Message Boards Message Boards

Practices Inspired by Actualism

Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective

Toggle
Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Wet Paint 9/8/09 3:42 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris Marti 9/8/09 3:52 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris Marti 9/8/09 5:00 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Mark E Defrates 9/8/09 5:35 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Mark E Defrates 9/8/09 6:02 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective David Charles Greeson 9/8/09 6:20 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Mark E Defrates 9/8/09 7:08 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Mark E Defrates 9/8/09 7:20 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective My Fragile Ego 9/8/09 9:42 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Dan Bartlett 9/8/09 10:47 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris Marti 9/8/09 11:07 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris Marti 9/8/09 11:22 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Mark E Defrates 9/8/09 12:03 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Dan Bartlett 9/8/09 12:19 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Dan Bartlett 9/8/09 12:19 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris Marti 9/8/09 12:24 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Dan Bartlett 9/8/09 12:31 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris Marti 9/8/09 1:00 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Mark E Defrates 9/8/09 1:06 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Trent S. H. 9/8/09 1:11 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Ruth Laura Edlund 5/10/10 10:36 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Daniel M. Ingram 5/10/10 11:58 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Ruth Laura Edlund 5/10/10 4:01 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Daniel M. Ingram 5/10/10 11:07 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Ruth Laura Edlund 5/11/10 9:39 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective David Charles Greeson 9/8/09 1:47 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Mark E Defrates 9/8/09 1:58 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Trent S. H. 9/8/09 2:08 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris Marti 9/8/09 2:49 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective My Fragile Ego 9/8/09 3:19 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Trent S. H. 9/8/09 3:21 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective My Fragile Ego 9/8/09 4:00 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Mark E Defrates 9/8/09 4:40 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Trent S. H. 9/8/09 5:06 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chuck Kasmire 9/8/09 6:03 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Wet Paint 9/8/09 7:32 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Wet Paint 9/8/09 9:13 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Wet Paint 9/8/09 9:17 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Wet Paint 9/8/09 9:29 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective tarin greco 9/10/09 1:28 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Alan Chapman 9/10/09 5:36 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Alan Chapman 9/10/09 5:53 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective tarin greco 9/17/09 11:17 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Dark Night Yogi 9/19/09 10:36 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Wet Paint 9/8/09 9:48 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Wet Paint 9/8/09 9:56 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Dan Bartlett 9/8/09 11:16 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective My Fragile Ego 9/9/09 1:19 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris Marti 9/9/09 1:33 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective My Fragile Ego 9/13/09 3:45 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris G 9/9/09 8:48 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris Marti 9/9/09 1:51 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris Marti 9/9/09 2:14 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective David Charles Greeson 9/9/09 2:42 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris Marti 9/9/09 3:00 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective My Fragile Ego 9/9/09 3:05 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris Marti 9/9/09 3:32 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris Marti 9/9/09 3:46 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Chris Marti 9/9/09 4:44 AM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective tarin greco 9/9/09 11:49 PM
RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective Jacob MickNeilson 10/20/09 5:32 AM
Author: AlanChapman
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

Hello everyone,

In light of the recent discussions around the Actual Freedom movement, I thought I might try to understand it better from the perspective of my own tradition.

Here is the result (excuse me for not posting it here, it's slightly too long for a thread post):

http://www.thebaptistshead.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=406&Itemid=32

If you are interested in Actual Freedom, I ask that you take the time to consider what I have written; if not in the spirit of an open mind, at least as an exercise in maintaining PCE.

After reading, please continue the conversation here.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 3:52 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Thank you, Alan, for posting that and doing the analysis. I am a huge fan of examining the evidence.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 5:00 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I should say here that when I used the analogy of "becoming like a dog" in one of my comments in regard to AF here yesterday. it was inspired by what I had read on the AF web site months ago. He, the founder, appears to want us to become un-thinking, un-knowing, un-imaginative "beings." Why would I ever want such a thing? I engage in Buddhist methods to get to know myself -and thus others - not to *deny* myself.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 5:35 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Thanks Alan, for explaining the problem with the approach of Actual Freedom from the perspective of Ceremonial Magick. I would consider myself as much a Chaos Magician as a Buddhist (I've been a magician for longer than I've been a Buddhist). From your writings I see you have criticized Chaos Magick as nihilistic, which, for all I know, may be the way you have seen it practiced. From my viewpoint Chaos Magick differs from Ceremonial Magick primarily in its non-hierarchical stance, which may ultimately be just choice of metaphor. I would describe Actual Freedom as nihilistic, and logically headed to suicide, genocide, or both, but I would not call it that because of its direction on the Great Chain of Being (tho you can - as I said - different metaphors). From my stance the problem is inherent in the hierarchical approach of Actual Freedom (and to an extent even the structure underlying attainments on DhO) which encourages the type of dominance games that are hardwired into our Higher Primate psychology. That the hierarchy is going in the opposite direction to your Great Chain is IMO irrelevant. Fans of AF would not describe the elimination of the affective self as the opposite of spiritual development but rather as the culmination. Cont...

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 6:02 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
That AF is overtly anti-human, that it comes perilously close to the fascist (and Soviet) ideals of the Superhuman and the Perfected Soviet Man, when it encourages the view that the affective self can be eliminated shows a shocking ignorance of the history of the philosophies underlying the totalitarian regimes than caused so much misery in the last century. These regimes all originated in charismatic leaders who believed they had special knowledge about the human condition that not only made them, in some senses, greater than human, but that their ideals, because they were so obviously right, needed to be instituted by force on humanity as a whole. I completely agree with you that AF's stance is contrary to the goals of both our magickal traditions, which remain, despite superficial differences, the same: the freedom that comes from practice leading to self-knowledge and the realization of actual reality. I am fundamentally opposed to systems that regard the human condition as an abomination. I believe their popularity resides in the way they pander to dominance behaviors and the gratification of afflictive emotions. I am deeply disturbed to see anti-human ideas given a forum on this discussion board. But what do I know ... I am not an arahant! But if arahantship leads me to reject my inherent humanity in favor of a depersonalized, disassociated, state of non-being in which I neither experience pleasure nor desire (except for the putative pleasure of feeling superior to other humans) I think I'd better run as fast as I can the other way.

Mark

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 6:20 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Well I liked the essay. I guess I'd say to kunzangshenpen (besides wanting to know what he'll say next) that yep, the Great Chain of being is a model, and like all models is somewhat arbitrary For instance, I've seen "ether" included in the GCB before. I don't always completely agree with Alan's models - for instance, I wholly disagree with his conception of genuine vs degenerate or psuedo traditions (although the psuedo-initiate concept seems a bit useful) - I tend to believe the so-called degenerate traditions are shamanic in origin and have a completely different set of aims and concerns (not least of which is ecological harmony which the "genuine" Western Traditions have completely lost touch with).

So it's a model, but that doesn't mean it has no value... For instance, I believe divinatory oracles like the I Ching work because they are so vague and cryptic that they allow virtually any interpretation - but there is still value in understanding what the trigrams and hexagrams symbolize - they provide a kind of lexicon.

Point taken about the primate mind, but exactly how does one avoid hierarchy? I'm trying to think of a non-hierarchical model for spiritual progress.

So let's look at what Alan is trying to express with his model, apart from literal truth. What he is essentially pointing out is an inversion of values in this movement - a counterevolutionary, or involutionary trend of development. Does that fit, Alan?

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 7:08 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I don't believe it is possible to avoid hierarchy. If the tendency to hierarchy is hard wired then the attempt to eliminate it would be as destructive as the attempt to eliminate the affective self. Rather I am talking about a stance or approach that in Chaos Magick views hierarchy with suspicion, particularly in the tendency of magicians to form lodges, temples, societies and other groups that created magickal pecking orders of limited value that seemed to elevate mediocrity over accomplishment, or more precisely the ability to model levels of attainment over magickal results. The OTO, and more recently even the IOT, has been criticized for precisely that for decades. It is possible to regard spiritual growth in a non-hierarchical manner, as a series of unfolding revelations happening globally rather than in a structured and vertical progression. I would argue that the eclectic and syncretic approach that a great many people have to spiritual development is, from a removed perspective, far less hierarchical than the approaches within many of the systems that are sampled or mastered. I understand this approach can be critiqued on grounds of superficiality (my wife said she used to be a member of the Guru-a-Month Club) but it does not have to be so, particularly if disparate approaches are integrated within an underlying belief structure such as the general principles of Buddhism. Anyway I don't mean to critique Alan, any more than a chaote would habitually critique a ceremonial magician (and vice versa). I agree with him. I wanted to point out that the AF idea that eliminating the affective self is a worthy goal can be criticized on non-hierarchical grounds. As you point out elsewhere our emotions are our mammalian biology. Cont.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 7:20 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
The wish to free ourselves from our biology has a rich and continuing history. Kurzweil and the Singularitarians are as much a part of it as the Actual Freedom crowd. This doesn't make it a good idea or founded in good science. I find this wish to transcend the body distasteful and dangerous. You don't need me to cite the horrors that history provides, from the extreme punishments of the Medieval Church to more modern fundamentalist Islamic oppression of women, that are founded in this revulsion of the body. Surely the Buddha's rejection of asceticism is a sufficient argument against this type of extreme position.

Mark

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 9:42 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Alan

The concerns you expressed, that actual freedom is a counter-initiation, and goes counter to spiritual development, are very much in-line with the concerns (fears really) I felt about it in my first 6 years of familiarity with it.

With the progress I made with advaita and vipassana etc in the past two years, I now understand most of Richard's writings in a way I did not previously. It required the combination of experience of no-self, and experience of PCE.

I remain convinced that he reached enlightenment and found something left to investigate which he took to the next stage.

I can only suggest that you induce a PCE and give a critique of that experience rather than an intellectual critique of the offering. Without that PCE to evaluate it's really impossible to frame what Richard is talking about.

Btw these are kind of tucked away in the site but useful links:

Commonly raised objections http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/commonobjections/croindex.htm
Frequently asked questions (including how to induce a PCE) http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/frequentquestions/faqindex.htm

Best regards
Craig

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 10:47 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Since AF has been brought up I've read through quite a lot of Richard's essays. It was difficult at first. I think Richard's dichotomy between "normal" & "spiritual" solutions, and his frankly bizarre generalisations of spiritual practice are putting a big barrier between him and the majority of people who may actually be able to get something from his site.

That said, when you read about the basic premises of the approach, and the core technique, I think it holds its ground. At the very least I find it fascinating, because it's clearly (in my eyes) aiming for something that other traditions haven't explored, and because it's turning a lot of usually nice and calm people into hordes of angry apes immediately setting down their boundaries and declaring war :-)

Alan said "He equates the ego with the psychological self, but instead of the usual understanding of the soul as a spiritual entity, he claims the soul is nothing but the ‘instinctual self’. Here the soul is reduced to the lower emotional/higher physical level of experience. Again, a complete reversal of the planes."

Unless you would like to point me to the soul, I don't see how the planes explanation has any more meat to it than Richard's explanation! Here's a good read on the basics of his approach re: ego vs soul, and their roots http://actualfreedom.com.au/introduction/actualfreedom1.htm

My other fav. articles: http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/thismomentofbeingalive.htm
http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/attentivenesssensuousnessapperceptiveness.htm
and http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/aprecisofactualfreedom.htm

I find the core practice is elegant &powerful, particularly in establishing insight and "Morality"-based (affective, cognitive) mindfulness throughout the day. More experiments to be done, more data needed.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 11:07 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
As far as I can tell, Craig, everything on that site is "tucked away." It's a mass, a mountain, of inefficent verbiage. I have to wade through lots and lots and lots of links and overlapping words and phrases in order to find anything with real meaning. I'm exhausted from looking at the site. If brevity or the ability to distill meaning from complex material is any indicator, Richard isn't there. But then that's often how these things work. Volume is sometimes mistaken for meaning or relevance, as in, "He must be onto something. He's written pages and pages and pages on it!"

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 11:22 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
"I find it fascinating, because it's clearly (in my eyes) aiming for something that other traditions haven't explored..."

Dan, can you describe for us what your version of "something that other traditions haven't explored" is?

Thanks.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 12:03 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
So the very first statement I encounter, Craig, when I go to your suggested URL (http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/commonobjections/croindex.htm) is one in which he states he is the very first human being to achieve actual freedom from the human condition. Here we go, in his words:

QUOTE In other words I traversed territory which no enlightened being has ever navigated – virgin terrain somewhat akin to the ‘white-out’ experienced in a featureless landscape of snow and ice – until that ‘Great Beyond’ which has been proposed heretofore to only be possible at physical death became an actuality whilst the flesh and blood body was still alive. END QUOTE

Now, correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this very state described by Daniel (and many many others) as high level experience of the formless realms? Um, what I've experienced? Um, what a martial artist friend of mine experienced pretty much off the cuff?

Leaving that aside for the moment, do you, Craig, actually believe that Richard has achieved higher states of consciousness than any other human being? Higher, say, than the historical Buddha?

Now my very first impression is Richard is a charismatic and deluded man with tendencies to megalomania, but I will read some more, at least to get over my absolutely thunderstruck amazement that these ideas are being promulgated on what I really did think was a Buddhist board. I mean it is called Dharma Overground. But like I said, what do I know?

Mark

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 12:19 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I see it like this: there are lots of ways to soften, deconstruct and then somewhat "remove" the unconscious process of projecting a separate "me" over all the empty sensations that make up experience. Most of the well-known spiritual traditions have some technique or other that assists in this, usual by paying close attention to things "as they are", and penetrating beyond the veil of conventional appearances and thoughts. Most people would agree that although this also brings emotional changes, insight and enlightenment is something of an independent line of development. (very rough summaries here.)

Realisation of no-self does seem to be an important element of AF, but AF is ultimately aiming at something more: to be happy and harmless all the time, total peace, by seeing through "being" itself, which Richard claims is the "presence" that enlightened people are unconsciously identifying with. This unconscious identification does not allow real freedom because it still entails the arising of malice and sorrow. This fundamental “being” is made up (an emergent result?) of the base instinctual programs/passions that make up the human biocomputer, i.e. fear, desire, nurture. Etc. It is this being that pumps out malice and sorrow, due to outdated survival instincts that helped us along earlier in the human story.

As Tarin stated previously, with an enlightened person, malice and sorrow still arise – they are just said or felt to be “awareness acting on itself” or some other similar term.

Contd...

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 12:19 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
AF says “not good enough.” For the actualist, one is not just concerned with eliminating the ego, but with eliminating something more fundamental – “being” itself, and hence any affective distortion on reality. This is achieved through constantly running a question through awareness until it becomes an ongoing non-verbal awareness of this only moment of being alive: “how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?” (see here for more on how this enquiry develops apperceptiveness - http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/attentivenesssensuousnessapperceptiveness.htm)

The “end result” highlights these differences. Contrast Richard’s state of existence with those of other arahats. Some pretty big differences! Note: I am not enlightened or virtually free, but I’ve found that after studying some of the key AF essays, it’s not too difficult to understand, and that the AF approach is something unique and potentially valuable.

I am practicing the AF technique at the moment, but I'm new to the game and am just testing the waters right now. What I mean is that I am not a staunch advocate or knowledgable practitioner, so my posts here are only on the basis of what I've gleaned from initial theory and practice. I want to get to the nuts and bolts of it, because I agree that the presentation of the whole thing is quite crap.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 12:24 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
What is "being itself?"

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 12:31 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
"All humans are instilled with an instinctual animal ‘self’ that is the very core of the self-survival program. Although the instinctual survival program is genetically-encoded in animals so as to ensure the survival of the species and not the individual, in humans the survival program is also ‘self’-centred.

Our instinctual-rudimentary ‘self’ is both palpable and potent due to the surge of chemicals arising from the primitive brain. This ‘self’ is our instinctual ‘being’ at our very animal core – instinctual, thoughtless and emotional."
http://actualfreedom.com.au/introduction/actualfreedom1.htm

If you've found the AF site hard to breach, please check out the link above and the articles I linked to in my first post in this thread. (I think I originally found these through CGN & Tarin on an earlier thread) They give a pretty solid overview of the basics in terms everyone can understand.

P.S. would love to carry on discussin', but I live on the other side of the world to most people here so it's way past bed time. Back tomorrow.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 1:00 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Dan, Joseph Ledoux, a real neuroscientist, is being named by Richard in that material. I doubt very much any of LeDoux's research leads to the conclusions Richard takes it to, but it is a common tactic I've seen before - throw out some poor unwilling or unknowing scientist's name and wrap yourself in it to get folks to think you have science behind you. So, if you read through LeDoux's web site at New York University you'll definitely find some interesting information about the human brain and the root causes of our emotions and how they relate to our higher faculties, but nothing there about eradicating them being a good idea:

http://www.cns.nyu.edu/ledoux/overview.htm

My guess is that Joseph LeDoux himself would laugh at the idea that we can actually rid ourselves completely of the the deep seated biological, chemical and anatomical systems we've inherited from our evolutionary past. Richard says we can. Richard is thus making a claim that can be falsified not just by personal spiritual practice but by science. In fact, that has been referenced here a few times: if a human being actually manages to rid themselves of these systems, emotions, imagination and other higher brain functions then they have a pathological condition. So I guess you're right about one thing --- it's not what we think of as enlightenment.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 1:06 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Dan you write

QUOTE Realisation of no-self does seem to be an important element of AF, but AF is ultimately aiming at something more: to be happy and harmless all the time, total peace, by seeing through "being" itself, which Richard claims is the "presence" that enlightened people are unconsciously identifying with.END QUOTE

Surely you know this to be incorrect? On this board at least the sensation of presence (a word more used by Eckhart Tolle than most Buddhists practicing the techniques in the Satipatthana Sutta) is recognized as just another sensation. To identify with this would just be a more subtle way of identifying with the Self. In other words it would be a refutation of anatta and so a refutation of one of the fundamentals of Buddhism, a key doctrine that sets Buddhism apart from most other religions and philosophies. Why does Richard not know this? Why don't you?

I fail to see why anyone on this board would reject 2500 years of meditation and analysis by a very great many Buddhist practitioners in favor of a man who blandly states that the proof that he is the first person to achieve actual freedom is that he saw the psychic footprints of other seekers and went further than they did. Here he is:

QUOTE furthermore, in the ensuing years, as I proceeded to penetrate deeper and deeper into the state of being known as spiritual enlightenment, the psychic footprints, as it were, of those who had explored some of the further reaches of ‘Being’ itself gradually became less and less in number and finally petered out altogether leaving only virgin territory wherever the (psychic) eye would look. I was truly on my own END QUOTE

As Chris asks

What is "being itself"?

Mark

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 1:11 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Chris,

First, I am very far down this path and have extremely subtle feelings. I spend probably a good 5-6 hours a week in complete cessation and it is the most amazing thing I could ever dream of. It's not some myth or dream, and it's not something bad or dysfunctional. I have seen it with my own eyes, hours and hours in succession, while carrying on a normal life and a normal job. Your speculation is only that, speculation.

Furthermore, I beg of you to really consider what a pathalogical condition is. Going to war, for instance, isn't considered insane. But look, it's pretty a pretty crazy thing to do. I have more examples. People are often considered crazy if they talk out loud to themselves, but I actually consider it the exact opposite; it seems much more crazy to me to have voices and visions (personalized hallucinations) dancing around in your head all day. What about considering "everything to be illusion" when you quite obviously wake up in the same body every day, with the same memories, subject to the same laws of physics? Hmm, quite a bit of "crazy" going on.

Point is, craziness is just an arbitrary definition for social normality, it is by no means a strict definition of what is good or desirable for humans as individuals or as a whole.

Kunzangshenpen-- Imo, it's not really worth trying to explain. Sort of like someone trying to explain fruition or a formation to someone who's never experienced them. It basically means "absolutely no self, feelings or otherwise." Further explanation would be convoluted and not really make sense because it would not have experiential context.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 1:47 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Ok, I think I really didn't emphasize this point enough:

While the limbic system is involved with both short-term memory and emotion, as well as endocrine regulation - so one would clearly mess themselves up hormonally as well as in other respects if they did succeed in deactivating their emotions...

But also, the MOST primitive emotions - territory, sexual urges, rage, terror are controlled by the reptilian system.

The reptilian system is contiguous with the brainstem.

Dr. Ingram well knows what happens if there is damage to the brainstem, and can confirm my statements here.

Point is, if you removed all affect, you'd die.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 1:58 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
You do make assumptions about people you don't know. Do you think, because I have spent 44 years using systems other than the one you cite but am new to the system with which you are familiar that I would not have the experiential context to understand a state in which there is "absolutely no self, feelings or otherwise"? Why would you think that? You don't have to answer me but you may find it a useful exercise to answer this to yourself.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 2:08 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Of course I make assumptions, it's an expedient means of communication. I assume that you can read the actual freedom website (which defines it much better than I can), and that you will either know what it's talking about or not. Thus, my abbreviated form, based on that assumption and partly my laziness, was my response. I have no clue what you've experienced and it is really of no concern of mine.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 2:49 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
"I have no clue what you've experienced and it is really of no concern of mine."

Well, you've told us in no uncertain terms that we should heed your experience. Which is it? Does it matter, or not? Or is it a matter of expedience?

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 3:19 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Mark

The problem is that words cannot express being itself. In fact, in nondual awareness I tend not to even notice it. It is only after going through a pure consciousness experience where it is absent, that I notice it return quite markedly.

Words fail dismally to convey this. If you want to know what is being itself, the answer is not to ask someone. It's to experience no-being by inducing a PCE and eventually (anywhere from seconds to hours) watching being return in real-time.

Would you try to explain no-self to someone who has never meditated? Or would you give them instructions to experience it for themselves, with some reasons why they might like to try?

IMHO explaining these things causes the same type of reaction as we personally experience during dark night.

Eventually loss of meaning could be welcomed as unknowing, but at first it's the floor beneath us opening up to swallow us.
Eventually loss of false fullness could be welcomed as wholeness/emptiness/boundlessness, but at first it's a nihilistic void to fear.
Likewise, Eventually loss of affective-being could be welcomed, but at first it's proposing to give up the most precious aspects of our humanity.

Best regards
Craig

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 3:21 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Chris, I said nothing of the sort. I simply replied to a thread about "a definition of imagination" and gave my thoughts on imagination as I have experienced it in its various manifest ways. Furthermore, upon ridicule, I requested that people try to understand something (hopefully through experience) before they argue about that which they have not given a fair chance.

Many of the replies on this forum to AF (this one included) are a good example of the more subtle ways imagination is a pain in the arse. We've seen everything from "cults," to blind dogma, declaration of The Truth, to drama that makes Shakespear look like a newbie writer, to completely ignoring the words on the screen. The things I have said have been done so in no uncertain terms; careful what you decide to fill in between the lines.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 4:00 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Mark

You wrote: So the very first statement I encounter, Craig, when I go to your suggested URL is one in which he states he is the very first human being to achieve actual freedom from the human condition.

I know. It's a contentious type of statement. I don't see how he can know that for sure, but it's true that no one else seems to have ever peddled this particular message from all of my reading over the years.

You wrote: Now, correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this very state described by Daniel (and many many others) as high level experience of the formless realms? Um, what I've experienced? Um, what a martial artist friend of mine experienced pretty much off the cuff?

I don't claim to have mastered the formless realms, although I do believe I have attained nirodha samapatti on a number of occasions. So far, nothing else has been quite like the PCE, except that immediately after realising the absolute I had a PCE which lasted for several hours and I brought back quite effortlessly over the next day or two.

You wrote: Leaving that aside for the moment, do you, Craig, actually believe that Richard has achieved higher states of consciousness than any other human being? Higher, say, than the historical Buddha?

All I know is Richard pointed me to the PCE. In the intervening 9 years I have learnt to attain numerous cessations and what seems to be nirodha samapatti, as well as becoming free in a way I never expected to previously, yet to this day the PCE is the most difficult to achieve, subtle, yet pristine and perfect state I have experienced. It bestows a freedom like no other, and stands apart, so I will continue to investigate it until I attain clarity on the matter.

Don't get me wrong. I think enlightenment is great too. If anything I think they're complementary attainments.

Best regards
Craig

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 4:40 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
OK Craig, thanks for your cordial response. I certainly understand being interested in a technical accomplishment even if you do not agree 100 per cent with the originator of the technique. I trust that you also understand the deep suspicion that Buddhists like me have to statements that Richard has made evincing a fundamental misunderstanding of Buddhism and Eastern Religions. To wit:

QUOTE The fashionable practice of meditation, sitting silently and retreating from the world of the senses, is a means of dissociating from the physical world and retreating into an imaginary ‘inner’ world where feeling and fantasy are free to run riot. END QUOTE

This is from a section panning Eastern Religion. I know of no form of meditation from any Eastern Religion that suggests the meditator do this and I have a great deal of experiential knowledge in Eastern meditative techniques. You are aware that Vipassana meditation never suggests doing this. Perhaps Richard's only experience of meditation comes from pop psychology where this statement might be true.

But you can do what you want. I'll even try Richard's technique in case I have the same experience that you did and to see if it is unique. My objection to AF rests in my bafflement as to just what it has to do with Buddhism and Buddhist meditation techniques. I do understand that Trent, having achieved arahantship, has found it lacking but isn't this kind of like saying:

Well I tried this, didn't get to where I wanted to go and now I'm happier using Scientology?

And then starting to discuss Scientology here? And to tell us how much better Scientology is than Buddhism?

Tell me how AF and Buddhism is complementary?

Please don't tell me I wouldn't understand because the answer is experiential. I can test that for myself.

Mark

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 5:06 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Mark,

Jeez dude, I've said it time and time again: I'm not trying to perpetuate any of the AF dialogue on this site. Look at every single post I've had during the past few days. I commented on the "imagination definition" thread because it did not specifically mention buddhism. I only peripherally mentioned AF in my response and was attacked for it, and have been defending it sense then. I have not been vague or ambiguous, and I have not said 90% of the things I've been accused of. Hell, I wouldn't even be responding to this silliness, but I'm just sitting here working on an online project, so it makes for an interesting break time.

Trent

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 6:03 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
So what do you think of this statement by Richard: “when one has ceased being ‘me’ and is being what one genuinely is, one directly experiences that there is no separation from this something which is precious.... I am the universe experiencing itself as a sensate, reflective human being”. - It is an interesting view isn't it?

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 7:32 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: Adam_West

Hey Chelek!

The quote of Richard's which you posted, reminds me very much like the view of Kashmir Shaivism. There seems to be quite a lot of consistency between some of Richard's views and the classical enlightenment model of Indian stream. I can see why you find similarities with your own experience, and why others would aspire to it. I see similar things also. Buddhism of the Theravada stream can be quite nihilistic in its focus on emptiness. Many of us find that to be an unsatisfactory presentation of the state of things. With traditions that focus on the 'fullness' of things as 'true-self' rather than the emptiness of no-self can be quite a bit more intuitive. Of course it is not a case of either or; but with Theravada orthodoxy, it can be difficult to walk outside of the exclusive and exhaustive binary dichotomies.

In kind regards,

Adam.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 9:13 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: AlanChapman

Hello everyone,

I think everyone has sort of missed the point with my lttle analysis: AF is a PARODYof enlightenment, and it aims at a PARODY of arahatship. The use of the GCB was not 'prove' anything, it's just an arbitrary device.

So as a PARODY, you can find similarities between AF and genuine enlightenment, but they are never the same thing.

Oblivion is a PARODY of no-self.

Eradication is a PARODY of compassion.

Consider Nazism (please don't evoke Godwin): you can find many similarities between the Third Reich and genuine spiritual traditions, but reality is reduced solely to the physical world, and - for the good of the world - eradication of the apparent problem ensues.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 9:17 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: AlanChapman

@Dan Bartlett: morality is not separate to insight (I think this view is a bad model).

The consequence of the direct recognition of our true nature IS compassion, love, kindness, openess, and peace.

Morality training IS insight training.

Enlightenment IS the end of suffering, no eradication necessary.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 9:29 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: AlanChapman

I think it is falsely believed that insight has no effect on the behaviour and personality of the practitioner, and that bad habits - such as malice and sorrow - still persist.

This is simply an inaccurate view.

Either we recognise our true nature, or we do not. This is true for the arahat. This does not mean Wholeness or Completion is not apparent 24, 7; it means that the human being is not recognising his true nature in that moment, and he is allowing old habits to run their course. Malice, sorrow, and the rest, effortlessly subside with recognition, and peace and compassion effortlessly arise.

If you are an arahat and an arsehole, it is becase you are bad at maintaining recognition (which is insight practice), even when not on the mat. This is the responsibility of the arahat.

If you claim to be an arahat, the next time a naughty emotion arises, just recognise Wholeness (only takes a second), and you will see the emotion for what it truly is: without beginning, without end, never was an issue, no bad actions follow.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 9:48 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: AlanChapman

And finally, I have tried PCE.

(When I first came across this stuff, I did a search on 'actualism' to test it out:

http://www.actualism.org/

Boy, did I feel stupid when I realised my mistake; but I did actually enjoy feeling the 'energy' pouring down from the 'star' above my head for a few minutes.)

I am not being an arsehole here: An emotion I shouldn't like would arise, but before I could investigate the root of the emotion, I had already recognised Wholeness and it would subside, no beginning, no end, no involvement, no suffering, no bad resulting action, and peace, freedom and compassion would arise of their own accord.

I did it again and again, because I wanted to see what a Pure Consciousness Experience was like, but I could not. So I tried to just experience the physical world, but as soon as I turned my attention there, it subsided into no beginning, no end, no involvement, no suffering, and peace, compassion and freedom arose spontaneously.

I don't know what else I can say. But can you really accuse me of being too invested in 'the view of enlightenment' because I cannot follow the course of AF, when I am describing my moment to moment experience? Can you really say that I suffer with malice and sorrow?

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 9:56 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: AlanChapman

If Richard truly experienced what I experience for over a decade, I really cannot fathom how he practised AF with the intent of eradicating something that has no beginning, no end, no involvement, no suffering, and that spontaneously gives way to peace, compassion and freedom.

But then maybe I'm not as advanced as him.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/8/09 11:16 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hey, no fair! I was trying to summarise it All in one paragraph; I was aiming for brevity :-)

Re: morality & insight, I generally agree, although I'm sure you would agree that it can seem otherwise before enlightenment. What I was saying is that I've found the AF technique useful to help me approach both insight and morality from a common baseline, to pay both good attention throughout the day. (the language I'm using still implies a separation, but I think you get what I mean) The link between these things is an on-going exploration for me.

As for the rest of your comments, I trust you and don't doubt what you're saying. But I also think some of the members that see something in AF are smart and rational people who are getting something from it. So I'm just curious. Hopefully this thread, the AF vs. 3rd/4th path thread, and other people's experiments will help flesh out more details.

"More precious than all the
stars in the heavens
is the one Within you.
Enter the Star Path to
explore the Heaven Within . . ."
Haha!

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/9/09 1:19 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Mark

You wrote: I trust that you also understand the deep suspicion that Buddhists like me have to statements that Richard has made evincing a fundamental misunderstanding of Buddhism and Eastern Religions.

Yes I totally understand. Their understanding of vipassana is naive at best. Their issues with eastern mysticism seem to be more of a criticism guru worship and bhakti yoga than vipassana and jnana yoga. It does not seem to me that buddhism is 180 degrees opposite to actualism. If I was to describe the difference I'd be more inclined to say "Go to the end of the buddhist street, turn left and keep going another 100m." emoticon

You wrote: My objection to AF rests in my bafflement as to just what it has to do with Buddhism and Buddhist meditation techniques.

Actualism is not about beliefs, is a practice-oriented way to liberation, leads to no-self (close enough), and an end of suffering. Sound familiar?

Despite having read Bare Faced Messiah (biography of confidence man L Ron Hubbard), I don't know much about the "technology" of scientology. There was a character on Nip Tuck who was espousing scientology - I totally agreed with everything she had to say. Oops!

Best regards
Craig

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/9/09 1:33 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
"I think everyone has sort of missed the point with my lttle analysis: AF is a PARODYof enlightenment, and it aims at a PARODY of arahatship. The use of the GCB was not 'prove' anything, it's just an arbitrary device."

Alan, I believe this is quite clear to a number of people here - just not the ones at whom you're aiming the comments. I believe, despite people's comments that they genuinely appreciate the techniques of AF, that the actual system, the philosophy, the religion if you will, is broken. It is a denial of that which makes us human and, as such, has the potential to be quite harmful.

You deserve a lot of appreciation for exploring this and sharing that experience with all of us. Thank you.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/13/09 3:45 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Alan

Haha yeah that actualism site is a funny place to end up by mistake. I ran into it the other day myself.

Re your description of trying for a PCE, about a week ago I was there. Couldn't bring on a PCE to save my life. It kept slipping into nonduality, rigpa. No problems. Wasn't sure why I'd want to have a PCE. I couldn't tell whether I'd ever had a PCE or if I had been mistaking it for this nondual awareness. The problem is that the PCE is hard to remember, it seems that the mechanism of memory makes use of affective feelings.

Try this:
1. Foster the feeling of enjoyment of this very moment of being alive. Concentrate on the senses, paying them exclusive attention. The feeling of enjoyment is a diffuse warmth which spreads throughout your body.
2. Foster fascination. What a miracle it is to be alive as a self-reflective human being. What a curiosity, to gaze out these eyes, to think and reflect. Being here right now is truly fascinating.
3. Now pay attention to your minds awareness of itself. This is a reflexive action of mind, awareness watching awareness.

Strong feelings (any issues whatsoever) will interfere your ability to trigger a PCE. So deal with those first until you feel fine.

It may take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour of wanting a PCE for it to occur. If feelings are getting in the way it will not happen. If you're already in a good place, a few minutes of careful attention to these qualities is all it takes. You can't force it. It requires a relaxed concentration. Just now it took me perhaps 3 minutes. I was about to give up, thinking I was too tired. Then snap. The way I look upon the world seems to change focus. It becomes more 3d. More clear. Now this truly is fascinating and enjoyable, peaceful, pristine and perfect.

Best regards
Craig
[Edited to make it seem less easy and add note about stopping block of starting with issues, as it seems I misled Alan to believing some other state such as an excellence experience was a PCE]

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/9/09 1:51 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
"Jeez dude, I've said it time and time again: I'm not trying to perpetuate any of the AF dialogue on this site."

We're all focused on AF for this one reason: you, along with a couple of others, brought it here. It's just that simple. What's amazing, concerning and troublesome to many people, many of whom USED to frequent this site on a regular basis, is that AF is being dragged in here under the auspices of a site devoted to a book which is devoted to a very fundamental, pretty classical, teaching of Theravada Buddhism. It's a bait and switch, frankly, and I'm not interested in participating in that kind of thing. Others are speaking up, too. You can read their comments.

Daniel - again, you are risking your heritage and the legacy of your book by not addressing this. I'm mystified by the fact that you haven't seen the need to address this. Mystified, saddened actually, and starting to think that this just isn't a place where I or anyone who thinks rationally about being human should be spending time. What is being propagated here at times, under your auspices, your web site, the name of your book, is not Buddhism and, worse, actually appears to reject Buddhism based on the words of the founder of the AF movement. Is that what you want? It's happening right now, right here. And despite Trent's pleading that he doesn't bring AF up, he does. Review hiscomments, please.

You may call this an intolerant view, but at your own risk.

You all, everyone here, needs to seriously consider what it is you want to get from this place and act accordingly. We all have to make a choice, I suppose, as unpalatable as it may be. I'm sorry, Daniel, but your silence is starting to speak to me.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/9/09 2:14 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
"Point is, craziness is just an arbitrary definition for social normality, it is by no means a strict definition of what is good or desirable for humans as individuals or as a whole."

Trent, there really are "crazy" people. I hope you never have to deal with one. I have. It is quite apparent when you do that their mental processes aren't in tune with our collective reality. And we do have an agreed upon collective reality.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/9/09 2:42 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Boy I could tell you some stories... and it's not merely a matter of social normality, but physical survival at times. I don't like the word "crazy" but...

Alan, I defiinitely did not miss the "parody" - I agree, and this is what happens when there is an inversion of values in any setting. My own pet map, Bob Campbell's system supports this as well.

I think what is lacking is a real understanding of what emotions are how indispensable they actually are to our social, physical, and psychic functioning. I highly recommend "A General Theory of Love" by Lewis, Amini, and Lannon for everyone to read. To remove these elements from our psychic life would be like removing the heart from a body and expecting it to function, literally. I also think that some scientific evidence could be generated that would support that a person who believes that they have achieved AF still has emotions that they are not aware of, and would invite such people down to Louisiana at my expense to play with my fMRI, Pet scan, EEG, polygraph, and dental equipment. I think we could probably demonstrate autonomic reactivity at any rate... There would, of course, be a waiver to sign, for both me and my associate, Dr. Benway.

Yep, the PCE is still sounding like a dissociative state to me.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/9/09 3:00 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
"I think what is lacking is a real understanding of what emotions are..."

Absolutely. No doubt about it. This confusion becomes clear the second someone says they have none, or can live without them, or that they are somehow disposable.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/9/09 3:05 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Chris,

I suggest you go back and read Daniel's recent post. Then read it again. As usual, Daniel leads the way in manifesting sincerity and wisdom.

Chris, your posts have become increasingly defensive and offensive at the same time, which is an interesting mix. Ironically, the safe sense of the *known* so clearly being threatened is one of the things you will have to give up to reach enlightenment.

You're referring to "many" but I only hear the emotional blackmail from you. Chuck, David, Alan, Mark, Kenneth et al may have their reservations but they aren't acting like they have to go to war to defend their religion, which is very much the reaction I'm seeing from you. You're trying to lead a witch hunt. I can clearly see you reacting against intentions which are obviously not there.

I think you need to do some honest evaluation of your motivations behind these posts.

You seem to be projecting your own fears of death (understandable, trust me, but misplaced) onto "actualism" which does not truly exist aside from a useful verbal label. The factuality of what you're railing against is a commitment to happiness and harmlessness. It is not a sinister organisation. It does not have the power to harm you or anyone else.

"You may call this an intolerant view, but at your own risk". What risk here? Do you realise that this is a type of threat?
"You are risking your heritage and the legacy of your book" Again a thinly veiled threat.

These threats you just made, and the unfounded fears which motivate them are a perfect example of what Richard is pointing out when he suggests that transcended feelings of fear and aggression can be a trap in eastern spirituality.

Craig

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/9/09 3:32 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Craig, with all due respect, I'm not threatening you or anyone. I do want Daniel to realize the things I said in my earlier post, however. That's what "at your own risk" means -- be aware of the consequences of our actions or our inactions.

I've been very, very clear about my motivation. It's not hidden at all. I said it again just this morning. I'm happy to leave it at that - just read my comments. Draw your own conclusions. Make your own decision. Do what you think is best. That's what we all should do.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/9/09 3:46 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
"These threats you just made, and the unfounded fears which motivate them are a perfect example of what Richard is pointing out when he suggests that transcended feelings of fear and aggression can be a trap in eastern spirituality. "

Yes, of course. Richard ;-)

Craig, let me ask you a question - why are you a member of DhO? If it is Actualism that you prefer, why do you bother with a bunch of Buddhists and their mistaken practices and philosophies? Despite the comments of people here who have a lot of experience in spirituality, in cognitive science, in psychology, you choose Actualism, even after it has been described by those people as being wrong in concept, in philosophy and in practice? Did you read the material I linked to on Dr.Joseph LeDoux's web site - the material that Richard thinks validates Actualism? I don't think my fears are unfounded and I'm not alone in that regard based on the comments of others here that I respect.

I'm a Buddhist, Craig. I believe that Buddhist practices will help me understand what it means to be human. This is quite different than engaging a a practice that is designed to do the impossible - to rid me of the emotions and some of the higher brain functions that make me a human being. Apropos Alan Chapman's comments.

If I believe what I just wrote (and I do) then I believe it's my duty to speak up.That's all. It's a responsibility I take seriously.

YMMV, of course.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/9/09 4:44 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Okay, mea culpa.

I missed Daniel's recent comment this morning. That's my error, may fault, my mistake. I take full responsibility for the error and for all of my comments, which I still stand behind.

I hope Daniel's suggested separation of the AF from the Buddhist will work.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/9/09 8:48 PM as a reply to My Fragile Ego.
Wet Paint:
2009-09-09 06:45:00

Try this:
1. Foster the feeling of enjoyment of this very moment of being alive. Concentrate on the senses, paying them exclusive attention. The feeling of enjoyment is a diffuse warmth which spreads throughout your body.
2. Foster fascination. What a miracle it is to be alive as a self-reflective human being. What a curiosity, to gaze out these eyes, to think and reflect. Being here right now is truly fascinating.
3. Now pay attention to your minds awareness of itself. This is a reflexive action of mind, awareness watching awareness.

It may take a few minutes of careful attention to these qualities. You can't force it. It requires a relaxed concentration. Just now it took me perhaps 3 minutes. I was about to give up, thinking I was too tired. Then snap. The way I look upon the world seems to change focus. It becomes more 3d. More clear. Now this truly is fascinating and enjoyable, peaceful, pristine and perfect.



Hi Craig,

Thanks very much for these beautifully written instructions. I must say this kind of approach seems more in line with my own experiences and what I've been looking for in Buddhism. (2) in particular is something I can connect with. Please post more of this stuff whenever you're inspired.

Cheers,
Chris

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/10/09 1:28 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Wet Paint:
2009-09-09 02:29:00
Author: AlanChapman

I think it is falsely believed that insight has no effect on the behaviour and personality of the practitioner, and that bad habits - such as malice and sorrow - still persist.

This is simply an inaccurate view.


oh they still clearly persist, as you acknowledge below - they persist to arise.


Either we recognise our true nature, or we do not. This is true for the arahat. This does not mean Wholeness or Completion is not apparent 24, 7; it means that the human being is not recognising his true nature in that moment, and he is allowing old habits to run their course. Malice, sorrow, and the rest, effortlessly subside with recognition, and peace and compassion effortlessly arise.


and yet, for malice, sorrow, and the rest, to effortlessly subside with recognition, they must first arise, which, as you have acknowledged, they do for you.


If you are an arahat and an arsehole, it is becase you are bad at maintaining recognition (which is insight practice), even when not on the mat. This is the responsibility of the arahat.


if malice and sorrow must still arise, then there is the need to 'maintain recognition' - which happens successfully sometimes, yet doesnt at others.


If you claim to be an arahat, the next time a naughty emotion arises, just recognise Wholeness (only takes a second), and you will see the emotion for what it truly is: without beginning, without end, never was an issue, no bad actions
follow.


if malice and sorrow ('a naughty emotion') arises, and an arahat does not 'recognise wholeness' immediately (however long or short that takes), a 'bad action' does follow. and even in the cases where wholeness is recognised, and 'bad actions' do not follow, the arising of malice and sorrow, however briefly, has already sent out a ripple through the psychic web.

it is all a question of how seriously you wish to take the issue of malice and sorrow. if transcending it with wholeness (and keeping it in check with vigilant re-application of the same whenever malice and sorrow manage to sneak back in) will suffice for your purposes, then you are apparently set. however, there are those of us who will not settle for such mediocrity, especially when there is better within reach.

no beginning, no end... and yet those naughty emotions still keep coming eh?

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/9/09 11:49 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Wet Paint:
2009-09-09 09:44:00
Author: cmarti


Okay, mea culpa.

I missed Daniel's recent comment this morning. That's my error, may fault, my mistake. I take full responsibility for the error and for all of my comments, which I still stand behind.

I hope Daniel's suggested separation of the AF from the Buddhist will work.


clearly an 'actual freedom' section of the new site - www.dharmaoverground.org - is warranted. a couple months ago, dan asked me if i would maintain one and whoomp, there it is. lets take discussion there. [here!]

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/10/09 5:36 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
@Tarin: But you see, that's the thing: malice and sorrow do NOT persist, because they never did in the first place! If you are an arahat, just look. Where is this malice and sorrow? What needs to be eradicated?

What I am describing is not ignoring the world; it is a transformation of it. What happens when you recognise Wholeness? Peace, compassion, kindness all arise spontaneously, because that is our true nature. Abiding in the truth is the greatest action one can take to change the world. The actions of the arahat reflect compassion and peace in the world, even though it never was or can be an issue. Isn't that incredible?!

And please: what is this 'psychic web'? I've been a magician for 15 years, and I've never come across one.

You sound like you have a strong desire for deliverance. You also seem to have a rather shallow view of what enlightenment is, like it is some kind of one off event and it should have cured all your ills (what ills?!). AF is selling exactly the same silly idea of a one off, cure all escape into a super-state.

I'll say it again: enlightenment is the realisation that there is no such thing as an escape, or a perfect state, because there was never anyone to escape, never anything to escape from. And yet here you are, still trying to escape from malice and sorrow!

Enlightenment is for life Tarin; not just for a single moment that you believe will make everything you don't like go away.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/10/09 5:53 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
Tarin: it is all a question of how seriously you wish to take the issue of malice and sorrow. if transcending it with wholeness (and keeping it in check with vigilant re-application of the same whenever malice and sorrow manage to sneak back in) will suffice for your purposes, then you are apparently set. however, there are those of us who will not settle for such mediocrity, especially when there is better within reach.


There is no issue with malice and sorrow, never has been, never can be. Wholeness does not transcend the issue; it reveals there never was one.

Practicing enlightenment - i.e. not entertaining the bad habits left over from ignorance - is not a method of dealing with the issue of malice and sorrow; it is the recognition that there is not an issue. In the place of mailce and sorrow arises compassion, peace and freedom, and virtuous actions follow.

Again: enlightenment does not 'deal' with issues; it is the recognition that there never was any. All the evil in the world results from believeing that there are 'issues' that need dealing with, because this is a view based on ignorance.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/17/09 11:17 PM as a reply to Alan Chapman.
Alan Chapman:


There is no issue with malice and sorrow, never has been, never can be. Wholeness does not transcend the issue; it reveals there never was one.

Practicing enlightenment - i.e. not entertaining the bad habits left over from ignorance - is not a method of dealing with the issue of malice and sorrow; it is the recognition that there is not an issue. In the place of mailce and sorrow arises compassion, peace and freedom, and virtuous actions follow.

Again: enlightenment does not 'deal' with issues; it is the recognition that there never was any. All the evil in the world results from believeing that there are 'issues' that need dealing with, because this is a view based on ignorance.


im short on net time, so i'll keep it short. let's try a substitution. you say:

'There is no issue with malice and sorrow, never has been, never can be. Wholeness does not transcend the issue; it reveals there never was one.'

lets say, instead of 'malice and sorrow', we say 'anger, sadness, and fear'. would you then write:

'There is no issue with [anger, sadness, and fear], never has been, never can be. Wholeness does not transcend the issue; it reveals there never was one.'?

and if so, does that mean to imply that you do not experience anger, sadness, or fear in any way at all, ever, whatsoever? or that in the way you experience their existence, there is no issue whatsoever?

if the former, i would be interested to know.

if the latter, we have clearly different agendas. i wish to eradicate anger, sadness, and fear completely, and so do see an issue with them. angry, sad, and fearful humans exist in a world that exists, humans that would be better off not being angry sad or fearful. something fundamental can be done about this. therefore, saying 'no issue' about anger, sadness and fear (since they have no inherent existence, and arise only to pass anyway) is such a failed solution, in that it does not lead to humans who are not angry, not sad, and not fearful.

to recognise wholeness in a way that makes the perpetual arising of anger, sadness and fear irrelevant - a non-issue - is to miss something that is the very key to making these unfortunate conditions stop arising completely, forever. if finding that key is too tall an order for you, or seemingly irrelevant, then as it is your life and your choice, i respect it.. but i do not agree with it. 'recognising wholeness' in such a way that nullifies the need to eliminate anger, sadness and fear is such a travesty of a solution to the problems that plague human beings that its propagation as such would be purely comical were it not also downright dangerous .. peace on earth is at stake, and your solution will not win it.

tarin

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
9/19/09 10:36 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
hi.

hmm the way i see it is sorta like the 'thera/zen/vajra', 3 ways to handle defilements.

or in tarin = more thera,
in alanchapman = more zen

on the other hand, there are stories of vajra people not 'acting right' having 'dark stuff' etc.

so, its like, its really personal. becoz we are all different. all diff. karma. its just 'honesty' really. which is best for us.
i dont think thera/zen/vajra approach is really all that 'one is superior to the other' but more of, which is best to our life circumstance, karma. what is most skillful to apply to our lives based on our capabilities and limitations.

perhaps AF is also the same way.

i see AF as related to thera view, and not all that too different.

with respect,
peace.

mitch

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
10/20/09 5:32 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Well, it sure is comforting to know that the enlightened still bicker like children.

...Hindsight, wasn't the best way to start this off.

So I've read the conversation, and I've seen the link, and... by Kant's beard some of these accusations are ridiculous. Relating it to uebermensch and fascism? Really? You know Hitler used ceremonial magick, including some of the techniques that Frater U:.D uses... so... all Chaotes are... Nazi sympathizers? (swastikas for noddy)

The tendency to see oneself as a greater being is a dogma, yes, and leads to fascism, yes. Seeing yourself as a greater being because of your compassion, humility, altruistic tendency, or realization of your own fallibility is equally backwards. Freeing oneself from the chains imposed through adulthood, through the regulation of aesthetic and art, seems to me a necessity for living a happy fun slackful life.

And then the semantic hang-up. Creative as opposed to uncreative. I chose to see that as meaning this, and simply this; life is a game. Life is a childs game. Why shack up creativity with your skeletons? Time to step out of the closet, pull out your beretta, and pull the trigger on your mirror this time instead of your foot.

For you who say this approach is dangerous... shame! What happened to the fearless explorer inside you? Are you so comfortable with your current practice that your afraid to push into new territory because of the possibility of risk? Shouldn't this compel you? It sure compels me. What happened to your reckless pursuit of blips and bleeps that can hardly be said to have happened? Where'd the luv go, maaan?!

Claiming to gone where no other has gone before is a pretty grandiose and unprovable statement, but that's no reason to discard a potential map and a good time, and it's certainly no reason to show disgust towards those who choose to try it.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
5/10/10 10:36 AM as a reply to Trent S. H..
Trent S. H.:
People are often considered crazy if they talk out loud to themselves, but I actually consider it the exact opposite; it seems much more crazy to me to have voices and visions (personalized hallucinations) dancing around in your head all day.


Wait. What? Are these the only two alternatives?

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
5/10/10 11:58 AM as a reply to Ruth Laura Edlund.
In all honesty, this was a thread I was so happy to see die that I dread what might happen given its resurrection. Care to start a new thread that asks the question you want to ask but doesn't bring that drama-fest back into the limelight?

Daniel

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
5/10/10 4:01 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
In all honesty, this was a thread I was so happy to see die that I dread what might happen given its resurrection. Care to start a new thread that asks the question you want to ask but doesn't bring that drama-fest back into the limelight?

Daniel

Oh, I am so sorry. Not trying to be an agent provocateuse. I think I'll just withdraw the question and go back to lurking on these threads.

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
5/10/10 11:07 PM as a reply to Ruth Laura Edlund.
Please forgive me if I seemed to imply you had done something wrong or provocative.

There is no reason you should have known my feelings about this particular thread or that particular period in the DhO history.

Please feel free to ask questions, debate, inquire, explore, etc.

Sorry if anything I said was off-putting.

You are welcome here,

Daniel

RE: Understanding 'Actual Freedom': a magical perspective
Answer
5/11/10 9:39 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Please forgive me if I seemed to imply you had done something wrong or provocative.

There is no reason you should have known my feelings about this particular thread or that particular period in the DhO history.

Please feel free to ask questions, debate, inquire, explore, etc.

Sorry if anything I said was off-putting.

You are welcome here,

Daniel

Oh, I didn't infer that, and nothing you said was off-putting. I felt bad that I had blundered into an area with some history. I am merrily carrying on in one of the new AF threads. emoticon

Ruth