Look, release, notice

Hi folks! I know I have not written for a while.

Most of us for most of our lives look for answers externally. Some of us for some reason gain the insight that there is somehing off-center in the mind. We see that we are not having a good experience of life, and that whatever is wrong is wrong inside. And so we go off on a search–usually a religious or spiritual search to find the answer.

This is what I started about seven or eight years ago. And then I started writing about it here.

The exploration for many years was frantic, compelled, confusing, depressing, hopeless and erratic.

Now it is creative and enjoyable. There isn’t any separation between me and life.

What made the difference? I think it is the looking as suggested by John Sherman.

Sherman sugggests that what we consider to be the big problems of humanity (wars, cruelty and so on) and the individual problem of discontent and dissatisfaction with life–basically all of what we would consider to be problems–all stem from a simple belief we pick up early in our lives that there is something wrong with life. He calls this the “fear of life.”

This made sense to me because it is how I saw it as well. That the problem is a basic delusion in the mind.

And Sherman suggests that looking at the sense of you eliminates this delusion and starts a process of transformation.

The looking is simply this:

For a brief moment, bring all your attention to you. The you-ness of you, what if feels like to be you. Not thoughts, emotions, or body sensations. Not beliefs. Just you.

Why does this work?

I’m not sure of the mechanics of it but I have some ideas. If you actually do this looking you will realize that you have looked before. You might remember moments in your childhood when you withdrew attention to you in the same way. And  you might realize that what it felt like to be you then is what it feels like to be you now. The sense-of-I-am never changes. It has not been diminished or enhanced.

The sense-of-you is the only thing you can be certain of, with a certainty which is different from any other certainty. Even if everything else is an illusion, what is experiencing all of this must be real.

And so in bringing attention to the one thing which is constant and real, the mind can no longer hold up the delusion that there is something wrong with life. And fear falls away.

Though it’s not a conscious thing. There isn’t any need to understand or believe the process works the way I have described it. It is a wholly mechanical process, independent of conscious effort.

I did the looking for about three months and felt some agitation during that time. After that, I was confused and disoriented for about a year. And then it settled.

How this works is of course highly individual. And therefore I am left with not much to say, except to recommend three things:

1. Learn a good release technique. The one I use is effective and becomes second-nature quickly: http://www.beyond-karma.com/how-to/how-to-release-big-and-small-emotions-release/

2. Do the looking as suggested by John Sherman.

3. Learn to notice what goes on inside.  Observe as a watcher without analyzing or judging. Observe easily without effort. Observe emotion as senations in the body. Observe thoughts. As you observe, thoughts will slow down, become distinct and spaced. Observe the space in-between thoughts.

The rest I think is highly individual.

The exploring never stops, as far as I can tell. I feel very settled in the mind, now connected and one with life (there aren’t any good ways to describe it except to use these fluffy terms). There is still one aspect of my life which I feel I do not have clarity on–but it’s okay, I have the confidence that this too will unravel much in the way that every other “problem” has.

I don’t have much interest in sprituality, but I’m still interested in exploring more about the mind and the human experience. I found great resonance, surprisingly, in Conversations with God, by Neale Diamond Walsch.. I see it as very practical guide to life and relationships and money and so on. I also liked David Friedman’s Thought Exchange documentary–and I found what Friedman has to say about sensations deepened my understanding of the release technique.

And so it goes.

Enjoyably and creatively.

12 thoughts on “Look, release, notice

  1. Davidya

    Hi Kaushik
    Welcome back. 😉 And thanks for sharing. For me, it was an effortless meditation technique that settled the mind and brought the experience of what continues, back of it all. And that it was me. And yes, that experience can trigger releases. I also agree that learning to let go properly can really help and a supplementary technique to help with release/emotional healing can be very useful.

    I also agree that being aware of whats going on can help it be processed. Many people go into habitual denial/avoidance of how they feel. Or what has been called “bypassing” – holding to a conceptual fantasy of life rather than being in it. Living in the mind. Being with life means stepping out of the condemning judge that makes everything wrong. Witnessing or inquiry may take some inner awareness and clearing to be more than conceptual though.

    Such cleaning house and shifting perspective often comes in small increments but because it is taking place in the roots of our experiencing of who we are and our relationship with the world, over time it can have a profound effect on our quality and experience of life.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Good to hear from you, Davidya.

      Yes, it’s as you say. It’s a process; I don’t “make it happen”, yet I can start it, be available to it, surrender to it, notice it. The letting-go technique had been and continues to be a very imporant and natural skill.

      And I continue to pick up good ideas from CWG and Thought Exchange and the like, though I no longer am looking for any deep existentialist secrets.

  2. James Holman

    Hi Kaushik,

    Firstly thanks I have been following your blog for about 3 or 4 years, and seen your progress, I have been on a similar path, it is great to sense your current peace from your new posting.

    I have also tried many things, including John Sherman’s looking, but after reading many spiritual texts and trying many different things mainly to alleviate anxiety and depression, I too am starting to a find a peace, and it is so simple.

    In fact it all becomes simpler as time passes, what works for me is very simple observation of the breath, nothing dramatic, it can be practiced anywhere, anytime, it is the same old thing, being present, being in the moment, I have read the words thousands of times but wow how the world starts to change when you practice. One simple breath through the nose, natural not forced in anyway, and give it your complete attention and focus, observe.

    Even just one breath observed during a day has power to change, to connect.

    I wanted to write this on your blog in case it might be of help to anyone reading it as we are all looking for peace but on different paths.

    Thank again for your updates, feel like I know you after reading your posts after all this time!

    Take care James

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi James,

      Thanks for the comment and kind words. Whatever technique helps us stay in the moment and just be with whatever is happening is very useful. Bringing attention to the breath is very centering, and I’m pretty sure that’s what John Sherman recommends as well.


  3. Reba

    I really enjoy your writing. Thanks for being open to so many experiences and then sharing them here.

    One thing struck me when I read, “…all stem from a simple belief we pick up early in our lives that there is something wrong with life…” I think it’s important to note that sometimes things really ARE wrong, and we need to recognize them in order to change them. I’m speaking about abuse.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Yes, of course you’re right, sometimes we are in situations we must protect ourselves. I’m referring to the anxiety that most people have even when there is not present-moment threat.

  4. Ness

    Hi Kaushik,

    Came across your blog recently.. I’ve been thrown, without realising what it was at first, into the path two years ago. Since then the search pretty much derailed my life, the burning passion to know, to move, to learn, to understand made me withdraw from everything, functioning at a minimum in the outside world. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for.

    I never bought wholeheartedly into any of the teachings, just instinctively picked from each what resonated. It helped that I was outside of any tradition, and spirituality was just another word in my vocabulary.

    Went through contractions and expansions of it, internal shift, sometimes subtle, and sometimes quite profound, a couple of so called mystical experiences… still wasn’t enough. I knew there was more.

    Jed McKenna shifted it for me. It resonated to such a degree that every day I was born a person different from the day before. Like you, I stopped the mad chase, gave in to what was unfolding and tried to understand, both mentally and physiologically (I’m quite sensitive that way) what was happening. FEEL it all.

    Your words about sensing the continuity of ‘me’ helped, somehow connected the dots into the No-Self which I’ve had a glimpse of. I’ve become a recluse for now, it hurts to communicate to the outside world. I don’t feel bad about it. The pattern of observation of ‘her’ is becoming a norm now.

    I identify with many parts of your journey and will continue to read. I know that for me it’s now – do or die, whichever form it takes.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Ness,

      Glad to hear it. It seems this is very common, this giving up of the frantic search and perhaps acceptance of the continual, impersonal evolution. Happy to have you here!


  5. Caroline

    Hi Kaushik, Like you, I’ve been on a frantic search for three years now. I sometimes feel so confused though and reading your post made me wonder if I’m missing something big. I was reading a book yesterday that had some really good advice but, very soon, my mind got in the way. I’ve always been able to grasp things easily. But, so many spiritual books seem to have contradictions in them. They leave me with more questions than answers. Maybe it is that there are paradoxes when it comes to the spiritual–maybe it’s the non-dualistic nature of it–and I’m beginning to wonder if the mind is dualistic. You say that the big breakthrough for you was that you realized there is something off center in the mind. Does this mean that you stopped trying to understand things mentally, or did your mind become centered?

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Caroline,

      You are right–it seems that we start on this search for clarity and feel that there is a vital key to understanding that we are missing. Maybe it will be in the next book or next teacher.

      The way I see it is that awakening is not about acquiring an understanding; it is about letting go of beliefs which are not true. My mind was under the delusion that there is something wrong with life, something off-center. And I understand that I cannot see through this delusion by using my thoughts and emotions (that is, my mind), because thoughts and emotions are within the context of this delusion. People recommend various techniques to clarify the mind. Eckhart Tolle (and others) suggest being present. I suggest something a little different:

      1. Look at you, in the way Nisargadutta and Ramana and others suggest, and John Sherman is very clear about
      2. Learn to release. This journey itself can be tumultous and can bring up harsh emotions and confusion, and releasing can be a very useful skill.
      3. All techniques, it seems to me, come down to self-observance and self-honesty. So learn to be observant of what goes on inside.

      To answer your question directly, yes I have stopped trying to understand things mentally. I do not exactly why the looking technique works. I have a theory about it but it’s not important.

      This is an area where I am guessing many people get stuck. We cannot use our thoughts and emotions–the mind–to figure out our lives. There can be a lot of resistance to that truth.

      Thanks for you insightful comment, Caroline.

      Take care,

  6. Chhips

    Thank you!
    I got this wealth through your earlier post on “Dark Night of the Soul” yesterday when I was struggling with an emotion. Was of great help!
    My “intellectual” mind likes to put “Truth” on a high unattainable altar and dance around it. You translated “Truth” as so close, mundane, attainable and obvious! Awesome!!
    I know my mind is only loving the beauty of it now. But hoping it will seep through my mind and ego someday.
    Let it be!


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