Transcript from a meeting with Jim Eaton on 20 September, 2020
Q: I just realized how diligently I seek out contraction. This is my life: looking for contraction, lack, limitation; rooting it out and using present moment experience. And right now I’m realizing there is a lack of trust in the universe—that I can just relax, and be at ease, and enjoy joy, this peace, trusting that what needs to come up will be revealed naturally. That trust just isn’t there.
Jim: Yeah, it’s a very important character to recognise—the ‘diligent truth seeker’—because it’s the one that believes it’s been in control of the whole journey: the one that meditates, the one that processes, the one that releases, the one that lets go.
It’s a much more helpful character to be identified with than the one who’s caught in the no-win cycle, continually trying to get pleasure from the world and avoid pain. You could see it as an upgrade to the separate-self-identity, that is now open to exploring exactly what’s here—life as it is, ‘warts and all’. Even so, at some point there’s a letting go of identifying even with that one.
It’s like in the Bhakti yoga tradition, where the focus of loving devotion is initially towards the guru, which helps to open the heart; but at some point there’s a letting go of the personal guru as the focus, so that the devotion is then towards Being itself—our essential nature.
Q: Wow, I can feel this, “Noooo!”
Jim: Yeah, feel the identification with that one; the resistance to letting go of being the ‘diligent truth seeker’ . . . And then the question comes, “If I’m not that one, then what am I?”
Q: Of course I can answer from the conceptual mind—being a good, diligent truth seeker! But I’m still not trusting that I won’t experience freedom unless I’m diligently letting go of contraction. I see how my life is built around this one—releasing, helping others. I wake up with it, I live with it and I go bed with it. There’s a kind of addiction to it.
Jim: And that doesn’t now mean that ‘the releaser’ is wrong, right? We’re not judging it. We don’t now get into, “I need to get rid of ‘the releaser’.” It doesn’t become the new enemy. That’s just identifying with being ‘the releaser’ trying to release itself. Good luck with that!
No, it’s like a costume that you can wear, a way of being in the world, but it’s not your exclusive identity. You’re the actor, the ultimate actor, and you can wear any costume. You can dress yourself up and be all showy and, “Look at me!” Or you can be very quiet and introverted; or you can be a meditator, a processor, a releaser, a diligent truth seeker, whatever. The difference is that you’re not identified with being exclusively any of them.
Q: I’m hearing you, and I also know that the mind can be very tricky and I can use, “I’m just ‘wearing the costume’” as an excuse to stay identified and go on living as I have.
Jim: Yeah, that can happen. AND, with your increasing sensitivity, you will also start to notice that happening, and in doing so you are already dis-identifying and taking your place again in the clear space . . . here I AM. And you can’t say what that I AM is; that’s the wondrous thing. You can’t say what it is, but you can BE it, here-now . . . as you let go of needing to know conceptually . . . to reveal a different kind of knowing . . . this wordless knowing . . . that we always already are . . .
Q: Just this . . .
Jim: Yeah, just this . . . This is trust . . . I AM trust.
Q: (laughing) Yeah.
Jim: I AM trust . . . I AM surrender.
Q: Everything just flipped! Thank you! There’s the empty mind again.
Jim: Enjoy that . . . hang out there, really savour the flavour . . . letting yourself be that, that emptiness . . . letting go deeper . . . (Jim sings) “Letting go into the mystery” . . .
It’s beauty, it’s wondrous, it’s nourishing; it’s not bad, it’s not a thing to be feared. Here I AM. Welcome friend, welcome!
Q: Amazing (Q laughing). There’s just freedom.
Jim: Yeah, and freedom can wear a costume, and so be in the world; and then freedom can speak, it can have a voice: this is the voice of freedom, speaking from freedom, from here-now.
Q: And nothing can change freedom.
Jim: It can even include seeming limitation. That’s why it’s true freedom.
Q: That’s really felt right now.
Q: It’s so . . . wow! I had no idea how much identity was there (Q laughing). It really did feel like ‘I can’t trust this universe out there’. What a weird perception. From here it’s just such a bizarre thing, this identifying. It’s such a weird thing to deny ‘this’ . . . this that’s always here.
Jim: Yeah, see how simple it is when you look down from the ‘top of the mountain’; but when you look up from the bottom up it seems impossible.
Q: I’m seeing both juxtaposed right now. It’s very interesting. It’s so informing.
Jim: It’s really good to acclimatize yourself with this openness, because the characters have a real tenacity to them. We have moments like this, when we see through them, when we suspend belief; but because of their momentum they start to reinstate themselves again, and as your sensitivity increases you can feel it happening. This what I call ‘building wisdom’: getting to know your own repertoire of characters, and seeing how they reconstruct themselves again and try to possess you. In seeing how it all operates, you’re naturally allowing that momentum to lessen, that density to lighten, that stickiness to let go . . .
Q: Thank you for this container Jim. No matter how many times I experience that swing—contraction, freedom, contraction, freedom—it’s always a surprise that I fell for it!
Jim: Yeah. Earlier I sang that beautiful Rumi poem, that’s been put to music: “Come, come, whoever you are; wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.” That’s what that song’s about: “It doesn’t matter if you’ve broken your vows a thousand times before; and yet again, come again, come.”
Q: I’ve got chills. My head’s on fire. We can always remember.
Jim: Yeah, it’s like the crucifixion and then the resurrection into the new life; only we don’t go just through it once, but again and again. The invitation is always there. (Jim sings) “Come again, come; come again, come.”
Q: I just noticed something Jim of this freedom: there can be a curiosity—what will it do next?
Jim: Yeah, what will it do next? Well you are ‘it’! You are this freedom, animating the universe, and wondering, “What will I do next?” It’s like the ultimate improvisation, and you’re it! What could be more purposeful? It’s what each one of us is already, even if we don’t realize it . . . Yeah, “What will I do next? Well . . . say this apparently; and move this hand; and move this body. Wow, I didn’t know I was gonna do any of that! Can you feel the playfulness of it?!
I sometimes have this image where there’s just darkness, and then a light goes on, revealing an empty stage, and a sense of eager invitation; as if to say, “Here’s the space. What are we going to be now?!”
Q: And I’m noticing that anything other than that is really contrasted as contrivance.
Jim: Yeah, and also notice how we can easily get into judgment about that too, now making ‘contrivance’ into the new enemy to be ‘diligently released’, and immediately we’re getting seduced back into the old, fixed identity again! And so we just see that too—building wisdom . . .
Jim: This freedom is who we really are . . . expressing itself as the universe, and then contemplating itself from the point of view of this self-reflective human . . .
Q: The universe is my body.
Jim: Yeah, that’s my true body, appearing spontaneously, here-now.
Q: Over and over.
Jim: Over and over. The sensation in your foot, the sound of distant traffic, the image of the moon, all of it spontaneously emerging here-now; where ‘here’ is not a place in space, but the ‘place’ where space itself appears; and ‘now’ is not a moment in time, but the ‘moment’ in which time itself unfolds . . . The no-thing of here-now being the everything of experiencing.
Jim: Yeah. Ever fresh.
Q: I think that’s why I love the change of seasons; because it throws me into this newness, and that’s the way reality really is. It’s always new. It’s never the same.
Jim: There’s that great quote by the Ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”