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How much looking is needed?

Hi!

I posted this earlier to John, but he suggested to share it here, and it seems like a good idea, since I believe many have experiences about this. I'd like to have John's answer and also everyone else's answers.

My original question was:

"You write that looking more than once doesn't speed up the process. What is your rationale for this? Also what is your rationale for believing that only one look is enough? Because I've found that at least temporarily looking at myself feels like it helps. It feels really good. In your recent blog post you compare it to focusing on the breath, but for me focusing on myself is much more powerful. And also focusing on the breathing is much easier after it. "

What is your experience with this? Is only one look enough? Or is more than one look needed? Or is one look enough, but more speeds up the process?

And what if the first look isn't even done correctly? (Though it doesn't need to be "correct" IF the looking is repeated somehow. But is it repeated? Does the question remain somewhere in the tryers head?)

Personally I looked very often, and after about half a year I was sure that it was working. The "wrongness" with things is pretty much gone. And looking is effortless and often spontaneous. If I look at this from a slightly different perspective, it seems like looking started to work soon after I "found" (not finding a better word right now) the thing I was supposed to look at and then it also became easy.

So how much looking did you do and when did you see that it was working? When did you become confident that you were looking at the right thing, instead of struggling (or did you ever become confident that you looked at the right thing?)?

kismie

Or is one look enough, but more speeds up the process?

So how much looking did you do and when did you see that it was working? When did you become confident that you were looking at the right thing, instead of struggling (or did you ever become confident that you looked at the right thing?)?

Based on my limited experience (two months), I vote for the version that one look is enough, but more can speed up the process.

I realised that I did it correctly when my relentless search for salvation dropped. The first looking gave me a reference point, which is me, and which remains the only constant in life. After this experience, I had the power and motivation to control my attention. Before, I could never commit to that, there was always the background feeling that distracted me, and finding a solution to this feeling that something is wrong with life was of utmost urgency (in John's words, the fear of life). Controlling my attention and such appeared boring and mundane homework then.

Best, Bruno

John can I get your reply? I feel like this is important when talking to people about looking. They ask "How much do I need to look", and I don't have a good answer. I could say "I looked thousands of times" but that wouldn't be encouraging. Also I could say "John says that only one look is enough", but when they ask "How so? Sounds way too easy" I don't know your reasoning and can't answer, so...

Also what is your stand on whether one can fail at the first look if it isn't reapeated?

Also if just one look is enough (and you can't fail in it), does it mean one can accidentally do the act? If one wonders "what does it feel like to be me?" and then tries to feel it, or something similar happens.

What is the point of the instructions if one can't fail in the act? Wouldn't just asking "what does it feel like to be you?" be enough (well that's what the instructions are asking for, but a bit more elaboratedly : P)? And if one can fail in the act, how can it be true that only one look is enough (if it fails...)? I mean, no matter how good the instructions are, there are bound to be people who just don't get them and so fail the first look (if it can be failed). And if one successful look is enough, what is the sign of it being succesful?

I vote with Bruno

For me; I also find it useful to get another look at myself and that the mind training though useful for focusing my mind brings a whole different experience. I often combine the two by focusing on my breath but at the same time get a feel so to speak that I AM THE FOCUSER. I find that that is very true and a helpful insight After the 1st look!! My thoughts emotion and sensations are reports if my experience. Not me! Its a simple thing but just as simple to forget!! And I forget often! LOL

Re: How much looking is needed?

kismie

John can I get your reply? I feel like this is important when talking to people about looking. They ask "How much do I need to look", and I don't have a good answer. I could say "I looked thousands of times" but that wouldn't be encouraging. Also I could say "John says that only one look is enough", but when they ask "How so? Sounds way too easy" I don't know your reasoning and can't answer, so...

Also what is your stand on whether one can fail at the first look if it isn't reapeated?

I believe that one look is enough. If the intent of the looker is focused on touching the feel of me, it cannot fail.

I know that even if the intent is not so clear, the looking can still succeed, because that was the case with me.

I know that success with the first look almost always gives rise to repeated glances in that direction, and that each person's explanation for the repetition will vary. Some say that it just happens of its own accord, some say that it happens because they consciously turn their attention there. Others say that it varies from time to time, and they alternate between the two.

In my own experience, the repetition of the looking seemed to happen of its own accord, as an effect of the first look.

Some have no experience of repetition until much later in the recovery when most of the symptoms of the disease have cleared from the mind. Therefore, either repetition is irrelevant to the outcome once the first look is accomplished, or repetition can happen automatically, although below the threshold of conscious awareness.

In the end, it becomes apparent that the simple feel of me is always here and no longer needs any special motive or action to be noticed. In the end, what you see is that getting a taste of yourself no longer carries a sense of special importance.

My reasoning arises from my own experience of looking at myself, and also from more than 21 years engaged in trying to understand how it works and how to pass it on to people. I also base my understanding on the thousands of reports we have received from people in this time and continue to receive. All of this has led me to conclude that the cause of all human psychological misery is the development of the psychology within a context of distrust and fear of life itself.

The fear-driven psychology is a collection of algorithmic stimulus/response mechanisms grounded in the assumption that there is something wrong with life itself. This is the ordinary state of mind for most humans, and it requires constant paranoid vigilance to guard against perceived threats. It resorts to a limited range of possible strategies to identify and neutralize those perceived threats.

Can you see that if the thoughts and judgments about experience are algorithmic and mechanical, all effort to transcend, fix, or invalidate them by any sort of understanding must fail, as long as the silent context that shapes them is one of fearfulness and anxiety about life itself?

The fear of life is a psychological autoimmune disease. And the looking is a therapeutic vaccine that cures the disease and prevents further infection.

I hope this is helpful to you kismie; writing it has been useful to me. I encourage you and all others to take the time to look at the blog, and postings here in the forums. You can find a lot of information and answers here.

John

Re: How much looking is needed?

Thanks for your reply John, it cleared things pretty well for me. Just a few loose ends left.

John Sherman

I believe that one look is enough. If the intent of the looker is focused on touching the feel of me, it cannot fail.

I know that even if the intent is not so clear, the looking can still succeed, because that was the case with me.

So the challenge is to direct the attention to the feel of me with good instructions?

John Sherman

The fear-driven psychology is a collection of algorithmic stimulus/response mechanisms grounded in the assumption that there is something wrong with life itself. This is the ordinary state of mind for most humans, and it requires constant paranoid vigilance to guard against perceived threats. It resorts to a limited range of possible strategies to identify and neutralize those perceived threats.

Can you see that if the thoughts and judgments about experience are algorithmic and mechanical, all effort to transcend, fix, or invalidate them by any sort of understanding must fail, as long as the silent context that shapes them is one of fearfulness and anxiety about life itself?

This I didn't fully get. Did you mean that the effort against them will fail because the underlaying fear of life causing them is still intact? And doesn't the same context of fear also cause the fight against them? Judgments about judgments and so on.

Re: How much looking is needed?

kismie

Thanks for your reply John, it cleared things pretty well for me. Just a few loose ends left.

So the challenge is to direct the attention to the feel of me with good instructions?

Yes, and the main thing that makes the instructions useful is that they can give you a clear understanding of what is meant by 'the feel of me' which is clearly just plain 'ME' -- the naked feel of being a person that underlies the personality, the mind, and all else. The first person pronoun is the closest you can come to describing what must be sought.

This I didn't fully get. Did you mean that the effort against them will fail because the underlying fear of life causing them is still intact? And doesn't the same context of fear also cause the fight against them? Judgments about judgments and so on.

Yes, any effort to modify those psychological mechanisms will fail, since their root cause (the context of fear) is still intact. And yes, the context of fear is the cause of both the diseased psychological mechanisms and the efforts to judge, transform or get rid of them. Nothing whatever needs to be done about any of it.

Re: How much looking is needed?

John,

Just thought I'd weigh in here and say that your description here of ME as "the naked feel of being a person that underlies the personality, the mind, and all else" is really first-rate. Don't think I've ever heard you describe it this way before, and for some reason, it really cuts through for me.

Also, I've been watching the videos from the 2012 retreat and they are such a gift. It's so strange-- watching them, I feel this wonderful sense of peace and presence (I know that's probably making you uncomfortable because it's too philosophical/spiritual-sounding-- sorry! It's just the best description I have)-- there's something about watching you speak with people that makes it so much more real than listening to the podcast. Thank you to you and Carla for making them available.

Thanks,

Ansley

Re: How much looking is needed?

John Sherman

Yes, and the main thing that makes the instructions useful is that they can give you a clear understanding of what is meant by 'the feel of me' which is clearly just plain 'ME' -- the naked feel of being a person that underlies the personality, the mind, and all else. The first person pronoun is the closest you can come to describing what must be sought.

Yes, any effort to modify those psychological mechanisms will fail, since their root cause (the context of fear) is still intact. And yes, the context of fear is the cause of both the diseased psychological mechanisms and the efforts to judge, transform or get rid of them. Nothing whatever needs to be done about any of it.

Thanks, now it's again clearer. I still have a few doubts about calling "the feel of me" me, because it seems more like it's somehow very closely associated with me, but not exactly me. When I try to feel it, at the same time I somehow get in contact with me. And when I "get in contact with me" I feel the "feel of me". "I" feel "the feel of me" so it seems that they are two different things (I'm not a feeling but that which feels it). But I've come to see that the theoretical division isn't that important, the important thing is to look at yourself for yourself. The looking itself isn't about knowledge or theory. And the current instructions work well in directing the attention in the right direction.

 

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