I met Tiger Singleton, aka Tigmonk, through Facebook the day I clicked into a five-minute video titled No Words, Just the Recognition of the Love We Are. I had seen the video in my feed earlier in the day but, even though I found it interesting, didn’t feel I had time to investigate. When it showed up a second time, I took notice. Clicking on the link, I spent five minutes and fourteen seconds just looking into Tiger’s eyes while he looked back and smiled. I could see that he was filled with awe and emotion. I allowed myself to connect with him, and something in me was emotionally moved. I felt tears well up in my eyes. I wiped them away and continued, with a strange curiosity, all the way until the end.
@Tigmonk‘s energy was so beautiful, so infectious, that I had to reach out to him.
— sheila callaham (@SheilaCallaham) September 24, 2015
I sent him a Facebook friend request and he immediately accepted. Excited, I asked for more. In a private Facebook message, I requested an interview. I wanted to learn more about him and write a post that revealed an intimate glimpse of the man with no words. I wanted to share his message (and surely he had one) with my tribe. While I didn’t get the phone interview, I did get his email and the opportunity to ask three questions — whatever I wanted — that he would answer in a video.
Oh, wait. Only three questions when I had so many…. I knew I had to make them good.
Going back to my newspaper days from decades ago, I began my research. It’s much easier these days with everything you want to know about anyone at your fingertips. Certainly this is one of the reasons why I love the Internet so much. It satisfies my life-long-learning habit, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice. On this day, however, I was focused on learning more about Tigmonk. The more I learned, the more I liked this man referred to by many as a modern-day mystic.
A high school dropout, Tiger spent a few years in what he refers to as “a self-created prison of meth, cocaine, and random homelessness.” During that time, however, Tiger began to notice the root of the problem — blame.
His bio reads that in a time when he was without a home and living in his car, he began to notice how much he was hating/judging other people for his current life condition. Life was showing him something. Life was trying to show him how much it hurt to blame and carry around this weight that felt powerless.
That realization left him with a deep and powerful question, “What if they weren’t at fault, what if this was my own doing?”
He married, had children, and left his addictions behind. But attaining a feeling of success escaped him. He weighed almost 300 pounds. He was engulfed by depression and despair.
At this low point in his life, he surrendered. And in this surrender, he had the epiphany that his perception of reality was a creation in his mind resulting from comparing himself to others. Moreover, comparison was not necessary because he had a fully-realized self, perfect in its own right.
From this point, Tiger began a deep and powerful communication with Source. His understanding of life became so joyful and profound that he couldn’t help sharing it with others. As he shared, other people responded in amazing ways. Tiger Singleton, at one of the lowest points in his life, became the mystic Tigmonk and he didn’t even realize it.
After reading more about Tiger, my list of questions covered three notebook pages. How would I ever corral my curiosity down to three simple questions? In the end, I allowed myself one question stemming from his biography, one question that came to me in meditation, and one question based on my experience watching his “No Words” video.
My first question referred to a quote in his biography that read, “There is nothing said, that is believed, for what is said is only meant to point to something beyond belief.”
I was drawn to this quote because it reminded me of a similar sentiment by Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet where he writes, “Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights. But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge.”
My interpretation of Tiger’s quote was that words can’t possibly encompass the reality of our existence. But in our humanness, we continue to search for words to explain it in a way we can understand. The question I formulated from this theme was:
Why do you think people have become so dependent on words, so uncomfortable with silence and, as a result, lost so much of what we have already been provided in our soul, our spirit, our subconscious?
His answer is beautiful, of course, and deeply detailed. I’ll tell you later how you can watch his video in its entirely, but until then here are his key points to my question:
We have this conditioning that says we’re going to find something in the mind, and we can chase the mind and wear ourselves out. We can try to know that which is not meant to be known and realize it’s not working and eventually recognize that we don’t need to figure anything out. That we can just return to the present moment where the miracle is actually happening and allow that miracle to touch us where we are.
As a community, we have been entrenched in this conditioning that says that you will find something in the mind that will give you something you don’t have. This is the illusion because when you see beyond all of that, you recognize that I am all of that, and it’s all right here. Everything that I could possibly desire is already within what I am.
Discomfort with silence is reflective of the mind coming to an end and that’s very scary for the self that’s created in the mind because that self that’s in the mind is looking for more ideas and thoughts to maintain and validate its imaginary nature and in the present moment of silence, there is nothing for that imaginary self. There is nothing to add on to that in the mind. So we attempt to run away from the silence. We attempt to run away from the present moment, chasing more ideas, hoping that they will complete the imagined sense of self, but it always feels incomplete because it’s not real. The liberation comes when you realize that there’s nowhere to go. The only place to be and the only place to touch the truth of what you are is to be here now.
I had to listen to Tiger’s response more than once, of course, to allow his wisdom to sink down into the depths of my spirit. This was way beyond the mind as it grappled with meaning. I had to force myself to stop trying to “interpret” and just feel the impact of the words and the power of the inferred liberation from them.
Which brings me to my second question, the one suggested to me by a Monk, who visited me in a meditation. The Monk, obviously as playful as Tiger himself, suggested I ask this:
Where does your soul go when you sleep?
I want to say it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s always here. Maybe it dances with the divine and celebrates the journey that’s happening. I can kind of see how it’s a moment of recalibration for “beingness,” so I can only see that sort of requirement as a way that we plug into our divine nature and recharge in a way. Yeah. So we’re going to have to work with that. I appreciate the playfulness of that!
And finally, the question I really wanted to be answered. The one that related back to how I first came to know Tiger, through his “No Words” video, which I referred to as his eye contact video since that’s essentially what it was: five minutes of looking into his eyes. The question I most wanted answered was:
What were you thinking at the times when you became visibly emotional?
As I recorded that video, there was no intention of anything other than to enjoy the experience from my own space. I wasn’t looking at myself. I was looking at this little camera hole in my phone here and what I was recognizing was a tremendous gratitude and appreciation for what is.
Now hear this because I find there’s so much value in a gratitude for all that is rather than gratitude for this or for that because the beauty here is if you can have gratitude for one thing, then you have within you the potential to have gratitude for all things and this is where the deepest piece arises because it’s seen that in the nature of life being one, that the tree cannot exist without the rain. The ocean cannot exist without the wave, and the bumblebee cannot exist without flowers.
In that, all of these things cannot exist without all of these things doing what they do. So if you have gratitude for the bumblebee, you automatically have gratitude for the entire forest although we may not be aware of that.
So this is the deepest appreciation that I have in my experience. It’s not appreciation for anything. It’s appreciation for what is, which is the miracle that allows all of this to be, all of this to be, which is that – which is everything. So when I see something that arises that may not be pleasant in appearance, I find gratitude because if it were not for that, then I could not be.
It’s not the duty of the mind to discover the depth of what you are. The mind can never know that. The mind comes after that. Just as the eyeball cannot turn around and see itself, the mind cannot turn around and see what you are.
Needless to say, I was riveted by Tiger’s wisdom, by his sincerity, by his joyful nature, and by his playful passion to live life to the fullest and, in that living, inspire others to do the same.
Let’s just say, I’m a Tigmonk follower, soaking up his delicious words and sharing them with others. This isn’t about changing anyone; it’s about showing others how powerful we are when we show up authentically. When we give ourselves permission to be playful, have fun, and find gratitude in everything that is.
This message is powerfully shared in Tiger’s video titled, “Why I (Playfully) Have No Interest in Helping People.” In his adorable way, Tiger explains very clearly that he lets life do the helping and healing because that part isn’t his business. His business, he says, is to let his heart sing and discover what fires him up and ignites the passion within. What he’s discovered by doing this is that the product of his authenticity is that others see the inherent permission to simply be themselves.
Just like the time when Tiger was at his lowest and he realized that, by removing comparison and judgment, he was actually whole, he says the same for all of us.
I don’t see you as broken. I don’t see anything wrong with you. I see you pretending not to know what you are. I see your wholeness. I see that nothing’s missing. In that, the landscape becomes play.
You gotta love the internet. So many fascinating people to connect with, so little time.
Would you like to hear Tiger’s response to me in it’s entirety? I’ll be posting it soon on my Facebook page Power of Living Joyfully. Join me there to hear his full message that he recorded just for me on his birthday!
Yes, I’m that special!
And guess what? So are you!
Tigmonk is the pen-name of Tiger Singleton, an Internal Wellness Coach, Author, Speaker, Poet, and the Founder of The School of Blooming; the primary intention of which, is to engage youth and adults in a way that empowers them to see their inherent worth, beauty, and conscious ability to create a joyful life. Learn more about Tigmonk on his website, and don’t miss his upcoming “5 Night Big Island Hawaiian Retreat,” December 13 -18th. Scheduled at the Kalani Oceanside Retreat Center, this retreat is designed to give real life education for the heart, soul, and mind, taking students on a journey to their truest selves, their central joy, and their highest purpose.
Here’s an invitation for you to connect with Tiger through your favorite social media venue.