Release Technique and Lester Levenson's
Teachings on Love
Please note: All links on this page are off-site, unless otherwise noted.
The purpose of this page is to offer an introduction to, and overview of, Larry Crane's system for presenting the teachings of Lester Levenson on releasing and love. For a quick overview on the availability of Lester Levenson's teachings, there are currently two teaching organizations, both founded by long-term students of Lester's, which offer his work in various books and courses. They are Larry Crane's Release Technique and The Sedona Method. While searching my heart and mind recently for some really useful descriptive material to use on this page, I quickly realized that the most elegant and eloquent exposition I had ever read on this matter, as well as why people are drawn to Lester's method, was one which I had read in a newsletter (Abundance Newsletter, Issue #1) which Larry Crane had published in October 2000, describing the Abundance system. With Larry's permission, I have excerpted a number of paragraphs from the newsletter below, and modified and edited them only slightly. I offer my sincere thanks to Larry Crane for allowing me to borrow these wonderful words and allowing me to modify the text slightly (for readability only). All brilliance in the passages below is due to Lester and Larry, and any mistakes or dullness are mine!
Why might you want to read the following exploration of Lester's work? As Lester wrote in a letter to his students and prospective students at the age of 84:
"Almost forty years ago with my back to the wall and with only three months to live, I was forced to search for the answers to life. I decided to ask myself what it is we all want, and the answer came to me. We all want to be happy!"
Approach to Teaching Lester Levenson's
"When we know that we have
everything and therefore need
nothing, then everything comes to us for the mere thought of
DESIRE'S REAL NATURE
. . .
*Let Go* Of Desire And Have It All.
During the year 527BC, in the orient, Buddha enunciated the Fourfold Noble Truths:
* Life is suffering.Twenty-five hundred years later, we still desire. Our society teaches us to desire, to want things, and to work to get things, so we may be happy. Capitalism is based on fostering desire for goods, and getting love through having position, money, knowledge, or power. We are a culture of desire and fulfilling desire.
This isn't surprising; we haven't learned the lesson of love taught by Christ two millennia ago either. Both teachings reach the same point in the end. To become desireless, to not want anything external to ourselves, means we rest in ourselves, whole, joyous and happy. In this state, our true nature is constant love, unending love, giving love.
During this century, a master of the desireless state was born and attained his own enlightenment at age 42. His name was Lester Levenson. Lester understood desire as completely as Buddha; even more, he discovered a technique of understanding and controlling desire that is far more powerful that the eightfold noble path, because it was designed with the 20th Century, inquisitive, psychological personality type in mind. Also, it is much simpler. Lester's technique is powerful because it is active, not passive, as are all the higher forms of meditation.
Lester created the perfect method of attaining happiness with no sorrow, called the Release Method. This method is easily accessible to everyone.
What happens when we desire something? What is happening when we want a sense experience, or to possess an object, such as a house?
First, to want something means we feel we don't have it. We may feel empty, lonely, lacking, or deprived, and we believe if we possessed that object, or had that experience, we'd feel filled up and we would be happy. So behind all desiring and seeking, is 1) a motivation to be happy, and 2) a belief that happiness lies in the desire's fulfillment.
On the contrary. Desire is the *problem*. Being in a state of desire is suffering; wanting, lacking, hurting, and looking to a future time when we will have the desire fulfilled and be happy.
If we had no desire, we would be happy *already*, not happy in the future after attaining some experience. You *cannot* be satisfied in the future; you can only be satisfied *now*. You may have been satisfied in the past, but that memory does not satisfy *now*.
As long as we are in now (and there is only the now), desiring an object or experience in order to make us happy, then our continuous, present experience will be of the pain of *wanting*, and of delaying satisfaction or happiness until attaining something in the future.
What is normally taken as human happiness, is to get something we want, so that the wanting, empty feeling goes away, and we feel happy for a moment-until the next desire arises.
But this ordinary, human-style happiness does not come from attaining the object, it comes from no longer desiring something. When we no longer desire, we no longer look outside ourselves for something. When we no longer desire, we no longer look outside ourselves for completion, and we discover we are complete already. The sense of completion, or fulfillment, is always ours already, as we would discover, if only we stop desiring.
For example, we desperately want a new Bentley, BMW or Lexus. We read all the brochures, check our anticipated future income, crosscheck anticipated expense, etc., and then we buy the car. After a few days of buyer's remorse, we happily drive our new car for all to see. We seek nothing now, and we are happy.
Is the happiness from getting the car, or from stopping the lusting? When we stop seeking, we are satisfied.
This understanding goes against the grain of all our beliefs. The ultimate conclusion of this viewpoint is we are happiest when we do nothing, accomplish nothing, dream nothing, and are content to just rest in our own being. Since most of us harbor a very limited and perhaps negative self-image, we find the prospect of spending a lot of time with ourselves, at best boring and at worst, gruesome. The psychodynamics of desire are interesting.
Wanting something means we believe that something is *separate* from us. The desire *itself* creates a duality, a polarization that prevents us from feeling our always-perfect completion inside. As long as we want, we think and emote about the desired object. This mental business reduces consciousness of our inward, ever present happiness, and we feel empty and lacking.
Even more, the wanting something creates a duality that *prevents* our attaining it. Wanting creates a separation between me and the thing desired, which creates a pain of neediness inside, and a constant straining for the object that *prevents* us from acting appropriately to get it.
Imagine a man who has starved for ten days suddenly brought to a four star restaurant. His hunger would likely lead to inappropriate behaviors that might get him kicked out before he ate.
Did you ever want a new job, a new house, or a new sexual experience so badly 'you could taste it'?
Usually, you don't get it. You are too up tight, too tense, and your behaviors are inappropriate. This inappropriate behavior arises on the conscious level.
More subtly, and far less obviously, there are other psychodynamics involved. There is an invisible level of causation, where the wanting (really, a belief in lack) causes a distortion in the flow of supply and demand, so to speak. Desiring sets up a duality that makes it more difficult to get what you want.
Only by *letting go* of the desire can you remove the distortion that allows you to get that which you no longer desire!
It is a paradox only as long as you hold on to the viewpoint that you are a human being, trapped, so to speak, in a body, embedded in a world of objects and time, with a personal history.
It is this belief system, this ideology of illusion, that creates the duality of you, of body versus world, and me and of me wanting something outside myself. Desire sustains the illusion of separateness, by lusting after objects that *appear* to be outside ourselves, preventing us from feeling complete and fulfilled in every moment.
DESIRE IS THE *OPPOSITE* OF HAVING
Desire too, creates and sustains the dualities that inhibit our getting what we want. If we can get into the feeling state that we already *have* what we want, the duality disappears, allowing easier receiving of the desired event. Bluntly, desire is nothing more than the combination of a sense of lacking, not having, neediness, and even "I can't get this".
That is, if instead of lusting after something, we calmly feel like we *already have* it, then it is ours. We actually allow ourselves to receive it, by letting go of wanting (a lacking feeling).
This article is not meant as a polemic against success. Indeed, if you choose to play in the external world, success is *much easier* after mastering the dynamics of desire.
It is perfectly O.K. to experience most anything and to have most anything. The having is not a problem. The problem is *wanting* (sense of lack and sense of neediness), which causes pain and inhibits receiving.
Becoming perfectly happy is as easy as letting go of a hot poker. We can learn to let go of feelings, desires, wants. After letting go of the desire, we can *have* what we formerly desired, because we have destroyed the separating duality, and the sense of lacking-the suffering: or, we can do without the desired object because, in our heart, we already have the completion we expected from the object.
That is, the solution to the problem of desire is threefold:
let go of the desire,
in order to rest in ourselves
and end the pain of desire. Which allows
The old expression, "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer" is easily explained. A rich person doesn't *want* money, as she has the feeling "it's *mine* already", thus creating more money. A poor person wants money, thus creating lack.
These are wonderful teachings that can appeal to anyone alive. Lester's message is the same as Hinduism's: You *can* have it all! He says, parenthetically, "If you want anything at all, you can have it, providing you stop wanting it. Let me show you how."
Lastly, he says, "Maybe after playing in the material, sensual, passionate illusion of the world for a while, you'll get tired of it and try for real, permanent peace and happiness, which you'll find by stopping and resting in your own Beingness. Let me show you how to get that too!"
note about resistance
to the idea of letting go in
general, is that many people consider their emotions,
They are quite surprised and relieved when they learn that these smoke-like illusions are not them at all. They learn that thinking is not them, emotions and desires are not them, the ego, which is the identification with body-mind, is not them.
They are the Absolute, pure consciousness, the witness of all things, immortal, and blissfully complete.
Letting go - releasing - is easy to learn, but a lengthy process to describe. Basically, you learn to find a feeling, hold onto it for a moment, decide to let it go-and then let it go. For didactic purposes, Lester created categories for feeling and levels of desires that increase a person's ability to identify feelings and to let them go.
Continuous releasing becomes constant love. Continuous releasing soon changes your perspective from that of being a limited human, to being of unlimited potential - your true nature.
Releasing feelings and desires leads to firsthand understanding of the fantasy nature of thinking, emotions and desires. All these occur only in our minds, are completely subjective, and have only the most tenuous existence in the moment. Only our belief in that they are real and the importance of thinking, feelings and desires gives them any reality.
Releasing 'opens' up the seeming solidity of thinking, emotion and body tension so that their fundamental lie is exposed. Once we see that they are not real, but simply feelings, we begin to experience the ultimate state we all seek, that of love, joy and havingness.
Another route to that same joy is through love-true love of the Self for the Self. On our human level of reality, which exists only in our minds, we are happy when we are in love. Our love for another makes us feel happy. When another loves us, that only provides ego gratification, feeling approved of, which is a feeling of satisfaction, but not happiness.
When we have loved often enough, and fully enough, we understand that the existence of the other is not important to sustaining our love. A lamppost could serve the same purpose if we allowed it; eventually we need no external trigger at all. We realize that love is our *experience*.
Later, we realize that love is our fundamental nature, which is why we never find it outside ourselves. It is a quality of the Absolute, which we really are. This love is always with us, even when we are unaware of it. This true love is a portal to Consciousness.
Someone once said human love, centered on love for another, is prostitution compared to Divine love. When the mind, which creates every THING is quiet, we become happy, complete, and joyous love.
You are not who you think you are. You are not your feelings. All that you believe or perceive yourself is an illusion. Simply RELEASE and find out, that what you think is simply a *feeling*.
click below for further information (off-site)
on Larry Crane's system of teaching the Lester Levenson tradition!
way, as of July
2003, Lester's autobiography has
finally been published in a more formal book form, and is now available
at Amazon.com. You may already know that his
is titled "No Attachments, No Aversions", and has been available for
due to Larry Crane's efforts, in a pre-publication photocopied
softcover form. However, that form appeared a bit "casual" or slip-shod
to a few folks, but it was really a gem, because the main body of the
also contained some handwritten editing notes, penned by Lester after
book had first been printed. Lester's handwritten notes were
of fun to read, and sometimes cast further light on whatever topic was
at hand. If you do have access to a copy of that
"casual" version, please be advised that the comments in the main part
of the book which appear in handwriting are Lester's comments, but that
some other editing comments appear in block printing in different
particularly at the end of the book. Those latter notes were
written by Lester, but rather by a later editor at the Sedona Center
ago, and I learned to ignore them when I encountered them...
Lester was also very private and reclusive in other ways, always wanting to remain anonymous and allow only the message of love and acceptance to be broadcast, minus and personal appellations. In addition to the use of "Siegel" as a surname, he also tried very much to avoid being photographed, and, as a result, the folks who studied with him in Sedona at the Center thru the early 1990's have only a very few photos of Lester from that entire 30-odd year span of Lester's life when he was teaching.
Along the lines of the above, I received an e-mail last week from my friend Don, who had worked with Larry for years and had helped Larry to compile the pre-publication photocopied version of the book, and in his letter he touched upon the same topic or Lester's reluctance to be "known" as a teacher or guru-type. Here is an excerpt from Don's e-mail to me:
".....You know, an interesting thing happened when I was helping Larry with the cover of that book. Lester *did* say hello. I was putting Lester's picture on the front cover and my computer kept crashing. It just wasn't coming together. Then within about an hour or so, I got a call from Larry saying that Lester came to him and he didn't want his name on the book! You may or may not be aware that Lester referred to himself as Siegel, not Levenson, throughout the book. Larry went through and tried to correct all those references, but missed a couple. What a cute and beautiful thing! For the discerning reader, there were still clues that Lester wanted it to be about the method, not him."
may find the book at
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