Archive for June, 2011

Self-reliance and freedom are possible only by letting go of what you hold on to, and that is only possible by accepting it within a more expansive sphere of being.
June 27, 2011

Volume 12 No. 10

Letting go

Letting go

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Text Satsang

From a talk in Gouda, March 30, 2011

Self-Reliance (Part 2)

Douwe: When you accept that you can’t keep holding on to your forms, that you can never give yourself a stable ground in any thing, your childishness, pettiness and sentimentality disappear. There is an infinite relaxation, space, freedom. Nothing else needs to be done to preserve your sense of self, to defend, to strengthen. That falls completely away – the whole dependence on your own emotional ideas. Only then do you notice that you come to yourself, to independence. You see it in the life which now proceeds in a very free and spontaneous way.

So remain with yourself and see how things go. Let your awareness be very sharp in order to see through all your dependencies. Always confirm again and again what’s going on with you. To what extent are there limitations and petty responses in the continual grasping of things and reacting to conditions from self-interest.

When you are independent, you are in an area that precedes all the oppositions that are so important in ordinary human life. Then you are also in the area that precedes the opposition between life and death. Yes, it is certainly said: you have to integrate death in life. But how? That can only be done when you find yourself aware on a level that precedes the distinction between life and death. It can’t be otherwise. From that standpoint it is clear that you are not bound by this opposition. Then you see that this whole situation in which a person is actively focused on continuing to live is no longer there.

Because you, as a person, feel that your life is finite, there is continual fear. Maybe you can take measures against it, for example with your vitality and the resources to keep you vital, but that’s no real solution. The only real solution is to become aware of yourself previous to that whole personal level. Fear can’t be resolved on the level of fear. Even though there are still so many good and beautiful things that are said and done, you will need to be aware of yourself on the level previous to the fear. There, you are.

This transition is only possible when accept your fear and that which you are afraid of, totally accept. It is frequently said in the advaita tradition: become aware of the suffering and the limitations that cause the suffering: you are not that. That’s right, but if you remain only with this detached approach – I am not this, I am not that – most likely you will continue to hold on to your problems. There is still a duality. Take a look at what it really means that you are not “all that”. What does that mean? That you totally accept “all that”. First you have to totally accept your fear and its duality. In the acceptance of the oppositions, in acceptance of the fear and of that which you are afraid of, you transcend the whole level. That is the motion towards self-reliance, freedom, non-dual openness. Only from this ‘higher’ level is acceptance possible. That is the letting go of where you were stuck initially, and this release is only possible when you fully accept it. On the level of the person you can’t let go of the object of your fear, because you are too anxious. You want to hold it off, you develop a resistance against it. It’s as though you want to hold the sea back with dikes. You can release this tension only when you have accepted the sea not only as a fear-object but also as yourself. Of course it’s about letting go, but then not in a ‘negative’ sense, as an escape. The letting go is a full acceptance and through that coming to a different level where the conflict no longer exists.

This applies to all aspects of your life and co-existence. Conflicts are not solved on the level of the conflict, because that is the level of the opposition. They are resolved only when you come to another level. This also applies to the conflicts in yourself. The largest and most fundamental conflict: I want to be infinite, without the limits of space and time, but I experience the limitations of myself and of everything in my life. I want to live forever, but I notice myself losing vitality and I know for sure that death will come. Can the conflict be solved on this level? First you will have to accept your limitations and your death. When you have accepted them, the separation between yourself and that which you fear disappears. Only when this distance and this separation disappears, will there be a relaxation. Then there is a completely different situation, the situation in which the old opposition and the old conflict no longer play a role.

Only then is it clear that you are independent. Just let the realization of the absolute independence continue to penetrate. That can’t be accomplished by a person because with that realization the whole structure of the person in his world disappears. The realization is the recognition that you are more than the limited self of the person. “Here I am myself, free from the conditions that I had initially imposed upon myself; in this self-being I am independent.”

As a person everything in your life is determined. You already have an idea that you are free, but you still need to accept that your life is “determined”. Given the conditions everything is already fixed. Everything that happens is ‘God’s will’ or however it is formulated. Yes, that’s true to the extent that you position yourself on the personal level. When you know enough about the person and his conditions, you can predict everything in advance. Why? Because the person behaves according to rules. And advertising, politics, you and the people you live with make use of that. These rules are used everywhere it involves power.

Nevertheless one important point remains: that that whole level can be transcended, that you can become aware of your core prior to the conditioning. People have a core that is free from every condition. If there is something that can be said about people, about yourself, it is that becoming aware is always possible: “apparently it is like this under certain conditions, but I am much more”. And the depth of this ‘more’ is infinite.  Understand that. This is the total openness that lies at the foundation of personal existence, where people imagine that they are free. Yes, they are free – that’s right – but not on the personal level. The depth of self-being is endless. You can recognize that and you can see it in others. The depth is infinite. What does that mean? That all conditions are blasted away, or in any case become very relative and transparent. To become aware of yourself there means independence, you realize that you’re independent, free, open.

Is that clear?

When you have deeply accepted your groundlessness, there is freedom and self-reliance.
June 10, 2011

Volume 12 No. 9

No control

No control

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The cosmos is my body,

experienced internally and externally.

It is clear:

I am this, I’m not this –

Naturally, just as everyone experiences the body.

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Jenny Curran: Forrest, do you ever dream about who you’re gonna be?

Forrest Gump: Who I’m gonna be?

Jenny Curran: Yeah.

Forrest Gump: Aren’t…aren’t I going to be me?

From the movie “Forest Gump”

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Text Satsang

From a talk in Gouda, March 30, 2011

Self-Reliance (Part 1)

[Douwe has just spoken a bit about his physical condition of having a cancerous tumor.]

Human existence finds itself at the cutting edge. You are born, but life can stop at any moment. This applies to everyone. When there is a kink in the cable, the possibility of the end of life is very real. In May there will be an examination to check the status of the tumor. As for the results, let’s just remain open. Life goes on, as long as it goes on. Life lives itself and in every organism it does so for a while. At a certain moment that individual piece of life ends. And this applies to everyone.

In this interim period between birth and death learning to be independent is very important. What does that mean? When you are independent, you are free from coercion, free from dependencies.

In everyday life people say: “Of course I’m independent.” By this they mean that you can arrange your life more or less, that you can find your way in the conditions that are there and that you are not blindly led by others. “I can choose for myself how I live.”

Usually the idea of being a person is contained within it. “As a person I am independent.” But if you look deeper, you see that internal conditions play a role in that person and that in relation to them there is no independence. There are all kinds of things that you have learned – things that you think about, all kinds of feelings and behavioral patterns. To the extent that they are there, they are there. You have to accept that. But what about your consciousness of that and your self-reliance in relation to those conditions and patterns? There must be an increase in your awareness of the whole situation. Then an awareness arises of your independence from these internal conditions. It frees you. You’re no longer situated there unconsciously, you’re not cramped there, you don’t hold tightly on to anything, you’re aware of your own freedom.

It’s exactly the same for external conditions. When you are self-reliant, you don’t hold tightly on to things in order to shape them in a way that is beneficial for you. Then there is no attachment and addiction to particular things, and also no defense. There is no grasping and no resistance. When you are self-reliant, you let the world and other people go free. Enlightenment is nothing more than letting go of everything, so you set not only yourself but also the world free. The world becomes free, others that at first you held onto in a compulsive grip become free. Your whole orientation with the intention to shape, to control, falls away. Only then is the relation of dependency broken through.

Then it is clear how great the riches of creation are. Only then everything is a miracle. Because you have released everything. Only then is there real independence. When the self-reliance is total, you are totally free of any conditions whatsoever. Of course, that has always been the case. Only, now you recognize it consciously! When it’s not conscious, compelling patterns arise in which you experience limitations and dependence. There is little self-reliance to be found in that.

So independence in relation to conditions means that you are yourself as groundless openness. The ‘self stand’ of  ‘zelf-standigheid’ [translated as independence or self-reliance] also means that you are aware of the groundless openness. As soon as you seek out land somewhere on which to stand, a place to give you stability, you become dependent once again. Sooner or later that ground appears to tremble or a tsunami crashes over. Then you see very clearly how relative that stability truly is. And that applies to every ground. Independence means that you let go of every tendency to establish a ground. That also applies to all ideas you have about yourself. It concerns everything. Also your relationship to someone from whom you have learned something. Independence is absolute independence, otherwise there is no independence. The freedom that is in it is absolute, otherwise it’s not freedom. Usually it consists of freedom under conditions. That sounds familiar. But then again you assume that you are a person with a certain freedom within a world of conditions to which you are subject. When you return to the true self of self-reliance, you see that the existence-world is indeed a certain area, but you do not are subject to it, that the idea “that you are a person living in a conditioned world” is an assumption which is connected to a very limited existence. However you twist or turn it, the essence of independence is total freedom. The point is: can you let that so fully penetrate through in your consciousness that it becomes a realization? That means that you release your last tether, that you let go of your last orientation, that you let everything go.

I have often called it a situation of beyond the point of no return. While swimming in the sea, you are sucked even further out and at some point you know you’ve gone too far to ever return to shore. You are in a spaceship that has missed its celestial destination and is shooting on into infinity. You are beyond the point of no return, so you know you can’t go back. Go back, but where to? To a limited sphere in which you can stand on the ground, namely the earth and on it a spot where you feel at home? People settle down somewhere where they feel good and try to make it nice, where they experience a certain base on which they can rest. When they are attacked they do everything to defend the ground, to keep their home intact. But basically people know that that never works in an absolute sense. When you accept that in the deepest way, there is freedom and independence.