Go beyond self-esteem and self-worth

For those who are not really interested in the path of yoga, they don’t need to ‘practice yoga’. People can just live everyday life as they are, don’t need to do anything to purify the mind, to render the mind quiet, to free the mind from the influence of worldly egoistic ideas, thinking, belief, behavior, action and reaction, to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance – egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering.

People can continue being passionate towards improving the quality of a worldly life that mostly emphasize on the gratification of the desires of wants and don’t wants.

From young to old, it’s all about developing and enhancing the qualities of name and form that the thinking mind attached onto and identifies as ‘I’, to carry on or adopt a particular cultural/religious/spiritual belief and practice that influence the way of life, to be ‘educated’, to accumulate ‘knowledge’, ‘skills’ and ‘qualifications’, to empower a high self-esteem and self-worth that builds on personality, confidence, self-image, body image, charm and attractiveness, physical and mental ability and achievement, to be accumulating relationships and friendships, to broadening social networks, to establish a livelihood and a social/community life, to enjoy sights/sounds/tastes/smells/sensations/imagination, to aspire and be inspired, to fall in love, to find a life partner or some lovers, to reprocreate, to build a family, to enjoy easier and more comfortable life, to contribute to the society or the country or the world, to attain acknowledgement, recognition, support, praise and compliments, to attain ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, purpose, pride, happiness, joyfulness, blessedness, gladness and meaningfulness.

For those who sincerely want to practice yoga and realize yoga, then go beyond a worldly life that emphasizes on developing and enhancing ‘self-esteem’ and ‘self-worth’ that derived from ignorance and egoism that feed on worldly ideas, thinking, beliefs and practice.

The necessity or importance of developing and enhancing ‘self-esteem’, ‘self-worth’, ‘confidence’, ‘self-image’, ‘body image’, ‘charm and attractiveness’, ‘physical and mental ability and achievement’, ‘the sense of existence/purpose/meaningfulness’, and etc, are nothing but the play of ignorance and egoism.

The sense of self-esteem and self-worth that builds on the qualities of names and forms, such as “I know something”, “I can do something”, “I achieved something”, “I am good”, “I look good”, “I feel good”, “I am strong”, “I am healthy”, “I have family and friends”, “I am contributing something”, “I am acknowledged and supported”, “My life/career/relationship is good and meaningful” and so on, is conditional and impermanent. It will break.

Yoga practitioners are supposed to eliminate the egoism and not empowering the egoism. It’s the ego that needs to have a high self-esteem to achieve ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, acknowledgement, self-worth, confidence, purpose, or meaningfulness. And thus it performs actions out of intention and aspiration. It attached onto and identifies with its actions and the fruit of actions. It is being determined and bound by the actions and the fruit of actions.

For those who are aware of this, actions are being performed out of compassion, without the need/aspiration of ‘developing’ and ‘enhancing’ self-esteem to achieve ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, acknowledgement, self-worth, confidence, purpose, or meaningfulness. Though that is what most people including highly educated and intelligent minds strongly believe in and are practicing, and that’s their freedom.

“Well done!”

“That’s very good!”

“You should be proud of yourself!”

“I am so proud of you!”

Most people think and believe that all these words are very essential positive encouragement and acknowledgement towards somebody’s achievement to enhance their self-esteem and self-worth, so that they will be motivated to strive harder to improve and be better, to attain continuous positive feedback and acknowledgement, to attain the sense of self-worth, accomplishment, purpose, meaningfulness. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Those who are free from ignorance and egoism don’t need any ‘positive words of encouragement or acknowledgement’ from anyone to motivate them to perform actions that will benefit all and everyone, and are not disturbed or discouraged by any ‘negative words of discouragement or non-acknowledgement’ to be continuing performing actions that will benefit all and everyone.

‘Yoga teachers’ who truly teach yoga in the yoga class don’t empower the egoism in the yoga students but to allow the students to develop correct understanding and direct experience towards the practice of yoga to eliminate the egoism.

By constantly giving the students ‘positive words of encouragement’ out of “good intention to encourage and motivate the students to be good, do good, to improve and be better” because the teacher thinks and believes that “the students who haven’t developed non-craving and non-attachment would be discouraged or lack of motivation to be good and do good, or to improve in their practice, if the teacher doesn’t give any ‘positive words of encouragement’ to the students”, don’t help to eliminate the egoism, but instead will only be empowering the egoism in the students. And if the students have already developed non-craving and non-attachment towards any kind of ‘positive words of encouragements’, then, ‘positive words of encouragements’ are needless in such yoga classes, as the students don’t need to hear any ‘positive words of encouragements’ to motivate them to be good, do good and to improve, neither the students will be discouraged or lack of motivation to perform their practice, to be good, do good and to improve, if the teacher never give any form of ‘positive words of encouragements.’

Be free.

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Retreat?

A retreat centre is a place for Sadhana, to retreat the mind from worldly habits of social interactions and activities to silent the restless mind. Live alone, sit alone, walk alone, eat alone, meditate alone. It’s not an open house for community social recreation activities making social connections hanging out together busy chatting and gossiping, plotting and planning to chase away boredom and loneliness and empowering worldly attachments and identifications. Even in everyday life, one observes silence as much as possible renouncing worldly social interactions and activities, immerse in solitude and seclusion to be determined to annihilate the modification of the mind. Very few people indeed have this understanding and determination.

In the end, it’s what matters most to oneself

For some people, to be able to contribute to humanity, to help and serve other beings selflessly is what matters most.

For some people, to be able to think and move freely, to go everywhere freely is what matters most.

For some people, to have peace and harmony is what matters most.

For some people, to have joy and happiness is what matters most.

For some people, to be able to love and be loved is what matters most.

For some people, to have good health is what matters most.

For some people, to have a shelter from harsh weather and be free from hunger and thirst is what matters most.

For some people, to have a complete and happy family is what matters most.

For some people, to have a successful career that support a stable income and comfortable living is what matters most.

For some people, to have one or many good friends to support each other is what matters most.

For some people, to be able to achieve all their ambitions, to do whatever they like to do and enjoy whatever they want to enjoy is what matters most.

For some people, to accumulate wealth and power is what matters most.

For some people, they want to have all and everything, if possible.

For some people they don’t know what they want or what matters most.

For some people, they thought they know what they want and what matters most, but not really.

There’s neither right nor wrong, it’s just about what matter to oneself in the end.

For those who practice yoga and meditation, to live in the present being free from desires of craving and aversion, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism and the suffering of the consequences of ignorance and egoism, is what matters most.

For many people, “If people don’t kill themselves out of tiredness, restlessness, unhappiness, depression, dissatisfaction, disappointment, loneliness, boredom, hurts, guilt, regret, painful sorrow and meaninglessness, and be grateful for being alive and appreciating life, family and friends, be positive keep on fighting for the values of life or what they think is ‘humanity’, try to create or contribute to a ‘better world’, and be optimistic never give up searching for happiness, satisfaction and meaningfulness through engaging in ‘constructive’ ideas/objects/relationships/friendships/activities in this impermanent worldly life existence, it’s good enough for existing as a ‘human being’.”

There’s nothing wrong with passionate worldly desires/ambitions/relationships/activities, as it’s what most people think and believe what (lively and meaningful) life existence is about. In the end, it’s what matters most to oneself.

Meanwhile, for those who sincerely want to practice yoga and realize yoga, silencing/annihilating the mind to attain Self-realization to know the truth of the mind/thyself/what the mind thinks is ‘I’, or liberation from ignorance/suffering, is what matters most.

Stop feeding worldly passionate thinking/beliefs/ideas/objects/ambitions/social interactions/activities/relationships/desires to the mind, to annihilate the idea of ‘I’ existing in a selfless worldly life existence of the objects of the senses of impermanent names and forms, is the essence of the traditional yoga practice. For many people, including yoga practitioners and yoga teachers, would perceive this kind of yoga practice of dispassionate/disinterest towards ‘worldly life of ambitions, enjoyments, relationships, interactions and activities’, and renouncing ‘worldly social affair and family life’ as ‘lifelessness’ or ‘meaninglessness’, and they would not like to practice ‘this kind’ of yoga.

One can think and believe that one has been practicing many different types of yoga practice for some time or a long time, and receiving the many benefits of the regular and persist ‘yoga practice’, but at the same time, the mind is still very much engaging/entangling in the passionate worldly life of worldly affairs/objects/activities/thinking/beliefs/ideas/ambitions/relationships/desires under the influence of egoism of attachment and identification towards certain qualities of names and forms, then this mind is not free, even though one might feel good, happy and satisfied with having certain desirable achievements and relationships in the present, upon coming in contact with the qualities of names and forms that the mind likes and desires, and not coming in contact with the qualities of names and forms that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t desire.

Some yoga practitioners would think and believe that they are quite ‘dispassionate’ and ‘being unattached’ towards all the worldly affairs/contacts/objects/ideas/relationships/activities/interactions while they are living/mingling among the society/community and actively engaging in ‘what/how all ‘good, normal and healthy’ human beings do in everyday life.’

If one wants to know the truth of one’s mind, one can practice serious solitude and seclusion for at least 5 to 6 years, being away from all kinds of worldly affairs/contacts/ideas/objects/activities/relationships/interactions, and one will see the truth of this mind. Fear, doubt, loneliness, emptiness, boredom and meaninglessness kick in and most minds will want to run away from the practice of solitude and seclusion after a prolonged period of time due to the under current of ignorance and subtle attachment and identification towards worldly life of names and forms. They will tell themselves and others that it’s not necessary to practice solitude and seclusion as part of the yoga practice, and it’s better and more meaningful to practice yoga of living a ‘good, normal and healthy’ everyday life just like all the other ‘normal’ human beings, building relationships and accumulating friendships, enjoying and engaging in worldly interactions and activities, mingling into the society to ‘serve other beings’, do some work to make a living, do some yoga and breathing exercises, do some meditation practice, do some healthy recreation activities, go for holidays from time to time to unwind.

“Helping/sharing with others makes me happy, good family relationships and friendships makes me happy, being with family and good friends makes me happy, experiencing or doing this makes me happy. They give me the sense of meaningfulness in life existence.” What happens when all the ‘names and forms’ that make me happy and give me the sense of meaningfulness changed into something else and is no longer available?

Some people had the ability and opportunity to do all the things that they wanted to do, went and travel everywhere that they wanted to go, met with many other people and experienced many different cultures, obtained the vast knowledge of many things in this world, attained great success in their career and had a nice family and friends circle and wide social networks, being admired by many people in the world, had a comfortable lifestyle, but still, the mind was not free from suffering.

Be free.