A friend was telling me how she recently arrived at a party and didn’t know anyone there. Immediately she felt awkward, not good enough, ‘out of her power’. Sad and ashamed that as a grown woman she was still prone to feeling this way, and fearful that others might notice her awkwardness, she began forcing her behaviour – to try to make things different, to be rid of the discomfort, to not be ‘found out’.
Then came an extraordinary thought: ‘Maybe it’s fine?’.
And with that thought she simply relaxed into the feeling of awkwardness to discover, to her amazement, that it really was ok, that it didn’t have to be any different, that she didn’t need to pretend after all.
This is real freedom, freedom that has no prerequisites, freedom despite whatever is happening.
Although she’d probably heard that message a thousand times before – to go beneath the storyline and feel deeply into the presently arising dis-ease – this time it suddenly hit home experientially and she could taste its power.
And the same is true for us all, whatever our situation. Whether it’s feelings of loneliness, loss, confusion, anxiety or stress, thoughts about not being good enough or being inferior to others, or the discomfort from contorting ourself to try to ‘fit in’; whether it’s the fear of speaking in front of groups, of being thought badly of, of being laid bare without our carefully crafted layers of personality for protection, or of seeing all our ‘certainties’ about who we are and what life is fall apart; whatever it may be, when we actually drop into the raw, felt experience of those energies and contractions, that we normally spend our lives trying to avoid or deny, we realise the marvel that who we really are is never threatened.
As our confidence in that recognition grows, as we even start to see beauty in the ‘discomfort’, wonder in its aliveness, we naturally lose interest in playing the game of avoidance, of needing to disconnect or distract ourself with compulsive thinking, rationalising, complaining, working, shopping, sex, drinking, drug taking or whatever our particular means of escape might be.
Then, just like my friend, despite those feelings of awkwardness, in being released from all the extra psychological baggage of it needing to be otherwise, we’re free to act naturally and spontaneously, to be playful, creative and connected, to express and celebrate our own uniqueness – we’re free to enjoy the party.
– James Eaton, Enjoying the Party
Don’t run from your suffering, don’t try to interpret it, or come to conclusions about it;
hold it close, meet it directly, feel the beauty of its wild intensity;
savour the flavour and eat it up, yes eat it up! It’s food for awakening;
for in that sacred digestion, all breaks down to Love.
– James Eaton
On making a mistake, how quickly we reach for excuses, justifications or try to blame others, as if the worse thing imaginable would be to admit we got it wrong. But who we really are has no self-image to uphold. What if it’s ok to make the most spectacular cock-up, to openly admit our mistake, to take full responsibility and apologise? What liberation! Then the fear of failure need no longer dictate our actions and we’re free to follow our bliss.
– James Eaton
It’s amazing the places that the perennial wisdom turns up. Whilst watching an episode of Thomas the tank engine with the family we came across this little gem…
Gordon: (boasting to the other engines) I’ve pulled expresses for years and have never once lost my way. I seem to know the right line by instinct.
Narrator: Every wise engine knows of course that the signalman sets the switches to make the engines run on the right tracks. But Gordon was so proud he had forgotten.
In the story, Gordon with much noise and blowing of steam, glides out of the station, proudly pulling his newly painted coaches full of important people. “Look at me now! Look at me now!”, he puffs. However, he then gets switched off the mainline and has to go all around the island and back to the station again, making the passengers very cross, the other engines laugh and Gordon feel miserable and dejected.
When we really believe we’re in control of life, if things go well we can become very pleased with ourself indeed, but how we suffer when the switches change and we run on the ‘wrong’ track. But that suffering is a call back home, a call to recognise that what we really are is not exclusively a separate little engine, but life itself, the fizzling firebox, the bubbling boiler, the smell of smoke and steam, the passing countryside, the waving onlookers and the passengers waving back, a call to recognise that there is no ‘wrong’ track, that it’s life/pure Knowing/Awareness/God that is the real signalman and always was.
– James Eaton, The Real Signalman
It’s all life living itself – the universe, the Earth, ecosystems, social systems, people, thoughts, emotions, and the evolution of it all. It’s all life living itself, in a myriad of ways. Life exploring, experiencing and expressing itself through what’s here now. When life (as mind) identifies as a human being, taking blame or credit for it’s own life, that’s is also life living itself.