Archive for January, 2009

So at a given moment, the experience will come that sets a hatchet into your body: the inside-out. 
January 26, 2009

Advaita Post, Volume 10 No. 2

Image from a space probe to Saturn (2004); the light dot is the earth.


An introduction and talk on January 17, 2007

Bodily inside-out (Part 6)

Visitor: I find it so odd that turning inside-out can be felt almost physically.
Douwe: It should happen on the bodily level too, otherwise you can get stuck there. That’s where the hardest knot of identification is. You should experience the inside-out then in your own bodily feeling sphere. With the return to yourself, ‘yourself’ is first and foremost physical. You should experience that a reversal happens there: the inside-out.

You say: “I am myself most in the core of my heart.”  So you go back to the center of your heart. There everything is turned inside out. The internal space of the heart appears to be greater than everything, absorbs everything.  In your experience the area of the heart is physical. It is this bodily being-sphere that expands itself infinitely and becomes universal.

The body has cosmic dimensions. You are that body, so a universal self-being arises there without a center. First, there was a center, but the center has opened from the inside out and reverses. Then there is a universal self-being. Because it is physically experienced, the experience is very clear and concrete. If it is not bodily, the experience remains vague, if there is any experience at all, and nothing changes on the level of the body. So at a given moment, the experience will come that sets a hatchet into your body. On the physical level it will break open.

 Not like a hatchet, but more like a balloon that pops open.
OK, but still the inside-out, as the balloon pops.

See that tiny space in the center of your heart, that center of self-being, and that space becomes larger than anything else. Then you experience that your real situation is always like that, that the self-being of everyone, of every living creature, is the infinite space, that there is no multiplicity in self-being, that actually there is only non-duality.

As long as you are still confined to the body, you experience the endless space: Brahman, from out of your ‘I’-center in that body.  ‘I’, as a physical human being, am really nothing in comparison to Brahman.

Go back to the center of your heart. That breaks open and you experience the Self as identical with Brahman.

Then the body is no longer experienced?
As long as there is something to experience, you experience it inside-out as self-being, so long as you experience your own body as self-being.

You can first look at the everyday situation of your own body. In the internal sphere of your body isn’t there already a non-duality? Internally you feel your left hand and you feel your right hand. There is a non-duality. Why? Because that is all included in the sphere of yourself. Go further: your left and right shoulder …

 But you can also look with your eyes at one or the other hand.
Yes but then you return to an external viewpoint of the experienced things to establish a limited position and then there is duality. Now it’s a matter of going very clearly internally into your own body to recognize that there is a non-duality. You don’t set yourself up in the position of your right shoulder and say: “Left shoulder – buzz off; you’re a competitor.” When this sphere of non-duality becomes universal, then you find that everything in your own body exists in a non-duality. You yourself are everything! Then all competition is gone, all combat and every war.

 I find it easier to experience the space in which everything is in me.
But that experience still has a bodily quality doesn’t it? You should experience it as concretely as possible, otherwise it doesn’t work and remains a vague awareness. You must experience it very concretely as you experience your own body internally. Otherwise, it just stays more or less theoretical.

 I have the idea that I don’t feel my body internally.
That’s not good. Fortunately, it’s not true. Just for once feel your left foot …

 I thought we just confirmed that there’s nothing.
As long as there is a body, it is there. You sit in your body, so it’s good to experience something from the inside-out. If you clench your left or right fist and relax it once again, then don’t you feel your hands from the inside-out? Let them go again … Now, that’s what I mean.

I look from inside-out in my head.
You’re positioned very strongly in your head, but isn’t everything  in your body in a kind of non-duality? Isn’t it all your own internal sphere?

If you were to be less centered in your head, your sense of self would be more spread throughout your whole body and therefore the experience of non-duality would be stronger.


Skating: balance and stillness in gliding side to side: life.
January 14, 2009

Advaita Post, Volume 10 No. 1

How to skate?

Out of nothing
there’s the universe
of being-awareness with a white field and
a legged body.
Balance in the center,
creation comes with movement:
weight leaning and
mass flowing towards one side.

Despite imbalance, balance remains

in action.
Going with the shifting means
staying in balance.
The movement continues until
it’s exhausted

and then reverses.
Fortunately, another leg continues

in the other direction.

In balance, there is a gliding side to side.
There is a flying forward on the plain, while
stillness remains.
That’s life, as long as it’s there.



An introduction and talk on November 19, 2008 in Gouda

The ocean and the waves

Douwe: We have spoken about all different kinds of approaches to non-duality here. What else is there to discuss? Let’s take another look at an important metaphor in order to gain a better recognition of non-duality: the famous picture of the ocean and the waves. Everyone knows it, but it’s worth trying to see more precisely what it means.

The image isn’t used for its own sake, rather the intention is for you to recognize something about yourself.  This recognition will come only if you literally experience yourself in the picture. It’s a kind of imagination in which the distance to the image disappears. Then its inner meaning becomes clear to you. It’s an old image from the ancient Upanishads later found throughout the Advaita tradition and beyond.

Starting with your experience of yourself as a person, you can experience that you sink into the ocean, dissolve within it and yourself are the ocean. You can also identify yourself with a wave. Then you sit behind your eyes and look at the other waves in the distance. You note: “I am different from the other waves.” They are something other; some are higher. You also want to become higher. But you experience that you are becoming less and are likely to disappear. You’d do anything to extend your life as a wave.

Of course you can also see that you are nothing but the ocean and that the other waves are also the ocean and so the same as you. This experiential transition is a process in which a change in identification occurs. That process is an object-meditation. Within that process you initially focus quite strongly in your imagination on the ocean as object, so that you experience the ocean very realistically including the waves. You shouldn’t pass over this phase of reality formation, because otherwise the ocean will just remain as a mental image. This ocean can become very real, and unfathomably deep. You can meditatively remain with the ocean as experienced reality in such a way that the distance disappears. In your own experience then you sink into the ocean, you get lost in it and merge with it. So you really experience yourself as the ocean with its waves. As wave, there is the experience that your existence continues downwards, that you are unfathomable. As ocean you experience your bottomless depth that sticks its head out somewhere up above. From that vantage point, there is a viewpoint towards the other waves. It’s clear that if you identify yourself with one wave and its viewpoint, then you forget your own self-being. Then you are busy, judging, wishing and willing. Fortunately, the consciousness can remain spacious, or in any case can become spacious once again. It’s clear that the little wave is just a surface phenomenon which is nothing compared to the ocean. You are the ocean, which now and then includes phenomena on the surface.  Therefore the little waves aren’t different one from another.

So these are two different ways of knowing. In the wave there is an observation of objects from a distance. In the ocean, returning to yourself as feeling awareness, there is an internal knowledge, an internal being-experience that you are the whole ocean. Directly experience yourself as touching all coasts; directly experience the other waves in your inner life as yourself.  Look once again at your hand. You can look from out of your eyes towards your hand as an object, for example as an object from which you might remove a splinter. You can also be aware of your inner sphere, for example while touching and feeling something. Then you’re already in your hand. Then your hand is not an object. Your hand observes and you are your own hand, as subject of perception. While you look at your hand, you can let your point of view point descend. Your perspective lowers, and thereby you get closer to your own body until you merge. The separation between yourself as a subject and object disappears. You can imagine the descending movement as a V – see the V-model in the book “Non-duality”.  At first there is (at the top) a separation between observer and observed, while (descending) there is a convergence, and eventually a merging. What you experience depends on your point of view.  You can remain aware of the different perspectives simultaneously while you see your hand and at the same time internally feel yourself. This applies also in relation to other things and other people.

Visitor: Then that is a feeling and seeing.

Seeing and feeling come together. The seeing is built into the feeling sphere in which there are no separations. As you see yourself in the mirror, you can say that you see an image. And you are not an image. That non-being, which is clear in the aware seeing, merges with the being which is clear in the feeling of that image. This becomes evident as you take distance and become more aware on a deeper level.

Then this is an internal view.

Yes, an internal consciousness without identifying yourself exclusively behind your eyes or on the tip of a wave, while you simultaneously realize that you as being-awareness are not dependent upon the experienced forms.