Pointing out mistakes

The following is an excerpt from: Who cares about Freedom?

We can go a little further too: we can also point out mistakes in our thinking. If we think Father Christmas is real, we can notice and point out there is no conclusive evidence to support that, despite appearances to the contrary (eg. presents appearing beneath the tree on Christmas Day). Any happiness or pleasure we derive from believing in Father Christmas is similarly based on our wrong notions/illusion.

Similarly, if someone takes themselves to be a doer, an entity that is free to choose and take credit and blame for its actions, then we can point out that there is no evidence to support this position, despite appearance to the contrary. All suffering that results from belief in doership is similarly based on illusion.

And the winner for the Best Spiritual Practice 2017 is…

And the winner for Best Spiritual Practice 2017 is….

I got news for you: there are many ways to THIS.
Some people may need a path, a practice or a teacher, others may not.
The way that worked/is working for you may not be the way for everyone.
At the end of it all, you are right where you began: ‘here’.
But with a difference: now you know.

For more quotes see here: tomdas.com/quotes

For more Facebook posts see here: www.facebook.com/tomdas.nd

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


Tom Das – pointing at the unspeakable (recent quotes from my Facebook page)

Here are some of my recent posts from Facebook page (my account is http://www.facebook.com/tomdas.nd)


Everything you see is yourself, calling you back to yourself.


May your ever-seeking mind be engulfed and consumed by the warm smouldering embers of surrender.


Sometimes insight alone is enough. Sometimes practice is required.


Relax, let go & enjoy.
Freedom is already fully & completely present.
No need to pay too much attention to thoughts & feelings that say otherwise.


Notice all the ways you try to avoid THIS.


How can THIS be spoken of? How can THIS be taught? In the ‘final analysis’, what is there to teach?


The freedom that we are looking for is wholly verifiable in our experience right now. We do not necessarily need to have a special experience or to obtain a special knowledge for this freedom to become apparent. Nor is belief of any kind required. Stay true to what you know directly. Don’t pretend to know something you don’t and don’t take on someone else’s beliefs.

Simply quieten your mind and notice what is happening. Examine how suffering is created and the notice the myriad of beliefs that underlie it. Notice the non-existence of an entity (‘you’) that is the author of thoughts and actions. This ‘you’/author is just an imagined product of throught.

Notice fulfillment is not to be gained through either objects, accumulative knowledge or specific/certain experiences, all of which come and go. See this for yourself. Don’t take my word for it.

Dare to seek and know what is true for yourself, and stay true to your own direct experience, even if it means you are contradicting a supposed authority in the matter.

Good luck!


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.


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.

If you observe, you can learn the apparent mechanics of suffering and awakening, which when understood makes the teachings much more potent.

This has immense value in my experience to an apparent someone who is struggling in their belief in separation.


If you have come this far then you will also realise that ‘awareness’ is just another way of saying ‘presence/appearance of objects’. Here the subject-object distinction falls away.


The idea of a subject/awareness that is aware of objects is just that – an idea or concept.

When this is seen one can no longer even talk of awareness, as that implies a subject and object, a perceiver and perceived, and this is now just seen to be an assumption, a imagined creation of throught.

There is only ‘what-is’.

Simple, direct, unspeakable.

The concepts of the teaching, such as a ‘pure awareness’, were useful tools on the journey to remove the basic ignorance, but can now also be dispensed with once their ‘job has been done’.


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Shankara’s way to Enlightenment, with verses from Atma Bodha

Atma Bodha is a short text attributed to Shakara and was written approximately 1400 years ago. It literally means ‘Self Knowledge’ (atma = self, bodha = understanding or knowledge) and it outlines a methodology to lead a seeker from suffering to liberation. Incidentally, bodha is the same root word that forms the word Buddha, which means ‘the one who knows or understands’.

It comprises a class of scriptures called prakarana granthas. Prakarana means ‘procedure’ or ‘task’ and grantha means ‘text’. Taken together prakarana grantha means ‘instruction manual’. These instruction manuals were written for those who do not have the capacity or time to read the voluminous traditional texts such as the vedas and upanishads or for those who were looking for a synopsis of their vedantic studies, and so give us a summary teaching which we can practically apply to our lives.

Ramana Maharshi thought this text important enough to translate it from Sanskrit to Tamil so that Tamil-speaking locals who could not understand Sanskrit could still benefit from its teachings. In his introduction to his translation, Ramana describes Shankara as the one who brings forth enlightenment. Similarly in the Inchegarei Sampradaya, the lineage to which Nisargadatta Maharaj belonged, Shankara is considered an enlightened sage and his writings are studied as a matter of course.

Below are some selected quotes from Shankara’s Atma Bodha. We will see how in these quotes the basic methodology (after the entry criteria for this teaching are briefly alluded to) is:

1) Firstly viveka, or distinguishing between what is Brahman and what is not. Brahman is identified as the unchanging subject and the world of objects (ie. the body, mind and world) is said to be not-Brahman. This is an artificial duality that is temporarily set up in order to counter and remove the deeply ingrained belief in the doer-entity or ego (ahamkara). We will see how this duality is later resolved into non-duality and furthermore into non-conceptuality.

2) Once the subject-object distinction (viveka) has been properly made then this knowledge or understanding is to be practised. This is done by the practise of identification with the subject, Brahman, and turning away from the phenomena that arise in our awareness.

3) Eventually, after long practice of this, the doer-entity that we once took ourselves to be is seen to be an illusion. This ignorance is removed.

4) Once the doer-entity is seen to be unreal, then the interpretive notions of subject and object can also be done away with. Having completed their purpose, the concepts of subject and object are also seen to be false beliefs and are allowed to fall away.

5) Everything is ‘resolved into Brahman’, not literally, but in the way we label reality. Before, at the first step of viveka,  the unchanging subject was considered Brahman/Atman and the changing world of objects (the mind, body and world) were said to be not-Brahman/Atman. Now ignorance is removed, everything is seen to be Brahman and the duality set up by viveka is removed.

6) Eventually we stop needing to label reality at all. What we are left with is just this, this present experience, devoid of concepts of self or reality or even Brahman. So simple, so direct, how can it be put into words?

Verse 5. The knowledge [I am Brahman], when unceasingly practiced, drives out all ignorance, then itself disappears.

Shankara - the knowledge then itself disappears

37. The mental impression ‘I am Brahman’, created by ceaseless practice, destroys ignorance and the resultant suffering, just as medicine destroys disease.

Shankara - I am Brahman destroys ignorance (1)

41. There are no distinctions such as ‘Knower’, the ‘Knowledge’ and the ‘Object of Knowledge’ in the Supreme Self

Shankara- there are no distinctions in the Supreme Self.

64. All that is perceived, or heard, is Brahman and nothing else

Shankara- All that is perceived is Brahman and nothing else