Piercing the Veil of Word Illusions

Oct 08

The concept of piercing the veil of illusion comes primarily from Hinduism. The word the Hindus use to refer to what they call the illusion of duality is “maya.’

The word “maya” is derived from Sanskrit roots. “Ma” means “not” and “ya” means “that.” In short, when the student asks whether something is True, the teacher will reply “Maya”, not that.

Why does the teacher always say “Maya”, no matter what words the student has spoken? Because words – all words – are illusions!

The goal of enlightenment is to understand this illusion – or more precisely, to experience or pierce it. Maya is something to be seen through, like an epiphany or aha experience. When we have this aha experience, we have the power to end our suffering.

Piercing the veil of word illusions can be analogized to tuning the dial of a radio. At some points, there is nothing but static. At others, the signal comes through clear as a bell.

When we eliminate the static of human words and tune the dials of our minds into an energy that lies beyond words, everything flows effortlessly and spontaneously through us. We are transformed.

Benevolence and Leadership. Valuable? Possible?

Jul 31

A recent post on the Business Spirituality LinkedIn site asked: “What difference can a benevolent leader bring to people and organizations? Is it possible to be benevolent without being naive?”

I’m not sure benevolence is the right word here. Benevolence, to me, implies giving to others, sometimes without including myself in the benevolence. I find myself preferring the word compassion. The word compassion, to me, has more of a sense of having walked in the shoes of the other, having experienced their suffering, and supporting all of us in moving toward a more joyful, purposeful life. Compassion is essential to good leadership.

One of my life long lessons has been learning how to expand into my own spiritual understanding and power and then use that spiritual understanding and power to support others as they expand into the fully developed, unique individuals they are intended to be. Supporting them does not mean giving them whatever they want. Often, it means challenging their current thought processes or flat out saying ‘no.’ This is the role of the spiritual warrior.

I was very fortunate to have had two wonderful parents. Both were teachers. Both were fair and compassionate. Both valued order and structure, and yet, there was always space for play and creativity in our home. My parents truly led by example. Because I was happy, I never questioned their leadership. I knew I was loved, respected, and valued. I did what they told me to do simply because I trusted them.

Then I moved out into the rest of the world and discovered, over and over, through painful experience after painful experience, that not everyone was as kind, benevolent, compassionate and fair as my parents. Other people said negative things about me, verbally abused me, bullied me, and betrayed my trust. I had to learn how to protect myself from all this negative energy. I had to learn how to detach mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically. I had to learn how to release my fear. I had to learn how to refocus my outrage from judging and blaming the bullies and abusers to shifting the energy of that outrage into being just, fair, and accountable. As painful and sometimes terrifying as it often was, I had to learn how to say ‘no’, I will not enable and support that conduct. I will not stay in a relationship where I am not respected. I will move out of relationships where I am verbally abused. I simply deserve better.

For me, finding the balance between benevolence and naivete requires a constantly shifting awareness of the energy dynamics of any situation. I can then change those dynamics by changing myself. It always requires staying in integrity with my own values of compassion, non-violence, mutual respect, and accountability.

I’ve walked in the shoes of the other. I’ve experienced their suffering. How can I be anything but compassionate toward us all?

Word Energy

Feb 07

About three weeks ago, I received an email, through pure synchronicity, from published poet, Luisa Castagnaro. She sent me a link to a series of SoundsTrue audios about Sanskrit mantras, http://www.soundstrue.com/shop/STSearch.do?searchTerm=Thomas+ashley+farrand&searchDomain=author&selectedType=All+Products&searchPage=0&selectedComponentGroup=All&selectedItem=bestsellers

Knowing that I was working on another book about word energy, my foreign rights agent had previously mentioned Sanskrit as a language I should explore. Western language uses symbolism and meaning. Sanskrit uses the pure vibration of the sound.

I ordered the audios and began listening. There was a mantra for bringing abundance into your life. Phonetically, it sounds like “Om schreem kleem Lakshmi ay Namaha.” Most of it is toned on a single note, with the “ay” one note higher and the “ma” in Namaha one note lower.

This longer mantra is composed of seed mantras. “Schreem” is the principle of abundance. “Kleem” is the principle of attraction. “Lakshmi” (pronounced “lockschmee”) is the Goddess of abundance, a beautiful woman with money flowing from her hands. “Namaha” means to salute.

According to Sanskrit philosophy, you can attract abundance into your life simply by saying, over and over, the simple seed mantra “schreem.” The longer mantra is supposed to be more powerful. I decided to play with the longer mantra and see what happened.

Two weeks ago, as I was driving to the Tampa airport, I repeated the mantra over and over. Then I forgot about it.

When I arrived in Panama, there was a penny lying on the ground beneath my feet. Mmmmmmmm. I picked it up. Three days later, in Boquete, my travel agent, out of the blue, gave me a free $3 phone card. Mmmmmmmmm. Then, my agent at the bank gave me two free 2011 calendars. Mmmmmmmmm. As so often happens in Panama, I fully expected the taxi driver who took me back to Boquete to notice I was an American and triple his fee. He didn’t. Mmmmmmmmmmm. That happened a second time. Mmmmmmmmmm.

Greetings, meetings, lunches, and dinners kept flowing in. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I’ve been wanting to facilitate healing workshops and have always wanted to go on a cruise. Suddenly, over the past two weeks, I’ve been offered opportunities by PacificOrient Caribbean Cruises out of Australia and WhaleWatchingPanama around Coiba and Contadora Islands off the southern coast of Panama. Mmmmmmmm.

The kicker happened shortly before I arrived home. I’d been getting about ten hits a day on my website. Suddenly, the hits jumped to over 100. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Is there something going on here that I don’t understand but that somehow seems to work? Or is it just that as I focus on abundance, I become more aware of the abundance all around me flowing into my life? I don’t know the answer, but I think I’ll continue chanting the mantra.

Warm regards,


Why Intention Matters

Sep 26

You’re starving. You skipped breakfast to sleep late and get to work on time. It’s 11 a.m. A co-worker offers you a doughnut. Do you eat it? Or do you say, “No, thanks.”

What you do depends on your conscious intention. (Please notice. The doughnut does not change.)

Do you want to satiate your hunger? Then, of course, you eat the doughnut. It’s perfect.

Or ….

Do you want to lose weight, increase your energy, fit into slimmer clothing, and feel healthy and relaxed? Then you don’t eat the doughnut.

Or …

Do you want to satiate your hunger and be healthy? Then you pull out your green drink and sip on that instead.

Green Drink

Green Drink

Now, of course, having a green drink may require a few other changes such as setting the conscious intention to prepare one and consciously setting aside the time to do it.

Do you set conscious intentions about what you want to bring into your life? Or are you living such a chaotic lifestyle that you’re functioning on autopilot?


… for just one moment, and notice what’s going on, both inside you and outside of you. Is your body tense? Does your back hurt? Do you have a headache?

Are you in an environment full of loud noise, critical people, and people who don’t do what they say they’ll do?

Ouch! Pay attention. Is this fun? Do you want to keep all this soul clutter in your life?

If not, start thinking about what you can change. You don’t directly change what’s going on around you. You change what’s going on inside of  you. That’s where your power lies.

What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What are your resources? What can you do differently that will move you forward toward health, energy, enthusiasm and peace?

Consciously use your power of conscious intention and be amazed at the huge personal shift it brings into your life!