The Last 'Step'. Waking Up Beyond Silence,
Beingness and Awareness.
an interview with Ad Oostendorp
I had an appointment with Ad Oostendorp in Arnhem,
Holland on the subject of 'The Beauty of Powerlessness'. We had
a long talk about this topic. Back at home it turned out that
the recording equipment had failed. Despite me using a modern
aid, the powerlessness to record a conversation! How beautiful
is that? Luckily we were able to get the interview completed
by mail and the result is below. Ad is a homeopathic general
practitioner in Arnhem. Since 1995, Ad has been giving Satsang.
Ad, the theme of this Amigo is: 'The Beauty
of Powerlessness'. What is that for you?
is such a beautiful theme, Dick. It suggests a depth that goes
beyond everything that we know. Much deeper than most people may
realize. I hope you are willing to give me a little bit of your
time to really go into it. Because this may explain why most people
never truly Arrive. This could be of the greatest importance, especially
for those who have already had deep spiritual insights and experiences
and may even consider themselves 'Enlightened' or 'Awakened'. But
who still, deep inside, have this notion that in spite of all the
experiences of Love, Silence and Completeness, there is something
What I'm going to try to describe will be about the
final and last 'step' and why it is so extremely rare to truly
Dick, you know that I have traveled a long way and
probably also that my Heart, thanks to God, could not find lasting
Peace in any insight or experience. No insight, no experience,
no realization was able to undo once and for all the center of
my life: the 'I', the 'me'. On the contrary, in spite of all those
insights, experiences, mind-, advaita-, vedanta- and heart-'realizations',
'I' became only more and more subtle. The 'I' remained, whatever
happened, the center of my life. 'I' turned out to be 'Realization
proof'. Experiences of and insights into egolessness, centerlessness,
Beingness, Love, Silence, Death, Being the Witness, all of that,
only made the 'I', me, stronger and even – in a subtle or
probably not at all so subtle a way - more arrogant.
I Knew, I had touched the Kernel of the Kernel, I
was Consciousness, Love, No-Mind, Centerlessness and Free. I was
overflowing, peaceful, radiant and giving Satsang. It was easy
for people to fall into Silence, Love and Beingness in my presence.
I believed fully in what I had found. I was communicating and living
Truth. How blind and arrogant I was.
Happily I met someone who was able to show me this
and made me see that, however intense and deep the experiences
were, they could never ever undo the center, the 'I', me.
The 'I' continued rising like a Phoenix and kept
on, over and over again, claiming Beingness, Love, Silence, even
egolessness for itself. Slowly, step by step, it became inevitably
clear that it was not at all about 'head-' nor 'heart-' realizations.
It was not about knowing, nor about not-knowing, it was not about
what can be found, not about deep mind-blowing insights or spiritual
experiences, not about what can be Known, nor about the Unknown,
not about the Unknowable.
It was about that around which my whole life was
revolving, both enlightenment and being bound, both Love and being
unhappy, both having and losing, finding and being lost. It was
all about the center, the 'I', about me.
This is the Powerlessness, the ultimate Powerlessness.
That everything you can do, have done and may yet do, that everything
you may experience, know, realize, whether you are a Buddha or
not, does not make any difference at all regarding truly Waking
This realization, when it finally really breaks through,
not as an idea or as a comforting spiritual experience, is the
deepest suffering a human being can go through.
When this pain is not dramatized, nor avoided, not
embraced, nor run away from, not stilled with ideas, insights,
Peace, Silence, Realization or Witnessing. When every solution
and trick of the mind has lost, in the face of deep suffering,
any attractiveness whatsoever, including any advice given to you
by 'those who have found' – then in that fire the 'I' can
and will disappear for ever, never to arise again from its ashes.
Only the pain and truth of your own absolute
Powerlessness to deal with suffering makes the mind fall apart.
Humpty Dumpy sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpy had a great fall,
All the king's horses
And all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
Then the mind becomes totally still and stops. This
real ending of the mind, which causes the true death of 'I', is
not an 'event' one can locate in time or space and is absolutely
no experience. Just as you cannot register or describe the moment
you fall asleep, or experience deep sleep, or know where and when
you have lost your watch - so little is it possible to have any
notion of this. The instrument to register it has fallen apart,
You may describe experiences of enlightenment, localize
them in time and space. Then, there under that tree, on that day,
there in the park, this and that happened. The instrument to register
and later to recall and describe is still there. You still have
the sense that something had happened. All of this has absolutely
nothing to do with Real Awakening.
Mind cannot register its own absence, nor what happens when it
is no longer there.
Real Awakening makes every notion of 'thereafter
'or 'before' disappear, any notion of being and not being, of Love,
of egolessness, of Witnessing, of Silence, Peace and Centerlessness.
The mind has stopped and in that stopping you have died, never
to return again. You have disappeared and with that the need to
and habit of identifying yourself with anything at all, including
Self, Being, Consciousness, the Teaching of whatever. Only the
Beloved is. But this is not realized anymore, because that which
caused that notion, the mind, in the way it functioned up till
now, is gone. I'm not talking about the next experience of 'no
mind', which comes and goes. But basically, factually and irreversibly,
you are no more. Whatever happens, there is no way back. The center
has died, never to return again.
With the actual and factual dying of mind and 'I',
that which is untouched by this death, that which has always been
there, since the beginning of time and before, that which cannot
die, that which is Alive and the source of Life, is all that is
left now. Without the mind, without you, to have any notion of
After this has happened, if and when the mind returns,
it is impossible for it to have the illusion of itself being alive.
Mind, willingly and without any effort, without any reasoning or
reason, takes one big step backwards and becomes the servant of
that which is beyond itself and gives life to it. Mind realizes
deeply, on every level, how mechanical it is, how lifeless and
unbelievably small and utterly incapable of lodging the Living
I-I, as Ramana Maharshi calls it. The sense of 'I' falls, as it
where, out of the mind back into the Source of Creation. When such
a person uses the word 'I', this 'I' will never point to the body,
nor the mind, but to that which survived the death of mind: the
Unborn. Although in social life he or she will use the word 'I'
like anybody else.
Some people call this Turiya, the fourth state, which points to
that which exists beyond waking, dreaming and deep sleep. That
which exists before, during, after and beyond, life and death,
duality, Love, Enlightenment, Realization and Consciousness. This
is what I am talking about. That which is independent of mind,
ego, time, space, sleep, dream, awareness, consciousness, understanding,
life, experiences and all insights. That which cannot be found,
nor lost nor grasped by anything or anyone. That which I poetically
call, the Beloved. This is what you, we, really are. This, only
this and nothing else, is the Beauty of Powerlessness.
In your answer I notice that the Beauty
of Powerlessness is within everything that happens. Be it Love,
pain, happiness or whatever, in all of that the – what
you call it – Beloved may be found.
And that Beloved you cannot find because that is what you are yourself.
Sometimes your story seems to resemble a process.
Is that indeed the case? If so, what about that immediacy?
The Powerlessness to understand this, is that what this is also
Yes, the Beauty of Powerlessness is in the inability
of the mind (thinking and feeling) fundamentally to understand
that which cannot be understood. One cannot put something big into
something smaller, like you cannot put that house in this cup.
The mind is far too 'small' to apprehend that which is larger than
itself, that which was already there before the mind even existed.
But mostly the mind does not accept this and tries to put everything
it touches into a framework. But Life is far too immediate, alive,
intense, large and quick for the tiny little mind.
Powerlessness in itself, in daily life, is generally
rather painful and doesn't have very much beauty in it. But when
the mind recognizes its own inability to really grasp life and
through this, not temporarily but definitively, irreversibly and
spontaneously, surrenders its own authority, then life and everything
within life regains its original mind-blowing magnificence.
Then both Self as well as Self-Consciousness disappear
into thin air. And in the disappearance of the center as well as
the centerlessness, life is at last, for the first time, seen and
experienced like it really is and always was and always will be.
Without you. You are not liberated, Life is liberated from you.
Because there is no reflection whatsoever on yourself
or on your own functioning anymore, everything becomes immediate
and spontaneous. Compare it to an intense love affair. When, after
a long separation, you are at last in the arms of your beloved,
your attention will not be with yourself at all, but fully with
her or him. Everything you will say or do happens spontaneously.
You don't know why you do or say something, but everything 'fits',
flows. There's no more 'I', nor 'you, not even 'we'. You become
unbelievably creative and poetic. And there is that deep recognition.
This is life, this is essential, this is what it is really all
about in life. And even that recognition is momentary, totally
unimportant and felt as an infraction to the intimacy.
In that intimacy past and future disappear, as well
as all uncertainties, anxieties and fears, any tendency to manipulate,
understand, philosophize evaporates. Everything that bothers you
in daily life has disappeared. For a while you are no more self-conscious
and your beloved has become the center of your life. This is our
birthright, not to be experienced from time to time, but to be
truly lived, permanently.
One could say poetically, that when somebody is awakened,
everything attention touches, becomes at that moment the center
of the universe, the Beloved.
I am talking about an uninterrupted and unbreakable love affair
with the Beloved. A relationship without you. You have totally
disappeared. You never existed in the first place. The only real
problem in life always was you, yourself. And now you are no more.
Only the Beloved is.
This is the immediacy I am talking about, in fact
this is immediacy.This immediacy is Nonduality. An intense, lively,
vibrant and intimate Nonduality. Life is way too fast for the mind.
The mind always drags miles and miles behind. This immediacy cannot
to be reached or lived. One cannot even say that this Immediacy
is living you, because there is no you. This is called the Unknowable,
the Untouchable, the Invisible and the Unreachable.
This living immediacy is already annihilating you.
But all you ever did and ever do, is postponing your true awakening
by resisting it. You are escaping non-stop from the embrace of
your Beloved by trying, doing, not-doing, knowing, reaching, wanting
and not wanting, manipulating, hiding in Bliss, Beingness and protecting
yourself with insights. What one can reach is Silence, Peace, Love,
Centerlessness, Egolessness, Being, Being the Witness, Witnessing,
etc. All that can be more or less easily reached, or could be given
to you, by your guru or in Satsang. But I am talking about something
completely different. About what lies beyond the reachable and
I am talking about the Immediate, that which is without
beginning and end, that which cannot be found nor lost. That which
has no cause, cannot be experienced, cannot be realized. That which
really is. Everyone is overlooking this, including those who have
In the living contact with someone who has gone the
whole way him or herself, your illusions and certainties may be
smashed. In the end leaving you with really empty hands. You will
be left with genuine Powerlessness.
And only then, when your mind has effortlessly, gracefully
and truly surrendered, you will know what is meant with 'the Beauty
of Powerlessness'. But then you won't have the least interest in
understanding or knowing that anymore. In that intimacy with the
Beloved, with 'that which is', the Living, movements of separation
don't happen anymore.
I needed a bit more some time to let your
answer really get to me, and this is what came up: The Beauty
of Powerlessness lies in not-understanding.
Could it be said that the beauty has always been there and will
Yes one could say that. But that beauty is not experienced,
because the mind tries to understand what cannot be understood.
Often this is realized intellectually, but that seeing is not able
to really stop this habit of the mind. On the contrary, when the
mind does not understand something, it starts up to full speed.
You see, you have understood it, but the mind does
not stop, it just goes on trying to understand, making conclusions,
Still it looks like with these questions
we try to understand the problem, while you say that it will
never be understood. So in fact this is a paradox.
No, it looks like a paradox, but it is not. By understanding,
insights, experiences, the mind does not stop, never, on the contrary.
But when the deep pain of not understanding is lived through deeply
in daily life, without escaping to understanding, conclusions,
hypotheses, Silence, Beingness, Love, No-Mind, et cetera, the mind
burns up in a natural way.
Understanding may be necessary for a short while,
to keep the mind a little bit satisfied, so it does not get in
the way. That is why I sometimes answer informative questions during
Satsang. But the real 'work' happens in daily life. When the mind,
through a reality check and sincere honesty, discovers its own
boundaries and Powerlessness and does not back away from them.
Sincere honesty is all we need, the Beloved will do the work.
Could you say that someone who has gone
the whole way, is also an illusion?
For someone who has not gone the whole way, that
is true. For him, or her everything is an illusion, although he
does not realize that. Did you notice that our sense of something
being true and or false, which is giving direction to our whole
life and our search for Truth, is basically illusory? How many
'truths' you once believed in, do you still believe in now? And
if this is so, why do you believe the 'Truths' you hold right now?
This inability of the mind to know what is true is the tragedy
of humanity and the cause of most of the man-made suffering in
this world and the reason why so few people truly wake up.
The one who has gone the whole way, is vanished,
lost, fallen apart. The arrogance and authority of the mind has
collapsed and does not and cannot rule anymore. The mind has become
the 'servant'. Truth has done its job and everything that is unreal,
has died a painful death.
If the collapsing is not hurting deeply and if truth
does not destroy every illusion, including the smallest trace of
'I', then it's not what I am talking about. If your daily life
and every aspect of it is not effortlessly, spontaneously, radically,
deeply and fundamentally changed, it is only a mind- or heart realization.
After true Awakening, daily life cannot, whatever happens, in the
waking state and even in your dreams, from morning till morning,
be about 'you' anymore. If there still are your wants, needs, longings,
inabilities, hopes, future, past, fears, anxieties, drives, or
your Bliss, Freedom, Egolessness, Consciousness, Beingness and
Awareness, etc., the Beloved has not finished his or her job.
Look around, or within you. Haven't you seen all
those hypocrite 'realized ones', who have experienced 'the center
of the center, who speak about the ultimate, 'know' all that can
be known, who live 'the Truth' and 'Beingness', who give Satsang
and radiate, even 'are', Love and Peace? But their mostly well
hidden daily life is one big egocentric mess that revolves around
their so called 'not existing' 'I'. Don't you recognize yourself,
maybe just a little bit, in this ? I hope you do. Satsang is about
Could you also say that the intimacy of
the Beloved is something that has all the time/ever/now been
present, but that there is something that stands in the way of
really seeing it? Is that at all possible, that there is something
in the way?
Look at your own life and that of everyone you know
and see that on the whole globe there are only a few people, to
be counted on one or two hands, who really live this intimacy.
Whether it is possible or not, something stands in the way. You
could notice that every second of your life. That deep feeling
of lacking something very essential, that deep sense that everyone
holds in his heart, is unavoidable.
The more intensely Truth works within you, in your
life, the harder it gets to fool yourself and find 'rest' in something
or with someone. Nobody has ever, if he is honest to himself, found
final rest in something that he has ever found. Some people need
a long search, while others discover this rather quickly.
Papaji said: 'never stop' and 'let the mind never
land'. But most people who give Satsang stopped and landed somewhere.
And because they didn't go all the way, their disciples and followers
stopped where their teachers stopped. And now most of us believe
that what they offer is the Ultimate. Yes we, and unfortunately
most of our teachers as well, are very much afraid to test what
we have found. We lack honesty.
Aren't we shocked by the fact that only our latest
truth, the truth we hold now feels true? Why do we base our life
on 'truths' that don't last? Why are we not shocked by the fact
that everything we found had a beginning and thus inevitably will
end? Our most intense, deep, authentic experiences of Peace, Silence,
Being, Love, even of Self, will end. The moment you experience
them, they seem to be timeless and without beginning or end. But
they all end, don't they? Although they give you, as long as you
experience them, a feeling of never-ending timelessness and authenticity.
Can something that disappears be the eternal Self? Why do we like
to fool ourselves so much? And why, if somebody points this out
to us, step by step, do we resist what is so obvious?
This ending of Beingness, Witnessing, Love and Silence
is the gift of the Beloved to you. Showing you how illusory they
are. Why are we running away from what the Beloved is offering
us? Happily the Beloved loves Truth more than we do and crushes
in your daily life all the illusions you are so willing to defend
at all costs.
Disillusion is just another word for Truth.
Many of the questions from people who go to Satsang
and have already found Peace and Silence, Being, Witnessing, etc,
are about: 'can I always uninterruptedly live from THIS?' And many
of our teachers are saying that if you go deeper into it, more
fully, more total, more often, with more trust, less mind, less
fear, more surrender, not 99 but 100%, that then it will stay forever.
As if an experience, or insight could stay forever.
Yes we can always live from, as THIS. THIS is always here.
But not the THIS you found, or recognized, or hold,
or experienced, or was revealed to you. Not the THIS you found
in Satsang or through any experience, insight, witnessing, grace
This THIS is impossible to be found, and that is
why you cannot lose it either. This THIS you are overlooking all
the time. This THIS you must overlook, it cannot be any other way.
This THIS does not need a mind, insight, experience, realization,
Awareness, Witnessing, Consciousness. This THIS is not something
that comes and goes, it has no beginning and no end. This THIS
does not disappear at the dentist, in the middle of a fight, or
at the moment you almost get hit by a car. THIS is what you really
are, THIS is YOU. From what you really are, separation is impossible.
Maybe many people who hear this will affirm that
they know this THIS.
But please, be honest. It's about your life.
Is this THIS always, uninterruptedly experienced,
even in deep sleep and in your dreams?
Is this THIS always there, or does your mind or understanding tells
you that THIS is always there or should be there?
When this THIS is varying in intensity, can be more
or less present, more or less muddled, if it is sometimes more
in the foreground and sometimes less, if it is dependant on any
situation or on your awareness, attention, consciousness and disappearing
in deep sleep – then this THIS is not the THIS I am talking
Our Heart can never find peace in something
that can and will disappear.
If you really want to go for it now, I invite you
to flush everything you have ever found, and thus will inevitably
disappear, down the toilet. To give up everything that is holy
and true to you. All your insights, all your experiences and especially
what you take to be your Being, your Self. And then to stand naked
and vulnerable. Allow the sword that is hidden under the wings
of your Beloved to do its final job.
Just don't walk away and don't hide in an idea, concept, experience,
in Peace, in Silence, in Being or in Witnessing.
When you are hiding in Love and Peace, in any Insight,
in Being the Witness, etc. then the Beloved cannot touch you.
There the Beloved cannot pierce your heart and annihilate you.
Nobody has ever Woken Up in a state of Transcendence, Love, Beingness,
Meditation, Samadhi. There you cannot be touched. And whatever
your state is, it is still your state. And your mind is registering
it all. When you are in that state now, also these words cannot
reach you. You are hiding in your Refuge.
But the Beloved is waiting patiently, day by day, night by night.
And the moment you come out of this state, Truth will catch you.
Unfortunately, most of us will, at that very moment
crawl back to our Refuge. Because it feels better, authentic, eternal,
true and you made yourself believe that there you are at Home.
But there is a Home that cannot be shattered, that
is not a refuge or retreat, but what is the center of Life, where
that intense Heartbeat is felt.
Many of us are looking in the lake, mesmerized by
the reflections in the water. I'm throwing little stones in the
water, that's all that is needed. I'm breaking your illusions.
If you don't hold on to them, not waiting till the waves are gone
again, but immediately looking away from the water, you cannot
miss what I'm talking about.
You will have to die, before your physical death,
and together with you all your illusions will disappear, never
to return again.
No way back!
From what I call 'Being Lost', there is no way back.
There is a way back from understanding, or the experience of 'Being
But I hope we don't play that game any more.
No way back from Being Lost, no games, no
concepts. Is that the 'Beauty of Powerlessness'?
Yes Dick, I cannot phrase it any better.
And then there is this intangible divine
beauty. Then there is no 'having reached' nor 'found'. But in daily
life a kind of 'being in tune', an 'intimate immediacy', an 'innocent
vulnerability', which is not the result of any insight, or any
movement, or understanding or direction from the mind.
The beauty of True Innocence and, thanks to God, the mind is not
there to register and later on to claim this.
You know, many who think they are 'realized', are floating, as
it were, like a Buddha blissful above the earth, untouched, invulnerable
and safe. That's the ultimate dream and fulfillment of the ego.
That's why Love, Egolessness, Radiance, Centerlessness, Peace,
Being, Witnessing, Wisdom and Silence are so attractive for us.
Ego likes very much to feel like, be like, even to be God.
That's why the ego will never die, never stop in a state like that.
That's why, when this state ends, you are willing to pay any price
to crawl back. Honesty is so rare and so deeply needed.
If you really want to, fool the whole world, but not ever, never
ever fool yourself.
What I am talking about is far beyond 'enlightenment'
and… there is no way back any more!
The Beloved, Life, is intensity and is touching
us all the time: In the dying of the rainforests, the smile of
a child, the illness of your grandmother, the starving dog, when
the cat you love immensely catches a bird, in the eyes of the officer
that gives you a fine and in the eyes of your lover.
I found nothing, I lost everything. I know nothing,
have nothing, am nothing anymore. Directionless, utterly lost.
All there is left is the heartbeat of life, intense, in all its
greatness and painfulness, in which even the 'I' may do its imperfect
And if nobody asks me to reflect on this, there's no possibility,
nor any interest to register and know about all this.
I'm like a dead fish on the barbeque, not interested if the fire
is hot and whether the herbs are well chosen. Ad is gone. Not my
center, not my ego, not my 'I'.
No, I'm gone, never to return again.
Although people who know me, see that I'm very much alive.
Life is unbelievably beautiful, and if you are willing
to allow that, life will tear your heart, your soul apart, leaving
no traces whatsoever of you.
If you let life do its job and don't stand in the way, everything
that may still be left of you will disappear in Shiva's dance.
This Heart dances, just for the love of expression.
So few people know the living open secret, far beyond Love, Peace,
Silence, Being, Witnessing and Enlightenment.
Life is so simple!
Being flooded and touched by little things, by your
girlfriend, your children, the birds that sing, leaves flirting
with you, the smells of the wood, the noise of an airplane flying
over, the insecurity of life and love, the suffering of humanity,
the whole planet.
Never even the tiniest movement away from the living, the Beloved.
Never having to leave is being Home.
Is it not a Divine gift, to be allowed to be here as an ordinary
human being. In all our vulnerability, with our imperfections,
permitted to make mistakes, say sorry, without holding anything
back, without keeping up appearances, fully and totally, without
running away from anything. To live in the middle of the stream,
not at a safe and distant shore, without any need to escape from
life and with a deep desire to taste every aspect of it.
And far, far beyond this little Ad, there is the
Heartbeat of the Cosmos, the eons that made all this possible.
The timelessness, the beginning and the end. This also, this also,
Life, I, You, shakes on its fundaments when a child
cries through negligence. And nobody sees, hears, and feels this.
How can that be?
God is not hovering like a Buddha above the earth,
God does not get kicks from spiritual experiences, insights.
If it is about Transcendence, why then is Divinity flowing over
into creation? The Divine weeps and laughs along in all His or
Her vulnerability. Forgive me these words, words about God and
Life and everything else, as if there were a duality. But THIS
cannot be put into words. These words cannot speak truth, they
are not 'filo-, theo-, advaita-sophical', they are merely poetry.
To make it very clear, what I write here is not the
truth: on everything I say there will be always a 'yes, but…'
THIS one cannot describe, one cannot even point at THIS.
These words are only an insufficient, be it loving,
expression of that which cannot be expressed. When I read this
back, I cannot back it up anymore. Don't judge me on these words.
Truth is not to be found in them.
This heart is now speaking, this heart that bleeds
and loves and is so vulnerable for the ambitions of egos, blinded
by their own radiance.
The mystery of Satsang is this bleeding heart…
I live in my own little world and share Me, this
Heart, with anyone who is sensitive to it, with anyone who longs
for this, but also is able to cope with the intensity of it.
I'm not standing on top of the mountain. I'm hiding
in the bushes at the bottom of the hill, invisible, almost unrecognizable,
just a 'nobody'. This heart loves to 'work' hidden, invisible for
people who don't want to really go for it. Still, how often didn't
I say: 'come, come, come again'?
How often didn't I invite you to leave your own little safe place,
in order to really meet, to feel, to embrace life and everyone,
everything in it.To live in the middle of this burning fire of
intimacy, immediacy, loving honesty and truth.
But there are not many people that can handle this vulnerability,
the intensity of it. You will never be the same again, when you
really allow the Beloved to enter your heart. Ramana Maharshi once
said that true realization takes place in the Heart. And then,
finally, go beyond everything, including the Heart.
Thank you Ad, for this interview.
On the website
of Ad I found a number of beautiful poems. I would like to
share the one below with you:
only for you
soaked in Silence
are born out of Love
what was never told
what cannot be said
never be understood
nothing without You
[by Dick de Boom]