Han Marie Stiekema Sermes
Q. Nowadays, an increasing number of people are
diagnosed with "burn-out". Which, according to you, are the underlying factors?
See: "Stress, Burn-out and Regeneration".
A. Time is against you;
timelessness is in favor of you.
Q. I beg you pardon?
A. Let me explain. There are
some four major determining factors involved: physical, psychological, social and
spiritual. These factors are all interwoven.
Q. Could you elaborate?
A. On the physical plane, an
entire set of causes is working together. Nowadays a simple "cause and effect"
doesn't exist anymore. It is the combination of a variety of causes, all having its impact
simultaneously, that determines the quality of life. We are living in a soup (or a marsh)
of harmful influences. I call it "Mess": Multi-Etiological Sumtotal Syndrome.
Q. I think, you need to explain more.
A. A variety of causes is
affecting our lives unfavorably. As there are a.o. junk food, insufficient drinking,
drugs, no exercise, no sweating, constipation, amalgam fillings, environmental pollution,
allopathic medicines, geopathy and electro-smog (cellulars). A majority of the people is
suffering from all of them. These factors have their interaction with our body/mind and
with each other. It is its combined, synergistic, accumulative, uninterrupted and long
term effect, that causes the trouble. In the course of time, pathological developments are
unavoidable. First of all expressing themselves in symptoms like CFS, RSI, fibromyalgy,
irritability, sleeplessness, menstruation disorders, skin rashes, immune-deficiencies,
allergies and food-intolerance. Later these processes will turn into chronic diseases.
Q. So, it doesn't help to take a certain remedy
for a certain symptom anymore?
A. You may visualize it as
follows. Imagine a cell. A cell in a body of an average citizen. This cell will suffer
from deficiencies (junk food), clogging of the blood vessel wall (overconsumption of
protein), poisoning (junk food), thickened blood (insufficient drinking), slowing down of
blood-circulation (no exercise), lowering of oxygen utilization (no exercise/poisoning),
accumulation of acids (no sweating), self-poisoning (constipation), mercury poisoning
(amalgam), poisoning (toxic environment/drugs/ medicines), immune-deficiency
(deficiencies/poisoning/medicines) and depolarization e.g. deterioration of cellular
bio-electricity (electro-smog). The point is, that the cell simultaneously suffers from
all (harmful) influences involved.
Q. What about the discovery of yet another
A. These are usually smoke
screens, hiding the fact, that people are uninterruptedly affected by a multi-etiological
soup. The outcome obviously, is also determined by a person's biography. Usually, the same
set of causes has its effect on the weakest spot. If a person used to have bronchitis,
then the soup will eventually cause "asthma". The same soup causes cancer in a
person, who's family has a history of cancer, while a third person suffers from
rheumatism, for the same reason. Looking for "specific" cause and effect
relationships is a medical error, though. One should take the entire soup into
consideration. Not too much fantasy is needed to suspect, that exposure to the soup during
a longer time, may be responsible for the physical aspect of the burn-out syndrome. In
this regard "time is against you", because of the increasing worsening of the
Q. What can you do about it?
A. As you know, lifestyle is
the foundation of health. Not only, that you can improve your health, but also prevention
e.g. cure of an estimated 70% of all disorders can be achieved through it. Implementing a
healthy lifestyle and eliminating most of the elements of the soup, go hand in hand. An
example is the "Personal Health Plan", a free two month's internet program for
optimizing your health.
* See: "Personal Health Plan": www.vitalworld.org Step 1
Q. This is only the first level, that you
were to discuss. What about the second level?
A. All systems are
interrelated. Physical, psychological, social and spiritual realms, all have a feedback to
each other. What comes "first", is often difficult to determine. Was your
sleeplessness the major cause of your divorce or the other way round? Obviously, if your
physical system is exhausted, out of balance and causing trouble, then it will be
influencing your psychological/ emotional well-being a great deal.
Q. I hesitate to ask it, but are there
clear-cut links involved?
A. We usually concentrate too
much on "problems", rather than investigating the underlying mechanisms. The
latter requires understanding of how our mind works. In psychology, countless models have
been developed. The "best" as far as I am concerned, is "Voice
Dialogue"*. "Voice" stands for "sub-personalities". According to
this theory, the mind consists of three major parts: awareness, the reflection and
countless sub-personalities (together being the "self"). Awareness, as you know,
is the inner observer, the spirit, your True Self. Reflection on the other hand, is the
center of your ego. It has identified itself with your self-image, hence your personality
is determined by it. Judgements, interpretations, commentaries, conclusions, manipulation,
cognition, calculation, control, will-power and conceptualizing, are all functions of the
reflection. With the reflection you "think about" something. The third layer is
that of the self. You may equate it with the "soul". The self is the center e.g.
the storehouse of experience, emotions, memories, feeling, desires, ambitions, fear, love,
pleasure, lust, pain, hatred and greed. This storehouse is not a chaos though. It consists
of a great number of sub-personalities, each possessing its own characteristics. So, there
is the "manager type" (in you), as well as the (lazy) "hippie"; the
caring mother, as well as the ambitious career woman; the adventurer and the coward; the
sexual obsessed as well as the puritan; the addicted as well as the disciplined
sub-personality. All usually lined-up as polarities.
*Developed by Hal Stone and Sidra Winkelman.
Q. How this insight in the structure of the
mind, could possibly help you in overcoming psychological problems, that eventually may
lead to a burn-out syndrome?
A. The mind only works
well, if its parts are optimally developed e.g. related to each other. Awareness,
reflection and sub-personalities should be able to establish a dynamic interaction. You
should be able to easily identify with all parts. You may call it "inner
flexibility". A weak part in the system has its consequences for the whole. It starts
with the absence of awareness. As you know, in such a case, you will not be able to create
inner distance, hence, you will be the slave of your impulses. In that case this and other
functions of awareness - e.g. clarity and overview - have to be taken over by the
reflection. The latter is a substitute for the former, though. Needless to say, that in
the context of ever increasing stress and complexity, the reflection will be under strain
all the time. These are the people, who say, that they become mad with "their
thinking". "Thinking do me no good" (Jefferson Airplane) was certainly a
good advice. On the other hand, if your reflection is poorly functioning, you may become
flooded with impulses from the self, e.g. emotions, desires, addictions etc. Finally, you
may have identified with a few sub-personalities only. These may then dominate your entire
life. If so, people may envy you because of your "strong personality". The lack
of inner flexibility may go unnoticed. This may take its toll though. A life-long fixation
on a limited number of "subs", may translate itself in a corresponding fixation
of cell-metabolism. The chance of getting some sort of chronic disease will definitely
Q. Once you know how it works, how could you
improve your psychological foundation?
A. Obviously "there are
many roads to Rome". I certainly will not denounce other methods. Accidentally, I
myself came across "Voice Dialogue". And indeed, in more than 15 years it has
proven its value a great deal. To such an extent, that I found it worthwhile to change it
a little, in order to make it suitable as a self-help method.*
* See: "Emotional
Q. It is already late. On the other hand, this
material will be highly relevant to a lot of people. Do you want to continue?
A. Absolutely. Again, the third
level has its own characteristics, although its interaction with the others is striking.
Social insecurity, job loss, financial concerns, the strain of competition, the demand for
ever more "flexibility", time stress etc. etc., inevitably effect our
well-being, both in relationships as well as in the work place. They are symptoms of a
society, that has become increasingly more complicated, fragmented, addicted and obsessed
with personal gains. Eventually, it will go mad. Burn-out people are among the most
sensitive. As one of the first, they experience the consequences of the "rat
race". The same pressures may lead to strain in the family. In Holland divorce has
gone up with 20% in 10 years; in Amsterdam 39% of all families consists of
"one-parent families". Children are increasingly neglected; an increasing number
of them is committing suicide. This summing-up could go on for a while. Within the
framework of a society, that is the cause of the problem, little hope can be nursed. On
the contrary, there is every indication, that things go worse by the day.
Q. Wouldn't social change be an option?
A. Again, things only make
sense, if they are based on proper understanding. In this case, insight in the dynamics of
current society is a "conditio sine qua non". From earlier analysis we know,
that society is in decay. One may observe disintegration on all levels of society. It is
the consequence of our greed. We simply have accumulated too many things, suffocating in
our waste. Society has become self-centered, addicted, fragmented and alienated. It has
itself separated from the Source. Its lifeline has been cut off, hence, it started to
degenerate. It doesn't comply with the Law of the Universe. Its accumulations started to
exceed their limits, the latter set by the Mother. Her Emptiness doesn't tolerate them
anymore. Hence, The Mother in Her Concern for Cosmic Balance, started destroying our (ego)
achievements. So, we don't have to make "revolution", the Mother is doing this
Q. What does this mean for
A. The consequence of
materialism is alienation from "Heaven, earth and the community" e.g.
"being thrown upon oneself". It is equal to existential anxiety. People need a
spiritual/cultural/social/ecological context in order to be free of fear though. This
context was first destroyed by Christianity. Ever since the development of Western culture
inevitably moved toward greater disintegration. The culmination is global capitalism.
Hence, existential fear is rapidly spreading in Western societies. In the US it has
reached epidemic proportions already. Unless soon a turning point is being achieved -
restoring the Wholeness of life - fragmentation will go on, beyond the point of no return.
Q. How may the Great Mother
"solve this problem?"
A. Ultimately, existential fear
is fear of Nothingness. The salvation through the Mother consists of the insight, that
Nothingness is nothing to be afraid of. In Reality It is the Cosmic Womb in which death is
transformed into rebirth. The Mother thus being the Ultimate Refuge. Surrendering to Her
liberates you from your deepest anxiety. That's why She is the beginning of A New Era.
Q. What is the relationship with the burn-out
A. You should ask yourself the
question: "What has become burnt-out?"
Q. Well, me, myself....?
A. Yes, your ego, your bodymind
has become burnt-out. Your ego-ambitions to achieve something in society, for instance.
You thought, you would be a "winner". In the context of a disintegrating
society, nobody will be a winner, though. However, it is only your periphery, that has
suffered. Rather than mourning about the loss, you should look at the gains.
Q. The gains of having lost everything?
A. What happens, if your
periphery is destroyed? Right, you will be "thrown upon your center". It means,
that from a spiritual point of view, the burn-out syndrome has indeed destroyed your ego,
this in order to discover what is left: your True Self. It is the Mother, Who helped you
discover who you Really Are. You yourself would never have been able to accomplish it.
This time you don't have a choice, though. Re-integrating in the existing system is out of
the question. What is the use of going back to a system, that was (is) the cause of the
trouble. No, rely on the Mother. She has given you a second chance. The burn-out syndrome
has brought you in front of the gate of Transformation: "dying to the old",
rebirth e.g. birth of a New Self, while re-integrating in "Heaven, earth and the
(new) community". Don't turn down Her invitation.
The Mother is the only
Re-integration Bureau, that can really save you.
Praise the Mother!
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