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Childhood looking

I have recently been introduced to the work of John Sherman and the concept of looking. I have recently watched the entire Video footage of the 2011 retreat. I would be grateful for any comments on the below.

I find 'looking' very easy to do. At first I needed to watch Johns Video to 'get in', now I can look whenever I want to. As I look I have the sensation of folding the outside of myself to the inside, a kind of turning myself inside out experience. The sensation is unmistakable, it is how I felt as a young child much of the time.

The looking has been a very bi-polar experience for me over the last couple of weeks. I feel I have been transported back to my childhood world and natural state on one hand, but re-exposed to emotional trauma on the other. I was a very introverted child in an environment that I found very difficult to cope with and I am now having to re-visit the whole thing which was not something I ever expected to do.

Before the age of about 4 years old I believe myself to have been in a constant state of 'looking', (since trying this 2 weeks ago) which may be why this appears easy for me to do now. I was very introverted and lived in a happy world that entranced and fascinated me. Talks and discussions in the retreat describe feelings of pure joy, of being aware of beauty in everyday things. As a young child I noticed these things acutely and constantly, I was discouraged and told I was being over imaginative. From the age of 4 I was diagnosed with having social problems and to some extent I turned from an introverted child into a 'problem child'

At the moment the effect of the looking is very destabilising, however I can also feel a backdrop of calm, I also have more energy than I have had for a long time, this energy is swaying from nervous energy where I can't concentrate to calm purposeful energy which is enabling me to deal with some very difficult issues in my life.

All comments welcome.

That's it

Hello Fiona:

Thank you for your post and your participation in this community.

I could have said everything you said about my childhood, really. It is amazing to read something like that, that I could have written. I too lived in a very joyful, yet private world while in a household that was totally insane. When I look back I can see that I was "different" in so many ways from the others in my family. I felt trapped and created my own world to escape into. I remember out of the body experiences that occurred into my teens. When I think about it now, I am surprised that at the time I did not think this was unusual, I didn't talk about it to anyone, I just enjoyed it.

As for your experiences with the looking. Very similar to mine and what I have heard from others. The recovery process for me has been difficult at times, i.e. dreams and memories that were disturbing about the past and strange dreams of all sorts, and not being able to tell if I slept or not, I have had trouble knowing when I am asleep. I have asked my wife and she says that I snore during nights when as far as I know I didn't sleep. Intense energy that felt like I had a generator inside me that did not turn off so that I could sleep. Some interesting experiences with syncronicity, i.e. things happening just out of my intention and people saying things that I just thought etc. Spontaneous changes in behaviors, like eating and drinking habits. Periods of being moved by ordinary simple things around me, and being in love with people. I posted some ideas earlier about ways to relax and sooth my experience. At times I have spontaneously sat still and silent and just looked in my body at sensations, this was useful, and I often experienced a very "sweet" kind of feeling when doing this.

These things are continuing with less intensity now, and I am experiencing loving my life and enjoying all of it very consistently.

Please stay in touch here. I hope I have been of some use.

David

Childhood Looking

Fiona,

I find the childhood memories also very helpful as a 'way in'. In fact, I have found the process gave me access to all kinds of memories, often ones not particularly emotionally charged, but memories with a strong perceptual component. For example, seeing the motes of dust dancing in the sunlight coming through the window, or the first time I noticed the iridescent light coming through my eyelashes, or the first time I saw the evening star from a bedroom in my aunt's house, or the smell of pine on a damp day, or the smell of apple blossom. The awareness that throughout all that there is this thread of 'me-ness', unchanged, still, silent. Imagining what John says about suddenly becoming aware of being here, in a body, etc, I also found powerful and evocative. I know for sure that there was a realisation that here I was thrown into existence, but I can't exactly remember when. I also know that that realisation was accompanied by the fear of life, and that I've carried it ever since. And that on top of that primal fear was piled all kinds of other trauma and abuse. I also knew intuitively that even though my mother loved me and protected me, that here was something from which she couldn't protect me. And that really scared the shit out me, and has done ver since.

It's funny but it's John's diagnosis of the real nature of the problem which is of enormous help to me. I thought it was childhood trauma, blah blah, and if I could only get insight, therapy, meditate enough, etc, it would go away. But I see now that I will never go away, because it's in the nature of being 'in a body'. But the continuity of being 'me' is a kind of balm, an ointment, a tincture for the wound.

Fiona

That "backdrop of calm" will always be available to you as it is to each of us, regardless of the circumstances. Sometimes the undertow of life will create doubt as to the accuracy of that statement, but the fact remains that you will always be able to appreciate the fact that you are here. As far as feelings of destabilization are concerned, you always have the option of looking to find the one who is feeling destabilized or employing other mitigating techniques to lessen or eliminate the adverse effects. I wouldn't get too hung up on anything I was feeling, however, especially if it tended to deter me from the road I like best to travel upon. trimpi

memories

Joe

Thanks for the reply

It is funny that within this material world the simplest things are the most evocative. My memories are similar to yours, The triangle of light created on the wall by the curtains in the morning, the smell of coal in my Grandmothers house, the orange glow created by a street light shining through raindrops, the star burst effect created by squinting at the lights on the Christmas tree. The grey pebbles on the beach that turn to purple on a cloudy day, the green that jumps out at you from the hillside in the morning sunshine...

All manner of simple but beautiful experiences which have never actually gone away, I am finding myself regaining an increased visual awareness of colour and light which I am enjoying

As for fear I don't really know what I am afraid of, I question myself about this constantly, yet the fear is there, ever present and irrational

Fiona

Joe Bray

Fiona,

I find the childhood memories also very helpful as a 'way in'. In fact, I have found the process gave me access to all kinds of memories, often ones not particularly emotionally charged, but memories with a strong perceptual component. For example, seeing the motes of dust dancing in the sunlight coming through the window, or the first time I noticed the iridescent light coming through my eyelashes, or the first time I saw the evening star from a bedroom in my aunt's house, or the smell of pine on a damp day, or the smell of apple blossom. The awareness that throughout all that there is this thread of 'me-ness', unchanged, still, silent. Imagining what John says about suddenly becoming aware of being here, in a body, etc, I also found powerful and evocative. I know for sure that there was a realisation that here I was thrown into existence, but I can't exactly remember when. I also know that that realisation was accompanied by the fear of life, and that I've carried it ever since. And that on top of that primal fear was piled all kinds of other trauma and abuse. I also knew intuitively that even though my mother loved me and protected me, that here was something from which she couldn't protect me. And that really scared the shit out me, and has done ver since.

It's funny but it's John's diagnosis of the real nature of the problem which is of enormous help to me. I thought it was childhood trauma, blah blah, and if I could only get insight, therapy, meditate enough, etc, it would go away. But I see now that I will never go away, because it's in the nature of being 'in a body'. But the continuity of being 'me' is a kind of balm, an ointment, a tincture for the wound.

Thanks

Dparrish

Hello Fiona:

Thank you for your post and your participation in this community.

I could have said everything you said about my childhood, really. It is amazing to read something like that, that I could have written. I too lived in a very joyful, yet private world while in a household that was totally insane. When I look back I can see that I was "different" in so many ways from the others in my family. I felt trapped and created my own world to escape into. I remember out of the body experiences that occurred into my teens. When I think about it now, I am surprised that at the time I did not think this was unusual, I didn't talk about it to anyone, I just enjoyed it.

As for your experiences with the looking. Very similar to mine and what I have heard from others. The recovery process for me has been difficult at times, i.e. dreams and memories that were disturbing about the past and strange dreams of all sorts, and not being able to tell if I slept or not, I have had trouble knowing when I am asleep. I have asked my wife and she says that I snore during nights when as far as I know I didn't sleep. Intense energy that felt like I had a generator inside me that did not turn off so that I could sleep. Some interesting experiences with syncronicity, i.e. things happening just out of my intention and people saying things that I just thought etc. Spontaneous changes in behaviors, like eating and drinking habits. Periods of being moved by ordinary simple things around me, and being in love with people. I posted some ideas earlier about ways to relax and sooth my experience. At times I have spontaneously sat still and silent and just looked in my body at sensations, this was useful, and I often experienced a very "sweet" kind of feeling when doing this.

These things are continuing with less intensity now, and I am experiencing loving my life and enjoying all of it very consistently.

Please stay in touch here. I hope I have been of some use.

David

Hi David,

Thanks so much for your reply. I replied to this yesterday but for some reason it did not show up on the forum. I will definitely take a look at your other posts especially the ones relating to relaxation because at the moment I feel very agitated and full of nervous energy and I am having a lot of difficulty sleeping.

Massively significant to me is your comment on the out of body experiences, I also want to thank you for being so open about this. I was recently talking to someone about my childhood and I did not mention this for fear of being diagnosed as a nut case. As a child I experienced these type of experiences a lot and I learned to have control over it. when I was very young it used to just happen and as I got older I used the technique as a means of 'removing' myself from a particularly difficult situation. The way I used to do this was the reverse of the technique I described for inward looking. In other words I folded myself inside out and then had the feeling of being stood beside myself. I have never been able to project myself across the room as some people say they can do. Since starting the looking I have tried to go out of my body and I can't.

It is really valuable for me to hear from someone who has had some similar experiences to me. Unlike you I was not living in an insane home environment although it was on the mildly dysfunctional side. I think the issue was more about the way I fitted into my environment than the effect of the environment on me.

Fiona

destabilization

Hi Trimpi

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I am not really 'worried' about the destabilizing feelings. The main problem is concentration and distraction. I am normally able to concentrate for long periods without being distracted. The 'looking' has made me on edge, but at the same time is compelling. Another thing is the increase in visual data. Everything I look at or listen to jumps out at me more. I feel like a blunt pencil that has just been sharpened to the point that it splinters when it is put to paper. I am having to wear headphones with ambient music to help me concentrate as well as it screens out other sounds.

Memories

Fiona,

Now the senses are awakening, and those linked to moments of 'being' from childhood: The sound of propeller engined planes overhead (there were no jets then!) The momentary sound of the coal sinking as the fire died down, the smell of the coal smoke on a winter's evening, the sound of the church bells every fifteen minutes in urban Dublin, the way the light from passing cars moved in the opposite direction across the walls in bed at night, the sound of children out playing when I was sick in bed with a cold . The drawing in of dusk in some room alone in winter. THe sound of seagulls. The lonesome sound of curlews when the tide was out; the sound of foghorns across the bay on a foggy night. (I grew up in Dublin by the sea)They all carry a feeling of just existence, just being, just there, and whe ever I hear a plane, smell the smoke etc, I'm transported briefly to that domain again, with the quiet mood of existence itself. Nice...

Childlike looking

Well you seem quite fortunate Fiona. My experience resonates with yours in regards to being chilldlike (not childish). There is a joy of being, a passion to do things with my whole heart. Plenty of energy. But it's mostly relaxed energy. It seems the lines or boundaries between what is work and what is play has mostly disappeared for me. It's mostly All PLAY...

On the subject of childhood looking and seeing beauty in simple things... Do all children 'notice' the wonder in every day things intuitively?

It is an interesting question.

I decided to see how much my daughter 'notices' things this weekend as a heightened awareness of this so reminds me of my own childhood. Since it was a sunny day I unearthed all the painting stuff and we went went and did some painting by the river bank (which we have not done before) I did not tell her what we were doing until we got there- a short walk away. You cannot see the river until you round a corner and get to a footbridge. I put my hands over her eyes and did not take them off until I had turned her head towards the water. I then spent the morning painting and talking to her about how grass was not always green, it could sometimes be purple, or orange if you actually 'look and see' rather than assume. She loved it and was amazed at herself and the whole thing.

Sound memories

Hi Joe

It is interesting for me how important sound is for you. I think everything I mentioned was visual. This has made me observe that I can attribute very few memories to sound. In fact the only memory that sticks in my head from childhood is the sound of the TV on downstairs when I was in bed- this was my night-time tormentor!! There is no way I could look inwardly with a memory of a sound although some sounds are pleasant and enjoyable. I use music all the time to be in my own space, and to be honest to shut out other sounds. For me this includes ambient music, classical music, lounge music etc as well as all the usual popular stuff

Fortunate

Hi Steve

I believe the human capacity to find the route to happiness by looking within ourselves makes us all fortunate. The fact that not everyone has yet realized this possibility does not diminish the power of it

That is not to say that I have mastered the route to my own happiness, I believe for sure in the potential of this.

As for all PLAY, you are indeed fortunate Steve, and way ahead of me. My life is a lot about WORK at the moment

Sound

Fiona

Hi Joe

It is interesting for me how important sound is for you. I think everything I mentioned was visual. This has made me observe that I can attribute very few memories to sound. In fact the only memory that sticks in my head from childhood is the sound of the TV on downstairs when I was in bed- this was my night-time tormentor!! There is no way I could look inwardly with a memory of a sound although some sounds are pleasant and enjoyable. I use music all the time to be in my own space, and to be honest to shut out other sounds. For me this includes ambient music, classical music, lounge music etc as well as all the usual popular stuff

Fiona,

Yes sound is evocative for me. Of course the most familiar evocation comes from songs we remember, especially if we haven't heard them for years. What's probably important in this context is how memories carry a feeling of the 'me' who was present, and still is. I also get strong memories from the smell of lilac, apple blossom, pine (esp after rain) and perfume (e.g Amarige, Poison, which were popular when I were a lad.) Kinesthetic memories are a bit trickier!

Kinaesthetic childhood memories

Joe Bray

Fiona,

Yes sound is evocative for me. Of course the most familiar evocation comes from songs we remember, especially if we haven't heard them for years. What's probably important in this context is how memories carry a feeling of the 'me' who was present, and still is. I also get strong memories from the smell of lilac, apple blossom, pine (esp after rain) and perfume (e.g Amarige, Poison, which were popular when I were a lad.) Kinesthetic memories are a bit trickier!

I had not even thought about Kinaesthetic, I can't think of a single personal kinaesthetic childhood memory although I am extremely tactile with my own children but no one else. As far as Kinaesthetics go I am not sure it counts if is an object or substance. I have a love of water and can feel the sensations of diving, the sharpness of the water as you break into it and the faint tingling sensation of swimming underwater and best of all the pleasant disconnected feeling you get when you float on top of it.

The outdoors is very important to me, dingy sailing out on the trapeze when you feel like you could be flying, the way the wind cools your ears when you are cycling down hill, running barefoot on sand and the sinking sensation around your feet as the tide goes out, the sensations of different types of rain, the chill of snow on your skin, the roughness of tree bark on your knees when you climb up a big old oak tree.

Smell, funnily enough the only smell I can remember at home was tobacco since my parents both chain smoked, I remember this in the car, a smell I associate with travel sickness. Positive smells were coal in my grandparents house in Yorkshire, the smell of pastry baking and the smell of Sheffield (of all places) as this was the beginning of Yorkshire

 

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