Understanding Love & The Hierarchy of Emotions


“My love for you has no condition,” I said to her. “You do not have to do, or be, or say anything in order for me to love you. You do not have to try to be someone you’re not, you can simply be who you are, and know that I will and always will love you, no matter what.”


These probably weren’t the exact words I used, but the general idea is what matters. I said these words (or something very similar) to my wife recently. Anyone who follows my blog regular (which now number in the TWOs!) has been witness to the path that I’ve walked for the last several years. I’ve been very open about using myself as an example and have talked about my successes and my failures, and noted examples drawn from my many teachers along the way. It should also be obvious to anyone who reads my blog that I talk about love a lot.


Like, a lot.


And there should be an obvious reason for that. From a spiritual point of view, love is all there is, and everything is simply a manifestation of that love in varying degrees and forms. Ultimately there really is unity; there is only love or not so much love, just as there’s light and not so much light. There’s no such thing as darkness, for example, that’s just a name we give to the absence of light. You can’t add darkness to a room, you can simply take away light.


Likewise, while fear can be called the opposite of love, it’s really just the absence of it. The absence of love can make us feel weak, powerless, disconnected, and out of control.


TRUE love, divine love, is unlimited, eternal, and free. It has no condition, and has no requirement. What most of us experience isn’t really love, it’s what I call “conditionality.” It’s simply this:


“I love you IF you don’t break my trust.”

“I love you IF you don’t cheat on me.”

“I love you IF you spend enough time with me to make me feel valued.”

“I love you IF you never change.”


And if someone breaks one of our rules, we stop loving them.


And why shouldn’t we? That’s what we were taught, and all our examples during our formative years show this same cycle.


I’ve been with my wife for more than 11 years now, and she has been and continues to be my greatest teacher. It is through her that I have known myself better, and quite honestly she’s been a saint for putting up with the rapid and very odd changes I’ve gone through in the last couple of years. In the beginning of our relationship, the love I exhibited for her was conditional.


For the most part I have never been a very jealous person, but in our relationship there have been moments of jealousy, and moments of resentment, but standing where I am now I can see them for what they were.


As it stands now, I can say that there is nothing she has to do, say, or be in order for me to love her. I am just as happy to be in a relationship with her as I would be outside of it. Should she choose to want to end our relationship I would be fully supportive of that, just as if she wants to keep our relationship going indefinitely, I’m fully supportive of that too.


If she was damaging me in some way, then out of love for myself, I would have to do so at a distance (that is to say I would remove myself from the damaging situation and continue to love and support her in any way she needs), but I’ve also come to realize that no one can damage you without your permission, so I don’t allow people (anybody) to damage me anymore. But at the same time, I give her full freedom to explore who she is and be who she needs to be in order to manifest the best possible version of who she can be at any given time. In other words, my love for her is unlimited, eternal, and free.


This is an extremely high form of love, and not one that most people have experienced. And one that I don’t expect many others to be able to get to right off the bat. In fact, it’s taken me 44 years, and 11 years with my wife, and 2 years of constant self-work in order to get there.


So while I talk a lot about love, and try to hold myself up as an ideal of that form of love (even though I step out of it from time to time, whether by choice or by pattern), I thought I would talk more about the idea of love and how to get to it. Let’s face it, if you’re suffering from depression, apathy, anxiety, anger, fear, or whatever, it’s pretty tough to choose love in that situation. It’s too far of a jump for most people (outside of divine intervention) to make.


But what you can do, is move up a little bit on the hierarchy of emotions.


For example, if you’re feeling fear or powerlessness, if you can move up to hate, that’s a positive move up towards love. Is hate great? Again, everything is relative. Hate in and of itself is not fantastic, but if you’re feeling powerless, then hate can motivate you to do something (so you can forgive all those hate groups out there because they could be stuck in fear, so they’re making a positive change in their lives, albeit at other peoples’ expenses).


If you’re stuck in hatred, and you can move up to blame, again that’s a positive move towards love.


Likewise if you’re feeling apathetic, a move to hope or optimism is a positive move towards love.


So while unconditional love is the goal, it’s a big jump, and like the old joke about eating an elephant, it might be easier for you to do it one bite at a time. And as always, there’s no right or wrong, good or bad. What we refer to as right or wrong or good or bad is nothing more than a value judgement.


If someone was in a prolonged bout of apathy, and then decided that they wanted to get a job as an accountant, we’d say that was a positive move.


On the other hand, if Jesus or Buddha wanted to stop their teachings to become an accountant, we’d probably call that a move in the wrong direction.


So it entirely depends on your situation. Any move towards love can be helpful and valuable.


And ultimately, if you walk the path towards love, you’ll eventually find that love comes from within, so you stop looking for people and things outside you to help you get to love and simply turn inwards and connect to the infinite source of love that connects us all. I say this not as some hoity-toity, airy-fairy, new-agey mumbo jumbo (and I’m certainly not saying that I’m there 100% of the time), but because I’ve experienced it for myself and I can speak from experience and the knowingness that everyone will get there eventually. Everyone, without exception. It is not a question of worthiness, it’s not a question of being blessed. We are all blessed, and we are all worthy. Many times I find myself lately in complete awe at the magnificence and wonder of the world and simply walk through it and experience it in its fullness, without judgement, so I stand as a testament to its possibility.


The best way to understand this fully is to think of watching a sunset or gazing at the stars. In that moment, when you allow yourself to just be, you can appreciate the stars or the sunset for what it is. You don’t demand that the sunset be more orange or less yellow, or that the 2nd star on the left be 12 percent brighter. You simply, and totally accept that which is and allow it to be what it is, and appreciate it for the magnificence of its intrinsic beauty.


And when you can look on all things and see all situations in the same way, you can call yourself a master (although I would also add, that when you get to this point, you won’t call yourself a master, because you’ll know that all people are masters, just as all people are you).


There’s a number of hierarchies of emotions out there, all of which basically say the same thing, so here’s the Abraham-Hicks emotional guidance scale in descending order which you can use for reference.


Positive expectation/belief


In case I don’t update my blog over the holidays, I wish my twos of regular readers a wonderful holiday season. May your 2018 be filled with love, unity, and compassion.


I am you. You are me. We are one.






Tommy Heiden is a family photographer based out of Maple Ridge who, when he’s not caring for his amazing wife and two beautiful children, is occasionally found taking pictures of other peoples’ wives and children, and even more often, speaking and blogging about how to add more love to your life.

Are You Putting Your Leg on the Fire?


Two men decided that they wanted to get away from it all and try camping. This being their first time camping, they decided to bring a book that had all the information they needed: how to set up a tent (I refrained from using the phrase “pitch a tent” because the 10 year old inside me giggles too much when I say it), how to light a fire, how to catch fish, how to keep your food safe from bears, etc.


So they’re going through this book, and they decide it’s time to start a fire. They gather some wood and kindling, and get the fire going. After a while, the fire starts to exhaust its fuel, and they turn to the book for guidance. They read, “If your fire is starting to die out, this may be a good time for you to put one of your legs on the fire.”


The first man mentions that this seems odd, but the book says to put your leg on the fire, and that’s what they should do. The second man says, “That’s ridiculous. If I put my leg on the fire, it’ll get burned!”


The first man insists that the book has always been correct so far, so it should be fine if they put their leg on the fire. The second man insists that it must be a typo, and that surely they meant put a LOG on the fire.


The first man reminds the second man that the book has never steered them wrong before, and that it must be a test of faith. The authors of the book must know something that they don’t and that if they just put their faith in the book, everything would be okay.


The second man acquiesces and gingerly drapes a leg over the fire, and of course, starts to feel the heat. The first man sees the second man’s trepidation, and trusting in the book, shoves the second man’s leg into the fire. The man’s pant leg immediately bursts into flames, and he rolls around screaming at the first man as he desperately tries to put out the fire.


After putting out the fire, the second man asks the first why he did that. The first man simply says that the book told him too, and that the book has never been wrong before.


In the Eknath Easwaran translation of the Bhagavad Gita, the author laments the difficulty in translating things from one language to another and that there’s often no equivalent words in each language. For example, in the phrase from the Gita, “A man is what his shradda is,” the word “shradda” has no english translation (it’s like faith or belief, but more expansive. It’s the sum total of a person’s thoughts, experiences, beliefs, etc). In the Lamsa translation of the Bible — which is translated from the Aramaic, rather than the Greek — the word “camel” is noted as a thick rope used by sailors. Thus the phrase becomes, “It’s harder for a rich man to enter heaven than it is for a thick sailing rope to fit through the eye of a needle.” which makes a lot more sense than an actual camel.


So we have to learn not to take anything as gospel and to know that anything translated or re-translated is bound to have errors in them, whether intentional, unintentional or just as a matter of course. We have to understand that the experience of something is more important than the word. In fact, much of the spiritual path is experiential, and beyond words capacity to convey. As Nisargadatta Maharaj asked, “How can words explain that from which words arise?”


The Bible itself is missing 18 years of Jesus’s life. You don’t think he told people what he did during those 18 years? Jesus had 12 apostles (11 if you discount good old what’s-his-name) and yet only four of them appear in the gospels. You don’t think the other 7 or 8 people wrote about their time with him? You don’t think that Mary Magdalene or Joseph or Mary or anyone else who knew him intimately would have opinions on his teachings?


And what of the Gita? The first couple of verses seem to indicate that fighting and killing your enemies is okay in the eyes of God (Krishna). But later in the Gita one of the things Krishna advises Arjuna on is the principle of ahimsa (non-violence).


Is it possible that the things we hold most holy aren’t in fact perfect translations? Or that some of the stuff in them have been mis-interpreted? Is it possible that the reason we have so many wars and so much violence is that people cling to their particular book as being “holier than thou” and “God’s word without question”?


Perhaps knowing about the missing 18 years would help solve some of the problems of understanding. Perhaps not. Perhaps knowing why the Bhagavad Gita was inserted into the Mahabharata would explain the discrepancy. Perhaps not.


What I can tell you is that reading about how to build a fire and the experience of building a fire are two entirely different things. And where experience contradicts a book, we have to seriously consider that there may be an error in it. When it comes to understanding, too many of us discount the experience, and turn to the word, and this has clearly not worked out well for us in the past. There is a difference between something being divinely inspired, and something that is divinely perfect. In fact, even if something was divinely perfectly written in the language it originated, the mere translation of it introduces errors.


Words themselves are notoriously inaccurate. Anyone who’s sent a text or an e-mail that’s been misinterpreted knows that a lot of further explanation is necessary to correct the error.


The Old Testament contained a lot of what are referred to as “Mosaic Law.” Then Jesus showed up and said, “You’ve heard an eye for an eye? I say love thy enemy.” In other words, God sent one messenger (Moses), then when the words were misinterpreted, God sent another one (Jesus). So consider this, that we’ve misinterpreted a lot of what has been said, and that the evidence of that is simply to look at the world and look at the root cause of the wars, suffering, and violence. Then consider that, like Jesus, God has sent numerous messengers since, and continues to send messengers until our understanding is corrected. This, in fact, aligns everything with the message: God is love.


A loving God would not punish us for sinning (ie: making mistakes out of ignorance). A loving God would light the way and continue to light the way, and when we misinterpret the way, would gently guide us back.


Jesus’s message can be summarized in 3 phrases:


Love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, all thy soul, and all thy mind.
Love thy neighbour as thyself.
Love thy enemy.


As always, love is the answer.


In fact, every great master, every great saint, and every great teacher across all religions has spoken the same truth: God is love, infinite love, divine love, and every messenger has carried the same message: Love, and then do as you wish.


That we’ve twisted this into only loving those of our particular church or synagogue or mosque or sect or political affiliation or gender or sexual orientation or what have you is laughable (Truly. I often find myself laughing at the folly of people. It’s the only response that can keep me sane sometimes.)


And if I might make a recommendation, consider our holy books (whichever one you prefer) as not “The Good Book,” but merely, a good idea. Not as “The Gospel,” but a good guide. And understand that they’re not the “perfect word of God handed down from upon high,” but the words of man, divinely inspired, but written from the perspective and political affiliation from the writer.


Even the Bible states that Jesus spoke as with the authority of someone with the EXPERIENCE of God, and didn’t just recite the words of the ancient texts. And even Jesus himself said (although as I’ve stated, take everything in the Bible with a grain of salt) to beware the religion scholars.


And consider that God has and will ALWAYS send messengers, who all carry the same message, until all of us return home. And you’ll know these messengers by the message they carry:








Tommy Heiden is a family photographer based out of Maple Ridge who, when he’s not caring for his amazing wife and two beautiful children, is occasionally found taking pictures of other peoples’ wives and children, and even more often, speaking and blogging about how to add more love to your life.

One Question That Can Change Your Life


As the media swirls around the news of Harvey Weinstein, and our social media feeds fill up with stories of #MeToo and #HowIWillChange, a light has been shined on some truly despicable actions by one particular person and the abuse that half of society deals with on a regular basis.


As one comedian put it so well, it may surprise some of you, but i have a genetic history of women in my family. But that shouldn’t even make a difference. It doesn’t matter whether you have women in your family or not. The rights of any person or group of people are valid equally, until they start hurting other people. In my mind, people are always free to do whatever they want. They’re not free from the consequences of those actions.


So, as always, I turn to the keyboard to get clarity on the brownian motion of thoughts tumbling around in my head. I spoke in a recent blog post about the biggest liar in the world: the ego. The ego’s job is to lie to you. That’s its purpose and it does it remarkably well. It’s also the ego’s job to tell you that you’re separate from everyone else. This – without further explanation, since I explained it in the aforementioned blog post — is also a lie.


There IS no separation. To damage another is to damage oneself. This is true not only on a spiritual level, but in many other ways, which again, I won’t go into here for the sake of brevity. Suffice it to say, that you cannot harm another without harming yourself in the process.


So I’d like to present one question that has profoundly affected my life, and one that I hope will help guide you in what to do in any given circumstance. The question is simply this:


“Is this love, or is this ego?”


The ego is a liar, liar pants on fire. Everything it tells you is a lie, so it can be immediately discarded. The ego is what makes us think we’re separate from others, that we can be either superior or inferior to another. Are you feeding your ego? Are you trapped in self-agrandizement? Are you seeing yourself as superior to another person? Do you do things to spite another or to harm them, physically, emotionally, or otherwise? Do you take joy in the suffering of others? Do you feel righteous when someone gets their comeuppance?


If so, then stop. Stay out of the ego.


The Bhagavad Gita states, “You are entitled to your actions, but not to the fruit of your actions.” What this means is to do everything without expectation of reward or recognition. Be divorced from outcome. Don’t seek aggrandizement. Don’t feed the ego. Simply take the most loving action, and perform every act or service with love. The path of enlightenment starts with the recognition that your ego isn’t you. The path continues until you realize that love is your true nature.


As all the mystics have stated, love is the answer. Love is all there is. By embracing loving actions in every available opportunity, not only are you turning away from untruth, but you’re turning towards ultimate truth.


When you don’t know what course of action to take, ask yourself, “Is this love, or is this ego?”


Love is eternal, unlimited, and free. Love has no condition. Love simply is. Embrace this truth, and love flows freely in every situation. Embrace this truth and you cannot harm another. You simultaneously seek to lift others up, instead of tear them down. You cooperate, rather than conflict. You see others with compassion, rather than condemnation. You humanize people, rather than demonize them.


As Augustine put it so profundly, “Love, and then do what you will.”






Tommy Heiden is a family photographer based out of Maple Ridge who, when he’s not caring for his amazing wife and two beautiful children, is occasionally found taking pictures of other peoples’ wives and children, and even more often, speaking and blogging about how to add more love to your life.

A Quick Story


As someone who enjoys the act of writing, I must admit that there are people who are infinitely better at it than I am. I heard this story recently by the amazing Portia Nelson and it stuck with me. I’ll let the words speak for themselves. Take from it what you will, and if it strikes you, please pick up the book from the link below to support her.


The words are from the book There’s a Hole in my Sidewalk, by Portia Nelson, and is copyright (c) 1993 Portia Nelson and published by Beyond Words Publishing, reproduced without permission.



I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.



I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.



I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.



I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.



I walk down another street.







Tommy Heiden is a family photographer based out of Maple Ridge who, when he’s not caring for his amazing wife and two beautiful children, is occasionally found taking pictures of other peoples’ wives and children, and even more often, speaking and blogging about how to add more love to your life.

On Charlottesville and Spirituality


This is the story of the two travellers. The first, looking for a place to live, arrived in a small town, and wanting to get a feel for the place, went to an old local man for advice.


“I’m thinking of settling here,” he said to the old man. “What type of people live in this town?”


“What type of people live where you come from?” replied the old man.


“Well, that’s why I want to move. They’re all cheats and liars. They’ll con you as soon as look at you. They sing loudly and off key (usually while drunk), and it seems that many of them don’t bathe!”


The old man smiled and said, “You will find the same people live here.”


A while later, another traveller came upon the town and approached the same old man.


“I’m thinking of settling here,” he said to the old man. “What type of people live in this town?”


“What type of people live where you come from?” replied the old man.


“Well, that’s why I hate to move. They’re wonderful. They’re kind and considerate, they sing loving songs to each other. They dance and celebrate every occasion.”


The old man smiled and said, “You will find the same people live here.”


As is the case when recent events bring a lot of focus to my mind, I find that writing about it seems cathartic. The events in the last week in Charlottesville have been weighing heavily, so some catharsis is needed, I think.


I freely admit that I haven’t watched any of the videos. I find videos of angry mobs wielding torches and chanting racist slogans distasteful, and videos of people getting hit by cars to be antithetical to my peace of mind, so my information is limited.


What I do know, however, is that there was a white power rally, and a group of counter protesters, and a white supremacist (allegedly) hopped in his car and drove it into a crowd of people, killing one, and injuring 19.


I’ve heard reports that some of the counter protesters were charging the white nationalists with clubs, or that they were throwing rocks. If that’s true, then let me state that I’m also against violence of any kind, in all but the most extreme and necessary circumstances (what exactly those circumstances would be, I don’t know, as I haven’t encountered them yet, but I like to leave myself a little room in case there was no other option).


Again, if true, that doesn’t excuse murder and attempted murder, and it doesn’t address the underlying cause of racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. A large part of me (again, ignorant of the full facts of the case) says that it’s the same as when a woman gets raped, and people say, “Yes, but you were drunk, and dressed slutty, so what did you expect?” Even if you feel someone is “asking for it,” you still need to be accountable for your own actions. If someone’s throwing rocks at you, you have the right to defend yourself, but you don’t have the right to murder and attempt to murder a group of people.


So, since I have a lot of thoughts going through my head, let’s address this from two angles: the spiritual, and the real world, because both thoughts are present, and both lead me in different directions.


From a spiritual perspective, I understand and can see that everything is divinely perfect just the way it is. This glorious planet of ours gives us the opportunity to move between the lowest depths of humanity, all the way up to enlightenment, and as the Buddha said, it’s a great blessing to be born human. But you can’t tell that to the wounded.


I also know that we are all eternal beings and that while the physical you can be killed, the larger you, the spiritual self, cannot be. As the Gita says, you were never born, you will never die. But you can’t tell that to a mother who’s just lost her child.


So there’s a part of me that’s at peace with it, and is willing to let it go and chalk it up to human foolishness, the combined illusions of separateness and superiority that creates most of the discord and violence in our societies.


And then the other part of me is the part that lives in the real world, that sees the pain and hurt and wants to do something about it. I grew up idolizing Superman. He was the first, the best, he was the one that always knew what to do. He fought for truth, and justice, and — as I remember it — the good of all mankind.


And then I get hear the President of the United States of America, a country I always looked up to as — despite its flaws — a beacon of light upon the world, say that both sides are equally at fault, that there’s some really nice people inside this gang of white supremacists who call for ethnic cleansing and a white state no matter the cost. This was supposed to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people; a country where, despite being founded by slave owners, was dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal. The ideal was commendable, despite the hypocrisy.


And then I had conversations with people where they defended the white supremacists and said that the counter protesters were coming at them with clubs so what were they supposed to do?


Again, part of me takes the spiritual perspective, and says that it’s all just human foolishness. But then there’s the part of me that wants to help end human suffering. Whether I do or not, I figure it’s a worthy goal.


The other part of me, again, the part that lives in the real world is simply this: don’t defend the freaking nazis. If there’s one group of people that pretty much everybody in the world can agree on, it’s that the nazis were universally bad people, and Hitler was one of the worst people that humanity had to offer.


Again, spiritually, I understand that Hitler went to heaven (a phrase used in Conversations with God), because Hitler did nothing wrong. But even though Hitler went to heaven, countries around the world banded together to help stop him.


Despots must be stopped in their despotism.


As someone who wants to live a peaceful, loving life, these two sides of me are at odds, but I think I’ve figured it out. People choose to incarnate in their lifetimes to fulfill whatever experiences the soul wishes for them to experience, some of that is, for example, to experience what it’s like to be a racist or white supremacist. It’s not for us to judge or condemn that which we disagree with, since we don’t know the soul’s purpose.


However, without judging or condemning, we can observe and say, “This is not who you are. You are not this. I am not this. We are not this.” And always keep in mind that our existence and what we are doing here is done in concert with other people. This is very essence of what Jesus taught about loving your enemy and if someone strikes you on one cheek offer them the other. It gets back to the unity of all. I recognize that they (the white supremacists, etc) exist so that I may better know myself. And if I can know myself, I know them, because we are one and the same.


Like the two travellers in the story above, you create the world you wish to see. You can see it as a blessing or as a curse. You can see the light in everyone or you can see the darkness.


While I agree that despots must be stopped in their despotism, and there is NO moral equivalency between the nazis and those that fought the nazis (it’s very simple: nazis – bad, those that fought the nazis – good), as humanity, we must work to eradicate the mindset that allows these kinds of events to happen.


First and foremost, we must keep in mind that superiority does not exist in God’s universe. Nothing and no one is superior to anyone or anything else in the universe. The fish is not superior to the bird, the sky is not superior to the ocean, the star is not superior to the planet, the tree is not superior to the flower, male is not superior to female, white is not superior to black, straight is not superior to gay, young is not superior to old. Superiority exists solely in the ego, and as the product of the ego, it is a LIE. The ego’s purpose is to lie to you, and it does it very, very well.


Secondly, we all must commit ourselves to acts of love. The power of love is greater than the power of fear. The energetic vibrations of love vibrate at a much higher frequency, and are intrinsically more powerful. Spread love, spread joy, spread peace. If we all commit to this, we can, and will change the world for the better.


Lastly, we must fight, not with condemnation, but with compassion. We must understand that hurt people hurt people. White supremacists and their like are very, very damaged. They have been taught to hate, either in this lifetime or a previous one, but always they have the same choice we have: choose love, or choose fear. We must continually remind them of this choice. Again, using the sample of Jesus, when he was asked if we should forgive someone even as many as 7 times, he replied, I say 70 times 7, and more still.


Again, this is not the spiritually naive notion of entering a lion’s den thinking that God will protect you or that armed with peace you will be safe. It’s been said that it’s better to be a warrior in a garden, then a gardener in a war. Even people like me who prefer the peaceful path, may one day be called upon to show ourselves as people of peace by doing that which we consider unpeaceful.


We can look at those who would do us or others harm with compassion, while still living our lives as an example to others. Where possible we can engage those we disagree with by asking them who or what has hurt them so badly that they must hurt another to try to heal it. And lastly, we can face them with courage, and stand up to those that would harm others, those who talk of ethnic cleansing, to fight for truth, and justice, and say, “Never again.”






Tommy Heiden is a family photographer based out of Maple Ridge who, when he’s not caring for his amazing wife and two beautiful children, is occasionally found taking pictures of other peoples’ wives and children, and even more often, speaking and blogging about how to add more love to your life.

The Biggest Liar in the World


Let’s say there’s two people that you know: one is completely ignorant, and the other one’s the biggest liar in the world. Given that you would have to deal with them both every day, how would you go about functioning in the real world?


The good news is that you do it quite well, you’re doing it every single day of your life. Let’s dive deep into spirituality again and then bring it back into the real world once more to see what I mean.


Every great spiritual teacher will tell you that you are a three part being: body, mind, and spirit (or soul). They tend to leave out a few important things, however.


First off, you’re not a body with a soul, you’re a soul with a body. Your soul is the container for the body, and not the other way around. Likewise your soul is the one running the show. Your body is realistically nothing more than a tool, like a hammer, to experience dualistic reality. Like dualistic reality itself, the idea that the body is you is really an illusion (a pretty fantastic illusion, but an illusion nonetheless), but that’s another story entirely.


Here’s the thing: The soul’s purpose is to know itself by using the dualistic reality to understand who it is, by understanding who it’s not (as I’ve repeated many times on this blog, “In the absence of that which is not, that which is, is not” — a wonderful phrase I’ve borrowed from the great spiritual classic Conversations with God).


The downside is the soul exists outside of spacetime, and has this unfortunate side effect of knowing everything — including who it is — by its very nature, so in order for it to experience itself through physical, dualistic reality, it has to somehow FORGET who it is. Of course, the soul can’t actually forget anything, so a solution had to be created.


That solution came in the form of the mind. The mind (halfway between body and spirit) is designed by its very nature to be ignorant. It’s designed by its very nature to forget who it is, and to not be able to know the difference between truth and falsehood to not know who it is, so that it can experience through the body this wonderful thing we call life. (Of course, the downside to this is that we all know people who are convinced that they’re right and that they know better when in fact, they don’t. And of course, some would say that about me, but that’s another story…)


Along with the mind was created the ego. The ego was born out of the illusion of separateness. It’s the part of you that says, “I’m here, and everything else is ‘over there.'” It’s also the part of you that controls superiority and inferiority. In other words, it’s the part of you that says, “That tiger over there is bigger and stronger than me, so I better run so that I don’t become its lunch, or get a sharp stick to try to even the odds.”


So you can see that the ego is actually quite useful. It’s the part that keeps the physical body of yours alive. It’s also the part of you that makes you THINK that you’re your physical body (more specifically, it makes you THINK that IT {ie: the ego} is YOU, and the body is part of that “youness.”)


But it is by its very nature, a liar. In fact, it’s the biggest liar in the world. It is the very essence of the phrase, “Liar, liar, pants on fire,” because it’s job is to lie to you on a daily basis. It’s job is to say, “I’m the real you. Don’t listen to anybody else, listen to me. You’re superior to that person, and you’re inferior to that person. Feel good about this, feel bad about that.”


And of course, the mind being by its very nature, goes along with it, leading to a wonderful exercise in futility, a vicious cycle of lies and ignorance which leads to wars, catastrophes, and suffering.


Any time you make a decision that’s based around separation or superiority, that’s a decision made out of the ego. The ego isn’t you. It never was. It was created as a byproduct, and the dual illusions of separation and superiority are what is leading to the downfall of human civilization.


If we realized that no separation exists, and thus superiority cannot exist (if all things are one thing, how can a thing be superior to itself?), suffering would end tomorrow.


It is when someone feels superior that they commit the most inferior acts. It is when one country feels superiority to another, that they feel that they can plunder their national resources, kill and imprison their citizens, and brutalize their women. It is when one person feels superior to another, that they believe that that other person can be owned as property and be whipped and beaten without mercy. It is when one religion feels itself superior to another that they can kill the infidels, apostates, and the blasphemers in God’s name.


Much human suffering has been caused at the hands of superiority.


I say again: all things are one thing, and that one thing cannot be superior to itself.


It’s no wonder then, that when we look to the masters, they have all without exception, transcended the ego, and they are all quite literally, out of their mind.


The first thing they will tell you is that you are not your body.

The next thing they will tell you is that you are not your mind.

The third thing they will tell you is that you are not your ego.


That which you are is eternal, unlimited, and free. It is beyond time, beyond dimension, it is light, it is love, it is freedom, it is bliss. And it is one with all. There is no separation. In recognizing this, all ascended masters radiate peace and love, gentleness and kindness, because that is their true nature as it is yours.


The mind is by its very nature incapable of telling truth from falsehood. The ego works that to its advantage. It loves to feel superior, it loves to be right.


But in seeking truth, we must then transcend or dissolve the ego, and as I mentioned, “get out of our mind.” The ego, of course, will not like this. It’s very survival is at stake, and it will not go gently into that good night.


So how then do we a) transcend the ego, and b) learn to tell truth from falsehood?


First, we must recognize who we are and hold that thought in our heads. How do we know who we are? Look to the masters, the saints, the avatars. Look to Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha, and Lord Jesus Christ. All of them spoke with compassion and humility. Krishna’s message was that we are all divine. Buddha’s message was that we are all Buddha. And Jesus’s message was not that he was holier than you, but that you are as holy as was he (And yes, I know Christians will disagree with me on this point, but my point stands). Or you could look to modern saints like Ramana Maharshi or Nisargadatta Maharaj for your inspiration.


Secondly, whenever we make a decision that is based out of superiority or separation, we should remind ourself that that is the ego, and that nothing is superior to anything else. Different, yes. Superior, no. The sun is not superior to the sky. The ocean not superior to the land. The bird not superior to the dog. And we must remind ourselves of the suffering that’s been caused from our belief in separation and superiority.


Lastly, whenever I get caught up in the maya/illusion, and I react poorly, I silently remind myself, “I am you. You are me. We are one.” Choose to see yourself and the other as profoundly innocent. I used the word ignorant before, but innocence is actually much better. In the same way that a child is innocent when he pulls a cat’s tail not realizing it hurts the cat, people do the things they do because they’re innocent. If they knew who they really were, they would act differently. They don’t, so they can’t.


Therefore, bless those who you conflict with. End every conversation with the word, “Namaste.” It means simply that the spirit in me, recognizes the spirit in you. When you begin to see yourself as who you really are, help remind people of who they are. Not by beating them over the head with it, but through your own being, and your own actions. Use gentle words, and move softly through the world. Gently remind them of their true selves, and know it is part of the plan for everyone, EVERYONE, to eventually remember who they are, and return to the source.


If they want to get caught up in the maya, the illusion, bless them, and yet be an example for them, as Jesus did. As Buddha did. As Krishna did. Each of these masters carved a way, a path for people to follow. They said, I have shown you the way and the truth and the life. Follow me, and you shall be free. But they never forced anyone to walk the path they walked. They simply showed the world what was possible, and offered to walk with them to their destination.


Jesus said it best: If someone asks you to go with them a mile, go with him twain.


Above all, bless your ego. It has served its purpose. It is not your enemy. It does not have to be beaten. But set it aside, as a child sets aside old toys. Not because it is bad, but because it is no longer needed.





Tommy Heiden is a family photographer based out of Maple Ridge who, when he’s not caring for his amazing wife and two beautiful children, is occasionally found taking pictures of other peoples’ wives and children, and even more often, speaking and blogging about how to add more love to your life.

Albert Einstein and the Science of Spirituality

I’ve always been a bit of a science nerd. I have a fondness for knowing how things work, and when I was a kid, when something was broken, my brothers would give it to me and I’d take it apart or examine it, and see if I could figure out exactly how it worked and how to fix it. I loved looking for gears and levers and catches and other mechanical bits and pieces to bring me to a better understanding of the objects around me.


As I grew older, I turned to science as my religion. Science held all the answers I needed, and lead to a greater understanding of the universe. When I’d first heard about Einstein’s famous equation, I was immediately impressed with its simplicity:




This tiny little equation blew open the doors to the universe. It’s what makes the nuclear bomb possible.


But there’s a more immediate, practical use in our daily lives, one that I doubt many people have picked up on.


What this little equation states is that energy and matter are related. It states — in full — that Energy equals Matter times the Speed of Light squared.


This means a couple of important things when it comes to spirituality:


First, it means that energy and matter are one and the same. If you break matter apart, you get energy. If you break energy apart, you get more energy, albeit typically in a different form. So, in truth, matter is nothing more than a fancy illusion. In reality, all there is is energy. And all the energy that is, always has been and always will be. That is to say, energy is eternal. The Law of the Conservation of Energy tells us that energy can not be created or destroyed, you can simply change its form.


Thus, we know through Einstein’s formula that we are simply cleverly disguised energy beings, eternal, and beyond time and space (so, y’know, we’ve got that going for us).


Secondly, and this is a big one: the formula tells us that matter contains an enormous amount of energy. Each tiny piece of matter contains a mind-numbing amount of energy, so staggering as to be practically useless to the ordinary mind. The Speed of Light is some 299,792,458 metres per second. So if Energy = Matter x (299,792,458 x 299,792,458), you can immediately see how much energy is contained within the smallest speck of matter. (Can you now see how much power you have at your fingertips?)


What this tells us spiritually, is that NOTHING MATTERS WITHOUT THE ENERGY YOU PUT INTO IT.


In other words, if you give something your energy, it will eventually matter. Give it enough energy, and you can manifest it into actual matter. Focus your intent on one thing with single minded determination, and it is likely to manifest (we still have to deal with quantum potentiality, so we can’t say for sure if something WILL manifest, but we can speak of likelihoods or probabilities).


If you spend your life focusing on the negative, you attract the negative. If you spend your life focusing on the positive, you attract the positive. It is also a fundamental law of the universe that like energy attracts like energy.


If you focus on, say, your spouse or significant other cheating on you, you draw that into your reality. If you focus on abundance, you draw that into your reality.


What matters is where you put your energy. Get it?


If you want more love in your life, don’t focus on your lack of it. If you want more money, don’t focus on your lack of it. If you want more success, don’t focus on your lack of it.


Keep in mind the formula. An enormous amount of energy has to go into something to create matter, so don’t expect things in your life to change overnight. These things take time. So have faith, young traveller…


As Paulo Coelho wrote in The Alchemist, “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”


And as Conversations with God reminds us, make every act a loving act. When you put love into everything you do, not only do you attract more love into your life, but it makes the hard times easier.


Do everything with a loving heart, a loving mind, and a loving spirit. Put your energy into that which matters. Do so long enough and the universe will conspire in your favour.


Are you starting to see why E=MC2 is perhaps one of the most important spiritual laws of all time? It was right there all along. (And you thought Einstein only taught physics. You didn’t think Einstein could be one of the greatest spiritual teachers of our time, did you?)


And when things start to move in your direction, and life starts to turn your way, remind yourself, “E=MC2“. When you notice that the energy you’re putting into something is creating that which matters to you, remind yourself, “E=MC2“.




Now who says science and spirituality can’t coexist?






Tommy Heiden is a family photographer based out of Maple Ridge who, when he’s not caring for his amazing wife and two beautiful children, is occasionally found taking pictures of other peoples’ wives and children, and even more often, speaking and blogging about how to add more love to your life.

The Myth of Original Sin



I talked a little in my last post about the myth of a condemning God, and of course, now I’m gonna talk a little about “Original Sin,” and how it plays into our culture and ideas of spirituality.


In the mythical story of Adam and Eve, Eve — of  course — ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This — of course — angered God and He cast them out of the Garden of Eden, condemning all of their descendants to “Original Sin.”


This unfortunate story, which not only reinforces the myth of the condemning God, which I’ve addressed in my last post, but also lead to a number of false beliefs which has lead to a great deal of strife, turmoil, and discord in our society and our quest for spirituality.


First and most importantly, it created the myth that we could ever be separated from God. The religious version of a condemning God who cast humanity out of the Garden of Eden has created a swiss cheese God — a God which is everything, EXCEPT humans, which are separate from God, and this earthly realm, which is also separate from God. Remember, these are the same religions who say that God is everything, including but not limited to the air, the trees, the plants, the flowers, the water… and yet somehow not the realm in which we reside. That realm, we’re told, is separate, and we need to somehow earn our way back into God’s good graces so we can return to Him in Heaven. So, apparently everything we see is God expressed, but just not everything we see. Hmm…


And of course, WE’RE separate from God, so God is everything, except for these little pockets or holes where each human being is. I can tell you with all certainty that God is not swiss cheese. God is everything, the good and the bad, the saint and the sinner, the profane and the profound. There’s no possible way to cast us out anywhere outside of Him, because there IS nothing outside of Him (a point which I addressed in my previous post).


Secondly, it has separated men from women and made women the cause of man’s downfall for millennia, allowing men to feel superior to women, that women were somehow inferior or substandard. Man was created first, woman was just created of man’s rib, as an afterthought. I can also assure you that nothing is superior to anything else in God’s eyes. Is a flower superior to a tree? Is a forest superior to a mountain? Is the ocean superior to the sky? All things are Godly because all things ARE God. Nothing and no one is superior to another in the eyes of God.


Third, in the creation of separation, it has taught us that not only can we anger God and that we must fear his wrath if we do something wrong (a point, once again, addressed in my previous post), but we must somehow earn our way back into his favour. This has created any number of rules and doctrines and dogma that must be met in order to please God, notably accepting His only begotten son as our personal saviour. That, we’re told, is the only way to salvation. We were born in sin, we will die in sin, and there’s nothing we can do about it short of the whole “accepting Jesus” thing.


Here’s the problem. Jesus was a great teacher, it’s true. He performed many miracles, that too is true. But that somehow we have a mark on our souls that can only be erased by the exalted one is simply false.


So let’s talk about sin for a minute.


“Sin” is a wonderful religious term that means a transgression against divine law — in other words, a mistake, an error. So let’s go a little further…


Divine law is supposed to be anything that makes God mad. But what makes God mad? Eating pork? Eating meat on Fridays? Wearing clothes of differing composition? Not keeping your head covered? Working on the sabbath?


Let’s look at God again. God created the relative universe so that He could know himself experientially, as I mention often. (“In the absence of that which is not, that which is, is not.”) He cannot know Himself in the absence of that which is not Him. Of course, everything is Him, so He must create the illusion of something that is not Him. The relative universe is steeped in this illusion, in fact it is born of it. That is its purpose.


And then to experience that illusion, we create physical bodies to lumber through this fantastic world we live on, forgetting our true Selves so that we can enjoy the majesty that is relativity. If we knew who we really are, the game would be up, the jig would be over, the end would be nigh. Ignorance is kind of the point to this world. Our evolution, as Buddha said, is to move out of ignorance and into insight. It is ultimately true that — again, as Buddha said — that the only sin is ignorance.


So any mistake (or “sin”) we make is made out of ignorance of who we really are, our true “Self.” And why would God be angry at us for making decisions out of ignorance that He put into the system? He would only be condemning Himself and His plan! (once again, a point I made previously).


Our goal on this planet, in this reality, is spiritual advancement; to know ourselves as our true Selves by experiencing the relative world. That is to say on a smaller scale, we do what God does, to know ourselves as who we are by knowing who we are not (in fact, we are God doing just that. We are God, expressing itself as God, through us).


That Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is to make a choice, the first choice. You could say that, for all intents and purposes, she created the relative universe by making the first choice to choose one thing over the other. So if you want to believe that man is superior to woman because Eve ate the fruit, maybe you should consider exalting her instead?


And to think that we are born with some kind of mark on our souls that can only be removed at the blessing of “the perfect one,” is mischievous at best. Who has looked into the eyes of a newborn child and thought, “This child is born in sin, it is impure, it is an affront to God.” When I first met my son, I looked into his eyes and thought, “He’s so tiny. So tiny, and so perfect.” Not once did I ever look in his eyes and see sin. Never in his life or the life of my daughter have I ever seen sin in them. I see love, and joy, and purity, and what could be more Godly than that?


Moreover, why would God curse babies? What kind of God would demand that innocent little babies must rush to be baptized over the sins of some long forgotten ancestor? We even know in the laws of man that children cannot be held accountable for the sins of the father. Why would God be so terrible, so unforgiving for all eternity? We’re told that God is just, but what justice is in that? How could one act based create an infinite effect? Obviously, a finite cause cannot have an infinite effect.



So why these last two blog posts about condemning Gods and “original sin”? As I mentioned, religion greatly shapes our culture and our societies, and nothing is so pervasively damaging than the two myths I wrote about. By viewing ourselves as separate from God, we can then see ourselves as separate from one another. By viewing God as wrathful, vengeful, jealous, angry, petty, spiteful, and insecure, it allows us to be wrathful, vengeful, jealous, angry, petty, spiteful, and insecure with others. If God can do it, why can’t we?


But, if you understand that we are never separate from God, and that we are not separate from each other, and that God is simply and completely love, then that radically changes our view of the world. Hate is an illusion. Fear is an illusion. Separation is an illusion. Love is all there is.


What’s needed in our societies is for religion to evolve. Religion has to acknowledge that while they have many things right, they have failed to do what they say they want to do, which is to bring people closer to God. It seeks Heaven, but ascribes Hellish characteristics to God. Is it any wonder then that more wars have been fought in the name of religion than anything else? Who’s fighting whom in India and Pakistan? Who’s fighting whom in the Middle East?


Religion HAS evolved in the past. The Old Testament says that if a man’s son is a drunkard, he should be taken out to the edge of town and stoned to death. If a woman is found not to be a virgin on her wedding night, she should be stoned to death. If a man works on the sabbath, he should be stoned to death (a lot of stoning going on back in the biblical times). We ignore these “commandments” because they don’t make sense in the modern world, or to any civilized society. We can see them as completely counter-productive to the society we want to build.


Yet, these things are “in the Gospels,” which is the word of God. Which means that if we can ignore these things, even though they’re the “word of God,” that must mean that the Bible contains inaccuracies that can be ignored as we progress as a species, right?


The idea of a condemning God comes from the dawn of civilization when things (storms, earthquakes, etc) would happen, and they were ascribed to some all powerful deity that must be appeased or he would be angry and rain death and destruction down on the earth.


But now we have wonderfully holy people who have communed directly with God, and we can simply talk to them and ask them what their experience of God is. Without exception, they will say that God IS love, and that we are all one. They will all say this because once truth is realized, there is no ego to distort it.


We must, therefore, realize that the fear-based God and the illusion of separation from Him (and by extension, each other) is not working. We must redefine God using the experiential knowledge of our divine living saints. Imagine a world where there was no right way or wrong way to worship, that no one religion is superior to another, that no one person is superior to another. Imagine a world where fighting over who has the right God, or the right denomination is fallacious. Imagine a world where people of all faiths (or no faith) are all equally welcome in the eyes of God. Imagine a world without sin, without judgement, without condemnation.


Imagine a world where all there is, is love.


In truth, that is all there is, and all that ever will be.


Spirituality is about knowing your Self. Your Self is divinity expressed. It is not sinful. It is love. Your true Self is eternal, unlimited, and free. Love is eternal, unlimited, and free. Life is eternal, unlimited, and free. God is unlimited, eternal, and free.


Are you getting the message? You are not separate from God. You cannot be. You are God expressed. You are life expressed. You are love expressed. Find your divinity and you’ll find your Self. So know thy Self. And you will know God.




Tommy Heiden is a family photographer based out of Maple Ridge who, when he’s not caring for his amazing wife and two beautiful children, is occasionally found taking pictures of other peoples’ wives and children, and even more often, speaking and blogging about how to add more love to your life.

Failing the Cupcake Test: The Myth of a Condemning God


Imagine a room, smallish, and scantly furnished with a chair at either end of a table that’s situated in the centre of the room. You walk in and see me in the chair facing the door, and I motion to you to sit in the other chair. You notice on the table are two cupcakes. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s back up a bit…


On a previous blog post, one of my friends replied that they loved my religion/philosophy. It was nice to hear that some people (or at least one, um… people) find comfort in my words, but of course the last thing anyone should do is encourage me. It might inspire me to continue, and that may or may not be a good idea, depending on who you ask.


To be clear, I have no religion. My only allegiance is to the truth. I care not for dogma, or sectarianism. I don’t care about churches or religions, I simply seek to learn and speak truth, and I don’t believe that any religion has a monopoly on truth. This truth occasionally butts up against things, like preconceived notions, or organized religion. And yet, I will still speak the truth as best I know it, and correct untruths as best I can based on my own experience, and the truths that I’ve uncovered. And I do this knowing full well that I have religious people in my family and amongst my friends who will no doubt disagree with what I say. They’re free to do so and I will happily debate the topic with them at any point they choose.


I will say, however, that truth is truth, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes you. With that all being said, let’s talk a little about fear-based religions, because hey, why not? Besides, I get to talk about cupcakes, and who doesn’t like cupcakes?


Over the last year, I’ve had a number of, oh, let’s call them “moments of clarity” that have led me on a profoundly personal spiritual journey. As if I haven’t spoken enough about that recently, I’ll probably speak of the transformation in a future blog post, but now’s not the time for that. Suffice it to say, that this former atheist is now firmly convinced that God exists, God is everything, and God is love. On this, I’m sure most religionists will agree.


However, religionists tend to have some crazy contradictions. “God is all loving,” they say, unless you deny Him, then you’ll burn in everlasting torment forever and ever. “God loves all his children,” they say, but you must come to him in the right way, through the right church, and the right religion (some even add the “right” sexual orientation), otherwise He will be angry, and then you should fear His wrath. And woe be unto you if you should worship the “wrong” God, then He will cast you out or leave you behind. Above all else, you should fear His wrath and His judgement.


This idea of a wrathful, jealous, vengeful God simply doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. Here’s why:


If God is love, why allow everlasting torment and suffering of unspeakable agony? Well, because God gave us free will and wants us to come to Him of our own choosing, they say. But if the choice is suffering of unspeakable agony forever and ever, what kind of free choice is that? Which brings me back to the cupcakes I mentioned earlier.


When you sit down at the table, you see two cupcakes. I tell you, you’re free to choose whichever cupcake you want to eat, but the one to my left is the best cupcake you’ve ever tasted. The one on my right, however, if you eat it, will leave you writhing in agony and unspeakable pain even until the end of time. Now, which one do you pick? What kind of a false choice is that? And what kind of God would offer such a choice? Is it any wonder that many people choose neither cupcake? Is it any wonder that people like myself have said, “The hell with you and your games! If this is the choice you give me, then I choose neither. I’d rather starve than play your tricks.”


So you see? It is religion itself that has created atheists. It is the myth of a condemning, vengeful, wrathful, judgemental, petty, spiteful, vindictive God that has caused people to turn their backs on religion. If I had simply placed two cupcakes on the table and said, “Here are two cupcakes. Both are divine. Both are the most wonderful, amazing cupcakes you have ever tasted. After eating one, you will be happier, more fulfilled, and more joyous than you ever thought possible. Now which do you choose, the chocolate, or the vanilla? You can, of course, choose neither, and you will still feel happier, more fulfilled, and more joyous than you ever thought possible.”


In those two scenarios, which one seems the more Godly? And which the more Devilish? We have ascribed devilish characteristics to God, and have thus, caused people to turn away from God. Thus, the view of a judgemental God is simply wrong and needs to be corrected, for the simple reason that it doesn’t do what religion is attempting to do: bring people closer to God.


So, with my blasphemous statement out of the way, let’s begin:


God is everything. I’m sure all religionists will agree to that, so let’s start there. If God is everything, then God NEEDS nothing. Let’s say you had all the money in the entire universe. How much money would you need? None, right? Excellent. Let’s continue.


If God NEEDS nothing, then there is nothing you need to do to please him, and thus there is no requirement you must meet. If there is no requirement that must be met (ie: your devotion to his “one true son,” for example), you cannot be judged as to whether or not you met that requirement. If you cannot be judged, you cannot fail. If you cannot fail, then you cannot be condemned for that failure.


God is everything. We are part of that everything. We are all a part of God. We can never be separated from God. Our fear-based religions have convinced many of us (conveniently for their sake) that you are separate from God, and that they know the one true path back to God, and it is their way, under their rules, by their dogma.


If you fail to come to God “on His terms,” via the right church in the right religion, or via the right saviour or prophet, who would He condemn? Himself? And where would he cast you out to, if He is everything? There is nowhere for you to go, nothing that exists outside of God. There is no Hell for you to burn in everlasting condemnation for failing to meet some requirement. Nor can you hurt God’s feelings, or injure Him in any way. The universe is a place where supernovae occur regularly, and supermassive black holes reside at the centre of each galaxy, sucking in and crushing everything within range, and you think that simply denying God will hurt His feelings?


In the beginning, God wished to know Himself experientially. But in the absence of that which is not, that which is, is not. So in order for Him to know Himself as what He was, He had to create that which He was not. So in order to know Himself as everything, He had to first know Himself as that which is NOT everything. This He cannot do, since God cannot “unGod” himself, but He CAN fake it a little. So He split himself into tiny pieces we call “souls.” But the soul knows who it is, and like God, cannot NOT know who it is, but it CAN cause itself to forget, and thus created the mind, which is forgetful and ignorant of its true nature.


This forgetfulness is our greatest gift. It allows us to know who we are but first NOT knowing who we are (in the absence of that which is not, that which is, is not, remember?). The very act of life, our very purpose, is simply to remember. That is, to re-member, to once again rejoin the body of God.


And thus, God knows the Divine Plan. God knows who you really are, even if you don’t. He knows that any mistake you make is born out of ignorance to who you really are. So why then would He condemn you for a mistake based out of ignorance that He himself designed into the system? Would He not just then be condemning Himself? Or His Plan? Would He not simply love the process? Would He simply not just watch us quietly, giving us guidance, and sending us teacher after teacher, and letting us find our way slowly back to Him, via whatever path we choose?


This is the path of evolution, of insight, of knowledge. It is a slow process of knowing who we are by understanding who we are not. This is God’s Plan. Therefore judge not, and neither condemn anyone or their path to God. The Bhagavad Gita states it nicely: “All paths, Arjuna, lead to me.” Not SOME paths, not the paths of a certain religion, not the followers of a certain prophet or savior, but ALL paths.


You might be saying, “But Tommy, aren’t you judging religionists? Or condemning their religion?”


No, I’m merely stating that what they’re saying isn’t bringing them closer to their goal. If someone is staring east waiting for a sunset, it’s not wrong to tell them to turn around. It’s not condemning them to say, “You’re looking in the wrong direction.” It’s simply pointing out a simple mistake.


So believe in your religion, I won’t ever tell you to stop doing that. Or change your religion. Or believe in no religion at all. It makes no difference to me. I hold no ego investment in the matter. Make your own choices, seek your own truth. If who you are and who you choose to be is that of a man or woman of a particular faith, then be that man or woman.


But remember this: like attracts like. Love attracts love. Fear attracts fear. “Love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy might. This is the first Commandment.”


Love, and do not fear.


“All paths, Arjuna, lead to me.”


This is a great truth.


“Judge not, and neither condemn.”


This too, is a great truth. For if God won’t judge you, why would you judge another? Why not simply support people on their own path? It was precisely BECAUSE I was an atheist for 40 plus years that I came to the truths that I now speak of. It was BECAUSE I was an atheist that I know speak of God.


Know this:


You are a part of God. You can never be separated. You will never be judged or condemned by Him. You cannot be. You will not be. Not now. Not ever.


Seek to find the divinity within you, and you will see this to be true. It is as all the prophets said, Love is the answer. Know this, and you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.



Sat nam.




Tommy Heiden is a family photographer based out of Maple Ridge who, when he’s not caring for his amazing wife and two beautiful children, is occasionally found taking pictures of other peoples’ wives and children, and even more often, speaking and blogging about how to add more love to your life.

Uncovering the Real You




It may not come as a surprise to you, but the biggest aspect of self-realization is…. (Duh duh DUUUHHH!!!) realization of the Self. See? Told you it wasn’t surprising.


I actually started down the path of self-realization kind of by accident. I was trying to do other things, I was meditating, I was reading spiritual books, and I had a moment of clarity where I realized exactly who I was. It was very confusing because I didn’t know what to make of it, and I had several profound insights which I’ve written about previously, but I thought I’d write about the process in case anyone else is wanting to reach a deeper level of understanding.


There are four “soul questions,” which the Chopra Center recommends asking before you meditate. These are:


1. Who am I?

2. What do I want?

3. What is my purpose?

4. What am I grateful for?


The first question is the one that we’re going to look at. When you turn your focus inward (as in all spiritual practices, the answer lies within), and ask yourself the question, “Who am I?” you’ll probably feel a couple of answers come up.


You might get a specific, direct answer like your name. Like you may hear, “I’m Tommy (or whatever your name is).”


You also might get indirect answers like, “I am me.” or partial answers like, “I am my personality.”


Whatever answer you receive, consider “havingness” versus “beingness”.


For example, “I have a name.” but I am not my name. If I change my name will I be any less me? “I have a personality,” but I am not my personality. If my personality changes, will I be any less me?


You cannot BE that which you HAVE. I have a car, I am not my car. I HAVE a computer, I am not my computer. I HAVE an arm (two, actually), I am not my arm. I HAVE a mind, I am not my mind… or am I?


But my mind is how I think? Am I not then, my mind? Am I not that which makes thinking possible? But what if you… change your mind? What then? Would you be any less you?


If you lost everything, your car, your spouse, your house, your kids, your job, everything, would you still be you? Even if you lost — dare I say it — your mind, would you still be you? These things might be things you have a preference for, or things that you enjoy, or things that you think you need, or roles you play, but they are not you. They are not the REAL you.


You are not your mind. You are not your body. You cannot be that which you have, nor can you be that which changes. However, if you meditate on this deeply, if you allow your true Self to speak to you, you will come to the same conclusion that all spiritual seekers find:


That that which you are is far greater, far grander, and far more magnificent than you’ve ever thought possible.  That which you are, is that which is unchanging. The REAL you, is immortal, unchanging, and ever-present.


That which you REALLY are is simply that which IS, that which always has been, and always will be.


It is from this “IS-ness” that spiritual masters speak. Lahiri Mahashi states in Autobiography of a Yogi, when asked why his body wouldn’t appear in photographs unless he willed it, said “I am spirit. Can your photographic equipment capture the omnipresent invisible?”


It is from this IS-ness that I speak. I am no spiritual master, but in my own searching, in deep meditation, I know that I am spirit. I am love. I am eternal. I am consciousness. I am God.


This last statement is bound to rile up a few people, and it’s a deeper topic for another time, but let me just say this: God is everything, yes? And are we not part of the everything? And thus, are we not all God?


Good. Now let’s move on, because I want to close this up…


Here’s the thing: spiritual teachers are a dime a dozen. Like gurus, you can find some good ones, and some bad ones. The really good ones will never tell you to buy their book because all the answers you seek lie within it. In truth, all the answers you seek lie within (ironically, all great spiritual texts tell you that outright. We just don’t listen.), so if you have answers, trust that your spirit, the universe, or God is speaking to you now, revealing all the answers. It is within the stillness of your mind that you will hear, feel, and see that which you seek.


Every spiritual seeker, who humbly and sincerely asks to know will be shown the way. Without exception. It is part of the Divine Plan that you know who you really are, to know your true nature. In truth, everything that God is, you are. You are kindness, you are love, you are compassion, you are joy, you are bliss, and you are immortal.


You have simply forgotten.


I am here to remind you. That is, to re-mind you. To help you remember your divinity. To help you remember your spirit. And when your spirit is remembered, there will be such joy within you that you won’t be able to contain it. These truths will become obvious and self-evident. And you will look into the eyes of others with kindness, love, compassion, joy, and bliss, and see that they are immortal too.


And there will be peace on earth, on earth as it is in heaven…






Tommy Heiden is a family photographer based out of Maple Ridge who, when he’s not caring for his amazing wife and two beautiful children, is occasionally found taking pictures of other peoples’ wives and children, and even more often, speaking and blogging about how to add more love to your life.