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DESPERATE and stuck-recovery period advice please

Greetings John,

Many years of seeking have lead me to you. I am grateful.

I would like your insight on an "issue" that continues to arise. I feel stuck!

I'm new to Looking (November 2011) and not new to the path of spiritual striving.

I've been doing Ramana's Self-Inquiry prior to Looking. While Looking in November, I caught a split second glimpse of me. I fell in love with ordinary me! The point of view shifted. Someone (me) was looking at life through me. It's me that I've always been and nothing has ever been wrong. Most telling, this way of being was exceedingly normal! Fear of life wafted away like a lifting fog. There is more and words are completely inadequate.

This "state" of constant awareness of my nature continued for the 10 days. The state passed. Now, I'm agitated, confused, disoriented, and most of all, feeling unworthy of having been able to maintain this conscious experience of my nature.

I've been reading forum posts and re-watching your videos and nothing really addressed my issue until I stumbled onto your December 7, 2011 podcast. I was comforted when you said that after contact with the 'me-ness of me', the recovery period may include the feelings that I'm experiencing. My question, however, is how to go forward. In the same podcast, you said that Looking is NOT intended to lead to constant awareness of my nature, but is intended to quash the fear of life. While I understand that my 10 days of sanity in November were a "state" what would you suggest going forward? Looking? Self-Inquiry? Both? I was hesitant to say this, but I welcome the opportunity to be conscious of my nature all the time. I may be missing it, but I don't see how Looking would be useful to drill through for whom did this state occur. Incidentally, I continue to get tremendous value in your Meeting Ramana Maharshi publication.

I welcome your reply.

Thank you and Carla for work.



Hi Shiva,

I'm not a replacement for John, but I am going to take the liberty to answer your question. The looking itself will take you forward--just keep looking when it occurs to you to do so. All will fall into place on its own. See my previous post on how the looking and the recovery takes care of itself:

Even the looking takes care of itself.

I can assure you that the looking completely takes care of itself, and so does the recovery. I continue to discover this for myself. I am feeling more and more at home in myself as the looking and the recovery does the work for me. You don't need to make a continuous effort to look 24 hours a day--just when it naturally occurs to you to do so. You don't need to make the recovery happen--it does itself. Just take the medicine and do the looking. It is also helpful to put aside the spiritual teachings and spiritual jargon for the time being--that will help you to relax, while it also reduces confusion and allows the looking to do the work. Also, that split second glimpse of you was all it took for the medicine of looking to start working. The confusion, disorientation, feeling unworthy and feeling stuck are just experiences of the reactions to the fear of life. These will pass in time on their own. As John says, it takes time for the apparatus of distrust and fear to be dismantled, and for sanity to take its place. There can be more confusion and difficulty while this takes place. I experienced a difficult time myself in the recovery, and there could be more difficulty ahead. But I know I'm recovering as well, and things are getting easier--I am learning self-reliance and self-trust as well.

Best wishes, Shiva!

Love and peace,


Dear John, Carla, Shiva and Community,

I am writing in response to Shiva's post: "DESPERATE and stuck Shiva says: "I was in a ..."state" of constant awareness of my nature [which] continued for the 10 days. The state passed. Now, I'm agitated, confused, disoriented, and most of all, feeling unworthy of having been able to maintain this conscious experience of my nature.

I can relate to Shiva's experience--but it is a variation--because this constant awareness followed by agitation and confusion seems to happen to me almost daily. Here's what I mean by that:

For the past month or so I've been recuperating from pneumonia, and during that time, when I wasn't full of fear, I was looking. I don't think I did the Looking particularly well as a practice, but that's OK, because sometimes I was aware that Looking was just doing the Looking without any help from me.

However, this didn't particularly soothe me, my fears still raged on, my anguish at feeling low energy, my inability to do things that were scheduled, my body's slow recovery, etc. So I just had to keep falling back and letting go. And I felt that this was perfect in a way... that this illness was serving me beautifully. Activities came to a standstill. It was as if I was in a snow globe and all the world was moving outside of me.

I noticed that I felt immersed in the Fear of Life--and trying to judge and catalog it, I wondered if it was coming up because I first began Looking in October of 2011, and I thought the medicine of the Looking was bringing up this Fear. I used to believe whatever was happening was occurring for me to experience it in some way but now, with John's help, I can see it simply as something that is coming and going.

So even when I was deeply immersed in this Fear, there was another awareness that could see this is coming and going. And, I was still able to make decisions for the care of my body, like knowing it was time to go see the doctor, take pills, etc. But these came easily, not full of fear, but just as a clear knowing.

I think what I'm trying to say is that I am taking the medicine of Looking and sometimes I feel deeply immersed in the Fear of Life, and sometimes I feel completely and totally paralyzed and frustrated that I cannot change anything, and sometimes I feel a great connection and trust and peace, and sometimes in the midst of these different states, I am aware, more and more often, that all of this is just life coming and going, nothing to worry about.

Many times I try to name or judge a state that I am in the midst of, then I notice I am doing that and I feel frustrated or sad, and then, in the middle of that frustrated, sad feeling, I might notice it is all just letting go of me. It is coming and going in the midst of me and I am not that. I sense myself as the Looker who's looking me.

I hope this is helpful to you, dear Shiva, in some way. And I am grateful to you and to everyone who is in our Community; it is so good to know that you are here.

With love,



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