‘It’s the most ecstatic thing, to just be yourself’

 

, / Community

12 Jul 2012

 
JamieCatto-crop

Seán Dagan Wood discovers how a new series of innovative workshops run by the award-winning filmmaker, musician and ‘creative catalyst’ Jamie Catto, is inspiring people to realise their potential

 
Jamie Catto is leading transformational workshops     Photo © Sam Pelly

For seven minutes, I look deep into the eyes of the person opposite me. Not a word has passed between us. Ever. We are complete strangers. Or, at least we were.

Now, after 420 poignant seconds of unbroken eye contact, I don’t yet know his name or anything about his personality, but a connection has been made and I feel a deep sense of this person. It’s a beautiful, disarming experience.

And that’s how it begins… Jamie’s Catto’s journey into the reality of who we are. I’m in Islington, London, for a transformative weekend workshop, titled What About You?, which aims to help people unleash their personal and professional potential.

A musician and filmmaker, Jamie was a founding member of Faithless – the most successful name in dance music in recent decades, but is perhaps best loved for his landmark music and film project 1 Giant Leap. Exploring “the predicament of being human,” he and Duncan Bridgeman travelled the world recording the finest musicians and interviewing thought-leaders from different cultures, revealing “the unity within the diversity.”

Combining his experience from projects such as 1 Giant Leap with a passion for personal evolution, Jamie began delivering workshops last year in places ranging from Devon to Berlin, Seattle to Thailand.

“I think we’re living in a world where we’ve all agreed a massive compromise through the pursuit of approval,” Jamie tells me. “We get addicted to the ‘crack’ of approval very early on in life. Because of this, we edit ourselves incrementally until we’re these crippled 30% versions of ourselves. On a date or job interview we’re brochure versions of ourselves, tailored perfectly for the part.

“What I want in life is intimacy; for you to show me all of yourself and for me to feel free to show you all of myself”

“What I want in life is intimacy,” he continues, “for you to show me all of yourself and for me to feel free to show you all of myself. The journey from that 30% back to 100% is the point of life to me. It’s where unity lies and it’s where the fun lies.”

Jamie is on a personal mission to liberate us from the burden of hiding our fears, our insecurities, our insanities. The energy wasted in denying our ‘shadows’ is pure gold ready to be harvested for creativity, he believes.

But first, we need to be in the right state for our energy to be put to good use. That’s where the unbroken eye contact and the focused conversations about it afterwards come in, as a ‘full-bodied listening’ exercise.

“Creativity is a listening process,” says Jamie. “When I’m writing a song I listen for it, twiddling around on the guitar. If you relax and receive, let yourself be penetrated by reality – rather than being busy doing and controlling – it’s already there.”

‘It’s the most ecstatic thing, to just be yourself’ Positive News positive people

Jamie Catto recording in India for the 1 Giant Leap project

With the group’s social awkwardness eroding rapidly, Jamie introduces a series of games designed to help us identify our inner critics, the masks we wear, and the parts of ourselves we avoid. While also bringing out our strength and unique genius, the games allow us to connect authentically as a group.

Blending discussion, sharing, drama and role play, writing, meditation and visualisation, it’s liberating – and at times moving – to be able to explore my ‘shadow self’ in the company of others as we realise how benignly imperfect we all are. It’s also hilarious – finding myself in a room of 30 people all acting out their ‘demons’: the martyr offering to do anything anyone wants, while the control freak tries to tell everyone where to walk and sit, and the person embodying arrogance barges around interrupting conversations.

Jamie’s explanation for using these games is simple: “It’s the quickest and funniest way. I don’t want to do 20 years of Buddhist meditation, I want to do it quick and I want to do it funny; that’s the criteria I have for my evolution.”

The speed at which he cuts to the chase in getting us to open up could be unnerving for some. Yet the humour and playfulness of his approach – alongside the caring intentions behind it – makes the workshop feel entirely safe. We’re also encouraged by the fact that he sets the example for how to be ourselves in all our absurdity.

“That’s what I want us to do: laugh at what unbelievable divas we are, throw up our hands and go ‘yeah, me too.’”

“I don’t want to be like the guru at the front,” he explains. “I’m part of my own versions of everything we’re working on, I’m part of my own egocentricity especially – and I’m cracking up at myself most of all. That’s what I want us to do: laugh at what unbelievable divas we are, throw up our hands and go ‘yeah, me too.’”

With different flavours of contemporary psychology and spirituality, grounded in practical tasks and mixed with a healthy dose of cynical comedy (the “dash of evil” as he calls it), Jamie’s workshops are unique and accessible. They would probably appeal, in fact, to people who don’t usually like workshops.

Jamie cites the spiritual teacher Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now, as one of his main influences, but distances himself from spiritual terminology: “It’s so unusual for us to just be honest and visible and transparent and unpretentious for each other, that it’s called a spiritual experience. For me it’s just being as normal as can be. It’s actually the most exciting loving hilarious brilliant ecstatic thing in the world to be as visible and plain and as just yourself as you can be. This is what all the best so-called spiritual teachers say: ‘just be yourself.’”

And so, having harvested the energy of our shadows and ignited our geniuses, the second day of the What About You? workshop brings a masterclass in project building. Whether our projects are something creative, work-related, or just an aspect of ourselves, we’re given a trove of principles and tools for bringing our visions to life, drawn from Jamie’s experience designing and directing film and music projects around the world and collaborating with figures ranging from Billy Connelly to Yoko Ono.

‘It’s the most ecstatic thing, to just be yourself’ Positive News positive people

Jamie Catto

All the practical advice links back to his understanding of how the universe works: that reality is set up to reflect you and is affected by the lens you look through. By being fully present as our “unapologetic, big, whole selves,” he believes, we can interact consciously and intimately with life.

For Jamie, enlightenment is a realisation, not an attainment. “It’s always available and you dip in and out of it depending on your state of being,” he explains. “With discipline, your state of being can be such that you respond to your experiences with the viewpoint of ‘wow, this is a gift’, not ‘everyone is against me.’ That’s a choice, and it takes massive discipline to be a free spirit.

“If everyone does what we do on the workshops,” he concludes, “people would have a much bigger percentage of their lives feeling connected and relaxed, therefore not feeling the alarm of the lie of separation and individuality, therefore not pissing everyone off and being a drama queen. Everything exponentially goes from there to having a much more fun and juicy life.”

 

Jamie Catto runs workshops throughout the year, across the UK and globally, payable by donation. He is also offering a new free advice service for people’s projects, missions and personal thresholds, called FrEEDBACK, whereby if you email him at freedback@jamiecatto.com asking for specific advice in 99 words or less, he or a member of his team will respond in 99 words or less, usually within 24 hours.

 

More Information:

www.jamiecatto.com

 

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46 comments:

  1. Lobma Thundrup says:

    Oh here we go again., Why are the alternative press full of ‘how to,’ ways and means? this is the main reason I’ve stopped subscribing to them.

    “Jamie’s explanation for using these games is simple: “It’s the quickest and funniest way. I don’t want to do 20 years of Buddhist meditation.”

    There is nothing to achieve, it’s already here within you now. All you have to do is to unmask, uncover it past the layers of deluded ‘self.

    “Jamie is on a personal mission to liberate us from the burden of hiding our fears, our insecurities, our insanities”

    Whilst we do carry a massive burden of neurosis, we need only to realise this and to let it go. Attachment to a perceived continuous ‘self,’ is the cause of all suffering. Break the stanglehold of desire and aversion and there is no ‘self.’

    “the second day of the What About You? workshop brings a masterclass in project building. Whether our projects are something creative, work-related, or just an aspect of ourselves, we’re given a trove of principles and tools for bringing our visions to life, drawn from Jamie’s experience designing and directing film and music projects around the world and collaborating with figures ranging from Billy Connelly to Yoko Ono.”

    What a load of bunkum. There are no projects, there is a no self. Relax and realise. There is nothing to achieve. All this man is doing is using techniques from any counselling session. All you are doing here is strenghing the idea of the ‘I,’

    • Seán Dagan Wood says:

      Hi Lomba, thanks for your comment. You write: “There is nothing to achieve, it’s already here within you now.” The article states: “For Jamie, enlightenment is a realisation, not an attainment.” Is this not in agreement?

      • Lobma Thundrup says:

        Hello Sean. Yes but he is trying to give you ways to achieve it. There is nothing to achieve There are no ways and means. ‘Project Building?’ How can there be project building, when there is no self to indulge in any projects?

        Here is an exert from the Heart Sulta. There is no more to add…

        Form is emptiness; emptiness also is form. Emptiness is no other than form; form is no other than emptiness. In the same way, feeling, perception, formation, and consciousness are emptiness. Thus, Shariputra, all dharmas are emptiness. There are no characteristics. There is no birth and no cessation. There is no impurity and no purity. There is no decrease and no increase. Therefore, Shariputra, in emptiness, there is no form, no feeling, no perception, no formation, no consciousness; no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no appearance, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no dharmas, no mind consciousness dhatu; no ignorance, no end of ignorance up to no old age and death, no end of old age and death; no suffering, no origin of suffering, no cessation of suffering, no path, no wisdom, no attainment, and no nonattainment.

        • Pete Hodkinson says:

          There is no way… way

        • Seán Dagan Wood says:

          My experience of the workshop was not that Jamie was trying to give people ways to achieve enlightenment at all, but was helping us to simply exist in a more present, open state (which you could call enlightened) when working on our creative projects.

          If there are ‘no projects’ as you suggest, Positive News wouldn’t exist for example, and so there would be no article for you to comment on…

          Secondly, I feel that what you express above about the oneness of things or the lack of individual self, fits perfectly well with what Jamie expresses in the interview material in the article (eg. the last paragraph where he talks about “the lie of separation and individuality”).

        • danny says:

          Hey Lomba,

          I’m glad you have found your path. I’d be quite surprised if you did not receive help along the way. Once you came to realization everything seems very obvious but how did you come to that point? Little nudges and hints that you accumulated over your life pushed you to a point where you became ripe for the ‘penny to drop’. I have not attended Jamie’s workshop but from reading it it sounds like quite a good nudge designed just for the people who need that exact nudge. Everyone is on a different path. We can never explain ‘it’ to anyone, we can only offer signposts that point in a vague general direction.

          Perhaps you’d like to consider the aggression of your stance and how that reflects upon your own path. It seems like you have reached a point in your realization that has left you somewhat frustrated. Perhaps you’re trying to convince yourself of oneness and transcend duality, that there is ‘nothing to achieve’.

          An internal ‘softening’ is required before we can allow ourselves to receive all that life has to offer and when that softening comes, we no longer get irritated by much at all, let alone beautiful people world over who, acting purely out of empathy, attempting to help their fellow people along the path.

          Breath. Smile.
          danny

    • Angus Morrice says:

      Lobma,
      If you are as spiritually advanced as you sound then surely you should have realized that you are, at the moment in a minority position of reality. There are very few human beings on this planet at the moment who live their truth. If you are one then well done.
      The problem is that I could have written a very similar entry and sounded like the most enlightened being since Jesus and the Buddha. The truth is I am still living in my own illusions. It’s not that I don’t have the theory. I’ve plenty. What I don’t have is the practical experience. This is the important bit. you must have realized by now the difference between thought and experience. If thought-life and mental, theoretical constructs were everything I would not be writing this reply. and if I was in fact living truth, I would again not be writing this reply.
      Criticism essentially doesn’t come from a place of wisdom and compassion but one of arrogance. This is what Jesus wanted to convey with his parable of the brothers with stuff in their eyes. The Irony is that very few of the Christian establishment actually take this parable seriously.
      Another important point is many people find it difficult to:
      a) grasp what you mean when you speak like you do. If you are genuinely interested in “evangelising” speak simply.
      b) live beyond the mental boundaries and constructs of their own worlds, but those who do recognize what they are living is not reality should not be criticized for trying to find a way out. Neither should those who are actively trying to genuinely help others be criticized by those who spend their time in the thoughtful contemplation of reality and yet cannot see the beauty of the rainbow.

      The ignorant speak, the wise listen.

  2. Lobma Thundrup says:

    We’re so very busy with looking for anything that promises an end to our dissatisfactions and sufferings, anything that offers relief and distraction from the endless struggles of life. We’ll try anything; sex, alcohol, drugs, shopping, music or yoga all offer instant gratification. All preoccupy us and will give us a buzz us for a while, until the novelty wears out, and then off we go, seeking out some other buzz. Many people take up some hobbies; others try counselling or therapy as possible escapes from the daily tribulations. The list is endless. Some of us may conclude that we need to give up our present material lifestyle and get closer to nature, so we abandon our possessions and try to live a simpler existence. Others opt for new age remedies like Acupuncture or Reiki. Some of us may take up a political cause, or become religious.

    There seems to be a neurotic desperation in our search a slice of distraction. As Chogyam Trunpa elegantly puts it, ‘If we examined our thoughts and actions, we would realise that we are continually striving to enhance ourselves. We realise that this struggle is the root of our suffering. We go around and around trying to improve ourselves through struggle, until we realise that the ambition to improve ourselves is itself the problem. Insight comes when there are gaps in our struggle We need only drop the effort to secure ourselves and the awakened state is present’

    You must accept yourself as you are, instead of as you would like to be, which means giving up self-deception and wishful thinking. We must accept that what is here, now, is what is. Only when we understand this and we give up seeking out ways that will make us happy, does real lasting joy and happiness appear.

    But nothing will free us permanently from our predicament, what is needed here is a real understanding of our situation, a real breakthrough. Only then do we realise that it is the search itself, the desire to find away out of our dilemma, that is the real hindrance. Only when we stop seeking a way out of our suffering does the real answer present itself. The Buddhist path takes a different approach, rather then present ways us with ways and means to cure our problems, it begins with our confusion and suffering and works towards the unravelling of their origins, of uncovering the awakened state of mind, which at present is crowded in by ego and its attendant paranoia. As Chogyam Trungpa says, ‘it is not a matter of building up the awakened state of mind, but rather of burning out the confusions, which obstruct it. In the process of burning out these confusions, we discover enlightenment. Which is basics sanity’

    ‘Our biggest hindrance to real happiness is that we think that have to maintain and enhance what we see as ‘our self,” Trungpa again; The heart of the confusion is that man has a sense of self which seems to him to be continuous and solid. When a though or emotion or even occurs, there is a sense of someone being conscious of what is happening. You sense that you are reading these words. This sense of self is actually a transitory, discontinuous event, which in our confusion seems to be quite solid and continuous. Since we take our confused view as being real, we struggle to maintain and enhance this solid self. We try to feed it pleasures and shield it from pain. Experience continually threatens to reveal our transitoriness to us, so we continually struggle to cover up any possibility of discovering our real condition.” But,” we might ask, “if our real condition is an awakened state, why are we so busy trying to avoid becoming aware of it?” It is because we have become so absorbed in our confused view of the world, that we consider it real, the only possible world. This struggle to maintain the sense of a solid, continuous self is the action of ego.’

  3. Lobma Thundrup says:

    This man is asking for up to £500 per workshop. There should never be a charge for the teachings, apart from small expenses.

    What he is teaching is basically just another version of psychotherapy. This will never got to the heart of our dilemma of suffering, This can only be understood once we drop the whole idea of a separate ‘me.’

    • Seán Dagan Wood says:

      To clarify for readers, Jamie’s website states: “Suggested donation is £150-£500 for the whole weekend but if you’ve broken the bank to get there, less is fine.”

  4. Paul Higgs says:

    Lobma, I’m not sure how you can comment on ‘what this man is teaching if you haven’t done the course’.

    It is a fantastic workshop, NOT psychotherapy and people are able to choose what they pay based upon their ability and what they got from the course.

  5. Hello. I’d like to respond to Lobma and firstly say that some people might just need a bit of help to stop looking for help/striving for something, if Jamie is offering this on donation basis that is pretty good, especially as we all need money to survive in this world.

    Also, yoga is by no means a form of instant gratification. It takes discipline and commitment to get real physical, emotional and spiritual benefit from it.

    I found this very interesting as I helped facilitate the beginning of a workshop last weekend and I had people stand in concentric circles, the inner facing out, the outer facing in and asked all to connect with the eyes in this way and also to have our hands on each others hearts. Some people found it quite difficult at first but it’s amazing seeing the way that people transform and how you really start properly SEEING the other person. Anything that is going to appeal to non-workshoppy types that tackles these issues is a plus from my perspective. We live in such a disconnected world these days.

  6. Jamie says:

    This was from Lobma to me yesterday – not quite trusting his serenity :

    ” I can see exactly what you are. There will be many more  charismatic figures like youcoming alone, taking money from the gullible.You remind me very much of those Southern American evangelical Christians, flogging their false hopes and fears. You are not ready to teach others at all. You are still clinging onto your self, with all of its delusions and fantasies. 

    That you put my posts down to jealousy and aggression is confirmation of your state of consciousnesses. But you are able to fool the New Age set no doubt.

    ‘I,’ am nothing, This in cons”equential Buddhist merely looks upon your charade with amusement.

    You would do well to study Cutting Through Spiritual materialism, by Chogyam Trungpa, before you set out ot teach others. You also need a large dose of humility and humour  in your mix.

    Goodbye Jamie

  7. Jamie says:

    He sounds too grumpy and un-playful to have discovered anything I’d want more of. Judgemental, dogmatic. I can hear all the Rinpoches honking their crazy Tibetan horns from Sikkim shouting ‘this guy’s totally missed the point!

    To me wisdom is inherently playful, not earnest. Anyone touting ‘he’s doing it wrong but I’ve got it right’ is missing the point.

    (unless it’s me)

    This also from him to me yesterday:

    “Suggested donation is £150-£500 for the whole weekend 

    You must be on your way to becoming a very wealthy man Jamie! Oh well, as they say, fools and their money are soon parted.

    I suppose the Daily Telegraph brigade have money to thrown away. And no doubt you are doing nicely with all of the bonuses the bankers receive.

    I would never ask for money, the teachings must always be free.   ”

    As I said, not getting the compassion here so much as aggression and jealousy. These zealots trigger me like mad. I want to pull his tail and prod him with a Zen stick.

  8. Ali P says:

    I have just done day 1 of the w/shop. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED doesn’t even cover it. If you get a chance to do this then get down there….not to be missed! Not a banker in sight but I’m sure if a few turned up they would be treated with the same openness and generosity of spirit as everyone else…

  9. Lobma Thundrup says:

    It is noticeable that whenever his methods are questioned, he immediately lashes out with accusation of jealousy and aggression. This signifies on his part a desire to protect and strengthen what he perceives as his ‘self.’

    There is no aggression or jealousy at all inside of me. All I am doing by challenging this person and his methods, is to point out to those who are drawn in by his charisma, that there is nothing to attain, there really isn’t. All we need to do is to let go of the multi layers of ‘self,’ that cloud our realisastion of this understanding. He is offering is a short tern fix only.

    I do no doubt the underlying compassion at the heart of his methods, but lasting liberation from suffering comes once we uncover and let go of our defenses. He is merely offering you yet another ‘way.’

    That his only response is to accuse those who point this out of jealousy and aggression shows his defenses are highly tuned. I would say that he himself has a lot of aggression inside of himself, and he is projecting this onto those who dare to challenge his methods, after all it seems he is running a very lucrative business, so of course he has to defend that.

    That he is trying to smear me for pointing this out, is fine, there is nothing to defend here. By going onto the attack to anyone who dares to challenge what he is doing, says it all. he thinks he has a self that he needs to defend. What a cosmic joke

    Blessings to all.

  10. David Linnegan says:

    I can see where lobma is sort of coming form. For Jamie Catto to attack him as he is doing here, is wrong and sends out the wrong message for what he is trying to do.

    I’ve studied under Buddhist teacher in the past and none of them went on the attack to any of their critics, they just smiled and answered in a polite way.

  11. Jamie says:

    David, Lobma’s letters to me (above) were incredibly judgemental and dogmatic. I feel triggered by such rigid zealots with fixed opinions they need to impose on others. There is not compassion or wisdom coming through, just judgements and complaints. This is not wisdom it’s whining. Even whining to the newspaper for writing about me. This is the furthest behaviour from someone who really embodies the ‘no self’ philosophy that I can imagine. Lobma’s is triggered into judgement and has come face to face with his hypocrisy. I don’t feel to be nice and polite about it. I feel to say ‘Lobma, you’re not embodying your teachings. Wake up Thundrup!’

    Being nice and polite doesn’t feature much on my workshops. Being authentic does, and it sometimes includes anger and irritation. I’m ok with that. I don’t choose to edit a fake version of myself ATO be palatable and ‘appropriate’.

  12. Lobma Thundrup says:

    The sooner you stop your games Jamie the better you will be, you are full of defenses. Like many vein people, you have multi layers which act as protection for your ego. Sooner or later, you will have to face this. You cannot go on hiding behind a personality.

    What are you trying to defend Jamie, apart from a business model? you have chosen here to become personal. You hit out through a verbal assault, of abuse. You just don’t understand there is nothing to attack and no one to defend. Let go of your dualities.

  13. Aly Hazlewood says:

    I’ve had a lot of exposure to the absolutely wonderful Buddhists in Bethnal Green, I meditate there regularly and I’ve also done 2 of Jamie’s workshops. I can see both points of view very clearly, but have to say that I found Lobma’s comments to be condescending and superior in tone, and completely at odds with the compassionate nature of Buddhism.

    There is attack on both sides here. I can see that Jamie’s has come from being triggered and being a fallible, everyday sort of human myself, I totally understand why. I also know that his motives come from love, compassion and a genuine desire to guide others and to fulfil their potential. I also know that this is FAR from being a highly lucrative enterprise for him. He turns NO-ONE away even if they can only afford to donate a fiver. For Lobma to comment in such a way without ever having experienced the workshop or having met Jamie himself is simply wrong and extremely dogmatic. I doubt very much that Buddha would have responded in such a way.

    Not all of us have the opportunity to live in a Buddhist community and meditate for several hours a day. Most of us are inextricably tied in to a society that we find difficult and bewildering, and Jamie does his utmost best to help us navigate a way through this and to express ourselves creatively. He is not saying, “I AM THE WAY!’, he just helps us to live a more authentic, unedited life.

    If, as Lobma puts it “letting go of our massive burden of neurosis” was as simple as switching off the TV, we’d all be wandering around enlightened. But it isn’t. I’m interested in why Lobma feels compelled to argue his case so forcefully if he has no ‘self’? I’d also like to point out that the London Buddhist Centre offers meditation classes on a donation basis, and that more detailed courses on Buddhism have a set fee. The teachings are not free, because understandably, there are costs associated with teaching them.

  14. Buddha says:

    Lobma! What are you going on about? Can’t you see this guy is a Bardo? You’ve totally fallen for the oldest trick in the book. Every time you point the finger and tell him he’s ‘bunkum’ you’re just saying you yourself are bunkum. When you say to him ‘You are not ready to teach others’ you are really saying you yourself are not ready. When you tell him he ‘needs a dose of humility and humour’ guess what? You are telling yourself you need humility and humour. And yes when you say ‘he himself has a lot of aggression inside of himself, and he is projecting this onto those who dare to challenge his methods’ you are speaking of course of your own aggression and projection. There is no ‘other’ Lobma – you only see yourself.

    Please remember you have incarnated on Earth to have a HUMAN experience, not escape the whole thing by pretending you’re not human, with no ego and no sense of self. And please lighten up a bit on the doctrine. I never said “you must do this – you must do that”. I sat under a tree for ages to get enlightened, enLIGHTENed.

    Have fun being a human, including your ego and all your unique craziness, it’s part of your design to have a rich, dualistic experience.

    love Gautama

  15. Jamie says:

    Thank you Buddha. I always felt you had incarnated to precipitate a World full of Buddha’s not Buddhists.

  16. Hubris goat says:

    I’m liking your style Lobma. You’ve pricked a lot of people’s bubbles, and people don’t like that! But what you quote in your first couple of posts is truly excellent. Your post at 12.12 is sublime. Read that people and chillax. What are you worried about, protecting your egos? lol

  17. Barefoot D says:

    I’m not totally getting what you’re all saying here but having known Jamie well for nearly 20 years I vouch he’s sound as a pound, his heart’s in the right place, he’s highly talented and original, and he’s capable of helping move people to do wonderful things – well worth supporting rather than attacking for sure – far more gained that way

  18. Rrrrum-punch says:

    “Relax there is no self and nothing to achieve” – absolute nonsense. Any path or practise that you start to misinterpret as a religion to be followed, is absolutely missing the very point of being alive and indeed having a laugh in this big shared organic floating spaceship we are all bimbling around on.

    Unless you’re living in a squat or a tent or own your own home, how do you pay your land rent here? my mortgage is me hiring land to hustle in England, and when I hit a certain point, I can buy my pitch with my little house on it. I don’t have to, I could live somewhere else and just build a house, but it’s part of the game. I want to be able to pay for a workshop, like you tip someone. Suggested donation is not charging, you great wally. Anyway if you just want the content, there’s a ted talk on youtube with lots of the concepts, it’s free. The workshop value is the interaction with other people. Bloody right I want to donate to keep it going.

    Sitting in silence on a mountain is indeed going to help loosen your sense of self, well done. If you try to dissolve attachment to taking yourself too seriously, then that’s more likely to get you graduating to bodhisattva status isn’t it. If instead you’re fighting to undermine your very sense of who you are, as MUCH and as competitively as possible to be the Best Buddhist, you’ll just end up fighting your community and support structure. Grumbling at the screen because someone is inviting thank-you payments and people are happy to champion it and high-five it with their gold coins. Taking a huge interest in someone else’s “project”. Don’t do any projects yourself then, you make yourself have a grumpy mood while you’re getting involved in it all. You won’t have much -FUN-.

    If you’ve dissolved your sense of self so much from seeking samadhi like an addict, trying as hard as you can to see if you can switch off consciousness deliberately but ‘look no hands’ – like some kid trying to see if they can hold their breath long enough to faint – do you not think there’s a purpose to getting up and doing things? It’s a verb – project. Yes yes, don’t take projections and maya seriously, bla bla bla bla… but that’s like saying don’t do art, don’t do beautiful lovely things for the sake of themselves, “there are no projects”. You are allowed projects, whimsy, daydreams, flights of fancy, and stupid limitless boundless imagination just for the fun of it. They are just projections, and made solid they can pay bills and make more artists self-sustainable and influential on our little island, and yes the whole point of projects and projections and art is that they aren’t real. That’s the point. They start in the imagination.

    The ego isn’t bad. It’s originated from you, you don’t need to circumcise or dismember or violate or exclude any part of your mind. Whatever “”excommunicate the black sheep” theory your religion or path tells you you ought to do. Your mind is not bad. None of you is bad. You can integrate and welcome it without violence. You only know of the principles of buddhism and the way of the Dao because someone took on the project of making it shareable. Compassion entails reconnection and that begins from a healthy self-directed, sense of self.

    my 2p worth x

    but you can donate more if you like ;)

  19. Great to see that the article has stimulated such a lively debate involving so many people. Always fabulous to be involved in vigorous mass debating.

  20. Victor says:

    I attended Jamie’s workshop this past weekend and found it to be truly inspirational. I had to write an article on it myself in Qind Online which raves about the experience: http://qindonline.com/turning-demons-into-minions-in-a-jamie-catto-workshop/

  21. Jamie says:

    What a wonderful way to get mirrored in all my sanctimonious, humourless, thinks-he-knows-it-all, preachy bullying buffoonery. Thanks everyone.

    • danny says:

      This man is clearly dealing with his own issues. However, you are not doing yourself any favors in defending yourself with such pointed attacks. It is simply not necessary. He is on his path and is where he is. There is no need to react. Respond from a calm center.

      “Never argue with a fool, on lookers may not be able to tell the difference.”

      all the best.

      danny

      • Jamie says:

        Thanks Danny, it reminds me of that great Bernard-Shaw quote: ‘‎Wrestling with a pig is pretty silly. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it…..”

        I’ve been working with my need for others to ‘see they’re wrong’ and my several leaky kinds of aggression and confrontation. I couldn’t have manifested a better mirror to give me a tour of that neighbourhood if I’d tried.

        And going even deeper, I’m good looking like a fool, and the more these onlookers see that I’m a fool, and that we’re all vainly disguising our shameful insanities, the better.

        To me enlightenment (or better ‘non-deluded self-confidence’ ) is not a finish-line after a lifetime of ‘spiritual work’, but a constantly available place that we dip in and out of, but it’s always there, humming and omming away.

        Jamie

        • danny says:

          No problem Jamie, your use of the word mirror is quite apt. When someone is ‘pushing our buttons’ as the common phrase would go, it’s more constructive to view it more as our reaction than their action. They’re often displaying traits that are very close to us. Something we’ve perhaps exhibited in the past but learned to control/repress somewhat. If it’s repressed then that part of us really wants to jump out and do it’s thing. (the I’m Right You’re Wrong is a really powerful one). The problem lies in it being repressed rather than released.

          The thing is there are jewels in all these so called ‘negative’ traits which is why we dont let them go. Assertiveness is an amazing quality which is really the same thing but without the investing in the outcome of changing anyone’s opinions. If we just keep shining attention on these parts of us we can acknowledge and integrate what we want into our behaviours and let go of the negative stuff.

          d

  22. Dan says:

    To everyone who posted, Lobma, Jamie, Danny and all others…you are all correct.
    It is really as simple as that and no other argument, discussion, or anything.

    What I’m writing now is perfect, just as what each of your wrote, what each of you does for a living, and what you each believe.

    There is no right, there is no wrong.

    Lobma’s feelings are perfect…we need to feel what hot is before we know what its counterpart of cold is. Life is a complex set of thoughts that allow us to form our own patterns and since we are all from one source and everything is just a game, anything and everything that is said or done is perfect.

    From all the worlds labelled “atrocities” to “wonders” and “miracles”, they are all there for a reason…to make the game of Life interesting.

    So to close, what I’ve written is perfect even if you think it is not…because if you think it is not perfect, that thought in and of itself is perfect.

    One Love,
    Dan

  23. Simon says:

    The posts here, I think, are really interesting and food for thought. I realise this is the Positive News website, so a debate or discussion seems a bit inappropriate to me, not because debating is bad, but because of the style, tone and function of this site, Positive News. There’s a project, let’s be happy about it, respect the energy involved, support it loudly, and criticise it silently/privately.

    I understand what Lobma said is a higher level of argument, the highest if you like. You just cannot argue with that, because the very idea or any action of arguing immediately backfires. If there’s no self, no projects, nothing to defend, there is also no society, which may be possible or even desirable, but seemingly is in contradiction with our basic human need, interaction. If you wish to stop ‘feeding’ yourself, your desires, you have to deny, terminate one part of yourself. And to me this is where Jamie’s ideas (perfectly) come into the picture/reality. I have never (yet) attended one of his workshops, but to me his thoughts are about how to be more honest, and how to live with a lower number of lies per day. Humans lie, even to themselves. We play these roles (Eric Berne) every day and very often we become tired of them. Kudos and energy for Jamie to continue, it seems a really interesting path!

    Lobma, I read somewhere that language, English or any vocal manifestation of thoughts are misleading when dismantling our egos. Mathematics seem more appropriate and the ultimate way could, should be telepathy, or silence
    :)

    • Seán Dagan Wood says:

      In response to the first part of your post – we very much welcome discussion and debate on all our content, whether readers wish to support or criticise something.

      Seán, editor

      • Simon says:

        freedom of speech and the ability to criticise are fundamental. with this in mind, it still seems the attack above was inappropiate. cheers

  24. Michael says:

    All judgements, whether of ourselves or of others, come from the ego. We see imperfection through the imperfect part of ourselves. The beauty is that awakening comes when we become consciously aware of this process. This awareness comes from the conciousness that is our true essence. Through this consciousness we begin to see the perfect beauty that is the true essence of every living being.

  25. Simon says:

    after reading my comment I realised it wasn’t really clear. what I meant was that we have so many ‘Negative News’ sites all over the web and in those comment sections every day we see how people attack each other, rightly or not, but often in a harsh way. for instance, ‘Jamie, it seems you have so many followers, keep up the good work! however, pay attention not to fall into the image trap of another religious business model. what you’re doing is cool and it can have a positive effect on many of us’ – it sounds a bit different I believe. I know it’s my opinion, style, and we are different, but it would be so great to see, at least once, that it’s actually possible that people can support each other in a constructive way!

  26. Prabuddha says:

    Lobma – the ‘I’ is here whether we like it or not man!

    We all know that in theory, in absolute terms, there’s no ‘I’, but what I like about this train of thought and work, is that it embraces what’s here experientially, in the manifestation – not theoretically, in the invisible. I like the truth of that, coz there’s visible and invisible – and I like the independence from concepts and teachings. We’ve all heard the teachings, but here’s the problem – who was giving the teachings?

    Someone’s ‘I’!

    And it’s just your ‘I’ writing above, trying to persuade us all that you’re not an ‘I’.

    What me and my ‘I’ is saying, is that we all have an ‘I’. Even if it just lives in our heads and the heads of others. We use it to speak, we use it to make a living, we use it to make each other laugh and to share our feelings with others. We use our ‘I”s for so many things that without it – if we really did manage to give our ‘I’ up – we’d only be left with one option, and that’s to sit still all the time, in silence. Maybe that’s what you should be doing, and leaving others to explore their soul at their own pace, without trying to eradicate it for them.

    What I’m experiencing in my own gentle unfoldment, as I meander merrily (mostly merrily) down this stream of life, is that our ‘I”s can work for us not against, when we come together, share with each other, and let our ‘I’s heal together.

    On a subtle level, our ‘I’ can write poetry. Our ‘I’ can paint. Our ‘I’ can tell stories of legends and masters, by a fire under the moonlight.

    If we can just see that ‘I’ is fundamentally trying to help, we can embrace the madness of the I. If we can just see that, and develop a compassion for that, that’s where things get really interesting. That’s where things are created.

    I have a respect for the eastern teachings you are sharing here – but east in isolation, it don’t work. And neither alone does west. When these things come together, ever so gently together, they make love. They create. Eventually the ‘I’ meets being, life force, God, true nature – and something totally unique comes through. Something never seen or heard before.

    It’s been so lovely for me to see this clearly and to leave the struggle of trying to nullify my ‘I’… My ‘I’ has a job, a purpose – and so does yours. It’s to become healthier, more real – and then, it’s to bring God into experience. To create something original, helpful, harmless. Something wonderful and original. No more broken records. No more stuck patterns.

    That’s the seed I see here.

  27. Shining says:

    Jamie has obviously been to Stan Dale’s 35-year old Human Awareness Institute (www.hai.org)’s Sex, Love & Intimacy Workshops! The hand on heart opening exercise was created by Stan probably around the time Jamie was born, the eye contact is the same, and probably a whole lot more. To find out about the original integrity plus transformational weekends held around the world, with incredible facilitation from its base in San Francisco, go to the source of Western growth. Anne Watts, Alan Watt’s daughter, has been one of the co-facilitators for years and they have incredible levels of confidentiality, integrity and wisdom.
    But thanks Jamie for spreading the word – Nothing is Original – you just have to translate things into your own language, whether it be music, art, mindfulness or epiphany.

  28. Marc says:

    So important to be ourselves! Yes! Be gay! Cry at sad movies if you like though you are male. Wear pink underwear if you want, Very very important to be ourselves, for we cannot please others anyway, they will always find fault! Yes! YES! Be yourselves!

  29. Stuart says:

    If we were all the same conditioned human beings it would be a boring world, be different and enjoy
    Who you really are not what society wants you to be.
    Above all be happy :-)

  30. Rodrigo says:

    Keep up the good work!! I hope the critics on this thread will take the concept of this website to heart, and engage in construcive criticism in the future. ;-)

  31. Helen says:

    Hahahahaha…..absolutely brilliant….haven’t enjoyed reading a thread so much…EVER……love you all you multifaceted mixed up passionate insightful crazy peoples xxxxxx

  32. Laura says:

    What a response from an article about someone doing his bit to bring more love and connection into the world!

    All I can add here is – would the Dalai Lama kick up such a fuss about Jamie’s work? Would Ram Dass? Would any other person who’d dropped into an awakened heart consciousness? I don’t think so. At the end of the day “All Perception is Projection”.

    With Love

    X

  33. Paula says:

    Wow. Amazing how this has sparked a whole philosophical discussion off, essentially over the semantics of ‘self’ and ‘no self’, ‘ego’ and probably ‘soul’. At least this appears to be what everyone is discussing – the subtle differences of belief and their own interpretations of these concepts. But mainly what they really believe.

    The ‘There is no self’ idea is one also put forward by psychologists who study the brain and cannot pinpoint exactly where the sense of ‘I’, is, although they have a vague idea it’s closest to the top of the head….But they ‘know’ it’s in the brain somewhere because when the body dies so does the ‘I’, or so they believe…..But essentially it’s a mental construction and often referred to as the ego, and it allows us to be cognisant as individuals in bodies and separate entities, but if we get too attached to it, it prevents us from allowing our loving souls to shine through, the part which allows us to connect with others and experience their love also, and then to experience oneness with all in some form or nuance.

    All spiritual teachers try to get us to focus on the same thing, which is this ‘higher self’, ‘greater self’, or egoless state, because it’s who we really are, essentially, especially apparent when you can quieten the analytical side of the mind down for a while. I prefer to call it the ‘natural self’. This self is non judgemental, it accepts self, others, warts and all and comes from the heart. The key is just to open up, open the heart and centre your being from there. That’s all there is to it. Live from the heart, laugh and be spontaneous. Love is at the core of all of us. The rest is just decoration, masks and escapism from the truth, one way or another, because the truth of who we really are as beings of love, can demand we often have to change our lives or move on, forgive, and start taking responsibility for who we are, also, and that can be scary for people, especially living in a world in which love between people, or agape, is essentially a taboo except recognisably as something which has been reduced to an activity between the sheets. Bizarre, isn’t it? But these are just my own intepretations. Others are available… :-)

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  1. Turning Demons into Minions in a Jamie Catto Workshop | Qind Online Magazine

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