Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done about 530 of them now, and if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P, which is obviously an acronym for Buddha at the Gas Pump, and look under the past interviews menu, where you’ll see all the previous ones organized in several different ways. This show is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers, so if you appreciate it and you would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. My guest today is Leanora. We’ll just go by her first name. She has a last name too, but we’re just going to go by Leanora. Welcome, Leanora.
Leanora: Thank you. Lovely to be here.
Rick: Leanora is down in Ubud, Bali, which is in Indonesia. So she’s down there, it’s summertime, it’s morning. I’m in Iowa, it’s 6 o’clock in the evening and we’re having a snowstorm. It’s amazing we can have this conversation. So let me tell you a little bit about Leanora. Leonora founded Embody Truth in 2012 as a way to support an integral approach to awakening and embodiment. The work is originally inspired through a personal awakening and culminates into a coherent and disposable map, helping others navigate the terrain. A few minutes ago I asked Leanora what she meant by “disposable.” We’re going to get into that in a minute. Using a direct felt-sense experience, a somatic meditation practice supports unification, integration, and embodiment of all phenomena, traumatic material, identity, essence, back to stillness. Leonora provides one-on-one sessions for those awakening, as well as online group programs for ongoing practice, learning, and support. Born in Africa, she has lived in seven countries, including London and California. I don’t know about London, but California considers itself a country. A life of contrast from farm girl to corporate America, a variety of careers from IT to cottage industry within a land-based permaculture project in New Zealand for 25 years. And as I mentioned, she currently lives in Bali. So welcome again.
Leanora: Thanks Rick.
Rick: You’re welcome. Now, I have a paragraph here I could read that I pulled off your website where you say, “My own journey with healing began in 1991 with a spiritual emergence and subsequently a variety of resulting health issues,” and so on and so forth. But rather than read that paragraph, maybe we should just start with your personal story. I’m sure you could tell it in a coherent way and might be more interesting than my reading about it.
Leanora: Okay, yeah. I think probably what’s valuable in the story is what I learned as a result of it, and of course when something kind of mystical or strange happens to you, you have no idea about anything. So that was the case for me. But the catalyst for an awakening was an absolute giving up. It was, you know, I’ve tried plan A through plan Z and, you know, not really, you know, getting lots of results, but not really feeling satisfied or feeling authentic, perhaps, you know. And so there was a place where, you know, the mind had nowhere else to go, and I gave up. And it was quite a cathartic experience of giving up, you know, so I was crying and so on like that. And through this giving up, the first thing that happened was I had this experience of emptiness. And the experience for me came with like a deep knowing, like an instantaneous connection to a knowing of who I am, you know, to a kind of an aha, a sort of recognition of something I’d never felt in my life, but still knew it. And the next piece of that journey was a very small, quiet voice that I’d never heard before that came out of me. And it was my voice. It was my true voice. And I hadn’t listened to her before. I had not accessed her. And basically, she said something along the lines of what she wanted. It was like a prayer, like I want a simple life close to nature, and I want to share it with someone. So at the time, I was sort of, you know, corporate woman in the rat race. And it wasn’t very satisfying. I had a lot of contrast in my life. So, you know, I’d had an upbringing in Africa on a farm and I’d been, you know, this at the time this happened, I was in New Zealand, but I was still working in IT. And so, you know, there probably hadn’t been space to listen to that little voice or to find it. But the emptiness or the experience of that and the knowing that came with it, kind of brought out this request. And it was kind of like integrated with divinity. It was like the request was not an ego request. It was coming out of that emptiness and my expression of that emptiness. And basically, what I asked for happened. My future partner arrived the next day. And, you know, within sort of a month or two, I quit my job and moved to a simple life close to nature. And I’d love to tell you I lived happily ever after, but I didn’t, you know, then came all the stuff that was in the way of being that emptiness orchestrated by divinity in my life. And so what came out was the contrast of what was not that.
Rick: Yeah, that’s very well put. Well, there’s a few things in what you said that we can unpack. One is this giving up thing. And that’s a kind of recurrent theme with people. I know Adyashanti sort of gave up before he had this big awakening. And, you know, there’s many examples where as long as a person, even in the Bhagavad Gita, there’s a thing where Arjuna is saying, “I’m going to do this, I’m not going to do that.” He’s sort of very adamant about what he’s going to do. And then finally he sits down and just says, “I give up. You know, basically you tell me what to do, you know, to Lord Krishna.” And then the whole teaching kind of unfolds because he’s willing, you know, as long as one feels one can fend for oneself and do for oneself, one isn’t very open, receptacle for what could come in or come through or come out.
Rick: Yeah. The giving up thing is a hallmark of required because, you know, we tend to, most of us, in fact, I’d almost say all of us, at different levels perhaps, you know, we’re perceiving and running our life through everything that we know. And some of that might be conscious and some of that might be unconscious, you know, like some of it’s hidden in your body, in the Soma, but some of it you’re conscious of. And so the giving up is not just a giving up of what you’re conscious of, it’s like a giving up completely. It’s like that everything I know, everything I believe, everything I think is in the way, you know. So the giving up is sort of required, but, you know, there can be an awakening all of a sudden to that, which was, you know, the catalyst for turning my life in a different direction. But there can be a practice of that as well, you know. And I find with people that I work with that it’s inherently there in every meditation, is there’s a trier and a looker and a, you know, something orchestrating the thing. And, you know, getting underneath that mental structure, you know, is where the juice really is and where alchemy can happen.
Rick: Yeah, I’m glad you said that because some people might hear us say this and think, “Oh, great, great, giving up, I’ll do that,” but then, you know, it’s not quite that simple necessarily. And I mean, sometimes people have to be sort of backed into a corner before they can do it, but as you say, it can also be undertaken in a systematic way and incrementally happen to a person.
Leanora: Yeah, I think that’s valuable. I think there’s lots of ways that it can happen, like being backed into a corner is a very common way. You know, it’s like, you know, your mind kind of goes, “I’m broken. I don’t know what to do.”
Rick: Yeah, I mean, think of Alcoholics Anonymous. That’s basically one of their things is you hit bottom and then you realize, “I’m powerless. I have to resort to a higher power in order to, because I can’t do it on my own.”
Leanora: Yeah, oh, that was, yeah, exactly. But there’s also, you know, I always kind of feel that there’s like two forces. There’s a force, which is, say, our ego or our mental structures and everything we know and believe. And that’s kind of based on like a survival and it’s based in time. It’s relativistic. It’s me, me and other, me and my life, me and this and that. And then there’s another force, which is also inherently here all the time, which is the divinity or emptiness. And that force can inspire us. You know, it can tap into an inspiration in our practice. So, I find it valuable to kind of work in a balanced way with both those forces.
Rick: Yeah, I’m glad to hear you say that too, because some people seem to lean heavily on just sort of there being no sense of a personal self and relinquishing, and we have no free will and relinquishing any sort of egoic control or sense. But I think there can be a both/and arrangement where, at least that’s been my experience so far, maybe it’ll change, but where life is multidimensional and there’s the wave, but there’s also the ocean and it doesn’t have to be either/or.
Leanora: Yeah, I’m very into and. Very into and. In fact, the way that I practice is very about inclusivity. So, it’s not, you know, because if you’re picking something, you’re excluding something. And therefore, there’s a relational dynamic in that. You know, if I don’t want it or I want this, but not that. But inclusivity is more like sort of unconditional love, you know, so even the bits that you don’t like, you open to. And when you do that, something transforms within you. So, I like to say, “Love is the way and love is the destination.” You know, love is actually the process of connection.
Rick: Yeah. What I experienced over the years was there was this sort of transition from just an exclusively individual perspective and blocked into that, to a much more universal one. But as that transition progressed, there were periods of time where, I don’t know, there was a tendency to lean too far one way or the other, like to become passive and not be decisive and just let anything happen because I’m not trying to assert my individuality, for instance, or maybe to swing back from that to too much assertion. And it was kind of like learning to ride a bicycle or something. It took a while to get the balance, and for the transition to progress to the point where there was sort of no problem anymore. Can you relate to what I just said?
Leanora: Totally. One of the things that, I mean, I call that polarity, and the Buddhists used to talk about the middle way, and they probably still do, they talk about the middle way. It’s like that balance point, yeah? So, you know, when you work with, I think you have to experience both ends of the polarity to find the middle. And so what I found, you know, energetically when you work with polarity is that if you integrate either one, it gets you closer to the other one. It gets you closer to the center. For example, if you feel trapped, say, in your life, and the polarity to that is I’d like to be free. So you can have the experience energetically in any moment by choice, by inducement of trapped, you know, by conjuring up a feeling of trapped or a story about being trapped. And you can also have an experience of what freedom might feel like. I mean, it’s not true freedom. It’s your conjured up view of freedom. But if you embody trapped fully, if you really fall into trapped 100%, then it will actually take you to freedom. And when you fully embody freedom, it will illuminate what feels trapped in there. What’s in the way of freedom will become illuminated. So when you do those things, it’s like those positions soften and, you know, trapped and freedom or riding the bike becomes possible. And yeah, it’s a journey, as you’ve shared. It’s really a journey of exploration of those two polarities.
Rick: As you were saying, that couple of images came to mind. One was of people who have been in prison and who’ve used that time to discover inner freedom and who became very free even though they were in prison, you know, inwardly. And also, you know, let’s say somebody like Jeffrey Epstein who had all the money in the world and private jets and his own island and all this stuff, but was very trapped by his, you know, his obsessive, narrow-minded, selfish tendencies and then ended up paying the price for it. I don’t know if you’ve been following his story, but he’s just a case in point. There are many people who have all the money in the world and everything else and they’re miserable because they’re sort of trapped in something. They haven’t found the subjective freedom.
Leanora: Yeah, in fact, the looking for it has got them trapped.
Rick: Yeah, well they’re looking in the wrong direction.
Leanora: Yeah, looking for love in all the wrong places.
Rick: Exactly. Do you find that with your … we’ll get into what sort of meditation practice you do and advocate, but does it kind of allow for a kind of an alternation, alteration, you know, alternate? Go back and forth, alternation between sort of unboundedness and then back into the field of boundaries, and then unboundedness and then back into the field of boundaries, and that going back and forth like that in and of itself cultures the mind and the nervous system to be able to integrate both together.
Leanora: Yeah, that’s a lovely description. Yeah, you know, one of the first elements is really creating a stability in the nervous system and resilience. And what I found is it depends where somebody is as to where you start. You start where you are, obviously. The unboundedness is a polarity to the focus. The unboundedness is kind of a polarity to a boundedness or something contracted. And my favorite way of doing things is to help people cultivate the expansion at the same time being able to hold the contraction. When you do that, they resolve themselves. Like if you let them cohabit the field and you don’t pick one or the other, you know, there’s an integration and a shift that happens, and it just happens of its own accord. But sometimes, depending upon the person’s capacity or training or how they do things, you might flick from, you know, unboundedness to something smaller. But if you can cultivate it, sometimes people just need to be guided into that as a possibility, and then it becomes part of the practice.
Rick: Sometimes you also go through a period where it’s either/or. Like I did this back mainly in the ’80s. It was most intense, where I would feel free and unbounded and blissful and smooth and everything else, and then something would happen and I’d feel gripped. And I couldn’t wait to go to sleep that night to just get out of feeling gripped. And then maybe a day or two later I’d be all free and unbounded again. So there was a sort of vacillation back and forth, and then that eventually worked itself out.
Leanora: Yeah, I think that’s a really valid point, or really, you know, it’s very fundamental to the work that I do because, you know, I know in my own journey, like after I had that experience, I proceeded to have amazing states of unbounded consciousness, and they were pretty much always followed up with the contraction.
Rick: Yeah, yeah.
Leanora: You know, so it was like there’s a dynamic at play here, and it’s very informative to how I’ve created my work. So it’s like when we’re contracted, you know, we have a sense of self that is excluding things, not feeling safe or whatever. And the safety comes from the unboundedness often, or from connection, you know. But the consequence is the nervous system has to recalibrate. And so, you know, it’ll come back with the contraction again. And you know, you have to learn to ride the waves, your ocean metaphor, you know, it’s like if you go into reactivity when you’re in a contraction, like I don’t want it, and it’s horrible, and I want to get out of it, then it’s going to contract even more. Whereas if you do this thing that I like call it cohabit, where you cultivate a spaciousness or the unboundedness and the contraction to cohabit, they resolve quicker. It’s like having sort of dancing from one polarity to another, it’s just holding them both.
Rick: Yeah, yeah, good. It’s good you mentioned the nervous system because I think there is a neurophysiological component to this, or correlate. And there’s a thing in the sort of Indian understanding of physiology. I don’t know whether it’s Ayurveda or Tantra or something, but that we actually in some way have two nervous systems and they alternate functions and it’s actually correlated with the breath. That’s why people do alternating breath pranayama because it sort of balances out these two nervous systems. And one rests while the other is active and then they switch, but ordinarily they’re not really cultured or developed properly, but when they are, that’s how one can maintain absolute pure restful silence in the midst of the most dynamic activity because these two nervous systems are taking care of it. That doesn’t mean we have two spinal cords or brains, I’m not saying that, it’s on a subtler level.
Leanora: Yeah, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic.
Rick: Yeah, it’s not even that, it’s some other whole understanding they have. But anyway, that’s kind of a side point. But there is this neurophysiological component and because of that, we can’t expect to have the whole thing accomplished in day one because it takes a while for the physiology, you know, neuroplasticity and all the physiology to purify and modify and learn to function in a new way.
Leanora: Absolutely, I mean I think that’s highlighted in my awakening experience of, you know, like, I mean I used to read things years ago about people awakening and near-death experiences and all sorts of things and it always seemed like something happened and they were done. That’s how I would interpret it, you know, something happened and they were done. And I was not having that experience, you know, it was like something happened and everything that was not done got illuminated. And actually, you know, I was quite ill, so I had this sort of wounded healer kind of element to my journey which has taught me many, many things. So, you know, it is all about, in the end, what’s happening in our physiology and what’s happening in our body and the body takes a little time to catch up.
Rick: Sure. I think that this notion of at some point being done is a notion that is important to dispel because I think that nobody’s ever done. And if you think that somebody is, get to know them better. And if you’re expecting that there is this sort of goalpost that you’re going to reach, then you’re always going to feel dissatisfied because you’re never going to reach it. Now, you know, you may, and you may sort of undervalue what you actually have reached because you’re expecting the sense of finality, but it’s not going to come. Go ahead and comment on that bit, I might have a question.
Leanora: Yeah, well, very important and just I wanted to totally agree with you and want to add to that is that you can be done in this moment, like you can be in this unified ultimate state of consciousness in this moment. And then, you know, a siren goes off or a dog barks and you can be undone. You know, and you might get more and more masterful at staying in a potent or powerful place. But there is no done because if we’re one with everything, with the whole universe, it’s like being in this relativistic existence of having a human body is not, I don’t even feel it’s done when you die, you know?
Rick: I don’t either. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ramana Maharshi is working something out on some level. Who knows? Some people consider that heresy, but I just sort of feel like souls evolve forever. Maybe there’s the option of merging into the ocean and having no remnant of existence, individual existence whatsoever. We’ll see what happens.
Leanora: Yeah. That excludes the human thing, and you know, there’s this whole topic which I’ve heard you speak eloquently about before of bypass.
Leanora: You know, and so, you know, my thing, and you know, I did the bypass. I did the bypass big time. But you know, it was not, it’s not complete. And you know, outside of the discussion of there is no done, but there’s a calling to bring divinity into embodiment, like to embody stillness or to embody divinity and become the unique expression of that in the moment. So this paradoxical sense of being, you know, anchored in the One at the same time being a unique expression of that One, without that being two places, with that just being one place. And so that embodiment, you know, is to resolve the bypass. And I think a lot of the old non-dual teachings were more about climbing the mountain and finding the I Am, and then being in a cave or sitting with that, you know, it’s like I’m done. But the real test is the downward journey to bring that back into the body.
Rick: Yeah, you know, there’s another element to this which is that one can feel, I mean, one can reach a state where there’s contentment, you know, pretty much perpetual 24/7, you know, deep, profound peace of mind. You know, one could look at that and say, “Well, that must be done,” I mean, but I think there’s still always room for growth. I mean, because we’re talking about sort of a deep, absolute level of one’s life, but on a relative level we have a heart, we have an intellect, we have senses, we have all these faculties that we use to navigate life, and is there any end to the refinement of those? And as that refinement progresses to the effectiveness with which we can live life, be of value to others.
Leanora: You know, I think if there was an end it would be pretty boring and you wouldn’t need to be here, so …
Rick: That’s true.
Leanora: There is no end. I’ve given up with any kind of end point many, many years ago, but what tends to shift when you move out of the state or the mental structure that’s looking for a place to land, you know, looking for home, looking for happiness, looking for whatever it’s looking for, when you move, when you see that structure and resolve that structure, then you move towards more being a unified being, and then you’re always just engaged in the moment, and the simplicity is beautiful, and there’s nowhere to go, but everything, every moment is where you’re at. You know, you’re not so much entrenched in time with “I’m here, and I don’t like it, and I need to be there,” and so that, you know, the time dimension is really pulling us out of the moment and putting us on this task, but if you look deeply at that task, there’s an identity or an “I,” you know, a sense of self that is not okay with the moment, that wants to be in a future moment.
Rick: You know, you were talking a bit earlier about if you’re really one with the Divine, then there’s still the whole universe. I think you said something like that. And I would say that the universe itself, if we consider how it manifested and evolved over the billions of years, seems to have this evolutionary agenda, you know, there’s this greater and greater complexity and greater and greater evolution of forms such as ourselves who can sort of reflect upon what the whole thing is and so on. And you could say, if you really attain oneness with the Divine, then you’re just one with that, among other things, with that feature of the Divine that is promoting the evolution of the cosmos. And so, that promotion, you become a pretty effective tool for that promotion. And that is never done, because obviously the universe is definitely a work in progress.
Leanora: Yeah, I mean, when I’m listening to you, I’m thinking of this, you know, there’s something fundamental and unchanging, and then there’s constant change. You know, there’s something that isn’t moving, it’s still and is unchangeable and fundamental and primal, primordial. And then there’s something that’s moving, you know, there’s activity, energetic activity and so on. And it’s different in every moment. The unchanging, even, in some respect, is different. Like, our deepest connection to stillness can go deeper and deeper. It’s like what limits our connection to stillness is the activity or the sense of I, you know, the sense of who I am. You know, existence limits our access to non-existence.
Rick: Or it may do so. I mean–
Leanora: It can do so, for sure.
Rick: Yeah, or we can develop, as we were saying earlier, we can develop boundaries and boundless simultaneously and therefore not be limited by the boundaries.
Leanora: Yeah, so I mean, the key that I was saying there is that there’s no end point to that journey of discovery. Like, once you’ve discovered the universe, let’s say that there was a finite thing called the universe, which, you know, is debatable, then you might want to discover the metaverse. So it’s like there are galaxies upon galaxies that we have no connection to. And whether you’re going out in that expansive way or whether you’re going down into the smallest particle or atom or photon, you know, whatever you’re looking at in the smallest is also infinite. So, you have there this huge paradox, and the mind doesn’t know what to do with that. How can the smallest thing be the biggest thing, and how can the biggest thing be, you know? Just give up!
Rick: Yeah, well, you know, the totality of Brahman is said to be smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest. ” Anoraniyan mahato-mahiyan.” And that can become our experience.
Leanora: Yes, yes.
Rick: Okay, so let’s get back to your story a little bit. We’re kind of getting very philosophical here, which is fun. But it sounded like you had this sort of spiritual emergence in ’91. You were kind of up against the wall and you surrendered and there was this big shift. Was there an initial sense of tremendous relief when this big shift took place? Like, you mentioned it a little bit later, all this stuff started to come up, but did you get a respite from whatever was beleaguering you and you felt kind of, “Ah!” Huge breakthrough kind of thing?
Leanora: Yeah, well, it did two things. It showed me who I was, you know, in a deeper level, and it destabilized who I thought I was.
Rick: Good point.
Leanora: So can I say that yes and no? On the one hand, yes. And the other thing was, you know, it was like an unplanned conscious manifestation. So what I prayed for manifested quite quickly. Yeah. And that felt really valuable because it was like, as a soul or as a connection to Divinity, as a uniqueness, I asked for something. So it wasn’t like, “Oh, I’d like a Mercedes.” You know, it’s not like, it’s not that kind of manifestation out of black.
Rick: You asked for some meaningful stuff.
Leanora: I asked for something that was meaningful to me as a soul and who I had been in touch with. And so, you know, what you ask for has to be meaningful to the soul. Otherwise, you’re going to get all the things that are in the way of you being yourself. So what I found is that, you know, the task is really to become yourself, which is an integration and unification process between who you think you are and who you really are.
Rick: So when you say you discover what you really are, is that something you could describe?
Leanora: Not really.
Rick: Not really. Yeah, I didn’t think so. But it’s…
Leanora: I don’t really have a great description, but it’s like it felt whole, unified, complete, at home, peaceful, you know, those kinds of qualities were part of it. But I think the inherent deep connection to it changed the nervous system, that the inherent, even that tiny moment of connection changed me forever, kind of thing, in a very profound way.
Rick: Yeah, I’m sure it did. One way of looking at it is that on the level of the nervous system, there’s a tremendous restfulness associated with an experience like that, and what does the nervous system do when it gets some rest? It starts to purify, you know? Like when we sleep at night, we have dreams because there’s impressions coming out that have been lodged in the nervous system.
Leanora: Exactly, exactly, yeah.
Rick: I was wondering, in your notes or on your website, you say that you had this spiritual emergence and then subsequently a variety of resulting health issues. You were trying all kinds of healing methods, but you were going through chronic fatigue, PTSD, multiple chemical sensitivities, neuralgia, migraine, allergies, and a whole host of other complaints. So it sounds like it really kicked up a dust storm when you had this breakthrough, because I guess the nervous system had to completely restructure itself.
Leanora: Indeed. You know, for me, one of the things I started researching after that was near-death experiences, because there was a resonance to that. And as an infant, about six months of age, I had a near-death experience that was quite painful. So I didn’t know the relationships between things at that time, and it took many years to kind of come to some conclusions that were not a place to get stuck, but a place to help, you know, guide me. And so the pain or the situation of that early trauma was in my soma, you know, was in my system. And, you know, I studied trauma for many years, and I taught trauma healing and various other things, but it was not enough. You know, like everything about my journey has called me to go deeper and deeper and deeper. And I study a place that I call the life-death gateway, or I explore a place that I call the life-death gateway. And you know, I’ve been called there by my soul or by the situations that happened to me. It’s like on the one hand, I had this amazing touchstone of emptiness, you know, which became a touchstone, which informed my journey and, you know, eventually became more embodied in me as I did the work. But, you know, there were these extreme polarities of this sort of divine state versus, you know, an incredible amount of trauma. So yeah, I actually found samadhi in the middle of a neuralgia journey, you know, which is, you know, most people say you can’t have neuralgia without a painkiller. And, you know, my guidance was not to use a painkiller. My inner guidance had the knowing that that was not how to heal, you know, it was actually, you know, to get somewhere else. So I remember I used to get like 50 hours of, you know, severe nerve pain in my face, and I ended up finding samadhi in there. And then I cultivated that. And eventually I stopped having neuralgia and migraines and, you know, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, panic, all those symptoms kind of, you know, left. But in some way, I got attached to this place where, you know, it was quiet and safe, peaceful and nice, you know, that’s the bypass.
Leanora: You know, but…
Rick: Well, nothing wrong with being quiet, safe, peaceful, nice, but you were hiding out there and avoiding things, it sounds like.
Leanora: Yeah, I felt, you know, okay, I found safe. I found God, I found safe. You know, I found joy and, you know, things were nice and they were pleasant. And then somewhere along the process, the universe, got to blame somebody, pulled the rug out from underneath me. And I went on this journey of dropping any mastery I thought I had and learning to master vulnerability, which is that more of a journey of embodiment, bringing what you found at the top of the mountain, bringing that into the body to resolve at a deeper level. So I think of, like, healing as a sort of spiraling, you know, you’ve got something going on right now and you work with it and you clear it and you think you’re done, but you’re not. It comes and gets you again and you just go to a deeper layer and a deeper level and so on. The ultimate level is embodiment of stillness, you know, so that’s the journey that I’ve been on and that’s the journey that really shapes my work with other people.
Rick: Yeah. Do people who work with you or approach you to find out about this stuff ever sort of get a little fearful that if they had some spiritual breakthrough, they might have this huge Pandora’s box open the way you did and have all kinds of things happen to them? Does anybody ever say that?
Leanora: Nobody said that to me, yeah, but I think, I remember in one of my groups some time ago, I said, I typed in a question, “Are you willing to become totally, completely new?” You know, just as something for them to consider, you know, and the common response that I got was, “Yes, but I’m scared.” And that’s that too. It’s like some part of you knows that you’ve got to let something go and you’ve got to change the status quo and another part goes, “Yeah, but I’m scared,” and that’s those two forces.
Rick: Yeah, there’s an Indian story where this guy’s living in a little hut and somebody comes along and says, “Hey, you’re the king, you belong in that palace over there,” and he starts to leave to go to the palace and he thinks, “Oh, my hut, I better go back, you know, it doesn’t feel safe out here and who knows if it’s really my palace,” and all these doubts come up so he scurries back to the hut.
Leanora: Yeah, and that’s that comfort zone, you know, if you, you know, for me the surfing is how to ride that edge of the comfort zone. If you stay comfortable, the comfort zone tends to shrink on you and life gets smaller. If you go too far past the edge of the comfort zone, you can re-trigger your trauma and get overwhelmed. So, you know, it’s kind of a little, it’s that little dance and knowing how to find your resources to help you, whether it’s through your breath, through connection, you know, through what you’ve cultivated in your practice that can help you when you hit that, go too far on the edge of your comfort zone. And I find that the more people do that, that they become kind of more available to that edge and surfing that edge, so life becomes more adventurous or more exploratory, you know, because they’re not living so much in the fear and that they know when something awful happens, you know, if they go too far over the edge, that it will pass, that they just need time to integrate it, go for a walk in the woods or whatever, you know, to help the process. So, yeah, it’s, you know, it’s scary to the one that doesn’t want to change. But to the part of you that really knows I got to do something different, you know, it’s kind of like, yeah, let’s do it, you know.
Rick: Yeah, interesting. I have heard stories of people, you know, wanting to work out trauma and all, and I imagine this is true of conventional therapy too, and then getting even more seriously traumatized because of the way they go about it or the way the teacher who’s guiding them guides them, that kind of thing.
Leanora: Yeah, yeah, absolutely, that can happen. That can happen, you know, taking plant medicines, people can get re-traumatized, you know, it’s like, it’s basically stuff that’s not integrated. You know, we have to metabolize life in our body. And so if you get too much, good or bad, you know, nice or not nice, not that I’m judging either one, they’re both equally important. But, you know, it’s about integration. So, you know, whatever experience you have, you can talk about it and it’s like in the past, but it’s only valuable when it’s integrated, when your system’s recalibrated from the wisdom that integration gives you. And then that increases your capacity and your resilience, and then you can ride the comfort zone edge, you know, in a more skillful way.
Rick: Have you ever done plant medicines?
Leanora: No, I’ve never felt called to do that. I’ve helped people who couldn’t integrate from their journeys. And I think it’s a really good thing for people, you know, for some people, not for everyone. Yeah. And obviously having, it’s like doing a session with me or, you know, it’s like, what’s so valuable to, I feel, any journey, any sacred journey is what is your alignment and intention? You know, so people might have the wrong alignment and then they’ll get, you know, some crazy experiences. And that can happen in a session. It’s like, you know, you’ve got to check in, what is my alignment? Who’s looking at this session? What’s really going on?
Rick: Yeah. Well, you know, we were talking about all that you went through after your initial awakening, and we didn’t quite say it explicitly, but we were pretty much alluding to the idea that the nervous system and psyche can, you know, be a huge dump of all kinds of impressions, all kinds of garbage that is accumulated over who knows how long. And you know, the sort of the safety first approach would be to just, you know, systematically at a pace that we can handle, clean that stuff out. And a lot of times people really want the shortcut, you know, and so they go to an ayahuasca session or something without having even touched all that stuff, and they just hope that the plant can do it for them, or the DMT or whatever it is. And there definitely have been all kinds of train wrecks as a result of that. I really don’t, maybe someday there’ll be, I don’t know, it’s too undisciplined I imagine to expect there to be an objective survey of the success rate.
Leanora: Well, I think it’s subjective based on who’s running the session, what their skill level is, and what kind of space they’re creating, how sacred it is.
Rick: That’s a big thing, set and setting.
Leanora: Yeah, you’re going to do that, choose who you’re going to do it with, you know, take the time. And then if you’re going to do it, you know, you need to do some exploration about what’s motivating you, because if the motivation isn’t sacred, then you know, you may not have as nice an experience as you’d like or whatever. So, I mean, I think there’s so many variables in there that, but you know, in another picture I’ve heard from people who’ve done, you know, I did eight Ayahuasca journeys, and they’ve had quite a lot of transformation. So one of those things that everyone has to choose, if it resonates, it’s good, if it doesn’t, you know. And I mean, there’s research at Johns Hopkins and NYU and other places with psilocybin, and there are people who are getting over chronic depression and alcoholism and all with, you know, just one or two psilocybin journeys. So it’s one of those things, like we talked about at the beginning, about the diversity of all the things in creation, and we just can’t sort of polarize into one way or another and say, “It has to be this way.”
Leanora: Yeah, and it can be like a kid in a candy store, or, you know, I mean, we have the internet now, we can find out anything and everything, and we can learn, you know. So we have an outside research station, our computer, that tap into a lot of information out there, and we have a lot of access to a lot of choices.
Rick: Yeah. Interesting. Well, that’s kind of what I tried to provide with BatGap, is an access to a lot of choices. There’s a categorical index page under past interviews where you can see all the categories of types of people I’ve spoken with, and the sentiment behind this, the thought behind it, is that, you know, it’s a vast, diverse universe, people themselves are diverse, and that there are, you could say, there are as many paths to God as there are people. And obviously, there are some groups and similarities, but everyone has their own journey, and, you know, one size does not fit all.
Leanora: Yeah, I agree with that.
Rick: Yeah. Let’s see, reading on here, “So you became a meditator,” you said. Did you sort of teach yourself, or did you learn some kind of practice, or what?
Leanora: Yeah, so the new partner was a meditator, and he said, “I think you should learn to meditate,” and I was thinking along the same lines. And I learned to meditate from somebody in the neighborhood who was a Buddhist, and then I got pulled into Buddhism for a while, maybe about 15 years. So that style of meditation was Vipassana, insight meditation, and I dabbled off in Tibetan Buddhism for a while, which offered me some other windows. And then, you know, I kept reaching limits that people couldn’t, I didn’t get the right guidance for, let’s just say, or I wasn’t able to hear. And it was like, you know, so I could go to a meditation and end up kind of unable to walk or something, you know, and the teacher would go, “Oh, you need a doctor,” and I go, “No, it only happens when I meditate.” So this was actually a big clue about how the mind affects the body, and it’s also a big clue about pre-conscious trauma. So it’s like I couldn’t say, you know, something happened in my childhood that created that, that the root of that stuff was pre-conscious. My conscious mind did not know about it. So that actually took me into a particular focus in regard to trauma healing, which is what I was interested in in the early days. And that particular focus was pre-conscious trauma, and there wasn’t a lot of, this is 30 years ago, 25 years ago, there wasn’t a lot out there and whatever was out there I read. And it also took me into, you know, exploring the shamanic tradition. And, you know, I went down various avenues, and I also became interested in what’s called developmental trauma. So, you know, when you have severe trauma early on in the womb, at birth, you know, before the age of two, those kinds of things are harder to heal. And I had that kind of situation.
Rick: Did memories of that start coming up in your practice?
Leanora: You don’t have any conscious memory. You know, like I remember being on a retreat once, probably 25 years ago, and at two in the morning, being awake and experiencing what I would call pure terror. And like, there’s no sleep going to happen here. So I went and sat in the meditation hall, and I was sitting in the meditation hall in an experience of pure terror. And my body just burst out in chickenpox.
Rick: Ah, interesting. Real chickenpox.
Leanora: Yeah, I had the chickenpox experience, which I hadn’t had as a child for some reason. So you know, fortunately, there was a German doctor in the group said, “Oh, that’s chickenpox,” you know. And that was also the beginning of having neuralgia. So it was induced by meditation. So there became a lot of clues that when I meditate, it brings stuff up. And what became an exploration some years ago was not just the trauma healing, which is a sort of top-down, you know, let’s look at and feel, you know, experience, re-experience what’s stored in the soma, but was also a bottom-up approach. It’s like, if I sit in stillness, yeah, what’s happening? So there became this sort of relativistic way of working with meditation of exploring who’s looking, you know, who’s experiencing this, what’s my perception about, and how do you see your perception when it’s entangled with your awareness, and how do you disentangle so that you can discern what’s pure awareness and what’s, you know, mental structures muddled in. And those mental structures are shaping us from what happened to us in the past. But if what happened to us in the past is pre-conscious, you don’t have the story. You can’t use the story to tap into it, you know, but it’s going to come at you in some form, yeah, because it needs to resolve itself. So, you know, the system is always trying to recalibrate to wholeness. That’s the force that we have within us. And so, it’s a lot of my path is the feminine kind of water path of surrender, you know, devotional surrender, and yeah, so that kind of touches on…
Rick: I kind of get the impression that even though you’ve done a whole lot of different things and explored a whole lot of different areas, that you never had one teacher who knocked it out of the park, you know, who was sort of really a master. That you’ve had to work a lot of stuff out on your own.
Rick: And you’ve had helping hands and friends along the way, but never anybody who, you know, perhaps was, you know, an ultimate, final type of teacher.
Leanora: I think that’s true, you know. My teacher at the moment is the inner experience and has been for a long time, but there has been so many great teachers. You know, Buddhism served me to a point, and then I needed to find more information because I kind of reached the edge of that. And, you know, Adyashanti’s books were very, very valuable to me. I’d read a paragraph sometimes and my whole system would recalibrate. So, you know, there’s been a lot of teachers. Life, of course, itself is the great teacher. Yeah, there’s been a lot of teachers, but I never felt, you know, I was sometimes drawn like to Taoism or something and I thought, “Oh, that’s going to take me I’m very, you know, felt sense in the moment kind of thing that really all the teachings are here inside us, really. And so at some point I kind of stopped being so informed. I’m still informed by teachers, of course, you know, but they’re not my kind of go-to. My heart and my own system is my go-to, you know?
Rick: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting. I mean, it’s interesting that you could read a paragraph by Adya and have your whole system recalibrate. It seems like you, there’s a couple of things. One is your inner guidance is really good. I think a lot of times people can be kind of delusional about what’s guiding them and go off on all kinds of tangents, but it seems like yours has served you well. And it also seems like your whole system is very amenable to change and evolution. Like, you know, a lot of people might, most people would read a paragraph by anybody and say, “Oh, that’s nice,” but it wouldn’t trigger a big transformation or readjustment. But it seems like your system is very fine-tuned and able to kind of gain a lot of benefit from whatever you put your attention on.
Leanora: So, yes. And, you know, I have had support from external sources, but I would always reach a limit. And so ultimately I was on this journey of, you know, like I have to discover something that nobody knows how to help me with or something like that, you know, and at points of time it might have felt like a curse, but it was also a gift, you know, because it had me constantly reaching towards resolution and having, you know, developmental trauma is like, there’s a lot of development that happens to the human body, you know, pre-two, age two. And so if that, if you get trauma or significant trauma at that time, you know, that development doesn’t happen how it’s supposed to happen because it gets derailed and, you know, your consciousness might go out of the body and not be able to come back. And, you know, so, you know, there’s a task. I mean, I was involved, I don’t know, It was called the Institute for the Study of Peak States of Consciousness. And I got involved with them, you know, so I did go down lots of different avenues looking, you know, but I had a thread, you know, which I want to be the best me, you know, so it was like I had that thread and so I didn’t discard things easily, you know, but I would reach a point where it’s like, okay, I got that. And then, you know, one of the qualities of what happened to me and what severe trauma can do to people is a hypervigilance. So, you know, your awareness, which is hidden, your perception, which is hidden for you has a hypervigilant state that you’re blind to, you know, and that hypervigilant state is like, wow, I can sense what’s going on 50 meters from me, you know, so it becomes really fine tuned, but what’s driving it is a safety, you know, keeping safe kind of thing. And so, yeah, so, you know, you’re very empathic. I was super empathic, you know, perhaps overly so. It’s taken, it took many years to unwind empathy in stages, you know, from being like I’d go out and somebody’s sore throat would end up in my body, you know, like that. It’s like it’s empathy or the journey of empathy is this discernment of what’s mine and what’s not mine. Even though I know at the deepest level, it’s all mine. Yeah. So there was lots and lots of pieces over, you know, I’ve been at this for 30 years, lots and lots of pieces of, you know, evolving to an embodied, connected kind of place. And I’m not done yet. You know, I’ve still got challenges that keep me curious. But Adya’s book, you know, I remember that when I was sharing that, the particular piece that I remember, which really shaped how I started meditating afterwards, he, you know, I’d been meditating and I opened the book and there was a paragraph about, I can’t remember the words, of course, but it was about being open and curious. And that is that boundlessness and focus. That is that sort of feminine receptivity and that masculine, you know, penetration. And it was like, I just thought I read it and I kind of closed the book and I went into open and curious and boof, you know, it was like something major happened. And I thought, that’s really cool. And it reoriented, thanks to Adya, blessings, it reoriented how I proceeded from there. You know, it gave me something. So it wasn’t a six-week workshop, it was literally a moment.
Rick: That’s fascinating. A couple of points you brought. One was about sort of being hyper-vigilant, you know, and kind of like having to sort of be on guard all the time because of having been traumatized. It reminded me of this guy that I see in the local Walmart who obviously is a veteran judging from the decals and things he wears on his clothing. And he comes into Walmart with this giant German shepherd on a leash, which I guess is, you know, it’s allowed because it’s a service dog for traumatized people. They can bring a service dog into stores and everything. And he has like a big hunting knife on his hip, which is, and there’s this vibe of him, around him, of the guy has really been traumatized and he feels the world is this huge threat that he needs to sort of protect against.
Rick: And it’s sad, you know, I mean, there’s a lot of, in the US of course, since we’ve been engaged in so many wars, there’s a lot of traumatized people who are either institutionalized, there’s a high incidence of suicides, and so many traumatized people walking around with all that bottled up. And there’s some nice programs actually where various kinds of meditation are being used to help people with this PTSD and with great effectiveness. So, it’s a little bit of a side comment, but it’s worth mentioning. And perhaps if anyone listening to this has PTSD, this might give them hope that, you know, proper kind of meditation practice can help to, you know, heal it.
Leanora: Yeah, very much so. You know, and it’s a journey. I think, you know, with traumatized, like the veteran is like super traumatized and can’t live a really happy, healthy life. But in another level, we’re all traumatized. It’s just a degree. You know, we’re here on Earth School to, you know, discern who we are and who we’re not.
Rick: Getting born is pretty traumatic, as one of Stanislav Grof’s points these days.
Leanora: Yeah, yeah. I did some of his work too. And being born is traumatic because, you know, I think that’s where the power over dynamic can get set in, you know, the energetic pattern of a power over, and the masculine power over the feminine, because the feminine is on her back, which is a very vulnerable position. She should be squatting perhaps, you know, and, you know, it’s considered a dangerous thing. So, you’ve got all the hospital staff on alert, you know, and it’s like, it’s not a pleasant welcome to planet Earth kind of experience.
Rick: And you come into bright lights and somebody smacks you on the bottom.
Leanora: Yeah. And your mother is like, got an epidural, so she can’t feel it, you know, and that affects the baby. I do a lot of my early work was actually navigating tuber, because birth is one of those kind of developmental events that really shapes who we become. And so, you know, I did a lot of that. I don’t do that kind of navigation. I just see what wants to unfold now. But in those days when I was really focused on healing and pre-conscious healing, it was like, let’s go, you know, let’s go to birth.
Rick: Your own birth trauma, you mean?
Leanora: Yeah. My clients’ birth trauma.
Rick: Rewire how that experience was, because it was traumatic.
Leanora: You know, you had the mother became powerless and the drugs were put in, so she’s kind of like non compos mentis, and then you’ve got the medical staff doing it to you, you know, taking the power away from that feminine, that natural, you know, animals birth, we birth.
Rick: Right, they do it. Although, you know, I mean, there’s pluses and minuses here, because a lot of people have, the incidence in certain cultures of people dying in childbirth is very high.
Rick: You know, you get into situations where you really want the surgeon to be there or whatever.
Leanora: Yeah, so we don’t need to throw the baby out of the bath water, no pun intended.
Rick: Appropriate pun.
Rick: There’s one other thread that I wanted to tie up before I forget. It was something you said a few minutes ago about how you went through a phase, or maybe still are, where you’re so empathic that you could go into a crowd and pick up somebody’s sore throat from 30 feet away or whatever. Do you feel that there’s been a trend in your life towards being a kind of a washing machine where you can sort of process more collective trauma or collective stress that’s in the atmosphere without it clinging to you?
Leanora: Yeah, I mean, that’s a big question and a good question. I think it’s about mastery over your empathy, you know, so in the early days I didn’t have the mastery, so, you know, going out would be like, or, you know, I’d have to come back and recover. You know, I might be on my back for half a day or whatever, and to recover. And, you know, the thing that turns things around is that curiosity and, you know, wanting to know, you know, why is this happening to me or what can I do about it? And it became, you know, the empathy became, now I feel masterful in it, but it became an exploration of, you know, what am I responsible for and what am I not responsible for? You know, so what I was doing is I was being responsible for everything. Yeah. And it has a toll. And then also there’s this sort of transference that can happen. So, you know, for example, if you’re kind of out in the universe in a sort of heavenly realm, but not in your body, then things happen in your body. And so I remember when I first started working with some friends, you know, saying, let me show you some things. And I would feel empathically, you know, like, let’s say a pain in their body and it would show up in my body, you know, like my body was sort of a place that that’s how I observe it. Yeah. And so, you know, there was, I was doing that and I would just feel it and feel it and it would go away and then it would go away in them. But my curiosity was, was that yours or mine? You know, yeah, it only showed up when you came into my room, you know, so was it yours or mine? And then I got to a place where I felt I didn’t really know the answer to that, but I felt that if it’s in my body, then it’s mine to work with. And so then it became like, you know, that person’s helping me find something that I’m unconscious of, you know, so…
Rick: Interesting. So when you would work something out for somebody, it’s almost like a collaborative arrangement where perhaps both people had something worked out and you were the catalyst, right?
Leanora: Yeah, so, you know, at the deepest level, it’s ours.
Rick: Yeah, yeah, I was going to say that because if you think of it from a God’s eye view, nothing is yours or mine, everything is God’s.
Leanora: Yeah, and I had that view, you know, I was quite, let’s say, entangled with that view in a good way and a bad way at the same time. So, you know, I was getting hit with things like that and I had to disentangle from that view. It’s like I had to come from that kind of a God state into a separate little me state that could look after herself in the body, you know, and not pick on everybody else’s stuff, you know? So it’s a process of discernment. And you know, now, often, for example, if I’m in a session with somebody and I say, “Oh, what’s happening for you?” And they go, “Oh, I’ve got a pain over here.” And I go, “Oh, I’ve got a pain over here.” Then what I do is I know that the person who’s perceiving is actually, you know, the perceiver is actually in a process of creating that pain, that there’s an entanglement between the experience and the experiencer.
Rick: In that person.
Leanora: Yeah, in that person. So it helps me redirect them. Like, you can focus on the pain and be willing to have it, but it doesn’t clear. And the reason it doesn’t clear is because there’s a mental structure that’s attached to it, and you’ve got to actually kind of reverse your curiosity and find out who’s looking at it. You’ve got to bring your attention to who’s perceiving.
Rick: Exactly, and the “who” that’s perceiving is vast. I mean, one point that comes to mind when you say this is that in your case, you were able to process all this stuff because you had this experiential breakthrough and it kind of became more “oceanic,” you could say, in your awareness. And to use that word, I mean, if I take this cup and try to dissolve a tablespoon full of mud in it, I wouldn’t want to drink it, it’s going to really muddy up the water. But if I took a tablespoon of mud and dumped it in a swimming pool or in an ocean, the swimming pool or the ocean would be able to handle it. So, you know, it seems to me the best way to be able to resolve all these knots is to have that unboundedness.
Leanora: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely accurate. For me, it’s like there are levels of exploring perception, and one of the first levels or the first doorways that is really helpful is just to expand your connection. So instead of being in your head kind of looking at your body, it’s actually to feel your wholeness and allow that to be as big as it feels comfortable to be. It’s like you don’t have to define it. And just in doing that, the problem shrinks. Like you said, you know, the mud doesn’t affect the ocean, it affects your cup. So, you know, that puts your perception in this kind of bigger God state type view where the problems are less significant to you. Whereas if you’re a small little ego looking at it, it’s a big problem, you know? So, like, you can shift by working energetically that way. And then the other thing that you can do is come to love. So, come to love is more like kind of, you know, notice the part of you that doesn’t want this mud, you know, and notice your attitude or your alignment or your mood, you know, the things that are kind of generally hidden from you because you’re so busy looking at the mud, you don’t realize that you’re trying to get rid of it. And that’s not loving.
Rick: In other words, it overshadows you. So, you’re so overshadowed by it, you don’t even realize you’re stuck in it. Is that what you’re saying?
Leanora: Yeah, yeah.
Rick: I mean, that’s very true. When you think of people who think it would be a really good idea to rob a store or kill a person or do some terrible thing, you know, it’s like Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do.” You get totally overshadowed and blinded and gripped by the impulse.
Leanora: And I think the reality for all of us is that we have a lot of blind spots, you know, but we don’t know that we have blind spots. We’ve become dependent on believing in stuff, you know?
Leanora: So, in some way, it’s like, “How do I explore? How can I see the blind spot?” You know? And so, there’s different ways that you can employ just to notice your mood or your attitude as an energy. So, dealing at that sort of source energetic level, it’s not a mental contemplation level.
Rick: Yeah. I’ve thought about this before. The tricky thing about maya, if we want to use that word, is that the first thing it does is blinds you to the fact that you are deluded.
Rick: You know, delusion is deluding.
Rick: You know, it’s so strange. There’s this phrase again in Sanskrit that translates as the “blinding darkness of ignorance.”
Leanora: Yeah, yeah.
Rick: Okay, a question came in from someone here. This is from Vesna in Calgary, Canada. Carl Jung described the healing power of the sacred when he stated, “The main interest of my work is not concerned with the treatment of neuroses, but rather with the approach to the numinous. The fact is that the approach to the numinous is the real therapy, and inasmuch as you attain to the numinous experience, you are released from the curse of pathology. Even every disease takes on a numinous character.” And then, that was all a quote from Jung, and then she says, “It seems that beatitude is the cure and not the sifting through of emotions. Thoughts?” Nice question.
Leanora: Yeah, it’s a complex question too, because you know, one has to look at what’s motivating you. You know, like, is the numinous in your attitude a place to escape to so that I don’t have to deal with the emotional dross? And so that’s a bypass. Or can I have that balance of, you know, allowing, and this is the way that I like to work, is it’s allowing the felt sense of emotions or sensations in the body and so on, yeah, and invoking stillness at the same time. It’s like contrasting. And when you do that kind of contrasting, you know, stillness is the numinous. It’s the ultimate place that you’re surrendering to. It’s also the origin point of you. It’s the origin point of your experience. It’s the origin point of your perceiver. You know, it’s the origin point of your body. So, you know, everything’s arising out of consciousness. So, you know, if we can surrender into that, the stuff that isn’t true dies, you know, the lies that we’re telling ourselves, the pain that we’ve got, because those are coming from a reality based in time. So they’re relativistic, whereas the numinous is in the present moment. But you know, you can go chasing the numinous, and then what’s really happening there is that you’ve got an escape plan from avoiding your darkness or whatever. So, you know, the answer to the question is different depending on who’s asking it in that context.
Rick: Good question, anyway. You know, one thought that popped in when you were saying that was that, you know, it’s okay I guess, in a way, that meditation can be a refuge or going inward can be a refuge. We just can’t hide out there all the time, obviously, and I’ve seen cases where people have tried to do that. Well, for instance, the Beatles wrote “Dear Prudence” about Prudence Farrow who was staying in a room far too long meditating and got really nutty because she was overdoing it. And she of course was on a meditation course, but I’ve seen people do that in regular real life too, where they just sort of go too much on the inward stroke and are afraid to or reluctant to engage in the outward stroke because, you know, the world just … they sort of over-sensitize themselves without proper integration and the world just seems too rough and gross and challenging to deal with.
Leanora: Yeah, I can relate to that too from my own journey.
Rick: Yeah, I’ve gone through phases.
Leanora: It’s, you know, when I’m sitting meditating, I’m the queen of all I survey kind of thing, you know, it’s like I’m in control and when you go out, you know, there’s all this stuff that happens and if you’re sensitive, it feels like a thousand times stronger.
Rick: Yeah, you just want to stay in the closet.
Leanora: Yeah, but it’s an avoidance, it’s an avoidance and really ultimately what my stick in the ground is, is that we’re here to embody that stillness, so the meditation practice is life, life is the meditation. You know, you can do your practice on your pillow and that gives you power and support and skill, but you’ve got to take it out and you’ve got to live it and so it’s like, you know, can I hold and maintain my field and connection to it in Times Square, New York or something, you know, it’s a practice, you know, so I do a lot of practices that are about living it, you know, being authentic as you’re out in the world.
Rick: And I think, you know, playing on the word authentic, I think that, you know, it may be authentically inappropriate and unnecessary and undesirable for someone to go to, let’s say, heavy metal concerts or hang out in bars or, you know, do all kinds of other things that some people like to do. They might feel, “Eh, it’s really not my thing,” and that doesn’t make them an escapist or someone who’s trying to hide from the world. It’s like, you know, the various scriptures of different traditions emphasize the value of keeping the company of the wise and pure people because it’s very conducive to growth and the opposite can be very deleterious.
Leanora: Exactly. It’s the same, but you know, you might need to go to a heavy metal concert just to feel what it feels like to have your system disorganized, you know?
Rick: Well, actually, yeah, I actually really enjoy getting into intense situations once in a while, like running through airports and stuff that are chaotic, just because the contrast, yeah, it shakes it up and the contrast is fascinating between nothing’s happening, there’s absolute peace here, and yet there’s this crazy airport.
Leanora: Yeah, exactly. I think that’s so valuable because, you know, do you survive or do you go into overwhelm in that experience, you know? And I think that’s, you know, your mind can think, “I’m not going to do that because I won’t like it,” and then your comfort zone keeps shrinking and you become a spiritual bypass, you know, because it is very seductive to have peace any time you want, you know, and so you go, “Oh, just,” but, you know, we’re here in this world, we’re all in it together and it’s a mess and, you know, it’s like, how do we get to a place where we can be love in action? Rather than love in reaction, let’s be love in action. And that requires a resilient nervous system and it requires, you know, practice and it requires testing. You know, you take it for a test drive. So, you know, you might not go to the heavy metal concert to start with, you might go, you know, just to a big crowd at a classical music concert.
Rick: Yeah, start with Baroque.
Leanora: Yeah, Baroque.
Rick: Vivaldi or something.
Leanora: How did that go, you know? Like, just pushing the edges in such a way that, you know, I think we need safety but I think we need growth. I think one without the other is dangerous.
Rick: Yeah, that’s good. Balance, the middle way, as you said earlier. Here’s a question that came in from Wesley in Albuquerque. “I resonate with your experiences. My awakening has emptied out the mind and opened the heart and as it moves down the body through deeper surrender, I come to this dense, contracted energy in the stomach. There’s a lot of pain, fear and trauma in there. As I open to and continue to surrender, the energy opens and at the bottom of it, the body stops breathing, not intentionally, and just before blacking out, fear takes over and comes gasping back to life. Any thoughts?” Oh, I could comment on that one, but you go ahead.
Leanora: No, that’s a big experience, yeah. So it’s wonderful that you go into the pain and that takes you somewhere, and then it seems to take to a freeze, like the breath stops.
Rick: That’s Samadhi, characteristic of Samadhi when the breath stops.
Leanora: But it can also be characteristic of the freeze. I don’t know if the breath stopped while he was breathing in or out or between the breaths. So the stopped breath can be the freeze state, like too much fear and you just stop. And it’s a little bit like a shock in the system. So that’s one point. The other thing is what I found as I got more and more involved in my own journey was that what’s happening in the gut, the gut brain, the intelligence of the gut, our instincts, how we digest not just food, but how we digest emotions, how we digest in life, is reflected in the mind, it’s reflected in the brain. And so I work very much with the polarity of masculine and feminine or mind and body or head and gut. And so sometimes what’s happening, this is the blank spot, the blank spot is the perceiver and the perceiver is also the creator. So if you’re doing this meditation and you’ve got this thing in your gut, you kind of know that it’s not related to this moment, unless there’s a tiger in the room with you. It’s related to a past moment. So what we’re doing as we go into it is we’ve got to look at, in my way, is that we look at these two elements of consciousness. One is the experience and the other is the experiencer. So the experiencer tends to live somewhere around the eyes or certainly in the head. Sometimes out of the body, it can be soul loss or dissociation at that level. But that experiencer has a relational entanglement with the experience in the gut. And what we want to do is discern that. So in another way of looking at it, for me, it’s like the masculine always has an agenda. The dysfunctional masculine and the divine masculine, Shiva, if you will, is able to be with the body with whatever’s happening, even death. So what we’re doing there is what I found is really valuable is rather than just working on the experience, at some point when you felt everything, one needs to look at bring stillness in, firstly, that stabilizes the nervous system and contrast stillness to the experience in the gut. And then the other part is to bring awareness to what’s in the head looking at it. It’s very hard to explain this in words.
Rick: But you offer practices which help people to do that, right?
Leanora: I offer practices that help people to do that and I guide people because it’s like you can write down the practice and nobody knows what you’re talking about. So my maps and my guidance are often the first foray into that. And it took me many years, but I’ve been able to guide people into that in shorter windows of time, which is very rewarding.
Rick: Yeah, that brings up a good point, which is a lot of times personal instruction is really irreplaceable. You just can’t get it from a book in the way you can from an actual conscious person who can instruct you in the right way.
Leanora: Yeah, I totally agree because what’s relevant in the moment might not be what the words on the book are saying, what’s relevant in the moment is what’s actually happening in the moment. And so if you have a guide, like for me, I’m empathically aware, so I can sense when somebody’s connected or when somebody’s not connected, if they’ve got a pain here, some of the pain they can see, some they can’t see because they have blind spots. So it’s really just like having a set of eyes or an awareness that isn’t tainted by your egoic position or your perceiver, that’s kind of more clean, that can help you illuminate what the obstacles are in your path and help you transform those obstacles by basically experiencing stillness in relationship to them.
Rick: Yep, that’s good. Like a traffic cop, he’s up on a high thing and he can see all the traffic coming from every direction and he has a perspective that the person in each individual car doesn’t necessarily have.
Leanora: Yeah, but I think what’s really important is like as a guide, I don’t have an agenda, I don’t have a plan for sessions or even group things. It’s like I’m guided by what’s happening in the moment. And so the plans are always in the way, agendas are always in the way, so it’s really like I feel like I’m listening to the person’s soul. Their soul is guiding the journey.
Rick: That’s nice. And I imagine this is something you can turn on and off at will, you don’t just go through the grocery store checkout line and get a whole read from the person’s soul.
Leanora: Yeah, no, I’m not into that.
Rick: Just one little quick comment about fear. When Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, I guess it was in the late 40s or early 50s, as he was approaching the speed of sound, there was this huge shaking in the plane and he had to just really hold on to the stick or whatever they call it. But as soon as he broke through, it all got smooth. And I’ve talked to so many people over the years who have kind of approached this threshold of the absolute, we might call it, or whatever, and encountered this fear that they had to somehow deal with or break through in order to somehow and they might retreat from it, or they might actually get through it and then it’s all peace on the other side, the fear is gone. And it’s sort of, there’s a kind of a fundamental fear the Upanishads say all fear is born of duality. There’s a sort of a fundamental fear at that point where duality initially emerges that we may have to traverse as we get into unity.
Leanora: Yeah, your description of it is accurate, and often I’m working with somebody and they’ll say, “Oh, there’s this big black empty spot in my chest.” And I go, “Oh!” You know, part of what’s interesting is I’m separate from that spot, so I’m in a place of separation from it, and I’m looking at it, and it doesn’t dawn on me that I can go in it, or if I go near it, I might feel fear. But many people, if the stability is in the field, I feel like in some way it’s about resonance, like I’m holding a place that is loving and safe, and so in that context, many people can go into that place. Everything dies there. All the mental structures that are causing your suffering, they just can disappear there, so it’s a very, very powerful place. But there has to be a willingness. It’s everybody’s choice, and some people it can take a while to get through that threshold, and other people will just jump in and go, “Oh, it’s nice here,” or, “I feel such relief.” There isn’t a formula, it’s really what’s happening in the moment, and what you know is possible for people. If I’m working with somebody with a trauma, I don’t see them as a traumatized person, I see them as Divinity. And that helps direct them. That helps create a pathway, so I don’t go into reaction, I don’t get engaged in the story, I don’t get lost in the drama. It’s like, I listen, but I’m listening empathically, so when people are speaking, emotions are coming through, and I’m feeling that in my felt sense, and that’s informing everything. So it’s really, firstly, just to get them out of the story and to connect is a valuable piece, to get deeper than the story, what’s really going on in the emotional body and in the physical body and stuff.
Rick: : You’ve been doing this for quite a few years. Do you feel that, is it your observation that things are kind of heating up in the world in terms of people awakening and the ease and rapidity with which people can awaken and so on and so forth? Do you feel like the field is kind of getting more lively, and they say that saying, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Do you think the tide is rising?
Leanora: Yeah, you know, I hover in the center point of not knowing.
Rick: That’s a fair answer.
Leanora: I look at one view and go, you know, like, if you look at the personal journey of going through trauma and finding your true self, it’s the same thing on the external. It’s like a fractal of that, you know? So I can look at what’s going on and go, “Oh, people are awakening. People are awakening more easily. I think amazing children are being born.” And then at the same time, I can go, “Oh my God, autism rates are really high, and Mr. T is going to start World War III any minute.” So they’re co-arising, you know? And it kind of has to be that way. It’s like we do have to give up voting somebody in that we think is going to sort it all out for us, you know? And we have to find our sovereignty or reclaim our power and reclaim community and not be in these little separate, isolated, fear-induced, you know? Like the whole system seems to me, I’m on my soapbox now, it’s like, seems to me to support generating more and more fear.
Rick: There’s a lot of that, yeah.
Leanora: So it’s like everybody can so easily get seduced and polarized into a position and then get really attached to that position. And that position is creating something. And it doesn’t actually resolve anything. Just like now you’ve got people that you’re in opposition to because you have a position that’s different. And then you have people that feel like your tribe because they have the same opinion as you. >>Rick: Yeah. >>Anne: And we’ve been doing this for thousands of years. It really doesn’t work. We’re moving from this dualistic Piscean Age to the Age of Aquarius, so let’s hope at a planetary, cosmological level that we’re really being encouraged to come into a unification with ourself and get out of this traumatic drama.
Rick: Yeah. Well, the polarization seems to be greater than ever, at least here in the U.S. and politically and in society. I kind of wonder, it’s interesting to sort of, you know, you can’t really see the trends of history as well as you’re living them as you can in retrospect. And it’ll be interesting to see where this all leads. I sort of feel like it’s a natural part of huge changes that are afoot. And you mentioned possibly World War III, I mean there’s also the climate change issue, and yet these dire problems are kind of counterbalanced with what appears to me to be some kind of global awakening, which I don’t think is coincidental. It’s somehow related, somehow rising to meet the challenge, and it’ll be fascinating to see how it all works out.
Leanora: I think right at the beginning of this conversation you talked about people come to awakening when their back is against the wall. And you know, we can be apathetic and complacent when we’ve got a little fence around our property and the supermarket still provides us food. But if that fence got knocked over or the supermarket stopped providing food, that would get us active, that would instantly move us out of apathy. So the apathy is kind of like a disease of advanced civilization. We’ve lost touch with land, we’ve lost touch with where food comes from, and all those things. And I’m not saying we have to go back and be cave people, but I think that there’s an integration of heaven on Earth that is that balance point.
Rick: I forgot that I’m talking to somebody who did permaculture for 25 years, and I think stuff like that is definitely going to be part of the future, if we have a future. It’s got to be.
Leanora: Yeah, and I think, you know, when there’s I’m sure in the US the drama is bigger than how I listen to it here from Bali but when there’s these big dramas going on, they polarize us and they consume us, and it’s like going down a vortex, and we don’t always come out of it, then there’s just the next drama. But I think that sort of love in action is like, if you look at that big drama, there’s not a lot that you can do. Or maybe there is some, it depends on who you are. But what you can do is you can plant a garden, or you can do things. And it’s like, the things that inspire me is I see some dude in India who spent 20 years planting five million trees or something. Those are the things that are really inspiring. It’s like, let the cats and dogs kill each other, but let’s take steps towards what we want. What do we want to create?
Rick: Yeah, and also, we’re getting a little bit, I don’t know, we’re jumping around a little bit here, but I think of examples like Gandhi or Martin Luther King or Greta Thunberg for that matter, who just one person said, “I’m just going to sit here and things have to change.” And then it was like the crack in the dike or something that the whole thing just began to flood from the intention of that one person. They sort of served as an agent of change.
Leanora: I think also, what seems really, really obvious to me is that most people are looking outside themselves, whether it’s that Greta or Donald Trump or whatever we’re looking at, it’s outside. It’s like the drama’s out there, but what’s really powerful and valuable is to meet the inside.
Leanora: And that’s where the transformation and the shifts happen. It’s like we’ve all got to take those steps, and collectively, as we individually do that, that changes the collective. That influences the collective. And then we don’t have to get polarized into something that’s just consuming our time, consuming our energy, making us feel defeated, but rather that we’re refocusing, reframing, reclaiming our power and then doing what we can do in our own community.
Rick: Yeah. Also, you’ve talked about how waking up to the inner dimension enables you to deal with great trauma. I think that’s going to be a necessity more and more for people in the world to weather the storm that’s blowing and that will blow harder. The anchor is that inner silence, and I think it’s going to be an essential feature for anyone’s life if they want to survive and be happy.
Leanora: Yeah, I agree. Absolutely agree.
Rick: A question came in from Greg in London. Ooh, Greg is up late. It’s like 1:30 in the morning in London. Greg said, “Hi, I really resonate with Leonora’s story and wanted to ask if you could please share some tips on the following.” There’s three points here I’m going to read. We can take them one by one if you want. So first one, “How can we be more embodied as opposed to being so much in the head?”
Leanora: Right. Practice.
Rick: How to practice practically? Let’s say people hear this, they say, “Great, I want to do it. Okay, I’ll practice. What do I practice?”
Leanora: Yeah, so you practice feeling a connection to the felt sense of the whole body. That’s a good start. And opening, you know, taking an attitude of openness, willingness, sincerity, so kind of aligning with what I would call like a sacred connection, that you feel that you’re going into a temple. Your system is your temple.
Rick: Is this something you try to do all the time, all day long, or something you do in a meditative state, maybe for it?
Leanora: It depends if you’re just starting or if you’re quite skilled. Ultimately, you want to live there. But it’s baby steps often, so you’re recalibrating your nervous system as you go. And it’s like changing from the inside out. Everything that you do ripples out through the whole system. So the mind says, “I’ve got this problem. I need to fix that first. Then I’ve got that problem. I need to fix that.” This isn’t that. This is more of a transfiguration. It’s like you’re connecting with a resource, which is your true self, that knows who you are, knows why you’re here, knows what you should be doing. It’s already known. And so you’re just tapping into that vibration. And that’s giving that vibration power. And that’s giving you inspiration. So you’re still going to meet the dark side because there’s a little person in there with a story that, you know, “It’s not working for me,” or “I’ve tried everything,” or “I’m not good enough,” or whatever the little story is. You’ve got to meet the storyteller. So part of the journey is to be willing to feel the experience fully through a felt-sense connection. That takes you out of the mental level and into the energetic level, where everything is just vibration and resonance. So when you’re there, your willingness to meet the experience will transform the experience. However, it works to a point because there’s an identity or a sense of self, a position, that we’re usually blind to, and we’re looking through those glasses. And those glasses are keeping us stuck. So at some point, we’re exploring what we’re looking through. We’re becoming unblind. We’re clearing our visual channels, if you will. So that’s a piece. And there’s a lot that you might find just in doing that. You can just do that. It might take you some years before you feel really masterful in that. Because it’s how much trauma you have. Some things are easy to be with, and some things are overwhelming.
Rick: Okay, good. And I would just remind people that if that little explanation she just gave doesn’t seem adequate to get you on the path of doing this in a systematic way, then Leanora offers one-on-one and group sessions, and maybe that would get you anchored in some sort of practice that you could be more self-sufficient with.
Leanora: I think also that people, if they do that, if they really do that, they get a result. And the result is encouraging for them to keep practicing.
Rick: That’s a good point. I sometimes talk to people and say, “I tried meditating and nothing happened.” And for me it was like, kaboom, the first day. And so I’ve never had a problem doing it regularly because the results are so great. So if you do try something and you don’t get any results, try something else. Because something’s going to work for you.
Leanora: People that have a trauma and you go, “Okay, just feel what’s in there,” it’s like, “I don’t want to feel that! It’s horrible!” But if you can love what’s in there, love is the way and the destination, if you can open to it and allow it, it’s got gold and jewelry on the other side of it. It’s kind of like, you’ve got to go through it and change your relationship with it.
Rick: Yeah, and there is something to be said for intention and motivation. I mean, there’s a saying, I keep coming up with all these sayings they say in India, one of them is, “If you take one step toward God, God takes a thousand steps toward you.” Or sometimes it’s spoken of in terms of the guru. But I’ve again seen so many examples, so when people have the intention, just the sincere intention, sometimes it’s even a prayer. It’s like, “Well, it was with you, right? You were like, ‘Help me, something’s got to change here,'” and then kaboom, you get results.
Leanora: Yeah, and there’s this acknowledgement, “I don’t know the way, show me the way.” The acknowledgement of giving up, “I don’t know the way,” which is true because you’ve never been there before. And then the invitation to be shown the way, and those two together from the place of sincerity are really powerful.
Rick: Yeah, a sincere entreaty like that is heard, and one gets a response. Okay, so here’s Greg’s second question, “How to work with,” and we’ve talked about a bunch of this already, but maybe add a little thing, “How to work with and uncover pre-conscious traumatic experiences?”
Leanora: Okay, well, they’ll reveal themselves to you when you’re ready, and they’re kind of here, and they’re shaping the conscious experiences. So sometimes it doesn’t have to be this way. You can go directly into the Absolute or stillness or whatever accessibility you have to that qualitative experience, and that will help. It just helps recalibrate the system, and that’s like the endpoint. The endpoint of healing is to return to self, capital S. So it’s like you’re inducing the endpoint by bringing it in to meet the trauma. And the two, when they’re together, they kind of resolve. Things change, and they resolve themselves. But another way of looking at it is that your conscious trauma is shaped out of your pre-conscious trauma.
Rick: Yeah, good point.
Leanora: It can sometimes be. Like I say, you can go directly there. You can invoke stillness and not need to know all the stories and all the trauma points along the way, and things will resolve energetically, and you’ll just be different, and you don’t know why. And that’s cool. You don’t need a new story. You can just not have a story. Or you might track back. So it depends on the person and their capacity and their skill. You might track back to what happened yesterday when you had a drama with somebody. And if you feel into that experience all the way to its root, you’re going to find the pre-conscious in between you and the root, so the root being stillness. So it depends on whether you’re working in time or whether you’re working in no time or some combination thereof. So what I did in my own journey is I exhausted what I found in trauma healing. And that whole technology or the technologies that are out there have improved and been fine-tuned, and they’re really coming on board, and I really respect them. But my curiosity was I had thousands and thousands of traumas. It was going to take lifetimes to get through it. So my curiosity was like, what’s the origin? How did this get created without my knowledge? Where did this come from? And it comes from one place. The root of all trauma is the leaving of Self, capital S. So the resolution of all trauma is the return to Self. And I found it so much more powerful to have that as a stick in the ground than poor me with all my traumas, because that position of “I’ve got a lot of traumas” is keeping you stuck in “I’ve got a lot of traumas.”
Rick: Yeah, that’s a good point. So what you’re saying is that unless you get to the root, you could muddle around with a million different traumas all your life, but if you can get down to the very root of them all, you can uproot them all in one shovelful, perhaps.
Leanora: Yeah, so for me what I found was that the biggest blind spot I had, because I apparently had a lot of trauma, was that something’s wrong with me and I need to heal it. That was my orientation. And that orientation perpetuated the problem. So at some point, this is why turning things around and looking at who’s looking, and looking at that person’s attitude or orientation or position or identity, once you start doing that, you collapse the thing that’s holding you in this position. If you think you’ve got 10,000 traumas, then you’ve got 10,000 traumas. So if you could reorient your position to “I’m here to be me,” instead of “I’m here to fix myself,” “I’m here to be me,” “I’m here to share the gift that I am in the world,” that has so much more power. And it’s like what you were saying just before, Rick, it’s like the power of the light or the power of that intention. You know, I always use this metaphor, if you made the whole room dark, completely black, you couldn’t see a thing, you couldn’t see your hands. And then you lit a match, this tiny little match can illuminate the room.
Rick: It’s funny, I was going to use the same metaphor. I was thinking, “Okay, I’m going to say this as soon as she finishes.” You said it.
Leanora: Yeah, so we must be in sync.
Rick: Yeah, it’s a great metaphor. I mean, you can analyze the darkness and you can keep in there a hundred things you could stumble into and bang your shins on, and there’s no end of problems as long as it’s dark in there. But you turn on the light, even a little match or a candle, and all of a sudden, “Okay, the darkness is somehow dispelled and I see all these things, so I’m not going to bump into them.”
Leanora: Well, I use that metaphor because, you know, the first kind of what I call “soul liberation” that is valuable for people is to move from the head to the heart. And I say, “What you need to know is where the light switch is.” And the light switch is more accessible in the heart, usually the head, because the head’s got all sorts of ideas in it. So if you go down into a dark room or you end up in a dark place, it depends on the person and their neurological wiring, but a lot of people have the capacity, if they’ve done some practice, to find the light switch and turn it on. And so, you know, the light illuminates the shadows. So a lot of people get clingy about the light. “I just want the light. I don’t want the shadow.” You know, so that’s a relationship with the light based on fear. Because if you, instead of the light being outside you, if you embody it, you no longer need to find it. It’s just there. So the other thing that the light does is it illuminates the shadows. You know, so it’s not about finding the light and clinging to it, but it’s about knowing that you are the light, knowing it, like embodying the light, letting it be you, taking the light to stillness or your essence, so that it integrates, so that you are the light. And that is going to illuminate the shadow. And that goes back to this early part of the conversation between the openness and the contraction. You know, the openness goes, “Light, she’s open. Let’s show it to her.” You know, and it’s like, you know? And then all the stuff that isn’t in alignment with that big, expansive openness that you are will get revealed in that. Now most people give up before that happens. They go, “Oh, this technique doesn’t work. I just want the light. You know, I don’t want all that stuff.” You know, so it’s not for sissies, you know, but it’s really a worthy way to live your life.
Rick: I think you may have just answered Greg’s third question, which was how to find and work with blind spots, this whole discussion of light. I mean, you know?
Leanora: Yes. Yeah, yeah. There’s actually an infinite number of ways to play, but what we’re trying to do is, you know, in a sort of pithy statement, is what’s happened is that who I think I am is enmeshed with awareness. So awareness is looking through this filter and it sees what it sees, and what it sees is not true. So it’s like I need to disentangle the filter of my perception from pure awareness. And so stillness is a doorway into that clarity. That stillness will illuminate what’s not still, basically, and what’s the sense of I.
Rick: Nice. You talk about, you said on your website, that foundational to all the work that you do with Embody Truth is the practice of sovereignty, the felt sense of exploration of experience, perception, with contrast to stillness. You refer to these three aspects as a triangulation and call it the Trinity. If that’s foundational to all the work you do, maybe we should talk about that a little bit. We already have, but maybe we should embellish it.
Leanora: We have, yeah, we have.
Rick: Yeah, we’ve been talking about it.
Leanora: There’s the fundamental, unchanging reality, which has got many names, but none of them really describe it. So I like to call it the Absolute. So that’s one of the elements, and that’s actually the origin point of all trauma. It’s also the origin point of the body. It’s the origin point of conscious awareness. So the other two elements are the experience, which equates to the feminine or the body, and the experiencer, which equates to the mind or the masculine. So you need the discernment. You need that triangulation. So I learned this the hard way because I didn’t have the triangulation. I got to Samadhi, and I became Samadhi, or I became a spiritual kind of bypass from the body. And part of that was to do with developmental trauma, but eventually I had to discern what the difference was between the mind and the body, or the head and the belly. And the starting point I use is the heart, because the heart consciousness is where the light lives easily. It’s more easily accessible there. So for me, the sovereignty, I call it heart-centered sovereignty, is this connection to all of me. And it’s both a state of consciousness and a process, and through the process of it, you become more and more sovereign, and you become more and more clear about what’s you and what’s not you. It’s kind of a willingness to own your experience. So for example, if I’m sovereign and I’m listening to you, I’m feeling the response in my system to what you say. So if I get triggered by something, I’m feeling the trigger. And as you practice that, you can resolve this trigger immediately while you’re in conversation. In the beginning, you take the trigger home and you work on it. Because between the trigger, the explosive emotional energy, say, and the source, the absolute, is a lot of things that shaped me that need your time. They need you to commune with them. They need to be loved by you. And so that distance between you and the absolute becomes smaller and smaller as you clear the stuff out of your field. So if you’re just starting, you might not be able to do that while you’re sitting having a conversation with someone, but you take it home. The practice would be to take it home and work on it on your own at home, where it’s safe and less disturbed by outer experiences.
Rick:Good. Well put. Okay, let me see if in the notes I took, if there’s anything else that I want to be sure to cover with you. Here’s a nice sentence, “Healing trauma completely and the resultant recalibration toward coherence is purely a return to a singularity of an undivided self.” I like that sentence, so I noted it down. And here’s another one, “What makes this journey so worthwhile is that as we heal, we move toward our full potential.”
Rick: How would you describe full potential? What do you think someone living their full potential would be like?
Leanora: I’ll let you know.
Rick: Well, you know, we’ve all moved somewhat in that direction, so what is the full potential of a human being?
Leanora: Well, firstly, I think there’s no attachment to any result, so it’s kind of a strange thing to try to get words around what’s full potential look like. So if there’s no attachment, there’s no I that’s in time that’s looking for an outcome. It’s like I’m here in the moment. And if I am here in the moment and there’s drama, people being polarized around me, that just my presence can shift the environment. So I would say that full potential has a strong influence on the field. That when you can hold a connection to your true self and your stillness, you don’t need to know what to do. What to do emerges out of you automatically as a response to the people around you who are just expressions of you. >>I’ve been in the presence of people who would come into a room and I wasn’t looking, I didn’t see them come into the room, but all of a sudden it was like this wave of silence and coherence washed over me, and then I turn around and there they are.
Leanora: Yeah, exactly. So I think it’s that the full potential is that you’re in service, because you don’t have a separate I which is the wound. The separation is the wound. The sense of separation is the wound. So in some way we’re all wounded. And in another way, I just feel the alignment to becoming self is much more powerful than being engaged with being wounded. So as you do the practice, I feel you have more influence. You become more magnetic. Your field kind of supports other people in some magical, unknowing way, just by presence.
Rick: Yeah, there’s something you just said there, I won’t be able to express it in the same words, but the engagement with self or the attunement to self is more, I would put it in my words, more charming or more alluring than engaging with trauma or woundedness. So we kind of follow the, we could say, the natural tendency of the mind to seek a field of greater happiness, and it sort of leads us effortlessly into self, and then the wounding or the trauma can be worked out much more readily.
Leanora:Leanora: Yeah. It can be a bit different if you’re super traumatized, you know? It’s not so easy to orient that way. So, you know, we have less access, you would have less access to those kinds of resources. Like some people really have, can’t, you know, like I work, it’s so interesting. It’s like I was, I’m always in a sort of living question that’s never answerable, but it’s like, you know, for example, how can I best serve? You know, so it might be, oh, you know, you need to do a lot of trauma healing with people and focus on that. And then it’s like, but I can’t do that because that excludes this bit, you know, and then now I need to do this bit, but that excludes that bit. And so in my journey, I’ve worked with people from a range, you know, from severely traumatized to semi enlightened, let’s say, you know, that have been meditating for 30 years and have a lot of capacity. And that’s what’s informed me because my polarity was that great, you know, it’s like I had that kind of emptiness state of consciousness. At the same time, I had a lot of trauma in the body, you know, which actually shows you that awakeness has got nothing to do with trauma, you know, we still got to clean up. So you know, I think it’s just different. You can’t really, I think every time somebody asks me what I do, I give them a different answer because it depends who’s asking.
Rick: Would you say that there may be exceptions, but as a general rule, the human nervous system has much more capacity to heal itself of trauma than most people realize, because most people don’t heal it, so the norm seems to be that we’re stuck with it, but that theoretically there could be something provided for the masses which would enable millions of people to be healed of trauma and would thus heal a lot of trauma in the collective consciousness.
Leanora: I agree. I keep my finger on the pulse on things like that because there is a lot of amazing, you know, whether it’s technologies or therapies or whatever that are coming out that really understand, you know, even the traditional medical system has a field now called psychoneuroimmunology. So instead of all those, you know, the psyche being separate from the neurology and the immune system being separate from the rest of it, it’s getting, you know, they’re all in a co-regulating kind of way with each other. And there are some books, I’m trying to remember, there was a guy called, I think it was Norman Deutsch, he wrote a couple of books. One was like the brain which changes itself and miraculous healing stories that he, you know, spent 10 or 15 years wandering around researching these kinds of stories and, you know, researching different technologies that can help. So there’s a lot, you know, there’s the ancient wisdom that’s helpful, there’s the modern new things that are helpful, but we’re starting to come into that kind of coherent place. You know, this is the bit that’s exciting. It’s like that we have access to a lot, you know, if we could get the people that are trying to prevent us to get it, you know, it could just flourish perhaps. So I think, you know, my advice to people is that there is a way for you, there really is a way for you and the journey of discovering it is what’s going to give you your wisdom and compassion. And your way is unique. So you know, you can bounce from teacher to pillar to post, you can work on your physical body, your physical health, your mental health, your meditation, you can work with healers, you can work with whatever resonates to you, but it’s really your way, you know, that you are a unique piece that is unfolding. And just opening to being shown the way will really kind of bring some of those pieces towards you.
Rick: That’s great. I should probably conclude it right there because I don’t know if I could state it any better, but I just want to maybe just sort of emphasize your point that people should never feel discouraged or feel that they are too broken to heal, because as you used the word “exciting” a few minutes ago, it’s exciting. There’s so many opportunities now, so many interesting things bubbling up, and our means of communication are such, you know, as you said earlier, just a few clicks and we can find some nugget of information or knowledge that used to be squirreled away in a monastery and you had to study for 30 years before they would tell you about it. So it’s really a “make hay while the sun shines” kind of a time that we’re living in.
Leanora: And try to remember that it’s just one thought that defeats you. It’s just that one thought that defeats you, that thought that I’m broken beyond repair or the thought that I’ve tried everything and I’m going to give up by all means. That’s always a good step, but it’s always that one thought that defeats us. That’s that one thought and we believe it, and then we live in that belief. And so mix with each other, find your soulmates, and do whatever enriches your journey and really trust that it’s there. I like to say sometimes I’m guiding somebody and I go, “They can’t find the light. You know, they’ve got so many mental traumatized structures in the way.” And I go, “You know, I can feel your light and the light is there and it’s waiting for you and it will wait for you forever.”
Rick: Interesting, yeah.
Leanora: And sometimes that just turns something for people. You know, I don’t have pat sayings, but it just came to me.
Rick: That’s a good one.
Leanora: You know, even though I’ve lost connection with the light and I’ve lost connection with my true self because of the traumas and what happened to my nervous system, the light is still there and it will always wait for you. It is you.
Rick: Yeah, boy. So that’s a good note to end on, I think. It’s very encouraging and uplifting and people should really, I mean I hope people take it to heart. And whether they work with you or anybody else, there’s all kinds of opportunities out there to live a really fulfilling life. And if you’re feeling discouraged, just look a little bit more, practice a little bit more. You’ll find, you know, “Seek and ye shall find.”
Rick: Yeah. So do you want to kind of just summarize what it is that you do for people, how they could get in touch with you, what sort of things they will do if they do get in touch with you and so on?
Leanora: Well, I think, you know, you can just look on my website and it’s posted, I’m sure, somewhere in the notes here.
Rick: I’ll be linking to it from your page on Batgap.
Leanora: Okay. So basically, you know, I really do like working one-on-one with people because it’s the most potent way, you know, to help. But my intention is always to help people be empowered and self-reliant. So when people work with me, I give them practices and I help them through the resistance to practice and creating a practice that’s that dynamic, not a habit, you know, and all those kinds of things. So, you know, I like to set the scene that’s going to be the most powerful for each person because it’s not really me that does anything, it’s you that does it, you know. So I’m just kind of like a mystical guide or something like that. And because I can’t work with thousands of people one-on-one, I’ve kind of clumped people together in groups if they want to continue to work. And so I have a couple of online groups. I have one, a new one starting, which is called Heart Centered Sovereignty, which is a good place to start. And then I have one that people who’ve been working with me for a longer window of time. It’s an endless group. It’s a subscription. After you’ve done some work and you kind of know the basics, you can come into that group and that group’s called Cultivating Grace. And so it’s about living it in your life. So it’s very engaged with the day-to-day and the day-to-day practice and, you know, the big deep questions and people get exercises and they work in dyads and, you know, anything that can help people enliven their journey towards being themselves.
Rick: Sounds great. Well, thank you for all you do.
Leanora: Thank you. Thank you for what you do. I think it’s really awesome. It’s been a real pleasure to meet you, Rick, and to share this time with you.
Rick: Yeah, likewise. I’ve really enjoyed speaking with you. So thanks to those who tuned in live and to those who are watching this later. We really appreciate your participation and hope that you benefit from all this. That’s the point of it. So I’ll just conclude. I’ve been speaking with Leanora. There’ll be a page on batgap.com dedicated to this interview and with the appropriate links and so on, the descriptions, so just go there. And also, a link to that page is at the bottom of this video if you’re watching it on YouTube. And there’s also a Facebook discussion group about each interview and there’s a link to that at the bottom in the description of each video on YouTube. And there’s some other things on BatGap if you explore the menus a little bit, such as an email mailing list and an audio podcast and things like that. So just check them out and sign up if you’re interested. So thanks for listening or watching and we will see you for the next one. Thanks, Leanora.
Leanora: Thank you.