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Welcome to another episode of Money You Should Ask that’s so special we went all the way down under to Sydney, Australia for it.
In this episode we delve into the intriguing cusp of spiritual development and its role in achieving financial wellness and prosperity.
Our guest Tom Cronin is a dynamic meditation Teacher, Author, Speaker and Producer of the documentary The Portal, whose unique journey began in the hectic Wolf of Wall Street-esque world of finance. After 26 years of wheeling and dealing in a high pressure environment, he uncovered a way to cope with his stress through meditation. He realized that there was a significant need for spiritual grounding in our world today and created The Stillness Project to help others transform and benefit from meditation all over the globe.
Explore Tom Cronin’s recommended resources and tools for meditation, such as books, apps, and meditation retreats.
Tom Cronin spent 26 years in finance markets as one of Australia’s leading bond and swap brokers. He discovered meditation in the early stages of his career, when the anxiety and chaos he was experiencing had hit a crisis point, and it completely transformed his world, both personally and professionally.
Founder of The Stillness Project, a global movement to inspire one billion people to sit in stillness daily, Tom is passionate about reducing stress and chaos in people’s lives. His ongoing work in transformational leadership coaching and corporate training has seen him working with some of the top companies in the world like Amazon, Qantas, UBS and Coca-Cola.
He has spoken on stage at conferences and events like Adnews Summit, Afest, Wanderlust and Mind Heart Connect. Tom has six books published, a meditation app and produced the hit film The Portal.
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Click to Read Full Transcript
Well, I’m super excited to be here, Tom. Like, we’re sitting here live in front of each other, which is pretty rare these days, looking at the Pacific Ocean, probably the most expensive cemetery with beachfront view right across from us in Bondi or nearby. We’re in a park near Bondi. Yeah.
In between Bondi and Tamarama. Okay, Tamarama, all kinds of words that I do not know because I am not from the land of down under. So, Tom, listen, I appreciate you taking the time and meeting with us live. And so one of the things that intrigued me, and I really wanted to ask because I know there are people out there that are saying, I’m not happy doing what I’m doing. And you might have been happy, but I want to make this pivot.
And you just left this career at the height you jumped into. I think I’ll be a meditation teacher, and I’m going to teach people to be still. And I’m wondering what allowed you or compelled you to make that jump without really having a like you didn’t have a plan. Yeah, it’s a really interesting journey. Being in finance as a broker like Wolf of Wall Street style.
Massive trading room floor for 26 years, trading millions and billions, some days of swaps and bonds on international markets. It was fast. It was furious. Having used meditation for quite some time as a mechanism or a tool to manage the stress and reduce the stress, I just went further and further down that rabbit hole and studied in India and went into deep meditation studies and philosophy and deep meditation yoga experiences. And I just realized more and more as I went along that journey that this was one of the key ingredients that was missing in humanity.
And wherever I looked across the world, whether it was in large political organizations, corporate organizations, or Mums and Dads tribal cultures everywhere, I could just see a massive disconnect in each of us between who we are and our true self, our spirit, our soul, the divine, if you want to call it. And I just became really passionate about the need to bring this to the world in a big way. And, you know, this has been a very reclusive practice for 10,000 years, and now we have the ability to bring this to the world. When the Internet came and I was realizing that my ability to reach the world was there, so it was a big leap. There’s no question about it.
There was some method in the madness. So I did spend about two years prepping and building up what we call the Stillness Project, which was a business model. Now, I thought the Stillness Project was going to be a business model that was going to help me land on my feet and generate huge amounts of revenue and fund my family and our mortgage and everything. But that didn’t actually happen. So the plan didn’t quite go according to the plan.
And I was left with quite a difficult financial situation. What I had to do was we had to sell our family home and that was really challenging for us. We had spent quite a while, while I was a broker, building up our assets and our wealth and developing properties, and we’d buy old homes and do them up. And we finished with this beautiful property in Rose Bay, a suburb on the harbor in Sydney. And we loved the home and it was really beautiful as a special pace because we brought our kids up there.
Being in this difficult financial position, going from a very multiple, substantial six figure salary to being a meditation teacher and realizing the plan didn’t quite work and we didn’t have really a revenue stream, a lot of my money was going into this film that we were producing, The Portal. Not only did it not generate revenue for me at all, but it also sucked a lot of our savings. And so that was a really difficult time. And so just to let everyone know that sometimes living the dream, going into your life purpose can have its challenges and we face them for sure. That’s right.
Living the dream doesn’t always pay much. It doesn’t, but well, that actually makes me think of a question, the importance of having the support of a partner, because there could have been a lot of resentment. You’ve spent this lifetime building up this beautiful home.
It’s got the history of the kids and all this stuff, and now we’re just going to, oh, yeah, dad feels like going down this path of into stillness and we’re going to give up the house and the farm and all that. How important is it having support and the open communication?
There’s no question it’s been hard for my wife and my children not having I think it’s really important for the family. It’s not like everyone can have one, but if you do have one, that family base, that’s yours, and you get to know that, you come home and that’s your space. And we haven’t had that for a while now.
And that was definitely a hard pill to swallow for my wife. She’s an amazing human being and we’ve been together for 33 years and very supportive, and we’ve had challenges along the way, of course, like every relationship.
But one of the great things is, as you say, that support. I think the big thing is that my family have realized the payoff to that is that I’m a better person and I’m a happier person. And I think if they had a choice between living with the broker that was really not enjoying himself or his life as a broker and having the affluence, or not having the affluence and having the person that they enjoy the company of a lot more, I think they’d take the ladder.
And that said, it’s been a ten year recalibration and we’re starting to see some regathering of momentum and I see the potential on the horizon for my work and our revenue stream to be far greater than what it was as a broker. And that’s one of the things that I think in this space, you just have to keep believing and keep going.
And there’s one thing that I read from Sir Richard Branson, I think it was him with Jack Canville. One of them said that opportunities are like buses. If you miss one, then there’s going to be another one that will come your way at some point soon.
And I just have to keep looking at that and thinking that last ten years was just a solid investment, but it’s not over and just keep playing the big game and keep putting yourself out there and keep going forward and don’t give up. And I think that that investment over time will pay off.
Yeah, well, it makes me think we do focus on financial success, right. We’re not really interested in people being happy. We don’t really ask that question, are you fulfilled? Are you making money? And how many zeros are after that?
One. And that seems to be the focus. Even though we can sit there and say, wow, meditation brings me peace and I can be still and I can find all those things. Most of us, I don’t think, are ready to all quit our jobs and become yogis or meditation coaches and stuff like that because there’s still a little bit of a disconnect, like it sounds really cool, but then I have to give up. How attached to my ego am I?
It seems like there has to be a little letting go of the ego if we’re going to move into wholeness. Yeah, look, there’s no question it’s a really interesting parallel. I’d almost say that the less attached to my identity and my ego and the need to be successful interestingly now the more successful I’m becoming. And a lot of that is the spiritual work that I’m doing. But also it’s a very structured process.
I take a lot of my coaching clients, so I coach a lot of yoga teachers, meditation teachers, healers, nutritionists. I’m starting to realize that there actually is a very successful business model to be built around that. And a lot of people are struggling still to this day with the idea of spirituality and success or money, and that’s only because it’s new.
Spirituality came from ashrams and monasteries and caves where those two worlds never collided, they never came into contact. Whereas these days, this morning I was doing a presentation on meditation at Oracle, one of the world’s largest companies, and Tomorrow I’m teaching Amazon, one of the world’s largest companies.
So we’re crossing that threshold where what I’m providing is actually value. And we always make an exchange of value when we receive things of value. Like usually most of the time people have no concern making exchange of currency for a Tesla or for an airline ticket or for their iPhone or for a Netflix subscription because they’re receiving something of value and they’re willing to give up something of value. And for me, I think one of the most valuable things we can make in exchange for is learning to meditate or awakening our spiritual nature. And what they’re paying for is not a spiritual tradition or a spiritual practice.
What they’re paying for is my skill set that I’ve acquired to help them realize that, and they’re paying for my time and my investment that I’ve made to learn these things. And so I’m helping people structure business models that allow them to get scope and scale with the compartmentalizing and the structuring of that knowledge. Let’s just call it it sounds pretty crass, but I’m going to use the word a commoditizable form. Yeah, well, absolutely. I mean, the healing arts being of service has traditionally not really paid.
If you’re an attorney and you can help take things from other people, if you’re an accountant like me, and I can save you lots of money, keep you, the government, from taking it, or if I’m a doctor and I can save your life, we put high premiums on that. But if you’re about being happy and fulfilled and connection and vulnerability, I’ll save my money.
We haven’t let it be okay. It’s almost like in the entertainment arts, the starving artist concept, that you can’t really be benevolent and generous and kind and compassionate if you’re monetizing. And I don’t think that’s true.
I think we’re allowed to hold both. But I think people struggle with that, that somehow my inherent goodness is diminished because I’m actually seeking compensation, and it doesn’t mean that somebody has to pay me. It could be revenue streams, it could be passive income, all those kinds of things.
Yeah, look, the challenge we’re at at the moment is where we’re just on the cusp of this becoming a mainstream, integrated process. And traditionally, people that were passing on spiritual truths and spiritual wisdom and spiritual techniques were sponsored by the ashram or the monastery or the religion itself.
Whereas these days, and most of my clients are people that have to support families. And I say to them, if you don’t have a solid business model built around this where you’re commoditizing and building out a business structure of your knowledge and it could be through coaching programs, retreats, online programs, books, apps.
Any other different modality that is a way to compartmentalize and commoditize your knowledge. Then you’re going to be working in a cafe or a supermarket or a part time job and not doing your amazing work that you’re skilled in because you just haven’t got a business model or a way to fund yourself. And so we don’t want people to not be able to do this full time.
We actually need people to do this full time. And we need people who have families that live in the world to be able to do this full time. And to do that we need good business models around it. Yeah. Well, let me ask you this.
You came from finance. What was your money mindset like as a kid? Lots and lots of money. It was just available. So much I know for a lot of us, I went into finance because I didn’t have a safety net.
My parents weren’t going to leave anything for me and I had to create whatever I needed to create. And so partly fear was what motivated me to make sure that financially I was taken care of. And I’m wondering about your relationship with money as a kid. And then I know just from some prodding and talking earlier about this belief that money is difficult and hard to come by and that maybe it’s not just yours, it’s ancestral. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Yeah. I grew up on a farm. There was seven of us, five kids, mum and dad. We were one of the poorest families in the area. We weren’t like starving poor, but we’re the last family to have a color TV at school.
And we never had a new bike, we always had secondhand bikes, we never had new clothes, we always had handmedowns. And it wasn’t an affluent upbringing, but it was a joyful upbringing. I loved my childhood and I felt well and truly supported in the community of the family growing up on a farm. But it was really interesting. As time went on, I went into finance and I had this incredible capacity to actually make good money.
I put on some big trades and make some good money and I went into some business deals and stuff and would make big money. But there was this really interesting pattern that started to emerge in my twenty s. Thirty s, forty s. And even beyond showing my he won’t tell what kept happening was really interesting that I would make it and then lose it. And I couldn’t understand this.
This it kept slipping away from me, right? The house, you know, projects would just fail and not work out. And it was a really interesting so I decided to do a bit of diving deeper onto that. And I went to and this is going to get a little bit woo woo for some people, but I went to a sort of past life regression healer type guy up in byron bay, and people had recommended him, and he had this ability to see things that you couldn’t normally see, like ancestral stuff. I shed a little bit, not much.
I shared a little bit about I want some work done around my money thing because I enjoy the fruits of affluence and I enjoy living comfortably. I enjoy the safety that comes with having financial stability. But it just kept slipping through my fingers and I wanted to look into that. And so he lays me on the table and he starts doing this reading. I was like totally zoned out.
He said, within three minutes you’ll be sort of off in La La Land. And I don’t know what he did, but I was gonski and at the end of the session he said, okay, what’s come up here is very interesting because and he didn’t know anything about my background. He said, I’ve traced this money issue back to seven generations back in your father’s lineage. And what happened was in this County Cork in Ireland, are you from Ireland? And I said, yeah.
And Dad’s from County Cork. He said, well, what happened was somewhere in your father’s line you had a lot of wealth in your family and that kingdom got burnt down. Now, it’s not like they had insurance back then that just goes and replaces it and rebuilds it. When you lose it, you lose it. And he said, you have this Murphy’s Law thing that it comes and then it’s taken away from you and we need to start clearing that.
And he said he cleared it, it’s only last year, so come on, universe. But it was really interesting to hear that because it made a lot of sense. And I think what it made me realize, which I kind of knew anyway, but it really affirmed what I’d already thought. We don’t come into this world with a blank canvas, right? We come into this world not just with a genetic physical disposition of the color of our eyes and the shape of our ears and the color of our hair from our mother and father and their mother and fathers, but we also come with a code and a blueprint that has been passed down from parent to parent.
And it can be around religion or around sex or around relationships or it could be around money, which is a big one. Money is a very big one. And I feel deeply that I’d inherited that code in that family lineage because I kind of saw a little bit of that still in my father’s as well. And that’s a really deep groove conditioning that I’ve had to spend a lot of time and still to this day I’m working to clear that out. Yeah, and I definitely agree with that.
And I think I have a belief that we come here to do the work. And so whatever those codes that we got were the codes that we chose lifetimes ago. And I know that a lot of people will say, okay, this is woo woo stuff, right? Like you said, I remember I went to a body healer. Somebody said, you got to go see this person, whatever.
They did a reading and they’re like, oh my goodness, you’ve had all this trauma. And I’m like, oh my God, that guy’s crazy. And I blew it off, right? And about 15 years later, I started doing personal work, all this trauma came up, and I’m like, how did I didn’t even know it was so buried. And so I think there’s just so much we don’t know.
I think for a lot of people and maybe for myself, too, that’s scary. Like, wait a minute. There’s more to me than what I get to control. And so to actually go into that, to be still I mean, I think about COVID and so many people were forced to spend time with themselves, with their spouses, with their children, and they didn’t do so well because we’re used to lots of distractions. And when we actually have to stop and take a break, it’s uncomfortable for a lot of people.
Yeah. I think one of the hardest things we face in our world is self inquiry, to look within. And a lot of people I know are very afraid to do that. They’re afraid to have a look and see what they might find there. And that’s the work that we’re here to do, as you say, we really are here to do the work.
And I was on a retreat, running a retreat, and one of my students had a very big release about what happened to him as a child with his father very challenging, brutal childhood, and all his emotions were just pouring out as he cleared all that sadness and rage. And I said, the beautiful thing is that you’ve just drawn a line in the sand, and that doesn’t get passed on anymore. Right. That lineage, it ends here. And this is a big responsibility that we have.
I think for many, many generations, people didn’t have the tools at their disposal that we have the yoga, the breathwork, the plant medicine, the meditation. And so we’ve been gifted in this lifetime now. And what a beautiful joy to be incarnated in this experience right here, right now, and have these tools at our disposal. And then the responsibility to use those tools and draw that line in the sand and say, this trauma doesn’t go any further than this point here. This doesn’t go under my children and their children and their children.
It’s like that lineage, we’re pulling up stumps, and this is it. That’s the end of the road for it. And it’s a beautiful gift to be able to give to the world just to clear years and years and generations and generations of trauma. Yeah. And I love it.
Reminds me of the phrase that I sort of was given is you can pass it forward or pass it back and to say, okay, we’re done. And in a way, I believe that when we start to do the work on ourselves, there’s healing in the lineage, like, even going I don’t think it’s linear that we just move forward. I think that it goes both ways and so that we’re actually doing service to the whole line. Yeah. Gosh, you just reminded me of something in the American Indian traditions and the communication, something about the long life or long cloud or long line, something like that.
And exactly what you were saying, that if you heal something today, you’re affecting the future, but also doing something about healing the past. I wish I could paraphrase that a little bit more eloquently and more beautifully than when I heard it being spoken about from an American Indian. I think they’re called Native Americans now, I’m sure. Native Americans? Absolutely.
Yeah. It was just so powerful to think that, wow, if I do this work now, not only am I affecting future generations, you think about how many future generations like, if I’m affected from seven generations ago, from something that happened in Ireland, then what are my future great great grandchildren? How am I affecting them today by the work that I’m doing? But not only that, how much am I somehow healing the wounds of the past as well? So it’s a beautiful idea and it’s an honor really to be given that opportunity now.
Yeah, well, it’s making me think though, like, of my nieces and nephews and the younger generation where they’ll stop and say, well, I have to check in and I’m not sure how I feel about that and I don’t want to do that. It’s not going to make me happy. And then there’s a part of me that’s like, yeah, absolutely. And then the other party is like, get with it, come on, let’s get this done. Right.
I’m holding on to my past that’s like just Cronin and Barrett get through it. Right. And yet I also can appreciate I have a friend that loves to spend two or 3 hours a day with the trees and it’s so beautiful. And I’m like, wow, I wish I could find the time. Well, I choose not to make the time because I get caught up with ego or I get caught up with yeah, it’s great, but it’s not practical because I still can feel that tug of lack of from childhood that still comes in.
And even though I’m very trusted in the universe and I have like, I’ve made leaps and bounds from where I was and really hopefully continue to move away from the ego where the ego is strong. The ego is strong. Yeah, it’s funny what you say just there. I did a post literally two days ago. The irony of the law of manifesting is that to manifest what we want, we have to feel like we already have it, right?
And the irony of feeling like we have it means that we simply don’t want it. And then by not needing to want it or not wanting it interestingly means we start attracting it. And so I find it really interesting the less because I have always had that deep sense of needing and hurrying and hasting and having to get stuff done because of that fear of lack.
But the more I just fill myself up from it within and have a deep sense of trust in the universe’s capacity to support me. The more it just starts moving towards me, and it’s a simple law of magnetism or the law of attraction in the quantum field that we have to be what it is we want to attract.
And that’s the hardest thing for a human because what’s so deeply coded into the framework of our society is that we feel based upon what experiences we have and what we have in our life. Right. Which means that we’re disempowered, we’re not sovereign, we’re at the mercy of circumstance and inconsistencies of the relative field. And as a result of that, what we attract is inconsistent because our state’s inconsistent. Yeah.
No. For so long I was my accomplishments, right? I’ve got this much money in the bank success. I did this exciting trip. Success.
Interesting. But then you don’t get to stop and enjoy because you got to keep like that’s done, one and done. I got to move to the next thing. This quest to like, it’s not enough, it’s not enough. And at what point do we get to stop and appreciate our manifestations and be able to say, oh yeah, I don’t need to keep the hamster wheel running, I can actually take it in.
And I think that’s really hard for a lot of people is to actually great, I’ve manifested it. Now am I going to actually integrate it and allow it to be? I think one of the biggest things at our disposal is for that is gratitude. And for me, I would have an exercise at the end of the day where I would write a list of ten things that day that I’m grateful for, because, as you say, we can attract amazing things. And most of us actually do have amazing things in our life.
But there’s a deep code that we don’t ever have enough, and we never get to where we want to get to, so we never really get to fully appreciate that. But gratitude exercises really help calibrate recalibrate and appreciate what we have.
And so for me, the simple things like the mere fact that I can push a button on our toilet and make the sewerage go away, there’s a lot of people, millions and millions of people in the world that actually don’t have that luxury. I had a fresh hot running water shower today. There’s a lot of people that don’t have that luxury.
I have the most amount of food that I could never eat. The amount of food that I have available to me, I have an infinite supply of food. And you go to a supermarket and 90% of that food is just purely for pleasure. It’s not for any nutritional value. And we don’t really appreciate some of this level of affluence that we actually have.
It’s quite remarkable. But when you appreciate it, then you start to fill up and start to emanate affluence, and then we start attracting it more. Yeah, absolutely. My mantra has become grateful and humbled because I took a couple of trips to Africa, and I talk about this a lot. When I got to Africa, people were incredibly happy, and the average income at the time was $100 a year.
And I kept walking around going, what is wrong with these people? And it messed with my mind so much. And again yeah, running water. What? They don’t have that.
My last trip to Zimbabwe, I worked on a rhino sanctuary and we had to dig with a stick. We dug. You don’t get to run down to Home Depot or Bunnings, whatever it is. You can’t do that. I was like, Let me just run to Home Depot and let’s get ten shovels.
Not a possibility. I dug with a pole, and we had to dig these deep poles. It took 8 hours. And I think maybe I got, like, a foot deep. I have a real appreciation for the fact that I have hot water, that I have water, that I have drinkable water, let alone electricity and all these things.
And I think when I was over there, I would throw stuff away and they would say, sir, can I use this jar? Can I have this bag? I’m like it’s trash. Not to them. And it really taught me about resourceful, not just taking everything.
And at least in the US, everything is so disposable. It’s cheaper for me to go buy a new piece of equipment. I’ve got this air pump, and it just needs a little tube. I can’t get the tube. It’s better me just throw it away and start all over.
And it’s such a waste of resource. There’s a great documentary called Planned Obsolescence, and it’s all about how we think it’s normal for that type of scenario, but it’s actually built into the society because of the economic model, which is about commoditization extraction, right?
So we’re currently what we call game A in a game, a model which is a finite game, and it’s a win lose game. And it’s built on this idea that the economic model, it requires consumption and it requires commoditization. And so what they have was a lot of the first thing that inspired this film was the idea of the printer.
There was a glitch in this computer, and this guy couldn’t get it fixed. They just said, there’s no way you can fix that. You have to buy a new computer. And he knew that the problem was, like, microscopic, right? But the idea of buying your computer was like, $400 in this huge piece of machinery.
And so he went about in a very complex way, finding engineers and everything, and he managed to fix the problem. And what he did in the process of fixing the problem realized that printer has almost like an endless lifespan. It was.
Phenomenal how long that printer could live, but it’s built and planned for a two year lifespan. And so that means that every two years, not only do you need a new computer, but you actually need all of, along the way, the cartridges to go in the computer.
And then they started looking at things like the light bulb. So they actually have a light bulb in a fire station in America, and that light bulb has been on for over 100 years. Wow. Never been turned off. And they have proof that the capacity for light bulbs to have, like, almost eternal lifespan, but that’s not very good for Phillips’s business.
And so they build into the light bulbs a certain timeline that will see that light bulb explode or not last. The big one was I know it’s a bit of a sidetrack, but it’s quite relevant in just understanding the mechanics of our society so we can see through the veil of illusion that might have been created here. Someone came up with a nylon stocking, and what happened was they thought it was so brilliant. Actually, the initial adverts for this nylon stocking was that it was almost unterable, and it had, like, cars driving over and people scratching and all this sort of stuff. And it was like the most incredible nylon stocking that was completely undamageable terrible for sales.
Terrible. So they said, go back to the engineers department and start to redesign that so that it will last three weeks, because that’s terrible for business. Right. And that’s I mean, so much of our business models is based on repeat business. I don’t want to do a one time sale.
Absolutely. I mean, with the internet now, I guess a one time sale to a few billion people works out nicely. But if I could do that three or four or ten or 100 times, much better business model, for sure. But I think that’s where we still get stuck in this culturally, this mindset of got to have it now. Got to have the newest, got to have the fast need.
I need the newest phone. Need to have the speediest car instead of yeah, that works. This is good enough. It does the job, man. I know it’s not flashy enough.
And marketing and advertising, everybody tells us, like, why wait and why work for it in this moment. Yeah, there’s a great there’s a video, and I kind of created my own version of that video, which was a 30 minutes video on how Finland was voted the happiest country in the world six times in a row. And I made it to a short 1 minute reel, which kind of went viral, actually. And I condensed that down into my interpretation of why they were voted the happiest country in the world and the things that they’ve done to get there. Now, just to put a caveat in there, finland does have its own problems.
Apparently, after I put the video out and it went completely viral. A lot of people have been commenting that they still have quite high alcohol rates and other problems, but they were officially voted for six years in a row, the happiest country in the world. But one of the things out of the five things that I attributed that to was they have this general underlying belief system that’s very unique and very different to something like Australia or America in that they have this really high level of contentment. One of the women that they interviewed in the video used to live in Australia and now she lives in Finland. She married a Finnish guy and she’s been there for eleven years.
And she said, it’s quite interesting when you go to a dinner party or a school function or a sporting game. When you do that in Australia, you’ll get three questions asked of you. One will be what school you went to, one will be where you live, and the other will be what job you have. And what that person is doing in that moment is they’re measuring up who you are as an individual based upon your identity and your level of affluence. Right?
And she said it’s really weird because in Finland no one asks you those questions. They don’t have this sense of status and they don’t have this sense of I need more. There’s a really deep level of contentment and they have that built into their economic model as well. It’s quite a socialist society, so everyone’s kind of well supported. 97% of the schools are public schools, and the system is very much about egalitarianism.
And so what that takes away is that sense of always striving for more. And she said it’s just a really weird phenomenon being in a society that doesn’t have that, because in Australia it’s so deep in our culture to strive for more, which is why we have these houses all around us worth tens of millions of dollars right now. Well, and sometimes it’s the way that we can identify who’s a friend. Oh, they went to my school. Oh, they’ve got my national colors.
Oh, it’s my tribe, right? But yeah, it’s funny, I did a workshop where we weren’t allowed to know anything about anybody except our names, and we were not allowed to ask what we did, what our occupations were, how we made a living. None of that was allowed for ten days. And it was amazing to get of course, there were reveals afterwards, and then you got to see your bias. But yeah, we do focus on that stuff.
And I can’t remember the name of the country. There’s a country in Southeast Asia, a very small country. They have a Department of Happiness. I think it’s Bhutan. It might be Bhutan.
And I was reading that they had this opportunity to fill this valley with water and create all this electricity they were going to make so much money? And they were like, you can make so much money. And the government kept saying, yeah, but will it make us happy? And most of us don’t ask that question, okay, great, I’ll make a lot of money. Will it make me happy?
Yeah. We’ve normalized in our society to value extreme wealth or success over happiness. And I think we’re really starting to pay a price for that distortion of values in our society. And I think hopefully at some point we’ll see a recalibration, a resetting back into a different set of values, which is what is it to be meaningful as a human being?
What is my highest priority? Is it my health and my happiness? Or is it how many followers or how much work I’m doing? How much affluence, how many investment properties, how much bitcoin I’ve got? And I think we’re going to find that there’s a deep correlation from what I’m seeing anyway, between some of the most affluent countries in the world and some of the highest levels of medication and depression and anxiety versus some of the least affluent countries in the world.
Certainly some of the traditions, tribal cultures, spiritual practices where they don’t have a lot of affluence, but they have great levels of stability and contentedness and happiness. Yeah, I mean, well, definitely social media, technology. I’ve got to have the most followers. We’re all so connected, and yet people are so disconnected from themselves. And we’re seeing high rates of suicide, alcoholism, drug abuse, all that stuff, because it’s so temporary to have that photo and that FOMO and like, oh, look, I had this amazing experience, but you don’t see the rest of my life, and you don’t see the lack of relationships.
It’s easier to text somebody in a room than walk over and actually have a conversation. One of the things I’ve started working with people is learning how to stay for difficult conversations and how to actually engage in conversation, because at least in the US, that skill is lost on so many people. I mean, there are certainly people that can do it, but a lot of people, the majority, have a conversation, have a confrontation. Terrifying. Yeah.
The simple art of connecting is something that we need to regather and bring back into our society. And that’s just having really important, meaningful, open, raw and authentic conversations, I think. Yeah, the road ahead is going to be an interesting time, that’s for sure. So let me bring it back to meditation and the mindfulness and the being. Still, you talk about the fact that we’re already in a planetary shift and can you say a little bit more about that?
And then I have a couple of questions around that. It goes back to what I was saying before, these spiritual traditions. So what we’re seeing here is an emergence into the mainstream of things like breath work, yoga, meditation, plant, medicines. These modalities were so powerful at generating a particular state of consciousness. And the people that use those modalities that generated a particular state of consciousness, let’s just call it enlightenment or spiritual awakening to some degree were so uniquely different to the rest of the world that they had to live reclusively.
So they lived in very remote places, ashrams and monasteries. Otherwise they’d be burnt at the stake. But as we’re going through this shift on the planet and we’re seeing an exponential growth curve of this awakening happening with the technical revolution that we’re having, is that we’re seeing this happen much more quickly than I think any of us expected, where this awakening is starting to happen.
And people are using these modalities at a much bigger scale now. And so as a result of that, we’re going to see a paradigm shift from what we call in Sanskrit Kala yuga to Sat yuga, which is the age of ignorance, into an age of enlightenment or wisdom.
And there’s a contemporization of that language with a group of people daniel Schmachtenberg, who’s in our film, is leading the charge in this and it’s a group of people that putting a framework and a structure around this called Game A into Game B. So game A is a finite game.
That’s a win lose game that’s built on commoditization and extraction in an economic model, whereas Game B is a different game and it’s created by people in a state of unity consciousness. Which means that everything that they create and do can only be somehow supporting and elevating the whole because they experience themselves not intellectually but experientially as the collective. And so therefore, they don’t want to do anything that doesn’t elevate and support the whole.
And so what we get as a shifting consciousness starts to spread and starts to proliferate. We’re going to see a very different structure to our societies. We’re going to see different media systems, which we’re already seeing different banking systems, financial systems, education systems, relationship systems, political systems as a result of the people that create those systems being in a very different state of consciousness. So it’s going to be from botTom up. It won’t be from top down.
Top down is those people that currently are in power don’t want to see that system change because they thrive in the current system. But what you’re going to see is more people become more conscious by default. They’re going to go, well, that system doesn’t work for me anymore. I don’t want to be in that system. I don’t want to be in that banking system, that education system, that medical or pharmaceutical system.
I think that somehow it doesn’t fit with my state of being, my state of mind. And so we’re going to see people start to create. We’ve already seen that things like social media and crypto take the power off the large conglomerates and the large forces that have been controlling those pillars of our society for long periods of time with great success for them. We’re going to see people coming through going, well, I want to create something that will support the collective. And now we have things like Telegram and Signal and even Facebook and Instagram allows us to communicate en masse to huge amounts of people.
And they’re not perfect by any means, but we’re seeing this incredible sort of seed sprouted and early stages of this paradigm shift from game A to game B, where there’s a unification and a sense of hey, whatever we’re doing, we have to do it so that everyone and everything somehow gets benefited from that. Yeah, the people at the top, though, I think, look down and say, these are the disruptors. Yeah, that’s right, because you’re the trouble. They’re trying to take away my power. Right.
But I think because they’re not able to see that it’s not equitable and it’s so many people are suffering. There’s a lot more people of the have nots than the haves that are like, saying, enough already. And I think in some ways, technology and media helps get that message across a lot more than it would have had. We not if we’re still working with a horse and buggy and all that kind of stuff. But do you think as we go into Game B, does money become irrelevant or does it just become less important?
Money is a mechanism for creating a value of exchange. And unfortunately, the problem with the current money system is that the value of that currency has been immensely devalued because of the people that own that system have got the capacity to just keep printing it and keep using it in any way, shape, or form. So it’s continuously being devalued because of that ability for them to just to make more of it. We will always need and even look at ancient spiritual practices, particularly in the Vedic tradition, when we teach someone to meditate for thousands of years, the student would bring something of value for the teacher would be a shawl or blankets, fruit, flowers, rice, water. And value exchange is always going to be an integral part of society, whether it’s a tribal culture, a spiritual tradition.
Even if you look at a Buddhist monk, for instance, so a Buddhist monk, people will bring out what they call our arms alms, as opposed to arms, and they will bring out arms for the Buddhist monk that will walk the streets in the morning to receive some food. Now, the Buddhist has to ask for that food and go out begging for that food because they haven’t got the capacity to go to a job and make the money and buy the food themselves. So people who have had to work and make the money to then go and buy the food, prepare the food, and then give it to the monk. Now, the reason why they’re giving it to the monk at that point is because they’re still going to be an exchange of value. And that person feels that that monk is contributing something to society because of the work they do.
And in exchange for that work that they’re doing, we’re going to give you some food to eat. Right? So exchange of value, even in Buddhist traditions, has been something that’s deep in the cultures. And whether it’s going to be money or crypto or fiat currency or something, there’ll always have to be some form of value exchange. And we just got to work out what’s the most efficient and most effective way to do that.
That’s all. Absolutely. Well, I have like a million questions, and I know we don’t get to go on forever. So you’ve got this project, the stillness project, and with the goal of a billion people being able to be sitting in stillness, what is the benefit that you and I get from a billion people sitting in stillness when we meditate? And there’s got to understand stillness means to transcend the individual egoic identity and experience a conscious, unified field.
And two things happen when we go into that state of deep meditation. One is we start to liberate ourselves from the attachment of the construct of who we think we are and realize that the wave now is experiencing itself as the ocean. So step one is to liberate yourself from this deep attachment to your own desires and own identity. And that’s an ongoing process. I’m still going through that.
And then the second thing is when you go through that, you start to realize on an interconnected level that you’re part of everything, right? And when you start to experience yourself more interconnected with everything, by default, you become kinder, more caring, more compassionate.
So what will it look like for Mums and Dads in the street, the average person walking along the street to have more people meditating and being in that state is that we’ll have less conflict. We’ll have domestic, less domestic violence, we’ll have less sickness, we’ll have less dependency on pharmaceutical companies. We’ll have more people being more sovereign, more autonomous.
We’ll have more people being kind and more caring. We’ll generally have a much nicer not only human species, but I think we’ll have humans starting to reassess their position on the planet and realize that there’s only a finite period of time that we can continue to perceive. Ourselves as the superior species and not realize that the bees and the fungi and all the other things play an integral role just as important as ours.
And to reassess our hierarchical position in that sort of natural world, really think, okay, well, how did it work out for the Easter Island people? Chopping all those trees down?
We need to start rethinking our position. And I think we’ll start doing that a lot more. Yeah, absolutely. It reminds me of the hundredth monkey. It’s really that certain point where the population says, this is the way this is the way.
And we could also maybe be more like the Bob. They’re a lot more compassionate to have a lot more fun and pleasure and a lot less conflict. Yeah, they deal with it in great ways. Absolutely. So we’re going to jump to the fast five.
We’re going to shift the energy just a little bit. So here we go. We’ll have fun. Should I be nervous? Don’t be nervous.
Just breathe. Just be still. How do I do that? Oh, yeah, that’s right. Meditate.
Right? Meditate. All right, here we go. What did eight year old Tom want to be when he grew up? Surprisingly, I wanted to be either in the army or be a priest, which is weird.
Sort of dichoTomy. You impact masses either way. Yeah. What’s the most money you ever spent on a surfboard? $1,200.
It was a McTavish and I still haven’t it’s my favorite board. There you go. Money well spent. Is there any one thing you miss about being in the finance corporate world? Shitloads of money.
Well, there you go. Honesty. Are you able to stay grounded when someone interrupts a deep meditation? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
I think I get a little jarred, so I’m like, I haven’t transcended yet. I’m working on it, I’m working on it. What’s the main emotion you experience around money? It’s always been fear. That fear that I don’t have enough, and when I have plenty, I’m afraid that I’m going to lose it.
And hence that’s what I kept manifesting. Pretty good at it. Yeah, absolutely. Well, Tom, I really appreciate this conversation because I think a lot of people, they gravitate towards it. It’s scary, but it resonates.
I think, for so many people, they’re like, sort of, but they’re just afraid to make that leap. There’s maybe the lack of trust or just fear of, wait a minute. Actually going for what I want because I think we all want not fulfilled in a way of like, oh, I’ve got everything I need but the inner peace that a lot of people are looking for but can’t quite find. And it’s not in this material world. And so this piece about I mean, I think really it summed up the whole conversation, in a way, is this journey of exploration, self exploration, that we’re so afraid to go in and find out the truth about ourselves.
Because it’s terrifying. And we so identify with, well, I’ve got the right school colors, or I have the right amount of money in my bank, or I drive the right car so that I fit in. And I think deep down, I’ve always had this belief deep down, we all want to fit in, we all want to belong, we all want to be in connection, we all want to know that we matter and we want to know that we’ve had impact. That’s how I go out in the world is with those hopes. And I think that what you’re doing and to, in a way, normalize it, right?
To make it like it’s okay to go and meditate instead of making an extra $5. It’s actually the universe, the planet. All of us are going to be a whole lot better off if we could actually all take a little bit more time to meditate, breathe, and go a little bit deeper.
Yeah. I think one thing I learned from my own personal experience and the thousands of students that I’ve taught is that when we put the horse in front of the cart, then when we find an inner stillness and inner stability and inner quietness and inner affluence and in abundance, then we naturally, more effortlessly attract the greatness into our life that we were looking for in the first place.
You’ll have better relationships. You’ll have better health. You’ll have better creative intentions and creative visualizations, and not everything will go your way, but you’ll have a greater capacity to bounce back and keep going. And I think that we’ve got to start within first and then from that foundation, build the outer world on top of that. Yeah, absolutely.
Well, where can people find you? Online? Social media. I know you’ve got six books at least. I know.
I’m sure more coming. You’ve got a movie out the portal. Where can people learn more about you? Probably the two best places is go to Tom Cronin or One word on Instagram. Send me a message.
I love receiving messages from people. I respond to all my messages myself, so Instagram and my website, which is Tom Cronin as well. Tomcronin.com. Tom, it’s been been such a pleasure. So appreciate you taking the time.
That’s great to be a great question. Great fun. Thanks very much for having me. Thank you. Thank you.