ThThe Universal* Way
(Also: "Initiation into Your Maitreya Mind")
* Used to be called "The Integral Way"

The Universal Way




1. The teaching consists of seven steps. First it says that "awakening is the easiest thing there is". Because of spiritual ambition awakening is usually overlooked. The desire to reach the Ultimate obscures the intangible quality of simply being aware. Nevertheless, awakening is the most important step in emancipation. It is the leap from ignorance toward insight, from imprisonment toward liberation. Everyone, without exception can awake within a split second. Sitting in a chair, relaxed and watching the inside of your eyelids gives birth to the witness: "I am here and my eyelids are there".To take the subtle dimension of consciousness seriously is where it is all about.


2. We distinguish the birth and the extension of awareness. This includes four steps: the birth of the observer, body-environment (feeling) awareness, awareness in action and being your Self in human contact. There is a degree in difficulty here. The most simple is just sitting relaxed in your chair. Close your eyes and watch the inside of your eyelids. Look at everything that comes up, as if you watch TV. You will be surprised. The discovery is, that you are here and your problems (thoughts, images, emotions, dreams, fantasies, and desires) are there. You are not touched by them anymore, whereas they flow freely in your inner space. You identity has been shifted to a new inner faculty, something you didn't know before: your inner watching. This witness is your inner reference, center of silence, your inner stability, and your clarity. You have found your true identity. Once you realize that, you are awakened. Inner freedom: a piece of cake.

3. The second step consists of extending your awareness to the body and its immediate surroundings. You may also call it contact- awareness. In practice it means, that in all circumstances you feel your body in contact with its environment. While walking, you feel the contact with your feet with the ground; while sitting that of your buttocks with the chair and your back while laying down. It comes down to a constant interaction between watching and feeling; feeling and watching, in such a way, that there will be a conscious feedback between them. This feeling awareness has nothing to do with a sterile watching only ("to be mindful of your feet"), nor with on the other hand "being captured" by bodily sensations. On the contrary. Through conscious interaction you will notice that both faculties will benefit, without becoming entangled in each other. In order to achieve this you have to practice a receptive "feminine" type of awareness. This is characterized by a "movement" from the periphery to the centre: while you stay centered, the bodily sensations are coming to you. The miracle is this: while watching and feeling, both gain in quality. The sensations are flowing like a river into the "ocean" of awareness, through which the latter is expanding, while the sensations (tickling, flow, warmth, intensity etc.) are becoming more intense. The criterion is, that you have to be able to establish a direct contact between watching and feeling, which is not always easy. Many people think of their feet, buttocks, back etc. rather than feeling them. It requires relaxation and - as has been said above - a receptive, "enjoying" way of awareness.

4. Once you have mastered body-contact awareness - you should practice it in such a way, that it will become your "first nature" e.g. it will be impossible to sit on a chair without simultaneously feeling your behind - then you may extend your watching and feeling toward everyday activities: washing the dishes, watering the plants, brushing your teeth, reading the paper. Some of you will be familiar with being "mindful while washing the dishes". It is a well-known practice in Zen-buddhism, for instance. Usually, only the watching part is emphasized here, while the feeling part is omitted. Very soon this will lead to exhaustion, since "just watching" without the help of the body, can only be maintained through will-power.As a consequence "distractive thoughts" interfere, which makes "washing the dishes" an effort rather than an enjoyment. No, this is not how it is meant. Spirituality is giving life a surplus value, not as a result of arduous labor, but as a gift. In such a way, that all activities whatsoever, are becoming a source of play and joy. So, how to do it? Simple, let your conscious body do the work for you. In practice it means, that your activity will become the extension of your body-contact awareness. Thus, first feeling your feet in contact with the floor, while keeping it that way (additionally feeling your breathing, for instance) and then start doing the dishes. Very soon "the aware body" will be taking over the activity. From that moment on you don't do it, but IT - extended awareness, together with overflowing energy - is washing the dishes. You would wish to do the dishes all the time...

5. However, there is still a tough part ahead of you. It includes being able to experience a positive feedback between body-contact awareness, while in the company of other people. Compared to plants and animals people appear to be the rudest part of creation. This is because we commonly communicate through the mind. Mind energy is less gentle, compared to bodily feelings. Interaction through thinking and speech therefore very soon dominates the more subtle realm of awareness. Thus, this is the real challenge. Don't be disappointed too soon. This really is an advanced stage. You will only master it, if you have gone through the previous three stages in such a way, that real progress has been made, e.g. that in every stage awareness has been firmly established. You have to really build a foundation first, before entering this stage. It means of course, that you will be able to extend your skills from being aware in simple daily activities, to being together with other people. In practice, you watch and feel your feet, buttocks, breathing uninterruptedly, while opening the door, making coffee, and communicating, talking and exchanging with the person(s) you are with. The criterion is this. You should be aware of a positive feedback between all the faculties, in such a way, that each is benefitting from the encounter: your awareness becoming more clear, your bodily energy becoming more alive and your interest in contact with the other person more genuine, in such a way, that the other person is (visibly) pleased by the natural (e.g. warm, positive) attention he or she is receiving from you. 

6. However, to make this start a promising one, everything depends on the driving force behind it. How strong your longing for wholeness is will be the determining factor. If your motivation comes from the mind, your effort very soon will become distracted by other desires. Lucky are those ones, whose longing directly originates from the Source. As you may well know the Ultimate is even more longing for us, than we are for IT. Realizing this to the depth is a matter of grace, the latter is the incomprehensible invitation to unity with our "innermost Core". If this doesn't (yet) happen in your life, realizing your alienation may be a very "useful tool" in generating the longing for wholeness. Painful, honest and courageous awareness about your actual condition is of great help here. Watching and accepting (feeling!) your suffering is where it is all about. Don't try to change, solve or distract it. The more intense your suffering is, the stronger your longing for Wholeness. Once there is nowhere to go anymore, then you may leap into the Other Dimension.

Back     Next

(Back to the start of Han Marie Stiekema's website)

1997-2004 Copyright Han Marie Stiekema. All rights reserved.
Everyone may use this website as a source of inspiration. However, since it
is freely given, no-one can claim, copy or derive any text, rights,
position or status from this website.

Last revising: 11/11/13