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recovery process

Dear John and Carla,

I am so happy to report that after years of searching for something that made sense to me, I feel like I have found it in the simple act of looking. I have been very earnestly doing this for the last couple of months or more and I can see that some changes have happened. the first time I looked, was very radical for me. I saw the me that has always been there , the same me that was there when I was a child. this was very immediate and obvious and followed by a sort of high. ofcourse that passed.

I feel that now, I am in recovery . A lot of buried issues and unease are surfacing. However I find that my response to these is a lot different from before. there is a sense that this too will pass, and when I look, I am always always here. Very often, this brings tears to my eyes, because it is so beautiful to finally feel like I am home. this is home.

I have waited for my soul mate all my life, and now it feels like the beloved has always been right here. That sounds mystical but it feels very right. I find that my need for a life partner is just not there any more, my need for completion from another source is dissolving. My beliefs about that have dissolved but I didnt actually work on them during this time. The looking seems to have done that. I know because I have worked on these difficult beliefs for many years to no avail.

I hope I am not being impetuous or hasty about declaring these things. But I am so grateful to you both for this gift. Even if these things come back to visit, I know they cant actually harm me in any way.

A big issue in my life has been that of envy. How is envy related to fear of life? Is it that we fear that someone else has a better life or that something else should be coming my way instead of this which is happening? I am not so clear on that and would be very very grateful for your insights.

I deeply resonate with the looking and hope I can tell more people about this if they care to listen.

Much love and thanks,


Hi Aabha,

Thank you for posting your report of the looking. I too find myself in the midst of the recovery process and yet able to notice some remarkable changes. I feel like I'm home even though I continue to do the looking. If I were putting this "medicine" in a package I'd have a tough time trying to explain such an effect on the label...maybe something like "Symptoms may continue for a time but the medicine has already done it's work, so just keep on taking it when it occurs to you."

I am still stunned from time to time when I realize that I somehow stumbled across this suggestion.

I hope everyone who is involved in the looking, and is so inclined, is able to tell others about it. It seems that, like John has mentioned, if explained clearly and simply enough you can't help but try it. And it also seems that once you try it you try it again.

Nice to meet you here in this conversation about going sane.


Nice to meet you too, david, and thanks!

John, the question I asked about how envy fits into the fear of life, kind of answered itself. It is a misunderstanding, part of the symptoms.

I understand why you make such an attempt to explain that looking at you is different than looking for some abstraction of I am or consciousness. I tried explaining this to a friend on the spiritual path and he was unable to grasp this because he kept thinking he had to look at the I am. Looking at you is such a simple act that people think, that cant be it!

With gratitude,


The latest update along recovery is that some not so nice things that I thought had disappeared long back have resurfaced. Anxiety, depression and such. After the initial bout of clarity, now this upsurge of painful things that I thought I was done with!

I know john says that its part of recovery, sometimes these things come up. It's so hard to remember that.

It's funny because the looking keeps doing unexpected things, such as while looking these days, I find there is no me as a person as such. As if me was a verb and not a subject. As if there was only perceiving. Is there something that perceives this? Or am I the perceiving of everything?

Has that ever happened to anyone? I am really confused.

All is well. The psychological structures that came into being to protect you from your own life are falling apart, and the experiences associated with that disintegration can be quite unpleasant. It was very painful for me. But the fever will break, and these things will be quickly forgotten.

You must know that such such findings and ideas as that there is no me, and the concern with abstract notions about your nature are beside the point of the looking.

If you think it would be helpful, please write to Carla and ask her to set up a meeting between us.

Thank you,


I found after 5 years of looking that my states didn't change all that much but sometimes seemed exacerbated, whether to the good or to the bad. That was in the first couple of years. They were much clearer, however, and it seemed I could "own" them where before I was more at their effect. Their upwellings were part of the process. I began noticing two things: first, states of confusion, anxiety, resentment and anger didn't last very long. I used to go into my cave for sometimes as much as a couple of days. If I was angry for several hours before, I might be angry for 15 minutes now. Second, it became evident (subtly so) that it was easier and easier to transition. You know what I mean by transitioning. I began paying more attention to that as a matter of curiosity at first and then as a tool to keep up my interest and commitment to doing the work. Now when things upset me or circumstances seem overwhelming or swirling out of control, it's so easy to acknowledge what's happening, know it's going to pass, maybe document in writing what I'm experiencing, take a breather to look to feel what I am, share with others, etc. John has said it many times, but you can take it to the bank that the confusion and obscuration replacing clarity will again be replaced by clarity, and soon you will have even greater clarity as you see how the process unfolds. In other words, you will get it that clarity and confusion are aspects of the same coin and are within the whole. Each crops up from time to time, that's all. You remain, and that's worth the attention you may want to give it instead of always wanting to fix or improve the apparatus.


... but you can take it to the bank that the confusion and obscuration replacing clarity will again be replaced by clarity, and soon you will have even greater clarity as you see how the process unfolds. In other words, you will get it that clarity and confusion are aspects of the same coin and are within the whole. Each crops up from time to time, that's all. You remain, and that's worth the attention you may want to give it instead of always wanting to fix or improve the apparatus.

Well said, Trimpi-–I continuously find this to be the case in my life as well. Clarity, followed by confusion, followed by clarity. Happiness followed by sadness and back again, wellness followed by illness and back again, cloudy days followed by sunny days and back again--such is the nature of life. The pendulum swings back and forth, never allowing me to reside in some peachy-keen preferred state. The apparatus goes about its business like the silver ball in a pinball game--bounced around in an endless arc of reactions to reactions. And the looking always shows that I alone remain.

trimpi - your words pretty much sum my experience as well - I even spoke of prolonged negative states as "the pain cave"... my wife would laugh at the phrasing.

thanks, richard

Wouldn't it be ironic if the peachy-keen state you refer to was the overriding state in which you presently exist? That you were the table upon which the pinball game is being played? Nice metaphors. Trimpi

Still recovering...

Still recovering...

Dear John and all,

After 4 months of looking, its really gotten rough in the past month. I dont know if this is recovery, but I sure hope it is. It seems that every neurotic residue that has been around is coming out of the woodwork. Every single one of them. A lot of issues that I have worked on for years now. They seem to come up and then pass but then something else comes up. I dont know if that is a sign of the gap closing. But I find my old coping mechanisms seem redundant. I have been having some health issues in the last year , but I was very peaceful with all of it. It seems that all that is just gone. I find myself frustrated and unable to look. My physical health has also worsened. I find ways to look, I use the triggers as a reminder to look at me. But it is difficult all the same. Its strange that initially it was so easy to look and it seemed like everything was so much better.

I know John would say, this will pass. But at the moment, I am very frustrated. Just wanted to say it out.

Any suggestions?



Hi Aabha,

My health had also worsened after about 4 months of Looking. There are steps I have been taking to help the situation, and I've really done my best to improve my health. That said, all this is beside the point, as John would say. The recovery process waxes and wanes, from calm times to rough times, and back again. Just notice that YOU haven't changed one iota. You know you are you--nothing has helped or hurt you. Nothing! It doesn't matter if it's easy to look or not, or whether it seems like you are able to or not. The medicine is working on its own. And the frustration and hard times will clear up on their own. The waves of life keep coming and going, and that's how it is. The frustration can't harm you--you see it, and at the same time, you see that it's not you. None of it can touch you--you know you are you. All is well, despite appearances.



Aabha, when you're in the swamp it's as if you'll never get out. That wild horse of a mind you have has to be given its head. Resistance is futile. Maybe you can at least find some peace in the fact that you're here; you exist. What a blessing to exist, no matter what the circumstances. And when you find yourself coming to ground in presence (and you know what I mean by that without thinking about it), look inside. Not expecting to find anything; just to look. Then treat yourself to a good book or a good walk or a good shower or good sex if that's available. By the way, 4 months is nothing. I've been looking more that 4 years. Trimpi


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