This article presents the whole content of the public talk Cico gave on January 31 2022.
If the mind is quite busy, it might be good to stay silent for a while to empty the mind first. (Silent audio guides)
No matter how busy you were, at this moment, can we truly meet each other? Truly meeting each other means that we all set aside all the things -- all the stories, thoughts and ideas.
At this moment let's empty everything so that we can meet each other. Or else we can't meet. The mind is trapped in its own thoughts, fantasies, ideas, illusions. The mind is totally isolated. Everything is being distorted through its own opinions and ideas.
And this world is a world of isolation. The mind is totally trapped in its own self-interest, pleasure, this utter selfishness. Such a life has a centre, which is me, the ego, the self. Everything goes around it around the clock. And such life is full of stories, the “me” keeps generating all kinds of stories, all kinds of gossip.
So, this moment let's together sharpen the mind by emptying the mind not through acquiring new knowledge, new theory, new philosophy – we have already had enough, it is time to discard, to throw away all of those burdens.
It's easier to pick up than throw away. All kinds of instances can be easily registered as memories, as stories and grosses. The mind is being broadened by endless thoughts, ideas, illusions.
And everyone is busy, and therefore cannot meet each other. That is what is going on in this world. A world of utter isolation.
On this occasion, you and the speaker are together to empty all those things, by observing ourselves clearly and objectively.
It's not easy, is it? Because the “me” is so into the story, gossip, fantasies which are all escapes. The “me” keeps creating mischief, but rarely face what is. That's why we inquire, which means that we don't run away or escape.
Like good friends, let's observe together, observing this total movement of thoughts, which can easily bring about a sense of me -- so deep-rooted. And this means that the mind must be humble.
A mind which is full of stories and gossip is not humble. The mind misbelieves that it has something. “I have the story, I have my life, I have the past or whatever.” refusing to see the fact that the mind is actually empty.
All those things are thoughts, which have no reality in life, but the mind holds onto them, creating the illusion of existence.
This illusion becomes the basis of society. And such a society is inevitably in illusion, full of absurdities, speculation and theories.
What is me? What is the self? People rarely ask this question seriously, because the very asking has already brought a sense of shock and disturbance.
Does “me” really exist? Does self really exist or not? One may feel it exists, but it can be very different from the fact that it exists.
So here, let's examine the fact, not the feeling. The fact is objective, but the feeling is subjective, coming from the thoughts, the emotions and the perceptions which are distorted by thoughts.
So do you live a life by fact or by your feelings? Looking around this world, most people are living a life based on their feelings. Especially in this egocentric world, personal feeling has been over-respected in a way that looks ridiculous.
The overemphasis over personal feelings re-enhances the illusions of the existence of the “me”. We don't condemn feelings, but if the feelings are based on illusions, this kind of feeling is not only deceptive but also destructive.
To live a life based on fact is not a life without feelings. Instead, feelings are based on fact, emotions, the thoughts are based on fact. And this life must be righteous and be surrounded by integrity because the mind is very sensitive to non-facts and all kinds of absurdities, nonsense.
Does the self exist or not? Let's examine together. Let's be factual. This means that now we must be objective, setting aside all the judgments, the preferences, the condemnations and turn inward.
When the mind has a sense of “me”, what kind of thoughts are there in the mind? When one looks closely, one must find out all those thoughts are about me, from name, position, title, house to possession, money, status, education, the illness, the pain, sex, car, mobile phone, passport, even when I speak, “I” -- this sense of me is there.
So this sense of me is brought about by a series of thoughts about me, a series of images about me through words, symbols and images.
To really examine whether the self exists, the mind must empty itself. Or also the mind can't be objective, right? The mind is full of thoughts, and thoughts create the illusion. Therefore, the mind can't examine whether something really exists or not.
So when the mind empties everything, just look around, where is the “me”? Where is the self? It's clear, isn't it? The self and the “me” doesn't exist, actually. The whole body exists physically, but psychologically the “me”, the self is a concept, which has no realities in actuality.
The self - the “me” doesn't exist actually, this whole body exists physically, but psychologically the “me” the self is a concept, which has no realities in actuality.
I identify the psychological self – the mind identifies the psychological self with the physical body, but this is a thought process.
One will wonder when one finds out this fact -- the “me”, this psychological entity doesn't exist at all, it has no reality in the actuality.
The physical body does exist, but the mind mistakes the existence of the physical body, the physical self as the existence of this psychological self.
What a mistake! All my past life is based on such a simple mistake. How ridiculous!
All my suffering and issues are based on this simple mistake. And my mind has been holding onto this entity, which is me for such a long time -- all kinds of struggle, turbulence, problems, conflict and confusion.
And I had been so trusting my feeling, but now this moment, I find this trust is wrong because this feeling is not pointing to the fact. And when I trusted something that doesn't point to the fact, I got lost, I got trapped.
And the very moment the mind sees the fact actually, not theoretically or intellectually, but actually, the mind is already free. The mind awakens. Such a mind must be in shock when it sees clearly that this world is so mistakenly built upon this me, trapping more and more people, destroying the earth for nothing.
Nobody is really happy, everything is only seeking their own pleasure, sacrificing more things from nature, but the mind is still turbulent, chaotic, conflicted and suffering.
And what's the point of living this way with me with the self? Such a living is so ugly, petty and meaningless.
When the mind awakens, all its own issues are gone with me, but the real challenge comes because the mind is capable of seeing the true challenge now.
Or else the mind is always trapped in the “me”, afflicted by the “me”. confused by the “me”. Such an egocentric mind can't meet the issues because the mind itself has its own issues. And a mind with issues can't meet any issue at all.
When the mind awakens, its own issues are totally gone, not partially, totally gone with me.
And the real change comes -- how to live a life simply and beautifully in this immoral, degenerate, ugly world?
And it is the very first time for the mind to meet the life challenge; this is the life challenge, not all kinds of small issues when the mind is neurotic.
How to live a life beautifully and simply in this turbulent world where there is no morality but absurdities and influences?
When the mind has no issues at all, the real living starts, the mind is capable of seeing the real danger -- the danger of the influences, the danger of aggression, the danger of the possession, the danger of all kinds of egocentric activities.
When the mind has no issues anymore, the mind is able to perceive the danger.
When the mind has no issues anymore, the mind is able to perceive the danger.
In this world, in this society, everything is so superficial, commercial and selfish. Everyone is so isolated. Nobody is really seeing each other only through words and labels. And this world is full of complaints, judgment, discrimination, exclusion.
When the mind is able to see the danger, the mind becomes alert. When life is in danger, it is not a thought, an idea, it is fact, the mind has this urgency to act.
The urgency comes from the direct perception of the danger, and this urgency brings about the vitality of living -- to live a life beautifully, A life with virtue with compassion, to keep the “me” in the self at bay.
And this urgency is the gathering of all the energy which can be easily dissipated by thoughts by all kinds of ego things.
And this urgency is also compassion, and the action takes place spontaneously because of the urgency.
And this is authentic living where the “me” has no space at all.
Looking back at this egocentric world, the “me” has a motive, has a goal, always wants to find the motivation and do something, wants to rely on an image to propel the mind to do something, and it is impossible to sustain the action because the thoughts and images are changing.
And that kind of action is not action at all, it is a reaction. So such an egocentric life is full of reactions. The action propelled by an image, which is a motive, a goal, a target, is never sustainable.
That's why the “me” keeps switching to different things in such a restless way, and all the things are still being done for the benefit of the “me”, but there is turbulence, boredom, conflict, struggle, also aggression -- such life is violent.
But when the “me” is totally gone, the mind is able to perceive the danger in actuality.
Seeing the danger, the urgency to live without being trapped by the danger is there, naturally there. And this energy, which has been gathered, which is also the urgency and compassion, brings about the action.
And such action is spontaneous. It is really sustainable, very reliable, stable, and such a life is acting.
Authentic living is acting, and this urgency is love, compassion, also peace and joy.
But look around, look at this world, which is so corrupted, people who are trapped in this society have lost this alertness totally.
Life becomes so ugly, so isolated, so meaningless. Seeing this, can I really go through this mutation? Can I act now? Can I gather all the energy to have this urgency to live with beauty, virtue and compassion?
And this can be only asked when you are really living, it is not a theoretical question, but a practical and actual question that must be answered by your action, and this is meditation.
The true meditation that has no path is not a method, not a practice, but a serious living, where laughter and joy are never devoid.