Zen in the Polder
"Spirituality in the Dutch Polderlandscape"
Film by Bertus and Marco Mulder
Producer Bertus Mulder
Languages: Netherlands, German. English,Spanish
Cirac. 38 min.
ZEN IN THE POLDER - Bertus Mulder
The main thread of Zen in the Polder consists of my interpretation of human existence as set against the religious upbringing of which I have managed to free myself with coming of age, when finally God made way for the All, the Universe or the Cosmos. I now realize that the Universe is our Source and Destiny, and that life is but a slight rippling of it. The ultimate achievement in this life is the optimal unfolding of consciousness, through which my humanity and my life reach fruition. What happens to consciousness after life, nobody knows.
Years of Zen practice have helped me become who I am today. Through the practice I have come to meet my deepest self, and, by turning inward, have learned to experience how external influences tend to alienate me from my inner self. Meditation, the turning inward, gradually familiarizes us with the deeper layers of our consciousness. In order to do it, one has to be free – empty of circumstantial interference. The setting may be an indoor space where external everyday influences are shut out, but the Dutch polder is just as suitable: a landscape of our own making that reflects who we are, individually and as a people, made for practical reasons, straightforward and geometrically precise.
We can identify with this landscape and feel free in it – free to turn inward and clear our minds.
It is the landscape that attracted Descartes from France because it allowed him to think clearly, that inspired Spinoza to replace the notion of God by Nature in the Ethica, that offered Vermeer the light that enchants us in Het Melkmeisje, that had Mondrian reduce rows of trees to geometrical elements with which to express universal harmony, and that inspired countless poets such as Hendrik Marsman in Thinking of Holland. It is the landscape that permeates the spatial constructions of Rietveld to such a degree that we can actually experience the cosmic dimension when we enter them.
Through its vastness, its deep perspectives, and the continuous presence of the horizon, the landscape opens up to the Universe, to the Cosmos.
Strolling or cycling through it gives birth to the rhythm that leads me to contemplation deep within.