Original Jin Shin
Interviews/Int. Bres
Mieke F.W. Berger Ph.D.


Healing from neutrality: Mieke Berger combines Advaita Vedanta with Original Jin Shin



Albertine van Peursen, Dutch journalist, interviews Mieke for Bres.
Translation: David and Rivka Alexander-Yahich.


Mieke F.W. Berger Ph.D. is a well-known and successful healer, and was one of the first people in the Netherlands to have trained in acupuncture, psychic surgery, Reiki and Jin Shin Jyutsu (Original Jin Shin). As a healer and sage she travels all over the world to share wisdom.A captivating woman whose integrity and attention easily win your trust, she can also be unexpectedly sharp when she holds up a mirror to you ('Whose business is that yours or....?') Mieke in La GomeraThe subject of our interview is Advaita Vedanta and the authentic practice of original Jin Shin, the two leitmotivs running through her life.

Mieke Berger has healing in her blood. She grew up in the practice of a village doctor, where a dispensary was part of her father's surgery. 'While I saw what was the matter with people, we were never allowed to talk about it, and I had to keep everything to myself.’ Following in her father's footsteps, she started to study medicine, but her desire for financial independence and search for Truth, caused her to break it off. Photo by Huib van Wersch
She started on a career in nursing, knowing
very well that this was not right for her. She then started to work for doctors, visiting their terminal patients as a private nurse, and conducting their microscopic examination in the laboratory. Fascinated by the properties of medicinal herbs, she trained in Naturheilverfahren (nature-cure) in Germany and elsewhere. After this, she devoted herself to acupuncture and Chinese wisdom. When she was invited to teach acupuncture to general practitioners, she decided first to get an academic degree in this discipline, and got tuition in the tradition of Bejing, in Taiwan and Ceylon, subsequently doing her Ph.D. in the performance of anaesthesia using acupuncture. Hereafter she also published the first practical guide book in Acupuncture in the Dutch language : Zhendjoh, Algemene Practische Acupunctuur, edition: de Tijdstroom Lochem, Holland.

Explorer

At around the time of her eighteenth birthday, Mieke had begun to go deeply into yoga. For years, she had felt frustrated that she could never share what she observed in others, their behaviour, their relations, their attitudes, their emotions. 'Because I had to interiorise, and was unable to express all this information, my body began to behave strangely. I thought that I had to find a solution to this myself, and took up yoga.' A keen traveller, she also sought these solutions beyond her national borders; one of her teachers was Yesudian in Switzerland. In the Netherlands, she trained in yoga traditions as they were taught there at that time; Baron Robert van Heeckeren and Dr.Rama Polderman were among her teachers, and this is also where she got to know Vedanta sage Wolter Keers . While Polderman found her interests too varied, and sent her away, she maintained her contacts with Wolter Keers. She also met Saswitha , yogi of another tradition and was impressed by his vision, of which he had written in his book Swabhawat; over the years, she was to develop a very strong personal bond with him. She deplored the fact that yoga teachers refused to communicate with one other; neither did she find that any one system provided all the answers. For Mieke, it was an unforgettable moment when, during a Yoga and philosophy gathering at De Kosmos in Amsterdam, Rama, Saswitha and Wolter engaged in a discussion for the sole reason that they had come to talk to Mieke.The three people from various traditions were together.

In 1971, Mieke travelled to India together with Wolter Keers and a number of other 'yoga- bhai's'(co-students). Mieke: 'I was very young. Though we weren't at all far from Auroville, Wolter refused to let us to go there. At first, I didn't understand why, but it was because duality had the upper hand there. I was impressed by Wolter’s strong attitude, refusing to visit that ashram.
Sri Ramana MaharshiTheir destination on that trip was the ashram of Sri Ramana Maharshi, but first Wolter took them to Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, who owned a little beedee shop in the Bombay red – light district, and held satsangs at home in the attic. ‘Wolter pushed me into that attic in front of our group, all by myself. It was pitch black in there! When I sat down, it was being like in an explosion, like being struck by lightning: there was Sri Nisargadatta, sitting it the corner. It was an enormous confrontation, and was to be followed by many more. He always used to ask me to come and sit next to him. He was extremely sweet to me, but that was something I couldn't understand.’ Nisar, as Mieke calls him fondly, was to become her most important teacher, as he was able to make the impalpable clear, though at the time she did not in fact realise this. Nisargadatta MaharajThe teachings of Ramesh S. Balsekar and U.G. Krishnamurti have also had a great influence on her. 'U.G. is the unsurmountable. What he says is too hard – nobody wants to hear it. For instance: 'If you try to do good, you attract bad.' You can't ask him questions, as it's all nonsense anyway. When you're visiting masters, you know that every word is too ridiculous to be uttered, and that's why you sit with them in silence.' At the beginning she had to get used to this, but she soon became absorbed in it. Mind did not matter at all since then.

Meeting Mieke Berger now, you can hardly imagine that in those days she had trouble expressing herself in words. It was Da Free John who got her talking, and Barry Long even more. 'In the West, the only thing we can do is talk, but in the East, you often remain in silence with masters and healers. Yet to do my work, I had to learn to talk. The bridge to verbal expression was Barry Long. When I came into contact with him in the mid-1980s, it was still a one-to-one contact. He showed me that you're responsible for your thoughts. If you carry around what you think, you must take responsibility for it. Through confrontation, he made me say what was present in my mind. Because he could cut right through you, you had to say something, and what you said had to be a true reflection of what you felt. I had never done this before, and it was an enormous transition.'

NON- DUALITY

The philosophy of her Indian teachers finally satisfied her longing to fathom life's mystery. At the very core of this was Advaita Vedanta, the final wisdom of the Vedas, which was set down in the years around 200 BC.
In my exposition of this philosophy, which follows below, I refer to the book 'Living from neutrality' of Justus Kramer Schippers which was written after many discussions between the the autor and Mieke. Quto from this book: 'Advaita Vedanta proceeds from an all-embracing whole, which, simultaneously, is the source of all, of which everything is a part, and into which everything flows. All this contains subject and object, pole and opposite pole, good and bad – and all for the very simple reason that one cannot do without the other. Or (and this is yet harder to grasp!) one pole provokes the other, opposite.' Emanating from this unity are both the as-yet unmanifested , not yet 'coagulated' potential energy and the manifested, material energy, i.e. the world of appearences one can observe with one's senses. Between them, both aspects are the unity, Source, or what are also referred to as All, Totality, God, Consciousness, or All -Energy .
All and everything, whether thought, an object or emotion, is seen as energy that is constantly in movement and changing. Contrary to the Western conception, neither the world nor the human being is seen as perfectible. According to the Advaita , we are not beings capable of independent action, free in the choices we make. We have influence neither over our birth – i.e. when, where, and to which family – nor over our death. Neither do we have any influence over our thoughts and emotions, which come and go beyond the exercise of our own will. We have no control over the circumstances in which we find ourselves. We Ramesh S. Balsekar having lunch with Miekeare parts of a larger whole that is entirely independent of us. Kramer Schippers uses the metaphor of a complex machine: people are tiny screws who feel responsible for the whole, but who will in fact never know that whole (p24).
Still, we do experience reality as something objective existing outside ourselves, but our perception of it is coloured by a personal view. In part, this is due to the values and norms passed on to us from those around us, and in part it is something at a purely physiological level. 'Our nature, our structure, and the number of our senses determine our internal construction of reality.' As Kramer Schippers continues expressively: 'Thus, in reality, an outside world does not exist, because everything takes place in the central brain. The vastness of the outside world appears as an illusion projected within that brain. We might compare it to a virtual reality show. Reality is like a film projected in consciousness, consisting of images, sound and feeling.'
'The world is fine as it is, and does not need to be changed - it changes of its own accord, just as there is no need for your opinion to change.'

Your body is your temple

Western philosophy is based on a threefold split: between body, mind (i.e. thought) and soul. The soul is seen in the following terms: that, though we are separated from the whole, it is thanks to the soul that we are still connected to it. The soul is thus seen as umbilical cord, a link with the divine. But according to the Vedanta, the divine is not found outside us, but all is housed therein. Existence is a happening in consciousness. It is the divine energy of life, the source of the All.
In accordance with Advaita, Mieke Berger makes a distinction between mind/body on the one hand, and Source - Consciousness - on the other. 'The mind, - in fact everything belonging to the material (subtle) aspect of our existence - is the sender and receiver of the body. The mind works via impulses, to which it gives shape: that's the body, that box of tricks. You can't have a body without a mind. Thought is the cause of all suffering, and mostly driven by emotions, the last, which are always the product of fear. For emotions belong to the I-consciousness, and the body - that thing - reacts only when we think. However long we live, thinking and interpretation are unavoidable. We use thinking to react; this is a habit of the mind. It's an instrument, and would be an ideal instrument, too, if only the mind did not constantly impose itself.
'In India they used to say, "Your body is your temple." I used to find this a most crazy pronouncement. What is that body? My biggest step came when I truly understood that it's a collection of thoughts. We all play with these thoughts, as if we are the thought itself, which gives the feeling of attachment. The body, which is not I, is a sort of coagulation of the I-thought. In short, what we think comes to expression in our body; a temple, as an art-projection, it gives expressions, impressions and feelings, in fact i.e. our collective projections on existence.'

Despair

Although the present Western conception regards life and humans as perfectible, the Advaita sees the Source as the cause of everything that happens. That means that the cause of illness and healing does not lie in the physical realm, but in Source, the unmanifested energy. The body has the power to regenerate itself: it is inexpressibly miraculous that you can cut into it with a knife or a scalpel, and the flesh will grow together again! The medical profession depends on the power of the body to regenerate itself, and, in that sense, doctors do little more than help nature along a bit. According to the Advaita Vedanta, healing does not exist as an activity in itself: after all, as everything in the manifested world emanates from Source – from the Unmanifested – so, too, does healing. In spiritual terms, Mieke Berger has found her way, but as a healer she meanwhile maintains a diligent search for an all-embracing system that will work with all complaints. In the thirty-five years she has been working as a healer, she has applied herself to virtually all the alternative medical disciplines that have crossed her path – from aura-reading, Ayurveda, and Bach flower remedies, to kinesiology, various forms of massage and magnetic and energy-healing. 'Running through them all at all times was the juxtaposition of breathing as connector to Source. For breath is the agent of Source. Breath has no shape; it emanates from no-one, and is impersonal. There has to be breath, for without it there is no 'I'. This has always attracted me, because you cannot receive or get anything from a person. The personal realm is hedged about with limitations: conflict is always integral to it – 'me, not you!' "To give, or to hand over to someone, is a happening in appearence, not the truth. There is nothing to get - all is." 'It didn't matter what I did, I was good at it all, and enjoyed doing it, too. Nonetheless, with each of these therapies, I was the only one who wasn't happy with them. I knew they were not Truth. Yes, everything I did worked – but what was I doing? It made me despair deeply. And as long as I didn't know, I kept on looking around.'

Turning point

One day, Mieke saw a photo of Mary Burmeister in an article about Original Jin Shin. She immediately felt: 'this person knows it!' 'I have an Eastern trait: if I want to learn something, Mary Burmeister and Mieke in Scottsdale Arizona (Us)I go to the master and will accept nothing and no-one less. But then I also totally give myself up to that person.' She travelled to Arizona for a self-help course. But she did not get to see Mary Burmeister, as the course was given by one of the teachers trained by Mary. 'This made me feel even more desperate. In practice, this woman was very good, but could not put things into words. After those lessons, I told her: 'If this doesn't work within a month, I'll give it all up.' It was an ultimatum to myself. When I'm learning something, it occupies me 24 hours a day, and my pockets are stuffed with notes. The underlying principle of Original Jin Shin – that it's not you who heals, but Source – was a turning point for me. Finally, I had found a system that made a bridge between the manifested and unmanifested world. As every therapy is grounded in the manifested, it's all too easy to believe that the causes, too, are grounded there, whereas in fact they're all coincidences, synchronicities. The cause is always in the unmanifested. And thanks to these principles, I rediscovered my own pleasure. I suddenly realised that I had gained one more means of communication, one, whereby you are in "the communicating" (an impersonal happening).

Universal energy

Original Jin Shin is a centuries-old Japanese healing art that was once very widespread; it is referred to in the Kojiki Record of Ancient Things, Japan 712 AD.
We owe the name to Jiro Murai (1886-1961) Jiro Muraiwho rediscovered the knowledge it represents from oblivion; it is derived from the words Jin, meaning the 'human' being; Shin, meaning 'divine nature, or God'; and Jyutsu, 'art'. As with Advaita Vedanta, the core principle of Original Jin Shin is that the cause or basis of all life depends on an all-inclusive energy. This universal energy circulates endlessly in the universe and in each organism. Since antiquity, Hindus have called this energy prana, the Greeks pneuma, the Chinese chi, and the Japanese ki, which refers to manifested energy.
This universal life energy manifests itself in different degrees of density. Our health depends on its unobstructed flow and diffusion within the body. The vital energy flows through the body along certain pathways, which bring about bodily cohesion. Essentially, the 'battery of life', a flow of being, that follows an oval course, it moves downwards at the front of the body, and upwards at the back. Whereas an unobstructed flow of energy nourishes and harmonises, obstruction leads to physical, mental and emotional disharmony; this, it should be noted, is mostly the consequence of an emotion. But, how ever great the disturbance, in each being there is always a subjacent harmony.

Breathing is 'the basic form in which life's energy expresses itself,' says Mieke. "Exhalation is nourishment on the non-physical level. It is the energetic charge – the non-observable part of the energy – that we take to ourselves when we breathe out. Exhalation ensures the transformation of energy that takes place in the physical body during inhalation. During exhalation, the body is inactive – in other words, it is doing nothing, and you are in your 'state of being' . This 'energy' of being has not a certain frequency, it is always there, without 'form', preparing – so to speak – your body for the inhalation. And as soon as the inhalation begins, the adapter is on, and a change follows on the physical plane. The supply is the unmanifested energy that you really are; during the inhalation, a switch is thrown, and, suddenly, there is physical energy. Then you are in the 'I AM' manifestation, and the body- /mind can do its work.Exhalation is the receiving phase, something impersonal, while inhalation is the having-phase, and is very personal."

Safety Energy Locks.

The principle underlying Original Jin Shin is not material, but immaterial; for this reason, according to Original Jin Shin, neither illness nor diagnosis exists. To examine where the flow of energy gets stuck, the pulses are taken in order to find out where the different layers of manifested energy resonate. Each imbalance can then be harmonised with the universal energy. Mieke: ‘I can't say that I heal somebody; I can only recognise the power that finally let healing take place.
According to Original Jin Shin , illnesses are disturbances in the balance of energy, which may either be of a physical, mental or emotional nature. In such cases, the different energies no longer work together in a harmonious fashion. With the fingertips, a contact gets established between several specific zona’s, called, safety energy locks. As soon as the different energy fields collaborate again, spontaneous recovery can occur. In fact, the power of the body to restore itself , which was temporarily diminished, is mobilised.
There are 26 Safety Energy Locks that function as circuit breakers. They shut themselves off when the person cannot accommodate to a situation, the physical complaint that follows is a warning that something is out of balance.

Golden Cup.

Quote: 'Original Jin Shin was my salvation. I was aware that the most important thing lay outside the small realm of the manifested phenomena, Mieke presenting the now classic book OJS to the public in the Netherlandseven though you still have to operate inside this area. I therefore regard Original Jin Shin as a ‘golden cup’. When you are busy with manifested phenomena, as you are in acupuncture, it becomes apparent that you have a reserve of energy at your disposal that, at best, you're going to have to re-arrange. But in Original Jin Shin, you see that in fact this reserve is not of this world, but is part of totality. It's not a question of much or little – quite simply, there's nothing else.'
'The big difference with other approaches is that Jin Shin sees everything in terms of the impersonal rather than the personal. Hara, for instance, stands for personal power. But when you focus on personal power, all you do is survive. Original Jin Shin is about surrender: Thy will be done. And that gives me vitality.'

Authenticity

Mieke admires Mary Burmeister, who works as an Oriental sage: 'You lie down in a room, she comes in, she gives you treatment, and goes away again. Not a word is said. She says to me: "You beautiful body, I ask God to be with us." After 50 minutes, she disappears. You cannot thank her; the "I" is not there. That is a real master. In the West many cannot stand this; a Dutch person would not take such silence.'
During her own cure weeks, Mieke keeps the same schema as Mary Burmeister, who gives two treatments a day for five days. 'I want to do just as Mary Burmeister practices. I understand why, between two treatments, she walks in the hall with her fingers under her bottom. I won't imitate her, though. But I think about it. Myself, I generally go and wash some dishes, just to let go. Then it's gone, and I go on with the next one.',/span>

Mieke criticises the tendency of Original Jin Shin practitioners to give their own interpretations to the system – by devising alternative approaches, for instance: 'I want to transmit a message from the purest authenticity, nothing more. I don't belief in a variation. Why should I make changes to something that's already perfect?'

She also criticises people whose approach is too superficial, who attend one short course and immediately practise it on others: 'In fact, I find that you should withdraw for a period and first use it on yourself before you try it out on others. You can practise it for thirty years without it ever becoming mature in you, because that depends on consciousness.'

Surrender

A couple of years ago, Mieke had an experience of non projection of the mind. It sharpened her insight. 'Projecting the mind keeps you in the body. I hadn't seen that particular aspect so sharply before. When the projection stops, life could be finished in no time.' 'In all these thirty-five years of healing, the most authentic thing for me would be if I just sat down and did nothing. Why must I put on such a show?' But she knows herself well enough to be able to put this into perspective. She defines her structure as follows: 'A dreadful combination: the doer who wants so badly to do something, and consciousness, which says there's absolutely nothing to do. Between them, my experiences in India and Mary Burmeister's, have made this clear to me. The crazy thing is that I cannot speak about Jnana (advaita vedanta) with Mary Burmeister, because she is no intellectual. But she Knows. I find that such a joke!' According to Mieke, it is not healing (i.e. the improved flow of life's energy) that is the most important goal of Original Jin Shin, but 'the insight that can arise within the client into the nature of the mystery we call life.' In her opinion, Original Jin Shin is often used exclusively as a technique or as healing, when it fact it is an art of living which, sooner or later, will lead to an attitude of acceptance and surrender. For Mieke Berger, Jin Shin Jyutsu means 'the being who understands the art of understanding his divine nature.'

    Sayings of Mieke Berger:
  • As long as the mind plays a main role, there is a question. No mind, no question.
  • Thoughts come and go; one vibrates along with you, and stays with you as long as there is no neutrality.
  • A real master gives your freedom but no advice.
  • I travelled around the whole world from master to master and have never wondered what it would bring me, I just knew I had to do it.