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Actualism practice and questions

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Actualism practice and questions Oliver Myth 11/4/11 2:19 PM
RE: Actualism practice and questions Trent . 11/4/11 10:09 PM
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Actualism practice and questions
Answer
11/4/11 2:19 PM
Hello. I have whole-heartedly been practicing the Actualism method exactly as I can up to the extent of my understanding. My single minded efforts in this direction have been in full swing for over a month with absolutely no major deviations. I have some practice questions which I would like to bring up. My practice is as follows and after that the questions.

For me after a month of effort, there is an actual pull towards naivete, a palpable experience. For example, when faced with a choice in my head, I can find this deeper middle ground between the two which is "naive", which is sometimes literally felt as a valley between these two choices in my head, and by embracing this valley, I am able to act from that point and there is a feeling of being freed of a burden. Another example of naivete which requires guts the first few times, was simply saying the truth about my thoughts or feelings in situations where I never had before (i.e. telling a person who I have worked with for a month that I don't want to borrow his knife because I would have to return it, and after all this time I still don't know where his office is. Normally this would be embarrassing, and I was feeling aversion to the situation, but instead of continuing to feel aversion, I just flat out told him naively what I felt. Instead of a negative reaction, he treated me with respect and told me where his office was).

As a result of this practice my actions are becoming more whole, I am less conflicted with many of my actions, I am learning and growing intelligent in ways that I used to not allow myself to be because I would never enter those situations before.

I am now incredibly eager to reveal myself, to be honest, to let people effect me directly, to tell the truth, to be accountable and to improve myself authentically where/whenever I can. I want to make all of my actions happy and harmless. I want to be happy and harmless 24/7. There is an incredible draw, and the method is so simple: naivete + happy and harmless.

This also leads to felicitous feelings. People benefit so much from my positive moods. For the past week I have been living an excellent life beyond anything I've allowed myself to before. I benefit from them liking me, they benefit by feeling better and having more energy. I've even become meticulous about my diet, and the time at which I eat and exercise, because I notice it's effect on my mood is rather strong. I no longer overeat or eat at the wrong time, and I do a cardio workout every day because I notice it allows me to add stability to my felicitous feelings. I can make these changes to my lifestyle, not for myself, but because I want to be at my best for other people.

Another point on my practice: the point right above the sex center on the surface of the skin has become a highly prized focus point for me. Whenever I practice meditation I usually use that point now and I will feel lots of pleasure and vibrating body sensations as parts of my body relax. It is fantastic in strainful situations on the fly, when sitting on the cushion, or when I get a bit of free time at work. It seems to relax the rest of the muscles in my body evenly (in other words, not just my right/left side or the top/bottom of the body) and I relax towards a natural posture.

The last point about my practice: When I do feel the need for formal meditation I simply let the mind relax and possibly use the point above the sex center (I think we need a name for it) as a focal point and eventually, effortlessly, my mind moves towards sensuousness. Then as long as I sit there I am inadvertently drawn to sensuousness. Several times my mind will naturally move to thoughts but it keeps on returning to sensuousness, kind of like how in equanimity nana one's mind never strays from the object for long. It feels very good and wholesome. Another notable point is that the times when I am (altruistically) motivated enough to do this practice it is because I notice that the feeling of the surface of the skin itself has these odd distortions that are the source of tension/frustration or memories of recent experiences or recent habits, etc. With a formal meditation sitting like how I described above these distorted surface tensions on the skin will naturally dissipate.

This is for the most part the only time sensuous takes a dominant role in my practice except for an hour most mornings when I go swimming, For that hour, free from social concerns, I go to enjoy myself and intentionally practice sensuousness.

Now I do have some concerns still. First a more superficial concern, and then I'll ask a more pressing one (to my mind).

The first question is: the great feelings I have had this past week has seemed too bizarrely similar to the A&P nana... yet I know it was a direct result of my cultivating felicitous feelings and purposely not pursuing the negative ones. The changes (towards naivete and happy/harmless, felicity) have been permanent and real and any deviation would simply be cheating myself. I plan to continue my practice, and I think I'm going to have to learn how to keep the felicitous feelings up while I go thru the dukka nanas. Or maybe not, but I've had such hellish times thru the dukka nanas so many times and so consistently that I think it is a legitimate concern. I have also noticed the phenomenon where caffeine makes me feel incredibly good/happy/bright, so I plan on using that if the need arises throughout the dukka nanas, if I should pass thru them.

How does the nanas express themselves while doing an actualism practice? I would like any answer you think would be helpful. Be naive, even if you don't have tons of experience (and neither do I) you still might know something I don't.

The more pressing concern to me is that I have more or less abandoned the sensuousness part of the practice except for the formal meditation and swimming I describe above. There is a pull towards naivete and happy/harmless. I don't feel the pull towards sensuous except when doing the sensuous meditation or for a few hours after the sensuous meditation. Frequently it will strike me as more altruistic to let the ego activity continue and to plan out or have conversations in my mind then to redirect my attention to sensuousness. In fact, forcing sensuous or inclining the mind towards sensuousness is irritating and frustrating. I keep looking for a way that sensuous is altruistic, because then I know that I will incorporate it immediately, but that's just not happening. Another reason I don't want to force it is because this mental activity I experience has positive benefits for other people*.

How is sensuousness altruistic? How does it relate to being happy and harmless? How does it relate to naivete?

I am now planning to do the sensuous meditation daily in the morning, because at least when sitting still on the cushion sensuous still seems wholesome and fulfilling and it has an afterglow that lasts a few hours.

I express my deepest gratitude in advance for any answers.

Oliver

*i.e. thinking about how I will act in certain situation, or trying to memorize info, orienting myself in a new place, etc . Unhelpful mental activity can quickly be discarded/not paid excessive attention to or if it is supper clingy the focus point above the sex center usually dissipates it quickly.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
11/4/11 10:09 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Hello Olyver,

Olyver Mith:
The first question is: the great feelings I have had this past week has seemed too bizarrely similar to the A&P nana... yet I know it was a direct result of my cultivating felicitous feelings and purposely not pursuing the negative ones. The changes (towards naivete and happy/harmless, felicity) have been permanent and real and any deviation would simply be cheating myself. I plan to continue my practice, and I think I'm going to have to learn how to keep the felicitous feelings up while I go thru the dukka nanas. Or maybe not, but I've had such hellish times thru the dukka nanas so many times and so consistently that I think it is a legitimate concern. I have also noticed the phenomenon where caffeine makes me feel incredibly good/happy/bright, so I plan on using that if the need arises throughout the dukka nanas, if I should pass thru them.

How does the nanas express themselves while doing an actualism practice? I would like any answer you think would be helpful. Be naive, even if you don't have tons of experience (and neither do I) you still might know something I don't.


Regarding the nana cycles, this is probably worthy of consideration: does any state whatsoever have anything to do with the purity of the (stateless) goal? No … just writing it that way highlights that there is no association whatsoever. The senses are not conditioned or fabricated, and this ‘I’ can verify any moment I think of it. What follows by reason then is that intent oriented toward experiencing that purity must also be untouched by any state, so the question implied-- to the tune of “what should I do differently in practice depending on the cycles?” -- is a pointer to noticing that what you should be doing won’t differ because of any state. With that said, noticing any changes in state and handling those transitions skillfully—genuinely to the best of your ability—is certainly not a bad idea.

Olyver Mith:
The more pressing concern to me is that I have more or less abandoned the sensuousness part of the practice except for the formal meditation and swimming I describe above. There is a pull towards naivete and happy/harmless. I don't feel the pull towards sensuous except when doing the sensuous meditation or for a few hours after the sensuous meditation. Frequently it will strike me as more altruistic to let the ego activity continue and to plan out or have conversations in my mind then to redirect my attention to sensuousness. In fact, forcing sensuous or inclining the mind towards sensuousness is irritating and frustrating. I keep looking for a way that sensuous is altruistic, because then I know that I will incorporate it immediately, but that's just not happening. Another reason I don't want to force it is because this mental activity I experience has positive benefits for other people*.


Since the body is the physical, material senses, then any of the friendliness and joy resulting from the purification of those senses must likewise be a product of those same senses. Because of this, it is verily sensible and friendly and joyous to simply enjoy the life of the senses … the only way life can genuinely be enjoyed. It follows then that all of one’s earnest intentions to live excellently must be oriented toward appreciating the sensate world as often and consistently as possible. Of course, it is sometimes also necessary to think about, reflect on and consider the source and ramifications of those trains of thought and feeling which derail you from the current moment-- those which cause one to sink even a bit into depravities like insidiousness or hostility-- and there is nothing wrong with that inspection. What is important to notice during those reflections is chiefly the reason for reflecting; remind yourself often to distinguish whether the current reflection happening is because of fearing pain or wanting pleasure; if it is, then that reflection has detracted you from the world and you may find it prudent to examine the details in an exercise intended to restore the amicability lost due to that stress … or you may simply just drop it altogether right upon realizing that’s the case, perhaps in favor of a more beneficent living.

To explicate the same meaning another way, it is important to notice if the reflection is happening for the common good of all, or if the happening is itself one’s anxiety or doubt or lassitude or anger or neediness. Regardless, by understanding the details of your intent-- as revealed by an honest inspection of this nature-- you will be well informed as to whether or not a reorientation of your approach is warranted.

Olyver Mith:
How is sensuousness altruistic? How does it relate to being happy and harmless? How does it relate to naivete?


Sensuousness is not altruistic, but the pure senses are characteristic of innocence. Naivete is an inevitable result of the marvelous intent to ‘be’ that innocence as best as ‘I’ can be, every single moment again. Therefore, without trepidation, ‘be’ as happy and harmless as possible, right at the senses, all the time … kind of does away with the notion of meditation sessions, wouldn’t you say?

*

Regardless of the various considerations above, it sounds like you are certainly headed in the right direction. This paragraph is especially praiseworthy:

Olyver Mith:
I am now incredibly eager to reveal myself, to be honest, to let people effect me directly, to tell the truth, to be accountable and to improve myself authentically where/whenever I can. I want to make all of my actions happy and harmless. I want to be happy and harmless 24/7. There is an incredible draw, and the method is so simple: naivete + happy and harmless.


This isn’t just the bread and butter … it is also the knife and the hand using it.

Trent

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
11/4/11 10:42 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Such a massively encouraging account Olyver, thanks. I can relate to the increased honesty without as much angst. that point above the sex centre is called the dantien in some systems. we could call it the sub-naval innocence point. Just so we can use the acronym SNIP!

Just focus on the SNIP and you will feel happy and harmless. emoticon

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
11/5/11 8:20 AM as a reply to Andrew ..
I also found your post very refreshing and inspiring Oliver - thanks! about the spot above the sex center, it's also been referred to as the sweet spot

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
11/5/11 9:59 AM as a reply to John White.
SNIP and sweet spot it is then! I don't read any other threads on the DhO because I really need to focus on my practice right now, not anyone else's, so I might not catch new names or things like that anymore. Thanks for the good heads up.


Regarding the nana cycles, this is probably worthy of consideration: does any state whatsoever have anything to do with the purity of the (stateless) goal? No … just writing it that way highlights that there is no association whatsoever. The senses are not conditioned or fabricated, and this ‘I’ can verify any moment I think of it. What follows by reason then is that intent oriented toward experiencing that purity must also be untouched by any state, so the question implied-- to the tune of “what should I do differently in practice depending on the cycles?” -- is a pointer to noticing that what you should be doing won’t differ because of any state. With that said, noticing any changes in state and handling those transitions skillfully—genuinely to the best of your ability—is certainly not a bad idea.


Ahhh.. This would be the tricky part then, yes? Literally all of my method and practices have been situational, and you seem to hint that there is an intent that can be consistant over any state of mind or physical situation (?). If the pure intent is as pure as you seem to hint (untouched by any state) then I would imagine it would be just as fleeting as any one piece of sense datum.

There are quite a few states of mind I enter on a daily basis. I have not been able to find anything to apply consistently. Sensuous practice seems different from felicity practice seems different from naivete practice.


Since the body is the physical, material senses, then any of the friendliness and joy resulting from the purification of those senses must likewise be a product of those same senses. Because of this, it is verily sensible and friendly and joyous to simply enjoy the life of the senses … the only way life can genuinely be enjoyed.


The question I pulled from this is: "How does my joy, excellency, and naivete come from sensuousness?" If for nothing else, this single thing has made my posting here worth it. This is something I can really, really work with. Thank you.


What is important to notice during those reflections is chiefly the reason for reflecting; remind yourself often to distinguish whether the current reflection happening is because of fearing pain or wanting pleasure; if it is, then that reflection has detracted you from the world and you may find it prudent to examine the details in an exercise intended to restore the amicability lost due to that stress … or you may simply just drop it altogether right upon realizing that’s the case, perhaps in favor of a more beneficent living.


This is also very good. I think you are entirely correct ("What is important to notice during those reflections is chiefly the reason for reflecting"). This was a bit of a blind spot, and I'm going to go slowly down this train of thought so that I don't trip myself up. In the past, many thoughts I have had I have no qualm with since they seem happy and harmless. But what is the source of those thoughts? Knowing would be very beneficial.

To explicate the same meaning another way, it is important to notice if the reflection is happening for the common good of all, or if the happening is itself one’s anxiety or doubt or lassitude or anger or neediness.


Perfectly phrased. I will remind myself of these quotes later when I need them.


Thank you,

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
11/5/11 11:19 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Sensuousness is not altruistic, but the pure senses are characteristic of innocence. Naivete is an inevitable result of the marvelous intent to ‘be’ that innocence as best as ‘I’ can be, every single moment again. Therefore, without trepidation, ‘be’ as happy and harmless as possible, right at the senses, all the time … kind of does away with the notion of meditation sessions, wouldn’t you say?


At first I didn't have a response to this, but after a night of asking "How does this come from sensuousness?" I can see exactly why one can do away with meditation sessions. "How does this come from sensuousness?" seems to really ground me, disidentify me from phenomena and ease me from a lot of anxiety that was in the background! It's like another level. I can do this anytime with real effects! I want to thank you again. There are some truly amazing people in the world and I think many of them are on this board, whether they are enlightened or not. Anyone who makes an effort towards wholesomeness is an amazing person. Thank you for being there and making such a great place! Be there for your friends as well! Be a service to everyone!

I want nothing more than to be completely authentic. Utterly. I want to be who I am and develop that to the highest degree possible. Thank you for your guidance and orientation towards AF. This is taking me where I've always wanted to go.

Oliver

EDIT: I just wanted to add that I understand the quoted text here a bit better. The senuous/felicity/happy/harmless practices no longer seem all that different anymore. They all have a root in sensuousness.

I ask myself "How does exellency come from sensuousness?". This brings what is excellent to the forefront and brings sensuous to the forefront. I used to look for sensuousness through the mental formations, now I see the mental formations coming from sensuousness, and I see how it is excellent. I feel much calmer. I will continue working with diligence!

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
11/6/11 1:10 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
SNIP was my attempt at humour, not serious...it actually is slightly uncomfortable to call it that..sorry mess with you there...

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
11/9/11 5:17 AM as a reply to Andrew ..
Heh. That made you uncomfortable? I work for the armed forces. We use more disgusting, derogatory acronyms on a daily basis just as a matter of principle. If I seem a little blunt maybe that’s where I get it from.

Interesting update however: Sensuous has become my dominant practice, and I notice that depending on where I am in the nana cycle (which has not been a problem in the slightest so far) there are different ways I practice sensuousness. Around the early nanas (1-3) I am applying continuous effort to sensuousness. During the A&P nana I find sensuousness in a chosen object (like the breath). During dukka nanas thoughts will take over my mind and then I find a deep spacious calm when I realize what the thoughts are doing and drop it like a hot coal. During equanimity I use the entire field of consciousness. This is the only way sensuous seems effective. I can’t look for a wide field of awareness during the A&P stages, for example, or for the calm after racing thoughts during the early nanas. This is what I do now. I wonder if this correlation between sensuousness and nanas has been pointed out before?

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
11/9/11 9:14 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Olyver Mith:
Interesting update however: Sensuous has become my dominant practice, and I notice that depending on where I am in the nana cycle (which has not been a problem in the slightest so far) there are different ways I practice sensuousness. Around the early nanas (1-3) I am applying continuous effort to sensuousness. During the A&P nana I find sensuousness in a chosen object (like the breath). During dukka nanas thoughts will take over my mind and then I find a deep spacious calm when I realize what the thoughts are doing and drop it like a hot coal. During equanimity I use the entire field of consciousness. This is the only way sensuous seems effective. I can’t look for a wide field of awareness during the A&P stages, for example, or for the calm after racing thoughts during the early nanas. This is what I do now. I wonder if this correlation between sensuousness and nanas has been pointed out before?


That's actually quite interesting. I recognize all 4 of those forms of sensuousness in my own practice, though I haven't thought to match it according to the nyana I'm in. I think the correlations are accurate, though. I'll keep these in mind and see if it helps inform my practice, which I think it will... thanks for pointing this out!

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
11/29/11 10:20 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Practice Update:

For some reason starting the last week or two I had lost some of my ability to push for sesuousness/felicity/whatever else was important to me. It was really odd. The only part of me which felt the energy for such things was my super-ego ("I should be...", "Why am I not...", etc.). When it came to actually applying any method, I was useless. Consequently I felt that all my interactions with people were unhealthy, and I was stressed/emotional and the whole deal was rather unpleasant.

What caused this? It could very well have been several factors, which included eating more and heavier foods and more intense physical exercise against the wishes of my body (to train for the physical demands of my occupation), and it could also have had to do with being in a new relationship (with a beautiful woman), it could also have had to do with working under a supervisor with emotional difficulties. My body was very unpleasant to sense in nearly every way. Granted all the AF work I described in my first post wasn't exactly stress free either, so this stress may have just been there the whole time waiting for me to deal with it.

Whatever the reason, I think the whole process disorganized me and put me back in shape. This morning I was able to get a massage and meditate for almost an hour, which allowed me to feel well enough to practice sensuousness again. I was able to remind me why I practice AF method. I had completely forgotten! There was no specific point where I lost the trail, it just sort of went into the background.

Something that really helped was that I read on the forms was how the AF method is a lifestyle. By choosing (thru attentiveness) to let sensuousness be a lifestyle I was much more pleased and happy with how things were going. When I rediscovered the pleasantness of sensuousness I was also struck by how much sensuousness reminds me of the 11th nyana.

Lesson learned: Do what one has to do so that it is pleasant to practice sensuousness and then do it. If daily life is so stressful it takes a massage once a week, then do it! Once in a position to practice then remember: Sensuousness is a lifestyle change!

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
12/5/11 6:50 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Wow. For a while it was incredibly hard for me to maintain the attentiveness part of the Actualism method. I just couldn't do it. I have since found a way! Here is my discovery:

Aypsite.org has a tip that talks about kechari mudra, which is basically pressing the tongue against the roof of the mouth. I can press the tongue up there near the front of the mouth (so the tip of the tongue is touching my front teeth) and I feel the pressure pushing thru the little bone in the nose and up to the third eye area. It starts to pump all kinds of pleasure and relaxation thru out my body. It's enhanced a dramatically if I furrow my eyebrows slightly and wear a big stupid grin.

I think I may have struck gold with my felicity practice. It's been three days and I can feel good anytime, anywhere. I prefer places where I can smile openly, but it's somewhat awkward to smile all the time with some of the people I work with. I do my best tho and its not uncommon for me on the bus to stick my face in the nook of my elbow, hide my head, and wear this big-ass grin in order to feel all this pleasure surging thru my body.

Attentiveness and sensuousness have skyrocketed!

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
12/5/11 7:19 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Olyver,

Are you performing the kechari mudra by pressing your tongue over the top of your palate and into your top front teeth? If so, wow, you've got some tongue! Or not much of a palate! ;-)

Otherwise I understand that you're pressing your tongue against the back of your top teeth?

cheers,

Matt

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
12/7/11 7:18 AM as a reply to )( piscivorous.
Although I've been cutting the fernum under my tongue, I'm not quite far enough to go over the top of the palate and touch the spot up there. I meant just lifting the tongue above where it normally sits to touch the teeth and palate right by them. Nothing fancy. I feel the pressure go up that little bone in the nose between and behind the nostrils (you can see it on a skull like in science class) and the pressure continues up until I feel it in the sinuses in the forehead. Frequently I feel glows and warm feelings there or elsewhere in the body.

EDIT: I think the key to the bliss I found is in the sensitivity I had. Not long ago I would have been able to press the tongue to the roof of my mouth and nothing would happen. But I had been doing a neti wash, like on aypsite, and I would purposely develop a sensitivity to my sinuses all around my head and the little muscles and ways to relax them (you see, I had always had lots of sinus problems growing up, so I had figured my sinuses needed a lot of sensitivity to make up for years of karma)

Later on, when I finally pressed my tongue up to my palate, I had sensitized the sinuses in the nose and forehead enough that I could feel that slight pressure path I described above (thru the little bone between the nostrils up, past the little sinus on both sides of the bridge of the nose, and to the third eye area). This little pressure path and the sensitivity around it allowed me to push with different degrees of pressure and feel the difference in the third eye area. Sensitizing this area, esp the thrid eye area, I think was the key. It doesn't take much pressure at all to get the sensations. Sometimes I just rest the tongue there without any effortful pushing and I still get the pleasant sensations.

---

Here is my little question of the day which has been on my mind...

Why is it sometimes when attentive there are pleasant sensations and sometimes there are unpleasant sensations?


Sometimes attentiveness/sensuousness seems like a punishment and I want to stop it. I'm usually also aware of lots of body tensions during this time. I can't figure out exactly WHY it is such a torturous experience.

At other times I feel like I can follow all these little pleasant sensations and I'm quite happy. Or I feel a wide awareness that is sensuousness and by being attentive I can never do anything wrong or feel any negativity, even if I wanted to!

Both sensations feel like I can't do anything about them. Either I can't leave this torturous, unpleasant existence, or I find it impossible to feel or do any negativity, even if I'm being chewed out hard-core by my superiors at work. Sometimes I wonder if they really even feel bad even though they are acting upset. The only reason I even acted humble and wore a straight face in front of them is because it was logically the right thing to do in the situation. I could just have easily have smiled the whole time, and at the same time and absorbing their advice and formulating ways I can do my job better.

Isn't that ironic?

At other times i CAN feel negative vibes from someone, which seems to indicate a deep personal hurt, but they don't affect me negatively. Its just an awareness that this other person is feeling hurt/negative/bad.

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
12/7/11 9:31 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Olyver Mith:
Sometimes attentiveness/sensuousness seems like a punishment and I want to stop it. I'm usually also aware of lots of body tensions during this time. I can't figure out exactly WHY it is such a torturous experience.


A tip: attentiveness/sensuousness is never painful. The more of it there is, the less pain there is, until no pain at all (apperception). The pain is always only a reaction to something that was revealed by attentiveness... not attentiveness itself. If you could figure out how to increase attentiveness without increasing reaction to what it divulges, that is the way to go.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
12/8/11 11:33 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Ah. Good tip. Now I differentiate between attentiveness/sensuousness and the other disturbing/disruptive phenomena. A place of peace among the storm. Thank you for pointing that out.

Also, this post made a difference to me, and since this is my practice journal I'm going to add it in

katy steger:
I have found this application (senses, senses, senses) to be useful in many occasions wherein there is that interior pull (which I call "self-referential/-centricity" to acknowledge clearly that that interior pull is "mine" and "I" am generating it. If I call it something else, like attention wave, then I run the easy risk of reifying that central-pull even more by creating another face of self (my self + (my) attention wave-self) one that now, linguistically, takes on attributes of a distant/mild/partial self, when in fact this "wave" self is as its source, and it can grow many more heads (and defenses) when it is not seen accurately, honestly, humbly each time it arises.


Thats what most of life is, isn't it? Just giving our suffering a bunch of heads, like a hydra. Making it complicated.

Now I just want to find the REAL hydra head, the only one that ever really was there. And I want to find the REAL source, and the REAL cure to suffering. No more false heads. Some parts of me still doesn't know how sensuousness is the cure for my suffering. I can think it intellectually, but I've got to give my body and being some evidence so that it knows it is real. Beoman, you did just that with your advice. But I'm still working on it.

If I don't find a cure and gain the motivation to pursue a real cure, then I will keep on looking habitually at other phenomenon.

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
12/8/11 6:39 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Hi Oliver, I replied to my own post to ensure the meaning that "senses, senses, senses" comprehends the mental faculty as a sense and that insight bears on sensate awareness. If there is no insight, then sensate awareness may become another arena for playing out ignorance and forms of dissatisfaction.

An Eternal Now makes a brightly lit case for "No investigation, no insight, no transformation" here.

Best wishes in your practice.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
12/9/11 1:57 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Thanks.

Useful pointers.

I don't think I see what the real problem is or what the real solution is (to these feelings I am).

But sensuous is nice. I can feel my body relaxing. At least that is pleasant and logical enough to continue...

I think I mostly continue practicing out of a deep existential need rather than anything else. Just vauge dissatisfaction and a super-ego that says "I should, I should"...

This isn't what Richard on AF is talking about when he says that stubborness is required at certain parts of the Actualism path, is it? I always imagined he meant stubborness with a feeling of indignance and lots of energy... As if he knew what he was actually doing. Not this.

There is kind of an soothing satisfaction as I continue tho... It's not unpleasant by a long shot.

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
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1/2/12 11:21 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Haha! Sensousness, Sensousness, Sensousness! I see it clearer now. None of that bullcrap that I was muttering about in my earlier posts.

For the record books:
I started taking 5-HTP with amazing results. I took anti-depressants in my teen years and I don't know if that effected my developing brain to have a slight dependancy on serotonin supplements or something like that, but they really make a huge difference. I'm trying to cap my limit on 600mg a day. The first couple days I would take 1000mg+.

Next, after a lot of searching I rediscovered an old technique I used to like. Basically I listen for sound that is "just within the ears", as if listening to outside sound like it is inside the body, and then I bring that sound awareness down to the perineum and then my thoughts shut off somewhat and I am very sensuous and: here's the big thing: I can hand the riegns to the sensuousnes and let it have control. It's pleasant, it's alturistic (which is how I justify it to myself and is a motivation to do it again) and it helps the body relax some.

It doesn't have any sort of high feeling. I can just do this because it's a good healthy thing to do and for no other reason. I get a bit of confidence knowing that it is also part of the actuallism path (as far as I can tell). There is a huge release from suffering as I do it.

Thank you all, and blessings,
Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/8/12 5:18 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
I'm going to post something from my journal and edit it a bit. The context might elude the reader, but I think that many of the lessons might still strike a chord. I will attempt to make it as understandable as possible:



I can't believe how well I am handling. I ate shittly yesterday, still had two awsome phone calls, took action to take care of a personal need. Didn't waste sex energy.

In fact, I think I had a huge breakthru with something in the chest area. Frustration dominated with my relationship with *lady-friend*, but I didn't respond or try and do anything different about/to it. Instead I made reasonale actions (try help myself) and never lost my cool much, except for one text. And then I learned to accept the frustration and the frustration went away... This morning I felt a huge spaciousness with a auburn wave blessing my chest area... I almost didn't notice it. There were not boundries between the wave of auburn and the space...

And now I am still being super intelligent with *lady-friend* and stuffs... yesterday was hard because I was still acting off of somatic tensions and they were a barriar to... to what I wanted [edit: intimacy with my experience]. So now those same identifications to somatic tensions are there, but less so.

Makes me have a bit of conceptual faith in the buddhas teaching that healing and enlightenment comes from the noticing of the arising and passing away. My experience with the SSG yesterday (when I was triggered into a deeper state of awareness of who I am/what I am doing/etc.) made me see clearly the arising and passing away of large chuncks of phenomena.. and the impulse to fall asleep again. I understood and now can work my way back.

At the same time, there seems to be an intelligence deeper than the somatic tensions, and the emotions, and emotional reasoning. Something idependant of that, that also seems connected to 'attentiveness'. Like I would hit little points of truth at moments of attentiveness. something like that.

EDITED one point^

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/7/12 7:54 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
In terms of:
a bit of conceptual faith in the buddhas teaching
then what is internal to "you"?

Is the intelligence "deeper", as in
an intelligence deeper than the somatic tensions, and the emotions, and emotional reasoning
,or is there intelligent basis of one's own activities found in being external to any notion of one's (inherent, fixed) self, versus a deeper/more shallow or unknown depth (yet having a conceived/assumed depth all the same, e.g., a substrate nature that gives rise to "super intelligent" being)? If there is no inherent, fixed self (a buddhist gate teaching), then there can be no intelligence found by going deeper into an illusory fabric that is not also illusory.

What is to be "acting off", to borrow your phrase, of actualities, versus by going (creating) deeper into (developing) ideas of "I am handling [better/worse]", "...I am still being super intelligent", and are actualities an intelligent* basis for your acting off?

I am curious.

*Intelligent as per a quick google search: able to vary its state or action in response to varying situations, varying requirements, and past experience; what do you intend by "intelligence"?

2 edit: syntax and grammar

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/8/12 5:44 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
What is internal to me?

See, that's something that bothers me. I don't think that I truely understand on a deep level what I need to do. All teachings are conceptual. I have trouble following them because they don't seem internal to me (if I understand you properly). I feel like I am floundering... but by foundering I'm also not trying to hard to go in any direction- so part of me is settling in and "not trying" and its fascinating to just rest and see things (like my suffering) happening on it's own. The other part of me feels like I'm not doing enough to relieve my suffering.

I've been off of my physical exercise rountine for the past week and I see the difference, too. Much more suffering. It's also fascinating how my normal daily actions (llike diet, exersize, how mush alone time I get) have huge impacts on my sense of self and my spiritual practices (like sensuality, attentiveness, mindfulness). It's really irritating to see myself acting at a lower level than I know I am capable of, especially for my girlfriend.



As far as your inquiries into intelligence.. I think that is fascinating... It's interesting. I think that I am intelliegent when I feel intelligent- and when I am capable and meeting all my standards and expectations. I think I see how different levels of intelligence at different "depths" could really all be missing the point ("the point" being an enlightened perspective). But if I am exercising, doing my work, and stepping it up in all my activites, then I tend to make better choices (by society's standards). I think that is real.

The phrase "acting off" meant that with my inner-vision I could percieve muscle tensions (somatic) which compulsed me to act in certain ways and that prevented me from being truely intimate with my experience and I equate this with not being intelligent. I don't feel "perfect", I don't feel "excellent", I don't feel any of these posistive things when too wrapped up and identified with these tensions.

It seems to me that I've been acting off of these kinds of tensions for all my life now. I see suffering everywhere, in my whole field of consciousness. This has happened before, but now I'm a bit more equanimous with it. In fact, my feelings of "floundering" are almost like I'm giving up trying to do anything with it. Does that mean I should stop trying to do anything with the suffering or should I do more spiritual practices? If the former, then I need not change anything. Otherwise...?

Just this morning I noticed how sensuousness relieves me of some suffering (it would take me away from the suffering which is in mental proliferation). Thus I was able to see it as alturistic and thus do it more often. Maybe I'm the only one on this board, but I still seem stuck on needing something to be alturisitc to do it. Seeing something as altruistic solves my issue of "understanding on a deep level what I need to do"...

P.S. Your responses are very valuable to me. Thank you

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/8/12 11:55 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Okay... Maybe I'm not feeling somatic body tensions. This new class of phenomena has been creeping in my awareness for a while now and I'm just now getting a good picture of it. Most of my recent insights/spiritual high moments have been centered around this type of phenomena. I'm going to try and explain it...

When I am sleeping, there will still be stories going thru my head which are all fictional since they are not really happening. I will emotionally be moved to act this way or do that. This isn't a REM dream state or anything like a lucid dream. I'm still aware of dark space, with three dimensional waves of emotion-being layered on top. It's more like emotional memory which is compulsively acting out. It happens on it's own.

Now here's the big kicker... It seems to me, that this emotionally compulsive stories doesn't stop when I wake up. I can get out of bed and they will still be there. It is a palpable experience. The stories keep on going, albiet adjusted to fit with my sensate experience. So I am still being in this state (which seems to suggest I'm still living lies, there is more evidence, since these stories can be inconsistant with new relevent information I learn at a later date, what I was telling myself before was wrong).

The biggest change and difference to this state of being happens when I am aware (attentive), and I sense a bit of "the light of consciousness" when that happens. I have had the experience of seeing the difference between when I am not attentive to when I am (and occasionally the light of consiousness effect). I suspect that if I am not aware of the three characteristics then these compulsive emotions will continue indefinitly without change or dissolution. I seem to have had a clear experience of this fact earlier today.

This is a very real experience to me and I wish I could explain it further. I still have to develop a better understanding, especially about the light of consciousness part. I've only had one super clear experience of that and then the following times the effect has been still there, but lesser.

P.S. Sensousness has become more pleasant and desirable to me, since it seems to provide some relief from this three-dimensional emotional glob that happens in awareness.

Thank you for any response

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/10/12 12:09 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Hi Olyver,

I am my own best teacher. This holds if I am my own best student.* What are my thoughts and feelings, what urges give rise to them as elaborations? What renders them something substantial or conclusive? Self-preservation is a tremendous urge, for example. Anxious narratives are examples of elaborations. What of the basic mental faculty when its preservation is not at risk - is it blank, is it curious, is it engaged and/or quietened and/or content more or less to what it afferently receives without the static of urges and elaborations?

I exist at this moment in current affairs and environments. What aspects of me would be more or less acceptable in another era? What aspects of other eras and environments would be more acceptable to me?

Considering the modern environ in which I am situated and how I react to /embrace it, perhaps I, then (or simultaneously), have studied mind and agency in meditation to see the bare aspects of being, how even meager stimuli register by the awareness aspect of the mental faculty (respiration, heart rate, physical urges (such as organ and joint tensions), thought and feeling urges of habituation) and are given to elaborations through other aspects of the mental faculty (the analytical, creative, discursive, desirous, and so forth).

Now seeing oneself in one's time and seeing oneself amid bare stimuli, free to write here & now and perhaps having other relative freedoms of personal agency (relative to other sentients who have minimal free expression of their agency), what is suffering? What is life? Feel free to describe your suffering to yourself in great detail or here if it helps. A great utility is to see the urges and elaborations and determine if those are required and/or how/when/why.

To your concern for altruism: in my limited experience, being aware (mindful, sensate) and noting personal urges and elaborations results in understanding the urges and elaborations of others. This growing understanding can result in more apt responses to now more familiar urges and elaborations; this understanding may also result in altruism. If I don't know me, basic awareness as well as additional urges and elaborations on those urges, then my efforts for others may be ignorant and haphazard.

Your thoughts?


*This does not dispose of helpful guides and companions in this simple but challenging self-study, which guides and companions who offer these simple guidances freely would benefit their own well-being simultaneously and efficiently).

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/10/12 8:06 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Now here's the big kicker... It seems to me, that this emotionally compulsive stories doesn't stop when I wake up. I can get out of bed and they will still be there. It is a palpable experience. The stories keep on going, albiet adjusted to fit with my sensate experience. So I am still being in this state (which seems to suggest I'm still living lies, there is more evidence, since these stories can be inconsistant with new relevent information I learn at a later date, what I was telling myself before was wrong).

(...)

The biggest change and difference to this state of being happens when I am aware (attentive), and I sense a bit of "the light of consciousness" when that happens. I have had the experience of seeing the difference between when I am not attentive to when I am (and occasionally the light of consiousness effect).
This strategy worked for me well - being aware and very attentive (though "light of consciousness" is abstract for me, I get that it captures your experience). This is why I appreciate actualism - paying attention to what is actual. Being dedicated to the actual launched my experience into completely unexpected results: happiness chief among them. I had this awareness that "without thinking a bunch of crud, there is a lot of happiness and curiosity here." I continue to actually enjoy the sensate experience of being alive and I do not create impediments to this savoriness. If someone or something else comes along to create an impediment to enjoying existence, I'll have to understand such a circumstance. Otherwise, I see no reason to create mental suffering.

So good luck with your practice and efforts. I think I had a tremendous intention in sensate awareness for a few weeks (maybe several) and then shift occurred without my directing. Not everything was easy - for example, it was hard to leave my work (I was very fond of the people), but it was also the better decision) - and I am very glad to know sensate enjoyment of my own humanity.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/18/12 8:22 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Practice notes, Jan 19, 2012

I have been aware of how I am not aware of what I am doing in the exact moment but am aware of it a second later when "i" am doing something esle (perhaps busy being aware of what I was not aware of). I thought that I would play a game and see if I could tell how long the space is between this. This led me to see almost a black line between the "doer" and awareness of it (the time lapse itself to the phenomena I described above).

So this black line I saw, after seeing it clearly, seemed to cause a path moment around the same time (by my definition of a path moment, ala MCTB (described later)). This black line also happened to physically be located in the spine area around the mid-upper rib cage, going up the spine, possibly to mid-brain.

Later, while doing a heart opening exercise which involves using awareness to trace the spine from the heart center to the mid brain, and then out the third eye (http://www.aypsite.org/220.html), I was aware of how somehting pure is located just beyone the third eye center. A yellow happiness spaciousness, that seemed pure and I could bring it down lower.

Then, during that practice I was able to see how there are all forms of muscle tensions and vedana all thru and around that mental path I was tracing along the spine, and by taking time and going smoothy I could find and sense the shape of the vedanas and they would pass away. It was pleasant, and I got the idea into my head that if I could clear away the vedana in the path that goes between mid-brain and the heart that it would help. There are still clouds of vedana all throughout the area.


A path moment might be defined as a blip (fruition) followed by a remarkable effortless ability to see closer to the "source" of ones siffering/paranoia/unhappiness.

Would this be a good definition of a path moment to all you folk who use this term?

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
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1/18/12 8:26 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Also, my depression and moodiness has completely dissipated, and I think I can only thank the 5-htp for that. I, like many others, seem to have had some chemical imbalance. My life is much, much better now, and I give a hearty thanks to the folk here who posted about it and got me interested.

It's been about three weeks now and I feel unbelievably better and more stable. After having a life of heavy depressions and mood swings it seems phenomenal to be out of that and in control again.

Thank you.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/18/12 1:07 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
I have been aware of how I am not aware of what I am doing in the exact moment but am aware of it a second later when "i" am doing something esle (perhaps busy being aware of what I was not aware of). I thought that I would play a game and see if I could tell how long the space is between this. This led me to see almost a black line between the "doer" and awareness of it (the time lapse itself to the phenomena I described above).
If you are not aware of what you are (physically?) doing in an exact moment, could you be ruminating (mentally) at that moment?

What I find happens is: when mental ruminations end (and I understand these ruminations as stages of insight in the buddhist-framed knowledges (dissolution,fear,misery,disgust,desire, re-ob)), then mindfulness to what-is-happening-now happens naturally (this is like concentration falling into place without any straining for it). That mindfulness of a) what-is-now has a quality of lens to it for a while (i.e., Observer observing being mindful) - and this mental-perspective-without-ruminations can also feel like happiness or pleasure welling up or being uncovered (because the ruminations have ceased/been removed), then that lens dissipates, and there remains no self-conscious lens, just b) what-is-now (and the happiness-feeling dissipates into further clarity and happiness itself is seen to have its tension). The hook of mental ruminations (especially the knowledges of suffering listed in series above, in parentheses) has strong tension to it, while the lens-view (e.g., observer, doer) has mild tension to it (even as "happiness" dissolves into more tranquility), and the no-lens has no surfeit mental tension to it (though I do still experience distinct sensations (e.g., headache) here as a result of, say, some infection, change in air pressure, etc).

As to this heart opening exercise you linked: breath opens the chest and stretches the intercostal muscles. If one is practicing some form of breathing mindfulness and chooses the thoracic cavity (versus the space at the nostils above the upper lip, as in anapanasati), then mindfulness collects in the chest/heart area. Mindfulness is a focusing (concentration) that naturally will dispel mental ruminations (though ruminations first may augment and target the area of mindfulness as well, which is why I think the spot at the lip-nostril is recommended (in order to keep the intensity of a ruminating mind out of the heart area))...and, again, when those ruminations cease, a pleasant feeling can be felt,seem to be uncovered and to expand significantly.

A yellow happiness spaciousness, that seemed pure and I could bring it down lower.
It may go further/wider/beyond still.

Then, during that practice I was able to see how there are all forms of muscle tensions and vedana all thru and around that mental path I was tracing along the spine, and by taking time and going smoothy I could find and sense the shape of the vedanas and they would pass away. It was pleasant, and I got the idea into my head that if I could clear away the vedana in the path that goes between mid-brain and the heart that it would help. There are still clouds of vedana all throughout the area.
this is like walking - just takes time-in and clarity consumes the uses of ones energy versus cluttering (here I am still much in clutter, but the effect is quite apparent and magnetizes me to its furtherance).***

A path moment might be defined as a blip (fruition) followed by a remarkable effortless ability to see closer to the "source" of ones siffering/paranoia/unhappiness.
I think this is an understandable description. It becomes harder to repeatedly go to that source with the new awareness of the problems it causes, so the fetter is naturally trimmed-severed over some time.

***Edit: the path you describe from mid-brain to heart will disappear when what feels pleasant becomes very expansive, like a snowstorm consumes an old trail through the snow.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/18/12 1:00 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
I have been aware of how I am not aware of what I am doing in the exact moment but am aware of it a second later when "i" am doing something esle (perhaps busy being aware of what I was not aware of). I thought that I would play a game and see if I could tell how long the space is between this. This led me to see almost a black line between the "doer" and awareness of it (the time lapse itself to the phenomena I described above).
Further, what you're choosing to practice is called "actualism" and, linguistically, this departure from the word "mindfulness" can be very helpful in getting away from amplifying Mind (Observer,Doer), as if the culmination of mindfuness is more mind, more super-pervasive, neutered self. Considering "actuality" is different.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/18/12 6:20 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Thank you for the reply.

The practice I have been doing in my daily life is to ask "What am I doing?" instead of HAIETMOBA. This "What am I doing?" has allowed me to disidentify greatly from my normal sense of "I". The point has been to disidentify, and it's been amazing and boosting felicity levels... In this practice I am being sensuous to "being" as much as anything from the five senses. In other words, I don't mean physically, but what the "I" is doing and in what context. The context is a layer added on to the 5 senses which helps me identify the "I" in the moment and what it is doing.

It also seems close to what Daniel Ingram seemed to be saying in another thread where he very clearly defined what 4th path was. Something clicked, and I seemed to know exactly what he was talking about. He said something like "the problem is now knowing what you are doing as you are doing it" or something.I will find the link later....

I look forward to meeting the folks in london meetu-up on the 22nd and then the folks in providence meet-up on the 27th! This is a phenomenal opportunity! Pure luck has offered me the change to be at both! Thank you everyone!

EDIT: Here is the promised link: http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2715189

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/18/12 5:16 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Olyver Mith:
I look forward to meeting the folks in... providence meet-up on the 27th!

Looking forward to it! Could you post that you plan on attending in the DhO Gathering thread so it's easy to see who plans on coming?

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/18/12 8:56 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
(...)
The practice I have been doing in my daily life is to ask "What am I doing?" instead of HAIETMOBA. This "What am I doing?" has allowed me to disidentify greatly from my normal sense of "I". The point has been to disidentify, and it's been amazing and boosting felicity levels... In this practice I am being sensuous to "being" as much as anything from the five senses. In other words, I don't mean physically, but what the "I" is doing and in what context. The context is a layer added on to the 5 senses which helps me identify the "I" in the moment and what it is doing.

It also seems close to what Daniel Ingram seemed to be saying in another thread where he very clearly defined what 4th path was. Something clicked, and I seemed to know exactly what he was talking about. He said something like "the problem is now knowing what you are doing as you are doing it" or something. (...)
Hiya.

It seems people find the question to ask themselves which uncovers their autonomy. Albert Camus' question was something like, "[There's only one truly philosophical question, and that is suicide. Everything else is secondary until that is addressed.]" To me, this is like resolving if one is willing to be "here". If I am willing to be here, I have to be completely willing and find [be] the way of life that enables that, otherwise I would be sitting on the fence, a figurative on-going suicide of being, unwillingly. To rule out such fence-sitting is truly wonderful.
See you in RI.

edit: bold, bracket

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/23/12 4:24 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Hello!

Another practice update:

I have been doing phenomenally well. I feel fantastic effortlessly much of the time. It's mostly that I need an awareness of my fears, because it seems like acting off of any fear is what sends me in a downward spiral. As long as I keep my awareness up I feel fine (effortlessly)!

And exercise is the worlds best pick-me-up drug! I feel so much better for hours afterwards!

I do feel some confusion with desires surrounding my girlfriend... Does it really make sense to want to abandon my emotions around her? I'm sure it will make sense eventually! I'm still obsessed with alturism,so as soon as those emotions feel harmful (to me or her), I have complete confidence that I can drop them. Until then, why not enjoy them!?

Thank you for support!
Oliver

Edit: sometimes I look into her eyes and we both feel like we're in some sort of trance... My vision naturally becomes filled blurry and filled with light.. and I can feel like there is bright yellow energy surging up inside of me... Hope this isn't too personal for anyone, but it's spiritual. She really does have a strange effect on me.

@Katy, I got the "What am I doing?" question from the wikipedia page for the Arica School which is related to some groups I have worked with before (the Diamond Approach). On that webpage was this quote: "Ichazo refined the ancient concept that a human soul has components by approaching the issue through three instinctual questions that he considered basic to human existence: "How am I?", "Who am I with?", "What am I doing?" "

I noticed that HAIETMOBA is one of Ichazo's primary self-inquirous questions... And I usually am aware of my emotions... but I lacked in awareness of what I was "doing" on the inner-consciousness level (as opposed to physical). That question was a bit of a breakthru!

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/23/12 4:17 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Olyver Mith:
Also, my depression and moodiness has completely dissipated, and I think I can only thank the 5-htp for that. I, like many others, seem to have had some chemical imbalance. My life is much, much better now, and I give a hearty thanks to the folk here who posted about it and got me interested.

i know i posted about it before, but thank you for posting about it again! i started taking 800mg a day (400mg twice a day) and i feel fantastic. just in such a better mood. great stuff. don't know if i can attribute it only to that but it certainly seems to have had an effect

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/23/12 4:30 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
I know! I love the stuffs... I've been taking 200 mg every few hours, maybe 5 times a day. It's a bit expensive tho, so I'm going to cut down.

According to this article from boston globe it seems that the serotonin helps the brain make new neurological connections easier, so it's useless if we still aren't using our minds! Isn't that interesting? So we certainly can't just take them and expect progress to happen on its own! We still gotta be mindful!

But I expect you know this already emoticon

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/23/12 5:24 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Olyver Mith:
I know! I love the stuffs... I've been taking 200 mg every few hours, maybe 5 times a day. It's a bit expensive tho, so I'm going to cut down.

According to this article from boston globe it seems that the serotonin helps the brain make new neurological connections easier, so it's useless if we still aren't using our minds! Isn't that interesting? So we certainly can't just take them and expect progress to happen on its own! We still gotta be mindful!

But I expect you know this already emoticon

yea i wonder if meditating in particular is what makes it so effective - like your brain makes better use of the serotonin cause of the approach to life. then again other times it hasn't seemed to accomplish that much so i donno. but it does seem like if i meditate in a wrongly-focused way my 'being' becomes dried up, rattling, very hard, with little room allowed in the painful loops for anything but more painful looping, and after taking 5-htp it seems like there is some wetness/coolness that comes into it, kind of like one's thirst is being slaked constantly, and it's so much easier to take a laid-back easy-going approach to it all ...

reflecting on this is also perhaps a lesson on causality.. if taking a few little pills helps practice so much, just goes to show how not-in-my-control practice is.

hah awesome article, too:
"The best way to think about depression is as a mild neurodegenerative disorder," says Ronald Duman, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Yale. "Your brain cells atrophy, just like in other diseases [such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's]. The only difference with depression is that it's reversible. The brain can recover."

Maybe they will eventually figure out that 'being' is a severe neurodegenerative disorder, but luckily one that can be cured!

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/25/12 3:12 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Olyver Mith:
I know! I love the stuffs... I've been taking 200 mg every few hours, maybe 5 times a day. It's a bit expensive tho, so I'm going to cut down.

Holy shit... be careful with that stuff man! Had a horrible experience last night which I'm fairly certain was serotonin toxicity. I had been taking about 4 200mg pills a day. Yesterday I only took about 3 - 1 with breakfast, and 2 with lunch. I find that if I don't take it with food my stomach gets ill quite quickly. However I had not a lot of food for lunch.. not sure if that's what triggered it.

Over the past few days I had been having slight nausea throughout the days, only for a few seconds at a time intermittently. But at night after lying down it started to get really bad (the nausea). It was mounting and mounting.. I got up to feed my cat, and as I stepped into the kitchen my entire upper body just started shaking spasmodically. I ran back under the covers and was freezing.. tried to warm up. I kept moving around my body restlessly, as if I stood still, the nausea would mount. Finally though I decided to just let it happen, so I stood still, the nausea built + built, and eventually threw up (into my trash can).

The rest of the night was... quite uncomfortable. I threw up maybe 4-5 more times, it just being dry heaving by the end. I figured I was getting dehydrated so managed to get some water, but I threw that up, too. My nerves simply felt like they were on fire.. the sensations of my skin touching the mattress + blankets were just painful, and my muscles/bones started aching. Simply could not get any rest..

I woke up in the morning and the nausea had mostly subsided, but I felt incredibly hot - I think it was hyperthermia (not a fever). And the nerve endings around my skin were hurting, just like before. I eventually took a cool-ish shower to cool off, which seemed to help.

Very reduced appetite throughout the day, and just feeling worn out... anyway, just wanted to warn you! I've since read that taking Vitamin B-6 along with the 5-HTP might help keep such things from happening. I'll be not taking any for a while and then maybe starting up with 2x50mg a day instead of 4x200mg.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/26/12 1:13 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
That sounds like hell... Hmm... I wonder if I was experiencing some of that two days ago? I thought it was something else...
But then again, even if you attribute those experiences to serotonin toxicity, and it sounds like the typical symptoms, we still doing know what other factors could have caused it...

I have used the 5-htp as an appetite suppressant for a day fast before with my normal dosage of around 750-1000 and felt completely amazing all day.. On the other hand I actually DO take the vitamin b6 supplements. That could have made the difference. I am cutting it down to 750mg a day now tho and attempt to hold 'er steady there.

How do you feel today? I personally have the take that sometimes the body feels very sick and uncomfortable in periods of purification. Do you feel healthier/cleaner/purified today or was it just a really crappy night?

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/26/12 1:25 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Olyver Mith:
How do you feel today? I personally have the take that sometimes the body feels very sick and uncomfortable in periods of purification. Do you feel healthier/cleaner/purified today or was it just a really crappy night?

I feel better, though still shaken up. Still don't really want to eat anything, though I know I must, but when I try, it just doesn't work. Like I take a bite and am just kind of disgusted by the thought of eating, even though the food itself tastes fine. My muscles are sore all over and I'm still slightly nauseous.

I do feel like I am 'purifying' a bit, that is, reducing suffering.. still in a shaken-up state of mind though. Sounds like a standard but immensely amplified run through the progress of insight (initially after taking 5-htp: awesome! awesome! then: horrible nausea (throwing up 5 times in one night) then: slowly fading out into equanimity), but many things in life take that natural progression.

I've felt nauseous before because of 5-htp, and have thrown up before because of 5-htp (threw up in the morning after having taken it at night), so I'm fairly certain the nausea/throwing up was at least initially from that.. though I don't know why it was so intense this time.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/26/12 3:30 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Interesting... If you don't want to eat why should you? I'm curious what your reasoning is. I've gone over 5 days water fasting with no calorie intake and I did pretty well. I would offer that the body is quite capable of living without food for a while.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/26/12 3:38 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Olyver Mith:
Interesting... If you don't want to eat why should you? I'm curious what your reasoning is. I've gone over 5 days water fasting with no calorie intake and I did pretty well. I would offer that the body is quite capable of living without food for a while.

Yeah, I did a 7-day water fast and it was fine. I don't want my body to lack of energy, currently, as that certainly started happening during my fast. Also, there is a feeling of hunger, which makes me want to satisfy it... that might be the primary reason, actually. Maybe a good time to investigate 'affective hunger' as I hear that goes away too... thanks! Something to consider.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/26/12 4:16 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Practice update..

Well... I seem to be going thru a fairly tough time....
And it's so curious. I don't understand everything that's happening.

Just being present requires some sort of "emotional quality" or intention that is separate from one's concepts... For me this quality of being present manifests most easily with the intention to be 'gentle' or 'delicate' with my experience and/or 5 senses.

I found the Venerable Ayya Khema's way of phrasing the 4 Noble Truths useful. She said something like:

1. What's the problem?
2. What's the cause?
3. What's the solution?
3. What's the way to the solution?

Well... the problem is disastisfaction, the cause is "Being", and the way to the solution seems to be "thinning out Being" and the way to the way to the solution itself seems to be maintaining a 24/7 'gentle' orientation to the senses. Being gentle and delicate to my experience (and senses) makes some sense, since that carefulness is required to find some insight into my habitual reactions. No good being blunt and aggressive, better to be attentive and intimate with my blunt and aggressive and thus see into the cracks, or find the "shape" of the emotional content as Daniel Ingram suggests occasionally.

On another note, I seem to be very... equanimious? Emotionless? Cautious? Not excitable?
But fortunately not fearful, which seems to be a nice thing... My seeker and my paranoid sides seemed to have calmed down to a gentle simmer. Still there. Still strong. But I'm not as identified with them. They got bad for a while there. Gentleness seems to help.

But the thing is that my motivation for intense practice is crappy, and I will cycle between not motivated to have times where I am more involved with the intense practice and I make a breakthru. That's not what I want. I want 24/7 sensuous/attentiveness..

Where does one find the motivation? What is the cause? I found it again today, so I'm in a good position to find the cause and effect. When it's gone, I'm afaid of just sitting there and having a super-ego saying "Do this! youre not trying hard enough!" and then only put in a weak effort (as this is what happens on the crappy end of the cycle,)?



So to reiterate the Four Noble Questions:

What is the problem? - Lack of motivation for intense practice which will bring about 24/7 sensuous and attentiveness.
What is the cause? - the cause of GOOD motivation is sustained by the emotional intention to be attentive/sensuous
What is the Solution - Find a way to ground in that emotional intention
What is the way to the solution - ???*


I know my logic is a little haphazard, but this seems workable.



Other notes from today's practice:
Today I noticed there is somehow a HUGE resistance to just being present without a purpose and just be sensuous.... I notice it now, which is good! Because before I used to act on it. Now I just notice it, and get quite a bit more sensuous time in (simultaniously).

Also tons of the tension around my head has been relieved. There is still some near my throat and chest, but I'm surviving. It's not too bad.


Woo! lots of interesting stuffs this post.

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/26/12 4:24 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Olyver Mith:
Interesting... If you don't want to eat why should you? I'm curious what your reasoning is. I've gone over 5 days water fasting with no calorie intake and I did pretty well. I would offer that the body is quite capable of living without food for a while.

Yeah, I did a 7-day water fast and it was fine. I don't want my body to lack of energy, currently, as that certainly started happening during my fast. Also, there is a feeling of hunger, which makes me want to satisfy it... that might be the primary reason, actually. Maybe a good time to investigate 'affective hunger' as I hear that goes away too... thanks! Something to consider.


Wow. See, affective hunger has been a something I was familiar with from the start.. I feel it in my muscle tensions , they keep on saying "hungry" when my body knows that it is being perfectly nurtured adequately. I know when my body needs food independent of hunger feelings... It was something I had to learn to keep my body healthy starting a long time ago.

So when you say you feel the inclination not to eat but think you need to anyways (out of fear? desire?)... I'm usually more prone to saying that that inclination not to eat is the healthier of the choices.

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/26/12 9:02 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Olyver Mith:
Wow. See, affective hunger has been a something I was familiar with from the start.. I feel it in my muscle tensions , they keep on saying "hungry" when my body knows that it is being perfectly nurtured adequately. I know when my body needs food independent of hunger feelings... It was something I had to learn to keep my body healthy starting a long time ago.

So when you say you feel the inclination not to eat but think you need to anyways (out of fear? desire?)... I'm usually more prone to saying that that inclination not to eat is the healthier of the choices.

Well, I remember when I was younger and was sick and didn't want to eat anything, my parents would make me eat, cause I had to to help me get better. I think this was an internalization of that logic. But isn't that speaking to your point? What if to keep my body healthy I have to eat, and the affective disgust of eating is what should be ignored?

I'm not sure which it is, yet. I think I'll survive somehow, either way =p.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
1/27/12 6:46 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Other than 5-HTP, what kinds of stuff (supplements or prescriptions) have you guys experimented with?

I think this topic is under-explored and could be very valuable...depending on a person's strengths and weaknesses, tweaking brain functioning one way or other other could help practice a lot.

I have my own observations about this subject, which I was planning to write up at some future time, but their value to others may be limited, as people with attention problems already know that stimulants help, and people without those problems tend to be affected fairly differently by things that stimulate / relax / whatever.

Occasionally I've played with the idea that everyone suffering from serious mood stuff, whether attributed to Dark Night or whatever else, would actively benefit from an antidepressant on top of their practice (in the sense that it would make practice more productive). Just speculation for now...

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/3/12 3:19 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Well...
Thank you everyone at the DhO meet-up. Sorry I haven't posted till now. I'm going to jot down a few notes about my experiences and practices lately.

The biggest thing I took from the DhO meet up and meeting with people is.... Well... Basically there is no reason ever for any reason that could be thought of to ever feel self-conscious. What a kind of relief this was too. I was living life as if I was never self-conscious about my actions or body language from the end of the DhO meet on.. and then I was at the airport, which is a hot spot for paranoia, and I just sort of realized... I don't have to be self-conscious or nervous about what people think. Ever. Just need to be calm, awake, and aware.

It is unbelievably easier if I manage to tap into an awareness of the 5 senses as a field. When aware of the five senses as a field, one is less identified with their narrative and one gets the feeling that, hey, I am aware of what there is to be aware of! I can't read your thoughts, so why be nervous about it! I'm aware of what there is to be aware of, which happens to be the 5 senses. From a subtle perspective, it's like I'm not aware of a person, I'm aware of my senses! What a huge relief - as I rather dislike dealing with people sometimes, but I don't mind being aware of my senses- thus in some odd way, it's like the problem where I don't like dealing with people is gone! This makes it easier to deal with strangers and stressful situations involving people. And it has brought about a sort of unconditional happiness.



The next big thing I took from the DhO meet was some advice I got from Tarin. I explained my current mode of experience to him a bit like this:

In any one instant, life is like this:

1) "I" >>>>(looking at/interacting with)>>>>> Thing I am aware of

But the catch is- I am not aware of the "I" who is "looking at/interaction with" the thing I am aware of. If I'm really honest and looking at a close level, the closest I can come is like this:

1) "I" >>>>(looking at/interacting with)>>>>> Thing I am aware of
2) "I" >>>>(looking at/interacting with)>>>>> the "I" that existed last instant
3) "I" >>>>(looking at/interacting with)>>>>> the "I" that existed last instant
4) etc.

So in this way, I can become aware of "I", but only an instant after it has happened. There is a very definite time gap between each "I". One of the pieces of advice I got was to notice the sensations in the gap, which from previous glimpses I can say with surety are IGNORANCE. Once it's seen, there is not more ignorance, and the problem is gone, yes? This seems so easy. My work is very much cut out for me.

Now... I first noticed this phenomenon, in which I am not aware of the present "I" at the same time as the object I am observing, when I was asking the question "What am I doing?". I was never aware of what I was doing until the moment passed, then I had to be quick to notice what I was doing the next moment (since it was always new and unpredictable).

Likewise, when I ask HAIETMOBA, I run into the same problem. I don't know how "I" am experiencing this moment of being alive since I am not aware of "I"!!!!!! I run into this experience of bafflement when I ask that question a lot! Because I honestly don't know! However I can know how I was experiencing this moment one instant ago! Which is almost as good as knowing how I am experiencing this moment right now, and somewhat revealing when when one realizes that is the case.

So in this fashion, since HAIETMOBA is inquiring into the source of experiencing ("I" for us unenlightened folk, or an ever present presence for those with some insight), then HAIETMOBA IS a vipassana technique in that it digs away at the
the "I" which is the cause of suffering pre-MCTB 4th path. Especially so when one truely takes into account the 'how am I experiencing' part of HAIETMOBA.

My understanding, which I think was confirmed by someone who is post-4th path (he nodded when I asked in a vague way emoticon ), is that being able to see both the "I" and the object of observation in the same moment is the same as the post-4th path experience. And thats easy and desirable to do! No unnecessary wasted effort is needed when it is put so clearly.

The other advice I got which is aimed at getting this ever present and self-aware awareness, is to just see objects where they are and that's it. Seeing the observer where it is, seeing the observed where it is, which brings a nice stillness and self-assurance to experience.

Thanks again everyone!
Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!
Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/3/12 3:12 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Olyver Mith:

Likewise, when I ask HAIETMOBA, I run into the same problem. I don't know how "I" am experiencing this moment of being alive since I am not aware of "I"!!!!!! I run into this experience of bafflement when I ask that question a lot! Because I honestly don't know! However I can know how I was experiencing this moment one instant ago! Which is almost as good as knowing how I am experiencing this moment right now, and somewhat revealing when when one realizes that is the case.


So being aware of this, and noticing how I was experiencing this moment of being alive one second ago (HIWETMOBAOSA), I was able to get a good handle on exactly what the AF folk mean by felicitous feeling. I was always a little vague on that, but now I see how one can experience in some ways that are more pleasant and open than others. Before I was always looking at the now, and since I am not aware of "I" in the now, I think I was looking at the wrong phenomena when trying to figure out HAIETMOBA (since I was looking at what I was observing, and not the source of observation (the "I")).

This is all so subtle and easy to misinterpret, yet I feel like I'm talking about an exact science.
How odd!

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/3/12 3:44 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Olyver Mith:
Wow. See, affective hunger has been a something I was familiar with from the start.. I feel it in my muscle tensions , they keep on saying "hungry" when my body knows that it is being perfectly nurtured adequately. I know when my body needs food independent of hunger feelings... It was something I had to learn to keep my body healthy starting a long time ago.

So when you say you feel the inclination not to eat but think you need to anyways (out of fear? desire?)... I'm usually more prone to saying that that inclination not to eat is the healthier of the choices.

Well, I remember when I was younger and was sick and didn't want to eat anything, my parents would make me eat, cause I had to to help me get better. I think this was an internalization of that logic. But isn't that speaking to your point? What if to keep my body healthy I have to eat, and the affective disgust of eating is what should be ignored?

I'm not sure which it is, yet. I think I'll survive somehow, either way =p.


Hey Claudio emoticon

What I'm talking about probably isn't even an issue for you, but it was for me, so here's a bit of my take on it in case it ever comes up for you in the future...

When dealing with the five hinderences, how is the hindrance of sensual pleasure most aptly dealt with? Ancient monks would use the disgust as a way to detach from otherwise pleasant objects. Likewise, the vissudhimagga suggests that a certain type of monk constantly bring to mind the undesirable aspect of objects that normally bring lust (such as a good looking body of the opposite sex or food), and that this would be an apt practice for one who easily gets attached to the good. Not saying you are. I am, and I did that meditation for a while with good results (I quit a lite porn habit about a year ago) .

Does disgust seem to have it's pleasant side to it when one gives the disgust a full acceptance? Has one tried identifying with the pleasantness and letting the disgust work it's magic on it's own? Kind of funny to think about disgust having a natural effect on the brain, but when that pleasant feeling of acceptance is there, I think it really does.

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/3/12 9:29 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Oliver Myth:
1) "I" >>>>(looking at/interacting with)>>>>> Thing I am aware of
2) "I" >>>>(looking at/interacting with)>>>>> the "I" that existed last instant
3) "I" >>>>(looking at/interacting with)>>>>> the "I" that existed last instant
4) etc.

So in this way, I can become aware of "I", but only an instant after it has happened. There is a very definite time gap between each "I". One of the pieces of advice I got was to notice the sensations in the gap, which from previous glimpses I can say with surety are IGNORANCE. Once it's seen, there is not more ignorance, and the problem is gone, yes? This seems so easy. My work is very much cut out for me.

Funny you bring this up - this is what I was trying to get at when I was talking to you at the DhO meet near the crackling fire (and rug and walls and ...) My point was actually kind of the opposite, though. I was speaking about present-moment awareness. Unlike the "I" (which you say you can only become aware of after it's already happened), one can be aware of present-moment awareness only in this present moment. Trying to remember present-moment awareness when it happened some time in the past is doomed to fail - at best you will fabricate a past-'I' and then you might assume that that past-'I' was what was actually being experienced before, even when it wasn't. Thus if you look to the past, you might conclude you were never aware in the past, even though you are now... yet, even though you are now, if you try to look back in 2 seconds to what used to be now, you would conclude you weren't being aware.

The resolution to this looking-back is to simply realize: I am only ever aware now, and, in doing so, drop any attempt to figure out how aware I was before (or what 'I' was doing before), etc... thus leaving uninterrupted present-moment awareness (as there is now no looking back).

The 'gap' you mention might be the act of looking back.

Does that make any sense/help any?

EDIT: A note about 'ignorance'. I think, technically (in the Buddhist definition), ignorance cannot be observed, as if you observe something, you aren't being ignorant of it - only the results of ignorance can be observed. Might just be a technical point.. but try not to look for ignorance, rather, aim to see sensations clearly.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/4/12 3:19 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
I'm arguing that a person can only be aware of the object of meditation, which is always present when one is aware of it. So how does one not have present moment awareness when aware of an object of meditation? How does one 'fabricate' a present moment awareness? Why would one look for that present moment awareness in the past? Do you have a present moment awareness right now? I think linguistics might be playing games with our communication. One just has to look at an object of meditation or whatever is in front of them and they are present again.

I guess I'm a little confused. Do you agree with what I just said?

If so, then I would take it one step further. Once one has a clear awareness of the object of meditation, then one can go to a noting practice (using HAIETMOBA) where one notes how one is feeling over and over again. That was what I was illustrating in my little diagram above. One is still present, if only for the fact that they have to actively be engaged with each new moment that comes up.

Do you agree with this?

Next take it one step further. In any moment when one is noting, they have the possibility of noting the sensations that happened one second ago.

right?

One step further: when noting like this, we can note something we weren't aware of the previous moment, even tho it happened, which is the person/intention/point of view/drive which was noting the previous moment. Then one has to note again and not get hung up thinking about what they just noticed (since this is a noting practice). Its all very subtle, and I believe this was the point of noting practice from the start- to be aware of ourself and things we didn't notice before.

When one becomes aware of the 'doer' and the 'object' at the same time then one has 4th path consciousness.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/5/12 4:30 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Oliver Myth:
I'm arguing that a person can only be aware of the object of meditation, which is always present when one is aware of it. So how does one not have present moment awareness when aware of an object of meditation?

Well, by 'present moment awareness' I meant a panoramic EE-like sensuous perspective, not something like (for example) an incredibly strobing attention wavy body-shimmering thing that happens in the dukkha nyanas.

Oliver Myth:
How does one 'fabricate' a present moment awareness?

You can fabricate something and pay attention to that, thinking it is present moment awareness (like a 'watcher'), but it actually isn't (cause present moment awareness would be more akin to sensuousness). So you can't, no.

Oliver Myth:
Why would one look for that present moment awareness in the past?

That's a good question. It's just something I noticed myself doing. Namely, I would try to be as present as possible, while walking around.. but I'd notice gaps in the present-ness. And I was wondering what the gaps were - where did 'I' go in those gaps? And that caused me to try to look 'back' to try to 'remember' what was going on in those gaps. But that just caused more gaps.

Oliver Myth:
Do you have a present moment awareness right now?

It comes and goes.

Oliver Myth:
I think linguistics might be playing games with our communication.

It might very well be, but hopefully we can work it out to a mutually beneficial result...

Oliver Myth:
One just has to look at an object of meditation or whatever is in front of them and they are present again.

Well, as I was using the term, that wouldn't be the case. I can get really really absorbed in the sensations of my foot and follow their intricate workings and causality and such, but then after a while I'll 'snap out of it' and wonder what I was just doing.

Oliver Myth:
Do you agree with what I just said?

If I understand how you're using the term awareness correctly, then yes, I would agree.

Oliver Myth:
If so, then I would take it one step further. Once one has a clear awareness of the object of meditation, then one can go to a noting practice (using HAIETMOBA) where one notes how one is feeling over and over again. That was what I was illustrating in my little diagram above. One is still present, if only for the fact that they have to actively be engaged with each new moment that comes up.

Do you agree with this?

Yes (again as you're using the term awareness).

Oliver Myth:
Next take it one step further. In any moment when one is noting, they have the possibility of noting the sensations that happened one second ago.

right?

Ah, yes, true. Though I would not say with certainty that you're noting the sensation that happened one second ago, but rather, the sensation-developed-one-second-later-due-to-causality, from which you can try to infer what happened one second ago.

Oliver Myth:
One step further: when noting like this, we can note something we weren't aware of the previous moment, even tho it happened, which is the person/intention/point of view/drive which was noting the previous moment. Then one has to note again and not get hung up thinking about what they just noticed (since this is a noting practice). Its all very subtle, and I believe this was the point of noting practice from the start- to be aware of ourself and things we didn't notice before.

Hmm, I'm not sure you are noting the person/intention/point of view/drive which was noting the previous moment, not that very one, just something very similar to it perhaps. And, there is the possibility that, when trying to note the 'person/intention/point of view/drive which was noting the previous moment', you're actually fabricating a 'person/intention/point of view/drive which was noting the previous moment', which you are then noting. That is to say, the act of looking back like that fabricates something that you then note. And what I am attempting to say is that, perhaps one need not look back like that. Instead of a 'backwards-facing' awareness (so to speak), maybe you can cultivate a 'forwards-facing' awareness (so to speak). The former seems more like vipassana practice as outlined in MCTB; the latter more like attentiveness to sensuousness/naivete as outlined in the various Actualist writings. The former seems to be more likely to lead to MCTB paths; the latter, more likely to lead to PCEs and freedom-from-malice-and-sorrow.

I think Nick alludes to this 'looking-back' tendency in this post of his on December 24th:
Nick:
The relationship with my wife is great. It is much for the better. Why? It seems that the big difference between last shift in July (what I thought was AF) and this last shift 2 weeks or so ago is that the mind has stopped 'looking' for the experience of 'being'. This tendency was there up till recently and caused quite a bit fof cognitive confusion and an experience of 'almost affect' (but not quite affect. This has been called 'shadow being'.

Now, there is a serious drop in this occurence. I can't remember if it has occured in the past 2 weeks. It is like something has dropped away that makes the ongoing experience much more like I'e dscribed, scenery.
[link]

Oliver Myth:
When one becomes aware of the 'doer' and the 'object' at the same time then one has 4th path consciousness.

I'm not sure that's necessarily the case. Nick said, on Dec 2nd 2011 (I think after his first big shift post-4th):

Nick:

Me: you mean the pressure felt in the middle of the brain? my current theory is that it is one end of the attention bounce

Friend:i can see that

Me: with any sense contact, it will bounce from a sense door (any of them including a thought at the mind door) back to that spot, so you have a various options. one is to watch the whole bounce
dispassionately as a whole more panoramically. another is to watch one end of the bounce either the brain spot (which seems somehow related to craving, and clinging, perhaps being the whole process occuring right there) or the other end; the sense object at the point of contact. I find that observing the brain spot ceases the result of craving much quicker than observing the sense object being reacted to
[...]
Me: you can do it with every object that hits a sense door, even form. so when you see a sexy girl, notice how there is the attention bounce that bounces from form to there (brain spot) then perhaps to a vibration arising in the chest perhaps giving rise to passion, back and forth automatically, craving in action. but look directly at this bounce either end, and you are able to cease it. it occurs with any sense object at any sense door, even thoughts. notice how a thought arises. it sets off suffering/tension. notice how continuous thoughts arise and set off more suffering. notice how the attention bounce is happening from the thought itself (which is harmless) to the spot in the brain then perhaps to a shitty vedana arising as a result at the chest for example, then the bounce is all over the shop. bounce bounce bounce

i may be off, but this is my current experience
[link]
Thus he still experienced that 'bounce', even post-4th... I am not sure if all people claiming MCTB 4th are claiming the same thing, or think about these things the same, so you might have to ask people separately. But, my current take is, as long as there is 'being', there is some kind of bounce, so the only time you could experience 'doer' and 'object' at the same time is when there is no 'doer' at all... in other words, never.

--------------


EDIT: You asked:
Oliver Myth:
Why would one look for that present moment awareness in the past?

Later in your post you said:
Oliver Myth:
One step further: when noting like this, we can note something we weren't aware of the previous moment, even tho it happened, which is the person/intention/point of view/drive which was noting the previous moment.

That's exactly what I was referring to when I talked about looking for present moment awareness in the past. So you can ask yourself why you are doing that and answer your own question =P.

Note that I'm not saying it's necessarily a bad idea to do so... it might be quite instructive as to how things are fabricated/arise and how they pass away. But it might be good to understand you aren't actually perceiving sensations that happened in the past, but rather more likely doing something like using mindfulness to remember a previous fabrication ('person[...] which was noting the previous moment') by fabricating (a reconstructed version of) it in the present moment. You can only perceive sensations now.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/6/12 12:56 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.

Oliver Myth:
How does one 'fabricate' a present moment awareness?

You can fabricate something and pay attention to that, thinking it is present moment awareness (like a 'watcher'), but it actually isn't (cause present moment awareness would be more akin to sensuousness). So you can't, no.


Oooo! Okay. I see what you are saying.

Yes, I've run into that phenomenon, if we are really talking about the same thing. It's like a different quality of awareness that has a distinct "I am now here" feel to it, as opposed to times when one might be spacing out.

I totally see how one could be taking a fabricated present moment awareness and not really have that "I am now here" feel to it. One just kind of lives in a delusion where one thinks they do.. That would be a bit irritating

Another observation is that that state itself can be noted and seen to arise and pass away. I have had experiences where this kind of awareness bonded with other less mindful states of awareness by noticing the three characteristics and it was quite blissful.


Hmm, I'm not sure you are noting the person/intention/point of view/drive which was noting the previous moment, not that very one, just something very similar to it perhaps. And, there is the possibility that, when trying to note the 'person/intention/point of view/drive which was noting the previous moment', you're actually fabricating a 'person/intention/point of view/drive which was noting the previous moment', which you are then noting. That is to say, the act of looking back like that fabricates something that you then note. And what I am attempting to say is that, perhaps one need not look back like that. Instead of a 'backwards-facing' awareness (so to speak), maybe you can cultivate a 'forwards-facing' awareness (so to speak). The former seems more like vipassana practice as outlined in MCTB; the latter more like attentiveness to sensuousness/naivete as outlined in the various Actualist writings. The former seems to be more likely to lead to MCTB paths; the latter, more likely to lead to PCEs and freedom-from-malice-and-sorrow.


I think we are on the same page now. The only thing is, that I believe I am really noticing the qualities that were there one second ago because they never left! I was able to keep it in awareness without interfering with it (by noticing the three characteristics, which allowed it to continue on it's own without me interfering (no self, impermanence). I'd be afraid that if I started looking out for me making stuff up, then that paranoia becomes a platform for more chances of me making it up (as in, did I really see that?). In fact! This is EXACTLY what I think the fetter of doubt is! In 4th path, one would be positive of the things they see without doubt.

Nick:
The relationship with my wife is great. It is much for the better. Why? It seems that the big difference between last shift in July (what I thought was AF) and this last shift 2 weeks or so ago is that the mind has stopped 'looking' for the experience of 'being'. This tendency was there up till recently and caused quite a bit fof cognitive confusion and an experience of 'almost affect' (but not quite affect. This has been called 'shadow being'.

Now, there is a serious drop in this occurence. I can't remember if it has occured in the past 2 weeks. It is like something has dropped away that makes the ongoing experience much more like I'e dscribed, scenery.


Nick is talking about Being here, not the "I". The "I" in that scenario is implied in the "looking" for the experience of being (an implied self "looking" for an object), which I would assume he was aware of the "I" the whole time (he knew he was looking, AND if he was post-fourth path, he was aware he was looking at the same time he was looking)


Thus he still experienced that 'bounce', even post-4th... I am not sure if all people claiming MCTB 4th are claiming the same thing, or think about these things the same, so you might have to ask people separately. But, my current take is, as long as there is 'being', there is some kind of bounce, so the only time you could experience 'doer' and 'object' at the same time is when there is no 'doer' at all... in other words, never.


That bounce Nickolai is talking about is between sensations and the brain spot, which is different from "I" and object. When I am doing this noting practice I have been describing there is no blinking out of awareness, just new awareness of objects that arose in the last moment, but weren't recognized until this one. Using the term "moments" seems to imply that they are distinct, but I'm keeping in touch with a deeper spacious reality while it is happening, so there is no experience of "moments".

Thank you for that quote too. That is quite interesting about the link to mid-brain.


I'm pretty confident and don't need much more convincing. I think that having an awareness of both "this" and "that" at the same time would be the only way to see Being clearly. It's not like I'm trying to see something new, or something that isn't there. I just want to see ALL of reality all at once.

With intrigue and gratitude,
Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/6/12 1:04 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Kechari Mudra. O mai goodness.

I've toyed with it, and I've gotten my tongue above the soft pallet, but for some danged reason I've never thought to experiment with holding the tongue up there long term!!

There seems to be a spot that bulges forward on the back of the throat right behind and above the soft pallet. When I press against that bulge (which is exactly where the mid-brain is) there seems to be some air cavities (sinuses?) that I can push against. And it has caused huge relief! Who knows why? I have been pressing that area and feeling the sensations. I feel like I'm clearing the area and improving circulation! It's also cleared my frontal sinuses really good. I now have a steady stream of oxygen going thru my sinuses with each inhalation and it feels like it's flushing up my nose, over my entire skull-cap and down the spine with every breath. I feel like there is a new world up here right above my third eye area.

I've had my tongue up for most of today. I even went for a 20 minute run and worked out with it up there. It's such a different sensation and feel to life in general. I think so much clearer.

Why is this so bizarrely pleasant!?

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/6/12 2:32 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
And what I am attempting to say is that, perhaps one need not look back like that. Instead of a 'backwards-facing' awareness (so to speak), maybe you can cultivate a 'forwards-facing' awareness (so to speak). The former seems more like vipassana practice as outlined in MCTB; the latter more like attentiveness to sensuousness/naivete as outlined in the various Actualist writings. The former seems to be more likely to lead to MCTB paths; the latter, more likely to lead to PCEs and freedom-from-malice-and-sorrow.


Nice! I think of 'vipassana' primarily as a quality of mind. That makes a lot of sense in this model. 'Vipassana' orients one 'backwards', while 'wonder' and 'naivety' orients one forwards; investigative attention and anticipatory attention.

Oliver Myth:
Nikolai .:
The relationship with my wife is great. It is much for the better. Why? It seems that the big difference between last shift in July (what I thought was AF) and this last shift 2 weeks or so ago is that the mind has stopped 'looking' for the experience of 'being'. This tendency was there up till recently and caused quite a bit fof cognitive confusion and an experience of 'almost affect' (but not quite affect. This has been called 'shadow being'.

Now, there is a serious drop in this occurence. I can't remember if it has occured in the past 2 weeks. It is like something has dropped away that makes the ongoing experience much more like I'e dscribed, scenery.


Nick is talking about Being here, not the "I". The "I" in that scenario is implied in the "looking" for the experience of being (an implied self "looking" for an object), which I would assume he was aware of the "I" the whole time (he knew he was looking, AND if he was post-fourth path, he was aware he was looking at the same time he was looking)


I understood Nick's quote as dropping a piece of hot coal. If you go looking for suffering, you'll find it, possibly fabricate it. If you don't go looking for it, at least you won't run the risk of fabricating any suffering. So Nick's insight was that by looking for trouble, he had created some in the process of looking for it, and by not looking for it anymore it went away. I'm sure Nikolai can clarify.

Oliver Myth:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Thus he still experienced that 'bounce', even post-4th... I am not sure if all people claiming MCTB 4th are claiming the same thing, or think about these things the same, so you might have to ask people separately. But, my current take is, as long as there is 'being', there is some kind of bounce, so the only time you could experience 'doer' and 'object' at the same time is when there is no 'doer' at all... in other words, never.


That bounce Nickolai is talking about is between sensations and the brain spot, which is different from "I" and object.

I think Nick experienced the brain spot as the main cluster of sensations implying 'I', so I don't agree that brain spot <-> sensation is different from 'I' <-> object. Again, Nikolai might clarify emoticon


Thanks for sharing about the Kechari Mudra, Oliver.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/6/12 3:12 AM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:

Oliver Myth:
Nikolai .:
The relationship with my wife is great. It is much for the better. Why? It seems that the big difference between last shift in July (what I thought was AF) and this last shift 2 weeks or so ago is that the mind has stopped 'looking' for the experience of 'being'. This tendency was there up till recently and caused quite a bit fof cognitive confusion and an experience of 'almost affect' (but not quite affect. This has been called 'shadow being'.

Now, there is a serious drop in this occurence. I can't remember if it has occured in the past 2 weeks. It is like something has dropped away that makes the ongoing experience much more like I'e dscribed, scenery.


Nick is talking about Being here, not the "I". The "I" in that scenario is implied in the "looking" for the experience of being (an implied self "looking" for an object), which I would assume he was aware of the "I" the whole time (he knew he was looking, AND if he was post-fourth path, he was aware he was looking at the same time he was looking)


I understood Nick's quote as dropping a piece of hot coal. If you go looking for suffering, you'll find it, possibly fabricate it. If you don't go looking for it, at least you won't run the risk of fabricating any suffering. So Nick's insight was that by looking for trouble, he had created some in the process of looking for it, and by not looking for it anymore it went away. I'm sure Nikolai can clarify.


The grasping at that hot coal was on automatic till a further shift while actualising jhana again did something to it. It then just ceased being something that happened as it was. That looking back had gone through some changes over the past 2 years, or rather perhaps what was forming upon 'looking back' has gone through some big changes. it seems to have gotten sublter and sublter. With it's reduction and disappearance in grosser forms, the cognitive confusion and a vast amount of the grosser aspects of the 'shadow being' experience have also dissapeared.

Oliver Myth:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Thus he still experienced that 'bounce', even post-4th... I am not sure if all people claiming MCTB 4th are claiming the same thing, or think about these things the same, so you might have to ask people separately. But, my current take is, as long as there is 'being', there is some kind of bounce, so the only time you could experience 'doer' and 'object' at the same time is when there is no 'doer' at all... in other words, never.


That bounce Nickolai is talking about is between sensations and the brain spot, which is different from "I" and object.

I think Nick experienced the brain spot as the main cluster of sensations implying 'I', so I don't agree that brain spot <-> sensation is different from 'I' <-> object. Again, Nikolai might clarify emoticon


The attention bounce, as far as I see it produces 'being' in all it's manifestations, from the grosser aspects of it, to the extremely subtle aspects of it after a number of shifts have changed something about it where it just doesn't look anything like it did.

The cluster of sensations in the brain would have a gross mental overlay of 'I' and would be (for me) where the centrepoint of self would reside pre-MCTB4th. It then was seen to be just a cluster of sensations post MCTB4th with a mental overlay with no 'centrepoint' status. Both sensations and mental overlay arose and passed in a much more sticky-free and obviously transient manifestation.

It was this same cluster of sensations which I saw as just sensations and no mental overlay, mixed in with all the other sensations in the head and chest right right before I got my first cessation (1st path). It also seems that it is this same area with the mental overlay (as well as sensations in certain chakra spots) which got actualised with the 7th, 2nd and 6th jhana actual aspects and led to further shifts when the mental overlay of 'shadow' dropped away.

Nick

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/6/12 12:33 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Oliver Myth:
I think we are on the same page now. The only thing is, that I believe I am really noticing the qualities that were there one second ago because they never left! I was able to keep it in awareness without interfering with it (by noticing the three characteristics, which allowed it to continue on it's own without me interfering (no self, impermanence).

Ah, I think I know what you mean. To that I'd say: do qualities persist for an entire second? If it seems like they do, have you tried looking at the same quality twice or thrice a second? Is it exactly the same each time, or does it change slightly according to causality, or does it disappear entirely and re-appear entirely each time, according to causality?

I see contemplative/insight practice in general as a kind of a way to run up and down the chain of D-O, either a small part, or the entire thing. Based on what you're looking for, you can watch how things compound into other things (seeing how a feeling arises, then how an inchoate sense of 'me' forms out of that, then how thoughts and beliefs form out of that, compounding it further, etc...) or you can watch how things fade to reveal the subtler elements (thoughts and beliefs stopping, revealing the inchoate sense of 'me', which, when watched closely with the expectation (garnered from insight) that it will fade, reveals the feeling underneath, etc...)

So it seems, in a sense, that you can 'backtrack' to see what was going on a few seconds ago - what you're doing is re-winding D-O a little by watching the sensations carefully, then it seems like the same sensations pop up again (cf. review cycling, you go from A&P to Dissolution to Fear, and feel afraid, then up the rest of the cycle, fruition, back to A&P, Dissolution, Fear, and then you're afraid 'again'). But, I don't think it is the same sensations (the same Fear), just similar conditions producing similar sensations (which similarity is only understood cause of short- or long-term memory, or mindfulness in other words).

Either way, the important thing is to see how 'I' am simply constructed from other conditions. Seeing that clearly, that kind of 'I' will stop being constructed... repeat until no more 'I' is constructed.

Oliver Myth:
I'd be afraid that if I started looking out for me making stuff up, then that paranoia becomes a platform for more chances of me making it up (as in, did I really see that?).

You are making all of it up anyways so no need to worry about that =P.

I see your point, though. Just look to see how all of it is causal, based on certain other conditions, down to the most elemental level (ignorance --> formations).

Oliver Myth:
In fact! This is EXACTLY what I think the fetter of doubt is! In 4th path, one would be positive of the things they see without doubt.

I think so long as there is ignorance (and hence, 'being'), there will be doubt.. but 4th path certainly does seem to provide some confidence in one's abilities.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/10/12 4:51 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
If it seems like they do, have you tried looking at the same quality twice or thrice a second?


Is it worth creating a false mind moment which creates the illusion of an I looking more than once at an object? If I did that then I would have to examine all of the new "I"s that are looking over and over again. That would be pointless! (maybe that is how your mind creates new 'I's that you are not aware of yet, Claudio?) This is a very subtle and tricky point. Why create more "I"s? Why create more ego-activity? I just want to see things as they are without changing them. Doing anything at all creates more "I"s.

I'm only looking at the object here. There is not backward facing awareness nor forward facing awareness. That is a fabricated idea. There is only one awareness. Does that help you understand the angle I'm arguing from? And since there is no forward or backward facing awareness, everything in my practice is doing itself on it's own via the three characteristics.

I am cultivating a strong felicity practice and it only helps with noticing the three characteristics. It sounds a little contrary to the idea that one has to identify 'suffering, no-self, and impermanence' for insight.

So it seems, in a sense, that you can 'backtrack' to see what was going on a few seconds ago

There is no past to look towards, only what is, yes? When one is aware of what they think happened one second ago, cant they just appreciate what they are seeing without labeling it as "not what really happened one second ago". That labeling creates discord inside oneself, since it is labeled in psychological terms as "ego-alien", and thus seen as a threat (i.e. it's not true and not what I am looking for). The truth is, you are looking for exactly what is infront of you, and that happens to be changing all the time.


You are making all of it up anyways so no need to worry about that =P.

Is that a belief you hold? Because all of my experience, "being" or not, seems pretty self evident to me. It's right before my eyes.

Useful?
Oliver.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/10/12 5:27 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Kechari Mudra! Wowza.

I've more or less had my tongue resting above the soft pallet as much as possible for days... It's sooooooo nice. It will take about 3-4 minutes before I get a pleasure rush. There is actually no need to poke and prod with the tongue, I believe the main action happens when the tongue is merely resting up there and pulling the soft pallet forward. When it pulls the soft pallet forward it also pulls on the skin around the back of the throat in a particular direction that alleviates pressure in the Sphenoidal Sinuses AND creates ease and eases pressure from the base of the skull from the inside. It also will stimulated the whole surface of the skin in the nasal cavity, up to and including the third eye area. Fresh oxygen also flushes the sinus and helps the brain think clearer too.

I seriously suspect that I am stimulating some serious Dopamine levels with this practice. I feel like I'm being rewarded when I practice for these extended periods of time and my choices concerning pleasure have become far, far, far more in tune with my real needs and my environment (as in, I am no longer seeking dopamine rewards from my environment with food and such based on illusions about my needs or unwanted urges). I noticed this the first time I did long term kechari two posts ago. I no longer get any physical hunger urges EVER unless I actually need food. No more munchies or any other such sensations! The catch is, that I will feel those things if my tongue isn't resting above the pallet, so all I do when I feel hungry is stick my tongue above the pallet and it's like a litmus test for whether I really need food or not. I know within a few seconds. I also become very aware of the back of my tongue (the large thick part at the base) when I do this test. It's very soothing.

I admire Tommy and a few other people who are doing practice threads about things that work for them and not giving a crap if it falls into any sort of proper tradition. Consider my thread as one of those. I will put in the crazy stuff that works and not care if it doesn't for someone else, or even if it is counter culture to the DhO.

Best mudra ever.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/10/12 7:50 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Oliver Myth:
There is not backward facing awareness nor forward facing awareness. That is a fabricated idea. There is only one awareness. Does that help you understand the angle I'm arguing from? And since there is no forward or backward facing awareness, everything in my practice is doing itself on it's own via the three characteristics.


Yes, I understand. Only 'one' awareness, indeed. What is 'inside' that awareness though can be said to be 'backward facing' or 'forward facing'. There's always only what happens, sure, and attention can be directed towards or contracted around a particular part of the field of available/potential experience. At that stage, awareness is that particular part of available/potential experience (plus whatever is experienced regardless of directed/contracted attention). And so to a certain degree one can 'choose' what awareness is (or 'contains' - bleh, language) at any time.

Choosing a wide open state of attention, particularly characterized by unmediated/unrestrained receptiveness aka. naivety; this is forward facing attention/awareness - 'anticipatory attention'. Choosing a narrowed, contracted attention for the sake of investigation, contemplation and reflection is backward facing attention/awareness - 'investigative attention'.

Indeed, these are mere concepts, best used only as scaffolding.

For the purpose of refining 'being', thinning the 'I'/'me', satisfying the ego - in other words doing practice squarely situated in the relative realm - it matters whether one chooses forward or backward facing attention.

For the purpose of staying enlightened - in the ultimate sense - it doesn't matter one bit, as there is only 'one' awareness.

$0.2


*


Thanks again for sharing about the Kechari Mudra, Oliver. Will you share your progress towards being able to sustain it as you currently are?

What you mention about skillfully seeking pleasure/reward; this exactly mirrors my own attitude. It's on my Todo List of Life:
- simplify ego structure
- learn skillful tactics & strategies for satisfying the simplified ego structure

I see jhana and the Kechari mudra as a huge leap in progress of the last point and also encouraging the first point.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/10/12 8:41 AM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
The final section of the extended formula hints at how these qualities may be directed toward Awakening.

"He keeps perceiving what is in front & behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, what is behind is the same as what is in front. What is below is the same as what is above, what is above is the same as what is below. (He dwells) by night as by day, and by day as by night. By means of an awareness thus open & unhampered, he develops a brightened mind."

This passage refers to the total mastery of concentration. Freeing the mind from such distinctions as front/behind, above/below, and day/night, one creates an awareness that is open and bright, unhampered by the normal limitations that come with a conscious sense of being located in time and space.


http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/wings_complete_v111219.pdf

"The Wings to Awakening" - Thanissaro Bhikkhu

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/11/12 2:08 AM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:

Yes, I understand. Only 'one' awareness, indeed. What is 'inside' that awareness though can be said to be 'backward facing' or 'forward facing'. There's always only what happens, sure, and attention can be directed towards or contracted around a particular part of the field of available/potential experience. At that stage, awareness is that particular part of available/potential experience (plus whatever is experienced regardless of directed/contracted attention). And so to a certain degree one can 'choose' what awareness is (or 'contains' - bleh, language) at any time.


Makes sense. Another really good paradigm besides backward facing and forward facing could be intentional/inquisitiveness vs. unchecked mental-rumination. At least this paradigm guarantees that one knows if they are either being productive with their life or not, ya know? But this also raises a question that mediators might have: if one is being intentional involving their thoughts, how does one know when that starts to boarder on mental-rumination? When does it cross the line?

For me, both past and present are now, I don't see how looking at one makes any difference to the other. Labeling sensations as past or present is a little silly to me (since they are both self apparent to the perceiving mind without needing to change or label) and having a preference can make them feel like a foreign bacteria that one has to activate the nervous system to weed out.


The whole simplifying needs thing is huge for me too. I like being practical with all the stuff I do. Sometimes I think this is all about being a mature human being, ya know? Being wise about simple things, like the bodys needs, occupational need, the people's needs around you.

By far, my favorite side effect of kechari mudra is how my decision making has improved. I really think it is a dopamine rush that I get when I hold it for long periods of time that stops craving (I already have a taste of the reward center being activated, why seek from the outside world?).

I've even bought a bottle of Velvet Bean extract, which is about 15-25% L-DOPA. L-DOPA is a chemical precursor to dopamine like 5-htp is to serotonin. If my decision making is so much better with a bit of consistent dopamine reward, then a small supplement would be interesting to experiment with. I've read some else's account of taking both 5-htp and L-DOPA and they described an uplifting experience... and that they stopped "acting stupid". Coincidence? Who knows.

And did you mean that you do both Jhana and Kechari mudra? I bet that would be a trip to do them both together emoticon


@ Josh: Interesting quote! It reminds me of the theory of relativity where space and time are considered identical. It is not time that moves, but the hand on the clock

Best regards,
Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/11/12 11:20 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Another thing I never mentioned about Kechari Mudra is that it loosened up all sorts of muscle knots in my neck to a phenomenal degree, mainly the base of the skull and all down to the collar bone. I think it may be the case that I was just very "ripe" for this practice (and thus not everyone is ripe and may not get the same sort of sensations I get), but nonetheless it is very powerful.

I was flirting with my lady-friend and doing all sorts of playful actions that normally would involve some sense of desire, however the entire experience was almost a flat-line spacious awareness, and I was quite happy and felicitous. This happened for hours. I was aware however, that whatever sense of frustration arose (sexual or otherwise) was already where it was before hand (I just gained a new awareness of a previously existing phenomenon), and she wasn't increasing the frustration (which is something that used to happen to me when I got in romantic relationships) nor was I under the illusion that she could be the one to relieve me of frustration. Ironic, but it made the experience that much more pleasurable, especially since I was making objective choices for the most part and thus keeping a sort of integrity to myself. There was all the benefits of intimacy without losing awareness in desire for outcomes (in other words, desire for outcomes blocks out awareness).

Oliver

Edit: Here is a nifty link. My own personal opinions of the material in the website are going unsaid right now. Only what I have said so far in this thread is what I mean. I do however like the animation in the middle. Just watching it sends shivers down my spine.

http://thekundaliniprocess.blogspot.com/2010/05/kechari-mudra.html

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/13/12 7:29 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
I have been paying sharp attention to where sensations of sincerity are coming from. My natural instinct, is to look down inside of my body towards the perineum, but with attention naturally coming to a halt somewhere in the pelvis area. This is where I look for sincerity in near any situation. But what is interesting is how I would see sincerity localized (and not just in the pelvis area but anywhere). I would ask myself, " Is sincerity on object?" I got a subtle urge to maintain sincerity as a field of awareness, instead of localized as "this mental object is sincerity, this one isn't". What I found was that sincerity helped me realize that all other sensations are just sensations, including the feeling that "I can't be sincere", which was a tricky sensation. How did I manage to dislodge the sensations of "I can't be sincere" from a hidden belief to conscious awareness and then to letting it dissolve thereby freeing myself from it? By focusing on the sincerity. There is something stable, worthy and good about sincerity. By focusing on it, one deepens it, and sincerity is worthy of being deepened in one's experience, especially as opposed to other sensations in the body/mind that may or may not bring about suffering. It most pleasantly stops one from focusing on pleasing other people, and reveals many attachments and mental filters one uses simply because sincerity goes to a deeper level in one's soul/being than those other sensations. A sense of inquisitiveness is also absolutely necessary(!) as that prevents the mind from instead solidifying an artificial construct (false sincerity or false present moment awareness, etc.). Inquisitiveness, even about the object we are looking at, will keep the mind supple and open. Additionally, a strong sense of concentration might also be a necessary ingredient to penetrate layers of unconscious suffering and ignorance. Sincerity is quite a worthy thing to concentrate on, not least because it goes deep into the soul/being.

Simply notes for today.

A sense of inquisitiveness is also absolutely necessary(!) as that prevents the mind from instead solidifying an artificial construct (false sincerity, etc.)

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/13/12 7:40 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Kechari means, "To fly through inner space."

This sounds poetic and dramatic. Yet, kechari is much more that that. It is much more personal than that. Regular practice of kechari takes us into a permanent lovemaking of polarities within us. The effects of kechari exceed those of tantric sexual relations as discussed in the tantra group. This is amazing because kechari involves no external sexual activity at all. Kechari is one of the great secrets of enlightened celibates. Not that celibacy and kechari have to go together. Anyone can do kechari and continue in normal sexual relations. But if one chooses a path of celibacy, then kechari, along with other advanced yoga practices, will provide more than enough cultivation of sexual energy upward in the nervous system. It is a natural internal process that comes up in us.


Taken from http://www.aypsite.org/108.html

I had been doing tantra practices with my lady friend and there really is something more to kechari. I also strongly feel that if I had not been cultivating sexual energy by not wasting semen that I would not get the benefits of kechari. Not wasting semen seems to add strength to my bones, literally and figuratively. Kechari seems to provide all that pleasure I might have lost from those orgasms and let it course thru my body.

For some reason I much prefer a life where my body is physically pulsing with pleasure than any sort of psychological "insight", spiritual insight, or freedom from suffering. I prefer staying in this moment, if that's okay, thanks.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/13/12 12:08 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
You: By focusing on the sincerity. There is something stable, worthy and good about sincerity. By focusing on it, one deepens it, and sincerity is worthy of being deepened in one's experience, especially as opposed to other sensations in the body/mind that may or may not bring about suffering. It most pleasantly stops one from focusing on pleasing other people, and reveals many attachments and mental filters one uses simply because sincerity goes to a deeper level in one's soul/being than those other sensations. A sense of inquisitiveness is also absolutely necessary(!) as that prevents the mind from instead solidifying an artificial construct

Me: I like considering "worthy and good". I think this can be called altruism (science), basic goodness (mingyur rinpoche), worthy and good (you), etc.

I am at a point where the dhammapada's "You are what you think, with your thoughts you make the world" resonates. Here is Acharya Buddharakkhita translation:

1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.

3. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

4. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.

6. There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.
I see that this (my) human mind will leap naturally at things constantly (look how conscious attention struggles to keep pace with afferent sensations). Having will, I can use the mental faculty in worthwhile ways, or I can use it to stay in a useless mire.

In hindsight, I am shocked at how easy it is to self-stay in the dukkha nanas (cycling fear, misery, aversion, ill-will). At present, sharing well-being seems like the most sensible use of the mental faculty (and this doesn't prevent taking a stand against ill-will nor aping placations in order to avoid facing a problem). I am going to die anyway, why perseverate on ill-will when well-being is actual and possible? The mind is like a lighthouse spinning in many directions, and can be directed.

If a child is abused in their home and runs to a house that claims goodness, but in which house there is a lot of griping and misery nevertheless, the child may just return home or turn to the streets still never having seen contentment and freedom from suffering. However, if a person turns their mental faculty to that which is worthwhile, good and stabilizes the mind in that usage, a consequence is that it becomes a worthwhile beacon. No one has to say, "come to me, I will help you." The utility of the stabilized contented (and ongoing) mind is its own communiqué. To cultivate that for oneself seems approach a liberating autonomy.

I enjoy your thread. Thanks.

[a few edits]

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/13/12 4:14 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Ditto what Katy said: I'm enjoying this thread.

RE kechari mudra, I've been working with this a little since you mentioned it. Oddly enough, I recall doing this spontaneously years ago. I don't recall the context or inspiration. After coming back to it I seem to be addicted emoticon

cheers,

Matt

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/14/12 5:37 AM as a reply to )( piscivorous.
It is a common practice within the Vajrayana tradition while meditating to touch the palate with the tongue just behind the teeth.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/15/12 6:49 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
In response to katy:

Yes! Those bullet points sounds a bit like karma. When one realizes they are acting off of these chained-by-cause-and-effect* internally-felt-events** then it would be quite natural to want to intervene and get on a better path, yes? And isn't it sooo pleasing to follow one's own inner common sense? Even if not, if one wants to make spiritual progress, does one really have a choice but to follow ones inner common sense?

Thats a bit of a different paradigm of spiritual progress than we are used to on this board, but I put it forward none-the-less. It's still about clearing out one's psyche of suffering contaminants, but done so thru taking action in the world. Not taking initiative in the real world is identical to hiding behind barriers inside one's mind. Magnimity is the only spiritual progress there is. Full exertion, full understanding, deep self-reflection. That is my spiritual path. AF be damned.


Oliver

*adjective
**noun

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/24/12 6:00 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
The sensation of frustration is my bane. I seem to feel it physically, when I eat, when I work out, whenever I do anything. It is an anti-thesis. I seem to be able to hold it at bay by smiling a lot. But it is nearly always there, at least subtly in the background if I look for it (looking for it increases it)

I am seeing the "I"'s very clearly. There is definitely no continuation. Every one is completely independent from the next and they are starting to arise in longer vibrations, like in equanimity. The sensations all imply an "I". It is quite pleasant to see them that way. I also no longer am so sure about my theory above on what 4th path is, but it is no longer a concern anyways.

If it is felicitous for me to be in a good mood, then shouldn't I allow others? It's been somewhat of a defense mechanism to not allow others to be happy by me being stone-faced and forcing the relationship to follow a specific social role. Not fun. Not fun for them, not fun for me. Is it worth triggering social roles where the other person is happy?

I feel like I have to give up on form of suffering and accept another newer one. Its scary. Maybe I only want the suffering I have now.

In taking military combative courses I had to hit people in the face and take it back in return. I was a bit concerned at first, but it is definitely possible to do so felicitously and without ill intent. In fact, it didn't even seem like me doing it, it was like someone else was doing everything, all while being spacious and aware. Nothing like getting a punch in the face either, I assure you. In fact, the course has been the highlight of my week. Increased sensuousness as giving me a genuine edge in hand-to-hand combat. They had a phrase there: Practice makes permanent. Not perfect, cause if you practice the wrong thing then you get skilled at the wrong thing. Practice makes permanent.

There has been a down-shift in felicity since being back from R&R. But I'm managing. It would be so much easier if I didn't feel so much frustration. It really, really, seems to me that it is phyiscal, and that eating/exersizing, sleep and all sorts of crap have a huge effect. My concentration has also been weak, and it may be that I am not being mindful enough to keep up the felicitiy, but then is mindfulness dependant on the body's nutrition and sleep? Is concentration (the ability to maintain mindfulness over a period of time and in new situations) dependant on nutrition? I guess potassium helps muscles relax, and there is a noticable difference as I eat more of it. 5-htp makes a huge difference. The L-DOPA makes my body feel good, but extreemly sensitive to pain. Am I just playing a chemical game? Is this all some sort joke? What do I have to do to win?

I think that people with jobs that involve sitting around for 6-7 hours a day should only be required to work 4-5 days a week. Every day is ridiculous. I know there are studies out there that show sitting all day is bad. My lady friend and best friend make it all a lot better, as does the wicca religious group where most of my friends are.

I've been really confused lately. I don't have my priorities straight. Where is pure intent? An intent that can be applied anywhere and any time? I don't want to fall into logical mishaps and mistakes by thinking conceptually about ANYTHING. I don't want to fall into subtle logical mistakes about AF, about 4th path, about work, about communication with co-workers, about ANYTHING. I hate thinking that I have to deal with a separate mind when talking to another person, because then I am construing ideas so the other person accepts it.

Also, sex seems to only be worth relaxing the body. Something to be done for physical maintainance (why is everything about that?!). If there is no need for it, don't do it.


I have been out of kechari mudra for longer periods of time for the past 4 days. Physical knots in my neck have been appearing along the first three vertibre under the base of the skull. Kechari mudra unlocked them immediately and started to relax all along my throat. I don't get the same high, but I also have started to feel that high more consistantly. I'm somewhat taking it for granted right now.

So I'm also really upset about the need for accuracy, because a lot of times I will have to think hard to make my statements as accurate as possible and be a competent as possible. This seems opposed to spontaneity. I want to be goofy and wrong a lot, but it's not appropriate to my job and whatnot. I feel like if I had a lot more free time to relax and not be so high strung and forced around a lot then I would boost all spiritual qualities considerably. If I start to act more spontaneously then will these two opposing sides consolidate?

I think it is tarin who says "just more good news" about things he learns since he got AF. I had an experience like that where EVERYTHING i could possibly think in any which way seemed like good news and it lasted for an hour. It was scary in its seemingly unnaturalness. On the other hand, I have also experienced the more familiar "everything is shit and it might be worth dieing right now" which lasts for a few minutes. It's been prominent twice in the past two days.

Over and out,
Oliver

Edit for more notes:

Humankind is so messy. There are no consistent social norms. There ARE consistant "likes/dislikes" like smiling and all sorts of stuff, but then there is still the 80% "if I say this there is a chance you feel the opposite". Then there are different body types, there are different mentalities, different past experiences, different everything. Maybe my mind is going thru a HUGE mind reorganization right now and that accounts for many of my complaints in this post. I also imagine this post isnt very easy to read.... For the record too, I think I am still practicing Actualism, but I am opposed to limiting what that is, hwich is what I meant with "AF be damned".

There was also a moment when talking to my lady friend. She described what she thought enlightenment might be and she described something like how I imagined MBCT 4th path pretty well (which is suggestive. she did so with no input from me on my ideas, so doesn't that seem like a common archetype inside the psyche? Do we all know what enlighenment is on a deep level?) Anyways, I told her that I would like that, but it wasn't my final intent. She asked my final intent and I felt this vacuum-ous black space from behind me and my words went silent and I felt like I was perfectly describing what I was looking for/where my loyalties lie to the end. I didn't say anything, cause the words went silent, and saying something would be betraying "it" . I felt in touch with what I was really trying to get to AFTER i get 4th MCBT path. She thought I wasn't answering cause I didn't want to (strange how the mind makes up excuses like that), so my intent wasn't seen for what it was by another person.

I don't know where pure intent comes from. I don't want a conceptual idea, because that leads to conceptual logic, and that leads to fallacies. I've had a PCE-like experience when I was a lot younger and I rememebr thinking afterwards "is this what enlightenment/meditation is all about?" and then I thought (in reference to the fact there was no "I" or perciever) "no that couldn't be, its too far removed from reality and couldn't be permenant" and so it was marked off as an altered state of consciousness. That was years ago and doesn't instil perfect confidence but still quiets the mind and makes it supple. I can't use that for long term motivation because my attention quickly goes elsewhere. I had another experience like that with no "I" or perciever too in a meditation class, but still years ago. The two experiences and other previous ones in younger childhood support that this was not a a one time experience but quite possibly something reproducible like a PCE.

I really like the sensation of doing things "just because" without looking for a reaction and being open to anything that happens. That's a lot of the motivation in this post. I haven't gotten much of that at all since the end of R&R.

I also hate paranoia. I read a book by AH Almaas that suggests something along the lines of three major social roles: the Seeker, the Paranoid, and the Felicitous. In clinical spychology they are known as the Frustrating Object Relation, Rejecting Object Relation and the Central Object relation respectively. It was quite interesting. Tarin, I still owe you this over email or something, and it may be a while yet. thanks for your patience

How do I make my body feel good? How am I free of wants WHICH CAUSE the body to feel less than good? Grr.. the frustration.

My memory has been a total fail for the past two days, but hey- that might just be from getting hit in the head from combatives. maybe it will come back. Maybe I'm just spiritually enlightened (joking : P )

I've also noticed here and there that there are times when I feel spaciousness (as a mental quality) that was not perceived before and I will attept to use my imagination to fill it up with an image. What a silly thing to do.

all social roles are constructs. all explanations are silly. Why do I get trapped in certain social roles? there seems to be certain ones that take a majority of the time, such as a slight mental "dumbness".. or ones where I need to get the point across right while making a good impression (the two don't always go together!), or I feel misunderstood/not seen properly. And yet, I was just in a conversation where I felt a person was communicating directly to me and seeing me right (and being seen right is an uplifting experience) and then I thought "hey, the things he is saying isn't in accord with what happened or my self image". Do I correct him? but just a second ago I thought he was right.. .and so I saw somehow that not being seen properly seems to be a big part just inside the mind.

I also liked being able to do what I wanted without concern for the reaction, sensations that simultaneously (without definite cause or effect ) arose with being open to what might happen. "being open" presented in a way that I was not familiar with. thinking "be open" seems to incline the mind in a less than savory way and the whole cause and effect thing seems a source of discomfort. Feeling "being open" is a different story, although there are frequently feelings that are hard to "remember" after the half-life of the drug has been used up, if you know what I mean.

I've also notice recently how I used to have to put effort into disecting what someone was saying to get the right info, but now I can be sensuous and the mind AUTOMATICALLY hears and turns noise into speach language and information. I could just be sensuous, but I pick up symobolic reasoning and info. This wasn't happening before, so I would put some effort into understanding, and be sensuous later. I can imagine all parts of the psyche eventually transforming like this.

Upon reading the last paragraph, I also see how just absorbing info in sensousness and not putting effort into disecting it is a type of non-conceptual, if that makes sense to anyone... I'll leave that thought alone for now.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/25/12 5:29 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
L-DOPA seems nice. It definitly boosts the exact same feeling that kechari mudra fosters, so I definitly think is dopamine. I become more out going without feeling any different and my awareness is slightly higher. 5-htp helped me feel in control. I wouldn't suggest L-DOPA to anyone yet tho. I still want to go deeper and figure it out. L-DOPA also creates more HGH which spikes after 90 min of taking according to a scientific study, and taking 500mg before working out tho makes me push over 150% of my normal capacity... I first noticed this in combatives when I managed to push people who under normal circumstances should have beat me.

Kechari definitly activates the area right below the base of the skull incuding the space down three joints. Rising energy gets stopped right around that point until I go into kechari. which then integrates my intelligence into my head (because it was stuck below there until then).. thats what it feels like.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/25/12 8:01 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Quoted from http://www.kci.org/meth_info/lori/Dopamine_Methamphetamines_and_You.htm

How do brain chemicals like Dopamine work?
Brain chemicals, including Dopamine, are stored in cells, which you can think of like barrels full of that chemical. When something occurs like a good meal or great sex the brain pours out some dopamine from the dopamine barrels into an open space in the brain called a synapse. It floats around there. Think of the synapse like a street, and dopamine is like little cars driving around aimlessly on the street.

Across the street (not far) from the barrels of dopamine are Dopamine receptors. These receptors have little parking spaces on them that only fit Dopamine (or a substance VERY similar in chemical shape to Dopamine) into them, like a lock and key. As the Dopamine floats around in the synapse, it finds parking spaces at Dopamine receptors, and "plugs in" to the receptors. THIS is the point where we feel good, when the Dopamine is parked in a receptor's parking space. There are, however, a limited number of receptors with "Dopamine only parking" available, and each receptor has a limited number of parking spaces. So some of the dopamine may not be able to find a place to park.

When all the parking spaces are taken, the remaining dopamine that didn't find a place to park is normally recycled. There are "reuptake molecules" that do this -- think of them like tow trucks. They find the extra dopamine, and tow it back to the barrels of Dopamine so that it can be re-used the next time. After some time has passed, the receptors release the Dopamine that was parked in their parking spaces, and the tow trucks take those Dopamine molecules back to the barrel too.

The brain has a safety-check system that will destroy any excess Dopamine that isn't in a parking space, and didn't get picked up by the tow truck. There are special chemicals in our brains that will break down this extra dopamine. Think of this like the toxic waste crew coming in and sweeping up the street.

As a last resort, after repeated long-term over-stimulation, the brain will shut down Dopamine receptors so that nothing can park there ever again. Think of this like the demolition team coming in and permanently barricading off the driveways.


I've noticed exactly what a super high dose of L-DOPA does. The experience is the same thing kechari mudra does except I don't have to be in kechari mudra... I'm going to stop taking the L-DOPA cause I don't think I need it and there is other research suggesting the same thing as described above where too much L-DOPA shuts down natural storage and processes in the brain. I'd much rather my brain naturally adapt with some kechari (if that is even how it works). Here's links to other research. I hope I didn'tget anyone else addicted to a potentially harmful drug:

http://www.mendeley.com/research/alteration-ldopa-evoked-dopamine-dopac-output-under-conditions-impaired-vesicular-dopamine-storage/

http://www.ygoy.com/2011/04/13/dopamine-in-the-brain-functions-as-a-handbrake-on-stem-cell-activity/


"There are, however, a limited number of receptors with "Dopamine only parking" available, and each receptor has a limited number of parking spaces. So some of the dopamine may not be able to find a place to park."


This was also sort of what I noticed when I took a super high dose. There was a limit to the "mental feel good" and it really wasn't much different than a kechari high, only slightly more consistent/stable than kechari and I was unable to get out of it. It is not suggested by me to take this drug tho. I would think this analogy is right, that we only have so much space for dopamine making us feel good at one time, and I would rather my brain adapt slowly and organically with kechari than become dependant on drugs.

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/26/12 6:49 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Hi -

Thanks for sharing your thread.

I also no longer am so sure about my theory above on what 4th path is, but it is no longer a concern anyways.
I think the mental theorizing mind provides a protective service which assesses a new practice effort and looks ahead to try to see if the outcomes will be good. When theoretical and logical mentation starts exhausting itself by seeing its limits-in-isolation, practice changes, that energy of evaluative mentation enters itself into the wordless aspect of practice, perhaps like, "I felt this vacuum-ous black space from behind me and my words went silent and I felt like I was perfectly describing what I was looking for/where my loyalties lie to the end. I didn't say anything, cause the words went silent,..."

But I'm managing. It would be so much easier if I didn't feel so much frustration. It really, really, seems to me that it is phyiscal, and that eating/exersizing, sleep and all sorts of crap have a huge effect. My concentration has also been weak, and it may be that I am not being mindful enough to keep up the felicitiy, but then is mindfulness dependant on the body's nutrition and sleep?
Some of the people I consider meditative mentors have done great physical feats, but then they also report exhaustion afterwards. "Little" Suzuki moved a massive stone alone at Tassajara when he was advanced in age (students had gone to lunch); he is said to have slept for a few days after that. The mind is spending energy; concentration focuses that expenditure. Frustration is an expenditure. I intend no criticism or veiled other meaning when I ask, "What is that frustration spending energy on?" WIth what is that outflow dealing? Could that outflow be harnessed otherwise if the underlying urge(s) would be seen and reserved or re-directed?

I also experienced many physical searches when the mental theorizing let up: changes in exercise, changes in diet, addition of supplements, protection of sleep. I think it was very useful, though now I do none of that until there is an imbalance (like injury).

Humankind is so messy.
The three words "the human condition" can represent a horror or a paradise, there are both creative capacities in how the human mind is willingly directed.

I don't know where pure intent comes from.
I think it comes from this:
On the other hand, I have also experienced the more familiar "everything is shit and it might be worth dieing right now" which lasts for a few minutes. It's been prominent twice in the past two days.
Given the option of giving up into actual, directed dying, then intent practice becomes a sensible option, a sort of "Why not? Nothing else is working, so I may as well put all energy into this effort of whatever-is-nibbana and practice, follow a map. I can always dispatch myself..." This is the knowledge of misery seen wisely: something like 'misery is awful, awful stuff; I know misery: knowing misery and the desire to die rather than witness/experience more of it, I may as well put everything into the practice and not quit.' From this point, myself, it was about 9-10 months to high EQ and another 9-10 months for what seems like the SE shift. [I am not implying your timeline or your place on any map, just sharing my experience.]

If outward/inward felicity is too hard at the moment, too effortful right now, perhaps just take some time to appreciate the joy of in-breathes, the satiation at the top of the inhalation, and the quietude of exhalation. The very quiet pause at the end of exhalation.

Thanks again for sharing your practice in detail.

[edit: typo and in brackets]
[edit: i forget that you are not practicing a dhamma-paradigm. Sooooo, that "knowledge of misery" business may not make sense. I will add that when feeling of misery peaks, if a person just sticks with the feelings themselves (versus owning them as anything real) then those can flood into a bliss state, but that can take all night ...I highly recommend seeing these feelings through to dawn, as often as it takes, and having a nap.)

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/28/12 4:39 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Practice notes:

I feel okay all the time. Maybe I feel nothing. No extra energy anywhere. I wonder... when deeper into AF felicity levels, does one have excess energy on top of a basic self, or is it all self or is it all energy? I prefer lots of energy for a certain kind of pleasure, but then I'm more scared in general.

My body is out of whack with change in diet and exercise again. I feel like I have no personality around people today. I am a robot who calculates his smiles for a good purpose. I don't feel as altruistic as that sounds tho. I want to sleeeeep.

I have had horrible levels of mindfulness according to my old standards, and am constantly driven by desires and aversion, but I'm still enjoying life, and I'm letting it all pass with unforced curiosity. I need a change in lifestyle tho and I will do so soon.

Katy, I know about the nyanas, like knowledge of misery. The moments I'm talking about are more re-observation-ish to me, but I still relate. re-observation seen with a no-self lens sounds something like what you described by sitting with negative feelings and feeling the release after they naturally dissapitate...? Heres a bit how I experience all the dukka nanas:

Knowledge of Misery has historically been one of my favorites because it is so heartfelt and I can be melencholic sometimes, so I never resist this nyana. People tend to ask me what is wrong because I look so sad but they don't see how happy and inwardly moved I feel. I feel a cool deep spaciousness and sadness and acceptance for things I don't have.

Disgust is disgust, like it sounds

Desire for deliverance is desire for deliverance.

Re-observation is when everything seems to be going negative and it seems the only thing to do is die, but being sensuous makes it quite pleasurable and pushes me thru to equanimity. Re-ob is frequently strong no-self characteristic to me and I don't have too much aversion to it. I welcome it sometimes as progress, but your little exposition on this post helped me cause I was feeling aversion to it this time.

I feel like I'm in a dead end nyana somewhere in the pits of equanimity. thank you for your comment. I think this thread has become more about me expressing certain ideas I won't elsewhere, so if not much rapport is build among the DhOers right now I'm not so concerned (since that is not the primary purpose)... I'm very self reliant on spiritual things and don't think other people have the one and only, "perfect" answer for me. I need to figure this out on my own. That said, I really like input. Lots. Thank you. If you had a practice thread I would read it.

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
2/28/12 12:04 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
That said, I really like input. Lots. Thank you.
Wow, you have courage: let the katy-windbagginess begin! (Get your high wind kites). Let's (me) talk about it!

Re-observation is when everything seems to be going negative and it seems the only thing to do is die, but being sensuous makes it quite pleasurable and pushes me thru to equanimity. Re-ob is frequently strong no-self characteristic to me and I don't have too much aversion to it. I welcome it sometimes as progress, but your little exposition on this post helped me cause I was feeling aversion to it this time.



Here's a different site for your consideration and two other nanas (described in the linked site) that seem to reflect some of your expression in this post:
7. Adinava nana
8. Nibbida nana

Object-meditation can bring about high equanimity, and such equanimity sneaks up into stream-entry. (I think you and I share the understanding that there is no one system...so I'll add that the cessation following high EQ and which is followed by the stream entry understanding has not effected the "Don't know" I have about Any Ultimate Nature of Reality, it does not challenge or conflict with my theistic upbringing...and I find "Don't Know" documented all over the theistic traditions; it does fundamentally shift me towards friendliness/community well-being/skillful means/light-handedness, values of a/theistic traditions).

When you have a moment (and make this activity paramount despite what you think is a horrible level of mindfulness or propensities for aversion and desires -- because you knowing your mental faculty to be experiencing these aversive/desirous processes at this moment is mindfulness; just watch those arising thought-feelings in sitting (no judgement), do not take them as "I", "me", or "mine"; at such hard moments, just take your mental faculty up in friendly kindness when it starts to harm itself (like holding one who is injured and despairing), then, pick an object, perhaps a tree or an image of a tree (some object that is natural, not man-made) or a stone (or image of)...and make that the object of peripheral and single-point focus (the eye will oscillate between focused and peripheral...do not worry about single-pointedness, the mind generates single-pointedness without "you", and occurs when the mental faculty settles with eye-faculty on the object). You can use a chair for sitting, but aim to have the back gently straight, the chin slightly tucked (as if the backs and tops of the ears are being massaged by upward-rubbing fingers), the shoulders back and down (they will roll forward if you have little subscapularis or teres musculation, and that is ok...this rolling forward can just cause neck tension at some point...slowly-done eccentric push-ups driven by the rhomboids dramatically improve the back's musculation, deltoids should feel almost nothing (the shoulder heads should be rolled back and down before entering the push-up or the shoulder and arm muscles can become irritated by rubbing the clavicular processes (in other words, gently squeeze the shoulder blades together before entering the push-up, face the eyes of the elbows forward, and use the low abdomen muscles to help the rhomboids lower and push back up...not so much the deltoids, biceps or tri-ceps, although they are involved)

Where were we? AH,

When the mind begins discursive wandering (regardless of being in bliss, aversion, desire, misery, physiological push-up expositions, etc), gently move attention back to the sense-object of the eye-sense-faculty, and re-take up the object of meditation with a light eye (meaning: allow for peripheral and focused eye-faculty-sensing).

The mental faculty, as opposed to arising up and out of the eye-sense-faculty activity and generating discursiveness, may simply begin moving itself to the other four sense-faculties and their sense-objects (e.g., odors, breezes, sounds); this is perfectly fine. Again, gently re-place the mental faculty back to the eye-sense-object, lightly (allowing for peripheral and focused eye-sensing).

It is anticipatable to hate this practice, to hate any practice, to be disgusted/tired/isolating/etc in general right now.

Do this for 60 minutes. Find the time. Do it when you wake up (I find 4-6 a.m.a great time -- basically as soon as you wake up (if you have odd hours), because the perceptive mind is not so well-fromed then) and consider doing it again before bed.

Do this for the next several days. I am gone for 10 days, but will check your thread again on March 9th. [edit: I will be in meditation and will probably remember some terrible/errant word choice and spend a good deal of time sitting with misery and disgust about it...]

The work in meditation is simply to lead that mental faculty back again and again to an object, to not take all of the bucking, straying, attracting thoughts and feelings as you. There is no problem in meditation, no horrible concentration - the problem is thinking that there is bad meditation. If you are on the cushion - no matter how often there is falling over from fatigue, boredom, irritation...so long as there is righting oneself and re-placing the mind on the object of meditation (an actual object or a mental object), then there is good meditation. It is herding. And it is normal to report feeling like a terrible meditator.

Just let the clock tick (finish the time set-forth at the beginning) and lead the straying mind back to the sense-faculty and rejoin it in the sense-object. When the mental faculty gets used to consistently being led back again and again to its object, other aspects of the mental faculty occur on their own (e.g., single-pointedness, cessation). It is like Cesar Milan constantly "tssting" a doggie, or America's Supernanny constantly placing an unruly child in time-out. Just like children and dogs need exercise and food in order to facilitate training (and their capacity to handle increasing freedoms), it is very important to take care of and be loving to the well-being of your own body now, too.

Such meditation over a period of time will dramatically change equanimity in daily life. Commit to it, especially if the mental faculty is getting very down. Further, from equanimity, you can decide if you think friendliness (or lighter: an un-intrusive receptivity in listening without judging or solving) in any engagement is apt.

Cheers,
Katy

edited to include Funky Town link

[edit: when the analytical mind does not need to be engaged (e.g., during meals alone), then the actualism (open sensate awareness, mindfulness-sans-a-separate "mind") practice can be taken up, too.

Also, when mood lifts again (meaning: when aversion, dispassion, disadvantages misery knowledges dissipate for a bit), don't hesitate to go out and enjoy friends, movie, etc. But try to get back to the practice at wake-up hours. If you blow off the practice, just get back to it as soon as the dukkha nanas re-start]

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/3/12 6:02 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Okay. I'm learning a lot about myself now. My observations have started since starting 5-htp. I say post 5-htp, cause everything is a bit hazy before that. 5-htp provides stability which is a ground for analysis. A lot of this has to do with this kechari high and I will attempt to eludicate some of it. I've had previous depressive periods and still do. In fact its like my saftey net when I'm not involved or active with an activity and it includes less that perfect desicion making. I will be out of it for a period of time after exersizing, when passionate about what I'm talking about, and when completely relaxed for whatever reason. The depressive periods ask me to seek some sort of "good object", like food or something and make me avoid uncomfortable situations or potentially uncomfortable situations even if there is lots of good potential. Then when under this pleasant kechari high, I make desicions that (relative to already aquired knowledge) are apt and positive and happy and uplifting. The desires for good naturally disapitate. This understanding is mostly relevant to me participating in daily life. I much more prefer the intelligent and outgoing me on a kechari high. I also feel like I and have the capacity to succeed over the long term (optimism, confidence, will, etc).

By no means is it horribly unpleasant to not be in kechari high and be in a "depressive" period. Both are standable, but my previous post is from a depressive state (I had been out of kechari for most of the day for the past 6 days along with other physcial exersice/diet upheavals) . Now I'm on my old routine AND with kechari and a promenint thought this morning was "ah, I'm back where I was at before", meaning the cutting edge of my life/practice. I don't mind the depressive, but obviously the other is better.

other notes about the kechari high:
it wears off in minutes of coming out of it.
I can do it pretty much any time without anyone knowing
it does cause some slight tensions in some parts of the head but generally not a problem.


Katy, I haven't got a chance to read your post yet. Will do soon!

Oliver

Edit to say that the depressive periods are periodical. They don't happen all that time and are probly linked cause and effect as noted in the following post.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/3/12 6:32 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Still learning a lot about myself and how I act after different changes. I've decided to question how my experience is like a pce more often. I am far too driven by normal desires without questioning then. I rather loath self-doubt, and I see no reason not to avoid it emoticon. I'm a miserable buddhist practitioner. I'm quite content following some desires and inuring when not happy. I also am in a somewhat low position spiritually... I think that it isn't so much the losing semen in tantra which is harmful, but the euphoric high (specifically the creation of too much prolactin).. I'd gotten that high several times 1-2 weeks ago (half-way thru combatives week) and I think that was directly related to the depression. I've seen it so many times I have no reason to doubt anymore. So now off of that, my spiritual directions and faculties (concentration, sensuousness, etc) my become stronger in the future since I'm back on my no climax routine. My lady friend makes the recovery process so much easier and quicker.


Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/4/12 11:27 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
woke up this morn automatically and authentically interested in HAIETMOBA, completely unforced as I wove in and out of "I am here" questioning and a zoned out stupor. It was unbelievably happy, probly due to its authenticitiy.

I love the unforced quality to it. Zoning out used to have negative connotations, but it is quite pleasant in one way. No wI am interested in (zoned out states) in a more objective way.

Then there seems to be formations and layers of emotions that are so wide and expansive that they cover the whole minds eye, but are seen to arise and pass away. They seem to distort me so I don't see what is for what it is, and the only way to exist in what is as it is is authentically, objectivly and logically

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/6/12 6:21 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Very good day. I hope this continues. I've realized how bad my defilements have piled up. I need to stop thinking that I can get gratification from outside before I can find it inside. Life isn't that stressful whether I continue looking outside or not, but a super critical organic and spontaneous inquiry has been gently hammering away at me. I find it not useful to try and force anything, and besides, its too comfortable to want to make big changes... There is a slight guilt for living like this.

I have been inclining the mind towards my PCEs. its quite nice when utterly unforced (which is the only thing I'm doing now (unforced)). It also feels like I'm not going anywhere, but its' nice to think about my past PCEs. Reading off the AF website softly luls and inclines my mind in that direction. I'm struck by how much I don't need to prove myself to anyone becasue they don't have the answers either (at least not in a way that will immediately and permenantly change me in a massive way that I can think of right now). Change is all in "me".

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/7/12 7:00 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Good day. consistantly focused on how experience is like a pce. effortless happy pleasant and helps detach. my sense of humor has increased. I like making people laugh.

I read a very good book that directly addressed my situation in the first chapter. book was called Quest for the Flamin Pearl

http://www.amazon.com/Quest-Flaming-Pearl-George-Dragon/dp/093951625X

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/10/12 8:57 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Katy, I haven't got a chance to read your post yet. Will do soon!
Seriously: don't bother. I truly wish progamming code would allow for text to decay at natural rates (including with catastrophic decay moments). Your own practice is it (in my opinion) and hopefully sharing on the site helps one to see themselves (and loops of habits/views/reactions/etc):

I'm struck by how much I don't need to prove myself to anyone becasue they don't have the answers either (at least not in a way that will immediately and permenantly change me in a massive way that I can think of right now). Change is all in "me".

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/13/12 2:00 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
I truly wish progamming code would allow for text to decay at natural rates (including with catastrophic decay moments).


Haha. I wouldn't mind if someone made that for my posts too.

I'm struck by how much I don't need to prove myself to anyone becasue they don't have the answers either (at least not in a way that will immediately and permenantly change me in a massive way that I can think of right now). Change is all in "me".


This is also a garbled way of saying that everything is already perfect how it is (prior to getting a reaction). I just didn't have the words for it at the time. I don't like doing spiritual practices anymore. I just like looking at whatever I'm doing. If I lack clarity I ask "What am I doing?" and that orients me to being detached from what "I" am doing and notice the spacious awareness.

My life has been an unbelieveable mess for a while with odd highs and lows and all sorts of odd moods, yet I'm stable, equaniminous, functioning at a high level, etc.

I'm trying to set a new lifestyle change to meet a new occupational goal outside the military. It requires a new "me", but I will do it.

Thanks again for following my practice journal.

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/13/12 4:55 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
I'm trying to set a new lifestyle change to meet a new occupational goal outside the military. It requires a new "me", but I will do it.

Thanks again for following my practice journal.


good luck!

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/13/12 6:17 AM as a reply to Jon T.
Thanks Jon!

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/15/12 3:19 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
I feel so good and amazing all the time, and am able to keep a happy unforced borne-of-curiousity daily mindfulness. My mantra is "what am I doing?" with a little splash of HAIETMOBA and the phrase "pre-symbolic awareness" echoing around the corners. but I'm still very low-down and out of it in mood levels and I'm not super creative or forward-looking in my relationships- also very psychopath. Being psychopath doesn't seem to upset the joy pleasantness and acceptance. I'm damned sure now that "spiritual" stuff is not about acceptance. Acceptance is a side effect of natural curiousity. Curiosity also seemed to be one of the driving factors of actualism (hinted at in AF Made Easy book and on the AF website. People get that confused. I will never ask anyone to accept anything. Just look into whatever is whatever. Accepting things is too close to just shutting down the system or suppression.

Change, change, change.... Its nice haveing a sucky life and not being hugely worried. Just normal worried. I still feel good most the time. I'm not forcing anything.

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/15/12 1:50 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Accepting things is too close to just shutting down the system or suppression.



it's a bad idea to unquestioningly accept other people's behavior?

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/15/12 3:37 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
I appreciate that you're working on all of this from the vantage of military employ, which has a pretty strict no-quit policy. Thanks for your thread.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/16/12 4:56 AM as a reply to Jon T.
it's a bad idea to unquestioningly accept other people's behavior?




in a way. Its better to stay curious about peoples actions or ones own reaction to it or something like that. I don't think TRUE acceptance can be forced. Remembered maybe, but not really forced.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/16/12 5:56 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
in a way. Its better to stay curious about peoples actions or ones own reaction to it or something like that. I don't think TRUE acceptance can be forced. Remembered maybe, but not really forced.


Interesting take. here is a pertienent excerpt from my jounal.

funny thing happened. my crazy old landlady came out to the front porch to share a latte with me. she asked my advice about trusting people. apparently someone she knows thinks that she isn't trustworthy enough. i gave my take (be honest and open. don't have fear or carry animosity. lay out expectations and pertinent consequences should said expectations not be met). she responded that that sounded like something for a parent or a boss and not a regular person. i didn't respond. just listened. then she went into a long story i've heard from her a dozen times already. i just listened and paid attention to the atmosphere. she then went into a rant about teenagers. i listenend and paid attention to the birds and the trees. at this point, she got up and moved to the door. i could see her fully in front of me and saw each line on her face. i had to hold in my laughter. (Through out all this, i had to continually remind myself to not be "me" and just let this situation unfold.) 15 minutes after she went in and after i had follow and went into my room, she knocks on my door and says "oh yea, i wanted to see if i could borrow $50." i immediately told her 'no' but apparently she was in between a compound sentence because her next words were that she didn't need to ask me anymore. at least she was mirthful enough to find it amusing that i refused. point of story. the old lady's crazy and it's much easier for me to laugh it off.



I think if i wanted to analyze her or was curious about why she is the way she is, i'd find no answers. I don't think there are any or, perhaps, there are too many. fact is, she's a 50 year old human being...5 decades of trauma. by forcing myself to accept her (which i finally did 2 weeks ago), i can see the difference it makes in our relationship. it's not closer but there is much less resentment (some resentment remains in the early mornings when i'm still groggy and she's at her most hysterical) and i can see how emotionally cool it is just to competely accept a situation and my objective intelligence naturally compares that to the old way of trying to figure out a situation and trying to strategically assert myself in some positively impactful way which was emotionally turbulent, stressful. it may be counter-intuitive and oddly require some effort to not try and figure out a situation but, as it turns out, overall it's much easier.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/17/12 8:34 PM as a reply to Jon T.
Hey Oliver,

Most of the time I feel really good as well. The sad/angry moods I think are just part of the human condition and will continue to arise until one is wiped clean of what makes one sad and angry and one can continuously manifest delight and naiveté. There are many moments when a lagging sadness is pulling me down but there is also a constant progression toward higher and continuous levels of satisfaction. I think this is what actualism is all about: a continuous progression but also such, at times, intense experiences of this moment of being alive, moments that reveal what cleaning work needs to be done. I just wanted to say that I too have a much higher level of consistent happiness but also lows, which are not even as close to as bad as months ago but still do occur regularly.

Yay to consistent delight! and spring is definitely helpful lol.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/22/12 7:26 AM as a reply to Adam Bieber.
Hello,


Jon, that sounds good. It feels "right", right? For me when I separate feeling (like if it feels "right") from concepts they both come off as a little useless without each other. Which helps me drop them which is good.


Life is getting better. I did a fe wthings I regret last night cause I couldnt figure out what to do and everythign seemed bad. I also found a few personal observations:

Dont like others being desirous/irritated. Thus act as if "me" is all good (it is desirable to be so others will like me more),
Don't like acting or responding and by doing so giving the other person a new emotion. I don't like usually from fear of abandonment (they get new thoughts instead of their concern or thoughts of me).


I've also been really inwardly hateful (unforced and spontanously) and let it arise and pass and then I was unbelivably bored with everyone for a day and a half (let it arise and pass) and then I had those insights. They are silly little things but I've been doing them forever.


Caio,

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/23/12 8:59 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
I've been doing really well. Had one or two little moments of spacious breakthru. It defnitily without a doubt it preferable to be sensuous if only because it is prestine clear, and takes the mind away from desire or menal rumination. It helps make connections that prevent the mind from useless activity or something like that. Apparently I had tried to keep people concerned about me in a bunch of ways, but its all passing. Much more valuable and confident to be indipendant.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/literally-psyched/2012/03/08/our-storytelling-minds-do-we-ever-really-know-whats-going-on-inside/

^apparently we compulsively tell ourselves stories. The actual movement of "buddha-dharma" may happen on a deeper level than that compulsive and conditional story telling... as in chemical changes or something emoticon

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/25/12 10:36 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Hi,

I've also been really inwardly hateful (unforced and spontanously) and let it arise and pass and then I was unbelivably bored with everyone for a day and a half (let it arise and pass) and then I had those insights. They are silly little things but I've been doing them forever.


You mention you've "been doing them forever" - do you mean you've been doing the letting feelings arise and pass forever? Do you mean you've been doing the feelings forever? Or do you mean you've been doing the insights forever?

I found your statement neither little nor silly, because - from buddhist perspective -- the mind realizing the arising and passing away of feelings (such as inward hatefulness) gets to the heart of "I am", the conceit which does not persist as a belief that "I am (these feelings/perceptions/skandas)', but persists as a tendency/habit/clinging "I am" in relation to these feelings/thoughts (and the other skandas)". The Kosambi story (22:89; III 126–32, Bodhi, Bhikkhu (2005-08-10). In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (p. 406). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.) discuses this point

I am not suggesting that either of us on our respective paths has approached any "high attainment" (the Kosambi story is called "The Arahant"); my point is to say that non-clinging to feelings (the non-clinging you cultivated towards inward hatefulness in letting those feelings arise and pass away) is a fundamental practice from beginning of journey to the end ("one beyond training"). Non-clinging is an excellent tool to discover and test. (I address myself here too and throughout the post, of course).

I am using buddhist terminology and model here, in part because you mentioned "buddha-dharma" the day after your post excerpted here and in part because actualism, as I learned it here on the DhO, often via Tarin, builds equanimity and, for me, seems to have caused mental shifts commonly recognized in Buddhism.

So, if you are able to allow for the arising and passing away of feelings, thoughts, perception, volitional formations (and consciousness), then merely cognitive familiarity/curiosity in "no inherent self" (fabricated continuity as your science article expressed) is now getting grounded in actual mental events (such as the equanimity of steadying the temper, letting strongly adverse emotions arise and pass away without action, without belief in them), which, given practice and health, go in one direction, not reversing.

I've been doing really well. Had one or two little moments of spacious breakthru. It defnitily without a doubt it preferable to be sensuous if only because it is prestine clear, and takes the mind away from desire or menal rumination. It helps make connections that prevent the mind from useless activity or something like that. Apparently I had tried to keep people concerned about me in a bunch of ways, but its all passing. Much more valuable and confident to be indipendant.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/literally-psyched/2012/03/08/our-storytelling-minds-do-we-ever-really-know-whats-going-on-inside/

^apparently we compulsively tell ourselves stories. The actual movement of "buddha-dharma" may happen on a deeper level than that compulsive and conditional story telling... as in chemical changes or something emoticon


I am not trying to sell you on buddha-darma (I do not refute theism), I can only say now that my nearly exclusive source of information about what is occurring with the mind and aggregates is indeed buddhist. I do like to read also a little of the neuroscience of free will - knowing that what I am tempering may simply be like spring grass that comes up simply because there is soil, longer days, seeds, and moisture. If this is what everyone is doing - responding possessively to thoughts and feelings perceived 0.5 seconds after the mind generated them, what is the fuss? What makes harm?

What do you think?

[grammar edits, edit to insert translation: "beyond training"]

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/27/12 7:26 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
D. Justine J:
Felipe Cavazos:
I believe another AF claimant here in the DhO wrote about being on a sabbatical period (months, I think) in the moment of achieving that.

Justine, why do you think it's the main reason for this? Is it that work and ordinary life interrupt the momentum of contact with actuality?

How did it work for you? Was it a matter of fluctuating years or a concentrated period when you kept so close to actuality that suddenly made you got it?

Or let's speculate... Do you think is more probable to get AF in a single sabbatical year than in 5 years applying the method but being in a job? Specifically, why?


*********************************************************************************************

Hi Rich,

Yours is the fire that helps for the final breakthrough for one to
become actually free. You will do it. I wrote for them who are struggling hard, in AF. They are genuine aspirants, but their situations bind them. There is a limit to aim UNCONDITIONAL happiness and harmlessness. Can a soldier sent to Afghanistan aim that? He has limitation - why limitation - almost impossibility. There are various levels of limitations in the society. Some may be lucky, many may be unlucky about that. We should be pliable and use our common sense. We are not for freedom. Freedom is for us. It can be achieved by many means. For instance, the same soldier does not care for UNCONDITIONAL happiness and harmlessness, perhaps that itself becomes freedom for him to act. Otherwise he becomes bound and tied up. I myself worked for the Government for 14 long years in a very lucrative position. My major breakthroughs, including full blown awakening of Kundalini energy happened in those years. The stress around me enhanced my progress.But it was hellish. I wanted to run away from that place in spite of huge salaries I was making. I had a wife and a sibling to support. It was very late my wife joined service and supported me. At that time I was crushed between my anguish for freedom and the pressure of duty everyday. Nor I could put out the flame of aspiration. Any effort to do that only inflamed it million times. Perhaps you have yet suffered what kind of agony it will be. It was a maddening situation. Out of compassion for those who are trapped in this situation, I wrote those words. I don't say none 'gainfully employed' can become actually free. Perhaps 2 in 10 can do it, though AF is potentially able to work 100%. For instance, my own daughter, 32, who is in the NORMAL RUT of life, DID THAT, she became actually free, which is authenticated by Richard himself in his Mail D of Jan.2012. You have mistaken my stance Rich. I speak the general situation of the society. Already I found some have become frustrated with Richard that he has not delivered the goods, and feel he has conned them. They try to label AF as a cult. I have to voice myself that Richard is a genuine person, and AF is not a cult. I did a sort of peace-maker job. Thanks for your apologies. You have the FIRE. You are sure to do it. But let us also be considerate and compassionate to our colleagues.

Regards,

Justine


Hello. Thank you for this. I myself work for the armed forces and am on deployment now under stressful situations. Your initial comment (about not being able to do it with a monthy wage job) did not deter me from the AF path in the slightest (which I am still practicing to the best of my ability dispite what my ecelectic and emotionally confused practice thread says on many occasions), and this new post you made offered me many ways to feel that I relate you.

I agree with how you describe the fire only growing a million times by any attempt to extinguish it or under stressful circumstances (or else I would not maintain a practice blog aimed at actualism on a constant basis). Even under circumstances of sheer confusion and being completely lost I find the only solace in things like sensuousness and dismantling the social identity (without even consciously focusing on AF methods, those methods just happens to be my only peace).

Like you, I have had many major breadkthrus under the stressful situations out here, mostly in my confidence to preform heavy and complex tasks in rooms of aggressive and emotional people while still maintaining a perfect integrity, centered-ness, equanimity, and other "spiritual" qualities (a silly term to me sometimes, I just naturally cultivate certain parts of myself for my happiness and for self-maintainance).

Another benefit is the ability to work with, listen and understand vastly different perspects and still work closely together (Not only Military perspectives, but I am also heavily involved with the Wiccan Circle out here and soon to be a full-time leader of it. I am expected to be empathetic to their points of views and provide emotional support). By and large it is not difficult to work with people or keep close relationshiip. Communicating ones own personal integrity and one's boundaries (and being unashamed of them and able to sensibly back them up) banishes many other peoples aggression, ill-will and underhanded ways (at least in my presence) and thus it is nowhere near as difficult as it may seem, as long as one is secure in their integrity.

A third benifit is just how my own personal skills are developing and I am meeting a much higher potential than I could have outside the military.

Yet i don't find it a maddening situation to be under such circumstances. I may not be able to advance my felicitous feelings as high as I would outside of these circumstances nor devote every waking moment to the practice, but it is certainly enough for me to be fairly happy and make slight progress. I am comforted by the fact that people still accomplish AF at a far older age than me (I am 21), so I am in no rush. I can simply enjoy what I can as it comes. Like I said, the fire is so strong, and the methods are so applicable that I really have little choice but to practice!



For instance, the same soldier does not care for UNCONDITIONAL happiness and harmlessness, perhaps that itself becomes freedom for him to act. Otherwise he becomes bound and tied up.


This is a fascinating quote. It certainly is more easy and calming for me to be driven by conditional happiness at times, and I opt to do just that because it seems like the organic human thing to do for where I am at. I don't fight it. I can't take some unrealistic goal like Unconditional Happiness, or pure selflessness and focus on that. I can focus on simply enjoying the senses. Is this something like what you meant by the quote?

Thank you for your time. Your compassion shows.

Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/28/12 8:51 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Hi Oliver,


Regarding conditional vs unconditional happiness;

It struck me last week; there is a 2 step process which I completely missed trying to understand actualist practice last year. That process being 1) affective happy and harmless is mastered first 2) actual happy and harmless grows out of that, the second cannot come before the first. (or if it does it is experienced as a fleeting moment of pce, or a&p like event). Not ever despising 'affective' things. The obvious reason being 'who' is despising 'who'? hehe

it also reminds me of the situation in many meditators paths of simply getting to a stage of some stability and mental health before taking on anything else, getting some sort of calm and centredness first in what ever normal everyday way is available (exercise, hobbies, making friends, getting more sleep, eating better, calm-abiding sits etc, getting another job), there is a lot to be said for doing all the normal things that are universally effective at increasing well being, knowing full well that whatever is helping, is , um, helping!.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
3/30/12 10:14 AM as a reply to Andrew ..
Good tips.

I'm doing a whole ton better the past week. Back to accurately seeing, resolving social identity, whatever. Solidly back on track now. I don't see why I can't make good AF progress here (that being a concept that isn't actual).

Desire itself is being seen as a direct block to my happiness, like the noble truth. Its obvious. Desire is lack of having something, I'd rather be sensuous but with all I need.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
4/4/12 6:38 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Just dropping some links for retreats I plan to attend. I'll need to remember later

http://www.dharma.org/ims/retreat_detail.php?id=264
http://cloudmountain.org/index.php?page=0812brasington

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
4/20/12 9:03 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Its hard to keep up dharma momentum out here, but I'm doing really well. I feel like a different person than the person who wrote all of the last posts in this thread. It feels like they weren't "me". I will keep them up in case they help.

Cardio (physical exercise) seems to be the difference between gaining momentum with practice or not. I plan on doing it every day now. I started taking the L-dopa again in very small doses. It really helps a lot. Gets me out and moving and it keeps me present in tricky, touch and go situations.

I was reminded pleasantly of HAIETMOBA from my lady friend who liked the concept of it. It is very nice to be reminded.

Blessings,
Oliver

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
4/20/12 2:49 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Oliver Myth:
Its hard to keep up dharma momentum out here


how so?

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
4/21/12 8:07 AM as a reply to Steph S.
High stress, very little personal time... I am very lucky that I work with some decent people and my supervisor is fantastic. Being sensuous often is a futile effort, but there is still joy in 'doing' things and doing the right things. Sometimes its a bit tricky cause the self wants to get lazy or wallow in misery.

Like I said, I'm glad I'm young. I don't mind right now if I can't get serious momentum. ..Well, I do mind, but it's not that bad because I'm fulfilling my potential other ways.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
4/21/12 8:23 AM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
There is an active process of cleaning my life. I am able to be vulnerable frequently, I am getting rid of useless things and adding positive. My relationships are more pure than ever before. There is a confidence in living this way.

It's like hardcore sila training emoticon. I've hit some sort of threshold before I deployed with the military so that I can remain stable and grounded in the dharma and feel a deeper part of me effortlessly, and that deeper part is spreading the more active parts of my life at a rate it never could have otherwise. I'm entirely convinced of the AF priciples (sensuous is cutting selfing at the root, nievite is wholesome and empowering, mindfulness prevents selfing to build up). I actively see how desire is suffering and lack of desire is preferable to gratification of desire because it brings peacefulness.

RE: Actualism practice and questions
Answer
4/23/12 1:27 PM as a reply to Oliver Myth.
Hi, Oliver,

I actively see how desire is suffering and lack of desire is preferable to gratification of desire because it brings peacefulness.


I've thought of something similar:

If I've seen for myself that life in this world can be perfect when 'I' am not present, then perfection is here (or somewhere close) by default. If perfection is here, and nevertheless I feel strong desires, this implies that 'I' am trying to fabricate perfection (artificially) through imperfect means ("I" am rotten to the core).

This is good ol' intuition -and not sincerity- entering the game.

Seeing the silliness of this, the only wise thing to do for this 'I' is to facilitate the sight of such perfection (pure intent) and not sophisticating it through flawed architectural opinions of happiness nor contaminating it with dirty hands.