Archive for December, 2008

Nothing and no one is excluded, because there is nothing else. 
December 23, 2008

Advaita Post, Volume 9, Number 20

A recognition of the overwhelming silence is wished for all

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From Schiermonnikoog, June 11, 2008

Silent night

There is the great silence. You can open yourself up to that and then it’s experientially evident.

Externally, you can experience the great silence despite the hustle and bustle of the world. You can always tune yourself in more and more accurately. You can open yourself up very precisely to the very essence of silence.  Then the great silence manifests itself very strongly. That can become so overwhelmingly strong that the rest of all your limitations are swept away. It can also come over you spontaneously as grace, the realization of the great silence, the expansion into that great silence.

Going within you discover the deep silence within yourself, too. When you return to the source of your self all sorts of worries fall away, all sorts of things that you identified with. With further insight you can release them so that they’re no longer a factor. In the center of yourself, the center of your heart, it’s quiet and free.  When you can be consciously present there in that center, the small space appears to be infinite. There is an infinite silence. That infinity merges with the great silence which initially you might have experienced as external. The external silence and the internal silence come together, they are identical. The great silence as the essence of the cosmos in which everything is absorbed and the internal great silence of formless self-being being-awareness merge. The self-being is released from its restrictions into the Silence.

The one great silence is the foundation of everything. Whatever phenomena arise there, they arise out of that. Within it all phenomena disappear once again. For example, the phenomenon of the body. Often it’s not there, sometimes it is, and then there might be the experience of a body that moves. A few moments later and it’s gone again. When it is there, you are that body also from the inside-out, as it walks.

In the same way you experience the sea gull that flies, you know what it means to have wings, wings to use, to fly, to sail on the wind. You know from the inside out what it is to leap through the dunes like a rabbit, to nibble on the young leaves, to dive quickly away when a hunter comes. From the inside out you feel it.

In the same manner you are each man, whoever it is. When the Silence is there, you feel your own self-being in every man. Nothing and no one is excluded, because nothing else is. There is only an inexpressible silent greatness.

When you clearly recognize “this is it”, you become free, everything becomes free, an entirely new creation comes into being.

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If once, just once, you actually let go into the overwhelming experience…
December 15, 2008

Advaita Post, Volume 9, Number 19

A demonstration
Let’s take up the call for the release of the absolute dictates of the ego’s reality-dream

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An introduction and talk in Gouda May 14, 2008

The Non-duality of experience, Part 5: Conquest and surrender

I can be overwhelmed by a flower…
When there is just one moment of being overwhelmed with awareness. Then there’s the recognition of where it’s going. Is it there one hundred percent?

When that happens with the flower, there is something of it, but it gets cut off.
Apparently you set yourself back into the everyday personality too quickly. There is the irreducible wonderful experience “flower” and then it’s over. Too bad, because it’s a wonderful opportunity. If once, just once, you actually let go into the overwhelming experience…

How do you do that?
By continually observing, very alert and extremely passive. Then you see what happens when a flower arises in such a magnificent way. Wonderful, even if it’s only a simple dandelion, what comes towards you has the tendency to overwhelm. you can recognize that primal situation in which you find yourself from the inside. Then you know what it means that you’re no longer going to act like a person who judges the phenomenon from a distance. No, you let the flower fully enter and in that ongoing process the awareness occurs.

So you let yourself, you let yourself…
You let yourself be overwhelmed, while you remain internally aware. You can even faint from the beauty and yet remain conscious.

The moment that a tendency arises to judge it … What do you do?
When it goes well, you say: “I’ll stay alert to the beauty and let myself relax even further.” Then there’s the internal clarity, through which the relaxation and the further process can continue. That’s why we’re still talking about it, as far as it goes, so that you can continue to acquaint yourself with all the different aspects. You become familiar with that area and then know its possibilities. You step hundreds or thousands times into the trap of the judge, but gradually you see that it can be different.

In that moment you consciously stop the activity of the mind? 
When you consciously want to stop thinking, you’re already back in the “I do” and “I want”. Rather, it’s much more about an original situation in which an orientation is still possible. It’s somewhat comparable to learning a skill, such as in a sport. When you go further in a sport, at a certain moment you experience that you are able to do things much better than you have ever been able to do from a mental consciousness. That perfection comes from an internal clarity within which the knowledge is “just let it happen.” Then you experience that it develops further by itself. So it’s much more of a “knowing how” on a physical level than “knowing that” on the mental level. That “knowing how” is implicit in the event. It’s an aware knowing, but there is no “I should” and “I do” involved. It is a conscious event that happens by itself. It’s not to be analyzed into basic commands which you could include in a computer program.

So that’s total surrender.
It’s a complete surrender, yes, with internal awareness. For as long as there is a closed ‘I’, that ‘I’ surrenders itself to something that is much greater. And then you see that this ‘much greater’ manifests itself everywhere, even in the ordinary enjoyment of an ice cream or the viewing of a flower. So in every experience it can be recognized. That happens in a situation in which there is no resistance. So emotionally it means, again: experience more from the heart. The love within allows the borders to disappear.

I was on a vipassana meditation retreat, and my attention was attracted towards a beautiful red flower. But we had been given instructions that we weren’t to look at anything. I noticed that I wanted to smell that flower, so I looked around to see if anyone was looking. I saw no one, but when I went towards that flower, suddenly a guard popped up: “Don’t touch the flower.”  I was very shocked, but obviously it had to do with the fact that I had followed with my mind.
The vipassana meditation is a specific type of practice. It is a meditation that focuses on maintaining a distance. So you consistently keep viewing all phenomena at a distance, and eventually label them.  In a certain phase it is useful in order to be less identified with all sorts of things, to break through standardized patterns and experience the “emptiness”.  But if that remains the only approach, you’ll stay in duality.  It’s not advisable to stay busy too long with vipassana. That there is a awareness of the phenomena at a distance is very good, but the process should proceed even further in the direction of non-duality. That means once again that you’re going to be aware of yourself as an observer. Then everything becomes open, so that all phenomena may return in a non-duality. In such openness, there is no separation any more between yourself and the flower which appears.

What about surprise and astonishment?
Then there is an original opening from a relatively closed ‘I’ situation. In the ‘I’ situation the experienced reality is pretty firmly set around the ‘I’ with its interests. When something suddenly comes that breaks the boundaries of that world, there’s a surprise because it’s something new, or even something that seems mysterious. I now speak about the possibility that the situation will develop further. What does it mean that the greatness, the mystery, can totally manifest itself? Doesn’t that mean that the ‘I’ will be swept away?

You have often said to us: “What holds you back from letting this development continue on to its completion?”
Yes, but stick to the question. Keep centered on it in your understanding of the infinite continuity of the process. It lets you become aware of resistances, to the extent that they exist. They will disappear in the sphere of your spacious awareness and relaxation,. That means that the situation of an ‘I’ in opposition to the beautiful things that it has surrounded itself with disappears.
So go along with the relaxation and remain alert. If you consistently find that you close your world off again, then yes, it’s necessary to get to know that mechanism. Apparently. The same holds true for the way in which you experience everything. Then you see that in the experience itself, the distance to you as experiencer disappears, that the experience unfolds beyond any separation between yourself and what you experience. In that unfolding the duality disappears. Then you find that the groundless non-duality is present in every experience, the fundamental mystery in every experienced phenomenon. Then, you see that you yourself are That.

Everyone knows that love and clarity are the most important elements in parenting.
December 2, 2008

Advaita Post, Volume 9, Number 18

Advaita Post 9, 18

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An interview with Douwe Tiemersma by Pia de Blok

Parenting

With a newly born child the slate is clean. The child is completely open and relaxed. How can you, as a parent, let the child keep that state from the beginning while simultaneously teach him to make a spot for himself in the world?
With this question you are talking about parents who think “I must educate that child.”  You can talk about it on a practical level. How it goes with the child depends very much on the situation of the parents. The child’s state is wide open and that’s clear to the parents. They see the child, and find it beautiful, because it’s totally open. That’s attractive. On the other hand, there’s also a growing life that needs to find a place for itself in society. When the parents see both aspects, then a place for both can be found. First of all, they must recognize the openness of the child within themselves. Then they discover that a total openness can exist, while the social processes and relationships still continue in a good way. When they don’t recognize that openness in themselves, then they educate the child with an emphasis on adaptation to society. The recognition of the openness doesn’t need to be limited just to the period of the young child.  It’s really about the parents becoming conscious of themselves.

Children today are very busy. In kindergarten there are already signs of stress. How can we insure that they remain grounded in stillness in this busy world where children are so stressed and have to try to do everything?
It’s best when the parents have recognized the realm of silence within themselves and then that is clearly experienced at home. A child grows up within that there. From that sphere, the insight can grow that it’s not necessary to run after so many things. To remain yourSelf in an atmosphere of silence: that’s what a child experiences and appreciates.

Naturalness

According to recent surveys 68% of the young people between ages ten and fourteen years experience stress. (source http://www.kidsweek.nl).
You shake your head when you see such a situation and ask yourself how it could be altered. You see the kind of suffering that it is and you hope that gradually more people can see what causes it. You can’t point to just one factor as a cause, because there are many different social factors, such as the pressure and the stress of the parents. That has always been a factor, but now the stress is almost epidemic.

Nowadays there are too many possibilities and therefore many young people don’t do anything anymore. For example, they drop out of school. In Rotterdam in 2008 a thousand young people lived on the street. What precisely is the core cause of all these problems in young people at this time?
The assumed forms of living together and of shaping life are much less prevalent now than previously. Before, it was simply natural that the son of the carpenter would become a carpenter. This natural process isn’t there anymore. Still you can show the child a certain naturalness, for example you live and have vitality in doing something, so it’s obvious that you are going to do things and if you don’t, then there’s something wrong.

As a youth, you are looking for happiness and all possibilities stand wide open, so you think “everything’s possible”, but still you are missing the realism of the adult.  So, you try everything out. Did you do that too?
Sure. That’s what all young people do. That’s certainly not bad, except when things continue and get stuck, such as smoking, drug use and alcohol. Then a new habit is formed which creates unnecessary limitations. Then it’s no longer about experimentation, but about continuing, so that it becomes the normal state of living. Then young people can get stuck there.

According to psychological insight the behavior of teenagers has to do with the brain. 
When you look from a particulat point of view, you will find certain phenomena. So from a neurological viewpoint you can say that what happens in the brain has a great influence. You can make a connection to the changes in behavior. But, of course, you can look everywhere: to the behavior, to the brain, to the experience, and to the energetic sphere in which teenagers live.  You can connect those features with one another, but you shouldn’t select just one out as the cause of everything. You could say that for each one of the other factors.

In Delft some eleven year olds were recently brought into a clinic in a coma with delirium. Where does the responsibility lie for the parents in a situation like that?
Yes, that’s very severe, they drink themselves senseless. The responsibility of the parents decreases from sixteen years on, but with a twelve-year-old you say: “Stop”.  And you enforce that. The point is that you must protect your children from situations that are dangerous for them.

Young people also expect us to say “that’s not good.”
Yes of course, that’s normal.

But sometimes you see that parents want to stay friends with their child.
When that’s too strong, then it’s an error. The relationship of parent to child is not that of friends. You can deal with them amicably. But because of the generation gap and the role that parents have in relation to the child it’s a very different relationship than that of friendship.

Letting go of the ‘I’-concentration

What do you say about children who are treated like adults?
That’s not right because they don’t have the overview that an adult has.

Actually, how did this idea occur?
In the 70’s any authority was rejected and in response you got the anti-authoritarian parenting where children were left completely alone. It was a correction to a too rigid patriarchal authoritarian situation. That there was a correction is good. But if all regulation is thrown away, then you see that children don’t have guidance any more. Indeed, they do need it. That guidance doesn’t mean absolute rules, but above all, a normal state of affairs in the home. That brings peace. That calm can be a good basis for openness.

Young children experience that everything is interconnected, that inexpressible in which everything proceeds by itself and is good. They lose that when they hit puberty. Is that ‘loss’ of the inexpressible the reason for the frequent occurrence of anxiety and loneliness in puberty?
That loss of the unity of experience goes along with the formation of a separate ‘I’-person. In puberty wide horizons open, even though the ‘I’ is frequently unstable. That ‘I’ is very worried about itself and is uncertain about the choice of adjusting to others or whether to go its own way. That great space is frequently  perceived as a ‘nothing’ that comes upon you and makes the world seem futile and the self-being meaningless. That creates loneliness, uncertainty and anxiety.

What do you think of the many antidepressants that are prescribed for young people?
This is an attempt on the level of brain chemistry to tackle depression. To some extent the depression may become less severe. There are many aspects to depression: brain, behavior, experience. You can see if some sort of medication to the brain can help, but that seems effective only up to a certain extent and also, it’s temporary.

How do you take care of a depressed child? 
An increase in insight is an important factor, that he can become a little more aware of himself. “I can stay with this restriction or I can widen my perspective.” That last suggestion is something which brings light to a different side of things than that of the depression. Small exercises which gently relax, may also help. The only definitive solution is a release of the ‘I’-concentration. Parents who themselves have released their own ‘I’-centrality can be helpful.

I recently heard a young man say to his mother: “I never got designer clothes from you, and because of that I was excluded at school and I’ll carry that with me for the rest of my life.”
No rule is absolutely important or true. Clothes are imposed by the age group and marketing. You can let them see that you don’t have to agree on everything. When there are other considerations, such as being excluded, then you can be lenient temporarily. You see that there are greater interests at play, such as being included in a group. That can remain in the foreground for a limited period of time. By discussing this openly the child will later be able to react to alternatives flexibly from a stable self-being.

Insight, openness and love

They call the youth now the MSN generation. They watch TV on an average of four hours a day, following three different soaps. They sit for hours behind the computer and listen to music simultaneously. They surf and zap, and “you can do it all at the same time.”  Many parents have a problem with that. How far should you interfere?
As a parent, hopefully you have a broader insight. When you have a clear understanding into yourself, into the children and the forces behind the phenomena that you’ve spoken of, then the insight will work itself through in what you say and do. It will be adapted to the situation. Primarily there is the overall situation of yourself. Is there understanding, openness and love? And do you have a perspective into what is happening with your children?

Should you ban?
On the one hand you’ll weigh your own perspective and on the other you’ll take the situation of the children into account.

Parenting is adaptation?
Yes, there is adaptation to the child, but your include own insight, too. With understanding and love everything goes by itself in the best, correct way. Then there is a natural adaptation to the situation.
It’s inevitable that with the growth of a young child an ‘I’- person is created through its small scope of consciousness. There is an incarnation of self-being and it runs through the web of the physical body in the world. Through the hardness of the world an individual consciousness is created which can then become aware of its original nature. That is the positive point of incarnation. The parents can assist by not making the limited individuality too hard, by not pinning an identity too firmly onto the child, so that becoming aware has a greater chance. That’s the kind of adaptation that we’re talking about here.

The importance of giving lessons in relaxation in schools has been generally proven.  How can you get schools to include it as a respected activity like sports?
There is so much stress, even in school with examinations and tests, and the unrest that teachers complain about, that it should be a sufficient reason for including relaxation and insight into the curriculum. Also separately from that, the recognition of the value of a relaxed and clear atmosphere should be sufficient reason unto itself.

In practical terms, there is a need for informing parents who want to approach things in a non-dualistic way.
The situation of the parents themselves is critical to the nature of the upbringing. The more the parents are present in an atmosphere of non-duality, the better. So everything that contributes to that is positive. They do well to always look to themselves to see if their mood is the most ideal for the children.

You have children, but you haven’t studied parenting. Even if you are completely open, you still have to deal with it all.
The more spacious and aware it is with the parents, the better it is overall. Of course you can’t expect that of the majority of parents. That’s also how it went with me. You’re at a certain level of development and there is your own pressure at work and then you still have family. But the more that you’ve found yourself, the more open you are, the better it is. It would be good if more attention was given to this fact.

Vital basis

Many children live in the virtual world of the internet. Some become addicted to it and have no real friends anymore. They live in a virtual world as though it is the real one.
When they live in the virtual world, they are separated from their primary vitality to a large extent. For a child it’s normal to move, to be playing soccer with others, to scream and to run. That belongs to a child. Now they sit before a computer where physical vitality has no place, except in the virtual world, while they are still sitting on a chair. Then there are fears and the tension of the “I want to achieve that; I want to reach the next level.”  There is no relationship with the primary life, because it’s a very artificial world that exists only in the head. Physical movements are minimal, which at this point should form the very basis of a normal life. When that vital basis isn’t reinforced, it’s understandable that the life is disturbed.

Our youngest son said recently: “Freedom also exists in limitation. When I constantly stay hanging  out in front of the TV, you say again and again: “Go out and play with a friend.”  I’ve learned a tremendous amount from you. So I have learned partly to be with people but also to be alone, to amuse myself and to take the initiative.”
If a child just hangs out and then he is sent outside, he feels constrained by the command of the parents. Nevertheless, it offers him a greater freedom. You definitely shouldn’t see it on the same level. There is a restriction somewhere in relation to a certain behavior and there is also the desire to do everything without limitation. But that desire remains at the level where there is a major limitation, namely the level of staying stuck and having no meaning. That is a situation of limited vitality and understanding for the child.  That the child is addressed at that level by saying “You go out” is good, because the parent looks to a greater freedom. There are always limitations. So use restrictions that lead to greater freedom. Then the restriction that occurs to the child is a pathway towards freedom. From the higher level, ”You go out” isn’t a limitation. It’s the normal state of affairs for a child to spread its wings. If that doesn’t happen, then major limitations remain.

It was quite difficult to do then, but intuitively I knew that it was for the best. I said that I loved him, but that that’s how it must be. Actually, as a parent you know what’s best.
It always comes down to that. The return to your own knowledge of the situation. That’s also the good sphere of loving openness. Love and clarity are the most important elements in parenting.

Do you have a concrete example from your own upbringing?
That you, even if it’s retrospective, know that your parents love you. This is such an important element in life. It brings peace to the child. When you talk about a good nest, than that is what you mean. That a child experiences “my parents love me.” It is an excellent basis for the child later to relax without limits.

As a parent, should you then above all be yourSelf, preceding all those learned concepts. Is that the punch line of the whole story?
Yes, awareness and loving openness.

Should we at this time care for children any differently?
No, because it’s about the main things that have always existed and so everyone already knows: Clarity, Openness, Love. And that will always remain so.