The True Friend weekend did me a lot of good because I felt very safe, protected and seen in the space opened there.
The beautifully sequenced partner exercises were fun. Their exploratory nature made me experience the quality of my habitual responses to the outside world. Openly being there in the attitude of the True Friend, was an unexpected inner discovery of great value. It showed me how purposefully and directly I can dive into the depth of being and how much more truth the experience the True Friend holds. …
In the partner exercises I enjoyed being still and present in listening. The certainty broke through that any "just listening" and "not having to react to it" is so powerful because it is simple … I had probably often underestimated that presence is fully sufficient, that my being is sufficient, that pure presence is richness in itself. Being openly present reveals itself as a treasure that unfolds its power because it is unclouded by opinion, reaction, vulnerability. The contact to the other person is then direct, from person to person as a unity. Love, independent of personal preference.
This way of being a True Friend not only works in a safe seminar room, but has already been tested in everyday life and applied to challenging situations. Standing by myself in difficult situations, not abandoning myself is comforting and strengthens my confidence in challenging times.
The participation in this weekend was very special for me, in many ways. What I took with me is:
- a change in my listening attitude. In my work, I now have a much clearer attitude. I have arrived at myself. I no longer have to ask myself: How am I looking right now, when do I give which impulse, what exactly is to be done? I just listen, feel my space getting bigger, feel very comfortable in the role, and then speak to my trainees in a collected and heartfelt way.
- Improvement in looking into the eyes. This is actually easier now; the exercise has changed a lot in me.
- A joy in returning to my own inner space again and again. It feels very big now, I always have the possibility of retreat within all the hustle and bustle around me, that just feels good.
- A positive emptiness inside me. No more sad empty feeling like before, but vastness, stillness, awareness ... I can feel the emptiness as a resource now.
Humbling unfolding seeing with new eyes, with deeper awareness, the ways that the direct experience of fear is avoided. The slightest movement away, against, toward - the slightest - is to avoid fear. The slightest movement of resistance, annoyance, self-righteousness, trying to be kind and helpful, being right, hiding, rebelling, knowing, analyzing, correcting, judging - contracting into someoneness in any way - is all to avoid fear and what lies underneath the fear. Because fear is not really the problem, it is everything below fear that is really terrifying - powerlessness, hopelessness, despair, annihilation. The contraction of fear, the dread, the sharp intake of breath says stay away, go back up to the head where you can figure out how to stay safe.
Now it can be the signal to stop, open and meet what has been avoided. Sometimes it feels like this energy that could be called fear, but is really just energy, is here pretty consistently. sometimes it is absent. When it appears, it is the invitation to meet it fully and go all the way through - meet the powerlessness, hopelessness, despair and open as annihilation itself. then there is nothing. silence. peace.
The awareness of how it all works gets clearer and clearer. The movements that once were overlooked are loud and unmistakable. The fear that was so well hidden is now revealed more easily in a moment of stopping. It is humbling to see how much it has been running the show. I feel like an open, mushy, vulnerable, shiny no one. failing and afraid. and yet what is deeper is untouched, what it all moves in is untouched, who I am is untouched and laughing, laughing, laughing.
humbling, dying, laughing, dying, humbling.
in a deep bow of gratitude, Margot
The Awakening of Love
Hi friends, as I'm writing this report, my wife Traudy and I are on a ferry to New York City to consult with the first of three top aortic heart surgeons. Over the next few weeks we will try and come up with a solution for a deteriorating heart problem that can not be easily resolved. I have tears in my eyes as I travel to NYC, but not from fear or dread. Rather I am filled with immense gratitude for the freedom I enjoy. Life appears so beautiful that it is touching my very soul. There is a complete lack of suffering, anxiety, or negative thoughts keeping my attention. Instead, I embrace it all and am filled with an ever growing love that bubbles deep within me. I am in awe of the beauty of everything that is unfolding. After my first week at Leela in Ashland, just nine months ago, I knew I had changed forever. However, I would from time to time think “oh, now I’ve got it”, or, “oh damn, now I’ve lost it, I need to get it back’. Now the tears come from the knowing that I can’t lose it. IT is who I am. I am blessed beyond imagination. What an incredible gift to have life throw everything it can at you and to still be at peace within yourself and only feel gratitude for each breath. To all my beautiful friends at Leela, both those whom I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time with in Ashland or Maui, or those brothers and sisters I haven’t met yet, I want you to know I am forever in love with you. From the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you for the contribution you all were in helping to get me to this empty space. Imagine, at 76 years of age, feeling completely fulfilled in life so that not even the threat of death can rain on life’s parade. How sad and desperate would my my life look like from this window seat going across the Hudson River without the truth that came so expertly and lovingly through the Leela School. Without Leela I know I would be suffering and instead I’d be sitting here as a victim, feeling sorry for myself, making Traudy’s life miserable, spewing ugly narratives of “why me.” Thank you Ramana, Papaji, Eli my brother, Gangaji my Light and heart, and Jared, Lisa, Stevie, Joey, Leigh and all those whom I’ve met and love from around the world. You know who you are. I must be among the happiest of men on the planet. I am in the deepest of gratitude for your love and teachings. I am becoming more awake every day. A never ending journey to myself and God. All will be beautiful, I assure you. As it can be no other way. See you soon. Time to enjoy the scenery.
In deepest love,
Gratitude Wants To Be Expressed
Dear Gangaji and Eli,
A letter seems to want to be written, so here it is: a report to let you know how this form is being used, how the Truth moving through this form is being used. Gratitude wants to be expressed over and over and over.
The Leela School has been a profound gift, a beautiful crucible of burning and deepening and a deliciously supportive sangha. Wonderful skillful means to be used. Layers of doubt are dropping and the fire of Truth burns brighter with more and more steadiness and certainty. I love the sessions I do in trade with fellow students from all over the world – beautiful connection!
After spending a year away from working with Native American youth from a reservation here in northern New Mexico, I did a couple of Leela Sessions addressing the PTSD-like secondary traumatic stress symptoms that had shown up in this body/mind. Such relief! Wow! All last year I had a strong physical reaction when I thought of going back to the reservation or being in contact with community members there. Now I have been doing Leela sessions with a friend there who loves them and I have met with a few more folks I know as well.
I am also working one afternoon a week with 5th through 8th graders at a small school just off the reservation that serves Native kids from the reservation, and this has been beautiful! When I go we talk about their lives and the stressful thoughts and feelings, how they are usually about the past and future. So much death and so much trauma – it continues to surprise me even though I have been hearing these stories for 14 years. I know the older brothers, sisters and cousins of many of the kids I am working with now, so I have a sense of their home lives and histories. As we were talking about the stress in their lives one girl told me who her older brother is, and I knew then that she must have been a toddler when their father hung himself in their back yard. We talk about these kinds of things freely. Sometimes the sadness and despair arise and we sit with that. Mostly there is a sense of relief at being able to talk to an adult who does not react with fear or anger, who does not enter their trance. Who sees what is whole and shining always.
I pass on tools for self-regulation so they don't get too overwhelmed by emotions, and we practice them together. These are breathing exercises, movement exercises, and grounding exercises to recognize what is always safe. Some hypnosis techniques for deeper relaxation. I don't know when I will get a chance to work more deeply with them on the nesting of emotions – I like to do that one-on-one or in smaller groups, and that opportunity has not arisen yet. And we laugh a lot. At the end, when we can, we sit together resting in that which is untouched by all of the stories, all of the emotions, all of the circumstances they can't control. We rest and we breathe.
In an hour or two a week it feels like it is not enough - it always feels like it is not enough. But yesterday, when I asked a small group of 6th grade boys what they do when people are fighting in their house, one boy said that he meditates. When I asked how he knows about meditation, he said that he doesn't know, he just does – he just sits quietly and breathes. He knew to do this even before I showed up in his class. At the end of our class together, he said, “This was fun!” So amazing, especially when he was one who spoke of a lot of violence at home and previous thoughts of suicide. I feel his thirst for what is being offered.
After the Leela School, I am opening to work with adult clients for the first time outside of a school setting. The day after I secured office space in a small village nearby two former students from the reservation reached out to me for mental health support. I am excited to be able to bring more of the skillful means of the Leela School and the Freedom Inside Program to them. All grounded in the Truth of Being. We will see how things unfold. So far things seem to be unfolding very slowly which is just right – it is why I love living here – things happen slowly. (limit setting of the six fixation?? maybe)
Doubts do arise – it is not enough, “I” am not doing enough. “I” should be doing more. Ha. Ha! A dharma bell to tell the Truth. “I” am not doing anything. “I” could not have orchestrated any of this life. There is no “I”, there is no “other”. This beautiful energy breathes this body, sends inspiration into consciousness, moves these arm and legs, sits quietly with itself in the form of “other”, sends words through this mouth, types these words on the computer. And here “I” am, happy to be in service to this community of young people. Apparently, it is exactly where I am supposed to be. The mystery of it all.
Thank you so much! What joy to live this life!!!!
Much love and gratitude to you both,
Margot Lynn Gedert
Nothing More to Fear: A Report from Lucie
I would like to give you an update. I learned so much in this period. All the episodes with my body throughout my life have been great teachings!
The inflammation in my hip is cured with Turmeric extract. Apparently this is very good for joints and inflammation. The hip is not that worn out yet that it needs surgery, so for now I'm off the hook. I go to a rehabilitation centre twice a week for physical therapy and I do exercises daily (which is new because I would always feel sorry for myself and then bail out...) And this whole experience has been so good for realising that I can live my life regardless of what my physical abilities are and most importantly without feeling sorry for myself!
A couple of weeks ago I had a small operation on my gums. In the past I would have dragged in the whole chemo therapy child trauma. As a 12 year old kid, when I had chemo every three weeks for almost a year it was like this: I would recover from one chemo and then start dreading the next one. It was like a ghost chasing me, coming closer and closer to the point of hysteria, until dooms day was there. And I was the victim of this. I repeated this pattern in many other physical experiences because I believed this was how it was done. Now with the operation on my mouth I wanted to test it and see if this movement was still present. The appointment was made 6 weeks in advance so I had plenty of time to see if the ghost would appear to chase me. I can now say that ghosts really don't exist! I was a bit tense the day of the operation but I was really present all the time, curious even to see how the experience was without all the made up stuff. And it was fine! There was love in the room and the people working on me were really kind and caring and noticed what a relaxed patient I was. And hardly any pain at all! No big deal! Just what it was.
I am so grateful Eli! I am so happy about how this awakening keeps gracefully unfolding in unexpected ways. I am grateful for this life, exactly as it is. Ghosts don't exist and we have nothing to fear.
I am so looking forward to seeing you! Not long now...
I hope you are well!
All my love to you and Gangaji!
Beautiful Reports and Photos from Jared and Stevie's Training Module 1 Class in Byron Bay
Dear Jared and Stevie,
Thank you so much for the recent Leela School retreat. You and Stevie exemplified true friendship so deeply and profoundly I feel we were all and continue to be blessed beyond measure by your devotion and love of truth. Your willingness to be presence and space itself made us stronger in our own awareness, connection and direct realization of Self. I cannot thank you both enough for living the truth with such clarity, it illuminated all our lives so brightly, fearlessly and compassionately.
Stevie, your courage and openness allowed me and us all permission to be vulnerability itself and discover directly and realize what it really is. What a gift! Thank you.
Jared--your gentle love was a container for the trauma but foremost for the truth. Such discernment and compassion. Such a shower of blessing. Thank you.
I was surprised by the depth and intensity of the retreat and feel it's real and permanent even as I am aware there is always ever more and deeper and truer. My 'yes' continues to resound through my life, and heart in such joy and peace. Although I have no clue how it will unfold and be made possible, I am utterly willing and present in intention and desire to go all the way.
Thank you both so much for giving Everything.
In love and deepest gratitude,
The recent retreat still continues to amaze me. I am repeatedly surprised by not feeling that I am 'contained' in my body or by anything that is going on around me. Presence seems to expand and recede in awareness, never going away....I keep expecting it to! I just keep wanting to be still and be!
In love and gratitude,
Testimonials from the Module 1 class in Ashland
Kemila, Vancouver, B.C:
Being a busy full-time hypnotherapist for some years, I had no need nor intention to take another hypnotherapy certification course. However, when The Leela School for Advanced Clinical Hypnosis started a certification course in 2016, I was surprised and delighted, and I knew immediately that I wanted to go.
I was surprised because I had no idea that Eli was teaching hypnosis and NLP courses, even though for a few years I had wanted to meet Eli in person by going to one of his retreats.
I was delighted as my schedule happened to allow me to travel to Ashland in August 2016 so I could finally meet Eli, in the context of one of the only two things that matter so much in my life: hypnotherapy.
The Leela School is a different hypnotherapy school from any others that I know. It does not primarily focus on theory, nor techniques though there are many. You are presented with a wonderfully written manual which you can refer back to, again and again. Each class starts with silence so we all start by going within, finding our own inner presence and resources. Eli and the Leela School teachers present each class in a very simple way, and when you start to practice, you get to find out how rich this actually is when drawing out your own inner wisdom.
It’s like life itself, forever simple and complex, but it’s never complicated. The Leela school doesn’t break things into mind-controlling rigid steps, even though there is building-up in its program, so the learning is never something from outside-in, instead, it is always inside-out. For me, that’s the only way that I learn but I was so thrilled to find out finally there is a hypnotherapy school that is doing just that.
Participating in the Leela School for Advanced Clinical Hypnosis is not just creating a new career for your future, it is to rediscover yourself. Expect to be supported, seen, heard, and transformed.
This is a hypnotherapy school with a soul! And It is a course where you learn enough skillful means while at the same time you wake yourself up from the trance of suffering.
Joey, Ashland, OR:
I had my first session with Jared on Maui, 2015 and it was a true game changer for me. I was aware of my 9 fixation but only from a cognitive/textbook understanding. Until this session I had no visceral connection with what was running underneath the surface. Thanks to Jared's clarity and openness, something very deep was revealed to me. There was an energy surfacing that was beyond my body and mind. The session culminated in a profound opening and after that I think I laughed for 3 weeks straight. Since then, I have continually been confronted by some core issues--particularly anger, laziness and fear. I am now able to see the trap of trying to overcome or fix my patterns and see the choice of opening to them; and knowing that this choice alone is freedom itself.
I had another session with Jared this past retreat (August 2016, Ashland) and saw how deeper patterns of fear are operating. In given full permission and space to own it, to feel it and not project it outward, a deeper capacity for growth and maturity has been revealed. I feel very grateful for this transmission of peace and freedom as it is being spread through the Leela School and through teachers like Jared. This is a rare gift.
Casey, Ashland, OR:
I have been so blessed to work regularly with Avram over the last couple of years! He has helped me immensely in recognizing the subtle ways that I am deceived by my ego. He is always present to guide me back towards the intelligent Truth in the center of my being. I feel that my self-inquiry has become so much more earnest and fruitful through my time with Avram. I am so grateful!
I am going home after this first year of the Leela School with an open heart full of love and a burning flame inside my heart, my power combined with my deep love. Ready to meet and face everything and full of gratitude.
Susanna, from Denmark
Saying Yes to this is the most precious gift. Open to go from fixation to freedom and be free from any trance.
The Leela School = The School of Life.
I STOPPED and now I feel like a clear lake. I am so relaxed and free as in my happy childhood years. I am home and will never leave. Thank you Eli and teachers.
Love Marja Harrijvan
The main lesson for me was that Stillness is the only thing that really matters. Connecting with the stillness gave continuous rise to true love itself. And I realized that in this true self everything can happen and I will find a way to handle it.
From the beginning of the arising of yes being part of the Leela School, I knew I was Home. Surrendering to willingness to burn, it has been deepening right into stillness. Love taking over. Clarity about the mind being a servant, or stopping right in the midst. At the feet of the master, a born to self.
I am learning to let everything go and expect nothing in return. I have experienced the space and the lightnes of being so I am drawn to know and feel more.
Gary B. Hudson
If you want to live in peace with yourself, all your relations and the world, join/visit the Leela School, you are so welcome.
These ten days for me is an awakening to be a True Friend, to be, not doing. To stay in truth. My heart blowing open into the love.
Lots of love, Yolan Biemans
I attended Leela School to get to know myself on a deeper level than just what you see in behavior. It became very clear what I want, what makes me happy and how to live my life in a way that happiness and insight never leave. My loved ones also benefit from this. I am so much more relaxed. If you are looking for yourself, this is a great way to discover!
A unique combination, skillful means together with deep, maybe the deepest insights. I experienced this and I will integrate it in Silence. In my life I have been in many groups of people but this group was by far the most upright. Teachers and mentors from which I could not guess in advance that they could give that.
A more than beautiful way to deepen and learn the skillful means! It has been so beautiful, I am so grateful.
Reports from our students
I cannot believe how my life has changed since Australia. There has been the most profound awakening to my heart through the grace of our teacher. People are waking up left right and center through true friendship. Just learning how sensitive we all really are has allowed me to realize that this soul is a marshmallow of warmth and gentleness and kindness.
It’s really effortless actually. Only positivity, warmth and beauty is being reflected outwards into the external manifested experience, and the skill of using inductions in yoga classes has caused people to become somewhat religious in following me around the city for yoga classes.
I am so so so careful about what I learned in Australia with the Guru trap, because the moment there’s inflation, I don’t feel the same soft and sweet peace I feel when I’m just quiet and allowing the transmission of silent love to flow through me.
I sing the praises of this school so deeply and sweetly and I want to come to Ashland again in March but it’s not in my heart or budget to take off time from work where this teacherless teaching has claimed my soul from the inside out.
This radical positivity and genuine warmth that is my true nature has transformed me into the silent ecstasy of my own blissfully beating heart on the surface of my skin.
I do want to be there with you in March, but, I am so in love with what’s showing up here that I actually only want to be there because I now know that this peace and bliss is limitless. I am that.
Thank you so much my loving mentors.
You’ve taught me how to be a true friend and I can’t thank you enough.
Sat Nam (I am this truth of my heart)
Love From Arunachala
Sending you lots of love from India.
Together with Dominique we traveled from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry and finally to the Arunachala.
So lucky to visit this place, to live on the feet to this mountain and to feel this huge and supportive invitation to stop and to be still.
I see you and Gangaji everywhere....
2 days before leaving Germany a good friend died, and by grace I could be with her the whole night until she died early in the morning in my arms.
For hours I was in silence with her and at one point when I saw that breathing became difficult for her I guided her without any thought first to relax and then I did a little trance induction with her.
The words came naturally by itself and I could see and feel her relaxation.
Somehow It has been like a birth process coming in waves and I was surprised by the natural facility of this process.
I felt I could support her in leaving this world and she gave me the teaching how to leave this world step by step just in being present with what is happening right now.
Thank you again so much for your teaching.
What a gift it is for myself and for so many people.
And even if I am far away from your mastership to guide people I am so blessed to have the opportunity to do this, to learn and to see the benefit of this beautiful work.
This evening we will surrounding the Arunachala by full moon and you and Gangaji will be (in) my heart as always
I hope and wish that you are well, my dear Eli.
Please also give my love to Gangaji
With love and gratitude
Bouquet of gratitude for Leela School true friend/mentor/teacher Stevie. Affectionately dubbed 'I'-surgeon, his scalpel deftly teases through the illusory egoic fabric of character fixation. Patient steady eyes & ears probe deep & vast ...via a lens that is paradoxically microscopic & macroscopic...as layers of misidentification--incarnations of suffering--peel away to reveal the true 'I' beyond all question & artifice. In the hearing humble hands of this Heart, the bud of Who I Am can only flower. Stevie's on-call-for-life generosity transcends the bounds of du(ali)ty.
Welcome to the Leela School of Awakening, where soil meets seed in a garden of true friendship & Self- discovery.
Wow. Observing what is unfolding in this retreat feels like watching alchemy, or magic, or some other such thing. The culmination of so many converging factors: your initial vision for the school to serve the awakening and peace for all beings; your lifetime of work- as beautifully outlined in The Awakened Guide - the transmission of Silence that radiates through you as the current manifestation, along with Gangaji, in form of this lineage; the initial coming into form after conversations in Maui in 2015; the stumbling early years, us not knowing what the hell we were doing; the false starts and re-assessments; the learning from mistakes; the opening and deepening that has progressively occurred in those who are on fire and drawn to stay involved; the addition, piece by piece, of other beautiful supporting energies - Leigh, Joey, Monique, Margot, Caroline, Heidi, Johannes, etc, etc.