my experiences, please share your insight

John W Hooper, modified 10 Years ago.

my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 17 Join Date: 4/20/11 Recent Posts
First of all, if you don't want to read a long account of someone who has done many different practices for decades with no real instruction or discipline and has not a clue what is going on, don't waste any more of your time reading this.

Secondly, yes, I have had many psychological evaluations, and I do not have any major disorders, I have a job, wife, kids. However, I am willing to accept that my experiences might just be chemical imbalance or psychological problems. I don't know. That's why I am asking.

I was raised in a lower middle class, blue collar town, and went to a Baptist church. I was not in any way exposed to anything else until I was in my late teens.

The first strange experience I remember was when I was about 8 years old, and it was raining lightly so I was outside playing. This is very hard to describe, but my surroundings seemed to come into ultra focus, like looking through a ViewMaster. Everything seemed to pop out and glow with life. There was a tremendous feeling of having a raw and direct connection with reality, as though everything before was dreamlike and this was real, it was NOW, it was things as they truly are. It was beautiful, and a bit frightening. The storm clouds were no longer labeled "clouds" -- they were real, alive, and dynamic things. That's the best I can explain it.

When I was 11 or so, I had my first experience of the curtain being ripped away, exposing the dream life that I and everyone around me was living. I realized my mortality, and was terrified to panic. I could not help but despair because our dream lives were completely empty and void of meaning. I never wanted to feel that way again.

Too bad, because at 13 I not only felt that way again, but this time not for an hour, but for months. Again, everyone was living in a dream. This was a fact, not a sad feeling. People were literally living stories that had nothing to do with reality. Reality seems to be that all of these meaningless stories and lives would end in meaninglessness.

Let's just say this continued off and on, and when I was in my late teens I started looking for meaning and answers. I had long ago given up on the Bible, as it made no sense to me at all. At least the way it was interpreted in my small town, it was just another meaningless story, just part of the larger illusion.

I was drawn to Buddhism because it made sense given my experience. Life was suffering. We were living in delusion. Our dreams were not leading us to a better place, but just to a meaningless death. I tried meditation, over and over, in different forms, and at least progressed from terror to some acceptance. No joy, no bliss, but acceptance of the way things are and at least the hope that what I saw and felt was not all of reality, and still illusion.

I moved on to years of Zen, and then Krishnamurti, and then finally realized that the big illusion I had missed was that I was an illusion myself. The person who was afraid of death, in despair, and suffering in fact did not exist. I was an illusion. It was a fact. I had no existence in and of myself. I was built of thought, imaginary, conceptual.

To my dismay, this only started a cycle of losing my fear and being detached, and then losing my insight and falling back into misery despite what I knew.

Never at any time did I have any great joy, bliss, or anything like that. I never have. Knowing that the self is an illusion has never fully penetrated. I cannot get rid of it. I can sometimes have detachment and no fear, but before long the self reasserts itself. I realize it when I become miserable. Detachment was a refuge, but it damaged my relationships. This detachment had no joy, just indifference and oneness.

I went to a more experienced person who pointed out that I was emotionally blocked, that my "heart chakra" was blocked, and told me to shift my meditation focus from my head to my heart, warning me that I would suffer for this, but that it was the only way to open up and have true, intimate relationships, or as he called it: to become fully human.

He was right. I opened up my suppressed emotions and lost my ability to detach. I am often overwhelmed with negative emotions, extreme depression, anxiety, and the same emptiness, hopelessness, and despair as I suffered long ago. Unlike before, I just stay with it, observing. It doesn't seem to end. My only insight of late, from sitting through all the pain, is that the emptiness, hopelessness, and despair is not reality after all, it is me. It is myself I am seeing. The observer is the observed. It is the truth about my self: empty, illusory, meaningless. Still the illusion will not break. I know it is not real. I know it is the source of my suffering, but it pulls me in over and over, and even when I escape there is not any special relief, then I am drawn back.

I sit and watch. I suffer. I feel just OK, or terrible.

I apologize for my super-long self indulgent post, but for all I know someone out there understands how I am stuck and can help, which would be of great benefit to everyone in my life.

Thank you for reading,

John
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Bruno Loff, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
John W Hooper:

(...)
The first strange experience I remember was when I was about 8 years old, and it was raining lightly so I was outside playing. This is very hard to describe, but my surroundings seemed to come into ultra focus, like looking through a ViewMaster. Everything seemed to pop out and glow with life. There was a tremendous feeling of having a raw and direct connection with reality, as though everything before was dreamlike and this was real, it was NOW, it was things as they truly are. It was beautiful, and a bit frightening. The storm clouds were no longer labeled "clouds" -- they were real, alive, and dynamic things. That's the best I can explain it.


The ultra-focus clearness life-glowing direct no-filters real-alive-dynamic aspect is what we here call a PCE (pure consciousness experience), or peak experience. This probably happened for a few minutes, and then the feeling process kicked in and you became a little frightened.

It is possible to change what needs to be changed in order to live permanently like that, and a few people who regularly post here at the DhO have already done so.

John:

When I was 11 or so, I had my first experience of the curtain being ripped away, exposing the dream life that I and everyone around me was living. I realized my mortality, and was terrified to panic. I could not help but despair because our dream lives were completely empty and void of meaning. I never wanted to feel that way again.


Typical. Here we call it "Dark Night".

John:

Too bad, because at 13 I not only felt that way again, but this time not for an hour, but for months. Again, everyone was living in a dream. This was a fact, not a sad feeling. People were literally living stories that had nothing to do with reality. Reality seems to be that all of these meaningless stories and lives would end in meaninglessness.

Let's just say this continued off and on, and when I was in my late teens I started looking for meaning and answers. I had long ago given up on the Bible, as it made no sense to me at all. At least the way it was interpreted in my small town, it was just another meaningless story, just part of the larger illusion.

I was drawn to Buddhism because it made sense given my experience. Life was suffering. We were living in delusion. Our dreams were not leading us to a better place, but just to a meaningless death. I tried meditation, over and over, in different forms, and at least progressed from terror to some acceptance. No joy, no bliss, but acceptance of the way things are and at least the hope that what I saw and felt was not all of reality, and still illusion.

I moved on to years of Zen, and then Krishnamurti, and then finally realized that the big illusion I had missed was that I was an illusion myself. The person who was afraid of death, in despair, and suffering in fact did not exist. I was an illusion. It was a fact. I had no existence in and of myself. I was built of thought, imaginary, conceptual.


Yep. But it's important to realize that the illusion is not the actual world, the illusion is the projection of 'you' and 'your reality'.

John:

To my dismay, this only started a cycle of losing my fear and being detached, and then losing my insight and falling back into misery despite what I knew.

Never at any time did I have any great joy, bliss, or anything like that. I never have. Knowing that the self is an illusion has never fully penetrated. I cannot get rid of it. I can sometimes have detachment and no fear, but before long the self reasserts itself. I realize it when I become miserable. Detachment was a refuge, but it damaged my relationships. This detachment had no joy, just indifference and oneness.

I went to a more experienced person who pointed out that I was emotionally blocked, that my "heart chakra" was blocked, and told me to shift my meditation focus from my head to my heart, warning me that I would suffer for this, but that it was the only way to open up and have true, intimate relationships, or as he called it: to become fully human.

He was right. I opened up my suppressed emotions and lost my ability to detach. I am often overwhelmed with negative emotions, extreme depression, anxiety, and the same emptiness, hopelessness, and despair as I suffered long ago. Unlike before, I just stay with it, observing. It doesn't seem to end. My only insight of late, from sitting through all the pain, is that the emptiness, hopelessness, and despair is not reality after all, it is me. It is myself I am seeing. The observer is the observed. It is the truth about my self: empty, illusory, meaningless. Still the illusion will not break. I know it is not real. I know it is the source of my suffering, but it pulls me in over and over, and even when I escape there is not any special relief, then I am drawn back.

I sit and watch. I suffer. I feel just OK, or terrible.



The illusion is 'you'.

You are 'your feelings' and 'your feelings' are 'you'.

This is what you have been looking for, this is how you can permanently eradicate the illusion ('you' and 'your reality') and live life like the PCE you remember from when you were 8 years old, this is the way to end suffering:

The actual freedom trust website.

Some interesting articles for your pleasure:

What it is: A précis of actual freedom, An introduction to actual freedom, The third alternative,

The way to get it done: Actualism, This moment of being alive, Attentiveness and Sensuousness and Apperceptiveness


Have fun reading through the content emoticon
Bruno
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Just a slightly different reading order which may or may not be better:
Read other descriptions of PCEs. Try to tune into the words, and while you do so remember the state when you were 8 years old and see if you can find it here and now (it's always here and now, there's just many layers of filters that prevent perceiving the world that way).

What really helps to get into that mode of perception is being happy and harmless. And, being happy and harmless is a good goal in and of itself.. the technique described in the This moment of being alive article aims at having you be attentive every moment so that bad moods happen less and less, and the chance of a PCE happening is greater and greater.

And finally the Attentiveness and Sensuousness and Apperceptiveness article really breaks down the processes one uses (attentiveness and sensuousness) to eventuate a PCE (apperceptiveness).
John W Hooper, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 17 Join Date: 4/20/11 Recent Posts
Bruno and Beoman,

I am finding that Actual Freedom web site and related material to be rather hard to follow. It sounds an awful lot like the non-duality teachings, while ironically attacking and seeming to misunderstand those ancient teachings. For example, I have never met a real non-duality teacher who claimed I would become a God on Earth, or powerful. They only claimed that my belief in my separateness from everything else was false and causing my suffering. They only claimed that the truth would allow me to know that I am actually exactly what the universe is -- being a God or having special powers is impossible when everything is one.

From many teachers, none promising an afterlife or godhood, I have learned that conceptual thinking is inherently incomplete, rigid, and completely incapable of grasping that from which it arises. Concepts divide and generalize. The are founded on separating the world into things. How then can any thought capture the true essence of an undivided reality?

These are only naive questions. I don't know anything. I am very interested to try your methods and see if they work.

From experience, I can say that my PCE experiences are as you say: simply unfiltered reality. They were not mystical to me. They were not some altered state, they were brief glimpses of reality. I believe the veil I live behind now is the altered state, the conditioned state.

I look forward to you clearing up my misconceptions.
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Nikolai Blue Mountains Bush Yowie*, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
@ Bruno and Claudiu,,,


CALENTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why the need to force feed AF? Best let them discover it for themselves. it comes across as you guys needing others to validate that path. No need! This is my one pet peeve concerning those on the AF path or on any path for that matter and cringe at the times I did this myself.

Nick ("being" mode) :x


Edited to say: Writing this now just forced me to be more attentive. the momentary storm has now passed and am back in EE mode. But since this is something that does still peeve "me", I'll leave it in to remind me of what I wish to come out of. Hmmm...
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Nikolai Blue Mountains Bush Yowie*:
@ Bruno and Claudiu,,,


CALENTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why the need to force feed AF? Best let them discover it for themselves. it comes across as you guys needing others to validate that path. No need! This is my one pet peeve concerning those on the AF path or on any path for that matter and cringe at the times I did this myself.

Nick ("being" mode) :x

Ya.. initially i was gonna make a post about AF.. then about the progress of insight.. then some combo of the two.. then i decided not to at all since i was clearly not chill about it.. then Bruno made his so i figured "ah might as well put in my 2 cents".

agreed, though.. do whatever you feel best.

John, i can't clear up your misconceptions adequately right now, but i wanted to say:
John W Hooper:
From experience, I can say that my PCE experiences are as you say: simply unfiltered reality. They were not mystical to me. They were not some altered state, they were brief glimpses of reality. I believe the veil I live behind now is the altered state, the conditioned state.
that's all there is to it - perceive reality in a simple, unfiltered way. i think the actualist method boils down to: "hey the PCE is nice, right? just do that forever" and "here's a method to help you PCE" and "here are some reasons you might not be in a PCE". remember your PCE experience as the experience is more important than the words. (words can be misinterpreted and confusing and hard-to-understand, but the experience is direct and clear.)
John W Hooper, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 17 Join Date: 4/20/11 Recent Posts
Could you please distill the AF practice. I am very interested to see for myself. If the path can validate itself, I will certainly give it the opportunity to do so.

I found this on another thread, is this how it is done?


Try this:
1. Foster the feeling of enjoyment of this very moment of being alive. Concentrate on the senses, paying them exclusive attention. The feeling of enjoyment is a diffuse warmth which spreads throughout your body.
2. Foster fascination. What a miracle it is to be alive as a self-reflective human being. What a curiosity, to gaze out these eyes, to think and reflect. Being here right now is truly fascinating.
3. Now pay attention to your minds awareness of itself. This is a reflexive action of mind, awareness watching awareness.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
John W Hooper:
I found this on another thread, is this how it is done?

it seems like that could work. different approaches work for different people - the only way to know for sure is to try it yourself and see (the same goes for any meditation technique or anything you do, really). you don't need my permission to try it!

you know the goal (a PCE), which helps a lot, so whenever you try these remember what you're going for. in particular, remember what it was like in the purest part (if you felt frightened you were already out of the PCE itself). remember the quality of the experience - not only how things looked but how the looking at them was different. did you have any conception of the future or the past? any expectation of what will happen? any sense of self or of 'me' looking out at the world?

other pointers from this thread might help. another tip from here:
To get out of stuckness and induce a Pure Consciousness Experience one gets off one’s backside and does whatever one knows best to activate delight. From the position of delight, one can vitalize one’s joie de vivre by the amazement at the fun of it all ... and then one can – with sufficient abandon – become over-joyed and move into marvelling at being here and doing this business called being alive. Then one is no longer intellectually making sense of life ... the wonder of it all drives all intellectual sense away. Such delicious wonder fosters the innate condition of naiveté (which is the closest one can get to innocence ) the nourishing of which is essential if the charm of it all is to occur. Then, as one stares intently at the world about by glancing lightly with caressing eyes, out of the corner of one’s eye comes – sweetly – the magical fairy-tale-like paradise that this verdant earth actually is ... and I am the experiencing of what is happening. But try not to possess it and make it your own ... or else ‘twill vanish as softly as it appeared.


here is a link to a summary paragraph about actualism.

after playing around with it, post what seemed to work and what didn't and we can go from there.
John W Hooper, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 17 Join Date: 4/20/11 Recent Posts
Wow, I am surprised! My first attempt really did make the world *pop* a little, like more 3D, more alive. Not a PCE by any means, but I definitely see how it might lead there. Also, it made me feel lighter and happy for the first time in many weeks.

I will keep doing this every day along with my meditation.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Nikolai Blue Mountains Bush Yowie*:
But since this is something that does still peeve "me", I'll leave it in to remind me of what I wish to come out of. Hmmm...
But since this self is something that does still peeve "me", I'll leave it in to remind me of what I wish to come out of...
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Bruno Loff, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Nikolai Blue Mountains Bush Yowie*:
@ Bruno and Claudiu,,,


CALENTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why the need to force feed AF? Best let them discover it for themselves. it comes across as you guys needing others to validate that path. No need! This is my one pet peeve concerning those on the AF path or on any path for that matter and cringe at the times I did this myself.

Nick ("being" mode) :x


Edited to say: Writing this now just forced me to be more attentive. the momentary storm has now passed and am back in EE mode. But since this is something that does still peeve "me", I'll leave it in to remind me of what I wish to come out of. Hmmm...


Yeah nick I understand your point, and indeed systematically question my own motivations for posting. Not just AF-related stuff, but also any other post I make. There are often feeling-based underlying motivations for posting, subtle effervescences with no explicit name, surrounding a vague self image of "bruno the DhO participant." But they are often accompanied with a sincere intention to make a helpful contribution. By the end of writing the post, I always ask myself "is this at least helpful, or just me rolling in my own selfshit?" If it isn't just the latter, I click "Save," and trod on.

The reason I ended up posting the above suggestions was because John had a direct memory of a PCE, and seemed to understand very clearly that anything else is a bogus illusion. Now Richard, imho, did a great job of understanding explicitly and clearly where exactly the illusion lies, and how to make it go away.

---

John:

Wow, I am surprised! My first attempt really did make the world *pop* a little, like more 3D, more alive. Not a PCE by any means, but I definitely see how it might lead there. Also, it made me feel lighter and happy for the first time in many weeks.

I will keep doing this every day along with my meditation.


The essence of how to get that 3D aliveness (sensuousness) to go all the way and eventually stay in place is expounded in the article Attentiveness and Sensuousness and Apperceptiveness. The act of paying fascinated attention (not focus) leads one to that pre-emotional fidelity, hi-fi sensory input, called sensuousness, which, when sufficiently powerful and consistent, brings about apperception (the PCE).

As the meaning of the words in the AF website becomes more and more clear (for this it might be useful to use the available glossary), the actualism method will soon be seen as a different beast altogether, when compared with non-dualism and friends. At least this is what happened to me.
John W Hooper, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 17 Join Date: 4/20/11 Recent Posts
The essence of how to get that 3D aliveness (sensuousness) to go all the way and eventually stay in place is expounded in the article Attentiveness and Sensuousness and Apperceptiveness. The act of paying fascinated attention (not focus) leads one to that pre-emotional fidelity, hi-fi sensory input, called sensuousness, which, when sufficiently powerful and consistent, brings about apperception (the PCE).

As the meaning of the words in the AF website becomes more and more clear (for this it might be useful to use the available glossary), the actualism method will soon be seen as a different beast altogether, when compared with non-dualism and friends. At least this is what happened to me.


To be quite honest, the entire site reads as though it was written by someone suffering from extreme narcissism and delusions of grandeur. The vocabulary used seems fashioned to impress rather than clearly communicate. The sheer volume of writing and lack of coherence and organization are concerning to me. These are observations, not accusations. I know nothing about the author personally.

It has been my experience that when someone makes breathless "Announcements to the World" about a revolutionary new method that will cure the world of all ills and then goes on to mischaracterize and disparage all previous methods as delusions and failures ... well, that usually indicates mental illness. I mean really, for tens of thousand of years countless intelligent and perceptive human beings just completely missed the simple and obvious truth that could have brought peace on earth? That doesn't make sense to me.

However, I might just be wrong, so I try things out. Some very brilliant people were giants in one field while being otherwise pretty crazy. Nicola Tesla comes to mind. So maybe this idea is absolutely correct and will end my suffering. What I would like to see is a simple, straightforward explanation of exactly what I need to do to reap the expounded benefits. I can't really make sense of that web site.

I am only being completely honest here, please don't take offense. Give me a simple, clear explanation, without using any special words, if possible.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
John W Hooper:
To be quite honest, the entire site reads as though it was written by someone suffering from extreme narcissism and delusions of grandeur. The vocabulary used seems fashioned to impress rather than clearly communicate. The sheer volume of writing and lack of coherence and organization are concerning to me. These are observations, not accusations. I know nothing about the author personally.

It has been my experience that when someone makes breathless "Announcements to the World" about a revolutionary new method that will cure the world of all ills and then goes on to mischaracterize and disparage all previous methods as delusions and failures ... well, that usually indicates mental illness.
...
I am only being completely honest here, please don't take offense.

aye it's good that you are aware of these concerns and that you don't just brush them aside.

John W Hooper:
I mean really, for tens of thousand of years countless intelligent and perceptive human beings just completely missed the simple and obvious truth that could have brought peace on earth? That doesn't make sense to me.

it does seem like someone should have figured it out sooner. 10 billion lifetimes or more for people to try and figure it out, and no one got it? darn!

yet, for 21 years of my life, i missed many simple and obvious truths that could have brought more peace to my life, which now seem simple and obvious after a year and a bit of practicing. imagine you can live your life as you did in those moments when you were 8 - you have been missing a very simple and obvious truth all this time (that you can live your life that way)! likewise for the countless humans who are currently hurting themselves and others.

maybe someone discovered it before. maybe no one did. someone has to be the first, and it doesn't particularly matter as long as he can explain it well enough so others can do it. so, to move on to that most important point (since his words aren't doing it for you)...

John W Hooper:
However, I might just be wrong, so I try things out. Some very brilliant people were giants in one field while being otherwise pretty crazy. Nicola Tesla comes to mind. So maybe this idea is absolutely correct and will end my suffering. What I would like to see is a simple, straightforward explanation of exactly what I need to do to reap the expounded benefits. I can't really make sense of that web site.
...
Give me a simple, clear explanation, without using any special words, if possible.

first off, do more of whatever you did that caused you to write this:
John W Hooper:
Wow, I am surprised! My first attempt really did make the world *pop* a little, like more 3D, more alive. Not a PCE by any means, but I definitely see how it might lead there. Also, it made me feel lighter and happy for the first time in many weeks.

it's basically about doing that all the way. the more attention you pay to every moment of being alive, and the more you play around with getting the world to pop a bit more and getting yourself to feel lighter and happier, the more you will progress.

for other instructions, what about tarin's instructions from here, along with the flow charts?

tarin:
http://i43.tinypic.com/34owzld.jpg
http://i40.tinypic.com/6fpmoo.jpg

what i drew up that first flowchart to present is a means by which one can make a particular mode of experience (which i have therein dubbed 'perfection') permanent. however, if one's present mode of experience is not perfect as such (in other terms, is not immediately a pce), then the step i advise in the chart is for one to find the nearest approximation to perfection that one can, here and now (either by recognising its qualitative similarity to a remembered pce or by tuning in to the qualities present which are clearly and indubitably ideal)... done properly, this will, over time, lead to more clarity about how to evince a pce directly. however, if one is unable to tune in to such an approximation of perfection (which would be likely due to one being uncertain about how this is done), then what i recommend is to, in no uncertain terms, enjoy this moment of being alive (which is markedly different from, and superior to, merely 'deciding to be fine' with it). such enjoyment will, over time, occasionally reveal the traits of perfection, similar to how if one gazes at a pond, one will occasionally see sparkles of light reflecting off of fish which have come to the surface at the right spots. someone who catches enough of these sparkles will get an idea of what i mean by the traits of perfection soon or later (and will be having a great time meanwhile).. and someone with a zest for enjoying themselves (who has an enthusiasm for gusto) will catch enough of these sparkles sooner rather than later. (there, could i really drop any more hints than i just have?)

and yet, i understand that enjoying oneself can be unexpectedly (and possibly even frustratingly at first) difficult at times, both from my own past experience as well as some feedback i've received to that first chart, and so i drew up the second one to address this. in the second chart, the entire point is for one to enjoy this experience of being alive here and now; if there is any inability to simply enjoy being here, or diminishment in such enjoyment, the step i suggest one take is to find out why one isn't having a good time. as soon as the reason has been discovered, i propose asking oneself if whatever that reason is (dubbed, in the chart, 'xyz') is worth missing out on enjoying this moment of being alive; the answer is obviously no[1], and one is back having a good time.

on the other hand, if there can be no reason found for why one is not having a good time (and remember that it here does not pay to be anything less than fully sincere with oneself), then the step i recommend is to realise that being alive is important (as one has a vested interest in it, it is personally important) and so to get back to feeling good as quickly as possible... i advise one to do this by whatever means one finds necessary in order to effect enjoyment. over time (and a bit of time may be required), one will be back to enjoying being here.

...
[1] the reason there is no 'yes' arrow leading off from that box is because of an implicit assumption i had when i made the chart, namely that if one is attempting to follow it, then one has already consciously decided (that is, has arrived intellectually at the decision) that there isn't anything worth missing out on enjoying this moment of being alive for. however, if one, in a lapse of judgement, finds oneself at some point deciding otherwise, then the dissonance caused by looking for the 'yes' arrow (as in, 'yes xyz is worth missing out on enjoying this moment of being alive for') and finding that there is no such option may evoke humour and bring one back to one's senses.. at which point one is free to resume having fun.
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Bruno Loff, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
John W Hooper:

What I would like to see is a simple, straightforward explanation of exactly what I need to do to reap the expounded benefits.


Here is the DhO wiki on Actual Freedom, with two sections copied from the thread "A concise description of the actualist method".

The articles "This moment of being alive" and "Attentiveness and Sensuousness and Apperceptiveness" are the hard-core of the method. If one reads them paying attention to the meaning of every word, taking the time to check what needs to be checked on the dictionary, and really focusing on the meaning rather than evaluating it emotionally ("who does this guy thinks he is?"), then one can come to make sense of these articles.

John:

I can't really make sense of that web site.


I am guessing that the memory of the PCE is probably an abundant source of motivation to just keep reading regardless emoticon The gnawing suspicion that there is actually something behind the illusion... an actual world.

Maybe it's useful to know that your reaction is very common upon a first reading. I have made remarks along the same lines when I was first drawn to reading the AF trust website. Yet after having experienced PCEs myself, thus having a fresh direct experience of what Richard is talking about, the suspicious feeling was vaporized, and after the emotional reactivity to the website settled, I learned to make good use of its vast content.

That said, I do think the website is poorly organized, drastically so for the newcomer.
John W Hooper, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 17 Join Date: 4/20/11 Recent Posts
Thanks Bruno, I was getting confused.

This seems perfectly clear:
The recommended way to conduct this practice is to ask oneself, each moment again, 'how am i experiencing this moment of being alive?' with the utmost sincerity and dedication


I will do this.
John W Hooper, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 17 Join Date: 4/20/11 Recent Posts
Bruno,

Just a technical question, is 'how am i experiencing this moment of being alive?'

a) In what way am i experiencing this moment of being alive
-or-
b) By what means am i experiencing this moment of being alive

One thing is for sure, I am remembering a lot of other PCEs throughout my life now, most only lasting a few seconds.
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Bruno Loff, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Could you please explain the difference between the two sentences you wrote?

Here is a link to a FAQ page on the AF trust website.
John W Hooper, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 17 Join Date: 4/20/11 Recent Posts
The difference I was talking about was

How -- by what capacity

and

How -- in what way

Anyway, someone asked the same question and he clearly answers in the FAQ, thanks!
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Bruno Loff:
Could you please explain the difference between the two sentences you wrote?

Here is a link to a FAQ page on the AF trust website.

as reading that didn't help me when i had the same question, i'll try to explain it in my own words (which might end up mirroring what is said there):

basically you want to know exactly in what manner you are experiencing being alive this moment (the only moment you are ever alive).

as you start off feelings or thoughts will likely be dominating your experience. so if you are thinking about something, you want to know - what am i thinking about? is there a feeling associated with/causing the thinking? what am i feeling? ah it's annoyance - what exactly am i annoyed at? what does the annoyance feel like (don't just assume you know but really try to figure out what the annoyance is like), etc...

if there are relatively few or diminished feelings and thoughts then you'll tend towards the experiential answer - the one being given by your senses at all times if you step out of the way enough for them to become more apparent. then you could tune into each sense - what am i seeing? what are the colors like? what's the quality of seeing? what am i feeling on my skin? something enjoyable/not enjoyable? etc. you can detail your reality, tuning into each aspect. by doing so they come into focus and become crisper.. and as you get better at this they will be more and more in focus as your baseline
Trent ., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 361 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Nikolai Blue Mountains Bush Yowie*:
CALENTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why the need to force feed AF? Best let them discover it for themselves. it comes across as you guys needing others to validate that path. No need! This is my one pet peeve concerning those on the AF path or on any path for that matter and cringe at the times I did this myself.


for everyone's info: this is an incorrect usage of the word 'calenture.' i misused the word when i spoke with bruno several months ago, and my misuse of it carried into his post about the topic, which thereby introduced the (incorrect) use of the term to the DhO community. the meaning implied by the use of the word itself has been appropriate as far as i can see, but it is more appropriate to instead call this "actualist identity."

for additional clarification: http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/listafcorrespondence/listaf47.htm

trent
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Trent .:
for everyone's info: this is an incorrect usage of the word 'calenture.' i misused the word when i spoke with bruno several months ago, and my misuse of it carried into his post about the topic, which thereby introduced the (incorrect) use of the term to the DhO community. the meaning implied by the use of the word itself has been appropriate as far as i can see, but it is more appropriate to instead call this "actualist identity."

for additional clarification: http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/listafcorrespondence/listaf47.htm

ah so calenture is a general term - one can have calentures about many things. actualist-identity calenture is a calenture about the actualist identity. and we've shortened it to 'calenture', using it as a metonym for 'actualist-identity calenture', which isn't strictly correct
John W Hooper, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 17 Join Date: 4/20/11 Recent Posts
One more thing, just in case anyone happens to have an explanation for these things:

1. Has anyone ever experienced their feet and lower legs just feeling incredibly, almost orgasmically good, practically all the time? I'm not complaining, believe me! But it really is curious and I've never read anything relating to legs and feet.

2. I keep experiencing light raining down into the top of my forehead when I meditate.

I am not attaching to these things, but they are so specific and I can't help but be curious what they are about.

I will stay with "'how am i experiencing this moment of being alive?" for a while. So far I have noticed that when I ask this question, if I am thinking something about myself, I am unhappy, but if I am focused on being aware in the moment, I don't have any problems. I have heard this before: "No self, no problems!" But I've never been able to experience it so clearly for myself.
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Dauphin Supple Chirp, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 154 Join Date: 3/15/11 Recent Posts
Hi John,


As I read your story, I see some parallels to my own life. I'm going to spare you the details and just tell you those of my own experiences that seem relevant to your question.

Almost 7 years ago, in my 20s, I experimented as a subject for deep hypnosis and relaxation, which led to what I called a very spiritual experience in which I existed "without my body and without my mind." In retrospect it was really just a brief cessation of an unknown nature. Over the weeks that followed, I realized many things. One of them I put into the words, "I don't exist," back then.

The whole experience changed me, and I felt some of the burden had lifted off my shoulders, namely I understood for the first time that I was not my mind.

I also started reading about Buddhism and found a lot of truth in it. A few months ago, I admitted to myself that I was not making any more progress, and I still had major suffering in my life due to the intuitive feeling of a self, attachment, hatred, conceit. So I took another look at the path the Buddha suggested and realized that what was missing was regular and correct meditation.

I started watching youtube videos on Buddhism and took a particular liking to Ajahn Brahm, which made me decide to check out Theravāda, which in turn caused me to be exposed to the Mahāsi method of insight meditation. A few months later, I experienced fruition of stream entry, and to say that my life is a lot better now would be a gross understatement.

I went from thinking that I don't exist to knowing much better what I am or rather what I am not. Instead of just understanding that I can't have any lasting or satisfactory sense contacts, I understand on an intuitive and intellectual level that the cessation of saṅkhāras (formations) leads to the highest bliss. Actually, if I am reading your post correctly, this last part does not mean anything to you, so I apologize.

Maybe a different simile, which I also only truly understood after stream entry, is going to speak to you better: First you realize that we are all in a free fall rather than standing on solid ground. Later you realize that's ok because there is no ground.

My suggestion to you: insight meditation. Read MCTB if you have to; get someone to teach you Mahāsi style noting one-on-one; but above all meditate every day, even if it is just for a few minutes in the beginning, building up to about half an hour once or twice a day. Understand this is going to be unpleasant more often than it is pleasant, but if you do it consistently and use the right technique, you will have a breakthrough most likely within less than a year.
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tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
classic re-observation, including clear transitions from disgust (nibbida) and desire for deliverance (muncitu-kamyata).
John W Hooper, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: my experiences, please share your insight

Posts: 17 Join Date: 4/20/11 Recent Posts
tarin greco:
classic re-observation, including clear transitions from disgust (nibbida) and desire for deliverance (muncitu-kamyata).


That is amazing. I have no knowledge of whatever these levels are that you are referring to, but I read it all and it describes my current state and past experiences perfectly. I used to run away from this part, but this time I have resolved to stay with it no matter what happens, which seems to be the advice given.

I am still looking over the rest of the advice I was given, but this one made me the most curious so I checked it out first.

Thank you.

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