Elgin's Journal

I’ll start a little journal as of today, where I will report about interesting (or not so interesting) things that happend. I hope you enjoy it.

I had an interesting riddle to solve today.
For the last 6-7 weeks I was feeling good to great. And just yesterday before sleep I was feeling really great. The bed was cozy, the temperature optimal, I was just happy being alive. But when I awoke this morning I was feeling bad! Just plain bad.
The thing is that I never feel bad in the morning. It’s at least a 6,5 or 7 out of 10.
But today it was like 5 or maybe even 4. I was wondering wtf was going on!? I looked at my girlfriend. She was sleeping, nothing to report.

I haven’t even started to think! Think of work, the future or anything. It was just bad directly from the get go. So I was starting my daily routine while staying affectively aware. And I figured I had a bad sleep, somehow. Dreams maybe? And yes, pictures of some murky places were in my mind. Then I remembered I was watching Stranger Things (mild horror series) yesterday with my girlfriend. We had fun, everything was cool, but yeah I obviously had some nightmares I can’t quite remember. That happend once or twice before and it’s one of the reasons I don’t watch horror movies anymore. So I figured everything is okay now. A nightmare, lol, how silly. Let’s get back to feeling good!

But I couldn’t. It was feeling a bit better, but still bad and somehow confused. I couldn’t point to what was wrong. Just confusion? Sure, the nightmare whirled up some emotions which are maybe felt subliminally. So I went on and while driving to work I tried to probe the situation from different angles. This feeling of confusion was still there. Now what’s the problem here? Feeling great > sleep > feeling bad. That’s simple: the nightmare. That’s just silly, I was getting annoyed by then which didn’t make the situation better. So what can even happen in that intervall? I suspended the search for a while.

Later at work I tackled the situation again.
I asked myself directly: What is wrong?
After some time some answers popped up, but nothing was satisfactory. But then after a while an interesting response popped up. My inner voice was like: "I was not conscious that’s stupid, unfair. :smile:

And then I got it: control. I lost control. I want to control my feeling states. When to feel good, when to feel bad etc. I want a plan. I want security. The sleeping state took all that control from ‘me’. Hence my confusion, my annoyance, my helplessness. It was insecurity about the future, my states etc. I lost control of ‘my’ destiny. It was only a short period, but enough to make ‘me’ stumble and loose track.

After I realized that I felt immediately relieved, I felt great again. I did nothing else. Just seeing the problem was enough. That’s the magic of actualism and inquiry. You keep looking until you find it. And then you go to happy and harmless again. This happend thousand times before, but it’s still a magical moment when the penny drops.


Thank you Elgin for starting a journal, I really enjoy your writing style and the contents of what you have
written. The issue of control, is exactly what I am dealing with and having problem with. Two days ago, I came to feel my wanting to control how I feel, and it was felt as a choking sensation in my throat, as if several thin leather straps were tightening around my neck; it lasted for several seconds, but I could easily feel the physical sensation and was able to let it go ( the funny thing is that I can bring that sensation “on” in a mild way, by just “thinking” about control :smile: ) .

This control issue ( doer ship ) is probably what is preventing me to be able to experience ( or allow to happen) the basic feeling good. Any hint by you all, to get me beyond this initial but most crucial step in actulism practice, would be most appreciated.

One thing I have gathered form reading Discuss.actualism is that they say instead of “thinking” or trying to “do” EAATMOBA, approach it more as being in a “good mood”, in whatever I do, and then notice if that mood fluctuates, which makes sense to me and might be easier to apply than EAATMOBA. Any other hints or clues regarding this topic would be appreciated also?

The other thing is that I try to do is have current time awareness ( this being the only moment of being alive), and try to check: “How am I feeling now ?” ( with naivete and sincerity in mind, and with intent to get back to good mood ) , but this seems a little too involved( effortful) . Some of what I have read, is to allow yourself to feel the, boredom, sorrow, shame, failure, etc. etc. , so “I” can accept and be able to handle these feelings; then and only then feeling good will be able to surface ?

So do I HAIEMOBA approximately every 5 to 10 seconds ? Until it becomes habitual?
I guess what I am asking is, were or on what should I put my attention / awareness on each moment again ? I know you say not to do mental “verbalization”, but without doing this, it is hard for me to
keep current time awareness, almost same thing for naivete and sincere intent !


The issue of control (or no control) was a problem I tackled a few years ago. What I remember is that there is really no such thing as control. ‘I’ or ‘me’ appear as controller, but they constantly fail. What really controls ‘me’ are the circumstances that trigger the pre-programmed instinctual passions which is again ‘me’ in motion.
If ‘I’ had control then ‘I’ could change emotions in an instant at my own will. But ‘I’ can’t do that, hence control is a mute point. That’s not the point as far as I’m concerned. You engage the problem of control indirectly from a different position.

With actualism and Richard’s discoveries one has a peculiar choice to make. To end this whole mess, to end ‘me’. The controller who can’t control. Everything starts with a pivotal decision. An firm and pure intent to experiance peace on earth in this lifetime as a human beeing. This decision, this intend is all that matters. The crazy thing is that this intend doesn’t really care if there is a controller or not. It bypasses the whole situation by reminding one constantly on what has to be done >> To remove everything that is blocking one from reaching that goal. This is something I can do. It’s a decision which is renewed constantly. It’s different from controlling a situation.

So the point is to remove the triggers (blocks) which keep you spinning so that control becomes unnecessary. The intend is that which guides. So again, the approach is an indirect approach. You realize you are feeling bad and you suss out the triggers which can be superficial triggers (easy to spot,fast) or deeper triggers (harder to spot, takes time). The more triggers you defuse, the better you can feel on a constant basis, hence less and less control.

What blocked me in my initial years was a lack of curiosity which was felt as a lack of energy. Not the normal curiosity (interest) which is merely looking at the fishes swimming in the water. I dealt superficially with my issues, because I wanted to go back to feeling good as fast as possible. But then for whatever reason (maybe frustration) a different kind of passion arose. It was a different kind of curiosity. The sincere curiosity which wanted to really know! To get to the bottom of things. That kind of curiosity that jumped into the water and got into direct contact with the bigger fish (the deeper feelings).
And sometimes on some rare occasions, when the self is susceptible and open, you can even go deeper and meet freaking wales. It can get rocky at times.

Beforehand I somewhat avoided the bigger issues that arose. I looked at them but something always “diverted” my attention which was nothing else than ‘me’ protecting myself. The energy to inquire properly arose by this new found curiosity. I took my time, sat down and asked questions. I tackled the issue from different angles. I wouldn’t let the fish go. I can be very stubborn and deliberate. What I learned was that asking the “right” questions was paramount for me. Every issue is a little riddle I have to eventually solve.

What is Eaatmoba? :smiley:

You cannot be in good mood in whatever you do, when you are not in good mood.
The first thing you do is to notice that you are in good mood, when you actually are. >> That’s your starting point.
Be aware of it: “Hey, I’m in good mood, feel carefree, I have fun with this etc. Cool.”
Hold it, be aware of it. When that mood begins to alternate and shift then you also begin to notice. Your current time awarens evolves over time. The mood changes may slip under your radar at first. But at one point you do indeed notice:" Hm, I’m feeling bad."
Then the inquiry starts: Why? How? When? What happend? Scan your memory for the moment or event that changed your mood. Stick with it. It’s like a riddle you have to solve. Ask questions, try to find the reason for that change. Only you know the reasons, nobody else can do it for you. If you can’t remember it it’s okay. Don’t be harsh with yourself. Go on living your life. The next event will surely pop up. If you can pin point the reason then explore it. Is it reason enough to spoil your happiness? Why is it so important to feel that feeling instead of feeling better? What is so special about it? Can it solve my issues? Is it helpful? Why am I holding onto that feeling? How is this feeling related to the basic instinctual passions richard talks of? >> Learn about yourself.

It is indeed too much of a hassle. How about putting all of your attention and energy into beeing as sincere as possible in regards to your inner workings at this exact moment? What is it that blocks you from experiancing happiness and harmlessnes? Find out, like really!

Without feeling the feeling by getting in touch with it intimately you have no clue what they (you) actually are. Then it’s rather a conceptual understanding which is too far removed from an intimate understanding. It’s not enough to notice some unpleasant movement down there in the guts or the solar plexus. Don’t just paste a preconceived answer/image over it.
That is you in motion! Are you not vitally interested and curious? Stay with an unpleasant feeling. Study it. Try to understand what it demands. Take your time. What does it want to achieve and why? The feelings communicate, they want something. Find out what and contrast it with a life at peace and harmony with the world as it is and people as they are. The more you get a picture of yourself the more facets are revealed. Then you notice that you are indeed corrupt to the core, but that you have also qualities that you can use/be to make change happen.

Inquiry and getting in touch with your feelings is an art you have to develop. It takes time. You’ll get the hang of it.
The initial years are the most difficult as far as I remember. Everything is such mess and confusing. But the more triggers you defuse the more happy and easy it gets.

It depends. If you are happy and harmless you tend to forget yourself anyways. When the fluctuation begins, then attention automatically activates.

The attention on this moment in time (the only moment in time) is to not let you forget that you are lost in feelings while there is an alternative available. It’s not a mantra, but a reminder. With time it becomes second nature anyway. It then runs automatically.


Wow, Elgin. You have made my day(s) to come, in applying Actualism.
I was stuck and didn’t know which direction to go.
I am so glad that you decided to write here.
There is so much to unpack in your post. I have to really read it, over and over again, carefully and with proper intent to be able to grasp the depth of your writing and begin to implement some of it slowly.

You have said so much, that is way beyond what I thought, would come back from you, in the form
of this feedback. This sort of writing, explaining is so valuable to the beginners like “me”.

Btw, I was not feeling good this morning, and I came in contact with deep feelings of shame ( partly from being cunning and secretive[ to myself ] ) and was able to tolerate it, and allowed it to be there ( it is still here, as a physical sensation), I will look over your post to start tip toeing around it and figure things out slowly.

I am both excited and afraid to apply the method, as you have suggested, but as you have said, it is the sincere intent that is going to matter in whether I do it or not ( I can be sincere, but it is hard to do :slightly_smiling_face: )


Can you give an example of one of these ‘right’ questions?

Edit: I see you gave some examples later in your post, thank you. I found this post very useful


No, not really. In my experiance the questions have to be dynamic and individual in nature. There is no right questions until it actually moves something >> then it’s the right one. When something moves then I stick to it and explore that area.

In my case preconceived questions or same-same questions in inquiry don’t work over time. Later on the self gets somewhat “prepared” for it and can then hide for ages. Since still a self it generates feelings, but without the ripples (hard to spot intuitively). I then tend to shake it up little. What doesn’t work however is to engage it from a moral position (social identity), because this may just shoo it away or even create new barriers.

An actualist will surely understand that I write in dissociative terms :smiley:


so i guess , those questioning yesterday for the anger did not moved anything …because this morning the feeling was still there ( in less power maybe) …so i would need to ask my own questions about this resentment and anger , specially now that nobody did anything to harm me, and i just made this drama …

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Hi leila, your investigations on anger in your journal seemed to me like they were done whilst in the throes of the feeling. In my experience, such investigations are targeted at getting rid of the feeling rather than trying to understand it. One thing we always say here is to get back to feeling good, or at least let the feeling subside by not expressing or repressing it. The only thing you can do then is to feel it fully.

I’ve been trying to figure out for a while what not expressing or repressing means. I took a page out of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which focuses on being open to uncomfortable feelings and letting them do their thing whilst going on about your day. The analogy they used is, imagine the undesired feeling is a cactus and that you’re holding it in your hand. If you grip it too tightly (try to figure it out fervently), you will hurt yourself. Instead, just hold it there. And then investigate once it stops being a cactus.

That all being said, I have started to realize that there are many micro movements we do against uncomfortable feelings to try and get rid of them. For me, social anxiety is a big one. So when I feel it, I will try to fit in in subtle ways or placate those around me, trying to feel and control their vibes against me. I think investigation is key here (over a period of time) as seeing these things lets me not express the feeling in this way and just relax a little. Then the third alternative of feeling good may hover into view. Investigation for me is dynamic. It’s not a formula. Sometimes it’s in the moment, sometimes it’s backwards looking. What has served me well is to always be sincere in what I’m doing. And what I’m doing is trying to become free.

Sorry if I went on a long tangent there, this was for you but also for my own reference. :grin:


:sweat_smile: I saw it but didn’t answer because I really didn’t have anything interesting to say about it. I figured I would write an update later when there is more :smiley: .


sorry to " hijack your journal " Elgin :smiley:… i just learned this sentence from frankotto .

You can hijack my journal all you want :smile:

The self is so special precisely because it doesnt need any good reasons for feeling resentful or angry. It just creates them out of thin air. If outside triggers dont arise, then I trigger myself. I needs to stay in movement, otherwise it dies in the stillness of the actual world. Since sarrow is my basic feeling - my ground of beeing - I must inevitably create conflict. Making drama is my way of “staying alive”. With no drama I would simply end. That would be a tragedy, wouldn’t it! :smile:

I have nothing further to add regarding investigation only that you’ll learn it naturally by observing yourself and reading about it. Investigation is however not a must to enjoy beeing alive. Investigation is merely the by-product of feeling good. It shifts into view when feeling good is boycotted by me. Also one doesnt need to investigate every little freckel when it arises if one is able to somehow remain the baseline of feeling good or okay. Then one naturally starts to look into the other direction anyways (the actual world).

And interesting aspect of feelings/emotions I experianced may however help you with investigations:

When a feeling is intens/prominent then investigation can become very, very difficult (but also very fruitful!). Its usually better to wait for a shift, a decrease or do something about it externally (walking, sports, hobbies, friends, etc). The insidious thing about feelings is that they color perception in a way we are usually not aware of. A feeling doesnt just appear as merly happening “in the moment” or for a short duration, but rather the whole “timeline of an entity” as in “past/present/future” gets affected and warped by it. So especially an intense feeling goes way beyond its “expected area” (minutes, hours, few days) in its appearance. It feels like eternity when happening.

It appears to stretch from birth to projected death, the whole timeline from birth to death gets tainted by it. Thats because a feeling doesn’t appear merely as an event, but rather a state. It becomes only a “thing” when it vanishes again and we later reflect upon it. In practice it can look like this: While a strong emotion arises (intense anger or sarrow) and you “look back at your life at large” you will notice that your whole life is a mess, always has been. When you “look into the future” you will see that its hopeless. You will never escape that sarrow, it will always be there. You may intelectually know that this isnt true, but the feeling of it beeing true perists. It’s obviously bogus, but it doesnt feel like it. Thats one of the reasons why investigating feelings while in full charge is so difficult. You have very little room to move and investigate properly. To find a firm position in such a case is… uff, an art. One has to know what one is doing. I don’t think that such an approach is necessary to become actually free. Dismanteling beliefs and understanding feelings can easily happen while feeling good and one has a certain distance to it. I did the most of it while outside of high charged feelings. But in some pernicious cases I had to stay with it, feel it and go deep diving.

The good thing about feelings however is that they are dynamic and always changing. In a normal human beeing they usually dont last for too long (minutes/hours/ a few days). When they change to good again, and after the first relief, one can see why they are so insidious. Now everthing seems possible again, one is laughing about the last issue, it was really nothing in disguise, a chimera. And the great and wonderous thing about that is that feeling good, feeling felicious, feeling peaceful is much, much nearer to actuallity then feeling bad, sad etc. Especially after a PCE this is so blatantly obvious and clear. Now imagine a universe where the obverse was true! Aint life grand! :laughing:


My long peace and harmony phase got recently interrupted. Reality comes creeping up again…

My best friend told me (casually) that he had a little affair going on. He met a young girl in his store and started flirting with her. A few days later they started to meet each other and well, you know how the story goes. He was really happy about it - I could literally feel his love-vibes spreading around like crazy. This guy is totally absorbed by this new girl in his life. At first I was quite suprised about it (he is totally not the flirting-guy), but I also felt good and happy for him. He was getting a little bit world-weary these days. Corona hit his business pretty hard. After all, it’s his life and he should know what he is doing. He asked me to be discret about it and I assured him that he has nothing to fear from his best friend.

Later on however I was starting to feel bad about it. I was thinking about his wife who is also a good friend of ours. How should I act around her when I see her? Should I tell my girlfriend about it? By then I was rumminating about it constantly and I started to feel worse. Then I tried to snap out of it and inquired why I felt so bad about it. “He was cheating, not me… Whats going on here? It’s not my problem. People should do with their freedom whatever they like etc.”

Slowly I realized that I have made a huge mistake: I gave my best friend a reckless promise! I have traded my intergrity for “bro-culture”. I didn’t realize that therby I casually lost all of my power and ability to act sensibly and intelligently in all situations to come. Whatever situation would arise I had bound myself to a creed, a promise, an oath. I gave people the permission to kick me around. I decided that this was not going to happen.

Later that day I called him on the phone and explained my change in attitude. I could’t give him this promise, because I wouldn’t know how I will react in the future. I told him that whatever I do in the future will be the most sensible choice I can make. He was pretty angry and dissapointed about it at first, but could somewhat understand my situation regarding my girlfriend and his wife. Then he asked me if I plan to give his wife a call. I said no, not at the moment. I also don’t plan to tell my girlfriend about it. But I don’t know what will happen if we meet eye to eye or someone finds out about it. I said the situation will then decide. I honestly don’t know how I will act, but I want to have the freedom to decide according to the circumstances. He didn’t understand that part at all. But at least he understood that his wife and my girlfriend are pretty close, which could lead to problems in my own relationship.

We agreed to not meet up together as couples as long as the situation is not settled. I still feel uneasy about this situation but much better than before when I was completely stuck. I know that I have hurt the feelings of my best friend, but for me it ultimately doesn’t matter who the person is. I will not give away my ability to act. I’m still unsure if I did the most sensible thing given the circumstances, but I feel confident that we will work it out. After I woke up in the moring I felt bad upon remembering the dispute we had. Surely, he felt betrayed and I can relate to that. His trust concerning me may have taken a hit and I don’t like that. It feels wrong to have this trust-thing going on between us in the moment. This was never a concern in the past. I’m sure he feels bad beeing insecure about me and my actions in the future, though I told him I wouldn’t do something reckless.

But a few minutes later I was glad again that I revoked my decision. I just need this freedom to decide for myself. I felt so bad yesterday upon having that option removed from me. Puh, it’s a tough situation at the moment. I feel good enough, but not nearly as a good as before. This thing is still constantly on my mind and I can’t seem to find a adequat solution that feels authentic and good enough for both of us. I will not loose a friend, but I lost some credibility in his eyes and that hurts. I asked myself if I was maybe just to pedantic or have some kind of moral trip going on, but my reaction seems true and sensible to me. Is it my integrity that is on the line or is it something self-worth related? At the moment I’m not sure, but I know I will figure it out.

btw: I’m not advocating to never give any promises here. Everybody has to decide for themselves what they do in such situations.


Great post @Elgin it’s nice to have an insight into another actualists sorting through of these issues. I think I should write like this more instead of only being content to write my success stories, because it’s the process of exploration and discovery that’s key, thanks for sharing!


The credibility is dependent on loyalty, and loyalty is predicated on doing what is convenient for them

That all works out fine for them, except that you are your own person with your own interests as well.

Additionally to that, there are other people than just your friend in the world… loyalty is a system of prioritization, “this person is more important than this person, who is more important than this person…” How does that make sense? How is any person worth more than any other? And of course the way we decide who we are loyal to, who we prioritize, is from ‘me.’

Which is where you’re feeling bad from now, too. There aren’t any good answers from the perspective of ‘me,’ because there is always someone feeling hurt or betrayed (as in this case).

Outside of ‘me,’ there’s perfection, there’s consideration: what’s the best thing to do? And careful not to fall back to the moral…


Now that I look back , I see that there was never a good reason for anger, and if there was no trigger outside, I create the trigger myself !

as i read every part of your writings i am like : " wow Elgin ! "

I do not know why you say that you write loosely !
i have been reading them several times , and each time i am like who are these people?! as i said it to franktotto each one of you put a stair under my feet . meeting you guys is like i have personally met Richard .

If i may say something about this situation…if i am wrong you are welcome to say so…

1= i dont think you hurt his feelings …
2= you said : you will not give away your ability to act : your ability to act is acting harmlessly … by not telling either one of your girl friend and your friend’s wife about his affair ,you are acting harmlessly …
because by telling them you 're gonna harm them …

4= so the promise that you gave to your friend it was as if you are saying i am not gonna harm your wife by telling her or telling my girlfriend …because i know that they both will suffer by hearing about it …

5= so you did a sensible thing at first …
6 = and also you did a sensible thing at last by telling him that you dont want to give promise …

I absolutely agree, but this goes deeper than that.

I’m really surprised that this feeling of loyalty and betrayal etc goes deeper then I initially thought. I was thinking this through to it’s final conclusion. I could see me standing there completely alone after everybody I care for has left my life. And I knew I could still be happy living a life just by myself. I would meet other people, make new friends, or not. But my angry vibes persisted and now it gets interesting: I would still be hurt, get annoyed, get angry about when “people” would call me a unreliable person. A person who couldn’t be trusted.

It’s like I having this image of me beeing a honorable man. This goes really deep and I wonder why? I can see that the cause is related to my upriging; my father, my friends, the media I consumed. There is this sense of beeing a good man, a honorable person who would never sell out his honor. Even I were the last person on this planet I would take this honor to my grave. I would fight for it and literally kick people’s ass for doubting it. There is pure aggression behind it. I could see myself fighting to death to uphold it. I had this thought/feeling of: What else has a man in this world but his honor. It’s fatalistic nonsense. I was surprised by myself.

I can see that honor is a social concept, while integrity is completely different. It doesn’t depend on outside support. But honor is also very special in so far that I would take it to my grave by myself - alone.
Nobody would see me, but me. It feels independent, but it’s really not. It’s likely some outside force would see me to then agree that I was indeed a honorable person.
It’s nuts. I’m sorting this out at the moment.

My friend, his wife, this whole his situation has become less interesting for me. I said everything I could/wanted and it’s up to them what they do with it. I don’t feel obliged to do anything about it at the moment. Maybe we’ll have a good and long talk about it in the future. I would like to sort this out, but it’s not a vital thing for me anymore. I feel better by the day and are slowly coming back to my senses.

Much more interesting is this honor vs integrity thing. Im somewhat baffled by the intensity of it. I’m somehow glad that this thing turned up so I can have a good look at it. It never really occurred to me before that I hold such a strong belief at heart and I can also see that it may have caused problems in my past I wasn’t fully aware of.

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It’s not that easy I suppose. I already hurt his feelings an may hurt the feelings of his wife and my girlfriend. The hurt feelings cannot be the criterion for my actions, otherwise I couldn’t move and act at all. Everybody is hurt by all sorts of things. It’s not my job to create a safe heaven for people. Just to act sensible at any given moment. At this moment I think it’s sensible to give this whole thing a little bit more time. This situation may sort itself out by itself.

The more I thought about it the more I realized that there is no good solution to this mess.


I think that outside force it’s the self itself.

We are programmed to, in certain circumstances, look at ourselves as if we were someone else; to project how others would see us. Of course, for gregarious beings this ability has been extraordinarily adaptive for our reproductive success and that of our groups, sharing similar values (family, tribal, national, religious, etc.) even if/when they were frequently in conflict (we must always keep in mind that the quality of individual life, its contradictions and suffering about those values are of no interest to the reproductive mechanism if/that successfully maintains a species-).

A non-adaptive distortion of a similar mechanism is found in certain suicidal thoughts: seeing ourselves dead, anticipating how others will suffer -or admire, or love us- when (out of resentment, revenge, misunderstanding, courage, honor, etc.), we have killed ourselves.

And there is a satisfaction in those projections (those “minds and hearts” that will survive us) that the self obtains now (because, paradoxically, if/when the self is really dead it will not experience that satisfaction obtained from the imagined suffering, admiration, compasion experienced by others).

Therefore, from these two conceptual imaginings/constructions the self has to be getting something in return emotionally now (imagined compassion from others, imagined admiration from others, imagined understanding from others, etc), which indicates something to observe/investigate: a lack of compassion that we desire from others; a lack of understanding that we feel from others; an admiration that we want from others.

More generically, it reveals a current suffering in me -which may be due to different causes-, which I need to compensate/justify/ameliorate by means of the satisfaction obtained from those imaginations/constructions.


Honor is based on certain preordained codes & rules, integrity / intelligence have no such rules, it’s about what’s sensible, it’s about experience & awareness. Anything can change, what’s sensible today may not be tomorrow.

Trust is dependent on everyone living by the same rules & abiding by them… it’s actually in direct opposition to integrity-intelligence

And it doesn’t work anyway… people still make the selfish choice all the time when it comes down to it, and we constantly wind up in contradictory situations such as your own in which precisely ‘what is honorable’ becomes unclear, the codes don’t have insight into situations of subtlety