Who is John de Ruiter and why does he do what he does?
John de Ruiter is a Canadian philosopher, who in his youth awakened to deeper levels of reality, and continues to deepen, learn, and grow. Since 1986, a few friends, and gradually hundreds more have responded to John, his presence inspiring deeper levels of sincerity and awareness. Like the trades in which he is versed, John’s meetings are hands-on, focused on detail and integrity. What do you truly know? How can you grow and change based on your most profound and sincere realizations? John is a man, shaped by his deepest known truth, who shares his awakening with those who appreciate its meaning.
While making orthopedic shoes and mining his heart for the significance of his awakening, John responded increasingly to the people who found life-giving truth in his words and presence. Thousands have found healing, inspiration, and fulfilment in John’s meetings, and while the fruit of John’s work has been tremendous, the reason for it is still as subtle and simple as the tiny bit of rock-solid truth that John said “yes” to when he was seventeen.
You can find an extended biography of John de Ruiter at www.atticuscutter.com.
Is John qualified to offer psychological or spiritual advice?
John is not trained as a psychologist or therapist. His meetings are not based on schooling or reading, but on his own direct knowing and the same core-splitting honesty he awakens in others. John’s meetings and teachings are not to be simply believed or followed. His message is that the responsibility is yours to believe only and precisely what you know is true.
Can I meet John in person?
There are many opportunities to meet John in person. He attends The Jewel Café before every meeting. He also attends dinners, potlucks, and parties. John is widely available to speak with others about their lives and their awakenings.
Where can I find more information about John?
You can find out more about John and his teaching on the following websites:
● Watch and listen to John de Ruiter teachings and interviews on YouTube: youtube.com/user/officialjohnderuiter
● Listen to the John de Ruiter Podcast on iTunes: itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/john-de-ruiter-podcast/id406219868?mt=2
● Like John de Ruiter on Facebook: facebook.com/officialjohnderuiter
● Follow John de Ruiter on Twitter: twitter.com/johnderuiter
● Read John de Ruiter meeting transcripts on JDR Gems: jdrgems.com
● Read articles and commentary about John de Ruiter on Drums and Words: nicolasderuiter.com
● Watch meetings and interviews John de Ruiter on Vimeo: vimeo.com/johnderuiter
● Join a John de Ruiter Meetup Group: johnderuiter.com/meetup
● Find John de Ruiter on Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_de_Ruiter
● Read the John de Ruiter biography on Atticus Cutter: atticuscutter.com/
● Watch an interview with John de Ruiter on Conscious TV: youtube.com/watch?v=cAN3SRkhaPI
Why does John sit so still and speak so slowly?
John speaks to deeper levels in others through deeper levels in himself. Physical movement and personality has little to do with it and so his expression is toned down to the simplicity of quiet realization. Just as deeper levels inside exclude the superficial faculties that don’t match, John’s communication is minimal to reach deeper, less than is conventional to communicate much more. .
College & Community
What is The College of Integrated Philosophy?
The College of Integrated Philosophy is an organization focused on all aspects of human development from the core values of honesty and knowing.
The College of Integrated Philosophy organizes meetings and seminars with philosopher John de Ruiter to explore deeper meaning through dialogue and silent reflection. Meetings are four per week as well as extended seminars for each season. The College complements these meetings with The Jewel Cafe, film viewings, and other events and celebrations. From the cafe to the New Year’s Eve party, events at The College provide an opportunity to speak about meaning in life or simply meet with others who share an interest in profound reality.
Are there any obligations implied by attending a meeting?
There are no obligations implied in attending a meeting. Anybody may come or go. Of course, there are understood codes for politeness as well as practical guidelines for the café and speaking in the questioner’s chair.
Do I need to register or become a member?
There is no official membership or registration. Meetings are on a drop-in basis. However, the quarterly seminars and international events do require registration.
Do meetings with John lead to some kind of certification?
Going to meetings implies no official requirement or result. The entire focus is knowing and realizing deeper meaning and nothing more, except for social events like cinema nights and other festivities.
Why do John’s meetings and seminars cost money?
John’s meetings are facilitated by thousands of working hours. The facilities for John’s meetings, as well as seminars held around the world, require full-time staff to operate. The audio and visual team works hard to produce ongoing recordings and manage hundreds of meeting files and informal talks with John. Generous volunteers help greatly, but it remains expensive to support John’s work in Edmonton and around the world. The entrance fee helps to cover these costs.
What are the prices for John’s meetings and seminars?
Prices for regular weekend meetings in Edmonton are $10 at the door. Seminar prices vary depending on when and whether you register for the full seminar or select individual meetings. There are early-bird rates indicated in the registration details for each seminar. International meetings also vary in price depending on country and on time of registration.
Will I be solicited for financial contributions or donations?
Other than the posted entrance fees for regular meetings, Edmonton seminars, and international events, no financial requirements are entailed in meetings. However, independent groups have launched fundraisers, and donations have helped to make The College the beautiful place that it is.
Are the meetings arranged as a course?
There is no official structure guiding meetings, but meetings may develop themes or new concepts that grow and change over time.
What is the format of meetings with John?
Meetings follow a simple format. Seats are arranged facing the stage on which John sits easily visible. By the time the café closes, everybody has had a chance to find a seat. According to schedule, John takes the stage and the meeting begins.
Anybody wishing to speak with John signs up at the back of the hall. Either in person or by two electronic notice boards, the selected questioners are asked to go to the audio centre at the back of the hall for further instructions. John slowly looks around the room at the beginning and end of each meeting. His eye contact with the questioner is the cue to pick up the microphone. The questioner may say much or little to John, who often sits silently in response. Only the person sitting in the questioner chair in connection with John is expected to speak. The other people in the room may sit, listen, watch, and go as they like. Meetings are between two and three hours long. John ends each meeting by looking around the room and then he simply removes his microphone and walks off stage.
You can read a more detailed descripton of meetings on www.atticuscutter.com.
Why does John sit on a stage above everyone?
When John meets people in the café, he sits at the tables; when at the espresso machine, he stands next to the barista; in the grand hall, he sits on the stage so that he can see everybody and everybody can see him. His elevated seating is not to do with power, as some may suppose. He meets people in the most practical and appropriate way for each setting.
What is the purpose of the screens that show John and the questioner?
All the inner transformation shows in subtle ways in the face and body. The screens allow the audience to see these subtleties in John’s face and the questioner’s.
Why do I have to sign up to speak with John in the meeting?
The sign-up table is a practical way of organizing the meetings. A spontaneous system may seem more flowing at first, but the flow in meetings is internal. The sign-up table takes care of a selection process that would otherwise be a social and personal distraction.
Why does the questioner have to speak into a microphone?
As the meeting hall is large, it would be difficult to hear the dialogue without microphones. The communion people experience in meetings is not only between the questioner and John, as everybody in the room is connected. The microphone allows everybody to follow the dialogue.
Why does John only speak with one person at a time and not address everyone in meetings?
Although John is responsive to the entire room, he primarily works by connecting with the person in the questioner’s chair. He relates to the needs and sincerity of that person and speaks principles that apply generally. The individual connection comes first because John isn’t a theorist; his teachings come from the relevance of the direct connection. When you sit in the questioner’s chair and experience the depth and realness of John’s attention, you understand why his focus is singular.
Are the meetings audio and video recorded?
Meetings are audio and video recorded so that people can enjoy them as podcast episodes, downloadable audio files, CDs, and video on demand.
Value of Meetings
What kinds of topics do the meetings cover?
The meetings are open to any topic relating to truth, goodness, reality, and knowledge, while personal issues, family, relationships, work, and life are all included within the perspective of meaning in life. The meetings are not a forum for academic debate about politics or religion, unless the focus matches the question underlying all meetings: how can I be true?
What do the meetings have to offer me?
Recognizing what meetings offer is understanding what they are not intended to be — sessions for self-help, therapy, or entertainment, though the best of all three often feature. Meetings could be compared to a meaningful life: steady and deep, where the profound is in the subtle and sustained attention brings moments of awe.
The orientation of meetings is around any traces of awareness actually known to be true. Meetings are an opportunity for each person to discern and know what is true within, and love it. It’s a subtle focus with profound benefits. Clean, deep honesty changes your life. Relationships, family, and your own self heal and grow. Difficulty becomes no longer a threat, but an opportunity, and meaning and goodness is found in even the most surprising places. This reorientation is perhaps sweetest in relationships. It is life-answering to know within your own heart that joy and love belongs to what is deeper. For two in relationship, that surrender is a mystery beautifully unfolding. The meetings uphold that truth, as John continues to elaborate on the intricacies of what it means to be with another person. The result is more depth and love in relationships, while the source remains goodness for its own sake.
Meetings may seem at first like uneventful meditations, but so much is happening in the silence and the words between John and those attending meetings. The quality of connection and dialogue is that of legends, as people go deeper within and speak with one who conveys the sublime. The questioner alone provides a rare glimpse into the human being. In a world of millions of strangers, how often do you see the expression of what a person really is? In meetings, you bear witness to the deeper within people and see the subtleties of change in their faces. One after another, questioners present their deepest concerns, awakenings, and inspiration. A treat and an honour to behold.
After nearly thirty years, gentleness and care continues to be John’s response to both the meekest and most challenging questioners. John uplifts the best in each person. Sometimes he is witty and playful; sometimes direct. His replies range from pithy flashes of insight to entire manifestos on consciousness and reality. Together, the beautiful questioners and John’s teachings are a goldmine of meaning.
Apart from the transformation of inner and outer life, meetings offer a healing stillness, an ambience of goodness, and wonderful company, plus the elegance of the café, the grand hall, and the summer garden.
What is the practical benefit of attending a seminar with John?
Meetings with John orient to transcendental realities, but the realization of goodness, at the heart of meetings, is also transformational in the practical aspects of life. Deepening the heart’s sincerity is essential to the mind and emotions; healthier relationships and functionality in life naturally result. For stress or conflict, there is no remedy like openness and softness of heart. The learning in meetings doesn’t park at the benefit, but as people continue to realize deeper levels within themselves, the practical growth is endless.
The four seasonal seminars at The College of Integrated Philosophy are an intensive exploration of life’s meaning. Each day of realization and dialogue builds upon the last. On deeper human levels, the seasonal seminars are groundbreaking. In the arena of daily life, the seminars are a well-spring. And when you go to work, or school, or your more challenging relationships, you will notice a perspective and equilibrium that may change your whole life.
Silences & Gazing
Why does John gaze around the room before and after the meeting?
From his deepest awareness, John connects with the whole room. He makes eye contact with each person because everybody’s heart and awareness contributes to the deeper levels occurring in the hall. John supports these deeper levels by staying in his deepest awareness and sincerity.
What is the meaning of the gazing in the meetings?
The gazing is part of the nature of meetings. The focus is inward, so there is no need for conversation or physical activity. Sitting there facing John, the eyes are naturally open and relaxed.
But the visual connection is more than just a result of the seating arrangement; it’s an active way of taking part and deepening in meetings. Looking toward John and the questioner is like opening inner eyes and letting everything in, and as there is much to see inside, so is there in the meeting hall. People describe golden light and other reflections of deeper meaning. There are not only visual and physical counterparts to realizations of the heart, but also a numinous element in John’s presence which people see and feel. John is active in his connections with the questioner and everybody in the hall. He perceives deeply and speaks and emanates the qualities of goodness flowing through him.
Do I need to look into John’s eyes to benefit from meetings?
Looking into John’s is certainly not required to receive the benefit of the profound space and teaching in meetings. You are welcome to look at whatever inspires you in meetings, whether the screens showing John and the questioner, the general ambience, or close your eyes and relax and write in your note-book. Many people experience a heightened awareness when they look into John’s eyes, and this heightened awareness is no way available only in direct connection with John. Where ever the gaze falls, meetings are an environment for deeper realization and the opening of the heart. There is a humorous misconception that everybody is sitting in anticipation of John’s eye contact. The nature of meeting creates deep fulfillment no matter where the eyes rest. The seeing is on the inside.
Is the gazing a form of hypnosis or mind control?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines hypnosis as:
1. The inducement or the gradual approach of sleep.
2. Artificially produced sleep: esp. that induced by hypnotism; the hypnotic state.
Opening up inside and letting go of distracting patterns and preoccupations is essential to both meetings and going to sleep at night. The body can respond to both similarly, so people occasionally become drowsy in meetings. It can also be the relaxation after a long day’s work.
There is no induced sleep or hypnotic process in meetings. As for mind control, the meetings support you to place your mind in the control of your own integrity. John teaches that the mind is innocent and not an illusory force. The mind is a facility that reflects and expresses what is deeper within a person. Meetings build up the resources of goodness inside, who and what you really are, so that you can support your mind to function fully and truly. The mind belongs to the deeper levels of you and meeting with John only brings the mind back to that crystal clear basis. You take responsibility for your own mind.
Why are there sometimes long periods of silence in meetings?
Meetings are for realizing deeper and truer levels of consciousness. Not only does the silence leave space for these subtleties of realization, but also naturally results from them. John has said that much of the work in meetings is done in the silences. The space between each word underlies its meaning. The spaces give time for realizations and senses of meaning to go deeper. It isn’t about information, but the way every word reaches the individual. In silence, John inspires deeper awareness because he is actively embodying the deepest that he knows. Likewise, the others in the hall may tune into their own awakenings. The stillness of meetings is an opportunity to quietly reflect and an opening to realize your connection to deeper levels of reality.
Why does John sometimes not answer at all?
When a questioner speaks, John responds to the depth he sees in that person. Despite the convention of responding when somebody speaks to you, the exchanges in meetings are based on levels deeper than social and personal expectations. John speaks only from his finest sense of what is happening in the questioner, the room, and only when words contribute. John’s silence isn’t personal. The silence is like the deeper knowing that has no need for action or results. The words are like choices in life that only need to take place if they’re known to be good.
How does John’s teaching match with the controversy associated with him?
For every person who knows of John de Ruiter, there is another opinion about him. These views range from love to resentment and everything in between. Despite beliefs that John is acting in his own interest at the expense of his audience, those around him experience a loving and generous person. We experience that the meetings and teaching of John de Ruiter are of profound benefit, heightening awareness of what is deeper than ourselves, so that a better life can manifest from living in our hearts.
The meetings and dialogues with John de Ruiter deepen a true relationship with sexuality, power and what we do and do not know. If you are interested in the teachings of John de Ruiter, you are invited to consider popular interpretations of these issues as well as levels of perception that are less obvious or less common. John’s teaching is to discern and believe only what you know is true. This applies to everything John says as well as everything that is said or written about him.
What criticism is directed to John de Ruiter?
Many discerning and sincere people respect John de Ruiter as a unique speaker of truth and evolution of consciousness, and many others are skeptical. Criticism centres around John’s sexual relations with women, the belief that John is leading a cult for personal gain, the belief that John cultivates followers primarily for financial profit, and the long periods of silence in John’s meetings. These questions are considered in more detail below.
John and sexual relations with women
In a time when sexual misconduct is gaining more recognition as a major issue, some people misattribute the stereotypes to John de Ruiter. John’s conduct in regards to sexuality holds to an exacting standard of communication and respect. This was brought into question when John de Ruiter made public the fact of his consensual sexual relations with women beyond the traditional scope of marriage. John states that despite the impact this has on the community around him and his own life, he acts only according to a profound inner clarity. These are John’s words:
At its core, sexuality is designed for the realization of the being. Attraction and aversion is the first place we go in our relationship with sexuality, and the primary distraction. The subtleties are then lost. The awareness we gain in meetings opens us to the meaning of sexuality, on levels that exist before attraction and aversion even registers. The true relationship with sexuality is about what is deeper than attraction and aversion, deeper than ourselves.
I have moved in being with women other than my wife. This means being together physically and sexually. It is independent of desire, and oriented to realization of what is deeper. Sexuality is so profoundly core to awakening, but in ways not known to convention. It isn’t easy to understand on the surface and it isn’t about the surface. Still, the way it impacts all of us is significant.
However this may look on the surface, I know that it comes to me through my response to what I most deeply know on a metaphysical level. I invite anybody in proximity to me to draw from the equivalent clarity within them.In addressing the person or couple to whom I have given the invitation, I asked nothing but that each finds a response that is deeply rested and true to their own clarity.
All we have is what we know, and that reaches from the details of surface life to the very deepest. That’s what this is about, the finest point of what we most deeply know and the levels of meaning and being which exist beyond that point. Knowing is a point of no question, no further choices, just the love inherent to awareness at rest, from where we can truly move in realization.
I do not navigate fundamentally by the effect on others or myself. I follow the thread of pure knowing, and with my conscious self, take utmost care of the effect on others. As trite as it may sound, all I had is what I knew, from within what is deeper than myself, and strange as it sounds, what is deeper than my being. And it was and is clearer than my entire existence. It’s clearer and more real to me than physical reality.
I do not know how to make that real to someone else. I do not know how to convey to anyone that which I come from. I can only say it as it is and many have, and many have not, known a profound resonance with what I am bringing. I communicate this as directly as I can, and other than that, I can only continue to do and be what I know.
Silence in John’s Meetings
Meetings with John contain periods of silence. These silences are not deliberate, but are the result of the connections between John and the other people in his meetings as they open to realizations. Alternatively, the silence in meetings has been interpreted as a method by John de Ruiter of acquiring power over participants in meetings, rather than a space in which deeper communication occurs. This is summarized by Paul Joosse, then an associate professor at the University of Alberta:
De Ruiter’s management of three distinct aspects or qualities of interpersonal silence allows him to perform seemingly miraculous feats for his devotees. Firstly, the projection-eliciting aspect, of interpersonal silence fosters the belief within devotees that de Ruiter has the ability to speak to the specific personal needs of people whom he has never met. Secondly, the punitive aspect of silence enables de Ruiter to perform superhuman displays of power over others at meetings. Thirdly, de Ruiter’s use of silence fosters the belief that he has a miraculous ability to form intimate bonds with complete strangers, simply by gazing at them.
This interpretation may not match the practical reality of being in a meeting and seeing what takes place in the silence. For more information about the nature of the silence in John’s meetings, you can visit the Silences & Gazing section of the FAQ.
Do John and his meetings constitute a cult?
Observing the full attendance at John’s meetings and audiences’ dedication to his teachings, writers have described the community as a cult, and John de Ruiter as a cult leader. Much of the value and inspiration in meetings is attributed to John and yet the constant emphasis of his teaching is for all to reach what is truly known to them individually and to believe nothing else. John sets no control on people’s actions or beliefs intentionally. He does everything he can to balance the perceived power differential of “student and teacher.” He reflects questioning back into each person’s own evaluation, invites various interpretations and encourages everybody to educate and develop themselves in all aspects of life. The meetings, open mics, and social discussions are for the development and enjoyment of anybody who chooses to attend them.
In all settings, The College of Integrated Philosophy and the community openly questions itself and John. Discussions around tables in The Jewel Cafe are a forum where open dialogue is welcome, complemented by occasional large-scale events for all to examine the nature of the community and John. The self-critique has both formal and comical expressions. Around the fire at The Nordegg Camping Trip, we have stand-up comedy evenings and skits laying bare the quirks and blind-spots of meetings and John. Anybody is fair game and everybody is laughing. Cinema Nights are a more casual format that allows for a direct and sometimes humorous approach to understanding John and the community.
Those at meetings form a community by a shared interest in John’s teaching, not by any other structure. As we welcome the inspiration, we take care of the dynamics of being a community.
Are John and the meetings motivated mainly by financial profit?
As John de Ruiter bases his meetings in a high-end venue and charges money for the meetings, writers and critics suggest that he is operating for maximum profit in exchange for a “product that is nonexistent.”
John’s reply is typically that no luxury is needed to provide a location for meetings, but that he is grateful to be able to maintain a beautiful building for the meetings and the general public. He has stated that The College of Integrated Philosophy is not focused on profit or personal investment, but to continually facilitate the meetings and other events. John stated:
Money is not needed for any evolution of awareness or any opening of the heart, except to sustain living in body. Money is also not in conflict with the evolution of awareness: it is a resource that allows us to grow and do more with the awareness we have. With all the finances available to us as an organization, we are are reinvesting in our time together as a community. This building was constructed by donation and volunteers and that means that what we have is for all of our benefit. The results go back into the foundation. I love that we can be in a place that is uplifting and matches what occurs in meetings.
John describes a conversation with one of his critics
From a meeting with John de Ruiter in which he recalls speaking with one of his critics, Professor Stephen Kent at the University of Alberta. This illustrates how different perspectives can hold a common ground.
Q: Academics have actually written papers calling you a cult, calling this a cult.
J: That’s fine. Then I just keep being what I know to be and doing what I know to do. What I fundamentally relate to is goodness and it’s what I fundamentally relate to in others. The beingness of that in either is love. We met, Stephen Kent and I.
Q: Who is Stephen Kent?
J: The academic that you’re speaking of. We had a wonderful conversation and I thoroughly enjoyed him.
Q: What did you like about him?
J: First, I just really enjoyed being with him. How what moved in our conversation was really meaningful. What I enjoyed about him is that everywhere we went in our conversation, I found meaning and goodness.
Q: Where did you go in your conversation?
J: We talked about a lot of different ideals and different beliefs.
Q: Can you be specific?
J: We talked about different religions and how religion functions. I shared my past; he shared some of his.
Q: What did you share about your past?
J: That I grew up in a Christian family but the beliefs within my family weren’t anything that I could relate to. So I didn’t disbelieve and I also didn’t believe. It just didn’t really make sense to me. I explained to him what it was like to be taken to church every week. I explained to him how I awakened. He spoke of his own past. All of our conversation was heartwarming. It was all intellectually stimulating but the very best part is that we were meeting. There was a sense of real meaning that wasn’t dependent on what we were speaking about and it came through everything that we spoke of.
What are the extreme criticisms of John de Ruiter?
Some libellous statements have been circulated about John de Ruiter, both online and in print. These imagine ties between John and mental or physical abuse. These are not tasteful to manufacture, nor to have to comment on. Abuse of any kind is a serious topic; allegations wrongly made are also serious. John de Ruiter lives by a meticulous code of ethics in regards to financial, legal, and personal matters.
Are the extreme criticisms about John de Ruiter true?
Various sources on the internet raise concerns of a legal or moral nature, alluding to physical and mental abuse. As erroneous and untruthful statements have been alleged, it is important to clarify that:
John did not study hypnosis or persuasive techniques.
John did not use sex as a means of control or submission over any person.
John did not contribute to the disappearance of Anina Hundsdoerfer in any way. Her death is as tragic and mysterious to him as to all of us.
Both John and The College of Integrated Philosophy respect the sanctity of sexuality. Absolute value is placed on honesty, and communication in sexuality.
John is scrupulous in all financial, legal, and personal matters.
There is no avoiding libel once people dispense it, but we invite readers and thinkers to be more responsible than writers who confuse assumption and fact. John and The College of Integrated Philosophy are deeply committed to factual, ethical and rational conduct.
Independent of any external criticism, The College of Integrated Philosophy and the community has always embraced questions and concerns about itself. We love learning and rest on John’s core teaching to “believe only what you know is true.” We welcome all questions and comments in that spirit.
You can send further inquiries to [email protected]
- Hutchinson, Brian. “When Lovers Turn Litigants: Edmonton Sisters Sue Spiritual Leader for Support.” The National Post. http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/edmontonspiritualleader. Accessed 12 Oct 2017.
- Leon, Harmon. “The Canadian Man Who Controls a Cult with his Gaze.” Vice Magazine, 25 Feb, 2015, https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/xd5eqz/inside-a-canadian-staring-cult-224, accessed 12 Oct 2017.
- Joosse, Paul. “Silence, Charisma and Power: The Case of John de Ruiter.” Journal of Contemporary Religion, vol. 21, 2006 – Issue 3. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13537900600926147?journalCode=cjcr20 Accessed online: 12 Oct 2017.
- De Ruiter, John. Personal Interview. Dec 1, 2017.