Archive for June, 2008

Pity and compassion can just cross over into the non-duality of one experience
June 23, 2008

Advaita Post, Volume 9 Number 11

Many layers, many worlds in consciousness …

Text Satsang

An introduction and talk given in Gouda May 14, 2008

Non-duality of experience (2)

Douwe: Is it clear that with physical sensing there really is just one thing? Skin and wind, subject and object, can no longer be experienced separately. Isn’t that right? You have to start thinking in order to pull them apart. You hear the beautiful music. And the distance disappears. You have to start thinking quite actively in order to detach yourself from the music. See for yourself what kind of construction this thinking implies. The natural non-duality that you find everywhere prevails. Through separation, a body is contructed, a person with a self-image and personal data; and in thinking about the music, the whole of tonalities, the composition that a composer has written, and so on. Can you see the complexity?  Can you see the construction?

Of course, you can always withdraw back into your consciousness and see the content of every experience at a distance as an objective manifestation.  In a sense, that too, is good, namely to become free of all kinds of unconscious identifications, of all kinds of attachments and ties. But at a given point everything will revert again to the natural non-duality.

Visitor: Is the process of returning to consciousness a dualistic process? Of: ‘I am aware of some thing’?

Initially there is indeed an enhanced duality. This withdrawal will help you to become aware of all the attachments, of the unconscious identifications. “I thought I was the body, but now that I withdraw into myself as consciousness, I can see that I am not a specific body.”  It creates a large space in which everything can be present and merge with yourself. So it’s not a question of letting go of everything with the sense: “I want to keep a certain distance.” That would mean flight. Everything can return in openness, without resistance and in non-duality. But that can only happen when those old specific identifications have come loose.

Yes, space is important, because distance dissolves the attachment.

On a personal level there is a limited ‘I’-self, an ego which functions in the world. That ego is a hardened and concentrated energy which wants to take all the good things in order to increase itself, but it also wants to keep away the less beautiful things.  This hardening of the ego prevents the acceptance of pain, of suffering and of other people. The ego always has its own resistance and defense mechanisms.

When that ego-cramp is broken through, everything comes open. Then everything is allowed to be without distance. That can happen from the I-person, when you are looking very precisely at what’s going on within your own experience. We were just speaking about that. In the experience the person disappears, and also what you experience, “Oh how delightful, the taste.” Where is the person? Where is the ice cream? They aren’t there anymore. What remains is: one taste.

But on the other hand, there is still suffering …

Yes, also regarding the suffering, there is no distance. That too can be accepted. The ego with its own self maintenance program can’t accept that. It can’t take the suffering upon itself and doesn’t want to. That’s precisely the process of resistance and of maintaining a distance. Only when relaxation enters in yourself and also your experience then you don’t hold on to anything any more.

Even though you merge with the suffering of another, still there can be a very subtle feeling to ease the suffering of the so-called other, to want to help.

In the experience of suffering, as the immediacy of the experience becomes stronger, it can just happen that pity and compassion can cross over into the non-duality of one experience. And that is universal. Then there is no longer a person involved in it.

It’s good to recognize that. These moments occur regularly for everyone, the beautiful experiences and the less beautiful. When you come together, the separations disappear, the person with its resistance reactions disappear. Primarily, there is one experience. That becomes universal and after that it’s silent. Then there’s nothing left to say. The qualities disappear and all is still. Grief and suffering aren’t to be located on the psychological level,  so that “you can handle them”. Whether with others or not it can become one experience, which is universal. The specific qualities are going to dissolve. Are you sad?  When you think about yourself and your feelings: yes. When you don’t think about it: I don’t know. When the I and its great grief have increased for a long time, they can suddenly disappear and what remains is inexpressible silence.

Then the ice cream doesn’t taste sweet any more.

No. See what people really value in an ice cream. First because it is sweet and has a delicious taste. But when they are really going to enjoy it, it’s not so much the specifically sweet taste of the ice cream as it is the universal enjoyment. When that enjoyment is allowed to continue, everything becomes still. You don’t hear children and adults any more while they enjoy their ice cream and have merged into it. How about happiness? “Oh, my life is good.”  Yes, but when that converts into happiness, it’s immediately clear that happiness is infinite. Otherwise it’s not happiness, but a good feeling of a person who also experiences other things.  No, when there is happiness, it’s universal, without a person. So too with an ice cream: First, there is a delicious taste that is in the ice cream. When you don’t resist this experience by maintaining a distance, then there is but one delight. “It’s delicious!”  The delight overwhelms you and becomes universal. One lick of an ice cream … and you’re enlightened, when you really enjoy it 100%.

So, let the enjoyment and the suffering enter in completely.  Let each experience fully develop without resistance.


You taste a strawberry ice cream and you’re gone, the ice cream is gone, too: one taste
June 3, 2008

Advaita Post, Volume 9, Number 10

Advaita Post

Text Satsang

A talk given in Gouda May 14, 2008

The non-duality of experience

Douwe: Yes, we are always talking here about the recognition of non-duality. It’s clear:  if duality and its associated suffering are going to dissolve, then in practice you will recognize very clearly that non-duality is the reality. You should determine this very clearly in your own experience.

It’s easiest in the feeling-sense. You can become aware of your tactile sensations. Imagine that the wind blows and you experience the wind on your skin. Which reality is that? What do you really experience now? There is the feeling in which you no longer experience the skin and the wind separately. In the experience it’s just one phenomenon. You can go on thinking that it has two sides, your skin and the wind, but what you experience is one phenomenon. You don’t experience your skin and separately the wind. They have totally merged. It is one sensual phenomenon. Just call it skin-wind. Do you experience that skin-wind feeling in space?  Do you see that the physical aspect of yourself and what supposedly comes from outside have totally merged? The wind, it blows. As skin wind you go completely with it into the infinite distance. You must forcibly pull the two apart from one another to experience them separately again. In the sensitive experience of being there is only that one unity. That feeling skin-wind. The wind is nothing without skin, the skin is nothing without wind. It is one phenomenon.

That’s also true with the sense of taste, such as when you eat an ice cream in this beautiful weather.  How is it then?  “Oh, what a delicious taste – strawberries, bananas, …”  How about it then?  What happens to yourself in terms of the taste experience and that which you are tasting?  Isn’t that also only one?  I recently read a Buddhist text on the idea of ‘one taste’. The interpretation there was that you experience everything in the same way. There is no preference, there is no denial. What we speak about in the advaita approach is an even deeper meaning. In that one taste not only the separations that you make between the various experienced objects have disappeared but also between yourself, your experience, and the objects of experience. Then there is not a separate ‘I taste’ and ‘that which I taste’. Both have merged together. There is one phenomenon of taste. Therefore the situation in which you clearly register that one taste or that one feeling has the tendency towards universality. Why? Because there are no divisions any more. You taste something, a strawberry ice cream. When you enjoy that delicious taste, you easily merge with it. Then there is just ‘one taste’ and that is universal.  There is nothing else. You pick the ice cream up and there is still a distance, you bring it to your mouth, enjoy it and there is a merging of yourself and the ice cream. You taste a strawberry ice cream and you’re gone, the ice cream is gone, too: one taste. What’s the reality? You can say nothing more about it, except that you and the ice cream are one. So you clearly recognize non-duality on the sensory level: that’s how it is.

The separation also disappears with the hearing sense. You hear beautiful music and you go right into it: the separation disappears. The merging ‘I hear/am the music’ develops itself spatially and creates literally infinite enjoyment. [There is the sound of a fire engine.] You hear the sound of the siren and you can’t say whether it’s somewhere outside, or whether it’s present in your own sphere. There is a non-duality and it has the tendency to strengthen all by itself, because you easily become the sound of the siren.

Seeing is highly dualistic, because seeing sets something up in a fixed distance. Because we in the West are very visually oriented, in our ideation everything exists at a distance. Duality reigns. But there is also another kind of seeing, an sensitive kind of seeing where distance is not present. When you see from your heart, you notice that you see yourself in the things you are seeing. You see the light of the sun and you let the light come into you. Every distance is gone. Sun and self are no longer separate. From out of your heart you see that self-light everywhere. You see someone else from your heart. The distance falls away and you can immediately determine: there is no duality with the other but a non-duality. You’d have to use force in order to maintain a distance towards the other. You ’d have to make a real effort, paying attention to and maintaining that distancing: I am here and the other is there. When a little relaxation arises, you automatically sink into it. You go back to a sensitive seeing from your heart and the separation disappears. With relaxation it disappears automatically. Seeing the sea is disappearing into it.

Keeping distance, that is tension. Look again at what happens when you maintain that distance. Then there is a notion of yourself, regardless of what you see, which is apart from the others that you see. The world, the others, are kept at a distance. What appears, what you see, is not allowed not come too close to you, not into your territory. In that sense, you create a wall. In that sense you make yourself hard. In the energy of that distance-creating-seeing is the energy which keeps the other at a distance. ‘I’ see ‘you’ there. Do you see the tension creating distance of each objectification? That also applies to all those different future events which people tend to fear: they must remain at a distance, all those less attractive eventualities. Go now and look on the energetic level. Then you immediately see that you are the force which keeps everything at a distance, especially the things that are not so beautiful. Relaxation means acceptance, such a complete acceptance that everything is allowed to come close, so close that it merges with yourself. This applies also to the suffering that you see. Then there is more than just pity, more even than a compassion which still knows a distance. Really, other things and other people may come so close that you merge with them. That’s the point of non-duality. There is no separation anymore between being yourself and being something and someone else.

Sensitive seeing from out of your heart, the feeling experience, is a very sensitive consciousness. There are no boundaries in it. You can directly confirm: it is universal consciousness. Therefore, there’s also the immediate universal joy. The universal Being-Consciousness-Bliss is immediately there in the opening. If you don’t hold back and there is a deep relaxation, then right away there is a conscious recognition of non-duality as the reality. So it’s not just a feeling. And it’s not merely psychological, because you can see that it concerns that one Being-Consciousness. So the two sides come together: consciousness and that directness of being without distances. That is something that many people have difficulty with, because in seeing and hearing, in becoming aware, a distance is almost always created. How is the recognition of non-duality ever possible?  It’s very simple: there is an internally sensitive consciousness, not only in the feelings, but also in seeing.  In that awareness, phenomena just appear without distance. Within that they also disappear once again. They are there as physical impressions in the one body of your Self. They can come, they can also leave. So in that internal consciousness, there is no dependence upon phenomena. When they come, there is a non-duality with the inner experience of being or of the total merging and disappearance of all distances. When they don’t come, there is pure consciousness or the dissolving of all into the Origin. Is that clear?