Shank's Journal

  • I’ve reached this weird territory in my relationship with a non-actualist. Initially there was a lot of fun time together, but due to the whole Covid times and long-distance for a very extended time, things have fallen apart…

  • She is in an insecure place and now thinks she cannot be with an actualist(We haven’t broken up yet) because she misses the missing and longing feelings and I couldn’t help but say “Ain’t you free of these negative feelings?”…But then addiction to suffering has such a strong attraction and to give up that would mean not remaining “human” anymore.

  • She says, she doesn’t love me so she’s worried what will hold us together in the long term and doesn’t understand what is the meaning of our (ultra-rare these days) physically intimate moments without the feelings…like we are probably just friends with benefits

  • From my end I said, what can hold us together is mutual care, support and to have fun together…but this is not enough for her…which is quite understandable.(I’m not AF but I recall how it was difficult for Irene to live with Richard)

  • I know for sure what actual intimacy is like in comparison to love, so I simply cannot go back to the love route. Its obviously a route of suffering and boy I don’t want all that on my death bed…5 mins of living free is obviously much better than lifetime of ups n downs of the feeling being life.

  • However, the prospect of losing her has put me into a few insecure thoughts - how will i get physically intimate ? (The seks drive !) Its good to have a partner when sick…Heck, its also fun to have someone to talk to occasionally and all I gotta do is fall in love and get all the advantages of a relationship that come with it.

I think I know the answer to all these insecurities as I’ve experienced in the past - the solution lies in being sensuous with the universe…the universe is always there…permanently…It never goes away…if it goes away, these letters won’t type out here. So I can rely on the universe as an ever-present thing(without making it into a God of sorts)


Hmm possibly in your not going down the love route you are also inadvertently preventing intimacy from flourishing ?

Sex is by far not the only time/place/activity to enjoy intimacy with the other.

There’s the delicious intimacy of simply being together, sharing a meal, goofing around, going on a walk together, etc. There can be such an incredibly fine intimacy, clear, crisp, thoroughly enjoyable, with nothing ‘heavy’ in the air, and a richness in being with your partner. And this is far far more than just being with a friend … it is an excellent and thoroughly rich intimacy that is as if it is in the very air itself.

I would say, if you want the association to continue, that the answer lies not in being sensuous with the universe but in being sensuous / intimate with her. If she is able to experience such intimacy with you then it might be possible for her to see how love is redundant at that point. But without the third alternative clearly in view then there remain only two options for her: the traditional love and the traditional “not love”/“friends with benefits”.

I will qualify all this by saying I know very little of the particulars of the situation, and there’s no guarantee it will work anyway… but from what I read here it seems that intimacy is what is lacking.

Possibly there is also an element of avoidance of love rather than a choosing not to go there. If love is appealing in any way it means you haven’t thoroughly seen it… and the best way to see it is to, with pure intent firmly in place, allow yourself to stop avoiding it, feel it fully, and see the workings / intricacies etc of it first-hand again (if it’s not the first time).


“Hmm possibly in your not going down the love route you are also inadvertently preventing intimacy from flourishing ?”
“Possibly there is also an element of avoidance of love rather than a choosing not to go there. If love is appealing in any way it means you haven’t thoroughly seen it… and the best way to see it is to, with pure intent firmly in place, allow yourself to stop avoiding it, feel it fully, and see the workings / intricacies etc of it first-hand again (if it’s not the first time).”

  • Oh yes, but remember that affectionate intimacy is what happens when going the love route…and I have already had a long failed loving relationship with its full gamut of issues much before this current one(and it was that very failed loving relationship with all its issues which thrust me to find a better solution in Buddhism…and then Actualism).

“I would say, if you want the association to continue, that the answer lies not in being sensuous with the universe but in being sensuous / intimate with her. If she is able to experience such intimacy with you then it might be possible for her to see how love is redundant at that point. But without the third alternative clearly in view then there remain only two options for her: the traditional love and the traditional “not love”/“friends with benefits”.”

  • I don’t think its possible to the uninitiated with the Actualism paradigm to be aware of naive intimacy…She has zero interest in knowing about Actualism. So more likely, affectionate intimacy will dominate or it may take over what was naive intimacy…

Come to think of it, its strange that in 3 years of relationship I’ve never seen my actual girlfriend(I’ve seen many others) because a complex of emotions filters things with her…but it does sound like a good thing to investigate and aim for direct intimacy !


Well you can’t control her side of it - but what I meant is to lead by example. If you yourself are naively intimate - which only requires you (it does not require her) - then you will be demonstrating by the lived example what it’s like. She doesn’t even have to know you are doing anything “actualist” or what it’s called. But, to put it simply, she might just like being around you when you are like that :). And if she doesn’t … better for both of you to find out sooner so you can each find an appropriate partner.

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I’ve been having some similar challenges for the duration of my relationship. A lot of it for me has been misconceptions both on my part and her part of what it means to be together without love. For awhile that looked like me being pretty robotic. More recently it has involved me using actualism to cherry-pick the parts of the relationship that were convenient for me, and side-stepping anything she was asking of me. Just another way of scoring points. The giveaway was that I was still feeling angry when I wasn’t getting what I wanted from her.

I think that being in that halfway zone carries some risks, as there is a lot still being figured out.

I’m sure it helps to have a relationship where both parties are wanting to become free, as Richard and Devika and Vineeto and Peter did. But it’s definitely not a requirement. What’s in the way of intimacy, from your side? And it’s worth questioning what blocks she’s holding up, as well. They are relevant. What’s in the way of being a ‘big happy kid, wanting for her happiness,’ as @Srinath says upon becoming free?

And, I think you’re on to something big with the recognition that there’s more to life than relationship/sex.

My partner has recently asked for some separation for eerily similar reasons.

Her asking for that revealed in me a lot of contradictions that I had been evading for a long time. I wasn’t really that happy. I was dragging her into my miseries and making her a teddy-bear. The relationship was just a way for me to cover up my unhappiness, and then I would feel resentful toward her when it wasn’t working (which… duh).

Now I’m challenged to genuinely find that larger happiness rather than just finding another teddy bear.

All this to say, that of course hanging out with another person is a lovely thing, and sex is wonderful. But if they’re just masking deeper contradictions, that just means more discomfort for everyone.


Yes, exactly this…I’ve done this quite a lot !..Its like “Hey, your expectation as a feeling being is selfish. But at least, such and such I can expect from you because these are like basic rules of 2 people coming together” ( which is just a selfish way of getting what I want ). But not going to castigate myself - this psychic maze is quite complex

I developed a bit of resentment towards her because I was not getting what I wanted and it took me a while to realize I was doing this. Its amazing how many times the first principle is forgotten - that there is only one person in the world I have to change - which is myself.

When it comes to intimacy (as-in the sincere kinds and not the usual affectionate one), I have to admit - I completely forgot about bringing this to attention because this whole “Covid psyche” put me back for quite some time. Now things seem to be getting better.

She now realizes that she needs love and affection expressed(which wasn’t the case earlier), but her situation is understandable because she had no interest in Actualism and wants to continue experiencing all kinds of emotions forever…including sadness

Btw…did you experience intimacy with your partner…the naive kinds ?

Exactly… I’m understanding much deeply that “people, event and things” is a very unreliable source of happiness because of its quicksand like nature…very easy to fall apart…Instead this “larger happiness” can come from something ever-present and permanent - which is the universe itself.


I wonder if her position changed because you changed in some way? As you said, the ‘covid psyche’ ‘set you back’ for a time. Perhaps you have had less enjoyment, less intimacy, and she has picked up on that… and then blamed it on the lack of love & affection - which only makes sense as a scapegoat, coming from ‘humanity.’

My partner said something similar I think for the same reason.

And contra to that when I’ve been doing well and she’s been doing well, there were no such desires for more lovey-dovey stuff… because it just wasn’t necessary. We were having too good a time.

Sometimes. Not all the time. We went through some chaotic and difficult times which developed some trauma and resentment/discomfort. But there was still a lot of enjoyment, sweetness, sincerity there too.

A shift I underwent about a month ago has consisted of expecting different things from people. Before I had always been hunting for the perfect people (in friends and lovers) who could ‘keep up,’ who had sufficient purity to be ‘worth my time,’ and trying to push people to be where I wanted them to be for my comfort.

I had an experience with a close friend, and I had been reading Richard’s accounts of how Devika was ‘kidnapped by love,’ that illustrated that everyone has ‘fear walls’ that keep them entrapped in certain belief-areas. It’s not that some people have walls and some people don’t, every human has walls. It’s just a question of where they’re located.

So really what I had been doing was holding out for some free people to hang out with, but that wasn’t likely to happen considering that there are 7 or 8 in the world right now.

Since then my approach has been much more just meeting people where they are, not being surprised when those walls pop up, and instead focusing on when my own fear-walls pop up and I’m the one contributing to the ruckus.

I had been very much ‘holding out’ for the coolest/chillest friends to magically appear, for the most understanding & fun partner to magically appear, when in actuality there is no such beast. For such people to exist, it has to be us. We are the pioneers. And I was only looking for such people because I felt alone, because I was insecure.

I think normal people have a much easier excuse than we do, because they can forever blame problems on not having enough of a dream (love) and shift blame to the other.

We don’t have any such excuse. We’ve already seen around the corner, we already know that there’s a better way. It’s just a question of getting on with it.


I thought of one more thing - there’s a definite sweetness that comes when recognizing that the other is experiencing / putting up a wall, but not responding with a wall from my own side. Just seeing that that’s what they’re doing, ‘ok that is understandable’ and letting them be. I had previously always taken it as a sort of offense, as evidence that I was ‘alone,’ or that they weren’t good enough. I don’t need them to be intimate, for me to be intimate.

I think that’s more often seen when people are dealing with children, there’s usually more understanding when a child is having a difficult time. But it’s not so different with adults.


Awesome @henryyyyyyyyyy I really enjoyed that post :raised_hands:

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Yes, agreed nice post. Agree with Claudiu too.

And I wonder if the accounts of relationships on the AFT are all that helpful really. There is a danger of the actualist relationship becoming some sort of mythical and idealised thing that one is always comparing ones own relationship to. Peter and Vineeto weren’t together all that long after-all. And despite his successes, Richards relationship failures are well publicised.

The fantasy of an ‘actualist relationship’ can end up actively blocking ones efforts in ones own relationship. It sort of becomes a scapegoat or placeholder for everything wrong in the relationship and covers up ones own deficiencies. When maybe more attention can be put into care, attentiveness, resolving differences, improving communication, having better sex/intimacy. Seeing how one can embody happiness and harmlessness in the relationship as opposed to seeing actualism like some kind of political affiliation.

Even after actual freedom, relationships still require some work I find. Ultimately though it does make things way easier.

@Shashank, you are a feeling being. So naturally your moments of intimacy with your girlfriend will be marked by affect - at least mostly. I’m wondering if you are holding back in some way out of an idea that you want naive intimacy, such that she experiences you a cool, sterile, distant, absent? I’m wondering how she would be able to tell the difference otherwise. Or is it that she is the kind of girl that wants a genuinely passionate partner - someone who frequently tells her he loves her for instance? Of course it could be that you are not compatible, in which case its perfectly fine to go your own separate ways.


The “Covid psyche” is something that I experienced as a mild constant pall over any experiencing and it was only preventing enjoyment from the full of my being, but still that did not lead to anything negative between us+. Infact, she would say that I’m quite upbeat despite all the Covid nonsense going on.

If I have to give a visual analogy, the “real” world feels like this grey film over actuality, but this “Covid psyche” felt like this additional black very transparent film over actuality…all of this is just of “my” making !

Its only in the past few weeks I came to know all kinds of hidden stuff from her side. Basically yes, now she wants the whole intense passionate thing with frequent expression of love( By saying it ) and this was not something she ever communicated earlier. As a feeling being, I sure did have a mix of affectionate intimacy build up in the fun times too but I was clear from the beginning, I do not want to keep expressing all this and she was ok with it at the time.

On top of that, I came to know another major thing just few days back, which I never knew - When we started dating, she had gone through 2 major emotional traumas (a breakup after a very long relationship and the grief at the loss of her closest relative) within a span of few months. So she was not interested in starting another emotional thing and found me to be quite fun as I provided her a good distraction and took her mind off. In her own words, she said “It will be difficult to date a non-actualist after me”…so I think, I was pretty much on the right track

So how did that resentment build up against her ? (This is the only part where I went “incorrect” as an actualist afaik)…Basically she had too many constraints from her side preventing a physical meetup(some reasons were genuine like lockdowns and some others sounded silly)…so much so, that we met after 1.5 years despite living in the same country(and for more than a month or so we were just about 20 mins away) and then a sure promise to meetup was made,only to be broken later…all this lead to the buildup of resentment, because I thought “Hey when 2 people are together, they gotta meet!”…First principles of Actualism brungeth to the fore big time again - that I can only change myself !

So where is the relationship now ? I’ve told her that the ball is in her court to decide as she is the one with new expectations and blockages so we are waiting for things to unfold further…I doubt things will workout because the instinctual pull of affectionate intimacy is too strong ( perhaps more so for women !)…Heck, we all know where even Irene went despite the extended OFC VF

On my end, I am a bit torn between succumbing on one hand to more n more affectionate intimacy with her just so that I don’t loose her ( which in turn is about loosing the goodies such as sex, care, support, someone to hangout with etc ) and the lure of actual intimacy (which is like a Billion USD in value compared to the meagre cents that affectionate love is ). A bit confusing maze that I’m figuring out at the moment

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Could be a good time to see if you can have a PCE or EE to remind yourself of what the options are, give yourself some perspective and maybe that maze will make a bit more sense

And there are no rules in actualism saying you can’t use words to appreciate someone, I remember this coming from Peter surprising me awhile back because he was just expressing a lot of appreciation for Vineeto in a way that we usually associate with love:

Peter said to me, ‘Hello, how are you? Good that you are here!’ ‘Here’ obviously meant that there existed a place outside my belief-systems! I turned round, out of my shock and bewilderment, into the actual world, and saw that I was simply sitting on the couch with Peter. Here was someone sitting next to me, another human being, not particularly a man, lover or boyfriend. Just a human being, smiling and pleased to meet me, eager to explore with me the next event in life. He is interested. And I am interested. Who is this person? What will happen next? What will he say next? What will we do next? It is exciting, alive, right here and a great pleasure!”

I can understand how it might be strange to say “I love you” when you’re an actualist, but to be fair as long as you’re human you are, in fact, probably in love with her! I do tend to shy away from leaning into that language as well though because I think it’s a bit of sending mixed messages. But there is nothing wrong with using words to express appreciation for the other. Maybe she will take it as love, but humans are always taking everything as love or hate anyway, there’s not any getting away from that.

Also given that it’s a new belief that she needs these words of affirmation, I suspect that there’s a deeper cause and that belief, “I need words of affirmation,” is just a human way to try and cover up that deeper cause.

Relationships between regular folks and actualists are a bit strange I think, on the AFT we pretty much just have examples of two actualists together so it’s always presented in terms of, “we are investigating together,” but when it’s only one actualist it’s not really like that, and the other generally has some sticking point where they don’t want to investigate. At the same time, actualists aren’t exactly common in the world, so if we want to date anyone we’re picking from non-actualists.

There are a lot of interesting choices to be made about how things are communicated, what we ask of partners, and what they ask of us. Maybe no different than any relationship in that sense. But we have to make choices. This reminds me that I remember Craig saying that his wife didn’t know he was an actualist, or that he had become free! Not the approach I would take, but somewhat understandable.

Any relationship has its moments of doubts, and maybe we just have an ‘easy target’ because actualism is so strange, it’s easy to blame.

The other side, though, is that we have some bold claims to live up to: happy & harmless. Dating someone that’s happy & harmless sounds nice :slight_smile:

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Wow !!!

Actually I’m fairly certain that Craig’s wife knew both about his actualism and actual freedom

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@Srinath Do you discuss your actual freedom with your partner? I am guessing they are not an actualist but surely they notice something has changed in you?

Yes, in the beginning she did. But she doesn’t comment on it anymore. It becomes pretty normal. And people in general just tend to assume that you are the same as them. The nice thing about that is you can fly pretty much under the radar and live your life in anonymity.

I remember going to work for the first time after AF. I felt so utterly different that I was somewhat nervously waiting for someone to notice and take me aside! But nothing happened. People would occasionally say ‘you seem happy’ or comment that I was laidback, but that was about it.


That’s really interesting, and when she initially showed interest you were clear about the fact that you no longer have a self, about self-immolation etc? It’s quite interesting that people will hear these things and then somewhat fit all this new information back into their worldview and more or less continue as normal.
It seems to me if Sonya came to me today and said she has self-immolated I would have endless questions, maybe because as an actualist I have some insight into just how critical that change is whereas for someone uninterested in actual freedom it will be converted into something along the lines of “oh he’s just more chilled nowadays”.

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It would be nice to have this Actualist meet up happen so I could grill you with my questions in person as opposed to spamming Shank’s journal :yum:


Yep. This cannot be overstated.


So here is the mensiversary(going Richardian!) update from the inevitable breakup day :laughing:

Things didn’t get too bad during and after the breakup compared to the ghastly nightmare of the first breakup(in a loving r’ship) , which is firsthand confirmation that Actualism works…there are only occasional thoughts in the malice n sorrow direction. I’m also glad that atleast she accepted that it’s her new expectations in regards to love that has caused these problems and not me…glad in the sense that I have the confidence that I tried my best and wasn’t deceptive

So now where am I headed ? Taking the excellent cue from @henryyyyyyyyyy’s recent post, I will also be posturing on the dating app as “We’ll get along if you also want to enjoy n appreciate each moment of being alive” instead of the intense “Are you ready for a near loveless association ?” :laughing:

Meanwhile few days back, in the middle of the night around 3 am, I could finally glimpse actuality briefly…wow, I had lost touch with how much of a different dimension the actual universe is. It showed again, that reality is just one drama after the other and entering actuality will be like a new birth of sorts. In this experiencing, the actual time of the universe stood out the most distinctly - perfectly still ( not moving ) and the forever-now eternal moment.

I was trying to figure out experientially what is this feeling world time that is different than the actual time as experienced in a PCE ?

I had taken on this belief that at some level achieving AF requires one to go via a relationship, but from the standpoint of this PCE - where no relationship exists - it was experientially seen to be all fluff stuff. But I’m also glad that this last relationship showed stuff that was lurking underneath !

The other thing that took a hit is the belief in relation to my man’s identity in relation to sexual prowess in particular - that I should be good at sex with diamond-like erections that can drill a hole in a wall or last a 100 minutes in bed etc. This universes material has arranged to form a physical male body with a certain functioning - thats all there is to it…rest all is just a ‘psychological man’ which is socially constructed.


A reminder to one of my favorite quotes to get to the flavor of actuality :

"Richard : Have you never been deep in a rain-forest … or any wilderness, for that matter? Have you ever, as you have travelled deeper and deeper into this other world of natural delight, ever experienced an intensely hushed stillness that is vast and immense yet so simply here? I am not referring to a feeling of awe or reverence or great beauty – to have any emotion or passion at all is to miss the actuality of this moment – nor am I referring to any blissful or euphoric state of being. It is a sensate experience, not an affective state. I am talking about the factual and simple actualness of earthy existence being experienced whilst ambling along without any particular thought in mind … yet not being mindless either. And then, when a sparkling intimacy occurs, do not the woods take on a fairy-tale-like quality? Is one not in a paradisiacal environment that envelops yet leaves one free? This is the ambience that I speak of. At this magical moment there is no ‘I’ in the head or ‘me’ in the heart … there is this apperceptive awareness wherein thought can operate freely without the encumbrance of any feelings whatsoever.

It is not my ambience nor yours … yet it is here for everyone and anyone for the asking … for the daring to be here as this body only. One does this by stepping out of the real world into this actual world, as this flesh and blood body, leaving your ‘self’ behind … where ‘you’ belong.

This ambience delivers the goods so longed for through aeons."