. If for some reasons, the mind doesn’t get what it thinks and believes it deserves to be getting from others, it will be more disturbed/unhappy/angry/disappointed/hurt and would do things that would hurt itself and/or others. This is not freedom.

As well as most egoistic minds would want to feel that they are needed by others to feel good and meaningful about themselves and their life existence, that they are capable to give and show love, care, affection, sympathy, empathy, acknowledgment and support to others who ‘need’ them. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that, just that these minds would feel bad or meaningless if for some reasons they think that they are not needed by some others, or when they think that other people do not appreciate what they give. This is not freedom.

Only those who can go beyond worldly thinking and belief can penetrate the real meaning of this teaching and practice. It doesn’t mean that everyone in the society will become ‘cold’, ‘heartless’ or ‘lack of sympathy/empathy’, but the minds are free from clinging, craving or expectation towards receiving the ‘deserving’ love, care, affection, sympathy, empathy, acknowledgment and support from others to feel loved, cared, worthy, comforted, acknowledged or supported, to feel good and meaningful, by knowing what is going on in the mind and be free from ignorance and egoism, and thus, be free from all kinds of disturbs, unhappiness, anger, disappointment, or hurts. One doesn’t need anyone to be there to be listening to one’s ‘troubles’, ‘unhappiness’ or ‘hurts’, to be ‘comforted’, as there’s no trouble, unhappiness or hurt existing in this liberated mind. One also can give and show sympathy, empathy, love, care and support to others without the attachment, identification, craving, intention or expectation in order to attain good and meaningful feelings towards oneself or one’s life existence. That is true freedom and compassion.

Yoga practice such like cleansing technique, breathing exercises, yoga asana exercises, chanting, prayer, or concentration practice, can also give the effects of relieving certain degrees of disturbs, unhappiness, anger, disappointment or hurts in the minds, but again, it doesn’t stop the mind from continuing be disturbed, unhappy, angry, disappointed, or hurt by something that they don’t like, don’t want and don’t agree with, that they think is bad, wrong, disturbing, unhappy, frustrating, disappointing, or hurtful, if the mind is not free from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Those who truly want to learn and practice yoga, it’s not about doing some forms of yoga practice to be getting some conditional and impermanent physical/mental/emotional benefits or getting some momentary relief from what they think is painful suffering, but they learn how to free the mind from the root cause of all kinds of suffering, of disturbs, unhappiness, anger, disappointment, or hurts.

Naturally, the society will have more physical/mental/emotional healthy minds/people, where the minds/people realized unconditional love from within, know how to look after themselves and love others unconditionally, being free from clinging, craving, aversion or expectation.

But not many minds/people would understand and appreciate the greatness of this freedom. Most minds/people believe in and want a society/community/family/relationship/friendship that builds on ‘needing each other’ all the time to feel love, good, happy and meaningful. That’s how people are being taken advantage by others who have selfish intention being in a relationship or friendship. Even in the world of yoga, some yoga teachers or so called ‘gurus’ take advantage of the yoga students for their vulnerability when the students longing or expecting to be receiving comfort, sympathy, empathy, kindness, love, care, affection, acknowledgment, or supports from the yoga teachers or ‘gurus’.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they think or don’t think, believe or disbelieve, want and don’t want. People don’t have to practice yoga of freeing the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, but just want to do some yoga practice regularly and engaging in social/community activities, to attain some momentary physical/mental/emotional benefits or relief, to attain some kinds of conditional and impermanent good, positive, loving, happy and meaningful feelings.

Work diligently to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, if one wants to attain or realize this freedom.

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Sympathetic minds without wisdom

Many years ago in India, there are many pitiful beggars everywhere. Most of them are ‘working’ under the control of many different syndicates.

Many of them are small boys and girls from toddlers to pre-teens, and also some young girls or young women carrying baby in their arms. Sometimes there are old women as well. These small children and small babies, young girls, young women and old women ‘look’ extremely pitiful in their dirty worn-out clothing with new and old scars and wounds on their bodies or even partially ‘handicapped’ that most probably are being inflicted intentionally by the syndicates. The young girls or young women with the small babies and the old women look hungry, under nourished, tired and so sad.

A few of them will come to you with their piteous sad tearful eyes and hungry face, with their heads wobbling side to side, and they gently tapping your arms or pulling your sleeves, and cry out ‘Paisa, paisa, paisa…’

Out of sympathy and righteousness, you think you should give them what you think you can afford to give to them. And the moment you hand out something, either food or money or objects, to them, immediately there will be another ten or twenty or thirty of them running towards you, surrounding you making a thick human wall separating you and the onlookers, and also wobbling their heads, tapping your arms and pulling your sleeves and shirt, while pushing their bodies squeezing your body until you feel that you can’t breathe.

If you still have no idea of what is going on, and out of helpless sympathy, you tell them with your great sadness that you couldn’t help all of them, they’ll keep begging you until you give in and give everything that you have on your body. They won’t let you go easily. Unless there are police alert and came to your rescue. Or worst, even some of your valuables would be stolen in those chaos moments without your awareness.

If you start to feel intimidated and ask them to go away to leave you alone and try to run away from them, they will run after you, and attack you verbally by cursing at you, and even attack you physically by pinching you or spitting on you or throwing stones towards you.

This is the consequences of ignorant sympathy without wisdom. It’s nothing to do with compassion out of wisdom.

Those who are compassionate are free from this kind of ignorant sympathy without wisdom. They would ignore these syndicates controlled beggars. As they know if they give something to these beggars out of sympathy, it’s definitely not going to help them to be free from the syndicates, but it will be supporting and empowering the existence of such syndicates. It encourages the syndicates to exploit and abuse more toddlers, young children, young girls, young women and old women. Most of them are being drugged, or being threatened, or even being abducted from their family and home to put them on the streets as beggars and they have no freewill but to give all the begged money to the syndicates to avoid being beaten or punished in exchange for shelter and food, and lots of them are being intentionally partially blinded or amputated to get the effect of ‘piteous’ and ‘sympathy deserving’ look. It’s a ridiculous terrible thing that might still happening somewhere.

Some of them are not begging under the control of syndicates, but they are being abused and forced by their own parents or relatives to go out begging on the streets. And some of them, are out of their own freewill.

Sometimes there are old men who look so hungry, sad and pitiful come to beg you for money. You feel so sympathy and give them some money. They took the money and go straight to the liquor shop to get their fix, and they got drunk, either they become unconsciousness for many hours, or they would fight with each other, or they go back home and behave violently towards their wives and children under the influence of alcohol.

Those who truly practice yoga, or have the basic wisdom of humanity, they will not support or encourage such activities out of such ignorant sympathy. A lot of time, out of wisdom and compassion, you have to say no. And that’s not cruel at all. It’s ignorance that make the mind thinks and believes that it’s cruel and wrong to not show sympathy towards such ‘pitiful’ beings, regardless human or animals.

You will see signs in India everywhere, telling people do not encourage begging and do not give anything to the beggars.

It’s the same as there are many people have great love and affection towards particular animals, especially those animals that are ‘cute’ looking, that enjoy being pet and fed by people, and out of ‘love’, people want to possess them to keep them as pet, to show affection to them and look after them. Some even treat the animals or their pets more loving and caring than towards their own family members or their parents or their children. When they think other people don’t show any particular interest or ‘respect’ or ‘proper treatment’ towards the animals that they love very much, they would feel greatly disturbed or offended. In order to protect the animals that they love very much from other animals’ or human’s threats or intimidation, they would hurt other animals or human that they think are threatening or intimidating the animals that they love very much. Out of love and affection towards animals, people keep them, feed them, pet them, pamper them, and keep them away from any threats. It’s like well-pampered and protected children growing up without knowing how to be independent or to survive by themselves. This is ignorance. This is not yoga or yoga practice.

Another example, children who like to eat sweets and drink sweetened soft-drinks everyday. If the children don’t get their sugar fix on time, the way that they like it to be, they will be very unhappy and cry and shout and do things that would hurt themselves. If out of sympathetic love and affection towards the children, you will want to give them what they want, so that they will be happy and stop crying or hurting themselves, but in fact, you are responsible for supporting and empowering their ignorance, and they will suffer for their consequences of their ignorance very much. If out of compassion, you do not give them what they want, and let them be unhappy and throw tantrum, but at the same time, allowing them to learn and understand the damaging effects of consuming sweets and sweetened soft-drinks regularly. And this will help them to avoid unnecessary painful suffering later, or maybe, to suffer less.

Be kind towards other beings and appreciate all beings and objects out of compassion with wisdom, not out of ignorant passionate love and sympathy.

Yoga teachers who are wise and compassionate do not try to please the yoga students by giving them what they like and want, or telling them what they like and love to hear. But out of compassion, to guide them to be free from ignorance, by giving them the teachings and practice that are not necessarily what they expect it to be, that is not necessarily what they like or can agree with. Out of ignorance, they might be dissatisfied and unhappy about it, but it gives them the precious opportunity to come in contact with the truth of what is going on in their minds, and allows them to learn to see the ignorance and egoism in their minds, and if they realize the ignorance and egoism in themselves, out of their own freewill, they may or may not want to work diligently to free their minds from ignorance and egoism, and that is their freedom. The teachers cannot be there for them all the time, watching their practice, to discipline them, to tell them do this or don’t do that. But the teachers allow the students to learn to become their own teachers and develop correct understanding and self-independence, out of their own freewill, self-awareness, self-discipline and self-control, they perform their own practice to purify and quiet their minds, and through self-inquiry and silencing the mind to attain self-realization of the truth, and be free.

Contemplate on this and be free.

Be compassionate towards suffering minds

It’s not as easy as we would like it to be, to free the mind from suffering.

Though people might show sympathy towards other people’s suffering, those who have always been having a good life condition, might not truly understand the suffering that some other people are going through physically, mentally and emotionally, due to some traumatic painful life experiences.

We can’t tell people, “Hey, be grateful for all the little good things that you have. Stop being miserable.”

We can’t tell people, “Hey, be positive. Everything will be all good and nothing bad.”

We can’t tell people, especially when our life is in good condition, “Hey, life is so good. Don’t be so unhappy and bitter.”

People are allowed to be unhappy or bitter, especially when they are going through some difficult moments. It’s everyone’s freedom for whether they want to be free from unhappiness and bitterness, or not.

People might have gone through or are going through some really difficult or disturbing or painful moments, where we might have no idea how hard it is to be in their place. Even though people might smile, make jokes and laugh like everyone else, but deep in their mind, there might be some painful suffering that other people are unaware of.

It’s not difficult for those who have realized the truth to be able to let go even the most difficult and painful experiences, without vengeance. But it’s not easy for those who haven’t realized the truth to let go what was/is deeply troubling their minds.

It’s perfectly understandable that some of the suffering minds have become ‘hard’ and ‘bitter’, and we should be compassionate towards these minds that have become ‘hard’ and ‘bitter’ unwittingly, due to having been through some difficult traumatic life experiences that are not in their control and not what they wish for.

It’s normal that the suffering minds that are ‘hard’ and ‘bitter’ would feel very uncomfortable or irritable, disturbed and disgusted when hearing the teachings of yoga about letting go, forgiveness and compassion. It might take them a long time to be able to allow the mind to be open, to be aware of the suffering, without identification with the suffering, but to stand as a witness towards all the painful life experiences, and be compassionate towards the mind has to unwittingly go through some difficult traumatic life experiences, and suffers. And as yoga teachers, we can only be compassionate towards these suffering minds without judgment, but with thorough understanding and acceptance, knowing that none can take away another person’s suffering, but the mind itself to free itself from ignorance and egoism, the root cause of all suffering.

When the mind is greatly disturbed by the inputs from social medias

Compassion is reflected in an equanimous mind that remains undisturbed under any difficult or challenging conditions and situations.

If the mind is greatly disturbed by the inputs from social medias, may it be worldly issues or regional issues or personal issues, then out of compassion towards oneself and others, it’s better for the mind to stay away from social medias for some time. Be kind to this mind and take care of this mind.

Losing the balanced state of the mind doesn’t help the world that one loves and cares very much to be better or to be free from suffering, no matter how intense that one loves and cares towards other beings or the world. It’s everyone’s freedom for how they feel and what they want to do. Those who practice yoga is to maintain equanimous and undisturbed under any condition and situation, that allows the mind to be compassionate and have the clarity to perform necessary actions out of wisdom.

One doesn’t need to react with great disturbance of anger, hatred, disappointment, distress, depression, ill-thinking and ill-will, to show that one cares a lot for the world or sympathizes towards other people’s suffering. The disturbed reactions of the mind towards something that the mind dislikes and disagrees with is nothing to do with compassion.

Being compassionate towards oneself and others, is reflected in a peaceful mind, where there is awareness of the inputs or the knowledge of names and forms, and there might be action need to be performed to deal with difficult condition or situation, but there’s no disturbed reaction of impurities arise in the mind towards something that the intellect recognizes as ‘bad’, ‘horrible’, ‘terrible’, ‘negative’, ‘wrong’, ‘depressing’ or ‘sorrowful’.

When the mind doesn’t react with anger, hatred, disappointment, distress, depression, grief, or sorrow, it doesn’t mean that this mind is unconcerned or cruel or discompassionate. The mind can be compassionate and sympathize towards the suffering of oneself and others, but it doesn’t has to be reflected with impurities of anger, hatred, disappointment, distress, depression, grief, or sorrow. There’s nothing wrong with the reflection of anger, hatred, disappointment, distress, depression, grief, or sorrow in the mind towards something that the intellect recognizes as ‘bad’, ‘horrible’, ‘terrible’, ‘negative’, ‘wrong’, ‘depressing’ or ‘sorrowful’, but it has nothing to do with compassion.

Impurities are the product of ignorance and egoism. When the mind is under the influence of ignorance and egoism, this mind is unable to be compassionate, even though it might show sympathy and empathy towards the suffering in oneself and others, while being disturbed by the unpleasant difficult condition and situation.

To realize the distinct between compassion (that is undisturbed by the object of suffering) and passionate sympathy/empathy (that is physically, mentally, emotionally be disturbed by the object of suffering), is the yoga practice.

Many people who attached onto worldly thinking and belief might interpret this undisturbed state of mind as unsympathetic or unempathetic, as they think and believe human beings should react with anger, hatred, disappointment, distress, depression, grief, or sorrow towards something that they think is ‘bad’, ‘horrible’, ‘terrible’, ‘negative’, ‘wrong’, ‘depressing’ or ‘sorrowful’, otherwise, it’s abnormal, uncivilized, insane, inhuman or wrong, if people don’t react in such way. And that’s okay. It’s everyone’s freedom for what they think and how they want to feel and react towards everything that they perceive.

Those who know, they know. Those who don’t know, they don’t know. Can’t do anything about it

What’s the difference between sympathy and compassion?

What’s the difference between sympathy and compassion?

Anger, ill-will and ill-feelings might co-exist with sympathy and empathy. While anger or any forms of ill-will or ill-feelings are absent in compassion.

One might be able to feel empathy for other’s sorrow and suffering, or show sympathy towards others who are less fortunate or are suffering, but it’s not necessarily that one is also compassionate. One who doesn’t have compassion might not be able to show sympathy or empathy towards other’s suffering when oneself is under difficult condition or critical situation. Out of self-righteousness, one might show sympathy or empathy towards others whom one thinks and believes are ‘the victim’ of suffering, but at the same time, one can be disturbed by others’ suffering and be angry with the cause of suffering and ‘the one’ who is responsible for the suffering, and one might generate actions and speech that would hurt oneself and others out of anger. One also might not show sympathy or empathy towards others whom one thinks and believes that they don’t deserve sympathy or empathy from others.

If compassion is present, there’s neither suffering nor the cause of suffering in oneself. It’s knowing the truth of suffering. It’s not about feeling sorry or feeling bad for others whom our minds think and believe they are experiencing something terribly bad or sad. It’s nothing to do with self-righteousness which based on what the mind believes what is good and bad, what is right and wrong, what is should and shouldn’t, and who deserve or don’t deserve non-discrimination and loving kindness. One who has compassion will be able to show sympathy or empathy towards others’ suffering even when oneself is under difficult condition or critical situation. One is undetermined, undisturbed or uninfluenced by the presence of suffering or the cause of suffering in others, and will not generate actions and speech that would hurt others, whether intentionally or unintentionally. One is free from anger, hatred, ill-thinking, ill-will and ill-feelings.

If compassion is absent, there will be perception of suffering, the victim who suffers, the cause of suffering, and the one who is to be blamed, who is responsible for the cause of suffering. There will be anger and hatred towards something that is contradicted with one’s social, cultural and religious thinking and belief. There will be expectation or anticipation that others should react with sympathy and empathy towards the existence of suffering and the victim of suffering.

For example –

Conflict broke up between A and B, and B generated actions and speech that were hurtful towards A, while C came to know about this.

A might or might not be hurt or suffered because of B’s behavior. While C might think that A should or shouldn’t feel hurt by such behavior, or C might assume that A was or wasn’t hurt by B’s behavior.

In worldly conditioned thinking and reaction – A is a victim, B is responsible for inflicting suffering onto A, while C should get involve by either showing sympathy, or empathy, out of humanity. Or else C is selfish or inhuman, if C choose to be care less and not getting involve at all.

Out of worldly conditioned thinking and reaction, A might feel itself as a victim of other’s bad behavior and feels sympathy towards oneself, and also expects sympathy and empathy from others. Or, out of compassion, A didn’t feel hurt by B and wasn’t angry with B’s behavior, and didn’t think itself as a victim of other’s bad behavior, knowing that B is also a victim of the ignorance and suffering in oneself to behave in such way.

Meanwhile, B might be aware or unaware of it’s behavior could be hurtful and cause suffering onto others. B might be regretful and apologetic, or not. But A and C have the freedom on whether they want to react, or not, and how they would react if they chose to react.

Everyone is free to act and react in their own way. Everyone also takes responsibility for the consequences of their own actions and reactions.

If compassion is absent in C, C might feel empathy for A, or show sympathy towards A standing from the point of view of a third party thinking that A is a victim and deserves empathy and sympathy from others, and C might be disturbed and angry with B’s behavior, even when A wasn’t disturbed or didn’t feel hurt by B’s behavior, not to say if A was disturbed and felt hurt by B’s behavior. Or, C might ignore the situation and be care less and not getting involve at all, thinking that ‘It’s not my problem.” There’s nothing wrong in either these reactions. But, neither these reactions have anything to do with compassion.

If compassion exists in C, C is aware of the truth. C is aware of A’s reaction, whether sympathy from others is needed or not, coming from A’s reaction and it’s not coming from C’s assumption of how A should react. A is also under the influence of ignorance if A feels disturbed and hurt by B’s behavior and expects sympathy or empathy coming from others. C is also aware of B’s behavior is out of ignorance and is also a victim of suffering. There’s no need to be angry with B or B’s behavior at all.

All are the victims of ignorance and suffering except the one who is compassionate.