HELP! - HAIETMOBA

Robin Woods, modified 10 Years ago at 6/20/12 11:17 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/20/12 11:17 AM

HELP! - HAIETMOBA

Posts: 189 Join Date: 5/28/12 Recent Posts
Right – this is weird. I’ve struggled on and off with meditation for quite a long time. Never really got anywhere. I read about Actual Freedom a bit on here the other day and tried asking myself ‘The Question’. WTF!!??

Like, the very first time I asked it I immediately ‘got’ it. Felt a wave of kinda relaxation spread down the back of my neck and through my body. Asked it a few more times and my perception of the present moment (it was admittedly a very nice day) just got brighter and clearer and started to look like I remember my childhood. The clouds started to take on a magical, fairy-tale quality (very much like a Thomas Kinkade painting) and my sense of perspective kinda collapsed to the extent that I felt I could’ve just plucked an airplane going past in the sky out of the air – as if it was a miniature toy.

Seriously – what the f*ck? How can a simple sentence be so powerful? I’m actually a bit scared of asking it now ‘cos I found the whole thing slightly unnerving and am really put off by the creepy cultish aspects of the AF site. I’ve never had any success with any form of self-inquiry before (headless way, who am i? etc).

I keep having paranoid thoughts that this AF thing is a kinda trap that will snare you in your ‘flesh and blood’ body and cut off any spiritual/transcendent dimension?! Or I get Matrix-like thoughts that this AF thing is a trap to ensnare people who wouldn’t accept the normal consolations of life and thought they were ‘special’ and different from other humans etc. I’m worried that if I pursue this I’ll end up in a slightly hyper-real, saccharine Walt Disney world with lots of creepy cult-type people.....?

I know that sounds mad but I often have that thought arise just generally re: meditation – like the whole thing is some kind of trap for people who wouldn’t accept the whole beer ‘n’ titties model of human fulfilment and wanted to think of themselves as ‘special’? Or that this whole thing is like Prometheus – trying to steal fire from the gods in some way and will lead to some kind of ‘punishment’ later? Should I just note these kind of thoughts as ‘doubt/dark night paranoia’?

Should I just go back to noting? And try and trust in the far less creepy Buddhism and try and forget the power of the whole thing?
thumbnail
Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago at 6/20/12 12:21 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/20/12 12:21 PM

RE: HELP! - HAIETMOBA

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
It's not weird at all!

Like, the very first time I asked it I immediately ‘got’ it. Felt a wave of kinda relaxation spread down the back of my neck and through my body. Asked it a few more times and my perception of the present moment (it was admittedly a very nice day) just got brighter and clearer and started to look like I remember my childhood. The clouds started to take on a magical, fairy-tale quality (very much like a Thomas Kinkade painting) and my sense of perspective kinda collapsed to the extent that I felt I could’ve just plucked an airplane going past in the sky out of the air – as if it was a miniature toy.

What you've described sounds like what the AFT refer to as an "EE", an excellence experience; it's not quite the PCE, pure consciousness experience, but it's aiming in the right direction at least. That particular experience, the PCE, is not unique to Actualism, although the concept of an "EE" is exclusively used within Actualism.

Seriously – what the f*ck? How can a simple sentence be so powerful? I’m actually a bit scared of asking it now ‘cos I found the whole thing slightly unnerving and am really put off by the creepy cultish aspects of the AF site. I’ve never had any success with any form of self-inquiry before (headless way, who am i? etc).

The sentence itself is meaningless, it's a tool for directing the attention in a particular way and nothing more. Admittedly, a lot of the AF stuff is cultish, and is unfortunately becoming more so as Richard puts up linguistic barriers in an attempt to discourage people from questioning him (See L.Ron Hubbard's story for how this might play out, unless Richard snuffs it before he manages to upgrade his houseboat to a warship...). In fairness, there's actually quite a lot of useful, practical information available on the AFT site if you can be bothered trawling through it and really understanding the language used.

If you're so taken aback by the result of simply paying attention to your direct, sensate experience of the world - which is what HAIETMOBA basically directs the attention towards since a human being can only experience reality via the senses - then I would suggest that you haven't been practicing the other techniques you've mentioned correctly, hence why you've had little success before now.

I keep having paranoid thoughts that this AF thing is a kinda trap that will snare you in your ‘flesh and blood’ body and cut off any spiritual/transcendent dimension?! Or I get Matrix-like thoughts that this AF thing is a trap to ensnare people who wouldn’t accept the normal consolations of life and thought they were ‘special’ and different from other humans etc. I’m worried that if I pursue this I’ll end up in a slightly hyper-real, saccharine Walt Disney world with lots of creepy cult-type people.....?

That way of thinking is quite common when you first encounter the AFT, I certainly thought that way for a while. I'm not interested in defending or attacking anyone's particular reality tunnel, but the Actualist model is explained and discussed very differently to the Buddhist model although they both might lead to the same outcome. Although I have heard that you automatically grow a big grey beard like Richard as soon as you become AF...

I know that sounds mad but I often have that thought arise just generally re: meditation – like the whole thing is some kind of trap for people who wouldn’t accept the whole beer ‘n’ titties model of human fulfilment and wanted to think of themselves as ‘special’? Or that this whole thing is like Prometheus – trying to steal fire from the gods in some way and will lead to some kind of ‘punishment’ later? Should I just note these kind of thoughts as ‘doubt/dark night paranoia’?

Nah, it's not mad, just a bit paranoid. emoticon Seriously though, I wouldn't worry about any sort of Divine Retribution; more concepts, more metaphors, all empty, all luminous, transient processes occurring right here and now.

If it's any reassurance to you, the flesh and blood body sitting here writing this experiences reality as an ever-changing process of pure information...but I still like boobs, and I still enjoy a beer from time to time. emoticon

Should I just go back to noting? And try and trust in the far less creepy Buddhism and try and forget the power of the whole thing?

What is it that you really want to achieve through this stuff?

Oh, and welcome to the DhO too!
Felipe C, modified 10 Years ago at 6/20/12 12:33 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/20/12 12:31 PM

RE: HELP! - HAIETMOBA

Posts: 221 Join Date: 5/29/11 Recent Posts
Robin Woods:

Like, the very first time I asked it I immediately ‘got’ it. Felt a wave of kinda relaxation spread down the back of my neck and through my body. Asked it a few more times and my perception of the present moment (it was admittedly a very nice day) just got brighter and clearer and started to look like I remember my childhood. The clouds started to take on a magical, fairy-tale quality (very much like a Thomas Kinkade painting) and my sense of perspective kinda collapsed to the extent that I felt I could’ve just plucked an airplane going past in the sky out of the air – as if it was a miniature toy.

Seriously – what the f*ck? How can a simple sentence be so powerful?


It's common to feel specially good and powerful when practicing new things. It happened to me when I started to meditate and then again when I started with the actualism method. It's just the initial hype, and then settles down, and comes the real work. emoticon

Robin Woods:

I’m actually a bit scared of asking it now ‘cos I found the whole thing slightly unnerving and am really put off by the creepy cultish aspects of the AF site


Since you are the one scared, have you considered that these "creepy cultish aspects" are a product of your imagination and your instinctual passions? What examples of cultish aspects do you have in mind?

Robin Woods:

I keep having paranoid thoughts that this AF thing is a kinda trap that will snare you in your ‘flesh and blood’ body and cut off any spiritual/transcendent dimension?! Or I get Matrix-like thoughts that this AF thing is a trap to ensnare people who wouldn’t accept the normal consolations of life and thought they were ‘special’ and different from other humans etc. I’m worried that if I pursue this I’ll end up in a slightly hyper-real, saccharine Walt Disney world with lots of creepy cult-type people.....?

I know that sounds mad but I often have that thought arise just generally re: meditation – like the whole thing is some kind of trap for people who wouldn’t accept the whole beer ‘n’ titties model of human fulfilment and wanted to think of themselves as ‘special’? Or that this whole thing is like Prometheus – trying to steal fire from the gods in some way and will lead to some kind of ‘punishment’ later? Should I just note these kind of thoughts as ‘doubt/dark night paranoia’?

Should I just go back to noting? And try and trust in the far less creepy Buddhism and try and forget the power of the whole thing?


Why are you afraid to accept actualist practices and not so the Buddhist ones? Siddhārtha Gautama surely was the object of this kind of allegations himself in his time.

Perhaps you are appealing to tradition or majority to make your decisions.

I suggest that you try and see for yourself. You don't need to make any relationship with "culty-type people" to give a try, and you could stop it whenever you want if it seems dangerous.

Good luck!
Robin Woods, modified 10 Years ago at 6/21/12 4:08 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/21/12 4:08 PM

RE: HELP! - HAIETMOBA

Posts: 189 Join Date: 5/28/12 Recent Posts
Thanks for your kind and considerate responses.

I realise I'm a complete noob to be asking this (I can't even get to the first jhana after a bad day at work) but is there any kinda consensus on whether AF represents a 5th path (I think Mr Folk is now talking about a stage of 'emotional transformation' beyond 'enlightenment') or whether it represents a kinda 'descent' - as I think that Magick guy Alan Chapman has said?

The thing that really puts me off the AF site is that it seems to say that any kind of Vipassana is actually worse than normal human 'sleep'. Like, surely even pre-A&P cause and effect mindfulness of the way thoughts and emotions interact in real time (where I think I am now) is better than just flailing around not even realising that you're angry or jealous etc?!

AF would also represent a 'descent' from a Ken Wilber or Robert Anton Wilson perspective - right? or no?
thumbnail
Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago at 6/21/12 5:55 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/21/12 5:55 PM

RE: HELP! - HAIETMOBA

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
...is there any kinda consensus on whether AF represents a 5th path (I think Mr Folk is now talking about a stage of 'emotional transformation' beyond 'enlightenment') or whether it represents a kinda 'descent' - as I think that Magick guy Alan Chapman has said?

If I were you, I'd drop any attempts to line up AF with any conceptual model, Buddhist or otherwise, as it's more likely to lead to confusion than any sort of progress. Alan Chapman comes at this from a very different angle than pretty much everyone on this site, or on KFD, with the possible exception of me since I'm from a chaos magick background too; his opinion of it being some sort of 'descent' is, as far as I'm concerned, complete nonsense. Whether or not you agree with the Actualist worldview, the PCE speaks for itself and requires no justification as it's quite simply perfect.

The thing that really puts me off the AF site is that it seems to say that any kind of Vipassana is actually worse than normal human 'sleep'.

This is where you need to be careful when reading the AFT site, Richard uses language in a very particular way and also seems to have misinterpreted Buddhism as an offshoot of Hinduism; this leads to countless errors in his translations and the use of Pali and Hindi terms completely out of context. Whenever Richard mentions vipassana, and even when he refers to it as "insight practice", he is actually talking about a completely different practice from the form of vipassana, which just means "clear seeing", discussed on here, in MCTB, and in Buddhism as a whole; what he's talking about is called "vipassana bhanga", a Hindu practice developed by Patanjali as part of his "Eight Limbs of Yoga" system. It is absolutely not a Buddhist practice and seems to be "180 degrees" from the way I've practiced vipassana; however, I've always worked quite a bit within Hindu systems earlier in my practice and have used "vipassana bhanga", although I didn't know that's what it was called at the time.

AF would also represent a 'descent' from a Ken Wilber or Robert Anton Wilson perspective - right? or no?

I'm not too familiar with Ken Wilber, but I'm a big fan of Bob. In my opinion, AF would not be a 'descent' within the "8-Circuit Model", it would more likely be something like turning on V, VI, and VII over a period of time; VIII appears to be possible, I've discussed the term "non-local consciousness" with some people and it seems possible that, to use the Leary/Wilson model again, they're moving between IV and VIII. This is total speculation, of course, so don't take it as fact or anything. The honest answer is that I don't know, but I'm confident that it's not any sort of 'descent'.
Felipe C, modified 10 Years ago at 6/21/12 6:24 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/21/12 6:01 PM

RE: HELP! - HAIETMOBA

Posts: 221 Join Date: 5/29/11 Recent Posts
Hi, Robin,

I don't know how nor I am qualified to answer these specific questions, but I can surely relate to your case. I also struggled when I came to this forum a year or so ago with a mostly Mahayana background and encountering Theravada (Vipassana) and Actualism. It was difficult to see the differences between all the practices, so let me share one personal point important in my development, in case it's of use to you to clarify some differences in approach.

After reading the Actual Freedom Trust website, I decided to go with Actualism, but kept reading every thread of this category in the DhO. Eventually, I understood one of the key differences illustrated by Tarin a long time ago:

Can you see the difference between these lines of questioning: 'who is afraid?/who is having this experience of i am afraid?' and 'what is fear?/what is this i that am afraid?' and if so, can you see that just as the inquiry is different, so might the findings and result be different?

what the former has led me to: no 'person' who is afraid - there is only Awareness itself, manifesting as this world, this human, this situation, this fear.

what the latter has led me to: no 'person' who is afraid, because no fear.


This is supported by some of the original sources of both methods:

The Buddha on self (and no-self):

"Feeling, O monks, is not-self; if feeling were self, then feeling would not lead to affliction and it should obtain regarding feeling: 'May my feeling be thus, may my feeling not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since feeling is not-self, therefore feeling leads to affliction and it does not obtain regarding feeling: 'May my feeling be thus, may my feeling not be thus.'
(the same with form, perception, mental formations, consciousness)
[...]
"Therefore, surely, O monks, whatever feeling, past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, low or lofty, far or near, all that feeling must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.'
(the same with form, perception, mental formations, consciousness)


And Richard:

Sentient beings (...) are born with a rudimentary self. (Which is a non-verbal awareness of bodily self as distinct from other bodies and the environment at large ... this can be observed in animals). Blind nature equips sentient beings with instinctual passions like fear and aggression and nurture and desire ... as basic survival instincts. These passions can be observed in animal infants ... and in human babies before they can think and talk. Thus malice and sorrow are intrinsic and not dependent upon conditioning. (These kind of things can be seen in the comfort of your own living-room via those fascinating National Geographic videos of the apes. These animals display passions and behaviour that is almost uncanny in their – albeit very basic – similarity to the human species.)

Because humans can both feel and think and communicate their feeling-fed thoughts to other humans via language they can ruminate – as distinct from animals – upon the results of letting the instincts run free. Whereupon the infant’s rudimentary and passionate non-verbal self is persuaded, through reward and punishment and precept and example, to take on a socially-responsible identity known as a conscience ... in order to control the socially-wayward rudimentary self the baby was born with. By and large this is usually fairly well established by somewhere around the age of seven years ... according to those who study these things. One has been inculcated with the values of the particular culture one was born into and has both a feeling apprehension and a mental knowledge of what is decreed to be ‘Right and Wrong’.
[...]
Concomitant with this socialising process, a sense of identity as a personal ‘I’ percolates through feeling-backed thoughts as the rudimentary self asserts itself as a passionate ego by about age two years ... according to those who study these things. This is a naturally-occurring process in response to the demands of the environment ... natural insofar as the instincts are natural. This ego ‘I’ arises, out of the contradictory savagery and tenderness of the soul ‘me’ – the core of ‘being’ – which is born of the rudimentary self of the instinctual passions, in a vain attempt to steer the ship forcefully by infiltrating and arrogating the very necessary will. (Will is the operative thought function of the bodily consciousness). This makes the will’s otherwise smooth functioning problematic ... according to Richard who studied these things experientially.
It is this ego ‘I’ that is the illusion
[...]
RICHARD: Speaking personally, I did not ‘permanently disappear the ‘I’ and the ‘me’’ ... it was the identity that did all the work. Who you think and feel and instinctively ‘know’ yourself to be has a job to do: When ‘I’ willingly self-immolate – psychologically and psychically – then ‘I’ am making the most noble sacrifice that ‘I’ can make for oneself and all humankind ... for ‘I’ am what ‘I’ hold most dear. It is ‘my’ moment of glory. It is ‘my’ crowning achievement ... it makes ‘my’ petty life all worth while. It is not an event to be missed ... to physically die without having experienced what it is like to become dead is such a waste of a life.
[...]
Thus it is ‘I’ that is responsible for an action that results ‘my’ own demise ... without really doing the expunging itself (and I am not being tricky here). It is ‘I’ that is the cause of bringing about this sacrifice in that ‘I’ deliberately and consciously and with knowledge aforethought set in motion a ‘process’ that will ensure ‘my’ demise. (‘I’ do not really end ‘myself’ in that ‘I’ do not do the deed itself for an ‘I’ cannot end itself). What ‘I’ do, voluntarily and willingly, is to press the button which precipitates an oft-times alarming but always thrilling momentum that will result in ‘my’ inevitable self-immolation. What one does is that one dedicates oneself to the challenge of being here as the universe’s experience of itself ... now. Peace-on-earth is the inevitable result because it is already here ... it is always now. ‘I’ was merely standing in the way of this already always existing peace-on-earth from becoming apparent.


While Buddha does not differentiate (at least in this sutta) between ego and soul, and see the whole self-package as illusory, Richard seems to acknowledge and embrace a core and very real self (soul), which then creates the ego.

This has a crucial consequence: The Buddha says "This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self." to both ego (the thinker) and soul (the feeler), while Richard says ‘I’ am ‘my’ feelings and ‘my’ feelings are ‘me’" and it's "always ‘my’ choice as to how ‘I’ experience this moment", so one can take control over oneself and guide every part of the self towards extinction. This is why sincerity is of such importance in the actualist practice: because one has to be convinced (with every fiber of that self) to do the job.

This factor apparently guides to pretty different results: Buddhism (practiced the way cited in this sutta) may lead to an awareness that transcends suffering and Actualism may lead to the extirpation of the whole self from its roots, which stops the rising of all suffering.

As you noted, the question HAIETMOBA is powerful because not only diagnoses the quality of the moment's perception but also has the immediate intention (according to the Actualism method) to do something about it: to clearly see which factors are obstructing it and how it can be improved in this precise moment.

Now, with this I'm not saying that there are no coincidences between both methods, nor that one is not useful to progress in the other. From my own Buddhist background, I have noted both benefits and traps in relation to my Actualist practice. My aim here is not to create controversy but just to establish the subtle points which can help you (or me, specially in the past) to see the differences. The coincidences and benefits depend on your own experience and analysis.

Here in the DhO, a lot of practitioners benefited from seeing this difference in these aims earlier, and then integrating and "actualizing" their Buddhist methods according to this new vision brought by Actualism. As some of them have said, the importance seems to be in the intent you choose for you and your practice. If you have clarity in your intent and perseverance and sincerity in your practice, then nothing will stop you until you achieve your objective, one way or another.

To quote Tarin again:

with regard to preference or sensibility, what one would find preferable or more sensible depends on one's agenda (the implied reason for one's practice). my agenda is to be deeply and irrefutably at ease all the time, and to do nothing to encourage others to be ill at ease ever (which is already implied by being at ease myself, as i cannot be happy while i am being harmful), which i accomplish, both gradually and immediately, by paying attention to the very 'me' that exists *as* (as opposed to both *having* or *not having*) 'my feelings', and *not* by looking at Awareness, or the ground from which all things arise (or the same by any other name). when carefully considered, which line of inquiry makes sense to you will depend on what yours (your agenda) is.

if i put it this way: is your agenda to be unconcerned with fear, or is it to not be afraid ever again? or put another way: is your agenda to stop being concerned with how you may harm others with harmful intentions and feelings, or to stop having or being those intentions and feelings entirely?


Now ask yourself: "what do I choose?"

Regards,

Felipe

EDIT: I forgot that all that horrible block of text of mine tries to respond this specific doubt of yours:

The thing that really puts me off the AF site is that it seems to say that any kind of Vipassana is actually worse than normal human 'sleep'.


What I am saying here is that you decide if it's worse or better from your own experience. I don't know if Richard is being a reductionist or not; what I believe is that there are certain and tricky aspects to consider if you choose to aim to AF.
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 6/21/12 9:11 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 6/21/12 9:11 PM

RE: HELP! - HAIETMOBA

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Hi Robin,

Just to chime in, you might consider whether the things you've said indicate you have a certain belief that's worth investigating.

I keep having paranoid thoughts that this AF thing is a kinda trap that will snare you in your ‘flesh and blood’ body and cut off any spiritual/transcendent dimension?! Or I get Matrix-like thoughts that this AF thing is a trap to ensnare people who wouldn’t accept the normal consolations of life and thought they were ‘special’ and different from other humans etc. I’m worried that if I pursue this I’ll end up in a slightly hyper-real, saccharine Walt Disney world with lots of creepy cult-type people.....?

I know that sounds mad but I often have that thought arise just generally re: meditation – like the whole thing is some kind of trap for people who wouldn’t accept the whole beer ‘n’ titties model of human fulfilment and wanted to think of themselves as ‘special’?


It's possible that this indicates that you believe that there is a kind of God's-eye perspective from which things can be viewed; and you suppose that AF, meditation, "beer 'n titties" etc. are perspectives that fall short of it; and, perhaps, that it would be a good thing to see the real truth of matters, which would make it a matter of great significance if you got stuck with one of these deficient perspectives.

If so, I would suggest really investigating why you think there's a God's-eye perspective, and why you think you might have some kind of access to it, in whole or in part (which is a prerequisite for having some justification for thinking that other perspectives are "traps").

Also, if there is a God's-eye perspective and you get stuck with something else, so what? Is God awarding points for how closely your way of looking at things matches His? What precisely is the motivation for being concerned with this?

Hope you find some value in this.