Leonard Jacobson: I’ve made Step Two very, very easy and simple…just four things to watch out for.
We humans have been trying to awaken for lifetimes, without much success. Because of the rapid advancement of technology, it is imperative that we awaken now. Otherwise, technology is not safe in our hands. We have become too destructive in our unconsciousness. We are facing a crisis and so it has become imperative that the way of awakening is revealed in a way that is simple and available to all those who have an interest in awakening.
Step one of this teaching leads to Presence in the simplest possible way. It requires no beliefs, no practices, no Saviors, no one standing between you and God. Each moment that you are truly present you are an awakened Being. The problem is that we are so addicted to thinking and so used to living within the mind, that it is difficult to remain present in our day today lives and relationships. It is not long before we are involuntarily pulled out of Presence. That is why step 2 of this teaching is necessary.
Step 1 leads to Presence. Step 2 leads to mastery of the mind and ego.
Step two involves bringing conscious awareness to all the ways that we are pulled out of the present moment. What are the obstacles to becoming present? What is holding us in the past and future, in the story? Just as I have simplified step 1 of the teaching, I have also simplified step 2. There are 4 aspects to step 2, which means there are only four things that we have to watch out for.
The first aspect is the resistance of the ego. If we are to awaken, we need answers to the following questions. What is the ego? What is its role in your life? How does it function? Why does it resist you being present? How does it pull you out of Presence, and how can you overcome its resistance? We humans must have answers to these questions if we are to awaken in any fundamental way. I answer these questions in detail in my books, workshops and retreats.
You cannot defeat the ego. It is impossible. The very intention to defeat the ego or get rid of the ego is coming from the ego itself. It is just a trick to keep you in the mind and under the ego’s control. But you can come into right relationship with the ego so that the ego will gradually and gently surrender its resistance and release you into Presence. Right relationship with the ego is only possible as you become more and more present. In Presence there is no judgment. When you are present you are love, acceptance and compassion. It is from Presence that you bring the energy of love, acceptance and compassion to the ego. It will take some time, but as the ego begins to trust the flowering of Presence from within, and as it feels the love, acceptance and compassion arising from Presence, it will begin to relax and release you.
The second aspect of step 2 is to go through a process of owning, acknowledging and confessing who you have become on this long journey through time and separation, living in a world where no one is present. In truth, you are love, acceptance and compassion. You are empowered from within. You exist in the realization of Oneness. At the deepest level you are an eternal Being. You are pure consciousness. You are without judgment. This is the truth of who you are when you are fully present. But who have you become? Are you judgmental? Do you judge yourself or others? Are you afraid of what others think of you? Are you a blamer? Are you guilty? Are you angry? Are you caught in an unhealed and unresolved past? Are you a victim? Do you hurt others with your thoughts, words and actions? Do you feel unworthy, unloved, abandoned? Do you feel like you not good enough? Are you controlling? Who have you become?
As a part of the process of awakening you must be willing to own, acknowledge and confess who you have become if you are to awaken into the truth of who you really are. Your life and your relationships are a mirror constantly reflecting to you who you have become, but most of us are unwilling or afraid to look into that mirror. You either hide who we have become from ourselves and others, or you are trying to fix or change who you have become, which is a form of judgment. Or you project who you have become onto others, which is simply another way to be in denial of who you have become.
If you are to awaken into the truth of who you are, you will have to own, acknowledge and confess who you have become. As Jesus said, ”All that is hidden shall be revealed.
The third aspect of step 2 has to do with the repressed feelings from the past still buried within us. Even if you open into a reasonable level of Presence, there will always be someone who will come into your life who will say or do something that will trigger those repressed feelings. Then those feelings from the past project onto the present, and distort your experience of the present moment. Now you are caught in a painful and limited past, which you are projecting onto the present moment. If you are to awaken, you will have to go through a process of liberating repressed emotions like anger, hurt, sadness, pain, unfulfilled needs and fear. This will allow for a much deeper level of presence to awaken within you. In my books, workshops and retreats, I share how to come into right relationship with these repressed feelings so that they are released in a conscious and effective way.
The fourth and final aspect of Step 2 is to bring conscious awareness to how we lose ourselves in others. If I want you to love me or accept me or I want you to think I am good enough, I am losing myself in you. If I’m afraid of your judgment or your rejection, I am losing myself in you. Energetically, I’m moving away from myself, and getting mixed up in you. Which is not good for you. And it is not good for me. We are all lost in each other in the way I’m describing.
We have to go through a process of recognizing these four aspects as they arise within us. And we have to do so with the love, acceptance and compassion arising from Presence. And then the whole story will begin to relax and release you more and more into the present moment. More and more you will be aware of the pure consciousness and sense of Oneness that exists at the center of your Being. More and more, you will open into peace and love. And all these qualities of Presence will flow into your day-to-day life.
Donna Quesada: That’s beautiful, what you say about the ego. I have read the book that you signed for me, “Journey into now.” Thank you very much for that. If you don’t mind, I’d like to read something from the book dealing with repressed emotions. This was a fascinating passage that really struck me. You’re relating a private session you had with someone named Daniel who was dealing with depression and anger. You said to him “You have to own your violent nature. You are angry. You are violent. You are a killer. If anyone hurts you or intrudes into your space, you want to annihilate them. Own it, acknowledge it, confess it and express it, but without judgment. It is not the truth of who you are, but it is a part of who you have become. This is the way of liberation. When you own that this energy is in you, you will no longer project it outside of you. And when you express it fully and responsibly, you will come out of your depression.”
LEONARD: The only thing I would add is that it is important to have fun as you own the anger arising within you! Exaggerate it! Ham it up! Whoever you are angry at, kill them at least three times in very creative ways. It has nothing to do with the person that you think you are angry at. All that is happening is that the person you are angry at has triggered the anger repressed within you from the past. We want to liberate these repressed feelings. On the one hand, you are allowing the feelings to express themselves: I hate you…I want to kill you. Be outrageous. Anger is ridiculous. It wants to kill for the slightest hurt, but because of this we keep the anger repressed. Be present with the anger as it arises, so that you don’t get caught up in the story that anger is telling you. When you allow the anger repressed within you in the way that I am describing, you will begin to laugh. It is funny. The anger will have its opportunity for full expression, and then it will be released from your body. However, you must always express the anger in a responsible way and in a way that does not hurt others or spill onto others.
DONNA: This is a very interesting thing that I think is helpful to everyone because everyone experiences anger. I remember watching something on television; it was a pop psychologist who took his clients to a junkyard with baseball bats and instructed them to get their anger out by beating things and bashing things. But it’s so contrary to what spiritual teachings usually embrace. For instance, Thich Nhat Hahn says, “to practice anger is simply just to rehearse it.” And it’s not productive or positive at all. But what you’re saying is something in the middle. It’s a creative, non-violent way to deal with that energy.
LEONARD: As long as you are present. You see the key is to be present as you allow the anger to surface. On the one hand, you are a raving lunatic expressing anger and killing, torturing anyone who hurt you and made you angry. On the other hand, you are present, allowing the anger to express and tell its story, but you know that the story is from the past and has nothing to do with the present moment. You really should wait until you are alone before expressing the anger. You do not want to hurt anyone. The anger is yours alone. No one can make you angry unless you have anger from the past repressed within you. No one can hurt you unless you have hurt from the past repressed within you. I’ve never ever suggested that anyone has the right to express anger towards anyone. The last thing you want to do is dump anger on people because it will come right back at you. It’s extremely ineffective. The only reason I teach things in my retreats like the anger meditation is to help you liberate these feelings from the past. If they are unresolved and buried within you, they will keep you in that part of the story from where the anger originates.
DONNA: So, it sounds like you are releasing yourself from what we call victim consciousness at the same time.
LEONARD: Absolutely. There is never any need to be a victim. Sometimes it is a strategy to get what you want. It often originates in childhood. For example, the only time mother fully attended to you was when you cried. If you take into account Pavlov’s Dogs, an association forms and a victim strategy develops. You only get what you want when you cry or you are unhappy. This victim strategy can remain with you the whole of your life. At an unconscious level you believe that if you are sad or unhappy, someone might eventually attend to you. But of course, it does not work.
Your life manifests as a reflection of your inner world. If you are caught in the mind, with all the limiting beliefs, judgments and repressed emotions from the past, together with all the fear, anger and hurt that have accumulated over the years, your life will manifest as a reflection of this inner world. On the other hand, if you are fundamentally present and your inner world is one of peace, love, acceptance, compassion and a sense of Oneness and abundance, your life will manifest according to that inner world.
For example, if you believe that you are not loved or lovable, which is a limiting belief that formed in your early childhood, you will be unable to attract love into your life, or you will attract those who are incapable of love. Even if many people love you, you will not be able to let it in because at a deeper level, you feel unloved. It is programmed into your story. In this way, life confirms the story within the mind. If at an unconscious level within the mind, you believe that you cannot have what you want, life will manifest to confirm that belief.
Presence is transcendent of the story. As you transcend your story, you transform your story. As you become more grounded in the present moment, all the qualities of Presence will begin to flow into your life. Peace, love, acceptance, power, truth, compassion, clarity begin to flow into your life. Don’t you think that will transform your story?
DONNA: What if someone were to say to you, “What’s the big deal about now? Now is not so pleasant.” Is there ever a place for distraction? You’re in an unpleasant situation and you just want to listen to your music or zone out or enjoy a fantasy.
LEONARD: That’s not a problem, as long as you come back. You don’t have to be present all the time but don’t go so far into your story that you disconnect from Presence. The whole of humanity has been so lost for so many life times. That’s why this world is in the mess that it’s in. Human unconsciousness is the sole cause of all the suffering on our planet, including injustice, cruelty in its many forms, war, inequality, abuse of women, children, and the environment. It is all because we are lost in a world of illusion and the ego is running the show. If the ego is in charge, then it is all about me, me, me! Mine, mine, mine! I am right, what‘s in it for me, how can I take an advantage for myself. This is the way of the ego in the world.
We have seven billion people on the planet functioning under the domination of the ego. There is another way. Can you imagine if humanity had awakened when Buddha walked upon the Earth? If everyone on the planet had responded to his message, would we be in the mess we are in? The answer is, absolutely not. What if everybody awakened with Jesus? We would be living in a different world.
Maybe this is our time now. We missed it with Buddha. We missed it with Jesus. There is a readiness now that was not available in the past. We have reached a crisis point. It is as if we have no choice. As a species living on this planet we must awaken to a higher level of consciousness. We must awaken to a level of Presence where we experience the Oneness. Then everything can change. We are not custodians of this beautiful earth. We are caretakers, which simply means that we are here to take care of this planet. As we deepen into Presence, we will recognize where we are. This is Heaven on Earth and we are so blessed to be here. But until we awaken, we have no clue who we are, where we are or what we are doing here.
DONNA: I picked out a beautiful quote from one of your books, which I would like to read back to you.
“It is time for humanity to awaken at a collective level. Enlightenment can no longer be for a select few, who no longer participate in the world. If there is to be an awakening at a collective level, we will have to learn to function within the world. This means we will have to find a balance between the timelessness of the fully awakened state and the world of time.”
What do you mean by, “If there is to be an awakening at the collective level, we will have to learn to function in the world?” How do we find that balance between the timelessness of the awakened state and the world of time?
LEONARD: It means that you can flow easily between the timeless world of Now and the world of time. There is no obstruction and you are not identified with your life within time. You know that it is all based in the past and future. It is just memory and imagination. But now you are profoundly established in Presence. You can play in the world of time, but that is not where you live. You live in the world of Now. There present moment is your true home.
When I first starting teaching after my first awakening in 1989, it was really difficult to guide anyone into Presence. People had tremendous resistance to it. But over the years, it seems to me that more and more people are opening up. As more of us open into Presence, it makes it easier for those who follow. Eventually we will reach a critical mass, and awakening will become easier and more available to everyone. This is our best hope.
One of the ways I like to describe it is this. Each moment that you are truly present, it’s like dropping a tiny pebble of light into a vast dark pond of human unconsciousness. Ripples of light! Without you even being aware of it, ripples of light are emanating from you each moment you are present, bringing light to the darkness, and affecting human consciousness in subtle and hidden ways, until one day we will reach that critical mass and humanity will simply awaken out of its dream.
DONNA: Indeed. Thank you.
Read Part II Here: Awaken Interviews Leonard Jacobson Pt 2 – Opening Into God Consciousness