Monday, December 26, 2016

When People Fall in Love With Your Energy

awakened love, spiritual awakening, spiritual love, spiritual attraction, spiritual energy, falling in love
Clearing out lots of our issues can have surprising effects. For some people, they find talents they didn't know they had. Other people find themselves leaving their homes or homelands for new places. Others find love in the simplest of things like staring at the flowers of a blooming tree and getting lost in the intricacies of those petals.

However, along with your inner changes, other people's perspectives will change about you. There is something in particular about clearing out issues and making more inner space that seems inviting and attractive to many people. They feel good around you. They want to spend time with you. Some people fall in love with you. For those who have never had this attractive quality, it may be amusing at first, but eventually rather tiring. Others who have always attracted a lot of attention may find this entirely intolerable.

So let's talk about the appeal of your clear energy and why others may flock to it.

Clear Energy, Clear Love

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Consciously Confronting Hunger

world hunger, confronting hunger, spiritual action, healing hunger, spiritual awakening
The spiritual path shows us what is. As many of you open your eyes to the truth, certain real world hardships become more and more apparent. One of those major issues is hunger.

Hunger has a variety of definitions, and one of the commonly used definitions is "food insecurity." "Food insecurity is variously defined as experiencing hunger, inability to secure enough food of sufficient quality and quantity to enable good health and participation in society, and cutting down on food due to financial necessity." (cited from The Guardian's article, "More than 8 million in UK struggle to put food on table, survey says"). However we choose to define it, hunger is a major issue that creates a lot of physical suffering, which invariably causes lots of psychological suffering. It's prevalence in the developing countries is a fairly well-understood fact. But there is also a high prevalence of food insecurity in developed countries. Here are a couple statistics to help you appreciate the scope of this issue.

"Some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That's about one in nine people on earth."

--World Food Programme Statistics

"42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children."

--Feeding America

"New UN data show that an estimated 8.4 million people, the equivalent of entire population of London, were living in households reporting having insufficient food in the UK in 2014, the 6th largest economy in the world."

--Too Poor to Eat: Food insecurity in the UK
By Anna Taylor and Rachel Loopstra

These last two statistics can be particularly shocking to people. I think there is a belief that hunger isn't a major issues in rich nations like the U.S. and the U.K. Obviously that belief is wrong. But what does it mean to consciously engage with such a huge issue? Let's delve into this question and consider what it means to consciously confront hunger and other real world issues.


Real World Problems Vs. Imaginary Human Issues

Monday, December 19, 2016

Being Open While Having Boundaries

near orr hot springs, california, openness, spiritual openness, spiritual boundaries, spiritual awakening
There is a lot of discussion around being open among spiritual people, but when the rubber hits the road, most of people don't really want to be open all the time. What most people want is to feel safe. In the desire for a feeling of a safety, people put up all kinds of walls to preserve this feeling and avoid uncomfortable feelings. It's this mentality of self-protection that underlies most discussions around having boundaries, and it's this idea that must be confronted before we can consciously choose boundaries as opposed to erecting endless walls.

Being open to all of life means being open to all of life. Nothing is excluded. Most people don't want that. Most people don't want to be open to pain, shame, fear, anger, hatred, and all the rest of the uncomfortable emotions and sensations that human beings can have. However, that aversion to discomfort is a primary reason we end up collecting so much inner pain. The old adage goes, "What you resist persists." The more you pay attention to your inner space, the more you'll find that to be true.

Thus it becomes the only rational thing to do to stay open. In so doing, pain can come. But it also can go. If we shut the doors when we feel discomfort, the pain already has gotten inside by then. And by closing done, we seal it in with us. What we do succeed in keeping out also includes many beautiful experiences and emotions. Finally, erecting walls to avoid pain takes people on a path of becoming more and more numb. In going numb, life becomes more and more bland and even hopeless.

Numbing Yourself to Life and Over-stimulation

I am not here to say that being open is an easy space to be at first. Being open illuminates many hidden inside. Opening the windows brings light into the house. It shows you what is actually there. Some of that you may not like. Some of it you will. But you won't know what is there until you really open up. Additionally, being open is also not a doormat to whatever garbage people throw at you. So for the rest of this blog post, let's look at what openness really is and how to not get caught up in the garbage.

Being Open Starts With You

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My BATGAP Interview

Thanks to everyone who voted for me and thanks to the kindness of Rick Archer, Irene Archer, and their whole team, there is now an interview posted about me on Buddha at the Gas Pump (BATGAP).

I don't talk about myself too much on this spiritual awakening blog because I want people to focus on themselves. It's easy for a lot of people to get caught up adoring, idolizing, and demonizing the spiritual teacher (sometimes all at the same time). But within you, your own greatest teacher is already here. So I do my best to keep the focus of this blog on the inner work that is needed to open yourself to that teacher rather than discussing a lot of personal experiences.

However, in this interview with Rick, you'll get to hear a little more about me as well as the usual stuff that I talk about. I hope you enjoy it!


Jim Tolles BATGAP Interview

Monday, December 12, 2016

Maintaining Your Spiritual Practice During Hard Times

spiritual practice, wind, nature, plants blowing in the wind, spiritual awakening
Life doesn't ever stop being life. That means there are easy moments and challenging moments for us all. It doesn't matter how clear and free of ego you are, dealing with tuberculosis or cancer is a challenging set of moments for any human being.

Which is why a regular spiritual practice is so crucial. Your practice helps to take care of your heart, body, mind, and spirit right when you need it the most. It is during difficult times that we most need to be open-hearted, clear of mind, and at ease in our bodies--as best as we're able. Those qualities help us to work through any emotions, physical sensations, and ideas that get triggered for all of us who are still working with plenty of old ego responses. For those of you who are exceptionally clear, your practice is a gentle nudge to maintain as much physical relaxation as you can during those times when you feel a lot of physical pain. It's very easy to revert to that old fight-flight mechanism within us. Those tendencies are part of our evolutionary heritage, and they die hard. Our spiritual practice, however, helps usher it out and turn off some of its most powerful emotional and physiological reactions.

However, during difficult times, that's when most people close down, freak out, and not think well at all. It can make hard times harder. Having a regular spiritual practice is a key support when life gets hard, and it is one of the best ways to help us make good decisions and mindfully move through those difficult times.

The Initial Trigger: Hearing the Bad News

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Recording: Awakening to Action

indoor rainforest, conscious action, spiritual action, spiritual awakening
People are often confused by the idea of "non-action." Many think that this means we don't take any action at all, but I think it's pretty clear that spiritual people take actions all the time. Acting in this world is a prerequisite of living in it.

But initially, the primary encouragement for people on the spiritual path is to go within and reduce the amount of actions they take. It's an encouragement to simplify and get back to basics as you learn about yourself. If you don't do this first, you don't really understand yourself nor why you want to take many actions. In our ignorance, we think we know why we want to do things, but as many of you who have done inner work have discovered, there are many ways our hidden issues define what we want to do and how we want to do it. When we heal those issues, we often find that some interests evaporate entirely.

Other interests do not. As we open to the truth, some things become clear. Ironically enough, it seems like when people become clear on an issue, they also may not want to take action. When people want to take action, they usually need to sit and be still. When they want to sit and be still, they usually need to take action. But to not take action when we are called to is a form of self-denial. It does not serve anyone, least of all yourself.

So I felt like offering some thoughts on what conscious action is and how we differentiate between a call to take action and the ego's old programming that is telling you to do something. I hope you enjoy the recording.


Awakening to Action Recording



Date of Recording:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Time:

10:30 AM Pacific Time

Place:

All my talks are streamed here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/jimtolles/live


Donations:

Donations are greatly appreciated so that I can continue to freely offer these talks, blogs, email correspondence, social media sharing and comments, and other things I do to help people.

You can donate by using the PayPal button in the upper right hand side of the blog. Thank you for your support!

Additional Spiritual Reading

If you want additional reading on this topic, here are two blog posts you may enjoy:

Creating a Spiritual Movement

How to Create Conscious Change

Monday, December 5, 2016

How to Create Conscious Change

divine nature, nature, divine plan, conscious change, divine change, spiritual awakening, awakened change
We live in an age where there are tons of advancements in technology and many ways that we are actively changing society. But how conscious are those changes?

Before we go any further in this conversation, it's important to clarify what I mean by "conscious." To me, "conscious" is a term for being knowledgeable of the impact of what we do. Being unconscious means we are unaware of things and the impacts of our actions. For example, the unconscious ego is unaware that it is a construct of beliefs and experiences. The conscious ego knows that it is made up. With a conscious ego, you can then actively investigate other parts of your ego self that you are not aware of

I hope that clarifies what I mean by conscious in this context. Any of you who have become more conscious of yourself and life can see more, and you are probably also aware of how much you cannot see. The conscious person is like someone living with a light on in the room. Even with the light on, there are limitations to what you can see, and this requires a certain level of continued exploration as well as humility in understanding that there are always going to be things that you do not know.

Clearly, this implies that conscious change is always going to incorporate some level of unconsciousness. There are going to be things that we don't know about any situation, and there are ramifications of any action that are going to be surprisingly. This doesn't mean that action should be avoided or that we end up in analysis paralysis. Rather, we learn to understand that any change we attempt to implement in life is going to be a process, and understanding the influence and reality of unconsciousness means that we stay engaged with any change we are creating to best guide it towards solutions that are beneficial to all.

Facing the Unconsciousness Within You

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Do We Have Free Will?

ego conditioning, unconsciousness, sandals, lake tahoe, free will, spiritual awakening
We all want to believe that we have free will. It sure seems like we make choices all the time. But how are we making those choices? How are we unconsciously evaluating what to even consider a choice?

For many of you who have done a lot of inner work, you know how much the unconscious ego inhibits your ability to even see choices. It's like being locked in a jail cell, and you're told you can go anywhere in the jail cell. The more unconscious we are, the more we don't even see the walls and bars. But for those of you who kicked down a wall or two, you really understand how little free will you've actually had. It's been ego programming much like a computer program. If a computer is programmed to only run Microsoft Word documents, then it can't run other programs until it is taught them. It is also taught to run Word in specific ways. It's free will is nil. The programs determine everything, and in many ways, our unconscious ego determines much of how we can live.

Fortunately, we can change many of our programs--our thinking, feeling, and experiential states. So clearly, there has to be some level of choice. Otherwise, we could never change ourselves.

Along with my thoughts, I've got a video from the World Science Festival with several experts talking about free will at the end of this blog post. I hope you enjoy it.

Constrained Free Will

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rising Up to Face Abuses of Power

train, Tahoe City
The realm of power abuse is far and wide these days. It doesn't take long to find something whether on the news, at your work place, at home, or even walking along the street when you see someone swearing at someone else over something inconsequential like who should go first at the stop sign. Truly, people are in a lot of pain if abuses of power can be so prevalent.

But let's take a step back to talk about what abuse of power is as well as where it comes from. In simplest terms, abuse of power is using your influence or strength in a situation to coerce, intimidate, or harm another. War is one of those penultimate abuses of power, but plenty of abuse of power happens in domestic situations all the time. The woman who is stronger in her emotions manipulates her partner's emotions through shaming. A man who is physically stronger beats his partner. An intellectual defeats another person's argument just to make herself feel good about being right. There are many kinds of abuses of power, and none of them are good.

Where does this all come from? I am sure many of you are thinking "the ego," and you are right. More specifically, abuse of power comes from pain within us. Pain gets visited on one person, so they send it along to another. These cycles of power abuse go round and round. But this is a game of telephone that has to stop, and we have to be the ones to stop it. The stakes are getting too high. The ability to harm others in a myriad of ways is getting easier and easier with advances in technology. And so we turn within to find out where we are holding pain and perhaps to find out how we are abusing others or even ourselves with our power.

Going Within to Face Self-abuse

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Online Talk: How to Let Go of Control

control, seed stalk, spiritual path, letting go
Many of us are taught that control is a good thing. So we try to control our bodies, finances, living situations, other people, and more. Of course, it's a tricky thing when we start controlling other people, and there are certainly others trying to control us. Pretty soon, there are a lot of hurt feelings and frustrated people in this growing tug-o-war that control creates.

Additionally, as you grow on the spiritual path, you begin to realize how little control you actually possess. If tomorrow you have nerve damage in a specific part of the body, then you can no longer raise your right arm. It doesn't matter how much your ego thinks you can control your body or that your thoughts can manifest whatever you like, that physical ability is now gone. This is a reality for so many things. We simply do not have control over most of life, and the places where we do influence things, we often use control like a blunt object with which to bludgeon situations and other people. It's best to just let go of control.

When you let go of control, you allow life to open up in front of you and to get out of the tunnel vision mentality of wanting things to proceed a certain way. It allows you to see more options and do the best you can with whatever situation life gives you. It is not a means to a safe and comfortable life; that kind of life is a fiction. Giving up these illusions about what a safe, happy, and comfortable life even looks like will further help you to let go of control. In general, facing your fears is where the nose hits the grindstone, and then you can start to see all the issues control was attempting to mask.

In having the courage to let go of control, life will change. But it was going to change anyway. You never had control over that, but in letting go of control, you have an opportunity to more fully experience life. You also have the opportunity to more mindfully guide life. Surprisingly enough, letting go of control brings us towards a greater power and influence in life than we could have otherwise imaged.

I hope you enjoy the recording.

How to Let Go of Control Recording



Date of Recording:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Time:

6 PM Pacific Time


Place:

All my talks are streamed here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/jimtolles/live

Donations:

Donations are greatly appreciated so that I can continue to freely offer these talks, blogs, email correspondence, social media sharing and comments, and other things I do to help people.

You can donate by using the PayPal button in the upper right hand side of the blog. Thank you for your support!

Additional Spiritual Reading

Here's a blog post about control if you need some reading to whet your appetite for this topic. Enjoy!

The Illusion of Control

Monday, November 21, 2016

How to Rebuild Your Life After Awakening

water, hot springs, river, nature
For those of you who have really come through the fires of inner change, this topic might not be a question anymore. You may truly and deeply trust the flow and see how rebuilding a life is nothing more than living in the moment. But then again, maybe you do still have some questions, so I felt like writing about rebuilding after a spiritual awakening for you.

However, far more likely is that some of you who have just awakened and just started burning up in the conscious awareness that you are think that you are ready to rebuild. You are not. If your awakening was yesterday or even three months ago, you probably don't even know yourself. You probably had a moment of awakened understanding and from that moment a certain kind of experience with different feelings and realizations came. But that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. If this is you, come back to this post in four or five years. In the meantime, think about what financial and physical situations you need to take care of yourself while transitioning over the years. I also encourage you to read this blog post:

The Shadow and Dispelling the Darkness Phase

For those of you in the aftermath of three to six years of intense inner change, you probably already have some things growing in your life. Other parts of your life may need active rebuilding. But what does rebuilding even mean in a world so temporary and ephemeral? What difference does it make what you do when everything is equally beautiful to you?

Let me see if I can explain.

Allowing the Awakening Fires to Die Down

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Is There a Multiverse?

jim tolles, multi-dimensions, multiverse, spiritual teacher, spiritual teaching, spiritual awakening
One popular topic for many people on the spiritual path and those who are interested in metaphysical inquiry is the question of whether we live in one universe or many universes. Many people wonder about how many dimensions there actually are as well as what are the essential building blocks of life.

However, I am not going to answer these questions. Generally speaking, my work is focused on helping people be here now in this particular universe. We seem to collectively struggle with harmoniously hanging out together, and so I think we need to master one universe before getting into any other ones that may or may not exist. Additionally, I think this realm of exploration can be an escape for some people to hang out in the fantasies of the mind rather than dealing with the practical realities of their particular here and now.

So, instead of me talking about the multiverse, I felt like sharing this fascinating video from the World Science Festival's YouTube channel. In the following video four cosmologists/astrophysicists talk about different aspects of theories surrounding the multiverse as well as the essential building block of all life (aka string theory). I think this can help ground your understanding in this topic. Plus, multiverse is a phsyics word, and I prefer to allow those in that field to maintain their definition of that term rather than giving it new connotations from my totally non-physics point of view.

With all that said, I hope that you enjoy the following video and that it enriches your understanding of the discussion around the multiverse.

Multiverse: One Universe or Many?




If you haven't seen the World Science Festival's channel before, I highly recommend it. There are videos featuring expert commentary about some enormously important and interesting topics. The videos feature experts in fields such as cosmology, physics, psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, and more. If you want to check it out, click on this link. Enjoy!

World Science Festival YouTube Channel

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

7 Tips for Mindfully Processing the U.S. Presidential Election

mindful action, voting, u.s. presidential election, spiritual politics, awakening change, spiritual awakening
This past U.S. presidential election cycle has been particularly base and disgusting. It seems to have pulled out all the stops in appealing to people's most basic fears and interests. To date, I don't remember any candidate in my lifetime discussing his penis in a debate. That, of course, is hardly the worst of the campaign cycle. With the election of Donald Trump, a good many people in the U.S. and around the world are deeply worried about the direction of this country.

I'm not going to sugarcoat this. There are some deeply concerning views that President-Elect Trump has espoused, and even if we take the most positive view possible--that it was all just campaign bravado to whip up his base of support so that they'd vote for him--there are very real repercussions of xenophobia and bigotry towards different minorities. It creates a permissive atmosphere where some individuals act or even commit hate-crimes against different minorities and groups of people because the President-elect has appeared to support these types of views and actions.

Additionally, there are statements like this regarding how to fight ISIS:

"The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself. When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families," Trump said.

Here's the CNN story: Donald Trump on terrorists: 'Take out their families'

This is a war crime as stated by the Geneva Conventions.

Geneva Conventions bar Donald Trump's idea of killing terrorists' families, as Rand Paul says

Later on, he seemed to backtrack a little on about doing this, but not much. His support of torture is just as concerning. It's more than concerning. Both positions are inhumane and barbaric.

If I wanted to, I could dig up a lot more troubling statements. Plenty of others already have, however, What I want to help you do is to mindfully process this election. (If you are new to this blog, processing means to work through the emotions, ideas, and physical sensations that get triggered by any event.) I cannot emphasize enough that the path of love is about accepting what is and embracing others instead of succumbing to fear. In succumbing to fear, we become increasingly permissive to all kinds of hate crimes and even war crimes. Or people act out hatefully and punitively against others. Neither will help us as a global community of human beings to create a more peaceful and loving world.

Thus, let us talk about what it means to embrace the path of love after the 2016 presidential election when it appears that others will not do so.

1. Go Within

Monday, November 14, 2016

Burning up in the Fire of Divine Grace

grace, divine grace, flowers, nature
Burning up our unconscious ego self is not appreciated in common everyday society. It's not like we're standing on the corner talking to our friend, Jiff, on the way to work, and we'd say, "Yep. I'm burning up a lot of ego today. Feeling really raw and hollowed out." And Jiff would say, "Oh yeah. I know those days. Be gentle with yourself, dude, and stick with it. You'll be clearer at the end of it."

Nope. Never heard that conversation outside of a few select friends in my life, and certainly, I never heard that conversation between random people on the street.

And yet, this is so utterly natural. There's nothing bad about letting go of our ego selves in anyway. Yes, it can be intense. But intensity will pass. Going into the intensity and breathing with it helps, but it can get really hot inside. You can really feel like you're in the center of God's fire. You are being burned up by divine grace.

Because this process of dropping the ego--this burning--is not well known, the tendency for many is to get out of the fire as soon as they can. It is particularly bad when someone first starts heating up, and it also is bad when a person moves from one type of issue or inner space to another (like moving from head issues to heart issues). That's when the unconscious ego rears itself up and says, "Enough is enough." I've seen this backing off when leaning in is required so many times. But you don't have to do this. Hopefully this spiritual awakening blog post can help you to choose to lean in and burn away all this old pain and find deeper spiritual freedom.


The Start of the Divine Fire

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Recording: The Freedom of a Meaningless Life

tree, Mt Diablo trails, hiking, nature
We spend so much time assigning meaning to things that go on in life. Some of what we assign meaning to is really just a description of phenomena. For instance, you watch a leaf drop from a tree, and you say that means gravity is acting on the leaf to cause it to drop. You may say that is a sign that the leaf is dead. This is a useful way to describe life.

However, there are many other meanings that we create that have nothing to do with actual phenomena or are incorrect assignments. A common wrong assignment of meaning is to say that a black cat crossing your path is going to bring you bad luck. This little bit of superstition is laughable to most of you, but human beings are constantly assigning meaning like this to all kinds of things. People assign meaning to actions of others in regards to if the person likes them or not. They assign meaning to different physical sensations and outcomes in life. Half-truths and lies get mixed in to the point that most of the meaning people create is sheer nonsense, which is why there is so much freedom in a meaningless life.

At the center of this craziness is the ego. The more you let go of your ego, the less you will attempt to make meaning out of life. This kind of mental game becomes less and less interesting to you as you rest in the beauty and purity of the present moment. As the categorizing and evaluating ego dissolves, you lose even the will to create meaning. It doesn't mean you can't think or notice actual phenomena like gravity. But the desire to say that certain actions or events have any specific meaning goes away unless it is useful. There's also less and less impulse to see any of the external world's events as being personal. So much of life is not personal, and in the space of clarity within you, it's so much easier to see that when you aren't projecting your ideas onto things. Thus, the mind becomes more and more uninhibited and free when it is no longer creating all this meaning and tripping you up in your ability to see and interact with life.

Please enjoy the recording of the talk on this subject.

Recording: The Freedom of a Meaningless Life

Monday, November 7, 2016

Be Here Now

present moment, spiritual presence, divine presence, natural presence, spiritual awakening lake tahoe
Be here now.

It's such a simple phrase with simple words. Not one of them is more than one syllable. Collectively, they have fewer syllables than "awakening." Yet for such a simple phrase, it causes such amazing consternation among many people walking the spiritual path. They may say, "What does that mean?" or "How can I do anything if I'm always focused on being present?" or "How can I plan for the future?"

In this way, the unconscious ego can be deeply triggered by this simple little truth, and it will go searching for all sorts of ways to keep your attention and continue to play its games.

The reality of this phrase--because it's not a concept at all--is a doorway into our own natural divine presence and intelligence. There is nothing stupid, ungrounded, or inept about it. We ARE here now. But that is rarely where our minds like to stay. They rather wander off to some imaginary future or past event, and in so doing, they miss the real living and the extraordinary life right before them. If times are difficult, then we need all of our attention here and now to deal with the difficulty. Wishing things would go away or change doesn't help us engage with them mindfully.

On this note, I felt like talking about this simple spiritual truth to help you understand how accessible it is and how much more happiness trusting in this truth can bring to you.

The Ego Mind's Endless Searching

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

An Interview With The Clearing About Awakening, Core Issues, and Addiction Recovery

healing core issues, spiritual awakening, addiction recovery, beach, nature
I recently was interviewed by Caroline McGraw at The Clearing--a non-12 steps recovery program. We covered a number of topics together about core issues, fundamental issues, tenacity, dealing with unconscious people, and so forth. I hope you'll take some time to watch it.

I can't emphasize enough how important it is to get to the core issues involved with addiction. You can think of addiction like this--most addictions are a means to self-medicating a deeper problem. If we are holding pain inside, we don't like that. So people turn to alcohol, video games, sex, drugs, work, and other things to avoid feeling the pain. By turning towards the pain, you can begin to investigate it and get to the core issue, which could be a trauma, the experience of being unwanted by your parents, or something else. Once you heal that core issue, the need for addiction can dissolve.

You can watch the whole video and/or read the transcript on the link below.

Spiritual Awakening: An Interview with Jim Tolles

Additional Helpful Links About Healing Trauma

Monday, October 31, 2016

Melting Into Silence

silence, spiritual silence, mt rose, spiritual awakening, witnessing, observing, nature
Silence.

It is the space in between sounds. It is the canvas behind all words. It is an absolutely vital part of life, which would otherwise be a cacophony of unintelligible noise.

Every day, silence is with you, helping you to make sense of life. Every day, you probably don't notice it. Instead, people are typically distracted by the noises going on around them. The noise gets all of our attention. Silence gets almost none.

Today, however, we are going to turn our attention to silence. As we mature on the spiritual path, we not only see the value of silence, but we also realize how critically important it is. It does a number of wonderful things without doing anything, and one of which is simply giving our brains and bodies time to relax. Noise and other forms of agitation can be incredibly stimulating, and they require us to think and interact in someway. Silence is soothing because it requires nothing of us. When we're too used to noise, the opposite is initially true for many people because the noise was being used to block out issues and other noisy feelings inside that have to come up before we really rest in silence. But with dedication and inner work, those issues get resolved, and you start melting into silence.

The End of a Wave of Issues

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Recording: What Is True Kindness?

spiritual nature, spirituality, lake tahoe, summer
We often believe that we know what kindness is, but do we really? How often do things that seem difficult or unkind become doorways to greater growth? Many of you who have awakened have dealt with a lot of difficult issues that have surfaced, but in so doing, you have found greater freedom in yourself. So how could such a difficult experience be considered anything but kind?

Additionally, parents know about the need to set boundaries for their children, which their children often don't think is kind, and there are many other examples of how something that seems unkind or even mean is later seen as a great kindness.

The reverse is often true too, where something offered as a kindness turns out to cause greater suffering. Thus, we can be confronted with this strange reality that we do not really know what kindness even is!

I've copied one of my many favorite Rumi poems below and added a link for those of you who might want a copy of Coleman Barks's Rumi translations. In the following poem, you see an example where a wise person perceives a deeper truth and in accordance to that truth, he tries to help the sleeping man confront his pain. In this poem though, the sleeping man who is awoken by the teacher just sees a man beating him. It's not until later that he can be aware of the depth of the kindness that was being offered.

On this note, I hope you enjoy the recording of this talk.

What Is True Kindness Recording



Date of Talk:

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Time:

6 PM Pacific Time

Place:

All my talks are being streamed here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/jimtolles/live


Donations:

Donations are greatly appreciated so that I can continue to freely offer these talks, blogs, email correspondence, social media sharing and comments, and other things I do to help people.

You can donate by using the PayPal button in the upper right hand side of the blog. Thank you for your support!

Additional Spiritual Reading About True Kindness


"Jesus on the Lean Donkey"
The Essential Rumi
Translations by Coleman Barks

Jesus on the lean donkey,
this is an emblem of how the rational intellect
should control the animal-soul.

Let your spirit
be strong like Jesus.

If that part becomes weak,
then the worn-out donkey grows to a dragon.

Be grateful when what seems unkind comes from a wise person.

Once, a holy man,
riding his donkey, saw a snake crawling into
a sleeping man's mouth! He hurried, but he couldn't
prevent it. He hit the man several blows with his club.

The man woke terrified and ran beneath an apple tree
with many rotten apples on the ground.

"Eat!
You miserable wretch. Eat!"

"Why are you doing this to me?"

"Eat more, you fool."

"I've never seen you before!
Who are you? Do you have some inner quarrel with my soul?"

The wise man kept forcing him to eat, and then he ran him.
For hours he whipped the poor man and made him run.
Finally, at nightfall, full of rotten apples,
fatigued, bleeding, he fell
and vomited everything, the good and the bad, the apples and the snake.

When he saw that ugly snake
come out of himself, he fell on his knees
before his assailant.

"Are you Gabriel? Are you god?
I bless the moment you first noticed me. I was dead
and didn't know it. You've given me a new life.
Everything I've said to you was stupid!
I didn't know."

"If I had explained what I was doing,
you might have panicked and died of fear.
Muhammad said,
'If I described the enemy that lives
inside men, even the most courageous would be paralyzed. No one
would go out, or do any work. No one would pray or fast,
and all power to change would fade
from human beings,'
so I kept quiet
while I was beating you, that like David
I might shape iron, so that, impossibly,
I might put feathers back into a bird's wing.

God's silence is necessary, because of humankind's
faintheartedness. If I had told you about the snake,
you wouldn't have been able to eat, and if
you hadn't eaten, you wouldn't have vomited.

I saw your condition and drove my donkey hard
into the middle of it, saying always under my breath,
'Lord, make it easy on him.' I wasn't permitted
to tell you, and I wasn't permitted to stop
beating you!"

The healed man, still kneeling,
"I have no way to thank you for the quickness
of your wisdom and the strength
of your guidance.

God will thank you."

Monday, October 24, 2016

7 Signs of a False Spiritual Teacher

I want to start by saying that false spiritual teachers are pretty rare. When I say, "false spiritual teacher," I am saying that this is someone who is so lost and unconscious that they intentionally lead people astray and cause them needless emotional, physical, and mental suffering. Why they do these things can be for a number of egoic reasons, which are often attempts to feel good about themselves in some way. They may themselves have suffered trauma. They may be a sociopath. Who knows?

But as I said, they're pretty rare. You're going to find a lot more incomplete spiritual teachers than false ones. The incomplete spiritual teachers typically don't know the whole truth, but they want to help. They can focus people on ideas and experiences instead of the truth, but hopefully, the good intentions and care they offer has some benefit.

The genesis of this post comes from seeing a documentary called, "Holy Hell." In this documentary, it is revealed that a spiritual teacher used his authority to self-aggrandize himself and to sexually abuse the men in this community. Most everything depicted in this movie shows a text-book case for what a false spiritual teacher is. You can rent it on YouTube on the link below:

Holy Hell

Because I am concerned about any of you being preyed on by others like the false teacher in that documentary, I wanted to talk about some signs of a false spiritual teacher so that you can notice when things are wrong and leave these false teachers and communities before they can do any serious harm to you.

On a last note, if you're new to my blog, feel welcome to sign up for my free newsletter:

Subscribe to The Wake Up Call Newsletter

1. The False Teacher Determines Your Access to the Divine

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Heartfelt Thank you to my Donors!

I am writing a short blog post to thank all my donors this past year and years past. Thank you! I get to work as a full-time spiritual teacher because of all you. With your financial support, I began breaking even in March 2015, and I have been fully supported by you since then (a year and a half and counting). Thanks for every big and small, regular and one-time donation. They mean a ton to me.

Additionally, I like to remind all of you that when you help me, you're also supporting all the people who come to this blog and anyone with whom I connect. Your financial support gives me the time to focus on a number of activities such as:
  • replying to emails, 
  • posting and responding to comments on the blog and social sites like Facebook and Twitter, 
  • writing new blog posts,
  • writing newsletters, 
  • holding free online talks,
  • doing a bunch of clerical work that is part of any business,
  • researching technologies to keep my blog up-to-date,
  • managing my self-care so I can be a clear conduit for others,
  • and continuing to use my suggested donation methodology for one-on-one sessions.
This last point I'd like to take a few moments to explain because I think it's an important thing to understand as many of us would like to see a revolution in how money is used.


My Suggested Donation Methodology

Monday, October 17, 2016

How to Reconnect to Your Heart

reconnecting to your heart, reconnecting to love, spiritual love, spiritual awakening
I am regularly in sessions talking with students about how to open their hearts, so it felt like it was time to return to this topic because so many people have gotten so disconnected from their true sense of love and their openness to emotions.

If you happen to feel very in touch with your emotions, then you may want to skip this spiritual blog post and go to this one:

Becoming Heart Strong

Being in touch with emotions doesn't mean you are mature with them or are grounded, and becoming heart strong is learning how to anchor into the roiling seas of ever-changing emotions.

If you think you've got that down, then you may enjoy this blog post.

Opening to New Layers of Love

There is so much love inside us. Most of us have no clue, and each heart opening is always kind of a surprise as you discover new depths of love.

All right, I hope I've got everyone going in the right direction for their spiritual journeys. Now back to the topic at hand.

People all have very different relationships with their hearts and access to more or less of their emotional spectrum. Some of you are so numb that you feel like you can't feel anything. Others may feel things, but most of those feelings feel bad. Some of you find that your heart opens from time to time, but that it seems to close down on its own. Wherever you are on this path of reconnection to love, you can open up. You can reconnect because you have never been disconnected from your heart. It is only through a lot of intense belief and self-avoidance that we can deny this natural connection. As such, the reality is that we are in denial of our hearts, and the way to start to heal denial is through acceptance.

Start With Accepting Yourself

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Recording: The Bliss of Being Nobody

I often refer to the space of presence as the space where we are "nobody." But what does this mean to be nobody? How do we make decisions from that space? Isn't it necessary to be some kind of somebody?

Because we live in a culture that idolizes being a somebody, the concept that being a nobody could be okay much less a blissful experience seems absurd. Yet, as we grow on the spiritual path, we realize that being a somebody is too inflexible to be realistic. We get forced into choices and reactions that may be blind to some or many realities of life. That somebody becomes a problem to living in integrity, and as we realize that, we really and truly turn towards the spiritual path to let go of this ego self.

As a nobody, we maintain a space of openness to see what is really before us and to respond to life to the best of our abilities. In this way, we learn how to organically and naturally respond to the present moment rather than trying to control it and fit it into an idea of how we think life should go.

The more we let go into this space of being nobody, the more we see how problematic maintaining an identity really is. As such, we keep letting go deeper and deeper.

I hope to help everyone see how beautiful this space of being a nobody really is and how normal, natural, and available it is to everyone.

Enjoy the recording of talk below!

Recording of The Bliss of Being Nobody




Date of Talk:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Time:

10:30 AM to 11:30 AM Pacific Time


Place:

All my talks are streamed here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/jimtolles/live

All my past recordings can be found on the YouTube channel. You can also find them here on the blog:

http://www.spiritualawakeningprocess.com/search/label/Recordings

Donations:

Donations are greatly appreciated so that I can continue to freely offer these talks, blogs, email correspondence, social media sharing and comments, and other things I do to help people.

You can donate by using the PayPal button in the upper right hand side of the blog. Thank you for your support!


Additional Reading

For more on this topic, you can check out this blog post:

Be Nobody

Monday, October 10, 2016

Shifting Perspectives: Walking Through a Weird Wonderland

shifting perspectives, new perspectives, tahoe city, spiritual awakening
Both spiritual healing and spiritual growth tend to bring about changes in perspective. Obviously, a spiritual awakening can bring about a dramatic change in perspective depending on the individual. The result is that at times you can feel like you're walking through a hallway of mirrors. You see all these warped and twisted versions of yourself and others, and it can trigger fear for more than a few people. When someone has essentially had only one perspective--has been looking into the same warped mirror--their whole lives, it is jarring to look into another mirror. It is even more jarring to see the truth. This leads to a couple important aspects of the spiritual journey: patience and self-inquiry.

Whenever you notice that your perspective is getting warped and weird, you may want to slow down. Carve out some time in your life to explore these perceptions. The more still you become, the easier it is to begin to understand what is real and what is an illusion. In time, the false mirrors break and shatter. You find out who was holding them up and what they were created of. But you only do this by dedicating yourself to seeing the truth--the whole truth--not just the parts of yourself and life that you like.

Ultimately, what you like is an ego story based off of a lot of past experiences and beliefs, and if you want to walk out of the weird Wonderland of illusions and fragments of truth, then you have to dedicate yourself to seeing with clarity and to seeing what is real.

The Crazy Clown Town After a Spiritual Awakening

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

How to Read this Spirituality Blog

I've been writing this blog for more than 6 years as of the time of this posting (October 5, 2016). Thanks to all of you who have been supporting me in this venture. I really appreciate it.

Over time, some of how I express things has changed. I have grown and changed. I have learned more than a thing or two in the last six years, and so I've done my best to apply those learnings in my most recent blog posts.

You can certainly find incongruities and logical failings in here too. Having errors (and typos) is just part of being a human being. Additionally, human logic isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Spiritual truths don't need to make perfect sense in English or any other language to be understood. These and any other words will fail to point at the truth because they are not the truth. They are just signs pointing at things--things inside of you. I may use words like wisdom and love, but those words are not the things themselves. And wisdom and love move in surprising and often paradoxical ways. Keep this in mind when you read any spiritual teacher's work. It's the purview of philosophers to make all their writing mesh under certain logical constructs. It's the work of the spiritual teacher to break you out of constructs and to point you towards freedom. I hope you understand the distinction.

Since going back and editing 6 years of blog posts is untenable, I want to reinforce why practicing your intuition while reading this blog is so important. I am a human being. I see somethings. I don't see others. But when you read my work from the space of your intuition, you can find the wisdom you need and let go of any failings, misunderstandings, or other errors. That is how best to treat any spiritual teacher or person in general. Your intuition can find the needle in the haystack and toss away the hay.

For more on using your intuition, here's this compilation of blog posts. Admittedly, these are some of the ones that are getting a little dated, but the essence is still on point. It's the essence of the teaching that is, ultimately, the most important part to understand.

Intuition: A Short Guide to Improving Your Inner Knowing

Pay Attention to the Essence of my Teaching

Monday, October 3, 2016

Releasing Issues Intentionally

Releasing issues intentionally is one of those signs of deepening spiritual maturity that sounds mysterious and sort of magical to those earlier on the spiritual path. When we're early in our spiritual development, the idea that we can simply go inside and dissolve an issue seems like nonsense. It seems to take any and all of our energy even to notice what is going on, and in noticing, it seems like everything is an impossible hot mess. Such is the perspective of the unconscious ego, which is totally invested in these issues. Thus, the thing that may try to help is the thing causing all the mess. It's like tracking in muddy shoes while you're mopping the floor.

But as I've discussed in so many ways on this spiritual awakening blog, we can learn how to go within, and we can learn how to release deeper and more systemic issues. The deeper you go, the more an issue influences everything in you--your whole energetic system. There is a point, however, when it no longer matters how "big" or far-reaching an issue is for you to resolve it. As you continue to dissolve away the unconscious ego, you become increasingly powerful in your inner world. You lose attachment to being any particular way. This allows you to be at peace with your issues--big and small. Ironically that deep acceptance and peace are what give you the ability to intentionally release issues so instantaneously.

As I said, this seems mystical and magical to those who have not done their inner work or are only just beginning, but let's talk about how resting in presence gives us this natural ability to simply release issues whenever we choose.

Running Towards the Pain

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Recording: Sexuality and the Spiritual Path

Lake Tahoe, sexual energy, spiritual awakening, mountains, hiking, trail
A couple times a year, I like to talk about the beautiful expression of living that is sexuality. Too often, sexuality is relegated to the shadows in some spiritual traditions, but sexuality is equally embraced by the Divine as everything else. Furthermore, sexuality is a fundamental aspect of life. It keeps our species alive and thriving, so how could any true spiritual path ignore this sacred space?

In this talk, I touch on the beauty and importance of pleasure in our lives. I also talk about how sexual energy can support us in spiritual awakening and how we can find areas of stuck energy within us using sexual energy. These and other topics are part of my talk and the following discussion, so I hope you enjoy this recording.

While sexuality can be a way that some people get lost in their bodies and desires, if we are mindful, we can embrace our sexuality to free us from desires and pain.

Recording of Sexuality and the Spiritual Path



Date of Recording:

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Time:

6 PM Pacific Time

Place:

All past talks and other video recordings can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/jimtolles


Donations:

Donations are greatly appreciated so that I can continue to freely offer these talks, blogs, email correspondence, social media sharing and comments, and other things I do to help people.

You can donate by using the PayPal button in the upper right hand side of the blog. Thank you for your support!


Additional Links:

For more on this topic, feel free to check out this blog post:

Understanding Spiritual Sexuality

Monday, September 26, 2016

Expanding Into New Levels of Consciousness

opening consciousness, expanding consciousness, spiritual consciousness, spiritual awakening, cacti, cactus, flowers
I want to start off by saying that I don't like the terms "levels." It's too problematic for most people on their spiritual journeys because most people are immature and think that there's somewhere to get to. If today I say there are 100 levels of consciousness, then somebody is going to think they have to get to level 100 to be safe, complete, happy, or something else. That's part of the sickness of the ego self right now; it's never happy with how things are. Things always need to be different, although I suppose there are some egos that are happy to sink into a swamp of laziness. But that's a different set of issues.

So if you can let go of the concept that levels matter or that one level is better than another, then we can have an intelligent conversation about how we expand into new levels of consciousness. Perhaps new is problematic too because these levels of consciousness have always been here. But I suppose it's new to your sense of self as a human being. It's kind of like recycled clothing only consciousness is never full of holes; it's just holy. :)

Okay, that ought to be enough of a primer. Clearly, as you grow and heal, your abilities of perception about yourself and others expand. You perceive greater levels of connection with life, greater levels of love, and greater levels of clarity. Your consciousness opens up. This is more or less what I mean by a new level of consciousness. It's almost like if we evolved our eyes to see more of the light spectrum. What was once hidden and unseeable is now as obvious as a tree standing in front of us. This is the beauty of spiritual growth, but it can require an adjustment time for the human self to catch up with what you are now perceiving so that you can understand how to be with that information.

The First Thing to do is Nothing

Monday, September 19, 2016

Getting off the Spiritual Plateau

Carson River, spiritual awakening, spiritual flow, go with the flow
It's time to expand our spiritual vocabulary again. Too often we get stuck inheriting words that don't really explain things, so it's up to us to make our words work for us. This is part of mastering our lives rather than being caged by the beliefs and definitions given to us. So today, we'll add the term "spiritual plateau" into our spiritual lexicon, and I think a few of you will really appreciate having this term.

Firstly, I'm not talking about being spiritually stuck. Most part aren't even started in their inner growth. Even those who have been on a spiritual path for 30 years are often just going through the motions rather than being moved by the inner intelligence inside them. That kind of stuckness isn't a plateau. It's not even started climbing the mountain. I'm also not talking about a spiritual rest period. Sometimes, things get very quiet in our spiritual journey, but if you're in a spiritual rest phase there is still this movement. There's just not a lot of chop in the waters, so you are flowing along without any major inner challenges to disturb those waters.

What I am talking about is after a spiritual awakening, there can be a point where things just stop moving. It's usually the result of resistance, and that resistance comes with a variety of ego motives. Usually fear is at the root of them all, but they can include not feeling like you have the space to go into issues. You may not trust yourself. You may not like where you think things are headed, and you may feel enormously uncomfortable and just want the discomfort to end. So the individual holds on and stops doing any kind of inner work as soon as things seem settled enough to stay wherever they are internally and externally. This can be particularly true for people who have had a lot of physical pain come up. The minute things calm down, they'll often stop all work because they don't want to deal with the physical pain again that may come with deeper healing and spiritual growth.

Unfortunately, this can put people into a no-person's land where you kinda know and feel the truth, but you're cut off from a lot of yourself. It makes how you perceive the world very strange and a little contorted. You aren't seeing clearly in this space. It's like one eye is open and the other is closed, and that creates confusion and misinterpretations of life that can be enough to drive you back towards doing your inner work.


Allowing Rest Periods in Your Spiritual Growth

Monday, September 12, 2016

Lying to Yourself and Perceiving Lies in People's Energy

lies, spiritual truth, spiritual awakening, awakening to truth, tree, nature,
Lies.

We're surrounded by them. We're so inundated with lies, half-truths, and twisted beliefs that many people don't know what is real or true anymore. Some people may even give up and believe that nothing is real in a nihilistic sort of way. This giving up can occasionally lead someone to the real truth, but more often, it creates a constantly recycling state of depression, anxiety, or anger because deep down the person knows there is something real in this world.

But what is it?

The only way to know what is true is to unmask your own lies. We have been taught to be master liars. We tell ourselves all kinds of lies everyday, and we have gotten so used to them that these beliefs are hidden. They are hidden as commonsense or just "the way things are." Because of this when someone occasionally speaks the truth like me, I'm considered either a prophet or a madman. But I have no ownership of the truth and no special powers to see it that you do not. I simply did the one thing that many people have not done--investigated and faced my own self-lies.

With this deeper sensitivity to your own lies, it becomes more obvious when other people are lying or half-truthful. But it is best to focus on yourself first. As Jesus said in Mathew 7:3, “And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" That "log" limits your perceptions and interpretation abilities of what is going on around you. You may even be so blind that you are just looking at your own blindness that you project onto others. Certainly, it is easier to notice the problems and lies others are stuck in, but if you are not out of the mud yourself, it is absurd to tell others that they are stuck in mud.

For my energy sensitive friends, you may notice that people's energy tells you a lot. If someone says something that doesn't match with their energy, you may sense this lie, this mismatch. This energetic mismatch can be an intentional lie, but more often, it is an unintentional lie. However, it can be jarring and confusing to sense these mismatches. Another way to look at it is as if the person just said two different answers to one question. If someone says "yes" and "no," which answer do you respond to? This is an interesting issue that can also come up, so I wanted to address this and other aspects of uncovering lies in this spiritual awakening blog post.

Rehearsing the Big Lie

Monday, September 5, 2016

Why Spiritual Awakening Can Make People Solitary

Many people have an image of the spiritual path as inherently solitary. They think that the only way to "achieve enlightenment" is to go it alone, but that is simply not the case. The spiritual path is always around us and within us. There is no where you can go where it is not. You can certainly go where life is hard and dangerous, but that is not separate from the spiritual path. Until we can see all of life as interconnected, as one, we will not heal as a people, and we'll collectively make the same mistakes again and again. In this way, understanding that wherever you are is the perfect spiritual path for you is crucial to evolving out of the unconscious madness from which a lot of the world operates.

With that said, spiritual awakening can draw people towards solitude from time to time. This can arise for a number of reasons including but not limited to:

  • The person is naturally a solitary person;
  • The person needs time and space to heal;
  • The person needs to face fears of being alone; and
  • The person is running away from their triggers.

Obviously, the last one is not a healthy reason, but it happens a lot for those people who are highly sensitive. They come to the conclusion that nowhere but on their own is safe. Certainly, a highly sensitive person (or empath, if you prefer that term) can do some important healing on his or her own, but my point stands about being interconnected to all of life. Running away is ultimately an attempt to run away from ourselves. This leads to an important question about what it is you are running away from. As we go inwards, we realize that it is our own discomfort and our hidden issues that we are attempting to avoid. When we resolve those things, even highly sensitive people can be at peace with others in just about any situation. I do leave space for truly horrific situations in the latter statement I made, but that is typically not what is going for most people.

With all this said, let's talk about the solitary aspect of healing and growth after a spiritual awakening, when it's time to go it alone, and when it's time to rejoin society.

All By Yourself, Don't Want to Be All By Yourself

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Recording: Confronting Core Issues

I'm sure many of you have heard me mention core issues before, so I directed this talk right at them. Core issues are things like fear of the unknown, fear of being socially rejected/outcast, self-hatred/lack of self worth, trauma, and other big monsters that define your whole outlook on life as well as your way of living.

Most of our initial spiritual work is just clearing the ground to dig down and root out these beasts. It's not fun work, but it is immensely rewarding work. So long as a core issue like self-hatred has a foothold inside you, it will find ways to grow back. Core issues like to re-generate. If you feel like you keep grappling with similar problems again and again, then it's time to grab a pickax and get to work. Undoubtedly a core issue is happily re-growing itself, and it'll continue to do so unless you really go find it and meet it head on.

Of course, this kind of work tends to lead to dramatic life changes. How it could it not? If your whole sense of self is built on a lie, then you've probably created a whole life full of falsities to reinforce this original lie. Thus, when you do get working on core issues, you should expect a lot of changes to come in the external world. This is all part of reclaiming your life. Otherwise, you will remain trapped by your own issues.

I hope you enjoy the recording below. I welcome your comments.

Confronting Core Issues Recording



Date of Recording:

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Time:

10:30 AM Pacific Time

Donations:

Donations are greatly appreciated so that I can continue to freely offer these talks, blogs, email correspondence, social media sharing and comments, and other things I do to help people.

You can donate by using the PayPal button in the upper right hand side of the blog. Thank you for your support!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Being at Peace With Pain

peaceful nature, being at peace, spiritual peace, spiritual awakening
Being at peace with pain is possibly one of the highest orders of spiritual maturity. In a world that is so full of pain and suffering, the concept of being at peace with pain is probably a foreign one to many of you. Firstly, I need to remind everyone of how I am defining these terms. Pain is a communication tool of the heart-body-mind. It's telling you that something is wrong. If you step on a tack, the physical pain is telling you that you should check your foot and remove the tack. Without that pain, you could cause more damage to your foot. Simply put, physical pain is a part of this world. There's no way around that.

Suffering is when we ignore pain and/or continue to do actions that cause pain. If we don't check our feet when we step on tacks and continue to walk, we'll cause more damage to our feet. We'll suffer. Additionally, suffering is caused by psychological issues such as wanting life to be different than it is. This psychological pain can cause enormous suffering both in terms of attempting to change things in us and the external world to "make us happy" emotionally. There are also physical repercussions of trying to change ourselves and others. For example, a lot of people use alcohol and drugs to try to change their feelings and alleviate emotional suffering. These actions rarely work, and when they do seem to work, the relief from suffering is short-lived. Sometimes, we can even delude ourselves into believing that we've fixed an issue that was "causing" suffering to us, but invariably it comes back until we get to the root cause. Thus, part of the way out of suffering is to see things as they are, and this includes accepting pain.

And there's a lot of pain of all kinds to accept. There is the physical pain you may endure, and there is seeing the suffering and pain others must endure. To be sure, the pain of something like hunger may be difficult to be at peace with, but we can be at peace with it. Otherwise, psychological suffering can make a difficult situation truly unbearable and far harder to address. Thus, being at peace with pain is a hugely important step to resolving the pains that can be resolved and alleviating the suffering from the pains that simply must be endured.

Beginning to Notice Pain

Monday, August 22, 2016

Accepting Your Body's Mortality and Frailty

spiritual death, physical death, fear of death, spiritual awakening
One of the most powerful ways we can ever learn to surrender is to surrender to our body's frailty and ultimate demise.

This is no small thing. While it's fairly common knowledge that fear of death is a huge issue for most of humanity, that conceptual understanding changes little. There are so many beliefs, emotions, and biological triggers that are intertwined with the fear of death that the issue is submerged into the subconscious and is difficult to root out. At the very biological and instinctual level, we are built to flee, fight, or otherwise avoid anything that gets associated with the body's death. This often includes pain and potential injury.

I separate the fear of pain from the fear of death even though, for many people, the fear of pain is part of the bigger fear of death. But there are many other times where the pain of living becomes so bad to people that they'd prefer death. I am not advocating suicide in any way; I am simply illustrating the difference in the two issues. A lot of people go to great lengths to avoid any kind of perceived emotional and physical pain, and in many regards, emotional pain is physical. Our emotions really are different changes in our biochemistry. A lot of dopamine is what most people call love. A lot of cortisol is more or less what people call fear. Sure, it's way more complicated than that. I am simply pointing to the importance of biology in how it defines a lot of how we feel about ourselves. If we are to find real freedom in our human lives, we have to honor and respect many biological truths. Those truths include that in time, the body will grow weaker and infirm, and ultimately, each of us will die. If you can come to peace with those truths, then you open the doors to truly thrive while you are alive.

So let's talk about the road to acceptance of the body's decline and demise.

Appreciating the Body You Have

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Recording: Integrating Your Awakening

downtown walnut creek, sf bay area downtown, sunny day
Integrating a spiritual awakening is a common topic for people in spiritual circles. What people mean by it, however, can vary, so let me explain my definition.

There are two main ways that I intend to define this topic on this next free online talk. Firstly, a spiritual awakening illuminates how disintegrated we already are. What do I mean by this? I mean that our ego selves spend a lot of time cutting us up into this and not that. We can be smart, but not dumb. We can be ugly, which means we aren't beautiful. This constant self-categorization  becomes so habitual that it is undetectable to many people, and that categorization is a form of disintegrating ourselves. We cut ourselves up and off. This tends to lead to creating a shadow side of ourselves--all the things we think we can't be. Thus, a spiritual awakening leads us to reconnect with all these pieces and with our shadows so that we allow ourselves to be whole.

Secondly, as we come into health, it becomes clear that we do not live from a space of integration. All most people know how to do are lots of self-degrading things, some of which can appear to be good. Consider regular exercise. If you are working out to help your health, that's one way of coming to the gym. If you are working out to achieve a certain physique or way of looking, that's coming from a place of delusion. It means you are rejecting your physical body in certain ways rather than coming to the gym from a place of love and embracing your whole body--what it can do and what it can't. To the outside world, the actions you take may look the same, but the more sensitive you are to yourself, the more you'll notice which one is coming from self-love and which comes from self-hate.

This is one of many ways where how we act is often more important than the action itself, and learning to move from a space of love naturally turns our actions into loving ones. That creates integration where your heart, body, mind, and spirit are all at one in how you live your life.

Integrating Your Awakening Full Recording




Date of Recording:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Time:

6 PM Pacific Time

Place:

All my talks are being streamed here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/jimtolles/live

Donations:

Donations are greatly appreciated so that I can offer these talks, blogs, email correspondence, and other things I do to help people for free.

You can donate by using the button in the upper right hand side of the blog. Thank you for your support!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Healing Silent Wounds

healing, thriving, spiritual awakening, redwoods, muir woods, trees
Some of the toughest healing we ever do is to heal our silent wounds. Silent wounds are the wounds where nothing was ever said, but something was definitely communicated. It can be as simple as not getting acknowledgement for a good grade on a test in a subject you love. It can be watching your mother constantly fret over her looks even though she outwardly said that you were beautiful just as you are. It could be the underlying sense that your parents never wanted you even though they said they love you. It could be your father's constant money worries, and although he never told you that you should worry about money, you learned from his example to be miserly. All of these become silent wounds where there are no scars and not necessarily any big moments to point to as the cause. But they leave indelible marks on you that affect your entire way of living and acting. Now it's time to heal them.

Healing silent wounds is challenging. It's hard enough when someone has had a physical abuse to heal that wound and the resulting issues. But when you're not even sure if you have a wound, the healing process is that much harder. The first step is about finding the tell-tale signs of the silent wounds and then tracking them back to their source, which is usually childhood. Initially, you are probably going to run into a lot of ego resistance because, as I said, there isn't necessarily an obvious cause of distress. Plus, some silent wounds can be masked by "common sense." Common sense often makes no sense, and it many times it is nonsense. But we tend to believe that if a lot of people believe something, then it must be true. A common sense silent wound is like the example of the mother worrying about how she looks because "it's important that a woman looks beautiful." Right? How many of my amazing women readers believe that line in quotes? And how many of you have realized how wounding it is to constantly judge your physical appearance and do all the things you think you need to do to maintain a level of beauty?

Yes, silent wounds are some of the worst ones because they are so hidden, yet some are hidden in plain sight. So let's look into this issue so that you can not only identify them, but go deeper in healing and dissolving these invisible pains.


Silent Wounds Are Not Repressed Trauma

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