Han Marie Stiekema Sermes
Q. You have chosen this title,
in order to express your gratefulness to the past, leaving it behind, now that you have
entered a new stage on your Path. I look forward to the farewell.
A. Well, eh, yes, I do have
chosen it. My main incentive is to give the readers a more balanced impression about the
trials and errors of the spiritual journey.
Q. Why the "Monkey
A. It reminds me of the
"monkey in me", a part that used to be rather successful in dominating my life
for quite some time.
Q. What is this story all
A. Everybody knows the
Indian image of the ape rock, with monkeys continuously jumping from one rock to another.
It is a very simple way of depicting how the mind works: constantly identifying itself
with whatever comes up. Later, I came across the Chinese Monkey Story, also called
"The Journey to the West". It gives a humorous account of the difficulties, one
may encounter on the spiritual Path.
Q. What attracted you in this
A. First of all the story
itself. It is about a monkey, born out of a rock, which means "without parents",
gifted with many abilities*. He dearly needs these abilities, because he has to cope with
life entirely by himself. Soon he becomes so confident, that he starts his own spiritual
group, presenting himself as guru. However, after a short time he feels bored with it,
wanting to upgrade himself. For that he went to Heaven, demanding a central position
there. Upon which the Jade Emperor started panicking. To neutralize the threat, he offers
monkey a (minor) job in Heaven. The monkey feels "cheated" and starts making a
chaos. Whereafter the Buddha punishes him with 500 years of imprisonment "under a
* 72 to be exact. That's why I have
made 72 MatriTalks.
Q. Typical a story of someone,
who knows it all.
A. Yes. This part of the story
represents the first part in life, in which you are dominated by the ego. It doesn't beat
about the bush. Quite bluntly, it depicts the ambition of the ego, as the "will to
power". It reminds me of my early years, in which I always wanted to be NR. 1.
Q. For which you will be
A. Well, you are among the
lucky ones, if that happens (laughter). Both monkey and myself were indeed that lucky.
With regard to the former, the Buddha would free him on condition, that monkey would
accompany e.g. serve and protect a monk (Tripitaka/ Hsuan Tsang) on his way to India.
Monkey accepted. In order to guarantee the good outcome, the Buddha tied up a thread
around his head, connecting monkey to Emptiness....On their way, monkey experienced many
disasters, in which he had to use all his abilities: cleverness, magic, fighting, tricks.
Countless times he had to confront devils of all kinds: fear, shock, panic, anxiety etc.
Q. Also reminding you of a
stage on your Path?
A. This stage symbolizes the
transition from the ego to the True Self. The ego has to serve, rather than running the
show himself. This proves not to be easy though. In the process he is continuously
confronted with suppressed parts from the past. The confrontation with devils symbolizes
the need of integrating them. His ego, time and again breaks down against the presence of
Emptiness, which the Buddha had instilled into him. At last he feels totally exhausted.
Q. A very universal theme, it
seems to me.
A. Indeed. It corresponds with
experiences in the West. The Dark Night of the Soul is very similar. Or the Parcival
Legend, for instance. In all cases the ego has to submit itself to the Divine, which
causes heavy resistance from the side of the former. In this stage strength (of the ego)
proves to be your weakness (the inability to surrender). The dying of the ego causing
great anxiety and fear. It is a condition, which is largely underestimated
Q. Why you gave this interview
the subtitle "God's Fool?"
A. That's me (laughter). I am
the greatest fool on earth. First of all, when the ego dissolves into the Light, all
self-centeredness suddenly evaporates. This state of total freedom causes big inner
release. You burst out laughing, "without reason". You really have become
"God's Fool". This happened a couple of times, which means, that apparently the
need to break down my ego was quite considerable. I feel sorry for "God" in this
regard (laughter). Also later, during my 10 years of uninterrupted bliss, I often behaved
like a child ("in God's garden").
Q. No similarities to the
A. On the contrary. Looking
back, also to the years of the "Dark Night", I am amazed about the power of the
ego. Time and again you are trapped by it. Just because the ego is so creative, it seduces
you with still another fantastic idea, plan or project. Also with regard to the
unprocessed inner parts, I have had my share. It is quite painful to witness, that certain
patterns have conditioned you for a lifetime. For instance, I have been always afraid of
confrontations with the outside world, culminating in that I - until very recently -
didn't dare to "show my original face".
Q. What other pitfalls did you
A. With regard to my desire of
being NR.1, I realized, that at the bottom of it, there is (often) pain. In my case, it
was the feeling of being excluded (by my mother), which caused this reaction. Power - to
try to be NR.1 - is a compensatory mechanism, serving my strive to "get my paradise
back". The irony of course is, that I wasn't rejected at all. I only thought I was.
If I wasn't expelled, then what is the point "of trying to get it back?" My
whole life has been a quest for paradise, though.
Q. Thus, was it all illusion?
A. You are inclined to think
that way. Luckily, reality is more mild. Theoretically, the whole thing was a delusion,
yes. But in practice, the pain of alienation apparently, gave me a deep longing for
Wholeness. Hence, I was very receptive to the Grace the Mother were to bestow on me.
Q. Is it all over now?
A. What is important is to
realize, that these things - like the desire to be NR. 1 - are all parts of you. You have
to embrace, rather than to reject them. So, I again and again let the underlying pain of
being pushed out through me. I realized, that I shared my pain with the whole of mankind.
Isn't it so, that we all suffer from being "thrown out of paradise?". It is the
opening story ("Genesis") of the bible. Hence, my suffering "leading the
way" to dealing with this most existential of problems. If other people could use my
experience, then it hasn't been for nothing.
Q. What would you tell them?
A. The Essence is, that
"paradise lost" is a delusion. Paradise has never been taken from us. We have
never been punished by "God". Paradise is there from Eternity. We ourselves turn
our back to it. So, if you have suffered the pain of alienation, it is good, nay,
absolutely necessary to allow it into your innermost core. By doing so, longing for
Wholeness is born, while it will prevent you from being trapped by a power game. What is
"left" is opening up to What You Are Already, praising the Mother for all the
gifts, She is granting you.
Q. Do you afterwards regret
some choices you made in your life?
A. Absolutely not. Especially
the difficult things prove to have the greatest value for inner growth and learning.
Moreover, the Mother has blessed me with "one of Her angels", to assist me on my
path. I mean my wife MeiMei. She is my Blanchefleur, the beloved of Parcival. Through her
love and wisdom, she has shown me the way of how to balance my life. She is a real Buddha
Q. How did the Monkey Story
A. Through having served the
monk successfully, the Buddha terminates the ordeal. Eventually, "the ego gives
up", and a New Self is born.
Be a Fool.
Life is "God's" (the
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