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 inability failure?

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.

But that isn’t 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 can’t 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 story… because the 'being Jan'-thinking can never see or experience that through which this 'being Jan'-thinking and his story is known. And there’s 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.'

Hence 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 Jan’s world, 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 true.

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 simply being-there.

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 do!

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 Bloemendaal
translation: Rangeeni Franssen and Rahmat Haverkamp]

website Jan van Delden: