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Delurking - report thus far

Hi everyone,

I Learned of John in 2009 and started doing the looking in earnest then, and I pretty much got what he was saying right away. I'm still in recovery - in the storm part of it that was preceded by an easy phase just as John said might occur in the 2nd to last podcast.

At first I would use the looking as an escape from troublesome feelings/thoughts and it worked in that function (which I know is not its primary role, but it seemed to help then). But now, I still look daily with intent, and the looking seems to amplify my feelings of anxiety. I suspect that the novelty of the looking in the beginning was why it helped squelch my anxiety, but now it's old hat, and the feelings of desperation flare up when I do this. I've tried doing the breath exercise, but cannot seem to muster up the interest and always seem to fall back on looking as the exercise.

In thought, I'm quite hopeful and optimistic that one day I will be free of the craziness of my reactions to life and long for that satisfaction John speaks about. And while my thoughts are optimistic, it feels as though I will never make it. I'm thinking this might be why my anxiousness seems stronger when I do the looking or listen to podcasts. Hope hurts a lot since I've never been too patient.

I have noticed a few things. Like I once didn't trust my feelings/actions/intent with regards to just about everything I ever did. I would have this nagging doubter voice in my head invalidating everything I did/felt/said. Then after doing the looking for about a year, it dawned on me that I had to be honest with myself 100% at all times. I realized that that I was often in denial with myself over many things in my life, and that if I knew someone who I found out to be a liar, I wouldn't trust them. It was the same with me. But with me is that I always knew when I was lying to myself: I was just pretending to not know. Right then I started monitoring my truthfulness, catching all my lies, and being honest with myself. After a few weeks of that I realized that I trusted the truth and genuineness of my actions, etc..

Also, I was always quite socially phobic and it has gotten worse and worse in my life. And while my life doesn't look any different (I'm still avoiding people), it dawned upon me that I'm not afraid of other people at all, but rather I'm afraid of my reactions to encounters with people. Still later, my understanding grew clearer, that I simply didn't trust myself around people because of my habitual dressing myself down for what I said or didn't say/do/etc..

But it seems that the understandings and follow up actions above just happened because of the process of recovery.

I know there are other things too, but since I don't journal, I forget about them and just proceed with life.

I don't having any questions really. I know I'm on my own with this. I just thought it was time to delurk. I'm not sure I will participate much since I don't have much motivation these day.

Thanks for listening.

It happens by itself

Hi Karen,

thank you very much for delurking, you have mentioned some things that confirmed an idea that has been growing in me. It has started to occur to me lately that the honeymoon period following the first intentional look at myself, and the recognition of who I am in reality, is the feeling of relief which is a result of being free from the old protective context that has been growing all of my life. And that the waning of that honeymoon period is the assimilation of that idea of freedom inside that huge and old mental context that has grown spontaneously to protect me from this 'life' idea thing I've come to fear so much. At that point, things seem to go back to the way they used to be, or even get worse as the old stuff acts up because its reason for living has been taken away, and it's easy to forget that life after that first look is NOT the same as life before it.

Now, the only thing that really matters in 'the looking' is seeing who you are, and beyond that first recognition, repeating the act is nothing more than mindfulness training and exercise for the attention muscle. It does not change the context, since the change in context happens by itself. Once you have seen who you are, and that you are, any relationship you have with ideas about life lose their reality. As such, the endless and ever changing list of things-that-are-wrong-with-me are known to be just habitual thought patterns from the old way of looking at life through the mind's eye - whether you believe that or not. You are a human being, which means you have everything at your disposal to live a happy and fulfilling life. The only thing that says otherwise are these old thoughts that refuse to die, even though their death warrant has been signed a long time ago, with that first intentional look, and the resulting knowledge that you've always been home.

Also, feel free to post more on the forums, it will make the recovery easier.

I hope this is of any value to you,


Hi Karen,

Thanks so much for de-lurking and posting your report here. A lot of what you say really resonates with my experience and some of it inspires me as well.

I too have used the looking as an "analgesic" and like you, it used to work a lot better than it does now. I'd almost forgotten how it could snap me out of a difficult moment in a way that it certainly doesn't anymore. Your statement that "hope hurts a lot since I've never been too patient" really registered with me also- it scares me a little sometimes how much I am hoping and trusting that the looking will result in the sense of satisfaction with life that John describes. Hope CAN be painful... there are a lot of times that I feel the way John says he did in prison, when he just wanted to do something that would rid him of this hope that things might ever be different than they were. However, it doesn't seem like there's anything to do but the looking and just trying to be patient.

Your description of wanting to be honest with yourself 100% of the time really inspires me. There are certainly truths about my life and my feelings that I don't want to acknowledge (although they are certainly much fewer than in the past) and I watch people close to me run away and try to do anything to distract themselves from feelings of sadness and anxiety. You're right though-- I'll never trust myself until I know that I'm always telling myself the truth. Thank you for that insight--

Glad you posted here-- stay in touch.

Take care,



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