This article presents the whole content of the public talk Cico gave on February 7 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)
Nothing is more important than this moment, but the mind is always going somewhere -- other places. In this moment, can we come back to this moment truly? This coming back is not through control or any imagination, but via this deep awareness -- being aware of the movement of thoughts.
In that deep awareness, the mind returns to this moment. Our life is always at this moment, our existence is always at this moment, but the mind is so into thoughts, images, illusions, ideas, fantasies. In that trapping, the mind simply loses the connection with this moment.
Without the connection with this moment, the mind is in isolation. You and I are separated and divided via language, culture, tradition, nationalism, all kinds of things.
And this world has already taken separation for granted. All these social activities are functioning based on separation, but we really examine whether it is right or not to be separated, to be divided.
Without really examining it, we accept this division instead. Looking around this world, all kinds of human activities are propelled by this utter isolation.
Though we say we have ambition, we make efforts, we want to achieve something, but all of those are the excuse for this utter isolation, so there's self-expansion.
Without this connection with this moment, we are naturally divided and isolated. This moment is the nexus of humanity because humanity only exists at this moment.
As long as the mind moves away from this moment, which means that the mind is trapped in abstraction — in the thoughts, images and illusions, the mind is inevitably seeking pleasure and chasing its own dream, ambition, ideation.
But that chasing, that pursuing, that seeking is propelled by self-isolation. Most people don't notice it. There are all kinds of experts, giving all kinds of theories, but almost nobody notices this hidden drive. Our current activities are merely propelled by this utter self-isolation.
No matter how hard we try to beautify the motive, the ambition, it is a fact, a hard fact that the mind is isolated and all the human challenges are all related to this isolation.
This whole world has been functioning for thousands of years as separation -- this division as countries, as religions, as groups, nowadays this individualism is super popular, this division has come to the individual level. And our life is based on this division.
The mind has different tendencies because the mind is always seeking something. And none of us really pay attention to the seeking, the mind is trapped in the content the mind is seeking.
So, you seek something like that, and I seek something different, and we respect each other in terms of this seeking, and in that “respect”, we acknowledge this division. And neither of us goes further to examine that division.
And this is what is taking place all over the world. This world is infinitely divisive, creating numerous fragments and the mind is trapped in all kinds of fragments. There are endless conflicts not only between people, between nations, groups, religions but also the conflict within.
In this civilization, the level of division has reached the individual. And this division won't stop. It will continue. More and more people will be living in conflicts. The individual is the last visible level, and below that there's only inner conflict, confusion. And this future of human beings is really at stake.
Look around, almost everybody is busy caring about their own issues, all kinds of petty issues, so the mind is fully occupied by themselves. There's no space to look together at greater issues -- the fate of human beings. Because we are no longer feeling that we are related to human beings. We feel that we are individuals, fragmented by all kinds of ideas and thoughts, we have lost humanity.
That’s why every time we hear the phrase “human beings”, it feels like it is something there -- I am here, human beings are there; cannot you see this isolation in yourself?
The perception has been totally distorted by this super individualistic thinking, egotism, commercialism, all hidden desires, cravings, utter selfishness. This distorted perception has made the mind lose humanity, the connection with this moment.
Humanity only exists at this moment, and there is tremendous suffering due to this division: endless division and conflict within and between people, and we still want to solve the symptom, want to find out the solution to the symptom without any interest to go deep, to understand, to really inquire, to find out what is really wrong.
Why is the mind so divided, so fragmented, so petty? You can't find the answer from reading a book or observing others. Because outward behaviour is the consequence of the very complicated inner thought processes, you can't judge people merely by their outward behaviour. Unless you really observe yourself, inquire into yourself to understand your own tendencies, your own idiosyncrasies, your own habits. Or else you just accept all kinds of theories designed by other people -- all kinds of specialists or whatever. And most people refuse to observe themselves because it is hard, it is difficult (to them, there are all kinds of reactions to the self which blocks one from going deep.
So in this world, people keep talking about others, but they rarely talk about themselves honestly. What they are talking about is merely out of vanity and disguise. But it needs tremendous energy to examine the hidden desire, the hidden motives, the hidden tendencies of the mind.
Without doing so, we can't really understand why this world is so divided and separated. We can feel angry, we can feel aggressive, lonely, but we can't perceive this utter isolation directly unless we look at ourselves objectively.
Why is the mind so divided? Have you ever noticed that the mind is always seeking something, wants to achieve something, become something, reach something -- some level to get some reward.
This wanting implies that the mind is divided.
The mind wants to change “what is” into “what should be” -- the mind has an image. The very movement from “what is” to “what should be” creates a division -- the division between "what is" and "what should be".
When the mind is holding onto what should be or any mental image, the mind is already functioning in division. The mind is busy achieving something, chasing something, getting something, always wanting to achieve something according to an image. And this process creates division.
Real life is about what it is, it is a fact, but "what should be" is imagination, a thought, a mental image. It's not a fact, it's non-fact.
When the mind is chasing the non-fact there's already a division between the fact and non-fact. The very moment the mind moves away from the fact -- "what is", the mind has already created the division.
And thoughts are numerous. Everybody has different images, different thoughts, different ideas to pursue, to achieve, and this division is spread over the place.
And also, within one person, the mind always wants to achieve different things, have different images. And those images bring about inner conflict. All kinds of struggle, all kinds of mental challenges are all based on this mental division.
Why haven't most people noticed this mental division? As we are going through now, it seems to be simple to understand this process, but why most people don't see it at all?
Isn't it because the mind is always into the content of the thoughts, images? So the mind is in concentration -- always wants to achieve that thing (the content of thoughts, images) but without realizing this whole process to get something, to achieve something, to have pleasure, doesn't it?
When the mind really achieves something, the mind has a sense of fulfilment, satisfaction, gratification. Anyway, it's a pleasure, but this whole process is very struggling, the mind is so into the pleasure, the mind can sacrifice everything for that pleasure.
That's why when the mind is concentrating, as most people on this planet are, the mind can't really see what is happening. The mind is unwilling to see the totality because the mind is always grasping that pleasure, that image it wants to be. The very seeing the totality implies that the mind must let go of the pleasure.
So that's why it's become so difficult for human beings to see this clearly. The mind is in illusions to pursue something which it hopes to get some pleasure from, but there is such a huge sacrifice that the mind is not aware of, and in the face of suffering the mind is confused.
And almost everyone is doing so, we are conforming to each other, we are imitating each other, and this world becomes such a mess, such a big hole that nobody can really fill in.
The mind is into pleasure; therefore, the mind is into its own issues without realizing that this is the issue of the mind we should face together as human beings.
This utter self-isolation is so deep-rooted. That's why it is so important, absolutely essential for one to stand alone, stop confirming, stop imitating, stop seeking and be choicelessly aware of these tremendous issues, crises; and act now to observe, to inquire, to totally understand what is life, to come back to this moment without any choice.
When the mind is living in truth, there is no choice, there is only living. As long as the mind is living in choices, the mind is living in thoughts, in illusions; that (such a living) is not true at all. So one must understand all of those totally; the mind realizes that there is no other choice -- there is no choice at all. Living is living.
When the mind is really at this moment, being with what is, there's no seeking, therefore there's no division.
Thoughts come and go but never stay, and this whole being is one, there is no division. This moment, it is one, whole and total.
At this moment If we are really all here now, there's no English, no Chinese, no Spanish, no Dutch, no French, and all the rest of it, there are only human beings — humanity.
And living in this way has a different level of pleasure which is innocent, which we call joy. When one is chasing when one is seeking there is division. The division between good and bad, pleasure and pain.
But when the mind stops chasing and stops seeking, there's only joy, no opposite. There is compassion, there is no opposite. There is freedom, there's no opposite. The opposite implies duality and division, but when the mind is really at this moment, being with what is, it is one, so there's no opposite.
Compassion has no opposite, real freedom has no opposite, joy has no opposite. And this is the truth of living.
The mind keeps generating images, and also the mind is seeking and chasing, wants to achieve something, realize something, be something and become something.
This constant seeking creates the division between "what is", which is the fact and "what should be", which is the non-fact -- the thought, the image, the idea, the ambition, motive. And the mind identifies itself with those images, bringing about egoism and individualism, justifying this division and separation.
Human beings are really in crisis, but the mind that is chasing and pursuing its own illusion and its own pleasure can't really see this crisis. It's like the house is on fire, but we still talk about what we eat tomorrow.
So the clarity comes from seeing clearly, so the mind feels urgent because the mind has already seen the danger and crisis deeply.
Can we live a life without duality and division? Can the mind set itself free? And very doing so requires tremendous observation, diligence, humility, care. Such as living is acting.