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.
I’ve created a playlist containing a series of videos on above topic, take a look! Click the playlist icon on the top-left to see all the videos. Please don’t forget to like and subscribe to support these videos, Namaste!
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. 🙏
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
Tom is the easiest person to talk to and he gave me the support I needed.
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.
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.
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.
If your washing machine is broken, you can get it repaired. If your cut yourself, you can apply a plaster. If you have mental health issues, you can see a mental health professional.
This is all well and good, but has nothing to do with liberation.
Liberation already is. It is much simpler than getting your washing machine repaired or mending your body or mind! Nothing is required. Which doesn’t mean that you can’t fix your washing machine or see a mental health professional.
Just this, simply this, as it already is.
(Additional comments from Tom: We can see in the above examples that the washing machine example is to do with an object in the world, a cut is to do with the body, and mental health is to do with the mind. Liberation IS. It is not dependent on various practices to do with body/mind/world. Know Thyself!)
Take the time to presently notice your thoughts without judging or suppressing them. Then, gently, question the underlying motivation and reason behind the thoughts. You will see that most of your thoughts, perhaps, are egoic, that is they are geared towards finding fulfilment and pleasure through subtle and gross objects and experiences.
But where do you need to go to find deep lasting peace? Is it to be found elsewhere? Or is it right here and now, fully manifest when this egoic movement is no longer in effect?
This is the path of insight, which, over time, leads to a natural unforced non-egoic stillness.