The articles below aim to bring clarity to different aspects of the Way, whether related to the Inner Child concept, the Awareness Intensives or any other topic of interest for those who are on the Way.
They are listed chronologically
For any question or comment, please use the contact form.

WeChat Talk_The Path of Knowing Ourselves

The following text is the transcription of a talk given on a WeChat platform on the Path of knowing ourselves.

Dear Friends on the path,
Welcome to this WeChat salon,
Tonight, I’ve been asked to talk about: « The path of knowing ourselves » with the following questions: ‘What is awakening and why is the work on the personality important to know the truth of ourselves?
This is quite a vast topic but I’ll try to be as clear and to the point as possible.

The first thing is to understand how our personality and what we call the True Self or True Nature are interconnected. In some ways, we could compare our personality to an iceberg floating on the ocean of our Essence or True Self.
The surface of this iceberg represents the conscious part of our personality with the behaviour patterns (how we act and react in life) our emotional world and our thinking apparatus. A little underneath is the subconscious layer where are stored the ideas and beliefs that we have on ourselves and on the world around us together with some not yet conscious feelings.
Underneath these two layers is the unconscious layer, which is also multi-layered and it is in the upper part of this unconscious layer that the root cause of all our feelings, ideas and beliefs are stored.
All the above are components of our personality.
But our unconscious does not stop there and as we descend into the depth of this unconscious layer we will find our vital functions (breathing, heart beating, etc.) which can also be affected by the various traumas encountered during our life. Yet these are not part of our personality but of our human nature and at the very depth and containing all of the above is Our Essence, the ocean in which this iceberg is floating and also made of.

Our Human Nature

Understanding this, you can recognize that actually our personality is like a wave on the surface of the ocean. It is made of the same water as the ocean, it is not different from the ocean; it is the ocean in a different arrangement, in a different appearance.
The problem arises when the wave (our personality) starts to think itself separate from the ocean and starts to identify with itself. It is ‘me’, I am the wave and the ocean is something other than me.
This phenomenon happens spontaneously around the age 2 or 3 when a child starts to recognize that ‘It is me’ and this recognition is greatly emphasized by his environment. Everything becomes a duality. There is ‘Me and Mama’, ‘Me and Papa’, ‘Me and You’. And by and by this ‘Me’ becomes the centre around which everything other than me revolves.
Check it for yourself, isn’t it your experience?
To fully recognize this is already a huge step towards awakening.

This phenomenon is called ‘identification’ and ‘awakening’ is the dismantling of this identification. And because this identification occurs with the arising of the personality, there is a need to work on that level first in order to dis-identify from ideas, beliefs and thought forms that carry.
Since within the personality we also carry various traumatic situations that have influenced the building of our personality, these traumas do call for attention and healing too. And since most of these traumas and beliefs that we carry were formed during our childhood, working with the Inner Child concept is a needed step towards this dis-identification.
The work on the Inner Child will help bring a dismantling of some of our ideas & beliefs but most important, it will bring peace to our aching heart and when our heart is at peace, our mind becomes peaceful as a result and a peaceful mind & heart are needed for those who aim to know themselves more deeply.
It is for this reason that I strongly recommend the work on the Inner Child if you are interested in knowing yourself and awakening to your true nature. It is almost a prerequisite when we want to embark on a path towards awakening.
If you understand rightly what I have been saying up to now, you will recognize why this work on the Inner Child and on the personality is so important. It is also important to understand that on the personality level we live in thoughts, our mind is very active and awakening has nothing to do with what we think, with ideas or beliefs, it has to do with experiencing, directly experiencing who we are.

For various reasons and mainly to avoid an aching heart, we tend to refrain from experiencing our feelings and the consequence of this is that we live via our mind. Our mind act as a controller to prevent us from feeling what is felt as threatening for our life. Our mind helps us to stay in a sort of comfortable layer. We are not totally happy but also not completely unhappy and we tend to stay in this grey zone.
The work is firstly about moving away from our mind set of ideas & beliefs into sensing and feeling what is going on for us inside. And in order to do this we need to bring awareness to what is. Cultivating awareness is therefore an essential step towards awakening.

Awareness is about bringing what is unconscious to a conscious level so that it can be dealt with and leave us. And once we become more familiar with our inner space, we will be able to notice that besides the mind activity, besides the emotional activity, besides the sensations, there is also something that can be called silence or stillness.
And when we go deeper into awareness, we can perceive that actually silence or stillness is always there underling the perception of tensions in the body, underling feelings or thoughts.
This Silence or Stillness is our True Nature; it is the very stuff that we are made of and we can sense that it is always there whatever action we take, whatever move we do.
This recognition needs to happen on an experiential level, it needs to be your experience and not just an intellectual understanding as it can be at this moment.
Once this experiential understanding has arisen, that silence/stillness is underling everything, the next step is to allow a merging with this silence/stillness. And for this merging to take place the focus needs to change slightly to awareness itself with the recognition that: ‘I am this awareness’.
Please understand the difference between I am aware of something and I am awareness. We are constantly aware of something, whether it is outside or inside of us, yet this understanding is not obvious and it needs to be clear as a bell ring that I am aware that I am aware and further on that I am awareness itself.
Translated on an experiential level we can recognize that I am not seeing but seeing is happening, I am not hearing but hearing is happening, I am not speaking but speaking is happening.
This can only happen when the sense of ‘me’ has left, when the identification with ‘me’ and ‘something other than me’ has disappeared. The doer, the one who is aware, has disappeared and in that disappearance awakening is taking place.
The problem is that you cannot do it; you cannot force it to happen. It happens but without you doing anything. That why some paths put forward devotion or surrendering as their main focus of teaching.
To summarize, awakening refers to this moment when you understand experientially that you are awareness. Please also understand that this is not the end. Awakening is not the final step! Sorry to disappoint you!
Once you have awakened to Reality or True Nature, whatever name you give it, you will need to cultivate this awakening, meaning to deepen your merging in it and this has no end.
Yet before awakening can take place, working on the personality level is a needed step. That’s why I would encourage you to participate not only in workshops geared towards clearing the personality but also participate in retreats where you can more directly access these realms of silence and stillness with the practice of self-enquiry within a silent environment.

Thank you for your patient and attentive listening, the next part of this WeChat salon will be answering the questions that some of you have risen.
With Love,

Hangzhou, March -2019

WeChat Talk_Personality & Inner Child work

The following text is the transcription of a talk given on a WeChat platform on the Personality & Inner Child work.

Dear Friends on the path,
Welcome to this WeChat salon,
Tonight, within the context of the Embracing Our Inner Child audio series, I’ve been asked to talk about: « Why is the Inner Child work important in order to have a full grown healthy personality? »

The first thing to understand is what the personality is and why this personality does have all kinds of issues and therefore cannot be a full grown healthy personality.
Our personality can be compared to the weaving of a piece of cloth which is not made of just one thread but of many different threads and this weaving starts in early childhood. So not only our personality cloth was weaved with many treads but also with many knots and holes which gave rise to a heavy heart with unbalanced emotions, body tensions and consequently unhappiness.
The way to regain a healthy and joyful heart as well as a stable peace of mind is to understand how this weaving has been weaved so that the knots can untied and the holes be filled in order to let emerge a full grown healthy and mature personality. And to bring this peace of the heart, working with the concept of the Inner Child is the most beneficial way.

You may wonder, and this is the question that was raised tonight, why working with the concept of the Inner Child is the most beneficial way. Isn’t there other ways?
In a nutshell, there is no other ways because a heavy heart and consequently an unbalanced personality is the outcome of how we have lived our childhood and working with the concept of the Inner Child is helpful to tackle and understand our personality, our ways of functioning in life and this work also allows our emotional world to regain a natural and healthy flow.
The work on the Inner Child is efficient in regaining a full grown healthy personality because it takes into account and helps reconnect with the different aspects of our emotional world which are the foundation of our personality. Yet when we are talking about the personality, what are we exactly referring to?
We are referring to a multi-layer and inter-related association of character traits, thought patterns, ideas and beliefs and most of all feelings and their emotions that is active partly in our conscious mind and partly in our unconscious.

In some ways, we could compare our personality to an iceberg floating on the ocean. 
On the surface, in the conscious part we find our character traits or behaviour patterns (how we act and react in life) and our emotional world.
A little underneath in the subconscious layer are stored the ideas and beliefs that we have on ourselves and on the world around us together with some not yet conscious feelings.
Underneath these two layers is the unconscious layer, which is also multi-layered and it is in the upper part of this unconscious layer that the root cause of all our feelings, ideas and beliefs are stored.
All the above are components of our personality.
But our unconscious does not stop there and as we descend into the depth of this unconscious layer we will find our vital functions (breathing, heart beating, etc.) which can also be affected by the various traumas encountered during our life. Yet these are not part of our personality but of our human nature and at the very depth and containing all of the above is Our Essence, the ocean in which this iceberg is floating and also made of.

Our Human Nature

As you can start understanding our personality is not simple and straightforward, it is complex, has multiple facets and therefore carries many issues or better say, unresolved conflicts. And just like a jigsaw puzzle, before we can come to a complete picture, we need to identify the different pieces and how they relate with each other in order to form the final picture and this is what the work on the Inner Child work is doing; it processes by identification or better say by dis-identification and expression.

The character traits that are on the surface of our personality are the manifestation or the results of the way we have been educated, they are the outcome of the ways we have been in relationship with our parents or those who took care of us during childhood and these character traits are sustained by our emotional world and the ideas and beliefs that we carry about ourselves and the world.
And because the Inner Child work helps identifying, connecting with and expressing these inner conflicts and bring their root cause to a conscious level so that they can be seen and accepted for what they are, it becomes an efficient way in regaining a full grown healthy personality.

Let’s take an example.
You are in a couple relationships and your partner does not give you the attention that you would like or expect from him and you become frustrated, resentful or even angry and you start to blame him, have arguments and claim that he should give you the attention that you deserve.
If you look closely at this situation you will find that actually the key point is not that your partner should fulfil your expectation but that you have an expectation and that this expectation is based on an unfulfilled need; the need to be accompanied or taken care of.
And this need has its root in childhood, for some reason your parents did not give you the attention that you would have liked, that you needed; they were busy with their work and in some ways did not pay much attention to you and this made you feel insecure, unloved, uncared for.
And this need for care and attention is still very much present in you as an adult and at the slightest opportunity this need will surface. This need will surface, not openly but in roundabout ways because you have disconnected from the original pain that the unfulfilled need created. Yet that pain is still greatly alive in you. But because you had to move on, because you had to grow up, you found ways to put this pain aside and took on a behaviour pattern, a character trait that attempted to have your need met. You became needy, dependant or pleasing. But as you might have experienced yourself it seldom worked to fulfil your need and it does not work because first of all your partner is also in a similar pattern and most of all your behaviour is disconnected from original need.

The Inner child work will help you recognize the need at play, reconnect with and express the feelings associated with that need so that a healthier ‘me’, a more peaceful ‘me’ can arise. Consequently your personality will change and become more mature because it will not be based on unfulfilled needs anymore but on a more loving and understanding of yourself.
Its efficiency (the Inner Child work) lies in the fact that the root cause of the behaviour patter is seen for what it is and that the feelings that accompany this pattern and the original need are expressed.
When something is expressed fully and in tune with what is true for the person, it melts away, disappear and give place to relaxation, peace and maturity.
As I’ve mentioned in some other talks the three components needed to come to this maturity are:

→ Recognition
→ Acceptance
→ Expression

As mentioned at the beginning, all our adult behaviour patterns are the outcome of the ways we have been in relationship with our parents or those who took care of us during childhood. This is why it is important, if we want to have a more mature and healthy personality, to take care of these unresolved inner conflicts that took place during our childhood and teenage life.
The outcome of the work on the Inner Child will be a personality that is not based on unfulfilled needs or desires but on the reality of what is. You will be the actor of your life instead of being a puppet reacting to situations that life brings you.
This does not mean that you won’t have any feelings or emotions anymore; you will have because you are human beings and feelings and emotions are part of being a human being, but these feelings and emotions won’t be based on unresolved inner conflicts.

As a conclusion and answer to: « Why is the Inner Child work important in order to have a full grown healthy personality? » I’d like to quote Doctor Arthur Janov who was a pioneer in this work on the Inner Child

« Working with the Inner Child help us cry the tears that we could not cry
so that we can laugh the laughs that we could not laugh. »

Thank you for your patient and attentive listening and if you have questions you can send them now.
With Love,

Hangzhou, October-2018

Public Talk_On Communication Cycles

The following text is the transcription of a talk given during a public conference on Communication and Communication Cycles.

Dear Friends,
Welcome to this evening talk,
Tonight I’ve been asked to talk about « How does communication works? »

Every day of our life we relate with others, trying our best to communicate our thoughts, our feelings or emotions and our needs and we do this with the subtle, yet crucial intention to be understood.
It seems that the sole purpose of communicating with others is to be understood. And this is very true because we need understanding. We need to be understood in our needs, in our desires but mostly in who we are. We want to be understood for who and what we are and by being understood we additionally mean being recognized or approved and certainly not judged. And when we are understood, magic happens, we feel joyful and contented.
Isn’t it your experience?

Yet is it always the case? More than often the answer is no. More than often the outcome of our communication with others is dissatisfaction, frustration with, in its wake, blaming and resentment. It can also bring a deep feeling of sadness together with the thought: ‘I’ll never be understood’ which can eventually turn into a belief.
Isn’t this your experience too?

To move out of this unhealthy loop we can seek ways of communicating better and choose from the various communication skills available on the market to be more performant in our communication. Yet this can be misleading because most of these skills are sale oriented and cunning for most. They don’t really consider the person since their aim is more about proving a point or selling a product.
Communication needs to be approached from a different perspective, a perspective of mutual respect. A communication always involves a minimum of two persons and forms a loop where the one who is communicating expresses himself to another in order to have his need met, whatever that need is. It can be the need to express an idea, the need to get something material or immaterial like respect or recognition.

The need does not really matter what really matter is the contentment that comes from expressing fully what we wanted to express and being received and understood in our expression.
The implication of this statement is that both parties have a responsibility in this communication cycle. One has the responsibility of expressing as honestly and as clearly as possible and the other that of listening and understanding what is being shared. Being open is the key factor for a fruitful communication.

A sound communication cycle occurs when 'A' is able to recognize and express what he wants to 'B', and when 'B' is able to receive and understand what 'A' wants. 'A' then recognizes and feels that he has been understood; the communication cycle is then complete.
To summarize, the needed components for a communication cycle to bare fruits are the following:

→ Identification
→ Expression
→ Openness
→ Understanding
→ Response
→ Fulfilment

The drawing shown will make it easier for you to understand a sound communication cycle.

A Sound Communication Cycle

1 → Becoming aware that something in us wants to be communicated (Identification)
2 → Expressing it exactly as it has been identified (Expression)
3 → It being received and accepted by another (Acceptance)
4 → It being understood by another (Understanding)
5 → It being acknowledged by the other for what it is (Acknowledgement)
6 → Noticing that it has been fully received and understood by another (Fulfilment)

The fulfilment aspect comes more from becoming aware that what wanted to be expressed has been fully expressed, understood, received and accepted by another, more that from it being satisfied (getting the apple in our example).
This way of communicating is what takes place in the Awareness Intensives retreats, that’s why they are so powerful.
Unfortunately such a sound communication is seldom the case, since the majority of people have conditioning filters operating consciously or unconsciously and most of the time a communication cycle looks more like this one:

The Six Steps of Miscommunication

In this example of a communication cycle I am a little unclear about what I truly want which is to be loved but I am not really aware of that because it is filtered by my conditioned mind, so ask for sex which is what I think that I want and further, I may also not be able to express openly that I want sex because of my conditionings, so instead I ask for a cuddle, hoping that it will turn into sex.
And since my partner has also his own conditioning filters he will not fully understand my request which will add to the vagueness of the communication cycle. He will respond according to his conditioning filters. He will hear 'a hug' instead of 'a cuddle' and because of his own conditionings he will not be able to act out this hug, so he will give me a big smile.

All these filters will combine and lead to a distorted communication or miscommunication and generate frustration rather than contentment. Yes, in a way some communication has happened, something has been achieved, a communication cycle has taken place but the outcome is far from fulfilment.
Sadly and to a certain degree, that's how most of our communication cycles are taking place in our lives, generating misunderstanding, sadness, frustration, resentment, jealousy and revenge. We can see this at work in couple relationships as well as in social relationships.
Isn’t this your experience too?

We’ve all experience these distorted communications at some point or other in our lives together with the frustration that their repetition generates. A frustration that can pile up to the point that we come to believe that: ‘I’ll never be understood’ or ‘no one understands me!’
Just as a sound communication cycle leaves the person with contentment and joy, a distorted one also leaves its emotional trace. Missed communications are the main source of anger and resentment in people.

This being acknowledge, how can we move out of this unhealthy cycle? How can we improve on our ways of communicating so that a natural fulfilment, contentment becomes the outcome instead of frustration and resentment?
We can improve our communication by becoming more conscious, more aware of how and what we want to communicate and with whom we are communicating. Very often, we are not really communicating but having what I would call a verbal diarrhea; a nonstop talk. Our mind is simply following an impulse and is pouring out words. Furthermore, we don’t really communicate with someone nor even to someone, we simply loop within our own mind as if we are talking to ourselves and use the other person as a projection support.

Realizing this, we can make a short pause in our communication so as to create a stop in our constantly active mind and in this gap we can ask ourselves the question: ‘What am I trying to say? What is it that I really want to communicate?’
This is a significant question because it forces us to take into account the filters that are operating within us. This question takes us out of an unconscious talk into conscious communicating.
And this is the key point; communicating consciously, with an awareness of what I truly want to communicate and the awareness that I communicate with another human being, not a robot. 
What is it that I really want to say?
This question will bring us to the first step of a sound communication, the identification. Knowing what I truly want to communicate is a crucial step. In the example above; wanting to be loved. Then being sincere in our expression and communicating honestly how we are and how we feel will generate an opening in the other person. When we stop pretending to be different than whom we are, immediately an energetic veil lifts and understanding takes place. It is clear that we cannot ask the other person to be an ideal listener, yet when we communicate sincerely and honestly it has an impact on the other person. An opening is created and with this opening, understanding follows.

In order to bring an understanding from experience on what is being talked about here, practical communication exercises are being proposed to participants using relating dyads.

From your own experience after these exercises, you can recognize that sincerity and authenticity are certainly the primary components when we are communicating and when openness and acceptance of what is are also included, a sound communication cycle take place for the benefit of both.
One thing to be fully understood though is that the contentment is not dependent to the satisfaction of the need or the desire. As mentioned earlier, it comes out of becoming aware that what wanted to be expressed has been fully expressed, understood, received and accepted by the other. The reason for this is simple, when we need or desire something, an energetic tension is created around this unfulfilled need and as we are able to complete a communication cycle, this energetic tension leaves us; it has been expressed and received, understanding has taken place and we know that we’ve clearly communicated what we wanted to communicate.
To summarize the steps:

I know what I want to communicate (Identification)
I communicate as clearly and sincerely what I want to communicate (Expression)
The other receives and understands my communication (Understanding & Acknowledgement)
I feel understood, contentment arises naturally (Fulfilment)

It may happen that for some reasons the other person does not understand or cannot hear what we are trying to convey. If we are open it is possible to accept that this is the case and in this acceptance the communication cycle complete itself.
Whenever we communicate with someone, our aim should be to consciously go through these steps. A little practice is needed to get the knack of it, that’s why I would encourage you to practice these simple communication exercises that we just did to become more familiar with sound communication cycles.
And once familiar with sound communication cycles, it is possible to go further with other specifically oriented communication exercises.
Bringing awareness to your communication will not only give you satisfaction, it will also help completing communications that have not been completed in the past, miscommunications that have left tensions in the body-mind system. It is meaningful to complete communication cycles because we are dealing with the completion of desires. A sound communication cycle is, one could say, equivalent to the extinction of a desire.

Thank you all for your patient and attentive listening.
With Love,


Public Talk_On Behaviour Patterns & Beliefs

The following text is the transcription of a talk given during a public conference on how to transform behaviour patterns and beliefs?

Dear Friends,
Welcome to this evening talk,
Tonight I’ve been asked to talk about « How to Transform Old Patterns and Beliefs? »

On a self-development or spiritual path, the first thing to understand is that transformation happens on its own accord; we cannot do transformation; transformation is not in our hands, in our power. Yet we can do much for transformation to happen. And this is what we are going to look at and experience tonight; how to set the pace for transformation to take place.
Maybe the first thing to understand is that behaviour patterns and beliefs go hand in hand. Whenever there is a behaviour pattern, a belief is not far away.

A belief is an idea or a thought form that is accepted, considered to be true, or held as an opinion; something that we give credit to whether it has a reality or not. When we believe we have the conviction that what we believe in is the truth.
A behaviour pattern is a way of functioning or operating within our life environment. It is a way of managing our actions mostly according to past experienced situations. Very seldom do we act; we mostly react and our reactions are driven by our beliefs whether we are conscious of them or not. This implies that there is an association, a direct link between behaviour patterns and beliefs.

Behaviour patterns are not wrong in themselves; they are simply the outcome of a thought form, of a belief that we have. Yet very often we find that these behaviour patterns are inadequate and that they deserve us rather than serving us, thus the natural desire to change or transform them so that they don’t hinder us anymore.
And maybe you have tried to change certain behaviour pattern that you have and made efforts is this attempt. But did it really work?
May be yes for a while but sooner or later you felt back in the old groove and wondered why. The reason is simple and I’ve mentioned it a few moments ago, our behaviour patterns are driven by our beliefs.
And rather than spending time trying to change our behaviour patterns, let’s look at the beliefs that sustain these behaviour patterns.

• If I believe that eating meat is wrong I will become a vegetarian and most probably I will judge those who eat meat.
• If I believe that men are superior to women or vice versa, I will tend to act in a dismissive way towards women or men.
• If I believe that divorce is shameful, I will tend to stay in a relationship that may not be fulfilling for me.
• If I believe that fate exists, I will tend to be depressed.

These are just a few examples… and I’d like to invite you to participate in a little exercise to understand from experience, rather than taking for granted what I am saying. And together we will go through the different steps towards transformation of beliefs and patterns.

→ Take a moment to find out what beliefs you carry, the most obvious ones for now, the three or four most obvious ones.
→ Now, out of this short list of your beliefs, choose the stronger one, the most important one for you.
Once you’ve done that pause for a moment and hold that belief in front of you:
‘I believe that…’
→ And as you do so, notice whatever thoughts associated with this belief come to your mind.
Write them down
→ Once you’ve done this, find out how believing what you believe makes you act in your day to day life.

This first step will allow you to become more conscious of what your beliefs are and how they play a part in your life. Remember, we cannot transform what we are not conscious of and becoming aware or conscious is the first necessary step.
The second step is about understanding where that belief comes from. Where did I pick up this belief? Very often, if not always, we pick up beliefs from others, parents, friends, teachers or priest because we assume (and that’s another belief) that they must be right since they are older or have a position in life.

→ What made me believe what I believe?
Find out with your specific belief where and how you’ve picked it up.
→ Does this belief comes from someone else or was there a specific situation that you’ve experienced that gave birth to that belief?

Once again, the more clarity you can gain on the origin of your belief, the easier it will be for a transformation to take place.
If it comes from someone else, obviously it is not yours but only a thought form that you have adopted. And the question that you may now want to ask yourself is: ‘why did I take that belief on?’, What was or were my motivations for taking this belief on board?
And you will be surprise, may be it was because you wanted to please someone, get approval or be accepted by someone or be included in a group, whatever that group was, family, school or a community.
Finding out your motivation will gently allow a melting of your belief.

For example:
• I wanted approval and recognition from father so taking on his belief about women kept me on his side and gave me sense of security.
• Or mother was constantly worried about money in her marriage, cursing existence for not giving her the man that she thought she deserved and who could bring a good income. And you wanted mama’s attention, love and care so in order to get that you agreed with her that yes there is fate and bad luck.

On the other hand if your belief comes from a situation that you have experienced; for instance: as a child you were often expressing your feelings or desires, yet each time you did you were blamed or made ashamed of.
Your belief could be that expressing my feeling is wrong and shameful and maybe even further to: ‘I am shameful to have feelings or desires’.
In this case your belief does not come from you seeking attention or love but from your experience of others imposing on you, from others not respecting you.
The way out of this belief will be to consciously allowing the expression of your feelings and desires in a safe environment, an environment where you won’t be judge, condemned or made ashamed of.

From what has been said and your own experience in this little exercise of tracking back where your belief comes from you can understand that the problem is not with or about the belief that you thought had a grip on you but more with or about your motivations, your experiences.
The implication of this tracking back is that for transformation to take place, the focus should not be so much on the belief itself but on ‘you’.
You wanted to be loved, approved, respected, etc... and in order to get that you took on a belief with in its wake a behaviour pattern.
This recognition, when it happens will completely eradicate the belief from your mind because you are now dealing with the root cause of your belief. And this is how transformation is at work, when we bring our awareness to the root cause of any phenomena and give support to what needs to be taken care of.

It is our beliefs that are the drive of our behaviour patterns, therefore, trying to deal with behaviour patterns directly will not have much effect, yes a little can change can be put in place, but as long as the root cause is not seen, these patterns will continue to have a grip on our lives.
Remember, 99% of the time the beliefs that you carry are not from your own experience of reality; they were imparted on you from outside. This is why it becomes relatively easy to support a transformation to take place.

Remember the steps:
→ What is my belief?
→ What are the thought forms associated with this belief?
→ How believing what I believe made me act in my day to day life?
→ How did I picked it up that belief, what was/were my motivations for taking this belief on?

The false always dissolve in front of clarity this is why bringing awareness to our beliefs, to our thought form enable transformation to settle in effortlessly.

This being said, I need to add that there are two sorts of beliefs; conscious beliefs and also unconscious ones. And of course these unconscious beliefs are more difficult to spot and dissolve.
To make you understand what an unconscious belief is, I’ll give you a personal example.
When I was 9 years old I became very sick; I hosted a virus in my left leg that was eating the bone structure of the leg. The doctors were talking about cutting my left leg to stop the infection from spreading. The pain was so intense that most of the time I was in a sort of feverish coma, yet I could hear everything that was being said around me and I did hear the doctors and my parents talking about this eventuality of cutting my leg.
After a while I was taken to hospital for surgery and unfortunately, I woke up while on the operation table, completely shocked, screaming and shouting, not knowing what was really going on, not able to feel my left leg and I was afraid that they were in the process of cutting it. They gave me another dose of tranquilizer to calm me down and keep me unconscious.
When I woke up some time later I could not realize whether they had cut my leg or not because the whole leg was in plaster and I did not have any sensation from my leg. My parents told me that the doctors did not cut my leg but I could not really believe them. It was only when some sensation came back in my leg and that I could see with my own eyes that my leg was still there that I knew that they had not cut it. It took me seven months to recover and walk normally again.
On a conscious level I knew that my two legs were there; yet unconsciously and this I only discovered many years later, I was still with the belief that they were going to cut my leg. And because of that belief my whole left side was pulled in as a ‘no’ to: ‘I don’t want my leg to be cut’. And although I could see and feel that the reality was that my leg is here and function well, that it was obvious that it had not been cut of; the unconscious belief that ‘they are going to cut my leg’ was active in the background and created many draw backs in my body.
I had to work many hours psychologically and physically to access this unconscious belief because of the terror and panic that was linked to it. And when I discovered that I had this this belief, that it was active in me, it was both a shock to realize that I had carried this belief for so long and at the same time a relief because a deep understanding took place. Not only was the belief seen but its root cause too and the tension that was held in the body could then relax.
I’m relating this example because I know from experience that it is rewarding to take care of the conscious beliefs that we carry when we want to live a healthier and more natural life and it does pay off to go a little deeper and take care of the beliefs that are haunting our subconscious mind.   
And working with people made me understand that it is a common strategy to every human psyche to bury undesirable or unbearable beliefs in some corner of our subconscious mind until there is a possibility of clarifying it. Life or Existence is always health oriented, growth oriented, even if it takes years for spring to come.

I’d like to conclude this talk by encouraging each of you to question every belief that you have, one by one, using the steps that I’ve describe during this talk so that your life can enrich and take a different turn, a healthy turn, so that you become the master of your own destiny and not a mere believer. 

Thank you all for your patient and attentive listening.
With Love,

Hangzhou_March 2018

Public Talk_Personality & True Nature

The following text is an abridged transcription of the last talk from the Embracing Our Inner Child audio series.

Life has no Goal

Dear Friends,
I would like to clarify a possible misconception about working with the Inner Child concept and what is sometimes referred to as: ‘Our True Nature’. When we work with the Inner Child concept we work on the level of the personality, also known as the ‘ego’, and this work is mainly about:

  • Clarifying the various elements that compose our personality
  • Bringing understanding to the ways that we function in life
  • Stepping out of non-useful judgments and obsolete behaviour patterns
  • Bringing a loving attention and care to these wounded parts of us

All this, in order to regain the aliveness, the spontaneity and the creativity that was veiled during childhood.

This work with the Inner Child enables us to live a life more in accordance with our true aspirations, letting our intrinsic passion for life blossom. As this work helps us to gain a more loving attitude towards ourselves and consequently towards others, it also makes us permeable to another dimension; a dimension that is beyond what we usually imagine ourselves to be.
What we call ‘the personality’ is actually centered or focus on one and only parameter and this parameter is: ‘me’. Everything is centered on or revolves around this ‘me’, hence the term ‘ego’ (me in Latin).

  • Me and my thoughts
  • Me and my feelings
  • Me and my body and its limitations
  • Me and my ideas, judgements, beliefs and expectations
  • Me and my belongings (my house, my car, my wife/husband, my child, etc.)

And this sense of ‘me’ is made even stronger when we start experiencing that: ‘I’ exists, that: ‘I’ am here, that: it is ‘me’; not in a self-centred or egoistic way but more on an experiential level, a down to earth level of ‘me’ standing on my own two feet with a sense of strength, of openness to life in general together with the joy of simply being alive, existing.
This is what working with the Inner Child can bring you to experience and consequently live this sense of: ‘I’ exist, ‘I’ am here, it is ‘me’.

Yet when we reach this level of understanding and experiencing of our personality, we can also sense that there is more to life than this personality realm, maybe this personality realm is not our life ultimate goal; maybe something vaster is possible. This questioning can also come with a sense of something incomplete, something missing.
And a question may spontaneously arise: “if so, then what is actually this ‘me’?” or “who am I?”
When such a question arises naturally, and not because of following some ideal or the beliefs that it fits well to be interested in such questions, a plunge into a different dimension is then kicked off. A plunge into what is usually referred to as: ‘spirituality’; a door to a ‘spiritual path’ opens and with it the search for ‘who’ and ‘what’ we truly are has started, the search for our True Nature, for our Essence.

In our first audio and in Connecting with our Inner Child I mentioned about our our Essence.

Buddha Nature, the Self, True Nature

I mentioned that: « when a child is born, he is untampered consciousness, this new life is pure acceptance; this new life is pure stillness. This new life is what is often referred to as Buddha nature, True Nature or Godliness and that Aliveness, Joy, Acceptance and Stillness are what compose this ‘Essence’. Our essence is the first layer from which all subsequent layers will spring ».
And this is what spirituality is truly about: regaining connection with our essence, living from our essence and not from this sense of ‘me’. So when we are on a ‘spiritual path’ we are not searching for something that would be outside of us, nor even inside of us, but more regaining the capacity to live connected with our Essence.
When we are working with the ‘Inner Child’ concept we aim to regain the aliveness, the joy, the spontaneity of this ‘I am’ that we were as a child so that our lives can be lived in openness and creatively. And to regain this true sense of ‘me’ we had to recognize and discard, let go of, what we were not: the judgments that were put on us, the ideas and beliefs that we took on, the behaviour patterns that we took on in order to cover our wounds.
In the same way the work on a spiritual path or towards Our True Nature is also about recognizing and discarding what we are not so that living from our essence and not from a sense of ‘me’ can become a lived experience.
Questioning this sense of ‘me’ is the purpose of all spiritual teachings and in order to do this, over the centuries different ‘self-enquiry’ methods have been developed. Self-enquiry simply means enquiring about the authenticity of what we refer to as: ‘me’, also called ‘the self’ or ‘I’.

So please don’t misunderstand the Inner Child work with the aim to regain the capacity to live connected with our Essence or True Nature. Working with the Inner Child concept and Self-enquiry refer to two different realms of this human being that we are; the personality realm of our incarnation and the trans-personal realm. Yet, although these two realms are quite dissimilar, their form an undividable unity often named: Oneness or True Nature.
And just as you needed courage and integrity to embark on this work with the Inner Child concept in order to face and heal the wounds that were gathered during childhood, in the same way, Self-enquiry will require from you courage and integrity together with an unwavering desire for truth in order to let this Oneness or True Nature emerge.
The quest for Oneness or True Nature is the natural continuation of the Inner Child work; some even say that the Inner Child work is the needed bridge towards our True Nature. And the question that may arise for you now is: How to get there? What is this self-enquiry and how to work with it?
As mentioned earlier, self-enquiry simply means enquiring about the authenticity of what we refer to as: ‘me’, ‘the self’ or ‘I’ in order to discover the true nature of this ‘I’ of this ‘me’; another way of saying this would be: ‘Is it true?’, is this ‘me’ a tangible reality?
That is what self-enquiry is; a quest for truth and this quest require a plunge into the reality of what is and to leave aside what we dream or imagine the reality to be.

We naturally tend to hold on to this ‘me’ because this is all we know and because of the intrinsic fear: “who will I be without this ‘me’?”, “who will I be without ‘my’ story?” We’ve lived with this ‘me’; we’ve lived from this ‘me’ for as long as we can remember. We have taken this ‘me’ for granted; never questioning its reality and not realizing that actually this sense of me generates a separation, a duality and that this duality or separation is the root cause of all our suffering.
Haven’t you noticed that there is always ‘me’ and ‘something other than me’?

  • ‘me’ and ‘you’
  • ‘me’ and ‘my body’
  • ‘me’ and ‘my mind, my ideas, my beliefs’
  • ‘me’ and ‘my feelings, my emotions’.
  • ‘me’ and ‘my story’, the story of this ‘me’.
  • And for those more ‘spiritually advanced’: ‘me’ and my ‘awareness’.

Understanding this constant duality at play is the first step in self-enquiry and the knack of self-enquiry is to bring the focus, not on what is ‘other than me’ as we usually do but on ‘me’ and to question its reality. Self-enquiry is about discarding what is not ‘me’, like peeling an onion, not this, not this, not this, until nothing more remain to be discarded and it is then that Oneness or True Nature reveals itself.
It is a journey of many rewards, a journey worth travelling on and this is my invitation to you, now that you’ve regained a sense of strength, of openness to life in general and the joy of simply being alive after completing the work with the Inner Child, to continue your journey with the awareness intensive retreats.
In these retreats we use a specific self-enquiry method derived from the Japanese Zen tradition that is designed to lead the participant to directly experience Oneness or True Nature.

Simply see what feels right for you, knowing that when you let your heart guide your steps, you will never go wrong and never be deceived.
With Love,

Hangzhou_November 2017

Only Truth Liberates

One of the advantages of taking part in a long intensive is that some of the beliefs or pre-conceived ideas that we carry get shaken in their very foundation and can even be uprooted for good. As far as truth is concerned, the question one is working on does not really matter, what really matters is that one keeps at it day after day. Before I took this 2-week intensive, I was under the impression that when I will ‘get to the truth’, the ‘ultimate truth’, this very fact will liberate me, will free me of all mental conditionings. But first I had to get to that point of ‘being truth’.

Some years ago, in a 3-day intensive, I did experienced ‘being truth’; yet that experience did not actually liberate me. At the most it gave me this certainty that what I am is truth and gave me the ability to recognize truth whenever it is expressed, either in me or in another. I came to experience and understand that Truth arises in a person when there is an adequacy between what is felt inside and what is being expressed. In other words when you are what you express.
Yet I was still under the impression that I ‘had to be truth’ in its ultimate sense to be liberated.
Well… this proved to be a ‘true’ pre-conceived idea. As I was trotting along in this 2-week intensive, expressing each truth of the moment as it arose in my awareness out of my intention to have a direct experience of me – I was working with the question: ‘Who am I’, I suddenly became aware of this saying: ‘Truth liberates’ and at the same time I realized that I was liberating myself as truth was being said, moment to moment, simple little truth after simple little truth.
In that moment of understanding, all went upside down, a crack of laughter came out; I realized that the mistake was that I had turned truth into an object, a goal to be attained before liberation could take place.
This was a relief in two ways; there was no ‘truth’ out there to be attained as a prerequisite to some liberation and I was liberating myself right here and now by the very fact of expressing truth moment to moment. In a burst of laughter I realized that I was the craftsman of my own liberation.
What a joy and a relief this was!
This understanding certainly gave me juice to move on through deeper layers of my psyche and a confidence, a trust that all is all right as it is. It also made me understand more clearly what is meant by ‘look at the path rather than the goal’ or ‘the path is the goal’.

More later
Namaste to you all

WeChat Talk_Freedom from emotional bondage

The following text is the transcription of a talk given on a WeChat platform on being free from emotional bondage.

Dear Friends on the path,
Welcome to this WeChat salon,
Tonight, within the context of the Embracing Our Inner Child workshops series, I’ve been asked to bring answers to this question: « How do we get trapped in our emotions? » and clarify « what emotional bondage is ».

I’m sure that it is a well-known experience to all of you that sometimes you found yourselves entangled in one specific emotion that seems not to leave you. You are constantly angry or resentful for instance. Whatever situations life brings you, anger is roaming in you. Or sadness seems to be your life companion. It may also be fear, or shame or guilt and it feels like you’ve known this emotion since a long long time; almost as if you were born with it.

It is actually not so much the emotion that we are trapped in but more the feeling that sustain the emotion. And it may feel like an invisible net entangling us.

As a reminder, an ‘emotion’ is only the outburst of a feeling; it is a feeling in motion, the visible part of a feeling. You could compare it to the visible part of an iceberg. And although it is this visible part that causes relationship problems; it is not the source. The source dwells within the feeling. This implies that acting on the emotion to reduce it or dispel it may have some effect but will not actually solve anything.
I’m sure that many of you have tried to change behaviour patterns linked with a feeling or at least tried to regulate them as best you could and noticed that actually however hard you tried to change or control this emotional bondage, it is still active in you; whenever a certain button is pushed; the feeling and its emotion burst out and you are overwhelmed by it, feeling trapped in it and it leaves you helpless, impotent, at a loss with this.

So the question that naturally comes is: ‘How come?’, ‘Why am I trapped like this?’, ‘Why do I remain enslaved to this emotion?’
We remain trapped or enslaved because we don’t look at the feeling directly, we usually only try to control it so that it does not disturb us too much. Seldom do we take the time to question this feeling; to find out where it comes from, to understand what its root cause is.
We get trapped into emotional bondage because we cannot face our feelings directly. On the surface it may look like we don’t want to face this emotion or this feeling but in reality, it is part of an inbuilt and automatic mechanism to put aside what can be felt as a threat to our survival. We don’t have any say on this; it is part of the functioning of our autonomous nervous system, just like breathing is, just like growing old is. Everything in us is geared towards survival, so whenever a situation is recognized by our nervous system as potentially threatening to our survival it is put aside in order to keep us functioning in the best way possible. An adaptation you could say. We adapt; and this is not specific to human being; everything in nature is bind to this law. From plants to animals, all are bind to this law of adaptation in order to survive, in order to perpetuate the species.
I mention this because very often as human being we develop this idea that we are not good enough; that we should be different, that we have to work hard to change and this allows a feeling of guilt or shame to creep in.
It is really out of our control, out of our doing, yet because we also have a built-in health regulator system, a possibility of transformation exists.
So the root-cause of that feeling is put aside in some unconscious part of our psyche, where it stays dormant, waiting to be digested. Yet to be digested it needs to come to the open, to the conscious mind where it can be consciously felt and recognized for what it is and thus dissolve.
Existence is constantly giving us opportunities to bring the resolution of that bondage out but we seldom grab these as opportunities, most of the time we experience them as hindrances.

The feeling in itself is not the problem; the feeling is only the outcome of a situation experienced as painful, thus trying to fix the feeling will not bare fruits. What will bear fruits is a conscious acceptance of the situation, a yes to it. And this is often difficult because the original situation can be well hidden and our built-in health regulator system is also often incapacitated. So we are left with a sense of being trapped, enslaved to that feeling, with seemingly no other option than to fight it or bare it.
It is Fear and Attachment that are keeping us entangled in this non-healthy dynamic

Understanding this mechanism, understanding that it is not out of our doing that we are trapped into a feeling can help us take away any unnecessary guilt feeling and give us the incentive to have a look at how can I take care of this feeling that is creating trouble for me.
It is this change of attitude, not wanting to get rid of the feeling but accepting it and letting it tell us what it has to say that will allow our built-in health regulator system to kick in. In a sense we don’t have much to do, simply being with, allowing; yet this seems to be the most difficult thing to do, at least in the beginning.
Once we have this willingness to understand what is at play in our psyche, to look openly at what is driving us, a different gestalt starts to operate. By and by fighting disappears and Love settles in. It may take some time to come to the root cause of that feeling, to walk that path towards being free from this emotional bondage, yet a healing process is being generated and transformation takes place with, in its wake, maturity.
A more mature person will be the outcome.

The person who raised this question: ‘How do we get trapped in our emotions?’ most probably had a second question in mind, maybe something like: ‘and how can I free myself from this emotional bondage that I feel caught in?
I’ve mentioned earlier the general direction to take; and that is to move out from the desire to get rid of the feeling and to accept that it is like this. This is a needed change and already a major change because you are moving out of judging yourself for having this emotional bondage and engaging into a more loving relationship with yourself.
And for this you will have to practice what I have mentioned in previous talks and workshops:
The transformative trilogy:

→ Recognize (what is)
→ Accept (that this is the case)
→ Express (what needs to be expressed)

Recognizing comes first, because it is not possible to deal with something that we are not conscious of.
Then accepting that this is the case opens the door to understand what this feeling wants to tell us.
Finally, expressing helps create a discharge of the stuck energy and this ‘expressing’ can take different forms, not only emotional release as many people think. Verbal sharing, writing, painting, dancing can be used as well as different bodywork techniques.

Walking this transformative path alone will not be easy, support is needed and support can take the form of participating in a workshop or taking individual sessions. Outside support is needed because our mind can easily delude us and the supportive hand of someone who has walked this path before can be an encouragement, an incentive to drop our fears and to gather the needed courage to trust ourselves, to trust life or existence. Because ultimately there is only trust; trust is all there is.
Acceptance is Trust and Trust is Acceptance, two words for the same reality.

Thank you for your patient and attentive listening,
With Love,
Hangzhou, October-2017

The Guesthouse_Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness
comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

Rumi, excerpted from: The Essential Rumi, by Coleman Barks

WeChat Talk_Western Psychology versus Eastern Meditation

The following text is the transcription of a talk given on a WeChat platform on Western Psychology & Eastern Meditation.

Dear Friends on the Path,
Welcome to this WeChat salon,
Tonight I’ve been asked to bring answers to this question: « How can we combine Western Psychology with Eastern Meditation in order to come back to our True Nature? ».

Some of you may remember what I’ve said on this topic in a previous Salon in Hangzhou, yet it will be helpful to recall the main points for those of you who were not present at the time and it will also be an opportunity to go deeper.As you probably remember, in my talk in the last WeChat salon, I clarified the difference between Meditation and techniques for meditation.
To summarise what I said in that talk: all meditation techniques are designed to access a state of inner union or wholeness which can be called: ‘Meditation’, ‘True Nature’, ‘Buddha Nature’, ‘the Divine’, “the Self”, ‘Silent Awareness’, etc. many names for one single ‘experience’.
Moreover, in this approach, with these techniques, little importance is given to what we call the personality, simply because our True Nature has nothing to do with the personality level.
The Eastern approach regards what we call the personality as an illusion that we have to transcend. Or better said, regards the identification with this personality as an illusion.

The modern Western approach on the contrary gives much importance to the personality. I say the modern Western approach because in the past (10–13 centuries and before) the emphasis in the West was also on meditation and not on so much on the personality.
It is with the arising of modern age (17th century) and the development of knowledge and technology that a shift happened. The focus was then put more on the individual and how this individual could live and lead a better life, first materially and then psychologically.
When the basic material needs of food and shelter were fulfilled, the concern shifted towards fulfilling the psychological needs which in turn lead to the development of the psychoanalysis movement.

Psychology deals with the well-being of the human being, with feelings, with emotions with ideas and concepts, whilst the Eastern approach bypasses this to focus solely on the Self or True Nature. 
What the Western approach takes for granted and for real, the Eastern approach gives little attention to it or even denies it.
With this in mind, you can start to understand the difference of these two approaches:

Eastern Meditation
Western Psychology

To summarise:
Generally speaking, the Eastern approach declares that we are not the body, that we are not those feelings and that we are not the mind.  We are other than that, we are Consciousness to use one word. Our True Nature is Consciousness.
It declares that the separation that is created when we identify with our body-mind system is simply an illusion and that we have to see through this illusion to really be who we are.

The Western approach, on the other hand, puts forward that the only reality is this body-mind system and that if we want to live happily we have to take care of it physically and psychologically.
On its own, western psychology is helpful to resolve some basic suffering issues and this is already quite valuable; yet, for someone in search of his True Nature; western psychology will not suffice, it will need to be coupled with something else and that something else can be a self-enquiry method or some meditation techniques in order to better ease the way to this opening to what is real.

These two systems are radically different in their approach and may even seem antagonistic like day and night, like black and white.
It is not quite so and to make you understand more clearly how to understand this apparent dichotomy, take the example of the Tao symbol, this black-and-white circle with an opposite colour dot in each segment.
They seem to be opposite because our perception of ‘the reality’ is somewhat distorted and narrowed to focus on this side or that side and by doing so we keep ourselves in a dual perspective and we miss the fact that these two sides are in fact united in one circle. The key is the circle, not one of the sides or the other.
Similarly our approach to what we are needs to include both, the incarnation that we are and well as the non-manifested aspect.

→ On one level we are this body-mind system which appears to be a separate entity, independent, different from any ‘others’.
→ On another level we are the absolute, the non-manifested (our True Nature) which does not exclude anything, which is all inclusive.

Every human being is an incarnation that comes out of ‘nothing’, out of the ‘absolute’ and disappear into ‘nothing’. Before you were born you did not exist as a physical entity, after you pass away the body decays and returns to nothing.
Yet this time between birth and death is the manifestation of that ‘nothing’, just like a wave is a manifestation of the ocean. And for us human beings, this incarnation implies three main aspects under one roof:

→ A body and sensations
→ Feelings and emotions
→ A thinking mind

Plus…. and this is what I meant by ‘one roof’: the awareness of all these three aspects. That’s the circle I was mentioning before with the Tao symbol; the two sides that are united in one circle.
As human beings, we are all these: the awareness, the body, the feelings and the thinking mind.
The state of ‘Meditation’ is the inclusion of all these aspects. That’s why it is important, when we are in search of experiencing our ‘True Nature’ not to exclude any of these aspects.
We are multi-layer, multidimensional and each layer not only has its place, its function but is also inseparable from the other.
Yet, identifying with one aspect is a sure way to miss the whole, just like omitting one will lead to a misunderstanding of what reality is. And what is reality you may ask?
Reality is wholeness, unity, oneness, non-separation, non-duality. Said differently, reality is the inclusion of all there is, including the seemingly separation, the seemingly identification with an entity that we define as: ‘me’.

To come to this realisation, the easiest way is to start with what is directly at our reach. And what is directly reachable, palpable, is our body-mind system.
This body, these feelings and this mind are directly available to us, even if ultimately we have to transcend them in order to experience our True Nature.
The Western approach of psychology can be of a great help on this path towards our True Nature because it will help us to understand our functioning mechanisms as well as our psychological blockages. It will help us understand the cause of our suffering.
That’s why working on loosening the body, working with feelings and their expression, as well as making use of the thinking mind will help open and broaden our scope of understanding about what living is about, about what life is.
We are life at play, yet we are seldom conscious of this undoubtable reality.

While working on these three realms, body, feelings and mind, by and by the relationship between thoughts, feelings and sensations will be seen and with this observation, a de-identification from this play will start taking place which in turn will create openness for something wider to manifest.
When we disengage from our identification with the ideas and beliefs that we carry, it will automatically allow the experience of awareness to take place, simply because Awareness is our True Nature, two different words for a single reality, the reality that we are.

If we start from the other end, from the ‘spiritual’ end, the risk is to move into some dream land, some dis-incarnated land, like taking refuge on a mountain pick, completely cut off from the reality of this world, a kind of ‘spiritual schizophrenia’.
It can also feel like moving towards some seemingly inaccessible peaks.
It will be like talking about food while you are starving. This will not satisfy your hunger; you’ll have to eat real food first.
And only then, when you are contented with basic food, will you be available for more subtle nourishment. Just like you cannot write a book before you’ve learned the alphabet and how to put letters together to form a word and then a sentence.

That’s why I emphasise working on the personality level as a doorway to meditation.
Since most people are entangled in some emotional knots and mind sets resulting from their childhood experience, working on the personality level is needed to first make some room; to clean the space before something else can reveal itself.
And the active meditation techniques that I use, especially the dynamic meditation, are also geared in that direction of clearing the way for a state of meditation to arise.

Most of you have travelled by plane and you’ve all noticed that after take-off, the plane has to cross or go through a layer of clouds before reaching the ever and infinite blue sky.
You are the blue sky, each of us is this blue sky but each of us is also entangled in some clouds and for some, the clouds are darker, stormier.
But they are only clouds, the essential you is the blue sky.
Yet to realise this, a little clarification work is needed.

So, coming back to the ‘How’ question: « How to combine Western Psychology with Eastern Meditation in order to come back to our True Nature? ».

In the previous WeChat salon, talking about the work that I offer, I mentioned that: “Because we are incarnated human beings as well as ‘spiritual’ beings, working on both these areas is needed”.
And the form that I have given to my workshops matches the different phases that we go through in life. Since most of our distorted behaviour as adults come from childhood traumas, working on our childhood conditioning with the series of workshops: ‘Embracing our Inner Child’, is a necessary step.
As mentioned before, we are incarnated human beings, so in these workshops I weave work on the body together with work on feelings and their expression, since repressing has played a major role in many people’s lives. The thinking mind is also engaged to not only intellectually understand what is going on but also to bring clarity to what is being experienced.
And as we are also ‘spiritual’ beings, I’ve included an active meditation, dynamic meditation in all my courses. Dynamic meditation is a perfect meditation technique because it weaves together the physical and personality level during the first three stages and the spiritual level during the last two stages.
Once this personality level has been clarified, one can move on to the more in-depth approach with the Awareness Intensives Retreats

When working on the personality level we must not forget that we are not ‘just that’. And when working on the ‘spiritual’ level we also must not forget that we are also incarnated beings.
We are one connected whole, there is really no separation between the physical and the spiritual; it is all one.
This weaving is important to support a durable change, a durable transformation and the two main ingredients of this weaving are: Commitment and Acceptance.

• Commitment keeps you in line with the task at hand, commitment creates freedom.
On this, let me quote a Sufi mystic Aziza Sa'id:

“When you commit to your path, when you give yourself over to your way of growth, magic happens... obstacles get out of your way, mountains lay down before you, the sky opens up above you, and you will find yourself transformed.”

• Acceptance creates a supportive and favourable environment for transformation to take place.

Attending these workshops can become an opportunity for you to learn, on a practical level, on a tangible level, on an experiential level, how to combine Western Psychology with Eastern Meditation in order to come back to your True Nature because you will be working on in the full spectrum of what composes a human being; your ‘beingness’.
To close this talk, I’d like to encourage every one of you who would like a durable transformation to take place, everyone who senses this desire to come back to his True Nature to gather courage and participate in these workshops as well as in individual sessions where a more personal support can be provided.
Coming back to your True Nature should be your primary focus, not simply trying to resolve some issue that you may have in your life.

Thank you for your patient and attentive listening
With Love,

Hangzhou, July-2016

Who am I?

I am nothing. I believe that I am; my ego pretends to be the ruler, the king, the emperor; yet he rules on a kingdom of clouds, of inconsistencies, of illusions. I am nothing and my ego wants to be something, to be somebody, it wants to exist.
Yet I ‘know’ that I am nothing, I ‘know’ that it is Existence which is, it is existence which gives me shelter for a time, a lifetime. I ‘know’ that I am nothing and that Existence only is.
And this knowing enriches me, fills me with joy. I finally take my true place, I've found my true place, harmony in the world is again here; I do not disturb it anymore.
With this knowing, several generations of bragging, of blaspheming, of lies dissolve; humility is back, celebration can take place!


- Haïkus from Basho -
The old pond
a frog jumps in,
Sitting quietly,
doing nothing,
spring comes,
and the grass grows by itself.

Meeting with a cup of tea

During my stay in Taiwan I had this desire to learn more about the different kinds of tea. A friend took me to a 'Tea shop' where I could ask questions and taste different teas. Everything was going along smoothly, I was learning about 'white teas', 'green teas', 'Oolong Teas', 'Poor Teas' and watching the art of brewing & serving these different teas as well as seeping them.
Our 'tea master' was preparing different teas for us to taste. In fact it is quite a similar experience to wine tasting – looking at the colour, smelling the fragrance, slowly seeping the tea. Watching our 'tea master' preparing the teas was too, an experience in itself.
Cooling the water in a little jar after it has boiled so that the tea does not get a heat shock, then poring the cooled water over the tea in a glass container, covering it whilst the tea is 'waking up', discarding this first 'brew', then adding more water for the tea to reveal its qualities. From time to time she would take the lid off this glass 'tea pot' and smell the inside cover to check the fragrance. When the 'right timing' had come, she would then pour the tea into our tiny cups for us to smell, see and taste.

Quite a ritual indeed! And what to say about the 'instruments' and 'containers' used… We experienced white teas, green teas, 'poor teas' and more fermented teas like Oolong teas until she asked us if we would like to taste a vintage tea, an 80 year old tea.
Vintage tea…, 80 years old?
I am surprised, are we taking about Tea or Cognac? – Allright, let's try…
The first sip was a bit 'oaky' and not too pleasant, may be because of all the other teas we had experienced before, may be because it was the 'first brew'.
Our 'tea master' pores us a second brew, little darker in colour, amber like. I take a little time to smell it and start sipping it gently.
Suddenly all my senses are on alert, something is happening here. A meeting is happening; it is as if the tea is talking to me, as if the tea has a soul. It is no more a tea, some nice beverage, it becomes like a friend, a communion is happening.
I am not drinking tea – not even tea is being drunk – there is no me and there is no tea – simply a merging, a oneness.
Blissful moment, divine moment, silent moment!
All I can articulate is: 'this tea has a soul'. That tea touched my heart; I fell grateful towards this tea for giving me such an opportunity, such a divine moment.

What an experience it was, not easy to find the words to convey what happened, especially after a few days. Can any tea – or any beverage - convey a similar experience? Most probably, I guess it only depends on how I am open to 'this moment'. The previous teas, the set up, the relaxed state opened the way for this experience to take place. Still this 'old fellow' has something and it would have been pitiful to miss it.
Namaste 'old fellow', I bow to you 'old fellow', saluting the Buddha within you.

In gratefulness
Taichung, Taiwan Septembre 2007

Awareness Intensives_Questions

In the Japanese Rinzai Zen School, riddle-like question, called ‘koans’, are used to provoke the practitioner to discover truth within himself. A koan cannot be answered through logic; the answer can only be experiential. When the mind is exhausted with trying and trying to figure it out, it gives way and you are then available to experience the existential truth of the answer.
Similarly, the awareness intensive uses traditional questions such as: ‘Who am I?’ or ‘What am I?’ to point towards a ‘being’ experience. More specifically oriented questions such as: ‘What Love is?’ are also used to experience a quality, an aspect of our essence.

Self-enquiring with such like questions brings the practitioner to become conscious of his beliefs, his pre-conceived ideas and mind frames about that particular aspect of himself. As he fully communicates what came out of his intention to directly experience his question, a clarification occurs, with, in its wake, a letting go.

Questions used during a 3-day intensive
Who is in → Tell me who is in
Who am I? → Tell me who you are
What am I? → Tell me what you are
Life → Tell me what life is
Another → Tell me what another is

Questions used during longer intensives
The same one as above plus:
Relaxation → Tell me what relaxation is
Trust → Tell me what trust is
Sexuality → Tell me what sexuality is
Beauty → Tell me what beauty is
Love → Tell me what love is
Truth → Tell me what truth is
Freedom → Tell me what freedom is
Alone → Tell me what you are like if completely alone
Consciousness → Tell me what consciousness is
Mῡ → Tell me what mῡ is
True Nature → Tell me your true nature

« It is all about discarding, not this, not this and ultimately when nothing remains to be discarded -- then is the explosion. Do not cling to anything, to any thought. Go on and on until the nothingness.»

♦ A Zen story….
« I have heard about a little boy Toyo and his meditations.
He was only twelve years old but he wanted to be given something to ponder, to meditate on, so one evening he went to Mokurai, the Zen master, struck the gong softly to announce his presence and sat before the master in respectful silence.
Finally the master said:
Toyo, show me the sound of two hands.
Toyo clapped his hands.
Good, said the master. Now show me the sound of one hand clapping.
Toyo was silent. Finally, he bowed and left to meditate on the problem.
The next night he returned and struck the gong with one palm.
That is not right, said the master.
The next night Toyo returned and played the Shamisen with one hand.
That is not right, said the master.
Again and again Toyo returned with some answer but the master said again and again, “That is not right”.
For nights Toyo tried new sounds but each and every answer was rejected. The question itself was absurd so no answer could be right. And when on the eleventh night Toyo came, before he spoke anything the master said: That is still not right!
Then he stopped coming to the master.
For a year, he thought of every possible sound and discarded them all, and when there was nothing left to be discarded any more he exploded into enlightenment. When he was no more he returned to the master and without striking the gong he sat down and bowed. He was not saying anything and there was silence.
Then the master said, so you have heard the sound without sound! »

Osho, excerpted from: A Cup of Tea
Letter 215

Awereness Intensive_The Schedule

The schedule of the awareness intensive is quite a demanding one. This rigor allow a secure and supportive framework within which participants are able to put all other concerns aside and focus intensely on their quest. The days start early and finish late. Each day there are up to ten communication exercises (dyads). These are interwoven with other meditative activities such as active meditations, silent walks, working meditation, eating and resting meditation. In this way, the day becomes a 24-hour self-enquiry.

First Evening
20:00 – 21:00 → Introduction Talk
21:00 – 21:40 → Dyad 1
21:45 – 22:00 → Snack + 15 min to prepare for sleeping meditation
22:00 – 06:00 → Sleeping meditation [8h00]

06:00 – 06:15 → Wake up and get ready
06:20 – 07:00 → Dyad 1
07:00 – 08:10 → Dynamic Meditation [70min with explanation]
08:10 – 08:50 → Dyad 2
08:50 – 09:30 → Breakfast and Shower [40min - bells at 9h25]
09:30 – 10:15 → Work as Meditation [45min explanation included – bells at 10h10]
10:15 – 10:55 → Dyad 3
11:00 – 11:40 → Dyad 4
11:45 – 12:55 → Active Meditation or silent walk [70min explanation included]
13:00 – 13:40 → Dyad 5
13:40 – 15:00 → Lunch and Rest [1h20 - bells at 14h55]
15:00 – 15:40 → Talk & Questions/answers
15:45 – 16:05 → Silent sitting
16:10 – 16:50 → Dyad 6
16:55 – 17:35 → Dyad 7
17:40 – 18:20 → Active Meditation or silent walk [70min explanation included]
18:20 – 19:30 → Dinner and Rest [1h10 - bells at 19h25]
19:30 – 20:10 → Dyad 8
20:15 – 20:55 → Dyad 9
21:00 – 21:15 → Breathing exercises or Physical exercises for 15min
21:20 – 22:00 → Dyad 10
22:00 – 22:15 → Snack + 15 min to prepare for sleeping meditation
22:15 – 06:00 → Sleeping meditation [7h45]

Last Afternoon
13:40 – 15:00 → Lunch and Rest [1h20 - bells at 14h55]
15:00 – 15:40 → Dyad 6
15:45 – 16:25 → Silent sitting
16:30 – 17:10 → Dyad 7
17:15 – 17:35 → Integration Dyad
17:35 – 18:00 → End Talk

♦ Two timeless stories…
«The night Buddha achieved enlightenment, he sat under the tree and he said: "I will not rise from this tree again in my life if I don't attain enlightenment. Finished!" he said, "I am finished with doing anything for it. I am going to sit here -- this tree is going to become my death." A total decision. At that moment he dropped the 'decidophobia' completely -- a total decision. Just meditate on it! And that very night, by the morning he became enlightened.»

« I have heard one story about a Sufi mystic, Baba Shaikh Farid:
Once a young man approached Farid and Farid was taking his bath in the Ganges river, and the man asked him how he might find God. Baba Shaikh Farid took hold of him, led him into the water, and when they had gone deep enough, he forced him under the water. The young man nearly drowned before the holy man released him.
"Why did you do that?" he gulped incredulously.
"When you long for God as much as you wanted air while you were underwater," replied Baba Shaikh Farid, "you will find him."

« The desire should become so intense that you put all that you have at the stake. The passion to seek should be so total that not a single doubt is allowed to make you waver. The very intensity will bring truth. It can happen in a single moment! Just you need to become a total intensity of inner fire.
The decision should be total. It is arduous, of course, but everybody has to pass through that arduousness once. One has to pay for truth, and there is no other way to pay for it, you have to put your whole being on the altar. That is the only sacrifice that is needed. » 

Osho, excerpted from: The Search
Talk 6 - Taming the Bull

Awareness Intensive_The Set of Agreements

During the awareness intensive retreat participants are invited to follow a set of agreements designed to ensure a safe and secure environment for all as well as to support each participant’s process.
These agreements are mainly about maintaining silence at all time during the intensive and the removal of all peripheral distractions in order to allow each and every one to dedicate his full attention and energy towards his inner search.
Last but not least, these agreements are also about ensuring a secure and nonjudgmental environment so that each participant can open to himself and to others in trust.

The Set of Agreements
We ask that each of you observe the following set of agreements in order to facilitate your own process and the process of all other participants.

For the duration of this awareness intensive you will be in Silence and Isolation
This means:

  • Observe silence when you are not in a communication exercise, do your best to minimize distractions and to be supportive of one another. Feel free to speak to the staff at any time you need help.
  • Refrain from any physical contact with another as well as from all sexual activity, whether alone or with others.
  • Remain considerate of others. Be flexible and tolerant of others, including the staff.

For the duration of this awareness intensive

  • Let go of personal preening activities (beautifying) such as shaving and/or decorating yourself with makeup and jewellery.
  • Let go of watches, alarm clock, cell phones, etc… we will take care of waking you up and calling you for all activities. We request that you be on time for all activities.
  • Let go of journal writing, reading, listening to or watching any audio or video device.
  • Let go of the use of caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and recreational drugs.
  • Let the staff know about any prescription drugs you may be taking or about any physical disabilities you may have that could prevent you from fully participating in this process.
  • The food serve on the intensive is mostly vegetarian; only eat the food that is served, do not eat extra meal food of other participants. If you have brought any extra food or ‘feel good items’ we request you to keep them stored with your belongings and to refrain from taking them. Do inform the staff of any food intolerance you may have.
  • Put other practices and disciplines aside, commit yourself to doing the given technique with full intention and as accurately as you can.

Within the communication exercise, refrain from commenting on what your partner has said or from passing judgment in any way, either verbally or non-verbally.
Outside of the intensive, refrain from saying anything about another's process.

Please raise your hand to show your commitment to all the above agreements.
Thank you

A Sufi story….
« Commitment creates freedom.
When you commit to a movement, you make it with your whole body.
When you commit to a feeling, your passion will give power to your message.
When you commit to a dance, your feeling reaches beyond your limitations. 
When you commit to your path, give yourself over to your way of growth.
Magic happens... obstacles get out of your way, mountains lay down before you, the sky opens up above you, and you will find yourself transformed. »

Aziza Sa'id

Awareness Intensive_The Communication Technique

This modern Zen like communication technique developed in the late sixties by Charles Berner has much in store, much more in it than it looks at first glance. It is a dance of Yin and Yang activities, with the partner in the interchange of roles of communicating and listening, as well as within oneself with the alternating of contemplating and communicating.
One aspect of it the technique is of being willful → to give the instruction - to intend - to set out to directly experience oneself - to communicate.  
The other aspect is of surrendering, of being open → to be receptive and listening without comments - to remain open to whatever occurs in the mind, emotions or body.

Like in the dance of life, doing and non doing are at work within this technique and the non doing aspect is by far the most important; it is the non-doing that reveals truth, not the doing.
Practicing this technique day in and day out during an intensive will take you far beyond what you have ever dreamt of for yourself.

The Communication Technique step by step
(with 5-minute Bell Changeovers)

Two inpiduals sit facing each other, a comfortable distance apart. One begins as the receptive partner and the other as the active partner.

The receptive partner gives the instruction: « Tell me who you are »

The active partner accepts it from the receptive partner.

Turning in 
The active partner sets out to directly experience himself, by first contacting the actuality of himself in the moment.
He gets a sense of who he is, in the moment, as best he can
Then, he intends to directly experience it
While continuing this intention, he remains open to it, and to whatever occurs in his mind, emotions or body as a result of this intention.

The active partner then gets across to the receptive partner whatever occurred as a result of turning in, not adding anything or leaving anything out.

The receptive partner watches, listens and fully receives the communication without commenting, nodding or evaluating in any way.

The active partner repeats the process of turning in and communicating, keeping a rough balance of time spent in each, until the five minute bell sounds.

When the changeover bell rings, the receptive partner says, "Thank you." acknowledging his partner for his responses to the original instruction.

The active partner then gives the instruction to the receptive partner and the roles reverse.

The dyad continues until the end-bell rings.

Tips and note
Do this technique as well as you can, and accept that. Do not try to be master it from the beginning but gradually work your way toward that.
This technique can also be done with cycle changeovers. That is to say that the change of role happens when the communicating partner has completed his cycle of communication. In this way of practicing there is only the one ending bell. The cycle changeover is a more natural way of practicing yet it requires both partners to really be focus and acquainted with the technique so as not to let the mind drift into something that did not arise out of the contemplation. For the above reason the 5-minute bell changeovers is much easier for beginners, it gives them a secure time frame within which they can contemplate and communicate without having any concern other than their intention.

Last but not least...
Gratitude and appreciation to Charles Berner for developing this communication technique and the settings that supports it.

♦ A Zen story….
« The nun Chiyono studied for years, but was unable to attain enlightenment. One night, she was carrying an old pail filled with water. As she was walking along, she was watching the full moon reflected in the pail of water. Suddenly, the bamboo strips that held the pail together broke, and the pail fell apart.
The water rushed out; the moon's reflection disappeared and Chiyono became enlightened.
She wrote this verse:

« This way and that way I tried to keep the pail together,
Hoping the weak bamboo would never break.
Suddenly the bottom fell out.
No more water; no more moon in the water
Emptiness in my hand. »

« Enlightenment happens when it happens; you cannot order it, you cannot cause it to happen. Still, you can do much for it to happen, but whatsoever you do is not going to function as a cause. Whatsoever you do is not going to bring enlightenment to you, but it prepares you to receive it. It comes when it comes. Whatsoever you do simply prepares you to receive it, to see it when it comes, to recognize it when it comes.
It happens... but if you are not ready you go on missing it. It is happening every moment. Every breath that goes in and comes out brings enlightenment to you, because enlightenment is the very stuff the existence is made of. But to recognize it is the problem, to see that it is there is the problem. »

Osho, excerpted from: The Secret of Secrets
Talk 17 - A little bit of sky

Awareness Intensive_The Active Meditations

Active meditations are use during the awareness intensive to help participants move more rapidly through physical and emotional barriers as well as to anchor themselves in a meditative space, in awareness. They also help create a balance between physical and non-physical activities.
All activities during the awareness intensive: working, eating, walking, resting and sleeping periods are pointing in the direction of being a witness and letting go of this false sense of ‘being the doer’.
The way these active meditations are structured helps moving in that direction.
They are called ‘active meditations’ as opposed to other more passive meditation techniques like Vipassana or Zazen for instance. They were developed during the seventies by an Indian master, Osho (1931-1990)

The active meditations used in the Awareness Intensive retreat
Dynamic meditation is used every morning after the first dyad, it helps moving the energy and offers a space to let go of repressed feelings and emotions. It It eases the anchoring in the sex center, where our life force resides. The non-active phase of this meditation is an opportunity to experience 'being a witness'..

Read more about this meditation and its different stages.

Mandala meditation takes place around midday the first two days of the intensive. This technique helps opening the hara center so that the energy can move upwards, from the Hara to the third eye. This meditation stimulates focusing and helps centering in the ever present stillness. It is a very good tool to stay connected with our intention.

Read more about this meditation and its different stages.

Kundalini meditation is the late afternoon active meditation. It unblocks tensions accumulated during the day and creates a fresh empty space where silence can simply take over and expand. Listening to a partner in a communication dyad from that empty space becomes true listening.  

Read more about this meditation and its different stages.

Nataraj meditation is often used on the last day around midday. Dancing for forty minutes enables an intimate contact with oneself where feelings of joy and of celebration emerge naturally. This meditation is also an invitation to ‘dissolve in dancing’ and thus enter in a space where only dancing exists.

Read more about this meditation and its different stages.

♦ A Zen story….
« A great philosophical official, Riko, once asked the strange Zen Master, Nansen, to explain to him the old koan of the goose in the bottle.
If a man puts a gosling into a bottle, said Riko, and feeds him until he is full-grown, how can the man get the goose out without killing it or breaking the bottle?
Nansen gave a great clap with his hands and shouted, Riko!
Yes, Master, said the official with a start.
See, said Nansen, the goose is out! »

« It is only a question of seeing; it is only a question of becoming alert, awake. It is only a question of waking up. The goose is in the bottle if you are in a dream; the goose has never been in the bottle if you are awake. »

Osho, excerpted from: The Goose is Out
Talk 1 – The goose is out!

Awareness Intensive_Silent Activities

Silence is a tremendous help and support to any inward journey. In an awareness intensive participants are asked to maintain silence at all time except during the communication dyads.
All activities - working, eating, walking, resting and sleeping periods – are considered as meditation time and a support to the inner search.

One of these silent activities is known as ‘work as a meditation’. During a forty minutes period, a simple task is assigned to each participant. The emphasis is on ‘who’ is doing the task and on the quality brought to this action, more than on the task itself.
A Zen master used to say: “When you clean the room or the dishes, it is you who is being cleaned; the attention that you bring to your gesture, the totality of your gesture cleans you and, as a by-product, the room or the dishes are also being cleaned.”
This practice of doing a small task silently while continuing intending to directly experience the question at hand, helps gain the ability to be in the present moment; ability which can easily be transposed into daily life.

♦ A Zen story...
« A disciple had come to see Ikkyu, his master. The disciple had been practicing for some time. It was raining, and as he went in, he left his shoes and umbrella outside.
After he paid his respects, the master asked him on which side of his shoes he had left his umbrella.
Now, what kind of question is this? You don't expect masters to ask such mundane questions, you expect them to ask about God, about Kundalini rising or chakras opening. They must ask about such important things, about spirituality.
However, Ikkyu asked a very ordinary question. No Christian saint would have asked it, no Jain monk would have asked it, no Hindu swami would have asked it. It can be done only by one who is really with the Buddha, in the Buddha, who is really a Buddha himself.
Ikkyu asked him on which side of his shoes he had left his umbrella. Now, what do shoes and umbrellas have to do with spirituality? If the same question had been asked to you, you would have felt annoyed. What kind of question is this? But there is something immensely valuable in it. Had he asked about God, about Kundalini and Chakras that would have been nonsense, utterly meaningless, but this has meaning.
The disciple could not remember who bothers where you have put your shoes and on which side you have put your umbrella, to the right or to the left. Who bothers? Who pays so much attention to umbrellas? Who thinks of shoes? Who is so careful? But that was enough, the disciple was refused.
Ikkyu said: Then go and meditate for seven years more.
Seven years! The disciple said just for this small fault!
Ikkyu replied: this is not a small fault. Faults are not small or big, you are just not yet living meditatively, that's all. Go back, meditate for seven years more, and come again. »

« This is the essential message, be careful, careful of everything and don't make any distinction between things; that this is trivia and that is spiritual. It depends on you. Pay attention, be careful, and everything becomes spiritual. Don't pay attention, don't be careful, and everything becomes unspiritual.
Spirituality is imparted by you, it is your gift to the world.
When a master like Ikkyu touches his umbrella, the umbrella is as divine as anything can be. Meditative energy is alchemical. It transforms the base metal into gold; it goes on transforming the baser into the higher. At the ultimate peak, everything is divine. This very world is the paradise, and this very body the Buddha.
So do the small things of life with a relaxed awareness. When you are eating, eat totally, chew totally, taste totally, smell totally. Touch your bread, feel the texture. Smell the bread, smell the flavour. Chew it, let it dissolve into your being, and remain conscious--and you are meditating. And then meditation is not separate from life.
Whenever meditation is separate from life, something is wrong. It becomes life-negative. Then one starts thinking of going to a monastery or to a Himalayan cave. Then one wants to escape from life, because life seems to be a distraction from meditation.  Life is not a distraction; life is an occasion for meditation. »

Osho, excerpted from: Take it Easy
Talk 26 – A Way of Life