Awakening to Unseen Reality; John de Ruiter on the Essence of His Teaching
In this interview with Rishi Itzhak, John describes the essence of his teaching: how to awaken to reality, most of which is unseen by the minds of our selves and how the entrance to that reality is through the heart and the fundamental beingness of openness and softness.
Asked basic, but important questions, John explains in detail what is actual in this world but not ‘real’ in the greater context covering such topics as:
• Why there is so much depression in the world
• The full potential of our selves
• Being around an enlightened teacher
• The power of thought, will and emotion
• Why fear keeps us from manifesting what we are truly meant to be
Rishi is a therapist who specializes in rebirthing and meditation, instructing students and practitioners alike. He studied at the Osho Multiversity in Poona, India, as well as in Greece and Italy. With over 20 years of experience in his field, he presently lives in Isreal with his wife and two children. He is the co-owner (with his wife) of the ‘Centre for Breath and Meditation’.
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With John de Ruiter from the April 5 Moen, Denmark Retreat
Q: Hi, John.
John: Hi, Rishi.
Q: After spending some days with you I got so much and I feel so much richness inside. I would love to ask you some questions, maybe to support other people to understand what is going on while meeting you. So maybe the first question is: what is the essence of your teaching, if I can call it the teaching? Because I know it’s much more than teaching.
John: That most of reality is unseen. A little bit of reality can be perceived from within our selves: that’s through our senses, within everything of physical reality, but the depth of reality – what is unseen to the mind and to our selves – is all of the deeper levels of reality which correspond to all of the levels of our being, so the essence of the teaching is how to awaken to that, and from where you awaken to that. From where is within the heart; it’s not in the self. The self is a vehicle of expression for the whole of reality but the entrance to the deeper levels of reality, which is what most people are missing out on, is the heart – and it’s not just the heart, but it’s openness and softness of heart.
Q: You speak a lot about the heart as a door to the being and also I see how it’s difficult, sometimes, to make this opening. Why is it so important?
John: Without the openness and softness of heart, what we are being won’t be the same as our being, so if we’re not being the same as our own being, we have no access or entrance to our being. As soon as there is openness and softness of heart, we are being the same way, within the heart, as our being, so there the door to the being opens.
Q: What do you mean by saying “being”? Is it the essence of who we are? Is it the inner life?
John: The deep inner life that is from within our selves all unseen, but when the heart opens, the deeper levels of what we really are begin to move and they move up into the heart, enabling us to experience that greater depth of what we really are that is out of view of our thinking and our feeling.
Q: You speak a lot about what is not real. What do you mean by “not real”? That we live life, that part of it is not real?
John: Our selves are actual. Thinking and feeling and emotions are all actual. The will is actual, but none of that is real. The real, the beginning of what’s real is the heart, and particularly the heart opened and softened, so it’s beingness that is real, and without that beingness infilling our selves, our selves remain actual but not real. And as we take our selves seriously we separate from the real, and it’s the real that nurtures, that nurtures us and nurtures the self.
Q: So what is the full potential of being a human being?
John: The full potential of what we really are is that our selves are able to open and shift and transform so that our selves become just like our beings; that our selves, in all of their forms, become just like what we really are and, from there, our personalities and our persons in our life become the same as what we really are. So the real potential is that all of this form that we have turns into the same as what we really are.
Q: You speak about something that it’s immediate and not a process. Can you say something about this?
John: The immediate comes by a shift of awareness.
Q: That we don’t need to develop our self?
John: The immediate is that, as awareness, we’re able to shift in such a way that we’re being what we really are as awareness, which at first is not inclusive of our personality, our life and our self. So the shift is so subtle, so fine, so deep within, and because it’s not inclusive, at first, of our forms it also doesn’t require the use of our forms. Without the use of our forms that shift is instant, whereas with self-development – where we’re working on our selves and developing our selves – that engages the entire process of our selves opening in the way that awareness is able to open.
Form changing is much more slow than awareness opening.
Q: And the form will follow it, later?
John: Yes. And it isn’t just later; it instantly begins following, so it instantly starts to change. Whatever we are, as awareness, being within our selves, our selves are already becoming. As we open, the mind opens, the emotions open, the will opens and turns into willingness. As soon as we close and harden in our hearts, our selves close, our selves harden. Our selves are always instantly becoming what we are being in our selves, so the whole focus, then, is not on our selves: it’s on what we really are as awareness. So all of the potential of our forms, of our selves, is dependent on what we are being as awareness.
Q: Is there any reason that the true is hidden or not seen so clearly?
John: The truth isn’t seen immediately and so clearly when we’re focused on our selves. In our selves what we relate to is the powers of our selves, the powers of thought and feeling, of will and emotion. These are all wondrous powers, but they’re also just as much distracting. There’s so much capability within these powers that when we’re relating to our selves, what we relate to is all that we’re able to do, so we become used to doing. We become addicted to doing, and we rely on our capacity to do to then come into what’s deeper within, and the doing doesn’t enable us to be. It’s our deep, inner beingness that brings out the depth and the quality of our doing.
Q: This is the reason we have so much suffering, pain and depression in our culture today?
John: Yes. When we’re reliant for meaning, when we’re reliant on our selves, depending on our selves, that immediately puts us also into the lack that’s there in our selves. It puts us into the imperfection and the incompleteness of our selves.
As we’re focused on that lack, the imperfection, it brings in, on the level of our selves, the pain. It’s the pain of registering all of that lack and seemingly not being able to do anything about it, so then we do more thinking, more feeling, more use of our emotions. We engage our will more to address everything that’s imperfect and full of lack, and that only heightens the lack and the imperfection even more, which then leads to depression.
Q: Sitting with you there’s a strong impact, sitting with an enlightened teacher or master. What is the pulse that comes, this strong impact? It feels like it’s really changing so much inside just being with you. What is it? You’re not doing healing, but so much healing happens around you.
John: That’s because as a self and as a person, in my life, I’m embodying my being. I’m being the same as my being and that’s increasingly, over the decades, having form, so my self keeps becoming more and more like my being, as does my person. So in that way I am embodying and vibrating to you your being. So when you’re around me your being moves, because your being is in response to the same thing that it is. As soon as we sit together there’s a being connectivity. My being is moving and that moves your being, so you have an uncommon experience of your being moving as soon as we are together. Your being moves up into your self and you’re awakening to the depth of meaning in all of that. It changes your seeing, it changes your thinking, it changes your feeling.
Q: Why is it difficult for people to meet an enlightened teacher? I saw it in Israel: people running for spirituality and they found it difficult to come, to reach to a master and enlightened one. What are the difficulties? Why is it difficult?
John: Because it is fundamentally offensive to the sense of personal independence. In Israel that really stands out because there is so much independence that has been on the surface acquired, and so much fighting to keep it, so there’s the whole pattern of standing in your independence, standing in your self-identity, with that meaning everything. So that which seems to mean so much on the surface becomes a blindness, and anything that exposes that blindness also exposes the personal independence and the personal identity. So there’s a natural defense mechanism to keep secure what’s been fought for.
Q: So what should be the call for the people? What is a real call to come?
John: There are two different energies that take place within when you are around something that’s real: there’s a reactivity because of defending and protecting what’s been held on to within the self and in our lives, and there’s also a profound response.
When the heart is touched there’s naturally a loosening, an opening of the mind together with that openness of heart, and there’s a responsiveness of awareness, from within the heart, that flows through the self despite what that self is like. So there’s this love that moves, and as much as that is loved, within, it also threatens everything that we’re holding on to. As that love moves, we’re naturally letting go of all the holding, but it’s the holding that gives us our sense of independence and our sense of personal identity. So then we’re caught in a split.
Q: So the fear is not real, actually, and I do say it a lot, and actually being next to you I really feel that there is no fear. Can you say something about fear and safety?
John: Fear comes with our stories – our stories around how we perceive our selves, our stories around how we perceive others. Our stories are full of lack, and because of the lack we naturally fear because we know we’re missing something.
John: There’s something that’s not there, so instead of registering the goodness of what is not there, which causes an opening, we register what’s not there from the perspective of lack …
Q: Oh, my God!
… which makes us defensive and fearful. We fear, then, what we know is there within but we fear what we cannot see. So we move away from response to what we’re directly knowing and we engage the fear in not being able to see, which separates us more from that deep, inner knowledge.
Q: Maybe the last thing: you visited Israel. How is it for you coming to Israel, and do you have any message for the Israelis?
John: Because of all of the polarity that Israelis are caught in, the national polarity: there’s so much war and defense; everything is made raw. Everything goes to the bone very quickly, which makes the people reactive – quickly reactive – but also very sweetly responsive. When goodness touches someone in an environment like Israel, because everything is so stripped down to the raw, when goodness touches, goodness quickly goes right to the bone, so quickly there’s response. And when something offends the self that also quickly goes right to the bone, so right away there’s reactivity.
John: So to see the difference of what reaches the bone, there’s only the one that nurtures. When there’s a touch of the heart there’s an opening to the bone. When it touches the mind and the self, there’s a reactivity. See the difference and then love the responsiveness to what touches, and start to let go of, and not need to identify with, the reactivity.
The reactivity makes us really small and hard. The responsiveness to the touches of heart opens us and enables us, as awareness, to expand in our selves, which enables the self to also expand and open, and be so much bigger than our little selves.
Q: I got so many questions coming next to you, so much insight coming next to you. I really thank you for your time. Thank you for your presence and the presence you bring to us. Thank you, John.
John: It’s lovely being with you.
Q: Thank you.