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PCE?
Answer
10/14/14 2:48 AM
Hi guys

This is a question for any AF dudes. I'm doing a practice at the moment that drops me into a mind space where concious thought dries-up, spaciousness is prevalent and all sensations appear to have a veneer of mild joyfullness/peacefullness. The reason why I direct this question to this question to the AF boys is that it also appears to mellow out any emotional content, strong feelings just get cut off at the knees. Its quite an exhilerating experience. But it's not EQ or "The witness," does this sound like a PCE?

Cheers

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/14/14 5:19 AM as a reply to Howard Maxwell Clegg.
The way I would describe the PCE is that awareness is completely outward facing, and the places in the body where emotions are usually felt - like the heart area or the stomach - are gone.  You describe a mild joyfulness, is that a physical feeling like a pleasant quality in the heart, or is it an absence of feeling in the heart which brings relief?

If you are still experiencing pleasant emotional feelings, but they are very mild, you can get to the PCE by simply removing attention from the emotional center and allowing yourself to lose track of the identity, or that "how do I feel" reference point.  Enjoy the sensual nature if being a physical thing that can experience the world without judging it through a feeling filter.  This isn't something to force - rather, since the emotions are mild, it allows you to let down the normal defences and expectations about how the interal feelings should be and simply bask in the "nowness" of physical reality.  For example, if you feel a sweetness in your chest, or a fullness and comfort in your belly, what happens if you take the attention that is settled there and move it outward into the space around you?

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/14/14 6:09 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao":
The way I would describe the PCE is that awareness is completely outward facing, and the places in the body where emotions are usually felt - like the heart area or the stomach - are gone."

Okay, interesting, are you saying that emotions are gone or just the physical components of emotions are gone; what some have called the "affect" or the Buddhists might call "feeling tone?"

You describe a mild joyfulness, is that a physical feeling like a pleasant quality in the heart, or is it an absence of feeling in the heart which brings relief?

Both actually, although I tend to feel stuff all over rather than just in the heart or stomach. Absence of feeling unpleasantness does tend to lead to pleasant feelings of refief and relaxation, but this is not a vacuum or a steady state, more a replacement of pleasant with unpleasant.

If you are still experiencing pleasant emotional feelings, but they are very mild, you can get to the PCE by simply removing attention from the emotional center and allowing yourself to lose track of the identity, or that "how do I feel" reference point. 

Not sure what you mean by this. I've always found emotions to be compound experiences and if its deconstructed to the extent that its now just a physical sensation then its probably just a physical sensation. i.e just the "affect" with no connecting tissue of narritive, memory, or reflexive judgement.

When you say "emotional center" do you mean the heart and stomach you referred to earlier? When you say "identity" what do you mean by this? Are you referring to an internal narritive? The physical sense of being in the body?

Enjoy the sensual nature if being a physical thing that can experience the world without judging it through a feeling filter.  This isn't something to force - rather, since the emotions are mild, it allows you to let down the normal defences and expectations about how the interal feelings should be and simply bask in the "nowness" of physical reality.  For example, if you feel a sweetness in your chest, or a fullness and comfort in your belly, what happens if you take the attention that is settled there and move it outward into the space around you?

The mild joyfullness I described earlier has no real center it tends to be a field awareness thing. It appears to already be "out there," as if it were a natural component of sensation and just needs to be "allowed." I am very familiar with the more localised sense of well being that you describe. In these instances, dwelling on or in the sensation tends to cause it to migrate out. I tend not to try to move it around, it just naturally seems to grow of its own accord.

Peace

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/14/14 8:59 AM as a reply to Howard Maxwell Clegg.
Not that I can help with your diagnosis, but what practice are you doing? Sounds cool.
Sorry if it's OT

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/14/14 9:20 AM as a reply to Howard Maxwell Clegg.
For me, it's that the whole emotional package disappears, so if I were to think about things that would normally bother me, there would be no emotional response.  It's not just that the physical sensation is gone, but any habitual reactions as well.  There is nothing driving the mind toward any sensation, idea, phenomena, etc.  This is what I meant by the emotional center.

Identity refers to personality, like who you feel that you are.  It's what causes emotional reactions.  For example, if you believe you are good at math, and then someone tells you you're no good, or they display a level of skill above your own, this might generate one feeling or another (resentment, desire to work harder, respect, anger, dislike, attraction, etc).  In the PCE, everything just "is" - there is no defining characteristic that elevates one thing/experience/feeling/idea over another.  So you have no defined relationship with anything to get in the way of direct experience.  Without the identity, anything can happen and there is nothing there to react - the ghost in the shell has been exorcised and the body is freed. emoticon

The physical sense of existing doesn't go away in the PCE, though.  When Richard talks about the "actual," he's talking about the physical world that exists in the senses, and he contrasts that with the ego and the soul (the identity and the emotions respectively) which are mental constructs.  In the PCE, the feeling of being anything in particular other than a physical body goes away.  The reason the experience is so positive is that the psychic components (identity and emotions) express themselves in the body.  When the body is freed from these drivers, it relaxes completely and can take in all the sensory phenomena without the need to judge them or parse through them.

Both actually, although I tend to feel stuff all over rather than just in the heart or stomach. Absence of feeling unpleasantness does tend to lead to pleasant feelings of refief and relaxation, but this is not a vacuum or a steady state, more a replacement of pleasant with unpleasant.


It's difficult to diagnose other people's mental states, so I'll leave that up to you. However, IME, the PCE can best be defined as an absence of emotion - both pleasant and unpleasant. As you say here, when unpleasant feelings go away, pleasant feelings replace them - it's like a teeter totter between good and bad. In the PCE, the whole thing that generates both of those feelings is just gone completely.

The mild joyfullness I described earlier has no real center it tends to be a field awareness thing. It appears to already be "out there," as if it were a natural component of sensation and just needs to be "allowed." I am very familiar with the more localised sense of well being that you describe. In these instances, dwelling on or in the sensation tends to cause it to migrate out. I tend not to try to move it around, it just naturally seems to grow of its own accord.


When it migrates out, are you still thinking of yourself (as in, "I feel so joyful!") or have you forgotten yourself (as in, "everything is perfect.")? If you think about yourself suffering in the past, do you feel compassion, or are you baffled that you've ever had problems?

For me, it almost feels like I've become a completely different person who's never had a problem in their life and never learned how to feel discontent. Everything is seen without any feeling-based judgement for or against. Wherever you look, whatever happens, everything is completely and perfectly itself.

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/14/14 12:26 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
[quote=Gonna drop the red ink, it looks a bit imperious on the page, not my intention.

Not Tao]For me, it's that the whole emotional package disappears, so if I were to think about things that would normally bother me, there would be no emotional response.  It's not just that the physical sensation is gone, but any habitual reactions as well.  There is nothing driving the mind toward any sensation, idea, phenomena, etc.  This is what I meant by the emotional center.

So if I understand you correctly, narritive thought does not stop in PCE but the sensations that it normally leads too, or progress from, do? You experience a short circuit of the circuit of suffering? Am I correct in assuming that we agree that suffering is the problem? If these all this is the case what is the bit of the circuit that is removed so that suffering stops?

Identity refers to personality, like who you feel that you are.

Yeasss well, that's not really answering my question. You will have to forgive me, I come from a more insight orientated tradition and investigating the fine grain of the experience of self is a central practice. It may be that this question is not important in AF, is this the case? Is there a no-self v true-self debate in AF? It sounds like the self just "goes away" in a PCE, is that an accurate observation?

  It's what causes emotional reactions.  For example, if you believe you are good at math, and then someone tells you you're no good, or they display a level of skill above your own, this might generate one feeling or another (resentment, desire to work harder, respect, anger, dislike, attraction, etc).  In the PCE, everything just "is" - there is no defining characteristic that elevates one thing/experience/feeling/idea over another.  So you have no defined relationship with anything to get in the way of direct experience.  Without the identity, anything can happen and there is nothing there to react - the ghost in the shell has been exorcised and the body is freed. emoticon

This sounds an awfull lot like 4 Jhana, aka equanimity, not that that is a problem. If this is that case then congrats are in order, nice space to inhabit ect. But in the buddhist tradition such mind states are usually thought to be impermanent, along with everything else. They eventually burn them self out leaving you with happy memories but no abiding insight as to  what actually happened. How persistent is a PCE or AF itself for that matter? Does AF recognise insight as a liberating experience, even?


The physical sense of existing doesn't go away in the PCE, though.  When Richard talks about the "actual," he's talking about the physical world that exists in the senses, and he contrasts that with the ego and the soul (the identity and the emotions respectively) which are mental constructs. 

So "meat space" still exists for the actually free then? Sorry I love that expression and I had to work it in to the converstion somehow. So ego and soul are transient? Is AF/PCE a state in which ego and soul are gone for good?

In the PCE, the feeling of being anything in particular other than a physical body goes away.  The reason the experience is so positive is that the psychic components (identity and emotions) express themselves in the body.  When the body is freed from these drivers, it relaxes completely and can take in all the sensory phenomena without the need to judge them or parse through them.

Still sounds like equanimity; just saying. Also your not saying much about narritive thought processes in PCE. I'm assuming that you don't think they are part of the self and are persistent in PCE? You talk about psychic components being expressed in the body, does this include narritive thought?

Both actually, although I tend to feel stuff all over rather than just in the heart or stomach. Absence of feeling unpleasantness does tend to lead to pleasant feelings of refief and relaxation, but this is not a vacuum or a steady state, more a replacement of pleasant with unpleasant.


It's difficult to diagnose other people's mental states, so I'll leave that up to you. However, IME, the PCE can best be defined as an absence of emotion - both pleasant and unpleasant. As you say here, when unpleasant feelings go away, pleasant feelings replace them - it's like a teeter totter between good and bad. In the PCE, the whole thing that generates both of those feelings is just gone completely.

Yes, the teeter and totter thing. Some would argue that that all experience is fundimentally unstable. Much better to be cool with that through liberating insight, rather than fix it via a transient mind state.  Yes, I am being mildly playful now, I invite you to have a pop back at me. Go on, in the stomach, as hard as you like!

The mild joyfullness I described earlier has no real center it tends to be a field awareness thing. It appears to already be "out there," as if it were a natural component of sensation and just needs to be "allowed." I am very familiar with the more localised sense of well being that you describe. In these instances, dwelling on or in the sensation tends to cause it to migrate out. I tend not to try to move it around, it just naturally seems to grow of its own accord.


When it migrates out, are you still thinking of yourself (as in, "I feel so joyful!") or have you forgotten yourself (as in, "everything is perfect.")? If you think about yourself suffering in the past, do you feel compassion, or are you baffled that you've ever had problems?

Like I said, no thought is happening during these experiences. This particular mind state appears to be a product of its absence. No memories either or self referential intentions for that matter.

For me, it almost feels like I've become a completely different person who's never had a problem in their life and never learned how to feel discontent. Everything is seen without any feeling-based judgement for or against. Wherever you look, whatever happens, everything is completely and perfectly itself.

Sounds cool and like I said, congratulations. But how persistent is this? And also, something I've not touched on yet how does it mesh with daily life. One problem with altered states of consciousness, if that is what a PCE is, is that they take you mind off the ball as it were. I little bit of pain keeps us focused on paying the bills and generally not forgeting the important stuff. Any observations?

Oh yes, who is Richard, I'm assuming a significant teacher?

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/14/14 2:55 PM as a reply to Howard Maxwell Clegg.
Actual Freedom practice is mainly concerned with emotional triggers.  It isn't a mystical practice like Buddhism or Hinduism where reality is seen as an illusion, or the self is not really there, etc.  It's mainly about the direct link between emotions and what causes them.  So, to arrive at the PCE, and eventually AF, you intentionally minimize both good and bad emotions and simply try to be happy and harmless for as much time as possible.  To do this, you get rid of the beliefs that support the identity.  For example, if you're unhappy, first you figure out why (say, I have a lot of work to do), then you decide that this reason is not worth being unhappy (because there is NO good reason not be enjoying life) and you go back to being happy again.  As you practice this way, it becomes easier to see when these emotions are starting, and you can nip them in the bud by intentionally deciding not to bother feeling that way - as it's useless.  With happiness and harmlessness comes a kind of care-free felicity where you're allowed to let go of control and simply enjoy the senses.  This ends up triggering apperception - which is the direct processing of the senses without the distraction of the emotions - i.e. the PCE.

So, the process isn't really like a jhana meditation because it takes no concentration or maintenance to get there.  What it takes is the simple examination of anything that is making you unable to enjoy yourself right now.  As time goes by, these things become less and less - it's a process of elimination.  Eventually, the ego identity and the emotional center are both so minimized that they vanish entirely (according to Richard - the guy who started the Actual Freedom Trust).

It sounds like the self just "goes away" in a PCE, is that an accurate observation?


Yes, but it goes away because the identity is temporarily forgotten/at bay. The idea is to systematically remove it completely so the PCE can become permanent.

Also your not saying much about narritive thought processes in PCE. I'm assuming that you don't think they are part of the self and are persistent in PCE?


AF is only really concerned with feelings. One of the characteristics of the PCE I've always found compelling is that thoughts that would normally bother you just don't. It's a good time to examine old habits of negativity for comparison. I discovered a number of solutions to emotional problems in the PCE. It's a bit like looking at yourself from an outside perspective.

Yes, the teeter and totter thing. Some would argue that that all experience is fundamentally unstable. Much better to be cool with that through liberating insight, rather than fix it via a transient mind state.


Haha, well that's the main difference between the two. However, the PCE doesn't really fix anything - in AF, the goal is to fix yourself so the PCE is always there.

Like I said, no thought is happening during these experiences. This particular mind state appears to be a product of its absence. No memories either or self referential intentions for that matter.


Maybe this is something more like Rigpa, then, or bare awareness.

Sounds cool and like I said, congratulations. But how persistent is this? And also, something I've not touched on yet how does it mesh with daily life. One problem with altered states of consciousness, if that is what a PCE is, is that they take you mind off the ball as it were. I little bit of pain keeps us focused on paying the bills and generally not forgeting the important stuff. Any observations?


I'm not Actually Free, but the AF process is about a steady movement towards happiness and harmlessness, and I'm certainly making progress on that front. PCEs happen once in a while, but they are just teachers. They aren't going to change you. Also, it's not quite like an altered state in my experience. I used to go through the jhanas every morning, so I have a point of comparison there. To me, the PCE is more simple and free. I was working a lot more when I was spending a lot of time in them a while back - it was the practical thing to do, and I had no negative feelings about working because of the PCE. emoticon

We just had a big discussion on AF here: http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5580083

And this is a good introduction to the whole thing "from the horse's mouth" as it were: http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/aprecisofactualfreedom.htm

As well as this: http://actualfreedom.com.au/actualism/path2.htm

Just a warning, the Actual Freedom Trust website is pretty anti-spirituality.  That's caused it to be a point of contention on the forum here.  I think the methods and the advice are valuable, though, so take it all with a grain of salt if you can. emoticon

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/14/14 4:49 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
Actual Freedom practice is mainly concerned with emotional triggers.  It isn't a mystical practice like Buddhism or Hinduism where reality is seen as an illusion, 


Buddhism is not a mystical practice, but has within it the path leading to insight into "seeing" reality as it is, no obstructions.

Hinduism is not where reality is seen as an illusion, But that "Maya", the illusion is what obscures reality, once that has been cut through , one sees reality as it really is, no obstructions.

Make sense now?  All starting to sound familiar yet?

Psi Phi

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/14/14 6:15 PM as a reply to Psi.
You just defined the term "mysticism" psi.

From here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mysticism
Mysticism
1
the experience of mystical union or direct communion with ultimate reality reported by mystics

2
the belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (as intuition or insight)

3
a : <snip>
b : a theory postulating the possibility of direct and intuitive acquisition of ineffable knowledge or power


Actual Freedom is not mystical - the knowledge gained through examination of the emotions is logical rather than intuitive or ineffable. For example: By watching my emotions, I noticed that I was angry when my roommate made noise in the morning. I decided that this was not worth an interruption in my happiness, so I stopped being angry each time I noticed.  Now, I no longer get angry in that situation. Actual Freedom practice doesn't go beyond this. There are no truths to seek and no insights to have about the nature of self, awareness, or reality - just the simple examination of emotions and their causes with the intent to get rid of everything that keeps you from being happy and harmless.

P.s. I feel like we've been pretty far down this road, haha.  I'll be happy to answer more questions about the PCE, but if this turns into AF vs. Buddhism again I'll probably disappear.  (Haha, not to sounds ominous or anything.  I just wanted to explain beforehand.)

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/14/14 7:28 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Yes indeed, calm down lads, it was not my intention to re-ignite old arguments. What people choose to do with there own consciousness is pretty much their own business.

But I do have an answer to my original question. To whit; is my practice leading to PCE? The answer is a resounding no. It appears that what I am doing is, in fact, the exact opposite of what Not Tao is doing. He (I'm assuming he, correct me if I'm wrong) is working with emotion where as I am working with narritive thought. He is actively deconstructing a cognitive mechanism, I am observing, noting, and abiding in the gaps. The freedom he gains is the point of the practice, for me it is a by-product. He is looking for an end state, I am just farting about. Actualy that's not true, but my goal is more speculative.

So thank you Not Tao for being such a good sport, I now know a lot more about AF than I did before, which was virtually nothing. I have to say I am not tempted though. I'm too far along the Buddhist path now to jump ship, but then again you never know where practice leads. Except that you AF guys do. And that is another problem for me, I've had to field too many practice related curve balls over the years to believe in "sure things" any more. I feel much safer with a practice that actively embraces instability and uncertainty. Call me old fashioned.

Peace

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/14/14 9:03 PM as a reply to Howard Maxwell Clegg.
Howard Maxwell Clegg:
Yes indeed, calm down lads, it was not my intention to re-ignite old arguments. What people choose to do with there own consciousness is pretty much their own business.

But I do have an answer to my original question. To whit; is my practice leading to PCE? The answer is a resounding no. It appears that what I am doing is, in fact, the exact opposite of what Not Tao is doing. He (I'm assuming he, correct me if I'm wrong) is working with emotion where as I am working with narritive thought. He is actively deconstructing a cognitive mechanism, I am observing, noting, and abiding in the gaps. The freedom he gains is the point of the practice, for me it is a by-product. He is looking for an end state, I am just farting about. Actualy that's not true, but my goal is more speculative.

So thank you Not Tao for being such a good sport, I now know a lot more about AF than I did before, which was virtually nothing. I have to say I am not tempted though. I'm too far along the Buddhist path now to jump ship, but then again you never know where practice leads. Except that you AF guys do. And that is another problem for me, I've had to field too many practice related curve balls over the years to believe in "sure things" any more. I feel much safer with a practice that actively embraces instability and uncertainty. Call me old fashioned.

Peace
Hey Howard, 

Please take what is written below as disscussion only, friend to friend, (you too, Not Tao) not trying to teach or anything, just discuss Buddhism and various methods.

Yes, the developed skill of being able to switch off the narrative thoughts is quite useful, peaceful, contentment, and done not just in meditation but also in daily living, so I agree completely with you here, I call this Right Mindfulness or also Bare Attention (as explained by Nyanaponika Thera)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanaponika/wheel121.html

 There is also another part to the Buddha's path, that is the Four Supreme Efforts, (4 of the 37 factors of Enllightenment)  which is similar to what Not Tao is practicing , though he isn't ready to admit it yet.  The Four Supreme Efforts Formula Below, which you are probably already aware of, just posting for posterity's sake, and if not, here it is, very valuable:

First , to abandon an unwholesome state that has already arisen.

Second, to not let unwholesome state arise that has not yet arisen.

Third, to arouse a wholesome state that has not yet arisen.

Fourth, to maintain a wholesome state that has already arisen.

And what is a wholesome state?  The Brahma Viharas, what the Buddha taught as the only emotions/states worth having or developing, and of course they have sub-categories, and within these, Equanimity is the highest emotion/state and contains within it, the others below also simultaneously, which is why Equanimity is the only one listed in the 37 factors, (it encompasses the other Brahma Viharas).

Which should bring us back to what you describe as practicing, working with the narrative thought, and so working with that will also lead one to Equanimity.  


Anyway, Nice "meeting" you!

Psi Phi

P.S.

@Not Tao,  Your practice seems to be on the right path, just wanted to say good job!

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/15/14 6:57 AM as a reply to Psi.
Hello Psi Phi, nice to meet you, 
I am familiar with this method of working with unwholesome mind states. But I've never actually done it, weirdly. That's why my chat with Not Tao was so interesting, getting an inside view on the details was very welcome.

I have always taken a more Vajriana approach to this category of practice. In Vajriana, as I understand it, all actions, no matter how unskillful, are always "true" in some sense. In that all actions carry useful information about our lived experience and more importantly about our constricting neurosis. In Vajriana we observe our own behaviour in the same way as a documentary film maker observes wild animals. In so doing the whole life cycle of the creature, or on our case neurosis, is understood and can be excised in full, roots and all. 

So, you see your self behaving like a arsehole, make friends with this inner arsehole and see what it does. This gives rise to a fair amount of cognitive dissonance because, usually the arsehole is in charge and you can't stop it. But by careful observation a critical mass of shame, revulsion and guilt builds up, which you also need to be careful to pay attention too, eventually the whole rotting structure collapses and you are left with a much more elegant and skillful approach to this aspect of life. This is Vajra method one.

Sound familiar? Maybe, maybe not. But that's insight arising Vajra style, on-the-hoof rather than on-the-cushion and this is how I first encountered insight long before I even knew that it had a name. 

Another approach to Vajra practice what might be called method two, this is the ability to "turbocharge" this process. This is pretty much what Tibetan tantric practices and several of the Vedic Yoga practices do. In my case it was Kria, Hatha, and Pranayogas, but I spent a while doing a Tibetan Chenrezig which had much the same result. Why, I hear you ask, would anyone want to turbocharge the slowly building, shitty mess off a process that I have described above? That is because you can effectively fast forward the process and jump over the slow build up of revulsion phase and go straight to the end game. That is collapse and rebirth. Cool right?

But there is always a catch. In this case it is that the speed and randomness of this new method is disorientating and sometimes terrifying. The new progression is; practice for a period of time, nothing happens; practice some more, nothing happens; then all of a sudden lights flash, your head explodes, astral voices are heard, you briefly walk with the gods. You feel great, you feel wonderful, you stride about your daily life is as if the ground were carpeted with rose petals. You glide into a familiar situation that has always messed with your head and you deal with it in a completely different way, in the correct way, the skillful way, the way a great novelist would describe it. You are finally cool! 

But it does'nt last. Short version, WTF! WTF! WTF!

You are in shock, stumble away, and find a quiet place to try to figure out who this suddenly new person is, can you trust your mouth to behave itself? Did anybody notice? Can I do that again? Do I want too? And lets not forget the big one. Can I handle success?

But there is worse. The sudden realisation of how shit should go down, suddenly shines I light on how badly you have been screwing up for all those years. Your inner arsehole is laid bare all in one go and this is like being hit on the head with a baseball bat. The good news is that this does not last long as the grief is also turbocharged. 

The odd thing is, that after the first couple of cycles you get used to it, it becomes normal very quickly, it becomes "I wonder who I am today?" And it speeds up, sometimes two or three cycles a day, those weird  4th Jhana  type "coincidences" become commonplace. Using this method I got up to what I now know to be Equanimity, within about 6 months from a standing start with no retreat time, sangha or instruction. Just books and Tantric rocket fuel.

Unfortunately I never pushed on to steam entry at this time. EQ felt like I had done it, I was free. I was a classic book yogi and this was before the internet, so I was making a lot of this up as I went along. So I fell off and slid back down to the swamp filled with alligators. 

That was 12 years ago.

I've never told that story to anyone, please don't tell my mum as she would have kittens if she ever heard it.

Peace
  
Rereading this, it sounds an awful lot like the progress of insight, but in the wrong order and post 2nd path. Any ideas?

PS I appologise to any Vajra or tantra experts out there for my, probably incorrect, use of terms. But as I have said before, I am no scholar and I was making it up as I went along.
PPS Does this platform have a spell checker? My spelling is hopeless.

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/15/14 6:14 AM as a reply to Psi.
Haha, I've already admitted that I like/relate to the suttas, psi. It's theravada that says all states are imperminant and we shouldn't be trying to maintain them.

@Howard: I was working on directly suppressing narrative thought for a while by paying exclusive attention to the senses. While this does work, since thoughts trigger the emotions, I wasn't sure how it was going to "fix" any problems. I found that removing the emotional content from narrative thought was much easier because it didn't require effort to maintain once the emotion was gone. I'm lazy, so I'm always looking for the easiest/quickest way to do things.  emoticon I think I might be misunderstanding what your practice is though. How do you work with narrative thoughts, and what is the purpose for you?

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/15/14 7:43 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
The short answer is that you are misunderstanding my current practice, but only becuse I haven't told you what it really is! Sorry.

But to respond to your first question first as it where. Surpressing thoughts through paying exclusive attention to sense data is a fine practice. The problem is that surpressing thoughts in not the point, if you are doing Vippassana for example. The point is generating a conducive environment for liberating insight to arise, which really can fix stuff. Although its rarely the stuff that you think needs fixing. It can be a long game. Or if you look at my previous post; not. emoticon

Surpressing thoughts is not the smartest approach though as they are not the enemy, just a thing that happens. The trick with thoughts is to spot the gaps. When you first start to look at thought processess, its like nose-to-tail rush hour traffic, no way in or through. But if you are patient they will occur, its like fishing, waiting for the bite. The alertness while waiting for a gap in the thought stream is actually a valuable skilll in itself.  You are cultivating Curiosity, Energy and Concentration along with few others probably. When the gap appears you will probably miss it the first few times but don't dispair because if you are practicing properly the mind steam may start to ssslllloooowww rrriiiiggghhhtttt dddooowwwnnn which is fun to see in real time. Eventually you will catch a gap and an unforced cessation of narritive thought is often a beautiful experience, not always, but often enough to be worth the effort. This is now excellent soil for insight to arise. In fact it has been for a while, but one often does not notice these things. emoticon

So what am I doing with this? Well, I have hatched a cunning plan with my current teacher Kenneth Folk. These "gaps in the traffic" come an go for me, but recently I have noticed a pronounced uptick. We have decided to use this and try to build it in to a steady and persistent mind state. Which is why I asked you about whether this was an AF practice because it sounded much like what you guys are about. When I'm good and solid in the state, assuming I manage this as its not a given, Kenneth and I will systematically dismantle it to see how it works. One thing I learned from my days as a Tantra/Vajra dude is that altered states of consciouseness can be very seductive and, I my case, often come to a sticky end. So I am a bit nervous about getting lost in it. But Kenneth loves to burst bubbles, so I'm sure he will take great delight in bringing me down to eath. 

Peace

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/15/14 12:29 PM as a reply to Howard Maxwell Clegg.
Hubris alert

In my last post I stated that Kenneth was going to help me build a steady state experience based on the absence of conscious thought,  rather like what Garry Webber teaches. The purpose of this was to subsequently take it apart and see how it works. I have just discussed this with him and he was pretty clear about the whole idea being a non-starter on the grounds that this kind of steady state experience is a not possible for any meaningful length of time. I have to say that this has been a feature of our discussions for some time and is born out by my own experiences, the Tantric stuff I have described in earlier posts was powerful and compeling and sometimes would last for several hours but I would hesitate to describe them as "steady state." Unless you call firing yourself out of a cannon to be a steady state experience.

So I appologise for any misrepresentation or confusion that may have been casused by my wishful thinking.

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/15/14 1:02 PM as a reply to Howard Maxwell Clegg.
Interesting.  So the altered state you're talking about is directly related to being thoughtless for you?  I've spent some time working with the idea, myself, and a number of times the only thing that would happen was that thoughts would stop.  There was no emotional or perceptive effects.  So if you see it as directly related, then maybe that's one way you could break it apart.  Why are thoughts, specifically, preventing you from being in this state?  Maybe there's some hidden aversion there?

One of the difficulties with Actual Freedom practice is that emotions are often non-verbal, so getting them to reveal their cause requires a bit of "scuba diving" - as they say on the AFT.  I think this is because negative emotions are just suppressed thoughts, and once you know where they come from, it's often pretty easy just to accept the thought and allow the emotion to fizzle out.

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/15/14 1:44 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
Haha, I've already admitted that I like/relate to the suttas, psi. It's theravada that says all states are imperminant and we shouldn't be trying to maintain them.
Indeed, everything is impermanent, and if you had a boat, and you were at sea, and the boat had sprung a leak, would you , knowing that the boat was impermanent and would not last forever, would you stop and try to fix the leak, or simply let the boat sink?  

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/15/14 7:28 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
Interesting.  So the altered state you're talking about is directly related to being thoughtless for you?
Yes

I've spent some time working with the idea, myself, and a number of times the only thing that would happen was that thoughts would stop.  There was no emotional or perceptive effects.

Don't forget that there are lots of types and flavours to mindfulness. It is usually conditioned by the practice you have already trained in. If you've done a lot of Jhana some of that will bleed over, ditto with Bramavihara. Also mindfulness is just one of the 7 factors of enlightmenment the more of these you can bring to your practice the fuller and more fullfilling it will be.

  So if you see it as directly related, then maybe that's one way you could break it apart.  Why are thoughts, specifically, preventing you from being in this state?  Maybe there's some hidden aversion there?

I honestly don't know, but such questions are what make insight practice worth doing. Also there are many states in which thought is surpressed, muted or just not neccessary. The Witness, the Emptiness states like Rigpa, and of course Jhana. Each of these is very different and the reason for the absence of thought might also be different. Some like those accessed via Emptiness practices actually disable the investigative capability of mind, so it is not even possible to do the analysis. this probably isn't helpful, sorry.

One of the difficulties with Actual Freedom practice is that emotions are often non-verbal, so getting them to reveal their cause requires a bit of "scuba diving" - as they say on the AFT.  I think this is because negative emotions are just suppressed thoughts, and once you know where they come from, it's often pretty easy just to accept the thought and allow the emotion to fizzle out.

I tend to experience emotion as some kind of compound experience, if you get a firm grip on one component the rest usually comes apart fairly soon after. But that's a very insight persective. I can't comment on the AF approach.

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/15/14 10:42 PM as a reply to Howard Maxwell Clegg.
If you destroy your emotion,

you destroy your intuition.  If you destroy this,

What are you?

What is driving you?  Do you want release?  There is no release in watching emptiness!

Your thirst is Doubt.

If you want to die, you should use a blade or a rope.  If you wanted to die, you would have done so.

There is only one release.

Find it in our conversations.  Be pleased.

RE: PCE?
Answer
10/16/14 4:55 AM as a reply to Jeremy May.
Jeremy May:
If you destroy your emotion,

you destroy your intuition.  If you destroy this,

What are you?

Sometimes I'm Mandy, but only in privacy of my own home.

What is driving you?  Do you want release?  There is no release in watching emptiness!

Some release watching "Boardwalk Empire" though, I love you Nucky!

Your thirst is Doubt.

Probably

If you want to die, you should use a blade or a rope.  If you wanted to die, you would have done so.

There is only one release.

Find it in our conversations.  Be pleased.

Aww, you guys are such fun!