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A Report

I’ve been listening to John’s podcasts and scrutinizing the forum, today, especially trying to grasp what John has been saying in the recent online intensive meetings. I sense that it’s been a lot to take in, but one thing I was hearing came through to me in the sense of not manipulating experience.

The experience I was struggling with since awakening was depression, plain and simple. My previous MO has been to take up the good fight, stave it off, distract, etc.—an MO that’s a losing battle. With the thought of not trying to change my experience, I went into “Mode A,” one that I’d learned at my mother’s knee: One day when I was six or so, my mom told me to, “Stay away from Billy,” without overtly stating it, she was implying (in my mind) that I would allow Billy (who had a rep) to, um, do the innocent explorings that young children will do.

Because of my mom having made clear that anything related to below-the-waist body parts was unseemly (the era was the early 50s), I went into a guilt process that looked like me turning my head into the cushions of the sofa and staying there, immobilized, all day long. It didn’t work, as far as enticing her to find out why her child would do such a thing, however, it gave me a life-long template for turning away from the world, and I’ve often used it as such, in alignment with the sentiment.

Today, I did it consciously, not to reinforce the feeling or to do anything other than be with my experience. I lay there, miserably, for some little time, then the thought went through my head that I’d done this to “punish” my mother for her assumption, and what I really wanted to tell her was that I was offended by her assumption and that I felt guilty for having any sexual curiosity whatsoever in light of her implied or outright opinion on that sort of thing.

Then, I thought about what John had said about radical self-reliance and the opinions of others, and something let go in me that I’d been holding onto for about 60 years—easily.

I think the reason I felt compelled to write this, after starting and stopping, is that I have been grappling with, it seems to me, the destruction of long-cherished ways that I was going to protect myself from life itself, and that as one of these bites the dust, there is this monsoon, if you will, of deconstruction. And from listening, what I’ve been getting is to weather the storm.

The willingness to first, be with my experience today, without trying to change it, then being able to hear that I’d based a whole way of reacting to life on the opinion of an other, albeit a very significant other in my life, nevertheless, the adult me can look back and see, an other, and that I no longer had to conform to that opinion. It happened so naturally and simply.

I still cannot say I understand what is going on with me. I am grateful that enough trust is opening up to be willing to hear and respond to this method. I think to the extent that a deconstruction period will continue, I will continue to have such moments; it’s as if something is popping out of an unconscious state, where I have a lifetime of fixed ideas, into a “healing field” (or a field of wholeness) where it is “jangled” out of its context, with all the chaos that its fixedness provokes, involving discomfort, however I experience it, but resulting in a more whole self.

I am hesitant to submit this report, I feel exposed and vulnerable by talking about something so personal and perhaps seemingly unimportant. As I’ve read other people’s reports and the responses of others, it reminds me of the blind men in a room describing an elephant, that this is a personal “awakening” that will be different for each of us because of how life and our path through it has created each of us uniquely, and that my lying on a couch with my head turned in will not likely have a correspondence in your life, but that each of us will encounter the specifics of our own construct that will be loosened and/or released through this process.

What I came away with from this was a curiosity to see and be with more if not all of what arises in me that holds life at arm’s length.

I’ve heard people on forums ask why more “accomplished” or complete students don’t seem to respond much. Firstly, I think there are several contributors who embody at minimum an advanced status if we are willing to hear. Then, the thought comes that once one is content, complete, in life itself, there is less or none of the need to keep returning to mull over it, so to speak, unless, out of compassion, a being such as John, has a deep wish to help others, overriding what perhaps would be a more natural wish to just relax and enjoy.

If, as John says, it is the terror of life, brought on by an early experience, then perhaps this experience of mine at six years of age was a reiteration of that early experience, and the defense, one I came up with at that time to deal with this reminder. Perhaps all the pain I was feeling before this was my attempt to hold onto the defense that had “served” me all my life, trying really hard to keep a trusted friend who actually no longer served me, until I was willing to be with my defense, unjudgmentally.

This happened when I was six; I am sure there were earlier scenes, perhaps, as John suggests, going back to my birth, and I will perhaps/likely go through something similar—or different—each time one bites the dust. Who knows? I do not. This has already been a surprising unfolding for me. For me, it seems the most important information I received relating to this was not to try to “make it better.” Maybe I even misunderstood, who knows.

One thing I am noticing, I see now, experientially, that seeking outside myself never brought me what I needed. I no longer need to do that.

In line with this, I’ve become more cognizant of the artificial pulls on my emotions, whether through news reports or indignant postings on Facebook, and my increasing indifference to these. I struggled a lot when “occupations” of mine started falling away, to fill the “void.” Now, I am less interested and feel little drive to do so, although I am interested to see what is/will be arising in me, and how I will respond to it.

I am grateful for this Forum. I sense things were already falling away when I encountered John and this method, but I didn't know what was happening, and certainly had no idea there were a group of people engaged in this Looking. It feels like a group of rapidly advancing pioneers, helping each other to, perhaps, descend from the "Everest" of our own self-defensive mechanisms.

[John, as you moderate this, I am entrusting you to post if it seems relevant and helpful. I am not sure whether or not it is, but trust to you that decision, or to trim it, if that is needed. With respect and warmth, Marlowe]

[Marlowe, this is a beautiful post. I would just say that there is no need to seek anything inside yourself either, life has a way of generating such interest in what is already here that the whole idea of seeking anything anywhere is pretty quickly forgotten. But you probably already know that. It's good to hear from you. Thank you, John]

Falling away

marlowe

If, as John says, it is the terror of life, brought on by an early experience, then perhaps this experience of mine at six years of age was a reiteration of that early experience, and the defense, one I came up with at that time to deal with this reminder. Perhaps all the pain I was feeling before this was my attempt to hold onto the defense that had “served” me all my life, trying really hard to keep a trusted friend who actually no longer served me, until I was willing to be with my defense, unjudgmentally...

One thing I am noticing, I see now, experientially, that seeking outside myself never brought me what I needed. I no longer need to do that...

I am grateful for this Forum. I sense things were already falling away when I encountered John and this method, but I didn't know what was happening, and certainly had no idea there were a group of people engaged in this Looking. It feels like a group of rapidly advancing pioneers, helping each other to, perhaps, descend from the "Everest" of our own self-defensive mechanisms...

[John, as you moderate this, I am entrusting you to post if it seems relevant and helpful. I am not sure whether or not it is, but trust to you that decision, or to trim it, if that is needed. With respect and warmth, Marlowe]

[Marlowe, this is a beautiful post. I would just say that there is no need to seek anything inside yourself either, life has a way of generating such interest in what is already here that the whole idea of seeking anything anywhere is pretty quickly forgotten. But you probably already know that. It's good to hear from you. Thank you, John]

Dear Marlowe,

I too came from the same era as you and had very similar responses. I know so well the suffering of holding onto defenses which seem to "serve," seem to be a necessary trusted friend. I still find remnants arising, noticing them in my body mostly. I feel a different kind of pain realizing how much of my life force has gone into that protective stance; how much of my life has been squandered in fear. Which makes me all the more grateful for this work. I love your analogy of the "pioneers" who are posting here. Stay with us and write again. It seems the more we share, the more there is to share. Lera

When you open your eyes, do you not see the world around you? Do you not see yourself in that world? What is it to you that your mind may gravitate to some experience that is not before you, or if it is before you that it is incapable of knocking you off your pegs? These are the questions I frequently ask myself when I find myself in the swamp. Invariably, I end with asking what am I after all, and that kind of seals the deal since I feel I have done myself good in completing the process of introspection. trimpi

Thank you

Thank you

p>Thank you, John. Yes, Trimpi, of course you are right, when I am "sane" enough to open my eyes, and those are good questions to ask, and good times to look. I actually wasn't seeking to introspect when the thoughts about this experience came through to me and was not attached to any outcome. My depression has diminished since beginning to "look at myself," as has my dependence on artificial means to hide from it; for this I am grateful. There is still fear. I am aware I am still in the process. Lera, thank you for your kind words. Yes, I am grateful for this work and for the life that brought me to it, by whatever means. Marlowe

 

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