Isn’t it unnecessary to go through the pains of investigation since what we eventually do going that route is mapping the feelings to the four instinctual passions? We already know it clearly that every emotion is rooted in instinctual passions.
The investigation is necessary because it’s not enough to conceptually know that everything connects back to the instinctual passions, we have to experientially, directly, & clearly see that that is what is happening in ourselves, see how it’s working, see what it’s connected to in us, & see/understand why it is silly to feel that way / act that way.
Only then is there a strong enough experiential basis to confirm what Richard & others describe is valid/accurate (in addition to PCEs), and certainly only then is there genuine change.
I know all about this because I’ve frequently strayed into conceptualizing in my practice… and then I’d wonder why I wasn’t getting anywhere! There’s no substitute for direct experiencing. That’s what investigation is.
Isn’t investigation same as analysis?
If you are experiencing instinctual fear what will you do?
From what I know, “I” can’t do anything but let it be.
I’d say analysis is the reflective part of investigation, which is a necessary and useful step. It helps to think about & notice connections. There comes a point where the connections become more & more actual & less & less fanciful/imaginative, that’s something to aim for.
Full investigation includes analysis as well as paying great attention to this moment of being alive and insights will roll in. One of the many benefits of enjoying + appreciating is the clear head that comes with it, which means far more insights & faster progress in undoing oneself.
The best advice I’ve received about ‘what to do’ when instinctual passions take over comes from Peter, and it is to ‘not go anywhere.’ That means that when something ‘difficult’ comes along, just let it do it’s thing. It’s possible to watch it with a fascination as all manner of bizarre things run across our psyches. From that direct observation (rather than attempting to escape), great insights - directly - can occur.
It requires a decent amount of fortitude to go there, but with enough motivation it can be done. There’s also security of the fact that without grasping, all emotional states pass like a squall - in a few minutes, it’s gone.
Had a thought while working on my diagram:
Investigation is simply about seeing the silliness of whatever emotion/'me.'
Anything else learned or noticed is just a bonus.
You don’t have to go ‘down the rabbit hole’ and explore every possible end within humanity. You can if you want, but you don’t have to.
As soon as the silliness is sincerely seen, everything is easy.
I’m seeing more and more that a strong connection to pure intent / PCE memory is the most important thing, because it’s the guidance in terms of what to go toward, what purity looks like.
At the same time, even ‘going blind’ and sincerely enjoying & appreciating to the best of one’s ability can get there eventually, especially with the help of this forum. I’ve frequently lost sight of the precise flavor of PCE, but kept going out of the distant memory.
The AFT’s hammering on about pure intent born from memory of PCEs is what did it for me. Before coming across the AFT I was constantly being told that “I’m living in the past, man” and “get over it, it (PCE) ain’t coming back”. But something “deep inside me” refused to accept this. I knew there was perfection and didn’t want to settle for anything less.
I actually see it as two different things:
Seeing the silliness is a specific, in-the-moment, just seeing the general/simple silliness of letting a trigger take away from feeling good. Like, I was out for a walk, and I remembered a thing I have to do at work that I don’t want to do, and started feeling resentful and worrying about it… and then I spotted the trigger and I was able to see that it’s silly to let that take away from enjoying and appreciating. Because whether I worry or not, whether I resent it or not, I’m still out on the walk right now anyway, it won’t mean the work will be done.
But, there is a bigger issue, that of feeling like I have to work / of feeling like I don’t want to work. This recurs and constantly triggers throughout the day and while at work. So, throughout the day I investigate this complex, to see how I tick in particular with regard to the issue, to see why it is I feel that way, to get to the bottom of it, so that the source of the triggers can be unraveled and they don’t arise in the first place.
And this investigation is by far best done while feeling good… to the point where it’s perhaps almost entirely without benefit to do it while not feeling good.
It is true that while feeling good there is no “need” to investigate, per se. I’m already feeling good. So the point of the investigation is not to get to feeling good. Rather, it’s to ensure a more consistent and thorough feeling good by working out an underlying issue.
Ah and for example, if you get triggered and are not feeling good anymore, and you can’t see the silliness, in the moment, and you set it aside and get back to feeling good by the usual means… like waiting or doing something fun, etc… then it’s certainly worth investigating that, once you are feeling good again, so that you can see the silliness next time.
Yes, I think it’s important to not lose perspective of where we should be heading.
We have an understandable bias in the analyses that abound in the forum, focused on the processes that lead from feeling bad to feeling good. However, we should also remember to apply these and other elements to raise the bar and go from feeling good to feeling great, etc.
Although in my case it is much more common to be stuck in feeling good/very good (and in the other direction at most neutral) for long periods without moving to feeling great, it is still being stuck (which deserves to be observed, investigated, etc.).
Being stuck in feeling good — — a good problem to have!
More exactly, I should have said stuck in the dynamics of feeling neutral-good-very good, as you pointed out in Actualism flow diagram - #108 by claudiu
I’ve experienced this too, when investigating a belief / feeling if I can genuinely see the silliness then it dissolves, or at least weakens to a large degree.
The other aspect for me that can weaken a belief / feeling is coming to a new understanding. There is the emotion, but when you weigh it up against the facts and truly understand it for what it is, and where it comes from (often social or instinctive factors) then it can help weaken the feeling and get back to feeling good.
I like this quote from Peters journal:
I recognised the behaviour and feelings in myself, saw the appalling consequences both to my happiness and that of others … and then they simply disappeared. The complete and total understanding of a belief and its accompanying emotions actually results in their elimination.
A recent one for me was related to money. I had several unexpected expenditures in a short period of time and i felt my stress levels rising. What if I can’t pay my bills in future? What if we run out of money?
Upon investigating, I noticed the male “provider” instinct at play, an underlying current of “I need to provide for my family”. It felt like blind nature was prodding me with a sharp stick saying “get a move on!, you need to ensure the survival of your family (and the species)”.
But upon closer inspection, was this stress really helping me provide for my family? No. The stress may help me take action but it actually worsens my performance in my job (which earns me money). Being happy, calm etc is actually better and more likely to help me earn money because I perform better, sleep better, am more amiable etc.
After realising this, the stress dissipated and it should be easier to nip in the bud in future,
I also found this quote from Peters Journal really helpful:
blind nature, wants only reproduction – the survival of the species – and it doesn’t give a damn for my happiness.
I think that moment, ‘working out,’ is the same moment as seeing the silliness. When an issue is understood completely, it’s clear that it’s a silly reason to feel bad. The clear seeing of the silliness results in the more consistent & thorough feeling good, because it no longer interrupts feeling good.
I agree with how you describe it @carpe_vitae
Thinking about it a little more, there is always some element of ‘decision’ still necessary even with ‘understanding’ an issue
‘I’ still have to consciously decide to feel good / see it as silly
Though that is informed by pure intent / memory of PCE / sincere interest in doing the best thing for this body and every body
I’m still trying to piece this together, any input is appreciated!
This was in the back of my mind:
Peter: These thorough investigations will result in realizations, momentous discoveries, which, if combined with one’s sincere intent, will inevitably lead to substantial change. Once a deep investigation reveals the facts of a situation, the realization and acknowledgment of these facts results in change, ‘I’ have no choice in the matter. It is not ‘me’ changing myself but change is the inevitable result of the realization. For a spiritualist, realizations are the be all and end all, the knowledge gained remains intellectual, usually translated into feelings, any experiences are savoured, and ‘I’ claim the credit, becoming even more strengthened and aggrandized. On the spiritual path, realizations lead to a change in consciousness – i.e. a change in how ‘I’ think and feel about life as-it-is. These spiritually conditioned realizations, or insights, about the ‘real world’ invariably lead to affective experiences, which in turn can lead to temporary altered states of consciousness or, for those rare few who lose all grip on reality, a permanent ASC, aka Enlightenment.
For an Actualist, realizations are simply a serendipitous by-product of their investigations into their ‘self’. It is clear that it is ‘I’ who have realizations or startling insights into the Human Condition in general, and about ‘my’ feelings, emotions and behaviour in particular. These realizations, if combined with an uncorrupted objective in life, can lead to irrevocable change and it is actual change that an Actualist seeks – not just imagining or feeling that one has changed.
The discoveries of an Actualist will usually be accompanied by a feeling of ‘how could have I been so stupid not to have seen this before? How could I possibly have believed that for all those years? There is an acknowledgement of success firmly based on the tangible evidence of becoming more happy and more harmless confirmed by the increasing ease of interactions with one’s fellow human beings.
This makes a lot of sense to me. There is a choice but it’s not like I can just manually, wilfully, choose to remove an emotion at will. But when I investigate fully and I realise that something is silly or counter productive then the change happens automatically. An ‘a-ha’ moment that makes it dissolve.
Could you summarize/punctualize what you think are the pieces you are trying to put together?
What is the role of ‘clear seeing’ of the facts of the matter in investigation (choiceless), and what is the role of any decision to be happy and harmless / that it is silly to be unhappy?
One does an appraisal of a person, a thing or an event: ‘That’s useful; that’s not. That is silly; that is sensible’. Of course one does this. How on earth can one conduct one’s affairs without appraising, without reviewing, in some way?
It is helpful to rid oneself of the concept of ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ and utilise ‘silly’ and ‘sensible’. You will be a lot better off. For example: It is silly to be unhappy, it is sensible to be happy.
Please, do not use ‘silly’ and ‘sensible’ as a substitute for moralistic values … that would defeat the purpose. It is a practical, everyday, common-sense thing: ‘How am I feeling at this moment?’ or ‘Am I feeling good?’ or ‘Am I feeling bad?’ … ‘Oh that’s silly, I’ll do something about myself until I feel good’. Simply, it is sensible to feel good. This is my moment of being alive – I am not alive five minutes ago, nor am I alive five minutes ahead. This is my only moment of being here. How am I experiencing this moment? If I am not experiencing it well now, when will I? It will be a ‘now’ moment when I do, so why not make this ‘now’ moment … this one that is happening right now. Why waste it by feeling rotten? Why not enjoy it?
From audio-taped dialogues, ‘it is either silly or sensible’
I see it as: you decide that this feeling-bad sucks, and that you have to do something about it. You decide to undergo the investigation. You undertake the investigation. You look at it from all angles, etc. etc.
Then, once you clearly see the facts – that is the ending of the belief or the issue. After this, there’s no choice anymore - you can’t ‘choose’ to have that issue be a problem again. You’ve already seen it isn’t. It would be like trying to choose to feel angry that you don’t have a unicorn, or something silly like that. You wouldn’t be able to do it.
This is my experience anyway – I agree, once I see the fact, that is the end of the issue.