"Overcoming the Obstacles to Awakening" by Leonard Jacobson
Becoming present is remarkably simple. However, remaining present is not so simple. Even if we are present for a short time, most of us are quickly pulled back into the past and future world of the mind. There are a number of obstacles that we must become aware of if we are to awaken fully into Presence, and remain fundamentally present in our daily living and in our relationships.
The first obstacle is the ego itself. The ego wants to become more spiritual. It wants to acquire spiritual knowledge. It would love to become enlightened. It will have you visiting many spiritual teachers and reading many spiritual books. But it will back off very quickly if you find your way into the truth of life through the doorway of the present moment.
This is because the ego needs to be in control of your life. It is addicted to its position of power and control. But it can only be in control of what it knows. And it only knows the past, which it remembers, or the future, which it imagines. It does not know the present moment, and so it will desperately resist your entering into and remaining in the present moment. In fact, as you begin to awaken into the present moment, it has a bag of tricks to seduce you or tempt you back into the world of the mind.
The second reason that it is difficult to remain present, is that most of us have a lot of emotions repressed within us from the past, particularly from our childhood relationship with our parents. These emotions are continually being activated or triggered, which brings the past flooding in, making it impossible for us to remain in the truth and reality of the present moment. To the extent that you are caught in the emotional pain and traumas of the past, you cannot be present.
The third reason that it difficult to remain present is that there are a number of very powerful hooks that pull us out of the present moment into the world of the mind. Looking to others for acknowledgement, approval or acceptance is an example of such a hook. Fearing rejection or judgment from others is another hook. Anything that entangles you in the mind of another, is a hook that pulls you out of Presence. To awaken fully into the present moment involves disentangling yourself from others so that you are fully with yourself.
To free yourself from the above obstacles and hooks, there are a number of steps you must follow.
The first is that you must awaken to the dimension of Presence within you. It opens up the possibility of true healing.
Then you must come into right relationship with the ego, so that eventually it surrenders its need to be in control of your life.
From a state of Presence, you bring the ego and all its so-called negative aspects into the light of consciousness, in a way that is acknowledging, loving and accepting. All judgment of the ego and all attempts to annihilate the ego must cease. As long as you judge or reject any aspect of yourself, the ego will prevail as the dominant inner force, simply because the ego thrives on judgment, condemnation and rejection.
The only thing that will bring the ego to a place of surrender is the energy of love and acceptance. If you love and accept every aspect of yourself at the level of mind/ego, particularly those aspects of yourself that you have been hiding, judging or trying to change, the ego will eventually surrender.
The next step is to allow into conscious expression, all those emotions repressed within you. In my private sessions, workshops and retreats, I offer very clear guidance and support in accomplishing this. It does not mean that you are identified with the feelings. You are simply allowing them to surface into conscious expression.
The fact that the emotion is arising is of this moment, and so you must be present with it as it arises and expresses through you. But the story associated with the emotion is not of the present moment, and so it is important that you do not become identified with the story. You will have to express the story as a part of expressing the emotion, but the story itself is not the truth. It is of the past or future. It has nothing to do with this moment. Do not believe in it and do not act upon it as if it is true.
The third step is to clearly identify the hooks that pull you out of Presence. These hooks only have power over you to the extent that they are allowed to function unconsciously. If you bring these hooks to conscious awareness, then they have no power over you. You can gently disengage from them as they are activated.
These steps will liberate you from the world of the thinking mind into the world of NOW. I do not mean to imply that you will always be present. But the present moment will become the very foundation of your life. You will come to know yourself as the one who exists in the moment of NOW, and only in the moment of now. This is the truth of who you are. And your life will be transformed. God and Heaven on Earth will be revealed.
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Leonard Jacobson is an awakened spiritual teacher, mystic and gifted healer, who is deeply committed to helping others break through to the joyous experience of living in the NOW.
For more than 30 years, Leonard has been teaching people how to become fundamentally present and how to arise in mastery of the mind and ego, making awakening available to everyone. He is the author of five books and travels throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia and Asia offering inspiration, healing and guidance to those on the path of spiritual awakening. For more information visit www.leonardjacobson.com