Archive for February, 2013

The power of openness
February 24, 2013

Advaita Post, Volume 14 No. 4


Text satsang

An Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Schiermonnikoog, June 18, 2011

The power of openness

Problems that exist on a personal level can’t be resolved on the same level. You see that for example with people who are really committed to helping others, people in care giving situations. On the one hand, it’s wonderful. But when this takes place on a personal level only, then sooner or later they become overworked. In politics, you see all the different revolutions. People try to overthrow old structures but when the people themselves remain on the same level nothing really changes. You can have sympathy for one action more than another, but they remain actions and reactions. Fundamentally nothing changes because the fundamental problem is not resolved, which is the problem of the limited personalities existing there, the problem of egocentricity which is present everywhere. When the problem is experienced from a higher level you suddenly see that miracles happen. You can see it on a small scale when you suddenly transcend your own limitations, but also on a larger scale even though there aren’t very many examples of it. This occurred with Nelson Mandela: he didn’t function on the level of action and reaction, but installed a truth and reconciliation commission to achieve clarity about what had happened. That prevented a lot of bloodshed.

It’s about what’s going on with yourself: the opening will need to be there, in the sphere of yourself. Then you’ll see that it’s acting in a broader sense.

Does this mean that you should go after the source of the egocentricity?

When you are completely clear and open and someone enters into that space towards whom you would normally react to less pleasantly, what happens? You just remain open and clear. The other enters and at first you see the tension in yourself. This initial phase, that’s the origin of egocentricity. You can recognize that. In the beginning it isn’t yet so strong because later it increases. It has the tendency to strengthen and you see it. From the openness, where you are located, you can see and feel that tendency. But the power of openness is stronger and you say: no, I’ll just stay open. That tendency to cramp slowly dissolves. You experience that it can go one way or the other. The phone rings, and you have a certain tendency. In this early stage you can recognize that it can go either way. When your attention goes towards it, you have a narrowing of your consciousness. When there is a situation of openness you can just let the phone ring.

You can also just pick up the phone and start talking?

Yes you can do that, too. But right now it’s about what happens when there is a restriction of your consciousness. When it remains open then indeed you can have a quiet word with the caller. It matters less and less what you do. It’s more about how you do it.

Can you take up a higher standpoint on many different levels?

First you’ll need to recognize that this is possible, and in fact that that’s always, already happening. When you briefly look back you’ll see that you are constantly changing your viewing point.

But it’s always from the position of the person.

Yes, so that’s something that’s always still limited. Because it’s a position, it’s limited, but you can certainly see that within this limitation all kinds of stances are still possible. A human being has the opportunity to take on all kinds of different points of view. Animals can’t do that. It’s good to see that. What are the consequences? You have a scale of restricted and less restricted views. When you can recognize that, then be so wise as to take on viewpoints that are less restricted. These are very ordinary, everyday things. Actually it shouldn’t be necessary to discuss it, but you can see that almost everyone keeps muddling through somehow without realizing what’s happening. It’s exactly the same for people who want to be spiritual. So at least take up a better stance, because that’s the basis on which it can proceed. Many people who are interested in advaita speak directly about the highest, but frequently they have no notion of these basic things. As a person you understand that you can move from one position to another. It’s important that you get this, because otherwise life continues on in a blind manner through action and reaction.


The teacher
February 10, 2013

Advaita Post, 14 #3


Text satsang

An Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Rotterdam, January 24, 1980

The teacher

I have experienced that the trust in someone who “is standing on the other side” is very important for the final release. Letting go of everything doesn’t just happen. It concerns that which you unconsciously thought was the basis of your own existence. Then that trust is extremely important. That you believe someone when he says: “You are Brahman”. When you believe it, it is also so; from the one moment to the next you see it. One minute you’re still conditioned, the next moment there is the unlimited Reality. Because you unconditionally believe it, you see it. For most people that seems to be difficult. There are hundreds of people who come to great masters and there’s only just a few who accept it and so realize the Ultimate.

See the limitations of your ‘I’ increasingly clearly and realize that you are the Self, as free being-awareness, in which your whole world can dissolve. Imagine yourself open for that. Believe in it, so that you see it. Give yourself over to it. It is similar to allowing the ‘I’ to collapse into a deep abyss. When you dare to jump into the abyss you have overcome all fear. When that doesn’t happen you continue to hold on tightly to yourself and you remain stuck in limitation. There is a fear-of-death phase for the little ‘me’ who wants to survive. This is overcome when you have a great confidence in the space in which you will land, a trust that you will be received. A guru can be of inestimable significance for this, yet not as a person, but rather because you see that he is the space. In him you see that this is possible. Then you just let it happen.

You have been practicing yoga for years and you think, “this is my path”. You have an idea of ​​progress. When you look back you see that you were very different a number of years ago, that it’s better now. You live life more relaxed, more aware, healthier and you think you’ve traveled a good distance along the path. But when you are fully engaged with yoga, there is no past anymore. Every moment can be new. You can let go of the old every moment, the old ideas about the goal, about liberation. See that it’s about this moment, now. The ideas belong to the past, to a rigid and limited ‘I’. The ‘I’-thought is glued onto all concepts. The ‘I am’ in the ideas about conception, birth and death. Bring these points of your ego together, here before you. You can grab it just like that and in this way it can disappear. The ‘I am’ is everything. Experience it and see it very clearly. Then the realization of the highest reality can come.




Letter from Douwe about the Foundation Openness / Advaita Center after his death.