Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. There have been over 370 of them now and if you would like to check out previous ones go to batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P, and look under the past interviews menu where you’ll see them organized in four or five different ways. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative viewers and listeners, so if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it in any way then there’s a PayPal button on every page of the website. So today my guest is Vera Helleman. Vera is in Holland where she’s very well known, but she just told me that people don’t know her too much outside of Holland, so hopefully this interview will help to change that. Vera was a psychotherapist for a while and then, according to the bio she sent me, she awoke into oneness and was gifted with the full understanding of the functioning of the human mind, the essence of who we are, and the role which we play in creation. So we’ll be talking about those things today. Looking from an energetic level and non-dualistic point of view she has the ability to lovingly confront people with their misconceptions about who they truly are and how this reality functions. Being married, a mother of four, and standing with both feet firmly planted in daily life – translating from the translation from the Dutch here – people find – changing the wording a little bit – people find her vivid appearance a recognizable example of living the art of life that resonates to one’s longing to live. And through her teaching style, although her teaching style is sharp and bright, she has the remarkable capacity of remaining playful and subservient in her contact with others. I would say by sharp and bright you probably mean penetrating and clear, right? Are those better words? And by subservient you probably mean humble. I think you mean humble.
Vera: Yes, I had to think subservient, what does it mean? Someone else translated it for me.
Rick: Yeah, subservient means like you’re somebody’s servant, which is okay.
Vera: That’s okay.
Rick: That’s okay – I mean sometimes people refer to themselves in a spiritual context as your humble servant, you know.
Vera: Oh yeah, as long as I don’t change in a servant, that is all right.
Rick: But the next sentence explains what you’re trying to say here, “Interactions are thus based on equality and serving both selves”. And I think that’s really nice and I have some other friends who are spiritual teachers who are really trying to get rid of the hierarchical nature of the relationship between teachers and students that often is abused really in spiritual circles and makes people feel like, “Oh, I’ll never be like that person”. You know, there’s an attempt to sort of reach an equality and that we’re all in this together. So, yeah.
Vera: Definitely. I don’t feel this hierarchy, not at all. And I think people also don’t feel it towards me.
Rick: Right. And you wrote a book, Effortlessly Being Yourself, which I managed to read this one from cover to cover this week. I don’t always accomplish that, but I did. And the book is a step-by-step guide from ego living based on fear and greed to living one’s spiritual mature potential based on self-expression and growth. And in your book it says, you encourage readers to take full responsibility for the role they play in their lives and the path they tread on.
Rick: Okay. And in all your teachings, the final bit of this bio, your aim is to give insight and tools enabling the shift to a more congruent life and increasing understanding and enjoyment of what attracts in one’s life. Okay, good. Thank you very much for taking the time to come on the show today. So, let’s start with learning a little bit more about you. You were trained as a psychotherapist, right? So, you went to college and whatever training one goes to and became a psychotherapist.
Vera: Yes, well that was the last part of it before I switched and realized I didn’t need education anymore on that level.
Vera: I think as a child I always was interested in people and what I was most interested in, when I was, I think I was somewhat of three years old, I went outside with my mother and I hold her hand and we bumped into the neighbor and it was very strange to me. I remember it so vivid because my mother was fine, her energy was fine and on a deeper level she felt totally happy, just like everyone feels on a different, on a deeper level. And she began to speak with a neighbor and suddenly they were talking about very sad things and difficult problems and it was so strange for me to see the difference between what they were talking about and how they really felt on a deeper level.
Rick: So, they felt happy but they were talking about sad things?
Vera: Yes, and that was for me so strange that since then I think I was always investigating why do people do the things they do and why are they different in how they express themselves and how they feel themselves. And yeah, I read a lot, I therapied a lot as a hobby and well the end of the line was doing a psychotherapist education.
Rick: Yeah, you actually did it professionally, you didn’t finish it?
Vera: No, I didn’t finish it because in the last year I was, so to speak, woke up and I realized what I am doing is just changing our programming and that is not that efficient as we think it is and I found a more direct way to be happy.
Rick: Yeah, I kind of went through a process like that a little bit myself although I never went too far with the education but I took some college courses in psychology and I subscribed to Psychology Today magazine. And I thought maybe I should be a psychologist because the mind is powerful and if you really understand the mind and then you’re working on a subtle level and you’re helping people and so on but then when I kind of really understood the potential of meditation I thought forget that I’m going to be a meditation teacher.
Vera: Wow, that’s interesting, yes, yes, because then it’s I think at the mind level you can focus but on meditation level you reach the level of intention.
Rick: Yeah, and you actually really go beyond the mind in a way and kind of bring about some change from an even more fundamental level.
Vera: Exactly, yes, but you do need the mind.
Rick: Oh yeah, yeah.
Vera: I hear a lot of people who say oh mind is ugly and I want to get rid of it and I want to get rid of ego and well hey you can’t.
Rick: They’re faculties.
Vera: I’m sorry?
Rick: They’re faculties, you need like your eyes and your…
Vera: Yes, they’re tools.
Rick: Yeah, tools. So it says in your bio that you awoke into oneness so what was that awakening like? How did it happen? Had you been like practicing spiritual techniques or working with a teacher or something or what happened?
Vera: Yes, I don’t tell this often because I think everybody walks a different path and I don’t want to give it as a tool. But what I did do in the months before I didn’t eat meat, I didn’t watch television, I was in the forest a lot and I met some spiritual teachers and – well actually one – and I read a book and one line really resonated with me. It was in the other you meet yourself, that was the line and I – whatever it was – but at that moment I suddenly saw the world in different colors, more sharp colors. I felt connected with everybody and I noticed that so bright because I also felt this deep connection with people I normally would walk around. And I didn’t have any triggers anymore and it was all gone. And I thought what is this? It is not a psychosis because it was so clear and what is it because I never heard of a spiritual awakening. And the guy I thought who was a spiritual teacher – I didn’t know what he was teaching – I just met him somewhere as a friend.
Rick: Somebody in Holland?
Rick: Anybody well-known?
Vera: Not really and he asked me not to mention his name.
Rick: Okay, sure.
Vera: I think it has, yeah, everything helped I guess.
Rick: Yeah, I don’t think there’s any danger of telling one story like that because these days so many hundreds of people are having these experiences and telling these stories that it’s very unlikely that someone’s going to hear your story and say “oh that’s the way it has to be”, because they probably heard a hundred other ones that, you know…
Vera: That’s true. I still again watch television sometimes and eat meat sometimes again, but now it’s different. It’s like this old Zen story after that a cloud is a cloud again.
Rick: Right, first there is a mountain then there is no mountain then there is.
Vera: Yes, exactly.
Rick: And so did this oneness experience fade away or did it stay with you?
Vera: The intensity of it I think when I look back, I did went back into the well ego shock because I didn’t was… my heart opened but my mind wasn’t open yet. I know I have to say it differently. I wasn’t prepared to understand what was going on so I wanted to understand what was going on and by wanting to understand I was craving again.
Vera: Yes, so if I would understand earlier what was going on I was more prepared to more abiding awakening.
Rick: Yeah, so do you now understand what was going on or what is going on?
Vera: Yes, completely. So after that awakening I went to several teachers and watched DVDs and yes, but there was one after a few years after that there was one moment that it really, how do you say it?
Vera: Yes, it was very strange. I was meditating in the middle of my room and I was very enthusiastic about this whole new vision but I never could explain it to other people. I couldn’t find the words, it was just, I don’t know… And then I was meditating and I saw in the air a vision of both Ramana Maharshi and Papaji and I saw this visions and they were melting inside of me. It was very strange and from that moment on I could speak.
Vera: Very very strange. I don’t know what really happened.
Rick: You could explain things in other words.
Rick: Yeah, and that’s very interesting. Those guys are like hanging around doing stuff I think.
Rick: You keep hearing stories about that, like that, where people have an experience, particularly Ramana will come to them and sometimes before they even know he exists or they’ve ever seen a book about him or anything, they see this Indian guy and they think, hmm, who’s this? And then later on they’ll see his book and oh, that’s the guy I saw. So, I don’t know how that works but it seems to be.
Vera: Yes, I think I know how it is worked because Ramana is the archetype of the heart, the opening of the heart where someone like Jesus is more archetype of wisdom. He’s the archetype of the heart. So, I think when you focus, your intention is on opening of the heart, you meet Ramana Maharshi.
Vera: I think his resonance is so strong about opening the heart.
Rick: So, what do you understand an archetype to be?
Vera: Like a metaphor. Like and I think my lack of English is…
Rick: You’re doing good. A bit of losing me but… You’re doing fine.
Vera: He’s like the personalization of an open heart.
Rick: Yeah. And so, one thing that I find curious is, I mean, what is… I don’t know. Well, we can always skip over anything that I ask and if you don’t feel like getting into it. But I find it fascinating that there’s this sort of divine intelligence that would show us things like that, like your experience of Ramana and Papaji. It’s like, what are the mechanics of that? Why are you being shown that and who is showing you that? And how is it that once you had that experience and they sort of came into you, you were able to speak? It’s interesting to me what perhaps the subtle mechanics are of such things happening. Do you have any thoughts about that?
Vera: Yes, I think that’s also the issue with angels and reincarnation.
Rick: All that stuff.
Vera: All that stuff. It is, in my point of view, it’s all about resonance and I already knew Ramana and I already knew Papaji. So, the resonance they were sending out were vibrating into something that resonates inside of me. So, the message is always… the layer of our own self that can communicate beyond time and space, can make a connection on basis of resonance and reach out to that what resonates and need to wake up inside of us. So, if we speak about Ramana and Papaji, Ramana is the open heart, Papaji is more the wisdom and knowledge in my point of view. They need to come together inside of me before I could speak. So in that moment it was some kind of grace moment that I reached out my resonance, the intention on a deeper level inside of me. So, not on mind level but on intention level, for its soul level I reached out to as well as mind as heart and they click together and yeah tangled inside of me.
Rick: It’s beautiful, it’s really nice. Sometimes people speak of a download, I’ve spoken with people who say, well this such and such a being came to me – a friend of mine once said, who was it, I forget the being that came to her – but it was some Buddhist, from thousands of years ago, some ancient Buddhist thing, but that being came and she felt like there was this download of knowledge and she didn’t know why or what exactly she was going to do with it or even if she was going to be able to use that immediately, but it was sort of like being added to her software, so to speak, and so for whatever reason when the time was right it would be used.
Vera: Yes, yes, I completely agree with that, but not exactly as a download, it’s more a connection and if you can make this, we are all people, so we can make connection with everything that resonates with our blueprint.
Rick: Yeah, that’s better than download. Yeah.
Vera: I cannot reach out to knowledge of engineering, but I can reach my resonance to inside of oneness because that’s my blueprint, so I can tune in into the knowledge database of Ramana, I can tune into and I make a connection and then it’s also accessible.
Rick: Yeah, no, that’s good and you know and other people in history, for instance Einstein or great scientists would sometimes just get these inspirations, they would somehow know something all of a sudden.
Vera: Yes, yes.
Rick: The guy who discovered the benzene ring, which I forget what the significance of that was, he had a dream of a snake biting its own tail, forming this ring and suddenly had this cognition of the benzene ring.
Vera: Interesting, yes.
Rick: Yeah, or there are obviously examples – Mozart they say would cognize a whole symphony in a moment, but then take time to write it out, but it just came to him.
Vera: Exactly, yeah. I’ve a son, and he’s now seven years old and he is really a very bright intelligent, scientific based, a little bit autistic guy and he says things as, “you know mama, our body doesn’t really exist, there’s only mind juice and we see the body because we believe it is there”. Okay.
Rick: Yeah, I know your kids say great stuff, I mean here’s a quote from one of me, he said, “Mummy, in my next life I don’t want much stuff anymore, it makes me restless”.
Vera: Yes, exactly.
Rick: You have cool little kids.
Vera: So, we all download and all based on what their blueprint is, he is a scientist, I’m prepared to share one’s insight. But I think it got slipped tight, no it slipped, how do you say it, because we want to learn and we think how it is and we don’t have a connection anymore to that, we don’t allow it to come in.
Rick: Yeah, and so what you’re saying obviously is that, you kind of regain that connection through these experiences and it’s just a cool point to dwell on for a minute that we just happened to stumble on to this point, but just that it seems like there’s this ocean of wisdom and knowledge with different aspects of knowledge in it, whether musical or scientific or some spiritual truth or something. And according to our aptitude, according to how we’re wired, we may tap into this.
Rick: Yeah, that’s what we’ve been discussing for the last few minutes, it’s a neat idea.
Vera: Yes, and so that is soul level, essence level, spiritual body level and the personal level, the physical level, the mind level is the way we can manifest it and express it into the world.
Vera: So, at this level we’re working together and the personal level is of service to the spiritual level.
Rick: Yeah, according to our particular aptitudes.
Rick: Yeah, great. So, you mentioned that when you had this experience of awakening into oneness, you were gifted with the full understanding of the functioning of the human mind. That’s quite a statement.
Vera: Yes, you have to write something as a bio. Actually, more accurate is that there were different moments of which these bubbles of information came into me. So I had an experience of a bubble of information I couldn’t speak for three days.
Rick: At all?
Vera: Yes, at all, because I couldn’t translate it into my human consciousness.
Rick: You couldn’t speak about anything or you couldn’t speak about that information?
Vera: I couldn’t speak about anything. I couldn’t talk. No, I was too devastated about it.
Rick: Blown away.
Vera: Yes, blown away about this new information which I didn’t know what information came in. It was just reprogramming, and I had different moments of these bubbles.
Rick: So, could you give us some examples, for instance, of that bubble or one of these bubbles of information which would come in and then after a while you got to speak about them. So, speak about some of that now. What are some of these things that came?
Vera: Yes, I had to enroll it. Well, someday there was a woman who killed herself, and I was somehow connected to her. I emailed a few times, and when I heard that she died, I also got this bubble of information, and it was like I could travel along with her. And I was devastated because all my insights were blown away and weren’t true anymore because what came after that was completely different. I also believed in reincarnation, and in one bubble it all was blown away because she was gone. She was completely gone, dissolved back into consciousness itself again. So there was no “I” anymore, none so ever, and it was really a heavy bubble. And it took me a few months to enroll this information and understand what it really meant.
Rick: So you don’t believe in reincarnation anymore?
Vera: No, because I see it now more as metaphors, and I see us as beings on three levels. We have more layers of ourselves – one personal, the personality level, physical level, essence level, soul level, and pure consciousness. And I think soul level is somehow connected to this reality, connected to the physical body, of which I can understand it now. I don’t know if over ten years I see it exactly the same way, but it seems like the “I”, the first moment of an “I” is soul-related and related to conception, but it is a non-physical level, and this non-physical level can go beyond time and space. So as long as you are connected to the physical level, you can travel along this time and space. So I could now go with my non-physical body back into time and have a conversation with a living person then, and it seems like the soul of the people is coming to them now.
Rick: Well, is that a theory or something you’ve actually done?
Vera: It is more than a theory, because it’s more an insight.
Rick: Yeah, but is it something you’ve experienced?
Vera: Yes, there were periods that I… there were dead people next to me and I asked them questions, or actually I was sitting by my computer, my husband asked questions, I asked them to the people and I wrote down the answer. And they were really connected to that people, so I could travel and resonate with that people. And after that someone else came and it was a far more really Advaita Vedanta kind of text and this guy said to me something like, “But you now are talking to one of yourself or something, because we are all the self”. And then, poof, I can’t exactly… I don’t recall what he said exactly, but he disappeared. And how I perceive information now is not through dead people or whatever, it is pure energy, because I see energy, I feel energy, and I did that when I was three years old, so all this communication between isn’t needed anymore or something.
Rick: Well, the whole thing about reincarnation, I mean obviously some of the world’s major religions have that as part of their teaching – Hinduism and many aspects of Buddhism – and it does help to kind of explain some things. I mean, if we understand the continuing evolution of the soul, like if somebody dies and they’re not in a very happy state, it would be nice to think that they can progress from there, and that’s not just the end of them. And there’s also a lot of studies and a lot of incidents of little kids who go to some village and they know everybody there and they know who they were in that village and a previous life and all that stuff. So I don’t know, and obviously there are also people who don’t believe in it and who say that there are logical explanations for these things. And there are very spiritual people who say that there’s no such thing, that when you form a life it’s like a bucket comes out of the ocean and that’s your life, and then when the life is over the bucket goes back into the ocean and there’s no remnant anymore of that life. So I have my preferences on those positions, but who knows.
Vera: I’m always aware, I’m always looking at the pitfalls of this kind of theories because it is some kind of dualistic. Me and some red guy that helps me, me and my past life and actually there is, we are all, we are our neighbor, we are our dead grandmother, we are… So we can tune in from an energetic point of view into everyone on the basis of what resonates inside of us now. So it is for the mind, it is, and also for on a therapeutic level, it is interesting to see this reincarnation as metaphors to heal inside of us.
Rick: Yeah, you see it that way, and one of my former teachers used to say the past is always a lesser developed state, and so don’t pay any attention to reincarnation. He regarded it as a real phenomenon, but he said, don’t bother with it, it’s the past, it’s lesser developed state, take it from here and move on. Don’t be trying to figure out who you were in some past life or anything like that.
Vera: No, I always say that to people who have traumatic youth or something, they always think that it will cure them when they go back into time and know what happened, and I say the world around us is up-to-date projections of how it is in our inside, so you have to to look at your projections at this moment to see how you developed and what still needs attention, where you feel resistance or anger, you could play it out in the three-dimensional world.
Rick: Yeah. And obviously that’s a little different than some of the things you learned when you were studying psychotherapy.
Vera: Yes, but it’s very interesting, the projections and how this works.
Rick: Yeah, you were saying a few minutes ago, like the body level, the soul level, and maybe the universal consciousness level or something like that, and this is reminiscent of a discussion I had with Timothy Conway on this show, who talks about, he has a model for sort of three levels of non-dual reality, and they’re paradoxically different, but they’re simultaneously true. And one is the obvious level of the world, and it has problems, and there are environmental issues and ethical things, and all kinds of economic problems, and all sorts of things that need to be dealt with. And then there’s the divine level, where everything is perfect just as it is, and there are no mistakes. And then there’s an even deeper level, where nothing ever happened, it’s just totally unmanifest. But his point was that we don’t want to sort of take a stand in any one of these levels to the exclusion of the other ones. Each one is true, even though they’re paradoxically different. So you may be experiencing that nothing ever happened, at the same time you may be experiencing that everything is, that things are happening and they’re perfect just as they are, and at the very same time you may be experiencing that, “Oh, there are problems in life, my kid has the flu and I need to take care of that”. And this one has the flu, that one doesn’t have the flu. So you’re distinguishing, you’re making a dualistic distinction between this child and that child, and dealing with it appropriately.
Vera: Exactly, yes, yes, and I experienced this, all these levels simultaneously.
Vera: So if you are waking up to this other levels, you don’t have to suffer anymore, you can feel pain, but you don’t have to suffer from the pain.
Vera: And on the personal level, something is right or something is wrong for you. And on the essence level, you say not everything is good, but everything is the way it is, because it’s energetic logic.
Rick: Yeah, it’s the way it’s supposed to be, and if because that’s the way it is. If it were supposed to be different, then it would be different.
Vera: I think not even supposed to be. I don’t think everything is prepared or something.
Rick: Right, not predestined.
Vera: No, predestined, no, but everything is energetic logic. So if you are, if you have a non-acceptance towards anger, for example, the outer world will mirror your anger. And so on a personal level, you meet someone in anger and you say, “Oh, that’s wrong, that’s difficult, that’s a problem”. And on this level, I say, “Well, that’s logic, because you suppressed anger, now you have to face it in the outer world”.
Rick: Yeah, so using that example, you would say that if someone comes to you… And let’s say you have a boss at work who’s very angry, are you saying that that’s because you’ve suppressed anger, that he’s getting angry at you?
Vera: If he’s getting angry at you, and you are scared, yes, then two people resonated on each other. That’s also the victim and perpetrator. That explains the victim and perpetrator. If I give an extreme example and generalize it, so there’s a woman who was taught not to be angry and be sweet and kind, and there’s a guy who learned don’t be a pussy, be a guy. And so the guy suppresses his softness and the girl suppresses her power. And so they meet each other and they resonate in each other and he says she is a part of him he doesn’t like, and he said I want to do something to you, and she will become a victim. It is very very confrontating if people would see this. And I think because of that we are all responsible for what’s happening in the world right now.
Rick: Yeah, so another way of putting what you just said – see if you agree with this -, would you say that the whole condition of the world, everything that’s going on, is just kind of a reflection of the inner state of seven billion people who live here.
Vera: Yes, absolutely. So I say I make it this is large, so I make it small again and I say look at your square mile and see what is coming to you and take responsibility for that. So by healing what you see in your world and don’t accept it, you heal a part of our world.
Rick: Very good, yeah. There’s the analogy that if you want a forest to be green you have to every single individual tree has to be green, and it has to be green, it has to be healthy, it has to be connected with the soil and get proper nourishment and all that stuff and be a healthy tree and then if you have enough of those you’re going to have a green forest.
Vera: Exactly, exactly and all people who want to change the world only think about changing his whole forest and so they don’t succeed.
Vera: Because we have to start inside.
Rick: Or they’re out trying to change the world but they’re full of anger and judgment and stuff like that and obviously haven’t really worked on themselves quite enough.
Vera: Yes and make it worse.
Vera: Because they focus on that part.
Rick: Yeah and when you say a thing like that, when we say a thing like that, I think it’s good to say in the same breath, don’t hesitate to go change the world, but just make sure that you’re changing yourself at the same time, working on yourself.
Vera: Yes, and if you want to change the world do it out of passion. You know, everybody has it’s like in nature, every tree starts with a seed and there’s life energy goes through it and it wants to express itself. So every creature, every plant, every animal, every human being has a seed and that’s our essence and then this life energy goes through it and we have a very strong urge to express ourselves and to grow further and we all have a unique seed. So I want to encourage people to not change the world because the world needs it, but change the world because we want to because we love the world.
Vera: Like an expression of ourselves. And then it’s very very more effective.
Rick: That’s nice. I mean, I think what you’re hinting at is the notion that we are the world and that… well there’s so many examples of this things that Jesus said, for instance, you know, “Whatsoever you do unto the least of these you do unto me”. And there’s that poem by John Donne, “No man is an island, entire of itself and ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee”. So there’s the notion that anything that is happening in the world is happening to us.
Vera: Exactly, yes, but only if it comes into your world.
Vera: So if it doesn’t come into your world it is on a certain way not your responsibility. Then something else comes into your world. What is your responsibility?
Rick: Yeah, do you find, have you found in your own experience though that your world has been expanding so things come into it which might not have come into it in the past when your world was smaller?
Vera: My world certainly changed and they changed very dramatically when I was prepared to look at the things I didn’t want to see. And for example, I woke up one morning and I said, “And now I’m prepared to face everything that I’m scared of and I am prepared to follow everything that wants to come out of me”. And I went into the forest and I had to choose between two paths. And one path was an art path and the other path was very dark and I felt I had to go into the dark path. And I bumped in a hundred or two hundred meters along into a man with a black suit and a capuchon.
Rick: Yes, like a monkhood, a monk’s hood kind of thing?
Vera: Yes, yes. And I was very scared because the moment I was prepared to face my fear, I saw my fear in living body and so I was too scared to face it. But the next day I said, “I’m now prepared to face it”. And I went into the city and I saw this big guy two meters high, one meter with all these muscles and tattoos and golden chains and I looked at them and that was the moment that I realized, “Wow, you’re all very soft and kind”. And after that I never bumped into a dangerous man again, just in an instant that I was prepared and apparently the theme was healed along the way.
Vera: It was in an instant, it was completely disappeared.
Rick: Now I don’t know about Holland but there are places in the United States where you wouldn’t want to walk at two in the morning around that area. Yes. There could be some dangerous people there, so I’m not sure exactly what you mean is that your life just, well, what do you mean? I mean, obviously even in Holland probably there are places you wouldn’t want to go wandering around the streets in the middle of the night and you’d run into some dangerous people.
Vera: Yes, my ego would think of that kind of idea if I wanted to test if I was clean, but I on a deeper level have no intention of testing or challenging or I just walk my path in life and I didn’t matter anymore. I haven’t mattered anymore.
Rick: Yeah, I understand that. So you’re saying your life is more blessed, it’s more, it’s on a more, it’s a more kind of divine track or if we want to use that word.
Vera: I am often very amazed by what I attract in life, but sometimes I’m also challenged, of course, but I’m not scared to act. For example, half a year ago I was completely unexperienced, the idea came into my mind I have to buy a horse and I sold a horse and it resonated very much but I only had three riding lessons at that time. But I knew I had to go there and we went into the grassland and the horse was running and running and his tail up and suddenly he stopped.
Rick: Were you on the horse at that point?
Vera: No, no, no, we were watching because it was for sale and the horse suddenly stopped and he looked at me and he walked through me and he lays his head towards my head. And I thought, my God, I have to buy this horse. And I was scared and I was surprised and I did it. So it wasn’t easy for months because it appeared to be a traumatized horse and I had to do something with it without any experience. You know, that kind of things everybody would say, you’re crazy, you don’t buy a horse with three riding lessons. So, I have my challenges and…
Rick: Well, now you’re probably a pretty good rider, right? You’ve taken more lessons and you’ve been riding this horse?
Vera: Not yet, because this horse had a broken tail, he had a back
Rick: So, he had to be trained and healed?
Vera: Yes, so I’m still hanging in.
Rick: Well, that’s great, that’s really sweet.
Vera: So, I also have my challenges because we want to grow. If we are this tree, there’s a brace that came out, but the next brace had to come out also and your mind has to open and you have to see more possibilities.
Rick: I think you mean branch, right?
Vera: Yes, branch.
Rick: Yes, we keep growing.
Vera: Exactly, yes. So, until we die, we keep growing and we keep being challenged by life.
Rick: Maybe after we die, but that’s another conversation. I happen to think it’s never-ending, but…
Vera: It is never-ending, but for the “I” it is ending.
Rick: That’s a philosophical debate point.
Vera: From my point of view.
Rick: Yeah, from your point of view. I also happen to think that even for the “I” it’s never-ending, possibly, at least it’s not ending for a long time because there’s so much, so many degrees of evolution that can be reached, but it gets us into a metaphysical discussion.
Rick: So, your book is divided up into four sections – your relationship with yourself, your relationship with the other, your relationship with your physical body and the manifest, and your relation – oh five sections – your relationship and service to the field of unity, and then there’s a section about traps, which I found interesting, and then a vision of the future. So, would you like to kind of, we could have a discussion about, kind of quickly run through these different areas and touch on some highlights that you’d like to tell people about. Okay, so the first section is relationship with yourself.
Vera: Well, the relationship with yourself is important because the other is yourself, so first you need to understand who you are and how this mind functions, what is making you suffering and how to stop that, how to change, how to, yes, how to stop it, how to walk away from that ongoing, never-ending process of I’m a victim or I’m better than them, or you know.
Rick: Yeah, judgmental, comparative types of thoughts.
Rick: So, how do people do that?
Vera: By understanding what the core of suffering is and that is this loop of identifying ourselves with stories, with gender, with body, with successes we made and all this identifying keeps us on the surface level of ego. So, if we understand that we are the awareness that looks through our eyes, that hears through our ears and is not to be found if you want to reach it, then you can go beyond this identifying loop and comparison loop and recognize that on this level there’s always peace, there’s always silence and there’s nothing that can be heard, nothing that can be heard or lost or, you know.
Rick: Is it your experience that some people are much more gripped by that kind of identification than others?
Rick: So, for some people it’s fairly easy to just kind of get what you’re saying here, but for other people it’s… they’re very deeply trapped by identification and so how would you personally help somebody who you feel is… I mean you’ve worked with a lot of people, how would you help them come out of this grip of identification?
Vera: First, stop them because if they are very trapped, they talk a lot and they want to run away from me and what I have to say. So, I say stop. Okay, do you feel the chair under your bottom? Do you see my eyes? Don’t think anything about it. I talk about it like this. Okay, everything you think right now is not interesting. Look at me. And then I would say, would you challenge to breathe me in, to really breathe me in and don’t think anything about it, but breathe me in. Let me come, my whole energy, my whole being, may I come into you. And this is very difficult for people and I never go so fast as this, but this is very difficult for people because then this whole mechanism of protecting themselves going to work and they say, oh it doesn’t work or oh I feel resistance or okay that’s all fine, let the resistance be. It just takes one second of bravery to let happen what happens if you breathe in. A nd if they are really brave they feel this opening of heart, they feel the rest come over them and so it’s a very simple trick…
Rick: Do you have a lot… I’m sorry, go ahead.
Vera: …to pull them, they pull themselves back into the now.
Rick: That’s nice. Do you find that a number of people kind of melt while you’re working with them and start crying and things just start to be released?
Vera: Yes, I see that and everybody sees it, the eyes become brilliant, softer, even the wrinkles disappear, wrinkles disappear, they are going to laugh or cry or are completely signed.
Rick: Nice and then if you’re working with somebody like that and you have a session and then you’re not going to talk to them again for a week or a month or however often you do these things, what do you encourage them to do on a daily basis to try to develop this further and stabilize it?
Vera: Yeah, that’s very different. I give a lot of people homework and sometimes they need this, sometimes they need confrontation. There was a woman a few weeks ago and I saw her again for the second time and she was completely changed. And when I saw her the first time, she was so heavy in her energy, I had to stand two meters because my energy was flowing to her and she said to me, you spoke to me I was so shocked by your behavior towards me, I completely changed. So I had to confront her and that was enough to enroll a different process and some people I say, well, your homework is not to be busy with your problems but only look around you and see what resonates with you, what makes you happy, what makes you enthusiastic, what makes you at ease and go towards that. And there are people who are who were busy for 30 years with therapy and self-help books and I say stop that, now go living. Yes, I say different things and I made a map in the moment.
Rick: Yeah, you’re kind of working intuitively.
Rick: I mean your whole book is actually based on some kind of online course, isn’t it, that people can take and they go through various lessons or stages of the course?
Vera: Yes, that’s very nice. All the chapters… there are 60 days of online course and every day you get an exercise you have to do in your daily life. So, I sent you out on the street to the city and let you sit on the couch and experience some things and I let you take a mirror and every day it gives an exercise. And there’s a forum you can ask questions to me, I will answer them. And the nicest thing of this course is after, well somewhere about day 43 people say, whoa, the world looks very different, it’s almost spooky. So, in lesson
Vera: And then they have a grounded knowing of how human being is functioning and then they can flip.
Rick: Great. Something special about lesson 43.
Rick: A question came in from Dan in London. He asks, do you have any advice for bringing children up in a spiritual and heart-based way? You seem eminently qualified to answer this.
Vera: Yeah, beautiful question. I’m so fond of children, I have four.
Rick: How old are your children?
Vera: Six, seven, fourteen and fifteen years old.
Rick: And do you mind my asking how old you are now or would you rather not say?
Vera: I’m 40 years old.
Rick: 40, okay.
Vera: Yes. What I found most important to teach children is to appoint them to their own yeses and noes, so they feel their inner intuitive guidance system. So, I don’t want to teach them my yeses and noes and you have to do it that way, but I want you to feel your yes and no. So, if you go to a party, I want you to be able to say no or say yes and feel your guidance. That’s one thing. And the other thing is I want the children to keep an open mind because an open mind is most important to growth and manifestation because if we tunnel our vision, we can only create this, although our essence wants to, the intention of our essence direct to that way. So then we have a gap and that’s a difficult gap and then we suffer if our heart wants to go that and our mind says that. So, I always say to my children this is a possibility, but can you come up with another possibility because everything is possible. So I think that’s the most important thing to teach and of course be an example.
Rick: Yeah, I was going to say that. That’s very important.
Vera: Yes, because we cannot say and tell by words how it works, but we show them how it works.
Vera: And if you say something different than you are, they’re going to be confused.
Rick: Absolutely. How old were you when you first had this awakening?
Vera: I don’t remember.
Rick: Like 10 years ago or something?
Vera: Yes, something like that. But when I look back, I think I never lost the connection.
Rick: You mean your whole life?
Rick: Yeah, but somehow it became more conscious when you had that experience.
Rick: Yeah. So, some of your kids weren’t born then and some of your kids were really young. And so, how are they doing? I mean, in terms of their lives, their school, their behavior, all that stuff. Are they growing up with such a spiritual mother? What effect is it having on them?
Vera: Well, that’s a very nice question. What I found typical of my children is that they don’t do things, they don’t want to make friends. So, they have very few friends because they think it’s very important to choose the right friends.
Rick: That’s great.
Vera: Who resonate. And I think they’re very self-conscious, but they don’t always like me because if I see a mask, ego mask, I always point at it and they become angry because they feel trapped. And my eldest son is also very scientific and he said, “You and your spirituality”. And he’s very down to earth but he sharply listens when I explain things. And I think in my explanation I’m also a little bit down to earth and scientific, so there is overlap. And the youngest children who were conceived after this awakening are really different. And the youngest, for example, is always conscious of the steps she takes, the things she does, also of her manipulation.
Rick: And she’s like three or something, right?
Vera: She’s now six years old.
Rick: Six, yeah.
Vera: And I saw that she was strongly rooted into her essence and when someone crossed her path and she was one and a half years old, she became angry and she said, “Oh”. That is very, very interesting for me. Because she was a very lovely, like an angel, some kind of a child, you know? And she said, “Oh”.
Vera: Yes. And now I see that she is conscious about everything. She hears everything, she sees everything. And also what I said in her manipulation, she knows she manipulates, she knows it’s a trick. And she knows also who she is. And I see that a lot of people who manipulate, who aren’t aware of their manipulation and think they are the manipulation, manipulated figure. And she knows. So that’s interesting.
Rick: Yeah, see this is a good argument for reincarnation. Where do these evolved kids come from, you know? These souls that come in and they’re so enlightened and…
Vera: That’s why they really are different than the elders because my resonation, I attracted…
Rick: …those types of souls. Yeah.
Vera: But they are a creation of an electric and a magnetic energy who came each other. You can say, yes, you attracted the soul, but you can also say you created the soul.
Rick: You could.
Vera: I don’t know.
Rick: Yeah, it’s one of those things I sometimes think that maybe a few hundred years from now if this is, if we all keep, if spirituality keeps going the way it’s going, there will be like a merging of science and spirituality and we’ll have a much clearer understanding of how it all works. So all these questions that are kind of philosophical arguments right now might have actually been worked out and verified into everyone’s mutual agreement.
Vera: Yes, but I always found strange, it is, that is, I think, hundred years ago how many people were there on earth?
Rick: A lot fewer.
Vera: A lot fewer. So where do all those souls come from?
Rick: Well, there’s different explanations for that, that they’re waiting in the wings, so to speak, or that they’ve evolved up from animal species and if you buy into the whole reincarnation theory there’s ways of explaining. And besides, this is just one little tiny planet out of trillions of planets, so maybe there’s been a migration or something.
Vera: I think that the human mind cannot see through the complete truth. We are not, I think we are not capable of seeing because we are in a linear reality, and we want to explain things linear.
Vera: But on a different level, things aren’t linear.
Rick: Well, even in your own experience you have had a pretty clear taste of non-linear reality, right?
Rick: And yet you’re pretty good at explaining non-linear reality in linear terms, so it’s like you become a translator, so to speak.
Vera: Exactly, I’m a translator, yes. When I had to make a cross in your list, translator wasn’t there. But yes, I’m definitely a translator.
Rick: Yeah. And incidentally, regarding your scientific 15-year-old son, I was thinking, as you were saying that, about Bernardo Kastrup who lives in Amsterdam. And I’ve interviewed him twice and he’s a wonderful guy and one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met and very scientific, some kind of computer genius, you know, but at the same time very spiritual and really deep insight to reality. So, when sometime your son ought to take a little trip up to Amsterdam and have lunch with Bernardo and he’ll get a nice taste of how spiritual people can be scientific.
Vera: Oh, wow. I’ll look him up.
Rick: And vice versa. Yeah, he’s on my site a couple of times.
Vera: Ah, I’m going to look him up.
Rick: Great guy. [Laughter] So, let’s get back to your book a little bit. So, we talked about the first bit which was reincarnation and we won’t have a chance to talk for 10 minutes about every single chapter, but from the first section still, your relationship with yourself, what are some things that you feel like you want to discuss?
Vera: Well, maybe emotions because that’s a very hard subject for most people and in chapter 6 I describe the way we deal with emotions. We suppress them or act them out and I also made a training about looking different to emotions and when I put it on Facebook, the first reactions were, “Oh, I want to get rid of them”.
Rick: Get rid of emotions?
Vera: Yeah, you can give me a trick to get rid of them, but that’s not how it works of course because there are billions of guidance. But if we don’t like them, we suppress them or act them out and I say there’s a different way. Let them go through your channels and conduct emotion as they are moving energy. So if you can observe emotion like moving energy flowing through you, you aren’t the emotion. They say, “I am angry, I am sad”, but you aren’t emotion. You can be aware of emotion. So, and that distinction people don’t really see. They are mad, they are emotion. But if you see that you can go it through you and you can stay in this peaceful state of mind and emotions dissolve.
Rick: Yeah, and in that previous example you gave where people are all caught up and distracted and you said, feel yourself sitting on your chair, feel your breath, tune into me, look at my eyes, that kind of thing. In a similar way with emotions, would you say that there’s usually, if not always, a physical counterpart to any emotion and it might be a good idea to tune into that?
Vera: Yes, but the pitfall is that then they go into the center of the emotion and feel like they are the emotion and then you come into an emotional storm because people associate on emotions. When I’m scared I think, “Oh, maybe that’s going to happen”, and I say you have to leave the story behind and just feel raw emotion as it is energy and doesn’t have a name or a story.
Rick: But let’s say you’re scared and there’s a whole story with you being scared, such and such is going to happen, but if you tune into your body maybe you feel some kind of sensation in your solar plexus or something and you can just allow your attention to dwell on that sensation and not go running off on the story. Does that make sense?
Vera: Yes, it makes sense, but well, the same pitfall and fear is – I’m now writing on an emotion encyclopedia – and fear is the most difficult emotion group because it is the group which makes something dualistic. There’s something in the outer world which can harm me. So what’s needed if you are experiencing some kind of emotion related to fear, you have to get the insight of all creation is coming because I send out some energy, so I have to become centered again. And I know that I only attract things I want to come to the surface. You know?
Rick: It might interest you to know when you said the fear is dualistic, there’s actually a line in the Upanishads which says certainly all fear is born of duality.
Vera: Yes, yes, category fear is about duality. So the cure of fear is oneness.
Rick: Right, right.
Vera: And there are seven other emotion groups which have different messages, but fear is very difficult.
Rick: So you’re writing a whole encyclopedia about this, huh?
Vera: Yes, it’s very nice.
Rick: It must be a big project.
Vera: It is a big product, yes. I’m working on it for one and a half years.
Rick: Great. So those who are listening, we have like about 166 people right now listening live. Feel free to send in questions if you want. And the way you send in questions is you go to the upcoming interviews page on batgap.com and then down at the bottom there’s a form and you can submit a question through that form and it will come to me. Okay, so anything more in the first chapter that you really want to touch on or should we go back to the second chapter, your relation?
Vera: Yes, the there’s one thing that’s very important in the first part of the book and that is that we have a choice.
Rick: A choice, yeah.
Vera: A choice, and in the non-duality scene, let me say, they always say, oh you don’t have free will and I explicitly say you have a choice and the choice is do you go, do you let yourself be encaged by this thought or do you remain in the present moment?
Vera: So that choice is very important and maybe that’s the only choice you’ve got. That’s the choice we have and that’s the choice we have between suffering and happiness.
Rick: That’s really good, I’m with you on that that we… this whole free will thing it sometimes sounds like it sometimes actually used to excuse inexcusable behavior, I don’t have any free will and the devil made me do it.
Vera: Exactly, exactly.
Rick: And a cool thing about what you just said is this catching the thought before it becomes an action. You know, it’s like this is a rough example but obviously you couldn’t really do this, but let’s say you could change the course of a river and if you try to do it way down near the mouth of the river, let’s say the Ganges, you try to do it down in Calcutta, the whole river has already run its course and it has so much force you can’t change it or maybe you go halfway upstream and there it would be easier to change the river, at least you could change some of it, but if you could get right back up to the source of it then perhaps – I mean you couldn’t really do this, it’s just an example – but perhaps you could, it’s just a little tiny stream there and you could send it all off in a different direction. So it’s like if you could get back down to the source of where your thoughts come and catch them there before they have already reached a great momentum, then with just a little bit of intention the whole thing could be sent off in a different direction.
Vera: Exactly, beautiful metaphor, yeah, exactly, so that is the choice between happiness and suffering, absolutely, so you have to be awake to choose. That’s the hard, people asking me how do I wake up, you can’t, that’s the moment of grace, but if you are awake you can choose.
Rick: Yeah, and I think, and it’s grace, but God helps those who help themselves and I think that you can do things and you’re offering a whole lot of things you can do to increase the likelihood of waking up.
Vera: Yes, that’s true, absolutely, and if you’re interested then I think there’s an intention inside you who wants to wake up.
Rick: Yeah, that’s the big step right there,
Rick: Anybody who’s listening to this show is interested.
Vera: Exactly, so they’re all potentially wake-up-ers. No, you don’t say it like that.
Rick: We understand. Good, so your next chapter is your relationship with the other, let’s talk a little bit about some of those points.
Vera: Yes, if we go into the other, we go into duality, so it’s duality in basis, if you put something else into your life, a partner or a mother or a child or a neighbor, so and people find a lot of trouble in relationship to other people because then projection comes in. And we see that what we don’t accept inside of us, we see we’ve projected into the relationship with the other0. So there it becomes more difficult even and I always say, I don’t know if that’s in the book, but I always say please judge but know the judgment is about you because otherwise you judge and you say, oh I may not judge and it becomes more complex. So if you allow yourself to consciously judge, exactly where you judge yourself and that’s always how I look at people who judge me and I feel, oh you also judge yourself so hard.
Rick: Yeah, I know that you have read a little Byron Katie and one of her things, one of the steps in her thing is to go ahead and judge and be as judgmental as you want to be, it’s not the final step but it’s something you’re allowed to do.
Vera: Yes, because it is an interesting step because there are a few people who instantly awaken. And a lot of people are very tied in their ego patterns, so if you use your outer worlds, the other, your relationships to see in which patterns you keep yourself asleep. If you get the insight in how you keep yourself tight, then it becomes open and there comes openings in the grid and the more it opens, the more consciousness can shine through and there’s a transformation in that, so for a lot of people it is a transformation with a switch point. And this switch point is very difficult for people because then they are conscious of themselves, of the way consciousness wants to express itself through them and they are awake of their belief system who holds them back. So they cannot ignore themselves anymore but they are fighting towards their own belief system, so that’s a very difficult point.
Rick: So what do you do to help such people?
Vera: At that point I would give people comfort and reassurance and motivation and maybe an insight in the future in how it can be.
Rick: Yeah, kind of a vision of possibilities so to speak.
Vera: Yes, so they go over that bump of comfort zone.
Rick: Yeah. Good. Okay, what else from this chapter, your relationship with the other?
Vera: I don’t have this book.
Rick: I’ll read you some of the things – reflections, control, playing roles, dismantling roles, story versus script, the victim role, our shadow, judgments, partnership, desires, inequality, conflicts, unwritten rules, the we energy, breaking taboos, and the male and the female.
Vera: Okay, well roles are very important parts. I describe in the book the difference between a role and a story and a scene for example. And what is a role? A role is like you, I see that a lot with women for example, they call a friend – like my mother did when I was three years old – they call a friend and they tell their sad story. So they have a very strong identity of being a pity.
Rick: Yeah, “poor me”.
Vera: Yes, a poor me story. So they really suppress their happiness by continuously…
Vera: Yes, this poor me role they play.
Vera: And they got comfort of course when they were little and they still hold this pattern very tight. So we have to get rid of that role and be honest and that’s what it’s all about, be honest to the real living energy in this present moment. That’s what it’s all about, being honest to that energy.
Rick: Yeah, you mentioned in the playing roles section of your book about the ego trying to control life and one’s companions by playing roles.
Rick: And you say a role is what you do, what you are is yourself.
Vera: Exactly, yes. A role is what you do. So this is a nice anecdote. My husband who is a very gentle helpful man went away for a weekend and everything was fine, it was nice. I have the house for myself for a weekend and when he came home I was very excited I comes home and the moment he laid foot in the house I felt sad and it was so strange and I thought what’s going on. I was happy that he would come home and then I realized that he was then the humble knight and I was the lady and he came to rescue me when I was sad, you know and then I played this role and I wasn’t aware of it. So with this insight…
Rick: So you mean these were roles you actually had been playing for a long time and you kind of realized it when he went away for a weekend.
Vera: Exactly and this is what you see a lot in relationships. And a humble knight and a poor lady.
Rick: Right. Damsel in distress.
Vera: And parent children you see that also. I’m sorry.
Rick: Yeah, no, no, I’m sorry. So you’re implying actually here that our roles are very likely unconscious. We don’t even know we’re playing them.
Vera: Exactly. And by writing it and pointing you at it it can become conscious.
Rick: Yeah. So again how can it become conscious? By writing it did you say?
Vera: No, I wrote it. So I point people at at the possibility of what they do isn’t exactly who they are but what they do. Yeah. To get something, attention, recognition, certainty. We play, we act to get that or attention from the other gender.
Rick: I guess one way of thinking about roles is like professional actors in movies and plays. They’re playing something that they aren’t really. Last night we watched Tootsie, with Dustin Hoffman. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that movie and he played a woman. And so and obviously when we go to to plays or movies we know that they’re just actors. But a practical question would be how can you help people to become aware of roles that they’re playing that they’re not even conscious they’re playing and thereby to stop playing them.
Vera: Exactly, if you say about Tootsie and he plays a woman and he is a man he could, if he played his role a few months after an end, he could think he is a woman. Right. Then he isn’t conscious anymore playing his… So this is how it works. But how can they become conscious? That is by looking at their reflections and I hope there are a lot of people who are honest. So if a friend of mine is on the phone telling a sad story and it doesn’t feel, it doesn’t match their energy, I would say I’m sorry but this isn’t true what you are saying. I can’t listen to it. And you feel that and you can see if people don’t want to listen to you. You have to watch your reflections. How does someone react and how does that make you feel? And how does that make you feel? You don’t have to look at all projections because you become crazy if you look at all these millions projections but you have to look at the projections who give you a cramp.
Vera: And you cannot make things conscious but your unconscious pure soul is making it conscious for you by and that’s just analytic logic that what is most, what has most priority for you, what is most surpassing you from being you is reflected most harsh in the outer world. So we get problems with our outer worlds and the themes have the most priority. Does that make sense?
Rick: I understand what you’re saying. So just to make sure I do understand you’re saying that, I mean sometimes people say well the world is your guru and so the world things aren’t just happening arbitrarily. There’s a significance to things that happen in your life. It’s trying to teach you something and it’s probably trying to teach you the things that you’re unconscious of.
Vera: Yes, I don’t like the word teach because then it becomes a lesson and hard work.
Rick: We can find a better word.
Vera: Yes, it is…
Rick: Bringing your attention or making you aware of something that you weren’t aware of. Is that a better way?
Vera: It is just the path is always towards yourself, always towards yourself. So if there’s something that withholds you from being yourself then you get a bumping of energies. So there is an intention you want to express yourself but there is a belief and if the belief bumps into your intention and doesn’t align with each other then you get a cramp and this cramp you have to investigate because then your beliefs are not in line with your intentions. So your mind is not in line with your heart and we want them in line because mind is the surface of soul.
Rick: Do you mean an actual literal cramp or how would people experience this cramp that you’re referring to?
Vera: Yes, as resistance as “Oh, that’s not nice. Oh, I become angry or frustrated or or yes, just mental.
Rick: Speaking of angry and frustrated, the previous question that came in from a listener was about raising children and here’s another one about raising children more personal to you. It’s from Ria in Groningen, Netherlands who asks “Bringing up children can be hard. Did you ever lose your temper with your children?” or we might ask “Do you still?”
Vera: “Do you still?” – I used to a lot because I’m a very passionate woman and I sometimes do but there’s a difference now because yesterday for example I became angry but I didn’t lose my temper. I was fully aware of being angry and it was needed at that time because we needed structure at that point and sometimes I have anger. The emotion group anger centers you back into yourself and giving you strength to get not control, guidance again. So I had to be the leader at that time.
Rick: You had to be assertive, you had to be firm. Yeah.
Vera: Yes, I had to be so everyone was going other direction and I need to be angry so I could center all family members. “Here, come here, come here”, and that’s what angriness does inside of us also because before you became angry you gave your energy away. You let someone else took you to there if you wanted to go that way and so angerness gets your energy back and centers again and it focuses you and helps you manifest these into physical world.
Rick: Yeah. There’s a phrase blind anger and yes exactly. People become angry and they just kind of totally lose all self-awareness and sometimes they do terrible things, commit crimes and so on. But what you’re saying is that this the kind of anger you experienced yesterday there was no loss of self-awareness and it was more like a necessary tool of behavior to deal with a particular situation.
Vera: If I speak 15 years from now in the past I could lose my temper and be blind mad and what helped me then was accepting that I lost my temper once in a while.
Rick: Yeah, admitting it.
Vera: Admitting yes and accepting. The most important thing was accepting that I lost my temper once in a while and thereby Yes, but if you are conscious of it and then accept it and act it out that’s a different story.
Rick: Say it again.
Vera: If you are conscious of your madness and accept it and as a recognition to – no that’s the wrong word – to act it out.
Rick: Express it.
Vera: Yes, then that’s a different difference. So my daughter of one and a half years she said, “Ho!”, but she never hurted someone else.
Vera: And she just used this anger to set her boundaries. “Get out of my way because I’m on my path”. I respect it. That’s very different than wanting to harm someone else because the other one as a projection of you is painful.
Rick: Yeah, there’s quite a few stories of various gurus, living and dead, who would get quite angry with disciples and presuming that they were really enlightened beings and who were doing the right thing. Then I guess the understanding would be that it was an appropriate expression and that it was done with love and that it was helping the people. They weren’t hurting them. They had no desire to hurt them. They only wanted to help them. But there’s a saying in English “tough love”. So maybe it was a form of tough love.
Vera: Yes, yes. I sometimes have it with people that I want to bang my foot on the ground and that really is important that you understand this. And you cannot let this go away anymore. You have to stand up for it.
Vera: That’s the word. Yes, and those are the moments that I really become angry with someone next to me because there are beautiful and important characters in the play. You have to take responsibility for it. That’s when I can become angry. Yes.
Vera: But never lose my temper and harm them. That’s a very different state of emotion.
Rick: It’s almost like in a way it’s the same emotion but in a kind of ignorant expression of it or a distorted or warped expression of it.
Vera: Yes. Anger is a very important motor to push things in manifest and it is a very important motor. So if you don’t acknowledge that you have anger, that you have passion, you have strength, you get this, all these spiritual people never get something off the ground.
Rick: Right. I know what you mean. Here’s a question that I think is an important one. It came in from Amanda in Tampa, Florida. She asks, “Can you talk about evolving from intense feelings of suffering?” And the reason I think this is important is there have been some people I’ve interviewed who have gone through incredible suffering, really terrible stuff, and also we often hear from people who are going through really tough things. And so let me just repeat the question, have you say something. Can you talk about evolving from intense feelings of suffering?
Vera: Yes. By hearing those words I feel how strongly the suffering is and I feel for all those people who feel this. If I tune in into that state, I want you to know that there are all voices of don’t like life, of feeling bad, but there is a small voice that says – and please search for this voice that says – “I don’t want to harm myself”. And this is the voice to the light, because people who suffer do that to themselves by saying “I’m a failure” and “Life wasn’t good for me” and we build up all those stories, we let them take us. But there is one voice that wants to live and wants to be happy. And with a lot of people who are suffering, this voice completely is shut down by other voices who say, “But I can’t”. But this pure voice that says “I want to be happy” that you have to follow. I hope you understand that over this voice, to shut down this voice, there are all those other voices and you have to be strong and don’t get yourself into that. You have to focus on the little flame here and how dark life seems, search around you for light, and I mean light in the little bird on the branch, the joy in the eyes of a child. And then there’s another voice again that says, “I want to be as the child”. Don’t go into that voice, but stay, look at the beauty of the eyes of the child and let yourself be touched by the eye. And it needs vigilance and it needs an intense vigilance to say no to all these dark voices, but there is one little line of light. I feel it by the woman who asked me, there is one little line of light that she has to follow.
Rick: That’s nice, I really like that answer. And Amanda, if you feel like asking a follow-up question about that, feel free. We probably have half an hour left in the interview, so get it in as soon as you can if you have a follow-up question. And obviously we could get into talking about some of the kinds of suffering people undergo, various types of abuse and people who’ve been in the military and have what they call post-traumatic stress disorder from the stress of fighting and all kinds of things, but probably you would say the same advice, right? That little voice.
Vera: Well, there is a difference between pain in the moment by being beaten or physical pain and become, if someone says something very hurtful, it hurts in that moment. But most people suffer, and that’s a whole lot more difficult, afterwards it has happened or before it will happen maybe.
Rick: Right. And it may go on for years.
Vera: Yes, exactly. So this, if your physical body or your emotional body or is in danger, you have to help it. So you have to save yourself from a dangerous situation. That’s one thing and the most important thing. We cannot all solve it by saying no to stories.
Rick: Right, right.
Vera: Okay, I’m talking now about suffering of all the voices inside our head. And with post-traumatic stress there’s something else going on, because when something is too hurtful we manage to protect ourselves with some kind of mechanism. And if you’re in that kind of mechanism you have to be prepared to feel underneath, but not if you are still in the dangerous situation.
Vera: If you first make that you are safe and then you have to slowly feel, because if you’re in a protection mechanism you cannot do anything. And with post-traumatic stress the thing is in nature there are no traumas, because at the moment of the traumatic situation there’s a flight- or-fight mechanism. And if we survive in nature, if you are a mouse, the body is shaking like this. So by shaking it it is regulating the energy system. And people don’t do that. So if we are in a war situation we weren’t able to heal and balance our energy system, but we have to go into that again and again and again. And we only could do that because we ignored, ignored, ignored, ignored ourselves. So the first thing is never ignore yourself again. And if you are suffering from a trauma look into the outer world in which you see mirrored little parts of the theme. So you yourself are very brilliant in attracting situations in a way that you can handle them. I don’t like therapies that said, “Okay, come on, we’re going to hypnosis, we go back to the war zone”. I like to keep everything in the here and now. So look around you and maybe you are scared that someone else is walking in the streets and would harm you. Maybe then that’s your point of focus at this point. How realistic is it? Are you prepared? Are you brave? And go maybe together with me into the streets and look what’s going on. You know, build it up a little bit. And also here it is very important that you know how mind works and how creation works and how oneness and duality works.
Rick: I was reminded as you’re speaking of a story Eckhart Tolle told where he saw a couple of ducks that got into a fight. And then the fight stopped and the ducks sort of shook themselves off and then they went just back to being ducks like nothing ever happened.
Vera: Exactly, horses do that also and dogs they will shake off and it’s okay.
Rick: Yeah and Michael Moore’s latest movie is called I think “Where Should We Invade Next?” And he went around to some European countries and saw how they did things over there. And one was I think Norway or Denmark and he went into the prison system there and the whole system is set up like a almost like a resort where everybody’s really comfortable and they have really good food and they have television, they have internet, they have exercise, everything is like is a beautiful setting. And they have tremendous results in terms of not low recidivism rate and the people really actually changing. So rather than put them in a harsh environment where as a form of punishment it’s more like it’s true rehabilitation where they put them in a healing environment and help them heal from yeah.
Vera: Beautiful. I saw that with my traumatized horse he would bit me if I approached him and he was very angry and and all people were very hard to him all his life. And I saw the instant difference when I approached him with a totally open heart and love.
Vera: Yes, you saw him relax and it’s also with children it’s the same thing of course. If you are so hard and to them they build a fence around them. And loving is it isn’t “oh I will be your slave”, you can do anything that’s something different.
Rick: Right. Did you ever see the movie The Horse Whisperer with Robert Redford?
Vera: Yes. Beautiful.
Rick: Great movie. Some more questions are coming in and I’ll be reading them to you in a minute. But let’s go on to the third section of your book, your relationship with your physical body and the manifest, and some of the subsections – there are the spiral of consciousness, physical body, food, sickness and physical handicaps, money, mother earth, things like that. What would you like to say about those points?
Vera: What I’d like to say about that is we are in a human vehicle which contains the mental body, the emotional body and the physical body. So some are very evolved on the emotional or mental, but forget the body. So we become out of balance, there has to be consciousness about that level also. And of course the physical body and the physical life around us is the last state of creation. And so there’s intention, there’s mind, energy and there’s manifestation into physical world. So yes, I found it important to focus you on what was before and how you are attached to all the physical components like money and things. Ten years or so we suffered from bankruptcy and we had nothing anymore and I sold all the things of value in my house and I couldn’t go to the city for two years and it was a very very very interesting period. I had to go to the second-hand stores and couldn’t buy anything anymore if I go to visit friends. And it totally detached me from the value of and the identification around things. And a lot of people have a lot of identification with things. And once I went to a family party and my two step-sisters bought a new iPod and a new iPad I guess and I looked at them and I looked at the things and I really liked it and once in one second I felt this graving towards that. And I immediately realized how I become relaxed and calm because I didn’t have the graving anymore. It was a complete freedom from physical detachment.
Rick: And now maybe you have some things again but without the craving.
Vera: Exactly, yes. And I do like beautiful things while I’m more practically focused actually but if it doesn’t, if I don’t have them it’s also fine.
Rick: The next section of your book is about your relationship with and service to the field of unity.
Vera: Yes, and it becomes real interesting.
Rick: Yes, this is a nice section. This is where it gets real juicy towards the end of the book. You’re talking about that and the trap section I thought were especially interesting. So what would you like to say about that?
Vera: Well, it is like I mentioned earlier in this interview that we have a very unique seed. If we were a tree or a flower we have a very unique seed and in this seed it was already known who we would become and our character, physical body are the vehicles in which we can put things into manifest. So your service of the fields of unity is become letting yourself be yourself and expressing yourself in your pure form which feels like just you. And that is very… it is like like finding your mission, finding your purpose in life and a lot of people think that it is in the future and it is very very beautiful and we have to work very hard to come there. And the contradiction of that is that your purpose in life, your mission is being your ordinary self and just by being your ordinary self you do exactly what you have to do and play your part of this play we play with each other. So there are people who have the role to confront people and not many people like them. So they have a very difficult role. And there are also people who have a very more serving energy, who will never be in the spotlight and they’re also very important chains part of change in the part of the chain. So by fulfilling your role in to the field of unity is being completely your ordinary self.
Rick: Yeah, in Sanskrit they call it your Dharma, you’ve probably heard that word. And it’s kind of almost an obvious point but maybe not as obvious as it should be but obviously, different people have different roles to play and different contributions to make. And so you could have a million enlightened people and there’s going to be tremendous variety among them and it’s not something that’s all going to look the same on the outside.
Vera: Exactly and it is an obvious point but people don’t really know how they have to be themselves and they’re searching for themselves who am I, what do I have to do and they overlook that they already are doing what they do.
Rick: Yeah, so do you have any guidance for people to…?
Vera: Yes, observe how you act in at the moment you are completely reacted and see what you do to other people. Because if you are doing the dishes or whether you are cycling on the road or being at your office in every place you are being you in every place you are doing the same thing you even did that when you were three years old or during kindergarten. I could make a scan of the children in the kindergarten and know exactly what their purpose in life it is really because it is obvious when you are still in the crib.
Rick: Really, so in your experience if you go to your child’s classroom for instance and you see all the kids and you interact with the kids you actually get a pretty clear vision of this kid’s going to be a doctor and this kid’s going to be a scientist.
Vera: No, I don’t see this kid’s going to be a doctor because that is and that is the misconception of a lot of people in finding that purpose or mission in life. They think do I have to be a doctor or do I have to be a lawyer or do I have to be… And that is the form but the form is organically of surface to your energy so your purpose in life is an energy thing. So for example if you look into the the little bed of the baby and you say “oh I feel completely calm when watching him”, the purpose of life is of that baby is to calm people down…
Rick: I see.
Vera: …whether they do it as a coach or as a a gardener or whatever.
Rick: Yeah so it’s a more fundamental quality obviously rather than what profession they’re going to do.
Vera: Exactly. Yeah. The profession is completely your choice. What you like to do.
Vera: Because you have to have fun by doing it.
Rick: That’s a good point.
Vera: Because joy is the resonance of your pure soul so joy is your lead to doing what you have to do.
Vera: And not hard work.
Rick: Yeah. Unless you get joy out of that. Some people do.
Vera: Exactly. And I only get money when I work very hard. Yeah. And the more painful it is the more recognition I get.
Rick: No pain no gain, they say.
Vera: Yeah exactly. No that’s completely different in real life.
Rick: Yeah. You know, they say that the way things are going with automation and all the technologies that are coming along there may be a point at which there really isn’t that much work for people to do. You know because so much of it is done for us by various things. And so human… the whole society might have to restructure itself in such a way that we know what to do with all this spare time. You know and in a way it’s… obviously it could be used for spiritual purposes and artistic purposes and all kinds of beautiful things like that rather than just working working working.
Vera: Well maybe we will heal the world by doing what we love to do because when you have a love for environment and you you’re putting your passion into it and one million people are doing that, it will be very different than if they were going to their office and sit behind the computer.
Rick: Yeah, doing something they hate, right.
Vera: Exactly. I think we will be in a much more balanced state and the world would mirror that balance.
Rick: I think so too. Here’s a follow-up question from Amanda in Florida who asked about the suffering. She said, do you have any advice on picking up suffering from others and how to handle that. She says in parentheses everything you guys have been saying is spot on.
Vera: Yes. I, Amanda what I’m going to say now is maybe difficult but it is a choice. And here is why. Because you have learned to be of service to others and that you would be recognized and acknowledged by maybe mother that if you took care of her or maybe father I don’t know if you took care of her they would say oh you are nice. So there’s a very deep down a choice you made to be there for others. So if someone suffers completely, immediately your energy system goes there and you say “give it to me, I will help you”. And if you change that belief and you say I want to help but never again by the cost of myself then that will stop immediately if you make that choice.
Rick: Great. Thank you.
Vera: Does it make sense? Yes.
Rick: Well maybe Amanda will tell us but it makes sense to me.
Vera: Yes. That is also I hear a lot of questions about picking up energies and with some people who find the spiritual world very interesting they find it very interesting to have an identity that can pick up energies. So they end up by picking all energies and want to get rid of it again because there is a belief that it is a interesting quality to pick it up and that also is a choice.
Rick: Yeah. So in other words watch out what you wish for.
Vera: Exactly. But we aren’t aware of what we wished in the past always.
Rick: Here’s a question from Mark Peter in Santa Clara, California. He asks, has your awakening and growing abidance in the self had any impact on your relationship to perceived planetary threats for instance global warming, environmental degradation things like that.
Vera: To perceive planetary I don’t know.
Rick: In other words like your self-realization, your abidance in the self – how has that… I mean some people are really freaked out for instance about global warming and what’s happening in the environment and things. They feel depressed. Some people don’t even want to live. They feel like they shouldn’t have children because they don’t want them to be born into such a world. So has your self-realization had any impact on your perception of these larger planetary.
Vera: Exactly. Yes, totally. There was a phase that I was very sad about how people harmed themselves and harmed the world. But it was a phase because later on I realized that I have to… that I couldn’t change the world in its total and it was also not my role to change environment issues. And I do what I can in my square mile to fulfill my role in the play. So and I also realized that if I am still fighting towards all the things that harm from a dualistic or an ego point of view I am also fighting from an ego point of view. So if you really want to open your heart you have to accept also this kind of people and I have a very interesting exercise to do so.
Rick: What’s that?
Vera: Because if you have an image of some of those perpetrators who reckon the world you can tune in into the resonance by seeing a picture or a movie or a video on YouTube of this harm or on the news, and then you have to – as we did at the beginning of the interview – you have to inhale the complete being, the complete energy system, the appearance of the perpetrator and have let them into your heart and that is where everything is already accepted. Accepting is nothing that you can do accepting is already here if you let that non-accepted object into your heart. Know what I mean?
Vera: And this is also helping if you are fighting against an ex-partner or something or parent or take a picture and really inhale them and that is very difficult because then I always see that frog with that blown up ego, “I don’t want to accept you”. But if you do and you are interested in what will happen you will notice that your heart is opening and the perpetrator becomes human.
Rick: Yeah, I heard an interesting story about a Tibetan monk who was kind of tortured and imprisoned and persecuted by the Chinese. And he eventually got out of there and someone asked him about his experience and he said “it was very difficult, I almost lost compassion for them a couple of times”.
Vera: Wow, beautiful.
Vera: Yes, yes and then you need to be vigilant again.
Vera: And it can take a lot of effort really, yes. I once got a hashtag on Twitter and in one night I went through this whole scene of hooligans and they call themselves hooligans and… well I can explain.
Vera: Yes, yes and they say “oh we are going to this lecture of hers and make some trouble”.
Rick: They’re going to go to your lecture?
Vera: Yes and I woke up and I saw this and I took the picture of one of those men. He had red curls and a red beard and I looked at him and I let him into my system and I was shaking and it was very hard, and this is how it is done and at a certain moment it dissolves, and it becomes soft. And my hashtag disappeared.
Rick: Yeah, very nice. So let’s go on to the last chapter of your book. It’s called traps and there’s some interesting things here. Here’s a funny one. The spiritual ego – and there’s a quote. “I have passed that. I have no ego anymore”.
Vera: Yes, I see that a lot in the face that the moment you got this first awakening and you see how it really is and there’s still a large ego that says “I’ve seen it”. But then it becomes more like a memory of awakening and not a really awakened state that continues in the present moment and that’s very different.
Rick: Yeah, there’s a… you know who Adyashanti is?
Vera: Yes, I like him.
Rick: Yeah, he has a nice quote where he says “I feel like I’m always a beginner”. And he’s really a very advanced soul but he honestly means that. It’s not just false humility. When you talk to him he’s like “who knows, maybe 10 years from now I’ll look back at what I’m doing now and I’ll think I’m an idiot. I was an idiot”, because there’s always this growth. That’s the experience.
Vera: Exactly, yeah. I like that. Yes, I always feel like a country girl. I’m still a country girl.
Rick: Yes, it’s good to keep that in mind. Another trap you have here is meaninglessness.
Vera: Yes, a lot of people can even become depressed over meaninglessness about life if they see that life hasn’t really a goal. We don’t really have to save the world. We have a choice to do things differently but it doesn’t matter for consciousness itself. It doesn’t matter. It just provides energy. It’s up to us and there’s meaninglessness but the pitfall of meaninglessness is that you are feeding the story of meaninglessness. So it can be an insight but don’t allow yourself into a depression because insight becomes story.
Rick: Yeah, I’m going to be interviewing a fellow named Michael Murphy I think in January. He was one of the founders of the Esalen Institute and he wrote a very interesting article about what he calls evolutionary panentheism. And that’s a big word but what he means by that is that there actually is a purpose to life and a purpose to the universe and that purpose has been sort of moving things along for billions of years in an actual direction we could say towards greater and greater complexity of physical systems but for the purpose of greater and greater evolution or embodiment of divine intelligence if we want to call it that. So if you that’s I would say my perspective that there really is a…
Vera: There’s a plan.
Rick: It’s not the universe is not meaningless it’s not arbitrary it’s not random there is a sort of a divine intelligence guiding the whole thing. I don’t know if you like that word divine intelligence, but there’s there’s some kind of vast intelligence play here.
Vera: Well I don’t like the word goal or plan.
Rick: Well that kind of makes it sound like you’re going to get to a particular end point which I’m not saying – no, I’m not saying that.
Vera: That it has a form and that is very linear and mind thinking but I do feel there is an irresistible urge to grow and to evolve so it is an an ongoing stream an ongoing drive into our life we cannot stop it we cannot go back. But I don’t know if it has a goal in form.
Rick: Well yeah I don’t mean to say that exactly and the way you put it is very good and I think that that drive that we experience in ourselves is actually it’s not we’re just experiencing it in ourselves but it’s everywhere, it’s in everything.
Vera: Exactly and that is again that is like the plant.
Rick: Yeah. Which wants to go towards the sun.
Vera: Yes exactly. And so it is not like… the purpose from our eye point of view is if we are a rose we have to become that rose and that is our responsibility.
Rick: Yeah, to grow into what we are.
Rick: Yeah. Another one of your little traps points is, consciousness is something outside yourself.
Rick: It isn’t me and consciousness it is I am consciousness.
Vera: Exactly and that’s also not me and an angel not me and this guidance I am that guidance.
Rick: Right, ultimately it’s all within us.
Vera: Exactly and then if you really really really see that all these ideas about what we just talked about also come into another light I think I feel it is it isn’t from a consciousness point of view it isn’t that you want to reach something or accomplish something or or go anywhere. It is all within the joy of this moment and the urge of expression. The urge of growth so that is finite from a mind perspective we want to believe in forms and goals and reach and gain and from consciousness perspective there isn’t.
Rick: Yeah I think you know when we put it in – just to reiterate I think you just said – when we put it in human perspective it’s very often “okay, there’s this linear process and there’s a goal that I’m going to reach” and so on and so on. But that’s not the way God thinks.
Vera: No exactly.
Rick: We’re just translating the way God thinks into the way people think and it’s really something bigger than that.
Vera: Exactly, so it really God really doesn’t make any distinction between victims, perpetrators, anger, joy, it doesn’t make any distinction. It is, it provides energy. It provides the surrounding.
Rick: Yeah. One big evolution machine.
Rick: The last part of your book very beautiful, “Vision of the Future” and you talk about when awakened consciousness shines through all people a whole new civilization will arise. What would you like to say about that?
Vera: When you see the world from an energetic point of view the whole surface layer isn’t that important anymore. And when you look at someone or some animal you feel immediately the connection or you feel that you have to let them pass by and that’s okay. It is… you don’t need words anymore to really connect. You don’t need the same interest anymore to connect. There is connection or there isn’t resonance. And if everybody would live exactly the life that they were meant to be as that seed and we would acknowledge that everyone follows their path we wouldn’t want to change them, we wouldn’t want to change the path, we wouldn’t want to control the path of our children. There is no distinction between races or genders or age. It would be totally different.
Rick: So are you kind of optimistic about the world for yourself as you get older, for your children, for the whole humanity? I mean some people get pretty depressed because they think, “Whoa, look at all the pollution and the corporations and the politicians and all this and how can we have any effect and we’re all going to die?” Do you have a more optimistic view?
Vera: Well, I don’t let myself become depressed by those thoughts but if… or I don’t know if I’m really optimistic because we are pretty… yeah, the world is pretty…
Rick: Kind of messed up.
Vera: Messed up, yes. Something really big has to change but I think that is already going on. I was very surprised that Donald Trump was elected and I think it could be interesting.
Vera: It could be interesting. It was a very interesting choice and it would be a far more interesting choice if we didn’t choose either of them because then we had to take responsibility for our own and we still don’t do that.
Rick: Yeah. Well, we had to choose somebody. I happened to choose Bernie Sanders but he didn’t get too far.
Vera: Do you really have to choose?
Rick: Well, if you want to vote, you have to.
Vera: In the Netherlands, if not 50 percent of the people vote, the elections are undecidable. There isn’t a government anymore.
Rick: We don’t have that. I mean, if in the United States, if only a hundred people voted in the whole country, they would take the choice of whoever won and you know.
Vera: Oh, really? Well, that’s not a democracy, right?
Rick: Yeah. We end up with somebody one way or the other.
Vera: Oh, I thought it was the same in the Netherlands. If 50 percent doesn’t back it up, then…
Rick: Well, that’s a whole other topic.
Vera: Yes, of course.
Rick: I’m sure that there could be a more enlightened politics than there is now.
Vera: Exactly. It was just my point that it is changing already.
Rick: Yeah, it’s changing.
Vera: I think the problems will be bigger, will become bigger because people still don’t see. If we still don’t see, the world has to mirror bigger.
Rick: Well, this ties into your whole theme of what we’ve been talking about with the individual, that things are designed to help us see. I agree that probably in many ways the problems will get bigger in the world, but that will be sort of instrumental in a collective awakening that is really underway already. And so, ultimately, I’m optimistic.
Vera: Yes, if we see it instantly, yes. And we are shocked by all this. We will be shocked. Most people will be shocked. And then it is good there are people who have walked the path already and can help.
Rick: Yeah, there’s a lot of good stuff happening that you don’t hear about on the news, but it’s building momentum more and more.
Vera: But I think it is a pity that we need this shock.
Rick: Yeah, it would be nice if it could be done without.
Vera: I think it wouldn’t be necessary.
Rick: Right, yeah. I don’t think we have to wait for it.
Vera: No. But a lot of people do need shock, apparently.
Rick: Well, you make a good point. I think that, if the whole seven billion of us can’t escape the shock, at least we have the choice personally to do things in our life, to live our life in such a way that we can come through the whole thing relatively untraumatized.
Vera: Exactly, yes. And then you do a great job for every one of us.
Rick: Well, we’re all doing our thing. So, thanks Vera. This has been great. Is there any closing remarks you’d like to make to people about what you have to offer and stuff like that?
Vera: Well, if you want balance, you don’t have to come to me because balance is living on the surface and I’m offering a really intense life and seeing true life and I really hope… it is my passion to let people see that life isn’t that difficult. There are very simple ways of seeing things and walk through life.
Rick: Is that course that you offer, that we talked about earlier, offered in English or just Dutch?
Vera: Yes, okay, all English.
Rick: Okay, great. So, people can go to your website and check that out if they want to.
Vera: Yes, verahelleman.com.
Rick: Good, verahelleman.com. So, I’ll be creating a page on batgap.com about this interview as I always do and it’ll have some information about you and a link to your website and a link to your book and people can get in touch with you through your website if they want to.
Vera: Yes, and I’ll respond.