Transcript from a meeting with James Eaton on 6 August, 2020
Q: I’ve been looking at my intimate relationships—not just my marriage, but also people that have known me a long time—and how sometimes, when I’m together with them, I can feel uncomfortable: either I’m not sure how to relate anymore, or I’m obliging in some way that makes me feel uncomfortable. I’m wondering whether I should avoid those people, or whether there’s an opportunity to be more authentic with them.
James: Yeah, I hear you. Let’s start with intimate relationships, which are, in my experience, the greatest challenge, as curiously we’re often attracted to the very people that can push all our buttons! And so initially there’s the honeymoon period, when it’s all beautiful and wonderful and we’re getting to know each other, exploring each other, and making love, and then sooner or later the buttons start getting pushed, and we begin to really irritate one other.
So what do we do then? Well, look around you; I mean, what do people do? Either they find coping strategies, ways to try and put up with each other—because they’ve made a commitment, or because of the children, or because their parents did—or else they say: “This is crazy, I’m not doing this anymore!” And they divorce.
But there is another possibility: to move forward together into a deeper way of relating; which involves recognising what you’re feeling in the moment, seeing what’s being triggered in you, and owning it, taking responsibility for it, and soothing it with self-love. And if two people can do that, mutually, then there’s an incredible opportunity for both to deepen in authenticity—because nobody is going to expose your blind spots more clearly than your intimate partner.
Now, having said that of course, it might be that there isn’t a willingness from one side, and then to be the only one that continually looks within and takes responsibility, that can be very difficult, and there may be a time when you have to accept that it’s no longer healthy to continue. But I would suggest, if you come to that point, it’s only after triple-checking that there really is nothing more for you to learn there; otherwise leaving the relationship can be just another way of trying to escape what you don’t want to face.
Friendships are similar, because as you become more and more sensitive, you start to notice how certain people bring out certain sides of you; and as you start to grow out of those old modes of operating, then the friendships that want to relate to you in those same old ways will get challenged—since you lose interest in playing the old role that they expect. And so, as you start to show up in a more authentic way, if the friend doesn’t like it, they will naturally move away; or else they may recognise that there’s an opportunity now to find a new way of relating, that enables the friendship to go deeper, that benefits you both.
But you have to be honest with yourself. I remember with one friend, I really didn’t want to lose her, and I reached out to arrange to meet up on, I think, at least six separate occasions. The first time the response was, “I can’t because of this and this”, then the second time the same, then the third, and the fourth and so on; and I always found a justification in my mind, “Oh, yeah that’s because . . . ” After the sixth time I had to say to myself, “Look James, I know you love this person very much, BUT you have to accept that this friendship isn’t going anywhere. They’re expecting something else and you’re not giving it, and they don’t want to know.”
So you bow to it, “Thank you for the learning.” Because in doing that you’re actually respecting your own self, right? It’s beautiful, because it’s self-love. “Yeah, I can be who I am, and if people want to engage with me beautiful, here I am; if people want me to be different then I’m sorry but that’s not what I’m offering anymore.” Can you feel the natural authority in that?!
YOU’RE THE ONE. You’re it! Yes you are! Feel that. It’s empowering. Feel the growing confidence in shining your authentic nature, and allowing your authentic voice to be heard! Your Voice. It’s such an important word that. It’s not just your physical sounding voice, it’s your Voice—what you truly are, what you’re here to bring, this unique expression.
If you’re trying to be something different to what feels authentic, then why are you doing that? In order to what? In order to get the person to like you, to not reject you; and that’s all coming from the fear-based patterning, the self-doubt; so that’s what you’re reinforcing when you go into that way of operating. Whereas, when you show up authentically, what you’re reinforcing then is self-love, self-respect, self-trust, and building confidence in being who you authentically are. I know it’s not easy! This is the art of living we’re talking about here; it’s a life’s work.
And just as I say that, then another thought came. I was thinking of my dear Mum, and all her deeply conditioned ways of operating; but that’s okay, right? I can meet her just as she is. I don’t have to try to change her. I can relate with her in a way that enables us to feel connected, but whilst staying true to myself.
Q: But even when there’s knowledge of who or what we really are, it doesn’t automatically flip from one to the other, from inauthenticity to authenticity, right? I mean, I’ve been having situations at work when I know I have my authentic voice going, and then suddenly I find I’m going into an obliging mode, and doing something I don’t really want to do, and having an uncomfortable feeling coming up, and I’m thinking, “I don’t really know how to say this, or how they’re gonna take this, because it’s not right for me.” So it seems like a gradual wising up to, “Oh yeah, here comes this pattern,” and feeling the tension in the moment, but still speaking your truth, or staying authentic; and I guess the more practised you get at that you build more muscle around that, or it gradually gets easier.
James: Yeah, you could look at it that way, but I think a really great question to ask here is: what is ‘being authentic’? For me, it’s always about responding from the not-knowing. It’s not a new mind-strategy. If you’re coming from the not-knowing, there’s a natural intelligence that will respond optimally to the given situation, and you don’t know what that response will look like. Take your work situation for example: sometimes the optimum response might actually be to be obliging or compliant! I just really want to highlight the subtleties here—it’s really delicate; because the mind hears ‘being authentic’ and it thinks, “Ah, that sounds good! Right, now I’m gonna lay down the law and tell them how it REALLY IS!”
Q: My way or the highway!
James: Yeah, exactly. Which is often just a fear-based, frustrated character that’s co-opting this idea of ‘authenticity’ to let out some steam! That’s not what I’m talking about; although, the authentic response could also sometimes look like that! Do you see how tricky it is? The authentic response could be being compliant, or it could be being very direct and powerful in making a point or defending a boundary—that’s the versatility of the intelligence.
What you find is, when you’re still closed down energetically—for example you haven’t been able to meet and integrate the shame and guilt that’s repressed in you—then your authenticity is blocked; because if the response that the intelligence wants to bring is to powerfully defend a healthy boundary, but that power-energy is blocked off in you, then it can’t come, so you can’t be authentic.
James: Do you see how it all fits together? First we discover who we really are, and then the fear-based patterns and coping strategies can start to unravel. And you’re right: you said, “It’s not an immediate flip.” Absolutely not! It takes years for all those patterns to unravel. But as they do, we start to reclaim and integrate all the different essence-energies that were previously blocked out: for example, shame and guilt become a doorway into personal power, self-trust and true self-expression—enabling us to speak authoritatively in truth, and to hold healthy boundaries; fear and anger become a portal into strength, courage, passion and aliveness; grief and sadness open into compassion and self-love, and a sweet sensitivity that can be so delicate and tender.
In having unrestricted access to the full spectrum of energetic possibility, the natural intelligence can use whichever essence-energy is optimally suited to the situation. Wow, this is exciting, right? This is when your life becomes a masterpiece of art; and you have the whole palette of colours at your disposal!
Q: Do all the energies open up at the same time, or can you start clearing certain channels and the ones that are more stuck take a bit more time? Like if there’s a lot of repressed anger, and it’s harder work there, then it might take longer to access that true strength.
James: There are no rules. In some cases, which are often the big stories we all hear about, the whole energetic system opens up in one go. A classic example of that is Eckhart Tolle, who then ended up sitting on a park bench for two years as he began adjusting to a whole new way of being!
Far more common, and more healthy in terms of integration, is a gradual opening—just as we’re doing here now. First you start to realise who you really are. Then you discover how who you really are is being life itself. That’s already a huge movement, because it requires you to realise that physicality is not what you thought it was—it’s a virtual reality, like pixels on a perceptual screen, and its essence is your very nature. Then there is this slow unravelling of all these repressed energies, coping strategies, fears, self-doubts, guilt, shame, anger, wild raging fury—we all have it in us. As all of that starts to open, we consciously reclaim and integrate those energies; and that process is commonly not an instant happening, but a journey of unravelling.
It’s useful to clarify the journey, in that it can help to put the mind at ease, but at some point we have to let go of even that; we have to let go of the ‘processor’, we have to let go of the psycho-spiritual character that’s supposedly here navigating the whole journey. Until we let go of even that one, we are still identifying with being a separate self, and still trying to control life.
Q: But it feels beautiful when you’re being true to the moment, it’s so effortless and natural, so there’s obviously an awareness that knows when something’s jangling; but I guess without identifying again with being the ‘processor’ and, “Oh, what’s this process going on here?” Then it can be just natural learning in the moment.
James: Yeah. That’s what we’re all doing—we’re learning. This might sound quite strange, but I sometimes have these moments where it’s like I’m being uploaded! It’s as if whatever’s been realised is being uploaded into the whole system. My sense is that when separate-self-identification ends, either in life or at death, then it’s like a great harvest, and all that you’ve learned about life, all your insights, get absorbed into the whole and the whole learns. We’re like these little engineers experiencing life, absorbing everything we can, understanding, learning, building wisdom, so that we can bring back all the data into the whole and the whole learns—so the whole is continually upgrading and understanding itself more and more and more.
Ok, I can sense that might need some more explaining!
So let’s call this entire feeling-thought-sound-sensation-smell-taste-colour experience that’s happening now, this perceptual flow, let’s call that a mind. So there’s James-mind; and each other person here represents another unique mind-flow. Now, each of these individual minds is literally a different world, and yet they all seem to agree that we are here together now, sharing this conversation, right? A way to explain that is that each individual mind is a partial expression of one universal mind, that is experiencing itself, through itself, from each of these different points of view. So it’s the universal mind that has been continually upgrading and learning about itself, through itself, for the last 13.8 billion years of evolution; which suggests the possibility that, at some point, the universal mind itself will wake up to itself.
Of course this is a model, I’m not saying it’s the-way-it-is, but it seems that we like models, because they give us a framework in which to situate ourself, to understand reality. So even though it’s not the absolute truth, which could never be captured conceptually anyway, it can be a helpful model to consider. The current conceptual model of our culture is scientific materialism, which says that we’re organic robots, caught in the flow of cause and effect, that will eventually die and that’s it. We try not to think about the implications of this world view because it’s appalling; it essentially makes life meaningless and absurd.
So why not take on a different world view, that’s far more closely aligned with our actual experience, and that’s inspiring? That says, “No, this isn’t a meaningless universe, it’s full of meaning, full of intelligence; and no, we’re not just some insignificant cog in a gigantic machine, we are the very frontier of this universal mind learning and waking up to itself.” Wow!
It also helps us understand why not-knowing is so important in being authentic: because when we’re in the not-knowing, our actions are no longer coming from all the fear-based patterning we’ve taken on, but are inspired by the vast, omniscient wisdom of the universal mind.
That’s when ‘my’ will aligns with THE will, and ‘I’ become a true emissary of wholeness—which also turns out to be optimal for the individual ‘me’ too!
Q: Thank you.
James: Thank you. And I bow to all of you; that’s the work you’re doing!