Absolute Balance

The Magic of Being Quantum



Interview with James Burgess

By Colin Whitby

james1.gifEditor’s Note:-

James and I met at an inspirational evening in Bristol (England) hosted by Neil Crofts (see 7 stages interview) where James first explained the principles of the 7 Words to me. There was something rather persuasive in his manner that led me to buy his book, 7 Words Principles and Practices, there and then.
Since then, James and I have been in touch with a view to featuring his work in The Magic of Being, and we thought that the best way to explain the 7 Words and how they can be used would be via an interview.
James very kindly came over to visit one Sunday in April, and the following is a short extract of what turned out to be a very interesting 2½ hour discussion.

Colin - Where do you see the 7 Words system being used; who might it appeal to?

James – I am approaching the study and presentation of the 7 Words in two specific ways, the first one could be said to be more inward and the second more expressive. The inward sense of it would be related to self awareness and relationship, who you are and how you are getting on with your life; these kind of questions are somewhat central to developing into the New Age consciousness.

The outer expression applies more to management, so when I started writing about the business applications I turned these principles into concepts that businessmen/women would relate to more closely. However businessmen/women are also people, so I left in quite a lot of the personal elements such that it is talking to the individual - who has a role as a business manager. In this way 7 Words addresses the self-employed business person or executive, and actually anyone who manages anything would find it useful to apply the 7 Words principles.

Colin - You used the 7 Words questionnaire Q21 with me earlier, which enabled you to very quickly focus on one of my key issues at the moment. Where do you see this working most effectively?

James - The context in which I use this questionnaire very often begins informally and yet can very quickly turn into counselling – for example when I was talking about the 7 Words system with a professional counsellor in America, one of her clients came in that she had been working with for three months. She knew that her client had something to say but she had not been able to nudge her into self disclosure.

I did the questionnaire with her client and in a very short time, ten to fifteen minutes, we had the breakthrough they had been hoping for, it seemed so quick, incisive and clear. This shows how the questionnaire could indeed be used in a formal way for specific counselling situations.

I began to think that perhaps it could also be useful for people who have no formal training in counselling and yet do come into contact with clients who need that kind of advice.
For example people with an alternative attitude towards healing, who are not just attending to the physical symptoms of a problem, but also deal with how their clients are in themselves. They may have an intuitive approach to counselling, but do not have the benefit of a model such as Gestalt or whatever, which takes quite a lot of training to understand the philosophy. In contrast, within quite a short period the 7 Words questionnaire can be used to great effect because it is so intuitively-based.
A body worker who approaches the physical problems in the body through massage – or chiropractor, homeopath etc – may benefit from running through the questionnaire before starting their treatment, so that they are aware of any underlying issues. This would help steer the way the treatment is given in a very focused way.

Colin - How did you arrive at the principles that lead you to the current structure?

James - The philosophy behind it is an aspect of Sufism and is quite ancient and profound; it took me nearly 8 years to understand it at all well. The 7 Words System is my attempt to make this profound philosophy available in a different vernacular, so that people can access and use it more easily.

Colin – Is there specific training available for would-be practitioners?

James - The book ‘7 Words Principles and Practices’ can be used as a workbook for those people who want to study the system themselves at a radical level in order to understand what they are doing and why.
The book also goes hand in hand with the study course of weekends in S.W.England, and with the on-line course which is specifically geared to chapters within the book. (See for more details) There are quite detailed notes on the website too.

Colin - What are the key areas where the system can be used effectively?

James – The 7 Words system can address any problem or issue people have, so it would not be enough for you to ask ‘how do I use it?’, I would have to ask ‘what do you need?’ Do you have relationship questions, do you have decisions to make of some importance, do you have a problem at work where situations arise where you do not have a good model to deal with them, have you decided on your holiday yet?

Let me use this meeting as an example of how the system works.james2.gif

When I came to your house I knocked on your door and waited until you invited me in, all of that was my experiencing your boundaries, your No.
This was quickly followed by your Hello, which was your opening the door, and also following with the ritual ‘would you like a cup of tea?’. There are different levels of Hello, for example offering biscuits with the tea goes to a slightly more intimate level - you want me to feel more welcome. There are very well defined ways of moving towards intimacy and we know what they are for our particular culture. Hello skills are often about entering a social group, and some people are more skilled than others at this.
If we were to continue to meet and get to know each other more, we might begin to appreciate qualities in each other, we may decide to express that appreciation by offering each other gifts of some kind, such as Birthday cards or Christmas cards. That would be when we move into Thank you, the third phase of the principle. If this stage went well, we would become friends and start to meet socially, eventually becoming fond of one another.
However all things come to an end, so Goodbye is the next concept.

Firstly there is a dawning, a realisation, that the relationship is drawing to a close. Perhaps we have done all we want to do together and one of us needs to move on. At some point a decision would be reached, and an announcement made. Then completion becomes important, we can’t really move on without completion.
This is particularly important with relationships, where you split up with a partner, slamming the door and walking away. You may be saying “Goodbye”, but it is unlikely that this is the real end of the relationship. Typically in a relationship, the Goodbye moment is only half way through the relationship itself because the completion bit has to deal with tricky things previously avoided – like childcare and finance. The thing about Goodbye is that it is really ‘in your face’; it must deal with the untying of the very profound knots that were in place during the relationship.

Many – perhaps most – people live out a repeated cycle of No-Hello-Thanks-Goodbye-No and the people who move on from this cycle of 4 are likely to be those who have vision of a better world, who do not accept that this is all there is to life. They share that vision and discuss it with others, which would be the Please stage.
Vision alone does not get very us very far so we need intention, which would be perhaps the difference between wishing something and wanting something.
In order to do something with others we need co-operation, and this is the central element to Please. Project managers are Please people for example, where they actively assert upon another person to get help from them in order to change things in their world.
If we master Please then we can mostly get what we want, which is what mastery means. Then your whole world is your doing, you are consciously responsible for it all. This is when we move into Sorry. We have accepted that everything we get is our own making. If someone has a problem, we help sort it out, because we feel responsible. This is a key element of Sorry.

Colin – Yes that came through very strongly in our piece in the last issue where Ihaleakala Hew Len talked about Ho'oponopono. According to the ancient Hawaiians, error arises from thoughts that are tainted by painful memories from the past. Simply put, Ho'oponopono means, "to make right," or "to rectify an error.

James – Yes, these are the healers, those who are humble, because you can’t really do Sorry properly without a measure of humility.
Finally, Yes is more to do with letting something happen, rather than making it happen. Yes also has four levels. Firstly where you are reluctant to say it (“oh all right”) that is permission, secondly is when you are not quite sure – acceptance, the third is when you want to say it (where you and I want the same thing) that’s agreement. The fourth is when you have said or implied that ‘anything goes’; this is surrender, which can be a spiritual condition – or the state that can exist between new lovers.

Colin – To finish, and in just a few words, how would you summarize the system and its uses?

James – The 7 Words System is defined by the idea that in all the complexity of human associations, there are only seven core gestures of communication; they are encapsulated by the 7 primary words and accessed by 28 keywords. These 7 archetypes of expression are the essential themes within all relations—they convey the necessary stages that healthy exchanges go through because they are the foundation of all thoughts, ideas and behaviours. By deepening our understanding of these fundamentals, we can come to clarity, truth and completion in all our dealings.

Colin – Thanks.


All behaviour and communication can be observed as essentially expressing one or more of these 7 core meanings: No Hello Thanks Goodbye Please Sorry Yes. Find out what are your strengths and weaknesses with a free personality report at: