Just One Look Forum Archives
Recovery and Rehabilitation
I recently read John's article on The Difference Between Self-Directed Attention and Mindfulness Meditation. I'm so glad I did!!!
I've learned so much since then about myself, meditation, forgiveness, patience, Vigilance, and how being consistent is worth the effort! But mostly I'm beginning to see myself differently! That's the forgiveness part.
I've been working on the practice of Self-Directed Attention for only 2 weeks. Already I see a subtle shift in my relationship with myself. I've heard, and even said "I am not my thoughts". But I never got past that - "it's a good thing to know I'm not my thoughts" - philosophy to having the actual hint of the experience, or KNOWING it! ( Except for the brief experience of unity I had in 2012 which caught me completely off guard because I had no reference to understand what happened to the "Me" I always knew myself to be)
Anyway...very quickly It is becoming clearer that thoughts don't have to be believed, owned, or even paid attention to. I can't tell you how many times I've heard that thoughts are like bubbles or clouds coming from and returning to the nothingness they came from.
But after 2 weeks of practicing Self-Directed Attention for just 5 minutes a day, I'm catching myself more quickly and more often coming from the conditioned mind. Or as John would say, acting out the behaviors caused by the psychological mechanisms.
Of course, It doesn't keep me from acting them out, but recognition is a step towards healing!
I'm excited! And very motivated to continue with the process and the practice!
I feel like now I have some HOPE for a sane relationship with Life, myself and those around me. I feel some relief that I don't have to know some secret code to find "enlightenment".
All I need to do is learn and CHOOSE what is worthy of my attention.
I'm sure I don't yet know what IS worth attending to yet or probably even fully understand what that means. It's really too early to say too much about any big shift. There really isn't one. Other than the fact that something in me KNOWS that THIS will WORK where all my other efforts have failed!
Thank you John for such a SIMPLE TEACHING! I can't express my gratitude enough for the gift of a simple doable method that proves there is much more to who & what I am than thoughts feelings and actions. (Effects)
Thanks for sharing, Rick! I've been experiencing exactly the same thing since I started practicing self-directed attention about a month ago. Like you, I have read and heard countless times advice along the lines of "You are not your thoughts, they have no real power to hurt you; let them pass through you like clouds passing across the sky." I agreed so wholeheartedly and thought this made perfect sense. Every once in a while if I manipulated my attitude with enough finesse I might even manage to call up some semblance of feeling like my thoughts were harmless clouds passing through the infinite sky of my being or some such thing, but for the most part it just didn't do much to relieve me of my constant underlying misery. But now that I have been practicing self-directed attention, for the first time I'm experiencing firsthand what it feels like to really know for myself that even my most desperate, self-destructive thoughts are as insubstantial as wisps of smoke that dissipate into nothing if I turn my attention away from them. More recently, I've sometimes even been seeing these thoughts dissipate on their own without my even consciously making an effort to turn my attention away.
Like you, I also felt (and to a large degree still feel) that I don't fully know what is or isn't worth attending to, and as I think you implied, I decided I wouldn't worry too much about that; in a very short period of time, some of my most painful and debilitating thought patterns have already diminished to a degree that I didn't think was possible. I figure that as my most obviously unhealthy thought patterns fall away, I will naturally become more able to recognize healthy/attention-worthy thoughts when they appear without my having to do a whole bunch of mental hand-wringing about that (which is what I always used to do before starting this practice). Thanks again for sharing your experience!
After doing Directed Awareness during the period of recovery I found thoughts becoming less dense, more like clouds. Gone was the heaviness and insistence they had. It becomes easier to shift attention to that space there seems to be between me and thoughts. As someone said, one naturally seems to attend to
saner thoughts without having to make much effort. I always was a overly analytical type and its a great burden lifted when every thought does not have to be mulled over and every action analyzed to death. There is a flow to things which to me is the natural order anyway. I still get the occasional dark cloud passing by but it never stays more than a few seconds.
Very helpful Antony, thanks for sharing that. I haven't been doing the SDA for even 2 weeks yet - but I do it several times a day (even more some days). I was just now writing to a friend about what you are writing about here. I am starting to feel that distance between myself and my thoughts. Now I am seeing why John refers to mental insanity of the mind/thoughts! I think it was the author Michael Singer from 'The Untethered Soul' who used a very good analogy. Imagine if your mind was a person and your roommate.. Referring here to the mind as the tens of thousands of thoughts that usually flow through most of us all day. Would you want to live with that insane roommate? Would you even want to associate with that crazy maniac? That analogy has never been clearer than now.
I think with time, and I see this already happening, there is no consideration as whether thoughts are sane or insane, good or bad, positive or negative. There is a ground under these definitions which you could call peace or relaxation but which I guess is just you, that "whatever it is" that is always here, present. The video where John says that the Looking is the essence of the practice of Inquiry is right on. But even with Inquiry it was easy to go down a lot of dead end roads. Certainly the Looking avoided a lot of wandering around. One understands better what all these teachings are trying to get at, have tried to say but got bogged down in concepts. Glad to say that this act of Looking goes right to the heart of the matter as it were.
I think with time, and I see this already happening, there is no consideration as whether thoughts are sane or insane, good or bad, positive or negative. There is a ground under these definitions which you could call peace or relaxation but which I guess is just you, that "whatever it is" that is always here, present. The video where John says that the Looking is the essence of the practice of Inquiry is right on. But even with Inquiry it was easy to go down a lot of dead end roads.
The way you are speaking of this is congruent with others I have spoken with who, supposedly, have come to some sort of 'experiential non-dual awareness'. Yes, I agree and have seen there are many dead end roads people go down - even with Inquiry. Thanks for your reply Antony. All the very best, Lex
We're also having conversations over on the JOL Facebook page. On there, if you post in the 'comments' section, it comes up instantly. https://www.facebook.com/groups/justonelook/ All the very best, Lex
This website is operated
a husband and wife team through
the Just One Look Foundation