The Original Tradition
My American ExperiencesFor some time I asked myself, what the purpose of coming to America was. There were quick results like getting rid of my prejudices toward individual Americans. As always I didnt push anything, just let life decide what it has in stock for me. Paradoxically, I slowly became more desperate as to my future mission in life. My learning years exceeded some 33 years already, after all. Increasingly, friends started doubting my sincerity. I, on the other hand, have always known for sure, that my life-long preparation wouldnt be for nothing. One day, destiny would tell me what to do. And exactly that happened. In the last two weeks before going home, events followed each other rapidly. First of all, after intense contemplation I got a dream in which it was very clearly said, that my book of life was already written and that I should not worry. The second event was Al Gores film* The Inconvenient Truth, which I saw in a lovely art-deco theater in Westwood, Los Angeles. The film contained nothing new to me. What was new was me, the fact, that the message really touched my innermost core. Especially the picture of my country The Netherlands drowned into the sea by 2056 gave me a deep shock. Immediately after, I grasped the meaning. The seriousness of the situation underlines the call of The Eternal Feminine, for people to return to the Source in order to become reborn. May She give us strength to serve Her aim in this world!
When we rise, we will experience an
epiphany as we discover that this crisis is not really about politics at all. It is a
moral and spiritual challenge and When we do rise, it will fill our spirits
and bind us together.
* Al Gore "An Inconvenient Truth", 2006 Rodale.The strength of the film/book lies in the description of the situation. However, with regard to the analysis/solutions it rather falls short. In particular, he "forgot" to mention the crucial role of the economic system e.g. multinational corporations.....
On Tuesday August 1 from 7-10 pm there was a lecture called "The
Integral Way" with HMS in
From both lectures a DVD has been made. You may order them through our e-mail
As described above, I went to America without knowing what this could possibly bring to me*. Until then I hardly had personal experiences with individual Americans. Not that my mind was totally blanc. As a good European (joke) I had a great deal of skepticism, nay an allround disapproval of the American imperial system. So, was there any hope for having my mind changed? Reality would prove there was. It came as a surprise. First of all, I have to admit, that I stayed in Santa Monica, California, one of the most privedged places in the States. It is a beautiful place with a gorgeous climate, a lush (sub)tropical vegetation, a (not too clean) beach, and a (relative) relaxed atmosphere. There is a long tradition of both wholefood stores, natural health clinics and centers, while spiritual initiatives are thriving. A great deal of attention is given to the environment, (in Los Angeles) there is a independent community-based radio-station (kpfk) and the commune (of Santa Monica) has a very compassionate policy toward homeless people. So what I am going to say has to be seen from this perspective.
* I had been invited by good friends, who generously offered me a stay in their home.
I came to America after many years of intense writing. With the completion of this work an "era" came to an end. So I needed a "sabattical" to open myself up for the things ahead. Which I knew had to be totally different from the past. This made me very open to the unknown, that America could possibly bring me. It was also a time in which I had tried to start a couple of small-scale spiritual teachings. This had proved not to be very successful, indeed. Time and again I felt myself confronted with parts of the Dutch mentality, that I hated most: an individualistic self-centered attitude, that paralyses every initiative right from the start. "Knowing" that this kind of attitude wasn't entirely alien to America either, I had my doubts about possible successes there. However, already very soon there was something different in the air. Something refreshing, without immediately knowing what it was. In my first contacts with people it struck me, how well informed they were about the overall situation in their country. Often, they even ventilated a very outspoken critical attitude.
What a relief! Call it intensity. While in Holland "having an opinion" only serves a ritual of powerless self-righteousness - the "I know better than you" syndrome - without commtting oneself to the realty beyond, in the States I found people who really cared about the issues. While in Holland every drive seems to be buried, people here only expressed their (deep) frustration about not being able to sufficiently undertaking effective action. Instead of empty phrases, there is REAL concern over here. Nowadays, an increasing number of Americans feel part of the overall (world) situation. Their sense of responsibility isn't free of obligation, like in my country. Their sense of "greatness" (normally rejected by the rest of the world) unexpectedly (for me) got a positive connotation: commitment to the whole. Here, having a "belief" and taking the consequences of it, are - like in Europe - still not separated from each other. Things still mean something.* If you are convinced of something, you go for it. Hence, spirituality and politics are two sides of the same coin. "Saving the planet" is a spiritual issue.
* I continuously speak about the people I have met, not including their system nor their government. The former still belong to a minority, experiencing rapid expansion, though.
So, I had to admit something. The "climate" in America wasn't that bad at all. In fact, some major aspects corresponded very well with my view of life. It runned parallel with my inner processes. From the beginning, I knew that there still were some "last" obstacles to integrate, before being able to start a new era of responsibility. Having read the previous, it will hardly come as a surprise to you, that this was accelerated as well. It is all based upon my relationship with the Ultimate, something I call the Cosmic Womb or Great Mother. It included some of the unresolved problems centered around finding the courage to show "my Original Face" (to the world); living my Truth , rather than just preaching it; reclaiming my suppressed power; my lack of surrender and trust, with a corresponding doubt about "doing the right thing"; while putting compassion in the center of action, rather than all kinds of projects and plans. Enough to work on! As always the Great Mother assisted me by giving me Her revealing insights through dreams. The more authentic and honest my questions, the more in depth Her answers are.
Eventually, with a surprising correspondence with the length of my stay, my search was over. No any issue wasn't addressed. The result: a trusting and self-confident Self, equipped with a great deal of ethical and moral strength. Something that has to hold when confronted with the world. It confirmed me in my future mission as an independent spiritual leader. Again, the attitude of my American friends had been an important factor. Contrary to the self-serving Dutch at home*, the former spontaneously gave me positive feedback all the time. Rather than breaking you down, they expressed respect and gratitude to me. Empowerment proves not to be a taboo, but rather part of a mutual proces, in which people enjoy excelllence of all involved. I very much felt encouraged by remarks like: "in all those years of going to meetings of top-teachers here in Hollywood, I never met such an incredible teacher like you" or "I have never met a teacher, who was able to express himself in such a simple way". But that wasn't all. Extremely positive is the unity of impulse and action (something which is rare in my country) e.g. if one is enthousiastic about something, then it "automatically" is put into practice. F.i. after only one lecture some individuals spontaneously started to offer help in organizing teachings in the USA in the future. Not as politeness, but as serious offers. Joy, gratefulness!
* The main problem with Dutch mentality is, that it is unable/unwilling to acknowledge excellence. The saying is, that everybody who distinguishes him/herself will have his/her head cut off! ("Hoofd boven het maaiveld uitsteken"). Everything is sacrificed on the altar of a deadly consensus. Hence, the suffering of all those "who make a difference". That's why every self-respecting artist etc. is escaping the country to build up a career elswhere. It is a sad story of a country excluding its most valuable citizins.
In myths all over the world the hero - after the stages of withdrawal and transformation - returns to the world in order to share his/her treasures. For me it means to go back to Holland. It is the first necessary step. There my empowerment has to be tested. My New Self has to differentiate between the truth and my projections (from the past). Just like I was able to overcome my inner obstacles, I have to do the same with the outer. The big question is: will Holland be a fruitful terrain for starting my work? Or, had I been right from the start? My first step was to visualize the positive aspects. Despite the fact, that no less than e.g. Erasmus had expressed his deep contempt for his fellow countrymen ("spiritually rude and ignorant"), reason why he continuously escaped to elswhere, I had to do my utmost to emphasize its greatness (typically, as a Dutch I start smiling, hearing myself saying this). So, I started to pay tribute to the immortal Hadewych (female mystic of the 13th century), the limitless wisdom of Ruusbroec, the courageous Geert Grote (initiator of the Devotio Moderna in the Middle Ages), the unsurpassible Erasmus, the genius of Spinoza (banned from his community.....), the (spiritual) creativity of a Vincent van Gogh, the commitment of such figures as Bart de Ligt (spiritual politics) and a writer rebel like Gerard Reve.
To my surprise, I "accidentally discovered" the very unusual independent moral courage of our last three Queens. It depends how you look at them. "Normally", they appear to be average persons, who, admittedly tied by narrow constitutional limits, simply do their ceremonial work as a monarch. In this case one should not look at the rule, but at the exceptions, the (rare) moments in their lives in which they revealed a piece of their "real self", though. So what to say of Queen Wilhelmina, who thoroughly despised the Dutch mediocracy, the pomp at the court*, while desperately searching for "the New Man". Or, what to think of her daughter Queen Juliana, who had sent her children to an free-thinker school, led by the famous non-conformist and communitarian Kees Boeke? The same Queen had the courage to become an outspoken pacifist, something for which she had to pay an almost unbearable price, alienating both her husband and the political establishment. The current Queen is much more rational, but even she (for sure influenced by her now deceased progressive husband prince Claus) regularly expresses her concern for the world in unmistaken words. The males weren't so compassionate though.**
* After her return from exile (1945) she commented while re-entering her palace: "Couldn't they also have thrown a little bomb on this building over there?"
** E.g., the crown prince Willem Alexander has to take his mission (ironically his job is "water manager") more serious, committing himself without compromise to the environment (within 50 years Holland my be flooded forever.......Al Gore "An Inconvenient Truth"), otherwise he ends up as "Alex zonder Land"*. (Alex without country).
This is not the end of the story though. The world isn't just Holland. While starting my work there, commitment to the desperate state the world is in, will inevitably lead my mission abroad as well. Healing the 7 Major Distresses is a planetary urgency. I will invite the Dutch to wake up from their inertia, while returning to their "original qualities" of self-sacrifice and commitment. Something they still practised in the fifties. In those years the wounds of the war had to be healed and the country had to be rebuild. Maybe, the current global crisis could have a similar effect. Personally, though, the inspiration I received from my American friends (having proved to be very concerned about America and the role it plays in the world) and the positive aspects of American culture are unforgettable. They are a force of hope in the world. So, don't make the mistake of being pre-judiced. America has many faces. Even some (moderate) fundamentalists (e.g. Reverend Jim Wallis) with his outspoken criticism on the Bush administration deserve to be supported. That means, that we should cooperate with them, practicing unconditioned solidarity. Hence, I am determined to extend our mutuality by supporting my friends wherever I can.
With great thanks to my friends,
PS. Strongly recommended: daily contact with the Other America:
2003 © Copyright Han Marie
Stiekema. All rights reserved.
Last revising: 08/09/12