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Hello everyone!

This is my first post on the forum, as I have prefered to just read other peoples posts so far. I have been engaged with looking at myself from time to time (sometimes a lot) for just over a year and a half now and I find it hard to really put a finger on any changes that have happened in my experience since.

My personality which I sometimes feel is non existent when I am in the company of people does'nt seem to have changed at all and I find this is the most frustrating part. I know underneath the feeling of being trapped and unable to express mmyself socially there is a character who has much to offer because I have found temporary relief through various self help methods in the past but eventually I always end up feeling the same sense that there is something wrong that needs changing.

I am hoping that anyone who can relate or can comment on what i am saying might help me out trying to understand this. One thing that may of happened is that I find i am much more present than I ever have been without trying to be. The worrying about the future may of died out a bit however the same feelings of frustration and angst around others is as strong as ever but the need to improve that self has also lost it's motivation which leaves me in a slight paradox i suppose.

Going to leave it there as I think i might just start rambling to much here smily

Best wishes to everyone


Hi Jim.

Welcome to the forum, it is really nice to have you here.

I think that what you just have done, namely taking the sometimes "hard" step into the conversations here at the forum, shows a great sign of change in you. Even though you don't seem to notice the changes, I am sure that the greatest change of all (the basis of the fear based psychology is now gone ) has already happened in you. Otherwise you wouldn't be here. And I remember that it was a very clear line in my own recovery, between the period before and after joining the conversations here at the community. To have some sort of conversation around this process is the best way to actually see the changes that are happening. And it seems to speed it up too. So I think that you have done yourself, and all the rest of us here, a great service by coming here. It is here where everything happens..!

And as to the too the frustration in being around others, I am afraid I cant help you very much. That is area that I think a lot of us struggle with. I suspect that it will get easier over time though. But one thing is sure, to become sane in an insane world is not all that nice. But if we work together I am sure that we will find ways to del with this part of life in a constructive way.


Jim, I agree with Niklas, that writing and interacting here promotes change and growth. I have always wondered if I am an introvert or an extrovert......since I started looking it's even harder to tell and kinda beside the point. This is all to say that the social thing is very complex and in some ways the looking has made it easier and in some ways harder. Along with much of my anxiety, my social anxiety has diminished over the last 2 1/2 years. I can be very 'bright' socially, or more withdrawn and the looking has seemed to allow both to happen as I am more honest with myself. The social self seems to be just a facet of who we are. I find I have developed an increased sense of honesty and 'truth' which can come out socially as well. I think I am less inclined to present a false view of myself. I am also more sensitive to negativity in others and so have set some hard boundaries toward some negative people in my life ( in a respectful manner I hope).

All this leads into a much bigger topic......when the fear goes, then what? I thought that when much of my anxiety and fear went out the back door I would be joyous and transformed. This hasn't happened, or at least not quickly. There is a vacuum left by the space the fear of life took up and I think we need to figure out who and what to be without the fear. The social realm is just one of these spaces that changes leaving us unmoored. Do we try out our new honesty muscles (and lose friends), do we withdrawal from negative people (and never be around anyone, ever)? I believe it just takes time to recreate ourselves. Who is this new being and how should we act? The answer is to trust the intelligence of our brains, free of fear, and the intelligence of life, as John says. If we stop fighting with life, and you have, we find that life is giving us exactly what we need. I don't always believe this, but it seems clear on good days and in retrospect. We have to be gentle and patient......or live by the somewhat motto I take from Carlos Castaneda: ruthless, cunning, patient, sweet. Enjoy the richer sense of the present moment you have been experiencing, out of this will come the truth. Also, there is one thing you can be certain of, things will change......hang on!

Dear Jim,

The first time I looked at myself I just thought it was nothing and moved on without a second thought. It took me 2 years to return to the looking, mostly because somehow I found myself doing it automatically from time to time. I took up the looking for about 3 or 4 months on a regular, daily basis. The only thing I noticed, at first, was that there was a certain disconfort that I had had for my entire life, like a hidden pain that had changed my entire perspective. And that was gone suddenly. One day it was there, the next, I couldn't find it anymore. After that, I went through an intense process of change that continues even today, after more than 4 years, although it's not nearly that intense anymore.

The changes that happened to me had 2 distinct characteristics; most of them happened long before I was able to aknowledge them and once they happened, they felt like they had always been there.The point that I'm trying to make here is that changes may happen under our conscious radar. For me, I only realize something changed when I'm in situations where my limits are somehow tested. That's when I see my personality is completely changed for the better. Stick to the looking as much as it seems the case to do so. There comes a day when looking at yourself happens only rarely, only if needed.

Concerning the relationship with others, I can tell you that it is not easy, in my experience. looking at yourself erases all the bariers against life, and that means being open to others, more so than before. For me, if I am in the company of people who are suffering, I cannot stop that from reaching me. I don't want to either, but there is no protection anywere, no wall that I can conjure. Fortunately, the same thing happens if I am in good surroundings. The silence of a church or the beauty of nature touch me to the deepest level, just like the pain of others does.

When you meet people like that, open and vulnerable, it changes them, it touches them. And it's not easy, but you get stronger in time, provided you offer yourself the rest, beauty and peace you need when you need them.

My impression is that, by default, all of us, we are meant to embrace the world and one another, to find solutions and face problems, not to hide, close or wither in denial. So, I would say you are doing just fine, wether or not you know it, wether or not you feel it.

Thanks for taking the time to respond guys. I wasn't expecting it to be so quick so I'm sorry for the delay.....

I believe that it is important to communicate on these forums too Niklas as it is the only kind of support we can get because anyone who isn't familiar with the looking can only give support and advise which is from the perspective of the fear based psyche I suppose. However I understand why some prefer to just read (like myself up until now) the posts rather than write about themselves.

Jackx, I have never known whether I am an introvert or an extrovert either. I have always been very good in my own company, however when i have been feeling much more sociable, I have enjoyed to be centre stage and to relish having fun with others. I became much more sociable naturally after once being hypnotized for social anxiety but after a few months old feelings and habits came back making me withdraw again completely.

Now I don't know whether I am decieving myself or not in thinking maybe something has dropped away since starting the looking. I know longer wake up with the feeling dread which used to a common thing for me and I no longer feel I must change myself in order to be happy through means of self help and the like. But paradoxicly I don't feel comfortable enough in my personailty to want to go out and socialize at all really. If I do, I seem to find it frustrating and it really is the one thing that the fear has seemed to give me in this life. This constant feeling of heavy self consciousness that seems to suck the life out of me and alienate myself from the other people in my life. Sorry to keep on about it.

Also, thank you very much for your response too dragosghitio. I read your report from a while ago and it gives me a lot of hope. I will carry on with the looking and I have a feeling in my heart that this is the end of the road to my life long yearning to feel Ok with this life.

Jim, I hear you and social interaction is still a big deal for me, although a lesser big deal than it was. I was at a party over the weekend and actually initiated a conversation with several people I didn't know, something it would not have done previous to the looking. I believe Dragosghitio is right in that our sensitivity to others is heightened.....I often believe I am picking up the uncomfortableness and social anxiety of others and mistaking it as my own. This may be happening to you as well. I believe John's point about mechanical behaviors continuing after the fear is gone is a good one and applies to social behaviors. In a social situation I I tend to hang with someone I know, don't make eye contact, etc. These are hollow, empty defensive behaviors that know longer apply as the fear is not really there, but actually putting my body into these positions may call up a frame of mind that for a moment has some potency and traces of anxiety clinging to them. At this party, after some initial anxiety and standing around with my arms tightly crossed I naturally began to look at the truth of the situation, noticed that the guy next to me looked as uncomfortable as I and struck up a conversation. He was relieved and we had a nice interchange. Socializing is a skill, like any other, and the more we do the better we get.....without the fear, I believe our natural intelligence comes through as we trust it, and we can learn the skills more rapidly. I believe we introverts have a highly refined sense about people and sometimes I just don't want to talk to some people as maybe they appear negative or boring, etc. That's the truth too......I probably will always feel uncomfortable talking to people I don't know for the first time and perhaps there is good reason for that.

Hi there, As a happy well adjusted outsider... he he he I really have been through what you say Jim... Most social interaction is pretty boring, predictable and to be honest a waste of time. I love meeting open minded people, people who have curiosity about life... but most people are looking for entertainment or reenforcement of their views or just out to impress... I stopped worrying about my personality a while back now. The feeling of not fitting in was actually just fine... I don't fit in and to be honest don't want to fit in either. Who wants to fit into madness anyway? I have a small circle of friends who I see from time to time and I get out for treks and even do a bit of rock climbing... but mostly I'm alone now. My two sons are off and away my wife and I have divorced and all this space and silence is left. It's retreat time. Time to be still and watch. Self concern is part of the madness and fortunately it's seems that I am able to not indulge in that quagmire of confusion. It's pointless to have any views about ourselves, comparing ourselves with the "norm". Enhance your awareness and flow with what is in the looking. All else is imaginary crap, really. What lies in store? I have no idea... so why worry about it? The "looking" is a way to bypass all the madness the mind throws out. It really isn't worth the time and energy. It's so very exhausting this constant trying to figure out my life... The looking brings that to an end...

It's good to see you again Nigel, and I am deeply pleased to hear you are doing well.

It is certain that once the damage done to the mind by the disease has healed, it can be excruciating to be around those who are still sick with it, but I tell you from my own experience that taking action to bring the looking to the rest of the human family is its own reward, and the source of the greatest satisfaction I have ever known.

It might be useful to you to consider that the plight of the human family is not caused by the drive to find entertainment or reinforcement of personal views. Those life-denying traits, and all the others that are so painful to be around, are just symptoms of the fear-disease.

There is no need to have intimate contact or even social interaction with people to bring the looking to them. If that were so, it would be impossible even to consider trying; after all, there are 7 billion of us needing the medicine. All that makes it even conceivable is the simplicity of the message and the incredible means of reaching many people with modern technology.

The urge to withdraw from the human family is very powerful in a mind that has healed. You might consider the possibility that that very urge to seek safety and satisfaction by turning inward is one last vestige of the symptoms of the disease.

We need all the help we can get if we are to succeed in our effort to bring to the entire family the good news that dissatisfaction and fear of living are easily cured for anyone who will try this simple act just once.

Please stick around and help us understand and accomplish this great work.

Most of my life, I thought I was a shy person. I desperately wanted to be seen, but I was terribly self-conscious and my tendency was to hide. I worked professionally as a dancer and an actress on TV and on the stage, and I felt that was a way for me to be seen without having to expose myself... But it was not easy. I always had to be perfect, and that meant that there was never any space for just having fun. There was a lot of tension and expectations involved in everything I did. Everything I did was a matter of life and death. My whole existence was at stake in all I did. And, of course, I would never have thought of it like that. I just hated that everything made me so nervous, that I could never just relax and enjoy... That I lacked spontaneity... Even when I was doing really well, I was very self-conscious.

A couple of months ago, I started playing guitar again, after many years. I had played a little as a teenager, but had moved on to other interests... I now try to practice for at least an hour every morning. The other day, our landlord came in the morning to fix our kitchen door. When he knocked on the door, I was practicing. I stopped for a moment, opened the door for him, let him in, and went back to practicing. I was just a few feet away from him, in the living room.

Later that day, John made a comment that he was very impressed that I was able to practice in front of the landlord. He called my attention to the fact that I was not self-conscious at all. And I had not even noticed it.

That's what John refers to when he says that the changes in your personality happen and you usually don't even notice them, unless someone calls your attention to it, or you happen to be in a situation in which an old familiar behavior is not triggered as expected, and somehow you are able to notice its absence.

In the past, I would never, ever have been able to practice in front of anybody, that would have made me really agitated and self-conscious. Now, I am having a wonderful time and with no concern for being perfect, I get better and better all the time. I practice a lot, I am getting a lot better, but there is nothing at stake! Really, I am not a stake in any of it. And, amazingly, everything I do, I do better than I was ever capable of doing. I find that I can learn pretty much anything. If something needs to be done and I don't know how to do it, I just learn to do it. No fear, no stress. I am really patient with myself now - and with others.

Also, I find that I am a lot more social than I previously thought I was. Now I enjoy chatting with anybody about anything. I don't feel the need to hide anymore and I am a lot more spontaneous. The other day I had a lot of fun chatting with the receptionist at my optometrist's office about homemade bread and pizza... Just being with people is so interesting... Just listening, not looking for anything really...

I can say to all of you that I am a whole different person than I used to be about 15 years ago, when I first looked at myself. The first few years of the recovery were very hard, a lot of psychological and physical stuff, nightmares, etc. But that is probably mostly because John and I didn't really know what was happening, and we were going through recovery together. It took us many years to identify and understand the process.

Now there is plenty of guidance available here. There are instructions on our website on how to deal with the recovery period. And there is plenty of help to be had from many people who have been through it and are sharing their experience here in the forum and in meetings with John. So, please take advantage of all that is available here to help you make your recovery easier and shorter than it was for John and for me. Right now, the prospect of maybe waiting 3-5 years for the worst part of it to be done may seem daunting. But I tell you, it passes really quickly. And one day, you will not remember any of it anymore.

Thank you guys, for being here.

Yeah, take your point John, It's true that all human mind games are an avoidance of being, so the mind tries to escape or defend. But that activity is so automated in some that there isn't even the glimmer of an opening. But that's all OK. We each have to go through what we have to go through until we break. The mind games are finally unable to shelter us and at that moment people may open up... unless they don't and worse scenarios arise... The mind play is a dangerous animal... Likened to the snake in some philosophies, the devil in others... What I said sounded cynical I guess..? Compassion seems to arise only when an opening is offered. When doors are firmly closed I feel there is no point in even trying to suggest an alternative way to live. Everyone will have their moment and suffering will open the doors eventually, it's kind of inevitable with the baggage of false ideas we've been conditioned to take on. So I no longer feel as if I'm on any crusade as I did at one time and prefer to leave people alone, and anyway I saw within myself a need to be needed, a need for some meaning to my life and sought it in sharing my "wondrous knowing"... That "wondrous knowing" has vanished along with the need to be someone who can help. But as I said if there is an opening I do seem to bring out words of encouragement that may be of use. I'm certainly not closed to that. In fact really meeting with someone, where a deeper relationship between two human beings can come about is probably one of the most beautiful things that can happen in life... next to rock climbing that is!

Compassion means to experience the suffering of others, and I see compassion to be unavoidable. It is compassion that causes us to withdraw from the human family, and it is compassion that causes us to seek a solution to the problem of human life, and to be compelled to broadcast that solution now that is has been found.

Thank you Carla for sharing that...very interesting to read!

I really like the fact that we actually are learning things from scratch, as adults. That image is both fun and powerful and very honest.

All the best,


This is my first posting in the forums. Thankyou , Jim for starting this conversation, and for all of the thoughtful and supportive responses.

I was first introduced to the act of looking about 2.5 years ago by my husband. I didn't think much about it in the early period, but started to take more notice as I began to witness positive changes brought about in him. I've been regularly listening to the podcasts for a year or so, then finally took John's advice about the value of spending some time here in the forums.

I particularly wanted to thank Carla for her post "“ I found it very encouraging. It was nice to hear that one of the effects of the looking for her has been an increase in sociability. John has talked a lot about the impulse to withdraw from the human community and its madness once you are free from the disease. This has concerned me a little as the circumstances of my life are such that I am unable, and have no desire to 'head to the hills'.

I am certainly more affected by and feel the suffering of others. It's strange, but I think people somehow recognise that and are comforted by it.

I am still definitely in the recovery period, and socializing can be difficult. I find sometimes my anxiety and self consciousness is more acute than ever, and at other times I am much more present and at ease and able to have really satisfying interactions with others. I also find that I am less likely to attend an event if I'm not feeling up to it (I am supposed to be somewhere as I write this), and there is less agonising over the decision. It really doesn't matter.

Going through recovery with a partner can be a challenge, but I also feel blessed that I have someone to talk with about the process. We have a beautiful 3 year old daughter together. We are excited about the possibility of becoming among the first sane parents in history!

Thank you John and Carla.

Welcome, Kathryn, and thank you so much for your posting! It's really good to read about your experience with the looking. Very encouraging.

Wow,what a treasure we are becoming for one another. The confessions are not attached to the personality any more. The observations have an attitude of courage but without any posturing. The proof is in the looking.John said that the human being is one creature. Is this the beginning of the human creature's recovery from the ultimate false flag? I feel more and more connected to not only this forum but to my continuous expanding potential. The communication here strengthens my ability to be. Thanks, Ian


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