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Friends John de Ruiter

Every week, people ask John de Ruiter questions about spirituality, identity, connection, and how to cope with our increasingly complex and stressful lives.

It’s easy enough to see the continued impact of the global pandemic on our lives.

We have overwhelming amounts of new information every day, most of it about case numbers or death rates or forecasts about when we can return to something resembling normalcy. After 18 months of social isolation and geopolitical turmoil, it’s not hard to draw a connection between vaccine rollouts and economic rebounds.

Less abundant is information about our psychological and emotional health. How long does it take to heal from everything that’s happened? What can we do to reconnect with ourselves and others?

Those are some of the questions that Edmonton author and teacher John de Ruiter is trying to answer.

Every week, people from all over Canada — and sometimes around the world — join Zoom meetings to ask John de Ruiter questions about spirituality, identity, connection, and how to cope with our increasingly complex and stressful lives.

At Edmonton’s College of Integrated Philosophy, founded by John de Ruiter in 2005, weekly in-person meetings became a source of community for hundreds of people, who came to discuss big ideas with de Ruiter and each other.

When pandemic restrictions ended those weekly gatherings, John de Ruiter transitioned online with Zoom, and has experienced a growing audience ever since.

As an author and “spiritual pioneer,” as his website calls him, de Ruiter made himself available long before the pandemic, fostering dialogue with others through careful responses to thoughtful questions, often with a slowness and silence that serves as a stark contrast to our fast-paced and stressful world.

That contrast becomes even more apparent in de Ruiter’s recent meetings, in which attendees often reach out to him about significant life events, and how they can grow amidst so much chaos.

That was clearly evident in this exchange on November 15, 2020:

Q: So much love. There could be questions, having turned 80, both my brothers dying close to each other. Something new keeps wanting to be born and coming home. I want to stop all those words. My heart feels so — just being right now.

John de Ruiter: What’s wanting to be born, as you say it, is your heart in the midst of your self and the world, no longer being conditioned by your self, your sense of self and the world, that your heart is conditioned only by what you really are. Your heart, conditioned by the quietude of love.

Although meetings with de Ruiter usually explore deeper spiritual topics like knowing what we really are and embracing what de Ruiter calls “core-splitting honesty,” they have also become a venue for conversations about parenting, relationships and the coping mechanisms so many of us have used during the pandemic.

Also on November 15, 2020, another person asked about his “addiction” to trading stocks, and how to grow out of it.

Q: I’m addicted, I have to buy shares every working day – sometimes 10 trades per day. I’m not sure why I do it. I have a teaching job, I’ve got a girlfriend, but I’m not sure why I do it, why I do this. Maybe I do it to get rich in a short time which doesn’t work. Maybe I do it to distract myself from my childhood. Can you look at what’s going on and tell me to get out of this addiction. Been doing it for years. Long time.

John de Ruiter: The whole orientation of want and need, likes and dislikes, anywhere in your heart and in your life, separates you from what you really are.

The way for your core beliefs to dissolve isn’t by you addressing them, they don’t dissolve by you working on your self or working on your life, your core beliefs dissolve by you nurturingly believing only what you directly know the truth of. The departure from the truth within is what establishes your core beliefs. Your return to being the quietude of the truth within is your only way to the truth within. It’s your only way to the real you.

While there’s no doubt that the pandemic has resulted in widespread social isolation, dialogues like these show that people all over the world are feeling a desire to reconnect with themselves and their loved ones.

Technological innovation has resulted in new levels of convenience for our daily lives, but the ability of technology to improve our spiritual and emotional selves has developed more slowly.

As teachers like John de Ruiter embrace these new possibilities for connection at a distance — creating new ways of healing — it becomes easier to reconnect with the deeper meaning in life.

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