How can one keep the mind young and agile?
A mind feels old when it is always thinking in terms of the past and using the present as a passage to the future. Such a mind is not young. And can such a mind be made innocent and fresh? Can it renew itself from moment to moment so that it doesn't grow old? That is the challenge. The process of deterioration already exists in the functioning of the mind. So is it possible for the mind not to deteriorate?
The process of deterioration is inbuilt in the functioning of the mind. How then can the mind be protected from deterioration?
What are the factors for deterioration? It is only the innocent mind that can learn, not the mind that is burdened with knowledge. So, how is the mind to be kept innocent? This mind is the result of time, of many yesterdays, of all the conflicts, impressions, contradictions, hopes and fears of the past; it is the outcome of innumerable wants, of pleasure and pain, of vital ambitions and fearful frustrations. And how is this mind - which has been put together through time, through experience, through conditioning - to be made new?
Does the mind age because of the experiences it undergoes?
The mind is old because it is moulded; it functions in a routine, in a wheel of fear. And the mind can only be made fresh and innocent by dying to the past, to everything it has known. But is it possible to die to 'my house', 'my family', 'my God', 'my nationality', 'my belief', 'my tradition', to all the impressions, compulsions, influences that have made me? After all, what are you? You are the memories of your joy, of your ambitions, your frustrations, your anti-cipations.You are a bundle of tensions, of contradictions, of impressions. All that is the 'you'. And it is possible to die to all that immediately.
In other words, a fresh mind does not burden itself with innumerable memories.
The constant endeavour to be something, to become something, is the real cause of the destructiveness and the aging of the mind. Look how quickly we are aging; not only the people who are over 60, but also the young people. How old they are already, mentally! Very few are able to sustain the vitality. By a young mind, it does not mean a mind that merely wants to enjoy itself, to have a good time, but a mind that is uncontaminated, that is not warped, twisted by the accidents and incidents of life, a mind that is not worn out by struggle, by grief, by constant strivings. It is necessary to have a young mind because the old mind is so full of the scars of memories that it cannot be earnest; it is a dead mind, a decided mind. A mind that has decided and lives according to its decisions is dead. A young mind is always deciding anew, and a fresh mind does not burden itself with innumerable memories. A mind that carries no shadow of suffering even though it may have passed through the valley of sorrow, remains unscratched. One must have such a mind.
It is experience that is dulling the mind, right?
We never said to ourselves that we must have a new mind, a totally innocent mind that can meet problems, a fresh, an uncluttered mind, a mind that can look at a problem without any bias. So when we enquire into that, should we not go into that question of what is experience, because it is the experience that is dulling the mind?... Can a mind which is experiencing, which is caught in experience, a mind which is bound, held in tradition, in knowledge, be a fresh mind? Obviously not. How is it possible, to have a fresh, uncontaminated and innocent mind and yet have experience? You cannot live without experience; living is the process of experiencing; without experience, life is not possible. Is it possible to have a fresh mind though it is experiencing? This is an important question because the revolution of which I have been talking implies that. It implies having a mind which, though it is experiencing, is not contaminated by experience and therefore is capable of meeting the problem afresh.