Archive for June, 2010

In daily experience recognition of the openness starts from your conditions; in insight there is the recognition that you are free of conditions.
June 30, 2010

Advaita Post, Volume 11 No.11

Do you clearly see through all illusions?

Do you clearly see through all illusions?

*

Love and politics

There were several questions about the content of the previous Advaita Post. The most important addressed the realm of what we call the absolute or absolute openness relative to social and political affairs. Of course there are no rules of conduct to draw from the absolute, since the absolute is independent of any substantive definition. Nothing can be said about it, though we have knowledge of it as the source of everything, including ourselves. It cannot be used as an element in an ethical argument for certain moral rules. What people find beautiful and what they find ugly, what is called good and what is called bad, arises on the foundation of absolute openness. In nature there are pleasant and unpleasant things, but this valuation comes from a certain point of view, not from absolute openness.

The last Advaita Post article about love began with the saying: “As long as the being of the cosmos exists, everything is love”. With the creation from out of the absolute first comes space, light-space. From the light-space you can be internally aware of yourself. When you are consciously present there, you can recognize the qualities of being/I am, consciousness/light-being, and bliss-being/love-being. The universal sphere becomes your own sphere, as the limitations of your self-being (ego) disappear. Hence, the suffering that is associated with egocentricity disappears. Then it’s clear that “as long as the cosmos exists, everything is love”.

Love-being knows no boundaries and is therefore a universal non-duality, so there is an original, self-evident goodness and wholeness which precedes oppositions. Hence the non-dual goodness precedes pity and compassion which presuppose a certain duality.

Love-being acts spontaneously in creation, also on the level of self-being which experiences itself as limited and hence suffers. Because love is universal, its expression in life and society happens by itself. Therefore, it’s not about moral rules or a moral emotion. The infinite goodness is original and already exists in the first appearance of the creation-space. So it is the basis of all current life situations. Doesn’t every living creature possess an existence-space which precedes every differentiation and interpretation?

If you want a better society and if you have a sense of the original non-duality, it’s clear that a stronger sense of that in society is the most important basis for improvement. That ‘improvement’ means to become more ‘one’ in an aware manner, the falling away of divisions and of egocentricity. In relation to this direction of development, the nature of every behavior, as criteria, becomes clear, including political behaviour. Everything is placed in the light and through this the nature of the action is revealed. Hence, from the space of wholeness and even more so from the absolute, any closing off of an ‘I’ or of a group, and every absolutization of an ‘I’ or of ideas, is broken open. That was the role, among others, of the Old Testament prophets. That is the love which displays a harsh aspect for those who close themselves off. So real spirituality has strong political relevance through experiencing the space that exists before and beyond all politics. It is original goodness and love, as long as there is something. Sooner or later, this space breaks any closed area up and that can be perceived as hard. Yet it is nothing other than ‘healing’. In this context, practical behaviour happens by itself in the great whole.

Talk

Visitor: You spoke about ‘your concentration’ on the specific energy of something, such as a horse. Can that only come from an ‘I’, or can it come from freedom?

Douwe: When it is open with you, there is no ‘I’ that is concentrated on something. When, from a limited identification with the body/mind you sense that something of the openness manifests, it’s valuable in the context of your ability to go through that opening, into the real openness. If you accept that invitation, you forget your own self.

With Tai-chi you feel precisely how the other moves, you feel the energy of the other and through that you can seek out his weak spot. Then there certainly is the openness in the together-moving, but I notice that through it I also come back again into my ‘I’.

That’s not the highest Tai-chi. You can at least imagine that it could be possible for you to no longer be positioned in the body which you call ‘my body’, that you are the being-awareness in which everything takes place in a straight forward manner. Then a transition happens from the ‘I’-position where you scan the other, to a release of yourself in the great whole of non-duality. There is totally no distance between yourself and the other.

Someone comes along who wants to give you a shove. Then how can I avoid staying positioned inside the body?

You will have experienced sometime that you are not specifically situated in the body. Of course, you are the body and you experience it also from within. Simultaneously you experience it from without, in space. When both perspectives coincide, everything really goes by itself.

That’s usually the case when you are walking on a narrow plank over a ditch. You experience your body from within and you also have an awareness from without. You monitor the situation from without in order to stay vertical over the hole and to continue taking firm steps. By becoming aware from a distance of that which at first was your own home, as body, you can let it relax. Also, with even more difficult activities, everything happens by itself. Then there is a great whole in which everything happens spontaneously, without you in it, without tensions, in a very direct way. And that’s the best way.

I  was wondering, when you spoke about naiveté, if naiveté can coincide with alertness? For example, you are enjoying nature, and suddenly you have to navigate a very slippery path. Then you must pay attention to avoid slipping.

Sure, but do you have to dive back then into the person who is afraid of slipping? That’s it. In that continuously spacious being-awareness you can also see that there is a process in which alertness proceeds all by itself.

Perhaps with this kind of naiveté you can slip more easily, because you don’t find it so important?

That depends on your consciousness. When you are stabilized in yourself as being-awareness then there is the greatest possible clarity and that is best for the progression of events. When you stay positioned only in the body – I have already spoken about that – then you have a blind spot and can fall very easily.

When it’s truly lucid, then you see when someone is trying to trick you. Then you think: “Oh let him do his mischief. It’s just a children’s game.” If children would try it, you’d laugh as well. So you see the adult world that is full of such games and you laugh at it. Just look at politics: when you see the hypocritical fuss, you have to laugh. But sometimes you wonder if people will ever grow up.

The point is: with yourself, don’t let it go on indefinitely.

In essence, you indicate that naiveté is more important than alertness?

No, keep it as an aware naiveté, a naiveté with a very clear internal consciousness. Thus a being-awareness of yourself with the entire depth of self-being, one that’s not stuck in an ‘I’ that wants to defend itself.

There was a story of a samurai or such who so alert that no one could tackle him. He was always so aware of his surroundings that he was even aware of any possible attack in his sleep. That might be great for a combat sport, but it’s not appropriate for liberation because there’s still a kind of bodily consciousness with a focus.

You’ve got it. Indeed, almost 100% of all martial arts are about people with a slightly enlarged consciousness from a center aimed at not being taken themselves.

Excellent, but consider for yourself what the consequences are: focus on the clarity that the expansion of your original being-awareness promotes. That clarity is not closed and is therefore open to the world, as long as there is one.

Yes, that’s clear to me. From a certain openness, I made tremendous progress in Tai chi and suddenly it became important through receiving a compliment. I noticed that in the following days I felt completely stuck.

So in the expansion of awareness you see it and, once again, it’s clear what’s going on. So, when there is an opening presenting itself somewhere, a transition to an open field of being-experience, go completely into it. Then ‘I’-elements disappear.

There is the story of Ashtavakra. Due to a curse from his father he was born with eight physical disabilities, because while Ashtavakra was still in the womb, he corrected his father’s Sanskrit. Ashtavakra was not troubled by his deformities and became a great sage. Later, when the curse was lifted, he became a handsome youth.

Again, that’s also recognition. It happened to many who visited Nisargadatta. You saw that he had an advanced state of throat cancer, but that did not determine his suffering. That also applied to the location of the house with its noise, odors and awful disorder. Then you can confirm that the Truth has nothing to do with that. And there were women who took the incense sticks because they smelled so spiritual. “Ah, I light incense just to dispel the smell of the public toilets outside,” Nisargadatta then said.

No, don’t be so careful about circumstances. Be happy if you experience an opening somewhere in which the ‘I’-tensions disappear. In the internal expansion of consciousness your openness stabilizes and becomes free of conditions. And that will happen. True openness is not dependent on conditions. Starting from a personal situation at first you have to deal with conditions, those that are more convenient and useful than others. But, when you experience something of an opening, stay focused on the essence of the opening. Go precisely towards what the essence of that opening is. You experience a bit of openness when you go out into the spring. What is the essence of that? That is life which always proceeds in its development, that is universal living energy. Then you see that your situation is the universal life energy and that it’s not dependent on the condition of going out into the spring, or of the nice weather. When you stay with the essence, it remains stable, even though circumstances can change.

Is that clear? That’s really very important. A first recognition occurs somewhere in the phenomena. Take a look at what the essence of that is and remain with that essence so that it can clearly manifest. This also means that you recognize it as your own essence. When you are stabilized in your own self-sphere, you are not dependent on conditions.

In everyday experience the recognition of the openness starts from conditions; in insight there is the recognition that you are free of conditions.

As long as the being of the cosmos exists, everything is love.
June 12, 2010

Advaita Post, Volume 11 No.10

Advaita Post 11-10

Zondereigen is the name of a village but also roughly means ‘without something of your own’.
Douwe asks: What does this mean?

*

The political circus here is now in full swing in the media. I’ve already been asked several times to say something about the upcoming election, because it determines the new government of our country.

It should immediately be clear that politics belong to the territory of the ‘I’-person. It is related to that situation, which is to say, it is relative. From a wider perspective it can, for example, be determined that a population receives the government that it deserves. Things go the way they go, including the decisions people take with them into the voting booths.

Everyone wants to live together as pleasantly as possible. The situation and the conditioning of people make it a subject of differing opinions. The most basic conditioning is that of the ‘I’-centric structure of existence. As a result, contradictions and conflicts are inevitable. Politics is the instrument through which such conflicts are made tolerable.

What can be said in relative terms about the notion of non-duality? It’s clear to anyone who has a sense of it. But I’ll try to formulate it again.

In relative terms, anything that promotes non-duality can be considered positive and anything promoting duality can be seen as negative, because duality promotes suffering. This means that any movement which promotes unity is more useful than one which reinforces divisions. So when political parties are less egocentric, anthropocentric and power-oriented, when they have a broader viewpoint and arena of action which relates to (also future) generations and different ethnic groups, when they give attention to all living beings, then they are more useful to the good life and living together than other parties may be. Traditionally these qualities have been identified as consciousness and love.

When that is somewhat clear, there is a doing without doing and then everything, including the election, will flow on in the best manner possible.

*

Text

In: Inzicht [magazine], Volume 12 No. 2 (May 2010), pgs. 22-25

Knowledge and the liberation of love

The advaita-realization is the breakthrough of insight into the groundless openness as the true reality. It is a living insight through which the separation between yourself and others disappears. This means that in your experience your limited form disappears while other people and other things coincide with yourself. Apparently you allow this to happen. The emotional aspect of this letting-disappear and coinciding is love. The realization is love for everything and everyone without boundaries, a love in which the ‘I’-person also dissolves. It’s love for that Great in which no separations exist, for That which you are without any conditions, for the universal I-am without interpretation. It is this love which makes the concrete experience of non-duality possible. All love comes from self-being, from I-am. It only reaches its highest form in the universal.

As universal I-am you still have the universal qualities of being, consciousness and love/bliss.  So also there is the consciousness of  I-am-universal and the knowledge that its being has its origin in the absolute, about which nothing more can be said. Thus, Love has its place in your being-consciousness-I-am. In the realization of the absolute you become free from it.

To the extent that you experience yourself as a person, it is of utmost importance to establish yourself in the universal being-consciousness-love, because only through that is the highest realization possible. Therefore it is useful to look at love within the world of duality.

Duality and love

Where does love occur in the personal situation? In relationships with others: your lover, your family, your parents, etc., in relationships with animals, plants, things, or even just like that, without mention of a clear relationship. The form can always be different, but in all cases there is a self-being that is more expansive than the individual person, because it also recognizes or finds itself in other people or other things.

Even on the egocentric level an expansion is possible. To emphasize: from your ‘I’-self you always try to expand your own territory. You have then a constant longing for something or someone else and have the idea that this thing or this person belongs to you, is your possession. You allow your sense-of-self to flow into that person or thing. This expansion takes place on a basis of ‘love’ that has its center in a concentric ‘I’ with its own self-importance and self-interest. This ‘love’ expresses itself in the will to power, possess and consume. The limited self (ego) can’t follow other principles, because it holds on to itself and the other as something limited.

It is clear that this path doesn’t lead to loving unity. In the first place, as ego, you don’t release the limitation of self-being. You want to retain your own identity.  Secondly, you don’t really allow the other person to come close to you. You’re focussed on something particular, on what is beneficial or pleasant for you; you experience the other from a limited viewpoint, to possess. If you want to resolve the boundaries between self and other you can’t approach as ego. The ego is the negation of love. The ego-orientation as a centripetal and grasping tendency is the opposite of love, as a centrifugal, offering impulse. The ego as closedness and hardness is the opposite of love as openness and fluidity.

Pure love

It is really important to see that even in egocentric love, there is already an opening and expansion of self and a search for unity present. This can be the basis for a higher form of love, namely when, through expansion, the ‘I’-focused forces disappear.

On the level of the ego, love has a strong feeling aspect. In sexual relationships passionate affections and strong energies play a big role. Although there can be a strong egocentricity and even selfishness there, sexual contact already means an opening of your own territory and contains the possibility of further openings within itself.

When the latter occurs, the fire of true love continues to work. When it is strong, it consumes the ego and becomes cosmic.

Love is there in the sphere of self-being, even when you feel that it comes from outside. All love is self-love. Love can’t be disconnected from self-being. It can only be purified of the limitations of self-being, as it transcends the ‘I’-person. To the extent that you can let go of yourself as an ‘I’-person there is pure love. It is there when you no longer create oppositions between yourself as an ‘I’ and other people and other things, when you love your neighbor as yourself. It is the sphere in which everything and everyone is included. In Love you are the Self of everyone and everything.

Joy

In the expansion of your own sphere and the release of your old self, all aspects of self-being become purified, including your emotional sphere. Each expansion brings a feeling of joy. Expansion and joy always go together. That’s why expansion is continually sought on the ego-level, a crossing of existing boundaries. This happens in driving fast cars, in every sport, in every study, but also through the means of alcohol and drugs. It brings joy when borders shift or disappear. From an ‘I’ position the expansion remains limited, focused on something particular and temporal. Therefore, you remain subject to special conditions. Therefore, too, your joy is conditioned and temporary. These restrictions disappear to the extent that you release yourself. Then there’s not just a small expansion with personal feelings of joy, but an infinite expansion beyond the boundaries of time and space and with it unlimited joy, bliss (ânanda).

The hardness of love

Love only has a real meaning when it is more than just a nice feeling. Everyone has a sense of that.

And if you ignore that and continue with your own self-centeredness? Then that limitation becomes clear sooner or later in the mirror of love that you experience as external. Then love is experienced as something hard: it also judges. It judges everything that is left of the ego. That judgment can be experienced as hard and also brings fearful reactions. Frequently there is a tendency to ward this off and dive back again into the soft and pleasant sphere. But God’s love has two sides, which must be accepted before unity can manifest itself. Kâlî and Shiva in their destructive form devour the ego. Only in surrender does it become clear that this is infinite love and that these forms and hardnesses are nothing other than infinite love.

Your heart energy

Usually you are situated in your head, and from this position you think and view everything. However, you can let your position sink downwards, towards the heart. Probably you can already find that your heart region is soft. You can go towards this place as sensitive self-being. The soft heart feeling becomes stronger to the extent you increasingly enter there. The emotional heart energy moves in currents and waves. And it grows stronger in moving back and forth. Just experience it as a strong wave-like energy. It is a liquid luminous energy. Inhaled energy comes within, exhaled energy flows outward and radiates in all directions.

It is a definite feeling, but maybe you also see it as a luminous energy. Otherwise, visualize it for yourself, so you that can experience it concretely. When you see it very clearly before you, you can gradually go into it, so that you go along with the dynamic movement from the inside-out, with the waves and the rays. Allow yourself to sink in more and more. From your head with its consciousness, let yourself sink more and more into feeling, into the heart. In this way head and heart, consciousness and feeling, come together. As waves of heart-energy you radiate outwards in all directions. Everything and everyone is lovingly absorbed into that. The process of expansion continues infinitely towards a universal unity. The separateness of an ego, with its desires and resistances, has disappeared.

Everything is love

When you realize unity, you see only love, also in the personal realm. Then the demarcation of the life of the person is only apparent. Love is present always and everywhere, also within. It expresses itself on the ego level as the longing for love. But it remains there through shortsightedness with the seeking and taking of compensations, compensation for the lack of unconditional love. Yet even that too is an expression of love. If you set everything open in love and let it melt, there are no limits any longer to love and to happiness. Then there is a universal loving sphere of non-separateness, non-duality in infinite self-being, I-am, all-being.

When this sphere becomes subtler and subtler, what’s left over? That’s the absolute which precedes everything and is free from the love of I-am. That is your final consciousness: you are that source which precedes being and non-being and about which nothing can be said. It is clear precisely from that consciousness that, as long as the being of the cosmos exists, everything is love.