Daniel Ingram summarizes the basic instructions of Actualism

Ok, my very best attempt to present something non-actualism-branded and helpful. Realize this is Actual-Freedom-Trust-related stuff translated through Tarin, Trent, Stef and Jill and then modified to suit my own inclinations and leanings and filtered through my own way of seeing the world and background, just so there is full disclosure of the path this all came through.


1) Really pay attention all day long to just what its going on, particularly in the wide visual field and in the body. This sounds like the typical mindfulness advice and is, but that sort of attention forms the basis of so much that is good that it is very worth repeating.


2) Notice the beauty and niceness in ordinary and beautiful things, sounds, tastes, textures, feelings, the body, visuals, smells and the like. Really take time to smell the proverbial roses of the ordinary sensate world you find yourself in. Appreciate the feel of air on your skin, of the fingers hitting the keys, of characters showing up on computer screens, of your car going down the road, of the legs moving in space and balance shifting as you walk, of the taste of the food you eat, of the sound of your footfalls echoing off of the walls, of the quality of the light in the room, etc. It is very cliche advice again, but really do it all day long for a year or two and see what it is does to you: taken to that dose and degree of dedication, you would be surprised at what can occur.


3) Pay attention to feelings, meaning what you actually are feeling, whenever you notice you are feeling something. It is easy, given the AFT rhetoric, to do this in a somewhat aversive way: avoid that mentality like the plague. Instead, take a real honest approach to noticing feelings in the body, right here, and notice how they arise (causality), what thoughts go along with them, and what the stories in those thoughts are. Try to gently, honestly, humanly and kindly tease apart the stories and assumptions of those feelings, and notice when they change and what they change into as time progresses. If you go into this with the mentality that these practices will be designed to totally eliminate your emotions, it is nearly impossible to really be honest about them. Tarin, Trent, Stef and Jill all finally and in their own ways warned against this, so avoid denial and avoid scripting yourself into some zombie-state: it is a trap. Instead, just be honestly human, ordinary, and feel what you feel: not in some exaggerated way, and not in some reactive way, just straightforwardly and clearly. This doesn't need to translate to any particular action or non-action, and regarding morality, that is yours to decide and experiment with and live with the consequences of, but internally you can at least get used to really being clear about the feelings that drive it all and get more naturally fluent in that through practice and repeated attention.


4) Try to remember anything that might meet the description of a PCE and try to incline to that way of perceiving things: a flash onto a truly remarkably wondrous way of feeling, seeing, hearing, etc. in which the beauty of the world suddenly comes shining through in a very direct way. The cliche's are that you might have noticed this mind state when watching a sunset or light on water or a beautiful rainbow, or some great music performance, or whatever: remember that, as you almost certainly have had some moment like that at some time in your life. Once you have found something like that, remember it and see how that way of seeing things applies to your ordinary consciousness when it returns, and try to incline back that way. You may find your own set of triggers to get into that mindset that are unique to you: work with those. Honestly assess for yourself the value of those experiences and try to see what they might be telling you about what is possible. I realize that the term "PCE" is politically loaded, but it is not unique to the ATF kids, and I am sorry that has some branding element to it, but using it will allow you to interact with the rest of what you find written about it, so it may have value in that regard. Don't worry if your PCE is the same as anyone else's PCE, just appreciate them if and when they do arise. If you can't get PCEs to arise or this makes no sense to you: totally don't worry about it, and just proceed with the others.


5) Settle into this moment. Gently relax into it when laying down, when just sitting. Learn the basic, simple art of just being able to be at ease. It is more profound and not necessarily as easy as it sounds. Notice how there are tensions in the joints and muscles that seem to be bracing against life itself even when there is no threat: gently feel into those tensions, allowing gentle mindful attention and gentle reassurance to slowly relax them such that you learn to sit at ease, just here, appreciating this moment in a very ordinary, quiet, easy, simple, straightforward way. It is probably one of the most useful skills you could learn and practice. If you do formal sitting practice, try eyes open and eyes closed and get good at both. For this stuff, I generally prefer eyes open, but for doing this when reclining before sleep or before getting up in the morning, I like eyes closed. See what works for you.


6) Commit totally to this sense field, this rich and vibrant and colorful volume of human experience, as a volume with thoughts and body and memory and all of that as qualities of this integrated space, and really be with that all day long whenever you can remember to. Be obsessive about this but in a light-hearted, adventurous way rather than a drudgery sort of way. Drudgery won't help at all. Inspiration and anything you can do to be inspired helps. I listened to my favorite music on fantastic headphones, ate my favorite foods and relished them, really payed attention when watching my favorite movies (particularly to how they made me feel and how cool the visuals were), really enjoyed the feel of driving down the road with my hand on the wheel, my foot on the gas, and the wind in my rapidly vanishing hair, really listened to myself when I played guitar, really listened to people and looked at them when they talked, really listened to the sound of my own voice when I spoke, really felt what it felt to just be a feeling Daniel in this body. Recommit again and again and again and again and again. Make it a way of life. It is your life, so you might as well be here for it. In the face of terrible pain, such as kidney stones, all bets were off for me, and I did whatever I had to to get through it, but for ordinary life that doesn't totally suck, really be with it.


7) I mean these next points in the most lighthearted and jovial of ways:

Screw anything to do with all of the complexities of AFT politics and bullshit. Enjoy this moment instead.

Screw anything to do with the various AFT-related cults of personality. Enjoy being where you are and who you are instead and value the truth of this moment for its own sake.

Screw the fanaticism of the die-hard Actualism-is-the-only-true-way converts. Enjoy the empowerment, experiences and insights that come from just experimenting with being present and tuning in to this wondrous world instead.

Screw what any of these practices have to do (or not do) with anything else, including "Buddhism" and "Actualism", and finally

Screw anyone who says these basic practices are a bad idea, as points 1) to 6) above all make perfect sense and are based on sound meditative principles, and it is your journey, your life and your attention to it that finally will make the difference.





All of that except #7 simply rings totally cheese-puff and fluffy to me as I re-read it, and yet that is what finally really did something good, though it took a few years of doing it. I also have no idea how this will effect someone not coming from my practice background, which is unusual, so you will have to do the experiment yourself and let us all know, if you wish, as data on this is woefully lacking, and it would be good to know what everyone learns and discovers as they do these sorts of things.


I hope that is of some value to you.

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