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Issue #1481 - Thursday, July 3, 2003 - Editor: Jerry  


An Interview with Jan Barendrecht, by Eric Paroissien  

The following texts refer to writing by Jan Barendrecht in: "Nothing to Add" http://singularian.50megs.com/

Text 1:  

There is no path, no method, no belief. I can only testify
this. If there is no path, no method, no belief, there can be
no teacher of it. As motivation for one isn't motivation for
another, everyone has to start from scratch. Gurus and sages
belong to the Eastern culture and have a function there; in
the West, one becomes liberated and has no obligations
whatsoever; it would contradict the term 'liberated' in the
Western frame of mind.
 

Eric: Considering that in himself, in stillness, the liberated is
complete and perfect, why did Buddha make the decision to
delay parinirvana for forty years?  

Jan: Strictly speaking, the question would have to be put to the
Buddha. However, by reading what was written down from his
talks, it shows well, he liked "the job" very much. It wasn't
a life of lecturing but one of showing the way to happiness
(nirvana).
 

Eric: Why does a western liberated (one) communicate in a mystical
language? Or communicate at all?  

Jan: Humans are social animals and this means a responsiveness,
endowed with a caring function "outside" the "own" species
even. A mystical language can work like a test, required to
enter: during the inquisition there was the "safety" issue
too.
 

Eric: Krishnamurti did not look very happy with his "effect" on
people and Stephen Jourdain said he ran away from people
because he said it was only a misunderstanding and "I didn't
want to enter the shoes of Krishnamurti."  

Jan: Unless able to translate the
mystical/mythological/philosophical lore into everyday
"ordinary" life and action, it will amplify the sense of
separation to such an extent that the desire for "parinirvana"
or a nirvikalpa type of samadhi becomes overwhelming.
 

Eric: What drives the liberated to be available to seekers? Or
simply to a worldly life?  

Jan: The simple question to be posed is "does responsiveness still
come with a set of emotions and physical sensations?" and when
yes, be sure man's strongest tendency, caring, due to his
class of a social animal, determines functioning a great deal.
Repressed tendencies, whether aware of that or not, are a
guarantee for unhappiness.
 


Text 2:  

The intrusions, distractions, disturbances have a negative
influence on passive meditation (being the witness, observing
thoughts, emotions etc.). Digging out these disturbances might
be a more effective approach for some. It is a very deep going
reflection on the "why am I getting angry, why am I disturbed
while in a traffic jam, why am I such an automaton to always
react this way etc." If one "knows" intuitively and
experiences a subtle 'desire' to be free from these
afflictions, the digging out can be successful. "Longing" to
be free from these afflictions isn't a desire, as one's true
nature IS free from these afflictions. This "longing" is a
form of meditation, the form of "as you meditate, so you
become". So one day, while caught in a traffic jam, one could
think: "What can I do" - the answer comes "Nothing" and there
is only "I AM". Once afflictions are removed, they never
'intrude' again.
 

Eric: Do we see a failure in the economy of nature?  

Jan: Nature isn't economic always: the reproduction issue shows a
potential for overproduction. A seeming contradiction often is
a hint for a perspective that shows no contradiction.
 

Eric: Most humans are endowed with this subtle aspiration to
liberate but loose it in an addiction or in the torpor of
comfort, even if they are touch by faith or grace; and some
who have no faith or even creed can be touched at random and
liberated against their will almost; let's say the aim of life
on this planet is to produce liberation so that consciousness
can find pleasure in contemplating its own vastness...  

Jan: The term "liberation" has been controversial for ages:
liberation and bondage being two sides of the same coin, it
follows that "liberation" consists of nullification of what
gives rise to the idea of both "liberation" and "bondage". Not
in a philosophical sense but by the absence of the
conditioning any creature is born with, the common one: fear,
or more precise, the fight & flight mechanism, present even in
animals who have no "enemies".
 

Eric: ...and let's say we can understand culture as a need to organize
survival downstream and upstream to digest and organize (yet
you said this too is the task of the liberated) the successive
waves of knowledge (about the divine) handed down by the seven
Rishis or the Buddhas that preceeded Shakyamuni or the
Mesopotamian authors of the legend of Eden or the flood.
Nature is failing and human culture is failing too?  

Jan: One of the properties of 'social animals' is organization,
whether beehive or Babylon. Nature is organized with the
simple attraction/repulsion or like/dislike mechanism. That
also determines the food to be preferred. The mechanism
doesn't differentiate food according to nutritional values:
hence the IQ or EQ of a victim to "addiction-engineered food"
(AEF) is irrelevant until the negative effects (suffering)
kick in and a cure is sought.
 

These are properties, not flaws: any property can be shown to
have at least two sides. Man has the property of knowing
properties, is able to manipulate them (yo! recursion again).
When the property is used for self-knowledge in the sense of
enquiry, that leads to "liberation".

Applying that as the invisible cement of civilization leads to a "golden age" (satya
yuga) whereas using the property for short term profit leads
to untold destruction and suffering.
 

A remark like "nature has flaws," requires an observer
"outside" nature. The remark "everything is perfect" is the
other side of the coin. Whatever observed comes with a set of
properties which can be observed as well (yo! recursion again,
as observation is a property too).
 

The enquiry then, "What neither is a property nor has
properties?" If memory allows, "that" is obvious at birth but
as "it" neither resists nor cooperates, is forgotten soon.
Undone the damage caused by forgetting comes under terms like
"enlightenment, apperception, self-realization" whereas the
impossibility for rehearsal is termed "liberation".
Unfortunately, inflating the apperception event (which could
be termed a conscious rehearsal of birth, like the birth of
Jesus -- who in this sense said "be my followers" -- in the N.T.)
to the size of the universe, is one of the best ways to mar
any further "progress".
 


Text 3:  

Let's assume the distraction is doing the dishes and you don't
like it. So if you are the witness, it is the witness of " I
don't like it" and IMO this isn't a good meditation. The key
is to let go the "being the witness"; pay full attention so
there is only "the dishes being done". Now where did the
dislike go? The reason why creative work is almost addictive
is that there is only "something being created"; there is no
witness whatsoever. This is the natural state; when it shines
without attention and its object, it is Self. The bliss that
remains after having been engaged in creative work, is the
'aftertaste' of the bliss of Self.
 

Eric: So the witness is the Self, is bliss; and revealing how it
works from the angle of one "abiding as the Self" is a way of
pointing at meditation? Somewhere else you said it is the
"who" of "who am I?" that matters.  

Jan: What is termed "witness" isn't a static entity but a process.
This process requires attention which no longer is available
for likes/dislikes/ or giving-in to commenting (for instance
the likes/dislikes). Yet the likes/dislikes don't disappear:
provide the proper conditions and they return. During deep
dreamless sleep the mind-body continues to function but all
cognitive functioning is suspended. Waking up suddenly from it
reveals a peace of mind, often unknown in 'ordinary' daily
life. Yet this peace is unbroken, only gets veiled by the
activities causing the "inner commentator" to do its thing.
Hence what is termed "way to happiness" is but the removal of
anything seemingly veiling the unconditional peace. Part I
concerns the 'software' (childhood conditioning), part II the
'hardware' (biological conditioning)
 

Eric: In the whole equation it is hard to grasp that radiant
ever-conscious Self should be quelled by something as weak as
a mind, which functioning is so predictable and petty. And
even when it looks very clever, collapses like a sand castle
under the first wave of emotion. And because of this from
ordinary human point of view, the Self is no more than a
"property" or an "ability". God is there only as much as I
'care' summon him up in my life.  

Jan: Terms like "Self" or "God" these days are suggestive of
entity. Not to mention the seeming duality rising from
terminology like

matter <> spirit
whole <> part
collective <> individual
 

Using a different labeling style,  

duality <> nonduality
being <> non-being
aware <> non-aware
  etc. etc.  

A useful distinction always, is between observation,
conclusion and label.
 

The Self is without properties (which isn't a property) as
property pertains to observation. Yet the argument that
awareness continues and is bodiless, comes from the 
observation that despite deep dreamless sleep, awareness is
unbroken: what changes is "content", the events of life, when
"over the borders of the grave" called "reincarnation". The
scientific approach would be to investigate how associative
memory works, as it's clear that there are no entities to
migrate, but memories to continue as if a gap like death &
birth does not exist.
 

For the sake of argument it is said, no properties implies
neither resisting nor inciting: mind is likened to a wheel,
once set in motion, has a momentum, shows inertia, in other
words, it takes effort (energy) to steer it, and more effort
to make a sharp U-turn, and still more effort to stop it...
 

Does it help to know, "white" discoverers like Columbus, were
usually impressed by the beauty of natives, who were
nevertheless labeled "savages" because they didn't believe in a "personal" savior and his father,
residing in heaven? Yet, in the cases where the indigenous
culture wasn't fully destroyed, it is possible to point at
remains of what reveals a good working knowledge of
"Self-realization" and "nirvana/moksha". The Kundalini issue
was known well in Africa too, not just in Egypt (like the
little snake depicting the 3rd eye, on masks of mummies) .
Lucifer, labeled "Satan", means "bringer of light". One
property of light is to heat the material absorbing it
(eventually burn it). Light cannot be blamed for the fire
though ;-)
 


Some points clarified:  

Eric: There are some 'dense' technical points in the last topics you
tackled. I need more intensity into some definitions and
terminology, please:   Do you see a continuum on the scale of consciousness with
human life and animal life? Do other mammals have a "best way"
to use attention?  

Jan: On the scale called "conscious of ..." yes, there is a
continuum. Mammals share the same set of emotions. Some
animals have a mate for life. Reptiles like lizards can be
"trained" to eat from your hands. But man is aware of all
issues, called instincts for other animals.
 

Eric: You say: "The simple question to be posed is "does
responsiveness still come with a set of emotions and physical
sensations?" and when yes, be sure man's strongest tendency,
caring, due to his class of a social animal, determines
functioning a great deal. Repressed tendencies, whether aware
of that or not, are a guarantee for unhappiness."  

Does nature display what you call a "caring function"? Is
responsiveness mainly a function of the liberated, liberation
still with "substratum" of emotions 'linked' to physical
sensations?  

Jan: The caring function starts with caring for the young.
Responsiveness is the universal property of matter, it isn't
limited to creatures. Terminology like enlightenment, nirvana
with and without substratum, denote a change in responsiveness
of a compound structure. If nothing happened, how would the
apperception event get noticed?
 

Eric: You say: "[...] the absence of the conditioning any creature
is born with, the common one: fear, or more precise, the fight
& flight mechanism, present even in animals who have no
"enemies". "  

"Fight or flight," the adrenaline function, is the built-in
flaw, in an otherwise perfect metabolism, that points to
consciousness as a goal for every life form?  

Jan: For a "wild" animal, the fight & flight mechanism deals with
preservation only: it's unnoticeably "on guard" when the
threat disappears.
 

Eric: How can i deal with fight or flight?  

Jan: In the same way, a "wild" animal does: it doesn't blame, hold
grudges, doesn't get insulted. When a lorry is coming in your
direction, just get out of its way - eventually report the
case as to prevent repetition - nothing else.
 

Eric: Attraction/repulsion or like/dislike mechanism mean the same
flawed function?  

Jan: Attraction/repulsion shows well with magnets, all matter is
subjected to gravity which attracts.
 

Eric: You say: "That also determines the food to be preferred. The
mechanism doesn't differentiate food according to nutritional
values: hence the IQ or EQ of a victim to
"addiction-engineered food" (AEF) is irrelevant until the
negative effects (suffering) kick in and a cure is sought."  

So here animals differ with a perfect "sense of feeding", no
need for higher IQ and EQ, and they have a fearless response
to pain? Do you need to prove that animals are more in touch
with their essence but yet essence is not the Self the
"natural state"?  

Jan: No, animals are no exception: like man, the selection of food
is based on taste. The "mad cow" issue shows that well, and I
made photos of (supposedly) vegetarian lizards bingeing on
soft cat food (cooked meat). Instinct is a simple mechanism...
Man is supposed to be endowed with reason to be aware of what
animals aren't: the cause-effect relationship of food and
well-being (physical & mental condition) for instance.
 

Eric: You say: "[...] any property can be shown to have at least two
sides. Man has the property of knowing properties, is able to
manipulate them (yo! recursion again). When the property is
used for self-knowledge in the sense of enquiry, that leads to
"liberation"."  

In the context of Self-knowledge, how do you define "property"
and its two sides? (observation as a property for example).  

Jan: Responsiveness is a property of all matter. Compound
structures observing responses are responding themselves but
can't simultaneously observe both.
 

Eric: You say: "The enquiry then, "what neither is a property nor
has properties?". If memory allows, "that" is obvious at birth
but as "it" neither resists nor cooperates, is forgotten soon.
Undone the damage caused by forgetting comes under terms like
"enlightenment, apperception, self-realization" whereas the
impossibility for rehearsal is termed "liberation".
Unfortunately, inflating the apperception event (which could
be termed a conscious rehearsal of birth, like the birth of
Jesus (who in this sense said "be my followers") in the N.T.)
to the size of the universe, is one of the best ways to mar
any further "progress"."  

You mean teachers have missed the simplicity of 'liberation'
and build their teaching on less appropriate "tools"?
(Krishnamurti about apperception? Ramana about
self-realization?)  

Jan: Simple isn't the same as easy. One of the oldest teachings is
the Kathopanishad, which is about the inevitable, the meeting
with the proverbial lord of death, or a "forced" change in
responsiveness and the pain that goes with it: not different
from taking leave of a beloved one, dying. The "you or me" of
the death process is irrelevant, the pain sooner or later will
show up, unless the potential for it "died" already. Hence
terminology like "1st and 2nd death" in the N.T.
 

Eric: You say:"What is termed "witness" isn't a static entity but a
process. This process requires attention which no longer is
available for likes/dislikes/ or giving in to commenting (for
instance the likes/dislikes). Yet the likes/dislikes don't
disappear: provide the proper conditions and they return."  

The "witness" works unhindered even along with some
likes/dislikes? Are they not melted for more
economy/efficiency; or the Self works like nature without
economy?  

Jan: There are limits, like being exposed to smoke: at a certain
level the self-preservation instinct takes over and the
"witness" function suspends. Economy is a fabrication of man:
nature is likely to "work" via the trial & error routine,
which works well for young animals too.
 

Eric: That is, a liberated being with likes/dislikes, fits of anger,
sex desires provided he serves rightly the purpose he was sent
there for?  

Jan: Likes and dislikes can be "freed" from cultural content to a
great extent. What remains is the biological component.
Suffering impossible, implies nothing leaves an emotional
impression, like for instance a grudge. Ramana gave the
analogy of ripples in a pond when a stone is thrown in: they
die out quickly and leave no trace.
 

Eric: You say: "During deep dreamless sleep the mind-body continues
to function but all cognitive functioning is suspended. Waking
up suddenly from it reveals a peace of mind, often unknown in
'ordinary' daily life. Yet this peace is unbroken, only gets
veiled by the activities causing the "inner commentator" to do
its thing. Hence what is termed "way to happiness" is but the
removal of anything seemingly veiling the unconditional peace.
Part I concerns the 'software' (childhood conditioning), part
II the 'hardware' (biological conditioning)"  

What does this last sentence refer to? Can you elaborate?  

Jan: It can be restated with an analogy: After exposure to the
sound of jet fighters taking off, it is very silent. But that
is seemingly. On a windless spot in the desert, the sound of
the beating heart and the blood flowing through the ears
becomes deafening, the only sound heard - seemingly.
 

Eric: You say:"A useful distinction always, is between observation,
conclusion and label."   Do you have an example?   Jan: It is said, a palace is observed. What gets observed is a
construction having a form, made of certain materials.
Classifying it as a palace is a conclusion and calling it
large, small, beautiful or ugly is labeling.
  Eric: You say: "[...]property pertains to observation. Yet the
argument that awareness continues and is bodiless, comes from
the observation that despite deep dreamless sleep, awareness
is unbroken: what changes is "content", the events of life,
when "over the borders of the grave" called "reincarnation".
The scientific approach would be to investigate how
associative memory works, as it's clear that there are no
entities to migrate, but memories to continue as if a gap like
death & birth does not exist."   Memory is spoken of in reference to a 'soul' here; memory has
no function but building a 'body' or 'soul' separate from the
nameless vastness; how can memory and reincarnation relate to
each other? Associative memory would be that type of memory we
can track back to 'tendencies' (vasanas) that transmigrate?
And what are the other memory types?  

Jan: The reincarnation issue doesn't fall out of the sky, as a
figure of speech: it is but an effort to explain how memories
of what seems an ended life are transferred to another.
Migrating entities are in the class of axioms. Tendencies
haven't been shown to be transferred for the simple reason,
for every human they are exactly the same, only the relative
strength differs. Transference of memory pertains to events,
like cases of murder that are solved when a child "remembers"
having been murdered in a previous life and leads the police
to the spot where the weapon has been buried so the case can
be solved with that evidence.
 

Eric: You say: "For the sake of argument it is said, no properties
implies neither resisting nor inciting [...]"  

(This simple sentence for me is so loaded with meaning that I
can hardly make a simple question, maybe you can just
elaborate?) Do you relate this to the way you propose to deal
with fight or flight?  

Jan: The analogy, silence neither resists nor incites sound which
isn't a property of silence. Likewise, "void" neither resists
nor incites activity, nor is changed by activity. That isn't a
property of "void". The example serves to explain how easily
the unclouded awareness every creature is born with, gets
"forgotten".

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression




HOME


SPONSORS


ONE, by Jerry Katz

Photography by Jerry Katz

Dr. Robert Puff

THE NATURAL BLISS OF BEING

       

Rupert Spira

DISSOLVED, Tarun Sardana

HIGH JUMP, Tarun Sardana


Greg Goode -
After Awareness: The End of the Path




Consider joining our Facebook discussion community, Nonduality Salon, going on 20 years of active participation. We were the first online discussion group dedicated to nonduality in a popular sense.