Practice Thread

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Jon T, modified 8 Years ago.

Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
5/30/12 12:36 PM

social justice ideal: Regarding the affective faculty as primitive and clearly seeing it's magnificent power to control, i can see clearly why the world is in turmoil and why individuals are so vitriolic and unwholesome. the unimpeded intelligence is superior but being ignorant of Self and blindly valuing ones emotions over ones intellect not to mention ones culture over science and reason and chaos will reign. People cannot change until they see clearly what it is they are changing and why. They can't do this while being ignorant of Self unless they happen to have developed some emotional attachment to reason which is quite rare.

fatigue: still feel common fatigue but no longer compelled to satisfy it. Fascination, both the childish kind and the scholastic kind, has enabled me to choose life over sleep.

work: i now enjoy work. this evolution is worth noting. in the very beginning, i was talking myself out of negative states. this process lasted upwards of 12 months and didn't change my dread of work; it just mitigated my suffering while there. more recently, i noticed that i suffered equally at work as i did away from it. (I'm self employed and have no deadlines). when i did work, i suffered boredom and anxiety. away from work, i suffered shame that i wasn't working. Then somehow, i developed fascination and work became fun. i became genuine interested in the people around me and after a setback, i hve new internal feelings to explore. After a victory, i have another genre of feeling to explore. And there is always something to either study or marvel at.

pure intent: this was excitement. i doubt it was the same thing R. talks about. i still don't have PCE's.

ego: process of Self is still active. 'i' still want to control everything i can control for the advancement of both 'me' and this flesh and blood body. of course, i engage fascination and/or wonder whenever i notice that this process has started anew. likewise, i notice compulsion which includes wanting to save the world as well as teach my friends and family the Way. I also notice obsession especially after a sudden shift in fortune. 'i' want to replay the event over and over again. Eating compulsion is also quite frequent.


5/13

update

1. social justice ideal - 3 days ago i began counting each time my mind went there. that seems to help a great deal. one thing i noticed today is that the more interested i am in the topic and the more comprehensive my opinions are regarding said topic, the more difficult it is to drop the topic. Sometimes, there is a pure interest in a subject which can get corrupted by the thinker and the feeler. It may be best to completely drop the subject if the corruption is too ingrained; and if not then it may be best to continue with the subject as a way to see pure intent and watch out for the tendency of identity to own and use it to its advantage. more on this later.

2. fatigue - it hasn't gone away but it's changed. i'm not resisting it right now and it has stopped interfering with my plans. i credit this to discovering what i hope is pure intent and with a new-found work "ethic". The two together have energized me so that the thinker isn't any longer worried about not accomplishing enough. i still get tired and then take a nap. I don't feel guilty after taking the nap because i still go to work and still accomplish stuff throughout the day. This doesn't seem to be getting at the root cause but it's better than nothing.

3. work - i go to work now everday almost, probably 40-50 hours a week for the last 2 weeks or so. i credit this to realizing that works sucks just as much as non-work. of course, while at work i am trying my best to realize the innate perfection of the moment.

4. pure intent - i may have discovered it. while studying french i was energized with a delightful excitement. i realized that this excitement wasn't affective (i don't think. it is possible that it is but it isn't egotistical and that's a good improvement.) it does however have commonalities with affective exuberance which i think is the release of the hormone dopamine. But in this excitement, i did not detect any wash of hormones which for some unknown reason i am quite naturally skilled at detecting as i've heard that even some experienced meditators can't detect their hormones. it is quite possible that this excitement is a hormone i am simply unable to detect. It also has commonalities with felicity. In fact, it may be felicity. As alluded to above, the identity has a tendency to attempt ownership of the cause of this excitement (in this case, it was learning a new language). e.g. the ego may lay out a plan so that in x amount of months, y amount of knowledge is accumlated and can then be used for z purposes: obviosly that tendency needs to be kicked in the butt before gathering steam. that part isn't hard to do after so many months of trying to whittle away the social identity.

5. seeing the difference between what i am calling pure intent and the ego is having some good consequences. i am slightly more able to move away from mind noise and focus on the present and pure intent.


5/14

social justice idealogy - i was reading a passage regarding the vietnam wars' affect on the scientific community. A jolt of pain hit my heart. I recognized it instantly as coming from my social justice idealogy (SJI tension). I had to put the book down. I counted it - a method i mention above. It was only the second occurence today. But I then realized that ignoring it won't make it go away; it'll simply arrest the identity before it contracts around it. There is a belief that causes the pain in the first place. I have to remove that belief. So i likened war to an inevitable physical vibration of energy expressing itself in human action. but i realized that too is a belief. so i modified it. I said that i don't understand war. i may be an inevitable physical vibration of energy expressing itself in human action or it may be something else altogether. it may be inevitable. it may not be. i don't know anything about it except that is a powerful and ongoing human phenomenon. And that it's unlikey to go away anytime soon. And my understanding of it or lack thereoff isn't going to affect it's frequency or duration.

minor irritations - i continue to notice them and may be noticing them with greater and greater frequency. they are quite powerful. as they arrest my momentum and force me to consider the negative feeling, i can better label them and devise a strategy for eradicating them.

5/15


it has been 6-7 days since discovering this numen. concurrently, i have been effective reducing my obsession with justice and reason. beginning yesterday, a base affective sensation was labeled. my best guess is that it is the evolutionary drive to establish a niche. but in my case, after months of SI dismantling, i neither want nor reject a niche. therefore, the impulsive plannings, fatastical daydreams and anxious fears regarding the absence or a normal, socially conformative niche are largely absent. nonetheless, a base discontent remains.

i can and do contrast this base discontent with the numen discovered 6-7 days ago. the numen and base discontent is like syrup on a rice paddy. better yet it is like a farmer observing his land under a thunderstorm after a month of drought: it is like a highly educated and talented farmer watching said thunderstorm, analyzing the water fall through the air, hitting the mud under the dark moving clouds, discovering endless harmonies and rhythym in the pid and the pud; all the while he knows this thunderstorm is elementary to his whole profession. And this farmer also is aware and annoyed at his old haggard wife nagging him about a small leak in the roof.

The old wife won't go away when the roof is fixed. She'll nag about something else because she doesn't know better. it is ingrained in what she is. the farmer will fix the roof if it becomes a big problem or when he gets the means to do so. he has no doubt about that and so the roof is not his concern. he would like the wife to stop her nagging but he can't do anything about that either. Yelling will only exacberate it. And so he tunes her out but it may be better to study her and allow the numen to break her down into ever little pieces in it's own natural time.

5/16

interesting day. i did a lot of walking and a lot of trying. i really wanted to be aware of the oneness which i thought i had been seeing much more clearly recently. today i had no luck. but late late in my day, i had some, hopefully, extremely helpful insights.

We are designed and taught to regard life and to regard events as either positive, negative or neutral according to our own immediate self interest, long term self interest or idealogy. We naturally get quite emotional about these events.*
This is the cause of our stress.

How do we stop this?

Instead of regarding events as either beneficial, harmful or neutral, we can program ourselves to regard events with curiosity. How did that happen? What are the causes of those affects. This would be easiest to do when digesting beneficial events...especially easy when the beneficial event is also pleasant like playing a fun game and winning, for example. Neutral events or neutral phenomena (constellations, colors, street signs, etc) would take more time to cultivate a curiosity towards. And harmful events would be the most difficult but the most advantageous type towards which one can cultivate curiosity. AFT calls this fascination and child like wonder.

In this way, we are teaching ourselves to regard the world as a place of endless cause and effect. And ourselves as its' observer. This is in contrast to seeing the world as the place in which we fight for our own survival, our posterity,our comfort and distinction and our ideas. Instead of seeing ourselves as soldiers fighting for both ourselves and some higher ideal; we are simply humble scientist, or better yet; we are just curious children continually asking variations of 'why is the sky blue?'**

The things which are giving me the most trouble need to be viewed with fascination. The how needs to be emphasized to the exclusion of whether and how much it is beneifical, harmful or neutral.

* Thanks to memory, we can and most often do become emotional about past events and past emotions. We do this even though they have no impact on our immediate or long term self-interest. They do impact our idealogy because our view of ourselves is only an idea: our past self is dead and the future self is neither yet here nor ever reliably predicatable. In the same way that reading some news about events a continents away can cause an emotional reaction so can a memory of a past trauma.

**it is quite telling that myself and i'd say 99/100 educated people don't know the precise answer to this query. we are so busy with our Self that we never even wonder why the thing which we spend 16 hours a day everyday under is the color that it is. And if we do for a moment, we are soon distracted by our Self so that we don't have time to look the answer up. That is laughable.

5/17

I am confident today that i'll be able to stop any painful emotion and habitual identification by remembering to think scientifically and to ask child-like questions. Yesterday, i didn't go to work. i realized that the only reason i go to work is to satiate my pride. (i don't need the money). Today, i am going to work just to see how this wondeful naivite will work in that environment. the goal of this practice isn't to figure out how i can maintain and improve my lifestyle with less suffering. the goal is to cease to be a 34 year old crybaby and start being a 34 year old guy who loves to ask questions and find out answers with only the utmost sincerity due to a complete lack of...what's the word...emotional investment (that'll do.).

5/18 12:31 AM

kept switching from viewing myself as an ever-changing yet relatively stable process to simply a momentary feeling-thought. different from disassociation because there was no observer. only the thought-feeling followed by another thought-feeling followed by another. when they did build upon each other and contained a general theme like 'how do i feel' or 'what should i do' a subsequent thought usually did manifest realizing the nature of self and time i.e. there is only me now and never me then. There was no 'me' convincing 'myself' either. each time that particular feeling-thought manifested, it resonated well and produced non-attachment.

also, there was a great deal of naiviete towards everything. one aspect was particulary refreshing. there was a sincere curiosity regarding other people and how they felt and who they were. this made work a lot more fun. interestingly, work was still very emotional. perhaps even more so, as i didn't seek to repress the emotions via sensousness or deliberately talk myself out of the emotions. i did return to sensousness and i did employ self-talk. but i also turned naivite onto my own 'self'. i didn't need to spend countless minutes analyzing myself in intense scientific curiosity. i just innoncently wondered why that emotion was present. what is the biological process involved? what about social conditioning? in fact, i could have been saying the exact same things to myself as i have been saying for months now. but the flavor was different. the flavor wasn't 'me' fixing 'me'. it was just sincere curiosity.

another theme. i realized that obviously there is a ton that i don't know and will never be able to know. so this uncertainity has to be given room and allowed to be appreciated. Uncertainity is a fundamental aspect of being human. and wisdom would have one learn to appreciate it in moments when it is particularly recognizable. this is probably differnent from doubt. as recognizing that i don't know and perhaps can't know why a person does a certain thing is diiferent from doubting my own point of view.

i hope this continues. i have had breakthoughs and they all fade away. why would i ever stop asking these wonderful questions. it is such a joy to be view life through this prism. it does take energy. but it also gives it. i am expending a lot of energy wondering 'how'. but it isn't an act of will. the energy is coming from knowledge or joy.

5/19

would like a grade on direction of progress.


chaging brain to see all phemenona as a scientist would see them. How does that work? what is the stucture? how is it connected to the surrounding phenomena, etc? this webste- how does it work? how does the keyboard tell the computer what is typed? what is the name of the color of this wall? which primary colors were used to develop it? what does it invoke in the affective brain and how?

there are so may questions to be asked, so little time to get all the answers, and some answers are just not yet known. one has to be comfortable with uncertainity and enjoy the process of asking and learning.

This must be the crux of actualism. this process of fascination upends the identity. Identity is designed for and functions to warp all phenomena into categories of constructive, nefarious and neither. From there plans of actions are formed. Those plans are then very often disrupted by the unskillful, habitual and neuro-biological categorization of the next phenonmena, which often makes you question your previous categorization and/or plan of action. Soon one is utterly confused. Enter idealogy, habit and routine. Ahh, safe sweet ideaology. From here, we can easily regard and categorize all phenonmena and mindlessly and/or passionately respond to them according to our habits and our routine And should one question this system of idealogy + habit + routine then woe be to them. Because that is my secutity blanket. That is my home base. That's the safe where i keep all my money and all my valuables. I am utterly lost without it. Without it, life would be unthinkable. I will defend it to the death if need be. (there are a few of us who developed an emotional attachment to Truth and are even willing discover lies within our selves in that pursuit. it is unknown how it happened. how did an emotional attachment to Truth develop within us when all our friends and relatives lack it? Just quirky chance.)


changing brain to regard 'me' as a momentary phenemona rather than a continuous process. i am whatever this moments feeling whatever it maybe. the observation changes it. and i am now the change. an external phenomena changes it. re-observation and yet another change. endless change. If sadness or anger stick it is because the brain is keeping it around. the brain is saying i am sad and either fighting or accepting it. or it is saying, that is sadness and either fighting it or accepting it.


I think the difference between 'i' am my feelings and dissaccoiation lies in not dividing the self into two parts, observer and observed. but rather seeing Self as one undivided part always changing, never isolated and alwasy fascinating.

it should be noted that this is the age for the path of fascination. we now have answers to all these wonderfilled questions. in past ages, we did not and had to rely on other methods to change the brain. These methods obviously work. though i doub that they are as effective as the path of fascination.

5/20

What am I? I am the 5 senses. I am this body. I am the affective faculty. I am the cognitive process. I am those things in this moment and this moment only. The cognitive process and affective sense has learned that sustainable happiness is preferable to shifting moodiness. It has learned that sustainable happiness is derived from a calm (or absent) affective faculty and a logical cognitive process. It has learned that shifting moodiness is derived from the desire to control. It has learned that this desire is an innate function of the affective faculty; its' raison d'etre. It has learned that the affective faculty co-opts the cognitive process to that end; To think in terms of exploitation and control. And so the cognitive process has come to understand that it has to change the way it operates to foster logic or reason. It also understands that it can manipulate the affective faculty to accept logic and reason just as the affective faculty has been manipulating it all this time.

One insight derived from this tug of war between reason and impulsive emotionality is that the desire to control is the cause of one's personal narrative. The affective faculty's innate need for control extends to the theme of it's own existence. This can be called the quest for glory. Another insight is that all knowledge including wisdom is immediately sorted out by the cognitive process for the purposes of control and exploitation. This can be called the quest for power. Under the spell of 'you', trapped in the labryinth of "I", life is an endless quest for more power and more glory. Success breeds pride, creature comforts and instant gratification like sex and good food. Failure brings shame, discomfort and frustration. An aversion to the whole process creates repression and resentment. Repression and resentment is then turned into knowledge (a psuedo knowledge - an idealogy) to be used for the purposes of capturing whatever power and glory can be saved.

And we always return to the 5 senses and the body. We view the affective faculty as a phenomenon capable of great power like a hurricane or tornado. We time and time again remember to think logically rather than absently-mindedly validating the innate desire for control. We do this because we know. We know the old ways cause suffering and that objectivity and presence reduces it.

We use fascination to fuel the demolition of the desire to control. We are fascinated with the information our 5 senses continually provide. We are fascinated with the automatic workings of the body. We are fascinated with the great power and seemingly omnipresence of the affectual factulty. We are fascinated with how often the cognitive process turns to greed, aversion and delusion and how those states affect the affective faculty. We are fascinated with the scientific understanding of being this moment and only this moment, nothing more but nothing less either. We are fascinated with the process of learning too. Fascination can blow the desire to control into smithereens.

we become committed to this end. That commitment brings worry. the desire for control is dying like a once mighty fire that once fueled an entire civilization and can still do so again; it's warmth can still be felt. Thoughts of 'what if' and 'if only so' run rapid. If only we stroke this fire, feed it some more, we can do great things. Become great. Thoughts of what we will become as our energy source dies out. We will wither away. Sure our body will live, unencumbered and free even. But we will be so withered and pathetic.

5/21

this morning, had feeling of home when i was fully in the present moment. it was joyous. nonetheless, the mind continues to race thorugh memories and aspirations creating anxieties and doubt. was sitting in chair waiting for coffee to brew. i drifted off to sleep. it was immediately after awakening but sleep was the full 8+ hours. what was this fatigue? it may have been biological because it was so soon after awakening but any bit of sustained inspiration could have eviscerated it. that required inspiration failed to materialize. Why? 1) Those habitual pathways visiting all those imagined memories and imagined aspirations creating all that anxieity and doubt. It's no wonder the mind preferred sleep. 2)I falied to engage in any inspiring activity. I have a book which i find fascinating and could have picked up that. I have music which is uplilfting. I have studies which can inspire. i could have stretched in the backyard among the birds. I failed to do any of those things. why? Another thing i have noticed which is along the exact same lines is how the ego can attempt to take control of every innocent interest i have. if i want to learn the piano, the ego makes it a project. if i want to stretch, i immediately consider the future discomfort, etc. I only see one solution and that is to continue to be this present moment upon rememberance and to jot down these little issues as they come up. On the latter, it is. important to not hold to them for the purposes of creating an concise journal entry. But as long as i resist or curtail that impule then writing down issues does provides catharsis, motivation and enhanced understanding.

1:26 PM

a couple more things. nature of fantasy. conundrum of work.

nature of fantasy. fantasy serves two purposes. 1) it is instant gratification for the feeler. the feeler is empowered through the entire length of the fantasy. 2) it establishes and reinforces a goal for the thinker. The thinker has a goal for which to scheme so the feeler can feel empowered all the time. Fantasies have to be removed. they are removed by seeing the initial desire come up and letting that desire pass without incident. Fascination regarding the texture and 3 characterisitics of the desire as well as with the chain that links desire to personality will help one stay in the moment in the midst of that desire's arising.

conundrum of work. this paradox as i will be stating it is only relevant to my own situation. the only reason to work in my case is to get things. but as of now, i only want two things. (i have no material needs not met by my parents) 1) to be free and 2) to be respected. These things are obviously mutually exclusive. Work aids #2. Does it thwart #1? Maybe. My first choice is to be in the outdoors with freedom of movement, an array of pleasant sense objects and an equal array of things in which to find fascination. But at work, i am inside where the sense objects are less pleasant and the objects of fascination are less numerous. And work necessitates sitting for hours on end. On top of that, the stress is much greater at work and so my capacity to stay in the moment is much reduced because the energy required to arrest any obsession or compulsion that the stress intromits is much greater. I have done a marvelous job mitigating this suffering. Nonetheless, i find myself staring straight at the fact that the only reason i go to work in the first place is self-aggrandizement (respect). And since the capacity to be mindful and felcious at work is significantly reduced, it stands to reason that each hour at work (as compared to an hour sitting in my backyard or walking the dog) is an hour where neuroplasticity, at best, isn't being utilized fully and, at worst, the brain's current tendencies to identity phenomena as selfishly constructive, selfishly harmful or neither is being strenthened.


11:18 PM

Nikolai mentioned something in another thread. to pay attention to the act of trying. this is good. trying and doing are antithetical to each other. to try to do something is to actually do something else. doing is involuntary. interestingly, trying is involuntary to. but in trying to do 'x', one is involuntarily doing 'x'-1.

on the way home i became aware of a previously unregistered fear, the fear of loosing control. i had a happy day at work. i thoroughly enjoyed the interactions, was far less competitive and significantly less obsessive after loosing a hand. i felt on the way back home that if this continues then i may not have the proper motivation to play well.

for last 2 hours today, there was a guy on my right who was a fellow professional. i had never seen him before as he played a different game than i usually play. today i was playing his game and didn't know any of the players. he kept discussing poker from the perspective of a professional. i didn't like it. it rubbed me the wrong way. that type of thing usually does. as poker professionals, we are dependent on the ignorance and stubborness of our competition. to judge the competition or talk about which games and casinos have more action is like hunting deer while talking on a cell phone. In this case, i found his conversation rude and bad for business. I recognized this quite early. i noticed the vedena of hearing his talk. and i noticed myself cognitively identifying his talk as potentially harmful to me. and when he stopped, it stopped. and when he started up again, my reaction started up again. i had to ride the moment to get over it. in riding the moment, i remembered that 'he' was only a series conditions and his behavior was inevitable. In riding the moment, i was aware of my feelings as insignifcant and passing and aware of the senses and as usual observed the negative feeling change to positive as more and more sense data was registered. also as usual, i became fascinated with the process of the chain of identification.

5/23

continuing to see the ill effects of Identity. it is so warping and damn persistent. i cannot do anything without thinking about how it will or is affecting me. no time to simply enjoy this wonderful world if every moment is considered either an opportuntiy for advancement or as a distraction from the puruit of self-advancement or some other selfish paradigm. i was standing in my backyard watching the birds intently, trying to match the various songs with each species. And in this process, thoughts continually interrupt. 'what do the neighbors think?' , fantasies on how i will use this informatin. regrets that i didn't spend my childhood like this. ruminations about those distractions themselves. Today i will be ruminating on trents response to my question in another post.

5/25

making the transition from changing 'me' to observing 'me'. my guess is that 'i' have changed well enough so that 'i' am not so painful any more. i can regard 'me' quietly without suffering extremes of feeling. HAIETMOBA works really well at this stage. Juxtaposing being with the actual is the same thing but without the words. The words are good when the mind can't still itself. Life got simpler when i started to do this. Am seeing life as the setting for 'me' rather than as a thing to manipulate for 'my' benefit. And i'm seeing 'me' as a thing to view rather than a thing to modify. In this way, it doesn't matter where i am or what i do as long as the activity allows me to focus on HAIETMOBA then the potential for refinement is present. Are there settings which are ideal for refinement? Sure but it's probably not a game-changing difference. I can still juxtapose in the midst of conversation or entertainment and my thoughts can wander while sitting quietly. It'd be impossible to say for sure if one is definitively better than another without trying a retreat.

5/30

I think the process (It) is too often seen as a passive state. I mindfully observe myself and the world, paying attention to everything as if I'm watching an ongoing open-ended movie where i'm a supporting character and Life is the main character. That certainly does sound cool but it didn't get me far. These days i see It as a conscious choice to use my intelligence fully. Every waking moment i want to proactively engage my intelligence rather than rely on the automatic processes of emotion, narration, compulsion and obsession.

Intelligence can analyze anything. When analyzing the automatic processes mentioned above, my intelligence wants to regard them as alien or primitive. Which is not to say they aren't fascinating. Au contraire, they are quite interesting. Just now, i saw myself become hostile to tommys long post. i didn't want to read it because i didn't think it'd be useful. i had come on here to post something myself and didn't want to get sidetracked. That hostility was recognized as a shortcut to logical thinking. Rather than consciously decide whether the post was worth reading, the emotions wanted to decide for me: life in a nutshel for the unmindful and less mindful. In the end, i decided to read the post for the simple reason that it was no skin off my back. And i thought that perhaps i can post my thing here rather than on my thread. While reading it, i observed my emotions were quite active and i can't say that i learned a whole lot. by necessity, due to the flare ups that were occuring, the intelligence was marvelling at my own inner-stuff and there probably wasn't enough left over to engage the text itself. i am choosing not to re-read it tonight. Perhaps tomorrow. It is illogical to reply to a very well written and thoughtful post after only reading it one time. As a result, i am choosing to post this on my thread as an edit. there is still a lot of sorting out that has to be done before the intelligence reigns fully supreme. and just to be safe, i won't interfere in tommy's post since this is mostly in response to my thoughts rather than his post.

In the end, It doesn't matter whether there is an endgame or how utterly complete it is. Every moment choosing to engage the higher levels of your brain for the puposes of better enjoying this moment now is a moment perfectly utiilzed.

also, the compulsion to save the world is very strong.
and, by regarding the automatic processes of affect as alien or primitive. seeing how they ignite obsession, narration and compulsion like a flame on gasoline on wood, i can more easily understand why individuals are so confused and belligerent and why the world is in such turmoil. and it's easier to accept.

*********************************************************************************************************************************************

September, 9, 2011

I have been disconnected from the internet for over a week.

Practice has become effortless. I am either aware or unaware and sometimes, albeit very briefly, purely sensuous. Whether aware or unaware, I feel all the emotions. But when I am aware, I observe myself moving past the emotions and into sensuousness. The process of moving past the emotions includes a great deal of talking through it just like before. And even after "regaining" awareness, I constantly "fall back" into being unaware again. And, usually, soon after "falling back" I "regain" awareness. And so it goes.

What this all means for myself is that the war is over. And the parties have no choice but to pick up the pieces. Just like in war, there is lingering as well deep persistent resentment. But the fighting has ceased.

I wouuld say I spend 9/10 of my waking life either aware or unaware yet happy. Of that time, I'd say about half ot it is awareness. Negative emotions tend to trigger awareness. And awareness triggers the self into proactively moving past those emotions. Thinking about actualism also triggers awareness.

Prior to this state, I had learned that letting go of an emotion is the same as felicity/wonder. With nothing to hold on to, there is nothing to do but be sensuous. When one is sensuous and life is bland that is simply a lingering emotion. When one is sensous and life is wonderful that is pure.

So one sees the emotion and identifies it either instantly or through a self-diagnosis, using all the tactics and strategies previously cultivated and continously being improved upon. And likewise, as soon as one sees that there is nothing worthwhile holding onto, one then moves on to felcity/wonder. And if one can't move on to felicity/wonder then there is more work to do. And one simultaneously takes pleasure in that work: It is effortless and it instills confidence.

For the purpose of full disclosure, I will add that sometimes I choose to either not become aware (awareness will kick in and I'll choose to ignore it and fall back into unawareness)or I'll intenionally hold onto an emotion. These emotions are always pleasant and are either sexual or analytical. I like to analyze and disect and I like to orgasm so those emotions which allow me to do either of those things are often encouraged.


August 29, 2011

11:37 PM

I have been focusing on the emotions and feeling all day. With the intent of accepting and allowing them to go if they want. It is keeping me in the present just as well as focusing on wonder/felicity did. This could be my full time job. There is no joie de vivre like that which was there while manifesting felicity. This is greater work and there is an aversion to it as well as a satisfaction at my own fortitude just like any task hence the full time job comment.

There is the bubbling of proto-emotions that sometimes manifest and sometimes don't. There are full-on emotions that are caught late and there is sometimes immediate acceptance and sometimes chastisement. There is chastisement at the chastisement and there is acceptance too, sometimes at the first chastisement and sometimes at the second. There are daydreams and awakenings and there is gratitude for the awakenings as well as chastisement at having been in a daydream and in both instances eventually or right away there is acceptance and release of both the gratitude and the chastisement. Especially fruitful are moments when I sigh, moments of pique boredom, pique restlessness and moments of lust.

There are questions. How do I cultivate wonder within this dichotomy? Is there even a place for that? Will this devolve into a mere tracking of psychic currents and feeling of being ? I've been there before, didn't find the process fun and don't think I learned anything. (BTW, when not under the influence of wonder/felicity, my feeling of being always seems to be scared.) I will say that as I'm practicing there is a difference between then and now: Then I was holding on and now I'm letting go. As a result, more of the sensate universe is coming in. How do I activate wonder while letting go?

12:53 PM

Here's the background (which can be skipped if I have any readers): This will be the 3rd consecutive day that I haven't done much. There is no compelling reason to work (and one compelling reason not to). For at the beginning of next month, I'll be in Napa, renting a room from an old lady who is a professional dog-sitter. In this way, I can work 50-80 hours a week while not abandoning my dog. I'll also be able to take a trip or two to Canada laying a foundation that will re-start my online poker business, which the federal government shut down and bankrupted on April 15, 2011. In this way, I can replenish my bankroll from last month's 20 day loosing streak, 4 months of sub-optimal play due to being above my bankroll at games I was unfamiliar with and, most critically, the federal governments effective seizure of over half my net worth. The one compelling reason to work is to get my brain right which I discovered wasn't working as well as necessary when I made the same fundamental poker error 3 times in 2 days. So I've been loading up on brain food and exercise. Though, to be fair, I only needed to take one day off to accomplish that.

Ok. So that's the back story. This morning, I have noticed a significant amount of depression. And it made re-realize how much pride effects our mood. When I am making progress in my career and/or social life, my mood is buoyed. I can't say that I'm always happy, because, before actualism I was never consistently happy. But when I am not making progress, my mood bottoms out. For the last 3 days, I haven't made any progress and today I felt a great deal of depression.

Actualism has taught me 3 ways to deal with depression and all sour moods, in general. 1) Be your own best friend, staying positive and thinking through everything. This puts every situation in perspective and gives you the support to make the smartest decisions moving forward. 2) Cultivate wonder. This takes your identity out of the equation and puts you squarely in the moment. 3) Per what I wrote last night, let it pass: observe it, accept it, relinquish it.

Today, I've been working on #3. It's isn't easy. It's counter-intuitive. Observing depression and then not chastising myself, not giving myself a pep talk, not formulating a plan and/ or not lamenting my situation is totally alien to me. I had to talk myself through it. I said. "Okay. There it is. That's the depression that has been jabbing me on and off all morning. Don't do anything. Just accept it. Ok good. It's accepted. Now what? Oh yea. Let it pass. How do I do that? By not wanting it to go away. Remember what others have said. By wanting a thing to go away, you are keeping it around. And SW says that AF is not working towards anything at all. And Adam and others have said that the thing you are trying not to think about when you are in a PCE is the always the thing that brings you out of it so don't fear leaving a PCE because it's the fear that takes you out of it. And I have noticed that effort has caused me a lot of stress and I thought last night that wanting to feel something prevents you from feeling it and wanting to end a feeling prevents you from ending it. So that's the depression...good...nice & good...

PRESTO!!! It was gone! Immediately I began seeing the walls and the bannister (I was on the stairs at the time) and everything else about the hallway. I forget exactly but it may have come back once again only to vanish quickly or it hasn't come back yet. I'm not sure. It was a couple of hours ago. I'll update this entry later tonight.





August 28, 2011

This thought has germinated and is becoming more and more common: Practice is the art of feeling - seeing - accepting - letting go with the confidence that the time gap between each of these phenomena will diminish thus hastening the reoccurence of all feeling. The difference between accepting and letting go is worth mentioning. To accept a feeling (or the behavior that it prompts) is to not will it away, lament it's existence or substitute it for some other feeling and/or behavior. It is to be at peace with it even if the feeling isn't peaceful. It is to not have a feeling about the feeling. To let go is to simply watch it leave without sorrow or any feeling of good riddance (malice), pride or shame. It leaves on it's own volition. It shrinks and vanishes because in the clarity of awareness it sees that it has no purpose, no raison d'etre and without that fuel, presto! It is no more. At least for the time being.

I felt unsatisfactoriness for the first time in a while today. Most suffering has been very specific but this was the dull dukkha of lore. It took me a while to recognize it.

It is an interesting situation to be in. One has to try to be happy without willing misery away or substituting happiness for it. One comes to understand how this works which is impossible to describe because it's an oxymoron. I suppose that's why so much preliminary work needed to be done. And, or course, I feel very close to the final dissolution but that is always the case after each revelation. One thing has been noticed; each revelation only has enough fuel for a few days or so. But something new always seems to pop up keeping the process moving forward. Or else, I'm just going in circles. Which I think I am except the circle is sprial. You start in a tight cluster fuck center and gradually loop your way out to greater and greater freedom.

The challenge now is to become aware of and accepting in the same instant. How is that different from mindfulness? I can't really speak to that. I'm not an enlightened buddhist master. But when i was practicing mindfulness, I was keeping the feeling around. I wasn't letting go. I didn't know that I could.

August 27, 2011

Despite what I wrote last night, I'm not free of the fear of suffering. Obviously if I was framed for murder, I'd be scared of jail. I know this. But I'm also afraid of social anxiety as well as narcissistic pity and anger. So I am still afraid of going to work sometimes because I don't want that narcissistic pity and anger. And sometimes I see an acquaintance and I freeze up due to fear...fear of feeling of awkward. Nonetheless, I have a greater confidence that I can recognize and release such fears quicker.

Today I took the day off for logistical reasons. (Yesterday, I made 2 basic fundamental mistakes, completely counter to poker theory. And I made the same mistake just two days ago. And if there is one thing I know in this world, it's poker theory. It's one thing to misapply poker theory -that happens, miscalculations and/or emotional rashness is inevitable; it's completely another to ignore it or be unaware of it and that's what I did. So I think the problem may be systemic. My solution is to take a short break and improve my diet and exercise some so that my brain works properly.) Well, late in the evening, with nothing to do and no reason to sit at home and just chill, I thought about driving 5 minutes to the local casino. And I felt fear. I recognized it as a fear of narcissistic pity and anger. The kind I suffer when I'm loosing. I was able to talk myself out of it. It made me realize that I still have a fear of suffering despite what I wrote yesterday.

What I meant to impart last night was that I am free of compounded suffering. The difference between compounded suffering and a fear of suffering can be illustrated thusly: Pretend that I have to give a speech and I've just come out of the rain and I'm completely disorganized and completely dishelved but to delay even for just 10 minutes means automatic financial ruin. I think to myself. "I don't want to do this. They're all going to laugh at me and I'm going to feel so small." That is fear of suffering. Compounded suffering is. "It sucks so bad that I care what they think. It'd be so much better if I didn't." So in my current progress, it would go down like this. Jolt of Fear: "They're all going to laugh at me." Sudden Awareness: "That doesn't have to bother me. I will stay present and sensual while they are laughing and I will remind myself as necessary that their opinions need not influence my mood in the least." I would still go on with great trepidation but I doubt that I'd ever feel ashamed for having that trepidation.

Actually now that I think about it, I would feel shame for having that trepidation. It's that shame which would lead to the cognitive readjustment. It wouldn't be shame so much as an unpleasant recognition that something is wrong and needed correcting. I guess the only difference between now and pre-actualism is that now I have the tools to deal with the fear of suffering (and obviously the suffering itself) which significantly mitigates the compounded suffering, in this case, Shame. That is very interesting to me. I will say this. I have actually felt joy when recognizing a fear of suffering. I can say that that's an improvement. And I probably felt pride for feeling joy. And pride is just the flip side of shame. Hmmm...(Yoda voice) much to observe, i have.

August 26, 2011

Things are good. I am better. I still do all the narcissistic stuff but every moment is a new beginning. At least every moment of awareness is. There are hours when I'm not able to put anything in perspective and these hours are usually miserable. But I think the fear of misery is gone. Whereas before, I might actually be afraid to begin a task or start a conversation, because, I expected to get totally caught up in my dark emotions. That narcissism is still present but I can release it as soon as my intent is strong enough, which it inevitably becomes sooner rather than later. And even if it is later, late is better than never.

So if I screw up a conversation with someone then it's okay. For a while I might beat myself up but my awareness will come back and I'll be able to drop it. Thus I'm not afraid of failing and then beating myself up endlessly. At work, I may screw up or run into some terrible luck and I will probably go into a dark funk for some time. But I'll pop out of it and I'll be able to release it so I'm not afraid of my dark emotions and I'm not afraid of situations that may bring them to the surface. Each moment of awakening is a new dawn and each moment of awakening seems to build momentum towards the next the moment of awakening so there is more and more sensuous attention and more and more positive friendliness and less and less self-berating.

August 25, 2011

This morning was the worst morning since two great improvements ago. It all stemmed from the dreams I was having. I have these reoccurring dreams where I am way behind in my schoolwork and probably won't graduate. In this particular dream, it was college and not only was I completely lost in the classroom but I was isolated socially as well. And so I woke up depressed this morning for the first time in weeks.

today, i'd like to get a haircut, go to work, walk the dog, brush him and that's all that needs to get done. oh i can go to the bank too.


August 24, 2011

6:15 PM

Morning was a breeze...spent afternoon in an extensive IM re: actualism and not one guru-esque type thought so maybe the identity is unravelling some...that IM did get me thinking about my progress...As I recall: My first step forward within actualism was learning that choosing happiness is possible. That didn't stick but it did teach me the power of choice. Then i began dismantling the SI and that went great. But all the emotions came back even after the beliefs were all but gone; I just was able to identify and dismiss them much much more quickly. Then i really experienced the power of felicity. But that didn't stick either. too much effort was required and those pesky emotions interfered with it. but it has taught me what felicity/wonder/naivete can do for you. Now I am back to and onto investigating the emotions, but unlike before, not to uproot a belief, more to get back to feeling well. I expect that after this becomes 2nd nature then I'll integrate what I learned about felicity.

August 23, 2011

5:20 AM

Very steady day...not much felicity, however, but I wasn't constantly switching from felicity to daydream to felicity to irritation to shame to felicity. It was just 99% good. If this talking myself through things continues to go well then I'll soon incorporate more felicity into the process.

It is funny that I thought i was already through with this stage. I'm not sure what happened but I guess it doesn't really matter. One can only start at this moment and go from there.



3:50 PM

morning was easy. walk was nice. find myself just letting go and sometimes the moment comes to me and sometimes I'm unaware of it and completely within myself. When the moment comes to me, I often have an uneasy feeling like 'I should be using this time for something'. I think this feeling is what Richard describes as "intuitively making sense of life" and is to be eventually dropped. But with every moment of sudden awakening (awaking from a daydream, for example) I develop the habit of thinking everything through. This has produced a very good leveling out. As a result, I'm not dwelling on the past (castigating myself for daydreaming) nor am i expecting or working for a desired future. Instead, I'm choosing the best course of action as I see it, taking the time to see it as well as my experience, education, intelligence and anaffective know-how allows. If I'm wrong after doing all that then I've learned something: I've become more experienced. If I later find that i was a bit emotional but didn't realize it then my anaffective know-how has just improved. No more desperately wanting to be AF... hoping the method works and that i'll eventually get there is fine but I think i was getting pretty desperate about it. Also, no more working for set material goals like I want to make 'x' amount of money today. Of course, If I observe myself doing either of those things then that is completely fine. It's part of life and that's is one of the things that makes human beings so unique. but I would from that point on approach life with a bit more reason and less desperate ambition.


August 6, 2011

continue to do be here at the sense-level though disappointment and social expectations still hold water, still remove me from the senses and to the imaginary. Examples...yesterday I suffered a bitter disappointment at the poker table. My mind continues to roll back there. There is nothing that I can do really to stop my mind from re-living it. The only thing I can do is to let it go and return to the senses each time. Also, I have been working graveyard but still harbor a desire to wake up at a "sensible" hour. So I also have to let go of negative thoughts about waking up at 2 PM. Also, today is a beautiful day in Oakland. I may yet go out and enjoy it. I may not. Either way, there is a "should" attached to this life right now. I should go out. So I let that go and return to the senses. And then there is always the "have to" return to the senses, "have to" let this or that go. I suppose I judge myself every time I find myself not here/not now. So these are the stressors on this day.

Well after having sat back and observed the senses as well myself observing the senses (which is basically me thinking 'look ma i'm being present'), I decide to take a hike with the dogger. There is a resentment that I have to drive there. I don't like driving. So I have to let this go also as well and also, the compounded "have to" part of letting it go needs to be let go.


*********

On our hike, I was struck with the difficulty of being sans agenda. Even if the agenda is to pay the rent (or especially), anything that gets in the way will cause irritation. How to avoid this?

On the way back, I ruminated on the difference between happiness and harmlessness. I researched the AFT and currently think that harmlessness is an absence of malice and sorrow. Whereas happiness is mood, harmlessness is action and intent. So at work today, I really tried not to be competitive. I only wanted to play well and be friendly. However, I discovered that I can still be resentful towards Lady Luck. And so I resolved to be especially kind to circumstance. I resolved to be friendly towards the universe; make it my friend.

On the walk itself, I was borderline EE in that bare attention was more predominant than philosophizing. However, there was an absence of joy. My bare attention had too much dullness to it. I tried to add felicity and that helped but I never was able to get to an EE.

I notice a resentment to effort. Resenting that need for effort is a major stumbling block.


**********

I think fatigue or lack of energy may be the only thing keeping me here. All my emotional energy into felicity!

Such imitative felicity/ innocuity, in conjunction with sensuosity, readily evokes amazement, marvel, and delight – a state of wide-eyed wonder best expressed by the word naiveté (the nearest a ‘self’ can come to innocence whilst being a ‘self’) – and which allows the overarching benignity and benevolence inherent to the infinitude, which this infinite and eternal and perpetual universe actually is, to operate more and more freely. This intrinsic benignity and benevolence, which has nothing to do with the imitative affective happiness and harmlessness, will do the rest.
All that was required was ‘my’ cheerful, and thus willing, concurrence.


Statements like these may have confused me. It implies that it is easy because the universe is so perfect that one glimpse is all you need.

The actualism method is not about undermining the passions ... on the contrary, it is about directing all of that affective energy into being the felicitous/ innocuous feelings (that is, ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being, which is ‘being’ itself) in order to effect a deliberate imitation of the actual, as evidenced in a PCE, so as to feel as happy and as harmless (as free of malice and sorrow) as is humanly possible whilst remaining a ‘self’.


I like this paragraph better. But I especially like first sentence of this paragraph and second to last sentence of the first paragraph.

The actualism method...is about directing all of that affective energy into being the felicitous/ innocuous feelings...in order to effect a deliberate imitation of the actual...which has nothing to do with the imitative affective happiness and harmlessness.



Combining the two indicates that happy and harmlessness is to be viewed as a byproduct of felicity. So put all your energy into felicity, it says.

Very interesting. I'm doing that right now and have been doing it for about the last 3 hours or so. For example, as I'm writing this text, I am trying my danmnest to enjoy the fuck out of everything that I perceive. And any emotion that doesn't have to do with enjoying the sweetness of each sensation is a waste. So the cursor blinks and I see it blink but rather than being proud that I noticed it and then blase about it's occurrence, I direct every ounce of energy into appreciating the living shit out it. And if any energy should be noticed going towards how this post will be received, I am re-directing back into the minutae.


August 7, 2011

Last night was the first time I saw my practice as converting wasted energy into felicitous energy. That worked. I also saw anything not in the here and now as wholly part of my imagination. And that helped. Last night, was the first time I actually heard my apartment. The computer makes about 3 different sounds with changing wave lengths, the air purifier makes one and the refrigerator makes a couple. It was eerie how different actuality is compared to my normal reality.

3:39 PM

imaginary world, passionate reactive world, sensate world. this part of my imaginary world is the only one I'm giving credence to. the rest of it is being directed at sensate reality. wanting to be this moment in all its glory...not just enjoy but be it.

it is about directing all of that affective energy into being the felicitous/ innocuous feelings


Ahh. after looking for the quote to justify my actions, I see that a slight twist is needed. rather than being this sensate moment, I need to be felicity itself.

12:51 AM

Took the day off and spent most of it here in the apartment. I am in the middle of cultivating felicity so that is is a vibrant energy and then directing that energy towards whatever sensation I notice. I have high hopes for this as it seems to be what Richard recommends and I've never approached the practice like this before and it is keeping me happy and harmless for the time being.

August 8, 2011 6:24 PM

still doing my best to sustain felicity throughout the body while being sensual. The largest remaining part of my identity is the Dho. There are other parts left but it is thinking about these post that take me away from the here & now more than any other part. I don't know which is greater, my dho identity or the instinctual passions. but i write these post only aware of the moment. The imaginary world isn't present currently. So every time I think about how I want to phrase an idea or which idea I want to post about is wasted because as I am writing this and as I have written the last 5-6 post, I am only here. I am not thinking about how this post will come across.

Sustaining felicity seems to be easier than dismantling the social identity and crossing which ever bridge I crossed before I came here (social identity was tackled, then i went on to something else but i don't know what that was, and now i'm here.) For with this sustained felilcity there is a confidence that this is the way. Probably because it feels so good. Also the other stuff doesn't feel as good and sometimes feels bad but almost always or quickly enough is seen as illusionary and therefore not compelling. The only reason why I was ever in to that stuff before is because I thought it was real. I thought my perception of myself and other peoples perception of me was real. I thought politics was real and sports drama was real. I mean. I guess politics is real in a way. It may not be the here and now but it is still happening. Nonetheless, it has lost its force. Maybe because I see that it causes suffering. Also because I see that it isn't that important (due to a variety of factors) and that our political conflicts are inevitable as long as people are gripped by the various delusions that is our lot as self-aware creatures.

I do believe that this is the right track because it is very much like the wide eyed wonder that R. describes. And it brings forth h&h and I can imagine myself (yes imagine) melting into the senses as Trent described his dissolution. bye.

August 9, 2011 8:39 AM

The intensity of the felicity I've been trying to cultivate has weakened. I am no longer trying to 'be' felicity and as a result my mood has slipped some. The good news is that the little sensate phenomena affects me more positively than it did 2-3 days ago before I started this. The greatest obstacle to living in this moment is that urge to do something. It usually propels me to watch TV (assuming I've nothing planned).

11:08 AM

habitually think about my next post but not focusing on what I want or had planned to post and instead just focusing on the tactile sensation of fingers and keyboard, the movement of cursor and formation of letters, the fabrication of words and ideas inside my head, etc helps me stay in the moment when I'm away from the computer. the moment is more and more being seen as real and myself is more and more being seen as a daydream. And so actual daydreams are now seen as daydreams of a daydream and thus loose potency quite quickly. Before they may have been seen as a realistic portrayal of my universe, an essential part of me which even after SE was seen as important. Everyday phenomena is more impressive even when not proactively cultivating felicity..felicity is coming without trying but it is still better, i think, to cultivate it and extend it outwards but failing to do that isn't a deal breaker.

1:48 PM

Last entry before trekking to Napa valley to sit in on their juicy $1/2/3 table max no-limit game. should be a lot of fun..looking forward to being felicitous in the midst of battle. the dog walk was utterly sublime during the times when I was totally felicitous and moderately pleasant when I wasn't. going in and out of felicity, transferring my energy into appreciation of the external or keeping it within, letting the mind wander or centering it on being felicity itself...all of this is creating a positive effect. Now a true test. Will I stay h&h while my money and financial security is on the line or will i become a egotistical monstrosity within a wicked la la land; like a caged animal at the zoo or like the easy going neighbor?

10:35 PM

Man did i ever hit a wall today. Gradually I lost steam and finally realized that I didn't have enough energy to continue being felicitous and present. At that point, I went home. My mood at the tables today was almost exclusively positive, however. I did go on a bad run there while playing the Omaha/8 game. I was just a tiny bit whiny and maybe a tad grumpy but I never lost my sense of humor. This was late in the evening after I think I had already used up my energies for the day. It's fortunate that for every minute of being felicitous, you get x amount of minutes of non-felicitous happiness. On the ride home, I turned on the radio and let my mind indulge in a ridiculous fantasy. And now, I will watch a movie and pass out. Tomorrows a new day!

August 10, 2011

12:02 PM

This morning was half and half. I had no energy to foster felicity but had enough felicity in reserve to tilt my perspective favorably and quickly reign in any downward spiral-like thinking. I'm beginning to think of fostering naivete in terms of metta meditation but there is also a resistance towards that. I'm trying to find the pages Adam suggested but can't so far.

4:23 AM

I don't remember ever having this wide-eyed (which for me is more like wide mouth (walking around like an idiot with my mouth open gawking at street lamps or whatnot)) wonder as a child. If I did, I can't imagine why I'd ever choose to abandon it.

August 11, 2011

12:28 PM

Today was the best morning ever (feeling wise). There was zero resentment and a fair amount of joie de vivre. I can still stand improvement in the latter because despite being h&h with a healthy dose of felicity, I went back to bed. I felt fatigue and recognized, as is usually the case, that I have no appointments or schedule to keep so I satisfied my fatigue and laid back down. This has been my standard practice for decades as long as no appointments were keeping me. I usually stay there until I am fully rested, which for me is 10 hours of sleep total. And today my first sleep lasted 7.5 hours and on my second sleep shift, I laid there and joyfully listened to the many sounds of urban life and got back up about 15 minutes later. While laying there, I also contemplated (experientially) the fatigue coursing through my body. Rightly or wrongly, I decided that I would experimented with that fatigue being nothing more than energy that could be redirected at will. And, of course, I would redirect it towards felicity.

On my first dog walk this morning, which was a short one just to get him relieved while my coffee was brewing, I contemplated this journal. I don't like doing that because it takes me away from the present. I have countered this tendency by not thinking about what I want to write about while I'm actually here writing and instead staying aware only of the writing act itself. But today, I am breaking that rule. Oh well.

As I begin to really enjoy this moment, I am still very often distracted from it. Sometimes, I can easily see that the object of my distraction is an illusion, like a dream. Other times that is not so clear. Fortunately, at this point, the object of my distraction, be it illusion or reality, is always less pleasant than living this moment with full awareness. That is a blessing! I can't say what brought about this blessing. I know that a few days ago, I decided to generate felicity within the body and direct outwards. And I still do this but only from time to time and usually only when I really need to. The other times, I am still doing what I have always done since I began this practice, let the moment come to me. For whatever reason, the moment is coming to me with greater frequency and greater vivacity than ever before. It must have something to do with that self-generated felicity even if I don't generate it like I did on that first day. Nonetheless, and this is the thing that I thought about on the walk which I am willing to break my rule in order to remember to put on the page, I still fear going back into psychosis. Hmm, nothing much to add to that except that I lived that psychosis for 30 years and for the first time (well i always knew that some parts of me were partly delusional (and after SE I didn't think "I" was delusional but I saw that "I" was empty,inconstant and unhealthy which is different from seeing the full delusion of yourself)) I see the full delusion of myself. I also am aware that I return to the delusion quite often and some of those times, the delusion is quite compelling. Hence, I fear that one of those times I will stay within said delusion. Putting that fear on the page, I think, may have been helpful. I vow to self-generate greater felicity so as to prevent that from happening!

6:47 PM

So far another good day but I did engage in a pretty long, 20 minutes or so, fantasy regarding NBA players and free agent signings and trade scenarios; it's an interest I have. It's one thing to think about something that interests you and an entirely different thing to have a role playing fantasy of what I would do if I were in this or that spot. I also engaged in some petty self-interested thinking that lacked a sense of humor. It revolved around the poker table and I had a very good run at a game that is above my bankroll: I don't normally play it but circumstances conspired to find me at that game. I ran well, finished my meal and quit. (I'll go to my main casino in a little bit). While running well and after quitting, I just thought about the money I won and how lucky I was. It was totally self-interested and no felicity was involved. I also thought a fair amount about AF but I don't remember what I thought about. I know I wanted to write about it but I didn't make myself remember it for obvious reasons. I'm trying to remember as I write this entry. But I can't seem to. I can guarantee that I will remember sometime tonight when it won't do me any good. Oh yes.....concentric circles. I liken progress to a concentric circle where you are in the middle and gradually wind your out and around the center until you are flung out of the circle altogether which would represent AF. And I like this analogy or image because much of your progress seems like 'i've been here before. i've already had this insight. i'm really not getting anywhere.' But the truth is, you may have had the insight before but other factors probably prevented you from executing it as correctly or as purposefully or with as much pure intent as you can now. And so on one axis, you are in the same place, but on the other axis you are farther away. Or you are on the same plane but farther away from the tightly wound center. googled image

There was another thing that I was able to remember. I no longer fear that my lack of concentration is any sort of hindrance. Previously, I had to force myself out of this or that delusion and into the moment and once in the moment, I had to hold on to it the best I possibly could lest I fall right back into the delusion. Now I no longer try to hold onto the moment and can enjoy for longer periods of time before a delusion or psychosis or whatever grips me again. But when I'm in the moment, it is so sweet that it is clear that there's no reason to try to hold onto it. The moment is good enough. Which begs the question, why do I continue to fall back into self. I can't say, or speculate. I might hear something that reminds me of something and go off thinking about it without being aware. But why am I not aware? I don't know. Maybe I'm just not that skilled yet at living in the moment. Or maybe "I" don't trust the moment. I don't know.

4:22 AM

Got tired at work and stopped being able to generate felicity. as soon as i realized it, I left. the ride home was a bit better. walking the dog was even more so. then vegged out in front of the TV which was fun. then surfed some and finally realized it was bedtime. but i had a nagging feeling of discontent like a child who doesn't want to be told to go to bed...i wanted more stimulation but realized there was none to be had. so i thought, i'll observe this energy and transfer it to felicity. and after a few moments of delight, thought 'i want to tell the dho about this' and so here i am. What if I could transfer all my anxiety, doubt, fear, shame, hostility, pride, etc into felicity? What if this could be done and I could learn how to do it?

August 12, 2011

1:05 PM

This morning wasn't as good as yesterday. I'm writing right after getting up but not waking up. I want to write first thing because mornings has always been filled with so many negative emotions over the years. I awoke from a dream without any gaity but there wasn't any resentment either. I immediately remembered my purpose, my intent, but was unable to generate any felicity. I wasted some time in bed living a fantasy and examining fatigue as well as the emotions of the fantasy and tried to turn into felicity but couldn't. Nonetheless, I was able to stop fatigue and shame from growing, I was able to see it and feel it goenka style, and I tried to turn into felicity but couldn't. I did, somehow, neutralize it and from there was able to follow common sense and get up. It is already afternoon and best case scenario is to leave for work at 3 PM. If I walk the dog to the burrito shop then the burrito will make me tired and late. I'll walk him to whole foods and get two slices of thin pizza and have a pot of coffee waiting for when I get back.

2:32 PM

feeling fatigue and a reluctance to go to work. want to sleep. pause. train in the distance. so wonderful that train...one of my favorite things...another trian usually follows it going in the opposite direction. life is fun. feel fatigue now mixing with felicity. huh. unable to do anything with this fatigue. oh well.

4:15 PM

unable to shift the fatigue into felicity, I took a nap. It didn't work. My naps seem to have about a 50% success rate. I never really quantified that before. fwiw, game plan is now work at 8 PM. my dream was an AF seeker falling in love and consumating (with a kiss) the new relationship on top of a tower over-looking at an oil rig and together devising a plan of activism against this oil company. I've been having a lot of AF related dreams lately. Most have been straight forward with little or very easy to decipher symbolism. This was more convoluted.

Fatigue has always been a problem. Ever since I was a school kid, I always felt tired. And I've always felt shame about that. I don't know if it's physical or psychological but I'm going to treat it like it's a psychological passion, if that makes sense. I want to be able to transfer it into felicity but I'm having trouble. I'll try that dichotomy out for a few days. When I failed to do it today, I was sitting in my computer chair. Next time, I'll go up on my roof or elsewhere outside. Another thing to note, when I was overwhelmed with fatigue today, I had to shower and drive 40 minutes to work while choosing to ignore my dogs desire/need to exercise. That may be relevant, idk.

After waking up, I thought how much better my life is now without so many conflicting ideals which produced so many confusing emotions. The other day, I thought to myself that people who adopt a very particular social ideal (materialists, hipsters, jocks, activists, etc) suffer so much less than I did. I had all those ideals bouncing up and around me all the time. I wanted to be everything to myself and to others. But I didn't know it. And so I didn't know what and when to sublimate one ideal over another. With jocks, I felt too dorky. With hipsters, I felt too mainstream. With activists, I felt like I didn't do enough. On top of that, I was utterly afraid of failure so I often resorted to shyness and isolation. But then I would break out of my shyness with a massive surge of willpower but without a coherent game plan since I didn't know what I was trying to be.
It's a lot easier now. Cultivate felicity. When I full of wonder and awe, I'm happy. I have no identity other than the occasional 'ah so this is genuine happiness.'

6:26 PM

finished walk with dog. went to berkeley marina/eastshore park where he can be off leash.
dream was a presentation of the idea of settling. the main character in it fell in love despite seeking AF and settled for love and activism.
fatigue seems to come when I "have to" do something. i have often thought of it as an adolescent way of avoiding stress but even sans stress it seems to wash over me. It came again on the ride home: I was planning the drive to Napa (which is unstressful) and bam it hit. Perhaps it's not even adolescent but childish and it's a way of asserting independence. Or maybe there is stress within that drive...i used to be an environmentalism and as a result, am uncomfortable with unnecessary energy use, also - i drive a prius and sometimes that brings about shame because it's kind of a dorky car (see above entry about never having settled on a clear cut identity) So perhaps thinking about the drive brought forward these weird issues i have and my subconscious just decided to make the body tired thus giving the conscious mind an excuse to choose to stay home and avoid these issues.
insight on walk was the unreliability of all memory and prognostication: there is only now. there may have been a past but it's not certain; there may be a future but it's not certain. that insight led to a dull unfelicitous sensuality. had to muster felicity / with only partial success.
This journal takes up a lot of my emotional energy. I plan these entries and organize my thoughts accordingly.
It was fortunate for my dog that I was overwhelmed with fatigue earlier. Now he got some exercise and I only missed a free dinner. (complimentary dinner is served at 8 PM but due to traffic I have to leave either before 3 PM or after 8 PM) I didn't examine my options earlier, only decided that financially it was best to leave at 3. Perhaps if I had examined my options systematically then the fatigue would never have came as confidence and logic would have made my head more clear....Only a hypothesis....So this fatigue may be a childish way of asserting independence and/or a way of forcing my hand when I have conflicting yet un-spelled out priorities and/or a way to avoid stress.

3:45 AM

felicity-wise...bad day. Happiness-wise...good day. (mood was high despite not taking time to appreciate the little things) Was even tested in a big way and still stayed positive with a sense of humor. But my felicity levels have been dropping since the 7th. I even experienced sorrow for about 30 minutes today. It wasn't situational so I had to think about why I was feeling this. I finally attributed it to the phenomenon of rising expectations and after that it went away.

4:46 AM

I will say that my attentiveness level is rising. As I attempt to convert psychic energy into felicity, naturally I am forced to be more aware of that psychic energy. And so I am more aware of the feelings I have which generally prompt certain actions, excess web surfing, for example, generally comes from a particular nervous feeling that is of a tingly nature situated mostly in the chest. fwiw, felicity, for me, feels warmer and more all over but mostly situated in the face.

August 13, 2011

2:50 PM

The very first in the morning, I had some minor dissatisfaction. The dream I awoke from was dumb and the room I awoke too was dull. I remember feeling slightly annoyed at both of those things. I then re-shut my eyes and returned to my dumb dream only to re-awake to my dull room producing the same slight annoyance. I did that once again but the 3rd time I was woken by my dog licking himself and that produced a higher pitch of dissatisfaction. But I immediately remembered felicity and was able to turn it on just enough to give myself an energy boost. I may have laid in bed for another 5-10 minutes spotting perfection before getting up and making the coffee and walking the dog. Both of which were very pleasant activities. I am also pleasantly relieved that the big hand I lost last night is still not painful. So the trajectory seems to be either continuing upward or staying flat in good place. I am a bit sick today and I have a cold sore inside my mouth. Neither of which has produced any suffering as of yet.

5:26 PM

just got back from hanging out with my apartment manager. super smart dude. was talking about emotions and how the #1 difficulty and the #1 skill is managing your emotions. straight from a text book but learned by his mom who kept him off the streets of chicago (and he might credit the coast guard too). then we moved on to religion and politics and it was great. But right now I am really high so I have to make some decisions regarding tonight's game plan. And so I don't forget I get to call my brothers house tomorrow. i'll say 'get' instead of 'got'; no reason do anything but look forward to it. I'm also pleased that I am about to sit down deliberately and go over every detail of my situation right now and come up with the most practical response. And that response will be good.

5:47 PM

I sat down on carpet indian style and let my mind go. Eventually, it realized that this was going to be a long process and the best thing is to walk your dog and mull over it on the walk. good idea.

9:07 PM

It was a long walk...lots of good ideas and fun encounters. fortunately my moleskin and a pen was in the car and spent the whole walk writing, planning, admiring. decided to come back here, eat dinner, and elaborate on the many things i wrote about it in the moleskin. that may take up the entire night but if not, i'll re-asses then.

12:17 AM

I've finished typing up my observations. Here they are.


On my walk today I got a feeling that I was betraying my humanity. Because I am seeking an eradication of the human madness doesn’t mean I’m seeking to be less human. Why is lust or fear essential to my humanity? The only value they give is a way to mix-it-up with other humans. But I can mix it up without them. I don’t need lust to talk to a beautiful woman or fear to establish a support network.

What other value do they give then as a way to mix-it-up with other humans? They may allow me to empathize with other humans. Well, understanding is just as possible without empathy. It’s the understanding that is worthwhile. Empathy as a tool serves no purpose other than to facilitate understanding. But understanding doesn’t need empathy to be enacted. Even without sharing emotions, I’ll always have my memory of how those emotions played a central role in my decisions and I’ll always have ample examples from which to observe exactly how emotions play a role in peoples decisions.

So I don’t think I am betraying humanity in any way.

***********************************************************************************

I was walking Buds on an dusty unpaved road that separates an inlet of San Francisco Bay known to many recreational fishermen from a beautiful bird sanctuary and habitat restoration project. This road leads to a paved jogging track across the street from a well landscaped hotel used by boaters throughout California. The hotel is nestled in-between the bird sanctuary, the Berkeley marina and Cesar Chavez Regional Park used by kite flyers, joggers and dog walkers as well as hotel guests. I was on my way to this park when I encountered two beautiful women in their late 30’s or early 40’s walking about 8 dogs together. They were both blonde and one of them was even wearing a high cut t-shirt that showed off an impressively fit mid-section considering the woman’s age (which isn’t at all a sexist comment - everyone (who’s not involved with Hollywood) gets fatter as they get older). I remarked how fun it must be to walk so many dogs.

One of them said. “You can get some extra.”
I thought she meant that I could become a dog walker. “I can get in on it?”
She said. “You can get some more dogs.”
I asked. “These are all your dogs?”
The other woman said. “5 of them belong to us and the others are just with us for the day.”
I said. “Cool. Have a good one.” I waved and strode off in the opposite direction.
They said. “Enjoy your walk.”

I proceeded to reflect how pleasant that exchange was and imagined them talking about it to other people with me as the main character and hero. It then struck me that I have always wanted to be a savior of mankind. It may be the only thing I have ever consistently wanted / the only validation I would ever settle for. And now that I finally know something worth anything, I see how ridiculous such a desire and point of view clearly is.

*********************************************************************************

In my pre-actualism days, a simple project like this one, would be daydreamed about ad-nauseam. I’d have started with a simple idea, developed a clear cut goal usually with a financial motive and given myself a game plan for enacting it. How ugly! I would then grow disgusted with myself for quitting at some point. Even funnier!

*********************************************************************************


My dog’s only two weaknesses are squirrels and food. If he sees a squirrel, all bets are off. If he smells a BBQ, I have to be super diligent that he doesn’t bolt right to it. Going around a hill, now in the designated off-leash area of the park, I allow my dog great leeway and forfeit sight of him as he is several yards behind me smelling and peeing on the bushes. I hear a rustle from behind me, turn around and see my dog at top speed bolting towards some picnickers on top of the hill. I run through the thicket just to make sure I don’t loose him completely as well as for the fun of it, get to the pathway towards the picnic table and continue my sprint. Once on top of the hill near the picnickers, I see that he isn’t there. He was running straight towards them. I ask. “Did you see a yellow lab bolt through here?”
“No. We haven’t. Sorry.”
I put my hands on my knees to suck some air and say out loud. “He must have veered off.” Hands still on knees, I look towards the main BBQ area and say. “He must be over there.” I then re-start my sprint.
One of the guys says, “What kind?”
I slow down. “A yellow lab. He has a collar.”
“Will do”. He says. I flash the A-OK sign and speed up.

He’s sniffing around the grills. I leash him up and walk towards the main meeting grounds of the off-leash area. Once there I see a young cyclist and his pug or American bull dog. Either breed is remarkably lazy, which is great as a dog owner. He is putting his dog into a little doggy car connected to the back of his bike. I ask. “Going great distances?”
“No, but for this guy…“ And he points to his dog. Then adds. “I live around 40th and San Pablo.”
I think. “What is that? About 60 blocks?”
“It’s about 4 miles.”
I think about how I walk my dog around Lake Merritt quite often and that’s 3.5 miles circumference and about a mile walk from my apartment. “That’s not far.” I say.
He said. “I like to do my walking while I’m here.”
I said. “Absolutely, absolutely.” And I turn away and open up my moleskin.

Soon thereafter, my dog greets another dog walker. The dog walker greets my dog with the familiar. “Hello there. You have a blue tongue.”
Now, I have never ever considered this subject to be conversation fodder. I don’t know why. I guess I just lacked the confidence to let this be the conversation starter it was destined to be. But in this instance, I said. “Yep. He has the most solid blue tongue of a non-pure chow I’ve ever seen. A lot of mixed chows have spotted tounges…”
He says. “And it stands out….his yellow fur.”
I say. “Yep.” And I mumble some affectations. “yellow fur, makes it stand out, yep,” as I put my head down and rub my forehead. I can think of no other reason why I cast my gaze down and rubbed my forehead other than to visually cue that I was done with this conversation.

With my head down, I hear his gait stop from the sudden kick up of sand and the abrupt cessation of shoe sliding against ground. Evidently, he had a noisy gait. I think that he said, “Cute.” And without even raising my eyes, I motion him away by flicking my wrist, palm down like a Southern Lady might dismiss the help. My wrist moved up then my fingers moved together following the wrist and continuing upwards even after the wrist stopped it’s trajectory. When my fingers reached the zenith of their range of motion, they fell back down and wrist remaining still, repeated the motion again. So it was like my hand was doing the worm.

After that encounter, I preceded to write about all the previous encounters from the picnickers to the cyclists to the dog walker. I wrote it all down, because, I was so free and easy throughout all of them. There were so few hindrances blocking a natural care-free dialogue and interaction. Yet interestingly, the last two could have been quite rude of me. The cyclists could have thought I was judging his decision to ride here rather than walk. And the dog walker may have felt rudely dismissed. Yet, I felt very little or next to nothing during these encounters.

************************************************************************************

I have either been running away from people or chasing them off my whole life. It’s odd how you can go through life with a particular behavioral pattern and not even know it.

***********************************************************************************

CONJECTURE:

Buddha lived a perfect life of VF. He was a master Jhannist, had supreme mindfulness, and held a position that validated his role in the universe. That role allowed him to be guest of honor at many a banquet and always have a comfortable place to lay his head at night. He was also a beggar and that too validated him, being the Axial-age revolutionary from Northern India that he was. Never needing to eradicate feeling, he never did. Never knowing that it was necessary for imperturbable bliss, he never preached that as a goal.


***********************************************************************************

I expend so much emotional energy worried about what strangers think of me; usually for reasons so trivial that I can’t even remember them for this blog. “Does she think this odd?” “Does he think I’m doing this or that.” “Do they think that what I just did was stupid?”


August 14, 2011

11:48 AM

Today's morning involved me waking up from a dream about a friends wedding and my ride there was a person who betrayed me in college. It was an ethnic wedding so I didn't know what to expect and once there I found that the only person I knew (the bride) wasn't even there. I woke up from this dream still quite tired, re-closed my eyes and kept dreaming it. I did that about 4x. I finally woke up and realized that I was 'me' and began trying to muster some felicity.

7:17 PM

Caught a bug on Friday and I guess today it finally overcame my immune system. Poop. I haven't tried to generate any extra felicity. Just been laying around with body pains and lots of fatigue. Wouldn't go to the casino even if I hopped myself up on flush & cold meds. Most disrespectful thing you can do is go to a germ facilitating place like a casino while sick. Good news is I absolutely feel nothing negative. My mood today has been shifting between a hairline above neutral and significantly below ecstatic.

11:58 PM

Pretty boring day though I haven't felt bored....mundane would be a better word. Grateful for all these sight/sounds that take me away from myself. Equally grateful for this philosophy of actualism which in a few words i guess is, everything is already perfect.

2:49 AM

I just experienced a burst of emotional excitement. It was a propellant, a psychological propellant. Experiencing that, it's easy to see how the self can feed of itself. So many sources of potential energy. A well designed self can literally move mountains. Within a perfectly arranged self, hypothetically speaking, there could be an endless source of energy from which to tap into. Unfortunately, the ego can sap that energy in many ways. And generally speaking, highly accomplished people have big egos. This ego can act as a kind of buffer, like a individual tower of babel, to keep one from being too god-like. Kind of ironic...the ego which is the thing that makes you want to be like god is the same thing that prevents you from ever reaching those heights. I suppose it's possible to have a very small ego and a well designed self. I'm not sure what the point would be though.

3:07 AM

Throughout the day, I have experienced brief spurts of shame. Undoubtedly, this has to do with the fact that I have been completely nonproductive today. Intellectually, and for the most part, emotionally, this doesn't bother me in the least. But there must still be one tiny part of me that feels beholden to status - moral, financial, social or otherwise. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I need to learn how to convert these useless emotional bursts of energy into felicity. I suspect that I'm getting better at it even if I can't verify it. Maybe I'll try to quantify it in some way.

August 15, 2011

1:13 PM

The morning was completely painless but there wasn't any joie de vivre.

7:33 PM

A person accomplishes something. In his downtime, he reflects on said accomplishment and feels pride. He re-directs the pride into focus on the next accomplishment. Over several decades that person becomes an absolute monster of accomplishment and ego.
A person fails at something. In his downtime, he reflects on said failure and feels shame. He re-directs that shame into pity, shyness, fear of failure, etc. Over several decades that person becomes a monstrosity of low self-worth, desperation, fear and projection/deflection.
It's all about re-directing energy back into some goal. My goal is greater felicity. Over several decades, (preferably sooner) I may become a monstrosity of the present moment! It's all about taking away attention and emotional energy away from this figment of imagination we call ourselves and into actual reality.

7:51 PM

During this day, I decided to stay here in Northern California and make the move to Vancouver gradually rather than all at once. It's better to lay a foundation in Vancouver before I move my whole life up there. But with plane tickets and dog care, I thought it might be impossible. But today, I found a reasonably priced dog watcher with the potential to rent a room out of her house. I meet her tomorrow. But just thinking about her rates allowed me to consider a worse case scenario and I think I can even swing that.

1:16 AM

3 hour nap and wide awake. I am one nocturnal dude! It's hard to poke me out of bed in the morning but after just 3 hours and in the middle of the night, I cannot fall back to sleep. For all my psychological inefficiencies, I have to say this biological nocturnal-ism may be the greatest reason why I've under-achieved these so many years.

3:04 AM

It's about realigning your thought process with an induced captivation of the present moment. Every bit of emotional energy spent worrying about either the past, the future, or theories of cause and effect is a waste. Emotional energy spent in captivation of this present moment is not only liberating but more true to reality. Take the London riots: I just was a sent a youtube thing on it. I can spend moments reading about them, studying them, worrying about them, theorizing about why they took place and how to avoid them in the future and why some people can understand and others can't, etc. Or I can be engrossed in what my senses are telling me. You may ask. But what good does being engrossed in your present moment when other people are suffering. I can only say that they are suffering because they are spending the vast majority of their time dwelling on the past, worried about the future and theorizing about cause and effect. You may ask. What if you are suffering in the midst of famine? How will the present moment save you then? Won't theorizing about cause and effect lead you to a practical way out if possible? Perhaps but actualism makes room for that with it's insistence that the brain can and will theorize, plan, create all on it's own. I don't know. I haven't experienced apperception yet.

Strange. I'm getting tired now. I knew that I would. I don't know why I couldn't just sleep through the night and wake up at dawn. If I did that, i could play some light $6/12 games until it was time to take buds to Napa and meet that woman and her room. As it is, I guess I'll just have to play at night in Hayward or Livermore both of which I've been wanting to check out.

August 16, 2011

8:24 AM

May have converted fatigue energy into felicity energy for the first time this morning.

11:46 AM

Walking the dog to and from laundry and during the cycles, I was heavy with irritation. My dog was annoying and I had read a few news articles yesterday and they were on my conscious. I continuously tried to convert it all into felicity but either wasn't able to 1) catch the feeling before I just automatically switched to either that child-like wonder or a dull non felicitous sensuousness, depending on the moment or 2) the irritable feeling was sticky and nonconvertible. I then experimented with keeping the irritable feeling while being sensuous. This produced some desirable results. That feeling made the present moment less sublime and more edgy/subversive/risque. It was a pleasant feeling and I was able to maintain sensuousness while within it.

August 17,2011

11:20 AM

I was caught in the brain loop pretty much all day yesterday. This morning, my dreams were all about me waking up early and resetting the alarm so when I did wake up, I thought it was much later than it was. It was mildly irritating...no felicity this morning. I forgot to cultivate it.

12:13 PM

Yesterday, I met with a potential new landlord and that got me thinking about my future which is at a crossroads so that is probably the main reason for the unstoppable loop. I'm staying in NorCal for the time being....found a good spot to play poker while taking trips to Vancouver to establish roots while being able to care for my dog.

6:56 PM

-In the last two days, I had to "suffer" through gridlock and being lost and late. These are good tests. The power of felicity stood up to both of them. I also got my teeth cleaned and that was a pleasure. It didn't make me giddy: I wouldn't do it on a Friday night but paying a professional $120 to rid my mouth of tartar is fun and smart. Plus, I like my dentist and enjoy going into the city. A few days ago I "suffered" through an on-again-off-again inflammation and what used to require special techniques to alleviate the pain didn't require anything. The pain was just a sensation and nothing more. I barely even cared that it was there. That was gratifying.
-It's easy to take felicity for granted when everything is hunky-dory. When things get hairy, gridlock for example, it's easy to pay attention and cultivate fondness for this moment. But I must not shrug it off in favor of pleasant daydreams and practical (or somewhat practical) planning just because my mood is already high.
-I've always felt shame for this petite girlish figure I have. And my lack of masculine skills. My shame wants me to start working out some. Upon analyzing it, I don't see any contradiction with actualism and this gross narcissism as long as the doer (me) is present - felicious, attentive, sensuous. It may even be helpful as long as the resultant pride is transferred to felicity. I think pride is easier to transfer to felicity than is shame. But it's dangerous too. Pride can substitute for felicity and failure can produce that difficult to overcome shame. So felicity must remain priority 1 at all times.


10:34 PM

It's official. I'm staying in NorCal for, at least, the month of September. I made a good enough impression with the landlord so that she chose me to stay in her home over other applicants. I was laid back, polite and friendly during the whole process. I've certainly had many a moment pre-actualism in which I was the same but I like to think that that disposition is becoming standard. I remember just last year, I was looking at a place and I was extremely reserved with the other tenants. They ended up choosing someone else.
Now at the casino, tonight, I had yet another disposition, which I'll label my lowest non-stressed disposition. In this mood, I am reserved but not stand-offish. I am quiet yet salutational to those I know. And I'm polite with a hint of kind levity to any strangers who wish to speak to me. Immediately after combat, I am either polite or silent, win or lose. Compare this with pre-actualism where my baseline was stand-offish and I could easily degenerate into grumpy and even hostile.
Tomorrow, I get to go into the city again. This time to take care of a legal matter: An ex-landlord still hasn't paid back my deposit.
Right now, I'm going to practice meditation metta style but with felicity as my focus!

12:38 AM

Sat for an hour in a chair with back straight...same daydreams and stuff as in everyday life but with less distractions. There was a stiffness in the back which I tried to enjoy and got maybe half way there. I figured that the stiffness was the muscles being overworked. Even if a straight back is the most efficient use of muscles, they still don't get to relax ever because there is no shifting of posture that will allow one set of muscles to take a break even if it means another group has to work extra hard. I had not thought of it like that before. There was also, towards the end, a desire to check the clock and a desire to be done with the exercise. I felicisized out of both those states as they came or tried to be felicitous towards the states themselves which is an interesting, nuanced and comprehensive point of view.

August 18, 2011

7:30 AM

Another morning of neither resentment nor felicity. I suppose that's good considering I only got 3 hours when I'm used to 10 and was awoken by an alarm when I'm used to waking up naturally.

5:01 PM

While in the city, I for the first time saw human beings as fellow people with such a wide variety of shapes and colors. I saw cars as being so many and so varied. Wasn't very sustainable though...mind kept racing.

After long nap, woke up with most strident feeling of disappointment in weeks. It was after a dream that highlighted my body image issues and reminded me of my unhappy adolescence and the fact that if was the middle of the afternoon and I was still tired. My first response was to run from it by closing my eyes and falling asleep. I may have done two more time. Eventually, thought to switch up my felicity in order for it go away. Am now focused more on the wonder aspect of being alive and less on the awesomeness aspect.

while in this wonder-filled felicity, I am attracted to space and motion. In the awesomenss-filled felicity, I am more attracted to sounds and touch. I am also slowing down my movements, repeating them on occasion.

2:34 PM

A lot of discouragement. I put forth more effort today than I have in over a week and I couldn't get past a painless 'okay this is fine' feeling. Then discouragement built upon itself. It alleviated some once I was able to identify but it came back. On the nighttime dog walk, bolts of irritation ran through me. As my attention is becoming stronger and stronger, I can identify and release any such bolts of passion almost instantaneously. And as my felicity gets stronger, I can even laugh at them. Nonetheless, today was a day where good wasn't enough. The feeling of relief at not being sad and bitter is gone and now I want more than just this nice soothing pleasantness.

August 19, 2011

1:46 PM

The morning was a mix of delight, enthusiasm, resentment and discouragement with about a 7-3 ratio in the positive. The morning walk was delight or inner dialogue describing the delight.

12:46 AM

Spent a fair amount of time in vipassana mindfulness trying to catch the ebb and flow of feeling. And also spent a lot of time simply looking for things to be delighted about.

August 20, 2011

12:15 PM

The morning experienced some shame but it was very quickly dismissed. The shame comes from not getting up right away. Every time I re-close my eyes, I feel shame for not jumping out of bed and tearing through the day like some hyper-productive super citizen.

Today I want to try to get back to that sense of humor, I experienced on the 7-9th or so. I'l going to go back to the technique used back then which was to cultivate felicity as a body feeling and spread it outwards. What's the word for skimming a text? Is it skimming? Skimmed my entries and I see that when I was doing that I always hit a wall at sometime in the day in which I just couldn't continue concentrating on sustaining that felicity. So I'll have to expect that to happen today.

4:00 AM

at the poker table, saw myself totally hawkish about winning...stressed about replenishing my bankroll and improving my winrate...unable to have fun...asked myself: is this how I want to be? Have I been just sublimating that part of me while cultivating felicity. Spent the whole session just trying to relax. forgot about cultivating felicity and just went back to basics....still swimming around trying to figure how to get to the next level.

August 21, 2011

3:20 PM

Shame and 'what to do'. Every time I think someone else may be judging me harshly, I feel shame. No matter how quickly it's dismissed, how thoroughly it's minimized - it's still there like a healing wound that itches. After that there is always the need to plan my day. I don't like that feeling either. The same values that I'm projecting when I feel shame, I'm using to plan my day.

4:19 PM

When I'm alone, it may be a good idea to get in the habit of sitting down and thinking things through. Anything that is on my mind just to think it through completely rather than be a ping ball constantly trying to ameliorate one emotion, be mindful of another and cultivate a third.

4:41 AM

I'm definitely back down on Earth. I've had two prolonged EE's, I would say - one in early July and the other for a few days around August 7-10. I'm glad I got to taste what paradise is like. Within those prolonged EE's, I experienced what I think was an out from control VF and one 10 minute PCE. But right now, I am just trying to balance the various methods. So I am trying to be my best friend, be sensual, be attentive, think things through and relax. Much of the difficulty stems from 'trying to' while being relaxed. Most of the other difficulty comes from that value system I bought into for so many years which tells me to feel pride, feel shame, be nervous, etc. With the former, being my own best friend is my main tool. With the latter, thinking things through will be my main tool.

August 22, 2011

2:03 PM

The morning was almost completely painless. I had just one super brief jolt of shame and that was it. I remembered to think things through which meant to plan my day from a completely anaffective state. And If I experienced an emotion regarding a task or what not, I calmly dismissed that emotion. I have high hopes for this new approach (which is nothing more than a reorganization of all my old approaches).

4:45 PM

After deconstructing the social identity, i stopped thinking through my emotions. And I instead I quickly dismissed them as remnants of a former belief. That is incorrect. For example, two conflicting desires are present. rather than choosing one over the other with a clear head, i rashly choose one which burgeons resentment or guilt for not being able to do the other. Those emotions could have been avoided had I educated myself on the situation - the resentment and/or guilt comes from not knowing if I made the right decision or not. I can dismiss the emotion as silly but cause of the emotion isn't a belief - it's the subconscious uncertainty of not being sure if I am acting stupidly or not. When I know that I am acting in full accord of all the facts then there is no reason to feel guilty or resentful: what must be done, must be done and even i am mature enough to know that you can't have your cake and eat it too...only when i don't know which choice is best do i get upset about having to choose. and i only don't know when i don't think it through and instead let my emotions decide for me.

Or i run away from the two choices and choose a third option like veg out on junk food, drugs, TV, etc. while vegging out, i am attentive and sensual with a decent degree of felicity. but i subconsciously know that i took the easy way out. that burgeons an emotion. i dismiss the emotion quickly, simply thinking that it's okay to take the easy way out, all outs are equal, there is no good and bad, etc. But the emotion isn't the result of a belief, it's the result of knowing the consequences of stupid decisions. Without investigating each emotion, it is easy for me to dismiss it prematurely.


February 8, 2011

Abstract:

Learning about AF has created a lot of unwanted confusion.

Very recently, I developed a renewed interest in practicing HAIETMOBA.

I currently classify all emotions into one of four categories: fear, nurture, desire, felicity. The first three are one and the same. As one is exercised they are all strengthened, as one atrophies so they all do. Felicity stands apart because it doesn't engender anything else but itself (or hopefully a PCE and apperceptiveness).

Felicity has a chemical component, serotonin or dopamine or some other brain chemical.

Notes on the text:

When being technical I use the term 'nurture' but when speaking more colloquially I use 'love'. For me it makes sense to put 'love' as a sub-category of 'nurture' but the word 'nurture' is cumbersome so in everyday speech I use the word 'love.'

Similarly, I have moved 'hostility' as one of the four primal emotions and instead make it a sub-category of 'fear'.

Body:

AF is the monkey wrench. Since Trent turned me onto it in my first thread on this forum (1/15/2011), I have not been able to reconcile HAIETMOBA, meditation and work, (I've just gotten out of a relationship and am still new to this city so friendships/relationships haven't been effected). Before learning about AF, I was quite enthusiastic with my progress along the Dharma path. I was meditating daily, practicing mindfulness hourly and had obtained a diligence in work I've long admired in others but was never able to emulate. Now I no longer meditate and have lost some of that diligence. I am, however, just as mindful if not more so. Also, I used to have a guilty feeling regarding my work. I am a professional poker player and I thought the predatory nature of this work was counter-productive to the spiritual life. I no longer suffer from such guilt which I am grateful for. However, I now suffer from uncertainty. Some days I feel the hours I put into my job will pay off and other days I feel that the only moment that is important is this one and so I blow work off.

Yesterday, I began classifying all daydreams and emotions into one of two categories, love or fear. Today, I figured that lust needs it's own category. I find it helps and is probably similar to noting. For example, I went out this morning to give my dog his morning walk. It has been very warm here in Northern California so I stepped out with just a T-shirt. Today it's rather windy so a long sleeve shirt would have been more appropriate. But rather than suffer through it, I just recited the mantra 'no fear.' I chose not to fear the sensation of cold. And throughout the entire walk I wasn't cold, I was feeling the sensation of cold. And that sensation was interesting and not unpleasant. Of course, had it been significantly colder (even if not dangerously so) fear probably would have resurfaced. More reason to keep practicing.

8 weeks ago, I broke up with my girlfriend. She was my only friend in this city and it was a sad event. But I've begun to put myself out there, back on the market. In doing so, I have developed a list of things to own (possessions and accomplishments) that may make me more attractive to the opposite sex. I have used this list as motivation to put in the hours at work. And it has kept my nose to the grindstone. But today I read this webpage. The term joie de vivre inspired me to take this moment more seriously. I decided not to work today. Sitting in front of a computer may not be excruciating like it was before I began Buddhist meditation but it still pales in comparison to taking a walk, eating a donut, starting this thread, etc.

After reading that thread, I took a walk to run an errand. For the last week, I had been practicing observing life without fear and without love. On that walk, I instead practiced delighting in the senses around me. And when my mind lost itself in ruminations about the primal emotions and felicity, I turned felicity onto to that phenomenon of the mind loosing itself, regaining itself and thinking about itself. I noticed that one can turn felicity on like a switch. One can feel the switch just as clearly as an actual light switch. There is definitely a chemical that is released when it is turned on.

I also decided to classify felicity as a non-primal emotion similar in texture to love and texturally very different from compassion (both of which are sub-categories of nurture). Because it isn't primal, there is no danger of felicity engendering fear. With love (nurture) and desire, I feel that fear is the natural and inevitable by-product. And I think that this is why Richard dismisses Spirituality. When one cultivates love, one is unwittingly cultivating fear as well. For example, When one exercises his love for child by making him do his homework one is also exercising a fear that his child will be a bum if he doesn't learn to do his homework. But when one cultivates felicity, fear is not utilized and, hopefully, eventually, atrophies.

I have also concluded/observed that my own goals (both the more immediate like work quota and the more long term like more money in the bank) are born of desire and so also engender fear: I fear a life where my desires aren't met. By exercising my desires, I am strengthening the fear faculty. It is proven that the brain is extremely elastic and Richard persuasively argues that fear, hostility, desire and nurture are genetic so this strengthening and atrophying dichotomy makes a lot of sense to me.

Future observations to be made:

Felicity turned on desire. I will attempt to practice felicity while exercising my desires. I wonder if this will weaken the desire faculty or if it is always strengthend when exercised with or without felicity turned on.
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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February 9, 2011

I did wind up working very briefly. I don't think I allowed enough time to develop any felicity. As soon as I realized that this definitely wasn't fun, I quit. Next time the urge to work strikes, I'll make sure to focus my attention on felicity and naïveté.

On Thursday, I'm hopping a plane to visit my family. They know that I have been very excited about Buddhism. And so I daydreamed about what I was going to tell them should they ask. (They don't know anything about AF and I don't want to scare them into thinking I've joined a cult.) I still don't know the answer to that but I daydreamed that I told them that liberation would be very easy if not for our social and financial obligations. And then it occurred to me that I don't have any. Well I have to take care of my dog and pay the rent and health insurance and car insurance but that's it. And the rent is cheap! Every other obligation I have is completely self-imposed. One could say that all of them are self-imposed but keeping my dog healthy and my rent current isn't too difficult.

So what if I choose to stop wanting to have x amount of dollars in the bank or work an x amount of hours to fulfill some egotistical quota? And I only worked when I wanted to or when the money ran low? I think Martin M had a similar self-dialogue. I'll have to re-read it. Will I only work when I need the money or will I develop the same felicity and naïveté towards work that I'm developing while walking the dog and sitting alone in the apartment? Will I, instead, find a job at a bookstore or library or animal shelter? What will happen when I choose not to follow my grand plan, when I choose not design a new one in its place? And while pondering this I felt the wonder of not knowing, the wonder of having to wait to find out.

I'm forced to ponder how do people who have children and a mortgage manage to find freedom? I suppose they develop felicity towards their responsibilities. It must be more difficult. No wonder people literally drive themselves crazy contriving meaning and glorifying the nurture instinct. It seems without meaning and those positive instincts, we'd all drop out. How do people continue to live within the world while embracing meaninglessness and minimizing the nurture instinct?


On the analytical front, I think that the term 'nurture', cumbersome as it may be, is better then the term 'love'. 'Love' can be equally applied to emotions that aren't primal. If I love riding a motorcycle and that love is pure that is to say, there is no ulterior motive for said love then that love isn't primal. If it's not primal then there is no danger of it engendering the other primal instincts like fear. In other words, it's safe. One need not worry about exercising it. (I'll speak to that later.)

On the same front, I confused the hostility instinct with the aggression instinct. I do believe that hostility is a sub-category of fear but aggression is probably it's own phenomenon. I'm a very passive person. Even my aggression is mostly passive. So for me it's easy to forget about 'aggression'. I do have, however, an occasional aggressive impulse. And they are clearly unrelated or only slightly related to fear. Aggression and lust are just as connected as nurture and fear. That seems profound, I wonder how true it is.

Getting back to the subject of exercising ones primal instincts: It's been stated that repressing said instincts isn't the way towards AF. How are we to minimize them if not by repressing them?
Trent ., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Hi,

As a general reply to your thoughts about the passions and emotions … make sure you are investigating and learning about the complexities of compounded feelings as well as their more fundamental aspects in a way which does not exclude having flexible knowledge about both. Understanding the specific feeling being felt and what’s implied by that feeling provides knowledge, and so does understanding the fundamental passion that the feeling is a derivative of and what’s implied by that; the information provided by understanding one is often different than that of the other. That is to say … sometimes it is more useful to look at things as a generality (e.g. “this is fearful” or “this is desirous”) and sometimes it is more useful to look at things specifically (e.g. “this is terror” or “this is lust”). Essentially, such knowledge is to be an aid for finding one’s identifications and possibly helps one to understand how to end such identifications. The more you understand them, the more information you have … and since ‘I’ and ‘my’ feelings and ‘my’ feelings are ‘me’, that information allows one to uncover and eliminate ‘me.’

Jon T:
I'm forced to ponder how do people who have children and a mortgage manage to find freedom? I suppose they develop felicity towards their responsibilities. It must be more difficult. No wonder people literally drive themselves crazy contriving meaning and glorifying the nurture instinct.


They manage to do so because of pure intent … with sufficiently pure intent, one has no reason to consider whether it is more or less difficult, one just takes the only step one sees possible (forward).

Jon T:
It seems without meaning and those positive instincts, we'd all drop out. How do people continue to live within the world while embracing meaninglessness and minimizing the nurture instinct?


Can you expand upon this ‘meaninglessness’ you describe? What is it that is meaningless?

Jon T:
Getting back to the subject of exercising ones primal instincts: It's been stated that repressing said instincts isn't the way towards AF. How are we to minimize them if not by repressing them?


Elimination happens by understanding what ‘I’ am and that ‘I’ no longer need ‘be’. Suppression happens by denying that ‘I’ am already ‘being’, which denial is a result of not understanding (or ignoring the fact of) what ‘I’ am.

Trent
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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February 10, 2011

In a few hours, I will hop a plane to visit the fam. Ideally, the body would be getting sleep right now. There is no fear of the fatigue which will likely be present while waiting. I am grateful for that. But there is disgust that I have to run one errand before I leave. I must fear being late or maybe that disgust is born out of desire.

I thought a lot about desire today but before I launch into my speculations let me set the stage while answering a question:

Can you expand upon this ‘meaninglessness’ you describe? What is it that is meaningless?


Thank you Trent for piping in! It is twofold. One is the lack of any apparent meaning in the Universe. The second is having lost hold of my self-imposed purpose of wanting to work a lot to earn a lot of money to be totally Awesome. emoticonemoticon All day Tuesday and for most of Wednesday, I had no purpose. It was liberating but quickly became boring as a desire for change due to a lack of stimuli crept in. Late yesterday, an idea occured to me that becoming Virtually Free should be my number 1 priority. And I found that regaining purpose is comforting, but I'm still uneasy with it. The need to have a purpose seems delusional.

Sometime in the afternoon, before "regaining" a purpose, I was at home, not doing nothing because well I saw no point: Life in general is meaningless, My life is particular lacked anything that needed to be done, so I was just sitting around. And the desire for change hit me. That was when I first started to think about the desire instinct. Then in the process of running an errand, I found myself in an old stomping ground which brought up some sadness and the desire for change hit me anew. So I thought long and hard about what this desire is.

The non-lustful desires that I experience are desires to be somewhere/anywhere other than where I am. It is a desire for change or movement. Biologically, it may be an imperative to force progress. But that is just speculation. More practically, it comes whenever there is not enough stimulation or too much unpleasant stimulation or the stimulation is too normal or neutral.

The past few days, I had considered the desire instinct to be totally about lust. But today I experienced it as not only lust but as an impulse towards movement to escape. In Richards words, desire is about domination. My lust has an element of domination to it. But my non-lustful desires are more about escaping the present moment. And like I said, this instinct is triggered when stimuli are either not enough, too common, or unpleasant.

Back to my disgust for having to run that one errand. Running it will take me about 15-30 minutes out my way and I dislike driving to begin with so any extra time behind the wheel is unappealing. So the disgust emotion is born from an expected desire to escape triggered by the fear of being late and my dislike of driving. In other words, I expect to encounter unpleasant stimuli, both fear and driving. I anticipate that these anticipated unpleasant stimuli will trigger a desire to be elsewhere...a self-fulfilling prophecy it seems. And now that I am analyzing this disgust so closely, I do see an element of Frustrated Will involved. And this is directly related to the desire to dominate which Richard emphasizes. It annoys me that I wasn't able to take care of this errand online (renewing a library DVD) and that there are no libraries in my neighborhood. In other words, I am unable to manipulate the world to serve me and this is frustration born of the desire to dominate. So this disgust I feel is quite multi-dimensional. And quite interesting. Having analyzed it, will I be free from it?
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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February 13, 2011

I'm at my folks home in VA. These last few days, I've been working on identifying from where my emotions come. Sometimes they come from just one of the instictual passions and other times they come from up to three of them including different aspects of each one. After identifying from where they are coming, I then try to deny the source. I do this by either repeating a mantra like 'no fear' or converting the energy into felicity.

I have a fear of pain that sometimes manifests itself in a sadistic daydream of slow torture. This usually involves a sharp object and my eyeballs or my member. This is a difficult one. It is like lust in that it has a life of it's own. Lust, however, is pleasant and its' energy can be more easily converted to felicity and wonder. This sadistic daymare doesn't convert well and is unpleasant.

I read Trent's recent post. I've been practicing thinking in terms of 'i wonder.' It's a bit forced. I still find that I am judging. One thing is for sure, being around ones parents is a great place to observe aggression. Just to be clear, I do contain it...no major unpleasantries have occured on this trip.

Also thanks to Trent's post, I've been thinking about how things work. Light bulbs, batteries, car blinkers, the combustible engine, etc. This keeps the passions in abeyance. And it is genuinely interesting. I was never mechanically inclined. But I don't see why I couldn't have been. My passions just maneurved me towards other interests, many of which I have found to be counter productive e.g. politics.

Very early this morning, I woke up and was very tempted to plan. I saw a clear choice before me. I could plan a routine in order to obtain certain financial rewards and in the process work on transcending the passions or I could refuse to have any goal except actual freedom. I chose the latter. It was difficult because I saw before me a chance to have nearly everything I ever wanted while making progress towards liberation. But I decided that it was a trap.
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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February 16, 2011

Yesterday on the plane ride home, the passions were largely in abeyance. Reflections during this time concluded that the body/mind is just another homo sapien.

The mind saw that it was free yet also recognized this was unchartered territory. All the old habits were seen to be derivatives of the passions.

Lust wasn't absent. It was continually transformed into a study of the moment. And that lust being as it was without violence, fear, dominion or nurture wasn't lust like before, but instead, a power of focus.

Jon as I know him was no longer present. In his place was a homo sapien much like all the others one saw. The immediate environment on the plane and in the airport was no longer an unjust social order within an abused ego system but a community of homo sapiens obeying their instincts just like the lions and gazelles do. (The "miracle" of flight wasn't ignored.) Our country was merely an institution special only because no other species is able to build one. The world wasn't a precarious sphere but a stable sphere independent of not only our species but all species.

Death was contemplated in this state. At that point, fear did re-arise. It was observed and put to the side but I still wasn't able to get a good grasp of what death is.

The state lasted about 8 hours. Approximately half of that time was in the state and the other half was using HAIETMOBA or other tactics to get back into it.
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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February 17, 2011

Anyone know of a single word for general dissatisfication with the present moment? I usually place the feeling as a desire but it can also be a fear. It can even be a combo of all 4: I fear what I'm doing now is unproductive or counter-productive, I have aggression towards the players/agents within this moment, I fear that hostility, I desire to dominate my environment so completely that there is no uncertainty, I love this sense of self enough to want to give it a better life, I love you enough to want to make this present moment better for you.

I like the word impatience because it's just one word but lacks the omph that a word like 'lust' has. The word impatience also implies that I am just waiting to be free. I can dig that especially if I understand that waiting can be hard work.

I like ambition because it has omph. But it places the instinct squarely within desire which I now have doubts about.

Furthermore, i find that this general dissatisfication/impatience/ambition sparks other instincts propelling one to follow those instincts toward tangible rewards like more money, more power,more sex,more food,better shelter, etc.

Perhaps dissatisfication/impatience/ambition is the root animal instinct: the one single instinct from which the others are born.
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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February 19, 2011

I've been using the term 'dukkha' to describe the primordial impulse (or base instinct depending on how far back you want to trace it). Yesterday while driving back from the casino, dukkha hit me hard and would not let go. Or rather, I would not let dukkha go or I wouldn't let myself go or I couldn't force myself to abandon my petty concerns.

It's preposterous that all evening I chose to be wrapped up in dukkha rather than working hard to enjoy the moment. I didn't want to work hard. It was easier to just wallow in all that discontent and dwell on all those supposed causes. And yesterday, all those causes were crystal clear. But had I done the work, I'd have realized that dukkha has no cause. Those supposed causes were simply triggers: Circumstances in life, which turn the human mind towards dukkha, the ubiquitous dissatisfaction/the primordial impulse to move. And rather than examine the ubiquitous dissatisfaction as the Buddhist instruct or turn my mind towards the wonder of life as the Actualists instruct, I chose to examine the triggers.
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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February 23, 2011

Has anyone attained AF without already attaining the concentration jhannas? I ask because though I habitually go into PCE mode, I just as easily fall out of it. If I don't concentrate then the mind focuses on 'me' rather than the world. Or after a while does one just become bored with "I" and "me" and leave them for the stress-less world of the senses?

For short I've settled on naming the instincts 'love','hate','fear','want'. I still believe that there is a primal instinct (dukkha) which triggers those 4 instincts.


Another way to phrase HAIETMOBA is to deliberately choose the logical course over a course based on some emotion. Emotion seems to come from the self relating to the instincts and its' own conditioning. For example the reptilian brain commands 'desire'. The self then has to make up a story for 'why' one now 'wants'. The self looks at it's life and compares it to what he/she has been taught or grown to assume and then decides on an object of it's desire. Wanting that choice object then creates an emotion. If the choice object is a mate then 'loneliness' will be the emotion. If the choice object is some down time then 'beleaguered' is the emotion. However, it isn't just a straight line from dukkha to the four instincts to self to emotions. The emotions too can trigger an instinct. For instance, suppose one feels the loneliness of the above example. That loneliness will often then trigger new thoughts about the self and those new thoughts will trigger another instinct or maybe the same one. And this will make the loneliness even worse.

For example one has chosen a mate to be the object of one's desire. One feels lonely. One then thinks about past mates and another instinct is triggered. Say due to a painful memory, hate if triggered. The self connects hate to the past bf or gf and now one is angry. No wonder love is seen as the answer. It can't break the chain but it can cause pleasant emotions. Do actualists think fear,hate and want can't be eradicated unless love is also eradicated?

I think 'self' developed as a way to make sense of the instincts. It is the only universal and still widely believe mythology other than God. Just as the ancients came up with stories to explain nature, they came up with the 'self' to explain why some people are cowards, some are warriors, some are poets and some are traders. And why sometimes one feels sad, happy, etc.

If one always makes choices based on logic then one probably grows colder over time. However if one practices sensual awareness while one is pursuing this or that goal (which was chosen logically) and understands the nature of self then the instincts will, hopefully, atrophy. It's probably wise to realize that the self will continue to be a factor during this process and so one will continue to experience emotions. Therefore one should apply logic with that in mind.

Last night, completely by chance, I hung out with a completely new group of people. And egotistically speaking, it didn't go well. I decided quite intentionally that I was going to enjoy the rare night out just I like I would have back in the ole days and I consumed too much alcohol and marijuana. (I greatly enjoy the buzz from of those two drugs but haven't drank in a couple of months and haven't smoked in over a year) As a result, I wasn't able to keep up with the conversation yet kept trying to. And this probably made me look weird or something. On top of that, the crowd was younger and all knew each other. It was also an indie crowd and those types are habitually nasty. So I woke up this morning knowing that I failed to make any new friends and maybe even further isolated myself. And though the ego has been bruised all day, the only emotion was disappointment. In earlier years, I'd also have been angry, self-loathsome, and dejected. This improvement may just be the natural steadying of the personality due to experience and age. But I think it was from AF practice. I focused on the sensate universe and when the ego reasserted itself as it often does, it saw through itself. It realized that it was a mirage and therefore there was no validity to the emotions it felt. As a result, disappointment didn't turn into anger and self-loathing and hopelessness. And the disappointment, itself, was quite mild. Probably because, during PCE's I was able to think about the disappointment and when the ego did reassert itself, it did so with the knowledge gleaned from the PCE.
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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February 26, 2011

This may be a lot easier than I thought. I'm simply choosing happiness over any over and feeling great. Still have feelings but nothing to worry about - ---- only time will tell.
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adam gregory greene, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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I'm trying to just be constantly in PCE, doing whatever I can to induce then whenever I fall out trying again, I've been sitting on my bed for about 10 hours
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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adam gregory greene:
I'm trying to just be constantly in PCE, doing whatever I can to induce then whenever I fall out trying again, I've been sitting on my bed for about 10 hours



Interestingly, I haven't been in a PCE all day. The day before yesterday, I had a nice online chat with a respected poster. Since then, which included a decision to temporarily chill out regarding work and love, I've been very happy. The remainder of that day and through much of yesterday, I had dozens of PCEs and they helped maintained my happy mood. The clouds were so interesting. The buildings were so interesting. The colors and the trees were interesting. The people leaving work and going to their cars was such a grand sight. Quite unexpectedly, I was invited to meet up and socialize with some very new friends and, though, I wasn't in a PCE, I was very relaxed. I felt little to no stress. I am often afraid of the impression I give but last night, at the onset of any fear, I just chose to be happy instead.

And today, for the most part, I've been lost in my thoughts. Most of them have been petty but none of them have been malignant. Not once did a thought turn to anger or fear. Want has reared its head, and less often but still plentiful, so has love. Nonetheless, these few thoughts, either greedy or magnanimous, all wishing that things were different, developed little to no momentum. Once they are "discovered" mindfully, I make my decision to be happy, and they loose all potency; I can't help but smile at them. Before, I always attempted to stop and alter those unskillful thoughts but the last 2.5 days they have been dying peaceful deaths and I smile at them as they do so. As I write this, for experimental purposes, I intentionally think about work, I grow afraid and then, immediately, choose to be happy and the fear dissolves. After several days/weeks of being happy, I may decide that I am ready to be happy during work. But before then, let's see if this happiness continues. Let's see if it becomes permanent.
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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March 2, 2011

I'm still getting used to being able to control my mood. Since learning to do it, I am clearly in a better place than before. I'm more mindful and my mood is more stable and positive. I don't get lost in conjecture about the nature of the self and the instincts. Some of that newfound time is spent observing the environment and some of it is spent wondering how an AF person sees himself and his environment and some of it is spent scanning my mind for emotions and then willing happiness and explaining to myself why/how the emotion appeared and a small amount of time is tapping into a part of my brains biology.

That last part is interesting but I'm worried that it's a waste of time (and maybe even delusional since I never hear anyone else talk about this). The practice consists of mentally releasing one of two chemicals in my brain. One causes a type of fear and the other causes joy (and to a lesser extent other chemicals that may be related to anger and desire). Is there any reason to continue this practice: By playing around with these chemicals, will I discover how to do away with them altogether? How many of them are there? I've found two and there may be a couple more that I'm beginning to learn about. Is that just the tip of the iceberg: are there so many that it's fruitless to try to discover them all or have I found most of them and learning to manipulate them is necessary?

Getting back to happiness, I find that there are a few things which can unhinge it. Two of them relate to AF, one relates to how stupid people are and the other one relates to how stupid I've been in the past. I'll go over each one. A) I feel that my life has no purpose. Lately, I've learned to remind myself that attaining AF is my purpose and that temporarily does the trick. B- I feel that I'm not making enough progress but that is nonsense: I've made plenty both since I started AF a month ago and since I picked up meditation a mere 11 months ago. I feel this past year has been the most productive of my life yet by classic standards (money, status, security) I seem to have regressed. I guess that is the source of the conflict and it's probably playing itself out in my subconscious. A and B must be intimately related. C) I get upset over a regret. Before this mood enhancement trick, I might wallow in that negative emotion for hours at a time and would have to resort to either getting back to work on some materialistic goal, uplifting my mood with drugs or alcohol, comparing myself positively to other people or distracting myself with a funny movie or sports show. The mood enhancement trick, which is just me deciding to be happy, is quicker and it last longer than those delusional methods of yesterday. D) Reading the newspaper. I am ten times better at not reacting to that stuff than before but even so I can still get frustrated at how blind people can be. When this happens I remind myself these 4 things: 1) not everyone has the same thinking process as I have (their starting points or assumptions are different) , 2) i can't change the outcome of any event, 3) all outcomes are equal because life/existence moves on it's own accord and matters not whether humanity destroys itself or builds some lasting utopia and 4) even if it was somehow important there's still no objective reason to believe my opinions are correct.

So that is where I stand today.
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adam j. hunter, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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One thing that might help you, instead of fulfilling desires, show them that they are silly. every time you suffer it means your self is creating some imperfection, normally you would rectify that imperfection, AF teaches you not to do that, but to see the perfection of your current circumstances.

for example, you thought about not making progress, and to cheer yourself you showed yourself that you were making progress. maybe instead you should show yourself that this desire is silly, that the world is perfect with or without progress. This extends to any instance of suffering, just show yourself that your perceived imperfection is delusion, as all perceived imperfection is. every time you do this you attack your imperfection imagining self, and you feel better, realizing that the world is perfect no matter what it is.

this is the thought that has been helping me alot in recent days. If I have some desire I just show myself that the world is perfect with or without that desire being fulfilled. That in fact the only thing that really makes the world seem imperfect is that desire itself.

For example today I was tired, I kept wishing I could just go home and sleep, but I showed myself that the world doesn't care whether I am or am not well rested. It is only my instinctual self trying to protect itself. Also I got insulted in a public setting today, within 1 second I realized that the world doesn't care, it is perfect, it is only my social self that creates some perceived imperfection, and if there was no self, existence would be pure perfection.

hope this makes sense
adam
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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adam j. hunter:
for example, you thought about not making progress, and to cheer yourself you showed yourself that you were making progress. maybe instead you should show yourself that this desire is silly, that the world is perfect with or without progress. adam


Totally. On the plane ride home from VA, I sensed perfection. It was in large part intellectual and I can't recall if it was affective or not. I do remember feeling like there was no feeling lol. It was probably a rationalized emotion, but it got me to a place that needed no improvement. I labeled it a PCE at the time but now I suspect that the "I" was adding a lot to the experience even if the "I" was stripped away of all of its' pettiness. It felt like everyone else was just a wild animal we call human being and I was like a completely content shell of a human being. They couldn't hurt me and I had no desire to disturb them in anyway. And the plane was a marvelous demonstration of science and human ingenuity and the society of the airport was a fascinating case study. I've gone back there a few times since then and I think you inspired me to go back again. It should be interesting to try to glean how much emotion was in the experience without leaving the experience. Thanks for the reply.
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adam j. hunter, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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this is alot like my practice has been today. I kept realizing that the universe was perfect no matter what it was, it can not be imperfect. Imperfection is a concept 'I' give it, if I stop giving it that label I will perceive constant and total perfection. This is really the only tool you need, you just keep ardently chipping away at your concepts of imperfection until they are gone, until there is nothing left to protect.
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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March 5, 2011

Here I am waiting for the soup to cool. Earlier I said that I have been getting used to this revolutionary know-how called happiness. It truly is grand. I said that there are a few things that can distract me from this happiness and I said that is where sensuality comes in. Sensuality leads me back to happiness. Since this merger of sensuality and happiness, which Richard says is an integral part of the process and leads to virtual freedom, I have stumbled onto a greater felicity than I had before. And this felicity makes the external sensate world more interesting than my internal world. I find myself thinking about something or other and then asking HAIETMOBA. I answer and consider whether I want to be observe the sensate world or continue along the same line of thought. When I ask this question, I've been concluding that the sensate universe is more interesting and I choose that option.

I've progressed far in the last 2 weeks and have to decide how I should start to integrate my routine. However, when I begin to think about it I quickly revert back to my old materialism. I think about how much I need to work to get this and that and who I want to impress and I soon have to stop myself. This was why I took a hiatus in the first place. I want to attain AF and don't want to consider the possibility that I may never get there. If I consider that then I'm quite liable to start "making a life for myself." That will only take me farther and farther away from felicity, which I am now convinced does lead to, at the very least, greater and greater happiness.
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Jon T, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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March 6, 2011

I played poker today, 16 tables at once/1000 hands an hour, and it was quite an emotional ride. I'm learning to tune into the moment and see the beauty of the most smallest detail. The two go hand in hand but aren't the same thing. I understand now why they call it "to tune" into the moment. It is very like catching a radio station on the dial or tuning an instrument- a little to the low isn't it and a bit too high isn't clear but just right and you've got it. It's a skill. As for felicity, it's more than just appreciating the birds singing; it's appreciating the gum on the sidewalk and dust on the bookshelf. And then there is maintaining that base emotion of happiness, which comes first and foremost from the knowledge that happiness is a choice and then sustained by more and more effective naivete/felicty. And, I suspect, made permanent by mastering the art of tuning into this moment.

I think playing poker for me is like learning to swim. Today, I was mostly just trying not to drown in my emotions. As a swimmer counts strokes and focuses on his legs kicking. I was trying the techniques of felicity, and that skill to tune into the moment, and reminding myself that happiness is a choice. Applying those techniques over and over, it will become second nature and soon I'll be swimming merrily along in the details of the colorful pixels on the monitor, the touch and sounds of computer work, the fascinating dynamic of sizable sums of money, 52 cards, 9 players and human creativity.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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March 26, 2011

The Feeling has forced me here. It is so skilled at promoting action. Oh ye Feeling, mighty feeling like thunder you are. you roar and this earth shakes. I have nothing to say yet here I am ye clever devil, poking me with your trident, if you will. Zeus and the Devil. One moves with thunder and lighting and the other with his cunning little spiked tail and trident. Poseidon was Zeus' brother you know and Poseidon had a trident also and lived under the earth too. it was cold where he ruled though, the sea is cold. But it was Hades who ruled hell yet Poseidon had the trident. Both places were cold. Only Zeus who knew fire liked it hot.

But it was my feelings that brought me here and it's my feelings that are the master of this body and I am they and they are me. Such sway such powerful sway. They roar and I interpret but with no 'I' there is no interpretation...no emotions, just feeling and they are me and I am them. It can be quick this chain of Feeling, Self, Emotion, Self, Mood,Self,Thought,Self,Action,Self. It can happen in seconds even a split second perhaps. So if there is no Self but still Feeling then what is it that knows feeling but is not self? What is it that is observing feeling without interpreting it. I don't know the answer to that question. (I think it's the anaffective conscious.)*

Feeling left...no reason to type but no reason not to type. i'm already here. feeling back, Fear. What will they think is the interpretation the self gave. (I had a feeling of fear and the mind instantly thought "will they think me an idiot for writing non-sensical?")* Of course that's not a perfect dichotomy (feeling triggers self which triggers emotion which again turns on self...etc). It's a working hypothesis that has some holes...may have to scratch it for another but it does the trick most of the time.

Do you know what Self is? It's the neo-cortex trying to interpret those feelings. You think you are yourself but you aren't. you are your primal feelings interpreted by the neo-cortex. That is all you are. When the neo-cortex understands this then there is a void, a cognitive dissonance that will hopefully destroy the whole system.* Once the conscious brain becomes aware that it is responsible for Self which in turn is responsible for so much misery then the process must eventually end. Imagine willfully ignoring a truth than can lead to freedom. The conscious brain can't ignore that truth and it is much too profound to completely forget. But the system doesn't collapse that quickly. There is still feeling and it's interpretation is very very quick as the neocortex is very fast and quite automatic. it's quite clear what happens. eventually the neo cortex gets so good at identifying feeling as they pop up and before the mechanism of Self* can interpret that the lizard brains shuts off that part of itself (the feeling part)* After all the information it is sending isn't being used. Why would the body spend energy on a brain function that isn't put to use?



*edits: The first draft wasn't readable.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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April 7, 2011

In the exact moment of each personal awakening there must come within it an implicit appreciation for the moments preceding it. This is often, erroneously, referred to as self-forgiveness but is coupled, correctly, with the term 'loving yourself'. You are a perfect and sublime being. There is nothing unholy within you: Everything about you is worth savoring. From this sublime vantage point, one can see, hear, taste, touch and smell with the pristine clarity of peace on earth.

In the process of freedom, one streamlines the Self. You are made more efficient, jettisoning remorse, shame and the thousand inhibitions that come with those deadly evil twins. Then the positive ego can begin to drop away as well. Pride and greed no longer need to defend you from said deadly evil twins. Afterwhich, a powerful beingness is felt. It is from here that the new age mantra of self-love can be understood. One accepts without taking. One accomplishes without gloating. One casually reaches for and one casually gets and one casually carries forth a confidence of no-shame and no-pride just being. From here PCE's come without effort, the doer and decider falls away, the observer takes a more prominent role. And one is carried forth.
katy s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Hi Jon - may I ask how work seems to you/goes along these days?
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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katy s:
Hi Jon - may I ask how work seems to you/goes along these days?



I work only when I feel no compulsion to do so. And if I want to work yet feel fear, I work anyway. So with work, I follow Trent's "No repression, no expression" and I have developed a discernment to identify those particular feelings. Of course, compulsion doesn't mean "in order to pay the bills" or "in order to keep my job so that I can continue to pay the bills." Compulsion means "I feel like I should work even though the nest egg is bigger than several months expenditures."


Beoman:
how would one go into a PCE, where the self/being is fully in abeyance, through self-love (love/attachment to the self), dropping everything but being (more self) or being the observer (another self)?


I (and not "I") genuinely adore PCE mode and often choose to let go of feeling in order to go into it. The self-love I was referring to is "love/attachment" to being which isn't "more self". It is less self, though you are right that it is still Self. And the observer isn't just "another self." It is also less self. In other words, I am getting lighter as my needs and worries dissipate. This gives me more opportunity to choose to place feeling aside. FYI, my PCE's are still of quite a short duration. On a good day, I might have 100 PCEs lasting no longer than a minute.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Beoman:
how would one go into a PCE, where the self/being is fully in abeyance, through self-love (love/attachment to the self), dropping everything but being (more self) or being the observer (another self)?



Also, the goal isn't exclusively to get into a PCE. One must make room for simple happiness.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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katy s:
Hi Jon - may I ask how work seems to you/goes along these days?


Beo said in another thread that all questions posed to one are mere projections posed to oneself....seems true enough. And I remember being weary after reading your thread that you weren't being honest with yourself in regards to your work (very likely my own projection.) But let me ask. Do you have any hopes that AF will sort out work related issues? I would love to read about them if you do.
katy s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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HI Jon - work has been a great place to practice. Thanks for checking/sniffing out an underlyer to my question to you! I was really locked into a cycle of anxiety and feeling bad for my team (that I was on it, dragging them down), trying repeatedly to encourage a replacement for me. This was possibly baffling on the receiving end, and met (each time) with complete kindness. I decided that the best "thank you" would be to cut off the anxiety completely, just accept that I am there and part of the team until otherwise decided. The kind reply to my anxiety drove my interest in AF/anatta into high gear. It has been a great decision. I could not be more grateful for this ongoing opportunity, effort, practice, intention.

How are you doing?
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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How are you doing?



I have entered into a new romance. My job has been completely transformed since a federal indictment against the owners of Full Tilt Poker. Half of my net worth is frozen in an unregulated offshore account (not for tax fraud but for quicker online access) And I have been loosing at the casino.

The two greatest obstacles to me feeling happy are loosing and thinking about politics. Thank god for sensuousness, felicity, the goal of being free, and my new romance. (The new romance is actually a disappointment but it appeases the lust gods -those nasty little buggers (details more appropriate to PM if one would think them helpful)). If I still thought that happiness was dependent on the external than I'd be one bitter man right now even with the new romance.

Bruno quoted Richard 4/20/11 in his "disappearance of bruno thread".

...just prior to apperception occurring, ‘I’, the beholder – the one who wants to be in control – can view life as being bereft of depth. Everything can become flat, two-​dimensional, barren and stark. This is not actuality, although one may be inclined to feel it to be so. This is reality, stark reality, and is not to be confused with actuality. Actuality is never, ever, stark. This starkness can influence one to pull back, to retreat into ‘normal’ life. Courage of one’s conviction and confidence in the purity of the actual is essential if one is to proceed....


I don't know if Richard is talking about the final complete apperception or any apperception but the above description fits my experiences. I think that when one is in a negative or neutral mood then sensuousness leads to this "barren and stark" reality. And felicity has to be turned on, which is extremely difficult unless already in a positive mood. (Go ahead and try felicity when you have just caught a string of bad breaks or you have too much on your plate - there is a great 'oh not now, fuck this noise' barrier.) And when one is already in a positive mood then felicity can be skipped because sensuousness is already a PCE. It's a catch-22: You can't get into a PCE unless you are already feeling positive and feeling positive is dependent on fickle fortune. We, for sure, don't want the emergence of a PCE to be dependent on having a good day.

One can learn to stay positive but all that is just an elevated baseline of mood. Fortune will still determine how close to or how much higher than the baseline you are and if the baseline is still too low then PCE's will have to wait. There are two solutions and both should be employed. One is to continue to try and elevate ones baseline of mood so that even the worst day is still PCE friendly. The other is to learn what one is striving for, one's intent. This latter can help overcome that 'oh not now, fuck this noise' barrier.

When the intent isn't to be happy Now but to be happy sometime in the future then the thought process (usually super quick and wordless) is 'I will practice sensuousness so that eventually I can learn to stay completely in the moment and thus will never have to experience unhappiness'. Instead the thought process needs to be, 'I want to enjoy the fuck out of this moment because this moment is the only reliable thing in this universe - the future is completely uncertain and the past is completely gone.'

It is very counter-intuitive to believe that this moment is the pinnacle of your life. And, ironically, I think one has to feel it. It can be proven logically but ones feelings will prevent you from believing it. So a new feeling has to be engineered and that takes time and is probably a mysterious operation that can't be seen happening. I do not claim to have engineered this feeling but if I'm writing about it without any cues or ulterior motives then it is probably, at least, a nascent thing and if so I will try to nurture it into the dominant feeling of my existence. For the sake of dogma, I'll add that when one is always living in the present than any feeling about the eminence of the present becomes moot and will eventually atrophy.

Speaking of feelings that help get rid of feelings, I may have developed another one. This one would be much more individual to my particular path. I grew up in a highly politicized home. We weren't politicians but it was the one constant dinner conversation every evening. It made my parents very passionate and usually disgruntled. Psychologically speaking, I probably was forced to either adopt their passion or completely reject it. At a young age, I must have adopted it and it is still with me. As a result, I have been carrying this cross of utter abhorrence of our republics crass political dialogue. For years, I tried my best to explain my abhorrence away; to get rid of it by showing myself in a number of ways that the abhorrence itself was counter-productive and/or hypocritical and that the crass dialogue was inevitable. But all to no avail. Yesterday, I actually Felt that it was foolish to expect more from others than what they could deliver. Specifically, a public figure who has an emotional and financial attachment to a certain point of view and for whatever reason never developed an emotional attachment to Reason can't be expected to ever change his/her point of view or to even consider that she may be wrong. Furthermore, her listeners, many of whom are probably of average intelligence or lower and who have the same emotional restraints on them, can't but be expected to fully back her arguments. This is so obvious that it need never be mentioned. And I've told myself this thousands of times over the years. Yesterday was the first time that I felt it. And it brought forth a great measure of peace. I hope I continue to feel it, at least, until the day comes when I no longer feel period.

The final topic I'd like to address is loosing. I've been loosing at the tables lately and it couldn't come at a worse time (per the comments at the top of the page). I've been using sensuousness to step away from self and this helps. And I've been reminding myself that there is nothing to fear, both in that I'll soon win again and even if I don't that everything will be okay. And that helps too. But neither medicine kills the bug. I hope that yesterdays feeling of wanting to enjoy the fuck out of this moment 'cause it's all I have continues throughout today including at the tables.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Jon T:
I don't know if Richard is talking about the final complete apperception or any apperception but the above description fits my experiences. I think that when one is in a negative or neutral mood then sensuousness leads to this "barren and stark" reality. And felicity has to be turned on, which is extremely difficult unless already in a positive mood. (Go ahead and try felicity when you have just caught a string of bad breaks or you have too much on your plate - there is a great 'oh not now, fuck this noise' barrier.) And when one is already in a positive mood then felicity can be skipped because sensuousness is already a PCE. It's a catch-22: You can't get into a PCE unless you are already feeling positive and feeling positive is dependent on fickle fortune. We, for sure, don't want the emergence of a PCE to be dependent on having a good day.

One can learn to stay positive but all that is just an elevated baseline of mood. Fortune will still determine how close to or how much higher than the baseline you are and if the baseline is still too low then PCE's will have to wait. There are two solutions and both should be employed. One is to continue to try and elevate ones baseline of mood so that even the worst day is still PCE friendly. The other is to learn what one is striving for, one's intent. This latter can help overcome that 'oh not now, fuck this noise' barrier.

yea that's something i've run into as well. maybe this might help: it's not really up to fortune - one free of the human condition wouldn't feel bad at having those same things happening to you happen to them. 'i' always choose how to react, at the most basic level. often the choice is not brought into our awareness and one is left with the feeling and a 'darn how did i get here? this sucks'. every time you feel bad, find out why you made that choice. if you can do that then you won't feel bad if that happens again since you'll have figured it out.

but yea once you are in the midst of it it's hard to pull yourself out... luckily bad feelings tend to fade, so when you're feeling ok again you can go back to the above method.

Jon T:
When the intent isn't to be happy Now but to be happy sometime in the future then the thought process (usually super quick and wordless) is 'I will practice sensuousness so that eventually I can learn to stay completely in the moment and thus will never have to experience unhappiness'. Instead the thought process needs to be, 'I want to enjoy the fuck out of this moment because this moment is the only reliable thing in this universe - the future is completely uncertain and the past is completely gone.'
heh very true.. i dont think i fully appreciate that fact yet - that this is my only moment of being alive

Jon T:
It is very counter-intuitive to believe that this moment is the pinnacle of your life. And, ironically, I think one has to feel it. It can be proven logically but ones feelings will prevent you from believing it. So a new feeling has to be engineered and that takes time and is probably a mysterious operation that can't be seen happening. I do not claim to have engineered this feeling but if I'm writing about it without any cues or ulterior motives then it is probably, at least, a nascent thing and if so I will try to nurture it into the dominant feeling of my existence. For the sake of dogma, I'll add that when one is always living in the present than any feeling about the eminence of the present becomes moot and will eventually atrophy.
i don't think you should get used to feeling out the present, see here:
tarin:
one thing 'i' had understood by the onset of 'my' renewed practice of actualism (which the memory of an entirely unexpected pce of several hours' duration had shortly before then made exceedingly clear) may as yet not be apparent to some of those practising today who are close but not quite there, and may be worth indicating in some detail.

something which may be relevant to consider is that with the abeyance of the feeling being (the feeling of being) is the abeyance of all feeling of existence. the actual world - whether as experienced in a pce or an actual freedom - is simply not felt to exist; for this reason, the experience of what is actual may be (and has been) described as an experience of derealisation[1]... which experience (of reality's absence) most notably differentiates what is actual from what is real[2].

it is entirely possible that what is keeping 'me' from the extinction precipitating an actual freedom is that 'i' am attempting to stay in the present moment, and thereby do 'i' remain grounded in the real world (however close to its precipice 'i' may stand). in the actual world, there is no present as such to stay in ... neither 'i' (the intuition of my existence) nor 'my world' (the intuition of reality) have existence here in actuality. to be actually here, and now, is to be nowhere in particular, and nowhen in particular[3].


Jon T:
Yesterday, I actually Felt that it was foolish to expect more from others than what they could deliver. Specifically, a public figure who has an emotional and financial attachment to a certain point of view and for whatever reason never developed an emotional attachment to Reason can't be expected to ever change his/her point of view or to even consider that she may be wrong. Furthermore, her listeners, many of whom are probably of average intelligence or lower and who have the same emotional restraints on them, can't but be expected to fully back her arguments. This is so obvious that it need never be mentioned. And I've told myself this thousands of times over the years. Yesterday was the first time that I felt it. And it brought forth a great measure of peace. I hope I continue to feel it, at least, until the day comes when I no longer feel period.
going even further, it's foolish to expect anything from anyone. any relation you have with someone or thought about someone isn't actually about them, as it's impossible to know what they're thinking or feeling or how they see the world (insert richard quote about how he only meets flesh-and-blood bodies) - it's just another aspect of your self, in this case one that is set up to depend on outside input to change. and that is massively counter-intuitive and i still have trouble with the fact that when i worry about other people or my relation to them it has nothing to do with the actual person...
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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no doubt about it....everything but the actual is a projection. However though that knowledge may lead to some useful realizations about yourself, it doesn't necessitate the cessation of the projection. I have a fear of Republicans because I am afraid for my own personal safety and well being: And rightly or wrongly, I conclude that their ideology poses a threat. Furthermore, I am afraid of my own irrationality. I know that I am not always rationale and Glen Becks point of view reminds me of my own paranoia thus making me uncomfortable and the response is to lash out at him and others like him. But that knowledge doesn't always stop the projection. What did help yesterday and has helped today so far is trusting/feeling/knowing that their lunacy can't be changed but mine can be.



i don't think you should get used to feeling out the present



Explain this. Are you being thrown by my use of 'feel'. Substitute 'to trust' i.e. 8*4=32. I don't need to verify it with a calculator or by counting.


After having written the update, I felt great. As a result, I haven't been able to completely gauge how efficacious this most recent insight is. When that 'fuck this noise' barrier is present, will my new 'enjoy the fuck out of this moment because this moment is the only reliable thing in this world' p.o.v. be sufficient to overtake that barrier? I don't know but I was able to practice enjoying the moment on my dog walk and I was very alert. I was proactively searching for something/anything to appreciate. It was different from the times when I just soak it in with a panoramic ease. It wasn't better but it worked as well and allowed me to appreciate the finer more mundane aspects of the moment...a pebble here, a sound there rather than the whole beautiful scene at once.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Jon T:
i don't think you should get used to feeling out the present


Explain this. Are you being thrown by my use of 'feel'. Substitute 'to trust' i.e. 8*4=32. I don't need to verify it with a calculator or by counting.

i am:
Jon T:
So a new feeling has to be engineered and that takes time and is probably a mysterious operation that can't be seen happening. I do not claim to have engineered this feeling but if I'm writing about it without any cues or ulterior motives then it is probably, at least, a nascent thing and if so I will try to nurture it into the dominant feeling of my existence. For the sake of dogma, I'll add that when one is always living in the present than any feeling about the eminence of the present becomes moot and will eventually atrophy.

same with trust - trust isn't necessary if you just know. (you don't trust 8*4=32, you know it). it might just all be word choice, though.

i was just indicating you might be replacing the feeling that the past was important and the future is important with the feeling that the present is important. and as train was saying:
choo choo:
... the abeyance of all feeling of existence. the actual world ... is simply not felt to exist ... 'i' am attempting to stay in the present moment, and thereby do 'i' remain grounded in the real world... in the actual world, there is no present as such to stay in ... neither 'i' (the intuition of my existence) nor 'my world' (the intuition of reality) have existence here in actuality.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Those words by Tarin are for the very advanced: For those who are already happy and harmless nearly all the time.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Jon T:
In the process of freedom, one streamlines the Self. You are made more efficient, jettisoning remorse, shame and the thousand inhibitions that come with those deadly evil twins. Then the positive ego can begin to drop away as well. Pride and greed no longer need to defend you from said deadly evil twins. Afterwhich, a powerful beingness is felt. It is from here that the new age mantra of self-love can be understood. One accepts without taking. One accomplishes without gloating. One casually reaches for and one casually gets and one casually carries forth a confidence of no-shame and no-pride just being. From here PCE's come without effort, the doer and decider falls away, the observer takes a more prominent role. And one is carried forth.

how would one go into a PCE, where the self/being is fully in abeyance, through self-love (love/attachment to the self), dropping everything but being (more self) or being the observer (another self)?
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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April 13. 2011

My parents stayed with me in my one bedroom Oakland apartment from Friday until Wednesday this morning. If there were any incidents they were extremely mild. I discovered that any hostility we have is always innate. A good way to describe an irritating factor is to say that it reminds one of ones own innate hostility. In other words, getting cut off in traffic isn't irritating. But it does remind us of our own position in the universe which we may be uncomfortable with.

My mother is very negative. I had never noticed it before this week, probably because, I was just as negative. She griped about any little setback or even a reminder of a previous setback. For example, I commented that there were no buses that rolled east/west through the city's main park (false by the way - i was mistaken) and she began a minute long diatribe about public transport and congestion. Another time she griped about the train service from the airport not from this trip but from their last trip here several years ago. Yet another time, she complained that our Whole Foods doesn't have a good bakery. It was always something and, of course, my parents bickered back and forth between themselves. And on top of putting them up, I was in charge of ferrying them around the city.

I was very impressed with the way I automatically handled the stress. The self (me, I, the system of this body/mind relating to the world, the process of I) instantly or almost instantly reworked negative thoughts into more benign ones. As a result, negativity was very slow to build up. Here are the concepts of which I heard or saw myself remembering.

When my pride was wounded, I naturally thought about how ephemeral "I" am. There isn't much to be either proud or ashamed of. I am closer to a dynamic cloud of many different gases than I am to a solid object. Pride or shame of this or that would be identifying with this or that gas in this or that position ignoring the many other gases and the dynamic whole.

Irritation is merely the result of the neo-cortex remembering the hostility innate within this system. Don't blame the messenger (the external irritant) for my own hostility.

The sensate world. Seeing that I'm irritated or ashamed and instantly or almost instantly recognizing how foolish such emotions are, I often and instinctively, turned to the sensate world, realizing if only for a short time that life is perfect.

That I (me, myself, the system of this body/mind relating to the world, the process of I) am beautiful and in no need of improvement. The hostility, the shame, the desires are definitely suffering and unnecessary but they are also very interesting and quite marvelous when looked at objectively.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Jon T:
A good way to describe an irritating factor is to say that it reminds one of ones own innate hostility. In other words, getting cut off in traffic isn't irritating. But it does remind us of our own position in the universe which we may be uncomfortable with.

i noticed that when events in the outside world cause irritation, it's often because of a projection. like i am writing a program, and i add some code and run it and it doesn't work. GAH! spike of irritation. what happened? i think i was taking the program as 'me', or as part of 'me'. like i am shaping it, i want it to do this and that, and it definitely should since i just wrote the correct code to make it do that (false, since it didn't work, but that's how it seems), and when it doesn't - well why not?? it should work! it's trying to extend our will onto the outside world - thence the fascination with telekinesis and other psychic powers, i think.

so when you get cut off.. you are putting some part of yourself into the driving, taking some personal stake in it, so when something happens it influences you directly. i think it's the same when other people irritate you. it's because you have a well-developed mental image of them (theory of mind about them) which is basically a part of 'you' (a projection) that 'you' remove from 'your' control and let the external world influence completely (in that case, what that flesh&blood body that you are projecting a personality of says and does).
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
May 4, 2011

1. Perspective,Truth and Personal Inclination: Existence is infinitely big. I am unfathomably small. I have no inclination to be a top dog at the dog pound when they're just going to euthanize me in a few days.

2. Mood is a choice. I know because I can make myself happy with just a little bit of effort. I have seen and heard of other people doing the same.

3. a) Ambition whether altruistic, self-centered, or idealogical spreads ill-will. Though this hasn't been proven, you can run your own experiment. My bias indicates that the more altruistic and less idealogical ones ambition is then the less ill-will will spread. But since altruism is itself an ideology there must always be some ill-will emitted.

b) Self-centered positivity a.k.a. pride also spreads ill-will.

c) Ill-will leads to war, poverty and oppression.

4. a) Selfless positivity spreads good-will. Genuine magnanimity humbles and pleases people. Though his hasn't been proven, you can run your own experiment.

b) Good-will leads to humility, tolerance, felicity and cooperation i.e. Peace.

Conclusion

What should I do and think about now? Using the above as a given, I'll just be happy in this moment, no pride - no passion.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
May 9, 2011

I've been sick the last 3 days. The greatest obstacle to me staying happy during this sickness isn't the body aches and sore throat but the idea that I should be productive despite the illness. I feel that I should be fighting through the illness and achieving anyway. This realization has prompted me to explore the social identity more fully.

It's odd that I haven't achieved a ton despite an innate desire to be a big shot (megalomania). The first 3rd of my life (I'm 33), I knew I was going to be a super awesome baseball player. The 2nd third I felt I was going to be a great writer. And this last third has been me trying to make the most desirable and interesting life that I can. This includes forays into buddhism sometimes for the purpose of becoming enlightened and thus superior. Travels to Africa and Europe where my primary motive was to be seen as interesting and exciting, as well as a near infinitude of ridiculous day dreams where I am some great hero.

This need to be a big shot has been shadowed by an intense social anxiety (in turn led to alcoholism and a negative body image). So the social anxiety prevented me from consistently putting myself out there while the need to be a big shot forced my hand at times. An example is when I ran for Middle school president despite not being popular or representing any clique or student-type. On the other hand, I never joined debating team or the thespian club in high school. There is an inconsistency there. Another example is when I went to the free mental health clinic in college and after a few one-on-one sessions, never went to the group therapy class I was referred to.

But my social identity is more than that simple juxtaposition. I inherited from my father an unspoken ideology that one should never be superficial. And yet, I was and have always been very superficial. I always wanted to be loved and respected and maybe even feared but I didn't want anyone to think I wanted that. Moreover, I didn't want anyone to think that I wanted anything at all. I think I wanted that to be a part of my mystique and a part of the reason why people liked me (megalomania). But it also was due to me being taught to distrust the superfluous per my father.

I would say that those four things more than any other led to the meltdown that eventually brought me here.

1. megalomania
2. intense shyness
3. an intense want to be not just liked but loved. (must be related to #1)
4. a disdain for the superfluous eg. style, vernacular, flattery, etc.

But there is one more thing and I hesitate to name it because it's so pejorative...laziness. I don't enjoy working. I do enjoy writing these posts, which is a work of sort. Lately, I've been enjoying playing poker at the casino which I used to detest but now that I have to do it (thank you DOJ) I find it quite enjoyable. And playing poker to pay the bills is most certainly work. I enjoy walking my dog even or especially when the walk is strenuous. So it's not that I'm fundamentally opposed to work. So what is this laziness? Is it another juxtaposition that causes a freeze-up or meltdown? If so then what are the two things being juxtaposed?

Perhaps my megalomania i.e. desire to be a big shot is running into my disdain for the superfluous? If there is something I'd rather be doing and I can afford to do it then what is stopping me? It's the desire to be a big shot. That other thing e.g. a walk through the hills, won't help me become Big-shot Jonny. And yet I supposed to despise the superfluous. And so I despise the reward for my work which I don't even need to do. So why am I doing the work? But when I don't do the work and take a walk through the hills instead then I call myself lazy.

I just put #4 together with #1 and realized the inherent contradiction. My father taught me that the superficial is contemptible but I was born with an innate desire to be a big shot which is inherently superficial. Inadvertently, my father taught me to despise my own Self. That is very funny. Because my father was always the most supportive fellow a boy could have. Of course, there was absolutely no way for him to have known what he was doing.

It's deliciously funny. Given the assumption that I was born with a sort of megalomania that my father should deride all thing superfluous. I hence learned to detest my very nature. But I didn't know it. And so a large web was woven over the decades keeping me always depressed and under-achieving. Often, it's gay kids who are taught to despise their very natures. And so you get these well detailed case studies of adult males often business, elected or clergymen who have secret rendezvous with men insisting to themselves that they aren't gay, sometimes completely unsympathetic to the gay rights and once in a while even outrightly hostile to it. Even though megalomania (or whatever is a better tag for my condition) is far less obvious than homosexuality (nor am I saying that homosexuality is in anyway a neurosis or psychosis) I've gained a greater understanding of the self-deception involved with the aforementioned adult males.

This has been a very interesting post. I'm sure I'll be revising in the week and months to come as more comes to light.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
May 15, 2011

Guide to the Path

Since my last post, I discovered this page on the trust site.

1) I'm not sure what my prima facie case was. Last April, when I first began to sit, I just wanted an escape from my anger. But that wasn't enough and I soon quit sitting. Then in June, following some heavy reading and tentative sits, I gained SE in a flash. I began following buddhism until I discovered the DHo. In January I began following Actualism. So if I have a frima facie case, it's that I knew that Self was a deception and decided that this method was better than any of the various buddhist methods.

2) Since then, I have been more or less "snorkeling around the surface" as I have been studying the instinctual passions and trying to stay close to a PCE rather than dismantling the social identity. The latter part of staying close to the pce comes highly recommended by all the AF people, btw, as it is the carrot that keeps you going. But it is recommended to dismantle most of the social identity before moving on the the passions.

3) Recently, I have begun to do just that. I have focused on questioning every spiritual value and every social more as they pop up. As the trust site predicts, this is a lot of fun. I am finding that every emotion is prompted by a belief. When I should wake up, when i should bathe, what i should eat, what i should read, how i should greet people, etc.

This morning I was trying to get a better hold on why I get angry at the poker table when things don't go my way. The instinctual passion to dominate is obviously present. But the need for a social cue so that I know that I'm a winning/intelligent/dominant player is the initial cause. How else will I know I'm good if people don't think I'm good and tell me such? In poker, it's even more irrational than other things because in poker there is a tangible reward for quality play.

But in other things, like likability for example, there are only the social cues to point you the way. How can you be likable if you don't try to be what people like and how do you know if you are doing it correctly unless other people tell you that you are likable or you aren't? Unless people point you the way, you'll never know. And they point you the way by either frowning at you or smiling with you. And so you are constantly on the look out for these cues. And your emotions are doing their part as well. You feel good when people smile with you and bad when they frown at you. And a successful psychic entity learns to do what is necessary to feel good. Essentially, I am learning to forgo all that and learn not to care what other people think and not to care what I think. And that's a big part of it. We frown at ourselves when we don't live up to the ideals that we think other people will appreciate. For what I think is just the social mores and what other people think is that and their own pettiness.

Along with that comes shedding the values of our religions. Right and wrong and - kindness, magnanimity, compassion - vs. selfishness. It's fine if I ignore my dog for a while. The spiritual values of compassion and empathy instilled since birth have not worked for me or for anyone else it seems. So I won't feel compassion for my dog. My dog is no worse for wear. He can sleep and dream while I type this post. A 5 minute rubdown won't make or break his day. He will still get his food, water and exercise. Likewise, there is no reason to feel compassion for the little 2 year old in the apartment underneath me. She is shared between a young single father and her mother. And the father looses his temper. Empathy for the child isn't noble. It won't help anyone. It can only hurt. The child will have obstacles to happiness no matter how perfect or imperfect her home life is. I can only create a better world for her by freeing myself from it's lies. Of course, the father would do well for both him and his daughter if he freed himself. But I can't do anything for him except free myself.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
May 22, 2011

Learning to tackle the social identity has proven to be a major breakthrough. The si plays a role in all of our feelings. It can initiate an emotion or it can direct an instinctual passion into an emotion. Get rid of the si and well over half of your total feelings never even form and the others have nothing to latch on to. As a result, after getting rid of the si the instinctual passions are much easier to see.

I decided to post something today because I was thinking about how uncomfortable all feeling has become. Actually, I'll have to recuse myself from this line of thought because the last few days haven't been very much fun. So i can't say if it's all feeling or just the feelings that are currently bubbling up. I'm currently loosing at work. When it turns around for me again then I'll be able to compare feeling self-satisfied to felicity to the non-feeling PCE. And I'll have a more comprehensive view on the matter. but I'll keep this paragraph intact to remind me.

But in pondering the uncomfortable nature of all feeling, I started to compare myself now to myself before actualism. And on this note, I definitely have a good view of the matter. For before, I easily fell into acrimony whenever I was on a loosing streak. But now, it's just slightly unpleasant. Felicity, PCE's, perspective and a lack of a significant si has totally put the lid on acrimony and insecurity. I'm not worried about going broke because I don't have any shame in asking my parents for money and/or moving to a cheaper apartment. I don't have any fear of living on the street or getting sick. I don't fear being undesirable to women. Life is too wondrous to do anything but be in total awe.

However, there is a catch. Without shame and pride to force my hand and twist my point of view, there is nothing to strive for. I have no hopes and dreams. Sometimes, I feel empty. Ahhh....writing it down does help. In the website, R. says something about watching out for this phenomenon and to use your memory of a PCE to get you out of it. And yes...it does work. Life is really cool even without hopes and dreams. So what I was going to say, before feeling empty, is that comparing me now to me then is very much apples and oranges. Then I was guy who had a lot to prove and a lot of desire to be somebody. It was like a vortex. and that vortex was totally me. And now the vortex is gone, decayed to an eddy, a few unusual disturbances nothing major. The me then was consumed with prideful things and shameful things. Without pride and shame everything is so different. It's not even comparable.

Besides the instinctual passions, the triggers that I most have to be on guard against are shame regarding my 1) sleeping habits. I'm mostly nocturnal and never felt comfortable about it. 2) My cleanliness. I don't keep a clean house but I always thought I should. 3) my productivity. I'm pretty lazy and have always been embarrassed by that. None of these things matter. Even in a "worse" case scenario like a house full of old food and dirty dishes and ants and fruit flys and me only working 15 hours a week and sleeping 12 hours a day - if that is what it was and I felt no shame and no pride and was happy and harmless then so be it. Both I and the world would be better off with me being happy and harmless sleeping in my own filth then if I tried to live up to our social standards. (the shame that I still have is begging me to assure you that my situation is no where near as "bad" as all that). 4) my self-consciousness when around a beautiful girl. I have to talk myself out of feeling the need to impress and instead observe that feeling as well as the beautiful wonder of life all around me. 5) my pride and animosity regarding my personal politics. I need to talk myself out of having opinions. This is not as hard as it was just a week ago. Something clicked and now all I have to do is remind myself that it's impossible to have all the facts and who knows what is best in the long run and hypotheticals aside, it's best for all involved not to have any opinions and Time and Universe and Life are very big and 21st century human problems are so very small. Reminding myself of any of these will usually get me back to being happy and harmless. I don't know what clicked but if I tried this a year ago (and I often did) it wouldn't work. And 6) my pride and loyalty towards my home city and home state sports teams. I was a very passionate sports fan - always rooting for my home team. So sometimes I have to talk myself out of that weird loyalty and bias. But again, it's much easier now then it was just a few weeks ago. These are the 6 most common triggers besides the instinctual passions.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
May 22, 2011 continued

And 7) my self-absorption while in a hand at the poker table. This lasts for the duration of the hand and about 20 seconds afterwards.

decided to post something today because I was thinking about how uncomfortable all feeling has become. Actually, I'll have to recuse myself from this line of thought because the last few days haven't been very much fun. So i can't say if it's all feeling or just the feelings that are currently bubbling up. I'm currently loosing at work. When it turns around for me again then I'll be able to compare feeling self-satisfied to felicity to the non-feeling PCE. And I'll have a more comprehensive view on the matter. but I'll keep this paragraph intact to remind me.



I had a chance to observe all the primary emotions today. And I can tell you that I am not tired of them as I thought. I am tired of the negative ones though today was a great day in that my attention quickly identified negative emotion, traced it's origin and shifted it into felicity quite easily. I spent a good portion of the day felicious and a good portion self-satisfied as I got a lot crossed off my to-do list. I can see why so very few people have ever became AF. Pride is a very alluring emotion. In fact, I can't say for sure that it isn't equal to felicity. The downfall of pride, of course, is that it isn't sustainable. One becomes proud after accomplishing something that one values. If one fails to accomplish it then one becomes ashamed. However, pride can be made significantly more sustainable by simply choosing to value what one is naturally good at and towards whatever one is naturally predilected. Combine this with a healthy relationship and a profession one is suited for and happiness is a guarantee. Moreover, if one is also cognizant of ones social identity and social conditioning and can ignore those things at will then shame can be mitigated even after a significant failure. On top of it all, if an ability to cultivate felicity is present then you have a very very very rare level of happiness.


Felicity = the feeling of delighting in the small things, having confidence in that delight and valuing that delight above all else. This produces a feeling of well-being.


I also became aware of the nature of my PCE's. I would describe my typical pce to be an EE turned into a PCE decayed into pride at having just been in a PCE and back into an EE and repeat.
ed c, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 59 Join Date: 8/9/10 Recent Posts
Jon T:
However, pride can be made significantly more sustainable by simply choosing to value what one is naturally good at and towards whatever one is naturally predilected. Combine this with a healthy relationship and a profession one is suited for and happiness is a guarantee.


Yikes, there are millions of people who would disagree with this opinion. The only thing this would seem to guarantee is "my" survival and all the fears, desires and malice that come with all this. Anything considered valuable gained will create fear of loss, desire to improve on it over time (up the goals) and anger when unwanted change happens to you or wanted change doesn't happen for you.

There are an endless number of things "I" fear/desire or can be angry about and although happiness always seems just one or two more accomplished goals away, in "my" experience, it's not. I simply cannot be fully satisfied ever, only temporarily appeased.
Good luck.
ed
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
ok. Sounds accurate. greater point was that one can choose what one desires and fears and what one is proud of and if one becomes ashamed.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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June 1, 2011


8) my reflective feelings. I finally coined this mood today and can now begin studying it.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
6/3/2011

In a pce...feelings come up once in a while but the mind is so sharp right now that those feelings are 'dispatched' instantaneously. In other words, as soon as the feeling is felt, the process of investigation, resolution and felicity is so quick that it takes all of 1 second. It's being in a zone for any competitor out there. Everything is on all cylinders.

Also, love is not a good emotion. It can really twist you. I didn't mean romantic love.

Also, there is only the moment in a PCE. it's nice as in less weight to carry around, no weight really, truly. I like it

A lot of dho was good for me today. AJ thread was productive. I hope he continues learning. A great day at work helped. i met with the lady friend yesterday and the team I'm rooting for in the finals won. kind of a perfect storm for emotional health. And felicity just propelled that good feeling to the pce.

so long story short. happy emotions + felicity = pce......that's my best guess.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
June 26, 2011

I want to start typing down my progress notes again so I may have a frame of reference should I attain to AF: I'll jot down two quick things, a 3rd more expansive point and then elaborate on a 4th which occurred this morn. 1) Constant comparison. I'm constantly comparing how I view and react to things now as opposed to then. The comparison is universally positive but the reflex to compare is tiring. 2) I'm weary of repressing my emotions yet at the same time, I think I understand them completely. Should I dismiss them as soon as they come up? Or is that repression?

3) According to this thread, I began dismantling the social identity on May 9. If you asked me 3 days ago, I'd have said that the SI is completely done with. However the last couple of days I've had opinions about various things (i think they have all been about government & politics). The emotion attached to those opinions, however, is pretty weak. I feel a slight irritation. Because this irritation is so slight, I think I don't need to talk myself out of the opinion. So I have been allowing myself to have the opinion because it seems that I implicitly understand that the opinion isn't necessarily the right one nor does my opinion make a difference one way or the other: It wouldn't even make a difference if my opinion were the law of the land. So at this point, I can have an opinion without being attached to it. It's really more akin to memory than opinion. It's as if I am saying, "This is how I used to think, as far as I can tell that viewpoint was consistent and factually based, but regardless, it's irrelevant, unimportant, of little to no interest." Does anyone have similar experiences?

The 4th thing may be encouraging to those new on the path. I am 33 and for as far back as I can remember I have woken up each morning with intense self contempt. I now know why I did so but I won't get into that. These days that self contempt last for like a second, literally. (It used to last the whole morning, which I always prolonged due to the unease at starting the day which was, of course, due to the self-contempt.) However, this morning I had a dream in which I was the buffoon that everyone mocked and jeered. I think I'll give you the details, because, I may want to remember them one day:

In the dream, I was playing for my alma matta. And we had just won a big game. And I got the honor of singing 'Carmen Ohio' which is the alma matta song. Well, I didn't know the words. So I just hummed the tune. And everyone was disgusted with me but I didn't care too much. I was slightly embarrassed but not mortified. Interestingly, this dream referenced two things in my life. 1) It refers to an incident in my elementary school days where I was picked as punishment to recite the pledge of allegiance. And I didn't know the words. 2) It refers to my recent progression towards AF because I am no longer a sports fan and I used to be a very passionate one. And because I was only embarrassed and not mortified it references the fact that I care less about what people think of me.

So when I awoke from this dream, I felt that same pathological self-contempt that I do every morning but which lasts only a second these days. However, due to the emotion of embarrassment sparked by the dream, it was stronger today. Even so, I dispatched with it quickly. Maybe it lasted 5 seconds or possibly a whole minute. A significant improvement, and a positive moral for those who suffer similar self-contempt during parts of your day. Dismantle the social identity and even your worst instances of self-loathing will be minor and easily dismissed.

*edits for clarity 6/27
fred flinstone, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 50 Join Date: 6/12/11 Recent Posts
heh, i had a dream last night where there was a car accident and I felt bad about it but then dismissed the emotion as silly. In all of my dreams i seem to remember to practice HAIETMOBA/attentiveness and never let emotions show for too long, even though i usually don't realize it's a dream.

also, I have noticed myself carrying on habits especially in terms of interaction with others that seem to have no will behind them. Like rolling my eyes but then realizing I wasn't actually irritated or embarrassed.
richard weeden, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 7 Join Date: 1/16/10 Recent Posts
My most interesting actualist dream: becoming lucid in the dream, with the usual sense of this is a dream and that I could do anything (fly etc), then realising it was actually real and being much more careful.
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
funny you mention dreams, just today I had loads of dreams, on most of which I realized I was dreaming. Now I at this point I would usually pursue some sexual fantasy or flying dream, but I was so uninterested in the obviously affective/energy-body nature of dreaming I just let the dream go, and it fizzled away... this happened three times tonight.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
hehe i had two of my most lucid dreams today. i could only tell they were lucid when i could start summoning people into them, but not due to any distortions.

i decided to treat the characters in the dream (it was a room full of people) as just aspects of my personality. i would converse with them, ask them questions about what they're doing, what's troubling them, etc, then let them answer. talk about naivete - i sure had no idea what they were gonna say! and a few of the things really hit home.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
June 27, 2011

I've been trying to use Tarins advice the last couple of days. It hasn't worked. Nothing against the advice itself, I'm just not ready for it yet.

I continue to find myself falling back into my social conditioning. It's probably just that 7 weeks of deprogramming isn't enough. Old grooves of thought are bound to be used by this consciousness. No need to talk myself out it anymore, I fully understand how it's an empty escape - a trap. Extricate myself from the thought calmly and back into sensuality.

I've been sitting cross legged in silence a lot lately. Because I am investigating the instinctual passions, I don't want to distract myself with TV or computer. And since I now finally understand the Buddhist platitude that all desire is only a desire to end suffering, which always went over my head before, I can sit back and just explore desire itself.

Time is an interesting concept that I've been mulling over....no conclusions as of yet.

Women are slowly becoming less an object of sexual desire and more an object of ascetic contemplation. As the social identity is being shedded, so is my desire for a mate and my desires for sexual conquests. I am exploring the instinctual passions so the biological imperative to mate is currently not a thing to satisfy but a thing to explore. My subconscious seems to be on board with this as my fantasies pop up less frequently and seem to have the purpose of testing me rather than entertaining or propping me up. I have been passing those tests with ease. Lustful feeling isn't more powerful than irritable feelings and are being dealt with in the same manner. My gf broke up with me last Monday. So now is the prime time to pursue celibacy.

Often, late at night, I have a feeling of not wanting to sleep. There is nothing in particular that I want to do. I just don't want to sleep. I sat with it last night and it was the first time that I saw it as a useless feeling and not some telling internal council.
fred flinstone, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 50 Join Date: 6/12/11 Recent Posts
I have that experience when trying to sleep too, I think it's a combination of being less tired and enjoying seeing more. Closing my eyes always seems slightly silly.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
June 29. 2011

I seem to be regressing. The old triggers are having their old effects. It's almost always politically oriented. I see something and my mind launches into an opinion. For instance, today I walked past a marijuana doctor (In California, we have storefronts where doctors prescribe marijuana for about $100 a prescription) and I immediately launched into an anti-drug war daydream. I don't want to have those daydreams anymore. That's the bad news. The good news is that as soon as I become aware of a daydream, i can easily stop it. So my conscious is fully on board but my sub-conscious isn't there yet.

Sometimes they are of a sexual nature, though my proclivities in that regard aren't as involved: It's usually just feeling the delight in seeing an attractive girl but nothing more than that. Sometimes, it's a nostalgic thought. (They use to get very involved but not so much anymore.) Here, my conscious mind is just as interested as my subconscious. I consciously look for pretty girls to regard and can't help myself.

That's the bad news. The good news is that 1) I am sometimes able to steer my mind away and 2) I'm only regarding the girls, I'm not launching myself into ridiculous fantasies or intense feelings of longing. My heart races, my arm hairs stand up, the blood rushes and all that is very enjoyable which must be why I continue the activity. But that's the extent of it, which believe me, is a giant step forward.

In regards to other things that I use to obsess about like sports and popularity, neither my subconscious or conscious is very much interested. And that is good news.

Instinctual Passions:

Though, i obviously have more work to do on the SI front, I continue to investigate the instinctual passions. I still find it prudent to do so as exclusively working on my SI seems unnecessary. I could be wrong. I'll keep it under consideration. For now, I focus on the instinctual passions while observing the SI when it rears it's ugly, distorted head.

During the day, the most common passions are lust, anger and fear. The lust for a woman and the anger towards anyone who stands in my way, usually at the poker table. It is totally primal, very interesting, quite disconcerting. Sometimes that anger is directed at a complete stranger whom I've had no interaction with. I just don't like the way he looks. I feel fear sometimes in traffic and sometimes quite randomly at home. Often my fear, when at home, is conceptualized into a brutal image of torture usually involving the eyes or genitalia. At home, I often feel nurture towards my dog.

When i just sit, two things happen. My thoughts go off on their own and I let them. I think the sub-conscious may be working itself out. However, when i become conscious of it, I naturally choose to direct my attention to felicious observation. This is not a forceful direction. It is natural. The other phenomena is bliss. Deep waves of bliss rush over and through me. If not for AF, I'd think these were some sort of universal current that meditation was allowing me to tap into. I now see them as brain chemicals. Even though the bliss feels much better than fear, anger or lust and similar to nurture, it's not what I want and therefore a bit disconcerting. I would like to be able to stop it on command. But no luck with that, yet.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
June 30, 2011

Last night was interesting. Much can be said but it may all prove bogus. Many new discoveries loose their luster after just a few days. For example, several days ago I thought I had finally hit upon "child-like wonder". But now I'm no longer able to muster that. Well last night, I think I may have finally garnished some pure intent. So far, it has carried over into the morning. In fact, I woke up this morning feeling like the world was a magical fairy land just like the Trust website predicts. There wasn't a hint of that first second of the morning depression I described 2 posts ago and which I have experienced every morning for nigh 25+ years. Although after I closed my eyes and had another brief sleep, it was present the 2nd time I woke up. But, at least, I got to compare for the first time in my life what it's like waking up if not refreshed then at least happy and present as opposed to the usual resentful and ashamed. So I have high hopes going forward today.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
June 30, 2011

Today I have spent the whole day detached from words. I've had to use them to be rid of them: My consciousness isn't ready to be without them. But today I've spent the whole day aware that words are meaningless. The word 'tree' isn't a tree nor does it accurately describe one or even illustrate one. It becomes an easier concept to illustrate with the word 'war'. That word is mostly meaningless. The concept is very easy to illustrate with words like 'justice' and 'wisdom'. You are going to have to add a whole lot of conditions if you want define 'justice' and 'wisdom'. And then you'll have to define those conditions and so on. Take 'perfection'. It doesn't mean anything. Never has. This is pretty obvious. It only took me 33 years to understand it.

So I've used the word 'perfection' a lot today. I've used it to mean that universe IS and nothing more. i AM and I'm not anything more nor less. I'm not perfect nor imperfect. I neither need to improve nor stand pat. I am neither good nor bad nor anywhere in between. Nor is this country, that idea, that advertising campaign, that car, the world, the state of humanity or the universe. I will not judge you. If I judge you then I must judge myself. And I already know where that leads. And now I know that any judgement rendered will be solely based on human concepts like justice and peace. Concepts, like all concepts, that are stressful, transient and empty.

Human concepts are just that. Human. If I Identify with them, I'll remain a perfect human who thinks he's imperfect and will eternally strive towards a better tomorrow while hoping there's a heaven. What if I Identify with the universe? Nothing will be good or bad, right or wrong, perfect or imperfect, wonderful or boring. It will all be just what it is. And then what need will I have of myself? Willfully letting go of all arbitration, what need will I have for an arbiter?

So without judgement, will I obey the passions totally with full abandon? A young woman is attractive. So I seduce her? No. Seduction takes a lot of work and is dependent on many contrivances. The passions are never that strong unless a strong social identity is present. A young man at the poker table is threatening. So I become belligerent? No. Belligerence is stupid. It could jeopardize my future profits as well as my person: I would have to ignore fear in order to obey hostility. At least so far, it seems that I can't obey the passions totally. Will the passions wither away? I can't obey them. Maybe they will stay with me forever like my spleen. And maybe not. Nor does anyone know.

*********

-Botanist admit the delineation between tree and shrub is arbitrary and many species could be classified either/or.
-Was the Panama Invasion a war? We know WWII was a war. Were the Pacific Proving Grounds a war? Maybe. Maybe not.
-Objectively defining 'justice' and 'wisdom' would take an encyclopedia and be so full of exceptions to the various rules as to render the final definitions meaningless.
-'Perfection' requires a correct definition of 'Good' and other equally impossible concepts.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
June 30, 2011

What is the sorrow that has no obvious cause? For me, I think it's from a failure to live up to ones own standards. I had difficulty with sorrow even in the midst of some very successful social identity dismantling. And I think it was because I was continuing to distract myself with TV and internet. I was purposefully ignoring reflective contemplation, which is a very important part of the AF process per the Trust website. When I decided that I wasn't going to watch any more TV or surf the web, I ceased to feel sorrow. It was like a great weight lifted. I noticed that lightness and realized it was due to me living up to my own standards: A dedicated AF practitioner.

Well, last night I had the insight that pure intent to be free, child-like wonder and choosing to be aware of the perfection of the universe were all inter-connected and that it didn't matter what you did but how you did it. So today I resumed my normal distracting habits. And I tried to be aware of the perfection of the universe while I was engaged in them. And for most of the day, I was buoyed by the new insight. However, in the latter part of the day, I had to fight back sorrow. And I remembered that sorrow must be from not living up to my own standards i.e. A dedicated AF practitioner.

It is very interesting. As I have dismantled large parts of my old social identity, I have added a new identity - The AF practitioner. And just as before, if I fail to live up to this new identity, I feel sorrow. I don't know exactly what to make of that. I can use the feeling of sorrow as a reminder to practice harder...to garner a better more forceful intent at becoming free. Or I can strip away all distractions and live like a monk up until the time of AF. Or there may be a better way of looking at the situation?
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Jon T:

It is very interesting. As I have dismantled large parts of my old social identity, I have added a new identity - The AF practitioner. And just as before, if I fail to live up to this new identity, I feel sorrow. I don't know exactly what to make of that.


Yeah the actualist identity is one of the most non-sensical variants of the genre — I have caught myself fervently defending peace-on-earth, becoming agitated and even irritated in such debates, which is such a silly thing to do...

There is a DhO thread on this very subject (link) in case you didn't know.

I can use the feeling of sorrow as a reminder to practice harder...to garner a better more forceful intent at becoming free. Or I can strip away all distractions and live like a monk up until the time of AF. Or there may be a better way of looking at the situation?


Well, I would suggest be your own best friend in the whole wide world (dude!), not to be hard on, and instead be nice, caring, gentle, and kind to yourself, and maybe remember that the "situation" doesn't actually exist at all, as it lives in a difficult-to-see-clearly imaginary reality... That often helps me getting from sorrowful to "OK it's not that bad" mode, and then I can get from there to "hey, it's really not that bad at all" mode, and so on...
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
Yeah the actualist identity is one of the most non-sensical variants of the genre


I do remember that thread. I have never talked about AF to anyone who hasn't already heard of it. It's way too far out there and I'd rather people not think I'm insane. The concept of 'duty' is only very recently becoming an issue so it's good timing that you link that thread now. And I use to have AF fantasies per Beo's addition to the list. But I haven't had any for over a week now.

Well, I would suggest be your own best friend in the whole wide world (dude!)


I like the idea of using the emotion of sorrow to remind myself to zestfully pursue AF. If I feel sorrow then obviously I have forgotten to be child-like wonder and have become unaware of the perfection of the universe and have lost my intent to be free.

July 1, 2011

This morning I woke up with pure resentment. (There was no shame that I was able to detect). I fairly quickly became aware of the resentment and became resentful of the resentment. It took me a while to figure out what I was doing and another while to apply the correct antidote. At first, I noticed the window blinds and tried to appreciate their shape but that didn't work and I grew even more resentful. Then I remembered how crazy wonderful life and really all of existence is. And that always works for me. (Our pickup truck civilization built on the surface of a space rock spinning around a nuclear furnace 100 times wider and 300,000 times heavier than us and that's 93 million miles away; itself spinning around a hole in space so massive that it can distort space and trap whole solar systems from over 25,000 light years away. I just love thinking about the enormity of it all.)
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
July 1, 2011

I spent the most time I've ever spent aware of both 'me' and the actual world. It first occurred when I noticed anxiety while walking near the shoreline in the dog park. I didn't judge the anxiety. And that was refreshing. I just felt it and observed it in my heart/head and body. Since then I've been consistently trying to notice my feelings i.e. myself while also noticing the actual world. Trying to implicitly understand that myself is a perfect entity. On the drive home, I was able to accomplish this while feeling lust. And a few different times today, I've been able to do this while in contemplation. This is different than trying to get into and stay within a PCE. And it's different from an EE because the feelings aren't felicious. This is closer to cultivating equanimity and mindfulness, I think. But it's logically consistent with trying to stay happy and harmless. One other note. This wouldn't be advisable if the SI was still fully or mostly intact. I think the SI would propel the feelings into directions and degrees where neither equanimity nor happiness would be possible.
Adam Bieber, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 112 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Hey Jon,

I know what you mean when you mention "feeling" the perfect identity. Its like an inner ecstasy flowing like waves in your body. This is good because the being is perfect without possible chance of sorrow or malice. I think, but not sure, that this equanimity is the best the self can get. Its a little easy to get seduced by this inner ecstasy but if you pay attention, you'll notice apperception to be inherently more pleasurable/enjoyable. The inner perfection is a substitution for the actual. By keeping this level of felicity (no interference from the "lesser" aspects of being) and simultaneously focusing on the actual (pure intent), the actual world will more open up and the being will fade.

Adam
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
The inner perfection is a substitution for the actual. By keeping this level of felicity (no interference from the "lesser" aspects of being) and simultaneously focusing on the actual (pure intent), the actual world will more open up and the being will fade.


That is my hope. When the feeling is a strong notable force but of short duration like a quick blast of lust or the tense anxiety of an undesired social run-in, I can be both perfect and imperfect at once. If you follow. At other times in the day, though, I felt a situational sorrow of a dual nature. It has taken me this long to resolve it and it began about 6 hours ago. I'll quickly go into it because these notes are meant to be a record. So bear with me, please.

-at the poker tables and needed to work
-had an unexplained long fatigue that was making my eyes close in-between hands.
-Not totally beknownst to me, this fatigue was making me unhappy for two reasons: 1. Public fatigue is unpleasant 2. I needed to work and this fatigue was making me feel like a quitter.
-felt like a failure for not being able to be happy while at work.

In conclusion: The fatigue was making me (or allowing me to be) sad for two reasons. And my AF identity was making me sad on top of that. In other words, besides the unpleasantness of public fatigue, my old social identity of valuing hard work was judging me and my new social identity of being happy and harmless was also judging me. Both my identities made me feel like a failure (as if failing isn't an inevitable part of life).

I wound up going home and taking a nap. And then thinking it over and coming up with the above. The next time this happens, I'll have to drink some red bull and discern that both identities are at work and both need to be talked down. It's funny because earlier in the week, I was remarking to myself (in so many words) how I need to remind myself of my AF identity whenever my old social identity rears it's head. My AF identity knows some things that my old social identity needs to hear whenever it's active. However, the AF identity, needs to learn some things itself.
Adam Bieber, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 112 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Well as with the being, where you cannot have "good" emotion without "bad" emotion, the being can switch from its seeming perfection to any "bad" emotion or instinct. The cunning being can make all kinds of connections and compositions and "you" just need to be aware of the processes that are occurring like you are.

Keeping or harnessing the felicitous perfection may be a good way to be happy and harmless and therefore weaken the being and increase "you" contact with the actual world.

Addressing your sorrow that you said took a long time to resolve, as you become more directly in contact with the instinctual passions, the passions may seem to take a longer time to dissolve. At first, you are lessening your emotions and social identity , which can quickly be mitigated and ceased but the passions are the basis to why you think and feel the things you do about every aspect of life. Every moment an external or internal trigger sparks a passion, which is why the passions are a continuous spiral.

A solution that has helped me is intently fall deeper and deeper into this moment of being alive. Looking at the passions on a moment to moment basis, they become noticed as impermenant and redundant. "you" may be only viewing the passions in chunks of time due to various distractions but looking at the passions by each individual moment gives them a redundancy that you can work to alleviate. "You" are noticing how you feel but you are probably not noticing the instant when a new passion arises and staying with that passion each moment from then on instead of wandering in thought or intellectualizing. Staying with that passion from begginning to end gives you a look deeper into each particular moment that will cause a stop to a passion much quicker and allow it to fade when seen as redundant.
katy s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 385 Join Date: 8/11/10 Recent Posts
Jon,
the recap of Florian's link is intellectual fodder/toxin. it may help pop some of the political i-snagging (though an interest and capacity in the political scene may well remain - just with less obfuscation - after dissolution of you). the recap may also be too much new jargon and trigger a sense that you should try something "different" (if so, feel that sensation; the recap is not for "you" to try something "different"). That excerpt is a form of encouragement to any yearning being left in you (which is also a reinforcing "toxin" to the same being, and just extra letters if there is no affective being)

From Adam, much simpler:
A solution that has helped me is intently fall deeper and deeper into this moment of being alive.
katy s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 385 Join Date: 8/11/10 Recent Posts
Hi Jon -
I spent the most time I've ever spent aware of both 'me' and the actual world. It first occurred when I noticed anxiety while walking near the shoreline in the dog park. I didn't judge the anxiety. And that was refreshing. I just felt it and observed it in my heart/head and body. Since then I've been consistently trying to notice my feelings i.e. myself while also noticing the actual world.
pop.

Trying to implicitly understand that myself is a perfect entity.
Never worked for me, this "perfection"; I experienced it as a polarizing expression, such as avoiding something an I would know as "imperfection".

And it's different from an EE because the feelings aren't felicious. This is closer to cultivating equanimity and mindfulness,
well-expressed, as I knew "it".


Did you see this thread Florian posted today 6/30?
Excerpts:
In brief, the central lynchpin of the whole delusional structure that mankind is locked in is what the Buddhists call the 'delusion of self'. That's it. Nothing else. Nothing fancy. Nothing magical. Nothing complex. Just that.

We assume that there's this cause and effect thing woven into reality, but it's not really woven in. We just layer it on top. And when we think about the actual full experience of life as such, we think about it in cause and effect terms because we think about everything in cause and effect terms.

The thing is that the 'fullness of reality' in terms of what we experience isn't some kind of picture in our heads. It's actual reality. This moment that we experience, it is real. It is the only thing that is real. This single, continuous moment.
...

And the thing is that the moment, the full moment of life that is happening right now - it doesn't really have a cause in any normal sense.
...

The upshot of this is that we assume a cause for life, we assume something is 'living' life.

Nothing can exist that is not contained within the present. I mean, seriously - think about it. All that is is now. So this 'self' thing that stands outside of the experience of life 'living it' cannot actually be.

There's just life. There's no you. You are literally the imagination of yourself.

then the central problem of being human, this 'self' we have to service, maintain, fight for, improve, advance, heal, whatever - it simply isn't there. Think about how liberating that is. The idea of 'self' is totally fundamental to how we live.
...

Look - you might be thinking "oh my God this sounds fantastic, how do I get this?"

...

What you need to do is this - see the possibility, and hit the possibility from any angle you can...if you just keep looking at the possibility, and seeing how it fits with your life, you will not take long to pop.

...

ow before I go on, I don't want anyone to be confused. Enlightenment is irreversible. You can't go back. When I say 'stages of Enlightenment' it is very much a one-way journey, and it has a definite beginning (if not a definite end).

The beginning is the first real engagement with the possibility that you genuinely have no 'self'. That, in real life, there actually is no 'you'. That's the popping point, and if you just see that and never any more, you'll have a whale of a time.
...

your thoughts will gain some serious clarity,
...
I just suddenly gained this massive degree of clarity and freedom at this incredibly deep level, and I naturally assumed that I'd cracked it. There was no me. That was it, that was how simple it was.

I was circling the plughole for a few days trying to make it out, and when I did I was just stunned and delighted at the simplicity of the thing.

...

It's not long in being resolved, it's very obvious. Descartes was right - you can doubt everything, but even the act of so doing proves there is something there to doubt.


A nice translation of Descarte's "to think therefore to be"...

]I felt like the cat that got the cream.

...

I post this up on Facebook as a status update, and immediately get two snotty responses from academic philosophers. Actually, students doing academic philosophy.

...

I goaded them over and over until they had written enough so their positions were completely exposed. Then I just took a chainsaw to their ideas and to them. It was savage, just savage. I have never brutalised people intellectually in anything like that way. Nowhere close, and I've never seen anyone do it to anyone else that intensely either.
...
I had the pure clarity of enlightenment, the depth of understanding of 15 years of digging, and the pent up rage of a life spent in total isolation.

Just crazy levels of rage exploded out of me. It was pretty messy.

And then something happened, something I didn't expect. Something that totally stunned me.

I cracked someone out. A guy called Dan who'd responded to the original Cogito post - I actually cracked him out.

Let me tell you why this is such big news. The problem of 'Enlightenment' has always been twofold. It's a hard thing to get to, and it's a hard thing to talk about.


I had no interest in being the 'wise dude'. I'd got into this in the first place because I saw the scale of the delusional structure (matrix)* in which we're all stuck, and realised that if a person could crack that at it's heart, the results would be little short of spectacular.


Anyway, you have the link.

Sounds like your practice has been fruitful.
_____
*Jon this is just an aside about matrices from Bernstein's Matrix Mathematics first sentence to the First Edition (2009)
[indent]...this book began with the realization that at the heart of the solution to many problems in science, mathematics, and engineering often lies a "matrix fact", that is an identity, an inequality, or a property of matrices that is crucial to the solution to the problem"[/indent]

Matrices attempt to capture a lot of data for the purpose of manipulating the data for nearly predictable outcomes and positive circular testing ("I think therefore I am").

[edit: i added emphasis in bold and bold underline to the link Florian posted of another guy's crack.]

[edit: yes, another's guy's crack emoticon]
Nad A., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 237 Join Date: 8/26/10 Recent Posts
Jon T:
At first, I noticed the window blinds and tried to appreciate their shape but that didn't work and I grew even more resentful. Then I remembered how crazy wonderful life and really all of existence is. And that always works for me. (Our pickup truck civilization built on the surface of a space rock spinning around a nuclear furnace 100 times wider and 300,000 times heavier than us and that's 93 million miles away; itself spinning around a hole in space so massive that it can distort space and trap whole solar systems from over 25,000 light years away. I just love thinking about the enormity of it all.)


I also find that contemplation of the 'big picture' can produce felicity more often. (I presume by "always works" you actually mean 'much more often', rather than that you have a personal panacea that will work every time.)

Why do you think this works? Is it just re-acquiring perspective on things? Is it fundamentally a step towards naivete? Is it just an intellectual trick or imagination?
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
Why do you think this works?


I think it adds perspective in a fun way. As opposed to saying there are starving children in Africa which would add perspective but be depressing at the same time. And actually, I think it did work all the time but I wouldn't use it all the time I needed to. And sometimes, i would remember to use it but chose not to.

Thanks for the replies everyone! I would like to go through each one and quote the notable lines to give my take but I have work to do. Maybe another time. They have all been very helpful.

July 3, 2011

For the last day and half I've been exclusively living within the heart. 'Exclusively' is a bit strong but if I leave the heart to enter my head it isn't for very long and my head is beginning to feel more foreign than my heart. What I mean is that I am increasingly becoming more aware of how I feel at every moment and not worrying about anything else. So if I drink some gatorade, I keep my attention on how I feel, rather than whether or not I should be drinking gatorade or how the gatorade tastes. Though my attention does shift to either of those type of things (the intellectual problem and the sensual delight), it quickly shifts back to how I feel. And how I feel is great. Minor flickers of the passions occur regularly but the overall feeling within this body is bliss. That word gave me pause. In the AF method, bliss is frowned upon and joy is encouraged. But joy isn't what I'm feeling. Even so. I still have hopes that this attention to 'me' will eventually lead to 'my' dissipation. And it should be interesting to see what happens when I encounter bad times. Will my attention stay on how I feel? Will I still feel this same bliss? I will let you know.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
July 4, 2011

Well, Happy Birthday America. You are now, 2011-1776 = 235 years old. But that doesn't include the colonial years. Was America just a fetus then? What about pre-Columbus? Was that America the ovum and the European colonist the semen. The colonies was the fetus and America was born in 1776. Sure. why not?

I just watched a National Geographic movie called Stress: Portrait of a killer. It suggests very dramatically and convincingly what everyone already knows, i suppose: Lower your stress and you'll live longer and happier. Check it out. Especially any one new to the path or having difficult with it. It's on netflix.

I've documented that I am getting out of my head and into my heart. That process continues. One negative consequence of that is the psychotic emotions like sorrow and anxiety are prolonged. Since I'm not thinking them away, they remain longer. For much of yesterday, I tried to retain equanimity in the midst of those emotions (as well as the primal emotions like hostility and fear). I don't think that is the best approach. I will try today to let any of those emotions go as soon as they are recognized and be as attentive to the environment as possible (putting it within the universe is enormous & life is extraordinary perspective I've mentioned before and/or verbally adding value to small things like 'wow isn't that cool the way those chips land.')

Another thing I want to mention. Yesterday, my mood started out as blissful. It then deteriorated to equanimous. I speculate that the mood was the same but as I became habituated to the bliss, it felt more like equanimity. Or rather, The equanimity was so refreshing that at first it felt like bliss and only as I got used to it did I recognize it for what it was. Or maybe, it actually was bliss but as I accumulated stress from the day, the bliss disappeared.

I reiterate for clarity. I am closer to my feeling of being. That feeling has no negative or positive qualities I can ascertain. However, both positive and negative vibes and currents swell up quite frequently. And this is true even without external stimuli. And with external stimuli, those waves can become quite large. Through it all, I tried to maintain equanimity. But at least as of yesterday, I found that that wasn't enough. It's not enough to be care-free in the face of your own anger. It helps calm the waters and soothe the pain (and get you back to your feeling of being) but I don't think it will eradicate the affective process. An active appreciation for the environment may be the solution. So today I want to be observant of my Being as well as all the vibes, currents and the big waves while being sensuous towards my environment. (Or at least go back and forth between the two, rapidly and automatically as needed).
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
July 4, 2011

Good day so far, however, haven't been to work due to no games going on. plenty of time for speculation, though. A hypothesis:

The method:

1. work out a rough schematic of what 'self' is.
2. Learn that choosing happiness is possible.
3. dismantle most of si while practicing felicity
4. observe instinctual passions and the feeling of being
5. integrate said observations with intention to be h&h i.e. felicity
6. vf
7. af


I was just thinking about how I always seem to be going in circles. In that, I do one thing, it works for a while then it stops. A period of disappointment. discover another thing that works then it fails to do so...disappointment. eventually i stumble on thing i had already tried before and that worked b4 but then it soon fails once again, etc.

So here i am more or less continually aware of the feeling of being and the passions. Aware of when sorrow manifests, aware when hostility manifests, aware of when the si manifests, etc. Can choose to return to the feeling of being as needed. From the feeling of being, can practice felicity quite easily. Sounds good but it all sounds familiar. i remember when I first discovered that i could choose happiness. What a revelation! But it ceased to work. bummer. Back then, i remember, I thought choosing happiness was choosing to not want anything. However, right now, when I am choosing to return to the feeling of being and from there into felicity - I am choosing happiness. What is the difference? Well, now I seem to be aware of a lot more. Perhaps, I was doing the same thing back then but didn't know it, and so, since I didn't know what it was that i was doing exactly, I eventually lost the magic. I was on a hot streak but soon lost my mojo. Or in poker terms, I was getting lucky but eventually my lack of skill was bound to catch up with me. Hmmm, maybe. We'll see. I'm posting these notes almost in real time. Only time will tell if anything here will stick.

I also remember having felt the feeling of being before. It was b4 my parents visit so late March/early April. It was after reading a post by Tarin saying it was located just above the sex center. I remember locating it with my fingers and concentrating on it and from there, just as predicted, I was able to get into some PCE's. For whatever reason, I discontinued this practice.


Another hypothesis: The SI is merely a mechanism designed to help the individual move up the social hierarchy. The higher up one is, the more perks one can expect and the less stress to be endured. We value hard work because hard work often results in success. We value charm because it greases wheels. We value beauty because it is a symbol of success. We value what others think of us (and thus those symbols) because that can help or hinder our movement up or down the ladder. And so and so forth. And how the brain regulates this body so that our actions fit with the SI model is also interesting. Nothing new, i realize. But any way in which one can become more aware of the si in action is a good thing. For example, i am sure that me posting these notes is the result of a specific type of conditioning. hypothesis: brain releases happy chemicals after writing these posts because SI considers this AF/dho community to be 'my' new society and each post I write will help move me up this communities social hierarchy. That is nonsense of course. But tell that to my hippocampus. emoticon
katy s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 385 Join Date: 8/11/10 Recent Posts
Hi Jon,
Was America just a fetus then? What about pre-Columbus?

Ah, the homunculumbus. *



____
*word play on humunculous.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
homunculumbus


totally. America pre-columbus was a kind of homunculumbus. Those where the good ole days. You could trade with your neighbor and eat him too.


So I went to work and had a bad day, my 8th in a row (-$925 today). I handled it okay. I had a bad stretch where I was whining pretty good, nothing belligerent but definitely not professional (though completely standard in the poker world - one dealer even wears a button that has a circle with the word 'whining' in the middle and a red line through it). I had completely forgotten about AF and was solely focused on my bad luck. It was a 15 minute stretch or so where I played 5 good hands almost one right after another. I lost all 5 hands and after doing the math there is only a 2% chance of this happening and the way I lost them made it even worse because I had to see the last card each time which means they were more expensive than your typical loosing hand. So, yea, I definitely lost track of trying to be h&h and was solely concerned with why the universe was out to get me.

Nonetheless, my mood during the entire session as a whole was much more positive and much more friendly and only scantily self-absorbed (not counting that bad stretch). I remember seeing people for the very first time. Seeing their facial hair, their forearm muscles as they put in the chips, their grimaces...I was definitely happy for the whole time up until that one 15 minute stretch which broke me and forced me to come home. And even as I was leaving the table, wearing a large stupid grin and shaking my head in disbelief, I very quickly came back to felicity. So I can definitely tell that this attention on the feeling of being, the coming and going of the passions, the coming and going of ones social conditioning, and on felicity is very very powerful stuff.
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Way2go John, I'm back from my mini vacation and battling with frustration myself.

The thing is that when I question conceptually why I'm frustrated, I always turn up into the same old strange loop:

Why am I frustrated: because I want to work well and I am having trouble concentrating,

Why do I want to work well, because I want to get my PhD done and over with,

Why do I want to get it done and over with: because it is so frustrating to do...

So I'm frustrated because I'm frustrated?! F*ck, what now?! Am I getting the causal chain correctly, or is this just confusion? Is it just a matter of seeing clearly and completely enough that this whole desire thing is a self-sustaining loop, or is all this talk just more talk, and not helpful at getting rid of the passions?

What a bummer, why?: because I want to get rid of the passions

Why do I want that?: because they are so unpleasant, in fact they are such a bummer...

emoticon
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
July 6, 2011

Chips bouncing this way and that, cards spinning, the sound of chip on chip, card on card, facial muscles and change of expression....learning to not direct my own thinking, learning to not care about the results of a particular hand, Recognizing or speculating that there may be a difference between choosing to be happy and choosing felicity: the two may be related but sensuousness without intent to be h&h can simply be stark and barren.

Sometimes the sounds and colors just pop and then it goes away, even though it may still be interesting and fun, they don't have the vivacity they had just moments ago. Sometimes the attention is panoramic. i can hear everything all at once and my field vision just double or triples and then without any noticeable trigger, it returns to normal. I'm close to pragmatic virtual freedom and perhaps even dynamic vf. The funny thing is I've never had a full blown pce. The self always gets in the way after just a few seconds or however long. Yet, much of what Richard describes as dynamic vf is currently applicable...."a momentum not of ‘my’ doing takes over and an inevitability sets in; in an on-going EE the actual world has the effect of impelling one towards it..." Or may I'm just on a roll and my momentum will slow in a few day. only time will tell.

Am I getting the causal chain correctly, or is this just confusion?


Have you ever asked why you want a PhD in the first place? You are saying that you want to finish you PhD because it's such a frustrating undertaking - And it's so very frustrating because you desperately want to finish it. If it were only that you'd have resolved it a long time ago. There must be something about finishing goals and valuing hard work and probably much other stuff.

this whole desire thing is a self-sustaining loop


I wouldn't quite put it this way. Desire is a manifestation of stress compounded by our social conditioning. Certainly our desires can create more desires but that's only one side of the coin. The other side is the innate feeling within propelling me towards action. My conditioning and/or my passions will direct what that action will be and thus the desire. The core of any desire is to alleviate that innate feeling propelling me towards action, usually called suffering, sometimes referred to as stress. So the desire is never for the thing itself but for the temporary alleviation of our innate stress. Knowing this helps the practitioner sit back and observe his/her passions and his/her social conditioning. Although, I don't think that knowledge is totally essential to the method but if it helps ones observe him/herself at work then it's terrific tidbit to learn.


What's your PhD on?
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Jon T:
There must be something about finishing goals and valuing hard work and probably much other stuff.


Finishing goals, yes. Valuing hard work, not particularly. Hope/fear for the future is implicated. Also if I could do my job well, I would definitely stick with it, because it is good in many other respects (income, hours, people).

Jon T:

So the desire is never for the thing itself but for the temporary alleviation of our innate stress.


Yes, but isn't stress caused by desire?

Jon T:
What's your PhD on?


Theoretical Computer Science — a mix between computer science and math.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
Yes, but isn't stress caused by desire?


No. I think stress comes first.

a mix between computer science and math.


No wonder. j/k -- definitely the wave of the future
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
July 7, 2011

My goal in life is to self-immolate. Not just to observe myself slowly getting closer and closer to the goal but to will myself into this moment with all its brilliance. What is not actual is redundant. I observe myself thinking thoughts of this nature. Better yet, will myself into this moment. Will myself into a PCE because a PCE is so much fun. And the PCE will be my teacher and guide. I do not need to teach myself anymore.

going on memory of what my walk entailed today. there was doubt that maybe i wasn't redundant. maybe i was necessary. i remember thinking that if i die who will report back to the world what it's like to live so brilliiantly. and the next instant brought thoughts that i was indeed redundant, not necessary...that the world is better off without me? Though i can't yet conceptualize that. I mean. Why is the world better of without me? it just is - because a pce tells me so. something like that.

today, so far, has been the best day yet of this journey. I got into a 2 or 3minute long pce where maybe I popped in 3 different times for durations of a quarter of a second or shorter. And the rest of the time has been EE or rather EE is becoming the new base experience. I am wanting to experience life without fear and anxiety and planning so that I can be confident that I am not needed. So every opportunity to have a slightly unsafe encounter be it merging into oncoming traffic, social encounters, things going wrong at work is welcome so that i may try to live them without a protective passion and see what happens.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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I just got back from work and something interesting occurred. Work shifted my consciousness from an EE to a very pragmatic self-centered viewpoint. I had lost the EE and was trying to be sensuous when I observed myself completely take over (as opposed to an EE where the self is very innocent and not much in control, if at all) and I thought very positive and practical thoughts that helped me keep my mood manageable. I wasn't even close to being mindful for the whole workday but when I was I saw that I was a very practical person. And when I wasn't mindful, my mood gradually shifted to corresponded with my luck. But always sooner rather than later, I became mindful and automatically thought the positive, practical thoughts. (The mindfulness I'm describing is "‘I’ being aware of ‘me’ being conscious" and not "the mind’s awareness of itself " link , and is therefore at least one step below apperception. I have not experienced apperception yet.)

This was my 10th loosing day in a row. And I lost a big pot on my very first hand. At that point, I became irritable and I was mindful of it and disappointed for having lost the EE. Yet soon after, I became what I described above: positive, realistic and in-perspective. And I was aware of my shift as it was happening without forcing it (it happened several times in the day from the the first time when I lost my EE to the other times when I simply lost my happy mood). There is never any pep talk; it just happens and I'm aware of it when it does.

This may be the pragmatic vf Peter describes. And I can see myself growing into it over time as my attention stays longer and longer. And the dynamic vf that Richard describes seems to fit my personality when I away from the tables and especially during a long walk with my dog. I very much doubt I will get AF anytime soon. I will need to grow into this pragmatic VF and experience more long lasting PCE's while within the dynamic VF.

Right now, I don't expect to learn anything more for quite some time. But if I regress or learn something new, I'll be sure to jot it down here in this thread. Thanks.

jon
fred flinstone, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Jon, when you get into PCE, what exactly sets it off? Is it some certain intensity of felicity/naivete/sincerity? Is it a realization?

What does it look like as you go from EE to PCE?

Is your feeling tone a feeling tone of naivete or felicity just before PCE?

Is there any specific method you are using to induce the PCE?
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
Jon, when you get into PCE, what exactly sets it off? Is it some certain intensity of felicity/naivete/sincerity? Is it a realization?
What does it look like as you go from EE to PCE?
Is your feeling tone a feeling tone of naivete or felicity just before PCE?
Is there any specific method you are using to induce the PCE?


I'm not the one to ask. I can get into EE's somewhat easily but my PCEs are really short. I've only had one that lasted more than a few seconds and that only lasted a few minutes (perhaps ten minutes total). But it came out of being in an all-day EE and just wandering in a very nature-esque dog park and having absolutely no itinerary that needed to be completed that day.


July 7, 2011

In pragmatic vf it is very easy to use ones new found powers of practical, positive common sense to slowly, calmly and happily move oneself up the social ladder. However, if the aim is AF then it is best to use those powers to deconstruct the identity and disassociate from the passions.

Examples: today, on my walk I seriously contemplated joining the gym and altering my diet some. I rationalized that it was healthy but in being honest with myself I realized that I was just trying to move up the social ladder. Whereas VF singles probably are tempted to improve their sexual desirability, VF couples are probably tempted to do things like network and improve certain skill sets one might deem marketable, etc.

Being attentive to the passions, I become aware how they are designed to control us. For example, my dog is misbehaving some. I feel the passion of hostility. That passion is supposed to make me punish my dog and thus condition him to keep in line. But the passion of hostility is redundant because I have evolved a highly sophisticated conscious that can do the same thing without hostility. So I dispassionately use my common sense instead. And sometimes they are worse than redundant. If I loose hand at the poker table, it serves no good purpose to get angry. It may have 20,000 years ago when I could use that anger to kill my enemy. But that's against the law at the poker table. emoticon So I am at best redundant and often downright useless.

When I first encountered actualism, I read a lot of critiques and since embracing it, I have read the posts of CCC. Everything or almost everything they say is reasonable. Most of actualism can be found elsewhere:

The way I currently see therapy is thus: It’s a method to gradually teach the patient to accept his place within the social hierarchy and teach him to use practical, positive common sense to slowly, calmly and happily move oneself up it.

(The way I currently see identity is the place that one views oneself within the hierarchy and where one views one potential. Humans have multiple hierarchies making the whole process very very complicated.)

The way I currently see vipassana is to disassociate from 3 of the passions and to identify with the one other passion which is Nurture. (Though interestingly, I have read a book where it is detailed that eventually the practitioner leaves behind even Nurture for the final freedom. And in that book, many methods RPV expound on are also recommended. It’s called The Shape of Suffering and is a summary of the buddhas teachings on dependent co-arising. It’s by Thanissaro Bhikku.)

My point is that this journey to VF is part vipassana and part therapy but with a radical de-emphasis on nurture and a radical emphasis on social deconstruction and an emphasis on the possibility of total freedom. That statement is coming from someone not at all well read on the subjects mentioned but who knows enough to say a thing or two: a little education is a dangerous thing. emoticon

****

I had another terrible day at the office but my mood was good throughout. There wasn’t a single situation that really tested my ability to be h&h, just a whole day of mostly loosing. And unlike yesterday, my minds content was very much controlled and not spontaneous even though the thoughts were the same: I wasn’t observing myself think positive and practical thoughts. I was ordering myself to think positive and practical thoughts but there was absolutely no resistance to doing so. I’ll have to drop down a limit tomorrow which means a 40 minute longer drive to work since my neighborhood casino doesn’t spread the lower limit I now have to play.

I think VF is being 100% positive that the universe is perfect and the self is redundant even if the VF person still often gets distracted from that knowledge. It is the difference between someone who wants to believe in perfection and wants to understand the self because they have heard that that leads to the end of suffering and someone who has seen firsthand the Perfection and the redundancy of self and knows how to see it again. It’s like if everyone had a million dollars in the bank but for some reason most people didn’t know where the bank was and weren’t even sure they would be allowed to withdraw if they ever found it. But some people have been to that bank and know the tellers by first name. Both groups can run out of cash at any time but the latter never has to worry about it.
Sanjay M, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Nice Jon emoticon

Good million $s quote, wish I can stick to my position sizing the way you do emoticon
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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From my reply to Ed's post:

In the last several days, I've had at least 4 realizations. None of which would have been possible without "relat(ing) the sensation back to a belief or action that caused it." I've also had one experiential insight that did not need me to "relate the sensation back to a belief or action", though I did anyway out of habit and it proved useful.



1) Emotionally speaking, people need validation. It is wise to validate people as often as is practical. It leads to peace and takes no skin off your back. Nor does it prevent anyone from learning about the anaffective lifestyle, since almost no one is interested anyway. I got this insight while walking my dog. I was having a pleasant conversation with a new Indian grandmother about this particular red-tailed hawk and the contentious nature of the park birds in general. The conversation ended and I drifted away without saying 'good day'. I felt emotionally unsatisfied and I wondered if she did too. From that I concluded the above.

2). Many of the emotions of the nurture instinct create social cohesiveness. This is also true of many fear based emotions. I learned this from observing myself with my dog and observing my dog with me.

3). I was observing the physical sensations of discontent when I heard myself think. "What is wrong with me?" This thought was concurrent with other thoughts of a financial nature. If I wasn't observant I would have missed it. I've concluded that that thought was a program/personality created when I very young from some forgotten trauma. Now that I've observed it, the process of it's eventual dissolution has begun. (I'll thank Trent for this one because one of his replies to a question of mine was in this ballpark)

4). Well, I forget the 4th one. edit: just remembered it and just in time as I'm off to work and this would be crawling in my head all day. Hmmm, i can't seem to clarify this one. It has to do with sexuality. I have domination fantasies (not very over the top -pretty typical stuff, i'm sure). These fantasies and proclivities developed over time. In my shy youth, I just wanted a woman's tenderness. As I became more confident, I wanted her submission. I think this relates to validation. At any rate, calmly and joyfully observing it is the process of dissolving it.


The experiential insight was after a long strange day. I had just walked upstairs after hanging out with my apartment manager. I sat down and I felt a tremendous sadness. It was interesting and not at all painful i.e. I had equanimity towards it. At this time, having been up for over 20 hours and having several beers and a joint of marijuana within me, I was exhausted. I observed it for some minutes but soon enough decided that it wasn't worth my time and went to bed. I thought about it later and concluded that the sadness came from a habitual critique of my social interactions. Somewhere along the way, almost certainly very early in my life, I developed a habit of trying to be socially perfect. And if I didn't meet my own absurd demands then I became very hard on myself in the form of negative emotions. Over the years, I probably became afraid of my own negative emotions and intense anxiety set it. This is probably par for the course for human beings though the details surely differ.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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July 30, 2011

Last night I had a very interesting "conversation" with an alter-ego. I have no idea if this is normal, productive, counter-productive, etc. Here is how it went: I was planning my evening. I went over my options and it was clear that I could either do some housework or buy a six pack and watch some Netflix. Of course, I also could have done both. One voice was very much opposed to any sort of housework. His line of reasoning was very simplistic. 'I can do whatever I want and I want to get a six pack and I definitely don't want to do any work'. Then there was a bevy of other voices which converged to form one paternal-type voice. That voice wanted to do housework and was weary of starting the next day late, pushing everything back by about two hours as is usually the case after drinking. A conversation between the two alter-egos began. The petulant irrationality of the ' i can do whatever i want ' voice was exposed for what it was but his insistence did not waver. At one point, "I" recognized that the paternal voice was trying to trick the petulant voice into cooperating like a parent will bribe a child. "I" refused to go that route and instead told 'myself' that I wasn't going to do anything without all "parties" fully on board. After that point, I began asking myself. "What will make me happier right now?" I quickly concluded that nothing would. No matter what route I take, which scenario unfolds, I'll still be here front and center just as I'm front and center now. Except that drinking several beers and watching a mindless comedy would be an escape: I would be largely absent due to the drug and the brain numbing effect of slap-stick comedy. But upon seeing that clearly, I no longer wanted to escape. And the two insights together brought forth a merger (however temporary) between the petulant 'me' and the paternal chorus 'me'. I then happily did some constructive housework. After which, I walked my dog down the block, passed the corner store, felt around for some loose dollar bills, bought a 22, went home and watched Transcendent Man on Netflix. (Fascinating hypothesis into the future of technology and some amateur psychology as a side story). Then I went to bed.



Trent's analogy of burning down a paparazzi news stand resonates with me. If ever I need extra motivation to be attentive and sensuous, I picture a flame burning down something. In my mind, that something is symbol for the establishment and the status quo. I also hear myself say that every moment of sensousness makes it easier to be sensuous in the next moment. And the effectiveness will grow exponentially. I can't quantify it scientifically but I think I am more aware and more happy now than ever before. But "I" am still very much blocking a PCE.

When I observe myself interfering with a potential PCE or even a current EE, I can either resume sensuousness or I can observe myself interfering. For better or worse, I tend to choose observing myself over forced sensuousness.

I wonder if my lack of concentration ability is a deal breaker to becoming AF.
katy s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 385 Join Date: 8/11/10 Recent Posts
Trent's analogy of burning down a paparazzi news stand resonates with me.

...

I wonder if my lack of concentration ability is a deal breaker to becoming AF.
You seem sincere and intent with yourself in this process and candid in this thread. Watch out, you might get what you're after.



from February 23, 2011:
Has anyone attained AF without already attaining the concentration jhannas?
There are people here who have lots of concentration experience but have not yet achieved AF (or not said as much).

Actualism is full absorption-solvation-transparent-stillness.

By way of analogy:
[indent]life before practice is like being on the ground floor of an astronomy observatory walking around and looking through the open sky view occasionally, chatting up some fellow viewers for the ego's-sake ("Blah blah blah...to think this started with Tycho Brache's drinking games...i like half moon bay...") or distancing oneself into pensiveness (i.e., ah, the sky, ah the stars, ah, the wonder of engineering,...) synthetic wonder - there is nothing wrong with these states, but it can result in a night of missing stars, feeling remote, and/or losing sleep if one worries about one's presentation amid the other viewers, etc.; [/indent]

[indent]life during some actual absorption [is like being] at the very edge of the open observatory window and having the mind scalped away where the head passes the window frame; mind is dissolved and replaced with the actuality: cool air, stars, faint cloud edges, breathing, fingers holding the frame edges. Things are clearly moving (i.e., rotating sky, rustling leaves), but stillness and quiet is the body sensation without a needlessly conjuring mind.

Falling out of actuality is like returning to the floor of the observatory; there is a clear return of the cap (conjuring mind of self) and the observatory window may narrow or close until absorption returns. That's totally ok.[/indent]

Eventually, not just benign nature (starry nights, gentle breezes, rain) causes this absorption, because the body realizes it can do this all the time, that the needlessly conjuring mind is not optimal in comparison.

Concentration, to me, then has been additional focus on a part of absorption. How does no mind do that? I am still an entity, an animal, and can create focus. A raccoon and I watched each other last night, tree to porch, for an hour, as lots of other changes occurred in/around us. From this and other experiences it can be said, female on porch has strong concentration for a treed raccoon, that treed raccoon has strong concentration for female on porch.

However, after reading Daniel's work with a student on retreat and his change-up regarding flame kasina, I was curious about abstract concentration - mind concentrating itself with itself. It was a fun game to play with the dots, and it was not nearly as sustainable as absorptive now, focus towards raccoon. I am still curious about this kasina meditation. It seems like guitar-playing, a skill from practice.

So, in my opinion, concentration is not the impediment to an actual freedom: it is whatever membranes that are created and must then be digested while they continue to occlude the absorption-open-head-dissolution.

I can't quantify it scientifically but I think I am more aware and more happy now than ever before. But "I" am still very much blocking a PCE.
You mentioned joie de vivre earlier, that it caught your eye from the AFT. Being happy now, having some steady joie de vivre and dissolved parts of identity, you might see it as safe now to leave you for short bits, small experiments. For example, now could you walk with your dog and let the mind be completely replaced by the sounds, sights, smells, tastes, feels moving around. The sidewalk actually meets the feet. They roll together. And, if a lovely candidate for your companionship walks by, then you can trust now that the you that returns to chat with her (if any) is a fine happy fellow. If no you returns to chat with her, then your mind will simply be replaced with the chatting with attractive person. An intimate, relaxing replacement. (Watch out, 'you' might get what it's after in going away...by no means does this intend something lusty, rather joie de vivre without a center point interfering, manipulating, etc).

[edit: clarity]
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Hey katy,

have always liked the talking heads. listening to the song now....so whimsical and funky...lil' wise,lil' whimsy, lots of funk...no wonder why i've always liked them.

you have the most distinct writing style ever. It's like Faulker meets code.

not interested in meeting any women for companionship atm. more interested in being able to talk to someone while being attentive to my mood and their mannerisms as well any external phenomena.

"synthetic wonder" -- very good. Synthetic wonder vs. Bare attention....your thoughts?
katy s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 385 Join Date: 8/11/10 Recent Posts
you have the most distinct writing style ever. It's like Faulker meets code.
a case of logorrhea*** :o]

Synthetic wonder vs. Bare attention....your thoughts?
So, "synthetic wonder" is my hindsight description for the primary reason I was turned on to actualism. (Do you recall the words/feeling that caught your attention in Trent's reply to you in your first DhO post that turned you on to actualism? How does that bear on your intention today?) I formerly would be in vast natural landscapes and either i) still feel a hunger/an inability to adequately consume the wild beautiful landscapes or ii) I would replace that dissatisfied/separated feeling with active appreciation, "This is (surely) beautiful", where "surely" was not thought or spoken, but captures the dissatisfaction of "added wonder". These two thoughts were the same thing.

"Bare attention" I think of as the expression commonly used in meditation: "put your mind in your hand", using '"hand" as an example. In this English grammar phrase, there was very often a "me" putting its thoughts into the hand. For example, in swimming laps, I just transferred my thinking mind from conceptual ideas/emotions/assumptions to my hand and my would still invoke a form of commentary or observer. This is very similar to synthetic wonder, but stays focused on what's actually happening and can be a stream of thoughts or a vague mindset well describing or experiencing (from the perspective of a separate self) swimming. This observer/commenter/watcher still had unsatisfactoriness - a tiresomeness of 'me' providing for each moment. The fatigue of logorrhea conceit*.

Now, actualism: actually swimming (as limited by the medium of words): air bubbles rolling up cheeks, opening at ears, chirps of families playing, water flooding into ear canals-muted whooshes, air-born cacophony-ear canal concert, warm (thigh muscles), hot (shoulder muscles), relaxed flapping (tops of feet), (body) rocking side to side, underside down-sky above (flip). Here there are no thoughtsapparent mental pre-conceptions**. This is the pce [what i think of as solvation, due to its visual aspect, an alternative to the words pure consciousness experience].

What do you think/experience?

[edit: typos, strike-throughs, brackets]
[* Conceit etymology: late 14c., "something formed in the mind, thought, notion," from conceiven]
[**conception, in my experience and keeping with the swimming example, shows up aptly in the form of looking at clock, or seeing a person look for gear and knowing to offer them flippers, but with no add-on, like "i should offer my board", rather I might soften kicks because an elderly person is swimming next to me and it's just natural to respond then with gentleness (again, versus a "I should be a nice lady and swim gently" concept].
[***not the psychological meaning ]
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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(Do you recall the words/feeling that caught your attention in Trent's reply to you in your first DhO post that turned you on to actualism?


Trent was introducing something quite novel and was introducing it with confidence. Possessing enough intelligence and confidence to be open minded, I engaged him in debate. His answers were satisfactory and I preceded to look up the AFT. The AFT basically said in about a million words or so that anyone can be completely free from all suffering. No one else says this. There is always a caveat. Furthermore, with actualism there are living breathing claimants. And after I got over Richards belligerence towards buddhism and other traditions, his insistence on being a revolutionary, and the sale of journals and dvds (which is done quite modestly, imo), I concluded that the message was sincere and not an attempt to profit from our discontent.

How does that bear on your intention today?)


The effectiveness of the method is now self-evident so all that is now just interesting personal history.



What do you think/experience?


I experience the senses purely for moments at a time but it always comes back to 'oh look at me experiencing this life/this moment so purely'. I do notice that being sensuous is now second nature even if the 'I' habitually interferes.

July 31, 2011

This day was a day of utter happiness. No particular reason for it. It was a day like any other. But it felt like I just won the lottery. It lasted up until the time I got home. I smoked a joint and suddenly the world wasn't perfect anymore. Sorrow even fought to enter (I need to throw this strain of weed away). I had to continually beat it away. But I did learn it's easier to be felicitous outside than inside this apartment. So I need to be extra diligent to cultivate felicity while I'm here inside this apartment, especially at night when the birds are asleep, there isn't much street traffic, the train doesn't run and the windows are closed to the Pacific Northwest chill which while keeping me warm, also interferes with the wind playing with my arm hairs and the window curtains.

August 1, 2011

This day picked up where July 31 ended. It was a struggle to maintain happiness. I kept slipping into simple contentment. I was neither bored, nor resentful, nor hostile but I was only occasionally happy and that only after considerable effort to be sensuous. At least, sorrow was never immediately near.

August 2, 2011

Today, so far, is kind of in between those last two days. Having thought about it while planning this post, I may have learned how to discern when I'm settling into mere contentment. From there I am propelling myself into happiness by being sensuous.

It is interesting that I haven't experienced an EE or a PCE for, at least, a couple weeks. I was more-or-less living in an EE for several days, claimed VF, suffered through a drought of sorrow, re-emerged sharper (more attentive and sensuous) and happier, but without the EE or PCE. This doesn't produce any anxiety on my part. In fact, it's quite refreshing. I can be happy even without EE or PCEs. I may have a long ways to go but this is a good starting point.

Also, I've noticed the lust-feeling initiated by simple sights and sounds. It's not a common occurrence but when it happens it's delightfully shocking. I'll hear a particular sound like poker chips bouncing off each other and the same lustful passion that occurs when I see a beautiful woman will run right through me.
katy s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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It is interesting that I haven't experienced an EE or a PCE for, at least, a couple weeks.

...

I'll hear a particular sound like poker chips bouncing off each other and the same lustful passion that occurs when I see a beautiful woman will run right through me.
What intermediary stands between poker chips bouncing off of each other/sight of beautiful woman and pure consciousness? How is that intermediary described?


July 31, 2011

This day was a day of utter happiness. No particular reason for it. It was a day like any other. But it felt like I just won the lottery. It lasted up until the time I got home. I smoked a joint and suddenly the world wasn't perfect anymore. Sorrow even fought to enter (I need to throw this strain of weed away). I had to continually beat it away.
This relates to the 'extirpation of self' of actualism and pure consciousness experience and the attending self.

When that which is lived/living "runs(s) right through (you)" - the bouncing of poker chips, the beautiful women, the Pacific Northwest chill - and there is no impediment whatsoever, then how is that described?
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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What intermediary stands between poker chips bouncing off of each other/sight of beautiful woman and pure consciousness? How is that intermediary described?


As an instinctual passion probably by way of chemical(s).
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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August 4, 2011

Hi. Yesterday and today have been the same. Always going back and forth between the here-and-now and my own agenda. Included in my agenda are judgement and planning, analysis and critique. Fortunately my agenda also includes a desire to be happy and a know-how thereof. Many new mantra are coming up that keep my happiness as well as sensuousness front and center. They include "how is this world perfect?" , "Wouldn't happiness be better than this boredom (anger,sadness, etc)?" , "Oh how exquisite is that sight (sound,smell,etc)."....

I've listened to Tarin and Dan's talk for the first time and find it inspiring.

Seeing motion through space as somehow more than just motion: A 3D movie, viewing the depth of object behind, in-front, to the side, moving towards, moving away. Seeing it as different than just what is expected.

Very often in the past, I was struck with the utter beauty of the world that I thought it was all an illusion. The affect I had in those moments had a surreal quality. What I mean to say is that the world looked unreal. That perception is similar to how I view the world now when I'm mostly here in the present. But except for having a feeling of surreality, I have a feeling of felicity.

Similarly, very often in the past, I was struck with a deep inexplicable love for life. In my mind, I would spontaneously say "I love Jesus." And that is very odd thing for me to think, because, my mother was a unitarian and my father an agnostic and I never got into western religion except for maybe once when I tried really hard for a few short weeks. Nonetheless, the phrase was thought. That perception in those moments is similar to how I view the world now when i'm mostly here in the present. But except for having a feeling of profound love and gratitude for life, I have a feeling of felicity.

It is good that I responded to HP post and clarified an idea that must have been somewhere in a closet of my mind. Beware of the pitfall of rising expectations. Hopefully, I know now not to get frustrated just because I expect so much more.



******

5 or 6 hours after writing the above post, I remembered old ways of thinking and experienced old ways of feeling. Actually, the old ways of feeling are still experienced from time to time. I'm talking about sadness. But the old ways of thinking, while beholden within the sadness, have been absent for quite some time. I often used to get very sad and think depressing thoughts and perhaps sometimes it was vice versa. And those depressing thoughts were personal (i hate myself. what's wrong with me?) and general (there is so much suffering in the world). Thanks to vipassana, the feelings (sadness,depression) are known to be invalid. And thanks to the work dismantling the SI, the thoughts are known to be invalid. And thanks to the DHO and AFT, I have a joyful place whereto put my attention, the senses. But sadness is a very obvious emotion. There are less discernible emotions that are more difficult to locate and invalidate.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
August 5, 2011

Here I am again. Several things I'd like to write about.

1. That sorrow that had me for 5 days some weeks ago....it was just weed. Every time I smoke that strain, I feel sad. I did an experiment and smoked it in a public place, hung out socially, and sure enough...sadness. Got to know it some, made a post about it.

2. Per Dr. Ingram's latest post, I've worked with being attentive to psychic currents while being sensuous. I found it unenjoyable even if it does produce something similar to "out from control VF". I like cultivating felicity better. Then I remembered a thing Trent wrote to me a while back: You find "it" because you are looking for it. Perhaps the psychic currents I was feeling were unpleasant because I expected them to be. So I am starting to look for positive psychic currents while engaging in sensuousness. So far so good.

3. Been playing with the concept of agenda and trying to cultivate an agenda-less attitude. (This combined with #2 is actually what produces the out from control phenomenon). Trying to find a parking spot today, I grew irritated. Quickly noticed it but it didn't dissipate....Minutes later, I was trying to open my apartment mailbox with my little mailbox key that always gets stuck. I anticipated it getting stuck and therefore anticipated enjoying the act of getting that sucker open and my old rusty key safely out of it. It was fun.

Good bye, have fun.
Adam Bieber, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 112 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Jon T:


Been playing with the concept of agenda and trying to cultivate an agenda-less attitude.


Me too, I haven't actualized it yet but when experimenting with a complete lack of prudence, having no agenda leads to no social identity with its subsequent plans of what to do and who you are. Also, an agenda-less attitude increases naivete and a fascination with what is occurring and what could occur next.

Looking at this computer, you know you are about to type something but what if you had no future thought or expectation that the possibility of typing was at all a possibility. All would be new without that subconscious expectation of knowing the little things your going to do next. This way its all new and exciting and with sensuousness, all abundantly pleasing.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
August 6, 2011

continue to do be here at the sense-level though disappointment and social expectations still hold water, still remove me from the senses and to the imaginary. Examples...yesterday I suffered a bitter disappointment at the poker table. My mind continues to roll back there. There is nothing that I can do really to stop my mind from re-living it. The only thing I can do is to let it go and return to the senses each time. Also, I have been working graveyard but still harbor a desire to wake up at a "sensible" hour. So I also have to let go of negative thoughts about waking up at 2 PM. Also, today is a beautiful day in Oakland. I may yet go out and enjoy it. I may not. Either way, there is a "should" attached to this life right now. I should go out. So I let that go and return to the senses. And then there is always the "have to" return to the senses, "have to" let this or that go. I suppose I judge myself every time I find myself not here/not now. So these are the stressors on this day.

Well after having sat back and observed the senses as well myself observing the senses (which is basically me thinking 'look ma i'm being present'), I decide to take a hike with the dogger. There is a resentment that I have to drive there. I don't like driving. So I have to let this go also as well and also, the compounded "have to" part of letting it go needs to be let go.


*********

On our hike, I was struck with the difficulty of being sans agenda. Even if the agenda is to pay the rent (or especially), anything that gets in the way will cause irritation. How to avoid this?

On the way back, I ruminated on the difference between happiness and harmlessness. I researched the AFT and currently think that harmlessness is an absence of malice and sorrow. Whereas happiness is mood, harmlessness is action and intent. So at work today, I really tried not to be competitive. I only wanted to play well and be friendly. However, I discovered that I can still be resentful towards Lady Luck. And so I resolved to be especially kind to circumstance. I resolved to be friendly towards the universe; make it my friend.

On the walk itself, I was borderline EE in that bare attention was more predominant than philosophizing. However, there was an absence of joy. My bare attention had too much dullness to it. I tried to add felicity and that helped but I never was able to get to an EE.

I notice a resentment to effort. Resenting that need for effort is a major stumbling block.


**********

I think fatigue or lack of energy may be the only thing keeping me here. All my emotional energy into felicity!

Such imitative felicity/ innocuity, in conjunction with sensuosity, readily evokes amazement, marvel, and delight – a state of wide-eyed wonder best expressed by the word naiveté (the nearest a ‘self’ can come to innocence whilst being a ‘self’) – and which allows the overarching benignity and benevolence inherent to the infinitude, which this infinite and eternal and perpetual universe actually is, to operate more and more freely. This intrinsic benignity and benevolence, which has nothing to do with the imitative affective happiness and harmlessness, will do the rest.
All that was required was ‘my’ cheerful, and thus willing, concurrence.


Statements like these may have confused me. It implies that it is easy because the universe is so perfect that one glimpse is all you need.

The actualism method is not about undermining the passions ... on the contrary, it is about directing all of that affective energy into being the felicitous/ innocuous feelings (that is, ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being, which is ‘being’ itself) in order to effect a deliberate imitation of the actual, as evidenced in a PCE, so as to feel as happy and as harmless (as free of malice and sorrow) as is humanly possible whilst remaining a ‘self’.


I like this paragraph better. But I especially like first sentence of this paragraph and second to last sentence of the first paragraph.

The actualism method...is about directing all of that affective energy into being the felicitous/ innocuous feelings...in order to effect a deliberate imitation of the actual...which has nothing to do with the imitative affective happiness and harmlessness.



Combining the two indicates that happy and harmlessness is to be viewed as a byproduct of felicity. So put all your energy into felicity, it says.

Very interesting. I'm doing that right now and have been doing it for about the last 3 hours or so. For example, as I'm writing this text, I am trying my danmnest to enjoy the fuck out of everything that I perceive. And any emotion that doesn't have to do with enjoying the sweetness of each sensation is a waste. So the cursor blinks and I see it blink but rather than being proud that I noticed it and then blase about it's occurrence, I direct every ounce of energy into appreciating the living shit out it. And if any energy should be noticed going towards how this post will be received, I am re-directing back into the minutae.


August 7, 2011

Last night was the first time I saw my practice as converting wasted energy into felicitous energy. That worked. I also saw anything not in the here and now as wholly part of my imagination. And that helped. Last night, was the first time I actually heard my apartment. The computer makes about 3 different sounds with changing wave lengths, the air purifier makes one and the refrigerator makes a couple. It was eerie how different actuality is compared to my normal reality.

3:39 PM

imaginary world, passionate reactive world, sensate world. this part of my imaginary world is the only one I'm giving credence to. the rest of it is being directed at sensate reality. wanting to be this moment in all its glory...not just enjoy but be it.

it is about directing all of that affective energy into being the felicitous/ innocuous feelings


Ahh. after looking for the quote to justify my actions, I see that a slight twist is needed. rather than being this sensate moment, I need to be felicity itself.

12:51 AM

Took the day off and spent most of it here in the apartment. I am in the middle of cultivating felicity so that is is a vibrant energy and then directing that energy towards whatever sensation I notice. I have high hopes for this as it seems to be what Richard recommends and I've never approached the practice like this before and it is keeping me happy and harmless for the time being.

August 8, 2011 6:24 PM

still doing my best to sustain felicity throughout the body while being sensual. The largest remaining part of my identity is the Dho. There are other parts left but it is thinking about these post that take me away from the here & now more than any other part. I don't know which is greater, my dho identity or the instinctual passions. but i write these post only aware of the moment. The imaginary world isn't present currently. So every time I think about how I want to phrase an idea or which idea I want to post about is wasted because as I am writing this and as I have written the last 5-6 post, I am only here. I am not thinking about how this post will come across.

Sustaining felicity seems to be easier than dismantling the social identity and crossing which ever bridge I crossed before I came here (social identity was tackled, then i went on to something else but i don't know what that was, and now i'm here.) For with this sustained felilcity there is a confidence that this is the way. Probably because it feels so good. Also the other stuff doesn't feel as good and sometimes feels bad but almost always or quickly enough is seen as illusionary and therefore not compelling. The only reason why I was ever in to that stuff before is because I thought it was real. I thought my perception of myself and other peoples perception of me was real. I thought politics was real and sports drama was real. I mean. I guess politics is real in a way. It may not be the here and now but it is still happening. Nonetheless, it has lost its force. Maybe because I see that it causes suffering. Also because I see that it isn't that important (due to a variety of factors) and that our political conflicts are inevitable as long as people are gripped by the various delusions that is our lot as self-aware creatures.

I do believe that this is the right track because it is very much like the wide eyed wonder that R. describes. And it brings forth h&h and I can imagine myself (yes imagine) melting into the senses as Trent described his dissolution. bye.

August 9, 2011 8:39 AM

The intensity of the felicity I've been trying to cultivate has weakened. I am no longer trying to 'be' felicity and as a result my mood has slipped some. The good news is that the little sensate phenomena affects me more positively than it did 2-3 days ago before I started this. The greatest obstacle to living in this moment is that urge to do something. It usually propels me to watch TV (assuming I've nothing planned).

11:08 AM

habitually think about my next post but not focusing on what I want or had planned to post and instead just focusing on the tactile sensation of fingers and keyboard, the movement of cursor and formation of letters, the fabrication of words and ideas inside my head, etc helps me stay in the moment when I'm away from the computer. the moment is more and more being seen as real and myself is more and more being seen as a daydream. And so actual daydreams are now seen as daydreams of a daydream and thus loose potency quite quickly. Before they may have been seen as a realistic portrayal of my universe, an essential part of me which even after SE was seen as important. Everyday phenomena is more impressive even when not proactively cultivating felicity..felicity is coming without trying but it is still better, i think, to cultivate it and extend it outwards but failing to do that isn't a deal breaker.

1:48 PM

Last entry before trekking to Napa valley to sit in on their juicy $1/2/3 table max no-limit game. should be a lot of fun..looking forward to being felicitous in the midst of battle. the dog walk was utterly sublime during the times when I was totally felicitous and moderately pleasant when I wasn't. going in and out of felicity, transferring my energy into appreciation of the external or keeping it within, letting the mind wander or centering it on being felicity itself...all of this is creating a positive effect. Now a true test. Will I stay h&h while my money and financial security is on the line or will i become a egotistical monstrosity within a wicked la la land; like a caged animal at the zoo or like the easy going neighbor?

10:35 PM

Man did i ever hit a wall today. Gradually I lost steam and finally realized that I didn't have enough energy to continue being felicitous and present. At that point, I went home. My mood at the tables today was almost exclusively positive, however. I did go on a bad run there while playing the Omaha/8 game. I was just a tiny bit whiny and maybe a tad grumpy but I never lost my sense of humor. This was late in the evening after I think I had already used up my energies for the day. It's fortunate that for every minute of being felicitous, you get x amount of minutes of non-felicitous happiness. On the ride home, I turned on the radio and let my mind indulge in a ridiculous fantasy. And now, I will watch a movie and pass out. Tomorrows a new day!

August 10, 2011

12:02 PM

This morning was half and half. I had no energy to foster felicity but had enough felicity in reserve to tilt my perspective favorably and quickly reign in any downward spiral-like thinking. I'm beginning to think of fostering naivete in terms of metta meditation but there is also a resistance towards that. I'm trying to find the pages Adam suggested but can't so far.

4:23 AM

I don't remember ever having this wide-eyed (which for me is more like wide mouth (walking around like an idiot with my mouth open gawking at street lamps or whatnot)) wonder as a child. If I did, I can't imagine why I'd ever choose to abandon it.

August 11, 2011

12:28 PM

Today was the best morning ever (feeling wise). There was zero resentment and a fair amount of joie de vivre. I can still stand improvement in the latter because despite being h&h with a healthy dose of felicity, I went back to bed. I felt fatigue and recognized, as is usually the case, that I have no appointments or schedule to keep so I satisfied my fatigue and laid back down. This has been my standard practice for decades as long as no appointments were keeping me. I usually stay there until I am fully rested, which for me is 10 hours of sleep total. And today my first sleep lasted 7.5 hours and on my second sleep shift, I laid there and joyfully listened to the many sounds of urban life and got back up about 15 minutes later. While laying there, I also contemplated (experientially) the fatigue coursing through my body. Rightly or wrongly, I decided that I would experimented with that fatigue being nothing more than energy that could be redirected at will. And, of course, I would redirect it towards felicity.

On my first dog walk this morning, which was a short one just to get him relieved while my coffee was brewing, I contemplated this journal. I don't like doing that because it takes me away from the present. I have countered this tendency by not thinking about what I want to write about while I'm actually here writing and instead staying aware only of the writing act itself. But today, I am breaking that rule. Oh well.

As I begin to really enjoy this moment, I am still very often distracted from it. Sometimes, I can easily see that the object of my distraction is an illusion, like a dream. Other times that is not so clear. Fortunately, at this point, the object of my distraction, be it illusion or reality, is always less pleasant than living this moment with full awareness. That is a blessing! I can't say what brought about this blessing. I know that a few days ago, I decided to generate felicity within the body and direct outwards. And I still do this but only from time to time and usually only when I really need to. The other times, I am still doing what I have always done since I began this practice, let the moment come to me. For whatever reason, the moment is coming to me with greater frequency and greater vivacity than ever before. It must have something to do with that self-generated felicity even if I don't generate it like I did on that first day. Nonetheless, and this is the thing that I thought about on the walk which I am willing to break my rule in order to remember to put on the page, I still fear going back into psychosis. Hmm, nothing much to add to that except that I lived that psychosis for 30 years and for the first time (well i always knew that some parts of me were partly delusional (and after SE I didn't think "I" was delusional but I saw that "I" was empty,inconstant and unhealthy which is different from seeing the full delusion of yourself)) I see the full delusion of myself. I also am aware that I return to the delusion quite often and some of those times, the delusion is quite compelling. Hence, I fear that one of those times I will stay within said delusion. Putting that fear on the page, I think, may have been helpful. I vow to self-generate greater felicity so as to prevent that from happening!

6:47 PM

So far another good day but I did engage in a pretty long, 20 minutes or so, fantasy regarding NBA players and free agent signings and trade scenarios; it's an interest I have. It's one thing to think about something that interests you and an entirely different thing to have a role playing fantasy of what I would do if I were in this or that spot. I also engaged in some petty self-interested thinking that lacked a sense of humor. It revolved around the poker table and I had a very good run at a game that is above my bankroll: I don't normally play it but circumstances conspired to find me at that game. I ran well, finished my meal and quit. (I'll go to my main casino in a little bit). While running well and after quitting, I just thought about the money I won and how lucky I was. It was totally self-interested and no felicity was involved. I also thought a fair amount about AF but I don't remember what I thought about. I know I wanted to write about it but I didn't make myself remember it for obvious reasons. I'm trying to remember as I write this entry. But I can't seem to. I can guarantee that I will remember sometime tonight when it won't do me any good. Oh yes.....concentric circles. I liken progress to a concentric circle where you are in the middle and gradually wind your out and around the center until you are flung out of the circle altogether which would represent AF. And I like this analogy or image because much of your progress seems like 'i've been here before. i've already had this insight. i'm really not getting anywhere.' But the truth is, you may have had the insight before but other factors probably prevented you from executing it as correctly or as purposefully or with as much pure intent as you can now. And so on one axis, you are in the same place, but on the other axis you are farther away. Or you are on the same plane but farther away from the tightly wound center. googled image

There was another thing that I was able to remember. I no longer fear that my lack of concentration is any sort of hindrance. Previously, I had to force myself out of this or that delusion and into the moment and once in the moment, I had to hold on to it the best I possibly could lest I fall right back into the delusion. Now I no longer try to hold onto the moment and can enjoy for longer periods of time before a delusion or psychosis or whatever grips me again. But when I'm in the moment, it is so sweet that it is clear that there's no reason to try to hold onto it. The moment is good enough. Which begs the question, why do I continue to fall back into self. I can't say, or speculate. I might hear something that reminds me of something and go off thinking about it without being aware. But why am I not aware? I don't know. Maybe I'm just not that skilled yet at living in the moment. Or maybe "I" don't trust the moment. I don't know.

4:22 AM

Got tired at work and stopped being able to generate felicity. as soon as i realized it, I left. the ride home was a bit better. walking the dog was even more so. then vegged out in front of the TV which was fun. then surfed some and finally realized it was bedtime. but i had a nagging feeling of discontent like a child who doesn't want to be told to go to bed...i wanted more stimulation but realized there was none to be had. so i thought, i'll observe this energy and transfer it to felicity. and after a few moments of delight, thought 'i want to tell the dho about this' and so here i am. What if I could transfer all my anxiety, doubt, fear, shame, hostility, pride, etc into felicity? What if this could be done and I could learn how to do it?

August 12, 2011

1:05 PM

This morning wasn't as good as yesterday. I'm writing right after getting up but not waking up. I want to write first thing because mornings has always been filled with so many negative emotions over the years. I awoke from a dream without any gaity but there wasn't any resentment either. I immediately remembered my purpose, my intent, but was unable to generate any felicity. I wasted some time in bed living a fantasy and examining fatigue as well as the emotions of the fantasy and tried to turn into felicity but couldn't. Nonetheless, I was able to stop fatigue and shame from growing, I was able to see it and feel it goenka style, and I tried to turn into felicity but couldn't. I did, somehow, neutralize it and from there was able to follow common sense and get up. It is already afternoon and best case scenario is to leave for work at 3 PM. If I walk the dog to the burrito shop then the burrito will make me tired and late. I'll walk him to whole foods and get two slices of thin pizza and have a pot of coffee waiting for when I get back.

2:32 PM

feeling fatigue and a reluctance to go to work. want to sleep. pause. train in the distance. so wonderful that train...one of my favorite things...another trian usually follows it going in the opposite direction. life is fun. feel fatigue now mixing with felicity. huh. unable to do anything with this fatigue. oh well.

4:15 PM

unable to shift the fatigue into felicity, I took a nap. It didn't work. My naps seem to have about a 50% success rate. I never really quantified that before. fwiw, game plan is now work at 8 PM. my dream was an AF seeker falling in love and consumating (with a kiss) the new relationship on top of a tower over-looking at an oil rig and together devising a plan of activism against this oil company. I've been having a lot of AF related dreams lately. Most have been straight forward with little or very easy to decipher symbolism. This was more convoluted.

Fatigue has always been a problem. Ever since I was a school kid, I always felt tired. And I've always felt shame about that. I don't know if it's physical or psychological but I'm going to treat it like it's a psychological passion, if that makes sense. I want to be able to transfer it into felicity but I'm having trouble. I'll try that dichotomy out for a few days. When I failed to do it today, I was sitting in my computer chair. Next time, I'll go up on my roof or elsewhere outside. Another thing to note, when I was overwhelmed with fatigue today, I had to shower and drive 40 minutes to work while choosing to ignore my dogs desire/need to exercise. That may be relevant, idk.

After waking up, I thought how much better my life is now without so many conflicting ideals which produced so many confusing emotions. The other day, I thought to myself that people who adopt a very particular social ideal (materialists, hipsters, jocks, activists, etc) suffer so much less than I did. I had all those ideals bouncing up and around me all the time. I wanted to be everything to myself and to others. But I didn't know it. And so I didn't know what and when to sublimate one ideal over another. With jocks, I felt too dorky. With hipsters, I felt too mainstream. With activists, I felt like I didn't do enough. On top of that, I was utterly afraid of failure so I often resorted to shyness and isolation. But then I would break out of my shyness with a massive surge of willpower but without a coherent game plan since I didn't know what I was trying to be.
It's a lot easier now. Cultivate felicity. When I full of wonder and awe, I'm happy. I have no identity other than the occasional 'ah so this is genuine happiness.'

6:26 PM

finished walk with dog. went to berkeley marina/eastshore park where he can be off leash.
dream was a presentation of the idea of settling. the main character in it fell in love despite seeking AF and settled for love and activism.
fatigue seems to come when I "have to" do something. i have often thought of it as an adolescent way of avoiding stress but even sans stress it seems to wash over me. It came again on the ride home: I was planning the drive to Napa (which is unstressful) and bam it hit. Perhaps it's not even adolescent but childish and it's a way of asserting independence. Or maybe there is stress within that drive...i used to be an environmentalism and as a result, am uncomfortable with unnecessary energy use, also - i drive a prius and sometimes that brings about shame because it's kind of a dorky car (see above entry about never having settled on a clear cut identity) So perhaps thinking about the drive brought forward these weird issues i have and my subconscious just decided to make the body tired thus giving the conscious mind an excuse to choose to stay home and avoid these issues.
insight on walk was the unreliability of all memory and prognostication: there is only now. there may have been a past but it's not certain; there may be a future but it's not certain. that insight led to a dull unfelicitous sensuality. had to muster felicity / with only partial success.
This journal takes up a lot of my emotional energy. I plan these entries and organize my thoughts accordingly.
It was fortunate for my dog that I was overwhelmed with fatigue earlier. Now he got some exercise and I only missed a free dinner. (complimentary dinner is served at 8 PM but due to traffic I have to leave either before 3 PM or after 8 PM) I didn't examine my options earlier, only decided that financially it was best to leave at 3. Perhaps if I had examined my options systematically then the fatigue would never have came as confidence and logic would have made my head more clear....Only a hypothesis....So this fatigue may be a childish way of asserting independence and/or a way of forcing my hand when I have conflicting yet un-spelled out priorities and/or a way to avoid stress.

3:45 AM

felicity-wise...bad day. Happiness-wise...good day. (mood was high despite not taking time to appreciate the little things) Was even tested in a big way and still stayed positive with a sense of humor. But my felicity levels have been dropping since the 7th. I even experienced sorrow for about 30 minutes today. It wasn't situational so I had to think about why I was feeling this. I finally attributed it to the phenomenon of rising expectations and after that it went away.

4:46 AM

I will say that my attentiveness level is rising. As I attempt to convert psychic energy into felicity, naturally I am forced to be more aware of that psychic energy. And so I am more aware of the feelings I have which generally prompt certain actions, excess web surfing, for example, generally comes from a particular nervous feeling that is of a tingly nature situated mostly in the chest. fwiw, felicity, for me, feels warmer and more all over but mostly situated in the face.

August 13, 2011

2:50 PM

The very first in the morning, I had some minor dissatisfaction. The dream I awoke from was dumb and the room I awoke too was dull. I remember feeling slightly annoyed at both of those things. I then re-shut my eyes and returned to my dumb dream only to re-awake to my dull room producing the same slight annoyance. I did that once again but the 3rd time I was woken by my dog licking himself and that produced a higher pitch of dissatisfaction. But I immediately remembered felicity and was able to turn it on just enough to give myself an energy boost. I may have laid in bed for another 5-10 minutes spotting perfection before getting up and making the coffee and walking the dog. Both of which were very pleasant activities. I am also pleasantly relieved that the big hand I lost last night is still not painful. So the trajectory seems to be either continuing upward or staying flat in good place. I am a bit sick today and I have a cold sore inside my mouth. Neither of which has produced any suffering as of yet.

5:26 PM

just got back from hanging out with my apartment manager. super smart dude. was talking about emotions and how the #1 difficulty and the #1 skill is managing your emotions. straight from a text book but learned by his mom who kept him off the streets of chicago (and he might credit the coast guard too). then we moved on to religion and politics and it was great. But right now I am really high so I have to make some decisions regarding tonight's game plan. And so I don't forget I get to call my brothers house tomorrow. i'll say 'get' instead of 'got'; no reason do anything but look forward to it. I'm also pleased that I am about to sit down deliberately and go over every detail of my situation right now and come up with the most practical response. And that response will be good.

5:47 PM

I sat down on carpet indian style and let my mind go. Eventually, it realized that this was going to be a long process and the best thing is to walk your dog and mull over it on the walk. good idea.

9:07 PM

It was a long walk...lots of good ideas and fun encounters. fortunately my moleskin and a pen was in the car and spent the whole walk writing, planning, admiring. decided to come back here, eat dinner, and elaborate on the many things i wrote about it in the moleskin. that may take up the entire night but if not, i'll re-asses then.

12:17 AM

I've finished typing up my observations. Here they are.


On my walk today I got a feeling that I was betraying my humanity. Because I am seeking an eradication of the human madness doesn’t mean I’m seeking to be less human. Why is lust or fear essential to my humanity? The only value they give is a way to mix-it-up with other humans. But I can mix it up without them. I don’t need lust to talk to a beautiful woman or fear to establish a support network.

What other value do they give then as a way to mix-it-up with other humans? They may allow me to empathize with other humans. Well, understanding is just as possible without empathy. It’s the understanding that is worthwhile. Empathy as a tool serves no purpose other than to facilitate understanding. But understanding doesn’t need empathy to be enacted. Even without sharing emotions, I’ll always have my memory of how those emotions played a central role in my decisions and I’ll always have ample examples from which to observe exactly how emotions play a role in peoples decisions.

So I don’t think I am betraying humanity in any way.

***********************************************************************************

I was walking Buds on an dusty unpaved road that separates an inlet of San Francisco Bay known to many recreational fishermen from a beautiful bird sanctuary and habitat restoration project. This road leads to a paved jogging track across the street from a well landscaped hotel used by boaters throughout California. The hotel is nestled in-between the bird sanctuary, the Berkeley marina and Cesar Chavez Regional Park used by kite flyers, joggers and dog walkers as well as hotel guests. I was on my way to this park when I encountered two beautiful women in their late 30’s or early 40’s walking about 8 dogs together. They were both blonde and one of them was even wearing a high cut t-shirt that showed off an impressively fit mid-section considering the woman’s age (which isn’t at all a sexist comment - everyone (who’s not involved with Hollywood) gets fatter as they get older). I remarked how fun it must be to walk so many dogs.

One of them said. “You can get some extra.”
I thought she meant that I could become a dog walker. “I can get in on it?”
She said. “You can get some more dogs.”
I asked. “These are all your dogs?”
The other woman said. “5 of them belong to us and the others are just with us for the day.”
I said. “Cool. Have a good one.” I waved and strode off in the opposite direction.
They said. “Enjoy your walk.”

I proceeded to reflect how pleasant that exchange was and imagined them talking about it to other people with me as the main character and hero. It then struck me that I have always wanted to be a savior of mankind. It may be the only thing I have ever consistently wanted / the only validation I would ever settle for. And now that I finally know something worth anything, I see how ridiculous such a desire and point of view clearly is.

*********************************************************************************

In my pre-actualism days, a simple project like this one, would be daydreamed about ad-nauseam. I’d have started with a simple idea, developed a clear cut goal usually with a financial motive and given myself a game plan for enacting it. How ugly! I would then grow disgusted with myself for quitting at some point. Even funnier!

*********************************************************************************


My dog’s only two weaknesses are squirrels and food. If he sees a squirrel, all bets are off. If he smells a BBQ, I have to be super diligent that he doesn’t bolt right to it. Going around a hill, now in the designated off-leash area of the park, I allow my dog great leeway and forfeit sight of him as he is several yards behind me smelling and peeing on the bushes. I hear a rustle from behind me, turn around and see my dog at top speed bolting towards some picnickers on top of the hill. I run through the thicket just to make sure I don’t loose him completely as well as for the fun of it, get to the pathway towards the picnic table and continue my sprint. Once on top of the hill near the picnickers, I see that he isn’t there. He was running straight towards them. I ask. “Did you see a yellow lab bolt through here?”
“No. We haven’t. Sorry.”
I put my hands on my knees to suck some air and say out loud. “He must have veered off.” Hands still on knees, I look towards the main BBQ area and say. “He must be over there.” I then re-start my sprint.
One of the guys says, “What kind?”
I slow down. “A yellow lab. He has a collar.”
“Will do”. He says. I flash the A-OK sign and speed up.

He’s sniffing around the grills. I leash him up and walk towards the main meeting grounds of the off-leash area. Once there I see a young cyclist and his pug or American bull dog. Either breed is remarkably lazy, which is great as a dog owner. He is putting his dog into a little doggy car connected to the back of his bike. I ask. “Going great distances?”
“No, but for this guy…“ And he points to his dog. Then adds. “I live around 40th and San Pablo.”
I think. “What is that? About 60 blocks?”
“It’s about 4 miles.”
I think about how I walk my dog around Lake Merritt quite often and that’s 3.5 miles circumference and about a mile walk from my apartment. “That’s not far.” I say.
He said. “I like to do my walking while I’m here.”
I said. “Absolutely, absolutely.” And I turn away and open up my moleskin.

Soon thereafter, my dog greets another dog walker. The dog walker greets my dog with the familiar. “Hello there. You have a blue tongue.”
Now, I have never ever considered this subject to be conversation fodder. I don’t know why. I guess I just lacked the confidence to let this be the conversation starter it was destined to be. But in this instance, I said. “Yep. He has the most solid blue tongue of a non-pure chow I’ve ever seen. A lot of mixed chows have spotted tounges…”
He says. “And it stands out….his yellow fur.”
I say. “Yep.” And I mumble some affectations. “yellow fur, makes it stand out, yep,” as I put my head down and rub my forehead. I can think of no other reason why I cast my gaze down and rubbed my forehead other than to visually cue that I was done with this conversation.

With my head down, I hear his gait stop from the sudden kick up of sand and the abrupt cessation of shoe sliding against ground. Evidently, he had a noisy gait. I think that he said, “Cute.” And without even raising my eyes, I motion him away by flicking my wrist, palm down like a Southern Lady might dismiss the help. My wrist moved up then my fingers moved together following the wrist and continuing upwards even after the wrist stopped it’s trajectory. When my fingers reached the zenith of their range of motion, they fell back down and wrist remaining still, repeated the motion again. So it was like my hand was doing the worm.

After that encounter, I preceded to write about all the previous encounters from the picnickers to the cyclists to the dog walker. I wrote it all down, because, I was so free and easy throughout all of them. There were so few hindrances blocking a natural care-free dialogue and interaction. Yet interestingly, the last two could have been quite rude of me. The cyclists could have thought I was judging his decision to ride here rather than walk. And the dog walker may have felt rudely dismissed. Yet, I felt very little or next to nothing during these encounters.

************************************************************************************

I have either been running away from people or chasing them off my whole life. It’s odd how you can go through life with a particular behavioral pattern and not even know it.

***********************************************************************************

CONJECTURE:

Buddha lived a perfect life of VF. He was a master Jhannist, had supreme mindfulness, and held a position that validated his role in the universe. That role allowed him to be guest of honor at many a banquet and always have a comfortable place to lay his head at night. He was also a beggar and that too validated him, being the Axial-age revolutionary from Northern India that he was. Never needing to eradicate feeling, he never did. Never knowing that it was necessary for imperturbable bliss, he never preached that as a goal.


***********************************************************************************

I expend so much emotional energy worried about what strangers think of me; usually for reasons so trivial that I can’t even remember them for this blog. “Does she think this odd?” “Does he think I’m doing this or that.” “Do they think that what I just did was stupid?”


August 14, 2011

11:48 AM

Today's morning involved me waking up from a dream about a friends wedding and my ride there was a person who betrayed me in college. It was an ethnic wedding so I didn't know what to expect and once there I found that the only person I knew (the bride) wasn't even there. I woke up from this dream still quite tired, re-closed my eyes and kept dreaming it. I did that about 4x. I finally woke up and realized that I was 'me' and began trying to muster some felicity.

7:17 PM

Caught a bug on Friday and I guess today it finally overcame my immune system. Poop. I haven't tried to generate any extra felicity. Just been laying around with body pains and lots of fatigue. Wouldn't go to the casino even if I hopped myself up on flush & cold meds. Most disrespectful thing you can do is go to a germ facilitating place like a casino while sick. Good news is I absolutely feel nothing negative. My mood today has been shifting between a hairline above neutral and significantly below ecstatic.

11:58 PM

Pretty boring day though I haven't felt bored....mundane would be a better word. Grateful for all these sight/sounds that take me away from myself. Equally grateful for this philosophy of actualism which in a few words i guess is, everything is already perfect.

2:49 AM

I just experienced a burst of emotional excitement. It was a propellant, a psychological propellant. Experiencing that, it's easy to see how the self can feed of itself. So many sources of potential energy. A well designed self can literally move mountains. Within a perfectly arranged self, hypothetically speaking, there could be an endless source of energy from which to tap into. Unfortunately, the ego can sap that energy in many ways. And generally speaking, highly accomplished people have big egos. This ego can act as a kind of buffer, like a individual tower of babel, to keep one from being too god-like. Kind of ironic...the ego which is the thing that makes you want to be like god is the same thing that prevents you from ever reaching those heights. I suppose it's possible to have a very small ego and a well designed self. I'm not sure what the point would be though.

3:07 AM

Throughout the day, I have experienced brief spurts of shame. Undoubtedly, this has to do with the fact that I have been completely nonproductive today. Intellectually, and for the most part, emotionally, this doesn't bother me in the least. But there must still be one tiny part of me that feels beholden to status - moral, financial, social or otherwise. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I need to learn how to convert these useless emotional bursts of energy into felicity. I suspect that I'm getting better at it even if I can't verify it. Maybe I'll try to quantify it in some way.

August 15, 2011

1:13 PM

The morning was completely painless but there wasn't any joie de vivre.

7:33 PM

A person accomplishes something. In his downtime, he reflects on said accomplishment and feels pride. He re-directs the pride into focus on the next accomplishment. Over several decades that person becomes an absolute monster of accomplishment and ego.
A person fails at something. In his downtime, he reflects on said failure and feels shame. He re-directs that shame into pity, shyness, fear of failure, etc. Over several decades that person becomes a monstrosity of low self-worth, desperation, fear and projection/deflection.
It's all about re-directing energy back into some goal. My goal is greater felicity. Over several decades, (preferably sooner) I may become a monstrosity of the present moment! It's all about taking away attention and emotional energy away from this figment of imagination we call ourselves and into actual reality.

7:51 PM

During this day, I decided to stay here in Northern California and make the move to Vancouver gradually rather than all at once. It's better to lay a foundation in Vancouver before I move my whole life up there. But with plane tickets and dog care, I thought it might be impossible. But today, I found a reasonably priced dog watcher with the potential to rent a room out of her house. I meet her tomorrow. But just thinking about her rates allowed me to consider a worse case scenario and I think I can even swing that.

1:16 AM

3 hour nap and wide awake. I am one nocturnal dude! It's hard to poke me out of bed in the morning but after just 3 hours and in the middle of the night, I cannot fall back to sleep. For all my psychological inefficiencies, I have to say this biological nocturnal-ism may be the greatest reason why I've under-achieved these so many years.

3:04 AM

It's about realigning your thought process with an induced captivation of the present moment. Every bit of emotional energy spent worrying about either the past, the future, or theories of cause and effect is a waste. Emotional energy spent in captivation of this present moment is not only liberating but more true to reality. Take the London riots: I just was a sent a youtube thing on it. I can spend moments reading about them, studying them, worrying about them, theorizing about why they took place and how to avoid them in the future and why some people can understand and others can't, etc. Or I can be engrossed in what my senses are telling me. You may ask. But what good does being engrossed in your present moment when other people are suffering. I can only say that they are suffering because they are spending the vast majority of their time dwelling on the past, worried about the future and theorizing about cause and effect. You may ask. What if you are suffering in the midst of famine? How will the present moment save you then? Won't theorizing about cause and effect lead you to a practical way out if possible? Perhaps but actualism makes room for that with it's insistence that the brain can and will theorize, plan, create all on it's own. I don't know. I haven't experienced apperception yet.

Strange. I'm getting tired now. I knew that I would. I don't know why I couldn't just sleep through the night and wake up at dawn. If I did that, i could play some light $6/12 games until it was time to take buds to Napa and meet that woman and her room. As it is, I guess I'll just have to play at night in Hayward or Livermore both of which I've been wanting to check out.

August 16, 2011

8:24 AM

May have converted fatigue energy into felicity energy for the first time this morning.

11:46 AM

Walking the dog to and from laundry and during the cycles, I was heavy with irritation. My dog was annoying and I had read a few news articles yesterday and they were on my conscious. I continuously tried to convert it all into felicity but either wasn't able to 1) catch the feeling before I just automatically switched to either that child-like wonder or a dull non felicitous sensuousness, depending on the moment or 2) the irritable feeling was sticky and nonconvertible. I then experimented with keeping the irritable feeling while being sensuous. This produced some desirable results. That feeling made the present moment less sublime and more edgy/subversive/risque. It was a pleasant feeling and I was able to maintain sensuousness while within it.

August 17,2011

11:20 AM

I was caught in the brain loop pretty much all day yesterday. This morning, my dreams were all about me waking up early and resetting the alarm so when I did wake up, I thought it was much later than it was. It was mildly irritating...no felicity this morning. I forgot to cultivate it.

12:13 PM

Yesterday, I met with a potential new landlord and that got me thinking about my future which is at a crossroads so that is probably the main reason for the unstoppable loop. I'm staying in NorCal for the time being....found a good spot to play poker while taking trips to Vancouver to establish roots while being able to care for my dog.

6:56 PM

-In the last two days, I had to "suffer" through gridlock and being lost and late. These are good tests. The power of felicity stood up to both of them. I also got my teeth cleaned and that was a pleasure. It didn't make me giddy: I wouldn't do it on a Friday night but paying a professional $120 to rid my mouth of tartar is fun and smart. Plus, I like my dentist and enjoy going into the city. A few days ago I "suffered" through an on-again-off-again inflammation and what used to require special techniques to alleviate the pain didn't require anything. The pain was just a sensation and nothing more. I barely even cared that it was there. That was gratifying.
-It's easy to take felicity for granted when everything is hunky-dory. When things get hairy, gridlock for example, it's easy to pay attention and cultivate fondness for this moment. But I must not shrug it off in favor of pleasant daydreams and practical (or somewhat practical) planning just because my mood is already high.
-I've always felt shame for this petite girlish figure I have. And my lack of masculine skills. My shame wants me to start working out some. Upon analyzing it, I don't see any contradiction with actualism and this gross narcissism as long as the doer (me) is present - felicious, attentive, sensuous. It may even be helpful as long as the resultant pride is transferred to felicity. I think pride is easier to transfer to felicity than is shame. But it's dangerous too. Pride can substitute for felicity and failure can produce that difficult to overcome shame. So felicity must remain priority 1 at all times.


10:34 PM

It's official. I'm staying in NorCal for, at least, the month of September. I made a good enough impression with the landlord so that she chose me to stay in her home over other applicants. I was laid back, polite and friendly during the whole process. I've certainly had many a moment pre-actualism in which I was the same but I like to think that that disposition is becoming standard. I remember just last year, I was looking at a place and I was extremely reserved with the other tenants. They ended up choosing someone else.
Now at the casino, tonight, I had yet another disposition, which I'll label my lowest non-stressed disposition. In this mood, I am reserved but not stand-offish. I am quiet yet salutational to those I know. And I'm polite with a hint of kind levity to any strangers who wish to speak to me. Immediately after combat, I am either polite or silent, win or lose. Compare this with pre-actualism where my baseline was stand-offish and I could easily degenerate into grumpy and even hostile.
Tomorrow, I get to go into the city again. This time to take care of a legal matter: An ex-landlord still hasn't paid back my deposit.
Right now, I'm going to practice meditation metta style but with felicity as my focus!

12:38 AM

Sat for an hour in a chair with back straight...same daydreams and stuff as in everyday life but with less distractions. There was a stiffness in the back which I tried to enjoy and got maybe half way there. I figured that the stiffness was the muscles being overworked. Even if a straight back is the most efficient use of muscles, they still don't get to relax ever because there is no shifting of posture that will allow one set of muscles to take a break even if it means another group has to work extra hard. I had not thought of it like that before. There was also, towards the end, a desire to check the clock and a desire to be done with the exercise. I felicisized out of both those states as they came or tried to be felicitous towards the states themselves which is an interesting, nuanced and comprehensive point of view.

August 18, 2011

7:30 AM

Another morning of neither resentment nor felicity. I suppose that's good considering I only got 3 hours when I'm used to 10 and was awoken by an alarm when I'm used to waking up naturally.

5:01 PM

While in the city, I for the first time saw human beings as fellow people with such a wide variety of shapes and colors. I saw cars as being so many and so varied. Wasn't very sustainable though...mind kept racing.

After long nap, woke up with most strident feeling of disappointment in weeks. It was after a dream that highlighted my body image issues and reminded me of my unhappy adolescence and the fact that if was the middle of the afternoon and I was still tired. My first response was to run from it by closing my eyes and falling asleep. I may have done two more time. Eventually, thought to switch up my felicity in order for it go away. Am now focused more on the wonder aspect of being alive and less on the awesomeness aspect.

while in this wonder-filled felicity, I am attracted to space and motion. In the awesomenss-filled felicity, I am more attracted to sounds and touch. I am also slowing down my movements, repeating them on occasion.

2:34 PM

A lot of discouragement. I put forth more effort today than I have in over a week and I couldn't get past a painless 'okay this is fine' feeling. Then discouragement built upon itself. It alleviated some once I was able to identify but it came back. On the nighttime dog walk, bolts of irritation ran through me. As my attention is becoming stronger and stronger, I can identify and release any such bolts of passion almost instantaneously. And as my felicity gets stronger, I can even laugh at them. Nonetheless, today was a day where good wasn't enough. The feeling of relief at not being sad and bitter is gone and now I want more than just this nice soothing pleasantness.

August 19, 2011

1:46 PM

The morning was a mix of delight, enthusiasm, resentment and discouragement with about a 7-3 ratio in the positive. The morning walk was delight or inner dialogue describing the delight.

12:46 AM

Spent a fair amount of time in vipassana mindfulness trying to catch the ebb and flow of feeling. And also spent a lot of time simply looking for things to be delighted about.

August 20, 2011

12:15 PM

The morning experienced some shame but it was very quickly dismissed. The shame comes from not getting up right away. Every time I re-close my eyes, I feel shame for not jumping out of bed and tearing through the day like some hyper-productive super citizen.

Today I want to try to get back to that sense of humor, I experienced on the 7-9th or so. I'l going to go back to the technique used back then which was to cultivate felicity as a body feeling and spread it outwards. What's the word for skimming a text? Is it skimming? Skimmed my entries and I see that when I was doing that I always hit a wall at sometime in the day in which I just couldn't continue concentrating on sustaining that felicity. So I'll have to expect that to happen today.

4:00 AM

at the poker table, saw myself totally hawkish about winning...stressed about replenishing my bankroll and improving my winrate...unable to have fun...asked myself: is this how I want to be? Have I been just sublimating that part of me while cultivating felicity. Spent the whole session just trying to relax. forgot about cultivating felicity and just went back to basics....still swimming around trying to figure how to get to the next level.

August 21, 2011

3:20 PM

Shame and 'what to do'. Every time I think someone else may be judging me harshly, I feel shame. No matter how quickly it's dismissed, how thoroughly it's minimized - it's still there like a healing wound that itches. After that there is always the need to plan my day. I don't like that feeling either. The same values that I'm projecting when I feel shame, I'm using to plan my day.

4:19 PM

When I'm alone, it may be a good idea to get in the habit of sitting down and thinking things through. Anything that is on my mind just to think it through completely rather than be a ping ball constantly trying to ameliorate one emotion, be mindful of another and cultivate a third.

4:41 AM

I'm definitely back down on Earth. I've had two prolonged EE's, I would say - one in early July and the other for a few days around August 7-10. I'm glad I got to taste what paradise is like. Within those prolonged EE's, I experienced what I think was an out from control VF and one 10 minute PCE. But right now, I am just trying to balance the various methods. So I am trying to be my best friend, be sensual, be attentive, think things through and relax. Much of the difficulty stems from 'trying to' while being relaxed. Most of the other difficulty comes from that value system I bought into for so many years which tells me to feel pride, feel shame, be nervous, etc. With the former, being my own best friend is my main tool. With the latter, thinking things through will be my main tool.

August 22, 2011

2:03 PM

The morning was almost completely painless. I had just one super brief jolt of shame and that was it. I remembered to think things through which meant to plan my day from a completely anaffective state. And If I experienced an emotion regarding a task or what not, I calmly dismissed that emotion. I have high hopes for this new approach (which is nothing more than a reorganization of all my old approaches).

4:45 PM

After deconstructing the social identity, i stopped thinking through my emotions. And I instead I quickly dismissed them as remnants of a former belief. That is incorrect. For example, two conflicting desires are present. rather than choosing one over the other with a clear head, i rashly choose one which burgeons resentment or guilt for not being able to do the other. Those emotions could have been avoided had I educated myself on the situation - the resentment and/or guilt comes from not knowing if I made the right decision or not. I can dismiss the emotion as silly but cause of the emotion isn't a belief - it's the subconscious uncertainty of not being sure if I am acting stupidly or not. When I know that I am acting in full accord of all the facts then there is no reason to feel guilty or resentful: what must be done, must be done and even i am mature enough to know that you can't have your cake and eat it too...only when i don't know which choice is best do i get upset about having to choose. and i only don't know when i don't think it through and instead let my emotions decide for me.

Or i run away from the two choices and choose a third option like veg out on junk food, drugs, TV, etc. while vegging out, i am attentive and sensual with a decent degree of felicity. but i subconsciously know that i took the easy way out. that burgeons an emotion. i dismiss the emotion quickly, simply thinking that it's okay to take the easy way out, all outs are equal, there is no good and bad, etc. But the emotion isn't the result of a belief, it's the result of knowing the consequences of stupid decisions. Without investigating each emotion, it is easy for me to dismiss it prematurely.

August 23, 2011

copying and pasting this up top right below my most recent entry.
Felipe Cavazos, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 221 Join Date: 5/29/11 Recent Posts
Jon T
Either way, there is a "should" attached to this life right now


This is also one of my main problems.

I try to keep in mind the nature of that imperative, remember the duality of that 'should'. For each 'should' there is an idea of failure on the other side. But 'failure' is an arbitrary and illusory concept that we make up. This Taoist story has helped me a lot

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.


For example, I constantly regret some things that I didn't do in my younger days, but later, after some contemplation, I realize that it was that very circumstance that made me suffer enough to later find a solution for suffering {first Buddhism, now Actualism}. Maybe, if I had another kind of life in the past, I would never have had the opportunity to know the existence of all this or to even have the need of getting rid of the roots of my suffering.

What I think is that, freeing every action of this kind of judgement, these agendas won't make any sense because they won't have any dual connotation, they will be without the constant 'contrast and compare'.

So, these days I'm really trying to see every action and circumstance as an opportunity to investigate more and more, and in that way I'm preventing to fuel the strong emotions, and enjoying the wonder on the ride, instead. emoticon
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 295 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
Felipe Cavazos:

Story about the farmer...



Have a look at the last post in this thread, especially the quote and the summary at the bottom of that post. I think maybe you'll find it relevant. emoticon
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
Hi,

Today's post is about that urge to do something. I took the last two days off both because I had been working a lot lately and wanted a break from that scene and also to focus on felicity. I have definitely amped up the felicity level and that has been very beneficial. But I also experience that urge to action (seemingly inherent in psychological beings). This urge prevents me from just sitting and enjoying the sights,sounds, etc. The way I see it, I have 3 options. 1) sit through it vipassana style. 2) "burn" it away with directed felicity. 3) obey the urge but be sure to enjoy as many sensations as possible while involved in the activity. The easiest in #3 and that's what I've been doing. Advice?

ps: (pre-signature emoticon) I'm currently editing an old post to include new entries. I don't like the idea of announcing every new "insight" since most of it is just rubbish. However, I definitely think it useful to keep a journal to propel me forward and hopefully have a record of the day to day process up to AF. So anyone interested can check in even if there are no new posts. Thanks for all the recent replies, I've read through the links and continue to contemplate all the advice.

thanks,

jon
Adam Bieber, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 112 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Jon T:

3) obey the urge but be sure to enjoy as many sensations as possible while involved in the activity. The easiest in #3 and that's what I've been doing.


Yea, use sincerity. Do what makes you most happy and harmless and whenever you get that urge, increase attentiveness toward sensuousness to alleviate that urge.

The felicity found in sensuousness is the best way to alleviate inner urge/turmoil, but any sensuous attention will instantly turn your focus to actuality from the urges/self and minimize feeling. Keeping attention on actuality via sensuousness -by way of attentiveness-keeps feeling to minimum due to the pre-emotional quality of sensuousness.

I think you should re-read the sensuousness and attentiveness and apperception article on the AFT site. I just re-read it and it really helped to put a new simpler focus to my af practice.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Jon T:
1. That sorrow that had me for 5 days some weeks ago....it was just weed. Every time I smoke that strain, I feel sad. I did an experiment and smoked it in a public place, hung out socially, and sure enough...sadness. Got to know it some, made a post about it.

might also be lack of serotonin.. maybe take some 5-htp? no idea though, it was likely a number of factors
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
might also be lack of serotonin.. maybe take some 5-htp?


not necessary atm.

it was likely a number of factors


it was the weed exacerbated by financial difficulties, ego (including AF ego), anxiety about an upcoming relocation, misplacement (i didn't know where it was coming from so i may have perpetuated it by dwelling on, in order to study it, things that made me sad), experimenting with equanimity.
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Harry Potter, modified 9 Years ago.

weed

Posts: 84 Join Date: 5/20/11 Recent Posts
Jon T:

1. That sorrow that had me for 5 days some weeks ago....it was just weed. Every time I smoke that strain, I feel sad. I did an experiment and smoked it in a public place, hung out socially, and sure enough...sadness. Got to know it some, made a post about it.


Though you may already know, strains with high THC content tend to provoke anxiety. I too had to get rid of it in favor of the one with less THC, and more CBD. I also use a portable vaporizer as it is more easy to control the amount compared to smoking.
katy s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 385 Join Date: 8/11/10 Recent Posts
not interested in meeting any women for companionship atm. more interested in being able to talk to someone while being attentive to my mood and their mannerisms as well any external phenomena.
So my following comment may (continue to be apparently) intrusive: if 'you' adds a cautionary "not interested...in companionship", then you is there fatiguing itself with add-ons.

My partner and I went hiking last week and he made a face. I just exited pce seeing how much his goofing made me laugh. It was the self welling up to say, "look at this, such laughter". Totally unnecessary (also harmless), yet habitual, and ok. The hike itself has a few short memories now, but basically the lasting impression is, for me, knowing that there is no hunger for that event, there was no hunger to better consume the hike, the [day/event/bit] was largely solvated.

So, walking the dog can safely and fully be sensate and without add-on conceptions. I notice sometimes my mind jumps in and says, how can you really hear and see and feel everything going on? To which it responds to itself something like, well, it's been hearing you for a really long time, so it's pretty capable.

Once solvated, then no of this matters.

My experience with concentration these past three days: concentration on concepts is much better than before actualism, however, conceiving concepts is still, to me, something like muscle-building. PCE does not form muscles; working out does. Actualism may make a person more likely to be the human they are (and become more active, more apparently muscular) but pce does not actually build muscle [edit: not instantly, tho it's clear the brain is changing (in the same why the brain will change if i play piano for 10 hours/day for 3 weeks]

You will let me know when I've hit proustian-word levels?

[edit: brackets]
katy s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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(and, by way of examples, clearly surfeit add-ons are still within "my" terrain).
katy s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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9/18/11 2:50 PM as a reply to Jon T
Synthetic wonder vs. Bare attention....your thoughts?

These both seem synthetic now. There is a maintenance of selfhood that observes and conditions: one conditions "to attend", the other conditions for "wonder".

Beyond both is the step that seems like gentleness-folly - that one last organized pre-constructed (edit) statement from a center is willingness to let go of everything in order that everything be welcome. For lack of a better expression, this is supreme gentleness, and just enough motion.


[edited: strike through and last sentence]


9/18/11 3:21 PM as a reply to Jon T
Nakedness ("bare") can occur in anything (including deceit), but naked dissolution into everything actually present seems to take constant undermining/cutting down of the arising intermediary that would warp perception. There may remain a "me" desirous of shelter, despite that it exists like a conjoined twin to its own absence/to everything actually present. It is quirky that something should see its own freedom, the non-hazardous letting go, and still cling to extra clothing.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Hi Katy,

It is quirky indeed. I am less sure of what is me and what is actual. Been working on seeing space and actual things and scanning the body for actual sensations and vedena and scanning the mind for being/becoming and fabrications. What constitutes an actual experience and an affective one? Sickness is a feeling yet it is an actual feeling. What is irritation; is it actual? As I understand it now, irritation is a bodily sensation that initiates the process of fabrication and vedena; from there (or skipping the earlier steps altogether) an identity (however temporary) is formed around it. Stop the mind from either creating a fabrication to explain the irritation, or shift the vedena to one of plesantness, or cease being/becoming before it starts and irritation is nothing more than an actual chemical that you can actually feel. But I am new to this point of view. Furthermore, if you hack unpleasant vedena to create pleasant vedena then you still have being/becoming waiting in the wings.


Noticed today that even while being very sensual and scanning the body, I was still quite unhappy when things weren't going my way. But as soon as I widened my view to include space and a greater panoramic view of my setting then my somber moon instantly lifted. I'm not sure what to make of this. Will that emotional reaction fade as I get used to it? Or is that wider viewpoint an absolute necessity?
katy s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 385 Join Date: 8/11/10 Recent Posts
Furthermore, if you hack unpleasant vedena to create pleasant vedena then you still have being/becoming waiting in the wings.
Hacking vedena. Funny concept.

Being/becoming is simple, more nimble to immediacy. So, it is a fine place.

What may also be happening is something like urgency-impatience, aka desire for deliverance, from the present place (even aversion to being/becoming). These are old ornaments/additives to simple being/becoming awareness. All manner of surfeit thinking and emotions can be added to being/becoming's simplicity in immediate now. These additives can be allowed to pass by, by returning to the immediate now. Even if that return feels loaded by observer/being/witness, that's just fine. That being/becoming is light and curious. All this takes some time, and then one day there is a click and PCE. No thought about AF or enlightenment. That is actually an additive thought, yearning/dissatisfaction.

What tends to happen is that being/becoming is not left as it is. Being/becoming is a very simple, gentle state generally. It is curious yet with a preservation of self, like a colt. It is not helped by loading it down with old ornaments like needless emotional states. It is helped by allowing it curiosity and gentleness, allowing its confidence to build in just being as it is, simple, curious.

So, there is this curious being/becoming in the immediate now - that experience all manner of things in its immediate now, especially if it is not hobbled by old ornaments.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Dixit
Location seems to be the key. Anything actual will resolve into some definite location on the body while anything affective will not have a definite location.


Can that location move? Hormones can be felt in the body and it feels like they move through the blood. Is that hormones and other chemicals I'm feeling or an affective state?

katy
Being/becoming is a very simple, gentle state generally.


It tends to lead, however, to craving and aversion. I may have had experience with being as it is and I as I recall it was extremely pleasant. But I can't say for sure that I was experiencing being as it is or if it was just a refined state of satisfaction. Now that I think about it, being without craving and aversion, would be nothing more than satisfaction.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Me
Can that location move? Hormones can be felt in the body and it feels like they move through the blood. Is that hormones and other chemicals I'm feeling or an affective state?


Also, there are bodily sensations that seem very much connected to conditions. These bodily sensations have a definite location. Lust is centered in the pelvic area though can wash over the entire body. Anger is most felt in the gut. Often I feel a warmth in my cheeks that may be connected to euphoria.

My current thinking on these matters is that these feelings are actual but the mind then invents external reasons for them which leads to unskillful actions and point of view then suffering. However, my reading of the AF trust website suggest that these feelings are not actual and should be mitigated by felicity/wonder. What are you thoughts on this?
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josh r s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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well, if i could chime in real quick, it's not the sensations themselves in the very simple sense of physically sensed phenomena that is the real problem, but the instincts and phenomenological urges they represent, if there is any compulsion, that is suffering no? it is the avenue away from happiness and harmlessness.

the decision to try to get rid of these things shouldn't come from some marker such as "do they have fixed location?" but should probably come from "do they lead away from happiness and harmlessness?"

such a marker might be useful, but if you are wondering what you should do with these things the latter question seems more sensible.
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Shashank Dixit, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 282 Join Date: 9/11/10 Recent Posts
Jon T:
Me
Can that location move? Hormones can be felt in the body and it feels like they move through the blood. Is that hormones and other chemicals I'm feeling or an affective state?


Also, there are bodily sensations that seem very much connected to conditions. These bodily sensations have a definite location. Lust is centered in the pelvic area though can wash over the entire body. Anger is most felt in the gut. Often I feel a warmth in my cheeks that may be connected to euphoria.

My current thinking on these matters is that these feelings are actual but the mind then invents external reasons for them which leads to unskillful actions and point of view then suffering. However, my reading of the AF trust website suggest that these feelings are not actual and should be mitigated by felicity/wonder. What are you thoughts on this?


Here is my take so far :- ( Disclaimer - these are just my take )

There is a part of brain which cognizes what is happening and where it is happening on this physical body. For instance stepping on a hot plate would be clearly seen as what and where. Now consider the case of feelings. Fear as an instinctual passion would arise as an actual chemical with electrical impulses and such and the cognizing part of the brain would know that fear has arisen but it does not know where it has arisen in the body. So it is only felt by the cognizing part of the brain. However the brain clearly knows that this fear is connected to this body and so it resolves this quiet logically by .cognizing it as happening to an equally feeling-based entity - the being - which is 'me'. . The being is nothing but the brain's interpretation of these feeling fed chemicals born out of the instinctual passions. It simply does not exist - or in Richard's words - 'my' demise was as fictitious as 'my' presence..

My current take is that suffering arises when the actual physical goal of an instinctual passion is not met. When anger cannot destroy , when fear cannot make one flee , when desire cannot be quenched , when nurture ( to protect ) could not be done - all these not-met goals will turn into a chemical called suffering. Knowing simply this would make one realize that these passions are the spanner in the work - they are like a spike/jolt in a peaceful wave and the brain wants to get rid of this spike by making the body do things. Knowing simply this has made a lot of passions as silly for me because what the brain actually wants is to get rid of these chemicals by making the body do things.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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I wrote a post last night which I never posted. It was about trying to stay happy within awareness of physical sensation, mental proliferation, the arresting of mental proliferation and the subsequent knowledge that the whole process is suffering and it isn't going away any time soon. I complained that the process is a drag on wonder. It interrupts all felicity so that felicity is always at a sputter. It can't ever really get going and take off. I concluded that I will eventually be able to distinguish between those four aspects of the entire process and the feeling-tones that each aspect produces. That such discernment will allow me to change the feeling tone of the process so that felicity isn't continually being interrupted.

Today I'd like to contrast my current state with recent states while being an actualist. My happiest times while embarking on this journey (and at anytime in my life) was when I was focused on changing my mental attitude. I was consciously seeing everything in a positive light with the aim of deconstructing the social identity and realigning my viewpoint towards happiness for it's own sake and being more and more sensuous for the sake of greater happiness. My current state is a chronic stop and start awareness of my own feeling of being, sensuousness, and whatever identity was most recently dismissed. I am much more sensuous now. Almost every minute has at least several seconds of sensuousness. And many many minutes are predominately sensuous. That was not the case before. The problem is that I am also more aware of my identity and the suffering it causes. So as my awareness increases so does my awareness of my own suffering. Yet such attentiveness is necessary.

I have thought that perhaps I should go back to changing my mental attitude. But I don't. I have stripped the identity down to almost it's essence (I can only see 3 aspects of identity now and one of them which I label the guardian may be independent from the identity even if it sometimes acts to support it). I don't want to add another layer.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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I have financial worries. I can think pragmatically about them: Putting them in perspective and systematically going over all my options. I can be positive about the negative emotions they inspire. I can be sensuous and that can induce awe and wonder at the magic of this universe. Nonetheless, I have financial worries. Will my worry only go away when my finances improve?

This begs the question. Why do I want the worry to go away? Are the emotions so unpleasant? Can't I be felicitous about them? Yes I can. But not always. I often forget. And there is a persistent doubt. Am I not just tricking myself? Isn't the only way to truly eradicate a problem is to solve it once and for all?

When I examine the problem, the options are clear. But there is resentment that there is a problem. That resentment can also be looked at with sensuousness.

So there is worry, doubt and resentment. It is not entirely unpleasant; this worry, doubt and resentment. But I do want it to go away. Isn't the desire to eliminate the very thing that keeps it around?

So there is worry, doubt, resentment and desire. And not to turn this into a farce, but there is also a desire to end the desire. Call it a desire for complete unquestioned mirthful self-acceptance.

So there is worry, doubt, resentment, desire and more desire. I'm not sure but perhaps I should focus my attention on that final desire. When the worry pops up, recognize then turn attention towards a clear headed analysis. Make a conclusion however tentative or incomplete then turn to mirthful self-acceptance.

Then there is resentment that I can't completely accept myself. I can half way do it. I can laugh and my felicity levels jump and I turn back to sensuousness and they stay high. But I come back down to worry, doubt, resentment, desire, desire and resentment. This can lead back to doubt about ever attaining AF and then a new worry; that I'll have to suffer like this forever. And the only solution I can think of is to rinse and repeat.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Jon T:
I can half way do it. I can laugh and my felicity levels jump and I turn back to sensuousness and they stay high. But I come back down to worry, doubt, resentment, desire, desire and resentment. This can lead back to doubt about ever attaining AF and then a new worry; that I'll have to suffer like this forever. And the only solution I can think of is to rinse and repeat.

I know just what you mean. For the longest time this is all that would happen when I would attempt to be felicitous and sensuous - a little boost, then it crashes down, some sadness... try again - a little boost, then it crashes down, etc...

Then one day an amazing thing happened... I somehow decided enough was enough, and made an agreement with myself to really go for it, this time (sincerity). So, a little boost - then the worry starts coming in. But instead of following it, I just kept watching it, kind of amused-ly (it still sucked), and was able to keep up the effort... more sadness, tons of resentment... keep up the effort... more effort, resentment most of all... then it's like I passed some barrier; the resentment dissipated... and I was left walking around during a really nice spring day (naivete)! Not a PCE, but the clearest EE I had had in a while.

I think with this and other techniques, there's kind of a hump, that you have to pass through. Tough at first, really annoying hump... but you can break through if you stick with it.

I notice the same when trying to generate naivete via the sweet spot. The immediate reaction is resentment/cynicism that I have to do anything at all... but with applied effort (sincerity), once the hump is past, the naivete is quite sweet indeed.
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Martin M, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Jon T:
I have financial worries. I can think pragmatically about them: Putting them in perspective and systematically going over all my options. I can be positive about the negative emotions they inspire. I can be sensuous and that can induce awe and wonder at the magic of this universe. Nonetheless, I have financial worries. Will my worry only go away when my finances improve?

This begs the question. Why do I want the worry to go away? Are the emotions so unpleasant? Can't I be felicitous about them? Yes I can. But not always. I often forget. And there is a persistent doubt. Am I not just tricking myself? Isn't the only way to truly eradicate a problem is to solve it once and for all?


As I´ve been dealing with a similar situation, my thoughts:

This all comes down to 'my' desire to control what 'I' experience.

Imagine the worst possible outcomes that your financial problems could cause. Try to surrender the resistance against these outcomes.

I´ve persistently been wondering wether my increasing ability to feel good even in adverse circumstances is fuel for advancing those circumstances, i.e. a lack of negative motivation.
Looking back on my work ethic as a result of my practice, I can only conclude the opposite.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Last night I had existential pain for the first time in a long while. It came from a total lack of productivity. I can't say if it was from an instinctual need to climb the social hierarchy or at least secure my spot within it, or if it was a socially learned desire to be industrious. The distinction isn't important but because the emotion was more sorrow than fear or belligerence, it was probably social. I'll call it shame.

It was late at night so the only external sensations to delight in were TV noise and snoring from the next room and awareness of body. Lately, I've been getting better at delighting in emotion and passion. So right after a jolt of fear or anger, I delight in the after effects to regain felicity. If the passion is prolonged than I can merge felicity with the passion, which of course, changes the feeling but for a short while the two are side by side and I can delight in, say, anger as it is happening. I wasn't very successful at this last night. My felicity levels never dipped too low but that may have been more due to knowledge that feelings aren't valid sources of information more than any cultivation of wonder or it may have been a combination of the two.

So there I was lying in bed, feeling shame. And try as I might, I couldn't be happy while feeling the shame. Nor could I dispel the shame in favor of happiness. I finally just put in my ear plugs and drifted off. I am surprised that such existential pain is still present somewhere within me. But this shouldn't surprise me. I often regret a recent decision I just made or an action I just took even though the consequences have little to no bearing on the present and the present is always good. I guess that regret is shame. I suppose I'm writing this post to codify that observation.

What conclusions do I want to make? The social identity is still intact. It may not play the central role it once did but it's still here. While here, I will periodically feel pride and shame. They should be noted, appreciated, seen for what they are and the intelligence should be allowed to shift attention back to the sensate universe. What if intelligence fails and it instead dwells on either the emotion itself or the conditions that led to the emotions e.g. a regrettable action that led to shame? If intelligence fails than the emotion will last for as long as the intelligence isn't operating at adequate capacity. Eventually the emotion will subside enough so that objective intelligence can take over. And the sensate universe can be appreciated once again. So hopefully this post will make the intelligence stronger so that it can override the emotion quicker i.e. figure out how to go back to felicity quicker.

Will this post help anyone else? I don't know. It might. It does help me. But the writing is more important than the actual posting.

I want to write a bit more about sensuousness towards emotion and feeling. It's a fine line to walk, observing emotion without letting it drain felicity. Often during this observation, the ego isn't very active. And I can think. "There is belligerence. Watch it go." Other times it is more like, "I am so angry but that is silly yet it's not so bad. ha ha. What a funny thing to be. Angry. Oh humanity is such an eventful experience." When the ego is absent, felicity levels tend to drain even though the passion isn't nearly as painful. It just is. When the ego is present, the passion is much more painful but felicity is restored quicker. I will observe this more closely as it may not be accurate. But if it is, I want to strengthen my intelligence so that it can direct attention away from the passion even if there is no ego directing it. Perhaps the soul can be modified so that it can direct intelligence towards felicity when the ego isn't fully present? Perhaps I can consciously rev up feelings of nurture so that the soul is so full of compassion that it wants to end suffering and will do so by directing the intelligence towards felicity? This sounds a lot like metta. Hmm. I will keep this in mind.
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Nikolai ., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Jon T:


Perhaps I can consciously rev up feelings of nurture so that the soul is so full of compassion that it wants to end suffering and will do so by directing the intelligence towards felicity? This sounds a lot like metta. Hmm. I will keep this in mind.


"Then again, a monk keeps pervading the first direction with an awareness imbued with good will (1), likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. He reflects on this and discerns, 'This awareness-release through good will is fabricated & intended. Now whatever is fabricated & intended is inconstant & subject to cessation.' (2) Staying right there, he reaches the ending of the mental fermentations. Or, if not, then — through this very Dhamma-passion, this Dhamma-delight, and from the total wasting away of the first five Fetters — he is due to be reborn [in the Pure Abodes], there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world.

"This too, householder, is a single quality declared by the Blessed One — the one who knows, the one who sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened — where the unreleased mind of a monk who dwells there heedful, ardent, & resolute becomes released, or his unended fermentations go to their total ending, or he attains the unexcelled security from the yoke that he had not attained before.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.052.than.html


(1) [Similarly with awareness-release through compassion, through appreciation, & through equanimity.]

(2) How does one do this? Attentiveness to sensuousness? Discerning the sense doors and sense objects at the point of contact? Apperception? Felicity is fabricated and so is good will (metta). Can you attend to sensuousness from the fabricated base of good will as well?
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Has it occurred to anyone else that there is always a feeling of emptiness within us? There is a void that needs to be constantly filled? I was lying down on a reclining beach chair seeing the stars and hearing the sound of highway traffic. and over and over again came a desire to do something. Sometimes it was a desire to watch TV. Sometimes it was a desire to ruminate on actualism and the source of suffering. And sometimes, I was hungry and wanted to make a sandwich. Each time, i noted it and went back to sensuousness. Finally, i saw the pattern. I can never be happy until the void is absent.

it also occurred to me that closer to us then the void is the feeling that something is off. traffic, baby crying, bad luck, boredom at work, etc. The two are related are they not? Are we not doing all this stuff to fill the void? Go to a movie only to endure a baby crying 5 rows up: We went to the movie to temporarily fill the void. It's like the baby crying isn't just preventing us from following the movie, it's preventing us from filling the void. Without that void, I'm not sure if the other things like irritation and sorrow could even form in the first place.

What's the solution? Please clue me in. My guess is to take as much time out as possible to observe the void while being sensuous. Is there something else I can do?


edit: It just occurred to me that whenever the void is present I can amp up felicity towards a specific thing and use that specific newfound fascination to fill the void. An interesting take on what will probably turn out to be the same ole practice I've been doing. but just maybe this new take will break down some barriers.

even if the void isn't totally present - in that it's not actively felt - I can still remember to amp up felicity when an unusual event occurs so as to keep felicity up throughout the day and not sink into malice and sorrow. e.g. a low flying helicopter just buzzed our neighborhood and I hopped up and pranced out of the house to get a look at it. i noticed the whole rush through the house as i maneuvered through the narrow halls and crowded living room and felt the tactile difference of concrete as opposed to wood floors and outdoor air as opposed to indoor air. not to mention the buzz of the helicopter as I abruptly threw my head upwards to view it.
Adam Bieber, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Figure out how to let each desire just go. None of the desires really matter or are essential for you to live. Ask is it valid? does it make you happy and harmless? If not let it go. When the desire comes along, "you" cling to it. Be a consciousness who doesn't cling to disturbing feelings or thoughts. This releases tension.

Consciousness happens on its own, "you" don't have to do anything. Try to experience sensuousness as happening automatically because you are conscious. Don't move your being to look at something, hear something. Hear whats already there and stay anywhere at the sense doors without moving your being toward it. Notice how you can see without looking, increase felicity.

Read peter's correspondences about the PCE and Nikolai's recent blog post below.

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2011/10/yogi-experiment-riding-wave.html
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Nikolai ., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Jon T:

What's the solution? Please clue me in. My guess is to take as much time out as possible to observe the void while being sensuous. Is there something else I can do?


edit: It just occurred to me that whenever the void is present I can amp up felicity towards a specific thing and use that specific newfound fascination to fill the void. An interesting take on what will probably turn out to be the same ole practice I've been doing. but just maybe this new take will break down some barriers.

even if the void isn't totally present - in that it's not actively felt - I can still remember to amp up felicity when an unusual event occurs so as to keep felicity up throughout the day and not sink into malice and sorrow.


Answer found. Keep doing that. Then when possible attend to sensuousness. The felt void is 'I' and 'I' am the felt void. 'I' is inherently unsatisfactory.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Here's something i hadn't thought of before. every time the 'what should i do now' thought arises I can forcefully terror myself away from it and into appreciating this moment. Before i even answer the question (which is often followed by heavy doses of either doubt, resistance or resentment.) I can throw myself full force into the moment so that all planning is arrested.

Tommy's note about " it's possible to spend hours doing absolutely nothing 'cause there's no feeling of having to do anything." was so grand. His description of shadow being was helpful too as i really didn't have much of an idea what they were talking about though tommy's description did speak to my expectations.

tonight there was so much emotional energy. it has been good to redirect it towards the actual rather than just suffer through it.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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A few months ago, I had a conversation with a friend and I said. "For as much progress as I've made, I think I only know as much as a your typical highly successful person." What I meant is that emotions are a bitch and the more competent you are at separating fact from emotion the more effective you'll be. Successful people seem to know this quite well, at least in so far as to what they are successful at. (they may be clueless in other areas)

Tonight, I'd say that for as much progress as I've made, I think I'm only just now at the point where my intent is pure.

I want to anchor attention to being and widen attention to include the actual and to include fabrications (when they are light enough - not so compelling as to consume all attention). I think anchoring attention on being will make fabrications less and less consuming and make the actual more and more distinctive. I think widening the perspective to include the entire arena of sensate experience will make being lighter and lighter. I also want to make this the centerpiece of my life. There will be less and less distractions. Frivolity (hanging out with unlike-minded people, TV, web surfing) is no longer seen as a means to happy and harmlessness (such a pov is evidence of a lack of pure intent imo unless attention is as or nearly as strong in those situations as it is when alone doing nothing) but as distractions from skillful focus.

My occupation will only be done as needed and hopefully with the intent to be free from malice and sorrow and to be full of right effort. Getting to this point was the result of noticing that being is quite pleasant when it's free from an agenda: There is no need to escape being through distractions. Before noticing this, I had to be able to focus on being for long enough. Previously, I was never able to do this as fabrications kept consuming attention. For whatever reason, this hasn't been the case the last few days. I don't know if it's permanent or not. Nor do I know the cause. Don't get me wrong. Fabrications are still consuming, just not as much so.
Adam Bieber, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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The less fabrications there are, the easier it is to become apperceptive and greatly enjoy life in this moment. I recommend throwing out like garbage as many fabrications as you can. One fabrication may be a whole emotional experience about one particular issue that is crucial to "you". Let it go and let it go in the sense that "you" don't cling to it in any way. Continue to let it go and be an effortless consciousness.
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Andrew Jones, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Jon T:
A few months ago, I had a conversation with a friend and I said. "For as much progress as I've made, I think I only know as much as a your typical highly successful person." What I meant is that emotions are a bitch and the more competent you are at separating fact from emotion the more effective you'll be. Successful people seem to know this quite well, at least in so far as to what they are successful at. (they may be clueless in other areas)

Tonight, I'd say that for as much progress as I've made, I think I'm only just now at the point where my intent is pure.


This is my take on what we do as well to a point, a lot of it is basic healing, getting back on a even keel. Basic cognitive behavioural therapy. Getting back to healthy and a full human potential. Getting a pure intent to be happy without reason.

To me to is a great demystifier; that some people can arrive at my age happier and more harmless than me without so much as being able to spell 'meditation' has begun to give me comfort, not the usual despair that i feel when considering the world. This AF pursuit is about healing, and then a further healing of our human state, but not outside of our potentiality, but somehow within it.

I don't think though that it is as common to be 'happy and harmless' as some insecure part (or perhaps optimistic part) of me might think. I don't know what that statement means, perhaps that 'happy' is actually more common than I would admit previously (and I wasn't getting some), but it was perceptions of reckless 'harmfulness' that kept me from being happy. It simply didn't occur to me that successful people could well have already been happy without all the 'fun stuff'. I kept from being happy in protest, being angry and sad about a world I had no control over anyway.

It is a very interesting set of beliefs to look into, and it has a lot to do with 'Spiritual Bypassing'; that until this point in my life I felt somewhat superior that I had a spiritual/ philosophical outlook on life. I'm not implying that is you too, just the line of thinking that I would have spoken from if I had been speaking with you and your friend.

I would say that some of my initial objections were tied up in this sort of pride, that I 'understood' the spiritual world of equivalents, and had a handle on it all.

Pure Intent is free from pride in other words...Simply being happy here and now without reference to anyone or anything.
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josh r s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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good point andrew + jon, i am realizing that most of the progress i've made has just been healing of my past junk... and there was quite a lot of it, took me quite a while to find some actually pure intent in all my mess.

I kept from being happy in protest, being angry and sad about a world I had no control over anyway.


a perfect description of what im starting to awake from
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
I recommend throwing out like the garbage as many fabrications as you can. One fabrication may be a whole emotional experience about one particular issue that is crucial to "you". Let it go and let it go in the sense that "you" don't cling to it in any way. Continue to let it go and be an effortless consciousness.



As of right now, the best way I know how to do this is to focus on how I am feeling at this moment which I guess is the same as HAIETMOBA. Currently, feelings are more interesting than fabrications and they are more pleasant. I hope this continues to be the case. Maybe in the past, I took pride in my fabrications and maybe all the previous work has whittled away that pride. Maybe all the previous work has shown clearly how unskillful fabrications can be. Maybe all the previous work has smoothed out my feelings so I can tolerate them without fabrications. Or maybe, I'll wake up tomorrow and I'll be back to square one.

The need to validate my feelings is less, currently. The desire to appreciate my feelings is greater, currently. And there is confidence that this is the same route the AFT site describes.


This is my take on what we do as well to a point, a lot of it is basic healing, getting back on a even keel. Basic cognitive behavioural therapy. Getting back to healthy and a full human potential. Getting a pure intent to be happy without reason.


Beautifully said. I think that you and I have started out at the same place. You used and defined the term 'walt disney syndrome' in an earlier post. That was me for like 20 years.

that until this point in my life I felt somewhat superior that I had a spiritual/ philosophical outlook on life. I'm not implying that is you too, just the line of thinking that I would have spoken from if I had been speaking with you and your friend.


That is indeed me. I remember getting emotional about a song I heard on my IPod and feeling so superior that I can feel so much bliss or power just from a song. I thought if everyone could glean Truth so easily then there would be Peace. And I felt like that on numerous occasions from listening to music to gazing at the stars to reading about politics. And I had always thought that that desire for peace and that sensitivity to beauty and truth made me special and that specialness should have exempted me from proving myself to others. And I resented that I had to prove myself to others. Here was this special person amongst them and they treated me like everyone else. And I had no idea I was delusional.
Adam Bieber, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 112 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Jon T:

As of right now, the best way I know how to do this is to focus on how I am feeling at this moment which I guess is the same as HAIETMOBA. Currently, feelings are more interesting than fabrications and they are more pleasant.


Yes, focusing on being happy and harmless. An even keel is a good way to look at it cause from there one can be more sensuous. The mental images that come with the feelings are part of an emotional experience. You want to let go/not cling to those experiences in order to get back to happy and harmless. Every emotional experience as such that "you" were that you throw out will relieve tension and stress. Feel the immediate relief once you let go of a fabrication

Jon T:

Maybe all the previous work has shown clearly how unskillful fabrications can be. Maybe all the previous work has smoothed out my feelings so I can tolerate them without fabrications. Or maybe, I'll wake up tomorrow and I'll be back to square one.


Until the self is gone, suffering will come back and it will always suck when present. You'll probably "feel" as if you are at square one when you suffer but its suffering and all suffering sucks. The point of this practice is to be happy and harmless but instead of trying to be happy and harmless take away whatever tension is bothering you and find relief. Fully enjoy this relief, relish in it, and this relief will become habit.
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Andrew Jones, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 336 Join Date: 5/23/11 Recent Posts
Jon T:

Or maybe, I'll wake up tomorrow and I'll be back to square one.


I don't think so, any more than going for a jog today will leave me just as unfit tomorrow. Everyday we put in the practice, leaves our brains changed. We may, feel worse off, but that is just a side effect of the physiological effect the brain uses to rewire. We have a happiness hangover...

Jon T:

I remember getting emotional about a song I heard on my IPod and feeling so superior that I can feel so much bliss or power just from a song. I thought if everyone could glean Truth so easily then there would be Peace. And I felt like that on numerous occasions from listening to music to gazing at the stars to reading about politics. And I had always thought that that desire for peace and that sensitivity to beauty and truth made me special and that specialness should have exempted me from proving myself to others. And I resented that I had to prove myself to others. Here was this special person amongst them and they treated me like everyone else. And I had no idea I was delusional.


As long as we don't get into a downward spiral of being averse to our aversions, we are better off seeing this. We needed to feel special to protect our selves from whatever traumatised us into this state, I would theorise that is what happened to the whole human race at some point; as we got more crowded and further from autonomous collectives the strength of delusion increased to deal with the basic discomfort of the 'mega-tribe'. Being 'special' is very important when being left behind is a real possibility. so the inner illusion of a 'self' is created so a measure of control and fantasy can keep the organism functioning. We become legends in our own lunch boxes to just get through the day.


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Andrew Jones, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 336 Join Date: 5/23/11 Recent Posts
We keep being our own best friend, we just have a better idea of how that is done!
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
I recall a few AF people saying that the self turned out to be just a figment of his/her imagination. I find this an odd viewpoint. Sure. The ego is totally an imagined thing. But the 'soul' is definitely not. And it's the soul which I am finding to be the greater of the two. By soul I am using the AFT definition of the four instinctual passions.

I can actively observe the soul moving through my body. I've been taught that it is nothing more than chemicals coming from my lower brain. I have every reason to accept such teaching and no reason not to. Those chemicals are actual. They are not imagined. My understanding is that those chemicals will cease to be generated at some point.

So what's up? Those chemicals are, at least, half the self. Therefore the self is not imagined. I guess they were just talking about the ego. But that's a silly thing to do....referring to the self as the ego only when clearly it is only half of it, at most.
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
As I have stated this in the past, I will try to explain what I meant.

When I say that I found that 'I' was imaginary, I didn't mean that the experience of 'I' was unreal. One can confirm for oneself that when such an experience is happening, it's quite real. What I meant was that the qualities of the experience of 'I' resemble nothing so much as a daydream. When one daydreams, when one is lost in a reverie, etc. that is just an exaggerated version of the experience one has while awake and in the throes of 'being'. The senses operate in their typical way, but there is a blurry daydream superimposed on that experience...one is almost inclined to count that daydream as an illusion, as when it disappears one has a hard time saying that whatever changed was important, or even describing what it was.

The thinker (ego) is just the tiniest fragment of this daydream. The feeler (soul) is just as much part of it. Both are (as Richard says) the play of a fertile imagination.

Of course, it's true that this ongoing daydream has actual effects on the body. The imaginary experience of fear causes the actual heart to race. But, there is a complication: the way one apprehends the actual heart racing, while the daydream continues, is in large part by daydreaming about it.

When you observe feelings move through your body, it may help you to assume that part of that experience (the important part) is imaginary.

If this way of looking at things doesn't help you, there's no need to stick with it, but you might be interested in investigating it to see whether it matches your experience after all (and it would likely benefit your practice to see this)

Similarly (in another thread), you stated that most desire is pleasant...if that is how you see it, then that is how you see it, but I would suggest investigating very carefully to see whether this "pleasantness" is actually something else, such as tension...to see that (that all affect is a form of suffering) would surely benefit your practice.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
When you observe feelings move through your body, it may help you to assume that part of that experience (the important part) is imaginary. If this way of looking at things doesn't help you, there's no need to stick with it, but you might be interested in investigating it to see whether it matches your experience after all (and it would likely benefit your practice to see this)


I don't know what you mean. When I'm sitting down and observing feelings, I try to do three things. 1) I want to anchor attention on those feelings. 2) I want to be really curious about them as in having a real sense of wonder and awe towards them. 3) I also want to be aware of the sensate world around me and have a flexible enough attention where I can easily turn awe and wonder towards that.


Similarly (in another thread), you stated that most desire is pleasant...if that is how you see it, then that is how you see it, but I would suggest investigating very carefully to see whether this "pleasantness" is actually something else, such as tension...to see that (that all affect is a form of suffering) would surely benefit your practice.


Ok. I'll report on this after the data start coming in.
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Jon T:
When you observe feelings move through your body, it may help you to assume that part of that experience (the important part) is imaginary. If this way of looking at things doesn't help you, there's no need to stick with it, but you might be interested in investigating it to see whether it matches your experience after all (and it would likely benefit your practice to see this)


I don't know what you mean. When I'm sitting down and observing feelings, I try to do three things. 1) I want to anchor attention on those feelings. 2) I want to be really curious about them as in having a real sense of wonder and awe towards them. 3) I also want to be aware of the sensate world around me and have a flexible enough attention where I can easily turn awe and wonder towards that.


Well, I didn't mean to suggest that it was an alternative idea for practice. Rather, it's something useful that would likely influence things from the background in context of whatever practice you have.

Ever get so tired in the middle of doing something that you start to fall asleep, and have a stream of nonsensical thoughts and ideas and visualizations? For example, if you're talking to someone about household chores, and suddenly you think something like: "But I can't clean the kitchen because the man outside has an antique typewriter which is wired to the doorbell so that we can take the bus"? Or were suddenly struck with an equally nonsensical worry? When that happens, instead of trying to talk some sense into yourself, or trying to reason out what is true and what isn't, you probably just take a moment to wake up and bid the half-asleep thought process good riddance.

This experience is a kind of deranged internally-generated stream of thoughts and images that is generated in reaction to sensory experiences, plus its own bizarre logic. It is imaginary. It has the same texture as a daydream that you might conjure up. Now, suppose that getting rid of it wasn't as simple as opening your eyes, or standing up, or stretching, or even drinking a cup of coffee. In that case, when you started having such an experience, it might follow you all day...imagine walking around with this imaginary cloud of cognitive junk bouncing around in your mind, watching it react in partially predictable and partially unpredictable ways to your sensory experiences. That's what 'being' and all the associated passions are...an imaginary cloud of cognitive junk that doesn't go away.

It's not really a metaphor. I mean it rather literally. This is probably the reason that people talk about "awakening" in context of practice...getting rid of 'being' is quite literally like waking up and shaking off a persistent daydream. Get rid of it a little, and your experience will be a little more wakeful-seeming. Get rid of a lot, and your experience will be a lot more wakeful-seeming. Etc.

When I was able to see this "imaginary" quality of affective experiences, I stopped taking any of those experiences seriously. It was very easy to stop reacting to all of them...no need to reason my way out of affective reactions...no need to figure out how to stop getting wrapped up in affective reactions...one might be able to reason with themselves in a half-asleep state, or manipulate cognition in the half-asleep state in a useful way, but it's a simpler and more natural thing to just ignore (= not react to) the nonsense until it stops. Seeing that 'being' is equally unworthy of any sort of reaction as is one's half-asleep thinking, can be very powerful for that reason.

I have no idea whether seeing it depends on having one kind of practice rather than another (I had points in my vipassana practice where, for days, I very clearly experienced that I had a sensory body and also an imaginary affective "energy" body that was a duplicate of it, following it around like a shadow, temporally trailing it by a split-second), but if you can see that now, it would be good; and if you can't see it now, perhaps you'll be able to see it later, at which point it will also be good. Richard's comment (that 'I', the thinker and the feeler, was the play of a fertile imagination) indicates to me that everyone is eventually able to see this if they think about it in this way.

Jon T.:

Similarly (in another thread), you stated that most desire is pleasant...if that is how you see it, then that is how you see it, but I would suggest investigating very carefully to see whether this "pleasantness" is actually something else, such as tension...to see that (that all affect is a form of suffering) would surely benefit your practice.


Ok. I'll report on this after the data start coming in.


One good way to begin this investigation is to take something affectively pleasurable, and see if there is an irritating or "dirty" component to that pleasure. If you can observe that, you can use that to learn a lot of things.
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Andrew Jones, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Posts like that one EiS make me feel like saving it somewhere to read again, there is a feeling of desire not to let it slip into the archives of the DhO somehow.

Very Buddha Dhamma ;

EiS
Seeing that 'being' is equally unworthy of any sort of reaction as is one's half-asleep thinking, can be very powerful for that reason.


"Is this worthy of being called 'yourself' bhikkhus?"

"No Lord."


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katy steger, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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I recall a few AF people saying that the self turned out to be just a figment of his/her imagination. I find this an odd viewpoint. Sure. The ego is totally an imagined thing. But the 'soul' is definitely not. And it's the soul which I am finding to be the greater of the two.

Hi Jon,

This is a wonderful aspect to explore personally in each moment or regularly. Soul, base consciousness, sentience, atta, apperception...what is that? What is it doing now? Does it ever have an entirely neutral or naive state? Is it always in flux? Is it central and pulling/extending? Is it nowhere perceptible? [Who can/could answer these questions definitively?]

Often what drives the exploration is a sense of dissatisfaction with having identified with some conclusion: "I have a soul, therefore I will spend time in being, exploring soul"; "I have no self, therefore I will spend time in being, developing no self"; "I am purpose, therefore I will spend time in being, exploring purpose". [etc]

It can be maddening and restless or fun and quirky, anything really. At a certain point in the exploration and efforts, one self is one's own best teacher - this turn may hone the dialgoue with others and it may call-off the search and/or dialogue permanently. Reifying one's own conclusions though is as tricky as accepting the conclusions of others. I think of what you are expressing as a fine-point of study in one's practice and it can look just like the beginning questioning stage. No doubt that there is a more knowledge base of conscious consciousness now though.


[edit: brackets]
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
No doubt that there is a more knowledge base of conscious consciousness now though.


Lol. you are a funny bird katy.

I think I understood EIS's explanation. I think he said to the effect, it's not that a dream doesn't have actual propteries (neurons firing, heart racing, body twitching) but afterwards one knows that the perception of these properties (the dream itself) wasn't real. And likewise, 'i' have actual properties (this body, this brain) but my perception of these properties (my, myself, i) isn't real.

It's may also have to with the difficulty of language.

But I hear what you're saying too, katy. These thoughts are useful and fun as long as one doesn't cling to a specific conclusion or one stops observing oneself after either finding an answer or choosing to disregard all answers. And by extension you would probably agree that single pointed focus on finding an answer is ill-advised...keep it light and continue to be sensuous.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
Hi.

My primary emotional state is a calm depression. The baseline is depression and the dips and surges are minor. Surges are either from wonder, felicity or good fortune. I am almost always aware of them within minutes if not seconds. I don't feed them. I do let them nibble frequently before enough intent is gathered to stop. Dips are from frustration with being depressed or bad fortune. There is no desperation or self-pity.

This baseline has been constant since December 1st, thursday morning. The previous 4 days, my baseline was very happy. My fortunes were no better or worse than usual. During this time, I had one good day, one terrible day and two very average days. I regarded my good mood as a result of practice. That ended when I woke up on the first.

I view the practice as me re-wiring my brain. I want the neo-cortex to be actively examining the present moment including thoughts and emotions.

I have doubts about the efficacy of felicity and I prefer an intellectual wonder. But as I think about it, I see that felicity can improve my baseline and even though it is an emotion, I shouldn't be weary of it. When I feel felicity swelling up within, I often shift my attention to either a bare attention or an intellectual wonder.

Effort is both automatic and manual. I can't not do the practice but I do feel doubt that I'm not being diligent enough or not doing it correctly. That doubt leads to a dip in my mood and a new choice to make: which part of the practice should i emphasize now? felicity, wonder, bare attention, social deconstruction, mood awareness or logical thinking. Doubt towards which emphasis is best feeds the dip in mood.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
a lot to be said about understanding nature of and observing desire in action. put that in the 'duh' category if you like. but for me it only hit home today.

no liberation without the cessation of desire. perhaps desire can exist independently of suffering if the intelligence is strong enough and the passions are weak enough. but not for me, not at this time.

it's interesting how ubiquitous desire is. not only is it encouraged at every turn (i doubt there has ever been an exchange between an individual and a social institution where a desire wasn't reinforced, taught or encouraged.) but it is hardwired into our nature. before we were self-aware individuals, we were primates that desired food, sex, power and safety: nothing has changed.

also interesting that the desire for liberation is just as insufferable and ensnaring as the desire for fitting in or the desire for a new house. leaving one in a quandry...how do we escape? by gradually gaining a deeper understanding of desire, observing it in action more and more until the intelligence begins to choose to live without that primal crutch and in doing so it sees that it doesn't need said crutch and begins operating more and more freely away from it.

how do we move it along, encourage the intelligence to be so bold? i'm not sure that's possible. it happens and it probably can be taught but the thing is so convoluted....desire is so damn strong and the intelligence is so addicted that only chance epiphanies can have any effect. perhaps if one is open to said epiphanies and kind of mimics the lifestyle those epiphanies briefly illuminate then that will have the effect of weaning our modern intelligence off our primal desires.
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Andrew Jones, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 336 Join Date: 5/23/11 Recent Posts
The baseline is depression and the dips and surges are minor. Surges are either from wonder, felicity or good fortune. I am almost always aware of them within minutes if not seconds. I don't feed them. I do let them nibble frequently before enough intent is gathered to stop. Dips are from frustration with being depressed or bad fortune


I found it helpful to chart myself casually.

If -20 is suicidal, 0 being neutral, +20 being extreme blissful wellbeing, then where is your depression on that scale?

I find that it is helpful to recognise the cyclic nature of how we feel. Men also have monthly cycles, though it may be a 3 week peak to trough, or a 6 week one, depending on the individual.

I would say for me it is and was quite normal to be around -5 peaking at 1 or 2 for brief moments. The beauty of being aware of all of the ups and downs is the detachment possible when you see it happening...it become predicable to some extent, or atleast not surprising or additionally disappointing when you find you are in a slump.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
December 20,

a couple interesting things.

1) attachment to reason / aversion to irrationality - in the arena of public policy.

as far as attachment and aversion goes, well, it's not exactly anti-social. ironically, it definitely puts one at odds with the rest of society. this problem is on the way out. thank god because it wrecked havoc on my happiness for decades. i could never understand how anyone could knowingly hold an irrational opinon ot choose to not examine a potentially irrational opinion.

for some reason, this attachment and aversion only applied to public policy. my parents very political and every f'n day, it was politics. they really drilled it into me. they didn't have the same passion towards common sense as applied to every day shit. and i never developed it for myself.

today the the post office, the line was a mile long and some guy behind me is fuming. he says that they should make the USPS private and it make everything much more effecient. this instantly stuck in my crawl but thanks to sensuousness, mind/body mindfulness and some growing common sense, i wasn't inclined to say anything and mostly ignored it. my attention did, however, return to that statement from time to time over that following two hours. It concluded two things. One was political and the other was quite wise. the political conclusion goes like this. you get what you pay for. you want effeciency, use UPS or FedEx. You want cheap, use the USPS. that guy obviously chose cheap so why is he complaining when he is getting exactly what he's paying for.

the wise conclusion went like this. 1)he's a fool. one of billions. there has always been more fools than sages. nothing can be done about it. he wouldn't be able to see reason if i explained it to him. and he may have a point that i've overlooked and i'm not inclined to fully hear him out as he probably wouldn't be concise about it. any exchange would be unsatisfying.


and this interplay in my head between wisdom and introverterd knee jerk reactions is the stuff of actualism. i am teaching myself how to think. i'm learning to act and think like a calm, reflective, unafraid, well balanced person.

2) aversion to Evil

like irrational public policy opinions, i've never been able to understand sadistic behavior. i'm watching a movie where a child service worker rapes someone under his charge. that is particularly repugnant, obviously. but white collar crimes like madoff as well as government corruption and say institutional incompetence. documentaries about police fuck-ups particularly got me. i was never able to think clearly after hearing about any one of those things. for hours on end, my mind would go back to how people can be so callous (at best).

but while watching this rape scene, i was mindful of my body and i didn't let it tense up. the intelligence kicked in and said the right things....i even reflected how tormented the rapist must be to want to do and to actually do it. and none of this was forced, it was spontaneous and easy.



though nothing repugnant is going on around me but i'm struck by some disatisfaction or another, be it boredom at a lack of stimulus or frustration at traffic....when the mind percieves dissatisfaction, i note it and make peace with it then turn to sensuousness. and if successful, i can get into an EE and turn disatisfaction into wonder...a temporary relief from suffering marked by a wholesome appreciation at the interplay of so much life.


Do you have a specific desire in mind which isn´t applicable to this?


I don't. It is very well stated advice.


I found it helpful to chart myself casually.



Instead of casually, insert 'systematically' and i think we may have something. imagine breaking down life into current mood, current desire(fulfillment of and corresponding emotion/working towards and corresponding emotion-mood/yearning for and corresponding mood) and logical analysis regarding whether mood is logical and whether desire is worthy of needed effort. I can imagine a therapist putting together a spread sheet with room for notes. Once a week, the patient and therapist would go over the spread sheet. I think this would be revolutionary.


btw - over the last 18 hours or so, mood has been very high. I think this is due to confidence in the method (not necessarily the method itself). However, the confidence is due to increased apperception which has been more frequent for the last 60 hours or so...the shift (temporary or not) occurring naturally as i was thinking about actualism/no-self/the emotions/suffering, etc as I am accustomed to doing. And to this newest epiphany regarding desire and suffering and the casual separation of intelligence from desire which also occurred naturally as i was thinking about actualism/no-self/the emotions/suffering, etc as mentioned above. These last 18 hours or so, the mind has been able to quickly dismiss desire, including the desire for liberation, as counter-productive and so it is free of doubt and is dynamic/sharp. The intelligence is even able to fulfill/pursue a desire without doubt. It sees that to fulfill/pursue a desire is the same as working to ignore or examine or talk oneself out of a desire. They are both desires, it sees. And without the doubt that a current activity is counter-productive or the forced effort (like walking through molasses) of doing the method it can remain alert, seeing the uniqueness of each situation and and appreciating the joy of living.


8:43 PM

gonna keep a journal to see how this current state lasts/progresses/whatever. i do think i've been here before but slipped back into anxious desires. i may have been here a couple of times. then again now may be similar but deeper then when i was here before. want to make a record of it this time. took a nap and woke up groggy and anxious. took a while to process the anxiety. maybe 30 minutes later and there was no more anxiety. still on the same plane as when i wrote the above post.

claudiu, your tips are useful. pay attention to actual workings of the mind rather than a concept of how the mind is working. go deeper into attention as if you are memorizing each and every sensation. tx.

11:23 PM

mood went south and of course it was easy to see that being is suffering. would like to pay attention next time mood is fantastic to see if i can detect suffering within that as well (per EiS' adivce). mood declined due to not being able to shake off the fatigue from yesterdays 13 hour shift and instead of going to the casino (and having no plan b) i just stayed home and did nothing. i expect it's quite logical for my animal brain to encourage me to be more active though producing negative feelings seems like a weird way to go about it. perhaps it was social conditioning instead of primal passions which were the cause of said negative feelings. that would fit my model of what 'me' is much better but i didn't observe any negative thoughts, just negative feelings. the thoughts were all quite logical and very much independent of the feelings. so i can't say what is going on with that. in the past, shame came from a particular view point which led to negative thoughts which led to the shame and required a routine of social deconstruction to arrest the downward spiral. This shame, if that is what it was, seemed to come from the primal part of the brain. so - whatever. Fortunately, since the intelligence is still operating largely independent of feeling, the suffering wasn't compounded and was somewhat mitigated by a) confidence and b) sensuous attention.

Dec. 10 9:50 AM

mood is slipping which is causing more self-centered thinking. instinct is to force the issue which creates tension. hoping to remember to not want to not want. lol.

Dec 10 12:27 PM

have slipped from the plateau. i think my mood slipped and this causes tension, difficulty releasing it possibly due to the conundrum of being a poker player and an actualist i.e. need to win to pay bills yet happiness is not wanting to win (or anything for that matter), reminders that bad hands/sessions/months are inevitable and not bank breaking are very helpful yet i still must critique my own play and the play of my competition in order to improve but that can easily lead to tension as acknowledging mistakes seems to automatically lead to frustrated regret. And sometimes recognizing tension can lead to more tension. all and all, however, it's a good thing to be aware of this. That said, by thursday night mood had already begun to slip, after a day of no poker and well before yesterdays session.

dec 11 3:10 am

regained the plateau this evening and this despite a horrible day at the tables. mind again working as if everything was information. of course it sometimes forgets but the default mode since about 8 pm has been intelligence processing everything, moods regarded as automatic and not worthy of examination except to identify and dismiss and everything is seen as stuff that's happening around 'me' - this body.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Jon T:
These last 18 hours or so, the mind has been able to quickly dismiss desire, including the desire for liberation, as counter-productive and so it is free of doubt and is dynamic/sharp. The intelligence is even able to fulfill a desire without doubt. It sees that to fulfill a desire is the same as working to ignore or examine or talk oneself out of a desire. They are both desires, it sees. And without the doubt that a current activity is counter-productive or the forced effort (like walking through molasses) of doing the method it can remain alert, seeing the uniqueness of each situation and and appreciating the joy of living.


Try your very best to not forget this... meaning, be mindful (in particular, the 'remembrance' aspect of mindfulness) of your current state of mind, meaning pay attention to everything all-at-once as best you can. The state of mind doesn't need words to define it, so try not to associate it with words (like the particular words that led to the epiphany), since that might cause you to form a concept around it and then remember the concept instead of the particular way your mind is working right now (a way in which it can quickly dismiss desire).

Try this exercise: ask yourself, "will I remember this exact moment 5 minutes from now?" If it seems like it would be forgotten, then ramp up your attentiveness until you are confident you will. Then try asking if you'll remember it in an hour, or in a day. Don't slack in attentiveness until you are sure you will remember the moment if you are attentive in the future.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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i do not suffer fools gladly. This may be my last social stupidity. It is part of my tired obsession with rational thinking. obvoiusly rational thinking is a highly skillful act but it's funny that i've always been so irrationally obsessed with it...to the point of getting angry at creationists, bad poker players, uber-nationalist, and people who just say painfully obvious stuff.

Isn't it amazing that i actully got upset at bad poker players? they've been feeding me for 8 years now and they used to make me so angry whenever they got lucky and i lost a big hand. i can honestly say that that irrational anger is gone and hopefully for good. and i'm no longer angry at creationist or war hawks or the like. i still sometimes have mindless daydreams about certain philosophies and groups that are obviously stupid but no longer in a zealous way.

yet when my landlady is blabbering on, i feel anger. And when someone at the poker table continues to say the most obvious things either over and over again for the last 8 hours or someone directs an idiotic statement at me right after i loose a big hand then i get really angry, briefly but the anger is potent. i don't suffer fools gladly. but it's good to notice these things. it's simply an extension of a bias i've had for decades which is slowly thinning out.

i think i used to blame stupid and/or irrational people for my own unhappiness. if the world wasn't so mismanaged, i'd be happy. if these idiots at the poker table weren't so clueless, they would have folded their hand already and that miracle card wouldn't have given them the huge pot, and i'd be happy. if these idiots on the bus would just stop talking, i'd be happy. and so on and so forth.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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I enjoy thinking about basketball. The NBA just fascinates me. So I don't understand why I can't be no-self while thinking about it. When I turn on no-self, I become very relaxed and the mind stays with the senses. When a thought grabs hold of the mind, no-self leaves and the self takes over. Very often this is unpleasant such as an obsession over financial strain or irritation at the petty behavior of others. But other times, it is very pleasant.* Obsessing over the NBA is one such example. Why doesn't no-self allow those plesant ruminations to take off on their own? Why does mind need the 'self' to regulate and adhere to pleasant thought patterns?


*in anticipation of a particular response, i will add that the even admist these pleasant thought patterns, the body is tense and there is no perceptible wonder and joy. On the other hand, though the body is tense, there is little to no irritation and ill-will.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Jon T:
Why doesn't no-self allow those plesant ruminations to take off on their own? Why does mind need the 'self' to regulate and adhere to pleasant thought patterns?


It doesn't. But you're clinging to the thought patterns. If you didn't cling to them they would go on without any 'self'. (Or not, who knows?)
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
It doesn't. But you're clinging to the thought patterns. If you didn't cling to them they would go on without any 'self'. (Or not, who knows?)



they don't continue if the self doesn't cling to them. i wish they would continue.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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Jon T:
they don't continue if the self doesn't cling to them.


No need to talk about 'self clinging' or 'self not clinging' - let's just leave it at 'there is clinging to them'.

Jon T:
i wish they would continue.

well, it's kind of a loop. If there was no clinging, then it would not matter whether they occur or not. And you would be free and chilled and relaxed (at least in that area). But you want it to continue.. so there is clinging. Yet if there wasn't it wouldn't matter - you wouldn't want it to continue, etc...

So you have a choice: either cling to them and pursue them, which will bring about something temporary that seems like pleasure (but isn't), and which might bring about something that seems like pain (and is) later when it stops or doesn't go your way... or cling to them and try to let them go, which will bring about something that seems like pain (and is) since you don't want them to stop yet are trying... or not cling to them at all which will bring about something that is pleasure.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
A lot of talk about Richard lately. I find it fascinating and hope bruno shares his inside knowledge. though fascinating, it still doesn't strike me as relevant. if r. is insane yet trent and tarin and skd and christian are not then it becomes quite interesting. even more interesting if r. is insane and has no identity, feels no pain, lives within pristine awareness.

my reading of the aft has always been to be aware of the pristine purity of this moment and everything will be alright. if there is an emotional reaction so strong that even an awareness of NOW in all it's glory doesn't significantly mitigate that pain then step back and thoroughly examine said pain with all the intelligence and objectivity you can muster. this is what i do and while it is impossible for me to maintain, it does work like a topical spot removal applicant. And the more i apply said metaphorical applicant, the longer it lasts and the easier it is to remember to apply again as needed, which is always and forever.

very recently, i categoriezed two types of suffering, doubt and conflict (inner conflict as in conflicting priorities, shame, guilt, etc) Upon categorizing these two forms for the first time, i began to more clearly notice them in my life. and i note it like a thai forester would and ignore it like an EiS actualist would. as a result said doubt and conflict vanishes much more quickly than previously. before i would get frustrated at the doubt and conflict, thinking things like - i shouldn't be feeling this & am i capable enough to ever be free from this nonsense - which is, of course, more doubt and conflict. so hopefully this simple categorization will continue to help blow it all away as soon as i become aware of them.

edit: it occured to me that the above ignores the causes of doubt and conflict. no doubt it is an uncertainity regarding an action or a thoughts skillfullness. my current method is to stop analyzing whether an activity/thought is skillful and simply jettison the doubt and inner conflict via the awareness that 'there is doubt/there is conflict. doubt and conflict are more unskillful than the action preceding them.' And I stop the doubt/conflict by increasing awareness of the action/thought while continuing to engage in it, implicitly figuring that awareness is more important than the skillfulness of the endeavor because awareness combined with my own intelligence and an awareness of said intelligence will gently move this body/mind towards more skillful endeavors and there is no reason not to trust that.............hmmm- a lot more complicated than i originally intended.

one more thing. i think it's wise to approach your spiritual practice without any endgame. Liberation shouldn't be your main goal. But all your goals should be compitable with practice i.e. they should be wholesome/skillful. If you are single, seek a mate but eschew the traditional vain ways of doing so and drop those unskillful priorities when choosing. if you're a student, make making the honor roll a priority and choose a career that is both pragmatic and fulfilling even if you think that after liberation those things won't matter. And if you already have a career then be the best that your energy and talent allows. Also, be open to a fun and diverse social life. don't shut yourself in just so you can keep up your practice 24 hours a day but do choose friends who are wholesome and skillful even if they would never use those terms. And in all cases, don't worry about results: there is no reason to if at any moment you can suddenly realize how wonderful this life is.

your ever pompous pedantic practioning peer,

jon
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
ok.. so do you understand this to mean that feelings are not evil, but rather are (simply) the source of evil (and good, for that matter)?

if so, do you also understand that feelings are instinctually engendered, and upon that, evil (and good) constructed?

if so, do you therefore understand that, feelings being instinctually engendered, neither you, nor anyone else, are to blame for your - or their - feelings?

if so, do you understand that with the cessation of such blame arises an opportunity to feel your feelings afresh?

if so, have you observed how, in feeling your feelings afresh, you do not feel distanced from them?

if so, have you observed how, in not feeling distanced from your feelings, you (automatically) feel naive?

if so, have you observed how, in feeling intimately naive, you are (being) naivete?

and have you observed how, in feeling intimately naive and thus being naivete, you are not (being either good or) evil?


I've been doing it all wrong.

I agree, this is how it tends to go...if a relative self is appearing, then calling it empty and not giving it respect is just an attempt to sweep it under the rug (dissociation), and tends not to work out well.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
for the last couple of days this was the "mantra" of my practice.

if so, do you therefore understand that, feelings being instinctually engendered, neither you, nor anyone else, are to blame for your - or their - feelings?

if so, do you understand that with the cessation of such blame arises an opportunity to feel your feelings afresh?

if so, have you observed how, in feeling your feelings afresh, you do not feel distanced from them?

if so, have you observed how, in not feeling distanced from your feelings, you (automatically) feel naive?

if so, have you observed how, in feeling intimately naive, you are (being) naivete?


Then I read the AFT most recent public announcement in it's entirety (for the first time) and saw this which resonated with me.

RICHARD: Perhaps the following summary of the way the actualism method works in practice may be of assistance:

1. Activate sincerity so as to make possible a pure intent to bring about peace and harmony sooner rather than later.
2. Set the standard of experiencing, each moment again, as feeling felicitous/ innocuous to whatever degree humanly possible come-what-may.
3. Where felicity/ innocuity is not occurring find out why not.
4. Seeing the silliness at having those felicitous/ innocuous feelings be usurped, by either the negative or positive feelings, for whatever reason that might be automatically restores felicity/ innocuity.
5. Repeated occurrences of the same reason for felicity/ innocuity loss alerts pre-recognition of impending dissipation which enables pre-emption and ensures a more persistent felicity/ innocuity through habituation.
6. Habitual felicity/ innocuity, and its concomitant enjoyment and appreciation, facilitates naïve sensuosity ... a consistent state of wide-eyed wonder, amazement, marvel, and delight.
7. That naiveté, in conjunction with felicitous/ innocuous sensuosity, being the nearest a ‘self’ can come to innocence, allows the overarching benignity and benevolence inherent to the infinitude this infinite and eternal and perpetual universe actually is to operate more and more freely.
8. With this intrinsic benignity and benevolence, which has nothing to do with ‘me’ and ‘my’ doings, freely operating one is the experiencing of what is happening ... and the magical fairy-tale-like paradise, which this verdant and azure earth actually is, is sweetly apparent in all its scintillating brilliance.
9. But refrain from possessing it and making it your own ... or else ‘twill vanish as softly as it appeared.



Is there a difference here? It seems to be that there is and that difference may be important for MY practice. I interpret the former to say. With a wide eyed naivite, examine your feelings and allow (not force) that naivite to transform negative feelings into felicity. The latter recomments a continual effort to enjoy this moment with as much open-hearted awareness and appreciation of the senses as possible.

When I apply the former, I often loose touch with my senses (touch, sight, etc) as I am often peering into my "heart" or my "soul" but, in doing so, I am genuinely delighted at what I find. When i apply the latter, I find myself repressing negative feelings so that I can continue to concentrate on the senses with wonder.

In application of the latter, i might hear myself say after noticing a bit of my own ugliness (currently in the form of disdain for the world). "That is just 'me'. 'I' am inherently ugly. Best to shed 'me' so that I can quickly be the pristine purity of this world.

In applicaton of the former, I might hear myself say. "That feeling is me. It's perfectly natural and neither good nor bad. See how it is. Observe it," and as i say those things i notice that the feelings are already transforming into felicity.

I guess the trick is to appy the former until felicity is achieved and then focus on sensuousness. My problem is that my feelings or 'me' continually bubbles up. 'I' continually need to be cajoled which leaves little room to focus on the senses. Yet it was by focusing on the senses that I got my first and only PCE.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 295 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
The Yogi Toolbox: Refining And Discerning Becoming:
1/ Refinement Practices: Combinations of the following techniques will refine the flow of becoming. (4)


Observing sila/morality to calm the mind, practicing to 'be happy and harmless' to become felicitous, dismantling the social identity to become felicitous, investigating beliefs and instinctual habit patterns to become felicitous, asking HAIETMOBA (How Am I Experiencing This Moment Of Being Alive?) to become felicitous, cultivation of wonder and delight, any practices that aim for the cultivation of felicitous mind states, practices that aim to cultivate the sublime abodes of metta, karuna, uppekha and mudita,, anapana meditation, kasina meditation and other concentration practices that lead to accessing jhanas and subduing the five hinderances, mahamudra noting and other practices not mentioned (please comment if you think one needs to be mentioned). Even Mahasi vipassana noting can be considered a refining tool as it takes a yogi through the nanas up to the highly refined manifestation of becoming that is the 11th nana of Equanimity of Formations where step 2/ is much, much easier to put into practice.


2/ Discernment practices: From a refined flow of being one is able to attend to sensuousness (5). In other words one is able to pay closer attention to the sense doors and their corresponding sense objects at the point of contact. (eye/sight, ear/sound, body/touch and sensations, nose/smell, tongue//taste, mind/thought). Here, the cause and effect of the arising and cessation of becoming and suffering can be discerned with much more facility. Certain techniques of vipassana (seeing in detailed focus) , HAIETMOBA (How Am I Experiencing This Moment Of Being Alive?), actualizing jhanas and any practice that pays attention to the sense doors are practices that lead to discernment.


When one is able to discern the senses at the point of contact, the flow of becoming gets even more refined. The 5 hindrances are eventually subdued. The more the flow of becoming is refined, the more sensuousness becomes easier to continuously discern and eventually reaches a tipping point and becomes automatic. At this stage, release will be inevitable. It should be said that steps 1/ and 2/ are a positive feedback loop that re-enforce and support each other.

The Yogi Toolbox: Refining And Discerning Becoming


Samatha, vipassana; tranquility/refining and discernment/clear seeing - qualities that can be cultivated through practice.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
okay. thanks stian.

on Nov. 26-Dec. 4 or thereabouts, I was chronically depressed. I coped by disassociating. That kept me from beating myself up over it but disassociation has been thoroughly whipped recently in the Dho. From Dec 4-Feb. 3 or thereabouts, I was chronically ecstatic. I think the turning point was when I asked if my parents would be open to taking my dog (had been on my mind for months) and when I switched up things at work. Aside from brief bouts of irritation, mostly work related, I was in a constant good frame of mind. Since the 3'rd, I have been struggling with pointed attacks coming from within, 'life sucks', 'you suck', etc. I think this may be due to prolonged difficulties at work finally paying their toll and/or it may be cyclical.

I want to avoid disassociation this time around. Seeing these pointed attacks in a new light, I see how removing myself from them in a no-self manner can actually feed them. So my current strategy is to observe the attacks and subsequent mood, fully exploring them while they are happening* allowing my natural intelligence to insert wisdom into the equation (practical observations about how life doesn't suck as well as pinpoint observations regarding the pristine purity of this moment) so that felicity can result. With that in mind, I find that there is a ridiculously sublte difference between trying to do this and actually doing it. With the former leading to more stress and the latter working fantastically. This time around, I also want to remind myself (hopefully naturally) that liberation is the goal and NOW is the time**. At the same time, I don't want to preclude other activities***.

*see 1st quote in my post in this thread 2/6
**see 2nd quote in same post.
***see Andrew Jones quote in this thread 1/31.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
current mode is the right mode, me thinks. observe feelings at the point of contact (sans judgement). observe external phenomena in the same manner. observe internal reactions (emotions and inner dialogue) to said external phenomena in the same manner. Observe internal reactions to preceding internal reactions in the same manner. Naive wonder at the point of contact.

Two dangerous modes that have often tripped me up in the past, making me think i was getting somewhere when, in effect, i was leaving a better mode of practice for an inferior one:

1. no-self/disassociation.
2. behavioral cognitive therapy / talking myself out of negative emotions and perhaps talking myself into positive reactions (oh so pretty, how wonderful, etc)

No self is an easy trap. It appears to be IT because it is so wise, in line with many buddhist models, and has definite positive effects (it blunts the pain with the promise that if only no-self could become permanent then the pain would be permanently blunted but it seems to be now that blunted pain is still pain)

And behavioral cognitve therapy may even be necessary in the early stages (perhaps in the same way that metta is often prescribed by buddhist teachers) in order to get out of chronic negativity and/or fear. Once felicity and wonder become natural, it is easy to (unskillfully) continue the behavioral cognitive mode every trying to increase felicity and wonder. but this only leads to frustration, me thinks. as the (seemingly) false prophet says.

by ‘my’ very nature ‘I’ am defiled; by ‘my’ very nature ‘I’ am corrupt through and through; by ‘my’ very nature ‘I’ am perversity itself. No matter how sincerely and earnestly one tries to purify oneself, one can never succeed completely. The last little bit always eludes perfecting. By ‘my’ very nature ‘I’ am rotten at the innermost core’.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 295 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
I don't know exactly how to express my thoughts about this but I'll have a go:

It seems that your basis for anatta is an intellectual understanding rather than 'deep insight/wisdom'. I don't know how to express the difference between 'a mere intellectual understanding' and 'a deep insight', except to say that I imagine that the former can indeed be a trap. Not so much the insight, though.


EDIT:

I realize this post isn't very helpful except for motivating deeper investigation. To elaborate:

In my experience the idea of anatta is quite different from the insight of anatta. The most important aspect of this is that I mixed what I call 'the ego structure' with my idea of anatta. But they are not the same. Insight into anatta is definitely of the transcendent kind - it includes the transcended elements. Anatta does not keep one from begin egoistic, it just makes the whole egoistic deal seem rather really silly.

If you find that "no-self" entails suppressing 'egoistic phenomena/behavior', I would wager that it is not the 'right kind' of "no-self".


EDIT2:

I really like reading your practice thread. You have a way with words emoticon


EDIT3:

Saw that this thread had 10999 views, so I clicked in to have the 11000th view emoticon
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
Hey stian,

I really like reading your practice thread. You have a way with words


thank you. i'm glad to hear that. i like words!

I hesitate to respond so quickly; i don't want to appear defensive. i'm really don't feel threatened or insulted and am always ready to learn more.



Insight into anatta is definitely of the transcendent kind - it includes the transcended elements.


elaborate please.


Anatta does not keep one from begin egoistic, it just makes the whole egoistic deal seem rather really silly.



Annatta itself or insight into anatta? when anatta IS, there is no 'I'. there may be an ego as in this body, this feeling, this thought are all closely connected and held together by this heart beat, these lungs, this brain: these things tend to have their own characteristics unique to this situation/this process: let's call that situation/process 'i' and 'me' for short. And within that process, one of those unique characteristics may be a tendency to think egotistically, "i'm so funny." "I'm so dumb," etc.
But when one is in the midst of thinking egotistically, annata has already been lost. Unless there is disassociation going on.

oops. i can (not so clearly) see that i'm not making any sense even to myself. I've seem to contradicted myself without exactly knowing how so. This may be due to the nebulous nature of anatta. i'll leave it be, hoping that perhaps the lack of sense might make some meta-sense. and risk the very likely possibility that i come across a buffoon, an ass.


If you find that "no-self" entails suppressing 'egoistic phenomena/behavior', I would wager that it is not the 'right kind' of "no-self".



aha. yes. well thinking back to no-self moments, i remember only awareness and phenomena. pehaps the anatta wasn't deep enough to observe both awareness and ego. and maybe an unnatural, unobserved repression was taking place.

It seems that your basis for anatta is an intellectual understanding rather than 'deep insight/wisdom'.


at this stage in my practice, for better or worse, it doesn't matter: i, currently, have no interest in further exploring anatta. but, fwiw, my anatta moment came as a 'pop' 'omg' 'so that's enlightenment.' (of course the grateful, relieved feeling of enlightenment only lasted a week or so) and not as a linear thought sequence finally having unravelled a philosophical puzzle. in fact, that 'aha' moment came before i ever heard of no-self (as a term) or annica or the 3 characteristics as a whole. and that can be taken to either validate or invalidate the moment. Nor do i recall any fruition though i've been told that fruitions can be quite brief. the way i remember it, i ,for the first time, saw impermanence. it was as obvious as daylight which led to no-self which led to a clear understanding how the lack of wisdom regarding those two things inevitably leads to suffering. And that was a bombshell which i assumed was deep and true and later labeled SE. like i said, it doesn't matter. i don't think se is necessary and IF my 'aha' moment was a deep insight then se may even be detrimental in that se isn't true: that it's in an incorrect insight and therefore detrimental to development.

i might benefit from an explanation as to how the kfd isn't explicitly linking disassociation with enlightement.

You are unenlightened to the extent that you are embedded in your experience.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
I met Kenneth Folk last night. He's in San Francisco for the next several months. His workshop was fun. We practiced noting in groups.

An idea today occurred to me in a way which gave pause; offered me this chance to blog so here i am. hehehe. Ain't life grand!


The AFT site says "neither repress nor express". I'm can't say i agree with that currently. These last few days, I've been at ease despite having loads of negativity swirling all around and bubbling within. My life is so totally sucky. work sucks. this living arrangement is taxing. i'm far away from my friends and family. money is tight. no girlfriend/no prospects. In a line. F*** this sh**.

but that's reality. obviously i'm not of mind to do anything that will make things worse. but if i'm irritated, if i'm not expressing it, how can i not repress it? if i repress it, i just transform into something more difficult to detect which can and will later bite me in the ass. to express it skillfully is to release it presently. if awareness is present, you really can't go wrong.

if anger bubbles up, i can feel it in the body and watch my mind react. That is an expression and a rather skillful one. Another one is to say "f*** this f**king sh**." and get back to skillful thought patterns and senuousness.

This all seems like common sense. a new age term comes to mind: be true to your feelings. haha. I remember hearing that once and thinking 'how clueless.' but to be true to your feelings is to approach them in a naive friendly way. i think the problem stems from people TRYING to be true to their freelings, thus trying to validate them and have them validate their egos. (if i am angry, i need to express that anger to get your attention while insisting that that anger is justified thus proving to myself that i am worthy of your attention and that my feelings are worthy, that i am worthy) Our way is to be true to your feelings with the wisdom that feelings are both painful and fun, redundant at best, counter-productive at worse, yet always fun, that reactions can either be skillful or not and only awareness combined with wise intellligence can sort it all out. And wise intelligence if it is wise will bring back attention to the 5 senses.

fwiw, i think the social deconstruction stage can also be called developing wise intelligence and separating it from emotional reactivity.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
i said feelings were redundant at best. that seems silly. i know what i mean. feelings evolved to help the feeler understand reality, giving the feeler a motive for action. as such they are redundant in an individual of a thinking species like us. but feelings are also their own reality. they may not be necessary and even always be counter-productive. but they are reality and it is a reality which is different from the reality they evolved to understand. feeling energized by pleasure is differnt from the actual pleasure. So in the wise practioner, both actual pleasure and the feelings associated with pleasure can be appreciated.
Felipe Cavazos, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 221 Join Date: 5/29/11 Recent Posts
Hi, Jon,

Jon T.
The AFT site says "neither repress nor express". I'm can't say i agree with that currently. These last few days, I've been at ease despite having loads of negativity swirling all around and bubbling within. My life is so totally sucky. work sucks. this living arrangement is taxing. i'm far away from my friends and family. money is tight. no girlfriend/no prospects. In a line. F*** this sh**.

but that's reality. obviously i'm not of mind to do anything that will make things worse. but if i'm irritated, if i'm not expressing it, how can i not repress it? if i repress it, i just transform into something more difficult to detect which can and will later bite me in the ass. to express it skillfully is to release it presently. if awareness is present, you really can't go wrong.

if anger bubbles up, i can feel it in the body and watch my mind react. That is an expression and a rather skillful one. Another one is to say "f*** this f**king sh**." and get back to skillful thought patterns and senuousness.

This all seems like common sense. a new age term comes to mind: be true to your feelings. haha. I remember hearing that once and thinking 'how clueless.' but to be true to your feelings is to approach them in a naive friendly way. i think the problem stems from people TRYING to be true to their freelings, thus trying to validate them and have them validate their egos. (if i am angry, i need to express that anger to get your attention while insisting that that anger is justified thus proving to myself that i am worthy of your attention and that my feelings are worthy, that i am worthy) Our way is to be true to your feelings with the wisdom that feelings are both painful and fun, redundant at best, counter-productive at worse, yet always fun, that reactions can either be skillful or not and only awareness combined with wise intellligence can sort it all out. And wise intelligence if it is wise will bring back attention to the 5 senses.


I'm curious... How is what you are saying different from this?

Vineeto
In order to investigate a feeling when it is occurring, the first thing I have to do is to stop trying to make it go away or stop trying to hang on to it as we have been socially or spiritually conditioned to do. As long as I object to having the (bad) feeling or desperately want to cling to the (good) feeling, I cannot examine what exactly is going on. The first thing to become aware of and understand was my automatic reaction of suppression or expression in order to be able to experience the feeling fully that I am then able to label and examine.

I began to notice that when I stopped fighting having the feeling or stopped feeding the feeling, its intensity was immediately reduced significantly and then I was be able to take a closer look of what has caused this particular feeling to appear in the first place. When feelings are really intense such that they have taken me over, any investigation at such a time is useless. I had to get back to at least feeling good, if not happy, again in order to be able to sensibly delve deeper into the reasons that got me upset or enraptured in the first place.

Then I could go about examining the feeling that I had just experienced – when did the feeling first start, what was the event or situation that caused the affective reaction, why did I feel insulted, self-righteous, misunderstood, rejected, sad, angry, worried, pissed off, etc., which of my cherished beliefs, truth, views, values, etc. is being questioned, in what way is this linked to my identity, is there a fear underneath the initial feeling, what is this fear about, and so on ...?

{...}

The investigation into one’s feelings has to be experiential if it is to bring any tangible results – thinking about feelings and emotions removed from down-to-earth personal experience will only keep one at a surface level and will prevent one from penetrating into the very nature of one’s psyche. So the first thing for me to learn was to stop fighting my feelings and to stop feeding my feelings and allow myself to experience my feelings … all the while making sure that I kept my mouth shut and my hands in my pockets, in order that I wouldn’t do or say something I’d have to regret or feel remorseful about later on.

{...}

Undertaking an exploration of one’s own feelings when and as they are occurring – becoming fascinated with the business of being alive – is the means to developing apperceptive awareness, a prerequisite to becoming free of the human condition itself.


Maybe it's just a matter of semantics with the word 'expressing'?
- With expressing you seem to mean to let the emotions be, to let them do their business while you are aware
- The AFT seems to use expressing as 'reacting in the external world' {not expressing them is to keep the mouth shut and hands in pockets}

But in the end you seem to talk about the same action... to be fully aware of the feeling or emotion {and its respective mind and body reaction}.

The other thing lacking in your description is the investigation part, but maybe that's because you are more advanced in the investigation or you are already nipping your feelings and emotions in the bud?
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
The other thing lacking in your description is the investigation part, but maybe that's because you are more advanced in the investigation or you are already nipping your feelings and emotions in the bud?


I was just thinking that this investigation business may be more essential than i thought. with investigation the natural tendency to hold on to the feeling is eliminated. i was thinking this earlier and wanted to express it online so i came here.

exploring the tactile sensation of an emotion was keeping it alive and well, feeding it, holding on to it. in trying to cultivate wonder with the tactile sensations of the emotion, i inadverdently feed the emotion. perhaps investigation will help stop this tendcy.

also while practicing today, i saw that, perhaps, dissasociation doesn't come from no-self, per se, but by trying to experience an emotion as 'over there'. because when i was trying to feel wonder towards an emotions tactile sensation, i was also holding the emotion as something over there and, in effect, disassociating from it. but perhaps the the no-self that Stian referred to is not an experience where awareness is one place and sensation is another and therefore disassociation is the result but where awareness is nowhere and everywhere at the same time and sensation is nowhere and everywhere at the same time. that is just speculation, however, i have no idea.

the important point for me is to NOT hold onto an emotion in order to cultivate wonder towards it's tactile properties. but to investigate the cause of an emotion, cultivate wonder towards that particular cause and effect, and return to sensousness and felcity.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
thanks to a renewed emphasis on investigation, a lot of really great insights recently.

1. narrative feedback

-i'll do something and then relive it 4-5x in a row right afterwards. been doing this for years. not sure why but i'll say it's 'me' reinforcing my own narrative.

2. getting comfortable with the mass insanity.

-slowly coming to a deeper and deeper understanding that there are a signifcant number of crazy yet totally functional people out there. slowly getting used to the reality that nothing i do will ever change that. willful ignorance is bothering me less and less but is still a problem.

3. old wounds

-a memory might pop up and a corresponding emotion will surface. that memory is not 'me'. that memory is as much 'me' as my best most intimate friend is 'me'. i don't have to identify with that memory nor should i. nor is not identifying with it in any way disassociation. that memory is just inside (though still very incomplete) knowledge of a previous situation. so far, that emotion has been mitigated when thinking along these lines.

4. interpersonal exchanges

-the best way to think about a person's behavior is to simply observe it and not judge it. judging it takes away from any possible delight.
-when your advice isn't taken or in someway you aren't recognized as 'the leader' or otherwise highly respected member of the team, there will usually be a pang of irritation. once again, it's best to just observe the situation.

**************

I've been with my parents helping them move these last two days. it's really delightful watching them behave. it's 'satisfying' to see that little things that bother them don't affect me at all. that's not to say that i like watching them suffer. i don't. but it's good to see i'm growing. this is my 2nd time with them since starting actualism in january '11. the first time was in april of that year and then i was also pleased with my progress. this time around, however, i'm even more comfortable, primarily because, i'm not judging them as much. not judging defuses some situations before they even develop. also, this time around, i seem to be more in tune with the present moment. this whole week has been very present-oriented. no pce's yet but i'm getting out of fixations quicker and more and more my default mode is pleasant and pleased.
Felipe Cavazos, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 221 Join Date: 5/29/11 Recent Posts
Jon T.
-the best way to think about a person's behavior is to simply observe it and not judge it. judging it takes away from any possible delight.


I've been playing with wonder and naiveté and proof that I've lost those skillful modes is when I catch myself trying to find solutions in the 'real' world. 'Real' problems require 'real' solutions, according to the ego. It's just the same old mechanism of trying to cover up unsatisfactory feelings with short term and quick rewards. So, if I am convinced that my current solution is to be encountered in food, a girlfriend or money, it's clearly an indicator that 'I' am very present thanks to a strong {and not-examined-enough} feeling or belief, or a group of feelings or beliefs.

One of the things that makes me get back to my senses is precisely watching my judgement activity as an indicator. If I am thinking someone is being stupid, bad or whatever that is a great signal of an identity coming to stage. The more difficult to detect and deal with, at least for me, are the ones related to actualism calenture because they get pretty self-righteous and confirmation-biased.

So, if I am judging someone as bad or stupid is obviously for something diametrically opposed of a belief of mine... from where am I bringing this judging criteria? What part of this identity feels threatened? How is this 'judgamentalism' a mechanism of self-preservation? How can I return to naiveté and wonder, where judgment doesn't even make any sense?
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
I've been playing with wonder and naiveté and proof that I've lost those skillful modes is when I catch myself trying to find solutions in the 'real' world. 'Real' problems require 'real' solutions, according to the ego. It's just the same old mechanism of trying to cover up unsatisfactory feelings with short term and quick rewards. So, if I am convinced that my current solution is to be encountered in food, a girlfriend or money, it's clearly an indicator that 'I' am very present thanks to a strong {and not-examined-enough} feeling or belief, or a group of feelings or beliefs.


yes but it is very unskillful to delay finding a solution to a problem. 'you' will be here for quite some time so best live the life that 'you' will most enjoy. and this doesn't mean that you can't enjoy the process of improving your life. that process doesn't have to be goal-oriented. it can just be a series of skillful choices with an expected result. of course, that process will be filled with sensate material towards which you can be felicious.

If I am thinking someone is being stupid


there's a difference between recognizing stupididty and having an emotional reaction against it. jumping off a 3 story building onto a mattress just for fun is stupid. getting angry at the person is also stupid. getting angry at yourself for getting angry is doubly stupid.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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(affective) enjoyment and appreciation *is* the very actualist awareness in action (as distinct from the buddhistic mindfulness, for instance, which requires cognitive engagement). What this means in effect is that, because one cannot help but be aware, each moment again, of even the slightest diminution of that experiential awareness (of that very enjoyment and appreciation of *feeling* as felicitous/ innocuous as is humanly possible) via *feeling* it diminish, cognitive attentiveness can be freely applied to whatever one is engaged in doing, in one’s moment-to-moment daily life, be it earning a living, reading/ watching various media, studying for examinations, and so on, and so forth.


a friend sent me an email with this quote from the AFT. i had never read in print or discerned for myself the difference between mindfulness and felicity. in fact, i never considered any difference to be relevant. for a time, i did focus on the difference between apperception and mindfulness.

i can read the above quote to mean that one should be solely concerned with felicity (using investigation when necessary to get back into it) and that every little bit of sensate data can and will be used to maintain and increase felicity. I do find the idea that one need not be cognitively aware of felicity fascinating and new.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
focusing on maintaining felicity and using niks juxtaposition philosophy/advice to maintain sensuousness at the same time. i don't think felicity is a natural state. sensuousness by itself doesn't seem to generate it. it must be generated but can only be generated if no other emotions are blocking it. once generated there doesn't seem to be any point in also trying for sensuousness. the only reason i'm continuing with sensousness is the advice of nik, eis, the aft, tarin, etc. And i'm weary of diving into a jhana-like states of bliss which don't strike me as productive since bliss is a part of the self. this current felicity is quite sustainable. wacko parents aren't diminishing it. the real test will be when i get back to work.
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Jon T, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Practice Thread

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