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1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist

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1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/13/15 4:06 AM
I think I just had a PCE.  I was walking home in a light drizzle, and enjoying myself and my surroundings, but also had a lot of thinking surrounding actualism going.  I then told myself to just be in this moment.  I kept repeating "this moment...", "this moment..."  Suddenly I felt a rush of energy in my body and there was some tingling and adrenaline in my torso.  I stopped walking, on instinct, and just looked up at the sky.  My visual field became much more vivid and seemingly covered in a magical glow.  Then, for a few seconds, it was as if "I" disappeared completely.  I was not aware of a transition, but rather the sense of being totally at one with the world at that moment, and then the next, "I" was back.  There was no sense of witness, no mental movement, no self-awareness, etc.  It felt like a totally different type of sentience.  In terms of the 'feeling' of it, I would say the closest proxy I have would be the word "pleasure", but there was also the distinct sense of "magic" and "thrill."  These are just convenient designators for an experience that I do not know how to describe.  

The experience was remarkably short, maybe ten seconds.  Before it happened, there was a remarkable sense of expectation, and also of safety or certainty.  After it happened, there was a sense of complete confidence that "that was it."  There was no sense of the passage of time.  It almost felt like a photograph or still frame, as if the entire world stood still (including the 'me' that is created through the passage of time), despite the fact that matter was obviously moving.  

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/14/15 5:21 AM as a reply to Noah.
Other thing to keep in the differential diagnosis (possible things it could be): the A&P.

Whatever it was, sounds fun.

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/14/15 12:03 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Definitely was fun!

The A&P experiences I have had have always involved much more of a sense of transition to and from them, meaning, I could identify individual still-frames of mind when I was coming in and out of them.  This lacked that.  Also, they have involved the feeling of my consciousness as it did something, as if it were a separate material that could expand like a bubble or contract into nothing.  There was no sense of feeling the energy of my mind like that.  The A&P also seems to distinctly involve altered awareness of the body, even if it is only the subtlest, highest, euphoric vibration all over, there is still that link.  During this period of time, there was not any special awareness of the body, and perhaps no awareness at all, for the 'pure' part.  

I know that A&P's can happen spontaneously, but for me, they have always happened as a result of doing some meditation technique where I repeat a certain effort with my mind, over and over (whether vipassana or samatha).  The way I have been doing actualism has been much more involving an every-day type of awareness and thinking, without much, or any, mechanistic repitition.  This last bit is particularly important since the actualism method involves the inclusion of emotional content in completely normal, every day awareness (albeit without 'moral' filters), to be fully examined.  My experience with meditation techniques is that they include emotional content through some special lens (such a positive-emotional slant, or the way they manifest in the body), and are then examined.  So the methods used to get to each state were also different.  

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/14/15 3:50 PM as a reply to Noah.
Interesting that I've heard others describe a similar thing, both Actualists and regular meditation practitioners, both on the mat and off.  I think i've felt something similar.  It's hard to explain but it has to do with the following, mental chatter stops but awareness does not.  There can still be thoughts but they feel different and not all chattery, just a few as needed for what I am doing only.  It feels really good in a way well beyond normal really good.  'Mystical,' 'euphoric,' 'epic,' etc.  You know that this is 'it' it's the exact right thing, it's the exact good thing, there is no doubt at all it's right.  I feel strong connection and intimacy with my environment in a way I do not normally, and it feels really safe and cozy.  I feel like everything is exactly the way it should be, even the bad stuff of the world as well as the good stuff, just everything.  I don't have much sense of time passing nor do I care about time, time seems unimportant.  That's the general feeling of the experience which lasts maybe 30 minutes, an hour, maybe a few hours.  In there somewhere I think is an instance of when it is really intense and I am not paying attention to surroundings.  Maybe that is like what you are describing for the 10 seconds but not sure.  I am not really in the habit of nor am I super good at noticing and analyzing when my mind is off somewhere lost in strangeness, but I suspect it happens a lot to everyone, just that when it happens during PCE, the strangeness is an extra intense good feeling strangeness so tends to stick in the mind more.  ;-P  I would be more likely to only describe it as kind of lost in the sensation of super goodness such that I am not paying attention to my Earth environment for those seconds.  

I have never done heavy drugs but I wonder if this would be the feeling of a hardcore happy making drug like cocaine, except without the bad crash, addiction, screwed up body, and brain damage that often occurs with hard drugs.  I wonder if trying to get there artificially with drugs before the mind and body are ready is partially why drugs jack people up so badly, it's like trying to force the body and mind further than it can tolerate, whereas a natural PCE occuring without too much forced effort only happens when the body/mind is ready, hence no or far less blowback.  However, I do notice that my PCE type states tend to come in cycles with a bit of aftereffects or blowback in following days, like a bit of crabby and tired feeling later, as if some stuff is let and needs to be processed or something.  I don't know if that is that way for everyone.

Anyway, when I came here and heard about PCEs, I didn't realize it was supposed to be an Actualist thing only.  Since from the basic description of it, it sounds like a basic description of nondualism, when you feel intimate connection to environment, you feel you are still you but also you feel you are part of what is around you, neither separate but neither one.  'Not two' IMO carries a subtle but importantly diff meaning from 'one.'   Although I also wonder if we really get to much into 'oneness' then that is cessation, too much oneness with the universe may I wonder perhaps preclude having human consciousness, which maybe requires a certain sense separateness to be maintained.

Anyway, sorry to yammer on about concepts instead of remembering to offer proper congratulations, I am very happy Noah for you to experience such a great thing and by all your hard work you certainly deserve it.   I hope by listening to your clues I might have better knowledge about how the PCEs come to pass, it's been a while since I've had anything similar myself and I can certainly see why Actualism puts a premium on them! ;-P 
-Eva      

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/14/15 11:53 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Hi Eva,

Thanks for the congrats!  It definitely feels good to reap the rewards of hard work.  In my experience, the mind states that result from actualist practice are dissimilar to those that result from meditation in a variety of ways.  For instance, at times when I have had experiences that I would describes as 'nondual', there has still been a huge amount of internal content (i.e. emotions) going on, but the perception of it was changed into a much more impermanent, centerless flow.  I was completely at one with with the entire field, both in and out.  Descriptions I have heard of advanced, nondual experience (such as those labelled 'rigpa'), usually occur in a deep, internal way which seems to clearly be different from the external emphasis of most PCE descriptions.  

What seemed to be different about the experience from the other night (what I am claiming to be a PCE), was that there was no ego or deeper soul content at all.  In other words, there was no affective energy in the mix.  There also wasn't a separate sense of witness which would have been capable of housing a change in perception.  I have noticed that as I have progressed through the nanas and jhanas, changes in perception have occurred, while basic personality or temperamental characteristics have stayed the same.  In the the childhood PCE's I have rememorated, there was a distinct sense of relief from these things (or perhaps the relief came afterwards).

Anyway, the argument I'm making is pretty old on this forum.  The tell-all will be what happens as a result of the practice, over time.  

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/15/15 5:39 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah:
Hi Eva,

 For instance, at times when I have had experiences that I would describes as 'nondual', there has still been a huge amount of internal content (i.e. emotions) going on, but the perception of it was changed into a much more impermanent, centerless flow.  
Not sure if I understand this, what emotions are we talking about considering that most of us still consider good feelings in the mind to be emotions.  PCE has those yes?  Are you saying your experience of the meditation nondual had other emotions besides those?  I really don't understand well many peoples descriptions of 'centerless flow,'  I don't know what that is.  Maybe I'd need a lot more training in the field to have an idea of that. 

I was completely at one with with the entire field, both in and out.  
I don't understant that either, wouldn't that mean you could know the exact awareness of the tree, the snail, and the rock if you were totally at one?  Or is the field something else then what you perceive around you?  I once had this experience where I perceived my environment as just and unstable projection and what was visual was just kind of a screen projection that was unstable.  Yet even as I experienced that, my thoughts and most of 'me'  was not really operational or much present, it's hard to imagine functioning in such a state and there was no euphoria, mostly it was interesting but also scary (since the world as we commonly think of it was 'gone') and my mind was just sorta barely there in the normal way.  That is the only 'field' experience I know of.  When meditationers speak of the field, I thought that was what they meant.   

Descriptions I have heard of advanced, nondual experience (such as those labelled 'rigpa'), usually occur in a deep, internal way which seems to clearly be different from the external emphasis of most PCE descriptions.
You mean like on the mat experiences?

What seemed to be different about the experience from the other night (what I am claiming to be a PCE), was that there was no ego or deeper soul content at all.  In other words, there was no affective energy in the mix.  There also wasn't a separate sense of witness which would have been capable of housing a change in perception.  I have noticed that as I have progressed through the nanas and jhanas, changes in perception have occurred, while basic personality or temperamental characteristics have stayed the same.  In the the childhood PCE's I have rememorated, there was a distinct sense of relief from these things (or perhaps the relief came afterwards).
In the thing I call PCE, I do feel relief but my perception was that it was relief from a kind of stress that involved the emotions.  Just now saying that, I think I have a better understanding of why Richard is saying he is getting rid of 'emotions.'  There is a great relief that I interpreted as a relief from clashing emotions and stresses.  It was like everything was flowing in an orderly not stressful way instead of all turbulent.  I had never really noticed the level of that stress until it was suddenly gone and it was like the heaven's open up and the light pours in, just that good!  Thinking about it, I can see why someone might interpret this as no longer having some of the emotions, some things that are normally always experienced are not experienced in that time.   There is a kind of stress and weight that is suddenly gone. 
Anyway, the argument I'm making is pretty old on this forum.  The tell-all will be what happens as a result of the practice, over time.  
I was not here for most of the drama so I guess I am not sick of the concepts yet!  ;-P  Anyway, I am not really interested so much in Richard's interpretations of the experience of PCE or his world view, more just in the phenomenological description of the event itself.  From my perspective, I do belieeve that experiences that have been named PCEs do happen to people and they are something really interesting to me so I want to know more about them from that perspective.  

From a wider issue of understanding, I am having trouble interpreting if one person's nondualist experience is similar to another's.  It may be that any experience that feels amazing and mystical and fits the basic concept of 'not two' may tend to be interpreted by the experiencer as 'nondual.'  But some that experience nondualism do not seem to understand the descriptions of others.  Maybe the range of experiences is a bit wide under the umbrella of 'nondual'?   I don't know myself but the more I stay here and read, the more the whole thing seems muddy and confusing.  

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/15/15 8:46 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Hey Eva:

Not sure if I understand this, what emotions are we talking about considering that most of us still consider good feelings in the mind to be emotions.  PCE has those yes?  Are you saying your experience of the meditation nondual had other emotions besides those? 

The PCE doesn't have any affective energy to it, so that would exclude good as well as bad feelings.  Words might be used to describe PCE's which are close proxies to the state itself, and yet are not entirely accurate.  In some cases, these words might seem to suggest that there are good feelings in the PCE, but really there isn't any aspect of the experience that would accurately be labelled 'feelings.'  

There are states labelled 'excellence experiences', which can mimic the PCE, but still have some affect to them.  These states would include good feelings.

I really don't understand well many peoples descriptions of 'centerless flow,'  I don't know what that is.  Maybe I'd need a lot more training in the field to have an idea of that.  


When I say things like 'centerless flow', I am referring to a literal feeling of there being no watcher sensations within the skull, and that awareness feels more diffuse and evenly spread throughout the sense field.  On a more subtle level, there is a shift in the nonlocalized reference point which one previously used to structure and contextualize the field of inner and outer perception.  So there is an intuitive sense to it as well as a very direct, tactile one.  

So when I talk about nondual, meditation experiences, I would be referring to states where these intuitive and somatic shifts occur, which effect the background of the way things are perceived, without effecting the foreground content of what is perceived.  The stuff that I have perceived during these experiences has included both good and bad emotion.  

I don't understant that either, wouldn't that mean you could know the exact awareness of the tree, the snail, and the rock if you were totally at one?  Or is the field something else then what you perceive around you? 

I have always understood my meditation experiences to be aspects of my personal, field of perception and sensation.  Meaning, whether or not things have independent existence outside of my mind would not matter.  The thing that was getting effected was the stream of my sensation itself, not the obejcts that are out there (or their streams of sensation, to the extent that they possess their own sentience).  So I would not have been somehow psychically intersecting with objecs out there.  It was all stuff that was taking place "in here" (in my brain, my stream of perception).  
I once had this experience where I perceived my environment as just and unstable projection and what was visual was just kind of a screen projection that was unstable.  Yet even as I experienced that, my thoughts and most of 'me'  was not really operational or much present, it's hard to imagine functioning in such a state and there was no euphoria, mostly it was interesting but also scary (since the world as we commonly think of it was 'gone') and my mind was just sorta barely there in the normal way.  That is the only 'field' experience I know of.  When meditationers speak of the field, I thought that was what they meant.  


I would assume that there is a wide spectrum of 'field' experiences, and some would include more internal content than others.  The one your remember most prominently included very little, but perhaps you have had others that you do not currently recall?  Certainly, many meditators have these types of experiences which also include things like emotion in the body, mental imaging, etc.  The thing that is conceptually important, in this discussion, to me, is that these experiences can be broadly grouped as 'altered states of consciousness' in which the mind creates, in one way or another, a connection with something greater (either a formed absolute , which is the type we are discussing, or a formless absolute , which would include cessation and nirodha sammapatti).  Following this line of conceptual thinking, what happens in a PCE is different in that the identity does not expand to connect to something greater than itself, instead it literally contracts all the way into nothing, it completely zeroes out.  This is because the affective energy (and not the dualistic process of perception) is really what is behind the ego/soul as it continues to be in control.  So the inner entity has falsified its own death in the form of nondual perception, while secretly remaining alive and well!  Sneaky little bugger. 

As a note, I will say that while I would hesitate to laud the main effect of altered states of consciousness (including the nanas and cessation) I have experienced tremendous positive side-effects as a result of these experiences!

You mean like on the mat experiences? 


In this case, I just meant that in most PCE's I have heard of, the focus is OUT, whereas in many of the deepest meditation experiences I have read about, the focus has been IN.  This distinction may or may not also be linked to a specific posture or level of motion.

In the thing I call PCE, I do feel relief but my perception was that it was relief from a kind of stress that involved the emotions.  Just now saying that, I think I have a better understanding of why Richard is saying he is getting rid of 'emotions.'  There is a great relief that I interpreted as a relief from clashing emotions and stresses.  It was like everything was flowing in an orderly not stressful way instead of all turbulent.  I had never really noticed the level of that stress until it was suddenly gone and it was like the heaven's open up and the light pours in, just that good!  Thinking about it, I can see why someone might interpret this as no longer having some of the emotions, some things that are normally always experienced are not experienced in that time.   There is a kind of stress and weight that is suddenly gone.  


Certain aspects of your description do seem to be in line with the criteria for a PCE, while others don't.  For instance, if 'everything was flowing' externally, as in the external world was seen in all its brilliance, that would probably be spot on.  However, if there was any internal content that was 'flowing' beyond basic thoughts about the world, that would probably mark it as some other type of state. Its definitely a good sign that stress was gone, and that it felt 'just that good.'  

It seem pertinent to note here that Richard is truly saying he has not experienced any emotions, in any way whatsoever (somatic, mental-imaging, energy field, inner talk, etc.)  since actual freedom.  He is not saying that the experience of them changed in some subtle way or that his internal psycho-emotional-dynamics became more harmonious.  There specifically are no such dynamics at all.  

I was not here for most of the drama so I guess I am not sick of the concepts yet!  ;-P  Anyway, I am not really interested so much in Richard's interpretations of the experience of PCE or his world view, more just in the phenomenological description of the event itself.  From my perspective, I do belieeve that experiences that have been named PCEs do happen to people and they are something really interesting to me so I want to know more about them from that perspective.  


I sort of object to the usage of a 'phenomenological' lens (as we know it in pragmatic dharma circles) to describe PCE's.  To me, such a mode of communication inherently involves a certain type of self reflective awareness that simply isn't possible in the PCE.  In a PCE, there is no witness that is capable of looking within, and no 'in' to look at.  Richard and others have written some interesting descriptions of them, but they do not involve the rigorous and detailed focus on the process of perception itself, that we have gotten used to using on the forums.  I don't think such levels of rigor can be attained from within a PCE, or in the reflection back onto it.  Here is an example of a description from the AFT: 

http://actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/frequentquestions/FAQ64a.htm 

The limpid and lucid purity and perfection of actually being just here at this place in infinite space right now at this moment in eternal time is akin to the crystalline perfection and purity seen in a dew-drop hanging from the tip of a leaf in the early-morning sunshine; the sunrise strikes the transparent bead of moisture with its warming rays, highlighting the flawless correctness of the tear-drop shape with its bellied form. One is left almost breathless with wonder at the immaculate simplicity so exemplified ... and everyone I have spoken with at length has experienced this impeccable integrity and excellence in some way or another at varying stages in their life.


Moreso just content focused.  Focused on the wondor of what is out there, because there is no 'in here' to be include anway.  

From a wider issue of understanding, I am having trouble interpreting if one person's nondualist experience is similar to another's.  It may be that any experience that feels amazing and mystical and fits the basic concept of 'not two' may tend to be interpreted by the experiencer as 'nondual.'  But some that experience nondualism do not seem to understand the descriptions of others.  Maybe the range of experiences is a bit wide under the umbrella of 'nondual'?   I don't know myself but the more I stay here and read, the more the whole thing seems muddy and confusing.  


I would say that the criteria for a PCE is much stricter and clearer than the criteria for a nondual experience.  Was there affective energy or any sense of the identity or self?  No PCE.  The nondual, on the other hand, definitely falls on a spectrum with the highest level of perceptual fusion on one end, to a more sutble or wimpy manifestation on the other.  



RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/16/15 3:37 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah:
Hey Eva:

Not sure if I understand this, what emotions are we talking about considering that most of us still consider good feelings in the mind to be emotions.  PCE has those yes?  Are you saying your experience of the meditation nondual had other emotions besides those? 

The PCE doesn't have any affective energy to it, so that would exclude good as well as bad feelings.  
I am looking at it like this, that what you just said is Richard's description and world view on how to categorize it.  I am just not sure if everyone had the same experience would think of it and categorize it like that.  I have felt something that to me is like good feelings but differnet than the usual ones, not sure if that is what Actualists experience or if they just label it different.  To me the closest corrolary is good feelings and since i don't follow Richard's world view, that makes the most sense to me personally.  Could be I experience a diff thing than Actualists, but when I read the plain English descriptions of their experiences, it sounds very very much the same.  I suspect I am just describing it without the influence of Richard's belief system.  (Richard may feel the urge to keel over and scream about such a statement but oh well..)

Words might be used to describe PCE's which are close proxies to the state itself, and yet are not entirely accurate.  In some cases, these words might seem to suggest that there are good feelings in the PCE, but really there isn't any aspect of the experience that would accurately be labelled 'feelings.'  
Again, from my perspective, accuracy of such statements here are only being parsed in terms of accuracy according to Richard's world view.  If one completely accepts his world view, then one might say another view is not accurate, but if one does not accept Richard's world view as the only correct say, then it's just another perspective or way of describing it. I am not trying to undestand and think of things according to Richard's beliefs, I do not believe that Actualists have the only claim on conceptualizing PCEs.  I do think they should get kudos for studying them though!

There are states labelled 'excellence experiences', which can mimic the PCE, but still have some affect to them.  These states would include good feelings.
Hm seems like maybe an easy way out or just hard to delineate?  If matches the description of PCE but one person says the thing that feels similar to good feelings basically IS good feelings, and another says, ah no, it sounds like good feelings but actually is not (all who say that seem to be trained by Richard), then can you be sure the diff is not just conceptual and nomenclature related?  If PCEs happen naturally in childhood (according to Actualist theory), then clearly they would have to be a natural kind of thing open to everyone without any specific Actualist training and would, it seems logical to me, pop up from time to time in any populace.  Yet only Actualists are describing an experience like that and saying it is devoid emotion.  So it would be easy for me to suspect that type of description if belief system related. 
When I say things like 'centerless flow', I am referring to a literal feeling of there being no watcher sensations within the skull, and that awareness feels more diffuse and evenly spread throughout the sense field.  On a more subtle level, there is a shift in the nonlocalized reference point which one previously used to structure and contextualize the field of inner and outer perception.  So there is an intuitive sense to it as well as a very direct, tactile one.
Ok, that is a fairly understandable description thank you!  I think i know what you are talking about now.  So that is the commonly accepted descriptoin of 'centerless flow?'  I wasn't sure what people were talking about before.  I am often not sure if I don't understand something because I have never experienced it or if it is because I don't know the common terminology for it well.  Doing google searches for description of terms tends to yield conflicting explanations fairly often. 

So when I talk about nondual, meditation experiences, I would be referring to states where these intuitive and somatic shifts occur, which effect the background of the way things are perceived, without effecting the foreground content of what is perceived.  The stuff that I have perceived during these experiences has included both good and bad emotion.  
Really you get bad emotion too?  I have not had that experience when in throws of what I have called in my mind this kind of really strong nondual experience (or PCE or whatever).  I made another attempt to look up terminology and found this website: http://dharalemos.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8:meditation-the-way-in-the-watcher&catid=1:meditation&Itemid=4 , steps 2 through 4 are I think what I have done (guess I skipped #1 but it fell in line later by itself).  #4 feels like what I call my nondual experience except I do not seem to stick at the very strong mind blowing power level, I get there and it's very intense but then later I go back to a more baseline level that is like a weaker version of same.  The weaker version is different than the old me but still has negative emotion which is also weaker than it was in the old me.   

Some here seem to say that 4th path is collapsing of the witness, but that website seems to say that enlightenment is developing of the witness.  I think I am confused on what is meant by the sense of witness.  I can see two ideas for it, one is that at first I was just sort of sucked into the character of me and acting it out without much thought.  Then later I learned to step back and observe self as if it was a thing, a kind of scientific observation of the thing in the petri dish and all it's strangeness.  I thought that was 'witness.'  But this website seems to imply it's more like when you are just so separated from the character of 'you' that you can just kind of sit back and enjoy the show called life much more safe from getting pulled into the drama, so it's more like watching a movie, seems like the website calls that 'witness.'  (maybe that person is not speaking from experience and is a tad confused though?)  When I feel the intense nondual, the first kind of witness is gone (which feels very weird), but the second kind from that website definition is still there I think (will have to take some notes next time).  Hard for me to follow conversations well when I have not been able to tack down the terminology yet though. 


I don't understant that either, wouldn't that mean you could know the exact awareness of the tree, the snail, and the rock if you were totally at one?  Or is the field something else then what you perceive around you? 

I have always understood my meditation experiences to be aspects of my personal, field of perception and sensation.  Meaning, whether or not things have independent existence outside of my mind would not matter.  The thing that was getting effected was the stream of my sensation itself, not the obejcts that are out there (or their streams of sensation, to the extent that they possess their own sentience).  So I would not have been somehow psychically intersecting with objecs out there.  It was all stuff that was taking place "in here" (in my brain, my stream of perception).  
Hm Ok, I think I am thinking 'the field' is that stuff that is out there but it is a projection as well, but at some point my logical mind is having trouble putting it all together.  It a projection but I am not a solypsist, I do think the snail has conscious awareness, and it is not the same awareness i have from my perspective.  I suspect we are all parts of a larger whole but to me in order to be at one with the field, I would be at one with all the other parts.  Here is why i think they called nondualism 'not two' instead of  'one' because although I feel my connection to what i call 'the field' much better at times and the feeling of myself feels somewhat diffused out, I do not feel I am one with the snail either.  (in weird dream experiences i've sometimes done that but only with one creature at a time, not with the whole field, I suspect there is a limit to how much info I can process and the whole field of everything is usually too much info from me to handle all at once, but anyway, I have not done any such from the waking state)


The thing that is conceptually important, in this discussion, to me, is that these experiences can be broadly grouped as 'altered states of consciousness' in which the mind creates, in one way or another, a connection with something greater (either a formed absolute , which is the type we are discussing, or a formless absolute , which would include cessation and nirodha sammapatti).  
The weirder states are often described in the simple terms of 'witness' and 'centerless flow' and stuff, I've been making intermittent attempts to understand those properly first, otherwise I am not able to understand descriptions of the rest.  And of course I've had my own set of weird experiences, but some of them don't really fit in with what is commonly spoken of here. 

Following this line of conceptual thinking, what happens in a PCE is different in that the identity does not expand to connect to something greater than itself, instead it literally contracts all the way into nothing, it completely zeroes out.  This is because the affective energy (and not the dualistic process of perception) is really what is behind the ego/soul as it continues to be in control.  So the inner entity has falsified its own death in the form of nondual perception, while secretly remaining alive and well!  Sneaky little bugger. 
I have not really bought into the concept of 'no self' with the same intensity that many here do.  I do think there is no such thing as a constant unchanging self.  All things change.  I suspect we are a part of a greater whole.  But a cell in a the body still exists as a cell and has its own awareness even if it also exists as a part of the body.  When the cells shifts perspective to look more from the perspective of the body, it has a different concept of self than if it were only looking from the cell's perspective though.  As awareness expands to take more in, the awareness and concept of self also changes, IMO.  So i don't think of expanding awareness as death of self because i don't think of change as death.  That's my current world view anyway (subject change to change without notice  ;-P)
As a note, I will say that while I would hesitate to laud the main effect of altered states of consciousness (including the nanas and cessation) I have experienced tremendous positive side-effects as a result of these experiences!
Ironically it's probably the side effects I consider most important.  An altered state may be fun and interesting but if it brings advantage to my every day walking around experience, I find it much more valuable. 
You mean like on the mat experiences? 


In this case, I just meant that in most PCE's I have heard of, the focus is OUT, whereas in many of the deepest meditation experiences I have read about, the focus has been IN.  This distinction may or may not also be linked to a specific posture or level of motion.
Will have to think more on that, niether really jumps out at me as the way it is for me. 
In the thing I call PCE, I do feel relief but my perception was that it was relief from a kind of stress that involved the emotions.  Just now saying that, I think I have a better understanding of why Richard is saying he is getting rid of 'emotions.'  There is a great relief that I interpreted as a relief from clashing emotions and stresses.  It was like everything was flowing in an orderly not stressful way instead of all turbulent.  I had never really noticed the level of that stress until it was suddenly gone and it was like the heaven's open up and the light pours in, just that good!  Thinking about it, I can see why someone might interpret this as no longer having some of the emotions, some things that are normally always experienced are not experienced in that time.   There is a kind of stress and weight that is suddenly gone.  


Certain aspects of your description do seem to be in line with the criteria for a PCE, while others don't.  For instance, if 'everything was flowing' externally, as in the external world was seen in all its brilliance, that would probably be spot on.  However, if there was any internal content that was 'flowing' beyond basic thoughts about the world, that would probably mark it as some other type of state. Its definitely a good sign that stress was gone, and that it felt 'just that good.'
I don't think I separate those two in my mind. Yes the world was seen in all it's brilliance, inside was sorta seeming to match that balance, the world is fine, I am fine, etc.  Yes, inside there was something gone which was all that conflict and stress that was I think from the formerly clashing emotions and desires.  Relief was that was all gone.  Never realized how much stress that inflicts until it's suddenly gone!  I interpeted it as all emotions no longer clashing, but also I could see it being interpreted as no more emotions.  Either way the problems of the emotions are gone.  Yeah, thoughts are simple just basic ones needed to function for the most part, no more useless chatter, worry, stress, etc. There was some wonder and amazement though.    

It seem pertinent to note here that Richard is truly saying he has not experienced any emotions, in any way whatsoever (somatic, mental-imaging, energy field, inner talk, etc.)  since actual freedom.  He is not saying that the experience of them changed in some subtle way or that his internal psycho-emotional-dynamics became more harmonious.  There specifically are no such dynamics at all.  
Could be but I am still not convinced the difference is not not world view based.  He has come up with a nomenclature that does not fit with what others use.   Part of it is he uses words that are emotional words to describe his experiences, then says it is not emotions, just sounds like emotions.  Where I say the emotions experienced are similar yet different.  Those could be diff ways to say the same thing, or not, hard to tell.

I sort of object to the usage of a 'phenomenological' lens (as we know it in pragmatic dharma circles) to describe PCE's.  To me, such a mode of communication inherently involves a certain type of self reflective awareness that simply isn't possible in the PCE.
To me it just means you describe it as you experienced it but without all the belief system content that often comes with the world.  For instance, if I experience Ohm, then I can describe the experience, I heard this sound, I felt this whatever, but that does not mean I need to pull in the entire belief system of Brahma, etc.  That way I can just describe what happened and maybe theorize without getting in a big argument about what is THE CORRECT ANSWER and what not, that's what it means to me anyway. 

 In a PCE, there is no witness that is capable of looking within, and no 'in' to look at.  
Ah but there is still memories of what happened and fingers that kind type it.  Otherwise we could not have this conversation. 

Richard and others have written some interesting descriptions of them, but they do not involve the rigorous and detailed focus on the process of perception itself, that we have gotten used to using on the forums.  
On this forum where a number of people have become hightly adept and analyzing fine detail of how their mind is operating, yes we can hear about some things that the average person does not have enough inward experience for, yes I agree with you.  But I also do not think that inward focus is the only good route.  But I also do not think that route is a bad route.  So if Richard does not spend his time developing that particular aspect, I don't consider it a super important issue either way personally. 

I don't think such levels of rigor can be attained from within a PCE, or in the reflection back onto it.  Here is an example of a description from the AFT: 

http://actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/frequentquestions/FAQ64a.htm 

The limpid and lucid purity and perfection of actually being just here at this place in infinite space right now at this moment in eternal time is akin to the crystalline perfection and purity seen in a dew-drop hanging from the tip of a leaf in the early-morning sunshine; the sunrise strikes the transparent bead of moisture with its warming rays, highlighting the flawless correctness of the tear-drop shape with its bellied form. One is left almost breathless with wonder at the immaculate simplicity so exemplified ... and everyone I have spoken with at length has experienced this impeccable integrity and excellence in some way or another at varying stages in their life.

Yet such types of vivid descriptions of the perception of the world are certainly present in Buddhism as well so they apparently do have such experiences too IMO.  But i think I see what you mean, there is a lot of emphasis on the inward on this board but in other meditation areas, i see plenty of outward type mystical experiences like that described.  I think a lot depends on where you put your attention and emphasis.   
Moreso just content focused.  Focused on the wondor of what is out there, because there is no 'in here' to be include anway.  

From a wider issue of understanding, I am having trouble interpreting if one person's nondualist experience is similar to another's.  It may be that any experience that feels amazing and mystical and fits the basic concept of 'not two' may tend to be interpreted by the experiencer as 'nondual.'  But some that experience nondualism do not seem to understand the descriptions of others.  Maybe the range of experiences is a bit wide under the umbrella of 'nondual'?   I don't know myself but the more I stay here and read, the more the whole thing seems muddy and confusing.  


I would say that the criteria for a PCE is much stricter and clearer than the criteria for a nondual experience.  Was there affective energy or any sense of the identity or self?  No PCE.  The nondual, on the other hand, definitely falls on a spectrum with the highest level of perceptual fusion on one end, to a more sutble or wimpy manifestation on the other.  

Well that makes sense, there is only one school with one person who is determining definitions with Actualism.  Whereas with Buddhism, centuries of time, thousands of schools, millions of people, there is no way it can be as cohesive as the mind of just one person can be.  If Actualism were around that long, I'm sure you would see plenty of splits, disagreements, etc, it's the nature of human groups.   

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/16/15 4:48 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah:
I would say that the criteria for a PCE is much stricter and clearer than the criteria for a nondual experience.
 Was there affective energy or any sense of the identity or self?  No PCE.  The nondual, on the other hand, definittely falls on a spectrum with the highest level of perceptual fusion on one end, to a more sutble or wimpy manifestation on the other.  


Hi Noah!  Congradulations on the PCE!  I have generally interpreted the PCE as a glimpse of enlightenment (or non-dual) experience, beacuse I had such an experience in high school and it formed the basis and inspiration for my journeys on the spiritual path.  I was going to say that there is a range of such experiences, from a genuine glimpse of enlightenment itself (aka a peak experience) to a lesser non-dual experience in which the self of self is not quite so absent.  However given your strict criteria for the PCE, which I found in your discussion with Eva (and quoted above), it seems you probably had a strong experience.  Your description definately sounded like a pure experience of awareness. 

After learning about actualism about 5 years ago when some other actualists posted here, I immediately tried to pursue it because the expreince of the PCE sounded so much like the satori experience I once had.  However I soon came back to Buddhist meditation because I wanted to pursue a more reliable and well worn path.  During the time I pursued actualism, I contacted a woman on here who had enacted a shift in here consiousness by willing herself into the PCE and spending as much time as possible in this state.  I guess eventually a shift occured, and the PCE state of consiousness became her baseline, or something of this sort.

Given that you seem to have dedicated yourself to this practice, it is exciting that you are seeing results, and I hope it continues to manifest well going foreward!  It's always exciting to hear about someone getting it done, especially through a different method of progession.

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/16/15 5:39 PM as a reply to Noah.
@Pawel:

That is a very interesting counter-point.  It makes total sense that the experience of the nanas change through time.  As to how it relates to my particular experience, I can not be completely sure (nor can anyone, for that matter), since I have not been attempting to track my experience of the cycles over the past 3 months.  

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/16/15 5:43 PM as a reply to T DC.
@T DC:

Thanks for the encouragement.  I will definitely continue to pursue the actualist path, in earnest.  If that woman you encountered on here experienced a true virtual freedom, then the most sensible course of action would have been for her to make her experience known to others.  I am of the opinion that the most effective way to spread actual freedom would be for the few actually free people to make themselves available to others in as many ways as possible.  

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/16/15 6:07 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
[quote=
]Hi Eva,

Some disjointed thoughts, not necessarily addressing your own comments in an exact fashion.  We will, at some point, come upon the sensible time to 'agree to disagree' on certain topics within this discussion.  

-In terms of identifying and describing the PCE, and distinguishing it from other experiences, and how this all relates to concepts/worldviews:

I think human brains need concepts to get about in the world and communicate with one another.  In my opinion, the presence or absence of concepts within Richard's way of talking about things does not necessarily have a direct correlation with the degree to which his experience was entirely new.  I have found the actualism method highly workable for my own needs, at this point in my self-exploration.  I also feel puzzled when I see how some people (not necessarily you!!) tend to steer discussions of actualism in the direction of "is it new?", repeatedly.  

I have found enough evidence in 1st and 2nd-hand experiences with spiritual teachers.  I had my first A&P with Amma, the hugging saint.  I KNOW that Amma has shakti.  She has since been revealed to financially, emotionally and sexually abuse her students.  My dad studied under Rama Murti Mishra in the 70's.  My dad watched helplessly as the guru seduced and bedded his girlfriend at the time.  My mom lived in the zen monastery of Omori Sogen in the same era.  Despite being clearly, highly enlightened, and repeatedly expressing compassion to my mom, Omori was known for his ultra-nationalist support of Japan before and during WWII.  In the pragmatic dharma movement we have a generous handful of examples of highly realized teachers who have vowed to peel back the veil on romantic fantasies surrounding enlightenment.  And while I am in awe of the courage it takes to do this, as well as the level of training that has been required to get to where they are at, they have simply confirmed what I have grown up suspecting, as a 2nd generation, Western yogi: that spirituality is not the answer for the human condition.  

I hear people describe incredible perceptual shifts, and I want to know: Are you still horny?  Are you still mad at your parents or siblings (commanded by childhood psychodynamics)?  Are you still 'you'?

I don't believe in the 'limited emotional range' or 'perfection action' or 'perfection' models of contemplative training.  That is not what actual freedom is.  Actual freedom does not make you perfect, because perfect doesn't exist.  It does exactly what it does, and that includes the elimination of the affective faculty.  Its just different than enlightenmnet, not actually "better" or "worse."  I think I am saying this because people will read me and think, here we go with the 'perfection' stuff, again.  

Now, how does this relate to what we were talking about?  To me, the core topic is that describing and distinguishing the PCE from other states is not a matter of semantics or world view.  Richard describes a state that is clearly different from the spiritual masters that I have had first or second hand contact with (particularly those who still describe the experience of negative emotions).  Richard's actions are clearly different from the actions of those spiritual teachers who are not free from scandal.  He has been exacting in his communication, on the AFT, regarding accusations surrounding adultry, financial abuse, and other violations.  He is willing to provide specific dates, names and locations to help prove his whereabouts and actions.  Why does this matter?  Because it appears that he may both a) actually not experience negative emotions, and b) be completely scandal-free, as in, there are no "behind-the-scenes", fucked-up, hidden subconscious drives being acted out.  

And how did he get to this point?  By distinguishing the PCE from various ASC's.  By being very specific about when the instinctual passions are actually gone, and when they are simply sublimated.  Excellence experiences matter because they are more consistently liable to lead into PCE's than ASC's are.  Also, excellence experiences contain a very specific subset of positive emotions and feeling-tonalities, called 'felicitious feelings.' 

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/17/15 12:04 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah:
[quote=
]
Hi Eva,
Some disjointed thoughts, not necessarily addressing your own comments in an exact fashion.  We will, at some point, come upon the sensible time to 'agree to disagree' on certain topics within this discussion.  

-In terms of identifying and describing the PCE, and distinguishing it from other experiences, and how this all relates to concepts/worldviews:

I think human brains need concepts to get about in the world and communicate with one another.  In my opinion, the presence or absence of concepts within Richard's way of talking about things does not necessarily have a direct correlation with the degree to which his experience was entirely new.  I have found the actualism method highly workable for my own needs, at this point in my self-exploration.  I also feel puzzled when I see how some people (not necessarily you!!) tend to steer discussions of actualism in the direction of "is it new?", repeatedly. 

***I suspect strongly that this has to do with how Richard chose to come out with his ideas.  If he had come forth with an attitude that he had worked on some stuff that got good results, it probably would not have been as controversial as what he did which was to strongly assert his stuff was totally new and unique and not at all like the other stuff.  Steps on a lot of egos with that kind of angle.  So you have an audience of people who can't know if Actualism works probably unless they practice it a lot and they are trying to decide if that would be the best commitment of their time.  So what do they do?  They look for clues about accuracy in things they CAN see, like is this really new?  They will look at any of his claims that they can potentially assess with the knowledge they already have and then figure the rest is likely to be equally accurate.  So if they don't believe his claims about is it new, then why should they believe the rest of it?  Of course this is not a perfect systme of decision, certainly many brilliant things have come from some very screwed up people in the past, but it does tend to be more accurate than spin the bottle and if something asks for a large time commitment, many people will try to make a judgement call before starting it.  If Richard comes and seems to make claims that seem likely not true and if he seems to act like a paranoid nut at times, well that also does not go well for promoting his case.   Since I have already experienced a thing like PCE and since I already practice some of the things he suggests and they seem to work for me, those two things are probably why I have more than average interest in it but it's not enough for me to adopt his whole belief system (to be fair I have not adopted anyone else's whole belief system either so it's not just him)

I have found enough evidence in 1st and 2nd-hand experiences with spiritual teachers.  I had my first A&P with Amma, the hugging saint.  I KNOW that Amma has shakti.  She has since been revealed to financially, emotionally and sexually abuse her students.  My dad studied under Rama Murti Mishra in the 70's.  My dad watched helplessly as the guru seduced and bedded his girlfriend at the time.  My mom lived in the zen monastery of Omori Sogen in the same era.  Despite being clearly, highly enlightened, and repeatedly expressing compassion to my mom, Omori was known for his ultra-nationalist support of Japan before and during WWII.  In the pragmatic dharma movement we have a generous handful of examples of highly realized teachers who have vowed to peel back the veil on romantic fantasies surrounding enlightenment.  And while I am in awe of the courage it takes to do this, as well as the level of training that has been required to get to where they are at, they have simply confirmed what I have grown up suspecting, as a 2nd generation, Western yogi: that spirituality is not the answer for the human condition.  

***Good info, thank you.  I have often wondered if those that are said to be enlightened but do fairly bad things were really enlightened or just acting like it but were not really enlightened. Again the definition of enlightenment does not seem well pinned down and as you said, seems filled with much legend that may or may not be true.  On my path, I have definitely found myself becoming more moral than I used to be and not because I 'should' or that someone said other ways are bad, it's only because I want to do it more myself for myself because it feels better for me and more right for me now.  So I do tend to equate moral improvement with the path because I have seen it in myself. 

***But on the flip side, I have not become some all perfect Saint Eva who is always immaculate in all behavior, nope definitely not that!  And there were also some stages along the path, one in particular when I had an incredibly strong sex drive all of sudden, it was extremely distracting and lasted for like a year or so, some kind of kundalini thing I guess.  But it's easy for me to imagine someone experiencing that kind of drive and also being in a situation of great power with many obedient followers all around that would be easy to seduce, that there would often be those that fell to temptation. 

***But what I don't know is if those people, even having great charisma and some powers, probably having spent a lot of time and effort developing those powers too, what I don't know is if those people were really far enough down the path to be all the way to say 4th path or beyond.  I do wonder if maybe there were more around the earlier paths.  It seems like it's not really until 4th when you are more sure where you are and have T$% more sorted out.  One thing we do see repeatedly with humans is that many if given a huge amount of power and influence such that it becomes easy to do bad things without repercussions, many humans will do some very bad things.  Buddhism is not exempt from the problem but if there is more or less of it in Buddhism I couldn't say.  

***Conversely, I also wonder if maybe the technical paths are not enough to lead to moral development or that they are slow to do so compared to say a path that has more emphasis on fixing your bs and balancing your psyche.  This might be more along the lines of what you are thinking if I get your drift correctly.  I don't have any strong feelings on the answer myself but am interested to gather more data on it, perhaps another reason why I am interested in your experiment with Actualism and what you find out about it. 

***From my angle Ive come to have more a feeling that I can get all that I need and even much that I don't need but still want without screwing other people over or doing unsavory things, so it just makes sense for more to choose the less jerky route.  I don't know if it's even a matter of huge moral gains on my part.  It's like whereas previously it was unsavory but now I realize it's not only unsavory but also unnecessary so those two things together tend to lead to natural avoidance.      

I hear people describe incredible perceptual shifts, and I want to know: Are you still horny?  Are you still mad at your parents or siblings (commanded by childhood psychodynamics)?  Are you still 'you'?

***When I am experiencing Eva's PCElike experience, then no, I do not experience any of that.  It was one of the things i really noticed, a person that is super irritating to many including me, doing her usual irritating stuff, yielded zero feelings of irritation in me.  She was kind of like the ultimate litmus test!  (that could be found in ordinary life at least)  Plus other things like the car broke down, spent 3 hours trying to fix the computer, whatever, just everything was fine even things that normally would have really been a hassle.  But the experience did not stay, it was there for a while, came and went, but I would fall back to baseline in which I carried some of that with me at least,  my baseline now has more of that than previously, but it was no longer the full Monty.    

I don't believe in the 'limited emotional range' or 'perfection action' or 'perfection' models of contemplative training.  That is not what actual freedom is.  Actual freedom does not make you perfect, because perfect doesn't exist.  It does exactly what it does, and that includes the elimination of the affective faculty.  Its just different than enlightenmnet, not actually "better" or "worse."  I think I am saying this because people will read me and think, here we go with the 'perfection' stuff, again.  

***I wonder about that a lot, not that I expect one to become perfect, seems unlikely, but are there any moral attainments that can be expected then and if so, what are they?  There is certainly a lot of stuff in legend but not sure how idealized that is. 

Now, how does this relate to what we were talking about?  To me, the core topic is that describing and distinguishing the PCE from other states is not a matter of semantics or world view.  Richard describes a state that is clearly different from the spiritual masters that I have had first or second hand contact with (particularly those who still describe the experience of negative emotions).  Richard's actions are clearly different from the actions of those spiritual teachers who are not free from scandal.  He has been exacting in his communication, on the AFT, regarding accusations surrounding adultry, financial abuse, and other violations.  He is willing to provide specific dates, names and locations to help prove his whereabouts and actions.  Why does this matter?  Because it appears that he may both a) actually not experience negative emotions, and b) be completely scandal-free, as in, there are no "behind-the-scenes", fucked-up, hidden subconscious drives being acted out.  

***Well that is kind of a diff area to delve into.  First of all, I would guess that not all 'enlightened' folk are morally bankrupt sex abusers just because soem of them were.  They probably run the gamut would be my guess. In Richard's case, I think I would have to know him well to know the truth of what he says he experiences (same thing would be true with any guru).  As many on here have attested, it's very possible for many to exhibit a certain persona on social media that is very different from real life persona at times when they let their hair down in private. 

***The more a guru makes grandious claims the more people will be scrutinizing if that person lives up to his/her claims.  Richard has said in the past that people like Daniel that tried a version of actualism that was not exactly as Richard promoted were part of a secret scheme to ruin actualism and prevent its global spread.  Since i don't believe Daniel or I are part of any such schemes, then consequently I am already starting off on a foot of not believing something that Richard said and am thus not likely to blindly believe any others of his claims either.  That's not to say that I won't believe any of them but just becuase Richard says he has a certain experience, I don't assume it is true (nor do I assume it's not true). In such a case, I am sitting on the fence watching the show to see how it unfolds.  Also in order to suspect more validity in it, I would like to see some substantial number of reasonable sounding people over time come foreward to say they too have accomplished full time Actual Freedom.  So far I only know of Richard, are there any others?  If others say they have managed to replicate the outcome, obviously the story is going to sound more believable than if it's just Richard saying it.   I think a big problem that Richard has is that people naturally look to the messenger to judge the message, if Richard comes off as egomaniacal and paranoid, then any story of his is going to be dismissed quickly by most with prejudice. 
-Eva (edited to fix formatting issues)  

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/17/15 12:33 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Noah:
I would say that the criteria for a PCE is much stricter and clearer than the criteria for a nondual experience.
 Was there affective energy or any sense of the identity or self?  No PCE.  The nondual, on the other hand, definittely falls on a spectrum with the highest level of perceptual fusion on one end, to a more sutble or wimpy manifestation on the other.  


Hi Noah!  Congradulations on the PCE!  I have generally interpreted the PCE as a glimpse of enlightenment (or non-dual) experience, beacuse I had such an experience in high school and it formed the basis and inspiration for my journeys on the spiritual path.  I was going to say that there is a range of such experiences, from a genuine glimpse of enlightenment itself (aka a peak experience) to a lesser non-dual experience in which the self of self is not quite so absent.  However given your strict criteria for the PCE, which I found in your discussion with Eva (and quoted above), it seems you probably had a strong experience.  Your description definately sounded like a pure experience of awareness. 
I too tended to assume the experience that feels like PCE is a glimpse of strong nondualism.  I've heard nondualism sometimes described as similar to PCE plus when it in it, the experience just feels like the exact right thing to do in life.  Doubt of that is not present.  I generally agree there also seems to be degrees of the intensity experienced, but there seems to be a certain point where I will tip into a very strong experience.  It's like although there is a continuum of intensity, there are some levels that if you get at all close, you will tend to fall all the way in quickly.   
After learning about actualism about 5 years ago when some other actualists posted here, I immediately tried to pursue it because the expreince of the PCE sounded so much like the satori experience I once had. 
I have read some the explanation fo Satori.  I have in the past experienced something that was like Kensho to me.  Lets' call it Evas Kensholike experience, since I am not sure what it was.  At that point, for the first time I kind of saw how a bunch of things clicked together and how my personality and existence operated. It was like a big fat insight that kind of stuck out as a very important one compared to all the other littlet ones I hhad before or since.  It was like suddenly I 'got it' with clarity. It was a very inspiring and empowering experience and I had a big shovelful of evangelical type feelings to go with it.  I felt like I now was free and could go forth and kick butt with whatever I wanted to accomplish, change and fix the world with the might and drive of my new insight, etc.  There was lot of prideful ego involved with it too.  Wave the flags and sound the trumpets, Eva now gets it and will help you too!  (that kind of feeling)  But that settled and at times I really struggled to see those insights even half as clearly as during the event.  My ability to maintain that clarity really varied.  Anyway, I think of that as my Kensholike experience, unless someone can describe it more clearly for me anyway. I took me a few years to process that info and settle down a lot more before I got to having the PCEs much.  

The kensholike experience was different than the PCE like experience which did not have any evangelical butt kicking feeling, it was a way more calm and relaxed state and has been the only one that I feel that loss of tension where the emotions and thoughts no longer clash inside me.  It was an amazing feeling of internal peace and loss of tension.  It's the one I really think of as 'enlightened' even if it's just because of the amazing amount of mental weight that was lifted off.  I truly felt way 'lighter.'  I would just operate on whatever needed to be done efficiently minus the fist pumping type feeling that the Kensho type experience had.  The Kensholike experience was one where I thought those ideas and insights were right and true and was thrilled by the freedom that I realized I had from it.  But the PCE type experience was one where it was not just some wonderful ideas of mine that were right but that the whole of me and my current state and the world were right. 

It strikes me now writing about it that when I had my kensholike experience, I thought truly this was 'it.'  But then later when I had the PCE type experiences, then I was feeling this is so profoundly more obviously 'it.'  Makes me wonder if the can be an even greater 'it' that I will experiene in the future, LOL now that would be even more interesting! 

Anyway, I don't really know if I am using the correct terminology for these experiences, the words are just a guess from what I've read on the terms, it could be quite wrong for all I know. 
-Eva

However I soon came back to Buddhist meditation because I wanted to pursue a more reliable and well worn path.  During the time I pursued actualism, I contacted a woman on here who had enacted a shift in here consiousness by willing herself into the PCE and spending as much time as possible in this state.  I guess eventually a shift occured, and the PCE state of consiousness became her baseline, or something of this sort.

Given that you seem to have dedicated yourself to this practice, it is exciting that you are seeing results, and I hope it continues to manifest well going foreward!  It's always exciting to hear about someone getting it done, especially through a different method of progession.

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/17/15 1:17 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Hey Eva,

Lots more interesting thoughts here, thank you.  I especially like hearing more details about your PCE, and about your overall attitudes and goals in contemplative development.  

Here are links to some descriptions of practicing actualists who have met Richard, Peter and Vineeto (all actually free), in person:

http://actualfreedom.com.au/actualism/others/claudiu'sreport.htm

http://actualfreedom.com.au/actualism/others/srid'sreport.htm

http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/listdcorrespondence/jonathan.htm

Here is a list of people who have been confirmed to be actually free.  

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/announcement.htm

The tough thing about compiling such a list is that there is no foolproof criteria for telling, from the outside, whether or not someone is actually free.  The AFT folks have been very explicit in not wanting to be seen as, or act as, the final judgement committee on anyone's actual freedom, or lack thereof.  More importantly, in becoming actually free, one loses the capabillity to intuitively or psychically feel another person out.  So there is no emotional vibing capability in an actually free person that could help them determine a person's psychic status.  If anything, a person within the human condition would be more equipped in this regard.  Also, the list does include people like Tarin annd Justine, who seem to have expressed certain thoughts, through text, that would be contradictory to living in actual freedom.  Long story short, its not perfectly cut and dry, but they are out there!

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/17/15 12:00 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah:


The tough thing about compiling such a list is that there is no foolproof criteria for telling, from the outside, whether or not someone is actually free.  The AFT folks have been very explicit in not wanting to be seen as, or act as, the final judgement committee on anyone's actual freedom, or lack thereof.  
That's probably true for almost all attainments.  In more traditional situations, a monk would be living with the teachers and they would know al about his/her strengths and weaknesses and progression over time, so they would have a bit more to go on at least, but over the internet, anyone can act like anything, hence why I prefer to try to observe with an open mind but not get sucked into blind belief (that holds for all the schools, not just Actualism). 

More importantly, in becoming actually free, one loses the capabillity to intuitively or psychically feel another person out.  So there is no emotional vibing capability in an actually free person that could help them determine a person's psychic status.  If anything, a person within the human condition would be more equipped in this regard.  
Hm, that's interesting, never considered that. If in a PCElike experience, can I psych out others at all?  Seems like maybe I would just not be interested in trying it thinking it was not important perhaps, will try to consider that more next time. 

Also, the list does include people like Tarin annd Justine, who seem to have expressed certain thoughts, through text, that would be contradictory to living in actual freedom.  Long story short, its not perfectly cut and dry, but they are out there!
My understanding is that Tarin basically recanted later so I don't think he counts and should not be on the list for the sake of integrity.  ;-P
-Eva

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/17/15 12:22 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva:

Hm, that's interesting, never considered that. If in a PCElike experience, can I psych out others at all?  Seems like maybe I would just not be interested in trying it thinking it was not important perhaps, will try to consider that more next time.


Haha, nope, you can't psych out others.  You won't be connected to them at all!  PCE's are very slippery, so if you try to psych someone out, you might fall out of it into normal consciousness or an ASC.  But yeah, that might be a good litmus test.  The minute you can sense your own vibes, or your own emotional content at all (or, to paraphrase what you say, the minute your emotions are detectable as clashing our out of harmony) or you can sense the vibes of others, you are, by definition, having some other type of experience.  

My understanding is that Tarin basically recanted later so I don't think he counts and should not be on the list for the sake of integrity.  ;-P


Without knowing all the details, but speaking on it anyway (since its important), it seems that Tarin did have some sort of favorable outcome as a result of his efforts inspired by Richard's words.  It can be hard to say what inspired what (and what led to what), since he did seem to continue to be influenced by Buddhist paradigms and techniques, when I read back into the DhO archives.  Also, there was the issue of his misusing the phrase 'pure intent', which is an important aspect of both the path and the end point, in actualism.  The question then becomes, did he simply misunderstand the definition but did experience pure intent, or did he not experience pure intent at all, and therefore spoke about it incorrectly?

Part of my point is that we can't say with certainty who 'counts' and who does not.  The integrity of the AFT is not most prominently displayed (in my opinion)  through the list of addendums.  Rather, it is to be found in the consistency in the words of Richard, Peter and Vineeto, over the course of fifteen years or so.  

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/18/15 3:54 PM as a reply to Noah.
@ My OP:

I just had another flashback to the childhood PCE on the beach in Acadia, and remembered something about the full, 3-dimensionality of being present there, at that time.  The body and consciousness were really complete, and the identity was totally absent.  While my more recent experience did not have any detectable aspects of identity, there was a certain 2-dimensionality to it, displayed by my focus on the visual field, for one.  Also, there was something 'soft' or 'gentle' about my time on the beach (although these words do not do honor to the thing I am trying to express, as they are inherently affective in both denotation and connotation).  

For my actualist practice, the takeaway from this flashback will be to remember some of these remarkable qualities and seek to magnetize towards their closest, affective proxies, while still 'in identity.'  Something about the niceness of it, the okay-ness, the sense of being friends with the universe, that sort of thing.

@ Other discussion participants:

And for the sake of this discussion, particularly the comments of Pawel and Daniel, it does seem possible that this experience was not a full PCE, but rather an EE.  I still hold to the fact that it lacked many characteristics of ASC's (in general, that I have experienced), but am open to the idea that a given nana or jhana can be experienced in fundamentally different ways, over time (especially with the after-effects of a new path settling in).  Point being, dharma diagnosis is difficult and confusing, especially when being performed oneself.  

@ Eva:

***When I am experiencing Eva's PCElike experience, then no, I do not experience any of that.  It was one of the things i really noticed, a person that is super irritating to many including me, doing her usual irritating stuff, yielded zero feelings of irritation in me.  She was kind of like the ultimate litmus test!  (that could be found in ordinary life at least)  Plus other things like the car broke down, spent 3 hours trying to fix the computer, whatever, just everything was fine even things that normally would have really been a hassle.  But the experience did not stay, it was there for a while, came and went, but I would fall back to baseline in which I carried some of that with me at least,  my baseline now has more of that than previously, but it was no longer the full Monty.    


(emphasis mine)

This is a long shot, but if this was a PCE that you experienced, the baseline-changing, after-effects would be what is known as 'pure intent' in the language of the actualism method.  Pure intent is a really big deal, and is a common prerequisite for attaining VF.  It isn't that the PCE/PCE rememoration causes some stable, continuous shift in consciousness, but rather that it slowly and subtly begins to effect the way you think and feel about things... how to act... what is sensible... etc.  I thought of this yesterday at work and wanted to add it in.  Keep in mind that this isn't some conceptual mismash or grey area (in terms of the whole 'Richard's belief system' thing)... something either is, or is not, a PCE.  After-effects of that something either are, or are not, pure intent.  This doesn't make them better or worse, I'm just trying to highlight the value of clear distinctions.

RE: 1st PCE As A Practicing Actualist
Answer
11/21/15 8:35 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah:

@ Eva:

***When I am experiencing Eva's PCElike experience, then no, I do not experience any of that.  It was one of the things i really noticed, a person that is super irritating to many including me, doing her usual irritating stuff, yielded zero feelings of irritation in me.  She was kind of like the ultimate litmus test!  (that could be found in ordinary life at least)  Plus other things like the car broke down, spent 3 hours trying to fix the computer, whatever, just everything was fine even things that normally would have really been a hassle.  But the experience did not stay, it was there for a while, came and went, but I would fall back to baseline in which I carried some of that with me at least,  my baseline now has more of that than previously, but it was no longer the full Monty.    


(emphasis mine)

This is a long shot, but if this was a PCE that you experienced, the baseline-changing, after-effects would be what is known as 'pure intent' in the language of the actualism method.  Pure intent is a really big deal, and is a common prerequisite for attaining VF.  It isn't that the PCE/PCE rememoration causes some stable, continuous shift in consciousness, but rather that it slowly and subtly begins to effect the way you think and feel about things... how to act... what is sensible... etc.  

I would imagine any strong peak type experience might also have lasting effects so I am not sure how indicative it is that it left a print on me.  ;-P  I have no idea if it is exactly a PCE or not, I'm not sure I care that much specifically, excpet that I am curious what it is and 'PCE' is the closest description I've found.  And the thing has a strong feeling of being the right way to go.   

I thought of this yesterday at work and wanted to add it in.  Keep in mind that this isn't some conceptual mismash or grey area (in terms of the whole 'Richard's belief system' thing)... something either is, or is not, a PCE.  After-effects of that something either are, or are not, pure intent.  This doesn't make them better or worse, I'm just trying to highlight the value of clear distinctions.

It occurs to me, I have assumed that the goal of Actualism was to have full time PCE type experience, is that correct or is pure intent something different?
-Eva