Just One Look Method Forum Content
A New Beginning
A blog supporting and exploring the Just One Look Method.
One result of this process that I have noticed more and more recently is that I now have one life. What I mean by that is that when I hear many people speak, and write about their life and experiences, they seem to refer to two different lives: one inner life and one outer life. And I can remember that I used to do that too. And to think that you have to combine those two lives can be a real struggle. "Am I doing what I think is right? Should I do something else? My life situation does not match my deepest thoughts and feelings. I want to find my destined purpose in my life that makes my inner and outer lives become one. And my inner life is very private and complicated and hard to share with others." I am certain that the experience of having two lives that must be combined to give them meaning is the experience of all kinds of people. Not just spiritual seekers. I see this struggle everywhere I look.
For me. this struggle is over. I have one body, one mind and one life. And I must say that this feels great and I can almost not remember that it ever was otherwise. I honestly don't know what inner life means anymore. I don't experience having anything special inside myself. And when I write about this I can notice that there is something that used to be here and is not here anymore (probably the context of fear). It feels like something really complicated, heavy and bottomless has left me. Now I feel me being here, interacting with my life. This almost sounds stupid but that is what I feel.
And this new experience just confirms to me what I have seen for some time now and what John has said all along. Namely that the feeling of "me" has healed my mind and that that in turn has resulted "only" in ordinary sanity. What I have wanted all along is plain, ordinary sanity and that is what I have got. My mind is more and more interested in sanity, or maybe more and more uninterested in insanity. When I, for example, talk to my friends about these matters, I almost feel simpleminded. I never follow along into what I see to be not worth attending to. It is not that I only want to speak of the act of inward looking and what I believe that act is capable of. I love to look into almost everything. But if I feel that the "drive" behind what is said is coming from the context of fear, I never give in to it. And that is not a struggle for me, I am just not interested. I will not serve fear anymore.
One look leads to one sane mind and one sane life.
Thanks to everyone in this community for all the conversations during 2013.
I have learned a lot about the process of recovery during this year and that is thanks to everything I have read and heard through this amazing community. And I especially have a few things that I have learned and which I will take with me in to the New Year.
The recovery is my life
I know now that I will never be finished. No matter how hard and confusing life can be from time to time, I know now that that is not a sign of failure. It is a sign that I am, for the first time ever, standing in my life on my own legs and are experiencing life without protective mental strategies. My recovery is my life unfolding.
The context of fear
I know now that the act of inward looking not has given me anything special. It feels more correct to say that the act has removed the ground in my mind from where the context of fear was getting its energy. And without a ground to stand on, the context of fear gets weaker and weaker.
Ordinary sanity and mental health
And I know now that, as the context of fear gets weaker, a sane and constructive psychology starts to replace the old and infected psychology. And that leads to ordinary sanity and mental health. And I know now that that is what I have always wanted. Of all the heights and depths the human mind can come up with, it is nothing compared to the possibility of living a sane and intelligent life.
Learning to know and strengthen my attention
I know now that the more attention I give to the old, useless mental patterns, the longer they stay. And I also know now that if I don't give them my attention they lose their power to ruin my day and my life. Our attention seems to play a key role in everything actually. Constructive or destructive seems to be a matter of attention. I am just starting to see the effects of this in my life, but I can really feel the usefulness of getting to know and strengthen my attention.
Spreading the word
I know now that spreading the word about this new possibility is more important than knowing for myself every detail about this process. I have done what I can for myself. And I am now trying to use what I have learned to live more intelligently. And even though I feel far from skillful in dealing with my mind and life, and that I have a lot to learn, I know now that it is much more important to focus on giving more people access to this new possibility and to suggest the first look.
Thank you and a Happy New Year to everyone here"¦
What is new about John Sherman is that he has caught our attention. Immediately our life is us. Even this notion does not change you--or--me. But your attention has been caught while whatever thoughts continue to arise.
Swedish Translation of the comment by Niklas.
Det som är nytt med John Sherman är att han har fångat vår uppmärksamhet. Omedelbart är våra liv oss. Även denna uppfattning ändrar inte dig--eller--mig. Men din uppmärksamhet har fångats medans vilka som helst tankar fortsätter att uppstå.
Yes, John has caught our attention. And instead of suggesting that we should have our attention on him, like a teacher or something like that, he suggest that we use our attention to find out how it feels like to be us. That is a 180 degree turnaround from everything that we have done before. Do not look at me he says, look at yourself. And that is why I am here in this forum and wants to be a part of what is going on here. Because the spiritual teacher thing is really not my game.
Thanks for your comment Paul. It is amazing how the smallest conversation about this sane approach gives so much in return.
Ja, John fångade vår uppmärksamhet. Och i stället för att föreslå att vi ska ha vår uppmärksamhet på honom, som en lärare eller något liknande, föreslår han att vi använder vår uppmärksamhet för att ta reda på hur det känns att vara oss. Det är en 180 graders vändning i jämförelse med allt som vi har gjort tidigare. Titta inte på mig säger han, titta på dig själv. Och det är därför jag är här i detta forum och vill vara en del av vad som händer här. Eftersom den andliga lärare-leken verkligen inte är min grej.
Tack för din kommentar Paul. Det är fantastiskt hur det minsta samtal om denna friska metod ger så mycket tillbaka.
Niklas-my name's Jim Atkocius. I've been following(?!) John since...late '06? Never commented before. But. , i too am in pain-physical, from being hit by a car 24 years ago..and also i HOPE from an "extended" recovery. Mind clouded, all efforts look futile. Actually reminds me of a description of John in an article somewhere on the site about him in prison b4 his "recognition"-so mebbe i'm still "looking" for the START of my recovery! But your closing point on achieving sanity vis a vis the looking....well, that's what i cling to (and yes, folks, i know about "clinging"-i came upon John while an active participant in a Zen sangha). John's message actually resonated with me as being the plain, simple truth. And if the truth will set you free...well, i'd rather go down in flames like Icarus then participate in sealing all of us in a painful evanescence.
So thanks for writing-i tend to find my feelings already ably expressed..plus i always think "it's just the ACT-anything more is just false...sumfin!
P.S.-to all of you...i haven't mentioned/asked john/carla...but i recently sent an email to Amy Goodman at Democracy!Now---an "alternative" news source that one could call left-wing-recommending that they interview John if they REALLY want to help save the whales (and us people, too). Included some links to the site. In our attempts to help John get the looking into view...don't forget to let those with an audience know about him. (Send an e-mail to Democracy!Now-they have a form on their sight...)
Niklas - Mitt namn är Jim Atkocius . Jag har följt ( ? ! ) John sedan ... slutet på '06 ? Jag har aldrig kommenterat tidigare. Men, jag är också i smärta - fysiskt, från att blivit påkörd av en bil för 24 år sedan... och jag hoppas även att det är från en " förlängd " återhämtning . Fördunklat sinne , alla ansträngningar verkar meningslösa. Det påminner egentligen mig om en beskrivning av John i en artikel någonstans på webbplatsen om honom i fängelset före (b4) hans " erkännande " - så kanske jag fortfarande " letar " efter starten till mitt tillfrisknande! Men din avgörande punkt för att uppnå mental sundhet med hjälp av att se sig själv.... ja, det är vad jag håller fast vid (och ja, gott folk, jag vet en del om " klängande " - jag kom i kontakt med John medan jag var en aktiv deltagare i en Zen gemenskap) (sanga). Jag uppfattade faktiskt Johns budskap som den vanliga , enkla sanningen. Och om sanningen skall göra er fria ... ja , då skulle jag hellre gå upp i lågor som Icarus än att vara en del av delta i att stänga in oss alla i en smärtsamt försvinnande.
Så tack för att du skriver - Jag brukar märka att mina känslor redan är skickligt uttryckt .. plus jag alltid tänker "det är bara HANDLINGEN - något mer är bara falskt... sumfin!
PS, till er alla ... jag inte har nämnt / frågat john / carla...men jag skickade nyligen ett e mail till Amy Goodman i Democracy! Nu --- en " alternativ " nyhetskälla som man skulle kunna kalla en vänster rörelse. Jag rekommendera att de skulle intervjua John om de verkligen vill hjälpa till att rädda valarna (och även oss människor) . Skickar med några länkar till webbplatsen . I våra försök att hjälpa John få möjligheten att se sig själv i sikte ... så glöm inte att låta dem med en publik få veta om honom . (Skicka ett e - mail till demokrati.nu - de har ett formulär på sin webbplats ...)
Thank you so much for your comment. I am sorry that it took a while for me to answer you. I have been focusing a lot of the financial situation of this community lately.
If you have known about John and this work since 2006 I am certain that you have started your recovery process, even if it is extended, like mine is. When I was in my worst periods of recovery, and only could trust my gut feeling of the authenticity of this work, I tried to do the act. I knew deep inside that this act that John was talking about was the act that I wanted and needed. And when I was uncertain of if I had performed the act, as John proposed, I just did it again. I felt how it felt to be me, that feeling of me that is the same here and now, today. The natural everyday feeling of me.
And when I had done that I was sure of, once again, that I had performed the act John was talking about. And then I concluded that I must have started the recovery. That helped me see that the confusion I was experiencing not came from my failure of looking at myself, but from the recovery that follows. And that gave me comfort. So my advice to everyone that is uncertain of if you have done the act, is just to try it again. Answer your doubts with a new look at the feeling of you.
And I am glad that you also experience that freedom not is a result of this process. We all belong together, how can I be free? To experience the feeling of me (you) starts the process of recovery. The recovery is the process where old mental patterns and habits, supported and nurtured from the unnoticed fear in the background, starts to fall away. I see this so very clear in my own life. I used to have a background of fear, anxiety and resistance that I not was aware of. It effected everything I was doing and it ruined my life. I don't have that anymore. And almost on a daily basis can I see that old self destructive mental patters and behaviors are falling away and that new sane mental patterns and behaviors are created. And I am not doing anything really. I don't have to practice anything to make it happen. It is happening almost mechanically, by it self, in a very satisfactory and natural way. I no longer have to find ways to managing my life. I act more sanely in my own life and that comes totally natural. Things happen and I act on them as a human being without neurotic fear and anxiety. Nothing more nothing less.
But I am working with my attention and that is really a practice that I can recommend. To strengthen my attention has been and still are essential for my effectiveness in my daily life.
I am really glad to have come in contact with you Jim and thanks again for your comment.
Tack så mycket för din kommentar. Jag är ledsen att det tog ett tag för mig att svara dig. Jag har fokuserat en hel del på den ekonomiska situationen för denna gemenskap den sista tiden.
Om du har varit i kontakt med John och detta arbete sedan 2006 är jag säker på att du har startat din tillfriskningsprocess, även om är utdragen, precis som min är. När jag var i min kraftigaste period av återhämtning och bara kunde lita på min magkänsla av i denna process, försökte jag att utföra handlingen igen. Jag visste innerst inne att denna handling som John talade om var handlingen som jag ville ha och behövde. Och när jag var osäker på om jag hade utfört handlingen, som John föreslog, utförde jag den bara en gång till. Jag kände hur det kändes att vara mig, den känslan av mig som är här nu. Den naturliga vardagliga känslan av mig.
Och när jag hade gjort det var jag återigen säker på att jag hade utfört handlingen som John talade om. Och då kom jag fram till att jag måste ha börjat min tillfriskningsprocess. Det hjälpte mig att se att den förvirring jag upplevde inte kom från mitt misslyckande av att se på mig själv, men från den tillfriskningsprocess som kommer efter. Och det gav mig tröst. Så mitt råd till alla som är osäkra på om de har utfört handlingen, är att bara helt enkelt utföra den igen. Svara dina tvivel med en ny titt på känslan av dig.
Och jag är glad att du också upplever att frihet inte är ett resultat av denna process. Hur kan jag vara fri när vi alla hör ihop? Att uppleva känslan av mig (dig) startar tillfriskningsprocessen. Tillfrisknande är den process där gamla mentala mönster och vanor, som stöds och får näring av den omedvetna rädslobaserade kontexten i bakgrunden, börjar falla bort. Jag ser det så väldigt tydligt i mitt eget liv. Jag brukade ha en bakgrund av rädsla, oro och motstånd som jag inte var medveten om. Det påverkade allt jag gjorde och det förstörde mitt liv. Jag har inte det längre. Och nästan varje dag kan jag se att gamla självdestruktiva mentala mönster och beteenden faller bort och att nya friska mentala mönster och beteenden skapas. Och jag gör ingenting egentligen. Jag behöver inte praktisera något för att få det att hända. Det händer nästan mekaniskt, av sig själv, på ett mycket tillfredsställande och naturligt sätt. Jag behöver inte längre hitta sätt att hantera mitt liv på. Jag agera mer förnuftigt i mitt eget liv och det kommer helt naturligt. Saker händer och jag agerar på dem som en människa utan neurotisk rädsla och ångest. Varken mer inget mindre.
Men jag arbetar med min uppmärksamhet och det är verkligen en praktik som jag kan rekommendera. För att stärka min uppmärksamhet har varit och är centralt för min effektivitet i mitt dagliga liv.
Jag är verkligen glad över att ha kommit i kontakt med dig Jim och tack igen för din kommentar.
Niklas, It sounds like you inner life has married your outer life. Love has been at work here and merged inner and outer into one. You write that you no longer can find anything special inside yourself. I guess you mean that now your whole life is special. Not JUST your inner life. Not your inner life SEPARATED from your outer since they are now ONE.
Thank you so much for this Niklas!
Niklas, det låter som ditt inre liv har gift sig med ditt yttre liv. Kärlek har varit i arbete här och smält samman inre och yttre till ett. Du skriver att du inte längre kan finna något speciellt inom dig själv. Jag gissat att du menar att hela ditt liv nu är speciellt. Inte BARA ditt inre liv. Inte ditt inre liv SEPARERAT från ditt yttre eftersom de nu är ETT.
Tack så mycket för detta Niklas!
great...expresses so well what I feel..Maureen
härligt...uttrycker så bra vad jag känner..Maureen
beautifully and intelligently expressed, niklas. thank you, marlowe
vackert och intelligent uttryckt Niklas. tack, Marlowe
Thank You Marlowe...
Thank You Maureen...
I even think that there never was a time when I had two life's. Before I was aware of my physical feeling of me, I experienced it that way though.
Now I was about to write that; now it seems like life is just outward, but then I noticed that inward and outward, as directions, only are useful in a mind that are experiencing two life's. I can no longer say that I am inward and that my life is outward. I can no longer use that statement. It doesn't mean anything to me anymore. The only thing that feels natural to say is; me and my life. And that I attend to things that is going on around me. And it seems like more and more frequently, my natural inclination is to attend to things that serves sanity and common sense.
I think we all eventually will have a really warm good laugh at this struggling attempts to describe the most natural thing in the world. It is both beautiful and humorous. And to people that are new to this work and cant make sense of my distinctions in this matter, please just look away from it. It is not important to understand this, it is just a part of the process. If you haven't already, just try to perform the act that is suggested in JustOneLook.org and all around this community. That will give you access to your life in away that you did not think was possible, and then you will do your own experiences.
Thank you Björn for the inspiration you give.
Jag tror till och med att det aldrig funnits en tid när jag hade två liv. Men innan jag var medveten om min fysiska känslan av mig, upplevde jag det så.
Nu var jag på väg att skriva att; nu verkar det som att livet bara är utåt, men så märkte jag att inåt och utåt, som riktningar, endast är användbara i ett sinne som upplever två liv. Jag kan inte längre säga att jag är inåt och att mitt liv är utåt. Jag kan inte längre använda det uttalandet. Det betyder ingenting för mig längre. Det enda som känns naturligt att säga är, mig och mitt liv. Och att jag tar del av saker som händer runt omkring mig. Och det verkar som att det allt oftare, är min naturliga benägenhet att ta del av saker som bidrar till friskhet och sunt förnuft.
Jag tror att vi alla så småningom kommer att få oss ett riktigt varmt och gott skratt åt dessa kämpiga försök att beskriva den mest naturliga sak i världen. Det är både vackert och humoristiskt. Och för er som är nya här och som inte kan få något vettigt ut av mina erfarenheter angående detta, så var vänlig och se bort ifrån det. Det är inte viktigt att förstå detta, det är bara en del av processen. Om du inte redan har, så försök istället utföra den handling som föreslås vid JustOneLook.org och runt om här på forumet. Det kommer att ge dig tillgång till ditt liv på ett sätt som du inte trodde var möjligt, och då kommer du att göra dina egna erfarenheter.
Tack Björn för inspiration du ger.
Thank you, Niklas, once more for your clear and good words. Best regards, Marlowe
Hi Niklas, an additional thought: I'm not sure I understand everything you have said, about the distinction of the fear of life and the fear of being human. I understand the fear of life, but not sure how that differs, especially because, seemingly, human is all we know."
Thank you for your question. I will try to clarify what I was trying to say.
It was not my intention to make a distinction between the fear of life and the fear of being a human. It was also not my intention to say that the fear lays in being a human. What I meant was that the most of us humans seems to do everything possible to try to escape the raw and naked experience of being a human. Distractions and restlessness (which I know a lot about) seems too have its root in something so simple as the difficulty in just being here and experience life as it is, as a human. And it is the context of fear that does that. That stands in the way.
So I was just trying to confirm, threw my own experiences, that it really is the context of fear that robs us from our natural human experience.
And yes, human is all we know, but we haven't really tried without fear and distraction.
I hope that answered your question, if not, just write again.
Hi Niklas, that makes it clearer to me. Thank you, Marlowe
Hi all.. I feel like saying something about freedom
After the looking, it seems that we are either drawn towards solitary freedom, and our focus is mostly inward, or else, we are drawn into our collective human situation, and everything that comes with that, and our focus is mostly outward.
For me, the latter has occurred. Since I have experienced, sufficiently, that there is nothing to be found inward, other than me, the feeling of me as person, I started to lose interest in myself (the feeling of me that is here all the time and has been so all my life). I have come to the conclusion that I don't have an inner life. Everything that goes on, thoughts, feelings and experiences, is going on outside of me. I am not even that interested in the looking anymore. It seems to me that it only gives meaning to talk about looking inward when we are talking about the act itself. But after that, I have found that the direction inward doesn't have any meaning.
My direction is outward. And because outward is where life is I get more and more involved in what is going on around me; what is happening in the world. And the more that neurotic fear leaves my mind, the more I get involved and interested in our actual human situation. When seeing our human situation for what it is, with no psychological mechanism left to make it possible to look away from life, it almost feels like I am "doomed" to take part in our collective destiny. I have no choice; I am human.
So my focus turns towards humanity and not away from it. And I am not only talking about the big abstract number of us humans that are called humanity. I am also talking about those whom I see every day. The woman I live with, my family, my annoying neighbors, the people I meet at work, and so on. I want to give what I have found to my fellow human beings. I care about the wellbeing of others.
And I am especially interested in sharing the simple and powerful possibility, to become free of psychological suffering, which we are working with here. And I think it is such a sad truth that so many of us suffer in silence and believe that that it is normal and just the way life is. I also have a lot of personal experience in psychological suffering, so the area of mental health is very dear to me.
So no, I don't feel free. I feel obligated to try my best to pass this possibility on to others. And that is also what I want to do. I am not interested in finding freedom. The troublesome nature of life is much more interesting than peace and stillness are. Why should I want peace while I am still alive? I want life, and as much as possible of it. When I am lying on my death bed, in hopefully many years from now, I don't think I will look back at my life wishing that there had been more moments of peace and stillness in my life. I guess peace and stillness comes one day when it is all over, but that time is not now, now it is time to live and participate in what is going on around me.
Very clearly and nicely expressed. Thank you, Niklas. Best regards, Marlowe
Thank you Marlowe!
But to be honest it has been a real struggle for me to express myself lately. Strange..because it is both easy and hard at the same time. Like the act itself in a way. The most simple act in the world can also seem as the most complicated. Maybe it has something to do with the restart of our minds (after the looking)? Even the most obvious thing (that we thought we knew) should now be learned again and expressed again, in a new fresh light. And when that is confused with the old fear based outlook, it become a struggle.
But I will continue to write no matter how it feels. It just seems as a part of the process.
Best regards to you too!
I really enjoyed reading your comments here...very reassuring .I have to laugh at myself at times when I see the strong tendency to speak in spiritual jargon arises. I usually just don't say much or speak at online meetings etc.but when I have the opportunity to speak of the looking the conversation is wonderful and honest.This way of seeing things was really a lifeline for me for so many years and it seems to take a long time to fall away...so for me too it is struggle at times to express simply and clearly but I feel the difference when I speak without this layer of fear clouding my thinking . I just love it and feel so much more honest and accepting of others so it is always exciting to notice the effects of the looking. thank you I enjoy your blogs so much..
Thank you for sharing this Maureen!
Sorry for my late response. I just recently saw your comment, I must have missed the email notification about it in my new email inbox.
All the best,
Hi Niklas, likewise I too really enjoyed reading your comments and have found them useful. I would be grateful for your comments regarding my own personal experience. You say you have experience with mental health problems, I too have had my fair share of panic disorder, severe agoraphobia and depression in my life time. I am now well and have enjoyed 3 years of bliss and last year flew on plane for the first time in my life. However from time to time the old neural habits influence my mind and I can become sunk by the cloud of apprehension and fear that ensues. During these times I remind myself of 'looking inward' and practice John and Carla's method. They do help but I would like to know if you too have experience with applying the method in these times of despair and if so how did you find it?
Welcome to my blog and thanks for your comment.
I actually don't use the act of inward looking anymore, even in times of despair. I don't see or use the act itself as a practice to deal with my life (mind). I see the act itself only as a way to start the process of the regeneration of ones mind. The regeneration that we call the recovery process. I think that the big shift for me is how I relate to my life (mind). As I wrote in this blog post above I no longer experience having an inner life. I have one sense of my self and one mind that I use to experience my life with. And when I, for example, experiences times of despair I seem to be better and better to just see it for what it is. Times of despair is just times of despair. It is old reactions and patterns that has been created in our minds due to the life long fear based psychology. But please don't get me wrong, I know how tuff it can be. But I am certain of that seeing our experiences for what they are is a result of the act of inward looking and will be the truth to everyone that performs the act. I promise you that you don't have to do anything. Just make sure that you know what you mean when you say that you have looked at yourself. See that you have the sense of you as a person. The sense of you that you have had your hole life. After that it is only to experience and learn about how your new psychology is taking shape. And I could advise you to try to strengthen your attention with the focus attention exercise that is available here on the website. That seem to be helpful for most people. But the best advise I can give you and to everyone else that reads this is that you really don't have to do anything. When you have accomplices the act you have done everything that is needed. Try to find some rest in that. Times of despair will be less and less important until it wont be here anymore.
Something that has helped me a lot and that still is a continuous thing I do, is to read all the available material here on the website and on the blogs. I use to, from time to time, read all Johns blog posts. That always clears up something for me and helps me see this work for what it is and keep up with the development of the work.
All the best,
Thanks very much Niklas, very helpful indeed and yes I am currently reading through the material. I have begun doing 10 minutes each day of the inward looking (focusing on breath) and still am yet to understand exactly what I am looking at when I look at 'me'. Think my understanding is getting a little clearer.
Once again thanks a million
You are very welcome Matt. I am just glad that I get the chance to express myself and learn more about the process.
Really nice that you are truly trying, that will give results, trust me. Only one thing though..
The act of inward looking is one thing in it self. That act starts the recovery process and is the basis for this hole work that is being done here.
After that, when we are in recovery, we can use the exercise named focus attention (focusing and counting our breath) to strengthen our attention. We thereby get more skillful in dealing with the recovery process. We learn that it is us that is in charge of where we put our attention.
So the act of inward looking is one thing and the focusing attention exercise is one thing.
And as to what to look at when we do the act of inward looking, it is the feeling of you that has been the same for your hole life. The feeling of you as a person. Not deep inside of you. Just you here.
All the best...
I thought I should share some news"¦
I have gone back to school to get a degree in psychology. This is a way for me to combine my work life with my work in spreading the word about the Just One Look project . Here in Scandinavia, public higher education is free and I get a kind of minimum wage to live on while going to school. I will not get rich on it but I can live on it for up to six years and, considering the conditions for more and more of us these days, it is really great just to have a basic income. And I have decided to use this really great opportunity in a good way.
On a practical level, this means that studying has become my work. And this step I have taken now is the result of a pretty long period of trying to find a way to work with and to get the knowledge of the act of inward looking out to the people in my life, here where I live and breathe. I am confident that modern technology is the most effective way of spreading the word about the Just One Look project on a larger scale. And I am also very confident that you definitely don't need a degree in psychology to do that. I suspect that it will be pretty easy actually, apart from the hard work it requires, of course, and the funds needed to spread the message. And I will more than ever be a part of our collective effort to bring this news out there in every way we find useful. So, studying
psychology is just one more way for me to explore this adventure, and most of all, try the best I can to bring relief from the fear of life to people.
And I have found that there are a couple of interesting reasons why psychology has become a natural choice for me. One reason is that spirituality hasn't been a significant part of my life. And the little experience I had with it didn't really give me any relief from my constant feeling of restlessness and my overall bad experience of life. A little perhaps, but nothing that lasted. So, after having looked at myself, the first thing that disappeared for me was all interest in spiritual ideas and solutions. That went pretty quickly, actually. And I saw that I had related to spiritual solutions in the same way I had related to many other solutions before. And although my interest in spiritual things left me pretty quickly, the truth is that life is a greater mystery to me now than ever before. I can understand my recovery from the fear of life from the point of view of ordinary psychology. I experienced that everything I had always wanted was in the relationship between my mind and my life, in my mind's way of dealing with and creating stimuli and responses. And I saw that the act of inward looking and the recovery process have a natural place in ordinary mental health and psychology.
That led me to the second reason why I have chosen psychology as a way to share and work with the Just One Look project. I am of the opinion that introducing the act of inward looking, the fear of life and the theory behind it to the area of mental health and psychology and implementing them won't be that hard at all. And I believe this is the case because I believe in the act itself and in the knowledge and experience we already have about it. It doesn't have so much to do with my own skill in presenting this work. I think that is secondary. I mean, the act itself is so simple and effective that it speaks for itself. I think that the biggest and most important step is just do it. The intuitive pull that is present in just hearing about this act will, in time, when speaking and writing about it, no matter the context, lead to the discovery about it by others. And just imagine how this act could totally revolutionize the way we see and work with mental health. Now, research and treatment focus on finding ways and methods to cope with life. But if research were done on the act of inward looking, it would lead to the discovery of a kind of "reset button" in our minds. A discovery that it is possible to restart the mind and that the mind heals itself over time. That is really exciting. I am confident that news about the act of inward looking and the fear of life will in time spread to the field of psychology and ordinary mental health. The paper entitled The Radical Act of Inward looking by Freedman, Goldberg and Reichmann is a very interesting contribution to that. The paper is here on the website at http://www.justonelook.org/texts/the-radical-act.html
So, there are many ways to spread the news about this work. And I think I have found mine. To find ways to pass this work on in the different contexts we find ourselves is a very interesting process. And the basis for our knowledge and support for this work and process is this community of which I am very proud and glad to be a part of. Thanks to everyone here for every posting, conversation, doubts, questions and any other form for activity. And also to everyone who participates in the podcasts.
Best regards to everyone,
This is great news! Thank you, Niklas.
Yes it is! Thank you...
Great news and development! Very exciting. I wish you best of luck and good experiences with your academic path. I can imagine so many interesting approaches to this work in psychology. Science and therapeutic practices could be a road to gain some authority and consequently an access to resources, like grants for scientific studies and experiments and so on. The trouble in spreading the word on looking is that it's difficult to put it neatly in any box for the targeted audience. The field of psychology comes closest. I'm interested in art and esthetic things, and I've been thinking about inward looking versus outward looking. Putting your house in order and setting the proper context with inward looking is the foundation for looking outward at the World without distortions. So to look at the world and express what you see and think about it must be reset with the proper context of freedom from fear. To paint well you must free yourself. To do anything well you must free yourself. So looking can be introduced in any particular area of interest one can think of as a foundation of the practice.
Thanks for your encouraging answer!
I have also been thinking a lot of how to present this work to the academic community. What box to put it in. But as I said before, I think the biggest step is just to do it. The act and the conversation about it will find its way sooner or later no matter what context. And maybe this work wont find its own box, maybe it will renew all the others. Bring new knowledge and understanding to already existing great research and effort. And you said it your self, the act unlocks our natural potential in all areas of life. It doesn't give anything really, it takes away the psychological fear so we can function as we are meant to do. And yes, there are many different ways to introduce the act of inward looking. It makes sense to introduce the act no matter what we are doing.
Best of luck to you too in your work with this process.. Enjoy!
Quite possibly many, many different boxes are needed to get it to people. I'm a little skeptical about one simple message for all. In my view people tend to categorize everything and dismiss stuff that doesn't fit.
It's a strange message, "look at yourself". There's no box for it. It might also render it flexible enough to put it in any box whatsoever. In psychology it can be studied academically as a therapeutic intervention or with more philosophical approach as in speculating why it does what it does. The context is needed to discuss and disseminate the act. What comes to reaching many people I can imagine that if there was one celebrity endorsing and speaking about this it would help enormously. Or similar publicity stunt, like a Hollywood movie about John ( I can see Robert Duvall playing John in my mind...)
Niklas, thank you for your post. This one is very inspiring. "No inner life" sounds weird at first, but also very true. Therefore my thoughts aren't mine, either, because "me" doesn't own anything. Thoughts are kind of collective, aren't they? They occur in individual minds and brains but are like weather that comes and goes without borders.
My situation is still mostly introverted. I'm thinking about and trying to imagine how this perspective would inform my painting. I feel it must affect somehow, if not actual paintings themselves, then the way I see them (then looping back to the act of painting itself, perhaps...) If the energy of the looking and my interest in art could come together something might happen. It's when seemingly separate things come together seamlessly, great energy arises and is freed to move. Painting could possibly be the way I express this with most energy. I don't know yet.
In todays newsletter Just One Look News Feb 10, 2015 I saw something that I want to share..
"From the very beginning, my work has been to understand the self-inquiry of Ramana Maharshi.
I knew all along that the gift of the love of life that I had found was entirely a result of a desperate wrestling match I engaged in with Ramana's simple advice while in solitary confinement in prison. But having won the prize with no real practical understanding of how it had come to pass, I was not willing to inflict on people a half-baked message and offer no practical instruction on what to do.
Now, twenty years later, I do have a clear, practical understanding of the essence of self-inquiry, thanks in large part to the patient willingness of many hundreds of people who have endured my failed attempts to say what I really wanted to say."
I think that the words practical understanding really defines what we are working with here. With that practical understanding a new terminology has emerged. Words like open awareness and I am belongs to a more abstract understanding. And abstract understanding isn't very helpful to people at large. I think its only creates a longing in us that almost never seems to have any real effect, at least not in our every day life. And I think that this insight gives great meaning. The old spiritual truths are not necessarily false and this work is not the only true view. The difference is that this work only has adapted to the context we are in now, as ordinary human beings trying to find a useful practical understanding and instructions regarding the relationship towards our everyday life.
This work has bridged the gap between old knowledge and practical usefulness here and now. The feeling of I am and the feeling of me is the same thing. But to say you or me is much more useful, and which automatically includes everyone.
All the best...
Thank you very much for this post, Niklas. We look forward to new blog posts from you. It's been a while...
"I think it is very useful to see this work as a social human attempt to do something good for all of us. It is not a closed internet spiritual discussion forum. I know that many of you already see this. But the fact that so few support this work, despite its obvious usefulness, I have concluded that it must have something to do with the way we view this work. So please, if you haven't already, try to see this non profit organization as any other of its kind. We are using it and it seems natural to support it."
Excellent! Very clear seeing.
Who is the one 'YOU' write about called 'I' that experiences all these feelings.connected to fear and happiness in regards to seeking fulfillment ?
Hi Roger. I don't understand your question. Please clarify.
I think I gave up my blog for some time ago. Couldn't really see the use of both posting here and in the forums. But maybe I should give it another try! Thanks for the encouragement...
Lex and Amy,
It feels both sad and strange that both of you guys left us just like that. To me, you just arrived and now you're gone. Your enthusiasm and willingness to share did, as others also has mentioned, a great contribution to our community. I'm glad you posted as much as you did, then we will have your spirit with us in our way forward. And even how strange it may sound and for what it's worth, I'm glad for your sake that you died sane.
Goodbye fellow lookers.
Ps. My feeling of community is stronger than ever.
Yeah Niklas. And they were both great musicians as well. Check out Amy's CD if you get a chance as well as a few YouTube sightings for Lex. Thanks to them I started being a bit more active in the forums.
Thanks for the tip mischa, I will check it out! Great that they did get you more interested in the forums.
I read your blog post with interest and understand most of what you're saying. Five or six years after doing the act of inward looking I would not, however, say that I have no inner life. Also, after doing the act of looking there was a great sense of freedom, freedom from persistent, nagging thoughts about life which were entirely a waste of energy, though as time passed this initial sense of release was less pronounced. Certainly, the neurotic preoccupation with oneself slowly disappears; thoughts and feelings are part of the subjective self which perceives the world and we act in the world according to them which is why the freedom from fear is so vital. It is true also that one feels less separated from the world; the distinction between inner and outer experience is much less defined by fear so I think one acts in the world more effectively. One feels less of a sense of isolation. It's certainly the case that one becomes progressively less attached to disruptive thoughts and feelings and this is the result of doing the focused attention exercise. Perhaps this is what you mean by having no inner life. The concern with the ups and downs of the inner life that characterize neurotic thought is eventually completely dissipated. However, It's actually quite impossible to live entirely outside oneself and not very healthy either. We are able to respond to outer circumstances in a more compassionate way precisely because our inner life is free from neurotic fear. We can see things more clearly once free of neurotic self-preoccupation and can be open to the world in a more intelligent way but a healthy inner life is essential to be able to do this. Thanks for sharing as this discussion helps clarify a few things for me.
wow. I needed to hear this Niklas. thank you.
Thanks for your comments antonyirvine and feraldream.
It took a while for me to respond because I had to wait and see if I had anything more to say related to this post. And basically I don't, but as this post was made some time ago, some clarifications can be in place though. I can see that saying that one doesn't have an inner life can seem quite strange and confusing. It is not nesseary, in this process, to at some point come to that conclusion and it doesn't say anything about where in the recovery process you are. The most important thing is to get to know and take control of ones attention. But for me it has been a useful experience, to see that there is nothing inward to be found than "me". If I look at myself right now, I'm experiencing having no mind and attention. Mind and attention seems to rise from "me". I am the source of my mind and attention so to speak. Therefore, looking inward after "the looking, seems like a strange thing to say and do.
And I think that this experience also inspired me to challenge the tendency to be too introspective. There is nothing to introspect. How our attention is relating to life is what is relevant to learn. And when one sees that there is nothing more to handle, process or purify "inside", one gets naturally more engaged in life. And of course, you also then want to give that possibility to people that is still experiencing that there is a deep and complicated inner life that needs to be taken care of before one can start to live.
Individual freedom becomes impossible. You can never really enjoy solitary freedom when others are stuck in such a crazy state, especially when you know how little it takes too do something about it. And again, to experince that " i have no inner life " is not a mystical experience. My guess is that it is a natural shift in perception as a result of the looking and I think most people can see what I mean by saying that through a little experimenting with ones attention.
I am glad that you guys found my post useful...
Have everyone here read the latest Just One Look News (Volume 7, Issue 10)? John and Carla wrote:
"We wish we did not need to ask, but we really need your help.
We believe that being free of fear is the birthright of every human being, no matter their financial situation, so we continue to offer our work free of charge to all, with no strings attached.
We really need you to support our work with a donation if you can. That's the only way we can keep working and continue evolving.
We still need to raise $980 in recurring monthly donations to cover our basic monthly expenses this year. If you consider all that we offer absolutely free of charge, that is not a huge amount.
If we do not cover that gap soon, we will not be able to pay all the bills, which include rent on the house where we work and live. All the money we receive in donations goes directly to this work, nothing else. We do not receive salaries for our full-time work.
We already cut down to the bare minimum and we cannot cut anything else or we will have to shut down soon.
We have enough proof of the immense value of Just One Look and its capacity to change lives from inside out. We have seen many hundreds of people get great results over the last 20 years."
I know that it is easy to ignore the money part. Especially when the services here are free. But I think it would be really cool if we together could reach the monthly donation goal at $980. I think that would benefit this whole community. So dear fellow looker, if you haven't already, please do what you can to save this work. Everybody here knows that the looking works.
These post are great. I think that these matters can be helpful for people in recovery. I think the simplicity and clarity of these words also have potential to trigger interest in the looking for a person who have never heard about any of this (looking at me, attention-practice and recovery from the fear of life).
I'm taking all this with me and out, here in Stockholm...
Great that you find them useful. It is interesting to read old posts and see what one was trying to communicate. When I read them now I see that the driving force of the original post was pain. Feeling the pain of others. I had people around me at that time that proclaimed, with a relaxed smile on there face, that they where free. Free from others and from our collective destiny. But why wasn't I smiling? Why wasn't I relaxed and detached from others? Well, of course because of having really taking in the cause and cure of human mental suffering. The insight of the fear of life and what cures it is in my view at the same importance as, for example, the idea of natural selection. But for the the individual that takes the insight of the fear of life in, it doesn't lead to freedom and feeling good. It's distressing and deeply sad that we suffer from the fear of life and the consequences of it. And therefore, hearing someone talk about suffering in a detached way is still painful. And that is one thing that hasn't change during all this years of recovery. It actually gets worse..
Good day Niklas, I follow your posts and I am very impressed with what you say or rather what you want to convey to all those who are in the topic or trying to participate in it. Sincerely ALEX
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