Friday, October 29, 2010

Healing Hands

The latest thoughts and experiences from my awakening friend, Susan. You can follow along with all her blog posts on this link:

The pain calls my hands towards it. I begin to use the mere technical skills to massage his back in a gliding motion. Then I realize I can do so much more with Spirit’s help. I visualize blood and nutrients flowing from the palm of my hands into the skin of his back. Eyes are closed. Intense but soothing heat projects from hand with the palm being the center and radiating to the fingertips. Fingers start to feel numb. A visible redness can be seen on his skin. I stay there until I feel the need to let go. His relief is immediately felt and continues on through the next day.

Embracing a similar but also different experience during mediation a few days later. Heat radiating from the hands, but in addition to a feeling of vibration. It’s almost as if the heat is pulsing within the palms with a simultaneous low pitched whirring sound. A new experience each time I sit down to intentionally connect with my Creator.

Feeling drained afterwards, but why? It was because I was using my own life source instead of calling upon the infinite Light. Yes, He is inside me, but I quickly realize it is more important to be used as a vessel instead of trying to do all the work myself. How funny it is that we, as mere humans, are stubborn enough to try to heal the world using only what we have instead of looking to the vast and infinite Light to help us along the way. Humble am I.

Susan started to cultivate a deeper relationship with the Creator four years ago when she was introduced to the works of Eckhart Tolle's, "The Power of Now" by Jim Tolles. Her life has been transformed in countless ways since then.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What Is a Spiritual Teacher?

spiritual teacher, moss, tree, old tree, spiritual awakeningOur teaching paradigms have been so messed up for so long that I think it's really important to explain what a spiritual teacher is. Many people are seeking spiritual teachers. But they don't really know what to look for or what to do when they find one. They are acting like beggars looking for illuminated coins to drop from the hands of the teacher. And certainly, you have a lot of people, whom I would term spiritual counselors, doing this. You may become really excited, thinking that you're getting a lot of value. The ego mind is always concerned about gettting something--knowledge, experience, things, identities, etc. It can create a strange scenario where you are actually getting further from the Truth. So let's talk about what a spiritual teacher is.

Your Spiritual Teacher Doesn't Have Your Answers

Just in case years of patriarchy have ingrained in you the idea of robed old dudes being the only spiritual teachers, let's knock that idea right out of you. I'm connected with wonderfully powerful women who are growing into the space of the spiritual teacher. They're freaking amazing and beautiful, and they have just as valuable spiritual wisdom to share with you as male spiritual teachers. End of story.

But whether a spiritual teacher is a man or a woman, that person doesn't have your answers. Sorry. This may be disappointing. The more embodied awareness a teacher has, the less likely the teacher will presuppose to have anything at all. The spiritual teacher understands that this whole process of spiritual awakening is an uncovery--a pulling away of external ego, issues, pain, and so on. It's a recovery of the you buried beneath all the social, emotional, intellectual, and physical contrivances and lies. It's the recovery of you. The path a spiritual teacher points you towards is the one leading you back to you.

Encouragement, Advice, and the Occasional Hug

A spiritual teacher will have plenty of spiritual advice. It's never enforced on you, although it can be emphatically and forcefully said. A spiritual teacher may also incredibly upset you--he or she will know how to ignite issues in you so that you can see them...eventually. You may not understand the process or why you're so pissed at the teacher. But in time as you work with your spiritual teacher, you will understand that the teacher is helping you to heal. That said, the spiritual teacher is not controlling you or making you do stuff out of fear, guilt, or shame. Any so-called teacher who does that is not a teacher at all.

Above all, a spiritual teacher offers lots of encouragement, love, and the occasional hug--or whatever support you need. He or she knows that you're working through a lot of stuff, and you do have to do the work on this path. It doesn't just happen. But with a spiritual teacher, you may find that it is all a little easier to bear, and you will find a lot of compassion emanating from this person.

Levels of Spiritual Teachers

I don't like breaking things into levels because ultimately the further on the spiritual path you walk, the more things blend into oneness. However, given all the spiritual teachers out there, I see a lot of different levels and varieties that I can express in some broad strokes:

  • Intellectual teachers: The intellectual teacher is like a lot of Buddhist teachers. They really give you a lot for your mind to work with in developing a conceptual framework around spirituality.
  • Psychic teachers: They can help you get in touch with past lives, empathetic abilities, the astral plane, angels, spirit guides, and all sorts of energy forms.
  • Heart teachers: These teachers really teach from their hearts. They can show up in just about any spiritual or religious tradition. You may notice that when you're around them that your heart just opens up on its own.
  • Body teachers: Hatha yoga and Western Tantra teachers are great examples of body teachers. They really understand the body and spirit connection. Sometimes, getting just a hug from a body teacher can be a powerful thing because how they teach best is often through their bodies and touch.
Obviously, there is plenty of overlap. Boundaries are illusory, but you'll start to see where people are strongest and what type of teacher will help you most. If you've already figured out a lot of intellectual truths of the spiritual path, having an intellectual spiritual teacher will not be particularly useful. Hopefully, however, you're clear in your mind and haven't simply created a lot of seemingly "spiritual" concepts to hide the ego. This happens all too often in which case you still need an intellectual spiritual teacher and will have to go through the process of tearing down these new concepts that you had adopted.

Finally, many people offer multiple aspects, and some few are powerful intellectual, heart, body, and psychic (or subtle energy) spiritual teachers. Finding spiritual teachers like this is probably more of a personal preference than a necessity, and you should wait to find the perfect spiritual teacher before getting started on your own spiritual work.

Evolving Through Multiple Spiritual Teachers

Making a commitment to the spiritual path is key. That path, however, isn't necessarily a commitment to one person. The only person you are truly committing to you is you--your divine self. As such, you may work with different spiritual teachers as you evolve and grow.  One teacher will help you with your heart, the next may help you to understand your mind. This isn't done willy-nilly. Letting go of a spiritual teacher should be done with as much grace and reverence as stepping into that space. Honor the person who has shared so deeply with you, and let them know if you are concluding your work with this person. To do so keeps the space clean and helps you to set appropriate boundaries. Oddly enough, if you don't, some spiritual teachers may still try to contact you or interact in some way as a spiritual teacher even though you're no longer regularly meeting.

Lastly, committing to one spiritual teacher isn't a bad thing. I want to be clear that you aren't looking to find the latest and greatest flavor of the month with your spiritual teacher. Since things can get intense, many of you with commitment issues need to stay dedicated to the teacher and teaching you've chosen. If you run away, you will not heal the issues that need to be confronted.

Finding More Advanced Spiritual Teachers

Because Western Society often operates on the assumption that bigger is better, I want to emphasize that you don't need the most powerful spiritual master in the world to teach you. You simply need the person who meets you best where you are now. I know that can't really be measured or evaluated in a solid way, but that's just another reason why listening to your inner knowing when choosing a spiritual teacher is so important.

You can get a sense for how powerful a spiritual teacher is the clearer you are about yourself. Initially, you probably will think certain people are more powerful than they actually are. In such an instance, the power you see is how much you have to learn from them. When you complete those lessons, the scales fall from your eyes, and you'll see more about where they are in their own growth. A spiritual teacher is still a person after all, and this person is growing and evolving in their own divine way and divine timing.

Here's how I break down levels of spiritual awareness among spiritual teachers:

  1. Spiritual Teacher Level 1: Knows the Path Because S/He Learned It from a Teacher or Book. This individual has been taught. This teacher filed away all the knowledge and is now repeating it. This pretty much defines 90% of spiritual teachers. For example, someone taught them the Bible, and now they are repeating that. There is nothing wrong with this, and it can help you to expand your spiritual understanding. In many ways, this type of spiritual teacher is a defender and preserver of their faith. They ensure that it is passed on as they learned.
  2. Spiritual Teacher Level 2: Knows the Path Because S/He Experienced Some of It. This teacher may have some intellectual background or may not. (Intellectual understanding isn't a prerequisite to spiritual teaching, btw.)  This individual has probably experienced a few profound moments, and s/he is sharing them with others to help them find those experiences in their lives. This individual is likely to be interested in rituals, spiritual retreats, somatic experiences, and other spiritual activities that allow the person to engage with spirituality in a meaningful, experiential way. This type of spiritual teacher is also likely to focus on the spiritual tool or path that helped them to experience their original profound moment. It would be like a yoga teacher who had an amazing yoga experience, and they now teach yoga to others in hopes of helping their students experience the same type of thing.
  3. Spiritual Teacher Level 3: Knows the Path Because S/He Embodies It. In embodying awareness, this teacher is conscious on multiple levels in soul, mind, heart, and body. The other two teachers are less likely to be aware on all levels. There is quite a variety of embodied spiritual teachers, however, and there are many depths of self-realization in the heart, body, mind, and soul. This makes the level 3 spiritual teachers very unique from each other, which you would expect as someone fully embraces who they are. This teacher also can use many different types of spiritual tools because they sense what spiritual tools work best and when to reveal the truth for a student.

The Spiritual Master: A Rare Find

Finally, we come to the spiritual master. The spiritual master radiates energy. When she or he enters the room, the room shifts. The presence of the master can call out darkness almost immediately and open new ways to embodied expression. This is a powerful, powerful person, and this type of person is one whom you only seek when all else but the spiritual path matters to you. By the time you are with a teacher at the 3rd level, that should be your mindset, but with the master, you won't be the same just by being in the same room.

Spiritual masters don't have to teach. Many of them will be at peace being in the now and not have any motivation to teach. As such, the master spiritual teacher is a rare find.

For more on this topic, you can read my blog called: "Spiritual Masters."

The False Spiritual Teacher and Cult Leaders

It's unfortunate, but false spiritual teachers do exist in the world. They use their authority to get things from other people whether it is sex, money, or something else. Some false teachers create communities and become cult leaders. While I don't see these people as numerous, they can be dangerous, and so it is important to simply know that they exist. They thrive off of controlling others, and they often tell their followers that they are their followers doorway to the divine, enlightenment/awakening, or something else. But this is not true. All of your wisdom is within you, and you are always in the arms of God. Anyone so-called spiritual teacher who claims that you are not good enough as you are or that you aren't able to access the Divine on your own should raise warning flags in your mind.

For more on the topic of false spiritual teachers and cult leaders, please check out this blog post:

A Great Spiritual Ally on the Path

A spiritual teacher should be seen as a powerful ally and not a friend. Many people confuse the space by trying to make the teacher their friend. A spiritual teacher can only be considered a friend in the highest regard because s/he is helping you to find the deepest and purest truth within you. Unlike the typical friend, a spiritual teacher may thrust you into difficult parts of yourself so that you face your darkness. A spiritual teacher may say many things that upset you. There is no ego coddling from spiritual teachers--especially the more advanced they are. We know that you won't want to waste one more second being trapped if you truly understood what spiritual freedom is and what you were missing being trapped in all your pain and lies.

So we help you to destroy illusion and cut away lies. It's all part of helping you come into your true life and to life from a space of deep love, acceptance, and peace. In that way, the spiritual teacher is the best friend you'll ever have.

Many, Many Amazing Spiritual Teachers at Your Fingertips

In no age have spiritual teachers been so readily available. In centuries past, you had your one priest or local rabbi or someone else, and that was it in your town. The Internet has changed all of that. Be grateful of this gift and use it.

Obviously, I am one of many spiritual teachers, and I encourage you to take a chance if you feel called to work with me or another spiritual teacher. Your freedom and your love are worth it, and you can reach me via my contact form if you are interested in working with me.

Be well. Be free.

Next blog: What Is God?

For more on the topic of the spiritual teacher, you can check out this YouTube video:

Falling in Love with Yourself

In my last post, I didn't get as much into the power of relationships as I wanted. Needless to say, groups of people do amazing things. Relationships make up the world whether it's in a non-profit, family, corporation, social club, sports team, or other collection of people. There's so very little that we actually do on our own. That's why having a clear heart and a lot of love is so important. From this space, you dictate the relationships around you--I know dictate is a strong word, but I'm trying to make a point. How you are in your heart has a profound effect on the people around you, how they interact with you, and who you draw to you. So, you see, the power of relationships really starts with you.

Self-Love: The Forgotten Love of Your Life
Rumi is a Sufi best known for his love poetry. Much of Sufi writing is intricate word play, and since we aren't reading in the language in which it is written, we miss out on some essentials. Sufism is interested in experiential awakening, and that undercurrent is in a lot of their writing. This poem comes to mind for today's topic:

"The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along."


Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi (The Illuminated Rumi)

People like to look at this poem in the romantic sense, and Rumi is sly enough to give that to those who want to see that and who would not understand the deeper meaning. But if you're reading this blog, I know you're looking for that deeper meaning. The way I interpret this is that your deepest and most profound love is in you. You are the lover and the beloved. You divorce yourself from your beloved when you think that you need a relationship or that you need a partner to give you love. Certainly romantic relationships have lots of beautiful things to offer, but the greatest love you can ever experience is already within you, waiting.

Look at it this way: think of how you feel when you first fall in love. It's a gorgeous feeling, but is that feeling coming from outside you or from within. Your feelings are already inside. Your love is already inside you. Your partner is an excuse--a beautiful excuse--to allow yourself the feelings of love.

Owning Your Love
In my experiences, as I've allowed myself to open to love that I already have, I have these amazing moments of spontaneous love. There's no reason for them. Love doesn't need a reason. Reasons for love are how the mind keeps our hearts trapped from fully expressing themselves. Love just happens for me. I can be sitting in my car at a stop light, meditating, talking with someone, or in any other situation. Then there's this wave of love that is almost inexpressible, and I'm smiling uncontrollably.

He Makes It Sound So Easy; I Can't Do That
Oh, I hear you little ego-mind. I hear you trying to shut out love from your life. I hear you not owning your responsibility to your heart. Squirming and writhing, you're really upset. You want this feeling. You're not angry at me. You're angry at you--angry that you've trapped yourself in an icy prison.

And it has taken me a lot of work to get out my own prison. I'm a former inmate. Perhaps you're a former inmate totally vibing off the energy of what I'm saying, or maybe you're still in the prison. Well, you've got the key. It's in your pocket, but you've also set up all the defense mechanisms--all the reasons that you can't feel love in this moment. It's up to you to disarm the alarm, sneak past the guard dogs, and subdue all other resistance. You need to escape from Alcatraz; later, you'll have to start destroying Alcatraz, but that's another story.

Okay, Already, But How Do I Do This? How Do I Love Myself?
Everyone has their own path. You will have to find yours. I saw a friend post on her Facebook page about looking at herself naked in the mirror. That can be a powerful process to come into acceptance and then into love with your body. You could write down all your excuses about why you can't feel love now and why you need a situation and/or a partner to feel love. Look at those excuses and know that they're illusory. You probably won't believe it at first. Your internal programming is probably too well-established. You will have to break down that programming that says "You're not deserving" for what ever reason. It's all lies.

Along the way, you're going to start discovering all the relationships, activities, and work that you do that doesn't love you. Working out too much comes to mind as one way. We can all get caught up trying to make our bodies look a certain way to get social approval. Grueling work-outs can be a form of self-hate and self non-acceptance. You could bring more heart into your work-outs to find out what actually feels good to you as opposed to what you think you should do (This advice is best for those who are used to working out. If you are just starting out, well, pretty much all work-outs kinda suck. It has to do with moving low energy, but that's another topic and an important process in its own right).

Evolving Heart Consciousness in the World
The emerging consciousness in the world is opening a lot of hearts these days. It's an amazing and powerful process that people are feeling everywhere. As you delve into yourself and look at how you can authentically love yourself, you should know that you're not alone. People all around you are experiencing this too, and as we re-awaken and evolve our hearts together, we are changing the world.

Next blog: Falling in Love with the World 

The lovely heart picture for this spiritual love blog post comes from my student, Jenn.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Power of Relationships

I'm about to transition this series of blogs from personal power into matters of the heart. The power in relationships is a perfect vehicle for this transition (and if you're just tuning in, check out this link and the blogs under the section Building a Spiritual Foundation to get into the flow of the posting).

Relationship Abuse
Power and relationships is kind of an icky subject, so I'm going to go right after why this can make people uncomfortable. Quite simply, relationships have been heavily abused. At this point, I'm not even talking about the really hard core stuff of physical abuse like domestic violence. I'm starting at the subtler points where people use, manipulate, and try to control others for their personal gain.

How about a simple scenario? Two friends are walking down the street, and one wants to go into a store. She says to her friend, Jane, "I want to check this out." Jane balks, saying, "Cathy, can't we keep going? We've already checked out so many stores." Cathy says, "This will be the last one, I promise." Jane's reply: "That's what you said at the last store. You always do this to me." Cathy says, "You're such a slacker. We've hardly been anywhere. Just come on already." And Cathy goes into the store and Jane sullenly follows.

You may have picked out Jane as the victim here, but both women are victims of relationship abuse. Their egos are caught in a tug of war to get what they want. One wants to do something, and another doesn't want to do something. It gets acted out further with the "you" statements: "You're such a slacker." You know how this story goes. At some point, you've probably been a part of this type of scenario. And while relationships should be matters of the heart, you can hear how the ego and its drive for power over any situation is the one calling the shots.

Additional Relationship Abuse Examples
Let's keep going just in case you're squirming and trying to get out of realizing where you've gotten into this relationship abuse. Pretty much almost all of us have at some point. The social programming in this culture is so ego-driven that we're doing it pretty unconsciously. So when we get in an argument at work and want to win it, ego is trying to manipulate our co-workers, employers, and employees. The work world is exceptionally bad for people using other people to get what they want. In some of these instances, abusers do understand that relationships are powerful, but they are using that power to the ego's demands like increasing the profit margin or protecting their jobs. Domestic violence is another example of relationship abuse, typically done by men to women, but not always. I would like to add domestic emotional violence to this list. This often is how women strike back at men--by manipulating their feelings, guilt-tripping, and so forth to get what they want. You can add examples if you like, but you get the drift.

Realigning the Heart with the Ego
I've already said that ego is not evil; it's just a tool. The heart itself needs to have balance, and the ego can provide that. A person with unchecked heart energy can be extremely effusive, flowing from extremes of happiness to extremes of sadness. This person may feel everything in the room. This isn't healthful. The ego can help hold and protect the heart with good boundaries. The heart teaches the ego to be soft and to move from love. You can start to feel a shift in the writing, can you not?

The softness and strength of the heart is a powerful space, and as we build into the next set of blogs about love, relationships, and the heart, you'll start to become aware of how you've avoided it, met it, or be over-run by it. The heart leads us towards our greatest loves and passions, and when it's at the forefront and balanced, the relationships that come into our lives are very powerful. Power is not evil, by the way. In a relationship, we simply have been given the ability to influence others. Earning this right is part of it, and then holding that power with integrity is essential. Take any good leader, and you can see the power that they have with the people who follow them. When it is done with heart and ethically, these leaders can change the world. In friendships, you can ask a friend to help you move, and s/he does it because they love you.

The Third and Fourth Chakra Balance
It's important to decide what kind of relationships you want in life. However, it is also important to look at the relationships that you've attracted thus far. How do you wield your relationship power within your family, your workspace, your friends, and among strangers? Write down your thoughts. It'll be interesting if you walk down this spiritual path to see how this shifts. If you want to talk to me more about tools to balance your heart and your ego, you can contact me here.

But I think we all know that this is an essential part of our growth and the growth of the world. We can no longer use each other so mercilessly. We need to build our relationships with kindness and love in a meaningful, balanced way. As we all do this, the world around us will shift, and more love and beauty can then begin to manifest in all areas of our lives.

Next blog: Falling in Love with Yourself 

Today's picture comes from my student, Jenn. Thanks!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Achieving Your Goals and the Power of Manifestation

One of the bigger achievements for people is to realize a goal or a dream. This is a powerful process. To take something from the formless (an idea) and to turn it into a reality that can be interacted with is incredibly energizing. In many ways, writing is a regular practice for me in doing this, but I've had other bigger moments where I got to see a hope, dream, or thought manifest in the world.

People Defined By Their Deeds
At this point in the discussion of cultivating a spiritual awakening, we're at the point where you are your deeds. This is a transitory period, but an important period nonetheless. Most of Western society is, however, stuck at this point. There's a great line in Batman Begins that illustrates this when Batman says to Rachel, "It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me." Yep. That's where most people are. In later blog posts, I'll take apart that notion. But in the progression that I'm building, it is important to achieve goals in the physical world. This is an establishment of your personal power and energizes you as a creative and dynamic being.

If you've been around a lot of heart-based teachers, you probably don't understand why I'm talking about setting goals in relationship to spiritual awakening. You're like, "Shouldn't things just happen." Nope. There's almost always an active co-creation process between you and the universe to bring things in your life. You have to do your part. Every now and then, the universe exercises grace upon us to help us out, but I don't typically recommend waiting around for that.

In any event, I'm not talking about making an awakening a goal. I'm talking about setting goals for yourself for things that you want. If you want to run a jewelry business, then set a goal of starting a jewelry business. If you want a husband or a wife, set a goal of creating that relationship. It's not that you're becoming cold and calculating in this, but it's more than just putting out an amorphous intention and waiting for the universe to come knock on your door. It usually doesn't work that way, but as I said, every now and then you'll get a bone thrown your way. It just may not be the bone you wanted.

The Power of Manifestation
As you develop as a person as well as a spiritual being, knowing how to create the life you want and actualize goals is incredibly empowering. One of the pivotal moments for me was in college. I was in a writer's group that decided it wanted to make a literary anthology. An anthology hadn't been made in seven years, so we pretty much had no idea what we were doing. I happened to be President of the group, and we banded together to do all the fundraising (I never want to sell a bag of frozen cookie dough again, thank you), designing, soliciting of art and writing, bidding on the project, and presenting before the student government for additional financing. It was a heck of an undertaking in my senior year (as you might have guessed, I was a little busy getting ready for graduation). But we did it.

In doing so, I remember one point where I knew that we were in it and couldn't go back very easily. I was like, "Oh my God. How is this going to work?" But six months later, it did. I saw how I could be part of something brand new and undefined and be a guiding force in taking an idea like creating a literary anthology to make it happen. In many ways, this was a very grounding success. It showed me that I could have tangible success in the real world, and I definitely carried this into my career through confidence. That confidence got me a lot of jobs and a lot of leeway to try new things. My bosses trusted my judgment. You see, things really build up off of these moments in our lives, and to be strong in your personal power and ability to make things happen in the world is essential to your spiritual development, especially as things start to shift in your life.

This Still Doesn't Sound Very Spiritual
This is practical spirituality. This is living in the real world. The awakening coming into being in this world isn't going to let everyone go run for the monasteries like in centuries past. It's right that this awareness stays in the world and not hidden. It's where we need it. You may be a spiritual plumber, stay-at-home mom, computer engineer, president, janitor, or any other designation. You're going to need to know how to make stuff happen in your life--not just sit and meditate and pray for hours.

Honing your power of manifestation is also a valuable checkpoint as you build your spiritual foundation. Being able to not just take care of your basic needs, but to be a guiding force to achieve what you want in life is deeply empowering. It's a fire that you can take with you to move through obstacles in life and in yourself. It gives you a deep sense of self-belief without which you will have great difficulty in awakening. Because at awakening, everything falls apart. It's a beautiful kind of destruction, and only the things true to who you really are will stay. Some things will be scaffolding that get you to a certain point. Your goals will likely be scaffolding, but the personal belief and deep trust in yourself will likely remain and be a core internal energy that helps you to withstand the rigors of waking up.

Next blog: The Power of Relationships


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Taming Your Intellectual Power

The chakra (energy center) system typically puts ego and the mind in the third chakra. Personally, I consider it more of a combination of the 6th chakra and the 3rd chakra. The 6th is located at your third eye--a space above the bridge of your nose at the middle of your lower forehead. Usually, the 6th chakra is considered the space of your imagination and your intuition. To me, that's just a little too narrow and a little too right brain-focused. I like to think of the 6th as all the faculties of the mind, which link down to other aspects of our energy system. As I said in earlier posts, I take a lot of different systems and synthesize them to make them useful for me. I'm interested in helping you heal and awaken, and if it means creating a bridge out of baling wire, gum, and cereal boxes, then I'm going to do it if it works for you.

In any event, intellectual power in Western society has been out of control for some time. People are entirely too caught up in their intellectual egos, but intellectual power is an important force. Let's take a moment to talk about how we can bring it back into alignment and service with spirit.

Ego Does Not Equal Evil
Lately, a lot of teachers have really expounded against the ego. It's a natural reaction to the megalomania that has infiltrated itself into society. Everyone wants to be the greatest. Look at the television show American Idol. These poor kids go up there to become these huge icons. Is that happiness? Is that true to who they really are? Or are they just caught up in this fixation with superficial beauty and artificial greatness? People often wonder how the famous can so quickly fall into drugs and other harmful practices, but I get it. They've gone looking for fulfillment, but have followed the path of ego and the programming of society. They are now poorer on the spiritual level and constantly grasping for something to make them feel alive again.

But with all that said, ego is not the problem. Ego is a car. You can drive it off a cliff or drive it to your grandparents. It's just at some point we put it on ego auto-pilot, and we just decided that its programming knew better than our own inner guidance. Either that, or we hooked it up to someone's tow truck to take us somewhere because we thought they knew better than we did. Well, they don't. The ego is a vehicle. You need to get into the driver's seat, take responsibility for the ego you've created, and take the wheel.

Putting Your Ego Up on Blocks and Doing a 5-Point Inspection
Not sure why the car metaphor is so strong today, but anyhoo.... First, you need to stop moving. You need to look in the mirror and take stock. Who have you become? Why do you think you need to be this? Take a long time. For some of you, just doing this will immediately catch you attention. It may be shocking. You may feel anything from being a ruined mess to slightly off-course. You may also realize that you're very beautiful. Your emotions may run the whole gamut, including feeling like you don't know yourself anymore. But this is your creation. All the clothes, hair styles, workouts, and what not have all been part of your creation of this you--this outward ego.

Inside, it gets muckier. You start to listen to the thoughts you've been saying about yourself. You start to hear the programming. In Don Miguel Ruiz's tradition, you are listening to what he calls, "The Voice of Knowledge." This voice isn't necessarily knowledgeable--it's the ego voice that has been talking to you your whole life. At this point, sitting to meditate with your eyes closed can be really helpful. In meditation, you can practice separating yourself from the thoughts and the stories this voice tells you. You may even recognize the voice as that of your father or mother's voice. It doesn't matter who it sounds like though. You are beginning to engage with it and take ownership of it. In meditation, you start to work on creating the space for you--the witness, the one who watches the thoughts because you are not your thoughts.

Your Intellectual Power as Gateway to Enlightenment
It must be said that your intellectual power can be a gateway to enlightenment. When your mind becomes a tool of spiritual awareness and your ego is turned toward the aspiration of awakening, the fire of the third chakra and the focus of your mind become an incredible ally. The ego and mind can become a means to healing issues, finding spiritual tools, and enacting change in your life. The ego and mind won't get you enlightenment. They won't awaken you. You can't think your way through it, but you can get to the doorstep.

Look at it this way. You are creating a mind frame that questions, "Hey, why did I yell at that person?" But it doesn't stop there. Creating what I call a spiritual ego can set up a new program to bring awareness to pain in your body, your energy system, and your heart. It begins running a new process instead of the pain of: "Well, it's that person's fault. He was a jerk. He's always a jerk. I hate him." That's the old self-defensive mechanism that so many people are ingrained with. The old programming also can go a masochistic direction for some people, going: "I'm worthless. I'm bad. I'm mean. I shouldn't yell at people. I should keep quiet." The new process says, "I got really activated about this. What did this person do? They disagreed with me. Why don't I like being disagreed with? I feel like we're not going to succeed on this project if my idea isn't used. What happens if you don't succeed on this project? I'll get in trouble."

You see how this goes. We've already drilled down to an underlying issue of rejection. But it probably goes deeper. Probably, you'll end up in some initial moment in your life where being wrong would lead to being rejected.

Taming the Intellectual Beast: The Ox Returns to Pulling the Cart
For many people, you've got a lot of work to do to grab this bull by the horns. For others, you may have been avoiding your intellectual talents. Perhaps, you weren't given adequate means to develop your mind. Perhaps, you've been frightened by the use of the mind and ego by others so you've given up your responsibility to develop your own will and mind. You've been letting other people tell you what to do. Lastly, you may also have simply preferred to live in a different energy level. A lot of people focus on their bodies (professional athletes, dancers, etc.) or on their hearts (healers, counselors). For those who have not stretched your intellectual mind, I encourage you to begin to do so.

When the intellectual power is owned and the ego tamed, it can create a structure and focus to your spiritual process. It becomes the house that weathers storms and allows your other gifts to grow and expand in safety. The mind and ego are powerful, powerful tools. Bringing them back from the insanity that they've reached in Western society is so very important. In doing so, you'll have established an amazing foothold in your ability to process, to grow, and to expand your life--not just in spirituality, but in general.

Next Post: Achieving Your Goals and the Power of Manifestation

Friday, October 22, 2010

Everyday Spirituality

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All my posts and my general methodology is intended to be practical. At heart, my philosophy is to help people find the spiritual tools that meet their needs within the restraints of their given situations. Whether those restraints can be bent, changed, or broken isn't the point initially to building a spiritual practice. Those types of changes come later.

What Is Everyday Spirituality?
Everyday spirituality essentially says this:

  1. There are already plenty of great spiritual practices and religious systems.
  2. Everyone is different and has different needs and affinities.
  3. Spirituality should meet an individual on their level in a meaningful way and be practical in a person's everyday living.

Everyday spirituality blends together different spiritual traditions depending on what is useful and is needed for someone. For instance, someone who needs to open up their voice and better express themselves may do really well with Kirtan chanting or joining a church choir. If someone lives in an area without any groups doing Kirtan chanting, then it's silly to tell the person that they have to open up their voice using that tool. There are lots of ways of doing this, and perhaps there's an opening to sing in a local church choir that could meet that need.

Integrating Heart, Body, Mind, and Soul
Integral yoga systems have shined a light down this corridor, and I am interested in taking spirituality further in this direction. So many spiritual systems stay focused on the mind or high state experiences, but the gift of being a fully embodied spiritual being is to be awakened throughout your whole being: heart, body, mind, and soul. To this end, my teaching and our work together is intended to fully integrate your soul with you in the physical world.

Everyday Spirituality Is Not a New System or Dogma
My goodness there are so many systems out there, and there are so many new systems springing up to deal with the awakening going on globally. We don't need another system. We have plenty of pieces to the puzzle. We just need to put them together in meaningful ways. I have no interest in creating another doctrine or dogma to mold people in. I have no interest in telling anyone to do it the way I prescribe. I am offering what I've experienced, what I know to be true, and what I intuitively know to be true. My gift is in seeing people clearly and offering the tools that I am aware of so that they can create their own system. In creating their own systems, it's important to understand that those systems will be temporary. A spiritual practice or system is scaffolding; it helps to build your connection to the divine. When the connection is fully made, the scaffolding can be removed.

Spirituality Is Not One-Size-Fits-All
You know, I don't know who clothing is designed for. As a tall guy, so much of it doesn't fit me right. I'm sure you've had the same experiences with clothing, and you may have had the same experiences with religion and spirituality. I encourage you to mix and match your spiritual outfits. Do a Buddhist meditation in the morning, have a tantra sexual practice in the afternoon, and then consult a psychic in the evening. On the weekends, go to a moving meditation class and then practice mindful eating through those two days. There are so many different tools, and they all lead back to the same deeper sense of presence in the moment and connection to the divine. If you are fortunate enough that one spiritual tradition meets all your needs, then that's absolutely fantastic. There's nothing wrong with that, so enjoy. You've found your new spiritual community.

Connecting With Me
If what I write resonates with you, please feel free to connect with me on this link. I teach and guide through the phone and online (and in person if you happen to live in Northern California). I really am interested in you discovering your path, but I do understand how confusing and intimidating "spirituality" can be because of misperceptions and society's rigidity. I am happy to help you find what you need to get clear and get started, but the other part of all this practicality is that you have to do the work. Without the regular effort and intention, little can manifest in your life. Working on yourself helps you get to the doorway of awakening.

In a book called, "The Sufis," the author describes how important it is to get the right understanding and spiritual framework. Within that framework, you create the crucible for awakening. Awakening you cannot force. It's a sacred reaction--an awe-inspiring alchemy that happens at the direction of the divine. But if nothing else, in working with me, I hope we can create a healthy spiritual practice that allows you to feel more connected to your life, your work, your family, to the universe, and to you.

If you're just starting out, you can read more blog posts to help you build that spiritual framework and cultivate an awakening on this link.

The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Biggest Spiritual Expansion I've Experienced so Far

A friend of mine suggested that I add other voices to this blog awhile back, and while I haven't gotten that friend to do so just yet, the idea opened up a possibility for me--the possibility to begin to turn the blog into more of a chorus than a solo song. So here is the first new chord in this melody. I want to introduce you to my dear friend Susan, whom I've actually never met in person. I've had the amazing experience of watching her spiritual awakening from afar via social networks, emails, and phone conversations, and I must say I am astonished on a regular basis. She is becoming this increasingly radiant and bright soul who has shown the courage to face her fear, her despair, and her grief. While holding space for that, she also found the courage to make space for awakening, spirit, and deep love. It is igniting her.

Okay, I've nearly talked too much, but I want to set the frame for the beautiful new words that follow and will come in future blog post.

Light coming through me from the earth, the concrete, sole of shoe, and piercing up through the heels like a bolt, an explosion of energy--making its way up through the arteries of the legs and through every chakra.

Expansion. Unimaginable expansion beaming from within and radiating outward into layers of bubbles surrounding my whole being. The bubbles are thin but strong at the same time. My being passes through each one as if I am passing through each part of myself, feeling incredible energy flow through me. Visions appear at the base of each bubble. Infant turning into flower, but it isn’t the flower you and I know. Visions I cannot recall now that this surreal experience has passed.

I am not my body. I am displaced like thousands of microorganisms holding this energy. Lower densities sense the darkness of the room, the blur of the circle of people around me, the lull of my spiritual guide’s voice. Yet, the bubbles continue to expand to the point where I feel scared. Scared isn’t even a proper word. The feeling is so foreign. It overwhelms me. If only there was a more positive word than being scared. Wanting to stop the guide’s voice and direct everyone’s attention to what I am experiences. Is this real? Is this the new reality that I thought I beginning to know, but haven’t really experienced until now? Wanting to cry. Wanting to know if the others can feel this too. Wanting to invite them in to share it with me, since even trying to define this experience is diminishing its value as I write.

Spiritual guide, bring me back to my body. What a wonderful experience but how do I come back? Eyes are open yet the bubbles are still growing outward. A few tears of joy roll down my cheek. Maybe they can express this feeling. Can you feel this teacher? Yes I can. He pokes at the bubble as he sits to my right. The ripple effect. I can almost see the indentation. How clear the lining is. What is this? How miraculous. How ridiculous that I have been chosen to see this and embrace it as this time. Freaking out. Every fiber of my being says this is foreign yet it is home. Wonder if Martin Luther ever experienced such a thing.

Higher vibrations continue to resonate. They always have, just never had the awareness, true awareness, until now. The vocal vibration of the “Ong” of the group facilitated me to get to this place. What a simple sound yet profound. Still not grounded. Not wanting this experience to leave. Watching as the others talk amongst themselves, cuddled in their bodies again like swaddled babies. I’m beside myself. Teacher knows.

Lays hands on the top of my feet as he kneels to the earth, where it all began. Slowly, one, two or more layers descend back to me. Yet that is not enough. I feel drunk, high. Head feels fuzzy.  Yet it is so much more than that. Feel drained, yet at peace.  Bag of stones placed in my hands. The layers of bubbles fall much faster now. Heat from my hands radiate into the stone.

I am back to earth. Feeling in my body, my toes. Trying to decipher what just happened, although no judgment or definition needs to be made. It is beautiful. I can remember what it was like, although it wasn’t as intense as the moment it happened. Will I feel it again? To this extent? Blessing from God. Lord thank you for this.

Susan started to cultivate a deeper relationship with the Creator four years ago when she was introduced to the works of Eckhart Tolle's, "The Power of Now" by Jim Tolles. Her life has been transformed in countless ways since then.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Claiming Your Personal Power

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Abuse of power has been rampant for centuries. It's occurred on the macro-level with wars across the globe, and it's occurred at the interpersonal level with unkindness in relationships of all sorts. It makes this blog more important in some ways because to embody an awakening will require a lot of firepower. The third chakra--your solar plexus--is representative of fire, and it's the seat of personal power. This is the fire that can help you drive through issues and burn away obstacles. It teaches you how to manifest in the world and to be strong in yourself.

Building Physical Power
When I say "physical," I'm generally referring to any power in the physical world. It also refers to power within your body, and in my personal viewing of the chakras (which really is unique to me and not tied tightly to any system), your relationship with your body can be one of the primal and basic ways of building your physical power.

I already talked about creating a relationship with your body in a very 1st chakra way. The first chakra is concerned about the basic needs for the body. Building power isn't very interesting to it. As long as you've got food in your tummy and are relatively healthy, you're good to go. But at this level of developing personal power, exercise and activities that help you to cultivate and focus your body's physical power can be extremely rewarding, especially if you haven't done this yet in your life. If you haven't done this yet, then jogging, yoga, weight-lifting, biking, hiking, or whatever you do probably seems like an excruciating experience. Good. When you start doing them regularly and see what you can do, it'll be a powerful experience. You'll get to see that, "Yes, I can do this!"

An Early Victory in Personal Power
Personally, I was somewhat active growing up, but I wasn't the little kid constantly running everywhere. I played baseball--and well, it's baseball. When you're standing in the outfield with a windchill of 20 degrees in early spring, you're not getting much exercise. I did have a couple of can do moments, winning some key games as a pitcher, but the bigger "Holy crap! My body is really strong" moment came before my freshman year in high school.

I'd happened to have fallen in with a bunch of guys who were going out for the football team by the end of middle school. I was a tall kid, and well, it's football. Size matters. So I got enrolled in summer weights, and I met my first real physical test of my life. Three hours of intense cardio, lifting, and more cardio with no background in exercise was certainly a shock to the system, which left my doubled-over examining breakfast a couple of times (Yes, I know. I'm being graphic--just keeping it real here). And the first two weeks were grueling, but by the fourth week, I had done it. I was in shape and feeling good at the end of practice as we started catching passing from one of the coaches. I saw what I could do with my body, and it felt good.

Physical Power: Good Habits Stick Around Too
One thing about good habits and childhood lessons is that they stick around. A lot of people on the spiritual path end up having to focus on the bad ones--all the bad programming that has kept us from healing and continues cycles of pain. But there are usually some good lessons in there too. While football didn't work out for me (don't roll your eyes--it sounded fun at the time), I kept the workout ethic. It also became the basis of some strong relationships like my good friend from college, Stan, and my brother. It helped me to feel strong and powerful. I felt like I was able to take on a lot of challenges, and it provided a coping mechanism to clear out stress. While my workout routine has changed a lot in recent years, that internal barometer for what I need to do to feel healthy and the tenacity to do it remains.

I Can Do It
As you come into a spiritual practice, you're going to hit snags. There will be hard moments. This is where the value of having a strong sense of personal power in your body is so crucial. All those wonderful little endorphins kick in after a workout that say to you in the face of difficulty, "Yes, I can." And you can. But be sure to find a workout that fits you. It should be rigorous at times, but not grueling. Winning marathons won't necessarily get you anywhere on this path. It all leads back to you eventually. But where you win is finding this core of strength that likes to show up in the physicality of life, and in doing so, you've added one more tool to your toolbox to help you transmute difficulty and to walk confidently.

Next blog: Taming Your Intellectual Power 

The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. Please feel free to check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Finding Your Creativity

Building off the last post about sexuality, I'm focusing on igniting and harnessing creativity. Sexuality and creativity go hand in hand: sex creates life. But there is more to the idea of creativity than bringing babies into the world. In the spiritual process, I've found that creativity is essential to moving into and through an awakening.

What Is Creativity?
Flowing from the second chakra, creativity enriches our lives with a passion for new endeavors and new relationships. Creativity is often thought of in terms of art and writing. There's no doubt that those are embodied forms of creativity, and as I've mentioned, sex is one of the penultimate creative processes that we can engage in as human beings. But creativity can appear in virtually any situation that you're making something new, be it a business, a computer program, or a new bathroom. Creativity is simply the act of creating.

Creativity and Spiritually Awakening
Creativity is absolutely essential on so many levels with a spiritual awakening. In an awakening, you are re-creating yourself. You are rebirthing yourself. That's a powerful and intense process, and to walk down the path to ignite the awakening, you're actively deciding to engage in this self re-creation. This requires a lot of determination and passion to do so. You have to really, really want it. It's not an easy road because each of us has to do it for the first time. You'll need to create a lot of the steps and situations to bring it to fruition. You can't follow someone else's formula entirely, and no matter how many other people awaken, your awakening will be uniquely yours.

Creativity as a Processing Tool
I haven't talked too much about processing in these posts, but it's an integral piece of the puzzle. Processing is absorbing the lessons that you've learned and the energy moving into your life in a meaningful way to you. It helps you to fully integrate all the things that have happened in your life. As you do so, other issues can move or fall away. You stand more fully in your light.

One of the big problems that I see in committed seekers is an inability to stop and just process. This literally can mean lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling. I know. Not very exciting, but in really high energy states, it may be all that you can do. At other times, accessing your creativity to paint or draw feelings and vague ideas that you can't express can be really helpful. I've already talked about how helpful journaling is my spiritual tools of the trade blog post. Using your creativity to write, draw, sculpt, mold, weld, or whatever outlet you choose can be an amazing expression for all the energy moving through you and an awesome chance to explore your creativity, especially if you've never felt like a creative person before.

Heavy-Lifting and Creativity
The heavier lifting part of using your creative energy will appear in creating a new job situation, creating a new relationship with yourself from top to toe, and creating new relationships with others. In the past years and now, I've expended enormous amounts of energy to create new situations to support me where I was at for that time. Let's be serious: a job search is a lot of energy. You are actively putting energy out into the world to create a new relationship with a group of people (i.e., a business). A lot of times that energy isn't reciprocated (i.e., you didn't get the job). But you repeat the process over and over until something connects.

When you are awakening, you really are re-creating yourself. I can't stress enough how much energy it takes to re-work the internal relationships you have with yourself. For instance, you're used to eating a certain way. Now you can't eat that way anymore. It's doesn't feel good. Beer and hot dogs make you physically ill. You have to create a new diet. So you search for new recipes and ideas, eat new things, and expend a lot of energy just with this one shift. That's a lot of creation, and it's a powerful process. It will change your life when you let it.

Rejuvenating Creativity
Now that you see that creativity is a really expansive thing, you can see how easily it is to wear out when you're awakening. There's so much going on. While creativity also gets fueled by connections to the divine (7th chakra) and a kind of marriage between self expression (5th chakra) and imagination (6th chakra), I really feel like the 2nd chakra is the key driver and supporter a lot of the time. Having a sexual practice as I mentioned before is one key supporter to keep yourself rejuvenated. Being creative with writing and art always seems to link me back up to the divine rather naturally through my crown chakra (7th). You can also do active visualization, bringing white light down through the center of your head into the area below your belly-button to nourish your second chakra, home of your creativity. If nothing else, take a bath, sit in a hot tub, or take a nap. Sometimes it's the simple basic things that help most.

As you build creative practices for yourself, you may be surprised what you create in your life. Allowing your imagination to run around like a little child can be illuminating. What do you want to make in life if you could make anything? Have fun. Be a kid. And you'll find that you're more creative than you've ever thought you could be.

Next blog: Claiming Your Personal Power

Friday, October 15, 2010


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The following are testimonials and reviews from students about working with me. Many of them have worked with me for years. You can contact me through my contact form if you are interested in starting sessions with me.

Stronger, Brighter, Lighter, and Freer
Working with Jim for the last year has been more transformational than any other pursuit in the name of well-being that I've tried, and I say that as someone who’s put her heart into her own healing and growth for more than two decades. I've had wonderful therapists; I've meditated and journaled and done The Artist’s Way; and I've received energy healing and studied energy healing and visualized and affirmed and done everything else you can think of until I could have fallen over.

And I did fall over, in fact. In 2012, I got very sick with a mysterious illness that had me bed bound for six months. During that time, I stumbled on Jim’s website, and though I didn't feel ready or strong enough to contact him then, I bookmarked his site to look up later because I had the feeling that this was a good and powerful guy, someone who would be great to work with as a healer and spiritual teacher.

After I was back on my feet, if wobbly, I took one of his webinars and asked him a question about an energetic sensation I kept having. Jim’s take—from a distance, and not knowing me—felt amazingly spot on and intuitively correct, so I contacted him a little while later to see if we could work together. I was impressed when he said that we could work together, but not yet, as he saw that I was still energetically fried and unstable and exhausted from my illness (and from my whole life, frankly). He asked me to approach him in a couple of months, and I waited and did so, and then he gave me the green light for our work to begin.

I don’t even recognize the person who started working with Jim a year ago. That Tina was a fragile, shaky, soggy mess, thoroughly identified with my own victim mentality, which I’d been developing ever since I’d experienced severe sexual abuse in toddlerhood. I don’t say that to put myself down or diminish what I went through, either; I just didn't know how to inhabit this life another way.

The work is sometimes gentle, sometimes extremely intense, and always fascinating. And with the intensity and vulnerability of the work, it’s so important to have a teacher and guide that you trust, and Jim operates out of a space of terrific love and integrity. He’s clean as a whistle, powerful and caring without ever tipping into harshness or coddling. I trust him absolutely, and I don’t hand out trust like candy, either.

A year later, I find myself so much stronger and brighter and lighter and freer. The changes in me are deep, and the transformation is spilling into every area of my life. My work is getting stronger; my relationships are getting cleaned up; and I’m 500 times harder to knock over than I used to be emotionally. I feel increasingly connected to my actual self, and my habitual self that I've built up over the years—which was no longer serving me—is shriveling by the day.

Jim is the real deal. That’s the point. There’s some not-messing-around alchemy that happens when you’re lucky enough to work with him. His kitchen is full of serious heat, and if you can take it—if you can stay in there and keep working—you are going to get cooked* into something much better than when you started.

*Google Rumi’s poem about the chickpea getting boiled to see what I’m referring to here. It’s great.

Tina R.

Transformative Support after Awakening
Working with Jim regularly via Skype has been not only supportive, but transformative.  After my bliss stage of awakening, I came to a big crash and was totally overwhelmed with all my internal issues, unprocessed emotions, family karma, and outdated beliefs. Having space with Jim every few weeks gave me the courage to be with my more fearful, painful, and uncomfortable issues.

I really was a spiritual newbie, and my awakening came out of the blue.  I didn’t know what an awakening was or know very much about spirituality past reading law of attraction books!  Then my whole life began to crumble starting with a painful miscarriage, loss of my job, and loss of my home, and then I discovered my partner was having an affair.  It’s safe to say I was in turmoil, grief, pain, and shock.  But looking back, that was when my life really opened up.  I’d been covering up countless issues my whole adult life which resulted in self-hate, bulimia, bad relationships, and basically full on lack of love and joy.  When awakening hit, it was like Jim says, a light got turned on to all my issues, conditioning, and fear-based beliefs. My awakening showed me everything stopping me from being and radiating the love that I am.  This was both amazing and freeing (bliss stage), but also scary and overwhelming (dark night). That’s when I was ready for help.

What drew me to Jim most (out of the sea of spiritual teachers around now) was instead of telling me what I should or shouldn’t do, Jim provided the necessary conditions for me to become my own teacher; my autonomy was greatly respected. I wasn’t just learning someone else’s beliefs or reading about others’ experiences. This is helpful sometimes, don’t get me wrong, but to actually experience your own healing, grieving, and gaining of self-knowledge in your own individual way and time is what really brought about my transformations and helped me let go.  That’s exactly what I’ve learnt to do in our sessions together because Jim would lovingly point me back to myself. At times this can be extremely unsettling, especially when working with things like shame or fear. But Jim’s presence is so vast and powerful that I feel safe to explore deeper issues that I may struggle with alone. 

I think the best advice I can give to anyone thinking of working with Jim is to be as honest as possible and trust the process. The sessions are a true gift, but experimenting with different practices for contemplation, healing, self-awareness, and self-love also helped me hugely with integrating my sessions and my awakening.  It’s no secret the spiritual path is messy and at times confusing. Giving myself a place like these sessions has felt loving and true and has greatly helped me to blossom into my authentic self.  Jim is a true gift to humanity, and my life has been blessed having him as my teacher.  Much, much gratitude. 

Kim F.
United Kingdom

Kundalini Awakening Support
I had a kundalini awakening in early 2014 and was shocked and overwhelmed by it. Fortunately, I found Jim's blog right away, and it was a lifeline for me. Soon afterward, I contacted Jim and started working with him to heal old wounds and embrace this new element of my life. At this time (October 2015), we have been working together for over a year.

His blog offers a wealth of useful guidance for anyone who has awakened or is serious about the spiritual path. I have learned so much from him and am deeply grateful for the time he has given me and the work he has done.

Best wishes to you, Jim and to anyone who is reading this.

Sean F.

Lifting a Weight From her Spirit
My work with Jim was deep and cleansing. He lovingly held space with me to process very difficult memories held in my body. His patience and stillness allowed me to explore what had been hidden. It was a gift to have his presence to help me walk this journey of healing. It was a committed relationship between us to hold space together regularly and accept and allow what came up for me. His guidance was instrumental in my process. Having a trusted companion to do this work made all the difference. It's very important to know when we need another soul to walk with us.

A weight has been lifted from my spirit. I embrace life from abundance rather than scarcity and fear. I am very grateful for our work together. Thank you, Jim. Namaste.

Bridgette D.

Experiencing Profound Shifts in Self Awareness
I have been working with Jim for a year – around 25 sessions – and in that time, there have been profound shifts in the way I see myself and the world. From the beginning I felt that Jim was someone who communicated from a genuine place of awakening with complete sincerity, and he has continued to do that with clarity, humor, and directness. His sessions create a space of openness and love that is unlike any other I have experienced. Over time, this space and Jim’s intuitive, down-to-earth guidance has enabled me to have the courage to look honestly at my constructs of personality and ingrained assumptions about life and begin to uncover the truth which they obscure. Now it feels like I am coming home to a place of deep trust and wonderful lightness. Yes, getting to know – or un-know – myself with Jim has been an absolute blessing and a true joy –Jim, I can’t thank you enough!

Mary S.
United Kingdom
January 30, 2014

More At Peace and Learning Through Relationships
I've been working with Jim since January 2014, and it has been life changing. It's tough to explain in words, but I'll try. I found his blog when I was looking up "soulmates" during a tough breakup. I was confused. "'How can it be?' I thought, 'This was it. What happened?'" Anyway, he talks about this part a lot, and it's really helpful.

When I started reading his blog, I knew pretty much right away I needed to work with him. It was one of those truths that you just know, and that intuition was completely right. It's exactly what I needed in my life right then. I learned that relationships are one of the best ways to get to know myself deeper. Now when I'm forced to deal with something, I remember to or Jim reminds me to look inside myself. Then I can see that those situations are opportunities to discover a little bit more truth and gain a little bit more awareness. It's empowering to know that all the love I need is inside, and in fact, all the answers are inside. In general, I feel more at peace and more compassion for myself and others.

My life has also changed outwardly with making more choices that are true to me. The biggest choice to date is changing my lifestyle temporarily to do some volunteering and traveling in a different part of the world. I've learned to trust my intuition a lot more, which has helped me with a lot of scary decisions.

Another great part has been connecting with one of Jim's other students. She was my "big sister" for 6 months, and we talked weekly to support this work. It's paid off a lot. It's so fulfilling to have a friendship from the same level of awareness, to take responsibility for our own feelings, and to get support for this in the rest of our lives. It's helped a lot with my other relationships. Of course, we're still continuing to talk regularly as friends.

Overall, this has been an amazing journey of healing and fully embracing life. Thank you so much, Jim!

Natasha R.

Facilitating Self-healing and Self-discovery
I have been on a spiritual quest as far back as I can remember. I do not see the world the typical way. I have always known the standard by which the majority operates is some how dysfunctional. I have worked with many different healers, natural, and allopathic, and I find Jim Tolles to be unique in his approach. I find my sessions with Jim to be very fulfilling.  It is very important for me to participate in my own welfare. When I work with Jim, he states that I'm the one doing the work. This is very important to me. I believe only one's own self can know what is in need of care. Jim Tolles facilitates that. The typical doctor/patient relationship usually puts the patient in a victim position. Jim Tolles does not. Thank you kindly for all your help.

Love and Blessings.

Mendy T.
New York

Unwavering Love and Care
"In my journey back to Spirit over the last seven years or so I've lay in, crawled, and walked through some very dark, scary, lonely, and unfamiliar places. I've sought answers, insight, wisdom, anything, and everything I felt could help me shed some light on this life's darkness, confusion, loneliness, and despair.

I painstakingly battled through, then learned to learn from, years of dealing with all of this through misuse of alcohol; clingy, needy and hideout relationships; bulimia; and many paths that were keeping me so far from myself.

Throughout my climb out of my own hell I found many great teachers in the form of spiritual authors, therapists, and awakened souls, but none played such an integral part in my coming home as this site, Jim's wonderful work, and Jim himself.

Words often feel so lacking in their ability to point to something indescribable as do these right now in my attempt to explain what Jim and his work have gifted me in my journey. It's quite ironic to say that considering it was the words in this blog that spoke directly to my soul, to my spirit and that had me in tears of relief as I first experienced the open, loving, egoless, truth filled pages here.  The pure honesty, clarity of vision of life, integrity, humor, compassion, understanding, wisdom, and unconditional love with which these pages are filled was and is heart warming and soul soothing!

That day there was the first of many full breaths, relaxing into and dropping into my deeper true self, letting go, trusting in, and allowing of my spirit to spring forth in all its fabulousness and fullness. I knew instantaneously I had finally found the  garden holding the glistening gate home.

Over the next year I sat daily in this garden filling myself up on its freedom finding truths,  making much use of the many freely offered tools and just feeding my very soul on it's nurturing and nourishing soil...This was my haven as I paved my way back home.

After this year, I felt intuitively moved to contact Jim and did so without hesitation.

From the very beginning I felt a deep, honest, and open connection with Jim as though I had always known him.  I found and find his non-judgmental, absolute and palpable presence, sense of humor, gentleness, and the ease with which he holds a space creates a safe, comfortable, and unconditionally accepting cocoon in which I could let go into my own unique metamorphosis.

Within a very short period I was comfortable enough to let down my walls and drop into some extremely dark, closed-off, and scary spaces within myself knowing that Jim was holding and supporting me in it.

He was very clear from the beginning that he would not advise me or tell me what to do as I have my own inner guide--my own knowing to follow--but that he would support me and shine the light of my own awareness wherever it needed to go. With Jim's support I learned and practiced trusting this knowing which I had lost the ability to do.

His patience, empathy, kindness, support, encouragement, care, and love have been and still are unwavering.  There's never been a silly question, a question asked too many times, a place too dark for him to visit with me, a judgment, or anything I could possibly have a bad word to say about.

The biggest thing, among many, that I have learned from Jim is to trust in myself, trust in my inner knowing, my spirit.

In learning to trust again my life has changed so much, especially in the last year, and although there have been dark places visited, there have been invaluable realizations, releases, and shifts. My Spirit is back with a capital S singing it's soulful song :)

Knowing that Jim is there and was going to be there for all our sessions created the essential cocoon I needed to come back to my singing spirit self.

Jim, I am eternally grateful for all that I've been blessed to receive through you just being you. The pure love and light that you're sharing, teaching about, and spreading is a sacred gift that I am again blessed to experience and to also witness through your work.

I could go on forever but will simply and wholeheartedly say, "thank you" from my depths. You have given more than can be said to this one soul as I know you have and will do many more."

Rach D.

Learning to Listen to Her Own Guidance
Mustering up the courage to contact Jim a little over a year ago has been one of the greatest things I have done for myself. I love working with him, and it is great to see how much my life has transformed. One important way my world has changed is that it is a much more fun place. Jim’s goofiness and lightheartedness has helped me reclaim the playful part of me. He has also been very encouraging as I started to break out of my shell and explore the many lovely things in this world. Having come from only knowing constant judgment, it was freeing to be supported in this compassionate, gentle, and nonjudgmental way, especially as I started to explore my creative side. He had a lot of respect for my own process, and so I always felt like I had a lot of space to discover what was right for me in my own way. Furthermore, he helped me empower myself as he always stressed the importance of finding what is in my heart, and I began to listen to guidance I did not know I possessed. As I went within, many parts of myself that no longer served me naturally fell away and have been replaced by much more joy and awareness.

Jim has also been an invaluable guide in my experiences with spiritual sexuality--a big love of mine and an important part of my transformation. I am so grateful that I had his clarity and support navigating this often murky world. I got a little confused at times, but he always brought sexuality back to the heart, which helped me find what was right for me. Also, I appreciate that I feel very comfortable and safe discussing this topic with him. Reuniting spirituality with sexuality allowed my own sexuality to blossom without shame and become one of my favorite modalities through which to connect with myself.

After starting to work with Jim in August 2012, every aspect of my life has improved. The person that I used to be seems like somebody else. It’s been a great blessing to have Jim in my life. All in all, I highly recommend working with Jim if you are interested in doing so!

Esther K.

Invaluable Long-Term Spiritual Tools
"Jim Tolles has been a huge catalyst in my spiritual awakening, which began 5 years ago. For me, it did not begin at a specific place or time, but has been a continuing evolution of becoming aware of the vast depths of my Truth.  I had no concept of where to turn to in regards to support on this very unique path. That's when God put Jim in my life. I knew he was an authentic source of guidance for me when he refrained from projecting his own opinions, making sure to always remind me that I have my own answers. He showed unconditional respect, patience, and compassion as I released seemingly unsurpassable amounts of pain and began to embody all that which I AM. Jim never forced me to go to places of healing I wasn't ready for.

He's also a great tuning fork for pointing me to others that could help me continue to grow. This concept of being dispensable is proof that Jim is not doing this work for his own personal growth, but for each person's highest good. After being his student for over a year, I decided to take a break from our regular sessions and embody these tools into my daily life. Since then, I've found myself being more grounded in the embodiment of my Truth more than ever before. Jim encouraged me to make my dreams a reality when I didn't have faith and didn't know what I wanted. With that, I am learning aspects of natural movement therapies. I am also able to express my own gift as an energetic healer through my career in physical therapy.

Jim mentioned to me to look into Kundalini Yoga some time ago. Since then Kundalini Yoga has become one of my primary daily practices, and I am now highly involved in my local Kundalini Yoga community. Now that I am my own reference point for my source of Joy, I  have the most fulfilling and healing relationships I have ever had in my life so far. This process, however, does not have an end. I am evolving and shifting all the time, which is why the invaluable tools Jim has shared with me continue to provide avenues of healing and clarity for me. Everything we have talked about in the past continues to be embodied in my daily life. So when I am going through difficult shifts, I have the ability to see myself as a witness to what is happening and yet feel the depths of it simultaneously.

Needless to say, Jim is offering healing for our collective Consciousness in many ways now and to come."

Susan T.

Guidance I Really Needed
"As I began my spiritual awakening, I was struggling to find the help and guidance that I really needed.  I was led to Jim's website, and we began to exchange e-mails and phone conversations.  Jim was very knowledgeable with his own direct experiences and helped to guide me with my own awakening.  Jim is very non-judgmental and provided unconditional support.

Thanks again for all of your help and support!"

Jason B.

More in Tune With His Inner Teacher
Over several months, Jim helped me to retrieve parts of myself that had been swept underneath the social conditioning carpet. I now feel more in tune with myself than I ever have. With every session I find myself submitting more and more to the tidal wave of awareness, allowing it to wash over my self-concept so I may finally join the ocean that I had long forgotten I was a part of.

Jim's warm presence, love, and trust help to create the perfect healing environment (even at 800 miles apart). Because of this, opening up to him (and yourself) becomes very possible, and real progress can be made.

In my opinion, Jim's real gift is his ability to allow you to experience the teacher within. He has shown me that almost all issues I have can be solved by looking within, and not without. In this way, Jim's sessions actually promote two things: healing, and learning HOW to heal.

These sessions have impacted my life in the most incredible of ways. I can't thank you enough, Jim!

Kyle A.
British Columbia

Online Third-Party Review of the Blog

Here was a nice review that got done about my blog and me.

Jim Tolles' Spiritual Awakening Process
by Lisa Pena

Profiles and Stories from People About Spiritual Awakening

Here's a really cool story about an awakening and my ebook.

A Profile in Spiritual Awakening 

Other Reviews and Feedback for the Blog

"This is the BEST spiritual site I have ever read on the internet. I am going through an awakening and I look forward to reading your blogs. Every question I have is being answered. Thank you for being a channel to all who can receive." 

-- Diane E.

"Thank you for the beautiful blog you have put together. You have to have the best spiritual awakening blog around. You have put a lot of effort into it. Thank you. It has a wealth of information for those trying to find their way…  it's very inspiring..."

-- Joe M.

The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Door

There is a door in a room in my heart where all the things I've ever wanted are locked away. I looked high and low for the key. I went to far off distant places, and I talked to far off distant gurus. But they did not have it. I checked under rock and stone until one day, I reached in my pocket. And in that pocket, I found that key with a tag saying, "Not to be used until the time is right." And now that that time has come, I am turning the nob.

But with each subtle twist of creaky, cranky, screaming metal and the growing, sinewy resistance in my wrist--the muscles screaming to go back--I feel the yearning for easier ways of being. For easier well-known paths where others have laid brick and mortar for my tremulous feet. It makes me wonder if the time is right. Have I been too bold? Too brazen? Too audacious in my desire to claim my life? Has that desire infiltrated the purity of aspiration to swing back around on me in the double-whammy of sublime come-uppance.

The creak is giving way to an easier twist, and the latch clicks. An echo reverberates in the house, announcing the change. Things are in motion, and I find that I've created a new inertia in my life. The door starts to swing wide just as a beam in the back of the room behind me crashes to the ground. The old house, my beautiful, lovely home is falling apart. I had not noticed. I had not realized. So much of the old structure is collapsing no longer able to support itself.

I look in the dismay. Feeling like Lot, knowing that I should return my gaze forward. The deliciousness of nostalgia wraps around me like a well worn blanket. I begin to falter.

A hand on my wrist. A gentle glowing, etheric hand catches my attention from beyond the door. A beckoning. A subtle reminder of what I had sought now so close at hand. Ah yes. I remember. I remember again. I step into the unknown.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Spiritual Sexuality: Meeting and Igniting Your Creative Powers

I've been chewing on this topic in my head for awhile because there's so much to say about it. For this post, I'm going to focus on spiritual sexuality within the context of the individual and not the duality melting into union. Western Tantra teachers make a point of re-orienting students in their views of sexuality towards how they create a sexual practice with themselves. This is a bit of a revelation for most people. Most people only ever think of sex in terms of having a partner, and let's be serious: that totally rocks. But since this blog post is at the beginning of building a broader foundation, let's keep it simple and talk about how you can come to an authentic place with your sexuality on your own before mixing it up with someone else.

Levels of Sexual Dysfunction
I know this blog post and others like it are up against a lot of taboos and communication dysfunction. There is an intense level of shame around sexuality in the U.S. culture. There are lots of possible reasons for the existence of this shame. Some look at this shame as a form of social control. Others look at it as an offshoot of the Christian original sin concept, which in many ways can be viewed as a form of religious control. I simply know that shame is a heavy and terrible energetic impasse. Shame is the five hundred pound barbell that weighs people down and crushes them. Through shame, sexual dysfunction grows more and more prevalent. It turns sexuality into a reactive element as a person tries to get the connection he or she is craving through means that don't give the person that nourishment. This in turn creates continued pain cycles.

One common cycle is that of dominance and submission. This is a much bigger theme than what happens in the bedroom. If you look at sports, all of sports is a dominance and submission process. Businesses are always trying to dominate each other in the marketplace. The same thing happens between men and women as they try to get what they want/need. People will cycle through numerous partners seeking that thing that they need--whatever they may think that is.

Understanding Desire
In this context, the underlying purpose of the union is a desire or a need. When I use the term desire, I am saying that you think you need something outside of yourself to be happy or complete. There are countless desires, such as the desire for money or even the desire to help. This last one is a tricky one because it hides itself in a noble pursuit. But when you really get your arms around it, you realize that this desire is seeking a feeling of self-gratification and social approval. In sex, desire is pretty obvious; you may want to feel fulfilled, released, physically loved, held, and many other things. To feel these things is absolutely fine, but there's a big difference between trying to get these things from your partner versus allowing them to arise in the moment through genuine love and appreciation.

Sexuality in the Space of Service
Part of turning sexuality from a purely carnal act into a spiritual act is turning it from a drive to "get" something or achieve a feeling into a form of service. Service is about giving and receiving. When two people are authentically focused on giving and receiving love, the space of sexuality and its creative forces start to open up. The more you're simply in service to your lover and to the moment, the more any outcome from the union is okay. You are letting go of your desire for an outcome and letting go of control of yourself, your partner, and the moment. This is where deeper fulfillment can step in.

But to be in this space, I think it's important to begin to create that space of service for yourself in your own sexual practice. In doing so, you begin to understand how you are ultimately the one who influences your own fulfillment. As you grow yourself in your sexual practice, your demands on a partner and what you think you need in sex will greatly shift and diminish.

Speaking of Sexual Shame
When I talk about a personal sexual practice, I am talking about masturbation--at least in part. Masturbation is often one of the great cultural symbols of shame. It can represent romantic failure--failure to find a partner. However, for the sake of your spiritual development, masturbation is incredibly important. It allows you to develop your service towards yourself in pleasure. It lets you dip into your creative powers. In my own life, my writing becomes more and more prolific the more open my sexuality is.

You see, this creative force not only makes children, but it can serve many other parts of the creation process. If you want to get rid of writer's block or mental blocks in general, go more deeply into your sexuality. What makes you feel good? What things and images come up for you when you're in that space? Your sexuality has a whole set of stories much like the rest of your body. You need to start listening.

Awakening the Kundalini
Sacred sexuality has a whole level of energy work that can go with it and can ignite the kundalini. The kundalini is an energy system in the form of a double helix running from the base of your spine to the crown of your head. This is the freeway to enlightenment. Igniting this creative energy will rebirth you. It's a hugely powerful process, and a lot of people warn new practitioners to expect their lives to change if they really delve into a spiritual sexual practice, which can ignite the kundalini.

If you are new to spiritual practice, I encourage you to find a teacher if you are drawn to Western Tantra. There are a variety of types of Western Tantra being practiced. The more traditional types of Tantra don't focus heavily on sexuality, as sexuality is a small piece of a whole system. Western Tantra seems to focus pretty heavily on sexuality--I think it's Western Society's way of adding back in a major piece that has gotten excluded and condemned in the religious culture.

Spiritual Sexuality, Healing, and the Gateway to Enlightenment
Like I said, this is one of the freeways to enlightenment, but you're probably going to find some heavy issues at times. It depends on you and your path, of course. For the purposes of starting a spiritual practice, simply acknowledge that they're there. There are lots of ways of moving and clearing sexual issues. I'll talk about them in later blogs.

If you have a background of sexual abuse, these links at and at RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) can help you deal with those issues as well. Both victims and perpetrators need to be healed, and there are lots of external programs that can provide much needed tools, community, and assistance. Done in combination with a spiritual practice, you can find the hope and the help that you've been seeking to fully heal.

Wherever you are in your life, your pain, or your spirituality, a dedicated spiritual sexual practice is an essential part of the awakening process. It can help you to heal and expand in ways that you might never have imagined possible.

Next blog: Finding Your Creativity
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