The basic suffering and thus tragedy of man arises from his unlimited desire combined with tenacious grip upon a limited being. 

 Advaita Post Volume 9, Number 5

 advaita Post 9 #5

Text Satsang

Talk with Douwe Tiemersma on January 17, 2007

Suffering and the inside-out (Part 5)

Visitor: Is it true that with the experience of misery the object and ‘I’ can disappear, and that then the suffering disappears?

Douwe: Yes, that happens in the same way as with pleasant things. If you allow all the suffering to enter and you accept it completely, the object and yourself as a subject of the experience disappear. Both are the same and there is not a problem anymore.

Of course, as the suffering draws closer, it becomes more painful. When you allow it to go further into the center of you, the suffering and you come together and there is a reversal, the inside goes out, becomes infinite in all directions and resolves.

Jesus takes all the sins and suffering of the world on himself. Do you understand that in this sense? It is in the acceptance of suffering that the separations between yourself and the suffering are released, that you take it upon you, letting it all work out infinitely. Emotionally that is love. Through love the problematic enters the infinite space and dissolves. The suffering is lifted thereby, because it has reached the open space. That space is not a three-dimensional space, but rather that of the Self. That truth of Jesus is a great truth. When you can enter in and go with him, you experience that.

So if you inflate the little I to a very large I, it can have the same effect?

I would not try it!

Have you understood nothing of the disappearance of ‘I’ and the inside turning out?

The self is an ‘I’ that wants to have power, always wanting to be bigger. What does it mean ‘I want to have power and become increasingly larger’? If someone gets more and more power, he or she sees less and less of a border. So the process of boosting the limited ‘I’ continues. That will continue until at a given moment it all falls apart. This is how it happens with dictators. If on the I-level you go in the direction of the infinite, your balloon will burst. It cannot be otherwise, because a limited ‘I’ form wants infinity. That goes wrong. With all dictators and spiritual rulers this has happened. If there is a grain of an ‘I’ still remaining in a spiritual teacher, you see that it happens, everywhere. Then it goes wrong.

That is also the danger of the Tonglen Buddhist method, taking on the suffering of others. In the exercise that ‘you’ of the ‘you take’ is still a limited ‘you’. It is only good if the inclusion of suffering takes place in the centre of infinite Self.

Is that piece of me that is still there not visible?

You see that is the danger; precisely when more and more space is created, it is less easy to see the limitations contained within it. “Everything is still good!” And finally: “I can do anything!” If an ‘I’ says, ‘I can do anything.”, then you must be really careful. That applies to yourself, as well as to a teacher.

Yet I know people who have used their power and respect for the good.

If their influence was really good, then they are people who were not so centered in their ‘I’. They also had an eye for the general interest. Fortunately, there are such people.

Here it’s about the movement of the ‘I’ that wants more power. If someone gets more power, it is only to be hoped that their self interest steadily decreases.

You just said that as there is more space arising, it may happen that the ‘I’ becomes less visible?

If an I-person becomes very powerful, the risk is great that he overestimates himself, that he places himself above the law. In the pursuit of infinite power, the notion to be infinite is implied. That awareness is correct and that awareness is apparent. Only it is concerned with a limited form of self-being, an ego. If that limited form now receives much space, he says: you see, I can reach the infinite like this.

I thought that the more space there is, the fewer restrictions there are.

This applies when the restrictions of self-being are dissolved. The danger is that the ego sticks to itself, meanwhile more space and opportunities arise. The ego thinks it can and should have everything; it sees no border. You see this also with children: you give them a finger and they take the whole hand. The I-want and I-desire is endless. You then say to the child: now be satisfied.  It must be clearly taught. But, the ‘I’ cannot learn. The ‘I’ is never satisfied and never can be satisfied. Why not?  Because desire is infinite and the self is limited. That’s the basic suffering of humanity. The more that desire is admitted at the ‘I’ level, the more tragic it is. See the examples, such as gluttony.

Is it not the case that the ‘I’ still knows something?

That knowledge is not of the ‘I’.  Of course you have a conscience, that is yourself as insight. You have always known it, as conscience.

So if you talk about satisfaction, it means that you have returned to the centre of self-being which is always infinite. There is nothing more to be done. Then there is real satisfaction, peace.

Sometimes I can not love myself and then there is no peace.

On the one hand you are trapped in a limited little ‘I’ which depends on circumstances. On the other hand, you have a notion of loving, of love, in a much larger space. You are positioned at the level of the limited little ‘I’ and simultaneously you want to have the large space of love there. Then you say: I can not love myself. No, it’s clear that doesn’t work.

This can only happen when you realize that you are already space and love. Your depression is a response to the experience of limitation, while you know that you belong to a much larger space that you can not reach. Why not? Because you stick to your limited ‘I’.  Everyone would become depressed from this. If that process continues and becomes stronger, it can become a real depression.

Once it opens for you, you can’t imagine any longer that people make such a small egocentric prison for themselves, in other words, that they restrict and position themselves in a place where all the slings and arrows fall.

Yet I see myself doing it again and again …

When you see it clearly, including the pain, then it’s simply abnormal to remain there. Why are you still so masochistic?

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