Duality is nonsense, because relationships and interconnectedness simply are; from non-duality this is obvious.

Advaita Post, Volume 13 No. 10

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Lookout: anything can be an ‘I’-catcher

(This photo is of a public garbage catcher for ‘bliks’ or cans, where the first two letters are missing, turning ‘blik’ or can into ‘ik’ or I.)

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See how all that is determined arises from the indeterminable.

See how your finite self arises from infinity.

The indeterminate is in every thing,

infinitude is everywhere.

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After the operation

This is another follow-up to the pieces I wrote about the situation surrounding the operation. Perhaps the description here will allow the reader to recognize something of existential importance.

The body schema

What do you do when the creation including your sensory structure returns after anesthesia? All the things of body and world come back. Some distance still remains between yourself and the world with its body because the body no longer functions in an obvious way. This functioning doesn’t correspond with the normal expectation of being able to do everything physically. With health, the body and the ‘I can’ go together. The body is an ‘I can’ apparatus (Merleau-Ponty). Now it can’t do many things. Life is confined to the bed, food comes through a drip, movement is barely possible. Of course, life would have ended very quickly without the surgery. That life continues is a miracle, an additional gift, an encore. Yet the unnatural quality remains clear. The old schemas of body and movement continue to indicate what normal experience should be and they don’t easily adapt to the new situation.

These schemas are not situated on the mental level. If that were the case you would be able to directly change your entire physical situation by simply thinking about something else. They are deeply anchored in the body-life. The schemas also aren’t located on the still deeper level of the creation of the world and the physical body. That’s why there can still be a discrepancy between the schemas and the physical condition. So patience is needed for their necessary adjustment.

The interconnectedness of body and myself, my own self-being, is stronger on the level of the schemas than on the physical level. Therefore when there is a bodily disturbance, there can easily be a discrepancy and alienation of the physical body from the ‘I’ of the ‘I can’-schemas. “Why doesn’t the body cooperate with my intentions, with what I want to do?” Yes, an adjustment has to take place, but what is the role of the individual self-being thereby?

Thus, the limitations of the body/movement schemas apply to yourself to the extent that you’re identified with them. They no longer connect to the current physical reality; their relativity is clear. In their relativity you can accept them, and also release them. By letting go of these deeper layers of your own body you can be aware of the infinite freedom of your self-being.

Equanimity and nonduality

Additionally, as the recuperation proceeds, there is the inconvenience of not being able to do everything that previously went quite smoothly. Eating and lying can only proceed in a modified manner. There are still pains whose cause is not clear. What is clear is that I don’t need to pay attention to them, even though that’s almost an automatic reaction. If I were to do that, they would become stronger. Then, too, many thoughts would certainly arise about what might not happen. Then I’d get stuck. So also, I mustn’t pay attention to time, to the sequencing of first this and then that. This sequencing is incredibly difficult, already in just the attempt to change my physical position or the operation jacket and later with teeth brushing.

The discomfort and pain can’t be imagined away, so you have to let everything happen. This allowance is possible from an attitude of equanimity (Eckhart, Heidegger). I can release the individual situation in the greater whole and let it go its own way. This brings a relaxation from the ‘I’ who at first wanted to control everything in time from an ‘I will’ and ‘I do’ point of view. But it is clear that this is not total relaxation. With equanimity there is still a self-being who allows and who is allowed; who allows things to happen because they can’t be otherwise. Equanimity is an attitude and an adjustment of an ‘I’ with a center in time.

I just let my attention and feeling open up and I go along with this expansion. My being and being-experience become infinite and this infinity is an ineffable non-duality.

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Text Satsang

An Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Gouda, retreat August 30, 2009, afternoon

You are everything and yet there is freedom, because everything is released

Stay aware of what happens with yourself when you sit down and it becomes quiet. See what happens when you let this continue. When you stay in your consciousness space the extension of your own self-being fully proceeds. Even though there is just a tiny piece of consciousness, the opening continues infinitely. Consciousness is always greater than the given: the form, the phenomenon, the field. When the field increases, your experience of your consciousness increases. When your consciousness becomes infinitely large, the forms will naturally dissolve in that  great space. This process of opening and dissolving continues infinitely.

When you have experienced the infinity of your own consciousness you realize that it’s obvious that this process continues, because the consciousness is simply infinite. So let it continue. Only then do you come to your natural self. That self reveals that which precedes all the possible forms of-and-in time and space.

When the clarity of consciousness disappears, the old patterns arise once again all too easily in the foreground. Therefore it is necessary that the clarity remains, the space of consciousness. Then it’s clear what you are and what you are not. You’ll have to constantly confirm this. You’ll need to dedicate yourself to it. Sometimes the development goes slowly, sometimes very quickly. But always there is the sense: my self-being as being-awareness is infinite and not dependent on time and space. Letting go there, that’s surrender. In fact, you already are that openness. It is only the ignorance that disappears.

The mists withdraw. But even when the mists and clouds don’t directly disappear, you always have the option of returning to the space above the clouds. Anyone who has made a transcontinental flight, knows that then you are above the weather. There may still be a thunder cloud below, but it doesn’t matter. Recognize that what you perceive depends upon your position. When you have a ‘lower’ stance, you know that you are ”in the weather” and that you have to deal with the alteration of rain and sunshine, with the change of your weather, with your moods. But when you ascend just a little bit, you notice that your space is clear and remains so. Below you can still have high and low pressure zones. All that is impossible to predict, even by the weather station. You see it and you can release it. Then there is a natural situation. That’s how it goes with life: there is rain and sun. But you let it go.

As being-awareness you are the clear space in which phenomena come and go. This indicates that these phenomena are not different from yourself and that you are not absorbed by them. Life is a great whole of energies and forces. You are that life, but you’re not absorbed by  blindly staring and you don’t totally dive in, either. You do that when you occupy a particular position within it. That means an identification with yourself at that particular place. Then the free space disappears.

Once you’ve experienced something of freedom then you see the relativity of the world and life, you see the danger of illusion with it. The world and life are not an illusion. The belief that this world and this life are absolute, that everything within it is so serious and that everything depends on it, that’s an illusion. The world is not absolute, if only because it is a temporal world.

In clarity there is non-duality. You, as first person, are everything that you perceive (third person) and yet there is freedom, because everything is released. Then it no longer matters if there are phenomena or not. As long as there is a creation, there is the immense wealth and splendor of creation. Then there is the clear experience that everything is one. Understand well what that means. When the world exists and you realize that everything is one, then it means that you, too, are completely one with it.

In your being-awareness that insight is very clear: that’s how it is. On the mental level there is a clear logic. On the level of feeling there is a feeling of unity, a feeling of love. Then you can  accept everything in love as yourSelf. But just see it clearly, then every doubt disappears, then every resistance disappears. The mist withdraws. You confirm: that’s how it is.

When you remain positioned on the mental level questions and problems continue to arise. When you assign names to all different kinds of things, bringing separation, making separate concepts and then absolutizing them then, yes, you’ll not understand anything about it. Then, for example, the relationship between the body and the spirit is an unthinkable issue. When it comes to humans and the environment and you make a separation first between nature and the people who can dominate and manipulate it then, yes, you get trouble. Internally there is no separation. There is one whole of being, of life. When you first make a concept of God and then a conception of man, all kinds of theological problems arise that have kept people busy for millennia. Because then, what about the ‘divine man’, someone like Jesus? Then Islam is very consistent. Scripture states: “There is an absolute separation between man and God. Jesus was just a prophet.” When you simply lay that whole conceptualization aside and experience for yourself, you must confirm that there are no borders to everything that had been separated. You can see in all the great religions that there is always a certain sense of that original. But the different forms of conceptualization and their absolutization are always creating problems. Duality is nonsense, since relationships and interconnectedness simply are; from non-duality this is obvious.

In Christianity it is regarded as a great sin when someone imagines that he is God. Of course, this is appropriate because dualistic levels have become confused with one another. Be honest. Only when you see that there really is no separation is there the complete love that mystical unity refers to.

Stay clearly conscious, that’s the only thing you can do. As soon as the sleepiness hits, you pick back up on the old patterns. When you remain clear, the original nonduality manifests by itself.

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