The Tony Samara Interview - Questions and Answers|
Did you ever have a very deep spiritual experience like enlightenment?
This is an interesting question, as for me the fact that I am teaching a spiritual tradition must mean that I have knowledge that I comprehend enough to pass on to the people who seek me out, meet me by chance, work with me or just happen to come by this way of working. Firstly I do not feel comfortable with the word enlightenment, as this is usually understood by western people and society in general as someone having reached something, which means that on some level there is a dualism, a separation, between the enlightened and the non-enlightened. I believe that we all are born with an innate sense of freedom that is always with us. In a sense we are all enlightened, we simply have forgotten this part of ourselves as other aspects of our being become much more in the forefront of our consciousness. Having said that, in all spiritual traditions, including the one that I work with, there is a transcendence of the mundane or ego which imparts a sense of freedom that is not normally an everyday experience of the general population in the world today. And this experience I call by no name because as soon as you put a label on it, it creates ideas in the mind (if those ideas are already there for some reason), which then take us away from this actual experience. To value each experience is the primary goal of this spiritual discipline as then we begin to value ourselves in the most profound way - as one with life.
I think we all have very deep spiritual experiences but it makes no sense to have those experiences if they don"t have a reference point. This reference point is a sense of consciousness that comes with practice. This consciousness is ever expanding, and at some point expands to a level where there is an awareness beyond the circular nature of the mundane experiences that most people go through today. This reference point is not, in my opinion, dramatised in one moment but rather a continued growth and at a certain point that growth goes beyond the limitations that we have in a personal sense and takes us to the ultimate freedom that some people describe as enlightenment. At this stage that mundane reference point becomes obsolete as the expanded awareness takes us much further beyond those mundane limitations that form such a dualism.
So to answer your question am I enlightened?
Really the only way to know this in its truth is to be enlightened yourself and then you will see whether that sense of enlightenment corresponds to the person that you ask the question of. If you do not have such a reference point then ultimately the relationship would have to be of trust. Not in my words saying that I am enlightened but rather in the work that allows you to experience this sense of enlightenment.Many people that have worked with me say that I am very confusing as there is no formal dogma or simple guideline that helps one see the complexity and at the same time the simplicity of becoming "enlightened". This confusion is simply the minds of these people seeking an understanding of enlightenment and somehow it is confusing for them as they are unable to put a label onto the work that I do. Ultimately the goal is for all of us to be enlightened as we are all the same, we are all one.
Do you understand yourself as a spiritual master/teacher?
Yes, I do. And hence the very rigorous work that happens around this spiritual discipline. It is not simply a healing technique or a method of self-improvement or even a spiritual modality such as Reiki or Tai Chi. I work with people as a guide. Some people call me a spiritual master. In the tradition that I work in I don"t use such terminology but it would correspond to the meaning behind such a title. Again I would like to emphasise that my goal is the direct experience of each person rather than the passing down of knowledge in the form of dogma. This often entails challenging the mind as it tries to set and mould ideas of experiences into its own reality to avoid the intimate relationship with this moment and hence life itself. This as not quite the normal mode of being does create a sense of uneasiness, which the mind then likes to interpret as "something" in its bid to justify its own obsolete existence in that moment. As I am not addressing that part of the person (the ego) but rather the person themselves, then some people"s idea of teacher/master quickly breaks down into doubt and confusion about who or what I actually am. For me it is actions that speak rather than labels.
Is there something like a line or tradition in your case?
Yes. Some people say that I work in shamanism but this is not true. Other people say that I work as a Buddhist. Again this is not true. Even though I have worked in my younger years with a Zen master and later on with shamans in the Amazon and the Andes my moment of freedom at the age of around 27 was not comparable to either of these traditions even though some of the terminology may be familiar in both traditions. My awakening was mostly influenced by a spiritual teacher who lived in India earlier this century but was not alive in the physical realm at the time when I was 27 years old. In this tradition, which goes back to the origin of mankind the essence is the sense of oneness that creates this world. As I understood that every culture then colours this deep knowledge with its own cultural, social and personal perceptions I felt to completely move away from the Hindu and Buddhist aspects of it and emphasise the unique experience of the individual free from cultural, social and other such limitations so that what I am doing is open to all and everyone beyond religious, social and other affiliations. There are many people who follow other traditions and have spiritual masters that they consider their path that also work deeply with this spiritual tradition and I see no reason for there to be a conflict of interest in this. The word spiritual teacher often means that somehow you are bound by certain rules of that teacher but as I have no dogmas and I leave it totally up to the consciousness of the individual to decide for themselves then some people say I cannot be a spiritual master as I don"t give specific rituals or enough clear guidance to make it easy to follow this discipline. One of the only things I expect of those working with me is a deep persistence in the evolution of their consciousness.
Are there any links between you and Buddhism?
Yes. I firstly became aware of spirituality very much through the Buddhist tradition. As my parents were not interested in such matters when I was 15 I went out and discovered both Tibetan Buddhism in the beginning and in the end Zen Buddhism as wonderful methods to help me to go further than was possible in my normal environment. Therefore I spent many years in a Zen Buddhist monastery with a Japanese Zen master. This clearly influenced how I see the world (especially in the early part of my life) and hence in the work that I do, quiet meditation is an integral part. I have deep respect for Buddhism as often within Buddhist and Jain traditions peace and conflict resolution is much more important in the everyday sense than in other religions. This is another aspect of my spiritual teachings, that the evolution of consciousness happens when this peace is recognised in everyday experiences, as war and other conflicts take us away from the realisation that we are all one.
How many people worldwide do follow you in some kind of way?
This is impossible to put a figure to and I do not find the importance in numbers as dedication and commitment are much more important to me than a simple affiliation to this tradition. Having said this I know that on our email mailing list we have approximately 16,000 addresses but as I do not take care of this practical aspect I do not know how many are seriously dedicated and how many are simply affiliated.
How important is it for you to make money?
Personally I do not consider money to be important, as my needs are quite simple. What most people wish to use money for I find uninteresting. So I am not so interested in making money as is normal in society but having said this I do not agree with some philosophies that say the way to deeper spiritual experiences is through poverty, asceticism or a denial of our simple material needs. I feel it quite ok to be a millionaire, middle class, or working class person to follow this spiritual discipline. I do emphasise to the people working with me that the concept of money is an idea and that some people are quite caught up in this idea either through chasing it or fearing it and that such concepts are limitations that need to be looked at.
How is your spiritual organisation organised?
This is a mystery to some people, even to the most dedicated organisers within the organisation. How things fall into place they say is a mystery as we have very few workers in this sense and much too many things to do but somehow in the end, so far, everything has fallen into place. I am very hesitant with organisations and so often within my own organisation I will change things around so that it makes no sense in the practical sense and this allows people to not be attached to ideas of organisation. My whole work, even in an office and other parts of the organisation, is to use our experience as an inner teacher rather than try to achieve something organised. This seemingly chaotic approach is quite frustrating for some people.
What are your spiritual and profound aims?
My deepest goal is that we all remember who we are. But in a personal sense I don"t feel caught up in the need to do this, as I believe that the future goal is an idea of people wanting something to change rather than themselves hence my distaste for politics and very zealous people on their missions. I feel it more important to open our minds and hearts to everyone so that we can understand the depth of a person, the uniqueness of a person and with that complex understanding be there for that person rather than try to change the world. So my spiritual aims as such are not limited to goals or aims but I embrace them as part of the bigger picture.
What kind of people do come to you?
Everybody. There have been politicians, musicians, artists, actors, mothers, fathers, teenagers, grandmothers, grandfathers, children, post office workers, etc who come to me. The list is endless.
Why do people stop working with you?
I am not aware of many people who have stopped working with me but those who have, have usually reached an impasse in their evolution of consciousness, which somehow justifies that it is better not to work with me for whatever reason they have created. I totally respect such a decision and wait for them to return. My work is very confusing though and often challenges the deepest aspects (which I call programmes) that we build around ourselves as an armour and when this gets cleverly peeled away then often people reach a point where they cant go any further. But this point is only temporary as the evolution of human consciousness is unstoppable.
What is the difference between your organisation and a cult?
I don"t really understand what a cult is. I wouldn"t label myself as an organisation or a cult. I would simply say that we embrace life as it is and bring a deeper sense of relationship into it. Some people who use the word cult use this as a derogatory term and I am sure this is to make themselves feel somehow better rather than try to understand the differences between not only spiritual traditions but human beings. This is not to say that there are not some misinformed spiritual teachers who use their charisma, knowledge or other personal aspects for their own gain and hence their cults evolve out of a sense of control and limitation, differentiation and superiority rather than an embracement of all human beings in the deepest sense as well as in the everyday sense of being. Having said this I would emphasise that many so called cults may be just people practising something different than what is considered normal so hence we could label vegetarianism, pacifism and other such unusual habits in western society as cultish.
What is the essence of your message?
The essence of my message is to have persistence, trust, and a deep commitment to the evolution of human consciousness.
What makes you special?
Am I special? I don"t consider myself special at all and often prefer to be amongst the simple aspects of life, (i.e. being in the garden, walking in the forest, enjoying time with family, etc) rather than at the front of a room conducting a programme. Having said this, I am told by people that being in my presence is extremely helpful not just in a spiritual sense but also in a practical sense. Often I will sit with people in the office and this inspires somehow, an awareness that life is very precious and that what is special is not some external aspect of life but rather the profoundness of the moment.
What are you afraid of?
I don"t really understand this question. Fear comes from a limited perspective of mind, or an interpretation of this limited perspective through the body or emotions, or through deep spiritual hurt. All these are part of every human beings experience so it is difficult for any human being to say what they are afraid of, as often they don"t really know what they fear. I often say that even though I live in a human form my reference point does not come from that perspective and so has a completely different set of rules.
What do you think about similar people like you and their spiritual groups?
I have not come across similar people as I have been totally focused on my path. I have heard of many spiritual teachers, masters and some enlightened beings and I would say that in the end those people are doing exactly the same work as I am using a different methodology or a different emphasis but in essence very similar. I have no judgements about such groups as I think that the more enlightened beings there are in this world, the more people who strive towards the evolution of human consciousness, the better. I don"t really think about anything, as a thought process does involve the human mind, which is often caught up in measuring itself against other perspectives. This measuring, or dualism, creates an attachment to certain ideas and from that attachment we judge what is right, what is wrong, what is similar, what is not so similar. If you have a different set of rules, then these things become a mere theatre and you simply watch it rather than be part of it.
Why should someone follow you?
I don"t believe anyone should follow me, in that sense of the phrase. I believe that everybody should follow their deepest and unique self. They should trust in themselves and use me as a guide, a reference point when necessary. I would also emphasise that in their trust of this particular spiritual discipline, lies an inert understanding to be completely passionate about their quest for freedom.
Author Bio :
With the guidance of Tony Samara, discover a path of profound transformation, evolution of consciousness and inner peace. This path is open to all people from all walks of life who seek Health, Happiness and Inner Wisdom.
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