John Sherman - Just One Look

ihavemorethanenough
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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by ihavemorethanenough » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:41 pm

Onceler wrote:Right! Lets just blow up the TV and get it over with!
lol, alright!!11

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ashley72
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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by ashley72 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:20 am

ihavemorethanenough wrote:
ashley,
is it possible to achieve this immersion in the task at hand when our attention goes where it likes?
We have two kinds of attention which operate in parallel. The Dorsal Stream (Spotlight) and the Ventral Stream
(Floodlight). The Dorsal stream being narrowly focused can concentrate on objects & tasks. Washing the dishes, mowing the lawn etc. Its a top-down system. Where as the ventral stream is bottom-up system.

So the answer is no. Never fully because of the ventral stream can always act from bottom up.

People who suffer from awkward self conscious behaviours seem to stop attending or lose focus very easily on tasks at hand and rather attend to their normally unconscious behaviours with their spotlight attention. This creates a separation or alienation with their surroundings.
This loss of focus seems to most readily occur when you resist or are not willing to accept what is being confronted. For example someone may avoid talking to others (task at hand) due to the belief they're not capable of talking without feeling nervous. This belief causes a narrowing of attention onto nervous behaviours rather than the task at hand. This hyper vigilant and narrowing of attention towards self monitoring of normally unconscious behaviours creates alienation with your surroundings and a disconnect and awkwardness will follow.
ihavemorethanenough wrote: Is there sense in practicing one pointedness in meditation, through a passage, for instance, in order to get control of our attention and place it where we want, and be able to use this one-pointedness in our daily life?

or is it better to practice 'true meditation' (according to adyashanti) and allow everything as it is?

or have both but at different times?
Yes one-pointedness or concentration is a very useful skill. But so is acceptance.

Non acceptance leads to avoidance & fear. Fear leads to nervousness, nervousness leads to narrowly focused self-monitoring, which leads to alienation & awkwardness....this is what suffering is all about.

Some info on low attentional Control:

Studies have shown that there is a high probability that those who suffer from low attentional control also experience other mental conditions. Low attentional control is more common among those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),"a disorder with persistent age-inappropriate symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that are sufficient to cause impairment in major life activities". Also low attentional control is common in individuals with Schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease, those with social anxiety, trait anxiety, and depression, and attention difficulties following a stroke. Individuals also respond quicker, and have better overall executive control when they have low levels of anxiety and depression. Low levels of attentional control are also thought to increase chances of developing a psychopathology because the ability to shift one’s focus away from threat information is important in processing emotions.

ihavemorethanenough
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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by ihavemorethanenough » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:23 am

ashley, thank you very much, that all reads ture with me and it's very important that you agree that both meditation types are crucial in welcoming acceptance and the training of attention. I had started practicing Eknath Easwaran's recommended passage meditation for a while but I soon found myself skipping sessions and attending to other useless things, as very often happens, compulsively. But tonight I picked it up again, after some days lost. Do you practice meditation?

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ashley72
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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by ashley72 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:28 am

ihavemorethanenough wrote:ashley, thank you very much, that all reads ture with me and it's very important that you agree that both meditation types are crucial in welcoming acceptance and the training of attention. I had started practicing Eknath Easwaran's recommended passage meditation for a while but I soon found myself skipping sessions and attending to other useless things, as very often happens, compulsively. But tonight I picked it up again, after some days lost. Do you practice meditation?
My motivation has always been to overcome a generalised anxiety disorder & agoraphobia that appeared about five or so years ago now.

Which is basically caused by a panic cycle, or positive feedback loop.

Image

As I described earlier, sufferers enter a hyper-vigilant state, where they obsessively self-monitor themselves for nervousness. This is Dorsal Stream, top-down, narrowing focused attention monitoring of self-behaviours. It creates awkwardness and alienation with your surroundings, avoidance strategies get used, which seem to work in the short-term... because once you leave the situation... you calm down. The calming down of nerves works to reinforce the positive feedback loop.

The only way to break the positive feedback loop is to stop using avoidance strategies, encounter the fear head on, recognise that narrowing of attention onto self-monitoring is a coping mechanism which makes you hyper vigilant, and sensitive to changes in bodily sensations. Counter the narrowing of attention, by staying focused on the job at hand. Keep on task, accept whatever, & don't use avoidance as the solution. This is the way to forget the self!

I'm not currently doing a formal daily meditation practice. A few years ago I did daily Vipassana meditation for about a year on & off. Vipassana being following the breath. Its great for one-pointedness (concentration) which is Dorsal stream or spotlight.

I've also practice other different techniques. Inner-body, What it feels like to be you, Headless Seeing, Loving Kindness, Watching the thinker etc.

Last year for a few months I practised this Attention training on a daily basis => http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtYYcWJcZas

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ashley72
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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by ashley72 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:43 am

I just wanted to post this Wikipedia take on Hypervilgilance.
Hypervigilance is an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviours whose purpose is to detect threats. Hypervigilance is also accompanied by a state of increased anxiety which can cause exhaustion. Other symptoms include: abnormally increased arousal, a high responsiveness to stimuli, and a constant scanning of the environment for threats.

In hypervigilance, there is a perpetual scanning of the environment to search for sights, sounds, people, behaviours, smells, or anything else that is reminiscent of threat or trauma. The individual is placed on high alert in order to be certain danger is not near.

Hypervigilance can lead to a variety of obsessive behaviour patterns, as well as producing difficulties with social interaction and relationships.

Hypervigilance can be a symptom of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and various types of anxiety disorder. It is distinguished from paranoia. Paranoid states, such as those in schizophrenia, can seem superficially similar, but are characteristically different.

Hypervigilance is differentiated from dysphoric hyperarousal in that the person remains cogent and aware of his or her surroundings. In dysphoric hyperarousal, the PTSD victim may lose contact with reality and re-experience the traumatic event verbatim. Where there have been multiple traumas, a person may become hypervigilant and suffer severe anxiety attacks intense enough to induce a delusional state where the effect of the traumas overlap: e.g., one remembered firefight may seem too much like another for the person to maintain calm. This can result in the thousand-yard stare. ~ Wikipedia
The article is good, but it doesn't discuss the sufferers use of avoidance strategies as a coping mechanism, as a way to counter increasing levels anxiety and exhaustion caused by hypervigilance.... and how avoidance ultimately leads to a positive feedback loop forming.

ihavemorethanenough
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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by ihavemorethanenough » Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:31 am

I've also gone through what you are describing, and I expect to go through again whenever the thing appears.
ashley72 wrote:My motivation has always been to overcome a generalised anxiety disorder & agoraphobia that appeared about five or so years ago now.

Which is basically caused by a panic cycle, or positive feedback loop.

As I described earlier, sufferers enter a hyper-vigilant state, where they obsessively self-monitor themselves for nervousness. This is Dorsal Stream, top-down, narrowing focused attention monitoring of self-behaviours. It creates awkwardness and alienation with your surroundings, avoidance strategies get used, which seem to work in the short-term... because once you leave the situation... you calm down. The calming down of nerves works to reinforce the positive feedback loop.



You're not meditating as before, but you've found the correct solution as described here:
The only way to break the positive feedback loop is to stop using avoidance strategies, encounter the fear head on, recognise that narrowing of attention onto self-monitoring is a coping mechanism which makes you hyper vigilant, and sensitive to changes in bodily sensations. Counter the narrowing of attention, by staying focused on the job at hand. Keep on task, accept whatever, & don't use avoidance as the solution. This is the way to forget the self!
How are you coping with facing the fear head on, today, five years or so after it showed up?

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ashley72
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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by ashley72 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:40 am

ihavemorethanenough wrote:
You're not meditating as before, but you've found the correct solution as described here:
The only way to break the positive feedback loop is to stop using avoidance strategies, encounter the fear head on, recognise that narrowing of attention onto self-monitoring is a coping mechanism which makes you hyper vigilant, and sensitive to changes in bodily sensations. Counter the narrowing of attention, by staying focused on the job at hand. Keep on task, accept whatever, & don't use avoidance as the solution. This is the way to forget the self!
How are you coping with facing the fear head on, today, five years or so after it showed up?
I've just gotten back from a shopping mall just a minute ago & was engaging with shop attendants. :D

I'd probably class myself as a mild agoraphobic... as I'm still cautious of encountering uncontrollable social situations such as the possibility of being met in shopping malls by someone who may trigger an attack. But a few years ago... cautious was dread.... so I've mitigated my overall level of suffering somewhat.... by a deeper knowledge of the condition with controlled gradual exposure.

I'm now trying to get myself to a stage whereby I can go into any uncontrolled exposure on a daily basis. I do go into uncontrolled exposures, but unfortunately, fear does arise to the point of avoidance occurs to some extent or in some form within the exposure..... so the feedback loop still operates.

When I say in some form, I mean I may go to certain "safer" checkout counters. Walk "safer" ways.... hypervigilance is still operating to a lesser extent than outright avoidance strategies like not going to a shopping mall!

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Onceler
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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by Onceler » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:58 pm

Ashely and Ihavemorethanenough,

Thanks for the very interesting thread. Your experiences with panic and agoraphobia ring true to me, Ashley, as I operated in this kind of fear for many years. I found that mediation, although helpful early on and at some points thru out, heightened the obsessional checking and hyper focus on anxiety that you describe so well. Despite this I doggedly continued, worsening my condition and adding a learned helplessness type depression to it. No fun to be had!

My worst case scenarios were public speaking and doctors visits.....I was always anxious otherwise, including shopping malls, but not panicked in these places. Over the last 5-6 years these fears have dissolved. It might be due to getting older, I'm 51, (certainly not due to getting wiser), diet, Qi Gong, exercise, or JS techniques. I suspect it was a combination of everything as well as taking the fears head on at some point. Things really shifted about a year and a half ago when I feel the looking kicked in.....it was truly a sea change and my decision making process shifted from anxiety based avoidance to more life promoting healthy choices. I am sincerely grateful for the change every day. I never took medication, nor went to therapy......that was definitely the next step, although I was too afraid to go!

I have found living without generalized anxiety interesting and an adjustment....I still definitely get stressed out, but it has a very different flavor and feel and is more situational and short term. Low grade anxiety was motivating to a certain extent and I have to find others means of motivation in some cases. I find I am more honest in relationships in my expression of opinion, which sometimes eats me in trouble. I have had to be more sensitive and present with others to avoid stepping on toes, etc. I am acting like friends who take Paxil or other anti anxiety meds....the disinhibition can be problematic and something to be watched....I am not as anxiously concerned about what others think.

I have found that I can be much more focused and able to shift through the various types of attention you talk about, Ashley. I can shift my attention away from threat much more easily as well. I have to pay more attention to my attentional states to see what is going on.....I work with ADHD kids, so this is of professional interest as well. (The current thinking re: ADHD is that it is more of a working memory issue, which doesn't a low for a continuity of thought and even short term planning into the future....Russell Barkley).

Thanks for expressing this so clearly, as it has helped me process the changes I have experienced.
Be present, be pleasant.

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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by ihavemorethanenough » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:39 am

ashley72 wrote:The only way to break the positive feedback loop is to stop using avoidance strategies, encounter the fear head on, recognise that narrowing of attention onto self-monitoring is a coping mechanism which makes you hyper vigilant, and sensitive to changes in bodily sensations. Counter the narrowing of attention, by staying focused on the job at hand. Keep on task, accept whatever, & don't use avoidance as the solution. This is the way to forget the self!
Yes. This must be the way, ashley, though isn't there the danger of approaching that which is thought of being as the cause of my fear as something that is threatening and who means me harm? thus continuing to invest in the feeling that the problem is out there?

ashley72 wrote:I'm now trying to get myself to a stage whereby I can go into any uncontrolled exposure on a daily basis. I do go into uncontrolled exposures, but unfortunately, fear does arise to the point of avoidance occurs to some extent or in some form within the exposure..... so the feedback loop still operates.

When I say in some form, I mean I may go to certain "safer" checkout counters. Walk "safer" ways.... hypervigilance is still operating to a lesser extent than outright avoidance strategies like not going to a shopping mall!
That's good!

Counter the narrowing of attention, by staying focused on the job at hand. Keep on task, accept whatever, & don't use avoidance as the solution. This is the way to forget the self!
"Stay focused on the job at hand. Keep on task"

Is there the possibility of getting so involved in the task that it becomes an escape and something hard to let go of when time comes near?



"Accept whatever" Do you mean to mentally prepare for the worst?




Onceler, you're welcome. I'm also very greatful to you all.

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ashley72
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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by ashley72 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:23 pm

If I make a doctors appointment, but have worrisome thoughts about having a panic attack during the visit. Its better to go along to the appointment rather than avoid and succumb to the "what if" thoughts.

"What if" thoughts, are useful for objective problem solving... but when it relates to the self, it can lead to anticipatory behaviours - nervousness, hyper-vigilance, panic.

Staying focused is not escapism. Rather, its about honouring the tasks at hand.

Acceptance allows you to move on, without creating an enemy out of a difficulty or challenge.

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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by ihavemorethanenough » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:29 pm

Ok, but the father who yells at his daughter for interrupting his meditation practice? "What do you want! can't you see I'm meditating?" What is the task at hand, the meditation or the daughter who showed up?

Naviy Pokoy
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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by Naviy Pokoy » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:30 pm

I have a question, guys. Some time ago I have found a website, which contained some kind of a variation to the John Sherman's "looking method", which was something like a "pointing method". I believe it is the same as "looking", but you are supposed to point with your index finger on something to switch your attention at it and then point the finger at yourself to switch the attention to self. There were more videos on that website.. I think this website was mentioned on the forum, so does anybody remember what it was?

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Onceler
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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by Onceler » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:15 am

Haven't heard of this, Naviy....let us know if you find anything worthwhile.
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Naviy Pokoy
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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by Naviy Pokoy » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:09 am


Naviy Pokoy
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Re: John Sherman - Just One Look

Post by Naviy Pokoy » Sun Aug 11, 2013 12:29 pm

So, what do you think about this Experiments section?

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