Tom Das – the value of emotional work (recent quotes from my Facebook page)

Here are some of my recent posts from Facebook page relating to the value of emotional/psychological work (my account is http://www.facebook.com/tomdas.nd)


I think there is a relationship between self-development and realisation of freedom, although they are certainly not the same thing.

Developing a peaceful, happy and emotionally intelligent mind can aid realisation. It is also often a side effect of realisation.

Far from being new age gibberish, this is the received wisdom of most genuine traditions aiming at liberation


When I first started teaching I tended towards just direct pointing. I quickly realised there are a whole host of reasons why people were not getting it, or if they were ‘getting it’, they quickly ‘lost it’.

I began to understand the value of emotional work, of heart opening, of regular spiritual practices, of becoming more sattvic – ie. the value of the progressive path (as well as the negatives too, eg. the reinforcement of a sense of doership/ego).

Remember that consciousness/awareness, if you want to use that concept, doesn’t need any teachings. Freedom is already here, totally and completely. It is only the mind that needs teachings.

A relatively uncluttered mind in need of little emotional work may respond to direct pointing, whereas sometimes some decluttering needs to occur first.


The basic point is not to suppress/run away from/escape from emotions and feelings, but to allow them to come and go, and to understand any underlying false assumptions that may be present and fueling them.


Meet your emotions with light and love


Basically, there is usefulness and skill in feeling emotions without labels, but there is also a usefulness in labelling feelings too.

Both these skills contribute towards emotional intelligence and healing, none of which is necessarily required for Freedom to be realised, but which is useful nonetheless

If emotions are not deeply felt, there is risk of emotional bypassing.
Emotional work may need to be done either prior to or after awakening, otherwise unnecessary suffering and destructive tendencies will continue on a relative level with the body-mind in question.

We need to learn to feel without labelling feelings, so we can genuinely contact our emotional reality.

We also need to be able to accurately label our feelings and understand what we are feeling and why.

We also need to see how all feelings come and go and do not define us.

Freedom is already present.


Emotional intelligence is a useful skill for the body-mind, both prior to and following realisation of freedom.

Awareness needs no teachings, only the body-mind caught in ignorance needs these corrective teachings.


These teachings are only for those who take themselves to be a doer-entity. If that is seen through, then the teachings are unnecessary.

Having said that, emotional intelligence is a useful skill for the body-mind regardless of whether Freedom has been realised or not.


Even when the doer-entiry is seen to be non-existent, old emotional patterns of responding may still persist due to their past momentum/habit.


afraid-of-a-sensation


Livestream interview with Tom Das at Buddha at the Gas Pump 23rd July 2016

In case anyone wants to hear me talking about this stuff…I’m going to be interviewed LIVE on Buddha at the Gas Pump.

It will take place and be livestreamed on Sat 23rd July 11.30am US central time (5.30pm UK time). Click below for how to watch the livestream

Upcoming Interviews

The Drama

Here’s an article I wrote for naturalhealthstar.com about the stories we tell and how to deal with ‘drama’:

www.naturalhealthstar.com/general-wellness/the-drama/

[Update: the above link no longer works so I have posted the article in full below:]

I remember a great piece of advice a friend gave to me: “Drama” she said “Don’t go there. Just don’t go there. Always stay out of the drama!”.

And it was good advice. Another word that could have been used instead of drama is the word story. It’s easy to get caught up in someone else’s story or narrative. We often tell each other stories: in our interpersonal relationship, in the workplace and in the media where it is often exaggerated as spin. I’ve seen so many relationship issues that are caused by the stories people tell about each other. There is the story of blame, the how could she/he do that to me story. There is the you are a bad person story. There is the I am a bad person story, the nobody could like/love me story and the once I get promoted I’ll be happy story. Of course you could replace promoted with a few hundred other things. There is the story of victimhood , the story of perpetration, and the story of being a helper or rescuer.  I could go on.

Now, that is not to say that there are never perpetrators or victims, or that people are never to blame. There clearly are victims sometimes and sometimes people are incompetent and need to be held responsible for their actions. But being a victim, for example, is different to the drama or story of victimhood. These stories we so often tell ourselves and each other serve no useful purpose, but we can sometimes feel a sense of strength and certainty when we cling to them.

Who would we be without those stories? Would people walk all over me? Would anyone pay any attention to me? Would anyone love me?

Are any of these stories true? If so, where is the evidence, and if there evidence then is this evidence just another story? (Maybe it isn’t a story – only you know the correct answers to these questions)

So let me ask you: who would you be without your stories? Can you spot the times that you enter into other people stories about you and, for example, start to defend yourself? What stories do you tell about other people? What stories do you have about yourself?

Transforming pleasure into joy

Please click here to read my second article for naturalhealthstar.com. It’s called ‘Transforming pleasure into joy’.

[Update – the above link no longer works so I have posted the article below in full; the first article called ‘The Two types of Happiness’ can be read here.]

In a previous article I wrote about joy as opposed to pleasure. Joy, as I defined it, is a natural feeling of warmth and connectedness we feel when we are with someone we love, when we are doing something we love, or when we are with nature. Pleasure on the other hand, I defined as being to do with acquisition, such as acquiring possessions, or even more subtle ‘objects’ such as acquiring pride, power, sex, certain experiences or respect.

With joy, our sense of self or ego is dimished and so we feel whole. The barrier and resistance of the ego is lessened allowing joy to emerge. With pleasure our sense of self is reinforced and strengthened, and whilst this feels initially positive, it is actually trying to cover up a deeper sense of lack or emptiness and it ultimately destructive and self-isolating. Pleasure becomes addictive whilst joy is deeply soothing.

It’s worth pointing out that in different situations joy goes by different names. When we feel joy whilst looking at a piece of art or listening to music we call it Beauty. When we are with someone we call it Love. When it is through our work we call it Service or Vocation. It is all Joy. It is all Love. These all happen when the sense of self is no longer at play.

So if you want to explore this further I suggest the first thing to do is to simply notice this. Not change it, but just gently notice it. Notice what pleasure feels like, notice how it comes about, notice your thoughts, notice how your body feels, notice the circumstances that gave rise to it, notice how you feel afterwards – you get the idea. The same with joy. Don’t accept my descriptions, but discover for yourself what these two types of experience are like.

The tendency when hearing a teaching like this is to shun pleasure and try to do more joyous things. Whilst this is on the one hand commendable, I would also advise caution. The very desire to maximise joy is actually the same drive for pleasure only in a different guise. Now joy has become an object to be acquired, and this acquisitive desire is the characteristic of pleasure. If you have spent time exploring what joy and pleasure actually feel like in your body you will get an immediate sense of this. So in trying to seek joy, the naturalness of joy is transformed into seeking pleasure. Notice how subtle this is.

On the other hand, if you don’t try to seek or repress pleasure, and instead just look at it, just being with the feeling is actually a form of love, self-love. We can love ourselves, embrace ourselves and not judge or chastise ourselves for seeking pleasure. We can embrace and be with our pleasure seeking. We can accept ourselves for who we are right now, just as we may accept a child or pet animal who is playing up. We are no longer trying to acquire something, we are no longer trying to be joyous. We are also no longer judging ourselves as being good or bad. Instead we are loving ourselves as we are, we are being tender with ourselves and our emotions, and in doing so we transform pleasure into Joy.

Experiment with this if you want, and let me know how it goes.

Love and blessings to you

Two types of Happiness: Joy and Pleasure

I was invited to contribute a few articles for naturalhealthstar.com. The first one was published today and is on the two types of happiness, which I have called Joy and pleasure.

If you are interested please click here to read more.

[Update: the above link no longer works so I have reproduced the article below:]

Imagine strolling barefoot along a sandy tropical beach watching the sunset. Can you imagine what it feels like? Now imagine winning the lottery, and what that feels like. These two scenarios, whilst both pleasant, feel different don’t they? Take a few moments to feel both these imaginary scenarios in turn and get a sense for how they each feel.

For me with the sunset the feeling is more peaceful, connected, warm and gentle. With the lottery there is more excitement at the sense of gain. If you explore your feelings and sensations further, you can see that with the sunset the sense of self is diminished, perhaps even absent, and in its place is a sense of wholeness or connectedness. With the lottery the sense of self is reinforced and strengthened.

Here’s another example: imagine how it feels to interact with a young child, perhaps one you know, laughing and playing with them. Now contrast this with a situation when someone respected you or admired you and how that felt. You could take it one step further perhaps and remember how it felt when you were in a position of power over someone, when you were in control. Again, whilst these feelings are probably all positive feelings, interacting with a child is gentler and there is more of a sense of connection. When you are being respected or dominating someone there is a sense of self-aggrandisement.

So why am I pointing out this distinction? Because genuine fulfillment always comes when the sense of self lessens. I call this Joy. When this happens we feel more at ease, more connected, gentler and more loving. It is how we feel when we are with our loved ones, when we are following our hearts desire and when we are with nature. It is  a completely natural unlearnt emotion. We feel it more with the heart and abdomen – this may sound strange, but look for yourself where you feel the emotion in your body.

The positive feelings that come from self-reinforcement on the other hand are relatively short lived and actually fuel a sense of emptiness or lack that keeps us unfulfilled. I call this pleasure. We feel it more in the mind. It is ego-based, driven by a sense of lack, and something that has to be taught to us. We have to be conditioned through our society and upbringing to value social status, good grades, cheap-thrills and domination over others.

So, reflect on your life. How much time is spent chasing pleasures and thrills, and how much time is spent experiencing Joy? Pleasure comes though acquisition. Acquiring things, titles, sensations and experiences. It is essentially addictive in nature and leads to more suffering. Joy comes through letting go, through being with something, through playing, and through giving and service. It is a natural expression of who we really are deep down.

What are the health benefits of yoga really?

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As someone who has practiced yoga since being a young child, I would highly recommend it. There are so many benefits – even a relatively superficial physical practice can be transformative.

However I do get tired of reading about the endless benefits of yoga as a cure-all for everything from cancer to haemorrhoids.

Continue reading

Spirituality and science have common aims

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It just so happens that in the so-called ‘West’ there has been a rapid development of science in the last few centuries. If we want to understand how things work, if we want to develop technologies and medicine, we turn to ‘Western’ science.

Also, it just so happens that when it comes to introspection and exploration of subjective inner states of consciousness, the so-called ‘East’ has had the historical monopoly. There have been a few thousand years of rigorous exploration of consciousness through meditative, contemplative, tantric and various other practices. This has allowed humans to discover and access mental states in which truths about our minds and subjective experience can be discovered and experienced first-hand without the need for belief. Continue reading

A meditation: how to transcend the ego in 4 steps

girl meditating

Meditation is healing and nourishing. It is like hitting the reset button, allowing us to recharge and connect with ourselves and with life. The essence of meditation is to be silent. Why? Because in that silence the everyday activities of thought are allowed to subside. We are then able to come into contact directly with life, with what is. The distorting filter of the thought-based ego is no longer in the way. Continue reading