Openings to openness are everywhere

June 3, 2016 - Leave a Response

Advaita Post, Volume 17 No. 6


Text Satsang


From an Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Schiermonnikoog, September 8, 2010


Openings to openness are everywhere


You can be aware of your situation, but then also, do become aware of the pure essence of that situation, the core around which it turns, the foundation and most important characteristic of it. This is a tool for getting to the original source very quickly. For example: sitting in your chair. That belongs to your situation. You become aware of yourself: sitting is resting; I rest in the place where I sit. What’s the essence of that? It’s about resting, one hundred percent. Accordingly, all specific aspects of the situation can disappear. All kinds of additional forms of that situation, for example the chair on which you sit, the place where you sit, the time, aren’t so important any more. Resting, one hundred percent, means that all other forms disappear. That means that there’s an endless rest, a relaxation. So you become aware of your situation. Then you become aware of the essence of this situation and you go along with this essence. Another example: when it’s good, you have enjoyed a meal tonight. That’s the situation. You can tell a whole story about it. But it’s about that enjoyment. What is the essence of that enjoyment? That’s a pure, infinite enjoyment. Enter into it. Then there is infinite ananda, bliss. Another example: when you experience a little bit of love for someone or something, what’s the situation? You can describe it. What is the essence of this situation; what is that essence of love? Go into this and you enter into an infinite realm of purified love.


We have frequently come across this working principle: in a certain situation you experience something. There is a subject and there is an object. You orient yourself towards your highest notion, the highest essence which is possible in that situation. So this is no longer on the dualistic level and so from there you can let the distance between yourself as subject and the object drop away. Then there is an internal realization of the highest. In order to let go of that distance, you need to be open to that other – which initially you had experienced at a distance. A loving openness is necessary, a complete acceptance, a dedication, a love for this or that other as for yourself, so that you let it coincide with yourself.


You have openings to openness everywhere, if only you will just see it. So it’s available in the very ordinary things of life, in the ordinary situation. Somewhere in your consciousness you have a notion of self-awareness, but still it is completely conditioned. Nevertheless, you have a notion of what it could mean to be fully present in pure self-awareness. You stay focused on this essence of pure self-consciousness. There is a dedication, a relaxation, a dropping away of the distance, a surrender. This means releasing everything which doesn’t belong there. Then there is the realization: infinite aware being. So your orientation is decisive. On what are you oriented? Are you drawn towards all kinds of incidentals and do you make them terribly important? Then you know that you’re stuck in that situation.


Again: realization is not far away. It’s in the very simple things. When you are together and you’re drinking tea or coffee. It’s cozy. What does it mean that it’s cozy? What’s the essence of this situation? Let it grow, enter into it. In this sphere of coziness, in the good feeling, there is a piece of ananda. That’s the essence. You begin with a situation possessing properties. This situation is still conditioned. When you dedicate yourself to the essence, when you completely surrender to it, it becomes universal, free from conditions. Even you too then are universal, because you no longer hold on to the conditions, you leave them behind.


This is what Plato meant by “ideas” (also called “Forms” in the philosophical literature). Through education, you have learned to look at the ideas. And those who love wisdom, the philosophers, the philo-sophers (lovers of wisdom), have gone through this education. But these “ideas” were not concepts, it was more about the essential form, the essential quality in the sense that we are talking about now. Then, you see the essential qualities lying behind the world of shapes and forms. And when you enter into it, you enter into the world of the highest essential qualities: the beautiful, the true and the good. When you pursue this direction, then you’ll soon come to the universal level of sat-chit-ananda: the “I am” without attributes. That is something in which the special attributes have already disappeared long ago. It’s about this essence of self-being, and that is a self-being without content.


Does sat-chit-ananda always have a feeling quality?


Ananda has a positive feeling quality. But it is a universal quality, a quality of universal being-consciousness. You must stay focused on that until the distance has completely dissolved. That means that it is completely realized, that that is your reality.


You start off with coziness and then finish with infinite coziness. But what if you are starting out from less pleasant things?


Then it’s exactly the same. When you really persevere, then you end up at the origin of everything, both good and bad. Grief, for example, is not such a nice emotion, but when you really dive into the essence of that sadness, it’s going to expand, it becomes universal sorrow. You enter right into the origin and then it becomes still. After a while of crying your heart out and sitting in your grief, it becomes quiet and there’s nothing left.

There’s a story about someone who was always stealing, a real professional thief. He was very good at it. He came to Ramakrishna with the question of how he could achieve liberation. Ramakrishna told him to focus on the essence of that stealing, on the perfection that sits there, in the essence of it. In a short time he was enlightened. Because he took the perfection so seriously, only the Perfection remained. So it doesn’t make a difference if the situation is judged as positive or negative.


In this movement towards the origin, it becomes increasingly subtler, increasingly refined. You have, in Indian terms, three basic qualities, three guna’s. These three guna’s are present on all levels. So you have inertia (tamas), fieriness (rajas) and purity (sattva) on all levels, because they are properties of the whole of nature. On the level of sat-chit-ananda these three guna’s are still there even though it has already become very refined and open. As a whole then it moves increasingly in the direction of a sattvic purity, but the three guna’s remain present up until the end.


Does purity dominate then in those three guna’s?


No, I didn’t say that. Maybe you can put it this way: these three are always present, only the zero value gets shifted so that the total always becomes more sattvic (purer). You don’t have to turn off tamas and rajas, you can never do that. At each level you still have to deal with these energies. As long as there are still energies, then you are still dealing with nature, with the three guna’s. As a whole, it becomes increasingly refined, lighter and in that sense, more sattvic. Then the realization of the absolute as the source of the guna’s is no longer a problem.


Everything takes place in your own unlimited self-sphere

April 30, 2016 - Leave a Response

Advaita Post, Volume 17 No. 5


Text Satsang


From an Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma, November 10, 2004 in Gouda


Everything takes place in your own unlimited self-sphere


Why are we always still so focused on particular things?


Just confirm that that is the case and see the most important point of it. The focusing belongs to a limited form of self-being, a limited form of consciousness. Then you’re in the middle of a world full of separations. When you don’t define yourself as a person, in that place, sitting there, looking out from a body, you can determine how it is. Then you also determine that it’s only a learned behavior through which you structure the whole of reality, and also, that it can be different. Of course, you can say something about how the limitation arose in childhood, and so on, but you only have to deal with the situation as it is now. Become aware of your own situation now and see what happens: again and again you focus on the limited, on the differences. Just take a deeper look and ask yourself questions. Is that always so, is it necessarily so? What’s actually going on when I go deeper into myself to investigate these processes? Then you see very different things. So that’s the important point: that you are going to inquire by yourself and confirm things. Open your eyes and accept what you see. That’s how it is, apparently. Nothing needs to be done. Stay lucid, then later, you’ll see that it’s different. How is that possible? Because reality is constantly changing. Maybe you’ll also notice the tendency to hold on to one kind of reality as the reality. You say, for example, “Yes, now I really feel at one with everything, but I know I’m different from that and that.” Then you’re back to thinking. When you let go of your thinking and just see what is to be seen, the boundaries of your limited consciousness disappear.


We were just talking about that on our way over here today.


Then the relativity of your constructions will need to be clear. When you divide everything into compartments and maintain that separation, it takes an incredible amount of effort. When you just relax, this duality is not there. What is the natural situation now? In relaxation the distance disappears, everything comes down to you and goes straight through you. Everything is intertwoven with everything. You affirm that. There is no more to say about it. Your foundation, your fixed idea of ​​reality, “Me here, the others there”, “this is above and that is below”, and so on, isn’t so fixed at all. That fixed structure becomes fluid, the forms flow into one another and constantly change. That transition is a liberation from the rigid situation.


What’s the place of the body then?


The same applies to the body. That too, is a construction full of divisions. You’re not only fixed in mental concepts but also in bodily constructions. For example, when you start from an idea about the size and individuality of the body, you say, “I don’t want to have that other near me; he shouldn’t touch me.” But when you truly return to the sphere of your own body, those divisions on the physical plane seem to be absent. Just take a look: how big is the sphere of your body?


Everything … the sounds, everything sensibly perceived is located in the body.


But when you return to your body, you don’t speak about the senses. In the sphere of the body, things arise, also the things that you call sensual. I ask you again: how spacious is that body?


Well, when I close my eyes, it seems unlimited.


It did not seem so, but now you determine that it is unlimited. Everything happens therein.


In that unlimited?


Just take a look. You said it yourself: in my body. Of course, everything happens within it, because the body is unlimited.


And then the body disappears.


Yes, because it’s everything. Where are the limits? Gone. That’s what I meant.

So take a look on the bodily level. On a mental level, at a certain point, you think that everything is clear: we need to think holistically and so on. Which you can do. But you don’t get very far when the insight remains on the thinking level only. You can think and think about everything. So you’ll have to look further, also feeling-wise, more physically, where the limitations are less clear and more deeply ingrained.  There too, you will have to confirm very soberly and clearly: it is my self-sphere, which is infinite and everything takes place within it, in myself.

You are everything and still there is freedom, because everything is released

March 28, 2016 - Leave a Response

Advaita Post Volume 17 No. 4


Text Satsang


From an Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma. Gouda, Retreat day, August 30, 2009, noon


Stay aware of what happens with yourself when you start sitting and everything becomes still. See what happens when you let that proceed. The expansion of your own self-being proceeds all by itself when you remain in the consciousness-space. Even when there is just a little piece of consciousness, the opening proceeds infinitely. Consciousness always remains greater than what is given: the form, the phenomenon, the field. When the field increases, you always experience yourself in your consciousness more expansively. When your consciousness becomes infinitely great, these forms are going to dissolve all by themselves in this great space. That process of opening and dissolving proceeds infinitely.

Once you have experienced the infinity of your own consciousness, you realize that it’s obvious that that process continues, because consciousness simply is infinite. So let it proceed. Only then will you come to your natural self. That self points towards That which precedes all possible forms of-and-in space and time.

When the clarity of consciousness disappears, the old patterns come to the fore all too easily. That’s why it’s necessary that the clarity remains, the space of consciousness. Then it’s clear what you are not and what you truly are. You’ll have to consistently affirm that for yourself. You’ll have to dedicate yourself to it. Sometimes the development goes slowly, sometimes very quickly. But there’s always the recognition: my self-being as consciousness is infinite and not dependent on space and time. Letting everything go within it, that’s surrender. In fact, you have been this openness all along. It’s only the ignorance that disappears.


The mists arise. But even if the mists and clouds don’t directly disappear, you always have the possibility of returning to the space above the clouds. Everyone who has made a transcontinental flight understands that then you are above the weather. Below there can still be a thunder cloud, but it doesn’t matter. So recognize that what you perceive depends upon your point of view. When you take up a ‘lower’ position, you know that you’re ‘in the weather’ and that you have to deal with the alterations of rain and sun, with the changing of your own weather, your moods. But when you rise a little bit above, you see that the air is clear and remains so. Below you might still have weather conditions with areas of high and low pressure. All of that can’t be predicted, even by the national weather service. But you see it and you can let it go. Then there is a natural situation. That’s how it goes in life: there’s rain and there’s sunshine. But you let it go.


As consciousness you are the clear space in which the phenomena come and go. This indicates that these phenomena are not different from yourself and that you are not absorbed by them. Life is one great whole of energies and forces. You are that life, but you’re not obsessed by it and you’re not completely absorbed by it either. You do that when you take up a position there within. That means an identification with yourself, there, in that place. Then the free space is gone.


Once you’ve experienced something of freedom then you see the relativity of the world and of life – and you see the danger of illusion which sits therein. The world and life are not an illusion. The belief that this world and that life are absolute, that everything within it is so serious that everything there depends on it, that’s an illusion. The world is not absolute, simply because it’s a temporal world.


In the clarity there is non-duality. You are everything – internally – as first person and yet there is freedom, because everything is released. Then it no longer matters whether there are phenomena or not. When there is a creation there is the immense wealth and splendor of that creation. Then there’s also the clear being-experience that everything is one. Understand well what that means. When the world is there and you realize that everything is one, then it means that you are also one with it.


In your consciousness that insight is very clear: that’s how it is. On the mental level there is a definitive knowledge. On the emotional level there is a feeling of unity, a feeling of love. Then through love you can accept everything as your Self. Just see it clearly, then every doubt disappears, every resistance disappears. The fog lifts. You affirm: that’s how it is.


When you stay sitting on a mental level, questions and problems will constantly arise. If you are going to start naming all kinds of things apart, bringing on separations, making separate concepts of them and then absolutizing these concepts, then yes, you won’t get it. Then, for example, the relation between the body and the mind is an unthinkable question. When it concerns human beings and the environment, and first you want to make a separation between nature and human beings in order to dominate and manipulate, then yes, you’re going to have difficulties. Internally there is no separation. There is one whole of being, of life. If you’re first going to create a concept of God and then a concept of man, there will be all kinds of theological problems which have kept people busy for millennia. Because then what about the ‘divine man’, someone like Jesus? Islam is consistent. There it is said: “There is an absolute separation between man and God. Jesus was just a prophet.” But when you let go of all that conceptualization and just stick with your own experience, then you’ll have to conclude that there simply are no boundaries between what at first was (conceived of as) so separated. You can see that in the great religions there’s always a certain sense of that Original. But all these different forms of conceptualizing and then the absolutizing of them continue to create problems.


In Christianity, if a person imagines that he is God, it’s called a great sin. Of course, that’s right. Be honest. Only when there’s absolutely no more separations, is there the complete love that mystical union means.


Stay clearly aware, that’s the only thing that you can do. As soon as dullness strikes, you pick back up on the old patterns. When you remain clear, the original non-duality manifests itself.