Breakfast with Jan van Delden (part 1)

May 9, 10, 2002, La Rouselle, France. We are having breakfast with Jan, a real morning person, sitting on the chair he uses for giving talks. Jan is a man who talks in 'images': he paints and sketches with words and without your noticing it you'll be looking and listening through and around the words. He uses them, kneads them, shortens them, makes them up, stretches them and unclothes them, with only one goal the unveiling of the apparent owner of the words. And then, if you say: 'But Jan, you always say that we need to do this or that, but after all there is no doer?'…
'…yeah, just see it then as a patched together grace.'

Amigo: This Amigo is about the ideas that we have and cherish about Realization or Enlightenment. Led on by these ideas we go searching, but finally, these very ideas stand in the way. Alexander Smit said once: 'Tell me how you think Realization looks and I'll tell you where your resistance lies.'
Jan van Delden: In other words that idea also has to go. All ideas stand in the way. Anything you can describe stands in the way. That is just the whole trick, and at the same time so difficult. We are so used to looking for it among things, objects, experiences, and that's just where it isn't. As long as you think that you are sitting in duality, there is a subject and an object, and the subject can't be found by means of an object or an idea.

But don't you one way or another actually need that idea in order to go searching?
J: But going searching, you don't do that! That happens to you. If the duality is 'left behind', that means in the first place that the idea 'object-subject' disappears. In the first instance the object will say what it has to do to reach the subject. That's neither here nor there, but you can't avoid it either. Once it penetrates you that the object can never reach the subject, or that the film can never reach the screen, then maybe you'll ask yourself: Where am I then? On the side of the film, or on the side of the screen?
But, maybe after a closer look you come to the conclusion that you must be the Knowing, therefore the screen side, the knowing side. If you then investigate that even closer, you come to the conclusion that the idea that you needed the film to discover the screen is also only relative.

het AUM -symbol :

The dot at the top of the symbol stands for 'the sun' (the subject). The subject cannot know itself without 'object'(the little moon that lies under it).

The 'three' (Brahman) is the period in which you discover that the sun and the moon are not two different things but one and the same.

The little tail', that is attaché to the three, is the ultimate, otherwise parabrahman.

In other words
If you follow the AUM symbol, 'the sun' shows that it has become conscious of itself thanks to 'the moon'. Then it arrives at the Three' of Brahman. Mostly you have to remain there for a while before you discover that you are wide of the mark, because that would mean that the truth needs untruth to see the truth.
That leads to non-dualistic seeing that no duality can exist and thus exclusively The One exists, nothing more nothing less, or as the 'little tail' of the 'Three' indicates parabrahman. That means that yin/good and yang/bad are no more than The One. The One that is playing with itself. So lying is no lie and good no good

That is the 'little three' in the Aum symbol, in which it seems as if you need the object (the moon) to discover the subject (the sun), but suddenly you realize that is naïve. You discover that it is not possible, because the Absolute cannot be made conscious by something which is itself a temporary appearance; that must already be totally Consciousness. Then the final step follows: Parabrahman, the tail of the 'little three' in the Aum symbol. Thus, you then see that there is only unity. And with that, the circle is complete. You see that the only problem that was still in the way was the idea that the duality was real, that an object (a moon) could exist. The object exists no longer, and afterwards what we previously called 'the world' goes on doing what it always did, but without something or someone.

And, sitting in the one, on the side of the screen, is that an experience?
J: If there were no duality where does the experience that you have had all your life come from?

Out of the one...
J: Right, so you discover that it has always been like that. The whole idea that we now live as an individual – who is thirsty and drinks or eats – is an idea that appears but is not concrete because there isn't anyone who eats. I also don't experience that individual, I also do not see other individuals. I only know an individual, I know thirst, I know hunger.

To play the skeptic for a moment: this sounds like something reasoned: as if you have walked the entire path of exploration and found nothing, and then you can only conclude that it must be that nothing…
J … in the first place on our path, jnana yoga, you have to use your intellect. The absence of surrender is abundantly clear because otherwise you would not use your reason. So, that is your only entry. You actually use something artificial to finally break through it. You begin from duality (object/subject) in order to slip out of it. That is slippery ice! Seen logically you have to be careful to keep in mind that you can only use logic in order to see that logic won't work, you can't hold on to logic or understand logic, period! If you see that then you can eliminate it and you reach a bit more freedom, a sort of knowing that is beyond the thinking. But first, you really have to see that the thinking cannot reach there.

Isn't it true then that we confuse thinking and seeing?
In other words, you can see that you are being swallowed up by everything that is happening among the objects. Then the thought comes to make a step back, back towards the screen, and to find the source of silence again. That seems to be a rational decision while there is no 'I' to decide that.
J: That is still 'subject/object-looking'. You are acting as if subject and object are real. And if breaking through that is real, and you have used something untrue to do that, then naturally the breakthrough is also not true. But you don't know that yet, so we pretend.
This way we can investigate the reality of object-subject. Then maybe at a certain point you see: I do experience a duality, but only because I have been taught to. Because if I go into it deeper the duality is gone.
It appears that only the experiencing, the knowing of the duality exist and not the happenings that we call buttering bread, talking and such, because no object can be found in these.
In any case I can't see: hey that is 'the experiencer of…' and that is little Jan; it is just one thing.
In the past I thought I was on the side of the known, I still believed in objects. But by investigating I have discovered that I can never be a known something. The Knowing, Consciousness must be there prior to something appearing in it. And now, in the final phase I discover that what appears in me can be nothing else except Consciousness itself.
Imagine that there is an object. Who sees that object? Consciousness! Now, the moment that Consciousness knows it, it has become knowing and is no more an object. It is no longer real. Even if you only use logic, the object has to disappear at a given moment and it becomes one with the knowing. Thus, the object loses its value, it has become Knowing and is again the One.
The difficulty is we, crazy as we are, nevertheless expect that in everyday life the thinking will stop, thoughts such as (don't laugh) that isn't so, I don't agree with that, I am not going to think those things anymore and so on…, by itself.

Naturally we are looking for something that will free us from the troubles that we have in the world; that's what we seek enlightenment for.
J: In the first place, for most of us enlightenment means searching for an enlightened 'I', a sort of super person, who possesses immortality through all the realities and who is different and better than the rest. That is your biggest piece of rubbish! The reality is that you will see that it is all bullshit, that the simplest of the simplest is a total 100% being one.

If I say to myself: 'This is It!' (points to the space in the kitchen)… and this… (points towards the coffee) and this (points to the body), there is nothing other than It, if I do or do not want to change something, that is also It…
J: …but what comes after that is: yeah but, is this really all? Or it means nothing to me. This thought interrupts the so-called truth…

… but this thought is itself also 'The' one.
J: If you notice that objects, thoughts or feelings are known, they are no longer a threat. The object disappears, become Knowing again and that Knowing appears to always be unchangingly 'on'. And then whatever an object appears to be, is no different from 'That'. Only our head keeps telling us that it comes from an object.

When I was a child
trees were trees,
people people
and horses were horses.
The sky was the sky
and the sun was the sun.

When I went searching
and became spiritual,
then trees were people
people were the sun,
the sun was clouds
and clouds were water.

Now that I have found myself again
trees are again trees
and the sun is the sun
people are again people
and clouds again clouds..

What at first looked so difficult is clarified by that poem 'At first the trees were trees*…', and then no more so. That 'no more so', is thus there during the investigation of the object/subject-relation; in that period you suddenly see; hey… they are not trees, they are the knowing of trees, and you really wonder if they are objects. If you have discovered that objects don't exist your whole mental world falls apart. Then you see that the world is nothing else than the knowing of a world, and that there is nothing 'in' it and all the world knowing doesn't point to a world, but to the only thing that exists: knowing itself. And so they are again just trees, no more no less.

Then it is just a question of relaxing in Being (as Alexander always used to say…). And then the game just goes on.
J: The game is thus not a world, but Knowing itself. Consciousness itself. But, the idea that there is a Jan who now understands how it all fits together, just isn't right. Nevertheless you can see how it all fits together, but that isn't Jan. YOU, as an independent formless witnessing and/or the knower of the happening, is witness of a Jan who can't reach it and who has to recognize the failure of his being a doer sooner or later. That understanding is not done by a Jan; Jan is something that is known and the Knowing doesn't need Jan and is worthless for You. His insights, and his knowledge are also not needed. So, it's about knowing that You are always 'on', without a Jan who can claim that he does that, and that Jan can't stop the claiming, because where is the button to turn it off?
So you don't need to want to change the world, but your own point of view.
If you discover that the neutral having no point of view, is your self-evident in-ground, then all the techniques come to an end and you can just be what you are.
But that is not done by anyone, and cannot be improved by meditation for example, because it is already perfect.

That is the relief: you can be a natural expression of Consciousness…
J: … you are it, you can't manage to do it, you ARE it and you can't be anything else than what you are. That is the phase, in which at the Jan-level, let me call it that for a moment, the total acceptance comes of how Jan is. And that means that Jan is no longer tempted by 'I-wish-I were-like-that', that 'I-wish-I-were-like-that' falls apart, Jan is as he is. The difficulty with that is that the thinking may still say for example, there is still a very scared, timorous Jan in me, and that has got to go first. That is again a judgment or a preference. But for You, the Knowing it doesn't make any difference, there is only the knowing of a frightened Jan. So, you don't get fooled by that again. So, absolutely it is no longer necessary that Jan should change in some way or another. He is as he is. He couldn't do that anyway because he isn't even there, and there is no one who can intervene, understand or see; it happens. So that is the end of his doing and of the doing-or-leaving delusion.

Still, we try to make something static out of it in order to have a grip on it or to make an applicable formula or method for it.
J: Therefore, also the idea that there could be a way to get a grip on it has to die. As long as you have, or there is some idea about enlightenment, you are not yet enlightened. As long as you doubt, chase after beliefs or ideas, or you think that it is something, you are still stuck somewhere. Liberation is thus not in Jan who has become good at something, or Jan who has understood something. The liberation is that I have absolutely nothing to do with Jan and the world, but that whatever Jan and world might be is nothing other than an experience of Being-there in which the Experiencing itself is central and the content is of no interest whatsoever.
The stable side is then the chair with its four legs (silence, the now, attention, love/freedom/bliss). More and more you see that the four legs are always 'on'. I don't have to go do 'Being-there', or to do 'now'. I don't have to go do being conscious, I don't have to direct any attention, because attention is always there. Only we think that the attention comes from a known man or woman. But if you examine that you see that it is also not true.

If you go in search of the unchanging it seems to present itself precisely in all the changing things; it is everything.
J: You will begin to notice more and more that you always have a totally perfect experience of one: you don't have any experiences-in-experiences-in-experiences… Experiencing has experiences, but experiencing itself doesn't change. What is stable in us is the experiencing itself; movement, the changing, is the experience that travels through it. At first you still say that the experiences are caused by an object. If you have neutralized that and something still comes along that is not an object, then it is the apparent motion of Experiencing itself: there is the experiencing of the wetness of the water.

If I have here an object and a subject, then something will flow between them, that is the experiencing itself. But in fact it makes no difference if it flows between this or that.
J: There is no this or that. The flow is within the Self and the movement that appears to take place there is in fact self-imagined, because there cannot be any movement.
I don't have to do anything to experience experiencing, that is totally 'on'. I pay more attention to 'That' instead of to what the imaginary separation causes – there is my fire truck and Jan is sitting here but experiencing doesn't recognize any difference at all. See it for example for a moment as a ball of seeing, knowing, experiencing, and in this ball I also hear a little voice, I also hear humming and I see movements. But that is one seeing, I don't see all kinds of different things. And suddenly I see that it is always like that. And if it is said inside the ball: there are many people here all with their own consciousness, then that is an assumption, because my experience is not that the many consciousnesses are in Me. Even if I am standing in front of a hundred people there are not 'many consciousnesses'. In that one Consciousness, in that Witnessing, there are apparent mutual movements and talk. But I don't experience 'different ones', I experience one thing, all the time.

This place says: 'it appears in me', but that place over there says the same thing also in his turn. The world that is seen here is different from the world that is seen there. I am a part of your world and you are a part of mine. How do I reconcile that?
J: By seeing that you are not Kees and I am not Jan; then there is only one that sees something. But there is absolutely no something in a something. We assume that a leading character, Jan van Delden, has different supporting characters that are a part of his world. That is why I sometimes say as a joke: if you go to sleep at 9:50, Jan doesn't make it to 9:55. But those are only knots in the thinking, because finally I am not Jan and you are not Kees. What you actually are has never moved. So, the water moves while the fishes are quarreling or talking.

On the other hand, that is just the wonder that it seems to be like that so much.
J: Yeah, it looks like that, but if you look more closely, it has never been so. The water knows Jan and Kees there, but the water there between doesn't know itself because it is water. You have to watch that for a while, if you want to see it. The happiness out of that can only be absorbed if you really stop knowing a known experience (making knowing dependent on a known something). See that the Knowing itself portrays happiness and unhappiness. That is the happiness, and at the same time You are not influenced by that. Keep the unchanging in the moving in mind; seeing that it is also like that now, and that you don't do it, is being freedom.
Mostly what happens is that little Jan keeps coming around with his 'that is imperfect, I have a pain in my stomach now', or 'I am sick.' This little Jan always postpones his happiness until tomorrow, waiting until it becomes better. But in what can he do that? In You, the unchanging Happiness itself!

And then the thought: 'is this it now?' I believe you call that 'the desert'. Then you have seen it all…
J: … on the one hand water has seen that it is water, but the automatism of the waves just goes on. You come home from a kind of cold funfair: what have I in god's name been busy all these years? And you realize that the truth has never been away, and can also not go away; that the first cause can't dissolve or something like that. It only seems that you have lost sight of it for a bit, because you have been busy looking at the so-called duality for a little while. But that was a 'dreaming away', imagination, nothing more. That's what also makes it such a disenchantment.
In addition, we are obsessed our entire lives by the effects and experiences of objects. And now it appears that the experience doesn't come from an object. And still we see the automatism of turning towards objects. Simply let that happen realizing at the same time that there cannot be an object in there anymore; realize that the experience must emerge from the Experiencing Itself, from Consciousness Itself, from your Self, and that there is no such thing as an object 'causing' this. If you see that again and again, everything falls apart: the world, belief systems, all of it. What you do see over and over again, is that drinking coffee is being experienced, but since there is no coffee, no cup, no Jan as objects, then it is thus the Experiencing Itself that does that. Then the coffee doesn't taste any different, but you know that it is not the coffee but only the witnessing of coffee...

… do you pay attention to that when you drink coffee?
J: No that's not necessary. But you don't fall any longer into the thoughts that come along, and that is enough, because you don't need to know that you are there, you are there! It's about the fact that it wears out there. If you know that the functioning in the world is 'two times two is three' and you have seen that 'two times two is four', then it takes a little while before a sort of knowing arises somewhere in the back of your mind – and not a knowing that has to be 'turned on'. For example if someone asks me: 'Are you still a man?', then the answer comes automatically, while two seconds before I was not busy asking myself if I am a man… the same way comes the 'seeing' that what you are is Consciousness. And this 'correction' takes place in a natural way. At a certain moment that correction doesn't have to happen anymore, because there is nothing other than awareness of that one.

That is what you call 'the integration of the seeing'?
J: You turn 180° repeatedly, you can call it turning in. Prior, when Jan was there, I-Jan was there; now when Jan comes along, there is the confirmation of that 'I', the unchanging. That was already there. Now everything turns around, things come to you, they need Your attention.
That is what I mean by attention: they need Your attention. That attention doesn't come from a little Jan – then I would be that puffed up little man or woman – it comes from Knowing itself. In that Knowing, alias attention, there appears a Jan and the world, a dream-Jan and an objectless dreamless sleep. That formless being-attention is completely beyond the three changing states. You, being attention, do not carry along experiences from one state to another, so they have no meaning, and are also not real: at the most it is your imagination at work. If you experience all those things you will see that you are a conscious being and you are not doing anything for that at all. You can train Jan so that he remains a solid, slender and intelligent little man in the waking state. But that means nothing to You, because if Jan is not there, You, who precede Jan and go beyond Jan, can't get big muscles. You see more and more that you are the screen and that it is meaningless to invest in Jan. You invest ever more in your own objectless, unchanging base. That is stable economic investing, and is ultimately the most delicious.

That is what's nice if you experience 'there is no one here, there is no one there'; what is there is what is. What happens in between apparent persons or apparent this or that is then what remains: the experiencing itself.
J: Then experiencing itself has dug a gigantic well, namely a territory beyond the three states and that appears to be already entirely Yours. Then slowly there comes the realization that this whole situation is only a soap-bubble.

You must not think that as little Jan or little Kees?
J: No… well, little Jan and little Kees may think that, but then you have to keep your actual point of view in mind. If the film-screen is in contrast with the film and there is no object to see in the film, then Jan may think that, but he is not going to shudder along anymore.

The fear of: I have to go into the abyss or, I will be estranged from the world or, I don't know what is going to happen, etc., do these disappear?
J: You do know what is going to happen if you go into 'the abyss'. Because you see more and more the logic of the fact that you are a very happy being in the state of dreamless sleep for example. Maybe there is an unhappy leading player in the dream, but you see that nothing happens in following the dream itself, and that in the waking state a scared, chicken-livered little Jan may come along who thrashes back and forth a bit. But nothing happens with the Knowing of that. Because that is the neutral state. You are beyond that, and you can't do that! The Knowing has no influence at all on what little Jan may or may not do. But in the period of seeking it seems for a long time as if the leading player does that. It is then only relatively true to say: 'But doesn't the leading player do that?'
As long as you still think that you are a doer in a body, then follow that path. Sooner or later you will discover yourself that it was never so.

Do you mean discovering through the path of doing that no doer exists? Instead of saying in advance for example: there is no doer and no doing?
J: You have to try to avoid fatalism on our path (Jnana Yoga). On the Bhakti-path you can say: 'I think I am the leading player in the film and I can never reach the screen, so it has to be grace that can do that.' If you really see that, then you can really let it go, but the jnani is not able to do that because he is afraid to surrender.
The jnani can't see the wonder yet, but the bhakta can feel it, he trusts without knowing where that trust comes from, still it is there. He surrenders to that, in spite of thought: 'after all I can't do anything'. He surrenders to that power and then, if it happens, it can just plain happen. But a jnani has to keep himself busy with the search up to and including the last square millimeter, before he dares to surrender to: it can just plain happen.

(part 2 next time)

seated at the table were: Albertine van Peursen, Wilmy Moors,
Abraham Werner & Kees Schreuders