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A look at what the looking is

Hello All,

After many years of struggling to gain a sophisticated understanding, what instead results is something very simple and communicable in common language to any person without need to refer to any special knowledge or ideas (though I don’t know if I manage to do it in a simple way here).

So here is my attempt to put in words all that I know about this extraordinarily simple suggestion.

My entire understanding of the looking is summarized below:

"We have images and sensations about our past and future in our mind that keep us from living life fully and truly. These images are a result of the totally unnecessary fear of life and are fueled and kept alive by the power of our attention. In our daily lives, by learning to regularly move our attention away from these images and sensations to something TANGIBLE we can learn to let go of this unnecessary interaction."

"The potential to move attention freely is first created by performing the act of inward looking just once. Moving one's attention to the feeling of being 'me' helps destroy the foundation on which the fear is built, and allows one to take control of one's attention for use in our daily lives."

The more detailed exposition in Q & A form:

What is the problem as it is manifested, if any?

We would not be here looking for solutions if something was not felt to be amiss in our daily experience of life.

At the root, simply put, our greatest fear is to live life fully. This means that we are afraid to experience life directly as it unfolds. Because we are afraid, the human mind has evolved a strategy wherein it has built a protective shield of images about one's life that it prefers to deal with rather than life itself.

The term protective shield of images points to a narrative or constant story about ones life imagined in one's mind, be it about the past or the future.

It is no one's fault. In my opinion, it is what has been handed down to us by all our authority figures through generations as the only known way to live. So what we think as living life is mostly a constant stream of relationship with our imagination. This helps keep life away at an arm's distance as we stay busy attending to stories about it.

So this can be called "fear of life", which is both the assumption that life is dangerous to experience fully and the resultant defense mechanism of dealing with it through a protective shield of self generated images.

Why then is this a problem?

The normal reaction to the above description might be "so what?".

The idea is that this fear of life and its effects lead to suffering. And since suffering is maybe not good for the mind or body, it is natural for one to look to heal it. If not, that's OK too.

Why would this be called suffering?

The clue lies in the fact that we are constantly interacting with these images. For example, a self image based on memory is always bringing up feelings from the past or projecting possible happenings into the future. It is really not important whether these memories are pleasurable or painful. it is only important to see that we are unable to avert our eyes from the process of IMAGINING the past and future constantly. The only insight that matters here is to see that there is a process in our mind from which we seem to be unable to break away our ATTENTION (or it has never occurred to us to do so).

Again, "so what?". So what, if we are unable to break away our attention?

Two issues: first is that the assumption of necessity to keep interacting with the images is actually a lie. The second is that it leads to constant dissipation of energy because most of the imaginings are not relevant to what's happening in our lives. This useless needless expenditure of energy on something not remotely related to reality would be commonly called suffering. It is only normal that this exhausts us.

So what can one do if one wants to be rid of this exhaustion?

The first thing one can do is to acknowledge that all the above descriptions are empirical and also another kind of narrative. To see that the purpose of such description is to slow down and encourage us to learn about how we experience life minute by minute. If one is not interested in such detailed exposition of what suffering is, we can get that out of the way in one shot by having a working theory that somewhere (probably in our unconscious) we are suffering and it is possibly due to a hidden condition that pushes us away from direct experience of life.

The next thing, which is probably the most important is to perform the act of looking at oneself. It kills two birds with one stone.

First, the attention is moved away from its normal residing place. It kills the implicit lie that we need to constantly attend to the imaginary narrative and that the attention is transfixed and cannot be moved. Second, when it is moved to the feeling of 'me', it kills the assumption that one is under grave danger if one is not attending to these images. This is because you will, after all, still be there at the end of the looking.

So in one fell swoop some deep underlying age old assumptions have been successfully challenged. That means that the subconscious need to keep the interaction going has been questioned.

There is a third bird that is killed eventually. This one is when attention actually returns to the images, one can observe them modifying and morphing into new images. So what was previously assumed to be something one is doing is revealed as a reflex mechanism (machine) that uses attention as its fuel.

At this point the intelligence of the body will kick in and it will reject the wasteful dissipative process of living life "inside one's head" so to speak. It is revealed that it is not life that is the danger to the organism but the irrational dissipation of energy due to the fear of life.

Wow, that sounds like the looking and all else should happen in a few seconds. That’s' all there is to it?

Well, yes and no.

The fact is that once done correctly (and its really hard to do it wrong), the assumed lie that movement of attention will cause some catastrophe is killed instantly. The images will dissipate due to movement of attention away from them and one becomes wired into the direct experience of life. This self evidently proves harmless because the movement of attention to 'me' shows that one is still here and unharmed. Of course, the attention will move back to some new sensation and through associative power lifelong habits of thinking will be reignited and obsession with images will recur. This is inevitable.

But there is nothing to fear with the images now, because there is suddenly the newly learned power to move attention. Also, its kind of easy to see this will trigger a process where the false assumption of necessity underlying every image and feeling form is challenged. This is also kind of inevitable. so it should trigger a process of simplification and 'rebuilding'.

But, never forget that these are empirical descriptions for the sake of convenience. These words are not the reality - that is purely one's own to experience.

What is needed from you is action, and the only action that works, as you will have seen for yourself, is the movement of attention to the simple feeling of 'me' and away from what you thought in the past was something that really desperately needed your attention in your mind.

The forums and the website are full of useful advice on the initial looking and especially the main act which is the remembering to move attention to something TANGIBLE when necessary.

Really good luck to everyone. Something tells me we are all in the right place.

 

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