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Mystics near where you live

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

I was reading the Boeddhistisch Dagblad and came across a couple of short articles about a man called Hein Thijssen. He appeared to be an authentic Dutch mystic. I’ve translated a section of the article...

Hein Thijssen (1922-2008), was a former pastor, who said goodbye to church and Christianity at a later age and started a painful inner awakening process. The result of this process was a healed human, empty of all cerebral ballast and completely liberated. At the age of eighty he wrote the book "Empty and liberated, report of a lifetime" (2003).

Hein Thijssen went public in old age with his awakening and his insights. The last six years of his life he started writing about this (seven books in total) and giving interviews. Although he himself realized that the cake had almost run out (his own words) - and was at peace with it - he might have been able to inspire even more people. He was such an engaging, warm personality, with a penetrating, redeeming and universal "message". And let's not forget his wonderful, dry humor; "What I write is not a message to others, because I don't believe in messages, except what I have to do in the supermarket" ("Empty and Free", p. 12)[a pun, groceries and message are the same word in Dutch]. And this: "Life is a shitty blackbird. It flies and poops effortlessly and without thinking" (Article in Boeddhistisch Dagblad, April 6, 2015).

That philosophy covers the area between psychology / pedagogy and true, authentic spirituality (not to be confused with religion or new-age spirituality). Thijssen has that in common with, for example, Jan Geurtz. Both focus on the natural state of man and both point to the misconceptions and erroneous assumptions that obscure it; both also pay close attention to self-rejection as a result of painful and repressed childhood experiences that have blocked the experience of that natural state. Where Jan Geurtz approaches true spirituality from the Tibetan Dzogchen tradition, Hein is imbued with "naturalness" (in accordance with the Tao). Both can be placed against the background of Nonduality and Advaita. In one of his later books, Hein himself wrote a kind of declaration of love to the Advaita, which he only really got to know after his liberation.

I find it interesting that such an archetypal Dutch man, with a Christian background, in his old age turns out to be a mystic. He applied Arthur Janov’s primal therapy on himself in order to find out more about himself, and make progress in his process.

Do you know of any typical local mystics in your area?


  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Do you know of any typical local mystics in your area?

    One is a Catholic, one a Lama, one a retired shop keeper ... and that is just my street.

    They really do just appear when you are still enough to notice ...

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @lobster said:

    Do you know of any typical local mystics in your area?

    One is a Catholic, one a Lama, one a retired shop keeper ... and that is just my street.

    They really do just appear when you are still enough to notice ...

    I’m glad you are so well served in this area @lobster... there are a few here as well, there is an excellent tv series here called “Everyone Enlightened” where the presenter Narsingh goes travelling through the countryside, and he visits all kinds of people who say they are enlightened in some way and will help you to become enlightened! I found a fragment for you:

    Unfortunately what you quickly realise is that there is a bit of a difference between making the claim and actually being the real deal. There’s one guy who gives sweat lodge sessions and is a bit of a shaman, is he an enlightened mystic? I suspect not.

    So perhaps we should try to do is identify those few people who actually have a genuine message to pass on? After all there probably are some, maybe people who don’t very much seek the spotlight, but a visit to whom could be genuinely illuminating.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    I understand your reticence over the word @Bunks

    Some Therevadins and atheist Buddhists are not comfortable with the term. It might be better to use another description:

    -Truth finder and keeper
    - Advanced ordinary person
    - Poetically licensed alternative
    - Goodly
    - Nicer
    - Sealing

    and so on

    or maybe just Knower ...

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    All of @lobster’s suggested alternatives have some validity. For me, mystics are those people who have seriously gone exploring within, I’m comfortable with the term from long useage. But please use whatever term makes you feel comfortable.

    The difficulty with these people is to distinguish the genuine and worthwhile from those who are just there looking for a comfortable gig. As an example of a genuine one you could look at Douglas Harding who came up with the headless way.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Anyway in Hein’s case, he had some interesting thoughts... I came across this:

    Hein concluded that the practice of virtue does not lead to anything. The virtues that we pursue through meditation, affirmations and exercises remain learned tricks, as long as nothing has been converted in the "(ego) system". Hein had valued these virtues - compassion, empathy, charity, inner peace, and harmony - in his lifelong priesthood, but after 50 years of asceticism and practice he came to the disconcerting conclusion that it had not really taken him any further.

    He came to the conclusion that a lot of the trouble came from this “ego system”. I’ve bought the book about his awakening, so we will see what it is like.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I’m finding I am more interested in these people at the moment. They often have quite eclectic backgrounds, for example Jan Geurtz, who is mentioned above, started with his own experiences of addiction and then became a therapist and started to give addiction groups. He also started to write about how to cope with various forms of addiction, and later became a Buddhist teacher. A famous book of his was ‘Addicted to Love’.

    But I am especially interested in how these kinds of teachers are approaching working with the ego. A few different teachers I have come across recently have mentioned that observing the way the mind works, and especially the way the ego works, is a key process in which a lot of things are let go off. My intuition tells me it is a good direction for me to go in.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I’ve bought the book about his awakening, so we will see what it is like.

    I’m about halfway through the book, and the first half has been about Hein’s detaching himself from the Catholic Church where he had been a monk and a priest. You can see that he is starting to question deeper and deeper, first God, then his relationship with Jesus, then the whole credo.

    Its clearly written and a short book.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Mystics near where you live

    No but as Bob once said.... there's a Natural Mystic blowing through the air...

    Sadly... the lyrics say it all ....

  • adamcrossleyadamcrossley Veteran UK Veteran

    Sounds interesting @Kerome. What language is the book in? Can I find it online?

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It’s in Dutch, and it isn’t online anywhere I am afraid. But I was pleased to find it, people who are really practical in the area of gnosis or knowing are relatively few, I try to seek them out whenever I can.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited 2:23PM

    He talks about how after he left the church behind he spent time looking at reincarnation, and how he felt it was a very comforting thought to think that he might come back to do all the things he might have missed out on. He cites the literature of Edward Cayce. But then he goes on to say that looking back on things he was surprised that he didn’t notice sooner that the concept of reincarnation made no actual difference to his life. He found it was a postponement of the problem posed by the ego-system, that it was an attempt by egoic thinking to push the problem into the far future and especially not make any changes now.

    He also discusses Buddhism, and he says he finds it strange that the noble eightfold path is something that should be practiced in order to bring you to your Buddha nature, your natural state. He finds the practice of virtues unnecessary, as someone in their natural state would avoid doing certain things anyway.

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