Series of Public Talks: Understand Yourself Totally
Take a glimpse of the teachings.
When one is living in this society, which is called Dutch society. Does one really understand the society or not? If one really understands it, one wouldn't have been so confused to live in this society.
Obviously, Dutch people don't understand Dutch society. One can have a lot of knowledge about this society, but which has nothing to do with the actual understanding of the society. Neither can German, English, Chinese. When one is identifying oneself with a nation or a nationality, one can't understand any society. Being a Dutch or English or German, or Chinese, or whatever, the mind is conditioned to some thoughts, ideologies, concepts, labels, and such a mind can't really observe. Because everything is filtered and screened by one's own viewpoints, all kinds of conditioned thoughts, ideas.
Therefore, one can't really see the society afresh. For example, Dutch people might know a lot about this society, all kinds of rules, all kinds of subtleties about this society, but which has nothing to do with this total understanding of the society. This very individualistic way of thinking and living, already shows that such a mind can't understand this society.
This also applies to any nationalities, for example, Chinese. The mind might be conditioned to the Chinese ideology, the Chinese way of thinking, and one can't understand Dutch society as well, because what one sees is still based on one's own thoughts, that are shaped by China, by that society.
So you see, to understand this society, one must let go of any identification. One must belong to no countries, which means that the mind is in a state of humanity. The mind is empty, is free of its own conditioning, thoughts, ideas. So the mind can learn and look afresh. And only such a mind can understand Dutch society, not only Dutch society, any society on this planet.
To live a peaceful life, a happy life needs this total understanding of the society. Or else life is always confusing. The mind is turbulent, confused about this living, the meaning of the existence. So to understand society, not only Dutch society, any society, one must understand oneself.
Society is not something external. The mind can easily think in that way, feeling that society is something external. But actually each one of us is part of this society. Our way of thinking, our behaviours embody this society. We are the society. Or in other words, I am the society. The society is me.
To understand this society, is not to learn or master new knowledge or skills, but it's just simply to look at ourselves inwardly. The very understanding of ourselves brings the actual understanding of this society, which means that one must be a human. And only a human can understand the world. Without confusion, there's only clarity.
In this series of public talks, let's inquire into ourselves to see whether it is possible to live a free life. This society boasts of freedom. One can do whatever one wants, the so-called freedom. But what is actually taking place in this society? Individualism, egoism, commercialism, consumerism.
Outwardly this society presents a form of freedom. All kinds of choices, options. But if one really looks at oneself deeply. One must find that one is not free at all. The mind is trapped in all kinds of patterns. In all kinds of subtle habits of thinking.
Everybody is trapped in their own issues. Anxiety, fear, loneliness, aggression. The mind is always busy, always chattering. And the mind feels depressed. low, unhappy. What one is going through is very different from this so-called freedom the whole society is boosting of. When the mind is not free, any external freedom has no meaning.
Freedom is not one does what one wants. That's permissiveness. Look at the result of this permissiveness. All kinds of self-expansion, All kinds of self-expression. All kinds of contradictions. Look at this ugliness of the society. And also look at the issues, the sufferings one is going through.
To live a life In actual freedom. It's the ultimate wisdom. But to come upon this wisdom. One must understand oneself totally. Clearing all the issues inwardly. Can one live a life without any fear? Without any worry, anxiety. Obviously, when one is afraid, one is not free. Life is propelled and driven by all kinds of fear. Such a life is never free.
Superfacially, everything seems alright; but deeply, there's always a deep sense of worry, despair, unease. All of those implies that life is not free. So can one live a life freely? Can one come upon the actual freedom of living? For the speaker, it is 100% possible. But for you, you need to find out for yourself.
That's one of the purposes of those public talks. We sit down together. Quieten the mind. and with humility and care. Let's approach all of these life challenges together. To see whether we can clear them out totally.
A free mind is the foundation of a peaceful and joyful life. And happiness only exists in this actual freedom, which demands your diligence, your observation to come upon it. And this whole journey is the true meditation. Not those methods, practices, tricks. But one’s eagerness and seriousness to understand. To find out whether one can live a life freely.
It is not easy to have such an occasion where we can look together, inquire into our issues, the life and existence together. In this world which is highly individualistic and commercial, We get more and more separated from each other. The mind is always chasing, pursuing, and escaping.
It is more and more difficult for us to meet at this moment to understand what is actually going on. In those series of public talks, let's look at the issues together. And what one needs to do is to listen attentively. Listen to what is being said with full attention to get the meaning behind the words, and look at oneself honestly, without escape or rationalization.
To make sense of what is being said. In those series of public talks, physically, the speaker exists, but psychologically, there's no speaker. Everyone, including the speaker, is looking at themselves, understanding themselves. So at this moment, we can really think together. When none of us is escaping or rationalizing, we can really look at the issues as they are. There's no argument. There's no division. There's only looking, learning, and understanding.
So this occasion demands tremendous humility. The mind must be humble to look. It is not a discussion group where the mind always wants to express itself, always competes and ones up the other. In that state, the mind doesn't listen at all. In this self-centered world. it is full of all kinds of expressions. The mind always wants to express, talk, discuss, share one's opinions, ideas, views. All of those things come from the urge of the ego. And such a mind is never humble, because a humble mind listens attentively.
When the mind really listens, there is really nothing to talk about. Because in that attentive listening, the mind understands. The mind really sees its own urges, desires, the wanting to express, to speak, the escape. And in that listening, the mind observes everything totally. So that's bringing the understanding at a new level.
So in this session, what one needs to do is to listen, observe, and learn about oneself, When one is really listening attentively. one sees, observes the total dynamics of the thoughts. One doesn't need to agree or disagree with the speaker, because one has observed everything for oneself.
But when one merely focuses on the words, the mind always wants to argue, discuss, and debate. And such a mind can't really understand, because the mind is not observing at all. So in this session, full attention is the key.
Full attention means that the mind observes everything - one's own behaviors, reactions, to the words, to everything. So in that observation, mind can really understand. So in this session, we are all applying the attention together to the living, to see what happens to the mind. When the mind is giving full attention to our living, to all the issues.
Meditation is the highest form of human Intelligence. But this beautiful word has been contaminated, has been reduced to some methods, practices, systems, or paths to achieve something. And this misunderstanding about meditation is so prevalent.
Actually, the true meditation has nothing to do with those methods, practices. It's all about one understands oneself completely and totally. So the mind is set free. And only then in freedom, the intelligence begins to function one can have a lot of knowledge, about a lot of things. but knowledge has nothing to do with intelligence.
Actually, when one is trapped in knowledge, as most people are in this world. The mind has lost the connection with intelligence. And this whole world is worshipping knowledge - the known. In every field of our living, knowledge becomes so important.
But knowledge is always limited. It is never complete, because it is a thought product. Thoughts are always limited, but the Intelligence is beyond any thoughts. When thoughts are functioning, thoughts are rather mechanical, so is knowledge. But the intelligence is never mechanical, and intelligence embodies humanity because being a human is never mechanical.
And being a human is the highest form of intelligence. But in this world, that is trapped in knowledge, everything is mechanical, and humanity is endangered. And this life is being taken over by all kinds of mechanical loops. And this world becomes more and more brutal, cruel. Outwardly, knowledge has a place, but inwardly, this intelligence matters, because we are humans.
Without intelligence, we are all robots. And meditation is the highest form of intelligence human beings can ever achieve. And to find out this Intelligence requires tremendous observation, self-inquiry, and reasoning, cognition. And only a mind which is highly cognitive, is able to come upon this beauty, the beauty of being intelligent, the beauty of being a human. That is never trapped in any knowledge, any mechanical loops.
After all, happiness is never mechanical. And only a mind that's really intelligent can live a life peacefully, joyfully, and freely.
One must understand oneself
When one is genuinely concerned about this world and humanity, it is not difficult to see that this world is in great disorder despite the superficial order human beings have created – decency, clean street, and all sorts of outward things.
One may not be willing to recognise the disorder, but the chaos and mess are everywhere, not only politically and economically but also individually.
Politically, there has been ongoing arguments and discussion over all kinds of social issues for years without actually solving anything, only creating more rules and regulations superimposed over the old ones. The whole system becomes bulkier and bulkier, further trapping and burdening the mind.
Economically, the world has become highly commercial. Commercialism and consumerism are the main content of this civilisation, with all kinds of influences and attractions, and “earn, earn, earn” and “buy, buy, buy” become the main activities of living.
Individually, people are utterly individualistic; the whole living is self-centred, and the mind merely cares about its own ambition, desire and pleasure, isolated by itself; this self-isolation brings about neuroticism, egoism, all kinds of issues in the relationship and mental challenges, manifested in the political and economic activities. People crave relief from turbulence and chaos, which is another trap commercialism exploits.
This world exists as numerous fragments, each of which contains conflicts, contradictions and unsolvable issues; living in those fragments, one is inevitably confused, and the chaos, the suffering and the disorder are the direct manifestations of this confusion – one does not understand oneself at all.
The mind keeps escaping from the emerging issues into pleasure-seeking activities and verbal positivities, propelled by fear. Without understanding oneself, the mind becomes more and more restless, further enhancing and generating more fragments. Such a vicious circle renders the mind incapable of meeting the issues, putting the world into ultimate crisis.
The world is not somewhere else but me; the world is "me", "me" is the world; the external world is the projection from the inner world. To solve this ultimate crisis is to see this crisis actually. This means that one must understand oneself totally, clearing all the mental fragments so there is no self-deception. Such a mind is clear, sees things as they are and therefore is capable of finding solutions.
The solution lies only in the totality; otherwise, there are only endless issues popping up from each fragment.
In this series of public talks, the speaker, Cico, guides each attendee to inquire into the self and think properly and adequately to see the issues clearly – the very seeing clears the problems, which embodies true meditation.
The talks are both down-to-earth and profound, covering every aspect of living. Topics have multiple disciplines, from human minds, neurons, psychology, and cognition to consciousness, linguistics, and eastern & western realities, presenting a comprehensive understanding of living, which does not exist in any specific domain or fragment.
The talks are not into any theories or philosophies but based on Cico’s direct perception, which is closely related to everyone's actual living. The talks are down to earth and no-nonsense. The talks are in simple English and have no specialised terms.