Transcript from a meeting with James Eaton on 14 June, 2016
Q: Having said to you I never want to come up here to the front, it felt like from what you said, how beneficial it was to come up. So when we came in I was thinking, “so perhaps I ought to go up”. Then I was surprised at all the fear that’s still there that came up, all the butterflies, feeling sick. So I thought, “I better do it!”
James: It’s great, isn’t it. There’s such an amazing revolt that goes on in the body, because we feel like we’re going to be exposed.
Q: Its really shocking that it’s still there, when I think I know who I really am. And yet all this stuff is still held in the body, the old patterns. And it’s really big for me, that – speaking in public has been massive for me in the past. I’ve avoided it.
James: Look at the miracle. So before, to come up would just be too much, it’s like overwhelm, so you stay rooted to the seat. Or, by analogy, you deliberately organise your life in a way that never involves having to be exposed in that way. This is what most of us do. This is how the self beliefs that we hold in the body and mind actually dictate our life. That’s not freedom. And then you start to beautifully see that actually, even though the heart is pumping, the thighs start to clench, the breath contracts, there’s a nervousness…
Q: My hands are shaking…
James: …even though hands are shaking – what if we just let them shake? – there is still this clarity here, it still shines. And so, now you can come in and sit and speak in public. So suddenly that limitation is lost. And maybe you start to see, that actually it’s ok. Nothing needs to be escaped, presented, upheld; nothing.
Q: Normally I’m just happy to sit in the group and have my eyes closed and enjoy the energy. And it feels like there’s no boundary. But then when I sit up here I feel really separate.
James: Yes. It seems that coming up can help to heighten, to amplify whatever is bubbling away, so that we have a chance to actually see what’s happening, see what’s trying to take control.
Q: Yes, I really want to do that, I really want to feel it and go through it.
James: Great. Traditionally it’s known as the ‘tantric’ path. Initially there’s the ‘transcendent’ path, when we ‘ascend’ if you like, out of the body, and see that everything is appearing: that it’s all an experience being experienced by the ultimate subject, Presence, Openness, or whatever word we like to use. But there’s still a separation there. So the tantric movement is to now plunge back into life, to open the eyes, to welcome the experience back into that Openness. It IS that. No more separation. The emptiness is full. So you can have your cake and eat it.
It’s like an ascending, and then a descending: the head opens, then the heart opens, and then right down into these lower regions – the belly, the guts. It’s only when you really face what you’ve split off from in yourself, in this self, this small self, that you can really fully embrace life. Because as long as you are split off from it in yourself, you will always be split off from it in life, which is the reflection of yourself. And that’s still a separation. So this is, I think, a truly wondrous path. It’s just opening, opening, opening.
Sometimes it’s nice to just deepen in, on every out breath, just let go even more.
Q: It’s an amazing energy actually, it’s so powerful.
James: Yes. And that energy is You. People often report that everything expands. But no, it doesn’t expand. It’s just that when you start to let go of the tensions, it feels like an expansion. If you lock and tighten, then everything feels closed and contracted. As you loosen, everything seems to open. But it’s always already That. It’s like a trick, the tightness creates the trick of confinement. In a way, that’s what these split off parts in the body and mind, these self beliefs that are clinging on, that’s what they’re doing: they’re giving a density to me, the separate me. As that loosens up, what is revealed is your original face, if you like, your original nature. ‘Original’ in that it was always already there.
Q: I’m very aware of the inner critic (laughs)
James: Fantastic, yes.
Q: Saying, “this is really lame, saying that you’re frightened of talking in front of people.”
James: Oh yes, how embarrassing. What will everyone think of you?! The inner critic is like the policeman. In psychology they call it the superego, the one that keeps the ego in check. It’s the judging of the judging. The resister of the resistance. And it can get very convoluted. Like there’s judgement of judging of judging. That’s like the superintendent. You’ve got the policeman and then you’ve got the superintendant who’s judging the policeman (laughter). This is what thought does to keep itself in business. And again, you get curious about it, you get wise to it, and then you just welcome it all in, all of it. “Ah look, there’s the judging of the judging going on. Ah, welcome!” If we have a problem with it, then that’s another layer of judging, it’s another layer of criticism, it’s another layer of “It’s not the way I want it to be, I want it to be like this.” Back into the ‘d d-do, d d-do’, back on the roundabout. We’re just getting wise to the way the whole mechanism operates, and seeing it for what it is. It’s ok. It does it’s dance. Doesn’t say anything about You, You capital Y.
Q: No! (lots of laughter)….excellent, thank you!