In infinite openness, the wonderment is also infinite

January 1, 2020 - Leave a Response
Douwe Tiemersma

Advaita Post #21-01

From the book: Satsang, What about yourself?

talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Introduction to a retreat day Gouda January 8, 2005 Part 1

In infinite openness, the wonderment is also infinite

[After a long silence]

It’s strange that there’s no one sitting in the room …

and yet we enjoy being together and wishing each other a happy new year.

There is no one …


It’s good to clearly confirm that wonder, simultaneously there is togetherness and there is no one.

Apparently there’s no contradiction, there is non-duality of the one and the other, of being there and not being there, of someone and no one.

In clarity it’s clear: both go together without any problem.

We’ve often taken a look at the shift from someone to no one. Then there is the affirmation that there’s no one there. This affirmation “there is no one” will have to be confirmed before the non-duality someone/no one becomes clear.

It’s good for a moment to look back at your own experience as it has been in the recent past. Probably there was the harsh, peopled world; there was the situation of “someones” and the actions and reactions between them. Now the “someones” have disappeared. The phenomena return from out of this. Sometimes someone appears to be there, but that doesn’t disturb the sphere of no one. The non-duality of someone and no one shows itself in your own being-experience.

Frequently I hear it said that someone and no one take turns. Then in experience duality remains. It’s good to clearly recognize these different situations and the transitions between them. There are situations in which there’s always a specific self-being and a specific reality. At Christmas and New Years you meet a lot of family and acquaintances. What happens whenyou see someone again? Is it a zooming in to the world of your relationship as it had been before? Perhaps you have seen a film which shows how the Earth looks as it is zoomed in on from a satellite? First there is a global image of the whole earth, then a smaller and smaller area. That’s also the case with the (re) incarnation. Then you see a house in which you enter and you come into a particular family.

There’s also the possibility to zoom back out again. Where do you end up? For now let’s just say: somewhere in the cosmos. Then you are no longer incarnated in the world. But before you know it you will be there again, present as someone. This happens all the time, over and over again, being born as someone specific and disappearing into no one.

This cycle continues until you realize that you are the openness that precedes the someone-no one contrast. In the openness there is the awareness of the cycle and the freedom from that cycle. You see that you have already experienced that cycle thousands of times, that different identities always arose. You also see that that’s not necessary, because now there’s clarity about your true nature: free from this necessity to be. All these possibilities are certainly there, but they can remain open, without exclusion. They remain in the openness that you, yourself, are. Everything that appears appears in this openness. Then there’s no contradiction any more between the incarnations in a particular identity and being free from them. In the preexisting [all] encompassing openness there is no duality anymore, there is non-duality. That’s why the forces that used to draw you in, don’t work any more, even though nothing is excluded. In this way everything remains open.

It’s miraculous: that there’s nothing and still there’s a world and a life.

When you dive into the world, into life, there’s a good chance that the wonder will disappear, because you become absorbed so easily in things that appear self-evident to you. Wonder arises in the coinciding of the self-evident with the non-self-evident. You are familiar with something, but there is a distance which makes it strange. You are involved in something and [yet] you are free from it. When the dimension of freedom disappears, you are trapped somewhere and the miracle is gone. Additionally, when the world is denied a duality between self-being and the world remains.

Everyone is amazed sometimes. The degree of that wonder depends on the degree to which the being-experience of openness is present. In infinite openness, the wonderment is also infinite. This wonderment, the combination of everything and nothing, means speechlessness …

About understanding and being

December 1, 2019 - Leave a Response

Advaita Post # 20 – 12

From the book: Satsang, What about yourself?

A talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Gouda, September 26, 2010

About understanding and being

Starting from ordinary life, the self-being has a great depth. All the levels we’ve talked about have a role to play in daily life. However, people are unaware of many of these levels and because of that they define their life, existence and world in a flat and limited way. But of course all these levels are always present. Within them, you are always already yourself. And that self is also always already the origin of everything. Just take a look at that relative to the understanding. In daily life, when you say “I have understood something”, then what do you mean? That means not only that you have processed information, but above all that you have acquired a being-understanding of something. Understanding is making something your “own”. You experience that something comes from outside, then it becomes your “own” and you say “I have understood it”. So, understanding has to do with your own self-being and that’s not on the level of the words. Understanding is a clear seeing and insight, but it’s not an insight of a witness who sees something at a distance. No, it’s a higher form of direct insight in which you are involved, [so] it’s always about self-knowledge. In your own sphere things are going to clarify. When it’s about the Essential, then immediately that being-insight is realization. [But] Mostly understanding takes place on a lower level and then it’s concerned with a limited sphere of being into which you can integrate a certain piece of knowledge. In your own sphere of being what you have understood belongs on one level and the other [(the Essential)] on another. When you truly withdraw to the realm of your own being-experience, you learn to see more clearly and you are going to recognize and understand things from an ever increasing depth.

When it’s about the level of grasping the Ultimate, yes, then the consciousness which concerns itself with forms and qualities will evaporate so much that actually any word is [already] too much. Then you can’t even say that it’s an understanding on the level of being. Consciousness and being come together and then it’s absolutely impossible to say “I have realized something”. No, everything [(every subject-object distinction)] has dissolved. Even a word like realization is already too much, because a word immediately ushers in a world of thought: who or what realizes something? What you can say is that with enlightenment or liberation all those worlds and all those levels suddenly become transparent in their relativity. They are absorbed in the groundless openness and all heaviness and boundaries disappear. That also applies to your self-being.

Experiencing non-duality

November 1, 2019 - Leave a Response

Advaita Post # 20 – 11

From the book: Satsang, What about yourself?

From an introduction and talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Heerenveen, March 11, 2001

Experiencing non-duality

Stay lucid, while you sit so wonderfully still and everything is open …

Always, when your thinking stops [just] for a moment, there is that silence. Internally you can be aware of that. You sit down, the relaxation comes, the silence comes.

It can be that it remains completely silent and that there’s nothing. That’s great. But, as many say, after a while thinking starts back up again and everything continues on in the old way. Certain experiences, memories and expectations get reactivated and then you start thinking. How is that possible? Because you weren’t sufficiently aware internally of this emptiness. So, stay internally lucid with yourself, so that you experience: now there is absolutely nothing and that is good. Only then is everything good.

This realm is there in the here and now. But the here and now is always and everywhere. You walk to this building, you see the crocuses blossom and you hear the birds, it’s spring. In all silence and emptiness, it’s perfect just as it is. You can become aware of this within yourself and internally establish it more and more clearly. That ultimate which you have always sought is time and again very clearly present in your own sphere as long as you exercise clarity. Then, when it’s completely empty for a while, you recognize it too. You notice that you start to think, that for awhile there is nothing and that a little later thinking starts back up again. In the intervening period there was absolutely no form at all, no thought, no image. Then you start to reconnect in your memory to the thought-forms which were present before that emptiness and then the thinking continues on in the old way. You have learned nothing from the fact that there was silence for a moment. If you remain lucid, an internal knowing of that silence arises. While you remain internally aware, you notice that there is no thinking and that there is no one who sits there to think. In the silence you are no longer present as a person. Internally you can determine this very clearly. When you are very lucid, you will see the old forms gradually returning and still you can let them go. Emptiness, then, is not disturbed by forms.

Frequently there’s a situation that’s not so rosy and in which there is a desire for wholeness. If you don’t get carried away by your thoughts and feelings, but [instead] perform an inquiry into your situation, the problems continue to disappear. The key point of that inquiry is that you remain lucid, that you are consciously present. That same consciousness appears to be the core of the wholeness which you sought. The method of inquiry concerning the problematic ego has the solution to the problem already within it: consciousness. It’s the most important thing that every person has: consciousness, the ability to reflect on themselves. Relative to your own situation this happens constantly. We say that it’s typically human that we can think about ourselves, can talk about ourselves. That’s true, but that capacity is too frequently misused by creating all kinds of problems: I’m having a hard time and I wish I had better circumstances. However, this thinking regularly disappears. During the day when there’s an empty moment, at night in your dreamless sleep. When a piece of clarity remains internally, you can see that in this situation there’s no longer an ego. When there are no more I-thoughts, every worry about the [little] me is gone. Time and again you see that this worry about that me, that ego-centrism, disappears.

This I-tension must surely be gone on a regular basis too, because otherwise you’d get exhausted. So people who are fully engaged [in anything] become overstrained. The I-tension functions continuously, also in daily activity. Within it you want to achieve something there. Even if it’s not for yourself, still, you want to achieve something, you are committed to it. That’s the most common structure of Western thinking, and we find it to be the normal situation. Time and again you are told to commit yourself well to a task and be responsible for it. You should do this and you should not do that. If there’s an emptiness for awhile, it’s said that then there’s absolutely nothing and that then there’s no experience possible. But the precise point is that you certainly can clearly experience the emptiness internally, no longer as a person, but as an impersonal being-awareness. Still, you confirm: yes, this is it. When you are incredibly happy, every structure of I-being disappears. And nevertheless, internally you realize: this is it. When the encompassing, the wholeness, the non-duality, is present, you don’t have to deal with a person with [its] I-tension any more. That has disappeared, while a non-duality remains clearly present and that sphere is not different from yourself. That’s why traditionally this sphere has been called the Self. You experience that indeed, that is your own sphere, free from all forms, free from all concepts. That is yourSelf in the highest degree, much more so than the forms that you create of yourself. It is also ananda, the overwhelming, intense feeling of happiness. It becomes so intense and so universal that it’s abundantly clear: this is it, free from all conditions, not limited by forms.

That’s not something you can achieve through certain methods. With methods you have a mediation, the means that should help on the path towards the final goal. But that’s impossible when it comes to the absolute. Every means as a path is therefore an obstacle. A path is a means of reaching a particular place. Then, there is the structure: starting point, path and goal. Everything is defined by the place it occupies in this structure. When the goal can’t be defined because it’s empty, there is no path, neither are there any means. The only thing [to “do”] is to sit down and let everything relax. Then everything disappears. Still, something remains. What? It is that within which the forms emerge and disappear once again. And still you confirm: this is myself in the highest degree. They can take everything away from me and what’s left over: This. So it’s always present, you don’t have to look for it somewhere, it’s always the foundation of everything that exists, including the foundation of your own forms. The forms arise within it and disappear again, while only the clarity remains. Then whatever is going to happen is allowed to happen. It no longer matters. Conditions have nothing to do with Self-being. Everyone has a certain internal knowledge of it. Then there is nothing left to do other than to stay with it. You don’t have to do anything. Also, you can’t do anything more than to leave this dimension open. Just let this dimension be open. Then everything that threatens to reharden dissolves once again. So, it’s an internal, very clear awareness of This.

Then when you look back sometime, you recognize that This has always already been present in your desire. Desire expressed itself in all kinds of forms, in all kinds of constructions. Many had been suggested by the people around you, by your circle of friends. However, you see the relativity of all those forms and the cause of the unfulfillment of your deep desire: remaining attached to the forms that are by definition limited, while your desire [itself] was unlimited. Every limited desire has within it the infinite desire for unity with everything and everyone, for the disappearance of all separations.

So, the only thing that matters is to relax so much that the separations disappear. Internally, remain lucid so that you see precisely what’s going on. On the one hand, there is the seeing of the points where you’re still stuck and of the limitations that threaten to reappear. By seeing them as phenomena that rise and disappear again they can be released. On the other hand, returning to your Self, there is the intuitive knowing that That will fully manifest itself when you allow yourself to relax in that source, allow yourself to sink into it. That ultimate Unity has always been there and precedes all forms. Well, relaxation isn’t difficult, is it?