When you step into spring isn’t the duality gone?

Advaita Post, Volume 11 No. 7

Advaita Post 11-07

Just enter into the non-duality of spring

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From a talk on March 17, 2010 in Gouda

Spring Experience

Douwe: The disappearance of the ‘I’-person is something very small: something just turns and the little ‘I’ is gone.

Sometimes it only becomes evident when there are strong negative experiences. Sometimes it becomes suddenly apparent when there is a positive experience, for example the experience of spring in the last few days. Everyone thinks the blooming crocuses are beautiful. When it’s possible you go outside. Then there’s the experience that life just seems to blossom again after the winter. What happens in the sphere of yourself? There is no ‘I’-person when you go into nature, the garden, the park and enjoy the sprouting life. That’s only there when you forcefully bring the enjoyment back to your ‘I’-person and start speaking psychologically: “Oh yes, of course, after the winter now it’s spring and it’s a nice feeling.” So again there is the chatter of the person who relates everything to “me” and has to make a comment. But see how differenent it is from that first authentic experience. You should see this difference very clearly because that’s where the same error is always made. You go outside and you see the crocuses blooming, you hear the birds singing. The first authentic, direct experience is there without the presence of an ‘I’. There is a very clear non-duality with the life that is unfolding. You experience then that your own bodily sphere is absorbed into that Life. So it’s about the life that unfolds itself again in the spring. That life has nothing to do with an ‘I’. You too are a part of life in the direct, authentic experience of the budding nature and the frolicking animals. Life wakes up, grows and flourishes and to the extent that you are a body, you experience that you participate in it.

The authentic experience of spring is the experience that you participate in a universal life, that there is a non-duality of yourself and of life, of your own energy and of the cosmic energy. You experience that all the activity of life goes by itself. So you don’t need to ask the “meaning of  your life” any more. Such a question comes from the thinking mind. By thinking you can easily come to the realization “nothing makes any sense”. In the springtime experience you affirm that everything does have meaning. That meaning lies in the vitality of life itself. Isn’t the meaning then given directly? There is no ‘I’-center who must control something from an interpretation. Life unfolds itself, from itself. And there are no limits to that life. It is universal. To the extent that you are a piece of living energy, you experience that you participate in the cosmic living-energy. You see that everything within it runs by itself. The growth, the blossoming, the activity of nest building, it all happens automatically. That people become more active, also happens by itself.

It has another striking aspect, namely that participation in the event brings joy. Everyone finds it beautiful. The more that everything buds, the more beautiful it is and the more joyful it is. Isn’t spring just one big party? One great joy of spring. Are there are still worries there of an ‘I’-person?

All this can be clearly recognized in your own experience. When you can recognize this spring-essence of this being-experience, that universal life energy, and can affirm it in an aware manner – “so that’s it” – that state continues to exist. “My way of being is a universal-being/consciousness/I-am without borders, a universal blossoming.” There are completely no ‘I’-worries any more. It’s the same for everyone. When you reconstruct a centrally-cramped ‘I’, that’s too bad, because by doing so you ruin the whole state.

So the point is that when such an open experience appears, at that moment you recognize it. Every time such an authentic experience arises – and it comes up regularly – it means a great opportunity for you to actually break through your boundaries. There are enough chances, they are always there. It’s about sometime picking up on the chance and that’s how the breakthrough comes.

Stay alert because then you’ll see such openings more and more. When you recognize such an opening and allow the impulse to continue, there is a breakthrough. When you clearly recognize the different possibilities of opening and closing, because you’ve gradually come to know them through looking, then you know exactly how everything works. Then you know how everything really is and then it can stabilize. Therefore, it’s very important that you see very precisely how a small shift occurs from such an authentic experience where everything is open, to the cramped condition in which an artificial ‘I’ associates everything to itself – and vice versa. From your knowledge of these processes, you can hold your orientation so that the authentic sphere remains open. Then there can even be a thinking process, but you just let it go on through, while you remain in the direct experience. In that experience there is both an aspect of yourself, as well as an aspect of everything that is. The non-duality is therein. You see the daffodils blossoming in the sun and you experience yourself as a piece of living energy in the sun. Now, is there still a separation? And then there’s joy. Joy always arises with the disappearance of separations. Is that recognizable? Is it so recognizable that the “this is it” recognition becomes a final breakthrough?

The experience of the external life energy from the plants, flowers, and birds merges together with the experience of the life energy of your own bodily sphere. You are aware of the one vital energy in one space. Experience then that you’re as big as the cosmic energy of life without limits. There is a universal being, and consciously, you are that, too. Therefore, there is a universal being-awareness and that brings universal bliss.

Now, you step into sat-chit-ananda just by going outside. You get a sense of the absolute, when it is your reality in a lucid way.

To a certain extent it’s obvious for everyone. For everyone! When someone in your immediate environment is all huddled up in a cramp then you say, “Hey, go outside and enjoy the spring.” Everyone says that; that’s normal. When the other person is too heavy, we call the contraction pathological. But when you, after you’ve seen the open space, return a little later to the limited condition, isn’t that also pathological?

Take a look at it on the level of the organism, for example, the blossoming of the hyacinth bulb. There is life within and it will develop by itself. A hyacinth that blossoms from the ground up doesn’t sit thinking, “I think I’ll pack it in.” You only find that in some people.

What is the natural state? That life unfolds. How far? Endless. The life energy is universal. Sure, in nature you can have all kinds of factors affecting an organism so that it isn’t able to develop to its full capacity. But in principle it’s the same development which continues. But what happens with people? Before an external inhibiting factor begins to function they already sit holding on to all their inner life energy so that it can’t develop. That’s absurd.

Life is a great miracle. That’s why I studied biology. But if you think life is a miracle, you can have difficulties with your studies. Today the biological sciences are almost exclusively biochemistry and biophysics. Then you’re in a laboratory which has nothing to do with living nature, especially because you’re engaged with mental models and structures in which life is absent. This is so in almost every academic discipline. With the study of philosophy: students encounter genuine questions like “Who am I?” But being engaged with theories can easily lead to nothing more than a head full of concepts. And these concepts are not always linked back to individual living experience. See what it means to remain with your own authentic experience of enjoyment, wonder and joy. It has its depth in the absolute.

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