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Awaken Interviews Jonathan Robinson Pt 1- A Shift In Identity to Pure Awareness.

Donna Quesada: Jonathan Robinson is with us today, and I would like to first start by thanking you for spending an hour with us and with Awaken.

Awakening Is-Really-A-Shift-In-Identity,-From-Your-Personality-And-Ego,-To-Pure-Awareness-awaken

I know that our listeners will enjoy everything youve had to say. Youve written on topics ranging from money to relationships to God, and so you have a wealth of information. And Im thrilled that youll be sharing it with us today. Thank you for your time.

Jonathan Robinson: Thanks for this opportunity!

DONNA: Of course! Well, we have a…First of all, before we jump right in, in case anybody out there doesnt know who you are…Your best selling books are, The Experience of God, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Awakening Your Spirituality, The Little Book of Big Questions, Communication Miracles for Couples, and Love, Less Conflict. So, congratulations on all of your work. So, youre a psychotherapist by trade, is that correct?

JONATHAN: Yeah, and I was an impatient one. So, I got into the genre of books that are Oprah-like, so, my first few books I got on her show, which was very lucky because my style of psychotherapy was to tell people to just stop doing the bad behavior that is not working for you.

DONNA: Well, double congratulations for making your way onto the Oprah show and for all of your success. It reminds me of that Jackie Mason joke, where he complains, “It hurts when I walk like this.”So, the doctor says, “Just dont walk like that anymore.”

JONATHAN: Exactly!

DONNA: Well, we have a tradition here on Awaken, and I’d like to start by simply asking the question, what does it mean to awaken? And so, Im wondering if you can share your thoughts on this vast subject with us?

JONATHAN: Yeah, you know, I have my thoughts and Ive also asked everybody from the Dalai Lama to the late Mother Teresa that question. And theres actually a lot of agreement as to what it is, and what the purpose of human life is. So, I think, in general, human beings are here to find the peace within themselves, and from that abundance, serve the people they care about and humanity. But really, awakening is really a shift in identity, from your personality and ego, to pure awareness. And when that shift happens, it can happen in moments, or it can happen in one big blast, all at once. But when we are pure awareness, we have a much more expanded view of ourselves, and we also have a lot more peace and love in our hearts. Because when we become part of that entity or that whatever-you-call-it, the result is an incredible amount of peace in ones life.

DONNA: Now you said that an awakening involves a shift in our identity. This is fascinating. In one of your books, I believe its Lifes Big Questions: 200 Ways to Explore Your Spiritual Life, one of your chapters is titled Who Are We? Or Who Am I? And this is of course, one of the most universal questions in all spiritual traditions. You know, one of those questions that the guru tells you to meditate on, meditate on this question, Who am I?” And so, youre saying…youre really bringing it back to this fundamental question, in a sense, of getting down to the nitty gritty of who we are. And that when we start to wake up, we start to become…and correct me if this is not accurate…get more clear on who we are, or perhaps we dismantle altogether or deconstruct altogether this false perception of who we thought we were?

JONATHAN: Well, take it very simply right now. I like to use methods that are very simple that get people to a place of peace in under a minute if possible.

DONNA: I like that!

JONATHAN: And hopefully, Ill reveal a bunch of these methods. I like to reveal a bunch of these methods in these interviews because if one of these methods works for you, then youve made a friend for life.

DONNA: Then you just changed someones life.

JONATHAN: Yeah, yeah.

DONNA: Yeah!

JONATHAN: So, right now,were interacting. Like…youre “Donna,” and Im “Jonathan.” But, if you took away our story, our past, or our future, and our ego…right now, Im just looking at a screen. Youre looking at a screen. Well, whatlooking at the screen? Really, its an awareness, when you…we just got here. If you took away all your past and all your thoughts, were just here. That hereness is just an awareness. When you start to identify just with that present moment of being here, you lose a million pounds of baggage because life comes to us one second at a time. And you start to realize instead of being an ego with a story, and Im in this story doing this interview…Youre just right here, right now. And in that moment, there is peace.

So, over time, Ive shifted my awareness from being a guy, doing stuff, trying to get stuff done, to…Im just here in this moment, and I start to identify with this vast awareness that some people call Spirit or God. Or, some people call it just being totally present, and thats not a hard thing to do. Its really a relaxation into what is in this moment. Once I went to…a funny story. I went to India, and I went to see this guru who was a devotee of  Ramana Maharshi, named Papaji, and he has you sit in front of him and he says, “Who are you?” Well I didnt know what to say. I was busy being caught up being Jonathan. So I said, “Im an author,”and he said “Nah!”And I said, “Well Im a husband,”and he said, “No.”He kept shaking his head. “Im a man”…”No.”And I didnt know what the right answer was.

Finally, I just looked into his eyes, and as I looked into his eyes I became present. I became so present, that I realized…I tapped into a feeling of deep love and peace that was always there behind all my thoughts and stuff. And I started weeping and I felt overwhelming love and as Im doing that he pats me on the head, and he said, “this love and this peace is who you are, and your job is never to forget that.”And that stayed with me, so thats my job. And I think thats everybodys job, to find that peace and love within themselves.

DONNA: So to bring it back and make it very digestible. Awakening is the willingness and the journey into breaking through this false armor we put on, that we might call “ego,”that prevents us from being herefrom being in a peaceful, loving state…and a loving kind of presence.

JONATHAN: And yeah, that peacefulness of right now is really like a portal to another world. At first you feel it, like a little bit of peace and just being more present. But as you go into it, it gets bigger and bigger, and it gets less personal. Theres really just one of us here in drag…there is one awareness. Were all one, we all get to partake of this awareness, and its kinda like this awareness is… takes on a human form, so that we can play in this material realm.

DONNA: Yes. And so, its almost like this question, “Who are we” or Who am I,” answers itself not with a thing or a noun, but rather with this kind of flow of…of…interacting in an authentic way.

JONATHAN: Yeah.

DONNA: So its not really a thing, so to speak…its a doing. Its a bringing.

JONATHAN: Well its a being, and in a being, there is no…thats why its hard sometimes to connect with it…because it is always there. Its like a fish in water. Try right now not to be aware. You cant do it. But normally not identified with our awareness, were identified with all of our doings, and that keeps us pretty busy. It keeps this background awareness, this background peace, somewhat hidden from us. So, Im a big believer in methods that help people to become more aware of it. Because most people have had an experience of it, whether on drugs or meditating. But, they have a hard time bringing it into daily life. So, on my podcast, I introduce methods that take under a couple minutes, so that people can become more aware of it. And then let go or surrender to it, so that they have more and more peace in their daily life.

DONNA: And so, in the beginning of our time together, I was saying, sort of in fun, how youve written on topics seemingly so diverse, from money, and relationships and spirituality…but in reality, theyre not so diverse because the common ingredient is bringing this quality to all these areas of life. Would that be true to say?

JONATHAN: Yeah, I was blessed with a miserable childhood. So, I realized I wasnt going to be able to find peace in the world so easily, ‘cause of my family upbringing. So, I became focused on how I could find peace within. Well theres a lot of different ways. Theres trying to have good relationships, theres trying to make money, theres trying to find…to be awakened. And I think its good to have a variety of ways of finding peace and love. And if one way is not available to you, like maybe youre in a situation where youre in a bad marriage and you cant get out, well, you can still find peace within because theres a lot of ways of doing that. So the commonalities…Im always looking for very simple methods that actually work for people, despite our busy lives.

DONNA: I like the way that you said “Ive been blessed to have a rotten childhood. ”Does that mean everything in life is a lesson, ultimately?

JONATHAN: I think so, or at least, thats a good way of viewing it, you know? I dont know the ultimate reason of why some people go through hardship. But I think you could always use that hardship to make you stronger. You know, I got to know Oprah pretty well by being on her show a bunch. She had a horrible life, you know? Never lived in a house that had running water. Was raped twice by the time she was fourteen. Had a stillborn child by the time she was fifteen. But, that made her really strong because in overcoming those challenges she learned that whats really important is finding peace within. And finding connection with other people. And I think thats what really leads to happiness.

DONNA: How have you brought your own journey…and can I call it that…a “spiritual journey,” as a psychotherapist? And can you imagine doing the work without that spiritual dimension?

JONATHAN: Well, I think that psychology, you know, psychotherapy, can be useful and spirituality…Its really that theyre very related topics. But I think really, its a very specific journey for people. And the journey is always, what works for me, now? That should be everybodys mantra. What works for me, now? Not what worked for me 20 years ago. Not what my psychotherapist said. Not with my spiritual teacher or religion says. But, have an attitude of experimentation, and say, what seems to be helpful to where I am on the journey, now?

And, thats changed for me. At one time, it was one religion, or one teacher, and at another time it was a different one. So, if you focus on that key question, and youre willing to experiment, you find stuff that opens your heart, or opens you to the next level of evolution. Now, at one time what was important to me was having lots of sex as a teenager. Thats not so important to me now. Whats more important to me is contribution. So, everyone is in process. So, you dont want to get stuck with some old belief system or old method thats no longer working for you.

DONNA: You talk about prayer. And Im wondering if prayer is something that you have found most helpful to those you work with, and also to you, in your own journey. And theres one story that sticks out in my mind in one of your articles, about the Native American teacher. His way of praying is very different than most peoples way of praying. And I bring this up because I have found prayer most helpful to me when I was going through tough challenges in life. But, the way people pray is not the way that you discovered is the most effective way to pray. In fact, you fell upon gratitude as the most important ingredient in prayer. Im wondering if you could share that story with us.

JONATHAN: Sure!

DONNA: …the Native American teacher.

JONATHAN: I have a couple of stories about that. Well, one thing that got me focused on gratitude is when I asked 40 spiritual leaders, like the Dalai Lama or Mother Theresa, what was their one greatest piece of advice for connecting with peace, or connecting with God. The number one answer to my surprise, was focusing on gratitude. So, I became very interested in that. And, one time I was with a Native American medicine man and he said, “Let us pray.”And I said, “Oh, sounds good.”And he started prayer. Now normally, we think of prayer as asking for something. But he was…we were in the middle of a beautiful spot…and he looked at every rock, and he said, “Thank you rock, for showing me the power of strength.”And then a bird would fly over head and hed say, “Thank you bird, for showing me the possibility of soaring.”And you know, this was nice for a couple of minutes, but it went on for twenty minutes. And Im getting more and more annoyed, and finally, I said, “Well how do you connect with spirit?”And he said, “I just showed you how to connect with Spirit. I give thanks for every person and thing in my environment.”And it sounds like a nice lesson, but I didnt really know how to bring it into my daily life. So then I found another guru who supposedly had this magical mantra for feeling overwhelming gratitude. So I went all the way to India to ask him what this magical mantra was, and you know, flying 18,000 miles…I have jet lag, and Im really worn out, but I really wanna know this method. And he says, in an Indian accent, “Yes if you want to feel overwhelming gratitude I have this magical mantra.” And he whispers in my ear, “Whenever possible repeat these words…the mantra I give you are the words, thank you.”

DONNA: Mmm.

JONATHAN: Well I looked at him…I traveled 18,000 miles to get this. I said, “Thank youthats it? I traveled 18,000 miles to get that? Thats it?” And he says, “No. Thats it is the mantra you had been using that makes you feel like you never have enough. My mantra is thank you. Not thats it? That mantra will take you nowhere.” So, I was still pissed off, but you know…He said, “if you say it from your heart, many times a day…you take five seconds…”I like five second methods, like right now.

DONNA: Its a busy world.

JONATHAN: Yeah, yeah. I get to speak to you about this stuff. Well, thank you for this opportunity. Were speaking on Skype. Were talking across the world for free, instantly. Thank you for that. Over here, on my right, I have my dog, sleeping. When I look at him, and I say, “Thank you for his health. Thank you for my health.”I had a toothache last week. I dont have that now. I say, “Thank you. I dont have a toothache today. ”These little things actually can fill you up, and thats a very different mantra than thats it? That doesnt take you anywhere.

DONNA: Why does it…and it seems…and were talking about things that work, and bring us peace. And it seems like you bring this up in your writing…the quickest way to come to that place of peace. And we call it prayer, but its a different way of looking at prayer. And this is one of my favorite topics because this is one of my favorite things that helped me the most when I was going through my challenging times. And so, I would like you to speak to that. Why…Why does it work? Why does it bring us peace so quickly and so effectively?

JONATHAN: Mhmm. Well, you know, theres different types of prayer. Theres a prayer where you’re asking God for something. And thats fully valid if it works for you. And theres a prayer of thanks-giving, which we just talked about. Well, why did they work? Well, I think everything works because of “PFM,”when it comes right down to it. My iPhone works because of PFM. Prayer works because of PFM. PFM was a term that Einstein came up with to describe why quantum physics works. In case you dont know what it stands for, its just“Pure Friggin Magic.”

So, in a way, we dont know how anything works, but we can try it out, and see if it does. So, thats been my philosophy…trying different stuff, and not focusing on the theory, but focusing on did it lead to peace? Or, did it lead to more of a connection? But, I think a quick answer to why is whenever we get beyond the ego and broaden our perspective, in trying to connect with God or other people, it makes our problems much smaller. And makes this other energy thats always there, thats really made of love…then it becomes more a part of our consciousness.

DONNA: So your approach is very practical.

JONATHAN: Yeah.

DONNA: And with regard to gratitude, I cant help but think of Buddhas teachings. You know we bring ourselves so much self-inflicted suffering because…and going back to the ego, which you just mentioned…the ego wants. Its always in lack. And so, gratitude in this particular method of prayer, nonplusses that wanting, and in the act of quelling instantly, that wanting, now I feel complete, and whole…

JONATHAN: Yeah.

DONNA: …and satisfied. And its peaceful to feel satisfied.

JONATHAN: Yeah. Its like quelling a thirst. It calms the mind down, so that you are aware of how much you are given.

Read and Watch Part II Here: How To Align With Your Higher Self

Read and Watch Part III Here: Get To The Place Of Witness Consciousness

JONATHAN-ROBINSON-awakenJonathan Robinson has written several bestseller books including, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Awakening Your Spirituality;” “The Experience of God,” “The Little Book of Big Questions;” and “Communication Miracles for Couples.” His latest book is called, “More Love, Less Conflict.” Jonathan also co-hosts the podcast “Awareness Explorers” with author Brian Tom O’Connor. This podcast focuses on revealing the easiest and most powerful practices for directly awakening to one’s true nature.

Through TV, live lectures and radio, Mr. Robinson has reached over 100 million people around the world.  He is known for providing his audiences with immediately useful information presented in a fun and entertaining manner.

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