Yoga and ‘positive empowerment’ ideologies?

Many people, including yoga practitioners and yoga teachers, would think and believe that yoga philosophy or the teachings of yoga and the yoga practice is about ‘positive empowerment’.

There’s nothing wrong or bad with ‘positive empowerment’ ideologies, it helps many people to ‘positively’ deal with the perception of certain worldly life experiences that are not necessarily the way that the mind would like it to be, that are quite challenging, exhausting, unpleasant, painful or harsh, by being ‘positive’, ‘optimistic’, ‘hopeful’, ‘confident’, ‘worthy’, ‘strong’, and etc, just that it is not what yoga and yoga practice is about.

Worldly passionate egoistic minds that are identifying with and attached onto the qualities of names and forms of family and cultural background, worldly thinking and belief, intelligence, knowledge, creativity, higher technologies, higher standard of living, enjoyment of the senses, sense of achievement and meaningfulness, sense of belonging, social community interaction and activities, relationships, friendships, fun elements, good condition of the body and the living environment, and etc, wouldn’t like or agree with the practice of yoga of renouncing worldly ideas/thinking/belief/habits and thinning-out/annihilation of the mind.

Only those who have realized the fleeting impermanence of all the names and forms in this worldly life existence, who have intense yearning for salvation or liberation from suffering, would perceive and understand worldly life existence differently from the passionate minds.

For the passionate minds, the worldly life existence is what they are and all they are, and they spend all the effort, energy, life span and sense of meaningfulness into creating and protecting what they think is ‘I’ and ‘mine’ – my life, my body, my mind, my name, my gender, my sexual orientation, my appearance, my action, my fruit of action, my health, my feelings, my education, my career, my wealth, my achievements, my results, my qualifications, my certifications, my accumulated experiences, my property, my things, my knowledge, my language, my personality, my professionalism, my talent, my skill, my ability, my strength, my love, my kindness, my goodness, my family, my ancestor, my birth place, my nationality, my race, my community, my tribe, my people, my country, my world, my planet earth, my universe, my culture, my religion, my thinking, my belief, my rights, my freedom, my happiness, my relationships, my friends, my relatives, my partner, my children, my grandchildren, my pets, my future, my children’s future, my interest, my hobbies, my collections, my ideas, my creativity, my ambitions, my generosity, my reputation, my confidence, my self-esteem, my pride, my contribution, my sacrifice, my effort, my time, my space, my yoga, my yoga mat, my yoga accessories, my yoga brand, my favorite yoga practice/yoga poses, my yoga school, my yoga students, my yoga teacher, my Guru, my disciples, my followers, my fans, my God, my things to do/enjoy before dying, and so on.

For the dispassionate minds, the worldly life existence is simply a precious momentary platform and priceless opportunity for them to work diligently to annihilate the mind/ignorance/egoism – the root of countless births and deaths (restlessness), and the consequence of that – suffering. The worldly passionate minds would ignorantly think that this is selfishness, that this doesn’t contribute anything to the world like all the other intelligent educated kind people who actively trying to do so many actions in order to change the world to be a better place or to be the way that they think it should be, but they don’t realize this serious stuff of yoga practice is indeed the greatest form of contribution towards humanity that anyone can give – to be free from ignorance/egoism/impurities and suffering, to be in peace and manifesting peace into the environment/the society/the world, unconditionally.

If someone really interested in practicing yoga or realizing yoga, must understand the difference between yoga (the annihilation of the ego/egoism and restraining/thinning-out the function/modification of the mind) and worldly ‘positive empowerment’ ideologies (the empowerment of the ego/egoism and stimulating/augmenting the function/modification of the mind).

The one who needs to be empowered and is being empowered by ‘positive empowerment’ ideologies is the ego. All these worldly ‘positive empowerment’ ideologies are stimulating/feeding/fueling/empowering/strengthening the thinking mind/egoism. While yoga practice is mainly to breakdown/annihilate the ego/egoism and stop stimulating/stop feeding/thinning out/annihilating the thinking mind (including the mind with all positive and good qualities.)

The one who truly understands yoga and practices yoga, doesn’t need to be empowered, encouraged, motivated, inspired, acknowledged, supported or accompanied by anything and anyone, but realizing the truth and lives in the truth, and not running away from or denying the undesirable/disagreeable reality perceived by the mind that it doesn’t like and doesn’t want, or trying to change the undesirable/disagreeable reality to be the way that the mind would like or want it to be.

Yoga practitioners or yoga teachers, who think and believe all beings/people, including themselves, need to be empowered, encouraged, motivated, inspired, acknowledged, supported, or accompanied by other(s), of family/community/teachers/friend circle/social network to live life, to look after themselves and/or others under their care, to be doing something beneficial to themselves and/or others, to be performing their duties and responsibilities towards themselves and/or others, and to perform the yoga and meditation practice to attain salvation, otherwise, they would be discouraged, demotivated or lack of inspiration to perform all these actions, then they aren’t really practicing yoga, even though they might think and believe that they have been practicing yoga for a long time or they are highly experienced in the yoga practice. Though it’s everyone’s freedom of how they understand and practice yoga.

This doesn’t mean that the world is a loveless place if all practice yoga or everyone doesn’t (need to) connect with other(s), to be giving or receiving love from one another, but in fact, it’s the contrary, the world will be full of ‘love’, as everyone is love itself and manifesting love unlimitedly, unconditionally, intentionlessly or selflessly. There’s needless to connect with other(s) or depend on receiving love from other(s) to feel love or loved by other(s). There’s no separateness, loneliness or meaninglessness.

It’s only those who haven’t realized the truth of ‘love’, will perceive separateness, loneliness and meaninglessness, and believe that all beings need to be giving and receiving love from one another, and have the need to connect with other(s), to be receiving love from other(s), to feel love and meaningfulness. That is not freedom, nor end of suffering. As there will always be many inhuman selfishness, cruelty, greed, violence or corruption in the world as most minds are not free from ignorance and egoism, and are functioning under the impulse for survival and gratification of desires. Even those who identifying themselves as ‘good’ beings/people who think they do many ‘good’ actions in this world would also want to discriminate/punish/hurt other(s) out of pride, self-protection, survival instinct, anger, hatred, hurt, fear, worry, and etc.

Love or peace is always there, as it is, never increase nor decrease, unaffected by the impermanent changes of good and bad qualities of names and forms. Those who realized this, are free from clinging onto or needing or craving for love from someone or somewhere. It’s only those under the influence of ignorance and egoism don’t realize this, and hence are not free, but finding momentary satisfaction and comforts in the qualities of names and forms that the mind likes and desires.

Dispassion, renounce worldly ideas, objects, activities, ties and relationships, non-attachment, non-identification, awareness, self-control, self-discipline, the correct understanding of the basic and yet essential teachings of yoga, and the four essential qualities of a Sadhaka – Viveka, Vairagya, Shatsampat and Mumukshutva, are the very basic qualities of a yoga practitioner or person who wants to practice yoga and realize yoga.

The real ‘Guru’ or teacher is there to guide the students to destroy/eliminate the ego/egoism and to thin-out the mind. Destroying/eliminating the ego/egoism and thinning-out the mind is the only objective/goal of all the yoga practice and it’s true compassion and the greatest contribution to humanity and the world. All other benefits deriving from performing the yoga practice are just some momentary side-effects. These side-effects cannot bring salvation or liberation. Yoga practitioners aren’t interested in all these momentary side-effects at all, but allowing them to be there as they are.

Everyone is free to practice yoga, or not. It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life, their body and mind.

Be free.

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Self-practice

Developing awareness and correct understanding along with self-discipline and determination, one doesn’t need to continuously attending yoga classes to be following the instructions of a yoga teacher/instructor to be performing the yoga practice, but out of own freewill and intense yearning for liberation, one retreats into seclusion and solitude to perform self-practice. One takes one’s natural pace to perform the practice at ease, without rushing or struggling or straining the body and mind beyond its limitation, and allowing the fruit of the practice to be there as it is.

Many people who attend yoga classes and those who provide yoga classes or other kind of yoga services, will look at or take consideration or give importance onto these factors –
– The qualifications/certifications/experience/background of the yoga teachers
– The professionalism and the ‘yogi’ look/appearance/image of the yoga teachers
– The atmosphere of the yoga practice space, such like the ‘spiritual/zen feel’, the decorations, the colour theme, the furniture, the fittings, the lighting, the plants, the sub-yoga products of ‘yoga attires’, ‘yoga mats’, ‘yoga accessories’ or ‘yoga health supplements’, the convenient facilities and other supplementary services, and/or other yoga family members of animals and pets.
– The surrounding environment of the yoga school or yoga studio, such like the scenery and the ‘quality’ of the neighbourhood.
– The degree of pleasantness of the enjoyment of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and imagination/visualization/stimulation, and so on.
– The money-worth element of the fees in comparison with the services or enjoyments provided, and the rewards/benefits/effectiveness/recognition/qualification that one would be getting from attending the yoga classes or performing the yoga practice.

Meanwhile, yoga and the yoga practice has nothing to do with all these names and forms. If the yoga teachers or the yoga classes providers don’t get this or don’t understand this, then they don’t know what yoga is. In the process of yoga practice of silencing the mind or meditation, the eyes are either closed or the mind is focusing/restraining within, and all the other senses are restrained/withdraw from the objects of the senses. What kind of scenery or environment or atmosphere is irrelevant to one’s practice. So as all the other factors.

Yoga is in the moment regardless of the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, environment, experience, time and space. It is not confined in a particular quality of name and form, environment, experience, time and space. If one can only find oneself or peace or the truth in a particular yoga practice environment, experience, time and space, such like being in the nature of forest or mountain or seaside, and doing a particular yoga asana practice or nature activity, then one doesn’t know what yoga is even though one might feel good and peaceful and meaningful being in that particular environment, experience, time and space, and doing that particular yoga asana practice or activity. The truth/yoga is always there as it is, regardless one is doing a particular kind of yoga asana practice or physical/mental activity, or not, and being in what kind of environment, experience, time and space. Peace, compassion and the ability to forgive and let go what that the mind perceives as ‘wrong’, ‘bad’, ‘hurtful’, ‘painful’, or ‘sorrowful’, is nothing to do with the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms.

There’s nothing wrong and it’s very common that most people who attend yoga classes will expect the yoga teacher/instructor to be looking at them and their practice, to tell them to do this and don’t do that, to correct their postures, to help them to push/challenge themselves beyond the limitation of their body and mind to make the body become more fit/strong/flexible and be able to do more ‘challenging’ yoga asana poses, to give positive feedback about their practice, to give encouragements of praise and compliments to motivate them to be continuing their practice, to be interacting in some kind of social conversation, to be involving in some form of social community activities together. Just that they haven’t learn/realize what yoga really is about, even after many years of attending many hours of yoga classes regularly, and performing the yoga asana practice in perfect alignment and attaining better health condition, developing fitter, stronger and more flexible physical body, being able to perform many complicated yoga asana poses, and generating momentary good, positive and meaningful feelings in their minds due to the effect of the yoga practice.

All these names and forms are nothing but the modifications of the conditional thinking and belief and behavior of the worldly egoistic impure minds. Yoga practice is mainly to free the mind from all these conditional thinking, belief and behavior of the worldly egoistic impure mind modifications.

One only needs a simple clean space free from dust or insects/animals to be practicing external yoga practice of yoga asana and pranayama practice. If there’s no clean space available to be practicing yoga asana and pranayama practice, or if the weather doesn’t permit such practice (extreme weather condition), or the environment is not suitable for such external practice (causing inconvenience to other beings), then one doesn’t have to be practicing external yoga practice of yoga asana or pranayama practice, but it doesn’t stop one from the unconditional unlimited internal practice of maintaining a calm and quiet mind, allowing the perceived reality/experience/qualities of names and forms that is not necessarily the way that the mind likes it to be, as it is, and be able to forgive and let go something that the mind perceives as ‘wrong’, ‘bad’, ‘hurtful’, ‘painful’ or ‘sorrowful’, without craving or clinging towards ‘good’ condition or pleasantness, without aversion towards ‘bad’ condition or unpleasantness.

Contemplate on this and be free.

Expectation from the yoga students towards the yoga teachers

“How come the teacher didn’t say anything about whether my execution is good or not, or whether I’m doing the postures and movements right, or not?”

In most of the “yoga classes” (yoga asana exercise classes), the teacher or the instructor will go around and adjusting the body of the students, correcting their poses and movements, and telling them whether they are good and whether they are doing it right, and constantly give encouragement to them to try harder, to do something that they don’t want to do, or are not comfortable doing, or what they think they can’t do. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with that.

In the yoga class of learning and practicing yoga to eliminate ignorance and egoism to free the mind from suffering, the teacher seldom or does not go around adjusting or correcting their physical positions or movements, or give them appraisement whether they are good, or not, whether they are doing it right, or not. Because how they look in the positions or how well they execute the movements are irrelevant towards the elimination of ignorance and egoism to free the mind from suffering.

Wisdom and compassion and the ability to let go and forgive, is nothing to do with making the body more strong and flexible to be able to perform many yoga asana poses beautifully or to mastering the skill to perform the yoga poses. It’s about putting the body in certain positions within the ability and comfort of the physical body and holding the positions comfortably as long as the body can stay in those positions comfortably without struggling, in order to bring the mind to be in the present to calm down and quieting the restless mind, to prepare the mind for meditation. And this is nothing to do with whether the yoga practitioner is performing the yoga poses in perfect alignment or not in the yoga asana practice.

Even when a person can perform all the yoga poses nicely in perfect alignment and executing all the movements correctly and gracefully also doesn’t guarantee that this person is or will be free from ignorance and egoism and impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, arrogance, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, agitation, depression, hurts, regret, guilt, craving, aversion, ill-will, ill-thinking, fear and worry, and so on, if this person doesn’t work on eliminating the egoism that feeds ignorance that gives rise to suffering and all sorts of disturbs and unhappiness.

The teacher who teaches yoga delivers the teachings and the guidelines for the practice to the students to perform their practice, and the teacher might or might not be observing their practice from time to time, but at the same time, without interference, judgement or expectation, allowing the students to experience the teachings while practice what they learn from the teacher about the teachings and the practice, disregards whether their understanding towards the teachings and the practice is perfect or imperfect, and whether they are following the guidelines accordingly, or not, but to inquire the truth of the teachings and the practice through their own direct experience, to develop understanding and awareness towards their own body and mind, to become the observer or the teacher towards their own mind, without attachment, identification, judgement, comparison and expectation.

The students learn to develop self-independence and self-discipline. They don’t need to depend on a ‘teacher’ to tell them whether they are doing their practice correctly, or not, as they should be able to have the basic awareness of whether they are practicing correctly, or not, by being aware of the consequences of the action of doing the poses and movements. For example, the teacher teaches the students who have never seen fire, “Fire can burn your skin and flesh and it might cause painful sensation and damages. And hence do not touch the fire.” and if the students still want to touch the fire, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and got burnt by the fire, that is not the teacher’s responsibility. The teacher cannot be there every seconds watching the students to make sure they don’t touch the fire so that they won’t hurt themselves. The students will have to learn from their own direct experience and be responsible for looking after their own well-being. Just like parents can give advice as much as they can to their children, but they cannot be there all the time to control their children how they should act or react or behave, making sure that they only do good and the right thing, and don’t do bad or the wrong thing.

Only the students themselves will know whether they are practicing yoga, or not. People can be doing yoga poses everyday for years, but they might not be practicing yoga at all, including yoga teachers. It’s not about looking at the teacher and trying to imitate the teacher or other people. The yoga practitioners learn how to perform all their actions, practice, duties, and responsibilities out of compassion, without egoism, being free from attachment, identification, judgement, comparison and expectation towards the actions, the practice, the duties and responsibilities, as well as the result or fruit of the actions, the practice, the duties and responsibilities.

If the students don’t feel comfortable while putting their body in a particular position or executing particular movements, they shouldn’t proceed further or force their body to continue to perform the position or movements that the body feels discomfortable or painful, whether it’s due the limitation of their body, or there’s mind blockage of fear and worry, or it’s due to incorrect understanding towards the practice. If it’s due to their incorrect understanding towards the practice, the teacher will redeliver the guidelines of the practice to them, without expecting them to be fully understanding the practice right away.

The students learn to be aware that all their experiences, whether it’s okay or not okay, are all impermanent. Through their own awareness and understanding, they learn how to make appropriate adjustment to put their body into the positions comfortably, or execute the movements in the way that suits their body most, without expecting a teacher constantly be there to make adjustments for them. Everyone has a different body with different condition and limitation. What is comfortable for some people might be very painful for other people. There’s no best way to execute the movements or the best perfect look of the positions or poses, it’s just what the body can do comfortably, in this present moment. And no body is aware of what is going on in one’s body and mind but oneself, not even the yoga teacher.

For those who have been doing yoga poses for many years, how they look and how they feel in the poses or movements could be different in every practice. It is the truth of impermanence and selflessness. One can’t even look and feel the same in one’s different sessions of practice, then why should one look and feel the same as any others or the teacher in particular in their respective practice?

So what if some people’s body are really inflexible and weak, and they don’t look like everyone else while performing the yoga poses or while executing certain movements? It doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to realize unconditional peace and love or to let go and forgive something that is hurtful. It’s really unimportant and irrelevant about the physical ability and limitation in the realization of selflessness, unconditional peace and love, and the ability to let go and forgive something that the mind perceives as bad, wrong, undeserving, hurtful, painful or disturbing.

A yoga teacher allows the yoga students to take their time to find their own way of putting their body comfortably in the poses without pushing or forcing their body beyond its limitation or disability in the present moment, or adjusting their body and mind by themselves to adapt and accommodate the practice, the poses or the movements with care and responsibility from themselves towards themselves.

What the students can do or cannot do, what the students want or don’t want to do, and how the students interpret and execute the teachings and practice or how they look in the positions or movements are the students’ freedom and responsibility. The yoga teacher is not here to control and judge every action of the yoga students. After learning the teachings and practice by coming in contact with the teachings from a teacher, it’s up to the yoga students to interpret and perform the teachings and practice in their own pace, in their own way, by experiencing and inquiring the truth of these teachings and practice.

The students should be learning how to be aware of their practice and understand the practice via direct experience, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgement, comparison and expectation, and don’t depend on the teacher to look at their practice and constantly telling them about how good or bad is their practice. It’s not about how perfect do they look in the positions and how good they execute the movements, but it’s about via the positions and movements, they learn about what is going on in their minds, about the ignorance and egoism and the consequences of ignorance and egoism, about the suffering and the cause of suffering, about the impermanence and selflessness of the physical body and the activities of the mind of all the ceaseless thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions, reactions and impurities.

In order to perform the exercise safely so that the yoga practitioners won’t generate stress or injury onto the physical body has nothing to do with executing the yoga poses or movements in perfect alignment. It’s by understanding and listening to their own body, just do what their body can do comfortably in this present moment, in a relaxed manner, without forcing or pushing their body beyond its limitation, without trying to follow the standard of the perfect alignment, there’s no stress or risk of injury. In contrast, while trying to perform the positions or movements according to the perfect alignment that is beyond their physical limitation, to look exactly like other people or the teacher, building up tension from attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgement, comparison and expectation, could generate unnecessary stress and injury to the body and mind while trying to perform the yoga poses perfectly according to the standard of perfect alignment. Putting the body in the perfect alignment also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is or will be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering. People who are physically fit, strong and flexible, and can perform many yoga poses skillfully in perfect alignment, are not necessarily be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering.

Be free.

Taming the urge to express the thought activities through speech and action

Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha – Yoga is the restraint/annihilation of the modification of the mind – The entire worldly idea of ‘I’ and life existence cease existing. The perception of separateness and duality of good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, enjoyment and suffering, birth and death, and so on, vanished.

This is an important practice in yoga to silent the mind by stop feeding the thought current or thought activities by restraining the mind from projecting or expressing the thinking via speech and action. It’s the practice of awareness, non-attachment and letting go that eventually leads to complete silence or the annihilation of the entire worldly idea of ‘I’ and life existence. People who are passionate towards worldly idea of life existence, who aspire to build a positive world that is free from what they think is negative, would interpret this practice as oppression or suppression or degradation of the mind or human life existence or humanity, which the worldly minded think it’s something inhuman, abnormal, unhealthy, non-progressive and wrong. Those who are not interested in yoga and meditation practice, who are passionate about worldly idea of life existence, they don’t need to perform this practice. Those who think they are free from suffering or they don’t mind suffering, or who had transcended suffering, also don’t need to perform this practice.

Even the teachings and practice of yoga can be something ‘good’ and ‘amazing’ for some people, but it can also be something ‘not good’ and ‘wrong’ for many other people. It’s up to everyone on how the mind perceives and reacts towards everything, and whether the mind needs the teachings and practice of yoga to realize unconditional peace.

The practice of silencing the mind is greatly contradicted with the existing worldly ideas and values that emphasize on empowering self-identification, self-worth, self-development, personal and global achievement, and social community development, where people think human beings should progress forward by constant stimulating their minds and projecting their thoughts freely through expressing their ideas and feelings via speech and action, especially if it’s something ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ according to the thinking and belief consists of certain worldly ideas and values, cultural and religious belief and practice that people think it would benefit all humanity.

What most worldly minds don’t realize is that silencing the mind is the greatest form of serving humanity. There’s less a being under the influence of ignorance to generate ignorant actions into the world. All the higher technologies and engineering derived from high creativity and intelligence, doesn’t remove the ignorance, egoism and impurities in people’s mind and it doesn’t make the world to be free from what the impure minds recognize as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘wrong’, ‘suffering’, and all sorts of ‘fear’ and ‘violence’. People can enjoy the higher technology to live longer or younger or healthier or to enjoy higher standard of living and lifestyle, but it doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free from suffering, if the mind is not free from ignorance, egoism and impurities. As the highest technology also can’t alter the truth of impermanence. People will still hurt each other out of fear, in order to survive or to protect themselves and their loved ones and what they think is ‘good’, if the mind is not free from ignorance.

Many people who are interested in doing some form of yoga exercises regularly are either ignorant towards this teaching and practice, as the yoga teachers don’t teach this teaching in the yoga exercise classes, or, people know, but they don’t like and disagree with this teaching and practice. Whether people know or don’t know, like or dislike, agree or disagree, this is what yoga is about – Annihilation of mind activities.

The worldly idea of life existence appears when the mind moves, where there is habitual attachment and reaction towards the mind perception of names and forms through the senses. The worldly idea of life existence disappears when the mind is stilled, where there is pure awareness of mind perceptions without attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgement, intention or expectation.

A lot of time, the thinking and judgment from the impure mind is only partially true, or may not be true at all. The mind reaction of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, is also the by-product of ignorance, being influenced by egoism and impurities.

There’s nothing wrong when the mind thinks and believes that it has some ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ qualities, ideas and values that are worth to be shared with the world, and there is strong urge to project what it thinks and believes as ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ through speech and action, thinking that this would bring positive goodness to the society or the world, so that other people will also be inspired or be endowed with the same qualities, ideas and values. There’s good and generous intention or aspiration to share something great with the world to inspire others.

Everyone has the freedom to express their thinking through speech and action, there’s nothing wrong and it really doesn’t matter to those who are free from the influence of ignorance and egoism because they will not be affected or disturbed by other people’s thinking, ideas or feelings being projected through their speech and action. But in reality, there are many minds functioning under the influence of ignorance and egoism, that are not free from being disturbed by ungratified desires, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, who will be disturbed or intimidated or offended or hurt by other people of their thinking, ideas and feelings. Again, there’s nothing wrong with people expressing their thinking freely, as well as it’s people’s freedom and responsibility for how people react towards other people’s thinking, ideas and feelings. Just that impure minds can get very confused when being disturbed or intimidated, and might unwittingly or spontaneously hurt themselves or others out of the disturbed and confused state of the mind.

For example, there are women who don’t have or don’t want to have children would express their ideas or feelings about how ‘good’ and ‘blessed’ for them to have the joy of not having children. While the women who have or want to have children would express their ideas or feelings about how ‘good’ and ‘blessed’ for them to have the joy of having children. And sometimes, they might mock each other for justifying their respective ideology is somehow more superior or better than the other.

There’s nothing wrong with both different ideas or feelings towards the joy of having or not having children. It’s all good that some women find joy in not having children, while some women find joy in having children, as long as there’s no attachment or identification towards this idea or value to be who they are. Then it doesn’t matter whether they have or don’t have children, they are fine, being undetermined by any ideology to feel worthy, happy, confident, or meaningful, or not.

There are women who think and believe that having children is something ‘good’ and ‘blessed’, and they would love to have children, but for some reasons they couldn’t have any children, or they have children, but it’s not the way that they like it to be, and their minds are being in a state of suffering due to ungratified desires. Under the imbalanced state of the mind, they would feel greatly disturbed when women who have children keep boasting about their joy of having children, thinking that it’s something good and positive to inspire and encourage other women to also have the joy of having children, but it’s actually generating great disturbance for the women who would love to have children but they couldn’t. And then, there are some women who have children, but for some reasons, they feel regret about having children, and their minds are being in a state of dissatisfaction, frustration and regret, they might feel more disturbed for having children that they don’t really want, when the women who don’t have children keep boasting about their joy of not having children.

It’s not the fault of the people who boast or share about their thinking, values and feelings, when other people attach onto whatever they perceive and react towards what they perceive, taking other people’s expression of thinking and point of view seriously and personally, and feel disturbed or intimidated or hurt. Though there are many minds that are easily be affected, disturbed and intimidated by other people’s freedom of expression. For the mind that is free, it won’t be affected or disturbed or intimidated by other people’s freedom of expression. This mind doesn’t need to stay away from something that the worldly minded perceive as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘depressing’, or ‘meaninglessness’.

When the mind starts to develop awareness, correct understanding and compassion, it’s okay for the mind to have particular thinking and belief towards particular ideas or values, but it doesn’t need to project/express these ideas or values to inspire other people to also take up these values and ideas, even though the mind strongly believes that they are something ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’. Allowing everyone to have their own version of ideas and values, and it’s needless to boast about anything trying to inspire other people to be the same as ‘I’, to achieve what ‘I’ achieve, to live life as ‘I’ live. “I am happy. You should be like me, and you will be happy too.” But what is ‘good’ for ‘I’ might be something ‘painful’ for other people.

When teaching a yoga asana class, the yoga teacher can’t tell the students, “I can do this, so can you.” or “Nothing is impossible. You can do and achieve anything that you want.” to inspire or encourage the students to be able to do what the yoga teacher can do, because it’s not true. Not everyone has the similar physical structure, condition, ability and limitation to be able to perform the same action. People who take the teacher’s words seriously and force themselves beyond their limitation but still couldn’t achieve what they want to achieve, they might hurt themselves out of great expectation and disappointment. It’s okay that there are things that are impossible to reach or achieve due to certain circumstances. And it’s okay if people can’t perform certain actions due to certain limitation even after many years of practice and attempts. People don’t have to be able to do everything that the yoga teacher or other people can do, to have peace, or be compassionate, or to forgive someone or something that is hurtful. But the ability to go beyond all the ability and disability of the body and the mind, accepting the reality as it is, while performing actions without attachment or identification towards the actions and the fruit of actions, and allowing impermanent changes to be there as they are, that will allow the mind to be peaceful, compassionate and forgiving. And it’s okay if many people couldn’t realize this after many years of practice, and still be disturbed and determined by all the names and forms.

By accepting the reality in this present moment now, that the mind is not free, and it’s okay, and it’s impermanent and it’s not ‘I’, and without judgment or disappointment, keep practicing, without attachment or expectation towards the practice and the fruit of practice, and that is already what yoga is about.

For example, high performance and continuous achievement in any field is being perceived as something ‘good’ and ‘positive’ in the world. There’s nothing wrong with the idea of high performance and continuous achievement individually and globally, and many people can keep up with that idea with not much difficulty, but there are people couldn’t meet up with the expectation of high performance and continuous achievement, and they keep forcing the capability of the body and mind beyond its limitation to attain higher and higher performance and achievement until the function of the body and mind eventually breakdown, harming the entire body systems and suffered from restlessness, depression or insanity.

People can just do their best within their own capability, without trying to achieve what the world think is ‘good’ and ‘positive’, without pushing or forcing the body and mind beyond its limitation to compete with themselves or others to attain the sense of self-worth, achievement, confidence or meaningfulness, and without losing the clarity and sanity of the mind.

For the untrained mind, there are thought activities or thinking in the mind reacting towards the perception of names and forms, whether there is likes or dislikes and agreements or disagreements towards the perceived names and forms in the form of thinking, and naturally, there’s an urge to project/materialize this thinking through the speech and action, either intentionally or unintentionally. There’s an urge to express, to comment, to justify, to fight back, to argue, to attack, to revenge, to intimidate, to oppose, to criticize, to condemn, to aspire, to inspire, to admire, to love, to appreciate, to praise, to possess, or to control, and so on.

For the mind that has developed strong foundation in non-attachment and letting go, there is awareness towards the thought activities of the mind perception of names and forms of sight, sound, smell, taste, sensation and thinking/imagination/feeling, even though there might be likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements in the form of thinking due to the intellectual thought processing and recognizing the perceived names and forms, but it’s not necessarily that the thinking has to be projected/expressed/materialized through speech and action. In the end, all likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements in the form of thinking also will drop off. There are necessary actions being performed, without intention, attachment, identification, desires, judgment or expectation. Allowing the fruit of actions to be there as it is, allowing all the names and forms to be there as they are, and allowing them to change as they are.

There might be many intellectuals in the world would disagree with this or are against towards Silence of the mind. And that is their freedom of thinking and reaction.

This is what yoga practice is about – Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha

And it’s nothing to do with the physical condition, ability and limitation to do the yoga poses. It’s nothing to do with the knowledge of anatomy and physiology, or the precise physical alignment and different techniques on performing the yoga poses, or how one looks and feels in the yoga poses, or what are the names and benefits of the yoga poses, or the different types of qualifications and certifications sanctioned by such and such internationally recognized yoga alliance or association.

The mind that is free from impurities, ignorance and egoism, and is peaceful as it is being free from suffering, doesn’t need to be recognized, acknowledged, approved, authorized, or certified by anyone or any group, or any higher consciousness.

Be free.

The mind and the worldly life existence of enjoyment and suffering

The entire worldly life existence is nothing but mind activities powered by the mind perceptions of names and forms through the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts/feelings/imaginations/dreams.

If there is absence of the function of mind perception through the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, sensing/touching and thinking, there are no mind activities, there’s no worldly life experience. There’s no good life or bad life. There’s no good being or bad being. There’s no good world or bad world. There’s no enjoyment or suffering.

The worldly life existence that the mind perceives or experiences, whether it’s pleasant or unpleasant, and whether the mind enjoys or suffers, it’s all in the mind itself, and it’s in now and it’s impermanent. It’s nothing to do with the names and forms that the mind perceives. The names and forms are just what they are. Duality doesn’t exist in the names and forms, but only in the mind itself. Duality exists in the mind, not in the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses.

Without the sense of seeing, the mind won’t perceive sights or images of colours and shapes. What is beautiful or ugliness? What is attractive or unattractive? What is respectful or disrespectful?

Without the sense of hearing, the mind won’t perceive sounds. What is pleasantness or unpleasantness? What is compliment or insult? What is calming or disturbing?

Without the sense of taste, the mind won’t perceive tastes. What is tasty or not tasty?

Without the sense of smell, the mind won’t perceive smells. What is nice smell or bad smell?

Without the sense of touch/sensing, the mind won’t perceive sensations. What is pleasure or displeasure? What is comfortable or discomfortable?

Without the thinking faculty and memory function, there’s no thinking and belief, culture and religion, or imaginations, or thoughts/ideas, or feelings. What is good or bad? What is right or wrong? What is positive or negative? What is satisfaction or dissatisfaction? What is joy or grief? What is happiness or unhappiness? What is believe or disbelieve? What is fear or fearlessness? What is birth and death? What is existence or non-existence?

The one who experiences suffering, is the mind that is under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities. The one who performs yoga and meditation practice to be free from suffering, is the mind that is experiencing suffering. The one who is liberated from suffering, is the mind that is being free from ignorance, egoism and impurities through persevered discipline and practice. There’s no ‘I’ experience suffering, or ‘I’ perform yoga and meditation practice, or ‘I’ am liberated from suffering.

The mind that is NOT free from ignorance and egoism, there is an idea of ‘I’ existing to be identified as the one who perceives names and forms, who is aware of the mind activities, and who experiences worldly life existence, to enjoy or suffer based on the reaction towards the perception of names and forms (mind activities of worldly life experiences). The mind is being in a state of restlessness due to ceaseless passionate reactions of egoistic desires of craving and aversion from ‘I’ towards all the perceived names and forms (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, thoughts/ideas/feelings/imaginations/dreams).

The mind that is free from ignorance and egoism, there is no ‘I’ existing to experience worldly life existence, there’s no ‘I’ am perceiving names and forms, or ‘I’ enjoy or suffer. It’s just the mind functioning and perceiving names and forms through the senses via the sense organs. There is mind awareness being aware of the mind activities, but there’s no ‘I’ am aware of the mind activities. The selfless/egoless mind is undetermined or uninfluenced by the perception of names and forms due to the absence of egoism of attachment, identification, clinging, longing, craving or aversion towards the perceived names and forms, and thus, it’s free from restlessness. There’s no clinging or craving towards the objects of name and form that are pleasant and there’s no aversion towards the objects of name and form that are unpleasant.

Practice yoga of annihilating egoism, to purify and discipline and quiet the mind to allow the mind to see the truth of things as it is, to be free from ignorance – the root cause of suffering. All the other effects/benefits derived from the many forms of yoga practice are just some by-products, and they are impermanent and they are not the end of suffering. Even the positive effects of good feelings, pleasant sensations, enhanced physical condition and ability, calmness and positive thinking derived from many different forms of yoga practice are impermanent. They will change and pass away.

Attaining all kinds of impermanent effects/benefits from the yoga practice doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free from being determined or disturbed by the mind perception of names and forms of a life existence that is impermanent and it doesn’t stop the mind to experience suffering, if the mind is still under the influence of ignorance and egoism.

It’s through the elimination of ignorance and egoism that will lead the mind towards the realization of unconditional peace that is not subject to impermanence, that is nothing to do with the qualities of name and form, good and bad condition, and pleasant/desirable or unpleasant/undesirable life experiences. The selfless/egoless mind is peaceful as it is, while witnessing all the perceived impermanent changes of names and forms, or the countless births and deaths of mind activities arising and passing away.

The mind that is not free from ignorance and egoism will be involuntarily and restlessly swaying back and forth between the state of elevation and depression, satisfaction and dissatisfaction, happiness and unhappiness. The mind will feel good, satisfied and happy when its desires of craving and aversion are being gratified, but the good or happy feelings and satisfaction derived from experiencing good condition or pleasant/desirable experiences doesn’t stop the mind from feeling bad, dissatisfied and unhappy when the desires of craving and aversion are not being gratified, or when good condition or pleasant/desirable experiences are not available or no longer available, as the mind is not free from egoism of attachment, identification, clinging, longing, craving and aversion towards life experiences of names and forms. And thus the mind is restless or peaceless, even though the mind attains some momentary effects/benefits from the regular yoga practice.

Upon self-realization of the truth of names and forms as it is, when the mind is free from ignorance, all kinds of names and forms that the mind perceived asĀ  suffering due to ignorance, are no longer being perceived as the objects, or the quality, or the cause of suffering, but they are just what they are. There are changes, decay, old age, sickness, weakness, discomfort, pain and the end of the existence and function of the body and mind, but all these are not suffering.

There’s neither suffering nor the end of suffering.

Be free.