A Natural Mind
You can learn to use your mind as it is supposed to be used: as your ally.
The greatest gift of being alive as a human being is the full use of our mind. The mind is not our enemy; it is not something to be silenced by force.
A sane mind is naturally quiet but not empty. After some time practicing Self-Directed Attention, you will probably notice that there are often moments when there are no thoughts present and the mind is like a calm lake where there are no ripples. That is a very pleasant state that can be enjoyed fully for as long as it lasts, but that quiet mind is a passing state. The natural state of the mind is to be always in flow.
Practices that seek to empty the mind only produce only temporary states of silence, which are quickly replaced by mental turmoil, however long the state of silence may persist.
We usually see the mind to be the enemy and thoughts as a disturbance that must be eliminated, but that is taking things as they currently are as inevitable. The truth is, you can change your mind.
The mind is our interface with the world. A sane mind that is not controlled by fear is the perfect tool. Practices that aim to clear the mind without addressing the root cause of the disturbance only achieve temporary effects. They must be repeated over and over to maintain those effects in place.
But it is possible to get to the root cause of the problem and eliminate it once and for all. With just one look at the feeling of being me, the root cause of all your purely psychological difficulties dissipates instantaneously. Once that cause disappears, no more diseased mechanisms are generated because the ground of your mind is now sane. The only thing left to do is to rid yourself of the remaining old mechanisms that will keep fighting for a while to stay in place.
By developing your understanding of how your mind’s mechanisms are formed and how they function, you finally become the master of your own mind. And by developing your control of your attention you take the reins of your life in your hands.
You have absolutely no say over the circumstances of your birth, what kinds of opportunities you are offered or denied, who comes and goes in your life, or what thoughts come to you. All of those things are out of your control.
The only thing you can have any control over is your attention and that is the greatest power you can have. Attention is the Holy Grail. There is nothing else.
3 thoughts on “The Power of Attention, Part Six”
In my early twenties, I discovered Ramana Maharshi, and I became obsessed with trying to look at and feel what I was … me … apart from merely thinking about myself. That was over 30 years ago, and I’m still quaking with fear, addictions, and defensiveness. And the last eight years of my life, I’ve been involved with your teaching, on and off. So, all in all, I’ve looked at myself thousands upon thousands of times, and I still cannot confirm what you guys are talking about here. Sure, I’ve had moments where my fear seemed to dissipate, but I have no evidence that the root cause of all of my suffering has been cut. I can have a temporary insight that frees me from being caught up with my mind, and for a brief moment, I can see that the soldiers of fear are not me, but then that clarity becomes obscured again, and I resume the belief that I’m this person who is trying to free himself of fear and suffering. If I stayed in the place that sees any arising soldiers as mere thoughts, then I could agree with you that the root cause of fear has been taken care of, and that any remaining soldiers are on their way out the door. But this is not the case. Clarity fades, and no matter how many times I’ve looked, the belief in what I’m not, resumes. In other words, the root of fear is still there, feeding the old wounds and creating new ones. So, you can imagine how frustrating it is to keep hearing that “just one look is enough”, and that “you can’t do it wrong”. This can’t be true. There has to be more to it than this, because I’ve looked thousands of times over the course of 35 years, and believe me, my soldiers are not being starved to death. Lately, I can hardly even breathe, I have so much fear, and it’s the people around me that seem to be the sane ones.
Thank you for your honest comment. Sometimes I find myself being dubious about this process too. The wish to be able to look down into the kettle and actually see the subconscious chain of events working in one’s favor is very understandable. I hesitate about giving any advice or making any asssumptions because I too did the looking 8 years ago and it had taken quite a while until the results started to show up. The only thing I’d like to encourage you to do is make contact to others in the forum and/or to John and Carla directly. In my experience, they’ll always go the extra mile to help.
You are right. It is more to the Just One Look Method than the Act of Inward Looking. The “Looking” starts the Recovery Process by eliminating the Fear of Life. After the first look you can develop the strength of your attention by practicing Self-Directed Attention. That will give you a natural authority over your attention and thereby also your own mind. That is sanity. That is the natural state. But sanity and the natural human state is NOT a state where you can find abiding peace and happiness from all disturbing thoughts. To find such a state is a false trail and a spiritual idea.
If you only look at yourself and also expects an enlightened state, I can understated that you have some confusion about this. To know what to expect and to strengthen ones attention is actually at the very essence of the JOL method. With a strong attention, and only with a strong attention is it possible to develop a fear free mind.
I haven’t, of some reason, seen your comment until now actually. If you still are struggling with this I would love to help you with it, maybe by talking some more about it. I hope to hear some more from you…