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Hi, this is a message I'd like to ask John but also would be nice to have responses from people who have experience with looking at YOU.
I have scanned the forum and can't find a similar question to time so I've decided to post it.
In the non dual circles, thought is the problem; let go of thoughts about yourself, the world and others and you will find freedom is what they say!
I understand that Johns message doesn't suggest any of that but I want to be 100% clear on what is the best way of making sure the looking does it's work!
So my question is, does it matter if I think alot? or obsessively (which happens for me sometimes and everybody) does it matter if the 'I' thought or the 'self centre' thoughts (known as in the non daul circles) are going on all day long?
The only thing to do is look?
I feel this question is important to anyone who has come to this message after looking at non duality!
George, I love to think, especially when I'm at work. It doesn't interfere with stopping and looking when I intend to do so, although I must admit it does have a certain momentum that carries forward even when I want to leave it alone. Your real question has to do with whether thinking is counter-productive to the awakening process. My answer may seem oblique, but here it is. The drive to do something about that which you feel goes against the grain of self-improvement diminishes with the looking. Then your resistance to thinking lessens, and you actually think less, or at least you think when you decide to engage your thinking mind. So it's not that thoughts are bad or are to be avoided; rather, the fixation or compulsion to seek a more improved version of yourself eases off, and you experience life with ease. Meanwhile, maybe you can enjoy the ride that wild horse of a mind takes you on. trimpi
Obviously, I'm not john, however, I'll put in my two-cents' worth. from what I understand, these thoughts are not significant. if they are disturbing you, I've heard it said I believe by john that it is okay to use this time to shift your focus from the thought onto, for example, the breath.
I am really a beginner to this approach, however, from my own experience, having never been successful at reducing my thought quotient significantly, including, what might be called obsessive thought, if that were a criteria, I feel I'd fail. fortunately, I don't believe it is, and I am ready to stand connected.
welcome to the forum, george,
another roadie on the bus
I'm a beginner as well, and I love thinking, too, but when it's gets down on a very depressive and self hating path, I don't love it at all. And it does. Often. And I don't feel in charge of it. I do practice diverting my attention away from it with a deep breath, or several. But I get to do that 5 times a minute and it seems like a losing battle. I don't seem to be very worried about it anymore, though, which seems something like a result of looking might be. It seems to be getting easier, too.
I had this thought that if I can't really control it, and it's going away soon, why not just let it indulge itself knowing it won't be there for ever. It seems like a more relaxed attitude. Even enjoying it while it's there because soon(er or later) it won't be there anymore. Like Trimpi's wild horse. Not that it feels very enjoyable when it happens.
The no-thought position makes sense if you identify thinking as the source of all evil, but if it's the fear of life, and it's done away with, then thinking or no-thinking is an effect and not something to be too concerned about. I come from the background of Krishnamurti's teachings (and a bit of Tolle) and I bump into this when my Facebook friends quote Krishnamurti, and I've noticed how my view on it has changed and how I get a bit annoyed at it, however beautiful the insights and teachings they offer. I don't know if they are counted in as non-dualists, but both K and Tolle regard thinking as a problem (not to mention ego!). It makes sense if you confuse a cause and an effect. They don't follow this causal chain to the root, which is the context of fear, in our view here.
One of the most interesting and useful perceptions I have had over the course of the looking has been the recognition that thoughts are just thoughts, not "Me thinking", just thoughts occurring. They are not accurate or useful most of the time and often they are disturbing and distracting. When I notice that I am suffering, I notice the thoughts occurring and see that they are just thoughts and not useful, I then move my attention to the breath or to anything in the now that is useful. Over time this appears to take the energy away from useless, negative thoughts, and they gradually depart. Unfed of attention, they die off. I like the line in the wizard of Oz "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain", when toto pulls the curtain back and exposes that the great wizard is just a simple man who is as lost as Dorothy and her friends. This reveals that what we pay attention to matters.
Thoughts being just thoughts has been a familiar notion to me for some time, from cognitive therapy, mindfulness based cognitive therapy and from various spiritual teachings, but it seems to be becoming more obvious lately. I hope you're right about them dying off, and the emotions tailing them as well. It still feels sinful not giving them attention. It's like somehow I'm suppressing something important, or a essential part of me. I'm find myself puzzled whether I'm a sick, depressed person who has serious issues in his life or not, and should take the measures it demands. Identity crisis of sorts. If they're "just" thoughts, automated responses to strawmen that never had any reality, and have no consequences, then I'm not really depressed, am I? I'm just plagued by obsessive thoughts I took for real problems. Which amounts to the same thing, in the end. Just different definition to depression, or the cognitive part of it. There's more to it; the lack of interest, dulled emotions etc. But I hope those will go, too. It feels like there's a long way to go, still, but I see a kind of optimism arising about it and about this work. Which in turn makes me nervous.
Thank you all for responding to my question, I have asked quite a few people including Carla and John whether thoughts were a problem and everyone has said the same thing; they really are no problem!
Still I think it seems hard to let go of the notion that what I should be doing is, witness them at all times without identifying and 'let go' of thoughts just like the Buddhist and other teachings suggest, even though I have been told that this is not a problem by quite a few, my mind likes problems!
Since starting the looking I have felt far more relaxed and a lot less tension than I ever did when I was having to rest in thought free states. I can now think about 'me', 'others' and the world as much as I like without feeling that this is a problem! Such thoughts like, what I did yesterday, what I said to someone, so-called 'self-centered thoughts' or 'ego' in the non-dual teachings. My mind does actually seem quite quiet most of the time, maybe as a result of the looking and also, I haven't had to many suffering, obsessive thinking patterns going on yet, which I understand is something that can come up while looking at me.
I trust that if any sort of thinking what so ever was the problem, someone would have brought it by now on the forum or in response to my questions. Thank you all, once again for your time.
I have almost been looking for 2 months now! I am here, is all that hasn't changed.
The way I see it, it is not thoughts (or mind, ego, emotions, or mental activity) which is problem. It is the context of the mind affected by fear and its effects, and the recovery from this, which can seem to make thoughts sometimes troublesome. And I agree with you that the understanding that thinking is not inherently a problem is quite freeing.
In my experience, it's fine to use whatever tools we want to during the recovery process. John often suggests moving attention to the breath. I don't use this technique very much. I use a "letting go" technique where I simply observe what's going on, allow it, and in doing so often can let go of it. So I would say that whereas it is true that thinking is not inherently a problem, it's also fine to use the Buddhist technique you speak of if it helps during the recovery.
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