Diederik was born in 1942 in a tiny village south of what now is known as Jakarta, Indonesia. The first three and a half years of his life were spent in Japanese POW camps and it was here that he formed most of his core beliefs, beliefs which he thought were his actual ‘character’. After some fifty years of self-loathing, alcohol, and drug abuse he decided 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 that allows him to transform the self he hated into a Self whose only function is to extend love. Choose Again, his charitable society, operates a healing center in Costa Rica and he gives talks and teaches workshops in many places around the world.
Some main points discussed in this conversation.
Everything happens for a reason.
Diederik’s work goes beneath symptoms to the core belief that ‘chooses’ the symptoms.
Most core beliefs are formed in the first 8 years of life, and sometimes even in utero.
Diederik’s birth and early life in a Japanese POW camp. His troubled background.
Most children blame themselves when traumatic things happen to them. Their behavior eventually expresses that guilt.
Reading this line in A Course in Miracles completely changed Diederik’s life: “Sin is lack of love as darkness is lack of light.”
Recognizing that the world is a dream and that we are its author enables us to write a different script.
Whatever we do in life reflects who we think we are.
Feelings are vehicles that can take us back to the moment when their underlying beliefs were formed.
“Nothing outside of me can bring me anything I need and nothing outside of me needs to change for me to be happy.”
The essence of all these teachings: I am the author of my experience and everything in my life is for me.
If you decide that happiness and joy are your goals, then whatever happens will serve that goal.
Bliss is the goal of this process.
The importance of ongoing practice. It gets easier if you persist.
Diederik’s Six-Step Process:
Step 1: I’m upset.
Step 2: Me: It’s about me.
Step 3: Focus on the feelings.
Step 4: Remember my ancient feelings.
Step 5: Establish my judgment of myself.
Step 6: Embrace the truth about me.
“Discomfort is aroused only to bring the need for correction to awareness.”
With Irish and English roots, he was educated by the Benedictines and studied English Literature at New College, Oxford University. Before entering monastic life, he worked with the United Nations in New York, in Banking and Journalism.
Fr. Laurence is a monk of the Benedictine Congregation of Monte Oliveto Maggiore. John Main was his teacher and Fr. Laurence assisted him in establishing the foundations of the Community. Laurence is the author of a number of books on Meditation. He teaches meditation in religious and secular contexts and works in interfaith dialogue. He travels extensively teaching and leading Retreats dialogues. Laurence sees meditation as opening the common ground of humanity and developing the contemplative consciousness that he believes the world today needs for its survival.
Some of the points discussed in this conversation:
“Meditation itself is a universal wisdom, we find it in all the great spiritual families.”
Lawrence’s introduction to meditation by John Main. John Main’s background.
The roots of the mantra meditation taught by the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM): its connection with Ramana Maharshi and the Christian tradition of the desert fathers and John Cassian.
“Meditation is a work of attention that gives deep care to the soul.”
The loss of esoteric knowledge in the Cristian tradition.
Three elements of religion: Mystical, Institutional, Intellectual.
How easily the subtle and mystical elements of a religion can be lost.
The distinction between contemplative consciousness and transitory yet transformative mystical experiences.
Mindfulness is helpful but is preparatory for the deeper and more transformative work of single-pointed meditation.
The inevitability of a “dark night” or purificatory stage.
How a connection with your deeper self can transform the dying experience.
The best scientists are mystics.
The influence on society of the materialist paradigm, which fails to recognize that consciousness is fundamental.
An encounter with the meaning of suffering at the heart of all great mystical traditions.
Finding the still point within ourselves and meeting others from that place is a fundamental prerequisite to solving global problems.
Importance of community.
Convening leaders who understand the importance of contemplative consciousness and how this might transform the world.
Connecting contemplative practice with the work necessary to heal the world.
Can meditation alone ensure moral clarity? The issue of ethical integrity in the spiritual community.
Good work is that which brings out the best in you and will bring benefits to others – that’s ‘virtue’.
“The fruits of the spirit are actually the life of God, burgeoning in your humanity.”
“God became human so that human beings might become God.” If some Christians find this blasphemous, they should read the early Church fathers.
Emptiness versus fullness in the Cristian tradition.
St. Irenaeus: “We can never know God as an object, we can only know God by participating in his own self-knowledge”.
Reincarnation vs. resurrection vs. purgatory.
Meditation is the journey from the mind, into the heart.
Some of the points discussed in this conversation:
A review of Anita’s near-death experience: “It felt like love was coming from the whole universe, I was bathed in it”.
How it changed her life, physically and spiritually, and continues to do so.
A brief discussion of her 2nd book, “What if This is heaven?” – how to create heaven on earth.
Focusing on what you want, and not on fear.
Anita’s new book, “Sensitive is the New Strong”.
The spectrum from sociopathy to empathy.
Empaths can become doormats, feeling and absorbing others’ pain and not differentiating it from their own; always giving but struggling to receive.
The people society regards as powerful are often the most aggressive and insensitive. Sensitive people shy away from power, but if the world were run by empaths we would heal hunger in a minute. We can’t have empathic leaders without a grassroots shift in collective consciousness.
Learning to follow your inner guidance and not give away your power.
Sensitivity is seen as weakness and should be seen as strength.
Empathy and spiritual development should be major components of education.
How to balance strength with sensitivity.
How to give without being depleted.
The importance of taking time for practice, to recharge.
How to know if one is an empath.
Empaths struggle until they learn that their 6th sense is a gift.
Can non-empaths become empaths?
Spiritual awakening does not make one an empath.
Are empaths more vulnerable to disease?
Empaths may be more amenable to alternative medicine than others.
Spiritual development is a marathon, not a sprint.
Empath’s inability to say ‘no’ creates problems for them.
Anita’s answer to a woman who lost her 14-year-old son to leukemia a year ago.
Integrating spiritually transcendent experiences into our earthly life once we “return.”
Dealing with skeptics and debunkers.
Your body is more powerful than you have been led to believe. Having a will to live. Create a life that you love.
Sensitive people often have repressed egos. If spiritual teachers tell them ego is bad, they may repress even more.
Ground yourself. Entrain with the earth’s cleansing energies.
Don’t worry about creating boundaries. Expand your energy and you won’t need them.
We are all interconnected. We are all one consciousness.