Just to Say Hello

It has been a long time since the last newsletter. I am writing to say hello, and to let you know I am still here. And I have a couple of projects in the works for Just One Look. One of them is an Italian translation of The Just One Look Method e-book that I hope to make available soon as a free download.

John’s Memorial Service was held here in Ojai on November 20. I posted the audio recording of it as a new episode in our podcast. You can listen to it click here.

People have asked how I am doing, so I thought I would share some of it here.

So much has changed in my life since John passed away on September 29. I now work a full-time job here in Ojai in a medical coding and billing office. In February, I joined the Santa Barbara Choral Society and just sang my first two concerts with the choir two weeks ago. And I am dancing again. I am taking a contemporary dance class once a week here in Ojai, which is a real blessing. Bringing music and dance back into my life has helped in this period of mourning.

After John was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in May 2019, I went into a tailspin. The barrage of old patterns of thought took me completely by surprise. For a long time, I had experienced life without fear. But now there were all these emotions—fear, doubt, panic, anxiety, and anger—begging for my attention. My attempts to ignore them, to refuse to pay attention to them, did not work. They were relentless. Yet, as in Rumi’s poem, The Guest House, instead of trying to get rid of them, I resolved to somehow “welcome and entertain them all.”

It has been quite an adventure, this deep dive into a whirlwind of emotions, into this “crowd of sorrows.” I could see how my reactions—the fear, the self-doubt, the self-loathing, the worrying—had been set in place a long time ago. They were trying to protect me, to help me. But I could also see that now my task was to open.

Thankfully, the gift of learning to look at myself had broken the illusion of “I am my body,” “I am my thoughts,” “I am my emotions.” But in the face of loss, of watching John gradually disappear, with nothing I could do to stop it, my old emotional survival reflexes were overwhelming. All I could do was welcome the intensity. As much as possible. Bit by bit. Moment by moment.

If, like me, you experience intense emotions that overwhelm your body and mind, this is an open invitation to stop running, to stop trying to fix yourself and welcome all those parts of you that you have despised. Now that you have looked at yourself, there is some space between you and the thoughts and emotions. You can watch them. Deep down you know these reactions are not who you are.

John used to say that when you look at yourself, it is as if you opened the prison doors, and all the prisoners with teardrops tattooed on their faces come rushing out. We cannot ignore them, cannot fight them, cannot erase them, but we can welcome them with compassion and tenderness. All they want is to be seen and loved. By welcoming the despised parts of ourselves we can become more whole human beings. We can end the war within ourselves.

Wishing you all the best,


Podcast Ep. 40: Mahasamadhi

A Meeting with John Sherman in Ojai, California on April l4, 2007.

Ramana Maharshi was born in 1879 and when he died, on April 14, 1950, he was 71 years old. Ramana brought to us an incredible, simple insight. Many saw him as a saint, an ethereal being who somehow came down from heaven to transmit and bestow upon us the experience of silence, peace and the vastness of being. But, as far as I know, this is not the way Ramana saw himself.

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What Do You Really Want?

Have you ever noticed that whatever you think might give you peace and satisfaction fails to do so when you get it?

Why is it that even when we achieve all the goals we set out for ourselves in our lives—the perfect partner, a beautiful family, lots of money, a good job, etc. —none of that eliminates the sense that there is still something lacking?

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Podcast Episode 34: Simplicity

In this episode, we discuss how simple it is to free yourself of the fear of life and start a process that will result in a new, healthier, and saner approach to your life and your mind.

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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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Podcast Episode 32: The Power of Attention

In this episode, we discuss the fact that there is nothing that you can control in your life other than what you pay attention to.

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Podcast Episode 31: A World Gone Mad

In this episode, we discuss why the world of humans has gone mad and why Just One Look is our only hope of reversing our current march toward self-destruction.

If you were inspired by this post, please make a donation to support our work.  Suggested donation: $3

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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Podcast Episode 30: Great Expectations

In this episode, we discuss one of the stumbling blocks in the recovery from the fear of life disease, which are the insane expectations we carry with us.

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About Expectations

A few weeks ago we went to see an acupuncturist in a Los Angeles neighborhood that was completely unfamiliar to us. John dropped me off at the office and went to park the van.

When we left the office, he could not remember where he had parked the van.  He had been in such a hurry to get back to the office that he had not thought of taking note of the location. We walked for hours looking for the van, to no avail. We had to rent a car in Glendale to drive home.

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What Makes our Work Different

Someone recently sent us an email with a question that we found very useful.

First of all, I would like to say “Thank you” with great sincerity and deep gratitude. I enjoy listening to your talks due to your sincerity, honesty and, above all, your simplicity. I would like to ask you one question and I hope you can find the time to answer. It would be much appreciated. 

Many years ago, I came across Nisargadatta Maharaj’s book I Am That and although I couldn’t understand most of it, certain parts spoke to me. If you will bear with me, I would like to give two quotes that really struck home:

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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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Podcast Episode 26: Self-Inquiry Unbound

In this episode, John Sherman explains the origins of The Just One Look Method and how it brings you the practical essence of the Self-Inquiry of Ramana Maharshi, clear of all spiritual references and ideas.

If you were inspired by this post, please make a donation to support our work.  Suggested donation: $3

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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Podcast Episode 24: A Natural Human Life

In this episode, John Sherman speaks about how the result of working with Just One Look is really not a big thing. It’s just an ordinary, natural human life free of existential fear.

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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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Podcast Episode 22: What Does It Feel Like to Be You?

In this episode, John Sherman reveals the actual nature of Ramana Maharshi’s Self-Inquiry, which is to get a taste of what it feels like to be you, and he explains what that inward movement of attention accomplishes.

If you were inspired by this post, please make a donation to support our work.  Suggested donation: $3

Podcast Episode 21: Just One Look and Self-Inquiry

In this episode, John Sherman speaks about how the practice of Self-Inquiry, when engaged in from a spiritual or magical thinking foundation, is crippled. Therefore, the best course to self-reliant human life is to simply look at yourself, your presence here, in the manner of Just One Look and follow with the practice of Self-Directed Attention.

If you were inspired by this post, please make a donation to support our work.  Suggested donation: $3