Grace in practice
An e-mail interview with Jan van Delden

Looking at it from the point of view of 'normal attached life' a constant state of blessedness seems like a winner. But also if you realize that something like that is only a projection, then its opposite, the absence of suffering, seems worthy enough to do your very best to achieve evn being unenlightened.
But why actually, or is there really ' something to' being enlightened?

No. Of course not, if there were something to it then that would be for someone. The little Johnnies, (the I's that together shape the personality) will never understand that the light is already shining in the darkness. Happiness can never be understood or reached from the point of view of the Johnnies. Just as love and happiness, that is a concept for the Johnnies. Concepts are concepts, but what they point to can only be realized. You can never find what you already are! The Johnnies are made of experiences. How could an experience ever be able to look at experiencing, in order to then judge whether there is something to it or not? Enlightenment is first of all to be able to see that you are the undefined experiencing itself, and then to be able to see that you could never be an experience. Then sooner or later may come the thunderbolt that experiences don't exist, but only experiencing. Period.


Is there some sort of high plateau where you find yourself when everything falls away; no valleys, but also no peaks?

No, there is no plateau, at the most a bottom on which every idea and every experience crashes in the delicious arriving home and dissolving in the love of being the unchangeable experiencing.

Ho ho! Did you say 'delicious'? What is then so delicious about that situation, delicious as opposed to what?

You are trying to look at it and understand it from the duality and that can't happen. You need to realize first that I am not talking about duality. That says namely, like a perpetual automat, that experience belongs to a person, who from an inside experiences something outside the person. I am talking about the reality that your being undefined experiencing is not attached to a person and that experiences don't exist, have ever existed, or will ever exist. That which is there, everything that there is, is this all-embracing 'being-experienced'. That is delicious, but not in the context of an opposition to not-delicious, because then it would be again part of something. It is neither high nor low, but because the little 'I's' would call it 'boring' or say 'what is the good of that'; it appears to them as low. Finally, it is 'being there' minus everything that you experience as a concept. It is there when Jan is stuck, is angry, feels lousy, gets crazy fat, or whatever experience he may seem to be having. It has absolutely nothing to do with the story of the experiences, the apparent content of experiencing - in fact everything that we have learned to see as reality. That is the reason why when you realize this, you no longer believe the stories that tell that something must be done, or not, in order to be happy and that therefore, you also as Jan, do not have to satisfy some criterion in order to effortlessly nestle deliciously in your being-experience.


But does your life have 'juice'? Does your life have any sense on that level?

That is a typical question that Johnny would ask. The Johnny who wants to have an answer to that is an experience that lasts for only one count, and is therefore total nonsense and the source of all suffering. Remain in the simple experiencing itself. Look at the looking itself (whizzing) instead of the experiences (the TV of the world), and see that your all-encompassing, and undefined experiencing - without doing or not doing anything - is quicker than whatsoever experience.

I assume that is also true for passion. Is passion still possible?

Whose passion, and for what? Do you mean that there is a sort of Johnny who continues to exist and who will become happy, and that after you have seen that the Johnnies don't exist?
Of course not! All passions disappear by themselves. What takes its place is the wonder of seeing the one in all, whatever enchantment it takes. Finally you can no longer talk about passion but about an all-encompassing happiness in being. Then you don't chase after all of Johnny's passions and so keep your attention on your true self, because there is simply nothing else.


If nothing has happened and everything is still the same, what sense does it make to try to realize the truth?

We don't really try that! How can the wave become water through effort? That's why we are unhappy looking out from the Johnny's thinking and feeling. And naturally, then we want to become happy - until we have been able to see that in our life as Johnny we have not been able to find 'lasting happiness' in any way whatsoever. However, one way or another we have heard that self-realization is the treasure of unchanging 'effortless' happiness! Hip hip hooray! Another passion... But, realization gives you nothing - however beautiful and clear it appears - until you see through all the Johnnies in whatever situation and you can relax in the state that has no little I's. That is true for all stories including the story about self-realization! Namely, you are always quicker than the experience, that you whisper to yourself in your imagination that the real unchanging is, was and will be, your real passion.

However, if you tell the seekers that they actually can't do anything about it, then most of the time they run away screaming and thereafter begin again to play with concepts and experiences in the dark, because the Johnnies totally disagree. Directing your attention to the experiencing and not looking at them? Of course they protest! If you listen to them you are back to the start and the Johnnies demand that you go searching again for something to do or not do. But all the effort that we make or don't make for the Johnnies do not bring the 'wave' any closer to the 'water'. Only grace can do that, cause the 'death- blow' in which you experience how to be undefined, and you relax in the knowing that you never were, are or will be, an experience.

Is the striding to obtain that state proof of the seeker's confusion, no matter how much he takes your words to heart?

The crazy one in us is the I-thought that believes in the thinking that believes that he is the I-thinking in that way you lose your self-evident being-witness to the content of experience, to the story. That story says that you are a box full of little I's who lives in a world, a box that thinks that it can find happiness there in the world, with death as the ultimate time limit. That makes a farce, or a nightmare out of the whole while the simple reality is your own unchanging, all-encompassing being-experience. That belief in the content came up in being-experience without any reason. So, searching for the natural state is a story that happens in the experiences but never in your being-experience. And so, finally, self-realization is finally nonsense.


Well then why do you even open your mouth on this subject at all? And what good does it do me to listen to that? What sense does it make that you speak a phrase like: 'blissfully simple coming home and dissolving in love' to me as a little I?

I'm not talking to any little I, but to you as the unchanging experiencing itself! The chance of being able to wake up is always present, to learn that it is all grace and no clever intellectual self liberation. Therefore it is good to be able to 'romp around' with 'someone' who is apparently outside of you and who appears to know it. The field of tension between 'my' knowing 'your' wanting to know is grace in action. Sometimes it loosens something - that in fact was never stuck. In addition - so the story goes - I can approve with my tradition, every step that is made. The conviction that in addition to grace it can also be achieved, accounts for the existence of the story. But it is still just a story! It is and remains limited because you still haven't gotten that I am not something outside of you, but your own self, dreaming that is waking itself up via 'me'...

For the little I, I am an experience outside of 'you'; that little guy who's 54, getting bald and so on. But I do not experience myself as something known. Follow how everything happens by itself and keep the experiencing in your attention. Observe that experiencing is nothing other than little voices talking about what you have just experienced without any effort. If you succeed you may be able to see the experiencing as true. While the experience is a parrot, which makes comments after the experience and tells how it really is, or should have been. Because experience itself says nothing - it just experiences. If it were up to the experience you would go searching for the experienced forever, naturally cozily accompanied by all the little voices that have taken over the all-encompassing with their story. Realize that you as experience for example tasted long ago that the coffee was too cold and afterwards the little voices parroted 'the coffee was cold'. Keep stubbornly on!


Go on with what: with listening, with believing what you say, with being difficult? Or doesn't it matter? In short, does my attitude about what you say make any difference?

If it is possible continue to focus your attention on the undefined experience-being. From this perception follow the three states, (waking, dreaming, dreamless sleep). Look at the life of the Little I's and their fellow players by following the waking state. It doesn't matter what they do or don't do. See that all the Little I's, good or bad, are really only screaming for your attention. See that you as undefined consciousness no longer have to listen to their orders and keep your attention on the effortless, formless, 'being-present'. Whatever they say! See that this following is not an activity but a zero point and try to relax in that. Get hooked on the taste of experience-being, to the taste of peace: the I-less being.

It is difficult in the beginning and seems to go at the cost of the Little I's. It feels like tinkering with what has happened. But if you hang on and go on with it then the being-experience, also known as attention, might penetrate into the experiences flying by, and realize that the Little I's coming along have nothing to do with you! Slowly the automatism of being a Robert goes over into undefined being. If the situation from before the Little I's were the boss and you seem to be living from out of a body is again realized then you see through the bewitchment of the story that you are living or have lived. Then there is unchanging being, which takes on the form of happiness itself if anything still resonates of it. The everything appears to be the non-dualistic consciousness itself and every trace of going or having been on a trip disappears, without your presence disappearing.

[questions and editor: Robbert Bloemendaal]

website Jan van Delden (in Dutch):