By Jim Leonard
Vivation is an extremely versatile technique. People do it for a vast array of different reasons, ranging from “because it’s fun” to “because it helps my chronic pain.” I do Vivation, typically, for about an hour a day and I have done so for more than twenty years – it’s the great passion of my life. Other people probably like other things about it, but I want to express what I, personally, like about Vivation.
I like Vivation because it is physically pleasurable. In Vivation, we produce the result, integration, by enjoying the present moment as much as we can, and then finding a way to enjoy even what seems to limit our enjoyment. Every aspect of Vivation is pleasurable. Certainly every integration is pleasurable, as we feel our stress and negativity drain away. The honesty with which we feel our feelings is pleasurable. Every Vivation session is a fun and surprising adventure inside ourselves. The Circular Breathing that we do in Vivation circulates the energy in our body, which is pleasurable. A complete Vivation session feels very much like we just received a full-body massage.
The pleasure of Vivation is more important than you perhaps realize. Don’t get me wrong, I like pleasure for its own sake anyway. But the pleasure of Vivation is more important than the pleasure we receive from eating or from sex. Vivation sessions make a permanent improvement in our quality of life. Integration is permanent. The feelings that we integrate stay integrated and don’t come back anymore. So Vivation is both extremely pleasurable and extremely good for us. But imagine if Vivation were good for us, but not much fun to do – then it would be like a lot of other things.
The problem with doing unpleasant things for the purpose of personal growth is that some part of the mind is bound to ask the question, “Why am I doing this unpleasant thing instead of watching television, or partying, or doing any other more pleasant thing?” And the necessary answer is “Because I have to do this in order to be a better person.” This Q&A reinforces shame, which is one of the biggest problems that people have anyway. In fact, one of the best things about Vivation is that it makes it easy and enjoyable to integrate shame. When we’re doing Vivation, if the mind asks, “Why am I doing this?” we answer “Because it feels good!” Excellent reason. That’s exactly what we want more of in life, the opportunity to get excellent results by doing something we enjoy.
I like Vivation because it is extremely efficient. In an hour of doing Vivation we can produce more integration than we can by doing weeks of anything else. We engage in concentrated enjoyment of the feelings in our body for an hour, and we have many integrations, which leave us feeling at peace permanently with our world. Vivation is very direct, focusing on the exact feeling which most limits our enjoyment and feeling that in detail.
The process is led by the body, which makes it far more efficient that any process led by the mind. The conscious mind makes a vigorous, on-going effort to keep unconsciously held feelings suppressed. The body does nothing of the sort. The body is always connected to the unconscious mind through feelings and emotions. The efficiency of Vivation makes it far more enjoyable to do. If we let some fear come up and we integrate it within a couple of minutes (Vivation is often even more efficient than that), it’s a pleasing adventure within ourselves. But if we had to feel that fear for hours or days before we had integration, it would be extremely uncomfortable.
The whole point of first learning The Three Points to Remember and then The Five Elements is to make the session as efficient as possible. Even from the very first session, which normally contains the experiential exercises for The Three Points to Remember, Vivation is extremely efficient. Then with each subsequent lesson, generally a lesson for each one of the Five Elements plus a few, the sessions become more and more efficient.
I like Vivation because it is an autonomous skill. I wish to explain what I mean by the words “autonomous” and “skill” Vivation is a skill because we produce our own results and because, with learning and experience, we get better and better at producing them. In this way it’s like other skills, like the skill of speaking in public or the skill of painting pictures. Vivation is an autonomous skill, because we learn to do it for ourselves. At the start of the first Vivation lesson, the new client is totally dependent upon her Vivation Professional, because the Vive Pro knows everything about Vivation and the new client knows nothing about it. But with each lesson she develops her skill and her autonomy.
Most Vivation Professionals tell most of their clients to start trying self-Vivation right after their first session. At first this is difficult; we need the coaching of our Vive Pro to stay in the process. But with further lessons and further sessions we become increasingly autonomous, until finally we are able to produce the results of Vivation reliably for ourselves without anyone else being present.
This point is essential for my enjoyment of teaching Vivation. I would much rather teach someone how to produce results for herself than leave her with the sense that her results depend on me. I like to see my clients develop their skills further and further with every lesson. Isn’t this the very essence of personal growth?
I like Vivation because it is performance-enhancing. Vivation enables us to do everything better. With any goal, we can focus either on how far we are from it or how close we are to it. It is always much easier to accomplish anything when we are focused on how near we are to attaining it. Vivation makes the shift to seeing the nearness of our goals automatically, at the level of feelings. Without Vivation we inevitably waste a lot of energy on struggling to keep our emotions suppressed. Suppressed emotions put us at war against ourselves. Vivation eliminates the problem. Every integration makes us clearer about what is truly important to us. In this way, Vivation also makes us much better at choosing meaningful goals for ourselves. Because of integration we have a deep new well of energy to draw on to help us do the things that really matter. Vivation also increases our motivation because when we do achieve something, Vivation increases our feelings of satisfaction with a job! well done.
Vivation is also performance-enhancing for another reason-staying focused on our feelings increases our access to our own natural intuition. The feeling nature of our body is like a big antenna that picks up information from everyone and everything in our environment. Practicing Vivation greatly increases our ability to know what other people are thinking and feeling. Vivation makes it possible for us to “think with our entire body”. In situations that used to seem particularly difficult, Vivation enables us to perceive the right course of action intuitively.
Vivation also enhances performance by making us more enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is the best source of motivation. The most successful people are the people who are the most enthusiastic. By eliminating internal emotional conflicts, Vivation lets our life-force energy flow freely. Vivation keeps our attention focused on the present moment, where we can feel and enjoy this increased energy flow. This enhanced enjoyment of our own aliveness, combined with the way Vivation makes us more aware of our nearness to our important goals, equals enthusiasm.
Vivation will make you better at everything you do at the same time that it makes you feel a whole lot happier.
I like Vivation because it is completely portable. We learn Vivation at first in dedicated sessions but with a little practice we can do it at the same time we are engaging in any other activity. Viving while engaging simultaneously in another activity is called Vivation in Action. After your Vivation Professional has given you the lessons for the Five Elements, there will come a fascinating lesson in Vivation in Action. Your Vivation Professional might choose an activity that you will find activating anyway, and coach you through a session as you engage in that activity. Or your Vive Pro might just have you try Vivation while you’re walking around the block.
With practice you’ll get to where you Vive naturally in every situation you find yourself in. When you do Vivation around people who have no training in it, no one will detect that you are doing anything unusual (it’s an internal process). You will simply seem like you’re a little more alert and positive than most other people. If you Vive in business meetings, you’ll find that your normal intelligence is enhanced by your feeling awareness. You’ll find that you notice when some idea worries you, but you won’t let it get you down.
I like Vivation because it enables us to improve any experience at will. Vivation increases our enjoyment of both pleasant and unpleasant experiences. A huge part of any unpleasant experience is our own negativity about it. We wish that we were having some other experience instead. Everything would be so much better if only it were different. This type of negativity is called “make-wrong” in the vernacular of Vivation. Integration, the result of Vivation, is the exact opposite. It means that we extend our sense of the miracle of being alive to include the particulars of the experience we’re having now. Just a few minutes of doing that can change a bad day into a great day!
But naturally this same sense of well-cultivated gratitude can make any pleasant experience even more enjoyable. Vivation is the fine art of intentionally increasing our enjoyment. Feeling the miracle of our aliveness is certain to make us better lovers. If we savor the taste of every bite of food, we’ll enjoy it more and get all the benefits of Vivation. Vivation makes it much easier for us to listen to music without getting distracted by our thoughts.
I like Vivation because it increases our freedom as well as everyone else’s. Vivation greatly reduces the ability of other people to control us. Whenever someone wants to control us they do it by trying to activate some feeling in us that we don’t like. But when we know Vivation, we can simply integrate that feeling and laugh off their useless attempt to control us! We become genuinely self-motivated. We live freer.
And when we do Vivation it also increases the freedom of the other people in our life. It’s human nature that when we have an experience we don’t like we blame somebody else for it. This blaming process robs us of our power. If someone else is responsible for my results, then I can’t just produce better results myself—I have to change the other person first. From the other person’s point of view, they feel that we are restricting their freedom. They can’t just go through life being themselves, they have to try and behave in the way that we want them to.
Vivation, in contrast, shows us that we are responsible for our own happiness. We can do something simple and straightforward (i.e., Vivation) to increase our happiness anytime we want. We are free to do what we want and to integrate the feelings that get activated for us. We are free from compulsion and we are free from guilt. Our integrations also create freedom for all the other people around us, because our integrations give us the freedom to love these people as they are. We no longer have the perceived need to control them.
I like Vivation because it increases our compassion for ourselves and others. Vivation directly raises our self-esteem, because it allows us to love and appreciate ourselves exactly as we are. What we do in a Vivation session is generate the energy of unconditional love and pour it into whichever part of ourselves needs it the most at the moment. Vivation is the most effective way of integrating shame and guilt, which rob us of self-esteem, because it works at the feeling level. Trying to eliminate shame and guilt mentally is very difficult because the message of the shame and guilt is that we don’t deserve something good like a reduction in our shame and guilt. But in a Vivation session shame and guilt resolve at the feeling level in exactly the same way as frustration, fear, physical pain, or anything else. People who do Vive make the positive changes in their lives that go with having higher self-esteem.
The more we practice Vivation the more compassion we have for everyone else, too. Feeling our own feelings in detail naturally makes us more aware of what other people experience when they have feelings. If we struggle, as most people do, to not let ourselves get activated, then when we see an activated person we partly blame them and think “why can’t she keep control?” When we do Vivation sessions we find out that we have every emotion that there is, just beneath the surface. In Vivation this is a great thing, because we always have the opportunity to integrate a feeling just as soon as we become aware of it. We cannot possibly judge someone negatively for having anger, for example, when we have had a big integration of anger ourselves! Vivation heals our negativity, and part of how it does this is by making us familiar and comfortable with our negativity. We get the deep experience that other people’s negativity is just the same thing as our own, and that deep experience is! called “compassion”.
I like Vivation because it is a spiritual experience without any dogma. The essence of spirituality is conscious contact with our own spirit. Vivation provides this experience reliably to anyone, even atheists. The world desperately needs more genuine spirituality, but it does not need more dogma. Vivation goes well with every religion in the world. There is no need to change your religious beliefs in order to do Vivation. Vivation makes Catholics better Catholics, Hindus better Hindus and atheists better atheists. Every religion has a personal growth aspect to it. Reducing our negativity, increasing our compassion, and feeling our own spirit, fits nicely with the personal growth program of every religion.
Vivation is pure experience. You don’t have to change any of your beliefs to do Vivation. Feeling our feelings honestly is not a sin in anybody’s book. Feeling gratitude for the miracle of our existence enhances all spiritual programs. The words “spiritual” and “inspiration” come from the Latin word for breath. The easy, natural, healthful way we breathe in Vivation brings out the best in everyone.
I like Vivation because it is simple. Vivation is simple enough to teach to little children, especially the modern Vivation process which starts people off with the Three Points to Remember. Each one of the Three Points to Remember automatically maintains all Five Elements. For example, if you inhale through the strongest feeling (the Second Point to Remember), you will relax, feel the details within the strongest feeling, be receptive to it, and know that your willingness is all you need. I can teach anyone to Vive in about an hour. Imagine, a skill that you will use for the rest of your life, learned in about an hour!
The Three Points to Remember are like simple games you play with your own energy, so it’s no trouble to teach it to children. The Three Points to Remember also make it easy and natural to stay in our Vivation session even when we’re simultaneously engaging in another activity.
I like Vivation because it is not mental. Vivation is a physical process, in the sense that we focus continuously on the feelings in the body and not on the thoughts in the mind. If you are like most people, your mind likes to think it’s the smartest part of you. When you do Vivation, you find out that your body is far wiser than your mind. After all, your body is so wise that you can eat a pizza and your body will change it into your fingernails, your liver, your brain, etc. Your mind can’t do that. When it comes to resolving emotions, your body continuously seeks integration because every emotion is composed of your life force energy, which is inherently pleasurable. Your mind, in contrast, continuously seeks suppression, because it has the idea that what it doesn’t think about consciously can’t hurt it. A Vivation session is completely led by the client’s body, and this is an important reason why it is so effective.
People are already sufficiently mental. Many people even think that they are their conscious mind, leaving most of themselves out of the equation. What people need is to be more in contact with their honest feelings. This automatically makes people more intuitive, more connected to their own values, and more focused on their natural purpose in life.
I like Vivation because it increases our creativity. I wrote my second book, Your Fondest Dream – How to Master the Power of Creativity, because I observed in hundreds of clients that their creativity increased as a result of doing Vivation. Vivation increases our creativity in at least two important ways:
First, Vivation reduces the barrier between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is infinitely creative – creative enough to generate all of our dreams at night. The conscious mind keeps material from arising from the unconscious because of discomfort with the emotional content of the suppressed material. Vivation makes it comfortable and enjoyable to explore this material. So more creative ideas will naturally arise from the unconscious.
Second, every integration produces a creative breakthrough. Whenever something seems to be a problem, it’s because of the way we are looking at it. When we have the breakthrough moment in which we find the solution, we shift context so that we focus on a new use of what we already have. This is exactly the shift that occurs at the moment of integration. When we try to work out a problem mentally, it’s often difficult because we are already invested in the old context. Working at the feeling level, simply by feeling the most prominent feeling in detail and finding a positive way to relate to it, creative breakthrough is easy.
The nature of creativity is that it never stays the same. No two Vivation sessions are ever alike because integration is permanent. Once we find a way to enjoy a feeling, we never go back to being unable to enjoy it. So during a Vivation session, all of those subtle feelings that come up and integrate are integrated permanently! The feelings that came up in the first session will not come up in the second session because they are not there anymore. We make steady progress as we keep Viving, going on ever more fascinating adventures within.
Jim Leonard was the originator of the Vivation process. During his life he conducted more than 45,000 Vivation sessions in 22 countries.