Conflict between the practice of influencing the state of the mind and observing the mind perception as it is?

Some people get confused by the yoga asana, pranayama and concentration practice that is about influencing the state of the mind (intentionally changing the state of the mind to be something different by purifying and rendering the impure restless wandering mind to be pure and calm and focus) and the practice of observing the mind perception of names and forms/thought activities and allowing the mind perception of names and forms/thought activities to be there as it is, without attachment, identification, judgment, expectation, craving or aversion towards the function/modification/thought activities of the mind, and allowing all the impermanent changes of all the names and forms to be there, as they are.

It seems like a contradiction of practice, but it’s not really.

The mind is like the lake and the state of the mind is like the surface of the lake. The reflections are being reflected as they are when the surface of the lake is still, and the reflections are contorted when the surface of the lake is moving. By rendering the state of the mind calm and still will allow the mind to see things as they are or allowing the perception of names and forms to be reflected as it is, but it doesn’t change the truth of the names and forms being what they are.

The modification/thoughts activities/perception of an individual reality of the mind is like the image/reflection of the sky or the sun or the moon being reflected on the surface of the lake, and no matter the images reflected on the lake is as they are or are contorted, (and if the lake has an egoistic thinking mind of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, craving and aversion towards the reflection of the sky, the sun or the moon on itself, and desires to change the sky, the sun or the moon to be the way that it likes it to be,) the lake doesn’t change the sky or the sun or the moon. And if the lake doesn’t exist, there’s no reflection of the sky, the sun or the moon, it still doesn’t affect the sky, the sun or the moon being there as they are.

The reflection on the surface of the lake doesn’t belong to the lake. The modification of the mind or the mind perception of pleasant/unpleasant/agreeable/disagreeable names and forms doesn’t belong to the mind.

Just like all the contents of good and bad qualities of names and forms existing in this space cannot affect the space and they don’t belong to the space. Neither will the space has desire to interfere with all the contents in it.

The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives something as good or not good existing in the space. The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives pleasant smells or unpleasant smells in the air. The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives beautiful happening or disgusting/horrible happening in this space.

Different minds perceive its personal/individual reality differently under the same condition and situation. Such like, different minds feel differently while being in a place full of ‘good’ happenings or being in a place full of ‘bad’ happenings. Death is neither good nor bad. Some people are sad and mourn for the death of the leader of the country/party/ideal/vision that they supported, while some other people are glad and celebrating it. Positive minds perceive names and forms positively, while negative minds perceive names and forms negatively, but it’s not the truth, as all the names and forms are just what they are, they are neither positive nor negative. The reality is just what it is, but qualities are being projected onto the perceived reality of the mind perception of names and forms out of the different states of the mind.

The modification/thought activities/perception of an individual pleasant or unpleasant reality, is like the reflections on the surface of the lake. The state of the mind (pure or impure, peaceful or peaceless, with good/bad attributes or attributeless) influences how the mind understands/reacts towards the perception of names and forms perceived through the senses, or life experiences, but all the perception of names and forms, or life experiences, or the understanding/reactions/modifications/activities cannot affect/hurt/disturb/change the mind, except due to ignorance and egoism, there’s a false identity in the mind (the ego) is being disturbed and determined by all the perception of names and forms, and has the desire/idea of changing the perceived reality to be the way that it likes it to be.

The practice of yoga asana, pranayama, concentration and self-inquiry serves as the tool to maintain and render the mind pure and calm to be fit for higher realization of freedom from ignorance and suffering. The yoga asana and pranayama practice is to prepare the mind to be fit/ready for self-inquiry and meditation by balancing the restless/agitated/dulled state of the mind via body positions/movements (yoga asana practice) and control of the breath (pranayama practice), to render the mind calm and quiet.

The concentration practice/exercises/training is to restraint the mind to focus at one point for a prolonged period of time, and to keep the mind in the present refraining the mind from wandering into the past or the future, or getting lost in random ceaseless thinking and imaginations. Meanwhile the practice of renunciation/solitude/seclusion is to free the mind from getting entangled in the mind perception of a worldly life existence.

These practice/training are developing the awareness to be aware of or to observe the modifications of the mind, rendering the mind to be calm and quiet, to be free from restlessness and to be open to inquire the truth/nature of everything, preparing the mind for meditation – seeing the truth as it is.

The inquiry into the truth/nature of names and forms will help to strengthen dispassion, right discrimination, non-attachment, non-identification, free from craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, and this will lead the mind to be less disturbed or completely undisturbed by all the perception of names and forms of a worldly life existence, and generate less impurities or completely be free from impurities, which eventually lead to the annihilation of ignorance and suffering of the mind perception of a worldly life existence of impermanence and selflessness.

The pure egoless mind stands as a witness witnessing/observing the mind perception of a reality as it is, or observing the mind perception of names and forms/the states of the mind/the activities in the mind/the thoughts/the feelings/the physical sensations, condition, ability and limitation/all the selfless impermanent changes, as they are, without interfering with all these modifications of the mind.

Whatever the mind perceives through the senses or comes in contact with, all the perceptions of names and forms/thoughts activities/images/individual reality, and all states of the mind are just what they are. They are impermanent and selfless. They don’t belong to the mind. The worldly life existence perceived by the mind is impermanent and selfless. It doesn’t belong to the mind. It’s neither ‘I’ nor ‘mine’. Suffering and all kind of corrupted thinking and behavior arise when there is ignorance, egoism and impurities in the mind that generate attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, thinking and believing that there’s ‘I’ and ‘mine’.

Without a calm and quiet mind, when the mind is in a state of impurity and restlessness due to egoism and impurities, it’s impossible for the mind to inquire the truth of things to be free from ignorance, as whatever is being perceived/understood through the senses are under the influence of or being contaminated by the impurities and restlessness. Just like a dirty, dusty and moving mirror cannot reflect the image of an object placed in front of it as it is. The mirror also cannot/doesn’t see itself without the help of another ‘mirror’ or ‘reflector’. And all the dirt, dust and movements don’t belong to the mirror. All the yoga, pranayama and concentration practice act as the tool to render the mind to be free from impurities and restlessness (cleaning up and stilling the ‘mirror’ to reflect the images as they are), and meditation is the ‘mirror’/’reflector’ to allow the pure and calm mind to see itself, as it is, beyond all the modifications of the mind.

That’s why it is very important to render the state of the mind pure and calm, in order to allow the mind to inquire the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance, and thus, allowing all the names and forms to be what they are. Or else, the ignorant egoistic minds desire to interfere with the names and forms that it doesn’t like to change/control it to be the way that it likes it to be, and there arise all sorts of suffering of discrimination, intolerance, interference, offensiveness, defensiveness, hostility, hatred, fear, violence, wars and etc.

It’s up to everyone to work on their own liberation through their own effort and pace.

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The yoga poses are neither easy nor difficult, neither comfortable nor uncomfortable, neither safe nor unsafe

The yoga poses or exercises are just what they are. They are neither easy nor difficult. They are neither comfortable nor uncomfortable. They are neither safe nor unsafe. They have no qualities nor intention to be easy or difficult, to make anyone feels comfortable or uncomfortable, to be safe or unsafe. It is coming from each individual physical condition, ability and limitation, the states of their mind, and how different bodies and minds react differently towards the poses and exercises that project the quality of easy or difficult, comfortable or uncomfortable, safe or unsafe onto every pose, or position, or exercise.

While doing the same poses or same exercises, some say it’s easy, some say it’s difficult. Some say they feel comfortable, some say they feel uncomfortable. Some don’t experience any injuries, some experience some injuries.

It is true for each individual about that is how their body and mind reacts towards the poses or exercises, and that is how they feel and experience while doing the poses and exercises. It is their personal truth and individual perception of reality. But it is not the truth of the poses or exercises.

Injuries occur while doing the poses or exercises if the practitioners don’t know their own physical ability and limitation, and they push their body to go beyond its limitation. Injuries don’t occur while doing the poses or exercises if the practitioners know their own physical ability and limitation, and they don’t push their body to go beyond its limitation. And yoga practice is really not about pushing the physical body to go beyond its limitation.

By pushing the body to go beyond its limitation, making the body more strong and flexible, and be able to do many of the yoga asana poses nicely, beautifully and in the perfect ‘correct’ alignment, doesn’t guarantee us peace and compassion, or liberation from ignorance and egoism. It’s about non-attachment, non-identification, desireless, non-craving, non-aversion, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, patience, forbearance, tolerance, and be free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, that lead us to peace and compassion. And all these has nothing to do with the physical conditions and abilities and skills to do the yoga poses or exercises. It’s nothing to do with the different types of benefits of the yoga poses and exercises either.

If the truth of the poses or exercises is they are something easy or difficult, comfortable or uncomfortable, safe or unsafe, then everyone who do the same poses or same exercises will react and feel the same. But, everyone would react and feel and experience differently from one another while doing the same poses or exercises, and everyone would react and feel and experience differently when doing the same poses or exercises on different practice session.

The poses or exercises are just being what they are. They are neither easy nor difficult, neither comfortable nor comfortable, neither safe nor unsafe.

Different minds perceive the world differently because different minds project different qualities onto names and forms that they perceive under the influence of different thinking and beliefs. Some perceive the world positively and some perceive the world negatively, but the world is neither positive nor negative. No one could debate with one another about their own personal perception of different reality that different minds perceive under the influence of their own personal thinking and belief, as that is what their minds perceive and understand, but, the different perceptions of different minds are not necessarily the truth of what things are.

The world is just what it is. It is neither good nor bad. Everything is subject to impermanence, arising and passing away. Realize this and be free from attachment, pride and arrogance about ‘I’, ‘my’ thinking, ‘my’ belief, ‘my’ actions and the fruit of ‘my’ actions.

By understanding this, we let go of judgment or expectation towards everything and everyone. All the names and forms are neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither happiness nor unhappiness, neither right nor wrong. It’s just different qualities being projected onto all the names and forms based on each individual mind being conditioned to think and believe about what things are, but it’s not the truth of all the names and forms.

Those who don’t see the truth or couldn’t understand this, they will want to argue with everyone whom is different from them, who has different perception of reality from them, who has different thinking and belief from them about what things are. They will want to prove that they are right and others who are different from them, are wrong. They want to prove that what they believe as good and bad, right and wrong, is true, while any contradictions with their belief about good and bad, right and wrong, is false. ‘Good people’ who think or label themselves as ‘good people’, they are not free from ignorance if they think and label those whom they think are bad, or those whose thinking and behavior are different from their own thinking and behavior, as bad people.

Be free.

Om shanti.

Want to teach yoga?

Teaching yoga is not about trying to convince other people to believe in the teachings of yoga, or to persuade other people to like yoga and practice yoga, or recruiting many people to be our yoga students and joining our yoga classes, or to set as an example for others to imitate us, or to build a yoga empire. The students shouldn’t follow or imitate the teacher, or blind-believe in the teachings of yoga or what the teacher taught them. It’s guiding the students to be free from egoism, and allowing them to be free from attachment and identification towards any thinking and beliefs including the teachings of yoga, but to investigate into the truth of everything, to attain self-realization. Everyone may or may not need some guidance, but it’s up to everyone’s free will to change their own thinking and behavior by developing self-control and self-discipline over their own thinking, actions and speech, and attain self-realization be free from ignorance, and realize unconditional love and peace, and stopped hurting themselves and others. The teacher doesn’t and can’t control or change the students, but can only give them guidance and encouragement. The teacher and the student will meet at the right time and the right place naturally when the time has come, without the influence of egoistic selfish desires.

There’s nothing wrong when people think that when they feel unhappy or angry, feel hurt and disappointed, it’s nothing to do with their own ignorance and egoism, but instead, it’s everyone and everything out there that are bad and wrong that give them unhappiness and suffering. There’s nothing wrong when people believe in God or disbelieve in God. It is everyone’s freedom of thought, actions and speech. But when people start to have strong attachment and identification with what they think and believe, there arise separateness, discrimination, prejudice, hatred, violence, fear and unrest in their minds towards others who are different from them. Some people even enjoy being angry and violent. They won’t feel good unless they get angry and violent.

If people don’t like to practice yoga about letting go of the ego, attachment and identification, no one can force them. The teachings of yoga teaches about everyone purifying their own thinking, actions and speech, but respecting others’ freedom of thinking, actions and speech, for what they want to do with themselves, their lives, their bodies and minds. Everyone takes the responsibility for the consequences of their own actions and inactions, for what they believe and disbelieve, for what they want and don’t want. No one can control or purify other’s mind. It is up to each one’s effort and free will to control and purify one’s mind. Yoga never condemns anyone who doesn’t like the teachings of yoga, or who doesn’t want to practice yoga as it is, or who misunderstands about yoga, or who criticizes yoga. Anyone can take up any yoga practice and practice anyway that they like, or do whatever they like with yoga, or they can stop practicing yoga for any reasons. There’s no condemn, or sin, or punishment.

Those who practice yoga, they don’t condemn nor criticize. Vice versa, those who condemn and criticize, they don’t practice yoga. We share yoga out of compassion, not out of egoism thinking that “Yoga is good for everyone. Everyone should practice yoga, and practice properly in a particular way, or else they are insulting the sacredness and purity of yoga.” One type of medicine may cure a person’s illness but may not necessarily has the same effect on another with the same illness, or would it cure some other form of illnesses. People react differently towards the same medicine and have different tolerance towards certain side-effects of that medicine which appear differently on different people. Some people may be a good friend for many others, but may not be a good partner or good parent. There are people dislike and disagree with the teaching and practice of yoga. That is their freedom. We can’t expect or force everyone to like yoga and practice yoga as it is. There are people who never heard about the teachings of yoga and don’t do any yoga practice in a particular name and form, but they are selfless, compassionate and peaceful beings. And if yoga is something sacred and pure, how can it be insulted or contaminated by anything at all?

Some people kept modifying the traditional yoga practices into many different new styles and versions to suit the preferences of what people like and don’t like, what they want and don’t want. Though there’s nothing wrong with that in terms of business marketing strategy and customer service and value, but then the yoga teachers are not really teaching yoga, and the students are not really practicing yoga. Instead it is empowering the egoism, attachment, identification, worldly thinking, ideas and habits, and encouraging the desires of craving and aversion of the egoistic mind. When we practice yoga, we stop giving the egoistic mind what it likes and wants. No doubt that sharing yoga is about sharing love and happiness. Yoga teachers are there to guide the yoga students on how to attain unconditional love and happiness by letting go the egoistic desires of craving and aversion. It’s not about giving them what they like and want, or don’t give them what they don’t like and don’t want, to gratified their desires of craving and aversion, to make them feel loved and happy. They feel happy is because they are getting something that they like and want, and not getting anything that they don’t like and don’t want. It doesn’t help them to be free from the desires of craving and aversion, to realize unconditional love and happiness. When they are not getting what they like and want, and getting something that they don’t like and don’t want, they will feel dissatisfied, disappointed, unhappy or miserable. This is moving away from what yoga is about.

Though there is a very significant teaching of yoga about seeing God in all and everything, that God exists in all and everything, but one doesn’t need to believe in God or spirituality to practice the teachings of yoga. For those who don’t believe in God, this teaching can be taught as seeing the one same universal consciousness of all and everything, which is the truth of impermanence and selflessness, that there’s no ‘I’ or individual existence exists in everything or in all the impermanent changes. For those who don’t believe in God or the one same universal consciousness, this teaching can be taught as seeing the element of teacher in all and everything to teach us something for higher understanding about worldly life existence, and be grateful and thankful for all kinds of good and bad experiences. Those who truly implement this teaching in everyday life wouldn’t be disturbed or determined by all the pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and wouldn’t generate anger or hatred towards anyone or anything, but they would respect the law of impermanence in all the different qualities of name and form, and respect all the different types of thinking, belief and behavior that exist in the worldly community as they are. This teaching leads us to peace and harmony in ourselves and not generating violence, anger and hatred in ourselves and into the world. But if our minds are over-powered by strong egoism and have pride and arrogance about ourselves and our thinking and belief, we would find this practice impossible or very difficult, unless we are ready to let go of our ego, pride and arrogance.

Peacelessness and disharmony exist in our minds are coming from the strong egoism, pride and arrogance, attachment and identification, craving and aversion, greed and discontentment, fear and worry, and all kinds of impurities empowered by ignorance or corrupted thinking and belief in the mind. One also generates restlessness and disharmony into the surrounding environment when one isn’t peaceful and harmony. If every being is free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, naturally the society will be free from separateness, discrimination, prejudice, hatred, violence, fear and unrest. If we want peace in the world, we must have peace in ourselves. Having peace and harmony in oneself is the only effective way to help the world to be in peace and harmony among all the different qualities and diversities. By being violent, angry and hating others and happenings that we don’t like and disagree with, and provoke anger and hatred in other people to also be angry and hate those whom we think they are bad and wrong, it wouldn’t help the world to be peaceful and harmony as how we would like it to be, but instead, we contribute so much restlessness and disharmony into the world, it doesn’t matter how good and right we think we are.

When we know what is yoga, we will know that teaching yoga has very little to do with qualification and certification coming from attending yoga teachers training courses. Yoga teachers training courses are for people to learn to become their own teacher. When one realizes the teacher within oneself, one will know that everything and everyone are teachers to teach everyone something. One will be free from discrimination and hatred towards anyone and anything, and will respect everyone and everything as they are. And naturally, one can also guide other people to become their own teachers with one’s unconditional love and peace, without any certifications or acknowledgement from anyone or any organizations.

It doesn’t matter whether we know the names of the yoga poses in English or Sanskrit, or not, what type of yoga we practice and what are the benefits of the yoga exercises, because yoga practice is not about gaining the benefits from the yoga exercises at all, and knowing the names of the yoga poses and which type of yoga we practice have nothing to do with the realization of unconditional love and peace. It’s about letting go of attachment, identification, expectation, craving and aversion towards all our actions and the fruit of actions, or towards the yoga practice and the result of the yoga practice.

Yoga is about realizing compassion and selflessness through the practice of dispassion towards worldly objects and ideas, discrimination of what is real and unreal, eliminating the ego and quieting our own mind, and be free from all kinds of attachments, identifications, desires, craving, aversion and impurities. And all these practices have nothing to do with the impermanent condition and ability of the physical body to perform the yoga poses, or how many years we have been doing yoga exercises, or how much yoga exercises we had done, or how many yoga poses we can perform and whether we can perform the yoga poses in perfect alignment, or not. It’s also nothing to do with all the physical health and fitness benefits that come along as side-effects from the yoga practice. All these names and forms cannot guarantee or determine whether we know about yoga or not, whether we are practicing yoga or not, whether we can teach yoga or not, and whether we are free from ignorance and egoism, and be liberated from suffering, or not.

Many people including many yoga enthusiasts don’t like to hear about the practice of dispassion. They give themselves many reasons to justify themselves that they don’t need to be dispassionate, instead they promote passionate way of thinking and living. They said follow all our desires and live passionately. There’s nothing wrong with having desires and being passionate towards worldly life existence, self-image, ideas, ambitions and social activities, and everyone has the freedom to choose what they want to do with their life existence, but then it isn’t what yoga practice is about.

Dispassion towards worldly objects, ideas and activities helps to render the mind calm and quiet to be able to perform self-inquiry to know who we really are, or, who we are not. Passion invigorates strong attachment and identification with worldly life existence, the function and ability of the body and mind, and passionate desires of craving and aversion. Instead of quieting the mind, annihilating the worldly ideas and eliminating the ego, it is stimulating the mind, strengthening the worldly ideas and empowering the ego. Passion hinders the mind to see the truth of things as they are. But if people enjoy being passionate and don’t mind being restless, that’s their freedom.

Dispassion doesn’t mean that we have no love. It is loving the world and everyone as they are, without selfish desires or expectations, discrimination of likes and dislikes, attachment, identification, craving and aversion, not necessarily it’s the way that I like it to be, or the way that I think it should be.

Passion is loving the world and people with selfish desires and expectations, discrimination of likes and dislikes, attachment, identification, craving and aversion. It’s I love my world to be the way that I like it to be, or the way that I think it should be.

When one is free from ignorance and egoism, then there’s no difference between passion and dispassion. As one can live and perform actions passionately in the world, but is undisturbed and undetermined by one’s actions and the fruit of actions.

The realization of selflessness will allow us to be undisturbed or undetermined by whatever the mind perceives through the senses, and remain equanimous and be at peace unconditionally. When one has realized unconditional love and peace, one won’t be intentionally generating thoughts, actions and speech that will hurt oneself and others under any circumstances, which is compassion. And the realization of unconditional love and peace has nothing to do with the knowledge about anatomy and physiology, or the physical condition and ability and alignment to do the yoga poses.

Everyone can practice yoga and share the wisdom of yoga and its practice with anybody, when they are free from ignorance and egoism and have realized unconditional love and peace through their own persist and sincere practice. They don’t need a piece of commercialized paper to allow them to share love and peace with others. Those who haven’t realized unconditional love and peace in themselves, they can’t share love and peace with others even if they have been attending many yoga courses and possess many pieces of certifications. Those who think and believe that they need to attend professional yoga courses and acquire a few pieces of paper to accumulate credits to allow them to share love and peace with other people, then they don’t really know what is yoga. But their minds are influenced by worldly ideas and qualities of name and form.

May all be happy, be peaceful, be free.

Om shanti.

Looking after our minds…

Yoga practice is looking after our minds particularly through observing certain observation and restriction of mental and physical activities to purify our thinking patterns, actions and speech in everyday life, besides performing some forms of physical and breathing exercises (Yoga Asana and Pranayama) to assist and support concentration and meditation practice (Dharana and Dhyana), to know the truth and be free from being determined or disturbed by the world of impermanent names and forms.

If our minds are highly sensitive towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, and easily be affected by the pleasant and unpleasant qualities of name and form, and being restless being influenced and disturbed by the perceptions of names and forms, then we need to have certain degrees of limitation, or restriction, or filtration of what types of input that come in contact with the mind.

When the mind develops a strong foundation of non-attachment and non-identification, then all kinds of observation are unnecessary, and there’s no need of limitation, or restriction, or filtration of what types of input that come in contact with the mind.

The practice of disassociation and non-identification with any names and forms is our basic yoga practice.

The worldly minded minds will want to avoid this type of yoga practice, and criticize this type of practice as anti-social and ‘unhuman’. The worldly minded minds identify with the name and form of ‘human beings’ – “I am a human being. I am a good human being. Good human beings should have such and such qualities, should behave in such and such ways, or else we are bad human beings.” We don’t just expect ourselves as human beings we should behave in certain ways, but we also expect other ‘human beings’ also conform to our own projection and expectation, constantly generate separateness, conflicts, arguments, discrimination and hatred in oneself and others.

Yoga and meditation practice is not about strengthening or securing the worldly identification with certain qualities of name and form as this or that, but it’s to drop off any identifications with any names and forms, realize non-separateness, or oneness beyond all the qualities of name and form.

It’s the same as when we identify ourselves with a particular type of ‘origin’, ‘nation’, ‘culture’, ‘religion’, ‘ethnic’, ‘personality’, ‘professionalism’, ‘behavior’, ‘gender’, ‘sexual orientation’, ‘political group’, ‘social group’, ‘yoga practitioner’, ‘yoga teacher’, ‘yoga lineage’, or ‘yoga group’, we are not free.

Even by identifying oneself as a ‘divine being’ or ‘spiritual being’ is also not free from identification with qualities of name and form, and separateness.

Fear, discrimination (including discrimination of friends or not friends, human beings or non-human beings), pride and arrogance derive from separateness due to the identification with name and form. Unless we are free from fear, discrimination, pride and arrogance, there’s no discrimination of friends or not friends, human beings or non-human beings, or else we can’t be truly compassionate even though we would like to be a compassionate being.

Om shanti.

Fitness yoga exercise classes?

Yoga practitioners who live in the big city and wish to engage more time into their personal yoga practice by teaching some fitness yoga exercise classes in the big city to make a living to support their lives that also allow them to have the free time and space to perform their own yoga practice shouldn’t be bothered by what other people say about “These fitness yoga exercise classes are not about yoga and they are just a commercial ‘money making’ thing.” or “It’s wrong to modified traditional yoga asana practice into modern physical fitness exercise classes to make a living.”

Even if the fitness yoga exercise classes didn’t mention anything about the aspect of ‘spirituality’ whether intentionally or unintentionally, and it’s not about letting go of the egoism, desires, attachment, identification, craving and aversion at all, they do provide excellent and efficient physical fitness workout that can benefit many people disregard their personal cultural belief and religion practice, especially those who live a busy city lifestyle with limited personal time and space.

Although many yoga practitioners and teachers try to explain that yoga is universal, but, when we apply the name and form of ‘spirituality’ onto something that we believe is universal, then, not everyone will agree with ‘spirituality’ is universal friendly to all and everyone. As different people might have belief and disbelief about ‘spirituality’. Among those who believe in ‘spirituality’, different people or groups will have different names and forms of ‘spirituality’ that they think is belonged to them, and their ‘spirituality’ is better or purer than other forms of ‘spirituality’.

If something that is truly universal, it is free from being conditioned by any names and forms. It is nameless and formless beyond qualities of names and forms.

Fitness yoga exercise classes that don’t involve any aspects of ‘spirituality’ can bring the yoga practice to many levels and diversities of the society. As there are people do not wish to involve in the world of ‘spirituality’, which we can understand why, as there are many ‘weird’ people and ‘weird’ happenings going on in the world of ‘spirituality’ which are not necessarily what spirituality is about.

Not involving in the world of ‘spirituality’ doesn’t determine whether one is spiritual, or not. Just like not identifies oneself as good person, nor associating with other good people, doesn’t determine whether one is good, or not.

Without touching the aspect of ‘spirituality’, it is like any sports activities, it’s universal friendly. Anyone whether with or without a particular religion belief, being spiritual or non-spiritual, can take part in any kind of sports activities, if one is interested. Although great achievements and excellency in sports activities doesn’t guarantee anyone liberation from ignorance, egoism and suffering.

Living among the society, whatever people do and don’t do, there will always be somebody or some group in the society reacts towards something that they don’t like and don’t agree with, and criticize or condemn about this and that. Why should anyone be bothered?

Every living being comes into existence as a living being by oneself alone (even if there are multiple birth) and will leave this world by oneself alone (even if the life of multiple living beings is finished at the same moment). Self-realization or liberation from ignorance is attained by oneself alone. It has nothing to do with another being or group, not even all our past and present teachers and Gurus, or family and friends.

When a peaceful being prefers to be in solitude away from the society and keeps the path of liberation to oneself, and has no intention or interest in ‘teaching’ or sharing’ the path of liberation with any other beings, there will be criticism and condemn from somebody or some group about this being is selfish.

When a peaceful being has the intention or interest for ‘sharing’ the path of liberation with other beings, and tries to ‘teach’ or ‘guide’ other beings about the path of liberation, there will also be criticism and condemn from somebody or some group about one is not ‘teaching’ or ‘guiding’ other beings in the ‘correct and appropriate’ way according to what they think it should be.

Let them be. These minds that like to find faults in everything, and take pride and joy in criticism and condemn are restless. Most untrained minds are restless, or else there won’t be any criticism or condemn from anyone or anywhere about anything. The world will be very quiet and peaceful. Be compassionate towards all these restless minds, they are so unhappy and peaceless. Those who know non-attachment and non-identification will not be influenced by the points of view, thinking and beliefs of these restless minds. One shares what one is, or not, and it’s nothing to do with what others want and don’t want, like and dislike.

Among many forms of fitness exercises for attaining good health and fitness level, these yoga exercises adapted and modified from traditional yoga asana practice provide huge varieties and efficient fitness workouts for all levels of different physical conditions and abilities, to cater the personal requirements, the likes and dislikes of many different types of people, can promote fitness and obtain higher energy level, to induce good mood and relaxed state of the mind, to develop positive and clear thinking, to lower risk of injuries or contracting illnesses, to improve and maintain good physical and mental health condition, to improve quality of life, relationships, self-esteem and sense of meaningfulness. Although all these qualities of names and forms are still subject to impermanence, and don’t guarantee anyone liberation from ignorance and suffering.

The world will definitely be a better place with more people having a ‘cool and relaxed’ state of mind through performing yoga exercises regularly, there will be less conflicts and violence. It is better than taking some substances that might also can induce a momentary ‘cool and relaxed’ state of mind, but might bring other forms of side effects.

Eventually by obtaining and maintaining a well-balanced and ‘cool and relaxed’ state of mind through regular practice of some yoga exercises, naturally one can be evolving towards purity and higher consciousness, without any intention nor interest to involve in ‘purity’, or ‘higher consciousness’.

It is absolutely fine if people are not interested at all in the teachings of yoga about the elimination of egoism, desires, attachment, identification, craving and aversion. It’s definitely nothing wrong when there’s no mention about these yoga teachings in the fitness yoga exercise classes, but instead it is moving away from all these yoga teachings, whether intentionally or unintentionally, such like, strengthening the attachment and identification towards self-image, physical conditions and abilities, the empowerment of likes and dislikes, craving and aversion, the judgment and expectation towards the performance, and results orientated, and etc.

It isn’t being disrespectful towards the Gurus and the teachings of yoga when yoga (asana) practice in the world has been transformed into something that is very little to do with what yoga is about, which is to free the mind from egoism, attachment, identification, desires, craving, aversion and all sorts of impurities, to know the truth of names and forms, to eliminate ignorance and transcend suffering. And all these have nothing to do with whether one is spiritual, or not, whether one has a religion belief, or not, and whether one believes in the existence of an Almighty God or an individual soul, or not.

Yoga practice is to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, desires, impurities and suffering. And this alone is universal. Untrained minds are influenced by ignorance, egoism, impurities and experience suffering. A well-trained mind is free from the influence of ignorance, egoism, impurities and doesn’t experience suffering. An impure unrest mind creates havoc into the surrounding environment. A pure and peaceful mind doesn’t generate havoc into the surrounding environment. A closed mind generates offensiveness towards everything. An opened mind embraces all and everything.

It doesn’t matter where we come from, where we are now, who we are, what we are and how we are, we all have a mind and there are countless mind activities going on every moment, whether consciously or unconsciously. Without knowing this mind and its modifications, one generates disharmony in oneself and into the surrounding environment. Know thyself, is knowing this mind and its modification. There is no ‘I’.

May all be free, be peaceful, be happy.

If anyone doesn’t want to be free, or peaceful, or happy, let them be.

Om shanti.