Non-Affective ASCs vs PCEs and Actual Freedom

I’ve had some (apparently) non-affective ASCs in the past after I’ve made attempts to self-immolate. There can be variations, but usually it’s like this.

As I’m going through my dramatic ‘deathbed’ scene, at some point there’s a looming sense of something imminent, then it seems I’ve crossed a threshold. The noise in ‘me’ stops. There’s a silence and stillness. Then I notice that I’m not feeling any emotions. It seems like I’ve passed a point of no return. “It’s happened!!!” (No it hasn’t).

I don’t want to touch it at first, because I don’t want to sabotage it if it’s still in progress. I don’t want to bring ‘me’ rushing back in. But after a while I try to trigger myself with painful memories or gruesome scenarios, and there’s still no feeling response. For a few hours, I think I’m probably actually free.

But it isn’t that great. It’s not like a PCE. There’s no sparkling, magical wonderland (well, not constantly). But I do enjoy the absence of unpleasant feelings and baseline stress. At times it’s very light, joyous and fun, and it verges on the magical. It’s not fully what I expected, I can’t deny it. But I tell myself that, unlike a PCE, actual freedom doesn’t have a ‘wow’ factor, and it’ll get better as I settle into it :laughing: Or maybe actual freedom has been oversold and it’s not that great after all? :thinking: :Have I made a mistake? :thinking: Oh well, if I have, it’s too late to go back, and it’s too late to even regret it, because I can’t feel regret!

For a while afterwards, I notice that there are still bodily and cognitive tensions, but I figure the body and mind are used to being flooded with feelings, it’s like it’s automatically bracing itself for feelings that never arrive. I tell myself that this might be the ‘guardian’ :laughing:

Sometimes it can take a day (or two at most?) to find out it’s not actual freedom. Then there’s a mixture of disappointment and relief. Disappointment because I still have work to do and have to start again, and relief because it wasn’t that great anyway.

I’ve had some affective ASCs that actually are stunning, but the non-affective ones are usually quite bland like this. Apparently it’s not like that for everyone!

I’ve learned from these that the hallmark for me will not be the absence of feeling. It will be the direct experience of supreme existential clarity, with absolutely nothing standing in the way of peace, freedom and perfection. If it’s possible in a PCE, it’s possible.


Yes!! Exactly. That’s the actuality-mimicking ASCs that I’ve experienced. It could be as if I wrote it myself.

I wouldn’t call it “non-affective” as there isn’t really an absence of affect. Rather the affect is being repressed, it doesn’t reach conscious awareness. I’ve also had the experience in these that I don’t feel people’s vibes anymore. The way I would normally feel it out doesn’t work anymore.

It happened to me too where I try to trigger myself and it doesn’t work.

What always pulls me out of it, and in hindsight this is always there from the start, is there’s a feeling (albeit not experienced as a feeling) of disappointment, right at the beginning. Eventually I allow myself to go back there and then it sort of un-does itself. I feel awful afterwards for maybe a day or two, I would categorize it as a traumatic experience.

It’s really rather pernicious (a word I am liking recently :smile:). A total subversion of turning feelings into not-feelings. Sincerity is ultimately the way out. I can see how one might remain in such a place for a long time if one wanted to and was cunning enough.


I had one for over two weeks before. It was quite amazing, fraudulent but a real nice vacation away from feeling anxious all the time. Iirc, a few very brief feelings would get through daily, which made me doubt the authenticity of this no-vibe clarity type experience. Eventually, I was able to hold onto one of these feelings and dig into it. Then I came out of the ASC and felt like dog shit for a few days.

OTOH, not all prolonged experiences are ASCs. I have had equally long times where I was face to face with pure intent and infinitude. Sadly, those ended too. Maybe due to a lack of focus, maybe due to outside pressures to be somebody. Idk.


The closest I can remember to this kind of experience was after doing vipassana for a while and getting to a point where initially I thought I eliminated negative emotions but later found that they were simply turned into physical symptoms, but this started to become clear within a couple of days as those symptoms in the body would build like a pressure cooker.

But then when you guys experienced these ASC was there still the experience of never ending perfection and purity? And a great sensual delight?

I remember a very brief experience of actual intimacy I think last week which I wrote about, which funnily enough was the same as Milito writing about smelling his co-workers shit and still delighting :joy: As I had walked into my toilet after my house-mate and still this unassailable purity was there lol.

It seems in the ASC ‘I’ would still create a barrier of sorts and prevent this experience of actual intimacy.

So in the ASC there might appear to be the lack of affect but is there also the presence of perfection and purity?

No, not for me, and that should have been a giveaway. It would be now.

Right this is what I was thinking, if the category one is going by is (apparent) lack of affect then I can see how this kind of ASC could happen. But if the category one is going by is the presence of perfection and purity, of that same flavour that the PCE demonstrates then it might become clear soon what is going on.

I have this experience every now and then where I spontaneously rememorate a PCE and every time that magical flavour is tasted it is unmistakably actuality, it’s one of a kind. My guess is that flavour is nowhere to be found in such a ASC as ‘I’ will cast a blanket of sorts.

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Well it goes something like this. There will be a little bit of it, but not like in a PCE or strong EE. But the excuse will be like oh I’m still adjusting, there’s more to go, only in full freedom is that nonstop etc.

Always the excuses. Like oh that was an emotion? No it was physical hangover from having been a feeling-being, it’ll go away etc.

There’s endless ways one can trick oneself!

Yeah it seems so, it makes me think back to what Richard did to come out of Enlightenment and go beyond into actual freedom. What is the quality which allows one to never settle, it’s pure intent. That little voice of disappointment is because one has already tasted perfection and purity before.


Me too. They ended with me drifting back to normal, always triggered by something conditional that I gave higher priority at the time (usually relationship stuff), then a drift back into old habits.

What started one of those periods is probably more interesting. It was seeing that ‘I’ don’t really want to be happy.

If you ask anyone “Do you want to be happy?” they’d say yes, and so would I, but for me it was only true in abstract way. I liked being happy, but I couldn’t honestly say I wanted to be happy, because if I looked at any random five-minute slice of my inner life, what I found was a constant, uneasy preoccupation with securing the conditions of my conditional well-being, moment by moment. How can that work? It’s ordinary human unhappiness. How can I ever be happy if I’m doing/being this ordinary human unhappiness 24 hours a day? Everyone thinks they want to be happy, but this is what they’re doing, and it’s what I’m doing too.

The first time I saw it this clearly, it triggered a few weeks of something like what you described. Or it showed me that it was in my hands to allow that and get on board with it, and I did.

It was like one of those Actualism 101 things that you think you already get, but you really don’t until you do. If I want to feel good (happy and harmless) unconditionally, I can only do that by prioritising it. (Ah, so they meant put it above these conditional moment-by-moment things :laughing:) I could still attend to all those conditional things, but my basic well-being can’t be tied to them or I’ll be unhappy. (Which is okay too, if I choose it knowingly).

It still works this way, including when my well-being does depend on certain conditions. I’ve done a lot of that, quite knowingly, and learned a lot from it.

The other great thing about these times is finding out just how amazing ordinary human happiness can feel. For me, feeling good used to hit its upper limits pretty quickly because of the next conditional thing coming up, but when that doesn’t happen, it’s like, wow, there’s really no limit to how great this can get!! I remember the first time being blown away that it was so simple and clear, didn’t need any special skills, wasn’t an altered state of consciousness, better than any drug, and anyone can do it. Again, Actualism 101.

Those times still aren’t the norm for me, but they’re more available than I thought, and my baseline isn’t a million miles from it. I think what’s probably more important in the long run, the baseline is becoming more resilient/durable because of seeing how all this works and what my voluntary role in it is.