This article presents the whole content of the public talk Cico gave on December 27 2021.
If the mind is quite busy, it might be good to stay silent for a while to empty the mind first. (Silent audio guides)
To be free to observe, to be free to learn, the mind must have no burden, no burden of the past, no burden of others. Or else the mind is suppressed and also depressed by all kinds of burdens – the burden from 500 years ago, the burden from yesterday - my experience.
There are numerous burdens on the mind from society, from everywhere. Such a mind is being burdened by the known, which is knowledge.
The mind keeps hoarding more and more things. And such a mind is a storehouse of the past. Such a mind is dead; it's dull.
To meditate is to shed all the burdens. A mind that is living fully at this moment has no burden at all.
Any burden only isolates the mind from this moment. So, to meditate is to understand ourselves thoroughly and deeply. That's to understand all the burdens of life.
In that understanding, the burden is washed away. And in that understanding, the mind is free.
When the mind is free, there is understanding. So freedom and understanding always go hand in hand.
Freedom and understanding always go hand in hand. The mind is free – free to inquire.
The mind has no fear when the mind is free. When the mind is afraid, there's no freedom. And there's only fear when the mind is burdened by the past.
So to live a life without fear is to live a life with freedom, truly. That's also to live a life without any burden.
This life without burden is not a spiritual life, nor an ordinary life. It is life, a life not bound by knowledge, bound by thoughts. Everything stays in the right place. And such a life is very practical, extremely practical, extremely down-to-earth.
But this life won't come easy. It requires a tremendous amount of observation and diligence. Most people just want an easy life. The mind keeps following, keeps conforming, and imitating. And such a mind is lost. And such a mind keeps seeking, seeking solutions, hoping to make this impractical life practical.
And you see, there are all kinds of struggle, despair, dejection due to the self-centred living; and to have this "me" here, this self, the ego is rather easy.
But to meditate is to find out how to live. It is a very practical question. How to live a life practically? The self keeps creating all kinds of illusions, deceptions, struggles, and confusion. Such a life is never practical. And wanting to make this impractical life practical is another illusion.
So to meditate is to see this clearly – see how impractical such a life is, have the urgency to change to transform oneself from the bottom of the heart.
Can I stop imitating? Can I stop conforming? Me is the world, the world is me. Can I stand alone to understand all of those? I don't need to follow anybody. Can I stand alone to learn and understand this world? The very standing alone is shedding all the burdens away. Or else the mind keeps imitating, conforming, only picking up more and more burdens.
To understand the burden of life is to understand the total structure of thoughts.
Our life is burdened with numerous thoughts. This whole civilization is full of all kinds of thoughts and ideas.
Look at the culture, the commercialism, and the consumerism which are dominating this culture. Consumerism and commercialism are merely ideas, thoughts, and concepts based on you and me, the self, which is an entity, a concept, a thought process. Living such a life implies that the mind can be easily burdened with excessive thoughts, ideas, and fantasies.
To understand the burden is to see clearly how the mind and life are shaped and influenced by thoughts, ideas, and concepts. And all of those are the content of the consciousness, which is me. And the mind is burdened by such a consciousness. And this consciousness never ends, never stops, never empties. It continues because this society, this culture, keeps cultivating and stimulating, and this consciousness, therefore, becomes disordered and the self-centred activities are being perpetuated.
Such a life is heavily burdened.
This human history is merely written from the view of the "me". And this “me” keeps accumulating the knowledge, acquiring, collecting, and holding onto the unknown.
This consciousness is more and more expansive, wider and wider, but the “me” is still there. No matter how large this consciousness can be enlarged, it is still a fragment, a small corner of life.
In this small corner, the mind feels stressed, depressed, suffocated, confined, lonely, anxious, afraid and trapped in that; such a mind is busy dealing with all kinds of symptoms, all kinds of immediate issues.
There are so many gurus, so many books, so many experts teaching you how to do this, do that, but one rarely turns inward to understand the root of the issues, the burden of the living. The mind keeps generating mental images. If one looks closely at the mind, one will marvel that the brain is an image generator, generating numerous images. And the mind always wants to grasp images, hold on to images.
Such a life becomes superficial because it merely deals with all kinds of images. And in such superficiality, the mind wants to express itself – the self-expression. Because such a mind feels its existence only in the form of images. In other words, “me” is merely a bunch of images.
That's why this world is so chattering, isn't it? It keeps chatting, keeps generating all kinds of images and knowledge which is also pointing to images. Even our body sensation is also converted to images – we use the image to trigger the body sensation, like pornography - the sex industry, all kinds of images and videos, all the rest of it. The mind relies on images to stimulate. And such a mind is inevitably trapped in images and the body sensation is also hijacked by images.
You see, this is the burden of life. In that burden, the mind, the life is totally isolated by knowledge – the known, the images. And such a mind never tastes what an authentic life is like.
Real life is all about sensation. The whole neural system is responding to the outer, to the inner, moment by moment - the cool air outside, the blue sky, the beautiful cloud, the snow-clad mountain, the clear water, the deep valley, the smell of a flower, the sound of a mosquito, the sweetness of an apple, the softness of the hands.
Real life is all about sensation, not those images triggering the sensation, but the sensation when the mind, the whole neural system is communicating with the environment. And this kind of life becomes rare because most people's minds are lost in this long river of consciousness, in the images created by the mind, which isolate the mind.
Because it's burdened, we become insensitive, very dull. We can only rely on the images to bring about this stimulation. But we can't feel it directly. With this burden, our life becomes more and more complicated. We lose this simplicity to appreciate the beauty of this moment, the beauty of life when all the senses are working harmoniously. In that burden, there's only me, me first. It's only concerned about oneself.
Where there is me, the beauty is not.
To live a life without this burden is to live without being hijacked by those images.
So the mind is fully at this moment with all the senses activated, functioning harmoniously. At this moment, at each moment, there is beauty. And what we can describe is only up to this. What the speaker says is not the thing. One has to go into it to take action to shed all the burdens sheerly.
To find out what an authentic life is, one has to go into the self to understand the tradition, the culture, the ideology, this civilization. Can I live a life without being burdened by this?
The mind mustn't condemn or justify it, or else the condemnation or the justification distorts the perception. The mind is open to looking, inquiring without judgment, but seeing things as they are.
Day by day, year by year, we are all becoming older, biologically and physically. But can the mind not join this trend? Can the mind stay young, stay fresh, stay innocent? This also means, "can the mind live without any burden?".
When the mind has no burden, the mind is caring. It's caring for everybody. Without the burden, the mind has space, a vast space where there's compassion.
All that is being said here is not a theory or idea. The words are not the thing, though they point to the truth. But one must come upon it in person.
Some friends ask, "how do you live a life without burden when you have to have jobs and pay bills"?
First, one has to ask oneself: does one have to? How does one define a job? Why is the bill so high? Why is this lifestyle so expensive?
We need to look at it carefully, not to condemn the job, but to understand our lifestyle totally. We have to go deep into ourselves. Why does the mind keep conforming, following and imitating? Why does everybody live in this way? So the mind is conditioned to that, so we think we have to.
But do we have to? Question it. To question it is also to inquire into the self. Each of us creates this society together, do we? This mental construct of society is running in everyone's head.
To live life authentically is to understand oneself. That is also to understand society thoroughly. In that deep understanding, the mind is acting and doing, but you can't imagine now, because now what you are thinking, what you are asking is still based on your conditioning. And without realizing your conditioning, simply asking this question only traps you further.
Please don't be in a hurry to ask this question. Observe, inquire into the self first, and everything will appear or disappear naturally.
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