3 Spots Left for New Students in my Schedule

Jim Tolles, spiritual teacher, snow, forest
As of this posting, I have 3 spots available in my schedule for regular students.

Regular students are those who meet with me via video chat every two weeks. I help them go further on their spiritual paths towards spiritual freedom. Spiritual freedom is freedom from the suffering of the ego. It is not freedom from difficulty. Life has difficulties. That's just how it is. But we don't need to choose to be upset about life. When we take responsibility for our ego choices to react to life, we begin to go down the path towards spiritual freedom, and among many other things, I help people discover the many unconscious ego choices that control them.

If you already know you want to work with me and haven't contacted me yet, you can do so on the link below. Thanks to all those who have already reached out. I appreciate it, and I appreciate you.

The rest of this blog post will offer anonymous, generalized examples of how people have evolved working with me through the years--and yes, I have a number of students who have worked with me for years and are still working with me. If you are one of those students, you'll probably find one or more evolutions that describe you. I want to assure you that none of this is autobiographical; these paths of spiritual development are just very common!

5 Types of Spiritual Evolutions

People can evolve in all sorts of ways, and truth be told, some people devolve on the spiritual path.

Devolving is a matter of becoming more selfish and focused on how the external world fits our beliefs and selfish demands. This leads people towards more fear, depression, rage, violence, self-hate, despair, and other such assorted states. Those states, in turn, fuel a desire for control of oneself, others, and environments to try and push away these increasingly terrible feelings.

Those who feel like failures at control and who blame themselves for everything are judging themselves based off of external world stimuli and beliefs taught to them by others; this is another type of ego control at work. They were taught by others that they suck, and their belief in this controls their perception and feelings.

Can a very unconscious person still feel good? Sure. That's what "ignorance is bliss" means for many. It doesn't mean the person is really happy. It usually means they're not fully aware of how much pain they're in.

Additionally, some people find comfort in a cage.

Why am I mentioning this? Because many times the starting point I meet people at is a state of depression, selfishness, anxiety, and so forth, and I think it's important to understand that those states tend to worsen over time if not addressed. It's like a cut on a hand that is never cleaned and tended to. It gradually gets worse and worse causing infection and maybe even the loss of the hand. This would not have happened with just a little awareness and self-love.

Understanding what I've just said is one reason why choosing the path to spiritual freedom becomes the rational thing to do to avoid greater suffering as well as finding peace. There are no guarantees in life, and left to our own ego devices, we often do not heal or grow; we usually go in circles, or we devolve. Without the proper guidance on the spiritual path, those two outcomes also often occur.

Choosing the Conscious Spiritual Path

Spiritual Evolution 1: The Beginner's Path

There's a lot I can say about each evolution, and these types of spiritual progress are simplifications. Plus, there is a lot of overlap for many people. You could be on the beginner's path and the healing path at the same time. You could be on four of the five paths I describe. But hopefully, these generalized paths of spiritual development help you to understand how things can go.

Also, there are certainly more types of paths, as well as different types of healing, beginning, awakening, and other paths. These examples are simply ways to help conceptualize what spiritual progress can look like.

In these examples, I'm going to hit the high-notes and not get into too much nitty-gritty of what is entailed. I also want to emphasize that any of my past and current students who have gone through any of the following evolutions have done their work. So it's not like they show up, and magically I somehow fix everything for them. They put in the dedication, and they reaped the rewards.

Here is one type of beginner's evolution that I've seen:
  1. Not understanding the spiritual path and having a desire for the Divine and/or self-understanding that is ambiguous and vague
  2. Building a spiritual practice to help go within and understand themselves
  3. Coming into realization of what their life actual is and if it's actually the life they want
  4. Identifying changes that they need to make to let go of some of their ego and honor what's important to them at this stage of their development
  5. Making changes (I've supported people through a lot of major life changes)
  6. Facing different ego fears and attachments that resist the changes they are in the process of making
  7. Processing the changes they've made and adjusting to what it's like to live a life more in integrity with themselves
  8. Learning about a more natural form of happiness and ease being oneself and no longer trying as hard to be someone they're not.
This really is the beginner's path. This is not spiritual freedom, but by step 8 (these steps are made-up so don't hold onto them), this person can go deeper into other issues and reach a more intermediate level of spiritual development.

Also, remember that a lot goes on through these 8 steps. Many people don't make it that far. There are all kinds of ways people self-sabotage and backslide. But the ones who do arrive at step 8 are usually very joyful.

Sabotaging the Healing Process and Running When it Gets Tough

Spiritual Evolution 2: The Healing Path

There are many wounds and abuses people have to heal. While I have a very broad definition of healing, the people on the healing path have usually had a very significant or multiple significant traumas that have forced them to seek help.

I've had the deep honor of helping a number of students through this path to a sense of wholeness.
  1. Connecting and learning to trust me (the spiritual teacher). This can go on for months depending on the abuse.
  2. Building a spiritual practice that is correct for the person and for handling the abuse responsibly (Many people have practices that are inappropriate, under-demanding, over-demanding, or simply ineffective; I help people sort this out)
  3. Allowing the energy of connection to help the pain rise (and pain generally wants to rise; it's like bubbles that people have to actively hold down to stay in pain)
  4. Working through an initial issue to better understand or begin to understand energetic/emotional/physical releasing
  5. Discussions and adjustments are made to the spiritual practice and self-care to help better process the pain that is purging
  6. More of step 3--a lot more and a lot of regular self-care
  7. Easy sessions arise on their own amidst the processing sessions. It's like coming up for air. The healing process is very intelligent. Rest is important, and the easy sessions help with trust and strengthening the student's relationship with me and confidence in his/herself.
  8. The healing work drops deeper. More challenging emotions and sensations emerge because the student can now handle them.
  9. Step 8 goes on for awhile--it can be months if not years. It depends on the trauma/traumas.
  10. The student contacts the center of the trauma. This is a trauma healing climax. It can arise for a couple of sessions, not just one. 
  11. A lot of self-care follows.
  12. The center of the trauma releases. A huge burden feels lifted form the student. They may  spontaneously and easily make important life changes that they've long wanted to do now that they no longer feel inhibited inside of themselves.
  13. The student starts adjusting to being free of the trauma.
  14. A dissolving of the victim ego/self-improvement ego arises if all trauma is cleared. This tends to bring confusion for awhile as the student reckons with not knowing how to be whole and getting used to no longer thinking of themselves as a problem/broken.
  15. Stabilization and wholeness arise as the student is free intellectually, emotionally, physically, and energetically of the abuse.
This is a lot of work. Dedication is key to make it through this evolution from wounded to wholeness.

Spiritual Evolution 3: The Awakening Path

This path is really varied because people can awaken at any level of conscious awareness. Most people aren't prepared for all the changes that awakened energy demands. Most plateau, going only so far as they need to until the intensity decreases.

This spiritual evolution often goes like this:
  1. Having no idea what is going on
  2. Feeling overwhelmed by memories, emotions, and sensations
  3. Relief at talking to a spiritual teacher who knows what the Hell is going on
  4. Learning how to "listen" to awakened energy
  5. Adjusting lifestyle and spiritual practice to make space for awakened shifts
  6. Going more intentionally into the issues brought up by awakened energy
  7. Surrendering more deeply to the energy
  8. Allowing spiritual growth and bliss/love/joyful/peaceful states to arise without holding on
  9. Backsliding (this happens at any step, but the tendency for people to hold onto different beliefs and attachments doesn't go away overnight.)
  10. Having to address the issues/attachments that are causing the backslide
  11. Going deeper into harder issues (These are usually issues the person knows about and aren't actually that hard--they just seem that way because the student is still inexperienced with this kind of inner work. It takes a while to get into really dense, hidden issues.)
  12. Experiencing bigger energy shifts and releases that can leave the person feeling really lost in the world
  13. Acclimating to this greater sense of spaciousness, clarity, love, and/or something else after the bigger shifts
  14. Much more of number 11, 12, and 13
  15. Eventually, enjoying greater ease with the energy
  16. Deepening into even more powerful issues and states of awareness. The initial experiences are typically superficial (even though they seem deep at the time) because of how much active resistance someone places against awakened energy.
  17. From here, it can go into a lot of directions. If someone stops working with me at this point, they're a lot more confident in how to surrender, how to process issues, and how awakened energy moves them. Many decide at this point to keep working on their own, although I actually have so much more to teach them at this step. We're just getting started on the really good stuff!
Once again, this last step is not spiritual freedom. It's a far less distressed state, and so the person feels comfortable being with what is happening.

Spiritual Awakening Help and Tips Guide

Spiritual Evolution 4: The Lost Long-time Seeker

This type of student is one of the hardest to work with because they've usually created a very strong spiritual ego. Yet, they often can't understand that being lost is a result of that spiritual ego. Many people in this position can't even admit they're lost.

Furthermore, they're not pressured to heal like the person on the healing path nor pressured to understand as the awakened person who is burning up in intense sensations 24-7 are. They also don't have the humility of the beginner to accept that they don't know things.

Nonetheless, every now and then a lost seeker finds the path again with me.
  1. Admits they're lost (This is an act of humility; most egos aren't good at being humble.)
  2. Re-orientation to the spiritual path
  3. Giving up spiritual beliefs that they once thought were right
  4. There is often a simplification of beliefs and spiritual practice among other adjustments
  5. Backsliding and fighting themselves and fighting me about how a belief/attachment/practice is right for them (This is where a lot of people quit working with me).
  6. Realizations seep through, and the humbling process continues as part of dissolving the spiritual ego (We're not even dealing with the main ego; the spiritual ego is a layer on top of the main ego structure.)
  7. Humility and realizations about what the spiritual path actually is take hold, and the person more honestly moves forward on the spiritual path.
There's a pretty strong tendency for many people to conclude working with me after step 7. Is there a lot more to be done? Yes. But I can't and don't try to force anyone to continue with me longer than they choose even when their choices come from the ego. Long-time spiritual seekers get lost because of the ego and misorientation to the spiritual path. They often don't have the will for the true spiritual path because they actually feel threatened by it.

If someone can get humbled enough, however, the work can continue into tougher issues to really open up new spaces of freedom inside of them. But let's be clear: the ego hates being humbled. That's why pain is usually the most important and first true spiritual teacher people get.

Beware the Spiritual Ego

Spiritual Evolution 5: The Highly-sensitive Person (HSP) / Empath 

Many people become highly sensitive after an awakening, but others have always been sensitive. The work to help such an HSP typically revolves around coming into acceptance of sensitivities as well as their source--inside the person
  1. Discussion about why the person feels so much
  2. Reorientation towards understanding how a person's own pain creates additional sensitivities
  3. Focus on inner work and discovering hidden pain while letting go of blaming others for "making" the person feel a certain way
  4. Releasing an initial issue and getting used to being more open rather than creating more energy shields or other barriers that perpetuate the illusion of separation and duality
  5. Coming into better understanding of the nature of oneness and the HSP's own experiential reality of feeling more of that oneness with others than most people
  6. Relaxing into oneself more and greater acceptance of sensitivities
  7. The person gets better at releasing their issues and finds themselves less triggered by what they feel from others.
This is one of the shorter evolutions I've helped people through. The HSP/empath is rarely interested in spiritual freedom, although this spiritual evolution can inspire them to go further. In going further, they get better at interpreting their sensitivities correctly and learning how to intentionally connect to those they love in deeper ways.

Lots of Spiritual Evolutions

As I said earlier, there are lots of spiritual evolutions people can go through, and the above examples and the example steps are just generalizations. They won't necessarily be how you go, and most people backslide into old habits a lot more than I mentioned.

But that's part of why I offer this work. I help people catch themselves in the backslide, and instead of getting lost potentially for years, I turn them back to the true spiritual path; I turn them back towards themselves and the path to spiritual freedom.

If you'd like more information about working with me and getting help through your own spiritual evolution, you can check out these blog posts.


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Frequently Asked Questions About My Sessions


  1. Jim, thank you for all your work. Just reading all that you write triggers uncomofrtable spaces inside of me that the ego does not like, all believes which makes me take the same choices which bring the same, poor results, leaving me more and more disorientated. How wonderful is to grasp and understand even one little fear which hides in the dark and deep corner of the WHY I do take certain action. You help tremendously Jim
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
    Big warm hug from cold Poland :)

    1. I'm glad I can help, Natalia. Thanks for sharing. :)


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