Archive for February, 2010

The liberating realization of the ‘state’ preceding conditions can only occur when the identification with the I-am disappears.
February 26, 2010

 Advaita Post, Volume 11 No 4

Advaita Poat 11-04

The death of I-am


Text Satsang

From a talk in Gouda on November 18, 2009

The root of all problems

Dowe: We’re going to the core once again tonight, towards the deepest cause of the making of separations. When the deepest knot is untied, duality is resolved. What is that knot?

Visitor: I was at home and saw a clock and it suddenly struck me as something that conditions me. So then I put it away, so that time would go away.

Yes, it’s often said: I’m in a certain situation and I notice that there I am conditioned or will be conditioned by circumstances. For example, I see a clock and I’m immediately back in the limitation of time. Someone calls my name and I’m back in a personal identity: I am so and so. I don’t feel so well and I don’t like it at all, but I sure am conditioned by it. So it goes, on and on. If you are seeking liberation and see the clock, you can say: okay, I won’t concentrate my attention on the clock anymore and then I’m free of time. Then, are you free?

What I realize now is  just that I had attached myself to it.

Exactly. So you see that removing the clock is not a real solution. Seeing that is very important. First you point towards a condition that for you is restrictive and then you try to eliminate that condition in order to save or reclaim your freedom. So, the clock must be put away, or you go to the doctor for relief from your complaints, and so on. It’s clear that that’s not definitive help. Why not? Because you are looking to change an external condition.

But how many conditions are there? Countless, right? Countless! So then you’re very busy. Also there are even more innumerable conditions over which you have absolutely no control, associated with life or with the weather. These continue whether you like it or not. The difficulties still remain, because it doesn’t work to eliminate suffering by improving conditions.

You’re constantly working on conditions. You’re constantly taking care of yourself by trying to change the terms. Then again this and then that. You’re busy with that all day, every day. Putting things in order works fairly well sometimes, but not all the time, and eventually not at all. You sit empty handed with the unpleasant consequences.  It’s good to look very practically at your own situation, for example, that of the clock. You see the clock and you start thinking about time. “Oh yes, it’s eight o’clock; I left home too late; now we’re sitting here for about two hours and then I’ll go back home again; then I’ll be home at about that time “. So your thought is in the context of time. In it you have a specific identity. If you don’t like it, then you put the clock away or direct your attention elsewhere. “It’s OK now because happily I don’t have to think about time anymore.” Temporarily, but later on you’re back at it again.

So you’ll have to look at the deeper cause of the problem, to see if there is a possibility of liberation there. Take a very practical look at what the problem is. What’s the real problem? That you felt that you were caught in time is a surface reaction of something deeper. What is that deeper? What is the deeper cause?

In essence you are unconditioned, timeless.

Yes, but what happens now, when you look at a clock like that and you feel caught again in time? What’s the cause of the problem?

That’s the identification with it, of course.

It’s your identification with a person who thinks that time is important.

Yes, the ‘I’.

Is that completely clear? You see a clock; you create time and immediately place yourself within it. So it’s not about setting the clock aside. I know people who take the clock out of their room because of the ticking. So that’s the surface level. As you come to view things on a deeper level, you see that it’s not about the clock, but yourself. You construct yourself as a person who finds time to be important; you create time and place yourself as a person in time. Let’s continue to look there. What is the cause of that? Why do you identify yourself as a person there in time?

That’s to hold the ‘I’ position, to keep the ‘I’ alive.

So beneath the identity of the person in time is the ‘I’. What kind of ‘I’ is that?

Call it ego.

How do you experience that practically? What precedes the identity of the person?

Maybe a long-running problem with time?

Now you are placing it in time again. So that’s no answer, it’s a cycle. No, take a look to see if there is a deeper cause than time. So then you have to look deeper into yourself! What we call ego, that is the limited self-being. So you see that there is a limited self-being, when you place yourself as an individual in time. But that ego has deeper roots. What is the deeper root?

A sense of life.

Yes, the feeling of existence and the feeling that your existence is important. That’s really the I-feeling, “I am”, “I exist”. There is immediately a certain tendency, a certain impulse, to give the “I am” form. It’s a quest for a form like a foothold in space, in time, with a name, with a physical form, with a self image, with an autobiography, and so forth. “I am here”. And consequently that means: I am in this time, I am this and that and that, and then you get the whole jumble of a person. To see through this situation, first you have to take a look at the knot of the I-am. Can you experience this clearly, this I-am self-being? You have knowledge of it, otherwise the specific interpretation couldn’t take place. It is an I-knowledge that is prior to all interpretations: cultural, social, everything you’ve received from your education.

I think that it’s more: I am someone.

What do you mean by someone?

Someone who … and then you can fill in the blanks: someone in time who, or someone who …

Yes, sure, but when you talk about someone, what does that ‘someone’ then mean? Isn’t that also already an interpretation?  Although you already see that further interpretations are relative, still that someone position stays, you remain within the conditions which are included in that ‘someone’. But what precedes that?

Sometime when you have a day with nothing to do, when you are on vacation, and have slept well, you can awaken very slowly. Then you can become aware of the primary notion: there is an I am, without interpretation. Not: I am somebody. No, because a somebody does something. No, before the doing arises, there is the primal knot of I-am without any further qualities. It is what gives rise to additional interpretations. Within it is the impulse towards differentiation, the power to create duality.

The liberating realization of the ‘state’ preceding conditions, can take place then only when the identification with that I-am disappears.


You needn’t fear death because you already are that great space.
February 8, 2010

Advaita Post, Volume 11 No. 3

Advaita Post 11 03

Sure, you can say: “Horse fly”, but the strangeness makes everything strange, including yourself.


Text Satsang

From a talk in Gouda on August 30, 2009 (Part 3)

Contraction and expansion

Visitor:  I often find that I try to improve things and ideas in order to match them better to my goals and desires, so that they suit me better.
Douwe: This often happens: you’re busy in your work or anywhere and you find that it should go differently, in a way that is better for you or is more desirable. That situation is always a mix, a mixture of the one and the other. Initially there is a greater consciousness, a sense of something that is better and more authentic than what currently exists. Secondly you quickly connect that understanding to a variety of practical goals in the world and in your life. Then you go after it with all the tension which already exists there.

You can look at your own spiritual path in this way. Each path begins with a dual situation in which a person thinks that can he achieve something by committing to one path. “I will adjust my life to what I experience for myself as more authentic.” The positive is that there is already a sense of what is really authentic and that there is the desire to realize it. Of course you know that, because you are that, even though the realization is not yet fully aware. If you keep projecting the authentic onto particular conditions, you’ll notice that you haven’t moved much, and have even gotten stuck. Then, as soon as possible, it’s best to reaffirm what your real impulse is, your true desire, your true authenticity. This goes further and is also closer to you than you could ever imagine. So take a look again at your own situation and stay true to your own notion and impulse from the start. Within it there is already something of the infinite. When you stay aware of “what fits better for you”, then you get a certain development in which the restrictions continue to disappear and proceed towards the infinite openness.

When that happens, then life appears just as it is, organizing itself in the best way possible, however it may go. Principally, there’s no worry any longer; so it’s free.

When the self recognizes its own nature as freedom, then not only the self but everything along with it becomes freed. Your whole life becomes free, your claims on other people become free.  So you release others.

So stay with yourself as an infinitely free sphere. Stay lucid. When you establish it clearly, internally there is the immediate knowledge: this is good.

Sometimes I fall into a deep sleep with great awareness. But up until now I always awaken quite suddenly. It’s a startling response of the physical body.
This is an I-residue with biological roots that suddenly rise back up within the aware sinking into deep sleep. This mechanism doesn’t exist at the mental level, but much deeper. The feeling suddenly arises: “I’m going to die”.

The I-residue arises from that deep seated will: “I want to live”. Then you are at that level. While you sink away into a dreamless sleep, you experience that everything disappears, that you disappear. Apparently there is still such a strong “I-want-to-live” will that it suddenly says: “Stop.” At that deep level, the “I-want-to-live” is a kind of cramp, which opposes further relaxation. In such a situation that cramp can suddenly strike.

And if that doesn’t happen, you go from the waking to the dream state.
The point is that there is usually a closing off of consciousness and there is nothing more for you to worry about. As awareness of this process increases there is a release of the last remnant of ego tension. Just stay aware of yourself as you go to sleep. And keep floating in the sphere previous to the reaction. Confirm it with awareness: here it is so spacious and relaxed; I am myself and it feels good. The process can continue in that familiar realm of self-being without forms. Then it becomes increasingly clear that you are not dependent on an I-remnant for ongoing survival. The self-being doesn’t need to be afraid of death, because it already is that great space. When that becomes somewhat obvious, you can stay longer, you become more relaxed and feel at home.

How can you halt that falling off process for a moment?
This is possible by becoming more aware of the process of relaxation. “Delicious, I feel all the heaviness fall away; I feel the deep relaxation; I feel myself dissolving in infinity, that’s wonderful, because I already am that space.” When that continues to define the situation, there is no fear.

You can compare that fear with agoraphobia (fear of open spaces). How can someone get over it? Of course, behavioral therapy can help by becoming used to the space, but the  question is whether the fear then won’t take on another form. A deep trust must come, for example through someone else who will go with you and say: “Come on; you don’t need to be afraid; you’ll see it will be all right.” Only when more trust comes, you see that there is nothing to be afraid of.

So have trust; it is good.

It is and stays good, because you are yourself and remain so.

The more clearly that you can be aware of yourself on the subtler levels, the better it can go. If you’re not aware of yourself there, there can be a sudden panic which totally disrupts the whole situation. You see that the same processes exist there as on coarser levels. When you are clearly aware of yourself there, you can have trust and let go. That can continue in your conscious feeling sphere, until it’s clear that there’s nothing to hold on to and that there is no self-being that could and would hold on to anything.