Hunterad's journal

Hi guys long time no chat, this is adam aka hunterad93 from previous forums :].

I’ve been skimming this forum now and then over the last however many months, and today I spent hours doing a deep dive and catching up. Glad to see folks I’ve talked with in the past still active.

Was a bit sad to hear about Alan though I am cheered up at the thought that to paraphrase srinath ‘he was absorbed into infinitude’ in just the same way an actually free person would have been. The universe is more benign than to pick winners and losers in some ultimate sense!

I have still been consistently thinking about actualism and inconsistently practicing it, and realizing how much more consistent the “thinking about it” side has been is what has jolted me back into joining the forum and opening this conversation. Maybe I will get some insight from the outside, maybe I will formulate my thoughts better when I know someone is reading them, maybe I’ll hold myself to a higher standard knowing people are watching. I’ll take whatever advantages I can find, I am willing to cheat to win at this point!

I want to explore why my practice hasn’t been very consistent… even when my thinking about actualism has been. What is that turning toward experiencing felicity really like and why am I so content with only doing it now and then? Certainly I’ve felt moments of felicity and certainly I’ve intentionally turned myself towards felicity and innocuity for short periods of time. But there seems to be something qualitatively different in really adopting it as an approach to life on the most pragmatic and immediate way that I’ve never truly experienced.

There’s a lot more to say and I intend to go more into what I’ve been experiencing lately but going to sleep now. Even though I haven’t said much here i’ve been writing and rewriting for a couple hours, wow! Goodnight and glad to be back.


Welcome back @hunterad!

Great to hear from you.

Now we just need Adam B to reappear, and we can get the band back together.



Hi Andrew, that would be cool yea :smile: looking forward to more of our discussions.

Alright let me see if I can get down to business more in this post. I’m trying to be more pragmatic and less theoretical than I have been in the past. I’m trying to think a little more along the lines of improving any other skill rather than developing an understanding. Surely by now I understand everything significant that’s actualism related on an intellectual level. It feels like a less sexy and profound conversation but hopefully it actually gets the job done.

I think the times when I stop practicing actualism and move into just thinking about actualism are when I get into investigation without a clear enough goal in mind. I’ll tend to wallow in certain feelings, think about how they don’t feel good and how I need to take a step towards being happy and harmless. I’ll also think about what makes the step challenging and what social concerns or whatever else are holding me back. This is all useful but I’ve realized that on its own it just leads in circles with the same feelings. I think I will try getting back to feeling good before investigating for a while. Both sides are necessary but I’ve been favoring the investigation far too much.

The other place where I end up merely thinking about actualism is when things are going fairly well and I make no effort to turn away from the good feelings that come up. I’m pretty willing often to go unreservedly into some sort of entertainment like video games without continuing to notice my emotional state. Either that or as soon as things go well I’ll start fantasizing about a future in which I am higher status in some way because of people noticing how happy and harmless I am. This comes down to a lack of intent in part, but probably also a wrong idea; that idea is essentially that I can intellectually understand my way to freedom. I tend to be opposed to any moment-to-moment effort as I want an insight to change everything irrevocably.

There’s some hope that I could finally “get it” and then somehow keep being myself but also be free. I suppose there’s a lot I’m not yet willing to sacrifice here. To get back to pragmatism, I intend to make an effort to put feeling good above investigation in my priorities, and I also want to make a concerted effort to not let good feelings run the show and take me away from happiness and harmlessness.


Cool! I think it’s definitely useful to get into the specific of what’s happening. Reading your post I recall and to an extent still find the same struggles that you describe so I think it’s par for the course.

Getting caught up in some bland dissociative states and also in the thrall of good feelings seems to be like an addiction that you slowly ween yourself off as you apply the method over a course of time. But there is often lots of regression or what seems like regression as what you might notice is that your commitment to those states slowly weakens over time and a growing commitment begins to happen towards feeling good and eventually towards purity.

I think that initial period of actually trying to apply the method is a tricky time because of what you described, investigation can go somewhat in circles, the commitment to feeling good each moment is not there fully yet and maybe there is not many memories of purity that are pulling you forward.

When I think back to what pushed me forward at the beginning it was a sincere intent to find a better way, because I knew deep down that it is here for my taking and that to continue living a second rate life is nothing but a life wasted.

I remember that it took some persistence and tenacity until I got to a point where it all started to somewhat click.

Do you have a clear memory of any PCEs?


Welcome back, Adam!

When I was in Ballina Richard emphasized & re-emphasized that investigation should be done when in a space of feeling good… almost to the point that it’s a waste of time when you’re not feeling good. I think you’re on the right track with taking that approach.

Similarly with the pragmatism: the actualism method is about feeling happy and harmless… all the ‘understandings’ in the world won’t necessarily accomplish that.



I’m hoping I’ve finally convinced myself that the “answer” is in the felicitous and innocuous states. I think alot of what I was doing was exploring feeling states that seemed to have some great mystique and profundity to be penetrated. One example was feeling isolated and alone in the world. I explored feeling that way a lot in recent months. Part of it was based in legitimate investigation that kept finding a desire for approval at the root of various feelings. I had noticed that my social awkwardness, job-related stress, and sense of distance between myself and people close to me were all rooted in wanting to keep up an image so as not to be outcast. Plus it occurred to me that I could never really ‘secure’ anyone’s approval, it was a constant battle to shape people’s opinions of me favorably if that’s how I wanted to live.

I responded to this realization by exploring through imagination really deeply what it would be to have no financial, practical, or emotional support from other people. I even at times verged on creating those conditions in my life to help me ‘face my fears’ though fortunately I don’t think I did any serious damage. I don’t see these explorations as totally useless but they weren’t practicing actualism. These deep explorations kept telling me that it was ok and worthwhile to proceed with enjoying life even if no one supported me, but I suppose I was hoping that I could realize this so deeply that everything would suddenly transform. Instead, now I’m thinking that I’ve had the realization and now I can actually set about with doing the enjoying come what may. I realized that no matter how deep the realization gets, it will still some day be me, in this moment, choosing to enjoy and appreciate.

As for PCEs, I have generally opted for upping my baseline rather than going for PCEs. Part of that has been frustration with trying to make PCEs happen many many times going back as far as 2013. I have certainly had EEs that were potent enough to orient me, but never a clear experience that involved absolutely no sense of self. I am intending to start going for PCEs in addition to upping my baseline. Not sure why it seemed like an either/or thing to me before. I think part of the reason was that with upping my baseline I could deceive myself more about making progress whereas having PCEs or not was pretty binary success/failure.


Yea I’m realizing how true it is. Of course I’d read this many times from many people, I resisted it though because it seemed impossible to imagine that it wouldn’t lead to ignoring issues and sweeping them under the rug. Very often when attempting to feel good first I would end up in a state of fake feeling good where I there was an undercurrent of anxiety or sadness or something. Doing those deep dives into bad feelings was probably better than fake feeling good but neither are the real deal of course. I’ve had tastes of the real deal and I intend to stop settling for less than that. I plan to really work on getting back to feeling good pre-investigation as my general MO. If all I can get is a fake feeling good then maybe I’ll just wait 20 minutes and try again. I’ve been feeling pragmatic enough to set timers on my phone for this over the last few days haha.


It sounds like your investigation was useful, at least insofar as you did make some realizations but then it was like “wait… I’m still not feeling good, though…” and then there’s the memory of this thing, the actualism method, that maybe is worth a try. And now you’re not thinking, “I have to go do this investigation first,” you’ve already tried that.

I’ve experienced this a lot as well. For me it took awhile before there was enough sincerity to not settle for something fake, as well as enough sensitivity to my own experience to be able to accurately judge, ‘there’s something fake happening here.’ This is the sneakiness that Richard refers to a lot. And of course, dissociation is inherently clouding to awareness and judgment.

Hi Adam, nice to read your posts again. I’d read your posts in the Slack Archive and I noticed that we share a lot of the same struggles with the method. I am starting to realize how my “investigation” (when feeling bad) is really just “me” continuing to fear and worry. Investigation is really just an excuse. Fearing that you may sweep things under the rug, another excuse. Fearing that you may be suppressing your emotions, another excuse. All an excuse so that “I” can continue worrying.

Like @claudiu said in his post just now, “I” don’t have to solve any problem in my life to feel good. “I” don’t have to figure anything out. Geoffrey’s video is also hammering this home for me. All of it is just delay.

I’m trying to commit now to just being here, and putting my problems on ice for the moment. This is not repression, because “I” am agreeing to do so. And I think that’s the fundamental difference. When there is repression/suppression of feelings, you are trying to “be” two feelings at once. For example, you are scared but you’re also trying to be an actualist. “I” then have no alignment. “I” must be willing and agreeable to feeling good now.

An additional insight that is starting to materialize is that even if there is a real problem of some sort, feeling good will allow me to make a much better decision than worry-cycling for hours.


I’m also on the same boat with these realizations as everyone here. Very interesting that it’s happening at the same time. I’ve fallen into the trap of over-investigation plenty of times. I had this same thought along the lines of “if I investigate deeply enough then that belief should disappear and I will feel good again” (but it never works out that way). There’s some ill-informed notion about how ‘seeing the fact will set me free of the belief’; and thus that will allow me to feel good again. I will have realizations, but never actualize them and continue down the path of the same old feelings again and again. I’ve come to see it’s all just a ploy to remain ‘me’ as ‘I’ am. My current approach is also to aim for a continuous state of feeling good and always return to feeling good before investigating. Most often it seems like feeling anything else is just a habitual tendency to just go along with whatever feelings are coming. This could be in the form of investigating too I think. So perhaps it’s just a matter of choosing to feel good over and over again until that may have some semblance of your normal state of being. With that said, sometimes choosing to feel good consistently feels like I’m trying to break free of an addiction. The addiction is the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ feelings. There’s some sick perverse part of me that wants to feel bad. But there do come times when feeling happy and harmless take on a life of their own as well. The Human Condition is very strange!

I can relate to this as well. Another aspect of this I’ve found is that I’m waiting for someone to give me permission to unconditionally feel happy and harmless. There really is a fear deep down that I will be punished or tortured for feeling good. I must always remain alert or else. Of course this is not true at all, but I continue to fall for it or go with those same feelings.

I think this really is the missing piece. I mentioned elsewhere that I had the notion that I can’t just aim for PCEs without first feeling good. There’s a similar notion I have about becoming actually free as well. That I need to have a certain amount of PCEs that are of a certain duration, etc before I can become actually free. But I’m starting to see more that there are no such rules. I recently had a PCE that has been helping me a lot.

It started with reflecting on the notion of how I’ve confined myself with ‘rules’ that had not even been written down anywhere. I’ve unwittingly “picked up” these ill-conceived beliefs somewhere and made them real. So with those ‘rules’ set aside for just a little bit I started to entertain the idea that may be I can just have a PCE. I approached it the same way I do before of first contemplating how it is this moment right now. It slowly started to make me feel good. The seeing of the fact of this moment automatically makes me feel good. It’s always magical when I experience it. Then all of ‘my’ worries and anxieties briefly disappeared. And there was this fact. It’s always this moment. It’s perpetually this moment. The universe is happening all at once right now. There is no room for any other space or time here. Then there was this contrast of how “the future” and “the past” and all that don’t have any existence here at all. This was a huge relief and it still continues to be. Anytime I find myself worried now about some anxiety I can recourse to this memory as the contrast was very clear. All of the ‘time’ sourced in ‘my’ feelings doesn’t actually exist in this moment.

Anyways, so I am sticking with the notion of ‘no rules’ to see where it leads. To feel good is completely free!


@Josef Yes, choosing to ‘set aside’ emotional hangups/upsets is vastly different than suppressing or repressing. I suppose the difference comes down to the intent to understand them better rather than the intent to pretend they aren’t there.

The point about i don’t have to “figure anything out” before feeling good triggered some resistance in me. I find it hard to believe I guess? I don’t like moving ahead “blindly”. And that is how I felt today, that’s what i felt was required of me if I wanted to feel good consistently. I felt I had to feel good before assessing or understanding anything of what just happened.

Specifically there was a triggering moment where I got a dirty look from a respected co-worker (we work in a restaurant where I am managing back of house and she is managing front of house). To be concise there are misunderstandings between us despite mutual respect. I felt torn between wanting to ruminate on the situation right away vs. wanting to get back to feeling good and commence a more focused useful investigation later on and after feeling good.

I suppose what was tricky was I didn’t think it was “ok” to feel good yet. I hated the thought of feeling good despite having done harm even if it wasn’t through malice. Definitely some stuff here to investigate about deserving to feel good.

In the end I was able to remain feeling relatively good though my mood was slightly dampened from the very good of earlier this morning. I used a similar insight to what you mentioned about “if it’s a real problem feeling good will help me solve it more than feeling bad”. This seems very similar to how Peter and Craig have written about getting back to feeling good prior to investigation as i recall. Essentially using various universally applicable insights to feel good right away before getting more specific in the investigation phase.

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I’m also on the same boat with these realizations as everyone here. Very interesting that it’s happening at the same time.

It’s funny I feel like I’m having deja vu from several other times where this has happened. Can’t quite recall the specific realizations though.

Somewhere I have a similar sense of foreboding about feeling good. Not totally sure whats up with that. I have this feeling from when I was younger of breaking certain social norms and protocols without realizing it and getting blindsided by the intense reactions of adults. That’s just an initial guess but I’m sure theres plenty more to say.

Also a lot of what you are talking about with no rules is related to what I am referring to with ‘pragmatism’. Essentially, I had previously been wanting to get it done a certain way but now I am more willing to just do what works.

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I am going to try making monthly reports with the hope that my reports will be more understandable. I generally tend toward spur of the moment, stream of consciousness reporting that may be harder to understand and less useful both to me and others. Giving more time between reports allows me to be a bit more circumspect when estimating progress as well. I’m still hoping for some responses and discussions between reports so feel free to chime in any thoughts :]

March Report:

I have certainly enjoyed the last month more than the past few months preceding. My primary changes during this month have been on getting back to feeling good before investigating triggers as well as spending more time undistracted to practice actualism in. I’ve spent far less time on video games and other entertainment and more time on trying to have a PCE or EE. I have also tried to do both simultaneously but it often feels like it makes way more sense to just sit/walk and do nothing else. I think this is because I have more confidence now in my ability to improve my baseline and get to experience EEs, im genuinely excited to use my free time in a focused way to pursue this for hours every day.

I still struggle with getting back to feeling good at times though. There was a 2 day period where I never got back to feeling good for more than 20 minutes, I kept moving back into worry. It didn’t end until the second night in a state of exhaustion I was essentially too tired to keep justifying worrying about what was bothering me. It was clear to me that there was nothing constructive to be gained by worrying while falling asleep and I started feeling good, I then awoke the next day feeling great.

I’m not really sure what exactly changes in those moments before I genuinely start shifting to feeling good. Current goal is to figure that out. Best guess is that it’s more to do with no longer fueling the feeling, and allowing the natural pull towards simple pleasantness and harmony take the wheel.


I feel good as a natural background when there is less fear, less ‘me’

That’s why triggers are investigated, so they have less strength. Feeling good happens as a default when ‘I’ am not happening - or weakened.

I had an experience last night that made this very clear to me: as soon as my trigger was seen as silly, I immediately felt good for no ‘reason’

My trigger seems to be a sense of meaninglessness

Due to being alone

Not sure what to ‘do with myself’

My current activity (sitting by myself, making tea, watching a hockey game) is ‘meaningless’ - to me - compared to a social pursuit with a woman

There is no woman present and I don’t see anything sensible to do, right now, in that vein

So it’s just a fantasy

Feeling meaningless isn’t sensible

This is bizarre, it was so solid for most of the afternoon

And now it’s not there

I’m just sitting doing ‘nothing’ and it’s lovely

Uncaused enjoyment

It went from a very thick sense of ‘meaninglessness’ which I had never succeeded in penetrating, to as palpable a purity as I’ve experienced in awhile just from that removal

(note: I didn’t write it down above, but I did get back to feeling good before the investigation. Then, when I saw the silliness, the purity came in)


Thanks for that perspective, i recognize that experience you describe and I think you’re right that it comes down to strength/weakness or presence/absence of me.

Let me try to describe my stream of consciousness of attempting to get back to feeling good and failing…

  1. I’m feeling kinda shitty, it seems like “bobby” thinks I’m a slimy jerk and he doesn’t trust me… it’s making me wonder “am I really just fooling myself, maybe he’s right”

  2. Okayyyy, I can see that’s really bothering me and there’s plenty to unpack, let’s maybe get back to feeling good, I can figure out what’s going on once I’m in that state.

  3. Hmmmm remember feeling good? Remember how pleasant it is, and how benevolent? Like the other day when i woke up with the gentle morning light with no worries weighing me down whatsoever? Ah yeaaa let’s do that it’s so much better.

  4. Feelings starting to shift a bit towards felicity/innocuity

  5. Ok ok thats good, now look out the window, how incredible this large pine tree just standing totally still in cold misting rain, and how warm it is here on the couch.

  6. Feelings still sort of shifting, but an undercurrent of anxiety coming in

  7. Ok I think it’s working? or am I just repressing my feelings? How did I resolve that important issue with “bobby?” Aren’t I just ignoring it?

Those steps 6 and 7 also happen as an undercurrent during the 1 through 5 part. Still contemplating more on what makes it so hard at times to cut 6/7 out of the mix… whereas at other times 6/7 isnt there at all really.


This seems to be what is giving you the most problems

The antidote to that, I think, is making the commitment to yourself to work through the issue once you’re feeling good (or at least neutral) again. You are getting into a clear mental space to more clearly approach your problem and determine what is most sensible for you, and for everyone. So you’re definitely not ignoring it, and hopefully didn’t repress it while it was happening, as any repression only would have hidden the issue from sight.

Repression is sort of ‘pretending’ to feel good while the bad feeling is still going underneath

What you want is, to exit feeling bad, and sincerely be feeling good - fake feeling good won’t cut it. Different from repression. And it’s no avoidance, because of the above commitment. It’s really a deeper engagement with your problem!

A note: “working through” means, “finding out what is silly and sensible in the situation which initially triggered you”

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you do nothing after 5? For example, no attempt to activate your attention, sensoriality, to prolong apperception…?

Maybe a brief description using Richard’s words of what I usually do in those cases -if number 3 does not work instantly- will help (except if I am overwhelmed, which is not the case in your description).

Just in case, I point out that apperception (“the mind’s perception of itself”) is related to pure perception:

“[…] that instant where one converges one’s eyes or ears or nose or tongue or skin on the thing. […] Pure perception takes place sensitively just before one starts feeling the percept –and thus thinking about it affectively– which takes place just before one’s feeling-fed mind says: ‘It’s a man’ or: ‘It’s a woman’”

and in apperceptiveness

“In that brief scintillating instant of bare awareness, that twinkling sensorium-moment of
consciousness being conscious of being consciousness […] One experiences a smoothly flowing moment of clear experiencing where one is interlocked with the rest of actuality, not separate from it”.


“In the process of ordinary perception, the apperceptiveness step is so fleeting as to be usually unobservable”


“it is the purpose of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ to accustom one to prolong that moment of apperceptiveness”.

So in 5 I apply HAIETMOBA. But I know that this question/silent attitude can fail its final purpose due to attention problems because

“To enable apperceptiveness to haply occur it is essential to allow a reflective attention – attentiveness – to one’s psychological and psychic world […]. Whatever feeling one may be having, a fascinated attention – attentiveness – freely divulges it… it is looking with discernibleness. […] A contemplative attention views all feelings as commensurate – nothing is suppressed and nothing is expressed – as attentiveness does not play favourites. […] Attentiveness gets not infatuated with the good feelings nor sidesteps the bad as attentiveness is a non-feeling awareness; a sensuous attention. […] Attentiveness is an aesthetic alertness that takes place with minimised reference to self. With attentiveness one sees the internal world with blameless references to concepts like ‘my’ or ‘mine’. Suppose there is a feeling of sadness. Ordinary consciousness would say, ‘I am sad’. Using attentiveness, one heedfully notices the feeling as a natural feeling – ‘There is human sadness’ – thus one does not tack on that possessive personal concept of ‘I’ or ‘me’ […] In attentiveness, there is an unbiased observing of the constant showing-up of the ‘reality’ within and is examining the feelings arising one after the other … and such attentiveness is the ending of its grip. Please note that last point: in attentiveness, there is an observance of the ‘reality’ within, and such attention is the end of its embrace … finish.”

The most common way I notice having arrived at this point is through sensuousness ("a word indicating a pre-emotional fidelity): the environment is then “affecting the senses aesthetically rather than sensually”, I notice that I am “readily affected by the senses” and “keenly responsive to the pleasures of sensation”.

Even without getting to move to apperception, do you try to get to this point after 5, taking advantage of the fact that you feel like in 6?

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You may find this recent post by @Kub933 useful:

@henryyyyyyyyyy Sorry for the delayed response I’ve been thinking about this issue a bit and keep writing up a response but it keeps feeling like a work in progress. A few issues have yet to solidify and make sense. Eventually I want to write a more detailed account but for now I’d summarize that my current approach to that same situation is to basically be a bit more persistent with steps 1-5. The 6 and 7 seem to be more general doubts and resistances, I think including the word repression in my description was a bit of a red herring. Ultimately I find myself occasionally resisting getting to feeling good for a variety of reasons that generally seem to be just rationalizations. I do think that Kuba quote is relevant particularly about not moving psychically. I am wondering if I just need to persist a bit longer with steps 1-5… it certainly works that way sometimes to get past 6 and 7.

@Miguel I do go for some sensuousity at 5, that’s basically what step 5 was in my mind. Sometimes I don’t get “liftoff” though. I appreciate all those descriptions and recognize a lot from the times where I do get “liftoff”. I wonder if it’s just a matter of really focusing? I’ve tried that a few times lately. It actually does work occasionally. I think the type of effort is very subtle more like wiggling a key in a lock than opening a stuck jar lol.


Reading 1-5 it seems to me there’s some trying to ‘get’ ‘me’ to feel good, and I’d suggest thinking of it more like, ‘allowing yourself to experience the purity that’s already there, happening’

I’ve benefitted from reading the description of PCE, for remembering the flavor. Also good are the descriptions of PCEs on the AFT and of course the gold standard, your own PCE memories

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@henryyyyyyyyyy I’m a big fan of that page… srinath’s writings are some of my favorite in terms of relatable ways of describing things.

April Report:

My experience was still ‘mixed’ as it was in March. Some good times some bad times. Not really sure if I made any long term progress, I think I unearthed a few obstacles though. I think the main obstacle has to do with trying to understand how I relate to people when I am happy and harmless.

I have been capable of getting to a state of feeling good when I’m on my own and have some time for the most part but it seems to sort of ‘paralyze’ me to try and stay that way with people. Or even when my mind starts to think about people and past or present situations. It seems like the second I walk into a room that has someone else in it I am instantly pulled towards feelings other than happy/harmlessness. I am not necessarily saying it is the vibe of the other person or their expectation of me, although it could be. Ultimately I am not sure what they are feeling but somehow my perception is that they are pressuring me to feel a certain way.

There are different versions of this with different people but the element that seems universal is a pressure to self-deprecate or express unhappiness in some way. The self-deprecation is an invitation for them to give approval and the expressing of unhappiness is an invitation for them to “be closer” to me. I want their approval and I am failing to really imagine interactions that don’t have that dynamic to some degree. When I really try to remain focused on feeling good I have found a lot of awkward silences coming up. Thinking and worrying about this issue even while alone meant plenty of bad-feeling periods this month.

Zooming out on the month and summing up… I basically let my foot off the gas. Various issues like what I described above were able to dominate my thoughts and feelings. It’s a complicated and unsolvable maze of subtle social dynamics… I think I should tend toward being more of a ‘bulldozer’ and keep my eyes on the prize this month.