Just One Look Forum Archives
Recovery and Rehabilitation
I never thought this would be easy. After all, I'm 76 years old and have been housebound for over three years, not to mention the 20+ years of suffering that had gone on before I was confined. After doing the looking last April I went through a lot of turmoil over my spiritual attachments, and was only able to drop them entirely quite recently. During all that time, however, I continued to do SDA fairly consistently.
These past few days I feel that I've turned a corner, so to speak, and I wanted to share my experience here in the hope that it might be helpful to someone.
It came to me, as was suffering with numb legs and difficulty keeping my balance, that it was time to be honest with myself. I had been a Christian Scientist for 45 years, and one of the key concepts was "denial." In other words, never admit that you're sick, old, disabled, whatever. And this was supposed to help heal you. But the thought came to me: Don't you know yet that there's nothing you can do to "fix" yourself or your life? This is beyond your ken.
Right then I realized that I had been spending most of my time examining my past or fantasizing about the future, neither of which was doing me any good. Then I remembered what John and Carla have said about self reliance, and it occurred to me that I could stop focusing on the past and the future and see what I could do NOW. So I asked myself, "What can I do?" It came to me that I could sweep the floors. So I swept them. Then I thought I might mop them, too, so I asked, "Can I do this?" The answer was yes, I can. So I did all of that, and an idea for an exercise for my legs came to me as well. I started doing it right then, and there has been a lot of improvement in my walking in just two days. I also felt a lot more energetic from sweeping and mopping the floors. I was very tired at the end of the day, but it was a good kind of tired, not the kind I often feel after a day of sitting on my bed with my laptop.
I've been doing SDA twice a day, and I'm convinced that what changed in me is because of it. I was able to focus on something worthwhile and productive, instead of dwelling in the past, dreaming about the future, or bitching about the present!
I went through a lot of doubts about JOL during those months when I was still vacillating about my spiritual pursuits. I was subtly trying to find fault with it, comparing it to other teachings/methods, and so on. But the truth won out. I actually had a brief glimpse yesterday of what it's like to feel "normal." I haven't felt this way in many years" in fact I doubt that I've ever really felt normal because I was still living with the fear of life.
This is not to say that I'm done with recovery. It took me a long time to get into the mess I'm in, and I know it will take patience (and lots of SDA!) for the "foot soldiers" of fear to finally give up their efforts and leave me for good, but I feel greatly encouraged by what has happened to me these past couple of days, and I no longer have any lingering doubts about the efficacy of JOL/SDA.
I had a funny image of how SDA/JOL operates. It's like when you cut off a chicken's head, the chicken still runs around for awhile until it finally gives up and drops dead. Kind of macabre, but amusing nonetheless!
Great update, Amy! That's so beautiful, keep sweeping and mopping.
Heheh. I will. Thanks, Jack!
It's wonderful JR! As you well know, I've had the advantage of knowing about the power of focused attention before J+C and, now, with the specific SDA exercise in place, I am seeing what could be possible with actually implementing active focused attention - not yet in my actions, but I do notice it in my thoughts and feelings sometimes. I just now read an excellent article by John - really fully of a lot of clarity! https://www.justonelook.org/natural/2018/01/expectations/
Congratulations. This is quite encouraging. I dropped my Buddhist practice (the studying, the organization, and the practice) as soon as I did the looking and that was about 2 years ago. The hardest thing about Just One Look is doing the Self-Directed Attention. Its so easy to start your day and forget about it let alone counting your outward breath to 10 without being in autopilot mode!!! Thanks for reminding me. All my best from Cadiz!!!
Hi Mischa, and thanks! About the SDA, I've found that it's easier to do it first thing in the morning before you do anything else and before your mind gets cluttered with all your daily thoughts and activities. On the other hand, sometimes I like to do it a little later just to challenge myself! And I do it once more in the evening, which is always a challenge.
When I'm having a hard time with it, I find that it helps just to concentrate on one breath at a time instead of just letting it roll along in autopilot... you now, like "OK, this is the breath I'm focusing on" sort of thing. Not that you actually say or think those words, but it's an attitude of OK, I'm here, this is what I'm doing, and that's it. Best to you from Rio de Janeiro!
Hey mischa. Yeah, I find the SDA slowly builds efficacy over a long period of time. I started in April and, except for a few short breaks, have been doing it at least 1x a day. I usually now do it 2x a day because I found, for me, doing it more, brings up too much emotional stuff too quickly for me. It's only in the last couple of months or so I would say I've noticed that thoughts and feelings that cause me to suffer come up somewhat less for me. This still hasn't effect the actions I take in life though, although I expect it will. Besides J+C's deep sincerity in their belief of the efficacy of SDA, I also know that the most prolific healer in recorded history, greatly emphasized the power of focused attention in his teaching. I consider JOL/SDA to be an evolution of his teaching. So all this has motivated me to continue this practice.
As far as Buddhist practice, I have had a lot of experience in this as well in my past. A couple of weeks ago, I had sent JOL/SDA instructions to a friend of mine who is really into buddhism and nonduality. In regards to the SDA practice, he wrote to me saying, 'What's the big deal about this? It's exactly the same as Buddhist anapanasati!' But, then, I sent him the video clip where John discusses the difference between SDA and mindfulness. After seeing that, he really understood where John was coming from and that having this type of intention behind the SDA could be much more effective than the traditional Buddhist outlook. Also, I had told him he would find the looking exercises John has to be the same as traditional Advaita Vedanta exercises but, again, the difference is how John 'pairs down' all the 'clutter' around the looking and reduces it to its utter simplicity without the different 'belief paradigm overlays' that people surround the looking exercises with. I really do feel having the right intention/outlook behind all of this is very key and why I think it was really wise of John to avoid 'pigeonholing' JOL as something 'spiritual' or something with a label.. JOL is unique onto itself and he wants to let the person doing it have their own unique experience.
Perfect Amy! Doing something practical is very helpful, every time. Thoughts wont help us. Action does. Go for it...!
All the best,
"Thoughts won't help us. Action does." I LIKE that, Niklas! Thanks!
Yarp. I do it in the morning and I make sure I find time to do it before I go to bed at some point no matter where I am. And I do it no matter what state I'm in. The way I look at it is that practicing it when we feel tired or overwhelmed is 'extra-good' practice - like training with extra-heavy weights. There are plenty of times when I have to do SDA with my eyes open so I don't fall asleep.. Sometimes I even have to do it standing up.
A technical question: why cant I like posts? The like button isnt avalible to me. Maybe you can help Carla?
Don't know why... I'll look into that.
Hi Niklas, I find that if I have the font set too large on my computer that the "like" button disappears...don't know it this is your case, though.
Yeah Niklas, well said! Have you checked out John's latest podcast? At least I think it's his latest - A LOT of clarity there! https://www.justonelook.org/natural/2018/01/podcast-episode-23-are-you-in-recovery-repost/
Thanks Carla! It works now..
No Ljazztrm, I haven't yet. But I will do that.
Hey Niklas, it's actually from 2016. Jazzrascal had recommended to me. Really good description of what JOL and SDA is all about. Best, Lex
This website is operated
a husband and wife team through
the Just One Look Foundation