All spiritual concepts are ultimately illusion – they are more food for the ego, for the apparent separate identity, that actually is not real. Is the seeker willing to go beyond these concepts? This video below explores this.
It is mysterious how these teachings work and result in liberation. There is an ‘X-factor’ about how it happens. We can call it The Grace of God or just say it is a mystery. When liberation comes it is impossible to suffer basically.
Before, you try not to suffer and then it becomes impossible to suffer. There is still a whole range of emotions, but there is no suffering.
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Questioner: Hi Tom: is “dealing with” a negative emotion the same as “letting go?”
Tom: It means to resolve the emotional issue, if there is one, at the root so that it does not resurface needlessly and cause suffering
Questioner: do you recommend taking Ayahuasca with a shaman to see where these suppressions may lie?
Tom: No, there are more reliable and less potentially adverse ways as far as I can tell.
Questioner: Is Atma Vichara (Self-Enquiry) the answer or just part of that discovery of suppressions?
Tom: Atma Vichara is the answer, but it must be correctly understood
Questioner: That makes sense to me. Thank you! I will continue my practice with fervor
Questioner 2: Tom, whats your experience with plant medicine and entheogens? If its none, then unfortunately there is nothing you can bring to the table regarding such.
Tom: I am open to psychoactive drugs playing a role in the awakening process for some people (they clearly have played a role for many people), but I am nowhere near convinced enough of their need in the awakening process to actually RECOMMEND them, which was the specific question that was put to me.
As far as I can see, there are many other simpler, cheaper, safer, more reliable and more natural methods available that may not be so dramatic in their effects – often the results are more subtle – but have more lasting effects in the long term and are more reliable in transmitting a realisation that actually ends suffering. Of course this may not be true for everyone.
And this is just my personal experience of these substances in the seekers I meet. I fully admit this view may be based on lack of knowledge and expertise on my part and also the selection bias from the group of people that come to my meetings (as these people are presumably resonating with what I share).
I have seen a few negative health effects of such drugs too, so they are not without some physical and mental health risk, and I have seen that they can also foster attachment to and seeking of experiences such as ‘spiritual highs’ and while this can lead to openings, it often also reinforces and perpetuates of a sense of egoic self. Of course, this is not always the case.
At the end of the day, we each have our own unique path, and my hope is to be able to encourage, support and guide those who come my way whether or not they chose to take psychoactive drugs. If asked, I never recommend these drugs for the above reasons, but luckily people are free to chose for themselves, relatively speaking.
Thank you for your comment and contribution to this discussion! Namaste!
What to do when you are confused with Spiritual Teachings? See here:
The purpose of all spiritual teachings and practices is to remove ignorance and the vasanas (egoic habitual tendencies), and so end suffering.
There is nothing to gain. No special knowledge or experience. You are already That. Just lose the ignorance.
In truth spiritual practices and teachings are more illusion. There is no teacher, there is no teaching, there is no taught. Ignorance itself is more illusion. There is no real ignorance.
However as a belief that ‘I am a body mind’ has arisen, the teacher and teaching appear to also arise. This is known as ignorance.
This is because you take yourself to be limited. You take yourself to be a body mind.
Do not take yourself to be the body-mind!
You are That!
You are That Eternal Nothingness!
If we are earnestly seeking, relentlessly seeking, honestly seeking, it can be quite easy at times to loose faith in the spiritual path. After some time of seeking we can become disillusioned with the whole thing and question it totally, especially if we are a long-time seeker. This is actually a great gift to us. We are taken back down to solid earth with a bump and can start afresh with new eyes. We may ask ourselves questions such as:
-Does enlightenment even exist?
-What if all these teachers are just deluding themselves?
-What if this whole spirituality thing is utter nonsense?
In the light of our disillusionment, as we have discovered that our seeking has not thus far worked, we can assess things in a more sober light. We may start to have thoughts such as:
-Spiritual practices have not really got me anywhere. They may have improved my life somewhat and given me glimpses of something beyond, but they have not given me lasting joy-peace-love that I so yearn for. At most they have given me fleeting joys, and this is not enough.
-Spiritual teachers, despite their promissory words, spiritual airs and smiling faces, have not really taken me to the place where suffering has ended. And all I am left with are empty second-hand words, mere dust in my hands.
-I find Spiritual books to be tiresome. They say similar things in different ways, and these words now no longer nourish me. I want more than this. This is not working. These teachings no longer touch me or move me deeply. I am fed up of all these words and paper. I want more.
-The so-called spiritual people I know are no better off than me. Beyond the thinly veiled smiles, baggy clothes and Namastes I can see they are just as caught up in illusion as I am, suffering as I am, groping in the dark as I am. What can they really give me in terms of enlightenment/self-realisation?
At this point we have essentially had enough of all the central aspects of the ‘spiritual journey’: we are fed up of spiritual teachers, teachings, practices, books and spiritual people/groups. We are questioning our very concept of spirituality. We are now wondering if there is such a thing as spirituality or enlightenment or self-realisation.
Hopefully, together with the disillusionment in seeking fulfillment in spiritual things, we are also disillusioned in seeking absolute fullfilment in the so-called world, eg. through relationships, wealth, pleasure, society, etc.
Having come ‘this far’, if we are lucky, we may start to lose faith in one more thing: our own mind. We can also realise that not only can teachers/ teachings/ practices/ communities NOT bring us to the enlightenment we desire, but neither can we ourselves get us there. Our own minds, our own thoughts, ideas and ideologies are also equally as useless as everything else as they too have not worked. Despite listening to our self for this long, where has it got us? Are we not still as ‘unenlightened as ever’?
Now we are totally disillusioned. We have no faith in anything. We know that teachers, teachings, practices and the mind – none of them work. We no longer rely on spirituality, the world or on our mind. All seeking here just continues the struggle, the labour, the burden…
We no longer lean on external authorities, we no longer hand our authority over to them, we no longer rely on thought as a means to escape suffering.
At the same time, the teachings are firmly implanted in the mind. We know them back to front due to our time seeking – we can trot off the words like ‘there is nobody here’, ‘there is no mind’, ‘all is one’, ‘separation is an illusion’…it’s just that these words do not do it for us anymore.
So now what do we do? What can we grab hold of? Are you waiting for a teacher to tell you what happens next, or are you done with all of that? Is there even anyone here to do anything? What’s going on?
There is a great gift here for one who has travelled this far…
Q. Hypothetically speaking, if you were to start seeking Liberation all over again, what potential mistakes would you avoid this time?
Tom: I would relax more, much much more, and trust my own intuition in Silence, knowing that I already know this, what I am looking for is already totally and fully known, not with the mind, but intuitively effortlessly ‘known’. It is nothing else but my very BEING.