Actualism Questions

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Droll Dedekind, modified 6 Years ago.

Actualism Questions

Posts: 634 Join Date: 11/15/13 Recent Posts
First, I'd like to lay my dogma/biases/experience out on the table:
I've only had one recent PCE-lite, EE, whatever. Currently it seems to me that Richard and the AF-only crowd are taking a real, significant experience (PCE), extrapolating a conceptual framework to explain the experience, and then scripting themselved into fitting the conceptual framework. It currently seems implausible to me that Richard is doing this on purpose. I don't think eliminating all 'affect' is a wise choice. I think that those who cling to Complete Emotional Limitation are likely to engender pernicious shadowsides. These evaluations and opinions are subject to change.

That out of the way, I have some questions:

Has anyone asked any vocal masters about the PCE? In particular, the pragmatic dharma grandfather, Shinzen Young? He said in one video that he didn't consider himself a 'Buddhist', so I assume he's likely to be open to this kind of thing.

I'm confused about how the Attention Wave relates to cycles/nanas/jhanas/fruitions/NS. Daniel attributed the latter to the activity of the former, but then later says that the Attention Wave was eliminated in his latest transformation, but the latter stayed. How can this be? Does Daniel still use this term? May Daniel have cycled in PCE-mode, but just didn't notice it? Does this line up with the experience of others?

I see similarities between the methods Daniel used (according to his essay) and neo-Reichian methods. In particular, relaxing the body/being at ease, attention to feelings and the body, acceptance of the entire range of emotions, proprioceptive wholeness, and orientation toward (simple) pleasure. The only glaring difference I see is the lack of any mention of sexuality in Daniel's essay. I saw Tarin post that his orgasms provided no satisfaction. I saw Trent and Tarin post that sex is pleasurable, though. For anyone who has experience with the PCE and/or 'AF' and/or, preferably, any-transformation-as-a-result-of-actualism-like-methods, how has sex changed? How have orgasms changed? Longer/Shorter? More intense/less intense? Do the waves of pleasure ripple through the entire body? Do you ever lose consciousness during orgasm?

How does the PCE or any-transformation-as-a-result-of-actualism-like-methods change the expression of emotions?

Is there a way to practice insight so as not to make the PCE harder to attain? Would it be wise for a self-diagnosed anagami to incorporate an inclination to PCE, or just finish arahatship first? If the former, what insight techniques are least likely to needlessly contrive attention?

I appreciate links to the AFT, but I'd especially appreciate first-hand experiential accounts. I'd also especially appreciate it if Daniel answered some of these, as I'm mainly using his essay for methods. Thanks!
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Not Tao, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Actualism Questions

Posts: 997 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
I can really only answer one of these.

In an effort to make sexual desire less unpleasant (as in - urgent, selective, needy, etc), I tried sitting with the feeling of desire and neither expressing or suppressing it - or maybe "accepting it" or letting it be.  What happened really suprised me.  After a little bit, the feeling became very pleasant physically, and it detached from any opinions about what was attractive.  I found that, in that state, I was attracted to almost all of the people I saw (though I still had a gender preference) - and there was neither urgency nor "dirtiness" in the feeling.  I could have spent all day that way without any problems or feelings of lust.  But it wasn't an impotency or a trancending of the feeling itself.  It was all very "wholesome" in some way.

The lesson I took away from the experience is that it is the identity which restricts the expression of sexual feelings, and this restriction is what causes the urgency in desire and lust.  It is the social identity that likes taboos, gets horny, has sexual power plays, wants to find love or commitment, or wants to be fulfilled.  What's left when all this goes away is just a pleasant physical sensation similar to an orgasm - maybe like a "spinning root chakra" haha.  I was very suprised to find that I actually felt differently about people I would have definately labeled as unattractive before (like someone who was overweight or who didn't have a face I liked, etc).  It wasn't possesive, either, so it wasn't like I turned into a sex maniac haha.  The feeling itself became very "quiet."

There was no need for sex, but sex was also possible and very nice. emoticon
T DC, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Actualism Questions

Posts: 389 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
My own personal view is that as far as attainment is concerned, permenantly destroying our delusion and nerosis and gaining greater insight into the nature of reality, there is truly only one path.  I don't mean the Buddhist or AF path.  What I mean is, as far as seeing though the 'self', or eliminating dualistic suffering, there is truly ONE final state.  Please consider this: the ultimate state we are all going for is one in which the illusion of a seperate lasting self is destroyed.  So what I mean to say is that the gradual path of attainment that leads to a final state free of delusion is experienced in the same way by everybody.

Considering that the goals of actualism are extremely vauge, and seemingly have not been reached except by one man, who claims Buddhism and enlightenment to be a sham, clearly actualism seems to me to be a product of a deluded person.  Non-theless, Richard seems to be a deluded person with some attainment, and experience of the ultimate state.  The PCE reads so clearly to me to be an enlightenment experience, that I can understand where Actualism is coming from.  I experienced a 'glimpse of enlightenment' in high school, before begining meditation.  The peak of such an experience is total rapture and bliss, breaking through duality, nothing but the senses in the way the PCE is described.  In such an experience negativity is not present, one is totally enraptured by the state one is experiencing.

However, such a state is not actually enlightenment, it is only a glimpse!  Richard seems to have based his philosophy off the conclusions drawn from such an experience, rather than genuine attainment of enlightenment.  Having experienced enlightenment personally, I can say that while it is a state of rapture and bliss, at one with all of experience, it is not a static state!  Progression is occuring, and this is where emotions come in.  Emotions are a natural consequense of life, and when experienced from a balanced state are not such big deal, they are just natural!  To expect them to go away, especially by striving to always experience things pleasurably, is unfounded at best.

I would advise you to continue working toward 4th path, becasue whether you follow actualism or not, you will still have to get to 4th path eventually considering a universal path of attainment (both the experience and progression of attainment experienced in the same way by all).  Actualism seems basically to be souped up mindfulness anyway. 

Unhealthy emotional states are not nessesarily going to be solved by mental attainment.  In my case, such states persisted after the final recognition of non-duality.  It was only through practicing qi-gong that I could remedy my imbalance, and even then it is important to be humble and recognise that progression is endless!  Consider the great masters of the path who had remarkable powers and yet strived onward, and preached humble teachings of equality and compassion.  One is never done, and one is never better than anyone else.  One can however realize universal oneness/ non-duality thus elimating suffering!
J J, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Actualism Questions

Posts: 225 Join Date: 3/31/14 Recent Posts
T DC:
My own personal view is that as far as attainment is concerned, permenantly destroying our delusion and nerosis and gaining greater insight into the nature of reality, there is truly only one path.  I don't mean the Buddhist or AF path.  What I mean is, as far as seeing though the 'self', or eliminating dualistic suffering, there is truly ONE final state.  Please consider this: the ultimate state we are all going for is one in which the illusion of a seperate lasting self is destroyed.  So what I mean to say is that the gradual path of attainment that leads to a final state free of delusion is experienced in the same way by everybody.

Considering that the goals of actualism are extremely vauge, and seemingly have not been reached except by one man, who claims Buddhism and enlightenment to be a sham, clearly actualism seems to me to be a product of a deluded person.  Non-theless, Richard seems to be a deluded person with some attainment, and experience of the ultimate state.  The PCE reads so clearly to me to be an enlightenment experience, that I can understand where Actualism is coming from.  I experienced a 'glimpse of enlightenment' in high school, before begining meditation.  The peak of such an experience is total rapture and bliss, breaking through duality, nothing but the senses in the way the PCE is described.  In such an experience negativity is not present, one is totally enraptured by the state one is experiencing.

However, such a state is not actually enlightenment, it is only a glimpse!  Richard seems to have based his philosophy off the conclusions drawn from such an experience, rather than genuine attainment of enlightenment.  Having experienced enlightenment personally, I can say that while it is a state of rapture and bliss, at one with all of experience, it is not a static state!  Progression is occuring, and this is where emotions come in.  Emotions are a natural consequense of life, and when experienced from a balanced state are not such big deal, they are just natural!  To expect them to go away, especially by striving to always experience things pleasurably, is unfounded at best.

I would advise you to continue working toward 4th path, becasue whether you follow actualism or not, you will still have to get to 4th path eventually considering a universal path of attainment (both the experience and progression of attainment experienced in the same way by all).  Actualism seems basically to be souped up mindfulness anyway. 

Unhealthy emotional states are not nessesarily going to be solved by mental attainment.  In my case, such states persisted after the final recognition of non-duality.  It was only through practicing qi-gong that I could remedy my imbalance, and even then it is important to be humble and recognise that progression is endless!  Consider the great masters of the path who had remarkable powers and yet strived onward, and preached humble teachings of equality and compassion.  One is never done, and one is never better than anyone else.  One can however realize universal oneness/ non-duality thus elimating suffering!


T DC for president.

And as to trying to figure Richard out, I wouldn't bother, it's extremely irritating to read his writing, and he as a "guru" has done enough damage as it is already.
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Not Tao, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Actualism Questions

Posts: 997 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
The idea of non-duality seems like a blunt object approach to changing the mind.  Non-dualist see all paths as non-dual, and their path as obviously the best - this is a great way to get stuck in a view.

If you don't see actualism as worthwhile, that's fine, but it seems like every thread about actualism here has to deal with at least half the posts talking about how obviously crazy Richard is and how misguided the methods are.  The truth is, though, the methods are probably the most clearly explained, non-mystical pointers you can find on the internet.  That's made it very valuable to me, personally.  I haven't yet found anything else that explains my own experiences so closely without a bunch of nonsense mythology about ultimate truth, true selves, no-self, gods, spirits, energy, or nasty words like "delusion."
T DC, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Actualism Questions

Posts: 389 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
I'm not bashing actualism, just providing a different perspective.  Delusion may sound like a nasty word, but frankly no one practices because they are already happy and well adjusted.  Don't assume you know where I'm coming from; nothing rings so true as non-duality in my experience.

As well I want to point out that comparing ultimate truth and no-self to things such as gods, spirits and 'energy' is a fascile argument.
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Not Tao, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Actualism Questions

Posts: 997 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
Yes, if nonduality rings true in your experience that's great that you have found a framework to explain your insights.  Don't assume nonduality explains everyone else's experiences, though, and assume they aren't as developed as you if they reject the ideas.  Maybe you are just excited about your viewpoint, and that's a good thing, but you're going to throw people off if you claim your understanding is the only one, or the most true, or the best.  Nonduality is pointing at something, it isn't the thing itself.  This is why hindus and buddhist will argue when they're usually talking about the same thing, and this is why Mahayana looks down on Theravada, and this is probably why Richard says enlightenment is 180 degrees different from Actualism.

Maybe they are all talking about the same thing, or maybe they are talking about different things - but they most certainly aren't all talking about nonduality, which is just a viewpoint - see what I mean?
T DC, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Actualism Questions

Posts: 389 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
You're going to throw people off if you claim your understanding is the only one, or the most true, or the best.  Nonduality is pointing at something, it isn't the thing itself.  This is why hindus and buddhist will argue when they're usually talking about the same thing, and this is why Mahayana looks down on Theravada, and this is probably why Richard says enlightenment is 180 degrees different from Actualism.

Maybe they are all talking about the same thing, or maybe they are talking about different things - but they most certainly aren't all talking about nonduality, which is just a viewpoint - see what I mean?

I'm not saying MY understanding is the only one, I'm saying there is ONE understanding, and I happen to have realized it.  I have no doubt all spiritual paths are getting at the same thing, Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist.  Non-duality is just a way of describing it as you said.  My problem with AF is that it may well not be a legitamate path, by which I mean a path which ultimately leads to the end of suffering however you wish to define it. 

I don't have anything against actualism, I simply do not think it leads to a final state free of suffering!  This is my reasoned opinion.  As I said, no one seems to have actually reached the supposed goal!  I agree that it is a very appealing/ accurate view of the problem we find ourselves in.  After I reached 4th path, and did not know my way foreward, I followed actualist practices for some time because they seemed very much to be on the right track, especially given my glimpse of enlightenment experience/ PCE. 

However, to be truly legitamate a path must allow for one to progress.  The most beneficial way teachings can do this in my opinion is to provide sound teachings on what progression is like and what one will experience upon attaining it.  When teachings set up unrealistic standards of attainment, standards which cannot be met by following their teachings, there is a problem because the system is not compatible with the goal.  Given that seemingly no-one has attained the actualist goal, I assume it is a false goal, esspecially because having followed Buddhist teachings to their end and reached full enlightenement, my experience does not conform to actualism.  I have stated in my first post the reasons I think this is.

So my point ultimately is, having reached the end, I do truly believe religions are getting at the same thing, but actualism is getting at something else seemingly without any proof. The truth in actualist teachings is one small slice of a broad picture, and in purporting to be the one true way to freedom, they twist their truth into a self-referencing nest of mirrors.  Thus is it wiser to follow a tried and true system of attainment so that one can be assured of reaching the goal of freedom from suffering.
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Daniel Leffler, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Actualism Questions

Posts: 292 Join Date: 9/9/14 Recent Posts
T DC:

I'm not saying MY understanding is the only one, I'm saying there is ONE understanding, and I happen to have realized it.  I have no doubt all spiritual paths are getting at the same thing, Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist.  Non-duality is just a way of describing it as you said.  

But how do you know this is true T DC, that there is ONE understanding? It seems to me that not only are there multiple 'understandings' of ultimate reality (and by that I mean various interpretations of an experience) but also different 'ultimate' experiences. The fact that others have different experiences means that you can react to them in one of two ways - you could say, I don't know the answer to this question, life is truly a vast mystery that seems to defy understanding just when you think you've 'arrived', or, two, those other paths are delusional or misguided because they do not line up with my understanding, which I consider to be the ONE true understanding. This second interpretation smacks of religion to me, and I generally define that term as a belief structure with a practice (and a somewhat negative connotation). The Buddha said at a certain point in development we transcend all views, without being too abstract, isn't this ONE understanding concept just another view to be thrown away? To further the paradox, isn't Reality too large a thing for understandings?


I don't have anything against actualism, I simply do not think it leads to a final state free of suffering!  This is my reasoned opinion.  As I said, no one seems to have actually reached the supposed goal!  


The funny thing is, I feel this way about Buddhism, no one has reached the goal of transcending suffering as far as I can see. By suffering I mean the second arrow of reaction to the first arrow of pain. Various people claim freedom from suffering, as a few have claimed 'actual freedom', but I think the attraction to Actualist practice in the first place has to do with the emotional perfection teachings of the Buddha. I started practice to transcend negative mindstates alltogether - as I believe most spiritual seekers did. Have you done that? Do you consider those stressful mindstates (frustration, sadness, boredom, confusion...) to be second arrow afflictions? I consider any non-physical psychological reaction to fall under the category of the second arrow, and I think many here have re-defined suffering in order to say they have transcended it. Isn't any type of stress suffering? Isn't being conflicted (stress) in any way dukkha? 'Stress' is one of the best English translation of dukkha I believe - have you totally and completely transcended stress in every possible form? At least Actualism goes to the heart of that issue - that issue gets skirted around by saying that full realization of anatta is the final goal - but what about the other two Cs? Freedom from dukkha (completely stress free) and freedom from anicca (nirvana)?


However, to be truly legitamate a path must allow for one to progress.  The most beneficial way teachings can do this in my opinion is to provide sound teachings on what progression is like and what one will experience upon attaining it.  When teachings set up unrealistic standards of attainment, standards which cannot be met by following their teachings, there is a problem because the system is not compatible with the goal.  Given that seemingly no-one has attained the actualist goal, I assume it is a false goal, esspecially because having followed Buddhist teachings to their end and reached full enlightenement, my experience does not conform to actualism.  I have stated in my first post the reasons I think this is.

Doens't Buddhism set up very many false goals, really too many to be listed here? Daniel presents a healthy treatment of the various false goals as outlined by the Buddha in MCTB. Does that make Buddhist practice an illigitimate path? The other answer to that question (which resonates with me) is that no one here, or anywhere else that I know of, has actually completed the path and no one knows if completion is even possible - though many claim to be finished


So my point ultimately is, having reached the end, I do truly believe religions are getting at the same thing, but actualism is getting at something else seemingly without any proof. The truth in actualist teachings is one small slice of a broad picture, and in purporting to be the one true way to freedom, they twist their truth into a self-referencing nest of mirrors.  Thus is it wiser to follow a tried and true system of attainment so that one can be assured of reaching the goal of freedom from suffering.

So you're saying Actualism is not a religion? I think they would say that as well - but I think it's arrogant to say that those practioners are delusional no matter how seemingly well reasoned you believe your arguement is. I have an arrogant mind myself, so I can relate. I'd like to think that walking the path eventually dissolves all arrogance and all views, and until that happens we cannot say that we are finished with anything. Of course I may be wrong... ; )
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William Golden Finch, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Actualism Questions

Posts: 558 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
Hi Daniel,

       In the scenario you've given how would one experience reality with the absence of suffering? How do you know you are suffering? Is it the thought of disagreeableness, the physical tension, the combination? What about when there is no thought but a visceral physical response that resolves physical tightness? 
       In full discolsure I have always felt the end of suffering to be a rather ambiguous goal, and find all claims of ultimacy to be subjective rather than objective, hence my trouble with evangelical buddhists, non-dualists, actual freedom practitioners and Christians. But they can be fun in their own way as well.

Bill
Felipe C., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Actualism Questions

Posts: 221 Join Date: 5/29/11 Recent Posts
T DC:
Considering that the goals of actualism are extremely vauge, and seemingly have not been reached except by one man, who claims Buddhism and enlightenment to be a sham, clearly actualism seems to me to be a product of a deluded person. 

Fixed that for you:

Considering that I don't understand the goals of actualism, and that seemingly I have no idea how many persons have reached them aside from a man, who doesn't hold my views on Buddhism and enlightenment, clearly actualism seems to me to be a product of a deluded person. 
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Droll Dedekind, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Actualism Questions

Posts: 634 Join Date: 11/15/13 Recent Posts
Hi guys,

I wouldn't want to ruin your fun, but my OP asked specific questions. I was hoping for experiential descriptions. Maybe you could start a new thread to debate theory?
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William Golden Finch, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Actualism Questions

Posts: 558 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
Good point. I did experiment with the method of grounding emotions in the body for some time years ago. As did others. I can't say how this relates to actualism, but does seem relevant to some of your recent postings, and provides the methodology as well as the results. The only one I still have occasional contact with is Antero so I can't say how its played out for anyone else. Links to experiential descriptions of what occured below.

http://awakenetwork.org/forum/kfd-archive-wetpaint/12634-antero-s-practise-journal-3
http://awakenetwork.org/forum/kfd-archive-wetpaint/12828-alex-s-experiment-with-the-grounding-of-emotions
http://awakenetwork.org/forum/kfd-archive-wetpaint/12911-a-zen-exploration-of-the-bahiya-sutta
http://awakenetwork.org/forum/kfd-archive-wetpaint?start=25
http://awakenetwork.org/forum/kfd-archive-wetpaint/12388-owen-s-practice-journal-part-ii?start=300