Frank Otto

Thought I’d start a journal to post my experiences. I’ve been lurking around actualism for a few years, but recently my intent has been ramping up. I’ve gotten back to the basics recently, and that is feeling good. I tried various methods to feel good like trying to induce a realization that “I am mortal and so is everyone else. We’re all going to die and therefore nothing should be taken too seriously”. Or reading “This Moment of Being Alive” article over and over again to ramp me up. This worked for a bit, but I reverted to normal (being a miserable sod). I had to then confront the fact that I am unwilling to change. I will do anything but choose to be feel good. I’ll try to make it happen some other way, but I’ll never take responsibility for it.

Since then, I’ve been actually trying to feel good. And it’s working. I feel good, and it feels good to feel good. Yes, I drop into feeling bad. But then I wait for the storm to pass and quickly move towards feeling good. The method is so damn simple. We just don’t want to admit it.


Hey @frank_otto - it’s actually quite hard isn’t it :nerd_face::nerd_face::nerd_face:. It’s good to know at the outset that the resentment for being alive is our default position.

Acknowledging/feeling that fact can help to make a change, rather than trying to convince oneself that one is feeling good when it’s not the case.

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Yes it is not easy at all. But it is not complex. For the last few days I’ve only been carrying in my mind the flavour of how good it feels to feel good. And that seems to be enough. However, I still stress out about work projects. It’s too important, I don’t know how to feel good while my work is going to shit.

That is a big one, it’s understandable that it’s difficult

Something that has helped me with that has been following the worst case scenario to its conclusion, and then determining if I could be happy in that scenario. If you can succeed in that, there is security because even if that scenario plays out, you know you can be ok.

Don’t forget to feel good while you do that investigation :slight_smile:


Thanks Henry, it’s important to feel good while doing that investigation (or any investigation), otherwise we’re just trying to escape from the feeling.

Things are going well, I am sticking to the basics of feeling good. I have always had a deep wish to become completely emotionally autonomous. To that end, I’ve tried many things in my life such as being aloof, uncaring, but it all rings of fakeness because deep down “I” want to be validated by other people. But feeling good gives me a genuine hope that this is possible. Richard said somewhere on AFT that “one who is happy and harmless does not need anyone”, and I am finding that to be the case. Always keeping my eyes open for withdrawal or aloofness though, because I know that is not the way.

The key to feeling good consistently seems to be momentum. If you have felt good recently, you can just call up that memory and you suddenly remember how good it feels to just feel good. The more you do it, the easier it gets. I fear that I will lose this momentum though. Hopefully I can carry myself to an EE or PCE!

There’s an issue that I have not been able to solve since age 5 though. Often when I get into (certain) group situations, I feel very self-conscious and all my feeling good intent goes out the window. I feel immense pressure to fit in and appear cool. It’s like a pressure to perform. I suppose this is where the deep wish of autonomy stems from. Any advice on this theme would be appreciated.


Feeling good, but want to look at some work stuff. The dominating feeling with work atm is the feeling of being behind/not fast enough. I find myself looking backwards and considering whether I could’ve worked on this project faster. Am I too slow? Should I be working right now to make up the lost time?

The feeling here is fear. What do I fear? That someone will call me out for being on this project for so long, for not doing it faster. That I will seem incompetent/slow. Or that I won’t make the deadline. I find that I am plagued by this feeling no matter what the task is.
I feel guilt too. Guilt that I am wasting the company’s time and money. I’m not sure what it is about work that makes everything feel so serious for me. Perhaps it is a complete submission to authority.
This all creates a lot of resentment for work. I find it difficult to enjoy because I feel coerced/forced into doing it. So how do I free myself? I’m thinking that guilt is blocking any sort of movement into freedom. I feel that unless I am at my desk 9-5 just grinding it out and giving 100%, I have fallen short and should (must) feel guilty. If I am not delivering fast enough, I must feel guilty. Yes, it is guilt and shame. But this guilt and fear often forces me to push hard and make up lost work time on weekends. Without it, I don’t know if I will be able to continue making deadlines.

Feeling a little blocked now, going to give it a rest.

I experienced this for a long time and it is mostly laid to rest / substantially weakened for me.

The biggest thing that shifted for me was the recognition that ‘cool’ depends on a ‘cool/uncool’ dichotomy, for some to be cool some must be uncool. That’s all well and good, we still have the drive to be cool (to ‘win’)

But then I realized that all the very best times I’ve had with people, the most fun nights, there was no ‘cool/uncool’ disparity happening. It was an energetically equal bunch of people all having a great time, no one better than any other.

Even when I ‘won’ at ‘cool,’ it was a missed opportunity on that excellent equality experience. So, I’ve dropped it and haven’t missed it at all.

I’m interested to hear what your results are!


More investigation related to work. I notice that my mood depends heavily on how my project at work is going day-to-day. If the project is going well, all is well. But when I’m uncertain or I’ve made a mistake, all hell breaks loose. It’s like I’m on a rollercoaster and I don’t want to get off.

Why don’t I want to get off? Somewhere I’ve learned that I should feel guilty if I have not done my work perfectly.

If I decide to feel happy/good regardless of what is happening at work, I start to get scared. What if I don’t finish the project then? Am I callous to just not care? The terminal event I am always trying to avoid is that I will fail to complete my project (successfully and/or on time), and then face the consequences; be it disrepute or disappointment from my manager.

But then again, the project will take as long as it takes. It’s not like I’m slacking off or anything. Plus, am I going to keep suffering like this for the rest of my life? There will always be more projects. With these considerations I am going to try to feel good during work, regardless of what is happening. I am going to try to enjoy it. To not be resentful.


I am feeling good more often now, much more consistently than I ever have before in my life. I am still getting pulled into malice and sorrow pretty often, but I am angling towards feeling good much more easily. Two things that I’ve pondered on recently:

  1. My feeling good is not relaxed. It is clean, and feels very good, but it is keyed up. It feels like I have to keep up effort to maintain it otherwise it slips away very quickly. I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong or whether I’m just not used to feeling good and that’s why I effortlessly revert to being miserable :rofl:

  2. I think (1) is because I am not relaxed. I don’t go about my life in a relaxed way at all. A lot of my energy goes into preventing bad things from happening. This is why a lot of the time, I cannot chill out and “let go of the controls”, so to speak.


That sounds good to me @frank_otto! Not much more to say than that haha, I think this keyed up/control aspect is normal, hence in control virtual freedom. Although with time the feeling good might become more habituated and more effortless, there will probably always be a pull towards sorrow and malice to some degree unless one enters out from control virtual freedom or self immolates, this is just my thoughts based on my experience with the method so far, take with a pinch of salt :yum:


Today I was feeling rather annoyed and irritated, as I often do on Mondays. Bad feelings are like a shapeshifter, you think you’ve figured something out but they come in another form and the previous insight or whatever is suddenly gone. That is why investigation must be dynamic. I looked and looked until I realized that I was not feeling good (and not able to despite my efforts) because I did not want to be here. I wanted to be in the future. I was anxious about the future. I hope I can maintain my relationship well, what will happen at work tomorrow etc. Seeing this allowed me to relax, and then allowed me to feel good now. Sometimes it feels kind of overwhelming, “I” am just an unceasing threat analysis machine. I guess only I can agree and be willing to stop this madness.


I’m going to elaborate on my social anxiety here for @leila because I don’t want to hijack Elgin’s journal.

I’ll expand on micro movements in the context of my social anxiety. They are all just subtle expressions of the feeling, which perpetuate the cycle of anxiety and keep it going. If I feel “uncool” in a social situation, I will become extra enthusiastic or try to be funny so that I can gain others’ attention. If I feel threatened by someone, I will target my jokes at them to “one up” them. I am constantly assessing my social status in real-time. If I feel confident about my standing, I will usually have a good time. If not, I will get in my head and try like hell to raise it in real-time (with jokes, acting cool/independent). Sometimes it works and I end up with good feelings of acceptance and praise. Other times, it ends up in me feeling even worse. All these little behaviours is me expressing the feeling of anxiety, the fear of ostracization. I want to be liked so badly it’s almost compulsive. Really, it’s this wanting to be seen as cool and wanting to be liked and respected which is at the root of all my troubles. Only in the past few weeks have I actually resolved to actually untangle this mess. The feelings are so strong that I am not expecting to solve them in a single night. But I have been taking more of an investigative approach. Feeling these feelings fully. Often, the feelings have a peak and then subside if you don’t express/repress them. Then you can see a bit more clearly. I am also doing a post-mortem of every social event where these feelings occur. My goal is to remove all these little reactions and finally be able to relax.

Not expressing/repressing is very important precisely because it allows a third alternative to surface. If you keep trying to get rid of a feeling or keep expressing it, you reinforce that neural pathway in your brain and the idea that “this is the way, the only way”. Then you’ll never be able to escape the trap.


wow ,It was as if I was waiting for someone to come and push me forward so that I would not express my feelings so much.

These sentences that you wrote really affected me , and I will have them in my mind until the end of this path ,the end of me .

Although I have written and translated Vineeto 's sentences many times about not expressing nor suppressing emotions, but only now by reading your words the penny dropped .

I am really enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive while reading your sentences frank .

i am going to comment on the other part of your writings later …


Bad feelings are relatively easier to see and investigate, in the same way that losing games are more readily analyzed: because we don’t want to lose anymore; because we don’t want to feel bad again.

One of the most useful observations I had many years ago was to notice that I would start to feel bad after “winning”: that is, after I had managed to feel good in social situations by being cool, joking around, being the center of attention, showing off my knowledge about x, etc.

But in solitude, then, little by little I started to feel like an idiot, to feel that I didn’t want those good feelings, that I wanted to feel another way. Investigating, I noticed that I was wanting more and more the sense of serenity, harmlessness, enjoyment of felicitous feelings.

I noticed that those doses of good feelings took me away from those other feelings and strengthened my self. So every time I “won”, I actually lost. And “wins” are not usually investigated…


These are good points. Even the “wins” have fear embedded in them because they are conditional. If you’re the centre of attention right now, what happens when you are no longer? For me its the lure of these good feelings that are keeping this whole thing going. But even when I get the “wins”, I can still never relax. It is going to take a lot of exposure for me to work through all this.


Your words are like putting a big magnifying glass on me so that I can see it well and how well I can see me in action … As Henry said I’m really fascinated both from reading your writings and from seeing me when doing these micro-movements and behaviors …expressing feelings … I feel that you have made a great leap for me …i know this is praising and good feelings …but you actually did it …apprititate it …


That is a great point @Miguel, I remember us having a similar discussion a while ago with regards to love and coming to the conclusion that the ‘good’ feelings are really the worst because they can be so hard to see for what they are, as Richard says about love, it is the eternal seducer!

That seems to be the thrust of the good feelings, be it feelings of power and authority within the group, or feelings of love and bliss. They lure one with the promise of something that in the end never delivers, the worst thing is that the failure to deliver seems to actually strengthen the desire to pursue those good feelings more, and round and round it goes.

This reminds me of Richard writing about the difficulty of going beyond the Enlightened state, because who would voluntarily give up the feelings of power, authority, love and bliss.

@frank_otto For me personally the good feelings tend to be brought up mostly around training/coaching MMA and writing on here, and I can relate to a lot of what you write. Personally it has taken me a very long time to resolve these, in fact they are the 2 themes that have stayed with me since the start 2 years ago and up until now, although there has been much progress made, it is still there to an extent. This morning though something big happened, it seems to have been a culmination of the 2 years looking at this, coming to fruition!

I woke up in the morning feeling rather clear and light, for a short moment I felt that very familiar pang of ‘I am not good enough’ this deeply buried feeling with a flavour that I know so well because it has been in one way or another colouring my experience of being alive for as long as I remember.
But it was only a pang, it was weak, almost like it was the last embers of the feeling. I went outside for my morning cigarette and noticed that everything around me looked so sparkling and brilliant. I felt so light, like a huge weight has been lifted, it is like this big heavy blanket of sorrow has been lifted from my psyche. It was only because the blanket was finally lifted that I could see just to what extent it influenced me, in fact to what extent it is me.

What I could see immediately is that it is this sorrowful persona, this ‘I am not good enough’ persona that so desperately yearns for the good feelings, to be a someone, he is forever trying to correct that something missing, when the blanket was lifted the appeal of the pursuit for the good feelings also disappeared. I noticed this because often in the mornings there is a pull to spin various stories, plans and schemes, the reason I do this is because I want to generate the good feelings. At that moment however that whole game was no longer attractive, there was no longer anything lacking which needed to be covered up by the good.

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Bad things happened at work. I realize that I’m getting tossed around like a volleyball. If everything is good, I am safe. The second anything bad happens, it’s misery. Today I am determined to put an end to it though. I am running from the fear of everything not being perfect at work. So the obvious way forward is to become OK with whatever is going on at work. I tried this after work today, and I’ve been feeling non-stop anxiety since. But I am neither expressing nor repressing. Normally to get rid of this feeling, I would put in extra hours, ruminate over potential solutions, and stop all my other activities and just try to numb myself until tomorrow. But now I am continuing on with my day and doing things I like and enjoy. There is a distinct flavour to strong feelings when you put them in a bind. They don’t feel as crippling anymore. It’s like the amygdala is screaming at the neocortex to do something, but the neocortex is just sitting there and chilling. I am certain once the strong feelings abate, I will see a third alternative, one where I can feel good despite what is happening at work.


I’ve been trying to figure out how to feel good consistently. Some days it’s easy and other days it’s very difficult. Today I kind of got into a bout with myself and tried to will myself into feeling good. I just got more and more frustrated. But eventually I got tired and relaxed a bit, and the feeling good happened by itself. So it only really works when “I” don’t try so hard to make it happen. But rather I allow it to happen. One more thing I’ve found increasingly effective is to ask myself what is preventing me right now from feeling good. This forces me to look at the reason rather than trying to paste feeling good over it.


i learn so much from you guys frankotto and kuba … :appreciation:

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