Suffering is not a pre-condition. But
it certainly helps. By realizing the situation you are in - being cut off from reality -
the longing for wholeness may emerge. The more you let your pain in, the stronger your
inner drive. The latter being the foundation of your spiritual Path.
The first and most decisive step is awakening. It
consists of becoming your inner observer. By doing so, preferably through meditation, an
inner distance is created between you - your New Self - and the processes of the mind:
thoughts, images, fantasies and dreams.
By "stepping back" your problems appear in
front of you. You are "here", while your problems "are there". Thus,
you are not your problems. A new insight emerges: the only problem is to be dominated by
problems. Once liberated, your problems are still there, without being a problem.
Contrary to what many paths say, the body proves to
be the vehicle of the Spirit. The secret is, that (only) by restoring contact with the
body - relaxation and extension of awareness being two sides of the same coin - the New
Self is born, while the identification with your psyche subsides. Liberation is a piece of
Once awareness is deepening, you will become the
"center of the cyclone". It means, that the emphasis of your Being moves to the
direction of your Heart. Within it is silent, while the periphery - your body - is freed
from every limitation, a truly blissful experience.*
* Compare with the
This isn't going to last "forever", though.
The spiritual Path resembles a flower. In the morning it opens itself, while in the
evening it closes. It means, that the quality of awareness is continuously changing. To
look at liberation as "being uninterruptedly aware", is thus based on ignorance.
The characteristics of these first two stages of the
Path have to be sought elswhere. First, whatever condition you are in, you say yes to it.
If your awareness has a big opening, great; when on the other hand it is rather narrow, it
should be fine, as well. You enjoy life as it is.
As said above, since your suffering consists of being
alienated from the whole - your True Self, your body and nature, your suppressed emotions,
femininity, love and strength - your spiritual Path necessarily consists of restoring it.
It comes down to a process of integration, in which everything is equally dear to you.
One other consequence of opening up is loss of
ego-control. It means, that parts that were previous suppressed and unaware, now have a
chance to come "to the surface". Sooner or later you have to face your pain,
fear, angst, anger, hatred, self-pity and
Rather than denounce them as "negativity",
as something that doesn't fit into your new "spiritual self-image" (with
"positive thinking" as a tool to eliminate them...), these parts are your inner
step-children, begging for becoming part of your conscious whole, once again. The answer
to them is not denial, but embracing.
Your compassion will grow accordingly. It is
synonymous with inclusiveness. Therefore, any path, claiming that common reality is
illusionary, is based on wrong paradigms. Spirituality is not about emphasizing this,
while excluding that. Reality on the other hand, is an integrated Whole.
One potential grave consequence of not working on
integration (therapy!) is the emergence of the "counterpart" (German:
"Widersacher"). Suppose, a hatred-complex has come up in your inner space. Its
dynamics are the following. While expanding your awareness further, its energy will also
benefit the complex.
The paradox is this. The stronger your inner Light,
the more your hatred-complex will suck its energy, blowing itself up. Darkness will thus
grow accordingly. This will go on unnoticed for a time, until a critical limit is reached.
"Overnight" your destructiveness will take over your entire Being.
Once you have overcome this hurdle, a further step on
the Path can be made. It consists of deepening your awareness. It corresponds with forms
of intensive meditation, aiming at a breakthrough. The advantage over "instant
paths" is, that your realization will have a foundation from the very beginning.
Then - it often happens suddenly - awareness becomes
"larger than the body", the latter "being dropped off". NB. You have
to first become the body, in order to transcend it....It means, that your awareness has
expanded itself in such a way, that body-identification, as we knew it,
"dissolves". In Zen this is called Kensho.
The surprise is, that the criteria for this your
"vertical" progress is the implication it has on the "horizontal"
dimension of life. When awareness has extended itself beyond the body, it includes
everything around you, without exception. Everything appears to be content of your
You thus love everything as yourself. I know people
who claim to have "realized", while still continuously talking about themselves.
By having become Space, your self-centeredness has collapsed, though. Proof of being
yourSelf is thus being enchanted by everything around you: the grass, the flowers and the
As said above, not Kensho or Satori proves to be
decisive, but the ability to integrate old parts of your personality into your New
Identity. One factor may further complicate the process. It is the fact, that sooner or
later (mostly sooner) your realization becomes weaker, while your ego returns.
You have to get even with all those teachings, that
claim "once Enlightened, always Enlightened". This is simply not true*. The
ambition beyond is the (expected) unlimited authority, derived from the "enlightened
status". Therefore, remain always truthful to yourself and others. Go back to zero
all the time.
* Obviously, Enlightenment
ItSelf is always there. It is you, who just cannot bear the Original Intensity for
Identification with your Enlightened state may result
a.o. in claiming to be a "reincarnation" of some holy "predecessor".
It is proof of delusion. Nothingness (Emptiness) is containing innumerable forms, not just
one. While firmly rooted in Unity, you play with diversity. This is the essence of Leela,
the divine play.
The function of your ego is to identify itself. It
serves the purpose of (relative) stability, a honorable social goal, aimed at making
society possible. It identifies with everything that boosts your personality, like a new
tie, car or relationship. Taking this tendency into account, what happens, when the ego
"meets" an Enlightened One?
Right, it will jump on it, trying
to boost its self-image. It will try to misuse your Realized state for its own purposes.
Personally, this was the most difficult period in my life. It is corresponding with the
"Dark Night of the Soul", as emphasized in the Christian mystical tradition.
Hence, the need for purification, even or in
particular after a major Realization. Luckily, having transcended bodymind, effort cannot
"bring yourself any further on the Path". You have to drop ambition altogether.
From here everything depends on Grace, only. Self-realization (slowly) turning into
devotion and surrender.
That's why the next stage - Full Enlightenment - is
always sudden and unexpected, literally happening "out of the blue". In my case
it started with transcendental Lightening, destroying my entire Being, immediately
followed by dissolving into the Eternal Light. The same night, the pendulum moved to the
I equally sudden found myself in an Ocean of Horror,
lasting many hours. From mythology I later learned, that this is the Underworld, for the
first time described as "Inanna's Descent"*, later followed by accounts of the
Vegetation Gods (Baal f.i.) who (voluntary) die in order to be reborn, to the benefit of
* MotherGoddess of Sumeria.
The true meaning of
"resurrection" thus became revealed to me. It is the most ancient initiation of
mankind. It was transferred from Sumeria to Hellenistic Mystery Religions, while having
been copied by Christianity. Instead of projecting it to one person only (Christ), we have
to reclaim our renewal ourselves.
What does it tell us, generally? First of all, that
"Threefold Realization" is rather rare. Most paths end up with Enlightenment as
the Ultimate Reality. This has huge consequences to our world view. Since it can be
"achieved", "realized" or "possessed", it (automatically)
propagates a greedy, ego-centered universe.
My Experience told me a different thing.
Enlightenment has a counterpart, hence cannot be the Ultimate Oneness. On the other hand,
it is part of a polarity. The Real Oneness therefore is something Beyond. A Beyond, that
corresponds with my Annihilation, Absolute Nothingness or Vacuum.
Looking back, Absolute Nothingness preceded the
Light. There appears to be a hierarchy between the two. The breakthrough is, that Absolute
Emptiness cannot be attained. You cannot "become the Cosmic Vacuum". The ego has
thus no option, but surrendering itself to the Great Mystery.
The discovery is, that not Self-realization, but
worship is the ultimate stage on the spiritual Path. It is being free from freedom.
Personally, it was the end of my 33 years of trial and error. Soon I realized, that my
Path reflected the oldest tradition on earth, that of The Eternal Feminine as the Ultimate
I am not a last resort to anyone (anymore). I rather
realize to be a Son of the Mother. She is the Refuge to all beings. We all live in Her
All-Embracing Cosmic Womb, in absolute security (German: Geborgenheit). In fact, nobody
has ever been really being born... Isn't that a joke? Praise the Mother!
Enlightenment originates from Her Bottomless Womb,
hence it is called Mother's "Light Body", while the universe is called Her
"Material Body". Both are continuously returning to the Source. It is the
foundation of the Law of the Universe: the unity of destruction, permanence and creation.
Living according to Her Law embraces life and death
equally. You take life as it is. With it, the patriarchal fear of the "cycle of birth
and death" has been overcome. You do not try to escape anymore, seeking immortality.
You become committed to life in all its aspects, nothing excluded.
The Return of the Great Mother as Ultimate Reality
marks the beginning of a New Era. Through Her the current decay can be understood. Why is
everything degenerating? It is our ego-accumulation, that has exceeded the limits of
(Emptiness') tolerance and is therefore being destroyed.
Spiritual life includes cooperating with Her wisdom,
through dying to the old, while becoming reborn as a New Self. This is the first step, but
not the last. Once renewed, we have to become part of the Whole - Heaven, earth and the
(new) community - representing Her "web of life", once again.
Evolution proves to be cyclic. "In the
beginning" was (is) the Great Mother. Her Wholeness fell apart into various
Goddesses. The Goddesses in their turn became Gods. After which patriarchy introduced the
One God. Subsequently, according to Nietzsche God is dead, paving the way for the Return
of the Mother.
In mythology, the Mother gives birth to both
Goddesses and Vegetation Gods. They are the "archetypes" of new gender roles.
The former being reflected in "Wise Women", while the latter corresponds with
"Green Men". It is the beginning of a genuine cooperation, to the benefit of the
From the beginning of times the Mother has been
portrayed as black, later to become the Black Madonna's of Europe. Her Blackness absorbes
all suffering, small and big. Not surprisingly thus, that despite the efforts of the
Church to destroy them, people stubbornly kept protecting their sacred images.
Relics of the Original Great Mother can be found in
all major religions, not only as images like the Madonna, Kuan Yin, MatriDevi etc. but
also in essence, like the Tao as Mother and Allah in His aspect of Mercy. By emphasizing
the "Maternal Dimension of God" we contribute to tolerance, understanding and
To all of you! Whatever your religion or belief,
everybody may benefit from our universal spiritual Path. It is called The Integral Way and
consists of awakening, personal integration, being rooted in "Heaven and earth",
breakthrough of he Light, purification, taking refuge in the Ultimate and
At the end of the road, life includes functioning on
all levels simultaneously, everything embedded in Ultimate Nothingness or the Great
Mother. Since She destroyed all ego-identification, the obsession with your spiritual
ambitions has evaporated, granting you a life of Grace, gratitude and joy.
At the same time Enlightenment has become utterly
transparant, "leaving no trace behind". The paradox is this: "You are
neither this (the Divine) nor that (the ego)". Having no substance anymore -
Being Nothing - you are everything. What is left is the tangible world around you.
Enlightenment thus being "a rebirth into the
world", nothing special, nothing holy. A state of mind in which the mountains are
again the mountains. The difference is, that while they were previously around you, they
are now part of You. You are including all living and non-living beings. It is the true
meaning of compassion.
True spirituality thus inevitably leads toward
commitment to Transformation of Self and Society. Hence, our effort to work for
"Healing the Planet". It aims at a new world based on awareness, renewal,
inclusiveness, community, generosity, compassion, justice, peace and wholeness of the
Han Marie Stiekema Sermes