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A rational view, looking for 5 years


Trying to share a report on nearly 5 years of looking.

I came across John on youtube in 2007.

This was after a prolonged period of misery, wherein i had mistakenly shifted my focus to spiritual teachings. This happened after what I then perceived to be a failed protracted love affair with the philosophy of J Krishnamurti. In my early 20s, existential questions started to bother me. I had all but rejected most spiritual stuff, and had fallen in love with the stern rationality of JK. At one time due to whatever reason I assumed I would never "get" anything from JK, and almost instantly moved into the arena of "seeking enlightenment". Where else could I turn? What else was there on offer?

The craziness lasted a short while until I stumbled upon John. I still remember the clarity with which the message resonated with me. That all I wanted, all I was looking for was the direct unmediated perception of the reality of my nature. Well at least I understood what the searching was about, and it acquired a practical ring to it as opposed to high flung philosophizing. Funny thing is that until that point i had never really stopped to find out, "what am I looking for". Existential, philosophical questions sounded good enough outlet for the seeking and seemed to add to my self image of being an intellectual, so why not? You can imagine my relief as well as my disbelief that the object of my search was actually me. Its really funny to think about it even now.

Easy enough? Nope. Doing it is the tough part. Understandings are a dime a dozen, and being in the verbal arena, can be framed in so many ways to appeal to my conditioning, my tastes. But doing it is the real deal. And that is my own personal intimate action, not easily explained, even to myself.

I have been listening to the podcasts for a few years now, and it has been a roller coaster for me. It got really bad in the middle somewhere, and a lot of people report it. All I can say is hang in there. The weird thing is there are no real milestones or landmarks to look for. Best advice would be to really live life like normal, and not wait for things to happen. if they have to they will, but not making a fetish of this helps.

In the end, things are sweeter. Life is beautiful. Sometimes it feels like I am too. And I find myself sometimes in love even with all with perceived failings of the past.

I have seen this message evolve. At the core of it, at the bottom of it all, John's insight is non-denominational, totally practical, and does not have an iota of spirituality in it. It is a most rational message. How can it not be, since it is really only about 2 lines long when you really boil it down, and easily checked for inconsistencies. A most human message.

My take on doing it:

The direct unmediated perception of oneself is readily available with such immediacy, that the word readily seems inadequate.

Whenever I have an "affirmative" thought about myself, in the sense that, "I am sitting", "I am hungry", "I am uncomfortable", "I am laughing", "I am reading", "I am suffering", "I am sad", "I am mad" or a whole infinity of such thoughts, I see that the direct perception has happened already!

Any thought whatsoever that seeks to inform me of my current, ordinary, daily state, I see that the thought has already the content or the concept "I am" (does not matter true or false, and this is not the philosophical/spiritual "I am" but the grammatical "I am" in plain English ), I see that in turn that contains "I", and therefore I had to have had the direct unmediated perception of myself already for the "I am" or "I" to be asserted and noticed by me.

It is possible that the thought is false in an epistemological sense, but that does not matter, because my objective is not to see the truth versus falsehood in my mind's content.

My objective is to gain a direct unmediated perception of myself. To me that's the feeling "I am something" even if that is philosophically sound or not.

Now I also see the sense in the "Who Am I?" style inquiry. The objective is not to answer the question, but to force my mind to assert some kind of "I am so and so" thought. This is a natural reflex to the question. The question placed 3 or 4 times recursively, makes clear the affirmation of my existence, and helps me notice me (the "I", "me") with my attention. Even if thought is mediating in this process it does not matter. Since I noticed me, the noticing should have been preceded by a direct perception (whatever that is, explaining it is in the realm of philosophy and beside the point). So, mission accomplished. Each and every time.

So I present a 3 fold approach that I have settled into:

- First step: what I really really want is a direct perception of the reality of who I am {this drives it all. I must admit that it is an intuitive guess and a big leap to say this; read "my guess on why it works" below to see my explanation; there is no way to verify the rationality or otherwise of this other than by empirical means.}

- Second step: direct perception can be achieved by causing an assertion of a thought that says "I am xyz"; and then look in my direction using the "I am xyz" thought as a flashlight (to look at "I am" but not at the "am xyz")

- Third step: this has its own momentum and leads to some changes in one's life, but that is not the focus, because per step #1, all objectives are fulfilled.

Actually, please read my summary: the whole looking is far far far simpler than my elaborate rant. it is all this, and then not really any of this. there is no approach or explanation that is needed. there is no thinking necessary. only action is required. if you did it once, you can do it again. it is vastly more simple than this but words are all I have.

In the end, I have a sense that even energy spent on something like this too, no matter how critical, is ultimately a willful spending of energy. this too shall come to a completion in me, when there is no need to look anymore. at least it is what i have an intuition of.

My personal feeling is that anything that seeks to cure man's suffering must be available to humans irrespective of whether they possess the special vocabulary of spiritual, philosophical, scientific or religious understanding. It needs to be in the human vocabulary. That's all.

The new direction that John has taken is interesting: the sense that it is only necessary to persuade people to look at themselves ONCE, with no explanation needed, is totally radical, and I am eager to see how it pans out. I think this approach would help rid the looking of its spiritual and philosophical ancestors, and their baggage, when the movement reaches critical mass, because most people would have only looked without any explanation or sermon attached to it.

My theory on why it works, even if it is not necessary to have one:

Fear of life has made me evolve an image of myself. This image keeps me at arm's length from my life, the thing I fear. But the image is kind of weird, and false, in the sense of incompleteness. Now if I am always here, available to be looked at, then the need for an image falls away. Because it would be cumbersome for one to maintain an image when the real thing that the image is about is readily available. That's why the direct unmediated perception of my nature is what we want, because it puts one on the sane path of life, instead of the one filled with wasteful energy spent in the making of conflicting images.

Good luck, and thanks for reading.


Just look at what feels like to be you. Really you, not any higher or lower being. Repeat until you don't anymore.


This is some good stuff--thank you for writing.


Haha, I know just what you mean rvrags!

Trying to say anything about this stuff, this Looking and the nature of oneself, requires either no words or a deluge of words, and neither can really convey what it is that is trying to be conveyed.




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