Love Yourself, Says The Buddha!

Last Updated on
Love Yourself The Buddha

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” I don’t know about you, but this quotation simply doesn’t sound like what we typical hear from Buddhism, and especially from variants like Zen. And yet, here we are, face to face with a teaching, “love yourself,” that is both powerful AND surprisingly consistent with what The Buddha surely knew to be true.

What could The Buddha have meant when we said “you” and “yourself”? Whom or what was he addressing? These are very important questions, because to someone who absolutely knew the true nature of what we are, it would be difficult to assume he meant “love yourself” in some new age, cliché way. He would have had a deeper meaning, one more rich  …

Read more

Awakened Persons: Why Things Are Different When Around Them

Last Updated on
light and awakened beings

A reader sent a question about “awakened beings” to me the other day, and I would like to share it and my answer with all of you.

Reader’s Question:

Why do I feel there is a difference in my being when I sit in front of an awakened person than a normal person even though I am just simply sitting there?

Tom’s Answer:

Thanks for the question. I believe I can give you a good answer, because I’ve experienced the same thing in the past, too.

Someone who is awakened knows, in the deepest possible way, that you are themselves. It isn’t a case of oneness or joining, it is LITERALLY that what you are, the consciousness looking out of your eyes, is exactly the same as what they are.  …

Read more

The Purpose of a Spiritual Teacher’s Words and Teachings

Last Updated on
Blinded by the spiritual teacher

No words of a spiritual teacher are meant to be taken as truth. Or even as true. Or even as a little bit true. No thought or belief or feeling is true, including, especially including, the words spoken by a spiritual teacher.

When a spiritual teacher speaks, his words are meant to have an effect. Nothing more. They cause, if they “hit home,” a letting go. They are an arrow that strikes another arrow in mid-air and cancels out both (a Zen concept, the two arrows). All words spoken by a teacher have as their only purpose to cancel out a thought or belief in the mind of the listener.

So, when some “enlightened guy” prattles on about, let’s say, spiritual teachers taking money in payment for their services (I  …

Read more

Drop Your Spiritual Agenda

Last Updated on
spiritual agenda

Those who truly awaken will, at some point in their journey, drop their spiritual agenda. One of my favorite “awake guys,” Lester Levenson, had no agenda when he woke up. He had no worldly agenda for what awakening would do for him.

Lester caught on to the idea that he wanted to be happy. Then he realized he was only happy when he was feeling love for others. So he went about the business of loving everything so that he would be happy. Period.

He didn’t do any of that process to get anything from the world. His only “reward” was the feeling of happiness he got from letting go and loving and correcting his beliefs. He was all about feeling happy with no other concern or purpose.

Lester had  …

Read more

How to Truly Love Someone

Last Updated on
Love someone

The way to truly love someone and thus begin setting yourself free is to first acknowledge exactly how you are experiencing this person. Do you love them? Or do you hate them? It is imperative to know exactly how you feel, think about, and see the other person.

You can’t let go unless you know! And you simply must let go of everything you think and believe about this seemingly other person.

Choosing to Love

Once you fully get into how you feel and how you see this person, then you can choose to love them regardless of how you think you feel. You can say, “Yeah, he treated me like shit, and I hate his fucking guts!” And then choose to love him, love him because he treated you  …

Read more

Healing and the Spiritual Journey

Last Updated on

For the past eight years, I have been writing notes to myself quite frequently. These notes are often the product of insights I have about my life, the universe, The Infinite, living life, and more. These notes are quite different from journaling as they are often quite spontaneous, such as an email to myself at 2:00 am. I realized this week that these notes contain a wealth of valuable teachings that I really ought to share with all of you. Often they will not read as complete essays or articles but more as flashes of insight, which they usually were. I will edit them as minimally as possible, too, so you get the full essence of the teaching. And please believe me when I say that these were all teachings  …

Read more

The Meaningless “I”

Last Updated on
Field of emptiness

I’m a nice guy. I lost my job. I’m happy. I’d like to meet a wonderful woman. Do you know what he did to me? My friend called me. I’m turning in my homework late because my dog ate it.

I, I, I, me, me, me, my, my, my…. Spend ten minutes with anyone, doesn’t matter whom, and you will hear and endless string of sentences that begin with “I” or end with “me” or talk about “mine, mine, mine!” “I” did something or someone did something to “me.”

Who Is This “I”

Although these are immensely popular words to use, a curious thing happens when you really investigate them. The truth is, the words “I” and “me” have no meaning. They are pronouns, of course, and by definition the  …

Read more

Spiritual Teachers Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Last Updated on
Guru

I was doing some editing of the free Lessons on Living a Life Un:Limited email series, and as I was re-reading this lesson about spiritual teachers, I realized I really should share this one with everyone, subscriber or not. I think it has something extremely valuable for everyone to know. Enjoy! And if you would like to become a subscriber, click the “Subscribe to Lessons” link to right.

Spiritual Teachers Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

I know I’m shooting myself in the foot a bit with today’s tip, but I see no way around it. You simply have to take all spiritual teachers and all spiritual teachings with a grain of salt. Spiritual teachers, gurus, masters, whatever you want to call them, can be a huge obstacle to your  …

Read more

Please Keep Going

Last Updated on
keep going

Spiritual teachers are supposed to sound all guru-ish. They never resort to flat-out pleading with those they are teaching. Well, to hell with that nonsense. I’m going to plead with you, encourage you, prod you, even nag you. And my nagging insistence is simple:

Keep going!

Yes, keep going. Really. Just keep going. It is so ridiculously easy to listen to the mind as it gives you reason after reason why things aren’t working as well as they should. It is so easy to critique your technique, the process you are doing, the method you are using, the teachers to whom you listen, etc. We can easily (and often) focus on the how of spirituality and the spiritual journey without realizing that we are missing (again) what is truly important. …

Read more

Let Go of Your Resistance to Life. And Maybe Die Trying.

Last Updated on
let go of resistance

I’ve notice recently a tremendous resistance to allowing things to be as they are. That resistance can take a wide variety of forms, and it can be toward almost anything, but it is always there, often in the form of an internal disquiet or simple nervousness with no discernible cause. I have begun to see it as an all pervasive sense of unease that has been with me for as long as I can remember. Mercifully, it can be seen, experienced, and then dropped quite easily.

What causes this resistance and disquiet?

At the very core of what we call the “ego” is a very simple word, one that every 2 year old knows very, very well. “No!” This “no” can be thought of as the essence of what the  …

Read more

Sitting: When in Doubt, Do It!

Last Updated on
sitting

It’s a theme that I have beaten to death many, many times in my writings. But I cannot emphasize this point about sitting enough. You simply must do it if you have any hope of not only awakening but straightening out the mess that is your life. Yeah, mess.

In reading many, many stories of enlightenment, awakening, and all manner of spiritual experiences, one and only one theme stands out: time spent sitting, meditating, etc., is essential for the process. All things spiritual simply require time, the deepest belief we have, and there is a loose correlation between the time you take to turn within and the “progress” you make spiritually. Yes, there really is no such thing as “progress” when talking about spirituality, but the simple fact is that  …

Read more

It’s Like Deja Vu All Over Again

Last Updated on

Greetings everyone! I am happy to announce that I am teaching again. I have lots of plans for this spiritual teaching gig, this website, the TV “channel,” the newsletter, the former Shortcuts now called Lessons, online courses, a new book (next Fall?), and so very much more.

One thing you will notice immediately when you take a quick look around: there is a new “theme” to my teaching. It is “Living a Life Un:limited.” This pithy phrase is not just some clever spiritual marketing tool, but rather precisely how I see what is occurring as we move further along in spirituality. It is not a path, a journey, or some separate aspect of our lives. It IS YOUR LIFE and MY LIFE and LIFE ITSELF. And it is MEANT to  …

Read more

A Limitless Life Can Be Yours!

Last Updated on

Beyond mind, beyond thought, beyond what you have always believed about yourself is your true nature. As others have done before us, we can wake-up to this reality and realize the truth about ourselves, our neighbors and our world. Tom invites you to join him in finding the freedom and peace that has always been present in every moment of your life. For you are the very peace and freedom that you have always been seeking.

 …

Read more

Takuin – A Question for My Peers

Last Updated on

My friend Takuin Minamoto mentioned today a blog post he did 2 years ago that generated a lot of discussion, including some (long) comments by yours truly. I just now re-read the discussion, and I have to say, it was quite good. I invite you to have a look and profit from the many questions, comments and responses.

To read the full article and all the comments, go to Takuin.com: A Question for My Peers.

Enjoy!

 …

Read more

Are Thoughts the Source of Ego? – Eckhart Tolle

Last Updated on

I ran across this video clip of Eckhart Tolle answering a woman’s question about thought and ego, and Eckhart did a fantastic job of answering the question. He put to rest the notion that the ego is a thing that is somehow independent, and entity of sorts we must deal with. Watch the video clip. It is well worth 10 minutes of your time.

 …

Read more

8 First Steps for Someone New (or Old) to Spiritual Awakening: A Beginner’s Guide Part 1

Last Updated on

I recently received an email from a friend of a friend wanting some help finding a spirituality that would “give [her] some peace.” As I pondered this request, it became clear to me that some sort of “Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Awakening” might be of use to her and hopefully others. This article is the first in what will probably be several on how to get started in spirituality with an emphasis on awakening.

Since many guides for beginners can at times be long and confusing, I’m going to attempt to keep these articles simple, in other words, no more than five to ten simple steps that one can take or brief comments awakening and spirituality. That should make it easier for someone just starting out to dive in easily  …

Read more

Putting Attention on Awareness

Last Updated on

A friend and reader with whom I’ve corresponded many times over the past few years recently sent me an email with some questions. In my reply, I made reference to a practice that I had done that had made a real difference in my experience. She wanted to know what the practice was, and so I replied as follows:

The practice is discussed in a book by Sri Sadhu Om, a disciple of Ramana Maharshi, and it is what Sadhu Om calls “Self-Enquiry”. Now, self-inquiry is batted around in many spiritual circles, and I’m sure it gets defined in many, many ways. But according to Sadhu Om, Self-Enquiry is exactly the same as a practice that Adyashanti refers to as “putting attention on awareness”.

Sadhu Om says that this simple  …

Read more

The Simpliest Teachings Are Quite Often the Best

Last Updated on

I recently received an email from a longtime reader and friend with some questions about another spiritual teacher and his teachings. I’ll leave the details and the teacher’s identity aside for now, as they really aren’t relevant, but I want to address her main question publicly as it provides a great intro to something of value for you and your journey.

Her question was: “Do you know what he is talking about?”

Have we not all stumbled upon a teaching or two that left us scratching our heads? At times, we can even sense a real vitality, a real aliveness in the teacher or teaching that gives us a sense we might be served by paying attention. But try as we might, we just can’t figure out what the hell  …

Read more

It’s the Teaching, Stupid

Last Updated on

Shaking hands
Creative Commons License credit: katesheets

When Bill Clinton ran for President against the incumbent George Bush (the elder Bush, not W) in 1992, the US economy wasn’t doing so hot. One of Clinton’s advisers made a rather apt observation about the main message that Bill and the campaign should stick to, one that would undoubtedly prove to be the key to Clinton’s election over a rather popular George Bush. The message: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

In a sense, one of my “advisers” recently reminded me of something that I had either forgotten or failed to learn fully. While I can’t honestly say that I, Tom Stine, have a purpose for doing the spiritual teaching that I do, it is readily apparent that there is some sort of purpose to this activity. Not my  …

Read more

The Quest for Enlightenment – Jed McKenna

Last Updated on

“The you that you think of as you (and that thinks of you as you, and so on) is not you, it’s just the character that the underlying truth of you is dreaming into brief existence. Enlightenment isn’t in the character, it’s in the underlying truth. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a dream character, of course, unless it’s your goal to wake up, in which case the dream character must be ruthlessly annihilated. If your desire is to experience transcendental bliss or supreme love or altered states of consciousness or awakened kundalini, or to quality for heaven, or to liberate all sentient beings, or simply to become the best dang person you can be, then rejoice!, you’re in the right place: the dream state, the dualistic universe. However, if  …

Read more

I Feel Like a Math Problem

Last Updated on

I feel like some sort of strange math problem, in which there is a constant dividing, subtracting, square rooting, you name it, and the answer keeps getting closer and closer to some limit. And the limit is somewhere between 1 and 0. Or maybe the problem simply ends up with no solution. Yes, that’s about right. No solution.

Namaste.

 …

Read more

I Don’t Read the Buddha Much. Why Not, You Ask?

Last Updated on

Buddhism has a problem, an unfortunate one, but such is life. And that problem is: there is no way to know for certain what the Buddha said. It is a problem with any spiritual teaching more than a thousand years old, or any history for that matter. It has to do with written texts and oral transmission.

The first written Buddhist texts are in the Pali language and are based upon 400 years of oral tradition. That means that whatever the Buddha said 2500 years ago was repeated generation after generation, from one man to the next, for four centuries. Even if the monks who recited the Dharma for 400 years didn’t add a single thing to the words they were taught, not a single new interpretation or  …

Read more

If We Are All One, Then Who the Hell Are You?

Last Updated on

Buddha Dog
Creative Commons License credit: h.koppdelaney

A big theme in spirituality: we’re all one! No matter what the flavor of spiritual discussion, you’ll bump into something about oneness. And you know, if you are going to believe in something, you might as well believe in oneness. It’s a pretty good concept, as concepts go.

But if we are all one, then who are you? I mean that literally. If there is just The One, as in One Spirit or One Consciousness, no second, no sense of two-ness (that’s what nonduality means, by the way), then is there any sense in which I can talk about a “you” that is not me?

I do see other bodies walking around the world. I talk to other bodies. I have interactions with other bodies. But who is  …

Read more

Takuin’s Answer to: What Is Enlightenment?

Last Updated on

My friend Takuin Minamoto recently answered this question on his blog, and I was thrilled by his response. Takuin defined enlightenment as follows:

Enlightenment is limitless expansion within a limited field.

I love this definition because Takuin masterfully dropped all the centuries of spiritual baggage attached to this one simple word and took it directly to the heart of the matter. As he further explained, the limited field he is referring to is the world we find ourselves living in, the experiences that pass through our awareness moment to moment. It is a limited field, isn’t it? While it arises from the infinite, in and of itself it will always be contained, confined, bounded, limited. No question, our world is a limited field.

But enlightenment  …

Read more

Before Enlightenment: Embodiment

Last Updated on

A reader sent me the following email:

What I’m wondering is in the phrase, “…after enlightment, chop wood, carry water”. The thing is, I’ve lost my zest for my career which I must recapture in order to find work (was laid-off) and to pay my mortgage. In the absolute, I understand there’s no one here. In the relative, I need to find the energy, but I’m no longer interested in the Game–the whole illusion thing. What to do?

I love this question and the entire subject it represents. It gets right to the heart of the seeming paradox between awakening/enlightenment and the world we find ourselves in. What to do about this paradox?

Awakening to the truth of what we are, that there is no separate self, no “me,” is  …

Read more

The Infinite Nature of the Infinite

Last Updated on

Messier 33
Creative Commons License credit:
jimkster

What does it mean to be infinite? The answer seems obvious, straight out of high school math: infinite means without limits. We could even say something like “it goes on forever.” Okay, that’s infinite.

But does that have any meaning for us? Spirit, God, the Divine, Consciousness, these are often called “the infinite.” If any of these words have some relationship to what we really are, then that would make what I am and what you are infinite.

But still, the question is begging to be answered: does this have any meaning for us? I would say yes, it certainly does. In a very real sense, I am infinite. And anything that seems to be finite, or not-infinite, would therefore be a false appearance. Because all  …

Read more