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My experience with The Looking

Hi everyone,

It is so wonderful to be here on this forum where I hope to be supported and support others in this recovery. Today I had my first webinar with John which I had been exited about since first registering last week. I am specially grateful because I was able to thank John live for what he has helped me see. I would like to use this post to both share what I said to him and a couple of things I left out.

I will avoid going into too much detail regarding my seeking journey as it is pretty much similar to that of anyone else who has followed a spiritual path with the aim of attaining enlightenment, freedom from suffering, some ongoing state of bliss, or whatever. It is only important that I mention it in order to highlight how my preconceived spiritual understandings made me unable to grasp exactly what John had been speaking of.

I came across John on my search as I had been obsessively practicing self-inquiry as taught by Nisargadatta Maharaj and Ramana Maharshi for some years. In the course of my seeking I tried to see through the I, to see the reality of my nature that was said to be "veiled" by the "I" thought. Absurdly, I tried pretending that I didn't exist, pretending that I wasn't here. Of course, I was back soon enough which is obvious as I was never not here in the first place. I tried recognizing awareness, remaining as awareness, giving up on it all and even considered ending my life if I didn't find freedom from this intense suffering that seemed to be running my life. Then, around 6 months ago, when I came across John, I concluded that in spite of the fact that he was clearly saying "just look at yourself, you, just plain old you, not awareness, not the self, not God, just you!" my spiritual conditioning still lead me to interpret such a simple act to mean the following: "OK he says look at yourself, plain old you and so on, but he is enlightened or awakened so what he really means is that we should look at the Self, That which is beyond, the ground of all Being etc. so I must get a taste of the Self, get a look at what the ground of Being looks like". Once I had superimposed on the looking all of the jargon I just mentioned, I was left in the same place as I had started years ago: avoiding myself and looking for something else to replace me.

Luckily I went back to Johns podcasts again after three months. This time I said to myself "let's just take literally what he is saying. Just take a look at what it feels like to be plain old Dan, the one that is here now and was here yesterday. The one that was here during painful and lonely times as well as during the moments of bliss". Originally I felt resistance as I had always looked away from me toward the Self, Awareness or some other object of experience spiritual or otherwise. What I am I don't know, that I am here I do know. The one I was trying to get rid of or find a replacement for is the one that the looking is to be directed at. It doesn't say look at the one in you that feel great and peaceful when you look at it. It says look at you. Today I know what John wants me to look at. I have no doubt.

Do you know what the added bonus is? When I was frantically seeking enlightenment I would have blasts of cosmic consciousness, oneness and all of that but fear would always follow as I knew they were gonna have to go, and go they did. Now I know I remain as things come and as they go. Is that not obvious? The only thing that I can have fear about is that the content of my experience will change but that is besides the point. John did not say that the content will change he said that I should get a glimpse of what it feels like to be me. I have done that and my attention keeps going back to me and it feels great to be me. This is where life begins for me.

I hope my experience with how my spiritual conditioning got in the way of the looking is helpful to some of you. What I was meant to be looking at was the one I thought I shouldn't be looking at; in fact, it was the one that felt less spiritual of all smily

Thanks in advance for your support. The fear of life has been reduced by half in a week. Thank you John.

Love,

Dan

Thank you, and welcome Dan! I also want to thank John for the clear message in today's webcast. All the business about "where in the body I am located" and other such imaginings are beside the point, and are harmless distractions at best. I appreciate how you, John, are bringing those of us who participated in those discussions back to what the looking is all about. How easy it is for the mind to go around in circles with all sorts of ponderings which have no answer. I appreciate the simplicity of looking at the me-ness of me, without knowing anything at all about me, except that I am here, that I exist fully now, and that I am not going to become anything new. I also appreciate the part of the webcast where you confirmed that normal emotions and thoughts will continue to arise once the looking has done its work - it's the fear of those normal human emotions/thoughts that will be gone. I am finding this to be more and more the case for me, as the recovery is taking place. So, thank you John for today's webcast. It was great!

Gratefully, Jenny

Thanks Daniel - great report!

Looking, before I found John

I recently discovered John's teaching of the looking, and realize that it worked for me before I even knew about it. I had the "I lost it, I want it back" experience. What happened is that in 2000, after 3 years of intense, burning obsession to go as deeply as possible, and be free of all suffering, and seeing a dozen teachers from here to India I had a breakthrough and realized that I was no longer the doer, was empty of self and its attachments, and felt the infinite flow of the great heart. In other words, things were good! It made my life effortless, and people noticed the change, for a few months anyway. Then I "lost it" it. I missed, it but because my life had been nicely re-oriented things were going well. I left it alone, just happy for the experience.

2011, eleven years later, I'm going full circle in the ilusion, again buried in my own suffering, tired of my job, etc. I start wondering if I can get back my "lost enlightenment," but I'm afraid of going through those years of obsession and burning again. But there was nothing left to do - nothing but continue my suffering, so I just went for it. I started looking at my past, and what had happened, how I was then. I started reading, going to teachings, meditating. I kept spinning on my old story. Then I started looking at what was going on with me now. I did that because it seemed there was nowhere else to look. As soon as I started turning my attention to who I was in the present moment, a shift started occuring. It took three weeks. The shift "finalized" a month ago, and I waited to share it to make sure it's not just a flash of experience of our "true nature." I know now that awareness beyond infinity and eternity came just by looking, but looking fully, and into the present moment.

Those of us who "lose" our awakening, can we stop looking back at who we were before, and like John says, look fully at who we are now? How simple! We had to turn over so many stones on our journey to get here, yet we don't even know we are here until we really look. Thanks for helping me recognize that all I had to do was LOOK. There wasn't a formula or fancy set of Sanskrit words, or a dozen teachers, or anything but me, the infinity.

Hello Daniel,

I caught you on the podcast and wanted to add my thanks for your report. I too have tied myself up in knots trying to understand Nisargadatta and Ramana Maharshi (and many others), to the point where my head felt like it was exploding with understanding that I couldn't seem to turn into a lived experience. I am pretty sure I *understood* but that just left me with a head like a toolbox full of useless tools *and* they were rattling all day long! Like you, when instructed to look for 'me' the cunning spiritual dilletante knew better than to look for just me, boring me. Instead I have floated off into looking for 'awareness', the 'Headless' me, you name it. Your posting here was just what I needed to hear as a course-correction. I have to say, looking for just plain 'me' feels tougher than all the abstract ideas. I have become so used to living on the delicious highs of abstraction that it requires a kind of discipline to remain focused on just 'me'.

So, thank you once again and wishing you further freedom from the fear of life.

Emma ~

Thank you

Thank you very much, Dan!

You perfectly described an issue which I had to struggle with while trying to do the looking. It will help a lot of people here.

Excellent report Dan.

Although, I have something to add in the way of another issue;

I too, did the whole gammet of spiritual study, like through a microscope. I also made a big search and study into the 'emotional, mental, thinkingness and perception; as all from the 'survivor mind', ego blah blah.

Now when I do the looking and look at myself back in childhood, I see nothing but descriptive emotions and thoughts. For example, oh here's a peaceful me, here's a joyful me playing with my dog, here's a painful me, and so on....there's no 'just me', it's all colored by phenomenon. So maybe all my disecting away , that which is NOT me, in my searching.....has created too much of a scientist to do the looking and I feel very frustrated.

If I do the looking with the thought of 'what is always 'steady' inside?', that seems to touch upon...well something steady....

I also think that I've ruined my 'trust' in myself with all this search/for sure this is it/hope/then despair. So if the 'steady' is the right direction and someone told me that, I wouldn't really believe it anyway, 'it was probably my imagination' and magical thinking....and so forth.

Well, I still come back here to the forums and listen to the podcasts.

I really appreciate reading all of your posts and responses, experiences, and also John and Carla's work at sharing, explaining etc.

Love to all,

Gail

Daniel Avital

OK he says look at yourself, plain old you and so on,

Just take a look at what it feels like to be plain old Dan, the one that is here now and was here yesterday. The one that was here during painful and lonely times as well as during the moments of bliss". Originally I felt resistance as I had always looked away from me toward the Self, Awareness or some other object of experience spiritual or otherwise. What I am I don't know, that I am here I do know. The one I was trying to get rid of or find a replacement for is the one that the looking is to be directed at. It doesn't say look at the one in you that feel great and peaceful when you look at it. It says look at you. Today I know what John wants me to look at. I have no doubt.

This is where I get really confused. It seems like when everyone refers to 'plain ol me', 'just you' they're talking about 'the personality'? The one who thinks, feels, is reactionary and has misperceived everything... Can you clarify this Dan and any other members too.

Thanks,

Gail

@Dan,

What you're outlining in this thread is very important for breaking down the problem that many people have with spiritual understanding, the same problem John warns about.

Similar to what the Dude says, I went through a process of coming closer and closer to just ME, and at the beginning of it I wouldn't have possibly imagined that what it would finally boil down to was ME. The mind simply doesn't even conceive of the notion. Like John says, the apparatus of looking outward at life doesn't even consider the possibility of reversing the beam and looking inward. It would rather look at thoughts about me and perceptions of Presence or Awareness or something, all of which is outward.

Even still I often have much trouble looking at ME in a "satisfactory" way. Attention just doesn't want to go backward into its source.

As opposed to who?

GailH

This is where I get really confused. It seems like when everyone refers to 'plain ol me', 'just you' they're talking about 'the personality'? The one who thinks, feels, is reactionary and has misperceived everything... Can you clarify this Dan and any other members too.

@Gail - Certainly I am no expert in this. But I definitely get the impression from reading your writings that you are, as you say, trying to dissect this Looking and inward search on an intellectual and a-little-too-thought-based level. Not to blame you for this at all, I am one of the biggest culprits of this out there. But only to say what you already know (even if hesitantly so) which is that it will likely distract you more than actually help.

You say, "the one who thinks, feels" etc. As opposed to who? There are no two selves. Who is it that is aware of all of these things, this thinking & feeling & reactions, etc.? It's YOU, of course. It's not ego or anything, it's YOU. Now, it's true that YOU are aware of ego's reactions and the decisions and activities of the mind & persona. But when you say "me," when you say "I'm pissed" or "I'm lustful" or whatever, it's not ego, it's YOU. Yes, those states are being facilitated by the apparatus, but it's unmistakably YOU that is experiencing them. It's YOU that feels like "I" when you say "I do such&such" or "I feel such&such". It's not anything other than YOU!!!! Nothing!!!!

That's why John says "How hard can it be?" and "Well, this is really easy" and such. He says that because, although you may be so convinced that YOU must be something other, you actually are just that impossibly mundane & banal YOU. The "personality" is just the mask you're wearing; it cannot feel or perceive anything, so it's nonsensical to think that the personality has some sort of autonomous experience that could be mistaken for your "real" experience. There's only ONE thing that feels like YOU, so if you looking DIRECTLY at it, you're golden.

Of course, easier said than done. But maybe not.

Gerrit and all, I believe I have been super convinced that there are multiple apparatuses and that the 'me' I'm supposed to be looking at is hidden from my view. Once again, I can't make the connection.

My most recent teacher was Dr. David R. Hawkins. In my opinion, he did a stellar job in trying to describe reality. Although, he would also say that 'what he is trying to describe' can't really be described well in language, intellect, the mind.' I experienced a lot of 'aha's' while studying his teachings. One of the big aha's for me was the description of the 'spiritual ego/mind'. Which is the same as 'survivor mind' that seeks comfort/safety....only via 'truth seeking' etc.

Also, emotions are just energy that come from mind perception; I pretty much proved to myself that every emotion I experience is because of a belief from the mind, usually a misperception and how we all just want the pleasant ones. Not everyone's perceptions are the same either, therefore each person could have a completely different emotional experience of an event. For example, 5 people watch a person kick their dog or something....some people would be angry, hurt, scared....while someone whose kid was almost killed by a dog may feel completely different even satisfied. The emotional experience comes from the perceiver, the mind system and so there's as much 'truth' in 'emotion' as in 'thought'.....fickle, unreliable, passing phenomenon.

My point is that when it is said here; how does it FEEL to be you.....I'm havin a hard time believing that; as being the 'natural state' me. To me, there's a difference. If I said to you go ahead and LOOK at what you 'think' about as YOU, that would not be what any of this points to....to me neither does 'what does it 'FEEL' like to be you. While there are not two selves there is 'you' and then the ' apparatus', personality, survivor mind, passing phenomenon, the ego construct, all the labels, they are all the same. I don't agree that any of these is ME....they're all from the misperceiver. John no longer perceives life through these constructs ;I'm pretty sure he says that none of the passing phenomenon is YOU.

I know I'm supposed to 'just look', not look for the 'natural state me' but the only thing I see is 'emotional apparatus' or 'thought mumbo jumbo'....outward sensation/information.

I seem to always have two ways of perceiving almost everything too. You may be similar, (reading some of your posts led me to think that....) sometimes I experience a lot of hope, say after listening to a podcast or reading John's confident statements. Then I think, 'oh that's easy for you to claim, because you 'stumbled' upon it.... As for the forums; sometimes, I am very skeptical and some posts I read seem 'glossy' and kind of wishful thinking or trying to belong. Then, I very much feel appreciative that someone took the time to respond to my posts with encouragement and tenderness.

I also noticed over the years that I have an 'apparatus stance' of quiet rage toward the designer of ALL OF THIS LIFE. It mostly stems from witnessing loved ones dying slowly ( 4 years) and with enormous suffering to the point of begging God to take them now. I was 22 at the time and made a judgement that this whole business was atrocious and I was going to find out why. Maybe this part has become 'the slayer'. Meanwhile, I love and appreciate my life and the incredible designer of all of this too!!!!

Anyway enough rambling...dissecting? ...whatevering....

Thanks for reading my long rant...I think I've been building up the angst around 'what does it FEEL like to be you' for awhile and it's making me feel alienated from the group.

Gail

@Gail,

I am appending this quote from John's book The Fear of Life. It has helped me considerably to reconnect as it were with what it is I am Looking at. Perhaps you've tried it. But here it is anyway.

"Try to bring to mind a memory of some event in your early childhood. It doesn't need to be anything important: being in a room with adults, leaving a movie theater, looking out the window, any memory will do, so long as you can evoke a reasonably accurate memory of the feel of it. Now, just for a second, see if you can remember what it felt like to be you then. Not what the event felt like, but what it felt like to be you. You may get just a fleeting whiff of it and, if you do, you will almost certainly recognize that it is exactly the feel of you now."

GailH

Gerrit and all, I believe I have been super convinced that there are multiple apparatuses and that the 'me' I'm supposed to be looking at is hidden from my view. Once again, I can't make the connection.

My point is that when it is said here; how does it FEEL to be you.....I'm havin a hard time believing that; as being the 'natural state' me. To me, there's a difference. If I said to you go ahead and LOOK at what you 'think' about as YOU, that would not be what any of this points to....to me neither does 'what does it 'FEEL' like to be you. While there are not two selves there is 'you' and then the ' apparatus', personality, survivor mind, passing phenomenon, the ego construct, all the labels, they are all the same. I don't agree that any of these is ME....they're all from the misperceiver. John no longer perceives life through these constructs ;I'm pretty sure he says that none of the passing phenomenon is YOU.

I know I'm supposed to 'just look', not look for the 'natural state me' but the only thing I see is 'emotional apparatus' or 'thought mumbo jumbo'....outward sensation/information.

Thanks for reading my long rant...I think I've been building up the angst around 'what does it FEEL like to be you' for awhile and it's making me feel alienated from the group.

Gail

Hi Gail,

Very clearly put. There is so much confusion about such words as feel and look. John seems to indicate that the lack of specificity here is part of the process. Consider this: The passing phenomenon pops up so frequently it seems to be continuous... but it's not. With a little attention you can notice that there are gaps between the different reactions (thoughts/emotions) of the apparatus. In these gaps, there is a quiet attentiveness with no agenda. In the beginning, these gaps may be a second or two. But give these gaps some attention and they will grow and become more noticeable. You could call these gaps "a feeling" or you could just call them me. Try it out and see if it is helpful. Lera Jane

ludicrous

GailH

My point is that when it is said here; how does it FEEL to be you.....I'm havin a hard time believing that; as being the 'natural state' me. To me, there's a difference. If I said to you go ahead and LOOK at what you 'think' about as YOU, that would not be what any of this points to....to me neither does 'what does it 'FEEL' like to be you. While there are not two selves there is 'you' and then the ' apparatus', personality, survivor mind, passing phenomenon, the ego construct, all the labels, they are all the same. I don't agree that any of these is ME....they're all from the misperceiver. John no longer perceives life through these constructs ;I'm pretty sure he says that none of the passing phenomenon is YOU.

I know I'm supposed to 'just look', not look for the 'natural state me' but the only thing I see is 'emotional apparatus' or 'thought mumbo jumbo'....outward sensation/information.

Dear Gail,

I see that you did NOT take my advice and that you seem to be trying even harder to figure this out, haha. Well, I can't blame you at all since I myself would be the last person to accept anyone else's opinion but my own.

I had started composing a long response to your various points in order to try and break things down and offer my perspective, but then I realized that there's no point and that it will only fuel the mental fire. The more I talk about what YOU is and what "looking at you" is, the more I am seeing why John has chosen to abandon philosophical and spiritual explanations and pointers and such. 99% of the time they only confuse. Trying to pin it down and "get it" is only transiently helpful at very best.

So here:

You CANNOT figure out who you are. Period. And because you cannot figure out who or what you are, you CANNOT possibly "figure out" where to look or what to look for. You just can't.

Fortunately you don't have to figure it out....because you already know who & what you are beyond all possible comprehension. When you say "I" you are proving that you know yourself, because no matter how confused you could become, you still have that sense of "I". You are here, you know you are, even if you don't understand what you are. The sense of "I" cannot be figured out. If you just look at "I" without looking at your analysis of it....

Don't worry about the "FEEL" of you if that word trips you up. It's just an inexact expression to try and help you put your attention on you. Don't worry about what you think is apparatus or ego or anything. Don't worry about trying to negate or ignore things that "must not be me". There is no apparatus through which you perceive (as you seem to envision it) that you have to disentangle yourself from in order to find the "real you", so forget about all of that.

Gosh, I don't know how to tell you to do this....you just have to see it for yourself. It's YOU. Don't look for something that you intellectually think must be you. Just put your attention on what it is that you call "you". If we had come to you when you were 4 years old and asked you to do this, would you get all confused about figuring this out? No. You would just look at what it was like to be you. It's not hidden; it's not anything other than you. It's simple, god d*mn it! Don't make it any more complicated now.

GailH

Thanks for reading my long rant...I think I've been building up the angst around 'what does it FEEL like to be you' for awhile and it's making me feel alienated from the group.

Perhaps most importantly, do not feel alienated from this group or from me. Fear to voice dissent would be a VERY BAD SIGN about this community, so let's keep this honest and real. I myself am often extremely angry at John and also at people who seem to support him without having (from my perspective) any substantial evidence. Sometimes I do not like people who are not scientific and who defend things that are not substantiated and therefore unworthy of defense...and I can tell that there's a lot of that going on. But still I'm trying to hang in there and voice my concerns while restraining myself from ranting too much. I just really need to believe in this but I need to have convincing reasons to do that.

Don't be afraid to criticize and question. I love it! John is making a ludicrous claim. That's right, LUDICROUS and nothing less. If it's actually true then it's going to have to stand up against the most relentless and methodical scrutiny. The great thing about John is that, while I question his research methods, he does seem to agree that this should be like a medical science and just as serious and rigorous, and not just taken on faith. I like that he tried to offer audio reports from people. I didn't find all of them persuasive, but at least as time progresses we'll see if more data verifies all of this.

yours,

Gerrit

Bag of Tricks

Hello Gail,

I feel something of your frustration. I believe Gerrit is right in stating that this is not something that we can figure out. However, I do think there is some merit in trying till we are blue in the face lol! I know this doesn't address the specifics of your dilemma, but it is just a suggestion: I went through all the podcasts and the book and the postings and wrote down every suggestion John had made about looking. There were a surprising number of them. And I leapt in and tried them all. It is a messy, sometimes hopeless process but somewhere in the unscientific flailing around something seemed to work. I think there is a point where our brilliant minds serve us no longer and we have to let go and dive in.

All best wishes,

Emma ~

To Emma

Hi Emma,

Yeah, life is messy. It's a glorious mess though. Love is messy. Kids are messy. The whole bit.

Nothing fits into neatly prepackaged boxes. To be human is messy. But isn't it a wonderful mess!

Life just comes at you and there you are.

Blessings,

Antony

Wow

Thank you all for your great responses!

I've actually lost interest in trying to do the looking in different ways... I've become very doubtful.

I'm still here though...

Here's the thing for me; In my Direct Question thread I asked if anyone besides John, lived their lives with background fear snuffed out as a result of doing the looking. I wasnt really thrilled with the results. I mean no disrespect to anyone but the answers were that; pretty much all said they still had some of the fear/angst, while also saying their lives improved alot or a little..etc. Plus there were only a few that were, let's say impressive.

So I really also have to say, I dont know how this is really any different than any other time I got a big AHA from a spiritual teaching that said I found a different way. We could go on any forum anywhere and I'll bet there will be a couple people that say 'yes, this practice has improved my life dramatically'..blah blah.

Because I reached a really powerful 'resignation' period of 'the fixing myself, finding enlightenment' BEFORE coming across John's site. Thento my surprise, I already experienced some fears falling away, and thought wow that's interesting. Plus, the near death experiences that I looked deeply into really convinced me that' its all about YOU and how magnificent, ordinary life is etc. Now I certainly didn't want to follow these people's path, but it really dislodged some deep fear, I know it.

I came across John's site and felt a flood of relief of him saying; there's nothing wrong with you.....plus I was impressed with his experience of finding a bliss state then loosing it. I do believe that he is genuine, but he did stumble upon it too, just like the others he describes. I'm very doubtful that this set of instructions is going to 'recover me from the fear of life'. How do we know that it wasn't his extreme despair and desparateness that was the catalyst that caused the shift.

I did participate in the last online retreat and it was good. He really explained, in depth about that fact that the 'spiritual teachings' of the past havent worked and all that . But then I went here: Why is it just like all the other spiritual instructions; so difficult to instruct if it's really that simple? I just dont see how it's any different than all the other previous 'stumble upon' people.

Now, if it turns out that what John claim; an 'act' that will cure the disease of the fear of life is TRUE, then I cant imagine how frustrating it must be to try to explain it and it's simplicity, even ridiculous, ludicrous like Gerritt said. Then have all the yahoos like me trashing it left and right!!!!!! because I dont 'get it'.

I still have one foot in, 'cause it cant hurt' and with all due respect; I do consider John as an authority, as someone who has discovered a cure for this disease, everything he talks about makes perfect sense, but I just cant help but doubt the 'looking' as the 'way' and a guarantee that it will work...

Thank you all again for your suggestions, I not sure if I'm going to take them up, because of feeling generally uninspired.

Thank you too Gerritt for your directness.

It's simple, god d*mn it! Don't make it any more complicated now. LOL!! maybe John should use this line in his talks!!!!

So weird to feel so bitchy about it all and at the same time appreciate the immense dedication, time and energy that John and Carla express in trying to share this with all!

Gail

I do try the childhood one every couple days...

Thanks for your replies guys. I have had a challenging time lately and there was a lot of pain. I even when through a stage in which I felt I couldn't find myself!. It's ironic that when I was following neo-advaita trying to 'see though the me' I was the all the time and now that I actually look for myself I can't find me!

Clearly that is not the case. What has happened is that the content of the life changes all the time and is not the same today as it was a month ago.

Wishing you a good day with the Looking.

Love,

Dan

Hi, gerrit.

Your post is unbelievable and fantastic. Your concerns are also mine. It always puzzled me how John can be SO sure that the method works. What's the evidence? Reports? But reports from numerous people can hardly play a role of evidence in such subjective matters. Also that very same reporters often say that life is still rough on them smily We yet have to see someone other than John who is freed from misery by the practice of the looking.

There are 2 things that give me hope though.

1. My belief in the fact that John is really happy and not miserable.

2. The act of looking itself. Despite all doubts the act itself is quite cool to say the least. It probably doesn't work but it's fun.

A report

Hey Everyone,

This seemed like a good thread to add a report to. I'm the one who has been talking with John and saying that I could not tell any difference in any kind of subjective experience between now (after about 3 years since I first looked at myself) and experiences 15 years ago, before I had ever heard of any of this stuff.

John said, among other things, to stop the looking. I did, for about a week, but after a while I just said "screw it, I like to look at myself," and started back in, big-time.

I have no idea if John is right about only needing to make the attempt once. That certainly doesn't sound at all congruent with my experience, but I guess I can't say for certain that every time after that first time was superfluous, or that every time after that first time was inevitable (of course, there is absolutely no way to falsify that position, so it is meaningless). At any rate, I kept looking.

I also can't for the life of me see why John says that this is not the same as some spiritual teachings, especially those of Nisargadatta, which seem to me to be virtually identical with John's. I do know that I found much of the spiritual teachings confusing, flat-out wrong when compared to my experience, and quite dramatic and overblown. John was at least clear, to the point, and very much a one-trick pony, so I didn't get distracted with any mystical or otherwise incomprehensible and, to me, often quite silly stuff.

So, the report: there is no doubt about it, there is a clear, unambiguous shift in my perception of life. A basic relaxation and feeling of okayness, pretty much exactly as John predicted. I still get off balance and sometimes quite off balance, but it is relatively easy now to become balanced again--and I have also found, just as John predicts, that various psychological and other techniques for coming back to balance now "work," in some cases work astonishingly well, whereas before nothing seemed to work. I look over and over again, not through any desperation any more but because it's so pleasant. It's like I all of a sudden became movie-star handsome and can't resist looking in the mirror all the time. I also find that now, in contrast to even a few weeks ago, I can tell there is a shift in perspective when I come back to myself and a lot less ability to take much of anything very seriously. It's early days yet and I am curious to see how this continues. But I felt I should at least get on the forums to report this, especially as I was the guy saying "nothing's happening!" I'll keep reporting

Eric

Hi Eric

Great report,

I have to say you have come to mind a few times since I heard you share your experience at the Webinar and John's suggestion to stop looking. The reason you came up in my thoughts was firstly because I heard the disappointment in your voice and really empathized with you and felt much compassion too. I wondered how you were doing since! Secondly, I doubted whether you'd actually be able to stop looking. There is little choice in the matter at least as I see it.

I also read a lot into what John says and analyse the life out of it all. That isn't a problem either. My spiritual ego was cornered by Johns message as there is no way of doing this wrong if one is willing to look.

Great to hear you.

Love,

Dan

Doubts addressed, but good news

GailH

I asked if anyone besides John, lived their lives with background fear snuffed out as a result of doing the looking. I wasnt really thrilled with the results. I mean no disrespect to anyone but the answers were that; pretty much all said they still had some of the fear/angst, while also saying their lives improved alot or a little..etc. Plus there were only a few that were, let's say impressive.

...

We could go on any forum anywhere and I'll bet there will be a couple people that say 'yes, this practice has improved my life dramatically'..blah blah.

...

I do believe that he is genuine, but he did stumble upon it too, just like the others he describes. I'm very doubtful that this set of instructions is going to 'recover me from the fear of life'. How do we know that it wasn't his extreme despair and desperateness that was the catalyst that caused the shift.

Yeah, you elucidate many of the reasons that I was so doubtful. But I actually resolved many (not all) of those doubts somehow. It's clear that this takes considerable time to make noticeable changes. And I also suspect that it may take many people (especially those who listened to John's older less direct teachings) a long time before they actually get it right and do the act successfully, thus adding to the length of time before they get results. And perhaps as people become more sane, they get less interested in reporting back here or keeping up with John, preferring instead to move on with their lives. And there might be very few people who actually heard what John was trying to say, everyone else kind of wading through placebo/positive-reinforcement effects without ever succeeding in the act, so that the number of people slowly making their way toward actual sanity might be very small.

ElDuderino

It always puzzled me how John can be SO sure that the method works. What's the evidence? Reports? But reports from numerous people can hardly play a role of evidence in such subjective matters. Also that very same reporters often say that life is still rough on them smily We have yet to see someone other than John who is freed from misery by the practice of the looking.

Yes, one of the most sobering concerns. If John became so vocal about this, why aren't the other "sane" people standing up and joining the chorus? Then again, maybe they prefer to "run for the hills." It's not necessarily true, though, that we haven't heard from people who were freed from misery. Everyone has acknowledged that difficulty remains, and they aren't finished "cooking", but some certainly don't seem miserable at all.

curiouser

I have no idea if John is right about only needing to make the attempt once.

If everyone who accomplishes the looking once subsequently becomes "sane", whether or not they ever look again, then it can be surmised that once is all that's necessary. Of course, this comes back to the fundamental problem in this whole business, which is not enough case histories. Once thousands of people have become "sane", or have not, over the next decade, then we will know.

curiouser

I also can't for the life of me see why John says that this is not the same as some spiritual teachings, especially those of Nisargadatta, which seem to me to be virtually identical with John's.

I know that some come close, especially Ramana in my opinion, but I haven't seen anybody actually get past the hurdle that John gets past, which is to get someone to actually look at themself without looking at abstractions. I see that as being the key difference.

curiouser

So, the report: [...]

This is fabulously good news!!!!! I'm happy for you, and happy to hear one more person say that things are turning out the way John said they would, albeit slowly.

Gerrit

A further update

Hey Everyone,

It's been a few weeks since my report, and I want to keep checking in and reporting back. It's a bit more difficult now, as I have started working at a big law firm and big law firms make you, well, work. But I have some time in the nooks and crannies to continue updates.

One thing that I think is important when someone reports dramatic changes is to see if those changes hold up under the inevitable life challenges. Someone has said "it's easy to be enlightened in heaven," and I think there is a lot of truth to that. When I reported a few weeks ago, I wasn't working very much, a relationship I had just ended was in limbo but not much on the horizon, and I was mainly just hanging out. I'd call that pretty close to heaven. Or at least nothing much was happening that might be upsetting or challenging.

Now I'm back at the firm, and the sheer volume and number of clients and their demands and expectations make this something that may not be hell but sure isn't heaven. And the relationship has started back up and all the triggers and buttons are alive and well, thank you very much. Not hell, just a hell of a challenge. Way more coming at me than before. Kind of like going from an A minor league team where you never see anything more than an 80 mph fastball to the major leagues.

The report back from something less than heaven, or the majors if you prefer, is that it's not done yet. Sometimes I get completely lost in the "drama." I've had some really big blowups and upsets, and I think my girlfriend can attest that I ain't enlightened yet. That satisfaction and deep peace that I thought was going to be there forever and always, isn't. However, I find myself much less interested in distractions, like going to a movie or reading, or even just listening to the radio when I drive. John used to say that if you keep looking at yourself, the lies will be exposed for what they are (or something like that), I haven't heard that much recently (though haven't heard much of anything from John recently due to time constraints) but it seems true in my case. I keep looking at myself, and sometimes it's quite striking to see the contrast between myself and my drama/story line. The drama still holds interest but not as much. I like to just sit, and keep coming back to myself. My mind races, it always races, and for some reason I seem to always have some song playing in my head, not the same song, it varies with the music I'm listening to, but there always seems to be some background music. None of this seems in the least important when I sit. I'm not really trying to get anywhere or do anything when I do this, I just enjoy it, and sometimes it will feel quite profoundly peaceful and most of the time it won't, but I'm very drawn to it.

What's important to me is to mainly keep doing the looking, whether that has any effect or not seems completely irrelevant to my desire to do it. I do it less during the day as I get caught up in work and more when I come home and often just sit, for as long as I can before I go to bed and often longer than I should.

Also, I've been investigating and practicing skills aimed at "doing something" during emotional upheavals. Although the ones that seem the most true are really about doing nothing at that time. The ones that seem most useful are about looking, not at the emotional upheaval itself, but at the desire to "fix it," whether that desire is directed outward, e.g., change the situation, get the person to apologize, rob a bank (couldn't resist, John), or whatever, or inward, e.g., change "myself" so I won't be so upset. Not the same at looking at myself but sort of the first step away from that, looking at the urge to changes things. It's quite different from looking at the upheaval itself. It just sort of clicked for me the other night, in the same way that looking at myself clicked for me several years ago, and it feels right. That is, when it clicks in, there is a sort of relaxation and almost amusement, a loving amusement like you get as a parent looking at your child do something silly and perhaps frustrating for them.

There is really nothing going on, not even with all the energy, techniques, angles of view, or anything else.

More to come, I'm sure . . .

Eric

Jumping in

gerrit

@Gail - Certainly I am no expert in this. But I definitely get the impression from reading your writings that you are, as you say, trying to dissect this Looking and inward search on an intellectual and a-little-too-thought-based level. Not to blame you for this at all, I am one of the biggest culprits of this out there. But only to say what you already know (even if hesitantly so) which is that it will likely distract you more than actually help.

You say, "the one who thinks, feels" etc. As opposed to who? There are no two selves. Who is it that is aware of all of these things, this thinking & feeling & reactions, etc.? It's YOU, of course. It's not ego or anything, it's YOU. Now, it's true that YOU are aware of ego's reactions and the decisions and activities of the mind & persona. But when you say "me," when you say "I'm pissed" or "I'm lustful" or whatever, it's not ego, it's YOU. Yes, those states are being facilitated by the apparatus, but it's unmistakably YOU that is experiencing them. It's YOU that feels like "I" when you say "I do such&such" or "I feel such&such". It's not anything other than YOU!!!! Nothing!!!!

That's why John says "How hard can it be?" and "Well, this is really easy" and such. He says that because, although you may be so convinced that YOU must be something other, you actually are just that impossibly mundane & banal YOU. The "personality" is just the mask you're wearing; it cannot feel or perceive anything, so it's nonsensical to think that the personality has some sort of autonomous experience that could be mistaken for your "real" experience. There's only ONE thing that feels like YOU, so if you looking DIRECTLY at it, you're golden.

Of course, easier said than done. But maybe not.

I am jumping in here because there is something that continues to confuse me. You (Gerrit) say that when we say "I do such & such" it is YOU! I get confused. Is the you the action? Or is you the (for want of a better word) the witness, the presence, the awareness that experiences but is not, the action, the sentiment or whatever? I know I will have to work on this to make it clearer, but it's the same when I listened to the Advaita teachers: Who are they talking to? They are addressing all the concerns of the mind, are they thus speaking to the mind? But, according to them, I am not the mind. Who I am, I would think, would not need this explanation, after all, what is the non-mind going to do with that information as it is presumably resting in the eternal? Then who is being addressed? The one that doesn't exist? I haven't addressed this yet, other than in my head, so I'm sure my expression is not yet clear, but I am trying to formulate this question I have as best I can. Thank you for listening, Marlowe

Wave? particle? self?

marlowe

I am jumping in here because there is something that continues to confuse me. You (Gerrit) say that when we say "I do such & such" it is YOU! I get confused. Is the you the action? Or is you the (for want of a better word) the witness, the presence, the awareness that experiences but is not, the action, the sentiment or whatever? I know I will have to work on this to make it clearer, but it's the same when I listened to the Advaita teachers: Who are they talking to? They are addressing all the concerns of the mind, are they thus speaking to the mind? But, according to them, I am not the mind. Who I am, I would think, would not need this explanation, after all, what is the non-mind going to do with that information as it is presumably resting in the eternal? Then who is being addressed? The one that doesn't exist?

You raise an interesting question that begs philosophical/spiritual discussion the likes of which John discourages on this forum, but I'll offer a little of whatever I can anyway. This is something I too am bemused and mystified by, but since you raise the question in reference to something I said, I'll try to answer.

No, You are not the action. You are certainly more like the witness, but that may not help very much in actually finding You. When I say that it is You that you are referring to when you say "I feel such & such", I don't mean an abstract You. I'm not talking about trying to figure out which "you" is doing what. I'm illustrating the fact that you are absent-mindedly but correctly referring to You when you say those things, thus attempting to prove that you already know who you are and that it's not something to be "uncovered".

You are not your mind, although it can be tricky to try to distinguish the two because everything you experience is happening in your mind. But the feeling of existing that you have, the feeling of being here, the feeling of ME, is coming from You and not from your mind. So look for that.

Don't concern yourself with any confusing Advaita/Vedanta teachings. The You doesn't have any trouble, true. All the trouble is coming from your mind and the fearful assumption it's operating in. Neither learning about You nor about the mind will solve the problem. Instead, we need to use the mind's attention (what else could we use?) to make contact with ME in order to invalidate the mental context that is creating all of the mind's insane patterns and such. (According to theory).

What I find really really mystifying is the dualistic nature of ME: existence versus awareness. I seem to have two different aspects, yet they are both one, like two sides of a coin. There is Existence, and when I try to look at ME I am looking for a ME that exists. Obviously. I'm looking for something tangible (figuratively) that exists because I exist. Yet I am also the awareness that is perceiving, and "perceiving" is not tangible. I am perception itself, but I also exist. I think of them both as being qualities that come out of me, yet it dazzles my mind to try and have any clear understanding of that duality. It's even worse than the wave-particle duality of light!

But don't be distracted by that digression! Having attempted to do so myself, I agree that neither looking for the existence part of you nor the awareness part of you will accomplish the act of looking at yourself. I suspect this is because of the fact that both existence and awareness come out of you but are not quite you. I don't know. You just have to find what ME is, just look at ME and nothing else, just briefly.

Everything I say about all this is just my perspective; I could be wrong. Hopefully this doesn't prompt more confusion.

Gerrit

gerrit

I'm not talking about trying to figure out which "you" is doing what. I'm illustrating the fact that you are absent-mindedly but correctly referring to You when you say those things, thus attempting to prove that you already know who you are and that it's not something to be "uncovered".

You are not your mind, although it can be tricky to try to distinguish the two because everything you experience is happening in your mind. But the feeling of existing that you have, the feeling of being here, the feeling of ME, is coming from You and not from your mind. So look for that.

Gerrit

Hi Gerrit,

Here is my simple story. I am here. All I know is that I’m here. Mind is available to me and it forms and runs programs or routines for me. Some of these routines are navigation tools I use to experience life: body, senses, and thoughts. Some are pathological strategies formed to protect me from life and they influence and distort my body, senses, and thoughts.

I am capable of focusing my attention at will but I forgot this when I allowed mind to commandeer my attention for its pathological strategies long ago. When I use my attention to look at myself, the pathological strategies wind down because they are no longer needed. The navigation tools remain and I experience life, whatever is, more directly and more fully. Lera

I'm touched by this thread!

I've spent the last hour or so going through these forums. But THIS one really hits home for me!! Especially what Dan had to say!!

I too had an "awakening" experience in 2012 and while I won't go into great detail about it, I will say THIS. I found that my life was a huge practical joke! That I had played a somewhat cruel yet hysterical prank on myself! Let me explain.

I had up to that point believed everything anyone ever told me about who I was, my potential, actions etc. So much so that I totally identified myself as hopeless! The best I could do was grin and bare it till death finally released me & my life could end!

But on that June day in 2012 that and all other thoughts fell away! I didn't even recognize my own body!!

But like Dan's experience it didn't last for me but more than a week or two. Try as I might through many teachings I couldn't duplicate or bring that experience back! Nor could I wrap my head around what really happened! It just felt REALLY GOOD to not feel like a piece of um...crap!

This gave me hope that there was more to ME and others than we all gave ourselves credit for!

My point is this

Like many other reports in this forum what I find to be true is that my mind has "stolen" my life! I let it completely dictate my life, my identity, and all things without exception!

What I came to slowly understand is that my thoughts are simply that....A THOUGHT!! But there us an "underlying" ME that makes the choice to believe the thought or not! I am never desperate from this ME and it isn't mystical!! Its so simple that (as John says) it is damnably hard to express! To share the idea of seeing yourself! The YOU that is without a story yet is there to experience/witness it.

The best help I can offer anyone besides what John says "Look at yourself" is to suggest that all your experiences, thoughts, emotions, confusion etc add nausia REPORTS TO THE "YOU" John is asking you to look at!

 

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