Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

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Jake, modified 8 Years ago at 7/15/14 7:32 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/15/14 7:30 PM

Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 135 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
The reason for this post is because I need a place to gather my thoughts, a lot has happened over the past few days, I have been reading about AF, PCE's, shit like that, and am trying to figure out what it all is.

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June 2012: Depressed and sad Jake with a bleak outlook on life.

July 2012: I read the Power of Now, a book all about living directly in the moment, how this moment now is all that ever exists. The past happened now, the future will happen now. There is no moment other than right now.

Reading this book did something to my psyche, the way I reacted to it,  sent me into a state of being, a state of consciousness so pure and perfect, it felt like how enlightenment should feel. For 3 months I lived in this state of consciousness, literally the peak of my existance so far, below is a quote from my first post here:

I felt aligned with something so much greater than me that I couldn’t even describe it. It was as if the world was working in my favor, handing me things that honestly seemed too good to be true. Things would happen to me, small things yet so powerful and meaningful. I wish I could give an example, but it was maybe 6 months ago and I cannot. Anyway I felt perfect, nothing could budge this state I was in. No words or actions could separate me from this feeling I was having. I was so sharp and focused and funny and confident. These words cannot even begin to describe my feeling because it was so pure and natural. I felt connected to people in such a strange way that one of my favorite things to do was talk. I could literally talk to someone for hours and love every moment. The emotions I felt did not stem from my mind, they came from my body.

November 2012: I fall into a deep depression, complete anxiety over nothing, complete dread and sadness, I have never experienced anything like this before. This was the absolute worst state of my existance. Slowly it improved but not my much. However, I was somehow able to "will" myself back into this "state" I had experienced before. I don't remember how I did it, but briefly (from a few days to a week or so) I was able to go back to this pure consciousness state of being.

January 2013: I had no more willpower or energy to do anything. It felt like this state was lost forever and that I was permamently stuck in this dark depression. Around this time the search began for answers to what the fuck was actually going on.

April 2013: I find the DHO, make a few posts, realize that I had crossed the A&P event and was now in the DN, began some sort of attempt at meditation practice. Find some sort of balance in my life (lol, balance), able to improve my quality of life via meditation to something a bit more menageable. 

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Since then my life has been that of a search for answers and for information in general. It has also been a poor attempt of trying to maintain balance and feel like a normal human being. There were absolutely highs during my past two years of existance, but nothing as high as this inital event that I had experienced.

This post was written because I have recently come across Actual Freedom, after finding out about PCE's. I now think that what I had experienced two years ago was in fact an extended PCE. I was able to somehow enduce further, shorter, PCE's after my inital long one, but since then have not been able to (I have never tried). The reason I have never tried was because I believed I had crossed the A&P (maybe I have, I do not know).

I have read a few posts here about AF, and about how Tarin Greco became actually free, prior to that he was a meditator who crossed first path. I have also read some stuff on the AF website (which is a very strange place). This chunk stuck out to me because it pretty much describes how I have felt ever since my initial (PCE?)

This past the half-way point is a most fascinating period for one finds oneself literally on one’s own, without the security of a social identity of any substance and adrift from the familiar security of being able to mindlessly indulge in malice, or wallow in sorrow. One finds oneself seemingly at odds with the world and its citizens for one has left the accustomed ways of coping, or avoiding, behind. It is possible to pass through periods of stark reality where nothing has any meaning and all is experienced as grey and dull. Boredom, meaninglessness, pointlessness and similar feelings are often encountered and this is where a continual memory of the pure consciousness experience is vital, for that becomes one’s single pointed goal in life while crossing what can be experienced and felt to be a desert completely devoid of usual meaning and familiar emotional experiences. Traditional and accustomed relationships and ways of thinking and feeling are all broken apart and there seems to be no way of putting anything back together again.


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My mind is a crazy place right now and I am trying to figure out what direction to head in. AF seems to relate to me much more, because I have tried meditation for over a year now, and I don't really like meditating at all. In fact it sucks most of the time, it's something that I force myself to do because I usually feel better afterwards and dont feel like a space cadet. My goal has never really been to get enlightened, it has been to "go back", or move forward, to live in a state exactly the same, or better, than the one I lived in for those two months. 

However, AF seems fucking absurd, I have no idea what its about. The meditation path is much more stable, much more defined, however takes more work.

I am not saying I will not put in the work, I will do whatever it takes to make progress to that state of consciousness again. Actual Freedom seems like it is a practice that relates to PCE's, which I think was the bliss-out 3 month thing I experienced.

What is the relation between AF and stream entry, A&P, enlightenment? The website says it is a 180 degree spin from the spiritual life. I am shattered right now, using this post a place to release some steam. I plan on coming back here over the next 3 days, refining what is here, adding more, and hopefully getting some input.

My ultimate goal is to be happy. I was the happiest I had ever been in that 3 month span of pure consciousness. Ideally, I want to recreate that and live in that way forever, or something similar. My current goal is to figure out how the F to get there. Is the path AF, is the path meditation, that is something I am trying to figure out.

Bless your soul if you can make sense of this madness here.
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Noting Monkey, modified 8 Years ago at 7/16/14 12:17 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/16/14 12:17 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 48 Join Date: 7/24/11 Recent Posts
Hi Jake,

(sorry for spelling mistakes i don't have time to correct)

I think you enjoy Re-obsrevation sometimes. Which is a good thing. You feel maybe you are not progressing and the whole thing doesn't make sense and no result comes from the practice. 
Things you can do:

1.
If you like notig technique and able to follow instructions then it is very good to take an intense retreat. Only 10-20 days can bring a lot if you are already deep down. Being deep down shows that mind is fed up with experiences...good.   
If you dont have time for retreat is good to contact teachers are making skyp interviews. Doing it alone is almost impossible (maybe possible I don't know)

2. 
You start to look for other techniqiue (i wish good luck)


It is good to keep in mind and accept some facts: 
As long as mind-body exist then there is still suffering.
There are no permanent mind states so non of them will provide you the ever lasting happines you maybe expect.

Awakening means the realisation that there is only phenomena and you have nothing to do how they arise and vanish.  

The concept of I can be broken. You get deep insight about the fact that there is only mind&body and they doing their thing without asking for promission. This is not kind of happines what people generaly expecting but a thing that changes a lot and worth to strive for.
(somebody calls it as enlightement somebody says this is only a good step toward it, I don't know)

How it can be done for sure? Keep going investigating your present experiences and see the true nature of them (see the 3 Characteristics, impermanent, suffering, non self) as long until it's done. 
So it doesn't matter how bad or good your experience is doesn't matter where are you on the path you have to give effort to keep going the practice (otherwise you avoid learning and wont get insight). This is a bit dry but strait forward. 

Sorry I am big fun of noting technique so I don't really now others, so I see only in this direction.
(AF and PCE I don't know about them)

hope make sense
NM
John M, modified 8 Years ago at 7/16/14 12:27 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/16/14 12:25 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 135 Join Date: 2/11/12 Recent Posts
My incredibly standard and therefore quite unsexy advice would be to file it under the generic heading of Peak Experience and keep on going. If you can't quite manage to let it go altogether -- and no fault there, as these experiences can seem enormously significant and seductive -- then try adopting a more provisional attitude toward them. This might look something like, That sure felt like an A&P event, but more practice and experience will help me reevaluate with greater clarity and insight. Choosing to label these things with post-it notes rather than engraved plaques is a reliable way to spare yourself a great deal of potential grief and embarassment in future.

Peak experiences can easily derail progress. They have a tendency to bend attention toward what it was rather than the much more important point of how it came about. For instance, it seems as though an experience you encountered through open awareness of the present moment has since become a point of fixated preoccupation with the past. Attending to the causes and conditions that allowed the experience to arise in the first place with a kind of gentle curiosity would be a much more fruitful line of inquiry. Doing so also sidesteps the problem of having the mind latch onto an otherwise liberating experience, the recollection of which can become a sort of prison.

Forgive me if this is an unfair characterization, but it also sounds as though your preoccupation with this peak experience might be caught up in the notion of how best to direct your practice and move forward. Something like: if this was a PCE, AF practice must be the best choice. Or, if this was an A&P event, vipassana must be the best choice. As your practice unfolds you may find that there's little more to the whole thing than attending to what was here all along. It's about getting out of your own way. From this perspective, the notion of choosing a practice or committing to a tradition can seem a little bit silly -- perhaps even entirely unhelpful.
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Jake, modified 8 Years ago at 7/16/14 7:21 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/16/14 7:21 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 135 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
I have this urge that drives me to keep looking for information, and when I find something that seems relevant to my life (in this case, PCE's and this AF whatever the fuck it is), I get excited or satisfied or whatever, even hopeful. Perhaps a good idea would be to break out of this cycle, stop endlessly searching for whatever externally, and simply devote time to meditation without the intellectual food. I just sat for 20 minutes and feel more peaceful (something I often notice myself chasing), and already my post above seems absurd.

Noting Monkey:
If you dont have time for retreat is good to contact teachers are making skyp interviews. Doing it alone is almost impossible (maybe possible I don't know)

This is good advice. I live in a highly populated area of the US so finding one shouldnt be too hard.

John M.:
My incredibly standard and therefore quite unsexy advice would be to file it under the generic heading of Peak Experience and keep on going. If you can't quite manage to let it go altogether -- and no fault there, as these experiences can seem enormously significant and seductive -- then try adopting a more provisional attitude toward them. This might look something like, That sure felt like an A&P event, but more practice and experience will help me reevaluate with greater clarity and insight. Choosing to label these things with post-it notes rather than engraved plaques is a reliable way to spare yourself a great deal of potential grief and embarassment in future.


It was so profound for me personally because it stripped away virtually all of my suffering. It has stuck with me ever since and I can't seem to let it go. This has caused more suffering actually. You are absolutely right, this experience is slapped on a plaque, inside the triple dream safe from Inception.

John M.:
Forgive me if this is an unfair characterization, but it also sounds as though your preoccupation with this peak experience might be caught up in the notion of how best to direct your practice and move forward. Something like: if this was a PCE, AF practice must be the best choice. Or, if this was an A&P event, vipassana must be the best choice. As your practice unfolds you may find that there's little more to the whole thing than attending to what was here all along. It's about getting out of your own way. From this perspective, the notion of choosing a practice or committing to a tradition can seem a little bit silly -- perhaps even entirely unhelpful.


I agree completely. My idea behind the post was to find which path to take, you are spot on. I am too easily derailed by shit, my practice suffers. I need to stick with my daily sits. I haven't sat enough to see actual progress.
John M, modified 8 Years ago at 7/16/14 8:26 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/16/14 8:26 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 135 Join Date: 2/11/12 Recent Posts
Jake WM:
I have this urge that drives me to keep looking for information, and when I find something that seems relevant to my life (in this case, PCE's and this AF whatever the fuck it is), I get excited or satisfied or whatever, even hopeful. Perhaps a good idea would be to break out of this cycle, stop endlessly searching for whatever externally, and simply devote time to meditation without the intellectual food.

After crossing A&P for the first time (and it was a real doozy) my thirst for information was almost insatiable. I'd spend entire days devouring anything that seemed to relate even tangentially to My Big Experience. Esoteric, scientific, anecdotal, Buddhist, Hindu, occult, whatever -- it didn't matter, really. It was all about feeling that validating and almost narcotic hit of recognizing your own experience in someone else's words. I imagine others here at the DhO can relay similar experiences. Playing a hunch, I'd bet that's how most of us wound up here to begin with.

I'd like to say that I eventually wised up and saw through the chase for what it was, but mostly I had just hunted answers to extinction. Worse, I'd wound up even more frustrated and confused than before. This deep frustration is what finally engaged me with meditation -- not as an act of volition or even good sense, but as the only thing left.

If you can break the habit without having to exhaust it entirely as I did, I can only imagine that would be a good thing.
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Jake, modified 8 Years ago at 7/16/14 8:50 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/16/14 8:50 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 135 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
John M.:
Jake WM:
I have this urge that drives me to keep looking for information, and when I find something that seems relevant to my life (in this case, PCE's and this AF whatever the fuck it is), I get excited or satisfied or whatever, even hopeful. Perhaps a good idea would be to break out of this cycle, stop endlessly searching for whatever externally, and simply devote time to meditation without the intellectual food.

After crossing A&P for the first time (and it was a real doozy) my thirst for information was almost insatiable. I'd spend entire days devouring anything that seemed to relate even tangentially to My Big Experience. Esoteric, scientific, anecdotal, Buddhist, Hindu, occult, whatever -- it didn't matter, really. It was all about feeling that validating and almost narcotic hit of recognizing your own experience in someone else's words. I imagine others here at the DhO can relay similar experiences. Playing a hunch, I'd bet that's how most of us wound up here to begin with.

I'd like to say that I eventually wised up and saw through the chase for what it was, but mostly I had just hunted answers to extinction. Worse, I'd wound up even more frustrated and confused than before. This deep frustration is what finally engaged me with meditation -- not as an act of volition or even good sense, but as the only thing left.

If you can break the habit without having to exhaust it entirely as I did, I can only imagine that would be a good thing.

Its funny that you mention "the big experience", it reminds me of what I read in MCTB - Daniel writes something about a novice meditator who is fascinated by their "BIG THING" and just can't get enough it, stuff like that.

I will consciousnly refrain from feeding my mind with information. I have plenty of that - I don't need more. I will commit to practicing and not dwelling on my content as best as I can. One the cycles I engage in is attempting to practice (I might be going a good job, I don't know), but I feel like I am not going anywhere. I then start looking online for answers, information, tips, etc.

Such a vicious cycle.

Time to work on breaking this habit.
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Jake, modified 8 Years ago at 7/18/14 11:59 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/18/14 11:59 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 135 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
I truly appreciate your response Pawel.

Paweł K:
imho and I am 100% sure your three months break from depression was caused by mind naturally dispersing/dispelling stress points that are caused by tendency of mind to fall into illusion of getting some kind of satisfaction in those points. In other word mind didn't create those things:


I'm having a difficult time understanding this right here.

Paweł K:
Truth is that deliverance you so desire lays in doing exactly opposite, not creating these and dispersing existing ones (by seeing proper 'image').


The image above? So you mean, by remaining equanimous and not generating feelings of craving towards the A&P experience or generating aversion to the current DN/Depression experience, I will be moving in the right direction?

Paweł K:
anyhow what you imho experienced was indeed A&P, strong, long and memorable one which is apparently not that often. A&P can have a lot of qualities similar to PCE descriptions. Its A&P because your clinging attitude toward it that is countering this state and that lead to depression (DN) that is so typical to A&P that there is no doubt it was it.


I've had doubts about it actually being A&P. All signs point to the fact that it was though. Glad that you agree.
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Nikolai , modified 8 Years ago at 7/18/14 5:53 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/18/14 5:53 PM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Go join this yahoo list serve, describe your experience there and see if the actualists agree with your take that it was their pce. If they say it was, follow their advice if it draws you to go in that direction. If not, quit all the over analysis and return full hearted to a practice which suits you or at least an objective that does. 

Dont waste time time fussing over terminology.

nick
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Jake, modified 8 Years ago at 7/18/14 7:48 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/18/14 7:48 PM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 135 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
Nikolai .:
Go join this yahoo list serve, describe your experience there and see if the actualists agree with your take that it was their pce. If they say it was, follow their advice if it draws you to go in that direction. If not, quit all the over analysis and return full hearted to a practice which suits you or at least an objective that does. 

Dont waste time time fussing over terminology.

nick

Since my first post up there I've had a few days to chill out. Actualism, or whatever it is, just doesn't vibe with me, it doesn't make sense to me.

Goenka's retreat along with his theory and practice do make sense. Noting does as well, and with noting I think I can better deal with mental phenomena and feelings.

My ultimate goal is to progress on the path and become a manifestation of love and happiness. My objective right now is to stick with one method of practice and one method only. Too many times I have given up and changed methods because I did not feel like I was making progress.

Current strategies are to develop concentration and attain first jhana so I can begin using the noting technique in order to gain wisdom and insight.
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Eric M W, modified 8 Years ago at 7/19/14 1:52 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/19/14 1:52 PM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 288 Join Date: 3/19/14 Recent Posts
Hey Jake, I'm in a similar spot. I've been bouncing around the Dark Night for about two years and feel very stuck and have little to no motivation. But, I'm working on it and trying to build a practice. I've hit A&P territory a couple of times since then, but I've never quite been able to press onwards.

Interestingly enough, I discovered the Power of Now in the summer of 2012 as well and was affected by it. I didn't know about the Theravadin maps, but in hindsight, I crossed the A&P again after reading it and practicing some of the methods. The first time I actually A&P'ed was around March of the same year.

As for Actualism, it is a mess, as you have probably already deduced. Steer clear. Work on stream-entry first, since you are on the ride and this is probably what will benefit you the most at this point in your development. You can pursue AF later, if you like.
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Not Tao, modified 8 Years ago at 7/23/14 6:59 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/23/14 3:24 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
I'll preface by saying I haven't read the rest of this thread besides your original post, but I just want to say I think I know exactly what you're referring to, and I think I've found a good way of understanding the state you're talking about.  I share your goal of staying there. emoticon

The state you're describing is a freedom from inhibitions due to acceptance of the emotional heart center.  It's confusing to understand because it's obviously emotional (or you might say, a "feeling" of being without emotions), but you can't get there by trying to will it or control the emotions.  Ekhart talks about non-resistance, non-judgement, etc, and I think this is on the right track.  Instead of trying to will it back, see what happens when you give up trying to feel any specific way at all.  Say to yourelf, "For this moment, I'm just going to let the emotional feelings in the heart center to be as sucky (or good or trembly or whatever) as they want."  Then watch in the head region for a change in clarity.  Emotions are self-liberating, because the "suckiness" of them comes from resisting the physical sensations in the heart center.  Once you let go of trying to control the emotions, they swap over to their positive pole and then disipate.  Anxiety becomes bliss, anger becomes compassion, etc.  I think this is what the Buddha is referring to by the progression of the jhanas.  First you find clarity by allowing the physical tension in your chest to exist without resistance.  This clarity flips the tension on it's head and it is read as positive.  Once it's positive, you keep accepting it as it is (which is now easy because it feels good) and the heart loosens itself.  This loosness or empty feeling in the heart allows the attention to come to rest and creates the profound stillness of the PCE awareness.  But I can't repeat this enough, don't focus on the "feeling" of the emotion for the change, it doesn't happen like that, because the feeling of an emotion is seperate from it's good or bad "isness".  Also, if you cling to the bliss you can get stuck there and just "bliss out" haha, but you know what the next step is like already, so you won't have any trouble letting the heart fade out, I'm sure.

Just remember, it's actually very easy to get back once you've found it and understand it.  You know what you're looking for now, you just need to pay close attention to the entry and exit so it isn't as much of a mystery for you.  Remember, it isn't a change in the heart that makes it happen, it's a change in the head.  This is speaking literally, there are physical sensations associated with each step that I've noticed.  The head "clears" -> the heart center is read as positive, even though the same emotional tensions are there -> the heart center fades out and everything becomes still.  You don't need to "meditate" or concentrate or do anything in particular.  You just need to let go of control.  The feeling itself IS letting go, not the result of letting go.  Put another way, letting go is itself the PCE, the PCE doesn't result from letting go.  I don't know how much of this is idiosyncratic to me, but give it a try and see if it works for you.

P.S. if you're still having trouble, try sitting perfectly still in an uncomfortable position for a certain period of time (like count 100 deep breaths).  This can lead you to "snap" and force you to accept discomfort.  Once you see it happen, it's easy to repeat it.  Emotional discomfort = physical discomfort, so creating physical discomfort can give you a good intense point of experience to focus on - especially if the emotional experience is subtle or neutral at the time you're practicing.

P.P.S. I'm using the term "PCE" to refer to the state you mentioned because you referenced AF in the original post.  I don't care what it's called, personally.  I just call it perfection these days.

P.P.P.S. It's tempting to think that you can get there through concentration because the mind is so clear and free, but I can say from personal experience that this has blocked me up more than a few times and just isn't a part of it at all.  The clarity comes from non-resistance to mental and emotional phenomena.  The mind clears because it isn't stuck to anything, so it just stays still in the present.  Just stop all trying and doing and let go of control - it's so much easier than it seems like it should be!
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Jake, modified 8 Years ago at 7/23/14 7:23 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/23/14 7:23 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 135 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
Thank you Tao and Pawel. I will be putting this to the test as I go about my day today. This method reminds me of just remaining equanimous with all sensations that arise and pass, which is difficult to do in the DN. Now, I was thinking about how much my mind likes to cling to the dark night, for example if I am suffering, "I" will say "its ok, its just the dark night, blah blah blah". 

It must be entirely possible to flip this thing around, flip these negative feelings around, even in the DN correct? I feel as though the DN will inhibit me from flipping this around but believe it is irrelevant in terms of where I am on the maps. For me, the maps might be a hindrance because they are getting to my head, therefore limiting what I am actually able to achieve.

Hope that makes sense.

Also, "getting back" to that experience I had years ago, I remember an instance where I confronted my fears about social anxiety at the time, in one particular situation, and seemed to let go as a result of the confrontation. An hour or so after, I was in the bathroom just observing the heat vent and I felt a "letting go" type of sensation, no idea what it was. It felt like my mind was loosening its grasp of control, and I floated into that perfect space once again.
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Not Tao, modified 8 Years ago at 7/23/14 8:31 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/23/14 8:30 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
You can just let the clinging continue as well.  Let yourself feel like crap, and let yourself want to feel better, and let yourself notice a slight chang in your mood and jump on it, and then let yourself be disappointed when nothing happens.  Just kick back and let everything happen, let go completely, there is nothing you need to do, there is nothing you can control about the way you feel.  Giving up is such a relief!
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Not Tao, modified 8 Years ago at 7/23/14 8:59 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/23/14 8:37 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
Jake WM:
Also, "getting back" to that experience I had years ago, I remember an instance where I confronted my fears about social anxiety at the time, in one particular situation, and seemed to let go as a result of the confrontation. An hour or so after, I was in the bathroom just observing the heat vent and I felt a "letting go" type of sensation, no idea what it was. It felt like my mind was loosening its grasp of control, and I floated into that perfect space once again.


This sounds about right, but looking for it might be just another hindrance. You'll know when it's happening, you know? You really don't have to DO anything at all. Stop all doing, give in to the horrors, and there it will be waiting for you.

Jake WM:
It must be entirely possible to flip this thing around, flip these negative feelings around, even in the DN correct? I feel as though the DN will inhibit me from flipping this around but believe it is irrelevant in terms of where I am on the maps. For me, the maps might be a hindrance because they are getting to my head, therefore limiting what I am actually able to achieve.


Don't even think of it as flipping the emotion around. Look at the physical sensations of the emotions exactly as they are and say, "nothing about this needs to change. I am perfect and complete." Anxiety IS bliss, anger IS compassion. It doesn't flip, you just realize that there is no need to resist, and that is suddenly why it feels so damn good. This is why I have faith that this is the road to enlightenment. All negative emotions have a positive counterpart. The polarity is created by the notion of control. If you are trying to steer away from a situation, you register the emotion as negative. When you accept the the situation, the emotions register as positive. When you accept everything, your mind snaps into non-judgement and emotions don't seem to register at all. But this is a gradient, so thinking back to how it "felt" the last time is actually misleading. The feeling of equanimity is invented after the fact for the emotional mind to make sense of something completely foreign to it. Equanimity is best described as emotionless (which is why a lot of AF stuff is intriguing for us fellows interested in this state we've experienced, I think).

This is all IMHO of course. I haven't come on here much lately because I've gone off on my own track. This concept keeps proving itself to me, though. Just the other day I had an old resentment I finally liberated and I experienced a completely new positive emotion. Social taboos and inhibitions actually hold us back from the positive experiences of life. Ask yourself why you REALLY feel crappy, you might find a better reason than "the dark night" to work through. Maybe you feel crappy because you feel like you should be feeling better. I used to have HORRIBLE anxiety problems, and I realized, eventually, that it was because I was afraid of anxiety itself. Once I saw that, I realized the only escape was learning to enjoy the anxiety. This is why we have problems - because we pick and choose which internal contractions we want to feel and which ones we don't. They're all just physical sensations, though. They can mean whatever you want. Does squeezing your fist feel like an emotion? It doesn't for me, so why does tightness in the chest? We're pretty ridiculous creatures aren't we? ^^
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Jake, modified 8 Years ago at 7/23/14 8:38 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/23/14 8:38 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 135 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
You can just let the clinging continue as well.  Let yourself feel like crap, and let yourself want to feel better, and let yourself notice a slight chang in your mood and jump on it, and then let yourself be disappointed when nothing happens.  Just kick back and let everything happen, let go completely, there is nothing you need to do, there is nothing you can control about the way you feel.  Giving up is such a relief!

Is this an aspect of AF or just somethat that you've found to be useful? I was originally interested in AF but it just seems off to me. 
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Not Tao, modified 8 Years ago at 7/23/14 9:37 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/23/14 9:24 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
Jake WM:
Is this an aspect of AF or just somethat that you've found to be useful? I was originally interested in AF but it just seems off to me. 


I started using it after I fist experienced the emotionless state (and I bet you used it too, if you spent 3 months that way), but it actually wasn't clear to me what I was doing until fairly recently. A lot of this stuff is done by feel, you know? So it takes a lot of pondering to finally create a workable understanding of what's happening. Richard does talk about it on the AF website though.

He says that first we need to remove the social identity that causes us to cling to emotional states. This is the desire to feel angry/sad/lonely/etc. You need to decide that "feeling happy and harmless" is your main goal in life, and the moment you notice you're angry or unhappy for any reason, you'll immediately take responsibility for your own well being. Just ask yourself if you'd rather be angry or happy, and go back to feeling happy. Forget any he said/she said, or I want/I need. This is Ekhart Tolle's "ego".

This uncovers the more primal emotional triggers we're trying to hide by blaming other people and things for our problems. At this point, Richard says we should "neither repress nor express" the primal emotions. This is basically what I'm saying too. Richard says that "I" am emotions - or the very concept of "being" ties in to "feeling" an emotion. My small addition to the method is that I think I've found a reason why it works (at least in my experience so far). These primal emotions are completely arbitrary good/bad judgements we've tacked on to internal contractions, and there's no reason they can't all be good or go away completely when they're seen through. It's interesting to think that the best "feeling" you can have is no feeling at all.

I was confused about Actualism at first because of various descriptions of it around here and their bad website, but I realized after doing a bit of poking around that I'd already been practicing something very similar to what Richard is talking about. I just took that as an endorsement of my own practice and continued merrily along, haha.

This is a good place to get the whole picture, I think:
http://actualfreedom.com.au/actualism/path2.htm
(You can skim the first few bullet points, it's the typical actualist anti-spiritualism stuff, haha.  There is somethign to be said for being blinded by spiritual values though.  For example, the obsessions about morality and ethics have to be overcome like any other inhibition - as well as any attempt to cling to love and compassion, which are both spiritual ideals.  The compassion of the buddha, IMHO, did not involve pity, but rather benevolence.  Different topic though...)
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Jake, modified 8 Years ago at 7/24/14 5:05 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/24/14 5:05 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 135 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
Jake WM:
Is this an aspect of AF or just somethat that you've found to be useful? I was originally interested in AF but it just seems off to me. 


I started using it after I fist experienced the emotionless state (and I bet you used it too, if you spent 3 months that way), but it actually wasn't clear to me what I was doing until fairly recently. A lot of this stuff is done by feel, you know? So it takes a lot of pondering to finally create a workable understanding of what's happening. Richard does talk about it on the AF website though.

He says that first we need to remove the social identity that causes us to cling to emotional states. This is the desire to feel angry/sad/lonely/etc. You need to decide that "feeling happy and harmless" is your main goal in life, and the moment you notice you're angry or unhappy for any reason, you'll immediately take responsibility for your own well being. Just ask yourself if you'd rather be angry or happy, and go back to feeling happy. Forget any he said/she said, or I want/I need. This is Ekhart Tolle's "ego".


That 3 month period was a looooong time ago. It was induced by reading the Power of Now, and everything in the book was essentially a pointer to an ideal state. He said this numerous times, don't get attached to the phrases themselves, just read them, ingest them, feel them, and let them point you into the right direction.

I have conflicting interests here. I would like to try this pointing method, because thats basically what I did in the past, and it did something for me. I also suffer every day of my existance for what seems like no reason at all, I think I suffer because I want to end the suffering so badly. Meditation seems to calm me down a bit and ease the suffering. However, can pointing and meditation/vipassana go hand in hand? Tao, you have stated you meditated in the past. Did you combine the two?
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Not Tao, modified 8 Years ago at 7/24/14 8:50 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/24/14 8:49 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
Jake WM:
That 3 month period was a looooong time ago. It was induced by reading the Power of Now, and everything in the book was essentially a pointer to an ideal state. He said this numerous times, don't get attached to the phrases themselves, just read them, ingest them, feel them, and let them point you into the right direction.


Why not read it again, then?

Jake WM:
I have conflicting interests here. I would like to try this pointing method, because thats basically what I did in the past, and it did something for me. I also suffer every day of my existance for what seems like no reason at all, I think I suffer because I want to end the suffering so badly. Meditation seems to calm me down a bit and ease the suffering. However, can pointing and meditation/vipassana go hand in hand? Tao, you have stated you meditated in the past. Did you combine the two?


I've never done what they call vipassana here (noting). I've been meditating every day for the last year, though. I started with concentration type practices, and after I had my first experience of "the state" (when I wasn't meditating) I got really serious for a while and started trying lots of different things to see what worked to bring me back to it.

I don't think meditation will be any kind of hindrance. You need some kind of practice, no? Maybe I can point out some methods I've done in the past when I've been stuck. Mainly there are two areas you want to work with:

The first is a gentle awareness of the present. This awareness isn't anything special, you don't need to concentrate or try to stop your thinking, you just want to "be here now" as they say. Whenever you notice you haven't been, that's when you are, so count that as a success and don't be too discouraged by the distraction. You seem like you're dealing with a lot of inhibitions, so please don't add any more of them to your mind, haha. the "now" should be seen as a nice place to be, so just enjoy it when you're there, don't go scolding yourself when you notice you're not. Awareness serves two purposes. One, it keeps you from diving into stories about the past and future (I used to feel so much better and now everything feels sucky - I will never be able to feel like that again - etc), and two, it allows you to practice the second aspect of the method, which is acceptance.

You want to accept the emotional states as they are. This is counter intuitive, because it seems like the goal is to "feel better", but that actually isn't what the state is. The state is, itself, acceptance. You might say that you feel crappy now and you didn't during those three months, but the difference isn't the way your chest feels, it's the way you interpret those feelings. So acceptance is not a tool to change how you feel - you aren't accepting an emotion to make it change or go away - it's a tool to allow the mind to stop tensing and cringing away. I suppose this could be seen as direct pointing, but I've always seen it as a practice. In your case, it seems like you're obsessing about the emotion itself, so maybe the best way to accept it is to stop staring at it. Break the loop! Let your mind do other things than worry about how your chest feels.

When I sit down these days, I just let myself exist in the present moment and let myself feel whatever I'm feeling. Maybe that sounds complicated or like I'm trying to do something specific, but it really isn't like that at all. When you actually go to meditate, forget all methods or theory, drop all your inhibitions, and just sit there and exist for a while without any requirements. Literally, just sit and do nothing (not the zen "do nothing", but literally, be a lazy bum and just sit there). If you wheel out long stories in your head, don't fight them, and don't encourage them, just watch and let whatever happens continue. Pretend you don't exist for a while and just let go of any concept of control. Do this a lot, the more you do, the simpler things seem to be.

You need to be honest with yourself, too. As confusing as these feelings can be (I can relate to what you're dealing with, trust me!) there usually is a reason behind them. That's another part of Actual Freedom - emotions are always caused by patterns of belief. If you feel like existence itself is the cause of your problems, then maybe you're dealing with fear of death or pain. That's what I eventually discovered about my anxiety problems. I was always "on the alert", you know? If you're on the alert, and then you feel negative emotional sensations, you probably end up clinging to them. Do you have phobias or obsessions of any kind? Look deeply for these things. Watch how you move through the world and see if you're avoiding things or if certain thoughts make you cringe away. You don't have to cringe away! Another method I used for a while was negative visualization. I'd sit and imagine horrible things happening to me, and try to imagine how they would feel in real time. You can use this to unwind these patterns of belief. The thing you're really afraid of is your imagination, so just set your imagination loose and let it think whatever it likes. Imagine yourself in awkward social situations and getting into car accidents or falling into a sewer, haha. Let go of those inhibitions holding you in these thought patters. You WILL find something that is causing these feelings, and it's very cathartic to find it lurking up there in the dark corners. I used to think that my anxiety had no causes, but that was generally because I wasn't really looking for the cause, I was just focused on how sucky it felt.

So, my advice would be try to find the root wherever it is! Look for a mental cause like a phobia or obsession, work with the feeling itself and try to understand how the physical sensation doesn't have to be negative, and keep your mind out of the endless thought loops that perpetuate these things. Try some strong endurance sitting - where you stay perfectly still - then follow up with some negative visualization. If you can't find any specific source for the feeling, then just try imagining some kind of physical pain and letting the imagination run free while you watch calmly. It's a bit like dreaming but you're able to monitor your responses and practice staying calm in the face of your anxieties.

If all else fails and nothing seems to be working - or if my advice above doesn't seem like something you want to do - then just sit. Give up entertainment for a while and do nothing instead. Don't even meditate, just hang out and allow yourself just to exist for a while enjoying the physical senses. This has really become my favorite thing to do. You might be bored at first, but whenever you feel negative just say to yourself, "I'm allowed to be bored," or frustrated, or anxious, or whatever. Give yourself permission to let go. Really let go. Let go of any need to feel better or do anything to make yourself happier. This kind of thing works best if you do it for a long period. Maybe take a whole day and do nothing.

I hope something in this will work for you. Like I said, I really can relate to how you feel. I dealt with frequent anxiety from when I was a little kid until just last year and it was pretty awful. It's basically gone now, though. All this stuff is what worked for me, so I'm just throwing everything into this post and maybe something will stick. If I think back to when I was deep in the thick of it all, I remember a kind of obsessive quality where I was willing to try anything and I'd be pouncing on whatever seemed to work the littlest bit. But really what did it in the end was giving up completely. There are many ways to lead yourself (or force yourself) to give up, but sometimes it's the gentlest way that teaches you the most, you know? Sitting quietly with no obligations might be what you need the most. Forget all the theories or possibilities and just exist for a while.

Sorry for the giant post, haha. I guess you remind me of myself, and I want to give you some kind of hope. Be brave and have confidence in yourself. These things really can change!
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Not Tao, modified 8 Years ago at 7/26/14 1:12 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/26/14 1:12 AM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/attentivenesssensuousnessapperceptiveness.htm

Hey again. I thought I should post this page for you because it's probably the best description of the AF method. My advice in the previous post is somewhat different from this, and I think it's probably because I've been a bit off track lately. I should probably go back to avoiding giving advice to people since I change my own mind so frequently lol. Anyway, I'll leave it up to you to decide what to do. I'll stick by my last paragraph though. In times of doubt and hardship just sitting without purpose or method has always done me well.

Good luck with everything!
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Jake, modified 8 Years ago at 7/26/14 5:41 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 7/26/14 5:41 PM

RE: Actual Freedom PCE and A&P Experience

Posts: 135 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
Tao, thank you so much for the time and energy you have put into your posts. Much appreciated.

I have given this thing some thought. Right now, the way I see it, the A&P experience to me was a sneak peak of enlightenment (or whatever you want to call it). The experience I went through, the state I was in, cannot be put into words. But it was real and I believe it was a preview of something that can be attained with effort and right practice.

I spend far too much time on this board and it distracts me from my practice.

Thanks again Tao! I'll be posting in my meditation log twice a month and during that time I'll also be poking around in some threads.

Peace!

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