An Interview done with Jim Leonard on Russian Television in 2002.
Aleksey Kolov: Jim, where and when did you get the idea for Vivation and what does the word mean?
Jim Leonard: I guess I’ve really had a very unusual life, because it seems like I came into this world with a sense of purpose. The idea for Vivation did not come all at once, but began to take shape when I was just eight years old. Eight was a big year of awakening for me in many respects. I was already a good reader by that age, and that was the year that my sister, Linda, taught me how to use the Dewey Decimal System at the library. So I started spending my time there just studying things I found interesting. What I found interesting was books about spirituality and psychology. In particular, I started to study yoga that year, from books and a TV program. That was also the year that I first read Think and Grow Rich, which is one of the greatest metaphysical books of all time. I remember when it first occurred to me that the adults in my life were not as happy as they should be. So really from a very early age I started studying the things that would eventually lead to my invention of the Vivation process. Also when I was eight it dawned on me that the big things in life happened as a result of the millions of tiny things, and unpredictable coincidences in life. So I was already beginning to see the perfection in things back then. By the time I was ten, I knew that what I wanted was a way to directly resolve emotions at the feeling level without going through a psychological process. I never thought that I would have to invent such a thing, I always expected to find it somewhere else, already fully developed. So I just kept reading and studying, always expecting to find what I was looking for. When I was seventeen, I had a really big breakthrough in which I directly perceived the perfection of all things. When I was eighteen, I formulated that insight into a system so I could share it with others–this was the earliest version of what we now call The Absolute Fourth Element, the seventh of The Seven Basic Lessons, which is the oldest part of Vivation. After many years of studying everything I could find that seemed related to what I was looking for, finally the big day for me was July 13, 1979, when my experimentation led to the first Vivation session, in Capitola, a village near Santa Cruz, California. This was the first time that I actually caused emotional integration directly at the feeling level. Within several days, I had formulated The Five Elements of Vivation, which are the core skills of how to do Vivation for yourself. I’ve been practicing and teaching this ever since. So I was only 24 years old when I created the Vivation process, which seems young, but, as you can see, it was actually after quite a long period of research.
The word “Vivation” comes from the Latin word for “life” plus the English combining form meaning “process”. Vivation is the process of embracing the entire human experience of life. The word Vivation is protected internationally as a registered trademark.
AK: Please give us details about the Vivation technique.
JL: The principle of Vivation is simple and grounded in everyday experience. If you feel any feeling honestly and in detail in your body, and relate to it in a positive way, the feeling integrates permanently. Everyone has had integration experiences, but it never occurs to anybody to cause integrations to happen. What I did was work out how to make integration extremely reliable and efficient. Vivation is a feeling-level skill that we teach to the client in seven lessons. The result of the seven lessons is to be able to have many integrations in a short amount of time, sometimes even one integration per minute of practice. The teaching of Vivation is structured in The Five Elements and The Three Points to Remember. The Five Elements are the component skills of causing integration physically, that is, at the feeling level. All Five Elements must be present simultaneously in order to have integration. The Three Points to Remember are simple ways to maintain all Five Elements without having to think about them, so that all your attention can be placed on the subtle details of whichever feeling happens to be presenting itself at the moment. In The Seven Basic Lessons, The Three Points to Remember go in the first lesson. Then there is a lesson for each of The Five Elements: 1. Circular Breathing, 2. Complete Relaxation, 3. Awareness in Detail, 4. Integration into Ecstasy, and 5. Do Whatever You Do–Willingness is Enough. The seventh lesson, as I have already mentioned, is the Absolute Fourth Element, so really there are two lessons for Integration into Ecstasy, first the Practical Fourth, then the Absolute Fourth. The lesson on the Absolute Fourth is a direct experience of the perfection of all things, from which point the client knows for sure that everything integrates.
AK: Is Vivation a breathing process?
JL: Vivation is not a breathing process. The result of Vivation comes from feeling an emotion or sensation in detail in the body and embracing or accepting it. The result does not come from the breathing. Circular Breathing is a very special, precise way to breathe that greatly facilitates awareness and acceptance of the feeling. It is the most natural way to breathe. Shortly after getting started with Vivation, Circular Breathing becomes automatic, so that all the attention can be placed on exploring the physical details of whatever sensation or emotion happens to be coming up at the moment. In the lesson on the First Element, we teach the client how to make very precise adjustments to the breathing rhythm so as to tune in the feeling, which makes Vivation much more pleasurable and efficient. But with a little bit of instruction and practice this all becomes natural and automatic, and even becomes part of normal daily life. There are hundreds of breathing processes in the world, some ancient and some modern, but Vivation is unique and unrelated to any of them.
AK: Is it possible to learn to do Vivation by reading your book, Vivation–The Skill of Happiness?
JL: You can learn all about Vivation by reading the book, but if you want to learn to actually do Vivation for yourself, then you have to get the lessons. There is just no way to avoid the necessity of getting the lessons. This is like you can read a book about playing the saxophone, but no matter how good the book is, you are never going to learn to play the saxophone just by reading a book. You cannot hurt yourself by trying to do Vivation by yourself, but what will happen is that within a few minutes of starting, some emotion or sensation will come up that you have been avoiding your whole life, and then you’ll just stop. With the help of your Vivation Professional, when the feeling comes up you’ll apply the skill and integrate it very quickly. After The Seven Basic Lessons, you’ll always be able to do Vivation anytime, anywhere you like, and have one pleasurable integration after another. You’ll even be able to do this in the presence of other people, for example at a business meeting, and nobody will know that you are doing anything special. They’ll just think that your nature is to be relaxed, happy, creative, and alert.
AK: How is Vivation different from yoga or meditation?
JL: Vivation is much easier, more productive, and more fun than yoga or meditation. Don’t get me wrong, I love yoga and meditation, and have studied and practiced them a lot. I recommend yoga and meditation to everyone who is interested in them. But they are difficult to do, require a lot of discipline, and are just not much fun. Vivation is much more natural than doing yoga or meditation. In fact, it is more natural to do Vivation than it is to not do it. In meditation, you focus artificially on something like a mantra, or a sound, or a fixed point on the body. This is not very natural, because the mind is simply a lot more dynamic than that. When you try to focus the mind artificially, it wanders off right away, and you have to keep trying to use discipline to pull it back again. But in Vivation you give your attention to what is most asking for your attention anyway, the strongest feeling in your body at the moment. This is very easy. Then you feel that feeling integrate right away. This is fun. A Vivation session is an exciting and pleasurable adventure within yourself. If you do Vivation at the same time that you are doing something else fun, you’ll have a lot more fun than you would have without Vivation. With yoga and meditation you do make some kind of progress, but slowly. With Vivation every integration is a big acceleration in your personal progress, and you get many integrations in every session.
AK: How would Vivation be helpful to a businessperson?
JL: I often teach Vivation to businesspeople both individually and in their companies. Vivation is helpful to everyone in the same way, but there are two benefits of Vivation that businesspeople find very attractive. One is that it is the most effective stress-reduction practice in the world. Integration is permanent. This makes Vivation the stress-reduction technique so effective that the stress never comes back. The other exciting benefit is that Vivation increases creativity. This is the subject of my second book, Your Fondest Dream. Vivation increases creativity in two ways. One way is that Vivation makes it comfortable to let new ideas emerge from the subconscious level. The subconscious is infinitely creative–it creates all our dreams at night. People mostly get very fixed in their ideas about things, and not open at all to new ideas, even their own. Vivation changes this completely. The other way Vivation increases creativity is that every integration is, itself, a creative breakthrough. All creative breakthrough comes from changing perspective, so that instead of focusing on what isn’t there that you wish were there, you focus on doing something new with what is there. Vivation accomplishes this change of context physically, at the feeling level. Even a little bit of enhanced creativity makes a businessperson a whole lot more effective.
AK: Is Vivation helpful to people under extreme stress, like people who have lost a loved one, people with life-threatening illness, victims of crimes or terrorist acts?
JL: Vivation permanently resolves feelings and emotions related to everything. I have worked a lot with people who have been through terrible traumas, including refugees from wars, who have experienced absolutely horrible things. All these people get tremendous benefit from Vivation. Vivation is enough to go from being very depressed to very happy. Vivation also integrates physical pain. Vivation gives a surpassing sense of peace and wellness to everyone who uses it. Vivation is very gentle. There are absolutely no contraindications for Vivation–even very sick people can do it. Vivation is physically pleasurable, which helps right away. And the feelings and sensations that integrate with Vivation remain integrated forever. Vivation is absolutely the best thing for very traumatized people.
AK: If someone wants to learn Vivation, what should they do?
JL: I, myself, concentrate on doing two things: training Vivation Professionals and giving private Vivation sessions. I have personally given more than 45,000 Vivation sessions in 22 countries, and I have trained hundreds of Vivation Professionals, all over the world. If someone wants to learn Vivation, the best thing is to go on the Internet and visit the Web site of Vivation, Internationaland submit the form that asks me for a personal presentation. I respond to all these email forms personally. With a little bit of back-and-forth correspondence, I can customize a lesson plan for the individual and make the connection with the best Vivation Professional for them, personally. Coming up this year, in 2002, I will also be teaching two Vivation Professional Trainings in the English language, one in London, England, in May, and one in Minneapolis, USA, in August. These Trainings are open to everyone and teach both how to do Vivation for yourself and how to teach Vivation to others, professionally. The first step is to go to the Web site and submit the form.
AK: And finally, can you explain why Vivation is particularly important at this time in our history?
JL: These are times of special stress for many people and so it is especially important to be able to relax and be creative. At this moment, the economy is in a downturn, but there are also millions of opportunities for someone who remains alert to them. Vivation renews your optimism and enthusiasm and empowers you to do your very best. Many people have special fears these days, fears of flying, terrorism, etc. The biological purpose of the fear is to make you more attentive, but if you have to suppress the fear in order to feel OK, then it has just the opposite effect. When Vivation integrates the fear, it helps you to be energetic, attentive, and relaxed all at the same time.
Jim Leonard was the originator of the Vivation process. During his life he conducted more than 45,000 Vivation sessions in 22 countries.