Han Marie Stiekema Sermes
Q. After your lecture about
things of great public interest, I would like to return to the personal. Obviously, the
coming decades will be very challenging indeed. It will require the utmost of inner
strength of every individual. Without the support of a proper spiritual training, this
could become a hard nut to crack.
A. Let me tell you this.
In the last decades I have been hiding myself, enjoying the comfort of my
"personal" Heaven. In the mean time, I projected my unwillingness to engage
myself in all kinds of plans and projects. Until the Mother started teaching me, that I
myself am the project, or better: that "my life is Her project!" More in
particular it means, that She wants me to share my life with everybody. My Way of
Initiation was given by Her, hence, its relevance to everybody else.
Q. Did you perceive this, while
you were still in the process?
A. Only at last, yes. Before I
had some of the most fantastic guides. First of all, it was Karl Graf Dürckheim, who
taught me the Art of Zen. Then, trough the Mother's immeasurable Grace, Bhagwan Shree
Rajneesh was sent on my Path. Through him I realized the unique Threefold Realization,
through Which the Great Mother revealed Herself to me. Later, when I worked on writing
down "my" Way of Initiation, help was being offered through the Work of Evelyn
Underhill's "Mysticism", which is unsurpassed, really. It was my first
eye-opener to the value of Christian Mysticism. Moreover, I got support from Sri
Ramakrishna through his way of "Mother Worship", while finally finding Teresa of
Avila on my Path. She is my spiritual sister, from whom I still learn every day.
Q. It seems, that especially
Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity have had a decisive influence on your development. Is
this indeed the case?
A. I cannot say that, no. I've
got inspiration of all existing traditions, really, including for instance the Old Mother
Religion, Taoism, Confucianism, Islam (Sufism) and Indigenous Religions as well. The
relationship with the teachers mentioned above were exclusively personal, rather than
considering them as representatives of a particular religion.
Q. Despite that, does your Way
- The Universal Way - includes elements of other religious systems?
A. Summarizing: the strength of
Buddhism lies in its emphasis on awakening e.g. the possibility of becoming Enlightened.
Its weak point is, that it doesn't have an adequate answer to the function of suffering.
In Christianity, it is exactly the opposite. To become aware - to identify with the Divine
Spark within - is still a major taboo (reason why f.i. Meister Eckhart hasn't been
rehabilitated until this very day, which is "outrageous"), while its strong
point is its acceptance of suffering as a vital aspect of the inner Path (I am not talking
about the manipulation of common people). The weakness of both is the lack of emphasis on
"(wo)man living in harmony with Heaven and earth". I therefore consider Chinese
Universism (a.o. Taoism) as a indispensable part of the Inner Path.
Q. Could you thus say, that The
Universal Way as you have developed it, contains all these various elements?
A. Considering the fact, that
not I, but the Great Mother has designed this Way for me, I assure you, that The Universal
Way is truly inclusive, which means, that it embraces all traditions. It is a most
complete, versatile and in-depth approach, integrating all levels of existence:
spiritually, psychologically and physically (socially etc.). Be the Mother praised for
Q. For whom is The Universal
Way meant, with other words, who would be benefiting most from your approach?
A. Almost every tradition has a
Way of Initiation of its own. The more or less only exception to this rule happens to be
Christianity! In the Christian Tradition the Inner Path has been always suspect. Even the
most loyal mystics (Ruusbroec, Catharine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, Francis of Sales and
countless others) had to fear the Inquisition all the time. Hence, spirituality to be
hopelessly underdeveloped, at least to a larger public. With the recent opening toward
World Traditions, Christians have increasingly turned to ways outside their own tradition.
Understandably so. However, there are hidden treasures in Christian Mysticism too, I
Q. So your approach focuses on
people with a Christian background?
A. Honestly, I don't focus on a
particular group at all. I think it will attract those, who have a genuine longing for
Wholeness. These people you may find in all sectors of society. However, it has to be
said, that especially Christians have been suffering from the superficial and thus totally
irresponsible approach toward the Divine, the church was (is) offering them. In order to
prevent people from having authentic God Experience (for which the church is most afraid),
she only offered an "image of God" to its believers. It made me always sad to
see, how Christians struggled with yet another image, and this ad infinitum. Images,
obviously, are just projections of your own mind, they have nothing to do with the Real
Thing. Logically, people left the church en masse. They didn't want to be cheated anymore.
Q. The Universal Way
contains seven steps. How would you characterize the mutual relationship between them?
A. Some people think, that the
spiritual Path is just "being in the HereNow". This is a very simplified way of
looking at it. In reality, this is one aspect of the Path, surely the most important one.
It is similar to "awakening", which means the (discontinuous) transition between
"ignorance" (being unconsciously caught by the world of "thoughts, emotions
and desires") and becoming the inner observer. The criteria for being awakened are:
the discovery of a New Identity, something you didn't know before; an inner distance
between you and your thinking (I am "here" and my thinking is
"there"); a simultaneity of watching and thinking, e.g. being aware of a thought
exactly in the moment it is passing by, being no time difference between the two; clarity
as the new quality of being; inner stability and a sense of freedom*.
* Note: awakening and Enlightenment are
different. The latter is being dissolved into the Eternal Light, which is a quite
different thing. Awakening on the other hand, is to simply step back within, something
everybody can attain within a very short time. Hence, I am always joking: "tonight
nobody will leave this room, without being awakened!
Q. That sounds pretty
inclusive. Why isn't this the alpha and the omega, as some say?
A. The proof of the fact, that
the Inner Path is more than just awakening, lies in its consequences. The "opening
up" has a spontaneous tendency to expand itself. As a consequence of that, all kinds
of contents, that hitherto were suppressed by the ego, now have chance to "come to
the surface". With other words, sooner or later you will be confronted with all kinds
of (nasty) emotional complexes, disturbing your (initial) peace of mind. You usually
experience this as a set back, because of your idea, that the spiritual Path would lead
you automatically toward ever deeper harmony, balance and peace. Nothing like that happens
in the beginning. The reason is, that you have to cope with pain, fear, anger, depression,
confusion and insecurities, popping up in your newly "acquired" consciousness.
Hence, the logic of our second step - Personal Integration - which offers you
(therapeutic) assistance in trying to integrate all that was denied, excluded and
suppressed for so many decades.
Q. Hearing this you realize,
that the spiritual Path is not a frivolous undertaking.
A. I am glad you picked it up
rightly. The integrating work is one, which will always accompany you. There is not such a
thing like: okay, I will work on this for a while and then I can leave the problems behind
me, no. As long as you live, contents will confront you, always according to your level of
achievement. The more open you become, the more "heavy (archetypal) loads" will
be confronting you. Of course, the longer you are on the Path, the more prolonged the
periods of being in the Moment. In the end you do achieve "everlasting" peace
and unity. Note: a major example of the importance of integrating parts of the self is
this. While opening up, suppressed parts may pop up. If you refrain from integrating a
particular part, say hatred, this emotional complex will grow according to the expansion
of consciousness. That means, the more open you become, the more this complex is pulling
energy toward itself. The more Light there is, the more darkness is blowing itself up.
Until a certain limit is reached, at which the darkness (in the past called "the
devil") has become so powerful, that it "suddenly" takes over your entire
system. From a loving, harmonious and peaceful person you turn into a destructive, vicious
and potentially harmful one.
Q. Wow, this is for sure an
aspect, that has to be seriously considered. For those who are discouraged: "Are
there also enjoyable prospects on the Path?"
A. (Smiling). Heaven and Hell
belong to each other. It depends on the intensity of your longing for Wholeness, whether
you will accept all the stages with confidence. Those, who step in half-heartedly have
little to fear.....Their attitude reflects itself in their poor "achievements".
Soon they will give up, disappointed. The ones who persist will receive what they deserve
though. To know, that the Mother is accompanying you, would be of great help. In that
case, you thank Her for everything that happens along your Path: "good" or
"bad". You will be especially thankful to the more "negative" events.
By accepting them your depth will grow accordingly. Discovering this, means, that
nothing can go wrong anymore. Your trust in the Mother will become unshakable. Praising
the Mother will be your daily prayer. Concerning the rest of the Path: being rooted in
Heaven and earth; the breakthrough of the Light; Purification; taking refuge in the Mother
and Compassion I may refer to The Universal Way in Transformation
website (Step 1). Elaborating all steps would simply make this page too long and thus
May the Mother accompany you on
And...never give up!
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