What is the Soul?
The soul is something frequently referred to - in many contexts. But is the soul really known to us? Is enlightenment the key to finding your soul? In this video, John explains that awakening and even attaining enlightenment doesn't necessarily mean that you're free of your egocentric existence.
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With John de Ruiter from the February 2, 2018 Rishikesh, India Retreat
Q: Last night you talked about awakening. Is enlightenment the same? Can you open that a little bit more?
John: It doesn’t matter to awaken. Awakening simply means that you, awareness, come to know more. Knowing more isn’t what matters. Awareness being knowing, matters. That’s what oneness is. That’s what purity of heart is, which is available to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Awakening doesn’t secure that; it doesn’t make it. Enlightenment doesn’t secure that.
Q: In order to see that more clearly, can you explain or say something of the difference between awakening and enlightenment?
John: Enlightenment enables you to know and see from within you opening right into consciousness. It transfers your whole field of perception out of everything that you’re familiar with, into a field of consciousness all beyond your self. It opens you directly into the deeper levels of reality; it opens you up into its cohesiveness. What you open up into, what you are freed into, doesn’t secure your oneness with that. What secures your oneness is you, awareness, absolutely given to what you directly know the truth of, whether that is without any awakenings, or through all of your awakenings, or right into enlightenment. But it’s the purity of your response to what you directly know, that is everything.
Your soul matters more than awakening and enlightenment. The development of your soul is directly linked to you, awareness, evolving. Your soul is the form of your evolution as awareness. The development of that form comes by you, awareness, being one with knowing, particularly under pressure, within difficulties. Difficulty has all to do with seen form – you being in it within its incompleteness and its imperfection while you are being what is already one and complete. Being that within what is incomplete brings attention to the disparity between what you are and your mind, without you leaving what you are, while being present in your mind. The evolution of awareness is dependent on oneness, present, because you’re being it; oneness present in the midst of what self you have, what mind you have and what environments you are in.
Q: Where is the soul happier? Do I have a soul or do I need to build it as awareness? As awareness, do I build that soul? Do I have it, as awareness?
Q: Are you talking now this soul of awareness as oneness, or are you talking about the soul – no individual soul?
John: Your soul is the most important of all of your forms. It’s more important than your self, it’s more important than your heart, it’s more important than your humanness. It’s more important than all of your being, and it is the most difficult form to see because it is evenly distributed within all of your forms, so you don’t have the contrast to be able to see it. No one needs to see it; you don’t need to know your soul.
After you have died, it’s the form of yours that shows more than any of your forms. When you meet someone after you’ve died, what is most prominent in meeting is their soul, which enables you to read, to directly know and read their history as awareness. Every micro-choice of awareness shows. In knowing someone’s soul you know everything.
Q: Is there an individual soul? Does each one of us have a soul?
Q: As I see it, awareness takes different forms. If there is an individual soul it means there are seven billions of souls or more, doesn’t it? Or is there one – only one?
John: There’s both. Similarly, there are all of the cells in your body and each cell is individual and there is one body. Not all cells in your body have the same function; they don’t all have the same place, but they are all in the same body.
Q: My soul will take another body after the death of this body.
John: How is that?
Q: This is the thing! How? Which soul? Who? To whom does it belong?
John: It isn’t to who or to whom, but to what. Your soul belongs to what is a tiny little bit like this, but in a way that is completely beyond. The being is already a manifestation of that and your soul belongs to what is before all of that. Have no beliefs as to what that may mean. Believe only what you directly know.
Q: I can say now, clearly, that I don’t know. I don’t know.
John: Lovely. It frees you of any conclusions around it.
Q: I would love to pick up that first question I asked about awakening and enlightenment. Yesterday I heard from you that awakening can be taken by the self.
Q: People that get enlightenment also can give it to self, just to get enlightenment for the self. You say that.
John: You can’t become enlightened when you want it for your self, but once enlightened, enlightenment doesn’t keep you being one. Enlightenment brings you right into what is so much really everything, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll stay there.
Q: Someone enlightened can have a big or very subtle ego.
John: Yes. If it gives the slightest touch of self-importance, then yes.
Q: When someone awakens and gives all the awakening to the self, it means it was not taken by being.
John: It means that you’re not letting your awakening take your self.
Q: The contrary. It’s the contrary?
John: (Nods) It means that you’re letting your self have your awakening, instead of letting your awakening completely take everything.
Q: Yes. And the question is: has it happened here in me? The ego became more and more strong? I can see that here, in me. Knowing that in this moment, and with all the willingness to really come to the real truth and to allow being play … is that a good way to say it?
John: I’m not sure what you mean, being allowed … about the play?
Q: It means to be more aware. To be in openness, and softening.
John: Aware, this way? (John extends and opens his hand)
John: Instead of this way. (John closes his hand)
Q: Yes, I’m getting it clearly.
John: Distorted awareness; relaxed and undistorted awareness. (He demonstrates with his open and closed hand). Awareness real.
Q: Yes. I have a lot of friends and it’s happening the same for them. There isn’t anything different for each one of us: it is the same. It’s just to come to the same for everybody.
John: This (closed hand) is all different in each, and this (open hand) is the same.
John: The truth of individuality is only just the essence of what you experience as individuality. The whole experience of individuality isn’t real. Real individuality is what enables you awareness, to be this (open hand) or to close (closed hand). In the closing, that’s a distortion of individuality, where individuality becomes everything, but it’s an illusory sense of individuality, and an illusory sense of power.
The real individuality is awareness, resting (open hand) and it’s not being anything else, and it’s depths of that that comes into the form and fills it. That movement is beingness. That movement is not individual; the movement is sameness, sameness with everything else that is real. In that way, being isn’t special. Everywhere it is, it’s the same.
Q: It’s clear.
John: The ego is the value of `special’.
Q: Yes, it is.
John: It’s not real. `Special’, given individuality, is blindness. It can’t be in and see the sameness; it’s blind to the sameness.
Q: I love the way you place it as openness and softness and it’s clear here, every moment, more and more. It looked simple, but it’s huge. Thank you, John.