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Upon discovering John, I devoured his podcasts, which both disabused me and apprised me of several notions:

1) That feel-good states of being were superior to feel-crappy states,

2) I learned that it was not necessary to look at myself "correctly"--That I only had to look at myself, period--to take my medicine. (John uses the analogy of medicine to describe the process of looking at oneself. Like medicine, which is not necessarily pleasant, looking at oneself does eventually affect a cure).

3) I was intrigued when he said that looking at oneself is enlightenment--an assertion with which I agree.

For a while, I spent a lot of time looking at myself. Somehow, gradually, (after about a year) life became less troublesome. When bushwhacked by negativity, I found myself looking at myself automatically. This happened in a millisecond. It was as if negative thoughts were hitting a bug-zapper. Without my noticing, the looking had become a reflex reaction to unhappiness. When mental tension developed, I could shun it like a dinnertime telemarketer.

I found the next stage of this process perplexing. A while ago, I unexpectedly lost the urge to look at myself. In fact, I developed an aversion to the process. In its place came the desire to simply be. When this first happened, I had the urge to call John and find out what was going on. But, I figured, "Spare him my luxury problems".

The falling away of the need to look at myself had several curious side effects:

1) The ability to choose how I would feel: (If a hopeless feeling crept in, I simply thought, "Be happy" and happiness happened. Of course, this happiness is not like celestial ceiling opening up and flooding the universe with frolic. It's a subtle, happy bias: barely enough to register, nothing to blog about).

2) An unexplained attraction to normalcy: (Whereas, I once cultivated powerful experiences--both of the pleasant and unpleasant persuasion--I now feel, "the less drama, the better". Mundane, bleak aspects of daily life, once the source of persistent depression and misery, seem, by contrast, richly textured and fascinating.

(3) Formal meditation now usurps much less waking time. (Ironically, real-life is becoming a meditation wherein I enjoy people and circumstances that I once found irksome and exasperating).

What I have not gotten from the looking:

1) Unfortunately, I have, failed to cultivate magical abilities, which I once associated with awakening.

2) I do not live in a trance, nor do I wish to.

3) I cannot materialize riches (Absent a solid business/marketing plan, line of credit, and more effort than I care to expend).

To sum, everything John told me would happen did happen. Also, some things that he didn't tell me would happen happened. I highly recommend this deal.

I get hung up on getting the looking act "correctly". I forget, it's not necessary.

Also, at first I did the looking frequently and am now have lost the urge to look at myself....

We'll see what unfolds...

Gail

three q's

@David,

That's a very charming and encouraging report. I'm glad to hear of your success. I have just a few questions, if you'll bite:

1) What was your state like before you started the Looking? I mean, how were your emotions and your overall experience of life?

2) If there were any substantial tendencies toward depression or anxiety or hatred of life/self, have they fallen away?

3) Would you now say that life is quite joyous and free from fear or angst?

I ask this because I want to get a better picture of how the Looking may affect my own life.

Gerrit

A wonderful report David, Thanks!

Recently I had an inkling of a thought about how great it is to be "in Light" while trying to adjust my eyes as I went outside, after a recent snow-fall here in Flagstaff, on the sunny day afterwards. A ridiculous notion then hit me. I suddenly realized that I was at that moment, enlightened.... No big influx of supremely diving knowledge and wisdom, just the to-simple-to-understand sense that light is an amazing gift, and that it is without a doubt an aspect of me.

I also had a rather cynical moment recently, where the idea of "awakening," and the decades I spent seeking it, suddenly seemed to me to be intrinsically stupid: "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." I let myself have a few moments of condemnation and judgment about how all my old sacred beliefs were useless and pathetic. And then, almost naturally, I came around to the fact that I was just doing the best that I could, with what I had, and that it was all helpful under the circumstances.

There's still some conditioning in me that wants to brag about how enlightened and awakened I am, but it would be like blowing up a balloon and then letting it fly around the room for a few seconds...smily which I'm not opposed to doing on occasion.

I still like to dream about riches though, and I'm bummed that the mock $100,000 bill I had taped to the ceiling over my bed for a year and a half didn't materialize. But these days, for some strange reason, I'd much rather watch my little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel circle around in the yard for ten minutes, trying to find the perfect place to pee.

I highly recommend "this deal" also! I would only caution everyone with the idea that "your maya may very" during the recovery process. But I'm almost certain that if anyone tries this simple act of turning attention inward on what is never absent in us, with dedicated intention, that the outcome will be sweet beyond anything we were capable of imagining prior to the fear of life leaving.

Always in Love.

Mike

Oh yeah

Hi David,

Thanks for an extremely articulate and optimistic report. Like yourself, for me the most salient characteristic of "recovery" is a gradual diminution of the melodrama and semi-hysteria that has governed most of my life. They're by no means entirely gone but, as John predicted, the changes taking place are often so gradual and subtle it seems that other people (e.g., my wife) notice then before I do!

However, unlike yoursef, I have developed the ability to fly, astral project, and evoke large monetary contributions from people merely by making eye contact with them!

Best Regards,

Don

David, I am totally on board with what you have said and appreciate your having said it.

I'd like to add something I now feel comfortable in saying, which is that we would be better served by calling off the pursuit of happiness search and replacing it with the search for that which has nothing to do with states of mind (like happiness) that come and go. Our attention always seems to gravitate toward creating an environment in which we would tend to be happier or cling to states that arise which either reflect happiness or negate it.

Your piece confirms the value of the teaching and the disconnect between it and what I would call the materialization of its results. Like you, I am comfortable with not having magical abilities, not living in a state of constant bliss, and not being as rich as I might like. trimpi

Reply

Hi, Gerrit. Thanks for your interest. Nobody I know gives a tinker's curse about any of this. How refreshing to be asked about it. In reply to your questions:

1) What was your state like before you started the Looking? I mean, how were your emotions and your overall experience of life?

I had been meditating for about 15 years prior to discovering John. I could go in and out of mild bliss states at will, but had realized that these states were impermanent. I'd sat with a lot of teachers from both the Ramana Maharshi and Nisargardatta lineages, so I had a good map of the territory. I was born depressed and miserable, but the ability to go into bliss at will mitigated the depression. I was taking a certain brand of medicine of my own devising, but the chances were not good that I was going to get well. However, I could process whatever tensions that I accumulated during meditation.

The looking gave me the ability to process tensions during daily activities. It hasn't made them disappear. Yet.

2) If there were any substantial tendencies toward depression or anxiety or hatred of life/self, have they fallen away?

Interesting question. They haven't fallen away. However, they have become like a sabra, a Middle Eastern prickly pear--a pain on the outside and sweet on the inside. They come up, and if they're strong enough to get noticed, they subsequently fall. But, I know that they're there.

3) Would you now say that life is quite joyous and free from fear or angst?

Daily life is becoming joyous. I'm not free from fear or angst. I've only recently reached the place where fear and angst are being processed naturally in real life. John says that they eventually go away. My experience tells me to believe him. I'm no spiritual genius. I didn't rub a lamp (i.e., hear a few words from a teacher or brush up against a copy of "I Am That") and see a genie appear (i.e., suddenly burst into full understanding of "what is"). I was spiritually un-gifted and had to put in lots of time looking at myself in order to get results.

That said, I must also add that all of this work was simply not necessary. What I was looking for was right there all along. I could have saved myself decades of work by simply (a) looking at myself and (b) knowing that what I was looking for was my mundane, nonspiritual, ill-defined, vague, unfulfilled sense of me that has always been living in less than glamorous circumstances of daily life.

Again, thanks so much for your questions. If there's anything I can do, please let me know.

Sincerely,

David

Thanks, Trimpi
<David, I am totally on board with what you have said and appreciate your having said it.

Thanks, Trimpi.

I'd like to add something I now feel comfortable in saying, which is that we would be better served by calling off the pursuit of happiness search and replacing it with the search for that which has nothing to do with states of mind (like happiness) that come and go. Our attention always seems to gravitate toward creating an environment in which we would tend to be happier or cling to states that arise which either reflect happiness or negate it.

Yes, I concur. The pursuit of happiness is, by definition, without happiness--else, why pursue it? However, I've found lately, that, once in a while, a deep sense of depression comes up (it feels like some sort of interior decay process). At that point, I can simply choose to be mildly happy, and it works. Of course, when I found that I could do that I tried to make it happen all the time--with predictable results.

And I also agree that our attention keeps jumping from what is actually happening. Although, I won't lay claim to living an unalterable state of perpetual glee, the vicissitudes of daily have become purveyors of a sense of contentment.Your piece confirms the value of the teaching and the disconnect between it and what I would call the materialization of its results.

I've thought that, but didn't quite have the words for it.

Big smile

popagator

However, unlike yoursef, I have developed the ability to fly, astral project, and evoke large monetary contributions from people merely by making eye contact with them! (smily

Best Regards,

Don

Hilarious.

Hi.

Hi.

Mike Helsher

A wonderful report David, Thanks!

Thank you, Mike.

Mike Helsher

I also had a rather cynical moment recently, where the idea of "awakening," and the decades I spent seeking it, suddenly seemed to me to be intrinsically stupid: "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." I let myself have a few moments of condemnation and judgment about how all my old sacred beliefs were useless and pathetic. And then, almost naturally, I came around to the fact that I was just doing the best that I could, with what I had, and that it was all helpful under the circumstances.

I wish that my habit of revising history was contained in "recent moments". I'm only occasionally able to notice when I'm doing that and step out of that mode.

Mike Helsher

There's still some conditioning in me that wants to brag about how enlightened and awakened I am, but it would be like blowing up a balloon and then letting it fly around the room for a few seconds... smily which I'm not opposed to doing on occasion.

I feel a bit of a fool for crowing about this.

Mike Helsher

I highly recommend "this deal" also! I would only caution everyone with the idea that "your maya may very" during the recovery process. But I'm almost certain that if anyone tries this simple act of turning attention inward on what is never absent in us, with dedicated intention, that the outcome will be sweet beyond anything we were capable of imagining prior to the fear of life leaving.

How true. Although, I'm not fear-free by any means, my mental/emotional condition is much improved. I also experience "sweet" feelings toward people who I used to find irksome and exasperating.

Mike Helsher

Always in Love.

Back at you. smily

Hi, Gail.

Hi, Gail

GailH

Great report David!

Thanks, Gail.

GailH

I get hung up on getting the looking act "correctly". I forget, it's not necessary.

How true.

GailH

Also, at first I did the looking frequently and am now have lost the urge to look at myself...

I often lose the urge to do so. I used to have to meditate every day or I would become irritable and sometimes quite unpleasant. Now, if I don't set aside time to just be, the looking does not naturally occur during my daily life.

GailH

We'll see what unfolds...

Yes.

All the best, David

David,

Your report is encouraging, and I'm curious to see your answers to Gerrit's questions if you are so inclined. I do know people who got into spirituality who did not seem to have the anxiety/depression/angst that drove most of us, or at least I can say for sure that drove me, to the seeking and, ultimately, to John. But they seem to be the exception, rather than the rule. As far as I can tell, my anxiety/depression/angst is alive and kicking, no worse, no better. Life events similar to those that caused upheaval before the looking seem to cause about the same upheaval after the looking. If there is any disappearance of neurotic tendencies it's not noticeable to me yet. So it's always useful to hear that someone started at the same point A that I'm at but is now at point... well, some other point. You seem to be at some other point (who cares about manifesting riches if you can just think "be happy" and happiness happens, I'll take that over the million dollar bill any day, baby), I don't know if you started at point A but maybe, as John likes to say, that's beside the point.

Eric

Hi, Eric

curiouser

David,

Your report is encouraging,

Thanks, Eric.

curiouser

I do know people who got into spirituality who did not seem to have the anxiety/depression/angst that drove most of us, or at least I can say for sure that drove me, to the seeking and, ultimately, to John. But they seem to be the exception, rather than the rule.

Yes, I have a friend for whom this came rather easily. She never sat with a teacher, and says that she could have easily woke up at the age of 10 but it didn't occur to her until later in life.

That said, I think that there are advantages to being generally miserable prior to becoming relatively misery free. The main advantage is that formerly miserable people can understand the difficulty that those who struggle experience and can, thus, empathize with their struggles.

In addition, the formerly miserable have had to develop a skill-set on their road to freedom, which in many cases can be applied to the alleviation of the difficulties of others.

Of course, not all good teachers had to go through depression and misery in order to be empathetic or helpful.

curiouser

(who cares about manifesting riches if you can just think "be happy" and happiness happens, I'll take that over the million dollar bill any day, baby)

One word about the happiness ability. I find it only works when I get a very specific and rare brand of depression. (It's odd how one becomes a connoisseur of depression states). I rarely resort to using it, because it only works in rare situations. In other words, it comes and goes.

However, John seems to suggest that the the disappearance of the fear of life (as a result of self-looking) is a natural state of being that becomes a sort of psychological set-point.

Anyway, thanks Eric for giving me an excuse for blathering on like this.

Warmest and best regards,

David

 

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