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?

This 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 essential lacking.

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 Wake Up.

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 Up.

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, has died.

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 it.

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 about?

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 unreachable.

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 'found'.

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 be there?

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, hypotheses, etc.

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 Truth.

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 or whatsoever.

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 about.

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 Lost'.
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 little dances.
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, is You!

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:

These words
are
only for you

These words
are
soaked in Silence

These words
are born out of Love

These words
tell
what was never told

These words
say
what cannot be said

These words
will
never be understood

These words
are
nothing without You

Ad

[by Dick de Boom]