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Inward vs. Outward; "disease" and "medicine"

Hi John!

I read the new version of your "fear of life" essay and I think it's a great summary of the essential points of what you teach. I'm getting to a point where my urge to share your work with friends is beginning to grow stronger than my fear that they will reject your work and think I'm nuts for suggesting such a thing to them, and I think this essay is a great introduction to people both totally new to your work and unfamiliar with the spiritual arena. One point you've added to your essay that I think is SO crucial is the point that a lot of things that we think are "inward," like emotions, thoughts, and personality traits, are actually NOT inward but outward. I think this is such an important thing to state right at the beginning because I, for one, didn't realize this until I read it, and I think especially non-spiritual people (like myself) are used to thinking of thoughts and emotions and self-talk as being the core of inwardness. If we're not explicitly told that those things are outward, I think we're very easily liable to spend lots of time looking at those emotions and thoughts etc. and thinking that's "me," which while maybe not harmful could lead to a lot of unnecessary confusion and possibly discouragement.

On a slightly different note--I am so excited to hear you are working on a new book! I look forward to it greatly and can't wait to see what you have to say.

On a very different note--you've often said it's useful to think of the fear of life as a disease and the looking as an antibiotic, and I do find it immensely useful to see things in those terms. To extend the metaphor a little, the more I listen to you answering people's questions, and especially with the new community center, I feel like this community that's forming has a bit of a resemblance to a patients' support group, especially a support group for people trying out an experimental treatment that is known to be very effective but has so far been used only by a few people. I do have some experience with this because I have a rare chronic illness for which a medicine is just now in the process of being developed, and I see a lot of parallels. I feel like what we're doing here is bringing concerns to you and each other, like "I've been taking the medicine and I keep getting this or that weird reaction, does anyone else ever get that? And does it mean I'm taking the medicine wrong? Is what I'm doing still going to be effective at treating the disease?" Your answer is almost always, "Yes, lots of people get that reaction, yes, you will still effectively treat the disease." Or sometimes people will report, "I've been taking the medicine and I can tell you that it is working for me, I am getting better," and then the rest of us are encouraged to continue with the treatment. Just a thought; don't know how useful it is to anyone but me but I wanted to share.

As always, thanks and love to you and Carla!

I too found the "fear of life" essay to be an extremely clear summary and forwarded it to friends and family in the hopes that it would encourage them to listen to John and his teachings as I have done. It's not so much a question of wanting to "spread the word" as to "share the joy." As someone who has spent many years consumed by fears of all kinds, John's suggestion to "look at yourself" has provided me with an "medicine" that seems to be having momentous healing capabilities for the "disease" in my life. I am very grateful to him and to Carla and to the people in this forum like teacup who are willing to share their experiences.

I find it interesting that teacup feels that the community that's forming resembles a "support group for people trying out an experimental treatment." That is sometimes my impression as well. My background includes internal battles with addictive behaviors and alcoholism and the concept of "recovery" is one that has been part of my life for many years. It is amazing to me that the simplicity of John's suggestion is so helpful to me at every level of my life. Do I dare go so far as to say that it is a miracle drug for the disease that wracks humanity?

Thank you John, Carla, teacup and all others who are involved in this "looking."

Hi Bill (and everyone else)

I'm very encouraged by this new understanding of the human condition as a disease state. I first heard a statement to that effect when I saw one of the 'guerilla ontologists' of the 1960's generation state at a lecture that 'the ego is a symptom of pathology'. It struck me then, and still does today. Here however we have the remedy in our hands... where it has always been.

The work generates its own steam. The sense of what this looking is changes with time as the effects of the looking stir up the habitual patterns that have developed around the fear of life. I would not say that the gap between me and my life shrinks, but it closes in fits and spurts with greater frequency and the sense of physical energy released at each such event adds to my resolve and capacity to look again. It may be important to note: this sense of physical energy... I think it is the way the habitual separate self sense interprets and coopts the true bodily sense. It is thus important for me not to get caught up in the energy... just let it be and look on... look on...

Keep on keeping on my friend.



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