Jan den Boer en Caroline van Wijngaarden

Learning processes: the art of behavior change

One of the topics I explored is the art of behavior change: how do spiritual learning processes work?

DSC04069Free will

When the emotions or to thinking are not connected to the feeling they are not free.

There is an academic discussion on the free will. They say that we have no free will because it's not possible to change your behavior in the moment by free will because according to scientific research the behavior starts before the thinking starts. You have the illusion you decide something but the decision is after the behavior starts. What I'm adding to this in my new book is that this may be right, but that we have the possibility to choose by free will for intentions and train ourselves in this intention so that it can change our behavior in the future.

I will give an example. When you become very angry, in that moment you don't have free will anymore. Tulku Lobsang Rinpoche says being emotional is like being drunk. When the emotion is stopped, you can decide that you never want to be angry anymore, but this will not help because you cannot change your behavior just by a thought. Free will is not working like that. But you can have the intention that you don't want to be angry anymore and then decide to train yourself. In my vision the most important training is to meditate on this emotions and to explore them conscious so that they transform into free feedings. The same is with thinking: you can meditate on them and explore them until they transform into free feedings. Since thinking and emotions are the same unfreedom if they are not connected to the feedings you have to explore them both.

This can give clearness and the question on emotions as drama or emotions as a window to clearness. If you really meditate and conscious explore the emotions and thinking they both can be a window to clearness. If you go too much into emotions because you don't want to be in your head/thinking this makes you very unfree and you first have to explore your thinking more to integrate this also in your system. If you go too much into thinking because you're afraid of the emotions it's time to explore the emotions.

Important is that there is nothing wrong with either emotions or thinking. Both can make you unfree if you're unconscious and both are the chance to free yourself into feelings if you make them conscious by meditating and exploring.
In my Tantric vision sexual desire is only part of the exploring. But because sexual desire is a very powerful desire it's the strongest way of Tantric meditation. If you really can be free in your sexual desire without any reaching out or holding back its a strong way to be free and connected.

Boundaries, duality and non-duality

Following out of this Tantric vision I also have a vision on the question of boundaries, norms and values. As long as there is in you any wanting desire: reaching out or holding back, you are still in a world of duality, if you like it or not. In the world of duality we need boundaries, norms and values because we are not free, we have not totally free will.
Only when you are in the state of pure desire, boundaries, norms and values don't have meaning anymore because you are totally clear in yourself in a state of non-duality. When you mix up the worlds of duality and non-duality you can create much confusion.

The importance of clear training

In my vision Tantra is about meditating on wanting desire, on reaching out and holding back, on the world of duality, until it transforms in pure desire, non-duality. You can not decide by thinking to be in non-duality, as I explained free will doesn't work like that. You can have an intention to become free in non-duality and decide to train yourself in this.

Training is the most important thing in my story. Sometimes this can be hard work but many times it can also be playful and fun. That's what I like about tantra: it opens many possibilities to explore.

I hope to meet you in one of my activities.