This can dissolve only when you experience that you are more spacious than your contraction; see where that leads.

Advaita Post, Volume 11 No. 2

“What was my condition, before there was experience? Who was there to answer this question? … that ‘I’ which has no shape and doesn’t know itself as ‘I am’. “

*(See Information below)


Text Satsang

From a  talk in Gouda on August 30, 2009 (Part 2)

Contraction and expansion

Visitor: For me, sometimes there is a constricted situation. Then consciousness is completely closed off and there is even a physical cramp.  Then I notice that I have a tendency to try to run away from it.

Douwe: However it is: it’s always possible to just sit still. See what happens when you sit still and leave the situation as it is. Just leave it.

Look, more space just comes while you remain sitting there so quietly. Notice it. What kind of space? It’s the space of your feeling being-awareness. What’s going on with you in this situation: yes, there is the expansion of your own aware sphere, of yourself. You receive more space than that of the contraction. Great. Keep observing: how is it then with the space in relation to the constriction? The cramp is present in that space. Therefore the energy tension that is there can dissolve in the space.

This process is somewhat parallel to that of ordinary physics. In normal energetics when there are other forces at work an imbalanced situation can arise. If a body is in uniform motion and there are no other forces acting upon it, then that motion will continue indefinitely. If there is to be a change, a force must be applied, there must be an event of energetic force. This applies also to the concentration of energy. If there is no concentrating force functioning, then that energy will dissipate evenly in the space. That’s the law of entropy. There is a radiator, or here is a candle flame, and there is space. The heat spreads itself evenly in the room.

This applies also to the concentration of emotional energy. When you feel tension, it is an emotional energy which is blocked by an external obstruction or by internal forces near to the centre of the tension. As these forces disappear through relaxation, the previously held energies expand and spread themselves evenly in the space, that is dissolving. Somewhere you experience cramps or stress, and there is a much greater space. Within that space a relaxation of the contracting forces happens rather easily. In the space they have less and less hold. The pieces of energy will then expand and dissolve. When you stay somewhat aware of your own space you can see that happen. With small energetic disturbances dissolution occurs very easily. But with serious tensions it happens in precisely the same way.

So where should you look: the space and not the contraction. Of course, it’s also present within the greater space, but because you no longer sit in the centre of tension, the holding power isn’t there any more. So when the internal holding power of the ego isn’t there any longer, all the accumulated tension-energy flies away. Better off without it!

In your consciousness-space you see and feel how much you maintain your own contraction. You can say that it has arisen through a long period of construction. But when you become aware of the whole situation, it’s simply absurd that you let it continue to exist, which is to say that you continue to exert the force to hold on tightly to that energy. Internally there is still the idea of an ‘I’: “that belongs to me”, “I have to hold onto myself”; “I have to keep this whole thing under control”. That’s an illusion. When you see the suffering caused by that illusion, then isn’t it absurd that you still want to hold it all together? You must see how ridiculous that is.

That illusion especially concerns your self-image. You should take a look at how much you have invested in it. It’s an illusory idol. You know how it goes with idols: they eat their devotees.

You see it and see through it, and through that the magic spell is broken. That magic trick you learned to know so well. When you notice that there is still an energy where you are stuck, you say: now that’s enough; now that nonsense of constantly acting so pompous really must stop.

Is the illusion an idea from yourself?

It’s a certain image of yourself that you have, either half-consciously or unconsciously, with the quality: “this is important because this is me”, and even: “this is the most important”. That’s an illusion.

Is the self-image a thought?

No, it’s not just a thought. It goes much deeper. Of course, it’s also a thought, but it exists on all levels of your existence. It works on unbelievably deep levels, so also the physical, and the feeling. You have to see all the way through it to that great depth.

When the identity with that particular image is no longer there, life can continue in a free manner. Then there is the normal course of things: every organism grows, becomes adult, moves off and disappears again. Take a look at Schiermonnikoog [an island off the coast of the Netherlands]: you see gulls there in all different stages of decomposition. It naturally belongs to them. When you see that, isn’t it absurd that you attach such great importance to your corruptible body, that you give yourself so completely over to it, that you hang yourself up there?

 In relations with other people there are all kinds of crosscurrents. Then shouldn’t you do something?

Don’t close off the space. Stay in the infinite self-space.  Nothing else really needs to be done. Everything happens by itself.  Heartbeat and breathing, seeing and hearing, walking and talking, getting things ready, washing things up, it all happens by itself.

As you look back in your life, you can see all kinds of events. Then you can also directly confirm it:  all the things in this life are events that happen by themselves in the great space. So then do you still need to identify with the person there in those photos? No, you survey everything afterwards from a distance and say: that’s naturally how things go in that great space.

How is it with yourself? All the things of life are very temporary: they appear and disappear once again. If you live for over one hundred years – what is one hundred years now – there is nothing more to find of this little person. Maybe somewhere there is still a grandchild or so that has heard something about that grandfather or grandmother. But that’s nothing. So your life is principally relative: a piece of life that flares up and then that piece dissolves again in the great whole. So do you still need to make it more important than it really is? By making things in the world and in your life personally important, you preserve something of your personal self and directly that means that that constitutes a part of your ‘I’-identity. Which directly means that everything that happens to all those things, happens to you. If you identify yourself with your life, you know that when you die, your life will end.

When you have returned to your Self a little bit, you say: that’s nonsense. When you are free from personal constraints, you are everything.

Keep it very simple and very pure. Imagine that you are free from everything which is temporal, which exists under conditions. Apparently it is so.

When a conditioned energy pops up again and you have the tendency to make it very important, just immediately turn back again and experience that you are more and much larger than the phenomenon so that the contraction can dissolve therein. Do this constantly, constantly! See where it leads.

It is directly clear and very simple.

Is there anyone who doesn’t find it to be like that?


* Information

The dust cover pictured above is from the new book containing previously unpublished dialogues of Nisargadatta Maharaj from 1979-1980: De bron van het zijn [The source of being] (ISBN 978 09 77194 07 2, 162 pages, 15.95 Euros).  Next week the book will appear from Advaita Uitgeverij  (in Dutch).  For further information and possibilities to order see the website: Nisargadatta Maharaj, De bron van het zijn


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