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Closing my eyes makes it harder to focus

Hi all!

In doing this work I am learning a lot about how my mind does and doesn't work. One thing I have observed is that whenever I close my eyes, my brain's inclination is to go into free-association, "fantasy land" mode, or to just start falling asleep. This makes it that much harder to do the focused attention on the breath in and out of the nose as instructed.

Is it ok to do this practice with my eyes open to prevent this from happening?

Thanks!

- Zak

Hi Zak,

Basically I would say that you can practice the Self-Directed Attention Exercise with your eyes open, even though I think is it is much harder due to visual input. And remember that the "free-association mode" you experience when you close your eyes, might be just an increased awareness of the state we are used to live with also with our eyes open in our dat to day life. My point is that you, when closing your eyes, get a more direct experience of how our mind generally work. And that there really is no difference in how our minds work with closed or open eyes. And I also think it is important to see that we cannot really make general assumptions in how our minds work when we consider the fear of life. A human mind functions quite differently depending on high or low levels of fear based thought processes. As psychological fear lessens (after the Looking and the practice of SDA) our minds gets less reactive and associative.

And Self-Directed Attention is really hard to do, I know! But I would say that the best and most effective way of doing it is to follow the instructions just as they are.

Great to hear that you are doing the work, keep at it, it will certainly pay off!

Niklas

Hi Zak,

I would agree with Niklas' comments. It's OK if your mind wanders during the Self-Directed Attention exercise. It's to be expected. Just notice that it's wandering and bring your attention back to counting the breaths. It's best to do it with eyes closed as you can be more aware of what your mind is doing.

Hang in there!

antony

There is a point in the Just one Look booklet on applying it in daily life which seems to be the Self-Directed Attention without the counting and with eyes open. The attention is on the breath though. In general, I do this at home and sometimes outside like on the beach and follow the instructions as well.

So how is the Self Directed Attention Practice with open eyes working out for you ZakzakzakzAkzAk?

Hello I'm quite new to this after trying hypnosis among other things, what drew me to this was that a Buddhist I know he described the SDA exercise to me and also nothing I was doing was working. Also the fact that this isn't a con. So many I saw for help just wanted my money. I have had Skype sessions with the very nice person Niklas who is so helpful and kind and has given his time to me and I am most grateful. I have strange symptoms which have to be fear based as all the physical checks I have had show nothing is wrong. I have gagging in throat a constant need to keep swallowing around people that embarrasses me, like a self consciousness, from a young teenager, it's what my mind focuses on without my permission, and I get headaches from it and smarting eyes, and almost like a subconscious don't keep swallowing is happening. It feels like I talk over a constant gagging need to swallow and the more I feel it the more anxious I get and it affects my confidence and happiness. And the cycle just continues. I am doing the SDA instead of trying to figure it out and analyse it. I'd had a choking dream and had wondered if this had started it all. Niklas was saying it's the fear based mind that has caused this cycle of symptoms. I just wanted to say hello and I had also asked Niklas if I should have eyes open with the SDA.

Welcome to our forum, Helensusan! We hope you will find much support and encouragement here.

Warmly,

Carla

Thank you Carla. I had looked here a few times and Niklas suggested I take a look at the forum. It makes me think I'm not alone

No you are not alone here. Glad your giving this a shot and got a chance to speak with Niklas as well. Welcome to the forums and thanks for participating . I hope your condition improves for the better or even disappears.

Good to see you here Helensusan! This forum is a safe and sane place when looking for support during the recovery period. Reading older posts can be very helpful to see that you are not alone on this journey. So look around and get to know the forum. And don't hesitate to create a new topic in one of the forum sections if there is something you want to discuss related to your process that you cant find elsewhere.

You are definitely on the right track. Your strength is that you are willing to see that 1: all what you have tried to this point hasn't really helped you 2: that the act of inward looking might be something else than yet another coping strategy to treat symptoms. The looking has already started to have an effect in your mind. And my guess is that you will notice a change in your relationship towards your symptoms. They will not just go away and some might be there for a long time. But having a more relaxed relationship towards your symptoms will make you feel and function much better and it is also the first step towards a full recovery.

Hello Helensusan, and everyone. I'm glad you are here and sharing. I would like to mention that I used to have mild to medium and sometimes quite strong/frequent excessive blinking of the eyelids. You know, a type of Tourette's. That's almost completely gone now. It can still visit me sometimes, but very very mildly and only when I'm tired and a little stressed. But it's as good as gone in my view. I can sort of feel that it's on it's last breaths, but I don't care about it when it comes anymore anyways. The last couple of months a couple more symptoms of the fear has disappeared. I used to be quite destructive, even long after the looking, I was quite happy mostly, but still doing a fairly large amount of alcohol and drugs etc, but all of that has just cleared up completely now. The felt need and interest just hasn't showed up. It hit me the other day that most days, the need to have fun doesn't even arise. At least not strong at all. I skateboard, sing and play guitar sometimes, but the neediness is mostly gone. Now I only sing to express my love of life.

I stared doing the SDA regularly just the last couple of months, after so many years of just looking at myself, and that has helped me a lot. My attention is truly getting stronger and I'm getting more relaxed at the same time.

So... I'm glad you are doing the SDA and I just want to encourage you to go on!

Thank you to Niklas and to Rickard for your replies. I am just lately feeling a bit more relaxed about this happening. I was always so embarrassed about it and judging it, and allowing the symptoms to make me moody and irritable at times. Also tearful at times too, as I felt I had no control over what was happening and no real understanding of it either. I always thought the symptoms gave me anxiety, and only in recent times have I realised it's the other way around. I kept going back to the Doctors for all sorts of physical tests, but everything was always fine, I kept trying to analyse it and work it out and I never could understand why I had these symptoms. I had no abuse as a child no bullying nothing that added up as to why it was happening and I think the mind can't figure the mind out. My energies were focused on getting rid of it and now I just want to feel relaxed. Wether it's there or not. Get to a stage where I don't care about it, it became a vicious circle where the more I felt it the more I felt it and the more tense I got with it the worse my headaches and gagging got. It was me swallowing or needing to all the time. I felt people noticed and I had a ridicule fear with it too that drains confidence. Feeling the self consciousness/throat became a constant state. I also learned that talking about the symptoms gives them life, that became a bad habit too as I wanted a cure and everything I tried wasn't working. That used to get me down too, as a lot of things I tried cost a lot of money and didn't work, so I would invest time and money in other people to get rid of it for me. Now I am doing this method, it's something I can do for myself, and I am sticking to it. It's teaching me patience too because we don't get anything in life without patience.

Just to add to my post, I asked Niklas if he thought me saying I love myself I accept myself as affirmations would be any good as with being self conscious I wondered if it was to do with me not being confident as me. He advised me that this wouldn't really work with me, also, having read the Louise hay heal your life book where basically she is saying about loving yourself affirmations, I don't really know if this sort of thing works, looking in a mirror saying I love you etc. I don't see anyone anywhere who this has actually worked for. She says, if you love yourself your life works but saying I love myself all day I really don't see how that changes people.

 

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