127. Changing Hearts, Minds, and the World with Meditation - Tom Cronin
Can meditation change the world?
How can we ignite the flame in others to awaken to a unified presence?
Can we reach a tipping point where enough people are holding a high vibration, which ripples out and affects true change globally?
Tom Cronin can feel this upcoming evolutionary shift within humankind, and he is an ambassador for this positive change. He is doing everything he can to help as many souls awaken to the wonder and power which is within every person, for the betterment of this planet.
One of the ways which he is inspiring and uplifting people is through his film experience, The Portal. This powerful film speaks to the need of this time we are in. It brings to life the stories of six people who overcame great adversity using stillness and mindfulness, inspiring the audience to follow in their footsteps and realize the unique potential that all humans have to change our world–from the inside out.
In this episode, we discuss:
The purpose of The Stillness Project - to inspire a billion people on the planet to meditate - and the ripple effect that would cause.
How meditation clears away our filters so we can see things objectively, beyond our subjective reality.
Tom shares his background - what drew him to meditation from a career in finance.
How anxiety is a really valuable tool the Universe uses.
Tom explains the changing of the times which are upon us, moving out of Kali Yuga into Satya Yuga.
The power of meditation builds over time, and it can be as much about what we lose (anxiety, triggers) as what we gain from our practices.
The Portal film
[00:00:25.790] - Kara
Hello and welcome to the Meditation conversation. I'm your host, Kara Goodwin. And today I'm joined by Tom Cronin. So Tom is joining from Sydney, Australia. And Tom spent 26 years as one of Sydney's top bond and swap brokers. And throughout that time, he found meditation and mindfulness to be transformational in relieving the chaos and anxiety that he experienced in his life and work. And that led him to creating the Stillness Project in 2013, which is a global movement to inspire people to meditate daily. And since then, he's been changing the lives of countless individuals through teaching, transformational, leadership, meditation retreats, keynote talks, and most recently, the portal film Experience, which explores overcoming chaos, anxiety, PTSD, and crisis in our lives. So welcome, Tom. What a joy to have you here.
[00:01:28.890] - Tom
That's great to be here. Thanks for having me along. Looking forward to today's session.
[00:01:32.680] - Kara
Me, too. So I wanted to start by talking about the Stillness Project. Can you explain a bit about what this is?
[00:01:41.670] - Tom
I found meditation to play such an important part in changing not just me to be a better person, but certainly the ripple effect that that had on not just the people in my life, but life around me in general. And so I started to teach people to meditate because it was so affected by it. I just really felt that I had to become a teacher. And I started to teach people, and then I started to see the same thing happening to them, and that it was this really interesting phenomenon that people's lives were changing, not because they were getting more things or having better experiences as far as going to the Zoo or watching Netflix or something, but because they were sitting in stillness. And I realized then that if I really wanted to make an impact in the world, the first step for making an impact in people's lives was to introduce them to this process of sitting in stillness in meditation. And from there, the benefits and the side effects, the positives would flow from that. And so then we set out to create the Stillness Project with a mission to inspire a billion people to meditate daily and realize that if that could be achieved and we'd start to see huge effects of positivity ripple across the world.
[00:02:51.090] - Kara
That's so beautiful. And one of the things I love that you talk about is that you started to see the changes, not only in how you were interacting with people, but you were seeing that ripple in how life was presenting to you was how I understood what you were saying, which is a really beautiful way to look at it, because we're affecting the way that we experience life, not only how we interact with the people that we encounter, but how we actually experience life.
[00:03:29.910] - Tom
We're looking at life through a lens. We're looking at life through it's like a pair of sunglasses that have different shades on them and those shades are determined by the experiences that we've had in our life, the cultural conditioning, the social conditioning, genetics. And that creates a type of veneer that we see things through and we think it's truth, but it's actually subjective truth, not absolute truth. And absolute truth is when that veneer is just ripped away or slowly starts to fade away over time. And this is one of the beautiful things about stillness and meditation is that it helps melt away or pull back the veil so that we start seeing life not through our code and conditioning and our doubts and fears and phobias, but through an absolute level. It's clear glass, you know, that there's no impediment to what we're seeing. And what we start to see is just beauty and. Yeah, absolutely fundamental present reality that's not distorted by other influencing factors.
[00:04:36.770] - Kara
That's beautiful. I mean, it's really the embodiment of nonjudgment. I mean, when you're really taking away that veneer and you're just looking at what is you're not putting a story around what it means or how you're supposed to feel about it or whatever. It's just seeing it without judgment. And that purity that is so fundamental. That's really beautiful.
[00:05:06.510] - Tom
Yeah, absolutely. It's an unfiltered process that in each single moment there's absolute truth, and it's so pristine and pure and simple. And then what happens is when we have this conditioned self that starts to get entangled in these experiences, then it starts to distort through our own subjective experience. And so meditation really helps us to clear all of that out so that we're a lot more free in each moment. There's beautiful freedom that happens there.
[00:05:38.040] - Kara
Yeah, I love it. And with this inspiring 1 billion people to meditate, is it always at an individual level that you're wanting to inspire people, or do you work on group meditations where you're trying to get, like, masses of people to meditate at the same time? Because there's such fascinating studies around groups of meditators who are affecting positive change. I don't know if you dip into any of that with this work.
[00:06:11.610] - Tom
Yeah. Look, I mean, there's definitely some amazing results coming out of these big, powerful group meditations. For me personally, it's two fold. One is inspiration and then action. So inspiration is the tools of my social media that I put content out there. I've got a film out, and I've got a book out. So they're mediums to inspire people to do something that's to go and meditate. And that's the action part. So then how do we support and facilitate people learning to meditate? And I do it through a number of mediums. One is through weekend workshops in person. And that's that individual. Let's meditate. I'm going to teach you how to do it now, and I do it in sort of smallish groups or individually. And then there's an online program that allows people to learn to do this deep meditation in a self paced way. And it's a 21 day meditation program. As far as coordinating large groups, I do corporate trainings. I'm working with Amazon and CocaCola and UBS and people like that where I'll teach large staff members how to meditate. As far as coordinating, like, a big global meditation, I did delve into that once.
[00:07:15.880] - Tom
It's a lot of work. I'd rather just teach people how to meditate and just by the fact that they're meditating regularly on a daily basis. That's enough, I think.
[00:07:22.570] - Kara
Yes, I agree, because you always have the ripple like you talked about, how with each person there's a beautiful rippling that happens. So I'm curious just about your background. You had this start in finance. It sounds like it's quite a change, really, to and I have that reflected in my life as well. I worked for IBM for a number of years. I have an It background now. I'm not doing any of that, not doing any sort of corporate work or anything. But what drew you to meditation in the first place?
[00:08:07.270] - Tom
Yeah, I sort of look at my life in three stages. There was pre going into finance, which was my childhood, and I had a very beautiful childhood on a farm. And I had a very strong Catholic influence and upbringing. And I think that was kind of like the early stages of me. I had a very strong sense of God. I wouldn't say I'd love to go to mass, but I definitely had a strong relationship with this presence of a force and intelligence. Back then. It was wrapped in a religion, and there was a lot of prayer and the Rosary and Church. But I think that was the early stages of me connecting to something beyond this sort of physical world of form and phenomenon. And then I went into finance, and that was kind of by default. I was supposed to do journalism at University and then go and become a writer for magazines and things, writing about existential risks to humanity and capitalistic greed. And then I just filled in some paper ads for jobs because I needed some money before uni started. And I ended up getting one on a trading room floor.
[00:09:08.270] - Tom
And that was like this sort of 26 year diversion. It was just kind of quite wild that that happened that took me down a path in the early years of that career. It was just so exciting, just so much money and partying. And we had free access to corporate Amex cards where we could take clients out to wine bars, nightclubs, restaurants, some of the most incredible things. And it was like this big flashing lights just pulled me in, and that was like a big detour. And Interestingly, the universe is really awesome at trying to realign us. And whenever we have pain and discomfort, it's a great device that natural law or universal intelligence has to give us an impetus to move, to change, to deviate. And I'm quite a resilient, if not stubborn, person being Scorpio. And so I put up with a lot of pain, a lot of anxiety, a lot of depression, a lot of insulting, a lot of panic attacks down that pathway as a broker, doing lots of drugs and drinking and crazy things. And the universe was doing its really best job it could possibly do to bring me back into orbit and get me to wake up and realign to what I'm actually here to do, the way I'm supposed to live my life.
[00:10:23.710] - Tom
But I was so stubborn and resistant. So what the universe does, it just turns up the volume. And I was kind of like getting to nine and ten on the volume dial because it's almost going to eleven.
[00:10:34.810] - Kara
In terms of panic.
[00:10:38.710] - Tom
Those were yeah, anytime we have that, it's just a mechanism within us to guide ourselves into a new path, to wake up, to move, to change. And I was ignoring that. So eventually it got so severe, I had literally a nervous breakdown at the age of 29. Wow. And in that time, the universe just said, that's enough. Like, we're going to make this almost like a choiceless position. And we call this in Sanskrit, a Rashi. And a Rashi is a point of choicelessness where you can't continue doing the same thing. There's a fork in the road, and a fork in the road means that something must deviate here, and it either breaks down or breaks through. These are the only two options when we arrive at a Rashy point. So relationship gets in a Rashy, and the point is divorce or breakthrough. A company gets in a rash. It's either scale up or scale down and go into bankruptcy. And our health civilization, we get rashes all the time. And for me, that was my major rash. I was literally considering whether I wanted to go on with my life. I was questioning the continuance of this existence as Tom.
[00:11:47.580] - Tom
And then I came across meditation one day while I was at home watching TV. I couldn't go to work. I left my job. I was unable to continue on as a broker for a period of time. I had some mental health leave, and I found this documentary that I was watching on TV about a property developer that was meditating. And it was like everything I'd been waiting for in my life was in this. It was what I found in meditation, and that was the catalyst. Just seeing that guy meditating in that documentary in a suit, in a chair, it was just like. It was almost like the universe put it there for me to see it, because if it was a Monk in robes, I would have just gone straight past my gaze. I wouldn't have been able to resonate with it. But this guy was a property developer, and he was wearing a suit, and I still distinctly remember the suit. It was like a blue pinstripe suit. This is 26 years ago, and he was sitting in a chair in his big room and he just sat so peacefully with his eyes closed in a chair, meditating.
[00:12:42.040] - Tom
And it was just like. And I didn't know anyone that meditated. Meditation was very unheard of back then. It was in the mid 90s and there wasn't car maps and headspace and online programs. So it was a really big sort of like epiphany that said, go and explore this. And that was the start of my journey to Eastern philosophy meditation.
[00:13:02.410] - Kara
Oh, wow. Thank you for sharing that. It is funny how you can remember that moment. You remember it so Crystal clearly. And that resonates with me a lot because I have been drawn to meditation. I was drawn to meditation for so long before I really even understood what it was. But if I heard somebody talking about her, if I saw it in a headline, I would read the article. I would want to know if I'm talking to somebody like, well, what do you do? Because I had tried it, I had understood that it was you just sit still and you clear your mind. And it sounded super easy. And then I couldn't really get anywhere with it. And I'm like, I feel like this is the key to something. I really feel like it's important, but I don't know why I can't do it. So I would love to talk to people who like, if I ever found I didn't find a lot of people where it would come up in conversation, but when I did, I was like, tell me everything. And they're like, I don't know, I just sit there and try not to think.
[00:14:11.200] - Kara
And I'm like, yeah, I've tried that, but I always felt so drawn to it. And now it's such a big part of my life. And I look back at that with that same mystery of like, there was always something there for me and there were time and time again where I got interested in it and then I got distracted and the universe just kept bringing it back to me. So it's really amazing.
[00:14:41.210] - Tom
It's good at guiding us, isn't it?
[00:14:43.100] - Kara
Yes, absolutely. So let's talk about the film, the portal. And it's a book as well, right?
[00:14:52.650] - Tom
Yeah, we pulled the book out of the film, so the film was what we started with. And then from the interviews of the film, we extracted the stories and the knowledge into a book.
[00:15:03.120] - Kara
Oh, beautiful. So how did the film come about?
[00:15:08.770] - Tom
Well, I think I started the stillness project with this great vision to I could see so many of the world's problems with the fact that we just caught in this. We caught Carta yoga in Sanskrit. This age of ignorance, of ignoring the inner world, the inner space. And we think and we're so coded to think this way, that our fulfillment lies in the outer space. So in the shopping malls, in the Bitcoin portfolio, in getting ice cream and watching movies and finding someone that's going to say they love you. So I could see how much suffering that was causing the planet and how much ripple effect of suffering that was causing as far as environmental and all sorts of things. And that if I could just inspire people to meditate, then that would start to change that paradigm a little bit. And I realized that after the secret they managed to make such an esoteric subject, the law of attraction. It's so normal for us to think of the law of attraction, but back then, it was a very unknown sort of concept, and they managed to penetrate the households of the world with that.
[00:16:08.580] - Tom
It was phenomenal with a film and a book. And so I was really inspired to use that medium as a device for conveying the message. And we call it inspiration to inspire people into action. And so that started this journey of making a film and a book. And it's amazing investors that supported us with that project. And we've traveled the world finding stories that what we want to do is not interview a Buddhist Monk that's left home at the age of eight and sat in a monastery meditating because we wanted it to be relatable to people. And we found six threads of our stories from very different backgrounds, and all had gone through a very difficult time, a crisis. So we wanted to overlaid onto a global crisis sort of macro perspective so that each individual story relates in some way to our potential global crises that we're all looking at. And therefore we have the macro and the micro perspective of crisis and how we can move through that by the simple art of stillness.
[00:17:06.310] - Kara
Wow, that's beautiful. And so who is the film experience in the book? Who is the target audience? Is it some people who want to start meditating, those who already have developed a practice or both or everybody?
[00:17:25.550] - Tom
Yeah. I mean, look, it'd be great for everybody, but we definitely see that there's sort of three rings to the audience. The inequal, we call it the inquiry, which are people that are already meditating. They already resonate with it, and they really get it. It's like they watch it and go. It kind of validates what they're doing. And it's a gun that thumbs up that what they're doing is relevant and worthwhile. Then we've got the next ring, which are people that might be sort of touching into just delving into yoga and starting to explore meditation. They might be on some apps. And it's a kind of a nice momentum build for them to continue to inspire them to keep going back to the practice or maybe ramp up their practice. Doesn't sound very meditative to ramp up your practice, but to continue on and enhance your practice or refine your practice and then ideally down the track. We're hoping those people start to share it with their friends and family and then people that like, I guess I was. I never was open to meditation, but it wasn't until I saw that guy meditating in that chair that I thought maybe I should try that.
[00:18:27.740] - Tom
So people that are out there that are stressed, anxious, overwhelms, and we've got a very challenging time on the planet, and it's about to get a whole lot more intense going forward in the next twelve months. And so finding some sanctuary and some respite and some capability to not be so entangled and emotionally charged by life circumstances, but to find some sovereignty for all of that is the audience that would really like to tap into.
[00:18:54.710] - Kara
Yes, beautiful. I think people want to know what you see happening in the next twelve months.
[00:19:05.850] - Tom
I'll be very delicate here then. Look, we're seeing an incredible paradigm shift taking place. And in Sanskrit, they refer to these two periods of time, one that we're in and one that we're moving into in the language of Carly Yuga and Sat Yuga. So Kali is the edge of ignorance and Sat is the edge of wisdom. Yoga is a period of time like an epoch on a on. And we've been in Kali Yuga, the age of ignorance, that is, that we look externally for identity, we look externally for fulfillment, we look externally for pleasure. And therefore, in that process, we ignore where it ultimately lies, which is within us. And it sounds cheesy and corny. Happiness lies within, but it actually does lie within at a deeper level of silence and stillness. Wisdom is the undeniable, non subjective, absolute truth, which is just these fundamental truths of wisdom. We don't get them in books, we don't get them on podcasts, we don't get them from gurus. They are guideposts for what we already know because we are already it. We are already the absolute, we are already enlightened, we are already divinity, we already source, and we've just been ignoring that aspect of who we are.
[00:20:27.450] - Tom
And we're moving into a period of time where we discovered that and it's a very different period of time that's going to be prevailing on the planet. There's new terminology starting to open up around this where even one of the people in my film, Danielberg, and a few other people refer to this as game A and game B. So we're currently in game A and we're moving into game B. Game A is a very win, lose game. It's a finite game, it's a self terminating game. It's an unsustainable game. And we're looking at the extreme uncertainty and unsustainability of the current model that we're playing in, which is the Game A model. It's just a commoditization of things so that we can acquire. And what game B is, is a very different model. It's not built on fulfillment from acquisition or experiences, it's from an inner experience. But to get across to Game B. A lot of the systems that hold up Game A have to fall down. They have to become irrelevant. And we're starting to see this crumbling of relevance of old systems. So we'll see a lot of the old systems and the old status quo crumble now in the crumbling.
[00:21:38.730] - Tom
Think of it like a renovation. If I want to, let's say rebuild a beautiful new home with new systems that are much more relevant on the site where there was an old home, I have to dismantle the old home first. Now in the middle of dismantling the old home, it's pretty rupture as it's challenging. It's intense. There's actually a period of time where there is no home. It's like, oh, my goodness, what have you done? It's chaos, right? And so we're in this unraveling of a new experience in a new way forward, but it is going to be a little bit chaotic. And the people that are going to hold on to the old status quo, which we're seeing right now, let's not look at sovereignty and health. Let's not look at how we can empower ourselves individually. Let's not look at how we can question narratives and maybe start to discern a little bit more about what's absolute truth rather than condition and program truth by very powerful people that have a lot to gain out of that. And so we're seeing this sort of incredible, interesting sort of play unravel here where the questioning starts first and then the challenging starts second, and then the unraveling starts third, and then the rebuilding starts fourth, and then the new establishment starts coming in after that.
[00:22:56.020] - Tom
So it's a sequential process, and it's important that we don't feel disheartened. When you're in a renovation, you're excited about the possibility because you know what's there, you know what's coming, and you're very excited about that. Beyond this challenging, chaotic experience of dismantling the old home, there's something truly beautiful that's going to prevail, and that's really important that humanity can see that. And that's a big part of what I want to get across is that Satya is a very profound period of time that was really just contained for a very small handful of people over thousands of years on the planet. And now we're about to make a mainstream.
[00:23:35.470] - Kara
It's incredible. And it's so exciting. I mean, this is a really exciting time to be alive, to be here on this planet. And one thing that amongst all this chaos, for those of us who are here, for those of us who are listening, who are here embodied on the planet at this time, there's a reason that you're here, and it's to witness this. It's to be a part of it, to be more than a witness, but to embody this. And so it's a really important point that you're making, and I hope that that point has been driven home about the chaos and the dismantling, the disillusion that happens, but what emerges from it as we get caught up in it? It can be confusing and frightening, but it's important for us to keep hearing about what is coming and hold that vision within each of us. And one of the things that I wanted to clarify or give you the opportunity to clarify would be around this happening within and without. So I think a lot of people who are listening have gone through some sort of awakening at some level. That's why they would be drawn to listening to the meditation, conversation.
[00:25:13.870] - Kara
And so I think a lot of people can relate to what you're talking about at the personal level. Do you also see this happening without outside of the individual, within the structures and organizations that we have in place? You talk about the status quo, but I think you can look at it from both ways.
[00:25:36.550] - Tom
It's impossible for it to not over time. And that's only because the systems and the structures that uphold the world in a Game a world are only established by the state of consciousness of the people that built it. So if we can individually hold space and embody, it's not just about the vision, but it's about the embodiment of what we want to see. In Game B or Sat. You go individually, those that have because don't get me wrong, I sometimes get like, oh, my God, this is too hard. I get overwhelmed as well. And then I have to remind myself, if I want to represent and see Game B or set you got, then I have to live and breathe it. And then I have to be part of the multiplication, the proliferation, the collaboration, the congregation, and communication with the masses for that to happen, because it can only happen one by one, each person living and breathing what that new period of time looks like and then manifesting and expressing and creating from that state of consciousness. So over time, we will see and we're already seeing it now, more and more conscious people creating and designing systems.
[00:26:49.390] - Tom
I've got some friends of mine that are designing new economic models for the planet so that when Saturday comes, there is an economic blueprint. Because you think about even just one system. Let's just call it we've got the medical or political, the education, the sporting, the finance. But look at the economic or finance model. Then at the moment in a game a world, we only value things that we commoditize, but we don't value things that we can't commoditize. So we can't commoditize the ocean, but we can commoditize fish or whales in the ocean. We can't commoditise bees, but we can commoditize honey, we can't commoditize trees, but we can commoditize four by two. And because of that, then the consequences of that type of economic model is so unsustainable and so destructive that it will self terminate our entire species. But if you build a new economic model that somehow. And it's very complex because how do you value a tree? How do you value air? How do you value an ocean in an economic model? And that's a whole new redesign. And that's something that has to happen. And I've got friends that are designing these models, but we don't have enough consciousness yet to integrate that model into our current world because we're still in game A and we haven't got across the game B yet.
[00:27:59.800] - Kara
I'm so encouraged to hear you saying that, because I just had a conversation last week with somebody who is in finance as well, and he was talking about this, but he was talking about it in a very destructive way. So he was talking about the commoditization. I probably didn't say that. Right. But you guys know what I mean of forests. And I thought he was talking about, oh, people wanting to preserve forests. And so they're like making it. They're helping. There be a way for people to invest in a forest and protect it. And that's kind of where I immediately went. He's like, no, you can purchase it. And then you get the value of however much you purchase. You get the value of what they make on it for the wood so that they destroy it and then renew it, hopefully. But that takes time. But it was this whole thing of destroying the forest and being a part of that and then having more people having access to investing in the destruction of it. And I was like, oh, that's not what I thought we were talking about. That's not as encouraging.
[00:29:18.530] - Tom
That's the game that's currently happening. Only last week, I think they announced that the Amazon now is a greater contributor to the planet of CO2 than it is an absorber of CO2 because of the fires and the cutting down of it. So we've gone from the biggest lungs of the planet to provide us with oxygen to breathe now a big producer of carbon dioxide and not having the capacity to absorb the oxygen. That's just like being in a room with one little air hole left for free oxygen and then someone plugging that up. That's not a smart move.
[00:29:58.140] - Kara
[00:29:58.570] - Tom
But that's because of the commoditisation of what that forest can do, as opposed to what and that's because our global economic model doesn't value the oxygen that those trees in the Amazon produce. Therefore, the leaders of that country go, well, we're just about economics here because that might be good for you to get that oxygen, and it's good for us, of course, as well. But it's a much greater value for us to chop down that rainforest. And so therefore, we'll take the highest price we can get. And that's what our whole economic system is built on right now.
[00:30:29.550] - Kara
Right. Well, this person was even talking about, like, the carbon offsetting. That a lot of that's happening in Europe. A lot of them like Airlines and things like that are offsetting carbon, but they're doing it in their country or in their continent. But then they're destructing forests in America, in North Carolina, in other countries, certainly in other countries. But he was from that area. So he was talking about that, which is so interesting because that also gets into the if you want to back a Corporation because you like that they're working on carbon offsetting and so on. And then it's like, oh, my gosh, they're gaming the system. It's like, I don't even know what to believe anymore.
[00:31:27.510] - Tom
This has been gamified for a long time. You just think about the simple thing. Like if you look at any city, right, look at any city and look at any park and any tree lined street in the city, why don't they, instead of planting trees that don't produce fruit, plant trees that do produce fruit. Because if they did that and fruit was available, just imagine homeless people, anyone could just go and pick it. Right. And start living off some of those. Then that would break down the commoditization for the people that are producing those things and selling them.
[00:31:55.400] - Tom
But that's just one simple reason, one simple model of how we've gamified or commoditized. What could just be a simple solution? Why don't we just plant more trees to provide for us?
[00:32:04.920] - Kara
[00:32:05.970] - Tom
In public places. Right. For like an Apple.
[00:32:09.630] - Kara
Yeah. Wow. Well, bless those contacts of yours who are working on that blueprint. And I hope that it is much sooner than later that we will begin being ready to implement something like that.
[00:32:24.060] - Tom
Yeah, that's right. Because it's important. We've got to acknowledge that it's less about what they're doing, which is great. Don't get me wrong. It's more about they can't implement that until we have enough consciousness that experiences a sense of unification. This is why meditation is critical, because we did a screening for our film at Davos at the World Economic Forum and had some meetings with some very high profile people that were doing some really awesome things in the world. I said the challenge you have is that you're trying to do good things in a world where people don't feel connected because they can't. They're stuck in their ego self and their ego self is only motivated by its own personal needs as part of the ego. But if we start to incorporate a meditation practice where we start to experience and this is experiential, where we start to transcend the individual ego self and experience more of a unified self, the higher self for the capital S, then by default, our actions are more motivated by the extension of our wider self, which is the interconnectedness of humans and planets. Then we start to make decisions that are taking all of that into consideration.
[00:33:24.710] - Tom
And the things that we design and create are going to come from that state of consciousness, of experientiality, of unity. It can really only happen when we are starting to have that transcendent experience into the field, right?
[00:33:38.460] - Kara
Yes, I love that. And it comes down as well to this kind of meditation bleeding into life. And you talked about this as the rippling that happens when you begin it. It sort of starts as like, oh, I've got my meditation time and then I've got the rest of my lifetime, you know, and then there just comes a point where the non meditation time starts to be influenced by the meditation practice. And you do start to see more of this mystery that's underlying everything in this unification, in this unity. And I'm curious, in your own practice, do you remember when those things kind of started, when it started becoming less about maybe technique or how many minutes you're seated for and things like that? And when it started to really bleed into your life, do you have a memory of when that sort of shift has started to come?
[00:34:46.670] - Tom
Yeah, it's such a gradual thing. It's like a dimmer switch. A light switch can have on and off where there's light or there's no light. But it's not like that. It's like there's a dimmer. And the ability for the light to be there is always there. And it's a matter of just gradually, gradually gradually turning it up. And it happens so slowly and so gradually that you kind of almost don't realize it's happening. And sometimes it can be quite extreme, like when I run retreats and someone has never meditated before, they just six days with me, and it's just like Holy Moly. But for me, for the most part, it was such a gradual transition for 26 years of sitting in the technique and slowly noticing, as you said, so beautifully, that what happens in the meditation starts to integrate and become part of your external experience. And I love this Sanskrit called yogasta hurumani, which is established in being a form action. And it's this gentle, gradual stabilization of being, which is light and love and consciousness itself starting to infuse into your actions and experiences outside of the meditation. But that can only happen through the regular contact interbeing that happens with mostly two things regularity with meditation.
[00:36:08.340] - Tom
But secondly, a particular style of meditation or particular styles of meditation that allow that transcendent experience. And so it's important that we don't get sidetracked by this is not to denigrate any practices. Anything that's helping us sit and be quiet is really important and really useful, but it's easy to get swept along by seeing one app. They have 100,000 meditations on it. And it's just this overwhelming, almost analysis, paralysis of where do I go, what do I choose? And there's so much noise around meditation. There are a lot of the meditations I see out there about how to meditate to manifest money, how to meditate to find a lover, how to meditate to get a new puppy dog. And it's kind of self perpetuating. The problem that we've already got as a Seeka, that's trying to get something going into the meditation practice. So the practices that I work with and that I've used and teach are practices that seeker doesn't even exist. The seeker is a problem in all areas of life, even in our spiritual practice, because it's the seeker that's still clamoring to get something that you already are. If we just let go of the seeker, then we'll discover that that's already there, that experience is already within us.
[00:37:20.690] - Kara
I love that. And it's so true. It can be tricky. It can be subtle, it can be so subtle and it can be so sneaky. It's like, wait, all of a sudden this thing that used to really bother me, this person that used to really bother me or whatever it is, I'm not reacting the same way that I used to. I've softened to it, or I understand different perspectives more easily, and I have value for other people's perspectives, even when they're not mine. A lot of that, it might not be like a big bang right away. It can be sneaky like that, which is important that we stick with it so that it's not like, oh, I didn't see any light. I meditated twice and I didn't see any light. This doesn't work. It's like how I kept approaching it when I didn't know what I was doing.
[00:38:26.970] - Tom
Where's my Church bells and turtle doves. I didn't have that experience, right?
[00:38:31.360] - Kara
[00:38:32.730] - Tom
It's less about what we're getting. It's about what we're not having. That's what really is one of the key things with meditation. It's about, oh, I don't have anxiety anymore. I don't have that aching addiction to crave someone's affirmations to say, I'm a good person or I don't, it just becomes simpler and quieter.
[00:38:53.080] - Kara
Yeah, I love that. It's what we're not having. When I look through your offerings, for example, it seems clear to me that you're helping people to find peace and calmness and reduce stress. And I love these fruits of meditation. And like you say, there are a lot of different styles of meditation. There are a lot of reasons that people come to meditation. They may be drawn to it because they really have to reduce their stress or they want to connect with themselves better or they want personal development or to enrich their spirituality. And I wonder as we talk about the subtleties and the sneakiness of it often when you're coming to meditation, like, I approached meditation from a pretty secular perspective. When I first started, it was like I wasn't really praying before I started. I wasn't really trying to connect with anything higher. It was really just like I wanted to experience stillness within myself. And it was very much focused on peace and calmness and trying to be a better version of myself. I heard you talking and how you clearly have studied a lot of the Yogic teachings or Buddhists, I don't know.
[00:40:34.380] - Kara
You mentioned Sanskrit and the Kala Yoga, and I associate that with the yogic teachings. So from your own perspective, it seems that there is like a richness of that spiritual element as well. Would you say.
[00:40:58.010] - Tom
If I want to become a doctor, I'm in kindergarten. Then I have to go through a sequential process year after year. And I don't know what you call them. In America, different we call a primary school, then we've got high school, then we've got University. You can't just, at the age of six, become a doctor. You have to go through a sequential process. In Sanskrit, we call this yupasan Kanda, which is the timeline, sequential layer of truth, of time, of the unfolding, of evolution. And so students can start with, for me, I have a pain point. I have insomnia, I have depression, I have anxiety. I need to learn to meditate. I wasn't looking for enlightenment, I wasn't looking for spirituality. I just wanted my pains thrown away so that I could be more successful. And that's okay. It doesn't matter where someone's starting, it's a matter of there's a journey that you go on. And that's why I have different offerings for my students, because a lot of people are coming in at different points in their journey. And if someone wants to start and it's important, we understand. There's nothing wrong with using meditation for peak performance.
[00:42:08.440] - Tom
We want to have a great life, we want to have joy, we want to have wonderful things in it. I've got an Audi A Five. I like my car. It gets me around. So it's not that we don't appreciate form, it's what state we're in while we're appreciating form and how we use the form. By all means, it's important we understand I'm not perfect or enlightened. I'm just getting by in life and doing my thing. And there's a sequence. So where I'm now is different to where I was 20 years ago with what my meditation journey, my meditation practice is all about. So it will change for people as they go along and as they start to drop away, a lot of the pains and the anomalies that were guiding them in the first place, to start to realize their truth, and they'll start having greater inquiry. And then the importance for me as the teacher is to offer them the opportunity to deepen that inquiry and give them more advanced programs.
[00:43:04.660] - Kara
Yes, that's so beautiful. I do find it fascinating how it just does naturally evolve and it almost predictably, although that's not the right word, because it's such everybody's got these unique paths, as you're saying. We all have unique pathways that get us to our higher self with the capital S, and that get us to that unified consciousness. And we're meant to have unique journeys. It's not meant to be like that. The exact path that I took is the same exact right path for the next person. There are techniques that we can share. There's wisdom, there's philosophy. All of that is so helpful. But we all will approach it for different reasons and with different timelines, different results at different times. And there's a pattern to that evolution as well. And it's so beautiful. It's so divine. It's just perfect, and it's so fun. That's kind of what makes it so interesting. I mean, going back to your film, The Portal, it's like six completely unique stories that all have this central theme about how important this evolving consciousness is for all of us as individuals and humankind.
[00:44:47.470] - Tom
We call it Leela in Sanskrit, the dance of the divine. This is the playfulness of the divine, manifesting through form. And of course, if you look at any game, whether it's Scrabble or jigsaws or whether it's gridiron game football here, there's going to be challenges in it, there's going to be conflict, there's going to be difficulty. And so that's the whole plague that we're in. And one day when we've lost our identity and we're in that divine essence of absolute truth, we'll look back and have a little grin on a nonphysical face and go, well, that was fascinating, wasn't it?
[00:45:27.740] - Kara
Right? Yes. It goes back and it all makes sense now, right? Yeah, it goes back to that. And let's hope that that is sooner rather than later. And what a gift it is to be here. What a gift this is to be experiencing all of this chaos. And it's not boring.
[00:46:02.130] - Tom
It's not boring.
[00:46:04.950] - Kara
You can't phone it in right now. You have to be like in it.
[00:46:10.170] - Tom
Yeah. And we're here because this is the experience we choose to have as defined in manifestation. Let's see what life is like when I'm experiencing myself other than the divine and I'm lost in the identity of what I perceive to be me, which is, of course, still the divine. But I can't realize that.
[00:46:36.830] - Kara
[00:46:39.150] - Tom
I have your head around that sometimes the Maya. Exactly.
[00:46:41.700] - Kara
Yes. Is there anything that you would like to offer as your favorite tip or piece of advice for people to bring more peace into their lives?
[00:46:54.850] - Tom
I think it would just be more of a practical tip because I'm sure pretty much your audience are meditators. So it's not like, hey, guys, you should meditate, but you're already doing it.
[00:47:03.170] - Kara
It's good to get the reminders if people aren't consistent.
[00:47:07.270] - Tom
Look, I think it's about when we're in the practice. One of the things that stumps a lot of students is the seeking and the trying and the grappling with trying to because we're so egoically designed to get an experience, to have something, to get something that it slips into our meditation practice as well. And it really is a complete letting go. Imagine your fists being clenched really tight, and that's what we're holding on to, our possessions, our identity, our ego, our body, everything. And then to let that all go open your hand and unclench the holding on so that in your meditation to see how less of you can you be? How available are you to be? No body, no thing, no experience, no time, no story, no drama because that letting go when we can really do that in our meditation practice. I see some meditation students when I'm running classes and they got this furrowed brow and I can see them trying so hard to get somewhere. Just let it all go.
[00:48:08.080] - Kara
[00:48:08.440] - Tom
Even myself sometimes it's hard to say let it go. Stop trying.
[00:48:12.190] - Kara
Yeah. That's beautiful. Great wise advice for sure. So how can people find out more about all of these beautiful offerings that you have.
[00:48:25.390] - Tom
For daily sort of regular content? You can go to Instagram, tomcron which is where I'm probably most active and then my website, tomcron.com and then for the film they can still find it on my website, tomcronant.com but they could go to enter theportal.com which is the film website, enter the portal and they can find the film, the book and the meditation programs and how to become a partner with us and share the film with the world.
[00:48:52.570] - Kara
Wonderful. So I will be sure to have all those links in the show notes for everybody and I encourage you all to go and check it all out. So thank you so much, Tom, for being here today. Tonight we're spanning all the time and no time. There is no time and space. Right.
[00:49:20.210] - Tom
Thanks for letting me know.
[00:49:21.610] - Kara
Yes, it's been such a joy to connect with you. So thank you very much and thank you for listening and tuning in. Be sure you check out Tom Cronin and his film, the portal and all of his offerings. Again, I'll have those links in the show notes and thank you for supporting the podcast with your subscribing and liking and reviewing and all of that very helpful activity. I very much appreciate it and so I wish you a very beautiful day and I look forward to the next meditation conversation.
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