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The fear of life vs. other phobias

Hi everyone. 5 months into the looking. I can't say yet that I'm aware of any truly significant benefit, aside from an incredibly brief, fleeting, moment of relief from anxiety on very rare occasions, but I have achieved that through other methods, techniques, and therapies that have all failed me. Honestly, I have lots of doubts about whether this is really the answer. I've struggled with chronic anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue for over 15 years. It never goes away, it just feels less intense at times.

I can't tell you how many times I've come across a technique or method and said to myself, "This is it. This is my answer," only to be disappointed by the less-than-stellar results as anxiety and fatigue continue to ravage my life. But the sheer simplicity of this looking, and John's story of a so-called enlightenment followed by a terrible regression and subsequent freedom through this simple act, encourages me that I am not alone, and is enough to keep me interested in sticking with this. I guess I just want instant relief. I have suffered for so long, and am so exhausted from clutching for dear life at every moment of every day, even in my sleep, waking up tense and exhausted every day. I start every day with an empty battery, already tense and exhausted from the moment I wake up, and must struggle through each day with no energy, only to fall in bed, wrestle with insomnia, then sleep tense and disturbed all night--and then wake up exhausted and have to do it all over again.

Mainly I am writing just to receive encouragement; to have others who have walked this path to freedom to encourage me to stick with it. I do wonder, however, if this looking has the potential to cure phobias--not just the fear of life, but phobias in general. I think I have a phobia of being exhausted; I fear not having enough energy. In some ways, I actually have a fear of falling asleep. Not sure why, I guess I'm afraid that if I fall asleep I'll never wake up, or that I'll wake up too late, miss work, lose my job, and everything else in my life will go to hell as a result. So I guess all that is really just the fear of life. But how about other phobias? Just curious. Has anybody noticed any cure from those?

I know what you mean

I know what you mean

franco14

Hi everyone. 5 months into the looking. I can't say yet that I'm aware of any truly significant benefit, aside from an incredibly brief, fleeting, moment of relief from anxiety on very rare occasions, but I have achieved that through other methods, techniques, and therapies that have all failed me. Honestly, I have lots of doubts about whether this is really the answer. I've struggled with chronic anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue for over 15 years. It never goes away, it just feels less intense at times.

I can't tell you how many times I've come across a technique or method and said to myself, "This is it. This is my answer," only to be disappointed by the less-than-stellar results as anxiety and fatigue continue to ravage my life. But the sheer simplicity of this looking, and John's story of a so-called enlightenment followed by a terrible regression and subsequent freedom through this simple act, encourages me that I am not alone, and is enough to keep me interested in sticking with this. I guess I just want instant relief. I have suffered for so long, and am so exhausted from clutching for dear life at every moment of every day, even in my sleep, waking up tense and exhausted every day. I start every day with an empty battery, already tense and exhausted from the moment I wake up, and must struggle through each day with no energy, only to fall in bed, wrestle with insomnia, then sleep tense and disturbed all night--and then wake up exhausted and have to do it all over again.

Mainly I am writing just to receive encouragement; to have others who have walked this path to freedom to encourage me to stick with it. I do wonder, however, if this looking has the potential to cure phobias--not just the fear of life, but phobias in general. I think I have a phobia of being exhausted; I fear not having enough energy. In some ways, I actually have a fear of falling asleep. Not sure why, I guess I'm afraid that if I fall asleep I'll never wake up, or that I'll wake up too late, miss work, lose my job, and everything else in my life will go to hell as a result. So I guess all that is really just the fear of life. But how about other phobias? Just curious. Has anybody noticed any cure from those?

Franco,

You have my sympathy with this. I am lucky that I have not (so far) had a long term issue with depression in spite of a difficult childhood and several other issues. A lot of people on this forum have battled with all sorts of issues for many years and many have tried every type of therapy to combat this- usually with short term success, many have also tried a myriad of wisdom and spiritual teachings either instead of therapies or as well as.

I started looking a few weeks ago to combat stress and anxiety and I would say that largely it has been pretty helpful for this. I also have downsides which currently include concentration issues, quite serious as I run a business which is in quite severe difficulty at the moment.

The way I am approaching things at the moment is to learn what I am and to live with this. In a way I am 'looking' to learn this and accepting what this process brings to me by dealing with one issue at a time as they occur. This is not easy as some unpleasant memories have surfaced, I am also facing buried fears, confidence issues etc- in other words I am facing the real me, what goes on below my public persona etc. I am generally being mindful of how my life makes me feel and learning from these sensations rather than punishing myself for them.

You may find my childhood looking thread useful- please do add your thoughts. Joe Bray has posted a preliminary findings thread- this may also be useful as you may be able to contribute your own thoughts. The member David Parrish is also useful for insight

Looking is something that has been talked about in all the spiritual and wisdom teachings- this method is just more simple and does not require any spiritual practice or understanding. Looking is right and not wrong.

I really hope I have been helpful to you. I will look out for your forum posts as well

Fiona

encouragement would be so welcome

encouragement would be so welcome

franco14

I've struggled with chronic anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue for over 15 years. It never goes away, it just feels less intense at times.

... I guess I just want instant relief. I have suffered for so long, and am so exhausted from clutching for dear life at every moment of every day, even in my sleep, waking up tense and exhausted every day. I start every day with an empty battery, already tense and exhausted from the moment I wake up, and must struggle through each day with no energy, only to fall in bed, wrestle with insomnia, then sleep tense and disturbed all night--and then wake up exhausted and have to do it all over again.

Well, well, friend, let me offer some of my own experience with this that may be encouraging/crushing to you. If your "recovery" goes anything like my own, then you can expect things to get unimaginably worse without knowing whether they'll ever get better again. For this reason, even if this really does help in the end, I fear to suggest this to people who are already in a negative state of mind because it might make things get so bad that they would take their own lives, and I couldn't live with myself if that happened to anyone I care about as a result of my having offered it to them. But most people don't seem to have it as bad as I do, so your odds are good.

franco14

I can't say yet that I'm aware of any truly significant benefit, aside from an incredibly brief, fleeting, moment of relief from anxiety on very rare occasions...

Same here. This doesn't happen anymore, but earlier in the looking (I've been doing it since around September 2011) I would occasionally have the strong impression that I did glimpse myself, and it from that moment of seeing it was plainer than daylight that I was everything and nothing, infinite, freer than freedom, synonymous with God, you name it. And while I don't think the looking itself had any experiential effect whatsoever, the knowing that came out of those glimpses was sweet. I mean, when you see with your own eyes that you are ultimate, it's kinda nice, ya know. But the fascinating thing is that that recognition does nothing, NOTHING to reduce or prevent the neurotic anxieties about my life and my persona. The feelings of not being good enough in a million ways, fears of losing the things that matter to me, all of those "ego" concerns...they are stronger now than ever. I guess my mind doesn't care about "truth", but instead really wants life to be the way it wants it to be.

franco14

Honestly, I have lots of doubts about whether this is really the answer.

Oh Ho, I have my own platoon of doubts, so I understand that one. But I've come to see that there's really only one factor that is relevant in all of this, making all other doubts impertinent, and that is the same thing as what you were seeking after:

franco14

Mainly I am writing just to receive encouragement; to have others who have walked this path to freedom encourage me to stick with it.

How nice it would be for people who have been freed of fear to come and offer us encouragement. Too bad hardly any of these people seem to exist. That gaping hole is what is so unnerving.

I believe in John. I really do. Having heard and seen so much of him, I had to break down and declare to myself that I totally believe in the authenticity of this man. I think he has a heart of gold and that he's as genuine and sincere as a human being can be. And integrity combined with sharp intellect is a winning combination. But that still doesn't mean that he's right....just that he THINKS he's right. Sometimes people are so enthusiastic about something that it's nearly impossible for them to be objective enough to see the truth. There's only one way to know whether he's right: it has to be confirmed in full by significant numbers of people. Not halfway confirmed ("I think I'm feeling some sort of shift...") but totally confirmed ("I am now in love with my life/free of fear just as John promised").

The recovery period is long, and that could account for so many people still being in limbo. And by John's own admission he's only been clear in his expression more recently, and that might suggest that most of the people he spoke to long ago never succeeded in looking at themselves. So, combining those two, maybe the only people who have succeeded in the Act are those who have heard him in the last few years, and maybe it takes a good 3-5 years or more before there is enough of a change to really validate his claims.....the implication being that almost no one is far enough into their recovery to get out the trumpets and exclaim "it worked!!!". But I have heard a few people say pretty confidently that it worked, so that's better than nothing......although statistically if you sprinkle "holy dust" on 100 cancer patients, there will be a few who "magically" recovered without treatment and who will then claim that your holy dust cured them...point being that it's got to work more reliably than statistical outliers.

I don't know. I want to ask John about this more directly, but I don't want to put him on the spot...but I guess he's already put himself on the spot. Being fond of him makes me not want to challenge him too harshly, but it's only fair to be real.

Gerrit

Communion

Communion

franco14

Hi everyone. 5 months into the looking. I can't say yet that I'm aware of any truly significant benefit, aside from an incredibly brief, fleeting, moment of relief from anxiety on very rare occasions, but I have achieved that through other methods, techniques, and therapies that have all failed me. Honestly, I have lots of doubts about whether this is really the answer. I've struggled with chronic anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue for over 15 years. It never goes away, it just feels less intense at times.

I can't tell you how many times I've come across a technique or method and said to myself, "This is it. This is my answer," only to be disappointed by the less-than-stellar results as anxiety and fatigue continue to ravage my life. But the sheer simplicity of this looking, and John's story of a so-called enlightenment followed by a terrible regression and subsequent freedom through this simple act, encourages me that I am not alone, and is enough to keep me interested in sticking with this. I guess I just want instant relief. I have suffered for so long, and am so exhausted from clutching for dear life at every moment of every day, even in my sleep, waking up tense and exhausted every day. I start every day with an empty battery, already tense and exhausted from the moment I wake up, and must struggle through each day with no energy, only to fall in bed, wrestle with insomnia, then sleep tense and disturbed all night--and then wake up exhausted and have to do it all over again.

Mainly I am writing just to receive encouragement; to have others who have walked this path to freedom to encourage me to stick with it. I do wonder, however, if this looking has the potential to cure phobias--not just the fear of life, but phobias in general. I think I have a phobia of being exhausted; I fear not having enough energy. In some ways, I actually have a fear of falling asleep. Not sure why, I guess I'm afraid that if I fall asleep I'll never wake up, or that I'll wake up too late, miss work, lose my job, and everything else in my life will go to hell as a result. So I guess all that is really just the fear of life. But how about other phobias? Just curious. Has anybody noticed any cure from those?

Dearest Franco,

You are so much where I was when I first began the looking in October 2011, so much so that I could have written what you write here. In fact, I think they are my almost exact words! I really feel for you and I hear you. This is very painful what you are experiencing. I know from my own experience.

When I first began, I did the looking as if "I was a woman looking for water with her hair on fire!" And in the fall of last year, my hair almost did catch on fire ... it was when the electricity was out for 4 days and we had candles all over the house....and my hair actually did almost catch on fire. And I imagined myself running down the hall to find water -- this was during the time I was just beginning the looking. So sometimes I would "gear up" the search for "focusing my attention on me" to that kind of very huge burning effect. But I later felt that this really didn't make any difference -- the looking had already happened, and I just enjoyed the drama. It's funny to me now...but then, I was totally serious!

I felt as you do now, I've been a serial searcher for over 45 years...and nothing, totally nothing, had worked, and I was really very angry about it -- and so stressed out...not sleeping, not being able to focus or work, etc. And I held out little hope for John's idea about looking...but it seemed to make sense, so I tried it.

And I kept trying it. I kept focusing my attention inward, doing the mindfulness meditation that John recommends, and little by little changes were effected in my life that I seemed to have little or no control over. Just that my life became so much closer to me. I do not feel the separation from my own life now the way I did for my whole life before. I feel as if I am looking sometimes out of ancient eyes. My own eyes -- at my own life.

I listen to all of John's podcasts, I play them on my iPod and in my car, I tune into the online groups, and I have immersed myself in this looking. And it doesn't seem to need me to "believe" in it -- b/c it seems to believe in me.

Hang in there Franco...keep looking, keep listening...you are here among friends, you are with us now. You are safe and secure. Time will tell.

With love,

Dawn

Directcontact

And it doesn't seem to need me to "believe" in it -- b/c it seems to believe in me.

With love,

Dawn

Beautiful way to say it! I have the same feeling but never thought of it that way. Life believes in me. Lera

Thanks everyone

Thanks everyone

Thank you everyone for all your encouragement. I don't have time to reply to everything that was said, but it was good to hear from all of you.

gerrit

I believe in John. I really do. Having heard and seen so much of him, I had to break down and declare to myself that I totally believe in the authenticity of this man. I think he has a heart of gold and that he's as genuine and sincere as a human being can be. And integrity combined with sharp intellect is a winning combination. But that still doesn't mean that he's right....just that he THINKS he's right. Sometimes people are so enthusiastic about something that it's nearly impossible for them to be objective enough to see the truth. There's only one way to know whether he's right: it has to be confirmed in full by significant numbers of people. Not halfway confirmed ("I think I'm feeling some sort of shift...") but totally confirmed ("I am now in love with my life/free of fear just as John promised").

The recovery period is long, and that could account for so many people still being in limbo. And by John's own admission he's only been clear in his expression more recently, and that might suggest that most of the people he spoke to long ago never succeeded in looking at themselves. So, combining those two, maybe the only people who have succeeded in the Act are those who have heard him in the last few years, and maybe it takes a good 3-5 years or more before there is enough of a change to really validate his claims.....the implication being that almost no one is far enough into their recovery to get out the trumpets and exclaim "it worked!!!". But I have heard a few people say pretty confidently that it worked, so that's better than nothing......although statistically if you sprinkle "holy dust" on 100 cancer patients, there will be a few who "magically" recovered without treatment and who will then claim that your holy dust cured them...point being that it's got to work more reliably than statistical outliers.

I don't know. I want to ask John about this more directly, but I don't want to put him on the spot...but I guess he's already put himself on the spot. Being fond of him makes me not want to challenge him too harshly, but it's only fair to be real.

Gerrit

Excellent observation Gerrit, and I feel similar. From the little that I do know, I think John is an amazing person, and I am all-the-more impressed that everything he is doing is provided for FREE. The past couple days I have been facing so much anxiety that I have been searching the internet again in a frantic fury for something that could help me quickly, and I was once again irritated (as if I didn't already know) by how many expensive "anti-anxiety" programs there are out there, that have already wasted thousands of my dollars and given me little if any benefit. That John offers this free of charge in such a simple act, with no need to take on new beliefs or discard existing beliefs, and is doing everything in his power to spread this to 700 million people, really places him in a class of his own. That said, it doesn't immediately mean he is right that this will work for everyone without fail, but as simple as it is, and as recent as this expression of it is, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now. I have to admit, if I was already free, I probably wouldn't be hanging out here--I'd be out and about, finally living my life after years and years of being a slave to fear. So I can only hope that the "eery silence" of people who are supposedly free is nothing to worry about. They are out there; they have to be.

In any case, today has been a TERRIBLE day of anxiety. I've been stuck in a perpetual panic all day long, and I CAN'T BREAK FREE. I'm surprised I haven't had a heart attack. At these times, the simplicity of this act just flies out the window, and I can't seem to "figure it out." I look for me, and here I am, but so what? I'm stuck and anxious and in a perpetual panic and I can't escape! Then I got lost in thinking about me instead of actually experiencing the feel of me directly. This is just so hard! I've been putting up with this constant perpetual panic for so long now, I just want this to work, and I want it to work NOW!

Some notes to maybe help

Some notes to maybe help

franco14

... In any case, today has been a TERRIBLE day of anxiety. I've been stuck in a perpetual panic all day long, and I CAN'T BREAK FREE. I'm surprised I haven't had a heart attack. At these times, the simplicity of this act just flies out the window, and I can't seem to "figure it out." I look for me, and here I am, but so what? I'm stuck and anxious and in a perpetual panic and I can't escape! Then I got lost in thinking about me instead of actually experiencing the feel of me directly. This is just so hard! I've been putting up with this constant perpetual panic for so long now, I just want this to work, and I want it to work NOW!

Dear Franco,

I was just searching thru the forum, and came upon this advice for a person who was suffering from anxiety -- it is from David Parrish, and I hope he doesn't mind that I edited it a little.

Anyhow...here it is and I hope this can be helpful to you. I understand the discomfort you are in, I am often in a similar state myself, but I am practicing the mindfulness meditation that John gave us, and practicing looking/observing states in my body and/or mind.

Here you go (edited from dparrish):

The recovery process can be difficult and uncomfortable at times. And I have found that it has been useful to "notice" as much as possible, rather than "think" about what is happening. It has been useful for me to notice that rather than think about what is occurring – and if I just "look,” "pay attention to,” "notice,” what arises is to just be "open” to what is. In fact, this noticing revealed to me that the Me I am given by the looking is always "open.”

This "openness" resulted in my noticing that I could look and allow myself whatever "seemed appropriate,” i.e., whatever showed up as an action, could support my experience of recovery and was worth taking action on. So, sometimes I would walk, have sex, watch TV, eat, not eat, write, not write, be silent, talk, work, relax, etc. – whatever it was that showed up and I took action on, gave me comfort.

Also, when I noticed that I was having an uncomfortable emotional or physical state, I could make the choice to sit still, be silent, simply notice my breath, hold my attention there for awhile, and then scan my body and simply look at the sensations. I noticed that the breath worked to soften my experience and help me to relax into it.

I noticed that when I started to do this I started to sleep and the energy calmed down. I hope this is useful to those of you who are consciously in recovery.

The most important thing is to look at it all, consider it all, everything happening, everything being said by everyone, to be inclusive rather than exclusive and trust that what is appropriate for you will show up.

Also, what shows up for me is that "anything that you consider yourself to ‘know’ shrinks you,” it takes away access to all of it. Some call this openness to all that is: "beginners mind.”

Good luck to you franco14, hang in there. We are all in this together.

With love,

Dawn

Similar

Similar

franco14

They are out there; they have to be.

I don't know. But I hope so. I am finding that I can't let go of putting huge amounts of hope and faith in the Looking, yet at the same time I feel I can't rely upon that lest in the future I'll be in a really bad place because I put my trust in some crazy man rather than taking other steps to fix my issues. So I'm doing both I guess.

franco14

In any case, today has been a TERRIBLE day of anxiety. I've been stuck in a perpetual panic all day long, and I CAN'T BREAK FREE. I'm surprised I haven't had a heart attack. At these times, the simplicity of this act just flies out the window, and I can't seem to "figure it out." I look for me, and here I am, but so what? I'm stuck and anxious and in a perpetual panic and I can't escape! Then I got lost in thinking about me instead of actually experiencing the feel of me directly. This is just so hard! I've been putting up with this constant perpetual panic for so long now, I just want this to work, and I want it to work NOW!

Yeah, everything you just described is extremely similar to my own experience since doing the Looking. Some people don't quite get it, but I know the horror of what you're talking about. Please stay in touch and keep reporting how you are doing and what experiences you've had. It could be encouraging to me to see how things play out for you since our cases might be partially similar. By chance, did the recent anxieties you talked about get worse in any uncommon way since you started the Looking?

@Dawn - Thank you for relaying David's words.

Gerrit

An increase in intensity

An increase in intensity

Hi Gerrit and all the others on this thread.

I did find when I first started the looking (that is, when I first noticed I was trying in earnest) that the intensity of lots of old familiar feelings became very amplified. Depression would appear suddenly and with great intensity but also disappear quite suddenly. When it appeared it just felt intense. I found it surprising that it was not accompanied by the usual storm of neurotic concerns. Around the same time I started to experience pleasant feelings with equally surprising intensity. I would be riding my bike down the street and feel a gentle breeze and find myself crying and laughing. There was plenty of drama after that point but the stickiness was gone.

The idea of the course of recovery was at times of little concern and at other times had my constant attention. There were lots of fascinating experiences with ordinary things as well as lots of irritations. The whole while I was very content to note that they all fit neatly in the category of "beside the point".

As a side note I tried everything that occurred to me to try and direct my attention to me. The instructions seemed clear (even the ones from a few years back) and I was warned that there might be some turmoil. At some point it has become apparent to me that life doesn't suck. As familiar as that seems to me it still surprised me when I first heard myself describing that experience to other people.

I noticed a thread here on the forums a while ago asking "a direct question" about whether the fear was gone for anyone other than John. When I read the question I noted that I seemed to try and search out the fear. This surprised me because I could not locate such a thing. When I first heard the phrase "fear of life" I recall that I had some kind of recognition and thoughts like "Yeah, That's a great phrase to describe this constant disquieting sense that accompanies everything..."

Anyway, it's nice to jump in on one of these conversations...

The suggestion that seemed most practical to me was "just keep looking"

David A

Checking back in

Checking back in

Hey everyone, so I'm checking back in after a bit of time with this.

Here's what I've noticed, but first, a reply to Gerrit, who asked:

By chance, did the recent anxieties you talked about get worse in any uncommon way since you started the Looking?

Yes, yes, and yes. Things have definitely intensified, but I am also happy to report that there has been a positive "shift" as well.

To make a crude analogy, it's like constipation: I've been STUCK in a very painful and fearful emotional state, constantly, year after year after year. And even though the crap isn't gone yet, I have experienced a shift that feels like things are moving that direction. (I suppose John's analogy of a fever is less unpleasant, haha.)

Basically, what happened was, two days before I had an appointment with a psychiatrist (having decided I needed to try medication once again, after a very long time of avoiding it), it really hit home with me that this really is about moving your ATTENTION to yourself, as opposed to THINKING ABOUT yourself. Attention is so simple; it's just directly noticing what is, without any thought or interpretation, label or judgment. Try to imagine what it would be like to be a baby again, experiencing the world directly, without any knowledge or ability to interpret anything you see, hear, feel, or touch. Particularly, you don't know how to read. These letters don't make any "sense" but there is still a direct experience of them. It's just raw experience, unfiltered by knowledge, untainted by the need to react. There's a video in which John Sherman says, "Stop. Just stop. Right here, right now, what does it feel like to be here?"

I think once that hit home for me, the looking started having more of an effect. I was a bit upset that this occurred just a day or two before being put on medication, because I think people are going to assume it's the medication that is causing a shift. That said, I do think it was a wise idea for me to be put on medication for now. I think the looking is a little easier as a result. Frankly, it's painful to look at "me." I have so much self-loathing, so much belief in my own inadequacy and in being a failure at "life" in general, that it's like touching an open sore when I try to look at me. I remember one day in particular, recently, I was throwing myself down on my bed, determined to look at me, and it was as if I was falling down on a knife. I had to allow myself to more or less "convulse" with fright, as I gazed at me. It was NOT a pleasant experience, and it still seems this way much of the time. But here is what I am noticing now, as a result of this shift:

  • I actually have a sex drive once again! And it's slowly increasing.
  • Less fear of failure, in pursuing certain business ventures.
  • More belief in my capacity to succeed at what I want to do.
  • Certain fears are more intense and have not been expelled yet, but I have a sense they will leave.
  • More success with other, complimentary methods I have used to address anxiety.

I'm definitely not out of the woods yet. This is taking MUCH longer than I would prefer. I still have a lot of chronic fear, compulsions, and a lot of generally unpleasant feelings. But I really, truly am starting to get the sense that this act is going to be the thing that brings me home. If only things would "hurry up!"

franco14

Bringing you home.

Bringing you home.

Hi Franco,

if I remove almost all words of your last post, I feel you say exactly what you need. "Moving your ATTENTION to yourself" "is going to be the thing that brings me home."

From my own experience, the only thing that is making me love my life more and more, is the trust in the act of looking, and the trust in knowing that I'm looking at home. The looking will bring me "there", since there is who I am, and always have been.

But how fast that happens, how that happens, and how much of my own crap that is going to throw in my face is no longer my concern. I trust it to take care of me, on its own pace, in its own way.

I'm glad things are going better for you now, and I hope you will find my words useful so you will keep on looking, and will find the patience to let your constipation naturally heal, however painful that might seem at times.

The childhood memory exercise Fiona mentioned is a very effective way to become familiar with where to look, and the mindfulness technique John suggests helped me a lot in calming the movement of my attention's focus, so it got a lot easier to look at me.

Hope this helps!

Wouter

 

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