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Embracing Shame

By November 19, 2016April 24th, 2017Transcripts, Read

Transcript from a meeting with James Eaton on 19 November, 2016

James: Just take a moment. Check in with the body, see what it’s doing.

Q: I feel the beating of my heart, and a dryness in my mouth, and this thing in my head.

James: Yes, what’s that?

Q: It like someone scraping cotton wool on the inside of my scull.

James: Good description! This is what’s beautiful about coming up in front of everyone; we get a chance to really feel this beating heart, really feel all that’s going on. And normally when we start to feel that, that’s the signal to move away or to start closing down, or to start reacting, because something is saying: danger! And what we’re seeing now is, what if that’s not true? What if all those energies can play out and what you are, this knowing, this presence, is still here, still shining, still freely available? Then, very simply, if you really feel into that, the activities in your life don’t need to be constrained by not wanting to feel uncomfortable. You can actually follow your natural desire, whatever is unique to you, whatever you feel you want to do in life. You can follow that without being constrained by: ‘what if it feels uncomfortable?’, ‘what will people think of me?’, and so on. That’s why this is so, so valuable.

Q: What’s been happening recently is – well it’s very familiar but I suppose I’m seeing the pattern now – is not so much trying to avoid or get away, it’s more like getting sucked in. I feel like I’m really identifying with the experience, and there’s a certain amount of frustration about getting so lost in it.

James: Yes, so welcome that frustration. We can include that too. You, capital Y, You’re not in a rush, You’re just unconditionally open; to frustration, to whatever.

Q: So I suppose I want you to tell me how to find contact with that.

James: By not trying to find it. It’s the mind that wants to focus in on something, to grasp it, to have it. This is the opposite movement: an easing, a softening, a natural resting, into what you already are. In a way the frustration is helpful, because if you can open to that it’s bringing you into sensations, into the body, and out of the mind.

Q: My brains generating quite a lot of thoughts!

James: Tell me some of them. Whatever they are, it doesn’t matter. I’m interested to hear. It’s good to name them, to speak them out.

Q: (cries softly) It’s quite shameful.

James: Great. Stay here, stay connected with me, in the shame. Here we are; shame is welcome. All that shame is very welcome. Here you are, embracing shame, allowing it, finally, finally that colour can express (breathing together).

Here you are. You: this aware presence. Shame doesn’t define you, that’s a movement in you. Here you are. It’s when we think that it defines us that we have to keep it at bay, that we don’t want anyone to see it. And then we’re not free. But now we’re not splitting off from it. We’re starting to see that it’s ok, it’s ok to feel shame.

Q: My personality isn’t very sure it is ok!

James: No, of course, your personality is all about hiding shame. Absolutely. Hiding shame, hiding the sense of deficiency, and the guilt for being deficient; the shame is really for being deficient. The belief is that you’re not good enough, that there’s something broken there; shame, so ashamed of that brokenness. This is what a personality is all about, it’s hiding all of that. It’s a big defence mechanism.

Q: And yet my personality is really attached to it. Otherwise why doesn’t it just let it go?

James: It’s not your personality that’s attached to it. You think it’s what you are. There’s a self belief that you are that shameful one. Deficient, guilty, and shameful. You’re that. That’s why you can’t let it go. Somewhere deep down that’s what is believed, and no amount of spiritual understanding will unpick that belief. The only way to unpick that belief is by opening to shame, to guilt, and seeing that there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s perfectly welcome, we don’t have to split off from it, we can include it, connect with it.

So then what happens to the defence mechanism that’s actually built around disguising shame and guilt? It’s like a body guard that suddenly realises there’s no one there to protect, that it’s out of a job. Maybe it carries on turning up, wearing the suit, but slowly it’s realising that there’s actually nobody there that it’s protecting. This ‘shameful one’ is just an experience, it’s a feeling, based around an idea that we took on very young, that we all take on really.

And as you feel into that shame, and you see that it doesn’t touch what you truly are, that it can be welcomed, it may open into deeper layers. For me I could see: ‘there’s something else here that I believe myself to be, beneath the shame, beneath the guilt.’ And then I saw it: ‘I think I’m a monster! I’m a diabolical monster of infinite depravity!’ And then you open to that. And what you’ll see there is everything that the human psyche could possibly dream up. This is where compassion originates. Because ultimately the ‘I’ that you are is the rapist, the murderer, the child molester – it’s the same ‘I’, and given a different set of circumstances, this ‘I’ would be that. And you see it, it’s all there in the psyche. And the beauty of this is that you can drop down right through all those layers and you’re just allowing the density to fall out. Because you know that ultimately you’re not any of that. This presence is what you are. If you didn’t know yourself as presence that would be a very dangerous place to go. Because if we actually start to take personal ownership of any of that, or give ourself up to acting out the craziness that’s in the human psyche, well that’s the difference between spiritual awakening and psychosis. So this is why it’s good not to push it. In my experience it all opens very naturally when there’s a capacity to meet it.

So this is what we’re doing now, we’re feeling into the layers of it, the shame, shame comes. It’s like we’re digesting shame. That’s your nourishment, really. You grow, your light grows. It’s always shining, but your awareness of being that light grows with that digestion. As does your ability to meet, your ability to be intimate with life. Because there’s another layer that you don’t need to hide. You don’t need to hide from shame any more, so now you can be more available. Do you see how it works?

You are miraculous!

Q: My brain’s going, “Yeah I know that rationally.”

James: This, this presence that you are, is a miracle! Right now, not when you’ve realised something. Right now! This, right now, You. Wow!

Yes, notice now how your body wants to open more, the ribs opening up there, the body allowing itself to take in more air rather than having, as many of us do, this tight band around the ribs: ‘not allowed to breathe too much, just take in a little bit of air, just enough to keep alive, no deep breaths. I can’t do that, I’m not allowed to do that!’ You might notice that, in not having to hold shame down any more, the body naturally starts to open more and more.

Play with it. When you go back to your seat, notice how there’s an openness here now, and notice how thought will start to close it down. Actually thought isn’t closing it down, it’s the tendency to shrink back inside what thought says is true, rather than staying as you are and thoughts being another part of the dance. So we’re not actually getting rid of anything or changing anything here, we’re just seeing it in a new way, and allowing the density of the old patterns to soften up, to unfold.

Q: Thank you!