The Power of Attention, Part Three

Recovering from Fear

During the recovery period, certain situations may trigger the appearance of fear-generated thoughts in the mind. Old patterns of reaction to circumstance may reappear and catch you by surprise. You need not be discouraged. These are merely old soldiers of fear trying desperately to keep their grip on your mind. They are just trying to protect you based on the false idea that you need protection from life itself.

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The Power of Attention, Part Two

Self-Directed Attention

The practice of Self-Directed Attention allows you to develop deep control of your attention and enables you to choose for yourself what is worth paying attention to and what is not. Over time, you increase your ability to decline to attend to thought forms that are harmful or simply irrelevant in the moment.

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The Power of Attention, Part One

Looking at Yourself

When you look at yourself directly with the firm intention of getting a taste (a feel, a whiff) of what it feels like to be you, the unconscious ground of fear upon which your mind developed over your lifetime dissipates. Just one look with your inner eye at the raw sense of me before any names, definitions, understandings, and emotional states eliminates that underlying context of fearfulness.

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A World Gone Mad

We live in dire times. Children are being gunned down in their own classrooms and countries with thermonuclear weaponry are threatening to use them for fear that others might use them first.

It is true that many non-profit organizations are making admirable efforts to solve localized problems around the world but they stop short. Their efforts are commendable but they do not address the root cause of all our problems: the fear of life.

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Naked and Afraid

The baby, too, just like a sailor tossed
By cruel waves, lies naked on the ground,
Poor child, bereft of every means of life,
As soon as it has left its mother’s womb
In throes of birth, and fills the room with squalls,
As is but meet for one who has to pass
Such ills in life. Lucretius, De Rerum Natura (54 B.C.)

If you have followed our work for even a short time, you must know by now that, in our view, it is the fear of life itself that ruins life for almost all of us human beings.

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NEW BOOK: The Just One Look Method

New book by John and Carla Sherman
The Just One Look Method: Complete Instructions

The Just One Look Method is an extremely simple approach to mental misery unlike anything you have ever tried. It will rid you of the root cause of your dissatisfaction with life and the painful yearning for peace and fulfillment that seems never to be fully satisfied.

The Just One Look Method is the result of nineteen years of experience working with people all over the world who have seen their relationship with their own lives change dramatically for the better.

We do not give you descriptions of a life free of fear. We do not tell you what to think about yourself and others. We do not tell you how to live your life, how to behave, what to believe in, etc.

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Everybody Is Just Like You

Everybody is driven by the same underlying fear of life that caused you so much difficulty in your own life prior to looking at yourself. Your response to it was most likely different from that of the villains of history, but it was also shaped by the idiosyncratic way in which your particular psychology developed and found some homeostasis. So if you have been a good person, it was because the circumstances of your life have caused your response to the fear to take the form of good personhood; of being a good guy rather than a bad guy. It’s that simple.

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Expectations

Expectations come in at least two flavors. The first flavor is a reasonable expectation as to what might happen in the course of our day-to-day life. For example, if I plant a garden, I will have the reasonable expectation that, barring bad weather or unforeseen damage by pests, in due time I will have the fruits of my labor in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables. If I place an order for something at Amazon, I will have the reasonable expectation that, in due time, a package will arrive at my door. If I work for wages, I will have the reasonable expectation that on payday I will have money.

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What Do You Really Want?

Before looking at myself, I would have had no idea how to answer such a question. Maybe money and power, so I could do what I really wanted to do? But what then? And what exactly was it that I would really want to do? And what would I get from doing it?

Enlightenment maybe, or knowledge, but what would I expect to get from them? What exactly would they bring to me?

True love? True friendship? A sense of accomplishment? Happiness? But how would I recognize true love, or friendship, or accomplishment, or happiness if I got them?

Sticky question, isn’t it?

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Understanding the Fear of Life

The fear of life is the first cause of all our psychological troubles.

The fear of life is a silent and false assumption that life is untrustworthy and dangerous that runs in the background of all experience.

Now, strictly speaking, there is no requirement that you understand the cause of your mental misery before you can be rid of it and, conversely, mere understanding of the cause will not free you of it. But a clear understanding of the actual cause of our mental misery, although not required, vastly simplifies and mitigates the tumultuous experience of regeneration that often follows that first look.

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The Search for Identity Is a Call for Self-Inquiry

Identity: (1) The character or personality of an individual:  unity and continuity of personality; (2) one’s perception of the sameness and persistence of one’s own individual personality:  sense of self. (Merriam-Webster)

Before you begin reading this post, please Google the phrase “the search for identity”. You will be shown links to almost 43 million pages that approach the issue.

It would seem that identity, and the search for it, is the heart and soul of being human. If that’s the case, how can it be that such a critical component of being human is considered to be such a mystery by so many? What is identity, after all? Where is it to be found?

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First Do No Harm

If you have done the Looking, mastered Self-Directed Attention, and have begun to see the value of Just One Look in your own life, there is often a natural impulse to describe to your friends what you have found. If that’s the case with you, STOP!

I beg you to stop because, unless you fully comprehend the true nature of what has happened in your own mind, you will almost always sow confusion and helplessness where you wanted to plant understanding and self-reliance.

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Spiritual Understanding

Carla and I have come to an understanding that the non-dual spiritual teachings that seem to be everywhere in one form or another in these times are worthless at best.

There are millions of us who have believed in them and trusted them to ease the misery of worry and fear that is the lot of the vast majority of us. We do so because we are told that the wisdom to be revealed upon our acceptance and surrender will bring an end to our war on our own life, which is caused by ignorance.

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The State of the World

We cannot help but pay attention to the sorry state of human affairs in our time. And there is no reason to turn away from the facts of the world’s current descent into madness, murder, and torture. This is, after all, the world we live in.

But there is no reason to allow our attention to be pulled to the fear-driven drumbeat of misery and helplessness that appears in a mind still under the effects of the fear.

Something can be done after all. We can work together to bring an end to the worldwide epidemic of neurotic personal fear that is the one true cause of all human violence against self and others.

This advice holds true for everyone, whether or not they have done the act of looking at yourself. If you haven’t done the act of looking at yourself yet, please go to our website now and start on the path out of a fear-driven mind immediately.

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Why Practice Self-Directed Attention?

The Just One Look Method is a two-part process. Those two parts are the act of Looking at Yourself and the Self-Directed Attention Exercise.

The act of Looking at Yourself resets the mind and triggers a period of recovery in which the mind restructures itself, in a context that is no longer based on the fear of life itself. For the process to start, just one look is enough.

The second part, the practice of Self-Directed Attention, is fundamental in the recovery.

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These Times

I will not pussyfoot around the situation facing humanity today.

I am seventy-four years old and I have seen a lot of drama in my own life and in the lives of humans everywhere. In the 70s, I robbed banks and destroyed the means whereby working people were being made poorer every day. In the course of things, I was shot, put on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, and imprisoned for almost 20 years in federal prisons.

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