TAMI SIMON is the founder of multimedia platform, Sounds True, and the educational program, The Inner MBA. Tami has grown Sounds True into North America’s leading publisher of spoken-word spiritual teachings, and one of the world’s first organizations to operate along genuinely integral principles, with the emphasis on “multiple bottom lines” of purpose, profit, people, and planet.
In part 3 of this interview with EMILIE MOGENSEN of the Heartfulness Institute, Tami speaks about bringing transformation through business, somatic spirituality, and emotional intelligence.
Q: Is business the place to change the world?
TS: I don’t really buy into that. I know a lot of business people who say this, and you could make a case, because entrepreneurs are intensely innovative and have great potential when it comes to solving problems. Take, for example, climate change. We certainly can’t wait for the political bodies to solve anything, so the business sphere had better come up with some really creative solutions. I’m behind the case.
But I deeply believe that whoever you are, wherever you are, in education, a police officer, or a medical person, that is your place for change. I happen to be a business person. I spend my days with teams to create new products with educational and transformational value.
I want to transform the world. If each one of us took it upon ourselves to say, “This is where I walk, let me transform that, ”that’s powerful. The path of conscious evolution is about committing to our path.
Q: I am inspired by your approach to somatic spirituality, “checking in with your body.” I come from a spiritual community and have practiced meditation for 27 years. God bless that. I have also experienced a lot of “spiritual bypassing,” both in myself and others. Sometimes the integration with the body is lacking. It’s new to me to dive so deep into this embodied spirituality, as we do in your program. Let me also link it to what you said about tricking each other’s shadow sides at work, and feelings being the language of the body, according to Dr. Joe Dispenza. Can you put some words on somatic spirituality?
TS: First, thank you for asking. This is something really important to me. When people are first interested in a spiritual path they read a lot of books, and they have a lot of ideas, and that’s okay. But it’s not the depths that happen in our somatic experience. What I mean by “soma” is what you can sense and feel, not only in your physical body but also in your energy body, which surrounds your physical body.
It’s the space around the heart where you feel in people what is actually going on. You can feel people who have a beautiful and open heart from 50 feet away. They are so bright and vibrant and you just wanna hug them.
Our belly is another energy center, and when the belly is open, that’s when you feel someone is really grounded. There’s something about that person that is like a mountain – a constancy. I love hiring people who have a very open belly center. It feels like they have a tap root into the Earth.
We also have a head center. That is a big open space, which is unbelievably brilliant. That’s where ideas come that are not just a re-thread of something else you have read. You may read something in a spiritual book and it will take you somewhere, but when your physical sense of openness in the head center is there, then you’re getting downloads, streams of intuition, and light, and possibility, and you don’t even know where they come from.
We do our spiritual practices with the awareness of our body and our subtle body, and we start tuning into them. The inner teacher opens up and becomes available. We no longer need to rely on books and teachings because we have an awake intelligent force within us. Grounded, openhearted, and original. We operate from an original place.
A better phrase for “spiritual bypass” is “conceptual bypass,” because we’re invested in concepts rather than present-moment direct experience.
We do our spiritual practices
with the awareness of our body and
our subtle body, and we start tuning into them.
The inner teacher opens up and becomes available.
We no longer need to rely on books and teachings
because we have an awake intelligent force within us.
Grounded, openhearted, and original.
We operate from an original place.
Q: Please talk about your favorite quote from Herman Hesse.
TS: It’s a quote that meant a lot to me in my young life. It’s from his book, Demian: “I wanted only to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult?” In the 70s and 80s, being attracted to people of the same gender was something you kept to yourself. So, when I was a teenager, the promptings of my true heart weren’t welcome and didn’t fit into the rational. My family elevated the rational and was not as interested in intuition and emotions. That made me feel like an outsider. I have siblings, but I always felt outside, like I didn’t fit in.
I didn’t fit into any of the conventional career paths. It was very difficult to live according to the promptings of my true heart. I’m wired in such a way that if I’m not true to this soul force inside then I can’t do it. Either I have to follow through and do the really difficult things or I will hang myself. As I won’t hang myself, I have to do the difficult things. It’s that intense for me.
Q: Google defines “emotional intelligence” as “To be able to hold space for your own and other people’s emotions.” Your team at Sounds True is about 150 employees, so how do you practice emotional intelligence at team meetings when difficult and emotional situations occur?
TS: We can all be skillful about our emotions, both in our intimate and professional lives. We can’t just puke all over people when we feel intense emotions, so we have to become processed enough to talk about our emotions and not necessarily from the emotion.
We are holding a bigger space and the emotion is arising in it and holds information. It has intelligence, it’s a messenger, and it’s important. And if we can talk about it skillfully, without much charge, our emotional intelligence can bring awareness of the person we are speaking with. It’s really important to model ourselves with the people in the environment, and to translate as needed, to be well received, so that people can take in the intelligence of what we’re saying.
For example, when you’re really angry about something, it’s almost always better not to say a lot. I have learned this lesson the hard way, like many people. It’s better to say, “I’m feeling really angry right now. I would like some time to sit with this, and I will get back to you when I feel more processed around it.” Then, when I’m more processed, I can say, “This anger arose because… It’s clear where I need to draw a boundary. I want to share with you what this boundary is, why it’s important to me, and what I am requesting for everyone here on the team.”
It’s really important to model ourselves
with the people in the environment,
and to translate as needed,
to be well received,
so that people can take in the intelligence
of what we’re saying.
Q: What do you feel if I say “nothingness”? How can people in a world full of “something-ness” be interested in nothingness?
TS: What I like about the word “nothingness” is that it can’t be pinned down. It can’t be created as a solid anything. I like the pure openness, like an explosion of pure potential and possibility. As soon as you have a reference to a “something,” it’s limited. “Nothing” feels unlimited. I can see that it might feel depressing or blank to some people, but I experience it as a burst of light when you say it.
Q: Thank you from the heart, Tami. It was an honor and a dream come true to talk with you. Thank you so very much for your extraordinary work of disseminating spiritual wisdom into the modern world.
TS: Thank you.
Illustrations by LITTLEWHALE
Tami is the founder of multimedia platform Sounds True and the educational program The Inner MBA. Tami has grown Sounds True into North America’s leading publisher of spoken-word spiritual teachings, operating on Integral principles.