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.

Who would practice yoga?

The minds that aren’t aware of ignorance in itself, thinking and believing that “I am smart and intelligent, well-informed and knowledgeable, I am void of ignorance and I am a good/kind/loving/righteous/compassionate/wise being. I don’t associate with the term of ‘ignorance’ or ‘ignorant being’. It’s so insulting to me for being associated with ‘ignorance’ and being refer as ‘ignorant being’.” might be interested in doing some forms of yoga practice regularly to attain the benefits of the yoga practice, but wouldn’t really be interested in practicing yoga.

The minds that are aware of ignorance in itself, knowing that ‘the mind is functioning under the influence of ignorance’ is not an insult at all, but it’s the truth of this thinking mind, even if this mind is quite smart and intelligent, and is very well-informed and knowledgeable about many things in this world, who have the determination to free itself from ignorance, would be initiated to be practicing yoga, even if they might not look like they are doing certain type of ‘yoga practice’ regularly just like many others who love and enjoy doing many of the yoga practice.

Attachment as in Yoga and Buddhism

“What is attachment?”

Due to ignorance, the mind is functioning/operating under the influence of egoism, where there’s attachment towards the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, that brings along multiple identifications/identities identifying with impermanent and selfless names and forms that representing ‘I’ and ‘my life’ and ‘my relationships with everyone and everything in my life’ that aren’t ‘the truth’ or don’t ‘exist’ (there’s neither ‘I’ nor ‘not I’ in selflessness) with boundless passionate worldly desires of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, which leads to all kinds of action and reaction and the fruit/consequences of action and reaction, activating the loop of endless births and deaths, and the consequence of all that – Restlessness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, hurts, aggressiveness, defensiveness, offensiveness, fear, worry, stress, regret, guilt, grief, painful sorrow, or suffering/peacelessness exist within the modification of the mind, which are also subject to impermanence and selflessness, governs by the law of nature – cause and effect, action and the fruit/consequence of action.

The fundamental attachments that exist in most minds are worldly life existence attachment, individual being existence attachment (‘I am an existing individual being with certain quality of name and form’, ‘this is I/this is not I’, or ‘I am this/I am not that’), physical attachment, mental attachment, emotional attachment, relationship/companionship attachment, material/object/possession attachment, family/friends/relative/race/nationality attachment, thinking and belief attachment, life experiences attachment, social/cultural/spiritual/religious attachment, gender/sexual orientation attachment, connection/networking attachment, ability/achievement/jobs/contribution attachment, the sense of meaningfulness/positiveness/goodness/righteousness/happiness attachment, environmental/living condition attachment, and personal or group thinking/belief/values/practice/likes and dislikes/agreements and disagreements attachment.

From the idea of ‘I’, existing as an individual being of certain quality of name and form, there’s attachment towards the restless/selfless modification of the mind perception of a fleeting selfless worldly life existence of the impermanent and selfless decaying physical body and intellectual assertive thinking mind, attachment towards the physical activities/conditions/appearances/abilities/disabilities/limitations, the mental/thoughts/emotional activities/states/conditions/abilities/disabilities/limitations, the actions and reactions and the fruit/consequence of actions and reactions, the pleasant and unpleasant sensations, feelings and emotions, the sights/smells/tastes/sounds/feelings/sensations/thoughts, the relationships/connections/interactions/learning/memories/knowledge/talent/skill, the inputs/outputs/expressions/points of view/ideas/creativity, the accomplishment and non-accomplishment, the many individual/group/community/social/professional/cultural/spiritual/religious identifications/identities/images/status, the accumulation of possession towards objects and relationships, the ambitions/inspirations/aspirations, the instinct for creation and reproduction, the judgment and expectation from oneself and from others towards oneself and the world/society/environment, and so on.

When there’s attachment, the mind is unwittingly being determined and disturbed by all the impermanent and selfless perception/experience of names and forms. There’s craving/clinging/longing towards the names and forms or experiences or conditions that the mind desires, likes and agrees with, and there’s aversion towards the names and forms or experiences or conditions that the mind doesn’t desire, dislikes and disagrees with. The mind is being restless due to endless boundless desires waiting to be fulfilled/gratified, trying to satisfy not just the physical hunger and thirst, but also the endless mental hunger and thirst towards the sense of satisfaction, meaningfulness, positiveness, righteousness, goodness, togetherness, connection, happiness, accomplishment, confidence, well-deserving, well-loved, well-worthed and well-lived.

Absence of attachment, the mind perception of names and forms of all the impermanent and selfless desirable/undesirable, pleasant/unpleasant, agreeable/disagreeable worldly life experiences is just what it is, neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither right nor wrong, neither meaningful nor meaningless, neither precious nor preciousless, neither enjoyable nor suffering, neither peaceful nor peaceless. Dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, hurts, aggressiveness, defensiveness, offensiveness, fear, worry, stress, regret, guilt, grief, painful sorrow, or suffering, don’t exist upon the void/absence of attachment.

The Yoga and Buddhism practice is all about silencing this restless modification of the mind, annihilating ignorance and egoism, of endless desire and attachment, and the consequences of that. And this is nothing to do with the different condition, situation, experience, learning, practicing, ability, disability, qualification, certification, limitation, strength, flexibility, stamina, fitness level, performance, intelligence, knowledge, talent, skill, title, status, skin colour, race, nationality, gender, spirituality, religion, culture, belief and disbelief, time, space and causation. It transcends all the names and forms, qualities, intellectual thinking and analysis, time, space and causation of duality, separateness, past/present/future, condition/situation, cause and effect, good/bad karma, birth and death.

The selfless yogis either renouncing and retreating from the world of worldly life, relationships, affairs and activities that based on egoism and feed egoism, or, performing actions in the world while living among the worldly society but without attachment, are neither selfish nor unselfish. All are impermanent and selfless.

In another term, when the state of the mind (under the idea of ‘I’) is being determined by the impermanent changes of the physical condition/appearance/ability/disability/performance and the modification of the mind of thoughts activities/feelings/emotions, where there’s presence of low or high self-esteem/confidence/self-value being determined by the relationships with everyone, being determined by the names and forms of desirable/undesirable experiences/conditions/situations and the likes and dislikes/agreements and disagreements towards what the mind perceives through the senses of whatever the mind experiences in this present moment, or remembering towards the past experiences, or projecting into the future, being determined by actions and the fruit of actions/achievement and non-achievement, being determined by the condition and situation in the world, being satisfied/dissatisfied, meaningful/meaningless, happy/unhappy, confident/non-confident, where there’s identification/acknowledgement of “I am good/not good enough/bad/positive/negative/optimistic/kind/unkind/unselfish/selfish/weak/strong/superior/inferior/hurt/healed.” that is attachment.

If there is attachment, identification, desire and expectation, there will be hurts, anger, disappointment, fear or regret upon coming in contact with undesirable/unpleasant/undeserving experiences/situations that are “not the way that I would like it to be or not the way that I think how it should be.”

If attachment, identification, desire and expectation are absent, there’s no hurts, anger, disappointment, fear or regret upon coming in contact with undesirable/unpleasant/undeserving experiences/situations that are “not the way that I would like it to be or not the way that I think how it should be.”

What do yoga practitioners practice in yoga?

“What do yoga practitioners practice in yoga?”

There are many different types of ‘external yoga practice’ that can be seen or recognized through various physical appearances and activities ‘representing’ different lineage or path under different names and forms or brands and styles, but all kinds of external practice must be accompanied by the internal practice of VIVEKA (right discrimination), VAIRAGYA (dispassion/renunciation), SHATSAMPAT (six fold path) and MUMUKSHUTVA (intense yearning for liberation). Or else, performing many of the different forms of external yoga practice regularly might bring some momentary effects or benefits (the sense of calmness, joyfulness, goodness, meaningfulness, healthiness) to the practitioners, but it doesn’t lead the mind towards the elimination of ignorance and egoism and the complete annihilation of the modification of the mind, which is the ultimate goal of yoga (although there aren’t many yoga enthusiasts are practicing yoga for this reason, and that’s their freedom), transcending all forms of name and form (the mind perception of impermanent pleasant and unpleasant life experiences) as well as all the momentary desirable/non-desirable, agreeable/disagreeable or enjoyable/non-enjoyable side-effects or by-products that may or may not arise throughout the internal and/or external yoga practice.

The external yoga practice is most probably being limited by time, space and causation, while the internal yoga practice is unlimited, transcending all kinds of condition and situation, names and forms that are subject to impermanence and selflessness. As long as there’s the modification of the mind, the practice is always available or present right here and right now. If there’s a ‘limitation’, then this ‘limitation’ is coming from the impure egoistic outgoing passionate mind itself, either rejecting the practice or giving up the practice for some reasons. And even this ‘limitation’ is impermanent.

Those who are endowed with the four means of yoga, might not be seen or recognized from their appearance or activity, as they don’t necessarily have to be performing any particular form of external yoga practice that representing particular lineage or path under a particular name and form or brand and style, although there’s great assistance coming from the external practice to conquer the impure restless state of mind.

It doesn’t matter with or without practicing a particular lineage or path of yoga under certain names and forms or brands and styles, but more importantly, practicing the teachings of yoga to silent the modification of the mind, to free the mind from restlessness deriving from ignorance and egoism, to realize selflessness/oneness/non-separateness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness/birthlessness/deathlessness.

Go beyond the fight for legal recognition or approval for being who/what you are

Before the existence of ‘authority’ and ‘laws’ being introduced into the world, everyone is free being who/what they are, what they want to think and believe or not thinking and disbelieving, and be able to live/travel/wander/migrate anywhere and everywhere, unrestricted by so called ‘authority’ and ‘laws’.

None need to be labelled as ‘such and such nationality/gender/race/class’. None need to be fighting for attaining ‘legal’ recognition or approval for being who they are/what they want to be. None need to fight for ‘equality’ or ‘equal treatment’ or ‘respect’. ‘Human rights’ and all kinds of ‘rights’ shouldn’t be existing at all. There needn’t be an ‘authority’ and ‘laws’ existing to ‘authorize/sanction/judge/criminalize/punish who and what have/don’t have ‘such and such rights’, or have more/less ‘rights’ than one another. Human beings just need to respect one another and be kind/thoughtful/tolerant/accommodating towards one another.

Somehow, somewhere, some people, with the excuse/aspiration of ‘protecting the welfare of the world/society and keeping the world/society in order’, certain people self-proclaimed ownership and authority towards lands, areas, space and the society/community, set up boundaries, labels, laws and punishments to limit/control all and everyone have to comply to certain rules and regulations based on particular thinking/belief/disbelief/ideas/values/practice/behavior/way of life or culture/religion/spirituality, and in the name of humanity for developing/protecting ‘goodness and righteousness’ and fighting/eliminating ‘badness and wrongfulness’, to uphold peace and harmony/social stability and prosperity in the world/society, and to keep the society in a ‘particular order’ that complying to a particular thinking/belief/ideas/values/practice, either by force, or by conversion, or by temptation, to be recruiting or building a majority of the society/community that support, empower and comply to such ‘system’ that gives power to certain people being ‘the authority’ to ‘control’ all the others who are ignorantly and wittingly supporting that ‘system’ to be ‘controlled legally’ by an ‘authority’ and be limited by ‘legally’ binding laws, from some ‘simple rules and regulations for keeping order in the society and for the benefits of all humanity’ but eventually/gradually being evolved into many ‘selfish corrupted rules and regulations for propagating certain agendas and protecting the benefits of certain people’, that gives rise to all kinds of discrimination, prejudice, unjust, corruption, oppression, intimidation, offense, punishment, restriction, intrusion, unrest, hatred, fear and violence.

A world/society that needs to be ‘governed’/’supported’/’protected’ by ‘human rights’ and all kinds of ‘rights’, that needs to be ‘controlled’ under ‘an authority’ and ‘laws’ to be in a ‘particular order’ will never going to be ‘healthy’.

A healthy world/society comes from correct education/understanding that allows people to be opened to allow and respect all and everyone being different from one another without discrimination/prejudice/unjust/hatred/intrusion/interference/hostility or trying to over-powered one another, without the sense of superiority and inferiority, where people have the correct understanding/matured mentality to be thinking properly/calmly/clearly, being who/what they are and respect others being who/what they are, without the need of ‘authorization’, or ‘recognition’, or ‘legality’, or ‘approval’, or ‘acknowledgement’ from such and such ‘authority’ and ‘laws’, without anyone/authority claiming ownership/possessiveness/authorization over anything that approves/disapproves anyone being here or anywhere in this space of the universe that doesn’t belong to anyone or any ‘authority’. People are being free to inquire the truth of things, having the freedom of thinking/action/expression/belief/disbelief/opinion, but also having awareness and self-control over one’s actions and be responsible for one’s actions and the consequences of one’s actions, not to say to be selfless and compassionate, but being thoughtful, forgiving and accommodating, where all kinds of discrimination/corruption/intrusion/unjust/hatred/hostility/violence have no reason to be existing in the world/society.

Unfortunately, due to deep ignorance and human’s survival instinct, not everyone could have the correct understanding or proper/calm/clear thinking to be open to respect one another, to allow everyone being what they are, as they are, being different in many ways and have their own thinking/belief/disbelief/way of life/behavior/action and reaction.

Out of survival instinct, most people will be selfish to protect their lives, livelihood, home, family, tribe, community, lands/areas, privilege and supremacy. Even the self-proclaimed ‘good and righteous human beings’ would want to protect what they think and believe is ‘goodness’ and ‘righteousness’, and fight against what they think and believe is ‘badness’ and ‘wrongfulness’.

When people try to fight for ‘certain rights’, ‘equal treatment’, ‘legal approval for doing something or going somewhere or living somewhere’ and ‘legal recognition towards particular identity or belief/disbelief or way of life or sexual orientation’ from an ‘authority’, people are unaware of they are actually acknowledging, supporting, approving and empowering the ‘system’, unwittingly being part of the game of the ‘system’. Most people think and believe that, “We all live in the system and are part of the system. We have to comply to the system controlled by ‘the authority’ and ‘laws’ to keep everything in the ‘correct’ order. If we want to be ‘who we are/what we want to be’, we need approval and recognition from the system. We need to support the system to keep the society in order and to keep the economy alive for us to have a livelihood to survive.” That’s their freedom of thinking/belief.

While in yoga/Buddhism/science, all and everything live in the solar system and are part of the solar system being determined by the law of nature to be surviving and existing, or not, and all are subject to the law of impermanence and selflessness and the law of cause and effect, which is nothing to do with the system of ‘human authority’ and ‘human regulated rules and regulations’ that give power to certain people to keep everyone under their control to think/believe/behave/live life in certain ways.

“Retreat from the society, renounce the world, stay away from politics/debates/gossips/vain talks.” This is the common teaching/advice from many teachers in the past.

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha taught, “Dharma will disappear from the world.” He didn’t teach, “Save Dharma from disappearance at all cost, don’t let it disappears from the world.”

Swami Sivananda taught, “Even if all the leaders are taken out of the world now, the world will run on smoothly, probably more smoothly. Even if all the people retire into the forest, the world will go on.”

If people truly wish for everyone being non-discriminated in this world, it’s not about fighting for everyone to be given ‘equal rights’ by ‘the authority’ that created ‘a system of discrimination’, but it’s by abandoning all the ‘rights’ and ‘privilege’ that generates all kinds of discrimination being given by ‘the authority’ that were not given to some other people due to ‘the system of discrimination’ or ‘the laws say so’. But in reality, not many people want ‘everyone’ to be treated equally or be given ‘equal rights’, because they want to enjoy the benefits from the ‘rights’ and ‘privilege’ that they have, but others don’t have, and most people won’t give up all the ‘rights’ and ‘privilege’ that were given to them to fully support those who were not given any rights or have less rights than others being discriminated by ‘the system of discrimination’. Because of ‘the system’, people are afraid of having ‘no rights’ or ‘legal documentation’, as one who has no rights or legal documentation cannot be here or anywhere on earth ‘legally’ and naturally is a ‘criminal against the law who would be punished by law’ under ‘the laws’ made by human beings for the sake of keeping the world in a particular order. How absurd is that.

Before the realization of selflessness, you are who you are/what you want to be, regardless of whether it’s recognized/approved/acknowledged/authorized by an ‘authority’ and ‘laws’, or not.

Upon the realization of selflessness, there’s no ‘I’ being there that needs to be identifying as ‘somebody with a particular identity of a quality of name and form’ longing to be recognized/approved/acknowledged/authorized by oneself, or anyone, or anything.

Be free.

Fighting for peace and looking for love?

Peace is always there as it is, never increase nor decrease, undetermined by the mind perception of a worldly life existence of names and forms that is subject to impermanence and selflessness.

The moment the mind is free from peacelessness/disturbance/impurities/ignorance that veiled the mind from knowing thyself/seeing the truth of names and forms, which is selflessness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness, unlimited by time, space and causation, peace is there as it is, selflessly, desirelessly, intentionlessly and effortlessly.

This unconditional peace is unconditioned, unlimited and undetermined by qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, transcending all kinds of pleasant and unpleasant condition or situation that are impermanent and selfless, where there’s no ‘I’ existing desire/aspire/intentional to be influencing or controlling all the names and forms to be exactly the way that ‘I’ desire it to be, or the way that ‘I’ think and believe how it should be.

If ‘peace’ is something ‘separated’ from the perceiver, where it has to be achieved/attained with effort by fighting for it, by fighting against certain qualities of names and forms that ‘go against’ or ‘oppose to’ peace, being determined by the presence of particular pleasant and agreeable name and form, condition and situation, or the absence of particular unpleasant and disagreeable name and form, condition and situation, then that’s not the unconditional peace as mentioned in the teachings of yoga, that is not something ‘separated’ from the perceiver.

Effort is required in the process of eliminating ignorance and impurities to allow the mind to see/know thyself, but peace is always there as it is, effortlessly, regardless of whether the mind is free, or not free from ignorance and impurities.

Being at peace, or the mind is peaceful as it is, being undisturbed/undetermined by ‘badness’, ‘wrongfulness’, ‘negativeness’ and ‘unrest/hatred’ is already ‘helping’ the world to have less a peaceless/disturbed/hateful being who is disturbed, dissatisfied, angry and hating towards ‘badness’, ‘wrongfulness’, ‘negativeness’ and ‘unrest/hatred’, whether intentionally or unintentionally generates more unrest/hatred in the world by ‘fighting’ against ‘badness’, ‘wrongfulness’, ‘negativeness’ and ‘unrest/hatred’ to achieve/protect what the mind thinks and believes as ‘goodness’, ‘rightfulness’, ‘positiveness’ and ‘peacefulness’.

It’s the same as ‘love’.

Due to ignorance, the minds/people think and believe that ‘love’ is a particular quality with particular name and form to be found in relationship/connection among one another, to be achieved/attained/possessed through effort, or sacrifice, or offering, or virtues/merits, goodness and kindness, or appreciation and gratitude, or ‘good karma’, or sharing, or giving/receiving via thoughts, actions and speech, being motivated by the aspiration to be looking for ‘love’ by growing/cultivating/developing/empowering ‘love’, longing/hoping/expecting/desiring to be receiving/giving/sharing ‘love’ among one another through relationship/connection/contact, regardless of living beings, animals, plants, or objects, to attain the sense of liveliness, joyfulness, warmth, worthiness, or meaningfulness.

The mind thinks, believes and says –

“Everyone/We/I need love.”
“Everyone/We/I want love.”
“Love is sharing/giving/receiving among all and everything.”
“Without love, life is joyless and meaningless.”
“I love/don’t love you.”
“I/You deserve/don’t deserve to love or be loved.”
“I love you more/less.”
“My love is pure/impure.”
“I feel/don’t feel love.”
“I am loved/unloved.”
“I have/don’t have love.
“No one loves me. I am so loveless and lonely.”
“We need to love others (or give love to others) so that others won’t be loveless and lonely.”

There’s nothing wrong with that, but the mind is not free, still being conditioned by particular thinking pattern under the influence of ignorance.

This ‘love’ is being perceived/acknowledged as a quality of name and form, just like ‘feeling’, ‘action’, ‘thought’, ‘sensation’, ‘sight’, ‘sound’, ‘smell’, ‘taste’, ‘energy’, ‘water’, ‘air’, ‘temperature’, and etc, that is being perceived by the mind, that is separated/distinct from the perceiver, where there’s notion of ‘I’ perceive/don’t perceive the object/quality of name and form, or ‘I’ have/possess or don’t have/don’t possess particular quality of name and form.

This ‘love’ is limited by ‘quality’ and ‘quantity’, conditioned by time, space and causation.

The mind feels dissatisfied, disappointed, hurt, angry, jealous, loveless, lonely, left out, unsupported, joyless, meaningless, unworthy, undeserving, depressed, miserable and suffer when it thinks ‘love’ is absence, or unavailable, or not enough, or not the way that the mind desires it to be, or not the way that the mind thinks how it should be.

Contemplate on this, realize unconditional love and peace, beyond ‘quality’, ‘quantity’, ‘relationship’ and ‘connection’, transcending time, space and causation.

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.

Go beyond worldly social thinking and beliefs

Most minds are not interested in the teaching of yoga about going beyond worldly social thinking and beliefs. For them, “Why do people want to do that? It’s strange and crazy for anyone to have such idea or practice.” and “Social relationships, activities, mingling and interactions are very good and positive for improving friendship, bonding, understanding and harmony among each other in the society.”

Just like many passionate minds would think and believe that “Being sociable is similar to friendliness and being non-sociable is similar to unfriendliness.”

In yoga, “Being sociable and non-sociable is irrelevant to friendliness and unfriendliness. One can be friendly and kind towards all without selfish intention or discrimination of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, good people and bad people, friends and not friends, while at the same time being non-sociable or disinterested towards social relationships, activities, mingling and interactions. On the other hand, being actively sociable doesn’t mean that the mind is being friendly and kind towards all without any selfish intention or discrimination of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, good people and bad people, or friends and not friends.”

In the path of yoga to eliminate ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness from the mind, one needs to learn how to go beyond all the worldly social thinking and beliefs by renouncing social relationships, activities, mingling and interactions, as all these social relationships and activities will only empower or feed the ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment, expectation, restlessness and impurities, unless the mind is already being free from ignorance and egoism, then one can mix freely into the society without being influenced by the society, without being disturbed by what is happening in the world, and without being entangled in the worldly ideas, thinking, beliefs, values, practices, relationships and activities.

It’s not that the social thinking and beliefs, relationships, activities, mingling and interactions are something ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’, but for the yoga enthusiasts who are sincerely seeking liberation from suffering, or more precisely, to be free from the cause of suffering – Ignorance, the minds need to go beyond all kinds of worldly ideas of social thinking, beliefs, values and practices by renouncing social relationships, activities, mingling and interactions, as all these social activities are feeding/empowering ignorance, egoism, passions and restlessness, which hinders the mind to see the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance and the product of ignorance – Suffering. If the mind is not free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering, the mind is not free, even after many years of practicing ‘yoga’ or teaching ‘yoga’ to others.

Some of the common social thinking and beliefs such as,

“Everyone needs to have family, relatives, friends and community, to enjoy life, to be happy and feel meaningful. It’s hard, pitiful, unfortunate, lonely, joyless and meaningless to be by oneself without family, relatives, friends and community.”
*In yoga, one is not determined by having or not having family, relatives, friends and community, to enjoy life, to be happy, or to feel meaningful, or not, in order to be free from ignorance and suffering, or not. The mind that is free from ignorance and egoism doesn’t need to enjoy life, or to be happy, or to feel meaningful. One is peaceful as one is, when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism and its by-products of boredom, loneliness, fear, clinging, expectation, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, animosity, pride, hostility, painful sorrow, unhappiness, emptiness, incompleteness and meaninglessness.

“One needs to be ‘educated’ and ‘knowledgeable’ to be confident to achieve success in everything, to enjoy a higher quality good life with loving and supportive family and relationships, in order to achieve happiness and meaningfulness.”
*In yoga, being educated and knowledgeable doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness, disturbs and suffering. Wisdom of being free from ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness, is nothing to do with ‘worldly education’ and ‘worldly knowledge’. Wisdom, or knowing the truth of names and forms, allows the mind to have peace, being free from disturbs and suffering, regardless of whether the mind is ‘educated’ and ‘knowledgeable’, or not; whether life is good and comfortable, or not; whether there’s loving and supportive family and relationships, or not. The liberated mind doesn’t need to be confident to achieve success in everything to have a higher quality good life. Neither by having or not having a higher quality good life is related to having loving and supportive family and relationships, or not. Neither by having or not having loving and supportive family and relationships is related to the attainment of the sense of happiness and meaningfulness. Neither by attaining or not attaining the sense of happiness and meaningfulness is related to whether the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, or not. The mind that is free from ignorance and egoism, doesn’t need to attain the sense of happiness and meaningfulness. One is happy and peaceful as one is, being free from ignorance and egoism, being unconditioned and undetermined by the quality of names and forms.

“One needs to aspire and be inspired to be somebody endowed with certain qualities of names and forms that make oneself and others be proud of, to attain love, acceptance, respect, support and acknowledgement from oneself and others.”
*In yoga, the mind that is free from ignorance and egoism doesn’t need to aspire or be inspired to be ‘somebody’ that would make oneself and others be proud of. Neither does one need to attain love, acceptance, respect, support or acknowledgement from oneself or others.

“One needs to keep setting higher and higher expectation/goal towards oneself in order to keep pushing oneself beyond one’s limitation to achieve higher success and better result.”
*In yoga, the mind that is free from ignorance and egoism doesn’t need to have any expectation/goal towards oneself, anyone or anything, or to push oneself beyond the physical/mental limitation that is impermanent and selfless, but still perform countless actions of what is possible in the present that would benefit oneself and others, or to keep improving, intentionlessly, while allowing the fruit of the actions to be what it is.

“One should help others so that one will receive help from others in return.”
*In yoga, one helps others unconditionally regardless of whether others will be grateful and show appreciation, or will give help to oneself in return, or not.

“Be kind to others and others will be kind to you in return.”
*In yoga, one be kind to others unconditionally without selfish intention/expectation to be receiving kindness or friendship in return. Be kind to all without discrimination even when others are being unkind to oneself, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

“Everyone needs continuous/on going inspirations, positive encouragements, love, supports and acknowledgements from others to be doing something good for oneself and others, or to refrain from doing something bad to oneself and others.”
*In yoga, the selfless/egoless mind doesn’t need any (continuous/on going) inspirations, positive encouragements, love, supports and acknowledgements from anyone to be doing something good for oneself and others, or to refrain from doing something bad or hurtful to oneself or others. It’s the prideful egoistic impure idea of ‘I’ or the ego that needs continuous inspirations, positive encouragements, love, supports and acknowledgements from others to motivate oneself to be good and do good, or to refrain from be bad and do bad. If the egoistic minds don’t get such ‘motivations’, they are reluctant to be good and do good, or refrain from be bad and do bad. That’s not freedom at all.

“Everyone needs love and affection. Give love and affection to others, and others will have love to love themselves and love others. Giving love to others will make oneself feels good and meaningful.”
*In yoga, when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, one doesn’t need to receive love and affection from anyone to feel loved, or to have love. Everyone just need to realize unconditional love in oneself, where there’s no lack of love/craving for love/aversion towards loveless and there’s no separateness of ‘I’ and ‘others’. There’s no ‘I’ am ‘giving love’ to ‘others’, or ‘others’ are ‘receiving love’ from ‘I’, but out of compassion, teach and allow everyone to be free from ignorance and egoism to realize unconditional love in oneself, where everyone doesn’t need to receive love from others to feel loved or to have love, and everyone doesn’t need to feel good and meaningful from the action of ‘giving’ and ‘loving’.

“Everything is possible. Nothing is impossible.”
*In yoga, everything is possible, including both possibility and impossibility. Possibility is possible. Impossibility is also possible. It’s okay sometimes things are not possible, such like one couldn’t stop the physical body from impermanent changes of aging, decaying and death/decompose, or one couldn’t undo the past, and whether it’s possibility or impossibility, all are impermanent.

Worldly minds, including many yoga enthusiasts, are functioning under the influence of the social thinking and beliefs perceiving everyone and everything as ‘good or bad’, ‘right or wrong’, ‘positive or negative’, ‘normality or abnormality’, ‘meaningfulness or meaninglessness’, ‘appropriateness or inappropriateness’, ‘friendliness or unfriendliness’ and ‘nice or not nice’.

“This is a good/bad person.”
“This is so positive/negative.”
“This is so meaningful/meaningless.”
“This is a friendly/unfriendly person.”
“This is a nice/not nice person.”
“Yoga teachers/practitioners need to ‘be positive’ and say only ‘positive words’ to influence/encourage others also to be positive.”
And so on.

In yoga or Buddhism, it’s not necessarily so. Upon knowing what is going on in the mind and seeing the truth of impermanence and selflessness in all the names and forms, naturally, one stops judging and labeling everyone and everything into ‘this’ and ‘that’, upon perceiving/experiencing all kind of different experiences, thinking, beliefs, actions, reactions and behaviors.

“You are being nice to me, but it doesn’t mean that ‘you are a nice person or your are not a not nice person’.”
“You might not behave in a good way, but it doesn’t mean that ‘you are a bad person or you are not a good person’.”
“You are feeling happy or unhappy in this moment, but it doesn’t mean that ‘you are a happy person or you are an unhappy person’.”
“Yoga teachers don’t need to ‘be positive’ or say only ‘positive words’, they just need to teach yoga as it is, and the teachings are neither positive nor negative, although many impure minds might not like or agree with the teachings, and perceiving and judging everything as ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ according to the worldly thinking and beliefs, while passionate minds might be disturbed by the teachings that they dislike and disagree with, that is not necessarily something that they think it should be.”

The minds that are free from ignorance and egoism are not ‘passionate’ or ‘interested’ towards the attainment and accumulation of worldly objects of names and forms, the cultivation and achievement of worldly passionate desires/ambitions and the engagement in all kinds of human social relationships, activities, interactions, excitement, enjoyment and entertainment because these minds are void of the by-products of ignorance and egoism, where the minds are free from the sense of low self-esteem, low confidence, negativeness, unhappiness and meaninglessness.

These selfless/egoless minds don’t need to develop or empower the sense of high self-esteem, self-worth, confidence, positiveness, happiness and meaningfulness through the attainment and accumulation of worldly objects of names and forms, or the cultivation and achievement of desires/ambitions, or the engagement in social relationships, activities, interactions, excitement, enjoyment and entertainment, in order to chase away the sense of low self-esteem, low self-worth, low confidence, negativeness, unhappiness and meaninglessness. It doesn’t mean that these minds don’t perform any actions to improve or be successful in whatever they venture, but all actions are free from attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation.

These quiet peaceful liberated minds might be perceived by the other majority of the society, including passionate sociable ‘yoga practitioners/teachers’ and health professionals as a form of ‘unhealthiness’, ‘selfishness’, ‘abnormality’, or even, ‘insanity’, as these minds don’t think and behave, act and react, and are not interested towards engaging in the worldly passionate sociable family/community way of life like all the other majority in the society. They are peaceful as they are, being free from ignorance, egoism, passions, discrimination, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, animosity, violence, fear, boredom, loneliness, longing, hurts, meaninglessness, incompleteness and restlessness, being immerse in silence, seclusion and solitude, allowing the world and everyone to be what they are, as they are, and all are impermanent and selfless, which the worldly passionate sociable minds perceive as a form of ‘unhealthiness’, ‘selfishness’, ‘abnormality’ and ‘insanity’.

It’s everyone’s freedom for how they perceive, think, feel, act and react, and what they want to do with their life, body and mind.

Self-transformation

Self-transformation in the world is about changing the ‘qualities’ of the body and mind (what the mind identifies as ‘I’) from what the worldly thinking and belief categorize as bad, wrong and negative into what the worldly thinking and belief categorize as good, right and positive, in order to enhance one’s self-esteem, self-image, attractiveness, confidence, productivity, knowledge, skill, ability, physical and mental performance, social networking, or success in career, life and relationships, to attain what most people’s thinking and belief categorize as ‘good’, ‘easy’, ‘comfortable’, ‘enjoyable’, ‘successful’, ‘prosperous’, ‘happy’ and ‘meaningful’ life.

Self-transformation in the teachings of yoga is about reforming the thinking pattern of the mind to free the mind from being conditioned by the worldly egoistic thinking and belief that influences how the mind thinks, acts and reacts towards all the mind perception of names and forms, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, restlessness and impurities, to be free from suffering that exists due to ignorance. Being free from attachment towards qualities of names and forms and being free from identification with the impermanent selfless existence and function of the body and mind as ‘I’, realizing selflessness or ‘I’-lessness, unlimited by any qualities of names and forms.

If the mind is surrounded by the company of the worldly minded and constantly receiving all kinds of worldly input and influence of worldly ideas, thinking and belief, and being influence by all the ceaseless trends in the world to make decisions and live life, then it’s very difficult for the mind to practice yoga of the annihilation of ignorance and egoism (even if the mind likes to perform some forms of yoga practice), as the mind will disagree with many of the teachings of yoga that are contradicted with the worldly thinking and belief, and unable to be opened to inquire the truth of something that is unknown to the mind or something that is disagreeable to the mind that is under the influence of the worldly thinking and belief to analyze and judge what is agreeable and disagreeable.

And hence the importance of retreating or moving the mind away from the worldly way of life, behavior, habits, thinking and belief, to renounce worldly inputs and influences, relationships, interactions and activities, to allow the mind to see things beyond the limited worldly thinking and belief that influences the mind to judge everything, act and react, that empowers ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness.

Does the mind still think that ‘this’ is something ‘good’, and everyone should do ‘this’, and ‘that’ is something ‘bad’, and everyone shouldn’t do ‘that’? Does the mind still think that “To live a good and meaningful life, I need to be like this and not like that. Other people also need to be like this and not like that to live a good and meaningful life?” Does the mind still amazed by and admire towards someone or something that the mind perceives as amazing, wonderful and meaningful, that the mind would like to be like that someone and to have/experience that something? Does the mind still want to be able to inspire or amaze other people? If the answer is ‘yes’, then this mind is not free, even though this mind only wants to perform ‘good’ actions and doesn’t want to perform ‘bad’ actions, and living everyday life being in certain ways and not being in certain ways, according to what the mind thinks and believes as ‘good and bad’ or ‘meaningfulness and meaninglessness’ based on the worldly thinking and belief about what is ‘good and bad’ or ‘meaningfulness and meaninglessness’.

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

The essential of seclusion and solitude in yoga

Inquiry towards why the practice of seclusion and solitude is so important in yoga.

Many people, including yoga practitioners, might think that the practice of seclusion and solitude is only limited to those who renounce worldly life completely to be a monk or nun. Even monks and nuns might not be practicing seclusion and solitude when they live in a community with other monks and nuns. Being a monk or nun doesn’t mean that one is not getting in touch and mingling with the society/family/friends/relatives, or not engaging in social connections, interactions and activities.

There’s nothing wrong or bad with worldly life of family, relatives, friends and community. There’s nothing wrong with social connections, interactions and activities.

But for those who want to quiet/silent the restless mind, to realize/see the truth of things, to be free from ignorance and suffering, to transcend the mind perception of an impermanent selfless life existence of births and deaths and the suffering of a physical body that is subject to change, decay, aging, injury, illness and death/decomposition, then the practice of seclusion and solitude is a very important and most practical efficient way to quiet/silent the restless mind, to free the mind from restlessness and ignorance, and be free from the mind perception of suffering.

For many people who are not interested at all in transcending the impermanent selfless worldly life existence of body and mind, and are very passionate towards the worldly life existence with all the relationships and activities, constantly decorating the body and pampering the mind with sensual enjoyment through the senses, and be contented with ceaseless gratification of the desires of craving and aversion to feel good, happy, confident and meaningful, then the practice of seclusion and solitude is irrelevant to them.

The mind is receiving inputs through the senses ceaselessly, whether with awareness or without awareness, wittingly or unwittingly, remember or don’t remember. There’s constant input of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts, unwittingly, not to say additional human worldly passionate egoistic conversations, interactions and activities. All these accumulated imprints from the ceaseless inputs of the senses continuously bubble up to the surface of the mind during concentration/meditation causing great distraction/hindrance to the mind to be silent, especially in the novice.

And hence, retreat from the worldly social/community/family life to cut down or cut off getting in touch/coming in contact with worldly minded people of worldly relationships and social medias, and cutting down or cutting off all kinds of physical and mental worldly social connections, communications, conversations, interactions and activities is so important for those who sincerely want to conquer the restless modification of the mind to realize yoga.

There are many good and kind and friendly intellectual people in the world, but Satsanga (the company of the wise and liberated beings) that will lead the mind towards silence is very few. Quite many yoga practitioners mistaken worldly good and kind and friendly intellectual people as Satsanga on the path of yoga. All the good, kind and friendly intellectual people will give the mind lots of suggestions, advice, encouragement and ideas of doing this and that in the world to achieve something that they believe as the meanings of life based on their cultural/social/religious/political thinking and belief, and pull the mind away from the path of yoga of silencing the mind.

Most people think and believe that this is selfishness and irresponsibility towards the family, friends and society. Many think that this is madness/abnormality. That’s their freedom of thinking and belief.

Yoga enthusiasts who think the practice of seclusion and solitude is ‘wrong’ and ‘meaningless’ will say that, “This is not the yoga that I know, that I want.”

What they don’t know is that transcending the modification of the mind to be free from ignorance, is the greatest form of duty, compassion and contribution towards all beings and the entire life existence of this body and mind.

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, Swami Sivananda and many other saints and sages in the past were in some kind of seclusion and solitude away from the worldly society/relationships/connections/interactions/activities for many years until they successfully attained the goal of what they were looking for.

Meanwhile some might had tried to practice seclusion and solitude, but after short period of time being cut off from seeing, talking, communicating and interacting with other human beings of family, friends and relatives, they gave up seclusion and solitude and run back into their everyday relationships and interactions with the world due to missingness, loneliness, meaninglessness, boredom and fear.

Due to passionate attachment and identification towards worldly life existence and relationships, many people including yoga practitioners and yoga teachers give themselves many justification/excuses to avoid the practice of seclusion and solitude, mostly thinking that “It’s so wrong and selfish to not seeing or talking to our family, relatives and friends to care for everyone in our life, or not socializing or interacting with other human beings in the society, to show love and care for others. It’s so meaningful and wonderful to have family, friends and community that care for each other.” And when they experience great physical, mental and emotional suffering and painful sorrow, they would cry and seek blessing from ‘God’ or ‘superhuman Guru’. That’s everyone’s freedom of thinking and belief and choice of living.

That’s also why serious yoga practitioners choose to move away from such worldly life of worldly beings that might generate unnecessary interference, distraction or hindrance to those who want to take yoga and meditation practice seriously. It’s indeed a journey alone on the path of transcending the mind and the suffering of ignorance.

The Guru said, “You have now received all the teachings. You are left alone now. Retreat yourself and practice and realize.”