Jim Tolles is a spiritual teacher who helps people to grow, heal, and embrace their spiritual paths.
Jim had a spiritual awakening in August 2007 and has been through an inner roller coaster ride of healing and spiritual growth, dropping away issues as he has moved more deeply into peace and love. The greatest of the shifts came in the 4th, 5th, and 6th years after awakening and truly consumed his life during those times. The intensity of the energy has since subsided into a more relaxed inner flow. Jim continues to grow and be guided by the divine flow while also relaxing into the beautiful oneness and perfection of each moment.
Jim teaches his students that we all have our truth and love within us by pointing students towards their innate divine oneness. He offers tools to help people cut away their lies and misconceptions so that they can be more firmly rooted in truth and love. He works with students on an individual basis via Skype, as well as offering free online talks via livestreaming on YouTube.
From an early age I recall a natural inquisitiveness towards the nature and mechanics of all sorts of things. I was constantly observing and theorizing.
Fortunately, throughout life, the denser and more persistent forms of suffering were not something I was particularly familiar with. Life unfolded quite smoothly on an inner and outer level.
Although there was already a strong spiritual bent, it wasn’t until my late twenties that life introduced the notion of enlightenment and the underlying non-dual nature of life. When this happened all the cells in my body shouted ‘yes’ and there was an unexplainable faith that trusted what had been read. From that point, everything else faded into insignificance next to the quest that had been ignited.
This was the beginning of a wonderful phase which spontaneously started some 15 years back and spanning 5 years miraculously didn’t stop until what was initially pointed at became lived on an unwavering basis.
IT WAS ALL JUST HAPPENING
What was most amazing about the process was that from very early on the concept that everything is a ‘happening’ and not ‘my doing’ was introduced – that everything is unfolding exactly as it is meant to, not according to my will but according to God’s Will.
This notion immediately resonated deeply and in a short time the ingrained contrary beliefs dissolved and the conviction flowered into an experiential way of being that so perfectly embodied this pointer.
This magically intricate process unfolded with this heart attitude present throughout, making it known directly to be a divinely orchestrated plan delivering everything that was needed in exactly the right proportions and at exactly the right time. I have been known to say “that if any of this process was actually up to ‘me’, I would have messed it up on day one!”. And yet the paradox, but not contradiction, is that it was Roger who was the one contemplating, reading, meditating and so forth.
From then I had a deep experiential conviction that everything in life happens the same way “according to God’s Will” from the beginning of time to the end of time. This deepened and led to a radical insight about the nature of Source in its most primordial. From here the underlying oneness of life became obvious far more than just intellectually and an unbroken connection to Source was established from where peace of heart in daily living stems.
I hold Satsang and retreats and welcome anyone to join in the spiritual discourses, especially if there is a genuine yearning to open to the notion, and ultimately the first hand, direct knowing, that unbroken peace of mind, love and contentment are our very nature and not caused by things we need to do or attain. This is everyone’s birthright.
The following saying penetrates to the core of what this particular teaching addresses, and that is the marriage of two seemingly contradictory standpoints into a unified paradoxical realization of ‘non-dual duality’ which leads to liberation.
Before one studies Zen, mountains are mountains and waters are waters; after a first glimpse into the truth of Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and waters are no longer waters; after enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and waters once again waters. ~ Zen saying
I always speak from my own direct experience, however many who knew the great teachings of my beloved Guru Sri Ramesh Balsekar will recognize the content often comes through in much the same vein as what he shared with seekers for more than 25 years in Mumbai, India. Jai Ramesh Guru. The teachings of Jesus, A Course in Miracles, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and Bhagwan Sri Ramana Maharshi, among others, were all precious gifts which were instrumental in what happened. Humbled and in gratitude I bow.
Author of iRest Meditation: Restorative Practices for Health, Healing and Well Being, The iRest Program for Healing PTSD, and Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga, Richard also serves as a research consultant studying the meditation protocol he’s developed (Integrative Restoration ~ iRest Meditation), a modern adaptation of an ancient yogic form of meditation, researching its efficacy on health, healing, and well-being with diverse populations that include active-duty soldiers, veterans, women rescued from human trafficking, youth and college students, seniors, the homeless, and the incarcerated, with issues such as sleep disorders, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, chemical dependency, and anxiety, as well as research on iRest’s efficacy for enhancing resiliency, well-being and compassion. Richard leads international trainings and meditation retreats on the integration of enlightened living into daily life. For information visit www.irest.us.
Interview recorded 7/16/2016
Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.
In 1982 Tom began teaching Conscious Living at the Woodbury Yoga Center in Connecticut, and in 1990 at The Awakened Heart Center in North Carolina.
Conscious Living is an all-inclusive way of life. It includes the possibility of radical awakening along with the integration of body, emotions, mind and spirit; living skillfully and effectively in this world; and being in loving, empowering relationships.
In 1964, at the age of fifteen, Tom became a student of human psychology and a practitioner of the yogic pathways and enlightenment traditions. He has had the great fortune of training in depth with a number of exceptional teachers in both the enlightenment traditions and western psychology.
While pursuing spiritual realization, Tom had many jobs in many different fields. All were important in terms of his personal growth and evolution, but the most important was working 13 years as a mental health worker in psychiatry.
He has extensive training and experience in several different therapeutic modalities including hypnotherapy, transactional analysis, human potential, energy psychology and HeartMath®.
After many years of intense practice and experiences in several different spiritual traditions, a sudden awakening occurred that led to the spontaneous collapse and falling away of all identification with spiritual and psychological belief systems, traditions, gurus, concepts, and the experience of a separate, unique, individual self. Now there is this, as it is, and as it appears to happen.
The teachings of Conscious Living are direct, obvious, and all-inclusive. There is nothing to be believed or accepted, as they are self-evident. They point to the incredible gift and mystery of life, living us here and now, as we are.
Tom lives with his best friend, partner and wife Bonnie. He also has a daughter Kelly, son-in-law Chad and grandson Caden.
Awakening can be defined as a fundamental transformation or death of the exclusive “me” that has its identity in “I am the body and mind,” to a non-exclusive awareness that simultaneously sees itself in all things, times and places without a second of differentiation.
Just like the sunlight does not need to be achieved as it is there ever-shining, awakening is your true nature and does not need to be achieved. What does need to be achieved and does take effort is the removal of the curtain that obstructs the sunlight.
The only prerequisite for this removal is an earnest and unwavering devotion to discover something that is eternal, everlasting, complementary to all, unchanging, and final. This brings down grace which removes the veil. The intensity of devotion and perseverance determines the pace.
Atreya, his wife, and three adopted children live in California, where Atreya works as a pre-school teacher. He and his wife are also foster parents to drug-exposed infants who are hard to place.