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A sort of report and bit of rambling

I find it helpful to see that others are having experiences similar to mine. My recovery has been painful at times. Periods of satisfaction, awe, gratitude and love followed by periods of fear, impending doom and of doubt. Doubt is the most difficult because I have gone all in. I have abandoned the pages of the past and destroyed them. I am fully committed. This makes sense to me and I have seen it work. If this fails, I'll live out my little fear-filled life and whatever follows my death just follows.

I have looked for, I guess, a year and a half--maybe two. Although for many years I earnestly followed self-help gurus and struggled with the many things they suggested had to be changed in my life before I could experience happiness. I tried religion, and so on. I am not very receptive to mysticism or spiritualism. So when I began Looking I didn't feel a need to understand or believe anything. In fact I had long reached a conclusion that answers to such things as "What am I, really?" and the endless series of question that follow are far, far beyond the capabilities of this human being to comprehend. This helped me keep the exercise very simple: there's nothing to believe, there's nothing to understand--just look at the you that never changes.

Aside from fleeting smiles that form on my lips while looking, as if something nice occurred just out of reach, I cannot prove that I have succeeded in coming into direct contact with myself--except that since the first attempt, I have returned to look hundreds of times. I have witnessed recovery from a very serious bout of clinical depression and acute anxiety. I have seen my ability to reason and function rise to levels I may never have experienced. Some things that used to drive me crazy--well it just seems silly now.

But, to return to the first paragraph, my case has been difficult. Although it seems to me most likely that John's speculation that the pain and difficulty is caused by the breakdown of mental patterns that developed to defend me from life itself, it seems sometimes that my mind is fighting this intrusion in almost a personal way, as if something alive does not want to cease to exist. For example, if I ask the question "What did I look/feel like before this human creature existed and what will I look/feel like after this human creature ceases to exist?", I can almost hear my mind howling in fear and I sense strong, unpleasant resistance.

I turn again and again to John's podcasts and eagerly await new ones. Although I have looked at the Forums a few times, I have hesitated to participate, perhaps thinking that I needed to come further along first. But on the outside chance I can be of some service, here I am.

Much gratitude and love to John, Carla and all of you.


Thank you Steve for sharing. I, too, once hesitated to participate in the Forums, feeling that I'm not "far enough along" on the path (I've been looking since Oct. 2011). And I resonate with your experience that "the pain and difficulty is caused by the breakdown of mental patterns that developed to defend me from life itself." Because since beginning the looking, many difficulties in my life have arisen, but now I am kind of recognizing them as patterns or old beliefs even though I don't really rationally know that, I sense that.

And even when I think that it's just old patterns and beliefs (in the midst of some pain and difficulty) it doesn't seem to help me, but as you say, "since the first attempt, I have returned to look hundreds of times" and that's what I do as well -- in the midst of all the struggles that seem to be appearing, I just keep looking.

Thank you for sharing, it's good to know you are here.



Steve, I, too, have looked inward hundreds of times. I am struck by the absence of new things to perceive. I think that's a clue suggesting an unchanging aspect of what we are that's in addition to our bodies, personalities, emotions, intellects, perceptions, etc., for how else could we have the same sameness when everything around us--including those things we can identify about ourselves--is in a state of flux?

Your comments brought this "realization" (which will be fleeting like all other insights and revelations) home to me again. Thanks, John

Hey Steve and Dawn! Your discussion makes me want to cry, it's so beautiful, people, us, discovering this for ourselves. To be honest, i still don't 'know' if I've looked at myself either, I just assume that I have because my life is a real beauty. My experience, too, is ever changing. Only I seem to remain. I'm not afraid of death any longer which is kind of nice. There are lots of strong movements in me that reject everything, all paths that promise something to the person, although I am still into practical things like learning how to massage, how to be good with money, things of that nature. Practical things.

Have you guys tried to speak to anyone about this? The act of looking? People, friends, I've communicated with don't seem to see any value in it and often, because I dabbled in a spiritual atmosphere, think I'm saying something spiritual--and so think when I say 'you' that I am talking about some idea, which I'm not. One guy that understood what I was saying said 'that is too radical, we all have ideas of who we are, that is too basic' lol.

Anyway, just wanted to join in the discussion. Love this sharing of experiences. smily


Hi Steve,

Amen to everyone. My identification with your personal journey is profound.

Happy New Year,


Thank you for your comments

I am so grateful to hear from each of you. It means everything to me.

Hey Tyson. Be ready for an onslaught of feelings as you communicate with others about the practice. Rejection, superiority, anger, frustration are among them, at least they were for me. It's much easier to communicate if you don't have an agenda. John's teachings have taught us that we are not our lives, meaning that we are not at stake, and that carries over into the reactions of others upon hearing you. You are not responsible for their reactions. Those who see no value in what you are saying may be like talking heads, and it is very difficult to convince a talking head about anything, especially that the problem (the belief that we are our lives) cannot be solved by the intellect. If I were in your shoes, I would be interested in my reaction to their reaction. Trimpi


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