Before we start to learn any physical movements in performing any yoga practices, we must know what is yoga all about. All the yoga practices like asana, pranayama, concentration, meditation, yama, niyama, selfless service, chanting and etc, are there to help us to develop self-awareness and non-attachment.
The purpose of the asana practice is not about trying to achieve a perfect body, perfect strength and flexibility, or trying to go beyond the physical limitations.
The asana practice and pranayama, the breathing exercises are there to influence the energy, balance the energy, purify the energy, conserve the energy, stimulate the energy centers, restore the energy, and unblock any energy blockages in our system. This will directly influence the state of the mind and make the mind free from tensions, being calm and balanced.
When the mind is calm and balanced, wisdom will arise. We will know the truth of ourselves and everything else. When we know the truth, all kinds of ill-wills, ignorance and suffering will disappear. The world is still being what it is, but we will not be influenced by the world anymore whether to be happy or unhappy.
The very basic practice is to learn how to be at the present moment, observe the present moment, accept the present moment, and let go of the past instantly without attachment. Not project into the future. Not being disturbed or affected or influenced by the past experiences or the future imaginations.
Not being disturbed, or affected, or influenced by what the mind perceives through the senses of what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. Remain equanimous, calm and at peace not being disturbed by all the happenings and experiences in the body, in the mind, in our life, in the surrounding, and in the world.
We are not the body, the body is not us and it doesn’t belong to us. We are not the mind, the mind is not us and it doesn’t belong to us either. The body and the mind is subject to impermanence. It is not in our control to want it to be the way that we like it to be. By understand this, we stop attaching to the body and the mind. We truly appreciate and be grateful of having this body and the mind for us to be here to experience so many things, to learn, to share, and to realize our true nature is not different from the universal consciousness. We take good care of this body and the mind without attachment, so that we can fully make good use of this life existence to be in the world to do so many things and to perform selfless service for ourselves and for all other beings.
This body and this mind doesn’t belong to us and what to say about relationships and all other things in the world that we can attain? We cannot control all these things to be the way that we want it to be. All these things are subject to impermanence. They will change and sooner or later they will be apart from us. we can only appreciate and enjoy while we are still being with all these things, temporarily. Once they have changed or gone, we have to let them go. If we couldn’t let go, that will create so much suffering and unhappiness in us.
Not attach to the body and the mind. Not attach to the thoughts, feelings and sensations that come from the body and the mind. Not attach to the likes and dislikes that come from the ego. Not attach to whatever the mind perceives through the senses. Not attach to what is happening in our life and in the world.
That is real non-attachment. There is no judgment, no comparison, no competition, no expectation towards ourselves or other people and things. All these judgment, comparison, competition and expectation come from the ego.
It doesn’t mean that we become selfish and doesn’t care for the world, and runaway from our duty and responsibility just like there are many people misunderstanding about the terms of non-attachment. It doesn’t mean that we ignore or deny the world, or don’t care for ourselves and other beings in the world.
We care a lot for ourselves and for all other beings, out of great compassion without selfish intention. We can perform so many beneficial actions for the well-being of ourselves and other beings. We can do whatever is possible to help the world to evolve and to become a better place. But without attachment. Without the intention to help ourselves, to help other beings or to help the world. Intention-less. Without the expectation that we or other beings or the world be will benefited from our compassionate actions. Non-expectation.
Just like the sun, the air, the water, the earth and the space. They just give, provide and support all living and non-living beings unlimitedly, unconditionally, unceasingly, tirelessly, inexhaustibly without discrimination of good or bad beings, ignorant or wise beings, pure or impure beings, happy or unhappy beings, ancient or modern beings… They embrace all and everything.
Without intention, they give. Without expectation, they give. Without attachment, they give…
That is selflessness, compassion, non-attachment…
We need to be able to take care of ourselves, know how to love and be kind and compassionate towards ourselves unselfishly, then only we can take care of others and will know how to love, be kind and compassionate towards all other beings. If we ourselves are not peaceful, not happy, full of selfishness, anger and hatred, don’t even like or love our own self, then how are we going to help others and share love, happiness and peace with others?
Without the expectation for the result of all our actions. Renounce the fruit of action. We perform all the actions that need to be done, but let the nature or the universal consciousness to take care of the result.
Just like shooting the arrow from the bow in our hand. We aim the arrow to the target with full attention, full sincerity, full effort. And then we let go of the arrow. Once we let go of the arrow, it is not in our control anymore whether the arrow will hit the target or not. There might be strong wind blew the arrow to the side. Maybe the target fall onto the ground due to certain reason. Maybe a bird just came in between the arrow and the target unexpectedly and got hit by the arrow…
And this is what we say, do our duty and carry out our responsibility sincerely with full attention and effort but without the identification as the doer of the action (merely performing action in serving the universal consciousness selflessly) and without attaching to the fruit of the action. Let the universal consciousness to take care of the result.
Without the identification as the doer of all these actions, this is actionless or more precise, inaction in action. This will stop the wheel of karma, the wheel of cause and effect, the wheel of birth and death.
Intentionless, non-expectation of the result, renounce the fruit of action, non-identification as the doer of the action. This is non-attachment that we are practicing all the time unceasingly in our heart, in our life, from moment to moment.
Observing everything at the present moment now as it is. Accept everything in the present moment now as it is. But at the same time allow changes or impermanence to happen, without resistance. Allow the opportunity for ourselves and everything to evolve, to improve and to become better, but without attachment, clinging, craving and aversion.
Without the intention to make things better, we are making things better. Without expectation for the result, we bring love, peace and happiness into people’s hearts. Without fear, worry, dissatisfaction and disappointment, we perform all our duty and responsibility. Free from tensions and unhappiness.
This will free us from the condition of the body and the mind, the condition of our life existence and the condition of the world that we are living in. The body and the mind is still being what it is, the life is still being what it is, the world is still being what it is, but we are not being disturbed, or affected, or influenced by all these things. There is no more fear, worry, doubt, irritation, frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, craving, aversion, unhappiness and ill-will etc…
When we are free from all tensions, the mind is calm and at peace. Wisdom will arise within us. With the presence of wisdom, ignorance disappears. We will know the truth of everything and able to accept the reality of everything as it is. We will become fearless and worry-less.
Without fear and worry, true happiness is here. Long and lasting peacefulness that is not subject to impermanence, is here. This true happiness and peacefulness is beyond the three states of the mind (actionless and dullness, action and passionate, calmness and lightness).
The states of the mind is subject to impermanence. They will change and disappear. But true happiness and peacefulness which is within ourselves all the time, they never disappear or change. They are always here in us. But when we are being disturbed by all the impurities in the mind, we are disconnected with this happiness and peacefulness which is our true nature. It is our true Self. It is not something that we attain from the outside, nor something that is given to us by somebody.
Our true Self is nothing but love, peace, compassion and wisdom. All these nature are not a quality. They are always here from before life existence, during and after life existence. They are always here unaffected by impermanence, qualities of good and bad, positive and negative, pleasant and unpleasant. They are always here uninfluenced by elements and energy. They are always here undisturbed by whatever the mind perceives through the senses, undisturbed by the thoughts, feelings and sensations, undisturbed by all the names and forms.
It is beginningless and endless. It is beyond birth and death. It is beyond name and form. It is beyond happiness and unhappiness.
It is pure existence, pure consciousness, pure knowledge, pure bliss.
If we know our true Self, we will be free from all the impurities that arise in the mind.
Nothing in the world can guarantee us true and lasting happiness. Not the knowledge, wealth, health, beauty, youthfulness, strength, mobility, relationship, success and achievement that we can attain in the world with this body and mind. It’s because the happiness that comes from all these things are subject to impermanence, it will change and disappear. They are dissatisfaction in nature from the beginning and until the end of life existence.
We can never be satisfied with the present knowledge, wealth, health, beauty, youthfulness, strength, mobility, relationship, success and achievement, because they will change and these changes are not in our control whether they will be the way that we want them to be. The more we try to resist or avoid impermanence, or try to stop impermanence to happen, the more disappointed, dissatisfied and unhappy we are.
When we understand the truth of impermanence, we will stop looking for momentary satisfaction or happiness that comes from things that are subject to impermanence. If we do, we will be disappointed and frustrated all the time.
Be grateful and thankful for the existing good things that we have now and appreciate every little good things and opportunity for us to evolve and to perform selfless service to serve all.
And what is the one thing that is not changing, not subject to impermanence?
Our true Self. Eternal, full, whole and content. Nameless and formless. Beginningless and endless. No good, no bad. No positive, no negative. No happiness, no unhappiness. No craving, no aversion. No suffering, no cause of suffering, no path of remove suffering, no end of suffering. No ignorance, no end of ignorance. No birth, no growth, no decaying, no illness, no pain, no old age, no death. No body, no mind. No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no skin, no thinking. No thoughts, no feelings, no sensations. No pleasant, no unpleasant. No success, no failure. No gain, no loss. No superiority, no inferiority. No existence, no non-existence. No creation, no destruction.
Realize our true Self. Go back to our true Self. Take refuge and rest in peace eternally in our Self.
How to go back to our true Self? Stop identifying with the body and the mind. Stop identifying with the ego. Rise above the ego. Be stronger than the ego. Not let the ego controlling us. Practice real non-attachment every moment in ourselves, at sleep, at awake, at lying, at standing, at sitting, at walking, at moving, at non-moving… This is real meditation.
Contemplating on the nameless and formless Self without attachment, craving, aversion, intention and expectation. Not attach to the mind. Constantly being aware of what is happening in the mind. Observing or witnessing the mind as it is. Go beyond the mind and not lost within the mind.
Without the mind, there is no perception of names and forms. There is no sights, no sounds, no smells, no taste, to touch, no thinking. What is happiness and unhappiness? What is good and bad? What is positive and negative? What is ignorance and the end of ignorance?
Only pure love, peace, compassion and wisdom present in the present moment now.
Realize our true Self of who we really are. We are not this, we are not that. We are who we are. Beyond all the qualities. Beyond all the names and forms. Beyond the body and the mind. Beyond the perception of the mind. Beyond all states of the mind.
We are not good, we are not bad. We are just who we are.
There is no past, no future. The only existence and reality is now, from moment to moment. The past and the future doesn’t exist at the present moment now. Once we understand this, time disappears, it doesn’t exist.
Keep the mind concentrate at the present moment now, not wanders to the past memories or to the future imaginations. There is no fear and worry at this present moment now. Fear and worry only exist when the mind wanders to the past or to the future.
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Yoga is not about the ability of the physical body to perform such and such actions. It is about able to observe everything as it is and accept the reality of things as it is. It is not about challenging the body to go beyond its physical limitation.
Physical ability, strength and flexibility cannot give us true and lasting happiness or peace but only momentary fleeting satisfaction about our own egoistic worldly image that we built for ourselves.
If our happiness and confidence is based on physical appearance, good health, ability, strength and flexibility, we will be so tensed trying to maintain the appearance, good health, ability, strength and flexibility in order to keep our ego satisfied and feel good, and to upkeep our false confidence about ourselves through all these impermanent names and forms. And when impermanence strikes, all these things will change and be gone no matter how much we want to retain them. We will be so disappointed, frustrated and unhappy.
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Yoga is being aware of everything without attachment, clinging, craving and aversion… Free from tensions, anxiety, fear, worry, ignorance, ill-will…
And thus, peacefulness is right here, at this present moment now, where we are beyond the mind and the perception of the mind…
Beyond all the good and bad qualities.
That is yoga.
Peace to all.