Ignorance and how to be free from ignorance

Most minds/people don’t like to be related to ‘ignorance’ or what they understood as ‘being stupid’ or ‘lack of knowledge’. But ‘ignorance’ in the teachings of yoga and Buddhism is not about ‘being stupid’ or ‘lack of knowledge’. As many of those who are not ‘stupid’ at all, who are very smart and intelligent and knowledgeable are not necessarily free from the veil of ignorance.

People would like to think and believe and be acknowledged by oneself and others as somebody who is nothing to do with ‘ignorance’, or ‘I am not ignorant’, which they think and believe that they are smart and intelligent enough, and are highly educated and knowledgeable enough to not be related to ‘ignorance’. They think and believe that only those whom they think and believe are somehow less smart or less intelligent than them, and are less educated or less knowledgeable than them are most probably related to ignorance, where they understood ‘ignorance’ as something to do with ‘bad/negative’ genetic inheritance, improper brain development, influence from bad surrounding environment, lack of knowledge/skill/talent, uneducated or insufficiency of education, incompetency, being lazy or demotivated to learn and acquire knowledge, being stupid, or lack of social interaction and connection, or lack of stimulation, or inability to comprehend something or solve problem, and so on.

‘Ignorance’ in the teachings of yoga and Buddhism is about the mind being ignorant towards or ‘not knowing’ the truth of names and forms/existence/suffering, or ‘not knowing’ Thyself or the misidentification with the mind and the modification of the mind perceiving a worldly life existence of names and forms that is subject to impermanence and selflessness as ‘I’, or ‘not knowing’ who/what is the ‘I’ that the minds identifying/acknowledging as who ‘I’ am, as an individual being possessing certain quality of names and forms that distinguishing oneself from all the others that are not ‘I’, or ‘not knowing’ who/what is the ‘God’ or what are the ‘gods’ that many minds have been believing in and praying to, or ‘not knowing’ the truth of all the social/cultural/spiritual beliefs and practice that have been passing down from generation to generation that influencing how the minds think, act, react, feel, judge, expect, behave and live life in certain way.

Many minds believe in certain beliefs just because it’s propagated by their ancestors, parents, teachers, leaders, favorite famous people, idols, friends, philosophers, or particular social/cultural/spiritual/religious background, and there’s great fear of ‘letting go’ those beliefs and practice, being afraid of ‘sin’, or ‘bad happening’/’punishment’ might happen to them or their life or their loved ones, if they cease believing in/respecting/following/propagating those beliefs and practice to think, behave and live life. And it has to come from the mind itself realizing the truth of all those beliefs and practice. It’s not hard to inquire the truth, but most minds reluctant to inquire the truth of the existing beliefs and practice in their minds or lives, and it’s unthinkable for them to question the truth of their beliefs and practice, as it means that they are ‘disrespecting’/’offending’ those ‘sacred’ beliefs and practice for inquiring into the truth of it, which is ‘sinful’ and ‘punishable’ according to those beliefs and practice.

Being talented/skillful/knowledgeable in certain things or many things doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance, where the mind is being disturbed/offended/hurt/disappointed/dissatisfied/angry/frustrated/hating/fearful/intimidated/insulted/humiliated/bullied by names and forms that the mind perceives/recognizes as bad, wrong, negative, unpleasant, undesirable, undeserving, disappointing, frustrating, intimidating or hurtful, and out of these impurities, it might generate actions and speech that might cause further consequences to oneself and/or others.

The minds that are not free from ignorance might be unwittingly ‘following’ a set of ‘rules and regulations of certain social/cultural/religious/spiritual belief and practice’ to live life and behave in certain way, and might be proud of having a specific type of food consumption of what they eat and don’t eat for certain spiritual/cultural/religious/environmental/ethical/health/personal reason, and they could be expecting the others (as human beings) should also be following the similar rules and regulations to live life and behave, as well as following their specific type of food consumption, or else, it will be mocked/criticized by them as ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’, or ‘sinful’ way of life and behavior and food consumption.

The ignorant impure egoistic mind unwittingly perceiving/experiencing a personal reality of a worldly life existence that consists of ‘I’ and everything that ‘I’ perceive/experience/know/acknowledge that the thinking mind refers as ‘this is me and my life experiences’ with all and everything that directly/indirectly relate to ‘I’ and ‘my life’, and perceives/experiences all kinds of duality derived from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, and generate attachment and desire of craving and aversion towards the perceived reality of duality, not knowing Thyself or the truth of a worldly life existence of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, not knowing impermanence and selflessness of the mind perception of a worldly life existence, constantly being disturbed and determined very much by the mind perception of pleasant/unpleasant, agreeable/disagreeable, desirable/undesirable names and forms or life experiences, being restless swaying between satisfaction and dissatisfaction, happiness and unhappiness, pleasurable enjoyment and painful sorrow determined by the gratification and non-gratification of the desire of craving and aversion, ceaselessly.

Transcending this restlessness of ignorance, silencing the mind, annihilating the modification of the mind of restless countless births and deaths nurtured by egoism, desires and impurities, is the ultimate goal of yoga and meditation practice. Any other forms of benefits/effects derived from the regular yoga and meditation practice are just some momentary side-effects of better health/fitness condition and pleasant good feelings that are impermanent.

It’s everyone’s freedom for how/what they think, believe, act, react, feel, behave, live life, consume and desire, or not. There’s nothing wrong if people just want to live a particular lifestyle in accordance to certain belief and practice, and do some yoga exercises to attain better health/fitness condition and pleasant good feelings, even if they are momentary and perishable.

The minds that are ignorant towards ignorance, or thinking and believing that oneself is void of ignorance due to one’s intelligence, talent, skill, education, knowledge, ability or achievement in certain things, would not be interested in yoga practice of dispassion, renunciation, silence, seclusion and solitude for mind purification, self-discipline, self-inquiry and self-realization.

Renunciation is not about abandoning existing worldly duty and responsibility to be in a monastery/forest/cave to be full time monk or nun, but it’s renouncing or letting go worldly social/cultural/spiritual/religious thinking and belief, values and practice, to open the mind to allow the mind to see things as they are, regardless of living among the society or away from the society. If the mind is not opened, then even if living away from the society, but the mind is still very much being conditioned by the worldly thinking and belief, values and practice to perceive, think, analyze and judge towards everything, and couldn’t allow the mind to see things as they are, even after many years of performing yoga and meditation practice, and getting all kinds of momentary effect/benefit from that.

For those who want to know Thyself or inquire the truth of names and forms, who are aware of ignorance, who have intense yearning for liberation from restlessness of the impermanent and selfless modification of the mind, they can practice yoga of mind purification, self-discipline, self-inquiry and self-realization. The journey might appear to be long, hard and unpleasant due to the ‘stubborn’ veil of ignorance, but be determined to keep disciplining, purifying and silencing the restless impure egoistic modification of the mind.

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Want to learn and practice yoga?

Yoga practice is preparing the mind for self-inquiry, inquire towards “What is yoga?”, or “The truth of names and forms.”, “What is life/worldly life existence?”, “What is suffering/the cause of suffering?”, or “Who am ‘I’, or who/what is this ‘I’ or self cognition/self-existence/self-identity/individual being?”

People could be talking about yoga according to what the Yoga Scripture stated about yoga – “Yoga is the union of the individual consciousness and the universal consciousness.” or, “Yoga is the suspension of the modification of the mind.” but without direct experience of knowing Thyself, or knowing Yoga.

When people identify and introduce themselves as “I am an experienced yoga practitioner/yoga teacher”, or “I have learned/studied/practiced yoga for how many years under such and such Guru/teacher/school”, or “I am 200/500 hours certified yoga teacher.” it only shows that they don’t really know what is ‘yoga’. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with being ignorant towards many things under the influence of ignorance. If human beings can be free from ignorance easily, there won’t be so much ignorance and the consequences of ignorance in this world.

The realization of selflessness/’I’-lessness/egolessness, or non-duality/oneness/non-separateness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness/birthlessness/deathlessness, has nothing to do with whether one had been practicing ‘yoga’ for how long and how much, or whether one had attended ‘yoga teacher training courses’ and attained certain ‘Internationally recognized/affiliated yoga teacher certification/qualification’, or whether one is educated and can converse, read and write in certain language, or not.

Most of the time, when people talk about ‘yoga’, that they are practicing yoga, that they love yoga, they are talking about the ‘yoga’ as a form of exercise consists of positions/movements/breath control/concentration/relaxation that gives many physical and mental health benefits, that can help to improve physical and mental health and fitness condition, or talking about some kinds of ‘energy channels/centres cleansing technique’, or ‘sound/vibration/mystical/mantra/energy healing’ practice or ‘energy exchange’, or ‘love sharing and hugging’, or ‘yogic diet’, or ‘clean eating’, or ‘organic living’, or ‘yogic lifestyle’, or ‘yogic attires and accessories’, or ‘yoga mats/blocks/straps/cushions/etc’.

When people visualize ‘someone practicing yoga’, most people would think of someone on a ‘yoga mat’ wearing certain brand of ‘yoga attire’ holding a particular ‘yoga posture’ or doing a set of yoga movements consist of different ‘yoga postures’ or ‘stretches’ with or without some yoga accessories such as block and strap, or doing some ‘breathing exercises’, ‘chanting/praying/clapping/dancing/singing with music’, or ‘meditating in a cross-legged sitting posture holding a particular hand gesture’ with incense burning or meditative music background in an out of the world beautiful and peaceful environment, or a group of people happily chatting, cooking and eating ‘organic produce’, or something to do with ‘positive thinking/empowerment’/’relaxation and de-stress methods’/’healthy lifestyle’/’the sense of happiness or meaningfulness’, or even, visualizing people with certain appearance such like ‘tattooed body’, ‘dreadlocks’ and ‘smoking pot’. Just like what people see in the ‘yoga videos’/’TV documentary on yoga or yogi’/’yoga posters/advertisements/arts’, or in the ‘yoga classes’ in the ‘yoga centres’, or on the streets of certain famous ‘cities of yoga’ in India.

We often hear many ‘yoga practitioners’ say, “I didn’t practice yoga for some time because life was too busy in the past few years/months/weeks/days and I didn’t have enough space for the yoga practice. Now that I have more free time and free space, I want to start practicing yoga again.” It shows that they have no idea what is yoga and yoga practice even though they might have been doing some ‘yoga practice’ either by themselves or attending ‘yoga classes’ for some time.

Yoga and yoga practice is unlimited by name and form, time, space and causation.

Then there are also many ‘yoga competitions’ that are about ‘how good/well one performs some ‘yoga postures’ or ‘yoga movements’. “This person performs the postures/movements better than the others, this person endowed with the strength/the flexibility/the techniques/the artistic/the creativity/the grace/the flow/the endurance/the focus/the effort, and so, this person is the best ‘yogi’ and the champion/winner of this ‘yoga competition’.” There are also many ‘yoga events’, ‘yoga festivals’, ‘yoga shows/performances/demonstrations’, or ‘yoga international day’, and etc.

All these ‘names and forms’ don’t determined that one is practicing yoga, or one knows yoga, or one is a yogi. Those who truly practice yoga, or who know yoga, there’s no such idea/identification of “I know yoga”, “I practice yoga for how long for how regular”, “I meditate for how many years for how many hours/times per day”, “I can hold my breath for how long”, “I am a yogi”, “I am a yoga teacher”, “I am a 200/500 hours certified yoga teacher”, “I participate in such and such yoga events/festivals/courses/yoga competitions”, “I am celebrating yoga international day”, “I am a champion of yoga”, “I am the best yogi”, “This is how a yogi looks like”, “Yoga is so good”, or “I love yoga.”

If someone thinks one knows something about yoga but doesn’t really know what is yoga, and wants to approach a teacher asking to be learning and practicing yoga under this teacher, one must ’empty’ thyself of what one thinks who/what one is, of what one thinks one had learned/practiced/experienced/known/achieved. Actually, just by ’emptying’ thyself, or abandoning the ‘self-identification with such and such quality of names and forms’, one has already opened the ‘door’ of yoga, even without a teacher’s guidance.

Social conversation / talking / sharing / caring?

Most people need/like/love to talk to some other people most of the time, or even talking to themselves if other people are not available. Talking is a normal thing to do, and a common way to know, learn, express and share, or to have an activity to pass time to chase away boredom and to gratify curiosity. In many cultures in the society, it’s considered ‘rude’, or ‘impolite’, or ‘inappropriate’, or ‘wrong’, or ‘something is wrong’, if there’s silence among people (especially for a prolonged period of time), or if someone doesn’t interact with other people or doesn’t get involved in a conversation with other people around, especially those who know one another, even if someone who can’t hear or speak, or don’t speak the same language, or those who are new comers/complete strangers showing up in a place with some other people around, are also being ‘expected’ to have at least some sort of body language/facial expression/sign language/gesture to be conversing/interacting/communicating with other people. People would feel offended, or disrespected, or mistreated, if they don’t get any ‘expected’ response from people whom they talk to, where either people didn’t give any response or people talked about something that they don’t like to hear.

Many people aren’t satisfy with some people just giving a friendly non-intimidating smile to acknowledge or greet other people, but they believe and expect that all human beings need to have certain physical/mental/emotional conversation/communication/interaction/involvement with each other to build a ‘healthy’ and ‘caring’ society. Someone who keeps to oneself, who has no unfriendly discrimination or intimidation towards everyone else, but doesn’t interested in engaging in any kind of physical/mental/emotional contact/conversation/interaction/communication/involvement with anyone, is being seen as ‘wrong’, ‘selfish’, ‘unhealthy’, or ‘sicked’, by all the others who ‘expect’ certain ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’ behavior/action/reaction/interaction among ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’ human beings.

Many passionate/sociable/friendly/caring people couldn’t understand or respect there are people who prefer complete quietness/solitude or some quiet/alone time/space for themselves. People would either feel ‘bad’ or get ‘offended’ when other people reject or don’t accept their friendly invitation to meet up, or get together, or to chat.

People need/want to share ‘what I think is who I am’ and ‘how I think and feel’ with other people and they want other people to share with them ‘what they think is who they are’ and ‘how they think and feel’. Majority of the worldly so called ‘normal’, ‘healthy’, ‘friendly’ and ‘caring’ society is all about developing and empowering that ‘self-identity’ which attached and identified with certain qualities of names and forms and ‘the modification of the mind of impermanent thinking and feelings’ as ‘this is I’, that is not ‘I’ in yoga of selflessness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness.

For those who know each other, mostly the conversation begins with “How are you?” and then naturally will be followed by talking about the past and the future, “What have you been doing and where did you go and what’s next?” while for those first time meeting/knowing each other, it’s mostly talking about self-introduction of each other about “Who I am/who you are.” or “This is me and my name/my nationality/my life/my family/my relationship/my friends/my experience/my knowledge/my interest/my ambition/my passion/my vision/my point of view/my ideas/my talent/my skill/my achievement/my non-achievement/my success/my failure/my pride/my shame/my good/my bad/my happiness/my unhappiness/my guilt and regret, and so on. This is who I am, where I come from/where I live and what I do for living and at free time, and what I think/believe/feel/like/dislike/agree with/disagree with/want/don’t want, my good/bad/happy/unhappy experiences, and what I did in the past and will be doing in the future.” as well as talking about “This is good/better/right/positive/excellent/happy/funny/meaningful/encouraging and that is bad/worse/wrong/negative/terrible/unhappy/sad/meaningless/discouraging.” or ‘obligated manner’ of pleasant words, praise and compliment. And sometimes there will be scheming, plotting, cover-up/made-up stories telling, or hypocrisy, or lies, or gossip, or mocking, or teasing, or flirting, or criticism, or condemn, or slander, or back-biting, or argument, or intimidation, and etc.

Social conversation or talking is an intense physical/mental/emotional energy consuming process that keeps the mind ceaselessly busy and restless receiving/processing inputs and generating/delivering outputs, while all these ceaseless mind inputs and outputs generate further random mental/emotional imprints that doesn’t allow the mind to be quiet, and unwittingly empowering egoism of worldly/spiritual attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation that feeds ignorance in oneself and others.

For those who sincerely want to meditate or practice yoga to be free from ignorance, it’s all about freeing the mind from being unwittingly empowering all those names and forms, of duality, attachment, identification, past experiences/future anticipation, passionate desires, craving/aversion, judgment, comparison, expectation, restlessness, impurities, and etc, to stop feeding egoism and ignorance. And hence, the important practice of silence, renunciation, seclusion and solitude.

Without renunciation from the worldly society, one is being ‘obliged’ to meet up/get together/communicate/interact with many other people of family/relatives/friends circle/community and spend so much energy into social conversation/interaction/communication/activity with all the others around in order to ‘build’ and ‘maintain’ a ‘healthy, caring and friendly society’ that might make the mind feels ‘love’, ‘kindness’, ‘acknowledgement’, ‘goodness’, ‘positiveness’, ‘liveliness’ and ‘meaningfulness’. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t help to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, to quiet/annihilate the restless modification of the mind. Instead, the mind might attached stronger onto the sense of ‘love’, ‘kindness’, ‘acknowledgement’, ‘goodness’, ‘positiveness’, ‘liveliness’ and ‘meaningfulness’ deriving from the impermanent and selfless worldly names and forms of all kinds of attachment and egoistic identity and actions/the fruit of actions.

From the perception/achievement/notion of “Life in this world is good and meaningful.” there arise the desire of “We need to preserve and protect life in this world to stay good and meaningful.” and then there arise ‘dissatisfaction’, ‘frustration’, ‘hurts’, ‘depression’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘anger’, ‘disappointment’, ‘fear’, ‘worry’, and etc, when things are not being the way that the mind desire it to be, when there’s obstacles/difficulties/circumstances that hinder the gratification of that desire to be building/maintaining/protecting what the mind think and believe as ‘good and meaningful life in this world’. This is attachment/clinging/craving/expectation.

First, there’s an idea/thought arise in the mind, then there arise attachment/clinging onto that idea/thought and there arise desire to materialize that idea/thought to become action/creation, and then there’s possessiveness/identification/expectation/protection towards that action/creation and the result/fruit of that action/creation. If things turn out to be the way that is not what the mind desire/expect it to be, the mind feels disturbed/dissatisfied/disappointed/hurt/sad/unhappy/depressed/frustrated/angry/aggressive/violent and so on. And ceaseless random ideas/thoughts arise to counter those ‘tension’ accumulating in the mind. Restless.

Those who have firm foundation in non-attachment/dispassion, or those who know thyself/selflessness, or maybe those who think and believe “I have done and achieved everything that I desire and I can die in peace without regret.” can mix into the worldly society and perform many actions to help to build a ‘caring and friendly society’ in the world, but without being distracted or influenced by the constant restless physical/mental/emotional interaction/activity, being undetermined by the actions and the fruit of actions, being free from disturbs, hurts, disappointment, dissatisfaction, frustration, or guilt/regret. This is non-attachment/non-clinging/non-craving/non-expectation.

One can mix with many people and constantly talk about “This is my name, my nationality, my family, my friends, my relatives, my community, my past, my present, my future, my actions and fruit of my actions, my thinking/belief/culture/point of view/feelings/emotions/experiences, or this and that is happening/has happened/will be happening here and there, and so on.” as all these names and forms are what most people talk about in any conversation and where people identifying with all these names and forms as “who they think they are”, but all these names and forms are not “who I am” or ‘I’ for the minds that know thyself/selflessness.

When someone is being alone or in silence being in their own ‘space’, people around will ask, “Are you okay? Is there something bothering you? You can talk to me. I’m here to listen.”

There’s nothing wrong when people feel sad, or unhappy, or depressed, or disappointed, or frustrated, or negative once in a while, and most people feel they need to talk to someone to share their feelings and what’s bothering them, to release some tension or to get some advice. People don’t have to be okay, or satisfy, or happy all the time. But those who know what is going on in the mind, there is nothing to be sad, unhappy, depressed, disappointed, frustrated or negative about, that need to be talking or sharing with someone else, or to release any tension, as there’s no tension built up, or to get any advice, as there’s no problems.

Those who know this, they can be happy as they are, no matter what.

Those who don’t know this, they don’t have to be happy all the time and they can’t be happy no matter what. It’s okay sometimes the mind is not okay and not happy with certain things. There’s nothing wrong with that. But when they think no body is being there to share their thinking/feelings/problems, to be talking to other people, or to be listening by other people, they might feel more sad, unhappy, disappointed, depressed, frustrated, or negative. And hence, people believe that “People should be available to be talking to and listening to other people all the time. It would make people who need to talk feel better and it brings the sense of meaningfulness to those who listen.” There’s nothing wrong with that but it doesn’t free the mind from ignorance/attachment/craving/expectation. Just like giving an unhappy and crying child the sweets and sugary drinks that the child wants every time to make the child stop being unhappy and crying if the child doesn’t get the sweets and sugary drinks, doesn’t really help the child at all. There’s no freedom.

“It feels so much better talking to you. Let’s meet up regularly and talk more.” and “Talking to me can make you feel better and make me feel so meaningful. Let’s meet up and talk more often.” If for some reasons that these two people are not possible to meet up and talk as expected, both would feel bad, sad and disappointed. There’s no freedom.

Just like practicing yoga exercises and teaching yoga to other people would generate the momentary sense of well-being, goodness and meaningfulness, and if for some reasons one couldn’t practice yoga exercises or teach yoga for a prolonged period of time, one would feel frustrated, disappointed and meaningless. There’s no freedom.

Most people/minds don’t like to hear this.

“Compassion is not about giving the mind what it likes and wants, or what it craves for, to be empowering the ignorance and egoism in the mind to make it feels better, good, satisfied or happy. Compassion is allowing the suffering unhappy disturbed mind to inquire into the truth of suffering, unhappiness and disturbs, by freeing the mind from ignorance, egoism, restlessness and impurities, to see the truth of the root cause of all suffering of disturbs/hurts/unhappiness/disappointment/dissatisfaction/fear/worry, where all suffering is deriving from one’s ignorance and egoism or ceaseless egoistic mind reactions towards the gratification/non-gratification of the desire of craving and aversion. If one’s desire is being gratified by getting what one likes and wants, and not getting what one doesn’t like and doesn’t want, then the mind reacts and feels good, satisfied and happy. And when one’s desire is not being gratified, where one is not getting what one likes and wants, but is getting what one doesn’t like and doesn’t want, then the mind reacts and feels bad, dissatisfied and unhappy. It’s nothing to do with the experiences/names and forms being ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘terrible’, ‘disturbing’, or ‘hurtful’.

The teachings/practice/process of freeing the mind from ignorance and egoism, it’s not something pleasant or agreeable to the ignorant egoistic mind at all, but it can free the mind from suffering deriving from ignorance and egoism.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to practice, or not.

Be free.

Beginner, intermediate, advanced yoga practitioner?

Just as the name and form of ‘Buddhist’ doesn’t mean anything for those who truly practice ‘Buddhism’, the worldly name and form of ‘yoga practitioner’ or ‘yoga teacher’ also doesn’t really mean anything in yoga of selflessness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness, not to say ‘experienced’, ‘inexperienced’, ‘certified’, ‘qualified’, ‘good’, ‘bad’ yoga practitioner/yoga teacher, or even ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘advanced’ yoga practitioner.

Some people never done any ‘yoga practice’ before, but they know what is non-attachment and they are peaceful as they are. Some due to physical limitation/sickness/injury/weakness that they can’t do much physical ‘yoga practice’, but they know what is non-attachment and they are also peaceful as they are. The mind is free from disturbs/hurts/dissatisfaction/disappointment/anger/hatred/jealousy/fear/worry/offensiveness/defensiveness/loneliness/depression/hostility/animosity, and etc, being undetermined by the mind perception of names and forms under any circumstances in life or the condition of the world that one is living in.

There’s neither beginner/intermediate/advanced yoga practitioners or yoga practice. It’s either one is practicing yoga or one is not practicing yoga, in this present moment.

It’s neither about how long one has been ‘practicing yoga’, nor how much ‘physical yoga practice’ one has done in the past, nor how much physical/mental benefits one has been receiving from performing the ‘physical yoga practice’ regularly. Whether one is practicing yoga, or not, is undetermined by the selfless impermanent physical and mental condition/ability/disability/limitation to be performing certain actions/movements in the world, or whether one is highly intelligent, knowledgeable, educated and talented, or not.

In this present moment, despite how long one has been ‘practicing yoga’ and how much ‘physical yoga practice’ one has been doing, when there’s egoism of attachment/identification/desire of craving and aversion/judgment/comparison/expectation influencing/over-powering the function of the mind, the mind is not free, unwittingly being in a state of restlessness occupying by ceaseless desires/actions/reactions/impurities being determined by the selfless impermanent qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives/experiences through the senses of what the mind sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches, feels or thinks. The mind is missing someone or something that the mind likes and desires but is absence/unavailable to the mind in the present moment, may it be a person, an animal, plant, food, house, toy, music, sport, climate, thing, scenery, sound, smell, taste, sensation, feeling, and etc. There’s clinging/craving/longing towards the names and forms/experiences that give rise to the sense of confidence, pride, goodness, happiness, meaningfulness, positiveness, togetherness, rightfulness, worthiness, success, accomplishment, satisfaction, well-treated, well-deserved, well-loved, well-lived, and etc. Then even though one has been performing certain ‘physical yoga practice’ for a few hours a day regularly for a long time, one isn’t practicing yoga at all, as one is being passionate towards the worldly life/ideas/values/relationships/activities and being busy/restless chasing after the objects of the senses to gratify the endless desire/craving/longing, and doesn’t know what is non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison, or non-expectation.

Some teachers/yoga schools teach that everyone need to start with ‘beginner physical yoga practice’ for certain years then they can begin learning/practicing the nameless/formless ‘advanced mental yoga practice’. Some teachers/yoga schools even teach about ‘yoga practice’ should be done during certain ‘auspicious hours’ and one shouldn’t practice yoga during the ‘inauspicious hours’. There’s neither right nor wrong with that. Just that, when someone is suffering from great mental disturbs, distress, restlessness, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, fear, painful sorrow and etc, in this present moment, does this person need to wait for many years later to be allowed to start practicing non-attachment and letting go as well as looking/inquiring into the truth of the mental modification to free the mind from the root cause of all suffering? Just like if the hand is contacting with fire, do you have to wait for a few more minutes/hours to move the hand out of the fire? Or when someone is suffering a condition/injury that needs emergency medical operation, does this person need to wait for an ‘auspicious timing’ which can be a few days/weeks/months later to allow the doctor to perform the operation?

Inquire the truth of everything. Do not blind-believing, blind-following, blind-practicing, blind-propagating, blind-agreeing/disagreeing with anything.

The one who is practicing yoga eliminating egoism/restlessness/impurities or purifying/quieting the modification of the mind is the mind itself.

The mind that is practicing yoga is free from any identification with any quality of names and forms that are impermanent and selfless, such as the physical body, the function/modification of the mind, the yoga practice/duty/responsibility, all kinds of worldly social/cultural/religious/political/commercial thinking/belief/practice/values/image, or the knowledge/intelligence/talent/skill/relationships/ties/connections/way of life/actions and the fruit of actions/pleasant or unpleasant experiences as ‘I’.

One might be performing many ‘good actions’, but there’s no attachment/identification of “I am a good person who do many good actions and I will be receiving all the goodness in return.”

There’s no expectation towards other people must also perform ‘good actions’ that ‘I’ believe as ‘good’.

The mind is okay and has no problems under any condition and situation, where one can have many things or few things or nothing in life, without being determined by it, as the mind is free from attachment, desires, craving and aversion, being unlimited/undetermined by all the selfless impermanent changes of pleasant/unpleasant, agreeable/disagreeable, desirable/undesirable experiences/condition/situation/relationship.

One doesn’t miss anyone or anything that the mind perceives/recognizes as good, pleasant, meaningful, agreeable and enjoyable, but is absent/unavailable in the present moment.

One might perform actions that would benefit oneself and others, but without identification towards the actions or expectation towards the fruit of actions.

One does one’s best when performing any actions/duties/responsibilities and allowing the fruit of actions to be what it is, without attachment/identification/judgment/expectation, being undetermined by the fruit of actions.

One is not determined/disturbed/offended/hurt/intimidated/depressed/unhappy/dissatisfied/disappointed by the perception of all kinds of names and forms of unpleasant/undesirable/disagreeable sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, feelings/emotions/thoughts, or the world is not being the way that the mind would like it to be.

One doesn’t need to be empowered to achieve/attain/possess certain quality of names and forms that give rise to the sense of confidence, pride, goodness, happiness, meaningfulness, positiveness, togetherness, rightfulness, worthiness, success, satisfaction, well-deserved, well-loved, and etc, although one can be very successful in whatever one does in life and enjoying good relationships with someone. Being undetermined by the sense of confidence/goodness/meaningfulness and etc, doesn’t mean that one doesn’t perform any actions that would bring benefits and improvement in life, or one doesn’t have a particular way of life that is most suitable and beneficial for oneself.

Loneliness, or depression, or dissatisfaction, or disappointment, or fear, is absent in the mind that is free from egoism, under any circumstances, condition, situation, environment, restriction or limitation.

The mind remains equanimous and clear under extreme difficult or challenging condition or situation.

There’s need not to forgive or let go anything, as the mind is unhurt/unoffended/undisturbed/undetermined by all the names and forms that are not the way that the mind would like it to be, as the mind is free from attachment/identification/craving/aversion/judgment/expectation towards any names and forms, but allowing the names and forms to be what they are, as they are.

One is not determined by the presence or absence of family ties, relationships, friendships, companionship, community, society, connections, duty, responsibility, ability/disability, achievement/non-achievement, good/bad conditions, pleasant/unpleasant experiences, actions or the fruit of actions.

The mind is free from passionate aspiration/ambition/desire to change/control/influence the world to be the way that ‘I’ think how it should be, but allowing the world to be what it is, even though one can be performing actions that are beneficial to the world.

One doesn’t need to be relaxed/unwind/entertained/pampered from time to time, as there’s no tension building up/accumulated.

One doesn’t need to attain love, support, agreement, acknowledgement, recognition, validation, sympathy, empathy or understanding from anyone, or to be ‘somebody’ that one and others would be proud of.

One doesn’t need to be in certain ways or achieve something to please oneself or others.

There’s neither gratefulness nor ungratefulness, appreciation nor inappreciation, deserving nor non-deserving.

There’s no low self-esteem, pride or arrogance. There’s no need empowerment to develop/attain the sense of confidence.

The mind is unattached towards or being free from being determined by the present and past pleasant/unpleasant/happy/unhappy experiences and future imagination/anticipation/projection.

There’s no ‘bucket list’/’to do list’ that needs to be fulfilled/accomplished before one dies. There’s no unfulfilled/ungratified desire/ambition. There’s no regret or guilt. One just performs action and achieves what is possible in this present moment.

There’s no fear/aversion towards impermanent changes, difficult condition, aging, weakening, decaying, unattractiveness, aloneness, sickness, old age, death, or separation with people and objects that one loves.

The mind is free from being determined by the perception of duality. One is free and peaceful as it is. One doesn’t interfere with other people’s different thinking/belief/values/practice/ways of life/desires/actions/reactions.

There’s nothing that the mind needs to complain/argue/debate/justify to prove that ‘I’ am right. There’s neither right nor wrong.

For many people including many yoga enthusiasts, this might not be the life or freedom that they want, and this appears to be ‘dry’, ‘cold’, ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, ‘sad’, ‘mad’, ‘insane’, ‘abnormal’, ‘joyless’, ‘lifeless’ and ‘meaningless’ to them, and that’s their freedom of thinking and desire. Many people enjoy passionate way of life indulging in all kinds of attachment/identification/expectation/relationships/desires/stimulation/enjoyment/entertainment, enjoying restlessness and emotional roller coaster, enjoying the endless gratification of desires that lead to excitement/satisfaction or disappointment/dissatisfaction, and be ambitious/empowered to ‘save the planet/the world’ or change the world to be the way that they think how it should be, as the way of living a lively and meaningful life, where many people just want to do the ‘physical yoga practice’ to get some health and fitness benefits but not interested at all in the practice of dispassion and renunciation to be quieting the mind to free the mind from ignorance/egoism/impurities/restlessness, which they perceive as ‘meaningless things to do’ and ‘a dulled way of life’, and that’s their freedom of thinking and what they want to do with their life.

There’s nothing wrong with different people with their impermanent different states of mind, sometimes positive, sometimes negative, sometimes happy, sometimes unhappy, sometimes peaceful, sometimes disturbed, sometimes cheerful, sometimes depressed, sometimes excited, sometimes angry, sometimes disappointed, sometimes motivated, sometimes demotivated, sometimes okay, sometimes not okay, and so on. Just that under the influence of ignorance/egoism/restlessness/impurities and the ambition/desire to fight for ‘a world that they think how it should be’, sometimes people would hurt themselves and/or others out of disturbs, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, jealousy, fear, survival instinct and other impurities. For those who want to free the mind from such restlessness, who want to stop hurting themselves and others out of ignorance, egoism and impurities, they can practice yoga, if they want.

In yoga, everyone just need to ‘save oneself by freeing one’s mind from ignorance and suffering’, which is an intense challenging/painful task for most minds, in order to help the world to be a better place. It’s not about fighting against other people to ‘save the planet/the world from being the way that one thinks it shouldn’t be’. Most passionate minds couldn’t understand this, and they believe everyone should be angry with/hating/fighting against what they think and believe is ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ to ‘save the world from badness and wrongness’, and they want to provoke anger and hatred in other people towards what they think is ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ to be supporting their mission to ‘save the world’, and that’s their freedom.

It’s always easier to be disturbed than to be undisturbed by what the mind perceives as ‘disturbing’.

Be free.

Yoga practice and practice yoga?

What is yoga practice and practice yoga?

Yoga practice is a combination of different ‘mind cleansing’ tools and techniques to ‘clean up’/’purify’ the restless/impure egoistic mind to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance. One who practices yoga is practically using those ‘mind cleansing’ tools and techniques to be engaging in a ‘mind cleaning up process’, constantly, inexhaustibly, determinedly and diligently, until the mind is free from ignorance, knowing the truth of impermanence and selflessness, knowing thyself.

Many yoga enthusiasts who identify themselves as ‘yoga practitioners’/’yoga teachers’ might have the ‘knowledge’ of the ‘yoga practice’ and might be doing some kind of ‘yoga practice’ or delivering the ‘knowledge’ of the ‘yoga practice’ to other people regularly, but not many are actually practicing yoga as it is (cleaning the mind efficiently, freeing the mind from restlessness, impurities, egoism, ignorance or suffering). There’s intense reluctance to let go worldly attachment/identification/thinking/belief/desire/relationship/objects/pleasurable enjoyments of the senses. There’s still attachment and clinging towards the world of qualities of names and forms with all kinds of ‘relationship’, ‘ties’ or ‘connection’, being determined very much by the presence and absence of certain qualities of names and forms, and the quality/condition of relationship/ties/connection to be confident/happy/meaningful, or not. There’s an identity/ego that longing to be empowered, acknowledged, understood, agreed with, empathized, pampered and loved. And there’s nothing wrong with it as that’s their freedom. But for those who truly want to practice and realize yoga, they will practice yoga as it is, to be determined to free the mind from ignorance, regardless of any amount of difficulties and obstacles.

Just like cleaning up a ‘rubbish dump’ that is full of rubbish. It’s not just about the cleaning process to clear away those existing rubbish, but more importantly, it’s about stop generating/bringing in more rubbish into that area as well.

The mind is sort of like a ‘rubbish dump’. The yoga practice is not just about ‘clearing away’ the existing ‘impurities’, ‘restlessness’, ‘egoism’, ‘ignorance’ or ‘suffering’ which is already a challenging task that requires great effort, discipline, initiative, patience, forbearance, perseverance and determination, but more importantly, it’s to stop generating/accumulating/empowering ‘impurities’, ‘restlessness’, ‘egoism’, ‘ignorance’ or ‘suffering’, to silent/annihilate the restless modification of the mind. And hence, the importance of the practice of silence and renunciation.

The difference between a ‘rubbish dump’ and the restless/impure egoistic mind is that the ‘rubbish dump’ can be cleaned up and maintained ‘rubbish free’ by many people working together, but, for ‘cleaning up’ the restless/impure egoistic mind, it can only be done alone by the mind itself, not even ‘God’, or ‘Guru’, or any amount of ‘good friends’ and ‘good teachers’ can help to ‘clean up’ this mind, to free this mind from ignorance and all kinds of suffering, as all the rubbish of ‘impurities’, ‘restlessness’, ‘egoism’, ‘ignorance’ or ‘suffering’ is ‘generated’/’accumulated/empowered’ from/by the mind itself, and no other can ‘take away’/’remove’/’eliminate’/’stop generating’/’stop accumulating’/’stop empowering’ those ‘rubbish’ except the mind itself.

Meanwhile, there are some benefits/side-effects/by-products of the yoga practice such as better physical health and fitness condition and the sense of well-being/confidence/goodness/meaningfulness/joyfulness/peacefulness that come along with the different yoga practice, but they are just like spraying a lot of air freshener and putting plenty of beautiful fragrant colourful flower petals that bring some freshness smell and appearance into the area of the ‘rubbish dump’, but it doesn’t really ‘clean up’ the ‘rubbish dump’.

Doing some form of ‘yoga practice’ regularly or teaching ‘yoga classes/courses’ to many other people for many years also doesn’t necessarily means that one is practicing yoga. Some even take the ‘image’ or ‘characteristic’ of certain ‘yogis’/’sadhus’ with a particular ‘yogi’/’sadhu’ appearance in particular position and gesture while enjoying the momentary ‘intoxication/hallucination/highness/calmness’ from taking certain drugs/substances or certain ‘yoga practitioners’/’yoga teachers’ enjoying intimate relationships with random people as what ‘yoga practice’ and ‘practice yoga’ is about.

Different teachings / practices catering the different levels of understanding

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.

Observe silence to quiet the restless modification of the mind

When someone is performing yoga practice or meditation practice (self-practice), one is observing silence as much as possible practically, regardless of whether the mind is still processing some random thought activities, or not. One doesn’t talk, or grumble, or groan, or argue, or debate, or criticize, or inspire, or aspire, or communicate/interact with anyone not even so called ‘spiritual connection’ with ‘God’ or ‘higher spirits’. One doesn’t read any material, or ask questions, or looking at and listening to anyone or anything (teacher/other practitioners/scenery/video/music/podcast/conversation), or expect certain feedback/evaluation towards one’s practice, or expect particular result/effect/benefit/pleasure from the practice.

The senses are being withdrawn/restricted from chasing after the objects of the senses, and the outgoing mind is being channeled inward to be resting in the present moment, or to be aware of the practice/the breath/the pulse/the sensation/the flow of energy/prana/heat in the body, without attachment/identification with the selfless impermanent function of the physical body and the state of the mind, while allowing any result/effect/benefit/pleasantness/unpleasantness/ability/disability to be existing or non-existing, to be what it is, as it is, allowing any existing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts being there as they are, without analyzing/asserting/projecting/craving/aversion, without association with or attachment towards all these names and forms, to be quieting the restless modification of the mind effectively.

This is not really possible in a ‘yoga class’ where there is a teacher giving instructions/explanation teaching/leading a group of people performing the practice, while the group of people have to be looking at the teacher or other people in the group, and listening to while analyzing/understanding/following the teacher’s instructions to perform the practice, and expecting feedback/evaluation from the teacher and/or others towards one’s performance/practice, as well as expecting particular result/effect/benefit from the practice. “How well/correct am I doing the practice?”

Meanwhile some people’s minds are being ‘disturbed’ or ‘offended’ very much by certain teachings of yoga being taught in the ‘yoga class’ that are different from their thinking and belief, or be ‘disturbed’ or ‘intimidated’ by how the teacher teach/conduct the ‘yoga class’, or be ‘dissatisfied’ with the ‘yoga class’ is not being the way that they would like it to be (either too intense, or too gentle, or too crowded, or too quiet, too much or not enough attention, too challenging or not challenging enough, or not the kind of practice that they would enjoy).

For people who don’t know the practice yet, of course they need to learn from someone who knows the practice, such like attending ‘yoga classes’ for some time to be following instructions from a teacher to learn about the practice and how to perform the practice. Attending ‘yoga classes’ is mostly about ‘learning’. After ‘learning’ and ‘knowing’ the practice, one must develop self-discipline to perform self-practice in solitude and silence, truly immersing into the practice.

That’s why ‘yoga practice’ is always more ‘practical’ when performing self-practice in solitude and silence in terms of quieting the restless modification of the mind, where the modification of mind inputs and outputs are being limited to the maximum efficiently. Those who already developed their own regular self-practice don’t need to attend ‘yoga classes’ to be following instructions to be performing their practice, though there’s nothing wrong if they attend ‘yoga classes’ once in a while for some reasons.

There are some ‘silent self-practice yoga classes’ are about providing a specific practice time and space for yoga practitioners to be sharing a practice space at a specific time to be performing their own self-practice. Even though there are other practitioners being in the same space, everyone is observing silence to the maximum, focusing on their own practice. There shouldn’t be any social interactions during the practice.

‘Yoga teachers’ need to teach ‘yoga classes’ in the way that would allow the students to develop the essential understanding of the teaching and practice, as well as self-reliance and self-discipline, and be able to perform self-practice without supervision/instruction from other people, and this will allow the mind be trained to turn inward to be quiet and be able to process and solve most problems in life by itself.

There’s nothing wrong with ‘asking and receiving help and support from others’ when someone encounters ‘problems’ in life, especially in terms of some physical and mental illnesses that require special care and specific medical treatment, or some technical problems where everyone has their own limited knowledge and experience to be doing something, and people need to be helped and supported by other people who have the knowledge and experience that oneself doesn’t have. While for most non-technical and non-medical care/treatment related problems, such like ‘thinking/decision making/relationship/emotional problems’, the best solution or the best answer to one’s doubt, is coming from within of a calmed and quiet mind.

One just needs to learn to be by oneself and be quiet, be away from all kinds of advice, opinion or suggestion from different people who ‘would like’ to give ‘advice, suggestion, help and support’ in the way that they think it’s best from their own point of view, and observe/watch what is going on in the mind, seeing the nature and the root cause of what the mind perceives/recognizes as ‘problems/doubts/unhappiness/hurts’, to allow the mind to go beyond and be undisturbed by these ‘problems/doubts/unhappiness/hurts’. Once the mind sees the truth, all kinds of ‘problems/doubts/unhappiness/hurts’ will eventually cease existing. One doesn’t need to talk to anyone about anything to release tension/unhappiness, or hoping someone is there to be listening to and sharing one’s ‘problems’, to be receiving advice, love, care, help or support from other people, to feel better, or to influence oneself making certain decision.

Although there’s nothing wrong when most people would see this thinking and emotional independence of ‘self-reliant thinking/decision making/relationship/emotional problem solving’ as ‘unacceptable’, ‘inappropriate’, ‘wrong’ or ‘unhealthy’ social behavior, as most people in the society practice and encourage all human beings need to be ‘reaching out to other people’, ‘talking to other people’ and ‘receiving advice, help, support from other people’, and most people do ‘need’ to reach out to other people to get help and suggestion, as they are being conditioned by the society to be emotionally interdependent, that they don’t know how to deal with ‘the problems’ they have and making decision independently by themselves, or else, when they think and feel that their ‘problems’ are too much for them, when they think they are alone and have no one being there to be helping and supporting them, they might hurt themselves and/or others, whether wittingly or unwittingly. People think and believe that ‘all human beings’ need to hold onto ‘something’ physically/mentally/emotionally to live life, whether it’s family, friends, relationship, children, pets, hobby, interest, work, religion, spirituality, ‘God’, or anything that give/feed the sense of existence and meaningfulness. When something falls apart or during the most difficult moments, at least they think they have something that they can lean or hang onto. And that’s their freedom of choice.

People would think and believe, “Oh, what a pitiful meaningless life without family/friends/somebody being there to share, to talk to, to play with, to support one another, to enjoy life.” This saying doesn’t valid/apply to the minds that practice yoga, that are free from being conditioned by worldly social/cultural/religious/political thinking and belief, that are aware of what is going on in the mind and be unattached towards/undetermined by the selfless impermanent qualities of names and forms, that are free from desire of craving and aversion.

In yoga, this ability of ‘self-reliant thinking/decision making/relationship/emotional problem solving’ is true liberation for the mind, being undisturbed or being okay under any difficult moments and challenging condition and situation in life that one has to deal with by oneself, where one has clear thinking and self-control without hurting oneself and/or others. It doesn’t mean that one doesn’t have any family/friends in life, but one doesn’t need to rely on the existence of family/friends/somebody being present as supporter, or receiving help/support from anyone to deal with any difficult moments under challenging condition and situation. When ‘family/friends/somebody’ or external help and support from other people/teacher/Guru/’God’ appear to be absent or not available for some reasons, it’s fine. One doesn’t need to hurt oneself and/or others, as one is peaceful as one is, being undetermined by any ‘difficult moments’ or ‘existing problems’ that one is going through, repairing what can be repaired and letting go what has to be let go, making decisions without doubt/fear/guilt/regret, and taking full responsibility towards one’s actions and the consequences of the actions.

“You came alone and you will go alone.” – Swami Sivananda

Oneness, non-separateness, selflessness, compassion

Oneness, non-separateness, selflessness and compassion are one.

Without the realization of oneness/non-separateness/selflessness, compassion is absent or unavailable in the egoistic thinking mind, even though the egoistic mind wants to practice ‘compassion’ or be ‘compassionate’.

Due to ignorance, the thinking or the idea of ‘I’ that ‘exists’ as a distinctive individual being, generates the sense of ‘separateness’ between ‘I’ and all and everything that are not ‘I’.

There’s an ‘I’ existing and identifying as the performer of actions and the receiver of the fruit of actions.

There also arise many different forms of ‘relationship’, ‘friendship’, or ‘connection’ between ‘I’ and ‘all and everything that are separated/distinct from I’, or between ‘God’ and ‘I’.

And hence, there is the notion of ‘I love you’, or ‘I give you love’, or ‘I receive love from you’, or ‘God loves me’, or ‘I am grateful for god’s blessing towards me’, or ‘I am a kind and compassionate being’, or ‘I am being kind and compassionate to other beings’, or ‘I am sharing peace and loving kindness with all other beings’, or ‘I am connected with all and everything’, or ‘Have love and faith in God and receive blessings/heaven/good karma/merits’, or even ‘Be fearful towards god/punishment/hell/bad karma/sin’.

The mind is not free, even though there’s nothing wrong or bad with all these thinking/belief/ideas/perception in the mind generating the ‘self-existence’ that built on the identification with all these ‘thinking’, ‘belief’, ‘ideas’, ‘qualities’, or ‘actions and the fruit of actions’ as ‘I’.

Upon the realization of oneness, non-separateness, or selflessness/egolessness/’I’lessness, all the separateness vanished.

‘I’ doesn’t exist. There’s no ‘I’ being there to be identifying with any ideas or qualities.

All kinds of mind perception of ‘living beings and non-living beings’, ‘purity and impurity’, ‘superiority and inferiority’, ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘positive and negative’, ‘meaningfulness and meaninglessness’, ‘happiness and unhappiness’, ‘friends and not friends’, ‘family and not family’, ‘praise and condemn’, ‘gain and loss’, ‘deserving and non-deserving’, and so on, vanished.

Regardless of all the different qualities of names and forms, all and everything are one/non-distinctive, ceaselessly forming and deforming, coming and going, arising and passing away, under the influence of one same nature of impermanence and selflessness.

Just like ‘the space’. Intentionlessly allowing all and everything to be there as they are. It never increase nor decrease and it never change into good or bad, no matter how many knowable and unknowable objects of names and forms forming and deforming, coming and going, arising and passing away endlessly in ‘the space’. ‘The space’ is uncontaminated or undetermined by all the different qualities of names and forms that are impermanent and selfless.

Time doesn’t exist in ‘the space’. ‘The space’ is unconditioned/unlimited by causation, or cause and effect. ‘The space’ is beyond existence and non-existence. There’s no beginning or ending. Timeless. Limitless. Attributelessness. Ageless. Changeless.

All the objects of names and forms that are momentarily existing in this present moment in ‘the space’, whether gross or subtle, regardless of knowable or unknowable, all are conditioned and limited by existence and non-existence, beginning and ending, forming and deforming, arising and passing away.

It’s the impermanent changes of names and forms that generate the notion/false impression of time. There is no past nor future in timelessness. Time, past and future exist in the thinking mind deriving from perceiving/experiencing all the impermanent changes. It’s a false impression existing in the thinking mind due to ignorance, and its by-product of egoism that generates attachment towards the impermanent and selfless physical body and modification of the mind, also gives rise to the idea of an existence of ‘I’ which lead to the sense of separateness of ‘I’ and ‘all the others that are not I’.

All kinds of fear, affliction, suffering, misery, hurts, sorrow, grief, disturbs, unrest, loneliness, meaninglessness, incompleteness, clinging, longing, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, ill-will, ill-thinking, protectiveness, self-esteem, pride, animosity, hostility, and so on, arise/exist due to the sense of separateness, the by-product of ignorance and egoism as part of the modification of the mind. And thus, all the different kinds of yoga and meditation practice are mainly to annihilate the modification of the mind – Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha. All the other physical and mental health and fitness benefits deriving from performing regular yoga practice are just some side-effects.

Though there’s nothing wrong if the yoga practitioners are not working on annihilating the modification of an egoistic thinking mind, and merely focusing on the attainment of physical and mental health and fitness benefits of the yoga and meditation practice, but there’s no freedom, being bound by the false impression of an existence of ‘I’ and ‘all that I experience’, even though the body and mind might be receiving and enjoying all the momentary physical and mental health and fitness benefits from the regular yoga and meditation practice for a prolonged period of time, that are also subject to impermanence.

If the mind doesn’t realize this, then even when everything is good now, and the mind is happy and contented with all the goodness that is present in this moment, but yet, this happy feeling and contentment will also pass away, if there’s attachment onto all the goodness to feel good, happy, blessed, assured, confident and meaningful, as all the goodness will also pass away.

No matter how strong the mind believes in positive thinking and optimism, all ‘beloved parents’ will pass away. ‘Relatives and friends’ will pass away. ‘Family, siblings, cousins, spouse, children’ will pass away. ‘Good people and bad people’ will pass away. ‘Happy and unhappy feelings’ will pass away. ‘Wise and ignorant beings’ will pass away. ‘Living beings and non-living beings’ will pass away. ‘Saints and sages and all kinds of hero’ will pass away. ‘Great minds and mad minds’ will pass away. All and everything will pass away, except ‘the space’, is still what it is.

‘The space’, or nameless/formless/attributeless/timeless/ageless/changeless/birthless/deathless infinity, is ‘the silent witness’ of all the impermanent changes, without ‘egoism’ of performing actions/receiving the fruit of actions, interference, judgment, comparison, discrimination, or expectation. Intentionless. Selfless. Egoless. ‘I’less.

“You are left alone now.” – Swami Sivananda

Purifying, calming and quieting the restless mind efficiently

All the different forms of external yoga practice must be accompanied by the internal yoga practice of annihilating egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, supported by the internal mental strength, flexibility and stamina of patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation, as well as cultivating the essential tools for self-inquiry and self-realization, such as awareness, dispassion, desireless, renunciation, self-discipline, self-reliance, seclusion, solitude, care-free, fearlessness and equanimity, to be efficiently purifying, calming and quieting the impure egoistic restless mind, to prepare the mind for spontaneous meditation into Silence (complete annihilation of the mind/birthlessness and deathlessness/attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness/oneness or non-separateness).

Even if one’s physical body is unable to perform any external yoga practice, it doesn’t stop the mind from performing internal yoga practice to annihilate egoism, impurities and restlessness, and be free.

Without the internal yoga practice of annihilating egoism and impurities which is nothing to do with the impermanent and selfless physical and mental condition, ability and limitation, the mind will always be disturbed by the mind perception of names and forms of all kinds of pleasant and unpleasant, desirable and undesirable, agreeable and disagreeable life experiences, where there’s clinging and craving towards pleasant/desirable/agreeable experiences and aversion towards unpleasant/undesirable/disagreeable experiences, even after many years and huge amount of external yoga practice that one has been performing or many years of teaching yoga and meditation practice to many other people, and getting all the momentary effects and benefits from the regular external form of yoga practice.

The mind might be rendered calm and quiet momentarily during and after all those external yoga and meditation practice, but it doesn’t last long, as very soon, the mind would unwittingly slip back into restlessness due to the stubborn egoistic mind habits of chasing after the objects of the senses, worldly enjoyments and stimulation, passionate desires of worldly and/or spiritual aspirations and ambitions, worldly social interactions and activities, and the ceaseless impurities generated through countless actions and reactions towards the mind perceptions of names and forms due to egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, where the mind is restless most of the time, even if the mind can attain certain degrees of relief from restlessness for a short period of time during deep sleep state, or during and after the different forms of external yoga practice.

By freeing the mind from egoism would allow the mind to be undetermined or undisturbed by the mind perception of names and forms, of quality and duality, or the good and bad/positive and negative/pleasant and unpleasant/desirable and undesirable life experiences, that allow the mind to be free from impurities and restlessness thoroughly.

And hence, the importance of the practice of silence for those who truly want to conquer the restless modification of the mind, to attain Silence.

After some time of practicing some kind of yoga and meditation practice regularly, one needs to perform self-introspection, “Is the mind still being determined or affected by the impermanent and selfless physical and mental condition, ability and limitation, as well as the worldly affairs, relationship, friendship, social activities and interactions, and worldly and/or spiritual achievements and acknowledgements to feel good, confident and meaningful, or not?” and “Is the mind still being determined by duality of good and bad/positive and negative/right and wrong/meaningfulness and meaninglessness/happiness and unhappiness, or all the mind perceptions of different qualities of names and forms, to feel good, positive, rightful, joyful and meaningful, or not?” or “Is the mind still being disturbed by what the mind thinks and believes as bad, wrong, negative, unhappiness and hurtful?” If the answer is yes, it means the mind is still not free, even if one has been performing yoga practice for a long time, or possessing many ‘yoga certifications’, and believing in ‘goodness’, ‘righteousness’ and ‘positiveness’.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want and don’t want to practice.

Learn how to free the mind from all kinds of disturbs and hurts

When a mind/person feels disturbed, unhappy, angered, disappointed or hurt by something, usually the impulsive reaction will be expecting some kind of sympathy or empathy from other minds/people, and looking forward to be comforted, loved, looked after, acknowledged, or supported by other minds/people. And most minds/people would also think and believe that that is how people should react towards other people’s state of minds that are disturbed, unhappy, angry, disappointed or hurt, to be there to be listening to what they think is disturbing their minds and comforting these suffering minds/people by showing them love, care, acknowledgement and support, to be sharing and lessening their ‘unhappiness’ or ‘suffering’, in terms of generating a ‘loving kindness’ society/community. There’s nothing wrong with that and it might give the troubled/disturbed/unhappy/angry/disappointed/hurt minds certain degrees of relieve, to feel better, but it doesn’t help them to be free from the root cause of the suffering from disturbs, unhappiness, anger, disappointment, or hurts. Instead, most probably it might be unintentionally empowering or feeding the attachment, clinging, craving or expectation in people’s mind.

Just like giving sugary fizzy drinks to the unhappy kids might make them feel happy, but they would crave for more sugary drinks to make them feel happy. As once the craving is being gratified, it would only intensify the craving. And if their craving is not being gratified, they would be more unhappy. That’s not freedom at all.

There’s clinging, craving and expectation towards receiving sympathy, empathy, love, affection, care, acknowledgement, or support from others, even though there’s nothing wrong with receiving sympathy, empathy, love, affection, care, acknowledgement, or support from others, as this is what most worldly minds/people believe and expect the society/community/family/relationship/friendship should be, but the mind is not free. If for some reasons, the mind doesn’t get what it thinks and believes it deserves to be getting from others, it will be more disturbed/unhappy/angry/disappointed/hurt and would do things that would hurt itself and/or others. This is not freedom.

As well as most egoistic minds would want to feel that they are needed by others to feel good and meaningful about themselves and their life existence, that they are capable to give and show love, care, affection, sympathy, empathy, acknowledgment and support to others who ‘need’ them. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that, just that these minds would feel bad or meaningless if for some reasons they think that they are not needed by some others, or when they think that other people do not appreciate what they give. This is not freedom.

Only those who can go beyond worldly thinking and belief can penetrate the real meaning of this teaching and practice. It doesn’t mean that everyone in the society will become ‘cold’, ‘heartless’ or ‘lack of sympathy/empathy’, but the minds are free from clinging, craving or expectation towards receiving the ‘deserving’ love, care, affection, sympathy, empathy, acknowledgment and support from others to feel loved, cared, worthy, comforted, acknowledged or supported, to feel good and meaningful, by knowing what is going on in the mind and be free from ignorance and egoism, and thus, be free from all kinds of disturbs, unhappiness, anger, disappointment, or hurts. One doesn’t need anyone to be there to be listening to one’s ‘troubles’, ‘unhappiness’ or ‘hurts’, to be ‘comforted’, as there’s no trouble, unhappiness or hurt existing in this liberated mind. One also can give and show sympathy, empathy, love, care and support to others without the attachment, identification, craving, intention or expectation in order to attain good and meaningful feelings towards oneself or one’s life existence. That is true freedom and compassion.

Yoga practice such like cleansing technique, breathing exercises, yoga asana exercises, chanting, prayer, or concentration practice, can also give the effects of relieving certain degrees of disturbs, unhappiness, anger, disappointment or hurts in the minds, but again, it doesn’t stop the mind from continuing be disturbed, unhappy, angry, disappointed, or hurt by something that they don’t like, don’t want and don’t agree with, that they think is bad, wrong, disturbing, unhappy, frustrating, disappointing, or hurtful, if the mind is not free from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Those who truly want to learn and practice yoga, it’s not about doing some forms of yoga practice to be getting some conditional and impermanent physical/mental/emotional benefits or getting some momentary relief from what they think is painful suffering, but they learn how to free the mind from the root cause of all kinds of suffering, of disturbs, unhappiness, anger, disappointment, or hurts.

Naturally, the society will have more physical/mental/emotional healthy minds/people, where the minds/people realized unconditional love from within, know how to look after themselves and love others unconditionally, being free from clinging, craving, aversion or expectation.

But not many minds/people would understand and appreciate the greatness of this freedom. Most minds/people believe in and want a society/community/family/relationship/friendship that builds on ‘needing each other’ all the time to feel love, good, happy and meaningful, and to feel less lonely or to escape loneliness. That’s how people are being taken advantage by others who have selfish intention being in a relationship or friendship. Even in the world of yoga, some yoga teachers or so called ‘gurus’ take advantage of the yoga students for their vulnerability when the students longing or expecting to be receiving comfort, sympathy, empathy, kindness, love, care, affection, acknowledgment, or supports from the yoga teachers or ‘gurus’.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they think or don’t think, believe or disbelieve, want and don’t want. People don’t have to practice yoga of freeing the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, but just want to do some yoga practice regularly and engaging in social/community activities, to attain some momentary physical/mental/emotional benefits or relief, to attain some kinds of conditional and impermanent good, positive, loving, happy and meaningful feelings.

Work diligently to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, if one wants to attain or realize this freedom.