Welcoming changes towards unlimited unthinkable opportunities

Most minds will tend to have fear and worry towards changes, especially letting go a familiar living environment and family/friends/social circle, as well as letting go job or business that provides ‘stable’ financial support for living, unless they have no other choices but they have to find another living environment elsewhere and to find some other job or business due to unforeseen circumstances, such as losing their beloved home or job/business unwittingly due to natural disaster, bad economy, accident, war, and etc.

This fear and worry is the instinctive fear towards the unknown/uncertainty and fear of making the wrong decision to be losing the good and comfortable condition that one has been familiar with, which one loves/enjoys very much.

Whether we are aware or unaware of it, stability is always the main element and attachment in everything in life, even though the nature of everything is impermanence. Impermanence exists even in so called ‘stability’. Most minds would think and believe that they are embracing impermanence, but most probably only embracing towards changes of improvement, while there’s great aversion towards changes of deterioration. But deterioration is the ultimate truth of everything that exist under certain name and form.

Only when the mind learns how to embrace the nature of impermanence regardless of improvement or deterioration, there’s no fear towards changes or decisions making that actually would lead towards unlimited possible opportunities that are unknown to the mind until the mind sees them upon letting go/abandoning the little box of a familiar life that the mind lives in, when the mind starts to allow itself to be opened towards all the unknown/uncertainty without fear or regret, but with great welcome.

This is also similar to the teaching of yoga about surrendering. It’s not about ‘letting God to lead life and God will look after life for us’, but it’s about letting go the attachment/identification/clinging/expectation towards ‘the existing comfort that gives rise to the sense of meaningfulness derived from particular way of living and activities that the mind enjoys very much’ and letting go the fear towards losing or no longer having ‘this comfort and the sense of meaningfulness that it has been attaching or clinging onto’.

Most people will think and say, “Unless we have to, why do we want to let go something that is good and meaningful which we love very much that is still available to us now?”

There’s nothing wrong with that, as people don’t really need to let go anything (especially ‘goodness’ that gives rise to the sense of meaningfulness) until they have to. People like to hear and say, “Appreciate all the good things until they are no longer available.” That’s very good. But for the truth seekers, the attachment/clinging towards ‘goodness or comfortable good condition that give rise to the sense of meaningfulness’ is indeed one of the great obstacles towards liberation that most minds don’t realize.

For the minds that are in searching for ‘the truth’ or ‘liberation from ignorance’, or ‘selflessness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness/beginninglessness/endlessness/birthlessness/deathlessness/changelessness’, there’s no waiting, as this life existence, regardless of ‘good and comfortable life’ or ‘bad and challenging life’, is passing away.

For some who believe in one life, they might think and say, “Ah! there’s only one life, why bother about anything? Enjoy as much as possible while it’s available.”

For some who believe in many continuous lives, they might think and say, “Ah! there’s so many lives, need not hurry for anything. Enjoy as much as possible while it’s available.”

For the truth seekers, “It’s NOW, and there’s only NOW.” regardless of it’s good and comfortable life or bad and challenging life, or one life, or many continuous lives, or the beginningless/endless/birthless/deathless infinite Sat-Chit-Ananda.

Letting go?

If there’s no attachment, there’s needless of letting go.

If there’s attachment towards either something pleasant or unpleasant, enjoyable or painful, then know that everything is impermanent.

If one knows what is non-attachment towards what is pleasant and enjoyable, then one can fully appreciate and enjoy what is pleasant and enjoyable, but will be able to let it go in peace when impermanence strikes. If there’s attachment and one doesn’t know how to let go, then there will be dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, hurts or painful sorrow upon losing what one likes very much, that is pleasant and enjoyable. And there’s nothing wrong with that, just that one needs to know that even those dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, hurts or painful sorrow are also impermanent.

When one is holding onto something unpleasant or painful, and one cannot withstand the unpleasantness or pain, one can choose to let go of it, by putting it down without hurting it, without regret of letting go something that one likes very much, but it’s unpleasant and painful. A lot of time, most people would just react spontaneously if they dislike the unpleasantness or pain, or couldn’t forbear the unpleasantness or pain, and would be throwing away immediately whatever that appears to be unpleasant or painful to oneself, and cause damages to that either wittingly or unwittingly.

There’s nothing wrong if one decided to continuously holding onto something that one likes very much even though it’s unpleasant or painful, but then, one must also accept the consequences of that and endure all the unpleasantness or pain due to unwilling to let go something that appears to be unpleasant or painful to oneself, without expectation towards this unpleasantness or pain will change or disappear, but allowing the changes to be what they are, not necessarily the way that one would like it to be.

It’s everyone’s freedom for whether they want to let go, and be free, or they don’t want to let go, and accept the consequences of one’s action and decision of not letting go.

Be free.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Self-impose imaginary imprisonment of fear

what the mind categorizes asMost minds appear to be calmed and relaxed when they are being in a space or environment that is within their comfort zone and familiarity. But once they are out of their comfort zone and have to confront with a space or environment that is unknown or unfamiliar to them, and dealing with the condition and situation that is not the way that they like it to be, all kinds of fear will over-powering the mind in the form of imagination, anticipation, speculation and projection. They are no longer calmed or relaxed being outside of their comfort zone.

Yoga practice isn’t limited to be performing some yoga practice in a calming, relaxing and hassle-free environment, that make the mind feels safe, convenient, good and comfortable, but, yoga practitioners should learn how to confront with condition and situation that is not necessarily the way that they would like it to be, that is outside their comfort zone, and still be able to be calmed and relaxed outside their comfort zone.

Most minds feel good, calmed and relaxed when they attend a retreat in a ‘safe’, ‘hassle-free’, ‘protected’, ‘convenient’ and ‘enjoyable’ environment. But then the minds will not progress further in yoga, if they prefer not to step outside their comfort zone, and didn’t learn how to be ‘okay’ under challenging condition and situation that is outside their comfort zone and familiarity.

Fear towards the unknown, unfamiliarity and what the mind categorizes as ‘unsafe’ environment is indeed a self-impose imaginary imprisonment from the mind to itself, even when there’s nothing ‘fearful’, ‘bad’, or ‘dangerous’ really happening in the present moment.

Even though the minds might feel calmed and relaxed performing the yoga practice and be able to perform the yoga practice nicely and effortlessly, and feel ‘safe’ and ‘comfortable’ being in a space within their comfort zone and under a ‘safe’ environment, but the minds are not free at all, as the minds won’t be calmed and relaxed anymore once it’s out of their comfort zone having to deal with condition and situation that is not necessarily the way that they like it to be.

Those who are free from being over-powered by fear of all kinds of fearful imagination, they deal with whatever needs to be deal with that is existing in the present moment, calmly. The mind is free from all kinds of ‘fearful’ imagination, anticipation, speculation and projection towards something that isn’t existing in the present moment.

People who really want to practice yoga and know what is yoga, must allow themselves to step outside their comfort zone, to confront with condition and situation that they don’t feel comfortable with, that they aren’t familiar with, and learn to be ‘okay’ outside their comfort zone and familiarity. Though there’s nothing wrong if people reluctant to step outside their comfort zone. Be happy.

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.