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Can looking dissolve all my fear?

I have stumbled across this website. May I say I've only watched & listened to John Sherman for around 20-30 minutes. I've tried taking a look at myself. No amazing results yet, but I do accept what is being said, however for me, it' s still just a potential profound break-away from fear. I know a lot about anxiety, and consequent depression, to the point of feeling suicidal. Can looking (with quiet, focused attention) really dissolve away all my fear?

Hi anonymous,

Welcome to the forum. If you browse this forum you will find that there are many of us who know a lot about anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings, including me. And many who have found a relief and significant lessening of those after a while. Keep reading here, John's blog and texts, and listening to John's webinars and podcasts, and you'll find answers and gain a picture of what is going on.

I'd like to point you to consider the difference between fear as a feeling and fear of life as John defines it regarding the work here. Fear of life is the context that the initial scare early in your life pushes your mind into, to put distance between yourself and whatever happens in your mind and outside yourself. This overall context is set at that moment which then shapes your mind into a collection of twisted responses and dysfunctional coping mechanisms.

The context you can't see, smell, hear of sense in any other way, but you experience all the various fears that resulted from this little mistake. Your anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts examples of this among many others, and are natural consequences of the erroneous context you grew up with.

So there's the original fear or scare which is brief and quickly fades, the fearful context after that, and the fears that result from the way you try to cope with this perceived hostility in your life, which are your companions now.

You can expect the latter to dissolve over time, if not vanish altogether. Excepting the fear as a necessary and intelligent biological reflex which is always in response a real threat.

There's no need to expect any amazing results after looking. I didn't experience any, though some do. But you can expect to be amazed one day when it dawns on you how much your life has gradually changed over time.

This is how I understand it, anyway.

I don't really know the ultimate answer to your question. My own experience has been that I don't stress as much about things as I used to. There are still many dysfunctional patterns in my life and behavior. Outwardly my life hasn't gotten any better. However it feels lighter and things are easier to take. Even when there are uncomfortable feelings like anxiety, stress and fear (which occur mostly in acute situations nowadays, compared to stressing about future things which I used to do) or physical pain, they aren't as bad as they used to be.


Hi anonymous,

There's no need to expect any amazing results after looking. I didn't experience any, though some do. But you can expect to be amazed one day when it dawns on you how much your life has gradually changed over time.

I'd say the same thing. Don't expect this to work like a magic pill. It simply takes time. Besides, you don't even know if this works. So just try it and see if anything happens. According to John one look is enough, so no need to stress about it. Personally I've looked pretty much but don't really know if it has done any difference in the long term, but I find it interesting and also calming. I'd also recommend the attention training as it's a pretty useful skill to have.

Hello, and thankyou for replying. Ive chosen the user name Fearless. Kind of ironic ey ?

All i can truthfully say at the moment, is that i think? that im understanding what you have both written but am doing so only with my intellect and even then , by say approx 70 to 85%.

However i believe that what John's alluding to is something very beautiful & profound but at the same time actually quite simple & ordinary and which is beyond the intellect & is an entirely experiential thing, very similar to what Eckhart Tolle is writing about in his book ' The Power of Now ' if not the exact same thing

I believe i know the difference between fear of a real threat to my life (eg being attacked by a vicious dog ) and the on going irrational fear of being anxious all the time especially where im basically terrified that once other people find out that im very anxious / depressed then they simply will ' drift away ' from me and not bother with me. My coping mechanism is to avoid, avoid avoid which only reinforces my twisted, dysfunctional but none-the-less very painful feelings of isolation, lonliness etc etc . . . . ad neuseum

But i take your point Seppo, about the very early context of my life and circumstances which may well have activated my erroneous response ever since.

And no, Kismie i dont expect it to work like a magic pill but that means there's a hurt child still wanting very much to be healed.

Good to see you here fearless. Take some time before you try to understand what we are doing here. It is much more simple than you might imagine, and has nothing in common with Eckhart Tolle's work other than some vocabulary which is used differently here than there. Just don't concern yourself with these matters for now.

You might find some help in the webinar this coming Saturday in which I will speak about the recovery from fear. Attendance is free for forum members, but you probably did not register here until after the notices went out.

In which case, you can use this url to register free of charge:


Please do not give this url to anyone else.

Welcome to Just One Look.

John Sherman

To be honest with you, the fear is still here. (is it less tham before ?) No, I don't think it is. This is my honest to hod truth. Been doing the looking hardcore for almost a year now, no change that I can see. Even though this is supposed to be simple and "if you try you can't fail" type of thing, either this looking fundamentally is misguided or I've missed the mark completely, even though I've inquired in depth beforehand how to accomplish it. My landlady (money grubbing bitch from hell, she's Peruvian) raised my rent two times in the same month and is all over me because I took in a friend that would be homeless if I didn't. She claims the bills went up, but when I ask to see the light bill or the water bill she flat out refuses, as if I'm too below her to see the bills. It's the law, she needs to show me the bill, when she raises the rent. I can't call the cops because it's a liberal progressive area and the cops don't like caucasians (don't believe me ?, come to south florida and live here.for a while). And she comes from a poor bumfuck part of peru, (i have friends from peru who told me) where it's desperately poor, and the peasants are the most ignorant. But I guess if you male it to America, you're queen of everything, and can abuse americans at will. You wouldn't believe the things she tried on me (like trying to make my private bathroom into apublic bathroom, and I pay the highest rent in the whole house complex !) I guess that's how they do it in peru. Long story short, I don't think the looking has made a significant impact on my reaction to these injustices. Because I'm moving out soon. Yes, my choice, but I know they'd try to kick me out anyway. Renting is an evil of this civilization. At the root of it is money, and our addiction to money, and ownership, which gives people the excuse for untold violence against innocent people. All apes have a stable and guaranteed place to live and sleep , on this planet, except human beings forced into poverty. I'd rather be an orangutang myself, I hear they live serene and peaceful lives, when not wracked with the desire and competition for mating.

I am really getting curious now. I did the looking this week , and now a few times a day. It felt a bit weird , but can it really have such big consequences ? we'll see smily

Strange how something we see all the time can appear odd when we look for it. Like John says, we need not understand, just look.

OK, stupid question. Anxiety seems to come up stronger and longer, however, I have begun to see that these episodes force me out of my perceived life and stillness is the only way to cope. It is a little inconvenient at times having to check out. Focused attention definately soothes, but am I supposed to continue to look? I find the looking at myself soothing as well. A little confused about the looking. I did the looking in July, had a brief respite, then bam! I think I am on the fast track! Will continuing the looking help?

When I previously read and heard [a spiritual teacher] urge us to dis-identify with the mind it resonated in me as truthful stuff but I always tried to use my mind to change the identification. Never really worked. Looking works. The mechanism, always ready to add something, quickly added that this is inline with the teaching. Blah, blah, blah. Fine and dandy. The looking is the medicine. I think [he] experienced something in his life that was a looking equivalent but he is unable to lead us there. We listen because he is closer to truth than most of us but he cannot get us there.


You have hit the nail on the head BradleyP.

Can you also see that this is equally true for pretty much all of the authentic helpers that have come our way over the thousands of years that we have been self-conscious and seeking liberation from the misery of our minds? Just as you describe it.

To my mind, all of them experienced something in their lives that was a looking equivalent but none were able to lead us there.

We are close to finishing an updated version of Meeting Ramana which is based on the edited transcriptions of an intensive we had in 2002. This ebook is a presentation of what we see to be the case regarding those teachings.


P.S. We have a long-standing rule against naming current teachers in any realm related to human mental misery, so I have omitted the name of the teacher you are referring to.

It's not at all a stupid question Donnamarie.

All our lives we have been operating on the assumption that the solution to the anxiety we experience is to find or create a different state, one of ease of being, or stillness. We think we need to be soothed, when what we really need is full engagement in the wildness of life as a human being.

The treasure that is unlocked when we can see clearly the actual state of the present moment of our life, and have mastered the ability to determine for ourselves what needs our attention and what does not, so as to direct our attention to that which is fruitful and away from that which is miserable, is priceless. This ability will serve us and strengthen our true relationship with our lives for as long as we live.

Focused attention can be soothing, but that is a mere side effect. Looking at yourself is even more soothing and refreshing, but it offers no practical help on how to develop and understand our power to bring sanity and continuous satisfaction to our relationship with life.

The only real point in the directed attention exercise is to strengthen and clarify the power we have to decide for ourselves what does and what does not need or deserve our attention.

Thank you for being with us in this work.


P.S. Whether you have already seen this or not, please read and try to follow the instructions here:


Yes, these teachers actually feed the mind. Nothing intentional. We think we're on track towards something but feel distant and fake in our own approach when we're honest with ourselves. Maybe because nothing really changes. You tell us the one thing to do and step out of the way. Thank you.

John has said the fear goes quickly after just one look. However, as life continues to arise without the lens of fear, it may for a moment be a bit startling. One of the most startling thoughts that may continue is "I can't quite believe I am fear free''--even while you are only me now. Yes even "doubt" now arises not in fear. After just one look you are fearless or, as John says, you do not have the capacity to deny your life. We simply are unable to return to fear. Once you get a grip on this, then this your life presently is in a word, outstanding--or make it so. You know John went from shooting people and robbing banks to growing vegetables in a garden with Carla. Obviously it is possible to be considerate of our life as well.

Your next to last sentence made me laugh. I have a vision of John chasing Carla around the garden with a bandana over his face. Just for fun.

Hi ...

Today I listened to John on You Tube where he talks about how "the looking wipes out the false idea you are in danger in this life."..I am many years into this process and have heard these words very often but hadn't really connected with this it seemed so impossible.Anyway all good I did the looking and carried on with life..today I really felt so humbled and grateful to live this experience as very solid in me. I definitely can assure you that slowly over time I seem to have left behind this personality built on fear and perceived danger at every turn. as a child I had a recurring nightmare of clouds folding in on me and I couldn't escape . I was raised in a very chaotic environment which led to depression and very deep anxiety etc. then when I discovered spiritual teachings I immersed myself completely always seeking a safe place to land. What is interesting to me now is to be totally on my own and really okay with whatever comes..its simple and it works.

That is so good to hear. I feel a great sense of calmness and gratitude in what you wrote. Thank you for sharing as your experience encourages me ( and I'm sure others) to let the looking do its thing. Yeah, I know, not the best explanation of it but you know what I mean. Peace.


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