I think the other part to it is that most of us have a life long habit of avoiding/ignoring bad feelings or feeling bad plainly feels normal.

I can definitely relate to going through hours where on some level I know I am not feeling good but I am not willing to do anything about it, I just let it play out. At some point then I must make a conscious decision to do something about it and that starts with admitting to myself squarely that I am not feeling good, then I must do something about it. Then some digging around has to happen. This is probably what I am avoiding as it does entail moving away from this habitual state that I am in.

The thing is that for a lot of us the baseline before actualism was grim and glum for many years so any movement away from that will require conscious effort, initially.

It’s like learning a new skill in sport, if I’ve done a thousand incorrect reps this is now how I perform the movement, to do it incorrectly feels normal. Then any movement away from this feels effortful, difficult, easy to fall back etc until of course I have intentionally shifted this each moment again into a new ‘normal’ and so it goes onto the next little increment.


Actually writing this post reminded me of the simplicity of all this. Human beings as we are at the moment are stuck in a very perverse and sticky habit of being miserable and malicious. This habit is a very complex one because it is socially justified and enforced, it also comes with a powerful affective backing. But it is just that at the end of the day, can I break this habit? How do I break the habit? Well its like anything else in life, I notice when the habit kicks in and I decline to go with it, instead I do that thing which builds a new habit, a better habit, one of being happy and harmless.


The last thing that pops up for me here is that just as much as feeling miserable and malicious is strongly habituated and enforced since childhood, the ‘enjoyment and appreciation muscle’ is rarely used and so it is hard to even locate, focus on, emphasise etc to begin with.

To break a habit I must first of all understand what the habit is but I must also understand what the new habit is. Well the problem is that feeling good can almost be forgotten to some extent. Because all I have been habituating for years is to bounce from the good to the bad, the felicitous is shoved out of sight and locked away. So initially all of ‘me’ is slanted towards this habituated way of being, the miserable and malicious way and all of ‘me’ is equally slanted away from the felicitous. So I must begin slowly but surely tipping the scales.



None of it’s wasted though, finding out what doesn’t work is a huge reason I even became interested in actualism. Finding out that I couldn’t really do it “as advertised” was always a huge disappointment.

That’s why, even though this isn’t AFT supportable, seperating the commitment to feeling good, from the results allows for less disappointment. One doesn’t doubt that the decision was made, and alone is an significant difference from the ‘normal’ wishy-washy psychic instability. It becomes a lens through which everything is judged.

Like deciding to find a cure for cancer; once made, all the research dollars, time, equipment is all around that goal. Deciding to find a cure for cancer, and actually finding a cure, are obviously two different things.

I see you are wondering what it is that others are doing differently. I think the answer is in the question. Wondering, genuinely, about “how can I approach this differently” is a very large percentage of “finding the cure”.

No one sets out to cure cancer, then brings back some mediaeval superstition, or other failure and says “it doesn’t work, it so unfair!”.

It doesn’t work and it has already been extensively proven not to work.

The same principle can guide wonder. One knows what is currently being tried isn’t working. So, what else? What different angles? What belief (like mediaeval cures) are in the way?

No joke but this is exactly what it was like for me :laughing: and looking back it was so ridiculously difficult because I was making it so, but nevertheless my experience was that at times I was thinking “this is an impossibility”. I remember initially looking at Richards advice that one must undo ALL the conditioning… I was thinking he must be kidding! :laughing: There’s too much, it’s all too strong, too complex, too painful to allow myself to experience, the authority of the ‘wisdom’ is too strong etc

It’s like I was this little pathetic creature looking ahead at this absolute mountain of conditioning and thinking “there is no way I could ever shift ALL of it”.

But in my experience so far Richard was not kidding haha, Eventually one by one I went through every little bit of rubble that comprised that huge mountain (obv there is still stuff left). But it really is possible to get to a point where I look at this mountain and it seems kinda small now, not so scary anymore.

At least it makes sense to me: awareness of one’s feelings alone is not enough. What might be missing then to feel good on a more continuous basis?

Three elements (there were more) that helped me:

  • wanting to feel good (happy and harmless at the end)
  • wanting to be here and now
  • pure intent.

Since pure intent derives from experiencing PCEs, let’s leave it aside because I understand you haven’t experienced them yet (hence your comment about “sincere intent” in Kuba’s journal).

So for a long time two of the biggest problems I faced on a daily basis practicing AF were not wanting to feel good/better by myself when I felt bad/worse, and not wanting to be here and now (wanting to be somewhere else/at another time, and a semi-permanent feeling of general rejection for this world) by myself.

So the practice of HAIETMOBA had a limit of effectiveness to feel good because when I managed to become aware of unpleasant emotional states I did not want to suffer them (because they felt unpleasant, of course, and unpleasantness is aversive) but often I also found myself not wanting to change that state by myself.

Although I understood (perhaps wrongly) that you don’t want to read any more AFT material, let me quote these two short excerpts somewhat related to both issues:

VINEETO: […] And yes, you will find that it is initially hard work to feel good or feel happy for extended periods of time as you will find a myriad of excuses and so-called justified reasons for being annoyed, feeling sad, being bored and so on. This is why understanding that this moment is the only moment you can experience being alive is vitally important because then you will be less inclined to waste this moment by frittering it away by not feeling good about being here. You are here anyway, and it is now, and it can only ever be now, so why not make it your business to enjoy being here?
V – Actual Freedom Mailing List Correspondent # 48

RESPONDENT: Now I have some questions for you. ‘Why you want to be happy and harmless?
RICHARD: As I do not want to be happy and harmless I cannot answer your question … I have been here, in the perfection of this actual world, all along simply having a ball.
In other words: it was the identity within who desired happiness and harmlessness … and ‘he’ desired it like ‘he’ had never desired anything before.
RESPONDENT: Is this not a desire?
RICHARD: It was for the identity within … ‘twas the mother of all desires, in fact.
Selected Correspondence: Hedonism & Anhedonia

Ths is because I remembered that you had said some things about those two issues:

So from what I have read from your writings you have an intention to be happy and harmless (even if it does not derive from a PCE; it doesn’t matter) and, therefore, also to feel good. But as far as I understand it, you don’t want to feel good by “your” means: you want it to happen by itself.

So I understand that you don’t want to perform tasks/take deliberate actions that, at least, make you feel good feelings more often; neither do you want to take actions that deliberately tend to generate felicitous feelings. You want them to happen by themselves by merely observing/feel/ (or even being) your feelings.

I assume (because as far as I know you have not referred to this issue from this perspective) that the same happens to you regarding being here and now at every moment (and may be in this world in general): that you do not want it to happen, but that it happens by itself as a product of observing/feeling/being your feelings

Although I didn’t delve into why I so often didn’t want to feel good and/or be here and now (and in this world in general) by my own means -despite my dislike and whishing to feel better somehow-, if what I observed/wrote about your words is more or less correct, those MIGHT be two of the differences (pure intention aside, I repeat) that separate you from the success (relatively speaking) you perceive in others, which indeed it’s not exclusively due to the ability to merely apply HAIETMOBA.


Honestly this seems like pretty good results… if you’re coming from a really difficult place, then getting a taste of feeling good is a success. What good does comparing to others do? Comparing to your own experience, feeling good for an hour seems to be progress. It means you’re going in the right direction.

There is no denying that actualism calls for effort, especially early on. Tackle as much as you can, as you can. There is excellence in being someone that ‘puts the work in.’

Careful of it becoming too ‘grueling’ though… look for an energy of excitement if possible. What could be more exciting than to commit oneself wholeheartedly to a challenging task?

1 Like

Wow, so many quality replies! Thanks alot!

This needs some consideration; if I’m later to comment. But to answer @Miguel quickly: One thing that to some degree has occupied my thinking lately, is this general sensation of aversion. I just don’t know why I feel it - it’s like an inpenetrable wall - separating me from the joys of this moment. It’s really in the way of feeling good (as I experience it).

I guess I need to want to be here duh. I like to pounder on ‘this moment’ and ‘wanting to be here’. It feels so positive and constructive. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

I see that my post is not very well written, but here I meant to say that I had not delved/developed the whys in the previous paragraphs, not that I didn’t do it in my life (in fact, it was crucial to be able to break down [at least part of] my own “wall”). I can describe them later if you want.

One thing that’s become increasingly clear to me is that I can’t be feeling something without me “really” feeling something, if that makes sense.

For example in the past I would feel annoyed at a person. But I would say I’m not ‘really’ annoyed at them, I just feel annoyance but I ‘know’ it’s a silly reaction so I don’t “intent” the annoyance even if I experience the feeling of it.

Or with desire, like… I feel a desire for this person or that thing, but I don’t ‘really’ want that, I don’t pursue it, therefore I don’t ‘really’ desire it.

But what I come to see is that this is just denial! If I am feeling annoyed it’s because I am annoyed, whether ego-me wants to be annoyed or not. If I feel desire it’s because I actually want that thing, whether I want to be wanting it or not. Desire is how I as a feeling being want things!

So when you write this about aversion here — it’s not (just) that you feel this aversion (that you don’t wanna feel). Rather it’s that you are actually being averse to something! It’s not clear specifically what you’re being averse to, but nevertheless you are.

When I write it out here it sounds kind of like an obvious thing but it has had profound implications for me. I’m not sure if it’s helpful, would be curious if it is!

1 Like

What you write @claudiu makes me think to something mentioned in the ASA article :

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’ … for one is already possessed.

This is interesting because it seems there are 2 ways of experiencing emotions. There is looking at it which involves on some level a splitting of myself so that one part is examining the other (this might be inevitable to some degree in order to carry out the investigation) and there is what you mention about seeing that I am actually being sad as a totality so then I can make the choice (again as a totality) to move towards feeling good again.

I’m not really going anywhere with it so far but it’s just something I have noticed :thinking:


Cheers @claudiu

That’s fantastic. It’s the next piece in the puzzle.

It fits nicely beside something you said ages ago, about one doesn’t have to go searching often, whatever one is thinking about, probably is the trigger/issue.

I think it’s like, compare these:

  1. I desire X
  2. I desire X but I don’t really want X
  3. There is a human desire for X
  4. There is a human desire for X but I don’t really want X

#2 and #4 you are just lying to yourself :grin:

#1 is the normal non-lying-to-yourself way :smiley: .

#3 I think is more like how emotions are experienced in an EE. They lose their ‘possessive’ quality but I see it’s still ‘me’ – I see this even more clearly than usual – but there’s a sort of a ‘distance’ from it. Or maybe a lack of taking it seriously . . .


Right yeah either way it must be seen that I am indeed being that emotion. I guess the difference is that going the route of ‘I am sad’ I have now entered the arena where I might build a story of why I am sad, what I should be doing, how it’s because of this and that reason… essentially building a story.

Seeing ‘human sadness’ with attentiveness I still see that this feeling is ‘me’ but I cut this ‘storymaking’ short.

1 Like

Do you still experience this, when you can go for long periods of time, stuck in not feeling good and being unwilling to do anything about it?

I certainly have long periods where I get stuck Infront of the computer mindlessly roaming the internet; watching YouTube and what not. I don’t feel bad, but I don’t feel good either and I don’t apply the method while doing it. I’m just stuck in this habitual loop of multimedia addiction.

This is what I’m currently working on, trying to break this and other pretty hardcoded habits through HAIETMOBA and of course: the ever increasing wanting/desire to actually apply the method.

Addiction is typically about avoidance, what are you doing / feeling the moments before you start using media addictively? There may be a trigger or theme to dig into there which is preventing feeling good


I had to observe myself over the weekend to be able to give a proper answer cos I wasn’t sure haha.

I would say I no longer go through prolonged periods where there is some form of feeling bad in place and I am unwilling to do anything about it.

There are however times where there is some form of feeling bad and I experience issues getting back to feeling good, the feeling bad persists/hangs on to some degree.

So for example, there is a certain level of anxiety that I tend to experience before doing my hen party jobs on a weekend (some kind of performance anxiety), it is nothing too problematic but there is certainly this anxious undertone which prevents enjoyment and appreciation.

I am aware of it as it is happening, I attempt to get back to feeling good, I attempt to explore it fully etc however it seems to be a very deeply ingrained affective response so often times all I am left with is experiencing it fully and sort of allowing it to run itself out. Then next time it happens I get another chance to chip away at it.

I was actually thinking about this sorta thing a lot over the weekend (the persistent feeling patterns), I will write a post later when I get a chance.

What I suspect is going on here is a form of avoidance. This is something that I did a ton of in the past, I think it relates to the fact that it is somewhat less painful to succumb to a bland/numb state than to become intimately familiar with your emotional landscape.

Obviously Actualism is about enjoying and appreciating however as you begin to apply attentiveness to your inner world you will begin to sharply experience things which you may have been avoiding for years. I think this is why you might be going for the numb/bland state instead.

Because if you were to apply attentiveness to what is happening you might notice that this blandness all of a sudden starts to become a concoction of various feeling tones, various flavours which are becoming sharper. To experience these things deeply can be a gold-mine for actually changing yourself but it can be daunting/painful to do this at times. To experience those feelings which you have been doing your best to shove into a corner for years.


Below is what I was referring to if you are interested

I can relate to the deeply ingrained feelings - these would for example be a sense of social anxiety in my case. These feelings can almost be described as being at the essence of me and thus they seem so very real or ‘hard coded’ (no nipping anything in the bud here!) My further question to you would be:

Have you ever managed to ‘chip away’ at any other deeply ingrained identity stuff - finally to have it removed completely?

Yes I have! there is quite a few that have disappeared more or less completely. To be honest up until committing to actualism I was a bit of a mess, I was in a perpetual state of anxiety and stress to a point where I was forever exhausted, always suffering and even my body felt stiff, painful and in general I always felt extremely uncomfortable.

The main one that I wrote about here a few times was this body dysmorphia situation I was carrying for many years which left me continually in stress. This thing has pretty much disappeared now and at one point it consumed every bit of my being, I remember at its peak I used to think that if only I could eradicate this one thing my life would be complete.

There’s a bunch of others that were also very persistent and overwhelming and they have disappeared too, so I have no doubt that it is possible for you too.

1 Like