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Hands in my pockets - A practice thread

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Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 12/13/11 12:29 PM
RE: My incipient Actualism practice Felipe C. 7/14/11 4:36 AM
Practice thread Felipe C. 8/20/11 1:45 PM
RE: Practice thread Felipe C. 10/4/11 11:47 PM
RE: Practice thread Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 10/5/11 12:27 AM
RE: Practice thread Felipe C. 10/18/11 8:02 PM
RE: Practice thread John Mitchell 10/28/11 4:31 PM
RE: Practice thread Adam Bieber 10/28/11 10:02 PM
RE: Practice thread Felipe C. 11/4/11 1:00 PM
RE: Practice thread Felipe C. 11/4/11 2:14 PM
RE: Practice thread Felipe C. 11/14/11 9:23 PM
RE: My incipient Actualism practice Felipe C. 8/31/11 9:40 PM
RE: My incipient Actualism practice Bruno Loff 9/1/11 6:23 AM
RE: My incipient Actualism practice Felipe C. 9/6/11 12:31 AM
RE: My incipient Actualism practice Felipe C. 11/25/11 1:45 PM
RE: My incipient Actualism practice Jon T 11/26/11 11:48 AM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 12/13/11 1:40 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 2/20/12 11:43 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 3/2/12 5:21 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread josh r s 3/2/12 7:56 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 3/2/12 8:35 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread josh r s 3/2/12 8:53 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 3/2/12 9:30 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread josh r s 3/3/12 7:27 AM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 3/3/12 10:40 AM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 3/22/12 12:21 AM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 3/27/12 1:08 AM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Jon T 3/27/12 8:22 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 3/27/12 10:05 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Jon T 3/28/12 12:10 AM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 3/28/12 6:33 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Steph S 3/28/12 6:34 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 3/29/12 4:29 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Steph S 4/6/12 3:34 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 4/11/12 12:39 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Steph S 4/12/12 12:03 AM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 4/22/12 3:07 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Andrew . 4/12/12 12:24 AM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Jon T 3/28/12 6:54 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 5/2/12 12:11 AM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 5/6/12 4:11 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Jon T 5/7/12 5:06 PM
RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread Felipe C. 5/7/12 7:51 PM
Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
12/13/11 12:29 PM
Hello, everybody.

I've been lurking for a couple of months, and I wanted to finally introduce myself to this fresh and helpful community.
I meditated for about two years with various techniques from I understood of various schools like Tibetan, Zen and Vipassana, so I actually have not develop an expertise in one in particular, but it is helping me a lot in my recent Actualism practice {I've been practicing just for about a month}.
So, here are some of some of my notes and questions...

I'm putting a lot of emphasis on attentiveness and investigation of feelings. I ask HAMIETMOBA, and note almost everytime a knot in my chest, so I just focus all my attention in it and it frequently unties itself. As a result, I have gotten one or two realizations of I am my feelings and my feelings are me, when 1. I clearly see the connection between my ego {beliefs} and my soul {feelings}, and 2. when my feelings suddenly appear -first subtly, then like a solid rock- when I was having a EE or PCE or whatever it was. Recently some conditions placed myself with feelings of love, that sometimes overwhelm me. Any suggestions to work with overwhelming emotions?

Also, I've noticed that I lean more to experience the world with my senses, but I know it is not enough. This lack of experience with the focus on the senses, gives me questions like yesterday's... I was riding my bicycle and HAMIETMOBA, and after investigating my feelings and focus on my senses with pure intent, for some minutes everything seemed more vivid and colored, but I was never sure if I was faking it or making it {quoting Daniel}. Also, there were sensations of beauty that I even had goose bumps but not feelings in the chest. So, 1. how do you know if it is a PCE or EE?, and 2. how do you know if the experience is actual and not fabricated by your intent and will?

In my calculations, I just have access to first jhana, so although I think I'm doing fine for a guy without so much insight, I wonder what am I missing that some advance meditators don't miss. I remembered Tarin saying, in the podcast chat with Daniel, that he hit a wall in his practice and decided to first get enlightened. So I have two questions for Tarin or other arahats... 1. What are those limitations that you found in your Actualism practice before enlightened, and if you could get back in time with your present wisdom, what tricks or suggestions would you tell yourself to get over them? 2. I am not meditating anymore, but would you recommend doing so in practical and specific ways like, for example, get into access concentration at least before trying to cultivate sensuousness and apperceptiveness? {again, considering that I'm not even close to arahantship}

Thanks in advance, guys emoticon

RE: My incipient Actualism practice
Answer
7/14/11 4:36 AM as a reply to Felipe C..
Maybe I should be more specific and expand on the overwhelming love feeling.

I was doing really fine in my practice until these recent days when I ate lunch with a person who I dated in the past and in that very day she told me that she broke up with her boyfriend.

I tell this trivial detail because since that very moment my perception changed from seeing her just like a friend to, again, a potential mate. So here I am, distorting the actuality once again with my expectations, projections and hopes that crash with what I think is the reality: she's not interested. This is very conditioning because I have heavy narratives of needing love and fear of failure {already working on them}. So I hope and think internally but I don't engage externally to find if she's interested.

The resultant feelings are hard knots and pressures in the chest area and overwhelming emotions of fear, restlessness, despair and loneliness. It is difficult to me to think clearly or getting back to felicity or even just being attentive. I just try to feel the emotions and feelings the best I can and trying to find its causes and see them as imaginations and not actual things.

So considering that and the following...

Vineeto on the topic of love:

Talking to Peter later on I realized that there is only one solution to any problem that occurs – only when I have enough of it am I ready to get out of it, I simply stop feeding the feeling and, bingo, the problem disappears with the bit of identity that had kept it in place. It might take a long time until one has had enough – and some people are obviously tough and stubborn sufferers – but once the limit is reached, a curious decision can be made and then it is only a matter of minutes to be free of the burdening feeling. If the understanding and decision is total, that feeling won’t come back. And then, one is able to make sensible responses to the situation, free of affective feelings.


I wonder if I have to keep digging in these issues in order to try to get to the bottom and have enough of them, or maybe trying to fix some external conditions to regain some peace and felicity.

Another thing that happened is that tonight, in a walk applying attentiveness and sensuousness, I could ease the 'feeling me', but there was some pressure in the back of my head, near the neck, as it if I were physically holding something with my brains and skull. Any ideas of what is that? I think that sensation kept me out of the possibility to have had a PCE or EE this time.

Practice thread
Answer
8/20/11 1:45 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
After a couple of months of practice, I am more able to respond those questions that I asked previously. So, in the vein of being your own best friend, I just wanted to emphasize the importance to my practice of acknowledging progress and giving myself pats on my back while walking this path.

Someone said in the DhO that the feelings have the power to create the illusion of permanence, the illusion that this feeling has always been present in the past and will be in the future. So I think that if I do the same with felicitous feelings, I will lose touch with the good\bad ones, and use this illusion in my favor.

Some aspects that contribute with this come to mind

- I am more appreciative with my surroundings and I more inclined to perceive them sensuously. Colors, lights, contours, sensations on my skin, sounds of nature. {Note to self... I need to put more attention to the taste and smell senses too}

- I am more in control of my own experience, consciously. My feelings and thoughts were like a raging bull, and this method has tamed them to be more like a trained horse. What works here for me is being attentive and then investigate the cause and effect of feelings, discover their main origin and then compare it with what is actual.

- That which is not in my control, like the emotions product of the affective experience, seem to have lessen their power in my body and well being. I tune that emotional and affective signals but they come with less watts and lower volume. This is also clear recently with overwhelming emotions in some classic difficult situations such nervousness before I give a course or host a radio program {activities from my job} or anxiety while being alone in a crowded event.

Those are some improvements. But this is my challenge: the most difficult part is to practice with my personal myths. In my experience it has been useful to analyze the chain 'instinctual passions -> social conditioning -> personal myths'. I think instinctual and social variables are pretty constant and structural in all human beings, but to get to debunk those, it is worthwhile to look to the conditioning that comes from personal experiences which make our ways of perceive unique, ways that maybe were created by the combination of genetics, my context and conjunctural aspects in the past. I think those are more buried and rooted, and the self tends to repress them more. Any insights here are welcomed emoticon

I guess I'll post later here as my practice thread.
Cheers.

RE: My incipient Actualism practice
Answer
8/31/11 9:40 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
These days life got pretty interesting as I am in a struggle with loving and caring feelings, that sometimes I think are being corresponded but sometimes it feels like a rejection, so this mix around love and the positive and negative feedback to it is so useful in order to investigate.

This has led me to a couple of realizations that I want to document...

1. I am detecting with more efficiency this gradation of being 'me'. One important thing is that I am seeing the correlation between presence and feeling. When feelings are high I am a lot more present. For example, when I am not that present and think of the person who is catalyzing these loving feelings is like I am impermeable and unaffected, but when I am present and I think the same thing I experience extreme emotions and moods, 'good' or 'bad' depending the situation. So one same action {a thought} leads to very different reactions. This also gives me a clue that thought and thinking are not inherently conflictive as I previously seemed to believe.

2. As I am experiencing strong, loving feelings, I am noticing in myself an habit of contrasting experiences, which later leads me to believe, for example, that a PCE is not that good because it's not strong and blissful as love is. So I am discovering a kind of addiction to feelings like if they were drugs. Maybe my self is missing its previous life full of emotions, moods, and it's trying to reclaim its lost terrain. I am finding this challenging because it is affecting my pure intent, as my 'self' creates the illusion that this path is not the answer I am looking for {with ideas like... 'AF is boring' or 'you will miss all the romantic and dramatic life'}

RE: My incipient Actualism practice
Answer
9/1/11 6:23 AM as a reply to Felipe C..
Felipe Cavazos:
(a) As I am experiencing strong, loving feelings, I am noticing in myself an habit of contrasting experiences, which later leads me to believe, for example, that a PCE is not that good because it's not strong and blissful as love is.

(b) 'AF is boring' or 'you will miss all the romantic and dramatic life'}


(a) I feel that the bliss hides the pain underneath. It is better to live without pain than in a narcotic condition. Also, euphoria is jittery and doesn't allow me to fully appreciate being here.

(b) Boredom is a feeling; if it is boring, then it is most certainly not AF, a PCE, or even an EE. As for romance and drama, good riddance! It might be worthy to take a look on what romance and drama actually are, rather than going by what they promise to be. What they promise to be is what it feels like you will be missing out on; notice that "it," whatever it is that love promises, is never delivered, and that this unfulfilled promise is part and parcel of the condition.

You have an excellent opportunity — is the romance and drama that you are actually feeling with this person, the anticipation, the expectation, the uncertainty, the rush, the longing, (the ups and downs) any good in any way? What is it about being with this person that is really worth it, and what is it that is getting in the way of that?

RE: My incipient Actualism practice
Answer
9/6/11 12:31 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Thanks for the response, Bruno.

(a) I feel that the bliss hides the pain underneath. It is better to live without pain than in a narcotic condition. Also, euphoria is jittery and doesn't allow me to fully appreciate being here.


Yes, the resemblance between a loving feeling and a nervous one is huge, so the definitions that we use to tag feelings become more and more spurious. There is indeed a disturbance in all my body and mind when a strong feeling is present. What I am doing also is feeling these sensations on various parts of my body like the solar plexus, the guts and the 'sweet spot', so I can learn more about them. It's fascinating to see the differences depending on the focused area.

(b) Boredom is a feeling; if it is boring, then it is most certainly not AF, a PCE, or even an EE. As for romance and drama, good riddance! It might be worthy to take a look on what romance and drama actually are, rather than going by what they promise to be. What they promise to be is what it feels like you will be missing out on; notice that "it," whatever it is that love promises, is never delivered, and that this unfulfilled promise is part and parcel of the condition.


I know this, but it is like different parts of my self are in a battle. I consciously want to walk this path, but sometimes the self comes in the form of doubt or boredom and screams 'you are wrong, this is not the solution'. I know these are just fabrications and I guess soon they will disappear as I go to the bottom of their biological and social roots.

You have an excellent opportunity — is the romance and drama that you are actually feeling with this person, the anticipation, the expectation, the uncertainty, the rush, the longing, (the ups and downs) any good in any way? What is it about being with this person that is really worth it, and what is it that is getting in the way of that?


Yeah, this has been pretty enriching. I am seeing the different faces of what we call 'love'. We humans use language and fall miserably in its trap. In some ways, it's just a problem of semantics which leave us incapable of seeing objectively a concept like 'love'. We like to see it and name it for the good things, but name with other words other feelings that are inherent parts of the same. So I studied this feeling and I notice jealousy, nostalgia, insecurity, a need for privatization, self-condemnatory feelings because of failure and not being 'man enough', an obsession to impress my potential partner, etc. etc. This sport of love that we play is just plain exhausting.

So yesterday, after investigating the deep suffering manifesting in me in many ways, I read some words from Peter on the topic of pure intent. I suddenly reconnected, and then remembered what is my one priority above all these trivial affairs. Today I felt great and confident again. emoticon

RE: Practice thread
Answer
10/4/11 11:47 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
Checking in just to post something peculiar that is happening to me.

I've noticed weird reactions of myself that don't have the same emotional backup, cause or correspondent that they used to have before my Actualist practice.

For example, when something goes wrong, I can scream 'FFFFUUUUUCK' and even shake parts of my body violently, but suddenly I realize that there is no -at least strong- emotion or feeling that can justify or sustain those external actions. They seem just like mere behavioral responses that apparently come from habit and inertia, like an automatic response fueled by memory and not by a specific passion or physio-chemical reaction.

I know that if they are triggered is for some reason, but I also know that, when I become attentive to this, is very easy to stop those reactions and come back to felicity because they were identified as spurious and illusory.

Fascinating stuff.

RE: Practice thread
Answer
10/5/11 12:27 AM as a reply to Felipe C..
I didn't read your whole thread, just the last post, but I can definitely relate to that.

Certain words, phrases - maybe connected with gestures and more complex behaviors - some of them sometimes become "empty". Whether those are phrases and gestures that you temporarily pick up and then eventually think "wtf, why am I doing that?", or more long-term ingrained patterns that you eventually weed out of your system, maybe through years of refinement of behavior, that kind of thing happens all the time. The worst and silliest of them you usually notice consciously, and when you do and then realize the causes of it and manage to let go of it, at least I feel really good when that happens.

An example:

Me and my friend often play pool. I naturally see us in a hierarchy of different strengths and weaknesses, and they fluctuate all the time. But sometimes my perceived level of skill and the actual level of skill are out of sync, and I get so many strange, silly overreactions when this happens. And when I do, those reactions are out of sync with how I perceive myself - calm, centered, strong, stable - and that makes the reaction even worse.

But this is not how I am anymore. Still, the tendency to have some of these reactions - now "empty" - is there.

Eventually, usually after exhausting myself with negativity and subtly asking "why do I feel so exhausted", I realize how silly I've been. I weed out that reaction and replace it with another behavior like deep breathing or reminding myself of the story of the farmer. You know, the one you posted earlier?

An old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically.
"Maybe," the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed.
"Maybe," replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
"Maybe," answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
"Maybe," said the farmer.

Yeah, I use that one, and it really works for me! Especially when I play pool. You might imagine it; my friend getting three balls down on the break. He might give me a look that says "ha, I just won, right there, in your face!". And I'll say, "maybe...". (And when I don't, I yell out "THAT'S UNFAIR!")

RE: Practice thread
Answer
10/18/11 8:02 PM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
I just ended 9 days of hard work organizing a massive event, with a lot of problems in the way. I went through it smoothly, with just a few moments of light anger, but peaceful overall. This gave me the realization of how exhausting is the emotional activity. Comparing with myself in past years of doing the same, I feel significantly less tired and less irked this time. Maybe the less need of sleep and food reported by the AFers is not just a matter of overcoming the desire-fueled aspects of these human needs but also that there is less energy lost and therefore less energy to recover.

Having said that, now that there is no hard work I am experiencing some feelings of anxiety and lack of purpose. I think these are the remaining products of exiting that accelerated cycle of problems presenting and problems solving where I was during this event, because of the constant gratification that that cycle offers. When it ends, there is no sense of positive feedback or retribution, so less fuel for the 'I', and now this 'I' is screaming for attention in order to feel important to the outside world again, like trying to get evidence and justification for its very existence.

So I will try to pass through this phase of acclimatization reminding myself that there is no need to go fast and to get more. That the way is one of more constant and patient subtraction {paraphrasing Bruno in some other thread} rather than lusty addition.

RE: Practice thread
Answer
10/28/11 4:31 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
Felipe Cavazos:
Maybe the less need of sleep and food reported by the AFers is not just a matter of overcoming the desire-fueled aspects of these human needs but also that there is less energy lost and therefore less energy to recover.



I encountered the reduced sleep and loss of food cravings a couple of weeks ago, after several days of experiencing something that matched the definition of apperception. The reduced sleep had also been occurring prior to this, and seems to be the result, as you say, of wasting less energy on emotion-based brain chatter.

The food craving was something different, it was actually quite a surprise, as it appears to be a side-effect of the mind being aware of itself as frustrations arise. That is, as external events triggered my emotions, the apperception witnessed the trigger and its emotional response, with the result that the emotional response did not need to exist anymore. It seems to me that food cravings were the compensation for the emotional responses never being attended to. I suddenly discovered one day that I had no particular food cravings anymore, just an interest in eating if I felt hungry. I also prefer to choose food now that I know from experience keeps my body feeling at its best.

I realised last night that the usual anguish associated with a long delay before eating was also gone. A school function dinner had us waiting for 3 hours after I would normally eat. The people at my table were impatient for the food to arrive, complaining about how hungry they were, having eaten their bread rolls long ago. My roll was still sitting on it's plate, as I preferred to wait for balanced meal rather than eat a carb-loaded bread roll. I felt no anxiety, no frustration, I simply had an expectation that I would eat shortly, and that would satisfy my body's hunger at that point. The old me would have been frustrated and annoyed.

RE: Practice thread
Answer
10/28/11 10:02 PM as a reply to John Mitchell.
John Mitchell:

That is, as external events triggered my emotions, the apperception witnessed the trigger and its emotional response, with the result that the emotional response did not need to exist anymore. It seems to me that food cravings were the compensation for the emotional responses never being attended to. I suddenly discovered one day that I had no particular food cravings anymore, just an interest in eating if I felt hungry. I also prefer to choose food now that I know from experience keeps my body feeling at its best.


This is often how I experience apperception as well. Your completely at your sense door/doors when suddenly an emotion bubbles taking your attention off of your sense doors and onto a feeling. As you focus back on sensuousness, the emotion goes away, often times filling with delight.

RE: Practice thread
Answer
11/4/11 1:00 PM as a reply to John Mitchell.
John Mitchell:
I realised last night that the usual anguish associated with a long delay before eating was also gone. A school function dinner had us waiting for 3 hours after I would normally eat. The people at my table were impatient for the food to arrive, complaining about how hungry they were, having eaten their bread rolls long ago. My roll was still sitting on it's plate, as I preferred to wait for balanced meal rather than eat a carb-loaded bread roll. I felt no anxiety, no frustration, I simply had an expectation that I would eat shortly, and that would satisfy my body's hunger at that point. The old me would have been frustrated and annoyed.


Heh, funny. Almost the exact thing happened to me: we awaited for an hour for our drinks and two for the food, only that all that was in a hotel restaurant with professional wrestlers on the other tables and a flood outside. People went nuts and started to steal food and entering the kitchen. Odd times emoticon

RE: Practice thread
Answer
11/4/11 2:14 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
Been in a strange couple of weeks with an illness, which caused a lot of ego activity in me, but these last days have been excellent.

I've been reading and listening to some materials about dependent origination that, along with this Nick's text, have given me some fundamentals to nip in the bud the feelings (and other causes and conditions) that lead to becoming and suffering.

The Buddha said:

(1) When this is, that is.
(2) From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
(3) When this isn’t, that isn’t.
(4) From the ceasing of this comes the ceasing of that. — AN 10:92


Apropos, Thanissaro Bhikkhu in The Paradox of Becoming explains numbers 1 and 3, and then karma like this:


The Buddha stated that his ability to detect this level of causality [points 1 and 3] was a “breakthrough of discernment” (SN 12:10; SN 12:65), which suggests how difficult it is to perceive. Nevertheless, the principle can be readily observed in the relation between contact and feeling: When contact arises at any of the senses, a corresponding feeling immediately arises; when the contact stops, the feeling immediately stops.

These two causal principles intersect, so that any particular experience will be conditioned by both past and present events. This indicates that the field of kamma in which becoming can grow would also consist of kamma both past and present.


So, combining this with the idea that I am my feelings and my feelings are me, it is helping me to be attentive and question immediate responses to any contact a priori, and not only see its causes a posteriori. The way that I'm working in particular is trying to detect if there is any pull from any contact, like if the phenomenon, thing or person were having some gravitational force that attracts and pollutes my awareness (which later creates a sense of becoming). If I intercept myself before, I can cease the chain of becoming nipping in it in the bud. If not, I look at the cause (instinctual or social).

A couple of examples come from my relationship with certain person who I still have some romantic feelings for:

I normally catch myself with the intention or hope for romance, even when this person does not want that. Then, that idea of "feeling caring is not the same to actually care" comes and I come to my senses again in order to break the chain of becoming: love leads to a lover to love even though it implies to hurt the other person and therefore hurt myself (I like the image of trying to hug a lion only because it's cute and then being ripped apart by it)

Also, I'm trying to be attentive to my physical behavior. For example, yesterday at the movies I was occupying only half of my seat, and, yes, that was the part of the seat closest to her (gravity in practice)

So, nothing new I guess, except that these Buddhist foundations are handy in this time of my practice.

RE: Practice thread
Answer
11/14/11 9:23 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
Some notes on the 'harmless' thing

I cannot yet integrate my practice into my social life fully. I have a huge idea that the process gets better while being alone, so many times I deny in my mind and in reality the idea of going out with my friends, and this causes a lot of stress. It feels like I have an agenda full of dates with myself and when suddenly some social plan arises I react very negatively and try to have control of the reality the way I want.

Also, it seems that I can not undo some knots of my social preferences. I get a lot of distress and anger when someone I don't like or I don't find useful approaches me. And when someone I like comes I can feel supreme bliss. This is one of my biggest challenges.

My theory is that I have feelings of fear {people, failure, self-image} deep inside me and a lot of anger and cynicism that screams 'LEAVE ME ALONE'. The funny thing is that I cannot be alone always as I crave for company a lot also.

In more positive news, I've been making progress in detecting myself on episodes like those mentioned above and specially when malice appears. I have noted in myself a rush of delight when I am about to do something or say something negative about someone. Also I've noted this morbid desire of wanting to people to make a mistake or something to just give me a reason to spit the truths in their faces. I guess the fact that I am detecting these feelings of curious delight {and a lot of time analyze them and stop myself before act} is a sign of progress, specially if clinging works like the Buddha suggests...

There is the case where one enjoys, welcomes, & remains fastened. And what does one enjoy & welcome, to what does one remain fastened? One enjoys, welcomes, & remains fastened to feeling. As one enjoys, welcomes, & remains fastened to feeling, there arises delight. Any delight in feeling is clinging. — SN 22:5


My guess is that this happens because of 'me' believing that 'I' am better than the herd in many many ways.

So if anyone has some advice on these issues, it would be great to read them emoticon

RE: My incipient Actualism practice
Answer
11/25/11 1:45 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
A parenthesis.

I found this article from the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, about a dude

"with bilateral brain damage encompassing a substantial portion of the so-called “limbic system[...] The amount of destroyed neural tissue is extensive and includes bilateral damage to core limbic and paralimbic regions, including the hippocampus, amygdala, parahippocampal gyrus, temporal poles, orbitofrontal cortex, basal forebrain, anterior cingulate cortex, and insular cortex"


From the full text PDF:

[...] In terms of emotion expression, most conversations with Roger involve animated speech that is replete with prosody, gesture, and, often times, laughing. He readily displays signs of positive emotion including happiness, amusement, interest, and excitement. As previously noted, Roger’s positive mood has remained essentially unchanged over the nearly three decades that have passed since his brain injury. Roger’s parents, whom he lived with for over 24 years post-encephalitis, claim that they have never witnessed a change in Roger’s mood that lasted for more than a few minutes. On occasion, Roger will display short bouts of anger, usually in situations where he feels his independence is being hindered (e.g., when a caregiver won’t let him eat an apple because his blood sugar level is elevated). However, the anger dissipates often as rapidly as it was triggered. In general, Roger appears to experience little, if any, negative emotion. On the trait version of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), Roger’s self-report of experiencing negative affect was at the lowest possible level, whereas, his positive affect level was in the normal range.

His scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (filled out on two different occasions separated by over a decade in time) indicate no evidence of any depression. Similarly, his scores on the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Spielberger State–Trait Anxiety Inventory indicate no evidence of any anxiety. On the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory–2 (MMPI–2), Roger showed no significant elevations on any of the clinical scales and had a completely normal profile. Likewise, on a standardized clinical interview Roger did not endorse any symptoms indicative of psychiatric illness. It should be noted that many of these self-report instruments contain a retrospective component (e.g., “how have you felt over the past two weeks?”), which brings into question their validity when used in patients with severe amnesia.

Future investigations with Roger will attempt to collect real-time emotion and mood measurements across a large time span in order to more validly assess his affective experience. Irrespective of this issue, Roger’s overall lack of distress in everyday life is a striking feature of his presentation that stands in stark contrast to the extreme
severity of his amnesic condition.


And in the final words of the blog post where I found the article:

For me, Roger provides two main lessons, both rather satisfying ones. Firstly, even after losing large parts of the brain, life goes on. The brain is modular, and we can live without many of the modules. And secondly, if our emotional circuitry is damaged, we generally feel better, rather than worse. To put it another way, perhaps, happiness is our default state, and emotions just have a habit of getting in the way.


So, maybe this guy accidentally got somewhere close to VF? AF? Enlightenment?
And maybe, in a few years, we could work the problem of suffering from the hardware and not the just the software (lobotomy getting back? heh)

RE: My incipient Actualism practice
Answer
11/26/11 11:48 AM as a reply to Felipe C..
Something in the hardware probably does change upon AF. Specific neurons, synapses, axons or whatever else that connects the parts of the lower brain to the higher brain probably atrophy. Undoubtedly, in a few decades or less some people will volunteer to have these connections surgically removed. As it turns out, now that we know what enlightenment is and how to attain it we will also shortly know how to medically induce it. It is a testament to how exponentially fast science progresses.

A possible timeline: Richard was the first person to put it all together (using his experience with buddhism, his own scientific literacy and his open mindedness) and he did this back in 1980. 30 years later and it is now knocking on the door of mainstream enlightenment theory. It will probably take another 10 years for this to be the dominant model. In those 10 years, the brain will have been completely mapped out in 3D, confirming and adding to Richards model of Enlightenment. Experiments with primates will have been undergone; pin-pointedly knocking out certain synapses and observing their subsequent behavior. No more than 15 years afterwards, the procedure will be ready for human use. (It's just as likely that instead of surgery drugs will be developed that retard the emotional connections.) In this timeline, no more than 15 years after AF becomes the dominant model in Enlightenment theory, the medical establishment will be ready to induce it in human beings.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
12/13/11 1:40 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
I'm beginning to make a little progress in these harmlessness issues by checking my compulsion of getting angry by stupid reasons (thanks to fabricated aesthetic, moral and self-reaffirming beliefs) and its subsequent energy that tries to fix it by acting in the external world. So the thing I am trying is getting my hands in my pockets and investigating everything. Some realizations:

- It's all a matter of attention and time. First, it was important for me to focus in one issue in particular, so I became for these couple of days a malice detective only by asking, for each one of my actions, intentions and perceptions, what was being permeated by malice and aggression. With time, I recognized the feeling tone of the malice and anger, and that its energy runs super fast. What I do now is take a few seconds to see it clearly and directly, then it just looks silly and dissolves. But here I think I just see the tip of the iceberg. I see a lot of potential if this investigation is kept.

- Aligning "self" with the universe. After reading the "altruism" and "benevolence of the universe" topics of the AFT site, I had a realization that the benevolence of the outside world can be in communion with what happens in the inside one. So it made sense that my altruistic motivations are like a microcosm of the macrocosm that is the universe. It resembles the Taoist idea that life is simple if we don't obstruct the natural harmony offered by the universe.

- I am alone in this and I just can change myself. My malevolent compulsion comes from a lot of beliefs but one of the most important is that I think that by intervening the world I will achieve something. It also means how silly is this obsession of trying to impress the world, trying to make it mine. When none of this selfish desires seem to fulfill comes so much conflict and resentment accumulates. This also has to be with the flavor of harmlessness: it feels more intimate, personal and calm, like just a bare intention of not being an intruder in anyone's life, instead of compassion that feels -at least for me- more driven, activist and heroic.

Other challenges that are manifesting these days are:
- Doubt (as in "is this person/job/situation right for me and my happiness?")
- Desperation of experimenting my own suffering more clearly than ever and then wondering if I ever will get to VF or AF.

So I hope to work on those, along with the harmlessness.

Note: Since the harmlessness is so important and a challenge to me, I've changed the name of my practice thread inspired by this:

There is a third alternative to the usual fashionable swing from one failed extreme to the other. As with any emotion – neither repressing nor expressing does the trick. What ‘I’ initially did with anger was stop expressing it. Seeing what I was doing to others was sufficient for me to shut my mouth, keep my hands in my pockets, go for a walk, lay on the couch – do whatever was necessary to stop acting it out on others. The other bloody good reason for stopping was that I then stopped the endless cycle of being angry, feeling guilty, wallowing in shame, seeking solace in resentment, plotting revenge and building up to anger again.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
2/20/12 11:43 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
I was thinking about the 'I am my feelings and my feelings are me' phrase and my own practice, and then asked myself which ones would be the priorities to focus in order to achieve a quicker and greater result. Should I tackle this from this sense of presence or from the feelings themselves.

Then I realized that it depends on the situation and made the following graphic as a reminder to myself (and excuse me if it seems simplistic, I know that these factors and results are a lot more complex and interdependent than that, but I think it may be useful anyway).


RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/2/12 5:21 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
Today I suddenly remembered how I was before practice and realized how huge is the difference compared to now. That past form of experiencing reality, full of noise, with all these forces battling inside of me, tearing me apart.

I remember, even in the best moments, there were parts of me not convinced at all, like schizoid saboteurs reminding me constantly that there's no chance for happiness to last, that I was not capable, nor even worthy, of producing or experiencing those high moments. That happiness is more an anomaly, and even something wrong to pursue, an anti-intellectual goal and not a realistic achievement. I was thinking Lisa Simpson's style, believing I was being intelligent, but actually being a complete idiot.

Thinking about it, in perspective, that cynicism/pessimism seems to be completely the opposite of pure intent: feelings pulling me away from any kind of clarity, putting more and more layers of distortion all over my perception, with a very persuasive publicist within, not just experiencing but generating and fueling all that bad PR about life.

It really is a miracle that now I am beginning to overcome all that.

Then I think, when I talk about this kind of practice to people, of how they always react in the same ways. How perhaps some conditions need to be present to clearly offer the value of all this; how must one have to hit some kind of bottom, encounter a personal crisis to begin to see, in an experiential way, the first noble truth: to accept that suffering is occurring most of the time.

So, note to self: in desperate times, just be your best friend and remind you, kindly, not how far you are from the goal, but how far you are from the beginning; and how lucky you were in the first place when you found this way.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/2/12 7:56 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
Felipe, do you think you could be getting yourself into 'good' and 'bad' feelings rather than felicitous ones? (The thoughts about not making progress being bad and thoughts about having been made progress being good) Both of these types of thinking and feeling lead to more identity, there is still a "you" being reinforced as achiever and progresser rather than a flesh and blood body inhabiting the moment in time and this place in space. If you have bad feelings about something rather than turning to something which causes you to feel good, go beyond the whole silly process to the physical world.

Usually the 'good' feelings feel like an escape, but by their very nature "I am progressing which is good" you are setting yourself up for more bad feelings, because the implication that progress is good, as soon as you notice something which might put the notion in your head that you aren't making progress you'll feel worse. I think it's best to really not stray from this moment and this place even when "you" are saying its really important to go.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/2/12 8:35 PM as a reply to josh r s.
You raise a very good point.

This observation of mine I think it was sincere... I just compared perceptual experiences of 'now me' and 'before me', knowing that this kind of path is not as simplistic as that, that progress is not always linear and there is no need to attach to phases or even attach to the very idea of progress or path {as they imply a timeline, and actualism is about to be always now}. It was just a thought that it occurred to me while being delighted {near to an EE} after lunch. Later I wrote this note.

Anyway, having said that, there are still signs that resonate with what you say. There are some aspects of 'me' that are still taking actualism as a belief system, and therefore creating identities and calentures.

The clearest example is when lustful and loving feelings arise. After seeing someone attractive, and detecting the energy emerging from my guts to my chest, a strange identity pops up and seems to say things like 'really? I thought you were better than this', 'feeling like this is a clear sign of regress', 'lust is bad for practice', instead of just look at those feelings with wonder and returning to my base of felicity and sensuousness.

I think one of the challenges here is appreciate progress in a naive way, without attachments and, above all, without developing pride. That sense of pride not just separate me from the most sincere version of 'me' but also from other human beings.

Obviously, the best to go, as you say, is

I think it's best to really not stray from this moment and this place even when "you" are saying its really important to go.


But, when we are not in our most sensuous and felicitous versions, and, on the contrary, are possessed by overwhelming emotions, a reminder of how you are making progress could be a good boost to return to such states.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/2/12 8:53 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
But, when we are not in our most sensuous and felicitous versions, and, on the contrary, are possessed by overwhelming emotions, a reminder of how you are making progress could be a good boost to return to such states.


are you sure that you still aren't confusing positive feelings for felicitous ones?

comforting your "self" with the notion that you are in fact making progress keeps alive the identity that feeds off of desire for progress just as much as discomfort over the notion that you aren't making progress. the thing to do is notice that neither of these options is sensible.

I'd warn you, often when i get up into the "highs" usually due to thinking that I was making progress, i'd shift back down to low and have a really tough time getting out of it. it gets tough because you have affirmed your interest in "progress" with your period of feeling good and it often takes a good bit of suffering to help wake the sincerity necessary to go to felicity. felicity can then easily create a new bout of positive feelings if you possess them and take them as a trophy.

from that above quote, I think that your boosts are taking you up to positive feelings, that path is very intuitive, but it just leads to a loop. if your well-being isn't based on here and now (as a whole) then it is based on something impermanent and eventually it will dissipate.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/2/12 9:30 PM as a reply to josh r s.
Hi, Josh,

Let me try to explain myself better.

Actualism is not just about to get to felicity as fast as you can but also, in that same process, to remove obstacles that obstruct that felicity {'bad and good emotions'}. What I am saying is useful to the latter part, because one of the things to remove the said obstacles is taking a look at the facts.

Returning to my example of lustful feelings, here is the thing... I am in fact less libido-driven than before. That is a fact that I can check just comparing my ways of experiencing. In this case, I know that developing pride {categorized traditionally as a bad feeling} or humbleness {categorized as a good feeling} is silly, as those feelings create duality traps. But what if one of my obstacles to getting back to felicity is my pessimism {as I indicated before in this thread}? Looking at the fact that I am making progress, pessimism is dismantled, perceived as unreal and silly, and thus I diminish those emotional states that distort and impede my well being now, and then I can proceed more freely to be attentive to sensuousness, and etc.

One can say that a PCE leaves a couple of teachings 1. it's an anchor that one uses to return to actuality via pure intent, and 2. it's also a proof that the goal {AF} is possible and that there are states which are closer to the PCE than others. To appreciate progress in a naive way is just a realization of the second point I made... I am closer to the PCE now than six months ago.

As Vineeto puts it...

To Gary: I can very well relate to what you describe as ‘a deep and abiding terror of extinction’. The trick that often helps me turn this terror into excitement is to remember that ‘I’ have a voluntary mission which is far more dignifying that ‘my’ survival – ‘I’ am to bring about peace-on-earth by vacating the throne, permanently. And although sometimes I feel as though I am only inching my way closer to ‘my’ destiny, I do recognize that I am making progress. I only need to look back at how I used to experience life a few years back to know this is a fact.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/3/12 7:27 AM as a reply to Felipe C..
Looking at the fact that I am making progress, pessimism is dismantled, perceived as unreal and silly, and thus I diminish those emotional states that distort and impede my well being now, and then I can proceed more freely to be attentive to sensuousness, and etc.


Ok, but make sure that it is a fact you are looking at, and that it isn't a belief backed by the desire for it to be true, because if it is you are reinforcing that desire.

If happiness and harmlessness here and now aren't enough then you should examine your intent, there is a fine line (conceptually and mentally, but not experientially) between wanting to become actually free and to make progress as abstract notions and allowing felicity and sensuousness here and now only because you've seen that it is sensible to do so.

I still think you are making a mistake but if you are you will probably have to notice it yourself.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/3/12 10:40 AM as a reply to josh r s.
Thanks for the input, josh,

It will make me investigate further if I have a strong need to have other considerations apart from harmlessness and happiness in order to become AF, and question if my 'facts' are facts or beliefs in disguise. This seems like a good thing to look at, as it would speak of potential hidden identities and unsatisfactory states of 'me'.

Anyway, I think you have to admit that, despite that you don't contemplate your progress as a part of the method {I don't do it frequently either, it was just a thing of the moment}, that recognition is embedded in your practice. I think this strong desire of becoming actually free does not come only from the pure intent generated from a PCE, but also from the prove that it is possible to get to back to that kind of perception again, with a practice that delivers results {getting closer and closer to VF} in that process.

In the AFT site this is mentioned as confidence and certainty, as opposed to trust and faith.

From Peter

I found people and events always challenged me in the process such that feelings and emotions automatically arose and all I had to do was observe them to become familiar with how I had been programmed to operate, both socially and spiritually. Observation led to awareness, awareness led to knowledge and knowledge led to experience, practical change and confidence. As you progress further on the path, confidence leads to surety, which, in turn, overcomes doubt and fear.


I'm just saying that it could be useful to stop and recognize that fact in certain difficult situations {as a trick to come back to practice or whatever}. With pure intent and intelligence, without any attachment, I don't see why not. Just make sure, as you say, you don't transform that evident fact into some kind of belief, or that you are being insincere if that fact is actually just a belief.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/22/12 12:21 AM as a reply to Felipe C..
I asked myself tonight what kept pure intent away most of my time, and wondered what is the best way to keep it more and more time.

Its occurred to me that the obvious mnemonic is HAIETMOBA. That was obvious in theory but, for the first time in my practice, I am taking seriously and literally that phrase of 'asking myself, each moment again, how am I experiencing this moment of being alive.'

Since half an hour ago, I am experimenting with being a machine gun of HAIETMOBA, shooting like there is no tomorrow and I'm already appreciating the difference. The question cuts off any potential chain of becoming, without distracting my attention away from sensuousness and felicity.

So I am going to continue this experiment, to see how much I can maintain it and if these results could be permanently achieved or they are just a product of some impermanent excitement or due to a sense of novelty from a present conjuncture.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/27/12 1:08 AM as a reply to Felipe C..
Crazy day

Depressed and anxious in the morning; powerful EE territory in the evening.

Some notes about it.

Incredible how the perception of a same single idea can change vastly in just hours. I'd like to understand deeply and not only intellectually the truths of impermanence and emptiness when terrible emotions occur. After seeing in my own life the fact that everything passes away and is pretty relative, why can''t I simply understand, in the very moment of stress, that certain experience is not going to feel this way forever and that is an illusion? I try to keep running HAIETMOBA, but, if I am sincere, there are times when everything looks so hopeless, and that stops the effectiveness of the method.

Walks with nature around help a lot. My EE began when I saw a beautiful image of some treetops juxtaposed with a gray sky in the background. This EE almost turned into a PCE after seeing some lights reflected on a car. So, look for the physical signs of these perception changes to excellence, in order to do whatever is necessary in the moment to deliver quickly the result. For me, they are eyes suddenly becoming wide open, a feeling that resembles a void in the center of the skull, or occasionally a more subtle ones like spontaneous smiles or the wind on the skin.

During the EE, it was pretty centerless and transparent, and feelings were soft and transient, and yet there was a common one: an impulse to do something else that complements the experience, like a pseudo-boredness. In some moment, I was just there, sitting in the outside of a starbucks, and there was this sense of 'I' speaking in lower volume something like 'Nice, you are feeling great, but you need to do more exciting things along to feel really really happy', as if sitting there sensing around wasn't enough. I calmed down that subtle layer, but it returned a few times. Need to find real contentment with things as they are.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/27/12 8:22 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
EE's are said to be sure signs of progress! continue with whatever method you are currently using.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/27/12 10:05 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
After reading again the interesting posts of Stefanie prior her attainment, remembering some conversations with Jon, and considering that a clear tendency in me is to keep 'tasting' my emotions and investigating their social causes and instinctive mechanics, I think it's time to start building selfless momentum via attentiveness to sensuousness and felicity, and letting the investigation part for whenever is really necessary.

I'm going to try to focus more in the forms than in the contents of the emotions. I'm starting from the idea that any emotion, independently of its content, is just a signal of the presence of this sense of 'I'. Investigation served the purpose of reducing the arising of emotions, but it's time to dedicate more of my effort to simply be aware, detect any physical symptoms of their manifestations, and get back to sensuousness and felicity as soon as possible to cut any refined becoming.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/28/12 12:10 AM as a reply to Felipe C..
Investigation served the purpose of reducing the arising of emotions, but it's time to dedicate more of my effort to simply be aware, detect any physical symptoms of their manifestations, and get back to sensuousness and felicity as soon as possible to cut any refined becoming.


One can be sensuous while investigating. You can be sensuous towards the feeling of investigating as well as the emotion you are investigating. You can then contrast that feeling to the feeling of being sensuous towards the actual world. This approach, theoretically, is the best of both worlds. And this act of juxtaposing has produced positive results for me.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/28/12 6:33 PM as a reply to Jon T.
You are right, Jon., but I was thinking more in the sense that I already passed a lot of time in company of the emotions. I can sit there with them and feel them fully for hours, chasing its causes and conditions.

It's time to be more pragmatic towards sensuousness, to wit: be attentive, check when a emotion kicks in, make a note about it ("ah, there is sadness, and sadness came when X happened"), and move on to being sensuous and felicitous.

I was thinking yesterday about the "silliness" of emotions. There was this tendency in me to see the silliness in the content that triggered the emotion ("this is silly because I am feeling bad because X social conditioning"), and not the silliness of keep feeling it itself ("this is silly because, independently of its content, it's keeping me away from the actual world").

So it seems there are levels of silliness, and I was more concentrated in the social/instinctive nature of emotions (content) than just in the ways that they obstruct my clear perception (form).

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/28/12 6:34 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
Felipe Cavazos:

So it seems there are levels of silliness, and I was more concentrated in the social/instinctive nature of emotions (content) than just in the ways that them obstruct my clear perception (form).


Hi Felipe,

Are you easily able to get back to clear perception when noticing the form of emotions? In what ways do you pay attention to form and what do you notice about it? I think it is helpful to get a handle on what is happening when you incline the mind towards attentiveness of form and how it leads to getting back to clear perception. Doing so will imprint in your mind an automatic habit to keep doing this over and over. I spent some time struggling by trying to use affective clues of how to get back to clear perception, instead of noticing the way attention works to allow clear perception to naturally happen. I know it's fun to have EE's and PCE's and hang out maxing sensuousness. However, when there's an EE or PCE you should also use it as an opportunity to pay attention to precisely what is and isn't happening (qualitatively, attention wise, etc).

Steph

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/28/12 6:54 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
Felipe Cavazos:
It's time to be more pragmatic towards sensuousness, to wit: be attentive, check when a emotion kicks in, make a note about it ("ah, there is sadness, and sadness came when X happened"), and move on to being sensuous and felicitous.)


Remember to remember that 'you' are the emotion and the emotion is 'you.'

I was thinking yesterday about the "silliness" of emotions. There was this tendency in me to see the silliness in the content that triggered the emotion ("this is silly because I am feeling bad because X social conditioning"),


Note why X social conditioning is silly i.e. illogical, unnecessary and counter-productive.

and not the silliness of keep feeling it itself ("this is silly because, independently of its content, it's keeping me away from the actual world").


'you' will be forever and always separated from the actual world.


devolve into daydream or be accosted by a strong negative feeling and then awaken and register the emotion. keep track of the feeling while investigating the logic and sensibility of the daydream. note the change in feeling. once finished with the investigation, keep track of the feeling and move onto sensuousness. note the changes in feeling (these changes will be quick and of short duration, almost exclusively positive). move on from being sensuous to the Actual and note the lack of feeling.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
3/29/12 4:29 PM as a reply to Steph S.
Hi, Steph!

Steph S:
Are you easily able to get back to clear perception when noticing the form of emotions? In what ways do you pay attention to form and what do you notice about it?


With this helpful advice from End in Sight ("ignoring things") and Stefanie ("the box"), I'm beginning to skilfully (and more easily) ignore some thoughts/feelings when they arrive. With "form" I refer to certain tensions, twangs and acute sensations experienced in the chest or gut areas, and/or its correspondent mental manifestations like sudden (generally obsessive and self-destructive) thoughts.

The way I pay attention to form is being attentive (HAIETMOBA). Now, what I look for is if there is something not felicitous (or at least neutral) about it. What I want is to keep at least that neutral (ideally felicitous) base from where I can start to freely being sensuous, because, when hard feelings are present, there is some gravitational force towards my internal life that is overwhelming, and won’t let me pay attention to the life of the senses. If I identify this gravity, I ask why, identify quick the sensation and its cause, and put them out of the way. The result often feels like if I were starting from scratch, like when your operative system is so slow and complicated, full with processes, and you reset the computer and everything is fast and clear again after you do that.

What I did before was tasting those feelings to get to know them, but that maybe caused them to be virulent and expansive: sense inputs turning into simple feelings turning into compounded emotions turning into generalized and solid moods. So I suppose that being super attentive and "nipping in the bud" in those ways is the path that leads to VF eventually (along with sensible investigation).

So, in summary this is what I am saying about emotions (which maybe was obvious, but that I understood experientially just days ago):

Why they arise in the first place? A social or instinctual reason that needs to be investigated.

Why do they feel so real and compounded? Personal patterns that fuel them, which needs to be cut quickly.

What can you do to both diminish their arising (quantitative aspect) and their force (qualitative aspect)? Investigate from a felicitous (or at least neutral) state and to an extent that doesn't compromise your well being; and, on the other side, be pretty alert in your attentiveness and come back to feeling good (or at least neutral) making sure that you are not repress them (only with mini-investigations that tag the emotion and identify their causes, conditions and effects)

It's a cycle where both parts benefit each other, and intelligence would determine the best way to operate according to said principles.

Steph S:
I think it is helpful to get a handle on what is happening when you incline the mind towards attentiveness of form and how it leads to getting back to clear perception. Doing so will imprint in your mind an automatic habit to keep doing this over and over.


I'm beginning to experience this automatic habit. I hope I/it can maintain it/maintain itself.

Steph S:
I spent some time struggling by trying to use affective clues of how to get back to clear perception, instead of noticing the way attention works to allow clear perception to naturally happen. I know it's fun to have EE's and PCE's and hang out maxing sensuousness. However, when there's an EE or PCE you should also use it as an opportunity to pay attention to precisely what is and isn't happening (qualitatively, attention wise, etc).


Yeah, the EEs/PCEs are like the lighthouse that guide my affective imitations and efforts. One perhaps should proceed in the same ways (when at best) that one does when in "normal mode": enjoy them (being sensuous) but also pay attention and take notes (being attentive) to leave bread crumbs Hansel and Gretel style when it's over.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
4/6/12 3:34 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
Sounds like you're on the right track. When ignoring, be careful that suppression is not happening. When observing feelings, there should be clarity and alertness (and it sounds like there is clarity in the descriptions of how you say you are observing). For good measure, though, here's a couple relevant paragraphs from one of the most useful articles on the AFT website. I bolded some points.


To enable apperceptiveness to haply occur it is essential to allow a reflective attention – attentiveness – to one’s psychological and psychic world. It is impossible for one to intelligently observe what is going on within if one does not at the same time acknowledge the occurrence of one’s various feeling-tones with attentiveness. This is especially true with the hostile and invidious emotions and passions (those that are hateful and fearful). In order to observe one’s own fear, for instance, one must admit to the fact that one is afraid. Nor can one examine one’s own depression, for another example, without acknowledging it fully. The same is true for irritation and agitation and frustration and all those other uncomfortable emotional and passionate moods. One cannot examine something fully if one is busy denying its existence. Whatever feeling one may be having, a fascinated attention – attentiveness – freely divulges it ... it is looking with discernibleness. All affective feelings are – quite simply – an hereditary occurrence, an inborn factor to be acutely aware of. No pride, no shame, nothing personal at stake ... what is there, is naturally there. There is no clinging to the affectionate and desirable emotions and passions (those that are loving and trusting) and no fleeing from the hostile and invidious, either (those that are hateful and fearful). A contemplative attention views all feelings as commensurate – nothing is suppressed and nothing is expressed – as attentiveness does not play favourites.




Attentiveness gets not infatuated with the good feelings nor sidesteps the bad as attentiveness is a non-feeling awareness; a sensuous attention. Attentiveness is not sentimental susceptibility for it does not get involved with affection or empathy or get hung up on mercurial imaginations and capricious intuitions or ephemeral auguries. Attentiveness does not register feelings and compare the validity of experience according to it ‘feeling right’ or ‘feeling wrong’. Attentiveness is an aesthetic alertness that takes place with minimised reference to self. With attentiveness one sees the internal world with blameless references to concepts like ‘my’ or ‘mine’. Suppose there is a feeling of sadness. Ordinary consciousness would say, ‘I am sad’. Using attentiveness, one heedfully notices the feeling as a natural feeling – ‘There is human sadness’ – thus one does not tack on that possessive personal concept of ‘I’ or ‘me’ ... for one is already possessed. Attentiveness is the observance of the basic nature of each arising feeling; it is observing all the inner world – emotional, passionate and calentural – which is whatever is presently taking place in the affective faculty. Attentiveness is seeing how any feeling makes ‘me’ tick – and how ‘I’ react to it – with the perspicacity of seeing how it affects others as well. In attentiveness, there is an unbiased observing of the constant showing-up of the ‘reality’ within and is examining the feelings arising one after the other ... and such attentiveness is the ending of its grip. Please note that last point: in attentiveness, there is an observance of the ‘reality’ within, and such attention is the end of its embrace ... finish. Here lies apperception.



http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/attentivenesssensuousnessapperceptiveness.htm

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
4/11/12 12:39 PM as a reply to Steph S.
Thanks, Steph, your advice came just in time, as I was suspecting a suppressive activity with some latent feelings at the moment.

+

In other news, I decided to retreat temporarily from social networks and IMs for the specific reason to detach myself from a person. After 5 days of such retreat, some notes/challenges:

- There is an automatic and huge gravity for the activity of checking these things itself that cuts my attentiveness, to the point that there were times when two or three tabs were opened with the same content.

- The anxiety and depression product of attending them. How come everyone is having a great time and I'm not? How come everyone have all these interesting ideas and lives? If social-networking is the epitome of identification and ego activity (bio, interests and all the activity is the very materialization/fixation of the social persona on the screen) and we are comparative by nature, what was I expecting? Specially when I see the activity of the person I (feel to) care for: feelings of dispensableness, jealousy, resentment are added to the equation.

- Meeting boredom: Why do I have to be doing something in order to be happy? Why can't I be content with less/stillness and not more/dynamism? Boredom seems to be this lusty, hungry entity looking obsessionally for activities that evade and postpone indefinitely the question of suffering.

- (Obsessive) social animal? Why do I keep needing external referents in order to justify my existence/have fun? There is a huge impulse in me to keep returning to others. Resisting the temptation to open my IM/social network is having another result: I'm checking a lot the DhO, AFT site and the Actual Freedom Yahoo! Forum. Apart from a couple of hours of personal contemplation/sensuousness in the night, I'm failing to be ok with myself and myself only. I wonder how can I create this sense of intimacy, contentment, "bestfriendliness" with myself.

- Besides everything above, the overall result is a more calm and attentive life. I guess it's just a matter of time to accustom to this simplicity, let's see if I can maintain it.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
4/12/12 12:03 AM as a reply to Felipe C..
Felipe C.:
Thanks, Steph, your advice came just in time, as I was suspecting a suppressive activity with some latent feelings at the moment.


You're welcome. Upon suspecting that suppression was happening, what do you so far discern suppression is and what do you think causes it? It will be helpful to investigate so you can learn the difference between suppression and dispassion. In the "ignoring things" post mentioned above, dispassion is recommended.


- (Obsessive) social animal? Why do I keep needing external referents in order to justify my existence/have fun? There is a huge impulse in me to keep returning to others. Resisting the temptation to open my IM/social network is having another result: I'm checking a lot the DhO, AFT site and the Actual Freedom Yahoo! Forum. Apart from a couple of hours of personal contemplation/sensuousness in the night, I'm failing to be ok with myself and myself only. I wonder how can I create this sense of intimacy, contentment, "bestfriendliness" with myself.


I'm refraining from replying to each of the other challenges in the list because this one sums all of them up. You seem to already know how to begin to address these questions, evidenced by what I bolded. Let's break it down by turning things around:

I wonder how can I create this sense of intimacy, contentment, "bestfriendliness" with myself.


Apart from a couple of hours of personal contemplation/sensuousness in the night, I'm failing to be ok with myself and myself only.


By saying "Apart from... I'm failing" these couple hours of personal contemplation/sensuousness, does that mean *during* these couple hours you're okay with yourself and yourself only? If that is the case, wouldn't the answer to creating this sense of intimacy, contentment, and bestfriendliness with yourself be to extend these couple hours of personal contemplation/sensuousness until it becomes a full time thing?

- Besides everything above, the overall result is a more calm and attentive life. I guess it's just a matter of time to accustom to this simplicity, let's see if I can maintain it.


Cool.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
4/12/12 12:24 AM as a reply to Felipe C..
I wonder how can I create this sense of intimacy, contentment, "bestfriendliness" with myself.


Non-judgement is a great place to start I think. seeing all of the failings and simply accepting that 'this is me'. Best friends are like that, though not perfect. And if you think about it, that's alot of the reason we find it hard to even imagine what it means to have that type of relationship with our selves, it's like saying 'I'm going to be an architect' having never met one or studied or even knowing how to draw. It takes some imagination I think. what would the absolute perfect friend do right now?!

It's a good question you ask there..

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
4/22/12 3:07 PM as a reply to Steph S.
Hi, Steph

Upon suspecting that suppression was happening, what do you so far discern suppression is and what do you think causes it?


Not being honest with the inputs. When a feeling arises sometimes there is a tendency to deny it. This tendency is a product of the 'I' clinging to something. For example, there are two modes that I've noted that this denial can come

1. In the form of 'oh, man, here comes this guy to disrupt my peace', then making a 'LALALALALA' sound in order to not acknowledge the problem, to become distracted from the fact that there is affective noise that needs to be investigated or skilfully let go. The cause seems to be an identity that clings to {the feeling of} peace and calm.

2. In the form of 'you are beyond this, you are better than this feeling, so it's not possible that you let this happen again'. The cause seems to be an identity that clings to pride and actualist calenture.

This leads to question the sincerity of my practice and aim... what I am doing is blocking the raw material that will set me actually free in the long run, in order to conserve an artificial and unsubstantial sense of peace and calm in the short run. What do I really want? Am I doing what is needed to go there?

EDIT. It has occurred to me that here this question is relevant... 'How am I experiencing this moment of being a liar?' ;)

By saying "Apart from... I'm failing" these couple hours of personal contemplation/sensuousness, does that mean *during* these couple hours you're okay with yourself and yourself only? If that is the case, wouldn't the answer to creating this sense of intimacy, contentment, and bestfriendliness with yourself be to extend these couple hours of personal contemplation/sensuousness until it becomes a full time thing?


Yes, this is a key factor, but then there are these habits and patterns not only in me but in the human condition in general. I'm talking specifically of this tendency of tagging and separating things. In this case there is this pattern of the night being the time for 'insight, inspiration because you are relaxed, nothing specifically to do', and the evening is 'to work, to be productive, to move, to be conquering the world out there'.

That is only the base of other more specific and individual patterns like the conditioning of the mind to incline towards certain things depending on the context {doing similar things on the same chair of the office for years, doing similar things on the same bed when I arrive to home for years, etc.}

It's certainly a challenge to change that, to keep the stillness and intimacy independently of all that contextual and conjunctural conditioning, but not impossible as I am seeing dramatic changes already in some aspects of my life. It's a matter of sincerity, dedication and time, I guess.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
5/2/12 12:11 AM as a reply to Felipe C..
A small and trivial note, in case it is useful for anybody or for myself in the future...

I was browsing reddit and came across with this subreddit (a sub-community inside that communitary site called reddit) devoted to what they call 'Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response' or ASMR, which is defined as 'a physical sensation characterized by a pleasurable tingling that typically begins in the head and scalp, and often moves down the spine and through the limbs.'

The triggers to this sensation are specified on that same subreddit

- Slow speech patterns, accents, soft-speaking voices and whispers.
- Lip sounds/smacking/eating
- Clicking sounds, brushing sounds, white noise, etc.
- Painting/drawing
- Instructional videos
- Watching other people performing simple tasks
- Getting close, personal attention from someone (eye-exam, make-over, etc.)
- Haircuts, people playing with your hair
- Bob Ross

So I watched a couple of the videos of the kind which supposedly trigger that sensation... one and two.

While doing that, I felt the ASMR but also a sensation of calmness and relaxation. I then went to the kitchen to wash some dishes and prepare a tuna salad. Suddenly, I noticed a great attentiveness to the hearing sense, and every sound made by the dishes hitting the sink or the opening of the can or the fork mixing the salad was very sharp, clearly and pristinely perceived. Then all this resulted in a more general sensuous state.

I don't know if the effect of these videos was caused by the remarkable contrast between silence and neat sounds, the casual scenery, or the traditional association between kitchen tasks and relaxation, or a mix of all that, but it was a surprising way to establish a baseline of sensuousness, at least this time.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
5/6/12 4:11 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
There is a blockage that keeps me from progressing even more in everyday situations. There is something strangely contextual in all this, as if I had an identity of identities that decides that I should remain the same in some situations, with certain persons.

Although I tend to make a lot of progress {and I am very willing to do so} when I am alone in my apartment or in nature, where I can be fully sincere, there are times when this mother identity decides that is time for me to install certain other identity according to the context... when with family I return to the 'me' that is {was} rough, cold, rational, passive, silent; with other persons I get the installation of the old cynicism and nihilism, etc.

The odd thing is that this identity is more like something that I wish to prove outside rather than inside. There are times when I am feeling pretty good but I refuse to act according to that, like if this identity is afraid of showing my 'new version', and instead shows behaviorally the good old me, which apparently gives me the feeling of security, of not having to open up and be naked in the sight of others.

However, there other times when I am deeply resented with the situation itself {minor identity} and, at the same time, resentful just with the occurrence that I need to investigate it {major identity}.

What do I want to hide and why? How is that I can beat minor identities that caused a lot of neurotic suffering, but yet I cannot defeat this huge one that seems in command when in some contexts? I don't know if it comes from shame from my deep fear to people that has proven to be very real and powerful or it's this shadow being that is also manifesting in strange ways, or a combination of the two.

There is a lot to investigate on this issue that seems crucial because is obstructing my sincerity. I've been unable to reach all the places with it.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
5/7/12 5:06 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
when with family I return to the 'me' that is {was} rough, cold, rational, passive, silent; with other persons I get the installation of the old cynicism and nihilism, etc.



I find this interesting. keep us informed. a little anecdote which may or may not be helpful and probably not all that interesting as it doesn't fit the form of story in which the main character seeks, encounters a problem, changes, resolution. i don't expect this anecdote to contain any of than but you never know.

last summer from about mid april to first of july, i had a cute, energetic, financially independent girlfriend. (I had been practicing actualism since the very first of the year.) she was almost the only friend i had on the whole west coast. i was 2500 miles from family and about the same distance from my old high school and my old college friends. the friend who helped me transplant from the east to cali had gone unapologetically bi-polar and so was no longer sane enough to interact with. i had aquaintances in the building i lived in and aquaintances at the casino i worked in. But for the most part, this girl was my sole connection to fraternity and social normalcy. Despite the obvious incentive i had to keep her happy and make our time together fulfilling, I was almost completely taciturn with her. I only saw her faults and didn't recognize those obvious incentives. the day before she called me to break it off, we had a great day in the city. we took a architectural tour of the financial district and ate lunch on Polk street before heading back across the bay and making love in my dingy one bedroom. the day was great but the lovemaking was tired and routine. as soon as we got back to the apartment, i felt too drowsy to view the sex as anything but a responsibility. And this had become common. As it happened, she was kind of shy in the bedroom and so probably blamed herself. I'm sure I did as well. the next morning, i walked her back to the metro and she texted me while on the train regarding how pleased she was that the previous day was so much fun. And it had been fun even if the evening wasn't. I texted back. "Agreed." And nothing more. That very night she called to break it off. I was quite pleased but adopted a tone of disappointed understanding. She even sent me a hallmark card in the mail. I don't know if it was out of guilt or fondness or both. After the breakup, I felt relieved that I didn't have to hang out with her again.

Quite clearly, I had not yet matured enought to view life as an opportunity for play and exploration. I had not yet matured enough to view human beings as the ever changing psychological and physical phenomena they are. Nor was i even self-aware enough to correctly see the all too limited parameters of the life i was living. I was just too immersed in trying to sort out right view while cultivating felicity and sensousness to as much degree as i could while continuing to relieve all the various built up tensions in the various habitual and unskillful ways i had develped up to that point. Looking back, i can see that i was living a nightmare. I had adopted a tension between 'me' and who i wanted to be. It was the same tension that was always there but now who i wanted to be was vastly different. And i was desperate to get there, going so far at times as assuming that i was already there, not yet understanding that that desperation was an albatross. On the same note, I had also kept the tension between who people are and what I thought they should be even if the who and what had changed: there was still an unnecessary dissonance between reality and my idealogy. In short, life was not yet fun. It was a duty. Though the goal was more wholesome, the stress was identical. I know of no other solution that to keep plugging away. Even if the plugging contributes to the problem, you still have to keep trying. there are always growing pains. Progress is intermittent.

RE: Hands in my pockets - A practice thread
Answer
5/7/12 7:51 PM as a reply to Jon T.
Hi, Jon, thanks for the valuable reply.

Jon T:

Quite clearly, I had not yet matured enought to view life as an opportunity for play and exploration. I had not yet matured enough to view human beings as the ever changing psychological and physical phenomena they are. Nor was i even self-aware enough to correctly see the all too limited parameters of the life i was living.[...] Looking back, i can see that i was living a nightmare. I had adopted a tension between 'me' and who i wanted to be. It was the same tension that was always there but now who i wanted to be was vastly different. And i was desperate to get there, going so far at times as assuming that i was already there, not yet understanding that that desperation was an albatross. On the same note, I had also kept the tension between who people are and what I thought they should be even if the who and what had changed: there was still an unnecessary dissonance between reality and my idealogy. In short, life was not yet fun. It was a duty. Though the goal was more wholesome, the stress was identical. I know of no other solution that to keep plugging away.


In summary, it's the "shoulds" and "musts" imposed over the experience of life that create these problems.

Before practice, I had (and still have experientially at some level) this silly idea that people has everything figured out, as if they had taken a lot of courses of "life, its protocols, its etiquette: everything you need to know to cultivate a happy and meaningful living", which I somehow missed. So I contrasted my internal chaos with their external control: if they behave so confidently, obviously it's because they know what's all about, they play by some golden rulebook. After really, really contemplating people, realizing that everyone was just as messy as me, that rulebook (ethics, justice system, holy book) revealed itself as an artificial way to keep an illusory civility. By repressing and expressing emotions according to that rulebook, that civility (or apparently controlled and correct behavior) was another messy aspect of people: just a mask that hides the real face of this mess we are; it's just us being dishonest and mediocre.

The identities that you and I mentioned are personal rulebooks, strategies we make on demand according to the situation, as if life were a competition, a war to win with our identity brothers against our identity enemies. Trent's advice of "not taking sides" is pretty relevant here.

In my case, there is a knot of identities: a) the one that I created towards X and Y persons or social groups, and b) the one I created towards myself towards X and Y persons or social groups. b) is all about the pride of having created a), and the shame of having to let a) go.

I know now, like you said, that this world is for playing, for fun. Life comes fresher and fresher as we let go of those musts. Yet, the mystery remains: why is it so difficult to go from intellectual understanding to an experiential one? Is it lack of sincerity to really be happy (free from identities) independently of the circumstances? Is it lack of sincerity to being actually sincere? A meta-sincerity?