This article presents the whole content of the public talk Cico gave on February 21 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)
Now let's gather all the energy to inquire together. The energy is being wasted and dissipated all the time by thoughts -- endless thoughts, numerous thoughts, ideas and imaginations.
To inquire, to understand ourselves is to really gather this energy together, so we have this intensity to understand and eagerness to find out, what is living, what is life?
So, this very seriousness is gathering energy. Or else life is not serious at all, and indeed, most people’s life is not serious.
Being serious is not to have a grim face, but the attitude is very serious. Such a mind is very sensitive and eager to find out what is true, what is false.
And in that exploration and inquiry, the mind has a different quality. And only this life, which is living with care, with intensity, with this sense of urgency, can come upon the truth of living.
Or else the mind is being carried away by thoughts all the time, the mind is always competing, always conforming, always imitating. And this whole world is trapped in the mainstream. Each of us is totally responsible for this mainstream.
If the mind is never confirming, never imitating, there is no such thing called mainstream, but because the mind is so conforming, so imitating, this mainstream becomes a ghost --- an invisible hand that pushes everybody.
To understand ourselves deeply and truly, one has to step out of this mainstream. It is not to cut off brutally, but deeply understand the conditioning of the mind.
Why am I conforming? Why am I imitating? Of course, such a life is easy and convenient, but it leads to nowhere, only creating all kinds of conflicts, confusion, and problems.
Such an easy life makes life very hard. So we inquire together as human beings to understand all of those deep issues beneath daily living, to inquire whether it is possible to live in such a chaotic world --- an immoral and degenerate world by standing alone.
Whether it is possible for one to have this inner independence so that one can live a life that is immovable in such a world full of influences, pushes and miscommunication, and all kinds of nonsensical stuff.
The very doing so requires the energy to be gathered, or else the life is being carried away by thoughts, by this invisible hand.
So, this profoundly serious investigation and inquiry is also the transformation: whether one can live a life by gathering the energy and channelling the energy (for action). And the very doing so is meditation, not just sitting here for 10 minutes, doing some exercise.
Without understanding all of those, then that very exercise becomes another self-deception. When one understands everything, the exercise has a place; but without understanding deeply, the exercise becomes a trap --- one of the millions, billions of traps that human beings have been stuck in.
If one pays close attention to daily living, one must notice that most energy is being wasted on all kinds of thoughts and ideas. For most people, these mental activities are excessive -- too much. It almost takes over the whole life.
Many kinds of activities in daily living are based on thoughts, concepts, and ideas. When one goes to the supermarket, there are so many different products, all kinds of beautiful packages, all kinds of influential words and expressions on the package, and this buying thing becomes a consciousness activity (which is driven by influences and desires, the consciousness is self-centred).
The mind is tricked by the package to decide which to buy and to sell the products well the marketing and the package are very important to trick the mind to buy it.
But all of those are pointing out that this life, which is very commercial, is full of thoughts, ideas, and concepts.
The real need of the body is hijacked by thoughts. If one is hungry, one can buy anything to eat, but when the thoughts kick in, the mind begins to compare, to judge, to buy according to some recommendation.
And these consciousness activities are affecting every corner of life.
Thoughts become so important to human beings, but we rarely examine or ask why thoughts have become so important in life, for what?
Are thoughts really important for one’s daily living? Because of this modern development of the world technologically we have computers, the internet, the rocket, satellite, everything.
It is a product of thoughts that brings this development. Knowledge transforms life outwardly, but inwardly, psychologically, why do we cherish thoughts so much?
Why does knowledge -- the thoughts overflow into the psyche? Without realizing these subtle differences, which are actually huge, the mind is trapped in thoughts.
And when the mind is trapped in thoughts, the mind is naturally disconnected from the surroundings, the environment, and also nature.
And when the mind is in thoughts, which means that the mind is trapped in images and ideas, the mind begins to go through all kinds of issues.
Boredom for example. When the mind is trapped in images, the mind craves more stimulation. Without finding new stimulation, the mind feels bored, utterly bored.
When the mind is trapped in thoughts, different thoughts fight against each other, creating this inner conflict. Look around all those mental challenges human beings are going through, they are all from this inner conflict, due to the thought processes running in the head.
Thoughts are very convenient, aren't they? They are so reachable, they can be evoked, and triggered immediately.
What is the source of thoughts? We rarely ask this question in our life.
When life is conditioned to thoughts, we don't ask, we don't examine it at all. Unless we are aware of the issues of thoughts, we begin to inquire, to ask carefully what is the source of the thoughts?
Isn't it because of memory? thoughts are the response to the memory. We remember things and we use thoughts to call up that memory into consciousness.
So thoughts are very reachable, very convenient, we can replay the thoughts as we want. We can replay some nice images and memories from the past to bring this sensation again by thoughts.
You see this convenience -- very convenient, isn't it? I can use thoughts to bring about the “good” sensations. and looking around this world, everyone is doing so.
We can use two words to express this -- seeking pleasure. We try to replay the thoughts time and time again, to trigger the “beautiful thoughts”, to bring both this nice sensation.
So the mind begins to rely on thoughts for good sensations, and this becomes a very toxic loop. Like the mind relies on sugar. It's the same problem.
When the mind relies on thoughts for good sensations, it means pleasure. In doing so, thoughts become a disorder. Just like when one begins to eat sugar when eating more and more, it becomes an addiction. Here, the same -- no difference at all -- the addiction to pleasure from thoughts.
But as long as there is a good sensation defined by the mind, there is the opposite, the bad ones. You see, the mind defines what is good, and then the opposite appears -- the bad ones.
Thoughts can bring about the bad ones, and when the mind is addicted to thoughts through pleasure, such a mind is doomed to suffer, because of this addiction to thoughts.
The mind makes such a huge mistake: the mind finds it so convenient to derive pleasure from thoughts. The mind keeps enhancing that habit, creating addiction and disorder. Thoughts can also bring about the bad things, so to speak, So the mind began to suffer.
Life is miserable. And in response to this -- what is really happening, most people are craving more pleasure to escape from the issues. That very escape further enhances this loop, this addiction, driving the mind crazy.
If one keeps doing so as one becomes older, life is inevitably a mess, because the mind is always escaping via more pleasure, and more issues are waiting for one.
Can one see this clearly in one’s life objectively? Being objective means that there's no judgment, there is no condemnation, no justification, just seeing what is really happening without any reactions.
Or else the reaction only pushes the mind to seek more pleasure. It is a vicious loop until the mind sees everything objectively without the reaction, by holding, not yielding to these reactions.
So to end suffering, not to seek more pleasure, which only re-enhances the issue, but to really end the suffering, can one end the addiction to thoughts? -- the very same addiction to sugars, to alcohol, to smoke.
Can one end the addiction to thoughts? Yes, one can. Right? To end this addiction, one must be really serious about it. One must be very careful, and very alert for all thought activities. One must give up this seeking pleasure, which means that one must hold -- never seek.
When the mind is seeking, the mind can't really observe the movement of thoughts, but when the mind really holds and stops seeking, the mind began to understand, because the whole dynamics of the thoughts reveal to one naturally.
True meditation starts.
Ending addiction is also gathering energy, or else this addiction absorbs all energy.
When the mind is trapped in thoughts, into the addiction to thoughts, the mind is simply incapable. It can do nothing. Maybe thoughts still deceive one that “oh I'm very capable. I can do everything”, but the fact that one can do nothing. It is a fact because the mind is occupied and taken over by this addiction.
So the question comes back. Can one sheerly act to end this addiction? The very doing so is true meditation. There is no path. There is no gradual process. It is just up to one to sheerly act.
When energy is no longer wasted in thoughts, this life is full of energy, therefore it is full of action. Such a life is capable and such a life has no issues at all.
When the mind is no longer addicted to thoughts, the mind is no longer seeking pleasure. And such a life has joy. When the mind is no longer trapped by thoughts, all the senses are working harmoniously, there is joy.
It's just like without sugar there's still sweetness, but if you keep eating sugar, it ruins everything.
This self-enquiry is not into any ideas, theories, or conclusions, it must be done by you in person to act. When the mind sees this futility of thoughts that only bring about self-deception, illusion, also self-destruction, the mind must act sheerly.
Real life is only at this moment. This moment is not a thought, an idea, but the fresh air outside, the breath and all body sensation. Real living is not surrounded by thoughts at all, though thoughts have a place -- they stay in the right place.
Or else the mind is trapped in thoughts, and such a mind is totally disconnected, totally cut off from this moment.
So authentic living is to act. It's to live a life with a sense of urgency. The urgency comes from seeing the danger, the danger of thoughts that can destroy everything.