Are you getting tangled up in spiritual concepts? The Law of Attraction, emotions and Advaita/ Non-duality. How to use writing as a means to aid Self enquiry.
Tom explores how easy it is for us to get tangled up in spiritual concepts. If this happens, he suggests that we throw all concepts out and explore our thoughts and feelings by writing about them. Each time we find an answer, we dig deeper by asking ourselves why we feel/think that way.
This video was recorded live during a Satsang meeting with Tom Das and put together by volunteers.
Q. Isn’t it unhealthy and inhumane to turn away from the world and turn within? No disrespect, but denial of the world did not work for me – integration is working. Who said God loved loved us any less for embracing neurosis? God loves us maybe even more.
Tom: I know what you mean, especially with such strong language like ‘vile ways’*. It can seem inhumane and even unhealthy to deny what we consider to be an aspect of ourself. The purpose of this teaching is liberation from suffering, and this turning within is the only way I know of to attain that aim. It is also the traditional way that has been taught in various cultures for millennia – in my view, the reason this simple but radical teaching has stuck around for so long is because it works, and it is the only one that works (it goes by different names in different traditions).
The strong language is only to encourage you to turn within. There are many other aspects of life, and integration as you put it can be wonderfully healing and positive, and that is good of course, but my experience is that positive and healing as it is, it is not ultimately liberating – that is, it improves the prison but does not free one from suffering in its totality. For that Self-Enquiry or Abiding as the Self is required, and that means to turn within to find the divine within. We do not need to suppress neurosis – that is unhealthy – but just allow it and all things to be, but turn our attention away from them and all other objects towards our self – then we discover the Kingdom of Heaven within – only then can we truly say that all is one, and it not be a belief or concept in the ego-mind. Only then does suffering end.
*A version of this question was originally asked after I posted the following verses on Facebook; they are teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi taken from the wonderful text Guru Vachaka Kovai:
75. Only mad folk perplexed because
They deem the false world to be real
Find joy in this illusion.
The truly wise find joy in nothing
But Awareness which is Being.
76. Those well established in the Self,
True Being, will never pursue the world’s
Vile ways. For such descent into
The false allurements of the world
Is yielding to the animal weakness
77. What does one gain, you well may ask,
By giving up the wealth immense
Of worldly pleasure and seeking only
The benefit of true Awareness
Is the unbroken prevalence
Of peace within the heart, the bliss
Of one’s own natural being.
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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. 🙏
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Anyone else think that your personality has to be perfect and that every pore of your being has to exude an energy of loving kindness in order for the Freedom that already is to be realised? What a prison!
With respect to seeking enlightenment, what’s wrong with THIS, right now?
Freedom is already totally completely here.
Stop all this worrying and obsessing over the apparent individual and here it is, full and complete. No need to improve the individual or the world. Then things start to right themselves naturally, according to natural law. Not that you care. It’s just the way it is.
No need to judge and evaluate apparent ‘teachers’ – that’s more obsessing about the apparent individual, the individuality you project onto them.
Now there is nothing wrong with desire to improve oneself or the world. It is quite natural in certain circumstances. The desire to change something happens by itself when it happens. It too is Spontaneous Arising, a part of ‘what is’.
Look! See! Notice! All these phenomena are empty of any independent doer-self-entity.
Freedom is already here. What does it feel like? It feels like THIS. No need to seek a new or better experience, although that too is allowed.