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It's been a year since I did the looking

Just a little over a year ago I looked at myself, both directly and with a childhood experience. It was profound for me, and I felt something shift. I had no "honeymoon," but headed directly into recovery, where I went through much confusion, suffering, and vacillating.

For those who don't know my story, I'm 76 years old and have been housebound for more than three years because of a variety of physical/psychosomatic problems. This confinement has actually been helpful to me in doing the JOL work so far.

I started doing SDA right after the looking. Nevertheless, I was still in a state of confusion much of the time, mostly because of my Christian Science training of 45 years, which had never brought me healing, mentally or otherwise. In spite of my dissatisfaction with it (and a number of other spiritual paths I had briefly followed), I found it extremely hard to disconnect from the basic ideas of those teachings. This caused me a lot of conflict with JOL, as I kept going back and forth and couldn't seem to make up my mind. I reached a point, after a few months, where I dropped out of JOL altogether, believing that it didn't have the capacity to heal me, and because I disagreed with some of John's statements.

Funny thing, though, I pretty much kept up the SDA during the time I was estranged from JOL, so I guess I could say I never really gave it up. Eventually I came back and got down to business, after a rather long and dreary sojourn through my old spiritual beliefs and then some psychological and mind/body healing methods. None of that helped me, except for brief moments of trembling hope, and something told me that I should take a closer look at JOL. I did that, and in the ensuing months gradually discovered that it's exactly what I need and I don't have to go looking elsewhere anymore. The search is over.

One of the great benefits I've gotten from the looking and the SDA exercise is an increasing maturity in my reactions and decisions. Now when I have knee-jerk neurotic reactions to situations, I recognize them for what they are"”the "soldiers of fear," as John and Carla call them"”those old psychological mechanisms that still hang around for a time after the looking. So JOL is showing me how to grow up, stop running away, and how to face daily situations as they arise. Of course this is a gradual process and I can't claim to have mastered it by any means, but there has been definite improvement.

Another benefit has been the loss of the constant background fear and anxiety that had haunted me for decades and became especially acute over the past ten years or so. I would wake up every single morning feeling uneasy. I still get that feeling sometimes, but the difference is that now I immediately know what it is, so I pay it no heed.

The challenge for me right now is learning how to apply the ability to focus my attention during my daily rounds more skillfully. The habit I find hardest to shake when something disturbing comes up it to analyze it, ruminate over it, wonder what I should do about it, etc. But this is also gradually breaking down.

I have experienced an abatement of a couple of the physical symptoms, and the others bother me much less"”I am confident that they will also vanish in due time. The challenge is to stop thinking I have to "fix" something"¦the "fixing" is going on without my interference.

Another thing I've discovered is that absolute simplicity is the best thing for me. No need to seek out various practices, exercises, or anything of that ilk in a determined way (i.e. "I'm going to start doing this, that, or the other thing every day"). In fact, I find these activities are an impediment, because they're based on fear. I remember John saying somewhere that we should drop all of the concern about what we should or should not be doing, and that was a big help to me.

This is getting very long, so I'll stop here. Let me just say that most of the time I have a sense of being protected and safe now, and I attribute this to the looking and SDA. With many thanks and much love to Carla and John!

Hey jr, thanks so much for sharing this! I know we've talked on email about JOL a lot, but it is great to see everything laid out here in regards to the progress you've made so far.

"The challenge for me right now is learning how to apply the ability to focus my attention during my daily rounds more skillfully. The habit I find hardest to shake when something disturbing comes up is to analyze it, ruminate over it, wonder what I should do about it, etc. But this is also gradually breaking down."

I was able to make the Wed 'Open House" meeting and, besides my recent posts, John, Carla, and roed had some great things to say about this, as it's what I'm dealing with too. I find when not doing the formal SDA exercise, or engaged in something that requires a lot of my mental focus, there is a lot of discursive thought going on with me. Going to feeling the flow of the air in my nostrils I feel is beginning to be the next 'phase' of this for me. Now that my focused attention is stronger from all the formal SDA practice, I can do it more easily. So this is what I've been working with now. As roed said on Wed, it is almost like another 'practice'. As John was saying, I think all this discursive thought will fall away just from continuing the formal SDA, but I think doing this will accelerate things. Actually, it's part of the instructions in their new book anyway. I've been having more insights since our talk on Wednesday and I'll probably be sharing more soon about how it's going with what I'm currently doing.

Thanks again jr for the great sharing!smily Best, Lex

Yes, this is another practice we do and for me it seems to help a lot toward making real changes.

I was just doing SDA and was amused to notice that the one thing that seems to distract me the most is thinking about the SDA! smily

jazzrascal

Yes, this is another practice we do and for me it seems to help a lot toward making real changes.

Yes! I am just finding this out this week..right in the middle of it...and it keeps 'growing'..my ability to come back to the breath when disturbing thoughts arise gets better and better. I see the connection now between training ourselves during the formal SDA exercise to come back to the counting, and just coming back to the breath in daily life. I have to admit jr, I am pretty excited right now about all of this..it seems I may actually be able to stop some of all this discursive thought that has been with me as long as I can remember.. I pretty much have a lot of my day to practice coming back to my breath, because it's only during certain tasks that require fairly direct, intense focus that the discursive thought wasn't arising.. So, right now I am in the middle of it..right now I am actually observing myself coming back to the breath right in all these moments where, usually, discursive thought would arise and cause me suffering..it really seems like every day it's getting a little easier to do. This is since last Tuesday when I wrote in on the forum and Carla answered me..and Wednesday when I got to attend the 'Open House' meeting.

jazzrascal

I was just doing SDA and was amused to notice that the one thing that seems to distract me the most is thinking about the SDA! smily

Geez! Me too! I sit down to do the SDA exercise and the biggest distractions right now are the possible implications of all that is happening to me right now..and how am I going to talk about this and share it?...Well, I guess that's a big part of why I'm sharing all this here on the forum..But, also, because things are happening so quickly now since last week, I'm not sure how I'm going to even change between tonight and the few hours until morning.. That's been the most challenging time for me now..Sleeping I mean..I can't consciously go to my breath, and am having all these very vivid, intense dreams..kind of disturbing..but MUCH better to have this type of disturbing dream/sleep, than having it when I'm awake! Anyway, I can at least follow my breath while falling asleep..and, even though I'm being awoken by these dreams throughout the night..I can go back to my breath..just more challenging to do in this state for me right now.

 

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