Understanding unhappiness

“I am not happy is because of this. This is bad. This is wrong. This is hurting me. This makes me unhappy.”
“I am not happy is because of you. You are bad. You are wrong. You are hurting me. You make me unhappy.”

This is incorrect understanding towards unhappiness, or ignorant towards the truth of what is going on in the mind, that generates ceaseless reactions of unhappiness in our minds.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

“I am not happy is because I don’t like this. I don’t agree with this. I don’t want this. It’s nothing to do with whether this is bad and wrong, or being hurtful. This doesn’t make me unhappy. It’s my ungratified desire of what I like and don’t like, what I want and don’t want, that makes me unhappy.”

“I am not happy is because I don’t like something about you. I don’t agree with you. I don’t want you to behave in such way. It’s nothing to do with whether you are bad and wrong, or being hurtful. You don’t make me unhappy. It’s my ungratified desire of what I like and don’t like, what I want and don’t want, that makes me unhappy.”

This is the correct understanding that will free our minds from experiencing unhappiness due to ignorance.

Be free.

Who is being unhappy and wants to be happy?

It’s the ego that is being unhappy and wants to be happy. Minds that are free from ignorance and egoism is peaceful and joyful as it is and don’t need to feel good and meaningful, or to be happy.

Most minds will try to do something that they like and enjoy, and to achieve something that they want to achieve, to feel good and happy and meaningful.

There’s also nothing wrong with people want to do good and be kind to others because it makes them feel good and happy, but, that’s not the teaching or practice of yoga.

Yoga practice is not about trying to do something to make the ego feels good and happy and meaningful (as this is empowering the ego and egoism) but, it’s to remove the root cause of unhappiness – ignorance and egoism. Once the root cause of unhappiness is eliminated, one will be happy as one is.

When the mind is free from egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, and expectation, one will be peaceful and happy as one is. One doesn’t need to do something, or not do something, to feel good and happy or meaningful. One doesn’t need to take intoxication/alcohol/drugs or to achieve certain results, social status and network, health condition, fitness level, body image, physical and mental ability and good relationships, to feel good and happy and meaningful. One doesn’t need other people’s love, acceptance, support, acknowledgment, recognition, friendliness and companionship, or any entertainment, enjoyment, achievement and success to be happy or feel good and meaningful.

The teaching and practice of yoga is to abandon all these egoism, one will be peaceful and happy as one is. One can perform good actions and be kind to others out of compassion, without selfish intention or expectation of “I am doing all these because I want to feel good and meaningful and be happy.”

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.

The power or function of memory is neither good nor bad

Most people, are interested in boosting the power or function of the memory. So that one can remember as much as possible all the knowledge and skills that one has been learning, to do things, to remember everyone and everything that one has come in contact with from the past to the present. Otherwise, for most people, there’s no meanings or values in life existence, if one doesn’t remember any knowledge or skills that one has been learning and doesn’t remember the people/relationships that one has come in contact with and are related to. They want to remember ‘love’ and ‘happiness’ and ‘goodness’ and ‘achievements’. People want to remember everyone and everything, and be remembered by others, to be existing, to be meaningful, to be alive.

Meanwhile some people try their very best to forget all those unpleasant/unhappy/painful/hurtful memories that are disturbing and hurting them in the present now.

This power or function of memory is neither good nor bad. It has its benefits to humanity and some defects as well.

If a mind is free from ignorance and egoism, this mind can make use of the power of memory to remember all its learning and knowledge or skills to be doing something that would benefit oneself and others without attachment, identification, judgment, or expectation. One will not have craving or aversion towards the past pleasant/unpleasant experiences/feelings, and will not be disturbed or determined by being aware of the memory of all these past pleasant/unpleasant experiences/feelings, in the present now. There’s no judgment or expectation towards oneself or others based on the past pleasant/unpleasant experiences/feelings. There’s no suffering or miseries exist in this egoless mind.

Due to ignorance, the ego clings onto the past memories of pleasant/happy and unpleasant/unhappy experiences/feelings.

When remembering the pleasant/happy/accomplishing/satisfying experiences/feelings that are already gone and don’t exist in the present, there is suffering/unrest/dissatisfaction derived from missing and craving towards all those pleasant experiences/feelings.

When remembering the unpleasant/unhappy/painful/hurtful/fearful/regretful/guilty/disappointing/dissatisfying experiences/feelings, that are already gone and don’t exist in the present, there is suffering/unrest/unhappiness/painful sorrow/hurts/fear/regret/guilt/disappointment/dissatisfaction derived from aversion towards all those unpleasant experiences/feelings, continuously be disturbed or determined by all those unpleasant experiences/feelings, which is unnecessary.

And due to ignorance, people don’t just want to have a good and highly efficient function of the memory to remember the past of this life existence from birth till the present which one could barely remember a little bit of here and there without the precise/exact details, there are also many people who ‘believe’ in various/countless past lives before this life existence, and they are not just very interested in knowing/finding out what were their past lives, but they are also be disturbed or determined by what they think they know about their past lives. And not just that, they also very interested in knowing/finding out what will be their future lives, and be disturbed or determined by what they think they know about their future lives.

When people are dissatisfied with and don’t want to confront the reality that they perceive in the present, they try to runaway from this reality that they don’t like and don’t want, by imagining they have a better/nicer/happier reality in the past or in the future, being in an imaginary reality that they prefer, that they created for themselves, and somehow they might feel better and safer being in that imaginary reality. That’s their freedom.

People’s minds are already very busy/restless being disturbed and determined by the perceived experiences in the present now, not to say, to also be disturbed and determined by the past memories and the future imagination/anticipation/projection/expectation/speculation. “This is who I was and this is what I am and this is what I will be.”

People are being disturbed and determined mentally/emotionally/physically by the ignorant/egoistic attachment and identification towards the desires of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation towards all the perceived names and forms or experiences, whether it’s in the present, or remembering the past, or imagining the future.

Maybe people’s life in the present is not complicated/excited/busy enough, life is so dulled and bored, that’s why people try very best to bring back the past and project into the future, to spice up their life in the present?

So, if past lives exist, and someone somehow ‘recalls’ some good/pleasant/joyful/meaningful and bad/unpleasant/hurtful/painful/fearful memories of one’s past lives, and then so what? Missing the past pleasant past lives experiences and people whom one loved very much in past lives? What if one finds out that the people whom one loved very much in past lives are now one’s greatest enemies whom one hates and hurts very much in the present? Or be disturbed by the past unpleasant past lives experiences and people whom had hurt one very much in past lives? What if one finds out that the people whom had hurt one very much in past lives are now one’s best friend or lover or family or respected personal whom one loves very much in the present?

It’s truly unnecessary.

And so, when one truly realized the truth of what is going on in this mind, and goes beyond all the memories of past pleasant/unpleasant, or rightful/wrongful, or good/bad experiences/feelings, being free from attachment and identification with the past, the last moment and before, then there will be complete freedom in all the relationships with everyone now, in the present, it really doesn’t matter what happened just now, or yesterday, or last week, or last month, or last year, or last 20 years. It’s only the present moment. And even this present moment is impermanent. And this is actual lasting liberation that comes from the realization of the truth, it’s not the same as the momentary ‘high effect’ of numbing the mind through drugs and alcohol intoxication.

People, including some yoga and meditation practitioners, who like to relate YOGA and MEDITATION or HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS with getting high through drugs and alcohol intoxication, are only trying to momentary escape/runaway from suffering or miseries that they don’t want. They’ll go back to their suffering and miseries again, once the numbing effect of the drugs and alcohol disappeared. That’s their freedom for what they want to do with their body and their mind. It’s neither right nor wrong. But, yoga and meditation or higher consciousness has nothing to do with getting high through drugs and alcohol intoxication. People who truly practice yoga and meditation and have gone beyond the attachment or identification with the life existence of the body and the mind don’t need to get high or momentary relief by taking drugs or alcohol, as they don’t need to escape or runaway from suffering or miseries, as there’s none. There’s no craving for the momentary pleasant sensations/effects/relieves coming from the effect of drugs and alcohol.

If people couldn’t understand this, or one understood this, but one dislikes and disagrees with and doesn’t want this liberation due to the mind is conditioned to think in certain ways or believe in certain beliefs, or one understood this, but one couldn’t let go attachment and identification, that’s their freedom.

It’s okay whether the power or function of memory is good or not so good. It’s okay if the mind couldn’t remember this or that. It’s okay if the mind couldn’t remember everything and everyone as it was and as it is. It’s okay if the mind remember some past unpleasant/unhappy experiences or feelings. It’s okay if the mind couldn’t remember some past pleasant/happy experiences or feelings. It’s okay if the mind couldn’t remember someone who is somehow related to this body and this mind.

Be free.

Let go the ego

The ego constantly expects or looks for acceptance, love, care, kindness, support, recognition, approval, acknowledgement, attention, companionship, friendship, interaction, cooperation, encouragement, appreciation, praise and compliment, or anything that make the ego feels good, confident, proud and meaningful about itself from other people, or the group that it thinks it belongs to, or the society, or the world.

This ego will hurt itself and/or others if it doesn’t get what it’s looking for, thinking and believing that all its unhappiness, disappointment, dissatisfaction, frustration, anger and hurt are caused by other people’s bad and wrong behavior, or unkind, uncaring, unloving and unsupportive reaction and treatment, or inappreciation, or criticism, or unfriendliness, or selfishness, and so on.

Let go this ego. Be free from all these ‘unnecessary’ attachment, longing, clinging, expectation, craving and aversion.

The mind that is free from the ego doesn’t need acceptance, love, support, recognition, approval, acknowledgement, attention, companionship, friendship, interaction, cooperation, encouragement, appreciation, praise and compliment from anyone, or any group, or the society, or the world, to feel good, confident, proud or meaningful. The mind is free as it is, peaceful as it is.

No one can free other people’s minds from the ego. It has to come from within willingly and determinedly to let go the ego, the root cause of all ‘suffering’ and ‘problems’ of humanity.

No one is obliged to be kind, caring and loving to one another. Allow everyone to show love, care and kindness, or not. It’s the attachment and expectation towards the worldly thinking and idea about “Human should be like this or like that, and shouldn’t be like this or like that” that generates great disappointment in us towards what we think is ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, or ‘inhumanity’. But what we think is ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, or ‘inhumanity’ has no power to disappoint anyone. Be free.

The ego is also the one who wants to feel being ‘wanted’ or ‘needed’ by others, that there are people want me or need me, that ‘I’ am good enough, that ‘I’ am able to give love and care or inspiration and motivation to others, which give a sense of pride and meaningfulness to itself. Otherwise, the ego will feel bad and meaningless about itself, thinking and feeling that it is unneeded or unwanted by others, that it is not good enough, that no body wants or needs love and care or inspiration and motivation from it.

Once the mind is free from the ego, one can love and care for others unconditionally, without identification and attachment towards the action of giving love and care to others or the result of the action. There’s no expectation that people should be grateful and appreciative, or should show us love and care in return. One doesn’t need other people’s love and care and appreciation to feel loved, worthy or meaningful. One doesn’t need to feel loved, worthy or meaningful, at all. There’s no fear of being unloved, unworthy or meaninglessness. One does good to others, and loves and cares for others not because it will make ‘me’ feel good about ‘myself’ or expecting to receive love and care in return. And that is liberation.

Be kind, but don’t expect other people also be kind.

Be loving, but don’t expect other people also be loving.

Do good and don’t do bad, but don’t expect other people also do good and don’t do bad.

Drive with attentiveness and following the rules, but don’t expect other drivers also drive with attentiveness and following the same rules.

Love and peace to all.