Philip Renard, a Dutchman, is perhaps not so well known in the Anglo-Saxon world as other sages from India and the West, but he is a master of spirituality, that is, a sage, in his own right. He has only a few publications in English, and a book by him is forthcoming.
On the invitation in satsang,
and the ‘holy sequence’
The invitation in satsang is always the same.
It could be summarized as follows.
Recognition of your true nature is possible as soon as you are
to allow a gap between one thought and the next,
right in the middle of an inner story or perception,
Even though this gap is only the entrance,
looking from this gap you can see
that seeing itself is in fact something great:
it shows that you yourself are the knowing, seeing
principle, which continuously, from within, bestows light on
Without this self-illuminating principle you cannot know or
From the gap mentioned you can also see
that it is inseparable from the things which arise in it –
that in fact everything is inclusive.
There is thought as well as no-thought. Mind as well as
No-thought (the interval or gap) is itself not yet two,
but in an instant it is one of the two.
No-thought is not ‘better’ than thought, but apparently
there is a kind of inner hierarchy or sequence:
thought arises in no-thought, and not the other way
That which only seems to be a ‘gap’, an interval, no-thought,
actually is great, all-embracing.
It encompasses all thinking and feeling, all perception.
No matter how important certain things in your life may be,
again and again you can see
that the emptiness from which things arise
precedes those things.
‘Preceding’ and ‘sequence’ are not terms of time,
but point towards a real hierarchy,
a sequence of importance.
‘Importance’ in regard to something being real or not.
This is, after all, about the recognition of your real nature –
so that could not be something different from reality itself.
Within your present experience, you could ask yourself:
‘What is it that makes this present experience so real?’
and you will see that reality is being bestowed on you by
something that is no thought, no form, not somewhere,
You are preceding form, and including form.
One could say the mentioned sequence is useful
to be able to discern and value non-duality (advaya),
This sequence could even be called ‘holy sequence’.
‘Holy’ because truly appreciating and valuing
that which deserves esteem
(the interval, that which is reality-bestowing)
seemingly still may require encouragement.
So that is why the invitation is: first the interval.
Or rather: first the willingness to allow an interval.
By getting accustomed to appreciate the interval, or emptiness,
more and more you can see you remain unchanged.
That is freedom.
That is your true nature. Unchangeable.
You are the unmodified same one within the interval as
in the midst of perceived objects and your own stories.
The interval is the entrance,
and the continuation is life itself, full of form.
Within form, ‘preceding’ it,
is That which makes life and form ‘holy’,
as it is so real.