I never met John Sherman in person. We spoke over the phone sometimes and had somewhat frequent online video meetings during the last years of his life. Our meetings mostly concerned the development of the Just One Look work. A deep fascination with the act of inward looking was something I shared with John. I never got tired of speaking about it with John and his wife Carla.
And even though John and I had no personal relationship, his death created a kind of silence and empty space in me. I have never related to John as a spiritual teacher, and I never let my own road to sanity build upon John personally or on his own experiences. But still, his clarity and focus have been a true inspiration and support to me over the years. So, I thought, what now that John is no longer around? What do I do now? I mention this because I believe others who are familiar with The Just One Look Method may have had this question appear in their minds also. The answer to that question came to me almost at the same time as the question itself arose: John Sherman is not the cause of my sanity. The act of inward looking is.
This is not meant to diminish John’s meaning as a person but to honour the way he managed to free The Just One Look Method from himself. So, let us honour John’s legacy by remembering that he always wanted people not look at him, but to look at themselves and, if possible, offer the same opportunity to others. And let us honour the fact that the road to sanity is open and not dependent on any special teacher or teaching.
Personally, I especially honour the insights and the fresh perspective on the human mind and the nature of mental suffering that he shared. They freed me from the unbearable burden of believing that the human life and mind are broken and need to be fixed. They taught me that striving for a non-reactive and trance-like state is not worth the effort and it is a waste of a life.
And John, if you were to read this text, I guess you would say something like, The insights that resulted in The Just One Look Method came as a gift, once again reiterating the impersonal nature of The Just One Look work. I agree with John; this work is a gift and I intend to do what I can to keep this gift alive.
So, what now? Well, John Sherman is dead, but we are alive and so is The Just One Look Method. Let us honour John by accepting that he is gone and use this new situation in a sane way. Let us get truly self-reliant and stand on our own legs by taking charge of our own life and attention. Let us develop our own clarity and focus. And also, if possible, let us do what we can to offer the possibility to be free of existential fear to as many people as possible.
In the next post I plan to share my current understanding of The Just One Look Method. I will also try to critically address some central questions and premises related to the method. What is it that we look at when we look at ourselves? And how and why would a minimal movement of attention produce anything at all? And the scariest question of them all, is all this just a well-built fantasy and wishful thinking? Is it all in our head? And if not, how about the way forward?