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Still Confused After Years

What is the difference between this looking and the looking at the sense "I am" of Nisargadatta? If I knew that maybe I would be clearer as to what to do exactly.

As it happens, we have written about this very question. Please let me know if this helps by replying here. Good to see you here.

https://www.justonelook.org/look/difference

Thanks for the reply. When I first came across you on Youtube, which was at least 5-6 years ago, I had been doing self-inquiry for about three or four years. I did the looking at "me" quite often. If I recall correctly I could say that certain aspects of my life improved, especially the fear of the future. But the underlying fear of life and my deep insecurity in relationships has not changed at all. Also in the past few months I have sunk into a deep despondency about all this searching, with a very intense feeling that I have wasted the past 10 years of my life looking for "freedom" from fear and for enlightenment and that I have missed out on what was going on around me because I was caught up in this search. I also feel completely out of touch with the people around me. But at the same time I know I can't just turn back and go back out into the world as if nothing happened and make everything as it was before. Maybe I'm in the recovery phase without realizing it?

andymurph

Thanks for the reply. When I first came across you on Youtube, which was at least 5-6 years ago, I had been doing self-inquiry for about three or four years. I did the looking at "me" quite often...

I can't tell from this whether you think that Self-Inquiry is the same as what we call looking at yourself.

If not, if you know that Self-Inquiry is not what we are speaking about, then it is quite possible that you are experiencing aspects of the recovery, and I advise you to go here:

www.justonelook.org/look/thelooking

And here:

www.justonelook.org/look/attention

Please let me know.

=============================================

On the other hand, if you are supposing that Self Inquiry and the looking two names for essentially the same, let me know and we can consider it together, but first please read this first:

www.justonelook.org/look/difference

As I remember , ( if I'm right, not sure) I think I looked at myself 5 years ago. The feeling or sensation in my core was of being at rest and awareness of myself which lasted maybe a few months. Four years ago the rug was pulled from under my feet and I went through a lot of circumstances which I was in no control of. Issues of trauma came to the surface Ultimately after 4 years I had some understanding of my patterns. In these four years I went through a lot but the fear was less. Now I am experiencing a circumstance that is bringing up intense fear and anxiety that I feel knots in my stomach. I pray all the time and am trying to watch my breath and read your forms which I feel I am doing because I am desperate not to feel this fear and anxiety. Any advise? Have I actually looked at myself? Am I in recovery?

For 2 to 3 years up to my recent discovery of John's work I gave a lot of attention to one of the spiritual teachers. I regularly tried his process of 'going into me' along with his meditation techniques but this was following my biggest emotional crisis and subsequent depression which I am now thankfully out of. The context of his teachings appealed to me and I felt the truth was there, and I did feel right in the moments of practice, but I could never find recovery in my life. If anything I found my experience of daily fear and anxiety worse than ever and I was isolating myself more than ever. However, having now tried looking at myself as John describes I am quietly confident that I am going to be ok. It may take time for my life to straighten out, but the journey is on!

Jyotika, I don't have any real advice other than this process takes unpredictable twists and turns and hang on. You can practice focused attention. I do this through Qi Gong practice, but there are simpler ways. You might also want to contact John directly. I believe he still does this through email, phone or Skype. Best wishes and know you are not alone in this.

jyotika

As I remember , ( if I'm right, not sure) I think I looked at myself 5 years ago. The feeling or sensation in my core was of being at rest and awareness of myself which lasted maybe a few months. Four years ago the rug was pulled from under my feet and I went through a lot of circumstances which I was in no control of. Issues of trauma came to the surface Ultimately after 4 years I had some understanding of my patterns. In these four years I went through a lot but the fear was less. Now I am experiencing a circumstance that is bringing up intense fear and anxiety that I feel knots in my stomach. I pray all the time and am trying to watch my breath and read your forms which I feel I am doing because I am desperate not to feel this fear and anxiety. Any advise? Have I actually looked at myself? Am I in recovery?

Maybe look at yourself now if you have doubts? Then you have looked and that's that. And after that, I personally think that therapies and other methods can be very useful. My own experience has been that the looking put (probably :D) into motion some slow background process which seems to work wonders. But it's slow. And other practices (therapies, movement practices, medication, meditation, whatever works for you) can truly help in the process. So perhaps try something instead of just waiting for the looking to cure you?

I think that one of the traps into which you can get (especially if you come from spiritual background) is waiting for the looking to rid you of emotional discomfort. Like a magic pill after which you don't need to feel fear and anxiety. So you wait for the looking to work and push away the discomfort. But instead what I have found to work is to go into that discomfort and actively face and get to know it. In fact, I even have a feeling that the looking precisely facilitates that in the long term. Because one of the biggest differences for me now compared to before the looking is a much bigger capacity to face emotional and physical discomfort.

So, my advice would be to look again, and then just forget about the looking. And try something else instead of waiting for it to save you. Though, keep doing the focused attention exercise, because that is a helpful skill.

jyotika

Have I actually looked at myself? Am I in recovery?

Welcome to the forums jyotika! Happy to see you here smily

There's no real way of knowing for sure but present consensus regarding succeeding or failing in performing the act looking of at yourself is that key to it all is intent. If you have looked with the intent to get a sense of the feeling of me then you have most likely succeeded. After all it's you. Also remember that doubt is nothing to worry about, it can't hurt you. Neither can the knots, the fear and the anxiety even though they suck. Ultimately they can't hurt you either. You're are right here, always.

Practicing focused attention, just the way John has instructed on the justonelook website, has helped me more than I can express and I recommend it to you too. Do this practice as a means to an end and not necessarily to combat negative emotion. If it helps that's great, but in the end what you are after is self-reliance in determining what needs and what doesn't need your attention and I have found no activity better at achieving this than this practice. So do it whenever you think of it, you can't invest your time in anything better.

It is not always easy, but hang in there and keep at it, don't be discouraged by your frustration. At times I can't even get past one full cycle before my mind has wandered off to god knows where. And here's my little tip for those days: I have found it helps to do some really long and deep breath cycles, like ten seconds or more per semi-cycle so there is virtually no cessation of the sensations of air flowing through the nostrils and the body, giving plenty of "stuff" to focus on. After a while of doing those I find it easier to go to "normal mode" so to speak and focus on the breath as it flows in and out naturally. Attention really works like a muscle and it feels really awkward to flex it at first, similar trying to flick your middle toe or an isolated facial muscle or something. Well not exactly but it's awkward at first anyway but trust me it gets easier. Hang in there and keep at it!

Frank Roberts

For 2 to 3 years up to my recent discovery of John's work I gave a lot of attention to one of the spiritual teachers. I regularly tried his process of 'going into me' along with his meditation techniques but this was following my biggest emotional crisis and subsequent depression which I am now thankfully out of. The context of his teachings appealed to me and I felt the truth was there, and I did feel right in the moments of practice, but I could never find recovery in my life. If anything I found my experience of daily fear and anxiety worse than ever and I was isolating myself more than ever. However, having now tried looking at myself as John describes I am quietly confident that I am going to be ok. It may take time for my life to straighten out, but the journey is on!

It must be so frustrating being free from the fear and trying to "teach" people out of it. I can see why the teachers are doing it. The fear of life and its symptoms is evident all around and holding everyone hostage, constantly reminding us of its presence. It makes sense for the will to help out to arise naturally in a mind free from the grip of the fear. I'm happy you found the looking and that you find it helpful Frank.

Thank you Frank, Jack and Roed. A few days ago I started practicing focused attention, I am finding that harder than looking at myself because the mind wonders a lot and it is difficult to focus on the breath. Whereas when I look at myself I feel calm and experience Presence, I experience I am Here!. The outer circumstances are taking there own course and I experience fear. Amidst the fear my attention goes to looking at myself.

jyotika it's great that you are noticing how difficult it is because then you are probably doing it right. Remember that every time you notice your mind has wandered is a success, not a failure. Keep at it, again and again, don't be discouraged smily

Nothing wrong with doing the looking either of course if it's comforting. Like John says, if you have a headache take an aspirin! But it's probably not as effective for focused attention practice as the breath. In the end though you should stick to what works for you.

Kismie,

Your advice to do the looking and forget about the looking is spot on! If the looking works, it works first time, so you might as well continue to try and enjoy your life instead of wait around in misery like I did. And like you say, try other methods when it comes to deal with all the discomfort, what ever works for you.

I was thinking the other day, maybe if I had been tricked by someone to look, the journey could of been smoother, as maybe, I'd of tried other ways of relieving the suffering in the meantime. Not that I am ungrateful smily I'm glad I had the desperation and therefore the intent needed to see what John was pointing too a few years back, when i felt completely lost in my life.

Thanks for the encouragement Roed smily. I have noticed I am going more towards focused attention, sometimes I will do the looking. I spoke to John about a year or so ago and he said I should put the timer on for 10 minutes a day and focus on the breath. I did that for a little bit and got more into reiki and theta healing. Reiki and Theta healing have been great tools for the past few years in healing. What I notice now is I am questioning this fear of life (maybe because of my present circumstance) now I feel more open to focused attention. Again it maybe because I want to be free of this fear. Spiritual teachers say to invite whatever is coming up internally, not to try to get rid of or fix. I think this is where I need some clarification.

Hi John if you read this could you reply please. What am I trying to achieve by focused attention? I know there is fear. Am I trying to get rid of fear? Thanks.

In the beginning, the time of recovery can seem like coming out of a terrible nightmare with the vestiges of the sensations and moods and thoughts about the sensations and moods of the nightmare still alive, but now seen from a short distance. The energies of distrust and menace that the fear disease created remain for a while, and will continue to generate fearful and confusing thought forms, some of which are interesting, and even beautiful. They can even seem to be just what you need to be finished.

But attractive or ugly, attending to them -no matter with love or hate-prolongs and stunts the recovery.

I know this to be true by comparing my time in recovery, when I knew almost nothing about what was happening to me, with the ever-growing body of reports from those who have tried to approach the recovery with the directed attention method we recommend.

And the difference is profound and fundamental.

So my advice now, and in the future, is to spend as much time as possible in the deliberate effort to put your attention on the neutral sensation of breathing, and hold it there for as long as you can.

Whenever you can, practice declining to attend to spontaneously appearing thought forms, no matter whether they come with whips and chains or sweet kisses of insight and understanding.

Keep in mind the simple and easily confirmed reality that you have no power over anything other than choosing for yourself to what you will or will not attend. Remember: what you attend to is nourished by your attention and what you decline to feed with your attention wilts and falls away on its own.

This is probably the most radical and powerful insight that arises in a mind free of neurotic fear.

Remember too that all will come out the same in the end, whether you decide to develop your authority over your attention or not. But if you don't, you will be missing out on the greatest opportunity the recovery offers you.

So I strongly urge you-and everyone else who reads this-to use the time of recovery to develop skill and strength in the fundamental power you do have to determine for yourself what deserves your attention.

There is nothing at all to be gained by a return to the old habit of preferring beauty to plainness, and deep understanding to common sense. And there is certainly no reason to try to get rid of the fear disease - it is already gone. Only its foot soldiers remain, and they will fade away sooner than you might think.

Thank you John, your message is so direct and clears the confusion. I have brought focused attention in my daily life. I did send you an email, hope you got it. Thank you and Carla for this work you are doing.

This is interesting and profound, John. I've heard this from you before but it's always a good reminder. To me thought forms are life. I feel I have no other life than thought forms. I live in thoughts. Declining to attend to them feels like declining life. The idea makes me uncomfortable.

Attention training is very hard work. But I can see it can be kind of exciting and generate it's own motivation and energy if you start to see where it leads. In my case, I mostly imagine it, but believe it can be true; the skill of seeing where to put your attention at any point and seeing the whole map of your mind, and starting to see the reward in dropping old dysfunctional thinking patterns, the excitement of learning about how to manage your life best etc.

I enjoy creative thoughts popping up and leading to new things, and get depressed by habits of fear mongering going on in my mind. Which is what wakes me up to attending to my breath. Is this is what you refer to when saying "there is nothing at all to be gained by a return to the old habit of of preferring beauty to plainness..."?

Seppo

To me thought forms are life. I feel I have no other life than thought forms. I live in thoughts.

Seppo, this is funny, to me it is entirely different. Sensations are the core of life. Thoughts come later. They are like critics of yesterdays play.

Seppo

I enjoy creative thoughts popping up and leading to new things, and get depressed by habits of fear mongering going on in my mind. Which is what wakes me up to attending to my breath. Is this is what you refer to when saying "there is nothing at all to be gained by a return to the old habit of of preferring beauty to plainness..."?

I recommend downloading today's online meeting one it is available if you didn't attend it, precisely this was discussed thoroughly and clearly and I can't properly repeat it. But I think it is meant just as it is spelled out: There is nothing to gain from choosing what you enjoy over plain or depressing things, it is not what practicing authority over your attention is about.

I too have become lost at sea, and have endured some very 'dark nights of the soul'. I confess I often forget or remain asleep when it comes to looking, and this has me feeling like a failure. I know I am not a failure, but these thoughts arise and haunt me. Maybe its time to start all over again !

Last night, or early this morning, I went into the front room and had a beautiful experience when looking. So all is not lost ! Maybe my interest in the esoteric confuses me. The mind is a battlefield at times.

 

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