Monday, April 11, 2011

Well, What DO You Know?!


How many times do we mistake a powerful combination of thoughts, passionate feelings, intuition, and so forth, for a knowing? In my (extensive!) experience, today’s “knowing” is tomorrow’s delusion.


To stand on my own two feet means to follow my own truth, not someone else’s. Doubt has led me to that knowing, and if I had rejected it as a hindrance and banished it as a lie, I would still be trapped in the illusion that truth can be found, or recognized, anywhere outside of my own heart.


So doubt has set me free.


Meeting John de Ruiter has been a wonderfully transformative experience, but one that was only complete when I was ready to turn away from him. This has been my coming of age. For many people in his Oasis community, turning away from John is regarded as the equivalent of turning away from truth. For me, it has been the very opposite experience.


What I got from John that I think was of unquestionable value was a letting go of the need to do anything, to prove or accomplish anything; the acceptance that nothing needs to be done, ever. From that place of knowing that nothing needs to be done, it becomes possible to determine what needs to be done. Without John, I might never have emptied my cup as quickly as I did. My mistake was trying to use him to fill it up again. The filling has to come from within.


But it seems as though John has encouraged people to “fill themselves up” with him. He is living truth, after all. . .

*


Most people around John can be defined as believers or non-believers, those who are “in,” and those who aren’t. The assumption of those who are “in,” the believers, seems to be that anyone who was in and is now out, has turned away from truth and is mistaken or deluded. I know that I dismissed all arguments against John simply by saying, “I KNOW he’s for real so that’s the end of it; all your doubts are based on NOT-knowing he’s for real and if you knew him like I did, you wouldn’t doubt him.” That was my line of reasoning, and amazingly, I never really questioned how subjective and totalitarian it was. I am embarrassed by it now.


It’s true I don’t know who or what John is at this point. What I do know is that, back when I thought I knew, I was wrong. I only believed, and I believed because I wanted to believe. Maybe I even needed to believe.


If we let ourselves be conned on a street corner by a grifter, it’s true that we have only ourselves to blame. But going to the cops and giving a description of the thief might be part of how we take responsibility for our own stupidity. That’s not just because we are pissed off and want to blame someone. Isn’t the con artist accountable too? Mightn’t we want to protect his future marks, in the spirit of community?


Good marketing always makes it look like there are “no strings attached.” De Ruiter may say that we should only trust what we know, but he also implies that he knows best, and has even stated it outright in various ways. Many people in his group perceive John as “the way, the truth, the light.” Direct knowledge is a term John uses, but as with many or most of his terms, it has never been defined or fully described. Many in his group believe they have experienced direct knowledge of truth, specifically concerning de Ruiter, and therefore have graduated from belief to knowing. I believed that too, so I know that no one can tell anyone that it isn’t so.


But not only can we not believe what we hear, we can’t believe what we see, think, or feel either. We can only believe what we know. De Ruiter has posited a “knowing” that is sourced in neither thinking nor feeling nor intuition nor bodily sensation, and in the process he has presented himself as the master of that knowing. People around him (including myself) have experiences that are so profound that they seem to go beyond thoughts and feelings (even though that’s still how we experience them), and so we assume this MUST be “a knowing.” But I have noticed how people (including myself) need to defend their “knowings,” which suggests they are not so much knowings as heartfelt convictions—which is something quite different.


Convictions make convicts. Besides basic facts (like the fact we are going to die some day), I no longer believe we can know anything except how we feel.

*


The amount of concealment I have encountered around John’s private activities, and around Oasis in general, is disturbing. There is no possible way for me to reconcile a message of truth and honesty with all of the concealment and dissembling I have encountered. A proponent of truth must be an open book. The book of John de Ruiter is not only closed, it is sealed tight with cobbler’s glue and buried somewhere deep in the forest. Then I am told there is nothing to know about a Master because “there is nothing there.”


It’s the oldest trick in the book!


Having spent the last four months researching John’s past and speaking to as many people as I could, there is no longer any room for doubt— in my heart or mind—that he is concealing aspects of his behavior, and that his teachings are not what they appear to be. The element of deception I have come across time and again is absolutely irrefutable: it is a fact. I have remained as open as possible to the idea that such deception might be somehow sanctioned by Higher Truth, but the more I tried to keep that possibility in play, the more acutely aware I became of having to practice doublethink, foregoing all logic or common sense, and abandoning what I knew to be true—just to try and make sense of what I was discovering.


My “judgment” of John based on this wasn’t that he was a bad guy. It was that he was just a guy. But when I took into account the fact that he has persuaded however many people that he IS more than just a guy, that he is in fact “the living truth,” unfortunately that opened a whole new can of worms whereby I had to consider that he is not “just a guy,” but a very deceptive (or deceived) guy. This, in my opinion, is why so few in the group are willing to question John’s behavior, or his obvious concealment and dissembling around it, AT ALL: because it is a ball of twine that, once you pick at the first thread, will come totally unraveled, forever.


No one can ever be right about another person when it comes to casting judgment on them. That’s why facts are so important, not to judge but to discern. If people wish to see de Ruiter as “living truth,” that’s fine; but if they are refusing to look at certain facts in order to maintain their belief, that’s not so fine. That’s crazy-making. Based on the evidence, de Ruiter is not what he and Oasis’ PR claims him to be, and a lot of work seems to be going into maintaining that illusion. It doesn’t mean people aren’t receiving positive experiences around him—I know I did. The question is, at what price?

*


John has also talked about (it’s even a long quote at his website) how it is possible for a person to use an awakening in order to become invulnerable and then get “trapped” in an “enlightened ego” identity. This would be very hard for anyone who hadn’t experienced something similar to recognize, and the person in question, by definition, would not be aware of it either. (The trap is in the very certainty of having attained “mastery,” to be fully conscious and free from self-interest, “mastered by Truth”). The danger of a “blind spot” is the fact that we are not aware it is there, and often can’t even entertain the idea it might be, because then we would have to stop everything.


“The deep” is unmapped terrain. Staying in what you know is easier said than done. How hard is it to have a complete knowing about oneself, much less somebody else? Faith, belief, trust, loyalty, commitment, devotion, emulation, worship, love, submission—none of these are the same as knowing. But together they can make a highly convincing alternative to it.


A common experience of people around John is of receiving a blissful dose of energy that is “like a drug.” This was my experience also. However, a bit like drugs, I also noticed on occasion a sort of deflation after the meetings. Did John’s “truth” give me temporary refuge from the pattern-prison of my own wounds? I felt acutely when we left Bristol (in 2010, after my first seminar) that John’s energy was like a “nest” around us, soothing and protective, like a cocoon. I think maybe John offers a kind of psychic pain relief, balm for any psychological wounds which a person is not ready or able to go into. I also realize how “okayness” can be used as the supreme tool of avoidance.


Nests are necessary for a chick to grow in; but until the chick leaves the nest, it will never learn to fly. For me, de Ruiter was like a powerful hallucinogen: useful to see that such states exist within myself, but not to be relied on to “get there” once I’ve found that out. Otherwise, it becomes more about the drug than the experience.


Not that it’s been easy to get clean. I’m still in the process of it. Coming clean here, with my old audience, is maybe the last phase of that process. I am admitting that I was wrong, powerfully deceived and deeply deluded, about John de Ruiter, and probably about everything else too.


If anyone still wants to listen to me after that, God help you!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Defying Dad At Last



Better late than never, fellas! (and ladies)

Graphic art by Soundless Dawn. Thanks Steve!

Saturday, April 02, 2011