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The End of Desperate Seeking

I noticed today, in the midst of the turmoil of the last two weeks of a college semester, and the fact that my sister, whom I haven't seen in years, is coming to visit this week, and the thralls of money woes, and the reading of and writing about Fredrick Douglas's Slave narrative, which brought up intense horror and disgust in me (more than I've ever been capable of feeling) for the justified intelligent-ignorance that is/was human slavery, and the intense feeling/realization that it still exists, though in a less violent more underground kind of way... I noticed that I am not so inclined to seek relief in the desperate ways that I would have in the past.

It seems ironic to even think about "ending the search" or to "stop seeking" now, or to try to "accept what is." I could be wrong, but I don't think that I could have ever stopped seeking, or accepted anything, no matter how hard I tried. The practice of stopping and accepting was certainly soothing and of great value as a distraction, but ultimately futile.

But today, I caught a glimpse of what it's like to be free of seeking and obsessively trying to accept "life on life's terms," and it seems to have just happened on its own. In fact, now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure this happens a lot more often than I realize.

Also, when I read this forum, I sometimes think I should try to "look" again, and perhaps even make a vain attempt, but there's an inkling of of smile-like feeling that accompanies the thought of looking that distracts me, and sometimes even makes me smile, even during some rather shitty circumstances.

Anyone else have similar experiences?

Always in Love

Mike

Also, when I read this forum, I sometimes think I should try to "look" again, and perhaps even make a vain attempt, but there's an inkling of of smile-like feeling that accompanies the thought of looking that distracts me, and sometimes even makes me smile, even during some rather shitty circumstances.

Anyone else have similar experiences?

Always in Love

Mike

Yes. A smile is almost always lurking. I don't believe in "vain attempts" though, nor do I honor the feeling that I am being distracted. I plug in the sense of distraction and keep on trucking. Also, bring on the shittiest of circumstances -- more grist for the mill. trimpi

Hi, Mike

Mike Helsher

Also, when I read this forum, I sometimes think I should try to "look" again, and perhaps even make a vain attempt, but there's an inkling of of smile-like feeling that accompanies the thought of looking that distracts me, and sometimes even makes me smile, even during some rather shitty circumstances.

I was thinking about posting about this. I'm glad you brought it up. About 6 months ago, the "looking" changed. Since then, it has felt really unnatural to try to "look". (This was never the case during the preceding 4 or so years). This is new territory for me.

There's a lot of sharing about the ups and downs of looking at oneself, but there's a scarcity of available information about having the "looking" fall away. Maybe it's intrinsically absurd to complain about behaving in a natural manner. After all, only a fool would go to the doctor to complain that an annoyance has disappeared.

I guess my complaint is that I'm not continually buzzed. Where are the rainbows and double-dolphins? I ordered a Bugatti! Why am I tooling around in this Focus?

bombarded
I can relate strongly to two of your accounts:

Mike Helsher

...which brought up intense horror and disgust in me (more than I've ever been capable of feeling)...

In a small nutshell: this EXACT thing happened to me on December 7th, 2011, out of the blue and for no apparent reason or impetus whatsoever. Suddenly, on that night, I thought about what it would be like to be abducted and tortured and I thought about people being held against their will and subjected to horrors and rape and the screaming and tangible fear, etc. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I was cast into a state of constant terror and disbelief at how cruel and negative life was. Words cannot possibly describe. The content of my thoughts changed, but the feeling remained. After about 3 weeks it abated, then began fading in and out, and it continues to do so (though in a milder form usually). The only thing that seems to be working now for me is to refuse to think negative thoughts with all the extreme prejudice of bitchiest of catholic school teachers. If the thought isn't allowed to take hold, then the negative emotions don't arise. If the thoughts are allowed, I seem to be drawn into a bottomless pit of despair and there's nothing in life or the Looking to save you except the allure of ending life.

This seems to be the most salient effect that the Looking has had, if any. I guess it took away my former shields and left me to be bombarded by unbearable torments. Thanks a lot.

Mike Helsher

I caught a glimpse of what it's like to be free of seeking and obsessively trying to accept "life on life's terms," and it seems to have just happened on its own.

This is the other main thing that has happened to me since the Looking, though it's not clear at all whether it's actually caused by the Looking or not. My own mental problems (though they have been getting much worse) have become clearer to me, and what it would be like to be free of their cause has also become clearer. I seem to vacillate patently between "sanity" and "insanity" the way John might describe them: basically, between when the mind is controlled by fear and when it is not. I have had many experiences now of being so much more free (for a short time), and during those brief times I can see how all the trouble is caused by this angst, and when it is gone life is what John promised it to be...what he describes as "the natural state". In that state, where angst has vanished, all of the seeking effort (which cannot be changed by will) falls away of its own, and without any effort or intention one is accepting "life on life's terms" as many of our "spiritual predecessors" have described.

However, it's certainly remains dubious whether it's possible for this "natural state" to actually be default or just fleeting.

It is to be emphasized that, in spite of these little instances of beauty, things have been getting worse and I have been suffering more. There have been ups in between, and at times I thought I was coming home, but no, the downward pull has proven stronger.

So long for now,

Gerrit

The looking stops on its own

For the record, I very often point out that the act of deliberate looking will continue until it doesn't, whereupon it will stop. Actually, I speak of it often enough that I sometimes feel like I must be boring you all with unnecessary repetition.

The looking actually is, after all, an unnatural act, just as you have already seen David, but when it stops, you may be able to notice from time to time, the ever-present feel of you in the background.

I suspect this might be what Mike is referring to when he writes of the 'smile-like feeling'. That is a particularly apt and evocative expression of what I experience every time the thought of me comes to mind.

We're looking for a recording with me saying something about it, and if we find it I'll post here sometime later.

I have to say that when I read of "the scarcity of available information about having the 'looking' fall away ...', my first thought was something on the order of 'what am I, chopped liver?'

Also David, I think you will find in time that no Bugatti can compare with engagement in the rich density of life as it is.

Thank you for being here.

John

Thanks, John for your reply

John Sherman

The looking actually is, after all, an unnatural act, just as you have already seen David, but when it stops, you may be able to notice from time to time, the ever-present feel of you in the background.

After developing an aversion to locating myself, the damned thing won't leave me alone.

John Sherman

We're looking for a recording with me saying something about it, and if we find it I'll post here sometime later.

There's a reason the predominance of your work is spent dealing with those in the most need. Please, do not waste time on an idler such as myself. I'd die of shame if I took you away from those who are in dire need of your attention, simply because I was too lazy to do anything but fire off a casual email.

John Sherman

I have to say that when I read of "the scarcity of available information about having the 'looking' fall away', my first thought was something on the order of 'what am I, chopped liver?'

More like Chateaubriand.

Let me say that I mean this from the bottom of my heart. You have given me the most precious gift that anyone could give another. I would have wasted decades trying to find peace. You have cut through the very heart of human neurosis, for me and for countless others.

I'm glad to learn that the podcasts have plenty of information on the subject. It's just that I'm too content (or perhaps lazy) to look for it.

John Sherman

Also David, I think you will find in time that no Bugatti can compare with engagement in the rich density of life as it is.

Sorry, I was only poking fun at myself. I spent 15 years meditating 2 to 3 hours per day chasing an alternate reality. Now, when bliss states arise, I find myself ignoring them. Forgive the clumsy attempt at humor.

Warm regards,

David

gerrit

It is to be emphasized that, in spite of these little instances of beauty, things have been getting worse and I have been suffering more. There have been ups in between, and at times I thought I was coming home, but no, the downward pull has proven stronger.

So long for now,

Gerrit

Thanks for your reply Gerrit,

I had that same experience too, where the rug was pulled out from under everything. It felt like a never ending downward spiral for a while, but I kept talking to John and trying to look. Now, I can say that what seems to be unfolding is not like anything I could have imagined. Much of my karma still presents itself, as do old neurotic habits of thinking, or just plain wacky body chemistry, but the awe that strikes me in unexpected moments is indescribable, and unimprovable, and the only idea that comes close to explaining it is that it's "Me." And I suspect that it's You too gerrit! -- Keep at it and let me know if I'm right or wrong about this, in like say, six months!

all the best!

Mike

Hi, Gerrit

gerrit

The only thing that seems to be working now for me is to refuse to think negative thoughts with all the extreme prejudice of bitchiest of catholic school teachers. If the thought isn't allowed to take hold, then the negative emotions don't arise.

I think it great that you can expend effort and avoid negative emotions. This begins to happen naturally after a while, without effort. It becomes a habit, like breathing, as a result of the looking.

gerrit

I have had many experiences now of being so much more free (for a short time), and during those brief times I can see how all the trouble is caused by this angst, and when it is gone life is what John promised it to be...what he describes as "the natural state". In that state, where angst has vanished, all of the seeking effort (which cannot be changed by will) falls away of its own, and without any effort or intention one is accepting "life on life's terms" as many of our "spiritual predecessors" have described.

However, it's certainly remains dubious whether it's possible for this "natural state" to actually be default or just fleeting.

It is definitely the natural state. Initially, perception of the natural state is fleeting, then later becomes the default.

And one actually becomes thankful for these feelings when they arise (as Trimpi says, " grist for the mill.")

You hang in there. The end of suffering is an inevitability for you. This is obvious from your posting.

Six months, gee

Mike Helsher

I had that same experience too, where the rug was pulled out from under everything. It felt like a never ending downward spiral for a while, but I kept talking to John and trying to look. Now, I can say that what seems to be unfolding is not like anything I could have imagined. Much of my karma still presents itself, as do old neurotic habits of thinking, or just plain wacky body chemistry, but the awe that strikes me in unexpected moments is indescribable, and unimprovable, and the only idea that comes close to explaining it is that it's "Me." And I suspect that it's You too gerrit! -- Keep at it and let me know if I'm right or wrong about this, in like say, six months!

Thank you so much for responding with encouragement. Like I've said before, your reports inspire and tickle me.

I don't know if I'm just a weak and pitiful or melodramatic person, but what I've been going through is really hard for me. I don't feel like I have the strength to make it through. At this point in my life I feel like I don't have reserves of "strength" to draw upon like most people do. I'm scared that I'm developing a mental illness that will erode my already tenuous desire to keep on living. I'm just scared and don't know how to deal with this. I've never known this kind of darkness before. Science seems to tell me that there is no "magical solution" such as John offers to fix my state of mind and that things should not be expected to get better, except possibly through meds. And science offers heaps of data whereas John offers his "conviction".

It's really weird how, on the one hand, it's plain as daylight to me that I am not damaged by anything and, on the other hand, this seeing has not prevented me from feeling more fearful and terrible than ever in my life by far and away. This is perhaps one of the strangest things to me, and it is the reason why I am both super drawn to and super skeptical of John's words. I have seen for myself the truth of so much of what he says. I see "me" and how me is prior to and inherent to everything, I see that I am not hurt, I see that I am everywhere and everyone, I see that I am beyond birth or death, I see clearly almost all of that stuff, and that verifies to me that John knows what he's talking about. Yet the quality of my life just keeps deteriorating, and that suggests to me that John's promise isn't working.

I don't know. I'm just in bad shape. I'm lost and helpless. I guess I should do what you mention which is keep talking to John. It's funny; sometimes I feel like he betrayed us and I get really angry but then I can't stop listening to his recordings because they nearly always make me feel better because he's so damned benevolent and his insights are admittedly so much deeper than mine. I'll have to try and speak with him by phone or something. If I could just trust in this it would take a huge load off I think.

Thanks,

Gerrit

 

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