Tijn Touber (1960) is a Dutch musician, author and spiritual teacher. He founded the Dutch band Lois Lane in 1984 and their debut album reached #1 in the Top 100 selling more than 100,000 albums. Tijn also wrote the title song for the Dutch movie “Amsterdamned”.
After this musical adventure, Tijn starts concentrating on developing personal awareness, travels to India seventeen times, visited many enlightened masters and lives fourteen years as an ascetic yogi in the heart of Amsterdam. During this period he teaches the Amsterdam police, offenders in prisons, nursing staff in national hospitals and Dutch youth.
Tijn Touber is also known to be a master in making complicated and spiritual concepts understandable, practical and more down-to-earth. He writes columns, stories and leads interviews. In 2009 his book “Spoedcursus Verlichting” (Crash Course Enlightenment) became a bestseller and a year later “Verlicht Leven” (Enlightened Living) also became a bestseller on the Dutch market. In 2011 his book Stadsverlichting (Cities of Light) became the foundation for the initiative to open up living rooms in the country for regular meditation. Tijn teaches masterclasses ‘The Secret of Geniality’ and together with his partner Kris he organizes ‘Silence Concerts’. We can hopefully support Tijn in getting his first book translated into the English language, since his spiritual wisdom should not only be available to the Dutch.
When we met with Tijn Touber, we soon got an incredible story going which we would like to share with you.
Soul Love: Tijn, you have found a very unique way to connect with your audience since you’re combining your message with live music. Tell us more about this.
Tijn Touber: I have been busy sharing my vision and teaching the audience over the last couple of years and although this is really fun to do, I wanted to enhance the experience for everybody. Therefore I started to do more guided meditations and special exercises. Because I am also a musician I decided to enrich the experience by using live music.
In my second book “Verlicht Leven” (Enlightened Living) I used the various phases as described in Joseph Campbell’s book the “Hero’s Journey”. I basically brought it back to 8 steps and used these different phases in order to give people a better understanding during their personal journey.
People easily get trapped in their own patterns and thoughts come up like “I really want to move in the direction of the light, but for some reason I’m easily drawn to darker places and how can I better deal with this shadow?” Joseph Campbell has written exactly about these thought patterns. I have used his theory and wrote a song for every single step in which I explain this specific phase like “the call to adventure” or “the freedom to live”. So I created a song which I sing, for every phase, and by hearing the song people will be taken into this experience and live it themselves.
SL: That is a beautiful translation you’re making there!
Tijn: I see it as my job to make sometimes complicated and spiritual concepts understandable, practical and more down-to-earth and it works awfully well because we often touch people deep in the heart and when they listen to music, especially if it’s nice and quiet music, they can then relax, so that increases the experience. It works really well.
Personally, I feel that we are facing another leap, especially here in the Netherlands. I meet so many people who are actually quite far in their development in this area, and they do realize it. They are sometimes just a bit hesitant to really live it. Currently, all the old structures are about to collapse, we see that people are more or less forced to live in a new paradigm since the old one simply doesn’t work anymore.
A friend of mine recently said: “This is a time where inanimate structures collapse and human spirit gets structure”. By this he means the corporate world, the church, politics, actually a lot of institutions that we have relied on so far no longer have that inspiration and they will collapse. The human spirit, the human soul, slowly gets more and more structure and we are right in between these two phases. The old situation doesn’t function anymore and the new phase slowly gets more and more substantial. I truly feel we’re carefully taking this leap.
Joseph Campbell writes about ‘betrayal’ and that’s the moment the hero betrays himself or is betrayed by someone else. The next step however is atonement and the return to the light and that is exactly what we are talking about right now. This is the phase which allows you to deliberately choose the light and allow love. When I look around me I can tell that many people feel betrayed. Betrayed by the system – you thought for example that when you turn 65, a pension is waiting for you or relationships don’t work the way you thought they would work and so much more.
SL: Could it be that in the cases when we felt betrayed, we were looking for intention outside of ourself?
Tijn: Yes, I absolutely think so and this is ultimately ‘self betrayal’. You didn’t listen to your heart and unintentionally betrayed yourself.
SL: ‘Self betrayal’ sounds quite serious, but it must have served a purpose then.
Tijn: Exactly, and it’s perfect if you can see it as part of an important process you have to go through that helps you to develop humility and things like that. It’s therefore important to understand this phase well, because even if it’s very dark and painful for a while, you can still see it is positive what’s happening and you know that in the next phase you will be returning to the light.
SL: What is the purpose of your teachings? What do you ultimately want to achieve?
Tijn: My deepest goal is to help humanity make the next step. I am strongly aware that we can evolve together to a much gentler society. We might not be going to experience that in this lifetime but I have the feeling that I can function as some kind of ‘signpost’, like “hey, you could also make that choice or do it this way” and teach people by example and show them that you can truly live an enlightened life. It doesn’t mean that you are happy all the time but it does mean that you are conscious of what’s happening around you and that you can deal with setbacks in a different and more constructive way.
“We live in a time where we can use the spiritual intelligence”.
I am very keen in explaining to people that there are two important levels you are guided by – a spiritual level, where you are whole, perfect and enlightened, but there’s also a level of ego and emotions where you are not whole yet. People often see that as a contradiction and might say “this man is so spiritual” or “I am not spiritual at all”, but I try to explain to them that both are true. At the deepest level you are whole already, while at another level you’re still struggling. With this knowledge, you will be able to deal with this with a smile. I would call it “practical spirituality” and by learning these two sides of yourself and by finding a balance between the two, you will realize that you’re on the right way.
I would like to add that we often use spirituality to escape from this world, so people often say that spiritual people are wooly. This might sometimes be true but I think that we live in a time where we can use the spiritual intelligence (and not fleeing). It is so interesting to talk with people about this and trying to find out how to access this spiritual intelligence in order to change our lives in a positive way.
SL: You wrote about “The voice of your heart”. How can you hear that voice?
Tijn: I consciously connect with my heart and focus my attention on this area and a good way to really feel my heart is to ask myself a question and become quiet and patiently wait for an answer. I use this technique quite often when I don’t know how to deal with a situation. The answer often comes to me quite quick. It usually isn’t a rational answer or an answer I have to think about. You could call it intuition – emotional intelligence.
SL: You are trained and experienced in this field, but what if someone who doesn’t have any experience would like to try this. How could they do that? Do you have a tip for them?
Tijn: A good indicator for me personally is to feel if any tension is entering my system. When my heart speaks it will lead to relaxation and a feeling of expansion and happiness. When my mind speaks, I notice tension, cramped shoulders or neck or I become fearful. Those are signals which tell me I have to start listening to my heart again. That’s my indicator.
SL: What does Love mean to you?
Tijn: [sighs] That’s a big question. The way I experience and feel love is related to safety, security and being myself at every level. Being myself in my body and when together with others. But I experience the deepest feeling of security when I feel connected with the Creator, the Source. When this connection has been made, all the other levels, like feeling unloved, feeling insecure and not feeling accepted automatically resolve themselves and I feel at peace in the world at large.
So Love for me is directly related to feeling safe and being accepted. Every person has a deep need to feel recognized and I think that is related to love. Maybe it IS love that you recognize each other at the deepest level and that you are loved by the Creator at the highest level. This is the total fulfillment [Tijn has now a big smile on his face].
SL: You also quoted Oscar Wilde’s words “Most people are other people”. What did he mean by that?
Tijn: Yes, I love this quote because we are so conditioned that we might think we are very original and that we all have our own, unique thoughts. My experience however is that when you detach yourself from your ego, 95% of what happens there is conditioning.
So what your parents taught you, what the culture has taught you, what your idea is about God, what life is all about, who you are, the reason why we are here, these are all myths and you simply accept them as your reality. It’s actually quite scary how little sparkling originality is left in us. So most people are not as original as they think they are.
Originality is mostly related to your own consciousness and when you can watch your ego and all of your conditioning, it is sometimes quite fun to get lost in a story and get carried away by the sentiment, but it makes it really fun when you also know how to step back from it. You will be able to realize this when you connect back to your authentic self which is not another person.
There’s is beautiful poem, written by the Dutch comedian Toon Hermans. I will translate it freely for you:
What do you want to become when you’re older
asked the teacher,
it was in the third grade,
I looked at her and didn’t know
I thought I already was something.
We often forget that there’s no need to become something or somebody, since we are already something. That’s why being enlightened is so simple – you are already that. We’re always busy to become something while we forget that we are already everything.
It is of course smart to develop yourself, but with the knowledge that you are already perfect and beautiful the way you are, you know that you found the right balance for yourself.
Thank you Tijn, it was such a pleasure talking with you. You are truly our Super Soul.
For more information, please visit: www.citiesoflight.org or his Dutch website www.kristijn.com
INTERVIEW BY: DIRK TERPSTRA – SOUL LOVE FOUNDER
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