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Does anybody know this?

Hi everybody. Something new happened. It was quite sudden. It is a shift in perspective. There is a distance to life. I can see clearly the flaws of others and myself. By flaws I mean that compulsory action people developed to cope, and the distortions that came with that. It creates ugliness. This distance and calmness means I feel much more free and clearer. The downside is that I lost empathy and patience. This change is still very fresh - not sure whether it will last. It feels so different because I was quite the opposite before, very driven. So did this happen to anybody else?

This is good news. My advice to you is that you wait a while to define what you are seeing now.

Best to just pay attention to the simple nature of your experience and decline to attend to ideas about what it is or what it means.

And please let me know as things unfold.

John

Hi Cytex,

I recognize much of what you say, although it's difficult to say if some of the things you describe are just personality traits in me. I certainly see flaws in others and myself very clearly, haha. The theory behind looking seems to explain a lot of the behavior around and thus point out many flaws, but I don't believe it alone explains the clarity. The distortions look more pronounced these days, and so does ugliness. My distance, though, is of the variety that comes from not feeling connected, perhaps. I suppose that is different from what you're describing. Your distance sounds like a result of your former motivations or drives being in the process of becoming dislodged...?

Calmness has been growing, and perhaps some loss of empathy has occurred as well.

John, your advice to just observe the happenings as such and not to give too much credit to explanations sounds like the way to go. I imagine ideas about it can still be reactionary or part of the old defense, or just plain too premature and undeveloped to grasp what's going on.

Seppo - Your distance sounds like a result of your former motivations or drives being in the process of becoming dislodged...?

Calmness has been growing, and perhaps some loss of empathy has occurred as well.

John, your advice to just observe the happenings as such and not to give too much credit to explanations sounds like the way to go. I imagine ideas about it can still be reactionary or part of the old defense, or just plain too premature and undeveloped to grasp what's going on.

John and Seppo, thank you very much. This is good advice. I will refrain from analyzing. But indeed it seems, as you correctly suggest Seppo, that I was connecting too much before, to the extent that I lost myself.

Currently, this old pattern is back, but some cycling between the states can be expected before the issue dissolves, I guess - but I am analyzing alreadysmily

Cytex, the analyzing is not a problem, either, but it probably doesn't make any difference to state that.

In the last couple of days I've observed a lot of the said impatience in myself (and it takes me by surprise at times), and a kind of crystal clarity in seeing the basic picture of other people's struggles and troubles that makes me think I'm being arrogant or patronizing. But I can't help that my perspective on these thing has changed, and I'm quite convinced. My regret is that I can't persuade a suffering friend whose web of confusion is now explained, to take the act and see what happens. But I've even become better at handling her pain, and not drawn as down with it as I used to. Or I bounce back quicker.

The calmness side feels almost like lethargy sometimes. Where you once reacted with alarm, now you don't, or do, but less, and it feels strange. But it's just that the vocabulary to describe these things comes from explaining the old and the subtlety of difference can get lost, if you hang on to the explanations, it seems.

Actually, during the recovery, attending to analysis or any other psychological habit of relation to arising experience can prolong it.

During this time, the very best that can be done is to exercise and become skillful in your authority over your attention, and the best way to start is with the practice of focused attention. I cannot stress this enough.

I am going to devote the next webinar to a comprehensive discussion of the recovery.

Thanks for clearing that out. Analysis, interpretation, conceptualizing etc. seem to be quite automatic reflexes to experience but I try not to make those into a problem, which would only add another layer. Trying not can be another problem. Most things used to be a problem. Some still are. The mind does what it does and having another opinion about it's operation doesn't seem to help, but the intention is to be add another action (focused attention) that slowly cultivates those out of the patch?

I guess moving attention away from them is not demonizing them. Which used to be another knee jerk reaction to me to things seen as harmful. No habitual relating to experience sounds beautiful, though.

If the focused attention exercise is the start, is there a next step? Is there a benefit to prolonging the time of each exercise session of focused attention and adding more of them to your day? The more the better?

So far I don't perceive awful lot of immediately recognizable effects in daily life coming out of the practice, but perhaps they are subtle and cumulative. Are there any signs to look for to discern progress?

I must admit that I'm very bad at focusing and not being able to count much higher than 5 without being distracted. Depending on what counts as distraction. I also do kind of micro-focusing lasting a breath or two when it occurs to my mind. This seems to draw me out of thought and kind of neutralize the mind but it's not much of an exercise. I guess the point is to exercise your attention muscle, and perhaps learn or internalize a thing or two in the process?

It takes practice over time to become skilled at controlling your attention, and it is that skill that you are after. The purpose of the practice is to strengthen and clarify that skill, and once that skillfulness is had, you will use your attention to gain authority over the experience of your life.

There is much confusion about the recovery and the purpose of the focused attention. Please consider attending the webinar on April 25th - we are offering it free to all registered forum members.

You'll be receiving another email soon with the link to register for free.

Be well,

Johh

Yeah... This is the habit of the mind to immediately interpret and label everything that's going on inside or out. "The loss of empathy" I feel is one of them. "You should feel..., you're cold now!" Things like this are coming up quite often. But you can't trust it, you know. I think you can see the difference if you are really honest inwardly.

And, John, Thank You! You are one of the best that there is, pointing out that there is only one and profoundly simple I. Everything says "I."

John, Is there anything that can be said about what that skillfulness would look like in daily life? Perhaps that could be included in the discussion.

I don't quite see yet what's involved and where precisely is the skill needed. There is the field of thoughts and emotions appearing in the mind and attention operating on autopilot jumping from one object to the next, so choosing the object is one where I can see room for skill. The mind seems to operate like an internet browser. One click produces a drop down menu for next choice and so on. Recovery period could be the gradual disappearance of certain pages and menus while skill at attention teaches your eyes to find the relevant links for going forward and ignoring the rest. Along with an idea where you want to go in the first place. (?).

I mean to attend the webinar but the Gotowebinar software doesn't support my Safari browser anymore, which is a old version from -09. My Mac would probably need a hardware update for the latest OS, and that's tricky at the moment. But I guess I can install another browser and the software to go with it.

estonianguy, I've received some "you're cold" comments, too, but it's obvious that those are misunderstandings. It's not loss of empathy, but just seeing now the silly little thing that keeps people in their mire and having the solution to it. The whole suffering issue looks almost trivial from this perspective.

I hope you can make it to the webinar. This is exactly the kind of conversation I'm looking for.

Thank you,

John

I would love an invitation to the webinar.

Dear Gavin, thank you for your interest in joining the April 25 webinar about The Period of Recovery. Please check your email for a message from us with the registration link. See you this Saturday!

Thank you, Carla

I'm glad I attended the webinar! I see my mind as a messy closet filled with old useless junk that doesn't serve me or the world around me. Having such a simple practice of practicing focused attention gives me confidence that there IS way to clean out the junk!

Thank you John & Carla for your simple message!

I'm wondering though if there is a way to do this while driving? I spend 12-14 hours a day behind the wheel & would LOVE to use that time for mind healing work. Any suggestions?

I'm wondering though if there is a way to do this while driving? I spend 12-14 hours a day behind the wheel & would LOVE to use that time for mind healing work. Any suggestions?

For me, driving is one of the best places to be immersed in the act of focusing attention or looking inwards. only your mind can say otherwise. look out at the road ahead of you and then, your self, and then the road ahead. feel the energy in your hands on the steering wheel. watch the views flashing past in the countryside or city.... all takes your attention.

Just a question but is it really flaws that you see or is it just the reality of you? After a 10 day vipassana retreat which is very similar to "just one look," I noticed that for the first time in my life I was seeing things around me as they were. At the police station I watched a woman who was mired in a dispute with a domestic issue. My old first instinct would have been to wait and offer her help. As I watched her this time, I saw that she was in the middle of a situation that she was co-creating and because she did not ask for help, I let her go her own way to handle it as she saw fit. For me it was a growth space, I have a stronger understanding that I can't fix or save anyone. All I can do is hold space while they figure things out for themselves. My intrusion if unrequested could prolong the learning curve. I tell my kids "life is too short to make all the mistakes yourself so pay attention to other people too." Perhaps one of the benefits of being a bit past middle age is seeing this and accepting the world as it is as opposed to how I rather it be. Once we accept the reality that is we can allow it to change in it's own time.

 

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