My Love. Faith & Jnana.

ramana-maharshi face
Sri Ramana Maharshi

Perfection of Faith in God/Guru/Self is the same as Jnana (spiritual ‘knowledge’ or ‘enlightenment’).

You could say that one leads to another – faith and surrender leads to knowledge, or knowledge leads to surrender and faith – and these are both true on one level, but ultimately they are one and the same – where is the difference apart from on the conceptual level?

For me Faith in the Guru, my Beloved, Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, overcame me quite spontaneously, without my asking, and clinging to Him and Faith in his Word and dwelling in His Presence became the Way and the Law and my Self.

For me, whilst I like to learn a bit about Ramana’s life and I enjoy reading his teachings, gazing at His Image and feeling His Presence has often been more powerful than all the written teachings and all my efforts put together.

Someone recently approached me at the end of one of my Satsangs/meetings and asked me which book would I recommend as being the best one to understand Ramana’s teachings. I told him that Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi and Be As You Are are two wonderful books, but when you open the book, the most important page is the one which has a photograph of Ramana on it (most of Ramana’s books contain a photograph of him in the first few pages).

Instead of reading all the teachings and trying to figure it all out, just look at His Image, feel His Presence!

We can read and listen to the teachings as much as we like, but I have found there is power in something else, something intangible – the Guru’s grace, the eyes of the Guru, His Divine Grace…

So, cling to the Guru, cling to His Teachings. For me, that means Sri Ramana Maharshi. If it suits you, if you are drawn to Him, Ramana, take Him up as your Guru. Look at His Image, give yourself to Him, if it feels right for you. Of if you have another Guru/God you are drawn to, do the same with him/her. Or if you cannot relate to a Guru or God, try relating to Life or the Universe or Universal Energy or something similar. See what happens and feel free to let me know too!

Ramana said that life often brings us to have faith in God, then God brings us a Guru, and the Guru then directs us back to our Self and we realise all is One. Of course, we do not really realise, rather the ‘we’ or the ‘me’ that is seeking Union disappears or ‘merges into Him’. There was only ever Him/Self/Guru/God/Oneness…use any word that suits you.

Ramana also said that if we are lucky enough to be blessed with faith in something, that is a blessing to us and we should seize that faith and lean on it with loving devotion, and not to allow it to wither away.

So I encourage you to look at His Image, surrender to Him, and let me know how it goes!

‘Perfection of Faith in God/Guru/Self is the same as Jnana’

With love and best wishes

Tom

🙏🙏🙏

Q. Are there different levels of Moksha (Liberation) or Realisation? If so, how many are there?

Tom: Is there even such a thing as Moksha? Even to speak of Moksha is more ignorance, as it implies some entity that can be liberated, or something to be liberated from.

However…In more conventional terms we could say there are no levels of Moksha (as there is only Moksha), but there are various levels of ignorance. So all apparent levels of realisation appear in maya/are illusory/are based in ignorance.

Gaudapada in his commentary of the Mandukya Upanishad hints at this: see the first 2 verses I quote from him here together with my commentary: Advaita Vedanta: Gaudapada’s Method

There are various stages that the seeker tends to go through, however, see this link for more: Q. What are the stages of awakening?

There are also different types of Moksha, apparently (meaning from the point of view of ignorance), such as jivanmukti and videhamukti and numerous other classifications in the scriptures. But in essence we don’t have to worry about these as this is just more book knowledge. The scriptures and sages (such as Ramana) remind us that this is really more ignorance for the mind. Instead, keep it simple and just keep on with your basic Sadhana:

1. Be still (raja yoga)

2. Know who you are (jnana yoga)

3. Adore your God-Guru-Self (bhakti yoga)

4. Give thanks for all that comes your way (karma yoga)

Note – all of the above leads to a peaceful open indestructible stillness (Mouna or Atman/Brahman)

5. Dissolve into Divine Love (Moksha/Advaita/Bhakti/Jnana)

🙂

😡🤬 WHEN EMOTIONALLY TRIGGERED 😳😤

1. It’s best not to believe your thoughts when you are feeling sad/angry/emotional and also best not to talk or act or make decisions from this place.

2. Instead, find yourself a safe space where you can safely allow yourself to open up to the emotion.

3. Allow yourself to feel, fully feel, and allow emotion to flow through you. You may initially feel more angry, more sad, you may cry or scream, your body may contort or writhe, you may act out like a child, but this will pass.

4. Know that you are not the limited body-mind. You are transparent ever-present consciousness which nothing can touch or harm.

5. Give your emotions and feelings a voice. Allow them to speak, don’t hold back and feel free to use expletives… eg. ‘He/she/I/the system is such a fucking idiot…why does he/she/I have to act like such a fucking idiot?….why can’t he/she be more like x/y/z?…I am so pissed off…I am so fucking angry…I fucking hate you….I am feeling really hurt…I don’t want to be hurt….I feel so small…you make me feel so small…you are such a fucking idiot….there is so much pain…why is there so much pain?…I just want to be loved….why me?…why is my life like this?…I wish it wasn’t this way…this is too difficult…it shouldn’t be like this…it shouldn’t be so difficult….I don’t want to be here any more…I can’t do this any more….I just want peace….I do want to be here but I want the pain to stop…I want the pain to stop….I just want to be loved….woe is me…..I feel so hurt…I just feel so hurt….I… just… feel… so… so… hurt…’ etc, etc.

6. Don’t act on any of these thoughts, don’t take them seriously, allow them to be expressed and FELT and allow them to pass.

If at any time you feel unsafe or you feel you are compelled to act on your thoughts/feelings, then stop the process – see the warning/disclaimer below.

Eventually all of this passes and Peace is revealed. In this way emotions are healed, they are released and set free.

The more you have suppressed or avoided your feelings (as most of us have, unconsciously for the most part), the longer this will take, the harder it will be, and the more this process will need to be repeated.

The more loving and safer the environment is in which the above process the occurs, the safer you feel, the deeper and more effective the process will be.

Throughout the above, know that you are not the limited body-mind. You are transparent ever-present consciousness which nothing can touch or harm. Your nature is Peace. No emotions or feelings can harm you. You are one with all, everything is really just this Peace that you are.

When the emotion clears, our thoughts and judgement are often very different…so when your emotions are triggered, remember, don’t act or make decisions from this place.

Stop, relax, allow yourself to feel, fully feel, know no emotions/feeling can harm you and allow them to flow straight through you like coloured light through a transparent piece of glass. Imagine yourself to be transparent if that helps. The multi-coloured emotional light will eventually clear so only bright white light remains, and your Innate Natural Brilliance is re-revealed.

In reality there is only ever this Brilliant White Light, which is What You Are and always have been.

Ps. you may have noticed that the example thoughts I gave actually form a progression from blame to anger/resentment to hurt then to self-pity and despair and then back again to hurt…again and again we come to be in touch with the underlying hurt or pain that we have sought to avoid, and it is here that the healing really takes place 

Warning and disclaimer: This post does not constitute or replace medical advice and does not replace the need for professional therapy and treatment. If you have had deep emotional trauma or if you have certain mental health issues, the feelings and sensations that may come up may be too overwhelming for you to do this above process alone, at least initially, and this process could even be harmful for you by unlocking deep emotions and sensations that you are unable to deal with by yourself. In this instance my advice is to seek professional help as there are many ways of safely being guided to heal trauma and resolve mental health issues. If you do not feel comfortable with the above process, again, seek professional guidance. It is important that you feel confident and safe throughout the above process as your safety is paramount. 🙏

Can psychoactive drugs and entheogens such as Ayahuasca be of use for spiritual awakening?

Questioner: Hi Tom: is “dealing with” a negative emotion the same as “letting go?”

Tom: It means to resolve the emotional issue, if there is one, at the root so that it does not resurface needlessly and cause suffering

Questioner: do you recommend taking Ayahuasca with a shaman to see where these suppressions may lie?

Tom: No, there are more reliable and less potentially adverse ways as far as I can tell.

Questioner: Is Atma Vichara (Self-Enquiry) the answer or just part of that discovery of suppressions?

Tom: Atma Vichara is the answer, but it must be correctly understood

Questioner: That makes sense to me. Thank you! I will continue my practice with fervor

Questioner 2: Tom, whats your experience with plant medicine and entheogens? If its none, then unfortunately there is nothing you can bring to the table regarding such.

Tom: I am open to psychoactive drugs playing a role in the awakening process for some people (they clearly have played a role for many people), but I am nowhere near convinced enough of their need in the awakening process to actually RECOMMEND them, which was the specific question that was put to me.

As far as I can see, there are many other simpler, cheaper, safer, more reliable and more natural methods available that may not be so dramatic in their effects – often the results are more subtle – but have more lasting effects in the long term and are more reliable in transmitting a realisation that actually ends suffering. Of course this may not be true for everyone.

And this is just my personal experience of these substances in the seekers I meet. I fully admit this view may be based on lack of knowledge and expertise on my part and also the selection bias from the group of people that come to my meetings (as these people are presumably resonating with what I share).

I have seen a few negative health effects of such drugs too, so they are not without some physical and mental health risk, and I have seen that they can also foster attachment to and seeking of experiences such as ‘spiritual highs’ and while this can lead to openings, it often also reinforces and perpetuates of a sense of egoic self. Of course, this is not always the case.

At the end of the day, we each have our own unique path, and my hope is to be able to encourage, support and guide those who come my way whether or not they chose to take psychoactive drugs. If asked, I never recommend these drugs for the above reasons, but luckily people are free to chose for themselves, relatively speaking.

Thank you for your comment and contribution to this discussion! Namaste!

Spiritual, Emotional & Non-Dual Guidance & Counselling

Tom is the only one [teacher] I’ve seen who doesn’t come from his point of view, he always comes directly from the silence and meets the seeker exactly where they’re at. If they need a practice, he has it, if they already have one but are stuck he knows how to move them, if they’re just beginning he knows how to guide them…it’s wonderful to see.
Danny, UK

To arrange a 1 to 1 session with me please contact me via the contact page.

I offer 1 to 1 sessions either in person or via zoom. These sessions can be a wonderful way of clearing apparent blocks and confusion and can provide a much needed short-cut on your spiritual journey.

My Approach

I meet you wherever you are in your journey and guide you from there – whether you’re completely new to this or are a seasoned seeker, whether you want to focus purely on non-duality or instead want to heal emotional issues, deal with practical aspects of life or explore relationship issues.

Even if you don’t have a specific question or issue in mind, I often find I can intuitively feel where you are and advise you accordingly.

Guidance

Here are just some of the many things I have helped guide those who have approached me:

  • Total Freedom – right here, right now!
  • Clarity around the teachings with a focus on ending suffering in daily life
  • Awakening & enlightenment experiences: making sense of what may have happened to you and where to go from this
  • Going ‘in and out’ of enlightenment – why this is happening for you and what to do about it
  • Reconciling various traditional approaches such as Buddhism, Christianity, Gnosticism, Zen, Advaita, Vedanta as well as non-traditional approaches such as law of attraction, new-age teachings, direct teachings, neo-advaita, etc.
  • Dealing with practical issues such as various aspects of daily life and earning money
  • Relationship issues eg. with partners, family and children
  • Not really feeling happy, peaceful, whole & complete despite intellectually understanding the teachings
  • Healing emotional trauma and distress
  • Resolving addictive or habitual egoic tendencies (vasanas)
  • Addressing various issues related to being a ‘spiritual seeker’, eg:
    • a sense of isolation or loneliness
    • loss of interest or passion for various pursuits
    • other more specific issues such as psychic and energetic experiences.

Cost

Cost for an online 1 to 1 session: £75 for 1 hour; £50 for 30 minutes
Cost for in-person 1 to 1 meeting (in the London area, UK): £100 for 1 hour

To arrange a 1 to 1 session with me please contact me via the contact page

Disclaimer

Meetings and sessions are not intended as a substitute for professional therapy, medical care, or legal advice. Please consult a licensed professional in these matters.

Testimonials

Tom is the easiest person to talk to and he gave me the support I needed.
Outi, Finland

Tom’s teaching is unique. His guidance is a non-dual lighthouse emitting a bright light-beam across life’s turbulent expanse to steer the seeker from crashing on the rocks of ignorance, misunderstanding and delusion, to reach the shore of Timeless Being.
His gift is discerning where the individual seeker is at and what is required specifically for that ‘individual’ to support them in their thirst for freedom from suffering. His maturity, as a guide, is evident in how he can appreciate the wisdom teachings, the ‘treasure in the field’,  in traditions not generally associated with non-duality.
This breadth of understanding sets him apart from the smorgasbord of spiritual snake-oil merchants, pedlars, ‘evangelical’ non-dual purists and genuine teachers which, in practical terms, allows a welcoming and genuine spirit of inclusivity for anyone attending his satsangs.
Gerry, UK

I find Tom’s teachings clearer, simpler, and less encumbered by BS than just about anyone out there whom I have encountered. I’ve had teachers from Alan Watts to Adi Da, to Andrew Cohen, and others. Tom has the least ‘baggage’ I think…
Your words always affect me like a clear, clean breath of fresh air in the midst of what is often a lot of misconception and gobbledygook about what there is to ‘attain’ and all the rest of it.
Carl, USA

I chanced upon Tom’s website at a very interesting time in my journey. I had studied traditional Vedanta for many years. I had some good understanding about the concepts and was doing some serious self inquiry or Atma Vichara. That’s when I started tying myself into all sorts of knots. I wasted a lot of time confused by concepts and was in a very frustrated place until I spoke to Tom.
I believe things happen for a reason and you meet the right people at the right time in the journey. Within a couple of sessions, Tom was able to help me unravel some of these knots. As the layers started peeling off and more layers and depth opened up the journey started taking a different shape. Throughout this, Tom was able to ask just the right question and clarified many concepts that would have otherwise taken a life of their own.
I found his teaching style refreshingly down to earth and humble and since he was able to speak from his direct experience, it made everything so real and relatable.
Arvind, India

Click here to read more testimonials

No need to force our views onto others

No need to force our views onto others. What is right for us in a certain time or place may not be right for someone else. We each have our own unique path to the Divine. Of course we should share Our Truth when it feels right for us to do so, but it is good to remain humble, uncertain in our verbal pronouncements, open to alternative views and ways and self-effacing throughout…at least that is my view! 🙏

Best wishes and blessings to you all

With love

Tom

Q. Some teachers (eg. Bentinho Massaro, Anadi, Adi Da Samraj) claim to have surpassed the traditional notion of enlightenment and say co-creation is the next evolutionary step…any thoughts?

Questioner: How does this relate to the stream of Spirituality that says we are co-creators of reality & thus can manifest what we wish?

What of Anadi who says he has gone beyond traditional Realizers including Nisargadatta Maharaj (who has Realized the Absolute but only in one axis), & who criticizes the “no doership” of traditional spiritual teaching as only for the mediocre masses of spiritual aspirants & that co- creatorship goes beyond the “no doer” teaching…

Bentinho Massaro, who also claims to be in never before Realization territory, also says co-creation is the evolutionary next step beyond the mere non-resistant acceptance of what is…if Anadi & Bentinho are onto something in this, what of all the Buddhist monk humorous memes of “don’t worry, nothing is in your control”, will they become passé?

Opinions?

Tom: Hi _____, in response to your first question (re co-creators, etc), what I share and traditional spirituality is not in opposition to this. In fact this notion of co-creation and what is now often called the Law of Attraction is present throughout the Vedic tradition.

Regarding your second point, there have always been those who claim to be special and advanced in some way, and the scriptures comment on these stating this is a false view which is essentially egoic and about spiritual attainment for a separate individual (even if this is an expanded notion of individuality).

There is no enlightened individual – you could say there is only enlightenment, but no separate person who is enlightened. Enlightenment itself is an illusion, a part of the dream of an ego that is trying to find security and happiness.

To put it differently, you are already That, fully, or as the scriptures state ‘Tat Tvam Asi’.

The scriptures are powerful as they are not the work of any single individual, but their truth has been verified by many people over many centuries and in different places, rather like the body of scientific knowledge.

Another way of looking into this is not to listen to me or anyone else but to allow your mind to become quiet and still and ask this question to yourself and allow your inner wisdom to give you the answer. You will see, I hope, that emphasis on a separate (albeit expanded) notion of an enlightened individual with a special super-realisation is essentially egoic and based on greed, ego-inflation, a thirst for pleasure and thirst for experience and accumulation rather than the love, peace, humility, egolessness and simplicity that shine forth from genuine teachings.

You will see, I hope, that while this kind of spirituality seems attractive, it is still within the confines of Separation, Ego and Samsara. This means suffering is still very much present and it is this suffering that motivates the thirst for better more pleasurable experiences and further fuels the ego, perpetuating it. This thirst prevents The Simple and The Ever-Present Divine from being Realised, and so also prevents suffering from ending, and it is the end of suffering that we are really looking for, not special experiences or special powers.

One traditional text that in particular goes into this topic and illustrates with many wonderful stories how this is a wrong path is the wonderful Yoga Vasistha. The Buddhist scriptures also talk about this topic too – as I said, this kind of notion of a supremely special enlightened person with a focus on their special powers (co-creation, for example) is not new, and is often very attractive to naive spiritual seekers who are innocently and earnestly just trying to find a way to end their suffering.

I should add that I am not commenting directly on the teachers you mention as I am not very familiar with them, but I am just responding to what you describe in your question.

Questioner: take a look… Google Anadi & Betinho Massaro…these aren’t at all lightweights to be dismissed…your quick criticisms of them is a bit facile… I sure they’re very familiar with your views as they are classic ones,…these guys are way beyond the Realization space normally referred by yourself & others…

In fact Adi Da Samraj commented on the classical Realizers & while in appreciation of them, explains that they are 6th stage Realizers which formerly was felt to be the ultimate Realization but that the 7th level that he demonstrated wasn’t an additional stage as a progressive evolution but an entirely new stage beyond the traditional “path of return” spoken of in the classic literature…

I would like to see you learn more about & thus engage a more profound consideration of these heavyweights, Spiritual geniuses…to have the view that there is nowhere to go from the classic descriptions is untenable…even Ken Wilber, the “Einstein of comparative spirituality” declares that new spaces of Awakening are evolving & that classic Realizers were great but certain depths just weren’t available to them. Let’s get up on this!

Tom: I find what you write very interesting…however in general this kind of stuff doesn’t really interest me to be honest – not that you or anyone else shouldn’t be interested. I was primarily interested in ending suffering, nothing more, and whilst I have actually explored lots of the other ‘fancy stuff’ too, such as psychic powers/siddhis and co-creation, etc, I don’t tend to talk about it much as it’s actually not that relevant to ending suffering in my view, which is where the focus of my sharing lies, and what I think most people are actually looking for when they are looking for stage 8 or stage 9 or stage 100 of enlightenment, etc, etc.

You state that ‘these guys are way beyond the Realisation space…etc’, but I would posit that this is faith on your part – how do you know this is true? Perhaps the entire paradigm is baloney? Are you open to this also being wrong? And you refer to ‘heavyweights’ – again, that is your view, which is fine with me.

I’m sure there is much I do not know, like there are many languages that I do not know how to speak and many things I have not experienced, but that’s ok! I don’t need a better supercharged enlightenment, so to speak, and I would suggest that neither do you! Hope that makes sense, thanks.

Questioner: I’m certainly open to being wrong…after all isn’t it far more exciting to find the truth rather than the mediocre thrill of being right?

Tom: yes, same with me 🙂 Well do keep in touch, I’d be interested in hearing from you as to how your journey is going and happy to learn from you too 🙏🙏🙏

Nonduality: doership, attachment and the world

Remove the notions of:

(1) doership (ie. the belief that I am the thinker and doer)
(2) attachment to outcomes and
(3) the belief that the world (ie. body, mind and world) is real…

…what’s left?

Note that (1) and (2) are implicit in (3) but are elucidated to make the teachings clearer.

Also note that (1) and (2) together could be called the ego, so this could be alternatively phrased as ‘remove the notions of the ego being real and the world being real’.