A question of trust

In his Dutch book: Terug van nooit weggeweest' Jan van Delden writes:
In contrast to Odysseus I chose the way of the mind seeker who finds it easier to travel the most difficult path and not the path of surrender, which was then vague for me, as heart seekers do. Wolter Keers - Circe in the story of Odysseus - explained to me how the way of the head seeker looks and gave me a totally new look at what Jan with his world is in reality.

Wolter explained what he had learned from his mentor that we follow the waking state, the dream and the dreamless sleep (which Charybdis is a symbol for) not with a personal witness, but rather by being the impersonal witness. That is the most direct way of arriving home. Of course, it is very special that of all the people I met Wolter was the only man in Holland - according to me - who knew this way.
Listen, it is not that I saw it as a blessing! I thought of myself then above all as someone who trusted nothing and nobody and only discovered years later that something like trust is not something that you can 'do'. It overcomes you.


It takes a while before Jan takes up the theme of 'trust' that I've been trying to sell him. He consumes a plate of oatmeal during the conversation to keep himself in condition. Some things seem irrelevant in this connection, but one can talk about advaita under all kind of circumstances and that makes understanding it so self-evident and 'natural'.

Jan: Jantje can't, couldn't and will never have anything to do with that word trust. This trusting no one colored his entire life. Finally seeing that Jantje could never reach trust but that I could become the liberation. However, looking back I can say that I got the first trust, that there was apparently an emergency exit to the misery that I thought I lived from my teacher Wolter Keers

Trust in the person Wolter?

Of course I tested Wolter to the extreme, but I could never find anything to contradict his words. Finally that gave me the trust - I prefer to call it surrender - that what he said must be true. He brought me to the point where I seriously began to look and examine.

Wolter let me see that a complete abstraction of the impersonal being-a-witness existed, beyond Jan's concepts, while he just functioned normally as Wolter. He was in the world even better than I, because he dared certain things that I didn't. And I was so naïve that I actually thought that I dared everything! As far as the world was concerned I made my way like a king. I could see through everyone immediately: everything was just about having and outer show. Wolter was the first one who was way ahead of me in all territories in the sense that he did things without any resistance - he was just like that. I never really had a fight with him or any trace of jealousy since I was already defeated because of the beauty of his naturalness.

Give an example.

That is difficult because it was often subtly hidden. For example he went shopping with me and just like that began a conversation with the girl in the shop! Now, I couldn't do that, I couldn't just begin to talk with someone in public without a reason... Or at a certain moment he tried to seduce me to allow him to take naked photos of me in a public park where other people were walking around - that was against everything in me. Being photographed as a nudist was not a problem. I said: OK I'll get undressed behind that bush. No he said, there where, all the people are walking around! Do you understand, he was always trying to break through all my taboos and resistance. Breaking through the belief that you are a person goes beyond your understanding and therefore it is mostly necessary to meet a spiritual master who makes that clear to you. On the one hand I found Wolter to be wonderful and on the other hand my head said: watch out eh! You must not trust anybody; because they will always take advantage of you.

Doesn't trust have to do with the way you were brought up?

Yes. That belief that I was born with a father and a mother in the world had to be broken by Wolter. Everything that I was not supposed to trust in the world came to attention when I met Wolter.

I had graduated in resistance. There was no one who could penetrate my wall. I understood right away that they were only busy with themselves and were only grabbing at problems. After all, you don't believe that they- and I'm also talking about my own little Jans, and politicians and directors of organizations and companies - are talking about something other than their own wallet or power trip?

That's the way I looked at everything and with Wolter I recognized for the first time that there is something that could be called happiness that you have without having money or for which you have to do a year of manual labor, and not even experience is necessary!

He was the only person I knew who had something that I was really looking for. Looking at it romantically he was a sort of super papa in the beginning. Only later did I discover this; it took a totally different turn. Wolter was ready to play my papa, but then you have to really see the consequences of that. For example, that he was allowed to talk about scary things. He gave a name to everything I was afraid of, for example death, and I didn't like that. Nobody wants to talk about scary things. Wolter could do that easily and at the same time play it out so that on the one hand he confronted you with the temporary nature of everything but also with the message that confronting everything will liberate you. In that way he only spent time with people who were very close to him and were really asking to go over the boundary of a world in which thinking plays the leading role. With other people he did not do that at all and he reacted completely differently.

Jan takes a little aside - one of his trusty characteristics to those who know him - to the apparent changeable character of gurus/spiritual masters, etc.

If you have to practice this sport then you will see that you are one way with a person and another way with a different person. Moreover, that happens by itself. If you are busy plucking juniper berries you put on gloves don't you? You just simply adjust yourself. At a certain moment you notice that the adjustment happens all by itself, it is also not something that a little Jan does. The trust that Wolter radiated in common life became my trust at a certain moment. What does that mean? Seeing effortlessly that everything is regulated by consciousness. There is no question of trust anymore, because everything dissolves, everything is consciousness...

Seekers think that they have to have trust first in order to go beyond their thoughts and to see what happens without expectations. The person says to himself all day: it has to be like this or like that for me to be happy and yeah... (a sigh of relief) being happy is the experiencing itself having an experience.

As long as you may not look at the experiencing itself in one way or another, but remain fixed on seeking the experience you remain the same. At all levels whatsoever. I myself remained looking at the experiences as the measure for a long time, also at the very highest level.

It is also difficult among all these objects...

Certainly, because your little I's say: There must be something to achieve, otherwise what's the point? Where else does it lead? While everything we do as a person is always for getting satisfaction and satisfaction is irrevocably the dissolution of the 'I'. We search all day for the disappearance of the 'I', but if you were to talk about that directly you would be locked up in the nut house. If it's about regular stuff, like sports or orgasms, then you are allowed to disappear. But if you direct your attention from the experience to the experiencing in itself, which is nothing more than looking at the looking or whatever you want to call it, and you see that that is your self-evident, own, simple, unchanging silent presence... yes, well, then your little 'I's' begin to grumble. That's the whole point; we just keep on listening to that little 'I'. Even if you have seen through all that, then still they go on complaining as a sort of automatism. They seem to be as dead as doornails, just like the lovers in Hades who go on chattering, but they stop only if by holding that attention on the attention everything transform itself to the one all encompassing attention. Only seeing is not sufficient.

OK, it is seen, but then you go into a fight with that...

Yes, finally it seems that your 'I' experience is also consciousness. Do you disturb yourself about this bottle (points to a bottle of cognac on the table)? If you recognize every experience as undefined experiencing then the 'I' thought would not be in the way any more, even if you are neurotic, stupid, backwards or bitchy.

Certainly if you can see that sense organs do not exist, therefore no inside or outside, no matter... and that it is completely impossible to see something that appears in you – no matter what it is – as being outside of you, or that it might be an object, is simply impossible! I mean: you can't deny that if you get a bump on your body it hurts a lot, but they are both perceptions in me and not the other way around. It is not true that the body perceives that thing over there.

It is not true that your leg perceives that object

That is what your thinking makes of it. No: if you get a clout against what the mind calls 'leg', then you just feel that in the undefined experiencing as the experience of pain.

If you understand that, then you will see more and more that the story of a 'world outside yourself' is nonsense. Can you then talk about 'others outside yourself'? Certainly you cannot.

But you just play along with the game?

Imagine, you don't see it... then still you can say that consciousness sits behind everything.

(again an aside)

Imagine that a bad guru exists, imagine something like that exists , who is it that makes the bad guru bad and what does he appear in? Is he now inside or outside you?

Now then... everything is in you! What is there then left to do? I don't understand how that might be possible. I can listen to reams of stories about little Jans and other fellow actors, but they are all within myself. I can hear all kinds of stories about planets light years far away in other dimensions and so on, but these are all within myself.

Now, if I see that experiencing is just like that in myself, stable and unchanging, then maybe I will pay some attention to that. With that attention I shift my point of view and I gain trust to be that. If Janny stubs his toe again or something else happens, your child dies or whatever... then Janny can scream: That shouldn't happen! Then he would like to begin a crusade again to find the why and so on. But then just let him chatter like a child of three who says he is going to work... just let him talk. Or if your head says: You are greedy and that has to change, then just for fun give 200 euros away immediately just to bug Janny. Then perhaps you will see that it is a sort of game that the undefined consciousness is playing with itself by pretending that experiences could be made of something else besides experiencing itself.

Speaking of trust...

In conclusion: the known, the thoughts, the little I, your feelings, emotions, your peak-experiences: everything is in the service of searching for happiness. Searching for the trust that happiness really exists. Trusting that your search will bring you to the treasure.

The known - the experiences - goes on a search but the seekers who in fact are also an experience (!) only find happiness - or rather experience - if they can let go of the belief that they are something separate, or something known. Thus they can only find trust that they are experienced if they can unmask and so let go of the belief of being independent and separate from the 'known'. Now, that is trust...

At that moment there is no trust anymore, so that is gone.

That's right; trust is thus being experienced.

Does that seem strange?

Yes, but it is written: You have to lose what you are seeking for. You have to lose the trust that you are searching for.

Jan scrapes his bowl clean an close concludes:

The known and all its experiences can never find trust... thus you go from trust to self-trust to being trust yourself.
The surprise about what we are remains, because if experiences are nothing more than experiencing, then life is a surprising experience.

You can also say: the beauty and grace of experiencing is - in itself - the recognition of being the experiencing.

(...for those who love cryptograms...)

Dutch website Jan: www.ods.nl/la-rouselle

[Peter van Steenwijk - La Rousellie feb. 2005]