What is the best way to deal with suffering? | Spiritual Bypassing | Vasanas and conditioning

There are two basic paths you can take with suffering. One is pure Self-Enquiry, and just like any other phenomena that is arising, you say “To whom does this occur? To me. Who am I?, in order to direct your attention away from the suffering and the thoughts and go back to the Self.

However, with strong vasanas, strong suffering, you may need to go into Maya and solve these on the level of cause and effect. Just like any other practical problem in life, we can try to solve them on the level of life.

This video was recorded live during a Satsang meeting with Tom Das and put together by volunteers.

To see all the guided meditations see the ‘guided meditation’ playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/c/TomDasNonduality/playlist

For recommended reading for liberation see here: https://tomdas.com/2020/10/19/recommended-reading-books-for-enlightenment-liberation-and-self-realisation/

To attend satsang, see here: https://tomdas.com/events.

To book a 1 to 1 session with Tom see here: https://tomdas.com/nondual-spiritual-counsellor/

Is it possible to free the mind from all fear and conditioning?

Question: The human mind has been conditioned and brainwashed for thousands of years. Is it possible to free the mind of all psychological fear, and what is the brain’s primary function besides keeping the body alive?

Tom: We could say that there is always an aspect of the mind/ consciousness/ awareness/ ourselves that is untouched by conditioning. This awareness can at times see this conditioning you speak of in action, and then immediately it is already beyond it, and action from ‘this place’ is no longer egoically conditioned, although other types of conditioning such as biological conditioning and language skills remain.

This awareness-wisdom can grow and eventually efface the egoic conditioning completely, which is when we enter into the depths of Silence that is Timeless and Non-dual.

Even though all of this is already ‘That’, it is not fully ‘realised’ and suffering continues until the egoic conditioning is no longer active.

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


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?

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.