be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Friday, December 15, 2017

Fine as it is

Most minds are being conditioned by the worldly thinking and belief about "One has to be happy in order to live life meaningfully, as well as one has to live life meaningfully in order to be happy."

What is "live life meaningfully" and what the mind believes as "happiness" is different for different people.

Be free from the thinking and belief about one has to be happy to live life meaningfully, and vice versa, is a great liberation.

It's okay that sometimes the mind is not okay, that the mind doesn't feel happy in this present moment, or for some time. It's impermanent, and it's not 'I'. It's okay that sometimes the mind doesn't feel living life meaningfully in this present moment, or for some time. It's impermanent, and it's not 'I'. The mind doesn't need to be happy or feel meaningful all the time.

People like to say "If there's no happiness, life is meaningless." and most people think and believe that happiness and meaningfulness is the presence of something good and positive and the absence of something bad and negative. Some people also say, "If there's no good health, there's no happiness."

Many people relate "live life meaningfully" as being able to do what we like to do, go where we want to go, live where we want to live, have a healthy body, have a decent livelihood, live a good quality of life, have different varieties of social circles/networks, make a lot of friends, and either live a happy single life, or find a good life partner/spouse to set up a happy family.

People who have a difficult life condition, or have been experiencing ill-treatment from other people, or have to deal with physical injury or health problems, or suffer from physical or emotional damages due to other people's ignorance and ignorant behavior, or couldn't make a living due to bad economy or oppression, or under went a painful divorce or break-up, or would love to have a family, but for some reasons, they couldn't have a family, it doesn't mean that they can't live life meaningfully or be happy, disregards all the ordeals or difficulties that they have to go through. All these undesirable experiences don't give rise to suffering or the sense of meaninglessness to those who truly practice yoga and realize yoga. Only those who are not free from ignorance and egoism, who attached onto qualities of names and forms to be happy and feel meaningful, or not, will be determined by all kinds of desirable and undesirable life experiences to be who they are, to be happy and feel meaningful, or not.

In yoga, it's about freeing the mind from this conditional thinking and belief about the achievement and possession of certain qualities of names and forms to be the reasons for one to be happy, or to deserve happiness and to live life meaningfully, or else, the absence of the achievement and possession of those qualities of names and forms will result in no reason for one to be happy, or to deserve happiness and to live life meaningfully.

One doesn't need to be happy or feel happy all the time, in order to feel meaningful or to live life meaningfully. One doesn't need to feel meaningful or to live life meaningfully, in order to be happy. One is peaceful and happy as one is.

Those who are free, they do their best to do what they like and want to do, and achieve what they want to achieve in this life existence, but they are not defined by what they like and want to do, or what they want to achieve, and whether they are able to do what they like and want to do, or achieve what they want to achieve, or not, in order to be happy, or to feel meaningful and to live life meaningfully, or not.

There's nothing wrong that many people believe that all human beings need to have motivation and expectation to keep pushing themselves, to keep improving, to attain success or higher and higher success in life, as well as to have faith in their religion or 'God', then they deserve happiness or will be blessed with happiness and living life meaningfully. Or else, they believe that those who are contented with the present moment as it is, or don't have any religion practice, or don't believe in 'God', they don't deserve happiness or will not be blessed with happiness or don't live life meaningfully. But, that's not the truth, because people can still be unhappy and suffering from all kinds of impurities in their own minds, if their minds are not free from ignorance and egoism, even if people attain success in life from time to time, or have a healthy body, or have a higher quality of life, or have a religion practice and believe in 'God'. Their minds will still be disturbed by something that they don't like, don't want and don't agree with. There's no peace.

If 'God' exists, and if 'God' is almighty and all love, 'God' bless all and everyone and everything to be sharing this space of the universe, disregards human beings believing or disbelieving in 'God', including all those that are non-human beings, that don't have any particular thinking and belief of a religion or 'God'.

While yoga practice is to inquire the truth of everything that the mind comes in contact with (including the teachings of yoga), and be free from being conditioned or limited by all kinds of worldly thinking and belief, freeing the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, being free from attachment, identifications, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, being free from anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, guilt, regret, violence, ill-will, animosity, speculation, anticipation, agitation, depression, sorrow, defensiveness, offensiveness, loneliness, anxieties, longing, fear and worry, being free from the pleasant and unpleasant past experiences and future imaginations, living in the present from moment to moment, to realize unconditional peace and love that is beyond all the worldly objects of different qualities of names and forms about what is and what is not "happiness" and "live life meaningfully".

One doesn't need to keep pushing the body and mind to go beyond its limitation in order to attain success, or higher success, in order to be happy, or to live life meaningfully. One can be very successful in everything that one wants to achieve, but one is not defined by the success or the achievements to be 'I', to be happy or to live life meaningfully.

One doesn't need to be someone that will make oneself and other people feel proud of, to be happy or to live life meaningfully.

One doesn't need to be good enough according to the worldly thinking and belief about what is "good enough", to be happy, or to deserve happiness and live life meaningfully.

It doesn't mean that one stops performing actions, but one doesn't need any motivation or expectation to motivate one to perform actions that are wholesome to oneself and others. Actions are being performed without the need of motivation or intention, without attachment, identification or expectation towards the actions and the fruit of actions.

It's okay if people don't like this yoga teaching and practice. That's their freedom.

Be free.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Self-esteem and confidence

Any issues regarding self-esteem and confidence shouldn't and doesn't need to be existing at all. But due to ignorance and egoism, many people depend on self-esteem and confidence to be who they are, to be happy and feel meaningful, or not. Many people are suffering from mild to severe low self-esteem or low confidence that leads to the sense of meaninglessness and depression. Even many mental and psychological related studies and professionals also preach, think and believe that the development and empowerment of self-esteem and confidence is very important in life existence as human beings and it's the key to personal and global growth, success and happiness.

Real confidence has nothing to do with self-esteem or confidence that builds on physical appearance, condition, ability and achievement, or mental state, ability and achievement, or desirable and undesirable life experiences, or good and bad relationships with parents, family, friends and the rest of the world. It is beyond all these names and forms, when the mind has gone beyond the identification of what the mind thinks is ‘I’ and ‘my’, where this identification of ‘I’ and ‘my’ with the different qualities of names and forms is just a by-product of the worldly thinking and belief, or family, cultural, social and religious belief.

It's the ego that feels it has to be good enough for something, or for somebody, or for oneself. It also feels that it might be not good enough for something, or for somebody, or for oneself, based on what the thinking and belief recognize as 'good' and 'good enough', or what is 'self-esteem and confidence', 'success', 'happiness' and 'meaningfulness', and the relationship between them, where most people think and believe that 'high self-esteem and confidence' is related to 'success', and 'success' is related to 'happiness', while 'happiness' is related to 'meaningfulness'. And many people are suffering because of this thinking and belief or trying to live up to this thinking and belief for their entire life, and passing this thinking and belief from generation to generation.

It's the idea of 'I', or the ego, that needs to feel good about oneself, and wants other people to perceive oneself as good enough, and needs to attain or possess certain qualities of names and forms to be identifying with, that would make one feels good and proud of oneself and also would make other people feel good and proud of oneself, in order to be happy and live life meaningfully.

And all these qualities of names and forms are impermanent and there is no 'I' to be found in any of these names and forms, or to be in control of the impermanent changes, to be the way that 'I' like it to be. No matter how much influences we can influence the condition of the physical body and the state of the mind, to maintain the function and the life span of the body and the mind, the body and mind will still have to go through inevitable changes of decay, old age, discomfort, illness, weakness, ceased functioning, and decompose, or death.

Once the mind fully understood this, it will be free from the bondage of self-esteem and confidence. There's no 'I' being good or not good enough. There's neither high nor low self-esteem. There's neither high nor low confidence.

One doesn't need to be somebody with particular appearance, condition, ability or achievement, or have certain good and positive life experiences, or good relationships with anyone, in order to feel confident, happy, satisfied or meaningful.

One can have and appreciate all the attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship that is available in the present, but one doesn't need other people's attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship in order to feel confident, love, happy or meaningful. If all these qualities of names and forms are not available, one is still happy and peaceful as one is. One doesn't feel lack of something or missing out anything, or one is not good enough to deserve love, happiness and meaningfulness.

And that's real confidence. One doesn't need to be confident or satisfied about oneself at all. One doesn't need to feel proud of oneself, and doesn't need other people to feel proud of oneself, to be 'I', or the good 'I', the successful 'I', the happy 'I', the meaningful 'I'. One is happy and peaceful as one is, without any identification with any quality as 'I'.

There is no thinking or identification of "I am a good and kind human being. I want to do good and be kind and be able to contribute towards humanity." but goodness, kindness and contribution towards humanity are being manifested and performed through the body and mind out of wisdom and compassion.

If one doesn't know this, one will always looking for or craving for attaining and possessing certain qualities of names and forms that one would like to relate oneself with, to be identifying with, to feel good and satisfied about oneself, to boost up one's self-esteem and confidence to be who 'I' am, thinking that by attaining and possessing such qualities of names and forms will also make other people to give them the attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship that they want from other people, in order to be happy and feel meaningful. But then one is not free. And that's one's freedom of thinking and action.

Be free.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The connection between low self-esteem and parenting

There's a huge connection between low self-esteem and the way of the parents bring up their children.

Low self-esteem is a form of mental illness. And there are quite many of the world population are suffering from some forms of mental illness, especially low self-esteem.

The main element that contributes to low self-esteem is the family brought up of how the parents bring up their children, where people are being influenced by the trends of the society on how they bring up their children, where the society emphasize on appearance, performance and achievements to be the important values of a society.

People feel that they need to look and behave and carry themselves in certain ways so that they will be accepted and respected by the family and the society. Their perception towards themselves of what they think is who they are and their life existence is very much being defined by their appearance, performance and achievements that is determined by the expectation, opinion, commentary, judgment and criticism from themselves and other people towards them.

Proudness is the shadow that follows low self-esteem. If low self-esteem is absent, proudness doesn't exist.

Those who suffer from low self-esteem need to feel proud of oneself. This is mainly the responsibility of how their parents brought them up. The parents have expectation towards their children and whether they are aware or unaware, whether intentionally or unintentionally, they are influencing the thinking and belief of their children to become the person that they want them to be and the way that they like it to be, and the way that they think is good for their children. They try to motivate their children to be they way that they like them to be by giving them praise and compliment, and they try to demotivate their children to be the way that they don't like it to be by giving them criticism and punishment. There's always assessment and judgment coming from the parents towards their children for how they look and behave, how they perform physically and mentally, and what they achieve or can't achieve. They will be happy and be nice to their children when their children fulfill their expectation, that they behave and achieve something the way that they like it to be. They won't be happy or be nice to their children when their children didn't fulfill their expectation, that they didn't behave or achieve something the way that they like it to be.

The parents hope that their children are 'good' enough and be competent to be able to compete with other people in the society to excel among the others and to be able to fit in into the higher or better class of the society. They want their children to be successful to be respected by the society and live life meaningfully, according to their thinking and belief about what is success and live life meaningfully.

Many parents will say this to their children, whether they are aware or unaware of the consequences of their action and speech, and whether they really mean what they say, or not. But the children will take it seriously, even if the parents didn't really mean what they say.

"You need to have some sorts of expectation towards yourself to improve and be better. Set up your goal and expectation and strive to achieve your goal and expectation. Then you are considered successful and well-deserved lots of love and happiness and respect from everyone."

 "Good boy/girl! Well done! You make us so proud, mummy and daddy love you so much. Keep it up and be better and better."

"You are so bad and terrible. Can't make anyone proud of you. You don't deserve love from anyone. Mummy and daddy don't want you anymore. We are so disappointed in you."

"If you are like this, mummy and daddy don't want to love you. Look at your sister/brother/friend, they are so much better than you."

"If you achieve this result, we will give you this and bring you there. If you don't, we won't give you this or bring you there. Let you stay at home by yourself. We only bring your brother and sister."

"Say please and thank you, or else, I won't give you what you want."

"Come on, you can do better than this, and you will make everyone proud of you."

"Are you a good boy/girl, or not? This is not good enough, you can be better than this. If you are very good, then people will love you. If you are not good, then no one will love you."

This is how the parents nurture their children to grow up becoming people who suffer from all sorts of mental illness.

They always feel bad and dissatisfied with themselves towards the ability, performance and achievements of their physical body and their mind. They always feel that they need to compare and compete with other people, including their siblings, their spouse, their friends, their classmates, their colleagues, their neighbours, and anybody. There is an instinct to constantly judge their and other people's appearance, ability, performances and achievements to compare and compete with one another. They were being told by their parents to think and believe that they are always not good enough and will never be good enough, that they always have to be better than what they are now. They want to be loved by their parents and everyone, but they think they must first be good enough, and they always afraid of being not good enough for their parents and other people, even though they know they are good enough for themselves. They always longing for praise and compliment, liking, support, agreement and acknowledgement from other people, especially the parents, siblings, friends and spouse. Or else, they will feel very dissatisfied, disappointed and depressed about themselves and their life.

It's so tiring to try to fulfill the expectation from their parents and the society and themselves, to be good enough that they can be proud of themselves in order to love themselves, and to please everyone expecting people will like and love and be nice to them, for their whole life, in the family, in love relationship, in friendships, in the school, in the workplace, or in the community. They are defined and determined by their actions and the result of their actions, and other people's reaction and treatment towards them to be who they are, to be happy and feel meaningful, or not.

Those who are free from low self-esteem don't need to feel proud of anything. They don't feel bad or dissatisfied about themselves for being what they are, as they are. They know what they can achieve and what is their limitation. But they are not defined or determined by their achievement or limitation to be who they are. They don't need praise and compliment, liking, support, agreement and acknowledgement from anyone. They are not affected or disturbed or determined by other people's expectation, opinion, commentary, judgment or criticism towards them. They are not determined or affected by their actions and the result of their actions. They don't need to be good enough the way that how the world think and believe as good enough in order to love themselves. They love themselves as they are, and they love everyone as they are.

This is the essence of yoga.

There are yoga practitioners including some yoga teachers are not free from the suffering of some forms of mental illness, and it's okay. There's nothing to be ashamed about if the mind is not free. Everyone takes their own time to practice and realize the truth and be free.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Learn how to be alone and do nothing, without feeling lonely, left out, unloved, unworthy or bored

Solitude or aloneness is being perceived by many people as something terrible or wrong that can happen to a human being. That is because people's minds are being conditioned to think and believe in that way. And there's nothing to be argued about as people's minds are thinking in certain ways and believing in certain beliefs. That's how people are being taught and brought up by their parents or the society for how people think and what to believe.

Many people never learn how to be alone by themselves and do nothing, without clinging onto other people, to be surrounded by other people to be interacting or communicating with them physically and mentally. They will feel lonely, left out, unloved, unworthy or bored, if there is a prolonged period of time that there are no people around them to be interacting with. They constantly looking/craving for physical and mental attention, love and companionship. A lot of time this is because the parents never teach or allow their children to learn how to be alone by themselves and do nothing, without feeling lonely, left out, unloved, unworthy or bored. The parents try to give maximum love and attention to their children and make their children always be busy with doing something and interacting with some other people, either mentally or physically, or both. They think this is good for them and to show that they love and care for their children very much.

That is also one of the important elements why there are people suffering from loneliness, low self-esteem, depression, boredom, unloved, unworthiness, meaninglessness, and so on. The children are being brought up in the way of building up intense attachment towards the love, attention and companionship from one or both of their parents or caretakers, but the parents or caretakers will not be always being by their side, and there will not be always somebody there to give them the attention, love and companionship that they like and want, that they cling onto and crave for. They never learn how to be alone by themselves and do nothing. Their minds are being used to interactive stimulation, receiving inputs and expressing outputs. These minds can't stand being silence without any inputs or outputs for a few moments. The sense of loneliness, left out, unloved, unworthiness, depression, meaninglessness and boredom kicks in as soon as they are being away from family and friends that are always being close by physically, to interacting with and doing things together all the time.

Just like for the children without a father or both parents, people might think that by showing them lots of love and attention will help them and benefit them. People like to say, "People need love." and they think that it means giving or showing love (affection) to other people who need love. But what people really need is realizing the unconditional unlimited love in themselves, without expecting love (affection) through receiving love (affection) from others. If people don't know how to teach or allow the children to be independent, how to love themselves and how to be alone by themselves, that they can be happy and live life meaningfully as they are, even without one or both of the parents being by their side physically or mentally giving them personal love, attention and companionship, then if the children don't get enough of love, attention and companionship from the people who are not being there for them all the time, these children will try to cling onto other people looking for attention, love and companionship.

It's okay that one doesn't have one or both of the parents being with them or to be there for them. Even if there is one or both of the parents being there for them, it doesn't mean that the parents have to or will be there all the time, that there are times that one or both of the parents might not be there for them temporary or permanently. And it's okay.

It's okay that one doesn't have anyone or friends and family members being with them or to be there for them. One can love oneself, whether doing something or doing nothing by oneself, and be happy and live life meaningfully being alone by oneself without anyone beside them to interact or communicate with physically or mentally. One has no craving for love, attention and companionship from other beings. One is peaceful as it is, being free from attachment and craving.

But all these children grow up without learning or knowing know how to be alone by themselves, and do nothing, without feeling lonely, left out, unloved, unworthy or bored. They suffer from loneliness, low self-esteem, unworthiness, boredom, depression and meaninglessness, if they think there's no one there being with them or to be there for them, to interact with them, to give them love, attention and companionship.

Sooner or later, everyone will have to deal with solitude or aloneness at some stage in life whether we like it, or not. It is a natural process of life. It's something wonderful if one knows the truth of aloneness or solitude. Only those who know this, will know.

Those who don't know, they have strong aversion or fear towards solitude, afraid of being alone by themselves, and they will be suffering from loneliness, low self-esteem, unworthiness, boredom, meaninglessness and depression if there's nobody being with them to be interacting or communicating with, physically or mentally. They think and believe that it's because they are not good enough, that's why they are being left out, unloved and being alone by themselves, that they are so pitiful without anyone, friends or family being with them, to give them love, attention and companionship, physically or mentally. They always feel that they are not good enough, that they need to be in competition with other people especially their brothers and sisters to get the maximum love and attention from their parents. They need other people to show thankfulness and appreciation for what they have done for others to feel that they and their effort of doing something are being appreciated and acknowledged. They always try very hard to please everybody to make everyone love them and acknowledge them that they are good enough and well-deserved with love and happiness. But, they don't realize that they don't have to please anyone to make other people love them. People who love them will love them as they are. Those who don't love them will not love them even if they try to please these people. And many people will take advantage of the people who want or need to be loved by other people.

Most parents or caretakers don't realize that it's how they bring up the children that had caused the children to think and believe like that, to be suffering from love seeking, attention seeking, lack of something, missing something, or craving for something, and suffering from loneliness, low self-esteem, depression, boredom, meaninglessness, and so on, through out their entire life, unless/until they realize the truth that they don't have to think and believe and suffer in such way. When they have their own family, that is also how they are going to bring up their children the way that how their parents brought them up, and most probably, their children will also end up like them, unless the children start to think for themselves and realize what is unconditional love from oneself towards oneself.

People also perceive the state of fullness or non-separateness, where one doesn't need any other beings to be there to show love, attention and companionship, to be interacting with, to feel loved and meaningful, as something horrible or wrong. They think that these people who don't need other beings being with them to be there for them, without feeling lonely, unloved, unworthy, meaningless, left out or bored, are impossible or insane or hard, and that these people must be so lonely and unhappy and live life meaninglessly for not needing anybody being there for them, where in truth, these people are peaceful, happy and live life meaningfully without being depending on other beings' love, attention and companionship to life live meaningfully, or to feel loved and worthy, or to be free from loneliness and boredom.

Those who think and believe that they need to have other people's love, attention and companionship to feel loved and worthy and meaningful, to not feel lonely and bored, are not free at all. But people don't see that. And that's their freedom of thinking and believe.

Doesn't need anyone to be there for one to be happy and live life meaningfully, doesn't mean that one is rejecting love and companionship from others, but, one will enjoy and appreciate all the love and companionship from others that are available in the present moment, without craving or clinging onto the love and companionship from others to be who they are, to feel happy and meaningful, or not. And when there is absence of love and companionship from others, one is still peaceful and happy and live life meaningfully as one is.

If people still can't understand this, no one can make them understand. One has to realize this by oneself through direct experience and self-realization. Even some yoga and meditation teachers also don't understand this. They teach about in order to counter loneliness, boredom, meaninglessness, depression, low self-esteem, or unworthiness, people need to have more friends to interact with, to play with, to communicate with, to share with. And it's okay.

Be free.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Expectation from the yoga students towards the yoga teacher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be free.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Go beyond all the desirable and undesirable experiences

Go beyond all the desirable and undesirable experiences.

Free from clinging and craving towards desirable experiences.

Free from aversion towards undesirable experiences.

Just do one's best, perform actions to attain the life that one would like it to be, that one thinks is best for oneself and/or for others, but allow the fruit of actions to be what it is.

The sense of meaninglessness, disappointment, dissatisfaction, non-accomplishment, low self-esteem, hopelessness, depression, loneliness or emptiness doesn't present/arise/manifest/exist in such mind, even when there is the presence or existence of mind perception of names and forms that are not necessarily the way that the mind likes or wants it to be. There are effort or action being performed from moment to moment, making use of the life existence, the body, the senses, the mind perception, the knowledge, the talent, the skill, the opportunity, the condition, the situation, to be doing something for oneself and/or others, without attachment, identification, judgment, intention or expectation towards the effort or action and the fruit of the effort or action.

When there's dissatisfaction, unhappiness, disappointment, anger, meaninglessness, or depression manifest in the mind upon the absence of desirable experiences, hoping for something to happen but it didn't happen, or upon the presence of undesirable experiences, especially unpleasant experiences that involve other beings or people, that's the moment of the yoga practice of letting go takes place. Do not feed those thoughts/feelings/emotions. They will pass away, eventually.

None needs to be responsible for other people/being's ignorance. There's no need to suffer for other people/being's ignorant thinking, action and speech. There might be complicated condition or situation arise under the influence of other people's ignorance, but one deals with those complication without resentment, as resentment won't undo what had happened or make things better. Allowing the reality that the mind perceives in this present moment now to be what it is, as it is, that it's not necessarily the way that the mind likes or wants it to be, and it's okay. Need not be disturbed or determined by the reality that the mind doesn't like and doesn't want. Even when the perceived reality is the way that the mind likes or wants it to be, that is also impermanent. Appreciate and enjoy the desirable experiences without grasping or clinging onto the experiences that are desirable.

Once the mind is able to go beyond the desirable and undesirable experiences, there's no suffering or painful sorrow can manifest in this mind, even though the mind has to go through undesirable or unpleasant experiences.

Strength, flexibility, wisdom and compassion in yoga is referring to the ability of letting go both desirable and undesirable experiences, or to let go or forgive something that the mind perceives or recognizes as bad, wrong, undeserving, painful, or hurtful.

Having a fit, healthy, strong and flexible physical body doesn't guarantee that the mind is free. Performing yoga asana practice and other forms of yoga practice as well as teaching yoga for a prolonged period of time also doesn't guarantee that the mind is free. Having many people and things surrounding oneself and existing in one's life also doesn't guarantee that the mind is free. Having a positive, satisfied and happy mind when everything is the way that the mind likes or wants it to be also doesn't guarantee that the mind is free. Taking drugs, substances or intoxication that will give momentary relief, good feelings and calmness to the mind also doesn't guarantee that the mind is free. Attaining some sorts of extraordinary superpower of clairvoyance also doesn't guarantee that the mind is free, as having the power of clairvoyance also can't change the law of impermanence and selflessness.

But when things are not the way that the mind likes or wants it to be, when one is alone, when there's no acknowledgement/agreement/support/companionship/interaction/encouragement from anyone or anything, when one receives all kinds of ill-treatment and experiencing physical or mental discomfort, pain, weakness or disability, under any difficult, challenging or crucial condition and situation, and the mind is still peaceful as it is due to the realization of selflessness, correct understanding/wisdom and unconditional love/compassion (without under the influence of the effect of drugs or substances or intoxication that is impermanent), then this mind is free.

It's okay if the mind is not free, or not peaceful, or not okay. It's okay if this freedom is not the freedom that people are looking for. It's everyone's freedom for what they want and don't want. For those who are in search for this freedom of yoga, they can try to practice yoga, if they want.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Watch how the mind reacts towards all the perception of names and forms

What is yoga and what is the practice to realize yoga?

Yoga is the realization of unconditional peace and love that is undetermined and uncontaminated by what the mind thinks and believes as good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, pleasantness and unpleasantness, enjoyment and suffering, meaningfulness and meaninglessness.

The yoga practice is turning the outgoing mind inwards, purifying and silencing the mind to allow the mind to see the truth as it is, be free from ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, that give rise to suffering.

Developing the awareness that is being aware of or watching how the mind reacts towards all the perception of names and forms of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches/feels, and thinks, without identification with the impermanent states of the mind or the mind perceptions and reactions that ceaselessly arising and passing away, without judgment or expectation towards the function and the states of the mind and the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, without craving and aversion towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses.

It doesn't matter what the mind thinks and analyzes towards all the perception of names and forms as true or false, right or wrong, the yoga practice is training the mind to be open, being unattached towards the thinking and belief in the mind that is influencing the mind to judge and analyze everything as good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, pleasantness and unpleasantness, enjoyment and suffering, meaningfulness and meaninglessness. Being undisturbed by something that the mind doesn't like and doesn't agree with, being unattached towards what the mind perceives as nice and good, without clinging or craving towards what the mind likes and agrees with, and being unattached towards what the mind perceives as not nice and not good, without aversion towards what the mind doesn't like and doesn't agree with. Training the mind how to be at peace living in the world that is not necessarily the way that the mind thinks it should be or how the mind likes it to be.

Ask the mind, what really happens when the mind feels disturbed, offended, insulted, hurt, upset, disappointed, or angry? It's when the mind comes in contact with something that the mind doesn't like, doesn't agree with and doesn't want, or when the mind doesn't come in contact with what the mind likes, agrees with and wants. "I am disturbed, offended, insulted, hurt, upset, disappointed and angry is not because life and things are not good, people are not good, or the world is not good, but it's because I am experiencing something that I don't like, that I don't agree with, that I don't want, or I am not experiencing what I like, what I agree with and what I want."

If there are minds don't like or disagree with this teaching and practice of yoga, they don't have to take up this teaching or practice. But the ability of being undisturbed by what the mind doesn't like and doesn't agree with, is what the yoga practice is about, even if it's about the teaching and practice of yoga. It's everyone's freedom for how their mind reacts, thinks and feels.

The minds that are peaceful, being free from ignorance, egoism, impurities or suffering, being undisturbed or undetermined by all the perception of names and forms don't need to practice yoga. There's no fear, no loneliness, no meaninglessness, no dissatisfaction, no disappointment, no painful sorrow, no suffering or the end of suffering. There's no need to practice anything to be free from suffering.

The mind that doesn't know this, then even after long time of 'doing some forms of yoga practice regularly', there's no peace, as the mind is restless constantly attaching onto the mind perception of names and forms and generates craving and aversion towards the names and forms, being disturbed and determined by the likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, wants and don't wants towards all the perception of names and forms, that is coming from the mind itself of how the mind reacts, and it's not coming from the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Suffering is not due to bad karma, but ignorance

Not everyone believe in karma, but there are quite some people believe in karma, especially in Asian culture.

A lot of time, people would relate or refer any kind of suffering as the result of bad karma (the consequences of bad actions). If someone is going through some kinds of difficult situation or very unpleasant condition or painful experiences in life, where the body and/or the mind has to go through certain difficulty or pain, people would say, "Oh, this is due to bad karma. And it's good to go through suffering to burn-off the past accumulated bad karma." Although by saying so, it might make the person who is suffering feels a little better and make it easier to deal with suffering, but most suffering is unnecessary and can be avoided if we know how to avoid behaving ignorantly.

People like to give their opinion and say, "Oh. Such a terrible bad karma exists in your family. Your family has to go through all these suffering is because of your family past bad karma. You all must have done lots of bad things in the past. That's why your family has to suffer so much for it in this life." This is such ignorant thinking and belief and saying.

Even good people who have been doing a lot of good and right actions, and didn't do much bad or wrong in this world, and for those who believe that they have been accumulated lots of good karma in their past life are not excluded from experiencing physical, emotional and mental suffering if their minds are not free from ignorance and egoism. People like to say, "You are such a good person. You don't deserve all these suffering. It must be bad karma from your past life." And this is ignorant thinking and belief and saying.

For the strong ego, it would prefer to blame on past life bad karma for its suffering, than to acknowledge and admit that it's due to its ignorance in the present.

Those who know about suffering and the cause of suffering do not blame on past life and bad karma. It's ignorant behavior of actions and reactions in this life existence that people end up in many unnecessary suffering.

Most suffering is truly unnecessary, and the cause of these suffering is ignorance that gives rise to ignorant behavior, that leads to the consequences of ignorant behavior, which is unnecessary suffering that doesn't has to be existing in the first place.

For example, if a person is suffering from an illness, which is treatable and not too complicated, if the illness is being treated properly and immediately, but for some reasons, due to ignorance, one is not getting the proper treatment immediately, and this person has to suffer more painful consequences that could be avoided in the first place, and/or it might be too late to do anything even though one tries to get the proper treatment later on.

Another example, one who ignores the little small problems that arise in life which could be solved easily and immediately, but for some reasons, due to ignorance, all the unattended little small problems would turn into serious unsolvable big problems. And it might be too late to do anything even if one realizes and regrets towards one's ignorance.

Another example, one who knows that by mixing with those who have strong influence in getting into unnecessary troubles and by taking certain substances to get high can turn into addiction that would cause many forms of complication in health, life and relationship with others, but still want to take those substances to get high and hang out with those who have strong influence in getting into unnecessary troubles, and ends up in unnecessary suffering and troubles. That's pure ignorance.

And for another example, due to the strong ego, one pushes the body and mind beyond its limitation to achieve what the ego wants to achieve, and causing unnecessary damages into the body and mind, losing one's mobility and sanity, and requiring intensive care from others. This is not because bad karma. It's purely ignorance.

Due to ignorance, egoism and impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, lust, desires, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurt, guilt, offensiveness, defensiveness, pride, arrogance, fear and worry, and so on, one would generate actions and reactions that give rise to unnecessary suffering onto oneself and affecting others either directly or indirectly.

Even the most intelligent or virtue person in this world also can't escape the fundamental suffering of a life existence that is under the function of the physical body and mind perception of names and forms that is subject to impermanent changes and selflessness (All the impermanent changes and perception of names and forms are not in the control of an 'I', or how 'I' would like it to be).

If one is free from ignorance, then even though one is going through some kind of physical and/or mental suffering, one will not generate or react with further ignorant reactions that would bring further ignorant consequences. One would know how to transcend or go beyond the difficult condition, or unpleasant and painful experiences with correct understanding, wisdom and compassion, and remain equanimous being at peace, being undisturbed or undetermined by it, while being aware of the difficult condition, or unpleasant and painful experiences are impermanent and it's not 'I'.

Past life and karma (whether good or bad, easy or difficult) doesn't mean anything to the one who has realized unconditional peace and love, who is free from ignorance. There's no fear or aversion towards difficult condition, or unpleasant and painful experiences. There's no clinging or craving towards easy condition, or pleasant and enjoyable experiences.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Misconception towards self-love or self-compassion

Self-love or self-compassion is related to being self-centered in yoga.

While self-centered is being referred as self-obsessiveness by certain worldly thinking and belief as pampering oneself with enjoyments and laziness and fulfilling all desires at any cost, even if it would cause harmful damages in oneself and others.

There's nothing wrong if people want to be selfish and lazy, it's everyone's freedom for what they want to do with their life. It's just that those who are selfish and lazy, but can't help feeling guilty for being selfish and lazy, would feel better by justifying to themselves and others that they are practicing self-love or self-compassion.

In the teachings of yoga, being self-centered has nothing to do with self-obsessiveness/self-pampering/laziness. It's about being centered in the truth of selflessness (the state that is void of selfishness or unselfishness), performing all duties and responsibilities without being influenced or determined by the action and the fruit of action, and being compassionate towards the suffering in one's mind and others without being influenced, or disturbed, or determined by the suffering and the cause of suffering, which is ignorance and egoism, as well as all sort of impurities, thinking, belief, behavior, values and expectation that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism. It's nothing to do with self-pampering with enjoyments and laziness and the fulfillment of all desires.

Self-compassion is being persevered and determined to free one's mind from ignorance and the consequences of ignorance.

Being compassionate doesn't mean that sacrificing oneself in pursue of helping others or making others to be happy. None can make another to be happy. When others are happy it's because their desires of craving and aversion are being gratified by giving them what they like and want, and don't give them what they don't like and don't want. It's the ego thinking that 'I' am good and happy when 'I' can make others to be happy. It's about doing one best performing action without forcing oneself beyond limitation and be able to let go without guilt or regret, if one couldn't help as much as one would like to help. None can't help those who enjoy being ignorant and swimming in the pool of suffering, who are reluctant to help themselves, but only complain about all sorts of dissatisfaction and expect sympathy and help from others to gratify all their desires of craving and aversion.

The thinking of "I am not good enough to help or make others to be happy, and thus, I am unable to be compassionate and I am unhappy because others are unhappy." is due to the egoism of attachment, identification, judgment and expectation out of ignorance. It's nothing to do with compassion.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Be compassionate towards suffering minds

It's not as easy as we would like it to be, to free the mind from suffering.

Though people might show sympathy towards other people's suffering, those who have always been having a good life condition, might not truly understand the suffering that some other people are going through physically, mentally and emotionally, due to some traumatic painful life experiences.

We can't tell people, "Hey, be grateful for all the little good things that you have. Stop being miserable."

We can't tell people, "Hey, be positive. Everything will be all good and nothing bad."

We can't tell people, especially when our life is in good condition, "Hey, life is so good. Don't be so unhappy and bitter."

People are allowed to be unhappy or bitter, especially when they are going through some difficult moments. It's everyone's freedom for whether they want to be free from unhappiness and bitterness, or not.

People might have gone through or are going through some really difficult or disturbing or painful moments, where we might have no idea how hard it is to be in their place. Even though people might smile, make jokes and laugh like everyone else, but deep in their mind, there might be some painful suffering that other people are unaware of.

It's not difficult for those who have realized the truth to be able to let go even the most difficult and painful experiences, without vengeance. But it's not easy for those who haven't realized the truth to let go what was/is deeply troubling their minds.

It's perfectly understandable that some of the suffering minds have become 'hard' and 'bitter', and we should be compassionate towards these minds that have become 'hard' and 'bitter' unwittingly, due to having been through some difficult traumatic life experiences that are not in their control and not what they wish for.

It's normal that the suffering minds that are 'hard' and 'bitter' would feel very uncomfortable or irritable, disturbed and disgusted when hearing the teachings of yoga about letting go, forgiveness and compassion. It might take them a long time to be able to allow the mind to be open, to be aware of the suffering, without identification with the suffering, but to stand as a witness towards all the painful life experiences, and be compassionate towards the mind has to unwittingly go through some difficult traumatic life experiences, and suffers. And as yoga teachers, we can only be compassionate towards these suffering minds without judgment, but with thorough understanding and acceptance, knowing that none can take away another person's suffering, but the mind itself to free itself from ignorance and egoism, the root cause of all suffering.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

It's really irrelevant and unimportant about how long one has been doing/practicing/teaching yoga

It's really irrelevant and unimportant about how long one has been doing/practicing/teaching yoga, as to whether one's mind is free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, disturbs, unhappiness and suffering, or not.

When attending a yoga class or a yoga retreat, most people would like to address about how long they have been doing/practicing yoga, and they want to know how long the yoga teachers have been doing/practicing/teaching yoga. And some people would feel strange and even offended when the yoga teachers who know what is the teachings and practice of yoga don't bring up the question about how long the students have been doing/practicing yoga.

People who have not been doing/practicing yoga, don't necessarily means that they are not free from ignorance and egoism, or are not peaceful, wise and compassionate. While those who have been doing/practicing yoga for some time or a long time, don't necessarily means that they are free from ignorance and egoism, and are peaceful, wise and compassionate.

Those who are free, peaceful, wise and compassionate, then it doesn't matter how long they have been doing/practicing yoga and they don't mind about what the teacher teaches in the class, and it doesn't matter whether their body is strong and flexible enough to do all the yoga poses, or not, as well as how long the teacher has been doing/practicing/teaching yoga.

Those who are not free, they will learn and practice yoga under the guidance of a teacher disregard how long they have been doing/practicing yoga. Yoga practice is in the present moment, doing one's best to take care of the well-being of the body and mind, without straining the body and mind, being compassionate towards this mind perception of life existence and accepting the body and mind and all kinds of life experience as they are, from moment to moment. It's nothing to do with how long one has been doing/practicing yoga. If one is already free, one doesn't even need to do/practice yoga. If one is not free, then keep practicing without judgment or expectation. It's okay if the mind is not free in the present moment, and this is impermanent.

It's the same as how long the yoga teachers have been doing/practicing/teaching yoga is also irrelevant and unimportant as to whether the yoga teachers are free, peaceful, wise and compassionate, or not, and whether the yoga teachers are teaching yoga and guiding the yoga students towards liberation from ignorance and egoism, to realize unconditional peace, wisdom and compassion, or not.

If people couldn't figure this out, or couldn't understand about this, then even though they think they have been doing/practicing yoga for a long time, and they have been reading and hearing about the teachings/philosophy of yoga, but they are not free. And it's okay if the mind is not free yet after one has been doing/practicing yoga for a long time, and one has been reading and hearing about the teachings/philosophy of yoga. Just keep practicing, without judgment, comparison or expectation.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

It's just the thinking or thought process

The idea of the existence of 'I', and everything that 'I' think 'I' know, or perceive, or experience, or feel, whether 'I' think 'I' enjoy or suffer, or 'I' am good or bad, is just the thinking or thought process. Countless births and deaths of different forms take place ceaselessly along the thought process. At one moment 'I' am a calm and happy being, and at another moment 'I' am a restless and unhappy being.

"I am in suffering. My mind is hurt. Can you heal me and my mind?"
"Well, if that is true," with my hand out, "Now, give me what you think is the suffering 'you' and give me your wounded mind, and I'll heal you and your mind."
"..............."

There's no 'I' existing that can be hurt, or needs to be healed. The mind is just what it is, it cannot be hurt, and hence, it doesn't need to be healed. Throw a stone or light a fire into the space, does the space gets hurt or burnt?

"I am suffering" and "My mind is hurt" is just a thinking, thought process, perception of names and forms.

Due to ignorance, there's attachment and identification towards the thinking or thought process of "I am hurt. I am in suffering. I need to be healed." and hence, suffering exists.

Let go the thinking of "I am hurt or I am in suffering and I need to be healed", there's no suffering.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Feel offended by other people's 'non-sociable' personality or practice of silence?

Walk alone, live alone, eat alone and meditate alone. Cut off all connections ruthlessly. Hide yourself away. Do not build ashram. Do not hoard disciples. Do not mix. Do not associate. - Swami Sivananda (excerpts from Concentration and Meditation)

Many friendly sociable good people who are interested in yoga and meditation practice, but somehow, they don't really understand the core teachings and practice of yoga and meditation of silencing the mind, would feel very intimidated or offended by the teachings and practice of turning the mind inwards for self-introspection and silencing the mind, through the practice of seclusion and solitude (cutting off from all social interactions and connections), where the sociable friendly good people would feel very uncomfortable and intimidated being with those who do not engage in social interactive activity and conversation. They criticize people who observe silence, seclusion and solitude as being 'unfriendly', as their minds are being conditioned by certain ideas and standards to categorize people into 'friendly people' or 'unfriendly people' in the social world based on what they think is friendliness and unfriendliness.

Those who don't talk much, or don't engage in a social interactive conversation with other people, or don't invade or interfere with other people's way of life, thinking and behavior, who don't comment or acknowledge about other people (whether it's something good or bad), are being recognized as 'unfriendly' or 'uncaring' in the sociable society.

"People in a room do not talk to each other is so wrong." This is the thinking and belief of the worldly minded people.

People attending a 'silent meditation retreat/course' complain about people in the retreat/course are so unfriendly because they don't talk or interactive with one another?!

But what kind of bad actions have these people who are being perceived by friendly sociable good people as 'unfriendly and uncaring people' done to other people? Nothing. In fact, they are helping the world to have less conflict and have more peace by observing silence when they do not go around judging or expecting other people to be in certain ways that they think it should be. They do their own things and don't invade or interfere with other people's way of life and do not generate inconvenience for other people. That is already a great contribution to the society. We should be grateful and thankful to them.

The nature of those who observe silence appear to be 'not fun', non-concerning and non-engaging with other friendly sociable people who expect all human beings should be fun to hang out with, should be active in social interaction, to be talkative, to be engaging and connecting with other human beings physically and verbally, it's not surprised that why people feel 'wrong', 'awkward', 'unwelcome', 'disrespected', 'hurt', 'offended', 'intimidated', 'unconcerned', 'unnoticed', 'unacknowledged', and so on, when they come in contact with those who observe silence. All these reactions of a disturbed state of the mind are coming from their own minds reacting towards something that they dislike and disagree with, and it's nothing to do with whether other people are being 'friendly' to them, or not.

People would feel disturbed and offended by other people whom they think are not being 'friendly' enough towards them, as they expect friendly treatment from others the way that they think it should be. There's an issue with themselves, not with other people. Other people have the freedom to be friendly or unfriendly towards anyone.

Because of most friendly sociable good people would feel greatly disturbed and offended by other people who observe silence of the mind, that's why it's better for yoga and meditation practitioners to retreat from the society to observe seclusion and solitude.

'Friendliness' in the path of yoga and meditation is nothing to do with accumulating friendships, constantly visiting each other to stay connecting, to be hanging out from time to time to do some social activities together, and get into worldly conversation of commentary, criticism, mocking, flirting, boasting, story telling, mourning, grumbling, debate and discussion, and so on. 'Friendliness' in Yoga is when the mind is being free from ill-thinking, ill-will, anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear, offensiveness, defensiveness, judgment, expectation, interference, invasion, violence or hostility towards all and everyone, free from discrimination of friends or not friends, superiority or inferiority that based on personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements.

When people don't do anything that intentionally to hurt us, or disturb our peaceful life, or cause inconvenience to us, or interfere with our freedom of thinking, action and speech or way of life and conduct, that is what true friendliness is about.

When people in the society who think they are friendly people criticizing or mocking those whom they think are unfriendly people, then they don't know the true meaning of friendliness, as themselves are being unfriendly, by having such ill-thinking and criticism towards other people whom they feel offended or intimidated by their silence of action and speech, and they interfere with other people's freedom of actions, to act or not to act (whether to talk to another being, or not talking to anyone, where not talking to other people when there are people around expecting people should talk to one another is being perceived as unfriendly, offensive and wrong for the worldly friendly sociable good people.)

There is nothing wrong, offensive or intimidating when people have no interest to engage in any 'friendly' and 'caring' conversation with us. But the expectation from us towards other people that all 'normal' and 'good' people must somehow be engaging in interactive conversation with us to show friendliness to us, is what make us feel offended, intimidated, or wrong, when we don't receive the interaction the way that we expect it to be. We are the one who is intimidating and offending other people's freedom of behavior. But we don't see it this way.

If people truly love the world and want to build a peaceful harmony society, it's not about expecting other people to conform to our own way of life, thinking, belief, culture and behavior that we think is the way it should be. But it's to respect everyone to be different and allowing everyone to be different, without invading or interfering with other people's way of life, thinking, belief and behavior that are different from ours.

It's okay if people don't want to be sociable with other people. It's okay if people are not interested in engaging in some forms of interactive activities or conversation with us. It's okay if people keep to themselves and are not interested to connect with anyone to live a quiet secluded life. At least they don't do anything intentionally that would hurt or disturb our life or the environment. If we feel disturbed is because we are disturbed by our own mind reaction towards their behavior that we dislike and disagree with.

When people talk too much, or talk non-sense or subject that we aren't interested in, especially when we want some quiet time to ourselves, or people want to know too many things that we prefer to keep to ourselves, we complain about them for being overly warm and too friendly and busybody.

When people don't talk to us or interact with us, and don't ask anything about us that we would like to share with other people, we also complain about them for being 'cold' and 'unfriendly' and 'uncaring'.

Be free.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Low self-esteem and the state of being free from pride are two different things

The minds are being conditioned to think and believe in a particular way to categorize everything into good and bad, right and wrong, meaningfulness and meaninglessness, positiveness and negativeness, happiness and unhappiness, appropriateness and disappropriateness, and so on. And once the mind is being conditioned to think and believe in a particular way, it's not easy to allow the mind to be opened to see things as they are, because the mind naturally and autonomously reasons and analyzes everything based on that particular thinking and belief.

People growing up being fed with many information coming from their parents, care taker, friends, religious teachers, society, medias, and went to school/college/university to learn about many things/subjects and gathering all kind of information, and all these information become part of the thinking and belief to reason and analyze everything. But how many would reason the truth of all these information that is influencing them to reason and analyze everything?

Practicing yoga is to learn to inquire the truth of everything, without the influence of the thinking and belief in the mind, but just to see things as they are. Most of the time, people are just being different from one another, and there's nothing wrong or sick for being different from one another. But, those who attached strongly onto their own way of thinking, belief and behavior, will perceive other people who think, believe and behave differently from them as something wrong or sick.

Low self-esteem is being categorized as something not good, bad, or negative in the worldly thinking and belief. It is being treated as a form of physical/mental/emotional weakness that they think it would make a person inferior than other people. But, low self-esteem is just another by-product of ignorance and egoism, just like pride, arrogance, unhappiness, anger, hatred, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurt, animosity, offensiveness, defensiveness, violence, grief, sorrow, agitation, meaninglessness, worthlessness, loneliness, fear and worry, and so on.

If the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, low self-esteem as well as all the other form of impurities won't exist in the mind.

Worldly minded people think that in order to counter or conquest low self-esteem, they need to develop confidence and proudness through accumulating knowledge, skills, achievements, friendships and widening the social interaction network. But they don't see where does low self-esteem come from.

The cause of low self-esteem is not because of lack of knowledge, skill, achievement, friendship or limited social interaction network. It is the worldly thinking and belief that is based on egoism about how a person should think, belief and behave in the society that categorize people into 'normal', 'rightful', 'positive' and 'healthy', or 'abnormal', 'wrongful', 'negative' and 'unhealthy', is the real cause of why people are suffering from low self-esteem when they try to comply to all the standards of the worldly thinking and belief that is based on egoism about what is a good and meaningful life that people would feel proud of, but somehow they think they are not good enough when they are unable to achieve the standard of a good and meaningful life that everyone could feel proud of. They were being told to believe that they are not good enough and their life is meaningless, if they don't achieve something that they can feel proud of themselves, or if they are unable to make other people to feel proud of them.

Even many of the yoga practitioners and teachers in the world are not free from being influence by the worldly thinking and belief that is based on egoism.
This is a common and 'normal' and 'right' thing to say in everyday life,
"I am so proud of myself."
"I am so proud of you."
"You must be so proud of yourself."
"My parents are very proud of me."
"You should be so proud of yourself. How is it possible that you are not proud of yourself?" and so on.

If people didn't make a statement about "I am so proud of you." after other people have achieved or done something that they believe as 'good' or 'great', they will be considered as lack of empathy, unappreciative, stingy to say nice things, or being 'abnormal'. And people would feel disappointed or upset if other people didn't say anything about being proud of them, and it makes them think that maybe they are not good enough to be proud of themselves, or they are not good enough to make other people to be proud of them.

And, in order to help people who they think is suffering from low self-esteem, they think that they should constantly telling people, "I am so proud of you." thinking that this will help people to be free from low self-esteem, so that people won't feel bad about themselves, and feel good about themselves. What can really help people who are suffering from low self-esteem is allowing them to understand that they are fine as they are, that they can just do their best without the intention of doing something to feel proud of themselves, and they don't need to make other people to feel proud of them, or they don't need to keep hearing other people to tell them, "I am so proud of you." to be happy or to live a meaningful life.

It's like some people always looking for love and affection or attention from other people. If they don't hear from other people, "I love you." or "I miss you." for some time, they will feel unloved, left out and miserable. And people think that by constantly showing and telling people, "I love you." will help people to be free from unhappiness or suffering from unloved or low self-esteem, but it doesn't, because it only empowers the attachment and the craving for love and acknowledgement from others to feel loved and meaningful. What can really help people to be free from the unhappiness or suffering from unloved or lack of love, is allowing them to understand that they don't need love from others at all, through realizing unconditional love in themselves, by freeing the mind from ignorance and egoism.

It's the worldly thinking and belief that is why people create unnecessary unhappiness or suffering in themselves, drowning in the desire of craving and ceaselessly longing for love and acknowledgement from other beings, by thinking that human beings should attain love and acknowledgement from one another, to feel loved and meaningful.

Those who are free, They are happy and peaceful as they are. They appreciate all love and acknowledgement from everyone as it is, but they don't need love or acknowledgement from others to be happy, to feel meaningful, or to be who they are. Even if they have no parents, siblings, children, friends or anyone being there, to show love and care for them or to acknowledged them, they are peaceful as they are.

Worldly minded people would relate or refer the people or children who are being free from pride, who don't have the need/desire/craving to feel proud about anything as a form of suffering from low self-esteem, lack of self-respect/self-love, or worthlessness. They believe that 'normal' and 'mentally healthy' people must have some sort of pride or proudness about themselves or towards something that is related to them in life, such like be proud of their family background, culture, religion, country, nationality, parents, siblings, children, friends, or things that they like to do or things that they can do, and etc.

Or else, they suggest that people must be suffering from low self-esteem, lack of self-respect/self-love, or worthlessness, and it's 'abnormal' and 'mentally unhealthy' for someone who doesn't have the need/desire/craving to feel proud of anything, who response to the question of "Do you feel proud of yourself? You must be so proud of yourself. Your parents and friends must be so proud of you for your achievement." with the answer of "No. I never feel proud of myself or anything. Why do I need to feel proud of myself? I don't need anyone to be proud of me either. People can be proud of me if they want. It's their freedom. It doesn't matter to me whether people are proud of me, or not. I am what I am. I'm not interested to be what other people want me to be, so that they will be proud of me."

There are children or people whom the worldly minded think that they are suffering from low self-esteem (which they are not), when they don't need to feel proud about themselves even when they had achieved great results in school or in career, as the worldly minded think and believe that every normal and mentally healthy person should feel proud of themselves or feel proud of other people around them for being 'good' and for achieving 'great results' or 'success', that it's something wrong in their brain or mind for not feeling proud for something that the worldly minded think is good and great. But actually, people are peaceful and happy as they are, when they are free from pride or the need/desire/craving to feel proud and meaningful about anything towards oneself and others, which the worldly minded have no understanding at all due to ignorance. These people or children are aware of themselves of what they achieve or don't achieve, but there's no identification or attachment towards the quality of names and forms that they possessed or don't possessed, and there's no need to depend on anything to feel proud, in order to feel good or meaningful about themselves or about life.

The needlessness to feel proud of anything and the absence of meaninglessness due to the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, and the low self-esteem or the sense of meaninglessness that is due to being informed by the worldly minded to believe that they shouldn't be contented with being what they are, that they always have to be better than what they are, that they have to achieve certain standards and higher performances to feel good and meaningful, is two completely different things. And, most people become mentally disturbed, when they start to believe what they have been told by other worldly minded people that it's 'abnormal' and 'wrong', that they are mentally sick for being different from other 'normal' people.

There are children or people who don't feel the need of friends or companionship from others, who are happy being alone by themselves, or they feel fine and happy without mixing or playing or interacting with other children or people, and there's nothing wrong with that, and it's not a form of mental illness to be alone, to feel needless to have friends, or it's needless to be mixing and playing and interacting with other children or people in order to be happy, to feel meaningful, to not feel lonely, or to be 'normal'.

The children or people who are fine and happy being alone by oneself and don't need to feel proud or meaningful about anything, they are not mentally sick or in suffering at all. They are happy and peaceful as they are. But worldly minded people don't think so. They think that these people or children must be so lonely and miserable and meaningless without any friends to play with or interacting with, because that is being planted in their mind, "If you don't have friends to play with or interacting with, you must be lonely and miserable and meaningless."

There are people who don't need to feel sad or grief or mourn for the dead, and being indifferent towards birth and death, it's not that they are lack of empathy or mentally sick, but they have realized the truth of life existence and have gone beyond 'normal' worldly thinking and belief about birth and death, where 'normal' people would cheer and celebrate for the newborns as a form of happiness and blessing, and they would grieve and mourn for the dead as a form of painful sorrow and suffering.

Meanwhile, 'normal' worldly minded people would feel so unhappy, meaningless, lonely and miserable when they are alone by themselves, when they are not being with other people, thinking that they are being left out and unloved, that no one notice or appreciate them, that no one is there to love and care for them, to be friend with them, or to play and interact with them, constantly craving for and clinging onto 'friends' and 'social interactions', in order to feel happy, meaningful, loved and 'normal', and there is fear and sadness towards solitude, illness, old age, death and separation from the people and things that they love, constantly missing the people and things that they loved when they are out of sight or unavailable. But for them, this is 'normal' and 'mentally healthy'.

No wonder the saints and sages in the past declared that "The awakened ones are awake while the others are asleep." and "The unawakened ones take suffering as bliss and take bliss as suffering." There's no debate can change another person's mind. It has to come from everyone's self-realization to realize what is going on in their minds.

Everyone is free for how they want to feel and what they want to do with their body and mind. Allowing everyone to feel what they feel and be different from one another, even if people believe that being prideful and full of passionate desires is 'normal' and 'healthy', while thinking that it's 'abnormal' and 'unhealthy' for other people who are free from pride and passionate desires.

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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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