Thomas F. O'Neill
Let me introduce myself, my name is Thomas F. O'Neill and I am currently 58 years old, living and working in Wuxi, China, as an ESL Teacher.
Phone: (800) 272-6464
U.S. Voice mail: (410) 925-9334
China Mobile: 011 (86) 13405757231
I am originally from Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, but I am now teaching and living in Wuxi, China as an ESL teacher. I have lived in various other places throughout the United States before moving to China. I also spent time in such places as India, Malaysia, Ecuador, Italy, Ireland, and Australia. It was after visiting some of the most impoverished places in the world that I grew to appreciate growing up in America.
I have a degree in Philosophy and Psychology, but I also studied at a Roman Catholic Seminary for five and a half years before being asked to leave for turning in papers that contradicted the Roman Catholic beliefs. I was declared a heretic by several Catholic Bishops which I can look back on with humor.
In 1991 I traveled to Ecuador to work as a volunteer building sugarcane huts for impoverished agricultural workers. I also taught children English in the hills of Duran near Guayaquil Bay. I found the people of Ecuador to be extremely kind, friendly, and most of all affectionate. The volunteers who worked in Ecuador did so without running water or electricity. The children and adults who lived there with us were extremely respectful, loving, and eager to assist us with our daily tasks. My experiences there changed me profoundly and made me a much better person.
In 1992 I worked at an Aids Center in Brisbane, Australia. People who contracted HIV at that time were given a death sentence with no hope of having a prolonged life. I’ve seen many Australians die from Aids back then. But today with the proper medications people with HIV can live relatively normal lives.
I also volunteered my services with Mother Theresa’s Missionary of Charity organization in Calcutta, India. The volunteers worked with patients who were sick and dying. We washed the patients, including their clothes, and their bedlinen by hand. I genuinely enjoyed the time I spent with Mother Theresa and her Nuns. Before I left India, Mother Theresa told me I was a witness to the power of love. My travels were funded by private donations due to articles I have written over the years.
When I returned to the United States I worked as a Corrections Officer for the State of Maryland and later as an Agent for Maryland’s Division of Parole and Probation. I was eventually promoted to Senior Agent in the Glen Burnie, field office. I found that job to be extremely stressful, so I moved back to my hometown. Eventually, I was hired as an Intensive Case Manager with Schuylkill County mental health and I enjoyed my work with the county. My position, unfortunately, was outsourced to a private agency due to lack of county funding.
When I got laid off from the Schuylkill County Government, I worked for a Student exchange program. One of my responsibilities was finding host families for foreign exchange students and that is what led me to China. I worked as an ESL teacher from 2009 to 2018 at the Suzhou International Foreign Language School, in the City of Suzhou in the Jiangsu Province.
I returned to the US in the summer of 2018 to attend Lock Haven University because the school where I earned my bachelor’s degree, “Don Bosco College” closed in 1990, and the Chinese Government informed me that Don Bosco is no longer accredited. The Chinese Government did however let me know that they will accept an Interdisciplinary Degree from LHU. The University accepted the credits I earned at Don Bosco College and with the 12 additional credits, that I earned at LHU from 2018 to 2019, the University provided me with a second bachelor’s degree. I found LHU to be a great school and I enjoyed my stay there.
I quickly noticed that LHU is quite different today from when I was a student there 35 years ago. In the early 1980s, there was no internet, personal computers, or smartphones. I jokingly told a student in one of my classes, “years ago I had to do my homework on clay tablets with a chisel and hammer” – and she believed me. Now in my, twilight years, smart technology provides me with information whenever I need it – instantly. It also provides me with tools to overcome the educational challenges that I faced in the days of my youth. In 2017, I received the highest teaching award in Suzhou due to my use of technology. In 2019, while attending LHU I was inducted in the Phi Beta Delta’s honor society for International Scholars. I am now teaching at the Wuxi Foreign Language School in Wuxi, China, I have been here since last summer (2018).
I’m not embarrassed to let people know that when I graduated from Shenandoah Valley High School in 1981, I could not spell or construct grammatically correct sentences due to severe dyslexia. I also have 75 percent hearing loss in both ears, so I was simply labeled as being slow and pushed through the system. That was common in those days, but good and decent teachers can and will pick up on the student's difficulties. Today's modern technology can also help students overcome their educational challenges.
On reflecting on my youth, I have come to realize that I have never really accepted the Judeo-Christian view of reality. It was mostly due to their dogmatic beliefs on creation, original sin, and the Good vs. Evil duality. I have also come to realize the power and influence of the world's mythologies on the Judeo-Christian beliefs and the polarizing concepts of Heaven vs. Hell, God vs. Satan, and Devils vs. Angels. These religious beliefs are a reflection of man’s search for meaning through the power of myth.
That is what led to my interest in eastern mysticism because of its personalized and individualized approach to spirituality. I never accepted religion as being the sole approach to spiritual enlightenment because I believe every person must find their path in life. That includes the great humanitarians that are non-religious but feel a deep spiritual connection with the universe around them.
When I reflect on my life to look at the things I have done over the years. I have come to recognize patterns of behavior that either led to accomplishments or failures both occupationally and with interpersonal relationships in my life. I realize one cannot change the past, but self-reflection can help us gain a better understanding of our patterns of behavior which can lead to either negative or positive outcomes. My reflections have also given me a greater understanding of my deep interest in Philosophy, Psychology, Spirituality, and the nontraditional methods of gaining a clearer understanding of myself and others.
My curiosity in the various scientific approaches to understanding human behavior led me to take introductory courses in Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology in college but I was never really satisfied with the traditional methods. I simply did what needed to be done to pass the courses. My interests in spirituality have grown over the years though and I have come to recognize a certain maturity due to my life experiences.
I now have an eclectic understanding of the behavioral sciences because I realize there is no true method that will give us all the answers to the mysteries of our human behavior.
I enjoy writing about my beliefs and my spiritual journey and it has been through my writing that I have found a whole array of likeminded people on the super information highway called the Internet. My writings have been published in various newspapers. You can also read some of my writings on my blog
http://facebook.com/thomasf.oneill.3/ for my Facebook page.
I am glad to share my thoughts and insights in this ezine as well and I hope you enjoy reading my monthly column.
Life for me is an ongoing quest with greater self-awareness as the means to greater spiritual growth. The ultimate goal of life should be in acquiring a greater comprehension of our universe and humanity's role as intricate living beings within an evolving and consciously growing universe. It is when we discover and recognize our spiritual interconnectedness, which is the sustaining essence of all things, that we become a living, breathing, and ever so subtle revelation of the altruistic outreach of love.
One of my desires is to master the principles of “The Altruistic Life.” I have found however that I have a long way to go in my quest to become a completely altruistic person.
I wrote “The Altruistic Life” in April of 2004 and it is a brief overview of my beliefs.
Imagine if we could master these principals how much better the world in which we live would be.
The Altruistic Life
When you Love, you are loved.
When you care for others, you are cared for.
When you give of yourself abundantly, you gain an abundance in life.
When you are respectful towards others, you gain others respect.
When you are joyful you find joy in life and you bring joy to others.
When you enjoy the company of others, others will enjoy your company.
When you are forgiving, others will forgive your faults.
When you are nonjudgmental, others do not cast judgment upon you.
When you accept others into your life, others will accept you into their lives and you will never find yourself alone in the world.
Do not impose your will or beliefs upon others. Simply live your life as you would want others to live their life in doing so others will emulate your way of life.
Teach others not only with words but by revealing the essence of love that is within you in doing so others will reveal themselves to you.
Do not approach others in need with religious platitudes but rather be the presence of God to others.
Recognize the spirit of life that is within you and around you as being the spirit of love and your existence and the existence of all things as the subtle altruistic outreach of gods loving presence.
Keep in mind that the love that is within you cannot be contained in a church, creeds, or dogmas, because that Love sustains you and all things it is the Love of God.
God and life are synonymous we cannot separate the life of god from the life that is within us they are one and the same. This is not a religion or religious beliefs but simply a spiritual way of living and experiencing my life with others.
Thomas F. O’Neill
Other articles and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found at
Thomas F. O'Neill
Always with love from Suzhou, China
Thomas F O'Neill
Phone: (800) 272-6464
U.S. Voice mail: (410) 925-9334
China Mobile: 011 (86) 13405757231