Archive for May, 2014

The inside out
May 4, 2014

Advaita Post, Volume 15 No. 4.

Text Satsang

From a talk with Advaita Douwe Tiemersma Gouda, January 17, 2007

The inside out

When you turn further and further within there can still be an ‘I’-consciousness for a long time. If the relaxation in your own inner depth continues and you remain alert, that ‘I’-consciousness comes free and becomes universal. At first there is a consciousness of the external world. Self, as ‘I’-consciousness, is positioned somewhere in the body – within – and the rest is external. As you go further within, with an ever deepening relaxation, the ‘I’-consciousness relaxes and totally opens up, infinitely. What was external now converges with what was ‘internal’. On the one hand the outside comes in, the world in the sphere of consciousness. On the other hand, the innermost opens and is everywhere in the cosmos.

Is that clear? Can that also happen in your own being-experience? As your point of attention on external things turns sufficiently far within, further back to the core of yourself, everything seems to flip inside-out, by itself. Your own innermost core – that you are – completely turns around and then is present everywhere, including everything that at first was external.

This is indicated in many passages in the classical texts. It is repeatedly said in the Upanishads: Return to your heart; there is a small flame or a lotus; it is incredibly small; but when you go inside there, you notice that it contains everything. Pascal also said the same thing: man is an incredibly fragile speck in the universe. What is he on the scale of the cosmos? Hardly anything. Nevertheless, as spirit, man contains everything: the inside-out.

Everyone knows this reversal in their relationship with others. When you are objectified by someone who says: “You are …”, you have the tendency to survive this attack by turning within. Then the relationship structure flips so easily: the internal world becomes larger than the external. From out of your own greater space you relativize the other with his pronouncements and attacks. Even if you have nothing to say against the other, still all eventual expressions are contained within you by turning within. Everyone knows this. It’s very simple.

Another illustration: someone once succeeded in turning an unfired clay teapot inside out. Take a look [it was displayed in a glass cabinet at the Advaita Center]. First there was tea inside, then the pot was turned inside out and pssssst, now the tea is everywhere. So there’s always enough tea.

You can expand on this. When you desire something, you’ve placed your desires in the desired object. Through the orientation of that longing, your attention is there, in that object which you desire. When you pull all of that back in and when that inner world there overflows with the desired external, then isn’t there a universal convergence of you and what you desire? The desired and yourself are universally present. So, all desires are fulfilled. The whole structure of a focus on something else is gone. Then there are no more desires …

See that quite clearly!

When you relocate within, there is a release, a breaking open.

At first you have the idea that you sit enclosed within the bodily form and that this body is in space. When you really go within, this structure turns inside-out, literally! Your self-being appears to be external as universal space.

See the little teapot turned inside-out. The tea which initially was in the teapot is now outside. This tea is universal. So you, too, appear to be universal.

Then there’s not a teapot anymore.

Maybe there is still a little inside-out form for awhile, but that quickly disappears. You see the body, the earth, the cosmos turn around, shrink and fall into the great space of yourself. So also everything that still is, you are. Your own internal space, that self-being, literally becomes universal.

As being-awareness you are this space, too. So within it there isn’t a concentrated attention in a particular object any more. Being-awareness has become totally open. It no longer has  a center. There is no longer the structure: “I see this; I am aware of that”. The starting point and the ending point, the origin of consciousness-of-an-object and the object-as-goal no longer exist. They have come together and exploded into infinity.

Then it no longer matters where you are.

Then there’s no more localization of self. There’s a completely open, feeling-consciousness.

But isn’t there still a form there, ready for action?

To the extent that forms are there, there are forms. You are the self of all these forms and you are so much more.