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Just some reflections

Hi Everybody,

I was just considering what aspect of these teachings made then so appealing that I returned to them again and again, and finally adopted them to the exclusion of any other method of "self-realization", for lack of a better term.

Throughout the history of science, almost any discovery required laborious and complex calculations to verify its accuracy and, even then, the result was an approximation of the theory. When the calculus was discovered, the process of calculation and interpretation was so vastly improved and simplified that scientific progress was advanced dramatically.

I envision the looking as analogous to the discovery of calculus, in both its elegance and simplicity. I'm greatly relieved at not having a "program" to follow or a list of spiritual suggestions to which I must adhere. Another metaphor that I think would apply is that of a "surgical strike", using a single (and very specific) method to achieve the precise goal of perceiving your true nature. The unburdening I feel from the unending analyzing and self-evaluation of traditional teachings is almost physical, and, as the looking has a greater and greater impact, I feel a deep sense of gratitude. Just some thoughts...

Don

Hi Don,

I puzzle over this too. We are drawn to particular foods when they are needed for our health but we cannot be drawn to them unless we are exposed to them and even then we must be open to them. Perhaps there is a similar mechanism at play here. Perhaps at some level we recognize this as the "food" needed for us to regain our mental health and because we have remained open (have not settled completely on something else) we are eager to ingest it.

Could be...

Steve

The aspect of the teaching that started me and continues to lure me is the assurance from J.S. that looking is the cure for misery and suffering. I took and take him at his word. I am not disappointed. Trimpi

It was the promise for me, too, Trimpi. Also the simplicity.

With gratitude, Lera Jane

lerajane

It was the promise for me, too, Trimpi. Also the simplicity.

With gratitude, Lera Jane

So, how has it worked out for you so far? Trimpi

Hi Don, LeraJane, Trimpi et al,

I love this conversation and I just wanted to add my thoughts

I've been doing the looking for 4 months now, and recently I've been noticing so many fascinating traits that I've associated with myself over the years, and that I am just now becoming able to observe--it's like watching a movie of myself.

I see things like how much being "chosen" and getting the love of someone else has mattered to me. And no matter who chose me or gave me that "approval," how it was never good enough to staunch a deeper wound inside me--a wound I have always attributed to some injury in my childhood. And while this may in some form be true, now I am experiencing an awareness--like a door cracking open where I can see the pervasive and overwhelming fear of life which was always present.

I'm seeing my fear of life arise as the fear of losing my body's appearance of youthfulness, the arising of its aches and pains, diseases and limitations. And I am seeing that this body will not "win out" over life--and how all of this is an awareness of the fear of life--of how much fear I've had of being in this body.

I also am seeing how I have spent many years trying to feel better by attempting to appear to others and to myself, as "evolved," "transformed," "above it all," "better than," "perfect," and "filled with awareness"--and all that time wondering what the HECK I was trying to create, trying to be, never knowing what any of that was.

Thank God for John and Carla's Just One Look. This looking is all I do now, and while this odd assortment of ideas, beliefs, stories about me, etc. plays out in my recovery--instead of holding onto them as "me," I am able to just observe them as if I am watching a movie. All quite interesting and strange and sometimes very funny--but not really "me" at all. Just an actor on a stage playing out a role--(it's true, Shakespeare!)--but a really great portrayal, that now (even with all the mess of it!)--I am somehow enjoying.

Thank you to you ALL for being here. It's a wonderful place to be.

with Love,

Dawn

At the risk of adding 101 'I agree' and 'that's how it is for me too' notes to the threads in this forum, I do want to say how helpful it is to read others' experiences and for them to resonate with what I am experiencing as a newcomer to this.

As Dawn said, I feel unburdened of the huge weight of other teachings I was immersed in, and as someone else said (apologies... can't remember your name), driven by the same impulse of perfectionism and desire to find the truth, that I am in danger of doing the 'looking Olympics'.

I am noticing significant pieces of identity that were previously running as 'hidden software' becoming visible. Notably the great investment I had in being a 'seeker' and how looking for the final Truth kept me busy, feeling better-than and judgmental. I am not sure what I will do with my time now! Also, in the last few days there have been some uncomfortable events that I would normally try to resolve or 'think better'. But it gently dawned on me that life is not a solvable equation that will one day come right. It will remain as it is, a mixed-bag of happenings and feelings, but that as John says, 'I am not at stake' in that.

Emma

trimpi

So, how has it worked out for you so far? Trimpi

You guys are really hitting the mark with your honesty and authenticity. Thank you. It is refreshing to hear. Sometimes I can hardly believe I have embarked on an effort to acutally eliminate suffering as an adjunct to the experiences of life passing through. And the effort is practically effortless. I realize that is how it should be, for we didn't effort to take on the conditioning giving us the false fear of life in the first place. I see us all as walking experiments, and I am glad we can communicate with each other without too much jealousy, suspicion, patronizing, formality and judgment. It's through that communication, I think, that we can relate whether the experiment is working. And I know without doubt that how it works will vary with each of us, like how my body can't do a pose in yoga class that my neighbor can do, so I am wasting my time trying to figure out where I stand in comparison to you. As J.S. would suggest, that kind of stuff is for the apparatus and is beside the point. When I see myself going there and trying to figure each of you out, I come back to the question of who or what is looking out (when it occurs to me to do so, of course, for sometimes I languish in the burden I bear of judgment and comparison). Maybe one of you guys can start a thread: "Is it working?" because I don't know how to start one. Maybe we're doing that anyway in these responses to each other. In any event, I appreciate what I'm hearing. Trimpi

How is it working?

Hi trimpi (and all),

Without the fanfare and polysyllabic metaphors I have a penchant for using, I can honestly answer your question quite simply: It depends on the day you ask. There are wonderful periods of clarity and optimism, everyday doldrums, and, rarely, periods of genuine conflict and angst. Some childlike mechanism within hopes that I will awaken one day and the "fever" will have broken, like a pneumonia patient after a good dose of penicillin. But, I suspect, there is a lot of "unraveling" to be done, and at least I'm learning some patience and developing some trust in the process. Sure, I would love a written guarantee, but things work the way they work, not as I would have them work, so I simply proceed with the looking on a very regular basis.

You make an excellent point when you bring up the issue of comparison, as in "my looking can beat up your looking". Although I love to hear glowing reports of success and peacefulness, I think the everyday struggles we endure together, as shared in this wonderful forum, are what fuels me to continue on this journey. I've never received such warm, non-judgmental, and helpful responses to issues and questions I would never have considered discussing privately in the past, much less in a public discussion!

Please, if anyone finds a magic elixir, please contact me at once. The only requirement is that it be non-addictive and over the counter. Until then, into the fray!

In Peace and Love,

Don

P.S. How goes it with you, trimpi?

Is it working?

Is it working?

Wow, this thread is super-helpful and provides some hope at a time when it's been rather dark for me. I love Don's answer about how the looking is going... that "it depends on the day you ask." That is my experience in a nutshell and it's helpful to remember that there have been moments of clarity and lightness along this journey, as well as the sense every so often that progress really is being made (in terms of things that used to bother me not being quite so heavy) because there are certainly days like the last few where things seem incredibly difficult, life seems utterly meaningless and the sadness and fear will not break.

I so appreciate the civil, kind and helpful tone of these forums... it's certainly unlike any other online community I've ever seen and makes me want to participate.

In short, I would say it's working but that the ride is bumpy and it seems that for me, the fever has to get more intense before it breaks.

A

tryingtolook

Wow, this thread is super-helpful and provides some hope at a time when it's been rather dark for me. I love Don's answer about how the looking is going... that "it depends on the day you ask." That is my experience in a nutshell and it's helpful to remember that there have been moments of clarity and lightness along this journey, as well as the sense every so often that progress really is being made (in terms of things that used to bother me not being quite so heavy) because there are certainly days like the last few where things seem incredibly difficult, life seems utterly meaningless and the sadness and fear will not break.

I so appreciate the civil, kind and helpful tone of these forums... it's certainly unlike any other online community I've ever seen and makes me want to participate.

In short, I would say it's working but that the ride is bumpy and it seems that for me, the fever has to get more intense before it breaks.

A

Dear A,

So good to hear from you.

In rather dark and incredibly difficult times, I remind myself to double up on looking. It helps to remind myself that the sadness and fear do not have to break for me to recognize I am here. Who else is noticing them? I also found it helpful to put my attention, with as much kindness as I can manage, on the actual sensations of the feelings in my body and just let it rest there without any comments from my mind. Our attention, without the distraction of the mind's story, is very powerful. And the thing about the fever: mine was a low grade fever that still seems to be working. Lera Jane

Great point

Great point

Lera Jane,

Thanks so much for your helpful and timely reply. Why is it that when things are challenging it seems that the last thing I remember to do is the looking? And yet, you're right-- it always seems to provide a space that reminds me that I can be aware of the thoughts that are causing my misery. And if I'm aware of them... they can't be "me" and... are they really the gospel truth that I'm tempted to believe they are?

I really appreciate your kind response--

Best,

A

lerajane

I also found it helpful to put my attention, with as much kindness as I can manage, on the actual sensations of the feelings in my body and just let it rest there without any comments from my mind. Our attention, without the distraction of the mind’s story, is very powerful. Lera Jane

Hi Lera Jane,

I resonate strongly with what you said here. I have found that the kindness towards my body came of its own accord - and it was a wonder to behold, as I must have been one of the most self-loathing people on the planet. That fact that I can actually feel love and good-will towards this body is quite a miracle. And I agree 100% about my attention (ME) being very powerful. I like to think of me as "the light of the world." It seems that the universe is here for me to behold. Without me, nothing exists independently (and I am speaking of every me, which makes up the one me). Yes, the mind can tell very seductive stories, and I see the stories - the stories are designed for me to see. I just don't have to believe them or take them on as being my identity. I am ME, just ME, always ME - nothing more, nothing less.

Jenny

tryingtolook

And if I'm aware of them... they can't be "me" and... are they really the gospel truth that I'm tempted to believe they are?

Yes, yes, yes! Well said, A!

Jenny

How's It Working?

How's It Working?

Well, Don, now that you ask... I think this is as good a place as any to keep rolling with some reports as to how the looking has benefited us (if it has). From my perspective, it might be helpful to give a brief history of my "evolvement."

In taking stock of myself 10 years ago, I felt there was a pervading undercurrent of fear and anxiety, even though I was successful in the ways of the world according to western convention. I was not drawn to the concept of gurus or spiritual nourishment and was resigned to endure the suffering and emotional responses like anger and resentment that probably arises from that undercurrent. I remember telling a friend that I wanted bo be rid of those qualities, but most of all fear. Then came The Power of Now, which led to a couple of Leonard Jacobson's retreats on living in presence before the Fall 2006 retreat with J.S., followed by the same retreat in 2007.

I have been following Leonard and J.S. since and have listened to their tapes, often numerous times. The space for being fearful gradually opened. I knew the value of looking inward the first day of the 2006 retreat. I had already come to the conclusion that the solution to eliminating fear and anxiety lay within me. J.S. hooked me when he said that we could actually rid ourselves of misery and suffering by looking inward. I hadn't thought it was suffering before then that I had been experiencing, but it was. So I took up the challenge and reinforced my commitment by listening to tape after tape after tape, until I had the understanding that fitted me.

The need to understand dropped away after two or three years, and almost all other needs except perhaps the need to be appreciated dropped away. Even that one is more of a ghost trait than anything else, because I am not afraid of what may happen if I am not appreciated or even hated by everyone else.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say the effectiveness of the looking was a 9.2. Another way to say that is that I am 92% cooked. I am absolutely sure the looking has worked, although I can't say for sure it worked without the other influences arising in my experience. I can theorize, however, that it could and would work all by itself and hope that there will be people out there who will try it and stick to it with no other practice aimed at eliminating fear and anxiety other than looking within. Trimpi

 

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