The Original Great Mother Tradition
Mother Worship

MatriTalks 39

MONKEY STORY

Questions & Answers
with
Han Marie Stiekema Sermes

God's Fool

Q. You have chosen this title, in order to express your gratefulness to the past, leaving it behind, now that you have entered a new stage on your Path. I look forward to the farewell.

A. Well, eh, yes, I do have chosen it. My main incentive is to give the readers a more balanced impression about the trials and errors of the spiritual journey.

Q. Why the "Monkey Story?"

A. It reminds me of the "monkey in me", a part that used to be rather successful in dominating my life for quite some time.

Q. What is this story all about?

A.  Everybody knows the Indian image of the ape rock, with monkeys continuously jumping from one rock to another. It is a very simple way of depicting how the mind works: constantly identifying itself with whatever comes up. Later, I came across the Chinese Monkey Story, also called "The Journey to the West". It gives a humorous account of the difficulties, one may encounter on the spiritual Path.

Q. What attracted you in this story.

A. First of all the story itself. It is about a monkey, born out of a rock, which means "without parents", gifted with many abilities*. He dearly needs these abilities, because he has to cope with life entirely by himself. Soon he becomes so confident, that he starts his own spiritual group, presenting himself as guru. However, after a short time he feels bored with it, wanting to upgrade himself. For that he went to Heaven, demanding a central position there. Upon which the Jade Emperor started panicking. To neutralize the threat, he offers monkey a (minor) job in Heaven. The monkey feels "cheated" and starts making a chaos. Whereafter the Buddha punishes him with 500 years of imprisonment "under a mountain".

* 72 to be exact. That's why I have made 72 MatriTalks.

Q. Typical a story of someone, who knows it all.

A. Yes. This part of the story represents the first part in life, in which you are dominated by the ego. It doesn't beat about the bush. Quite bluntly, it depicts the ambition of the ego, as the "will to power". It reminds me of my early years, in which I always wanted to be NR. 1.

Q. For which you will be punished.

A. Well, you are among the lucky ones, if that happens (laughter). Both monkey and myself were indeed that lucky. With regard to the former, the Buddha would free him on condition, that monkey would accompany e.g. serve and protect a monk (Tripitaka/ Hsuan Tsang) on his way to India. Monkey accepted. In order to guarantee the good outcome, the Buddha tied up a thread around his head, connecting monkey to Emptiness....On their way, monkey experienced many disasters, in which he had to use all his abilities: cleverness, magic, fighting, tricks. Countless times he had to confront devils of all kinds: fear, shock, panic, anxiety etc.   

Q. Also reminding you of a stage on your Path?

A. This stage symbolizes the transition from the ego to the True Self. The ego has to serve, rather than running the show himself. This proves not to be easy though. In the process he is continuously confronted with suppressed parts from the past. The confrontation with devils symbolizes the need of integrating them. His ego, time and again breaks down against the presence of Emptiness, which the Buddha had instilled into him. At last he feels totally exhausted.

Q. A very universal theme, it seems to me.

A. Indeed. It corresponds with experiences in the West. The Dark Night of the Soul is very similar. Or the Parcival Legend, for instance. In all cases the ego has to submit itself to the Divine, which causes heavy resistance from the side of the former. In this stage strength (of the ego) proves to be your weakness (the inability to surrender). The dying of the ego causing great anxiety and fear.  It is a condition, which is largely underestimated nowadays.   

Q. Why you gave this interview the subtitle "God's Fool?"

A. That's me (laughter). I am the greatest fool on earth. First of all, when the ego dissolves into the Light, all self-centeredness suddenly evaporates. This state of total freedom causes big inner release. You burst out laughing, "without reason". You really have become "God's Fool". This happened a couple of times, which means, that apparently the need to break down my ego was quite considerable. I feel sorry for "God" in this regard (laughter). Also later, during my 10 years of uninterrupted bliss, I often behaved like a child ("in God's garden").

Q. No similarities to the monkey anymore?

A. On the contrary. Looking back, also to the years of the "Dark Night", I am amazed about the power of the ego. Time and again you are trapped by it. Just because the ego is so creative, it seduces you with still another fantastic idea, plan or project. Also with regard to the unprocessed inner parts, I have had my share. It is quite painful to witness, that certain patterns have conditioned you for a lifetime. For instance, I have been always afraid of confrontations with the outside world, culminating in that I - until very recently - didn't dare to "show my original face".

Q. What other pitfalls did you come across?

A. With regard to my desire of being NR.1, I realized, that at the bottom of it, there is (often) pain. In my case, it was the feeling of being excluded (by my mother), which caused this reaction. Power - to try to be NR.1 - is a compensatory mechanism, serving my strive to "get my paradise back". The irony of course is, that I wasn't rejected at all. I only thought I was. If I wasn't expelled, then what is the point "of trying to get it back?" My whole life has been a quest for paradise, though.

Q. Thus, was it all illusion?

A. You are inclined to think that way. Luckily, reality is more mild. Theoretically, the whole thing was a delusion, yes. But in practice, the pain of alienation apparently, gave me a deep longing for Wholeness. Hence, I was very receptive to the Grace the Mother were to bestow on me.

Q. Is it all over now?

A. What is important is to realize, that these things - like the desire to be NR. 1 - are all parts of you. You have to embrace, rather than to reject them. So, I again and again let the underlying pain of being pushed out through me. I realized, that I shared my pain with the whole of mankind. Isn't it so, that we all suffer from being "thrown out of paradise?". It is the opening story ("Genesis") of the bible. Hence, my suffering "leading the way" to dealing with this most existential of problems. If other people could use my experience, then it hasn't been for nothing.

Q. What would you tell them?

A. The Essence is, that "paradise lost" is a delusion. Paradise has never been taken from us. We have never been punished by "God". Paradise is there from Eternity. We ourselves turn our back to it. So, if you have suffered the pain of alienation, it is good, nay, absolutely necessary to allow it into your innermost core. By doing so, longing for Wholeness is born, while it will prevent you from being trapped by a power game. What is "left" is opening up to What You Are Already, praising the Mother for all the gifts, She is granting you.

Q. Do you afterwards regret some choices you made in your life?

A. Absolutely not. Especially the difficult things prove to have the greatest value for inner growth and learning. Moreover, the Mother has blessed me with "one of Her angels", to assist me on my path. I mean my wife MeiMei. She is my Blanchefleur, the beloved of Parcival. Through her love and wisdom, she has shown me the way of how to balance my life. She is a real Buddha (laughter).

Q. How did the Monkey Story end?

A. Through having served the monk successfully, the Buddha terminates the ordeal. Eventually, "the ego gives up", and a New Self is born.

Be a Fool.

Life is "God's" (the Mother's) garden.          

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Last revising: 02/07/10