Archive for April, 2012

When you fully, consciously dive into the essence of your current situation, there is realization.
April 28, 2012

Advaita Post Volume 13 No. 9

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It is what it is.

Even You are yourself.

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Song of Enlightenment

Do you know that leisurely sage who has gone beyond learning, and who doesn’t exert himself in anything?

He endeavors neither to avoid idle thoughts nor to seek after the Truth;

For he knows that ignorance is also the Reality,

And that this empty, illusory, body is nothing but the absolute Reality.

When one knows the Absolute, there are no independent objects any more;

The Source of all things is the absolute Self of all the enlightened beings.

The five elements are like a cloud aimlessly floating here and there;

And the three passions are like the foam which appears and disappears on the surface of the ocean.

When the absolute Reality is known, it is seen that there are no individual selves and no objective forms;

All previous karma which would lead to hell is instantly erased…

After the Awakening, there is only vast Emptiness; this vast universe of forms ceases to exist outside of one’s Self.

Here, one sees neither sin nor bliss, neither loss nor gain.

In the midst of the eternal Serenity, no questions arise;

The dust of ignorance which has accumulated for ages on the unpolished mirror,

Is now and forever wiped away in the recognition of Truth.

The people do not know where to find this precious jewel

Which lies deep within the creative Power;

The activity miraculously performed by this creative Power is an illusion and yet it is not an illusion,

Just as the rays of light emanating from the one perfect Sun belong to it and yet do not belong to it.

Let us be thorough, not only in inner experience, but in its interpretation,

And our lives will be perfect in meditation and in wisdom as well — not adhering one-sidedly to Emptiness alone.

It is not we alone who have come to this conclusion;

All the enlightened, numerous as the sands of India, are of the same mind.

I crossed seas and rivers, climbed mountains, and forded streams,

To visit the Masters, to question after Truth, to delve into the secrets of Mystery;

But since I learned the true path from my Teacher,

I know that I don’t need to be concerned about birth-and-death any longer.

For walking is Truth, sitting is Truth;

Whether talking or not, whether moving or not, the Essence is always itself.

Even when confronted by swords and spears,

It never loses its silence;

Not even poisonous drugs can perturb Its serenity.

Ever since the sudden realization that I have never been born,

All vicissitudes of fate, good and bad, have lost their power over me.

I live far off in the mountains in a modest hut;

The mountains are high, the shade-trees are broad.

And under an old pine I sit quietly and contentedly  in my monkish home;

Here, perfect tranquility and rustic simplicity reign.

The sage seeks neither the Truth, nor avoids its defilements;

He clearly perceives that all dualities are empty and have no reality.

And, since they have no reality, he is not one-sided, neither empty, nor not-empty.

This is the genuine state of sage hood.

The one Mind, like a mirror, reflects everything brightly, and knows no limitations;

It pervades the entire universe even its minutest crevices.

This world and all its contents, multitudinous in form, are reflected in the one Mind,

Which, shining like a perfect gem, knows no “outer” or “inner.”

When we hold exclusively to Emptiness, we deny the entire causal world;

Then all is attributed to chance, with no ruling principle, inviting evil to prevail.

The same error occurs when one holds exclusively to the manifested, denying the Emptiness;

That would be like throwing oneself into the flames to prevent drowning oneself in water….

The Real need not be adhered to; as for the un-real, there has never been any such thing.

When all oppositions are transcended, the un-real becomes meaningless.

Even when the various means to the attainment of Emptiness are abandoned,

The eternal Oneness remains as It has always been.

Song of Enlightenment, by Yoka Daishi, a Chinese Zen Buddhist, from History of Mysticism by S. Abhayananda, Atma Books, Olympia, Washington.

 

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Text satsang

 

A talk with Advaita Douwe Tiemersma, Schiermonnikoog, September 8, 2010

Openings to openness are everywhere

You can be aware of your situation, but then also, you are only aware of the purified essence of that situation, the core of it, the foundation and most important feature of the situation. It’s a tool for getting to the source very quickly. For example: sitting on your chair. That belongs to your situation. You become aware of yourself: sitting is resting; I rest in the place where I sit. What is the essence of that? That’s one hundred percent rest. All specific forms of the situation can fall away. All kinds of incidental forms of that situation, for example, the chair you sit on, the place where you sit, the time, are no longer a factor. One hundred percent rest means that all the forms have fallen away. That means that there is an infinite rest, an infinite relaxation. So you become aware of the situation. Then you are aware of the essence of that situation and you go along with it. Take another example: if all has gone well, you have enjoyed the dinner tonight. That’s the situation. You can tell a whole story about it. But now it’s about that enjoyment. What is the essence of that enjoyment? It is a pure, infinite enjoyment. Go along with that. Then there is infinite ananda, bliss. Still another example: when you have affection for someone or something, what is the situation? You can describe it. What is the essence of that situation, what is the essence of love? Enter into it there and you enter into an infinite sphere of purified love.

We have often encountered the functioning principle: in a certain situation, you experience something. There is a subject and there is an object. You focus on your highest sense, the highest essence that is possible in this situation. That is no longer positioned on the dualistic level and so from there you can let the distance between yourself as subject and the object disappear. Then there is an internal realization of the highest. In order to allow that distance to fall away it’s necessary for you to be open to the other that initially you experienced at a distance. A loving openness is necessary, a full acceptance, a dedication, a love for that other or for the other as for yourself, so that it may coincide with yourself.

If you can only see it, you have openings to openness everywhere. It also exists in the very ordinary things, the ordinary situation. Somewhere in your consciousness you have a notion of self-consciousness, but that’s completely conditioned. Still, you have a sense of what it might mean to be completely present in pure self-consciousness. You stay focused on the essence of pure self-being-awareness. There is a dedication, a relaxation, an allowance of the dissolution of distance, a surrender. That means a letting go of everything that doesn’t belong there. Then there is the realization: infinite being awareness. Therefore your orientation is crucial. Where are you oriented? Are you looking at all kinds of incidentals and making them too important? Then you know that you’re stuck in that situation.

Again: the realization is not far away. It’s all right there in the very simple things. When you’re together with others drinking tea or coffee. That’s nice. What does it mean that it’s so cozy? What is the essence of that situation? Let it grow, enter into it. In this sphere of companionship, of feeling good, there is a piece of ananda. That’s the essence. You begin with a situation containing properties. That situation is still conditioned. When you dedicate yourself to the essence, when you totally surrender to it, it becomes universal, free of conditions. Then you too are also universal, because you don’t grasp on to the conditions, you leave them behind.

This is what Plato meant by ‘ideas’. Through training you must learn act on these ideas. And those who love wisdom, the philosophers, the philo-sophers, completed their training. These ‘ideas’ were not concepts, it was more about the essential form, the essential quality in the sense we are talking about now. So then you see the essential qualities behind the world of forms. And when you enter into it, it brings you into the world of the highest essential qualities: the beautiful, the true and the good. When this motion continues, you inevitably come to the universal level of sat-chit-ananda: the ‘I am’ without qualities. That is something where the particular features are already long gone. It’s about the essence of self-being, and that is self-being without attributes.

Does sat-chit-ananda always have an emotional quality?

Ananda has a positive emotional quality. But it is a universal quality, a quality of universal being-consciousness. You need to stay focused on it until the distance is completely gone. That means that it’s totally realized, that it is your reality.

You exit from ordinary coziness and you enter into infinite coziness. But what if you exit from less pleasant things?

Then it’s exactly the same. When it really continues on through, you emerge in the origin from which everything arises, both good and evil. Grief for example is not such a nice emotion, but when you really dive into the essence of it, it begins to expand, and becomes universal grief. You enter right into the origin and then it becomes still. After a while of intensive weeping and of sitting in your grief, it becomes quiet and then there’s nothing more.

There is a story about someone who always stole and was a true professional thief. He was very good at it. He came to Ramakrishna with the question of how he could attain liberation. Ramakrishna told him to focus on the essence of stealing, on the essential perfection that exists within it. Within a short time he was enlightened. Because he took the perfection so seriously, only Perfection remained. It doesn’t matter whether the situation is judged as positive or negative.

In the movement towards the origin, it becomes increasingly subtle, increasingly rarified. You have, in Indian terms, three basic qualities, three gunas. These three gunas are present on all levels. On all levels you have inertia (tamas), activity (rajas) and purity (sattva), because these are properties of all nature. On the level of sat-chit-ananda the three gunas are still there, though they have become very rarified and open. As a whole, it goes increasingly in the direction of sattvic purity, but the three gunas continue to be present up to the last.

Then does purity dominate in the three gunas?

No, I don’t say that. Perhaps you could put it like this: the three are always present, only the zero value shifts so that the total always becomes more sattvic (purer). You don’t need to turn off tamas and rajas, it doesn’t work anyway. On every level you have to deal with these energies. As long as there are still energies you are dealing with nature, with the three gunas. As a whole it becomes increasingly rarified, lighter and in this sense, more sattvic. Then the realization of the absolute as the source of the three gunas is no longer a problem.

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When you let the artificial fall away, the ‘I’ disappears.
April 16, 2012

Advaita Post Volume 13 No. 8

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Advaita Post 13-08

Non-duality exists right on the surface in all kinds of places.

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When you relax in your clearer consciousness,

everything opens up.

In finite things

you see infinity.

In the finite other

you discover infinity.

In your finite bodily self

you experience infinity.

You confirm that no duality exists.

So just remain in the non-duality of the infinite.

 

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Text satsang

 

From a talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Gouda, October 5, 1996

Consciousness without a ‘me’ practicing it

When you have had an open consciousness for what appears for a somewhat longer period of time, consciousness becomes stable, like a candle flame which doesn’t flicker. Then your whole situation becomes clear. Consciousness is the light in which phenomena become visible and you are that consciousness.

As consciousness you can remain free of that which becomes visible. So don’t be obsessively taken by everything you see and experience in the world. When you remain staring fixedly, you’re stuck. Meditation is especially suited for discovering that fixation and releasing it from  yourself as open being-awareness. You can release all forms. Most likely this form-world continues for a while, but then you certainly see it.

As consciousness you can remain free of every activity in your being-awareness. Becoming aware happens by itself, without an ‘I’ that needs to control it. Meditation naturally helps you to be aware of yourself as the sphere in which phenomena become visible. The main point is the insight: “I’m not doing anything”, “I’m not someone who is looking”.

I see hardly any progression in myself.

Have you practiced recently? You walk to the store and you begin to walk slower and slower. At a given moment you walk only a centimeter a second. So we had agreed on that. If you don’t do it, then you can’t speak about it. You talk with someone and at a certain moment your speech slows down. When you always continue at the old pace your attention goes from the one to the other and you maintain the old ‘I’-structure. There is a constant motion from yourself towards a goal. In our society this motion continues and the speed of it always increases. Everything continues to spin. People are running here and there and back again. There is no moment of rest. The possibility of becoming a little more aware of yourself decreases. When will this circus finally end? When will something actually happen? When something really goes wrong, then there is the chance that people will come to themselves. But you can break through your old patterns just like that.

You’ll certainly have to practice it, for example by consciously breaking through the automatic momentum of speed. When your fascination and bondage is broken through, anything is possible. Physically, you can run or do nothing. It no longer makes any difference. But just once break though the speed of your own movement. Do it also just once with your breath. Follow your breath and let it go slower and slower until it stops. What happens now? Take a look. The traditional yogis do this sometimes in a restricted way: “I’ve always been a slave of the actions I had to perform; so in order to be free I’ll stop functioning: eating, drinking and other activities, breathing, heartbeat, and so on” That kind of stopping is an illusion, but it’s certainly useful to let everything decrease to a slower pace in order to break through fixed patterns.

Then is it a matter of self-discipline?

To a certain extent there is a self-discipline: the old self is stripped of its old tendencies, the limitations of which are broken through. This is done from a ‘higher’ self, initially by the localized self of insight, and then later by yourself as open being-awareness. Then there is no ‘I’ any more that does anything and therefore no discipline. When the light of the Self manifests, darkness disappears automatically and everything becomes clear. Then you are so glad to be free of all heaviness. That’s not self-discipline, but being-awareness and joy. So there is no self discipline in the sense of  “ I must do that”, because then you’re back in the same old limited ‘I’ structure. Let the practicing of consciousness go by itself.

When you come to a standstill during the day, don’t you still need to observe the things that otherwise you do automatically?

Yes, but then also let everything relax. When you observe particular things let all the tension go, so that they’re no longer so hard and important. Then your whole sphere of existence can open up. When the observing happens in a tense way, there is the intent “now I must be aware of myself”. Then there is also the tension “I want to achieve something”. But it’s really only about this quality of clarity. You sit down to peel potatoes and just once you take your time with it, eternal time. Then the situation becomes completely different. The whole structure of quickly peeling potatoes and wanting them to be ready falls away. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, time is unimportant. The Self has an eternity of time. As Self you have nothing to do with time. When that is clear, you continue to discover new things, all kinds of things that you previously overlooked. It’s good to see this directly from within and to practice it like this. Then the boundary between events and yourself disappears. That is the meaning of the meditative walk: I am aware of all parts of my body. I bring my weight onto one foot, the other foot rolls up, I lift it, I bring it forward, I put it down, shift the balance, the other foot comes up, and so on. This can happen in the sphere of self-being. Phenomena rise up in your own consciousness. Within it it’s all so lucid that you can see everything very precisely. Whatever happens with walking, happens in the sphere of your Self. There is walking, but you’re not someone who walks, you’re not someone who moves his feet.

Is there then still a long way to go for the full realization? Surface debris of my personality continue to pop up.

When you realize what I said, you are truly in your natural state. Then what still needs to happen? When no particular form can affect yourSelf … When that is finally realized, there is simultaneously the reality of the non-duality and the realization of it. There is a non-dual reality and the consciousness of it. These are all words, but they refer to an actual event that has a consciousness aspect and a being aspect. It is called the natural state because there’s nothing artificial in it, because there’s no longer anything that constructs in a hard way. The natural state is unconditioned. In Buddhism, it is called ‘such-ness’. That’s it, nothing more. There are no problems, there is everything and there is nothing. It’s also called  ‘emptiness’ because the fullness of important things in life, that substantial fullness, is completely absent. You can’t say that there is absolutely nothing. As long as there are senses there is a certain perceiving, but there is nothing that is of absolute importance. Nothing possesses a heavy individuality any longer in the sense that an ‘I’ is stuck there. There is no ‘I’ to which so many properties are attributed, an ‘I’ that should exist eternally. In this sense there is absolutely no ‘I’, because that ‘I’ is just a particular feeling, a whole of bodily impressions, which are taken together. You see that it is empty. It’s all loose impressions, thought processes, perceptual processes, feeling processes, nothing more. They change according to circumstances. When you’re sick they are different than when you’re healthy. When you’re old, they are different than when you’re young. When you let the artificial fall away, the ‘I’ disappears.

How is it with yourself? There is still the inner confirmation that you are infinite being-awareness, and as such, you are one with its inexpressible source.

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Do you see the tragedy of man: infinite being and yet tightly holding on to the limited?
April 1, 2012

Volume 13 nr. 7

Seeing without a center

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Do you realize that non-duality is the reality?

 

Realization only is, when non-duality is your reality.

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The construction of ‘I’ and world

In the previous post there was a passage about returning to the sensory world after the anesthesia from the empty, yet apparently inexhaustibly creative origin: “Then there is the sense that it [the origin] can be known and the ‘I am aware’ and ‘I am’, the principle of being and consciousness without form, already exist very vaguely within it. That is the beginning from which the formation of the individual body, the world, and yourself in the world proceeds.”

After the anesthetic the step by step formation was clear in the clarity of consciousness. It takes place from vague pains and other not yet identified physical impressions, from grotesque flying bodily debris: back, hands, face … Gradually, through the agglomeration of the debris, a more organized body arises. In a similar way and simultaneously, the world that belongs to that body arises from the fragments of the sheets, tubes, pipes, walls, etc… of the Intensive Care unit. It’s an incredibly extensive construction, a whole creation. The ‘I’-person has nothing to do with the vast majority of that construction, because it is a later product of creation. Only in an advanced agglomeration of body and world does the past of the you of the operation, of before the operation, of fragments of your collected biography, arise. Therefore it’s also nonsense to say that your ‘mind’ creates the world. That’s too great an honor for yourself as a mental being. The creation is a miracle. It arises just like that, without giving an explanation, from nothing. It arises just like that from the absolute non-duality, via the universal non-duality (the oceanic sphere), the world of I-consciousness and forms. The important point is that with great lucidity you can still affirm that the non-duality is preserved: the universal non-separation of self and forms/qualities continues to exist despite the formation of body, I-consciousness, feeling, thought, world, present-past-future.  The non-separation of empty origin and creation remain.

That the sensory world then also re-arises was clear with the tasting of food and drink. After a period of intravenous nutrition and tube feeding, just drinking normal apple juice from a package was a revelation. The taste was very strong and delicious, because it was new. It reminded me of the New Year’s Eve long ago, in the 50’s, when I first consciously tasted apple juice, strong and delicious, because then also, the taste was new. That’s how it was, too with the pudding I had in the hospital. It was like the first time I had tasted custard from a bottle: that delicious full vanilla flavor. I asked for it again as dessert on my birthday. So too the taste of coffee in the hospital was like before: too strong and too bitter, but tasty as children’s coffee with lots of milk and sugar. A particular aspect to all these delicacies was that in the moment of enjoyment there was just taste, with the enjoyment of that taste quality like an infinite space (see Advaita Post 9-10 You can taste a strawberry ice cream and you’re gone, the ice cream too is gone: one taste).

It was an incredible experience that the taste experiences and taste world revived so thoroughly after such a holiday. From that perspective, it is clear that there is a strong habituation to tasting, that ever stronger stimuli are needed to maintain the same taste in food and drink, and the food industry takes advantage of that. Further, it’s clear that it’s not necessary to stay stuck in a habitual and artificial flavor world. By fasting now and then, the taste construction and its habituation is brought into light.

This applies to all aspects of your sensory world. You can recognize the simplicity once again through an enforced all or nothing return to a simpler world.

Then you break through the standard situation in which everything is obviously present in a particular way and you become aware of the obvious, including your own attachments. It then offers the opportunity to become free of those attachments. See it in the sensory aspects of your existence and world, see it in all aspects, including the most fundamental.

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Text satsang

From a talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Hoorneboeg, March 6, 2009

 

The universal conflict: expansion and retention

The radical breaking open can go completely by itself. When that doesn’t happen, it makes sense to look very carefully at what is apparently closed, what is stuck, but what can still break open. It will have to come into the light of consciousness, so that it can open. It can come completely free through consciousness. Of course it’s about yourself, your own self-being. When there something in it that is closed, you will need to see that very clearly. When it remains vague, there’s no question what follows. When this vagueness remains, and that’s all too easily the case, then your whole life is based on that closed off area. Then it has an effect on all aspects of your life, without you being aware of the cause. What can you say about those closed off things? They have the character of stuck energies. When all goes well, energies both give and take space. They flow, they dissolve, but they can also be stuck. It’s about energy, but at the same time it’s about the self-being that has identified itself with energy. So it too, contains a piece of consciousness. Traditionally, when a new individual life arises, it is said: “The self has incarnated in a piece of energy and then says: this is me.” When that identification is there, there is one complex: not just of energy, but of ‘I’ and energy, an ‘I’-energy complex. The experience then is that everything that happens to that chunk of energy happens to yourself. What happens to the body then also happens to yourself. So you’re positioned in that piece of inner energy, there is an internal in contrast to an external world. Everything from the external world which comes at that piece of energy/matter, comes at you.

Why can’t this energy clump/ matter flow freely? Apparently there is a force that restrains the energy. If there were to be no restrictive force, the energy would take the space. Usually in a very early stage of life that restriction isn’t very strong, but in order to be able to differentiate internal and external energies, the restriction gradually increases in strength. There are all kinds of forces that limit or capture vital energy. You see how quickly the energies are absorbed by the self-being, so that an ‘I’-complex is formed with all kinds of energetic shells that function restrictively (kosha’s). These restrictive energies in the sphere of the ‘I’-identity are expressed as judgments: “I can’t do this or that”, “I am this body”, “this belongs to this body  but not that”, “there is a border here”, “it shouldn’t go any further”, “I am my brain”, “I think”, and so on. Then there is an internal conflict. On the one hand the energies want to take the space, and on the other hand, they are held back. A dam arises when the restricting force of internal or external energy is especially strong. When that inner damming is very strong the energy seeks a way out in a less attractive way, such as aggression. In an early phase of life the situation is still very open. When this openness is attacked, it can be experienced so intensively that the reaction is total, a total fear, because it is perceived as a total threat. In the further course of life, this doesn’t occur so frequently in daily consciousness because it is repressed. In addition, there are complexes that you acquire later in life. All these things that you keep outside of your daily consciousness still continue to play a role in the shaping of your life.

When we are engaged in yoga as a liberation of the body schema, it’s usually not about very strong emotional things, but rather about established physical structures that are deeply ingrained, such as top and bottom, left and right, the size of your body, and so on. When an expansion comes you see that at first the simpler things come free but increasingly you have to deal with much deeper issues that are much tighter, more restrictive and more emotionally charged. They come free when more space comes.

It’s good to see that inner conflict very clearly. Primarily energy has a tendency to expand. This is expressed on the level of the person as a desire for liberation. Even when there is an identification with a solid chunk of energy, such as the body and traumatic experiences, that desire for expansion, for broadening remains present. It is something authentic because, in principle, the self-being is not limited. Therefore everyone has a longing for that universal expansion. The other side is also there. The self-being is linked to that specific form, that lump of specific energy/matter through identification. That identity has become an anchor through habituation, a certain basis, which you experience as yourself. When that energy starts to fall apart, there is fear that the self is falling apart. On the one hand there is the authentic desire for infinite expansion, on the other hand, there is the desire to hold on to the form and with that, retain your normal-identity. This is a huge conflict.

That identity is continually reinforced from the outside and so it’s always a big dilemma.

Yes, but apparently you absorb that affirmation. It’s an inner conflict. It’s the basic conflict that all people live with, the greatest conflict that there is. Everyone relates to it in their own way, but everyone has it. So it’s good to see how it works. People are positioned in that conflict with a double desire. On the one hand to be infinite, and on the other hand to be identical with a form which man imagines shouldn’t change. Therefore people want to have an eternal life and they’ll do everything they can to stretch it out a few years. That’s a huge misunderstanding, the biggest misunderstanding that there is. The desire for infinity is authentic because the self-being is not stuck in a form. Infinity then becomes identified with a limited form. Different levels get mixed up. Of course you get problems with that. You notice that the limited form is not eternal. Do you see the absurdity of that contradiction? Do you see the tragedy of man? Do you now see the suffering it causes? Do you see that it’s not necessary?