Tom Thompson Transcript

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Tom Thompson Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. There have been about 345 of them so far over the past six years. And if you’d like to check out the archives, go to and look on under the past interviews menu. This whole show is made possible by the support of appreciative viewers and listeners. So if you feel like if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it, there’s a Pay Pal button on the right hand side of every page on the site. And any amount of support large or small is appreciated. It all sort of adds up and enables us to dedicate a lot of time to this. My guest today is Tom Tom Thompson. Tom is a teacher of conscious living. In 1982. He began teaching conscious living, which we’ll define in a moment at the Woodbury yoga center in Connecticut. Whereabouts in Connecticut, Tom

Tom Thompson: Woodbury,

Rick Archer: Where is Woodbury?

Tom Thompson: well it’s so off of 84. If you’re going between Danbury and Waterbury. It’s up north Southbury like that.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I used to teach Transcendental Meditation up there in the early 1970s. That’s why I was curious.

Tom Thompson: Where were you in Washington?

Rick Archer:  I grew up in Fairfield, but I taught all around Fairfield County and also Danbury, and Waterbury and

Tom Thompson: right,

Rick Archer: you know, that area, put a lot of kids at the Taft school in Watertown. Okay, and then in 1990, the awakened heart center moved to 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 the world, and being in loving, empowering relationships. In 1964, at the age of 15, Tom became a student of human psychology and a practitioner of the yogic pathways and Enlightenment traditions. That’s kind of cool. It’s pretty early start time. He’s 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. Did you work at the at the psychiatric institute in Newtown, Connecticut by any chance?

Tom Thompson: Oh, no, it was a small General Hospital and Derby actually, okay. And Griffin hospital, but it was yell affiliated. We have an excellent psych unit.

Rick Archer: Okay. He has I asked because I actually talked to him up at that hospital. But um, he has extensive training and experience in several different therapeutic modalities including hypnotherapy, transactional analysis, human potential energy, psychology and Heart Math. 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. I hope the three of them get along Tom. He also has a daughter, Kelly, son in law, Chad and grandson, Caden. So welcome

Tom Thompson: triple personalities. Thank you, Rick, for having me on the show.

Rick Archer: Oh, you’re welcome. I appreciate you coming on. So I don’t always read people’s bio like that, that they send in but I thought I was just felt like doing it this time. And it’s a kind of a nice summary of your whole thing. But obviously, we could do with some elaboration. So, you know, maybe we could start at the age of 15. If you think that’s appropriate, like, you know, that’s pretty young age to get serious about, you know, human psychology and yogic pathways and Enlightenment traditions and all that. So, what was the impetus for that? What that light that fire within you

Tom Thompson: I was actually very interested in discovering what life was. And I as a kid, I had a laboratory and had all sorts of plants. I had good friendships with many scientists who are some of the kindest, nicest most helpful people I’ve ever met. And I was doing research on plant cancer. I will paper route plant cancer. Yeah, I grew up bacterium to my face Ian’s it’s caused by bacteria. So you can grow sunflower plants. And then you can inject this in there. And in a way, what cancer is was life gone wild? Yeah. Instead of cooperating. It’s taken all the nutrients, everything for itself. But it is a big form of life. So it was easy to study and all of that. So I was very interested in growing plants bacteria. Down the street was a Dr. Hurst, who was a virologist who really got me interested in viruses, because Are they alive? Are they dead? And why can they take dead cells and make them alive again, all of these things are just incredible. So I was looking for the key, looking for the key. And one summer when I was 15, we were going on a college tour looking for colleges for my brother. And we came down south to visit my aunt and uncle who lived in Lumberton North Carolina. And when I was staying there, I went into their library that a book on yogo. And, you know, I’d heard of it, but I had no idea what it really was. So I read it. And the way it was presented as yoga was like an inner science, and talking about the Kundalini, you know, here’s the key, this is that. And so went out to the swimming pool and started doing the postures, the breathing, you know, focusing on the third eye, all while my mom was was really excited. And so when I returned home, we lived in Westchester County, which isn’t that far from where you were, whenever I could I go into New York City, and get more books. And we and you know, there was serpent power there was, I can’t remember exactly when it came out. But Gopi Krishna ‘s book on Kundalini. So I felt that was key.

Rick Archer: Well, you’re having Kundalini experiences, or just you wanted to learn that aspect of it.

Tom Thompson: At that point, if I was I wasn’t aware of it. So I can’t say I was, but later on, definitely.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Maybe we can talk about that. Well, I’m really impressed that you were such a serious student at that age. And somewhat envious, actually.

Tom Thompson: I really didn’t know what I was doing. I mean, you know, people go or your child prodigy, the answer is no. I mean, I really didn’t understand 90% of what I was reading and studying when I was just fascinated.

Rick Archer: Yeah, no, that’s interesting. And so take us from there. I mean, 15 you’re reading all these books? How did you How long did it take you to find some teacher you wanted to study with?

Tom Thompson: I was working most of the time after school and stuff, but a friend named Frank Salini told me he saw this big book on yogena natural food store in White Plains. And he told me all about it. And I gave him the money as like 20 bucks or something which is a fortunate together for me and he went and got it for me. It was Swami Vishnu devas launders book, the complete illustrated book of yogo. And it just blew me away because that’s where it got, you know, into a lot more depth. So fortunately, a few years later, when I was in college, I was able to go to Val Moran callback and take the teachers training course with Swami Vishnu. And that’s where Shivananda you know, Shivananda had written a book on Kundalini and Vishnu presented all the yogic pathways, not just Hatha Yoga, but all of them and that, you know, the complete human being and that really fascinated that we’re not just focusing on one aspect, but the evolution of the whole integral being

Rick Archer: Yeah. So you became a yoga teacher, and then did you actually begin teaching it?

Tom Thompson: I taught it whenever I could, but I, you know, I had after college, I had a little problem with the draft board. Oh, yeah. And became a conscientious objector and went to California to do the alternate service and what One point out there, we ended up in a commune in the mountains and taught it. We had energy weekend’s which is where we taught things like Hatha Yoga, martial arts, Qigong, all of that. And then we had outlaw weekends, where we tried to liberate people’s consciousness from the man.

Rick Archer: Well, what was that first word allah weekend? Outlaw outlaw weekend, okay. Did you manage to bypass the drug phase?

Tom Thompson: Oh, no, no. So So after I found out about yogo, 1520, Timothy Leary, you know, I was in a while we heard the LSD instead of Enlightenment, right, so it’s like, why not? So no, I didn’t bypass. I was just writing somebody shortly before we connected. We’re talking about the movie 2001 Space Odyssey. Yeah, I saw that with some friends. Very, very high on our steals great.

Rick Archer: You maybe you had a better understanding of the ending than I did, then.

Tom Thompson: I totally understood it that night. Yeah. Right. It’s great.

Rick Archer: Okay, and I, maybe I’m jumping ahead here, but I gathered from reading some of the stuff on your website that you ended up with Swami Muktananda for a while.

Tom Thompson: Yeah.

Rick Archer: So am I jumping ahead? Or is that like, next significant thing here?

Tom Thompson: Well, I studied with a lot of teachers before him.

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Tom Thompson: definitely looking for somebody. You know, I bought at that point, I bought Gopi Krishna’s idea that Kundalini’s the underlying cause of all good things. Science, arts, philosophy, that it’s the evolutionary power in man,

Rick Archer: which channels itself and all those different ways?

Tom Thompson: Yeah, yeah. It’s just the blossoming of human potential,

Rick Archer: right.

Tom Thompson: I was looking for teacher you know, I was doing a practices that I learned that Swami Vishnu is and stuff very sincerely, but I was really looking for somebody who knew about it. And so when I found out about Muktananda, I went to see him. 1976 is when I first met him.

Rick Archer: up in South Fallsburg.

Tom Thompson: Yeah. And I have no use personally, I’m not in any way judging it. I’m just saying my personal thing is I’m not interested in the cultural affectations. No, so it was a complete circus around Baba,

Rick Archer: right.

Tom Thompson: But whatever he was, was extraordinary. I mean, it was just, you know, just being in his presence, you would go into these incredible states, and it wasn’t just a state, you’d actually see things you’d actually know things. So I spent as much time with him as possible and I I went through stuff. I wouldn’t have gone through if it wasn’t for him.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Tom Thompson: And I don’t regret any of it.

Rick Archer: I was there that summer, too. But I was in the TM facility right next door and sometimes

Tom Thompson: Yeah we bought you guys up.

Rick Archer: By sometimes Baba would walk walk down the street and taking a walk and I never met.

Tom Thompson: Well I may have seen you there.

Rick Archer: You hay have. Yeah.

Tom Thompson: You guys were down there. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So obviously eventually left that but you had all sorts of profound experiences. Probably, hopefully no regrets.

Tom Thompson: One of the things that happened was when bottle went back to India, I was having very powerful, disorienting experiences. And I have a wife and a baby at a job, and it was getting harder to function. And very disorienting. So I was writing Leith and Ella and he was writing back and forth. He’s he was a doctor as ophthalmologists and a psychiatrist who founded the Kundalini clinic. And he was very, in the San Francisco he was very kind because he’d actually write me back. And I, you know, a very narcissistically, I didn’t realize he probably 1000s of people writing but, but he did write back. And at one point, he sent a flyer about Sri Dion Yogi Madhusudan boss who was also a Kundalini yogi. And he said, since I couldn’t get the Bobbo, maybe this group can help me. So I invited Guruji to was actually turned out to be my mother’s home. She went off somewhere and he came, and he was an extraordinary being. And so I was also working with him. And his successor Shreem omniva.

Rick Archer: I think I’ve heard of her I hadn’t heard of him. So maybe at this time I’m sure it would be good to talk a little bit about disorienting experiences that can happen during sadhana, you know, during during spiritual practice or as a result of it because a lot of people go through them. And I don’t know if they always readily find the kind of help they might need. So could you elaborate a little bit on that whole phenomenon?

Tom Thompson: So over time with Stan Grof, who I think you interviewed, and Pristina and other people that we started the Spirit, they started the spiritual emergency network, right? So there were a lot of people undergoing these problems. And then people like Stan, and Lee and a lot of other professionals really tried to set up an organization to help these people. I think what happens if you’re functioning in society, you know, you have a job, you have relationships, you need a fairly firm persona to function. Yes, you’ve got to play the game, if you’re going to function. And when Nicolini gets very strong, it’s blowing all out of way. And it’s very disoriented and psychiatry, we’d say your depersonalizing and you really lose your orientation, and it’s hard both function and process what was going on? Fortunately, I was working in psychiatry, so I had a good cover, you know, we noticed. But, but I think we don’t realize when we’re really opening up spiritually that we’re going to lose our reference points. And that’s part of the process.

Rick Archer: And yet, there are people who have made the full transition and, or whatever that may be, who function perfectly well. And actually, it can take on all kinds of complex responsibilities, and it’ll manage things. So there’s this sort of transitionary period of this kind of no man, no man’s land, you have you have to traverse to get from here to there.

Tom Thompson: It’s like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

Rick Archer: Right. imaginal cells and all that. So I guess one interesting question is, to what extent can that transition be made manageable? Or, you know, can be, to what extent can it be handled such that one’s whole life doesn’t fall apart, which would be a real turnoff to many people, considering, you know, the spiritual path are motivated by it. They don’t want their life to fall apart, and yet they want what the spiritual path promises?

Tom Thompson: Well, I think the direct approach can bypass a lot of that. But in terms of what we’re talking about, right now, I think the traditional yogic pathways, you’re preparing a very strong vehicle, and you know, with a devotional ability to function, you know, Karma Yoga, the knowledge, wisdom of what you’re doing meditation. And so in all times, you develop the vehicle, all dimensions of vehicles, so you can really withstand the full impact of like, Shakti pot or Kundalini awakening. And you’re also in a supportive community, you know, like an ashram like to them. You know, you guys had a supportive community who if you flipped out a little bit, they had it, you know, they took care of you in a way. Yeah. So I don’t think society in here in India, it’s much more acceptable in the United States, you know, you’re keeping up appearances is very important.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I was just listening to an audio Shanti recording the other day, and he was saying how, you know, in Zen monasteries, you might get into such a state that they just would have you stopped doing spiritual practices altogether and go work in the garden, you know, hoeing and weeding and doing some kind of physical labor to ground and stabilize yourself.

Tom Thompson: Absolutely. And of course, in the ashram is like bobbins and stuff that plenty of physical labor and stuff. Yeah. Oh,

Rick Archer: kitchen work, and all that kind of thing. Oh, yeah. Well, it’s an interesting thing. And we can devote the whole talk just to that, and there have been books written about it and all but it’s, it’s I think it’s something that needs to be understood better so that people understand what they’re getting into, and, and needs to the sort of Hope hopefully understood better by psychiatric professionals so that people aren’t treated inappropriately if they do run into some sort of spiritual emergency as they’re called.

Tom Thompson: So one of the things I did when I was in psychiatry is write a paper about the Kundalini crisis. And and the DSM four. I don’t know where they are now, but they do have a section of trying to help psychiatrists know the difference between a mystical experience In a psychotic experience, and there are very clear indicators. And people like Bonnie Greenwell and others have written some very good, useful books. Yeah. But I think John Harrigan is another good one. Yeah. Yes. All of them are doing a great job. And I think it is important in psychiatric training that doctors understand that just because person doesn’t want to work at IBM doesn’t mean that. It’s like, Yeah, and if you know, there is a huge difference between somebody undergoing a mystical experience and somebody having a psychotic break.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Although did you find that in let’s say, in BBs ashram, that sometimes the intensity would be such that people would get kind of psychotic, I mean, it would destabilize people if they didn’t have the innate stability already established to handle the kind of energy that they’re being exposed to.

Tom Thompson: Yeah. Same thing with psychedelics. I think a lot of people have a predisposition for brain problems, nervous system problems, psychiatric problems, in doing strong practices. For instance, we had a number of TM teachers on our site here. And, and, and

Rick Archer: I face patients you mean, yeah. Yeah.

Tom Thompson: And I think what happened when you get to know them is that there there was already something that was gonna come up. Yeah, got triggered by the intense practices. Same thing with psychedelics. So some of us are much luckier, I mean, really, just lucky that we didn’t get triggered, but I do think, intense Kundalini psychedelics, intense Zen practices, if somebody is unbalanced, can trigger that. I remember when asked Werner Earhart, they finally figured out you needed your psychiatrists permission, your therapists permission to take us because it really could push people over the edge.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Maurice used to say that his teachers motto was safety first. Yeah. And that, you know, it is kind of a slow and steady wins the race thing. And we I mean, you know, that on the one hand, there’s this sort of this sort of attitude that zeal and ardency and so on, are really going to get you enlightened quickly. But that I think that has to be tempered with sensibility and practicality and carefulness and balance and integration and all that stuff.

Tom Thompson: Because I’m going to talk go, now you go. So I’m going to talk about cultivating the apple train. And if you do a good job without the apple fall by itself, yeah, that’s right.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So I mean, this might be so how do you juxtapose that? With the folks who say, Well, you know, you’re already enlightened, and you don’t have to do anything.

Tom Thompson: That’s pretty much where I’m at now.

Rick Archer: And if you say that, okay, well, that’s interesting that I should ask, because here’s the guy who’s been in both camps, then.

Tom Thompson: Yeah, I think we’re creating. I have nothing against anything anybody does. And I totally support whatever anybody’s led to do. But it’s here, now it’s already here. And, and yes, most people have to go through a process. But the truth is, there’s nothing that has to happen. First, it’s our true nature. It’s what’s already happening. It’s already here. The presence of awareness, free of any form is here. And it’s loving us. And in a way running off seeking which which were compelled to do by the Kundalini, I think what makes us seekers is the spiritual power. But we are conscious now the intelligence is living us now. It’s present now. And if we really are willing to stop and look at what’s actually happening, now, we see it or we don’t, and then that’s where the next level and the next level come in. But it is here.

Rick Archer: By definition, you know, with in terms of what it actually is, we’re talking about, we’re talking about sort of the reality. And, you know, as the Gita says, The Unreal has no being the real never ceases to be and people time after time and time again, so that when they awaken, they realize, Oh, I’ve always this has always been my true nature. You know, how could I not have seen it? And so that’s

Tom Thompson: right. Yeah. But unfortunately, because of the seeking, we know how people don’t see it.

Rick Archer: Because of the thinking, well, we understand

Tom Thompson: I think that’s one of the reasons it’s good that people go down the wrong pathways a lot. If they’re going to awaken because you understand what people’s minds are doing what they’re what they’re doing you you can listen to them as they describe their experience. And then maybe you can ask them a question or something that’s helpful for them to stop. And look back.

Rick Archer: Yeah, they may be looking in the wrong direction. Right. But you know, with all of your experience, I mean, this whole idea of, you’re already enlightened, there’s nothing to do and all that stuff. You know, how, how realistic or practical Do you think it would be to just walk into a psychiatric hospital or into a prison or into a group of PTSD sufferers or, you know, people who are really are into? I mean, any situation? And just say that to people, and have them? Actually, I

Tom Thompson: think I’d be very unskillful. Yeah, see what I what I feel is, it’s all a play of consciousness, and everybody’s doing exactly what they need to be doing, even Donald Trump. They’re all they’re all out there doing their role in the play. As Ramakrishna said, when they asked them about evil, he said, it’s there to thicken the plot. And so everybody is a perfect expression of the absolute exactly the way they are, there’s no shoulds No, you should meditate, you should. But if Satsang has been offered, and people come, that’s not the teacher going out there laying their triple, right, that’s how many of you have been brought in whatsoever is bringing them? It’s their time. I mean, that’s, it’s, it’s, they’re ready. And if they’re not, they go somewhere else. And so, it is true that you can’t go just on the street, say, Hey, God dwells within you, as you

Rick Archer: look, they’re gonna say that phrase.

Tom Thompson: Yeah. And it’s extremely profound. I mean, if if somebody really just sits with that, that should pop them.

Rick Archer: Ideally, but, you know, I mean, Ramana, Maharshi, was asked about this. And he, you know, he said that the percentage of people who are actually going to pop, he didn’t use that word. Basically, just hearing that you are that is pretty miniscule. And the vast majority of people are going to have to go through various things before they have the readiness for that to really be, you know, to hit home if they hear it.

Tom Thompson: So there are many OpieZ many levels, they all have their value, but it seems to me the best thing is start by telling them the truth. Yeah. And if they, if a person doesn’t see it, which I didn’t, I mean, you know, good lord. If they don’t see it, then you ask them what’s going on? And then you just keep pointing and pointing. And sometimes, you know, they’ve got to do a lot of stuff.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I heard that. That’s kind of how Ramana went about it, he would start by telling him the truth. And if they didn’t get it, then he’d say, Okay, well, how about if you meditate? And then, you know, and if that didn’t work for him, then okay, well, how about if you do some Seva, you know, it, he’d sort of tailor the prescription to the person’s, the person who was talking to in order to give them something that was going to be effective for them.

Tom Thompson: Right? And devotional pads, all sorts of pads.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Because I mean, the only reason this is a bit of a sticking point for me is that there’s all these characters who show up online who are fond of saying that you’re already enlightened, you don’t need to do anything. And I pardon me if I’m judgmental, but I generally get the sense that they’re not actually living the experience that they’re describing. It’s easy to parrot those words, you know, and to still be a dick.

Tom Thompson: Well, I think I think if there’s Okay, that’s a very good point, if there’s an awakening, it’s like, you know, the ocean and wave like, there’s my hand. This is me, this is you. This is all those people. And before awakening, it’s like, we’re all separate. There’s many, but then wakening, you realize this Brown was being that is all of us. And so when that’s really realized, that’s where the heart opens. That’s where you see people what they are and then you work together. Not against each other. Yeah. So I do think I don’t think people when they wake up become better people because they’re trying to, but I think that deep sea, recognize everybody is that ocean being expressed. And so loving kindness and acceptance and all these things happen spontaneously, not not because of training or not because you’re trying to but it’s just use the world seen different.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s a good point. into a couple of weeks ago, I did an interview and there was a rather well, a very well written comment on YouTube, on under that video by an old friend of mine, actually. And he was arguing the point that behavior really has nothing to do with realization that, you know, behavior is just sort of an automatic thing that’s carried on by the Gunas of nature, whatever, and is determined by your conditioning and your background and so on. And, you know, you, you might be a rather incorrigible person, and yet be awakened or not. But there’s really no connection, it’s not like, we’re awakening is going to move you in the direction of saintliness or something. And I tend to argue the opposite. But what would you say?

Tom Thompson: I’d say that we have all those genetic and environmental conditions. I have a guinea pig, and I’ll talk about him a real getting like a pet. No, like, like one of my teachers. I mean, look him away. And he argues, like your friend argues, but Wayne has been transformed completely. And I think everybody knows him, or at least knew him, he was an alcoholic, and so on. And, and a narcissist is like business guy in line and doing all sorts of things. And I really feel that most people spend time with Wayne say he’s a very loving, caring, honest, supportive person. And I think if somebody knew him 30 years ago and met him today, they’d hardly recognize a person. So Wayne would say, because he has that that Enlightenment doesn’t transform. Being, but so much crop falls away, because there’s nothing supporting it anymore.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So in other words, he’s wrong. I mean, it does it does transform.

Tom Thompson: Yeah. Yeah. Not on purpose. Not because you’re sitting around thinking you’re gonna be a holy person. But because all those things, all the fears and greed, and what’s that all about? It’s fear. It’s fear based, you know, it’s held in place by not knowing what you are. Right. And by mind, somebody else is going to take in all of that, when it when what’s holding that together? collapses. It falls away. Yeah. I really think whether, you know, Wayne agrees with I think he I think he’s a much more kind, loving person.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And I think there’s something to the fact that, you know, throughout all the world’s traditions, spiritual traditions, there is, you know, saintly behavior is associated with what we might call Enlightenment or higher, higher consciousness, you know, I mean, there are there are some examples, I believe St. Augustine had been a real creep. And St. Francis was, was also not such a good guy. And then he kind of went through this huge transformation. So, and it’s kind of a cart and the horse issue, but

Tom Thompson: really, but certain things just fall away. Yeah, I mean, and then the what, what’s gonna keep that going. So you still have your personality type. You know, Wayne’s still loud and outrageous and stuff, but he’s doing it out of compassion and honesty. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Somebody else emailed me just this morning actually, and said, with reference to one of my recent interviews, you know, how can a person be so realized and yet not have a very likable personality or something? And in my response was there degrees of realization and if we if we want to, you know, define realization exclusively in terms of falling into sort of the absolute view or, you know, recognizing one’s ultimate non personhood or something, then then fine, but I think just in terms of what you’re saying here, there are all sorts of relative possibilities for further refinement of, you know, the heart and perception and behavior and all that stuff. will tend to come along I think if if the self has been realized, hopefully, I mean, we can explore that a little bit more is it inevitable or does one need to some how engage in you know, compassionate action?

Tom Thompson: Traditional Zen you know, I’m talking about Chinese and punk dynasty and stuff you weren’t allowed to open your mouth for 10 years after you realize because it takes time to integrate, integrate and in Zen they say open mouth already mistake and so being in an absolute is a half baked steak it’s the ghost cave you know when you bring that back you know it’s more contract we’re this is God to this is the absolute to this, this is its expression. And in you bring you’re coming from the heart, you’re much more skillful. You’re much. It’s not a you doing it, it’s it’s it recognizing itself everywhere, in every

Rick Archer: Yeah. And even in terms of what we were talking about 10 minutes ago with Kundalini, and there’s a physiological component to this, and, you know, the physiology doesn’t trance. And it seems to me the physiology is very correlated with behavior. And, you know, the Vedic tradition, they talk of Vasanas, and impressions and basically conditioning of the nervous system. And that doesn’t just get wiped clean overnight. I don’t think it does fall away, it falls away, but it’s not going to you’re not going to wake up one morning erratic, totally different person. Generally, it seems to me that in most cases, there’s going to be some kind of gradual falling away, even after Realization is going to maybe it’ll accelerate I know that I’m What’s your name, Peace Pilgrim, she wrote this beautiful little book. And she, she talked about how after Realization, there’s this sort of almost like a hockey stick curve, you know, acceleration of evolution, where nature has taken over and the individual has gotten out of the way. And so then transformation can really begin to, you know, kick into high gear.

Tom Thompson: Absolutely. And that’s disoriented, too, especially if you’re waking in a very traditional setting. And none of that adds value or is important anymore.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I know, there are a lot of cases of people who, you know, so many things have to change in their life and do change radically after awakening. Go ahead, we’re gonna say

Tom Thompson: in this area, I know some people this has actually happened to but in this area, there’s a lot of horse riding. They do all sorts of horse, you know, dressage and all of that. And so what happens is somebody is getting an identity. And again, nothing wrong with this. I’m just talking about certain people I know. They initially were getting identity from. So they were trying very hard, and they were doing well and winning ribbons and everything. And there was a huge investment of identity in that. When awakening happen, or an awakening happened. They no longer needed that identity.

Rick Archer: This is something specific that you’re thinking you. Yeah, a couple of few people were in the horse riding. Yeah,

Tom Thompson: yeah. And so suddenly, their relationship with horses changes, they’re no longer competing. They now just ride the horse because I like horses. People are gonna What’s wrong with you used to be so good? And they’re like, it’s not there anymore. Yeah. Because that identity, you know, it’s meaningless. And that’s the sort of thing that confuses people around you. Same thing happened with somebody used to play golf, and I finally told her, because she’d meditate instead of playing golf with her friends, let’s just go play golf. To confuse you know, they think you’re depressed, they think you’re, you know, they have all these stories, why she didn’t want to play golf anymore.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And to play devil’s advocate, I would say that there’s that it’s certainly possible for a person to be awake and yet, you know, be a professional golfer or basketball player, you know, somebody that’s in a relative li competitive field, a stockbroker or something like that. But perhaps it depends on Well, I mean, if we referenced the Bhagavad Gita, there was a war about to be fought, and that’s a kind of a competitive thing. And, and Arjuna had lost all motivation to fight it. And, and Krishna said, Well, alright, then get established in the self and then fight it. And then you’ll be you’ll be doing it sort of out of, you know, nature will be running the show, and it won’t be your individual ality kind of determining, you know,

Tom Thompson: yeah, our general was programmed as a warrior. Right. So then it was his natural expression. His dharma? Yeah. And so So even after awakening, he’s still there, just like he did. The Bhagavad Gita. It was a very profound and deep teaching. Because it really, really gets into all of this. We’re talking about an incredible depth.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Let’s come back to your story. And And as we’re going along here, at any point, if there’s anything that comes to mind that you want to talk about that I’m not asking you just bring it up and we’ll talk about it. Just feel feel feel free to do that. It’s like conversation. So you know, we talked about a lot of your training and the years of intense practice and things that you did, and but then you had here we go, a sudden awakening occurred that led to the spontaneous collapse and falling away of all identification with spiritual and psychological etc, I read that in the beginning. So what was this sudden awakening? It was, you know, described a little bit people find that interesting.

Tom Thompson: I’ve been to India, this is 1980s. I’ve been to India a few times, couple times. And again, I was deeply involved with a yoga center and all sorts of stuff. But it just stopped being true for me. I mean, I have nothing but love in my heart for my gurus, and my fellow disciples and everything, but it was no longer authentic. For me, it was not yet. And so when I came back from India, I can’t remember is late 80s, I think I suddenly started a course called the supreme doctrine of direct recognition. What happened in my terms records, what I call it affects us. Yeah, it affects us is very, we take our psychic energy and projected on people or things or ideas. And so it’s like, somebody meet a person, and they’re just a nice Indian person, and somebody else is bowing out their feet, because they’re their guru. And so that person’s affecting. For me, it just stopped. And I saw, we’re making up most of this stuff, where our imaginations are creating almost entire spiritual power. And I just stopped. And that was very disorienting, because all you can think about is the stuff you were taught. In other words, that so when all of that stuff’s there was nothing to do when a way to think about I don’t know, if I’m making sense,

Rick Archer: I think you kind of are

Tom Thompson: just present, you’re just here. Yeah, we are. No, I mean, nothing’s happening. I’m talking to you. This was it. And that’s what was happening. And I couldn’t get any excitement up about it. And so I found myself just with everything, just not invested in. And, and then what I was teaching was, was that a community was guru oriented. And what I was teaching was sort of going against the guru. Not on purpose. But it just was, and so the students would be with her and it was great. And she is like, the most wonderful person I’ve ever met.

Rick Archer: Is that a non anonymous,

Tom Thompson: she Anonima the LEAP she and Guruji I spent a lot of time with her. Like, if you want gurus, that’s a good place to go. I mean, I’ve never seen them. She’s gotten a little angry with me, but Right. But, uh, but they’re pure. You know, they walk the talk. But I started saying, You know what, you and I were talking about direct recognition. It’s here if good if God’s infinite, eternal and blah, blah, blah, I got you as you are. Or so this is causing confusion. Yeah, I eventually left.

Rick Archer: It should I mean, yeah, again, just to rehash that point briefly, you show that it’s true, what you just said. And theoretically, you should be able to say it to a dog and the dog should get enlightened. Now, you might argue, well, the dog doesn’t speak English. So he doesn’t understand what you’re saying. But, you know, if Oregon

Tom Thompson: creating a problem, either, no, but I’m sort of going around thinking I should be a better dog.

Rick Archer: Yeah. But if it’s not, in tune with the person’s experiences, there’s a danger that they’re just going to mistake an intellectual understanding for realization. That’s the only thing that you’re going to say that they’re gonna say, yeah, I get that I have intuitive feel for that. This is it. I’m done. And there are actually teachers out there who encourage people to sort of proclaim that they’re done.

Tom Thompson: Right. So the i I’m done part is the danger. But for Wayne, look, a minute Francis Lucille both came here to our center, we used to have a center downtown for 20 years, and we don’t have that anymore. But both Wayne and Francis came and one of the conversations I have with Francis is he said, I hope I’m repeating this, but if you have a clear intellectual understanding, it’s like looking at one of those pictures. And you see the surface and somebody says, Yeah, but there’s something deeper,

Rick Archer: one of those generated thing, get it for a while and

Tom Thompson: then you see something three dimensional behind. Now, if you didn’t have a teachers giving you intellectual information, saying, you know, if you spend some time looking more deeply, you’re gonna see a whole nother dimension. So Francis convinced me that having a good clear intellectual understanding is actually helpful because You start looking at things differently. And it’s in looking at things differently that you might suddenly see. So now if you stay just in the intellectual understanding, saying, now I got this intellectually, I’m done. Yes, that’s, that’s a danger. And that’s why it’s good to have a teacher. But the intellectual understanding used as a tool will help you tremendously.

Rick Archer: I totally agree. And, as I sometimes say, in interviews, not that it really matters that I totally agree, because I’m not some kind of arbiter of truth here. But in terms of my own experience, and understanding, intellectual understanding is like, if we have two legs, that’s one of them. And the other one is experience, and you can’t walk on either leg by itself, you have to have both going along and inexperienced, and they can just stretch the metaphor, they can enhance each other understanding can clarify experience, experience, experience can clarify understanding, and there’s no harm in pursuing both simultaneously.

Tom Thompson: Right? So So to follow up on that, when I left the center, something that happened to me, in the traditions I was in, there was really no way to think about it. Or to organize it. Conceptually, not that that’s necessary. But generally, if somebody says, What happened to you, it’s good idea to say something. So, right, early 90s, I ran into Gangaji. And it was like somebody speaking my language. I mean, she was able to say, what I had experienced, but couldn’t put into words. And then she was, I tell people is like being in a foreign country and suddenly hearing your own language. And so, you know, she was she was very important in the shift.

Rick Archer: That’s great. So did this sudden radical awakening occur with or after? Gandhiji?

Tom Thompson: No, before her before, okay, when I was still at the yoga center, I didn’t know. All the words I gave to me came later.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So you kind of didn’t quite know, you know, something is happening here. But you don’t know what it is. Doing mr. Thompson?

Tom Thompson: There’s nothing happening or nobody thinking. I just but but some part of me knew I was talking to leave for all sorts of reasons. Yeah. It was not, it was not my milieu anymore.

Rick Archer: That’s an interesting point in and of itself, at least in my own experience, in moving, leaving the TM movement, and a lot of other people that I know that, you know, very often after leaving a thing, you experience a big shift. It’s sort of like, in many ways, experiential, intellectual, you’re able to kind of step back and there’s a kind of a newfound freedom, you can reevaluate all your ingrained assumptions and, and just get out of the box that you’ve had unwittingly gotten ingrained in, you know,

Tom Thompson:  that’s, that’s very well put.

Rick Archer: Which is not it’s, which is not to say that everybody should just leave whatever they’re doing and not implying that.

Tom Thompson: No, I think I think we’re guided, I think people are guided to stay in the pm program or stay with Anonima that that’s their home. That’s where they really think other people have to pay attention. There’s something saying, keep going. Gotta keep going.

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Tom Thompson: and you were very committed for what? 30 years?

Rick Archer: Yeah. 25 at least. Sometimes I use a incubator analogy for this. It’s like, you know, the eggs are in the incubator and they’re getting ready to hatch and they shouldn’t leave the incubator because they’re not hatched. But if they hatch, they just don’t belong in the incubator anymore. It’s like, they’re going to just interfere with the other eggs are going to interfere. It’s going to thwart their own development at that point as chicks they need to sort of get out and yeah,

Tom Thompson: and there’s nothing wrong with those other eggs staying in the incubator till they’re hatch. Yeah, there’s no shoulds.

Rick Archer: Right. And there’s nothing. We don’t mean to sound. I wouldn’t want to speak to someone and it would be what’s the word I’m looking for? judgmental, condescending. Like, oh, you’re just you’re still in the incubator? I’m hatched. Yeah,

Tom Thompson: I think it’s, I think we all have to listen to our hearts. That’s why I want to be very clear about Anonima on the leave she and Guruji. That’s the whole thing around them. I totally trust it. Totally love it. It’s just that right? Yeah. But you know, people come to me and say I want to get Shakti pot. I want this and I send them to them. Yeah, it’s not your thing. Yeah, but if they want Shakti pot, I know those people I know. I saw Guruji tell her. You know, I was there when Guruji basically said, This is my successor. He lived to be 116 He was a real Yogi 116 Yeah, he was born in the 1880s. When I first met him he couldn’t speak English is just came to the United States. year later you speak English perfectly. He was an extraordinary person. Amazing. Yeah. But he was an old bull. You know, he used to say, once the monsoon season coming, Connecticut

Rick Archer: it’s more like Mark Twain said about Canada if you don’t like the weather here, wait an hour. Okay, so then here you are at the conscious living. Teach your conscious living center in North Carolina. What is the conscious living center? What do you teach there? Who can go there? What do they do if they go there?

Tom Thompson: Well, we had a center downtown for 20 years, and we taught yoga, we taught a whole bunch of classes. We had two meditation programs a week. I want to speak about one of the classes for a minute. Sure. I was called healing words. And it was actually Bonnie’s idea what happened was I was working privately with a lot of cancer patients. And I couldn’t see them enough. In other words, they needed ongoing support. But I was too booked up. I couldn’t get him in. So Bonnie said, Well, why don’t you just start a group. And so we started a group and we would talk about illness, and then we’d end the group with group hypnosis. And people love hypnosis. And it’s really D hypnosis, but it’s, but anyway, what happened is different topics would come up, like, why is the positive attitude increase your chances for getting better, all sorts of things will happen. And then people start biting their friends in the healing words group, which was one of the more successful things we do it just become any subject, usually psychological energy psychology, we did a lot of experiments in there that were really neat. And then at the end, we’d all end with everybody lying down and doing positive affirmation hypnosis. We were we had the center, we had yoga and meditation, all sorts of classes. Wayne liqueur, Minh came Francis Lucille. good group of people regularly that I meet with people privately. But we sold that center about five years ago, because we were going to move to the mountains. But my brother got sick. And so here we are. Now we work out of our home. I have a little office here where I see people, we I’m in the meditation room right now, where we have a weekly meditation Satsang. And so we’ve we’ve condensed, but in our program, now we’re focusing mostly on recognizing your true nature.

Rick Archer: Do people have to come to North Carolina to do this? Or is there any kind of remote thing you offer?

Tom Thompson: We have two people from South Carolina who come on FaceTime on my iPad, I am not attacking. I mean, it’s an act of God, you and I are talking here. And all your support. But But yeah, people come here. And some people do come from out of state and other

Rick Archer: places. So they can just get a local hotel or something and stay at work.

Tom Thompson: It’s every Monday, seven days. 30. But that’s we focus mainly on really looking more deeply or whatever. Anybody can ask questions, and that’s where we go. Yeah. But it’s not like I’m right, and have the answers. It’s more like, let’s look at this.

Rick Archer: Sure. So what kind of results they seem to be getting? I mean, for instance, when you met with the cancer patients, was there any statistically significant reduction in cancer change in the patient outcomes?

Tom Thompson: Yeah, I don’t have I haven’t done a study but most of the patients are doing traditional medical help. And that’s why I do recommend for people with cancer, you don’t have enough time to fall around. You really need to put the brakes on hypnosis and energy psychology support those treatments. So I have a lot of friends who had cancer, even reoccurrence as a cancer 20 years ago, and they’re around doing fine. Yeah. And I don’t think it’s me I think we did help. It’s a reality tunnel. You know, one reality tunnel it says here’s their prognosis with cancer. If you shift that reality tunnel, you have a lot better prognosis.

Rick Archer: Yeah, read your article about reality tunnels. And by reality tunnel you just mean sort of like perspective right? Every every being on the planet is in a Slightly different reality tunnel.

Tom Thompson: And many reality Tony Yeah, right since so if you will astrology, I’m not an astrologer and I’m not interested in astrology. But if you talk to an astrologer, that’s a reality. Sure, they’re they’re interpreting what’s happening by their reality tunnel and they, for them. It’s true.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I think I heard you use the blind men and the elephant analogy in one of your recordings. And that’s everyone. Almost everyone’s familiar with that. Bunch of blind people experience feel the elephant and for one, it’s like a snake. For one. It’s like a wall. For one. It’s like a tree trunk and so on, depending on which part they feel. And so we all have our little slice of the pie in terms of

Tom Thompson: yeah, we’re all right. We’re all wrong.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Here’s a question that just came in from Julian in Nottingham, England. He asks,

Tom Thompson: I know Julian.

Rick Archer:  Okay, great.

Tom Thompson: I think

Rick Archer: it’s cool. Recently, something has been reflecting on how my most real radical meaningful and true change in immediate perception understanding is when the heart is awake. Would you agree that the awake conscious heart is the true key, capitalize T and K, as is perhaps implied by the name of your center?

Tom Thompson: awakened consciousness, I’m going to answer not directly, but overall awaken consciousness is all accepting and all inclusive, as no judgement, has no idea anything should be other than the way it is. And that’s love. So, when the heart awakens, what awakens is the ability to love and accept people just the way they are. It’s like a wave, one wave, sees another wave and a nose, it’s as much as ocean is that as same ocean. So hard does awaken. And that’s a loving connection with all beings. Even the ones the mind may not like

Rick Archer: do you think hard awakening is possibly independent of self realization that you can have one without the other? Not the way I talk about, they’re synonymous more or less or?

Tom Thompson: Yeah, I think I think when you recognize your true nature, which is which is simple. You recognize that the the is a sailor Bob, but the I am, I am as the same I am you are? And that’s no, that’s recognized. So instead of looking at somebody with air conditioning, you’re seeing the light coming out on their eyes, that same intelligence, that same consciousness and that that really shifts things.

Rick Archer: It shifts things, but I wonder if that recognition could precede the full awakening of the heart like you no one could sort of recognize one’s essential nature and see all beings in the self and the self and all beings and all that, and yet not yet have had the heart blossom to the full extent it’s capable of doing.

Tom Thompson: I think that’s a little bit like what we’re talking about. I don’t think it’s the heart. I think it’s the mind. But But I think all conditioning fears, interpretations temporarily blocked, not full awareness. But they can fall away and then fall away without a person even knowing that something’s shifted. I don’t know, Am I answering your question?

Rick Archer: Yeah, you are. And just kind of kind of fine tuning the understanding here of whether they’re, whether awakening is sort of an on off black, white sort of thing, or whether it’s in a way, the first step and then there is sequential unfoldment or refinement or clearing away like you say, have accumulated stuff after, which is greatly facilitated by awakening to one’s true nature.

Tom Thompson: We are sort of mixing apples with oranges. So when awakening awakening when awakening happens, that’s something that can’t be reversed, right? And then all sorts of stuff on the relative happens after okay. For instance, when you realize and you know, this could get into a big discussion, but you realize the European lived you’re not the author of your life that you’re being lived I’m talking about the embodied being being lived that Life is happening through you that you didn’t create yourself even your ego, even your sense of self that that was all created this was all happening. And that’s fully realize you don’t go around thinking about it just like you’re breathing air right now you’re not thinking about breathing you’re not thinking about air. But if I pointed out to you you know, it’s the same thing really realization is something stops up. But you don’t miss it. You don’t go around thinking about the idea of a separate self with its own autonomy is gone. That doesn’t mean there’s not appropriate the instrument, the programming, the cognitive center, it’s all still here. But none of this was my doing. As Wayne Liquorman would have pointed out, I would have done a much better job

Rick Archer: as saying none of this is my doing. So is there even a my who could have done it? Or is it so there is no mine? There is a me No, my

Tom Thompson: fair there’s a cognitive Center, which can be self reflective through memory. And again, you know, what’s really fascinating is there neurobiologist neuroscientists were actually got this. It’s just fascinating like Andrew Newberg, Dan Siegel, but the brain the way they know this, because of their scans the brain like you can be very focused, paying attention. And there’s no you doing it, there’s just attention happening. And then somebody can say, do you like the soccer game you’re watching and the brain starts a memory loop, which gives us a sense of an embodied self. But it’s an illusion created by the brain. And the brain only does it does it differently for everybody. But what it’s not happening most of us are not awakened state much of the time, because there’s no me there. The self referencing only happens at certain times. And it’s the brain doing it. It’s an illusion created by the brain. And they’ve pretty much nailed this down. And Tonio Damasio is a neuro neuroscientist in Southern California, who came up with the term autobiographical self, at least I think he did. And he pretty much describes how the brain creates the idea that there’s somebody in here, it’s very much like Siri on an iPhone. You know, Siri, and I now have a conversation. She knows a lot of things. I don’t know. And but there isn’t anybody in there

Rick Archer: like that Joaquin Phoenix movie. Oh, there was a movie where he fell in love with his, with his art or something. Well, that’s interesting. This, I chew on this one a lot with friends. And there seem to be two camps. There’s the camp that you just described. And then there’s the camp represented by people like Francis Bennett, for instance, who say, your urine individually or it’s not only an individual, you know, you are a wave, but you’re not only a wave, you’re primarily ocean, but in there is still a wave. I mean, the fact that your motions doing the wave, the oceans doing the way but there’s still a wave that the ocean is doing. No, I agree with that. Yeah. So there’s still a uttama Rick and so but some people are more radical about it. They say no, actually, there’s no sense whatsoever of of any personal self. And and then I say something like, All right, well, if you stub your toe, you know, some guy in China doesn’t cry out in pain that there’s some kind of localized reaction to it that

Tom Thompson: Same thing with Siri.

Rick Archer: Yeah. What about

Tom Thompson: Hey Siri


Did she say anything?

Tom Thompson: What is zero divided by zero?


Imagine that you have zero cookies and evenly among zero friends. How many cookies does each person get? See? It doesn’t make sense. And Cookie Monster is sad that there are no cookies and you are sad that you have no friends.

Tom Thompson: So yes, if you know I talked to her here, and she responded, there’s a causal effect. It’s this one that has different information than somebody else’s. So it has its own personality. You said personal self that’s fine, separate self. No

Rick Archer: What’s the difference?

Tom Thompson: You didn’t create your personal self?

Rick Archer: Well, that whether or not that may be irrelevant. But what but is there one? You say you didn’t create one, but

Tom Thompson: there at times during the day there is

Rick Archer: there is one

Tom Thompson: at a time

Rick Archer: ‘Cause there needs to be.

Tom Thompson: ‘Cause of a feedback loop.

Rick Archer: Yeah, Like if, you know, if your wife comes into the room by Bonnie come to the room and says, Hey, Tom, the house is on fire, then well, you know, you turn your head, you know, just sit there. There’s some kind of reaction

Tom Thompson: so does the dog.

Rick Archer: Maybe? Yeah, okay. If the dog and she Yeah, she might say Good dog, come get a bone, dog.

Tom Thompson: But all of that is the instrument responding?

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Tom Thompson: And the instrument has a cognitive center. And it has memories to go with our cognitive centers. We now know most of those memories are not accurate. Because the brain is constantly changing them and embellishing but but there is, but we didn’t create them.

Rick Archer: Do you believe in reincarnation?

Tom Thompson: I don’t believe in anything.

Rick Archer: Well, do you believe that the sun is 93 million miles away from the Earth? Yes. People they’ve experimented and they determined that it is. So you know, there’s a lot of research to indicate that maybe reincarnation is a thing. What do you think of that?

Tom Thompson: When I was in Connecticut, I did some work with Ken Ring has written books, or students and stuff written books about near death experiences. I think there’s I would say that’s a reality total.

Rick Archer: Okay. So in other words, there’s a relative reality of some kind.

Tom Thompson: It’s a relative reality. And I suspect people who deeply believe in reincarnation probably do. But So question for you, Rick is the whole Sanatana Dharma and Buddha’s teachings where they get off the cycle of birth. So why would anybody want to reincarnate?

Rick Archer: Well, I think there’s that the Buddha’s teachings would respond, you know, they, it’s not a question of whether or not they want to, but they will, as long as they

Tom Thompson: Unless they wake up.

Rick Archer: Unless they wake up, or unless they Well, maybe they’ll decide to become a one of those bodhisattvas and keep coming back for the benefit of all beings or something. But I mean, the reason it’s a sneaky, it’s a trick question. But the reason I asked is, you know, some people just say, well, it couldn’t. Tony Parsons, and others say There couldn’t be reincarnation, because that implies that there is some entity that could reincarnate. And there is no entity, you know, there’s nobody here. But I would say that there’s a subtle body, you know, there’s a sub there’s the Jeeva, there’s the there’s, there’s we’re not just this gross flesh and blood, and that that subtle thing, retains impressions and has an evolutionary trajectory and goes through various experiences as it moves along that the evolutionary scale, spiritually speaking, what is the evolution, greater and greater capacity to reflect? or incorporate or express the divine?

Tom Thompson: So if it’s all divine, what’s the problem?

Rick Archer: No, it’s not a problem. Didn’t say it was a problem.

Tom Thompson: How can you express more of the Divine?

Rick Archer: The well, means more energy, more intelligence, more creativity, you’re talking about Kundalini in the beginning as sort of the deep impetus to creativity and the creative acts and Zona expression of that. So there, you know, a motive Mozart expresses more musical creativity than I do. Or then, you know, obviously, most people do there. There’s been a development there. And

Tom Thompson: you’re assuming that came from other lives.

Rick Archer: Well, actually, that occurred to me, just as I was saying that. It may, I mean, that might account for how a genius like that, you know, is found composing things at five years old. In fact, you and I may have had lives in which we were spiritual aspirants, and that might that might be account or account for why we both you especially kind of got interested in this in our teens. You know, there’s sort of what does the data say the no effort is lost and no obstacle exists, that it’s almost like putting money in a bank account. And we’ll go ahead I’m talking too much here. So far,

Tom Thompson: But we also you and I were very blessed because we came into a zeitgeist, where meditation and all of this was available.

Rick Archer: Yeah, we weren’t born in Tanzania or something.

Tom Thompson: Right. So so the chances of you running into Tm and me running into all of this and having having that possibility it was happening not just with you and me, but millions of people. And so so to say you or I, it wasn’t you and me it was millions of people, very similar stories, very similar stories. But let me give you my take on reincarnation. Unfortunately, I’m asked to do a lot of memorial services. But this phone has its own intelligence, its has its own programming,

Rick Archer: does it have consciousness?

Tom Thompson: Well, not by my definition, but Siri may have a different opinion about that. But in the programming here of Siri, this particular phone, I would call that consciousness, the conscious intelligence that you saw earlier, she responded to me. There’s something that response, what awareness is out here that pure awareness is non local. There’s no time no space. This is created in time and space. It has specific programming, it’s a specific instrument. That’s what from my point of view, we’re all instruments created by Kundalini. Kundalini is the personal creative, intelligence, Maharishi use that word. That’s a great term. What created us is that creative intelligence, yes, creative intelligence created us all with different capacities. And, and lifts us and creates, it creates that sense of me in here. And all of that. The possibility with the subtle bodies and stuff, if somebody is oriented that way, like you said, if you want to be reborn and avatar or something, to be able to keep that energy package with all its Samskaras and Vasanas, if there’s the desire to do that, that is possible, anything is possible. But when you are free of false identification, there’s nothing to hold that together. And so when the body drops with consciousness that’s in the body returns that ocean of awareness.

Rick Archer: You may be right. You know,

Tom Thompson: I’m absolutely right. Don’t doubt it.

Rick Archer: Oh, that’s scary.

Tom Thompson: That’s just the way I see

Rick Archer: it. Yeah. And certainly there are spiritual traditions which which say that, you know, once realization has occurred, that’s it. You’re off the wheel. You know, no more reincarnation.

Tom Thompson: What’s to reincarnate?

Rick Archer: Pardon? Yeah, what’s the reincarnate that you’ve, you’ve sort of gone beyond that necessity, necessity or possibility?

Tom Thompson: There’s no false identity.

Rick Archer: Right. Although it’s sometimes puzzling to talk to all these people who are communing with Jesus or Ramana Maharshi shows up in their bedroom and talk to them or all that stuff. I don’t know how to explain all that.

Tom Thompson: Well I worked in psychiatry for 13 years. And I’m a hypnotherapist, and I’ve channeled Hanuman, and there’s all sorts of explanations in the brain for all of that.

Rick Archer: Could be just a brain thing. Or it could be that they’re, you know, sort of, like Muktananda, for instance, had a really ardent desire to live in siddha loka after his dropped his body and the guy interviewed two weeks ago and yogo. And John said that he himself had had several glimpses of said, I look around, and there’s these incredible spiritual beings dwelling there. Presumably,

Tom Thompson: That’s as real. presumably,

Rick Archer: pardon.

Tom Thompson: That’s as real as this.

Rick Archer: My wife just wrote down everything, just, it’s all possibilities. Yeah,

Tom Thompson: some are possibilities are better than others.

Rick Archer: Let’s get back to the creative intelligence thing for a second.

Tom Thompson: That’s a great term.

Rick Archer: Yeah. You know, the second law of thermodynamics tells us that the universe would just sort of fizzle out, and entropy should become, you know, just take over and everything just sort of, you know, go back to nothingness or dust or something. But there seems to be this counter force, which, you know, results in frogs and trees and people and all these incredibly intricate, well organized structures, which reflect consciousness, much more fully than a pile of rust. And, and, you know, some would say, Maharishi, in fact, used to say that there’s sort of a, an evolutionary agenda as it were, for creation that the divine wants to sort of play with itself and manifest form and, you know, experience itself as a living reality. And hence, there’s this sort of, you know, evolutionary progression that takes place over eons and where, you know, stars are formed and stars explode and heavy elements are created and beings eventually evolve and those beings become more and more evolved as and more and more capable of being, you know, more full expressions are fuller expressions of that and creative creative intelligence out of which they arise. So, take it from there, what do you You think of that whole cosmology?

Tom Thompson: Well, I you know, I come out with a tantric traditions. I pretty much agree with that. But what I would say to all of that is that can also be a possibility of incredible suffering. If you don’t know your true nature. Yeah. So what I think is most important is discovering what you really are. Because what we’re doing in this creation is we’re seeking meaning and purpose from the creation, we’re seeking identity. You know, I’m a better I got bigger house, I got more money, I’m Donald Trump, whatever it is, we’re seeking in it. And that’s ultimately frustrating because it’s disappearing right? In front of us. It’s creating, but it’s also disappearing, you know, everybody’s got to buy a new iPhone, all that stuff. If you know your true nature. First, go back, you know, what am I and that’s really not that difficult. Once you know that, again, a lot of things fall away. But then you can enjoy life as it is, you can let that creative power flow through you. Oh, it’s let’s say, talk about Hatha Yoga, Hatha Yoga can be done as a should. Or it can be done as an act of ecstasy. So two people can be doing the exact same thing, but why they’re doing it, or what’s causing them to do it is totally different. One in a way is causing suffering. The other one is an expression of liberation. So the thing about the creative power is, we get hypnotized and think we’re gonna find meaning and fulfillment out there. Instead of recognizing our true nature. Once we know our true nature, and then it’s pure, play, it’s theater. It’s go for it, whatever you want to do. Look what you’re doing. This is great, what you’re doing.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, I totally agree with everything you just said. And I don’t know if it actually contradicts everything I just said. They’re just kind of complementary aspects of the same picture.

Tom Thompson: Yeah, I think, totally agree that life is an incredible gift and possibility. Yeah, and that’s why I’m really excited by the neuroscience, because these guys are really trippy when you read them. I mean, you know, I think it’s Dan Siegel. He’s a medical doctor, a neuroscientist says, the mind creates the brain, not the brain creates the mind, the mind creates the brain. That’s a pretty trippy thing for a sign, but he’s a meditator. You know, Scott is?

Rick Archer: Yeah. And I would have to carefully defined mind if I were going to agree with them, you know, because consciousness, I don’t think the individual mind creates the brain. But then on my page with it, yeah, we could get into a whole whole thing about that. There’s some kind of much more vast intelligence, which, you know, includes all kinds of laws of nature of biological and physical and so on and so forth. That creates everything.

Tom Thompson: Well, we now know how we can evolve the brain.

Rick Archer: You mean neuroplasticity?

Tom Thompson: Yeah. And creating new neural pathways neuroplasticity, getting more in harmony with our body and the energy fields around our body?

Rick Archer: Yeah, here’s where Deepak Chopra, and Rudy Tanzi just wrote this book, Super Genes, recently, which is kind of, you know, well, it’s not just about the brain. But there’s all sorts of people. Who’s that guy, Rick Hanson, I interviewed who is into brain sculpting. They talked about way that you can. But we’re getting we’re getting off on a tangent here. I think the reason I brought this all up, and the reason I got into this little debate with you sort of is just that much more. Maybe it’s because my understanding isn’t as deep or as clear as it could be. But I, I’m really kind of into all possibilities. And as Irene wrote down on the hope, okay, it’s like I really have a hard time saying with any certainty that this definitely happens. This definitely doesn’t happen, whether reincarnation or UFOs, or anything else. It’s like, do we really know? Absolutely, that just it could see me I mean, certain experiences we can have, like falling away with a sense of self can seem so convincing. But how do we know we’re not going to have some other kind of clarity or experience 10 years from now that’s going to make us say, wait a minute, there’s more than I realized.

Tom Thompson: Right? So that happens, but who’s creating that? So let’s say I wake up and I say I’m totally awake. And then three years from now I have a greater experience over Who was me? Creating that? I would have stayed where I was. But there’s something else working. It’s not my Well, it’s something else.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Which again is something,

Tom Thompson: too but but it’s again the oceans living the way. I agree with you and Irene that possibilities are infinite that’s why use that term reality. We already totals are infinite there we can imagine and manifest almost any. Yeah, and I think stuff you know UFOs for you know they we may be one other video games you weren’t gonna look at them they think they’re real.

Rick Archer: Yeah, we may be next year’s lunch there was a Twilight Zone episode about that. They came with this book that call it was called to serve man. And everybody thought oh great, you know, there’s great humanitarian beings are coming from outer space. And then at the very end of the episode set episode, some guys who have been working on translating, it’s it came rushing in as people were boarding the spaceship and say stop, stop. It’s a cookbook.

Tom Thompson: That was great. That was a good show. See they play with the possibilities and that all the time?

Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, you know, there’s that sort of don’t know, mind thing that they say in Zen and

Tom Thompson:  I totally agree with that.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And it’s so easy to sort of say, I mean, there’s all kinds of things I think I know that I repeat, and that I say, but when you really step back, and you know, the nothing is nothing is certain. least in my experience. There’s like, who knows?

Tom Thompson: The two things I ask people to ask themselves and we look at is, what am I in Francis Lucille again said, the fastest way to Enlightenment is knowing what you’re not. Now the funny thing about that is ultimately you are all of which you have to see. And move back to after you stop everything, stop identifying with anything, whatever’s left, but also the other. So what am I and, you know, find that. And then the other question is, what’s life using me for? But the all a mystery of life is we really don’t know. Yeah. And then the beginner’s mind.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I love that. And but those are two great questions to kind of dwell in, you know, without expecting adamant certainty, but with just sort of a kind of a reverential respect for

Tom Thompson: sticking to the question and look out.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And I’m working, I love them both, but particularly that one of what’s life using me for that there’s a sort of a devotional quality to that, you know, it’s like, by Thy will be done, how can I serve, you know, that that kind of a feeling,

Tom Thompson: right? And when you tune into that, like you have and other people have their life’s wonderful, it’s thrilling. Yes, you know, from the heart that you’re doing what you’re meant to do. Yeah, we’re designed to do however you want to skip.

Rick Archer: Here, it really is. And, and there’s a time for everything. I mean, I went through a number of years where I was, you know, just, I was okay with it, just doing computer work and stuff like that earning a living, but there’s always a sense of having taught meditation for 25 years, there’s always a sense of, you know, really nice to be doing something a little bit more profound, you know, something that seems more meaningful in a spiritual sense. But it was very valuable to go through all those years of doing that and build a sort of a financial foundation and so on. And so I don’t think a person should feel that if they’re just working some jobs supporting a family, they’re kind of missing the boat, you know, and not not being able to devote themselves overtly full time to spiritual pursuits. I mean, the guy interviews most spiritual It is, yeah, the guy interviewed last week by this fellow, what’s his name? The Netreya Thompson. Thomas Thomas.

Tom Thompson: Yeah. And I just became Facebook friends.

Rick Archer: Oh, good. I mean, he does this amazing thing where he and his wife take care of crack babies. Yeah. And he runs a preschool in Los Angeles. And yet in the midst of all that he’s undergone this profound spiritual awakening. So, yeah. So you’re sitting in an ashram or anything?

Tom Thompson: Right. He’s sitting in real suffering.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Tom Thompson:  And doing something about it. But that that really pushes us I think, more than a lot of things to look more deeply and question what it’s all about. But then you can spontaneously respond like he’s doing.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Tom Thompson: But look, again, you know, your show, if I understand you, were going to do a local TV show,

Rick Archer: local radio show with a 10 mile radius. That was the

Tom Thompson: look at what happened to you.

Rick Archer: And it’s funny because when that was my intention, I was isn’t getting any support for it, you know, the radio station didn’t want to do it even though the guys at the radio station were meditators and everything, and then people won’t get. And and but it’s sort of like the, the bigger the concept became the more supported it became.

Tom Thompson: Right. So there was like as guidance system

Rick Archer: there was

Tom Thompson: in the blocks, you know, your bunker down this way. Here’s a block.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Which is a fascinating thing in itself. And we were talking about creative intelligence a little while ago, there’s, do you have the sense that you’re being guided that there’s more there’s a sort of a larger intelligence than is necessarily fully in your conscious cognition that is nudging you this way? And that

Tom Thompson: when I teach, or whatever you want to call it, it’s like channeling?

Rick Archer:  Yeah.

Tom Thompson: And often some people will write me and say, What did you mean, when you said, I have no recollection of saying anything. And sometimes I listen, I’ve listened to recordings, and I go, wow, that guy’s pretty good.

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Tom Thompson: what it really, you know,

Rick Archer:  something kicks in

Tom Thompson: In my terminology? Well, it’s the Kundalini is what I would call, it’s just the word. You know, it’s just a term, but I feel it moving. And I think the people who come here know when that’s happening more than it’s not, because it just just flooded.

Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah. I know what you mean. It’s almost like if you put yourself in the position of being an instrument of the Divine, if I can use that terminology, then it’s sort of like the powers that be or whatever. Say, Hey, boys, we got a live one here. Let’s give them some juice.

Tom Thompson: Exactly. You know, what a way to live our whole lives?

Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s inspiring.

Tom Thompson: No, I agree totally with that.

Rick Archer: And however, when wants to do it, I mean, not everybody should do what you’re doing or what I’m doing anything else. It’s like, we each have our unique expression. And it may be raising crack babies, you know,

Tom Thompson: right. You’re guided, we’re guided, if we listen, if we listen, for the energy that have feelings, it’s very clear which way to move. And it’s not always clear. So that’s, that’s one of the things when I say What’s life using you for because their traditional pathways cut out where you can get a job, and you get your benefits, and you get your retirement and your medical care. And so the temptation is to go, let’s say a secure path for some people. But they get this other urge to do something else. But there’s no map for yeah, there’s no you can’t. When I started teaching meditation, I became a single parent. My daughter was around four, and I worked at the hospital. And I decided I was going to teach meditation. So I went to part time at the hospital, lost all my benefits, lost all my retirement. The first meditation class I taught, I think I had five students. And the first night I talked about Kundalini three dropped out, after the first night, and every night, I go to sleep at three in the morning and wake up in a panic attack. And my mind would say, go back, get your job back, get your get everything back, go back to the hospital. And then in the morning, I’d meditate in that power would take over, and I realized, Oh, my God. But there was no path. Yeah, there was no like, this is how you do it. There was nothing. It’s interesting.

Rick Archer: It’s It’s funny, you wish sometimes that there would be more there would be clearly mark road signs, you know, like, this is it, you’re on the right path, but it’s much more subtle and intuitive than that.

Tom Thompson: Right? This was going to work out, you know, just how many it’s going to work. It’s nothing. But all you can do is be with that inner feeling and go for it.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I’m reminded of the Bible where Jesus shows up and he says to the fishermen, alright, just drop your nets, you know, come with me, follow me. And they do it. And they must have had all kinds of commitments. And, yeah, it was a big leap of faith. Right. Which is not to say, I mean, there were stories of, you know, hippies thinking that the holes society was about to crash and then running up their credit cards. And, you know, because it doesn’t matter, the economy is gonna cry. I mean, you have to be sensible, you can sort of takes discrimination to discern between your whims and actual genuine intuition.

Tom Thompson: Right, and that’s why the yogic pathways together, you know, the discriminating wisdom of Yana yogo. goes with the heartfelt devotion of Baka diversionary really, it’s a you know, I tend to westernize in my mind, but it’s really a credible system of checks and balances. Oops. I think it’s bang the table.

Rick Archer: even hear it? Yeah, I’m coming back to the conscious living center here, which you say is, you know, radical awakening along with integration of body emotions, mind and spirit living. skillfully and effectively in this world and being in loving and powering relationships, I mean that that pretty well covers it. Inclusive. Yeah. And there are people who would say, you know, there is no universe, there is no self, there is no nothing, you know, just and just wipe all that away, who cares about relationships. But I, personally, my preference is for the more all inclusive approach that you seem to be offering. Because most of us, you know, we’re not just sitting in a cave. I mean, there’s all kinds of

Tom Thompson: things. I see, again, everybody’s doing exactly what they should. So when I meet with people, privately, I have no agenda. They present their agenda. And I try to look out of their eyes and see what their lives looking like for them. And then from that, you know, we will hopefully move forward and you know, I have all sorts of tools that might be able to help them. Yeah, but I don’t have any thought that they should be different than they are. Or if they’re not in a row, a lot of my clients are not the least interested in what we do here Monday, and they probably don’t even know we have a Monday thing. So so when I meet with them, it’s what’s happening with them. And I’m not going to be sitting there going well, all this would be resolved if you just woke up and know your true nature. Because they would go what? So so everybody is like, whatever that particular wave is doing, it’s still the ocean doing it. And if they’ve come in here, because they’re sad, their dog died. That’s the entire universe doing.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And you’re not going to say there is no dog and you know, the dog never dies, and that you’re not going to give glib little

Tom Thompson: Boggs is going to reincarnate and be your mother. Because I may not, I don’t know, but I am going to listen to them and really tune into,

Rick Archer: yeah, that’s sweet. There’s a saying in India that, you know, when the when the mango tree is ripe, the branches bend down so that people can just pick the fruit on on their level, so to speak. So, you know, we, as teachers of any sort, it’s valuable, I think, to meet people where they’re at. And

Tom Thompson: that’s not a condescending thing. I’ve heard people say that, because again, where they’re at is, that’s gone being there. That’s God in that form of the ocean, or whatever you want to call it. So whatever their difficulty or problem, it’s still, whether they’re, you know, an enlightened guru sitting there, or somebody who’s sad because their dog died. It’s still that same divine being, or whatever.

Rick Archer: Yep, light that is one of the lamps be many. So What haven’t we covered Tom, that, you know, half an hour after we hang up, you’re gonna think, Geez, we talked about that.

Tom Thompson: I really feel it’s important. I’m not saying this is where people stop. But I think it’s really important that everybody, okay, one of the things I tell everybody comes here, as there are no avatar, everybody is an Avatar. Avatar is divine, that the infinite divine born in the form of a human, everybody is

Rick Archer: God. So they knew as you God dwells within you, as you as mukta. Nice to say,

Tom Thompson: yes, exactly. That’s, that’s really it. And whatever the person perceives as their false, their weaknesses, I’m not good enough. They need to see that, that God dwells within the MASM that that is God moving through them, whatever form it is, start there. And as a possibility, you don’t have to believe it. It’s not a belief, unless you’ve had the experience. It’s, it’s a place again, to stand and look out of the possibility that the same divine intelligence is coming through you, as Jesus, Buddha, gurus, whatever it is. And if that’s so good as a question, why don’t you know, how are you stopping yourself from knowing and it’s because they’re fixated on something else. And so the process of of investigation is releasing those fixations and turning attention back on this incredible thing that’s happening. And then most of those problems, not all, of course, because life’s full of problems, but they it shifts, it shifts, and I think people you know, then they may have to do some, whatever it is, but do it from the point of view of the truth. That’s it.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I think one thing this relates to your point about turning inward or versus outward is a lot of people look at people like, you know, Jesus, Buddha, you know, Ramana, Maharshi, and so on. And they say, Wow, those guys are so awesome. And I’m just this, you know, jump, right? So I couldn’t possibly be like them. But from the perspective of, you know, Ramana, for instance, or Buddha looking at that person, he would say, yeah, you and I are the same person, or just seeing the same light shining out through different eyes, so to speak. So, you know, I think it helps it’s a, I sometimes use the analogy of electricity, like, you could have a whole lot of different watt light bulbs of different wattage is, and they may shine more or less brightly, but they’re all kind of like, plugged into the same electrical source, same electrical field, and that’s identical for all the bulbs. So it’s just a matter of the physical structure of the bulb, that’s gonna determine how brightly it shines.

Tom Thompson: And that electricity is that creative intelligence, right? And it’s windy, like you said, it’s lighting everybody, the word Enlightenment only has meaning to the unenlightened. Because when you’re enlightened, what you do is you look out and see all the waves in the same including you. And we’re all ocean waving, whatever. And so it’s a meaningless term. But it’s a pointer. It’s a pointer. And so it’s useful as a pointer. But once that’s shifted, perception happens, there’s just all these waves and it’s infinite ocean.

Rick Archer: So let me ask you this, now that you’re a high tech dude, and you become an expert in Skype and all that stuff. I mean, do you have any sense? Kind of be wrapping up the interview pretty soon? And usually, towards the end? I, you know, we talk about well, what what can somebody do if they happen to, you know, live in Canada and they want to talk to you? Do you do online consultations? Or would you be interested in it, or you would prefer to keep a local clientele?

Tom Thompson: Well, pretty much I do local, but I have worked with people all over the world on Skype and FaceTime, somebody, somebody in India’s the one to turn me on to Skype. Initially, I had, he wrote me and said, Can we Skype? And I’m like, I don’t know, is that legal? So it was a guy in India who was there. And that’s how I got introduced to it. So I do do that some but a lot of the work. I feel it works better when I actually am with the person.

Rick Archer: Yeah. There’s a, but there is there’s a value to the online thing to a lot of people I interview, you know, do online consultations. And this is one woman that I’m gonna be interviewing in July, I think that, you know, she wasn’t even doing consultations, she was just watching Mooji videos, a whole bunch of them. And you know, one day she had this radical awakening, just watching YouTube videos. So there’s, there’s something to this online thing, even though it may not be as nice as being right with the person.

Tom Thompson: Well, like I said, I have done it, you know, FaceTime and some Skyping with people. Okay, great. So people, you know, I’m always happy to do that.

Rick Archer: And plus, if people want, they could come and visit you in North Carolina. Right. All right, thanks. So this has been fun talk. Thank you. Yeah, we’ve covered a bunch of things. I appreciate that. You’ve been kind of tuning into BatGap yourself, I guess over time, watch the number of them.

Tom Thompson: Yeah, and I just want to say a couple of times, we’ve had intensives that made more money. And we thought we’ve since on essential a couple checks, and I hope other people are doing that. Because, you know, I know how easy it is for it to be a one way street, you know, just turn on BatGap and watch it but we do we have tried to support you. And I hope other people do that. Because I think what you’re offering is extremely valuable. Thank you very much, very much, your staff and you guys do an incredible job and it is just so easy to access. And yet, you and Irene do have to eat. Yeah,

Rick Archer: we’re kind of gross in that way. breatharians Alright, thanks. Well, let me make a few little wrap up points. This has been a lot of fun. Your website is

Tom Thompson: Oh, the awakened heart

Rick Archer: The Awakened heart And I’ll have a page for you on BatGap and link to that. And have you written any books? No, you haven’t. But if you

Tom Thompson: We have a blog on our website, there’s a blog with a bunch of most of those things were written in response to people’s questions.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I read some of those are good So, you know, you can get in touch with Tom through his website. And this interview, as you know, probably is one and an ongoing series. So stay tuned for others. If you’d like to be notified when new ones go up just there’s a mailing list tab on And you’ll just get an email once a week when we put up a new interview. It also exists as an audio podcast. For those who don’t feel like sitting in front of their computer for two hours watching something you can listen while you’re commuting or whatever. And there’s a tab for that too, you can sign up there. Someone brought to our attention this week that it only lists the most recent 300 In the first 34 Or five aren’t listed. And that’s because iTunes has a limitation of only listing 300 podcast episodes. But there are other services, there’s something called stitcher that might list them all. And you can also download any individual audio file by going to the that particular page on the website and then hitting little download button on the audio file. So just a little technical thing. So thanks for listening and watching and thank you again, Tom. Thanks a lot, have fun, and we’ll see you all next week. whoever is listening. Thanks