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The recovery process

Dear John,

I have a question for you about the recovery process. I've been Looking since October of this year, and here's my question:

I am worried that I am not strong enough in my body to hear of the pain and suffering that others are carrying without becoming sick myself.

I say this because of two recent events where I became quite ill. At Thanksgiving, we visited with family and then drove to Marblehead, MA where we stayed with one of my husband's closets friends, his wife and little boy.

During the time we were there, the wife told me about the painful difficulties in her current life, and they resonated with me and I felt very sad for her.

When I got home I became ill, and now am recovering from pneumonia. This happened to me last year too when my husband and I visited one of his friends in Doha, and the wife there also told me of all her unhappiness, and I became very ill the next day and had to stay in bed during the rest of the vacation.

So, during this current illness, I've continued Looking — or paying attention to Me — as often as possible. I can see that I am fine, and that there is not a problem. This illness is something that is coming and going.

And I believe you will tell me that hearing the sufferings of others did not bring on this illness and that my sensitivity to suffering will just disappear as I continue to look. Have I got that right?

John, I very much want to help in bringing Just One Look to the ROW, and I feel that right now, my body is experiencing the fear of life — and all I must do is continue Looking.

Thank you for any thoughts you may have on this.

With great love,

Dawn

The physical reaction to the misery of others results from strong fearful resistance to that misery, but you already know that. And you also know that the fearful resistence to misery will itself soon fall away, I think this is what you mean when you say:

"... the sufferings of others did not 'bring on' this illness"

and that

"my 'sensitivity' to suffering will just disappear as I continue to look"

and that

"... I feel that right now, my body is experiencing the fear of life".

There are some simple meditation techniques such as mindfulness meditation and mental relaxation practices where you try to relax into the resisted experience, that might be helpful and analgesic in the short term. But the looking can be depended upon to do its work one way or another, and sanity and satisfaction with your life will dawn in you sooner than you might think.

It might be helpful for you to look for the absence of misery where you would expect misery, and to notice that the intensity of the experience of existence is growing stronger as the imagined distance between you and your life is shrinking. It is that falling away of the wall of fear that allows you to feel even the pain of neurotic resistance with greater force than before. There is nothing to fear.

Thank you,

John

Dear John,

Thank you so much for your words of comfort. This fearful resistance to misery has been with me for almost (almost!) my whole life. But you are so right, I can see clearly the space between now, the space that is always present--me, where there is no misery at all.

Last night, as you suggested, I practiced "mindfulness meditation and mental relaxation practices where I tried to relax into the resisted experience," mostly I did the breathing you suggest. It is very helpful.

And John, I wanted to clarify something you said: "to notice that the intensity of the experience of existence is growing stronger as the imagined distance between you and your life is shrinking. It is that falling away of the wall of fear that allows you to feel even the pain of neurotic resistance with greater force than before." By this, do you mean that a "strongly felt event," such as this pneumonia/illness in the body can appear and seem to be more powerful to me as this distance between me and my life is shrinking? As in, the dramas of life may have a greater force and feel more "real" or "Technicolor/3D" because of the shrinking of this distance?

I've been thru this kind of rediscovery before John, but never before from the clarity of knowing I am the one Looking. Before in my life, as you said on Saturday, I was still trying to fix/change/reimage something in my life. This way, Looking, is experiencing my life from a totally clear, open, nondiscrimatory place -- with no changes needed! And this is the happiness that I am feeling, even in the midst of my body feeling unwell.

Thank you again John. I send you my very best.

With love,

Dawn

 

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