It's Always the First Time

It's Always the First Time

By Eric Baret

Q: Eric, I want to ask you about envy. I compare myself to others and I feel envy. I fear that I'm not going to be happy, or that something in life isn't going to work out a certain way. I'm aware that this envy comes from fear and that fear is from memory. There are experiences I've had that have been difficult, and I project them onto the future, onto the world. But it's been a real struggle, because it is everywhere.

A: The fact that you realize this proves your intelligence. And the fact that it doesn't change anything proves that intelligence is of no use here. So, forget your intelligence and explore your sensitivity. Explore the feeling of fear or envy. You said “I have envy toward somebody.” If your dog asks you, “How do you know you have envy?” you are going to say, “I feel it.” Great, where do you feel it? You feel it in your body. So, you must explore this body sensitivity. Where does this envy come from? Is it in your heart that you feel it, in your belly, in your chest, in your throat? Put aside your intelligence and your understanding, because I've shown you that it can’t help you, and try to physically explore what you feel, envy, jealousy or whatever.

How do I know I have envy? I feel it. Where do I feel it? Explore the sensations in your body. Not searching for anything, but just in a very light way, a bit as if you had smoked some hashish and you relaxed and let yourself be open to feeling what may happen. It’s the same here. You feel the pain, the tension in your chest, in your throat. You feel the redness of anger or the heaviness of anger or the bitterness of jealousy.

You let this feeling unravel, you let this feeling become alive, you let this feeling speak to you, with no comment. It is not good, it is not bad, there is nothing to criticize “I should not be like that,” there is nothing to accept. Leave the mind out of it, but stay with the feeling, just feel what is happening. When you live with the feeling, with no comment, it is not personal, it is just what it is. If you live with this feeling, you will make discoveries. The first discovery is that when you feel fear, you are not afraid anymore. When you feel jealousy, you are not jealous anymore. You feel it but you are not limited by it. And little by little, deeper pieces will emerge.

That’s the practical tool in our approach. We move from a mental state to a feeling state, and then we see what happens. Because as you noticed, you are intelligent, you understand this and that and it doesn’t change anything. So forget your intelligence for some time. Sit or lie on the carpet or on your bed or armchair, and explore the next time you have a strong impulse of jealousy. How do I know I am jealous? And you’ll see, you’ll feel it.

That may not be easy the first time, because we tend not to feel our body, but I promise you, little by little, you will get more and more intimate with your jealousy. You will feel the color, the smell, the taste of jealousy, the bitterness, the expansion, the heaviness of jealousy, the dryness of jealousy, the darkness of jealousy, or whatever. And then something will happen; it will expand in your body.

An emotion is a tension, a pulsation, a vibration. This vibration will naturally expand, and when a tension expands it ceases to be just a tension, and it becomes a natural flow of energy. In that very process, there may be a moment of intuition. We may see the past, all the patterns where we have used that element to survive. To be jealous, to be afraid is not something to be ashamed of. It was something you needed. We arm ourselves to survive, with this emotion or another.

It was needed but maybe now it is no longer needed. When you were five years old, the jealousy served a useful purpose, it was there for you. And now, if you let it live, you may have the surprise that, at some point, maybe you’ll see that you don't need it anymore, and something else will come to you. Of course, this is an intellectual description; you must do the homework, the exploration. Don't try to do it, don’t sit tonight and try to feel your jealousy, no. Wait until tomorrow or next week, when something happens organically that will make you feel jealous, and then remember what we said, sit down and feel the jealousy.

No need to comment “I should not be jealous” or “I know why I’m jealous.” Don't think, feel it, and watch what happens when you let the feeling really live. So that's a practical way.

Q: But next time, let's say tomorrow, if jealousy comes up, I feel into the body, and then I'm going to be anticipating some type of transformation and boom, the mind is back in. How do I get out of the anticipation?

A: Don't anticipate. You never know, it may never happen again, or maybe it will happen for just one second. You can never anticipate life. You can never get ready for life. The future is unknown. That’s the beauty of life, there’s no security. You may be dead in the next second. What do you need to anticipate? It’s beautiful. Maybe your house is going to burn tonight, with you in it. No need to anticipate. Life—and the flames—will take care of us. So, forget about tomorrow. Have a nice day, a nice evening, explore life. If you’re in luck, you’ll feel jealousy tonight or tomorrow. Great. When you do, don't say, “Oh, it's come again.” It doesn't come again. That's memory. It is always new, and it is only when it is new that it can leave, because past creates future. 

If you say “Oh, I already felt that,” the game is over, you are in the trap. Then you will feel it again and again and again. Next time jealousy comes, let it be the first time. I use the same word, but it is never the same feeling. Like two strawberries never have the same taste. Don't say “I know the taste of strawberries,” that's memory. Strawberries are always new, always a surprise. Life is always a surprise, jealousy is always a surprise. Every time you encounter the emotion, let it be the first time, it’s very important. It is only when it is the first time that it can be the last time. If you say, “Oh, I’ve been feeling that for twenty years, you are in memory. What you are feeling is memory and past playing future. Only the present is free of past and future.

So next time you feel it, let it be the first time, and the last time. Don't produce a future. And the next time again, let it be the first time, and the last time. Like in yoga, you move moment to moment. You can practice the same movement a hundred, a million times, you always do it for the first time. For a musician who plays a piece of music, it’s always the first time. If you don’t listen well, you’ll say “Oh, it is the same piece.” A musician never plays the same piece, it’s always something different.

Emotion is the same as music, it is always the first time, and because of that it may be the last time. Don't relate it to the past or the future, and don't anticipate. Maybe you'll be dead much before you’re jealous again. It's folly to anticipate life. Be totally intense now, to live or to die. Life is too intense to anticipate.