Chapter 3



The beginning
Natural medical doctor

The Great Experiences/Ten years of uniterrupted Bliss
A Dream
Vision of the Grail
Explanation/The Trinity
My Inner Woman
To make love and be free…Tantra
The Master
The Ultimate Sutra
Amsterdam, August 1980
Silent Power
Nothing Is/The Cycle

Personal integration: twenty years of trial and error
Jealous Monologues
The Inner Adversary

Kennemerduinen 1990
Japan and Hong Kong
Tribulations/Escape from
the hell of the future
Final tribulations

(“Sermon of the Valley”)
The Descent
The Depth
The Return

Teresa of Avila
A Miracle/PilgrimCare

Looking back
Divine Wrath

Sovereign Living
The 7 Steps


Great Mother Hymn

Being Available
The Green Grass




The beginning

My parents where beautiful people, unusually attractive, young and radiant. Both possessed that irresistible pureness, that can’t be defined only admired. Both came from a patriarchal family, however with a big difference is social status between them, something which created quite a number of hurdles. Both my grandfathers where ‘strong personalities’, one was a successful police inspector who in 1929 caught the notorious serial killer IJje Wijkstra, the other was owner-director of a furniture factory and was a respected fellow citizen. The grandmothers – while they were entirely different from each other – both answered to their expected roles. They sacrificed themselves entirely for their families. Both families belonged to a strict confessing Catholic minority. Though not entirely pain free and full of sorrow because they where misunderstood, my parents through their radiant love broke through the family preconception. My mother was small in stature, light blonde hair, funny and witty, ‘inner’ and true to her principles, while my father was tall, black hair, pleasant and caring with a great sense for externality, taste and business. Through these two people I was born on the 11th of March 1942 In Groningen (The Netherlands), in the middle of the Second World War, through a Caesarean section*.

* Born in a Catholic hospital, helped by a Jewish doctor, with the SS turning a blind eye to it.

The first two years of my life must have been paradise. Even later my mom sometimes called me her ‘price’. I was pampered, admired and loved, on that there is no doubt what so ever. My world therefore ‘tumbled down’ with the birth of my brother (1944), who because he was physically very weak, immediately gained all the attention he needed and demanded - from his not too strong a mother. I felt immediately abandoned. An event that would shape a large part of my life, struck by this I turned into myself mourning on all that was lost. I became a ‘boy that was hard to fathom’. I thus had much to hide. In addition to the pain of my loss, my felt isolation, no longer belonging, added a range towards my little brother, who ‘took my most precious treasure’ from me. My ambiguous attitude towards my ‘unreachable’ mother finally closed the door. Whilst I did almost everything to win her from me again although my ‘concessions’ often moved beyond what self respect would allow, I accused her secretly for my unhappiness, it was that beginning which shaped into of a long-lasting distorted relationship. And while my father was caring and loving, he could not take away my suffering, neither giving me something to hold on to. It was as if he stood outside of the entire situation. My preoccupation with the loss I had experienced initially made it hard for me to keep up in school. For me this is the best evidence of an ‘intellectual challenge’ with emotionally charged children.

I became a dreamer, one who loved to isolate himself from the rest. They shouldn’t have teased me – this of course happened frequently – I felt so vulnerable. In addition to the obvious disadvantages that came out of this, being introverted also paved the way for the future ‘innerness’. This didn’t prevent me – yes, even promoted – that I sought in my fantasy as well as in reality, for identification with the ‘hero’. It was the beginning of my life myth. I actually functioned as a ‘chieftain’ of a ‘little boys group’ with self made swords, shields, bows and arrows we drew into ‘battle’ against other boys. Everything that symbolised ‘power’ I accepted readily. Unjustly through aside – as a two year old – I sought compensation for my powerlessness. It was in a time when I was fascinated by for example the comic stories created by Hans G Kresse: ‘Eric the Viking’, he embodied everything I thirsted for as a kid. His story began in the mythic Atlantis, were he was forced to leave the thrown by his brother (…), afterwards heroically regained, his royal action, his justice, coming to the aid of the oppressed and the adventurous life. The mythological line of the ‘first born outcast’ the banished one is universally recognisable, in amongst others the Odyssey, Esau and Jacob, Percival and Maitreya Buddha and recently in Walt Disney’s ‘The Lion King’. H. Ahrendt, Alice Miller and A. Mitscherlich call this a character type, where by a lack of fundamental attention a certain amount of narcissism is not a strange outcome. Later on this very problem would influence me greatly.


Except for in the last year –when suddenly the intellectual light struck – high school was a disaster for me. I did not have an ‘inner connection’ with it, everything was imposed onto me, or so I felt. Whilst I tried to adapt as much as possible – or passively resisted – I was preoccupied by my innerness, without being able to always define it. ‘longing for the unattainable’ – the beauty, the romance, the heroism, the poetic and the exotic – those where the things my world largely revolved around. What I have always kept is my heartfelt connection to nature. Every week trotted about to ‘spot birds’. I knew all European birds and went to the most remote areas in nature to observe them. Until I nevertheless, after flunking twice, finished even those loathed classes with high grades, such as math, physics, chemistry, I graduated with an HBS B. I had made it, not only because I had struggled through all the years of school, but mostly ‘because I had saved my (inner) treasure’. I can still recall as if it was yesterday, I felt as if I had saved my innocence from a siege. Through my in the meantime (always was) refined intuition for that which was beautiful and true – started around my thirteenth – my insights into the unauthentic, the hypocrisy, the emptiness, and misdirection of Christianity became more evident to me. I thus started to boycott the weekly strides to the church, which led to many heated discussion with my mother, who disapproved with heart and soul. The ‘religious struggle’ had blazed up. The blades where sharpened. She was doing so because of her background and conditioning, I, form an inner ‘conviction’ that kept growing. It would be the start of a life long struggle, in which she could not accept my ‘being different’; she constantly kept rejecting me, lecturing and judging me up to old age. The old wound was shredded open over and over again, I felt continuously abandoned. This time though no wounded en melancholy retreat into myself, but rather stuck and fought was the decree. It was a war of attrition for love, acceptance and recognition that was fought until very recently. Against this background it will hardly surprise you, that I was ‘predisposed’ to the developments of the Sixties of the 20th century. The feeling, of not being alone, but being part of an entire culture longing for liberation from the oppression of the past, I greeted it with turbulent approval, Although in the beginning I defended that ‘The Rolling Stones’ where nothing more than ordinary plebs, soon I too was sucked in by the current. It was around the time, that I studied Medicine in Groningen, something that came extraordinary easy to me, so much so, that I challenged the intellectual quality in an open discussion. I compensated the lack I experienced by investing in other disciplines. I frequently visited lectures in psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology. Freedom and experimentation where important to me, initially there was no room for religion in that. I was how ever fascinated with Proudon, Kropotkin and Bakunin en flirted with the Provo – and ‘Kabouter’ (translates into gnome) movement*. For a short time I smoked hashish, and through that discovered a lighter, more playful and an unserious side to life. Just being silly, foolish or ‘off beat’, especially in company of others, that was certainly new for me. Something my first wife did not appreciate at all. Understandable, because she could not keep up with me, the times I tormented her with new theories on communes, free sex, shared possession and immigrating. She thus mobilised all her acerbity, criticism and negativity more and more towards me, so much so, that my life became overshadowed with dark clouds. Especially my (early brief) enjoyment was her despair, which she therefore wanted to destroy at all cost. The Cultural Revolution did not limit itself to my personal life. By attaining new perceptions, I realized the one-sidedness of Western Medicine, for an early point. Thus, I started asking questions and uttering criticism. I was often the one who took the lead by saying ‘der starke ist am mächtigsten allein **’ (Nietzche) as my motto. I wrote a critique paper on the education system; they sportingly called it ‘Stiekema’s red book’. Through my influence the hospital organised a large scale activity for the Vietnamese Liberation Front. And with my graduation in 1972 I was sure to choose for natural medicine.

Doctor in Natural Medicine

My practice, one of the first practises in biological medicine of the ‘post war generation’, was a smashing hit. People came to Meppel (and later to Ruinen) from all over for advice. With our two beautiful little daughters we lived on a farm in Drenthe, with much land, among other things enough for a biological vegetable- and fruit garden. The pigsty was converted into a (rudimentary) waiting room. There where hippies, notaries, city people, farmers and country folk all sitting together in good nature, often submerged in interesting conversation ‘of course about natural and healthy living’. The ‘NCRV TV’ (a Dutch television station) with Henk Mochel made a program on the practice, in which some of my patients spoke about their (spectacular) healing. ‘Intermediar’ (a Dutch Magazine) published a feature article written by me about ‘Biological Healthcare’, whilst ‘Elsevier’ (also a Dutch magazine) printed an interview. On a regular basis articles written by me where published in a number of publications one of them being ‘Gezond Leven’ (Healthy Living). It was a busy time with multiple lectures for all kinds of groups, printing and distributing informational material, and the start of new initiatives such as the ‘Johanneshoeve’ (translates into Johns Farmhouse) a ‘cooperative work experiment’, a feeding association of producers and consumers, that nevertheless did not come into focus and also plans for a ‘middle age style monastery- and herbal garden’ on our in the meanwhile acquired three hectares of land. While my social star was rising – even very difficult illnesses often where ‘no problem’ for me, through which I became known outside of my countries borders – my homely happiness and harmony stuck a definite low. Still however I did not dare to decide on a separation.

The turning point was reading a small green book called ‘eastern renaissance’ written by Han M. Fortmann, a bestseller in its time. It opened my eyes to a new dimension. Spirituality was unfamiliar terrain and until that time not a serious option. But I found myself feeling stuck in my situation and was glad with every opening. That ‘there was more between heaven and earth’ gradually dawned on me and contrary to what I had experienced in Christianity when I was younger – yoga and Buddhism – was truly renewing, fresh and promising. Events moved in conjunction with each other. For example, I remember a visit from a much respected wise man. He simply made an appointment during office hours. To my question ‘what can I do for you’, he replied to me, he was here for me, one stupefaction succeeded the other, he simply declared that ‘he’d had observed me for quite some time’ and that my life had a special task ahead. In short it came down to ‘me being a reincarnation of Percival’ and he handed me a book of ‘Lord Mikaal’ (Archangel Michael), in which I could find the necessary directives and lessons I would need***. I was flattered, flabbergasted, I thanked him, and with that the amazement disappeared because ‘these kinds of things’ – esoteric poppycock – totally did not fit in with my life conceptions, so I laughingly brushed it aside. However my marriage could not simply be whisked away, all too long it had become a complete hell. On recommendation of a good friend, I soon thereafter went to Karl Graf Dürckheim and learned how to ‘sit’ Zen meditation was a breath of release. In a short time being there I jumped from my ignorant little self to my conscious I. To remain fertile further on, the exercise needed supplementing. That is how I acquainted myself with the works of Louise Stangl. Her body awareness- and feel exercises – ‘eutony****’ turned out to be decisive for my Zen practice. It gave me the insight; that conscious awareness and feeling body contact a direct feedback with each other. An ‘inner feedback’ that ‘worked better’ then the classic Japanese style, in which the intellect plays a large role, instead of commanding the body – ‘counting your breath’ there now arose a subtle empathic aware feeling. In that manner I sat for years, sometimes even five times a day at half an hour each.

* Kabouter movement was a playful protest movement in the period 1969-1974, the movement uttered criticism on various topics, from consumerism to nature as well as the environment.
** der starke ist am mächtigsten allein; translates into The strong is mightiest alone.
*** It is probably good to note, that the belief in ‘reincarnation’, as it is generally perceived, is rejected by me.
****Eutony is a mind-body discipline created by Gerda Alexander based upon the experience of one's own body.


© 1999 Copyright by Han M. Stiekema. All rights reserved.
Last update:07/24/13