Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with or conversations with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done over 600 of them now. If this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com, b a t g a p, and look under the Past Interviews menu. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the website. There’s also a donation page which explains other alternatives. My guest today is Diederik Wolsak. Welcome, Diederik.
Diederik Wolsak: Thank you. Thank you, Rick. It’s an absolute honor to be here.
Rick Archer: It’s an honor to have you and it’s been good getting to know you over the previous week, listening to your book, and listening to some other talks and interviews you’ve given. Diederik was born in 1942 in a tiny village south of what we now know as Jakarta, Indonesia. The first three and a half years of his life were spent in Japanese prisoner of war camps during World War II, and it was here that he formed most of his core beliefs, beliefs which he thought were his actual character. After some 50 years of self-loathing, alcohol, and drug abuse, he decided that there had to be a better way. It was time to change his mind at the deepest levels. Through A Course in Miracles and Attitudinal Healing, he developed a radical forgiveness process, which allowed him to transform the self he hated into a capital ‘S’ Self whose only function is to extend love. Choose Again is a six-step process, and it’s also the name of his charitable society. It operates a healing center in Costa Rica, and he gives talks and teaches workshops in many places around the world. I think it would be interesting to start with some embellishment or elaboration on your personal story, because it was really more extremely traumatic, I would say, than most peoples’ are, at least most of us listening to this probably. And it’s relevant to what you’re doing now, actually. It’s inspiring that you kind of overcame such a traumatic childhood to end up where you have ended up. Although nobody ever ends up because we’re all still works in progress. But take us back, what happened?
Diederik Wolsak: The reason I use the story of my early youth is not to collect or gather sympathy, or oh my God, what a way to start your life, but purely to illustrate that it doesn’t matter. That whatever happens in your youth, you’ve had the same experience I’ve had. Everybody’s had the same experience, it just takes a different form. What society tends to do or what mainstream therapy tends to do is look at the form and say, this is a trauma. To me, everything that happens, whatever it is, is open to interpretation. The ‘I’ that does the interpreting is either the Ego I, in which case it is a trauma and I will suffer the rest of my life, and I’m justified to be a drunk and addict etc. Or it is the unchangeable, eternal loving self, the Loving I, which looks on everything, whatever it is, and asks a simple question – what is this for? What I learned to do in my healing, which as you just so aptly indicated, is absolutely a work in progress, is to learn to ask that question consistently. What is this for? No matter what it is, so whatever comes up, that has become the key question.
Rick Archer: Let me make a slight adjustment to the video before we proceed. It kind of looks like you’re looking off to the side and down a little bit. So when you, where’s my picture on your computer relevant relative to your webcam? Is it possible to move the Skype window so that it’s right underneath your webcam so that when you’re kind of looking at me, you’re looking at the webcam. Is that possible?
Diederik Wolsak: How’s that? Oh. That should make a difference, because that’s now right centered over your head.
Rick Archer: Ok, that’s better. Yeah, that’s kind of the way I have yours. So I’m looking at you, but the web, the cameras are right here. Yeah. Okay, good. We’ll edit that bit that bit out. What I inferred from what you just said, is in a way, there are no accidents, things aren’t random or arbitrary. God is not playing dice with the universe. There’s a sort of a significance to things, even horrific things, that there are potentially lessons to be learned from just about everything. Is that a fair statement?
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly, exactly. And it really doesn’t matter what it is. Because what my work entails and teaches is to go to the essence of what’s being offered, not the symptoms. When we get clients at the center that have a variety of symptoms, whether it’s depression or ADHD or bipolar or just a difficult marriage, it doesn’t matter. Those are symptoms. What we work with is going underneath the symptoms and into the core belief that actually chooses the symptoms. It chooses the symptoms for us to say, there’s some work to be done here. Look here’s proof, and the proof is evidence for core beliefs. At an early age in my case, I developed quite a delightful range of harsh, negative, self-destructive core beliefs. They were formed by looking around my environment. Between the ages of zero and 5, 6, 7, 8 whatever happens around you is a reflection of who you think you are. It becomes who you are. So if your mom and dad are gloriously happy 24 hours a day, clearly, you turn out to be a wonderful little person because there’s your proof. If your mom or your dad is depressed or they drink or they have other issues, they get angry, irritable, that is your fault. Now, of course, when you put yourself in a concentration camp setting where you’re only surrounded by, and this sounds racist, but it’s what it was, by white women. The camp guards were Japanese, who were brutal, who showed absolutely no mercy for the inhabitants of the camps who were the women. As a matter of fact, they were intent on exterminating them over a period of time, then that becomes your impression. Years and years ago, probably about 18 or 19 years ago, fairly early on in my work, when anybody brought up the subject of the camps, I couldn’t talk about it. And I couldn’t figure out why. My throat would constrict which puzzled me because I thought I’d done all the forgiveness work that I needed to do. What I meant by that, which I know now that I didn’t realize then, that the forgiveness work I’d done was a false forgiveness. It was a forgiveness for the Japanese, but it had nothing to do with the Japanese. The work that I have to do and that we teach is that the forgiveness is for myself. That forgiveness is for the belief that I hurt my mother. Or the forgiveness is for the belief that whatever I saw in the camps was my fault. Now that insane belief, because you can only label it insane, was made abundantly clear in holotropic breathing that I did about 20 years ago. After five minutes of going into it, I started to howl with unbelievable pain, and I saw very clearly that everything I had seen was my fault. But not only that, all the camps in the world were my fault. And a step further, the Second World War was my fault. Again, that sounds crazy, but it is what we all do. Unless we take the time to go, to dive a little deeper, we’ll come up with these primal guilts, this original guilt that all of us have, every single one of us. Again, I want to make really clear that I’m not fishing for sympathy with the concentration camps. I’m only using them to demonstrate how universal it is because it makes no difference.
Rick Archer: Are you saying that when traumatic stuff happens to children, it’s almost a universal tendency for them to blame themselves for the fact that it’s happening?
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly.
Rick Archer: So all the kids in Syrian refugee camps right now, we don’t have to drag through all the horrible things that are happening in the world to people, but pretty much it’s a human trait or tendency to just blame oneself for those things.
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly. And I’m glad you linked it to Syria, because what happens then once a child, a three-, four-, five-, or six-year-old has taken on all that guilt, it will have to project it. Then what do you have, you have a terrorist. Because what is a terrorist, it’s someone who expresses his guilt in an aggressive fashion, but it’s his guilt he’s expressing. Until we recognize that, we think he’s fighting for freedom. But he’s not, he’s expressing his self-hatred.
Rick Archer: Are there exceptions to this? Are there some kids who are somehow born psychologically healthy, and they don’t screw it up from the start by misappropriating the circumstance to being their fault?
Diederik Wolsak: Well, there may be, but they wouldn’t come to me.
Rick Archer: I see.
Diederik Wolsak: I can’t really tell. I would imagine that is a possibility.
Rick Archer: Okay.
Diederik Wolsak: But I don’t see it, I don’t see it. Because the examples that I’ve come across, which 99% of the time are not hugely dramatic, they’re tiny, little incidents. The most common that may surprise you, but the most common one is, my father or my mother was five minutes late picking me up from preschool. That’s it. At that moment, I make up my beliefs. At that moment, my core beliefs are formed. They then, of course, start solidifying with more evidence. But that’s when it happens. At that moment I decided, obviously they don’t love me.
Rick Archer: That happened to you. You dropped your little toy truck in two feet of water, and your father wouldn’t go in and fish it out for you. And that formed a core belief that had a major impact on your life.
Diederik Wolsak: Precisely. That still plays on occasion, but now it’s funny because I’m hip to it. But it still comes up from time to time.
Rick Archer: Within what age range do we form most of these beliefs?
Diederik Wolsak: Between zero and eight or in utero and eight. Now the in-utero part, I always have trouble with because I have clients who, in a holotropic breathing or in a process, would go back to a memory of something that happened in utero and how it was done. Well, that’s a little woo woo, a little out of my range. But then I had an experience where that became clear.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I know what you’re gonna say, go ahead and tell that experience.
Diederik Wolsak: Well, this was an event at the center, where, on a Sunday afternoon where everything went wrong. You can’t imagine crazy enough, but everything was going absolutely sideways. And I had a feeling that I had not experienced before. I know enough, have enough experience to know that you don’t make new feelings, so it had to be a replay. The feeling I felt, the feeling I chose that afternoon was clearly a replay of something that happened. What I did, I went into a deep meditation. With that feeling, I kept feeling that feeling, let the feeling take me back to a memory that could only, in this case, could only have been in utero. And that is my mother is eight and a half months pregnant, the Japanese are landing on Java, my parents are with my older brother fleeing into the mountains in order to get away from the Japanese because we didn’t know whether they were going to take the whole country or whether they were just there. Nobody knew anything. But during that time, I can really imagine my mother saying, not a good time to be pregnant. In other words, I should not have been born. Now you don’t get that message verbally, obviously, but you got it energetically.
Rick Archer: How does the implantation of that belief prior to your birth manifest as a crazy day at the center where everything’s going wrong?
Diederik Wolsak: Because as I said earlier, the crazy at the center was the symptom.
Rick Archer: Right.
Diederik Wolsak: What made it so crazy, what gave me the emotional experience of that day was the core belief that I am so absolutely horrible, I shouldn’t have been born. And here is proof. Look around you today, and you can see why you shouldn’t be here.
Rick Archer: So if you had worked out that belief already, then there still might have been a crazy day at the center, but you would have handled it with equanimity.
Diederik Wolsak: That belief now, for example, wouldn’t affect me. But now we’re 16, 17 years along since that day, and so even so-called upsetting events in my life don’t affect me anymore. Because I immediately do the what is this for, and how am I feeling? It always goes back to my feeling.
Rick Archer: As we go along here today, we’ll go through all the steps of this process. I guess we don’t have to drag out all the things you did throughout your pre-awakening life, all the drinking, and the fighting, and all those things. Although you can go into any of that if you want to. But you really sort of went through a rough time for decades. And then, and feel free to embellish what I just said, but then, what was the wakeup call that began to get you out of all that?
Diederik Wolsak: The wakeup call was that it became unbearable. For decades, as you say, I managed to survive, you can’t call it anything better than that, by ingesting a lot of booze and smoking a lot of weed or doing other drugs that made it bearable. But there came a time, this was in the late 80s, where I was at our Safeway, which I don’t know if you have Safeway.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think we do, not in this town, but we have them.
Diederik Wolsak: A big grocery store. I had to buy some supplies for the restaurant that I owned at the time. And I heard a weird animal growling. I thought that that’s a strange sound to hear at the Safeway. I looked around me, there was nobody behind me, nobody in front of me. It was me. At that point, I also had liquid brain, which I found fascinating
Rick Archer: Liquid what? What was it?
Diederik Wolsak: Liquid brain is where you move your head and it feels like it sloshes inside.
Rick Archer: Oh, is that a medical condition? I’ve never heard of that.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, it’s sort of the final stages of alcoholism. It’s when it’s time to pack it in, pack it in or stop. So, at that point, I stopped drinking for a whole year. That was not a problem at all. Even though I ran a restaurant, I had a restaurant and had 120 great wines on the wine list. I did, literally did not drink for a whole year. But I didn’t do any work either, because I didn’t know the work yet. This was all in a vacuum, a spiritual vacuum. Then gradually after a year, I started to imbibe in a little bit again, a glass of wine here to a half a bottle there. Eventually it turned again into two bottles a night and it became so unbearable that I said either something has to change, or I’m gonna make an end to it at this miserable, absolutely miserable existence. I was lonely. I hated myself. I knew that everybody hated me. And if they didn’t, I would make sure they did. There’s a great line that Byron Katie uses. She says, when I walk into a room, I know that everybody loves me, they don’t know it yet. Mine was 180 degrees the opposite. When I walked in the room, I knew that everybody hated me, they didn’t know it yet. It didn’t take me long. Augmented by that was what I can now, with some certainty, say it was borderline personality disorder, which is a horrible, deep, deeply rooted condition that can be healed, but it can only be healed if there’s an absolute agreement with the person who has it, that this is what’s wrong. We’ve had personality disorder people at the center, the ones that know are the ones that say I have a problem. The problem with that condition is that you don’t know you have it. I would say things that were unbelievably painful. That if you asked me, was it your intention to hurt that person? I would say of course not. I don’t hurt people. But I didn’t know. I did things to people verbally, as well as in other ways that were unbelievably cruel. But the person that was doing it was not aware of it. At that point, I did become aware of it and the loneliness and the disgust and the deep shame for who I was or who I thought it was, became unbearable. And it became a point of now something has to happen or I’m out of here.
Rick Archer: So how did you know where to look for that something that might help you?
Diederik Wolsak: Well, that that’s an interesting question. Years earlier, two years before that moment, somebody had given us A Course in Miracles. The title pissed me off. So I wasn’t immediately moved to open it, but when I did open it, I saw an incredible line. The line was that sin is lack of love, as darkness is lack of light. I thought, that’s brilliant. I’ve always agreed with that, and but then the next line had the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. I said fuck that and I threw it in the corner, that was it for me. But two years later, when I was at an inflection point of it’s over or something is going to change, I opened the Course again. This time, I didn’t see any of the offending language. I only saw the message. And the message that I saw immediately was that you are unchangeable. Who you are, the essence of who you are, is pure gold, is pure love. That was a message I had never heard. If I had heard it, I certainly had never let it in or integrated it to any degree at all. It became an incredibly exciting moment when I finally realized that the self I made up, that I absolutely hated, wasn’t me.
Rick Archer: Now, obviously, most people listening to this, probably everybody listening to this, and lots of people these days, have read things like that, read various spiritual literature and have heard that what you think you are, is not what you are. The self is much more vast, is entirely vast and infinite and all that. But just being exposed to that idea, doesn’t make it a living reality. I think just the idea alone, I think can be a candle in the darkness. At least the pitch blackness is gone, but the room isn’t very fully illuminated yet. And generally, people have to engage in some kind of deeper spiritual practice or something to reach full illumination to use that metaphor. I imagine that was an eye opener for you when you first heard that in A Course of Miracles, but I don’t suspect that it turned your life around 180 degrees on the spot, right?
Diederik Wolsak: It did within a week. Within a couple of days, I knew my life was irrevocably changed. I always say that it was a great benefit that my self-loathing was so deep and so profound that there was no way out. Like a lot of people cruise around at a 7 out of 10.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: That’s not a motivation. Seven out of 10 is bearable, things are going pretty well. I was at a minus 348 on that. In other words, it was up or down. That to me was the biggest blessing, what I dumped on myself, was to make it so extreme that either you do something or finish it off.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I can relate. My life was pretty messed up when I had my turn around. In my case, I learned to meditate. That had a really profound effect right from the start. But, 53 years later, I’m still changing, I’m still growing. Irene says I’m still messed up.
Diederik Wolsak: [Laughter] Is she the evidence for that?
Rick Archer: Are you the evidence for that? But I imagine, like you said, for instance, 17 years ago, there was something, or that whole thing about your mother not feeling like it wasn’t a good time to be pregnant? You didn’t realize that, but now you do. So obviously, you’ve continued to be a work in progress since that initial ‘aha’ moment with A Course in Miracles.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, actually last month or so, I’ve been going through another deepening. That is, I’ve been watching documentaries on Indonesia and all the time after ’45, because what happened after ’45, we were still in the camps.
Rick Archer: Right.
Diederik Wolsak: The white people, the Dutch, if they set foot outside of the camps, they would be killed. We were in this schizophrenic situation where the Japanese, who were our tormentors and our murderers for three and a half years, now suddenly became our protectors.
Rick Archer: Just for a little background, the Dutch had colonized Indonesia 300 years before. And so obviously, there was some pent-up resentment among the native Indonesians for your presence there.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, exactly. This was also the time where the Indonesians declared independence and there was a civil war. The Dutch sent over a multitude of soldiers to try to hang on to the colony, which was never going to work because the entire world was against colonies. We thought we could do it on our own and sustain it, but it was an unbelievable time of enormous tension which I was not aware of. There were almost more people killed, Dutch people, killed after the war than during the captive years. It was an extremely dangerous time, highly stressful, intense. But that was my normal environment. That’s what I grew up in. That’s that was my comfort zone. So when I go into what happened after that, when I went to a foster home in Holland, where I didn’t know anybody and where I fought with the entire school at every recess because I was very dark. I was deeply tanned having lived in Indonesia. I was called a (blank). The whole school would surround me, and I would fight with them. My self-hatred has always been such that it attracted immediate evidence. I have another powerful example of that when I was 20. I went into the Dutch Army, because you have to in Holland, it was not a loving choice I made. You have to. I arrive at the barracks for the first day and an hour later, 200 people are after me to beat me up. How did they know?
Rick Archer: What happened? How’d they do that?
Diederik Wolsak: I have no idea. I have absolutely no idea.
Rick Archer: You had this mob chasing you or something?
Diederik Wolsak: They went after me, and I was a highly trained, very well-conditioned athlete so nobody could catch me. And if they had caught me, they wouldn’t have liked to catch me. But the interesting thing is that in such a short period of time, I could turn 200 people against me without knowing what I was doing.
Rick Archer: Wow.
Diederik Wolsak: The energy that I gave off, gave off in public was one of profound self-hatred. And everybody immediately said and there’s a reason, you are a total asshole.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I imagine that an objective observer of that situation wouldn’t have seen it as glaringly obvious, but somehow that was just the chemistry that you created around yourself and that people reacted to. Or were you just kind of like blatantly obnoxious and just pissing people off right and left, and being unaware that you were doing so?
Diederik Wolsak: Probably both, probably both, because my high school career was also something to be proud of. I did grade eight three times, for example, which I think is still a remarkable success. But I was kicked out of every class within five minutes.
Rick Archer: Because you were such a troublemaker.
Diederik Wolsak: I never knew. I never knew I was blurting stuff out. That was part of the autistic part of the borderline personality that I just blurt stuff out without knowing.
Rick Archer: Wow.
Diederik Wolsak: I constantly got evidence for a person that I didn’t know. I didn’t know that person.
Rick Archer: I’m inclined to paraphrase Christ here, forgive him Father, for he knows not what he does. I mean, you must have been so blind to your own behavior.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah. Absolutely. Completely not understanding. I’ve talked to Stacy about this recently.
Rick Archer: Stacy meaning your partner?
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah. Whatever happened at the first say, 15-16 years of my life, I didn’t understand anything. I didn’t understand why I was there. I didn’t understand where I was. I mean, everybody feels an alien on this planet. That’s part of the spiritual picture. But it was absolutely pronounced, I did not understand. And now, of course, having gone full circle, I understand even less, but now it’s a blissful state.
Rick Archer: Yeah. We’ll get to that. We have a lot to unfold or unpack in terms of how you underwent the transformation you did. Let’s look back to the point where you were saying that your brain was sloshing around in your skull, and you realized you were kind of reaching the end of your rope. You cracked open A Course in Miracles, and you saw some stuff that really impacted you. And within a week, you had changed a lot. Obviously, that wasn’t the end of the process. So where did you take it from there?
Diederik Wolsak: Well, then I had the great fortune of meeting an amazing teacher named Sandy Levy Lunden, who now lives in the States, but at that time gave workshops in Vancouver. She became my first teacher and mentor. Taking her workshops back in ’93 really started to solidify it. Those days there were no circles, there was no follow up, there was just you do a workshop, and because they’re so incredible, you probably do another workshop a couple of months later. But there was no process being offered that provided sustained healing, and sustained healing is what I needed to do. I took a whole year of doing nothing but. I meditated, I worked on the Six Step process, developed that, which was based on a process that Sandy had originally. We modified it to be, from my point of view, more effective. And really devoted an entire year to becoming a bearable person.
Rick Archer: One thing that always amazes me is that, that people can abuse their bodies so severely for so long. Yet, at a certain point, they have a turnaround, and they can change a lot and live very happy, productive lives. It’s a marvel of the human physiology that it can take so much abuse, and yet still function nicely, once one changes their behavior. I always marvel at that.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, that is true to a degree. I am paying the price. I had lung cancer two years ago, right now I have rheumatoid arthritis. I have all kinds of wonderful.
Rick Archer: Yeah, but your mind is in pretty good shape.
Diederik Wolsak: Wonderful.
Rick Archer: Your body’s not behaving itself, but it’s not too bad. Not too bad for a guy your age.
Diederik Wolsak: The body says you’ve been an asshole, and here’s your price. And my mind is delighted with where I am.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s good. I remember hearing a story about Ramana Maharshi, I think it was. No, or maybe it was Ramakrishna, he had throat cancer. Yeah, it was Ramakrishna, he had throat cancer. One of his disciples said, how are you doing? He said, oh, you know, my, it hurts. I can’t eat. I can’t swallow. The disciple said, yes, Master, but I perceive that you’re in bliss. And he said, ah, the rascal has found me out.
Diederik Wolsak: Yep. That’s it, that’s exactly it. Ramana Maharshi would come at it from one angle. I’ve come at it from the what-is-this-for angle. When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, the only question in my mind was what is this for? It’s interesting, now for years before that I had said in circles and workshops that I wouldn’t be surprised if my body would react to all the self-hatred I’d sent into it by giving me something like cancer and there it was.
Rick Archer: Sure.
Diederik Wolsak: But it served its purpose.
Rick Archer: Yeah, a question came in from Janet in Texas, which relates to the point we’re making right now, so let me read you that question. It is, “Please clarify the meaning in Lesson 135 in A Course in Miracles, ‘What could you not accept if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present, and to come are gently planned by the one whose only purpose is your good? Perhaps you have misunderstood his plan for he would never offer pain to you, while you made plans for death, he led you gently to eternal life.’” Then that’s the end of the quote, and then she says, “Who writes the script?”
Diederik Wolsak: That is a tough question for me to answer because I tend to not do that.
Rick Archer: Not do what?
Diederik Wolsak: Do the script as written story. I see it much more organic and much more changing minute to minute. I’ve always had trouble with the script as written.
Rick Archer: Deterministic?
Diederik Wolsak: It smacks of predestination.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: And predestination is a fascinating idea, but it’s never worked for me.
Rick Archer: Yeah, me neither. In fact, I thought I heard you say in one of your talks that we really don’t have a lot of choice over our behavior. But then you kind of moved on, and 99% of everything I’ve heard you say implies that we very much have a choice over our behavior. So maybe that was just an offhand comment or something. But, you really do tend to emphasize free will and get your act together and so on.
Diederik Wolsak: No, no, no, no, I’ll go back to what you heard first is the right. We don’t have free will. Rick Archer: Okay.
Diederik Wolsak: As long as I don’t recognize that who I think I am is nothing other than a set of beliefs. Those beliefs will take action. They will make all these issues.
Rick Archer: Okay, so then I don’t have free will. Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: There I have no choices. The only choice I do have is to recognize that that self doesn’t exist. And that I made, I am the author of that self. The free choice I have is to undo that self. Once that self is being undone or being relinquished for lack of a better word, then the loving self will take more and more of a deciding position.
Rick Archer: I see.
Diederik Wolsak: So then more and more the free will is expressed is from the loving self, not from the self I made up.
Rick Archer: Okay, good. Well, that kind of works both ways then. If we’re totally conditioned by these unexamined beliefs, then we are pretty much at the mercy of them. But then we have some wiggle room in terms of some free will, which can enable us to unravel or reveal or elucidate those beliefs and dispel them. Then we have tremendous freedom, kind of dawns in our life.
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly. Exactly.
Rick Archer: Good. Good. Okay. I have some notes here that tells people what they can expect by applying this Choose Again Six Step Process. Let me just read those, it’ll just take 30 seconds. And then we can sort of, we’ll kind of go through the Six Step process and what all the steps are. So you can, if you engage in this process, you can expect to: Embark on a journey of self-discovery, Identify and release thought patterns that no longer serve you, Banish shame and blame, Relinquish the victim position once and for all, Free yourself of your unconscious beliefs, Nurture inner peace and serenity, Enrich the quality of your life, Transform your life for good, and finally, Experience the freedom that comes from taking 100% ownership of your life. Okay, so how should we unpack this? You could elaborate on some of those, or we could begin to go through the actual steps that people take or what? What would you like to do next to explain this to people?
Diederik Wolsak: In that list are there any items that you have a question mark for?
Rick Archer: Oh, let me see. I guess one question mark is that I’ve taken a very different process in my life, which has been just a regular practice of deep meditation a couple hours a day, and I’m sure it could have been beneficially supplemented with something like what you teach, although I never really did that. It’s kind of like life has been the teacher, and everything I’ve gone through-marriage and various other things that one can’t hide from one’s idiosyncrasies any longer, you have to kind of work them out. But, I’m kind of impressed and a little bit amazed when I hear stories, such as I’ve been hearing from you about the degree of transformation that people undergo, when they engage in a process like this, very often, quite quickly, within a few days. For instance, one thing that really jumped out at me is that you’ve worked with some prisoners and people who were heading for prison, and so on. You claim, you felt that given we have over 2 million people in prison in this country, and it cost about $100,000 a year to keep each of them there. You could empty those prisons to a great extent, by having one person trained in what you do work with maybe four people in the prison system, and three of them would end up being able to leave prison changed and not inclined to commit crimes again. I think what we would like people to understand here, what I’d like to understand even more clearly, is how one can affect such deep transformation in a person through this process that you’re teaching? I totally believe it can. I think you’re sincere in everything I’ve heard you say, but it’s just so different than the path I took that it doesn’t, I don’t just say, oh, yeah, of course. It doesn’t come as obvious to me as it does with somebody who has actually gone through it.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah. I think that the first step and the most dramatic step is to recognize that the teaching that you know intimately is that this is a dream, which I had heard forever. But then what happened, I let in. I had heard it before, but I let it in that I was the dreamer. And that changed everything. Because once I recognized that I was the author of this dream and that being the author of the dream, I can choose a different dream. Now the jails are full of people that from early on, had a very strong belief in their guilt. Generally speaking, they come from broken homes, they come from poverty, they come from all kinds of difficulties in the neighborhood, at home, on and on, which, as we discussed earlier, it was all their fault. Once you grow up with that level of guilt, which they did, perhaps stronger than you did, then you have to have evidence. And the evidence was committing crimes. Once you know that, and you start working with someone who’s committed crimes, even murder, and you know that that person would never even dream of doing anything like that if they knew who they were.
Rick Archer: So you’re saying that people can use crimes in order to kind of verify their belief about themselves, which they might not even realize that they believe, but it’s there, and it compels them to affirm itself by committing these crimes?
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly, exactly.
Rick Archer: Okay.
Diederik Wolsak: They get proof. Whatever you do in your life, whatever you do, if you look around at everything, you have Irene, you have a wonderful home, you do this incredible program. That’s all evidence for who you think you are.
Rick Archer: So that can be a good thing, as well as a bad thing, depending upon who you think you are. Diederik Wolsak: Oh, absolutely, all you need to do is look at somebody’s life, and it will tell you who they think they are.
Rick Archer: Oh, Okay.
Diederik Wolsak: But sometimes it’s carefully hidden. Like I have a good friend who is an incredibly successful businessman, he’s in charge of 80,000 people, makes more money than God. Miserable.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: Absolute deep self-hatred. So what happened? His ego decided, we’re not going to show the people who I think I am, we’re going to show them the opposite. But in order to do that, you have to embark on a journey, which is unbearably difficult. Because to go against a core belief is, in the long run, not sustainable. The core belief will demand evidence, and it will get it. So even a person like that, sooner or later, it gets to a point and they say, I can’t do this. I cannot keep faking a self that I’m not, that I think I’m not.
Rick Archer: I’m reminded of a song by Simon and Garfunkel called Richard Cory about this guy named Richard Cory who owned a factory. The song is sung by a guy who worked in a factory, and he was admiring how wonderful Richard Cory was and how he’s wealthy, and he has cars and beautiful things and all that stuff. Then Richard Cory ends up killing himself. And the line is, I wish I could be Richard Cory, both before and after. It illustrates the point, I think, that very often people live lives which seem glorious from the outside but are not what they appear to be.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah. To go back to symptoms and the poor. We had a young man at the center, a long, long time ago in the beginning when we focused more on substance abuse than we do now. Now, we’ve really shifted away from that. But in those days we did, and he was maybe early 30, serious cocaine user. Had gotten into trouble with the law because of it. He was sent by his parents, and he was there for three weeks or so doing incredibly well. His mother came and at the last practice, before going off to the airport – they had completed their stay – he made an amazing statement and said, “I will never use cocaine again.”
Rick Archer: Uh, oh.
Diederik Wolsak: I turned to his mother and said, “Have you decided never to have oral sex with the four-year-old next door again?” She says, “What the hell are you talking about? And I said, “Exactly. That is the difference. Once I’m healed, I don’t have to say, ‘I’m not going to use cocaine.’ It doesn’t enter my mind.”
Rick Archer: Right.
Diederik Wolsak: This woman to have oral sex with the little boy next door, it would never enter her mind. That’s not who she is. But he had not healed. So he had to say, I’m not going to do it again.
Rick Archer: Sort of displaying bravado, like I got this beat.
Diederik Wolsak: It won’t work. It won’t work, this is self-hatred. He might not do cocaine, but the self-hatred had just begun to be eased off a little. That self-hatred will demand evidence. And the minute you get evidence, it starts building. In the early stages it’s so important to be alert to okay, that’s evidence for a core belief. I need to heal that belief, or I’ll get more evidence.
Rick Archer: Why have you backed away from helping drug addicts since the opioid epidemic is so severe these days?
Diederik Wolsak: That’s a great question. It’s mostly because of staffing. It is very, very, very hard work. Particularly when they come fresh and it’s 24 hours a day. You cannot find people that want to do that very readily. So we’ve moved to equally significant healing processes for broken marriages, for bankruptcies, for depression, for crippling anxiety, things that aren’t quite as physically demanding as well as emotionally demanding.
Rick Archer: Right. It’d be great if some clinics were set up using your system for drug addicts, but it’s, you can only do as much as you can do.
Diederik Wolsak: Yep, and that’s why when we did it, when I did my research for our center, we really were the only center in North America that was not AA best. And that sets us apart.
Rick Archer: Since you mentioned AA, my father was an alcoholic, and I’m somewhat familiar with AA, although he never joined it. But one thing that always bugged me about it was if you talk to somebody who’s been in AA for 30 years and hasn’t had a drink in 30 years, he’ll say, Hi, I’m Charlie. I’m an alcoholic. And I think, What? After 30 years, you’re still calling yourself an alcoholic? I mean, can’t this actually be rooted out? Like that story you told, so that the thought of alcohol would never even enter your mind.
Diederik Wolsak: No, it can be. I will never, ever, ever say anything negative about AA.
Rick Archer: Right, it’s helped a lot of people.
Diederik Wolsak: It has saved millions of lives. I have dear, dear friends who are doing fantastic work based on AA. I just don’t do it. That is not a judgment on anything else. I just happen to believe that if I keep saying I have an illness called alcoholism, then I have an illness called alcoholism. And I don’t.
Rick Archer: You’re reinforcing the belief in a way, if you keep saying that.
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly. I have some mistaken ideas about myself. I could go to an AA meeting and say, my name is Diederik. I hated myself so much, almost drank myself to death. That I can do. But I will not put the label on any more than I will label you bipolar or any other label, which I don’t do labels. Labels are just the evidence, the symptoms of what you made up about yourself.
Rick Archer: Yeah, but I think, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you might distinguish, without insulting AA-it’s a great thing, but you might distinguish yourself from that program by saying that the goal of your program is to get yourself to a point where the seeds of that belief have been completely roasted, and there’s no way it’s going to sprout again. You don’t have to keep reminding yourself of that seed.
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly, exactly. We have an affiliate group in the States that is composed entirely of AA people that are doing our work. What we’ve heard over the years from so many of the people that have been to our center that this is the 13th step. This is the step after.
Rick Archer: Aha, yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: This is when you go deeper, and you find out where did it all come from. Yes, I did drink a bottle of vodka a day, whoopsie doo. Where did that come from? That’s what I’m interested in, not in what you do. I couldn’t care less what you do. I also don’t care what you feel. The feeling is only important to help you take the feeling, use it as a vehicle back to an early memory when you made up a belief, and that belief has chosen that feeling.
Rick Archer: So you’re just really trying to get down to the root of every,
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly.
Rick Archer: any and every situation. There are a lot of approaches and programs and so on which delve into various problems, but which aren’t radical enough, they don’t go down to the root.
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly, yeah.
Rick Archer: And you feel that belief formed in early childhood is the root in every case.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, that has been my experience. That is my personal experience, but also my professional experience. Once you learn to recognize, oh, that feeling comes from that belief, there we go again. One belief I still work with on occasion is that I can lose love, which used to be an absolutely devastating belief, and I would make sure that it would happen. Now it comes up and it’s, oh yeah, I thought I was done with that, but it’s still there. It’s not true.
Rick Archer: Well, wouldn’t it be true, it has been in my experience, that generally you don’t utterly root something out in one scoop. You shave away at it and get to deeper and deeper levels of it. Eventually it, hopefully is entirely gone.
Diederik Wolsak: Yep.
Rick Archer: All right. I have a question here to get us going again. I have a question from, a question came in from Adam Buicke. I’m not sure how he pronounces it, from Cork, Ireland. He says, “I identify intensely with Diederik’s story. What free practices can I do to at least alleviate some of the borderline effects he has described?”
Diederik Wolsak: Well, the practice itself is always free. The teaching offered by teachers might not be. If he is in an area where we don’t offer our services, then he can certainly buy the book. As you did, there’s from my point of view, there’s enough information in the book to certainly get you going. Do you eventually benefit from having an experienced teacher? Absolutely. I don’t think there’s a discipline on the planet that doesn’t have a teacher-student model. Not only to teach you what and how, but also teach you by demonstration. And by the effect. When you meet a Choose Again counselor, and we have about 12 or 14 of them right now, you’ll be amazed by the fact that really nothing disturbs them. You can say whatever you want to me, you cannot get to me. There are people, very few, on the planet that still can get to me. Those are usually in family or your loved ones because they know. You’ve attracted them because they reflect you.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think it was Ram Dass who said, if you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your parents.
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly, yeah. You can shorten it to a weekend, you’ll still get the same result, yeah. Rick Archer: Do you do anything by Zoom or anything like that, so if people are in Ireland, or Poland, or whatever they can participate?
Diederik Wolsak: Absolutely. You’d have to go to our website, which is choose-again.com. We offer any number of online programs. In his time zone, we have one that I’m aware of that originates in London, which would be suitable for him. We offer workshops, which wouldn’t be free, but that’s in the south of France in September, where I’ll be for three consecutive, one-week workshops. We also offer online counseling and therapy. There’s all kinds of stuff available. We are a charitable foundation. That means that if somebody comes to me or to us and says I absolutely need and want your help, and I cannot afford it, then we work with that person.
Rick Archer: Okay, good.
Diederik Wolsak: I have never turned anyone down.
Rick Archer: That’s great. I’ll be putting up a page on BatGap about this interview. It’ll have links to your website and your book and anything else like that. Here’s a thing I copied down from when I was reading your book, “one of the foundational premises of this process is that nothing outside of me can bring me anything I need. Nothing outside of me needs to change in order for me to be happy.” I think that’s a deep principle, perhaps we can discuss that a little bit. Because most people usually feel that they’re chasing things outside of them, because they feel that it’s going to bring them what they need. And that they need those things in order to be happy. This kind of flips that notion around.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, it’s interesting, you bring that up because two or three days ago, I was watching a documentary on Asian Americans. And the documentary dealt, amongst others, with the influx of Philippine nurses, which happened in the 50s, 60s, 70s and how they were marketed by the American government in the Philippines. It said something like that, if you’re not happy where you are right now, choose the easy way out and go somewhere else. Then it said, we can’t promise you happiness, but we can help you chase it all over the place.
Rick Archer: That’s funny.
Diederik Wolsak: This is verbatim. That’s what people actually are trained to do. If I don’t like this marriage, I’ll go to another one. What we’re never told is that that next marriage will be exactly the same. What we have been told, that you hear, you always meet yourself wherever you go, there you are. That’s part of the teaching, is that nothing outside of me needs to change because my entire experience is my interpretation of what happens. So what happens is always neutral. It doesn’t matter how traumatic the world calls it, it’s still a neutral event. I either suffer for my interpretation, or I rejoice at my interpretation, but I am the one interpreting. That’s the power I have. Now who’s the ‘I’ that I allowed to interpret whatever just happened. That brings me to the construct of how we have a model of the mind, which is not scientific, it’s purely made up. And that is there is a loving self. That’s the unchangeable, gold nugget. There’s the ego, which is the set of beliefs. The third aspect of the mind is what we call the decision maker. A decision maker has to grow up, has to become an adult. It has to learn to listen to what the ego says, because ego will immediately give you feedback, it will be absolutely convinced that its feedback is correct. The decision maker’s gonna have to say yeah, I’ve heard that. I want to hear if there’s another way of hearing this. Then you turn to your loving self, and the loving self is the unchangeable, eternal, formless, abstract, infinite self, that you are, that I am, that we are. That self will always give another opinion. I had a good friend, a long time ago, who was very involved in going to that loving self, she called it the Holy Spirit in those days. She had conversations with the Holy Spirit that would tell her to do the most detailed things. I was very impressed with that. I thought, wow, I’m going to try that. I’m going to see if I can access my Holy Spirit. And so I did. The only answer I ever get from my Holy Spirit is there is only love. Whatever I asked it, I get there’s only love. Then I will say, well, yeah, I’ve got that. Is there anything else? There’s only love. And that’s really all I need to learn. If I hear nothing outside of me needs to change, and my entire experience is within, and nothing outside of me can either bring me joy or hurt me, then I find that I’ll speak of the empowering, freeing idea. Once I start practicing that, it actually proves to be true.
Rick Archer: Sometimes, when people hear a statement like that, that nothing outside of me can bring me anything I need, it can sound a little glib. Try saying that to somebody who’s homeless and starving, and he’ll say, yeah, I actually could use a roof over my head and some food. Or nothing outside of me needs to change in order for me to be happy, tell that to somebody who’s in a concentration camp or in some really miserable, abusive circumstances. It’s natural to sort of see a need to change those things. Perhaps in addition to doing whatever inner work one can do.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah. I’m so glad you brought that up. Because that’s again where a story out of the camp waylays all those objections. It’s the only story my father ever told me about his experience, because he was in separate camps. I never saw him until I was three and a half, almost four. His story was that the day before liberation, the day before the U.S. dropped the bombs on Japan, he was dying. He is the same size I am. I weigh 200 pounds, he weighed just over 100.
Rick Archer: And he had been 200 himself before this?
Diederik Wolsak: That’s right. He was dying, he was picked up and thrown in a hut where there was a pile of dead bodies, was thrown on top of those dead bodies knowing he was going to die. Then a few minutes later, somebody was thrown on top of him, who proceeded to have diarrhea all over my father’s face. And the only thing my father felt was love.
Rick Archer: Wow.
Diederik Wolsak: He said that that moment, I knew God. And that is what that statement is talking about.
Rick Archer: Was he having a near death experience or something? It wasn’t characteristic of him to feel love under these circumstances, but he just had that reaction?
Diederik Wolsak: He just had it. It wasn’t characteristic. Unfortunately, or fortunately, he never lived according to that realization.
Diederik Wolsak: Right. But he had that momentary breakthrough.
Diederik Wolsak: But he did have it. And I love using that because it so waylays all this, yeah but, if you were in trouble, you wouldn’t feel that way. Yes, you would.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So there’s a potentiality, there’s a possibility of seeing it that way. But unfortunately, most people don’t see it that way. All of the millions and billions of people who are living in dire circumstances in this world, I imagine only a tiny fraction actually have the insight to realize that statement.
Diederik Wolsak: Okay, imagine what the world would look like if we taught our kids that?
Rick Archer: Oh, yeah. If everyone could realize that, yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: If that became a foundational teaching for the planet, that whatever you have in your life right now, let’s make sure we all have the basics. We can take care of that, we can. But everything else is from you. Everything comes from within.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, here’s a quote related to that, also from your book, the essence of all these teachings is based on the same foundational premise, which is, “I am the author of my experience, and everything in my life is for me, it has been chosen by me in order to bring healing.” Again, that’s a radical statement, everything in my life has been chosen. So somehow you chose to be born in a concentration camp. And the other people in that camp chose to be there, if we take the statement, literally, in order to.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, but I never talk about other people.
Rick Archer: Okay, so just you or me, or people can translate this into their own lives.
Diederik Wolsak: Yep.
Rick Archer: I imagine, I don’t know, I imagine some people would have trouble accepting that. That they actually chose these things that are happening to them.
Diederik Wolsak: I think seven and a half billion people would have trouble with that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Unless we suppose that, before this life, we’re in some kind of pre-life arrangement, where we chart out the course of our life and the events that are going to happen to us, which actually a guy named Rob Schwartz, whom I interviewed, proposes that we sort of set up the play with the major events that are going to help our evolution most effectively. But otherwise, it’s hard to understand a statement like that.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, but understanding is not what I’m after.
Rick Archer: Okay.
Diederik Wolsak: Because you cannot understand oneness, you cannot understand love, you cannot understand joyful acceptance of what is. I don’t need to understand it, but once I experience it, it becomes true. If we could actually teach ourselves first, myself, first of all, of course, and ongoing, that nothing outside of me needs to change. That everything that I need is within me right now. There’s a line in the Course that deals with that really quite nicely. It says, health is inner peace, and sickness is external seeking. So anytime I think if only that were different, I’d be better. Well, I have never met somebody who has not been very successful in orchestrating that difference, and Goddamnit, nothing to change. I wish I had money, then they got money, nothing changes, they need more money, they got more money, nothing changes. So well, okay, if I lost it, then I’d be happy. They lose it, nothing happens. Because the Self is still there, the Self chooses my experience, not the circumstances. And that’s a huge shift. Once I recognize that my experience is entirely my decision, and I can have a decision. There’s a section in A Course in Miracles that deals with that beautifully. It’s called the setting the goals section, where it literally says, if you decide that happiness and joy is your goal, then whatever happens will serve that goal. It says whatever happens. So that could be the death of a loved one, that could be my favorite dog is gone, it could be 600,000 people dead from COVID, whatever it is. Then you become, you get to a state where something happens, and you hear yourself think or say, I guess that’s how I’m going to be happy. Then you start looking, how am I going to be happy in this? What can I heal right now that will bring that state of happiness, because I do need to heal something because right now I’m not happy which means I’m misinterpreting.
Rick Archer: That’s good point. Yeah, I can relate to what you’re saying. To varying degrees, I always sort of view life as this fascinating play that’s been written by a master playwright. When things happen, they never seem arbitrary or accidental to me. I always think, now that’s interesting, why is this happening? What is the lesson in this? How can I learn from this circumstance? One can move through life seeing it that way. Is that kind of what you’re saying?
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly, yeah. And it’s a very peaceful, nourishing, there’s no urgency, there’s no anxiety, there’s no worry. It’s simply a curiosity.
Rick Archer: Yeah, good word.
Diederik Wolsak: How is this for me?
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s like you’re watching a movie. How’s this gonna play out? Wow, this is really cool and all.
Diederik Wolsak: Yep.
Rick Archer: There’s a question that just came in from Sean Smith from a place called Sechelt. I have no idea where that is, but the question is, “When my mother tried to end her pregnancy, I was the one with whom she was pregnant, how could her not wanting me and actually attempting to terminate my life, possibly be about me? How can I choose? How can Choose Again, step two,” you’ll explain what step two is, we haven’t really explained that, “how can that possibly be about me when it was my mother who made the choice not to love me?” And of course, this guy wasn’t even born yet. He had no control over the situation. So how would you?
Diederik Wolsak: To me that that is a completely irrelevant little story, because he’s not talking about him. What I would want to hear from, was it Sean?
Rick Archer: Yeah. Sean Smith.
Diederik Wolsak: What I would want to hear from Sean at this moment is, how do you feel about the fact that your mother considered aborting you? If he says, I’m completely okay with that because it didn’t happen, then there’s no process, there’s nothing to talk about. It’s his mother’s process. But not his.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: Now if he says, I feel terrible about that, and I’ve never trusted women because I think they’re all going to try to abort me, and my relationships suck accordingly, then we have something to work on. But if he can look back at the story, because to him, it’s his story. He wasn’t exactly aware of the planned abortion. If he can look back at that and be completely at peace with it, wonderful. If there’s an upset in there, then you can ask what did it say about me that my mother wanted to kill me? Because that he made up.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I would actually ask, what makes you think she didn’t love you? She might have been absolutely heartsick over the possibility of having to abort you. But the circumstances were such that she felt like she needed to, but she loved you terribly. Therefore, she didn’t abort. That’s another interpretation.
Diederik Wolsak: Absolutely, yeah. But the key is to recognize that if I have no feelings around a story, there’s nothing to process. How often can we be witness or be part of an experience and not have feelings? That’s a very rare state.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: It will become more and more your state as you do this work. Because more and more, you’ll just observe and be joyful. And as you said earlier, in bliss regardless what happens. Until that’s the case, everything has something in it that I can heal. Something is being triggered. A belief is being triggered.
Rick Archer: Yeah. What you’re saying here is that not that going through this process is going to make you some kind of a feeling-less automaton where you just don’t have any reaction to anything, but you will have a feeling, but it’ll primarily be blissful. Then on the foundation of that bliss, I’m sure there’ll be ripples of other kinds of feelings that come along, but bliss will be the basis. Is that a correct assessment?
Diederik Wolsak: That’s correct. If my comfort zone is a deep state of misery when I start doing this work, that comfort zone is going to be raised steadily as I do this work. From total misery, if you’re minus 384, or whatever I said earlier, it starts rising through seven to an eight to a nine. Then I get to the point where I’m completely intolerant of anything less than bliss.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: And I’m becoming more and more alert to, okay, what am I believing right now? I’m not, I don’t feel joyful. That means I’m believing something that’s not true. What is that? Oh, it’s that same thing, I can lose love. That’s not true. I made that up. Back to bliss. Usually, it’s funny that we’re having this conversation, because there have been many times at the center and in workshops where people absolutely verbally reinforce that they’d rather have a human spectrum of feelings than a permanent state of bliss. And that to me is such an utter mystery.
Rick Archer: Yeah. If they say that, I don’t know if they’ve actually ever tasted real bliss.
Diederik Wolsak: That could be it. Yeah. Or they tasted it and believed that it wasn’t for them and will never come back.
Rick Archer: Or they didn’t deserve it, or some such thing. Yeah. Because if you’re in bliss, you’re feeling just so blissful. Would you ever say to yourself, I’m getting bored of this, I think I’d like to be miserable for a while now. I don’t think you would if you were sane.
Diederik Wolsak: You wouldn’t, but it is hammered into us. I think it was Jung that said that there has to be a shadow for there to be light, there has to be a shadow of it. And I say no. The shadow is my invention. The light is who I am, the light is unchangeable. The light is the truth. I invented the shadow. I don’t need the shadow.
Rick Archer: I think that’s what Vedanta would say too and a lot of the great spiritual teachings, that the nature of life is bliss, and satchitananda, that kind of word. If it’s experienced as something other than that, you’re just not experiencing it deeply or clearly enough.
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly. Or you haven’t used it for what it was designed.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay. A question came in from Patricia, in your old stomping ground, the Netherlands. Patricia says, “I know from your teachings, and the Course,” A Course in Miracles, “that anger is projected guilt. I have been looking into the Six Steps to find the core belief under the anger. I can’t find the guilt belief, can’t find the guilt down there. Could it be I copied the belief of guilt from my mother?”
Diederik Wolsak: See if I’m not joyful, I’ve done something that has removed me out of the permanent place that is my birthright. That’s my guilt. I don’t know what it is I’ve done. But I’ve done something. I’m no longer part of the oneness. I’ve moved into separation. Once I’m in separation, I will be driven by that foundational guilt. It’s not surprising that the Bible starts out with that. The first thing we do is do something wrong. Of course, it was Irene’s fault, she told us to take a bite of the apple, but you and I took it. Once we’ve taken it, we’re out of paradise, we’re separate. We’re no longer with God. God being everything there is. And we know why. We did something wrong. But in our case, we don’t know what we did. But there is that feeling we’ve done something. I’ve asked this on occasion at workshops, when you go through customs, are you completely at peace? Or is there a low grade of something about to happen? Because we all feel guilty. We all have that deep guilt. That comes out in different forms.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Or if a cop pulls you over for something, you’re not quite sure what, it’s like.
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly, exactly. And of course, the more you do the work the more, the easier you’ll deal with that cop, and the more fun you’ll have with that policeman because he won’t know what to do with you. If you’re not in guilt, he’ll be confused.
Rick Archer: Yeah. There’s a word in Sanskrit, a phrase called pragyaparadh. It means the mistake of the intellect and the teaching there is that somehow at some very primordial level, we make the mistake to step into duality, to mistake the oneness as duality. Or to use the old Vedanta idea to mistake the rope for a snake. Then we make a great big fuss, what to do about the snake. Maybe I need to get some venom anti-poison and kill the snake or call the police or whatever, there’s a whole hubbub. Yet it’s all about something which is a complete misperception. So maybe these words guilt and these other fundamental beliefs you have are related to that explanation. There’s just this deep mistake in our understanding or perception of things. And based on a collection of those, and perhaps there’s even one root one that’s the source of the collection, we go through our whole life making crazy decisions.
Diederik Wolsak: Yep. And not only that, but also treasuring it.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: How many times, I don’t know if you have children, but most people tell their children you’re special and you’re different, that you’re unique which is the foundation of the misery. No, I’m not unique. The beliefs I made desperately tries to make me into something unique, but it’s not a joyful uniqueness. The only time I’m going to be joyful is when I drop that, when I drop that personality. But I say that’s not who I am. Who I am actually doesn’t exist.
Rick Archer: I mean, it’s true. Those teachings I was referring to never say you’re unique. They say actually, there’s only one of us and myself is yourself, essentially.
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly, exactly. The self we made up is the one that’s unique and separate.
Rick Archer: Right, right.
Diederik Wolsak: And that’s the one I’ll defend literally to the death, because the death will prove that I was right.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Which brings in a good point. I’m sure you can elaborate on it, that the ego kind of fights to maintain its existence, and it feels threatened by, can actually feel threatened by the experience of oneness because its existence is jeopardized or undermined or whatever.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, exactly. That’s why we commonly say that the only fear I really have is the fear of God. Because in God, which to me is just another word for oneness, I don’t exist. So I’ll do anything I can to have what I’ve been promised, the wonderful experience of the joining of God, and sustain my individuality. And of course, you cannot have duality and oneness at the same time, it will not work.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’m just looking at my notes here of chapter three of your book. These are good points based on what we’re saying: Oneness is our true reality, An experience of oneness is helpful in remembering who we are in truth, Our worth is intrinsic, we’re innocent in truth, Our unhappiness stems from the belief that we are separate, We can shift our attention from our ego self to our capital ‘S’ Self by training our mind and in so, doing regain happiness, which is our birthright, and seven, Love is all there is. I guess people listening have all heard those kinds of thoughts. The natural question is, alright, I’ve heard those kinds of thoughts, how do I make that a living reality? How do I live that 24/7? It’s one thing to hear the thoughts, but I seem to be a long way from actually experiencing that all the time, which I’m sure would be wonderful. People might be thinking, so what would you say to them?
Diederik Wolsak: While they might be thinking it, the first step would be, is that really what you want?
Rick Archer: Right.
Diederik Wolsak: Are you absolutely sure that being truly happy, which means nothing outside of you can disturb you and you’re no longer a victim, is that really the position you want to take? Because don’t underestimate the unbelievably addictive quality of victim. We love the victim position.
Rick Archer: A person might say, yeah, that’s really what I want. But I bet you’ve run into many people who’ve said that, and you think no, that’s not actually what you really want.
Diederik Wolsak: If they say that’s what I really want, and they come to a workshop, or they read the book, and they start doing the process, and I talk to them six months later, and I ask, are you doing 50 processes a day? And they’ll say, no, I did one last week. Then I say it’s not what you want. It’s like anything else. If I want to be a good tennis player, I have to get on the court with a partner and hit 20 forehand down the line, 20 forehand crosscourt, 20 backhand down the line, 20 cross, etc. all day long, every day. And guess what? After a year, I’m a decent tennis player.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: But that’s not what people want. They want to buy some nice white clothing and a new racket and go to the club and have a martini and say we play tennis. And that’s how they want to approach spirituality. But spirituality is not fun. It is a battle in the beginning because the battle is between the self I made up and the truth. The self I made up does not give up that easily. It thinks it’s fighting for my survival.
Rick Archer: Do most people experience that when they come to your center? Do they find that it’s a battle in the beginning? Then it gets easier?
Diederik Wolsak: Yep. It will only get easier if you persist.
Rick Archer: Right. But they’re sitting there in Costa Rica at your center. So they have nothing else to do. I guess at least while they’re there-well, even there probably some people apply themselves zealously, and others are like, I think I’ll go take a walk.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, exactly. We can tell of course, who’s doing what it because it’s so obvious. The question that you’ll hear me asking under circumstances like that is it are you worth the effort? If the answer is immediate and unequivocal yes, then I know they’re going to do it. If the answer is yeah, I guess so, then you’re not ready.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: Another question I used to ask, but I’m no longer part of that within our organization is when people said, we want to come to your center. I would say have you tried everything else? Because if you haven’t, in the back of your mind is yeah, but that might also work. Or maybe I should do TM, maybe that will work for me. Now, TM will work for you if that is what you do.
Rick Archer: Yeah, if you really do it. I mean, nothing works if you don’t do it.
Diederik Wolsak: Precisely, precisely. But what the ego wants to do is dabble. So the ego does the proverbial have a beautiful field and they dig 40 two-foot holes, two-foot-deep holes hoping to get water. We say dig one 300-foot-deep hole, you will get water.
Rick Archer: Yeah, right.
Diederik Wolsak: That’s the commitment that is required. If I want to get the results, I have to put in the time.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: There’s no way around it.
Rick Archer: Now, if I were a prospective participant at your center, if you said to me, have you tried everything else? I might say no, but I don’t have time to try everything else. I think I’m gonna like your thing, that appeals to me. I want to come and really try that and apply myself to it. I don’t need to spend a few years trying every other thing first. Right? You would probably like that answer, wouldn’t you?
Diederik Wolsak: That sounds clear. Yeah, that doesn’t sound to me like you’re shopping.
Rick Archer: Right. You’re not a dilettante.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Okay. Good. People listening, feel free to send in questions if you have them. I want to make sure that we’re covering all the points that come up in your mind. This might be a good time to start going through the Six Steps because it’s called the Six Step Process, but we haven’t really enumerated and explained what they are. The first one is I’m upset, right? All right. So why don’t we talk about each one for a few minutes.
Diederik Wolsak: Now, the first one is not easy. Because if I look at, particularly the days before I started doing my work, I was fed up, upset 24 hours a day. So to acknowledge that I’m upset would have been a fairly meaningless activity. But most of us are upset a lot of the time without acknowledging it.
Rick Archer: They don’t realize they’re upset.
Diederik Wolsak: Without so, there’s a slight irritation, a slight annoyance, or a whiff of worry, or a pang of anxiety. We ignore it. You say that I usually feel that around this time, or she always talks to me like that, or whatever it is. Don’t sweat the small stuff. This teaches you yes, the small stuff is unbelievably important. Learn to recognize when you’re upset. In the beginning, yes, that will be all day long. But if I don’t take that step, I’m not going to get to work. So the first step is I’m upset. If you wanted to take that step, then we’ll move to the most difficult one. And that is step two, which says, this is about me. When you’re introduced to that step, almost in any so-called practical situation, people will be baffled. How can this be about me?
Rick Archer: In other words, you’re not upset by what president so and so said on TV or by what happened to the stock market or by what’s going on in Israel or whatever. If you’re upset by any of those things, it’s about you somehow.
Diederik Wolsak: It’s something that’s playing out within you. It’s a replay of something that happened, like in my case, 79 years ago. In your case, wild guess, 60 years ago. Whatever it is, everything that I experience is a replay. If the previous occupant of the White House did or said something that triggered me, it was a reflection of something within me. Either I had an old core belief that I’m a liar, that I’m dishonest. I had an old core belief that I’m stupid. I had an old core belief that nobody can ever trust me. I had an old core belief that if I don’t run the place like a dictator, everything will go wrong. All those beliefs I used to have. And guess what, we put this wonderful person in the White House to reflect it back and see how far my healing has come. You had another friend of mine in there once. His name was Bush. I couldn’t stand watching Bush without getting nauseous.
Rick Archer: Now, he’s cute by comparison.
Diederik Wolsak: Oh, he’s adorable now. But what I had to do, I made the conscious decision, I’m gonna watch this guy every day on TV as often as I can. And I’m gonna process what comes up till I am totally in love with Bush. Of course, I’m not in love with Bush, I’m in love with the essence of Bush. I’ve healed what stood between us, which is my core beliefs. My core beliefs prevent me from seeing you. What I see then, is my core beliefs reflected in you, and I think you’re just as bad as I am.
Rick Archer: In other words, let’s say if you’re an American, and you’re a Canadian, but if you’re an American, it’s not like you’re not going to know who to vote for. You have a definite preference but feeling hatred and all kinds of other such emotions are really not helpful. They don’t really have any bearing upon the worthiness or capability of this or that candidate. They just say something about you.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, exactly. Any feeling I have around any of these issues is for me, is chosen by me. Nobody chooses by feeling. I do.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: If I have a warm and fuzzy feeling when I look at Bernie Sanders, and not quite when I look at some of the other people, then that is because I relate a little easier to Bernie Sanders.
Rick Archer: And this is very relevant, obviously, these days, because this country at least is torn apart by political polarity. There’s a real lot of nastiness. Not only in the country at large, but within families and so on, families are torn apart by this kind of thing. Obviously, what you’re saying here, I think could be very helpful in healing that rift.
Diederik Wolsak: Families say they’re being torn apart by this kind to thing, but they’re already torn apart.
Rick Archer: Right, right.
Diederik Wolsak: This is just fuel for the system.
Rick Archer: Yeah, a symptom of it.
Diederik Wolsak: They look at that as if that is the cause for my wife votes Republican, I vote Democrat, and that’s why we don’t get along. No, I don’t get along because I hate myself, and I think that’s you. Now, you also vote for the wrong person, which is just more fuel on the fire. But it has nothing to do with the other person. It has nothing to do with Trump or Bush or my wife or democrat or republican or a fascist, it has nothing to do with that. A fascist is someone who has some beliefs that I don’t agree with. That fascist is still infinite love. Years ago, I posted something on Facebook which didn’t go over very well. I said the only difference between Hitler and Jesus is that Hitler believes his thoughts and Jesus does not. My thoughts are chosen by my beliefs.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I can see how that would not go over very well. But I also see what you meant by it. It also highlights the point that choosing to believe your thoughts can have very powerful ramifications. It’s not just a trivial thing. It can decimate millions of lives, if you’re in a powerful position.
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly, exactly. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I would say and another way of distinguishing those two people is that Jesus, through whatever process he went through, came to know himself in his divine nature, in his full potentiality. Whereas Hitler was very far from that realization.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah, so that’s a key point, but it can be translated in terms of believing his thoughts. Would you say, in this case, sort of belief, taking his belief seriously, is kind of a symptom of the state of consciousness of the man? Or would you really say it’s the cause of the state of consciousness?
Diederik Wolsak: It’s probably a combination, but if I’ve never learned to ask that question – what is this for? – I’ll always see it as an attack on me.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: If I always see it as here’s another opportunity to lash out and to blame and to suffer and make sure that you understand I’m suffering because of you, then I will use that until I’ve been told there’s another way. If our friend Adolf had been at the center for a year, but you also have to take the other three and a half billion people who share his beliefs. I’m saying that number because it’s roughly the 36% in the US that right now shares those beliefs very clearly. Once we can take all of those in and start looking at what are you actually afraid of, what is your fear? Well, they’re gonna take this away from me, or I’m gonna lose that, or they’re gonna rape my daughter, whatever, there’s always a fear. What is that fear? If you ultimately get that at the deepest level there’s nothing to be afraid of, that the only thing you really are afraid of is what you made up. At the deepest level, nothing can happen to you because you’re not a body. When Jesus said on the cross, forgive them for they know not what they do, he didn’t mean the killing the Son of God, the killing the King of Israel, whatever, that’s not what he meant. What he meant was, they think they’re harming me, but they can’t because I am a child of God.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: They’re gonna feel guilty, or they’re gonna build an entire religion called Christianity or Catholicism based on the guilt of having done that. But it’s a mistake. He didn’t mean that. He simply meant to say, you know who you are? You’re spirits. Let them do to your body what they want. You cannot be hurt.
Rick Archer: Yeah, when you look at a picture of a saint like Ramana, for instance, or I was looking at one the other night of Anandamayi Ma. I don’t know if you know who she was, but there’s this sort of gaze that is so amazing and beautiful, where it’s like they’re looking inwardly even more than they’re looking outwardly, even though their eyes are open. It’s like there’s utter lucidity in their soul or in their inner awareness, and just no clouds, no obfuscation. Whereas you look at someone who’s, like Hitler or something like that, and it’s all outer oriented. There’s no introspection, no sort of self-referral. It’s just all outward. And, they act blindly because they don’t have the sort of inner awareness from which to act.
Diederik Wolsak: Completely understandable. If I go back to the first 50 years when I was getting evidence all day long confirming my beliefs, I had no reason to question it because the evidence was obvious. If you’re never told that whatever you have in your life is nothing but a reflection of who you think you are, then you won’t know that. Then you will only follow, this is the evidence I’m getting, I have to change the evidence.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I’m reminded of a saying. I forget who coined this. They said it’s easier to put on shoes than to pave the Earth with leather. Did you hear that one?
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s the same thing. The other one is that it’s all a projection. We run to the screen, trying to change the characters on the screen which we project on it.
Rick Archer: Here’s another question that came in. This is from Amelia Grignon from Portland, Oregon. “I love this interview and resonate deeply with Mr. Wolsak’s teachings. I’m wondering how you would address a writer/poet, who has had nine to five office jobs for the last several years to support my creativity. These office jobs have never been fulfilling, but a way, they’re just a way to support myself and my cats. As a result, when people ask, what do you do, I inwardly cringe.”
Diederik Wolsak: Right. So what she hasn’t learned to do yet is to ask what is the office job for? She sees the office job as a negative.
Rick Archer: Right.
Diederik Wolsak: While in effect, it’s a gift. If you hear me say I am a writer and poet, I’ve given you permission to say, is that true? Is that who you are? I would say no, you’re right. That’s not who I am. That’s what I made up. I like that. I like the idea that I’m a writer and a poet, but I’m not. I’m actually just a child of God. Now a child of God could either be writing poetry or work in an office. What difference does it make? What is my function? What is the purpose for writing poetry? And what is the purpose for being in the office? Once I get that the purpose cannot be anything other than giving and receiving love, then it makes no difference. Go back to my father on the pile of bodies. He didn’t say if I wasn’t on this pile of bodies, I’d be happy. He was happy beyond his wildest imagination under the worst circumstance. She can go back to work on Monday, tomorrow, and ask, what am I here for? It’s not to feed my cat and pay the rent. There’s something much deeper, there’s a deeper purpose for me being in this office. And if I don’t get that, I’ll be living in discontentment till I get what my ego says I want and that’s to write and be a poet. Unfortunately, I have not practiced being happy. So the minute I start being a poet and a writer, I still won’t be happy.
Rick Archer: Yeah, a few interviews ago, I interviewed Steven Cope and we talked about dharma. And Amelia might want to watch that interview. But he went through in his book examples of people like Walt Whitman, and Mahatma Gandhi and many others who started out doing something for which we do not remember them. But it just ended up proving to be a valuable life experience and a stepping stone to what they ended up doing. I think we can probably all relate to that. I mean, you ran restaurants and I have done all kinds of computer consulting and stuff like that, which at the time, I didn’t feel was my purpose for being on the planet, but I sort of saw it as a practical necessity at the time. Then just kind of like keeping my priority with spiritual development first, eventually things shuffled themselves around so that I have been able to be doing this full time, which is one thing led to the next. But if I still had to be doing that it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
Diederik Wolsak: No, no. That’s the beauty of an evolved mind. Because an evolved mind knows that nothing needs to change for me to be happy. Now, is that my experience 24 hours a day, seven days a week? No, no, I still have ego preferences. There’s a reason we’re in Costa Rica, as opposed to Alaska. Those are all ego preferences. I still have those. Now, if I can’t have them, then that’s okay, too. That is the result and that’s the payoff of doing the work is that the ability and the willingness to be at peace and to be happy is increased dramatically, regardless of circumstances.
Rick Archer: Okay, I think we did justice to I am upset. Have we really covered it’s about me? Or is there a bit more we want to say about that before going on to step three?
Diederik Wolsak: Well, step two, it’s about me, is so difficult and so challenging that I have never met anyone, including myself, of course, who lives that 100% of the time. But without it, the process ends right there. Without recognizing that nothing needs to change it’s all about me. I am making this up. I’m the author of this dream. I’m dreaming this. Well that means I can dream something else. I’m hearing a voice in my head. That’s my voice. Even when we get people who have multiple voices, multiple personalities, they become peaceful with that as soon as they recognize all of those voices are their voice. They’re choosing that. So once I know that, then I can go to the next step. But you have to be honest, am I really willing to accept step two? If so, you’re on your way. If not, take a step back.
Rick Archer: I imagine that once you really master this process, and that it’s kind of automatic. If something upsets you, you can just take a moment and run through all the steps, which we’ll continue to discuss, and work the thing out, and then get back to your day.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, yeah. And eventually, I can see that now. We’ll go through the steps. But this is the shortcut that anybody who’s been doing this for a while will automatically use and that is, I am not at peace right now. That means I’m believing something about me that’s not true. I wonder what it is?
Rick Archer: Yeah. So it’s not immediately obvious, necessarily. You might feel upset. Let’s say you’re driving in traffic, and somebody cuts you off, which everybody experiences. Some people will just drive appropriately and keep on driving and not fret about it, somebody else might not. Well, the other day, somebody pulled out a gun and shot a poor little kid, killed him when there was some kind of road rage thing. They finally caught the guy.
Diederik Wolsak: Classic, yeah. I think you’re illustrating is you have a choice to react.
Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: How you cut me off in traffic, how do I respond? Who is the ‘I’ that’s going to respond? If it’s my ego set of beliefs, I’ll be pissed off. At the very least you’ll get a very firm finger. It gets worse, and I’ll shoot you. My loving Self would say, wow, Rick is in a hurry. Let me give him some space. Same circumstance, completely different experience. Both are available to me.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: Which am I choosing? Which am I going to choose? Who is the I that I love to choose?
Rick Archer: Ironically, the one that where you get all upset is the one that endangers your life and impairs your driving ability.
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly. And your relationships and well everything is a relationship so that, at that moment that relationship with the other driver is one full of hate or resentment and anger. And that affects me.
Rick Archer: Okay. So maybe we can use the traffic example to illustrate step three, feel the feeling.
Diederik Wolsak: Right. In any circumstance, the ego assesses it, and tells me what I should be feeling under that circumstance based on my belief. The feeling can be anger, the feeling can be irritation, the feeling can be annoyance, or it can be an experience of joyful acceptance, in which case, I’ve done my healing. Whatever could come up at that moment is not going to come up because I’ve done the healing. But the feeling, I will never validate feelings. So it doesn’t matter what you tell me, it’s gonna be the worst thing in the world. I will not react because I know that your reaction to it was based on a mistaken interpretation of what happened. Why would I validate your feelings? I’ll say fantastic, you’re really pissed off right now. What’s so good about that? Well, it’s really good because that gives you an opening to take that feeling that you feel right now, that rage that you felt when you were cut off. Is that a familiar feeling? And you’ll say, yeah, actually, I felt that yesterday when my daughter came home late, and she slammed the door while I was taking a nap. Oh, interesting. Now take it back to an early memory where you felt the same thing that you felt now, just now with that car? What’s happening around you? And they almost always 95% of the time, come up with an incident, something happened. Their mother or their father usually, almost always said or did something and they have that same feeling. Then the question is that feeling tells you something about you-what do you think you made up at that moment? We’ll take your reaction to being cut off, you’ve taken that feeling back to a memory. Now, you’re going to ask yourself, what did I decide about me in that memory? So my sister came home, she slammed the door. I was taking a nap. That means she doesn’t love me. That means I’m not important. That means I don’t matter. That means maybe even so strong as I shouldn’t have been, I shouldn’t be here. Insane decisions, but we make them. Once we give ourselves opportunity to make them a few more times under similar circumstances, boom. Now you have a belief.
Rick Archer: Is it necessary to do Holotropic breathwork or something like that, in order to get down to what the underlying feeling actually is? Because a lot of times you bring up these examples, and I think well, I don’t know if I would be able to locate the root feeling that’s causing this.
Diederik Wolsak: Almost everybody says that, Rick. But in my experience, if you stay in the feeling, you’ll get there. If you acknowledge the feeling and then start to think your way back, you won’t get there. Rick Archer: You have to more feel your way into it rather than think your way into it.
Diederik Wolsak: Precisely. Because who does the thinking is the ego. And the ego knows what you’re up to. Because what you’re up to is diminishing its value.
Rick Archer: Right.
Diederik Wolsak: So it’s going to start to take over and you’ll say no I can’t think, you know what, I’ve blocked all my early memories. I say, yeah I know you have for a reason because you want to keep the self you made up. But we’re gonna unblock them. If you follow that feeling, and it’s written specifically to the earliest memory, it doesn’t say what I mean by early. If the earliest memory is two weeks ago, whatever it was two weeks ago, you had that same feeling, wonderful. That’s where we’ll do our work. We know that eventually you’ll go back to much more primal memories.
Rick Archer: Let’s take another example. Like in your book, you told the story of a guy who was a welder. He had just bought a new truck that he needed for his job, a beautiful red truck. His son who had actually done a program at your center, took a screwdriver or something and made a scrape all along the entire length of the truck. Then the guy called you up furious and said what have you taught my kid? The kid was using some kind of airy-fairy spiritual bypassing thing and questioning his father about what his core beliefs were because he got angry at the kid having scraped the truck. And now it sounds like a kind of a justifiable reason to get angry. What would you, how do you think you would have reacted if that had been your son and you just bought a new car or truck and he had vandalized it in that way? How would that scenario have played out differently?
Diederik Wolsak: Now or 20 years ago?
Rick Archer: Well, 20 years ago you might have been like the guy, but now?
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly. Now, I would say what was coming up for you? Obviously, when you did that you were not healthy. So what do you think you were feeling when you did that? Well, I was really pissed off at you. Could it be that you are not pissed off at me? Let’s look at the feeling you thought you had about me? What was that feeling? And we’ll go through it, and we’ll find out he was simply expressing his guilt. He was punishing me because he feels guilty, and he was hoping that I would punish him. Then he got to be right about his guilt. Underneath everything is always guilt. Does that make sense?
Rick Archer: Yeah. But once you had gone through all that, do you think you would say, okay, now we’ve worked through that. Now, here’s the bill for the paint job, you’re gonna have to take responsibility for this.
Diederik Wolsak: Oh, absolutely. But that’s not punishment.
Rick Archer: Right. It’s just responsibility really.
Diederik Wolsak: Punishment has never worked because the ego relishes punishment.
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Diederik Wolsak: The ego doesn’t like natural consequence, and the natural consequence is you’re going to pay for this because somebody has to pay for it. I don’t see why I should pay for it. What we both got out of this is a wonderful healing opportunity, which we use beautifully. The bill is 1500 bucks. Right now, I give you $100 a month allowance. Let’s reduce that to 50, the other 50 will apply to the car. But there’s never a reason to be upset. That’s the key.
Rick Archer: So it never really accomplishes anything, you’re saying.
Diederik Wolsak: Never.
Rick Archer: Well, let’s think about Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple. He didn’t just come in there all sanguine say, hey, I think you guys maybe should leave. He kind of like blew his top, according to the story and tipped over the tables and stuff like that. Do you think he might have slipped up there a little bit? Or was that a legitimate cause for anger?
Diederik Wolsak: There’s three ways of seeing it. One is he slipped up. In other words, he was not enlightened. He was not anywhere near as advanced as we think he was.
Rick Archer: Or he was having a bad day.
Diederik Wolsak: He’s having a bad day. The second is it never happened. It’s an ego story that we like to use in order to give a dig to the money lenders. In other words, Jesus wasn’t even there.
Rick Archer: Yeah, could be.
Diederik Wolsak: The third one is that he that he was acting. And I do that. People in workshops say why are you so angry? I’m not the least bit angry, but I’m using it in order to get to you.
Rick Archer: Because they wouldn’t hear anything else.
Diederik Wolsak: That to me is the more likely answer. Although I’m perfectly happy with it never happened. They made it up in order to build a little story and to make it more human or whatever. I’m okay with it never happening.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ve actually been around some pretty famous and significant spiritual teachers, and I’ve seen examples of them really blowing their top. Then something will happen, somebody will say something, and they’ll just turn it off like that. As if they had never been riled up, and there’s no residual kind of thing. It’s it was like it was appropriate and now it doesn’t matter.
Diederik Wolsak: It’s the Zen slap. It’s the idea of putting a little more passion and emphasis in what I’m teaching. But I’m not emotionally involved in that. It’s an act.
Rick Archer: Okay, so we have three more steps to go through. But you were talking about punishment a minute ago, and it might be good to come back to the criminal justice system. There’s a Michael Moore documentary put out a few years ago, where he goes around the world, I think it’s called Where To Invade Next. He goes to Sweden, or some such place and he shows what the criminal justice system is like over there. And the so-called prisons are almost like country clubs. They have TVs, and they have a nice place, and they have a nice kitchen they can work in, all kinds of good stuff. And they have a very good success rate in terms of rehabilitation. Now in the U.S., it’s a different story. There’s this heavy punishment emphasis, and both the people and the politicians seem to feel like punishment is what is called for when a person commits a crime, even though it doesn’t seem to work, and we have very high recidivism rates. So how would you reflect on the criminal justice system and what your process could do to help reform it?
Diederik Wolsak: Well, what you’re missing in that comparison is the fact that the U.S. penal system is profit oriented.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that too. In fact, not all of it, but some of it is actually private companies that own these.
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly. That is what lays at the foundation. I mean, nobody’s gonna give that up. If I can make 50,000 net, I’m putting you in jail. I’m going to put as many people in jail as I can, because I’m going to be very wealthy.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and I’m gonna donate to the politicians that make the laws that will enable me to keep this business going.
Diederik Wolsak: Precisely. So you have to remove that aspect of it. Now you and I are dealing one on one. You’re a thief. You’ve done repeated stealing. It’s getting out of hand to where you would now be caught twice, this is the second time. We’re going to have to figure out where it comes from. What do you want, what do you get to be right about when you steal? Well, I don’t have any money, I need it. Yeah, we know that, but it goes deeper than that. There’s something else going on. What is the fear? If you don’t steal, what do you make up would happen? Well, I wouldn’t have the TV that I want, for example, or I wouldn’t be able to steal the TV and sell it and then get cigarettes or get crack. That’s true. What is the crack for? Let’s look at that. You keep going deeper until you get to the foundational I’m worthless, I have no value, nobody will ever love me, there is no love. Is that true? That’s my experience. Yes. It was my experience, too. But is it true? Well, it would be great if it wasn’t true, wouldn’t it? If we work with people, and I hope this doesn’t sound facile and glib, but if we take a year of working like that with a common thief, for example, that problem would be solved. Instead of 15 years, and how did he come out? He comes out a much worse criminal than he was when he went in. It’s inhumane how we treat people. Locking someone up over a material damage is beyond words inhumane.
Rick Archer: They’ve had that three-strikes-you’re-out law in some places where you might have a little marijuana on you or something, and you’re in for life.
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly. And many, many years ago, this is now about 30 or 40 years ago, it’s different now, they compared the penal system in Holland with the penal system in Florida, roughly, same size population. In Florida, there were 60,000 people in that time, now it is way more, in jail for long-term jail sentences. In Holland there were six.
Rick Archer: Wow.
Diederik Wolsak: Why was that? Because Holland assigned a social worker to each criminal – a lot cheaper than putting them in jail, they could still function, they were getting treatment, they were getting help. They don’t do it anymore because of course, they’ve become Americanized. But if you go back to a system like that, where you’re the thief, what you did was a cry for love. And I see it. I don’t see it as a crime. I see it as a cry for love. How am I gonna respond to a cry for love? With punishment? That is my cry for love. So now we have two people crying for love. Nobody’s hearing anybody. In other words, now we’re perpetuating the guilt. My guilt has been triggered by your behavior, your guilt is being triggered by your behavior, we’re both guilty. I’ll lock you up. I don’t have to look at you anymore. But if I see your behavior is a cry for love, I had a reaction because you actually stole from me. Wow. That was a fear on my part that I don’t have enough, that there is a scarcity within me. Is that true? No, that’s not true. I go back to loving you. I go back to knowing who you are, because I know who I am. Now we can heal together for a lot less than a jail sentence.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I know, Portugal had a really bad heroin problem. They ended up legalizing drugs and taking all the money that they had been using to incarcerate people, and just putting it into therapy for these people. Now, they have so many fewer people in prison, and they also have much less of a drug problem over there.
Diederik Wolsak: Right. And a healthier social environment.
Rick Archer: Right, right.
Diederik Wolsak: As we’ve always said, and everybody’s always sang beautiful songs to it, love is the only thing that will actually heal. Nothing else will heal.
Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s so many songs telling us we need more of it.
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly.
Rick Archer: What the world needs now is love, sweet love. That’s the only thing there’s just too little of. I’ll spare you the actual singing. A nice question came in from Andreas Hasel in Basel, Switzerland. He said, “I know Diederik’s work, and I think it’s brilliant. He says that I choose my partner because we have the same beliefs and that a partner cannot be responsible for my happiness. Could he say something about relationships and how to make someone happy? And about love and relationships in general? I find that very enlightening and important in his teachings.”
Diederik Wolsak: Well, I can’t make you happy any more than you can make me happy, any more than you can make me unhappy, or I can make you unhappy. I can do things that piss you off. Because you’re highly trained and because I am highly trained, you’ll say, I just really got pissed off, and I know it’s got nothing to do with you because I know step two. Wow, what was the trigger? What came up for me? Ha, that old belief that I can lose love. That’s not true. I can’t lose it. I made that up. I’m back with you. I can now look at you. You made that statement to me in order to piss me off, and when I’m pissed off at you, I react. That’s what you’re looking for.
Rick Archer: Here’s one that came in from Jay in Calgary. He said, “I’m writing to you from a very difficult life situation. I’ve tried so many therapies. My life is in the drain on every level, and I have truly given up. My biggest source of stress right now is that I feel I caused so much damage to my career and professional life. I don’t know where to begin, or where to start. Where do I start?” This is like something you could have written 20 or 30 years ago – where do I start?
Diederik Wolsak: Exactly. You start by saying there has to be another way. This is not sustainable. If it stays like this, if I stay interpreting everything the way I interpret it right now, I’ll finish it off. Because it’s unbearable. Having said there has to be another way, the other way will become apparent, which may be why he’s on this program. If he’s actually listening, which he is, and taking it in and recognizing that the situation he is in is a learning and healing opportunity, even though it feels absolutely devastating. It still is a healing opportunity. He can say I need to distance myself from this relationship for a while. I need to go back in and do my healing. I need to be able to then see my wife situation as a cry for love. I need to see that she is going through a process that she needs loving help with. That’s not my job. I’m not her therapist. But my job is to see myself, to see who I am. Once I see who I am, I will see who she is. And there won’t be a judgement. There won’t be this shouldn’t have happened.
Rick Archer: Sounds like he’d be a good candidate for one of your Zoom classes.
Diederik Wolsak: Yep, yeah. By all means, go to the website and find, there’s so many, particularly thanks to COVID. COVID has been an enormous blessing to us, in so many ways, both individually and collectively as an organization, because we’ve discovered that our reach is not limited by people being able to come to Costa Rica or a workshop in Washington or Vancouver or France. We can do it online. And it’s unbelievably effective. To go back to our friend in Calgary, I recognize he is in a very difficult position. What he can do is, as you suggested, go to the website, find a circle. The circles are immensely powerful environments.
Rick Archer: A circle means like a group that you can participate in, right?
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, an online group. I’m not sure whether we have live circles in Calgary. I’m not familiar with that right now. But, he can do that. He can also find one of our counselors that can help him out.
Rick Archer: Okay, good. Yeah. How does that work? I mean, you must have cases where one member of a partnership dives into the work and the other isn’t even interested. Do they end up growing closer or farther apart when that happens?
Diederik Wolsak: They end up going closer provided the one that’s doing the work is actually doing the work. If the one that’s doing the work is only doing it to manipulate the other and to make sure that they’re better than they are. Look how wonderful I am. I am actually processing and you’re not.
Rick Archer: And rub their noses in it.
Diederik Wolsak: Then it won’t, nothing will change. But if I heal, then I will see you as who you are, which is love. I will no longer see your beliefs reflected because they’re not within me anymore. In other words, the mirror is clean, it’s gone.
Rick Archer: Okay, so I want to accomplish several things. We can go a little long, if that’s okay with you. But I want to ask a few more questions that have come in. And I also want us to run through steps four, five, and six. We don’t have to take an hour at it, but let’s just go through these things fairly quickly while doing justice to them. This is from Marije Stadegaard in Amsterdam. She says, “Practicing A Course in Miracles, focusing on the meaning of everything that is offered to me, go out of blame of guilt. It feels somehow like stepping out to watch and learn, but then it feels like I fail to take responsibility. It feels passive. Does this make sense?”
Diederik Wolsak: It doesn’t make sense to my experience. I can only listen to her and recognize that this is her experience. Then I would follow that up by saying is that feeling of being passive familiar? Is that part of your pattern? Is that how you live your life? Do you live your life as an observer? As a bystander? Or do you live your life as the center of whatever happens? In which case you couldn’t possibly be a bystander because you’re the author. So it’s a shift from bystander to author. As long as I stay a bystander, I can smile and look serene, but nothing will have been healed. I have to get dirty. I have to get in there.
Rick Archer: Okay, good. I’ll move along. Obviously, we could elaborate on each of these things. But I just want to make sure I get to ask them all. This is from Martin Kline, in Germany, “Currently, I work by myself, and I try to take the triggers from outer experiences to look at the emotions that come up. Often when pain occurs, it gets triggered by the thought, I lack love, I don’t get love, etc. Do you have advice on how or if to deal with the emotions or the thoughts when they come up?”
Diederik Wolsak: Absolutely. So that gets us beautifully to the next step. We’ve done the feeling. We’ve gone to the experience of where I first had that feeling, what happened at that moment, what did I make up upon myself? Well, he made up I lack love. I’m not lovable. The next step is to forgiveness. The forgiveness is from the decision maker to the loving self to say, forgive me for believing that I cannot be loved. The answer then is that’s not true. You are love. Nobody needs to love you. You are love. That love is unchangeable. That’s the essence of who you are. Remember, forgive them for they know not what they do. I am pure love. Nothing can affect that. That’s the next and that last step is the completion, which is forgive me for forgetting that I am pure love. Then again, the loving answer is thank God that is true. You are love, I’m glad you remembered. And that’s complete, then you go back to the upset. In the beginning, the upset was a nine out of 10. Now you go back to the upset, how does it feel now? Feels like a two out of 10. So, it’s reduced considerably. Let’s go back in again. That two level is not acceptable. We have to reduce that to a zero. What is still left? What are you still believing? Maybe it’s the same belief, maybe another belief crept in that he wasn’t aware of before. Then you do the forgiveness again. Whatever the belief was, or it could be the same belief, but can also be another one.
Rick Archer: Okay, good. So, in other words, if you really tap into your true nature as sort of an ocean of abundance and ocean of love, then you’re not going to be reliant upon or seeking for external love, it may come. In fact, people will probably love you a lot more if you’re established in that fullness, but it’s sort of like adding something to something that is already infinite. Does it become more infinite? Or, my cup runneth over, it’s full.
Diederik Wolsak: Literally, yeah, it becomes more and more a confirmation of the truth. Every relationship, every interaction then is always a reflection of who I think I am at any given state. If I’m healed, then every interaction will be one of love. It will be a joyful experience.
Rick Archer: I think we’ve covered step four, remember my ancient feelings?
Diederik Wolsak: And the belief I made up.
Rick Archer: Right. We pretty much covered that. Step five is establish my judgment of myself. Have we covered that adequately?
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, so that in his case was I’m not lovable or I’m not good enough. Nobody will ever love me. That’s my judgment. That’s my core belief. The forgiveness for that is forgive me for believing that nobody will ever love me.
Rick Archer: Yeah. then step six is embracing the absolute truth about me.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah. Yeah. So that is forgive me for forgetting that that I am love, infinite love and that nothing can change that. Nobody can take that away. Nobody can add to that. My worth is intrinsic. You can say my worth is established by God. I am a drop of water in the ocean. I’m part of the ocean. No says the ego, I’m that wave. Do you see that wave over there? That’s who you are. No, I’m not because five seconds later that wave is gone. We’re so attached to being individual and important and significant and want to be seen. We want to be seen as that wave. But we’re still the ocean. Nothing changed.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s funny. There’s such security and peace in knowing oneself as the ocean that it almost seems ironic that people try so hard to maintain their distinctness as waves. If you just relax into your true nature as ocean, then everything you hope to gain by being a really great wave is accomplished.
Diederik Wolsak: And because we just don’t trust the ocean. We don’t trust the universe, the absolute universal oneness that you and I are the same. We hate that idea.
Rick Archer: Perhaps the problem is, see what you think about this, perhaps the problem is that you have to undergo some discomfort to make this transformation from being locked into being a mere wave to realizing your nature as ocean. It’s like when, I don’t know if this is an apt analogy, but when Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier, they didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. As he approached the speed of sound in his jet, it started to shake, and like, was the jet going to fall apart or what? But then he broke the sound barrier, and it all became smooth.
Diederik Wolsak: Beautiful!
Rick Archer: It’s like you have to go through this turbulent period as you process this stuff. Perhaps people tend to want to just keep their attention outward in order to avoid having to face that. But if you do face it and process it, even though it might be initially more uncomfortable, once it’s processed, boom, you’ve broken the sound barrier.
Diederik Wolsak: Yep, absolutely. The Course has a great quote that ties into that very exactly. It says discomfort is aroused only to bring the need for correction to awareness.
Rick Archer: Perfect, yeah. That’s good.
Diederik Wolsak: That’s the only purpose. Time to do some work. I’m upset. Time to get to work.
Rick Archer: Okay, one final question. This is from Jackie in Napier. Her question is, “Love to know more about the child’s experience and how negative beliefs must be played out at a later stage. As a teacher of young children,” which I guess she’s saying she is, “do you have advice to address and alleviate children’s personal pain, or false beliefs?” This is a good one because if teachers could help to nip that in the bud, the formation of these beliefs, it could prevent a lot of problems in the long run.
Diederik Wolsak: Anne Andrew, who was one of our colleagues and a dear friend, wrote a beautiful book called What They Don’t Teach in Prenatal Class. That’s what she deals with, is how we could work with kids at a very, very early age. Start teaching them that what they did, for example, you broke my favorite vase. In itself, that doesn’t mean anything. But if I have a reaction to it, I want to show you and teach you what my reaction was, and that my reaction was based on a mistaken belief about me. I needed that vase. That vase was evidence for my importance, whatever it was, but it meant something. I had given that vase meaning. It has no meaning. And you are triggered because you broke that vase. How did you feel when you broke it? Was it really an accident? Where you’re being careful, etc.? It becomes a process for the child, but there is no right or wrong. That’s the big shift. To really recognize that everything is always for your healing, doesn’t matter what it is. You broke my favorite vase, that’s for me somehow. I’ll figure out how. But, if you did it out of intentional carelessness, and it’s very difficult to tell the difference sometimes, you did it in order to get a reaction out of me that confirms a belief about you. So you already have a belief you’re guilty, you break the vase so that I can reinforce that for you.
Rick Archer: Yeah, this is good stuff. You can see how if it were part of the educational system, part of the prison system and various other systems, working with homeless people, all kinds of things like that, how so many of these problems could be nipped in the bud or cut off at the source. And not only this, there are other good things, meditation and other practices that people use in these circumstances working with soldiers who have PTSD, for instance, they’ve done great work with meditation. I’m sure your stuff would be good for them too. We really need to shift as a society, I think, in our understanding of how to help people and our priorities. Rather than just bemoaning the fact that we don’t have enough money to pay for all these problems, let’s see about diminishing the problems by getting down to their source. So there’s really not so much that needs to be paid for.
Diederik Wolsak: And what would it cost? It would cost us the entire world the way we see it now. We’d have to let go of anything I think is true. That’s a tough one, because what I think is true is true. I’ve lived it all my life, but it’s not.
Rick Archer: But it obviously isn’t working, the world.
Diederik Wolsak: To recognize I’ve been wrong for 55 years – wow. What a nice thought.
Rick Archer: Well, better than continuing to be wrong for another X number of years.
Diederik Wolsak: Yeah, it wouldn’t have happened.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Great. Well, thanks so much. This has been a good discussion.
Diederik Wolsak: Thank you, Rick. It’s been a real pleasure. And I really honor you and honor the commitment you have to bringing all these messages from such a variety of people out to others to make it accessible. It’s an amazing, amazing love.
Rick Archer: Well, I love doing it as I’m sure you can understand, because you love doing what you’re doing, and we’re all doing our bit.
Diederik Wolsak: Wonderful. So thank you. And love to Irene and thank her for choosing me. I really appreciate it.
Rick Archer: I will. He says thank you and thank you for choosing him.
Diederik Wolsak: She got the check.
Rick Archer: I was saying, yeah, hey, it’s time we interviewed Gabor Mate. She said, nah, I kind of like this guy. So let’s do him. I said all right.
Diederik Wolsak: That’s interesting. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Rick Archer: Okay. And thank you again, and thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. Obviously, people watch these things out of sequence. But if you happen to be watching them in sequence, next week is with a woman named Tara Springett who has been a student of Dzogchen. And she has some very effective ways of helping people who are having Kundalini episodes, which comes up quite a bit, actually. People often get in touch with us and say, I’m going through this incredible thing, and I don’t know what to do. So hopefully, she’ll have some helpful advice for those people. So again, those who are listening or watching, explore the menus on BatGap, and you will see what we have to offer. Basically, it’s this, interviews but there are some things in the menus that you might find interesting. So thanks a lot, and we’ll see you for the next one. And thanks again, Diederik.
Diederik Wolsak: Thank you, Rick. Thank you, Irene. It’s a pleasure.
Rick Archer: All righty. Bye, bye.
Diederik Wolsak: Bye, bye.
Rick Archer: Talk to you later.