Look at Yourself – John Sherman

John Sherman has one of the more interesting personal stories of all non-duality teachers. 

How about a few trips to prison?  Eighteen months in the hole?  Bank robberies,  prison escapes and being on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list?  Fifteen years into his final prison sentence, he met the teacher Gangaji.  He had spiritual highs and then a falling out with Gangaji and a major crash.  It was then that he turned to the teachings of Ramana Maharshi.

It seems like some subtle distinctions between the teachings of  Gangaji (which she received from her teacher Papaji) and those of Ramana made all the difference.  Papaji had been a devotee of Ramana Maharshi’s.  The book, “Look At Yourself” is taken from the transcripts of a five day retreat with John Sherman. 

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Essentially, in his inquiry into the root of Ramana’s teachings he found the distinction between Papaji’s insistence that no effort is needed and Ramana’s teaching of continual self-remembrance.

The title “Look At Yourself” is as simple as it sounds.    You can tell John is really grateful for this teaching and wants to make it accessible to all.  Unlike many expensive satsangs or other gatherings with teachers, he makes his offerings available free of charge.

As the transcript of a retreat, there are periods where he gives talks, and then there is time for questions and answers with participants.  John Sherman reminds me, in a way, of Robert Adams.  You have an American able to relay the essential teaching of Ramana Maharshi in a way that is in plain English and easy to understand.


So what does it mean to “Look At Yourself?”  Here’s a quote from page 75 of the book:

“The inquiry is only a momentary seeing, without understanding or naming, the reality of what it is to be you – this background presence that never moves, that is never absent, that never changes and is unaffected by any of it, and may seem to be separate from you.  This is the reality of what you are, and it is the determined, conscious intent to look at that, just momentarily, repeatedly, that is the inquiry.  It is the repeated part of it that does the work.  It is cumulative, it is not like we’ve been led to expect, somebody coming out of the clouds, or some internal thunderbolt striking and clearing everything up, and making everything right.  It is not like that.  It is destroying all beliefs about what you are, and it takes time.”

We recommend purchasing this book.  The simplicity is easy to overlook.  This is one worth highlighting and reading over and over just to let the wisdom sink in.  The Enlightenment Dudes rate “Look At Yourself” a 9 out of 10.

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