Archive for February, 2012

Liberation lies in the acceptance of not knowing.
February 26, 2012

Volume 13 No. 5

Image and the imageless - form and emptiness

Image and the imageless – form and emptiness


It is difficult

in lethargy, depression, suffering

to see your own limitations and

let go of them.

It is even more difficult

in creativity, flow, happiness

to see your own limitations and

let go of them.


in the open origin:

suffering and happiness are

free from limitation.



In the previous Advaita Post there was a section about pain in order to clarify something and to allow it to be recognized. Now a follow up about insanity.

After the major surgery the analgesia did not work so well. Anesthetists tried everything possible to nullify the pain. One of the means was ketamine. This substance is also used as a drug to stop the sensory functions and to separate from the body and world. In my case, these features, especially the visual, went wild. With my eyes open the phenomena in the visual field came to life. The structure of the wall opposite me began to move like the surface of a body of water, faster and faster and with brighter and brighter colors. A fixed point could not be found; there was no foothold. I was sucked in to the whole circus. My body and myself were pulled along. With my eyes closed, all this became even stronger. At first there was a rapidly changing show of intricate, brightly colored and fairly abstract figures, a swift alteration of totally different tableaux. Increasingly I was absorbed into it and increasingly I disappeared into it. Luckily, just as with the unbearable pain, there remained an internal recognition of the origin where the runaway energies had no hold.

An important point in relation to this is to see that the identification with the body, with a world, goes a lot deeper than you could ever imagine. The original source which precedes this identification lies much deeper than the terrain that can still be spoken of, much deeper than the profoundly deep feeling energies. There ‘you’ have nothing more to want, and then it’s not about concepts, not even about the perception of phenomenon. From this perspective it’s clear that there’s allot of superficial interpretation in advaita circles.

A second point is the recognition of the insanity which emerges with the absorption into the constantly spinning and flashing, rapidly changing universe. Increasingly deeper layers of your incarnation become free of automatic patterns. There is even a feeling of totally falling apart. When there is an attempt to hold on to yourself there’s also the confirmation that it won’t work. Then a great fear can arise, a total contraction. Precisely because the event is universal there is a good chance of a contracting implosion: then there is only madness. Only through the internal recognition of your own origin, previous to the deepest foundations of your incarnation, can the event of the ‘end’ be accepted. That means liberation.


Text satsang

From a talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Schiermonnikoog, February 7, 2010

Liberation lies in the acceptance of not knowing

Douwe: I often hear it said, “I don’t really know how it is anymore.” The one who says that is frequently discouraged after many years of searching. But you can see this not-knowing as something positive. In a transitional situation, you continue to experience all kinds of pieces of the world that you still consider home, where there is still a bit of order. You know the way there and you recognize everything. But  there are more and more holes; the area of the indefinable increases. For your personal situation that is a disaster. Yet for yourself it is something very positive. Precisely there, where there is no foothold and you no longer know, you can experience freedom.

Actually, you would prefer to return to the old situation where you still knew everything: this is this and that is that. I am so and so, I am so and so old. Then you can tell a whole story about yourself. When that is still very clear and obvious to you, you are stuck in it. When you continue further on a spiritual path you enter into a situation where all those fixed coordinates fall away. And then you no longer know. What kind of situation is that? How is it then with yourself? Take a look. What can you still say about it? There is still a feeling of self-being. There is a great space. There is freedom. Everything that appears is a miracle, because you don’t immediately frame it into a concept. Liberation lies in the acceptance of not knowing. It is a surrender to the undefined. When you accept that you don’t know, it means you’re not still trying to create and grasp fixed things through all kinds of tricks. It’s a total release. In the transition you may feel that everything is suspended, that everything is changing. It can’t be otherwise. Just compare this situation with the old one in which you pinned everything to a particular identity, not only to yourself, but also to other people, other things. When you no longer do that, reality appears to be more changeable than you had ever imagined. Nothing is permanent. Everything is changeable.

Wanting to hold on via an unchangeable state causes suffering. Because you certainly try to hold to something, but it doesn’t work. Therefore the ‘I think’ contains so much suffering, because you, with your ‘I think’, create all kinds of concepts in order to hold on to things. This creates inflexibility, and at some point you notice: it doesn’t work anymore. Sooner, or possibly later with decline, with dementia, it doesn’t work anymore. In Buddhism there is a very strong emphasis on impermanence, and rightly so. In the Advaita tradition it is said: an absolute character is given to the temporary and relative. You see the worldly reality as an absolute reality, while it is a very relative and changeable reality, depending upon your point of view. Confusing the relative for the absolute creates suffering. Mostly that occurs out of ignorance. You paste the absolute onto the wrong things. That’s the confusion for most people. Then you believe in an illusion. At a certain moment that breaks open for you, because the so-called absolute no longer appears to be absolute.

Of course you are the absolute in your origin. Absolute means: free from conditions. But apparently there is a mechanism through which you project your self-being onto perishable things like your body and everything you find important. It is a fundamental confusion, an insufficient knowledge. And so the pursuit of illusions arises. When that becomes a bit clear, you have the experience “I don’t know anymore.” At first, you know about all and everything  and you can give an opinion about it all. At a certain point you no longer know. You might also experience it as walking on ice while the ice is melting. There is no foothold any more. In the Upanishads it says: those who claim to know it know nothing about it. So go into yourself towards what it would mean if all your knowledge were to disappear.

Visitor: You could no longer function properly.

When that process goes all the way you can no longer function. But also, since life goes on, it’s good to get to know it as a possibility and a structural basis. We have spoken earlier about the return to an earlier period of your life. There are children who say: “When I was still a baby, I could see everything and I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t.” The words weren’t there yet. Then you are situated at a stage prior to verbalization. It’s good to recognize that that’s still inside you somewhere. When you return to an even earlier or even later stage, or to your own depth, you increasingly experience the disappearance of fixed patterns. What’s left over? You can still be aware of it. Then you are aware of a certain sphere of self-being that isn’t filled with content, that has no form, but within which you are still aware as self-being. It is self-being without limits because there are no forms.

How can you speak about self-being when everything falls away, because then, isn’t your self-being the same as my self-being?

Precisely. Since all boundaries have disappeared, there is just one sphere of being-self-being. The private self has been absorbed into it. And there are no images, no forms. You can be aware of that. It is an extremely rarefied sphere of being-awareness. Internally it is very clear; an internal knowing. You can also call this ‘knowledge’, but then you have to put it within scare quotes because it is a very different form of knowledge than ordinary knowledge.

Then there is no control anymore…

… because there is no ‘I’ that would want to exercise that control. When you experience “I don’t know anymore”, then you have truly released a lot. Then all kinds of positive knowledge is already gone. When that release is total, there is still the initial, empty being-consciousness, then the absolute.

When the old returns again, what is the situation like? When you have clearly experienced what the situation is like previous to the entire build-up of knowledge, then knowledge and the known don’t need to be closed off any longer. Then everything can remain open. Then the whole edifice of knowledge will never be absolute. So the world returns in a totally different way. First it was a closed system. Now it is no longer a closed system, because it remains transparent. The openness remains.

When you search for solid ground, there always seems to be space below it. When you remain fundamentally aware of this space, then you see that everything is built somewhere in space, but there is no foundation. That also applies to your own existence, with all the knowledge that is contained within it. Just like the clouds, it exists for a while and then dissolves again. When you use conventional words and definitions, it’s not a problem, as long as the perspective of transparency, relativity and openness remains. Because everything is seen in its relativity, it doesn’t restrict being and your own self-being. The whole world can just continue, but you will need to remain incredibly alert to see how relative that world is.



Your dream of ‘I’ and pain just cross over into a large, bright, quiet, personal, aware dreamless sleep.
February 12, 2012

Volume 13 No 4

Advaita Post 13-04

Live lives itself
just like the chewing of cows
and the actions of men.


Only in self reliance

without dependency

do you open

in love and non-duality.



People have asked questions about the experiences relating to the operation. Perhaps it’s useful to write something about that. So today it’s about pain.

In the hospital you are regularly asked to rate the strength of your pain from 1 to 10. From 1 to 6 the pain is still bearable. That means you have a certain consciousness space in which you “can bear” the pain and can adopt an attitude towards it. Then the pain is an experienced phenomenon which imposes itself on your physical environment and on which you almost automatically focus your attention (1). When the pain persists this focus will almost always bring suffering, because ‘I’ don’t want that pain.

That’s also the case when you, in your consciousness, take distance from the pain as a local phenomenon and confirm that you are not that pain (2). The duality of ‘I’ and pain persists. There remains a resistance to the pain.

In this situation you can realize the necessity of accepting the pain and resigning yourself to its inevitability (3). Usually this, too, is not a definitive solution, because an ‘I’-person remains with a conflict: on the one hand I don’t want the pain and on the other hand I want to let go of this not-wanting. This conflict can’t be resolved from within the ‘I’.

The resolution can only occur when the structure,‘I’-pain, with all its resistance, disappears. From your being-awareness you can expand your horizons in all directions, so that the pain phenomenon receives a very relative place without specific focus in your being-awareness. The distance between yourself and the pain that was there, has to a large degree disappeared within your greater being-awareness. This happens completley when you release your own center of consciousness (4). Then there is a surrender to the great non-dual whole.

Starting from your being-awareness the falling away of the distance also happens directly when you consciously go towards the pain, enter into it and coincide with its core (5). Then you surrender to the pain. Then I and pain disappear in a non-duality. See the talk on the website under Health, Healing , Sickness and non-duality “Coinciding with the pain”. [not translated]

To the extent that the pain is very strong there is no question of a consciousness from which the choice of an attitude or movement with respect to the pain is possible (6). That happened to me when the “pain block” stopped working in intensive care. The pain can be unbearable, that is, not to be borne by a person, an ‘I’ with a certain consciousness space. The ‘I’ is overwhelmed and swept away. Then there is just pain-being. With that there is not the choice that existed in the paragraphs above. Here both freedom of choice and resistance do not occur. The ‘I’ is violently overthrown. A layer of infinite being remains, previous to that of the’I’-person, with a moan like that of an animal. The knowledge of this previous state remains therein. It is an internal basic-consciousness which coincides with this natural state. So there is the internal being-knowledge of a primal-duality and this appears to be a primal silence and primal light. Your dream of  ‘I’ and pain just cross over into a large, light, silent, personal, aware dreamless sleep.

Severe pain that pulls you away from the world, offers nevertheless a good chance to become internally aware of your own infinitely silent light and of the absolute into which the silence crosses over.

When then the worldly situation returns, this dimension can remain open ….


Text Satsang

From a talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Gouda, 7 Sept. 2011

A totally different kind of reality

Douwe: Enlightenment is quite a difficult concept. I don’t use it very often, but it has to do with an original being-awareness that is always already there, but is usually not recognized consciously. In most yoga schools there is a gradual and meditative approach to it, such as with the eightfold path of Patanjali. It is then placed in the context of time and space. But it’s about something else entirely. It has to do with the realization of that which precedes the arising of time and space and all the forms that are present within it. In itself, it is not to subject to them, so it’s free. When you can remain aware in it, you recognize it as something of your own self-being. Then there is an incredible relaxation, a letting go, and simultaneously an incredibly clear consciousness. This combination is very difficult for most people. Frequently there is a misunderstanding about the type of awareness that is there then. When you totally relax, there is another kind of consciousness. In the West consciousness is usually defined as “the focus on something else so that you can get to know it.” I see a lamp and I am conscious of it. This consciousness is a quality of perception. You are focused on things through hearing, feeling, seeing. But when you relax, this focus falls away. That is something that is never recognized or accepted in Western psychology and philosophy. But precisely that is a very valuable type of consciousness. You return to the origin of your attention. You find a zero point there which is open. In that origin you are yourself.

So it’s about an awareness of the totally relaxed state. Everybody has that in him, because everyone is themselves. The forms that the self has received, such as self-image, social identity, all kinds of beliefs, traumas, complexes, are all secondary. There is always something which precedes the deepest trauma, something which does not suffer from that trauma. When you can get in contact with it, it forms the basis on which that trauma can disappear. You don’t solve anything by still digging into the past or into all kinds of difficult circumstances. Even so-called ‘normal people’ have a complex, namely an ego-complex. So you go back to the region previous to the formation of the ego. When you don’t return there regularly – even if only just in sleep – then within the shortest amount of time you are overwrought and ripe for the psychiatrist. Every form of yoga is designed to allow you to return to your natural state. The jnana yoga which is central to Advaita Vedanta, says: let this happen with insight, so that this state can stabilize.

Visitor: Does this state need to be recognized in some way?

No. Understand that it’s not about a psychological or personal recognition. It’s about a totally different type of reality. Don’t start reconstructing it in the normal space and time and world of men. The standard world is very relative. If you were able to look back over the past hundred years and see how busy the egos had made themselves, acting as if their reality is the absolute reality, then you see how relative that is. You see that  the source of suffering is directly associated to a very limited perspective of that ego with all its conditionings. When your awareness becomes just a bit more expansive and deeper, you realize that the self-being is infinitely greater than that limited world. The limited ‘I’ thinks: I must be free in this world so I must assert myself there. I need more power, more money, more spiritual capacities and through that I can become free. Most people make this basic mistake.

So go back to that source. When this happens in an aware manner, you go through all the layers very quickly. The clarity of consciousness must be extremely high. Otherwise you fall very quickly back into the standard reaction, such as when something really interesting comes up, or when someone mentions your name, or when there is an attack. You will need to see and experience: something else is also possible. That is the conscious recognition of what you always already were and so remain. At some point you will recognize that even the initial entry into the world, the first steps of incarnation, contain a traumatic element. Why is that? Because it is a curtailment of endless freedom and non-duality.

There is the possibility of increasingly incarnating into this world of space and time but also of the precise return to a dimension where the world of space and time is truly relative. It is a depth dimension in the world, but doesn’t fully coincide with the three dimensional spatial world or that of time. When you see that this depth dimension doesn’t fully coincide there, there is also freedom with respect to that world. In all the theology and philosophy of the 20th century it is said: now you are simply finite, you just need to accept it, just make something of it. But when you return to yourself, you notice that the self-being is infinitely more expansive. It isn’t more spacious within the space of standard reality, but it exists in a totally different dimension which is much bigger than the cosmos. What was there before the Big Bang? We can’t say anything about it. After billions of years the universe is going to shrink. What’s left over? We can‘t say anything about it. What is there beyond the boundaries of the universe? We can’t say anything about it. Returning to yourself you can have an internal recognition of a knowledge that you remain yourself, no matter what happens, even beyond  the boundaries of the universe. Of course, everything that belongs to that universe – body and mind – will disappear. But what about yourself? It is absorbed into something much greater. You can remain aware of that. You can leave this dimension open, also as self-space. When that’s clear nothing more needs to be said.