Expansion, care and indifference

March 1, 2016 - Leave a Response

Advaita Post, Volume 17 No. 3


Text Satsang


From an Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Gouda, retreat day morning, August 30, 2009


Expansion, care and indifference


Everyone has the ability to be aware of themselves in the situation in which they find themselves. Just let that happen now. Then you see yourself sitting. With this reflection, you are aware not only of the situation, but also of yourself in the greater ​​space of consciousness. And that greater space is the condition in which the process of expansion continues! Your consciousness-standpoint is the situation through which you become aware of yourself anew. Thus, becoming aware sits directly in yourself: become spacious. Experientially, it is very simple, when you go along with it. You become aware of the relaxation, the silence, the expansion, and still, you remain aware of yourself. The relaxation continues, the release continues, the space continues, but there is always this greater space of your own consciousness. That is the precondition or the engine through which the process of expansion proceeds. And that just continues.

Take a look and see where that goes. Your horizon is getting wider, ever wider, until you confirm at a certain point that there is an infinite cosmic space. Then immediately you establish: apparently my own consciousness is infinite. And that is a very simple determination.

Now, when that’s clear, it means that no single limited situation can grab hold of you, in the sense of enclosing. No, just because you are infinite. Isn’t that free-being unenclosable by anything else? You are free!

Every situation is finite. You are always more than that finite. So you are not subject to anything that ends. When you go along with it, then it’s clear. So simple; clear as day.


Is it wise to be indifferent toward limited things? Yesterday I experienced a fogginess and an indifference.


Always take another look and see: apparently this is my current situation now, with this mood and that feeling. That is a given and you have to accept it. Only then do you ask yourself the question: what about myself? Oh yes, space; there is a space greater than the realm of moods and feelings, including those of indifference. So that signifies an expansion in a vertical sense.

On a personal level, you are thinking: there must be something other than indifference. I have to do something about it. No, here it’s not about changes on the horizontal level. Just leave that open. Just take everything as it is. And then it turns out that, due to the presence of space, everything will become organized by itself, in the best possible way.

You really don’t have to interfere with all those psychological conditions – not with the feeling states, not with the mental states – precisely not. When you come to yourself, you see: all of these things resolve by themselves. That’s very beautiful. You don’t have to worry about it! For example, the body takes care of itself. When it’s cold, it puts on clothes. When it’s hungry, then it’s going to eat. When there’s a need for a chat, then there will be a chat. No need to look around for it! You remain with yourself, in your original nature.

You have to take a look at the ‘normal’ state. There is so much care in it – concern and worry. Thinking always recurs: now this must happen, because otherwise … This happens because thinking is ‘I’-centered; the importance of the me is the most common basis for feelings and the motivations for action.

But you see how much this care constitutes a limitation to your self-being. The more care, the more you limit yourself. The less care, the more freedom and joy. No worries at all … See how easy it is. And that’s precisely because there is no ‘I’-care; instead there is an open stance for everything and everyone.


Other people worry about that fact that I no longer worry about myself. How should I handle that?


Well, now you’re really worried, about others who might worry, because you’re not. And that you should do something about it. Do you see the complexity? Keep it simple. You can rest assured that that’s also the best for others.


You are going to interpret it again on a personal level. When a person has indifference, what do you get? An indifferent person. I’m not talking about things on that level. It’s about becoming aware of yourself as free-being. That means that there is non-duality, also that you are everything and everyone. From that perspective, everything will happen in a good way. When a person says, just let everything go, then others are going to be worried. But when they discover that something else is going on and that within that everything seems to flow in an open easy manner, then it’s a completely different situation. Precisely because in the non-duality, you are this other, too. Whatever happens in the world then, will just be the best of what’s possible, because there is no self-interest any more.


To a certain extent thinking about it is still possible and then that’s quite logical, too. The less people are stuck in an ‘I’ with self-interest, the better it is. That’s logical. So you can understand it this far on the mental level, too. But don’t stay with just thinking it, it’s about realizing it.


Once you have had this being-experience of free-being, you clearly see how much the cramps and identification with this person and that body is the plague of the whole situation, not just for yourself but also for others. Always this cramping, that suffering … and then you see that it’s completely unnecessary. It’s absurd. It’s masochistic.


When I notice that my cramping hurts someone else, isn’t it better to investigate the cramping instead of going straight into the expansive spaciousness?


When you do that as a person, you are going to search psychologically. But does the situation really change from that fundamental cramp out of which this difficult situation arose in the first place? No, because you remain with the person who has this cramp. At best, you might gain a little more insight into the conditions. But the fundamental problem is not solved that way.


There is but one solution: letting go of the level on which the problem arises. The core of the problem is duality, the ‘I’ in opposition to the other, which the ‘I’ fears. When the duality dissolves, the sting is out and the cramping dissolves by itself. So keep it simple, right from the start. When you say: first this must happen and then that must happen, you’re not done yet.


No, see the simplicity directly: I return to myself in relaxation, silence and opening. Just let it proceed. Even if there are disturbances now and then it does not matter, just so long as you let the ‘I’-am expansion continue. At a certain point there is nothing left to say …

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.