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I got John's book last week. Absolutely resonated with me after years of studying nonduality and advaita. I've already recommended it to two friends who LOVE it. I do find the practice pretty addictive. Some days, I'll do several 10 minute breath watching Self Awareness Exercises and, then, go into Looking at Myself. As well as Looking at myself throughout the day - it occurs to me fairly often to do this.
One thing I wanted to mention in regards to listening/watching John's talks. I can see he reads the newspaper and watches the news a lot. The media typically reports on negative things. In this day and age, with the media, internet, and all this technology, it can make it seem like the people in the world are getting worse. But I don't believe that's the case at all. Two hundred years ago, many of the atrocities that happen today, were on a much more widespread scale. We just didn't know about it because we didn't have the technology. The world and people in it are continually evolving - evidenced by this teaching! Don't let the media and technology fool you. And I'm not saying it's a bad thing either to report on negative instances so we can be informed. Our attention should be brought to these things, so we can help to do something about it. We just have to keep the proper perspective in all of this. This is just by non-biased view - I really have no care one way or other if the world/people are destroying themselves.. I've had plenty of mystical experiences and absolutely no fear of crossing over. All the very best, Lex
Welcome Ljazztrm! Always a pleasure seeing a new name posting in here I have some thoughts on the past, now, and the future that I'd like to share to whomever is up for reading. Thanks for bringing it up!
I agree we are in a much better time now than in times past in almost every physical way. A common person today lives even better than kings of past times. Not much more than one hundred years ago water was believed to make you sick (and it probably did a most of the time), a pneumonia would probably kill you, as many as one of five babies would die at birth. Today more people in the world suffer from obesity than hunger. I can eat a rich fruit salad for breakfast, a delicious soup with all the nutrients for lunch and roast beef for supper with ice cream for desert, every day of the week if I want all in exchange for a minimum amount of work if I'm careful. The rest of the time I can spend entertaining myself with whatever I like, maybe call my buddy for a chat on the other side of the globe for free, or why not fly there for nearly free? It's literally crazy how well-off we are!
Yet, we hate it, don't we? Yet, we seek to get more; yet, we don't share any of the wealth we've gained through the plundering and exploitation of those less fortunate. Yet, we fail to see how our status depends solely on the exploitation of others elsewhere while the boat is sinking, quite literally. Hundreds of millions of people will need to relocate out of the Bengal area within our lifetimes as sea levels rise, and if we look to how the migration of Syrians into Europe is going, well, the outlook isn't all that bright to be honest. That's only one example. Many areas of Africa will need to be evacuated too. One of our most popular ideas on how to fix things of late is rather to build more walls, both actual ones and metaphorical ones. The biggest difference now from then is that today our fears are primarily expressed socially rather than physically, but it is the same pit of rot as it always was. Despite our wealth, we are just as miserable and the consequences are just as bad, and frankly we might even return to physical systems of power once again, a few nukes is all it takes.
So, yeah. Anyway, I would not want to live in the past. We are a lot better off in a sense because more people can eat, get meds, go to school and keep their hygiene than ever before, and that is nothing to sniff at! To keep it so, we have to do something quite soon I believe. More than advances in material well-being we have also developed the power to obliterate the entire world as we know it with the push of a button and when people are scared that's when they pull the trigger. Personally I feel it would be a shame. We tried fixing it with technology for the last hundred years, didn't work, so it's time to take a new approach in my opinion. And that's the best part about living now! For what seems the first time in history it is in our power to change the trajectory of our species! I truly believe we can get out of this pit if we go together! We have the technology in the Internet, the looking, the language! All we need is the willingness to go for it! I believe everyone reading in here is in on this too, at least in the mindset, because I simply cannot see how they couldn't!
Cheers for us!
Two additional notes,
Yes the media typically reports on negative things, because that's what sells stories. But that doesn't mean it is an inaccurate reflection of our world! If they do good business from reporting on fearful topics with a fearful tone, well then that is because the consumer's attention is drawn to it! Fear is our foremost interest period! Eavesdrop on any conversation and see if it can't be traced back to fear. Look at any part of the entertainment industry, it's all violence and drama. The whole concept of theater is practically synonymous with drama! How about that... Everything we do is a reflection of ourselves, of our views, which is an obsession with fear. Nobody else can fix this, only we can.
- Social vs.physical fear
A little elaboration on the concept, what I mean with this. In past times, merely a few hundred years ago in Europe, the concept of manners and shame didn't exist with any meaningful resemblance to what it is today. Before society got tightly knitted together, when everyone was their own independent little world more or less there were a lot fewer rules about how one should act in relation to other people. Instead physical violence was the key to status and security. Norms was something that came when people started to specialize and large bodies of people started depending on exchange with each other. Before that everybody did everything more or less. So that's when manners and behavioral norms came to be, and one's social expressions became a very important factor in one's personal security and status. Shame, as an expression of social anxiety, was previously largely an unfamiliar concept because hierarchies were built on physical power and everybody's biggest fear was to be robbed, assaulted, raped or murdered. In today's world one of the keys to keeping hierarchies in place is that shame we have learned. It makes sure we don't say or do the wrong thing to jeopardize our security and status in relation to everybody else, to make sure we prevail in this dangerous life. Point is this: it is the same old fear but with a different face, and I don't think anybody would prefer one structure of fear over the other, they both spoil the enjoyment of life just the same.
Brilliant! Thank you very much!
Hi, I'm one of the friends that Lex recommended John's book to...I'm thrilled to have found out about this wonderful teaching! I'll stop by soon and tell my story...
That's great! Welcome to our forum, Jazzrascal!
Welcome all. I look forward to hearing from everyone!
Thanks, Carla! By the way, I've been living in Rio for 20 years - I guess by now I'm a "carioca adotiva!" ;) - Amy
Thanks for the welcome Roed Hey jazzrascal! Good to see you here
Good insights Roed.. I am not nearly as up on world conditions, as you as I don't follow the news because I feel it emphasizes the negative too much. But I agree that it is good that the media reports on things that cause suffering so we can do something about it. My point is that if we had the technology of today several hundred years ago, the amount of bad, negative news would be SO much more...and so many more people would think the world was ending and all that type of stuff.
And isn't it better for human life to come to an end anyway? Think about all the suffering that thinking we're a separate 'human' has caused throughout all of history. I think all of us here on the forum are at least intellectually aware that we are not human beings in the way most people have decided. So 'we' continue on no matter what in whatever form or non-form.
Being involved with spiritual healing for years there is a very popular teaching that we (defining 'we' here as souls) chose to come here to the earth plane to learn to love and that all the suffering humans go through are to bring us to that point. And, yes, it does work..We can learn valuable lessons through suffering. But even in that belief paradigm, I always say the end is not justified by the means. There must be a better way to learn about unconditional love!
There are a couple of other people I would like to recommend to John's work, but I haven't yet because I'm afraid they'll watch his video clips and these people are already quite depressed. I find that most of the clips of John's I've seen is all about the world going to 'hell' and then the last 10% talks about this understanding and how life can be sweet when we see our true nature, so it doesn't really matter, and, yes, I agree! But, for a depressed person this might push them over the edge and, although I guess I don't have a problem if they decide to cross over, I wonder if they would have the same opportunity to see what we are talking about here as rapidly. To see our true nature I mean. I had the opportunity to work with one of the most prolific healers I'm aware of, who healed tens of thousands of people in Germany after WWII, and he always said we make the most progress in these human bodies and it's a lot slower on 'the other side' - so I am effected by what he said just because of all the medically documented healings that have occurred with him/his teachings.
I love how John talks about compassion in regards to this understanding. Usually I find, in neo-advaitic/nondual circles that the emphasis is on the solitary realization, and I could never get with that being into spiritual healing and the like. The way John explains it is wonderful. I mean it is all us, so there really can be no solitary realization. Because 'we' are everywhere. So it reminds me of the Buddhist Bodhisattva vow and, also, the ho'oponopono guy, Hew Len talks about this too. He calls it 'cleaning' and that if something is in your consciousness, you are responsible for it and it's your issue, not an issue of someone outside of you or on the other side of the world. Of course this is just a stepping stone and a way to use the 'little self' once again to come closer to realizing our true nature. But that's why I think the teachings of loving everything and everyone are so true and powerful and the ones who teach this are where you always see the 'miraculous' physical healings and dramatic changes for the better. So it's very refreshing for me to see this brought into a real non-dual teaching in such a clear and wonderful way.
Anyway, as I was emailing to my friend jazzrascal, I do find the looking at myself after I do the 10 minute self-directed attention exercise to be a great feeling for me personally and..oh, you know what, I'll just paste what I was writing to jazzrascal in the email.. Hopefully some others may benefit from what I'm saying. All the very best, Lex
Paste: "I can feel it the most strongly after I do one of the 10 minute breathing meditations and then go right into the looking and that feels really good. Like, 'what a relief!' But, even when I get caught up in my life, I still am looking now too..it doesn't seem to change anything in my life in those times..but I think it's really cool I can do this now. It's actually pretty amazing that, even when overcome by intense emotions, the looking still happens. IMO, I think that my being able to do this is something very meaningful, in regards to seeing this truth experientially, even though I can't explain it clearly in words just yet. But it's like even in those situations where I get totally caught up in the little me and think that's who I am, the looking sometimes comes in. So, to me, that's really exciting because, as we've been saying, it's where 'the rubber meets the road' where it really counts. And I would expect these situations of being overcome are already starting to slightly dissipate just because of this action of the looking that comes in."
And you know I love being human, and I love other humans too, and I know it is equally possible for everybody to love being one. And all that's in the way is the fear of life disease, which after all isn't such a big thing to fix.
I don't know what comes after this life, but I do know that we are alive now... bickering and moping for the most part, sure, but that part we can do something about.
I didn't mean it's either good or bad what the media reports, just that its reporting seems accurate in regards to how we collectively see ourselves and the world, which is mostly bad. Every now and then something good shines through, but for the most part just bad.
I too know people who have turned away from John's videos because "they are depressing". I think the more serious ones are directed toward us who have already seen our nature though. There are specific clips that are intended for someone who isn't already introduced.
I too know people who have turned away from John's videos because "they are depressing". I think the more serious ones are directed for us who have already seen our nature though. There are specific clips that are intended for someone who isn't already introduced.
Hey roed, yeah I think this is my only issue with John's presentation. If there was some type of warning that said, 'Don't watch/listen to this one until you've been practicing for 6 months!' I would feel much better in recommending John's stuff to a couple of people I know who have depression issues. Being a jazz musician, the topic of meditation comes up quite frequently when we are talking about different ways of practicing and approaching improvisation, so it's been quite easy and natural to share John's stuff with my jazz musician friends. I actually think John could package this for jazz musicians as a 'Way to Play Better Jazz'! I think any art that requires you to be 'in the zone' would be very attracted by this teaching. Jazz musicians especially because a lot of our 'jazz heroes' the one's we listen to, transcribe, look to for inspiration - died because of drug addiction (talking about especially from the 1920's - 1970's). So a lot of us players today are looking for more efficient ways to 'get in the zone' as you might imagine;-)
Absolutely, Ljazztrm! When I first came here I remember going through one or two videos before I understood there was something that I should do. John kept mentioning the looking, but only sort of in passing by, but eventually I got to a clip where he went through it, and I did it, and immediately understood it was important. So when I now promote it to others I make sure the actual looking is in focus, I think the rest can come after. Something really changes when we have looked, we aren't as vulnerable anymore.
I had done things similar to the looking before having studied advaita/nondual teachings, but I never came across it laid out with such simplicity and clarity as John lays it out with the looking practice. I really like what he has said and written about the difference between the looking and self-inquiry, as well as how this is different and more subtle than seeing 'you are the presence', background, etc. Plus the fact that all you need is the intention and you can't really get it wrong. I've heard another friend of mine, who is kind of known to live in a 'nondual experiential understanding' say this as well. That he's never seen anyone who truly wanted to see this, not see it. I first was introduced to John's teaching through his kindle book, and I didn't even know about the Self Directed Attention practice. From the book, I got the idea that you were supposed to do the looking as a practice. I did that for a few days until I got more familiar with the website and read many of John's articles, bought a couple of more updated e-books, and listened to many of the clips.
I see now that if most people I know just did the looking the way John describes it now, they would probably go off after a little bit and check out other things, since there's so little to it. Just the way John describes in his talks. For me, I didn't feel too much of a difference or anything, except I did note that this looking was subtler than other ways I have done it and knowing all the information now John has said about it I get what he is saying. Also, he is saying that everyone who just does the looking without the SDA practice will be ok in a few years. I think depends on a person's view of 'ok'. Surely, in those few years some people will cross over, but perhaps wherever they go exactly, they still will be ok. Also, a person who is very troubled and coming to this practice and, then, things get worse in recovery may facilitate there own crossing over in a manner more expedient than, say, what we would call 'natural causes'. But, again, I can get with the claim that they still will be ok wherever they may be existing.
The big difference for me has been with the SDA practice. I would like to paste below some parts of a couple of emails I have been exchanging with 'jazzrascal'. We started this just about at the same time and are kind of 'going through it' together.
"I'll tell you one thing about all this SDA I've been doing. I've never had such strange dreams..and my dreams, from what I can remember, are usually really strange. Plus, when I go to bed, and through the night, there are all these kind of 'electrical currents' running through my body. All this certainly doesn't make for a good night's sleep I can tell you! I also somehow feel 'lighter' - like years/decades..maybe hundreds or even thousands..of years of garbage being lifted off me.. Not exactly what I would define as a pleasant feel..but a lighter feel.. and, like I have more clarity sometimes.. Sometimes I can sense the 'distance' between myself and my thoughts now. Also the clarity into my own life right now can be a little scary in a sense..and I see it's because I think I am finally really seeing how all the power is within me.. How self-reliant I can truly be.. Yeah, a little scary..but, really, really great news as far as I'm concerned!"
"I started to feel the difference between following my breath and my thinking mind at times. The only thing that comes to mind right now is that, if I am able to follow the breath more and more in daily life, and less the thinking mind (which seems to be pretty much all fear thoughts), then it would be like being 'born again' to a totally different experience of what I call 'human life' now. I really got the sense that the departure would be that radical."
Really, I think what I am meaning to say is that if this SDA works as claimed, and I really can focus my attention the way John is saying, then my whole life experience seems like it would be radically different. I got some 'tastes' of this last night and felt like what it could be like - at least for a short time.
The healer guy I studied with who healed tens of thousands in germany and europe after WWII was constantly talking about this idea.. Of only holding thoughts on what he called 'The Good'. He was saying even one negative thought can cause illness, accidents, problems, etc.. It always seemed so extreme to me but, with this practice, I can see the possibility of really being able to direct attention away from fear thoughts most of, if not all of, the time. In his own meditation he recommended, people were supposed to sit and pay attention to their bodies and never dwell on any thoughts of negativity or any illness/problems they had. To only think of good, positive things. Well, that's easier said than done! He even recommended playing music to distract and also being out in nature if possible. Anything to get people to think more positively. If only he had known about this tool of self-directed attention, I think there would of been even a lot more people able to heal themselves. All the best, Lex
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