Archive for September, 2013

The original (in)vulnerability
September 29, 2013

Advaita Post Volume 14, No 17


Text Satsang

An Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma , Hoorneboeg October 7th 2007

The original (in)vulnerability

Let’s take a deeper look at vulnerability and invulnerability. First, I’d like to connect with what we did this morning in our yoga exercises. Through them the physical and emotional energies could open out into the space, could expand, could dissolve. Therefore it’s about something very concrete. It’s not just something of a psychic nature. It’s really about a certain substance that is susceptible to injury. We can call this substance energetic. It’s active on that level. You can experience it very clearly as a certain substance. On the one hand energies are very fluid and subtle. But there are also heavier energies, which take on a certain form, making that form less changeable. Then we say: these are deep seated energies, deep seated instinctive, emotional energies. When you incline a bit more towards the spiritual side, the consciousness side, you can see that these energies are increasing subtle. When you descend, more into the body, you can see that the energies there are much heavier, coarser. The deeper they are the more difficult it is for them to enter into consciousness. So that means that as time goes on they have a greater tendency to continue to manifest. When these energies are completely fixed by circumstances from an early stage of life, the experiences of the young child, then you see that in the course of life all kinds of layers cover over them. Then there’s no awareness any more of what lies underneath those layers. Yet these are precisely the most essential energetic structures that determine everyday life. Then we say: he or she has this or that character. But that’s just those ongoing patterns. Patterns of reacting, thinking, feeling. These can be very basic patterns in which a very clear vulnerability was present and through which a certain pattern of reaction developed. For example, there is a tension that is directed inwards, a hiding away into yourself, closing off, the building of a wall. When such a basic pattern which determines ordinary life like that exists you might say: “that’s quite an introverted person, who finds making contact difficult, who doesn’t open up so easily.” Why not? Because that old sensitivity is still there. Plus also that secondary reaction of: when something even hints of going in that direction, close off and protect. When the same sort of attack comes like happened before, then usually the reaction is out of proportion, because the sensitivity that is there is so great.

Every young child, as they grow up with a certain I-center, has to deal with the things of the world. And each child has its own “strategy” for that. Strategy in quotation marks, because of course it’s not a conscious strategy. You can say that within one to four years the important basic patterns of responding, of dealing with other people, of dealing with the world, are already fixed. And so you can see large differences. When the child is confronted: “Hey, look at what you’ve done! That’s really wrong”! What’s the reaction? You see that it varies. Some say: “Yes OK, I’ll do it better next time”. Others: “Oh, that’s terrible, I always have to look out for my parents”.  Result: cramping, cutting off, spontaneity disappears. Through the vulnerable situation of the child the pattern becomes immediately established. And that’s so easily retained throughout the rest of life. Whenever there’s another such attack: “You’re doing it all wrong”, immediately the whole complex starts back up again and it all goes wrong.

A child’s situation is total, children experience completely. Adults have already built up all kinds of defense mechanisms. These are defenses to reinstate their own security. For instance, they have all kinds of  ‘ideas’. But with children it’s total.

When such a reaction pattern comes loose later in life, then it’s also huge, so total that it overwhelms you. So when there’s already a certain ‘I’-formation present in children it all relates to this original great vulnerability. Everything’s still completely open, so it’s incredibly vulnerable.

In a slightly earlier stage, there’s not even an ‘I’-structure yet, so then it doesn’t matter. Because what happens then? What happens, say to a child of 2 , 3 or 4 years old, before you have developed such an ‘I’? There wasn’t an ‘I‘ then! Then if the parents said: “You’re doing it all wrong”. What happens to such a child? In this phase, absolutely nothing.



What happens when everything disappears?
September 16, 2013

Advaita Post Volume 14 No. 16


Text satsang

From an Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma ,Gouda, October 27, 2004

What happens when everything disappears?

That transition is always very striking. You are chatting with each other and then suddenly: stop. Then you can be aware of everything that you bring with you to that conversation. Because everything that you bring with you means tension. When it’s quiet everything can disappear. Just notice that disappearance. What would happen if everything were to disappear? What happens then?

Nothing remains.

Wrong answer.

(Someone else) Openness.

Wrong answer.

(Someone else) It’s just temporary.

Wrong answer.

(Someone else) There’s only spirit left.

Wrong answer.


What happens when everything really disappears? And then you keep talking from out of that fullness! Take a more precise look. What does it mean when the last I-tension falls away? What about the I-tension, the I-heaviness, the separation between inside and outside? See the possibility of the I-tension, this I-weight, that separation falling away. When you see that I-tension somewhere then you can imagine what it means when it drops. You see that that little I has no chance to survive in that space. Just imagine what it means when you forget that little I, that it’s resolved into space, such that it never returns. Experience that it’s a complete surrender. Stay clear. Whenever you are not present then you have that ‘I’ back before you know it and without you being aware of it. In that transition remain aware of the absolute space in which everything dissolves, in that absolute black hole into which everything sinks. Let this absolute dimension remain open. Otherwise it remains a limited, lethargic state. Is there anything that’s still unclear?

Everything still forms into words, ideas.

The point is that you can see these concretions anew with their I-tensions. When the absolute really breaks it open somewhere, when that really happens, then that dimension doesn’t disappear anymore. And that breaking-open continues to function. That’s not something you do, it happens. The only problem is when you become distracted and completely dive back in somewhere so that you build up imaginary walls around it once again, so that you are so concentrated on other things that that other is pushed away. When you have the slightest experience that that absolute is key then this won’t happen. Do you see the essence of surrender? It’s a complete forgetfulness of everything that was of importance to your ‘I’.

Your question was: what happens when everything disappears.


Nothing, of course.

Sure, but look out for your words.

It’s very clear what I’m saying.

Be careful with words.

Of course there is no answer to that question.

There is only one possible answer to that question.

No. That ‘I’ who should answer the question is gone, of course. That’s no longer there. So the question disappears.

There is only one answer.

What is it then?

I asked you.

I can’t give the answer, because if everything is gone, then the one who can give the answer is also gone.

You’re doing quite a bit of talking.

But you asked me.

Yes, and I hoped for the correct answer.

And if I try to give it than I’m doing quite a bit of talking.

Right. Because you are trying to give it.

Aha, so silence is the right answer.


So there is no answer.

There is.

So I can’t think of an answer.

Then you are already one step closer.

I ‘m a step closer when I can’t think about it?

No, when you say it like that.

So the answer lies beyond thinking.

Just one step further.

And I can’t find the answer with thinking, of course not, because it’s beyond thinking. So thinking must remain silent in order to find the answer.

That was the further step.

That was the answer?

That’s still no answer. It’s a small step further in the direction of a response.

But everything that I’m saying is dual, is from the mind. So thinking teaches me that thinking can’t find the answer. Thinking should become silent and then there’s nothing more to say.

And then you come to the point.

To not say anything anymore?

When you don’t say anything anymore, then it might happen.

Then the search stops.

So just for once just stay there.

One is speechless …

Notice how many things disappear around that absolute. When that really manifests we could be sitting here for maybe a couple hundred years. Time disappears. When time returns you notice: time is tension. Because something must be projected: time and something that is spun out within it.

I am experiencing an opening in which everything disappears, but …


… But it doesn’t just continue. Time returns, as it were.

The important thing is that the other dimension just remains open.

That’s always there. But it’s like standing on the edge of a knife.

That is a time period in which  you have to stay incredibly alert so as not to get caught, so that it closes back up again.