A Guide To Protect Yourself From The Stresses Of Those Around You

If you’re an empathetic person you’re probably having a tough time of late. A recent Gallup poll that surveyed 155,000 people in 140 different countries revealed that we are becoming sadder and angrier than ever before. This isn’t great for society and it isn’t great for empathetic people either. Being sensitive to the feelings of others and really feeling their pain, sounds like an honourable thing, but geez, it’s can be uncomfortable, and at times debilitating. Which begs us to ask the question, is empathy a good thing? If we experience the feeling of pain when others are in pain then aren’t we self-perpetuating more pain?

This is where compassion comes in. Compassion is where we understand that someone is in pain, and we feel love for that person or people, and our energy level doesn’t deteriorate. Compassion isn’t an emotion, it’s a state. Emotions are when we react to other people and circumstances. Compassion is a state that holds itself regardless of how someone else is feeling. Empathy is when you feel someone’s pain; compassion is when you feel love for someone in pain. It’s easy for us to sit and suffer alongside those that are suffering, in fact, it’s almost expected of us through our conditioning. Quite often the person in pain will want their partner or friend to also feel their pain so that there is a better connection. However, does that really help the healing, and support progress out of that state for all involved? Could Mother Theresa or Fred Hollows have done their work if they were emotionally affected each day by the people they cared for?

Compassion and empathy are very close to each other; they are both a sense of awareness about others and their state of well-being. But for empaths, one thing we have to be careful about is how much we allow that to deteriorate our own state. This requires mindfulness and practice to simply hold space for that person or group of people, to acknowledge where they are, and with grace, love and warmth, simply be there for them. This then becomes a guiding light and foundation of support for them, to release what needs to release, to feel what they need to feel, and be ok knowing its not causing suffering for you also. On the flip side, when its our turn to go through a challenging time, (and they will surely come), knowing we can lean on solid, unwavering support, someone who is going to be able to hold space for us and not fill us with guilt that we have turned their life into emotional turmoil, will be a welcome relief.

So how do we switch empathy to compassion? This is a process that requires some initial practise until you become more skilled in it if it’s not something you are familiar with. Check in with what your feeling body (read emotional state) is doing and mindfully elevate it to love. Love is the quality and essence of compassion. So pause and ask yourself, am I being pulled into their energetic frequency? Am I synching into their emotional state? Then from that unemotional place of pure love, simply Be there. Just Be. Give yourself the right to just Be. It will, in the end, be better for you and your health, and more importantly, be better for them also.

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Tom is a meditation teacher, author, speaker, coach and filmmaker. To leaern to meditate with Tom or attend one of his retreats head to https://www.tomcronin.com/. To find out where to see his film The Portal or how to host a screening yourself, head to https://entertheportal.com/

How To Bring Back The Love On Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day, a global day of celebration for love. Although for many people, whether they get a big bunch of flowers, chocolates or fancy dinners or not, feeling love simply won’t happen today.

There’s one big barrier to feeling love….FEAR. Having spent a lot of my life in some state of fear or anxiety I know all too well that the feelings of fear and love cannot co-exist simultaneously. We may feel one, or the other, but not both at the same time. We can have the most wonderful partner in our life but if we are in a state of fear or anxiety, then love will be absent and a feeling of disconnect will take over.

It’s a remarkable design of the body to protect us from dangerous situations. Our body’s primary objective over everything else is survival. If we are faced with a marauding tribe or a sabre tooth higher on the open plains, our body would immediately shift into sympathetic nervous system state. This would change the brain functionality from the frontal lobe of creativity and intuition into the survival mode of reptilian brain. Our breathing would change, our pulse would beat faster and our blood sugar levels would increase. But more importantly, our biochemistry would change. Our body will start pumping cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine into the blood and cut out any release of melatonin, serotonin and oxytocin. Oxytocin is the biochemical responsible for generating the sensations of love, empathy and kindness. When faced with a dangerous situation that may require you to fight or flee, the sensations of kindness, empathy and love are not going to be very useful at this point so for efficiency, the body shuts down any release of these biochemicals.

This is all well and good on the wild plains 10,000 years ago however in our nice comfortable and safe environment of modern day society, this extreme stress response doesn’t have the same requirements. I’m noticing ever increasing levels of anxiety, overwhelm and stress in the world today. With this will come reduced levels of empathy, love and kindness. This is a big price to pay, for a society without love empathy and kindness is not a society I’d like to contemplate too much.

There is a distinct correlation to feeling fear and egotism, ie. our attention being centred directly on ourselves. Anxiety and fear is all about the ‘I’, the ego. It’s extreme narcissism and when you are in that state of anxiety and panic, it’s very difficult to switch over to feeling love and kindness for others. In that state the ego demands all of our attention and everyone else’s needs get ignored. We shift from feeling part of a community, with the ability to feel connectedness with others, to being self-centred and self-obsessed. Anxiety and fear wreak havoc on our relationships, depriving the vessel of it’s most essential ingredient for it to flourish….LOVE. If even someone is showing us levels of love, in this state we are unable to feel it or acknowledge it.

There is a way to change this and it’s not by trying to feel love. That simply won’t work. Something has to happen before love enters the picture. We have to shift out of the sympathetic nervous system state to reduce fear and anxiety, so that oxytocin can be produced and love can prevail. If we want happy healthy loving relationships then we have to eradicate fear first. Sounds simple I know, however it does require some steps which I have listed here that can help reduce fear and anxiety in the body.

1. Twice a day meditation. When we quiet the mind, we move the body out of the hyper stimulated state of sympathetic nervous system state and into parasympathetic nervous system where the reversal of SNS occurs. The body spontaneously will produce more serotonin, melatonin and oxytocin in that quiet state. The challenge is that when we are stressed and anxious, sitting still in meditation can be quite difficult which leads me to the next step

2. Physical exercise. Work out, get up a sweat and burn off some of the cortisol! Sitting in a chair all day or slothing on the sofa aint going to cut it…you have to release those biochemicals that are expecting you to run from danger or fight your way out of it.

3. Re-wire your brain. Sounds like a complex process but really it means change the way you think. Our minds can default to fear based thoughts vey easily…mine certainly has a tendency to do this and so I’ve spent many years working on recoding my mind to think differently. Anxiety and fear is our mind distorting our currently reality and creating a fantasy world of future scenarios that aren’t real. So observing the mind and catching it before it leaps forward in to fear based fantasy land is key to being calm. As Eckhart Tolle says: “All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.”

4. Connect with Being. This comes back to point one. In deep meditation we surrender our individual status and transcend all forms and phenomenon. WE become one with presence and pure awareness. We simply are. Amness. Being. Self. No story, no drama, no future, no past. In Being we become one with unconditional love. We discover we are love. It shines out of us. The ego or small self fades and what fades with it are all of its fear based sensations and thoughts. As Anita Moorjani said in her book ‘Dying To Be Me’: “I knew that was really the only purpose of life: to be the love that we are.”

Love is our essence and fear will hijack it from you. It’s like a thief that sneaks in and steals it from you and from your relationships. To reconnect to our lovingness, we have to remove fear first. Less fear more love. That sounds like a much nicer world doesn’t it? Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Tom is a meditation teacher, author, corporate speaker and personal coach. He provides group coaching through his Zen Academy for Transformational Leadership. To find out more about joining this global community click here.

How To Avoid Being Dumbed Down And Stay Light

There’s a saying ‘where your attention goes it grows’. The question is, where is your attention lately?

Each moment of each day our attention goes somewhere, and where it goes, it leaves a residual effect on you for better or for worse. If you move you attention to a scary film, your body will resonate with fear; if you watch a sad news story, your body will resonate with sadness; if you listen to an aggressive song with violent lyrics it will leave aggression and a comedy film, then lightness. The question is, are we being dumbed down by society?

These feelings have a measurable vibration to them as you can see in this scale chart here. It’s easy to not notice how affected we are by the world around us and most of the time we are on autopilot reading tragic stories in the newspaper, engaging in negative gossip, or scrolling through other people’s posts on our news feed on Facebook. A lot of this mainstream content is in the lower end of the this chart.

Recently my family attended a chanting night at the Hare Krishna centre in Sydney. Ok, don’t freak out, we haven’t converted and become part of some weird cult. The Hare Krishna centre is a beautiful place open to everyone, and each week they put on a night of chanting and dinner for $10 which is a bargain night out! For an hour you chant some elevating chants about God Consciousness and then usually engage in some inspiring conversation with the community while eating healthy food. We left the event feeling high and blissed out. When got into the car to drive home, the radio immediately came on and the DJ’s were inviting callers the ring in if they have a name similar to genitalia. “Hi I’m Dick Wood.” “Hi my name is Mulva” and “Hi, I’m Eric Shun.” Yeh, enthralling mainstream radio. Immediately we could feel our attention being pulled, almost ‘dumbed down’ and it was changing how we felt. We turned the radio off, but it was interesting to note how quickly our minds attention shifted and also how we felt.
 
If we were to do an audit of our thoughts on a daily basis and then assess them we would most probably find they are not of a very high level. Think about what you thought about yesterday. Maybe pause and just right down some of the 50,000 thoughts that you had, remembering most of those thoughts were influenced by the place that your mind had been pulled into like the media, a Facebook post, or a conversation you were engaged in, ie. other people’s thoughts.
 
So the question is, how often did we think about God, the Divine, our Higher Self, Egolessness or Pure Love? Or…how often did we NOT think? Did we just sit in Being? Did we sit in Stillness? Did we spend time immersing in no thought and feeling lightness? There is a natural inclination for the mind to be drawn to the lowest common denominator. Joseph Conrad once wrote in his book Heart of Darkness that we have a ‘fascination with the abomination’. I’ve noticed that throughout my life my mind tends to go gravitate towards fear and worry. I have to practice moving it higher. It’s not a natural tendency for it to do this. It’s not like I wake up and voila, my mind is on The Higher Self or spirituality. This is our work and there are ways to avoid the mind being dumbed down.

  1. Avoid or reduce watching or reading the daily news
  2. Avoid gossip and negative talk about people
  3. Minimise social media
  4. Be selective about the songs that you listen to
  5. Be mindful of the podcasts or radio that you listen to
  6. Pause each day, re-adjust your thinking away from negativity
  7. Meditate on being light
  8. Read spiritual texts
  9. Attend satsang or spiritual talks
  10. Receive regular coaching or guidance

This is why I created the Zen Academy For Transformational Leadership, to support people to elevate their mind regularly from the menial daily thought tracks and come together as a community and engage in more uplifting discussions together. This takes place through fortnightly calls and a private Facebook group. We have people join us from all over the world come onto these live sessions.

A beautiful shift takes place when we move our awareness to the Divine, spirituality or the Higher Self…we feel lighter, joyful and love. The more we do this the more natural it becomes for the mind to go there. What a gorgeous way to spend more of our day in that space!

 

Tom is a meditation teacher, author, corporate speaker and personal coach. He provides group coaching through his Zen Academy for Transformational Leadership. To find out more about joining this global community click here.

Why It’s Time We Stop Loving Ourselves And Looking For Love!

It’s time to change a deep-rooted program in our culture. One of our greatest quests in life is to find love and to love ourselves. This has to stop.

This is where you say: “What!? Are you crazy Tom? Why would you say such a thing??”

What does love mean to you?

For so many people there is a lot of pain and suffering connected with love. We hear words like broken-hearted, loneliness, heartache, loss, and grief. I recall myself feeling that deep emptiness, abject misery and darkness sweep over me when I felt I didn’t have any love in my life.

When love is in the form of duality, that is, there is you, and then there is love, then we are in the realm of possibility that we may not experience love. If it needs to come from someone, then we are exposed to the chance that it might not come. Or it might come, and then it might be removed. Even the idea of ‘loving yourself’ implies two things, you and love.

This perspective has been the source of so much suffering in my life and billions of people across the world. The deep aching sense of separation between who we are at our deepest level and who we perceive ourselves to be leads to a sense of loss, loneliness and separation.

Only yesterday I had a student sharing an insight that they needed to learn to love themself more. I asked them to pause and reconsider this statement. As long as there an ‘I’ that is seeking love or to be loved, then we are missing the Truth. When we strip away the duality, strip away the ‘I’ that seeks love, and we will discover that we were never NOT LOVE. It is, was and always will be YOU.

The big question is how? Love is what remains when we remove all the noise, all the emotions, all the thinking. Clearing, clearing, clearing is the task at hand. We give so much attention to thinking and feeling that it is like a noisy cacophony that drowns out what is always there – the simple presence of LOVE. Daily meditation will help strip away that noise. Transcending the field of forms and phenomena is the process of being in the essence of our love. Then when this stabilisation into our essence becomes more established that it is, was and always will be within us.

Seeking love is the illusion, BEING love is the Reality. BE LOVE.

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Our retreat experiences will support you into the exploration of your inner lovingness. We have a range of upcoming retreats in Byron Bay, Sydney, Melbourne and Bali to suit your needs. Click here to find out more.

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How Getting A Puppy Dog Was A Lesson In Unconditional Love

LeoI’d like to introduce you to Leo, our latest family member. He is a 5 month old Cavoodle (cross between poodle and Cavalier Kind Charles Spaniel). He’s cheeky, funny, intelligent and a ball of cuddles. But beyond that he has this remarkable ability to inspire love wherever he goes. It doesn’t matter what mood you are in, how your day has been or even what he has done, he still manages to inspire unconditional love. He can drop a poo in the middle of the floor on our lovely shag pile rug and within minutes he will still receive adoration and cuddles.

That said he still requires boundaries and guidance to learn what’s cool and what’s not cool behaviour so he doesn’t get to totally do what ever he wants to do. So once those boundaries have been enforced and he abides by them (knowing full well that he wont ‘get it’ straight away), we continue to shower him with adoring affection and love. And from what I have gathered now that I have entered the world of pet ownership, this seems to be almost across the board with all other dog owners that I have met.

The question is, if we can do this with fluffy dogs, why can’t we do it with our fellow humans and even more so, with ourselves!? Why do we harbour sometimes a lifetime of guilt, anger, jealousy, shame, rage, low self worth, doubt and regret? Unconditional love seems to be one of the hardest conditions for humankind to embrace when it comes to other humans (and ourselves) yet we do it so easily for puppy dogs. Is it that we accept their fallibility so readily with such low expectation? I know I am my worst critic and have such high expectations on my self that I’ve spent a lifetime beating myself up because of my flaws. Being human is a challenging process. Not only do we have such high expectations on how other human’s should behave we also have them on ourselves. To some degree this is a good thing, it helps us grow and evolve. It helps us become a better human being. But finding that balance of taking that information of negative feedback to grow and overcome deep conditioning and also loving others and our self unconditionally in the process is not an easy task.

I feel I need to clarify here that loving someone (or yourself) unconditionally doesn’t mean they are allowed to do what ever they like. My greatest leaps of growth have come from inner and external criticism of my behavioural patterns that need to change. This flow of information is essential in our ongoing evolution as a human being. It’s like when I’m establishing boundaries for my teenage children, and they have their phone removed from them for a day or two as a consequence of their actions, I always emphasise to them that this is flowing from a place of a deep unconditional love that I have for them. But there are still boundaries. It’s how I follow through with them that affects the future. Sure it’s uncomfortable for a little while, but knowing that the love for them has never stopped flowing moves everyone out of the dark space quickly.

One of our greatest challenges is for us to do the same for our self. How quickly can I adapt and change for the better after suffering some consequences and then proceed to maintain unconditional love for myself? Often I will spend months berating myself and feeling dark and contracted, dimming my light and withdrawing the love, not just for myself but for others also. But does this serve me or humanity? What if there was a way to light up that dark room with my inner light of love and let it shine brighter? The ego thrives in the wallow and darkness. It’s like a toxic mould that grows in the damp darkness of misery and suffering.

The key to returning to unconditional love I believe is to dissolve the ego. When we strip this thin layer of identity away, what remains is the permanence and unmovedness of Being, otherwise known as unconditional love. Unconditional love is the essence of who we are. It’s like the sun that burns consistently showering light and warmth regardless if there are clouds or not. The ego comes in and impedes the radiance of lovingness. It’s always there however we have become so addicted to the presence of the ego that we ignore the subtlety that lies behind this. This is why it’s so hard to live in this state. This egoic layer is resilient and deeply established. There are times when we may experience the glimpse into unconditional love, yet again the layers come sweeping back in and the clouds of ego take over.

Unconditional love is not an easy state to sustain. If it was the world would be a very different place. But bringing awareness to its possibility and committing to sustaining it more and more will not only change our own daily experience but the planet as a whole.

How To Find Love And Thriving Relationships

love handsFinding love is one of the most sought after experiences in life. A few years ago we surveyed our Stillness Tribe to find out what they are looking for most. This is how they responded:
1. Loving Relationships
2. Wealth
3. Life Purpose
4. Happiness
It seemed that if we find a love in a relationship, if we find wealth, if we find a life purpose, THEN we will be happy.

If the one thing we are mostly looking for in our life is a relationship, then why are relationships the source of so much frustration and suffering? Romance and relationships are one of the greatest causes of suffering on the planet. It creates some of the deepest wounds that for many can take years if not a lifetime to heal. For some, these wounds can leave permanent scars. And that’s for those that find a relationship, then there is the frustration of those that have been looking and still can’t find one. Swiping left, swiping right, seeking, seeking, and yet to no avail! Ugh! Damned if you do find it and damned if you don’t!

Ok I’m giving relationships a bad wrap, which is totally unfair. It’s not relationships that are the problem; it’s the perspective of what a relationship is that causes the problem. Often love and relationships can get confused as the same thing yet love and relationships are two very different things. A relationship is a container that we put between two people, and what we put in the container determines the quality of the relationship. Where as love is what you feel within yourself. Love isn’t the relationship. We can feel love in a relationship, we can feel love outside of a relationship. We can feel NO love in a relationship, and we can feel NO love outside of a relationship.

When we rely on the relationship as the seeming source of love, then we are putting our hope into something that is a big variable. Relationships can change from day to day, moment to moment. All it takes is a different viewpoint on how to parent a child, on which route to take to the in-laws for dinner, what emotional state you are both in or even whether to slice an onion in rings or segments!! (Yes we have even had disagreements about this!) Relationships are tricky things. They thrive on unity and become fractured by disunity. They are complicated and due to their relative nature, they are polarising. That is, they will bring you the best of times and worst of times (and this could be within the one week or even a day!)

Where as love isn’t polarising. Love isn’t variable. Love doesn’t have positive and negative charge to it. Love is simply love. Love is neither good nor bad. Love has no pain, love is fearless, love is pure and love can never be damaged. So why is there so much angst and suffering around love? When we separate love and relationships as two different things then we are starting to get it. Relationships aren’t the source of love, they are the outlets for our love. Love is what we put INTO the container.

So where do we find love…look within. Love is our essence. It’s the very core of who we are. Love is the subtlest aspect of our being. As Anita Moorjani, author of Dying To Be Me said: “I knew that was really the only purpose of life: to be our self, live our truth, and be the love that we are.”

Why is love so hard to find? Because we are seeking it in relationships when it’s not there. Finding love requires turning our gaze inward, deep through the layers of the ego to our fiery heart centre within. It’s there, always there, whether there is a relationship container or not. And yes it’s hard to find at times. When you do find this unlimited source of love then we have something to pour into that container and fill it up with. Imagine pouring unlimited love into that container instead of your stress, your angst, your regrets, your unworthiness, your anger and shame? What happens then to the relationship? Voila! It changes completely! My high school motto at St Gregory’s College was Quae Seminaveris Metes which translated from the Latin means, ‘You will reap what you sow’. Put love in and see what you inspire in the relationship.

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The Empowerment Series consists of 3 one hour power-packed audios on Finding Love, Manifesting Abundance and Discovering Your Life Purpose. You will not only receive the three downloadable audios, but also get the ebook versions and a companion book to capture those big nuggets of gold that will transform your life.
The Empowerment Series has been empowering and elevating people all over the world with comments like Susana who said:
“I wanted to express my gratitude to you as you have open a door to something I have been trying to reach for a long time: Myself, my inner strength. Your empowerment series talked straight to my heart and inspired me to be love. So thank you, thank you, thank you for all your hard work and for putting all that knowledge in such a beautiful and simple way.”
And then Joseph D said “The possibility of loving yourself unconditionally, creating abundance and understanding your life purpose has been brought to life through the empowerment series. Congratulations Tom, the world needs to hear this.”

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What Is The Difference Between Your Ego And Your Soul?

Soul_Vs_EgoHave you ever felt lost? Or that you just don’t quite know WHO YOU ARE? Well you are not alone. We all go through some level of disillusion about our true identity at times. If I was to ask you when you were 5 years old “Who are you?” no doubt there would be a very different response than when you were 15, 25 and then 45 years old.

So who are you? Let’s explore from a purely subjective viewpoint and one that’s always open to discussion.

There are the outer layers of who you are, which keep getting added to as years go by. Think of them like cloaks that get put on top one after another. Each cloak has a different look and feel to it just as each life experience adds different layers. Each layer adds another level of complexity to our identity as they all start to blend in on top of each other. What defines the nature of these layers is the experiences that we have through life. Where you were born, the religious upbringing, the way you were treated by your parents, the school you went to, the daily experiences you had, some light and fun, while others potentially dark and harrowing.

In Sanskrit these experiences leave an affect on us called samscaras. These samscaras are like ’scars’ that are an effect etched into us that influences our current experience in life. So when some was to ask you “Who are you?” in effect you’d be the sum of all your past life experiences. Welcome to your egoic identity. This is the ‘I’. Who we perceive ourselves to be is the story that we’ve constructed around us throughout our lifetime.

So who are we if we shed those cloaks? If we were to peel back those layers what would we discover? Who are we without that story?

Deep within us, right back underneath all those layers, is a Soul. What is a soul? It is the aspect of us that is completely uninfluenced by our life experiences. It was there before the life experiences were even experienced. It is the ‘I’ without the egoic layers. It is the Source, it is Light, it is Love. It is the part of us that is non-changing and always a constant. It is subtle and due to the thick layers that we have accumulated over time, it becomes very hard to experience, yet it’s always there.

The Soul is pure; it isn’t influenced by any life experiences. Think of a lamp that is pure and bright. Then add over the top of that lamp a thin coloured scarf. The scarf will impede the purity of the radiance glowing from the Source of Light. The scarf will dim it somewhat. Then add more layers and more layers and eventually the full radiance of the light will be impeded completely. Eventually we are only able to recognise the thick layers as our identity because our original pure identity, the one without the stories, has become smothered.

So how do we re-connect to our Soul if it is always there? We start to peel back those layers. One by one, strip them back, letting go of the old stories and attachments. This can be a painful process as we feel we are letting go of who we are. Each layer that is peeled back and released can leave us feeling vulnerable, raw, and naked. “If I’m not that layer, and I remove it, then who am I??”

This process can take many years. Even to this day I find I am peeling back layers as more egoic identities are being shed. Each thick layer that’s removed takes me through a dark mourning experience as another false identity of me is let go of. However with that letting go, what follows the darkness is a clearer realisation about who I am without the layer. More of the inner light is revealed and we can get glimpses of our True nature within.

Shedding these layers can be done through numerous pathways. There are plant-based medicines, energetic healing sessions, therapy, psychology, yoga, breath work, detox retreats and meditation among many other modalities. Finding the one or numerous pathways that suits you is up to each individual.

St John of the Cross, a Spanish mystic in the 1500’s, wrote a book on this expulsion of layers to discover the Light within and how painful this process can be. The book was called The Dark Night Of the Soul and in one line he wrote:
“In the inner stillness where meditation leads, the Spirit secretly anoints the soul and heals our deepest wounds.” For St John, meditation was the process he chose to use to reveal the inner light.

We just finished a 6-day retreat in Bali where we used a number of modalities to carry out this shedding process. There was yoga, meditation, breath work, cleansing food, massages and workshops that are all formulated to enable this ‘letting go’ of our outer layers. Part of this process saw emotional releasing as sadness, fear, anger was purged from the body. The attendees felt lighter, clearer and more love within them as part of connecting deeper to their Source, the Love within.

What a fascinating journey this is. We start out adding layer upon layer, then as the pain of the disconnect from our original Source, our Light, inspires us to initiate a process of rediscovering that, we begin the return leg of the journey, to then start peeling back those layers. From Soul to Ego, then Ego to Soul. Enjoy the ride!

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If you are feeling like you need a break from the busy-ness of life, then you might like to explore our various retreat options. We have 1 day retreats, 4 day retreats and 6 day retreats to choose from. These retreats will leave you feeling revitalised, uplifted and clear on your goals in life. Find out more by clicking here.

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My Valentine’s Day Message To You

Valentines-DayIt’s that big day of the year where roses that usually sell for $5 a bunch are now $25 and white teddy bears and chocolate sales go through the roof. Yes…. Happy Valentines Day!! The one-day of the year where we get to tell people that we love them. Isn’t it just great that we have this romantic day, one day out of 365 days, to be expressive of our love for someone? This is love right? It must be because I saw it that way in the movies. In fact, don’t tell anyone, but I was watching Married At First Sight last night on TV and yep, it was there too.
And so it gets drilled into us. The blueprint for our understanding of love is written. This idea of love becomes embedded into the fabric of our society. I mentioned in my Empowerment Series on Finding Love, that the word ‘love’ has more hits than any other word searched. More than sex, God and money. Yes, 7.47 billion! So what is love? We search for it more than anything else and yet for so many of us it is so elusive or when we do find it, it is associated with immense pain. We sing songs with lyrics like:
“I can’t live, if living is without you” (thanks Mariah) and “Tell me how am supposed to live without you
Now that I’ve been loving’ you so long” (Nice one Mr. Bolton)

Is this love? Why does love come with pain? There is the romantic experience of love that involves an ‘other’. This includes you, and someone else. Then there is the self-referred version of love that comes up from deep within. This is a love that isn’t dependent on the presence of the ‘other’. When love is experienced by the ‘other’s’ presence or attention, then we will undoubtedly experience a sense of loss or void when they withdraw their attention or are no longer present. This leaves our feelings of love in a variable, disempowered state, because it requires some factors that we may not have control over. I.e., another person.

‘Other’s’ trigger our ability to experience who we are…LOVE. They inspire in us a feeling level of love in our body, which we always had the capability of feeling only this time it was triggered by someone or something else. Of course there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s not a judgement. I recall standing at the passport check at customs about to leave the country for a few weeks having just said goodbye to my dear family and tears were streaming down my face! The sense of loss was immense! As I stood there in front of the stern customs man all I had was the memory of seeing them all in the car with tears in their eyes and their little hands waving goodbye to their Dadda. Having these feelings is the human condition. Being raw and authentic and allowing us to FEEL this is what it is to be human. But having awareness about the deeper reality enables us to pass through the emotional release quickly. Knowing we are love is key to this. Stillness brings me to this Source. In my quietest state, when all boundaries of separation have dissolved, I feel the purity of this LOVE. It’s like I am love and I am surrounded by love. It’s a feeling of it all being love, in and around. There’s a deep profound Unboundedness of Love.
This liberates us from the dependency of the ‘other’s’ attention to feel love.

It’s there within us all, and its there surrounding us all. Be still and know that you are love.

Happy Valentines Day.

Love Tom

Struggling To Forgive Someone? Try This Shortcut…

love

If you have pain in your heart, and feel you need to forgive someone so that you can move on but can’t, then you might like to read this.

First though, I’d like to ask you a question…why do you want to forgive this person? What is your real objective if you were able to forgive them? Are you clear about what you really want? Is it to forgive, or is there something deeper that you are seeking?

I recently had a student in a state of confusion and disharmony come to me looking for guidance. They felt so much hurt and wanted to move on, but couldn’t get over the hurdle of not being able to forgive this person for the pain they caused in them.

“Why do you want to forgive them? Tell me what you really want.” I asked.
“I don’t want to cry any more.” They said
“Well that’s not what you want, that’s what you don’t want. Try again…What do you really want?”
“I don’t want to feel sad anymore.”
“You’re doing it again” I said. “Tell me what you really want”
“I don’t want to feel the burden.”
“Doing it again…”
“I don’t want…umm….”

Yes this actually went on for a while!

Notice how hard it was for them to actually be really clear about what they want, when it was so easy for them to put their attention on what they DON’T want?

If you feel you need to forgive someone, then the question is….why? What is the real reason you want to forgive someone? Often the reason we can’t forgive is because we feel we are letting them off without any punishment. Feeling angry towards someone is our way of punishing them and letting them know they did something wrong to us. The catch is if we feel angry, the person who is truly being punished is the person feeling the anger. This is usually why forgiving someone is so hard. We become attached to the anger, not willing to let it go, in case the other person will think they got away with something. Yet all the while we are poisoning our own body with the toxic low grade energy of anger. The entire body is changing its energetic state with this anger. This leads to all sorts of dis-ease and abnormalities in the body. Which brings us to the question….what do you really want to feel? Is your priority making them feel bad, or you feeling amazing?

Jerry Seinfeld once said “the best revenge was to be happy.” Admittedly he said this in a stand up comedy routine however there is a lot of merit in it. Not that we are out for revenge, but one thing we are here to do is to live life in the most joyful, loving and blissful way possible. Feeling anger, hurt and resentment for years is not an inspiring life.

“What do you really want to feel?”

I asked them again and again and finally the answer dropped.

“LOVE”

YES!!! You want to feel love! Why? Because you want to feel YOU. You want to feel your essence. You want to feel your Truth. You want to feel the very core of who you are. Anita Moorjani, Author of Dying to Be Me says:
“I knew that was really the only purpose of life: to be our self, live our truth, and be the love that we are.”

You don’t really want to forgive, what you are yearning at your deepest level is to feel LOVE. So let go of the attachment to need to forgive and go straight to the source. FEEL LOVE. At this point, the need for forgiveness dissolves, because you have found what you were ultimately looking for anyway.

If you require some assistance with this process then you might like The Empowerment Series module FINDING LOVE here below…

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How To Have Your Own Resurrection From A Death

freeI had a death then a resurrection once also. It wasn’t as dramatic as nails on a cross and a crown of thorns, and yes, it wasn’t actually a full death, however it was initially dark and painful, then on the other side it was like a rebirth, lighter with more love and life. In fact I’m sure you also have been through your own mini-deaths and rebirths like this. The actual meaning of ‘resurrect’ is to restore to life. There are times on our journey of life that we may feel like we are sleep-walking, numb and lifeless. Then a shift will happen and we will transition through a window and come through the other side with more awareness and feeling lighter and clearer. It’s like a resurrection of sorts.

During this contemplative time of Easter, we can embrace the resurrection of Christ as a literal historical event or a metaphor for the process of evolution. It’s all subjective to each person. These transition points or resurrections are well described in one of my favourite books by St. John of the Cross, Dark Night Of The Soul. In this book he writes about letting go of attachments to who we think we are, as we delve deeper into our Soul and the connection with Divine Self, in other words Pure Love. He writes:
“As the soul becomes purged and purified by means of this fire of love, it becomes ever more enkindled in love.”

The process by which St John urges the reader to make this journey is through quiet contemplation and stillness-
“a calm and repose of interior quietude.”

This is the pathway I took through those dark moments or metaphoric crucifixions. When the turbulence is whirling around you, try slowing everything down, and find a silence within. It won’t be easy at first, and that’s ok. The mind and world of sense will distract you and pull you externally. Observe how your ego gets pulled into the story of life ‘out there’. Then continue the inner path, towards a deep quietness within. It takes time, however it’s here that you find solace and true peace.

Then each time after each meditation, as we return to the outer world, the world of ego and senses, we bring with us some of that deep soulful connection. This is an ongoing process, that will continue on through life. Each time we let go a little bit more of what we thought we were and discover the Truth of who we really are. Divine Love. The letting go can be painful, as we often become very attached to our outer layers. These outer layers are the measuring rods for who we think we are. It’s what we have come define ourselves by.

The stories we constantly remind ourselves of each day and night are just stories, however we can be very affected by them. In essence they are just the story, and beyond that, when we let go of the story and pass through that dark night of purging, we become more of the expression of Love and Light. As St. John so eloquently writes:

“The soul feels its love to be increasing and growing in strength and refinement to such a degree that it seems to have within it seas of fire which reach to the farthest heights and depths.”

It has been a turbulent month for many, with your own challenges and mini deaths, but beyond that, is your next resurrection. Onwards we go, towards the light of Love.

If you are ready to go through a transformational journey, try one of our upcoming retreats by clicking here.

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