Pippa Sawyer: You’re listening to Bucks Breakfast. That was Goldfrapp and ‘Ooh la la’.
Now, my next guest, James Blacker, is a life coach and healer of trauma, and after the twelve months we’ve had as a nation, or as a global community, I’m sure we all need a little bit of healing, whether it’s our mental health, whether it’s our direction in life, our career choices, our choices in love or what we do with ourselves in our spare time. There’s just so much to talk about here. But let’s just introduce James first of all, good morning, sir!
James Blacker: Hi Pippa, how are you?
Pippa Sawyer: Yeah, not bad at all. Thank you very much for joining me. You’re written a book called ‘Kissing Consciousness’ and it’s about the two states of being which all humans alternate between. Can you expand on that, just explain what you mean by that?
James Blacker: Yes, certainly. So if we think of our life starting from birth, I mean when we’re born we don’t actually have any particularly well-developed mind at all, but after a certain age of around two years old we do have a mind that we kind of have associated as our own, but it has no sense of limitation to it.
Limitation is something that comes afterwards, and often comes through various experiences that we have where parts of ourselves are considered unacceptable to those around us, and so we learn that it’s not safe to show them.
And so this is where we get these two states of being: A person who’s brought up with a lot of unconditional love will probably become an adult with lots of confidence quite naturally, without any effort.
But those who’ve had various challenges, or been told they’re useless, or they’ve had trauma or anything like that, they’re going to find that quite difficult, so they develop this second state of being that we’re talking about.
So you’ve got on the one hand self-acceptance, and on the other something that’s somewhere between self-judgement and self-constriction. And so, of course, that’s how that develops, through various experiences, and so what we want to do is get rid of the self-constriction and help people get back to self-acceptance.
Pippa Sawyer: Okay, so self-constriction, then, would you describe that as a self-defence mechanism? Are we trying to protect ourselves from going through that hurt, that pain again that we suffered earlier in our lives, is that it?
James Blacker: Absolutely. What’s happened is we’ve learned that whatever that part of our personality is, or our interest, we’ve learned that it’s not safe to show that! Somebody has chastised us for it, or it could be in more stronger terms they’ve given us the message that it’s not acceptable to show that.
And so yes, as part of our survival mechanism a deeper part of us that perhaps we didn’t understand at the time puts it in a kind of a box for us, so that we forget about it and it becomes what’s known as ‘the Unconscious’. And so yes, shut away for safety reasons.
Pippa Sawyer: Okay, okay, and actually the conscious or unconscious bit is the key, isn’t it, because we don’t realise why we’re exhibiting these behaviours and why we sometimes bring upon these things onto ourselves which stop us from moving forward.
James Blacker: Yeah, that’s right. There’s a difference between the subconscious and the unconscious, and we’re all familiar with the subconscious as that thing that regulates our body for us without us thinking about it, or when we’ve driven down a country lane for five miles and we’ve realised we weren’t paying attention; something else was driving – that’s the subconscious.
But the unconscious is a different thing. It’s the unacceptable bits, and as you say that kind of creates what’s kind of like an invisible force field that stops us being true to ourselves in those specific areas.
Pippa Sawyer: And can it be fixed, James, this is the key?
James Blacker: Yeah, absolutely, that’s the point of my work. Essentially, to fix it what you’re doing is you’re reversing the process of what happened in the first place.
So when these… let’s say you have a mini trauma event that you find that some aspect is unacceptable, what happens is there becomes a change in the psychology that you kind of forget that part of your personality or you bury it.
But science has also shown that that effect happens in the nervous system, as well, in the physiology of the body. So there are two places that it happens, and so in order to reverse that, essentially what we’re doing is we’re reversing those two experiences, those two actions in the body.
So they were put into the unconscious – and we need to use our conscious awareness to bring them back out again. And that’s all assuming that it’s safe. So let’s say the person who was constricting you has now moved on, you’ve… whatever, you’ve got a new home, you’re now an adult and what have you, then perhaps it’s safe to start looking at things to actually reclaim them.
Pippa Sawyer: And I guess that could be quite a painful process, so how do you guide and help people through that?
James Blacker: Well the first thing is that everything seems to come down to emotional intelligence and emotional freedom to be able to handle whatever happens, so the first thing would be to teach people that whether we call them emotions or feelings, they’re either happening in the body or in the mind.
So if we are unconditional with the body we allow it to deal with emotions and feelings however it wants to, whether that’s screaming, crying or going for a run, or whatever.
Then if we also don’t judge ourselves for what might happen to pass through our thoughts, then we allow a kind of freedom in both mind and body, and so we don’t have any resistance, necessarily, to what’s occurring in our emotions and our feelings.
So it’s not necessarily the emotions or the feelings that are the problem, but most of people’s difficulty is the resistance that they have to those emotions and feelings which creates a kind of a tension.
But actually if they can flow with them then there’s a sort of different experience to actually touching base with them.
Pippa Sawyer: Yeah. It’s interesting that you talk about the physical body, because, I think we’re all aware that we have constricting thoughts and so on around different scenarios and situations, but to understand the physicality of it – talk us through that.
James Blacker: Yeah, okay, so what we call this is ‘Unlocking the Moment’ or ‘Unlocking the Consciousness’, because you’re getting back from what Kissing Consciousness calls a ‘No’ Permission to a ‘Yes’ Permission.
Now the problem if you only do that intellectually is you only half-unlock the Permission. So you kind of have an intellectual sense that you ought to, in theory, be able to allow yourself to achieve or pursue whatever it is, or step into that, but the physiology doesn’t support that.
So as much as people talk about having a millionaire mindset, or a mindset for a great relationship, that’s only half of what you need. You also need the physiology to go with that.
And you can imagine somebody who has an intellectual understanding of their freedom to ask somebody out on a date, but if they don’t have the physiology to go with that they’re stumbling their words, they’re coming across… whatever… they start sweating the moment they start talking and all that kind of thing.
So you do need the physiology to actually complete the unlocking and regaining of all of what was lost before.
Pippa Sawyer: Yeah. You work as a coach, James, so you’re working one-to-one with your clients, and obviously all of that work is confidential and needs to be anonymous, but can you give us an example of somebody that you’ve worked with or a situation that you have managed to unlock and resolve?
James Blacker: Ah yes, tricky one, pretty much across the board. As you say, it’s tricky with the confidentiality thing. The big three things that people have issues around are money, relationships and their body.
So over time, whether one to one’s or in group sessions, I’ve worked with people who have released blocks to all of those.
So in relationships, the big thing is often, let’s say the man goes into fear around the relationship, he goes into attachment to the relationship, attachment to the woman, and develops a fear of loss.
And so that fear of loss becomes a kind of a vicious cycle that becomes needy and unattractive and all that kind of stuff – and then makes it more likely that the woman would become disinterested.
So that’s one example there that you have to reverse that paradox and get people into a state where they’re operating form their confidence and their fearlessness.
Pippa Sawyer: Yeah.
James Blacker: And then with health, often, with health because of these things, because they do exist in the physical body as well, that can be, depending on what the health issue is, but if it’s caused by these self-constrictions then that can unwind the body.
So if you imagine a constricted psychology and a constricted body that goes with it, that’s not necessarily an enjoyable thing for the body; it’s tight, it closed down, hunched shoulders, all that kind of thing.
So actually if you invite the release there, the body can straighten up, relax, release, breathe a bit more and all those kind of things.
Pippa Sawyer: Yeah, yeah. It sounds wonderful, I mean what percentage of the population do you think would benefit if you could sign everybody up for a one-to-one session with you, what percentage of the UK do you think that you could help?
James Blacker: I don’t know, 98%, 95% maybe, something like that.
It’s interesting; I’ve got a note to say a story. I was in a short seminar a couple of years ago – somebody else’s, as part of a business day, somebody did an hour-long session, and this lady asked a room of 20 people; ‘How many of the people in that room considered that they had wellbeing?’ And nobody else did, literally nobody.
And this actually was a room of reasonably high-achievers, so there were ex-headmasters, council workers, and most of the rest of the people were those who ran their own business. So that’s quite astonishing and that was pre-Covid.
So I think we have a sort of superficial, physical view of the world and society functioning and such like, but actually underneath it’s quite… there’s a lack of wellbeing, it’s quite dysfunctional and problematic.
Pippa Sawyer: Is it a British thing, James?
James Blacker: No, no, it’s not. No, if you think back into history, if you think of the centuries that we’ve had, we’ve had the Victorian era, and then we had the war era, and so there was a lot of trauma there, and so humanity’s never really got – yet – to a point where people are being brought up in a state of unconditional love, and allowed to express all of their aspects of themselves without judgement.
So we’re kind of… we might get to a point over the next four years or something like that where that comes in a bit more, but no, it’s certainly not just a British thing.
Pippa Sawyer: Is that the seat of everything, then, being brought up with unconditional love?
James Blacker: Yeah, pretty much, because the old cliché is whether you’re brought up with money or not. But actually because we see people who were brought up with money who are successful, and people who are brought up with money who are a mess. And we see people who are brought up in poverty who are successful, and we see people who are brought up in poverty who are a mess. Then that’s not necessarily the most important factor.
But actually, if we’re allowed to be ourselves in every way then that’s a great freedom to give a child growing up.
And the opposite of that is… essentially what we’re talking about is what Carl Jung called ‘Shadow Baggage’, where you have to deny parts of yourself.
So if you have a lot of that it’s been kind of said to be like trying to climb a ladder when you’ve got a broken arm.
Pippa Sawyer: Yeah. Yeah. James, tell us about the book, is it out now?
James Blacker: Yeah, the book’s been out since last September. It’s called ‘Kissing Consciousness: Inviting in a World Beyond Self-Judgement’, and it’s available from about 6,000 stores worldwide, online, in Kindle and paperback format.
Pippa Sawyer: Okay, and obviously we’re not going to have you on the other end of a Zoom or sitting across from us in a room, so is this a step-by-step guide to unlocking the things that are constricting us? How is the book formatted?
James Blacker: Yeah, yeah absolutely, well actually I did a Stockholm seminar back in Sweden a few years ago and I realised that after a good event the energy just goes away, just naturally, because it does, people go home.
And so I needed a book, and also I’ll be doing facilitator training so that people can carry on the stuff even when I’m not here.
Now the book goes through ‘The Power of Love’ and explains what that is. Then it explains these two states that we’ve been talking about; Love Consciousness and Fear Consciousness, i.e. self-acceptance and self-constriction.
Then in the next chapter it goes into the tools and how you get rid of that. And then finally in the last three chapters, applying that to three things I talk about; money and body and relationships.
Pippa Sawyer: Fascinating. James, it’s been a delight to chat to you this morning.
I first interviewed James eight years ago back in another life, so it’s great to see you looking so healthy and being successful and thank you for talking to us this morning, it’s a fascinating topic, and one we could talk about for… well all day, actually, but the book is out now, it’s called ‘Kissing Consciousness’ and you’ll find James Blacker on social media and on LinkedIn and various other platforms. Do you have your own website, James?
James Blacker: Yeah, KissingConsciousness.com. It comes up on Google because it’s such a strange name.
Pippa Sawyer: Lovey. Okay, KissingConsciousness.com. James, thanks very much for joining me this morning.
James Blacker: Thanks, Pippa. Nice to speak to you again.