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Question #2 for John or anyone.

Dear John & community,

This question is more theoretical, and so may actually be somewhat inconsequential, but I want to ask anyway for understanding sake and so that I know better what it is that The Looking is going to do for me.

Is it true that fear is the real basis for all suffering? I personally feel that, in the total absence of that fear, I would nevermore suffer one iota. Pain would arise, yes. Sadness and differing emotional states will arise, yes. But the suffering that we generate in reaction to hardship, the resistance to and fear of life, would be completely gone forever without fear...without the kind of inner existential fear, I mean. I'm sorry, I should clarify that when I said "fear" I actually meant the kind of fear that penetrates into your spirit and makes you feel negative....I suppose that Angst would be a more precise word. But surely you know what I mean. Obviously fear is no problem of itself because it is just one of the natural sensations of life that we can even enjoy, as rollercoasters, scary movies, and the beloved uncertain thrill of adventure attest to. Instead, it is some sort of angst, even if unrecognized, that seems to cause all my suffering.

So my next question is, in effect, is it true to say that someone such as yourself (for whom The Looking has long since done its work) is without suffering because they never have a moment of inner fear, of Angst? Is this what you mean when you title your Just One Look email: "How to be free of fear once and for all"? Surely you're speaking of that awful fear that I'm referring to, the one that spoils life and makes us feel at stake and vulnerable.

Basically, is this horrible fear going to go away forever? Because it seems like as long as it's here suffering will be here too.

Thank you,

Gerrit

I'll take a stab at this, seeing I have nothing to fear. . . . You're exactly on the money. You won't become less responsible with the eradication of fear; you may not change anything you do or how you consciously react to the circumstances that crop up. And you'll still have fear, pain, loss arising from time to time, but not the kind of fear associated with having to get it right or else, or improving what's wrong with you or else, and so. That at-stakedness that is behind the drive, the need, the resistance to what is, that generates misery and suffering. That will go, and good riddance. You already know the difference between sadness and grief and pain and the like from suffering, but you may want to get even clearer about it. For me, suffering equates with resistance to what is. The clearer you are about what suffering actually means to you, the clearer you'll be when you note its absence. Take your time. You don't even "need" to be "driven" to do the work. Relax and do it on your own time. Do it at the home you know is you. Trimpi

Thanks

Thanks

Thank you, Trimpi,

I appreciate what you say in general, all across the forums. I strongly believe that I have done the Looking successfully, but it has only been a matter of months. How long before i get "over the hump" I wonder. No telling what will come or this or when, I suppose.

Gerrit

The hump might be a bump, and it may be interpreted as being an aspect of your personality. I don't put much stock in my revelations; just that I'm feeling mighty good and mighty at ease in handling difficult and sometimes nerve-wracking situations, like jury trials and a leukemia-stricken wife of 42 years. It doesn't matter whether you call it a hump or bump, because tomorrow you won't think of it or your present status the same way. Your thinking will constantly vary, but not the pair of eyes looking out at the world. Look back at those eyes and tell me not what you see, but that you have looked. Do it for long enough to see the ship of state you call yourself loosening its grip on the circumstances of life. You'll know, because you'll start feeling that sense of ease, and your "difficult" situations will be exciting challenges. Even situations you dread at first will become enjoyable as you pierce through them. I don't know about the when, but I do know about the certainty. Trimpi

Impatience

Impatience

Dear Gerrit,

I know what it is to be eager to see change or confirmation. I have come to realize that this is still a reflection of the seeking energy we all know so well. It will go during the recovery period. Going sane doesn't happen over night. Just hang in there. Lera Jane

reason for impatience

Trimpi - though your response is...poetic, I nevertheless appreciate your confidence.

Lera Jane - Thank you for the words of encouragement. Yes, I guess I'm impatient, but it's not an idyll impatience, like "hey, when am I gonna get my present?!" Instead, all I have certifiably seen come subsequent to this looking (whether actually related or not) is sudden and progressive worsening of my problems. There have been some sweet and unprecedented moments that have come--many revelations (which, as trimpi suggests, seem pointless except that they are beautiful when they come), moments of great hope, even gratitude--but all of those things have been only ephemeral and transient. What has been consistent, it seems, is me becoming farther from sanity and functionality. So I'm scared...scared that I'm driving away my loved ones and becoming more hopeless. But, then again, I tend to be more melodramatic about my issues than is called for, so *shrug*.

So my point is, even though there's nothing I can expect any of you to help me with, I still feel a bit desperate to find something that will reassure me rather than fuel my doubts.

However, none of this is related to the question topic of this thread.

successful reply. ?

successful reply. ?

My original reply seems to have been ion-blasted out of existence by the Admins, as with a couple other posts. I guess I'll have to be more careful about what I say.

@Lera Jane - Thank you for the support.

@trimpi - Although I don't have your confidence, I nevertheless am grateful.

Dear Gerrit and all,

Your post was not "ion-blasted out of existence". John and I read every post before approving them. Sometimes it takes a little while to get through all the postings.

Thank you!

Sorry

Sorry

Carla Sherman

Your post was not "ion-blasted out of existence". John and I read every post before approving them. Sometimes it takes a little while to get through all the postings.

Yes, I see, I'm sorry for doubting. I had assumed that maybe I was being too digressive or something.

Thank you,

Gerrit

gerrit

Instead, all I have certifiably seen come subsequent to this looking (whether actually related or not) is sudden and progressive worsening of my problems... What has been consistent, it seems, is me becoming farther from sanity and functionality. So I'm scared...scared that I'm driving away my loved ones and becoming more hopeless.

Dear Gerrit,

Can you rely on the consistency of your becoming farther from sanity and functionality? No, you can't. Truthfully, in your experience, what is the ONE constant throughout your entire life? YOU. If this were not so, you would not be able to distinguish the feeling of becoming farther from sanity from the feeling of YOU. Since you ARE the only constant, the constancy of YOU is the only way you are able to distinguish the difference between all the myriad perceptions that move through you from day to day, week to week, month to month, and year to year. Otherwise, how would you know it's YOU experiencing these things, regardless of the changes that undergo your body, your personality and the circumstances of your life? It's because you are YOU, the ever-unchanging you, and you know this deeply, even if not consciously yet.

The looking is doing its work, regardless of the feelings that are passing through you. Just know that these will take care of themselves. The hopelessness will take care of itself. Just look and see that you are not hopelessness, you are not insanity, you are not fear - you are YOU and only you. And all truly is well, despite appearances.

i like this quote from Dr. Seuss:

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."

Jenny

crossfire

crossfire

@Jenny - I honestly appreciate your words of support and attempting to make me grasp what I have long since grasped, I believe. However, despite the fact that I exceedingly well understand what you are saying (about ME always being the constant regardless what perceptions are arising, and how self-evident this is) that understanding, funny enough, seems to do little or nothing to actually assuage me and mitigate the craziness. Haha, that is the real irony of it. My experience is just as John has said many times, which is that the looking or even the understanding that comes from the looking does nothing to actually fix the problems or make them more bearable.

I'm sincerely glad that new understanding has helped you in your case. But once I got past the bliss and joy and wonder and safety of seeing for myself the truth about who I am and all that loveliness (and it is lovely, don't get me wrong), I found that neurosis and fear and hatred and like still held strong.

I do have some mote of faith that the looking is doing its work. But the notion that these things will take care of themselves is only somewhat helpful; it's like telling someone caught in the crossfire of a battle that things will take care of themselves. Still, I'll try to take your advice.

Re: Crossfire

Re: Crossfire

Dear Gerrit,

I'm truly sorry if nothing I said was of any use to you. Please forgive my tendency to be overly blunt at times, or my assumption that I know what to say to someone when in reality I don't have the foggiest idea.

I will relate some of my story here. Ever since I was 16 (and I'm 55 now), I have suffered from bouts of deep depression, fear, anger and self-loathing. I would have suicidal thoughts with great anguish and self-loathing, and feelings of conviction that I was the lowest and dirtiest rag of a human ever created. It wasn't until last year that I realized what these bouts of self-anguish were really about: I felt so guilty about being so flawed, that I would beat God to the punch, and punish myself first. I was first in line to make myself suffer for my perceived faults b/c I felt I didn't deserve to live. I was afraid of punishment, but felt I deserved punishment b/c I knew there was something very wrong with me. I know what suffering is, b/c the worst of my punishment came from me. (I like what Byron Katie said about this: who is crueler - someone who shouted at you, or you who replayed it 1000 times in your head?)

My serious spiritual search began in 2002 when I heard about Eckhart Tolle, then Gangaji. My search ramped up in 2009 when I picked up A Course in Miracles. From there I went on to David Hawkins, Richard Rose and his whole group, plus some others. None of that panned out into anything except bouts of frustration, more self-loathing, more fear, with some insights thrown in. There were some really frightening panic attacks in which I thought I was leaving my senses entirely, where the only thing left to hang onto was the feeling of my body lying on the bed, as I was lying there with a heartbeat so rapid, I was terrified of dying as well. I was losing my grip on reality. The Richard Rose material was the worst in bringing about terror and panic attacks. I even joined an email group at the TAT foundation - the object of the group was to "push" each other into "waking up" and achieving the "final answer." I quit that group after a few months - I could see that the extra anxiety and stress of being a part of that group wasn't doing me any good. I picked up Adyashanti instead, a much gentler route.

This brings me to the last 15 months, during the time I was studying Adyashanti. Here are some things I did that were helpful in diffusing a great deal of my underlying fear, anger and self-loathing:

* Every time I felt a bout of rage coming on, I would go into the basement (when I was alone in the house) and shout to God and to whomever I was angry with - I would shout out just how angry I was and how I felt and I would cry it all out, and stamp my feet and pump my arms in the air. Sounds really stupid, but it's really effective. I did this several times a week until I didn't feel the need to do it anymore.

*I joined an Al Anon group for a few months (because I grew up in an alcoholic home). It was a safe place to talk about how flawed I felt, and I gained insights into my psyche while attending that group and keeping a journal about it all. A big theme for me was my fear of the needs of others, which hid the fear of my own needs.

*I spent some time with Byron Katie's "the Work" - whatever feelings I had toward someone else always turned out to apply to me as well. When I was angry or hated someone else, it always turned out that I was angry and hated myself.

*I read and completed all the exercises in a book called The Grief Recovery Handbook by John James & Russell Friedman. This was extremely helpful in reconciling my relationships with all the significant people in my life, including myself, be they living or dead. It's about grieving for all your losses: loss of childhood, loss of safety & security, loss of love and comfort, loss of whatever you feel you have lost in your life. This book was far more effective for me than Byron Katie's method and was probably the best self-help book I have ever read.

*I worked with a book called Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships by John Welwood. It offered further clarification for the origins of my angst, fear, hangups about others, etc.

*I went to a psychotherapist for a few months to further clarify the issues I uncovered.

*I thought very strongly about attending a costly horse-healing therapy retreat. After seeing Oprah's last show a year ago, I was able finally to condense all this self-psychotherapy down into the one question: what is it I really want? The answer was validation. I wanted validation to be who I was, just as I was. There was quite a release of angst when I realized that.

*The spiritual search continued, however. I didn't find any real peace b/c I was still searching for that pie-in-the-sky permanent state of all-knowing all-seeing bliss.

A few months after that, in August 2011, I stumbled across John on Youtube. Right away, I knew this was different, and this was real. I was searching for me! It was such a relief to put down all those spiritual teachings, and to just feel free to be me. It felt so good to have someone tell me I was OK right now, and that I didn't have to worry about all my "stuff" anymore! It was just such a relief!!! And I saw that I would be validating myself. I wouldn't be finding any savior out there - it would all come from me. I would be my own best champion and advocate.

I still feel the fear of life pretty much every day. I am discovering more and more the tiny ways that life can be fearful - something as small as the way someone else pronounces a word differently from me. Why is that irritating? Because I feel at stake if someone is just the tiniest bit different than me. These are the little ways in which life is fearful for me now. First I discovered the big ways that life is fearful, now I am discovering the little ways in which I feel at stake. I don't know what the next turn in the road will be, but I do know and feel that I am here now. I feel just as fully here now as I have ever felt in the past, so I'm thinking that I won't feel any more fully here later. This is it, this is me right now. And it's not a blissful state or a terrible state or any state at all - I can see those come and go. I always come back to see that I still feel like me, plain, ordinary ol' me. All the terror and the humdrum and the little bits of bliss didn't touch plain, ordinary ol' me.

And that's all I really have to offer is my own experience. Thank you so much, Garrit, for being an integral part of these forums, and for answering my posts. I'm so glad to have you here, and I wish you relief from your angst. I know it's a hard road for most of us, including me, and I hope just as much as you do that the looking will bring us all to sanity, and to forever release from the fear of life.

Many blessings,

Jenny

just in case

just in case

Gerrit,

Reading John’s latest posting about his financial problems motivated me to write to you because these forums may not be around too much longer. So I thought I should speak up while there was still time. The desperation I read in your postings is something that I can very much identify with. I have kept off the forums for a while now because my last posting was so negative it made someone cry. John says that one look does the trick and maybe this is so but we are all different and don’t react to things in the same way. You call it fear. I call it anxiety, gut wrenching anxiety that does not seem to abate. I can only assume I am doing the looking correctly. I really can get a feel for something in me that never changes. Never the less the fear continues. So I am trying something just a little different. I’ve just started this so who knows what the results will be. What do I have to lose? Actually your first question to John gave me the inspiration. You asked if the duration of the looking made any difference and he said no but I think he also said it can’t hurt. So I am going to try to use the looking as a tool to fight the anxiety as often as I can. It’s just medicine right? Maybe folks like me just need bigger dosages. I don’t mean to step on John’s or anyone’s toes but again we are all different. I know we are not supposed to try and just dwell in this ‘state’ of looking but I just can’t go on the way I have. I will try to look as much as I can hold my attention on it. Also just like many of the other people in these forums, I have tried many different methods (spiritual, medical, therapy). You name it and they have all come to dead ends. So this is kind of a last stand for me. As John said somewhere maybe we have to do this ‘looking’ as if our hair is on fire.

Just in case these forums do close down know you are not alone.

Fred

neither are you

neither are you

Dear Fred,

First of all, I've long since read your last post that made Gail cry, and I've returned to that thread many times. I think Gail cried (as many of us get choked up) because our hearts go out to the pain we see in others like us and compassion tugs the heart strings. I don't think anyone was crying because you were making them depressed, but because of sheer compassion for you. So you shouldn't blame yourself and you shouldn't stop posting!!! Your posts are really valuable, especially to me, because they are so honest.

Secondly, I don't freaking know how, but we're gonna ride this out and get through this. As you have said directly, we're together in this boat and we're gonna keep riding it until we hit some sort of land, dammit. So don't give up. I'm with you.

In terms of your new resolve, give it a go. I tried to do that exact same thing myself and had mixed experiences with it. Sometimes it really did somehow lift me above the illusion, so to speak. But sometimes it didn't, or I wasn't strong enough at it.

I don't know if you have done the Looking successfully, but I'm willing to offer whatever small help I can...Assuming that I've done it right myself, who knows! Just holler. I've lots of things to say about the Looking, so I usually have to restrain myself.

Yours,

Gerrit

I hear you

I hear you

Gerrit,

It's funny-- I've always heard John say that "it will all come out OK in the end" with a mixture of hope and frustration. Hope, because there is something inside me that resonates with that sentiment, that believes it, I guess. And frustration (and I would be lying if I said there wasn't a little more frustration than hope) because it feels those words do precious little good to me right now when I desperately want and "need" things to be better.

I've become more aware than ever of the ways I neurotically look for distraction and solutions for this fear of life that is so palpable and manifests itself in a million different ways, including more "tiny" ways than ever as Jenny also observes. It's so frustrating to watch myself surf the web, check email compulsively, etc. in an attempt to self-soothe and try to find something that will reassure me that there is a solution, that it will get better, or at least distract me from the pain I feel in the meantime.

I offer all this to say that I feel I have an idea where you are and what you're going through. There's the line of a poem that says, "wait patiently, not passively and let the hours deliver you." If you add "and the looking" after "the hours"... that pretty much sums up my mantra right now.

Hang in there,

Ansley

Blessed

Blessed

Dear Jenny,

1. First of all, let me applaud your epic post. I love those.

2. Second of all, there's absolutely no reason or cause for you to apologize. As I tried to indicate, I only feel appreciation for your help.

3. Oh, I know so well what you speak of when you relate your times of fear, angst, self-loathing and such. Your story is so revealing and close to my heart as well, so I really empathize. (I totally agree with what Byron Katie said) Your account is really moving and not to mention awesome, and I feel blessed that you shared it with me.

4. Your generally staunch hopefulness really shines a bright light on these forums. I responded to one of your postings in the "Addictions/health" thread where I was a little more blunt in trying to say that I simply disagree with some viewpoints, but that I actually share your general philosophy and experiences. Don't let anything I say diminish your own optimism and positivity.

5. Thank you for your kind words to me. It really touches me, it does. I remember once when I was in Junior High I was having a really crappy day, and I felt a lot of misanthropy, and then all of a sudden despite my bad mood, this one girl I knew acted very genuinely kind toward me for no reason at all other than human decency. It was a trivial passing thing, but it immediately turned around my day, and I've never forgotten how a simple act of kindness can mean everything to someone.

6. I just have a lot of doubt about the promise of this Looking. I no longer have any questions, as those have all been answered in some form or other. Now the proof has to be in the pudding, and that's that.

Good luck and hopefully we'll all be interacting around the forums for a while (and they don't shut the power down).

With love,

Gerrit

gerrit

Dear Jenny,

1. First of all, let me applaud your epic post. I love those.

2. Second of all, there's absolutely no reason or cause for you to apologize. As I tried to indicate, I only feel appreciation for your help.

3. Oh, I know so well what you speak of when you relate your times of fear, angst, self-loathing and such. Your story is so revealing and close to my heart as well, so I really empathize. (I totally agree with what Byron Katie said) Your account is really moving and not to mention awesome, and I feel blessed that you shared it with me.

4. Your generally staunch hopefulness really shines a bright light on these forums. I responded to one of your postings in the "Addictions/health" thread where I was a little more blunt in trying to say that I simply disagree with some viewpoints, but that I actually share your general philosophy and experiences. Don't let anything I say diminish your own optimism and positivity.

5. Thank you for your kind words to me. It really touches me, it does. I remember once when I was in Junior High I was having a really crappy day, and I felt a lot of misanthropy, and then all of a sudden despite my bad mood, this one girl I knew acted very genuinely kind toward me for no reason at all other than human decency. It was a trivial passing thing, but it immediately turned around my day, and I've never forgotten how a simple act of kindness can mean everything to someone.

6. I just have a lot of doubt about the promise of this Looking. I no longer have any questions, as those have all been answered in some form or other. Now the proof has to be in the pudding, and that's that.

Good luck and hopefully we'll all be interacting around the forums for a while (and they don't shut the power down).

With love,

Gerrit

Dear Gerrit,

Thanks for your sweet reply. Not to worry, any optimism or positivity is just happening on its own, so don't worry about anything you say diminishing it. All you have is your own experience, so if you didn't agree with some things I said, that's ok. You are entitled to your own experience and opinions. I say this with good intentions, because I know I am entitled to mine too - it's all good! smily

I know what you mean about someone genuinely smiling at me or saying something nice. Someone greeted me warmly today at the Y, and it warmed my heart as well. It's cool how warmth can spread so easily, but I suppose one must be able to receive that warmth in order to spread it around.

It's ok to doubt, it's a normal thing to do. I wonder what doubt feels like in the body? I just started practicing (after learning how to do it last summer and then forgetting all about it when I came across the looking) recognizing and giving space to the way emotions "feel" in the body - the body carries the physical component of the emotion. Anyway, it can be an interesting avenue to explore and I think it can assist the looking in positive ways, as we learn to fully inhabit our lives (including our emotions and bodies).

Yes, I too hope the forums stick around! I'd really miss them if the plug got pulled. I hope the financial situation can get resolved.

It's great to have you here, Gerrit, you're a sweetie!

Jenny

Hanging in there

Hanging in there

Thank you Gerrit, Fred and Jenny for your wonderful posts here.

Jenny, I loved your post of your travels -- what an incredibly beautiful, opening journey you've been on! Thank you so much for sharing it.

I relate to each one of you about the challenges, disappointments, and difficulties of this recovery. Each emotion you relate, triggers that response in me -- the feelings of trying so hard for something that others say is so close -- and yet, to us, is so incredibly distant.

I don't know if what I'm going to report to you now (and have reported on a couple of other threads) is a simply thing that will come and go -- or if it in fact was looking -- but I will let you know going forward. So here's the story:

I was recently driving and listening to a "Just One Look" recording -- Lera Jane was talking about using her peripheral vision, imagining holding out her arms in a "T" and trying to see her hands at the same time. As I imagined doing this, it "unfocused" my mind/brain/eyes and shifted my awareness to "me." And I was looking.

Since it happened, I have the choice to look at me that way throughout the day -- but I'm not an "expert," not "fully cemented" in this, not sure of it at all -- I'm not even sure that I have in fact "found" "me." But I guess I'm telling you this as a kind of hopeful report.

It didn't feel like "an experience" -- I've had a poop ton of those, thinking each one was my ticket "home." This feels different. So much better described here by others -- but I'm not sure -- and time will tell how it goes.

But I do know, and I fervently hope, that if that door has shifted open for me -- a person who has suffered incredible heartbreak over the struggle and fear of life for so many years -- then it is totally available for you guys and for everyone in the world.

I am hanging in with you.

Sending love,

Dawn

@Dawn - It's great to hear that, really. Who knows how much we can trust certain experiences, I certainly don't. But I'm sure that you're doing all of this Looking business just splendidly.

Good luck. I'm glad you're hanging in with us.

Gerrit

"Since it happened, I have the choice to look at me that way throughout the day -- but I'm not an "expert," not "fully cemented" in this, not sure of it at all -- I'm not even sure that I have in fact "found" "me." But I guess I'm telling you this as a kind of hopeful report.

It didn't feel like "an experience" -- I've had a poop ton of those, thinking each one was my ticket "home." This feels different. So much better described here by others -- but I'm not sure -- and time will tell how it goes.

But I do know, and I fervently hope, that if that door has shifted open for me -- a person who has suffered incredible heartbreak over the struggle and fear of life for so many years -- then it is totally available for you guys and for everyone in the world."

Dawn, this isn't meant to be a down response to your posting, but I did want to tell you what I have found to be an interesting phenomenon. Every time I came up with a new insight or technique as to how better or best to do the looking, it would be good for several days and then relegated to the back stacks. A couple of times I may have gotten a couple of weeks of bounce. I don't know why such insights and techniques wear out or are replaced by new ones, but they have for me. Tha't why I can say there are no shortcuts.

Another way to say that is there is no ticket home. Even though what you feel is different this time, it too shall pass.

Also, for you to say you're not sure you have "found" you, I say to keep looking. Harder. Try to define what you are. At least then you'll know what you're looking for and whether you've found it. And if that seeking leads you to feel discouraged or frustrated, throw those qualities into the mix and see whether they define you. Everying gets looked at in the looking.

Finally, at the risk of sounding too heady, I'd like to say that the door has not shifted open for you, because you are the door, swinging open and closing with each new experience. You are fortunate to have allowed your heart to break those many openings and closings. No matter what happens in the future, the circumstances can't touch you, just as your past heartbreaks haven't altered the you of you. trimpi

gerrit

Dear Fred,

First of all, I've long since read your last post that made Gail cry, and I've returned to that thread many times. I think Gail cried (as many of us get choked up) because our hearts go out to the pain we see in others like us and compassion tugs the heart strings. I don't think anyone was crying because you were making them depressed, but because of sheer compassion for you. So you shouldn't blame yourself and you shouldn't stop posting!!! Your posts are really valuable, especially to me, because they are so honest.

Haven't written anything for a while....

Fred and Gerrit, I couldn't have said it any better than this! I did 'well' up with compassion and could relate to the hopelessness......not in a 'bring me down' way, but a compassionate way, for us all....

Gail

no road maps

no road maps

trimpi

Every time I came up with a new insight or technique as to how better or best to do the looking, it would be good for several days and then relegated to the back stacks. A couple of times I may have gotten a couple of weeks of bounce. I don't know why such insights and techniques wear out or are replaced by new ones, but they have for me. That's why I can say there are no shortcuts.

Yes, I can totally validate this because it worked the same way for me in the beginning. I would keep a notebook and fastidiously write down any new method or technique I came up with to focus on what I thought I was trying to find. And, just as trimpi says, it might work for a moment but very quickly it would fade and become no more useful than anything else. But, after a while of that, my search became more refined and I came to better and better understand that what I'm trying to "look" at is just ME (which simply cannot be explained, only realized in the most intimate way) and thus the attempt to keep a guide book or a road map of how to find ME became more and more obviously unnecessary and ridiculous....not only that, it actually impedes you. There are definitely no shortcuts; you alone have to find how to Look at YOU, and for most I think it just takes time get better and more confident at it. That's my experience.

But I think I agree with John that you cannot fail in this if you remain earnest. Now, I don't think one is likely to find it at the mere suggestion. But if one sets their conviction to find out what they call "me" and nothing else, then no matter what path you take you'll find home I think. No matter how bad you could possibly screw this up, the ever-present never-changing feeling of "me" is always there to guide you like the North Star.

trimpi

No matter what happens in the future, the circumstances can't touch you, just as your past heartbreaks haven't altered the you of you.

Yes, quite so. Even though knowing that alone doesn't always help much, seeing the patent truth of it can be rather liberating in the moment of recognition.

Every time I came up with a new insight or technique as to how better or best to do the looking, it would be good for several days and then relegated to the back stacks ... there are no shortcuts ... no ticket home. Even though what you feel is different this time, it too shall pass.

Also, for you to say you're not sure you have "found" you, I say to keep looking. Harder. Try to define what you are. At least then you'll know what you're looking for and whether you've found it. And if that seeking leads you to feel discouraged or frustrated, throw those qualities into the mix and see whether they define you. Everying gets looked at in the looking.

Finally, at the risk of sounding too heady, I'd like to say that the door has not shifted open for you, because you are the door, swinging open and closing with each new experience. You are fortunate to have allowed your heart to break those many openings and closings. No matter what happens in the future, the circumstances can't touch you, just as your past heartbreaks haven't altered the you of you. trimpi

Hi Trimpi,

Thank you so much for speaking your truth. I hear what you are saying about new techniques wearing out in time and there not being any shortcuts home, because as you also say – I am "the door swinging open and closing with each new experience," I am already home.

It sounds as if you are familiar with the path I am on now, having possibly gone through these “gates” yourself. And I appreciate your honesty in pointing out the shortcomings of looking for shortcuts and not realizing I am what I am looking for -- and I ask for your mercy in seeing what it was like to be where I am now.

All of our words are poor bearers of our intent and they give us only a dim view into what we each are experiencing, but for me, in that fraction of a second that I am using this technique – I do experience myself as “me.” And I know John calls the looking a medicine that we take (I am quoting him roughly) until we don’t need it anymore or it fades away. So I feel as if that’s what I am doing and that’s OK, b/c it’s part of my recovery.

As I read your response I imagine you are only trying to encourage me and state that these experiences are lacking in clarity and not wholly true. And I agree, but I realize that they are experiences, I realize that they are just a taste, and that’s OK with me. It’s what is, it’s what is present right now in my looking as I am in recovery. And as John says, I can’t get it wrong … the looking is doing its work irregardless.

So thank you for pointing out the path to me, I have gratitude for your wisdom, and I have mercy for myself. I am OK with my imperfection as I am now, in recovery of me, just as I am. And yes, I’m going to try harder, but as Albert Brooks says in “Defending Your Life,” “I’m doing the best that I can.”

With best regards,

Dawn

P.S. These words, too, are poor bearers of my experience, I hope that they will offer to carry the weight of the gravity of my effort.

Jenny

Jenny

Dear Gerrit,

I'm truly sorry if nothing I said was of any use to you. Please forgive my tendency to be overly blunt at times, or my assumption that I know what to say to someone when in reality I don't have the foggiest idea.

I will relate some of my story here. Ever since I was 16 (and I'm 55 now), I have suffered from bouts of deep depression, fear, anger and self-loathing. I would have suicidal thoughts with great anguish and self-loathing, and feelings of conviction that I was the lowest and dirtiest rag of a human ever created. It wasn't until last year that I realized what these bouts of self-anguish were really about: I felt so guilty about being so flawed, that I would beat God to the punch, and punish myself first. I was first in line to make myself suffer for my perceived faults b/c I felt I didn't deserve to live. I was afraid of punishment, but felt I deserved punishment b/c I knew there was something very wrong with me. I know what suffering is, b/c the worst of my punishment came from me. (I like what Byron Katie said about this: who is crueler - someone who shouted at you, or you who replayed it 1000 times in your head?)

My serious spiritual search began in 2002 when I heard about Eckhart Tolle, then Gangaji. My search ramped up in 2009 when I picked up A Course in Miracles. From there I went on to David Hawkins, Richard Rose and his whole group, plus some others. None of that panned out into anything except bouts of frustration, more self-loathing, more fear, with some insights thrown in. There were some really frightening panic attacks in which I thought I was leaving my senses entirely, where the only thing left to hang onto was the feeling of my body lying on the bed, as I was lying there with a heartbeat so rapid, I was terrified of dying as well. I was losing my grip on reality. The Richard Rose material was the worst in bringing about terror and panic attacks. I even joined an email group at the TAT foundation - the object of the group was to "push" each other into "waking up" and achieving the "final answer." I quit that group after a few months - I could see that the extra anxiety and stress of being a part of that group wasn't doing me any good. I picked up Adyashanti instead, a much gentler route.

This brings me to the last 15 months, during the time I was studying Adyashanti. Here are some things I did that were helpful in diffusing a great deal of my underlying fear, anger and self-loathing:

* Every time I felt a bout of rage coming on, I would go into the basement (when I was alone in the house) and shout to God and to whomever I was angry with - I would shout out just how angry I was and how I felt and I would cry it all out, and stamp my feet and pump my arms in the air. Sounds really stupid, but it's really effective. I did this several times a week until I didn't feel the need to do it anymore.

*I joined an Al Anon group for a few months (because I grew up in an alcoholic home). It was a safe place to talk about how flawed I felt, and I gained insights into my psyche while attending that group and keeping a journal about it all. A big theme for me was my fear of the needs of others, which hid the fear of my own needs.

*I spent some time with Byron Katie's "the Work" - whatever feelings I had toward someone else always turned out to apply to me as well. When I was angry or hated someone else, it always turned out that I was angry and hated myself.

*I read and completed all the exercises in a book called The Grief Recovery Handbook by John James & Russell Friedman. This was extremely helpful in reconciling my relationships with all the significant people in my life, including myself, be they living or dead. It's about grieving for all your losses: loss of childhood, loss of safety & security, loss of love and comfort, loss of whatever you feel you have lost in your life. This book was far more effective for me than Byron Katie's method and was probably the best self-help book I have ever read.

*I worked with a book called Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships by John Welwood. It offered further clarification for the origins of my angst, fear, hangups about others, etc.

*I went to a psychotherapist for a few months to further clarify the issues I uncovered.

*I thought very strongly about attending a costly horse-healing therapy retreat. After seeing Oprah's last show a year ago, I was able finally to condense all this self-psychotherapy down into the one question: what is it I really want? The answer was validation. I wanted validation to be who I was, just as I was. There was quite a release of angst when I realized that.

*The spiritual search continued, however. I didn't find any real peace b/c I was still searching for that pie-in-the-sky permanent state of all-knowing all-seeing bliss.

A few months after that, in August 2011, I stumbled across John on Youtube. Right away, I knew this was different, and this was real. I was searching for me! It was such a relief to put down all those spiritual teachings, and to just feel free to be me. It felt so good to have someone tell me I was OK right now, and that I didn't have to worry about all my "stuff" anymore! It was just such a relief!!! And I saw that I would be validating myself. I wouldn't be finding any savior out there - it would all come from me. I would be my own best champion and advocate.

I still feel the fear of life pretty much every day. I am discovering more and more the tiny ways that life can be fearful - something as small as the way someone else pronounces a word differently from me. Why is that irritating? Because I feel at stake if someone is just the tiniest bit different than me. These are the little ways in which life is fearful for me now. First I discovered the big ways that life is fearful, now I am discovering the little ways in which I feel at stake. I don't know what the next turn in the road will be, but I do know and feel that I am here now. I feel just as fully here now as I have ever felt in the past, so I'm thinking that I won't feel any more fully here later. This is it, this is me right now. And it's not a blissful state or a terrible state or any state at all - I can see those come and go. I always come back to see that I still feel like me, plain, ordinary ol' me. All the terror and the humdrum and the little bits of bliss didn't touch plain, ordinary ol' me.

And that's all I really have to offer is my own experience. Thank you so much, Garrit, for being an integral part of these forums, and for answering my posts. I'm so glad to have you here, and I wish you relief from your angst. I know it's a hard road for most of us, including me, and I hope just as much as you do that the looking will bring us all to sanity, and to forever release from the fear of life.

Many blessings,

Jenny

Seriously, Jenny you wrote my ALMOST IDENTICAL life story. No kidding. Very few differences. Actually our age is the same also. I hope you are doing well. And I really appreciate your sharing.

Paige

Consider

Dear Gerrit:

After reading your initial question I have a response to offer: First thank you for your openness and contribution to this conversation, really. This authentic expression is the heart of using the value of the community.

In response to your questions, here is my suggestion: Don't accept or believe anything someone else says as the "truth". Don't even accept what you think as the "truth". Not that what someone else thinks or what you think doesn't have any value, it's just that what we think doesn't make any difference.. Go after...find out for yourself what is so. Only then will you know it. Live with the questions. As John points out, "Reality speaks pretty loudly and clearly for itself". But don't believe him, or accept that and don't believe me or accept anything I say either, find out for yourself. This aspect of self reliance is critical to this work. The context of fear is such that it will often leave us in the state of a child, i.e. feeling that we don't know and that we are dependent on those who do, so we ask for reassurance. Our identity, when given by the context of fear is one in which we can only "hope" that the fear comes to an end.

Hope: noun

1 a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen:

• a person or thing that may help or save someone: their only hope is surgery.

• grounds for believing that something good may happen: he does see some hope for the future.

2 archaic a feeling of trust.

One of the hallmarks of the recovery process as I experienced it is "confusion"

noun

1 lack of understanding; uncertainty

• a situation of panic; a breakdown of order

• a disorderly jumble

2 the state of being bewildered or unclear in one's mind about something

• the mistaking of one person or thing for another

I consider uncertainty a very high space as compared to what we thought we knew. See if you can explore this space of uncertainty with interest in discovering.

Again thank you for being here, your voice is a contribution.

David

Thanks

Thank you very much, David,

I really appreciate what you have written to me. I see what you mean about hope, and whether I want to or not I am kind of exploring this confusion and realizing that I cannot conquer it but instead kind of be immersed in it and watch it dissolve slowly. It's beautiful, actually, and not what I would expect. I don't have much to say right now, which I think is good and I'm kind of grateful for. Speaking to John in the last week really has been deeply helpful.

I am seeing more now how reality speaks for itself, and how what I have wanted to find for years now...ME...I already am, and though words cannot transmit it, that is enough for now.

Thanks David and community, sorry if I didn't respond to some other posts in which I was referenced across the forums, and I'll be around. Thanks again.

with love,

Gerrit

 

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