Tami Simon founded Sounds True in 1985 as a multimedia publishing house with a mission to disseminate spiritual wisdom. She has dedicated her life to transformational learning and accelerating spiritual awakening in the world.

Alison: Here we are… Hello, Jean. Jean: Hi, Alison. Alison: How are you? Jean: I’m great. Alison: We just spent ten minutes laughing at like, nothing. I just want to say it. Jean: Yeah, that’s our natural facial exercise program. Alison: That’s right. That’s all we do is laugh. And today we have such a treat because we talked to … Jean: Tammy Simon. Alison: Oh, my gosh. I’ve been listening to this woman and Sounds True and Insights From The Edge..all of that…I just I love her. Jean: …for a long time. I think she’s one of the pioneers to really expose great teachers of metaphysics, of meditation, of health and wellbeing, mindfulness, etcetera. And she is herself really amazing teacher. Alison: And I couldn’t wait to do it because when you listen to her, she’s very calming and she’s very present. And I was thinking, I wonder if she’s like that in life? And she is, right? Jean: Well, she showed up that way on our interview. And she you know, she’s one of my favorite people that I go to when I want to find something to calm my mind or expand my consciousness. I do go to Sounds Tue. And she’s always been just a champion in that field. Alison: Yeah, she’s she’s great… And she’s a dog lover! Yeah.  And, you’re going to hear in this interview a lot of noise going on. Jean: That’s right. We have my dog Luna talk barking, right? Alison: We have barking, we have gardeners, we have airplanes…. So it’s as if you’re in an immersive experience. Jean: Exactly. That’s right. Alison: It’s surround sound. So we hope you enjoy it. Tami: (Dog barking a lot)….. Hi. Hello. Wonderful. Tami: Oh, that’s the best part.( Dog continuing to bark) Jean: And we know you wouldn’t mind hearing our dog…. Tami: So, Jean, you have to know how much I like dogs. Maybe you know that. And how much, Usually it’s my dogs that are barking, so thank you. I don’t care at all. I don’t care at all. The good news is my dogs can’t hear your dogs. So that’s the good news. Or we’d have a whole lot of commotion. Jean: Yeah. Jean: Oh, my goodness. Tammy, it’s so great to meet you. Tami: It’s wonderful to meet you, too. I’ve been looking forward to this. Jean: Really! Jean: Ive have been a huge admirer of yours for a long, long time. I feel like we went to school together and… Tami: Wonderful. Well, then old friends, Old friends being reunited. Here we are. Alison: And your your voice has calmed me down more times than I can say. Tami: Oh, wonderful. Alison: Thank you so much. You are such an inspiration because you didn’t take the normal path, the traditional path. You didn’t start on o what would be considered the traditional path. You left college, you came and then were uncertain, got some money. And now, 30 years later, you’ve talked to the most inspirational minds out there. What washes over you when you think of that? That is, were you divinely guided? Were you….. Tami: Sure.. Well, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you this. So first of all, it’s been 37 years. Just in just in April it was 37 years. And I’m going to tell you this, I’m going to answer this question in an odd way, if you will. I just had breakfast today with someone who’s worked with me for 14 years, and she’s a very valuable employee, someone I really like. And she said, you know, Tammy, I’m thinking, God, I should probably at some point maybe leave Sounds True. Or otherwise I’ll have like, my whole resume will be I lived my whole life at Sounds True, and I’ll be unemployable someplace else. And what I said was, why are you buying into this status quo perspective about your job and employment? Forget it… The way that people are… So I think the reason this answer is your question is in general, when you said like bucked convention in general, when I look out at convention in regards to a lot of things, I don’t think it’s landed us in a particularly good place as a human civilization here in 2022. And we all see the the problems and challenges. So I think part of it for me has always been begin with a fresh sheet of paper, begin fresh, like don’t look outside and say let’s model ourself after and try to fit into something that’s clearly not working for the environment. It’s not working for tons of people, for many, many people. Do you know what I’m saying? So that’s that I think is part of my it was funny today just having this conversation because I thought this this was in me from when I was young. Tami:  From when I started. Sounds true and it’s still in me, which is just because it’s been done this way doesn’t mean we want to do it. How do you want to do it? What’s actually important? What’s really driving you from the inside out? So as a young person, what was driving me was that I wanted to learn.. That was the biggest thing was I was so interested in talking to wisdom teachers. And the interesting thing, 37 years later, is I still want to learn. There’s no end, which I just think is such an interesting part of the spiritual journey. And it’s kind of like, you know, when I was very moved by a, long term relationship and intimacy, and I thought, you know, you never reach the end of it. Yeah. Like, it just keeps deepening and you keep discovering new things. And I think that’s also true on the spiritual journey, is that at least that’s been my experience, is people think there’s some end point and it’s like, Oh, now I’m a master or something like that. But that’s not my experience. My experience is there’s always something new to learn, some new way to grow. It’s like, Oh, I finally understand that. Or I get the nuance and the complexity that all three of these things are kind of true at once. That’s interesting. How can I be big enough to hold that? So what motivated me in the beginning, which really was a path of personal evolution and then sharing that with other people is still what motivates me. Alison: Just your inherent curiosity. Tami: Curiosity and drive to grow. Drive to grow and drive. To optimize. And this is something that I learned from a spiritual teacher, a gentleman named R.H. Olmos, that we have inside us this optimizing function as people. And I feel that like there’s something in me that wants to give more, that wants to serve more, that wants to love more, that wants to understand more. So yes, it’s curiosity. But the reason that I took it even further than that is curiosity can sound kind of, you know, you can be curious about new tastes and new smells and new countries and and that’s part of it is a curiosity, but it’s deeper. It’s like an inner drive, right? To to grow and serve more. Alison: That’s beautiful. Jean: That is so beautiful. And the platform of Sound True- Insights  at the Edge. Yeah. What a great platform that your soul created for you to, um. to do all this exploration. And much like, I mean, I wasn’t even going to talk about this, but much like my husband, Alex.  He loved people’s perspectives. Show me what you got. Show me what you got. And he created and with the help of a beautiful team, the show Jeopardy, where he that was his platform to really enjoy have that interaction. Um, and I think that is something that’s so satisfying to the soul. It’s probably why you and Jeopardy, Sounds True and Jeopardy have been around for 37 years. Yeah, it’s it’s beautiful and.. Okay, so Sammy was talking to Tammy. I’m so sorry. Tami: People call me that all the time. For whatever reason, I don’t know why, but the S and the T because, you know, sounds true. And then it becomes like Sammy, Sammy time. And so it’s good. Alison: ha ha ha Jean:  So tell us, Bob( laughing),… What exactly… Ha ha ha Jean: Was talking to my  daughter this morning and and she says, so mom, what are you doing today? I said, I’m interviewing this, this beautiful person. Tammy Simon from Sounds True. And she said, oh, she does all those spiritual talks and books. And I said yes. And right away I thought, I want to ask you, Tammy, what’s the word spiritual mean to you? Tami: And it’s a really important it’s a really important question. And, There’s a big mystery under the word spiritual, which is why I like it. So a lot of times people are like, Well, we want evidence based mindfulness training and that’s good and that’s valuable. And we can see the science and we can see that we’re moving out of the default mode network in our minds. So I get all that and it’s very valuable. However, I think there’s a dimension of our inner experience that we can’t nail down. We can’t even fully articulate words for it in a definitive kind of way. Which is why often, like within the Jewish faith, they would go g-d know or the name that can’t be named. And there’s some dimension. And this is the dimension that’s most interesting to me. That’s mysterious. Yeah. And yet it’s So how could this thing that’s mysterious at the same time be of ultimate value? Like that’s my experience inside. Like, what’s the spiritual? It’s this mysterious nature of being, the essence of being, that is the ultimate value because it’s the thing I care the most about. When I think of what am I serving, what’s expressing through me, what feels like love that keeps growing and growing and growing and growing. That all feels like the spiritual to me. And yet any words you can use for it don’t quite do the job right. They don’t. It’s it’s never complete. And so that’s so to me the spiritual has all of that mystery in it. And that’s why I like the word, even though it means different things to different people. And it can be very confusing. Jean: Yeah. Alison: When I started on this path, I think the most interesting thing early on that I heard was the idea of pointing. You know, I am pointing to it because and that took me a long time to incorporate into myself to understand what that meant for me, because I’m very, you know, let’s do it. Here’s the paper. You go there, I go there. So the idea of something expressing in such a in such a like I’m going to say the word grand and grand is not the right word. And that the the idea that grand is just a pointer for something that I know. I know and yet we’ll never know. Yeah. Was so profound. I think it was, You know Reverend Reverend Mark, it just was amazing. Do you, um. Do you find that for you? Daily you are aware of miracles. Are they, Is it something that, Like I tried to picture what your day is like.  How does your spirituality and the idea because you talk a lot about what is the good that can happen today and where is the miracle? Is that consistent for you? Tami: Well, first of all, this moment right now, us meeting. Is that a miracle? It’s pretty cool. It’s pretty awesome. Yeah. It’s celebratory. It’s sacred right here. And why is it sacred? Because all three of us are really present for it. We care, right? We all really care. Like our presence is here, participating, and it makes it a sacred moment. Do we have the opportunity for every day to have that quality for every hour? Yes, we do. And it doesn’t have to be because we’re meeting other people. We can be meeting ourselves and our own experience. And it doesn’t have to be because it’s fabulous and blissful. It can be disturbing and unnerving, but we can still feel the sacredness of it, the specialness of it. And then in terms of what my actual life is like, you know, I run a company with 150 people. I host a lot of things. So I have a lot of response abilities. And in my home life and I have lists of things that I’m working on and and all of that. And I think my approach is to always turn towards how I’m feeling. So even when it’s uncomfortable. So, for example, I woke up this morning and I felt something inside, inside my belly and my chest, and I couldn’t quite tell if it was anxiety or kind of like spacious openness or kind of both, But and I just I stayed in bed for a while and I just stayed with it. And I was like, What is this? And it’s kind of like the open potential of this moment of time has me feeling kind of unsettled and also really creative and kind of somewhat excited and somewhat terrified. And oh, this is so interesting. And it was like just being with that experience, turning towards it instead of away from it and honoring it. And it’s that honoring of the experience that’s also what I think creates the sacred moment. So you use this word miracle. And I guess I’d have to know a little bit more what that word means to you to maybe answer it more accurately. Alison: But I think you answered it almost perfectly because I went through a time years ago where I thought miracles were special. I thought miracles were something that happened at some fountain to a little kid that saw Mary. Do you know, like I was very much in that whole Christian mindset. That’s where I was raised Catholic, right? And then as we started working on A Course in Miracles, I realized, oh, I, I’m. I’m, I’m it. Yeah. It’s not outside myself. And and so when I listen to you interview people, what’s interesting to me is because you always bring it back to the intimate and the personal, and that really reinforced that for me. And so this could not be a noisier interview.hahah (sound of planes) Tami: It’s fun. It’s good. The miracle is like the miracle is the cacophony, the noise. I mean, that I think that actually part of it is in order to recognize the miracle, we have to not want it to be different. Jean: That’s right. Jean: And that’s like a really beautiful quote. Tami: Yeah. And just to be okay with exactly what is. Because when you’re not in resistance to it, suddenly it’s kind of interesting, right? The sounds are interesting. Alison: And the idea of judgment. This this was bad news. This was good news. Yeah. Letting go of that has been a huge leap for me. Tami: Yeah, that’s a very, that’s a very evolved state to be able to see. You know. Alison: Nine times out of ten, I’m not hitting it, but that one time that I’m allowed to really let myself be, you know, it’s kind of amazing. Jean: Yeah,  Coming from a Course in Miracles, studying that very dedicatedly for maybe ..well I still do it. So, um, I think in The Course it says, that a  miracle is a shift in your perception. When the perception goes back, To this holy moment, right here, right now. Tami: Exactly. Jean:  This is then. Then it becomes that miracle. I’m sitting with Tammy Simon. I’m sitting with Alison Martin. I’m,.. Here we are. There was you know, here we are right here. Right now. Tami: Yea..Luna’s with you. Yeah. And lying down I have this my favorite beverage which is matcha powder with oat milk with a little vanilla and maple syrup. Doesn’t that sound good? Jean: Yeah, that sounds good. Tami: So, you know, and I have my favorite pen. I love these precise. But, you know, it’s just interesting because a beverage, a pen. Right. Lined paper. Yeah. An Internet that’s working. Clearly. That’s a good microphone. I mean, I feel so happy with these things. Yes. With these items. And we each have our own little. Little things like that, you know. That’s right. Alison: Yeah, that’s exactly right. If you had something to choose, one of your attributes 100 years from now, what would you like to be remembered for? Tami: Well, the sentence that comes to me is she was a good hearted person of service. Jean: Oh.Indeed. Alison: That brings tears to me. I find that. Jean: Beautiful. Alison: Yeah. Very moving. Yes. Tami: Yeah. It’s not. It’s not particularly lofty or anything, but I think it’s what’s actually. Yeah, true. Deep. I mean, it’s not lofty meaning? Like it’s not like, you know, I didn’t invent the cure for something or whatever, but I do think it’s my deepest nature. The truth of my deepest nature. Jean: Yeah. Alison: That’s right. Jean: Um, Tammy, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about meditation.  And so I’ve heard, in doing some research on you personally, um, you mentioned that when you learned this specific type of meditation. That was really a turning corner for you. Um, can you just talk about the benefits of meditation and, and what is your practice now? Tami: Well, there are lots of different kinds of meditation, the type of meditation that you’re referring to. Jean that was really powerful in my experience was somatic meditation or embodied meditation, working inside the space of the body and really grounding in body based awareness. And when I mentioned to you turning towards experience, what I mean by that is also turning towards the physical dimension of experience. So not abstract philosophy, which is why when you pointed out how, Tammy, you seem to like to ask people what’s true in their experience, not what they’ve read or thought about other people’s writings, but that is always what’s most interesting to me, what’s actually happening in someone’s experience. And through somatic meditation. I learned to get really interested in my own experience, my own physicality and turning towards that and being with that and through that, there was a type of capacity that became developed to be with anything. And that includes intense pain and distress and experiential intensity. Of all kinds, and the ability to be with experiential intensity opens us up to be with the heights of joy, pleasure and ecstasy, as well as because we’ve grown this capacity. So we’re not just living any longer in a small kind of contained world. Like I won’t feel that much grief, sadness and loss. So therefore I’m, I’m constricted. It’s like the whole. Being hood opens up with a welcoming of absolutely all experience, which also gives us this capacity for great joy and pleasure and fulfillment as well as every aspect of the human experience. And so after practicing formally and what I mean by formally is sitting on a meditation cushion, going to long meditation retreats, retreats that month long retreats, week long retreats, I would say I was in meditation retreats for about two months a year for close to 15 years. Tami: And there’s a certain point I was teaching meditation as well within this tradition that I’d studied in. And at a certain point I realized I didn’t want to teach anymore, that I wanted to put all of my energy into Sounds True that it was too much to try to teach meditation, have a happy married life, and run a growing company and something had to give. And so I put all my chips into Sounds True as a kind of platform for me, as a place for me to put my contributions and bringing the meditative training into action, into language, into leadership, into business. That’s what became important to me. And I started not wanting to spend time formally sitting on the cushion. Just be truthful. It started feeling forced, like I was like all that time that I spent two months a year, it never felt forced. I wanted to do it. I was drawn to doing it. I felt called, and then at a certain point it just felt forced and I was like, I’m not going to force myself to do it. And so I started seeing instead the meditative opportunity, if you will, in every part of my day and into the evening. And occasionally I will sit and meditate, but not often in a formal way. Alison: Right, Right. Jean: That’s that’s beautiful because that part of the the conditioned mind that says, oh, you better do it, you’re not a good person if you don’t, you you know all of that. I do not think that serves the truest meaning of meditation. And, um, but I was really taken with, because I felt I could really appreciate and relate to getting back into the body.. Because I’m someone that’s very thinking. I do think a lot. And to really come back into my body, especially now that I have more time on my own, you know, I’m not a caretaker. I’m not a wife and my children, I’m an empty nester. Both my children are out. So I now have have this beautiful time. It’s different than my time before. And I think my meditation, it’s been very mental and I don’t want it to be just something I check off, like laundry, you know? I did . I did. Yeah, And it’s it’s much more purposeful, meaningful, full for me. As Jean the character Jean. Embracing all of herself. Tami: Yeah. Tami: Yeah. And I think you said it’s been mental. And so I think the question would I would ask is what? What would make it drop? So that you were in touch with the level of sensation? Would it be like spending time in a gentle yoga practice like yin yoga or something like that or other things? I think that and then it’s the question is like, what are we drawn to? Do you know what I mean? Like some people are really drawn to just quiet time in nature and that’s where they really finally drop in is, you know, sitting on a rock or something like that. So I just think I think a lot of it is we have to follow what we’re called. Like that’s the key is like, what are not what’s out there, Not the not what the meditation teachers say. Right. You know, believe me, within my tradition, the fact that I stopped formal meditation, this is very taboo. Totally taboo, completely. But I think one of my operating principles is there’s only one of each of us. And because there’s only one of you, you can’t necessarily follow an outside recipe to become yourself. You can’t follow what anybody says, what any teacher says. You have to say, Oh, this is not I’m not like a cookie cutter or something. I’m an unprecedented human event happening right now. What’s actually really true for me right now, what’s really true is that, you know, I want to have an ice cream meditation. I don’t know, like I want to slowly eat a scoop of ice cream. That’s what’s really true or whatever it might be, you know, whatever it might be. Alison: Right, or you got me on ice cream. Tami: There you go. Alison:  That’s excellent.  What’s at the edge? Insights at the Edge. What’s the Edge? Tami: Right. I think I named it Insights at the Edge because I was thinking about this image, how most of us live in a known territory and we’re like, This is what I know. And what’s so exciting is for something to come in that is like right on that edge. It’s unknown, but we kind of maybe have a sense about it. So it’s right. It’s like that edge between the known and the unknown and the soon to be discovered and can we learn at that place in our experience? So we’re like, Wow, I kind of like sometimes I notice when I talk to somebody who’s a great teacher, I’m like this and they say something and it comes in over here. It’s right outside, and it’s kind of like I kind of could see it, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t say it myself. That’s why I’m learning from them, because they’re the one who’s saying it. And so that’s really what I meant by this notion of insights at the edge, which is not let’s just not recapitulate everything that we’ve you know, like I’ve said this to you a hundred times, I’m saying the same thing. And this is, you know, my same talk that I give. I always give the miracle talk. And here’s my miracle talk. And I think that’s boring. And so I also wanted guests to be like, I was like, don’t give me your packaged thing. I don’t want your packaged thing. I want you to be right here present and for something that is on your edge to come forward, because I’m going to push a little bit to see what’s actually happening. We’re going to make new discoveries. Jean: I love that freshness. Tami: Yeah. Yes. Jean: Always fresh. Always fresh-  hot cross buns right out of the oven. They’re never stale. Alison:  it’s so funny. We always write down these questions and we never use them. Tami: Very good Alison: We write these down and we’re like, okay, this is going to be first, this is going to be next. And then we get talking with all these people and it just goes somewhere and it feels like we’re hanging out with a pal and learning. And it’s so interesting. And I’m like, Oh, yeah, we you know, we don’t we don’t do it. Tami: Well, you know, I’m not I’m not a student of a Course in Miracles, but when you brought up the Holy Moment. Yeah. And then you talked about always fresh, it seems to me that there’s something in that that goes together, that when you’re recognizing the sacredness of the moment, it is always like it’s the first time. And I’ve noticed I have a there’s a hike right outside my door, just a few houses that goes up into a canyon. And it’s really it’s really gorgeous. And one of the things I notice is I always feel like I’m on the hike for the first time and I’m like, how is it? It’s something about wilderness, you know, because it’s so complex and beautiful and interesting. So even if I hike on that trail every day, it’s each time it’s brand new. It’s like to be able to bring that kind of lens not just to the wilderness, but to ourselves and to each other and to all of our experience. It’s easy with the outdoors because it’s so dramatic. Alison: Yes. And I think nature is the thing that you you forget that you have a line right here. You know, this line really blurs when I feel that, you know, when we take our walks or I go with my husband or my kids, I feel a real sense of my soul being so much greater than where my this form ends, you know? And that’s just that’s yeah, you’re exactly right. That’s just very, very powerful. Jean: Yeah. Alison: What do you think? I’m going to ask just two quick questions. What do you think makes you laugh the most? Tami: Well, honestly, to be honest with you, I have one friend. Her name is Super Nance and she always knows where my funny bone is. And the funny thing is, once she finds it, like, she just keeps going back to the same spot again and again, and it doesn’t tire. Like, that’s the funny thing. Like, she’ll just go like, there’ll be like a three hour kind of cascade once she’s got the spot, you know? So I think she she’s the person who knows how to make me. How did you meet her? Alison: Like, how do you know her? Tami: Uh, well, it’s an interesting story. She lives on Cortez Island, which is north of Vancouver. It sounds like you’re familiar with it. And I met Julie,  my wife 20 years ago on Cortez Island, and we’re building a home there that’s going to be complete this summer. And Nancy lives on Cortez Island. Alison: Oh, so that’s great. And so do you, like, just, like, laugh till you’re crying? Tami: Yeah. Or laugh till, you know, it’s actually like you got to make sure you’re not peeing down your leg kind of thing. Alison: Yeah, exactly. It’s a great. Jean:  a Natural face lift. Tami: Yeah. Jean: And ab workout. Tami: Yeah, yeah. Alison: We love that. And then just our, our last, our last question is, what is the most important thing to you. Tami: Well, it’s be true to be true to be true. And what I mean by that is to be true to my inner experience, my inner calling, my uniqueness, to be true to the inner calls that I feel and experience, to be in my own integrity to be true. Be true. To never cross that. Never cross it. Alison: And that is so important right now with the idea of people being authentic. Authentic? Yeah. Like, well, that’s the end of our interview. Tami: And a good howl it is. All right. Luna, you’re the best. Jean: And there it is. She hit it out of the ballpark. Alison: That’s it. I don’t even think we can say anymore. Okay. Bye. Thanks for joining us. She was she just is so interesting and present and speaking to you like from the heart and really smart. Like I just loved her. Jean: Yeah. I think for me also, I was I was just thinking to myself as she was talking, which I try not to do, but it does happen while you’re thinking. Yeah. Wow. I am sitting with Tammy Simon. This woman that I’ve been so intrigued with for so many years. And here she is. We’re having a conversation with her. Alison: We’re so blessed by all the people that we keep meeting that I that I find are just making the world a more unified, kinder place, it feels like. Do you know? Jean: Yeah. I think that’s one of the great gifts of the Internet is that we can all reach farther and meet these interesting people that we can really only in the past,.. Only have read about… But now we can hear their voice and have direct experiences with them. Alison: Right? And it’s really great. And I don’t know, I just I think so much of what she said and I love the fact that she thinks every day is a miracle and that when she said You’re an unprecedented expression of humanness, I was like, I felt so proud of myself. I was like, woohoo.. Jean: Honestly, it is So.. It’s a gift to be a human, although I know it doesn’t feel like that, for a lot of people sometimes. And just remember, it’s all temporary. Alison: And the unprecedented.. When she said that, I got chills. I just loved that she was great. So that’s it for us for today. And we hope you enjoyed it. And we’ll be back soon, right? Jean: We will.

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