Transcript from a meeting with Jim Eaton on 29 November, 2020
Q: I usually try to be with my feelings, but when it comes to depression, emptiness or stagnation it’s so difficult for me. They usually come with uncomfortable sensations in the body; like heavy, lethargic sensations.
I’ve been working from home for many months and I live alone. I had a lot of stress today with work, and when I finished all these uncomfortable feelings came up too. Then the thought was, “I want to do something fun; something interesting,” but with the covid lockdown there’s no possibilities. So, I’m stuck here in my house facing it all.
This mixture of heavy sensations and emotions has always been hard for me to accept. So, when you talked earlier about accepting even my failure to accept, it gave me hope.
Jim: Yes. Giving a place for the part of you that just doesn’t want to accept; that says, “I feel completely stuck, frustrated, pissed off and I don’t want to accept or welcome anything.”
Q: But then thoughts come up and say, “It doesn’t work. It’s just a mind game to say I accept my failure to accept.”
Jim: Right. So, you see that thought too. See how seductive it is to now BE that thought, how it sucks you in. Once you’re identified with that thought, “Oh, it’s just another mind game,” then it literally IS a mind game.
So, you see that thought too, and allow it also to have a place, so you’re not identifying with it. And nobody’s doing that allowing. This is the important thing. There’s no special ‘spiritual’ character that’s welcoming everything in and giving everything a place. If it feels like that then you can also notice that ‘spiritual’ character and so dis-identify from that one too. That unconditional welcoming IS your nature. It’s who you really are.
Q: Right now a thought is saying, “Oh, I heard it so many times. It doesn’t work.”
Jim: Great. So, same again: we give that thought a place too, “It doesn’t work. I’ve heard it so many times.”
Q: “I don’t believe in this loving presence because . . .”
Jim: Good. Don’t censor yourself. Let them all come. What can happen is we identify with the idea of being loving presence, and then try to welcome everything. Why? If we’re honest, because we want to get rid of it, right?
Jim: The truth of who you are isn’t trying to get rid of anything. It’s unconditional and all-inclusive by nature. That’s why we often talk about even recognizing the ‘psycho-spiritual me’: the ‘releaser’, the ‘processor’.
Q: Now the thought is, “I don’t know how to do it.”
Jim: Yeah, great. “I don’t know how to do it.” So we’ve had, “It’s just a mind game,” and, “It doesn’t work,” and, “I don’t believe in presence,” and now, “I don’t know to do it.” It’s another cloud moving through the sky. Lots of clouds in the sky today. You just keep reaffirming yourself as what’s already here, the blue sky, in which these thought-clouds appear and disappear.
The mind is so fantastically powerful. It can jump behind itself again and again in an infinite regress to try to stay in control. For example, we might notice we’re resisting something, but because we’ve learned that we should ‘let go’ and ‘accept everything as it is’, then that resistance is seen as bad and unwanted. So what do we do? We resist our resisting! We may even notice that too, and then resist the resisting of our resisting! And on and on it goes.
What we’re doing here is seeing clearly how the mind operates. And who is seeing that? I AM. When I let go of my name, my age, my nationality, my gender, my whatever. Here I AM. Whatever I am; here it IS. I don’t know rationally what I AM. I can’t know it that way. But I AM what I AM, here-now. It’s a different kind of knowing. A wordless knowing.
The rational mind is not bad or wrong. It’s so important to keep saying that. It’s really useful for navigating our world of concepts, for inventing new technologies that can enrich our lives in so many ways; but it can’t tell you who you really are. That’s not its job. It’s the wrong tool. You can’t look at the moon with a fork. You eat food with a fork!
Q: When I have these heavy bodily sensations, I’m never sure when to just accept them, and when to stretch my body or do something to try to alleviate them.
Jim: Yeah, good question. When we start to do this work, and we get into these deeper layers of the psyche, the body wants to close down. You’ll notice tension building in your different joints, the rib-cage and the diaphragm; the breathing may also start to become shallow and constricted. You might even notice yourself holding your breath, and just taking little gasps of air.
So, when you notice that, it can be useful to stretch out a bit; loosen up the shoulders, the wrists, the fingers, and freshen up the face; to sense our feet on the floor, sitting bones on the chair, and breathe. It just helps us to be here, to be available, and not to become hypnotised again by the pattern. Then we’re being the space, if you like, for everything to appear in.
However, if you’re working with a particular sensation, and you’re deeply connecting with it and listening to what’s there, then that’s something different. The invitation then is to become more intimate with it rather than try to ‘shake it off’.
Of course if you feel it’s too much at any point then there’s no shame in going for a healthy distraction: take a walk in nature, or enjoy a warm bath, a nice meal, a film, a piece of music, or spend time with a loved one. You don’t have to became a spiritual masochist! Like that guy in ‘The Da Vinci Code’ who wears a spiked brace around his thigh that he keeps on tightening, or wear a hair shirt, or keep flagellating yourself believing it’s taking you closer to God!
Q: I just had the thought, “How can I accept despair and depression? How can I accept such heavy feelings?”
Jim: Yes, I hear you. It can be very challenging at times, especially when we’re completely identified with it, when we believe that we are that despair. What we do here is we start to really listen to it, to sense its full dimensions: what it feels like, what it might look like, what it might be saying.
In doing so we are separating our identity out from it. That’s healthy separation. I’m not despair. I’m the one that’s experiencing despair.
As we do that more and more, and we create a space around the despair, then a new possibility emerges: the possibility of being able to connect with the despairing one in us.
This work is extremely subtle. When we listen with deep sensitivity, what we’ll often meet is a childhood version of ourself that just couldn’t face that depth of despair, so froze right there, literally froze. If you imagine lots of frenetic activity that feels overwhelming, if you then freeze it, it slows everything down until it’s solid and doesn’t move, then it feels safe.
It’s like we’re going back in time and meeting that part of ourself that froze in its moment of despair, meeting it with this unconditional support that it didn’t have at the time. In that way we’re slowly melting the ice, nourishing it back to full aliveness, and reclaiming all the energy that was bound up there. That’s the alchemy of transformation.
But for that to work we need the grounding of our being, that’s the ultimate medicine. If we’re doing it as another character, such as the adult me that just wants to get rid of all this old stuff and move on, then the process will always be limited.
The invitation then is to recognise that ‘adult me’ character too: the fixer, the releaser, the processor. In that way we are slowly distilling out subtler and subtler layers of identification that we were previously unaware of.
Q: There’s a lot of resistance.
Jim: Right. How’s that showing up?
Q: With the thought, “I’ve been trying for twenty years to realize that I’m this presence and it doesn’t work and I don’t believe him.”
Jim: Yeah, so let that thought be there. Is it showing up physically as well? Where is the resistance in the body?
Q: (Q points to chest)
Jim: Put your hand there on your chest, and imagine it’s the hand of presence, of your true being, giving this gentle reassurance . . . just feeling that: the sensitivity, the kindness in the touch . . . And then including the thought, “I wasted my life doing this stuff. It doesn’t work.” So, let that be here too. Don’t try and persuade it otherwise. Allow yourself to feel the bitter disappointment: “Yeah, I gave so many years of my life to this search that’s led me nowhere. I’m disappointed. I’m angry, and I’m frustrated.” . . .
Can you feel the energy there? In feeling acknowledged and accepted, something’s starting to open . . .
Q: (Q laughing) Yeah, I had a funny thought: “If I accept it, then it won’t happen.” (Both laughing) My mind is very funny!
Jim: Yeah, on the one hand it says, “It doesn’t work,” and then on the other hand, “If I truly accept that it doesn’t work, then it’s never gonna work!” (both laughing)
Q: Yeah, it’s contradicting itself quite a lot!
Jim: (Both laughing) See what else it wants to say. It’s beautiful, because you’re speaking out what’s coming with total honesty, without censoring it; then we can see how it doesn’t even make sense. Whereas, if we don’t speak it out, we can spend a lifetime believing in this stuff and suppressing ourself accordingly.
That’s partly what these gatherings are for: so we can all be witnessed in speaking our beliefs out. And then it helps everyone else too, because when they hear you speaking your beliefs out, they may think, “He can do that. I can do that too,” and we’re slowly freeing each other.
Q: Yeah, it’s also good because in other spiritual circles I’ve been in there was a lot of shaming. Just saying that I failed in this path was taboo. So, it’s good to just say it, that I’m a failure.
Jim: Yeah, in a way we’re all failures, because the only way to truth is through failing. I’m a failure. Jim completely and utterly failed! Because if you don’t think you failed, and you still think you can do it your way, then good luck! Get on with it, and I’ll see you in ten years! Really try and do it ‘your way’, with the wilfulness of the ego-structure, until you fail, until you realize, “It doesn’t matter how successful I get. It doesn’t matter how much money I have. It doesn’t matter how beautiful my house is, or my partner is, or my kids are, or my car is, it just doesn’t work.” I failed. I hold my hand up. I’m a failure! (Both laughing)
Q: And then the little voice says, “So, how do I succeed?”
Jim: Yeah. See the seduction in it: to invest our identity in that thought and jump back into the game of trying to find the answer. Can you see the tragi-comedy of it? The cosmic joke? You already ARE the ‘success’ you seek. It’s investing your identity in these thoughts and self-beliefs, whatever they are saying, that makes it seem not so.
So again, what we’re doing is we’re stepping out of that whole paradigm of characters—the one that says this, the one that says that—and seeing them all clearly; and in doing so we’re taking our place as the deeper reality, where there is no problem, and nothing to fix.
As soon as you’re stuck inside that realm of characters, whatever you do it always fails to fully satisfy. It’s like moving the furniture around the apartment: “Oh, that feels better,” and then a week later, “No, no, no, the TV’s gotta go over there now,” and so you move it all around again: “Oh, that’s better,” for a couple of months, and then, “No, no it’s not right.”
So, how do we do that? We just keep clarifying and acknowledging the characters. It’s like going to the theatre and seeing all the characters in the drama enter and exit the stage—all the different faces, all the different masks—and you’re being invited to recognise each of them in yourself. And then the big question is: who are you that’s seeing? Who is beyond all the characters: the faceless face, the maskless mask?
And look at the wisdom it builds. As you see clearly all those convoluted mind patterns, it’s teaching you, you’re becoming the master. Maybe then you can help support others in unraveling their own deep mind patterns that they’ve taken on, because you’ve been there yourself, you’ve walked the walk.
Q: I’m feeling really good about this way. I just feel it’s true, you know?
Jim: Exactly. I’m really glad you mentioned the shaming that can go on in spiritual circles. I’ve seen that too. So it’s great that you feel able to be so honest here, which then inspires others to be open and honest too. It’s been a real pleasure and a privilege for me to see the people I work with transforming over time; to witness the emergence of their beautiful sensitivity and sensuality, as well as their authentic strength and power and freedom of expression. We’re all inspiring each other to open to the fullness of life.
That’s it . . . for a moment there you just let it all go.
Q: There’s a mixture of feeling good about it, and resistance and doubt.
Jim: Yeah, so we bow a deep bow to resistance and doubt, and give it a place too; and see that actually it’s ok not to have the answer, it’s ok not to know.
Q: I like it that I don’t know. I’m sick of having to know.
Jim: Yeah, being the know-it-all.
Q: Yeah, it’s just pretending. It’s a mask . . . I was afraid of it, but now there’s something very attracted to this unknowing. I was afraid that if I don’t control the process, I will not get the full package! (Q laughing)
Jim: Yeah. Just letting yourself enjoy the joke of that . . . Letting go deeper . . . (Jim sings) “Letting go into the mystery” . . .
Keep breathing, letting the resistance and doubt be here . . . (Jim sings) “Letting go into the mystery” . . .
Q: Good to see you. Thank you so much.
Jim: Yeah, good to see you.