Transcript from a meeting with Jim Eaton on 24 September, 2022
Q: If I were to find a word for the way I’m feeling now it’s ‘lost’. The whole spiritual search that I’ve been doing for about 16 years, moving from one teacher to another; I always reach the point where my mind comes up with, “I’m just not getting it,” and, “It’s time to move on.”
I want to feel it. I understand it. I could talk non-duality concepts, but I want to feel it, you know? There’s a great song by Krishna Das, “I want to know what love is.” So, I took a break from the whole teaching thing for that reason.
Jim: I hear you. That’s all we really want. The conceptual, theoretical understanding is helpful to a degree, but ultimately it just doesn’t cut it. It’s like you’ve mixed all the right ingredients together and put your cake in the oven, but it just isn’t rising.
Q: It was good while it lasted, and I can see it’s purpose: it satisfies the mind in terms of a concept; but I had this sense that I want to sit with somebody, just for a transmission. It was like, “I’ve got to get it, and I’m not gonna get it from inside me.” Blah, blah.
I’m feeling really tired, really low energy, and the usual responses are: “I’ve got to go and see a doctor, to see if something’s wrong with me,” or, “Are you depressed?” And I’m not; it’s not that at all. I’ve got no energy because I’m tired of being ‘me’.
I find it difficult to be around most people, because every conversation goes to making up a story about something, which is perfectly fine, but . . . Like the other day I was at lunch with some people, and all they were talking was bloody politics, politics, politics; and I felt like saying, “I wonder what happens to us when we die?” You know? Just to change the conversation; and they probably would have looked at me like, “What are you talking about?” So, that’s where I’m at. I want to be born again!
Jim: Yeah. I really hear you. It’s totally exhausting having to uphold all the self-images and coping strategies you’ve taken on, trying to ‘fit in’ to the family system, the community, the culture, when beneath it all you’re desperately yearning to be and express who you really are. It can feel hopeless and depressing.
So, we have to really allow that in us, to really meet it: that disappointment, that frustration, that sense of powerlessness or hopelessness. Just see if you can let that be here now—that utter frustration of, “I just can’t get it,”—and at the same time sensing your feet, and your breath; letting that character be really clarified: “I’ve tried for 16 years. I get all the concepts, all the ideas, but I just don’t feel it. I want to know what love is.”
Keep sensing your feet, breathing. And then comes this simple invitation: what am I if I’m not that character; not even that one, that feels so familiar? You don’t have to answer it; just feeling into that possibility.
Q: The word that came up was ‘alone’. It’s like even the impulse or the desire to wake up, to be born again, can come from the ego.
Jim: That’s right, that’s what were seeing now. It’s the final character to see through, and it’s so difficult because it may be where you’ve been identifying yourself for many years, whist exploring the spiritual marketplace. So, it seems like it’s been very helpful; and it has in a way, because the discomfort and the restlessness of living inside the ego structure is what drives you into that seeking; and, at some point, we have to realize these subtler characters too—even the one that’s trying to let go, or that’s trying to be enlightened, or that’s trying to understand everything.
It’s when we’re able to disentangle ourself from all the identities, that we come to know experientially who we are; but, out of habit, because of the momentum of having identified exclusively with these characters for so many years, we find ourselves re-identifying again and again—until we don’t; until we’ve weened ourselves off them.
So, this is your biggest invitation now: to meet this part of you. If you close your eyes, you might even, particularly if you’re a visual person, you might get an image come. It may be an adult version of you, or maybe a young version, a young boy, who’s really trying hard, using all of his resources—his skills, his intelligence, his sensitivity, his energy—to try and get ‘the thing’; to get ‘the goodie’ as Alan Watts used to say. It doesn’t necessarily have to be enlightenment. It may be to get Dad’s love, or Mum’s love, or whoever’s love; trying everything, but it just doesn’t work, and there’s this collapse.
That’s it, really meeting that part of you. It’s like you’re holding him in your arms and just saying, “Dear one, thank for a lifetime of trying so hard. It’s okay now. You can let go now. You can relax. You don’t have to try anymore.” Just taking him in your arms and gently rocking him: “It’s okay. It’s okay.”
What are you noticing there?
Q: I’m noticing that the good old mind is trying to treat this as a concept and trying to get it! And a song lyric coming through: “All of my life I felt so self-contained, I ain’t felt much joy and I ain’t felt much pain.” (Q laughing) This poor little guy couldn’t make any fucking sense of it. Right from the start.
Jim: That’s right. Feel for him, like you’re doing now, really feel his struggle. Now you’re meeting him, not being lost in him; you’re meeting him, saying, “I see you. I know your struggle.”
Q: Yeah. I like what you said. I’m not him.
Jim: That’s right. He doesn’t define you. It’s a part of you that got split off. You got overwhelmed as a child and so you froze, to numb out the emotion, so part of your identity is still bound up inside that split off, frozen little boy.
What you’re doing now is you’re finally meeting it, with this loving presence, and reclaiming the part of your identity that’s bound up inside. Then what’s left is an empty shell of belief, that can gently dissolve away back to Source, back to God. “It’s okay. Thank you. Job done. You can go back now.”
We say thank you because there was an exquisite intelligence in that splitting off; like we always say, you did it for good reason: it got you through feeling ignored, unseen, unwanted and overwhelmed.
Q: And actually, as a result of that, the things that have happened and that I’ve done in my life have been really rich and I really appreciate that.
Jim: Yeah, that’s it. So, letting this part of you feel your gratitude. “Thank you. Thank you for everything you brought. Thank you for your excellent work!” Celebrate that part of you, and let it know, “It’s okay now. Now you can rest.”
I have the image coming of the funeral scene in the Marvel film, “Thor: The Dark World.” After the queen of Asgard dies, they lay her body in a boat full of petals that floats out into the sea. An archer then shoots a flaming arrow through the air and into the boat, setting it on fire. So the queen is being loved, honoured and released—back to the ocean, back to the sky; back to the Source.
Q: That’s a great image that I can hold on to. The feeling I have, for that part I’ve been identifying with is really what I would call great love. It’s like the love of my son.
Jim: Yes! So really feel that experientially: holding that little boy in your arms as if he were your own son; maybe rocking him gently, and stroking his hair. You showed us some of your paintings before, so maybe you could paint him, or draw him, or find some old photos you may have of you as a boy. It’s another way of dis-identifying; it’s like you’re bringing him outside of yourself. Sing to him, whisper to him; it’s not madness, don’t worry about that.
Q: No. I spent many years of my life worrying about going mad, because when I was about 26 I had what was called a nervous breakdown, and I did everything in my life never to go back to that place again. When anything got too big for me I left it, or I contained it.
Jim: Yeah, so that was when you were 26; but now you have the ground, the real ground, that’s here to hold and support this process of unravelling.
Q: Yes. When I was 26 I felt this emptiness, this spaciousness, and it was too big and scary, and I couldn’t go there.
Jim: Yeah, it can be very scary if you don’t have the support and the understanding to keep going in that direction. Now you’re revisiting that place and you do have the support.
Q: And not in an intellectual way. I’m not revisiting that place intellectually, not analytically.
Jim: Yeah, you want the real deal, and not the idea about it. That’s like going to a restaurant and eating the menu instead of the actual food!
Q: I like that!
Q: I’m closing my eyes because it’s much easier to be with what’s here.
Jim: Yeah, do whatever feels right. Close your eyes, really let your visual imagination flow freely. Don’t try and make sense of anything, just keep offering this openness and you’ll be amazed at the images that your mind will naturally project when you’re not interfering with it: the incredible depth, vividness, and detail of it; beyond anything you could try and deliberately conjure.
Q: Yeah, it’s like returning to look at the inner movie, after spending your whole life looking at the outer movie. This is a gift for me. I’m 77 years old and a lot of people at my age are facing physical death, you know? Thank you for helping me to realise this, even though I’m 77.
Jim: Well, many people go through their entire life not getting anywhere close to this. They’ve become so bound up in their ego structure and mental concepts that they simply cannot see beyond them. The ego structure can’t survive death because it’s a psychological fabrication; so for them death is terrifying, because it’s the end of who they think they are.
But if ‘in life’, you’ve made the transition from identifying with the ego structure, the ‘person’, to identifying with this indefinable presence that you really are, then death holds no fear for you—because what you identify with was never born, and so death doesn’t apply.
It may sound strange to say, but then physical death is bliss. You’ve already gone through the hard bit, which is moving beyond the ego structure. Death is then the ultimate relaxation into presence.
Q: Die before you die. Okay, I think I’m feeling complete now. Thank you.
Jim: My pleasure. Great to see you.
Let’s all just check in again, sensing our feet, breathing . . . and with this beautiful honesty we can see clearly where it is that we’re still getting caught, still identifying. Noticing even the part that yearns to awaken, that yearns for freedom; or the part that thinks it’s almost there; seeing how we get bound up in these subtler and subtler parts of ourselves that escape our clarity, because they feel so familiar, so close to home. Then we can ask the question: “If I’m not that, then what am I?” And we don’t need to answer it. Rather we rest in the openness that the question invites.
Keep noticing the habit, how the conceptual mind wants to take over. Keep bowing to it, and staying here; here in the clear space, that has no definition, that can’t be labeled. Resting here, again and again. Here we are. Always, already home. No idea what this is, but here it is! Being it. Being the mystery.