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Recovery and Rehabilitation

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"Psychological Inflammation" and Resilience

An American living in Australia I was a long-distance follower of John & Carla ~15-16 years ago but dropped out for the same reason he found was a problem for others"“because of the disease and that what they were teaching at the time wasn't working"“and because, as Ljazztrm says in his post, I thought I was the worst one, didn't realize anybody else felt the same, and believed it was yet one more spiritual path that didn't do it for me, whatever "it" was. Because I also felt it was yet another failing on my part, it never occurred to me to tell them, I just bugged out. I came back this June, totally by the most fortuitous accident, which I'll describe further on.

I took that initial one look, saw myself, began twice-daily SDA (plus whenever I need it) and I'm currently in the recovery period; I've also been listening John's podcasts and reading the discussion forums where it looks like most observations I wanted to make have already been covered beautifully by others, so I can see that I'm not actually alone in what I'm experiencing and can add nothing new to those discussions.

I did want to comment on one thing John said in a podcast that really hit home: that the disease is a kind of "psychological inflammation."

I've known I was terrified of the world from the earliest I can remember and consciously carried that fear all my life, but thought it was just me that was particularly weak and incompetent (reinforced by early years with a judgmental sibling) and because of that person's early indoctrination and my stupidity in believing that this sib knew diddly about anything, especially about my thoughts and motivations, have spent close to my whole 70 years thinking I was intrinsically flawed and obviously beyond spiritual and psychological redemption, though I never stopped searching.

And unsurprisingly in hindsight, I developed autoimmune illnesses starting with what was called a "spastic colon" in my childhood (now called ulcerative colitis) followed by some arthritis and around eleven years ago, t2 diabetes. A year or so ago I realized that these were all inflammatory ailments but initially looked to the physical causes and cures for them, some of which moderated the symptoms but none of which cured them.

I started doing qigong (chee gung) virtually daily a bit over five years ago and over time that helped me calm down a lot, but an overwhelming amount of fear was still with me and I came back to John/Carla by accident (or fate? good karma despite my many and obvious personal failings? Who can say, and since it's unanswerable I don't think it matters, I'm just glad to be back and finally have the tools to deal with life). I really felt desperate, net-surfed on "fear," and John's article, "The Fear of Life and the Simple Act of Inward Looking That Snuffs It Out," blew my wee mind. Taking the initial one look and practicing SDA set me on the road to a recovery that a lifetime of "spiritual" and psychological searching never even got close to, so I had to know who wrote this miraculous piece, and was delighted that it turned out to be John!

So I'm b-a-a-ck!

When he labeled the problem a kind of psychological inflammation, it struck me as exactly right! My take on it is that all my physical inflammation is the logical result of the psychological inflammation that has been with me, as John says, from birth. In my case, I always felt mine was with me from even before birth because my Mom wanted a boy so badly that I already knew I was going to be a disappointment even before I arrived, and I never lost that feeling even though she said having me made her only want girls after that; also being born into a post-Holocaust Jewish family who'd just lost members in it and seeing that anti-Semitism hasn't gone away did not lead to serenity [NB I'm aware and sympathetic that people in virtually all religions, races, or in whatever way they're "different" share similar fears of discrimination and violence, not only Jews. I'm only saying how it was for me around the time I was born and growing up]. It's only been a matter of weeks since I came back, so I'm also taking Ljazz's advice and not ditching my meds just yet, but I see that being continually and relentlessly terrified couldn't help but have had a damaging effect on my physical body.

Also, I've known since I was about eight years old that, regardless of any individual's race, creed, gender or religion, peace is not a permanent attribute of the physical world and no amount of reassurance from parents, teachers, rabbis, Christian ministers in our community, positive thinkers, dietitians, life coaches or anyone else could shake that conviction.

All my adult life I refused to get involved in political "discussions," because in my view they typically end as polarizing wrangles that only marginalize people, even people of good will, who differ in opinion, and because I've never believed they solve anything, but mostly out of fear and this conviction that I was a weak person, sluggish thinker and a poor debater, and most of all because I saw the historical reality of this cycle John has also spoken about and agree with him that unless some different way of dealing with them is found, another one is inevitable, that as they say in "Game of Thrones," "Winter is coming."

I can't say I'm resigned to that or happy about it, but one of my biggest fears has been less about dying than of dying a coward, that I didn't have the self-reliance to face what comes in life with a molecule of grace. I learned a couple years ago that "learned helplessness" is now a thing. And I agree because I"“not at all uniquely"“was raised to be a baby in an adult body, to look everywhere and anywhere outside myself for safety and salvation (literally or spiritually), for a savior or hero, and that just isn't possible, it's just not real and it's just not permanent. Ironically, with Just One Look, John and Carla have provided me at least, with the genuine, effective parenting few of us seem to have got, the means to really grow up, to learn to be resilient, and in my case, far better late than never. Thanks "Daddy John and Mommy Carla"! (Just a joke, I'm older than either of you and was just making a point, and for the record, I don't blame my own folks for not being able to teach what they didn't know and couldn't have known, or my sibling for the same reasons. As John says, it's nobody's fault. And as Jess Lair once wrote, approximately, "Your parents gave you life. Anything else was a bonus.")

Whew! I could make talking about this an Olympic sport, so I'll wind it up by thanking John and Carla and all of you who worked for those 15-16 years to figure this out and those who are contributing your help and insights. My only regret is that I wasn't a conscious part of the development, but at the time I left, I couldn't articulate the problem even in my own mind, let alone say it to John and Carla. But thank you, John and Carla first and foremost, but all of you, for persevering. Much love on your recovery.

Welcome back, Carla! Best wishes in your recovery and explorations.

Hey Carladownunder. Thanks for sharing all that. So I think you realize now the thoughts and feelings (and life experiences) you have had your whole life are not unusual. Especially not for sensitive/seeker types like us. Having worked in the fields of spiritual healing and seeking for years, I come across this all the time. So at least it's nice to know you are definitely not alone! I also think, for people like us, the sensitive/seeker types, we have the motivation to go to really 'high' places of wisdom and understanding. Life 'pushes' us.

I notice you mention doing Qi Gong. After my last talk with John, I got back into practicing my Pangu Qi Gong (this qi gong is based on kindness/love/benevolence) to help myself. I might be tempted to say 'help myself get through recovery' but, truly, I feel I can't say I am in 'recovery' from the Looking or not. IMO, one may be able to say that after several years have past and they look back. At least this is what I get from about the 15 or so people I've read about and/or talked to who have felt they benefitted from the Looking.

IMO, whatever makes us feel better and have a happier life is what's worth doing. Talking to John a couple of times cleared up some mistaken ideas I had about things such as the SDA practice. Now I am just waiting for the next question to come up in my mind to ask John!;-) Anyway, I sincerely wish you all the very best and more and more happiness, joy, and empowerment on your journey. Lex

Thanks so much for commenting, Ljazz. I wasn't sure how to say thanks when I got the email that you'd commented, because this is the first chat room I've ever participated in, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. Your posts have really helped me deal with all this, so I'm glad to get the chance to thank you. After a lifetime of isolation it's definitely good to know I'm not alone.

Yeah, I don't rely on qigong for any kind of "salvation", but you're right, it's a constructive activity and we certainly are not, I think, expected to just do SDA and sit in a corner doing nothing with our healed lives. I like qigong because it's a form of exercise that's engaging enough to keep me interested and practicing regularly, in addition to being easy on an ageing body. I think in hindsight, the discipline of keeping my mind on the moves and counting repetitions for five years made it possibly a little bit easier to keep concentrated when I do SDA. I'm still very much a beginner, though, which is fine, since I AM a beginner! 😂 Thanks again, and I wish you continuing success and increasing happiness on your journey, too. CDU

Thanks, Matey. And back atcha! Thanks for Helpful posts I've appreciated. Nice to feel connected with other Lookers! All the best to you, too!

Thanks for the kind words Carlasmily I'm certainly happy if anything I said was a help to you. Yeah, I agree, I don't look at qigong, or anything else, as any type of 'salvation'. Just what makes me feel good. I've noticed that, for me, a lot of it has to do with 'energy' (I put that in quotes because I really don't know what term to use). If I can somehow cultivate better energy, I feel better and better things start to happen for me. With John's teachings, it would seem logical to me that, if we can lose the fear of life that would take away a lot of negative energy caused by fear-based thoughts. All the very best, Lex


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