@henryyyyyyyyyy’s intervention spare me some of what I would have said, and at the same time allows me to focus on another difference I have perceived. And taking into account the questions asked by @Srinath, I will compare the actualist practice without being in a PCE to this Culadasa advice.
By the way, I’ll cover with the same answer several of the spiritual and non-spiritual disciplines that I have practiced, which share in my experience similar differences with Culadasa’s advice and AF’s “enjoying and apprecianting every moment of being alive” (I emphasize “in my experience” because I am not relying on the theoretical differences or on the attributional differences -sub-minds, etc.- between these disciplines, but on the pragmatic effect they produced in me about the aspect you are interested in).
A common factor I experienced was that of dissociation/duality (I’m using the terms somewhat loosely) in order to sustain a good state throughout the day (when I was able to do so, of course).
The level of dissociation/duality is what tended to vary with each discipline (in addition, obviously, to the techniques/skills employed by each one to attain that wellness/comfort).
That’s why I find Culadasa’s excerpt very well aligned with what I experienced practicing those disciplines:
Depending on those disciplines, the means to achieve this well-being/comfort could consist of paying attention to heartbeat, breathing, etc.; internally repeating a mantra; activating a certain memory -teaching, prayer, image-; generating positive thoughts about what was being experienced (similar to “purposely intend to notice the positive aspects of whatever you perceive”); etc.
In all cases, the resulting well-being/comfort coexisted to some extent with an underlying unease, with a tension/struggle (however subtle it was) between what was happening (feeling not-good) and what was supposed to happen (feeling good no matter what the circumstances).
So what was ultimately supposed to be achieved was a greater expertise in using those means to feel better and a decrease on my part (the self/ego) in “the craving for something to be different” in the face of “what is” (which would amount to a reduction/weakening of the self/ego itself).
So now follows part (I don’t want to make the answer even longer) of why I felt this dissociation/duality practicing those disciplines.
Could I eliminate the internal conflict and the craving for something to be different, when ultimately what I was doing (“ignore”, “pay attention”, “repeating”, “remembering”, “generating”) were actions that actively and effectively sought to tailor my reactions in order to feel better in the face of “what it was”?
I (the self/ego) was generating a conflict due to craving for something to be different (that a car alarm would cease, for example), but simultaneously I (the self/ego) was working activey to feel different about that (the car alarm), changing my (the self/ego) feelings.
So it was clear that I (the self/ego) was craving to feel different!
What was I supposed to do about this craving that also generated discomfort and conflict? Ignore it? But how could I ignore this craving if, on the contrary, I (the self/ego) was becoming more and more successful in changing what I/it felt thanks to my/its increased expertise using the respective skill? So sometimes I would reapply the techniques to feel better about this craving, but the difficulty was greater and it was easier to deny it…
So in all cases I developed different levels of dissociation/duality to achieve feeling good while not feeling completely good about that feeling, because it not only generated a background of tension but also effort. This is because those techniques tend to base the well-being/comfort on good feelings and not on felicitous feelings (you can look on the AF site about their differences or we can talk about them later) and generating/strengthening good feelings to feel good is inevitably accompanied by bad feelings, so my well-being/comfort was subject to inevitable fluctuations.
That’s why I also find that statements like this are well aligned with the dissociation/duality I felt practicing those disciplines:
In what way I (the self/ego) was accepting the situations (what it was) when in fact I/it was becoming more and more expert at changing how I/it felt about those situations?
Didn’t that expertise succeed in separate/isolate me/it more and more from what it was?
And this growing ability to feel good, in what way weakened the self/ego? Didn’t it actually strengthen it…?
Of course, in most of these disciplines these conflicts were dealt with by attributing to a superior spirit/soul the improvement in these skills; and attributing to this spirit/soul making me feel better by operating on and weakening the ego/self more and more.
When I experimented with AF and managed to feel good/very good/excellent and reach PCEs (basically applying the differences with respect to Culadasa pointed out by @henryyyyyyyyyy -facing the craving instead of ignoring/dismiss it, etc.-) without then feeling that dissociation/duality, but also without having to attribute to a superior spirit/soul the capacity to weaken/eliminate the self/ego, I ended up accepting that also the theoretical proposal of AF as well as its practice had in its favor the principle of parsimony (“Ockham’s razor”).
However, I did not reach this acceptance without much suffering and resistance because of my longing to be precisely a someone who could continue to exist after death…