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The Self-Directed Attention exercise and feeling better - I think I finally get it!

It's the wee hours of the morning here in NYC, but I was suddenly 'jolted' awake with this realization.. Pardon any grammatical/spelling errors in this one..but I just want to get this down in writing while it's fresh and go back to bed! I think I finally get what John was trying to convey about the not using the self-directed attention exercise to feel good. I was really having trouble making sense of this. It seemed so illogical to me. After listening to the last webinar several times now, I think I understand what he's trying to say. It actually never occurred to me that one could actually do the self-directed attention exercise itself to feel good. The self-directed attention exercise itself is very challenging and I certainly don't 'feel good' while doing it. Simply because it is so difficult! And I am just totally absorbed in counting the breath and noticing any subtle modicum of thought that arises. It didn't even occur to me about using the exercise itself to feel good.

Here's another metaphor I thought of. I like to lift weights, to do powerlifting type exercises. When I am doing a set of squats with heavy weight, I am not enjoying the exercise in the moment I'm doing it. I'm working really hard to do it! But I do enjoy the functional strength it builds over time, especially for my work which can be quite physical in nature. So I enjoy the effects of the exercise. I know that doing the exercise consistently over a period of time will benefit me in my practical life.

So why even bring this idea up of not using the self-directed attention exercise to feel good up? John and Carla, if you're reading this, this question is for you. I can only assume you must have run into someone at some point who was doing this. But, if they were doing this, were they really actually doing the exercise? It sounds like they must have been thinking and not returning to the counting. It took me so long to figure out the point you were trying to make because I couldn't even conceive of doing the exercise itself to feel good.

Anyway, it seems like, especially for spreading this teaching, emphasizing the fact that developing focused attention will make you feel better can't really be said too much. Just in the last webinar you, John, said it at least 2x. Once you said developing control over your attention will end suffering. Another time you said it will end the misery. The logical inference is that, the less you are suffering, the better you will feel. And you say this about ending the suffering and misery in many other places. In fact you dedicate the new book to people who are really suffering, implying that the JOL teaching will help end that.

Bottom line is that developing focused attention will help make you feel better. I have yet to hear anyone refute this. But go ahead and try if you want, you won't hurt my feelings;)

To conclude (for now obviously;-) I realize I may be somewhat 'biased' in my outlook in emphasizing this whole 'feeling better' and not suffering thing. But I have been involved in seeking and alternative healing fields all my life and I'm a jazz musician. As you might imagine, a lot of people into seeking and alternative healing usually have a lot of emotional suffering going on but, also, I find people in the arts also tend to be extra sensitive and tend to, in many cases, also have a lot of emotional suffering issues going on.

Another recent example, I was working with someone I hadn't seen in awhile and we had a chance to talk. He was telling me he was trying to quit some substances he was addicted to. As you might imagine, I recommended that he check out JOL. I didn't tell him it would stop his addictive behavior, but I did say that he may want to try to follow the instructions for awhile and see if the addictive behavior didn't 'fall away' at some point. That he might find the addiction would be sublimated by something better. From working in alternative healing fields in the past, I have observed that there are two ways to handle an addiction. You can use your will, or you can find something that sublimates the desire for the addictive substances. I do think 12-step programs and the like have a myriad of benefits for a lot of reasons but, in the end, you are still using your will every day to try to stop doing something you want to do. But, if the desire to do/use something you're addicted to falls away and is replaced by something better, that struggle with your will is gone. I believe a lot of addictions are the result of a lot of discursive thought causing suffering.

Also, being a musician, I tend to usually meet new people fairly often on gigs and the like. My experience is that there is some type of unspoken/energetic bond between like-minded musicians (like fellow jazz musicians especially I find) because, more often than not I would say, topics of a 'deeper nature' tend to come up just in conversation naturally. From these conversations I notice, with only a few notable exceptions, most people I encounter seem to be going through one, or more, issues causing a lot of suffering stemming from the fear of life.

So, to conclude..Oh wait, I already said that.. ok, ok..I'll go! I'll go! I'm actually not even a big 'forum poster' I only really post on one other forum dedicated to my work, and rarely am on facebook.. but everytime I get on here I seem to write 'book length' posts! OMG, I think I'm addicted to JOL!!

Hi, my name is Lex and I'm a JOL-aholic"¦I'm been imbibing JOLahol for 10 months now"¦HAAAAA!!

Hey, even if I just make myself laugh, that's ok"¦ smilysmily

Nah man, I LOL'ed :D

I'll try to say something about suffering from my experience. It's not that every disturbing thing goes away - that's still here, but I don't care. It's sort of like "okay.. now everything's peachy, now everything's miserable... but so what?" I can't tell you why this works exactly, because I don't know that tbh. But I think it has to do with knowing that I'm always here and safe no matter what's going on. A confidence has grown, and then having control over attention on top of that.. it's like. What else to have? Like I can do whatever I want with it. I don't have a clue if this is helpful to what you were asking, but that's what this "you will have pain, but you won't suffer" means for me right now.

That I don't "care" isn't a great way to put it though. Maybe it is better to say that I don't mind it...

Thanks roed..Yes, I understand exactly what you mean. I think it's just an acceptance, so it doesn't bother you. Makes sense.

Glad I gave you a laugh!;-)

It is hard to put into words, Roed. I don't mind seems right to me. I care a lot with some things and do everything I can to find a solution, but when things don't go to my preferences, I just usually forget about it. Like I said in another post, it's simple. Acceptance might imply that one goes through a cognitive action.....like, okay I accept this, taking some psychic energy to perform. The fear free mind doesn't need to perform that action, it just happens. I forget a lot of things, to the point I sometimes worry about my memory. When I was anxious I would go back over things in my mind, keeping them alive in memory......now I just forget and move on. It's simplicity itself and hard to put into words because there's not a lot of extra cognitive process going on......perhaps?

I know it's hard to put these things into words, but I definitely get what your saying jackx. And I'd certainly trade my memory in a second for this!! ;-)

Good one Lex. Being a JOLoholic mcan be a very sobering experience.And confidence for my self has grown as well like Roed said. And Jacckx I love the simplicity of the practice and and elegant and straightforwardness simplicity and efficiency of the thought(cognitive) process tha results from it,

 

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