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I feel very moved sitting here to write you

Dear John,

I feel very moved sitting here to write you after intending to do so for a couple of years. I listened to your podcasts for probably five or six months before I really started exploring the inward-turning, looking for/at myself; I think at first it just seemed too simple and I didn't feel ready or desperate enough to engage in something so direct. But I did become desperate, and applied myself as intensely and sincerely as I could, usually for concentrated periods with quieter stretches between. During that first year or so, I cannot tell you what your promise meant to me, when you would assure me and promise me with all your heart that this work would take care of everything. For something with such little empirical proof of doing it right, but with such high stakes as one's freedom and the healing of one's broken heart, that assurance is absolutely necessary and invaluable.

So it's been around three years of engaging with self-inquiry, and your promise has come true to a great extent. It's the root fear which has withered up... There's still anxiety and discord, strong negative emotions, but the jaws of all these threats are broken, the poison has dried up. I might sum it up like this: the character "me" which exists as a reflection or inference in my mind has been brought into direct, conscious contact with something far deeper and more intimate, a mystery which is obviously what I am and which is palpably fearless, ever present, unaffected, and which seems to exude peace and joy and love, sometimes even a natural ecstasy. All the mortal terror at being this vulnerable entity in this wilderness seems to have gone, and this which I know is truth, reality, is so available. It's almost as if another dimension has opened up through turning awareness upon its source, and though I don't feel the process is complete -- I don't feel I truly live as what I am most of the time -- still the game is up, that awful dream has been punctured and the light is Here. At any given moment, I can become aware of this presence, or rather I become aware from it, and it is looking through these eyes as a pure lucidity. Here the divine mona-lisa smile creeps into everything, even in the wildest and most desperate moments of discord. Truly, as you always say, the wretched feeling of being at stake in the circumstances of my life disappears when I am aware of myself. And true to your word, the perennial grip of this fear, always creeping back in, seems to have vanished quite a while ago.

The second part of your promise, as I've heard it, is still coming along: the amazing sense of intimacy with my experience, the harmonization of relationships with others, falling in love with this life. All of this I have experienced more and more and more as time goes on and knots feel to be unraveling. But as I've been coming out of that wierd dream space of fear, as I've been becoming "more conscious" for lack of a better way of putting it, I've also become more conscious of two places in my system which have been crying out for resolution for years. In my heart-center and my gut there are really intense blocks, it seems, and I've long noticed negative patterns of feeling, thinking, and acting which arise from these areas of conflict. It has become quite "loud", a wound in my heart almost like a gunshot, and in my gut like a clenched fist or a burning knot. So my question for you has to do with these areas, and really the pattern of suffering which is related to them. I fully understand your insistence on the vichara practice as primary, that no other practice comes close to the power of this inward-turning awareness-of-my-self. But this practice alone hasn't seemed to help these areas; rather they have intensified, and the stakes of their manifestation in my life seem to have gotten really high. How do you see these core issues? How can we meet them and find some resolution, some insight, some healing?

My intuition in this matter is to look into these places from the eyes of my real being, so to speak. To look here, but to do so as or from this presence which vichara opens me to. I know this language is faulty, but I don't care about the subtleties here, I'm desperate for some practical solution. I can sense in my heart and gut two stories of being at stake in this life, which both come down to connection with others, and the fear of being alone and never belonging. There's an intense charge of pain and frustration and resentment here; situations in my life have triggered these feelings, the stories seem to manifest with horrific accuracy, if you know what I mean. I'm wondering how much the story must be recognized and questioned, or whether this can be resolved simply by the conscious contact of the truth-I-am with the raw place of conflict in my system, almost like a chemical reaction. You've mentioned the therapeutic value of feeling sensations without their story, and I've tried to do that. This has just gone on for so long and been such a point of stumbling and despair, it feels like something more is called for. And I sense that great intimacy waiting on the other side of the tension and hurt. However you can respond to this matter, or just include in your dialogue with us, I thank you with all my heart.

All this time I've been following your work I've wanted to thank you, write you, let you know how much you have helped me and really saved my life. Your work is truly heroic, no other attempts to serve this world can offer such direct and simple freedom. Keep doing what you're doing, and I pray to join you someday!!




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