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An update; another email sent to John

This is long-winded another email I sent to John, that I was asked to post here. Again I hope someone finds it helpful!

Hi John!

You always say how valuable our emails are to you, and I know you mean that sincerely. I myself have been a teacher and one of the things I really enjoyed about teaching was receiving feedback from my students; it was just interesting to hear how they were experiencing what I was doing, plus it helped me become more effective at what I did. So, I write this hoping it will somehow be of use to you, somewhere down the line if not now. Or a little entertaining at the very least smily

Things feel quite different since I last wrote on Saturday, engulfed by misery and distress...for one thing my life circumstances have changed a bit, in a more pleasant direction, and of course I'm enjoying that. But I have the sense that the changes I've felt are not solely tied to the fact that my circumstances have moved towards something more desirable. For one thing, I've noticed that in the past couple of days I continue to have the same feelings of anxiety and fear/panic that I've been having for a long time, but once in a while that feel like something happening inside of me, rather than something that defines me or engulfs me.

Another thing I've noticed is that I'm actually able to *notice* these scary feelings. This is pretty different for me--usually it feels more like "Oh my god I'm [insert scary feeling here]," not in the sense of "I'm experiencing [scary feeling]" but "I AM [scary feeling], that is what I'm made of." And in the past couple days I've had a few occasions where it was more like "oh,there's the [insert scary feeling]. And here I am."

I've been reading your transcriptions and listening to your audio recordings a lot lately, and one theme I've noticed coming back all the time is that you often tell people that duration of the looking/seeing doesn't matter, that it's actually impossible make the direct experiencing of "me" last very long because our attention is not interested in that. And when you say this it's usually in the context of reassuring somebody who's worried because they're not able to make this last longer. Well, that somehow got me feeling like what I'm doing must not be looking at me, because to me it doesn't feel like brief, fleeting glances--it feels like something that's always there, that I usually lose track of because I'm off paying attention to something else, but it's always there and when I look it's there, it doesn't slip away, it's there like it always is. But then again, another thing you say so often is that WE have to each use our own natural intelligence and instincts to figure this out for ourselves, and in my gut I feel like what I'm doing is looking at me, even if it doesn't match this description of fleeting glances that you sometimes mention. I also speculate (of course this is beside the point but it's just kind of fun) that maybe the concerned people you're reassuring by telling them duration doesn't matter are more spiritually trained than I am and more conditioned to be invested in extending the duration of states and so on, so maybe their standards for duration are different than mine.

The other thought I had was, on the one hand I've found your statement about "looking at that which has never changed, since you were a child" really helpful for finding the "sense of me-ness" you talk about, but on the other hand I've also found it interesting (though I don't know how helpful) to look at the flip side of that--that is, in my looking I've come to see that just like I have always been the same, the fear of life has also always been the same (although it produces changing effects). When I look at it, I can see that the fearful undercurrent that now spoils my experience of life feels EXACTLY the same as it did when I was a fearful kid dreading being made fun of by other kids in gym class or getting yelled at by my teachers or whatever. I don't know how helpful it is to look at the fear of life itself, but it does bring me at least some temporary comfort, to look at it and however briefly see it for what it is, to see that it's all kind of a sham because I know the stuff I was so scared of as a kid was really of no consequence, so I see the possibility that all the stuff I'm so scared of now is also of no consequence. When I was a kid, it was the fear itself, not the things I feared, that made me miserable...and I see that to be true now too, although like you always say understanding is just understanding, not the cure. But still, I like understanding...and it encourages me to keep working on the cure.

That's it for now John, no need to reply (although I'm sure you don't have time to anyway); just sending you this in the hope that you find some enjoyment or something of use in hearing yet another iteration of how this is working out for another person out there.

Love and gratitude always,



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