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Noah's Journal
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7/24/15 12:22 PM
Noah's Journal

Technical 4th path seems to have occurred for me on Saturday, July 18th, 2015.  Although I will continue to check in with my teacher to help further confirm this diagnosis, there is a palpable sense of certainty and peace that I can continuously feel in my body that seems to be evidence enough.  Everything is in crystalline, high-definition.  Everything seems very real and sold and final, yet simultaneously, is deeply felt to be ephemeral and illusory.  Put simply, there has been a wonderful and dramatic decrease in suffering.

My goal now is to step even further outside of myself.  I continue to have emotional agitation and anxious thinking, as linked to my seeming bipolar disorder.  I want to see how far I can take the contemplative process.  Can I eliminate bipolar symptoms once and for all?  If not, can I make it so they never, ever stop me from accomplishing a task or reaching my highest potential?  If so, what type of practice will lead me in this direction?

These are my koans or 'open questions,' as I begin this new phase in my practice career.  I have found that consistent posting in a practice log provides a wonderful source of structure that would otherwise be missing.  Commentary and discussion from others (of any and all types) is welcome!


(to be edited)

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/24/15 12:45 PM as a reply to Noah.
What are my principles, guidelines, methods, etc?

-objective investigation
-breaking rules/patterns/assumptions/beliefs
-dismantling the social identity
-deeply feeling instincts/passions/raw emotions/fight-or-flight reactions
-enjoying and appreciating both the content of the moment, and the fact of perceiving/being alive
-becoming happier, more naive/innocent, more harmless, playful, and legitimately kind
-not belonging to, or identifying with, any specific group or contemplative method
-not being attached to word choice, textual communication, or any specific vocabulary
-being free from all expectation

Note on vocabulary and goals:

          It should be noted that I very much enjoy reading the materials on the Actual Freedom Trust website, and do believe that the attainment of Actual Freedom is possible and that it is a discrete from the attainment of technical 4th path or any further results of contemplation with Buddhist/spiritual views and expectations.  It is possible that some undoing of certain views may be necessary for me to make progress towards my goal of being totally free from bipolar disorder.  The Actualism method seems to be most skillful towards this end, at this time.
          That being said, I see a huge value in traditional, established, contemplatiive methods.  I also enjoy using vocabulary and concepts from Buddhism, Raja Yoga, and other ancient systems.  My goal is to remain free of a feeling of needing to align with any one particular tradition, conceptual paradigm, or lexicon.

Note on disagreeing with me:

         It is not my intention to anger or annoy anyone.  I am willing to question my views, if anyone has points to make where they perceive me truly misunderstandng something in a way that will make my practice less effective.  Basically though, I am not going to hold back from using this log as a space to voice my true opinions and actually work towards my goal.

(to be edited)

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/25/15 12:20 PM as a reply to Noah.
Vocab List:

I will keep this page as a space for me to keep track of new terms, particularly Actualist ones, that seem to be relevant to my practice or understanding in some way.  The terms will remain unordered, for now.  Some definitions will be exact quotes of the original source, whereas others will be paraphrased or changed in some way to best suit my personal understanding.

-Calenture: The delirious passion needed to manifest the delusion that there is a god, and the individual is that god or is linked to that god.  Originally used to refer to a hallucinatory fever experienced by sailor's who would see the sea as a green field, and jump into it.
-Attentiveness: Continuous self-awareness of how emotions are 'running the show', 'making one tick', etc.  Ideally leads to seeing how the emotion is preventing one from enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive, and therefore, its inherent silliness and ultimate avoidability.  It is the opposite of denying or repressing an emotion.

(to be edited)

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/25/15 11:40 AM as a reply to Noah.
7/24

-I feel social pressure to not be a bum, to not sit in bed all day.  Beneath this, there is fear; fear that I will not be able to get a job with my degree; fear that I will run out of money; fear for my physical health because I have an unhealthy diet (as in, a food addiction, perhaps).  When I notice these things for what they are (influence from the 'real' world, and not the 'actual' world), I feel more inclined to naively enjoy and appreciate the moment.  The thoughts "be cool", "its okay", and "travel lighter", help me get further iinto this.  

I am able to do it, to enjoy and appreciate.  It feels good, calm, pleasant, and patient.  It is important not to try to push the enjoyment too far, not to focus too much on 'sensuousness', for that would be tied in with aggressiona and impatience.

-There is narcissism, self-centerdness, self-focus.  And then there is focusing out, being in the world, forgetting my story, being unaware of all the fine detail I have crafted.  It feels good to drop this intensity.

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/25/15 12:35 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/25

-I have (or am) feelings of anxiety, dn vibes in the body, a certain, pervasive, tense stickiness and annoyance.  The felicitous feelings are light and carefree (http://actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/frequentquestions/FAQ63a.htm).  Now, I have trouble investigating these emotions.  It only creates further annoyance and seems pointless.  I can feel the whole effort, the whole weight of it, as the identity.  Its fairly, immediately obvious.  Despite this difficulty, I can get to felicitous feelings if I decide not to care, to drop the effort, in the moment, and just be me, as I am, as an average human being.   

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/27/15 11:06 AM as a reply to Noah.
7/27

-So, I've moved to Seattle from the East Coast, which is exciting.  Today is my first full day here, sitting in a coffee shop to supplement my current lack of wifi.

Lots of interesting thoughts about Actualism on the plane ride.  I am trying to understand it and teach it to myself.  This method was really effective for me in getting technical 4th.  When I fully understand something, it allows me to throw mysef into it with reckless abandon:

Btw, I am not truly sure where exactly Actualism ends and sila training begins, for me.  HAIETMOBA seems to be a reconditioning (enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive) and deconditioning (exploring fight-or-flight as it manifests through the social and animal identities) dual-process.  These processes are inherently intertwined.  Also, the animal and social identities are definitely subtly intertwined.  The whole thing is fairly complex and nuanced.

Actualism isn't a purely meditative-perceptual practice.  It doesn't involve seeing pure sensuousness all the time.  As Richard says (paraphrased), to enjoy the moment completely un-linked to actual activities (the content of our experience) is to build on quicksand.  It is both conditional and unconditional.  Meaning, the fact that I am alive is cool, all the time, any time.  But also, this notion is intertwined with the logical, reasonable enjoyment of nice activities, situations, people, etc.

You can't force the mind to AF the same way you can force it to see the 3 C's in everything: by altering perception on that level alone.  Rather, you have to get to VF (Virtual Freedom) by actually changing who you are as a person (beliefs, philosophies, thought-emotion patterns, possibly behavioral habits, etc.).  Then, from VF, there is some simple surrender of the last ties to the feeling-being that must occur.

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/27/15 5:48 PM as a reply to Noah.
That last post is good.

If you'd like a jumpstart - or something to "do" - try spending a little time changing your thoughts to positive things.  What seems to happen for me is this cancles out ruminations and then the mind is free to enjoy the moment without any effort placed on it.  So, as an example, if you're worried about the moving process at all, you could take each problem and see it being solved.  This even works on the, "I feel crappy now, and I need to change it!" feeling.  If you aren't enjoying what's happening, you don't have to force it, you can just change your thoughts about it to, "I will feel better soon, nothing to worry about."

Good luck with everything!  I hope you can find what you'e looking for. emoticon

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/28/15 12:48 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Thanks Not Tao! I am finally in a position to practice some of these ideas. Ill def be going back to check some of your responses to me out. I am glad to hear about ur recent shift, but saddened to see you go. Best of luck to you as well.

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/28/15 11:49 AM as a reply to Noah.
I don't think we can let Not Tao sneak off!  Gotta check in once in a while to keep us updated.  ;-P  Anyway, love reading this thread, what you two do is fairly similar to how I approach it as well.  Quite some time back, I think I finally realized I was not stuck with my self as it was, that instead I could probably change it bit by bit in the directions of my choosing and so I have worked on that for some time.  (I would train myself just as a dog trainer trains a dog.  ;-P)  I have heard some here say that using thought to control thought does not get rid of thought (something to that effect), but alternatively I have read some gurus said that if you are still in illusion, then you must use illusion to get rid of illusion.  I think that latter describes it fairly well.  From a practical perspective, what I've found by slowly peeling through the layers of how my mind works is that by sorting out internal conflicts and bad habits, that seems to yield a much quieter mind day to day.  It's like it's all those unsetttled, unsorted aspects of myself that are chattering away all the time, by satsifying or sorting those out, first by understanding them better and then by nudging them in more calm and stable directions, they stop being the nail that sticks up and is in the way all day.  The useless chatter from that direction settles down once 'satisfied' or sorted out.  I don't need to try to force the silence as much with concentration meditation because there is less resistance to peace in the first place and if needed, concentration comes more easily.  In times when I am in disarray, those times stick out much more now since they are less common.  They get my attention and I am much better at noticing and then drilling down with my awareness into them to understand better.  Once the issue is really probed enough times, it tends tends to just float apart and become insubstantial, the force that was holding it there becomes gone.  Of course, I had a LOT of issues, so it has taken me a while to work on so many LOL! 
-Eva 

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/28/15 2:07 PM as a reply to Noah.
Hi Noah,

Since you wrote that "I am willing to question my views, if anyone has points to make where they perceive me truly misunderstandng something in a way that will make my practice less effective.", I thought I'd chip in and comment on some of your points regarding actualism. Note that my comments are specifically regarding what actualism is and isn't. To the degree that your goals are in line with actualism, that is the degree that these will be useful.

*
Noah:
Btw, I am not truly sure where exactly Actualism ends and sila training begins, for me.
Can you clarify what you mean by this? You wrote that among your goals are:
Noah:
-enjoying and appreciating both the content of the moment, and the fact of perceiving/being alive
-becoming happier, more naive/innocent, more harmless, playful, and legitimately kind
This is indeed quite in-line with actualism as that is the whole point of actualism (continuously enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive). However, "sila training" doesn't fit in, here. It presumably refers to training in morality or right conduct. But that is quite the opposite direction of actualism - or, perhaps more relevantly for you, it will lead away from enjoying and appreciating, becoming happier, more naive/innocent, especially more harmless, etc. Indeed part of "dismantling the social identity" (another one of your stated goals) is dismantling societal mores and ethics. This quote from Peter may be relevant:
Peter:
The ancient social and religious distinctions of what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad form the very basis of one’s social identity – instilled upon one in order to make one a fit member of society. Unless one has the courage to dismantle one’s social identity by a process of thoroughly investigating the validity and sensibleness of these morals one cannot proceed further to eliminate one’s biological heritage of instinctual passions.
Once I got rid of the instilled morals that made me ignore the signs of unwanted feelings and emotions, a whole other side of ‘me’ became evident. Malice tops the list, with being sad second. ‘Don’t do that, stop it’ drilled in as a child, runs very deep. ‘Don’t mope around looking miserable’ is another.
Simply by breaking free of these moral and ethical barriers one is then able to have a clear-eyed look at one’s very psyche ‘in operation’ and that very investigation, if conducted with gusto and sincere intent, is the ending of ‘me’.
The prize for doing so is peace on earth. [link]
Note well that this doesn't mean that actualism is about or will lead to behaving immorally:
Richard:
[...] what is promoted and/or promulgated on the web site is enjoying and appreciating being alive/ being here each moment again – that is, despite the normal vicissitudes of life – by establishing a general feeling of well-being (a.k.a. ‘feeling good’), as a bottom line of experiencing and, thereby, all the while agreeably complying with the legal laws and observing the social protocols (i.e., the many and various customs, traditions, conventions, values, principles, morals, ethics, codes, observances, etiquettes, niceties, formalities, ceremonies, rituals, and so on, as observed in many and various ways in the many and various countries around the world). [link]
So the answer, if your goal is the ongoing enjoyment and appreciation of being alive, is that Actualism ends nowhere and sila training not only doesn't even get to begin anywhere, but sila itself will be actively dismantled.

*
Noah:
HAIETMOBA seems to be a reconditioning (enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive) and deconditioning (exploring fight-or-flight as it manifests through the social and animal identities) dual-process. These processes are inherently intertwined. Also, the animal and social identities are definitely subtly intertwined. The whole thing is fairly complex and nuanced.
This seems a reasonable-enough way to categorize actualism. The process of conditioning yourself to enjoy and appreciate instead of what you've been conditioned all your life to do (namely, to not enjoy and appreciate).

*
Noah:
Actualism isn't a purely meditative-perceptual practice.
It's not just that it isn't a "purely" meditative-perceptual practice - it's not a meditative-perceptual practice at all! Which of your readings about actualism led you to believe that it is even partly a meditative-perceptual practice (as in links and quotes)? I'm not asking only rhetorically, I am actually curious as maybe it's something I can help clear up.

To re-iterate, the actualism method *is* the ongoing enjoyment and appreciation of this moment of being alive (it is that enjoyment and appreciation itself). And the way to do that isn't via a meditative or perceptual practice, but rather by figuring out whatever is taking away from enjoying and appreciating and seeing it for the silliness that it is. 
Noah:
[Actualism isn't a purely meditative-perceptual practice.] It doesn't involve seeing pure sensuousness all the time.
Hmm... I may see now why you consider it partly meditative-perceptual. On the Yahoo group you wrote "Thanks for the correction on my understanding of sensuousness." (#20137), but apparently your understanding wasn't corrected at all. Here's what I wrote in #20135:
Claudiu:
Noah:
I think I have experienced 'sensuousness' before. I would describe it as a temporary hyper knowing when belief and filters that normally assert themselves in the perception process are laid to the side. Does that sound right?
Not quite. Sensuousness is not a hyper-knowing, and it's not about "seeing clearly" or being more perceptive per se. Rather, it's an engaged *enjoyment* of the senses. For example (emphasis mine):
Richard:
Yes, sensuousness is *the wondrous awareness of the marvel of being here now at this moment in time and this place in space* – which awareness is combined with the fascination of contemplating that this moment is one’s only moment of being alive – and one is never alive at any other time than now. And, wherever one is ... now ... one is always here ... now ... even if one starts walking over to ‘there’ ... now ... along the way to ‘there’ ... now ... one is always here ... now ... and when one arrives ‘there’ ... now ... it too is here ... now. Thus awareness is an attraction to the fact that one is always here – and it is already now – and as one is already here and it is always now then one has arrived before one starts. [...] The potent combination of awareness – fascinated reflective contemplation – and sensuousness produces apperception [...]
http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/selectedcorrespondence/sc-sensuous.htm
Note how sensuousness is the wondrous awareness of the *marvel* of being here now - it's not about having unfiltered perception.
[snip rest of email]
So I'm not sure how you could "see pure sensuousness all the time" when sensuousness is an awareness of the marvel of being here all the time. Maybe this time around the corrected understanding will stick? I mean that sincerely - I've found repetition to be really helpful. Reading the same thing over and over, eventually I understand something new on the nth read-through - or something strikes me the right way and I finally start applying it instead of having just read about it.

*
Noah:
As Richard says (paraphrased), to enjoy the moment completely un-linked to actual activities (the content of our experience) is to build on quicksand.
Actually, that quote said the opposite thing. Here it is in context:
Richard:
Respondent:
What am I getting at? The real question in my mind is, could it be that this living in the actual sensate world that you experience is brought about by living a creative life – following your bliss, as they say.
No, to base one’s well-being upon pleasurable activities is to build upon quicksand. The happy and harmless attributes of actual freedom are uncaused ... and therefore free. [...] [link]
That being said ...
Noah:
[As Richard says (paraphrased), to enjoy the moment completely un-linked to actual activities (the content of our experience) is to build on quicksand.]It is both conditional and unconditional. Meaning, the fact that I am alive is cool, all the time, any time. But also, this notion is intertwined with the logical, reasonable enjoyment of nice activities, situations, people, etc.
That is certainly sensible. It makes sense to enjoy conditional things as they come. And I don't see a problem with rearranging conditional things to make it easier to enjoy (e.g. I'm considering moving because I think I'll be happier elsewhere). But it doesn't make sense to rest the foundation of one's happiness on conditional things (that's what Richard was getting at).

*
Noah:
You can't force the mind to AF the same way you can force it to see the 3 C's in everything: by altering perception on that level alone. Rather, you have to get to VF (Virtual Freedom) by actually changing who you are as a person (beliefs, philosophies, thought-emotion patterns, possibly behavioral habits, etc.). Then, from VF, there is some simple surrender of the last ties to the feeling-being that must occur.
Right, that's because actual freedom isn't a perceptual shift at all. It does *result* in perception changing, but that's a side-effect. To attempt to mimic the result via meditative-perceptual means is definitely to fail to become actually free, probably to fail to become happy and harmless, and perhaps even to enter a dissociative altered state of consciousness (like what happened to what Richard calls "the affers"). I'm not just being alarmist here, it is a real danger. Tommy is a good example of this and I'm glad he wrote the following post as a warning to others:
Tommy:
Contrary to my previous claims, I do indeed still experience affective emotion; in the last four or five weeks, I had been lower than I can recall at any time in my life and actually ended up hospitalized with chest pains brought about by the stress of my current situation. I’ve also acted in less-than-skilful ways and hurt people, deliberately cut off communication with everyone around me and isolated myself...and I haven't even started trying to rebuild some of those bridges. I became bitter, resentful and angry with the world, saddened by the pain around me and within me, wishing I could just shut the whole thing down and start again.
[...]
As I’ve contemplated what’s gone on over the last four to six months of my life, it’s occurred to me that I used the whole AF/no affective emotion idea as a way to avoid facing up to the stressful and genuinely difficult situation I found myself in. Not that I didn’t pursue that outcome with complete sincerity, but my overwhelming desire to not have to feel the way I did led to me deluding myself and, through strong intent, creating a reality-tunnel for myself where I basically stopped registering emotions…temporarily. The mistake was entirely my own fault, no one else could possibly be blamed and I’ve suffered for it by my own hand [...] [link]
*
Also, about:
Noah:
Then, from VF, there is some simple surrender of the last ties to the feeling-being that must occur.
It's not quite that. It's not that the feeling-being is something you are tied to which you must surrender. The result of that would be that 'you' split into two parts: 'the surrenderer' and what you call 'the feeling-being' (though really it's all the feeling-being), and former part would end
up suppressing/repressing the latter part. Really you *are* a feeling-being, and you in your entirety must go in order to become actually free.

*
Cheers,
Claudiu

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/28/15 2:18 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Thanks Claudiu!

Okay, here's a few initial thoughts, still working through your responses.
 
-First off, I'm happy some of what I wrote seemed aligned with Actualism (most notably that re- and de-conditioning).  

-Secondly, I would say I'm starting to see that there is no primary meditative-perceptual component, however, sometimes, tuning into a beautiful sight or sound or even the quality of perception itself can be instrumental to the final goal of enjoying and appreciating. 

-Thirdly, yes, repitition is helping, regarding the understanding of sensuousness; it is just conventional, every-day, sober marvelling at this awesomeness that is life!  (And not some acid-trip-type appreciation of the grains of wood on the table and the fact that fingernails exist-- lol)

-My bad for misquoting Richard.  But yeah, I think I'm really starting to develop a real understanding of the kind of change that is necessary.  You can't just take that meditative (not registering emotions) route.  Because something will flare up eventually.  So before the deep-down, weak, sore-spots flare up, you have to dig them up and see them for what they are, and then remember what it feels like to just have fun, and eventually make a decision between them emoticon 

Edit: About the sila thing- My understanding of 'morality training' isn't strictly Buddhist or even spiritual.  I don't stop myself from eating meat or having sex.  But I do try to save money for the future, build my human capital in the context of my career, give other's compliments and donate to charities (since it makes me feel good), try to be a well-rounded person, etc.  These are all just aspects of this interconnected life we live, and they are fun.  Engaging with the world is fun.  Maybe morality isn't the best word for that.

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/28/15 2:20 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva,

All that sounds awesome.  Our paths definitely have a lot in common.  Its all about travelling lighter.

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/28/15 3:17 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:


Edit: About the sila thing- My understanding of 'morality training' isn't strictly Buddhist or even spiritual.  I don't stop myself from eating meat or having sex.  But I do try to save money for the future, build my human capital in the context of my career, give other's compliments and donate to charities (since it makes me feel good), try to be a well-rounded person, etc.  These are all just aspects of this interconnected life we live, and they are fun.  Engaging with the world is fun.  Maybe morality isn't the best word for that.
To add to that, I think of sila as starting in the mind with 'right thought.'  IMO, it's about learning effective ways of thinking and practicing them.  Here is an exerpt from http://www.vipassana.com/resources/8fp4.php on the Noble Eightfold Path by Bikkhu Bodhi:
The next three path factors -- right speech, right action, and right
livelihood -- may be treated together, as collectively they make up the
first of the three divisions of the path, the
division of moral discipline (silakkhandha). Though the
principles laid down in this section restrain immoral actions and
promote good conduct, their ultimate purpose is not so much
ethical as spiritual. They are not prescribed merely as guides to
action, but primarily as aids to mental purification. As a necessary
measure for human well-being, ethics has its own
justification in the Buddha's teaching and its importance cannot be
underrated. But in the special context of the Noble Eightfold Path
ethical principles are subordinate to the path's governing
goal, final deliverance from suffering. Thus for the moral training
to become a proper part of the path, it has to be taken up under the
tutelage of the first two factors, right view and right
intention, and to lead beyond to the trainings in concentration and
wisdom.

From my perspective, what I have found as that as I work on my issues and sort them out, then it has naturally lead me to prefer to be more moral in many areas.  I do these actions because I want to, not because some others are saying I 'should.'  IMO, trying to force behavior is like the tail wagging the dog.  Behavior starts as thoughts and ideas first, activities later, forcing the body will not automatically change the mind (you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink).  Of course, some restraint is probably needed to keep the chaos under control as the spirit develops, but ultimately, true good behavivior comes from internal improvement first.  In that way, I see strong correlations between sila and AF. 
-Eva

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/28/15 3:30 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:

-My bad for misquoting Richard.  But yeah, I think I'm really starting to develop a real understanding of the kind of change that is necessary.  You can't just take that meditative (not registering emotions) route.  Because something will flare up eventually.  So before the deep-down, weak, sore-spots flare up, you have to dig them up and see them for what they are, and then remember what it feels like to just have fun, and eventually make a decision between them emoticon 
One thing about meditation I think really helps people is it can and typically will show people a more peaceful alternative to the normal daily mental chatter, anxiety, etc.  Some people just don't know there are others ways to experience the world available to them.  Meditation can break them out of that cycle.  Once they see a more peaceful alternative, then they may start to want that instead, it can open new goals for them to work towards.  But as in meditation, although with much disagreement between schoos, there are other things emphasized than just concentration and 'blocking' or avoid thoughts, there is insight and things to learn about self which I think are needed for most to progress.  IMO, not a good idea if you are using meditation to hide from your problems, but getting a different perspective on probs can help you deal with them more effectively.  But I agree that just trying to get away from unpleasant emotions will not work, IMO, the only way to be free is to truly learn and understand those emotions until they lose their power over you (or you realize how to no longer cede your power to them). 
-Eva
-Eva

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/28/15 5:19 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva, interesting thoughts.  It triggered some ideas in me.  The farther I get with this stuff, the less certainty I feel about my personal concepts or philosophies.  I think that I wouldn't have been able to truly benefit from mahasi noting without the results of previous emdr psychotherapy.  I doubt that I would have been able to benefit from the Actualism method without the results of mahasi noting.  But how can I really tell,  and how could others definitely relate?  I can't be sure.

Its obvious to me how to move forward.  Part of this has to do with being a healthy human being, which is different from the type of effort that has led to path attainments, and probably different from the type of effort that leads to AF.  But there is a lot of overlap.  And being a healthy person who lives a full life is a big frickin deal, that takes a lot of effort, and deserves as much care as the more purely contemplative goals. 

For me, right now, I need a combination of purely Actualist practice and being-a-healthy-confident-person practice.  There is a lot of ambiguity and grey area, such as the exact right way to handle interpersonal contact; being 2-dimensionally kind doesn't work for me.. furthermore, sometimes, for me to activate confidence within myself, I need to be energized, even unkind (remember, words are treacherous) , in my interactions with others. 

As always, I have to let my intuition guide me.  But I can feel the rising of this 'confidence' energy, as I start this new life in Seattle.  And there is a certain way that I became weak and overreliant while living back East.  This confidence might be affective, and it might contribute to behaviors that are 'immoral', but it might be necessary for my overall growth.

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/28/15 5:37 PM as a reply to Noah.
You know, I've been thinking about this more and it seems like each person that makes it to 4th path has a different emphasis on the main thing that got them there, but I also noticed that the emphasis for each seems, similar to stream entries, to fit into one of the 3 doors concepts.  No self and impermanence get a lot of attention on this board in general, especially no self.  But I think the door AF and we are working on is the dukkha door.  A bit like you, I have been the last few months apparently jumping back and forth between something that feels like nondualism/PCE.  What is stopping me from sticking with that state more? 

It may be something diff for you, but I have noticed that although I know intellectually that things cannot make me happy, it's still a habit of thinking I tend to fall into, that this and that is fun or not fun, that I am in the mood for this or that and not for some other thing.  What has seemed to help (pending further practice to be sure), is very often reminding myself that I can be happy doing things but things themselves cannot make me happy for long and if given the power to control my mood,will always go back to dukkha.  I think I need to quit more thoroughly the mental habit of giving things and circusmstances the power to alter my mood.  I thought I was doing that but observely more carefully, I am often still not thoroughly doing it all the time.  Although there are variations/preferences for certain things still, the overall mood is not or should not be controlled by things/circumstances.  When I am in a good mood, all things seem pretty good, and when I am in a bad mood, all things seems very dissatisfactory.  So the things do not create the mood.  Why do I keep on with the habit of thinking they do when I know very logically that they obviously don't?  Anyway thinking on that seems to help me. 

In your case, perhaps not attributing good mood to change in venue, maybe it's more like you chose change in venue because of something that changed in you first.  Change in venue can not really change you that much but if you attribute it that power, it might work for a little while until dukkha settles back, but the good news is that if you have the power to change your mood, then you can learn to find that inside yourself no matter what venue you are in.  So what I am working on lately is renewed efforts at observing dukkha via AF type stuff and also my own style as well.  ;-P  
-Eva    

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/30/15 1:48 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/30

4th path effects+Actualist practice=Gold. 

I felt great waking up this morning, after working all day, the past 2 days, returning to the moment, reminding myself this is the only moment I will ever have to enjoy and appreciate, and investigating why and how I fall off this track (when I do). 

There is the physical sense of utter openness, like a huge, soft bubble that is connected, grounding me to my environment.  Completely nice, diffuse energy along my spine, where it used to be contracted kundalini. 

I don't feel much stress, even in situations where others start to.  I am working with impatience, returning to a mindstate of having no agenda, no human-life/real-world framework, just the continuous wonder.  When I do feel intense negative emotion, I force myself to turn towards, and honestly attempt to understand how it works.

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/31/15 7:13 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/31

The positivity that I posted about yesterday still stands, yet I did go through I mini-freak-out later in the day yesterday surrounding whether I wanted to do 'pure Actualism' (whatever that might be), 'pure Buddhism' (same notion), etc.  I asked the universe for guidance, and sure enough, a dharma friend of mine texted me, we met up for conversation, and I think a lot of things got cleared up.  This friend is very intelligent and knowledgable surrounding these various scenes, and is someone whose opinion I trust.

So, for now, these are my conclusions; I am not necessarily going to attempt to adopt a purely-Actualist conceptual framework (as I currently understand it), in which the actual world can only be experienced in a PCE or after attaining AF.  While I acknowledge the fact that Actualism does incorporate the relative world by promoting the practices of cultivating felicitious feelings, appreciating and enjoying, etc., I also see some limitations in these views (for my own personal use, for right now). 

It is notable that I feel great after technical-4th, most of the time.  When I am walking around, feeling open, spacious, etc., I am not going to attempt to change this state by declaring it to be the rose-coloured-goggles of the spiritual state, and instead vying to undo this 'affective veneer'.  Instead, I will assume that actual reality can be experienced in degrees.  I have done a good deal of work on my perceptual process so far.  It has reaped its rewards!  I would have to be playing dumb to attempt to deny this fact.  I believe that I am already experiencing certain actual aspects of reality and the process of perception (independent of my own mind and selfing processes).

So, it seems that this path is a very long one, and I still have a lot further to go (while also acknowledging the sense of unshakeable inner peace that I now have).  There are lots of shifts that have yet to occur; there are lots of ways that the selfing process subtly operates.  I don't think that the Actualist path can possibly be that much different than any other path which seeks to reduce selfing through awareness, investigation, and other mind-hacking procedures. 

Here is my game-plan:

1) Drop certain aspects of the Actualist-conceptual-framework (as I currently understand it) which seem to be holding me back: Actual world vs real world, AF vs "being totally done"/10-fetter 4th path, naivete/sincerety vs trying-really-hard-to-be-a-wholesome-and-healthy-person, PCE vs ASC, 180-degrees-opposite vs different-parallel-processes-of-undoing-selfing, etc.

2) Stop all mental-masturbation/conceptual-frolicking which is pulling me down below my actual level of attainment.

3) Enjoy and appreciate this moment of being alive in an integrated and grounded manner.  This means not purely revelling in the form of the senses, but also their contents: appreciating actual situations and not just the process of perception (which seems to be an option for me these days).

4) When I am not able to do step-3, investigate why.  Fully experience, in an objective manner, any and all of the processes of my pysche which  prevent me from feeling good.

5) Cultivate, over time, a sense of disenchantment & dispassion for these disruptive patterns of my psyche.

6) Cultivate, over time, attitudes, worldviews, and mindsets, which enhance the "good-mood-muscle."

7) Be down to earth, be myself, be confident, be vigorous in my practice and in my pursuit of other life goals, travel lighter, don't pressure myself, don't pressure others, be kind, be truthful, and-all-that-other-good-stuff.

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/31/15 7:46 PM as a reply to Noah.
Sounds like a good plan, Noah.

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
7/31/15 10:58 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Sounds like a good plan, Noah.


+ 1

RE: Noah's Journal
Answer
8/1/15 1:45 PM as a reply to Noah.
8/1/15

experiment/challenge: sit in my apartment, enjoying nice breeze, as well as silence & solitude, with no other entertainment, for as long as possible, resisting any temptation to try and 'make something happen' and not bending to any and all anxieties that this moment (including me) must be other than what it is...

(p.s.- I don't have work today and do not have any logistics that require imminent action)

Starting point- 11:45 am