Freeing the mind from being conditioned by worldly thinking and belief

The minds that are under the influence of ignorance, that are ignorant towards itself is being conditioned by worldly egoistic social/cultural/religious thinking and belief, are being limited to be in certain ways and not to be in certain ways to feel good, happy and meaningful, or not. There will be judgment or identification of “If I’m like this, I’ll be okay, good and happy. And if I’m not like this, I’ll be not okay, not good and not happy.” or “If life is like this, it’s good and meaningful. And if life is not like this, it’s not good and meaningless.” or “Things/people should be like this or shouldn’t be like that, then it’s right and good, or else it’s bad and wrong.”

Such as many ‘yoga teachers’ would think and believe that they need to attend Internationally recognized ‘yoga teachers training courses’ and be ‘qualified’ and ‘certified’ to be ‘yoga teachers’, to be ‘authorized’ and ‘allowed’ to teach yoga to other people, and need to be attending ongoing ‘yoga courses’ to be upgrading one’s knowledge and teaching skills, and also believing that ‘possessing all these names and forms’ would also make them responsible ‘good’, ‘well-trained’ and ‘well-informed’ yoga teachers. Or, many ‘yoga students’ who think and believe that ‘yoga teachers’ who attended Internationally recognized ‘yoga teachers training courses’ to be ‘qualified’ and ‘certified’ to be ‘Internationally recognized yoga teachers affiliated with such and such yoga alliance/association/organization’ as well as attending ongoing ‘yoga courses’ to be upgrading their knowledge and teaching skills or those who have been ‘teaching yoga’ for such and such years, that they must be ‘good and responsible yoga teachers’, or else, they are not good or responsible yoga teachers. But yoga and teaching yoga to others are not determined by all these names and forms at all.

Such as many people including many yoga enthusiasts and physical/mental health professionals, who think and believe that ‘the practice of silence’, ‘seclusion’, ‘solitude’, ‘dispassion’, ‘renunciation from worldly affairs/ties/connections/relationships/activities/interactions/communications’, ‘refraining the mind from going out chasing after the objects of the senses that stimulate the mind and to gratify the desire of craving and aversion which empower the ego/egoism that feed the ignorance’, or ‘reducing/limiting mind imprints of ceaseless inputs and outputs to silent the restless modification of the mind’ are something ‘sad’, ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘unhealthy’, ‘insane’, ‘mad’, or ‘meaningless’, as all these observances appeared to be contradicted with the ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’ worldly thinking/belief/values/behavior/practice/way of living. But, these are the observances that would free the mind from ignorance and suffering.

The egoistic minds that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism need the presence of someone else or something to be constantly acknowledging/validating one’s existence or purpose, or to feel ‘needed/wanted’ by other people, to be acknowledged and identified by oneself and others as “I am a lovable, knowledgeable, intelligent, generous, friendly, helpful, good, kind and caring person who is needed/wanted by other people to be there in their life.”

Meanwhile, the minds that are free from ignorance, that are not being conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking and belief, are free being anyway, being undetermined by the quality of names and forms, impermanent changes, time, space and causation (actions and the consequences of actions), without judgment or identification of “If I’m like this, I’ll be okay, good and happy. And if I’m like that, I’ll be not okay, not good and not happy.” or “If life is like this, it’s good and meaningful. And if life is not like this, it’s not good and meaningless.” or “Things/people should be like this or shouldn’t be like that, then it’s right and good, or else it’s bad and wrong.”

The selfless minds that are void of ignorance and egoism don’t need the presence of anyone or anything to be constantly acknowledging/validating one’s existence or purpose, or to feel ‘needed/wanted’ by other people, to be acknowledged and identified by oneself and others as “I am a lovable, knowledgeable, intelligent, generous, friendly, helpful, good, kind and caring person who is needed/wanted by other people to be there in their life.” even though they might be performing actions that are ‘helping’/’supporting’/’benefiting’ other people, without attachment, identification or association.

The minds that are void of ignorance and egoism have no ‘problems/troubles/disturbs/hurts/disappointment/dissatisfaction’ that need to be ‘shared with’ or ‘heard by’ other people, and don’t need other people keep asking oneself “How are you/Are you okay?”, to feel being noticed, acknowledged, heard, understood, sympathized, empathized, cared, liked, loved, helped, supported or touched by ‘other people’.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what and how they think/believe/behave/desire/don’t desire. Only those who have sufficient awareness to be aware of and acknowledge the ignorance in one’s mind would have initiative to free the mind from ignorance.

Being alone doesn’t induce the sense of ‘loneliness’. Being alone is not something sad, bad, or unhealthy. It’s the thinking that is under the influence of worldly social/cultural/religious thinking and belief about “Loneliness is deriving from being alone, and being alone is something sad, bad and unhealthy.” that causing the mind thinks and feels lonely, sad, bad and unhealthy for being alone. As there are many people who are not alone also would suffer from ‘loneliness’, while there are people who often being alone by oneself don’t suffer from ‘loneliness’, neither will they feel disturbed when surrounded by other people, just that they don’t associate/involve with other people’s actions and reactions, and they do not interfere with other people’s different ways of thinking/belief/behavior/practice/living.

Most mental health professionals would suggest and encourage people who suffer from ‘loneliness’ to be with other people, to talk to other people, to interact with other people, or to engage in some form of physical/mental/emotional activities with other people so that they will feel less lonely, and it might make people feel less lonely when their minds are being busy with the engagement with physical/mental/emotional activities with some other people, but it doesn’t really free the mind from the suffering of ‘loneliness’. Because ‘loneliness’ is not caused by being alone, or isolation from other people, or not engaging in any activities with other people.

It’s the egoism of attachment/clinging towards the presence of other people being around and the desire of craving for receiving acknowledgement, attention, empathy, sympathy, love, care, liking, understanding, or support from other people and the attachment/craving towards the mind stimulation of inputs and outputs derived from engaging in social physical/mental/emotional interactions/activities with other people, that the mind feels lonely/miserable/sad/wrong/unhealthy for being alone without any physical/mental/emotional contact with ‘someone’ or ‘something’ for an extended period of time. It’s like the addiction towards certain substances and the mind will feel great/satisfied/happy/relieved momentarily within the effectiveness of the substances, but once the effect of the substances is gone, the mind will crave for getting the effect of the substances again, and again, and it will feel uneasy/unhappy/dissatisfied/irritated/agitated/anxious/aggressive/sad/miserable/sicked if it’s craving for the effect of the substances is not being gratified over an extended period of time.

Just like low self-esteem, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, anger, fear, worry, guilt, regret, pride, arrogance, unhappiness, meaninglessness and etc, ‘loneliness’ is the by-products of ignorance and egoism and being conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking and belief to think/feel/analyze/judge/behave/desire/act and react towards all the mind perception of names and forms or life experiences in certain ways, it’s not coming from particular environment, condition, situation, people, things or happening being sad, bad, wrong, negative, depressing, disappointing, disturbing, hurtful or unhealthy. Such as by giving the mind what it likes and wants and not giving the mind what it doesn’t like and doesn’t want would give momentary satisfaction to the mind, but it doesn’t free the mind from ‘dissatisfaction’. By doing what the mind likes to do and achieving what the mind wants to achieve might give the mind the momentary sense of confidence, happiness and meaningfulness, but it doesn’t free the mind from the sense of ‘low self-esteem’, ‘unhappiness’ and ‘meaninglessness’.

‘Loneliness’ doesn’t exist in the selfless/’I’less/egoless and silent mind. In silence and selflessness, who is there to perceive/experience/feel/identify with loneliness, low self-esteem, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, meaninglessness, hurts, anger, fear, worry, guilt, regret, pride, arrogance and etc?

Be free.

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Go beyond the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence

The life existence of the mind perception of a worldly life of names and forms is only existing in this present moment, where the past and the future doesn’t exist in this present moment, and it is impermanent and selfless.

‘The past’ is just some scattered fading memories of pleasant and unpleasant, desirable and undesirable, agreeable and disagreeable past experiences. It exists only as a form of memory.

‘The future’ is just some wild imagination, anticipation, speculation, projection and expectation. It only exists as a form of thought activity.

When the mind is under the influence of ignorance and egoism, it attached onto the past memories of pleasant/unpleasant, desirable/undesirable, agreeable/disagreeable experiences and the anticipation/projection into the future, and be affected, disturbed and determined by ‘the past’ and ‘the future’ that doesn’t exist in this present moment, which is unnecessary if the mind is free from ignorance and egoism.

The past and the future doesn’t exist in this present moment, but there is a connection between the past actions/reactions and the present moment now, and between the actions/reactions in this present moment now and the ceaseless impermanent changes, which is the consequences of actions (cause and effect.)

The entire life existence of this impermanent and selfless existence and function of a physical body with the restless egoistic thinking mind is being what it is due to the law of cause and effect. This ‘life’ doesn’t exist if the parents didn’t plant the ‘seed’. The present moment is nothing but the consequences of the past actions, which is the only element that relates the past actions with the present moment, and yet, the past doesn’t exist in this present moment. All the consequences are just what they are, in the present moment, as they are.

The only existence is this present moment now, as it is, not necessarily the way that the egoistic thinking minds would like it to be, as the result of the ripened consequences of actions plus all the egoistic actions and reactions in this present moment that give rise to further consequences of actions, ceaselessly and restlessly, and even so, the consequences of actions are not necessarily exactly the way that the minds think and believe what it should be. The consequences of actions are just what they are, as they are, and not being the way according to any wishful thinking and belief, that anyone would like it to be.

For example, whether intentionally or unintentionally, we planted an apple tree (the past actions) that gives the fruit of apples (the consequences of actions.) Even though after some time we realize that we don’t really like apples, we cannot change the apple tree to be orange tree or banana tree. We have to accept that this is an apple tree that gives the fruit of apples. Even though we don’t like apples, but the apple tree will still give the fruit of apples. We might prefer the fruit of oranges or bananas, and we can try to plant orange and banana trees, but we can’t make the apple tree to give the fruit of oranges or bananas. Sometimes the apples from this apple tree are more sweet, and sometimes are less sweet, while some other times are sour and bitter. Although we might not like the taste of apple as it is especially when they are sour and bitter, but since these are what available to us, we can make use of the sour/bitter apples to cook them into something that is more palatable, or give them to other people who would enjoy the apples as they are, or feed them to the animals. More importantly, we don’t turn the apples into a weapon to hurt other people. Sometimes, for some reasons, the trees don’t give any fruit at all, or the trees die before giving any fruit.

If the future exists, we can bring the future into this present moment and we would be able to control the future to be exactly the way that we would like it to be. There won’t be any uncertainty/anxiety/fear/worry/dissatisfaction/disappointment/regret/guilt/unhappiness/suffering, everything will turn out to be exactly the way that we desire it to be. We want forever youth, pleasant sensations, happy feelings, good health, good relationships, good and easy life condition free from difficulties and hardships, desirable life span with only pleasurable enjoyments and happy experiences, without any painful sickness/injury, suffering or unhappy experiences, without coming in contact with happenings, objects or beings that we don’t like and don’t agree with, without separation from the beings and things that we like and love. But we can’t, as the future doesn’t exist. Without intention to be controlling ‘the future’ to be the way that we like it to be, the consequences of actions derived from the actions and reactions in this present moment now, will be what they are, as they are.

If the past exists in this present moment, then we can bring the past into this present moment and undo any past actions/experiences that we don’t like and don’t want, to alter the consequences of actions to be something different. But, we can’t undo any past actions/experiences that we don’t like and don’t want. Without intention to be changing the consequences of past actions that channeling life in this present moment being what it is, but the realization of selflessness allows the mind to be undetermined by life being what it is, transcending all the pleasant and unpleasant, desirable and undesirable consequences of actions.

Those (the minds) who are not aware of this, they always hope or try to control life in this present moment and in the future to be in certain ways that they desire and not to be in certain ways that they don’t desire.

Those (the minds) who are aware of this, they deal with the consequences of actions of all kinds of pleasant or unpleasant, desirable or undesirable experiences, or what we identify as ‘life’, as it is, without craving or aversion, allowing life to be what it is, and make use of the present moment to silent the modification of the mind to transcend the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless life existence carved by cause and effect.

Life might not always being the way that we would like it to be, but we can accept life as it is, without clinging/craving/aversion towards something that is here (pleasantness and unpleasantness), without craving for something that the mind likes and desires but is not here, without aversion towards something that the mind dislikes and doesn’t desire that is here or not here. In the meantime we can make use of life as it is (regardless of easy or difficult condition/situation that exists in this present moment) to be doing something beneficial to ourselves and others in certain ways depending on how we look at it. Such as growing up without proper emotional, educational and financial support. Some people would see it as a harsh condition and use it as an excuse to do things that hurt themselves and others. While some others would turn it into great strength to overcome any difficulty or challenging condition and situation to be doing something great for themselves and others.

In the end when the mind realizes selflessness, life is undetermined by the separateness of ‘I’ and ‘my life’, or the quality of good and bad/meaningful and meaningless/positive and negative, and it doesn’t belong to ‘I’ or ‘God’. It’s just life as it is, as a product of cause and effect. There’s no ‘I’ and ‘my life’. There’s no ‘good, meaningful and positive life’ and ‘bad, meaningless and negative life’, or “I or ‘God’ want my life to be or not to be in certain ways.”

Yoga retreats run by Yoga Now Malaysia in Langkawi

The teachers at Yoga Now Malaysia welcome anyone who is sincerely interested in learning and practicing yoga with them by participating in their yoga retreats or workshops, however, there might be people who want to join a retreat or workshop at Yoga Now Malaysia might not understand what the teachers teach in the yoga retreats or workshops here, assuming that the retreats or workshops to be in certain ways that they expect it to be, and they might not like the kind of retreats or workshops run by Yoga Now Malaysia, where they would feel regret or disappointed for joining a retreat or workshop here that is not what they anticipated what it is.

Everyone has the freedom to like or dislike something. The teachers respect everyone as they are for what they like and don’t like.

Yoga Now Malaysia don’t discriminate anyone by filtering everyone before accepting the retreat or workshop requests from anyone, but in order to avoid some people who might not understand what the teachers teach in the retreats and workshops, or what kind of retreats or workshops are running by Yoga Now Malaysia, but they sign up for a retreat or workshop without proper understanding of what the teachers teach in the yoga retreats or workshops here, and end up quitting the retreat or workshop half way, generating disharmony in themselves and wasting the time, energy and effort of both parties, it would be better if people understand a little more about what the teachers teach in the yoga retreats and workshops before they sign up for a yoga retreat or yoga workshop run by Yoga Now Malaysia in Langkawi Island.

The yoga retreats and workshops are for those who sincerely want to learn and practice yoga that is about freeing the mind from the cause of suffering – Ignorance and its by-products of egoism, impurities and restlessness. Some people might think and believe that they sincerely want to learn and practice yoga, but they don’t really want to practice yoga that is about yoga. They only love certain part of the yoga practice and the commercial retreat activities that they know, that they like, which they enjoy, that make them feel good, healthy, happy and meaningful. And there’s nothing wrong with that if people just want to do some yoga exercises and enjoy some social/community activities that make the minds feel good and meaningful.

The retreats and workshops teach yoga that allow people to know what is going on in their minds to know the root cause of all kinds of disturbs, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hurts, unhappiness, painful sorrow, fear, worry, loneliness, meaninglessness, or suffering, and work diligently to free their own minds from the root cause of all kinds of disturbs, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hurts, unhappiness, painful sorrow, fear, worry, loneliness, meaninglessness, or suffering. It’s not a pleasant process for most egoistic prideful minds upon coming in contact with the truth of what is going on in the mind as the ego is going to be eliminated/destroyed through the realization of the truth, where the truth is the opposite of everything that the ignorant egoistic mind used to think and believe what things are. There will be intense resistance coming from the egoistic prideful mind.

Those who never practice yoga before, and those who have been practicing yoga but they come with an open mind will appreciate the retreats and workshops as they are and will learn something invaluable for the rest of their life. Those who come with closed mind and expectation, or have doubt and hesitation towards the teachers or the retreat or workshop, will not be able to allow the retreats or workshops to be what they are and couldn’t learn anything. And there’s nothing wrong with people have doubts or hesitation towards the teachers that they never met before, and towards the retreat or workshop that they never attended before. But when the doubt and hesitation is too over-whelming, it will affect their perception towards everything.

Yoga Now Malaysia is a simple home based small yoga studio situated in a small village that run flexible dates retreats and workshops which are subject to availability and the teachers run retreats and workshops even if there’s only one person attending. Most of the retreats and workshops have only one person joining and occasionally there might be a few people over-lapping with one another during the same dates. The retreats are not fixed dates retreats with a group of people.

There is only one room available at Yoga Now. For those who want to stay at the accommodation at Yoga Now, they need to know that it will be only themselves staying there regardless of whether there are other people joining a retreat or workshop during those dates, or not.

People who truly want to learn and practice yoga should have no problem with living alone and being the only person in a retreat. As yoga practice or Sadhana is about live alone, eat alone, walk alone, meditate alone.

This is the first determination – learn to be by oneself.

Meals are not provided. Everyone needs to look after their own meals and there are many existing restaurants about 3 Kilometres away that cater to all budgets and tastes. Yoga Now Malaysia is not a hotel or guesthouse. There’s no room service or housekeeping for the accommodation at Yoga now. The teachers will clean up the accommodation thoroughly before the guests check-in and after the guests check-out. But, during the retreat, people who stay at the accommodation at Yoga Now need to be self-initiated and self-reliant to look after the cleanliness and tidiness of their living space. Those who arrange their own accommodation somewhere else also need to arrange their own transport between their accommodation and the yoga studio to attend the retreat sessions.

Some people say that they don’t want to join the retreat because there’s no food or transport included, they feel that it’s very inconvenient and troublesome. While some even say that they initially wanted to join the retreat at Yoga Now Malaysia, as they have heard or read about the food used to be provided at the yoga retreats at Yoga Now Malaysia was very good, but then they don’t want to come for the retreat when they found out that food is not included anymore. It shows that learning and practicing yoga with the teachers from Yoga Now Malaysia is not a priority, but food and all kinds of conveniences are more important to them.

Yoga Now Malaysia doesn’t advertise anywhere and doesn’t have any signboard. Upon confirmation of the yoga retreat, directions to the yoga studio will be given to those who need to arrange their own transport to the yoga studio. They need to be self-reliant to follow the directions that Yoga Now gave them and not depending on taxi drivers to bring them here, as taxi drivers don’t know where the yoga studio is even when people give them an address. Address doesn’t mean anything to the taxi drivers, as it is a house in a village where there’s no street/road name. People who followed the directions would have no problem finding the yoga studio, only those who refused to follow the directions but depend on the taxi drivers would have problem finding it.

Those who really sincerely want to learn and practice yoga with the teachers from Yoga Now Malaysia, food is not that important and there’s nothing too much troublesome and inconvenient that would stop them from coming to learn and practice yoga with the teachers.

This is the second determination – learn to be self-initiated and self-reliant.

The retreats or workshops don’t teach any particular style of yoga, or any particular kind of yoga practice designed specifically for particular type of rehabilitation of physical injuries or illnesses, neither it’s for any kind of ‘healing’ or ‘detoxification’. It’s also not a fitness yoga camp to attain physical fitness/strength/flexibility/ability to do some yoga poses. But everyone do their best to perform the practice without attachment or expectation, and allowing the result or the fruit of practice to be there as it is, while learning how to be aware of what is going on in their own minds. And eventually, they become their own teacher, when they developed awareness, openness, correct understanding, self-reliance and self-discipline, then everyone and everything and all the pleasant and unpleasant experiences are there to teach us something.

In the yoga retreats or workshops here, people learn to allow their mind to be opened, to inquire the truth of everything, including all the teachings of yoga, regardless of whether they like or dislike, agree or disagree with some of the teachings and practice, and whether they want or don’t want to practice some of the teachings and practice.

They learn about not to blind-believing, not to blind-following, not to blind-practicing, not to blind-agreeing or not to blind-preaching/sharing about anything that they read, or heard from somewhere and someone, even from this yoga retreat or workshop that they attended, but to purify and quiet the mind, to inquire or investigate the truth of everything, and realize the truth by themselves, to be free from ignorance.

They learn to perform inquiry towards the yoga teaching of “The body is not I, I am not the body. The mind is not I, I am not the mind.” and let go of attachment and identification with the impermanent and selfless body and mind as who they are. All kinds of problems and suffering that people think they have, started with the ignorant egoistic attachment and identification with the impermanent and selfless existence and function of the body and mind as ‘I’.

They learn how to unattached towards any particular thinking and belief in the mind that influenced them how they judge and react towards everything that the mind comes in contact with, or experiences, or perceives, which is not necessarily the truth of things. Quite many people do not like this teaching or practice of letting go the attachment and identification towards their particular thinking and belief that they have been identifying with as who they are, for a long time.

This is the third determination – learn how to unattached and unidentified with particular thinking and belief or any qualities of names and forms to be who they are, developing awareness, openness, correct understanding, self-reliance and self-discipline, and becoming their own teacher.

In the yoga retreat or workshop, people learn to develop awareness, self-discipline, self-reliance and self-control, to take full responsibility for all their actions and reactions and the consequences of their actions and reactions. How the mind reacts towards all the mind perception of names and forms is it’s own responsibility, whether the mind reacts and feels good or bad, happy or unhappy, satisfied or dissatisfied, positive or negative, like or dislike, agreement or disagreement, want or doesn’t want, pleased or displeased, loved or unloved, pleasant or unpleasant, motivated or demotivated, calm or disturbed, peaceful or peaceless, enjoy or suffer.

They learn to take full responsibility to look after themselves, the well-being of the body and the mind, and be free from clinging onto and longing or craving for love, care, support, encouragement, praise, compliment, acknowledgement, achievement, agreement, friendship, companionship, relationship, connection, or interaction, being immersed in solitude and silence, being in the present, being free from boredom, loneliness, unhappiness, low self-esteem, unworthiness, guilt, regret, pride, arrogance, craving, aversion, longing, the sense of meaninglessness and all kinds of dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, anger, hatred, jealousy, fear, worry, offensiveness, defensiveness, agitation, depression, painful sorrow, or suffering.

This is the fourth determination – learn to take full responsibility towards one’s actions and reactions and the consequences of one’s actions and reactions, and look after the well-being of one’s body and mind.

They learn how to observe any physical injuries or illnesses that they have and the existence of any kinds of ‘hurts’ or ‘disturbs’ or ‘painful sorrow’ or ‘suffering’ in the mind by letting go of egoism, without generating attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, and learn to see the truth of impermanence and selflessness. Once the mind realizes or sees the truth of impermanence and selflessness, there is no need of any kinds of ‘healing’. All the good and bad condition of the physical body, and all the different states of the mind of all kinds of thought activities of reactions towards all the mind perception of names and forms, and all kinds of pleasant and unpleasant life experiences, are just what they are, that they are neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative.

They learn to perform all their actions, practice, duties and responsibilities without attachment and identification, and allowing the result or the fruit of actions to be what they are, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison or expectation. Being undetermined by the actions or the fruit of actions.

This is the fifth determination – learn to free the mind from egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, while do one’s best to perform any necessary actions, duties and responsibilities.

All the yoga practice in the retreat sessions are to purify and quiet the mind, to free the mind from egoism, impurities and restlessness, to prepare the mind for meditation, to allow the mind to reflect or inquire upon the truth of everything and be free from ignorance, and thus be free from the by-products of ignorance – All kinds of disturbs, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hurts, unhappiness, painful sorrow, fear or suffering.

This is the sixth determination – learn how to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness, to allow the mind to see the truth of names and forms – Impermanence and selflessness.

Yoga practice is about letting go of the past good or bad/happy or unhappy/pleasant or unpleasant/desirable or undesirable/agreeable or disagreeable experiences, to free the mind from continuously being disturbed or determined by the past good or bad/happy or unhappy/pleasant or unpleasant/desirable or undesirable/agreeable or disagreeable experiences. And without attachment towards all the good or bad/happy or unhappy/pleasant or unpleasant/desirable or undesirable/agreeable or disagreeable experiences in the present moment now, being undetermined by all the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, and remain equanimous without clinging/craving towards the pleasant experiences, without aversion towards the unpleasant experiences. Also to free the mind from attachment and the desire of craving and aversion towards the future that doesn’t exist and being determined by the imagination/anticipation/projection/expectation towards the future.

And hence, the yoga teachers are not interested to be engaging in worldly social conversations and won’t be asking the guests about their past of what were their thinking and feelings/what they did or didn’t experience, or talking about the past experiences and projecting into the future, or what was/is their physical condition, ability and limitation, or how they think and feel in the present, to allow the guests to stop feeding or empowering the attachment and identification towards the past experiences and all the impermanent and selfless qualities of names and forms that are not who they are, and be aware of all the modifications of the mind in this present moment without attachment or identification, without desire of craving and aversion.

This is the seventh determination – learn how to be in the present, free the mind from being conditioned and determined by the past experiences or the future imagination. And without attachment towards all the pleasant and unpleasant experiences in the present moment as even this present moment is impermanent.

Yoga practice is about silencing the ever restless mind, or the annihilation of the modifications of the mind. It’s not important whether the physical body is in good or bad condition, or whether life is good or not good/easy or difficult, or what the body can do or cannot do, or whether the body is comfortable or uncomfortable, or whether the body suffers from certain injuries or illnesses, or not. It’s to go beyond the attachment and identification with the body and mind, but looking after the well-being of the body and mind out of compassion, not out of egoistic desire of “I want my body and mind to be like this, and I don’t want my body and mind to be like that.” and with the correct understanding of performing the yoga practice within one’s ability in the present and without forcing the body to go beyond its limitation. Allowing the practice and the fruit of the practice to be what it is. Allowing the body to be changing or improving naturally, without attachment and expectation. Without clinging onto or craving for injury-free/illness-free or good condition of the physical body, without aversion towards injury/illness or the bad condition of the physical body.

No matter how much limitation of physical movements and discomforts due to the existing injury or illness, one be determined to attend all the sessions even without much physical practice/movements, but just being aware of the limitation and discomforts without generating attachment, identification, craving and aversion, remain equanimous. And that’s already a great practice, greater than doing many yoga asana poses/exercises in the sessions that people enjoy doing, that make them feel satisfied and happy, but full of attachment, identification, judgment, comparison, expectation, craving and aversion.

This is the eighth determination – develop patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation.

Not that the teachers don’t care about the students, when they don’t ask about the students’ well-being, as it is not important at all about how is the physical condition (injuries/illness/ability and limitation) or the state of the mind (happy or unhappy/positive or negative), when one truly understands what is yoga and is truly practicing yoga. And more importantly, it’s to allow the students to be unattached towards and undetermined by the impermanent and selfless condition and function of the body and mind, and learn to be independent, to observe what is going on in their body and mind, to realize the truth of impermanence and selflessness, to look after the well-being of their body and mind by themselves, to realize wisdom and unconditional love from within, be free from clinging and craving for receiving love, help, support or kindness from others, allowing others to show love, help, support and kindness to oneself, or not, without being determined by other people’s actions and reactions, where they don’t need to rely on a teacher, or anyone to be there for them, to be practicing yoga, to be doing something beneficial for themselves or others, to feel loved and supported, to feel being helped or looked after, to be motivated, to be acknowledged, or to feel meaningful.

There’s no need to have somebody there to comfort oneself, to be listening to one’s ‘problems’ or ‘complaints’, as there’s no ‘problem’ or ‘complaint’ when one knows yoga, when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism.

This is compassion and liberation, although many people might not understand or agree with this. It’s normal that most people who attached strongly onto the worldly passionate thinking and belief couldn’t understand this teaching and practice particularly and have strong disagreements towards this teaching and practice, unless they go beyond all the worldly passionate thinking and belief. And that’s their freedom of thinking, actions and reactions.

Those who don’t understand, they have expectation towards everyone and everything to be in certain ways that they like and agree with. They expect the teachers should behave or treat them in certain ways. They expect the retreat should be run in certain ways. They feel offended, disappointed and hurt when people or things are not being the way that they want it to be, or when they are getting what they don’t like and don’t agree with, or when they are not getting what they like and agree with, and when something that they like has changed into something that they don’t like, or is being disturbed, or is no longer existing or available. As long as the mind is still functioning under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, people would keep hurting themselves and others out of ignorance, egoism and impurities.

This is the ninth determination – to realize compassion or unconditional love, to stop hurting oneself and others out of ignorance, egoism and impurities.

All these practices and realization are nothing to do with the impermanent and selfless physical condition, physical appearance, physical ability and limitation; or the impermanent and selfless state of the mind; or how strong and flexible is the physical body to perform the yoga poses; or how many yoga poses the body can perform nicely and comfortably; or how long they can hold a particular yoga pose comfortably; or whether they perform the yoga poses in so called ‘perfect alignment’, or not; or whether they believe or disbelieve in God (existence); or whether they have or don’t have a religion belief and practice; or what type of religion belief and practice that they have; or what type and style of yoga they are practicing; or how long they have been practicing yoga; or who are their yoga teachers; or what type of food that they eat or don’t eat; or whether the minds think they are good or not good, positive or negative, happy or unhappy.

This is the tenth determination – to free the mind from being conditioned and determined by qualities and dualities and any thinking and beliefs.

It’s important as part of the yoga practice for the fees must be paid fully before the start of the retreats or workshops. Fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. In case of sickness or emergency that one couldn’t finish the retreat, one can replace the unattended retreat sessions on some other time in the future when retreat or workshop is available. The fees is about the retreat guests showing sincerity and determination to attend the yoga retreat or workshop, as well as to show appreciation and gratitude towards the yoga teachers and supporting the maintenance of the retreat centre to conduct such retreats and workshops to allow other people to learn and practice yoga to be free from ignorance and suffering. This is very important as part of the yoga practice of elimination of ignorance and egoism.

It’s not about paying some money in exchange for some customer services or commercial products in return. It’s about one gives before receive anything or even doesn’t receive anything in return. It’s not about one will ‘give’, after one received something that one likes and desires, and one will be reluctant to ‘give’ if one thinks one didn’t receive something that one likes or desires.

The teachings and practice of yoga is available anywhere and anytime that is nothing to do with ‘fees’ at all, such like anyone who visit this Blog can learn and practice yoga from all the posts about yoga here if they want, for free, but the daily/weekly/monthly/yearly maintenance of the living space and practice space of a retreat centre that allow people to come to learn and practice yoga under the teachers needs to be maintained by fees/money, to pay rental, bills, business license fee, building permit fee and lots of maintenance to upkeep the entire place. Even when there’s no retreat or workshop happening, when the teachers don’t teach classes or receive any fees, the teachers are still ‘working’ everyday to upkeep the entire place. But people don’t see this. They think that the teachers only ‘work’ when they are teaching classes. The teachers will be teaching as long as somebody sincerely wants to come to learn and practice with them. Sooner or later, even if someone wants to come to learn and practice yoga, the teachers will not be here anymore.

All the teachings, practice and realization are invaluable. It’s not something that one can buy or pay with some money and one will be free. But the fees in the form of money has its important function. Some people are not aware of they are exploiting the yoga teachers when they negotiate the fees with the teachers to get discount so that they can spend the saved money on something else, or thinking that the yoga teachers shouldn’t receive any fees as they believe that teaching yoga should be something charitable or as a service, expecting that all yoga teachers should have some full time or part time job or business, or beg for donations from the public to support their living and perform selfless service to teach yoga for free or at very low fees. That’s how people started to exploit yoga teachers thinking that that’s the way it should be. Even some yoga teachers would think like that. But it’s not. What they don’t understand is that the fees is not about paying for the teachers for their actions of teaching yoga, but it’s for many things that allow the teachers to be available here to teach yoga to other people at a particular time and space. If the teachers or the time and space are not available due to some reasons, then even though somebody want to pay some fees to the teachers, the teachers also cannot be here to teach yoga to anyone.

The retreat guests need to have certain degrees of determination and open mind to surrender all the doubts and hesitation towards paying non-refundable fees before the start of the retreat or workshop to be determined to finish the retreat or workshop regardless of any physical or mental discomforts/dislike/disagreement/aversion towards some of the teachings or practices and also due to the physical/mental/emotional purification process that may arise during/before/after the retreat or workshop, without forcing the body beyond its limitation, without hurting the body. If it’s too tired or sicked to perform any physical practice, one doesn’t need to do any form of physical practice, but still be practicing yoga by being present in the retreat sessions. But many people don’t get this. They would want to quit as soon as there’s some tiredness, dislikes, disagreements, discomforts or sickness.

Usually when there’s doubt or hesitation towards paying the fees before the retreat started is due to there are a lot of ‘what if’ over-powering people’s mind, and they afraid of they might regret or don’t like the retreat and will loose their money if they want to quit and won’t get any refund for quitting. They prefer to play safe by trying out without payment, and if they like it then they will pay. Or else they won’t pay if they don’t like it. But this type of petite mentality is one of the hindrance in the yoga practice. One should be determined to finished something that one started no matter how challenging it appears to be by putting aside all the impulsive likes and dislikes, craving and aversion.

Not about asking anyone to be compared with myself, but just to let people know that it’s possible to be determined to finished everything that we have started no matter how much challenges and obstacles and difficulties are there. Initially, I didn’t have enough money to pay for the yoga teachers training course when I paid the deposit to sign up for the course, but I never asked for any discounted rate or special rate from the Ashram, and somehow I managed to earn enough to pay for the fees and flight ticket and other expenses as well as supporting my parents’ living by working hard. My body was sicked for more than three weeks during the one month course when I was attending the first yoga teachers training course at Sivananda Ashram in 2005, but I never missed any classes, or quit. Neither did I expect to be receiving sympathy, empathy, attention, love and care from anyone. I looked after myself and knowing that it’s part of the purification process and it’s impermanent. And the next year, after came back from the advanced teachers training course and attended my first silent Vipassana meditation retreat, my whole body and face suffered from some kind of serious skin rash for more than one and half year. Again, it didn’t bother me at all. When I was young, the so called ‘astrologer’ said that I will never be a champion no matter how hard I try, but I managed to be a champion twice, and be qualified to represent Malaysia for competing in world championship in Sport Aerobics Competition. It’s all about determination, perseverance, discipline, focus, patience, forbearance, hardworking and independence.

For those who have developed a strong foundation of correct understanding towards the teachings and practice, where they have become their own teacher, then naturally and effortlessly, they are dispassionate towards a worldly passionate way of life and would renounce worldly social affairs, desires, relationships, connections, activities and interactions, immersing into the practice of silence, solitude and seclusion, to be focusing in their own practice to attain complete annihilation of the modification of the mind.

This might be the last but not least determination – to attain complete annihilation of the modification of the mind.

Everyone has the freedom to decide what they want or don’t want to practice after learning about the teachings and practice of yoga in the retreats or workshops, there’s nothing wrong if they don’t want to practice some of the teachings or practice, but more importantly, they learn to allow their mind to be opened, to be undisturbed by something that their mind dislikes, disagrees with, and doesn’t want to practice, but at the same time, allow the mind to be opened to inquire or investigate the truth of everything that the mind agrees or disagrees with, being aware of whatever the mind agrees or disagrees with are not necessarily the truth. That is already getting into the practice, even if they dislike, disagree with and don’t want to practice some of the teachings or practices of yoga. Then in everyday life, dealing with many people and things that are not necessarily that they like or agree with, but they are not disturbed by what they don’t like and don’t agree with, and have peace.

That is true compassion towards oneself and others, where one stops hurting oneself or others out of all kinds of impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, offensiveness, defensiveness, frustration, unhappiness, depression, pride, arrogance, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurts, regret, guilt, craving, aversion, impatience, intolerance, ill-will, animosity, unrest, fear or worry, under the influence of ignorance and egoism.

One is peaceful as one is, regardless of all kinds of mind perception of pleasant or unpleasant experiences, and all the impermanent changes of the different states of the mind, the mental achievement, ability and limitation; the physical achievement, ability and limitation, and the impermanent and selfless physical condition of aging, decaying, weakening, pain, illness and eventually stop functioning and decompose.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life, body and mind, but also be responsible for all their decisions and desires, actions and reactions, and the consequences of their decisions, desires, actions and reactions.

Be happy.

It’s okay even when the mind is not free from ignorance

Although there are not many yoga practitioners can completely be free from ignorance and egoism even after long time of practicing yoga, but it’s okay, as long as the mind is aware of it is ignorant towards certain things or many things and be able to accept the reality as it is, that in this present moment now, the mind is not free from ignorance and disturb, and it’s okay, because even this ignorance and disturb is impermanent, and it’s not ‘I’, it’s just the mind. And that is already a great liberation.

For those who have doubt towards the truth of many things, but somehow don’t know how to purify and quiet the mind to inquire the truth of things, then just keep this in mind, “Everything is impermanent and selfless, including happiness and unhappiness or pleasure and suffering. Regardless of good people or bad people, good things or bad things, meaningfulness or meaninglessness, excitement or painful sorrow, selfishness or unselfishness, togetherness or separateness, all will change and disappear.” One will be okay in life dealing with many things that are not necessary the way that the mind would like it to be.

Yoga retreat?

‘Retreat’ is a period of special time and space of solitude for us to be with ourselves, to retreat from worldly social interactive activities, to allow the mind to have the opportunity to move away from restlessness and its usual habits, to turn the outgoing mind inwards for introspection, for self-inquiry, to know our-Self, even if there are other people being in the same retreat.

Real (spiritual) retreats are not designed for socializing or mingling. It’s an opportunity for us to practice solitude. As solitude is an important element in conquest of mind or fear. Some people’s mind are fear of being with people, they want to be alone to feel safe. While some people’s mind are fear of being alone, they want to be surrounded by some other people all the time. But both of them also is about fear. Fear derives from ignorance and attachment. There’s no peace in ourselves, always thinking that something bad is going to happen on us, or somebody is going to hurt us, either when we are alone, or when we are being with some other people. We generate so much tension into the environment.

If we are afraid of being with ourselves even just for a few days, and ‘have to’ cling onto other people in the retreat all the time, please be considerate that we still have to respect other people in the retreat centre who purposely coming here to have their own time and space for themselves for some personal spiritual practice. As we are disturbing other people’s precious time and space to be with themselves being in the retreat centre.

But, we cannot expect everyone to be understanding this simple and basic principle about ‘retreat’. As there are many other yoga retreats in the world that are not really about silence the mind for self-inquiry, but more like commercialized luxury pleasurable enjoyment and socializing kind of yoga holidays.

In the end, it’s about compassion. Being compassionate towards those who are influenced by ignorance and whose mind is out of their own control, being over-powered by fear. Spiritual practice are here for beings who have fear, to learn to deal with fear, and to let go of fear. But, most of us refuse to confront with the fear in us, and choose to avoid what we are fear of.

Most important is being compassionate towards ourselves by letting go of fear.

Om shanti.