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Some thoughts and wondering from new looker

Just wanted to say hello and give a kind of report after 3 months of looking. I also have some questions...

I read about the looking in a magazine in november 2012, and was immediately attracted to this simple message. I have tried many self help techniques and read a lot of spiritual books over the years, which have had some comforting, but no lasting effect on my suffering. I have struggeled all my life with anxiety and depression, and have always had difficulties relating to other people.

When I read about the looking I just knew that this was what I had to do. It was just as if I had no choice. I then tried to look at my self and felt a kind of relief, a short escape from my normal suffering-mode.

In a way this looking made me also a bit depressed, because I had to realise that I cannot reach salvation outside myself. Instead I had to look in the direction I had always tried to look away from, I had to look at me. This meant I could no longer look away from my problems and *from my bad feelings either - which then became, and are continuing to become, very evident. It is as if I cannot fool my self any longer, I have to face the reality of my difficult life and personality.

Those days are very hard for me, a lot of difficult feelings and things are coming up. I am not sure if this is because I am going through some challenging things in my life now, or if it is the recovery. Probably it is both. *I really, really hope that this recovery period not will last very long, it is so challenging. I wonder if there is a average duration for the recovery? Is it some years, is it some months? I think John said something in one of the podcasts about the recovery period, that it is shorter for people who starts the looking nowadays than it were earlier. How much shorter are we talking about?

I am doing the mindfullness meditation, and I am doing yoga- which leads me to another question. When I do yoga, I often focus my attention on my body. Not some part, but the body as a whole. It struck me today that this action is so similar to the act of looking. I tried to compare the two actions, and the only difference I found was that when looking on me, the attention goes in the head-area, and when putting attention on the body the attention goes lower, but still on the feeling of me. So maybe I have already been doing the looking for a while...?

Well, it would be nice to hear some thoughts about this.

(Hope you can excuse if my writing is hard to understand - english is not my native language smily

Welcome here

Hello Pandora and welcome to this forum community!

Your thoughts and wondering are very familiar to me after listening to so many others who have taken on the act of looking, and after having some years of having done the looking and experiencing many of the typical ideas, feelings, wonderings, and so on that appear to be part of the outcome of looking. My suggestion is to continue coming here and reporting your experiences and reading what others are experiencing. I think you will see that we are all exploring and engaging with the adventure of life that unfolds following the looking. I found that giving conscious attention to my experiences after the looking and learning to redirect my attention when thoughts occurred that were useless left overs from living in the cloud of fear moved the process forward and expanded my effectiveness in navigating in life and being self reliant....which for me is noticing that it is not necessary to conclude anything, that life speaks for itself and is ever changing.

Stay in this conversation with us and all will be well.

Love.

David

Live it

Hello Pandora,

as far as I know, the word recovery that pops up quite frequently in discussions regarding the looking points to the fading away of all the ways in which we tried to protect ourselves from life. In my experience it is an automatic process that starts when you first look and see yourself, and see that life cannot harm you. From that point onward it becomes increasingly more difficult to fool yourself and fool life, but that is a good thing. Life is challenging, some times more so than others, and not being tied to the compulsion to run away and hide from these challenges, or having to fight them as if they were an evil to overcome, is a very freeing and comforting experience - even if life throws something really nasty at you, be it a difficult situation or an extreme emotion.

What helps me a lot is knowing that when life presents me with such challenges, it also gives me the opportunity to learn. Since the first time I deliberately looked at myself, every experience, whether new or old, has been lived from a different place. Whereas before I would try to avoid certain uncomfortable situations or feelings, I now see that only through living them I can understand and assimilate them. To put it another way, it is only through living life as it presents itself to me, that I can grow as a human being. And a side effect of this way of moving through life is that it becomes more enjoyable the more I learn.

As for your question regarding attention, all I can say about that from my own experience is that when I look at me there is a very big difference from when I look at things. I can move my body and my mind, and when they're not too heavy I can move objects, but I cannot move me. When I look at me it's always the same - very much me. And apart from this me-ness there's nothing I can say about it without using superfluous words.

I hope you find something of value in this.

Wouter

I read your post and then as I was replying I saw Pandora ...really a pandora's box huh...thanks for this report..

"I could no longer look away from my bad feelings either" "I have to face the reality of my difficult life and personality"

I've been at this for five years and maybe new people are somehow getting to the point more quickly ..look at yourself and face the music..

I have so many defense mechanisms fears/emotions which take a lot of energy to keep repressed..so yes with the looking the intensity seems greater but also the feeling of living the moment to moment reality of my life is very satisfying..the sense of me prevails and everything passes...

I too do yoga, pranayama breathing etc.the effects are wonderful on my body but now I am interested too in how I have control over moving the focus of attention..very very useful when those deeper layers of depression, apathy..feeling like the plug gets pulled out and all my energy goes down the drain..the sense of me is there too and I ride it out more easily.

It's a mystery how this works but it does so glad to see you here...

Maureen

as i understand it, the intention has a crucial part in if the looking is successful. You may have looked at yourself, but without the intention of seeing yourself you won't recognize it as you

Salvation

The gradual letting go of the searching for salvation, transformation, and enlightenment has been a rather painful one for me. It caused me a great deal of despair and intense anger. Still working thru these old mental structures.

Hang in there.

Much love

Paul

New looker as well

Pandora's Box,

I've been in similar shoes. I was severely depressed for many years. Therapy kept me from doing myself in, but I was always having to go back. I could keep my head above water only by seeing the therapist. He/she was the life preserver that I had to keep going back to. Not a bad thing. It kept me alive, but I couldn't swim and enjoy the water.

Zen meditation helped me get free. It was the process of always going back to the breath that helped me to realize that I had a choice: to pay attention to the thoughts and get sucked away in the insanity or not. It really helped me.

I am new to looking, but it is an interesting and exciting step for me. It is beyond the breath in that in looking at the breath I realized that my thoughts are not me, and in the looking at me I have begun to realize that my breath is not me.

I got a clue to this at a young age. I'm allergic to shell fish and having grown up in a very small rural mid-west community and not eaten any until college, I never knew this. I had a shrimp egg roll in the dorm cafeteria and started to experience my throat closing going up the stairs to my dorm room. I didn't make it and was being helped by some folks, but I could not breath and I was experiencing myself dying. My peripheral vision began to fade, but I was aware that it was. I was aware of everything that was happening as my body was shutting down. There was no fear. I don't know why.

I was actually quite calm and felt at peace. Luckily the paramedics arrived in time.

Anyways I think you are right about yoga. It can be very helpful in the looking. I still practice zazen but actively stop focusing on the breath to look at myself. No luck yet for me.

Keep doing what you're doing.

Kind regards,

Robert

Wise Words

Hi Pandora,

Thanks so much for your post here. I don't have any words of wisdom or advice except to say that I'm glad you're here. I did, however, want to highlight the incredibly insightful responses to your message that were extremely comforting (to me anyway).

From Wouter:

"Whereas before I would try to avoid certain uncomfortable situations or feelings, I now see that only through living them I can understand and assimilate them. To put it another way, it is only through living life as it presents itself to me, that I can grow as a human being. And a side effect of this way of moving through life is that it becomes more enjoyable the more I learn."

From David P.:

I found that giving conscious attention to my experiences after the looking and learning to redirect my attention when thoughts occurred that were useless left overs from living in the cloud of fear moved the process forward and expanded my effectiveness in navigating in life and being self reliant....which for me is noticing that it is not necessary to conclude anything, that life speaks for itself and is ever changing.

Wow, once again, I'm amazed by and appreciative of the wisdom and support here. Thank you everyone--

Love,

Ansley

The results that matter

Welcome Robert,

I am new to looking, but it is an interesting and exciting step for me. It is beyond the breath in that in looking at the breath I realized that my thoughts are not me, and in the looking at me I have begun to realize that my breath is not me.

The results of the looking that actually matter have little to do with learning anything about your nature at all - neither what you are or what you are not. The fact that the looking has given rise to yet another insight into these matters is really of no consequence at all.

I predict that as time passes you will come to see that these insights, as pleasing and even true as they may be, won't hold your interest for long. Abstractions about you and your life can't compete with the actual direct experience of you and your life.

What the looking does do that is worthwhile is remove the unnoticed, unexamined silent assumption that there is something wrong here - wrong with me or wrong with life - that spoils the experience of life. This is what gives rise to the common undercurrent of yearning for something that will satisfy that yearning and make it go away.

Turns out that all along, we were yearning for nothing other than the full experience of the very life that we had spent so much time and suffered such heartache trying to push away.

It's good to see you here. Please stay in touch

love,

John

Thank you!

Thanks for all of your replies to my posting! So nice to read your insightful thougts.

David - it is good to hear that working with your attention has been help for you. I am working on this too, and I can see that this is something that is very useful for me, and I already see that my attention skill has improved. I also see pretty clearly how extremely undisiplined my mind is...

Wouter - what you are saying about not hiding from or escape challenges and difficult feelings rings so true to me right now. Here the other day I was listening to a guy on youtube talking about accepting bad feelings, and I suddenly understood how important this was for me. I have heard many times about accepting feelings/challenges and not fight them, and I thougt I understood what it meant, but I have not had a real understanding of it until now. Maybe an effect of the looking....or maybe not. It is just as if I get these insigths nowadays, not very big ones, but as if in a millisecond here and there the truth reveals itself to me. But it is so subtle, and maybe it has nothing to do with the looking...

Maureen - I can relate to what you are saying about defense mechanisms and fears that take much energy. I really hope that the looking will help me remove some of these mechanisms, but I understand that it will probably take som time. Some of them are so deeply rooted. As to yoga - it is the only activity that helps me stay focused, especially balancing poses. While I was doing tree pose today the looking came automatic, I got a feeling of just beeing in my self. Don't know if this has any relevance to the progress of the looking, but it felt nice.

Inward - yes, it is useful what you are saying that it is the intention that matters when looking. This is something I think I have heard John said also. So maybe I have not looked at myself when I focus attention on my body, even if I am focusing on the body more as a beeing than a thing. Sometimes I think it is so easy and clear what the looking-act is, but other times my mind makes it so unclear and complicated.

Paul - I don't know how long you have been in the "game", but I hope you have seen some benefits also. I also experience difficulties about letting go of the search for salvation. Some days though, I think I have made the looking my new search for salvation, and this salvation is just as "out of reach" as it always have been - because the real effects of the looking is waaay in the future, and I have to spend a looong time in this recovery first..

Robert - it is interresting to read your comments and your story. I have a growing belief in meditation, I can see that it is useful for my undisiplined mind. I also can see that the looking is beyond the breath, it is beyond everything, isn't it. Sometimes I see clearly everything that is not me, everyting can be eliminated. Other times it is very unclear, and I cannot even manage to look at my self.

Ansley - thank you for pointing out the wisdom for me. I agree that it is very comforting to read all of this reflection and good advice.

again, thank you all!

Pandora

 

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