John Sherman is Dead

I never met John Sherman in person. We spoke over the phone sometimes and had somewhat frequent online video meetings during the last years of his life. Our meetings mostly concerned the development of the Just One Look work. A  deep fascination with the act of inward looking was something I shared with John. I never got tired of speaking about it with John and his wife Carla.

And even though John and I had no personal relationship, his death created a kind of silence and empty space in me. I have never related to John as a spiritual teacher, and I never let my own road to sanity build upon John personally or on his own experiences. But still, his clarity and focus have been a true inspiration and support to me over the years. So, I thought, what now that John is no longer around? What do I do now? I mention this because I believe others who are familiar with The Just One Look Method may have had this question appear in their minds also. The answer to that question came to me almost at the same time as the question itself arose: John Sherman is not the cause of my sanity. The act of inward looking is.

This is not meant to diminish John’s meaning as a person but to honour the way he managed to free The Just One Look Method from himself. So, let us honour John’s legacy by remembering that he always wanted people not look at him, but to look at themselves and, if possible, offer the same opportunity to others. And let us honour the fact that the road to sanity is open and not dependent on any special teacher or teaching. 

Personally, I especially honour the insights and the fresh perspective on the human mind and the nature of mental suffering that he shared. They freed me from the unbearable burden of believing that the human life and mind are broken and need to be fixed. They taught me that striving for a non-reactive and trance-like state is not worth the effort and it is a waste of a life.

And John, if you were to read this text, I guess you would say something like, The insights that resulted in The Just One Look Method came as a gift, once again reiterating the impersonal nature of The Just One Look work. I agree with John; this work is a gift and I intend to do what I can to keep this gift alive.

So, what now? Well, John Sherman is dead, but we are alive and so is The Just One Look Method. Let us honour John by accepting that he is gone and use this new situation in a sane way.  Let us get truly self-reliant and stand on our own legs by taking charge of our own life and attention. Let us develop our own clarity and focus. And also, if possible, let us do what we can to offer the possibility to be free of existential fear to as many people as possible.

Niklas Lindström 

In the next post I plan to share my current understanding of The Just One Look Method. I will also try to critically address some central questions and premises related to the method. What is it that we look at when we look at ourselves? And how and why would a minimal movement of attention produce anything at all? And the scariest question of them all, is all this just a well-built fantasy and wishful thinking? Is it all in our head?  And if not, how about the way forward?  

3 thoughts on “John Sherman is Dead

  1. Niklas,
    I am not sure this is the proper place to get in contact, but I am deeply touched by your post. I have only come across johns teachings a couple weeks ago despite being associated with advaita for several years. I see how the old vernacular was hindering my understanding, all the spiritual language making it seem like your looking for something extraordinary or out of the realm of our humanness. A welling up of emotion comes to me thinking of the gift John gave to me and all of us. I have never actually met anyone in person or had online correspondence with anyone interested in these matters, due to the fact I couldn’t speak about it in normal language. I have a similar background as John, and would like to bring this to the jails in my area. I live in Dallas, Texas. Please advise, as I want to honor John in this pursuit.
    – Ethan Klippert-Rowe

    1. Ethan,

      There are many examples of the relationship between language and understanding. Even historical events like the French Revolution needed an idea and language of freedom from oppression as a natural order to be able to fuel the revolution. The point is that the language being used reflects the understanding. In the case of the use of spiritual language, it reflects the view that is hold in relation to the understanding of the mind. If one views/understand the human mind as an entity that is responsible for the dualistic experience of life, one would naturally not be interested in the mind itself, but rather to try to move beyond it. But if one views psychological fear (The Fear of Life) as the root cause of the dissatisfaction with life, then the mind is the solution and not the problem. And because the psychological fear can be cured by a simple movement of attention to the experience of “me” within the mind, it only intensifies our intimate relationship with our minds. In fact, the only thing left when the fear is gone, is the deeply satisfying process of seeing how our minds is adjusting to everyday life. The human mind is wonderful, when it is freed from fear.

      So, I agree with you. It is a simple and yet profound message. But behind this simple message lays a powerful insight about the nature of mental suffering and the mind. An insight, that up until now, have been covered by many layers of complexity and confusion. The Just One Look Method is a result of that insight. And the only advice I have when you are sharing it with others is to keep it simple. You can, for example, leave out different understandings all together. Understandings like how and why are only useful later on. And the main goal should always be to introduce the first look. That is not always easy, so be patient and learn as you go. But a prison setting would certainly also be suitable for introducing the self-directed attention exercise. At least after some time. Please keep in touch and tell how it is going with you and your project. And please don’t hesitate to ask for help and support if needed. You can reach me personally at Or you can reach Carla Sherman at There is also a private Facebook group where you can connect. You find it here:

      Take care,

      Niklas Lindström

  2. Nice to read yourposts Niklas and Ethan. Would like to see t comments like these in the forums. all the best in 2023

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