Some practical Actualist advice

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Not Tao, modified 6 Years ago.

Some practical Actualist advice

Posts: 997 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
This was originally a reply in Noah's journal, but it seemed like it would be better to make a new thread for it.

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I think the advice that Richard gives is very good up to a point, but there's been an area I've had to fill in on my own, and I think this is what's led to a lot of the misunderstanding and debate about Actualism.  What I always needed was a way to see how and why it's silly not to feel good right now.

It's very logical to say something like, "If I was happy now, instead of worried, I would be much more caipable of solving my problems."  It's also very logical to say, "A happy person treats other people respectfully and approapriately without effort."  But this does nothing to convince what might be called the "feeling being" to respond by changing moods.  When I feel worried about something and I care about it, it's not easy to try to remove value from that thing in order to escape the feeling.  What seems to work better is to resolve the percieved problem instead.  Which is to say, instead of trying to stop a negative feeling by removing its source, you instead attempt to put your focus on an outcome that will provide closure.  This allows the rumination to end because a solution is found, and then the problem is forgotten without an active effort.

So, as an example, one of the periods during the day when anxiety seems to cycle in is when I'm going to bed.  It's like my mind has a hard time giving up the day.  I've realized a lot of this is due to procrastination - like how lately I've been trying to practice drawing more regularly, so I made myself a set of exercises to do each day; last night I was thinking about how I didn't do all of them.  Instead of trying to see this as something that isn't worth worrying about, I just think about hw much fun drawing is instead.  In the beginning this isn't completely genuine - the reason I don't draw a lot is because I have a mentl habit of thinking of it as work - but after a moment I can inspire some good feelings and some confidence about drawing, and maybe a minute later my mind is wandering on some other topic completely (usually something more positive).

Now, the benefit of this is two-fold.  Not only do I stop worrying that I didn't do my drawing, but I've actively done some mental programming to make it a bit easier to draw in the future.  This seems to be the "gateway" where feelings change so far as I've seen.  If you feel badly, it's your mind trying to tell you something, and any exercise that doesn't address the object itself won't work to change things.  But if you flip the topic to its positive pole, that will create positive feelings.

Some other situations I can remember:

- I was in the shower and I heard noises in my apartment.  My thought patters had a kind of "sour fear" response.  To change this, I thought about how I usually meet strangers, and I realized meeting a stranger in my house doesn't necessarily have to be any different from meeting a stranger on the street.  I actually forgot all about the noises in the next minute or so after thnking about meeting people and my mind went other places.

- I have a co-worker I don't really like.  I was thinking about how I was going to have to work with her the next day, and my mind kept replaying various unpleasant interactions we've had.  Realizing this, I just thought about a few times where I've heard her laugh, and I thought about the other things at work I would be doing, and after a bit I didn't really feel anything about it.

- I noticed my car was dripping some fluid and felt some anxiety about it.  I noticed my mind went, immediately, to a kind of "cutoff zone" where I was having a lot of non-verbal, non-pictoral, feeling type thoughts.  It's like I'd imagine bad things without seeing any outcome (maybe this is the result of a long history of suppressing the feelings or thoughts).  So I took a moment to imagine going to the mechanic's and getting the car fixed, and my thoughts went somewhere else soon after.

So, maybe what I'm saying is that you have to show the mind why it's being silly, and then it will stop sending you emotional pain signals.  The mind is content when it has closure, so you can provide a gateway to closure by seeing solutions and moving out of bad feelings that way.  Eventually, I've found, it's as simple as changing the mood in relation to a thought.  Like, if I think about my co-worker now, I just adjust my opinion of her from threat to neutral and then I can think about other things.

Anyway, long post is long.  I just feel like Actualism doesn't provide enough practical advice to support the framework (which is rather good) and this is why some people end up practicing all-day concentration on sensory input in order to suppress emotions, or some other thing that deviates from the aims/goals.