One of the most harmful psychological effects of living from a context of fear and distrust is the way in which it alienates us from each other.
We humans are a gregarious bunch by nature. We honor what ties us together, and we naturally congregate in common activity. This is what leads us to identify ourselves in relationship to family, region, country, sex, religion, sports teams, political ideology, and many other aspects in which we can find transitory commonality with one another.
Of course, it's also true that even in those areas of common interest a predominant feature of our gathering is a deep-seated, fear-based desire to distinguish ourselves from the others. To defeat them or bring them to recognize our superiority. This is the mark of the underlying force of the fear that pretty much runs the show and sets the prevailing psychology to an attitude of solitary relationship to life.
It is this that drives us to seek individual satisfaction, safety, success, pleasure, riches, and a solution to the most common factor of our experience of life which is the yearning for a solution to we know not what.
Even those of us who have found the solution in the simple act of looking at ourselves may find that the last vestige of the effects of the fear is often the underlying assumption that salvation is an individual matter and must be complete for the individual before the problem of the misery of others can be touched. This remnant of the fear is the last to go for most of us, and the most powerful impediment to true freedom for all of us. I say this not to trivialize the importance of the liberation of the individual mind from the fog of fear but, once the looking is done and once you have begun to train your own control over the power of your attention, you have done all that can be done in service to your own liberation. And the truth is that no one can be fully free until all are, and that inconvenient truth might well be the undoing of all our personal efforts to be fully human and fully free from misery.
When we started the Grassroots project a year ago, we thought there would be many people who would want to do what they could to spread this message far and wide. There are after all many people now who have heard the message and have as a result found a measure of satisfaction for themselves.
We believed that the urgent need to bring this to the world of human beings now on the brink of wiping ourselves off the world would be as obvious to everyone who had rid their minds of the fear as it is to us.
We believed that if we offered the opportunity to all who are part of this community many would come forward, eager to play an active role in the work of accomplishing just that.
We hoped for a growing body of people who would come to realize with us that the work itself is not, and never will be complete. It will never become a settled teaching where all is defined and all investigation finished, either in personal life or in the world at large.
We hoped that people joining the grassroots effort would naturally take up the exploration of ways and means to most effectively spread the good news of the end of the fear of life by working with us to understand its actual nature as it unfolds. We foresaw a period of fermentation in which a conversation would emerge among us, as people began actively to become informed about the progress of our understanding, and to participate in the development of that understanding by considered engagement and practice in the world.
What we failed to take into account was that it took many years for Carla and I to see the universal importance of this simple act to humans everywhere. During those years the circumstances of our life were all that kept us meeting with people to speak about the looking. Throughout those first years, we would have been quite happy to settle into our own relationship with our own lives. But we were forced by circumstance to work to bring this conversation to you and, in so doing, we eventually came to see the importance of this simple act to the entire human species, and as that began to dawn on us, we began to know the great satisfaction that naturally arises from serving that work in the world.
It is clear to us now that our expectations about the interest of those who have begun to see for themselves the power of this simple act in their own lives to stay connected with, and contributing to, the development of this work were greatly off the mark.
There certainly are a few who are working with us to understand and spread the news of this work. There is a woman who heard of us accidentally in a random exchange of audio tapes on the shores of Lake Malawi in southeastern Africa in 2007; and there is a man who is now bombarding mainstream interviewers with emails and phone calls trying to persuade them to do an interview with us; and there is another man in Denmark who is speaking with anyone who will listen and who now has his own blog in our community center… There is a man who developed an app for us. And a number of others who are staying connected and working with us to bring this message to the world. But for the most part, it seems that those who have signed up for the Grassroots project are waiting for us to come to them and tell them what to do.
Sadly, we have neither the time nor the interest in playing such a role. What we seek is people who are self-motivated by the promise of this simple act, and want to work with us—rather that for us—to bring this message to the world.
We pray that the New Year will bring a new sense of commonality to the family that we are, all of us who have seen all that's needed to bring an end to the headlong rush of humanity toward the beckoning cliff of extinction.
December 15, 2013
To participate, you don't need to know how to speak of the looking, or understand how it works, or anything of the kind. The only requirement is that you have tried to look at yourself, that you have begun to see the effects of the looking in your own life, and that you have a desire to let people know about it.
To join the grassroots effort, please click on the link below, fill out the simple form and submit it. Once we receive your request, you will be able to participate in the development of the Grassroots movement by reading the postings and posting in the Grassroots forum yourself.
The suggestion to look at yourself is so simple that it can be included in pretty much any activity, if the circumstance is right. Some of us will speak with friends, colleagues and family in the course of ordinary conversation. Others will be experimenting with ways to include the suggestion to look at yourself in their own work as psychologists, life coaches, massage therapists, midwives, artists, writers, composers—all areas of activity.
But even if you're not confident that you can speak with others about it, there are many other things you can do to play an active role in spreading the news about the looking:
The possibilities are endless. The right means for you you to be of help in spreading the looking will come to you when the time is right. But the only way that will happen is if your attention is on the looking and on the work being developed here.
The first thing to do is to familiarize yourself with what is already happening. Participate in the forums, connect with other grassroots members in the Grassroots chat room, read our blogs, listen to the podcast, etc. This work never stays the same for very long, it is always evolving because of the participation of all of us in the conversation.
You can connect directly with one another at all times. The Grassroots Forum is open to all forum registered users. Go to the Grassroots Forum. You must log in to see the forum.
You can download flyers, posters, audio files, instruction pamphlets, templates, etc. on our Free Downloads page.
We are always interested in developing support materials that will help you speak about the looking with friends and family. We welcome your suggestions.
Thank you for joining us!
John and Carla Sherman