Archive for August, 2011

You know that in your clearer self-being you can recognize yourself, previous to everything, even divine forms and qualities.
August 31, 2011

Volume 12 No. 13

Headless

Headless

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Why do you become more open, the more you return to yourself?

Because that’s how you release more and more of your restrictions.

Therefore conflicts and contradictions fall away.

In the center there is an infinite open-being.

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From the Chandogya Upanishad 8.1:

In this body, in this city of Brahman, is a small house in the shape of a lotus and in that house is a small space. One must know what is there. What is there? Why is it so important? There is as much space within the heart as in the outside world. Heaven, earth, fire, air, sun, moon, lightning, stars; everything that is and everything that is not, is there. If everything is in the body of man, every being, every desire, what remains when old age comes, when the decay begins, when the body goes?

What lies in that space, is not touched by decline when the body declines, nor does it go when the body goes. That space is the home of Brahman. Every longing is there. The Self is there, above decay and death; above sin and suffering; above hunger and thirst …

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Text Satsang

From a talk with Douwe Tiemersma on March 5, 2003 in Gouda

Notice what happens when you sit completely still.

When the silence comes, the hardness of the material world disappears, then also the hardness of yourself disappears. So many things fall away.

Take a look at what remains there, always anew. Precisely in the lucidity you will increasingly find that you are the principle of feeling consciousness. Less and less can be said about you. An increasingly greater space arises. Your own sphere expands itself.

Why do we call it a spiritual motion? Spirituality stands in contrast to materiality. With materialism, material reality takes precedence. When there is a shift towards spirituality, the spirit takes precedence. Not that the materiality completely disappears, but it receives a different character, it receives a different place. The material forms become transparent. That applies to what you see, but also to your own physical self-being. Therefore, an increasingly expansive sphere of self-being arises.

Traditionally, the spiritual impulse had a religious focus on “higher” forms. And that is still true to a large extent. On the Advaita-path you see through those forms as soon as possible. You don’t stay with those forms.

Still it is important to see precisely what religion offers, because even the religious sphere belongs to your own presence-being. The whole expansive sphere teaches men to become acquainted with what belongs to the divine. That’s how it goes in India too, even in the advaita tradition. First there is a notion of Brahman as the Creator, a God who creates. The notion of the divine in the West has to a large extent disappeared. But if you’re undergoing a spiritual development, you will come into contact with it sooner or later. Therefore it’s good to get a clear view of it. The falling away of the commitment to divine worship has a downside here in the West, because the experience of transcendence easily disappears. On the other hand it has the advantage that you don’t get stuck so easily in all the left over religious forms. So it’s important to recognize the religious sphere, without it getting stuck in it.

In the Upanishads it is said: “That, the Ultimate, the Absolute, you are That.” You can have a living recognition of that. What is your highest sense? What is your highest notion? It doesn’t need a form, but in any case it has to do with unlimitedness, with universal clarity, universal presence-being, universal happiness, freedom. It is projected outward in religion and that’s how a theology comes into being. Here it’s about recognizing That within the depths of your self-being.

The Advaita approach is not a religious mysticism, although they do have a lot in common. What’s the difference? In religious mysticism that which is seen as the “highest” is projected far away. It begins from a clear separation between God and man, which can perhaps with great difficulty and grace be bridged. With Advaita it’s about a direct recognition of what you always already were. In the context of mysticism the stages that the mystic must undergo are often put on a list. That includes the dark night of the soul and its longing. But it’s clear that that sort of thing belongs to a kind of mysticism in which the goal is projected far away. When it goes well, God and man come back together again, because the great mystics also say: I have found God in the center of myself. It is here and now.

With self inquiry you will, at some point, take up the position we call the witness. It is a withdrawn point of consciousness from which you observe everything, confirm everything. You view from a great distance how everything proceeds in the world and you are no longer totally involved. Frequently there is still an obsessed way of seeing as long as you still are involved in all the processes. But when that involvement diminishes? Then the attention can return to yourself. The limitations of yourself as a witness – if only of being present at a particular location – can fall away.

Then you become aware of yourself as unlimited self-being. That is the sphere of lucidity, of light, without limitations, the universal, aware presence being, without restrictions. There is only light from unrestricted being, unlimited being-awareness, unlimited bliss-being, Sat-Chit-Ananda. Those are the characteristics of the universal sphere. It is precisely that which the religious mystic focuses upon: the celestial, divine sphere. In the Advaita approach you notice sooner or later that it becomes the clearly experienced reality of yourself. If you are beneath anything, beneath the universal, then the ‘celestial forms’ are there, forms that have far more potential than terrestrial forms. But these dissolve when the development goes in the direction of pure Sat-Chit-Ananda. The universal sphere of Sat-Chit-Ananda also has the tendency to increasingly dissolve, because these are qualities. The universal being and the ‘last’ qualities, remain just qualities, qualities of a sphere in which you are universally present. In that bliss, there is still a universal enjoyment. In the being, the Sat, there is still a universal ‘I-am’, without further attributes. In the universal being-awareness, there is a notion of: I know, I affirm, a knowing, without form, universal, still with that quality.

But then the experience and knowing also comes that the last qualities will slowly dissolve. What remains? The inexpressible. That inexpressible is always there, here and now, even when there is a world. That is advaita, that not being separate.

Then you affirm it: I see indeed that things just happen, in the great whole, that I am there apart from it, even though I am everything. I can also see that a contraction arises the moment I try to interfere with it. Then there is a limited I-structure that wants things to be different from the current flow. While I might even get carried away with that, still I notice that the clarity increasingly expands, increasingly grows.

Let it happen. Stay true to that further expansion of the clarity. And don’t remain fixated upon all those things that take place in the world. They can all be there but you don’t have to remain fixated upon them. You can have your attention within your own sphere of lucidity, so that it can further expand. You know now that This goes beyond everything, even divine, forms and qualities. You know that in your more lucid self-being you can recognize yourself prior to all forms and qualities.

Be awake and stay awake. 
August 13, 2011

Volume 12 No. 12

What is your body, what is your perspective?

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In my view and my longing, I have

returned

to myself as infinite origin.

That is everything.

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Patrul Rinpoche:

In Emptiness there is no self-interest,

Self-interest arises as a result of confusion.

Look without letting delusion enter your heart from those who put their own interest first.

Look and persevere without letting yourself becoming distracted,

Self-interest dissolves and turns into emptiness.

Constantly in this empty state,

This is the total cleansing of self-interest.

There is no higher form of selflessness.

How wonderful this is for the yogi who realizes it!

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Satsang Text

From a talk in Gouda, March 30, 2011

Self-Reliance (Part 4, conclusion)

Douwe: People try to allay the fear of death, but it is not a matter for reasoning. For example, according to the arguments of Aristotle: every man is mortal; I am a man; thus I am mortal. This is a general given and I must resign myself to it. Or: as long as I am there, death is not; and when death is there, then I am not. Of course, these are fine statements, but they don’t act on the level of reasoning. They function only to the extent that you realize that your center of gravity does not lie on the level of personal thinking and reasoning.

Visitor: Could you say that death is a concept?

As long as you think about death abstractly, death is a concept, a feeling concept that has to do with the disappearance of life from an organism. But then comes: I’m also an organism, so I too can die. Therefore all kinds of feelings, images and ideas about yourself are involved in that concept. In order to rise above such a construction you’ll have to accept them. First you will need to pull this construction back into yourself and let the distance between yourself and death as a feeling construct disappear and let it merge with yourself. You can certainly say that it is a construction and you have nothing to do with it, but very few people can be rid of the fear of death this way. “It is a construction, I can see through it, so I have nothing to do with it” – why is this freedom so difficult to realize? Because they are stuck in a construction that exists not only on a mental level, but also on the whole feeling level. Seeing through it mentally doesn’t mean that the feeling connection disappears. That can only happen by truly accepting it and letting it completely enter into your own sphere. Imagine: you lie in bed thinking about being sick and you realize that you might have cancer. You lie there thinking and feeling and you can’t sleep. At some point, the sleep comes anyway. What happened? When you stay aware of it, you see that the whole level of “I am thinking about difficult things” disappears and then rest comes. Why? Because the problematic world of thought, including the fearful self that corresponds to it, has been absorbed into your own great sphere. That’s how acceptance occurs. When you don’t accept it, you remain tossing and turning. No, let it all slowly dissolve and only then is it quiet. This seeing brings recognition: oh yes, like this.

There is no lucidity in sleep.

You can stay lucid for a long time while relaxing and going off to sleep. Therefore you can be aware of the sphere in which there is no thinking, in which it is total silence, in which there are no images, and no fear. It’s a confirmation, a direct knowing: Hey, there’s absolutely no thought, only a blank state. This confirmation is possible. I did not know that I had it, but it’s certainly true. Then you are on a level that precedes the level of the conflict.

But isn’t it a different kind of sleep?

Becoming aware of the blank state of dreamless sleep is extremely difficult for most people. Why? Because they always associate becoming aware with awareness of something. In Western philosophy, consciousness is always defined as consciousness of something. There is something and I am aware of it; I confirm something while I am lucid. But if you are now aware of yourself as clear consciousness while confirming something, you can remain in this sphere of clarity, while something disappears. Then you are aware that that sphere is not something. And so there’s no focus any more. That can certainly still be there, for example, the focus on an empty space, but that too can disappear. That means that every separation between the observer and the observed disappears. Then there is not an awareness of something, but rather a totally blank internal situation with the quality of being (‘I am’ infinitely blank) and consciousness (‘that’s it’).

Amidst the world of contradictions and diversity, there’s always this basis in which no contradictions and diversity are present. Contradictions must come from somewhere. From where?  From a non-duality prior to the contradictions.

Why do the contradictions have to go away?

Because you have set them up at that level and through identification you create a limited self-being in opposition to the others and the world. This creates fear for your own life, it creates conflict and suffering.

Why do you do that?

You have to find that out for yourself. I don’t understand it.

What kind of answer do you want? For you, the question is a mental question so only mental answers are possible, such as: God has created it like that. But does that solve it? No.

So what’s it about, what do I speak about? About becoming more aware. You see that’s how it works. You see that such questions are not necessary. For you, what are the consequences? To stop posing theoretical questions. You don’t solve anything this way. So stop doing that. Take a look at your own situation and see how it really is.

You become aware on another level, a level on which the duality no longer determines everything. That means you release the limitations of your own self-being. When you position yourself on the level of a conflict, you’re stuck there. Then there is no independence, because you are determined by the other pole. What you do is always related to it, so you can already say in advance what your behavior will be. When you totally confirm all that and see through it, you also see that it can be different. It is a recognition in yourself of something that is much more spacious than that little stand point you hold on to there in that conflict. Also: do you find that the transition is important enough? Then the realization happens by itself. It depends on you whether you stay open to it, in the recognition that, indeed, for you, it is of the greatest importance. So it depends on you, not as a person who must do something, but on yourself at a much higher and deeper level.

Then acceptance doesn’t come from a person?

Acceptance can occur only in a more spacious context than the scope of the conflict. You’re stuck to the situation in which you have a narrow definition of yourself. But, even the fact that in everyday life you’re not stuck everywhere already shows that much more is possible. Take a look. How much is possible there? How far does it go? Infinite! Go see, take a look, recognize it – infinite possibilities. But they can only be realized when you don’t hold on to the old forms of your self-being as an I-person. And there’s the rub. People often see these possibilities, but they immediately define themselves as an ‘I’ with these limiting circumstances and an identity who can do nothing else. So: possibilities gone, independence gone. But then you see that you have defined yourself as a thing.

After death you have the possibility of a ‘return’.

No, stay with your current situation. This idea of a return is just a concept – a fiction. There is  always already a situation of beyond the ‘point of no return’. You don’t  have a leg to stand on.  Everyone knows it, but everyone acts as if there is still a leg and therefore gives his independence away. But everyone knows that there is no real basis, no form on which you can permanently rest. Precisely that creates fear.

Is meditation also an attempt to escape to ‘no return’?

With some people, yes.

Isn’t it then about a constant awareness in order to avoid falling into repetitions? 

Yes, you see it. There is no support anywhere and still there is a confirmation of self-being as groundless openness. Total relaxation, total rest. Whatever happens, your self-being still remains a total-open-being. Thus that means no reassurance on a personal level. No, it has nothing to do with the level of a person who is reassured by a nice story and beautiful images, for example of heaven. It is a fundamental breakthrough of that whole level.

The recognition insures that the process continues, that a realization really occurs. When you just take the recognition seriously, when you just let everything stay open. So stay constantly alert and very sharp in relation to your own situation. Stay with your highest insight, because within it everything will become clear. Take the consequences of your insight and don’t be childish about it.

So let your lucidity prevent it from becoming foggy. It’s about very specific things in the sphere of your own self-being, your own life, very specific. See it, stay alert there. Always compare your situations and look. Take the consequences. This continues on into infinity.

Thus, wake up and stay awake.

The only point is that you consciously recognize your inner truth and take it seriously, including its consequences.
August 1, 2011

Volume 12 No. 11

Where is the power and the glory now?

Where is the power and the glory now?

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Text Satsang

From a talk in Gouda, March 30, 2011

Self-Reliance (Part 3)

Visitor: It is difficult to find clarity about the area of “I am”, just to realize that you are. Then you are awake and that consciousness disappears again when you reenter into the dream of the world. When you go off in search of yourself once again, there’s really nothing there.

Douwe: So it’s about a surrender with an internal awareness. What does it mean that there is a surrender at a certain point, when for example you are sucked out to sea?

That’s a sort of attitude you almost can’t take.

There is no attitude here that you should be able to take. You can always become more sensitive to it and then, while you remain with yourself, at some point it will just happen.

Then where are you focused? On your sense of self, on your being, or on the nothing that lies behind it?

Let your awareness remain infinitely open. In that sphere your being-awareness will open. Let the process of infinite release continue, up to and including the complete surrender. As long as you notice that somewhere, something still has a name and form, you will need to take note of that and let go.

When something receives a designation, you experience it as a thing with an independence in relation to self-being. This separation in being-awareness disappears with the ongoing release.

Is it possible to take this step?

It’s not a step. Surrender is precisely the release of all initiative and of any notion ‘I can’. You can just stay on the edge of your existence in a very sensitive way. You know approximately in which direction the development goes, namely an ongoing release until there is the complete surrender. Stay there. Then it goes further by itself. Don’t hold on to any concepts. In a certain referential context concepts such as the witness, sat-chit-ananda, I-am, are quite useful, but at a given moment there is nothing other than self-being in which everything dissolves. Internally there is a knowledge of it, a knowledge without distance, a being-knowledge.

In the Yoga Sutra there is a whole series of ‘samâdhi’s’ listed. Samadhi is a totality of one-being, a coincidence of subject and object, of which there is an internal knowledge. Samadhis come in many varieties. Initially, there are still thoughts remaining, then all kinds of emotional structures.

At a certain point all forms dissolve, including that of yourself. That is no longer a state of a person who is meditating. No it is a total event, in which the situation fundamentally shifts.

Then you no longer have a notion of it?

There is no one with a notion of it and yet there is a knowing of openness. To the extent there is a knowledge of it, it has already become a creation. Then you just imagine it once again. The formless knowing is there as a being-knowing of your own open dimension. Let the dimension of the total openness open – and that can happen, even as phenomenon return again. Then the openness without ground can remain, because there is a being-knowing of it. To the extent there is again a specific situation, the knowledge is again a creation of a self-being and ‘I know it’. That’s okay, as long as the groundless dimension just remains open. Then the openness remains the broad context of self-being, in which everything arises and again disappears.

How can you become stable in that?

By simply remaining there continually. Then it will stabilize itself. When you think that you have to do all sorts of things in the world there is contraction again. Just see that it is possible to be yourself without becoming wrapped up in anything, even while all sorts of activities continue.

Afterwards it’s very easy to affirm, but during the activities it’s difficult.

We have done all kinds of exercises in order to make it clear, for example walking without walking. There’s walking, but what about yourself? “Yes, I walk.” What about yourSelf? “I am free – I don’t walk.” Isn’t that right?

And that applies to everything – to ideas, and so on, but you’re still stuck.

Stay very sharp and clear so that you can break through the automatic tendency to reattach yourself. That connection is an identification of yourself with the image of yourself as someone who does something. “I walk, I will, I think, I do this, I desire that.” You will want to see the limitation and identification with such clarity that it is broken through.

A certain commitment is required for that.

It only works with a total commitment. Otherwise it doesn’t work.

How can you help yourself with that?

It’s more about a direct recognition, for example, now I say certain things and there is a certain resonance within you. Stick with that resonance, because you recognize its value. That is your first commitment: “I see there is something of importance there.” Because you find it important, you already give it a certain focus, a dedication. When you find it important enough, then don’t you just naturally stay with it constantly?

The worries can be great.

Do you take the consequences of what you see as important? Sure, when you find it’s important enough! And if you don’t find it important enough, then no. Then you continue to complain. Take a look at all the people who just sit complaining… The tendency is very strong in human beings. When you are diagnosed with cancer, many people dive into the role of the victim. “Now I’m caught and it’s bad, it’s really bad; me again, of course.” Sliding into such a state happens very easily. Then you are the product of conditions. You have to take a look at how restrictive this identification is, the sentimentality that it contains.

So it’s about the insight that arises in your own sphere, the liberating insight that you immediately recognize as valuable. That’s the issue. Also with the teaching. Then the words and the teacher are no longer important, but rather the insight into yourSelf which breaks through. It breaks through by itself, when you come closer to yourself. Then it opens up your inner truth that is always already there. The only point is that you consciously recognize that and that you take it seriously, including the consequences.