Spiritual Journey

Early Years

Tom Cain BeAwake

I grew up in the Montlake neighborhood of Seattle. When I was eight, I got my first bike for Christmas.  A few months later, while riding with my friends, I crashed my bike into a moving car and sustained life-threatening injuries. The doctors were able to save my life, yet they were not able to save my right arm. Once my body had recovered sufficiently, I was fitted with a prosthetic arm with a hook for a hand.

After I lost my arm I would get frustrated and angry at times when I wasn’t physically able to do the things my friends could do.  On the positive side, I loved accomplishing things with one hand that others did with two. Immersing myself in sports such as basketball, soccer and baseball was great fun and helped me feel more confident and capable.  Playing sports made me feel like one of the guys.

When I was young, one of the most difficult things with having a hook was being stared at by strangers.  I didn’t come across as being shy, but there was a big part of me that didn’t want to be noticed for being different from other people.  Being stared at made me feel extremely uncomfortable.  As I grew older I came to realize that people are just naturally curious, and I was able to grow out of being self-conscious about my arm.

My Catholic parents had enrolled me in a Catholic school.  As a boy, I believed what I was taught and I loved God.  However, during high school, I began questioning the dogma.  After high school, I attended Seattle University.  My time in college allowed me to work and pursue my passion for cars; I bought and sold forty of them. My college life certainly was not focused on the meaning of life. However, I could never escape from thoughts about the Catholic teachings. So much of them didn’t make sense to me.

After graduation, while working for New England Fish Company in a remote town in the wilds of Alaska, I had an epiphany.  I realized I was the same as and a part of everything in nature.  I was part of the cycle of life: being born, living, and dying.  I found some peace in the recognition that I was not separate from nature. My struggle with Catholic dogma was over. It was liberating. Everything made sense now. I gave up on the idea of God and an afterlife and considered myself an agnostic. Sixteen years of Catholic education didn’t have the effect my parents had hoped for.

A few years after graduating from college, I pursued a career in commercial real estate with a major national brokerage and quickly became successful.  While working for this brokerage, I married and then divorced.  Soon thereafter, in 1977, a fellow broker and I left the commercial real estate company to start our own brokerage—Cain and Scott, Inc.

Beginnings of My Spiritual Journey

My quest to understand the nature of reality beyond the five senses began in 1984.  During the early years of our new company, I had begun having intermittent telepathic experiences. Then, in 1984 while on vacation in Europe, my girlfriend at the time and I shared a series of telepathic experiences.  Though I was an agnostic, these experiences were so mind-boggling that I felt compelled to investigate them.  To my surprise, I discovered that the Catholic Church had been right about consciousness surviving the body.  This was the beginning of a spiritual journey that became my passion and continues to be the foundation of my life.

Enthralled with Eastern mysticism and also drawn to New Age offerings, I devoured everything I could on the subject of spirituality and personal transformation.  I was striving toward achieving enlightenment, and meditation was a daily routine.  During these years, my mind became quieter.  I gained a greater awareness of my environment and my feelings.  I became calmer.

Whenever the feeling of fear arose in my body, I learned to consciously experience the discomfort.  I became curious about this fear.  To confront and tame it, I began firewalking, which was a transformational experience. Walking unharmed across a bed of red hot, burning coals in my bare feet helped me overcome unfounded fears and limiting beliefs.  I became a firewalking instructor so that I could share this powerful experience with others.  Continuing my journey of taming my fears, I eventually took up skydiving, paragliding, bungee jumping, and zip lining. In retrospect, although these activities did get me in touch with my fear, I don’t think they were effective as a means for healing.

In 1995, after eighteen years of partnership, my partner in the real estate brokerage left our company.  I was unable to convince him to stay.  He took a division that was crucial to our success, and a manager of another division left with him.  Overall, the remaining employees were extremely upset.  My company was in chaos. Some quit; I fired some and hired more people.

Shortly thereafter, my second wife and I separated, eventually leading to our divorce.  The alienation of the two closest people in my life, my business partner and my wife, within a two-month period left me devastated. There were mornings when I awoke in a state of dread at the thought of going to the office.  How was I going to rebuild my company?

Fortunately, my two most important staff members had remained loyal, and they worked hard to help me rebuild the company.  In an attempt to turn the company around, I worked long hours without a day off for well over a year.  The overhead was significant.  Yet in our third year, our volume was four times greater than any previous year.  We had triumphed!

Until this time, I had taken pride in my ability to take care of myself. Financial success had come easily. Reaching out to people for help was difficult, and yet during this ordeal, I did reach out.  It was humbling, yet nourishing.  Ultimately, asking for and receiving help felt good, and I had a major heart opening.


My spiritual journey has taken me to spiritual centers, retreats, courses, and workshops. Most were in North America, but others were in Europe, India, Thailand, and South America. In the late 1990s, after my company had recovered, I began spending time with awakened teachers.  Eventually, I discovered an embodied approach to awakening—Waking Down in Mutuality, currently known as Trillium Awakening.  In 2003, I had my embodied awakening, also known as a whole-being realization—the recognition of the underlying unity of consciousness and matter.

A couple of years later, I wrote an article about my awakening that appeared in The Second Birth: Stories of Awakening within the Heart of Community anthology, edited by Bob Valine (2006).  In my article, I shared my spiritual journey from its beginning.   A few years later, I updated the article, adding some additional years for the second version of this anthology, Dancing in the Fire: Stories of Awakening in the Heart of Community, edited by Bob Valine (2012).

My life has been unique, just as all lives are unique. Each lifetime is a gift that gives a soul an opportunity to move towards its Source of pure Consciousness/universal Love. Our three-dimensional earthly existence can be quite challenging, but can be very rewarding as well. We can heal our pain by shining the light of Consciousness on our trauma and wounding. We can navigate through the illusion of separation by realizing our true nature as pure Consciousness/universal Love. Life can become a source of love, peace, fulfillment and joy.

Spiritual Leadership

President of the Board of the Institute of Awakened Mutuality (IAM).  I was the first Board President, serving two terms over four years.
Co-founder and President of the Board of Communities Living and Inspiring Mutuality.  This was a 501c (3) nonprofit that I helped start after finishing my work at IAM.  I served as Board President for four years.

Sources of Inspiration

Since my spiritual journey began in 1984, healing, awakening, and spiritual evolution have been central to my existence.  A circuitous road has led me to my awakening, and I’ve been inspired by many teachers and teachings.

I am deeply grateful for innumerable sources of inspiration.  Here, I have listed those who have influenced me the most.  Their names are arranged chronologically, from the beginning of my journey to the present day, based on when they first inspired me, not on their order of importance.

Paramahansa Yogananda
Jane Roberts/Seth
Jeshua ben Joseph (aka Jesus Christ)
John the Baptist
Mary Margaret Moore/Bartholomew
Teresa Johnston
The Enneagram
H. W. L. Poonjaji
Ramana Maharshi
Nisargadatta Maharaj
Leonard Jacobson
Eckhart Tolle
Byron Katie
Saniel Bonder
Krishna Gauci
Trillium Awakening
Tom Kenyon/Hathors
Lee Carroll/Kryon
Barry Snyder and Karen Anderson
Dalai Lama
Richard Rudd