Your Hopes and Dreams Are Really a Prison
Popular culture asserts that your hopes and dreams are what give your life purpose. But what if looking for a meaningful life through the fulfillment of your hopes and dreams is actually a prison of your own making? Becoming free is the difference between looking for meaning and being the meaning that you really are.
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With John de Ruiter from the February 14, 2018 Rishikesh, India Retreat
Q: Let me ask you this: is it a thought that creates a feeling or a feeling that creates a thought? It’s both mind – but which one creates the other? Which one comes first?
John: For most people, most of the time, feeling determines thought.
Q: And feelings come from?
John: Either your humanness, which is nurturingly not individual, or your feeling comes from your nervous system.
Q: So either way it’s not optional? I mean they are passing by – it’s not something I can put a brake on.
John: They’re not just passing by: you are being one or the other. You, awareness, are constantly making micro-choices. If you could take a video of you, awareness, and completely slow it down, you would see you jumping on one side of the fence, being in your humanness, jumping on the other side of the fence and siding with the conditioning in your self because you have investments there. And you run back and forth. Speed up the video to regular time and it’s all a blur, so you can’t see it.
As you awareness open, so that you are being what you are in the midst of your mind, your personality, your life, awareness – what you are – flowers. As it flowers, you become aware from within deeper and deeper levels of awareness. As you do, you’re able to see you’re present within your micro-choices; you’re present within your tiniest movements as awareness that determine all of your direction. But until you’ve come into that, you won’t be in touch with that level of choice, so it seems as if everything is just happening.
It’s untraceable until you deeply open and you sustain that kind of openness. Sustaining it enables you to read much more deeply. Then, instead of being confined to reading your experience, your experience means more to you than your awareness. That confines your awareness to experience, instead of all of the deeper levels within, deeper than all of your experience.
When you awaken – come into direct knowledge of deeper levels within, levels of your being that haven’t been there in your experience – when you awaken, you become aware within that depth, so you know and see newly and as you’re in it, it has your experience. Your awakening registers within your thinking, your feeling, your opening will and your opening emotions, forming an experience.
Q: So you are telling me that I am more interested in my experience than in awareness, and because of that I am being confined by my experience?
Q: And I don’t feel the awareness I am. That’s what you just said?
Q: That’s sad to hear.
John: You live what matters the most to you. What you believe matters the most to you isn’t the same as what is actual. You can believe that the truth within matters more to you than anything, but if your mind governs you, then it is your mind that means more to you than the truth within.
Q: So is it possible … please say yes! … as a human being on this earth, right now, to have zero interest in any kind of experience or relating in this world?
John: Yes. That is natural to you from the deepest within, and then you let that follow through all the way to the surface. What makes that difficult is the investments that you have in your self. Your investments – your thought, feeling, emotional and will investments – secure your interest in your self, your mind and your experience, narrowing you to your past which means that you will live reproducing your past. Having a belief system, having beliefs, means that your future is determined by your past. The real in you has no future with your beliefs present. Your beliefs cancel out any future for what’s real in you.
Q: I’m going to to be practical, so at this moment in my life I want to create a family and be a mother. If I have any kind of these desires for something in the future, like this that I just gave you now, that means that, while I have those desires, freedom is impossible?
John: Pretty much. You don’t realize how many of those desires, thoughts and ideas are genetic and also adopted beliefs – beliefs formed by you through a thought strengthened with emotional judgment. Starting out with an idea and giving emotion to the idea creates an emotional form that has a thought structure to it. Once you’ve created it, it doesn’t just come apart because when you create it, you create it within your body; you introduce it to your nervous system. What you introduce to your body holds. That’s the nature of physicality.
When you believe what you directly, quietly know the truth of, the truth within is being introduced by you to your nervous system, enabling the deep real within to become actual in your body, in your mind, in your nervous system. What this means, then, is that you have a lot of power to make things actual. You’re able to make what is illusory and what you wish to be true and what you’d like to be true … you’re able to make all of that actual in your nervous system and in your mind. You’re able to make what isn’t real, actual. Or you can make what you most deeply and directly know is real, actual in your nervous system and your mind by believing what you know and not believing anything that you don’t know the truth of. So you won’t believe an idea just because it feels good, just because it looks impressive or just because it has promise in it. If you do, you fool yourself.
Q: I know that I fool myself but still I keep fooling myself. So even this that I’m telling you: “Oh, I want to be a mother and I want to have a family”, even this I know that maybe I will hate to be a mother, so I don’t know! Maybe the family will be a disaster so I don’t know if that will make me happy. So I’m aware that I don’t even know if this desire will bring me some kind of something. But still it’s there.
John: Yes, just as your ancestors are all there through your genetics, telling you what to do.
Q: This you cannot change.
John: Telling you what they’ve all done. If you would like to be just like them …
John: What you really are isn’t like your ancestors. Your genetics will rule you, govern you, tell you what is real, tell you the truth and you do all of it. Or, as you are opening and softening within, unconditionally, at any personal expense, that beingness of real you opens your genetics and cleans them, bringing up real form of you in your body, your nervous system, your thinking, your feeling, your emotions, your will and all of your mind so that you are embodying real you.
Q: So how can I actually have that kind of choice that you just said now, to open to the point of changing my genetic system?
John: You don’t need to change or open your genetics: that’s too much. That is all just a fruit of being: you. You’re not able to make all of those changes; you are able to be you – what you really are – despite your forms, despite your genetics, despite environments that you’re in that are not like you. But if that isn’t what matters most to you, then your experience will continue to take you, which means that your genetics own you. They rule you.
Q: Even though I believe that God is all I want, what is pulling me towards experience? What are the investments? So we always come back to this basic thing of not wanting anything at all?
Q: Even in this expression “being what you are”. How can we not be what we are? It’s impossible. We are what we are.
John: You’re not what you are. You are your experience.
Q: And that’s also not what we are in this sense, because it’s happening, no?
John: You make it happen, and you keep it happening because you keep empowering your experience over and above what you most deeply know the truth of. That makes what you are covered up, with you being mostly separate from it, still connected – but not much. But as soon as you relax the connectivity instantly increases.
When you are even a little bit frustrated or annoyed, when you register gain or loss, when you register hope or disappointment, all of that is evidence of your imprisonment, and anything of how you use your thinking or your feeling to justify your position blinds you to your imprisonment. What’s normal in this world is blindness and imprisonment. For someone to be free of both is most unusual.
Your way of relating in your experience is polarized. Your way of relating to what you regard as reality is polarized. You relate through negatives and positives, want and need. When you’re being what you really are – you, awareness, relaxed – you don’t relate at all to polarization. You’re incapable of want and need.
When you are relaxed, awareness relaxed, what’s intrinsic to you is that you deeply, all the way through, have need of nothing. You being that in the midst of your self, your mind, your personality, your life, is what it is for you, in your life, to be free: free of polarization within your forms. That’s you living being real. Being true to what you think and true to what feel, it doesn’t matter the clarity of your thinking or the depth of your feeling, what you think and what you feel doesn’t tell you the deeper truth. What it tells you is your past.
What you look for in a relationship, in a family, in having children, what you’re relating to in the thought of having any of that separates you from what you are. What you’re looking for in a relationship, in a family, in having children, what you’re looking for within any of your hopes and your wonderful ideas you can only find in what you are. If you’re not being what you are, then everything that you come into and you do in your life is going to disappoint you. It’s going to have all of the lack that contains your investments. You’ll use your relationships in your life to answer what you were looking for in entering those relationships. You’ll be caught in a cycle within each of your relationships. You will hold your husband and your children responsible for your happiness. The proof of that is every little touch of frustration, annoyance, disappointment, anger. Any little touch of emotional negativity shows how strongly you hold what is outside of yourself responsible for your happiness.
Q: It’s almost like you are ripping the hope away from me and it’s good, but sad at the same time because I had that trust in that happiness. Now you’re saying that they will be responsible for my happiness, and I don’t want to do that. At the same time I felt sad about it, you know. It’s interesting to watch both feelings at the same time.
John: Having a relationship belongs to what you are. As much as you are living being separate from what you are, anything that you enter, any kind of relationship, you will turn into a form of separation. So as you build your life, you build a life of illusion unless it is what you are that comes all the way out into life. That would be like you, when you were still in your innocence, remaining in that innocence at any cost, so it is that innocence that comes into all of the development of your self. Innocence integrating your self, instead of you separating little bit by little bit from your innocence, and from within that separation, building a life of ‘yours’: a life that you call ‘yours’ – but it’s really your prison. It’s only from within your innocence lived that there is no prison. All of your investments separate you from your innocence. You can’t go back to your innocence without losing all of your investments.
Q: You called it nervous system and genetics. It feels so rooted. It feels complicated.
John: What this means is that embodiment really works. When you embody want and need, when you start living by what you want and you what you need, you’ll embody the polarization of want and need, and it really works and it holds. It grows roots into all your nervous system, your mind and your body. It holds, so when you relax all of those fruits are still there. It’s as you remain relaxed, as life confronts those roots, that the roots give up their energy, your investments and that energy becomes one with you – relaxed.
The simplicity of it is that whatever you are being within your forms, your forms become. It doesn’t matter the condition of your forms. It doesn’t matter your past and your genetics. If you’re being what you are in them, they all, over time, become just like you. In that way you embody what you really are. That’s a real life.
Q: I feel that even this love for God or freedom or reality, even this is an investment?
John: Yes, because you have it all in a category. It’s a category in your self; it’s one of the rooms in your house. It’s like having a room in your house where you have your shrine. Everything’s set up that represents your deeper beliefs, but that isn’t what makes up your house. It’s a room in your house, and while the deeper truth of it is real, that deeper truth is turned into beliefs, which is your way of making what you know serve your experience, you making what you know the truth of, of benefit to your experience, to your self, to your personality, to your life. So in that way, you exploit the truth within. That doesn’t corrupt the truth within. What it does is give the truth, within, form that isn’t a real match to the truth within.
If you return to being what you are, then you are being your awareness true: awareness and the truth – one. That’s from way, way deep within, so it is you, oneness, that comes up through the levels: you, oneness, that has a heart, a self, a personality, a life. It’s all form of oneness because of what you’re being in it. That’s very different from what you’re used to. You’re used to being your personality and your self that has a heart, and that somewhere, way within, has a being. So it’s an upside-down existence.
For you to be what you really are all the way out through your forms is for you to turn right-side up. That would make you feel completely upside-down and you don’t want to have an upside-down life. What you are hearing is destabilizing what is upside-down. As you, awareness, relax – which is you, awareness, being honest to what you actually know – the truth within is home. Your experience is not your home.
Q: Can you say “what you deeply know” in other words?
John: When you are profoundly relaxed, all that you really know is this (John opens his hand). As you tighten, as awareness tightens, you turn into this (he closes his hand). Illusion is what you come to through closing onto an idea. Freedom is what you know as the openness.
What you are is openness through and through, and it has need of nothing: it’s already complete. There isn’t anything that can make it better. You being that, in a relationship, manifests the truth of you into the form of relationship, but if you’re looking to get something such as a meaningful life through a relationship, you’re fooling your self.
Meaning doesn’t come from something. It comes from you, that you can manifest into everything.