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Recovery period, doubts

Hi everybody,

Please, I need your support. Maybe you can help.

I did the looking several times, starting 2 months ago, and I got the feeling, or sensation, of me. It was good to realise there is a core that does not change. However, stuff still happens and I am still limited by the same psychological mechanisms that are available to me. If is just plain scary to see how these mechanism continue to do their damage, and I appear helpless to change them. They operate at a very deep level of the brain.

Well, I do exercise directing my attention. But when it matters, under pressure, for example during job interviews or similar stressful situation, the old mechanisms still ruin things for me. This makes me feel sad. Something is stronger than me, inside me, and it is bad. I feel I need to confront it rather than look away and count breath...

So what to do? Just wait and do as good as I can? In the meantime, I also have doubts about the looking in general. For example, where are these thousands of people who did it and are sane now? Why is the forum so quiet? Is the censorship so rigid that posting gets discouraged in the end?

I think it would be helpful to gather some information about the recovery period from people who came through on the other side. Like common patterns of the recovery, how anxiety or fears may change, etc.

Thanks, Bruno.

Re: Recovery period, doubts


Not sure if I can help, but I know what you're going through and I'm here to tell you to just hang on. Things will get better, I promise, and whether or not you try to confront whatever it is you're feeling or move your attention to the breath, it will eventually pass.

The truth is that the recovery period just sucks, and John made a statement to that effect in a recent online meeting. I did the looking about three and a half years ago, and while I noticed things falling away fairly quickly at the beginning, it's also true that my anxiety and sadness REALLY ramped up and it's only been in the past couple of months that things have really been getting better. If you had told me at the beginning of all this, that it would take almost four years to see really profound changes, I would have been discouraged, but I also think that it would have made me not feel like a failure that two years had passed and then three and I still felt crazy.

So, in short-- hang in there. It may take a while, but things will improve and I don't know if there's another alternative anyway. smily

Take care and hope this is helpful--


Re: Recovery period, doubts

I agree with Ansley, just hang in there. I have not reached a point where I feel things are turning a corner or anything like that, but there has been a steady refreshing of my psychology and a clearing of suffering. The confusion and suffering of the recovery period seems worth it and even necessary from this vantage point.....2.5 years out.

I am experiencing stressful events in my life that would have been, prior to the looking, highly distressing and would have led to negative actions that would have furthered my suffering considerably. One of these stressors is caring for my mother in hospice. I simply do the next thing to be done and don't become engulfed in a wave of grief or depression. Grief is there, tiredness, etc.. But it doesn't swallow me up like it used to. It's actually refreshing to be in the midst of the real ness of life and tolerating it in a natural manner.....even though it is quite difficult.

No fear, no blame, just things as they are happening as they do.

Hang in there and feel the richness and depth of the process, no matter how difficult.

Re: Recovery period, doubts

Hi, Bruno

I agree with everything Ansley said. It can be very rough after you begin the looking. My sense is it never "ends" but you will notice that certain things that used to trigger strong reactions or negative self-states will start to die down. That's the good news. The other half of it is, as long as you are alive, there will most probably be something that will come up that invites some old negative reactions. Over time you will find the kinds of situations that provoke reactions change. There will be a falling away... For me it felt almost like a hierarchical falling away of triggers but there is always potentially something to kick up another one. Keep in mind that when those challenging states come up now, they are arising in a different context. Having done the looking these reactions are swimming in different water now, whether you know it or not, and that is a real game changer (over time).

I can only talk from my own experience and mine has been that, early on, continuing to do the looking was very important for me. Engaging in the act felt like a threatening enterprise and my sense was the repetition (not as a practise but as a simple act) allowed me to, eventually, let both feet land long enough In an unmediated experience of life that I had a knowing, in my gut, that confirmed through experience, "God, I can actually trust this life.... It won't kill me". I think moving attention to something neutral, when attention is on something you are not really wanting to attend to is a great move... Doing that might even help settle the nervous system as well... But once there, you also have the option to look and see if that "feeling of you" has been touched by that dance...

Take care and try to go easy on yourself as you go through this period.

Kind Regards,


Re: Recovery period, doubts


I started looking about a year ago and there have been ups and downs. I've had periods when discomfortable feelings intensified and periods when I've had theoretical confusion. But things seem to be calming down. These days I only look spontaneously, have no more urgent questions about the looking and I've learned to tolerate "negative" feelings pretty well. Things go pretty smoothly and I don't even have a special interest in the looking any more. On the outer level my life hasn't changed that much really, things are still in progress and I don't handle many things very well. I still have fears, negative feelings and anxiety. But it just doesn't matter so much any more.

About the forums being quiet: For myself I can say that I used to visit these forums often when I had questions about the looking, but now I no longer have and visit here only sometimes. So my guess is that people who are further in the recovery have moved onto other things. They no longer have any need to even think about the looking unless they are interested in taking part in spreading it.

My advice to you is to just do what feels like the right thing. The looking will work sooner or later, don't know when. In the meantime try to find something that makes living easier. I've found the attention directing, different meditation methods and bodywork methods quite helpful. But it could be anything.

Re: Recovery period, doubts

Thank you all, you are kind, and your support is much appreciated.

It is getting better: erratic, maladaptive behaviour continues to fall off. As everybody says who is more advanced in the process.

And, the worst stuff appears to drop off first, as also mentioned by John, which gives me confidence.


Re: Recovery period, doubts


I can "testify" too that things get easier. I'm also about 2 and a half years into this process, and had terrible peaks of suffering. Now it seems to be weakening. My confidence that this act really changes things, permanently, is growing. I used to suffer intensely before coming to this, and it continued after the looking. I wasn't sure whether it was the recovery or just the same old suffering continuing, but now it seems that things have changed. It's become more apparent in the last few months. That's quite thrilling at times, and also it's kind of very natural and not a big deal. It seems like a paradox at first but it makes perfect sense.

What comes to doubts, I can say that I certainly had those, and they're not entirely gone even now. But as I had nothing else left, I sort of attached my hopes to this act while at the same time having cynical and skeptical thoughts about it. I felt there was no further harm done by choosing to consciously indulge in wishful thinking and entertain a belief in this act and work and John's reassurances. I felt it was my last straw, anyway. I felt free to play with belief and faith. I feel it might have helped.

The feeling that there's something wrong at any given situation or moment is kind of still there, but weaker than it used to be. I don't quite feel at home, yet. I still feel very cut off from people and lonely (my main and worst issue, perhaps. Didn't seem to go first, though, if it ever will...), but not as often and as intensely as before. I'm not as anxious to make something out of my life anymore.

I also wondered about why there was not more going on here at the forums. I missed just the reassurance of chatting with people who were going through this same thing. The feeling of connection. But I guess this is not a chat room. I felt ready to spend all of my time here discussing this. It felt so important.

I don't have any very urgent questions anymore but I'm curious about many things about the looking and especially the view on things that emerges as a result. I can get a glimpse at it in John's responses to questions in the retreat videos and sometimes it blows my mind. The really surprising statements such as "nothing happens" at death, and about oneness, that it's already all of our experience anyway, so not a big deal. And you can now see clearly why those things become big issues. We want larger than life stuff, because we really want out of this life. We make everything larger than life because this life, life size, is the last thing we feel we want. It makes sense now. I don't know whether it's a result of a new view emerging on my part, or because I've immersed myself in what John says about things, as kind of new belief system (been there, done that, before).

I feel too that it would be absolutely marvelous if there was some systematic survey or statistics gathered about people who've engaged in this act. I was really happy to read the paper on the therapeutic viewpoint of this work that was published and made available at the website.


Hello folks....appologies to start-i admitt that i have not read all the posts. My own one and only was in June of last year...but since i've been at this work since '07, i wanted to speak to those who are worried that they haven't reached heaven yet (hint-i haven't either and no longer expect to, although the longer i do this looking it seems to be the keyboard i'm typing on at the moment) ......y'know, i saw recently an "expert" speak of how, an important project (in this case, The Marshall Plan for Europe post-WWII0 must take at MOST 3 years to complete, before Americans lose interest. Point being that we ALL seem geared towards a wanting of "i want it NOW!" (i'm no different) with the expectation that it is then DONE-finis. Well....since my last post i've quit my job (walked out in protest really), stopped 23+ years of pain meds (the pain is not gone due to the looking) and am about to go into foreclosure. I've made no attempt to obtain any sort of aid and in fact have lots of government actions hanging over me. And no doubt we're all familiar with...well, you name it: climate, poverty, oligarchy, war, etc. And that is TRULY frightening......but folks,as my life has gotten "worse"-well, what OTHER solution is there other than to KEEP TRYING to LOOK? Trust me, at 57 years old with some pretty severe physical limitations, i'm not immune from lots of, LOTS of fear. But i keep trying THIS "work" above all. Sure, probably for all the fear based reasons (oh, HELP me escape/change me from______) But we truly have not only tried but DONE everything else-and all it's resulted in is making our fear stronger and the world more threatening, eh?

I always smile when friends and acquaintances who haven't seen me for a bit want to IMMEDIATELY remark on how GOOD-how at PEACE-i look.

So...what's the point? My idealized version of what the looking would do for me did NOT include leaving a job, etc. But...alot of the time my biggest "fear" or anxiety is just how little fear or anxiety i have over my impending loss of things deemed neccessary. And i'm paintin' (i am a painter, amongst other things) the heck outta the dandelions, buttercups and plain green grass all around (it's spring here in D.C., U.S.A.)

Folks, DO whatever you need to DO-or DON'T!



For MY (your) sake!

Jim Atkocius


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