Transcript from a meeting with James Eaton on 28 March, 2017
Q: Before the first person came up to sit on the chair, I went through a real dance. I felt so good when I came in – I was so relaxed, and in such a nice space – and then when nobody came up I got in a panic, in a real panic. The heat was rising up as if my head would explode. I always feel a bit uncomfortable when nobody comes up, but never like today.
James: That’s interesting. Why is that do you think?
Q: I think I project onto you, I think: “It must be horrible for James when nobody comes up.” (laughter in the room). I don’t really know, it’s just, I sit there as if, “Argh I have to do something”, I can’t stand the situation. It seems so silly, but it’s really a bit panicky.
James: How does the panic show up? Is it in the legs, a tightening in the belly?
Q: The whole body tightens and gets hot and my head gets very hot.
James: Why do you need to make it right?
Q: I don’t really know why, but I’ve always felt that I have to make everything right. My parents, when they were quarrelling, I had to make it right; and when somebody feels… I always project that people feel uncomfortable, and then I have to make it right for them.
James: What happens if you don’t make it right for them?
Q: I feel what I imagine is their distress – it’s not even their distress, I’m sure it’s not – but what I imagine is their distress is unbearable for me.
James: Is it their distress that is unbearable for you? Or is it your distress?
Q: It’s a distress I imagine they are in, and I imagine how it would be for me to be in
that situation. I just feel this load on my shoulders; and at the same time there is something which laughs about it.
James: That’s great that you can see those both at the same time; but there is something there that you can invite into that which laughs about it – something wants to be seen there. Often if we’re trying to intervene to make something comfortable, it’s because we feel uncomfortable. And by solving ‘the problem’, we get to feel comfortable again. So actually we’re intervening in order to – do you see it’s the same thing as always? – in order to escape our own discomfort. We have to manipulate life because we don’t want to feel the discomfort. So actually, for you, nobody getting up is a really good thing.
Q: Yeah, to just feel what’s going on.
James: Yeah, to get deeper into that and see, if you listen to it: “What is it, what needs to make it alright?”
Can you see, from this ‘place’, that is not a place – it’s alright. Even when it’s “not alright”, it’s alright.
Q: It must be something so deep that I blank out now.
James: Don’t try and squeeze it out, just be open. You don’t have to answer that question. You’re offering an openness for an answer to come. We never manufacture this stuff; we’re just listening, just listening.
Q: It feels like it’s my fault when the other one feels bad.
James: It’s your fault…
Q: I could come up and sit here, so it’s my fault when nobody comes up.
James: Yeah, it’s your fault. You got it wrong…
Q: Yeah, and I have to make it right.
James: Are you wrong?
You see, if you’re the one who got it wrong, then we’re getting down into that deficiency again. Don’t push it, just be the space. Don’t try and grab anything, just stay open.
Q: What comes to me is… I think the biggest burden was my parents being so unhappy and me thinking, with all my meditation and everything I did, I have to be able to help them, and I couldn’t. And it’s the same feeling, like, feeling like I’m in a straightjacket, I can’t do anything.
Haaaa… it’s like the feeling that a total disaster would happen if I don’t make it right.
James: Yes. That’s a big weight.
Q: I don’t know, many images come and go. And I say: “Ah no, that can’t be it.” But what is most persistent is me as a baby in the war, and somehow it feels like I wanted to make it right.
James: Yes. The first thing I would say is, whatever comes up, honour it. Don’t get caught in deciding whether it’s true or not true – it’s in the mind; honour it, whatever it is. This is vital. Because as we open in this way, the whole mind begins to unclench. And everything that is locked up in there, it doesn’t matter how crazy or skitzy it seems, you honour it, from ‘here’, always from here – this aware openness. And there will be some crazy stuff going on.
Q: Yes, it’s like I had to save my Mum. And I was only less than a year old.
James: Yes, so that becomes your ground. You don’t have ground; there’s all this craziness going on, you don’t have ground, and you need ground. So you manufacture ground. What’s familiar now is, “I’m gonna save the situation. I’m gonna save the day.” That becomes your security: the pattern, “I’m gonna save the day”. So when that’s not operating, when you’re not saving the day, you lose your ground, you lose your security. But that’s a false ground, it’s a false security.
We can understand that, but it doesn’t make any difference – we have to go to it from the true ground, from the true security, and meet it from there, and acknowledge it. Bathe it with that love, that understanding.
Q: Yes. I don’t need a mother now who is not afraid and a wreck.
James: Yes, it’s the pattern though; ‘mother’ can be replaced by ‘no one’s going up to sit on the chair’ or whatever. The pattern of “I’m gonna save the situation, make it right”, has become the false ground. So if the pattern is operating – no matter how ‘negative’ it may seem – we feel safe; if it’s not operating, we’re lost again.
The shift is seeing that the true ground – this aware openness – is here, always was, whether the pattern is operating or not. So when the pattern is happening you get to see it afresh. Afresh. The true ground is here, even when there is no one sitting in that chair – the ground is still here. Do you see that, just gently, every time you see that, the tenacity of that pattern starts to be loosened?
Q: It’s strange, because today I felt the ground so deeply. And then the pattern came up stronger than ever. It was more allowed, I guess.
So fortunate to find the true ground.
James: Yes. Thanks be to God.
Q: Thank you James (laughter)
(to the audience) So don’t come on the chair! (laughter in the room)