Sometimes people might feel confused by the different teachings or practices in yoga that appear to be ‘contradicted’ with one another.
Such as, there is the teachings or external practice of ‘Yama (refraining from immoral conduct) and Niyama (observances)’, ‘positive thinking’, ‘sattvic physical and mental inputs’, ‘breath control’ and ‘physical position’ to influence/balance/purify/control/manipulate the energy field to ‘change’ or ‘influence’ the state of the mind from agitation to calmness, from dullness to brightness, from restlessness to quietness, from negative to positive, from unhealthiness to healthiness, from selfishness to unselfishness, from impurity to purity, from ignorance to the end of ignorance. These are ‘the practice with names and forms’ with the intention to influence or change certain ‘lower qualities’ to be transformed into ‘higher qualities’, or to let go certain old ‘bad’ habits and to develop new ‘good’ habits. This is for the passionate ones who are being conditioned deeply by worldly egoistic thinking/belief/habits/behavior/desire/action and reaction, who still identified strongly with certain qualities of names and forms (family, relationship, given name/self-identity, gender, sexual orientation, personality, self-image, physical appearance/condition/ability/disability, states of the mind of thinking/belief/feelings/emotions, action and the fruit of action, culture, religion, spirituality, community, knowledge, experiences, relationship, nationality, political point of view, and so on), who are still looking for and being determined by the sense of love, happiness, satisfaction, success, meaningfulness, confidence, positiveness, goodness, righteousness, easiness, or pleasurable enjoyments in the qualities of names and forms.
Then, there’s the teachings and internal practice of the senses are being withdrawn from the sense objects, concentration and meditation, which include non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, annihilating egoism or the idea of ‘I’, where there’s no ‘I’ existing being the performer of action or the receiver/enjoyer of the fruit of action. There’s neither ‘I’ am selfish nor ‘I’ am unselfish. There’s neither ‘I’ want goodness/happiness nor ‘I’ don’t want badness/unhappiness. It’s going beyond all the qualities of names and forms, being undetermined by the Gunas/energy fields, the physical condition, the state of the mind, quality of names and forms, duality, actions and the fruit of actions.
This is for the dispassionate ones who have firm determination to transcend the mind perception of a worldly life existence of impermanent and selfless names and forms, who have abandoned worldly egoistic thinking/belief/habits/behavior/desire/action and reaction, who are disinterested in chasing after worldly objects/enjoyments/relationships/satisfaction/meaningfulness/identification/recognition, who have gone beyond the sense of love, happiness, satisfaction, success, meaningfulness, confidence, positiveness, goodness, righteousness, easiness, or pleasurable enjoyments, upon the realization of selflessness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, non-duality, oneness, or non-separateness derived from self-inquiry under a desireless equanimous mind, being aware of the modification of the mind or the different states of the mind allowing all the pleasant/unpleasant or desirable/undesirable names and forms of all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, feelings, thoughts in this present moment now being there as it is, without interfering with or controlling or changing the physical condition or the state of the mind to be something else that is not what it is, or to be ‘the way that I desire it to be’, allowing all the names and forms to be arising and passing away, allowing all the impermanent changes to be there, as they are.
There’s neither attachment towards nor identification with the impermanent and selfless physical body/the modification of the mind as ‘I’. These are ‘the nameless and formless practice’ without any intention to influence or change anything, but allowing all and everything to be there as they are, to be changing as they are, to be what they are, as they are.
If the external practice with names and forms are being practiced with the nameless formless internal practice, then one will know how to free the mind from egoism while performing all the external practice and allowing all the effects or benefits coming from the external practice to be there as they are, without intention to be receiving the effects/benefits of the practice, without desire of craving or aversion, without judgment or expectation, without attachment or identification with the practice or the result of the practice.
Just like the sun, the wind, the water, the earth and the space have no intention to be performing action, or to be interfering with one another and everything in the universe, or discriminating/judging/praising/condemning this is good or that is bad, but actions/activities are there constantly influencing each other.
All the different teachings and practices exist to accommodate different states of the mind with different degrees of attachment, openness, awareness, ignorance, understanding and/or realization. There’s no ‘contradiction’ at all. It’s just different stages of the entire yoga practice. However, many yoga enthusiasts might just stop at getting the effects/benefits from the yoga practice and don’t want to proceed any further to free the mind from egoism, impurities, restlessness or ignorance, to free the mind from being determined by the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, and be free, as they are not interested at all in silencing the modification of the mind, as they are passionately ‘loving’ and ‘enjoying’ the impermanent and selfless worldly life existence so much. And that’s their freedom.
When the mind is being less conditioned by worldly thinking/belief/habits/action/reaction, this mind will be less disturbed by the mind perception of names and forms of all kinds of agreeable/disagreeable or pleasant/unpleasant experiences, and this will allow the mind to see the truth of things as it is, under a calm and quiet state of the mind, intentionlessly, effortlessly, spontaneously.