Leela School of Awakening From Ashland with Love

Welcome to an exploration of consciousness and self-realization through the insightful lens of the Leela School of Awakening located right here in Ashland, Oregon. Founded by the spiritual teacher, and author, Eli Jaxon-Bear, the Leela School offers a unique and transformative approach to inner inquiry and self-discovery while preparing therapists for a successful career.

In this interview, we speak with co-founder Lisa Schumacher about the core teachings and methodologies that form the foundation of the Leela School. We also discuss the True Friend Method and Psilocybin Facilitators program.

Hi Lisa, welcome to LocalsGuide. Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us today about the Leela School.

Thank you Shields! So happy to have the opportunity to share.

Lisa, to begin with, will you please introduce us to the Leela School and its history here in Ashland, Oregon?

The Leela School of Awakening was founded here in 2016. The school arose out of the meeting that Eli Jaxon-Bear, the founder of the Leela School, had with his teacher, Papaji, whom he met on his search for enlightenment in Lucknow, India back in the early 90’s.

Confirming Eli’s realization and knowing that he was training therapists, Papaji gave him an assignment, “Let both client and therapist wake up.” This gave birth to Eli’s vision of spreading world peace and freedom through universal self-realization. The vehicle for this is the teaching of being a True Friend – having a silent mind and an open heart. This approach to life and self-reflection has now spread throughout the world bringing ever deepening discoveries of what it means to live a life of true freedom and service. This is the heart of our school.

Lisa, please give us an overview of the school and courses that are being offered.

First, we teach our students how to listen with an open heart from the quiet presence of being. People notice the difference between this and their normal way of living and this leads to many realizations about oneself and how we relate with each other.

Being able to show up with a quiet mind and an open heart serves as a foundation for the Leela Depth Immersion. This one-year course is focused on awakening to your true nature through inquiries held in sacred retreat space with skilled teachers and mentors.

For those who are called to pursue a career in therapy, counseling, coaching or teaching we also offer the possibility of becoming certified in our two-year program as a Leela Facilitator.

In our Psilocybin Facilitator Program, we train highly skilled, ethical and compassionate facilitators to support the heart-to-heart therapeutic use of psilocybin. We use it in a sacred context for healing, growth and self-realization, while honoring the cultural heritage and plant wisdom of indigenous people. Through this program, we serve global healing and awakening, and inspire unconditional respect for human dignity, equality, and diversity.

The Leela Community now has students around the world. What are some of the commonalities that connect everyone together?

We are all here in the search for truth and in the service of the end of personal suffering. Regardless of culture or language we all share a goal for the earth to come to peace, freedom and equality. Living a life of love and fulfillment is possible for everyone.

Please talk about awakening and consciousness. What exactly does this mean and how do we go about experiencing it in our daily lives?

To awaken is to have a radical shift in your self-knowledge into direct realization. To awaken means to turn away from everything you believe to be real to discover unchanging reality. Then, you are no longer believing who you always believed yourself to be. You are instead rooted in the direct realization of who you are, beyond belief. It is the recognition that who you really are is complete and whole in this moment. This is the root of fulfillment and the foundation of true causeless happiness.

Lisa, tell us more about the personal integrity & responsibility that goes into one’s awakening.

To be awakened to your true nature is to no longer be compelled to betray yourself for any reason.

It is the inherent freedom to be as you are and be completely happy. This is possible for everyone because it is perfectly natural; it is not something that can be done or given to you.

To awaken requires your complete attention. This is why it seems rare and is challenging. We have given our attention, the only real power that we have, away from wants and needs that are based in our belief that we are separate, incomplete, and flawed in some way. This is the trance that is seen through in the Leela School, by the willingness of the student, coupled with the skillful means of the teachers and mentors.

Lisa, please say more about the True Friend Method. What is it and how does it work to support one’s life out in the world?

At the basis of all our work lies the principle of being a True Friend, which simply but powerfully means meeting ourselves and one another with a quiet mind and an open heart, not taking anything personally.

We offer skillful, honest, loving and direct support for your own healing, awakening and deepening in all our programs.

Lisa, for many of us we are breaking a multi-generational trance or trauma.

Please say more about this.

What was passed on to you through your family lineage can end with you, once and for all. Your personal awakening changes the quality of your relationships, and like a tuning fork next to another vibrating tuning fork, the people in your sphere of influence begin to resonate. Once you have seen through the trance of identity, your story of trauma transforms into a teaching story that serves and lifts others out of their trance of suffering. In this way, we serve awakening, one heart at a time.

Lisa you say that “you can’t take anyone further than you have gone yourself.” What does this mean?

We have seen that you can lovingly hold others only as deeply as you’ve known yourself. When you recognize that you are responsible, finally, for your own happiness, the energy that has been used for fixing the world, fixing the partner, fixing others, and fixing yourself is directed toward recognizing what is already free and fulfilled. Once you can meet yourself fully, with an open heart and a quiet mind and not take your humanness personally, you will be ready to meet someone else with that same compassion and openness.

Talk about the work you are doing at this time and place on the planet.

A community of people who are in deep service to self-inquiry and awakening is alive here in the US, Canada, Germany, Holland, Australia, and New Zealand. Our last Zoom open meeting had people from 22 countries and every continent.

It is fulfilling to see people helping one another grow, starting practices as Leela Practitioners and Psilocybin Facilitators. It is very rewarding to be with a group of people who know how to meet each other fully. They know how to listen. They can see their own egoic movement and they are present in their life for the discovery of how to be a true friend in the world and for themselves and loved ones. It results in deep selfless service for peace and freedom for everyone.

What are the opportunities for our readers to learn more and become involved with your organization?

We have two online open houses planned for early December to answer questions about us and our two programs.

The first one is on Saturday, December 2nd and it’s a Meet the Teachers Open House to introduce our teachers of the Psilocybin Facilitators Training program.

Then on Saturday, December 9th we will have an online Open House to introduce our full year Depth Immersion program.

Both are free online Zoom events and you can register and obtain a Zoom link from our website, and both contain a live Question and Answer after our presentations.

You can also reach out to Leigh at any time, Our website is where you can find dates and information about us.

Can you please share some success stories with us?

We have 65 Certified Leela Facilitators working successfully in 12 countries. We have a Mentor Training Program with Mentors in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.

Here is some feedback we just received from students in our Psilocybin Facilitator Program:

What I’m continuing to realize is that the internal warfare is fueled by different sides of the same ego. An ego that I am now able to see and examine and meet as a true friend. Give myself the time to remain curious and open without immediate movement and the peace that comes with the stillness.

– Caleb, Eugene, Oregon

One of the things I want to say about this course is that it really is in service to humanity… I’ve been learning without realizing I’m learning. Things shift and we come home to ourselves. It’s such a blessing… So much love is coming out of this and such a coming home to one’s self. And then being able to use that absolutely in service to humanity.

– Jane, Hilton, Australia

I really feel like this has taught me a whole new way of being with people, of being with myself, of being a therapist. It’s a whole new way of getting to the root of things… It literally has transformed every relationship in my life…I feel like I have really come home to myself in this program.

– Kim, Klamath Falls, Oregon

The possibility to wake up and be free is a reality in this course.

– Linda, Sebastopol, CA

Thank you so much for speaking with us today.

Thank you! It’s an honor to speak with you and share this with our wonderful community!

Learn More:

The Leela School of Awakening

685 A St., Ashland, OR


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