The beauty of going out of your mind
The beauty of going out of your mind
When Leonard Jacobson finished his law studies, he did what many Australians and Kiwis do – went travelling. Melbourne-born, he worked as a barrister on his return five years later, not terribly fulfilled but not terribly unhappy either.
In 1981 he signed up for a week-long residential retreat in New South Wales, not as a quest for spiritual enlightenment – Jacobson describes himself as being somewhere between atheist and agnostic at the time – but more as a nice break from work.
The retreat marked the onset of a series of powerful awakenings for Jacobson. He says he had little choice but to share the liberating lessons he learned with people in need – just about all of us, it turns out.
“We humans are incredibly lost,” Jacobson says. “Humanity has become lost in the mind.”
By this he means that we are constantly thinking and rarely focused purely on what we can see, hear, smell and touch in the present moment.
“Everything outside of this moment is your story made up of past memories, future imaginings, and your ideas, concepts beliefs and opinions,” Jacobson says.
But gently using your senses to focus on the present moment is the key to a life of greater contentment and fulfilment.
“When you’re in the mind you’re somewhere in the past or somewhere in the future,” he tells MiNDFOOD. “To come out of the mind you have to bring yourself present with something that’s here in the moment with you.
“If you can see it in this moment you can be present with it – you’re not imagining it, you can see it. If you can hear it, you can be present with what you’re hearing in the moment. If you can taste it, smell it, feel it, you can be present with it.
“It’s actually through the senses that we can bring ourselves out of the mind and bring ourselves present to what is here.”
The benefits of doing so are immense and it becomes easier over time to stay deeply present for longer. Jacobson says one of the pay-offs is that people become aware of repressed feelings and limiting beliefs that have been holding them back.
“When you’re in the mind you’re living with all the limiting beliefs of your childhood because they are all programmed into the mind,” Jacobson says. He cites subconscious beliefs of not being good enough or unworthy of love, for example.
“As part of the awakening process we liberate ourselves from repressed feelings, we bring to consciousness the limiting beliefs,” he adds. “We come into right relationship with ego and go through a process of owning who we’ve become on this journey.”
Jacobson says who we’ve become is radically different from who we really are. “As you become more and more present, who you really are becomes very clear,” he says. “You are love, you are acceptance, you are compassion, you are allowing, and you are without judgement.”
When Jacobson first started teaching these lessons 37 years ago, he admits he encountered some resistance.
“People would argue with me and disagree,” he says. “These days that just doesn’t happen; a shift is happening within human consciousness, for sure.”
Jacobson runs retreats and workshops in the US, where he’s now based, along with China, Japan, Europe and Australia. He has also written five books and offers online webinars on the subject. As well as making life more peaceful, learning to live in the moment can influence what you attract into your life, Jacobson says. “I’m always peaceful and I have no fear; you learn to accept life as it presents itself and you’re not caught up in day-to-day dramas.”
The more present you are, the more aware you are of the abundance that’s all around you, which in turn draws more of life’s riches to you.
“Your outer world manifests as a reflection of your inner world,” Jacobson says.
“If your inner world recognises the abundance of this moment and you feel grateful and generous, what kind of outer world will manifest for you? It’s a simple principle.”