A Juice With A Buddhist Monk Revealed The Root Cause Of All Suffering

I had the pleasure of meeting a young monk recently who spent six months a year meditating in the mountains of France in a Buddhist monastery. We caught for a juice at Bondi Beach to discuss Buddhism and enlightenment.

I was going through a time of personal discovery and I was curious to hear his perspective on the cause of suffering. His response was remarkably simple and it completely changed my perspective on things. I recently had a family pet pass away, a family member that was sick, I had to move house, I had been in a minor car accident and I was grappling with constant challenges in a project that I was working on. It felt like there was a weight of burden fall over me.

The Buddhist monk put things very simply by saying that there are really only two causes of suffering:

1. We have this deluded idea that things will be permanent when in actually fact ALL forms and phenomenon are impermanent. Everything will pass and attachment to things staying the same will cause suffering.

2. We perceive ourselves and the world around us through our limited awareness as separate entities. The notion of duality, i.e. two things, is also the root cause of suffering.

I sat with this for the rest of the day in deep contemplation. I observed all forms and phenomenon and saw them for what they were…transitory things that will come and go. Family, pets, friends, cars, money, trees, my body, even the sun will all come and go. Nothing is permanent. My existence is like a blink of an eye lid in the history of the Universe. I come, then I go. Here and gone.

The next one was much deeper. It’s one thing to intellectualise that all things are One, and nothing is separate, but to experience this is altogether different. But at the subtlest level of existence this is true…the Unified Field of Oneness is the subtlest level of reality, a Uni-verse. One thing. And when there is one thing, there is no-thing that I am not. Then if I am all things there is no-thing lacking and no holes to fill in. We pass through life with a constant ache, trying to fill in perceived big black holes in our life. As we continue to fill all of these holes, like college degree, paying off the mortgage, getting married, making money, we find that there are simply more holes that keep opening up! It’s a never ending yearning that is never fully satiated. The ache continues to eat away inside me. Get more, need more.

Is the answer to continue to explore Oneness and realise there are no holes to fill? Yes there’s action, but what if the action was born out of completeness and an expression of fulfilment not for fulfilment?

This a simplistic perspective into the complexity of life. It doesn’t answer the dilemmas of plastic in the oceans, prejudice and racism, hunger and homelessness, domestic violence or the gazillion other issues facing humanity and the planet. But it sure got me thinking….

 

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How To Have Your Own Easter Resurrection

Jesus-Resurrection-Walking-out-of-Tomb-900It’s a pretty remarkable story isn’t it? That someone was killed by being nailed to wood and stabbed in the heart then three days later he was seen again walking around the streets? I mean seriously, this is some pretty out there stuff! Really, without the ‘seen again walking around the streets’ part to the story after his death, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be celebrating 4 days holiday and a bunch of chocolate eggs would we? It would be just some guy that said things that the Roman Government didn’t like, they decided to quieten this troublemaker, and then no one would have heard of him again.

Although I was always curious as to why we didn’t hear much more about this person three days later while he was walking around after his death? Like what happened to him 2 weeks, a month, or years later after he resurrected from the dead? Didn’t the Romans want to kill him again? How did he die again after that, or where did he go? If he appeared to the disciples why did he not appear to the Romans? Was he ascended as a soul and no longer physical at all? So many questions…

But in essence, do we need to answer them or can we simply take what valuable insights there are from this Easter story and apply it to our own lives in a way that will add immense value not only to us but those around us? The gist of the story is that there was a resurrection, a return to life from a seemingly dead position. What if we can go through our own metaphoric resurrection when we transform from a dark space of tragedy to a realm of light and love? Can this be our own resurrection of sorts? Perhaps you have already had one, where you had been in a dark tragic circumstance then rose out of the darkness and rebuilt your life with a new awareness and way of living, one based on compassion and love, one on empowerment and vision.

Recently I have met many people who are suffering. I know many of you are facing challenging times. What lies beyond this moment of that dark night of the soul for you? What can you do to have your own resurrection? I always see a big shift in my coaching clients when they shift their awareness from the past of being a victim to the future, where they are empowered with their own choices and change how they feel. It’s often easier to keep looking back at what was, and be influenced by those past circumstances. These situations are very affecting on us, leaving what is called in Sanskrit samscaras. These are deep wounds that leave an imprint that binds and can continue to affect us for many years, if not our entire life when they go unchecked.

Samscaras don’t have to be for life though. Each day our body is replacing cells and our mind is a malleable software that is upgradable. Which means our software and hardware, (ie, our mind and body)  is changeable. We are adaptable and where we are today doesn’t have to be where we will be tomorrow. Something amazing happens when we redirect our attention to what will be. Ask yourself deeply, what would you like to feel? Then take the progressive steps to make this become your new reality. Are you choosing health? Are you choosing love? Are you choosing kindness? Are you choosing compassion?

Beyond our stories and busy mind is a deep sweet serenity of stillness. A calm that heals and nurtures our body. It’s restorative. Of course, the ego doesn’t enjoy this, it’s like a death of sorts for the ego when the mind enters the silent void. And the ego will fight for its existence, it will throw everything at you to stop this silence occurring. “Don’t dare ignore me” it will scream at you in various ways. Yet when you dive into the bliss of Being, the ego surrenders and you are left with your Unbounded Glory of Divine Self. It takes time, have patience, and this Easter, pause, take time out and let go. We have a four day celebration, not for religion, but to celebrate life, rebirth, and transformation. Make this one yours. To me, that is a resurrection worth talking about.

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If you feel you would like some support with your transformation, then our Inner Sanctum monthly meditation coaching sessions might be for you. These monthly coaching sessions are becoming a huge hit around the world! Find out more below. Our last session had a big response with attendees saying:
“Your description of deep transcendence brings me to tears.”
“Wow, Magnificent! Thank you Tom.”
“A brilliant focusing of the concepts developed through meditation.”
“I always feel so invigorated after these sessions, thank you Tom!”

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Simple Routes to Spiritual Transformation

We tend to talk about spirituality a lot, but what do we actually mean? In some cases, it’s a reference to your soul or your own inner being. It’s that part of you that is independent of your physical existence: the essence of your you-ness and the guiding light that motivates you to be better. If you find yourself on the wrong path – like so many of us do from time to time – spiritual transformation is your route back to happiness, contentment, and fulfillment in life.
 
In the modern era, people are taking their spirituality into their own hands. Today, we’re more likely to search for our own answers to spiritual questions than to try to use religion to explain those things that trouble us. The best part is that there are so many ways to actually explore your own spirituality; you can try as many methods as you like in order to find the one that works the best for you. So long as you are devoting time to developing yourself as a person, you’re sure to feel the inspired as you lead your purposeful life.

What are some of the most common spiritual practises? The following activities can help you to get in touch with your own spirituality:
• Prayer. The act of prayer is common to many of the major religions around the world, which can be done communally or individually. When you pray, you are trying to converse to some greater power or deity, and your words may remain silent in your head, they may be spoken out loud, or they may be sung or chanted. Prayers can take the form of requests for guidance, praise and worship, confession of sinful acts, or expressions of gratitude.

• Yoga. Yoga was originally sourced from Hinduism, but since its ancient origins it hasbeen incorporated into Eastern religions including Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. It has also spread throughout the west as a tenet of new age spirituality. Yoga connects the body, mind, and spirit through specific postures.

• Meditation. Meditation is the cultivation of the mind and it is also a main tenet of many Eastern religions. However, meditation is now being practised all over the world by people who are looking to put an end to their mental unrest, feel real happiness, and find inner Stillness. The incredible popularity of meditation is probably due to the fact that it’s a flexible practise that can be practised pretty much anywhere. The individual need only be committed to the goal of achieving spiritual transformation.

Other spiritual practises include vegetarianism, spending time outdoors, fasting, pilgrimages, and attending religious ceremonies. But how do these practises actually change you for the better?

How Spiritual Practises Can Change You
Perhaps you’ve tried praying, practising yoga, or meditating, with little or no success. Don’t be afraid to admit it if you’ve been intrigued by one or more of the above-mentioned spiritual practises, but never really saw results you expected. Well, the truth about nourishing your spirituality through these activities is that the changes you see in yourself won’t happen overnight. It takes repeated effort in the long-term to really see yourself being spiritually transformed. Once you are committed to your goal of making a change in your life, it can’t hurt to access the resources that are available to you.

Stillness is a meditation-based practice that helps people to cultivate and nourish their own sense of spirituality. It’s based on a practical approach to spiritual transformation in the twenty-first century; one that accepts that we live in a fast-paced world where it’s hard to slow down, even for a moment. Stillness can help you to find that sense of inner peace through access to your very own personalized Stillness Sound. When you use a Stillness Sound to help you meditate, pray, or relax, you will be instantly transported to a state of being that is an expression of your own inner essence – and there it is entirely possible to attain bliss. To find out more about how to bring more stillness to your life below with these 3 free videos:

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Diets & Detoxes for The Mind

 

istock_000013485370smallYou’ve probably heard of the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, the raw diet, the juice diet, the low carb diet and hundreds of other diets.

Then there’s the juice detox, the cabbage soup detox, the raw detox, the 3 day detox the 15 day detox and hundred of other detoxes.

These days there is a big shift towards dieting and detoxing our bodies, and rightfully so, as they hoard toxins and pollutants which need to be eliminated.

But what about the mind?

Have you noticed that the mind also is a storage house for unwanted material? Do we ever consider doing a detox of the mind and clearing out the clutter and junk?

Think of it like going through your in box and removing all the spam, junk and unwanted emails.

We have between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts a day and 85% of them are recurring thoughts from the day before. We are constantly regurgitating the same thoughts over and over again. A lot of those thoughts are negative , self doubting and limiting thoughts that create tight restrictions around the life we are able to create.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do a daily detox to purify the mind and create some space to allow more creative positive thoughts to come through?

I do a detox of the mind twice a day. Once in the morning for 20 minutes and once in the afternoon for 20 minutes. During this detox I sit comfortably, in a quiet place where I won’t be disturbed, close my eyes, and for 20 minutes I repeat a very subtle primordial sound quietly inside my head.

The repetition of this sound quietens the mind and removes the clutter and chatter that clogs up the mind.

In that stillness of the mind, my consciousness connects with a deeper more profound level of awareness, one would say, the Source of thought… Pure Consciousness.

That subtle connection with that field is like dipping a cloth in some dye,  and the mind returns to the surface levels of active thought etched in the colour of that unlimited creative potential.

After this detox I feel refreshed, my mind is clear and I feel more aware and conscious. Its like I’ve deleted all the unwanted emails in my inbox.

This might help you upgrade your mind. Here you can get our free book of inspiring quotes from The Dalai Lama, Buddha and Lao Tzu to elevate your day! Click below and we will send you the book immediately.

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My Son asked me: “Dad, What does it mean to be spiritual?”

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It’s not every day that your 14-year-old son asks you “Dad, What does it mean to be a spiritual person?”
He had my attention! Not quite what I expected for a breakfast conversation.

I paused for a moment thinking about how to respond in a way that would be digestible for a 14 year old.

And so it went…

There are 4 dimensions or planes that you exist through.
1. Physical
2. Emotional
3. Mental
4. Spiritual

Number 1, the physical, or our body, is the most obvious and densest. You can touch it, feel it, and see it. Two, is how we feel, so things like happiness, sadness, anger and fear. Number three is our range of thoughts inside our head. This is like our software that continually gets programmed and reprogrammed from the day we are born. Then four, spiritual, being the lightest and subtlest, which is our unseen, unheard and immeasurable part of us. It’s a part of us that never changes, and can be called the Divine, Spirit or Self with a capital ’S’. Another way to think of this is by using water. It can be ice, water, steam and vapour. And yet it is all the same …H2O

Naturally, most people relate to their physical body as a large part of their identity because it is so tangible and obvious. Yet interestingly it is the one that has the most limitations.

Because our spiritual dimension is so subtle and lacking in density, many people often ignore it. Our attention is easily diverted to the glossiness and glamour of the physical world and then also to the next dense, the world of feeling. However when we allocate our attention to the vast aspect of our spiritual dimension, we discover how unlimited we are.

A spiritual person is someone that is devoting a lot of their time to explore the least tangible and yet unlimited aspect of them. In effect we are all spiritual beings, only some are enthusiastic about discovering more of this realm. Some people are very interested in the intellectual aspect of life, by devouring lots of philosophical books and engaging in stimulating intellectual conversations. Descartes the French philosophy said, “I think therefore I am” so one may assume that he relished exploring his mental plane. Someone like a monk who wants to sit in meditation all day and transcend body, mind and emotions would be considered to be a ‘spiritual person’. However this doesn’t mean we have to be a monk to connect to our spiritual plane.

We all have physical, emotional, mental and spiritual planes. We get to choose how much time and attention we allocate to each part of us. A balanced life would be to attend to all four planes evenly and daily. Here are some examples:
– Physical: Watch what you eat, exercise regularly, rest well and stretch.
– Emotional: Allow your feelings to be expressed without stifling them, however be aware if you are indulging in negative feelings as a way of choice. Be proactive with your feeling level and shift your feeling to lightness and joy.
– Mental: Daily upgrade your software. Many of our thoughts are conditioned into us from our parents, peers, religions, media and colleagues. You can upgrade your thoughts with positive books, lectures, courses and contemplation.
– Spiritual: Transcending in meditation is the portal to our spiritual plane. The spiritual plane is so subtle and intangible, that de-excitation of the mind and body daily in meditation will give you access to this unlimited vastness it.

Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins once said, “I think a spiritual journey is not so much a journey of discovery. It’s a journey of recovery. It’s a journey of uncovering your own inner nature. It’s already there.”  Spirituality is the exploration of that. And this concluded our breakfast conversation and off he went to school.

 

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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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Could Enlightenment Simply Be A Shift In Perception?

The search for enlightenment has taken many people down many windy roads and to many far off lands. Some have immersed themselves in ancient rituals and traditions, in monasteries and temples, ashrams and yoga studios. Some have thrown themselves into fasts and detoxes, meditation techniques, healing and therapy. We’ve gone to the Himalayas of India, the monasteries of Tibet, retreats in Bali, healing in Hawaii, had Ayahuasca Experience of the Amazon, prayed at temples in Thailand, and paid visit to the Zen monks of Japan. Time , money, and energy has been spent in search for this highly prized goal …the big ‘E’….Enlightenment.

What if there was another way? What if it was as simple as shifting your perspective? What if it wasn’t in a place, a technique or a ceremony? Here the wise sage Adyashanti offering another perspective. Check it out below and please share your thoughts below.

If you’d like to receive monthly coaching to keep you on track with life then join us at the Inner Sanctum. These 1 hour coaching and global meditation sessions will elevate and inspire you. This is what others had to say about their Inner Sanctum experience:
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How To Find Enlightenment…

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Enlightenment is much closer to you than you think.

When I first heard about enlightenment, this utopian realm of equanimical bliss and love, I became hungry for that experience. This became my single focus. I wanted to have this experience. I read book after book, went to seminars, talks, energetic healing, chakra cleansing, retreats and I meditated day after day, all the while constantly in search of this nirvana.

Years went by and the bliss and lightness became more of my reality. This spurred me on with my quest. And then, one day, it dawned on me during one of my meditations.

I was experiencing spaciousness, bliss, timelessness, and egoless-ness. It was deep and still. There was no me. There was love and lightness, but no me. Then it dawned on me, that for all those years in my search for enlightenment, I wasn’t trying to find something. What I was really doing was not find something but lose something. I was losing my ego, my false identity, slowly day by day, dissolving the me that identifies with relativity.

What is the ego? It’s the identity that distinguishes itself as different from the ‘other’. It’s the identity that is defined by relating, through the perceptions of ‘others’ and circumstance. It’s the you that has highs and lows or that suffers when expectations aren’t met. It’s the you that worries about the future or regrets about the past. It’s the you that searches for a loving relationship,  the you that is ecstatic when you find it, and miserable when you lose it.

There in that moment in meditation, it became apparent that I had dissolved the ‘thing’ that was impeding my ability to experience my Self. This nirvana was me, is me, and always will be me. I am That. I ‘realised’ that I always was enlightened, it’s the core of who I am. How could I not see or feel it? It was blocked, hidden behind the veil of my ego. But through daily practices that veil slowly dissolved to reveal the very essence of who I was.
That is Light, Love, and Bliss. Non-changing Beingness.

You are already enlightened, it’s not anywhere but already within you. You are That.

Then I concluded my meditation, opened my eyes, and proceeded with my day, dealing with traffic jams, grocery shopping, queues, clashing trolleys, and snarling drivers. In the stimulation and activity, life returned to relativity and so to did the ego. I was responsive and affected by relating. And the journey continues, day by day removing the thing that’s not myself to reveal my SELF.…how fun!

If you’d like to find out more about how to dissolve the veil of the ego through meditation you may like to explore a 21 day meditation program called Faster Deeper Bliss.

You’ll receive daily guidance from me PLUS receive 37 support videos, ebooks,  and a yoga video! By the end of this course you will be totally trained in the art of meditation and living a more peaceful happier life. We receive testimonials like this below every day from all over the world.

“Dear Tom, Just to say you have changed my life! I started meditating with your technique in May of last year. I have been religiously meditating every day. My life has been transformed. I am a better, more peaceful, thoughtful, nicer person. In my 59 years on this planet, I have finally found IT through you. Thank you.” Kate

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One Clip That You Must Watch…

This is one of my favourite videos. It is the very wise words of Alan Watts, the English philosopher.

In this clip you will explore the premise that you are all of  THAT, all of Reality. You are the omnipresence of God, and as Mr Watts says “Only you are pretending that you are not.”

Life is fascinating isn’t it? How did we make it so complex, with so much suffering?

This is 3.38 minutes, and of all of the 3 plus minutes in your day today, this is well worth allocating your attention to.

Enjoy and please share with me what you thought of it by leaving a comment below.


 

If you would like to explore this further you might like to delve into the 7 States of Consciousness. These are advanced levels of awareness that open up within us when we start to meditate. Most people live in only 3 out of the 7 states of consciousness. Why do we ignore those other 4 states of consciousness, how do we discover them, and what is life like when we do experience them?

All of this is revealed in my recent book Spirit & Soul. One reader named Phil says:

“Your book Spirit and Soul was astonishing in it’s clarity and simplicity. It is so revealing and inspiring.” – Phil

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