Where there is mistrust, there is the I
interview with Hans Laurentius

Clear language from Hans Laurentius: 'How can you not trust yourself if you have discovered that you are the self? You can't mistrust what you actually are' But that's not the end of the story. Trusting is something that can arise in the eyes of the seeker. If you feel threatened or unsafe it is not possible to be receptive. Apparently it is a prerequisite for the seeker to trust the teacher. Still Hans prefers to talk about friends rather than about students. But of course this is not actually anything new under the sun. In Amigo number 5 about teaching Hans made it clear that being a student is something that only occurs in the eyes of the student himself. Finally it is seen that neither the teacher nor the student ever existed. The notion 'friend' is a more adequate way to speak of the relation. It makes no distinctions or inequalities. The conversation between Amigo and Hans went in a friendly way as follows:

Amigo: What are we actually talking about in the subject trust?

Hans: That question applies to all these types of subjects: at what level are you examining them. From the psychological point of view people will think; yes: trust is very important. From another perspective trust is always something from the I. Where there is trust there is also mistrust, doubt and uncertainty. There has to be an opposite, otherwise the subject does not exist. Recently at a satsang, the subject of trust was coincidentally also part of the discussion. I said then that if someone comes to me and says: ' I have a lot of trust.' Then I know immediately which way the wind blows. Then I don't believe it , because if it were indeed true, then there would be no need to speak of it. Trust would then be only the absence of uncertainty. It doesn't exist by itself. Therefore, it depends on the perspective of your approach. As Nisargadatta said: 'There are two approaches to realization: hard work, thus doing self-investigation, and trusting. His own story is an example of that. He said: 'I met my guru and I had no reason to doubt him at all. The guru told me to remain in the I-am and I did that.' Things became clear in three years. Further, he never asked any questions, did not visit the guru a hundred times, he just heard what was told to him: 'You are the self and to realize that just stay with the I-am' he said OK and that was that. As he put it himself: 'I had no reason to doubt, nothing in me doubted the guru.' There was an absence of doubt. Trust is not something that exists by itself.

You also cannot force trust just by wanting to trust.

No, absolutely not. That is an empty expression. But that is true for all these subjects; finally they all fall apart and appear to be only stories.
If you look at life, you see that by definition appearances cannot be trusted, because of the simple fact that they are constantly changing. Now there is something and a second later it might be gone. You can't base your trust on that. The only thing that is worthy of trust, that always leads you, is consciousness itself. Whatever happens you are conscious of it. If you are searching for trust or safety, it has to be found there. Nevertheless there we still sit as a little I staring at the self, because it is a step in between. There we sit mistrusting. We still keep a distance. There is still a certain movement or separation: I am here, and myself, or God depending on what you call it, is there. Apparently there is some distance that has to be bridged. That is also a misconception. How could you mistrust yourself the moment you discover that you are the self? That is completely crazy. That is absolutely impossible. You can only mistrust what you know, what passes before you. The moment you realize that everything changes the concept mistrust refers to nothing anymore.

Relaxing and trust

On the other hand, it is also true that some people are all tied up psychologically. Then I notice that my remarks calm down their system. You could call that ' giving trust'. By means of a certain connection that comes into being (in their experience in any case) they can relax and gain trust in this place, in the teaching or in me, as I come across. They can relax enough to receive. But actually we are talking about a sort of earlier stage.

It is true on this level, that if there is no trust, if you feel threatened or unsafe you also cannot receive anything. That is not possible. The system has to relax a bit first. But still, something brings them here (The Horizon Center in Ottersum where Hans and his family live and work. There are satsangs, weekends and retreats there – eds.), no matter how afraid they are, however scary they find it, they nevertheless, come again and again, something drives them. That can't be explained. They also don't know it, but actually we never know that.

What is good?

No one of us actually knows that. No one knows why they do what they do. We can create all kinds of theories about that, but I would rather remain with the not-knowing. I also don't need to know it. What happens happens, that's it. It is all independent of qualifications like good or bad those are all additions from the thinking I. The I-thought has to be there first before you can say this is not going well, or that is my behavior. The I-thought has to be there first before there can be a claimer. In fact you are only conscious of things happening, and then you say 'I did that', and the question arises whether it was good or bad. You can ask yourself what are the criteria for good and not good.

People often think that what I do must be good because I talk about the truth. But whether that is good or not is a good question. Imagine for example that someone comes covered in sack and ashes; he talks with you for an hour, cheers up and decides he can go on. Everyone would say: 'Gosh, that is good.' And then the person runs into the street in their blind enthusiasm and gets hit by a car. Was it good? Was it not good? I don't know. I know absolutely nothing about it. The only thing that is possible is to be myself. I can't do anything else. Something comes into view, we call that another person, there is an interaction and then they depart. All this time my experience is just the Being itself, and in that level of appearances things appears, but I have not done it, this just happens, it is an interaction. It is not clear to me how that happens. The only thing that is clear is that things happen around me that don't happen elsewhere because 'there' other things happen. But I can neither say that I do them nor that I have nothing to do with them. I don't know what the path of the other is, or what my path is. I only know this here-and-now. That is the only thing, and that is enough. I can fantasize about what might or might not be good for someone, but that is all thinking. Actually I don't know anything about it. And I just remain in that not knowing and apparently that does something. OK. Other say then: 'Thank you very much Hans' or 'Hans is such a great guy,' or 'Hans is such a bastard.' They have judgments, but those are their stories. I also have nothing to do with that, it says nothing about me. It says something about the way they see me. So, strictly speaking there is no basis whatsoever from which we can make statements. It is impossible. I never know what is good or not good. I only know what is happening this moment.

Acting without doubt

Based on that you either act or not. That is also much quicker!

Yes exactly. That goes very quickly because there is no need to think about it.

Do you not have doubts then, for example when it comes to your children?

Naturally. The thinking is also active on a practical level and you see: 'Now, this snarling at my children was also unnecessary.' Yes of course. But there is no doubt; you simply see that it is loveless. As far as the world is concerned I can only just see - and that is also a shaky standard – whether something is loving or not. That is actually the only one. You just feel that in your body. It is not something that you think about. And what follows from that: I don't know. But I do know, in the given situation, what the sphere and the energy are like. Is it something broadening or inviting in which everything is welcome, or a pushing away and aggressive energy? But be careful, we must not assert that resistance is always bad! You have to resist some things, for example, bacteria, or aggression from another. Then it is fight or flight. If three men are beating on someone then you might have the opinion that it is not loving to get involved, but according to me it is more loving to get involved. But that is my way.

Still, it is sometimes better to remain still a bit. For example if you are swallowed up by a problem then you make mistakes sooner.

Certainly, that is why one of the most important spiritual tips is simply STOP. Finally that is what it all is in the end. Whatever you are doing with your head or emotions: STOP. Then you have a little pause, a chance for a kind of resetting. The whole system is stopped. You can begin to breath again and experience what is going on in a new way instead of going on running in the reasoning or mood in which you are caught. It is always a question of STOP and at a certain moment you are just stopped and then it doesn't start anymore. Then you just are.

In the meantime we speak a little haphazardly because we still have the idea that we can change something that way.

Yes certainly, we think that we can a get a grip on reality with words. In fact we talk constantly to ourselves to tell ourselves that the world is like this or like that. It is all just stories, stories, and stories. In the meantime we lose sight of the space in which these stories take place whereas that is exactly what it is all about. If you are just simply there, then stories are no longer needed. Check it out: if you have to keep constantly telling yourself that you are full of trust for someone then apparently something is wrong because if it were true you wouldn't have to constantly repeat it. You don's spent the whole day saying: 'I am a woman' that would be mad. Or: 'this is my hand.' Do I have to say that every morning: this is my hand; these are my knees and so on? No, you just take that for granted that is a fact, finished.

The only thing I know is that I am myself and I also don't know what that means exactly. Apparently that interests other people. That is also something. It doesn't strike me as special in any way. I only see it in relation to others. But actually, it still a bit strange that people come to folks who are only just themselves, because finally that's all it is. Apparently it is exceptional to just be yourself. That is also a bit crazy.

Without hanging on

Strictly speaking, all subjects such as fear and trust are only interesting for a mind that is confused; a mind that does not see itself for what it is. Then all these themes become extremely important. The moment that you have seen through the I as being only an illusion, these themes are not interesting anymore. My experience is that the interest in this kind of problematic disappears. The moment itself is enough. I don't have to seek for another theme to add to that.

Don't people have to trust you?

No, that is not necessary. If they don't trust me they disappear, they leave. That's good; I don't hang on to them. Then I hope they find someone else with whom it clicks. That's the way it is, and it is ok.

You don't have to make an effort for it?

What for? The people who come have the idea that they are not enlightened. I don't see it that way. If I would also think that the people who come have a problem, if I also believe in the problem, then the other would have not a ghost of a chance. For that matter, also enlightenment does not exist. That is also only an idea. The only thing that I explain is that we are exactly the same. We are all consciousness. The only miniscule little difference is that you still think that you are someone, and that on this side there is someone sitting who does not think that he is someone. That is really a miniscule little difference, but it does have a lot of consequences. That is actually everything.

Empty hands

It only becomes important because it has so many consequences. That means that you are going to do your extreme best again.

Yes, exactly. In the beginning you only see the sphere of consequences because people only identify with their emotions and their thinking. If you don't know who you are it is chaos, that's logical. Because people only identify with that small territory their life seems to be a mess. They don't look to see what else there could be. The endless space they ignore. They have no idea about the infinite silence, the fullness, they have no notion of all that, just sometimes when they relax for a few moments. But then they think something is causing it. Maybe someone was nice, or they had good sex, or they bought a new TV. It is always coupled to something. They do not see the immediacy of the natural relaxation. At a certain moment people realize that they have to go through to the core. Then you have to have strong motivation, because you are going to lose a lot of ideas that give you support. In the beginning it seems that you get something in return: a feeling of love and clarity, that kind of side effect, but finally its about arriving at a state of standing with empty hands. Having nothing more to hold on to is scary for the ego that began the search. Then you have to recognize that you know nothing. We say a lot and we explain a lot, but actually it all explains nothing. Recognizing that is a dreary business, especially for someone who is uncertain. In the first place you go to a teacher to get certainty. Then he says: 'That doesn't exist, dear sir or madam.' 'But I don't know what its about!' 'Yes, yes, nether do I. The only difference is that I feel perfectly comfortable with that and you become afraid with it'. The game is to take someone by the hand and give some certainties at first: 'You can trust the feeling of being, that is always there, even when you are afraid. Just do a little step back, feel it for a moment... aah, yes, there it is.' That gives confidence. Finally that being swallows you. You must not reveal that too soon, because then the fear would become too strong.

Until a point comes when it is impossible to go back.

On that level that is also very important, if there is a click at a certain moment, then that has a kind of strength that people call trust: I just plain trust you, so bring it on.

Dissolution of tension

If you take a good look, it is just a good feeling and the absence of tension.

Yes, exactly. The entire ego-principle is just a kind of restlessness, fear or tension in action. This dissolves. If people experience this a few times, for example at a place like this or somewhere else, then that builds trust. Because if I'm there: exhale, I feel room again, I feel the tension ebbing away. It is just like dyeing cloth the batique way: color is applied, the whole thing is put in the sun and allowed to fade and the color almost disappears. Just in that way you return to your tense state, but a little less each time. And, the following time it is again a bit roomier. If you experience that a few times then the feeling of trust grows very strong in you and you know that you are on the right track.

Don't you mean that it is also a bodily notion?

Yes, it is that also. The body recovers itself. The entire I-thing makes the body sick. There is only one sickness and that is the I-sickness. If the cramp relaxes, the body begins to function in a normal way again. The entire energy system repairs itself and goes to work. All kinds of side effects may happen, but in principle the body seeks out its natural state.

Here there is nothing to do!

No. At best that should occur naturally. I am not a proponent of helping that or tinkering with it or trying to help with all kinds of techniques. Also not at a ascertain level. I much prefer for people to remain still and allow the energy itself to do the work because the energy is immensely intelligent. It is much more intelligent than the thinking gestalt wants it to be. The body is nothing other than intelligence. If you leave it alone, thus don’t overfeed it with worries, seeking, projections or scrapping then it knows how to function perfectly well, what is good for it, where it fits and where it doesn’t. Restoring may sometimes last a year or a few days, but it begins immediately, directly the moment that we have contact with reality.

Then you can react immediately, you no longer have to think everything over.

Actually you know everything immediately. Everyone actually knows everything immediately. Only, we have given so much power to the thinking that we have become a bit estranged from the entire body which is a very sensitive instrument. If you leave that in peace, thus if you are still, then it picks up immediately where you must go right or left in a manner of speaking. It is not necessary to think that over. It is more a following of the energy.

Then trust would be something that comes via the body in the first place.

That's what I also think. But, thus it is the movement from tension to relaxation. In this movement a kind of trust can arise, but if the tension is gone at a certain moment then the trust is also gone. It is no longer needed; no counterweight is needed any more. Just being is enough.

Everything is good or everything is...?

Trust is not about everything coming out all right, because that is not trust that is hope. Then you only hope that it is good, just like a new-age affirmation: 'Everything is good.' Yeah, everything is good, what does that mean? Could it also be wrong? It is again introducing a duality. Everything is not good, everything is.

You put a restriction on yourself, there is still a lot to make better or just the opposite, nothing may change because everything is good.

Precisely, that is how you keep a certain tension going. It is easy to change into; it has to be good. Then something happens that you don't like and that is not allowed. Because after all everything has to be good. Everything is good after all, but I don't feel it, so there must be something wrong with me. From the limited vision that apparently is still there you can see the inclination to tell yourself stories. People also think that it helps to call out all the time: 'Everything is consciousness', because the so-called teacher says that it is so. But this way it just becomes a little story again. Teachers say that because they see it directly, because it is their experience. Naturally they don't say that to themselves. I never say to myself 'Hans old boy, take it easy because everything is consciousness.' That never occurs to me. That only arises in me when it has a function, when there are people who want to hear that. Then I can say that sort of thing but it doesn't mean anything to me. It is something like saying 'Water is wet'. Yes, I know that so I don't have to say it. But maybe someone else doesn't know that. Then I can explain it and I can let it be tasted, then it makes sense. 'What is water then? What do you feel?' 'It is flowing and damp.' OK, thanks very much. But if you already know that...

Does that ever irritate you?

No, no otherwise I would have stopped a long time ago. No, that is not possible, the principle that is called guru can only exist in the now. Nothing precedes that. I can say with my understanding that I have been doing this for seven years already but when I am in action there is o one who has been doing it for seven years. There is only this principle, this life that lives and nothing of it can be found there. Sometimes I can find something beforehand; maybe there is a mood that I don't feel like doing something for example. But that is all just blah, blah. It is not an actuality. Afterwards I may have some opinion about something, but it is not relevant, it is more like a passing scent.

You like explaining don't you?

I have a lot of pleasure in it, yes...

Hans' website in Dutch: www.hanslaurentius.nl

[interview: Ilse Beumer]