Just One Look Forum Archives
Using the Just One Look Method
In the period of 2010-2012, I was very active in this work. I knew for certain that I had done the looking and was headlong into recovery. I was a regular contributor to the forums, and even made a trip to Ojai to attend a meeting and to meet John and Carla in person.
In early 2013, I changed jobs and moved into one of the most challenging times in my career.
In 2015, we lost both of our dogs in the short period of four months, and two very close associates of mine had near fatal accidents.
What I have come to discover is that I was new into recovery and the shock of these events sent me running to what was more comfortable for me....the satsang world complete with the music, pictures, malas, guru-worship and, of course, dumping the responsibility of my life on to someone else. This was my way of escaping from these very difficult things and running away from life.
This wasn't a bad time. Great experiences were had. But, the great experiences came and went...just like the big personal traumas that sent me running into the satsang world came and went.
Over the past couple of years, I found myself moving deeper and deeper into a satsang community, where, to be certain, lots of excitement is there to be had, and big, blissful experiences are the order of the day. The people there seem to live from one retreat to the next, from one encounter with "the master" to the next. Some, making it their life's goal to live on the land that he occupies at the moment. The machine around this teacher is top notch and they keep the community involved, engaged and running to the next event. It is easy to get caught up in the spectacle. The group energy is also very profound. It is easy, in the midst of the pomp and circumstance to miss the fact that aside from a rock concert type elation, no real change is happening.
The seeing of this dawned on me a couple of months ago. In my disillusionment, I checked back in with Justonelook.org and started reading the material that has happened during my absence. I watched the new videos and listened to all the new podcasts.
Self reliance and personal responsibility were what I was missing. Over a period of a few weeks, my interest in the satsang community and in the worship of the satsang teacher began to fall away. Although some nostalgia for this very charismatic and loving man still arises at times, what I am experiencing now so far outweighs anything that happened there.
I reconnected with John and Carla on the very first "Talk with John" meeting on Wednesday July 5. I have attended every Wednesday since. The meetings in this informal setting are really great. I feel that I have picked right up where I left off in 2013, but with a deeper perspective. I have started at step one part of the process and am practicing the Self-Directed Attention exercise a few times a day. This has been enormously helpful in dealing with the barrage of thoughts and emotions that are kicking into gear now.
Here is what I am finding as a result of my return to the JOL work:
* I want nothing but my own life, exactly the way it is
* Life is slowing down for me. Because the fear is not propelling my every movement, things are slowing down and sanity is prevailing
* A lifetime of people-pleasing is coming to an end
* The smallest things interest me greatly such as the skillful concise writing of an email to my staff, doing the laundry, and hanging out with our dog.
* In the light of sanity, healthier choices are being made and I am feeling much better!
These are just a few things that are happening. The recovery isn't over, but these things are the result of self reliance, not the result of the "grace of the master".
I hope some people may be able to relate to this and are possibly helped by it. I am happy to be back and I look forward to reading your insights and sharing more of my own.
Thanks Brian for your update.
Satsang means Sat (Truth) Sang (Company). In the company of truth.
I my opinion Just1look is another name for Satsang. This is the real Satsang without external help.
Thanks for the narrative, Brian. Sounds similar to much of what I went through. (As a side note, I was just reflecting this morning on the astonishing realization that I don't have much of a belief 'system(s)' anymore and how utterly freeing that is). Just out of curiosity, since you did the looking back in 2010ish, have you seen the effects of the looking through your years of searching, as perhaps a sub theme or motif of some kind? Do you see the effects now. For me some of the effects are dramatic whilst some are more subtle and are seen only later in hindsight.
Thank you Jackx.
I would say that the effects have carried through from the first look until this very moment. It was the effects of the looking and the clarity that continued to grow thankfully during my trip though the satsang world. It was this clarity that allowed me to say "wait a minute...."
What I am seeing now is a deep love of life. I will write more about this soon, but a lifetime of a co-dependent overlay on most of my relationships is falling away. This is a big one for me. The need to please others and be accepted has fueled so much of my life that the burning out of it is quite noticeable....and the sanity is helping me to navigate these relationships differently without being unkind about it. Over time, I think I will be able to say more about this.
Hi Brian, I'm just now returning to this work, too. I first got interested it back in April and had quite a vivid experience with the looking, but after while I dropped out because I became confused by the teachings. Also, I had been a Christian Scientist for 45 years, and had also studied other spiritual teachings, and it was very hard for me to break away from all of that. Although John has said that it doesn't matter whether we leave these things behind or not, in my case I eventually realized that I had to stop believing that I would somehow be healed if I prayed enough and could see myself as completely spiritual and perfect. Well, I had been doing the SDA when I stopped, and I dropped that, too. Then, a couple of weeks ago I suddenly felt like doing it again, and then I wanted to read some of John's writings and watch his videos again. I was caught by surprise, because this time it all made so much more sense to me. I could even see that although I had dropped out for awhile, the work was still "doing its thing" in my life. The same night this happened I had a kind of "epiphany" in bed, where all the problems in my life seemed to be nothing...almost ridiculous...and I started laughing! I lay there giggling in my bed and feeling very free!
Anyway, I really enjoyed your story, and it's good to be back. I'll try to check out John's talk on Wednesday... it's a little late for me (I'm in Brazil and I wish he'd make it earlier for the sake of the Europeans, too...hint, hint), but I'll do my best to be there.
I don't understand what the big problem is with the idea of attending a *Satsang* ,as long as a authentic guide is leading. I see no harm in any of it. Of course certain weaknesses can be overlooked when one blindly joins a group and suddenly all the weaknesses reappear again when one leaves (years later).Life is like a washing machine as far as mixing with other people goes. If one understands what spirituality is really all about, then Satsang indeed can be very helpful. Case in point my own experience (won't go into it ) as long as one sees the world from the perspective of being a person with its confused sexual cultural identity, trying to solve ones difficulties within this context will always lead to more problems that can't be avoided. Whether one calls gathering together a 'meeting' or a satsang doesn't matter in my book, i'ts just words. Words can always be turned inside out 'upside down' by the mind. Meditation, Satsang, Bhajans, Mantras, Karma Yoga, Seva all have their helpful purposes, but likewise in the context of fear, looking, SDA, as well as Talks about ''recovery'' can also lead to a lot of insane behaviorisms. Laughing, crying, shouting, screaming, are all part of letting go of the personality. So enjoy life.
The spiritual world definitely has its own gravitational pull, but so do many other things. As I mentioned above, I'm fascinated by my seemingly unhooking from belief systems that once held me steady......or rigidly tied down. There is a small comfort in this enveloping of a belief system and I get somewhat nostalgic for this feeling as well. But not really. Mostly it seems false and untenable. Life itself becomes the meaningful encounter with no need to parse it or abstract it. The loss of belief systems brings up many questions for me, however. Mainly, how do we square self reliance and not needing to please others (not needing others so much) with healthy social support and interaction. So much of social connectivity seems to be based on a shared belief system.....
This is could be the theme of another thread I suppose.
Thank you Brian for your thoughtful perspective on returning to this work. I've mostly done this work alone and would probably benefit from a bit more interaction with the community here. I first came across John's work in the autumn of '06. I had been a Buddhist monk for over 6 years at that time and was living in a monastery. I began doing the looking and within a few weeks my entire Buddhist world starting falling apart. My world was turned upside down and I experienced little suffering for over a year. I really thought I "got it". The desire to read spiritual books or pursue spiritual practices or understanding dissolved and has not returned. To make a long story short, I left the monastery, returned to the world, and have a pretty normal looking life now. However, old patterns of fear returned shortly after leving the monastery and I eventually found myself in a fairly dysfunctional relationship which went on for several years. I ended that relationship in 2015 and moved on with life. In some important ways those initial experiences with the looking changed me forever. The seeking and feeling that I should be having some other spiritual experience other than what I am experiencing has not returned. But I cannot say that the context of fear has disappeared for good.
The other day, quite spontaneously, I started looking at myself again. Now I am doing it throughout the day, frequently but unstructured, and once again there is a background stillness of the mind that has become very pronounced. Yesterday, on a Monday morning, I felt no resistance to waking up and starting the new week. There is little reactivity in my mind and there is a strong sense of ease. However, I know I've been here before. I've had periods of feeling the mind to be oceanic and free before, only for fear to return.
So mind-blowing experiences are not my goal (I spent years as a monk pursuing that stuff!). Although I have not rid myself totally of the context of fear, I do know what it is to have certain things drop away, never to return. After spending most of my 20's and early 30's with the single minded pursuit of enlightment, samadhi, and purifying the mind, all of that dissolved within a very short time in 2006-07. This gives me a lot of confidence that 1) it works, 2) I know what John is talking about with his instructions. Most likely for now I'll keep looking, simply because once I start I pretty much can't stop. However, I did eventually stop sometime in 2008 and never really pursued this to the end (freedom from fear). It's strange, it seems like the whole process of looking, not looking, and the results, are somehow out of my control and not really up to me.
It seems like everyone's experiences are individual, and I guess that's to be expected, since we're all different!
When I was into Christian Science for many years, I was never looking for transcendent or blissful experiences. All I was interested in was healing, so I guess that colors my experience with JOL to some degree. I was so attached to the idea that I would eventually find healing through spiritual methods, that it was very hard for me to break away from those methods, even though I'd had had very little evidence of any healing.
Now that I'm in recovery with JOL, I'm starting to understand a few things. First, and most important to me is that if I'm not my life, then none of the discomfort i'm feeling or my attempts to fix anything (or not fix anything), or my dissatisfaction with the way I live and the things I do, don't do, or can't do, has any importance at all. John has said this over and over, and it's finally starting to sink in. The only thing that does matter, once we've done the looking, is to be faithful about doing the SDA (if we want to speed up our recovery). Nevertheless, I have sometimes wondered what to do with myself from day to day, since I'm confined to my apartment for now because of a physical condition. I was always a doer and an achiever, and so there's a tendency to feel guilty if I'm not doing something productive. But yesterday it suddenly came to me that none of that matters, either.
Like you, suddhano, I am finding it very valuable to look at myself when it occurs to me to do so. I find it very grounding and balancing, but I also keep up the SDA every day.
That would be an interesting thread!
It has been a week now since I quite spontaneously starting looking at myself again. There is little to say about the actual looking itself as it is so simple and immediate. However, what has finally sank in for me is the self-reliant understanding that ultimately, no one can really tell me how to do this. I mean I heard John tell me to look at myself and I did several years ago. I then embarked on a mission to look at myself as much as possible, driven by the determination to become free from fear and suffering. The results were varied, but overall I can say life got better (within myself). I eventually stopped looking at myself as I started pursuing other things in life. But the one thing I never was able to resolve within myself was how much or often to look at myself. I wanted a formula, "look at yourself this much for this long and you'll 'get it'". So in my early days with this work I approached it from a disciplined determination to work at it, much in the same way that I had approached meditation for so many years.
Now, fast forward to a week ago when I spontaneously started looking at myself again. I don't even remember what prompted me to do so, or why it is for the past week I just keep wanting to look at myself whenever I can (which seems to be whenever I'm not doing something else). But what I finally understand now is what John once said, "if you undertake this seach, it will take you. It will find it's own way. It will teach itself." I finally realize what this means, and the sense of self-reliant inner authority this brings is immense. First, this process has taken me. Why did I suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, find myself looking again? Even though I stopped looking and haven't paid much attention to it for several years, something in me, beyond my own day to day desires, plans, aversions, etc., returned to looking. And second, I realize John (or no one else) can tell me exactly how to do this or what it will look like for me. There is no time frame or formula for how long I need to look or how long the recovery will take or what it should look like. I know right now, I want to look at myself whenever I can. I still do everything I need to do in life in a responsible way, but when I'm not doing that stuff I naturally want to look at myself. It seems that the looking is the only real instruction, everything else will be unique to the individual.
Lastly, the effects of the looking for the past week are undeniable. Of course in some way nothing at all has changed. But the relationship to thought has completely changed. Somehow it's just not where my attention and energy is. Feels like a complete re-orientation of my inner world. The feeling of me is at the center, not all the thoughts about me and the world. Not sure if that make sense to anyone but the shift is subtle yet the implications are huge. Anyway, that's it for now. I'll stay with the looking as it has taken me and I trust it. Finally, I've realized my own authority on all this. My looking and my recovery won't fit any prescription or formula.
Thank you John & Carla, and everyone else on this forum and doing this work. It really is unlike anything I have ever known.
You have already looked at yourself many times.
You can continue looking whenever you feel like doing it but, really, the work of removing the ground of fear was done the first time you succeeded in looking at yourself.
What you are experiencing now is the reorganization of your mind that we call the recovery period.
The most helpful thing you can do now is to practice self-directed attention. That will return control of your mind to you and allow you to develop true and comprehensive self-reliance in your life.
Please take a look at the updated Just One Look instructions here:
Thank you for your response Carla. I suppose my question at this point is, when practicing self-directed attention, does it matter if I direct my attention to my breath versus looking at myself? I know what it means to conciously and deliberately move my attention, and it seems like this is the skill that is most helpful during recovery. Although I haven't had any particularly difficult mind states since returning to this work, I am aware that this will change. When this happens, I'd probably feel most inclined to simply look at myself during difficult times. I know that you mentioned it is no longer necessary to look at myself, but I guess I just enjoy doing it.
I'm feeling very positive about returning to this work. Although I first looked at myself over 10 years ago and spent a lot of time working with this, I never really felt that I was finished. My life undeniably changed after that fist look (for the better), but I've had too many emotional storms and frankly have made too many unskillful decisions since that first look to really feel like I was finished with this work.
Yup, Emotional storms and unskillful decisions. Same. Which is why we are probably never finished. What would be the fun in that?
The Just One Look Method is comprised of only two steps: first you look at yourself, and then you practice to gain control of your attention. It is important to not mix up the two steps.
When practicing self-directed attention, it is best that you focus on the sensation of the breath as it passes through your nostrils. But what is really important is not the focusing itself but your noticing when your attention has wandered away from the focus point (the sensation of the breath as it comes in and out of your nose), and your deliberate return to it.
The only reason for looking at yourself is to eliminate the invisible, unconscious ground of fear in the mind. And that happens with the first successful look. You won't know from the experience that it has happened but, in time, as the soldiers of fear start fading away, you will start to notice its effects.
It can't hurt you to keep looking at yourself, but the only thing this will give you is maybe some simple pleasure.
So, again, what you need to do now is gain control of your attention and that is accomplished with the self-directed attention exercise.
Please reflect also on the possibility that going back to looking at yourself may be unconsciously being used as a distraction from the tough work of developing self-reliant control of your attention, your mind, and your life. Self-reliance is the last thing a mind still in the grip of the soldiers of fear wants.
Thank you for your response Carla. I've read and practiced SDA. I know that you stress that it is not the same as meditation, but it seems like meditation to me. There are many types of meditation, one of which is bringing ones attention back to the object of attention. I do see the value in this and, even though I've practiced similar meditation in the past, I'll probably do what you recommend simply because I've yet to find anyone in all of my years of seeking who has provided me with a solution to the fear of life the way you and John have.
But I guess what I still don't get is how the message has changed so much over the years. I remember John's instruction to look at yourself whenever you can and as often as you can until the awareness of you permeates your life. And I know from listening to many of John's talks that this is what he did, and I'm assuming the same is true for you. What made you change the message to just one look is enough? I ask this because I still feel so drawn to look at myself whenever I can, and I remeber John once saying that this is normal.
I'm really not trying to be difficult, I just want to understand this enough to understand what is happening. Like I've mentioned before, I started this work over 10 years ago. I know I saw what John was pointing to, it completely changed my life, and then I had about 8 years of darkness (not misery, just most of my life driven be trying to get what I want and avoiding what I don't want). Then I spontaneously started looking at myself again, and immediately I've seen the fear lift. If one look is enough, then why does looking at myself again, 10 years later, seem to lift the fear again? I guess what I'm saying is I see too much of a causual relationship between looking and the fear disappearing, and not looking and the fear reasserting itself, to believe that looking once is enough. Also, since looking at myself again, I've noticed that it is becoming easier to direct my attention. Seems to have something to do with the noise in the mind having significantly dissipated since returning to the looking and the dropping away of fear.
Thank you again for your time.
We have no interest at all in encouraging the "letting go of the personality." That approach has appeared in spiritual and religious contexts from the unexamined assumption that our humanity is the problem in human life.
In Just One Look, our humanity is valued and made whole.
Just One Look is neither another form of non-duality nor a variation on any other spiritual teaching.
Just One Look is a simple method easily mastered by any human being that will reliably clear the mind of the background of fearfulness and anxiety that most of us have carried around for all our lives.
The Just One Look Method requires no understanding of anything. All it requires is your attention.
Whoring around in the non-dual playpen will bring you nothing but confusion.
Just One Look is free for all.
I'd like to clarify what I mean by 'letting go of the personality' In my case, it meant there was a basic recognition a great deal of suffering I experienced was in context of the one I conceptualized myself to be (including body identity). I have a great trust in Looking which destroys the context of this false sense of self or 'me' and reveals what has always been naturally there. Yet is my experience it can take a long time before these things totally wash out of the system. I agree, it's easy to get confused giving the job of being free of fear to the jailhouse guards; or to a teacher or Guru etc. that promises some sort of salvation. Yet, when your health is threatened and suddenly you find yourself laying on a stretcher in a ambulance, one doesn't question the one who comes to give help! Meanwhile I have had a curious nature all my 65 yrs. I enjoy whoring around with other 'Masters' who I find inspirational on the internet. Please forgive me. Denmark has 8 months of freezing cold winter with endless rain and next to no sun. I live in a small village where no one speaks English. If my wife's health improves I plan to go to India for some months this winter.
When I look, I usually become calm and centered for a moment, and this often helps me take a step back and experience situations in a different light, and sometimes new ideas come after taking a look at me. It momentarily cuts the crap so to speak. So I relate that looking seems to have an effect for my well being, and I do think looking again after the first look does "something". However, I have started to view this process as not being about well being really, that perhaps the goal isn't to feel good always, nor to bring the feel of me to the foreground, even though it would be nice to just kick back in that safe spot, so that life can be easy peasy lemon squeezy for once. But that drive I believe is just another symptom of the fear in my case, because it rejects taking an active part in my own life by trying to change circumstances, wishing things were different: A fear of taking life head on as it is through better or worse, perhaps.
More reasonable I think (and also more radical) is to aim at re-taking agency over attention, because it is the only thing we actually can do anything about at all, everything else just happens as it will, whether it's making us feel good or bad. To be able to, at least sometimes, choose freely among all the thoughts and sensations that occur in the moment is, I think, a better picture of what we want to come to, what this is about. Looking at me more has not seemed to produce this ability in me, where SDA without a doubt has. That said, I do believe looking again shapes my personality in some way, I just find it hard to define and in any case not so meaningful as gaining and strengthening this singular power we have access to. Once we have this power it is in our hands to use it for whatever ends we choose, and that is the greatest gift IMHO.
I watched Conversations with John Sherman episode 14 today where this was talked about and I can recommend it if you haven't seen it
Several years ago, John and I made the difficult decision to leave the satsang circle and work to develop our own understanding of the true core of the Self-Inquiry of Ramana Maharshi. We had already spent several years teaching Ramana Maharshi's Self-Inquiry, and we wanted to find out why it did not seem to work for everyone as it had worked for us. And to do that we knew we had to start by working with people who had little or no experience with the tropes and certainties that comprise most modern spiritual teachings.
We have spent most of the last ten years working with people all over the world, seeking a clear understanding of our own liberation from fear and ignorance through Ramana Maharshi's Self-Inquiry. And we have found its true gift, which is to clear the mind of the effects of the false fear that strikes at birth and cripples most of us for life. We have uncovered its simple humanness, which is the missing link that makes it work for anyone, no matter what they may have tried in the past to ease the confusion and pain of human life.
And so we have developed what we call The Just One Look Method, which brings together:
1. The essence of Ramana Maharshi's Self-Inquiry, which is the act we call Looking at Yourself;
2. A very simple but amazingly powerful work with attention that we call Self-Directed Attention Exercise.
We have spent the last ten years or so introducing the Just One Look Method to people of all walks of life, and helping them through the process. And it has been proven over and over to truly achieve liberation from mental suffering.
Focusing attention on the breath is a common aspect of many meditation practices. It is totally understandable that you would think Self-Directed Attention is the same as meditation. And although it was initially based on the Buddhism meditation practice called Samatha, the Self-Directed Attention Exercise has the opposite purpose and effect. What is different here is the intention, and that really makes all the difference.
When you look at yourself, the context of fear is gone automatically. But the soldiers of fear, the psychological mechanisms that have developed over a lifetime, still remain and, in the absence of the ground of fear, they go a little crazy for a while. Although they will all clear up over time on their own, there can take many years of mental difficulties and confusion.
What we have found out is that a regular practice of Self-Directed Attention helps you go through that difficult time of regeneration of the mind, which we call the Recovery Period, with a lot more control and understanding of what is really happening. It teaches you how your mind works. But unlike traditional meditation practices, the aim of this exercise is not to accept all thoughts without judgment, to calm the mind, or to attain some state of quietude. What is important in this exercise is NOT the ability to focus on the breath sensation as it passes through your nostrils for as long as you can. The goal is to notice when you have been distracted and then move the focus of your attention forcefully back to the breath sensation. What matters is the determined, conscious effort to decide for yourself where you put your attention and this exercise develops your capacity to do just that over time.
Ultimately, by declining to give attention to thoughts that are harmful to you and based on fear, you eventually starve them to death. They simply stop appearing over time. So, as you can see, it is not a matter of accepting the thoughts that are present. It is about ridding yourself of harmful or irrelevant thoughts by declining to give them your attention. After all, your thoughts don't really mean anything. They are just artifacts that were developed in reaction to circumstances, based on the sense that life is dangerous and you ought to be really careful all the time.
You'll find a good explanation of the differences in our blog: https://www.justonelook.org/natural/the-difference-between-self-directed-attention-and-mindfulness-meditation/ and in our podcast: https://www.justonelook.org/natural/podcast-episode-7-self-directed-attention-and-mindfulness/
The result of this work cannot be imagined. It is much less (and so much more) than what has been called enlightenment, self-realization, awakening, and the like.
I hope this is helpful to you. If you still have questions, please join us in one of our online meetings. We meet online on Wednesdays at 7 PM and on Saturdays at 11 AM. You can connect using a browser or call in with a phone. No need to register. https://www.justonelook.org/events/talk-with-john.html
Great summary of the work and process, Carla. It is always in place for a structured overview and summary of the basics. Thanks for that.
This work is truly amazing. Centuries or even melleniums of human search is slowly coming to an end before our very eyes in the form of a harmless look at ourselves.
However, I have started to view this process as not being about well being really, that perhaps the goal isn't to feel good always, nor to bring the feel of me to the foreground, even though it would be nice to just kick back in that safe spot, so that life can be easy peasy lemon squeezy for once. But that drive I believe is just another symptom of the fear in my case, because it rejects taking an active part in my own life by trying to change circumstances, wishing things were different: A fear of taking life head on as it is through better or worse, perhaps.
Well said, Roed! Excellent!
Yes, that's what we see too. I don't think anyone has ever actually seen, before now, that the cause of all purely psychological misery is a single one. And it's human. It's not the devil, or sin, or anything metaphysical. One cause, one cure. One cause: the fear of life. One cure: look at yourself. Simple!
A mind driven by unconscious fear and anxiety makes unskillful decisions. When that fear is done away with the opportunity arises (and it simply arises), to make better and better decisions because one is no longer at odds with oneself and life. What caused for me the endless striving to accomplish things which would somehow prove I was worthy, a good person, etc. was a sense of being wrong somehow. I was led into all kinds of self-help ideas, into meditation practices, but when I looked it was just always plain old me. And now that's OK.That need to strive, to correct oneself is gone and with it the emotional disruptions and endless confusions which are really just products of the fearful mind. Better to go through this recovery process and be done with it than drag oneself around as if a ten ton weight were on your shoulders. And no, my friend, emotional storms and making stupid decisions are not "fun". I don't mean to suggest that one attains any state of perfection or ideal way of life. Those things just don't exist and besides I've had my fill of "seeking perfection" in any form. The spiritual path just led to a lot of confusion, to feelings that I wasn't a "spiritual" person, that I wasn't adept, and so on. So when I started the Looking I had pretty much decided to leave all that behind and I have felt no need to delve into that world again since. About this business of "dropping the personality", "dropping the story line" etc. I had heard it from folks in the spiritual community but to be honest I never understood what that meant. The Looking for me wasn't about any of that and I felt that here with this simple act was a fresh approach that seemed free of all the claptrap that usually goes with seeking, self-help, etc. What we are never finished with is Life itself. There is always more and more life to be lived. You appreciate this more and more as you become more conscious in your own life.
Antonyirvine, thanks for your thoughtful response. Just to be clear, I'm not saying that emotional storms and stupid decisions are fun.....I'm saying that never being finished is fun. The constant evolution and refinement of my mind is fun, beautiful, engaging, and startling. Part of that evolution is making mistakes, although the emotional storms are far less stormy and not of a concern, and while not always fun, these facets of learning are vital. I believe this is an important counterpoint to one common "spiritual" narrative that enlightened beings reach a point of emotional and spiritual perfection. What would be the fun in this kind of static boring stasis-like state?
Satsang means Sat (Truth) Sang (Company). In the company of truth. my opinion Just1look is another name for Satsang. This is the real Satsang without external help.
You're totally right, Satish! We stopped calling our meetings satsang a few years ago, because we wanted to shed all spiritual concepts and ideas and get to the true core of the Self-Inquiry of Ramana Maharshi and satsang. What you said is true: Just One Look is Satsang in its cleanest form. You got it! Thank you!
Funny you should say that Carla. I was just writing to a friend the other day about you guys going back out on the road again.. That this could be the first time a satsang had a truly transformative, lasting effect on someone. Could totally change the connotation of the word 'satsang'!
The word Satsang is not a concept that I will take with me in my further journey with this work. Why would I? I am from Sweden. I talk Swedish. It is not even an English word so I have no natural relation to that concept. I can see no relevance at all using such a esoteric concept in a work so simple and clear.
I think J+C are specifically using the word 'satsang' as they are going back out on the road again to talk with people who are in the 'satsang' culture. This time, they may be giving something to these people that actually works for them in their practical lives, at least if they apply it over a long period of time. Usually people who attend a traditional neo-advaita satsang will receive a temporary 'high' from hearing advaitic concepts and, then, go back to their regular lives with no improvement or change in their level of suffering. I've really only heard J+C emphasize the word 'satsang' at all in terms of them going back out on the road to speak to people they had spoken to years before in order to give them something that could truly help them.
I think you are right Ljazzrtm. I am convinced that all their decisions regarding this work are based on sane and solid ground. With their background it seems like a logical thing to do. And of course also very good for the people they used to meet with.
But I personally feel a little confused over this development. I have found myself sharing the looking more and more with friends and family. And it feels fantastic. And when I share the looking it is totally free of any context or history whatsoever. And it goes very smooth. It is actually very simple. So, the no-need for context and understanding for this method to be helpful is for me the single best aspect of this work.
And on a larger scale I also see a problem with using esoteric concepts in the process when this work is being adapted in more ordinary contexts. If this method would be introduced in, for example, the area of ordinary mental health, an area where I personally feels this simple and effective method belongs, I think there could be some confusion and resistance.
But I know that John and Carla see this too, so I really don't know where I am going with this. Just trying to be honest. From my view we have spent many years of conversation to free this work from context and from the spiritual realm, just to dive back in again.
The Just One Look Method can never be a renewed and purified form of satsang for me. The looking is just the looking for me, mecanical and free. But that is of course OK. We are different. And maybe that is our big hope. We use different ways in our unik situations and contexts to spread the looking.
"Just1look" (at oneself) and Satsang are synonyms for me who learned the word Satsang may be at the age of 5.
I agree with you Niklas. And I think J+C do too. I just think they are using the term 'satsang' for the particular people who are already interested and know about the whole 'satsang world' - a small percentage of the population. So, yes, in introducing this teaching to other people, I never use the term satsang - if I happen to come across one of my old 'neo-advaita acquaintances' then that's the only time I would use the term, if they were still interested in that whole neo-advaita world that is. And I would talk about it as a satsang that actually could bring real-world, practical results! Best, Lex
Interesting! With your background I can't help myself asking you something in more detail about this matter.
I have always thoght satsang referred to a particular form of meetings where people were in the company of Truth. And the act of inward looking I see as something purely individual. A mental act performed by a person wherever that person may be or not be.
So my question is: do you see satsang as an experince of "yourself", as like in act of inward looking? Or do you see it as at meeting where that experience can take place?
Literally speaking SAT = Truth; SANG = Meeting or Company
SATSANG = In the Company of Truth
Different religious sects then interpret it depending upon their views. Like you said, some interpret it as a gathering of people with some religious views. There is one sect that says God is Truth and so Remembering God is the True Satsang. So you can sit at home and remember God and you are in Satsang.
So, if YOU are in the COMPANY of TRUTH, YOU are in SATSANG.
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