Insight only at the level of consciousness is still not realization

January 1, 2018 - Leave a Response

Advaita Post # 19-01

From an Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Schiermonnikoog, 20 June 2012

Insight only at the level of consciousness is still not realization

Many people have difficulty with the transition from the observer’s point of view to a totally open sphere of infinite being. We have already established that this transition will happen by itself because there is no ‘I’ any longer who can do something. But that naturally occurring process will only take place when you have truly stabilized on the level of the observer. When you’re easily distracted, you’re right back to the mental or material point of view. So stay in this spacious sphere of that observing consciousness. Of course, that consciousness is also already infinite, but still, there’s always an observer’s standpoint and an object-space in which things appear.

You will have to remain on level of the observer for a longer time until you become aware of yourself anew there and the process proceeds. That happens only when you think it’s the most important. When other things are more important to you, your attention is focused there and then there’s a concentrated, focused form of consciousness. Invariably when you have become distracted by something in the outside world or internally in your mind, you have the old situation of restriction again, in which you’re stuck to a restricted location. Gradually you come to know the value of remaining on the level of the observer. When you have recognized how important and valuable that is, then you can stay there continuously. Then that is the most important for you. The further release then goes by itself.

Many people find this very interesting, it fits into their lifestyle, but fundamentally nothing changes. For something fundamental to change it will need to be total. What does that mean? It will need to totally come to the fore. I can point it out and then it remains to be seen whether it happens. But I can tell you that those who have ever really gone along with this process of total breakthrough have had that attitude. Because this was the most important, the rest could fall away. Despite all the interest in advaita, the number of those who have actually continued is very small, because it requires everything. Who is ready for that? It remains to be seen. Therefore, it has everything to do with your orientation. This sphere of orientation is more important than the content of your actions within that sphere. The way you are and the way in which you do things is more important than what you do. At a certain point it no longer matters what you do. But you will need to be totally present in that process.

Could you go a little more deeply into the importance of insight and total involvement?

Primarily, insight will need to be there, the recognition of what’s most important to you. You have gotten to know it, but at the outset it’s not present in a stable way. When you remain lucid, it can stabilize. Through this you get a greater view on the level of clear insight: This. It doesn’t happen on the level of mental consciousness. Mental consciousness is always mediated by all kinds of ideas, thoughts, words, patterns. You withdraw and you see these patterns from the level of insight. From there you directly establish what’s important and what’s not. You’re not reasoning from the mental level. Ask yourself: what about myself? This sphere with this external view through which I see everything, this is my most important attitude. What I see is much less important than the way in which I see it. I am consciousness on the level of insight.

Of course, there is also a feeling side. By itself lucid consciousness doesn’t have that much force. Something can certainly be confirmed, but it will have to become total. The whole feeling sphere will have to go along with it. You can say a hundred times that you are not the body, but whether that’s actually realized remains to be seen. When the body falters and the end is in sight, then do you easily say: of course, my own being isn’t dependent on what happens to the body? Insight, only on the level of consciousness, is still not realization. It will have to involve all aspects of yourself. It will have to be a very concrete experience. Of course daily life can continue more or less in the old way, reasonably adapted to society, though a crack is always possible. But however it continues to go, your real interest, your real attention, your heart lies there with the reality of that great being-awareness. And of course, that doesn’t correspond with what is commonplace in society. When you are grasped by this open sphere then the importance of everything else diminishes. They are relative with respect to that One which then functions as the center.

This spacious sphere becomes the framework within which phenomena arise and can be accepted, in which life goes on. We all want to live together in a good way. Everyone agrees with that. What does that ‘good’ mean for co-existence? It means that there is feeling for each other and a togetherness. On a certain level there are no separations, there is a non-duality. Don’t focus on all the details in which we differ but focus yourself increasingly on this non-duality. Then you will feel in contact with it and this sphere will become steadily stronger. That doesn’t mean that everything is the same, but there is a fundamental goodness, a unity which carries everything. That will become very clear when you release your standpoint as the observer.


Ways towards the insight viewpoint

December 1, 2017 - Leave a Response

Advaita Post 18-12, December 1, 2017

From an Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Schiermonnikoog, June 5, 2012

Ways towards the insight viewpoint

An important line of development is therefore the ever-increasing return to your own self-being, that is the ever-increasing return to non-dual openness. Normally it begins on the physical-bodily level with certain feelings to which you say: that is myself. The attention turns back to that from its scattering in the external world. The attention goes in the direction of yourself as the source of attention.

Then the experience remains direct. The experienced is not something ‘other’ that you have come to know through all kinds of concepts and models. [No,] A means is not necessary. It is a direct experience just like your bodily experience. It is direct because you are the experienced self. It’s not remote. You are that which you have come to know, that which you experience. Knowing and being come together. Also, immediately, that is a form of non-duality, a non-duality of being and knowing. [And] That non-duality remains present, even in the further development.

A characteristic of that direct internal knowing is that it requires no effort. You are that of which you are aware. It’s not a judgment with criteria, it is a direct confirmation of that which appears, that which arises. Nothing more.

Is knowing then the same as consciousness?

Then it is, yes. In mental knowing of course there is also consciousness, but that is strongly mediated by the concepts which are contained in it. Here, the conceptual increasingly disappears. It is a very passive being-presence and an internal knowing. That’s why it can very easily develop into the greater clarity of insight consciousness. Actually, with it, you skip over the entire phase of mental knowing. We have already looked at it often, but it’s very important. Therefore, once again: how do you get that development starting from the internal consciousness of your body [going] towards the insight consciousness? You can do it quite easily. Then you use the assistance of imagination. Imagine that you see yourself at a distance. You create an image of that and you perceive that image at a distance. When you hold that a little longer, it turns out that the perceived is no longer just an imagined picture. Why not? Because your bodily impressions and feelings are actually [experientially] present in that imagined image. As a result, the experienced is concrete, something you experience as a concretely present reality. That’s also why it’s so important to always remain aware of these bodily impressions and feelings. It insures the concreteness of the whole experience-situation. These bodily impressions and feelings are localized somewhere in space. That is only there and not somewhere else. You can be very passive and you notice: that is present, without construction, without projection. So that is one way to move towards the insight consciousness, through this image of your body in space with that clear feeling, these impressions. You are going to experience the body and all the rest as spatial phenomena. And when you experience them that way, they are energetic phenomena. They occupy a certain space, they are located somewhere, they are dynamic, they don’t have fixed forms, but they certainly are forms.

That insight body, can you also experience it as silence?

First, on the level of insight there is your viewpoint of consciousness from which you experience the phenomena at a distance. Even there, as consciousness, you appear to possess a subtle body which we call the insight body. Gradually, that [body] changes into silence as the subtle forms increasingly disappear.

If you find the way to the level of insight through imagination too forced, there’s also a softer way, by just staying with the concrete experience of your body without taking an active distance and making an image of it. When you stick with your bodily feelings and impressions without taking a distance, automatically some distance arises if you can experience them in space. You become aware of the space left and right of your body, front and back, top and bottom. Then more space will arise automatically, the space of consciousness. You are going to experience the bodily feelings and impressions as a whole. That is the feeling body. When you experience the entire feeling body in space, again you immediately have the viewpoint of spatial insight too, from which you can observe everything.


In this way you get a further withdrawal, a further return to the source of the experience that you [always, already] are. Stay lucidly there, aware, relaxed. You stay in that global awareness and then it’s going to develop further.

I notice that I want to know more about it, but that seems to play out on a different level.

Now it’s only about direct experience. Nothing more. That is this movement that we are talking about. Just let the rest go; just keep watching. Can you be aware of your bodily feelings? Can you stay with them, so that the space of insight arises? Then it is good. You will have to go along, step by step, and then you can let everything else go. When you mentally say: I would really like to know more about it, then you’ve exited from the immediacy. It’s about the direct experience. Stay in it. Then it remains a living thing.


You must become established on the witness point of view in this way so that it’s an effortless situation and you can completely relax and observe everything. “I am the effortless observer of everything that appears.” Let it stay that way, very concretely, very lucid, in that passive consciousness in which there is a direct confirmation of the whole situation and of all aspects of the situation. Then everything continues further by itself in a good way.

As long as there is in a sense a path, you have to take it

November 1, 2017 - Leave a Response

Advaita Post 18-11, November 1, 2017

Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma, retreat Schiermonnikoog, June 22, 2011

As long as there is in a sense a path, you have to take it

The retreat week is already progressing well. Perhaps you notice that there is an impulse in which the purification, the expansion and the opening up continue to develop. When you get up early in the morning for the meditation, you can feel a resistance to it. But if you just continue, you notice that it has an effect. That’s the principle of yoga: when you do this, you get the effects that go along with it. If you don’t do it, you don’t get those effects. In general, that applies to every spiritual path. As long as there still is in a sense a path, you have to take it. Most people have a sense of ​​how it should be, but they don’t approach it in order to go in that direction, they don’t practice it. Then the problems remain. When that serious practice is not there, the rumbling remains. When you have a bit of a notion of the direction in which it goes, resources will just appear on your path that will take you in that direction. What works best can be different for each person. Be so wise, for example, as to occasionally interrupt the train of your thoughts and activities during the day. When you start every morning with fifteen minutes of standing rowing, like we did this morning, your situation can already change a lot. You become wonderfully open and empty. A good energy arises, because with exhalation the heavy energy sinks down. When you do this more often, you really go a step further: there is stability and clarity in your own energetic sphere, there are no disturbing thought patterns anymore. Also, when you see that clearly, it will no longer be difficult to continue in this direction. Then that is the most important. When you continue to do that consistently, the development can go very quickly.

The exercises to break up fixed mental and physical patterns are especially useful. Most bodily patterns are deeply anchored: the orientation of your body in space, above and below, left and right, the dimensions of your body, the form of your body. The yoga asanas can be helpful to break through these patterns, especially when you hold them for longer periods of time. Something is going to happen, for example, if you stay in a reversed position like the half candle pose for a few minutes. You are used to having your feet below you. When they are up for a long time, that schema is going to tilt, actually up is also down. You become free of these fixed structures and you can experience that this happens on a deeper bodily-feeling level. What is up and down, left and right, front and back, is no longer so unequivocal. Thinking stops. What remains? You experience yourself. It is a self-feeling, but also a being-feeling, a feeling-sense of being. The whole world can tilt, so that you no longer know what is above and below, but that being-feeling remains. All kinds of patterns disappear and that being-feeling remains ever more purified.

Your own being becomes increasingly free from obscuring forces, the kosha’s. You can already find this doctrine of the kosha’s in the ancient Upanishads. The outermost veil is that of materiality; within it are the more vital energetic veils, the veil of feeling energies, of emotions, the mental veil, the insight veil. There is then already a lot of space, but it is still a veil that veils the pure self-being because it is not totally free, because there are still conditions. Through returning to the pure self-being these veils play less and less of a role. Of course, the pure self-being is always already there, it is already completely present, even though you experience it through these veilings, but it’s about the awareness of it, the realization of it. That’s the realization of the self, of that what you truly are.

It’s like peeling an onion. As you peel more and more layers, only emptiness remains. In all phases, self-being is the most important, so also in those limited forms of an ego. That ego is of course also self-being. So the ego is not just bad. It is the self-being that is veiled by those veils of the mental and the feeling ego. When those veils disappear, the pure self-being remains. That’s why it’s so important to return to your self-being and the more frequently you return to your own source, then the purer is the self-being. This impulse can continue with the help of exercises such as “letting yourself sink into the ocean” or “letting yourself become longer” or “rising more and more into the air”. Then all kinds of veils disappear, complete with all the heaviness that they contain. When you get closer to the real self-being, your problems and traumas disappear. When it’s completely pure then there are no more veils. According to this model of the kosha’s then you are in the center. There you are yourself in a pure sense and it’s completely open. Of course, it’s just a model, but it’s a meaningful model, because you can experience something of it. When you, with an internal consciousness, sink all the way back into the relaxation, you notice that more and more of those layers disappear until all conditioning has disappeared and the inexpressible manifests itself completely.