Hoe het begon

Perhaps you recognize this:
The subconscious feeling that there is more.
The feeling that you are different from others
Because you sometimes doubt everything

Some reject it and call it nonsense.
Others perceive it as an adventure, a challenge.
That is the way it went for me

The doubt has become the drive for my quest.
A quest for the essence of life.
A quest for the authenticity of existence.
The exploring of the inner layers of the self and of that to which I am connected.

20 years ago I consciously started my journey
I started to wonder: what part of me says or does something and why.
Who or what am I, and how did that come about?
By simply asking myself those questions, I learned many a thing.

After, unique people crossed my path, providing me with the right information at the right time.
And books with answers to universal questions.

A tremendous step forward was taken by daily meditation.
Initially, I taught this to myself.
Years later, I refined my techniques with Tenkei Roshi of Zen River in Uithuizen (Groningen, Netherlands) through Zazen training – Zen meditation.

I felt the urge to live life unconditionally, consciously and to the full extent.
For this, inner inquiries are needed to find out what prevents you from doing so.
Especially issues such as ‘dis-attachment’, ‘suffering’, the ‘now’, ‘enlightment’ and ‘the middle path’ kept me occupied.

To learn more, I visited Zen masters and participated in several trainings, workshops and retreats.
The teachings of Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi have had a particular effect on me.
I find his method of ‘Big Mind’ for self-analysis and balancing the self fantastic.
It allows you to get to know yourself in a fair and compassionate manner.
Deepening of the matter took place with Irene Bakker, a facilitator of Genpo in Groningen.
During May 2010, I was in Salt Lake City for a zen retreat.
Kyozen Sensei greeted me at the beginning of the first zazen session with: “Here, you are!”
It was like a stroke with a Keisaku rod through which, at once, it showed the essence of everything.
During a session with Dennis Genpo Merzel later that week, I got to know the true beauty of his technique.
I learned another particularly beautiful and powerful technique from Tsultrim Allione.
She took an ancient Buddhist method and made it accessible for us Westerners.
The Ch’od or Feeding your Demons technique.
With this it is possible to transform deeply-rooted, immovable problems (demons) into a healing ally, providing one with power.
Besides this, EMDR is a valuable discovery of Francine Shapiro.
Especially traumas, fears and (negative) convictions through which it is impossible for emotions and rationality to connect can be healed properly.
EMDR treatment can make the connection, allowing one to continue his or her path.
In a mere few sessions, astonishing results occur.
When emotional or physical problems need resolving, EFT is an effective method to choose, developed by Gary Craig. It is an improbably fast, effective and lasting way to get rid of a wide array of problems. By simply tapping  certain ‘meridian-points’ in combination with the cumbersome emotion in which the problem is rooted, this emotion will disappear like snow before the sun and with it all the complaints that flow from it.
For children too, this is an excellent technique due to its inherent simplicity.

Due to my quest there is now more clarity.
Some experiences provide with an immediate insight.
Other insights surface over time.

Nonetheless, according to me, everything in fact points to the same direction:
Everything is connected to everything.
People to people, light to dark, cause to consequence.
Beginnings and endings. Our thoughts and words with events around us.
Only our mere preferences for something or someone makes that we are never there where we are.
That we always have something different in mind.
They make that we preferred yesterday, or look forward to tomorrow more.
If we let go of these preferences, convictions, prejudices, expectations and conditionings, the ‘now’ emerges.
We do not need to let go of people, life or love; merely of our preferences for them and our devotion to them.
That greatly reduces our suffering.
Are more present in the ‘now’.
And we understand that the ‘middle path’ is not the middle, but rather comprises everything.
No gray life, but comprising everything.
Happiness and sadness separately and even simultaneously.
But without getting stuck in it.
That provides for freedom and tranquillity. That provides for happiness and peace.

Because everything is connected to everything else, our liberation will mean the liberation of all living creatures. Our peace and happiness will be peace and happiness for others. We will notice that our personal growth will have an immediate effect on the world around us.
Indirectly we also give others the opportunity to let go – to liberate themselves.

As the manager and owner of a number of businesses I obtained a lot of experience in the past years with regards to human performance.
I also thoroughly investigated the way I act myself.
My conclusion is:

“What we refer to as ‘human characteristics’ is, according to me, the collective inability to live life in a non-grasping, non-seeking, fully integrated, free and unconditioned life. Fear, jealousy and anger are normal, but the general impotence in dealing with these emotions, and the integration of them in a harmonious life is what goes by the name of ‘human’.

I have noticed that we often act due to conditioned (acquired) behaviour.
Behaviour that is usually the result of previous experiences.
Experiences that for instance create pain, rejection, anger or fear.
We might for example act in a way that prevents those feelings from returning.
But in that manner, we can no longer live free.
We can no longer make unconditional contact with ourselves and others.
We cannot embrace life, ourselves and others any longer.

With the abovementioned techniques I am able to bring more and more balance to my own life.
To transform my suffering into that which is beneficial.
To enrich my life and death spiritually.
To heal relationships with myself and others.
To give meaning to life.

Because I am learning so much from it, because I am growing from it and find that I am heading towards becoming a fully integrated, freely functioning human being I wish to share this with others; to allow others access to this method as well.

This is why I established ‘THE GREAT EMBRACE’

Peace and coming home to ourselves and other cannot wait.
Take life the way it is and improve it every day.
How can we expect to obtain wisdom or peace, that it comes from somewhere? It is already in us.
We are peace, wisdom and compassion.

THE GREAT EMBRACE allows you to feel that we can be peace, that we can be at home.
Provide yourself and the world around you with a GREAT EMBRACE.


Martin Craanen.