Inability, failure and forgiveness
interview with Jan van Delden
Jan, this Amigo is about the beauty of our inability'.
Isn’t it a bit odd to link 'beauty' to 'inability', isn’t
The inability is knowing that you are home - whereas
Jan continues to think that he must pull himself out of the mud,
before he can attain anything. And he is forever failing to achieve
the beauty, no matter how hard he tries. So yes, at that level,
inability is failure.
that isnít bad, quite the contrary. This very inability is the
treasure! Because it shows that the being-experience inside is
already switched on. It is already set to the eternal unchanging
side. It is exactly this contrast between Jan plodding along and
the being-experience that makes this so obvious - for those who
can see it. Because if we canít see it, we keep on seeking the
unchangeable in the acquired, changeable experiences of the Jantjes.(ed.:
Jan/John uses the word Jantjes/Johnnies to loosely indicate
our sub-personalities.) And that means, end of storyÖ because
the 'being Jan'-thinking can never see or experience that through
which this 'being Jan'-thinking and his story is known. And thereís
little joy in failure...
Is there anything that can be done?
Even if there is no thinking, we simply experience.
So how easy it would be if we could just take notice of this fact,
that our very own experiencing nature is the unchangeable
in us! But we take no notice of it. What is this inability? What
seemingly stops us from noticing? Nothing but the belief in an
idea or in a feeling of separateness that manifests itself. Once
thought is believed as true or as your thinking, there is no experiencing
your very own nature and therefore no beauty. Beauty and our very
own experiencing nature are both invisible and intangible
for Jan and his thinking and feeling. But being - not being something
but being itself – is not diminished by that. It keeps on
supporting it-is-like-it-goes'. Being carries each
experience in a disinterested way and therefore lovingly, without
connecting now or ever to the world of Jan.
So how to recognize
the beauty of our inability and how to bring our attention to it
and keep it there? That is exactly the story of the spontaneous
recovery of the recognition of the beauty in ourselves as it makes
itself known. The difficulty lies in what thought says about it
afterwards. Thinking will relentlessly state that it does or doesn’t
do something. But there is no doer in our being-experience! “Oh
there isn’t?, says the thought, What about me? .
Because, naturally, thought – Jan – can’t handle
nothing. Thought will forever seek experiences of good times, with
lots of drink, food, sex, health, and buying anything he likes
and wants, preferably of course with lots of attention from people
who like to listen to him and agree totally- and, well, all that's
obviously not to be found in our being-experience self.
So it is questionable whether a seeker
wants to go there...
Certainly, because the mind, by default, naturally
searches for experiences and says: What in Heaven’s
name is the point of doing something as uninteresting as investigating
being-experience, if it means doing nothing, means needing to do
nothing, to be experiencing?' Not to mention the fact that
experiencing is not an experience, nor an activity that comes and
goes. Our thinking will say: How stupid and useless.'
it is grace if we may do this anyway. Or fate/bad luck/chance,
if grace is still a dirty word for you. Whatever you call it, it
can happen to you that despite everything, you are still searching
for that beauty. A search that shows its own inability: for the
beauty that initially you seemed to have experienced spontaneously
and now have to refind – which reduces the beauty to an experience – and
so you are back to square one. You - Jan - are not able to know
the experience-less experience! To escape from this vicious circle,
you must not only be allowed to see that your very own attention
is the encompassing eternal being-experience-. You must also, with
that same attention, be allowed to see through the belief in the
thinking, feeling, the whole story of Jan and his world and be
allowed to see it as false, as not true, as non-existent, and simultaneously
not fight with it or ignore it or engage it in any discussion whatsoever.
And yes, how to switch on the realizing and how to
keep it switched on? My answer to that dilemma: sweet-talk with
carry that whole world effortlessly but never believe in it. That
allows us the space to get to know happiness, peace and silence
as our basis, formerly fully unconscious of itself as ‘fineness’.
Your thinking tells you that you can only have consciousness of
yourself if there appear to be an ‘I’ (subject) and
a ‘yourself’ (object). But seen from our undefined
being-presence, there is no separateness, only knowingness. So
for our unchanging knowingness there is also no distinction between
good times and bad times. It is what it is.
Boring for our thinking – which
can only talk about the ‘fineness’ but can’t
go there. And then allows anger, jealousy, sadness or whatever
in response to this inability. Because for Jan the effort was and
is seeking and finding, understanding, learning, finding security,
becoming aware, etc., etc., etc.
Well, you have found something, or rather
it has found you. And then what happens?
It is very difficult to express in words, but I will
make an effort to describe what happens if you are able to see
it. Fears, desires, or any top or flop experience whatsoever, seemingly
just appear uninvited into your being-experience. If you, from
the rear seat/the wide-seeing/the undefined being-experience,
know anything, it is being aware without action, without counterpart
or someone who is aware. You know it, for example, from the sound
of birds and rain before your thinking makes a story out of it.
Your thinking, like a parrot, will say afterwards that you’ve
heard it, as if you, as knowingness, didn’t know! The undefined
watching/witnessing sees the story, pretending to be an experience,
pass by. Jan and his thinking are themselves things passing by
in our knowingness. Jan, the ‘something that passes by’ is
known by our knowingness, the silent ‘fineness’ that
doesn’t leave us, as Jan tries to sell his story as being
Continuing to talk about this subject, Jan-experience
will say, for example: ‘I understand that what Jantje experiences
happens within the knowingness and I understand that I therefore
must consist of that knowingness, even if Jantje is afraid or is
longing for a certain experience.' How touching to see it
like this (sweet-talking!). While obviously this is an ‘enlightened-Jantje’-story
that has nothing to do with that silent intimacy that is our knowingness.
This is a very important difference between the simple
knowing-being and the knowing of the story of the truth. Knowing
itself says nothing about the truth, because it simply knows. This
apparent contradiction is like “not letting the left hand know what
the right hand is doing'. The left hand keeps on telling
an apparent story and you say, figuratively, if it may be so: “yes
dear, you are absolutely right'. In short you just let it
pass, let it tell its story, nothing more… but you NEVER
believe the story. Thus there is no duality, only a happening of
Sounds great, but what is it to Jan?
First of all you cannot and do not have to calm down
the Jantjes. Their inability is your inability. Because YOU as
presence are already, completely motionless and regardless-awareness'
and not influenced. ‘Consciously seeing’ that Jantje
is afraid is already another thought. But what’s behind that
is the so called ‘drinking tea’. In drinking tea there
is not a single activity or rejoicer, only intimacy. Such intimacy
does not belong to Jan, it belongs to what we constantly are. And
if you don’t understand the above, that’s fine, because
intimacy is never about understanding but about simply being-there.
On Jantje’s level it is impossible to regulate or to hold
on to that intimacy. On that level you only have the stories about
how it was orshould be or could be again. But in the story-thinking
there is no ‘tea-intimacy’, because it is the basis
in which Jan is passing by. If possible, keep this simple fact
in view, and learn to keep it in silence. Our knowingness never
enters into a story. It simply knows it. Not entering into experiences
in general is already a fact for our experience-being, and that’s
what I call “shooting faster' (experience-being) than
the stories of your shadow (being the experience). This insight
will keep you away from believing any experience and will keep
you at a distance. Just as long you can see without effort that
experiences do not really exist or have never existed, and you
can see through duality as not true, without doing, or not-doing,
anything for it.
So to carry on, it may happen that by this shift
in position you’ll notice that Jan indirectly calms down
a little bit, mainly because YOU see a Jantje scared not calm/quiet/story
passed by - but that story consists of being-experience itself.
We cannot leave being-experience, so all we seem to experience,
is being-experience itself and not the object of experience, something
beyond the being-experience. The continuous correcting is breaking
through the duality in daily life. For example by seeing that there
is no outside-the-senses. Until that bag of tricks is also seen
through and has fallen away naturally and you see that YOU, the
being-experience, never experience anything. The being-experience
/knowingness, knows nothing, experiences nothing! So you know
that everything you experience cannot possibly be something other
than your very own presence.
We undoubtedly are that knowingness,
that presence, but there is no one in this being. And as it happens,
that is the happiness that everyone seeks ... and the reason for
our sorrow and failure. Because we already are the knowingness,
we cannot get happiness from experiences, and they will, if you
listen to them, always claim to be unhappy!
It makes me dizzy...I understand that if
I try to understand, I miss it. But that applies to you just
as easily? How has it come to pass that you nevertheless can
testify that it apparently has ‘happened’? And what ‘happened’ next?
Learning to keep sight of that what we are in practice
in any situation, could in my case only really take place after
I no longer had to believe in the Jantjes as true. And I could
bypass them, even in their most dramatic and phobic moments, with
the insight that in the all encompassing first cause there cannot
exist something like duality, that knowingness and its presence
cannot be an activity of Jan and therefore I am beyond Jan and
his world – and with that I no longer step into his story
as true, however real it says it is.
This implied ‘unwar’ with
all Jan-contradictions and also those of others. There is no direct
control possible of Jan’s comings and goings, nor is it necessary.
But because you witness from knowingness, you learn to follow Jan
just as much as all the others as not yours. Then you’ll
find out that he can be exactly that oaf he always accuses others
of being and he becomes the story of just another passer-by. The
knowing that this must be a dream in the first case and that you
are yourself in the first case and not Jan, kills the belief in
the reality of the duality – including the ‘I-am-Jan’ and
his war with the others. With that all the attacks of the others
will be seen through, there is no-one inside who does, did or will
The result is the end of the doer. By being able
to see it thus you naturally stay out of the state of war of the ‘I
and the other’, even if in the story it seemingly just goes
on. That is learning to sweet-talk with Jan and the other, who
do continue to believe that they are separate beings. Note: a holy
Jan-who-knows is also a Jan! But you also see that it isn’t
true and so you stop believing in their doership.
To be allowed/to
dare to see this will sooner or later end the war with a past and
a future, with main and supporting role players. You see they couldn’t
help it and strictly speaking, it could never even have taken place.
We have never actually been in a past or a future. As the only
being to bear all dream experiences, you are/were/will be present
always. Time is for Jan, not for you.
If it may be,
you see that it’s all untrue and you let go of your Jan and
his world. Then the inability and the failure will also disappear,
because they belong to the world of stories, which at the same
time becomes touching. Seeing this is being the beauty, and then
the peace and the intimacy of our being-first-cause surface naturally
and permanently, opening the deepest meaning of forgiveness to
simply being yourself.
[by Pol Sturtewagen and Robbert
translation: Rangeeni Franssen and Rahmat Haverkamp]
website Jan van Delden: www.ods.nl/la-rousselie