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Conversation with Bill about humanity

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Conversation with Bill about humanity Adam . . 6/12/15 6:14 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ 6/12/15 9:30 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Bill F. 6/12/15 6:45 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Adam . . 6/13/15 3:16 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Bill F. 6/13/15 6:40 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Nikolai . 6/13/15 8:06 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Adam . . 6/13/15 9:04 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Eva Nie 6/13/15 10:04 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Adam . . 6/14/15 1:16 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Doughnut (Supreme Arbiter of Peace and Concord) Glazer 6/14/15 12:30 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Eva Nie 6/14/15 2:16 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Doughnut (Supreme Arbiter of Peace and Concord) Glazer 6/14/15 3:48 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Eva Nie 6/14/15 8:32 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Adam . . 6/14/15 1:34 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Adam . . 6/14/15 3:54 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Eva Nie 6/14/15 4:14 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Eva Nie 6/14/15 10:28 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Bill F. 6/15/15 8:26 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Adam . . 6/15/15 11:00 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Bill F. 6/15/15 11:42 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Eva Nie 6/15/15 2:12 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Eva Nie 6/15/15 1:39 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Eva Nie 6/14/15 1:44 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Eva Nie 6/14/15 5:11 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Eva Nie 6/13/15 9:37 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Adam . . 6/14/15 12:47 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Eva Nie 6/14/15 2:41 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Adam . . 6/14/15 12:58 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Psi 6/14/15 7:27 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Adam . . 6/14/15 11:55 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Not Tao 6/15/15 4:27 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Eva Nie 6/15/15 1:53 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Psi 6/15/15 7:07 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Adam . . 6/15/15 10:53 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Psi 6/15/15 11:49 AM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Eva Nie 6/15/15 2:27 PM
RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity Eva Nie 6/15/15 2:06 PM
Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/12/15 6:14 PM
I remember that you used to post here more often. I always felt this place benefitted from your description of your af practice as it seemed to come without any sort of evangelical zeal or belittling the practice of others (the two things this thread begins with). I was not able to see anything that I would consider unwise in the way you described your practice. I believe I intentionally tried to engage you about your journey with AF as you never seemed to get as much attention as the more evangelical folks and it seemed to me what you were doing was valid. 
It has been a while since I posted much at DhO mostly because I think that most of the conversations here are beside the point (the point being personal and inter-personal peace). I remember you asking me to post more about my experiences with actualism, and a couple times I almost did but it just seemed like it had little to do with the vast majority of posts going on at the time. Not Tao's thread sparked my interest because it is about something I can relate to.
It rest on assumptions (incorrect assumptions, such as that the main point of my entering into this thread is the two sentences you quoted) to fulfill its point through rhetorical questions and generalizations: I am obviously not suggesting that the apex of human potential is war, rampant consumerism, and  widespread alienation (you only suggested the first, I'm just reflecting on the general climate of contemporary culture).
It seemed to me you were at least in part critiquing Not Tao because his practice was avoidant or escapist and trying to get away from 'being human.' I see the history of 'being human' as a history of violence, so I don't agree that avoidance or escapism is always bad.

I am glad that you don't think that the *apex* of human potential is war etc. I agree so perhaps that can be used as a starting point.
Do you want to try again and we can see what we can work out and learn that may be of benefit to both of us? I'm down if you are.

Ok, where should we start? We both seem to agree that the current state of human beings is not the apex of human potential. My basic take on that is that survival instincts, passions, and feelings are what stand between us and that potential. Also I say that it is possible to eliminate these things within this life and to live in complete uncomprimising freedom and peace (no suffering at all). Further my take is that most of what is practiced here (the DhO) is leading people to a condition that is less connected with said instincts, passions and feelings. That disconnection constitutes an additional hindrance to the achievement of the apex of human potential[1]. Intimate connection to those feelings is required (recognizing them as being 'me') as without unity with feelings the best[2] that can be achieved is sublimation or repression of them.

[1] which is apparently not a big problem for people, as they have no interest in the elimination of those instincts feelings and passions

[2] meaning the closest to the peace-bestowing elimination of feelings

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/12/15 9:30 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Deleted because this is ought to be a conversation between Bill and Adam, plus it takes time to repond!

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/12/15 6:45 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam,

       Thank you for writing all that out. I think this has the potential to be interesting for both of us. Perhaps if we respond to one question at a time we can actually work with these ideas in depth, and gain some knowledge.

I believe the final question you had asked, and the one that seemed most relevant was something along the lines of what I hope to get out of practice?
I practice within a tantric lineage. Some of it may be familiar ideas, but it's approach to emotions is obviously very different than what you're proposing, and is quite different from the traditional Theravdan views of many on this forum. I wrote about that at some length in the other thread. As for goals I do not think about that in terms of my practice anymore. I did heavily and often for a long time until it became obvious to me that my preoccupation was obscuring the freedom inherent in reality outside of interpretive thought loops about that reality. If I have any goal it is just the reminder to be present as much possible for experience without defensiveness. I believe that defensiveness creates the personality structure that is always siphoning (sp.?) reality through counterpdroductive thought loops that lead to suffering. The experience of life outside of this virtual reality is the experience of being in an arena of entirely open space, and total vividness. Each aspect of reality seems remarkable, profound, and liberated in its immediacy. This includes the immediacy of emotions, which become not thought loops we own, but vivid movement in open space. If life is contintually moving towards that I guess that is a goal of sorts, and it does become more my reality the longer I practice.


It seemed to me you were at least in part critiquing Not Tao because his practice was avoidant or escapist and trying to get away from 'being human.' I see the history of 'being human' as a history of violence, so I don't agree that avoidance or escapism is always bad.

O.K. So you see your practice as being a movement away from violence. My question rests on the assumption that you are defining violence as physical violence, but if not you can fill that in in your answer:
Has your life had that much violence in it that this was the motivating force for taking up AF? If not, and the violence you are referring to is not in your own life, but in history as a whole, wouldn't the argument be that your life is already without violence, thus negating the motive described. If you are describing violence in a different way you can fill that in here.


I may not be able to respond as frequently but continue and I will definitely respond when I have a chance.

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/13/15 3:16 AM as a reply to Bill F..
As for goals I do not think about that in terms of my practice anymore. I did heavily and often for a long time until it became obvious to me that my preoccupation was obscuring the freedom inherent in reality outside of interpretive thought loops about that reality. If I have any goal it is just the reminder to be present as much possible for experience without defensiveness.

So you do have a goal... to be present as much as possible for experience without defensiveness. To me this is a very important point. You may have found that some ways of thinking about the goal are counterproductive but there is still a goal right?
This includes the immediacy of emotions, which become not thought loops we own, but vivid movement in open space. If life is contintually moving towards that I guess that is a goal of sorts, and it does become more my reality the longer I practice.

Do emotions still come out in your actions and color your experience so as to make it either restless, dreary, melancholic, annoying or whatever? Even when they are being perceived in a very immediate, objective, calm, clear way? I found that I could make emotions really vivid and immediate when I did that kind of practice yet there were elements in suffering that seemed inherent in emotions. I was way happier when the emotions were absent and I was just totally relaxed, natural, appreciative than I was when I was focusing attention on emotions without reacting and i was clear neutral watchful. That latter way of experiencing is very unsatisfactory to me now that I really understand that the former can come about through intention and application rather than through random chance or circumstance.

Also, in the latter way of experiencing I found emotions to subtly come out in my actions. Even if just in my mannerisms and my choices about when to laugh or not... all kinds of subtle ways that could nonetheless be hurtful and lead to (silent, though eventually building) conflict.
O.K. So you see your practice as being a movement away from violence. My question rests on the assumption that you are defining violence as physical violence, but if not you can fill that in in your answer: 
Has your life had that much violence in it that this was the motivating force for taking up AF? If not, and the violence you are referring to is not in your own life, but in history as a whole, wouldn't the argument be that your life is already without violence, thus negating the motive described. If you are describing violence in a different way you can fill that in here.

I meant violence on physical and emotional levels. Most of the violence I have suffered and want to move away from is the emotional sort inflicted on myself by myself and the sort I have inflicted on others and later regretted.

I see a basic quality of violence that can get turned inwards or outwards in every single person I meet. I also see it reflected in the greater world around me in all the conflicts people get into. I then see people trying out all kinds of solutions to it that don't work consistently[1]. In every case the "solutions" leave the core problem untouched - the compulsion to survive leading to fear, anger, sadness compassion and all other emotions.

How to change the core? Fundamentally it comes down to the decision to sacrifice the will to survive for complete peace. In earlier stages it comes down to sacrificing my "rights" and my "dreams" and my "solutions" in exchange for feeling happy and harmless. More and more every single solution I could take to a problem seems secondary to just feeling fully happy and harmless[2].

[1] I am talking about all "solutions" at all levels (other than the core level). Personal-level "solutions" like creating a set of morals or principles for oneself... or creating various regimens of diet, exercise, study... or pursuing fame or money or whatever, or even pursuing states of consciousness in which emotions undergo a perspectival change and are no longer seen as a problem. Interpersonal "solutions" like creating trusting agreements with others, creating explicit or implicit rules for conduct. Large scale "solutions" like political reform, peace treaties, technological advances, or religions.

[2] real life example: I have had some work lately that has been giving me some anxiety. Lot's of 'solutions' come to mind about how to deal with this. I could just sit down, work really hard and be really appreciated by the people counting on me to do the work. A somewhat appealing solution that I have often used in life. Just sacrifice how I would most like to be spending my time to please a lot of people and then get to feel good about it.

Another 'solution' is to just scrape by and do the minimum and thus get to spend time leisurely. Along with this solution there is the thought that I don't owe these people anything, and that I could do fine if they stopped paying me.

Other solutions fall somewhere in this continuum. But the actualism solution is to feel happy and harmless - that's it. That is simply the entire core solution to this and every problem. I will eventually pick a 'solution' somewhere on that continuum no matter how I feel, but by feeling happy and harmless here and now I am guaranteeing a personal peace and at least making possible an interpersonal peace. The only way I can do that however is to decide that feeling happy and harmless is actually of greater importance than figuring out the "right" solution. As long as I am first and foremost searching for the "right" solution there won't be very much peace. Coming to value feeling happy and harmless over finding the "right" solution comes about from a few things in my experience:

-realizing that things like approval, affection, wealth, status don't really make you happy consistently, as such even the "rightest" of right solutions is not that valuable
-realizing that there are always arguments for many different "right" solutions
-realizing how nice it is to feel happy and harmless for yourself and those around you

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/13/15 6:40 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam,

       The title of this thread is funny (because I tend to be more small scale, and people who know me would laugh), but here we go. I assume the first question is about subjective experience so I responded to is as such.

Do emotions still come out in your actions and color your experience so as to make it either restless (No), dreary (No), melancholic (No), annoying (Yes) or whatever (Not sure)?

Even when they are being perceived in a very immediate, objective, calm, clear way?


No. I would argue that if you think you are seeing your emotions in a clear way, and yet you perceive subjective suffering you aren't seeing very clearly. While I can't know what your experience is I find it hard to reconcile what I know and have seen with an experience in which emotions are being perceived in a calm, immediate way, and yet there is restlessness and anxiety going on. The calmness would seem to cancel out the restlness and immediacy and anxiety can not co-exist if anxiety is described as the subjective perception of worry over a future harm.

I found that I could make emotions really vivid and immediate when I did that kind of practice yet there were elements in suffering that seemed inherent in emotions.

Respectfully, we are not speaking about the same thing. Another option is that you didn't stick with the practice long enough. Though some people have very strong reactions to the idea that things change perceptually along the way (I'm looking at you Nikolai), and for some of us more than others, my experience would corroborate this. I am not saying here "I am more advanced than you". I do not know know enough of your story. I am only asserting that if one sticks with a practice long enough it tends to reveal more with time. Many have given up on actualism but I'd be willing to bet you discovered more results the longer you stayed with it.
Let's talk about this through the lens of our own experience, using descriptors of exactly what we are experiencing now: So, for instance, I'm sitting here coffee at my side, Deadwood is on the tv, the dog is sleeping. If I look for the emotional content of the current experience I am aware of a minor sense of physical tightness in the body. Reflecting the experience of emotions as I am referring to them there is neither the perception of inside, or outside, I can see my fingers typing on the keyboard, there is not a perception of defined interior or exterior space but if pressed I'd say that space appears infinite. When I think about something I have to do in a few hours I feel the attention narowing, and immediately widen leaving only spaciousness. In it's arising the thought does not seem a separate entity removed from experience, but is experienced as empty (meaning without separate existence/indepence) fabric as much a part of the field of experience as the fingers I see typing.

I find no dominant emotional content so I cognitively attempt to bring up something for which I know before I would have had an overhwleming feeling. If I try to dredge up an emotional feeling by recalling an event from childhood I can feel a shift in experience. There is what I would call a feeling of sadness at the center of the chest. It feels full, nourished, rich, and subtly pleasant. There is no sense of its wrongness. There is no push/pull in relation to it, and it the phsyical sensation gently begins to open and spread leaving a sense of pulsing open space at the center of the chest. Nowhere in the experience is there suffering, or any desire to leave the experience, or any sense that here I am, in this experience, receiving this experience, and hence, suffering from it.


I have many questions, but I had said one at a time, so here goes: What in your experience was inherently suffering or painful in an emotion?


RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/13/15 8:06 AM as a reply to Bill F..
Bill F.:
Respectfully, we are not speaking about the same thing. Another option is that you didn't stick with the practice long enough. Though some people have very strong reactions to the idea that things change perceptually along the way (I'm looking at you Nikolai).


I have no idea why you reference me with that statement. Care to elaborate? 

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/13/15 9:04 PM as a reply to Bill F..
What in your experience was inherently suffering or painful in an emotion?

Well, I guess it would be some of the very things you mentioned. Narrowing of attention and physical tightness. Also, what about times when there is more pressure on you, like work deadlines or relationship troubles? Don't you experience an increase in those two phenomena?

Actualism is about the complete and total absence of those things.... complete and total in all circumstances. For me it is better for them to be absent than for them to be still existant but perceived within an immense spacious awareness without inside/outside and without identification.

It is just like... the best... for them to not be there. Can't you relate to that? Then you don't have to practice anything or non-react to anything... nor suppress anything nor endure anything. Just complete relaxation and peace, uncomprimising. In every situation total unbridled comfort, satisfaction, and ease. I don't know how better to describe the absence of emotion (or at least the replacement of 'normal' feelings with happ/harmless feelings). It comes about simply from wholehearted consent to enjoy the moment without reservation come what may.

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/13/15 9:37 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:

Ok, where should we start? We both seem to agree that the current state of human beings is not the apex of human potential. My basic take on that is that survival instincts, passions, and feelings are what stand between us and that potential. Also I say that it is possible to eliminate these things within this life and to live in complete uncomprimising freedom and peace (no suffering at all). Further my take is that most of what is practiced here (the DhO) is leading people to a condition that is less connected with said instincts, passions and feelings. That disconnection constitutes an additional hindrance to the achievement of the apex of human potential[1]. Intimate connection to those feelings is required (recognizing them as being 'me') as without unity with feelings the best[2] that can be achieved is sublimation or repression of them.

[1] which is apparently not a big problem for people, as they have no interest in the elimination of those instincts feelings and passions

[2] meaning the closest to the peace-bestowing elimination of feelings
These are some great questions and already some interesting answers.  I am going to jump in because I figure if you wanted this private between only 2, then it would be in PEM.  My current basic take on feelings and what not is not that that they are bad but that they are typically kind of stunted and unrefined in expression and often not well understood.  Like when water percolates nicely in a river, it is calm and appreciated, but if that water were jumping the bank and destroying houses, the same water can appear to be 'bad.'  In many ways, it might not appear to be bad.  You could even use separate words for the two kind of of water, a brook and a flood.   The brook seems so different, it does not surprise me so much that some insist it's a different thing and what we need is lack of flood (ie lack of emotions).  But IMO, the brook does not go away even if there is no longer any flooding.  I do think it's more complex than that of course, but that example is fairly good for saying why I suspect that there is a symantics issue, that one person might say it is lack of emotions, another say nondualism, etc, when both ways, the experience is so different than before and the emotions that you had before are no longer present, at least not in in a similar form to previously. 

I do think the whole 'not me' thing is confusing especially because I have not seen a good definition of what exactly that is supposed to mean.  Or should I say, I have seen lots of definitions with not much agreement and most not very understandable.  And does seem to run contrary to self inquiry, why bother to inquire in self if there is no self?  Could be I just don't have enough understanding and experience with common Buddhist teachings in that area but still you'd think I'd have seen more explanation of it by now that I could understand. 

I also think people here often lose the forest through the trees sometimes with so much concern on which technique will the the most efficient ticket to enlightenment because with any technique, it's you doing it and the technique relies on you.  IMO, a technique only  has as much power as you give it anyway, and rapidity of change relies on how fast a person is willing to let go of the old ways, how much one is actually will to really change, not so much on which tiny variation of which method is chosen.  People want to change for the better yet are reluctant to stop with all the habits they currently have, and that is why change is often slow, IMO, I'd like to see more emphasis on those issues and less on the tiny details, it's like if you were trying to build a tower bbut spent most of your time arguing over which kind of flower is best to plant in front of it..  
-Eva 

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/13/15 10:04 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:
What in your experience was inherently suffering or painful in an emotion?

Well, I guess it would be some of the very things you mentioned. Narrowing of attention and physical tightness. Also, what about times when there is more pressure on you, like work deadlines or relationship troubles? Don't you experience an increase in those two phenomena?
Do those things have to be bad?  They make special tight vests for dogs to help them feel more secure and safe.  Narrowing of attention can be good if you are trying to concentrate on something.  Deadlines can be exciting.  And if you don't make the deadline, will you be shot?  (probably not, so why worry so much?)  None of those things are inherently bad unless the story line you are choosing to use says they are. 
Actualism is about the complete and total absence of those things.... complete and total in all circumstances. For me it is better for them to be absent than for them to be still existant but perceived within an immense spacious awareness without inside/outside and without identification.
Have experienced both to compare?  (I don't know you enough to know the answer)
It is just like... the best... for them to not be there. Can't you relate to that?
I'm sure you have heard others say that it sounds like being a robot.  But I am assuming that robot stiffness is not what you actually experience. 
Then you don't have to practice anything or non-react to anything... nor suppress anything nor endure anything. Just complete relaxation and peace, uncomprimising. In every situation total unbridled comfort, satisfaction, and ease.

I don't know how better to describe the absence of emotion (or at least the replacement of 'normal' feelings with happ/harmless feelings). It comes about simply from wholehearted consent to enjoy the moment without reservation come what may.

Isn't that what nondualism is supposed to be like too?
-Eva

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 12:30 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:

Actualism is about the complete and total absence of those things.... complete and total in all circumstances. For me it is better for them to be absent than for them to be still existant but perceived within an immense spacious awareness without inside/outside and without identification.

It is just like... the best... for them to not be there. Can't you relate to that?.

Are you talking about the absence of a burden? If so I can see where you are going with that, Richard calls it extinction.

I've read all of both yours' and Bill's posts in this thread, and for some reason am absolutely convinced of each post's content, even though what you both are aiming at may be mutually exclusive.

Richard makes many subtle points, his point is the complete and utter absence of the identity, and thus the presence of complete innocence (absolute harmlessness, and consequently, absolute happiness). For Richard, happiness and harmlessness are inextricably linked, if you are harmful you involuntarily send waves into the network of vibes that pound on and impress upon other people your malice. This is specifically what Richard defines as being harmful, Richard himself acquiesces to the necessity of physical violence.

The breakthrough into actual freedom that Richard describes is the necessary consequence of the complete and unprecedented globalization (population density), of humanity, as well as the necessity of cooperation (altruism) for survival. What Richard recommends is good, it's essentially altruistic self-immolation (extinction, oblivion), such that one is no longer a bother (or a harm/danger) to oneself or others.

It is thus the ultimate act of benevolence, nothing tops it, there's also no going back.

The reason many here may have a problem understanding Richard's ideas is because of the following ideas:

a) an altered state of consciousness obscures the identity, it hides the identity by making it valid, according to Richard no identity is valid, but according to an enlightened individual, he/she is supremely valid
b) an inability to understand experientially what an actual freedom from the human condition entails (pure intent)

The reason I am able to understand what Richard rights, not that there is anything hidden in his writing, is because I nearly spontaneously immolated (exploded) at a young age (adolescence) and entered an actual freedom from the human condition, but due to the self-preservation instinct or reflex I held out, and thus suffered a prolonged existence as an extant entity. 'Twas quite terrible by the way.

(This is apparently what happened to Richard, he failed to 'go boom', and thus had to spend 11 years working out the rest of the kinks before he finally immolated in entirety. So what could have been over in a few seconds was prolonged by a decade. He then became enlightened because without an ego to moderate the soul, the soul inflames and swallows the ego and becomes a divine/inflamed, but hypersensitive enlightened identity. 

This is exactly what happened to me, because I failed to 'go boom'. Involuntarily, about 4 years later, despite trying to avoid being swallowed by the immensity of the "Tāthagata" (one thus come, the one who has thus arrived, thus came, etc) entered an altered state of consciousness wherein I believed I was the Buddha.)

Anyways, I understand what Richard speaks of (altruism), because I came so close to the final condition itself.

What Richard did was in fact special, and thus a leap for humanity, but the point is, due to the circumstances—abundance of resources, population density, necessity of cooperation, technology, medicine, intelligence of the human species—that this type of leap was going to be made sooner or later.

From the early 1900s to today (June 2015), the population more than tripled. (In 1900 the approximate world population was around 1.6 billion, today, June 2015, we have around 7 billion)

This is completely, entirely, and utterly unprecedented.

The way human beings live now:

Shelter, housing, bedding, temperature control (heating, air conditioning)
Clothing, for all environments
Food, restaurants, super markets
Education, the Internet, universities, public libraries
Entertainment, movies, online games, smart phones, books
Computing power, personal computers, iPads, etc.
Sex and dating, contraception (the ability to have more than one sexual partner throughout one's lifetime, because pregnancy has been negated)
Human rights, equality, etc.
Medicine, negating many bacterial diseases
Transportation, cars, airplanes
Communication, phones, email, postal service, the Internet
Utilities, running water, electricity
Safety, government, police

This way of living, has never been the case for 99% of recorded history (I'm taking only the last 50 years, since recorded history goes back about 5000 years, this means that we have been living the way we have for 1% of recorded history, or 4950/5000, but then again I'm only using this point as hyperbole).

In other words, a life lived, for the sake of living, and not for the sake of:

Survival and reproduction.

Is now entirely possible.

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 12:47 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
These are some great questions and already some interesting answers.  I am going to jump in because I figure if you wanted this private between only 2, then it would be in PEM.

Ok
My current basic take on feelings and what not is not that that they are bad but that they are typically kind of stunted and unrefined in expression and often not well understood.  Like when water percolates nicely in a river, it is calm and appreciated, but if that water were jumping the bank and destroying houses, the same water can appear to be 'bad.'  In many ways, it might not appear to be bad.  You could even use separate words for the two kind of of water, a brook and a flood.   The brook seems so different, it does not surprise me so much that some insist it's a different thing and what we need is lack of flood (ie lack of emotions).

Ok, but the water is poisoned. Or acidic or something. You can't even touch it without being at least somewhat burned. I don't appreciate it's nice percolation because I know what it is like when it is absent, and it is so much better.

I think that is very important for your other assumptions in your post. My goal is not the brook and so the issue is not one of us calling the goal a brook and the other calling it a lack of flood. My goal is the absence of all the 'water.'
 But IMO, the brook does not go away even if there is no longer any flooding.
The brook definitely won't go away if you appreciate it.
 I do think it's more complex than that of course, but that example is fairly good for saying why I suspect that there is a symantics issue, that one person might say it is lack of emotions, another say nondualism, etc, when both ways, the experience is so different than before and the emotions that you had before are no longer present, at least not in in a similar form to previously.  
I have not at all been convinced it is a semantics issue. It is pretty clear to me that people on this forum in general and bill specifically are not aiming at the absence of passion/feeling/emotion as a solution for the human condition. And this is mostly because of the fundamental belief that the human condition can't be fully solved, just made more bearable. Which itself comes from a deep-seated unwillingness to change ourselves at the most fundamental level.
I do think the whole 'not me' thing is confusing especially because I have not seen a good definition of what exactly that is supposed to mean.  Or should I say, I have seen lots of definitions with not much agreement and most not very understandable.  And does seem to run contrary to self inquiry, why bother to inquire in self if there is no self?  Could be I just don't have enough understanding and experience with common Buddhist teachings in that area but still you'd think I'd have seen more explanation of it by now that I could understand. 
My take on the 'not me' thing is that people are born with an intuitive sense that they are an entity inhabiting a human body. Spiritual practitioners call things (the body, feelings, mind, thought formations) 'not me' so as to retreat deeper into the bliss of being this non-phenomenal entity which is stably and peacefully unidentified with changing phenomena.
I also think people here often lose the forest through the trees sometimes with so much concern on which technique will the the most efficient ticket to enlightenment because with any technique, it's you doing it and the technique relies on you.

Are you saying that I am losing the forest for the trees?

What exactly is the 'forest' if the goal and the direction of travel are the 'trees'? It is probably worth noting that my goal is not enlightenment.

IMO, a technique only  has as much power as you give it anyway, and rapidity of change relies on how fast a person is willing to let go of the old ways, how much one is actually will to really change, not so much on which tiny variation of which method is chosen.

Yes, this applies to the various ways and directions in which a person can change. What matters most is what you want to change into and how badly you want it. Those two things determine your direction and speed. People may pick different directions if they are simply unwilling to cross certain obstacles.
People want to change for the better yet are reluctant to stop with all the habits they currently have, and that is why change is often slow
Furthermore people are happy to lower their standards and praise those lower goals if it allows them to keep on staying largely the same. For example people will lower their standards from not experiencing anger to equanimously observing their anger when it arises if it allows them to maintain their habit of believing that their petty sense of rights and expectations about how life ought to be should be respected by the universe. More insidious than just being recalcitrant in not changing is fully embodying that inertia and silliness and defining what one is doing as ideal, or defining a far nearer goal as ideal.
IMO, I'd like to see more emphasis on those issues and less on the tiny details, it's like if you were trying to build a tower bbut spent most of your time arguing over which kind of flower is best to plant in front of it..
It is more like arguing over material a tower should be made out of so that it will actually stand.

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 1:16 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Do those things have to be bad?  They make special tight vests for dogs to help them feel more secure and safe.
Tightness and narrowing, as qualities of emotion, are what the dog feels in the first place as a lack of safety. The sensory perception tightness is another issue entirely and is not relevant.
Narrowing of attention can be good if you are trying to concentrate on something.
Attention freed from emotional qualities is what is ideal for problem solving. Narrowing of attention is just an emotional antidote to the emotional restlessness which prevents concentration in the first place.
Deadlines can be exciting.
The excitement enjoyed in the process of completing a challenging task that one is emotionally invested in in a limited timeframe is just a weak excuse for the immense sensory experience of aliveness that arises when one is completely free of any urge for anything to happen beyond what is happening already.
And if you don't make the deadline, will you be shot?  (probably not, so why worry so much?)
If yes, worry itself is still the one thing standing between someone and their destiny[1] of complete satisfaction and peace.
Actualism is about the complete and total absence of those things.... complete and total in all circumstances. For me it is better for them to be absent than for them to be still existant but perceived within an immense spacious awareness without inside/outside and without identification.

Have experienced both to compare?  (I don't know you enough to know the answer)
I have experienced the former (complete and total absence), but I don't yet experience it in all circumstances. I have experienced the latter when I used to be really into meditating and developing that spacious awareness.
I'm sure you have heard others say that it sounds like being a robot.  But I am assuming that robot stiffness is not what you actually experience. 
No, instead the ability to act and live in total relaxation, delight, and spontaneity. Being *here* in total peace but with the ability to add all kinds of bonuses of sensory enjoyment on top of total peace and ease. I remember one time going on a hike where I started out worrying about some work I had to do by a deadline. Eventually when I had decided that it was more important to be in peace I started experiencing life with very minimal emotion for the next 5 hours or so. I spent the rest of the day just moving playfully about from one activity to another, and when I did decide to do some of the work there was no sense of compulsion or nervous energy that I *had to* finish it, so it was just like more play. That is the kind of life that I only shoot for when I am very daring and willing to risk the tolerable status quo of ocassionally using anxiety to force myself to do unlikable tasks.
Isn't that what nondualism is supposed to be like too?

Not as I have heard about it. It seems to be more about the inadequate peace (of course they don't quite say that, instead they say it is the best that is possible in this life, though it is incomplete) that comes about when you distance yourself from your emotions and see them as non-personal. It seems to be about pasting a veneer of perception that 'all is well' on top of the deeply held intuitions that all is not well.

[1]what the most essential part of them is aiming for

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 2:16 AM as a reply to Doughnut (Supreme Arbiter of Peace and Concord) Glazer.
Doughnut Glazer:


Richard makes many subtle points, his point is the complete and utter absence of the identity, and thus the presence of complete innocence (absolute harmlessness, and consequently, absolute happiness). For Richard, happiness and harmlessness are inextricably linked, if you are harmful you involuntarily send waves into the network of vibes that pound on and impress upon other people your malice. This is specifically what Richard defines as being harmful, Richard himself acquiesces to the necessity of physical violence.
Was Richard able to live that and be an example of that in his day to day habits?
The breakthrough into actual freedom that Richard describes is the necessary consequence of the complete and unprecedented globalization (population density), of humanity, as well as the necessity of cooperation (altruism) for survival. What Richard recommends is good, it's essentially altruistic self-immolation (extinction, oblivion), such that one is no longer a bother (or a harm/danger) to oneself or others.
Kinda sounds like it would only work if every single person did it, otherwise would those who did it be then the victims of those who didn't? 
It is thus the ultimate act of benevolence, nothing tops it, there's also no going back.
Yet Richard did not get a reputation for benevolent kindness..
The reason many here may have a problem understanding Richard's ideas is because of the following ideas:

a) an altered state of consciousness obscures the identity,
I don't agree with that, IMO, an altered state of personality is still you and your identity as much as any other state you may sometimes be in.  People feel and act differently in different situations is all. 

it hides the identity by making it valid, according to Richard no identity is valid, but according to an enlightened individual, he/she is supremely valid
You can put any labels on that you want, that does not change who you are. 

b) an inability to understand experientially what an actual freedom from the human condition entails (pure intent)
Same things goes the other way, if you have not experienced nondualism, then you can't really understand what it entails. 

-Eva

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 2:41 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:
I have not at all been convinced it is a semantics issue. It is pretty clear to me that people on this forum in general and bill specifically are not aiming at the absence of passion/feeling/emotion as a solution for the human condition.
The problem I keep seeing with your guys is that you do apparently still care about some stuff.  Richard gets all agitated about this and that, you guys are over here trying to convince people about Actualism, you still satisfy your boss, brush your hair, etc.  Those are things that a robot would not bother with, they are things that involve an inkling of caring and caring is an emotion along with compassion for others.  If you don't have emotion than why do you care about all that stuff?   I think what confuses me the most is you say that your goal is to not have emotions but by most poeple's definition of caring, your actions indicate caring.  SO for that, I am feeling it's symantics, ie your definition of 'emotions' is not the one others are using.  

For some of the rest, the concepts behind the actions of many Buddhists and the concepts behind what the Actualists attempt to do, I agree sound different in multiple places.  Not sure if either the Buddhists or the Actualists really understand the whole thing through though, in fact I think no one does. 

And this is mostly because of the fundamental belief that the human condition can't be fully solved, just made more bearable. Which itself comes from a deep-seated unwillingness to change ourselves at the most fundamental level.
How about just appreciating and enjoying every aspect of it? 

I also think people here often lose the forest through the trees sometimes with so much concern on which technique will the the most efficient ticket to enlightenment because with any technique, it's you doing it and the technique relies on you.

Are you saying that I am losing the forest for the trees?
No I wasn't actually thinking of Actualism (or you) in that regard.  
-Eva 



RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 12:58 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
The problem I keep seeing with your guys is that you do apparently still care about some stuff.  Richard gets all agitated about this and that, you guys are over here trying to convince people about Actualism, you still satisfy your boss, brush your hair, etc.  Those are things that a robot would not bother with, they are things that involve an inkling of caring and caring is an emotion along with compassion for others.  If you don't have emotion than why do you care about all that stuff?   I think what confuses me the most is you say that your goal is to not have emotions but by most poeple's definition of caring, your actions indicate caring.

It depends how you define caring. Is caring action or is caring a feeling, urge, or compulsion? Do those things have to go together? I say no. Actualism is not about being free of action, there is no need to be free of action to be free of suffering. But there is a need to be free of urge, compulsion, and feeling. Since you referenced Richard, here is he describes the difference (he is not agitated):

I correct – and thus improve – what can be corrected ... according to a preference for creature comforts and ease of life-style. For example: if I can sit upon a cushion instead of the brick pavers of the patio I will ... that is a preference. But if a cushion is not available it does not matter ... I thoroughly enjoy being alive at this moment in eternal time and this place in infinite space irregardless of what is happening. I could be just as happy and harmless on bread and water in solitary confinement in some insalubrious penitentiary ... but I would be pretty silly to act or behave in such a way as to occasion that outcome!


RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 1:34 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
This is like a "yeah, but" response. If it is some of things I mentioned, what are the other things that you didn't include in your response.

I don't really know what you mean by a "yeah, but" response.

I said that what is inherently suffering in emotion are the some of the things you yourself observed... the tightness and narrowing. When I said 'other things you mentioned' I was referring to the things which did not pertain to the question of "what is inherently suffering about emotion?" I think you misunderstood my answer.
These things are not suffering. They are not a problem. It's not that I'm bearing them. They are not "unpleasant but I'm learning to deal with them" ha.
Ok, well I guess they don't constitute suffering in your book. You are persistently telling me you are fine with those experiences, for me they are the most unpleasant thing that I experience.
It is just like... the best... for them to not be there. Just complete relaxation and peace, uncomprimising. In every situation total unbridled comfort, satisfaction, and ease. I don't know how better to describe the absence of emotion (or at least the replacement of 'normal' feelings with happ/harmless feelings). It comes about simply from wholehearted consent to enjoy the moment without reservation come what may.

C'mon bruh. This just sounds like advertisement. As above, you only believe this to be true. It's not your experience, which you acknowledge downstream.

No I don't only believe that to be true. I have experienced that complete relaxation and peace. The part that I acknowledged not to be my experience was the permanent, ongoing part. What I said earlier to eva was: "I have experienced the former (complete and total absence), but I don't yet experience it in all circumstances."

It is interesting that you have compared that description to an advertisement and even nirvana/heaven. But you also say your interest wanes when I talk about it... and apparently that is because it is too zealous of an ideal. This lends support to my observation that the main issue people run into in the pursuit of happiness is an unwillingness to set their standards to the highest level that they go.

Why does complete absence of emotion seem like an advertisement/heaven/nirvana if there is nothing inherently suffering about emotion?

p.s. I am skipping over some of what you said intentionally because i think it would be more efficient to sort out the above first.

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 1:44 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Bill F.:


hen you don't have to practice anything or non-react to anything... nor suppress anything nor endure anything. Just complete relaxation and peace, uncomprimising. In every situation total unbridled comfort, satisfaction, and ease. I don't know how better to describe the absence of emotion (or at least the replacement of 'normal' feelings with happ/harmless feelings). It comes about simply from wholehearted consent to enjoy the moment without reservation come what may.

Adam,

       This is where my interest waned. I had thought we could have conversation, but this reads more like evangelical advertisement. It's a yawn for anybody who doesn't already believe as you do. On the other side of such unfulfilled zealous ideals I always imagine a great anxiety looms around the unfulfillment of the hoped for ideal, be it nirvana, actual freedom, heaven, etc. But I can respond to this, and see where we turn.
We'd probably all do a bit better if we tried not to assume/accuse too much about what the other person experiences, tends to derail the conversation and I don't think we have enough data to know for sure.  But I agree that a conversation about actual experience, separate from a conversation about belief systems, would be more interesting and educational at least to me.  In the end, what actually happens matters most.  Many things work even if the ideas behind them were flawed and many ideas that sound great don't work very well when tried.  No matter how wonderful something sounds, the question of if it works is very important.  One huge problem Actualism currently has is there appears to be no one that has accomplished the goal of full time long term 'lack of emotions,' to use the terminology.  Richard does not appear to be an example of this state you are describing.        
 



For me it is better for them to be absent than for them to be still existant but perceived within an immense spacious awareness without inside/outside and without identification. 

This is where it really becomes even more clear we are not in the same place. It is not that emotions are happening within an awareness that must be cultivated, or is always there. For this to be true, or for someone to write this, there must be the perception, subtle or explicit, of perceiver receiving, creating phenomenon, practices to do, a path to be walked, experiences to run from or be sheltered from. From that vantage point (which is an error in perception-no receiver, no landscape upon which experience rests, only experience) maybe actual freedom makes sense, to save the receiver and the other receivers from the pain of impending internal or external forces. Eventually what happens is you realize even the you that realizes is an entire experience without backdrop. You either understand this, and it's implications, and can follow what I am saying. Or you don't.
I assume we are talking about nondualism now.  The terminology for it, heavily colored by Buddhist belief systems, is IMO, not likely to be understood by others when described that way, even others who claim nondualism sometimes don't really seem to match up with each others' descriptions too well from what I have seen, one can assume it's a hard thing to describe using words, plus there are probably some variations by personality as well.  Not saying that means nondualism is wrong or anything, just that if someone did not have indoctrination in Buddhist belief systems, they might not describe it that way.  'no landscape upon which experience rests,only experience'  I think I see what you are saying but I think that only those trained that way describe it that way.  As contrast, here is an excerpt from Stephen Jordain taken from another thread,  he is talking about nonduality here, does this sound like what you experience Bill (cuz this description makes more sense to me)?: 

One cannot deny duality, since it is the principle of life. Certainly, a false duality that is the product of a given individual’s mind should be destroyed. I repeat and insist: duality, to the extent that it is a duplicate of reality, a dreamlike and personally fabricated duality, must be ruthlessly destroyed. But when this veil, in the center of which we habitually evolve, is consumed, when this enormous subjective bubble bursts, what is then left? What will you see once you’re outside the bubble? The world, plainly and simply. There is something! There is me and the tree. Duality exists.
GF: Duality remains in a different fashion.
SJ: Exactly.
GF: If I follow you, there is a duality in itself real, which you qualify as healthy . . .
SJ: Healthy, simple, and divine!
GF: As well as an unhealthy, unreal duality that is merely the product of our subjectivity.
Here I am not being clever. I mean this experience is exactly this experience, with no remainder. If you've seen that clearly (happened for me in January 2012) you can no longer hold to any concept of things happening within awareness, of a person performing meditation practice (though clearly "practice" still happens), or that there is a receiver for emotions.  
Not sure what you are saying here, are you saying those activities now seems irrelevent/noncausal/unimportant now?  There may be a certain danger in assuming that every naunce of nonduality is exactly the same for every nondualist.  Each still has his/her personality and strengths and weaknesses from what I have seen.

I hear you speak a lot about clear, neutral, watching which would suggest you thought you were having an experience separate from the arising emotions, i.e you were watching them. I don't doubt this was stressful for you.
Isn't this how I often hear nondualism described?  The emotions are seen there but you are apart from them.  In my way of thinking, you are not getting sucked into the story, just observing the story from a clear perspective, an experience that from my perspective is peaceful. 


It is just like... the best... for them to not be there. Just complete relaxation and peace, uncomprimising. In every situation total unbridled comfort, satisfaction, and ease. I don't know how better to describe the absence of emotion (or at least the replacement of 'normal' feelings with happ/harmless feelings). It comes about simply from wholehearted consent to enjoy the moment without reservation come what may.

C'mon bruh. This just sounds like advertisement.
Ok well yes, does sound like an advertisement but I have had experiences like that and I have to say I certainly can see why a person would want more of it.  All that extraneous thought, worries, concerns, tensions are all gone.  You don't realize what a huge weight and stress you were carrying all the time until it's gone.  The word 'enlightenment' at that time seems to fit just for sheer amount of 'lighter' you feel without all that weight of baloney anymore.  You can just function clearly without worrying and you become very efficient, level of understanding of what is around and feeling of connection to environment goes way up.  It feels obvious that is the way we were meant to function, all the rest was just baloney.  Once the baloney is gone, then the perception is very different clear and light and simple and direct.  Reminds me of what Jordain was saying in my quote. 


As above, you only believe this to be true. It's not your experience, which you acknowledge downstream.
Is that correct?  I don't think he said either way. 
-Eva

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 3:54 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
But all of that is really besides what I see as the main issue. When you tell me that "physical tightness" and a split second narrowing of attention are the worst things you deal with (when these are occuring in my experience without attendant psychological content), and then you talk about being stressed about the approval of people at work and ruminating anxiously on work projects, I know that integrity and honesty have gone out of the conversation.
Ok I think we are misunderstanding eachother again. Seriously - red flag - you seem to have read me in a way I totally didn't intend.

When I was referring to physical tightness and narrowing of attention I was referring to emotional experiences in general. I did not say that the worst thing that I experience is a "split second" of narrowing of attention but narrowing of attention in general. Sometimes it is hours of narrowed attention and physical tightness and that is much worse than a split second. My point is that emotions are the most unpleasant part of my experience of being alive, and I have had more success at making my experience better through feeling happy/harmless than through changing the way I perceive those unpleasant emotions.

What I was basically questioning is whether you are actually ok with the phenomena of physical tightening and attention narrowing.

Bill you seem to be assuming I am putting my own baseline experience forward as a way of experiencing that has less stress than yours. I really am not... I experience plenty of anxiety and stress and my purpose of this whole conversation was to discuss what is a complete solution to those difficulties.

Maybe you are saying that we can't discuss what I see as the complete solution to those problems until I have achieved it as my ongoing experience? I am ok to wait until then... not sure when it will happen though. You suggested you were interested in my experiences and I am giving them to you while admitting they are not what I eventually want them to be. Perhaps what you are really interested in is talking to someone who is actually free?

p.s. I think you are correct that I have been insincere in this conversation. Mostly through projecting more confidence than I actually have. To some degree I have been trying to communicate what is written on the actual freedom site, but I have also been passing it off as my own thoughts and experiences more than it actually is.

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 3:48 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
Was Richard able to live that and be an example of that in his day to day habits?


Just for the record I'm not an actualist, my views most closely match the Buddhism found in the Pali Canon, but this gets tricky because once someone sees the Dharma, and thus the Buddha, they become independent of others in the dispensation, meaning they don't rely on a teacher. So it's difficult for me to point out to others what exactly it is I see, other than that:

Even these great sal trees, Mahānāma, if they could understand what is well spoken and what is
ill spoken, I would declare them to be streamwinners, no longer bound to the lower world, of fixed
destiny, sure of awakening! ― Sarakani Sutta (trans. by Piya Tan)

dhammaṃ passati so maṃ passati; yo maṃ passati so dhammaṃ passati ― Vakkali Sutta

So it would be inaccurate to say that I'm a dogmatist, implying that I adhere rigidly to what is in the Canon, rather, I am able see (know, etc. ñāna, dassana, knowledge and vision) and thus can tell, independently.

Here's a good example:

Say someone rigidly adheres to the rules found in a math textbook, and then eventually is able to understand all the principles of mathematics and thus can derive them himself (in this case the four noble truths, cattāri ariyasaccāni, you'll have to excuse my using all these fancy characters, I only recently started typing them because they look so much cooler!), he no longer needs the textbook, but can now independently verify that what is inside the textbook is accurate.

Others who follow the textbook will achieve the same results, but those who do not understand the reason (see), why it works, will never achieve independence (stream-entry). Those who are able to verify its accuracy, do not rely on what they are verifying, but are able to know its accuracy.

So technically, those who follow the rules (steps, methods, instructions) of the textbook, will achieve fledgling (as in not 100% consistent) results because the textbook cannot account for all situations, only the principle can, but the instructions (Dharma), are derived from the principle itself.

This is why the Buddha states that its impossible for someone to end suffering if they cannot discern the four noble truths. (Vala Sutta)

This is why the arguments here surrounding the Dharma and dogmatism are somewhat amusing, it's not necessarily that there are people who rigidly adhere to only what is in the Pali Canon (word for word), rather it's more like they are able to (independently), verify the truth of the Canon, without relying on it.

Kinda sounds like it would only work if every single person did it, otherwise would those who did it be then the victims of those who didn't?


This is correct, that's why Richard consistently states that it's "selfish to stay". (He says that in a DVD preview on the Actual Freedom Trust website)

Yet Richard did not get a reputation for benevolent kindness..


Yes he comes across as very belligerent and dense (thick, dull, etc.)

This is primarily because he constantly tries to use dictionaries as the arbiter of what a word means, as opposed to using common sense and context clues, which is what most people do automatically.

This is partly due to his belief that only facts exist (see his notions of truth, etc), consequently he has to establish the facticity of each word before he can use it. He literally cannot think for himself, and instead has to use a dictionary.

don't agree with that, IMO, an altered state of personality is still you and your identity as much as any other state you may sometimes be in. People feel and act differently in different situations is all.


We are getting into identity view now and I don't want to create confusion, so I won't comment.

Plus I'm more or less unable to explain or help other people understand identity view anyways, only a Tathagata can do that (or a tathagata-savaka), etc.

you can put any labels on that you want, that does not change who you are.


Yes… that's exactly what he is saying…

Same things goes the other way, if you have not experienced nondualism, then you can't really understand what it entails.


This is implying that I don't understand nondualism, and is thus a loaded statement (there is an implicit assumption within the statement).

Nevertheless, I will respond to you.

Nondualism is actually something I experience(d), and I have been in a state of abiding nonduality for a while now, but I don't believe that nondual experiences imply anything, in other words they don't mean anything.

The experience itself is authentic and true, subjectively speaking. But what the experience entails is hard to tease out, if anything.

For example I could experience xxx (let's say flying around a city, let's say I a deep and convincing experience of flying around a city, like a vision etc), this does not mean (necessarily), that I was flying around the city.

Once again I'm really unable to tease out and explain these things, I lack explanatory power, only a Tathagata can do that, etc.

I would refer you to the Brahmajala Sutta, it shows several examples of recluses who have profound meditative experiences, but extrapolate incorrectly from those experiences what they entail or what they mean, if anything

Peace.

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 4:14 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Bill F.:
Why does complete absence of emotion seem like an advertisement/heaven/nirvana if there is nothing inherently suffering about emotion?

It's not the absence of emotion, it's the language you used, the notion of promotion through comparison ("the best") and the longed for future potential that will fill in the unmet needs of one's current state (ruminating about the approval of others and work projects). While you may have experienced this in certain moments/hours your idea of it as seamless experience is what makes it a belief. 

But all of that is really besides what I see as the main issue. When you tell me that "physical tightness" and a split second narrowing of attention are the worst things you deal with (when these are occuring in my experience without attendant psychological content), and then you talk about being stressed about the approval of people at work and ruminating anxiously on work projects, I know that integrity and honesty have gone out of the conversation. 

I know Eva would like me to be more diplomatic, and I respect her, but I see some things that don't line up and I'm going to bring that up. If you would like to continue it's only going to be useful if we can talk about our experience. Otherwise it's just my holy books against yours.

I would just say that if one is going to fire the guns, it's more effective if you first make sure you know your current environment and understand the target well.  Otherwise you get wasted bullets and collateral damage.  (which I think you sometimes do get).  In this case, he has already said has not obtained the Actualist goal of no emotions full time, so that makes it reasonable that he will sometimes feel normal emotions in normal situations.  And I think that calls into question your accusation on integrity.  I personally have not gotten the impression that he has made any deliberate lies.  As to lies we tell ourselves, I am not sure anyone is entirely free of them in all aspects all the time.  There is hallucination and delusion as part of this world, I think.  And I think we all have our stories and belief systems, just that some have more elaborate ones and cling more tightly to them than others.  I think in your case, one of your beliefs is that you are the one that will call it like it is when others won't.  Which according to my belief system means that it would be good to be extra careful in what you decide to call to make sure you have it right first.  If you call incorrectly often, I think it dilutes others' perception of your own integrity.  (not to mention that it's also mean!)
-Eva

    

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 5:11 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Bill F:


Regarding the Jourdain quote, I've read it twice, and I'm really not sure. Perhaps he was in a much different place and is seeing way more than I currently see. Don't know.

Not sure what you are saying here, are you saying those activities now seems irrelevent/noncausal/unimportant now?

No. Those may be fall outs, but there is no hidden implication in what I said. The implications result in the way experience unfolds after. I mean exactly what I wrote. It is the whole thing.

Isn't this how I often hear nondualism described?  The emotions are seen there but you are apart from them.  In my way of thinking, you are not getting sucked into the story, just observing the story from a clear perspective, an experience that from my perspective is peaceful. 

That's not what I'm describing, nor my experience. There is no apparatus that pulls back to look at phenomena. That's what dissapeared. If for instance I try (as I did a moment ago) to enter into an experience where I can stand apart from phenomena and observe the sensations of my hand, it simply does nothing, it doesn't lift, no watcher.
That being said I don't think there's anything wrong with what you're talking about. I just think if you continue practicing it may fall apart at some point. 
Seems that there is quite a bit of variation to what different people experience as nondualism.  I wonder what the commonalities are across experiences.  What I've seen is more like that Jourdain perspective, but I don't experience it full time, just once in a while.  I experience it more often now, and the times between are differnet now so I feel more confident in talking about it.  I had been trying to figure out if it was nondualism since the descriptions by others varied so much, it was hard to know, and I was wondering if it was PCE instead (not that there is any agreement on what those are either).  But looking at the Jourdain quote, I can see a connection with when they say 'In the seeing, just the seen.'  From Jourdain, the feeling I got was, he feels he sees the real world through uncluttered eyes.  If the perspective is delusional, the world you see is also delusional.  With his nondualism, he feels he can then see the world truly as it is, or at least that is my interpretation of what I read from him.  

Plus I agree there is that thing where, and this is hard to describe, a division in perception and perceived is gone that once was there.  Perceptoin seems more immediate and direct as if a space that was inbetween is gone so the two are sort of closer or faster or more direct or something kind of like that.  Not sure I can line that up clearly with the whole watcher/seer/backdrop terminology though, but I have not spent much time studying that terminology either. When I started this long ago, I started it with the angle of just more of a psychology repair process, analyzing and fixing thought processes that were not useful or productive, learning to feel better, etc, just basic psychology IMO.  When they describe Actualism, it's actually a lot like the process I was using and that process did a lot for me and worked for a long time in ways that might be considered expected.   I did not have any special belief systems about it though other than in my mind, I was trying various tactics to fix my baloney and enjoy life more, kind of typical goals for many.  I also did have an interest in the esoteric but no specially strong belief systems about it. 

In recent years, my belief systems have spun away from what the current stated belief systems of Actualism are, but for the basic method itself, I still use it daily and it still seems to carry me forward, a kind of inward analysis and acknowledging of thought processes throughout the day.  Once my goal was to no longer feel pain and suffering, I think that is a basic conscious goal of most people, and I followed that conscious goal for a long long time.  But towards the end, I started to understand that pain and suffering taught me much that I would not have learned otherwise and I started to see the beauty of both sides of what I think are the same coin, and that joy can't exist in this world without suffering and that the suffering is not that different from beauty, once you come from that perspective, then you can be happy about even a bad thing, knowing that its job is an important one, a perspective I could have never understood previously. That's why people don't sit and watch a 2 hour long movie about people sitting on clouds strumming harps, because it would be boring.  If people TRULY want happiness so much, why do they watch movies and TV full of stress, violence, sadness, tension, mishaps, misunderstandings, etc?  People consciously say one thing but their actions say another.  Understanding why that is I think can be an interesting path and one that I am still walking on. 

If the nondualism thing becomes more stable for me, maybe I'll have more understanding of the rest of the explanations of it, right now as of recently the strongest thing about it besides the refreshing lack of unneeded mental chatter is a very strong sense of how all kinds of things are connected to eachother thoughts, events, etc.  A bunch of things seem so obviously easy to see when I'm in that mode compared to normal so I am not sure where that will go either.  But meanwhile, I often wonder how much similarity there is between nondualist experiences, could they be very different with only a few similarities?  I also do wonder if the Actualist method will take people exactly where the Actualist belief system says it will or if maybe it will take them to an even more interesting place!  Are there Actualists that have made it to pure no emotion full time all the time that can be a good case study?   Certainly there are people who have said that Actualism has helped them, and I have not heard any cases where it seemed to have hurt anyone, so for that alone, it would seem to be interesting.   
-Eva 

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 7:27 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
[quote=Adam . .

]complete peace.  feeling happy and harmless,  some anxiety,  somewhat appealing , 

But the actualism solution is to feel happy and harmless - that's it.   That is simply the entire core solution to this and every problem

Those are all emotions, including the actualism solution. Kind of an non-goal , to feel happy and harmless, yet emotionless.  Happiness is an emotion.  That is just nonsense, sorry it is either illogical, spiritual bypassing, denial or delusion.  It can not be true, to be happy and emotionless, unless being happy is not an emotion?

For example people will lower their standards from not experiencing anger to equanimously observing their anger when it arises if it allows them to maintain their habit of believing that their petty sense of rights and expectations about how life ought to be should be respected by the universe. More insidious than just being recalcitrant in not changing is fully embodying that inertia and silliness and defining what one is doing as ideal, or defining a far nearer goal as ideal.
The above statement may be true, that is why most pick a path that goes far beyonfd the result of Actualism, which seems to stop a the clinging to pleasant sensations and emotions that arise from pleasant sensations.  As seen on AF website.


http://actualfreedom.com.au/library/topics/delight.htm

It is more like arguing over material a tower should be made out of so that it will actually stand.


And so castles made of sand, fall in the sea, eventually.  Jimi Hendrix

Mostly I am just posting to point out that AF seems to fall short , since it seems to stop at the clinging to Pleasant emotional states.  Reveling in the delight, amazement , and wonder of the sensuous experience.  While this is nice, and perhaps even beneficial to train oneself in this fashion.  To call up wholesome states, or PCE, at will is indeed a most beneficial skill to be developed and has great benefit in the purification of the mind.  But, by no means would this be the end game.


This link here sounds more in line with liberation, 

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

Psi

But, from what I have studied, this has been often repeated, i.e. Not new under the Sunshine.


Edit, so which is it?  Is it that my little brain has little understanding of AF, or is AF transmitting two different and somewhat conflicting views?

Is there Emotions, or not?  There is no Me, but there is a Me flesh and blood body...  I think most people in and out of AF find confusion there.  But, maybe they would not admit it.


RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 8:32 PM as a reply to Doughnut (Supreme Arbiter of Peace and Concord) Glazer.
Doughnut Glazer:

Kinda sounds like it would only work if every single person did it, otherwise would those who did it be then the victims of those who didn't?


This is correct, that's why Richard consistently states that it's "selfish to stay". (He says that in a DVD preview on the Actual Freedom Trust website)
OK interesting! 
Yet Richard did not get a reputation for benevolent kindness..


Yes he comes across as very belligerent and dense (thick, dull, etc.)

This is primarily because he constantly tries to use dictionaries as the arbiter of what a word means, as opposed to using common sense and context clues, which is what most people do automatically.
OK, interesting again. 


Same things goes the other way, if you have not experienced nondualism, then you can't really understand what it entails.


This is implying that I don't understand nondualism, and is thus a loaded statement (there is an implicit assumption within the statement).
Yes, vague statements like that are easy to misinterpret.  In this case, I was specifically thinking about Actualists that say that their way is better than nondualism but have not experiences nondualism.  Hence the problem with comparing, and as I mentioned, it works the other way too.
-Eva 



RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 10:28 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Bill F.:

If you call incorrectly often, I think it dilutes others' perception of your own integrity.  (not to mention that it's also mean!) 
Yes very much to all this! Thank you. And being mean is definitely not good, or my intention. If I hurt your feelings, and it was in a way I could have acted more appropriately, I apologize.
No worries, not me, I am not very reactive anymore so it doesn't happen often, but sometimes I feel sorry for other people whose butt kicking may seem a bit overly harsh.  ;-P  Like probably everybody else, one's strength also tends to be one's weakness.  
-Eva 

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/14/15 11:55 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi, a lot of these issues are asked and answered on the AF site so I will provide you with some links and the recommendation that if you are interested in clarifying these things to read more on your own. I don't really want to have a discussion where I am just pointing out areas of the AF site that you have overlooked, but as you seem to have misconceptions about what actualism and actual freedom are stated to be I will just point them out.

Those are all emotions, including the actualism solution. Kind of an non-goal , to feel happy and harmless, yet emotionless.  Happiness is an emotion.  That is just nonsense, sorry it is either illogical, spiritual bypassing, denial or delusion.  It can not be true, to be happy and emotionless, unless being happy is not an emotion?
Happiness and harmlessness are the emotions which most closely imitate the state of being free of emotion so they are the path to emotionless. The goal is not to be 'happy and emotionless' the goal is to be emotionless (more accurately being-less) and the path is to be happy.

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/selectedcorrespondence/sc-happy.htm
The above statement may be true, that is why most pick a path that goes far beyonfd the result of Actualism, which seems to stop a the clinging to pleasant sensations and emotions that arise from pleasant sensations.  As seen on AF website.

No clinging to pleasant feelings is eliminated by the actualism process... see the following:

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/selectedcorrespondence/sc-sex.htm

Is there Emotions, or not?

For an actually free person definitely not.

There is no Me, but there is a Me flesh and blood body...

For an actually free person there is no experience of being an alien entity inhabiting a body, there is just the body in and of itself.

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/15/15 4:27 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
Hi Adam and Bill,

I think the main disagreement is whether painful emotions really feel bad or not.  This might actually be a deeper rabbit hole than it seems on both sides and worth exploring.  For example, Bill, if you really can experience anxiety, fear, sadness, anger, grief, etc without suffering, it would be worthwhile to try to convey how that's actually possible to someone who doesn't think it is.  Adam, you are probably in a better position to debate Bill on this than I am since we have a negative history.

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/15/15 7:07 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:
Psi, a lot of these issues are asked and answered on the AF site so I will provide you with some links and the recommendation that if you are interested in clarifying these things to read more on your own. I don't really want to have a discussion where I am just pointing out areas of the AF site that you have overlooked, but as you seem to have misconceptions about what actualism and actual freedom are stated to be I will just point them out.
Oh, funny,  emoticon, I had thought I was pointing out your misconceptions of AF, by providing links to the AF site, that you seem to have overlooked.
Earlier you posted:  
But the actualism solution is to feel happy and harmless - that's it.   That is simply the entire core solution to this and every problem.
Happiness and harmlessness are the emotions which most closely imitate the state of being free of emotion so they are the path to emotionless. The goal is not to be 'happy and emotionless' the goal is to be emotionless (more accurately being-less) and the path is to be happy.

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/selectedcorrespondence/sc-happy.htm

No clinging to pleasant feelings is eliminated by the actualism process... see the following:

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/selectedcorrespondence/sc-sex.htm


No cling to pleasant feelings, yet they are described, 

As reveling in wonder, delicious, etc.
 :
So, this is not emotionless, just not feelings per se.  This may not be clinging, yet there sure is alot of amazement and wonder left for the mundane worldy things, i.e. enchantment.  I am not saying this is bad or anything, it is nice for the mind to enjoy aesthetic beauty, better than a sharp stick in the eye.  But, enjoyment and wonder is an emotion.

Aesthetics is also not something new under the sun.  And , indeed, marvelling at nature can lead to the dropping of the self concept.



Is there Emotions, or not?

For an actually free person definitely not.

If there are no emotions experienced, then what are these called? Delight, felicity, amazement, fun, delicious wonder, charm of life, sensuously caressing eyes.  These are all emotional reactional states by definition.  These are not descriptions of pleasant sensations, but rather seem to be descriptions of emotions that are a reaction to pleasant sensations.

Perhaps, what you read as my confusion is not my confusion at all, 
Perhaps, I am just a mirror, upon which is reflected, what is seen in a mirror.

For an actually free person there is no experience of being an alien entity inhabiting a body, there is just the body in and of itself.
This may seem to be true on the surface, but the body is not aware of anything, it is a lump of flesh and bones, nerve endings, and whatnot, which carries out its functions whether anyone is aware of them or not, in an impersonal fashion.  

And, there is no I am this, for that again supposes an alien entity belief, which is denied earleir, yet stated again as a belief.  Maybe it is a Freudian Slip, a lingering belief.  Or , maybe it is just the flaws and poverties inherent in conventional language.

The mind, it seems to me anyway, does the same type of impersonal process, with mental formations.

 So, I would agree, there is no alien entity inhabiting a body. Anatta.  


Psi

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/15/15 8:26 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
No worries, not me, I am not very reactive anymore so it doesn't happen often, but sometimes I feel sorry for other people whose butt kicking may seem a bit overly harsh. 

Yikes. Interesting. I think I've tried to be very direct in my criticism as I imagine that's the best way to get a direct response, and much of it is theatrical and provocation to some extent. But I imagine if you see it that way, others have felt that way as well. I will delete any potentially inflammatory comments I have posted on this website (I'm off work today so I have the time).

Edit: After a few minutes it occurs that this is too big of a project, at least for today, and I stop. If some remarks were left I am not saying that I don't see them as inflammatory.

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/15/15 10:53 AM as a reply to Psi.
If there are no emotions experienced, then what are these called? Delight, felicity, amazement, fun, delicious wonder, charm of life, sensuously caressing eyes.  These are all emotional reactional states by definition.  These are not descriptions of pleasant sensations, but rather seem to be descriptions of emotions that are a reaction to pleasant sensations.

Ok this seems to be the essential issue here. I think you are incorrect because on the AFT site all those states are either eliminated in actual freedom (felicity, amazement) or are unconditional and continuous states that are not reaction (fun, felicity, delicious wonder, charm of life, sensuously caressing eyes).

If something is unconditional it is not reactive and thus not emotion.
Perhaps, what you read as my confusion is not my confusion at all, 
Perhaps, I am just a mirror, upon which is reflected, what is seen in a mirror.
nawwwwwwww mane
This may seem to be true on the surface, but the body is not aware of anything, it is a lump of flesh and bones, nerve endings, and whatnot, which carries out its functions whether anyone is aware of them or not, in an impersonal fashion.  
I pretty much agree, except that the nerve endings are aware and sensitive. You don't need an identity reacting to and interpreting sense data for there to be consciousness of sense data. As Richard says sometimes "I am these sensations" rather than how he was with an identity "I am experiencing these sensations."

This is something I have experienced where there is basically just the sensations and no reactions to them (on an emotional level) only reactions to them on a physical level (sleeping when tired, eating when hungry, working when moneyless).

I wonder if this sort of conversation can really get anywhere... maybe we are defining our words differently and maybe we both need to have had the same experience (PCE) and to have seen it the same way for us to have a basis of discussion. I am ready to discontinue this conversation if you are to be totally honest. I just don't know if we are getting anywhere!

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/15/15 11:00 AM as a reply to Bill F..
Yikes. Interesting. I think I've tried to be very direct in my criticism as I imagine that's the best way to get a direct response, and much of it is theatrical and provocation to some extent. But I imagine if you see it that way, others have felt that way as well. I will delete any potentially inflammatory comments I have posted on this website (I'm off work today so I have the time).

Personally, I don't think it is really that bad to be harsh. For me the thought occurs that if I am affected by what people say why am I nursing and maintaining those feelings? I was somewhat affected by the conversation but looking back on the experience it was not really harmful in the long run as it allowed me to get a look at my feelings of pride. For me you have total permission to be harsh if you so desire. That said if your harshness happened to be absurd or irrelevant (it wasn't) I probably would end up not responding or just not taking it at all seriously.

I like directness over softness... I often shoot for that in my life and fall short, tending to please people instead of being honest.

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/15/15 11:42 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
Personally, I don't think it is really that bad to be harsh. For me the thought occurs that if I am affected by what people say why am I nursing and maintaining those feelings?

While I understand this and feel the same way I guess the problem becomes that not everyone is there. This is the way I was taught by those that have been of the most benefit but I guess the danger is generalizing one's preferred method of learning, which we all do to some extent.

I was somewhat affected by the conversation but looking back on the experience it was not really harmful in the long run as it allowed me to get a look at my feelings of pride. For me you have total permission to be harsh if you so desire. That said if your harshness happened to be absurd or irrelevant (it wasn't) I probably would end up not responding or just not taking it at all seriously.


I like directness over softness... I often shoot for that in my life and fall short, tending to please people instead of being honest.

Yes, most of these conflicts generally end with people saying they gained something, and I gain something as well. I did not include it (because I was too caught up in my criticism) but some of the stuff you wrote was really dope, and I've been incorporating it over the last couple days, in a way that is beneficial, so thank you.

The problem is directness in real life (which is my traditional communication style) can be coupled with tone of voice, or a smile, or body language that implies a less agressive stance than may be perceived if one is simply reading the words of another. And I don't yet know how to skillfully navigate those waters (direct/criticial/kind) on a message board where people can't see my face or hear my voice to understand my internal experience.

The other issue is for all those people who say they gained something, or who, like you or me, find a direct style beneficial, there are probably just some people who aren't ready for that, and just get their feelings hurt and it's not an experience they are able to incoporate in a way that benefits them. I have no way of knowing about these people because they simply retreat. Whatever I might have to add of value does not currently seem worth the risk of someone feeling devalued as a person, which is the opposite of anything I've ever intended, so to that end I am withdrawing my participation on this message board for the time being. If anyone wants to find me I'll be at the Actual Freedom yahoo forum.

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/15/15 11:49 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:

Ok this seems to be the essential issue here. I think you are incorrect because on the AFT site all those states are either eliminated in actual freedom (felicity, amazement) or are unconditional and continuous states that are not reaction (fun, felicity, delicious wonder, charm of life, sensuously caressing eyes).

If something is unconditional it is not reactive and thus not emotion.


Well, either they are eliminated or are unconditional and continuous states, So which is it?  It is not eliminated because it is on the AF website describing Actual Freedom in the Precis of Actual Freedom.  

So then felicity, fun, amazement, delicous wonder, etc.  , if they are unconditional, then they are not emotions.   And, they are not reactions.
Well, if it is continuous and ongoing then a a person with Actual Freedom , if they had a turd in their hands, they would have no reaction, but be in a continuous state of fun, felicity, and amazement, just the same as if they has a giant lollipop in their hands.  Truly Fascinating!!  Emotions, without actually having emotions !!


I pretty much agree, except that the nerve endings are aware and sensitive. You don't need an identity reacting to and interpreting sense data for there to be consciousness of sense data. As Richard says sometimes "I am these sensations" rather than how he was with an identity "I am experiencing these sensations."

This is something I have experienced where there is basically just the sensations and no reactions to them (on an emotional level) only reactions to them on a physical level (sleeping when tired, eating when hungry, working when moneyless).

I wonder if this sort of conversation can really get anywhere... maybe we are defining our words differently and maybe we both need to have had the same experience (PCE) and to have seen it the same way for us to have a basis of discussion. I am ready to discontinue this conversation if you are to be totally honest. I just don't know if we are getting anywhere!
No, nerve endings are not aware and senstive.  For example, as a child, I watched as my Great Aunt fried up some frog legs, and they jumped about in the pan.  This was a reaction of the nerve endings to the heat.  But they were not aware of anything, just signals sent to the muscle fibers.

Experience of just the sensations with no reactions to them!!!   Yay!!!  That is Bare Attention!!  Pure Mindfulness!!!  That is awesome!!!  PCE!!!  That is a huge step forward, but from my view there is more to be done than just that one thing.

To practice being happy and harmless.

To practice arousing and maintaining Wholesome States, and to practice Morality.  Awesome!!!  Two more for AF.  

AF, if understood correctly does include Right Mindfulness, Right Morality, and Right Effort.  I am not sure how deep AF goes into this, and how correctly it is understood internally, but there are definietly some parallels between Buddhism as a Practice and AF as a Practice, regardless of the 180 degree Meme that is thrown around out there.  Oh, and the AF is different from every other thing imaginable Meme.  That is just Ego Formation Baloney.  Unrecognized Shadow Baloney , though it may be.

The most important thing is to keep what is Pragmatic, keep what works, keep it working and evolving, keep pioneering, and abandon all of the Tribal Instinctual Baggage that the Ego likes to attach to concepts like AF, Buddhism, and Nuddhism.

PCE out, and PCE on, emoticon

Psi

Nuddhism, just seeing if anyone was paying attention.  Nuddhism is spiritual practice stripped bare of any labelling , conceptual clinging, and Dogmatism.  Ooops, somebody already took the word after a quick Googling!  Oh, well.  Hey, no Goggling !!

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/15/15 1:39 PM as a reply to Bill F..


Edit: After a few minutes it occurs that this is too big of a project, at least for today, and I stop. If some remarks were left I am not saying that I don't see them as inflammatory.


I would not suggest that personally.  What was said was already read and processed by others and there are 2 sides to every coin, I would guess they learned things from what you told them, although maybe not always the things they thought they wanted to learn in that moment, and I actually do respect directness, believe me.  I respect it a lot.  But I think you could probably accomplish a lot more good with that same time moving forward instead of rewriting the past.  I have said tons and tons of things in the past that I would not say now as well, probably most of us have.  And I might guess that in the future, I will say things differently then I say them now.  Maybe your response here is a good example of how powerful a very direct statement can be to people, certainly your response was a lot more intense than I had expected or even than I would suggest personally.  I think it was meant more along the lines of something I often have to remind myself of in that just because I know or think I know something, does not always mean it is ideal to say it out loud in every situation.  Its easier for me in writing to do that less, because there is more time to consider, but in face to face, I am known to say rather direct things often and in face to face, it's a lot easier for me to sense the sometimes unintended strong impact when I do that.  So I guess what I am saying is that I suspect many people are sensitive flowers more than you might suspect.  
-Eva   

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/15/15 1:53 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
Hi Adam and Bill,

I think the main disagreement is whether painful emotions really feel bad or not.  This might actually be a deeper rabbit hole than it seems on both sides and worth exploring.  For example, Bill, if you really can experience anxiety, fear, sadness, anger, grief, etc without suffering, it would be worthwhile to try to convey how that's actually possible to someone who doesn't think it is.  Adam, you are probably in a better position to debate Bill on this than I am since we have a negative history.

Yes, I think that issue plus also, which experiences should be defined as 'emotions' and which not.  But for the suffering without suffering, I would say that nondualism is how you can experience those things but yet not suffer.  People have been trying to describe nondualism for thousands of years to those who have not experienced it and success has been limited.  And I am not saying this thing I am about to say does describe it exactly either.  But as an example, suppose you watched on youtube, a video of a cute little angry kitty, smacking it's angry paws on the face of a bewildered big old goofy dog, such a video is often enjoyed by many a viewer including me.  From your perspective, you see the immature spoiled kitty was angry about nothing important, the dog lived to tell the tale, etc.  It's cute!  But to the kitty, I am sure it was no laughing matter!  Interpretation is about perspective.  Now suppose you were able to have both the perspective of the kitty AND the perspective of the youtube viewer at the same time, then what would you feel?
-Eva 

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/15/15 2:06 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:


If something is unconditional it is not reactive and thus not emotion.

Ok, maybe some progress in understanding?  You are defining emotions as being reactive, if they are not reactive, they are not defined as emotions?  If I have this right, then what you define as not emotions, others are could define as nonreactive emotions. 

This may seem to be true on the surface, but the body is not aware of anything, it is a lump of flesh and bones, nerve endings, and whatnot, which carries out its functions whether anyone is aware of them or not, in an impersonal fashion.  
Another can of worms, do we know for sure what consciousness the body has?  I only know that I don't seem to have much communication with it consciously.  Simple sensations of pain or pleasure do not give much information.  If I have a broken bone, I might feel only pain, but an xray would be needed to even learn the actual problem!  Yet the body may already be healing, why does my conscious mind not have access to that knowledge?  One could assume the body is an automaton that does not know either, or one could assume that it knows but I don't get that information consciously.   
-Eva


RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/15/15 2:12 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:


I like directness over softness... I often shoot for that in my life and fall short, tending to please people instead of being honest.

For myself, where I am right now, I would tend to agree as well.  The thing I wanted to say was that is not the case for everyone, or even me long ago.  On the internet it's harder because we have less clues to understanding the people we are talking with.  For Bill, since he said he liked to be direct, I felt more free being very direct with him, but afterwards, I was a bit surprised and dismayed that he took it that strongly!
-Eva 

RE: Conversation with Bill about humanity
Answer
6/15/15 2:27 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:


Experience of just the sensations with no reactions to them!!!   Yay!!!  That is Bare Attention!!  Pure Mindfulness!!!  That is awesome!!!  PCE!!!  That is a huge step forward, but from my view there is more to be done than just that one thing.
So this is the definition of PCE?  I have not seen one written down anywhere. 

To practice being happy and harmless.

To practice arousing and maintaining Wholesome States, and to practice Morality.  Awesome!!!  Two more for AF.
Perhaps just with different easier terminology that the average person can understand without thinking too hard.  Buddhism could take some lessons.  ;-P  
, but there are definietly some parallels between Buddhism as a Practice and AF as a Practice, regardless of the 180 degree Meme that is thrown around out there.  Oh, and the AF is different from every other thing imaginable Meme.  That is just Ego Formation Baloney.  Unrecognized Shadow Baloney , though it may be.
Makes sense given all the philosophers over the centuries and given the thousands of years of monstrous diversity that has developed in Buddhism, I think it's unlikely that an entirely completely new set is of ideas were out there that had never ever been ever thought of before. 
The most important thing is to keep what is Pragmatic, keep what works, keep it working and evolving, keep pioneering, and abandon all of the Tribal Instinctual Baggage that the Ego likes to attach to concepts like AF, Buddhism, and Nuddhism.
Yep, tribalism, we humans do so much seem attached to it!  (Because my tribe is newer, older, better, smarter, faster, bigger, smaller, richer, more artisanal, dresses better, has cooler holidays and an older old tome, and has a better jade statue and gong than YOUR tribe does!)
-Eva


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