Donna Quesada: Well Leonard, it’s just a pleasure to meet with you again.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with our readers and listeners.
Leonard Jacobson: Okay. It’s my pleasure and it’s very nice to see you again.
DONNA: Thank you. We have a very special way of starting our time together and even though I can’t wait to get into your riveting story about your project to liberate Jesus’ teachings. I’d like to first start with the simple question of what it means to awaken…
LEONARD: Ok. Well, that is a very good question and it’s very very simple. Most of us almost all of the time are living in a very limited level of consciousness, which I call the world of the mind. Sometimes I call it your dream. Sometimes I call it your story, but basically, it’s everything outside of the present moment. It’s not happening NOW… we access the world of the mind, the dream, the story through our memories, through our imagining.
Our concepts, our ideas, our opinions particularly, our beliefs and our thoughts. And the whole of humanity is based on what I call the world of illusion and separation. It’s not real. And yet, almost everybody is caught in this world, not realizing it’s a dream. It’s illusory. And it’s made up of the past or future. Whenever you are in the mind, you are somewhere in the past or somewhere in the future. The remembered past or the imagined future. So, that is what we are awakening from. And it’s a world that we have been lost in for lifetime after lifetime. Possibly from the very beginning of time. We’ve been lost in this very limited level of consciousness.
Now, what do we Awaken to? We awaken from the world of the mind, the dream, the story. We awaken into the world of Now. We learn the art of being deeply and profoundly and fundamentally present and that level of presence that I am describing, forms the foundation of everything you ever experience, even in your day to day life. Your experience during linear time. Now, presence has suddenly awakened within you and it changes everything without any effort on anybody’s part. Why does it change everything? The answer to that is very simple. When you are present, you actually open into the energy of love. It really has nothing to do with who or what you love. You are the energy of love when you are present. You are the energy of acceptance. There is no judgment. You are the energy of compassion. You are empowered from within. You have an awareness of the oneness of all things.
Can you imagine, if this awakens within you, all these qualities of presence and they start flowing into your day to day life? Your life is bound to change for the better and dramatically. Because now there is almost a different dimension of you showing up. The Awakened You. Now, here is the surprising part… People don’t realize that everyone on this planet… You, me, everyone… Everyone is already fully awakened! Everyone is a fully awakened being. Always has been. Always will be. The only problem is, the fully awakened you is already here, always will be, but to the extent that when you or any of us get too absorbed into the past and future world of the mind, we disconnect from the presence, the truth that is ever present within us.
So, it’s not about accomplishing anything. It’s about relaxing and finding your way out of the dream, out of the past and future. Out of this maze that is the world of the mind and opening into the world of now. God has nothing to offer you other than this moment that is revealing itself to you right now. The ego and the mind can offer you so much more. It’s just that none of it is real. It’s all false promise and memory of the past. Usually selective. Not even accurate memory. So that is what I call awakening… to be fully awake in the present moment… utterly present with what is here. Your mind is silent. You are experiencing the oneness, the mystery.
And at the deeper levels of presence, you might even start tuning into the presence of God in all things present, At the very deepest level of awakened presence, heaven on earth might reveal itself to you. Now, it’s only going to be revealed within your consciousness. In a sense, that is who you are. Who we all are? You are the redeemer of oneness and the revealer of heaven on earth. What a journey.
DONNA: Indeed. And so, we already are that. What sabotages us? You mentioned the ego. It makes me forget that I am that already?
LEONARD: Well, It’s not just the ego. You almost have to go back to the very beginning of time. I’m not going to go into detail because it’s of the mystery and you have to be really present to even hear what I say about that and it’s complex. To keep it very, very simple… I’m sorry I’ve forgotten your question. Repeat your question.
DONNA: It’s interesting that we already are love and are awakened but…
LEONARD: We are already fully awakened beings, but here is the catch. We humans have become habituated. Lifetime after lifetime. Century after century. We have become habituated to living in the world of the mind. It’s all we know. We’ve become addicted to thinking. You see, all thought will take you into the mind. If you believe in those thoughts, you will find yourself imprisoned within the mind. There is actually not a lot wrong with thought, but there is a lot wrong with believing in your thoughts as the truth. Believing in your beliefs as the truth. Believing in your opinions as the truth. All you are doing in that way is disconnecting from where the truth is, which is in the present moment.
DONNA: It seems to be such a universal and constant message in wisdom teachings. And I remember once… the question came up in one of the Zen workshops I was attending: Well, what is the big deal about NOW? What happens when NOW isn’t so pleasant?
LEONARD: Well, how can NOW not be pleasant? That’s impossible, unless you are being stretched on a rack and tortured. Or, unless there is a lion headed your way to eat you or a bear there ready to attack you. What is going on in the present moment that is of concern? Everything we are protecting ourselves against… which is why we stay in the dream… is from the past. And we are trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The ego is very involved in that part of it, but it just keeps us in the past and future and separate from the truth of who you are.
As you awaken into presence, into the deeper worlds of presence, you are going to open up into the truth of who you are. And most people don’t even have the beginning of a clue who they are. I can say to anyone that is watching or listening that you are so much more than anything you can imagine with your mind. You are of the mystery. You are a direct emissary from God, but you’ve been caught in a world of Illusion called The World of the Mind. I’m not condemning the mind at all. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t think whenever it’s appropriate, which may be many times each day. The problem is when we get caught or locked into that dream and when the thoughts never stop. You see, to be a fully awakened, Buddha-like, Christ-like being is your natural state. It’s who you really are. And to be present is your natural state. That’s your natural state to be present.
So, the only question is, how do we live in presence? If that is my natural state, how did I leave and how come I’m still left? I’m not coming back. What is that? The answer is, we are all addicted to thinking. And thinking, always by its very nature, takes you into the past and the future. You cannot think about the present moment. You can only be present, so, even to think about the present moment, you have to leave the present moment. All thought takes you into the past or the future. And if you believe in that thought, that is where you are going to be imprisoned. But if you recognize that that is just a thought, don’t give it energy, you don’t reject it, you don’t believe it… Just say “Hello thought, thank you very much,” and back to presence, it’s not going to disturb you.
Also, another thing about thoughts is that most people on this planet can’t stop thinking. It’s an addiction. One of the first things I’ll do at one of my retreats, and I kind of enjoy doing this, is I say, “Okay, everyone… Close your eyes. For the next 60 seconds, no thoughts.” How many people do you think can pass that little test? Virtually none. But there is a consequence to that because all thoughts take you into the past or future. That includes spiritual thought. Intelligent thought.
I’m not condemning thought. I’m just saying, what thought does. It takes you into the mind, and if you stay there with your thoughts, that is where you will stay. To be present is to be transcendent of the past and future. It brings you into the moment of now. It opens you into something that is profoundly mysterious and profoundly beautiful. There is no way of knowing the level of love that you experience. As you become more deeply present… as you open into oneness… it’s really heaven on earth. It’s exactly the same as heaven, but it’s manifested on earth. What a blessing. What an opportunity. That’s why we are here. To experience heaven in a physical form, which is heaven on earth. What would that be like? Because in heaven, we don’t have physical form. So, what would it be like? That’s an experiment. I wouldn’t mind going down there, entering the linear world of time and experiencing physical form. Try that out. That could be fun. I didn’t realize what I was getting into. I didn’t realize that these thoughts that I have can take me straight into the past.
For example, if you have a thought where the theme of the thought is blame, where do you think blame takes you? Straight into the past. Guilt, past. Resentment, past. Revenge, past. Anger, past. All these energies that we are constantly involving ourselves in are taking us back to the past.
Now, how does the mind pull us into the future? The great trick. I think the ego should be given a round of applause for this simple trick that has the whole of humanity enslaved. What is that simple trick? The promise of future fulfillment. The great trick. Get a new dress, you will be happy. Get a new house… new boyfriend or even… I promise you, follow these practices, read these books and you’ll be enlightened. False promise.
DONNA: Would it be fair to say that all of our suffering, or a good part of it, is due to this trickery? This world of thought… the jealousy, the insecurities, the anxiety… the depression, that so many people suffer from?
LEONARD: Absolutely. 100%. I would say that all of our suffering… we are creating ourselves. The worst thing we can do is try to fix ourselves within the dream. You try to fix yourself… you go to a therapist. You are going to try and make yourself less this or more that. What you are doing is saying to the dream, “I believe you, you are real.” And the moment that you try to fix the dream or fix any aspect of yourself in it, you take yourself further into the dream. But when you see the dream for what it is… Oh, there is me, being jealous… Oh, judgment is rising… Is that who I chose to be? No. I disengage from it. I become more and more grounded in presence… established in presence. And at the same time, as part of the same process. I’m bringing the dream to consciousness. I’m realizing what the dream is. What’s the theme of my dream? Is it abandonment? Is it “I’m all alone”? “I’m not good enough.” “I can’t do it?” Is it, “I’m not loved?”
What’s the theme of your dream and how is that playing out in your life? Have you got all these repressed feelings within you? It’s all from the dream. It’s all from the past. We got through a process of bringing the dream to consciousness. All that is hidden shall be revealed. Those are the words of Jesus. In this context, bring everything that is buried in the darkness of your unconscious mind. Bring it all to consciousness with love, acceptance, compassion. And it will all begin to relax and release you. But If you try to fix the dream, judge the dream, try and escape from the dream, that just locks you further into the dream. You bring the dream to consciousness with love, acceptance and compassion. What caught you in the dream? How do you get caught in the dream? You were present, suddenly you are back in the dream. You were triggered. What happened? What are you when you are in the dream?
It’s radically different than the truth of who you are. How do you keep yourself in the dream? What do you need to let go of to come out of the dream? So, for example, if you are still blaming dad for what he did when you were 12 years old or 4 years old… that blame will keep you in the dream and keep you in that part of the dream which is painful… where that actually happened. It’s all unconscious, but it holds us in the dream. If you still want your mother to understand you and approve of you and tell you how terrific you are, then you are going to be locked in the dream forever until you bring it to consciousness. But if you don’t bring it to consciousness… Let’s say you feel unloved… it’s part of the dream, right? You spend the rest of your life trying to be loved… trying to prove that you are loved or whatever you are trying to do. But nothing works.
On a deeper level, you don’t feel loved. So, you keep doing that then you die with all these unresolved patterns, limiting beliefs, repressed feelings, judgments of yourself and others. You die. You leave the body. Guess what? Within a very short time. You are back to repeat the whole story. Exactly the same points you are trying to learn and free yourself from. But different face. Different name. Maybe a different nationality. Same story. That’s God’s compassion. God keeps giving us opportunity after opportunity. Lifetime after lifetime. To get it right. This is a dream. How do I come out of this dream? How do I fix this dream? That is the biggest mistake everyone on the spiritual path in making. Trying to fix the dream… fix themselves in the dream.
DONNA: That’s amazing. We spend a lot of money and time trying to fix ourselves, but that is just beating around the bush.
LEONARD: It’s not beating around the bush. Well, it’s that for sure, but it’s taking that further into the dream and imprisoning you there. You are saying to the dream and whatever is in the dream, “I believe in you.” And guess what the foundation of the dream is? It’s the little girl you once were. Any time you judge yourself or you are hard on yourself, you are not actually judging yourself. You are judging the little girl. Every time you wish you could change and not be so wimpy or whatever it might be… Or triggered, or whatever it-is, and you get angry with yourself… you are really getting angry at the little girl or the little boy or whoever is listening. That’s truly what is going on and that inner child… that child that you once were.
Whatever happened in the circumstances of the first four years… particularly in the first year… Whatever happened slowly forms into impressions which then form into limiting beliefs, which then get programmed into the mind, which then form the foundation of your life in the dream. It’s just startling. That’s shocking and there is such a way out. I don’t know how I came up with it. But I’ve come up with a really simple clear and direct way out of the dream, and into the truth of who you are. And it really is absurdly simple.
There are two steps to this teaching. The first step, which is the most important, and always must come first, is learning the art of being present. How can we become suddenly present? Instantly present like that? Not practice. Not meditation.
Is it possible to be instantly present? The answer is that there is no other way. Practice will become an obstacle. Trying to be present will be a very strong obstacle to being present. Because the present moment is already here. We are all searching for something that is already here. How does that make sense? The present moment never goes away. It can’t. It’s not possible. So, who goes away? We do. Where do we go? Into the past and future world of the mind. We disconnect from presence, from truth. We get more and more lost in the mind. The more rigid you are… the more strongly you believe in your beliefs, the more lost you are and there will come a point when you are willing to kill and declare war in the name of your beliefs. That’s taking us further and further into hell.
For me, heaven and hell are already here. Heaven is presence. Hell is going further and further into the illusionary dream we are all lost in. It becomes more and more painful. More and more difficult. It’s a good thing because who is going to wake up out of a happy dream? No one. But if your dream becomes miserable enough… hard enough… enough suffering. Maybe, just maybe, you will suddenly awaken.
And I will give you two examples of who that happened to. The first is Buddha, who gave up… The second is Eckhart Tolle, who was sitting on a bench feeling incredibly miserable and depressed and suddenly he just popped out of his dream. But his suffering was because he was in the dream. So, all credit to him for coming out of the dream.
DONNA: A great motivator.
LEONARD: Ahh, except there is another way. It doesn’t have to be a path of suffering. You don’t have to suffer in your dream to wake up out of the dream. You just need this much (a little) intelligence.
DONNA: So that is Step One… waking up and coming back here, now…
LEONARD: Step one is presence, yes. But I want to finish what I’m saying and then I’ll come back to that. So, we just need this much intelligence. What do we need the intelligence for? To recognize the simplest statement I can declare of truth. If you can recognize this as truth, you will awaken. It’s as simple as that. Not instantly. But sooner or later you will. And the simple statement of truth that I like to say… It forms the foundation of my teaching. In truth, there is no life outside of this moment. Deal with it.
Oh, there is no life. How can you live outside of this moment? You can’t, but your mind can. You can in your mind. You can be anywhere, everywhere, but you are disconnecting from the truth, which is the whole point of our being here. So, to come back, yes… step one of this teaching is learning how to be present.
But you know, it’s not enough by itself. If you are really deeply and profoundly present in this moment, all that’s happened is that you have caught up to the cow. Or the tree. Or the donkey. Or the flower. Or the bird. Or the sky. You just caught up. But there is another step that we humans have to undertake because we have been so lost for so long. The tree has never been lost. The cow has never been lost. The donkey has never been lost. They are just here in their being-ness. But we got so lost that we need Step Two because even if we are deeply present, it isn’t going to be long before you are pulled back into the dream. Someone will say something… will do something… will trigger you. Then you are back. Or a judgement might arise. Or the limiting beliefs might be activated or filtering through. The repressed emotions might get activated. There are ways that we get pulled out of the dream.
Step Two is about bringing conscious awareness to human responsibility for all the ways that we are pulled out of the dream. How did that happen? What happened? Was it judgement? Was it a repressed feeling that was triggered? What was it? We slowly get to know all the triggers that pull us out. We get to know the obstacles to being present. And we start to connect the dots. You said something during this interview that hurt my feelings. Ahh, ahh… It wasn’t you. You gave me a gift. Thank you so much. Now I can go back and see where it originates. Oh, that’s my father who used to say that to me. When I recognize that, it relaxes. It relaxes. It releases me. So, it’s not analytical. It’s not therapy. It kind of connects the dots between what’s being triggered now, and its source which will almost always come from childhood. Which often connects with previous lifetimes. Because it’s the one story we are working through each live time.
DONNA: So, it’s simply to be conscious of it. Not so much to analyze it?
LEONARD: Not analyze it at all but recognize… It’s kind of a WOW. An Ah ha. Connect the dots. WOW. You just triggered me but I realized it’s not you, thank you. I owe you gratitude. Now, I can go back and heal it with my father.
DONNA: Is that why it’s so important to feel what we feel as part of the healing process?
LEONARD: One hundred percent. In the feeling is the healing. And a lot of people don’t want to feel. Particularly when the feelings get very strong. Because they have spent their whole lives and the ego has been involved. They’ve spent their whole lives repressing the feeling. This is so painful. This is too difficult. Keep this down and then suddenly when you become present… you know what presence will do? Presence will bring up what ever is need of healing. You don’t have to do a thing. Just pay attention to whatever comes up.
Read and Watch Part 2 Here: Awaken Interviews Leonard Jacobson – Pt 2 – Don’t Be A Christian, Be A Christ
Read and Watch Part 3 Here: Awaken Interviews Leonard Jacobson – Pt 3 – You Can Believe In God or You Can Know God