Listen?

In the civilized cultured loving and caring society, people might take this word of ‘LISTEN’ to be “Someone or a voice needs to be heard or be listened, and people should being sympathetic in listening to someone else ‘agony’, or ‘difficulty’, or ‘misery’, or ‘unhappiness’, or ‘painful sorrow’, or ‘hurts’, or ‘broken heart’, or ‘suffering’, or ‘grumbling’, and etc.”

It’s normal for people to share each other’s life experiences, ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions, either we want to tell our stories or we want ourselves to be listened by others, as well as we want to be a listener to listen to other people’s stories, whether it’s something ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘happy’ or ‘unhappy’. People like to connect and stay connect with other people by chatting regularly or catching-up once in a while to show that they care. And it would be seen as abnormal or inhuman or cold, if one doesn’t involve with such human social activities. We will feel lonely, isolated, abandoned, helpless, unworthy, unloved, not good enough, unhappy, depressed, disappointed, frustrated, or meaningless, if we think there’s nobody there to listen to us, or nobody wants to share with us.

People would think that as human beings, people should be caring and sympathetic to be there for other people when people need someone to be there to listen to what is troubling them. Caring people like to ask other people whom they think they might be ‘disturbed’, or ‘troubled’, or ‘hurt’ by something, “Do you want to talk about what is troubling/disturbing/hurting you? I’m here to listen. Maybe I can help you.” It’s selfish, uncaring, unthinkable, uncompassionate, inhuman, or wrong, if we don’t ask about other people’s ‘problems’, or ‘unhappiness’, or ‘painful sorrow’, or ‘suffering’, and etc. Or it’s ‘bad’ or ‘unhealthy’ if one observes silence of thoughts, actions and speech.

No doubt that by expressing, or talking, or grumbling, or bitching about our ‘frustration’, ‘disappointment’, ‘dissatisfaction’, ‘troubles’, ‘problems’, ‘difficulties’, ‘misery’, ‘grief’, ‘hurts’, ‘painful sorrow’, ‘agony’, or ‘suffering’, and etc, to other people may or may not give certain degrees of momentary relief to the ‘suffering’ or ‘unhappy’ or ‘troubled’ minds, but it won’t help the minds to be free from what they think is their ‘suffering’ or ‘unhappiness’, even if the people who listen to them might try to give them some ‘advice’, or ‘guidance’, or ‘care’, or ‘comfort’ that they think might can relieve their ‘pain’ or ‘solve’ their problems.

Sometimes, talking or complaining about what we think is our ‘problem’ to some other people actually creates further complication to the existing ‘problem’ and could generate some other unnecessary ‘problems’ to ourselves and other people. The listener of other people’s problems becomes a ‘problem maker’ or has a ‘problem’ in the end. We asked for advice from others, and someone was being very kind to listen to us and give us some advice and we took the advice, but when things didn’t turn out to be the way that we expect it to be, we blamed other people for giving us their ‘bad advice’, or we blamed ourselves for trusting the wrong person and taking the ‘bad advice’. This is due to most minds are impure, are not free from egoistic selfish desires, attachment, expectation and incorrect thinking.

In the path of yoga and meditation, we are learning to be a listener. It’s not so much about listening to other people’s ‘problems’ or ‘unhappiness’ to ‘share’ their ‘problems’ or ‘pain’, to say ‘nice things’ to comfort them, or to give them ‘good advice’ with the intention to help ‘solving’ their ‘problems’ (which is nothing wrong, but none can share, or solve, or take away another person’s ignorance and suffering), but it’s to learn how to open and quiet the mind to listen to the Dharma in here and now, and allow other people to also learn to listen to the Dharma, to be free from the root cause of all ‘problems’ and ‘unhappiness’. There’s no ‘problems’ that need to be solved at all.

People think that the person who is ‘troubled’ or ‘hurt’ needs a listener to listen to their ‘pain’, and this person will have less pain or no more pain, but in yoga, this person needs to be the listener, to know what is really going on in its own mind.

If one truly is ‘disturbed’, or ‘troubled’, or ‘hurt’ by something and they think that they need some help or guidance, instead of looking forward to talk and share about what they think is disturbing, or troubling, or hurting them, to be listened by some other people, to have someone there to share their disturbed feelings and thoughts, to get love and support from other people to feel better about themselves, one should learn how to be in solitude and silence, quiet the restless mind and try to LISTEN to the DHARMA.

If one TRULY LISTENS to the DHARMA that is here and now, with an open and quiet mind, one will realize or see the truth of the real cause of all their misery, trouble, problem, unhappiness, grief, painful sorrow, agony, or suffering. One doesn’t need to talk or complain about anything or doesn’t need anyone to be there to share or listen to one’s ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’, as there is none.

Being yoga teachers teaching yoga and meditation to others, is about teaching and guiding them on how to see and listen to Dharma, or how to perform self-inquiry to attain self-realization to be free from the cause of suffering – ignorance, egoism and impurities. This is wisdom and compassion. Or else, talking and listening to each other among the teachers and the students can easily turn into a scene of ‘corruption’ and ‘complication’, especially if the minds are not yet free from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

For example: The teacher is being ‘loving’ and ‘caring’ to share and listen to the ‘troubled’, or ‘heart broken’ and ‘vulnerable’ student’s ‘problems’ and disturbed ‘feelings’ and ’emotions’, and this ‘troubled’ or ‘heart broken’ and ‘vulnerable’ student feels a lot of affection, love and care from the teacher, and unwittingly ‘fall in love’ with the teacher. Or, the student becomes sensitive and suspicious towards what the teacher says and does, as the student would feel ‘disturbed’, ‘betrayed’, or ‘attacked’, when the teacher talks about the similar issues in front of other students as part of the teachings in general, but the student might think that the teacher is talking about him or her personally, and is exposing his or her personal issues, feelings and emotions that he or she doesn’t want to be exposed to any other people.

In yoga, the teachers don’t really need to know what are the students’ personal issues that they think they have. It doesn’t mean that the teachers don’t care about other people’s suffering. It’s because all issues derived from the same root of ignorance, egoism and impurities. The teachers just need to guide the students on how to free their minds from the root cause of all ‘problems’ and ‘suffering’ – ignorance, egoism and impurities, and allow the students to work their own way in their own pace and effort towards self-realization and liberation, without the need to ‘know’ or ‘listen’ to each individual’s different types of ‘issues’ that are ‘troubling’, or ‘disturbing’, or ‘hurting’ them.

When we attend a silent meditation retreat, there’s no talking or discussion with another person or teacher about what we think is our ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’, all we do is quieting the restless mind to allow the mind to see the truth of things as it is. It’s about knowing one’s mind and realizing the truth of suffering and rooting out the root cause of suffering. The past and the future doesn’t exist. No matter all our experiences from the past to the present were/are good or not good, happy or unhappy, pleasant or painful, deserving or undeserving, the only reality is the present moment, and even this present moment is impermanent. It’s about letting go egoism of all forms of attachment, identification, clinging, craving, aversion, desires, judgment and expectation, and thus be free from all sorts of impurities, and hence be free from suffering.

If people think they have ‘issues’ that involve other people whether in a relationship, or in a family, or in the workplace, or in the community, people should try to talk directly to the person/people involved to find the best solution. By talking or bitching or complaining behind people’s back to a third party doesn’t help, even though one might get some sympathy, agreement and supports from the third party who doesn’t really know what is going on. People who are truly practicing yoga and meditation should stay away from such worldly activities.

We think and believe that “I have ‘serious’ problems in my life that are really difficult to deal with, that are more important than anything else. I deserve some sympathy and love and care and support from other people. If not, I’ll feel depressed and hopeless and I think I want to ‘hurt’ myself to end my suffering.” It’s the ego that thinks ‘my problems and suffering’ are bigger and more important than anyone else problems and suffering. If we practice yoga and meditation, we allow the mind to be opened and we will see that what we think is our ‘serious’ life problems are truly nothing being compared to many other people’s suffering in the world. We’ll start to let go what was troubling us that we thought we couldn’t let go before. And this is the beginning of compassion.

If people couldn’t understand this teaching, or if people don’t agree with this teaching, that’s their freedom of thinking and belief.

Practice yoga of self-inquiry and self-realization, and be free.

Observe all the names and forms as they are

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

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

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

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

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

It has many forms of desires and great ambitions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t be ambitious.

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

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

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

Be free.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be free.

Words of wisdom are neither good nor bad

Words of wisdom are neither good nor bad. They are just what they are. They have no intention or quality to be useful or useless, to be meaningful or meaningless, or to be enlightening or disturbing.

Words of wisdom can be useful and meaningful and enlightening for those who are aware of ignorance in oneself, but they are useless and meaningless and disturbing for those who are not aware of ignorance in oneself.

All minds that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism are being conditioned or influenced by many different types of thinking and belief that are being imprinted into the mind since the birth of this life existence coming from family and cultural background, religious background, parenting, schooling, social mixing and interaction, social medias, and all kinds of information sources, to live life, to think and feel, to act and react.

Most of the time, we don’t really inquire the truth of everything that were passed down to us from generation to generation, and everything that we come in contact with, and we usually put our ‘trust’ onto ‘reliable’ or ‘respectable’ sources to feed or occupy our minds with many different information and ideas, until we start to doubt about something and then we would question or investigate the truth of it, to find out whether it’s true, or not. But that usually won’t happen until we got into trouble and suffer for the consequences of our own ‘incorrect’ or ‘ignorant’ understanding, thinking, belief, way of living, conduct and behavior.

If people don’t question the truth of everything, everyone just live life, think and feel, act and react as how they were being told or informed or influenced by the elders, parents, caretakers, friends, society, communities, groups, associations, gangs, politicians, religious authorities, school teachers, philosophers, and so on.

In Yoga and Buddhism, one has to question the truth of everything including all the teachings or scriptures of yoga and Buddhism, of what all the teachers said and taught. The real teachers won’t be insulted or disrespected or humiliated when the students neither agree nor disagree with what the teachers or any sources informed them, but they would perform self-practice and self-inquiry to realize the truth of the teachings through self-effort and self-realization.

It’s okay if we don’t know many things. It won’t do any harm if we don’t know everything and we are aware of we are ignorant or don’t know the truth of something. But it would be very harmful to oneself and others, if we blind-believe in and blind-agree with and blindly sharing information and ideas that we don’t know whether they are true, or not.

So as there are many ‘yoga teachers’ teach yoga to other people according to what they have learned and heard from the yoga courses that they have attended, just because the books/scriptures/teaching manuals and their teachers say so. Some people don’t mind if the teachings are true, or not, as long as they have some ideas of yoga poses practice sequences with some technical information and interesting spiritual stories to teach in the yoga classes to satisfy the people’s enthusiasm and intention of joining the yoga classes, and earn a living. And there’s nothing wrong with that and it’s everyone’s freedom. One is willingly to present something that one doesn’t really know what does it really means, while others are willingly to follow something that they don’t know where it would lead them to.

The wise never aspire or intent to make other beings to see what they see, or to know what they know. The teachings are everywhere for everyone to take it (practice and realize), or leave it.

Be free and be happy.

Wisdom vs intelligence and accumulated worldly knowledge

Wisdom reflects peace and freedom from suffering. Meanwhile intelligence and accumulated worldly knowledge in a person doesn’t necessarily guarantee that one will be peaceful or free from suffering.

One doesn’t need to know ‘the knowledge of how to build a house’ to have peace and be free from suffering. Knowing ‘the knowledge of how to build a house’ doesn’t guarantee that one will be peaceful and free from suffering. Though one can use ‘the knowledge of how to build a house’ to benefit oneself and others. Being a doctor with the knowledge of medicine and all kinds of illnesses, and using this knowledge to be doing something useful for one’s and others’ health condition also doesn’t guarantee that one will be peaceful and free from suffering. Being a psychologist with the knowledge of psychology and all kinds of psychological illnesses, and using this knowledge to benefit oneself and others also doesn’t guarantee that one will be peaceful and free from suffering.

Intelligence and accumulated worldly knowledge is neither good nor bad and it can be used for something good or bad, and it’s uncorrelated with peace and wisdom.

Wisdom is one with peace. They manifest in oneness.

When there’s peace, there’s wisdom. When there’s wisdom, there’s peace. And vice versa.

Whenever one finds ‘peace’ in any particular quality of name and form, or experience, or action and inaction, or the result of action and inaction, or object, or space, or place, or condition, or situation, then very soon this ‘peace’ will change and disappear.

It’s the same as compassion is uncorrelated with ‘love’ towards the world and the worldly names and forms.

People talk about ‘love the world’ and ‘love for peace in the world’. But without wisdom, this ‘love’ towards ‘love the world’ and ‘love for peace in the world’ is merely a form of attachment and affection (derived from ignorance and egoism) towards worldly names and forms that are impermanent. Out of ‘love’ towards the world and desiring ‘peace that we want’ in the world, people ‘desire’ to make the world to be the way that how we would love it to be, and would ‘destroy’ any ‘obstruction towards having the world to be the way that how we would love it to be’ at any cost. The by-products of this love towards ‘love for the world’ and ‘love for peace in the world’ is restlessness – a mixture of happiness/satisfaction/meaningfulness/peacefulness/victory (when the world and the worldly names and forms that one loves are the way that how one would love it to be) and unhappiness/dissatisfaction/meaninglessness/peacelessness/failure (when the world and the worldly names and forms that one loves are not the way that how one would love it to be).

Out of ‘love’ towards what we believe as ‘peacefulness’, ‘kindness’, ‘good’ and ‘right’, we ‘hate’ what we believe as ‘peacelessness’, ‘evilness’, ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’. ‘Hating’ what we believe as ‘peacelessness’, ‘evilness’, ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ is nothing to do with compassion. Compassion is not about ‘accepting’, ‘allowing’ and ‘supporting’ what we believe as ‘peacelessness’, ‘evilness’, ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ either. But, it’s freedom from the ‘suffering’ of ‘hatred’, ‘anger’, ‘dissatisfaction’, ‘disappointment’, ‘craving’, ‘aversion’, ‘hurt’, ‘regret’, ‘guilt’, ‘violence’, ‘ill-will’, ‘ill-thinking’, ‘animosity’, ‘offensiveness’, ‘defensiveness’, ‘obsessiveness’, ‘possessiveness’, ‘fear’ and ‘worry’, being undetermined or undisturbed by what we believe as ‘peacelessness’, ‘evilness’, ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’.

The wise abandon ‘love’ towards the world of worldly names and forms that are impermanent, but resting in unconditional peace of wisdom and compassion.

Be free.