be free, be happy, be peaceful

May all find the teacher within to guide oneself towards unconditional love and peace

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Selflessness - Being free from the ego (the idea of I) and egoism

The ego is the product of ignorance in the impure mind where there is an idea of 'I' exists as an individual being with certain qualities of names and forms, such like, personal worldly identity and status, personality and characteristic, thinking and belief, physical condition and appearance, gender and sexual orientation, physical and mental ability and achievement, interest and talent, knowledge and memory, aspiration and inspiration, actions and the result of actions, family and relatives, relationships and possessions, social network and interaction, and all that the mind thinks and believes and identifies as 'This is me or I'.

Selflessness is nothing to do with non-existence, as some people might 'interpret' it as non-existence. It's beyond existence and non-existence. When people 'misinterpret' selflessness as non-existence, they might perform actions that would hurt themselves and others by thinking and believing that there won't be any consequences of actions, and so, they think they can do whatever they like and want.

There is no 'I' to be existing or non-existing. There is no 'I' to be selfish or unselfish. There is no 'I' enjoy or suffer. There is no 'I' being happy or unhappy. There is no 'I' being good or bad. There is no 'I' as this or that. It's just the mind functioning and perceiving names and forms through the senses. But due to ignorance, there is an idea of 'I' arise in the mind, that ceaselessly generates attachment and identification towards the impermanent quality of names and forms, and it judges and compares, intends and expects, acts and reacts, likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees, desires and doesn't desire, creates and destroys, enjoys and suffers, aspires and inspires, being proud or humble, being happy and unhappy, feeling meaningful and meaningless, and etc.

The mind that is being free from the ego or egoism is a selfless mind or liberated mind. The entire yoga practice is MAINLY about freeing the mind from the ego or egoism to realize or attain selflessness, which is the nature of life existence. There is no ego in each individual cell in the body, or in the different life supporting systems, organs and glands, or in the sense organs and the senses, or in the oxygen, nutrients, minerals, water and energy that allowing the body and the mind to be existing and functioning, but, this ego that exists as an idea in the mind thinking that 'I' am the most important and the highest above all. "I want my body to be like this and be able to do that. I want my mind to be like this and achieve that. I want my life to be like this and accomplish that, and so on." This ego is full of desires waiting to be fulfilled, and constantly pushing, forcing and hurting the body and the mind in order to gratify all its desires via the body and the mind. When its desires are not being gratified, or there's some obstacles hindering the process of gratifying all its desires, the ego gets offended, humiliated, insulted, dissatisfied, disappointed, angry, hurt, unhappy, depressed, or suffer. And out of these impurities, the ego performs actions or inactions that would hurt the body and the mind, and/or other beings or objects.

Yoga practice is not about being able to perform this or that asana, or pose, or position, or movement, to gain health, beauty and fitness benefits, but it's to train or purify the mind to eventually drop-off this idea of 'I', through annihilate egoism and the by-products of egoism of all sorts of impurities. When the mind is free from the idea of 'I' and 'mine-ness', there's only pure awareness being in the present, being aware of all the perceptions of names and forms through the senses, and all the impermanent changes, functions and activities of the body and the mind, being free from desires of craving and aversion, selfish intention, expectation, attachment and identification.

There's no 'I' being the performer of actions or the receiver of the fruit of actions. There's no 'I' being the thinker or believer. There's no 'I' being compassionate or uncompassionate. There's no 'I' being ignorant or wise. There's no 'I' being limited or unlimited. There's no 'I' being free or not free. There's no 'I' believe or disbelieve in God. There's no 'I' am sinful or sinless.

There's neither past nor the future. There's neither good nor evil. There's neither positive nor negative. There's neither happiness nor unhappiness. There's neither enjoyment nor suffering. There's neither vegetarian nor non-vegetarian. There's neither yogi nor non-yogi.

Be free.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Understanding unhappiness

"I am not happy is because of this. This is bad. This is wrong. This is hurting me. This makes me unhappy."
"I am not happy is because of you. You are bad. You are wrong. You are hurting me. You make me unhappy."

This is incorrect understanding towards unhappiness, or ignorant towards the truth of what is going on in the mind, that generates ceaseless reactions of unhappiness in our minds.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

"I am not happy is because I don't like this. I don't agree with this. I don't want this. It's nothing to do with whether this is bad and wrong, or being hurtful. This doesn't make me unhappy. It's my ungratified desire of what I like and don't like, what I want and don't want, that makes me unhappy."

"I am not happy is because I don't like something about you. I don't agree with you. I don't want you to behave in such way. It's nothing to do with whether you are bad and wrong, or being hurtful. You don't make me unhappy. It's my ungratified desire of what I like and don't like, what I want and don't want, that makes me unhappy."

This is the correct understanding that will free our minds from experiencing unhappiness due to ignorance.

Be free.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Who is being unhappy and wants to be happy?

It's the ego that is being unhappy and wants to be happy. Minds that are free from ignorance and egoism is peaceful and joyful as it is and don't need to feel good and meaningful, or to be happy.

Most minds will try to do something that they like and enjoy, and to achieve something that they want to achieve, to feel good and happy and meaningful.

There's also nothing wrong with people want to do good and be kind to others because it makes them feel good and happy, but, that's not the teaching or practice of yoga.

Yoga practice is not about trying to do something to make the ego feels good and happy and meaningful (as this is empowering the ego and egoism) but, it's to remove the root cause of unhappiness - ignorance and egoism. Once the root cause of unhappiness is eliminated, one will be happy as one is.

When the mind is free from egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, and expectation, one will be peaceful and happy as one is. One doesn't need to do something, or not do something, to feel good and happy or meaningful. One doesn't need to take intoxication/alcohol/drugs or to achieve certain results, social status and network, health condition, fitness level, body image, physical and mental ability and good relationships, to feel good and happy and meaningful. One doesn't need other people's love, acceptance, support, acknowledgment, recognition, friendliness and companionship, or any entertainment, enjoyment, achievement and success to be happy or feel good and meaningful.

The teaching and practice of yoga is to abandon all these egoism, one will be peaceful and happy as one is. One can perform good actions and be kind to others out of compassion, without selfish intention or expectation of "I am doing all these because I want to feel good and meaningful and be happy."

Be free.

Truthfulness and worldly social mingling and interaction

To practice truthfulness (one of the basic practice of yoga), we learn how to minimize as much as possible from engaging in worldly social mingling and interaction, because these worldly social activities empower egoism and strengthen worldly ideas, which is the opposite of yoga practice.

If we analyze our daily interactions and conversations with other people, we will see that it's mostly about the empowerment of egoistic personal and worldly attachment, identification, judgment, comparison, expectation, desires of craving and aversion, the past and the future. Yoga practice is to free the mind from all these mind activities of egoism. There is also intentional and unintentional hypocrisy, untruthfulness and ego flattering elements in many of the social interactions and conversations.

It's a normal cultural social politeness for many people to be HYPOCRITE and UNTRUTHFUL and FLATTERING when interacting with other people, to maintain 'good relationship' with everyone in the society and this game of hypocrisy and untruthfulness exists even among family members, couples and friends.

Most people don't want to know the truth as the truth is not necessarily something that they like or agree with.

Since little, everyone was being taught to be polite, to be good and say only good thing in front of everyone, to please other people, to gain love and liking, and acknowledgment/acceptance/recognition from other people, to maintain 'good relationship' with everyone, but then, behind people's back, there's complaints, gossips, slandering, back-biting, criticism, blame, or bitching. There are many this type of 'good relationships' everywhere in the worldly life. And this is being perceived as the 'correct' behavior or 'normal' way of life in the society and in the family. People don't like truthfulness and straightforwardness. Being truthful and straightforward is something very rude and wrong.

Truth seekers don't waste energy, time and effort in this worldly egoistic game of accumulating and cultivating such type of 'good relationships'. And hence, the practice of silence comes into everyday life to minimize involving in unnecessary social game of hypocrisy, untruthfulness and flattering of the ego of oneself and others. Performing selfless service in a huge community, is not about cultivating and accumulating personal friendships or relationships at all, if one truly knows what is selflessness and selfless service.

There are not many 'yoga and meditation enthusiasts' have the understanding, initiative and willpower to cut down or cut off worldly passionate social activities. It's a painful and contradicting process for the mind to retreat from worldly social activities, as it is going against 'normal cultural thinking and behavior'. There are lots of 'justifications' coming from the egoistic mind to avoid or give up renunciation from a passionate worldly life of social activities.

Those who aren't really interested in the path of yoga and meditation to free the mind from the root cause of all suffering - ignorance and egoism, they don't have to practice truthfulness or dispassion or renunciation from worldly social activities.

It's everyone's freedom for what they want to do with their life existence, and what they want to think and believe.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Love dispassionately, desirelessly, compassionately and unconditionally

Whether the past experiences were something good or not good, pleasant or unpleasant, happy or unhappy, desirable or undesirable, let them go.

Whether the future will be okay or not okay, let it be.

Do our best, perform all our duties and responsibilities without forcing ourselves beyond our limitation, and let go the fruit of action.

Live in the present, and whether this present is good or not good, this is also impermanent.

Live as we are, without attachment, identification, craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation.

Love everyone as they are, without attachment, identification, craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation.

Love ourselves, be free from clinging and craving towards love and kindness from others. Allow others to love and be kind to us, or not.

If one knows how to take care oneself, which is taking care of one's mind and loving oneself, one can love others dispassionately, desirelessly, compassionately and unconditionally. One stops hurting oneself and others, especially those whom we think we love and whom are in a relationship with us.

Be free.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Seeing the truth in ourselves that is not necessarily what we would like it to be, is a great liberation

It's common for someone to feel hurt, dissatisfaction and disappointment in a love relationship. That is because we think we love the person in the relationship with us, but we don't.

When we think we are hurt, dissatisfied and disappointed because of his/her bad treatment to us or wrongful behavior, we will do and say things that would hurt/attack this person in the relationship with us. We would go behind his/her back complaining about him/her for this and that, telling other people, especially our family and friends about how bad he/she is. Meanwhile, we keep telling ourselves and other people, "I love him/her so much. I am so good to him/her. How could he/she do this and didn't do that, to me. He/she doesn't love me. I feel so disappointed and hurt."

'Hurt' doesn't exist if we truly love someone. If we truly love him/her as he/she is, we won't do and say things that would hurt him/her even though he/she doesn't love us and isn't nice to us. We won't expect him/her to treat us or behave in certain ways. He/she has the freedom to love us, or not, and to be nice to us, or not. And we have the freedom to decide whether to continue this relationship, or not, without feeling hurt or disappointed.

If we ever feel 'hurt' by someone whom we think we love very much, it actually tells us that we don't really love that person, but we only love our selfish desires of what we like and want. The fact that we feel dissatisfied, disappointed and hurt is because our selfish desires are not being gratified from loving the one whom we think we love very much. We are dissatisfied and disappointed is because we are not getting what we like and want, but we are getting what we don't like and don't want. It's not because he/she is bad or wrong. It's not because he/she doesn't love us or isn't nice to us.

To fall in love with someone is not so difficult, but, to truly love someone beyond selfish desires, is very rare.

The realization of "I think I love you and I want to love you, but I realized I don't really love you because I don't love you as you are." allows us to be free from the corrupted thinking and feeling of "I am disappointed and hurt by the one whom I love very much." Instead, we question ourselves, "How could I demand anything from you or expect you to love me and be nice to me while I don't really love you?" and "If I really love you, I won't demand anything from you and won't expect you to love me and be nice to me. I'll love you as you are, no matter you love me, or not, and want to be nice to me, or not."

This will free us from dissatisfaction, disappointment and hurt, even though the person in the relationship doesn't love us or isn't nice to us. Meanwhile, even though we love someone very much, as he/she is, we don't have to allow someone who doesn't love us and who is not nice to us to take our love for granted, we can let go this person and this relationship.

Seeing the truth in ourselves that is not necessarily what we would like it to be, is a great liberation.

It's okay if we realize we don't love someone, as long as we are aware of it and are being truthful and honest towards ourselves and the one whom we think we love, but not really. And this confrontation with the truth allows us to truly love this person, by freeing ourselves from corrupted thinking and feelings.

The end of ignorance, is peace.

Be free.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Listen?

In the civilized cultured loving and caring society, people might take this word of 'LISTEN' to be "Someone or a voice needs to be heard or be listened, and people should being sympathetic in listening to someone else 'agony', or 'difficulty', or 'misery', or 'unhappiness', or 'painful sorrow', or 'hurts', or 'broken heart', or 'suffering', or 'grumbling', and etc."

It's normal for people to share each other's life experiences, ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions, either we want to tell our stories or we want ourselves to be listened by others, as well as we want to be a listener to listen to other people's stories, whether it's something 'good' or 'bad', 'happy' or 'unhappy'. People like to connect and stay connect with other people by chatting regularly or catching-up once in a while to show that they care. And it would be seen as abnormal or inhuman or cold, if one doesn't involve with such human social activities. We will feel lonely, isolated, abandoned, helpless, unworthy, unloved, not good enough, unhappy, depressed, disappointed, frustrated, or meaningless, if we think there's nobody there to listen to us, or nobody wants to share with us.

People would think that as human beings, people should be caring and sympathetic to be there for other people when people need someone to be there to listen to what is troubling them. Caring people like to ask other people whom they think they might be 'disturbed', or 'troubled', or 'hurt' by something, "Do you want to talk about what is troubling/disturbing/hurting you? I'm here to listen. Maybe I can help you." It's selfish, uncaring, unthinkable, uncompassionate, inhuman, or wrong, if we don't ask about other people's 'problems', or 'unhappiness', or 'painful sorrow', or 'suffering', and etc. Or it's 'bad' or 'unhealthy' if one observes silence of thoughts, actions and speech.

No doubt that by expressing, or talking, or grumbling, or bitching about our 'frustration', 'disappointment', 'dissatisfaction', 'troubles', 'problems', 'difficulties', 'misery', 'grief', 'hurts', 'painful sorrow', 'agony', or 'suffering', and etc, to other people may or may not give certain degrees of momentary relief to the 'suffering' or 'unhappy' or 'troubled' minds, but it won't help the minds to be free from what they think is their 'suffering' or 'unhappiness', even if the people who listen to them might try to give them some 'advice', or 'guidance', or 'care', or 'comfort' that they think might can relieve their 'pain' or 'solve' their problems.

Sometimes, talking or complaining about what we think is our 'problem' to some other people actually creates further complication to the existing 'problem' and could generate some other unnecessary 'problems' to ourselves and other people. The listener of other people's problems becomes a 'problem maker' or has a 'problem' in the end. We asked for advice from others, and someone was being very kind to listen to us and give us some advice and we took the advice, but when things didn't turn out to be the way that we expect it to be, we blamed other people for giving us their 'bad advice', or we blamed ourselves for trusting the wrong person and taking the 'bad advice'. This is due to most minds are impure, are not free from egoistic selfish desires, attachment, expectation and incorrect thinking.

In the path of yoga and meditation, we are learning to be a listener. It's not so much about listening to other people's 'problems' or 'unhappiness' to 'share' their 'problems' or 'pain', to say 'nice things' to comfort them, or to give them 'good advice' with the intention to help 'solving' their 'problems' (which is nothing wrong, but none can share, or solve, or take away another person's ignorance and suffering), but it's to learn how to open and quiet the mind to listen to the Dharma in here and now, and allow other people to also learn to listen to the Dharma, to be free from the root cause of all 'problems' and 'unhappiness'. There's no 'problems' that need to be solved at all.

People think that the person who is 'troubled' or 'hurt' needs a listener to listen to their 'pain', and this person will have less pain or no more pain, but in yoga, this person needs to be the listener, to know what is really going on in its own mind.

If one truly is 'disturbed', or 'troubled', or 'hurt' by something and they think that they need some help or guidance, instead of looking forward to talk and share about what they think is disturbing, or troubling, or hurting them, to be listened by some other people, to have someone there to share their disturbed feelings and thoughts, to get love and support from other people to feel better about themselves, one should learn how to be in solitude and silence, quiet the restless mind and try to LISTEN to the DHARMA.

If one TRULY LISTENS to the DHARMA that is here and now, with an open and quiet mind, one will realize or see the truth of the real cause of all their misery, trouble, problem, unhappiness, grief, painful sorrow, agony, or suffering. One doesn't need to talk or complain about anything or doesn't need anyone to be there to share or listen to one's 'problems' or 'suffering', as there is none.

Being yoga teachers teaching yoga and meditation to others, is about teaching and guiding them on how to see and listen to Dharma, or how to perform self-inquiry to attain self-realization to be free from the cause of suffering - ignorance, egoism and impurities. This is wisdom and compassion. Or else, talking and listening to each other among the teachers and the students can easily turn into a scene of 'corruption' and 'complication', especially if the minds are not yet free from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

For example: The teacher is being 'loving' and 'caring' to share and listen to the 'troubled', or 'heart broken' and 'vulnerable' student's 'problems' and disturbed 'feelings' and 'emotions', and this 'troubled' or 'heart broken' and 'vulnerable' student feels a lot of affection, love and care from the teacher, and unwittingly 'fall in love' with the teacher. Or, the student becomes sensitive and suspicious towards what the teacher says and does, as the student would feel 'disturbed', 'betrayed', or 'attacked', when the teacher talks about the similar issues in front of other students as part of the teachings in general, but the student might think that the teacher is talking about him or her personally, and is exposing his or her personal issues, feelings and emotions that he or she doesn't want to be exposed to any other people.

In yoga, the teachers don't really need to know what are the students' personal issues that they think they have. It doesn't mean that the teachers don't care about other people's suffering. It's because all issues derived from the same root of ignorance, egoism and impurities. The teachers just need to guide the students on how to free their minds from the root cause of all 'problems' and 'suffering' - ignorance, egoism and impurities, and allow the students to work their own way in their own pace and effort towards self-realization and liberation, without the need to 'know' or 'listen' to each individual's different types of 'issues' that are 'troubling', or 'disturbing', or 'hurting' them.

When we attend a silent meditation retreat, there's no talking or discussion with another person or teacher about what we think is our 'problems' or 'suffering', all we do is quieting the restless mind to allow the mind to see the truth of things as it is. It's about knowing one's mind and realizing the truth of suffering and rooting out the root cause of suffering. The past and the future doesn't exist. No matter all our experiences from the past to the present were/are good or not good, happy or unhappy, pleasant or painful, deserving or undeserving, the only reality is the present moment, and even this present moment is impermanent. It's about letting go egoism of all forms of attachment, identification, clinging, craving, aversion, desires, judgment and expectation, and thus be free from all sorts of impurities, and hence be free from suffering.

If people think they have 'issues' that involve other people whether in a relationship, or in a family, or in the workplace, or in the community, people should try to talk directly to the person/people involved to find the best solution. By talking or bitching or complaining behind people's back to a third party doesn't help, even though one might get some sympathy, agreement and supports from the third party who doesn't really know what is going on. People who are truly practicing yoga and meditation should stay away from such worldly activities.

We think and believe that "I have 'serious' problems in my life that are really difficult to deal with, that are more important than anything else. I deserve some sympathy and love and care and support from other people. If not, I'll feel depressed and hopeless and I think I want to 'hurt' myself to end my suffering." It's the ego that thinks 'my problems and suffering' are bigger and more important than anyone else problems and suffering. If we practice yoga and meditation, we allow the mind to be opened and we will see that what we think is our 'serious' life problems are truly nothing being compared to many other people's suffering in the world. We'll start to let go what was troubling us that we thought we couldn't let go before. And this is the beginning of compassion.

If people couldn't understand this teaching, or if people don't agree with this teaching, that's their freedom of thinking and belief.

Practice yoga of self-inquiry and self-realization, and be free.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Observe all the names and forms as they are

The worldly restless impure egoistic minds keep looking for stimulation of inputs and outputs.

It doesn't like to observe names and forms as they are.

It projects quality and duality onto all the perceived names and forms based on its likes and dislikes influencing by its thinking and belief.

Through remembering what it perceived or what it knows, it judges, compares and expects.

It clings, craves, rejects, agrees, disagrees, wants, doesn't want, creates and destroys.

It has many forms of desires and great ambitions.

There's aspiration and intention to perform actions and inactions motivated by its desires and ambitions.

It has 'passionate' aspiration and intention to 'share' what it knows and has, and 'share' what others know and have.

There's nothing wrong with that, just that the mind is not free.

Even the mind that projects 'good' and 'kind' quality onto itself, desires to be 'good and kind' and thinking 'positively and optimistically', and performing good and kind actions to benefit the world, is not necessarily be free from selfishness. The one who thinks "I am not selfish. I want to be unselfish." and recognizing other people are being selfish, is not necessarily be free from selfishness.

"I want the world to be good and I want to make the world good, so that I and my loved ones can have a good world to live in and have a good life."

It's everyone's freedom for what they want to think and believe, and what they want to do with their life existence.

Silent the restless mind, abandon 'positive thinking' and 'optimism', be free from desires, and even the desire to be free from suffering, if one truly wishes to realize yoga.

Positive thinking and optimism is just an counteract for 'negative thinking' and 'hopelessness'. It's not the truth nor the end of suffering.

If 'God' exists, 'God' doesn't have intention to make anyone or anything to be good or bad, positive or negative, happy or unhappy.

There's neither positive nor negative, neither good nor bad, neither happiness nor unhappiness, neither elation nor depression.

Dharma doesn't need to be shared, if one knows Dharma.

Peace and love doesn't need to be shared, if one knows peace and love.

Be free from aspiration and intention, if one truly wants to realize yoga.

Don't be ambitious.

'Sharing', 'connecting', 'giving' and 'receiving' are reflections of separateness.

'Sharing', 'connecting', 'giving' and 'receiving' don't exist in oneness.

Who is sharing with whom? Who is connecting with whom? Who is giving? Who is receiving?

Be free.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The ego exists in all and everyone and anyone

The ego exists in all and everyone and anyone, whether educated or non-educated, intelligent or non-intelligent, knowledgeable or non-knowledgeable, religious or non-religious, wealthy or poor, men or women, young or old, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, yoga practitioners and non-yoga practitioners, yoga teachers and non-yoga teachers, and so on.

If the ego can easily be eradicated, then the entire world would be in peace and harmony.

Though it's not easy, fear not. Keep practicing. Root out the ego and egoism, patiently and diligently.

The entire worldly cultural, educational, religious, spiritual, social and political system is all about empowering the ego and egoism. It is normal and the right thing to do for human beings to empower self-identification, self-image and self-achievement. It would be wrong and strange if one abandons self-identification, self-image and self-achievement.

Even in the world of yoga which is 'supposed' to be all about starving the ego and eradicating egoism and separateness, but now mostly is all about empowering the ego and fueling egoism and separateness.
"I am a yogi."
"I am a healer."
"I am an experienced/good yoga practitioner."
"I am an experienced/good yoga teacher."
"I am X or Y brand yogi."
"I am a Christian/Muslim/Buddhist/Hindu/Atheist/... yogi."
"I am a certified and qualified yoga teacher."
"I am a yoga teacher affiliated with such and such yoga alliance or yoga association or yoga school."
"I have been practicing and teaching yoga for how many years and have taught in such and such yoga schools/ashrams and have taught how many yoga students."
"These are my yogi family/friends/brothers/sisters/gangs."
And all kinds of 'yoga brands', 'yoga lineage', 'yoga schools', 'yoga festivals', 'yoga retreats', 'yoga courses', 'yoga healing products', 'yoga health food', 'yoga apparels' and 'yoga accessories', and so on.

"Do not associate. Do not build ashrams. Do not hoard disciples. Do not mix. Live alone. Walk alone. Eat alone. Meditate Alone." - Swami Sivananda

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Being peaceful and compassionate doesn't mean that the body and mind don't experience unpleasantness

Whether we feel comfortable or uncomfortable being in a yoga pose or in a particular position, or in a situation in life, it has nothing to do with peace and compassion.

Being peaceful and compassionate doesn't mean that the body and mind don't or won't experience or perceive unpleasantness.

One can be peaceful and compassionate as one is, unconditionally, being undetermined or undisturbed by all the impermanent changes of the condition of the body and the state of the mind, and all the perceptions of pleasant and unpleasant sensations, sights, sounds, smells, tastes and thoughts.

If one can only be peaceful and compassionate when one perceives or experiences pleasant names and forms, and doesn't perceive any unpleasant names and forms, but then one won't be peaceful or compassionate when one perceives unpleasant names and forms, then that is just the momentary state of the ignorant egoistic mind being 'peaceful and kind' or 'peaceless and unkind' being conditioned and determined by the qualities of names and forms, it's not the unconditional peace and compassion that one realizes from being free from ignorance and egoism.

The one who is free, will be peaceful and compassionate as one is under any condition or situation, no matter what is the physical condition or the state of the mind, whether it's pleasant or unpleasant.

Be free.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Yoga retreat is not about running away from the reality that we don't like and don't want

Not running away from or denying, but confronting the reality that is not the way that we would like it to be, and being aware of this life existence, the world, the society and the surrounding environment is not necessarily 'all good' or perfectly the way that we would like it to be, or the way that we think it should be, with wisdom and compassion, without aversion or fear towards the reality that we think is 'not all good' or 'imperfect' or 'challenging', is our yoga practice.

Living in the world as we are, being aware of all kinds of uncertainty, insecurity, unrest, cautiousness, defects or imperfection in all aspects, and knowing how to remain equanimous and be in peace, without fear and worry, without being over-powered or determined by the reality that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, is what yoga practice is about.

This isn't about trying to be 'strong'. 'Strength' has a limit and is conditional. But wisdom and compassion is unconditional and unlimited.

Joining a yoga retreat is not about running away from the reality that we don't like and don't want, to be in a 'safe and peaceful place' without 'bad people' or 'things that we don't like and don't want', and be surrounded by 'good people' who are like-minded and doing things that make us feel good and happy.

People might think that yoga practice or yoga retreat should be conducted in a 'special place' or 'out of the world place', free from any 'bad energy' or 'bad elements', thinking that 'yoga retreat' means moving away from the imperfect world or running away from everyday life's duties, responsibilities and cares, to have a few days or few weeks of 'intentionally induced perfect form of reality' of 'peacefulness' or 'calmness' or 'problemless'. No doubt that being in a desirable 'reality' will give momentary relief or peace, but this doesn't help us to be free from 'fear', 'disturb', 'restlessness' and 'suffering' when we go back to our everyday life living among the society or the world that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, that is not in our control to be the way that we would like it to be.

A real yoga retreat allows us to learn how to live in the world as it is, performing all our actions, duties and responsibilities without attachment or identification or expectation, without fear and worry. It's learning about the mind and all its modification, about suffering and the cause of suffering, about how to transcend all kinds of 'suffering' or 'restlessness' or 'impurities' or 'fear', and how to confront the reality of life existence in this present moment that is not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, or the way that we think it should be, without fear and worry, and have peace wherever we are, unconditionally, being undetermined by all the impermanent changes of the qualities of names and forms.

Yoga, or unconditional peace, being free from ignorance and egoism, is not limited to a particular 'place', or 'space', or 'activity', or 'condition', or 'quality', or 'name and form'.

Being positive and optimistic, denying or ignoring all kinds of 'ignorant and unpleasant behavior and happenings' in the world, in the society, or in the surrounding environment, and persistently thinking and believing that everyone are good, there's no bad people; everything is good, there's nothing bad; life is all good, there's nothing bad; the world is all good, there's nothing bad, and etc, doesn't change the reality that we don't like or don't want to be the way that we would like it to be.

It's like sweeping all the dust and rubbish and hide them under the cupboards and sofas, so that they are not in sight, it doesn't mean that the room is all cleaned. And no matter how many times we sweep the floor, and throw out all the dust and rubbish out of the room, there will always be dust and rubbish accumulating here and there from time to time, unless everyone who enter the room stop bringing in dust and rubbish into the room. This is the same as looking after the mind. We do our best to 'clean up' the mind regularly and persistently, but impurities will still exist from time to time, until the root cause of impurities (ignorance and egoism) is uprooted completely.

When there's no problem, there's no need to anticipate a problem. When there's a problem, confront it, without fear and worry.

Be free.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Words of wisdom are neither good nor bad

Words of wisdom are neither good nor bad. They are just what they are. They have no intention or quality to be useful or useless, to be meaningful or meaningless, or to be enlightening or disturbing.

Words of wisdom can be useful and meaningful and enlightening for those who are aware of ignorance in oneself, but they are useless and meaningless and disturbing for those who are not aware of ignorance in oneself.

All minds that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism are being conditioned or influenced by many different types of thinking and belief that are being imprinted into the mind since the birth of this life existence coming from family and cultural background, religious background, parenting, schooling, social mixing and interaction, social medias, and all kinds of information sources, to live life, to think and feel, to act and react.

Most of the time, we don't really inquire the truth of everything that were passed down to us from generation to generation, and everything that we come in contact with, and we usually put our 'trust' onto 'reliable' or 'respectable' sources to feed or occupy our minds with many different information and ideas, until we start to doubt about something and then we would question or investigate the truth of it, to find out whether it's true, or not. But that usually won't happen until we got into trouble and suffer for the consequences of our own 'incorrect' or 'ignorant' understanding, thinking, belief, way of living, conduct and behavior.

If people don't question the truth of everything, everyone just live life, think and feel, act and react as how they were being told or informed or influenced by the elders, parents, caretakers, friends, society, communities, groups, associations, gangs, politicians, religious authorities, school teachers, philosophers, and so on.

In Yoga and Buddhism, one has to question the truth of everything including all the teachings or scriptures of yoga and Buddhism, of what all the teachers said and taught. The real teachers won't be insulted or disrespected or humiliated when the students neither agree nor disagree with what the teachers or any sources informed them, but they would perform self-practice and self-inquiry to realize the truth of the teachings through self-effort and self-realization.

It's okay if we don't know many things. It won't do any harm if we don't know everything and we are aware of we are ignorant or don't know the truth of something. But it would be very harmful to oneself and others, if we blind-believe in and blind-agree with and blindly sharing information and ideas that we don't know whether they are true, or not.

So as there are many 'yoga teachers' teach yoga to other people according to what they have learned and heard from the yoga courses that they have attended, just because the books/scriptures/teaching manuals and their teachers say so. Some people don't mind if the teachings are true, or not, as long as they have some ideas of yoga poses practice sequences with some technical information and interesting spiritual stories to teach in the yoga classes to satisfy the people's enthusiasm and intention of joining the yoga classes, and earn a living. And there's nothing wrong with that and it's everyone's freedom. One is willingly to present something that one doesn't really know what does it really means, while others are willingly to follow something that they don't know where it would lead them to.

The wise never aspire or intent to make other beings to see what they see, or to know what they know. The teachings are everywhere for everyone to take it (practice and realize), or leave it.

Be free and be happy.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Wisdom vs intelligence and accumulated worldly knowledge

Wisdom reflects peace and freedom from suffering. Meanwhile intelligence and accumulated worldly knowledge in a person doesn't necessarily guarantee that one will be peaceful or free from suffering.

One doesn't need to know 'the knowledge of how to build a house' to have peace and be free from suffering. Knowing 'the knowledge of how to build a house' doesn't guarantee that one will be peaceful and free from suffering. Though one can use 'the knowledge of how to build a house' to benefit oneself and others. Being a doctor with the knowledge of medicine and all kinds of illnesses, and using this knowledge to be doing something useful for one's and others' health condition also doesn't guarantee that one will be peaceful and free from suffering. Being a psychologist with the knowledge of psychology and all kinds of psychological illnesses, and using this knowledge to benefit oneself and others also doesn't guarantee that one will be peaceful and free from suffering.

Intelligence and accumulated worldly knowledge is neither good nor bad and it can be used for something good or bad, and it's uncorrelated with peace and wisdom.

Wisdom is one with peace. They manifest in oneness.

When there's peace, there's wisdom. When there's wisdom, there's peace. And vice versa.

Whenever one finds 'peace' in any particular quality of name and form, or experience, or action and inaction, or the result of action and inaction, or object, or space, or place, or condition, or situation, then very soon this 'peace' will change and disappear.

It's the same as compassion is uncorrelated with 'love' towards the world and the worldly names and forms.

People talk about 'love the world' and 'love for peace in the world'. But without wisdom, this 'love' towards 'love the world' and 'love for peace in the world' is merely a form of attachment and affection (derived from ignorance and egoism) towards worldly names and forms that are impermanent. Out of 'love' towards the world and desiring 'peace that we want' in the world, people 'desire' to make the world to be the way that how we would love it to be, and would 'destroy' any 'obstruction towards having the world to be the way that how we would love it to be' at any cost. The by-products of this love towards 'love for the world' and 'love for peace in the world' is restlessness - a mixture of happiness/satisfaction/meaningfulness/peacefulness/victory (when the world and the worldly names and forms that one loves are the way that how one would love it to be) and unhappiness/dissatisfaction/meaninglessness/peacelessness/failure (when the world and the worldly names and forms that one loves are not the way that how one would love it to be).

Out of 'love' towards what we believe as 'peacefulness', 'kindness', 'good' and 'right', we 'hate' what we believe as 'peacelessness', 'evilness', 'bad' and 'wrong'. 'Hating' what we believe as 'peacelessness', 'evilness', 'bad' and 'wrong' is nothing to do with compassion. Compassion is not about 'accepting', 'allowing' and 'supporting' what we believe as 'peacelessness', 'evilness', 'bad' and 'wrong' either. But, it's freedom from the 'suffering' of 'hatred', 'anger', 'dissatisfaction', 'disappointment', 'craving', 'aversion', 'hurt', 'regret', 'guilt', 'violence', 'ill-will', 'ill-thinking', 'animosity', 'offensiveness', 'defensiveness', 'obsessiveness', 'possessiveness', 'fear' and 'worry', being undetermined or undisturbed by what we believe as 'peacelessness', 'evilness', 'bad' and 'wrong'.

The wise abandon 'love' towards the world of worldly names and forms that are impermanent, but resting in unconditional peace of wisdom and compassion.

Be free.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

When there's doubt whether in the yoga asana practice or in life

When there's doubt whether in the yoga asana practice or in life, especially in relationships, we learn to take responsibility to make decision for ourselves, either we go beyond the doubt and endure whatever difficulty or challenge that we think we are dealing with, and make some adjustments to adapt and accommodate whatever difficulty or discomfort, proceed with what we want to venture, or, if we think we can't go beyond the doubt, we can let go what we would like to do or have, without regret or guilt towards the decision that we made, no matter what is the outcome or consequences of our decision made.

When we attempt to perform certain yoga asana poses that we are not familiar with and there's doubt towards our physical ability or fear of the risk of injury, we learn to take the responsibility to make decision for ourselves, either we go beyond that doubt and proceed with the attempt to perform the yoga poses without tension or fear or struggle or pushing the body beyond its limitation, especially when the body is capable and is ready to do the poses, but the mind has doubt and fear, and it doesn't matter if we still can't do the yoga poses after we have tried our best, or if we think we can't go beyond that doubt, we think and believe that our body is not capable or is not ready to do the poses, we can let go of trying to perform those yoga poses in this practice session. There's no regret afterwards towards the decision that we made for ourselves.

It's really not important whether we can perform all the yoga poses, or not. It's about learning how to deal with fear and doubt while we perform the yoga asana poses. It's okay if we can't go beyond the fear or doubt in this present, but we can try again in the next practice, or the next next practice, it doesn't matter if one day finally we can perform the yoga poses without fear or doubt, or we still can't do them even after many attempts for many years. It's really not important and it has nothing to do with the realization of unconditional love and peace.

It's the same as in life situations, especially in relationships. When there's doubt in a relationship and we are not sure whether we want to continue to be in the relationship, or not, we can either go beyond the doubt and do our best to develop unconditional love, patience, tolerance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation to over-come whatever difficulties that we think we are encountering in a relationship, or if we think we can't go beyond the doubt, if we think we can't have the unconditional love, patience, tolerance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation to continue the relationship that is challenging for one or both parties, we can just let go of the relationship, even though we think we love the person in the relationship with us, as loving someone doesn't mean that we have to be in a relationship with that person, to 'keep' the love, the person and the relationship to be mine and ours.

Sometimes we have to let go a relationship out of love, real love. As loving each other doesn't necessarily mean that two people are suitable to be sharing a life together in a relationship or living together under the same roof.

It's okay if we are aware that we are not as loving or kind as what we would like us to be. We don't have to love anyone, because most of the time, we don't even love ourselves, we only love what we like and what we want. And it's okay if we don't love anyone or ourselves, as long as we are aware of it. It's okay if we realize we don't really love the person in the existing relationship with us. And it would be better to be aware of "I don't love you" than to think or believe that "I love you", but at the same time "I'll do and say things that would hurt you and our relationship, because I don't really love you, but I only love what I like and what I want. And I am unhappy or feel disappointed, angry and hurt when I don't get what I like and what I want in this relationship with you."

There's neither regret nor guilt, once we made a decision and we take the responsibility for the consequences of our decision made.

Some people do not want to make decision for themselves and ask other people to give them advice and make the decision for them, so that, if the consequences of the decision made turn out to be good, everyone will be happy, and if the consequences of the decision made turn out to be bad, they can blame other people for it.

Be free.

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About Yoga

Know thyself. There is no existence of 'I'. Everything is impermanent. Be free, be peaceful, be happy.

Om shanti

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Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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