Archive for August, 2013

For the self-being a limitation is always painful
August 30, 2013

Advaita Post, Volume 14 No. 15

An advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma in Gouda, April 25, 2012        

For the self-being a limitation is always painful

I often use thoughts to protect myself from what’s happening around me.

It’s good when you can recognize that. So then that’s the understanding of: I am engaged as an ‘I think’, with all kinds of things connected to it such as self-interest and so on. You recognize that and then you can say: in themselves these thoughts aren’t bad, it’s just my identification with that ‘I think’ which causes the problems. Take a look at what thinking actually means biologically. It just means that something happens internally in the brain, or from a psychological perspective something in conception. Sometimes it’s necessary to do this because there are certain things you can’t approach directly. So then you have to make a detour. How do you make this detour? You need thinking for that. So ladders have been invented, and so on. Then it’s a practical tool for living. Thinking is just a part of life. But see that your identification with thinking, with something limited, with whatever – a certain feeling or a certain form – that’s what creates problems. How is it with yourself ? Aren’t you completely spacious? So then just let everything go, that’s life. You’re not situated somewhere in a limited way. Even with a thought like: I live wonderfully free, I live divinely, and so on. When you still have that idea then it’s self-referential, because if you experience life like that sooner or later you’ll get a bump on the nose. Why? Because you’ve identified yourself with that piece of energy. All energies change and at some point disappear, they dissolve. Even with divine identifications you get the same exact problems as you do with all other problems existing in duality.

What would you be able to identify with?

As soon as you identify yourself with something, you’re already in duality. Identification is when you give your identity to something else. This is my identity, so I am identical with it. When this is something limited, then you also get to know it’s limitations. A limitation is always painful to the self-being, because the self-being always has the feeling: I am infinite. So then you get this conflict.

Sometimes when there is an attraction towards something limited, I notice that it’s very easy to identify with something more spacious. Mostly I just let that happen.

Great. Then just let it proceed infinitely. When you are just a little more spacious you always find that it’s beautiful. Being a little more spacious, more open, experiencing more freedom, everyone finds that wonderful. Then doesn’t it seem obvious to look at the essence of that freedom? If you find it wonderful to tear down a road in a car, then you say: I want to go even faster, experience more freedom. Because it’s never enough. But if you look at the essence of what you experience in that car you’ll see that the essence of that feeling of freedom goes much further than fast driving. When you go toward that essence you become freer from the conditions of  driving fast. If you don’t make this transition then you get the left overs. It’s the same with power. People in politics want to have power. They feel better the more power they get. Why? Because then they experience a more expansive realm of self-being and can exercise power over that realm. There’s a piece of freedom in that: in my realm, in my territory, I can do what I want. It brings a good feeling when that territory expands. When it gets put into action you can see that it’s that infinite essence of freedom which is sought but it doesn’t work on that level. That’s the tragedy of every dictator. It’s the same with all the people who think they can do more than other people. Then they cross over boundaries which makes it go all wrong. That absoluteness of freedom can’t be achieved at the level of “I want freedom, I want power, I want space, I want everything”. If you do then you set up the absolute on a relative level and then you get an incredible amount of misery. Traditionally there was always a warning against blasphemy: you are not God! And that’s quite right. Because if you think so there will always be mishaps. You shouldn’t get those levels mixed up. See how it is.



Life lives itself
August 14, 2013

Volume 14 No. 14

Text satsang

An Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma Gouda, April 27, 2005

Life lives itself

Is life possible without desire?


But if I hear tomorrow that I have esophageal cancer, then don’t I have a problem?

Yes, that’s clear. But your question is whether there’s life without desire.

My desire is that I could be healthy again.

Is there life without desire?



Life just exists.

Of course. If you look beyond the human world then you see that the whole natural world flourishes in the spring. Is there any desire in that? No, it’s just a living of life. Take a look at yourself: in the beating of your heart is there any desire for the next beat?

Lives life itself.

Great. So it’s the same with human beings. And then suddenly an ‘I’ pops up that wants to continue living and so you have this structure of a limited identity, an ‘I’ who separates himself and says: I want to keep living in time.

But isn’t that logical?

When you say “it usually happens that way”, then yes, it’s logical.

But I imagine that if you went to the doctor tomorrow and he tells you that you are in an advanced stage of esophageal cancer, you’d still have a problem.

Death has already given me notice. It already began at birth.

Yes, I can say that too.

No, but seriously. Of course, organisms are mortal. There is a beginning, blossoming, decay and death. A plant has no desire to keep living and with a human being that always comes up. What’s that about? What‘s the most important aspect of man? Isn’t that consciousness? But you have to take a look at the significance it receives, namely as a very limited ‘I’-consciousness, an ‘I’-think, and then these sorts of things come up. When that consciousness comes free then once again it’s complete and infinite. When that aware being – which has nothing to do with birth and death – identifies itself with the body then it says: I’m in this body so I want to physically hold onto this infinity.

For the time being, yes.

Yes, but you see the absurdity. When you identify yourself with something, for example, with this candle and you say: “I have a sense of my self-being as unlimited-being, as whole-being, but damn, as a candle I’m getting smaller and I don’t want to burn out.” Isn’t that a mixing up of different things? That a candle can be lit and then burn out is quite obvious. When an organism lives, then there is also an end to that organism. Not of the life but of the organism. This sense of infinity and this notion of the organism shouldn’t be confused. That is absurd.

But doesn’t desire also come from life?

No, we have just said: life lives itself.

Then isn’t what I said strange?

No unfortunately, it’s very common. But you have to see how much suffering it creates. Some people really get into a panic. Now you see its cause, which is the coupling of things that can’t be coupled. That’s the absurdity. You see it in so many ways, not only with the problem of dying but also when, for example, a human being suddenly says: “I am immortal and I can do anything.” All the great dictators have said that and that’s dangerous. You see the absurdity. Because a bodily ‘I’-person isn’t eternal and can’t do everything. Why not? Because fundamentally he’s limited. The point is: when you return to that source of self-being, self-consciousness, you notice that there are no limits to be found and then you say: people have a sense of infinity, of immortality, and that’s not crazy, so it doesn’t have to disappear. But you should be careful and not apply it to something that is inherently transient. You will have to accept that impermanence. The problem comes when you link them. Of course then there’s a lot suffering and fighting a losing battle with increasingly higher costs for a month’s more extension of life. But fundamentally it doesn’t solve anything.