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ATTENTION!: It appears that our server has been hacked through this version of Liferay, meaning it is no longer secure, and so expect instability as we deal with this and attempt to upgrade to Liferay 7, which we failed to be able to do last year the last time the team attempted it, but we have no choice at this point, so bear with us as we try again. Save any long posts in a text file before posting them. You can follow me on Twitter at @danielmingram for updates if the site is down. Apologies for any complexity this causes. We will work as fast as we can. We have backups of the database, so hopefully nothing will be lost. Thanks to all helping with this complex process.

 

 

 

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notes on my practice (inspired by actualism)

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notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/27/11 10:11 AM
RE: naivete tip Harry Potter 7/10/11 6:50 PM
RE: naivete tip Jon T 7/10/11 7:02 PM
RE: naivete tip Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/11/11 5:53 PM
RE: naivete tip Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/11/11 5:52 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/13/11 1:04 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/13/11 1:00 PM
RE: actualism notes Adam Bieber 7/14/11 2:03 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/14/11 12:26 PM
RE: actualism notes #1 - 0 7/14/11 1:45 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/21/11 1:36 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/21/11 2:32 PM
RE: actualism notes tom moylan 7/22/11 4:51 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/22/11 9:19 AM
RE: actualism notes Shashank Dixit 7/22/11 9:49 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/22/11 10:24 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/22/11 10:47 AM
RE: actualism notes Steph S 7/22/11 11:18 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/22/11 12:26 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/22/11 1:34 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 7/22/11 5:08 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/22/11 5:50 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 7/22/11 7:30 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/25/11 1:36 PM
RE: actualism notes Tommy M 7/25/11 3:50 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/25/11 5:26 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 7/22/11 7:31 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/25/11 7:56 PM
RE: actualism notes . . 7/25/11 9:38 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 7/26/11 6:03 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/26/11 11:52 AM
RE: actualism notes Steph S 7/26/11 12:02 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 7/26/11 12:23 PM
RE: actualism notes Tommy M 7/26/11 2:52 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 7/26/11 12:27 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/27/11 12:25 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/27/11 12:13 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/27/11 3:21 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/28/11 9:04 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/29/11 11:39 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/29/11 3:07 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/30/11 1:19 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/31/11 1:50 PM
RE: actualism notes Jon T 7/31/11 3:45 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 7/31/11 6:49 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/1/11 8:55 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/1/11 2:17 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/1/11 8:07 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/2/11 10:05 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/1/11 10:01 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/1/11 11:31 PM
RE: actualism notes Adam Bieber 8/2/11 8:37 PM
RE: actualism notes Jon T 8/2/11 7:14 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/3/11 9:39 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/3/11 11:31 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/3/11 11:18 AM
RE: actualism notes Nikolai . 8/3/11 11:55 AM
RE: actualism notes Tommy M 8/3/11 4:45 PM
RE: actualism notes Nad A. 8/3/11 5:02 PM
RE: actualism notes fred flinstone 8/3/11 6:13 PM
RE: actualism notes Trent . 8/3/11 6:52 PM
RE: actualism notes fred flinstone 8/3/11 7:41 PM
RE: actualism notes Nad A. 8/3/11 7:42 PM
RE: actualism notes fred flinstone 8/3/11 8:01 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/3/11 9:26 PM
RE: actualism notes fred flinstone 8/3/11 10:09 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/3/11 11:20 PM
RE: actualism notes Nad A. 8/4/11 4:32 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/4/11 10:33 AM
RE: actualism notes Nad A. 8/4/11 4:24 AM
RE: actualism notes Bruno Loff 8/4/11 7:09 AM
RE: actualism notes Nad A. 8/4/11 12:06 PM
RE: actualism notes Gabriel S. 8/4/11 6:17 PM
RE: actualism notes Nad A. 8/4/11 7:04 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/4/11 8:14 PM
RE: actualism notes Nad A. 8/4/11 8:27 PM
RE: actualism notes Gabriel S. 8/4/11 9:34 PM
RE: actualism notes fred flinstone 8/4/11 10:28 PM
RE: actualism notes Gabriel S. 8/5/11 1:58 AM
RE: actualism notes fred flinstone 8/5/11 11:07 PM
RE: actualism notes Nad A. 8/5/11 2:47 AM
RE: actualism notes Gabriel S. 8/5/11 3:10 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/4/11 10:33 AM
RE: actualism notes Nad A. 8/4/11 12:17 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/4/11 1:23 PM
RE: actualism notes fred flinstone 8/4/11 2:55 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/4/11 4:02 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/4/11 6:03 PM
RE: actualism notes Elin S 8/5/11 4:17 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/5/11 8:23 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/5/11 8:30 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/5/11 11:55 AM
RE: actualism notes Jon T 8/5/11 3:37 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/5/11 4:21 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/6/11 12:30 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/8/11 8:34 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/8/11 6:41 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/9/11 1:24 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/9/11 3:43 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/22/11 11:35 AM
RE: actualism notes Steph S 8/22/11 12:10 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/22/11 1:20 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/22/11 2:34 PM
RE: actualism notes Harry Potter 8/24/11 2:43 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/24/11 3:13 PM
RE: actualism notes Adam Bieber 8/24/11 5:58 PM
RE: actualism notes Harry Potter 8/24/11 7:47 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/24/11 8:10 PM
RE: actualism notes Adam Bieber 8/24/11 8:30 PM
RE: actualism notes Harry Potter 8/24/11 9:44 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/24/11 9:58 PM
RE: actualism notes Adam Bieber 8/25/11 1:08 AM
RE: actualism notes Harry Potter 8/24/11 9:41 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/24/11 11:01 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/25/11 12:19 PM
RE: actualism notes Bruno Loff 9/1/11 6:12 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/6/11 9:56 AM
RE: actualism notes Steph S 9/6/11 12:59 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/11/11 5:09 PM
RE: actualism notes Adam Bieber 9/11/11 6:20 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/12/11 10:01 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/12/11 1:23 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/14/11 8:22 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/14/11 12:28 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/14/11 5:29 PM
RE: actualism notes Adam Bieber 9/14/11 7:20 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/14/11 5:56 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/15/11 8:24 AM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/15/11 9:16 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/15/11 11:04 AM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/15/11 12:43 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/15/11 1:57 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/15/11 4:17 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/15/11 5:16 PM
RE: actualism notes Steph S 9/15/11 5:36 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/15/11 5:50 PM
RE: actualism notes Steph S 9/15/11 6:24 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/15/11 6:31 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/15/11 7:34 PM
RE: actualism notes Nikolai . 9/15/11 6:10 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/15/11 9:48 PM
RE: actualism notes Bruno Loff 9/16/11 6:56 AM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/16/11 9:43 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/16/11 2:58 PM
RE: actualism notes josh r s 9/16/11 3:20 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/16/11 5:45 PM
RE: actualism notes josh r s 9/16/11 7:05 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/16/11 8:21 PM
RE: actualism notes josh r s 9/16/11 8:25 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/17/11 9:24 AM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/16/11 8:30 PM
RE: actualism notes Pål S. 9/17/11 5:26 AM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/17/11 5:35 AM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/17/11 7:21 AM
RE: actualism notes Harry Potter 9/17/11 2:55 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/17/11 3:40 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/17/11 5:18 PM
RE: actualism notes Martin M 9/17/11 8:30 PM
RE: actualism notes josh r s 9/17/11 8:51 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/17/11 11:19 PM
RE: actualism notes ManZ A 9/18/11 3:46 AM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 9/18/11 7:46 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/18/11 8:53 AM
RE: actualism notes Martin M 9/18/11 6:40 AM
RE: actualism notes Pål S. 9/18/11 3:52 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/16/11 3:26 PM
RE: actualism notes Tommy M 9/16/11 4:23 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/18/11 2:17 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/5/11 9:57 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/5/11 12:23 PM
RE: actualism notes Jon T 10/5/11 5:17 PM
RE: actualism notes Tommy M 10/7/11 4:00 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/6/11 10:55 AM
RE: actualism notes #1 - 0 10/6/11 11:33 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/7/11 9:52 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/13/11 9:14 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/14/11 10:34 AM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 10/14/11 10:50 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/14/11 11:08 AM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 10/14/11 11:36 AM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 10/14/11 11:40 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/14/11 11:46 AM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 10/14/11 12:22 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/14/11 2:08 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 10/14/11 9:56 PM
RE: actualism notes josh r s 10/16/11 1:59 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/14/11 1:08 PM
RE: actualism notes End in Sight 10/14/11 1:49 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/19/11 10:51 AM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/19/11 1:47 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/20/11 12:05 PM
RE: actualism notes Jon T 10/20/11 1:17 PM
RE: actualism notes Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/20/11 1:31 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/27/11 5:08 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) John Mitchell 10/28/11 3:38 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) John Wilde 10/28/11 8:19 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) End in Sight 10/28/11 8:36 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) John Wilde 10/28/11 8:42 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) End in Sight 10/28/11 8:46 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Nikolai . 10/28/11 8:54 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) John Wilde 10/28/11 9:33 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Nikolai . 10/28/11 10:04 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Adam Bieber 10/28/11 9:50 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 11/1/11 10:59 AM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 11/12/11 5:44 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 11/17/11 4:37 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 11/22/11 5:58 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/15/11 11:27 AM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Nikolai . 12/15/11 1:52 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/15/11 3:42 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Nikolai . 12/15/11 5:09 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/15/11 5:26 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/26/11 11:28 AM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 12/26/11 12:44 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/26/11 2:54 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 12/26/11 5:14 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/26/11 5:37 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 12/26/11 6:02 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/27/11 10:21 AM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 12/26/11 11:30 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/27/11 10:32 AM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 12/27/11 1:17 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Gardol U. Yack 12/17/11 8:30 AM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/19/11 11:51 AM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Gardol U. Yack 12/23/11 6:44 AM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/26/11 11:26 AM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Gardol U. Yack 1/3/12 7:01 AM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) End in Sight 12/17/11 10:04 AM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/19/11 12:01 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/16/11 1:10 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) josh r s 12/16/11 1:40 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 12/16/11 1:50 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/11/12 5:04 PM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/12/12 11:43 AM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/12/12 11:46 AM
RE: notes on my practice (inspired by actualism) Steph S 1/12/12 7:33 PM
Cease 'being' entirely Smithe H 2/12/12 10:29 AM
RE: Cease 'being' entirely Nikolai . 2/12/12 1:33 PM
RE: Cease 'being' entirely Andrew . 2/13/12 1:34 AM
[10/27/11: title changed to render it more accurate]

'you' can't make any sensory input happen!

say you're looking at the desk.. and you wonder what it feels like. so, "i'm going to feel the desk". then you reach out your hand and feel it. is there an expectation behind that? of what the desk will feel like? do you get the impression that 'you' are going to feel the desk, that as a result of 'your' action, the desk will be felt?

if you notice, all that's happening is that your hand is approaching the desk. when the hand physically touches the desk, the sensations of the desk get registered - contact. but 'you' didn't make that happen - it happened on its own.

same with vision. if your eyes are closed, and you want to see, you open them. the impression is that 'you' are controlling your vision, turning it on/off. but really the vision is always going on, and there's just the motor function of moving the eye flap, which either lets light in or it doesn't.

keeping this in mind seems to really help foster naivete and delight.

RE: naivete tip
Answer
7/10/11 6:50 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
the impression is that 'you' are controlling your vision, turning it on/off. but really the vision is always going on, and there's just the motor function of moving the eye flap, which either lets light in or it doesn't.

keeping this in mind seems to really help foster naivete and delight.


This reminds me of Richard's "out from control" (or whatever) whereupon one give's up control and let life live them. Two questions:

1. When you are feeling low, to what extent does being naive in such way help? By giving up control, thankfully I stop fighting with myself and cease exacerbating the condition, but - short of time and fate - I can't quickly come back to feeling good. Is this the expected result of being naive when feeling low?

2. "I" certain seem to have some control. Although "I" don't control involuntary movements like the ones you mentioned above, "I" seem to be the initiator of voluntary actions. For example, as I am sitting and writing things, a feeling of thirst (which is involuntary) makes "me" to intend to get up and get a glass water.

RE: naivete tip
Answer
7/10/11 7:02 PM as a reply to Harry Potter.
"out from control" (or whatever) whereupon one give's up control and let life live them. Two questions:



Richard:
As being out-from-control/ in a different-way-of-being implicitly requires pure intent – which renders the necessity for morals/ ethics/ values/ principles null and void – it is certainly not the territory a fledgling actualist has any business venturing into precipitously.


In other words, it's a dangerous place to venture if one can't recognize the social identity and the instinctual passions as they arise. One could easily confuse those things for happy whims and thus find oneself in a miserable spot.

RE: naivete tip
Answer
7/11/11 5:52 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
oo another one: take a walk, without knowing where you will go. literally. just let your body start walking. pay attention to it for little cues. like, i'll notice my body start to turn, and then it's easier to follow the turn.

found some really cool stuff this way. like i was just walking around an oval, i suddenly turned to the left into what i thought was just grass.. and there was a little cobblestone path there! great fun =).

RE: naivete tip
Answer
7/11/11 5:53 PM as a reply to Harry Potter.
Harry Potter:
1. When you are feeling low, to what extent does being naive in such way help? By giving up control, thankfully I stop fighting with myself and cease exacerbating the condition, but - short of time and fate - I can't quickly come back to feeling good. Is this the expected result of being naive when feeling low?

hmm no, i don't think the 'end state' of naivete is ever 'feeling low'. you're not being naive to the residual unhappy feelings.

when i am feeling low.. it hasn't occurred to me to try this, yet. was just a when-feeling-good tip =P.

Harry Potter:
2. "I" certain seem to have some control. Although "I" don't control involuntary movements like the ones you mentioned above, "I" seem to be the initiator of voluntary actions. For example, as I am sitting and writing things, a feeling of thirst (which is involuntary) makes "me" to intend to get up and get a glass water.

that's true. but hey, an actually free person also gets thirsty and goes up to get a glass of water. nothing wrong with that =P.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/13/11 1:04 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
i figure i'll just put stuff here that i find useful, so i renamed the thread

----

too many thoughts?

simple: pay more attention to the senses.

seems like there are always a few levels of sensory clarity: 'easy baseline', then 'easy stretch', then 'tough stretch', and always 'distracted' on the left end and PCE on the right end. as the mind gets more + more used to sensousness (as the mind gets more + more concentrated?), these levels will shift - easy stretch --> easy baseline, tough stretch --> easy stretch, etc., gradually approaching PCE as baseline.

since 'easy baseline' becomes what 'tough stretch' used to be, there is a tendency to relax, since the senses are where you'd have wanted them to be earlier by focusing a lot. by relaxing that way, though, you are freeing up mental energy, and without applying it to more attentiveness/sensuousness, thoughts will start coming in, even though as soon as you notice that, the senses are at a far superior level than they were earlier when you had to be focusing.

at first i was trying to just watch the thoughts, and if they arose, to stop 'em. but without focusing on the senses, they kept arising + arising + arising. it seems to work better to watch the senses and, once you notice a thought arising, just put more effort into being sensuous.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/13/11 1:00 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
also, check it out! an index of a bunch of topics on the AF trust site. could make for some good reading.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/14/11 2:03 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

since 'easy baseline' becomes what 'tough stretch' used to be, there is a tendency to relax, since the senses are where you'd have wanted them to be earlier by focusing a lot. by relaxing that way, though, you are freeing up mental energy, and without applying it to more attentiveness/sensuousness, thoughts will start coming in, even though as soon as you notice that, the senses are at a far superior level than they were earlier when you had to be focusing.


so money!! thanks!

added note: sometimes the senses get so good that it is "too" good and fear kicks in. Decreasing (making harmless) that fear, brings increased sensuousness.

Another thing that I realized today is that happy and harmless is a consistent state of the moment. Yes, one becomes gradually more harmless and experiences longer lasting happiness but in this moment with intent, one is as happy and harmless as one can be. This means that there is no point to keep trying to build happiness when you already are happy or mildly happy. Instead the focus is on sensuousness while one is happy and harmless. Sensuousness "opens" up the world and brings one to the actual. The happy and harmless allows you to easily explore the actual without distraction and in turn, the combination of happiness (however much currently accessible), harmlessness (however much currently accessible), and sensuousness automatically decreases the passions and then more happiness are harmlessness is occurs.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/14/11 12:26 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
hmm i notice how touching upon certain topics brings about a visceral fear/resistance response. like when thinking "what exactly did that last shift in my practice do?" there's immediate resistance to looking 'there'.

so: why am i scared of full understanding?

full understanding has always brought release and freedom

what brings pain is not the process leading to full understanding, but the resistance to the process. the resistance is ignorance. the process doesn't hurt - 'i' hurt. every time there was more understanding, there was less pain. so how much longer does that have to happen until 'i' actualize[1] the fact that understanding doesn't hurt? =P. (

[1] "Generally speaking a realisation is an understanding of something previously not cognised and an actualisation is the putting of that comprehension into action ... as in acting upon that cognisance so that it is experiential and not only intellectual." [link]

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/14/11 1:45 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

so: why am i scared of full understanding?



identity is afraid of its own end
its not fear "of" anything
it is fear itself

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/21/11 1:36 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
there are infinite reasons not to do this, but none of them would make any sense

the only thing that makes sense is the actual

reason it’s ok to be honest: being will die anyway with physical death. when being dies, all the parts of it that are ‘bad’ will go with it. anything ‘bad’ will go with it. so if there is something bad now, and you admit to it, you might feel ‘bad’. but it is the first step towards having it disappear. whether you know about it or not, it will go away with the rest of being, so you might as well know about it until then since it will be necessary if you want being to die before the body.

--

ah ‘i’ can’t eliminate ‘myself’… ‘i’ don thave to! whew! what a relief! all that energy freed up for being happy + harmless instead

--

‘i’ dont have to do anything!

I DONT HAVE TO D OANYTHING!

just have to let this happen by itself

oh but i dont wanna do that - i want to be useful!

ah HA!

have to be ok with everything taking care of itself from now on. because there is no ‘doer’. because ‘i’ am not in control in that fashion

--

woa .. ‘i’ am ‘actual freedom’ as a concept, as a thing-to-become… the concept of the thing.. is ‘me’…

--

(note added just now): i realized i was a closet-annihliationist.

Culdasa:
Anyone who craves non-existence, who embraces the Dhamma as the path to an ultimate end to the endless cycle of suffering and rebirth, but who can only conceive of liberation in terms of oblivion. The rebirth they wish to escape is, of course, that of a Self that for them does exist, although admittedly in a mysteriously relative and mind-dependent way, but a Self that is all too painfully and undeniably real none-the-less. Since this Self exists in some mysteriously mind-dependent way, it is the mind that must put an end to it. Insights into impermanence and suffering are seen as the path by which the Self will be destroyed and become a No-Self that will not be reborn. These are the closet "anihilationists".
[link]

oops, hehe.. thence the burning 'i' that wants to get rid of itself, which can't happen anyway... so when i mean 'everything taking care of itself', i might have before had the image of just stuff moving without volition, like being possessed in a way.. but that's not quite it.

--

there is the real world. that of imagined people, events, ideas, of time passing, of yesterday and tomorrow and desire, etc... there is what is actual - sensory input, volition, consciousness, perception. how to get it done? pay attention to the actual. every moment, pay attention to what is being experienced, and discern whether it is actual or real. focus on what is known to be actual - that which was there in a PCE.

every single moment, be i desiring or calm or relaxed or wondering what that flicker just was or seeing something pretty or something aversive or typing or chatting or thinking or moving boxes or just enjoying life as it is - every moment, just pay attention. be attentive, be sensuous, incline towards what is actual, and what is actual becomes more + more evident the closer one gets.

now i know that what is actual is always there, and there is this pasting over experience of the 'real' world. so any moment, as outlined previously, pay attention to that, to what is 'real' and what is actual. and since it is obviously much more preferable to not have the pasting-over (usually - some things still 'snag'), the act of noticing + inclining is enough for the 'real' to subside.

pure intent: a non-affective preference for the actual.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/21/11 2:32 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
also, 'be' the jhana - excellent advice

before i thought of and experienced and practice jhana as something like.. either a means to an end (get to here so i can vipassanize it and get fruitions), or when i did try to use it to calm down, it was like just experiencing something nice and letting the niceness rub off on 'me' so that 'i' would calm down. kind of like taking a drug - just getting doses of it. but there was still a 'me' at the center feeling it all, with all the passions and such there.

however, when 'being' the jhana, that very 'me' at the center, with all the passions - that very 'me' transforms. the passions dissipate, all of 'being' (or whatever amount you can get) transforms into the jhana. it's basically a more sublime way of existing.. it was quite amazing (and it seems very easy to cling to it, so luckily i know it's not the goal, hehe)

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/22/11 4:51 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
hi,
one of the main themes of the no-self of actualism or of RT or of straight theravada is that phenomena is occuring by itself. there is no controller, no seer etc. could one of you lay it out for me, how this teaching fits with the very clear old text descriptions / definitions of "volition"? if there is no doer, whose volition is it? to whose account will this karmic chit be credited? or are we back to the "two truths"?

thanks

tom

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/22/11 9:19 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
tom moylan:
...how this teaching fits with the very clear old text descriptions / definitions of "volition"? if there is no doer, whose volition is it?


could you post which definition you're referring to?

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/22/11 9:49 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
tom moylan:
hi,
one of the main themes of the no-self of actualism or of RT or of straight theravada is that phenomena is occuring by itself. there is no controller, no seer etc. could one of you lay it out for me, how this teaching fits with the very clear old text descriptions / definitions of "volition"? if there is no doer, whose volition is it? to whose account will this karmic chit be credited? or are we back to the "two truths"?

thanks

tom


volition is also not-self..it arises automatically (on it's own due to inter-dependent conditions)

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/22/11 10:24 AM as a reply to Shashank Dixit.
Shashank Dixit:
volition is also not-self..it arises automatically (on it's own due to inter-dependent conditions)


(NOTE: just my thoughts, not sure if they are accurate or helpful)

there seem to be two approaches.. the anatta strategy: X is not-i, not-me, not-mine, so why is there clinging to it? and the clinging is dropped. or: 'i' am Y and Y is 'me' - knowing that, Y can be dropped, since it is 'my' choice whether to perpetuate it.

there is actual volition.. seeing how in a PCE or when AF, one still seems in control of one movements... but i think there are also volitional formations, which are 'me' - perhaps they are the clinging to volition?

it seems like i can sit here, completely still, and then will a lot of like rambling thoughts, emotions, chase this or that, buzz around, squirm inside my head, without actually moving. nothing actual changes, just the 'self' does. perhaps that's what volitional formations are.. directed selfing. maybe thats why, once one gets the hang of the actualism method, one can choose to be happy instead of not happy.. since 'i' am 'volitional formations' and 'volitional formations' are 'me', 'i' can will 'me' (not actual will) to 'be' differently.

seems all the really painful things, like emotions that just friggin won't let go, make more sense this way.. there's the volitional formation to cling to that, and it is happening blindly, so 'out of your control' in a sense, since you have no idea why it's occurring.. but once you see the cause, then the autopilot drops, and 'you' can choose whether to keep doing it.

also, usually 'i' have a mental model of the body, like a stick figure as opposed to the full richness of the actual flesh+blood body. normally, one thinks of it as 'me' moving the stick figure, which causes the body to move. but in a PCE it's just - body moving. perhaps that's difference between a volitional formation (which is 'me' moving stick figure) and actual will (body moving).

EDIT: or maybe tis giving 'me' too much credit.. it's all dependently originated (causal) anyway, even the volitional formations. they only arise due to current conditions. so thinking it's 'my' job to clean 'myself' up, in the sense of it being 'important' or 'mattering', might just be clinging to volition.

seems a tricky one... volition matters to some degree, otherwise it wouldn't matter whether we practice or not... any thoughts?

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/22/11 10:47 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
hmm 'i' am quite powerful, in a sense... like when massive eruption of negative affect occurs, the immediate impression is that it is happening to me, and woe is me, why is that there ?! but really, the massive negative affect is me...

there might be a tendency to deny it. 'why would i ever do that? why would i be that? i wouldn't!' but 'i' am! and 'why' is a wonderful question, which is important to figure out, cause if you don't know why, it will keep happening.

'agreeing to self-immolate': it seems that the goal is to stop clinging to yourself. there's like a tight reflexive loop of clinging + clinging + clinging. cut the clinging little by little.. by seeing that it is happening and why it is happening - nothing is necessary, just clear seeing. i guess the effort that is necessary is to allow 'me' to relax, so that the seeing can happen. and that can be hard with lots of clinging. but it gets easier as one gets closer, since there is less clinging..

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/22/11 11:18 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
maybe volition is the brain/body's natural mechanism to move towards homeostasis - in the case of an entity who has had a certain amount of peace/stillness, the brain/body may automatically move back to that established baseline whenever it strays.

ho·me·o·sta·sis/ˌhōmēəˈstāsis/Noun: The tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, esp. as maintained by physiological processes.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/22/11 12:26 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
hmm 'i' am quite powerful, in a sense... like when massive eruption of negative affect occurs, the immediate impression is that it is happening to me, and woe is me, why is that there ?! but really, the massive negative affect is me...

there might be a tendency to deny it. 'why would i ever do that? why would i be that? i wouldn't!' but 'i' am!


this brings me back to 'i' am 'my' feelings and 'my' feelings are 'me'. understanding that makes all.. this.. so much simpler. when you realize it's 'me' fighting with 'me', how it's all the same 'me'.. it definitely helps. i feel like i come back and re-understand this one every few weeks, perhaps more deeply each time.

and it's scary, cause 'me' can be very powerful.. and 'me' is the 'pain', so admitting 'you' are 'it' is not always easy.. but is so delightful once admitted. sincerity sincerity.. once you are sincere (one 'me') it's much easier to do anything.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/22/11 1:34 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
this brings me back to 'i' am 'my' feelings and 'my' feelings are 'me'.


going on this again... the impression is that there is a 'me', separate from the rest of 'me', that 'i' am (and the rest 'i' am not). the goal is for 'me' to feel as good as possible... and darn those things that aren't 'me' that are interfering! (e.g. anger, angst, annoyance, anguish... how many more that start with just 'an'? hah.)

the truth is that it's all 'me'... and this is weird because it's so.. impersonal. that which you took to be happening to you, you now understand as actually being you.. and you realize, what 'you' are doing, is not at all for 'your' benefit, not really.. it just happens, according to karma (cause + effect).

and it seems like the most enlightened you can get is when there is absolutely no personal 'you' at all, and it's entirely a gigantic, powerful impersonal Self[2]. not sure why that didnt happen for me, yet.. 'i' feel like 'i' am pretty demure as far as enlightenment...

interestingly i got a 3rd path shift when contemplating 'i' am 'my' feelings.. perhaps further contemplation will lead to another shift. but the immediate benefit is that of not banging my head against a wall, where 'i' am both 'my head' and 'a wall', with regards to painful feelings.

EDIT: even weirder is when you realize 'i' am 'the real world' and 'the real world' is 'me'... all the images of people, events, past, future, etc., also all 'me'. it's weird cause it feels like dissociating.. it feels like i'm taking the 'truth' ('i' remember the 'past' via visualization) and messing it up ('i' am the 'past' as a visualization). but i guess it's actually the opposite - associating?

i guess if you fully dissociate ('i' am not any of these things (but Self remains)) or fully associate ('i' am all of these things (all being limited to those of the affective faculty)) you can get a similar result.. the difference being that the association is more precise ('i' am not sensory input, or the purity of the actual world) while the dissociation is imprecise ('i' am not my body, 'i' am not the senses, 'i' am the Awareness of all of these things), and the imprecision makes it difficult to see what exactly is left.

EDIT: all this actually helps a lot, though. 2 days ago was one of the best days of my life. 'i' had no need to look for a PCE because experience was so close to one anyway. it was a day of moving stuff in the hot sun for hours, lots of muscular effort, tons of potential for irritation to arise, yet there was almost none. i can see now what people mean by a 99% perfect day.. i'd say it was more like 85-90%, perhaps, but pretty damn good still. yesterday kinda sucked though. i think 'i' took the rush of having such a great time, it started me thinking about what there's left to do, and that was ok, but a little latch got unhinged and annoyance started up, and then i ran with that, and it didn't end up too pretty.

i smoked some salvia yesterday night, which didnt help, either. it was pretty fascinating though. the pressure in my head immediately came to life. it became fully animated. it was still in my head, but it was no longer an undifferentiated blob, it was like a huge set of stories interacting with each other, this part doing this, it being interesting to chase this other one down.. it felt like an amazing way to figure out what it actually is, by tunneling through and picking it apart. this happened last time i smoekd it, too, and im glad i did again cause that might be where some of my obsession with chasing it comes from..

but then afterwards i was all, damn, such lack of self on wednesday, and such large amount of self on thursday.. what's up with that? will i be doomed to always be able to fall back like that, outside of my control? why does that happen to me?

today morning started off with huge unpleasantness in chest. it wasn't coarse, just like a small point of bundled-up desire, that was pulling me in no direction at all, but still there. i was able to gradually soften it.. then the mood started improving, and it slowly kept going up, which was nice. but then i put 2 and 2 together of how 'i' am 'my' feelings and 'my' feelings are 'me', and its like oh, that unpleasantness didn't happen to me, it was me. that salvia-inspired fantastical story-spinning wasn't 'me' watching a fascinating thing unfold... it was 'me', as a tantalizing, remarkably powerful[1] being, proliferating and hallucinating all over the place.

and that makes it all fine.. cause it's not 'out of my control', it's not 'in my control' either, its just 'me'.

i do wonder what salvia would do for a non-feeling being..

[1] it's funny, before it came up, i closed my eyes and tried to get into jhana really fast to prevent some unpleasantness. i saw the jhana form, then the next jhana starting to form, then it was like caught, stuck in place, then receded, then the salvia took full effect.
[2] powerful, but ultimately not actual.. which is kinda funny, i guess.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/22/11 5:08 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

also, usually 'i' have a mental model of the body, like a stick figure as opposed to the full richness of the actual flesh+blood body.


This is very insightful...thanks.

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

i smoked some salvia yesterday night, which didnt help, either. it was pretty fascinating though.


Do you find this kind of drug use helpful in terms of AF or vipassana, or is it just something you do because you enjoy it? (Genuine question.)

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/22/11 5:50 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Do you find this kind of drug use helpful in terms of AF or vipassana, or is it just something you do because you enjoy it? (Genuine question.)


hmm salvia isn't really enjoyable.. i kind of wanted to see what would happen since the last time i took it. i'd say a net negative, due to the unpleasantness (put me in quite the bad mood after), except maybe it offered some insight on the nature of the head-stuff. (but i might have easily decided to do more and to really really pursue the head stuff with it, which would likely have not led to good things).

marijuana i do find helpful, though - easier to get remarkable sensual clarity, slip into so-close-to-PCEs (basically full sensory integration, but a speck of being somewhere in there left), etc... also makes it a lot easier for me to get into hard jhanas, especially to 'be' the jhanas, though there might be some dependence there as they aren't quite as good without (and i wonder if they would be if i had just never tried it while high). vipassana-wise it makes everything more intense, and i may have used it to my net detriment in that regard.. it provides a tendency in me to 'plow through' stuff instead of really understanding it, and pursuing that tendency too much likely helped contribute to my imbalanced practice, but overall, i got where i am now, and i used it, so i can't complain.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/22/11 7:30 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Do you think that developing your ability to get PCEs and near-PCEs while high carries over to your ability to get them while sober?
In other words...does the undoing of the habitual affective responses while high translate meaningfully to their undoing otherwise? And if so, to what extent (in your estimation)?

Just wonderin'.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/22/11 7:31 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

hmm salvia isn't really enjoyable..


...does *anyone* think it is? Never heard of such a thing. emoticon

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/25/11 1:36 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Do you think that developing your ability to get PCEs and near-PCEs while high carries over to your ability to get them while sober?
In other words...does the undoing of the habitual affective responses while high translate meaningfully to their undoing otherwise? And if so, to what extent (in your estimation)?


i think so. right now, anyway, the high-mind seems to enhance certain of the factors of enlightenment: rapture (bodily pleasure), joy, energy, concentration, insight into reality. it seems to detract from equanimity, tranquility, and mindfulness, but i can focus specifically on those to compensate. the result is a more malleable mind, and while i do get distracted due to lack of mindfulness sometimes, when i focus it seems pretty skillful. i think in that state i am able to bring insight into 'being', causing parts of it to fall away.. those parts remain fallen-away when sober, making the sober state more effortless and closer to PCE by default.

the high mind also seems to be able to more easily stay close to the actual.. and such doses of the actual or near-actual seem to reduce clinging to becoming. in other words, my baseline sober state does seem to improve after a night of high contemplation.

the previous two paragraphs might also be saying the same thing, but worded differently.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/25/11 3:50 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
I still take a smoke and since going all out for AF I've been looking at this too. So far I'm getting the impression that it's easier to go to, as Beoman says, near-PCE but still with that affective component to the experience ("I am stoned" or whatever) which becomes really slippery to pin down. This is probably just down to inexperience with the approach though but I'm going to need to investigate this more anyway.

Btw Claudiu, this is the first time I've read this thread and it's got some excellent stuff here. I'll try to drop you a line through the week and get a chat again soon!

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/25/11 5:26 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
near-PCE but still with that affective component to the experience ("I am stoned" or whatever) which becomes really slippery to pin down. This is probably just down to inexperience with the approach though but I'm going to need to investigate this more anyway.

ah i did notice that, too. another thing to try is - try being completely sober instead of stoned. see where that takes you.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/25/11 7:56 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
quite a fun weekend of investigation... not sure 'i' will survive many more of these =P. a bunch of notes; i lay them out here both to potentially help others and to ask for pointers.

------------------------------------

Wrong Approaches (wrong view?)

  • a tendency to want to 'be' actually free, so that 'i' am unable to be affected by the world. but it's not that - it's that whatever might be perturbed (or be the perturbation) is impossible to arise.
  • i want to be close to af and to just go away or to just be 'done', not to know and/or be free... wrong approach!
  • i hated any sign that i wasn't done because it meant more work... wrong approach!
  • i was afraid to explore everything equally and really look at everything, because what if i find that something i like is something that will 'go away'? wrong approach!
  • tendency to want to dim the faculties and not investigate at 100%, so that i can seem done... a wanting to accept that the current experience is good enough. not useful! although it's also not useful to believe it isn't good enough... just have to continue to be attentive + such
  • want to wait and finally be done and then i can look at everything non-stop with never-ending amazement... wrong approach!
  • naivete is important. wanted sensations in head to go away. so any manifestation of them (what i deemed 'more') i was averse to... but, letting it run, and paying attention, it manifested a certain way , kept manifesting, it felt bad, but then the feeling that it was 'bad' was looked at, the realization that the good/badness of it was arbitrary arose, so it was no longer seen as bad, then it formed in a particular way, it lessened in a way that would have seemed painful before+, and then that way of it arising seems to have stopped.

    + interestingly, as a whole formation it was decreasing in 'real size' (non-actual size), like getting smaller like a dot. but it got to feeling really painful, or rather, painful-seeming, though a very diminished incredible-pain.. so it was bearable pain, but felt like if it was larger in 'real size' it would have hurt a lot. so i thought i was suppressing it unnaturally or something, "hiding" it in a way.. but it might just have been unraveling.

after these were seen and dropped, it certainly got a lot easier and more fun to investigate...

------------------------------------

Change of Lineage?

on friday, after a day of feeling quite nice, with little perceptual disturbances/flickering, basically a nice EE most of the time, i sat upon the toilet, and started at the wall. the edges of my field of vision came inward with blackness, and flickered a few times - a fruition. and slightly after it was perhaps a shift.. and after the shift i felt pretty different. the immediate impression was that it was much easier to stay close to the actual.. it feels like 'i' flipped over in a way, and now the actual is more 'normal' than the normal, in a way...

i am wondering if it was 10-fetter anagami. what immediately arose is restlessness - lots and lots of restlessness. or rather it was already there before, but now with less stuff clouding it, it was felt as more... i still performed actions that i might have done before out of restlessness - like scarf down some food very unmindfully - but it was like the sensual-desire aspect of eating (in that case) wasn't there. it tasted great, but there wasn't any (or nearly as much) clinging to the taste. but it was happening out of the restlessness (which has diminished a lot now).

the 10-fetter model might have just been laid out to help point out to practitioners what is left.. there is no need to have any fetter besides 'ignorance', since once that is gone all the others are, too - so why mention a particular one like 'restlessness'? perhaps just to point out what might be left, or to help as an indicator - if feeling restless, find out why, it's one of the fetters!

about ill will - i feel like there is almost no ill will left toward others. however there is still ill will towards myself ('sorrow'), although greatly diminished..

in any case it is nice. and came with a lot less pomp + circumstance than other times i thought i had a path-moment.

---

insight arising shortly after shift: emotions are backwards/past-facing or forwards/future-facing. excitement is forward-facing - does nothing but 'be' suffering in the moment. pride is backward-facing - does nothing but make you suffer in the moment.

---

no ill will means no shame any more, just wonder + knowing. can look at everything now!

------------------------------------

Cessation of Perception and Feeling

shortly after said shift, i entered + remained in a state that fits the description "cessation of perception and feeling" quite literally... in that there was no perception (no sensory discernment) and no feeling (no vedana - no positive/negative/neutral). and there was also no 'being' - just pure consciousness, i suppose, with naught much else.

i wish i knew better what exactly caused it to happen, as it seems really useful to be able to repeat, but i've already started clinging to the attainment and claiming it as 'mine'... will have to figure that out.

the approach: sitting with open-eyes. i was wondering how exactly 'i' investigate things... it seems like thoughts are a constant part of my contemplations, so i wondered if it was actually useful.. then i wondered if it was actually not the volitional thinking that was doing anything, but rather, that thoughts arose when in a skillful absorption (perhaps as a side-effect and not the main event), and that i mistook cause + effect and started fostering thoughts whenever i meditate, perhaps to trigger the skillful absorption. maybe that's why i always have trouble quieting the monkey mind - cause of attachment to thoughts.

anyway i started wondering if i entered a kind of thinking-jhana.. this led to contemplation on the 7 factors of enlightenment, more below. but anyway i was sitting with that in mind, and i suppose i started getting into arupa jhanas.

at some point something started happening that has before - the visual field got a bit weird. perception diminished, but not entirely - visual field was blurry-ish, not really well-perceived. perhaps 8th jhana. then certain aspects of the visual field started patterning themselves - this happened before, too - in this case, the pattern of the wooden hardwood floor started appearing everywhere. however, this time, some conditions were different, and the process was able to keep happening. it soon came that the entire visual field, which i could see crisply + clearly - as in not faded or dimmed or wobbly - was just a repeating pattern of piece-of-hardwood-floor. quite surreal indeed. then (and this might be out-of-order): a bit of a weird slip where all 6 senses integrated - might have been 'being' leaving - the disappearance of all vedana, along with coarse-rough ever-present touch sensations in my head, and then even that visual perception, along with any auditory or tactile perception, stopped happening. it was really clear, incredibly incredibly relaxing - and if being was indeed absent, then this state is a true refuge, so that makes sense.

i dont know how long the lack of being part lasted, though i somehow got the impression it wasn't long.

interesting thing was that, firsrt the state was entered, then there was a 'pang' of becoming in the 'middle' of it (but not really 'middle'). normally it would be associated with the center of my head, but that wasn't being felt, so it was really just somewhere out of space. then the pang faded. a very similar pattern occurs all the time - i associate it with releasing some clinging, though not sure if that's true. then the pang was totally gone, back into the pure absorption, then that, too, faded.

i had formed some ideas about the state previously - namely that there could be no being in it due to lack of vedana. this seems to have been confirmed. i also had the idea that, exiting the attainment mindfully, being could be eliminated... so 'i' really focused to see exactly how the re-arising of vedana corresponded with the arising of being. and it was really a very interesting few moments. being arose, and it was like each fragment of being was formed by having a chain of vedana - pleasant, unpleasant, neutral - arise, perhaps 3-5 moments in a row, and then that chain would somehow start manifesting more, and perpetuate - perhaps that's the clinging. it felt like seeing dependent origination in real-time...

it was quite amazing.. and cultivating that state seems really useful... now if only i knew how it happened.. =P.

EDIT: in terms of the senses, the visual messed-up-perception was what i noticed most. i did notice, before/after the state, though , that the auditory field was basically completely filled up with ringing , completely obscuring any outside noises..

---

an observation about it: existence would be totally OK in a perma-ns.. there was no one there to be bored or to desire or to feel 'bad' (or 'good').. if it would be OK there, of course i'd be ok with full mental faculties... no?

------------------------------------

Clinging to the Aggregates

we think that when 'i' go that i will die, taking consciousness, actual will, and memories with me. but 'i' don't die.. 'i' never was. one THINKS that becoming is what-i-am, identifying with becoming (with itself), and don't want it to stop. yet it's just a trick deluding the mind.. nothing bad happens when becoming stops, as evidenced in full PCEs, or in NS. tarin's post is relevant here:

tarin:
'you' think 'you' can control this process by controlling attentiveness to physical sensations. but 'you' don't have control in that process - 'you' don't even exist in that capacity, in actuality.

the actual world is not 'i'. the actual will is not 'i'. intelligence is not 'i'. consciousness is not 'i'. memory is not 'i'. discernment is not 'i'. intention is not 'i'. motor function is not 'i'. controlling is not 'i'. attentiveness is not 'i'. physical sensations are not 'i'. this process is not 'i'.

further, 'the actual world is not 'mine.' the actual will is not 'mine'. intelligence is not 'mine'. consciousness is not 'mine'. memory is not 'mine'. discernment is not 'mine'. intention is not 'mine'. motor function is not 'mine'. controlling is not 'mine'. attentiveness is not 'mine'. physical sensations are not 'mine'. this process is not 'mine'.

one who realises that none of these things are 'i', or 'mine', realises 'my' time is up.


---

generally it seems like all 'being' does is imitate what is actual. one wonders why the **** it is there in the first place =P. one way i thought about it is in terms of the 5 aggregates, affective pasting over of each one

  • senses - the dimness of the senses when not in a PCE is the affective overlay. not to mention the 'grasping' to them, like only looking at one particular thing, etc. that doesn't go away - the actual senses become apparent in their full glory.
  • vedana - emotions, perhaps? not sure about this. in the clear parts of the clear PCE i had everything was nice.. i tried grabbing onto a rough tree trunk to see how pain would feel, and it wasn't unpleasant in the same way.. but emotions arising might be just a huge making-a-mountain-out-of-a-molehill with vedana.
  • perception - the fact that everything can get wobbly by staring at a cup, indicates that that perception is something that is not actual.
  • volition - what i said earlier, how you can imagine moving but not actually move. emotions have something to do with this, as well (perhaps that is what is meant when people say things like it is, strictly speaking, 'my' choice how to experience this moment of being alive.
  • consciousness - not sure here. the feeling of being , perhaps.. or perhaps, there is a feeling of not quite seeing everything, when not in a PCE. like there are momentary lapses. so even though i'm not actively not-being-conscious of what's in front of me, it fades in + out.


the point of listing it is - don't worry! no need to cling to them. when they are gone, the actual will be left, and the actual is the 'good stuff' anyway.

---

it makes no sense to cling to something just because it's there. yet that's what clinging to becoming is.. (or that's what becoming is - clinging)

------------------------------------

Factors of Enlightenment PCEs

i've been paying attention more + more to the factors of enlightenment. it seems like another way to classify what attentiveness + sensuousness point to - perhaps a more precise way? each factor, in a PCE, is absent, because it is entirely redundant - apperception reveals the actual quality of each, while the factors themselves for a feeling-being are just skillful ways of becoming, or forms of affect. i wonder if each one could be a potential entrance in a PCE, but it seems their real power (both explicative and practical) comes in balancing + cultivating them as a self-reflexive system (more equanimity/tranquility/concentration requires more energy/joy-rapture/insight requires more equanimity/tranquility/concentration, etc, all with mindfulness to top it off).

potential interpretations linking to actualist method: happy (rapture/joy), harmless (equanimity, tranquility), attentiveness (mindfulness, concentration, equanimity), delight (joy), sensuousness (rapture/joy (ardency?), concentration)

so i wonder, when i sit and contemplate, or meditate, even though thoughts do arise a lot, i wonder if it's not just an automatic adjustment of the factors.

the interesting thing here also is that you don't have to 'do' anything. all 'you' 'do' is balance the factors.. and when the factors are balanced, clinging is released.

------------------------------------

About 'Being'

it seems that what 'being' does is latch onto/abrogate each of the aggregates. e.g. the senses/perception: there's the constant sense of touch being messed with around my head and neck area. it seems to be being attaching to the touch-sense.. and when i took salvia it attached to the visual and auditory sense as well. nothing 'changed' per se, it was just manifesting differently.

that's why you cant ever 'find' 'being'... it's not at any of those places, it just manifests that way.

---

being comes in little loops (volitional formations?). what seems to happen, per culadasa's comment (which i can't find) is that (paraphrasing) clinging/craving is slowly replaced by equanimity and insight. riffing on that comment (that's all i rememberd):

mix in equanimity + insight into each little loop. eventually, with enough of both, it 'liberates', as in, stop forming. however, all that 'work' that you did to put equanimity + insight into it, is suddenly not useful anymore, per se, since that loop is gone. this might partly explain why, once you find something that 'works', it stops working soon.. cause the thing it worked on no longer arises - it did work - but now you have to find another loop to mix equanimity + insight into. a constantly shifting thing.. though the premise is the same: balance your factors of enlightenment! (that is to say, not only equanimity + insight are useful/necessary, but all of them are).

it seems almost like you take a volitional-formation-loop that happens on-its-own and mix in some skillful volitional-formations to slowly unwind it (on-its-own, of course..)

---

these seem to arise in four steps: the grossest/most deluded is when 'i' am following a belief or clinging to something in an uncontrolled way, happening by default. unrestrained delusion. after a bit of work, 'i' can stop clinging to it, but only if i focus. if i stop focusing it happens on its own. after this stage, it's there on its own, and if 'i' don't follow it, it doesn't manifest, but it also isn't going away by itself. a lot of stuff seems 'held at bay' like this. finally, when enough of the factors arise with the loop, it starts diminishing on its own, without doing anything, and all 'i' have to do here is not re-cling to it before it's gone.

---

in other words: being doesn't arise in a vacuum.. it arises with the rest of the qualities of the totality of experience that a particular individual is experiencing that moment... if being arises with the proper conditions then insight into being will penetrate it and a little bit (or a lottle bit) of clinging will be dropped.

---

i mention all the above because thats what i felt was happening, after a period of practicing uninterrupted for sufficiently long enough. it felt like i could feel the enlightenment-factors mixing in with the becoming and causing it to dissipate... not yet sure if it was delusion or an accurate insight.

this also seems the 'head on' approach - it doesn't seem like it would result in PCE... i'm not yet sure by which process 'being' can go into abeyance to result in a PCE, vs. aspects of 'being' being eliminated entirely via clear-seeing. PCE seems more about aligning conditions such that being doesn't arise, for a spell, whereas what i was doing was more allowing being to arise, but doing so with (hopefully) sufficient insight+equanimity+such so that it can be seen clearly and be dropped.

---

there were a few instances where it felt like a knot just broke apart, and after that, there were tons of unpleasant sensations over the body, but each one separately was easily/automatically looked at + dissipated. so the knotting was like a way to hide all of those, but made it harder to look at them..

---

'cycling' as a way of being - i hardly notice cycling at all, anymore, but sometimes (usually after smoking) i'll notice the stages of insight coming up again. and it's pretty.. comical i guess! more surreal than anything. it's like 'oh, these again?' it seems they were just more ways for 'being' to manifest...

---

it's funny how in pulp fiction, marcellus wallace has a band-aid on the back of his neck cause that's where the devil drew his soul from.. funny cause the back of the neck is where it feels like the soul is! perceptive people...

------------------------------------

staying in a 'fruition'?

here by 'fruition' i refer to a noticeably distinct state i enter into sometimes, though seems like i only distinguish it with any confidence when high. basically it feels like there's a shift into it, perhaps with a discontinuity (fruition-like cessation). the senses are different - visually, for example, i often notice that light appears dimmer than usual. what's weird is that being is still there, except it's much, much less sticky - it seems like everything is slippery and just slipping away on its own. it seems like a great state from which to contemplate from. it requires some effort to maintain, not in terms of doing anything, but in terms of not doing something to exit from it. i haven't really observed the exit from it very carefully so i'm not sure what ends it.

i mention it because it seems different from an EE, having a noticeable shift into it, different from a PCE, as there is being, but seems to have some qualities of PCE... perhaps it is the fruition-attainment as ayya khema describes.

------------------------------------

Miscellany

i've felt bad about enjoying myself unless somebody else approves. and i also feel bad cause i have felt that what others want to do is necessary, and it HAS to be done, and i feel bad if i don't do that. but having my own preferences is NOT bad.

--

the past and future are not actual now.. so there is tons + tons of room for volitional formations to arise about those. in the what's-happening-now there is the darned actual world right there, so it's harder for delusion to take hold, especially with focus.

--

what 'actual world'? i don't see it! it's just the senses. or 'actual freedom' - what's that? i don't see it anywhere. but it's funny cause you have to put a word to things to describe it to others.. but as soon as you do, when talking to a feeling-being, automatically concepts start being formed about it. but it seems to work out eventually as one sees for ones self.

--

EDIT: balls... typing restlessly leads to restlessness... who would've thought?

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/25/11 9:38 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
(cheers to enjoying (yourself))


being arose, and it was like each fragment of being was formed by having a chain of vedana - pleasant, unpleasant, neutral - arise, perhaps 3-5 moments in a row, and then that chain would somehow start manifesting more, and perpetuate - perhaps that's the clinging. it felt like seeing dependent origination in real-time...
It could not be simpler, could it? Solvating in the immediate now exits ongoing production of dependent origination.

Reading Tommy M's run through the forest (the turn-around), I remembered running in Alaska, the spongy forest floor, musky air, and wondered for a moment how the forest and feet engaged for TM.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/26/11 6:03 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman, I have no particular practical comments, but I found your reflections useful to read, so thanks for posting them.

Your claim of 10-fetter anagami is interesting in a purely theoretical way; if that's what you have, then unless you attained technical 4th path simultaneously, that suggests that technical 4th path isn't even sakadagami in the suttas, but is some kind of further development of stream entry which is completely optional and not even on the map.

I consider that my current state is very likely 10-fetter anagami, and from that state I can see very clearly that this is approaching the end of the line for 'me,' so if that's what you've got also, that's great, hopefully we'll both be done soon. emoticon I don't find any ill-will towards others in my current experience (though I can easily go through the motions of acting angry at people, without an affective response, and have done that). If you interpret sorrow as ill-will towards oneself, I don't find that in my experience either, but that could just be coincidental (due to being happy / having an EE of some kind most of the day, suppressing that particular defilement).

(In my opinion it's not worth spending much time analyzing this possibility, so just keep going and things will be good however they turn out to have been.)

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/26/11 11:52 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Your claim of 10-fetter anagami is interesting in a purely theoretical way; if that's what you have, then unless you attained technical 4th path simultaneously, that suggests that technical 4th path isn't even sakadagami in the suttas, but is some kind of further development of stream entry which is completely optional and not even on the map.


that might be true. i feel like the level of 'enlightenment' gotten before doesn't really matter per se.. or that whatever that level was, as one approaches af it becomes less + less important.. which makes sense since 'enlightenment' is a way to re-shape 'being' and 'being' starts fading entirely.

it's ironic that some of the people who are for infinite development of 'enlightenment' and perpetual deepening of the 'enlightened' state also consider actual freedom to be a developmental dead end.. when it's 'enlightenment' that is the dead end in that sense. i think the only reason that someone practicing for 20 years has for not being free is not knowing what to look for.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/26/11 12:02 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

it's ironic that some of the people who are for infinite development of 'enlightenment' and perpetual deepening of the 'enlightened' state also consider actual freedom to be a developmental dead end.. when it's 'enlightenment' that is the dead end in that sense. i think the only reason that someone practicing for 20 years has for not being free is not knowing what to look for.


Mahaa Sakyamuni Gotamo Sutta: Gotama the Great Sage of the Sakya
SN 12.10

[1] "Monks, [likewise[2]] before I attained supreme Enlightenment, while I was still a Bodhisatta,[3] the thought occurred to me: 'This world, alas, has fallen into sore distress. There is being born, growing old, dying, passing over and being reborn. But from all this suffering, from decay and death, no way of release is apparent. Surely there must be some way of release discoverable from this suffering, this decay-and-death.'

"Then, monks, this thought occurred to me 'What being present does decay-and-death come to be? What conditions decay-and-death?' Then, monks, as I considered this thoroughly,[4] the insight and comprehension dawned on me: 'Birth being present, death-and-decay comes to be; decay-and-death is conditioned by birth.' Then the thought occurred to me: 'What being present does birth come to be? What conditions birth?... becoming... grasping... craving... feeling... contact... the six sense-bases... name-form... consciousness... (kamma-) formations?[5]...' Then, as I considered this thoroughly, the insight and comprehension dawned on me: 'Ignorance being present the formations come to be; the formations are conditioned by ignorance.' And so we have it like this: 'Conditioned by ignorance are the formations, conditioned by the formations is consciousness... So there comes about the arising of this entire mass of suffering.'

"'Arising, arising!' — At this thought, monks, there arose in me, concerning things unheard of before, vision,[6] knowledge,[7] understanding,[8] light.

"Then, monks, the thought occurred to me: 'By the absence of what does decay-and-death not come to be?' Then, monks, as I considered this thoroughly, the insight and comprehension dawned on me: 'In the absence of birth, decay-and-death does not come to be; from the ceasing of birth comes the ceasing of decay-and-death... becoming... grasping... craving... feeling... contact... the six sense-bases... name-form... consciousness... the formations... by the ceasing of ignorance comes the ceasing of the formations... So comes about the cessation of this entire mass of suffering.'

"'Cessation, cessation!' — At this thought, monks, there arose in me, concerning things unheard of before, vision, knowledge, understanding, light."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.010.wlsh.html

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/26/11 12:23 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
it's ironic that some of the people who are for infinite development of 'enlightenment' and perpetual deepening of the 'enlightened' state also consider actual freedom to be a developmental dead end.. when it's 'enlightenment' that is the dead end in that sense.


I don't really get how this other perspective makes sense in the first place. Development is something that happens in one's actual life. What is "spiritual development" other than a limited and specific kind of development in one's life? What reason is there to care about "spiritual development" in some way that makes it superior to all the rest of the normal ways that one can change?

The only reason I see to care is, in order to correct a delusion that gets in the way of life. Correct the delusion, close the spiritual development chapter, and then figure out what to do with the wonderful life ahead of you. All kinds of development is possible there. You could learn to do something that would really be interesting, such as learn to play a musical instrument. Not just play with your mind. Wouldn't that be something!

That's my perspective now; maybe I'm biased at the moment; who knows whether I'll stand by it in the future. But there it is.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/26/11 12:27 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
End in Sight:
Your claim of 10-fetter anagami is interesting in a purely theoretical way; if that's what you have, then unless you attained technical 4th path simultaneously, that suggests that technical 4th path isn't even sakadagami in the suttas, but is some kind of further development of stream entry which is completely optional and not even on the map.


that might be true. i feel like the level of 'enlightenment' gotten before doesn't really matter per se.. or that whatever that level was, as one approaches af it becomes less + less important.. which makes sense since 'enlightenment' is a way to re-shape 'being' and 'being' starts fading entirely.


That might be true! I'm going to rework something that Kenneth said to me...enlightenment (technical model) is like lifting weights. You lift the weights, you get strong, but eventually you have to put the weights down and do something with that strength or it's all for nothing.

Not sure whether or not he would endorse this view, but it comes (indirectly) from him. emoticon

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/26/11 2:52 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
it's ironic that some of the people who are for infinite development of 'enlightenment' and perpetual deepening of the 'enlightened' state also consider actual freedom to be a developmental dead end.. when it's 'enlightenment' that is the dead end in that sense.


I don't really get how this other perspective makes sense in the first place. Development is something that happens in one's actual life. What is "spiritual development" other than a limited and specific kind of development in one's life? What reason is there to care about "spiritual development" in some way that makes it superior to all the rest of the normal ways that one can change?

The only reason I see to care is, in order to correct a delusion that gets in the way of life. Correct the delusion, close the spiritual development chapter, and then figure out what to do with the wonderful life ahead of you. All kinds of development is possible there. You could learn to do something that would really be interesting, such as learn to play a musical instrument. Not just play with your mind. Wouldn't that be something!

That's my perspective now; maybe I'm biased at the moment; who knows whether I'll stand by it in the future. But there it is.


EIS, I'm with you on this developmental thing. It seems that technical 4th path allows you to "close the spiritual development chapter", and it's only been after this point that I've been able to drop a lot of the old models I've clung to for so long.

These explorations are really on the cutting-edge of what's going on right now and it's incredibly fun to be involved!!

Claudiu, I had no idea you'd emailed me so I apologise for not getting back to you. I'm off to send you a reply just now.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/27/11 12:25 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
hmm feels like another shift... no fruition or discontinuity or blip or anything to this one.. maybe some faint tingling at the top of the head. happened while i was concentrating and letting the mass of sensations in my head slowly unravel (mass is all over, and little bubbles burst all over it).

i was thinking about a snippet from a self-proclaimed arahat (forgot name/where i read it) who wrote how he can still cry tears, but it doesn't mean he isn't free from all the fetters, cause they don't affect the immaculate mind, and how he can cry tears of joy at how perfect it is (paraphrasing, something along those lines). the important part was my take on it, which is that he was enlightened but not actually free.. so it was funny, cause it's like 'he' created something which 'he' then rejoiced over so much that he could cry... i thought 'this truly is delusion...' and then the shift happened.

lots of attempts to label it arose immediately, but instead of listing those i'll just list my immediate impressions:

* seemed completely obvious that 'i' am not doing the thing that is unraveling the sensations.. and that 'i' actually don't have control over it in that way.
* volitional formations seem less of a problem. like there would be formations to try to increase a factor of enlightenment, but it was like a false start - it arose, then was seen as unnecessary, then fell away
* the impression was that no new ignorance/delusion could be formed. i don't think that's true now but capacity for delusion might have diminished... or maybe that's just delusion, which would be sweetly ironic =P.
* anatta seems more apparent perhaps

well, back to it

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/27/11 12:13 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
hmm dnno about the shift anymore. might not have been a shift but an insight or something. though i think anatta is more apparent.... suffice to say that things seem to be moving quickly..

what was funny was that the thing about 'no more delusion being able to be formed' wasn't really correct at all, since as long as 'being' is around, 'new' delusion is being formed every moment.. by 'new delusion' i meant new beliefs or what-not (so old beliefs might still perpetuate but would eventually die down) but that doesn't seem correct either...

this somehow (along with steph's link, an interesting chat, contemplation of ignorance and other things) led me to try contemplating dependent origination. what i did is, using my memory of what the links were, i started at the end (decay/old age/death/this mass of suffering), really contemplated it, not only intellectually, but really sought to feel it as it was arising in that moment. what happened was that my entire experience seemed to condense down to focusing on just that part of the cycle of d-o - e.g. all the little clingy things in my head disappeared, and my experience was replaced by what seemed to just be the fading away (and associated suffering with that) of birth... then i sought to see what caused it, and i used my memory of what the link was called to see what to look for. it's kind of like i entered an absorptive state for each one. here's what each felt like and my impressions of each

DISCLAIMER: not sure if they are 'correct' or it's just projection but that's what was there and what insight (or 'insight') i drew from it. i will probably have to contemplate this more to get a better idea of it...
  • decay/mass of suffering - lots of unpleasant fading away of things.. basically seeing 'birth' die. what causes decay of a birth?
  • birth - this one was interesting... this state basically pointed to kind of a self-perpetuating chain being formed. the insights arose: each emotion is a birth; each train of thought pursued mindlessly is a birth; basically any chain which starts going on its own is a birth. what causes birth?
  • becoming - this one seemed to just be the step before birth. i think it is what people might be pointing to when they talk about proto-emotions and stuff, and perhaps this is where Direct Mode stops - it prevents new births but becoming is still going on in the background. not sure how to explain it, though the experience was something distinct... it's like the stuff emotions are made of before they form. what causes becoming?
  • craving/clinging #1 - i actually realize i swapped craving and clinging here when i named them in my head. i'm not sure if that means that i went in the correct order, but named it incorrectly, or if the name pointed to the right thing and i went out of order. the same thing happened when reviewing insight stages when i still didn't know the names properly... i suspect it's the former. i'll just call it craving/clinging #1 and craving/clinging #2. this one seemed to be like a seeking-out of stuff.. with unpleasant things, there was a searching for away around it, basically an avoidance, and with pleasant stuff, there was a searching for a way to get back to it, basically an attachment. both painful (dukkha) of course...

    i stayed at this one for a bit as it seemed like things were being released. it seems like at each step things from that level were being released. about the chain itself, it seems not like a straight chain, but one in which there is a connection from every link to any other link. or if not that much, then at least between certain links. e.g. you can cling to a birth, or to becoming, or to formation, or to consciousness, etc., and that perpetuates more. quite the messy tangle! so what causes craving/clinging #1?
  • craving/clinging #2 - this was like the step right before craving/clinging #1. there wasn't a searching-out quality, but more of just a judgement of each thing that arose: this is desirable, this is not, this is neutral. but it wasn't just at the level of vedana, that judgement was taken, and then there was (craving/clinging #2) to each one. it hadn't formed fully into the searching-out, but it almost did. sticking around here also seemed quite beneficial. moving on, what causes craving/clinging #2?
  • feeling/vedana - here was the bare judgement of pleasant/unpleasant/neutral, which was still dukkha, but without added clinging to it. but it was seen how, from here, craving/clinging #2 could arise. going down the chain each bit is a little more 'relaxing'. what causes feeling/vedana?
  • contact/perception <- six sense media <- name-and-form - i didn't perceive these very distinctly and kind of floundered around here. around here i think (though not sure) that there was just the contact/perception of the objects, but without the vedana-judgement on top of it. it was not actual, though, not pure being-less contact/perception, so i suspect it was some kind of affective distortion of contact/perception... going down to a kind of an affective distortion of the sensory input itself. what causes that affective distortion?
  • consciousness - here i got to a thing which was certainly not the pure consciousness of a PCE/inside conscious-NS, but (what seemed like) an affective imitation of consciousness. a 'feeling of being' perhaps.. like some intuitive, vague-ish conception/imitation of consciousness. it was seen how each type of this consciousness would abrogate any sensory contact and distort it in the way which would allow the rest of the chain of d-o to form. what causes this consciousness?
  • formations/fabrications - ahh isn't that interesting.. volitional formations cause it! they form themselves, if unchecked, into the consciousness i was talking about. i only really got a good idea of what they were when considering what caused them...
  • ignorance - sitting at this part of the chain was quite fascinating. i couldn't see a way to go earlier (maybe cause the chain ends here as buddha laid out). what seems to be the case is that there are things that arise, outside of our control. we misunderstand the cause and effect, the karma - we simply don't know where they arose for or 'what they mean'. that is unsatisfying to 'me' though, and we really do want to know what it's about... so what do we do? we create a formation related to that ignorance. if we want something to be true, there's a formation of assuming something to be true.. if we want to know how something arose but don't, there's a formation of assuming how it arose. formations to avoid things, formations to cling to things... formations, as a response to ignorance. this linked well with an earlier insight i had that 'i' am a volitional formation...

    edit: this also might explain into why intuition and visualization are entirely absent for a released person... formations simply cannot be created anymore, due to the elimination of ignorance.

while contemplating ignorance, i wondered, in what way would ignorance cease? then it was clear - oh! pure intent! attentiveness! vipassana... clear-seeing... all of these techniques aim to eliminate ignorance... i later made the connection: that must be why naivete is so damn potent when used properly... because, when naive, the formations simply won't arise, because, even if there is ignorance, there's just a letting-be of it, a lack of a need to do anything about it.. and with that tendency diminished it's easier to temporarily break the chain and enter a PCE.

that last part was the most valuable part of the whole exercise, i think... as a single concept, 'pure intent' seems to be the most potent to combat ignorance... and attentiveness combined with sensuousness a potent way to apply that pure intent, as you are simply observing what is there with no beliefs/assumptions(formations), instead of chasing around things in your head/mentally proliferating about things that aren't there...

i'm still not sure what exactly eliminates ignorance once-and-for-all, not in terms of knowing everything, but in terms of never again assuming anything/forming a formation... guess i will find out!

well that's three of the noble truths right there - there is suffering... this is the origin of suffering... this is the path to the cessation of suffering... implied there was that with ignorance ceasing, the rest would also cease (3rd noble truth), but i went back up the chain anyways: i said, let's assume ignorance has ceased... with no ignorance there would be no formations.. with no formations there would be no consciousness (of the type i talked about).. with no consciousness, no contact of that sort, etc etc. leading up to the top. so there's the cessation of suffering.

interestingly after going forward + back through it a few times , in a directed manner, i kind of let go a bit, and then i noticed, roughly, the cycle repeating itself, taking a few seconds each time through... in the cessation-order: from ignorance to formation to ... to becoming to birth to decay/death, and then all the way to ignorance again, repeating, forever and ever, this indeed is samsara. it reminded me of insight-stage cycling in a way, just with no fruition...



fun stuff... so, all of those links in the chain are 'me' in a sense. best do away with all of them..

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/27/11 3:21 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
hehe:

"am i here?" (ignorance -> volition formation to feel for presence) "yup!" (-> ... -> ... -> this mass of suffering)

vs.

"am i here?" (naivete) "am i here?" (naivete) (naivete) (naivete) --> apperception (no ignorance)

---

pieces of the puzzle:
* ignorance causes all the suffering
* apperception is the antithesis of ignorance.

so why is it ever not-apperception? why does ignorance arise??

i tried staying with that question for a bit, trying to 'see' it... it wasn't working to feel for it so i
tried just stopping any volitional formations and staying with ignorance arising and trying to
see it there... it got the mind in a confused state similar to when looking for the self earlier like
with the RT-pointing. but it seems to only have led to a large amount of restlessness.

as i calmed down i figured: ah, 'being' is 'ignorance'... how to stop 'being'? i don't know
the button to press, so to speak, and 'i' can't find it out in the way i was trying to before...

so i think that's what is meant by 'i' cannot do anything to free 'myself'... a volitional formation
won't do the trick, since by the time it arose, ignorance has already arisen prior to it.

realizing this it's like a weight lifted from the core of my being.. and things started happening
more speedily. ah! seems like 'i' was clinging to insight.. a misunderstanding of volitional
formations leading to insight, as opposed to their lack leading to the allowance of insight arising.
and as i contemplated the weight came back... doh! fell in the trap again.. then it lifted
again.. not sure if this attachment is entirely gone but it seems to be the way to go. the fact
that it's there seems to be (at least part of) what is stopping this process from happening full-speed for
every moment, as opposed to just when i am focusing...

'i' am not insight.. 'i' am 'ignorance' and 'ignorance' is 'me'

EDIT: heh i guess i could see where zen sitting and doing nothing comes from... but sheeet without any other guidelines how the heck are you gonna find the actual?

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/28/11 9:04 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
physical restlessness. "it seems that if my physical body does not move at all, then any urges to twitch or move or fidget are affective in nature. being affective, they are impermanent and subject to cessation. being impermanent and subject to cessation, they can cause me no harm whatsoever... so why am i afraid of them?" so i make my body sit still. incredible restlessness arises... and then as dispassion arises to the desire to fidget, it diminishes, diminishes...

mental restlessness. "it seems that if i incline my mind to be still, then any urges to move my mind one way or another, to think about this or that, to chase this passion or run away from this other one, are affective in nature. being affective, they are impermanent and subject to cessation. being impermanent and subject to cessation, they can cause me no harm whatsoever... so why am i afraid of them?" so i incline my mind to be still. incredible restlessness arises... and then as dispassion arises to the desire to move the mind one way or another, it diminishes, diminishes...

not moving this way or that physically, not moving this way or that mentally, equanimity arose... and the qualities of nothingness (7th jhana) became apparent.

-------------------

hehe, it is fun to write in that style...

but yes, i realized that all the sensations in the center of my head and of energy moving in the body and other weird happenings, imply a sense of space or location. a 'real' sense of space... as in 'oh they are happening over here'. when seen this way, i know that they are not actual, and knowing that, i am dispassionate towards them.. and when i am dispassionate towards them, there is no clinging, and they start fading on their own. what was incredibly trippy is how it lost its sense of absoluteness... normally i think ah, there is something in front of the head, and it is compressing against something in the back of the head, which is the 'base'... so 'i' am being moved and it is unpleasant. but in that sit i realized, that back of the head, is not absolute, but also relative, also not-actual... so the entire thing is just a motion against nothing, clinging for no reason whatsoever.

they also imply a 'real' sense of time, as in, oh it's happening right 'now'... more dispassion!

-------------------

felicity hasn't been very high lately.. i feel like i'm making progress, but general mood hasn't been happy, but kind of a slogging-through-it.. even as affect fades more and more. so i tried cultivating good will - seeing the intrinsic benevolence/benignity of the universe - and appreciation - simply delighting in being alive - and man they are quite potent.

more and more i'm moving away from thinking about what is actual and actually looking at what's around me, instead.. far more delightful.

more and more i realize that this is something 'i' actually want to do! i've had trouble in my life with doing things that 'i' want.. 'i' always put 'myself' last, because 'i' figured, it's all the same to 'me', so 'i' might as well do what 'others' want, because that way 'they' are happy and 'i' will be ok either way... this is the persona 'i' have cultivated, of being ok with everything.. but this causes lots of resentment when 'i' wanted to do something and others didn't and 'i' gave in...

but yes! this is actually incredibly sensible.

and so much easier with felicity...

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/29/11 11:39 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
there is still a fear/aversion to feeling good... like feeling good would mean less progress... (ah - counter-intuitive eh?), like it isn't 'legit' to feel good... (though also there is dissatisfaction with not-feeling-good... and i do think that i am close, now, which prompt restlessness and an aggressive-searching reminiscent of my following-the-mctb-path-days... seems to not be useful at all) a few points came up:

  • sensations happening. incline the mind to seeing the pleasantness in all the sensations - everything becomes pleasant! feeling good! incline the mind to seeing the unpleasantness in all the sensations - everything becomes unpleasant! mood starts to slip. back + forth a few times and... it seems like the same stuff is happening, just that in one variant i feel a lot better! i don't really seem to be missing all that much by feeling good, and i don't seem to gain all that much by feeling bad...
  • intrinsic way of existing as a feeling-being: suffering, borne from ignorance. every step in any direction is potential to suffer more. intrinsic way of existing as an actually free flesh+blood body: apperception, benignity, benevolence, stillness, delight, appreciation. every step in any direction is the experiencing of the (joy of) the doing of this moment of being alive. so 'i' can choose to 'be', or 'i' can choose to allow a process to occur that will result in not-being...
  • there seem to be a few intrinsic qualities inherent to experiencing the universe in its actuality: benevolence/benignity... delight/joy/appreciation/wonder... stillness... thus if one is not currently experiencing benevolence, benignity, appreciation, wonder, or stillness, there is affect present. lack of stillness, lack of wonder, etc., imply affect, imply something to look for... and hey, when those are not lacking, one is felicitous! thus feeling felicitous is simply the way to be on the path.
  • part of it seems to be a taking-too-seriously of emotions.. like there are 'legit' ones (the negative ones that arise when 'i' don't incline in any particular way), but if i cultivate felicity that's not 'legit' cause it happened cause of some effort... but really they're both emotions.. and really the cultivation of felicity is quite equivalent to the cultivation of concentration, equanimity, joy, energy, etc., as factors of enlightenment... they have the same exact purpose.


----

woke up this morning with extreme stomach pains. lots of aversion to it.. cramping up.. holding it in but pain arises at each moment.. 'crap this sucks!'. i tried just letting go, letting it happen... and at first the pain increased, but then lots of stuff started happening all over the stomach. it could have been interpreted as pain, and it wasn't pleasant, but with the letting it go, there was no more "unease... unease... sharp pain!... unease... unease...", it's like a process was allowed to happen. it felt like the stomach was stitching itself together in some way. i felt some movements so i re-located to the toilet... allowed it to happen again.. and the pain/process ended almost completely within a minute.

seems like that letting go approach is exactly what i should apply to any sensation that is perceived to be bothersome...

----

EDIT: walking around.. reflecting on this... senses become clearer, space becomes more apparent.. a calmness settles in. 'being' is there but not a problem in the way it was.. it's just - the actual world is so peaceful! seems really all i have to do is stay close to it...

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/29/11 3:07 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
be your own best friend! like yourself no matter what!

a new take on all this: what am 'i'? 'i' am a set of beliefs, in part. that means that i should like my beliefs. but aren't they something to be gotten rid of? yes, but, if you like your beliefs.. you see them differently. instead of an opponent to vanquish, it's just something that 'i' decided to do for whatever reason at some point a while ago. maybe silly and irrational, but there was some reason behind it. liking the belief means taking its side ('my' side), and just seeing - why did it arise? what did it help with? once that is seen clearly, then it is sooo much easier to see why that is no longer necessary, and it can be dropped... all while feeling good in the mean-time!

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/30/11 1:19 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
a large part of the last hour or two spent thinking in the form of: "Why do i believe X?"

started with incredibly tense and agitated sensations. and why tense? cause 'i' had to do something! but: why do i believe there is an 'i' that is feeling these tense sensations? i was looking right at them. they absolutely and incredibly urgently implied an 'i', and that something had to be done... but why do 'i' believe that? lookin at it its like the 'i' of the sensations was slowly worked off - or should i say the urgency of them. the importance, so to speak. it doesn't seem to be a perceptual matter, just a matter of a belief that there is a permanent 'me' that is feeling those things. (i wonder if only doing this for a while is what leads to KFD 7th stage).

same with any feeling though - why do i believe there is a 'me' in the form of that feeling? why do i believe 'i' have to do anything to feel good or to get rid of it? why do i believe i have to get rid of it? why do i believe i have to be free?

lots of beliefs...

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/31/11 1:50 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
i wonder if i have/had some type of attention deficit disorder or something... a few things i noticed (after drinkin some coffee late at night which was a bad idea as it made me stay up for a few hours..) could be some disorder, could be just standard way attention moves but a little accented in some direction. the reason i ask is if anybody has experience with these, if they found particular things to do, then sharing them mite be helpful. or hey if these things just happen.. no need to label them.

a) i really like getting into things and pouring all my attention into it: coding, posting, meditating, browsing forums, reading whatever, watching episodes, etc. i kind of get in a zone where i don't want to stop.. like a fixation. this'll happen when i'll just be at work, for example, start following a train of thought/meditation, then i'll do nothing but think/meditate in that way for a good 5/10/15 minutes.. and really hyper-focused in those minutes too
b) i really don't like doing thing when i don't have that focus.. something i don't want to do and just don't get into, is very hard/distracting for me to just do it. i'll start a little then just stop + get distracted. this is funny with meditating, where at work, i'll be fixed and staring at a point without moving and without any problem for like 30 mins, but when i get home to do a more formal sit, i'll be restless and not know what to do with myself. that element of hyper-focus missing...

c) so i figured oh! i should just channel that exact hyper-focus whenever i meditate! and this seemed really easy to do with the boost of caffeine and being unable to fall asleep. so i did.. concentrated my arse off. got some really deep absorptions. had some awesome stages of insight... inside a huge black empty sphere, with faint blue 'stuff' all around it, then really scary faces form from the stuff... they turn into miserable faces.. etc.

d) so it was really easy to put all of my being into meditating in this way... however... what i noticed was that there was a huuuuuge huuuge source of ... compelling, i'd say ... around the brain stem area. this is what i was focusing on when 'concentrating'... but it seems just focusing on it didn't do much, and i had to focus on top of that to do anything.. like focusing on the breath (which causes breath to get intermingled with compelling-sensations), or a particular set of sensations, etc... so it's like a source of object-less concentration (the object being the compelling-group, if any, but not being penetrated)..

d.2) and i wondered whether it was a good thing, or whether this meditating was making it worse and creating a pattern which i'll have to un-do later... (eventually i figure, well, more awareness of the 3 chars of all sensations can't be too bad... and that'll be the way to undo the compelling if it actually is a problem)

e) basically i'd lie on one side, have this compelled absorption for 10/20/30 minutes, then decide to move.. but i noticed when deciding to move, i really didn't want to.. i wanted to stay fixated. and if i hovered around the deciding to move but not actually moving area, i would get really agitated, like something quite uncomfortable was happening
f) the same thing seems to be the case for music. almost allllllllllways have a song going through my head, even now... and it seems like an obsession. like if i put in little conscious mind-moments to stop, it feels like a push-push-push towards it going back. same quality seems to be from the compelling-matrix in the back of the head

g) and i remember when i was a kid, i'd have eye ticks.. once in a while i just felt that it would feel really good to blink my eyes or screw them up or close them and roll them around. it started happening more + more but i decided at some point (when still young) that it wasn't good to cultivate that and i guess i stopped doing it.
h) but there were other ticks, too. i had a pattern - left right right left, right left left right, right left left right, left right right left - which i kept repeating with steps, or clicking the sides of my mouth in that pattern. and i'ts an infinite pattern - notice the start of each group of four is L R R L, which is also the first group. then it goes in reverse twice, then back to the original. that is one larger cycle. the next larger cycle would be RLLRLRRLLRRLRLLR, then RLLRLRRLLRRLRLLR, then LRRLRLLRRLLRLRRL, and that's an even larger one, and it could keep going, though i never took it that far. also manifested with clicking teeth at 4 corners of the mouth: UR BR BL UL , BR BL UL UR, BL UL UR BR, UL UR BR BL, etc...

h.2) and when meditating last night, maybe it was the caffeine or something, but i like felt that compelling coming back again. like a flashback almost...

i) and it seems like i always always have to focus on something. mostly before it was constant constant trains of thought all the time - i wonder if that is why i like conceptualizing so much - or its like a song going thru my head, or one of those ticks (why i haven't been doing for a few years , at least not that i've noticed), or meditating now...

j) and i wonder if that's why i like weed for meditating.. because even a little bit, it automatically gets me into the fixation-mode, which makes it so much easier - even though thoughts are going, still fixated.

so yea ive just been trying to observe the sensations that make up the compelling - what is the compelling, what is this i that is compelling / that is compelled , what is the tension in these sensations (which must be observed equanimously lest i get pulled this way and that), etc... i wonder if it's actually a core component of how i concentrate - focus on that area in the head - and i wonder what will happen when it's gone... and i dont think it is actual, because if i just sit still i have this gigantic urge to put attention this way or that, and the reason im looking at is cause i think to myself, ya know, life would be a lot more peaceful without that anymore...

any thoughts?

--

k) oh this makes so much more sense now.. how i felt i could concentrate pretty easily and intently and intensely, but i had no idea what i was concentrating on.. seems i was just entering this fixated state

l) and how i keep going back to posts minutes after i've written them to fix them up more - fixation not done

m) and how i'll get 'stuck' in an unproductive train of meditation, but i won't want to stop + restart i'll just want a little more to see where it goes. then if a friend interrupts me for a few minutes the fixation completely breaks, then when i get back to it, start another train.. much better..

n) i don't mean to make this into a new 'identity' but i already see clinging/aversion to keeping/removing it, about past events...

--

o) ah: easy to fixate.. but once in the fixation, hard to direct it... it manifests mostly as relentless thoughts, song going in my head, and a feeling of super-intense to mild restlessness/agitation. it's easy to be in the state, and it seems to help concentration in some way, but hard to focus on one particular thing... ah well, training should help with that.. managed to make it here OK =P.

p) or can i just not concentrate too well and am making excuses?

--

q) hmm seems to have not been there under the influence of a cannibanoid... it was actually really easy to cultivate all the factors of enlightenment... went through 1st - 4th jhanas very clearly. got into an incredibly piercing mind-state, which was easy to direct to anything that warranted investigation...

but i wanted to investigate the fixation! was it there? and soon after that it seems like it started... just a process that was looping in on itself. at first it was really subtle, but the same-feeling-tone sensations kept building up without the older ones fading, making it tighter + tighter. i couldn't get it to stop, though i don't remember if i tired or if i wanted to see how it developed...

anyway, soon after that, mind started wandering more + more. whereas before i called it in, it would have been effortless to apply more mindfulness or what-not and eliminate the distractions, that inclination of the mind was not working as well anymore, and it felt like losing a battle.

and around there... anxiety kicked in! anxious about things, starting to compulsively obsess over random things, and this is where i got the feeling that the ticks would come in if i still did them...

so - progression from clean slate to compulsive anxiety...

i realized that it comes + goes during the day, isn't always on.. maybe was more pronounced earlier on as i remember i usually literally had no idea what was going on around me.. i thought i was absent-minded but i wonder if it was this thing..

then i saw that i really really really disliked this part of myself - the distracted part... this not being a dislike that came up after labeling it, but something that was there still, only brought out now.

then i realized 'i' am the 'fixation'... and that reduced a ton of the resentment and such

so now here i am.. it's funny, it really changes the way i look at how to use my mind.. also funny that this was going on without me realizing it at all..

--

r) hmm i think it's just OCD... funnily enough... caused by social anxiety. obsessing over what others think about me.. how to tell them.. etc.. probably caused in elementary school years from being bullied... thought-only OCD (i notice thoughts constantly repeating + not getting anywhere), i don't seem to do any physical actions as a result of it

--

s) term 'ocd' is a red herring.. the main point is that there is lots of uncontrollable anxiety.. 'ocd' just fancy name for it hehe

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/31/11 3:45 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Hey Beo,

You and I are on two different paths and I suspect that you have gone down my path farther than I have and I have no experience with the path you are currently on. Nonetheless, I type a reply.

The "compelling" is dukkha. Is it not? It's been called: the primordial impulse towards movement, stress, suffering, the primordial desire, to-do, urge...

Why have you chosen meditation over felicity?

As a practical note, it must be very productive for you to be able to fixate on a task and really enjoy that fixation. But it seems that useful idiosyncrasy you possess is countered by your aversion to working through distraction. Perhaps you can initiate a conversation with yourself to locate the aversion and maybe you can switch it up to where you can enjoy the state of distraction or at least ameliorate the aversion.

So the OCD of your youth has "softened" into repeating thoughts without any subsequent action? In my early 20's, I had a repeating thought. It was a question posed to me by a girl that I must have heard a 100 times a day for about 6 months. It went away but I think that must be similar to what you are experiencing. Back then, I had no choice but to endure it and grow a neurosis around it. But today, I would talk to it. And i would observe myself talking to it. And my goal would be to intimately befriend it until it joined forces with the rest of me. But that is just my current method. I have recently used it on two separate occasions and it worked each time.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
7/31/11 6:49 PM as a reply to Jon T.
Jon T:
Hey Beo,

You and I are on two different paths and I suspect that you have gone down my path farther than I have and I have no experience with the path you are currently on. Nonetheless, I type a reply.

The "compelling" is dukkha. Is it not? It's been called: the primordial impulse towards movement, stress, suffering, the primordial desire, to-do, urge...

it is indeed dukkha... and i can't believe i've lived with it all this time. it's really a totally unacceptable way to go through life, and the fact that it is seen as 'normal' just goes to show what a terrible condition the human one is... not to say i can't enjoy it until it's done though =P

Why have you chosen meditation over felicity?

i couldn't have given a good answer before today or yesterday, but: when trying to cultivate felicity, i'd get anxious, haha.. i'd feel like it wouldn't last, then feel worse when it faded. it's cause of the social anxiety compelling: one of my childhood memories is being absolutely miserable at a party + crying, and just feeling worse when people were trying to cheer me up.

meditation seems to have worked well with that fixation. it seems my approach to vipassana was - channel that anxiety until i can barely stand it, then slog through it.. i think that's why i associated vipassana with pain.

but it seems the last bits of the path to AF are the same, be it an actualist path or a more meditatively influenced path - 24/7 attentiveness and sensuousness, with amazing (compared to 'normal') amounts of baseline concentration (baseline EE/almost PCE).. basically at the sense-ation level.

Jon T:
As a practical note, it must be very productive for you to be able to fixate on a task and really enjoy that fixation. But it seems that useful idiosyncrasy you possess is countered by your aversion to working through distraction. Perhaps you can initiate a conversation with yourself to locate the aversion and maybe you can switch it up to where you can enjoy the state of distraction or at least ameliorate the aversion.

just categorizing this thing as a social anxiety disorder flourishing into obsessive compulsive thoughts, has completely changed my view of it... now i don't see it as 'my' fault anymore. it's not 'me' being broken in a way it shouldn't be ("why can't i focus??"). it's just something to look at and fix. i'll have to see how

Jon T:
So the OCD of your youth has "softened" into repeating thoughts without any subsequent action?

i lied, hehe... just look at my last post - must've been 7-8 subsequent edits, a lot of which i broke a meditation to type in as a realization came in. and other things like checking forums obsessively... sipping water when nervous.. hehe.

Jon T:
In my early 20's, I had a repeating thought. It was a question posed to me by a girl that I must have heard a 100 times a day for about 6 months. It went away but I think that must be similar to what you are experiencing. Back then, I had no choice but to endure it and grow a neurosis around it. But today, I would talk to it. And i would observe myself talking to it. And my goal would be to intimately befriend it until it joined forces with the rest of me. But that is just my current method. I have recently used it on two separate occasions and it worked each time.

'joining forces' is a good way to put it , actually.. i'll keep that in mind. i'm trying to stick with the anxiety as it comes up, to not be compelled by it, but just observe the compelling... and from there i can start to see why it arises... and i can reflect that 'i' am 'anxiety' and 'anxiety' is 'me', and that takes a lot of the 'blaming myself' out of it.. and, not sure how to make it fade entirely - just diligent watching i suppose.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
8/1/11 8:55 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
here's how i think the causality of the thing is:

the fixation thing is first... social anxiety was fixated on, leading to oppressive social anxiety... and the obsessive compulsions are a way to reduce the fixation, and in particular, the anxiety.. it seems to be a coping mechanism - when too fixated, simply distract the mind. for the period of the distraction, if it worked, the fixation lessens...

social anxiety + ocd i have no worries about... it seems just like a massive, deeply ingrained knot, but applying actualism method should be fine to eventually have it disappear.

the fixation i wonder... wonder if i shouldn't go + get prescription for amphetamines... it would help even if there's nothing wrong with me in that way, heh... but i think it might be something to think about. i think part of the reason i like rolling is cause in that state the fixation basically disappears, and i can finally.... RELAX. i think thats what distinguishes a 'good roll' vs. a 'bad roll' for me - whether fixation is present (it can still sometimes be). coffee also seems to help. i drank 2 espressos one night, and for the next 4 hours there was indeed the fixation, but didn't seem like the trigger to anxiety was quite as well-wound-up - i just concentrated for like 4 hours straight with no real issues.

so anyway i tried focusing on that in particular, noticing how it works. the most immediate trigger is anxiety, but it generally seems to damage any attempts at concentration. i think this is why i thought imbalanced concentration was painful - cause it was just the fixation focusing really intently on some random sense phenomena, which caused it to manifest in a painful way, but no ability to stop the fixating.

it seems like i could control it to some degree (and actually a bit of identification with it - seems the 'center point' for me is/was 'current point of fixation'). it's like there's the mind.. then there's a laser-sharp pointy thing which can latch onto anything to a ridiculous degree. i can do some neat things with it, like make it go all over the body as fast as possible.... i can make it go over my leg, and imagine it spinning in a circle at hundreds of rpm, then run that mass of stuff up + down the leg.. these seem to be legit ways to take over its capacity and apply it somewhere else. but still the default is to 'mess things up' so to speak.

what's really nice is when it fixates on a bubble that's about to burst... since then it goes all-out, and bursts the bubble - while the bubble is bursting, the rest of the mind + body is calm, since no fixation elsewhere... the issue is, when the bubble bursts, there is calm... then fixation starts up again.

it seems now that i can meditate by focusing on the 7 factors, and bring the mind to a really nice state (except for the fixation) by applying each one: mindfulness, energy, joy, etc... when they are all aligned the mind seems immaculate, clean, pure - and i can then apply it to attentiveness or sensuousness. the fixation really makes it harder to do this.. interestingly, what i found i could do is over-emphasize concentration. basically, try to bring baseline concentration up to a point where it's not so different from the fixation... and it seems doing this helps a lot. concentration is like a calm, cool, soothing balm, compared to the fixation (i actually wondered why concentration was associated with tranquility+equanimity and not with energy+joy, cause i thought of it as a painful, sharp thing)... so i just focused on bringing everything into as sharp a focus as possible, as much detail as possible.. and this is also quite delightful. it seemed to diminish/make it easier to control the fixation....

so i brought mind into balance, focused on concentration, then resumed attentiveness + sensuousness.. and then there was lots of tingling in the back of my neck, and quite a display of lights on my closed eyelids. each tingling made a light flicker - maybe was like 10-20 quick mind moments. literally felt like i had just rewired my brain a little. and there was calm after this. then fixation started again... so i re-brought mind into balance, did it again.. did the whole process 2-3 times. not sure what it did exactly but i think it's good.

i get the distinct impression now that the mind is cleaning itself up... and 'i' am just finding any way 'i' can to let it happen / help it happen

RE: actualism notes
Answer
8/1/11 2:17 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
hmm this has changed the way i think about attention.[1]

got some advice to, when distracted, try to note the mind object that is being focused on. it seems like what the mind does is take a random collection of inputs, and group them together in a weird way, then there's like a childlike fixation to follow that (compelling to follow it, paired with annoyance/slight discomfort for not). then this repeats... seems to be the lack-of-attention side of things.

with the fixation side of things it's more a - can't stop focusing on that. seems like i just have to figure out how to not focus on anxiety, but focus on other things instead.

the more i think about this, though, it seems like all these things apply to the non-ADD mind, too. the obsession with anxiety is kind of like the obsession with selfing - it's really really hard to stop. and the distraction stuff happens to everyone too. so i don't know about 'add' or 'ocd' label.

i do think about getting adderol or ritalin, though.. seems to have formed into a new train of thought to be obsessed over. i want it basically cause i think it would aid concentration, help me relax, and overall make this process happen much more quickly and easily... but it's happening right now, as i'm typing, anyway, so..

it's just the comment i had - that the way my mind should work is without the distraction or fixation. and i guess i think the amphetamines would help me do that. but seems ripe for addiction potential. counter-argument is that sooner or later i won't have any more addiction potential, hehe...

[1] ah right, my main point was, now i'm not seeing it as something that's 'my' fault or anything... the reason 'i' can't focus. i'm not blaming the 'add' either. it's just like - hey, here's the shit that's happening... how to go about training the mind to work around/overcome it?

also a sense of impersonality with all this. like , 'my' life makes a lot more sense when considering this new info... but there's less of a "oh! this is 'me'!!!! revelation!" aspect and more of a - looking at an interesting system aspect. (thus my comment about it seeming like my mind is freeing itself).

i also seem to care less that 'i' will go away

RE: actualism notes
Answer
8/1/11 8:07 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
my head is a minefield. i actually wondered earlier - i felt what seemed to be neutral (covering-up) sensations all over the head, with hints of pain underneath.. i wondered - why? recalled that i used to pull at my hair and that would give me headaches and i thought it was that...

but really it was just a huge unearthing of all the compulsive crap... anxious-sensations falling away.

talked to an old friend about the ocd, they said that my childhood tick things sounded like tourette's (very linked to OCD).. and i think that's true. hehe. have that one too! i notice mostly cause a lot of cursing in my head, liking loud violent music.. enjoying violence actually.. maybe it isn't 'tourettes' like i said it seems all those are just labels for particularly insidious loops..

but yea crazy stuff. been living with it for so long! parts of my body are relaxing that i haven't known have been tensed up for years

RE: actualism notes
Answer
8/1/11 10:01 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
ah i feel like... this is what i should have been doing this entire time

things make more and more sense, on a common-sense level... 'i' wondered for a while how 'i' could be more insightful.. and 'i' tried to think my way through insight.. but much simpler to simply observe =)

fascinating one: i see now the role joy/rapture/piti/felicity has... without it, things are very sharp and jarring. compulsions tie in around themselves more. emotions proliferate. etc. a lack of dopamine/serotonin.. makes you crazy! when you take ecstasy or weed or cultivate the first 3 jhanas or do tai chi or cultivate felicity or enjoy life or tap into delight, etc.... dopamine/serotonin are released... they act quite literally as a lubricant for all those harsh emotions/compulsions. having those chemicals being released in your brain really takes the edge off of them... give them some space. stops them from proliferating... etc.

i see what the compulsions do now. at least for the tourette's/ticks thing... theres a huge compulsion to do something. then you do it - e.g. blink eyes repeatedly. this releases dopamine (dopamine is released when you click buttons too, for example). this lessens the compulsion. but then you get compelled to do that again, for the soothing effect - and if you don't do it, more anxiety arises. my o my.

on E, i felt like all the negative stuff in me lost its 'evil' edge.

i have often noticed that when getting up from meditating , i'd have sharp jab of anxiety. or i would rub my body all over for 2-3 minutes to get rid of excess energy. seems like its cause there was lots of piti when meditating, and i was dealing quite intensely with anxiety-related stuff, and when the piti suddenly stopped... it clamped right down.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
8/1/11 11:31 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
to all you other actualists out there, consider this: if you assume you will be successful (which is a reasonable assumption to make), then literally, everything 'you' do, from now until the moment 'you' are no more, is, in essence, 'you' doing 'your' very best to allow 'yourself' to be whittled down, bit by bit... how long it takes and how effectively the process is allowed to happen is up to 'you'.

it might be tough cause you don't yet realize what's important.. what is ok to be dropped. 'that seems important! can't let it fall away...' general guidelines: past not important, future not important, things worth a lot not important, relationships not important... sensuousness important, apperception important.. essentially, whatever will drop away by itself, is not important, hehe..

---

seem to be 2 ways of xp the world:

1) lots of attentiveness. let all of 'being' unfurl. tons of 'real' sensations everywhere in the body. vibrating, clinging, unsticking, bursting, whatever... i even do this still with closed-eye meditation sits. it seems to provide progress on the path to actual freedom.
2) the fruits of the work from #1... walk around and just enjoy. this is getting easier and easier, and more and more pleasant.

with #1, it feels like i have far to go, although it also feels like i'm making rapid progress, so intellectually it seems like it will be done sooner or later

with #2, it feels like i'm almost there, and all i need is a little twitch to be done with it

it might be that #2 is the way it always happens, with #1-type things just making it far more likely to happen the more they develop. totally exponential growth (from fully 'normal' to now to beyond)

RE: actualism notes
Answer
8/2/11 10:05 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
large part of the compulsion/fixation complex simply seems to be... hate and aversion. aversion/dislike of the anxiety.. of myself for being anxious.. for not being able to not be anxious. aversion/dislike of the distraction.. of myself for being distracted.. for not being able to not be distracted.

so i'm trying to like myself, instead. to like the anxiety, to like the distraction. and to realize 'i' am 'anxiety' and 'anxiety' is 'me'..

and it seems to be doing good! now i notice that i will get 'distracted', but when i become mindful again, there isn't a pang of aversion or anxiety or anything.. and instead i am better able to remember what i was actually thinking about during the distraction.. so it isn't so much of a problem then.

RE: actualism notes
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8/2/11 8:37 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

it might be that #2 is the way it always happens, with #1-type things just making it far more likely to happen the more they develop. totally exponential growth (from fully 'normal' to now to beyond)


This is how its unfolding in my experience as well. Try and have a base of enjoyment/delight as much as you can. This way when sorrow or malice slips in you can just hang on to that delight/enjoyment and the sorrow/malice decreases with delight as something to focus on. Doing this keeps saving me from sorrow/malice and social identity stories.

I find it difficult to concentrate on sensuosness when sorrow, internally, is so overwhelming but if there is a smidgeon of delight which i can concentrate/meditate on, then life becomes happy. It takes increasing concentration to avoid all distractions and focus on delight. With this increasing concentration, the passions and social identity have no chance to slip in because your never not noticing. Imagine only focusing on delight, one "feeling" , forever. No other "feeling" can sneak in because of this supreme concentration and then sensuousness keeps opening.

These ideas come from an actualization I had, where increasing my concentration steadily on internal delight keeps away these distracting tangents of social identity stories and sorrow.

RE: actualism notes
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8/2/11 7:14 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
2) the fruits of the work from #1... walk around and just enjoy. this is getting easier and easier, and more and more pleasant.


ditto

RE: actualism notes
Answer
8/3/11 9:39 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
hm well yesterday 'felt' like didn't make as much progress. felt like i got lost a bit.

a main issue still seems to be a tightening in my head. it's like an obsessive thing that i can't' unfocus on. the anxiety seems to have diminished a lot, but head-tightening still happens.

sometimes i can meditate and things dissolve. other times, thing just harden + harden and i get in a worse mood. last night was one of the latter times.

it's tough cause... you have to be naive. there's no way to know, ahead of time, what the sensations fading-away will feel like. when something starts happening, it might feel like it's wrong, but sticking with it, it resolves itself.

so i don't always know when to stop cause it's the wrong approach, or when to keep going cause it's the right one.

one thing was clear though - cultivating delight helps soooooo much. in a period of stuckness, i just started cultivating delight - mental delight (joy) and sensual delight (rapture). the latter i evoked using the idea of 'richness'. the world getting richer - colors more vibrant. i actually start getting really really pleasing sensations around my eyes.. it feels very sublime. like tingly bits of superior sublime pleasurable richness that is thoroughly soaking my eyes. and, with that richness, things just seem to start getting pierced without any effort. (i wonder if such richness in the eyes is related to the compulsion/fixation, which seems to be related to tourette's in a way... i notice if i stand still, sometimes, i feel uncomfortable. and when i move it feels ok. thus fidgeting. this can particularly happen with the head area - i feel uncomfortable, and blinking my eyes reduces some of it. it seems the compulsion might literally be an addiction to dopamine or something - cause it seems blinking the eye releases a chemical, which causes the compulsion to abate, before it picks right up again, wanting more. i experimented with blinking on purpose to lessen it - and it does work, i can actually focus better if my eyelids are flickering like crazy, for a bit - but when i stop there is the withdrawal and the desire to do it again.

so maybe the cause is the eye-blinking releasing the chemical? and if they didn't, the body would soon learn not to do that since it wouldn't help. so i wonder if the potential for them doing that leads to the sublime feeling or richness right in the eyeballs - anyone else have experience with this?

--

literally, the antidote to feeling bad or stuck is - feel good, instead. it's just hard to start doing that sometimes when feeling bad. but that literally is the defense mechanism. just have to rewire the brain. when threatened - fear arises. that is the automatic response. you want, when feeling bad - pleasure/delight arises. that should become the automatic response. and it will be well worth your time cultivating it!

--

but anyway, this morning, woke up in bad mood, but on way to work, focused on sensuousness and... the world is just so vivid and pristine! it calmed me down quite well. the fixation of the head stopped - as in , stopped getting worse, remained static - and then was fading, not in a tingly piercing way but in a, simply fading away way.

so i wonder if i should just relaaaaaaaaaaaaax. and do that more. and stop chasing after piercing of sensations. i am a bit reluctant because it has been working. and it still works if i can align the conditions right. i wonder if it is getting harder, because there is less that can be pierced that way, cause what is left to be pierced is the desire to pierce..

desire to 'be' free. as in, to 'exist' but be actually free. watching true blood was funny - there were people with powers. and a vampire said - before, my world was thiiiis tiny, but now -- it's endless! i'm fast, my vision is perfect, etc... and i'm like - ya know, that's kinda what i'm doing now. i want an endless world in which i can learn forever, enjoy forever, etc... but 'i' cannot have it. 'i' have to go away to let it become apparent.

so 'i' simply might be mistaking the world becoming brighter as 'my' doing. the ability to have the world become crisper by calming down as 'my' ability.

how to go out of control? i want to go out of control. but i don't want to think i am going out of control but instead to be perpetuating sorrow + malice + not fading away.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
8/3/11 11:31 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
a guide to meditating for video game players:

you are playing a real-time strategy game (meditating). while you are playing the game, you are focused on playing the game (concentration). you use the delight in playing the game to keep your focus (joy/rapture). you are aware of your goal the entire time (mindfulness). you use what you have already learned in the game to help you play (accumulated insight) and learn how to play the game better + better as you play it more (gaining new insight).

at first, perhaps you can only keep one thing in mind. a more experienced opponent defeats you. but as you play more and more, it becomes more+more effortless. you are able to keep 2, 3, 5 tasks in your head all at once, attending to each appropriately, cultivating each facet of your play to result in the best outcome that is allowed to you by the conditions.

when a problem comes up in your game (suffering), you attend to it promptly. you do not let it get out of hand. the plan of action springs into your mind. you do the best you can knowing what you know. while attending to the problem you are aware of attending to the problem (mindfulness). you are focused on attending to the problem (concentration).

etc...

---

also: pairing of factors.

energy pairs with tranquility - you want tranquil energy, not buzzy energy or sleepy tranquility
rapture pairs with concentration - you want to use the rapture to boost the concentration, and vice versa, you don't want 'dry' concentration (too harsh, unpleasant) or dull rapture (feeling good and swimming around in it)
insight pairs with equanimity - need equanimity to the insights or you go crazy, and if you are really equanimous, then you are ripe for more insight

mindfulness holds them all together

RE: actualism notes
Answer
8/3/11 11:18 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
was befriended by a confident person. friendship formed. peer pressure led to trying drinking in high school. friendship and change of mentality caused drunkness in college. feeling bad about a girl at a party leads to trying weed. trying weed leads to more trying weed leads to regular smoking. old friendship with another and curiosity and their conditions leads to the trying of MDMA but a few days after starting to meditate. the trying of MDMA leads to intent leads to continued meditation. interesting experiences leads to posting on thetaobums. posting on thetaobums leads to link to MCTB. reading MCTB aligns intent and causes posting on DhO. conditions precipitate stream entry. hanging out on DhO leads to interest in actual freedom - actual freedom only being a topic here due to the efforts of one very intent-driven and dedicated seeker.

etc. etc. etc.

how many things had to line up just right for me to have this opportunity to be free?

did 'i' have any say in this at all? the universe is conspiring to end 'me'... =P

RE: actualism notes
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8/3/11 11:55 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
the universe is conspiring to end 'me'... =P


You get my vote for Quote Of The Day.

RE: actualism notes
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8/3/11 4:45 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
That's beautiful mate, really nicely put. emoticon

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8/3/11 5:02 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

how many things had to line up just right for me to have this opportunity to be free?

did 'i' have any say in this at all? the universe is conspiring to end 'me'... =P


And the universe is conspiring to keep billions of other humans suffering.

RE: actualism notes
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8/3/11 6:13 PM as a reply to Nad A..
emoticon

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8/3/11 6:52 PM as a reply to Nad A..
Nad A.:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

how many things had to line up just right for me to have this opportunity to be free?

did 'i' have any say in this at all? the universe is conspiring to end 'me'... =P


And the universe is conspiring to keep billions of other humans suffering.


can something inherently innocent and benevolent do either?

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8/3/11 7:41 PM as a reply to Trent ..
I can see how it's innocent... but I really don't get the "benevolent" thing. How can the universe have any intention? Is benevolence not positive intention? Is a stone benevolent?

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8/3/11 7:42 PM as a reply to Trent ..
Trent .:
Nad A.:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

how many things had to line up just right for me to have this opportunity to be free?

did 'i' have any say in this at all? the universe is conspiring to end 'me'... =P


And the universe is conspiring to keep billions of other humans suffering.


can something inherently innocent and benevolent do either?


I don't see how the universe can be called benevolent but it's true that the universe is doing neither. For greater clarity I could have said "the universe is conspiring to keep billions of other humans suffering as much as it is conspiring to end 'you'".

edit: SNAP! I win, fred.

RE: actualism notes
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8/3/11 8:01 PM as a reply to Nad A..
yea c'mon give us the answer already!

my main man Pete:

In the actual world, benevolence is a palpable and innate disposition of the growth force to attain the best possible result in any situation. At its simplest level it is readily seen in plants, as each does the best to adapt, survive and thrive in different situations. In animals, this tendency can be seen as a more sophisticated reaction as the options for action, mobility and adaptability are increased in a more complex life-form. In human beings, with the marvellous intelligence of the brain operating, we see this innate benevolence at its most stunning. The technological developments in agriculture, health, communications, transport, services, etc. all move inexorably and inevitably towards more comfort, more safety, more pleasure, more leisure and more ease. This is benevolence in action, the direct result of the human brain in action – the only intelligence in the universe – and has nought to do with any Gods, Energies, Intelligence, Force or the like.

And the time has now come for the next stunning breakthrough in benevolence in action – an actual freedom from the Human Condition of malice and sorrow is now possible. This will have the benevolent result of a gradual reduction and eventual elimination of human violence and suffering – an end to malice and sorrow – as each individual does it for his or herself.


This kinda sounds like a load of poop to me, that tendency he talked about seems like it could be much more convincingly explained by the survival instinct which itself is caused by evolution. The universe as a whole seems to definitely be intentionless.

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8/3/11 9:26 PM as a reply to fred flinstone.
fred flinstone:
that tendency he talked about seems like it could be much more convincingly explained by the survival instinct which itself is caused by evolution. The universe as a whole seems to definitely be intentionless.

and what is evolution if not a happening of the universe?

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8/3/11 10:09 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
What exactly do you mean by a "Happening" of the universe? I'll assume that you are implying that an intention was behind evolution, but as far as I'm aware the most widely accepted explanation of evolution's origin is "abiogenesis" which amounts to a chance mixing of elements causing the most basic possible reproducing organism's formation.

I'm still inclined to think that the universe lacks intention. Beoman - do you know what is meant by the "benevolence" of the universe?

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8/3/11 11:20 PM as a reply to fred flinstone.
fred flinstone:
What exactly do you mean by a "Happening" of the universe? I'll assume that you are implying that an intention was behind evolution, but as far as I'm aware the most widely accepted explanation of evolution's origin is "abiogenesis" which amounts to a chance mixing of elements causing the most basic possible reproducing organism's formation.

I'm still inclined to think that the universe lacks intention. Beoman - do you know what is meant by the "benevolence" of the universe?


well i didn't mean to say the universe 'has' intention... but evolution happens as the universe. it's happening as we speak. it is actual. and human intention happens only because the universe exists. so intention is a part of the universe in that sense. out of intrinsic non-intention-ness you get intention?

about benevolence - i think what is meant that there is an intrinsic benevolence that is all around.. something one can tap into even when actually free (thus it is actual). it isn't a sense (so not separate from the 6 senses) but is a part of apperception. i will probably know more about it when i experience it non-stop.

RE: actualism notes
Answer
8/4/11 4:24 AM as a reply to fred flinstone.
fred flinstone:
yea c'mon give us the answer already!

my main man Pete:

In the actual world, benevolence is a palpable and innate disposition of the growth force to attain the best possible result in any situation. At its simplest level it is readily seen in plants, as each does the best to adapt, survive and thrive in different situations. In animals, this tendency can be seen as a more sophisticated reaction as the options for action, mobility and adaptability are increased in a more complex life-form. In human beings, with the marvellous intelligence of the brain operating, we see this innate benevolence at its most stunning. The technological developments in agriculture, health, communications, transport, services, etc. all move inexorably and inevitably towards more comfort, more safety, more pleasure, more leisure and more ease. This is benevolence in action, the direct result of the human brain in action – the only intelligence in the universe – and has nought to do with any Gods, Energies, Intelligence, Force or the like.

And the time has now come for the next stunning breakthrough in benevolence in action – an actual freedom from the Human Condition of malice and sorrow is now possible. This will have the benevolent result of a gradual reduction and eventual elimination of human violence and suffering – an end to malice and sorrow – as each individual does it for his or herself.


This kinda sounds like a load of poop to me, that tendency he talked about seems like it could be much more convincingly explained by the survival instinct which itself is caused by evolution. The universe as a whole seems to definitely be intentionless.


Indeed. Evolution leads biological organisms to 'better' solutions only in the same way that human military arms races lead both sides to 'better' solutions. Things only get more complex in order to better kill and survive being killed and eaten by other organisms. It's a futile arms race.

Again I have to point out that all the 'safety', pleasure, leisure and comfort humans experience will probably never outweigh the pain and terror that trillions of other sentient creatures endured in this 'benevolent' evolution process.

Dictionary.com:

be·nev·o·lent   [buh-nev-uh-luhnt] Show IPA
adjective
1. characterized by or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings: a benevolent attitude; her benevolent smile.
2. desiring to help others; charitable: gifts from several benevolent alumni.
3. intended for benefits rather than profit: a benevolent institution.


No way, not buying it.

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8/4/11 4:32 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
about benevolence - i think what is meant that there is an intrinsic benevolence that is all around.. something one can tap into even when actually free (thus it is actual).


Yes but since you have the ability to think for yourself, does that make any sense to you at the moment? Where could that benevolence come from?

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8/4/11 7:09 AM as a reply to Nad A..
Nad A.:
No way, not buying it.


I, on the other hand, am amazed that an evolutionary device such as the instinctual passions, which has been around for at least 500 million years (the time when the first vertebrates started developing the autonomic nervous system), can be completely fixed with a few years of one human's lifetime.

Something which has now been factually and personally verified by a number of humans, some of which posting on this internet forum and willing to help others do the same.

Nad, you might profit from reading the book "mastering the core teachings of the buddha," particularly the sections describing the insight stages Dissolution and Entrance to the Dark Night, Fear, Misery, etc, all the way to re-observation. Your recent negativity is very typical of these stages, which might indicate you are going through them.

RE: actualism notes
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8/4/11 10:33 AM as a reply to Nad A..
Nad A.:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
about benevolence - i think what is meant that there is an intrinsic benevolence that is all around.. something one can tap into even when actually free (thus it is actual).


Yes but since you have the ability to think for yourself, does that make any sense to you at the moment? Where could that benevolence come from?


i don't know where it comes from. but more + more i am feeling a palpable delight, benevolence, stillness, in the very air around me. 'where does it come from?' might be the wrong question to ask.. it's like asking - where does the universe come from? we don't really know. it just seems to be here.

perhaps, think of it not as a quality of the universe itself as a whole intrinsically, but an intrinsic quality of the universe perceiving itself appercepively - thus a quality of the human brain (though, the human brain being actual, it is an intrinsic part of the universe). i'm not sure whether it would be the quality of any brain with that capacity - we will have to meet alien life forms or genetically engineer dolphins to be smarter until we can find out. does that make sense?

EDIT: actually, consider my next post, about the best thing happening at each moment - how's that for benevolence?

RE: actualism notes
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8/4/11 10:33 AM as a reply to Nad A..
Nad A.:
Indeed. Evolution leads biological organisms to 'better' solutions only in the same way that human military arms races lead both sides to 'better' solutions. Things only get more complex in order to better kill and survive being killed and eaten by other organisms. It's a futile arms race.

Again I have to point out that all the 'safety', pleasure, leisure and comfort humans experience will probably never outweigh the pain and terror that trillions of other sentient creatures endured in this 'benevolent' evolution process.


consider that whatever happens at any given moment, leading to the next moment, is the best possible thing that can happen in that moment. atoms naturally have valence and, when they are close enough, bind - best outcome. the universe is naturally reactive. alive, almost.. by that i mean charged, reactive, not inert

Richard:
In actuality matter is vibrant, potent ... literally everything material is intrinsically active, vigorous. This fundamental dynamism, this elemental efficacy, is the very actuality of all existence – the actualness of everything – as matter itself, being of infinite perpetuance/ eternal perdurability, is anything but inoperative (passive) or inactive (inert).
And wherever/ whenever this perennial matter is sentient the potential exists for it to be conscious of its own essential nature.


all the suffering that happens is simply due to ignorance. nobody really wants to hurt themselves or someone else because they are 'evil'. they do it because they think that is what's best - either for them, or for other people, or what-not, following their own world view. if they knew better, they wouldn't do it. there's no reason to blame anyone - it's just ignorance. so, given the ignorance, the best possible thing happens, leading to the next moment. people just want to be happy, really, they just don't know how... and some have given up on the possibility, even.

the fact that out of nothing, human consciousness evolved.. and that sometime between 200000 years ago and at the latest the buddha's time, the brain developed the capacity to know to such a degree that all suffering could vanish for the given human.. that's pretty great.

replace 'best' with 'simply what happens' if you like, and it might read differently, but i think it says the same thing.

RE: actualism notes
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8/4/11 12:06 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
Nad A.:
No way, not buying it.


I, on the other hand, am amazed that an evolutionary device such as the instinctual passions, which has been around for at least 500 million years (the time when the first vertebrates started developing the autonomic nervous system), can be completely fixed with a few years of one human's lifetime.


I can't see how that demonstrates a benevolence to the universe.

Nad, you might profit from reading the book "mastering the core teachings of the buddha," particularly the sections describing the insight stages Dissolution and Entrance to the Dark Night, Fear, Misery, etc, all the way to re-observation. Your recent negativity is very typical of these stages, which might indicate you are going through them.


Ok, thanks for the links. I've read the first of those chapters already. I can verify that even during felicitous periods I did not think benevolence was an appropriate term for the universe.

RE: actualism notes
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8/4/11 12:17 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:


consider that whatever happens at any given moment, leading to the next moment, is the best possible thing that can happen in that moment.


I don't follow. This is just unjustified assertion, isn't it?

atoms naturally have valence and, when they are close enough, bind - best outcome.


emoticon How do you get from bind to best outcome?

the universe is naturally reactive. alive, almost.. by that i mean charged, reactive, not inert


How do you get from active/potent to best or benevolent?

all the suffering that happens is simply due to ignorance.


A baby or other animal trapped somewhere starving to death. edit: or any animal's pain. I'd classify that as suffering. Of what is the baby/animal ignorant?

the fact that out of nothing, human consciousness evolved.. and that sometime between 200000 years ago and at the latest the buddha's time, the brain developed the capacity to know to such a degree that all suffering could vanish for the given human.. that's pretty great.


How do you get from great to benevolent?

replace 'best' with 'simply what happens' if you like, and it might read differently, but i think it says the same thing.


I don't see how it says the same thing.

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8/4/11 1:23 PM as a reply to Nad A..
i don't think there is a satisfactory non-experiential answer. in the same way you can't imagine a PCE, i don't think you can imagine the benevolence, in any meaningful way. and i haven't experienced it fully yet , either, so i am unable to answer your questions. i was trying to say something along the lines of, the outcome (e.g. atoms binding) is the only outcome, and, being the only one, it is the best one (since there is only one possible choice). but that isn't quite satisfactory either, so i'm hitting the wall of the limit of my xp here

EDIT: one thing pointing to it, is the fact that this process of becoming free is happening by itself. 'i' am just aligning myself, but 'i' am divulged automatically when 'i' let it happen. why does that happen? why does the process tend towards freedom on its own? that points to some benevolence.. at least regarding the workings of the brain

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8/4/11 2:55 PM as a reply to Nad A..
I figured it out! it's because it takes more muscles to frown than smile!

just kiddin, but either it's just a descriptive, non-practical statement, in which case it's irrelevant to practice, or as I'm thinking, it's experiential, in which case you either experience or not and talking about it doesn't really do any good.

I feel like I've experienced some element of the benevolence when I see that everything that can be inclined (animals with some threshold of i intelligence) seems to be inclined at the most basic level towards benevolence. Although in almost all cases that benevolence is superseded by instinctual and selfish intention or desire, when there is no need for selfish action present, things seem to be inclined towards the "best" possible outcome. In actually free humans this natural intention seems to be allowed to shine through without any obscuring. But, that's really just an non-scientific observation, and also irrelevant to practicing as far as i can tell. It's in the nature of the universe that things take the path of least resistance, and it seems "resistance" is essentially the same as sorrow and malice in feeling creatures. Perhaps intelligence follows this path of least resistance when not being totally enslaved by selfish and powerful instinct.

Perhaps this is a point so obvious to experience, that doing the "easiest" thing is the default, that it doesn't really make sense when put into language.

anywaay, there's my contribution. still don't think it matters though and thinking about it seems to cause more confusion than understanding so I'm gonna stop emoticon

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8/4/11 4:02 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
going to sleep last night: gathered up a ton of intent. so i kept meditating. i'm not sure how long i slept - i think i kept waking up + nodding off. but i had some of the most amazing experiences while curled up with my eyes closed. i moved the blanket across my body and its like every tingling sensation of touch was scintillating and amazing. i moved my hand up + down my body, as if it was moving on its own, and the touch was cool refreshing + stunning. i ran my finger along the mattress, it's rough surface, and it was like - yes, yes! that exact sensation, right there - amazing! amazing...

woke up a bit stuffy-headed. started doing attentiveness on way to work and anxiety started coming up. a bit of worry.. why is that happening? but then i tuned into delight and.. had quite the amazing commute. very intimate interaction w/ a shopkeeper.. it's like look - i'm giving him the credit card.. he gives me the receipt to sign.. it's two humans interacting! amazing in its simplicity

yet .. later in the day.... at work... terrible terrible terrible. simply can't focus. so i sitting there + meditating (which seems to have replaced spacing out of my youth, if my ADD hypothesis stands...).. and im like ok, have to work. so i start looking at the work. and anxiety comes. and more anxiety. and i can't focus. so i go back to meditating. thn i get annoyed. so back to work. anxiety. screw it ill plow through this. and i look at what i have to do and i start doing it and i simply cannot canNOT focus on it. and so thoughts of me having ADD comes into my head. read some sites about symptoms and i match those. basically it's like.. i feel everything i do could be so much better.. and i realyl do want to do a good job and put all my effort into it.. and i know that if i could do that i would get good results. but i can't cause... i can't focus! and causes terrible anxiety. and this exact pattern has been happening ever since i started job. and it's torturing me so. and then its like WTF, i can experience such delight and yet still this bothers me.. and i realie i really hate this part of me.. self-loathing.. so i figure well i'll go to starbucks and get a highly caffeinated drink.. and i chug that, back to work.. and i can actually sit still after drinking it. instead of feeling anxious when sitting still (which happens sometimes). though it did cause some hyperactivity as seen by this post... but i still don't want to do the work.. so.. i dnno. screw this 'real world' and 'me' stuff... there's no reason to keep perpetuating this... yet it's HARD to STOP.

RE: actualism notes
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8/4/11 6:03 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
ok so.. initial onset of caffeine - calmed me down. i felt more energy, but absolutely no need to jitter or twitch or be restless. easier to think straight too.

afterwards as i figured it was wearing off: got really jittery and felt like crap. maybe was onset of all the caffeine (was quite a lot). but restless and thoughts all over

so i went and walked around. lots of energy to burn. thoughts all over theplace.

on the way back its like i managed to flip a switch or something. decided not to flip out anymore. maybe caffeine helps and is still in my body but it worked well. can focus again.

the switch was equivalent to starting to meditate. so maybe all i have to continue doing is be attentive all day.*

have to see if the switch is so easy to do with no caffeine. or maybe with just a little (instead of 3/4 of a 24oz espresso machiatta with extra shot of espresso). or screw it should just get ADD meds.

--

* hmm this might be key. cause i'd sit + meditate and be totally fine. bubbles bursting. then i'd go to do work (or just do something else) and immediately anxiety would arise. so i'd go back to meditating. meditating being - sitting still at my desk and focusing on bubbles. so maybe i was stopping to meditate and that cause anxiety /ADD /whatever the F is going on in my head to arise. so i have to just not stop meditating

interesting.. as i focus (with aid of remaining caffeine) particularly on not letting ADD thoughts stray, i feel like a weak part of my brain is slowly improving. its like sensations in the back of my head that hurt.. like a wound that is healing.. and the more i focus the more it does that.. the same happened w/ my earlier experiment w/ mindfulness. i wonder if ADD is just an underdeveloped part of the brain. and focusing in this way is developing it. not sure why meditating in general hasn't fixed it till now.. guess not knowing what to look for.

feels like working out a long-weak muscle

the flip side is it takes all my concentration just to maintain attention.. not a lot of room left for work-stuff, cause i have to think about it.. whereas w/ typing this stuff i can do both pretty easily

RE: actualism notes
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8/4/11 6:17 PM as a reply to Nad A..
Intellectually, (non-anthropocentric) benevolence[1] doesn’t make much sense except in light of favorable[2] (non-anthropocentric) values[3], which exist regardless of humans (whether felicitous, starving, or otherwise… and their corresponding perceptions, too) .

If you are asking, “favorable to whom?”… that is anthropocentric.

If your computer (or other device) screen / clothes / piña colada suddenly seem underappreciated… that is naïve.

There is a very strong correlation between naivety and non-centric thinking.

I hope you find some favorable non-anthropocentric value in the above.

Regards,
Gabriel

[1] Benevolence: inclination or tendency to help or do good[2] (…)
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

[2] Good: Propitious; favorable
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

[3] Richard: (…) values – in the sense of ‘the quality of a thing considered in respect of its ability to serve a specified purpose or cause an effect’ (Oxford Dictionary)http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/listafcorrespondence/listaf110a.htm

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8/4/11 7:04 PM as a reply to Gabriel S..
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8/4/11 8:14 PM as a reply to Nad A..
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8/4/11 8:27 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
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8/4/11 9:34 PM as a reply to Nad A..
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8/4/11 10:28 PM as a reply to Gabriel S..
One life-supporting planet is enough to confirm (in our case even experience) the universe’s benevolence expressed as the favorable conditions leading to the emergence of life (favorable as regards life, the “what” recipient, of course)…


That life supporting planet could be more simply explained, and without an excess assumption, by random chance. Furthermore, life didn't receive some favorable influence, it didn't exist to be influenced, it was created in this "emergence." The only thing that was influenced by the emergence of life was the inanimate universe, in what way can life be called a positive change to the universe? It seems to be a neutral change.

its inherently self-organizing / self-correcting nature also favors conditions that preserve, change and / or evolve
  • all kinds of stuff (e.g., mineral, plant and animal).


  • The nature of the universe is quite the opposite of self-organizing and self-correcting.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy

    Furthermore, why is self-organized a positive rather than neutral trait? Why is the universe better off organized?

    However, if you think life is the be-all and end-all of the universe, for example, then I can understand your reluctance to see the universe as benevolent — as its life to space ratio leaves a lot to be desired (but does it matter in an infinite universe?) for those who desire such things.


    Didn't you just suggest that life is somehow a positive thing for the universe? I'm inclined to think that Nad thinks, as do I, that life is a neutral change in the universe.



    Nothing without intelligence can be called benevolent in the way that these words are currently being used, and while remaining within an actualist paradigm. Something without it's own subjective opinions of good and bad being inclined towards the "good" necessarily implies some sort of objective, absolute good, which would certainly contradict the notion of a perfect universe. (actualist paradigm)

    However I do accept that intelligence is natrually benevolent, as it functions benevolently, but only because it already has existing notions of good. Something without intelligence not only lacks such notions, but also lacks any ability to have intent.

    I'll take your question directed at Nad now that I'm responding to your post apparently directed at him alone, the universe conjures up a feeling within me of 'liking' but that doesn't mean I think it's benevolent. A piece of cake might conjure up a similar feeling, while a bit of fecal matter may conjure up an opposite feeling. Does this mean cake is benevolent and poop is malevolent?

    edit:

    could it be that benevolence is another part of AF experience that doesn't necessarily reflect actuality? Like the infinite spatial and temporal aspects experienced? (there's no way a human body could know the size and age of the universe with its unaided, physical senses) maybe we should split off a thread discussing these aspects of the actual universe? because, the universe's aspects as they are being discussed here don't seem to be relevant to be practice. not that they aren't interesting emoticon

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    8/5/11 1:58 AM as a reply to fred flinstone.
    Hi Fred,

    I'm sure I would enjoy a good conversation with you, as I like your science-oriented attitude, but I am presently engaged in other matters. Just a few comments, and then I hope you’ll forgive my disinclination to continue (and you may have the last word, of course).

    fred flinstone:
    One life-supporting planet is enough to confirm (in our case even experience) the universe’s benevolence expressed as the favorable conditions leading to the emergence of life (favorable as regards life, the “what” recipient, of course)…


    That life supporting planet could be more simply explained, and without an excess assumption, by random chance. Furthermore, life didn't receive some favorable influence, it didn't exist to be influenced, it was created in this "emergence." The only thing that was influenced by the emergence of life was the inanimate universe, in what way can life be called a positive change to the universe? It seems to be a neutral change.


    For an alternative (science-based) view [emphasized by me]:

    talkorigins.org:
    Five Major Misconceptions about Evolution

    (...)

    "The theory of evolution says that life originated, and evolution proceeds, by random chance."

    There is probably no other statement which is a better indication that the arguer doesn't understand evolution. Chance certainly plays a large part in evolution, but this argument completely ignores the fundamental role of natural selection, and selection is the very opposite of chance.
    (…)
    *Nor is abiogenesis (the origin of the first life) due purely to chance. Atoms and molecules arrange themselves not purely randomly, but according to their chemical properties.* In the case of carbon atoms especially, this means complex molecules are sure to form spontaneously, and these complex molecules can influence each other to create even more complex molecules.
    (…)
    A calculation of the odds of abiogenesis is worthless unless it recognizes the immense range of starting materials that the first replicator might have formed from, the probably innumerable different forms that the first replicator might have taken, and *the fact that much of the construction of the replicating molecule would have been non-random* to start with. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html


    By the way, I am alive, I am the universe, and I don’t consider myself neutral anymore; therefore, in this sense, I am a net positive change to the (local/temporal) universe (and I’m well aware of what being negative to other human-universe-matter is like). You may find this naive, or even silly, but I'm being quite sincere.

    fred flinstone:
    The nature of the universe is quite the opposite of self-organizing and self-correcting.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy

    Furthermore, why is self-organized a positive rather than neutral trait? Why is the universe better off organized?


    Where does this leave molecular self-assembly, then? What if the actual world is not a closed and isolated system (you do realize that “The role of entropy in cosmology remains a controversial subject”[1])? Are you sure entropy trumps (and excludes) self-organization [2]?

    Regards,
    Gabriel

    P.S. Poop can be highly beneficial… read up on fecal transplants.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy

    [2]
    daviddarling.info:
    The build-up of system order via self-organization is now conceived as a primary tendency of complex systems in contrast to the past emphasis on the degrading of order in association with the principle of entropy (second law of thermodynamics). However, rather than denying entropy, self-organization can be understood as a way that entropy increases in complex, nonlinear systems.

    One possible conclusion is that the laws of nature are, in a sense, biased so that they tend locally to direct matter toward states of increasing complexity and order. Some researchers have concluded from this that the probability for abiogenesis is very much greater than that expected from the random shuffling of molecules in a prebiotic environment. http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/S/selforg.html

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    8/5/11 2:47 AM as a reply to Gabriel S..
    Gabriel S.:

    One life-supporting planet is enough to confirm (in our case even experience) the universe’s benevolence expressed as the favorable conditions leading to the emergence of life (favorable as regards life, the “what” recipient, of course)…


    Life is not the be-all and end-all of the universe.

    its inherently self-organizing / self-correcting nature also favors conditions that preserve, change and / or evolve
  • all kinds of stuff (e.g., mineral, plant and animal). Do you appreciate the significance of this?


  • No, enlighten me?

    its life to space ratio leaves a lot to be desired (but does it matter in an infinite universe?)


    Its life to space ratio makes a mockery of your first statement. Plus, I don't think the universe is infinite.

    What feeling does the universe conjure up in 'you', Nad? Nothing? The answer might come in handy.


    No one particular feeling. Different feelings on different days.



    That respondent Richard is talking with there is me. I'm no longer convinced by that (edit: insofar as the benevolence issue goes).

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    8/5/11 3:10 AM as a reply to Nad A..
    Nad A.:
    That respondent Richard is talking with there is me. I'm no longer convinced by that (edit: insofar as the benevolence issue goes).


    That's what I suspected; and I was hoping you would find your 'transcript' there.

    Well, we've hit a wall Nad... I have nothing further to say.

    Sorry I couldn't be more of help.

    Regards,
    Gabriel

    RE: actualism notes
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    8/5/11 4:17 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
    ok so.. initial onset of caffeine - calmed me down. i felt more energy, but absolutely no need to jitter or twitch or be restless. easier to think straight too.

    afterwards as i figured it was wearing off: got really jittery and felt like crap. maybe was onset of all the caffeine (was quite a lot). but restless and thoughts all over


    Something motioned me to reply to this.

    I've noticed this too. I didn't start drinking caffeinated drinks regularly until a couple years ago, and something I noticed during my, eh, virgin years was that as soon as I had caffeine, I'd perk up and get all hyper followed by a crash about an hour or so afterwards. This crash would sometimes involve crying (which is also why I stayed the heck away from caffeine for quite some time).

    These days it's more like a double-up going on; first I'll get the initial dopamine rush from satisfying my cravings, then the dopa rush from the caffeine and then the crash (which I don't really notice that much any more, it's more like it colors the rest of my day in various greyish tones).

    I'm currently off the brown stuff, trying to see if I can get my own ADD tendencies to go away through other means, which is probably why this piqued my curiosity.

    How long have you been meditating?

    Edit: Forgot to add (ADD, heh); I've noticed, while trying out intermittent fasting, that I concentrate much better on an empty stomach. I also seem to have more energy this way, which makes some sense from a purely evolutionary perspective.

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    8/5/11 8:30 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    hmm - might be a simple matter of low levels of serotonin! taking 5-htp seems to generally put me in a better mood.. i will try stopping to smoke completely (since smoking seems to lower serotonin levels) and take buttloads of 5-htp and see what happens.

    at this point it really seems all i have to do is be in a good mood for long enough.. for this to finish itself off without too much issue.

    thinking of it as a chemical imbalance, once again, put it in a much better perspective.. it's not 'my' fault i can't cultivate delight or joy, not 'my' fault this damned thing in my head is incessantly cringing.. it's just a simple lack of serotonin. causes + conditions. so that put the mood completely differently. now it's a matter of - how can i deal with this 'bad' mood most effectively, to minimize its harm, until my brain gets restored to a more salubrious condition

    it's all just causes + conditions. but i take it way too personally sometimes.

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    8/5/11 8:23 AM as a reply to Elin S.
    Elin S:
    These days it's more like a double-up going on; first I'll get the initial dopamine rush from satisfying my cravings, then the dopa rush from the caffeine and then the crash (which I don't really notice that much any more, it's more like it colors the rest of my day in various greyish tones).

    I'm currently off the brown stuff, trying to see if I can get my own ADD tendencies to go away through other means, which is probably why this piqued my curiosity.

    try taking 5-htp supplements maybe. i think this is all just chemical imbalances.. part that and part disposition, which meditating should help with

    Elin S:
    How long have you been meditating?
    started a few days before new year's last year .. so ~20 months?

    Elin S:
    Edit: Forgot to add (ADD, heh); I've noticed, while trying out intermittent fasting, that I concentrate much better on an empty stomach. I also seem to have more energy this way, which makes some sense from a purely evolutionary perspective.
    i fasted for a week once, water-only. wasn't too skilled at meditating yet but i did find it easier.

    RE: actualism notes
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    8/5/11 11:55 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
    taking 5-htp seems to generally put me in a better mood..

    o mai goodness. 5-htp man.. just what i needed. must've taken ~650mg in the past 13 hours.

    a 200mg one this morning tipped it over. before: huge huge compelling crunching constricting tension all over the head. it bothered me.. but it was stripped of anxiety. so it was there and i had no idea why.

    took the 200 mg one. a few minutes later and.. warmth spreads through it. starts feeling like my brain is healing itself. anxious-compulsions come up as before but are now pretty readily seen as silly + dropped instead of being pursued and unable to be dropped. great stuff. will have to take it regularly, an stop smokin the reefer, until my brain is back on track.

    --

    do you have a deep burning desire (aka passion) to be free? where you want to just plow through any obstacle in your way and be free now? i did/do... and it's annoying cause. i just want to be free. but all this CRAP is in the way, ya know? why can't it be easy?

    it's just a matter of ignorance, though... the desire is a noble one in a sense. the problem with it is that it is a belief - a belief that doing X will get you free. when X starts hurting, you wonder why it's so hard... but really, the impetus/intention behind it was good, and can and should be utilized.. just in a careful manner. if something doesn't work, find out why, without being upset, and then redirect that tremendous affective energy behind a strong desire to be free in a more skillful direction

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    8/5/11 3:37 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Why are you choosing to practice under the influence rather than while sober? Drugs can be either an escape or a recreational activity, a habit or an experiment. I'm not sure what else it can fall under. What are they for you?

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    8/5/11 4:21 PM as a reply to Jon T.
    Jon T:
    Why are you choosing to practice under the influence rather than while sober? Drugs can be either an escape or a recreational activity, a habit or an experiment. I'm not sure what else it can fall under. What are they for you?

    well alcohol was a peer-pressure thing, but it was kinda fun. weed was at first for an escape (feeling bad - maybe this will help), but i actually liked it a lot (vs. alcohol which i don't care so much for), so it became recreational. MDMA was for curiosity/experiment, i liked it, so that also became recreational.

    that's the history of it... now, weed + mdma were my entrances into the 'spiritual' world, MDMA triggering the A&P, and basically being blazed sitting by myself being how i informally started meditating (i actually think i got the 5th jhana really soon around there, though i had no idea that's what it was).

    when practice took on a shape (after reading MCTB )... i practiced mostly sober, but i found weed to make for interesting sits, so i practiced while on weed, too. and i'd smoke w/ my room mate recreationally, but when we'd go to sleep, i'd stay up more and basically meditate cause it was interesting and enjoyable.

    somewhere around there in the dark nights and what not i probably used it as an escape, too. i also used it to make faster progress. cause i felt that meditating while high led to more progress. but doing that in the dark night + not being careful was really a bad idea. i'd probably just change that, if anything.

    after all that settled down... i still found it more beneficial for practice than not (though that was just my impression - not necessarily the case), so i kept doing that, as practice shifted to 24/7, i'd practice at work while working , sober, and practice at home at night, sometimes sober, sometimes not

    the 5-htp i didn't see as a drug in the same way, just something to get the brain more 'normal', but i actually took a good amount it seems and i am lightly buzzed as a result. will see how that one shakes out

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    8/5/11 11:07 PM as a reply to Gabriel S..
    Since you've given me the last word, I'd just point out i didn't say the process of evolution was random, or if i did somewhere that was a slip-up, just that abiogenesis was. I can see however that there is some scientific stuff I'm quite aware of, mostly that excerpt from daviddarling.info. However even if as you say there is a self-organizing tendency, I think entropy does "trump" it because as that excerpt explained, entropy still acts even more on those increasingly complex systems so in the "long-term" maybe it would all end up de-organizing? I don't really know. But anyway, I don't see why organization is intrinsically "good" so that things inclined towards organization are "benevolent."

    Your other point about seeing yourself as a net-positive now is something that I totally agree with and I tried to explain in an earlier post on this thread. The intellect seems naturally to attempt to find what it perceives as the "best" solution, and when people are acting with some instinct or belief enslaving them they aren't being malevolent for malevolence's sake, simply selfish. So the self is of course selfish but intelligence does seem inherently benevolent (maybe this says something about the universe itself being naturally benevolent, but I'm lacking both the will and ability to see or care about this connection right now) so i think I agree there.

    honestly it's a bit of a relief not have to continue the conversation lol, my practice has been going so well recently and this conversation as it's been progressing seems totally unpractical (not that this is your or anyone's fault, call it "self"-generated instinctual entropy if you will, our subliminally functioning instinctual and social identities seem to have pushed this out of the realm of something useful into the realm of a debate for debate's sake.)

    I'll take your word about the poop.

    thanks for the conversation

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    8/6/11 12:30 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    this is interesting... what i used to take as being the slimy incredibly unpleasant thing, i realized (a bit ago) was 'being' (in the head, in particular, but in other places manifested differently). i used to want to avoid it cause it caused great panic. now it seems that attentiveness is exactly this - noticing that slimy unpleasant thing, but noticing it is neither slimy nor unpleasant, just there, and something to be let go of.

    the issue earlier was i would latch onto the thing and ignorantly (unknowingly) start making it worse. now, when being attentive, it is noticed, and the tendency is far less to exacerbate it. this means it is easier to look at and be sensuous at the same time and thus drop it

    seems all i have to do is be absolutely attentive all the time, now, and seems now that i am able to (or soon will be able to) do it without fear 100% in every direction

    attentiveness to attentiveness... reminds me when i was playing around with the 7 factors, how if i boosted up mindfulness a ton, the mind became really clear, bright, and a 'me' factor really came into it - like ah yes, this is 'me'! the same thing seems to be happening now

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    8/8/11 8:34 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    it turns out harboring deep resentment and/or ill-will might make the acutalism process more difficult!

    was feeling quite sleepy on sunday, so i decided to do tai chi to wake myself up. after i did the form i just decided to stand there. this usually causes energy to start goin around all over the body, and identifies blockages pretty well.. and turns out there was an enormous set of anxious-neutral (as in big blobs)-clinging-pained feeling all over the chest area. i could hardly stand there.. lots of anxiety and resentment came up.. and turns out it was something like an intense dislike of myself, and i was wondering why? and then feelings came up of like just wanting to do well, but being f-ed over by the world basically, hah.. particularly with a girl during college - had a crush, but i didn't do anything due to anxiety, but i harbored it for a few years, and it made life a lot more painful than it had to be, and i blamed myself for letting it happen, harboring it, and not doing anything about it..

    so then i turned to thoughts of benevolence and good will and turned to the part of 'my' nature that just wanted good things to happen. and it's like oh - that's ok! no need to resent anymore.. and just like gigantic chunks of stuff started releasing, all over my head and chest area. after this i sat down, contemplated it more, reflected on the benevolence of the universe, how things always trend for the best when in good moods, and for non-human stuff (like plants growing towards the sun, for example), etc.. just reflected the hell out of it.. also that 'my' nature of being benevolent is not actually necessary, since it happens automatically, so even that can be dropped.. and more huge chunks came off. my head really felt like it decompressed a lot.

    went out for a haircut + food and realized it was easier + easier to tune into the actual aspects of 5th-7th jhanas: good will/space, delight, and stillness/nothingness. there are two modes - 'floundering', as in, not focusing on anything actual too well (not sensuous), and 'solid', like, there is a distinct noticing of one of those aspects, and its like 'i' am not there (though 'i' still am). i get the impression that i really spent a lot of my youth in states like the latter one.. they are very familiar anyway.

    came back home and contemplated that, the only reason apperception seems to not happen is from a reluctance to look.. so i decided to look as hard as i could. basically concentrating my ass off + looking as hard as i could, for an hour or two, both open-eyed and closed. this had a good amount of restlessness, though less than before, since i had done a lot of tai chi and had worked on patience, and also dropping that resentment probably helped.

    but it was interesting. there would be a period of intense looking and not fully being able to grasp certain things, and then really nice fruitions which corresponded with dropping a good amount of stuff. there was a huge one where the whole visual field, which had turned white + teeming, simply dropped away and revealed blackness, and it felt like the half front of my face fell off.

    after that huge one, i realized i was restless... and decided to simply calm myself down any way i could, which i tried by counting breaths, and taking deep ones. and after about the 2nd-3rd round of 10, the restlessness dropped away, in a pretty noticeable, sudden way.

    and after that.. it's like the natural state is the 2nd one i talked about - being pretty into actuality, but with 'being' around. but 'floundering' seems to happen less, or maybe, not at all. it seems a lot harder to get emotional about anything, right now - it's like i just don't feel like it anymore. i was wondering if i got AF and just had some things that would resolve themselves, but i still felt being around.. i tried exciting some passions, like fantasizing sexually, and though it had some physical effects, the entire circuit of lust arising, slight aversion to it but enjoyment of it, then it looping around, feeding itself, getting harder + harder to control, etc., didn't happen at all.

    i lay in bed and started laughing as i realized what i had been doing - basically, my approach would be to really press myself hard occasionally, and then give up after a bit, cause it was too much effort.. and the giving up would feel bad, and the pressing hard would feel bad, but i really want to get AF, so i wanted to keep pressing. marijuana use really didn't help at all, cause i was using it as periods of more intense practice, so instead of having a continuous day, it would be divided into not-high and high, which really doesn't do well for eliminating the sense of time passing.

    so basically i was suffering in order to be free.. and i just started laughing. that's silly! much better to have consistent on-going practice. though i think by this point the insight had already happened (with the tranquility-relaxing) and i was just parsing it out in my brain.

    i think part of it was that, i actually used to be a pretty chill dude.. i don't think i had such intense suffering/anxiety in high school, for example.. still social anxiety would come up, but it wouldn't be a constant thing. my motto and way of living was basically: don't worry, be happy.. which is like exactly what i should be doing now. so what happened? i think that, that was my motto, and i tried living like that, but there were things that kept coming up that i couldn't deal with, like social anxiety.. and as i did try not to worry and be happy, i did it by ignoring the issue. and during college, it just spiked more and more.. so basically 'i' lost it, that not-worrying, gradually getting worse, over these past 4-5 years (and exacerbated now by meditating since it revealed the issue, though i tried to ignore it until recently).. so perhaps i had an aversion to doing it that way, because 'i' tried it before and it led to quite painful things. but now it's different.. now there is less ignorance.. now 'i' have the tools 'i' need to actually not worry and be happy, if only 'i' would actually do that instead of worrying so much!

    so the thing-to-do seems to be to keep the goal-orientedness, but to keep it on a moment-to-moment basis, and not a future-looking basis. thus, in this moment, be as happy and harmless as possible, see as clearly as possible, etc. pure intent, basically. i have had that realization before.. maybe now i can actually take it to heart.

    what's fun is tuning into nothingness/stillness when in the car, or on the subway, or walking around. it's like, normally i'd think of this as moving - me being bounced around, the vehicle moving, tons of noise (especially on a particularly bumpy subway ride), except, it's like nothing is moving at all! it's surreal and wonderful at the same time.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/8/11 6:41 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    hmm bruno said in his thread:
    Bruno:
    I have also become my best friend. In realizing that "I" really want to be happy, and having found that to be really sweet of "me," I have stopped antagonizing myself, and begun to treat myself tenderly.


    need to follow this advice... i'm going to try (and trying it now) to treat 'me' as i would a lost puppy.. very cute, tender, adorable, but has no clue where he is or where he's going or even what is good to eat or not, what is dangerous or not, etc., and he needs gentle caring to figure it out (and he does want to figure it out) and also he likes you, hah.

    EDIT: or maybe not.. if puppy gets mad you might get upset, for instance, or start doing bad things to it 'for its own good', heh... maybe just treat myself like a fellow human being - if feeling sad, then do the best to figure out why, cheer them up[1], etc. if feeling good, then hang out and have a fun time. i am a human being after all!

    [1] this might be why i get so stuck in bad moods so often. i hate it when i'm feeling bad and people try to cheer me up or figure out why. it just makes me feel worse. maybe i should figure out why..[2]

    [2] ah it's shame, right! i keep forgetting that one..

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/9/11 1:24 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    hmm well tried smoking again last night to see what'd happen, after having not done it. was quite the interesting sit...

    - immediately felt affective-vibrations much more. directing them towards the stomach/groin area was quite relaxing.
    - seems like when i focus on the back of the neck, things get clipped there, or it feels that way, and my eyes start fluttering. wonder what the connection is
    - visual field really jerking around like flashing lights, like the whole field will light up for .5 seconds, then change color again abruptly, then again, then again, etc
    - got a really good grasp on formations, it seems. got into really attentively-focused 8th jhana, and the whole head-complex (and everything else) was strobing in+out about 2-3 times/second. it was really obvious it was 'me'.
    - interestingly, the way 'i' hold the visual field (also a formation) seems related to the way the head pressure is manifesting. i got a clear picture of holding the whole affectively-tainted visual at once. i could see the black edges of it, and it was like 'i' could control it directly.. and it seemed shaped similarly (in an analogous way) to the head pressure.
    - worked on dropping a few things. for a few things, there were moments were they would fade, then come back. so i focused on the fading and managed to drop a good amount of stuff that way, it seems

    overall it felt productive. however, this morning, same anxiety-compelling-crushing thing in the head, which hadn't been there the mornings before when i didn't smoke the night before. took a bit to wear off. i really focused on calming down, finding naivete spot, standing still and i could feel it being chipped away.. but i wonder if it was something old being chipped, or just something new as a result of last night that formed, which i then took back down to how it was before.

    seems like it is caused by meditating in that state. i don't think it is worth it anymore, so now i shall no longer do it, at least for a few weeks - perhaps again then after smoother progress is made.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/9/11 3:43 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    well.. off to a tropical island for vacation for 5 days.. should help me relax!

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/22/11 11:35 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    hmmm... not sure where im at...

    so during the vacation and on a day since then, had some really nice EE experiences that would be really stable + clean + clear. but they did not last. and in between them there are large bouts of anxiety and passion and sorrow and listlessness. often in the same day - saturday morning with a slight hangover, i felt just wonderful, calm, relaxed, hanging out with friends. but after friends left and i was in my room and decided to 'practice' (i was doing that before, too, and enjoying, but now i guess i was 'focusing more'), it quickly led to being stuck in anxiety, which continued thru sunday. this morning i felt a decompressino a bit - like the accumulated anxiety of the past 1.5 days was slowly leaving me, along with leaving lots of stomach pain. so that felt like progress, but i've got no clue whether it was overall progress or jsut un-doing the past few days (though during the anxiety-thing, i still felt tings releasing.. its just that anxiety grew as things were being released, until it became temporarily really hard to get out of)

    so this seems to be where it's at:
    * feel like have the ability to have very good concentration, can really tune into sensuousness and high-quality Es
    * but still lots of identity around
    * still lots of passion around
    * no consistent felicity
    * lots of resentment about suffering. i really dont wanna suffer no more.
    * might just be covering stuff up

    lack of consistency, lack of consistency.. i dont like it

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/22/11 12:10 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

    often in the same day - saturday morning with a slight hangover, i felt just wonderful, calm, relaxed, hanging out with friends. but after friends left and i was in my room and decided to 'practice' (i was doing that before, too, and enjoying, but now i guess i was 'focusing more'), it quickly led to being stuck in anxiety, which continued thru sunday. this morning i felt a decompressino a bit - like the accumulated anxiety of the past 1.5 days was slowly leaving me, along with leaving lots of stomach pain. so that felt like progress, but i've got no clue whether it was overall progress or jsut un-doing the past few days (though during the anxiety-thing, i still felt tings releasing.. its just that anxiety grew as things were being released, until it became temporarily really hard to get out of)


    could be the effects of the alcohol. during practice (ok and even before i ever started practicing anything) i have noticed that every time i went out and had a bit much to drink, the next day usually is a mixed bag emotionally/physically.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/22/11 1:20 PM as a reply to Steph S.
    Steph S:
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

    often in the same day - saturday morning with a slight hangover, i felt just wonderful, calm, relaxed, hanging out with friends. but after friends left and i was in my room and decided to 'practice' (i was doing that before, too, and enjoying, but now i guess i was 'focusing more'), it quickly led to being stuck in anxiety, which continued thru sunday. this morning i felt a decompressino a bit - like the accumulated anxiety of the past 1.5 days was slowly leaving me, along with leaving lots of stomach pain. so that felt like progress, but i've got no clue whether it was overall progress or jsut un-doing the past few days (though during the anxiety-thing, i still felt tings releasing.. its just that anxiety grew as things were being released, until it became temporarily really hard to get out of)


    could be the effects of the alcohol. during practice (ok and even before i ever started practicing anything) i have noticed that every time i went out and had a bit much to drink, the next day usually is a mixed bag emotionally/physically.

    interestingly i noted the opposite.. the night of drinking was very felicitous, and the morning hangover until the hangover went away, i was in an amazing mood.. and i noticed this even before stream-entry (but after i was practicing). i'm not sure why. it's like i'm able to turn off the worrying part of my brain, and keep it turned off.. even if i'm lying in bed with a huge headache, i'll just be smiling and in a good mood (though in pain)

    and especially when i socialize with people, the socialization causes me to not worry, cause i can't focus as much. and same when doing activities like playing ping pong (which was a high-EE point during the vacation). but when the external 'distractions' arent there, i get into the negative loops. which is funny cause i tend to not socialize as much cause i want to focus more on attentiveness/sensuousness...

    so i guess i have to (re)learn how to focus. if i'm on 'the other side' (no worrying currently happening) it's pretty easy to maintain the nice state. though it is sometimes triggered by remembering about the worrying. but when worrying, it is sooo difficult to have it stop. i basically have to go distract myself with something or go to sleep.

    and i realize like, in the very nice EE on sat morning, it was a great place from which to think about things that usually bug me, and look through them.. so i would think of a little one, get a pang of negativity, examine it, drop it, back to nice, etc... but if i did it too much it was starting to destabilize the state so i stopped

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/22/11 2:34 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    thought - my practice is 'stuck', not getting anywhere.. why do i think that? immediate answer: not really sure. so perhaps i should list them out...

    - want it to be over already

    - feel bad about wanting it to be over

    - feel like would b happier now if had never done anything (though now the end is in sight and glimpses have shown me it will be fine)

    - high state of annoyance at work

    - want to not do anything for next 10 days

    - reaction to that previous thought is one of shame

    - shamed at not having practice go well

    - shamed at not being able to ask for help

    - shame/disappointment that can't keep up attentiveness consistently

    - disappointed that i've suffered so much yet still can't drop it

    - want tension in head to not be there

    - worried about not being able to focus properly

    - annoyed at the MJ thing

    - just want to enjoy myself and have a good time

    - just want to be able to do work without it bothering me

    - just want to not be running out of time

    - annoyed that i get into the fixated thing that leads to anxiety and that it happens without me noticing and that i can't get out once it happens

    - why do mood swings happen? not entirely sure what triggers them. and then shame at not being sure.. but with sensible idea that i should probably be watching for that

    - but again shame at not having done that already

    - just want to 'give up', just have somebody say exactly the right thing to me so that these issues will stop happening of their own accord

    ** just tired! just don't want to fight anymore.. aha.. and when i do that, i immediately get this anxiety and shortness of breath, and i 'give up' more, and it comes up.. but it's not like the slowly-building-on-itself anxiety that leads to bad things.. its like a sudden upbrining of perhaps the more elemental , what is causing it, and causes huge shortness of breath, and i want to just stay with it so that it can pass, but it doesn't since i start breathing more+more rapidly and then the thought goes away... any tips here?

    hmm i just remembered i had dreams where i wasn't able to breathe anymore... was very panicking... hmm i have to play with this latter one

    - but yea basically i feel like i am missing a key component here. and i'd like someone to help me figure out what it is... though the answer will probably be one or all of: sincerity, naivete, pure intent, resolve

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/24/11 11:01 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    lol.. pure intent!

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/24/11 2:43 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
    why do mood swings happen? not entirely sure what triggers them.


    There is something I repeatedly observe of the practice threads here: remarkable focus on senses/sensuosity and similarly remarkable lack-of-interest in taking about feelings and moods. In the other thread, I asked the poster about what specific felicitous feelings they try to maximize, as the actualism method is by and large about maximizing felicitous feelings (not just minimizing the good/bad and 'paying attention to the senses'). No response at all.

    I can't help but notice the same here.

    Let me quote your posting on 7/29

    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

    part of it seems to be a taking-too-seriously of emotions.. like there are 'legit' ones (the negative ones that arise when 'i' don't incline in any particular way), but if i cultivate felicity that's not 'legit' cause it happened cause of some effort... but really they're both emotions.. and really the cultivation of felicity is quite equivalent to the cultivation of concentration, equanimity, joy, energy, etc., as factors of enlightenment... they have the same exact purpose.
    [...]
    EDIT: walking around.. reflecting on this... senses become clearer, space becomes more apparent.. a calmness settles in. 'being' is there but not a problem in the way it was.. it's just - the actual world is so peaceful! seems really all i have to do is stay close to it...


    You seem to think low of felicitous feelings because they are causal? But somehow that conflicts with the way felicitous feelings are explained in the AFT site, and so you carelessly equate felicitous feelings with Buddhistic seven factors of enlightenment. Then, gradually (in your EDIT), you go back to the focus on sensuosity (at the expense of ignoring felicitous feelings altogether).

    Perhaps, a reevaluation of your stance on felicitous feelings could help identify what triggers mood swings?

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/24/11 3:13 PM as a reply to Harry Potter.
    Harry Potter:
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
    why do mood swings happen? not entirely sure what triggers them.


    There is something I repeatedly observe of the practice threads here: remarkable focus on senses/sensuosity and similarly remarkable lack-of-interest in taking about feelings and moods. In the other thread, I asked the poster about what specific felicitous feelings they try to maximize, as the actualism method is by and large about maximizing felicitous feelings (not just minimizing the good/bad and 'paying attention to the senses'). No response at all.

    I can't help but notice the same here.

    Let me quote your posting on 7/29

    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

    part of it seems to be a taking-too-seriously of emotions.. like there are 'legit' ones (the negative ones that arise when 'i' don't incline in any particular way), but if i cultivate felicity that's not 'legit' cause it happened cause of some effort... but really they're both emotions.. and really the cultivation of felicity is quite equivalent to the cultivation of concentration, equanimity, joy, energy, etc., as factors of enlightenment... they have the same exact purpose.
    [...]
    EDIT: walking around.. reflecting on this... senses become clearer, space becomes more apparent.. a calmness settles in. 'being' is there but not a problem in the way it was.. it's just - the actual world is so peaceful! seems really all i have to do is stay close to it...


    You seem to think low of felicitous feelings because they are causal? But somehow that conflicts with the way felicitous feelings are explained in the AFT site, and so you carelessly equate felicitous feelings with Buddhistic seven factors of enlightenment. Then, gradually (in your EDIT), you go back to the focus on sensuosity (at the expense of ignoring felicitous feelings altogether).

    Perhaps, a reevaluation of your stance on felicitous feelings could help identify what triggers mood swings?


    hmm thanks for pointing that out. no doubt it's true.. my 'approach' has more or less been, when good mood is happening, great! sensuousness. when it's not - try to fight my way out, sometimes it works a bit, but the mood usually persists, be sad...

    could i ask you for more clarification on your latest paragraph, though? specifically:

    what i was getting at was that cultivating felicitous feelings is useful. they serve the same purpose as the factors of enlightenment - the factors are called that because they lead to enlightenment.. likewise, felicitous feelings lead to actual freedom (aka enlightenment as the buddha meant it, IMO). i hadn't considered them useful, which conflicts with the AF stance (that they are the most useful way to experience life), so i was using that reasoning to help me realize that they are indeed useful. why is that carelessly equating it?

    when i later said i was reflecting on this, my mood lightened up (aka i became more felicitous), thus the senses cleared up.. thus i was getting back to sensuousness, which i see as the point (the essay is called attentiveness, sensuousness, and apperceptiveness, not attentiveness, felicity, and apperceptiveness). i see felicity as a means to allow unfettered sensuousness.. or actually, i see it as being unfettered sensuousness.. when felicitous one is automatically sensuous, and when i succeed in being sensuous, i am delighting in being alive, aka felicitous. what's your take on it?

    thanks for reminding me of the post, though.. it seems i had slipped back into not watching emotions so carefully (just waiting for good moods so that i could be sensuous) instead of watching them very carefully when they do arise. an aversion to investigating 'bad' ones... that's definitely part of the reason the mood swings happen

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/24/11 5:58 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Hey Beo,

    I read over your posts. About a month or two ago, I had this two week period, worst then most, where although I felt like I was an improving practicing actualist, I was totally engrained in sorrow. Just sitting their wallowing in it. I think you need to just figure out how to get that sorrow and anxiety to leave by any means necessary in this moment of being alive. I also think a part of your sorrow/anxiety might be wanting "it to be over". This will create sorrow every time because your self is "wanting" and not getting.

    I think you just have to keep going and figure it out and use the best advice that works for you right now. What things that you focus on right now lead to the best experience and work those hard and continuously. For example, if you figure out that not thinking about a certain desire, gets you automatic ee, then do that, do that, do that. Figure out whats keeps you in an ee rather than why your in sorrow. Do whatever works right now, and then later do what ever works right then etc. in this moment now, do the simple that works continuously and gently.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/24/11 7:47 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    i'd be able to clarify on the last paragraph, and in general, if you could detail on what felicitous feelings (feelings not sensations) means to you? for instance, what are the felicitous feelings you tend to experience? what are they about?

    for me, it is the enjoyment derived from doing an activity (eg: hobbies), period. felicitous feelings, to me, are always about something.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/24/11 8:10 PM as a reply to Harry Potter.
    Harry Potter:
    i'd be able to clarify on the last paragraph, and in general, if you could detail on what felicitous feelings (feelings not sensations) means to you? for instance, what are the felicitous feelings you tend to experience? what are they about?

    for me, it is the enjoyment derived from doing an activity (eg: hobbies), period. felicitous feelings, to me, are always about something.

    ah i see. for me they are just a general sense of well-being or delight.. delight of being alive. nowadays i basically delight in how hard the current actual aspect i am looking at is manifesting (space, consciousness/appreciation, stillness).. really hard asppects of these while walking around are really delightful. for space i can delight on how there seems to be nothing above an object at all.. just empty space! with appreciation/consciousness it's the crispness of everything where-it-is.

    so yeah i see it as the general mood of feeling fantastic... and it doesn't happen often enough!

    i might say it's also the mood that's there when nothing is bothering me in particular

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/24/11 8:30 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:


    i might say it's also the mood that's there when nothing is bothering me in particular


    To me, this is a better way of looking at it because from this standpoint, you get to just chill and enjoy sensuousness without any motives.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/24/11 9:41 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
    Harry Potter:
    i'd be able to clarify on the last paragraph, and in general, if you could detail on what felicitous feelings (feelings not sensations) means to you? for instance, what are the felicitous feelings you tend to experience? what are they about?

    for me, it is the enjoyment derived from doing an activity (eg: hobbies), period. felicitous feelings, to me, are always about something.

    ah i see. for me they are just a general sense of well-being or delight.. delight of being alive. nowadays i basically delight in how hard the current actual aspect i am looking at is manifesting (space, consciousness/appreciation, stillness).. really hard asppects of these while walking around are really delightful. for space i can delight on how there seems to be nothing above an object at all.. just empty space! with appreciation/consciousness it's the crispness of everything where-it-is.


    interestingly, that's not what I have in mind for felicitous feelings (in totality). what you wrote sounds more like "appreciation for the sensory data". i wonder how other people define felicitous feelings.

    i'll get back to you with a detailed response after reflecting on the "nothing is bothering me in particular" state with respect to my sphere of experience for the next few days (as I believe there is a key to relaxation hidden somewhere here).

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/24/11 9:44 PM as a reply to Adam Bieber.
    Adam Bieber:
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:


    i might say it's also the mood that's there when nothing is bothering me in particular


    To me, this is a better way of looking at it because from this standpoint, you get to just chill and enjoy sensuousness without any motives.


    no adam, the motive to increase felicitous feelings is part of the method:

    "If your sole aim is ‘to get rid of the negative’, as in stopping being cynical, the tendency is then to not replace it with anything – to not feel anything – to become an emotional emasculate if you like. Contrary to what some people think, actualism is not about not feeling. The actualism process is about minimizing the debilitating effects of the ‘bad’ emotions (malice, anxiety, resentment, sorrow, etc.) as well as minimizing the debilitating effects of the antidotal ‘good’ emotions (love, bliss, compassion, etc.) and actively promoting the felicitous emotions – the feelings that are associated with naiveté – a childlike curiosity, a fascination with being here, bonhomie, friendliness, amiability, cordiality, delight, wonder, amazement and so on.
    Such a radical change does require the intent to do so, and does require a good deal of effort to do so, as felicitous feelings do not come naturally to world-wary instinctually-impassioned adults." (link)

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/24/11 9:58 PM as a reply to Harry Potter.
    Harry Potter:
    Adam Bieber:
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:


    i might say it's also the mood that's there when nothing is bothering me in particular


    To me, this is a better way of looking at it because from this standpoint, you get to just chill and enjoy sensuousness without any motives.


    no adam, the motive to increase felicitous feelings is part of the method:

    "If your sole aim is ‘to get rid of the negative’, as in stopping being cynical, the tendency is then to not replace it with anything – to not feel anything – to become an emotional emasculate if you like. Contrary to what some people think, actualism is not about not feeling. The actualism process is about minimizing the debilitating effects of the ‘bad’ emotions (malice, anxiety, resentment, sorrow, etc.) as well as minimizing the debilitating effects of the antidotal ‘good’ emotions (love, bliss, compassion, etc.) and actively promoting the felicitous emotions – the feelings that are associated with naiveté – a childlike curiosity, a fascination with being here, bonhomie, friendliness, amiability, cordiality, delight, wonder, amazement and so on.
    Such a radical change does require the intent to do so, and does require a good deal of effort to do so, as felicitous feelings do not come naturally to world-wary instinctually-impassioned adults." (link)


    i should add that when nothing is bothering me in particular, i feel fantastic =).

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/25/11 1:08 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Harry,

    At different stages of the method, you want to apply different techniques that work right now. If you are fluctuating between emotions, then you want to minimize them and focus on finding naiveté via sincerity and increasing felicity. For me, much of those emotions barely cause turmoil, only possibly a small discontent versus the pce. I don't want to try and ramp felicity but gently feel/be attentive to the felicity thats already here due to little social identity and emotion. The universe itself is a calm nice place without great social/instinctual interference and as the social identity weakens, that nice place gets better and better.

    So if nothings bothering you, then a felicity will be there with light attentiveness. If you pay gently attention to that, then "you" are felicity/naivete versus doing an active ramping. At the same time, one slips in and out of full pure intent (happy and harmless) and can tap back into pure intent when one remembers or "feels" bad. Therefore, when pure intent is remembered, so is your subtle concentration on naiveté and its subsequent building/occurence of felicity.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    8/25/11 12:19 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    i've started taking 400mg 5-htp before i go to bed, and it's proven interesting.

    at some point in the night i'll wake up and feel amazingly delighted. anything i touch will sing with delight - that very touch, right there, where it is. i get the intense sense that this is just the universe experiencing itself. my cat comes over, and i pet her, and it's like the universe is petting itself.

    in this state it's amazingly easy to drop things. i felt some 'soft' pressure over my head, and just had the sensible idea - hey, i bet i can drop this! so i let it manifest, and with an act of intention that would be more accurately described as it happening on its own, there was a very noticeable discontinuity (fruition) and it was gone.

    also have fascinatingly vivid and lucid dreams. clearer than i've remembered 'em. i woke up at 530am, went to sleep, and had a sequence of connected dreams that made it seem as if the entire weekend had already passed. woke back up and it was 730am. it was pretty fun to meditate during these dreams.. i seem to enter a state where i am meditating, and not sure if entirely sleeping or not.. but fun things happen. like some whiteness in my visual field will shrink and become wisps of smoke, which i thought was my 'self', and i felt like i could almost just do away with it right there, though it wouldn't pass. that happened both in a dream and right out of sleep, i think.

    and my mood seems a bit better.

    so i say this not entirely facetiously, but practicing by taking 5-htp and sleeping seems quite effective. there is something about that state when you've just woken up and are drifting between being awake and asleep... and 5-htp seems to enhance it or make it more reliably happen (though it has happened to me without, i think)

    ---

    owen on KFD mentioned having very vivid, fun, and lucid dreams, shortly after his latest shift (which seems like it might be AF... though will have to wait till it settles down to see for sure). i wonder if it's cause the brain is figuring out how to produce more serotonin.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/1/11 6:12 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Not just A&P? Is the 5-htp experiment holding up?

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/6/11 9:56 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
    Bruno Loff:
    Not just A&P? Is the 5-htp experiment holding up?


    heh i hadn't thought of A&P. but it probably was, partly.

    for the last 10 days or so i was in yellowstone national park w/ the family. really good place to do actualism practice.. just so many beautiful/interesting things around.

    there was an effect that i associated with 5-htp 'working' - i'd have a large spot of neutral vedana in the head, and when it would break down a little i'd feel tons of pleasure in my head/eye region. this stopped happening a few days into the vacation. i thought it was cause i was full-up on serotonin/good-mood chemicals, being in nature with fresher air and lots of exercise and sleep 24/7. but it might just have been A&P going into a dark night. however, dreams were definitely affected. when i didn't take it 2 of the days i didn't really remember my dreams, but all the other days, they were really vivid (no waking up in middle of the night in full pleasure though). they were also really quite hellish/nightmarish, so i thought it was useful to know as i could take the general theme of what was bothering me in the dream and have that as something to look at.

    but it might have been dark night, as somewhere in the middle i finished another insight cycle. i was being attentive to sensuousness, mostly.. i didn't notice time really going by when on the hikes. while i don't remember being in a full-blown PCE (absolutely no trace of identity), i seemed to hang around really close territory a lot. there was no cell phone reception, mostly, but there was at a few lodges.. a few days in i checked some email, saw something dharma-related, and immediately got really really worked up over it, worried, unhappy.. completely shattered that mood. i couldn't really figure out why but got back to feeling good soon enough. this kept happening, where there would be a period of easy practice, but then an obsession with focusing on the head area would take hold (also happened with the dharma-email), and 'i' wouldn't be able to focus elsewhere. on the 2nd or 3rd occasion i just tried body scanning, and that seemed to help a little.. i would feel stuff release as i was scanning, though the pressure in my head would predominate (i wasn't able to fully unfocus from it when scanning)

    one day when the pressure was annoying i just decided to meditate on the 3 characteristics of it.. so for one night and one morning for a few hrs i very carefully did only that, in bed.. and the result was great! i was able to be a lot more equanimous that morning, and released a bunch of stuff shortly after stopping to meditate.. but worry came back soon and the head thing re-formed.

    but i was still mostly being sensuous, whenever that thing wasnt happening. but it kept recurring (and i kept body scanning to divert it).. so at one point im like ok ENOUGH.. what IS this? and i figured a lot of it was just 'lack of confidence'.. clinging to something to do cause i didnt know what to do. just noting i t that way (lack-of-confidence.. lack-of-confidence.. lack-of-confidence..) disarmed it a lot, i was able to be equanimous to it. i guess i started concentrating in more of an MCTB-style way, putting tons of effort in, and while lying in bed i noticed i was in equanimity nyana. i just focused a bunch more and a 'snag' happened, which seemed to be another cycle finishing. i wasn't sure - the largest indication was starting to worry about what this cycle finishing did - but i started review cycling later.

    and i guess that put me more in a vipassana mood as the last few days i wasn't so much sensuous externally as attentive internally.

    that head pressure was still happening, though not with a lack-of-confidence vibe.. and i didn't know what to do at all.. but on the 2nd to last day or so i decided to really try that sweet-spot thing. initially it just caused tons of resentment, but i stuck with it this time for a bit, and it seems i broke through, as i started being more naive.. and i kept doing it and i just felt soooooooo much better! it seems really what i have is a fundamental lack of naivete and/or sincerity. 'i' got lost a few times in those days but 2 or 3 times i re-did the sweet spot thing, and each time it helped. at first that same resentment comes up against doing it, but seeing that i broke through it before, i was able to be more naive to it, and thus keep going.

    at some point i understood that naivete, in actualism, is the same as equanimity, in buddhism.. a not clinging to what is currently happening, a not clinging to what might happen, a not clinging to what happened in the past..

    --

    but anyways, those were two huge things - the lack of confidence thing, and the naivete thing. it seems that, for now, really often, i should just do my very best to cultivate naivete/equanimity.. the sweet-spot method being a promising one. cause i realized a lot of the time i just don't feel safe - like bad things might happen to me at any time.. or i feel a ton of dread - like i'm doing the wrong thing or don't know what i should be doing or want life to be different than it is or i feel i can't escape something or other.. or i feel lost - like what is happening won't lead to AF or i am not enjoying life more + more though i should be.. yet in between periods of feeling these i do feel fine.. in the grips of it i can't really see what is going on too clearly, though, and thus i tend to spin in it for a bit unless something distracts me (like a hike through some stunning nature; the trip was nice cause there was lots of alternating between walking/hiking (sensuousness, enjoying the moment) and sitting in the car being driven (more attentive to 'internal' stuff, body scanning, etc)).. but cultivating naivete in that situation, if i can do it, just makes me feel a loooot better, helps me realize that everything is basically OK, stops me from blaming myself for feeling these things i dont want to feel, allows me to look at them to actually see what they are made of, and allows me to take them less seriously such that they can more easily be seen for what they are..

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/6/11 12:59 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    interesting how the lack of confidence about practice thing keeps coming up for so many of us... yet when i read this post of yours, it seems like you *do* know what's going on and are acting to work on it. someone who is insecure plays pity party and wallows. that is not what you're doing here. continuing to return to sensuousness, trying to find naivete via sweet spot, and having the pure intent to push forward no matter what says to me there is confidence there.. confidence that this does work and confidence that you deserve happiness. keep it up. emoticon

    steph

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/11/11 5:09 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    well! the girlfriend broke up with me... 'twasn't a pleasant evening.

    soooo much sadness and despair. i decided to say a bunch of stuff that i should have probably said earlier in the relationship.. stuff about 'my' issues and how they relate to the relationship. so i was being sad and cryin', and she was seeing me sad and cryin' as well... the whole thing had a weird 'no-self' tinge to it, though, as i would be totally involved in trying to get the next thought out in between sobs, but when i actually spoke it was obvious how the physical releasing of those words had nothing to do with 'me'.. then back to being totally swamped in thoughts/sadness

    i went to the bathroom, and i thought, my god, this is terrible. and i was thinking back to see what could have gone differently.. and i just realized how amazing, incredibly selfish, the entire thing was... 'me' clinging to 'her'.. i was basically using her as a security blanket, something to fall back on to feel safe.. when it was removed, despair happened. and here i was telling her things.. not really trying to get her back as i accepted we wouldn't be together.. but i guess telling her what's on my mind.. and i realized that all the things that probably caused the relationship to decay (lack of intimacy out of fear of damaging the relationship with something she might not like to hear), and what i was doing now, was hurting her.. not 'her', my mental image, who was not hurt at all, but who i was just trying to win back, but actual her, who was lying next to me + crying.

    so i realized just how much of this actual freedom practice of mind was selfish, self-centered, aimed at eliminating 'my' suffering... and i took the opportunity, gripped by the despair, sitting in the bathroom, to redirect the entire thing to altruism.. to realize that 'i', without knowing it, doing 'my' very best this past year and a bit, had hurt somebody else, without really realizing it or knowing it.. not even through any fault of 'mine' but just cause that's the nature of 'being'.. that seems to have provided much pure intent, to end 'me', for the benefit of anyone i will come in contact with for the remainder of this body's life.

    the word 'useless' struck me. not in a sense of avoiding or repressing any feeling.. but just the stark seeing of how utterly useless these feelings were, so far as to help people live in peace + harmony.

    i made a two-point note of why attachment sucks: when it ends, it sucks.. and during, it sucks, cause it prevents intimacy.

    ---

    this was yesterday. earlier today, observing the despair, i reflected on impermanence.. and realized how despair is basically a lack of understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of impermanence. it's a desire for things to have been done differently, for something ended to not have ended.. and a clinging to that, that by feeling shitty and terrible and bad, somehow something will change. but when i reflected on impermanence, its impact lessened significantly.

    ---

    also during the whole endeavor and after had many flashes of no-self, how this was just happening..

    ---

    in the subway i decided to cultivate some jhanas. i had been playing w/ it a bit, and i decided to 'be' the first jhana. then i thought how i seem to be taking the entire jhana as an object. then the thoughts came together: if the first jhana is 'being', and it is taken as an object.. what is taking it as an object? and not a fruition happened but a blip, which i took to be the jhana becoming solid/entire - seemed like an imperfection in it vanished. now i'm wondering if it wasn't another path. time will tell

    ---

    also such a stark contrast to how shitty this feels vs. how clean+clear+pure a PCE is.

    ---

    now sitting here in fits of despair, i also realize, just how often this thing plays out across human lives.. just how much needless, useless suffering there is.. how many people in 'my' situation, feeling these very things.. how many people feel it far, far worse, some to the point of killing themselves.. more pure intent please

    ---

    i also feel like i almost have to start over with this whole practice. there were tons of things that happened here that i had simply not looked at. lots of social identity still left, it seems. i feel like ive been doing it wrong .. ignoring far too much. but then sitting here i realize i was doing that just now, looking through these issues.. i guess you have to practice wherever you are currently at.. so that's where i'm at now

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/11/11 6:20 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

    now sitting here in fits of despair, i also realize, just how often this thing plays out across human lives.. just how much needless, useless suffering there is.. how many people in 'my' situation, feeling these very things.. how many people feel it far, far worse, some to the point of killing themselves.. more pure intent please


    Do you think this is Peter means when he talks about taking a subjective look at the appalling malice and sorrow of the human condition?

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/12/11 10:01 AM as a reply to Adam Bieber.
    Adam Bieber:
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

    now sitting here in fits of despair, i also realize, just how often this thing plays out across human lives.. just how much needless, useless suffering there is.. how many people in 'my' situation, feeling these very things.. how many people feel it far, far worse, some to the point of killing themselves.. more pure intent please


    Do you think this is Peter means when he talks about taking a subjective look at the appalling malice and sorrow of the human condition?

    i'd need a quote to be sure, but i think so. watch the news.. see all the horrible things going on. feel the revulsion towards them. feel how unfair it is for those things to happen. feel their suffering. then contemplate on just how many people feel those very same things, how many people suffer, how much they suffer.. those exact feelings you yourself have.. contemplate on how those very feelings, the very 'being' that is those feelings, is the root cause of it.. activate your altruistic side by contemplating on whether you'd be willing to sacrifice 'you', what 'you' hold most dear, in order for all their suffering to vanish ('you' are 'their suffering').. realize that the only possible thing you can do to give humanity any hope at all for fixing any of these problems permanently, the very best thing to do, is to eliminate that suffering in yourself.. when fully realized, there can be no feeling bad that you are going about cultivating felicity and delight in order to be happy and harmless, as you realize you aren't doing it for yourself, for your own happiness, but you are doing it to eliminate the suffering of the whole planet.

    doing it for 'you' won't work, anyway, so that's the only way to go about it[1].

    [1] or you might have other motivations like for the sake of clear seeing or what-not.. but this altruistic one seems a powerful one if you can tune into it

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/12/11 1:23 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    what's really interesting is that this situation has been eating up my mental efforts, in a way that very very much mimicks how thinking about actualism method/enlightenment and what to do has... it seems that the latter was as much of a problem as the former. it was/is entirely replaced by the despair... but it seems to be made of the very same stuff. quite revealing

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/14/11 8:22 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    this experience has been really informative! and seems to have boosted my practice a ton.

    - it was a brilliant example of the actualism method working really really well. i felt the despair. i asked what it was there for. i saw how it was clinging to the other person to cover up a sense of separation.
    - i saw how immensely selfish this was, how it was hurting her, and me, and anybody i come in contact with while feeling that despair (by either causing them to feel bad for me, or me lashing out at them inadvertently (which i haven't, but it could happen)).
    - i saw how ridiculous my thoughts where when in the grips of despair. i made a "plan" to talk to her, to bring up a ton of points, to promise anything + everything to get back together with her. when the despair was gone, i looked it over, and made some counter-points. it was essentially one of two choices: 1) let it go, let the emotions fade, let it heal. 2) have a gigantic conversation uncovering every aspect of anything that ever went wrong. promise to see each other at least 2x a month, with a vacation every 3 months (we were long distance), until a year from now when i can move to her city and live with her. - the latter would take a ton of effort, cause a lot of pain, both during and in the form of a commitment leading to an unfavorable situation, with still no chance of success, and still no addressing of the real cause - the love we felt, covering the separation that was there, which caused the relationship to deteriorate anyway.
    - i saw how love as an emotion cannot exist without that feeling of separation (this i agreed with, but refused to actually investigate). now it is really clear to me that there is no good reason to ever feel love at all. before i was worried that i had a GF, and that she wouldn't like it if i don't love her.. but that is the wrong way to think about it. if i actually care for her well-being, then i simply cannot love her. it is far too selfish and hurtful.
    - seeing how silly the despair was, my intent was set to not fuel it anymore. and now it seems to be almost totally gone. it certainly hasn't gripped me at all. there are still pangs when i am reminded of her, sometimes, and these are something to look at. before they would have caused despair. but now they are stopped in their tracks. +1 for actualism method!

    - this has really solidified my intent. i dropped the despair pretty easily, i think, because it was really powerful and obviously painful. and it was obvious it didn't help (i.e. eliminate suffering for) anyone: it didn't help the object of the despair (gf), as it would only cause her pain by me clinging to her. it didn't help me, as it made me terribly unhappy, whereas i could be perfectly happy without this attachment. and it didn't help anybody else i might come into contact with, because of the vibes.
    - i realize now that i have been ignoring a lot of things. but now i seem to be able to apply the same reasoning for the despair, but for anything that is bothering me. i see it doesn't help the object of the emotion (me or someone else or a group or an idea or a goal). i see it doesn't help me. and i see it doesn't help anybody else. and i see how the only way to eliminate suffering is for all these attachments to be dropped

    - as a result i now seem a lot calmer than before, a lot more disciplined in my meditations (more careful, less impatient), a lot less willing to ignore things....

    - and also the attachment of having a gf, which i just ignored (i figured, 'this part of my life is fine. i will deal with it post-AF if anything must be done', and simply didn't investigate any of those problems), is gone

    lucky am i to have the meditative and actualist experiences i have had.. seems like this could have sucked so much more if i didn't, but was just going through life as a run-of-the-mill person.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/14/11 12:28 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    neat:
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
    - i saw how immensely selfish this was, how it was hurting her, and me, and anybody i come in contact with while feeling that despair (by either causing them to feel bad for me, or me lashing out at them inadvertently (which i haven't, but it could happen)).
    ...
    if i actually care for her well-being, then i simply cannot love her. it is far too selfish and hurtful.
    ...
    before they would have caused despair. but now they are stopped in their tracks.
    ...
    - this has really solidified my intent. i dropped the despair pretty easily, i think, because it was really powerful and obviously painful. and it was obvious it didn't help (i.e. eliminate suffering for) anyone: it didn't help the object of the despair (gf), as it would only cause her pain by me clinging to her. it didn't help me, as it made me terribly unhappy, whereas i could be perfectly happy without this attachment. and it didn't help anybody else i might come into contact with, because of the vibes.
    ...


    Buddha:
    And what is right resolve? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill-will, on harmlessness: This is called right resolve.
    ...
    Monks, before my self-awakening, when I was still just an unawakened Bodhisatta, the thought occurred to me: 'Why don't I keep dividing my thinking into two sorts?' So I made thinking imbued with sensuality, thinking imbued with ill will, & thinking imbued with harmfulness one sort, and thinking imbued with renunciation, thinking imbued with non-ill will, & thinking imbued with harmlessness another sort.

    And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with sensuality arose. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with sensuality has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.'

    As I noticed that it leads to my own affliction, it subsided. As I noticed that it leads to the affliction of others... to the affliction of both... it obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding, it subsided. Whenever thinking imbued with sensuality had arisen, I simply abandoned it, destroyed it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence.

    And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with ill will arose. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with ill will has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.'

    As I noticed that it leads to my own affliction, it subsided. As I noticed that it leads to the affliction of others... to the affliction of both... it obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding, it subsided. Whenever thinking imbued with ill will had arisen, I simply abandoned it, destroyed it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence.

    [link]

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/14/11 5:29 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    back in the grips of despair i realized just how terribly unsatisfactory it was to attempt to gain any benefit from doing anything.. how it was all doomed for pain, for 'me' and for others. clinging to anything is just unsatisfactory.

    though it wasn't the usual "life sucks", now i'll be depressed, realization.. it was more of a - oh, so that's what has to be done - eliminate this clinging/this potential for any clinging to arise.

    i noticed that i was reverting to some old patterns of 'stuck' behavior, though..

    i seem to have stumbled on a technique that might work for 'me' to 'be' pure intent. i recall the unsatisfactory nature of any 'being', then i think, can i, out of simple compassion for myself and for others, no longer cling anymore? when understood this seems to lighten my whole 'being'. interestingly it was compassion to myself that seemed to make the bigger difference.. but it's not a compassion-for-myself, in the usual sense, in the idea of gaining something out of it.. it feels like an altruistic compassion... i will have to keep coming back to this technique to see if it keeps working

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/14/11 5:56 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

    (i figured, 'this part of my life is fine. i will deal with it post-AF if anything must be done', and simply didn't investigate any of those problems)


    Is this an instance of the kind of thinking that involves imagining how good the future will be (to the exclusion of noticing the actual present), which, from following your practice, I recall that you seem to be prone to? If so, it seems like you could still bear to make a good deal of progress with respect to that issue.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/14/11 7:20 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
    though it wasn't the usual "life sucks", now i'll be depressed, realization.. it was more of a - oh, so that's what has to be done - eliminate this clinging/this potential for any clinging to arise.


    Yea, its like "this individual issue keeps coming up, and it obviously gives me sorrow so I need to eliminate it (someway via AF method) to stop sorrow"

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/15/11 8:24 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
    End in Sight:
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

    (i figured, 'this part of my life is fine. i will deal with it post-AF if anything must be done', and simply didn't investigate any of those problems)


    Is this an instance of the kind of thinking that involves imagining how good the future will be (to the exclusion of noticing the actual present), which, from following your practice, I recall that you seem to be prone to? If so, it seems like you could still bear to make a good deal of progress with respect to that issue.


    hmm yes, i think so - thanks for bringing that up, as i hadn't made that connection.

    it seems the intent i got going which helped the despair disappear rather rapidly has dwindled. it's like if i'm not intensely suffering right now i don't gather the intent to pay attention enough, so little things accumulate, and i end up spinning in thought.

    yet in the shower just now i realized there is far far far more insight to be gained by staring at my soapy hand with discernment than any amount of thought-spinning i could muster. now to just put that realization into practice every moment...

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/15/11 9:16 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

    hmm yes, i think so - thanks for bringing that up, as i hadn't made that connection.


    No problem!

    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

    it seems the intent i got going which helped the despair disappear rather rapidly has dwindled. it's like if i'm not intensely suffering right now i don't gather the intent to pay attention enough, so little things accumulate, and i end up spinning in thought.


    Why do you consider that outright gross suffering is a sufficient reason to work towards liberation, but the burden of living everyday life with an identity yoked around your neck (with whatever form that identity takes in the moment) is not? Find the reason, in order to guard against that mode of thinking. (cf my advice to Tommy.)


    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

    yet in the shower just now i realized there is far far far more insight to be gained by staring at my soapy hand with discernment than any amount of thought-spinning i could muster. now to just put that realization into practice every moment...


    Do you believe that there is any way of paying attention whatsoever (e.g. without "discernment") that would be less beneficial to you than spinning in thoughts would be?

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/15/11 11:04 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
    End in Sight:
    Why do you consider that outright gross suffering is a sufficient reason to work towards liberation, but the burden of living everyday life with an identity yoked around your neck (with whatever form that identity takes in the moment) is not? Find the reason, in order to guard against that mode of thinking. (cf my advice to Tommy.)

    i don't know, which is probably why it keeps happening =). something i have to look at[1]. it's likely related to the next point:

    End in Sight:
    Do you believe that there is any way of paying attention whatsoever (e.g. without "discernment") that would be less beneficial to you than spinning in thoughts would be?

    this touches on an issue i have with paying attention, namely that painful things often happen when i do it. i'm working out the cause and effect of it, as it is important, but haven't quite gotten there yet. basically it's still hard to distinguish paying attention with fueling a painful knot in my head - i cannot tell which is which. sometimes i can 'break through' and pay attention in a way that the knot starts to lessen. other times it seems no matter how i try to pay attention the knot is hardening.

    so what i was alluding to with the "with discernment" was really a calm, tranquil attention, which isn't fueling any painful process. but your question revealed that i do have this bias.. that if i am paying attention but that knot is hardening, that i think i am doing it wrong. this is one of the big reasons i am not always as attentive as possible.. cause what will often happen when i really really do my best to be paying attention, is that some knot like that will form, which will then seem to get stuck, and it feels like i go nowhere and that it prevents felicity.

    but i guess there is paying attention accompanied by pleasant things, paying attention accompanied by neutral things, and paying attention accompanied by unpleasant things, and i should really work on separating which of that is the paying attention and which is the feeling.

    [1] Copy+pasting end in sight's advice to tommy here as a note to myself:
    End in Sight:
    So it was helpful to me to recognize this tendency, and, in order to counteract it, to commit to diligence no matter how important or unimportant it felt at the time. Feeling good is no excuse not to make the utmost effort. Feeling bad is no excuse not to make the utmost effort. Feeling content is no excuse not to make the utmost effort. Having an experience filled with wonder or felicity is no excuse not to make the utmost effort (especially as soon as those experiences left). Nothing is a reason not to make the utmost effort. When I managed to get that through my head, *that* was different.

    In other words...consider asking yourself why you didn't step it up a gear last week, find the reason, and whatever it was, guard against the mode of thinking that gave rise to it as if your life depended on it. Once you get this down, consider trying to raise the bar with respect to what counts as slacking off.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/15/11 12:43 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

    basically it's still hard to distinguish paying attention with fueling a painful knot in my head - i cannot tell which is which. sometimes i can 'break through' and pay attention in a way that the knot starts to lessen. other times it seems no matter how i try to pay attention the knot is hardening.


    I read Silavant sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.122.than.html) and it influenced my thinking on this particular issue. Like you, I often found that paying attention would produce a lot of tension of various kinds, and in these cases I was generally not able to find a way to pay attention in a "pleasantness-producing" way. But I decided that, instead of worrying about how paying attention was making me feel, I would just do it as well as I could with whatever equanimity I could muster and let the cards fall how they might, as that had been sufficient to attain all the technical model paths...which implied to me that any form of attending to things would be wholesome and beneficial. So, it was a bit of a gambit, and I was hesitant to do it at first because I didn't want to waste time and make myself suffer needlessly on top of that, but I'm satisfied with how things went. It may not be the optimal method but I strongly believe that it's good enough.

    To counteract doubt and generate faith and conviction, I would reflect on this excerpt from Nava sutta to remind myself that the process was removing the causes of defilements whether or not I could see that, and whether or not my temporary experiences of tension were occluding my view of that progress:

    "Just as when a carpenter or carpenter's apprentice sees the marks of his fingers or thumb on the handle of his adze but does not know, 'Today my adze handle wore down this much, or yesterday it wore down that much, or the day before yesterday it wore down this much,' still he knows it is worn through when it is worn through. In the same way, when a monk dwells devoting himself to development, he does not know, 'Today my effluents wore down this much, or yesterday they wore down that much, or the day before yesterday they wore down this much,' still he knows they are worn through when they are worn through."

    Another way that I thought about this is, some forms of attention may be better than others, but the only way I could pay attention at any moment is the way that was conditioned by how I was experiencing that moment of being alive...so, I could either see the answer to HAIETMOBA, or lapse into heedlessness, with no third alternative. And, seeing the answer to HAIETMOBA is better.

    I will also say that, for myself, it was only possible to use this method because I was thoroughly convinced that the identity hanging around my neck was a form of constant suffering, so having unpleasant experiences while paying attention was the least of my problems. You may need to seriously investigate what you believe in this regard to maximally apply this method.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/15/11 1:57 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
    End in Sight:
    I read Silavant sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.122.than.html) and it influenced my thinking on this particular issue.

    hehe, awesome. i have grown to appreciate suttas so much over the course of this path. thanks also for the nava sutta.

    End in Sight:
    Like you, I often found that paying attention would produce a lot of tension of various kinds, and in these cases I was generally not able to find a way to pay attention in a "pleasantness-producing" way. But I decided that, instead of worrying about how paying attention was making me feel, I would just do it as well as I could with whatever equanimity I could muster and let the cards fall how they might, as that had been sufficient to attain all the technical model paths...which implied to me that any form of attending to things would be wholesome and beneficial. So, it was a bit of a gambit, and I was hesitant to do it at first because I didn't want to waste time and make myself suffer needlessly on top of that, but I'm satisfied with how things went. It may not be the optimal method but I strongly believe that it's good enough.

    i think this is actually the only way to do it. two things come to mind, one for each part of your advice: one is jill's advice to steph which points to something similar (emphasis mine):

    TJ Broccoli:
    to me it would make the most sense to see to it that those affective or 'being' sensations are treated exactly the same way as every other sensation--no more, no less. no giving special attention or making them the focus, and no ignoring them or skipping over them to maintain felicity. this would best mimic the default panoramic and balanced attention of a being-less existence. if you give them special attention, you lose some of the panorama, and if you give them less attention you might be overlooking important stuff. this sounds like just giving them equal observation time as other sensations, but i also mean treating them with the same equanimity, appreciation, acceptance, non-condemnation, wonder and innocence as sensations of space, sight, sound, thought, touch, etc., so that you're constantly fusing those 'being bits' into the big panoramic sensation soup, whether you're 'pinballing' or chilling with everything at once. it doesn't make a difference if they feel suspended, solid, stuck, still, moving, heavy or subtle. if any sensations of being are there at all, there is some sort of unequal treatment of sensations going on, and that's what you want to de-condition. the more equal treatment, the more stuff gets seen, and the more stuff gets seen, the easier equal treatment becomes.
    [link]

    End in Sight:
    Another way that I thought about this is, some forms of attention may be better than others, but the only way I could pay attention at any moment is the way that was conditioned by how I was experiencing that moment of being alive...so, I could either see the answer to HAIETMOBA, or lapse into heedlessness, with no third alternative. And, seeing the answer to HAIETMOBA is better.

    the other pertains to this part, which occurred to me when reading the Anatta-lakhana Sutta earlier (expanded by me to drill it into my head):

    Buddha:
    Bhikkhus, determinations[1] are not-self. Were determinations self, then these determinations would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of determinations: 'Let my determinations be thus, let my determinations be not thus.' And since determinations are not-self, so they lead to affliction, and none can have it of determinations: 'Let my determinations be thus, let my determinations be not thus.'
    ...
    Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: are determinations permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."
    ...
    So, bhikkhus any kind of determination whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'


    Which also brings to mind tarin's advice to nick:
    tarin:
    'you' think 'you' can control this process by controlling attentiveness to physical sensations. but 'you' don't have control in that process - 'you' don't even exist in that capacity, in actuality.

    the actual world is not 'i'. the actual will is not 'i'. intelligence is not 'i'. consciousness is not 'i'. memory is not 'i'. discernment is not 'i'. intention is not 'i'. motor function is not 'i'. controlling is not 'i'. attentiveness is not 'i'. physical sensations are not 'i'. this process is not 'i'.

    further, 'the actual world is not 'mine.' the actual will is not 'mine'. intelligence is not 'mine'. consciousness is not 'mine'. memory is not 'mine'. discernment is not 'mine'. intention is not 'mine'. motor function is not 'mine'. controlling is not 'mine'. attentiveness is not 'mine'. physical sensations are not 'mine'. this process is not 'mine'.

    one who realises that none of these things are 'i', or 'mine', realises 'my' time is up.


    all that is to say: i really don't have the control over attentiveness that i believe i do. you put it aptly: "the only way I could pay attention at any moment is the way that was conditioned by how I was experiencing that moment of being alive". so perhaps all i need to is reflect on that and thoroughly understand it.

    End in Sight:
    I will also say that, for myself, it was only possible to use this method because I was thoroughly convinced that the identity hanging around my neck was a form of constant suffering, so having unpleasant experiences while paying attention was the least of my problems. You may need to seriously investigate what you believe in this regard to maximally apply this method.


    hmm might also be something to look at here. gut reaction was: of course i know that 'i' am suffering.. and 'i' want nothing more than to be rid of 'me', to end this suffering for good, to be like it was in the PCE, permanently. then again, there i am, having unpleasant experiences when paying attention, and not wanting to do so cause 'i' don't want those unpleasant experiences. that aversion is also 'me', and it, too, is suffering.. and i do realize that.

    i think the issue is mostly one of doubt. i figure - less suffering is the right way to go. thus when what i am doing seems to be causing more suffering, i start doubting whether i am doing the right thing. and that leads to pain. seems i have to just treat that doubt and pain the same as anything else.

    ---

    thanks again. i think reflecting on all the above continuously will help to resolve this 'problem'.

    [1] i.e. volitional formations, fabrications

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/15/11 4:17 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    hmm i might have had a few-seconds PCE at lunch. i left work keeping in mind some of the stuff above, attention to everything equally, even the painful stuff, and especially attention to all 'my' attempts at attention.

    sitting down and eating it seems the head stuff abated. and i was left for a period with a weird slightly-unsettling-but-not-really feeling that the only point of attention that was still around was somewhere above my head and behind it. then it seemed that, too, wasn't there, though i didn't notice it going away too clearly.. but i realized that there was absolutely nothing internally going on (that i noticed - but this wasn't a matter of not being attentive.), for at least a few seconds, when it started coming back slowly. seeing the center-head-pressure thing come in out of nowhere was quite reassuring, in that, i knew it could vanish.. and when it came back i had far less attachment to it. and it was fun watching all the little things come back in.

    it was so unremarkable, though. like nothing had changed at all. nothing 'special' about it. definitely no wow-factor.

    i seem to recall the weird-attention-above-the-head spot thing happening before/after my other PCE as well

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/15/11 5:16 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    As doubt seems to be one of the major hindrances for you, you might be heartened to know that I experienced various forms of body tension right up to the moment preceding this recent transition. I also had doubt up until that very day. The impression of what practice is like that the AF site gives off, once you've gotten sufficiently deep into this thing, is either idealized or perhaps only characteristic of a person who makes felicity their vehicle. So however you feel needn't be cause for worry. (Nothing need be, but this especially needn't.)

    In other words, don't expect that this method will make you feel especially good, or even that it will continually generate more and more wonder. The indication of its effectiveness, for me, was that it continually reduced the range of affective experiences I was able to have (with a bunch of PCEs or EEs thrown in at unexpected times ), until towards the end there was just some kind of body tension that would float to different chakra points. (The range of body tension that could be experienced was continually reduced, too, but apparently there can be a surprising amount before it suddenly falls away. Like with a PCE...one goes from a lot, to nothing, in the span of a very short time.)

    So, if you're using this method, don't try to do anything at all other than notice experience dispassionately and mechanically, with an emphasis on the actual senses and actual arupa qualities of experience (to counteract the natural inclination to over-attend to "being"); that will be sufficient. And it sounds like, from your recent report, that you've figured out how to do that. Every moment you pay attention during is a moment that wears away the root cause of your defilements. If you can keep it up 24/7, you'll get this thing done.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/15/11 5:36 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
    Thanks for that, End In Sight. The AF site, with its indication of life being perfect 99% of the time at virtual freedom, does make it seem one should be having some sort of fairy tale wonderland almost all the time towards the end.. which has caused confusion and doubt in my practice. I've found it's a mixed bag really... and I chatted with Claudiu about this the other day. Some days or even extended periods of time are great and then outta nowhere some crap comes up and it throws me off a bit.. like oh, what happened? I've learned (through this happening enough times) that those times need to be taken as dispassionately as the rest. Right now the 3 characteristics of insight are actually really coming in handy as an aid to practice, especially no-self... dis-identify, go for eliminating hierarchy of self sensations or hierarchy of any other thing.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/15/11 5:50 PM as a reply to Steph S.
    Glad you found it helpful.

    My experience was that life becomes very good because all of the negative ways that one might feel eventually stop arising. So, for example, there came a time when all gross emotions and nearly all subtle emotions were gone, and so everything was peaceful and ease-ful and OK nearly always. But, whatever hadn't been undermined could always arise, so I would have a weird kind of experience where I felt perfectly fine but had some nasty and prominent feelings in my body anyway. The more intense my practice was (in terms of 24/7 attentiveness, not in terms of "trying" or getting worked up over things), the stronger and more constant this bizarre juxtaposition would be.

    Was that 99% perfect? I dunno, sort of yes, sort of no. It was definitely better than what came before, and that was good enough for me.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/15/11 6:10 PM as a reply to Steph S.
    Steph S:
    Thanks for that, End In Sight. The AF site, with its indication of life being perfect 99% of the time at virtual freedom, does make it seem one should be having some sort of fairy tale wonderland almost all the time towards the end.. which has caused confusion and doubt in my practice. I've found it's a mixed bag really... and I chatted with Claudiu about this the other day. Some days or even extended periods of time are great and then outta nowhere some crap comes up and it throws me off a bit.. like oh, what happened? I've learned (through this happening enough times) that those times need to be taken as dispassionately as the rest. Right now the 3 characteristics of insight are actually really coming in handy as an aid to practice, especially no-self... dis-identify, go for eliminating hierarchy of self sensations or hierarchy of any other thing.


    I experienced an intense short period (maybe 3 or so minutes) of such intense rage a day or two before the last shift. It was so out of the blue and so random, it really took 'me' by surprise. I had thoughts of "Am I regressing?", "what the frack happened to all that felicity?". A day or two later the shift occured.

    That rage seemed to be related to 'stability' and it was tinged with quite a bit of fear. Fear is seemingly a common occurrence for some of those I've talked with, right before the deed is done.

    And I don;t think I was happy and harmless 99 % of the time if I was to be honest. i think that is just a figure thrown out there to keep one's focus on the goal. Don't fret when it gets a bit rocky. It's a chance to see how 'being' is manifesting as that 'rockiness' and a chance to actualise it. If you have a period of crazy unpleasantness, it might actually be one of the last hurdles to actualize.

    Nick

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/15/11 6:24 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
    End in Sight:
    But, whatever hadn't been undermined could always arise, so I would have a weird kind of experience where I felt perfectly fine but had some nasty and prominent feelings in my body anyway. The more intense my practice was (in terms of 24/7 attentiveness, not in terms of "trying" or getting worked up over things), the stronger and more constant this bizarre juxtaposition would be.


    Ok, makes sense. I have experienced this too and figured the tensing, fearful, gutty sensations might not necessarily be stronger than similar sensations experienced when there was lots of that happening often... they probably just seem stronger right now because of the subtlety of feelings before and after... so its a pretty stark contrast between neutral or pleasant, to tense, and then neutral or pleasant again. Or even if they are stronger, oh well, still don't need to be swayed.


    P.S. Hopefully I'm not hijacking your thread here, Clauidu, but I figure this may be helpful to you and anyone else reading too. ;)

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/15/11 6:31 PM as a reply to Steph S.
    Steph S:
    P.S. Hopefully I'm not hijacking your thread here, Clauidu, but I figure this may be helpful to you and anyone else reading too. ;)
    hehe no worries.. it is indeed helpful. and this thread is here to help others as well, not only myself. glad the topics that are coming up are relevant to others.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/15/11 7:34 PM as a reply to Steph S.
    Steph S:

    Ok, makes sense. I have experienced this too and figured the tensing, fearful, gutty sensations might not necessarily be stronger than similar sensations experienced when there was lots of that happening often... they probably just seem stronger right now because of the subtlety of feelings before and after... so its a pretty stark contrast between neutral or pleasant, to tense, and then neutral or pleasant again. Or even if they are stronger, oh well, still don't need to be swayed.


    That sounds about right. There were times when I thought "hey, these body feelings in my stomach suck"...then I remembered times when I had similar feelings covering my entire torso, and recognized that I had just forgotten about how much worse things had been in the past, because I got used to everything being so refined.

    Just for clarity, it might be important to note that the experiences I've been talking about occurred during what appeared to be the "out-from-control VF" phase, which lasted more than a month for me; but I'm not sure if this is true or not for Nick's descriptions. I couldn't fathom experiencing rage a few days before this recent transition. Leading up to that transition, the most common thing for me was to have almost no feeling, or generic peace / relaxation, apart from body stuff; rage would have been so utterly out of place. So, it's possible that in out-from-control VF, gross emotions are literally impossible to experience; that's certainly how it seemed to me. Or it could depend on the individual.

    The main thing I associate with out-from-control VF is that if I had affective feelings, I could also apperceive the sense-experiences that were generating them, to varying degrees, with the barest level of effort. So, if I had tension in my throat, I could notice that my "actual" throat felt fine, and it was just the affective thing (noticed a split-second after the actual thing) that was bothersome. It was hard to get worked up over how one's body feels (or over anything) when apperception came so easily.

    Steph, when you talked about affect "suspended" on the body, however you phrased it, your description reminded me a bit of what things were like for me perhaps midway through that phase. Not sure how to tell whether we're talking about the same thing, though.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/15/11 9:48 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
    End in Sight:
    As doubt seems to be one of the major hindrances for you...


    more on this:

    it seems the doubt is that i will never finish. i will never be free. i just won't be able to do it.

    this caused all kinds of irrational behavior such as:
    - thinking i need substances to be able to practice properly
    - clinging to experiences that i deemed were good practice
    - this involves both despairing when they vanish, or reminiscing about times when things were going well
    - imbalanced effort
    - doubt about whether the path is right at all
    - causing me to debate with friends and strangers on the internet about its merits
    - in my heart of hearts i suppose i knew it is right, yet still i was very affected when others would disagree

    the seeds of doubt planted on the way to stream entry with the rough dark night, 'will this ever end?' , and seems to have kept going

    yet, what are the facts?
    - the people who disagree (friends/family) haven't seen what i have seen. they believe they are/have a self. they seek pleasure and avert from pain. most people are so clouded by ignorance that they do not even realize that satisfaction cannot be had by basically anything they will try to do..
    - i have succeeded in attaining technical model paths
    - i know what is path and what is not (AF, that is, pointed to by PCEs)
    - i have good concentration abilities

    etc.. basically a bunch of stuff. yet all that came up after i made the realization of what the doubt was, and kind of just let it fade. if this follows the same path as the despair-after-breakup did, and i will certainly try to harbor an equally large if not larger intent to do so, then this doubt should fade almost entirely..

    will have to see if its teeth have been removed. i typed this out while it is fresh so that if it comes back i can read it over.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/16/11 6:56 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
    End in Sight:
    As doubt seems to be one of the major hindrances for you...


    more on this:

    it seems the doubt is that i will never finish. i will never be free. i just won't be able to do it.

    this caused all kinds of irrational behavior such as:


    - Debating with friends and family about meditation and getting involved in verbal disputes, becoming defensive when discussing these issues ("actualist identity").
    - Imagining that I will fail utterly until I go on a long secluded retreat, or until I "give up real life" through disenchantment, i.e., imagining that there is some big horrible price that I must pay which I still haven't clearly seen, i.e., fearing this is somehow a bargain.
    - Doubting "Am I fooling myself over all of this," or "could this just be a strange euphoric period," or finding it hard to belief that "life can really be THIS good all the time?!"


    yet, what are the facts?


    - I have had a total of about 8-15 unpleasant days in the course of the last six months (360 days), leaving maybe 2/3 of very good days, and 1/3 of "just fine" days.
    - I frequently have Excellence Experiences where the actual world is clearly seen to be a delight that surpasses anything I have ever imagined. I have had to pay absolutely no price for these truly experiences (no hangover, no pain, nothing, just delight), so they seem truly priceless.
    - Whenever something unpleasant comes up, I am always, systematically, unfailingly able to trace it back to "me" and "my" schemes and dreams, my interests and passions, my social and instinctual identities.

    "what are the facts?" --- what a delightful questions to ask! Great!, this exercise of gathering some objectivity and applying it to my experience.Thanks for that.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/16/11 9:43 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Beoman (or do you prefer Claudiu?), I want to offer you a thought. Take it or leave it as you see fit.

    It seems to me that this whole process is simply about paying attention. The pot of gold at the end is something one gets by paying such close attention to experience that the part of the mind that generates affects out of sense-experience breaks down in some way. The psychological aspect of the path is important, but possibly overemphasized on the AF site, and possibly less relevant to certain people depending on their idiosyncrasies.

    I would say that there comes a time in practice when the psychological stuff is secondary. Consider forgetting about all of it and just paying attention. If you find yourself not paying attention, that is a good time to think about the psychological stuff, to figure out why you've given up on practice, and to figure out what to do about it. Thinking about your psychology is "punishment" for not noticing the actual moment...and you get to leave the corner, take off the dunce cap, and end the enforced "time-out" just as soon as you recognize that you're behaving badly and decide to pay attention again.

    Thinking about psychological stuff really is a kind of punishment compared to noticing the actual moment, wouldn't you say?

    EDIT: Some people are unreasonably fascinated by the thought of themselves (the highest form of 'your' grandiosity and conceit is making 'you' the most important topic to reflect on). If you can burn this image into your mind as the right conception of what the use of reflection about your own psychology ultimately is, you may benefit from that enormously: http://nolamotion.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/dunce-cap.jpg

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/16/11 2:58 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
    End in Sight:
    Beoman (or do you prefer Claudiu?)

    either one's good

    End in Sight:
    EDIT: Some people are unreasonably fascinated by the thought of themselves (the highest form of 'your' grandiosity and conceit is making 'you' the most important topic to reflect on). If you can burn this image into your mind as the right conception of what the use of reflection about your own psychology ultimately is, you may benefit from that enormously: http://nolamotion.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/dunce-cap.jpg

    haha awesome =). i think your advice is accurate. and i feel more + more confident that i can just pay attention no matter what. it seems to be the thing to do. 'i' seem to be thinning out and to be reacting less to whatever comes up in attention. it also has become a lot more fun to pay attention, cause now, instead of being "hmm i want to pay attention but oh i have to be careful about looking there cause that might hurt", it's more like "oo well i'm paying attention.. this is nice.. what am i missing? hmm i wonder what's going on in that part of the 'body'".

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/16/11 3:20 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
    Could you talk a little about the qualities of this attention? Is the primary aspect of the attention that leads to the breakdown of being the equality of focus on all parts of the experience? Does the simple counteracting of the natural tendency to focus on the self-related parts of experience break down the self?

    would TJ Brocoli's advice in the following quote be an accurate description of the practice you're suggesting?

    to me it would make the most sense to see to it that those affective or 'being' sensations are treated exactly the same way as every other sensation--no more, no less. no giving special attention or making them the focus, and no ignoring them or skipping over them to maintain felicity. this would best mimic the default panoramic and balanced attention of a being-less existence. if you give them special attention, you lose some of the panorama, and if you give them less attention you might be overlooking important stuff. this sounds like just giving them equal observation time as other sensations, but i also mean treating them with the same equanimity, appreciation, acceptance, non-condemnation, wonder and innocence as sensations of space, sight, sound, thought, touch, etc., so that you're constantly fusing those 'being bits' into the big panoramic sensation soup, whether you're 'pinballing' or chilling with everything at once. it doesn't make a difference if they feel suspended, solid, stuck, still, moving, heavy or subtle. if any sensations of being are there at all, there is some sort of unequal treatment of sensations going on, and that's what you want to de-condition. the more equal treatment, the more stuff gets seen, and the more stuff gets seen, the easier equal treatment becomes.


    This type of thing seems to be easier than the felicity stuff, but it is less 'amazing' such that doubts are easier to to have about doing it. Knowing that two people have gotten AF with this would be very relieving as I feel like I can easily just do this practice with as much effort as possible as continuously as possible and I wouldn't have to worry about doing it right/wrong as much as I do now with the 'fostering felicity' type stuff.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/16/11 3:26 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    well i had quite an interesting sit last night.. with a bit of added juice in the form of some chemdog. lots of stuff happening, but it wasn't overwhelming, just fascinating...

    - sitting down. started cycling through the 7 factors. one cycle was mindfulness->delight->energy->concentration->insight, leading to more mindfulness, etc. a good tip - if you just notice something dropped away, focus attention in that area right where it dropped away.. attention should be able to increase by doing so, and it seems like you can hook into the insights to lead to more attentiveness etc
    - i lied down and was just concentrating a lot. tons of pleasant visuals started coming up, very refined and pretty. i seemed to be getting into NS-territory (the pragmatic dharma one), and stay as close to possible to NS without going in it.. wondering whether i'd be able to 'flip' it so that 'being' can disappear without all of experience blinking in + out.
    - not sure how that was going, but at some point i decided to just up concentration.. and man, tons of stuff was happening. i don't remember the order but it was roughly something like this:
    - started seeing beings arise + pass away. perhaps they were really high-powered delusional ('real' not actual) formless jhanas, but it was like my mind formed beings without my intention to do so. the ones i remember clearly were:
    - hungry ghosts. i inclined to just 'hungry ghosts' to see what'd happen and started getting really scared. i figured i was tuning into them and they were subtly clinging to me. realizing that if i don't cling, they can't hurt me, caused fear to subside
    - buddhas. buddhas everywhere - swirling around in sensations. classes of buddhas, higher ones, lesser ones, buddhas forming sensations on the crest of sensations. i got a real sense of 'Zen Buddhism' here.. the way some of their sutras talk about innumerable beings and stuff.. and i could see how someone could just get totally into that and wipe themselves away by contemplating in that manner
    - the visual field coalesced and it was like i was in space looking out and seeing galaxies arising + passing away
    - occasionally i would hear noises, that did not seem imaginary, but did not seem to be coming from my environment. far louder + more distinct than ringing in my ears. divine ear?
    - past lives. there were things that i felt really happened, but hadn't happened in my life, and i saw the attachment of each.
    - it also seemed like just about anything wrong with 'me' currently, i could immediately intuitively explain as things happening in past lives (before this life), e.g:
    - weird feelings in left foot - my left foot was burned/tortured somehow a while ago
    - attachment to girlfriend - was really attached to a woman in a past life, i died before she did so the attachment was never resolved
    - fear about getting enlightened - i made a bodhissatva vow in a past life and felt i might be breaking it by becoming enlightened now
    - entering other realms, pure lands, entering realms of the buddhas (something in that link about how each buddha gets his own realm).. first one i entered by invoking "Namo Amitabha", which i read on a KFD thread might work. Amitabha was a buddha who vowed that anyone invoking his name would be born there. this one was really vivid.. i felt a world coalesce in front of me, with a thought "welcome to my realm" upon it becoming more solid. it was fantastical and wonderful and sublime
    - felt like i could feel the presence of Gautama Buddha.. it was a very distinct flavor, which definitely had an "Indian" tinge to it, very serious, thorough, very sublime.. felt like i could let that presence i felt help me towards awakening
    - i felt AF Richard's 'realm' as a very delightful light and airy one. far smaller and less potent than Buddha's, though..
    - expanding on this, it also seemed like i could feel a primordial realm of buddhas.. like something far before this world was around, supporting me, and an even older one than that as well
    - i wondered, 'why would each buddha have a realm? isn't rebirth painful?' and the answer was 'to help others end becoming'. when i realized each realm was impermanent, not-self, suffering to be reborn in, the point was well-understood.. and eliminated chances of me wanting to cling to them
    - i realized some of these - divine ear, seeing beings, seeing past lives - are listed in suttas preceding another supernormal power: that of ending the fermentations. sweet! i thought. so i directed my mind to ending the fermentations.. and immediately experience became incredibly hectic, but very interesting, like in a good way, and it felt like something was ripped out of my center ending in a fruition.. but all mental fermentations have not ended, yet. i wonder if repeating this experience would be a legit way to try and do that, though...

    anyway.. it's just amazing what the mind can come up with when sufficiently concentrated. i can see why someone without the proper background might get extremely attached to these things, e.g. Jhananda..

    i do wonder, though.. i don't think God can exist, in Christian terms.. but i really have no idea what consciousness is, or whether reincarnation can possibly happen. it is likely all the above was just a massive delusion.. yet, why does the mind have the capability of doing that with so little effort? (i just inclined and things happened on their own).

    i also wonder whether it's possible to be a buddha, or what that would even mean.. so i was reading up about that and bodhissatvas.

    i do think, however, that 'i' have no possible way of figuring out whether any of these things are true or just delusion, unless 'i' as identity am totally extinct. it is far too easy to fall into delusion when chasing the above things. and if there is anything actual about them, then i will be able to look at them once AF. and if i find nothing, then that's the answer, then - just a delusion.

    i also concluded there is no reason to 'delay enlightenment to become a buddha', which seems to be the interpretation of some people who take the bodhisatva vow. there's no way i can help other people at maximum efficiency if 'i' am still in the grips of delusion. and they talk about those 10 perfections, the paramitas, but it seems those would be far, far easier to develop one enlightened anyway.

    one positive that has come out of this, though, is that it seems i have more intent than ever. thinking about what 'i' am doing now as being the result of countless births in the past, and if 'my' effluents dont end now how it will affect countless births in the future, really makes it far less important what is going on 'now' (what attachments 'i' have 'now', i mean).. thus there is less clinging to them.

    weird stuff, though.. very weird + interesting. i made myself some notes to try to do these things once AF. cause the buddha, in some pali canon suttas, does some weird things. it is described very literally:
    Nanda Stta:
    Then, taking Ven. Nanda by the arm — as a strong man might flex his extended arm or extend his flexed arm — the Blessed One disappeared from Jeta's Grove and reappeared among the devas of the Tavatimsa Heaven.


    my reasoning is that my best chance to figure out whether that is possible to do, is to eliminate ignorance+delusion. so, must prioritize here..

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/16/11 4:23 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    Fuckin' A. This thread has always had some great tips on it but the last couple of days of stuff is just outstanding and totally inspiring. I really enjoyed End In Sight's points, particularly this one which I think bears repeating as it breaks this down to two basic elements:

    Consider forgetting about all of it and just paying attention. If you find yourself not paying attention, that is a good time to think about the psychological stuff, to figure out why you've given up on practice, and to figure out what to do about it.


    It was seeing this that got my practice on track and the generation of felicity, naivetè and wonder just fell into place naturally. The sweet spot technique is what's enhanced that aspect of practice but the advice overall on here is really excellent.

    Thanks!

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/16/11 5:45 PM as a reply to josh r s.
    josh r s:
    Could you talk a little about the qualities of this attention? Is the primary aspect of the attention that leads to the breakdown of being the equality of focus on all parts of the experience? Does the simple counteracting of the natural tendency to focus on the self-related parts of experience break down the self?

    would TJ Brocoli's advice in the following quote be an accurate description of the practice you're suggesting?


    Well, let me see what I can say for sure. Your basic concern seems to be that it can't really be as simple as I'm describing, and that there must be some kind of 'special sauce', some unique way of paying attention, that leads to what you're looking for.

    I understand your concern, and I was deeply worried about that kind of thing myself...but my best guess from my current vantage point is that it's really just that one needs to pay attention. Some ways may be better than others, but there are a whole lot of ways that are good enough.

    So. I'm confident that if you follow Jill's advice, that will lead to what you're looking for. Eventually I settled on something similar to what Jill appears to be describing (attention that is as wide as my experience would allow, noticing actuality and "being", with dispassion towards both, without a lot of favoritism with respect to different aspects of experience). If you have an excess of doubt and want something that is "certain to work", go with Jill's advice.

    On the other hand, I went through a whole range of other kinds of attention as well, using my intuitions about what method was appropriate when, and much of it seemed to work at the time, so I'm not inclined to rule out much in terms of effectiveness. I got to the point of what appears to be out-from-control VF by using some of the most intense and painful dry insight practice that I've ever done, while on retreat for a week. That's what I knew, that's what I was comfortable with. In some ways it's the opposite of what Jill suggests. I had a whole range of fucked-up experiences doing it (some were among the "weirdest" of my meditation career), which a "softer" method might have avoided...but one can't argue with results. Not everything I tried was equally effective, but almost everything was effective enough. (The exact method that's best for any person may be quite individual and may vary a lot depending on one's mental state at the time; if one is interested in that kind of adjustment, one should work on building an intuition for how to do it effectively via trial-and-error.)

    Honestly, I've considered that this would be a simple algorithm that would take one to the end, which one could potentially use as early as 1st path if one could observe vibrations clearly at that point:

    1) Ask HAIETMOBA. Just ask it and see the answer, don't try to "get" anything (felicity, PCEs, etc.) out of it.

    2) "Mash" actuality up against the most prominent instance of 'being' you can find. Compare them, juxtapose them, whatever. (Cf Nick's "actualizing jhanas" approach.)

    3) Repeat when your attention starts to wander.

    Note that 2) appears to be contra Jill's advice. The point is, paying attention is the core thing.

    The only caveat is to make sure you eventually get to see the arupa qualities of experience when asking HAIETMOBA, since 'being' is likely to be prominent there, and one is not likely to know how to look there at first.

    Some "geek notes" follow below.

    ***

    If I had to guess what the core features of effective ways of paying attention are, I'd say they are

    * precision; how quickly are you able to observe the rapid fluctuations in experience?

    * width; do you see everything in your experiential field? (literally everything?)

    * equanimity; are 'you' as minimally involved with experience as possible?

    * not "resting in 'being'"; this one is hard to explain, but basically, are you inclining towards less "attention bounce amplitude" than usual? (asking HAIETMOBA for me led to this; PCEs / EEs are examples of this in action; dark night experiences are the opposite of this)

    I think this last point is just a funny way of saying "attentiveness to sensuousness (instead of to 'being')". I would also guess that the last point is the only crucial one; the others can be traded-off amongst each other. It doesn't mean "avoid dark nights"; it means, whatever mode of perception you're in, incline towards a more sensuous version of it instead of relaxing and "be-ing" whatever affects are arising (even during dark nights, insofar as it's possible).

    I would evaluate how useful different modes of attention are for you by asking these questions:

    * Is it causing me to cycle through the progress of insight more quickly than other modes?

    * Am I seeing new perceptual stuff?

    * Am I able to use it to attend to all sense modalities every once in a while to make sure I'm not missing anything? (Including the arupa qualities of experience)

    * Is it preventing me from lapsing into heedlessness? Can I keep it up for long periods of time? Can I keep it up 24/7 given my life circumstances? Can I (as Nick suggests) adopt it as my 'lifestyle'?

    * Is it reducing the amount of affective experience I have, viewed over the medium-term?

    If you've already attained some paths, you could start by paying attention in whatever way was effective for you in getting them (read Silavant sutta and be convinced). If you've found HAIETMOBA successful, you could also just observe the quality of attention that happens when asking it, and stick with that. Or you could just keep asking HAIETMOBA, literally just asking the question and seeing the answer, without trying to "get" a PCE or "get" felicity out of it.

    In general, fiddle all you like with the quality of your attention, but PAYING ATTENTION has to be the first and foremost thing. Work on paying attention more consistently and more often, and make no adjustments except those that help you pay attention more consistently and more often, until you establish that kind of attentiveness in a solid way that continues throughout most of the day.


    ***

    josh r s:
    This type of thing seems to be easier than the felicity stuff, but it is less 'amazing' such that doubts are easier to to have about doing it. Knowing that two people have gotten AF with this would be very relieving as I feel like I can easily just do this practice with as much effort as possible as continuously as possible and I wouldn't have to worry about doing it right/wrong as much as I do now with the 'fostering felicity' type stuff.


    I think it's possible that the way one approaches AF can color what their experience is like once they make the big transition. If one is good at having PCEs and experiencing wonder, perhaps that's like a marathon runner who bounds past the finish line with chest held high, smiling as the photographers snap their image; their immediate experience may quite closely resemble the "finished product" (which Richard describes aptly). On the other hand, following the kind of advice I've given, perhaps that's like a marathon runner who can manage at best to crawl up to the finish line and extend the tip of their index finger past it; their immediate experience when crossing it may not resemble the "finished product" as closely, and they'll have to do a lot of "clean-up" before they can be in good shape for the photographers.

    My experience right now is very peaceful, but not very wondrous. I wouldn't say it's the "finished product". But I would say that it provides a strong base to keep cultivating things until one gets to a state like Richard's. The lack of affective suffering and self-ing is profound, and one gets that no matter how they cross the finish line. And without those things, everything is really, really good, and cultivation is really, really easy.

    As 'my' goal was to eliminate suffering and get to a state like Richard's, I would say that this current state is one that 'I' would have approved of and would have been glad to have attained even though 'my' goal was something more developed than this. One step at a time.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/16/11 7:05 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
    that last result about your state being different... are you 100% sure that you have absolutely no discernment of self and no affect present at all, but is the final product not something like this?

    http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2040042

    How do you proceed after this stage of no self but no amazing wonder? is this actual freedom? have you noticed progress in the 'wonder' department since your transition to no self? Also, I always thought that the senses were supposedly wonderful whenever affect wasn't present, how do you explain this combination of no affect and no wonder?

    are you aware if other people who have used similar vipassana-based methodology achieved the AF of the AF trust website or your thing?

    What can you cultivate when there is no self? Isn't it just physical sensations and thoughts? I can't imagine that the sensations can be made any nicer if they're being apperceptively perceived... then again I can't imagine apperception emoticon

    maybe one of the people experiencing the 'wonderful' version could chime in?

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/16/11 8:21 PM as a reply to josh r s.
    Josh, think about the metaphor of the marathon-runner. I think it's quite apt. You may not be able to imagine why it's apt, but it is. When you get to this point, it will become a lot clearer to you.

    I'm not really inclined to talk about the details of my current state at the moment. Talking about it will not help anyone in their own practice. All I can say is, in my honest and reflected-upon opinion, this state is wholesome and is on the path to a kind of experience like Richard's.

    If it would quell your doubt, Nick may be able to provide you with some references from the AF Trust regarding the need for "clean-up". If I recall, this apparently was something that Richard, Peter, and Vineeto all experienced, at the very least.

    Another thing to keep in mind is, I believe it took Peter something like 11 years to get AF. For me, the time between when I started actualizing jhanas (which is related to this method) and my recent transition, whatever it is, has been approximately 6 weeks. It appears that the actualism method (via felicity) can be quite slow for people who don't have a natural propensity for it.

    I myself had an inkling of an idea that this practice wouldn't result in a "wonder"-filled state at the end, and that caused me a great deal of doubt. (I didn't want to get "stuck" in some kind of weird state that was good, but not as good as what I had experienced in PCEs.) So perhaps I understand what your worry is. It would have been reassuring to me to know that it's possible to cultivate wonder in this mode of experience, so as to indicate that it would still be possible to make progress to the "finished product"...so, I'll say explicitly that it is possible, and much better than before. There's no need for worry.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/16/11 8:25 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
    OK I'll trust that until I have something of my own to go on.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/16/11 8:30 PM as a reply to josh r s.
    Again, about timing, notice the date on the earlier post of mine you quoted...about 10 weeks ago when I first got the idea that AF was a good thing. To compare what took me 10 weeks with the "final product" that Richard had worked on for so many years is a little bit strange, wouldn't you say? In fact, I'd say it's rather amazing that a profound change like this (so large a change between my previous mode of experience and this one) is possible in so short a time.

    Such are the virtues of our pragmatic dharma sangha. We find ways to make shit happen fast.

    Looking forward to seeing your practice thread here.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/17/11 5:26 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
    Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing.

    Could you extrapolate on what caused the recognition of 'the finish line is crossed'?

    Also, what quality of attention would you say was most apparent at the time? By that I mean: range/scope, frequency/momentum, detail/resolution, something else?

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/17/11 5:35 AM as a reply to Pål S..
    No, as such a discussion would not benefit your practice nor Claudiu's (whose practice thread he has generously allowed us to hijack for the sake of helping others). If you keep paying attention, you will find out everything you need to know through personal experience soon enough.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/17/11 7:21 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
    Here are some quick thoughts as to what supports 24/7 attentiveness, which the pragmatic dharma crowd has not given enough explicit attention to.

    1) Right speech. To the extent that you are engaging in idle chatter during the day, you're likely to be taking away from your ability to pay attention. To the extent that you're talking about things that get you riled up (desire or aversion), you're generating more 'being' to rest in, and behaving in a way that opposes the advice to incline towards a more sensuousness mode of perception. It will probably be to your benefit to cut these things out as much as possible. Unless you're on retreat, you won't be able to cut them out completely (and to do so would seriously interfere with your real-life functioning), but the more you cut them out, the better it may be for you. This is the kind of thing that will benefit you to the extent that you can do it, so try to eliminate whatever speech you consider to be unnecessary, and try to refine your idea of "unnecessary" over time.

    A subset of "right speech" is "right company". The more you hang out with friends and socialize, the more idle chatter there will be. Try to lean towards a more secluded lifestyle. You don't have to be a hermit, but it would be better to e.g. spend much of your weekends meditating or walking silently rather than socializing. It benefits you to the extent that you can do it, so see what's possible in this regard. Perhaps a rule like "one day each weekend must be a personal retreat, dedicated to practice" would be advantageous.

    (When you do hang out with friends, try to continue to be attentive, but don't act weird or do anything that will fuel an "actualist / buddhist calenture". Don't talk about the practice in a way that you typically wouldn't...which may mean not talking about it at all. Be as normal as possible, acting as if you were trying to impress upon them by example that this practice is compatible with being a well-adjusted person. This is likely to be psychologically helpful to you.)

    This advice needs to be applied skillfully, as too much isolation can mess up your mood, which can mess up your mind. But the practice should eventually lead you to a point where standing outside and doing nothing is a deeply gratifying experience, which will make it easier to live more like that. So see what's possible in this regard.

    2) Abstaining from intoxicants. Anything that clouds your mind can detract from your ability to pay attention and pull you away from sensuousness. If you're indulging in intoxicants in the pursuit of sensual pleasure, that isn't helpful for obvious reasons either. Use your judgment on this issue with respect to what you indulge in and how frequently you indulge. Be honest in evaluating what it's doing to your mind. When in doubt, consider abstaining.

    3) Right resolve. If you realize that the goal of this practice is an extraordinarily valuable one, it may make it easier to alter your lifestyle in ways that support it. This is one of the places that psychological reflection can be quite helpful. Do you want affective pleasure or do you want peace? Use that to support your ability to choose an appropriate lifestyle.

    Keep in mind how quickly I made this transition. 'I' couldn't bear the thought of spending a year pursuing this goal, much less 11. 'I' was deeply impassioned at the thought of attaining it as soon as possible. 'I' believed that continued existence in any other way would be a terrible burden. With that in mind, 'I' did not see adopting an appropriate lifestyle to be personally problematic. It was a bit difficult to figure out how to do it (habits are hard to break), so, without being perfectionistic about it, 'I' made incremental changes and constantly aimed to do a little better. It helped.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/17/11 9:24 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
    End in Sight:
    If it would quell your doubt, Nick may be able to provide you with some references from the AF Trust regarding the need for "clean-up". If I recall, this apparently was something that Richard, Peter, and Vineeto all experienced, at the very least.


    To follow up on this point, read what Richard says here: http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/listafcorrespondence/listaf07.htm#14Jun00

    In some ways I cannot even relate to what he's talking about. My experience is not 1/100th as strange as what he appears to be describing. I had one very bizarre day, and that was it. Right now, my experience is absolutely and univocally better than anything that came before, in every way. It's just a matter of "touching up" some of the details. (There is quite a lot of this kind of work to do, so don't be misled...but, it is no different in principle from what Richard and co. have reported.)

    So, the felicity method may not be any better than what I describe in terms of what one's immediate experience will be like. Perhaps it's a strictly worse method! Or, perhaps, this whole thing is quite individual. Only time and the experiences of others will tell.

    My meta-advice regarding the path to AF is simply to figure out what kinds of methods one will be able to apply effectively, based on one's own strengths and weaknesses (both cognitive strengths / weaknesses, and psychological or character strengths / weaknesses), and focus on those methods. At this point there is a good deal to choose from...actualism-inspired methods and buddhism-inspired methods at the least. So once one has built the resolve to make this journey, it's simply a matter of testing different things out, going with what works, and supporting and getting support from the community of like-minded adventurers.

    EDIT:

    Richard:
    I always liken it to the physical adventure that Mr. James Cook undertook to journey to Australia two hundred plus years ago. It took him over a year in a leaky wooden boat with hard tack for food and immense dangers along the way. Nowadays, one can fly to Australia in twenty-seven hours in air-conditioned comfort, eating hygienically prepared food and watching an in-flight movie into the bargain.


    Flying coach is a pretty nice experience, all things considered. emoticon

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/17/11 2:55 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
    End in Sight:
    Here are some quick thoughts as to what supports 24/7 attentiveness, which the pragmatic dharma crowd has not given enough explicit attention to.

    1) Right speech. To the extent that you are engaging in idle chatter during the day, you're likely to be taking away from your ability to pay attention. To the extent that you're talking about things that get you riled up (desire or aversion), you're generating more 'being' to rest in, and behaving in a way that opposes the advice to incline towards a more sensuousness mode of perception. It will probably be to your benefit to cut these things out as much as possible. Unless you're on retreat, you won't be able to cut them out completely (and to do so would seriously interfere with your real-life functioning), but the more you cut them out, the better it may be for you. This is the kind of thing that will benefit you to the extent that you can do it, so try to eliminate whatever speech you consider to be unnecessary, and try to refine your idea of "unnecessary" over time.

    A subset of "right speech" is "right company". The more you hang out with friends and socialize, the more idle chatter there will be. Try to lean towards a more secluded lifestyle. You don't have to be a hermit, but it would be better to e.g. spend much of your weekends meditating or walking silently rather than socializing. It benefits you to the extent that you can do it, so see what's possible in this regard. Perhaps a rule like "one day each weekend must be a personal retreat, dedicated to practice" would be advantageous.

    (When you do hang out with friends, try to continue to be attentive, but don't act weird or do anything that will fuel an "actualist / buddhist calenture". Don't talk about the practice in a way that you typically wouldn't...which may mean not talking about it at all. Be as normal as possible, acting as if you were trying to impress upon them by example that this practice is compatible with being a well-adjusted person. This is likely to be psychologically helpful to you.)

    This advice needs to be applied skillfully, as too much isolation can mess up your mood, which can mess up your mind. But the practice should eventually lead you to a point where standing outside and doing nothing is a deeply gratifying experience, which will make it easier to live more like that. So see what's possible in this regard.


    Can I summarize the above as "Right environment"?

    It simply means to put oneself in the most favourable environment 24x7 - favourable for sensuousness and PCE, but disapproving for affective bliss. I have been experimenting with doing whatever I can to avoid as much of the sight/sound/smell of women from entering my senses as possible. For example, I will take the longer route A if route B is filled with more hot bitches. To my surprise, over the course of a few days, this lead to an incident wherein I found myself in a more sensuous and deeply satisfying experience (I became more curious and interested - but in a relaxed way - in the sensuous surroundings). This lead me to conclude that I don't have to try to be felicitous in front of the endless stream of women, and instead can take the short and practically working path of "right environment". What do you think of this?

    PS: I think we should split End in Sight's thread into its own.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/17/11 3:40 PM as a reply to Harry Potter.
    Harry Potter:
    Can I summarize the above as "Right environment"?


    Yes.

    For one who uses this method, the fundamental criterion is not "favorable for sensuousness / PCE". The fundamental criterion is "favorable for paying attention". Remember, this is a Buddhism-inspired method. If locking yourself in your room and staring at a wall for 16 hours is favorable for paying attention, then that's what you should do, even if you don't feel felicitous doing it.

    Paying attention leads to sensuousness. Paying attention leads to PCEs. Attempting to do anything whatsoever other than paying attention in the previously described ways is not endorsed by this method. The "biggest" PCEs I had on the path were all caused by dry insight...the only thing that preceded them was a great deal of mental pain, and a great deal of paying attention. Felicity was not even remotely involved.

    If one can get a PCE by doing painful dry insight practice while staring at a wall, that is how one comes to have conviction that AF is what is at the end of Buddhist practice.

    So, I endorse "right environment" as something one should be concerned with for one who uses this method. But, I have no idea what the place of "right environment" is in actualist practice, as I did not practice actualism. Mix-and-match at your own risk.

    Harry Potter:

    For example, I will take the longer route A if route B is filled with more hot bitches.


    Excising the term "hot bitches" from your mind may do both you and the female human beings that you're talking about (cursed to suffer the human condition just as you are) some good. If you cannot excise it from your mind, excise it from your vocabulary. Re-read what I said about right speech, word-for-word.

    Harry Potter:
    PS: I think we should split End in Sight's thread into its own.


    If a moderator judges it appropriate, I have no objection.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/17/11 5:18 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
    End in Sight:
    For one who uses this method, the fundamental criterion is not "favorable for sensuousness / PCE". The fundamental criterion is "favorable for paying attention".


    Let me clarify this point, as it's extremely important.

    One who practices this method is not trying to fiddle with their attention in order to have a sensuous mode of experience (i.e. a mode of experience marked by a preponderance of sensuousness). One who practices this method is trying to fiddle with their attention in order to 1) be able to pay attention as often and as consistently as possible, and 2) have a mode of experience that is somewhat more sensuous than it would be if they weren't trying.

    In other words, "sensuousness" in an absolute sense is not the primary factor. However sensuous one's "baseline" experience is, one will be practicing well if they are 1) paying attention, and 2) inclining towards more sensuousness. It is "relative sensuousness" that appears to be the key factor. If one can be very sensuous relative to baseline, that's great. But If one can only be a little sensuous relative to baseline, it still isn't a problem in the context of consistent attention. (EDIT: If one's baseline level of sensuousness is low, an experience that is more sensuous than baseline may not be very sensuous in an absolute sense, but, again, it isn't a problem.)

    Eventually this will lead to a very high baseline level of sensuousness, but as with anything, sensuousness will wax and wane (often reverting to very low levels) according to one's mind-state and where one is in the progress of insight. How it waxes and wanes is irrelevant so long as one keeps the inclination towards more sensuousness going...IF one keeps paying attention at every moment, no matter what.

    DO NOT EVER PAY ATTENTION LESS IN ORDER TO BE MORE SENSUOUS.

    DO NOT EVER JUDGE PROGRESS BY HOW MUCH SENSUOUSNESS ONE IS EXPERIENCING IN THE MOMENT.

    Also, cultivating felicity has nothing to do with this method, though if one feels felicitous spontaneously, that's fine.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/17/11 8:30 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
    End in Sight:

    DO NOT EVER PAY ATTENTION LESS IN ORDER TO BE MORE SENSUOUS.

    DO NOT EVER JUDGE PROGRESS BY HOW MUCH SENSUOUSNESS ONE IS EXPERIENCING IN THE MOMENT.


    How can attention vs sensousness be a trade-off? Are you talking about attention to mind/mental states vs. attention to the senses?

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/17/11 8:51 PM as a reply to Martin M.
    well sensuousness very specifically means perceiving things as 'raw' sense data. my guess is that endinsight means don't trade off the quality of closeness of attention for the quality of rawness of attention.

    try and sort of alternate between these two qualities to see the difference maybe

    although maybe i'm interpreting wrong

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/17/11 11:19 PM as a reply to Martin M.
    Martin M:
    How can attention vs sensousness be a trade-off? Are you talking about attention to mind/mental states vs. attention to the senses?


    One might think: "Hey, if I relax my mind a little bit, if I let things flow, maybe I can get into a different kind of state where everything is a little more enjoyable than if I continue to force myself to observe whatever is going on...perhaps an EE...that would be more sensuous than this...sensuousness is good....I'll do that!"

    Don't do that. No relaxing of attention.

    Another case where this might happen is when one is in the dark night, where baseline sensuousness is very low, and further attention can make it lower and lower. One might think that paying attention is precisely the wrong thing to do, and try to find some other way to get back to sensuousness that doesn't involve just paying attention. But for one who uses this method, the solution is ALWAYS to pay attention. Specifically, one should think "I will pay attention while inclining towards sensuousness from whatever the baseline level is in this dark night state, even though it appears to be unacceptably low, even though paying attention appears to lower it further."

    In other words, there is no "real" way to trade the two off against each other in any particular moment, but it's possible to try to reduce the preciseness of one's attention in an attempt to feel differently (in a future moment) because one has not fully taken this method on and is mixing it up with actualism / the cultivation of felicity.

    If there are any further questions or requests for clarification, now's the time to ask. (EDIT 3: Perhaps it would be better to move this to individual practice threads so as not to clutter up Claudiu's any further.)

    EDIT: About what one should pay attention to, I found that, when in doubt, the body (especially wherever one notices affects in it) is a good thing to pay attention to, and the arupa qualities of experience are good things to pay attention to. If you find that your attention is not wide enough to take in everything, a good rule of thumb is to make sure to include at least one or the other.

    EDIT 2: Josh, by "paying attention" I mean not letting your mind wander, and by "inclining towards sensuousness" I mean inclining towards a mode of perception in which there is less affective experience. One can pay attention without inclining towards sensuousness (by putting all of one's attention on 'being', by getting emotionally worked up over something and noticing that, etc.). The method is to pay attention no matter what, and also to shift to sensuousness to whatever degree is possible in context of paying attention. I'm not sure what you have in mind by "closeness" vs. "rawness"...but, is this explanation clear enough to you?

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/18/11 3:46 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
    Thank you for posting this. I have also come to the same conclusion in my practice. Right now the way I pay attention is just to the fact that it is right now. There's really nothing specific to pay attention to as paying attention to the fact that it is right now seems to be like paying attention to the senses, not entirely sure how to explain that. And if that attentiveness is held successfully for even a few moments it leads to sensuousness. But if you try to "move into" sensuousness after noticing this, then it doesn't lead to anywhere except frustration (because then you'd be exercising intuition rather than remaining attentive). You just try to remain attentive at all times (there's really nothing else to do) until things happen on their own as apperceptiveness is its own attentiveness.

    As for felicitous feelings, I've just found they make it easier to remain sensuous. If one is felicitous it becomes easier to notice the "arupa" qualities of experience as felicitous feelings (e.g. naivete) are the lightest forms of "being". But simply remaining attentive (with the proper resolve and pure intent of course) can lead to felicitous feelings. So the most effective method seems to be to remain attentive at all times. The only requisite condition before proceeding I'd say is pure intent (to be happy and harmless). It's kind of funny I'm just repeating what Richard is saying lol. It's like my whole practice has been trying to figure out what exactly the third alternative is in my experience xD.

    One can during any given moment be attentive, exercise intuition, or be heedless. And it is choosing to remain attentive that leads to the welfare of both oneself and others.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/18/11 3:52 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
    End in Sight:
    About what one should pay attention to, I found that, when in doubt, the body (especially wherever one notices affects in it) is a good thing to pay attention to, and the arupa qualities of experience are good things to pay attention to. If you find that your attention is not wide enough to take in everything, a good rule of thumb is to make sure to include at least one or the other.


    Just what I was looking for, thanks.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/18/11 6:40 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
    End in Sight:

    One might think: "Hey, if I relax my mind a little bit, if I let things flow, maybe I can get into a different kind of state where everything is a little more enjoyable than if I continue to force myself to observe whatever is going on...perhaps an EE...that would be more sensuous than this...sensuousness is good....I'll do that!"

    Don't do that. No relaxing of attention.


    Thanks, I can see how I´ve done that and as a result just got absorbed in a certain experience because it felt good.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/18/11 7:46 AM as a reply to ManZ A.
    ManZ A:
    Thank you for posting this. I have also come to the same conclusion in my practice. Right now the way I pay attention is just to the fact that it is right now. There's really nothing specific to pay attention to as paying attention to the fact that it is right now seems to be like paying attention to the senses, not entirely sure how to explain that. And if that attentiveness is held successfully for even a few moments it leads to sensuousness. But if you try to "move into" sensuousness after noticing this, then it doesn't lead to anywhere except frustration (because then you'd be exercising intuition rather than remaining attentive). You just try to remain attentive at all times (there's really nothing else to do) until things happen on their own as apperceptiveness is its own attentiveness.


    Good. 'You' cannot make sensuousness happen. Trying to move into sensuousness is making more of 'you'. That's why I say "inclining towards sensuousness". A subtle resolve or intention brings up very little 'you' in addition to what's already there, and tends to bring the mind towards sensuousness by itself.

    It's good that you see that.

    ManZ A:
    As for felicitous feelings, I've just found they make it easier to remain sensuous. If one is felicitous it becomes easier to notice the "arupa" qualities of experience as felicitous feelings (e.g. naivete) are the lightest forms of "being".


    To be precise, I'm talking about the qualities that one has as a focus of experience in the 4 arupa jhanas (space, consciousness, nothing, signlessness). (The names are not very informative, but the experiences of them clarify things.) Is that what you mean?

    Do you have a practice thread that we can move this to?

    ManZ A:

    It's kind of funny I'm just repeating what Richard is saying lol. It's like my whole practice has been trying to figure out what exactly the third alternative is in my experience xD.


    'You' get in the way of understanding it, so it's only natural that, with further progress and less 'you', the very same stuff that you've been reading and talking about all this time grows clearer and clearer.

    It's a little bit surprising to see that understanding what seemed previously to be understood can be the cutting edge of your practice, but that's how it goes.

    EDIT:

    Man Z A:
    As for felicitous feelings, I've just found they make it easier to remain sensuous [...] But simply remaining attentive (with the proper resolve and pure intent of course) can lead to felicitous feelings. So the most effective method seems to be to remain attentive at all times.


    This may be true. If my thoughts prove useful to one practicing actualism, all the better. However, to make sure that this is 100% understood and 100% clear...for one who takes up this method, paying attention is not a secret back-door into felicity, and the goal is not to sneak into felicity while 'you' are busy being attentive and not worrying about felicity. If one pays attention and becomes felicitous, that's good. If one pays attention and does not become felicitous, that's good too. Things are other than good only to the extent that one isn't paying attention. Using this method, one should not cultivate felicitous feelings (as an act that reduces one's focus on paying attention) in order to pay attention better at some future time, unless one literally cannot pay attention without them (which is likely to be an exceedingly rare circumstance).

    As Richard says, 'you' are the play of a fertile imagination. 'You' are an ongoing daydream that the body and mind are having. 'You' are fundamentally irrelevant, as is how 'you' feel. With this method, pay attention, rouse the body and mind, and end the daydream. Nothing more to it.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/18/11 8:53 AM as a reply to ManZ A.
    ManZ A:
    It's kind of funny I'm just repeating what Richard is saying lol. It's like my whole practice has been trying to figure out what exactly the third alternative is in my experience xD.

    sometimes i feel the actualism method is figuring out what the actualism method is... same for meditation actually =P.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    9/18/11 2:17 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    wow, just found something that has been working really well for past hour or two.

    anything that comes up, ask: "is this something that should be cultivated?" sincerely answer the question. usually the answer is 'no'. once the answer is 'no' then 'i' seem to have been able to stop fueling whatever that was, so far anyway. the answer is yes sometimes, such as when asking that about this process itself (asking whether something should be cultivated), since it has led to more well-being.

    it's another take on silly vs. sensible, suffering vs. not-suffering, but this one seems to get it through to 'me' much better

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    10/5/11 9:57 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    As I was walking the streets of Manhattan, my mind inclined to mindfulness. "Mindfulness is sweet," I pondered. "A moment with no mindfulness is a lost moment, forgotten. A moment with mindfulness is a sweet moment, remembered." I considered: "Just now, if I am not mindful, when I look back upon the day, it will be as if it never happened. Just now, if I am mindful, when I look back upon the day, it will be as if it happened. Not only that, but: Just now, if I am not mindful, it is as if this moment is not even happening. Just now, if I am mindful, it is as if this moment is happening. This moment is indeed happening, thus it would be best to remember it well."

    Thus intent upon maximal mindfulness was formed. Continuing to walk the streets, an interplay emerged, between moments of mindfulness and moments of non-mindfulness: resistance to mindfulness. Moments of mindfulness were sweet, delicate, crisp, sharp, clear, with a relative lack of suffering and discursive thought. Moments of non-mindfulness were bitter, brutal, hazy, dull, foggy, with a relative abundance of suffering and discursive thought.

    As mindfulness grew and grew, the resistance grew and grew as well. I thought: "'I' cannot survive in this mindfulness." Finally, I could not go on. I pondered: "Why do 'I' want to survive?

    "Moments of mindfulness are sweet, delicate, crisp, sharp, clear, with a relative lack of suffering and discursive thought. Moments of non-mindfulness are bitter, brutal, hazy, dull, foggy, with a relative abundance of suffering and discursive thought. Given this, why is there resistance to mindfulness?"

    Then I saw: "It is this 'I', this 'me' that is the resistance of mindfulness. It is this 'I', this 'me', as clinging, craving, aversion, and mostly: fear, that is the resistance of mindfulness.

    "Why is there fear? What is there fear of? Why do I fear this sweet, delicate, crisp, sharp, and clear experience, in which there is a relative lack of suffering and discursive thought?"

    Then I realized: "For no good reason do I fear this sweet, delicate, crisp, sharp, and clear experience, in which there is a relative lack of suffering and discursive thought. It is out of ignorance, out of fear of seeing what is actually there, out of the baseless, unsupported belief that bitterness, brutality, haziness, dullness, fogginess, suffering, and discursive thought are safe and lead to a pleasant abiding. Yet I have just seen that bitterness, brutality, haziness, dullness, fogginess, suffering, and discursive thought are unpleasant, while sweetness, delicateness, crispness, sharpness, clarity, lack of suffering, and lack of discursive thought are pleasant. For no good reason do I fear this sweet, delicate, crisp, sharp, and clear experience, in which there is a relative lack of suffering and discursive thought."

    I further pondered: "This suffering is a prison of my own making. Why continue to shackle myself?"

    Thus seeing, the resistance abated. As mindfulness grew and grew, the resistance faded and faded. Finally, I could go on. I pondered: "Moments of mindfulness are sweet, delicate, crisp, sharp, clear, with a relative lack of suffering and discursive thought. There is no reason to not be mindful. Let mindfulness increase until there is nothing more to be done. It is only a matter of paying attention for long enough."

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    10/5/11 12:23 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    practice tip: if there is some 'me' somewhere, simply ask: "Why do 'i' want that to be there?"

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    10/5/11 5:17 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    practice tip: if there is some 'me' somewhere, simply ask: "Why do 'i' want that to be there?"


    I'll try throughout the next few days to see if this is discernable but I doubt that it is. Much of what is me is instinctual, untaught. And then the mind tries to validate or justify those feelings. A fair amount of 'me' is yet from social programming. The mind no longer validates nor tries to get rid of those feelings. "I" just juxtapose those feelings with the actual and try to cultivate felicity from the actual and from the process of actualism, (taking refuge so to speak). There is less equalizing going on. As "I" become comfortable with "me", as it were; as "I" become comfortable with my feelings there is less daydreams. This may be, because, the mind no longer needs to stabilize mood. So one of the reasons why we want to be here is because we are running away from certain moods. Without an "I" those moods may overcome us. I suppose that the self-validation I spoke of up above will eventually dissipate for the same reason. The attachment to belligerence and fear, etc won't be strong enough to provoke thoughts that validate them.

    The Equalizer is dying as the aversion to strong negative emotions weakens and the craving for strong positive emotions weakens. I expect the Validator will die when the attachment to the primal instincts is minimized. That leaves only the Guardian and Advocate. The Guardian is that part of me which tries to elevate me in the social hierarchy. He thinks about new cars, wardrobe purchases, etc, as well as personality modification (how i can get people to like me). The materialist aspect might only come around every few days for a couple of minutes at a time. It used to be chronic. The personality aspect is still a significant part of 'me'. After the Guardian is the Advocate. The Advocate is the personality who believes strongly in logic and reason (For others it may be anything from evangelical christianity to patriotism to compassion to romance to the status of a favorite sports team). The Advocate is quite strong. After all it was the Advocate that helped get me this far. Dismissing him now so abruptly after him leading me this far is impossible. Though I am definitely trying. Basically, I'm just mindful of his presence when he is around and remind myself that he is unnecessary while being aware of the primal feelings that he evokes while juxtaposing it all with the actual. Eventually, I think he'll stop coming around so often.

    In my case, I don't know if 'i' want to be here or if 'i' am just an automatic response programmed through DNA and decades of social conditioning. I do know that for years I have relied on these mechanisms to keep me alive and stable. They automatically kick in and when I'm not mindful they grow stronger through mental proliferation. Mindfulness allows me to minimize the mental proliferation thus preventing them from continually growing stronger. It also allows me to end the aversion and craving to the emotions which both trigger and are triggered by them and the attachment to the primal feelings which also trigger them. Sensuousness gives me an alternative. Without those emotions and primal feelings, what is there? Sensuousness provides that answer: And I find it's worth the effort. And I suppose felicity is the new Equalizer. When a strong negative emotion is too powerful and/or too persistent, rather than launch into a pleasant daydream, felicity is brought up instead. Felicity is a much more sophisticated program especially when it is applied to 'me' or unpleasant external phenomena (cow dung or a small child getting berated, etc).

    Thinking ahead, felicity and mindfulness may be the last part of me to go. Felicity and mindfulness are strengthened then dismissed? Who knows? I'll find out when the times comes. But this was good food for thought. I enjoyed it though I think it may have strengthened 'me' some. I'm not sure if it was the Guardian or the Validator that was at work in writing this post. Often the different personalities work in tandem. But there was a fair amount of sensuousness in play, the feel of the keyboard, the color outside my window, etc. I could have been more mindful of the process of coming up with these ideas and the feeling which prompted the reply in the first place.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    10/6/11 10:55 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    I present my 2-step model to awakening:

    1. Figure out how to pay attention.
    2. Do that forever.

    RE: actualism notes
    Answer
    10/6/11 11:33 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
    yep you win