As a Kalikalos staffer I read all the writeups from the summer programme before the season starts. When I read the description of James Eatons’ June 2013 workshop Exploring Reality I didn’t get too excited. It looked like a workshop about abstract Eastern philosophy which regards our everyday reality as illusory. I figured that if I joined that workshop it would be a waste of time for me, because my truth is that whatever disconnects us from the world, the body and the feelings, calling them illusory, would be the wrong track. I believe that you have to go into these things in order to transform them.
But because I’m interested mainly in our spiritual workshops and have a deep love for the East, I opened up his video. When I saw and heard that man, I felt his being and immediately wanted to know more about what he would be offering. Therefore, I decided to take advantage of the possibility to attend. (This is one of the perks of being a staffer here that we do get to go into the workshops when we have enough volunteers to cover the work of servicing the workshops.) In the end Exploring Reality went way beyond any of my expectations. All my projections and concerns dissolved like ice in warm water, once in the workshop sitting 1-1 with James.
For two months I wanted to write about my experience in this workshop and constantly found myself in the position of trying to find words for something which I can never describe by words.
One thing I know for sure: something on a very, very deep level has changed in my life. Something shifted, is different now and remains. What amazed me the most was the way he looked at every one of us, unfolding a gentleness and intimacy which I had never before experienced. Many times I felt that the presence of his being opened a door in which I could just walk in and be immersed in a universe of Love.
As he mirrored back without judgement and complete acceptance of whatever I felt, or thought, or considered what I believed was me I realised that I had been holding on to behaviours and beliefs I thought I had to have fight for. I found that in the pure love and acceptance that James offered, many of these things dropped away. He didn’t do anything, he just “was”; I saw in his eyes an immense lake of love and when I dared walk into that lake of love and risk my vulnerablity, I met myself in him!
Although we never touched this subject in our sittings, a quality of hardness I had in me transformed itself without me being aware of it. Days after the workshop I realised that in some life-situations I had been acting in a way to hold defenses that were no longer necessary. I also saw that the illusion advaita speaks about means the identification with our character and our conditioning built up in a lifetime.
Experiencing Being with James gave me so much love and security that I could let go of defensive crutches which had been substitutes for security. All this happened very naturally and easily without any effort on my part.
James says, “don’t believe anything you cannot experience”. I liked that attitude—you can throw away whatever you have read and find out for yourself if it is true what the spiritual texts of any tradition say. So don’t even believe my words, come next year when James comes back and experience yourself.
Friederike Ernst, Italy