Just One Look – An experiment in the power of human consciousness to free itself from the fear of life.
Step 1: Learn to Move the Beam of Your Attention at Will
To begin, just relax for a moment, and notice the obvious fact that you have the power to move your attention at will.
As you read this, move your attention away from the text for a moment, and direct it instead to the feel of your breathing.
Notice the feel of your chest and belly expanding and contracting, and then bring it back here to this page.
Do that a couple of times so that you become familiar with what I mean by “moving the beam of your attention at will.”
That action of moving attention at will, as you just did, is all that’s needed to accomplish what I am asking you to do. The more you practice this simple act, the more you’ll become familiar with how it feels to do it. And the more familiar you become with the feel of it, the more skillful and direct you will be in the effort to move the beam of attention where it must go.
Step 2: Turn the Beam of Your Attention Inward
Now, use that skill to actually turn the beam of attention inward. Try to make a direct, unmediated contact with what it actually feels like to be you, just plain and simple you.
When I say you, I don’t mean the thoughts that pass through you, nor the emotions that play in you, nor the sensations that rise and fall within you, I mean just you. You are that which is always here, try to look at that. Everything else comes and goes in you. You already know what you are, and what it feels like to be you, so you will surely recognize yourself when you see yourself in this way.
There is no need to try and stay there, resting in your self or any such thing. All it takes is the length of a heartbeat, so brief that you will hardly notice it. It really is that simple.
Repeat this as often as it occurs to you to do so.
There is no step three.
I call this action looking at yourself. If you will do just that, the day will come soon when all your disaffection with life will begin to depart, and with it the perception of your life as a problem to be solved, a threat to be destroyed, or the hiding place of some secret treasure that might bring you fulfillment and satisfaction at some future time.
– John Sherman, RiverGanga Foundation