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Houston I have a problem

Hello John,

I composed a post several weeks ago ( mid Sept) but failed to click send. After several weeks of waiting, I began to wonder why it hadn't been approved. After allot of drama being attended to by my mind about John, the looking, the stupidity of it all... it finally came to me that it might just be that I failed to summit it correctly! Turns out that was the case, but it didn't matter because I was deep into the melodrama of having spent all of August in a state of bubbly bliss with an underlying sense of life nourishing me that left such satisfaction that I was sure I had found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. When everything seemed to flip was when I composed the post asking for help/feedback/something! I talked about my experience with the mindfulness practice that went crazy. My only tool had turned into a neurotic thought form looping around my mind with no end in site. I finally had a little mental meltdown. But in the melting down, my attention was moved away from the stuck voice inside my head telling me repeatedly to move my attention to my breath or to what's in front of me... when that was what I was trying to get away from because it wasn't working. My attention was drawn to an old familiar emotional wave that in the past had brought with it a state of hopelessness etc., etc... I watched the wave loose energy and turn into nothing I was afraid of. My reaction to that was ...so what! My default state, which is a varying degrees of pissed off-ness, had already kicked in.

I felt sure that I had turned a corner in August, when everything started coming together. I recognized the bubbly bliss as a state but I couldn't believe the sense of being nourished was a part of that same state. It wasn't here in July, it was here in August but wasn't here in Sept! And I was pissed! It felt like I was right back where I started.

This aspect of the fear (if that is what it is) stayed with me in one degree or another through today. I had a moment of clarity earlier today but for the life of me I can't remember what was so clear! There are tidbits of things I have heard John say over the last 2 yrs. just floating through ...the feeling of not being done and the feeling of being done is two sides to the same coin...you don't get what you want with this work, you get what you need. So far it is not completely clear to me what I need...

Any feedback is welcome,

LaQuita

Houston I have a problem

Hello John,

My attention was drawn to an old familiar emotional wave that in the past had brought with it a state of hopelessness etc., etc... I watched the wave loose energy and turn into nothing I was afraid of. My reaction to that was ...so what! My default state, which is a varying degrees of pissed off-ness, had already kicked in.

I felt sure that I had turned a corner in August, when everything started coming together. I recognized the bubbly bliss as a state but I couldn't believe the sense of being nourished was a part of that same state. It wasn't here in July, it was here in August but wasn't here in Sept! And I was pissed! It felt like I was right back where I started.

This aspect of the fear (if that is what it is) stayed with me in one degree or another through today. I had a moment of clarity earlier today but for the life of me I can't remember what was so clear! There are tidbits of things I have heard John say over the last 2 yrs. just floating through ...the feeling of not being done and the feeling of being done is two sides to the same coin...you don't get what you want with this work, you get what you need. So far it is not completely clear to me what I need...

Any feedback is welcome,

LaQuita

Hello LaQuita,

I'm not John but here goes…I also lack clarity about what I need at any particular time. Luckily, that doesn't seem to matter in the larger scheme of things. Looking back, I can see that once I began the looking, I didn't seem to be in charge anymore. Now, I become aware of healing changes as an absence of something. (Like, presently I have noticed an absent of shame in a few dreams where shame would have been in the past.) Be patient. Someday you may notice that your pissed off-ness will simply not arise where it did before. These subtle dropping aways can become permanent whereas states seem to come and go, based on uncontrollable influences or patterns that come and go, in the same way that weather and physical ailments come and go. I get through them as skillfully as I can, like taking an umbrella in the rain. I am still learning not to judge my states; that judging one state as bad only adds to my discomfort like pouring hot water on a burn; and judging another state as good sets me up for disappointment when it recedes. (Disappointment has been a major reaction in my life. I suspect it will be the last healing to occur.)

We are all doing the best we can all the time. I hope this has been helpful.

Lera

This is excellent, Lera.

I just wonder what you mean by judging or not judging. If it seems that you are judging something, there must be the experience known as 'judging' present, no matter what its source. Seems to me that the best we can do is decide an experience is worth attention or not, and if it is not, move our focus elsewhere. And judgement of states already present strikes me as an excellent example of something that cries out to be ignored.

This might be known as avoidance when done in a mind still in thrall to the fear, but it is skillful means in a mind free of that enthrallment. It's the same with all persistent effects of a lifetime spent in fear of life, including disappointment. They all fall away sooner or later, with or without working with attention to help them along, but they go much quicker and easier in minds that are actively working to develop control and understanding of the power of attention in human consciousness.

I hope this is helpful.

John

Houston I have a problem

John Sherman

This is excellent, Lera.

I just wonder what you mean by judging or not judging. If it seems that you are judging something, there must be the experience known as 'judging' present, no matter what its source. Seems to me that the best we can do is decide an experience is worth attention or not, and if it is not, move our focus elsewhere. And judgement of states already present strikes me as an excellent example of something that cries out to be ignored.

This might be known as avoidance when done in a mind still in thrall to the fear, but it is skillful means in a mind free of that enthrallment. It's the same with all persistent effects of a lifetime spent in fear of life, including disappointment. They all fall away sooner or later, with or without working with attention to help them along, but they go much quicker and easier in minds that are actively working to develop control and understanding of the power of attention in human consciousness.

I hope this is helpful.

John

Thank you, John, for calling me on terminology. Years of spiritual and psychological jargon, loaded with all the concepts ever connected to it, still flows way too easily with me. I appreciate your pointing it out to me so I can move my attention to more useful expression such as: "decide an experience is worth attention or not and if it is not, move our focus elsewhere." is simple, clear and action orientated. I love it!

You are correct about it not working until the looking has taken away the fear. Before looking, I tried this technique and even taught others to do it, but only saw surface changes while fear raged underneath so it was an endless job of trying to change how life presented itself. Since looking, I have seen many old mechanisms unravel as they lost credibility. I didn't think of it as "moving my attention;" but it makes sense because my defensive mechanisms were formed by my intense fear-generated "attention," repeated over and over; so moving attention somewhere else reverses this process.

I also believe you are onto something about not looking for, or imagining, a "better"experience to focus on, which a lot of techniques recommend. Moving attention to something neutral is an action which does not engage the old mechanisms. (As you said the experience known as "judging" is still present when we label any state as bad and move our attention to something good.)

Thank you, John, for your attention to this forum and to all of us. Lera

Thanks

To Lera and John,

Please know that your connecting with me, in responding to my post, touched my heart...and I needed that!

Lera, your advice to be patient and to use skillfulness in the difficult times was on target.

I have recently come to see/admit a learned helplessness cord running through my personality. Whether this trait has come into being due to my birth order (last born) or the environment, it doesn't matter, I think it can be unlearned with radical self reliance. When I first heard John speak of self reliance I assumed (this rings of helplessness!) that it would just appear in my life ...like clarity. That line of thinking seems rather naive now. It seems to me that this power we have to move our attention away from the drama is no different than ...radical self reliance. How did I not see that? I feel like I have just woke up from being in a mind of a twelve year old! At any rate, my intention is to improve my skillfulness in moving my attention away from the drama and go on living my life in the best way that I can. Hopefully sanity has already slipped in and I will see this as being the case sooner rather than later!

Thanks again for the response!

LaQuita

Judgement /moving attention

Hello to all who have posted to "Houston, we have a Problem". I have mostly been a lurker but am compelled to post now. Yay! I started "looking at myself" maybe about 1 1/2 years ago, not sure. About 6 months ago I did what John suggested about remembering yourself from childhood and then looking to see if the same sense of me was there now. Voila! In an instant everything fell away and I was astounded. I'm sure I made some sort of sound and then thought "wow, nothing ever REALLY happened", at least to the "permanent me". (my pet name for me and the looking). The next day I was still a little "high". I tried to read something by the mystics, a practice which I have been doing for many many years, and to do my regular 30 minute morning meditation. Whoa! It all seemed, well, unneccesary and irrelevant. Long story short, I felt a bit disoriented and confused. I decided a few weeks later to try my meditation again (watching the breath) and discovered it was VERY relaxing, enjoyable, free of tension and having a sense of "nothing is at stake" so I do believe that the daily meditation is helpful as moving attention training.

I recently re-joined a group of local practitioners who study the mystics and carry on different kinds of non-dual type self inquiry. I have a 2-year history with this group and it was the studying I did with them that led me to John via internet research.

I can't remember where I read it in one of John's talks but I discovered that while present in the group I feel like I am in a sort of insane asylum! Everything said sounds really odd. I proceeded to come home and chastise myself for being so judgmental. Luckily, this thread came up and John's words brought me back to myself.

"Seems to me that the best we can do is decide an experience is worth attention or not, and if it is not, move our focus elsewhere. And judgement of states already present strikes me as an excellent example of something that cries out to be ignored."

WOW. I hadn't noticed that I was operating on the premise that "judgmental" thoughts were bad and could/should be gotten rid of! What a relief came over me. YES! I was judgmental and didn't need to give it any attention. Maybe in time judgmental thoughts will decrease but the main learning fro me was that I am still hooked into seeing these states as "me" and that they need attention and/or "getting rid of".

Once again, thank you, John and LeraJane and LaQuita.

Annie

 

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