Transcript from a meeting with James Eaton on 15 April, 2017
Q: I read something a couple of weeks ago, and it stayed in my head and I’ve been looking at it, because it was saying there’s a difference between freedom and Self-realisation. They don’t go hand in hand. I think I had a wrong belief or something there. I had always thought, like most people, that Self-realisation is the destination. And yet your approach, which seems to me to be not unique but slightly different, is almost like the Self-realisation bit, which I kind of get – the impersonal knowing Presence that I Am – is there, and yet suffering can still continue. And I think there’s some confusion around that for me.
James: Yes. This here is generally a lot of confusion around this. Particularly in non duality. People go for Self-realisation and then they say, “that’s it.” And what happens is that you can end up justifying your still-existing suffering by simply saying, “that’s just the way it is”, it’s “what’s happening”. And that can give some kind of easing – because there’s a new acceptance of life “as it is”. But the suffering can still continue.
My experience has been that, rather than being the ‘finishing line’, that space of realising what you truly are can actually be the beginning of a beautiful process of life transformation.
Before I go further I’ll just make a distinction here about the kind of suffering I’m talking about. I’m not talking about the suffering you experience if you break your leg, or if a loved one dies. I’m talking about the psychological suffering that stops you from doing what you want to do in life, that blocks creativity, that can make you feel exhausted and depressed, that can make you unhealthy and unhappy, that actually constrains your uniqueness from expressing in life. Living with that kind of suffering isn’t freedom.
And, what I’ve noticed is that Self-realisation can be the most powerful tool with which to acknowledge, and fully face, all of the patterns and coping mechanisms that you’ve developed over a lifetime – to avoid, deny or repress all the discomfort you never wanted to feel. As the true Self, all those feelings can finally be included, can be bathed in the light of this unconditional, agender-less love that you deeply are.
What can happen then is, not only do you realise your magnificence as the Beingness that you are, but also your unique magnificence: This character, this unique character that is like no other, and will be like no other will ever be. This character can actually be freed to fully shine in life, to fully express whatever its gifts are that it can give to the world.
That, to me, is authentic act-ivity, as opposed to the react-ivity that most of us operate on. That’s the lasting freedom I’m talking about.
So, yes, you can have Self-realisation, but the way your life shows up may still be full of psychological suffering and reactivity. So why not take it the extra step and use that Self-realisation to then allow all of those constraints and distortions to unfold, to unfurl, and release all the energy and creativity locked up inside? That’s a beautiful journey.
The other thing that can happen is that people like the sound of transformation – of removing the blockages and bringing ‘abundance’ into their life – and so they go directly for that and step over Self-realisation.
So now, instead of coming at transformation from the Self – that’s already complete, already whole – so that what unfolds emerges very naturally, in line with the truth of who you deeply are, instead what unfolds will be in line with the separate ‘me’ with all its constraints and distortions, with all its wants and desires. Then what you’ll find is that whatever you get, no matter how many million of pounds it is, or houses, or girlfriends or boyfriends or cars, whatever it is, it’s never going to do it. Because it’s all coming from the distortion, the supposed ‘me’. That’s why it doesn’t work. It’s endless. That’s what’s happening when we read all the spiritual books, do the courses, go on the retreats, go on the workshops, listen to the teachers but still don’t find lasting fulfilment. Because it’s still ‘me’ doing it all, trying to get something for ‘me’.
So first we explore our experience, and come to that true Self-knowledge – that what I AM is already whole, already complete. Then that realisation can become the ultimate tool for transforming the way in which our character, our relationships, our life unfolds. That’s living freedom, that’s living love.