Message Boards Message Boards

The Dharma Battleground (DhB)

So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?

Toggle
So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? IAMTHAT That Ami 2/21/14 2:32 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Adam . . 2/21/14 2:59 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? IAMTHAT That Ami 2/21/14 3:03 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Adam . . 2/21/14 3:13 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? IAMTHAT That Ami 2/21/14 3:57 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Adam . . 2/21/14 4:40 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Felipe C. 2/21/14 7:12 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Adam . . 2/21/14 8:33 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Tom Tom 2/21/14 6:47 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Change A. 2/22/14 2:08 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/21/14 5:59 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/22/14 10:55 AM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Richard Zen 2/22/14 11:09 AM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/22/14 12:59 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Adam . . 2/22/14 1:30 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Bill F. 2/22/14 3:59 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Felipe C. 2/22/14 5:48 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Bill F. 2/22/14 6:14 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Felipe C. 2/22/14 7:43 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Bill F. 2/22/14 7:50 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Felipe C. 2/22/14 8:40 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/22/14 6:18 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Bill F. 2/22/14 6:47 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? (D Z) Dhru Val 2/22/14 8:17 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? John Wilde 2/22/14 9:12 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? (D Z) Dhru Val 2/22/14 10:24 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? John Wilde 2/22/14 7:46 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Bill F. 2/22/14 7:41 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Change A. 2/24/14 11:56 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Richard Zen 2/21/14 7:38 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Chuck Kasmire 2/22/14 12:44 AM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? (D Z) Dhru Val 2/22/14 1:09 AM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Change A. 2/22/14 10:00 AM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Richard Zen 2/22/14 10:03 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/23/14 3:57 AM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Richard Zen 2/23/14 3:08 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/23/14 5:36 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Richard Zen 2/23/14 8:48 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? John Wilde 2/23/14 9:25 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Richard Zen 2/23/14 9:26 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/24/14 1:21 AM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? John Wilde 2/24/14 7:57 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Felipe C. 2/26/14 2:07 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? John Wilde 2/28/14 12:25 AM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Pål S. 2/28/14 4:15 AM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Felipe C. 3/10/14 6:05 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? John Wilde 3/11/14 7:09 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Brian Eleven 2/23/14 8:04 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Bill F. 8/16/16 9:41 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 8/16/16 9:42 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Bill F. 2/26/14 1:00 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Matti . . 2/26/14 3:58 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Bill F. 2/26/14 4:25 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/26/14 5:23 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/26/14 5:27 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Bill F. 2/26/14 5:56 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/26/14 6:23 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Adam . . 2/26/14 6:43 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Bill F. 2/26/14 7:05 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Adam . . 2/26/14 7:26 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Bill F. 2/26/14 8:11 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? J C 5/10/14 9:26 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 5/10/14 10:28 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? J C 5/10/14 11:08 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Not Tao 5/11/14 9:17 AM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 5/11/14 11:35 AM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 5/11/14 11:51 AM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Brian Eleven 2/26/14 8:44 PM
RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys? Bill F. 2/26/14 9:26 PM
So just recently found the "Actual Freedom" site and have a really strong intuitive attraction to it like they are legit and it is a good methodical approach to blast through.

Found a bunch of posts regarding controversies with them and what not, and many back & forths, some of which are just impossible to read because they are literally like mini-books pages long of responses, threads going way to deep for me to read and waste my time on instead of just simply posting this new thread and asking, "what's the consensus?"

Thanks

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/21/14 2:59 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
There is definitely no consensus haha. You won't find one here on many topics but Actual Freedom especially. I think there are a few different views on it.

I would recommend trying the Actualism method for a couple months and making up your own mind about it, without too much input from outside sources on it. You've probably already read enough to see that some people think Richard is crazy, others think everyone else is crazy.... I don't know how much can be gained from that sort of reading.

If you can be honest with yourself and apply the method and find a result of being consistently happy and harmless then I personally think that is amazing.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/21/14 3:03 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:
There is definitely no consensus haha. You won't find one here on many topics but Actual Freedom especially. I think there are a few different views on it.

I would recommend trying the Actualism method for a couple months and making up your own mind about it, without too much input from outside sources on it. You've probably already read enough to see that some people think Richard is crazy, others think everyone else is crazy.... I don't know how much can be gained from that sort of reading.

If you can be honest with yourself and apply the method and find a result of being consistently happy and harmless then I personally think that is amazing.


Okay, yeah sounds about right. Try the method yourself and then conclude.

Anyway, so is the "method" to try posted on the site? Is that how you go about it? The site is rather confusing. I was trying to find an e-mail, but there are none. Thought maybe they do retreats, but there are none. Site is rather confusing if you ask me, and very "time wasting". I just want to find the gist and get to that.

Anyway, thanks for the insight. It is straight to the matter which I like. Will check out

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/21/14 3:13 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
They don't do retreats and there is no email to be found...
But occasionally Richard emails to the Actualism group on Yahoo https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/actualfreedom/info

here are a few links to sum up the method

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/thismomentofbeingalive.htm

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/aprecisofactualfreedom.htm

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/library/topics/method.htm

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/actualism/path2.htm

I agree that the site layout is pretty bad... Though by now after 3 years of using it I can find anything on it in a few seconds haha.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/21/14 3:57 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:
They don't do retreats and there is no email to be found...
But occasionally Richard emails to the Actualism group on Yahoo https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/actualfreedom/info

here are a few links to sum up the method

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/thismomentofbeingalive.htm

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/aprecisofactualfreedom.htm

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/library/topics/method.htm

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/actualism/path2.htm

I agree that the site layout is pretty bad... Though by now after 3 years of using it I can find anything on it in a few seconds haha.

Hmm...3 years huh?

So my next question is obvious & logical: Have you broken through or gotten any benefits via the method?

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/21/14 4:40 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
I haven't gained as much as I would like I guess. I am not always "happy and harmless." Also those three years were not three continuous years of practicing Actualism in the way I understand it today. Over that time I have matured and become more honest with myself. I have become more open, defense and justification have fallen away. I feel like I can act more naturally and that my life flows more effortlessly. If you want to know about my practice in detail you could read my practice log. (my practice is influenced alot by actualism though I dont always write in those terms to avoid controversy)

If you were hoping for a way to "skip" straight to the "being totally free" stage which perhaps you are imagining, then it is probably going to take some time. Hoping for a quick fix is a sign of seeing your life situation now as far inferior to a projected life situation that will come as a result of actual freedom. Seeing your life in negative terms is a sign that a good amount of work will be required. I say that because that is what I recognize myself as starting out with 3 years ago. A utopian vision that saw my current life in stark contrast to a wondrous and amazing life that had yet to be attained.

Over time, it became clear that living in the shadow of a wild dream of what I could be and what my life could be was a very depressing and frustrating way to live. The journey to seeing that things (as they actually are) are already great is a strange and counterintuitive journey and although I see Actualism as being some of the highest wisdom around, even it can not simply produce such insightful people as if on an "assembly line." What it is like today where progress is evident is just as if I realize slowly that life is safe as it is and I can simply let things take their natural course in their fascinating and ultimately secure unfolding. Practice now for me is deepening that understanding that life is "safe" which allows me to become more lively and at ease.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/21/14 6:47 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
Don't miss this link as it is pretty much required reading:

http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/attentivenesssensuousnessapperceptiveness.htm


I recommend also going to google and typing key topics. The above posted (by Adam . .) and the linked articles here are all you need to know to practice getting a PCE.

Google: "actual freedom au" followed by the following keywords

felicity
naievete
apperception
infinitude
navel spot

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/21/14 5:59 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
IAMTHAT That Ami:
So just recently found the "Actual Freedom" site and have a really strong intuitive attraction to it like they are legit and it is a good methodical approach to blast through.

Found a bunch of posts regarding controversies with them and what not, and many back & forths, some of which are just impossible to read because they are literally like mini-books pages long of responses, threads going way to deep for me to read and waste my time on instead of just simply posting this new thread and asking, "what's the consensus?"

Thanks

Good posts already (though for the love of god please don't mix it with samatha and vipassana as Pawel seems to be suggesting!)

A few really key pointers:
- the method is enjoying this moment of being alive. That *is* the method. The very point is to enjoy yourself. Everything else like dismantling social identity is a way to get to enjoying yourself. The method isn't to use felicity in order to see things more clearly or whatnot, it is to enjoy yourself.
- I've found it isn't really something you can "blast through". If you take that approach you'll almost definitely end up suppressing or ignoring some stuff. sometimes you won't like what you find out about yourself. you've gotta give it time to digest and such. and remember the point being to enjoy yourself!
- really the point is to enjoy yourself

And yeah there is no consensus, depends on whom you ask.

As to the site, it is really hard to get around at first. Don't think of it as a web 2.0-type site with easy-to-find information laid out in a "flat organization". It does have an organization, but it's more like a giant encyclopedia with cross-references everywhere. You gradually piece more and more of it together as you go about reading it. Also the majority of the words are archives of mailing list correspondences that Richard, Peter, and Vineeto had, so that's the way a lot of the information is structured. Takes some getting used to. Google is your friend, here.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/21/14 7:12 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Hi, IAMTHAT That Ami,

Just to clarify/expand on some of Adam's points that may be or may not be confusing for someone who wants to begin practicing this method:

Adam:
If you were hoping for a way to "skip" straight to the "being totally free" stage which perhaps you are imagining, then it is probably going to take some time.


Agreed, "hoping" and "imagining" don't lead to anywhere near freedom, nor are part of the actualist method in any way whatsoever (aside from questioning them, actually). Quite the contrary: they are intuitive ways to feed who you think and feel you are, instead of getting to know what is it that you are (which is the aim of actualism)

Adam:

Hoping for a quick fix is a sign of seeing your life situation now as far inferior to a projected life situation that will come as a result of actual freedom. Seeing your life in negative terms is a sign that a good amount of work will be required. I say that because that is what I recognize myself as starting out with 3 years ago. A utopian vision that saw my current life in stark contrast to a wondrous and amazing life that had yet to be attained.


"Hoping for a quick fix" and "projecting life situations" fix nothing, nor are part of the actualist method either, and here precisely lies one of the crucial points: faith, hope and trust are not needed to see how this life could be without "me". Quite the contrary: in actualism, you have the proof before, so it is from a fact (a pure consciousness experience ) that you have confidence (not faith or hope) that there is something vastly superior to my "life situation now".

So, simply acknowledging "your life situation now as far inferior" (compared, of course, to what you have experienced in a PCE) is not dangerous at all. It's just an honest assessment of your current situation, and it's actually necessary to contemplate in order to accumulate all your intent and desire to go all-in for that freedom.

Adam:
Over time, it became clear that living in the shadow of a wild dream of what I could be and what my life could be was a very depressing and frustrating way to live.[...]


Indeed, a "wild dream" is just a dream, so it is just a concept/hallucination/projection/idea. I can see how it could be frustrating and depressing for me trying to live in, say, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry because that place does not exist outside of J.K. Rowling's imagination.

Instead, the confidence that I can live in an Actual Freedom (from the actual proof gathered from a PCE) is awesome to me!

Adam:
The journey to seeing that things (as they actually are) are already great is a strange and counterintuitive journey


Saying that they "are already great" would be just an act of dishonesty. One starts from where one is, and usually where one is is "reality" or "spirituality" with all their feelings/beliefs. This other thing is not an act of surrendering to what's already great; it's an exercise of dismantlement of what is not actual (feelings and beliefs) via the actualism method to then -and only then- see what is. If you do this intellectually and/or affectively you'll indeed form a concept/hallucination/projection/idea of what is actual, instead of actually living actuality via your senses. The actualist method is an experiential method, not a philosophical or mystical one.

--

If you'd like to give actualism a sincere try, I'd suggest you check out and post your questions in the Actualism group on Yahoo: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/actualfreedom/info

Cheers!
Felipe

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/21/14 8:33 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
Saying that they "are already great" would be just an act of dishonesty. One starts from where one is, and usually where one is is "reality" or "spirituality" with all their feelings/beliefs. This other thing is not an act of surrendering to what's already great; it's an exercise of dismantlement of what is not actual (feelings and beliefs) via the actualism method to then -and only then- see what is. If you do this intellectually and/or affectively you'll indeed form a concept/hallucination/projection/idea of what is actual, instead of actually living actuality via your senses. The actualist method is an experiential method, not a philosophical or mystical one.


yea I agree

i.e. I agree that to just say that things are great when they aren't is dishonest and pointless while actually investigating beliefs about how life sucks is useful

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/21/14 7:38 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
Daniel - My experiments in Actualism

I think this would be a great starting point if there is one.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 12:44 AM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
IAMTHAT That Ami:
So just recently found the "Actual Freedom" site and have a really strong intuitive attraction to it like they are legit and it is a good methodical approach to blast through.

Found a bunch of posts regarding controversies with them and what not, and many back & forths, some of which are just impossible to read because they are literally like mini-books pages long of responses, threads going way to deep for me to read and waste my time on instead of just simply posting this new thread and asking, "what's the consensus?"

Thanks


There is no consensus. My view is that Richard (from AF), Roberts, Adyashanti, Boowa, and myself are all describing the same phenomena.

Some quotes you might find interesting (my emphasis):

[quote=Richard (from AF site)]In September 1981 I underwent a monumental transformation into an Altered State Of Consciousness which can only be described as Spiritual Enlightenment. ...y ‘ego’ disappeared entirely in an edifying moment of awakening to an ‘Absolute Reality’. I lived in the Enlightened State for eleven years, so I have an intimate understanding of the marked difference between Spiritual Enlightenment and actual freedom.

fter The Altered State Of Consciousness has manifested itself, the soul is still present as ‘The Self’. No matter how Enlightened or Liberated one may be, an ‘I’ is still in existence ... Timeless maybe, but still an ‘I’, still in the body. The soul, as ‘The Self’, is a psychological entity identifying as being an Enlightened Master. The ego is only half of one’s identity; the other half is the soul. When the ego dies, one has dispelled an illusion – the illusion of a personal self – only to wind up living in a delusion – the delusion of an impersonal Self. ... The delusion must be dispelled in order to be actually free: along with the ‘death of the ego’ there must be a corresponding ‘death of the soul’.

I opened the door [to actual freedom] and walked through. Once on the other side – where thousands upon thousands of atavistic voices were insistently whispering ‘fool – fool – fool’ – I turned to ascertain the way back to normal. The door had vanished – and the wall it was set in – and I just knew that I would never, ever be able to find my way back to the real-world ... it had been nothing but an illusion all along. I walked tall and free as the perfection of this material universe personified ... I can never not be here ... now.

Bernedette Roberts:
If we think the falling away of the ego, with its ensuing transformation and oneness, is the no-self experience, then what shall we call the much further experience when this egoless oneness falls away? In actual experience there is only one thing to call it, the "no-self experience"; it lends itself to no other possible articulation.

Initially, I gave up looking for this experience in the Buddhist literature. Four years later, however, I came across two lines attributed to Buddha describing his enlightenment experience. Referring to self as a house, he said, "All thy rafters are broken now, the ridgepole is destroyed." And there it was - the disappearance of the center, the ridgepole; without it, there can be no house, no self. When I read these lines, it was as if an arrow launched at the beginning of time had suddenly hit a bulls-eye. It was a remarkable find. These lines are not a piece of philosophy, but an experiential account, and without the experiential account we really have nothing to go on. In the same verse he says, "Again a house thou shall not build," clearly distinguishing this experience from the falling away of the ego-center, after which a new, transformed self is built around a "true center," a sturdy, balanced ridgepole.

"By the time the journey is over, the only possible way of living is in the now-moment, wherein the mind moves neither backward nor forward but remains fixed and fully concentrated in the present. Because of this, the mind is so open and clear than no preconceived notions can get a foothold; no idea can be carried over from one moment to another; much less, could any notion demand conformity from others. There are no more head-trips -- no clinging to a frame of reference, even if it is only the reference of tomorrow's expectations. In a word, what is to be done or thought is always underfoot, with no need to step aside in order to find out what is to be thought, believed, or enacted...."


[quote=Adyashanti (via Wayne Wirs)] Here’s what he (Adyashanti) went through (taken from my notes .. may not be 100% accurate):

In 1988, after years of zen practice, his ego dropped and he woke up and went through what I’ve been going through since 2009 when the personal self fell away. He waited eight years to start teaching.

For about 5-6 years he taught from this state .... In this state, there is still a subtle identity—an “I”—even if it is merged with the Divine (the Witness/Unity/the duplex personality). ... There is still a Self identity—an I.

Around 2002, 14 years after Adyashanti’s enlightenment, that impersonal scrap of identity—his Self—fell away completely. He calls this state “No-Self.

Ajahn Maha Boowa:
(speaking of his experience with Anagami stage)
The refined sukha and dukkha that arise exclusively within the citta, and the amazing radiance that emanates from it, have their origin in avijjã. But since we have never before encountered them, we are deluded into grasping at them when we first investigate this point. We are lulled into a sound sleep by avijjã, believing that the subtle feelings of satisfaction and shining radiance are our true essence beyond name and form. Oblivious to our mistake, we accept this majestic citta, complete with avijjã, as our one true self.

"The moment when that radiant center disintegrates, something even more remarkable—something that has been concealed by avijjã—will be revealed in all its fullness. Within the citta, it feels as though a powerful tremor shakes the entire universe. This crucial moment, when the citta breaks away from all forms of conventional reality, is one of indescribable wonder and magnificence. It is precisely here—at the moment when avijjã is finally extinguished—that Arahattamagga is transformed into Arahattaphala. When the path is fully developed, the fruition of Arahantship is attained. Dhamma and citta have attained complete perfection. From that moment on, all problems cease. This is the nature of Nibbãna.
When that nature which we imagine to be so awesome and amazing finally disintegrates, something that is impossible to describe arises in full measure. That nature is Absolute Purity.

The difference between the emptiness of the avijjã-citta [mind clouded by ignorance experienced by the anagami] and the emptiness of the pure citta [experienced by the arahat], free of avijjã, can be illustrated by imagining a person in an empty room. Standing in the middle of the room, admiring its emptiness, that person forgets about himself. Seeing that there is nothing around him in the room, he reflects only on the emptiness he perceives and not on the fact that he is occupying a central position in that space. As long as someone is in the room, it is not truly empty. When he finally realizes that the room can never be truly empty until he departs, that is the moment when avijjã disintegrates and the pure citta arises.

Once the citta has let go of phenomena of every sort [the level of anagami], the citta appears supremely empty; but the one who admires the emptiness, who is awestruck by the emptiness, that one still survives. The self as reference point, which is the essence of avijjã, remains integrated into the citta’s knowing nature. This is the genuine avijjã. One’s “self” is the real impediment at that moment.

As soon as it disintegrates and disappears, no more impediments remain. Everything is empty: the external world is empty, and the interior of the citta is empty. As in the case of a person in an empty room, we can only truly say that the room is empty when the person leaves the room. The citta that has gained a comprehensive understanding of all external matters, and all matters pertaining to itself, this citta is said to be totally empty. True emptiness occurs when every single trace of conventional reality has disappeared from the citta.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 1:09 AM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
IAMTHAT That Ami:
So just recently found the "Actual Freedom" site and have a really strong intuitive attraction to it like they are legit and it is a good methodical approach to blast through.

Found a bunch of posts regarding controversies with them and what not, and many back & forths, some of which are just impossible to read because they are literally like mini-books pages long of responses, threads going way to deep for me to read and waste my time on instead of just simply posting this new thread and asking, "what's the consensus?"

Thanks


Lots of good responses on this thread. No real consensus...

My view briefly as a non-traditionalist....

1. If you have an intuitive attraction for it, you should probably do it. Though the philosophical underpinnings of AF are quite weak. The practice is quite good in terms of experiential transformation it is quite good.

2. What Richard calls enlightenment is different from MCTB 4th path. He is talking about Self-Realization. That lead to a lot of confusion. Vipassana practitioners don't really understand Self-realization. AF, MCTB 4th path, and Self-Realization are all different attainments. Of these AF is closest to ending suffering.

3. The attainment of actual freedom doesn't go far enough as far as ending suffering is concerned, as there is still attachment to non-conceptual imputations for example. So it is possible to make further progress, but that requires abandoning AF dogma.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 10:00 AM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
It is a waste of time.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 10:55 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Paweł K:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Good posts already (though for the love of god please don't mix it with samatha and vipassana as Pawel seems to be suggesting!)

why is it such a bad idea?

They just do not work well together. Done properly on their own, they lead to totally different understandings and experiences, which do not harmonize - one is not conducive to helping with the other.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 11:09 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Paweł K:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Good posts already (though for the love of god please don't mix it with samatha and vipassana as Pawel seems to be suggesting!)

why is it such a bad idea?

They just do not work well together. Done properly on their own, they lead to totally different understandings and experiences, which do not harmonize - one is not conducive to helping with the other.


Be more specific. Is that because Actualism is about grooving on sensations until that becomes a baseline and Buddhism is about being detached as a baseline?

Daniel seems to have combined elements of both. Couldn't that be a viable approach?

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 12:59 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
Daniel seems to have combined elements of both. Couldn't that be a viable approach?
A viable approach for what? What's the goal? If the goal is actual freedom then no, since Daniel by his own accounts did not attain actual freedom and is now uninterested in pursuing it further. Is it possible to strip away important parts of Actualism and use some of the stuff as inspiration to incline the mind a certain way in order to change your state of being in a way which in some respects is better than what came before? Sure, then it is, and you can mix it with samatha and vipasasna and anything else you want as you see fit.

Richard Zen:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
They just do not work well together. Done properly on their own, they lead to totally different understandings and experiences, which do not harmonize - one is not conducive to helping with the other.


Be more specific. Is that because Actualism is about grooving on sensations until that becomes a baseline and Buddhism is about being detached as a baseline?
Well actualism is not really about grooving on sensations until that becomes a baseline. If that is what actualism was, then samatha would work really well with it, and vipassana too insofar as it boosts samatha. Actualism is about channeling all your affective energy into feeling felicitous, and to allow PCEs to happen from there. It's like you work with the emotions as-they-are without doing anything else to them like vipassanizing them. Those insights gotten from vipassana, and the baseline changes from it, are not the insights you need to undertake actualism practice, they actually make it more difficult in my experience.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 1:30 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
they actually make it more difficult in my experience.


I didn't see things this way for a while but I can actually see this... If vipassana distances you from your emotions and lets you see them as selfless and essentially "irrelevant" phenomena, it can be difficult to recognize and probe what the emotions really are, what their causes are and what their effects are.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 2:08 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom:
Don't miss this link as it is pretty much required reading:

http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/attentivenesssensuousnessapperceptiveness.htm


It is better to read Bhante G's original than to read liar Richard's copied article.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 3:59 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
I am curious for those who have experience with both, if someone could explain the difference between the practice of actualism and the experience resulting from employing its methods, and the practice of bare attention to sensations. For me, bare attention to sensations has been my primary practice, with some variation for the last couple of years, and the experience of what I have read and understood to be the af method does not seem to be different. Personally, af does not interest me as it seems overly philosophical and contrived in a way that just seems unworkable for me at this point in development. Thanks.

Bill

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 5:48 PM as a reply to Bill F..
William and Pavel,

My take is that different methods lead to different results. As simple as that. If your aim is to experience from your senses only {without the intervention of some other kind of 'I' such as a psychic or psychological one}, my first concern would be 'how could I be sure that this experience is purely sensorial? To firstly diagnose what is and what is not purely sensorial {as in I am the senses and not 'I' am perceiving through my senses}, which of the following methods would seem more efficient?

1. Paying attention only to the senses, and transcending/vipassinizing/dissociating/ignoring feelings

2. Paying attention to feelings, by asking 'how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?'

As the affective energy that conforms the psychological/psychic self can take many shapes, forms, extensions, volumes, and faces, what actualism {number 2} does is giving one the tools to assess how much of the three possible I's {psychological, psychic and sensorial} is operating right now. Actualism do so by asking one to not only face but dive deeply and thoroughly into beliefs and feelings {how do they feel, why and how do they arise, how are they interrelated, etc.} This way you have experiential knowledge of the very substance of the other two I's that impede your attention to be 100 percent sensorial. Therefore, you begin to understand the enormous and tentacly nature of the self and also begin to see all this activity as a scale where 0 is a PCE and 1-100 go from, say, very mild intervention to passional panic attack. In summary, you learn to identify the degree of your self each moment again, and start from there to go to the place you want {PCE}. You get there by comparing and contrasting, and by choosing felicitous and innocuous affective states in the meantime {because they are the closest approximation to sensorial perception}.

On the other hand, methods such as focusing on perception only or bare attention to sensations {number 1} bypass this step by not identifying with the affective energy that is constantly arising. They don't recognize that 'I' am 'my' feelings and 'my' feelings are 'me' because, in Buddhism, the recognition that 'I' am not my feelings is actually the method to get to a selfless state. Leaving feelings without that consideration means not only ignoring how the 'intruder' to the senses looks but also, as the undercover agent who is, it adopting a myriad of identities, ways and amounts to spoil the purity, often without even being suspected. You are not encouraged to develop a skill, a scale, a point of contrast or comparison, so you are pretty much clueless about the quality and legitimacy of your hypothetical sensorial perception.

From the AFT website:

:‘The whole point of actualism is the direct experience of actuality: as this flesh and blood body only what one is (what not ‘who’) is these eyes seeing, these ears hearing, this tongue tasting, this skin touching and this nose smelling – and no separative identity (no ‘I’/‘me’) means no separation – whereas ‘I’/‘me’, a psychological/psychic entity, am inside the body busily creating an inner world and an outer world and looking out through ‘my’ eyes upon ‘my’ outer world as if looking out through a window, listening to ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ tongue, touching ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ skin and smelling ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ nose.


RESPONDENT: The way I interpret it, when the observing aspect of the psyche is not treated as different from the observed contents (fear, anger, etc) all conflict ends. The observer IS the content, IS programming.
RICHARD: Okay ... in the context under discussion the ‘observed contents’ of the psyche are the outside (pointed out by Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti in the instance provided as being ‘the trees’, ‘the yellowing trees’, ‘the tamarind’, ‘the bougainvillea’, ‘the hills’, ‘the shape of the hills’, ‘the quality of their colour’, ‘all the colours’, ‘the shape of the land’, ‘the rocks’ and ‘the shadow’) and when the ‘observing aspect of the psyche’ is not treated as different from these observed contents then ‘all conflict ends’ (aka the outside is the inside) ... ‘the observer IS the content’ (aka the observer is the observed). This is nothing more than a different way of putting what I have been maintaining all along: ‘the inner’ creates its own reality, which it pastes as a veneer over the actual world, and then calls that reality ‘the outer’ ... then the ‘inner’, feeling isolated from ‘the outer’, seeks unity with its own creation (little realising it is its own creation of course) and the rare few who achieve this sleight of hand experience a state of unitive awareness (otherwise known as union or oneness or wholeness). Yet all the while this actual world goes unnoticed ... there is no inner or outer in actuality.
RESPONDENT: If the inner creates its own reality, that is delusion.
RICHARD: No ... that is illusion (such as is experienced by perhaps 6.0 billion people): the delusion is when the inner becomes one with its own reality (such as is experienced by perhaps 1.2 thousand people).
RESPONDENT: And conflict will not end with that because a reality invented by the mind of man is at odds with truth, with what is.
RICHARD: No, the reality invented by the feeling-fed mind of human beings *is* the truth, the what is ... what it is at odds with is the fact, the actual.
RESPONDENT: The observer is the observed means there is no subject split from object.
RICHARD: Which means that the outside is the inside.


Taking all this into consideration, how could we be so sure that what we call a PCE is actually a PCE or that what we are experiencing is really a pure attention to the senses or from the senses, and not actually our inner reality overlaid on actuality as an outer one? Are both methods really the same in that regard? Would they lead to the same results in the long run?

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 6:14 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
Hi Felipe,

Thank you for taking the time to write that out. I don't think you are familiar with what I am referring to as bare attention to sensations. The other possibility is that what I am describing as bare attention is not actually bare attention. In the experience there is no overlay of an inner reality as it is experience free of a sense of observer, it is reality experiencing itself without any overlay. When what has been referred to as affective feelings present themselves the purely sensate process that gives rise to a sense of self, and the sense of self as a sensate process, is abundantly clear so your assertion on that end is incorrect. Further, there is no actual word that can be separated from an internal world. One depends on the other. If we say that there is no self, to say that there is an objective actual world outside is ludicrous, as the idea of an outer world only exists if we give credence to the idea that there is an authentic internal world.

Bill

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 6:18 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
Great post Felipe, and here's another thing to consider. DZ said:
The attainment of actual freedom doesn't go far enough as far as ending suffering is concerned, as there is still attachment to non-conceptual imputations for example.

This is a common thread among practitioners who are interested in actualism yet stick to some combination of: attention to bare sensations, vipassana, samatha, actual world is equivalent to emptiness, etc. They all say that certain aspects of the PCE as written about on the AFT and experienced by actualist practitioners contain attachment, concepts that overlay the experience, etc., yet these very aspects are, by actualists, considered to be intrinsic to the experience itself - not an overlay, but part and parcel of it. Where does this difference come from? Something to consider when contemplating Felipe's questions here:
Taking all this into consideration, how could we be so sure that what we call a PCE is actually a PCE or that what we are experiencing is really a pure attention to the senses or from the senses, and not actually our inner reality overlaid on actuality as an outer one? Are both methods really the same in that regard? Would they lead to the same results in the long run?

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 6:47 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman,

Interesting. I guess my current and consistent experience is that there is no concept that is intrinsic to experience. Does this contradict itself? Perhaps, and yet it is the only way I know to talk about it. At a certain point three or so years it felt like much of the concepts and ideas that I held so tightly, for ex. ideas about buddhism, meditation, myself as being a "spiritual practitioner" on a "spiritual path" felt like obstructions set in place to keep the direct experience of reality at bay, this direct experience of reality being anchorless, without a self/observer/concepts to fix reality and my place in it. This is not the same as the insight into emptiness as it occurs at third path.
Have you had this experience, and if so, what did that do to the way you approached actualism?

Bill

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 7:43 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Hey, William

William Golden Finch:
I don't think you are familiar with what I am referring to as bare attention to sensations.


I'm genuinely interested in what you are referring to as 'bare attention to sensations'. Please, do explain.

William Golden Finch:
The other possibility is that what I am describing as bare attention is not actually bare attention.


This is indeed other possibility and I think it's good that you consider it.

William Golden Finch:
In the experience there is no overlay of an inner reality as it is experience free of a sense of observer, it is reality experiencing itself without any overlay. When what has been referred to as affective feelings present themselves the purely sensate process that gives rise to a sense of self, and the sense of self as a sensate process, is abundantly clear so your assertion on that end is incorrect.


Alright. I know I can't convince you of anything, only you can be the best arbiter of your life. I'd just share how was it for me, who thought that both spiritual and actualist experiences were comparable. I'll just say that what I thought was a pure experience back in my spiritual days was, in hindsight, basically a product of concentration. It felt subtly driven, blissful, beautiful, one-pointed, dedicated and segmented, in comparison to a PCE which is completely effortless, open, expanded, centerless, integrated, equally caring, etc.

EDIT. And it seems to me that if I have to concentrate in the first place is because there is so much affective noise around, and the very energy used in that act of concentration comes from the same affective source. I use it for this task of concentration, instead of dismantling it or changing it to felicitous states, and then be sensuous. And this is one way to extrapolate my inner world into an outer one, for instance.

William Golden Finch:
Further, there is no actual word that can be separated from an internal world. One depends on the other.


Perhaps an indicative that you haven't had a PCE {which, according to Richard, gives the realization that you are refuting}? Just an speculation on my part, of course, and I say it mainly because these kinds of realizations come from direct experience and not from philosophizing/intellectualizing/intuiting. And I say this also because maybe you are misinterpreting the methods and aims of actualism:

William Golden Finch:
Personally, af does not interest me as it seems overly philosophical and contrived in a way that just seems unworkable for me at this point in development.


An Actual Freedom is Not a Philosophy/ Theory. Actualism is neither an Idea nor a Perspective.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 7:46 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
With the caveat that I don't have much experience with vipassana, I agree with Felipe and Claudiu on this: different methods, different results.

The key methodological difference lies in what you do with feelings, and the key experiential difference lies in what constitutes an affective overlay.

Re method:

With actualism, you pay attention to how you experience your life in everyday situations; how you respond emotionally to people and events, how certain instinctive feelings are triggered in certain situations, and how your beliefs and principles interact with these instinctive feelings (e.g., sometimes endorsing and justifying them, sometimes repressing and keeping a lid on them).

The aim is to enjoy and appreciate everyday life, to be as free from malice and sorrow as possible, and to live in a state of harmless enjoyment. When malicious or sorrowful feelings arise, you acknowledge that this is 'you' in action; this is what 'you' are like; this is the way 'you' operate. It's not your fault that 'you' are like this, it's just a natural product of your genetic and cultural inheritance and your individual conditioning. But you can choose to be different, you can choose to cultivate and express a different kind of affective baseline.

And basically, the actualism method is that choice, made as often as necessary. Instead of being ruled by instinctive 'good' and 'bad' feelings tempered by moral principles, you choose to live in a harmless felicitous emotional state.... so that you can gradually release more and more control. The less you're affected by malicious and sorrowful feelings and other unruly impulses on the inside, the less need for moral restraint. You're free to let go control, and your intelligence can operate freely and clearly.

This is as close as 'you', as a feeling 'being', can get to a PCE. And when you've become habituated to that condition, even the rudimentary feeling of 'being' (from which every feeling is derived/ of which every feeling is ultimately comprised) can disappear for good. Only then is your experience directly sensate (in the actualist sense). (And any attempt to prematurely get into the world of the senses is going to give you a very different result, even though it might seem similar in some ways).

This approach is completely different from treating feelings as "not me, not mine, not self", or treating them as bodily sensations. From an actualist perspective, to treat feelings as "not me, not mine, not self" is to dissociate from feelings, to fail to understand their causes, and to disempower yourself, to forfeit the ability to choose to be different. And treating feelings as (only) bodily sensations is a sure way to become alexithymic.... i.e., still have feelings and be ruled by feelings, but not recognise them as feelings.

Re result:

In actualist terms, while ever there is a psychic/affective 'being' in situ, what you perceive with the senses is not the actual world (in actualist terms), because the layer of 'being'/'affect', even if it isn't experienced as feeling, is a layer that comes between ordinary bare conscious awareness and direct apperceptive awareness. (A little difficult to explain, but if you're patient and want to work through it, someone will be willing. Not me though).

*

[Having said this, I don't favour either approach. Paying attention to how feelings arise in the actualist way makes more sense to me, but actual freedom is no longer a tenable goal for me. I regard it as a corruption of something that once did seem viable, and might still be viable somehow, sometime. But for now, I prefer to cultivate mind/heart states that are closer to the brahmaviharas, or rather, affective states that point to certain natural qualities/dispositions underlying them].

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 7:41 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
Thank you, John. Your post answered my original question.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 7:50 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
Hey: What I am referring to as bare attention to sensations, is the experience of the natural unfolding of sensations without a sense of internal/external, no observer, no "thing" being observed, sensations appearing in nakedness, no center point, no sense of doer/perceiver, nor anything being perceived. There is the movement of sensations, but no sense of time, the intimacy of the sensate world experiencing itself in an undivided way.
I suppose one of the issues that I have frequently run into when dialoging with folks about af is that if you disagree, or criticize some aspect of their interpretation, it is only because you haven't yet had the experience that would allow you to agree with them ha. Notice that you have done this more than once: The fact that I don't agree with your perspective is followed immediately with an inference that I may have not had a pce. Surely there is room for more than one perspective. All that being said, i have nothing against af or any sense that it any of my business to tell other folks how they should live their life. If people are becoming happier and causing less harm in the process (this of course is open to endless debate and variables) then that strikes me as a good thing.

Bill

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 8:17 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
They all say that certain aspects of the PCE as written about on the AFT and experienced by actualist practitioners contain attachment, concepts that overlay the experience, etc., yet these very aspects are, by actualists, considered to be intrinsic to the experience itself - not an overlay, but part and parcel of it.


Don't want to get into an argument. Just to provide a different viewpoint to people reading the thread...

An average person might feel that 'free will' is intrinsic to experience. Or that 'emotional affect' is intrinsic to experience. This leads to clinging and attachment to these things.

But this is only because they have not yet experienced anything different.

And unless they train their minds further they may always believe these things to be intrinsic.

By using a mind training method (noting, PCEs etc), they can have experiences where it can become clear that some things they previously considered to be intrinsic are not actually so.

But they might still consider other aspects of experience to have a true essence or intrinsic reality. This leads to more subtle clinging and attachment to these things.

But this is only because they have not yet experienced anything different.

And unless they train their minds further they may always believe these things to be intrinsic. And can become quite attached to these things.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 8:40 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Hi, William, thanks for the explanation.

I suppose one of the issues that I have frequently run into when dialoging with folks about af is that if you disagree, or criticize some aspect of their interpretation, it is only because you haven't yet had the experience that would allow you to agree with them ha. Notice that you have done this more than once: The fact that I don't agree with your perspective is followed immediately with an inference that I may have not had a pce. Surely there is room for more than one perspective.


Well, from my own experience in both spiritual and actualist paths, and from reading the experience of many other actualists who were spiritual practitioners before, I can see how the differences are not that clear from the beginning. Later in practice, it gets obvious that if I always buy tickets to Italy, I would end in Italy every single time, and never in Argentina. Perhaps, with John's explanation, you may acknowledge that you, at least probably, have been going to Italy all along, and not Argentina.

As I don't enjoy writing those kinds of things either, I'll stop, even if I clearly said and maintain that 'you are the best arbiter of your life' and that that was 'a speculation on my part'. Surely there is room for more than one perspective, as you said, but also surely there is room for the possibility that I'm suggesting to you, if you are interested in exploring personally. emoticon

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 9:12 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Funny how each one of us, by default, seems to think that we've each experienced everything the other has experienced, plus a little more -- and that's why we understand them, but they don't quite understand us (we think).

It's a pattern I've seen instantiated over and over again, and no doubt have participated in plenty of times myself. Sometimes there really are important distinctions to be made between different types of experience, and they're difficult to grasp without careful explication and/or a wider range of experience than we currently have. Other times we really are talking about the same things in different words, with a different conceptual framework getting in the way.

I can't see any way around this, other than a bit of humility and willingness to patiently explore areas of overlap and areas of difference.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 10:03 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
I would like to see what AFers think about Daniels instructions and how they differ from what they do:

1) Really pay attention all day long to just what its going on, particularly in the wide visual field and in the body. This sounds like the typical mindfulness advice and is, but that sort of attention forms the basis of so much that is good that it is very worth repeating.

2) Notice the beauty and niceness in ordinary and beautiful things, sounds, tastes, textures, feelings, the body, visuals, smells and the like. Really take time to smell the proverbial roses of the ordinary sensate world you find yourself in. Appreciate the feel of air on your skin, of the fingers hitting the keys, of characters showing up on computer screens, of your car going down the road, of the legs moving in space and balance shifting as you walk, of the taste of the food you eat, of the sound of your footfalls echoing off of the walls, of the quality of the light in the room, etc. It is very cliche advice again, but really do it all day long for a year or two and see what it is does to you: taken to that dose and degree of dedication, you would be surprised at what can occur.

3) Pay attention to feelings, meaning what you actually are feeling, whenever you notice you are feeling something. It is easy, given the AFT rhetoric, to do this in a somewhat aversive way: avoid that mentality like the plague. Instead, take a real honest approach to noticing feelings in the body, right here, and notice how they arise (causality), what thoughts go along with them, and what the stories in those thoughts are. Try to gently, honestly, humanly and kindly tease apart the stories and assumptions of those feelings, and notice when they change and what they change into as time progresses. If you go into this with the mentality that these practices will be designed to totally eliminate your emotions, it is nearly impossible to really be honest about them. Tarin, Trent, Stef and Jill all finally and in their own ways warned against this, so avoid denial and avoid scripting yourself into some zombie-state: it is a trap. Instead, just be honestly human, ordinary, and feel what you feel: not in some exaggerated way, and not in some reactive way, just straightforwardly and clearly. This doesn't need to translate to any particular action or non-action, and regarding morality, that is yours to decide and experiment with and live with the consequences of, but internally you can at least get used to really being clear about the feelings that drive it all and get more naturally fluent in that through practice and repeated attention.

4) Try to remember anything that might meet the description of a PCE and try to incline to that way of perceiving things: a flash onto a truly remarkably wondrous way of feeling, seeing, hearing, etc. in which the beauty of the world suddenly comes shining through in a very direct way. The cliche's are that you might have noticed this mind state when watching a sunset or light on water or a beautiful rainbow, or some great music performance, or whatever: remember that, as you almost certainly have had some moment like that at some time in your life. Once you have found something like that, remember it and see how that way of seeing things applies to your ordinary consciousness when it returns, and try to incline back that way. You may find your own set of triggers to get into that mindset that are unique to you: work with those. Honestly assess for yourself the value of those experiences and try to see what they might be telling you about what is possible. I realize that the term "PCE" is politically loaded, but it is not unique to the ATF kids, and I am sorry that has some branding element to it, but using it will allow you to interact with the rest of what you find written about it, so it may have value in that regard. Don't worry if your PCE is the same as anyone else's PCE, just appreciate them if and when they do arise. If you can't get PCEs to arise or this makes no sense to you: totally don't worry about it, and just proceed with the others.

5) Settle into this moment. Gently relax into it when laying down, when just sitting. Learn the basic, simple art of just being able to be at ease. It is more profound and not necessarily as easy as it sounds. Notice how there are tensions in the joints and muscles that seem to be bracing against life itself even when there is no threat: gently feel into those tensions, allowing gentle mindful attention and gentle reassurance to slowly relax them such that you learn to sit at ease, just here, appreciating this moment in a very ordinary, quiet, easy, simple, straightforward way. It is probably one of the most useful skills you could learn and practice. If you do formal sitting practice, try eyes open and eyes closed and get good at both. For this stuff, I generally prefer eyes open, but for doing this when reclining before sleep or before getting up in the morning, I like eyes closed. See what works for you.

6) Commit totally to this sense field, this rich and vibrant and colorful volume of human experience, as a volume with thoughts and body and memory and all of that as qualities of this integrated space, and really be with that all day long whenever you can remember to. Be obsessive about this but in a light-hearted, adventurous way rather than a drudgery sort of way. Drudgery won't help at all. Inspiration and anything you can do to be inspired helps. I listened to my favorite music on fantastic headphones, ate my favorite foods and relished them, really payed attention when watching my favorite movies (particularly to how they made me feel and how cool the visuals were), really enjoyed the feel of driving down the road with my hand on the wheel, my foot on the gas, and the wind in my rapidly vanishing hair, really listened to myself when I played guitar, really listened to people and looked at them when they talked, really listened to the sound of my own voice when I spoke, really felt what it felt to just be a feeling Daniel in this body. Recommit again and again and again and again and again. Make it a way of life. It is your life, so you might as well be here for it. In the face of terrible pain, such as kidney stones, all bets were off for me, and I did whatever I had to to get through it, but for ordinary life that doesn't totally suck, really be with it.

7) I mean these next points in the most lighthearted and jovial of ways:

Screw anything to do with all of the complexities of AFT politics and bullshit. Enjoy this moment instead.

Screw anything to do with the various AFT-related cults of personality. Enjoy being where you are and who you are instead and value the truth of this moment for its own sake.

Screw the fanaticism of the die-hard Actualism-is-the-only-true-way converts. Enjoy the empowerment, experiences and insights that come from just experimenting with being present and tuning in to this wondrous world instead.

Screw what any of these practices have to do (or not do) with anything else, including "Buddhism" and "Actualism", and finally

Screw anyone who says these basic practices are a bad idea, as points 1) to 6) above all make perfect sense and are based on sound meditative principles, and it is your journey, your life and your attention to it that finally will make the difference.

All of that except #7 simply rings totally cheese-puff and fluffy to me as I re-read it, and yet that is what finally really did something good, though it took a few years of doing it. I also have no idea how this will effect someone not coming from my practice background, which is unusual, so you will have to do the experiment yourself and let us all know, if you wish, as data on this is woefully lacking, and it would be good to know what everyone learns and discovers as they do these sorts of things.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/22/14 10:24 PM as a reply to John Wilde.


emoticon

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/23/14 3:57 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
I would like to see what AFers think about Daniels instructions and how they differ from what they do:

Sure, here is how I parsed it.

1) Really pay attention all day long to just what its going on, particularly in the wide visual field and in the body. This sounds like the typical mindfulness advice and is, but that sort of attention forms the basis of so much that is good that it is very worth repeating.

Paying attention to sensations isn't the actualism method - see above, John had a really good explanation. Actualist attentiveness isn't the typical mindfulness advice, so if that is how Daniel understands it then... definitely something else. Also note that he actually did get a different result than advertised - this is part of the reason for that, I think.

2) Notice the beauty and niceness in ordinary and beautiful things, sounds, tastes, textures, feelings, the body, visuals, smells and the like. Really take time to smell the proverbial roses of the ordinary sensate world you find yourself in. Appreciate the feel of air on your skin, of the fingers hitting the keys, of characters showing up on computer screens, of your car going down the road, of the legs moving in space and balance shifting as you walk, of the taste of the food you eat, of the sound of your footfalls echoing off of the walls, of the quality of the light in the room, etc. It is very cliche advice again, but really do it all day long for a year or two and see what it is does to you: taken to that dose and degree of dedication, you would be surprised at what can occur.

Sure, all that sounds nice. If you can go through life in a felicitous state enjoying such simple things then that would be enjoying being alive which is the method and the goal. The question is what to do when 'good' and 'bad' feelings arise (which they will).

3) Pay attention to feelings, meaning what you actually are feeling, whenever you notice you are feeling something. It is easy, given the AFT rhetoric, to do this in a somewhat aversive way: avoid that mentality like the plague. Instead, take a real honest approach to noticing feelings in the body, right here, and notice how they arise (causality), what thoughts go along with them, and what the stories in those thoughts are. Try to gently, honestly, humanly and kindly tease apart the stories and assumptions of those feelings, and notice when they change and what they change into as time progresses.

The note to avoid doing this in an aversive way is a good one and it is a trap I have also seen many people fall into.

If you go into this with the mentality that these practices will be designed to totally eliminate your emotions, it is nearly impossible to really be honest about them. Tarin, Trent, Stef and Jill all finally and in their own ways warned against this, so avoid denial and avoid scripting yourself into some zombie-state: it is a trap. Instead, just be honestly human, ordinary, and feel what you feel: not in some exaggerated way, and not in some reactive way, just straightforwardly and clearly.

And yet the goal is the total elimination of 'you', and going forward without understanding and realizing and aiming for this is either to be in denial or to not be practicing actualism.

This doesn't need to translate to any particular action or non-action, and regarding morality, that is yours to decide and experiment with and live with the consequences of, but internally you can at least get used to really being clear about the feelings that drive it all and get more naturally fluent in that through practice and repeated attention.

Keep note that the point of paying attention to feelings is in order to neither express nor repress the 'good' and 'bad' feelings. If you do this properly, with the intention to feel felicitous instead, the feeling has nowhere to go - and then it just disappears. So there is a point to paying attention to feelings and it isn't to pay attention to them in and of themselves. It's to redirect your affective energy (which is what 'you' are/are made of) into felicitous feelings. As to particular action or non-action, I suppose that's true enough, it's the feelings that change not any action in particular, though your feelings influence your actions so much that you will likely start acting differently as a result. As to morality, true enough if you replace "morality" with "how you decide to live your life".

4) Try to remember anything that might meet the description of a PCE and try to incline to that way of perceiving things: a flash onto a truly remarkably wondrous way of feeling, seeing, hearing, etc. in which the beauty of the world suddenly comes shining through in a very direct way. The cliche's are that you might have noticed this mind state when watching a sunset or light on water or a beautiful rainbow, or some great music performance, or whatever: remember that, as you almost certainly have had some moment like that at some time in your life.

Perhaps, though this emphasizes 'beauty' a bit too much for my taste. 'Beauty' is an affective thing, generally, especially in music performances... but the same description can easily refer to a legitimate PCE.

Once you have found something like that, remember it and see how that way of seeing things applies to your ordinary consciousness when it returns, and try to incline back that way. You may find your own set of triggers to get into that mindset that are unique to you: work with those. Honestly assess for yourself the value of those experiences and try to see what they might be telling you about what is possible. I realize that the term "PCE" is politically loaded, but it is not unique to the ATF kids [...]

Nor do any of them say it is. Actually Richard says everyone has had one at some point.

[...] and I am sorry that has some branding element to it, but using it will allow you to interact with the rest of what you find written about it, so it may have value in that regard. Don't worry if your PCE is the same as anyone else's PCE [...]

Eh this is a sure-fire way to easily get off the actualist path and onto a different one. The PCE is the ultimate guiding light and source of information as to how to proceed. If what you think is a PCE, isn't, then you're gonna get somewhere else.

[...] just appreciate them if and when they do arise. If you can't get PCEs to arise or this makes no sense to you: totally don't worry about it, and just proceed with the others.

I would worry about it because the actualist path is an experiential one, and if you don't have the experience of the actual world (which you experience in a PCE), you really can't go on beyond some rather superficial level. Of course I'm using the term "worry about it" colloquially, obviously being worried won't help you get a PCE. Being felicitous will.

5) Settle into this moment.

Actualism isn't about living in the moment or settling into it, it's about letting the moment live you. Quote 1: "'What 'I' did was to give 'myself' permission to let go of the controls and allow the moment to live me (rather than 'me' trying to live in the present).", and quote 2: "Where one lets the moment live one -- rather than what is called "living in the present" -- it will be seen with startling clarity that this moment is eternal ... and not "timeless"." This might seem pedantic at first but it is an important distinction. If you manage to disabuse yourself of the notion that the pointing out of differences is a desperate, misguided attempt to seem unique and to brush up something old as something new, and instead consider that it's because it is an actual sincere attempt to point out the differences in two things that are different, it might start to make more sense.

Gently relax into it when laying down, when just sitting. Learn the basic, simple art of just being able to be at ease. It is more profound and not necessarily as easy as it sounds. Notice how there are tensions in the joints and muscles that seem to be bracing against life itself even when there is no threat: gently feel into those tensions, allowing gentle mindful attention and gentle reassurance to slowly relax them such that you learn to sit at ease, just here, appreciating this moment in a very ordinary, quiet, easy, simple, straightforward way. It is probably one of the most useful skills you could learn and practice. If you do formal sitting practice, try eyes open and eyes closed and get good at both. For this stuff, I generally prefer eyes open, but for doing this when reclining before sleep or before getting up in the morning, I like eyes closed. See what works for you.

Being at ease is certainly a good thing. Richard makes a point about how you don't need to relax if there's no tension, so instead of relaxing, you should resolve the tension, instead. Relaxing doesn't necessarily resolve the tension. Why are your joints and muscles bracing against life itself? A basic resentment of being here perhaps? Either way the source of the tension is emotional at root, not physical.

6) Commit totally to this sense field, this rich and vibrant and colorful volume of human experience, as a volume with thoughts and body and memory and all of that as qualities of this integrated space, and really be with that all day long whenever you can remember to. Be obsessive about this but in a light-hearted, adventurous way rather than a drudgery sort of way. Drudgery won't help at all. Inspiration and anything you can do to be inspired helps. I listened to my favorite music on fantastic headphones, ate my favorite foods and relished them, really payed attention when watching my favorite movies (particularly to how they made me feel and how cool the visuals were), really enjoyed the feel of driving down the road with my hand on the wheel, my foot on the gas, and the wind in my rapidly vanishing hair, really listened to myself when I played guitar, really listened to people and looked at them when they talked, really listened to the sound of my own voice when I spoke, really felt what it felt to just be a feeling Daniel in this body. Recommit again and again and again and again and again. Make it a way of life. It is your life, so you might as well be here for it. In the face of terrible pain, such as kidney stones, all bets were off for me, and I did whatever I had to to get through it, but for ordinary life that doesn't totally suck, really be with it.

John's entire 7:46pm post applies to this point as well. Particularly the part he bolded: "And any attempt to prematurely get into the world of the senses is going to give you a very different result, even though it might seem similar in some ways".

7) I mean these next points in the most lighthearted and jovial of ways:

This one was an interesting one to read through when I first saw it.

Screw anything to do with all of the complexities of AFT politics and bullshit. Enjoy this moment instead.

Sure, you don't have to understand all the intricacies of all the conversations on the AFT in order to apply the actualism method successfully. But it might be worth figuring out why there is that which Dan describes as "AFT politics and bullshit". If it's because of a problem with Richard then, why follow the method he developed to get to the aim he discovered? If it's a problem with Peter & Vineeto then, why follow in their footsteps if it led to such and such issues? For me, my understanding of the "AFT politics and bullshit" took a radical about-face after I figured out what they were all going on about. It doesn't bother me at all anymore, and not because I'm ignoring it all.

Screw anything to do with the various AFT-related cults of personality. Enjoy being where you are and who you are instead and value the truth of this moment for its own sake.

If you enjoy being who you are then there wouldn't be a need to change, eh? As to cults of personality, always a good thing to avoid getting sucked into.

Screw the fanaticism of the die-hard Actualism-is-the-only-true-way converts. Enjoy the empowerment, experiences and insights that come from just experimenting with being present and tuning in to this wondrous world instead.

See above about "being present". As to equating actualism with a fundamentalist, dogmatic religion via use of the terms "fanaticism", "die-hard", "only-true-way", "convert"... that is not what it's about at all.

Screw what any of these practices have to do (or not do) with anything else, including "Buddhism" and "Actualism", and finally

Why screw that? Conflating these things does a great disservice to sincere people who are looking for a way to make sense of this life.

Screw anyone who says these basic practices are a bad idea, as points 1) to 6) above all make perfect sense and are based on sound meditative principles, and it is your journey, your life and your attention to it that finally will make the difference.

This doesn't really add much to anything does it?

All of that except #7 simply rings totally cheese-puff and fluffy to me as I re-read it, and yet that is what finally really did something good, though it took a few years of doing it. I also have no idea how this will effect someone not coming from my practice background, which is unusual, so you will have to do the experiment yourself and let us all know, if you wish, as data on this is woefully lacking, and it would be good to know what everyone learns and discovers as they do these sorts of things.

Sure. One thing seems clear to me: if one follows the steps above, one will not come to understand actualism for what it is. Whether that is a bad thing is perhaps subjective.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/23/14 3:08 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
I wonder if this practice gets confused with attention to vedana "feeling tone" because that includes thoughts as well. If you pay attention long enough until the tones go away that would seem the same thing except for the wanting to be felicitous.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/23/14 5:36 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
I wonder if this practice gets confused with attention to vedana "feeling tone" because that includes thoughts as well.
Can you rephrase this? If which practice gets confused? I don't understand your sentence as it is.

Richard Zen:
If you pay attention long enough until the tones go away that would seem the same thing except for the wanting to be felicitous.
Hmm, it might seem to be the same thing, and it would have some similar properties, but it wouldn't be the same thing. Paying attention to feeling-tones doesn't lead to a PCE, you need something more than that. That sort of attention would probably lead to a state of heightened sensory perception, though.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/23/14 8:04 PM as a reply to IAMTHAT That Ami.
Three excellent articles an AF and Richard, and how it relates to Buddhism:

Awakening To Reality

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/23/14 8:48 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Richard Zen:
I wonder if this practice gets confused with attention to vedana "feeling tone" because that includes thoughts as well.
Can you rephrase this? If which practice gets confused? I don't understand your sentence as it is.


In Boisvert's 5 aggregates there are some quotes:

Vedanakkhaya

A disciple of the Buddha, with concentration, awareness and constant thorough understanding of impermanence knows with wisdom the sensations, their arising, their cessation and the path leading to their destruction. One who has reached the destruction of sensation is freed from craving, is fully liberated.


Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Richard Zen:
If you pay attention long enough until the tones go away that would seem the same thing except for the wanting to be felicitous.
Hmm, it might seem to be the same thing, and it would have some similar properties, but it wouldn't be the same thing. Paying attention to feeling-tones doesn't lead to a PCE, you need something more than that. That sort of attention would probably lead to a state of heightened sensory perception, though.


I guess it's hard for me to understand the ending of affect and having felicity (which is another word for happiness). Happiness feels like affect but the release of emotions should feel like relief or "liberation".

I'm sure the brain is complex and people can get different results.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/23/14 9:25 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:

I guess it's hard for me to understand the ending of affect and having felicity (which is another word for happiness). Happiness feels like affect but the release of emotions should feel like relief or "liberation".


The idea in actualism is that a feeling-based felicity is the nearest affective approximation of the relief/ liberation that comes with a PCE/ actual freedom. Since you can't just become actually free on a whim, you choose to live that affective approximation as your baseline while you work through whatever prevents you from being utterly and permanently free. So your aim is to live as the felicitous feelings, until, on the extinction of 'being', even those feelings are no more... and what's left is the actual perfection that you experience in a PCE. (Which is more akin to relief/ release than to emotional happiness, but there's also apperceptive delight and wonder, and sensuous pleasure).

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/23/14 9:26 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
That makes more sense. Thanks!

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/24/14 1:21 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
+1 (EDIT: that is, for John's explanation, which is accurate - not different from what I've been saying)

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/24/14 7:57 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
+1 (EDIT: that is, for John's explanation, which is accurate - not different from what I've been saying)


I think it takes people a while to figure this out, and there are a few things that make this harder than it might be:

1) the AFT website is a huge labyrinth and its style and tone turns a lot of people off. People therefore tend to either get their information second hand, or they get their teeth into one particular article without having absorbed its wider context.

The article that tends to be most popular among DhO readers is Attentiveness, Sensuousness, Apperceptiveness (http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/attentivenesssensuousnessapperceptiveness.htm). But in many ways, this article is not characteristic of actualist writings.

Most people probably don't know its background. A few years ago I noticed that some turns of phrase in Richard's writing bore a strong resemblance to some stuff by Alan Watts. I brought it to Richard's attention, thinking it was a case of cryptomnesia (ie. words and phrases get lodged in our memory, and later come out as our own). He explained how it came about.

Years ago, when he was trying to explain what actual freedom was, and how it differed from everything else, people would present him with texts, and he'd go through them and change parts of it to highlight the differences between the author's experience and his. That's what happened with the Alan Watts stuff.

Now, to my mind -- although I don't know if Richard has acknowledged this -- this "Attentiveness, Sensuousness, Apperceptiveness" article is clearly a rewrite of Chapter 13 of Mindfulness in Plain English, by Henepola Gunaratna, with some key words and phrases changed and extra bits added to highlight the difference between attentiveness, sensuousness, apperception and mindfulness..... the same as what happened with the Alan Watts stuff. But there's enough of the original structure and orientation still in place to give readers the impression -- (if they lack sufficient context) -- that it's a kind of mindfulness practice that's not so different from what they've already been practising.

2) The guys who introduced actualism to the DhO had a background in bare sensate attention/mindfulness, and understandably related to their audience in those terms. Or perhaps it's fairer to say that their audience related to those elements of what they were saying, and tended to filter out the rest. And this was the article they most often recommended to people.

3) The practice of paying attention to feelings, blamelessly, neither repressing them nor expressing them, is a really difficult thing to learn. On the one hand, you're supposed to make friends with yourself, be your own best friend; on the other hand, you see 'you' as the source of all the ills of humankind, and your aim is to eliminate yourself. And you're supposed to be happy about this. It's not an easy thing to get a handle on. People understandably would rather go for a technique, a discipline that can be applied. (For me personally, even when I considered to myself to be an actualist, I didn't know how to do this very well. Now, no longer considering myself an actualist, I do.... but it took me a decade to learn how).

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/24/14 11:56 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
With the caveat that I don't have much experience with vipassana, ........

Only then is your experience directly sensate (in the actualist sense). (And any attempt to prematurely get into the world of the senses is going to give you a very different result, even though it might seem similar in some ways).


John Wilde:
3) The practice of paying attention to feelings, blamelessly, neither repressing them nor expressing them, is a really difficult thing to learn.


I will wait and see what you have to say after you get some experience with Vajrayana.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
8/16/16 9:41 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Thank you End in Sight for the link. Some of Tommy McNally's comments point directly towards what I brought up originally. He wrote:

"If you break Actualism down to a basic set of techniques and cut away all the verbiage of the website, you’re left with bare attentiveness to immediate sensate experience. At its most fundamental level, and regardless of what the self-proclaimed progenitor says, the entire practice leading to “an actual freedom from the human condition” is based on paying attention to what’s happening in the sensate field right now, but with a focus on the aggregate of feeling"

"Through the application of the method which, to give credit where credit is due, Richard [Last Name Redacted] developed - of asking “How Am I Experiencing This Moment Of Being Alive”, generally referred to as HAIETMOBA – the mind is inclined in a very specific way towards the way the body feels and how we, as an individual physical body, are experiencing the world at this very moment. It’s a powerful method when used correctly and the acronym makes it easy to remember, but it’s basically just a way of turning attention towards the sense doors."

"if one continues to apply those same techniques once so-called Actual Freedom happens, the entire thread unravels and the very foundation of it is seen to be empty! It becomes impossible to posit the existence of a physical body beyond its imputation, so to continue to think that an “actual world”, existing “out there” and apart from the rest of experience is seen to be complete ballocks."

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
8/16/16 9:42 PM as a reply to Bill F..
William Golden FinchThank you End in Sight for the link. Some of Tommy McNally's comments point directly towards what I brought up originally. He wrote:

They do, yeah. This is an extremely common misconception in these circles. John Wilde's post essentially addresses what you quoted from Tommy.
Tommy McNallyIf you break Actualism down to a basic set of techniques and cut away all the verbiage of the website, you’re left with bare attentiveness to immediate sensate experience. At its most fundamental level, and regardless of what the self-proclaimed progenitor says, the entire practice leading to “an actual freedom from the human condition” is based on paying attention to what’s happening in the sensate field right now, but with a focus on the aggregate of feeling"

Except that this is wrong - see John Wilde's post:
John WildeWith actualism, you pay attention to how you experience your life in everyday situations; how you respond emotionally to people and events, how certain instinctive feelings are triggered in certain situations, and how your beliefs and principles interact with these instinctive feelings (e.g., sometimes endorsing and justifying them, sometimes repressing and keeping a lid on them).

The aim is to enjoy and appreciate everyday life, to be as free from malice and sorrow as possible, and to live in a state of harmless enjoyment. When malicious or sorrowful feelings arise, you acknowledge that this is 'you' in action; this is what 'you' are like; this is the way 'you' operate. It's not your fault that 'you' are like this, it's just a natural product of your genetic and cultural inheritance and your individual conditioning. But you can choose to be different, you can choose to cultivate and express a different kind of affective baseline.

And basically, the actualism method is that choice, made as often as necessary. Instead of being ruled by instinctive 'good' and 'bad' feelings tempered by moral principles, you choose to live in a harmless felicitous emotional state.... so that you can gradually release more and more control. The less you're affected by malicious and sorrowful feelings and other unruly impulses on the inside, the less need for moral restraint. You're free to let go control, and your intelligence can operate freely and clearly.

This is quite different from paying attention to the sensate field. Also note that 'sensuousness' doesn't mean "paying attention to the senses" or "paying attention to the sensate field", it means:
RichardSensuousness is the wondrous awareness of the marvel of being here now at this moment in time and this place in space – which awareness is combined with the fascination of contemplating that this moment is one’s only moment of being alive – and one is never alive at any other time than now. And, wherever one is ... now ... one is always here ... now ... even if one starts walking over to ‘there’ ... now ... along the way to ‘there’ ... now ... one is always here ... now ... and when one arrives ‘there’ ... now ... it too is here ... now. [link]

The experience of actuality - senses only - is after 'being' disappears:
John WildeThis is as close as 'you', as a feeling 'being', can get to a PCE. And when you've become habituated to that condition, even the rudimentary feeling of 'being' (from which every feeling is derived/ of which every feeling is ultimately comprised) can disappear for good. Only then is your experience directly sensate (in the actualist sense). (And any attempt to prematurely get into the world of the senses is going to give you a very different result, even though it might seem similar in some ways).

---
Tommy McNally"Through the application of the method which, to give credit where credit is due, Richard [Last Name Redacted] developed - of asking “How Am I Experiencing This Moment Of Being Alive”, generally referred to as HAIETMOBA – the mind is inclined in a very specific way towards the way the body feels and how we, as an individual physical body, are experiencing the world at this very moment. It’s a powerful method when used correctly and the acronym makes it easy to remember, but it’s basically just a way of turning attention towards the sense doors."

Wrong again, for the same reason as above.

Tommy McNally"if one continues to apply those same techniques once so-called Actual Freedom happens, the entire thread unravels and the very foundation of it is seen to be empty! It becomes impossible to posit the existence of a physical body beyond its imputation, so to continue to think that an “actual world”, existing “out there” and apart from the rest of experience is seen to be complete ballocks."

One can't apply those same techniques that Tommy described because one can't pay attention in the way described anymore once actually free. You need 'being' to pay attention that way. You need 'being' to experience the world as empty. You need 'being' to experience the physical body as not existing beyond its imputation. etc.

---

And John Wilde's 2/24/14 7:57 PM post addresses why this is an extremely common misconception in these circles. Good stuff John!

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/26/14 1:00 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman,

I do understand the difference in terms of examing belief systems, and John's post did show the philosophical differences, and clearly. That has nothing to do with what I am pointing towards, so we are in agreement on that. But what is meant by paying attention to feelings, if not paying attention to the way they are constructed? Is it examing in a cognitive way those beliefs, like psychotherapy, or does it involve experiencing them in a physical sense? You seem to be denying the latter, yet I am wondering what you are referencing when you talk about transforming the affective energy.
The description of sensuosness is none other than what I am referring to as bare attention to sensations, if one were to conceptualize it, which is added baggage, helpful though for those with no experience. There is no one there paying attention so to categorize it that way is to miss the point. Perhaps Tommy's experience is or was different, but I doubt it. I kow that you would like to have found this special thing that only you and a couple of other people understand, while all the others have misunderstood, but I don't see that to be true. It seems more likely you are a loyal soldier, and there is no war. But I like conversing with you none the less, so please correct any misunderstanding, preferably through your own experience and not copy and paste.

Bill

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/26/14 2:07 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:

3) The practice of paying attention to feelings, blamelessly, neither repressing them nor expressing them, is a really difficult thing to learn. On the one hand, you're supposed to make friends with yourself, be your own best friend; on the other hand, you see 'you' as the source of all the ills of humankind, and your aim is to eliminate yourself. And you're supposed to be happy about this. It's not an easy thing to get a handle on. People understandably would rather go for a technique, a discipline that can be applied. (For me personally, even when I considered to myself to be an actualist, I didn't know how to do this very well. Now, no longer considering myself an actualist, I do.... but it took me a decade to learn how).


Maybe the trick to reconcile elements such as making friends with yourself and convincing you to walk towards self-immolation is to remember the "best" versions of yourself (the most happy and harmless ones). Perhaps those ones in which you were closer to a PCE/EE such as vacations. Then you can ask: how can I perpetuate this particular way of being? how can I make this unconditional/uncaused? what are the causes and conditions that impede this way of being?

Because, after all, if "you" really are "your" feelings and "your" feelings "you", then a happy/harmless person is still "you", a more likable version of "you". Appreciating it this way, all those qualifiers such as the one you used (ills of humankind), can be put and applied in a different perspective from the classic moralistic one, no? (silly/sensible in regards to personal results, perhaps?)

In short: there are better ways to be "you" than others, and, after that recognition, everything else depends only on your sincere intent to choose one over the others.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/26/14 3:58 PM as a reply to Bill F..
William Golden Finch:
The description of sensuosness is none other than what I am referring to as bare attention to sensations

Not quite.

From: http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/attentivenesssensuousnessapperceptiveness.htm

Sensuous; Sensuousness

Dictionary Definitions: ‘sensuous’ (a.): Of, derived from, or affecting the senses aesthetically rather than sensually; readily affected by the senses, keenly responsive to the pleasures of sensation. Also, indicative of a sensuous temperament. Apparently first used by Mr. John Milton, to avoid certain associations of the existing word ‘sensual’. (Oxford Dictionary).

Thus: ‘sensuousness’ (n.): the quality of being sensuous; also: ‘sensuously’ (adv.): the experience of being sensuous; and: ‘sensuosity’ (n.): the capability of being sensuous).

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/26/14 4:25 PM as a reply to Matti . ..
This is getting funny. Yes, that is what I am talking about, or experience when I am referring to bare attention.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/26/14 5:23 PM as a reply to Bill F..
William Golden Finch:
This is getting funny. Yes, that is what I am talking about, or experience when I am referring to bare attention.

How so? You describe bare attention to sensations as:

[...] the experience of the natural unfolding of sensations without a sense of internal/external, no observer, no "thing" being observed, sensations appearing in nakedness, no center point, no sense of doer/perceiver, nor anything being perceived. There is the movement of sensations, but no sense of time, the intimacy of the sensate world experiencing itself in an undivided way.

Is that really the same thing as being "keenly responsive to the pleasures of sensation"?

Comparing it to a PCE, you say there is no "thing" being observed, yet in a PCE there are many actual, existing things being observed - everything around you. There *is* a computer there, there *are* trees here, etc. There is definitely a sense of things being perceived.

Going back to an earlier point, to compare the PCE with what you call the experience of bare sensations. Earlier you said:

If we say that there is no self, to say that there is an objective actual world outside is ludicrous, as the idea of an outer world only exists if we give credence to the idea that there is an authentic internal world.

Yet in a PCE, an experience where there is no self, it is experienced that an objective actual world does exist. All that is being experienced does exist (including me as this body being conscious) and is actual (as in actually existing). So what you are saying is that the experience of a PCE is ludicrous. Maybe it is, to you, but doesn't that mean it is different than what you call the experience of bare sensations?

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/26/14 5:27 PM as a reply to Bill F..
William Golden Finch:
But what is meant by paying attention to feelings, if not paying attention to the way they are constructed? Is it examing in a cognitive way those beliefs, like psychotherapy, or does it involve experiencing them in a physical sense? You seem to be denying the latter, yet I am wondering what you are referencing when you talk about transforming the affective energy.

Emotions are more than just physical sensations plus thoughts. There is also the most important component of all - the affective component. This is the meat of the emotion - what the emotion is made of. This is what I reference when I talk about transforming the affective energy - channeling all of 'me' ('I' am made up of this affective energy) into felicitous feelings, because those are the best approximations of the PCE.

William Golden Finch:
The description of sensuosness is none other than what I am referring to as bare attention to sensations, if one were to conceptualize it, which is added baggage, helpful though for those with no experience.

See my other post. How can you be so sure that it is the same, at root, except for some 'conceptualization'? In my experience it is not the same at all. Bare attention to sensations leads to states of heightened sensory awareness that are not PCEs, whereas sensuousness leads to PCEs.

William Golden Finch:
I kow that you would like to have found this special thing that only you and a couple of other people understand, while all the others have misunderstood, but I don't see that to be true. It seems more likely you are a loyal soldier, and there is no war.

I am not doing this to be special. I am doing it because I was misled, for a long time, into thinking that actualism and buddhism was the same, by participants of this forum, and that deprived me of the chance to actually put actualism into practice. I see clearly the misconceptions and misunderstandings and improperly drawn conclusions because I drew those same conclusions myself. Now that I have managed to clear it up for myself, I am posting so that others may do the same. Yet it seems a fool's errand to be honest.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/26/14 5:56 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Oh my Beoman! It seems we only go in circles. At this point I should say "no, it's not like that because" and you will say "no, it's not like that because". We have had this same discussion before, not just here, but at kfd. We both stated our understanding, neither of us were moved to change our mind, and on it goes...It is fun though at times. Some times it is just tedious. At the end of the day what I remain most convinced of is that one of us is wrong, and it isn't me. That's a little joke. For almost everything you wrote I could give a counterpoint based upon my own experience and the ways that my perception has shifted. I don't see who that would benefit. Some of what you wrote here and on kfd seems to suggest to me that there are certain basic insights that have not happened for you yet, and that what you refer to as your previous spiritual practice must have been quite shallow. I wonder what you are protecting in holding so tightly to your beliefs, what it is you are afraid of giving up or becoming. Perhaps that is only my own journey, and my own way of seeing based upon the road I have travelled up until this point, and the assumptions i brought along with me. Perhaps not. My understanding is by no means definitive. Is it ok to say that here?

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/26/14 6:23 PM as a reply to Bill F..
William Golden Finch:
Oh my Beoman! It seems we only go in circles. At this point I should say "no, it's not like that because" and you will say "no, it's not like that because". We have had this same discussion before, not just here, but at kfd. We both stated our understanding, neither of us were moved to change our mind, and on it goes...It is fun though at times. Some times it is just tedious. At the end of the day what I remain most convinced of is that one of us is wrong, and it isn't me. That's a little joke. For almost everything you wrote I could give a counterpoint based upon my own experience and the ways that my perception has shifted. I don't see who that would benefit. Some of what you wrote here and on kfd seems to suggest to me that there are certain basic insights that have not happened for you yet, and that what you refer to as your previous spiritual practice must have been quite shallow. I wonder what you are protecting in holding so tightly to your beliefs, what it is you are afraid of giving up or becoming. Perhaps that is only my own journey, and my own way of seeing based upon the road I have travelled up until this point, and the assumptions i brought along with me. Perhaps not. My understanding is by no means definitive. Is it ok to say that here?

Ya I suppose it is pointless to continue at this point.

I suppose one of the issues that I have frequently run into when dialoging with folks about spiritual practice is that if you disagree, or criticize some aspect of their interpretation, it is only because you haven't yet had the insight that would allow you to agree with them ha. The fact that I don't agree with your perspective is followed with an inference that I may have had a shallow practice.

(That's a little joke =).

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/26/14 6:43 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
William:
Some of what you wrote here and on kfd seems to suggest to me that there are certain basic insights that have not happened for you yet, and that what you refer to as your previous spiritual practice must have been quite shallow. I wonder what you are protecting in holding so tightly to your beliefs, what it is you are afraid of giving up or becoming. Perhaps that is only my own journey, and my own way of seeing based upon the road I have travelled up until this point, and the assumptions i brought along with me. Perhaps not. My understanding is by no means definitive. Is it ok to say that here?


Beo:
I suppose one of the issues that I have frequently run into when dialoging with folks about spiritual practice is that if you disagree, or criticize some aspect of their interpretation, it is only because you haven't yet had the insight that would allow you to agree with them ha. The fact that I don't agree with your perspective is followed with an inference that I may have had a shallow practice.


It is interesting that both sides see the other as tightly holding beliefs... I wonder what it would be like to get a peek into the mind of the person who you (or I) see that way. What can one do when it would simply be dishonest to agree with the other but it creates frustration and defense to disagree? What is the perspective that is okay with disagreement? Is it one that sees agreement on a more fundamental level? (i.e. "we both just want happiness") Is doing that a cop-out? I would have to say it usually is.

I would love to hear how Richard or others free of "being" perceives those who he disagrees with... To me his capacity to fervently and carefully argue when he does disagree but without any emotional involvement (he isn't angry with them, or afraid of what they think of him, or frustrated at the effort) is something really special. I just don't really understand how that would be possible. I guess he is just pointing out what is evidently true to him without any need for people to agree, understand, or anything. Perhaps what needs to go is just the need for approval, then argument which is simple and non-defensive comes naturally. (in case it wasn't clear this is just rambling inspired by the conversation)

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/26/14 7:05 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
@Beoman: I will get you for that sarcastic jab one day. Just wait until I think of a scathing retort.

@Adam: Good point, and questions. I'm just having fun, until it gets repetitive, hoping to bring something to the table and not cause any harm in the process. I don't think anybody's actually correct. Or actually free.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/26/14 7:26 PM as a reply to Bill F..
William Golden Finch:
@Beoman: I will get you for that sarcastic jab one day. Just wait until I think of a scathing retort.

@Adam: Good point, and questions. I'm just having fun, until it gets repetitive, hoping to bring something to the table and not cause any harm in the process. I don't think anybody's actually correct. Or actually free.


I assume your comment was in jest a bit, but seriously, while I don't think anyone is actually correct (free of conditioned learning/the experiences of ones past) I do think it is possible to be actually free (of malice and sorrow).

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/26/14 8:11 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
@Adam: Yeah, man, I was just kidding. I don't really know. Thanks.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/26/14 8:44 PM as a reply to Bill F..
I assume you meant me, not that it matters, but you're welcome. A better comparison if you have the time is this:

AF comparison with Buddhism

It is by a sometimes poster here (An Eternal Now) who writes the previously linked blog. His description of this new link is:

"a comparison of Actual Freedom with Thusness's experience and Buddhism, as well as a refutation of Richard's criticism of Buddhism can be found in my writings"

Be warned, it is 90 pages, but up to the high standards that An Eternal Now maintains in all his writings.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/26/14 9:26 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Thank you, Brian. I will definitely take a look. Much obliged.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/28/14 12:25 AM as a reply to Felipe C..
Felipe C.:

Maybe the trick to reconcile elements such as making friends with yourself and convincing you to walk towards self-immolation is to remember the "best" versions of yourself (the most happy and harmless ones). Perhaps those ones in which you were closer to a PCE/EE such as vacations. Then you can ask: how can I perpetuate this particular way of being? how can I make this unconditional/uncaused? what are the causes and conditions that impede this way of being?

Because, after all, if "you" really are "your" feelings and "your" feelings "you", then a happy/harmless person is still "you", a more likable version of "you". Appreciating it this way, all those qualifiers such as the one you used (ills of humankind), can be put and applied in a different perspective from the classic moralistic one, no? (silly/sensible in regards to personal results, perhaps?)


Yes.

Two problems I used to have with that:

1) Tendency to turn {happy and harmless guided by silly/sensible} into a defacto morality, which sucked, because the feelings were superficial and unsustainable and not very genuine, and the silly/sensible judgment regime on top of it seemed insipid. There were times when I could tap into a more genuine felicity (more akin to PCE / pure intent), but this wasn't an intentionally generated or conditional happiness so much as a happiness that wells up naturally from a less troubled and less confused way of being here. (For me, vacation mode is a different kind of happiness, one that's nice in its own right, but I value it less than the above kind. In general, I value the kind of happiness that's derived from a richer sense of meaning more than good feelings per se).

2) Try as I might, I couldn't make a permanent home out of one particular aspect of my 'being'. There were too many aspects of 'me' that I valued differently at different times: sometimes a happy/harmless 'me'; other times a melancholy sad/sweet doomed 'me'; other times a 'me' that sought out adventure, drama, challenge, risk and novelty; other times a solid, loyal, dependable 'me'; other times a 'me' that wanted to be tough-minded, resilient, unsentimental and ruthless; other times a 'me' that experienced echoes and intimations of something that's just on the fringes of the known, something once-familiar perhaps, something that seems to hold the promise of ultimate meaning, ultimate fulfillment. But none of these could live together for long, and none of them could be the exclusively real or exclusively dominant 'me' forever.

It has taken me a long time to figure out how to live without either (a) distancing myself from all of the threads of 'being' and living as a semi-detached witness of them all; or (b) identifying with one particular thread of 'being' and using that persona-du-jour to dominate all the rest; or (c) you name it!

Felipe C.:

In short: there are better ways to be "you" than others, and, after that recognition, everything else depends only on your sincere intent to choose one over the others.


Yes. But there are fragmented ways to do that, and ways that aren't fragmented... and I'm only just discovering how to do that in a way that isn't fragmented. Let's see how that turns out...

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
2/28/14 4:15 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:

(...)

2) Try as I might, I couldn't make a permanent home out of one particular aspect of my 'being'. There were too many aspects of 'me' that I valued differently at different times: sometimes a happy/harmless 'me'; other times a melancholy sad/sweet doomed 'me'; other times a 'me' that sought out adventure, drama, challenge, risk and novelty; other times a solid, loyal, dependable 'me'; other times a 'me' that wanted to be tough-minded, resilient, unsentimental and ruthless; other times a 'me' that experienced echoes and intimations of something that's just on the fringes of the known, something once-familiar perhaps, something that seems to hold the promise of ultimate meaning, ultimate fulfillment. But none of these could live together for long, and none of them could be the exclusively real or exclusively dominant 'me' forever.

It has taken me a long time to figure out how to live without either (a) distancing myself from all of the threads of 'being' and living as a semi-detached witness of them all; or (b) identifying with one particular thread of 'being' and using that persona-du-jour to dominate all the rest; or (c) you name it!


Nicely put. What led me away from self-inquiry practice was its exaggerated focus on self/no-self. After a certain point, I felt it only led me closer to the infamous "thicket of views". So, if I may suggest a (c) it would be to simply leave all 'you-versions' out of the equation and instead focus on actions. To avoid evil; to do good, to purify the mind.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
3/10/14 6:05 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
Hey, John,

1) Tendency to turn {happy and harmless guided by silly/sensible} into a defacto morality


In general, I value the kind of happiness that's derived from a richer sense of meaning more than good feelings per se


2) Try as I might, I couldn't make a permanent home out of one particular aspect of my 'being'. There were too many aspects of 'me' that I valued differently at different times: sometimes a happy/harmless 'me'; other times a melancholy sad/sweet doomed 'me'; other times a 'me' that sought out adventure, drama, challenge, risk and novelty; other times a solid, loyal, dependable 'me'; other times a 'me' that wanted to be tough-minded, resilient, unsentimental and ruthless; other times a 'me' that experienced echoes and intimations of something that's just on the fringes of the known, something once-familiar perhaps, something that seems to hold the promise of ultimate meaning, ultimate fulfillment. But none of these could live together for long, and none of them could be the exclusively real or exclusively dominant 'me' forever.


Starting from the assumption that you did try to give actualism a honest and whole-hearted shot, it seems to me that what you did here is trying to create your own personal actualism, according to your own previous values, and not actually practicing that important part of actualism that is identifying, tagging and discriminating feelings, and thus diminishing good/bad feelings and maximizing felicitous ones.

Perhaps you tried to incorporate/conserve some good feelings in the formula, instead of actually taking the time to question why you weren't able to discriminate between good and felicitous or why did you cherish the good ones as much or more as the felicitous ones. Because you write later:

It has taken me a long time to figure out how to live without either (a) distancing myself from all of the threads of 'being' and living as a semi-detached witness of them all; or (b) identifying with one particular thread of 'being' and using that persona-du-jour to dominate all the rest; or (c) you name it!


And it's not about identifying with one particular of a personally made list, but identifying which "being" is more "beingless" and sticking to it because of its clear resemblance to a PCE. For example, I viscerally/intuitively value love at some level right now but, if I'm to be a sincere actualist, I know (experientially) that love is in the opposite direction where I aspire to be (unconditionally happy and harmless).

You must accept that not every point of your 2) is equally valuable to a person pursuing this AF thing, so maybe the best way to have gone about it at the time would be you taking note of each of those modes and assess how many "being" degrees each one of them contained and how much they were conditioned, caused, compounded, changing, uncontrollable, with collateral damages, etc. It's interesting how even the felicitous/innocuous ones can be later mutated into / interpreted as something very different from their original essence, evolving then in other kinds of feelings (for example, your "defacto morality" seems to be a side effect of "you" appropriating an aspect of your sincere practice), and that's why attentiveness is required at all times.

As this experiential tasting session becomes more refined with time, you'd note that you begin to develop a taste for freedom (as per the AFT standards), progressively leaving the other modes as obsolete in terms of sincerely seeking happiness and harmlessness. They, then, lose their grip and others aspects of the practice become easier (confidence, nipping in the bud, fearlessness at the time of investigating difficult emotions, etc.)

But... it seems i'm agreeing with you after all! haha (in the sense that this thing seems difficult to grasp). I would just say that all this that seems so hard comes just as a matter of time if you are sincere in your endeavor and have the PCE as a constant benchmark. That's why that phrase of "get back to happy and harmless as soon as quickly as possible" is so important and recurrent in the AFT website: to 1) identify what exactly is happiness and harmlessness as you become accustomed to them, 2) identify by contrast the rest of the "affective contamination" and discard its value as a legitimate alternative, whatever it seems to be. It's like tuning one of those old radios until you reach just the perfect position for that station, and you realize how enjoyable is music right there and just keep listening until the next time you need to re-tune for whatever reason because obviously something happened along the way.

And maybe all this is obvious to you after all those struggling years you wrote about, but I'll leave it here in case it's useful to someone else in the present/future.

Anyway, good luck in your endeavors! Hope you find what you're looking for!

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
3/11/14 7:09 PM as a reply to Felipe C..
Felipe C.:
Hey, John,

1) Tendency to turn {happy and harmless guided by silly/sensible} into a defacto morality


In general, I value the kind of happiness that's derived from a richer sense of meaning more than good feelings per se


2) Try as I might, I couldn't make a permanent home out of one particular aspect of my 'being'. There were too many aspects of 'me' that I valued differently at different times: sometimes a happy/harmless 'me'; other times a melancholy sad/sweet doomed 'me'; other times a 'me' that sought out adventure, drama, challenge, risk and novelty; other times a solid, loyal, dependable 'me'; other times a 'me' that wanted to be tough-minded, resilient, unsentimental and ruthless; other times a 'me' that experienced echoes and intimations of something that's just on the fringes of the known, something once-familiar perhaps, something that seems to hold the promise of ultimate meaning, ultimate fulfillment. But none of these could live together for long, and none of them could be the exclusively real or exclusively dominant 'me' forever.


Starting from the assumption that you did try to give actualism a honest and whole-hearted shot, it seems to me that what you did here is trying to create your own personal actualism, according to your own previous values, and not actually practicing that important part of actualism that is identifying, tagging and discriminating feelings, and thus diminishing good/bad feelings and maximizing felicitous ones.

Perhaps you tried to incorporate/conserve some good feelings in the formula, instead of actually taking the time to question why you weren't able to discriminate between good and felicitous or why did you cherish the good ones as much or more as the felicitous ones. Because you write later:

It has taken me a long time to figure out how to live without either (a) distancing myself from all of the threads of 'being' and living as a semi-detached witness of them all; or (b) identifying with one particular thread of 'being' and using that persona-du-jour to dominate all the rest; or (c) you name it!


And it's not about identifying with one particular of a personally made list, but identifying which "being" is more "beingless" and sticking to it because of its clear resemblance to a PCE. For example, I viscerally/intuitively value love at some level right now but, if I'm to be a sincere actualist, I know (experientially) that love is in the opposite direction where I aspire to be (unconditionally happy and harmless).

You must accept that not every point of your 2) is equally valuable to a person pursuing this AF thing, so maybe the best way to have gone about it at the time would be you taking note of each of those modes and assess how many "being" degrees each one of them contained and how much they were conditioned, caused, compounded, changing, uncontrollable, with collateral damages, etc. It's interesting how even the felicitous/innocuous ones can be later mutated into / interpreted as something very different from their original essence, evolving then in other kinds of feelings (for example, your "defacto morality" seems to be a side effect of "you" appropriating an aspect of your sincere practice), and that's why attentiveness is required at all times.


There's some pretty insightful stuff there. And because of that (and a few other factors), what follows did not happen, or happened rarely and quite briefly.

Felipe C.:

As this experiential tasting session becomes more refined with time, you'd note that you begin to develop a taste for freedom (as per the AFT standards), progressively leaving the other modes as obsolete in terms of sincerely seeking happiness and harmlessness. They, then, lose their grip and others aspects of the practice become easier (confidence, nipping in the bud, fearlessness at the time of investigating difficult emotions, etc.)


Partly for the above reasons, and partly for other reasons, that didn't happen.

Felipe C.:

But... it seems i'm agreeing with you after all! haha (in the sense that this thing seems difficult to grasp).


Yes, difficult to grasp as an on-going modus operandi. One of the things I always liked about actualism is that it made such good sense. It identified the deepest roots of our problems with deadly and ruthless accuracy, and it offered a solution at that fundamental level that seemed entirely plausible. But in practice, for many of the reasons above, I didn't find myself being consistently incrementally happier / more harmless along the way, and never was convinced for long enough that it was the right/best way to go.

Felipe C.:

I would just say that all this that seems so hard comes just as a matter of time if you are sincere in your endeavor and have the PCE as a constant benchmark. That's why that phrase of "get back to happy and harmless as soon as quickly as possible" is so important and recurrent in the AFT website: to 1) identify what exactly is happiness and harmlessness as you become accustomed to them, 2) identify by contrast the rest of the "affective contamination" and discard its value as a legitimate alternative, whatever it seems to be. It's like tuning one of those old radios until you reach just the perfect position for that station, and you realize how enjoyable is music right there and just keep listening until the next time you need to re-tune for whatever reason because obviously something happened along the way.

And maybe all this is obvious to you after all those struggling years you wrote about, but I'll leave it here in case it's useful to someone else in the present/future.


Yes. Once again, that's spot on. I'm now finding it possible to know the stuff that arises as 'me' without blame, denial, repression, splitting, dissociation, automatic identification-defense-justification, etc, in a way that I couldn't do so well before. And it does enable a kind of tuning, balancing, cultivating, without fragmentation. And if this is what you're doing in tuning in to the felicitous feelings in order to get closer and closer to the PCE, and if that's resulting in a less opaque and troublesome 'being', that's great.

Felipe C.:

Anyway, good luck in your endeavors! Hope you find what you're looking for!


Thanks, I appreciate that; and likewise. I think that if a person's life is unfolding according to their best understanding and best intentions, it's hard to come up with a better plan than that... and that seems to be the case for both of us, albeit in different directions at this stage.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
5/10/14 9:26 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:


I am not doing this to be special. I am doing it because I was misled, for a long time, into thinking that actualism and buddhism was the same, by participants of this forum, and that deprived me of the chance to actually put actualism into practice. I see clearly the misconceptions and misunderstandings and improperly drawn conclusions because I drew those same conclusions myself. Now that I have managed to clear it up for myself, I am posting so that others may do the same. Yet it seems a fool's errand to be honest.


You've said this before, but I haven't yet been able to see the difference. Looking at John's posts, which you referred to above, in comparison with what Daniel and Tommy wrote about paying attention to the whole sensory field, they seem to be saying the same thing. What is the actual distinction in practice between the AF-style "pay attention to how you experience the world" and the Buddhist mindfulness approach?

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
5/10/14 10:28 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:


I am not doing this to be special. I am doing it because I was misled, for a long time, into thinking that actualism and buddhism was the same, by participants of this forum, and that deprived me of the chance to actually put actualism into practice. I see clearly the misconceptions and misunderstandings and improperly drawn conclusions because I drew those same conclusions myself. Now that I have managed to clear it up for myself, I am posting so that others may do the same. Yet it seems a fool's errand to be honest.


You've said this before, but I haven't yet been able to see the difference. Looking at John's posts, which you referred to above, in comparison with what Daniel and Tommy wrote about paying attention to the whole sensory field, they seem to be saying the same thing. What is the actual distinction in practice between the AF-style "pay attention to how you experience the world" and the Buddhist mindfulness approach?


It's really amazing how impossible it is for certain people to understand actualism by reading about it - and I include my former self in that category. I don't know what'll help you see, to be honest. I think the fundamental error in these parts comes with the mistaken assumption that any sort of progress comes from the very act of noticing whatever, and that's all there is to it.One then ignores everything one reads that has to do with actually wanting to be happy, the nature of the 'real world' vs. the actual world, the nature of the self, of emotions, of thoughts, etc., filtering all that out and only noticing strictly those aspects of actualism that have to do with noticing something, and then one jumps and says "ha! But this other guy also said to notice things! I see no difference in these practices." 

In any case, please read the following quote, and keep in mind the following question while you read it: "In what way or ways is what John is saying here the same as paying attention to the whole sensory field?"

John Wilde:
With actualism, you pay attention to how you experience your life in everyday situations; how you respond emotionally to people and events, how certain instinctive feelings are triggered in certain situations, and how your beliefs and principles interact with these instinctive feelings (e.g., sometimes endorsing and justifying them, sometimes repressing and keeping a lid on them).

The aim is to enjoy and appreciate everyday life, to be as free from malice and sorrow as possible, and to live in a state of harmless enjoyment. When malicious or sorrowful feelings arise, you acknowledge that this is 'you' in action; this is what 'you' are like; this is the way 'you' operate. It's not your fault that 'you' are like this, it's just a natural product of your genetic and cultural inheritance and your individual conditioning. But you can choose to be different, you can choose to cultivate and express a different kind of affective baseline.

And basically, the actualism method is that choice, made as often as necessary. Instead of being ruled by instinctive 'good' and 'bad' feelings tempered by moral principles, you choose to live in a harmless felicitous emotional state.... so that you can gradually release more and more control. The less you're affected by malicious and sorrowful feelings and other unruly impulses on the inside, the less need for moral restraint. You're free to let go control, and your intelligence can operate freely and clearly.


Here's that question now: In what way or ways is what John is saying here the same as paying attention to the whole sensory field?

Here is a list of things John mentioned paying attention to: how you experience your life in everyday situations; how you respond emotionally to people and events; how certain instinctive feelings are triggered in certain situations; how your beliefs and principles interact with these instinctive feelings.

Here is what is not mentioned on his list: the whole sensory field; the "wide visual field"; "the body"; "the beauty and niceness in ordinary and beautiful things".

Here is what John mentioned as being the aim: to enjoy and appreciate everyday life; to be as free from malice and sorrow as possible; to live in a state of harmless enjoyment. The method is essentially to make the choice to be happy and harmless, as often as necessary.

Note that Daniel didn't mention what the aim was in his essay at all. Further he said to "just be honestly human, ordinary, and feel what you feel".

Note Dan also said to "settle into this moment", which is something Richard has written repeatedly about as not being related to actualism, most recently here (Skip to "The reason why I am drawing these instances of the expression ‘in the moment’ to your attention is because I make it quite clear, on my portion of The Actual Freedom Trust website, that it is not applicable to actualism." for the meat of it).

Believe it or not, George isn't at home, please leave a message at the beep. I must be out or I'd pick up the phone. Where could I be? Believe it or not I'm not home.. .

Er sorry, what I meant to say is, believe it or not, these are important distinctions, yet somehow they remain invisible and unimportant until something snaps into place, after which it becomes clear and obvious. The something is probably different for each person.

Thoughts?

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
5/10/14 11:08 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Ok, with your last post in combination with the "Enlightenmnet Self vs. AF Self" <sic> thread, which I just commented in, the picture I'm getting is that the Buddhist mindfulness approach is based on acceptance of things as they are, rather than trying to set a goal to experience or perceive things in any particular way, whereas the AF approach has the goal of choosing to be in a felicitious state and making some sort of change in thought or experience to move towards that goal.

This makes sense in light of the differences in the way the two approaches handle the idea of a self - under the AF approach, there is a self that can make choices, therefore it makes sense to try to choose to experience the world in a certain way, whereas under the Buddhist approach, since there isn't a self, the more sensible approach is just to accept the current experience as it is.

Is that accurate?

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
5/11/14 9:17 AM as a reply to J C.
I just read through this earlier and it made everything very clear for me:

http://actualfreedom.com.au/actualism/path2.htm

I was basing my ideas on Actualism off of what Daniel wrote since I had a hard time understanding the stuff I'd seen on the AF website (blocks of text, anyone?), but I've been reading a lot more lately and this map lays out everything very clearly.  If I go back and compare it with what Daniel wrote, I have to conclude that he wasn't practicing the same methods.  The whole purpose of Actualism is to dismantle the various judgments and identities until there's nothing left in the way of simply enjoying every moment.  You start with the social identity and try to see how it covers up the insticual passions.  Once the social identity is gone, you can work on the instinctual stuff by delving deeply into the physical manifestations of the feelings and looking for how they're linked to beliefs.  Eventually these beliefs are also dismantled and you arrive at pure contentment, which is a virtual freedom.  From there you use sensuousness - or the appreciation of the sensate world - to make the final step out of delight into the PCE, which is without affect or emotion.

I don't want to judge Daniel since I can't possibly know what he did over all that time he was practicing, but from what he wrote it seems like he focused mostly on the last step.  His experience might show that it's possible to split the attainment into two parts - or even that he was able to create a new attainment for himself.  His descriptions of PCEs match something I've come across a few times in the past when I was practicing a super attentive mindfulness, but I've also had some other experiences recently of a kind of quiet emotionless state that seem to fit the bill better.  This could be an interesting topic to explore, actually...

Anyway, TL/DR, Actualism seems like it's a lot more about dismantling belief systems than creating an altered state of hyper awareness.  I reserve the right to be wrong about this, though. XD

EDIT:
Beoman:
I am not doing this to be special. I am doing it because I was misled, for a long time, into thinking that actualism and buddhism was the same, by participants of this forum, and that deprived me of the chance to actually put actualism into practice.

I wouldn't give up on buddhism yet, Beoman.  AF and Theravada definately aren't the same thing, but if you look at the suttas directly it reads a lot like the AF instructions.  That's why I've been asking so many questions about anatta and the like on here recently.  The Theravada methods (like vipassana meditation) just don't seem to line up with what the buddha was actually teaching about - at least in my readings of the suttas.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
5/11/14 11:35 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
I just read through this earlier and it made everything very clear for me:

http://actualfreedom.com.au/actualism/path2.htm

I was basing my ideas on Actualism off of what Daniel wrote since I had a hard time understanding the stuff I'd seen on the AF website (blocks of text, anyone?), but I've been reading a lot more lately and this map lays out everything very clearly.  If I go back and compare it with what Daniel wrote, I have to conclude that he wasn't practicing the same methods.  The whole purpose of Actualism is to dismantle the various judgments and identities until there's nothing left in the way of simply enjoying every moment.  You start with the social identity and try to see how it covers up the insticual passions.  Once the social identity is gone, you can work on the instinctual stuff by delving deeply into the physical manifestations of the feelings and looking for how they're linked to beliefs.  Eventually these beliefs are also dismantled and you arrive at pure contentment, which is a virtual freedom.  From there you use sensuousness - or the appreciation of the sensate world - to make the final step out of delight into the PCE, which is without affect or emotion.

That's a fair enough summary - though note that PCEs can happen anywhere along the path. I especially like how you equated sensuousness with *appreciation* of the sensate world, and not with paying attention to the whole sensory field.

Not Tao:
I don't want to judge Daniel since I can't possibly know what he did over all that time he was practicing, but from what he wrote it seems like he focused mostly on the last step.  His experience might show that it's possible to split the attainment into two parts - or even that he was able to create a new attainment for himself.  His descriptions of PCEs match something I've come across a few times in the past when I was practicing a super attentive mindfulness, but I've also had some other experiences recently of a kind of quiet emotionless state that seem to fit the bill better.  This could be an interesting topic to explore, actually...

It is indeed important that sensuousness is one of the latter steps, and not the first. To focus exclusively on the senses without taking the other steps into account is to be missing the point.

Not Tao:
Anyway, TL/DR, Actualism seems like it's a lot more about dismantling belief systems than creating an altered state of hyper awareness.  I reserve the right to be wrong about this, though. XD

Ya for sure. At least it is definitely more about dismantling beliefs than creating an altered state of hyper-awareness. The immediate and ultimate goal is to enjoy and appreciate this moment of being alive. Among other things this entails dismantling the social identity as it gets in the way of enjoyment, dismantling belief systems as they get in the way of enjoyment, letting the moment live you (vs. living in the moment), expressing only those felicitous feelings (vs. just feeling what you feel), and being absolutely certain about the actual world's existence via an experience of it in a PCE (vs. not putting any importance on whether your PCE is truly an experience of the actual or if it is something else).

Not Tao:
EDIT:
Beoman:
I am not doing this to be special. I am doing it because I was misled, for a long time, into thinking that actualism and buddhism was the same, by participants of this forum, and that deprived me of the chance to actually put actualism into practice.

I wouldn't give up on buddhism yet, Beoman.  AF and Theravada definately aren't the same thing, but if you look at the suttas directly it reads a lot like the AF instructions.  That's why I've been asking so many questions about anatta and the like on here recently.  The Theravada methods (like vipassana meditation) just don't seem to line up with what the buddha was actually teaching about - at least in my readings of the suttas.

I agree that the Theravadan methods don't seem to line up to well with what the Buddha was teaching. That's a whole nother conversation. But the suttas certainly don't read like AF instructions. However, I did used to think that they did... Which suttas did you have in mind in particular? This might also be a topic for another thread.

RE: So what's the consensus on the "Actual Freedom" Guys?
Answer
5/11/14 11:51 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Ok, with your last post in combination with the "Enlightenmnet Self vs. AF Self" <sic> thread, which I just commented in, the picture I'm getting is that the Buddhist mindfulness approach is based on acceptance of things as they are, rather than trying to set a goal to experience or perceive things in any particular way, whereas the AF approach has the goal of choosing to be in a felicitious state and making some sort of change in thought or experience to move towards that goal.

That seems a somewhat disingenuous way to describe Buddhist mindfulness. Like it or not, the experience of being mindful is a different experience than not being mindful, so one is indeed conditioning oneself to experience things in one particular way (the mindful way) vs. another way (the not mindful way). However the way of doing that is indeed phrased as accepting things as they are and not trying to change anything.

J C:
This makes sense in light of the differences in the way the two approaches handle the idea of a self - under the AF approach, there is a self that can make choices, therefore it makes sense to try to choose to experience the world in a certain way, whereas under the Buddhist approach, since there isn't a self, the more sensible approach is just to accept the current experience as it is.

As I understand it, in Buddhism, karma is influenced by present actions - so you do indeed have a choice, regardless of whether there is a self.