Archive for November, 2013

Beyond the boundaries of death
November 24, 2013

Volume 14, No. 21

Text Satsang

From an Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma, Gouda April 5, 2006

Beyond the boundaries of death

When someone suffers or goes through a period of mourning, that suffering won’t truly dissolve until identification with all and everything from out of the ‘me’ disappears. Then there can still be a painful situation, but the greatest part of that pain is already gone.

It’s great that you’re talking about this now because I have a friend who’s lost two children and has been painfully stuck to that for over 15 years. Today I received an email from her which encouraged me to think that she might be moving in the direction of Advaita. That would be nice…

Apparently there’s also something in your friend which notices the suffering disappears when she becomes more open. Of course, it’s understandable if you lose two children. That’s terrible and I wouldn’t do anything to dismiss it, but when that grief just stays, then eventually you’re going to look at where the biggest problem lies.

I have the feeling that it’s become an identity.

Absolutely. So it’s entirely based on an ‘I’, and when that’s structural, then it’s part of the identity. When terrible things have happened that’s exactly where you see it. That is, with exceptional things which you easily take into yourself, into your identity. Just look at how much space is created when it’s finally released.

You’ll also need to see very clearly that the desire to help from an ‘I’ situation is always an ‘I’-interest. Sometimes that’s very obvious, sometimes very subtle.

I’ve done that too with an ex-boyfriend…

Then it may be wise temporarily to just say: stop. When you feel that those ‘I’ forces have less of an impact on you, then there’s a new situation. But it’s good to break through that wish to offer help, not only for yourself, but also for the other. Because that other has become addicted to your help.

Actually, it’s exactly the same within your own life.

Yes, when you have a little insight then you know the relationship between yourself as insight and the ‘I’-self. Then from that insight-self you can be hard with that ‘I’-self. Occasionally it’s quite healthy to do so. But on the other hand, there’s no difference between your insight-self and your ‘I’-self, because it’s all you. Certainly there are different levels with different conditions: the one more restricted, the other less restricted. So on the one hand you can be tough, on the other hand you can say to yourself: just relax, I am that too. You can get along with yourself in a friendly manner, and of course that part is good. But the most important thing is that the emphasis lies on the more spacious levels so that the limitations can dissolve. I am myself already, why should there be this cramp of an ‘I’ sitting inside me somewhere? And that works for others too, when there is openness the other recognizes it: there is openness, why should this tension still be there? Frequently this happens without words. With consolation and mourning I’ve seen it so often: all these people who are busy moaning, and the person involved falls even deeper into the pit.

But if you don’t participate in a grieving process like that it’s often thought: why is that person not crying? I’ve experienced that, too.

When there really is an open being, it’s no longer a personal feeling and people can just hiccup against it. But surely, they can still experience that you’re not ‘cold’. Because in the emotions everything is open too, you’re just not mourning in the same way that they are. People can be surprised about it because it stands out. But when they get a bit beyond it they also experience that it’s the most valuable.

It’s actually a much deeper attention.

Of course. It’s even such an attention that you are completely identical to the self of that other. Now that’s a deeper attention. The other is going to notice that there is no fear of death in this openness. As long as there is something of an ‘I’-center there is the fear of death. And when there’s been a death you frequently see it, too: people sit around lamenting about their own mortality. Surely it stands out then when there’s someone there who has no fear of death. Then it’s also clear why that’s a helpful situation. Isn’t it the very best help when the whole sphere is lifted beyond the boundaries of death?



When thinking stops, time stops, too.
November 12, 2013

Volume 14 No. 20

Text Satsang

An Advaita talk with Douwe Tiemersma Gouda, January 10, 2007

When thinking stops, time stops, too.

You’re always busy with caring for the things you consider to be important. This ‘I’-structure directly has the element of time in it. All kinds of things from the past determine how you see things now and so too you look towards the future to arrange things for yourself and to bring things in order. But there’s always that structure of the self and time, until at a certain point, time stops. It’s good to be aware of that, that it’s always an element in your own sphere. There is time, but also, in some way time has stopped. When it’s quiet and thinking stops, is there still time then? Actually, you can’t even say ‘no’, because what is that time really? Actually, it’s not even a factor. When this normal structure is broken through there is just that inexpressible. There is an open realm regarding which you can’t really speak. As being-awareness you certainly have a sense of that inexpressible. Thus this self-being goes further than time. That’s a conclusion; you can confirm it directly. Isn’t that right? Say it to yourself one more time: this self-being goes far beyond time. Time can stop. A sphere of ineffability arises, but it still has a quality of self-being, of consciousness. So that self-being clearly doesn’t have the structure of the ego any more: that ego which is always busy in time, busy thinking. That structure disappears and there’s suddenly this opening and this realm about which you can’t say anything. The supporting structure has disappeared.

For thought this is an impossibility. Thinking thinks in time and can’t imagine that time stops. Then it says: what is there beyond the boundary of time? That is thought within this sphere of time, and so that’s exactly where the limitation to thought is.

Do you see that now and again time appears and then disappears and that time really isn’t necessary? It can appear and may appear, but the restriction of this sphere of time is clear. Somewhere time arose with a certain orientation towards life, towards the person. When this focused structure disappears then there’s no time any more. This whole structure disappears, so there’s no mention any more about things that need to happen. And when something does happen, the events unfold in time, but then you see how changeable this experience of time is. Sometimes a day seems endless; sometimes a few years go quickly by. You see how relative this experience of time is.

We usually view the time of the clock, the agenda and calendar as something absolute. But is that so? Of course, it too is just a projection. From this changeable experience of time you are going to pull something out and say: this is absolute time and these other experiences of time are just experiences. When this projection of an absolute time is realized to be a construction then you still come back again to an experience of time, and so these two can alternate. Sometimes time goes incredibly fast, sometimes incredibly slow, and if you stay alert it seems that time frequently is just not there – even in everyday life. Mostly you don’t think about it. And when that’s the case, it’s not always good. When you remain internally alert, even while doing various daily chores, then you can see: mostly there is no time. Afterwards you might say: oh, it’s already twelve o’clock. Then you’re back again connecting to this clock projection of absolute time and you say: I’ve been busy for two hours. But that’s just a thought afterwards. You see how much that thinking is completely interwoven with time. When thinking stops, time stops, too. Partially there is still an instinctive-emotional current and in that feeling current you already experience a piece of freedom from time. At a certain point you realize that there is something in you that isn’t subject to time and not to that current either. As long as there are phenomena they arise and disappear once again. Time is related to phenomena. Phenomena are relative, time is relative. So the point is that you stay internally aware of that being which is free from time. That it’s an open realm which is inexpressible. When that becomes recognized, then from there you can easily discover that there’s also a dissolution of all the identifications for things that happen in time.