Dying, the ego

February 1, 2016 - Leave a Response

Advaita Post Volume 17, no. 2


Text Satsang


From an introduction in Stoutenburg, August 28, 2005 – Part 4


Dying, the ego


What happens when you physically die?


That depends on the situation. The more you identify with the body, the heavier it is. When you realize your true nature, you also realize that all the things which change are phenomena. At one point in time there was a beginning of what you call your life. But, what existed before that? At a certain moment the forms of that little life arose, and at a certain moment they will disappear.


Then the observer also ceases to exist?


Yes, to the extent it has been conditioned to this life form.


You introduce a limitation: ‘to the extent’.


To the extent that you are dealing with a physical observer, it’s a conditioned observer. Perception, for example, is dependent on the structure of the eyes. When the body is gone, perception stops. It’s that simple.


Then your feeling of being also stops?


Yes, that feeling ‘I am’ is a quality which is also going to disappear. Then your original nature which is independent of conditions is all that remains. So that means that all conditions are relative. This also applies to all qualities. That which is not relative, is, by definition, absolute. And That is free of everything. Nevertheless we have an internal knowledge of it. That can become so clear that you affirm, “This is it” and “the rest is relative, based on a particular life-form.”


Becoming aware of that absolute means, I think, that there must be an awareness which is more expansive than the everyday consciousness. We are speaking about it now …


Yes, we can only talk about the words which point in the direction of that absolute. Within being-experience it is clear that the various qualities increasingly disappear, even the ‘I am’, and that goes in the direction of a complete disappearance. When this process truly continues, you can no longer speak about consciousness, an ‘I am aware of it’. Nevertheless, at a certain point there is the knowing: ‘This is the inexpressible”.


Douwe, on the one hand, the way you say it, I find it very simple. Yes, it’s great fun to listen to you. I automatically enter right into the sphere. But on the other hand, I still feel very strongly the limitation of the ego that you’re always speaking about. That limitation of the ego, I just can’t escape it. On the one hand, I know that the ego always lures you back in so many different ways, by a toothache, by the things you do and so on. Then I think: ‘Damn, is this ever going to stop?” On the other hand, I also think it’s great; so I am attached to it once again. I am simultaneously attached to it and plagued by it …


Isn’t that the fundamental conflict of people?


How do you escape it?


Try to look at it in a different way. That ego is self-being. It is self-being in a limited form. You are yourself, as an ‘I’. And ‘I’ am attached to that little I-life. This is a form of self-being, a limited form of self-being. Who confirms that it is limited? Isn’t that a self-being which has a more expansive view? You affirm: there’s that ego; there are the limitations; there are the attachments; there sits pleasure, and there, pain. So you’re not just this form of self-being which we call the ego. Apparently, there’s already a self-being which has a wider consciousness. Looking back, this is what affirms the restrictions. So when you become aware of the ego, you’re no longer positioned specifically in it. Thus, the self-being of the ego has a depth and a height which has always already existed, but about which the ego doesn’t know. In your ego you can become aware of yourself. It already contains this depth. The broader consciousness is not another self-being, no, it is the same yourself-being, but with fewer restrictions. You can stay at that position and then you notice that you are freer from the restrictions that exist on the ego-level. To the extent that they remain, you handle them wisely. Just as you deal with children, you give a little here and there, in order to allow things to go in a good direction globally. You remain aware of yourself, as a self-being that is more expansive, more mature. This sphere remains more spacious than that of the little ‘I’ who relates everything to itself and is attached to everything.


While I’m working with people and so on, I feel a kind of loneliness and narrowness of my ego.


You see how grief-filled the ego is. You only need to look: the ego wants everything at once, which is impossible. It wants unity and it wants to be big. It wants to enjoy endlessly and it wants to be one with other people. But at that level it doesn’t work that way. Why not? The ego brings on separation between itself and others. These separations are not bridgeable, because these separations are simply inherent to the ego. However, you can look into yourself and experience that you are much more expansive. From out of a larger space you look back at the ego and see the cause of the problems. You also affirm that here and now there are no problems, because the separations are not there. You also affirm that this situation is far more valuable than the one with all that misery. That is how your center of gravity gradually shifts. When you notice this shift, that’s a wonderful, beautiful event. Everything that that ego truly wants, but can never really achieve, is realized here. What the ego seeks, becomes freed when you release your limited forms. Then everything becomes grand and joyful. You don’t have to give up anything nice, not what is beautiful in the world and not what is beautiful in yourself. That beautiful only becomes freed when you let go of your tension.

When enlightenment comes, the whole world becomes enlightened.

January 4, 2016 - Leave a Response

Advaita Post, Volume 17, no. 1

Text Satsang

From an introduction in Stoutenburg, August 28, 2005 – Part 3

When enlightenment comes, the whole world becomes enlightened.

Q: You point towards the open lucidity, even in dreamless sleep. I understand very well what you mean, but when you go to sleep, you disappear. When you wake up again, there is a sort of recollection of this openness. Some people claim that they can retain this lucid openness when they sleep. Is that really so?

Douwe: When you have consciously recognized this original openness somewhere, you recognize this sphere more and more frequently. In the waking period of the day you recognize more and more of those quiet moments, even though they were previously there as well. If you haven’t recognized this stillness somewhere in a conscious way, then you also don’t recognize it in many other moments that are open and still. So when the recognition is there in a given situation, such as in deep meditation, the process of recognition goes even further, especially during the day. Then you notice the moments when it’s just totally still and open, moments about which there’s nothing to say because there is no content. Between thoughts everything falls quiet. Thought flows are not continuous. Also, you aren’t always busy. If momentarily you don’t have anything to do, everything disappears. Slowly you recognize that these periods are more frequent and become larger. It happens just like Swiss cheese: the holes just get bigger and bigger. At first there is cheese with a few holes. But at a certain point there are holes with a little bit of cheese. That also happens by itself at night.

Of course, it’s a completely different kind of consciousness. It is not a ‘consciousness of’ something. That is the difficulty of recognition: in the West consciousness is always defined as ‘consciousness of something’. So when there’s nothing, it’s difficult to recognize. If you want to be well aware of something, right away you ask where you should look. When it’s about the recognition of your own openness, it’s a completely different type of consciousness. It’s an internal consciousness and certainly without content. It’s very strange, and therefore you frequently make mistakes. You want to be aware of the dreamless sleep where nothing is. So you say, “I will focus on nothing.” But then that’s wrong, because there is no object there, also no empty object-space that you could become aware of. No, it’s your own being-aware self. It’s a blank being-knowing without a someone who confirms something.

What’s that like, then? Is there a kind of aware presence-ness?

You are going in the right direction when you suggest ‘an aware presence-ness’. But look out, and see what else is there. For as long as there is a sense of ‘I confirm that’, you’re still saddled with an ‘I’ and an object. The best approach is to point towards the disappearance of this structure ‘I perceive that’. ‘I’ gone, ‘that’ gone and the perceiving gone. That is the original blank state about which you can’t say anything other than: “it is blank”, “there is nothing”. And still, there is an internal knowing of this original nature.

But isn’t that internal knowing then a memory afterwards?

Of course not. If there were to be a memory, there would be a memory-image. Now, that can also happen, such as in the morning when you say: “I had a wonderful sleep”. In that confirmation there is still a memory of this wonderful state of emptiness in which there was nothing. This memory can become stronger, so that you recognize that this ‘state’ which was there, is also here now. It is not something which stops in the transition from dreamless sleep to dreaming and waking. No, this always remains as a certain kind of knowing, a being-knowing. This continues by itself and intensifies. So we can only speak about the transitions. But then, the direct recognition can also come: “Yes, this”.

Learning to see these transitions is important in itself, because then, they can flow more easily. Then you know the direction of development and can see what’s still stuck. That confirmation immediately allows the fixation to become relative. Then the block is no longer absolute. Seeing through, itself means that the blockade is lifted. Therefore, be precise in your seeing, in your recognition, otherwise you will easily remain hanging somewhere.

In that blank consciousness, the ‘consciousness of’ something also manifests.

Yes, ‘consciousness of’ something is always a limited sort of consciousness. Usually we call that ‘attention’. Attention is a focused consciousness and therefore a limited form of consciousness. So there are all different kinds of consciousness-forms during the day. Sometimes you are concentrating here, and then something else asks your attention, then there is a more spacious consciousness. That just continues. The one thing that remains is yourself as open being-awareness.

But then in that ‘consciousness of’, you are everything. Because if there is no consciousness of something, then too that something is not there. It’s just like thinking without thoughts; that can’t be, because the idea is the same as thinking. So ‘consciousness of’ is the same as what is seen.

When there has been a clear recognition of yourself as being-awareness without restrictions, then all kinds of forms arising within it do not restrict you. Of course, as long as life goes on, all the living functions of seeing, feeling, hearing, thinking and so forth, also go on. When there is a recognition of that original source, then everything else also comes free. With enlightenment, all life functions become enlightened. Through this, the tensions disappear, the feeling-sense patterns of holding on to internal but also external things. When you remain in a limited identity, you imprison not only yourself, but also the whole world. When enlightenment comes, the whole world becomes enlightened. So nothing needs to go; you are everything. Only the tension-limitations disappear. Then everything is open, infinitely open.

You are that infinite consciousness

December 1, 2015 - Leave a Response

Advaita Post Volume 16, no. 12


Text Satsang


From an introduction in Stoutenburg, August 28, 2005 – Part 2


You are that infinite consciousness


Spiritual development means a further awareness of your own aware self-being, your consciousness. In consciousness, you confirm: there is no border, there is no separation anywhere. Consciousness continues infinitely and you are that infinite consciousness. Consciousness is not something you can grab hold of. Consciousness is your own infinite being-sphere with the quality of lucidity, of a lucidity within which something is clear or can become so. That is your own sphere. That is why the verb is reciprocal and you say: “It is clear to me”, “I am aware of it”. What do you mean by that? That in your own sphere of lucid-being the things which arise are established in it. That’s how it is! The phenomena arise and then they are evident. That‘s how it is! This confirmation is not thinking. No, it is a direct appearance, without intermediary, in its own light. So too, there is the awareness of your own aware being-sphere. A further spiritual development contains this. Accordingly, there is also the recognition that this sphere is infinite, with no boundaries, and that you, yourself, as infinite consciousness, are not dependent on any conditions whatsoever. When you experience yourself as consciousness in a very lucid way, it is clear that this is primary, as compared to all phenomena. There will need to be light if something is going to appear. Yet these phenomena do not affect consciousness. They arise and disappear again within it. As infinite consciousness, you remain free.


Of course, you are also everything, because the phenomena are not other than your aware being-sphere. But, this is so in a very different way than when you become involved in it somewhere. No, you are everything. And still you are free of it. How is that possible? Precisely because it’s about the limitlessness of being-consciousness. The feeling-senseness of it has a quality of joy. When space comes, there is always something about it that is ‘wonderful’, ‘beautiful’, ‘spacious’, ‘freedom’. With each breakthrough towards a greater space or a more spacious consciousness there is the emotional or feeling-sense quality of joy. Expansion brings joy. Conversely, you can also say that when there is joy, there is an obvious expansion. People seek this expansion, in all possible ways. Why? Because it brings joy. People consistently want to cross borders. When new limits are experienced, there is the tendency to want to reach that which lies beyond the limit. When you are open to it, the process just continues. This also applies with respect to joy and happiness. Everyone has a notion of ​​it. When something in your world starts to expand, you become excited. There is joy.


But, stay open for total joy, complete happiness. That means an open stance for the infinite. And look, then the process continues by itself. Then, looking back, you also see that the search for joy can produce something that indeed brings some joy, but that right away there were new borders again. Then the process of longing and seeking continues. Now just let the process proceed completely; let it radicalize itself into infinity. Then there is an infinite joy. Joy, happiness, insight are infinite. They are not platonic, in a separate heaven or something like that. No, they are already there, here and now. They are readily available, when you recognize them. “Oh, so that’s it!” Everyone has joy and happiness in themselves. And when you stay there, they reveal themselves to be infinite in a stable way.


In spiritual development, this joy is going to develop further. It becomes less and less dependent on circumstances, on specific situations, on special things. Why? Because it precedes everything. Because it belongs to one of the first and last of those qualities which comprise the sphere containing everything. And that is your own manner of being. It is good to recognize this: that’s it. Then you also know that it’s always about opening yourself up. This being open to the great is the only thing you can do. There is nothing else that you could do. You can not go looking for it or developing it. No, let the infinite being-consciousness-joy / happiness / love-being just come and let it stay.