I’m Milito from South-eastern Victoria, Australia. I’ve read the ATF on and off for around 2 years after a few very memorable PCEs (trauma induced), have had them devolve into ASCs that led me to a small selection of pretty non-mainstream “paths” which in turn led me to the ATF. The memory of perfection of the PCE never let me settle for anything less than perfect hence me being here.
It’s been amazing reading all the extremely thorough discussion here on this board. A big thank you to all those who started it, maintain it and contribute to it in any way.
I had a question that I was hoping you could help clear up.
In the state of actual freedom, thought obviously continues but instead of “me” thinking this or that there is simply thinking happening. What I would like to know is if there still can be the thought of “I hate this”, “oh not him again”, “I wish she’d …” etc… without a self or Self existing any longer.
What is the nature of thought after becoming actually free? After self immolation can the same thoughts from just before the event repeat? Does thought change over time and become “quieter” and “purer”? Is it possible for the thought “I am angry” to pop up with no affective feeling accompanying/occurring simultaneously with the thought?
@milito.paz Welcome to the actualism forum! Good to have you here.
From my experience of being basically actually free but not fully free I can say that there are occasionally unpleasant thoughts but without feelings that they are experienced as vague, insubstantial and disappear quickly into thin air. It is quite peculiar when it is first experienced. Shortly after actual freedom, when there was more of a social identity knocking about there was a stronger sense of ownership and the thoughts were more along the lines you mentioned - but again with an absence of feeling. I’m certain that these can be eliminated though and working on just that.
With a full actual freedom such thoughts would not occur. @geoffrey who is further along than I am might want to chip in.
I’ve read the ATF on and off for around 2 years after a few very memorable PCEs (trauma induced), have had them devolve into ASCs that led me to a small selection of pretty non-mainstream “paths” which in turn led me to the ATF.
Would be great to hear more about your experiences with PCE’s, ASC’s and your journey so far in more detail. What do you mean by trauma induced?
PS: Its AFT and not ATF but whatevers, know what you meant …
Welcome to the Discuss Actualism Online forum! Pleased to have you participating here. Can I ask how you found the site – was it via http://actualfreedom.com.au/ or some other way?
I’d also be interested in reading descriptions of your very memorable PCEs, if that’s something you are willing to share!
About your question…
I can’t speak directly to the experience of thought after becoming actually free, as I am not actually free. But the way I would think of it is that thoughts are the brain naturally in action, they are one of the ways that the brain’s cognition in action, presents itself to consciousness, which also serves as further input into further cognition, etc.
So if I feel angry - then the thought that “I am angry” pops up as an automatic ascertainment of the circumstances, to wit, that I am feeling angry. And of course if I am busy denying I am angry the thought would instead be “I am not angry” which would not be correct, but the thought would be the a way that that denial presents itself to consciousness.
But what if I don’t feel angry? You can answer this question yourself – is it possible for the thought “I am angry” to pop up for you when you are not angry? For me, of course I can think the thought - I can consciously think the thought “I am angry”, without being angry – knowing it is me consciously/intentfully thinking the thought. But the thought wouldn’t pop up by itself when I’m not angry, because there is no real reason for it to.
So I presume the majority if not entirety of the reduction of this type of thought is simply from there being nothing, no reason, for those thoughts to arise in the first place, due to there being no self, Self, feelings, or feeling-being in the first place.
I also know, from experiential reports and personal observations, that actually free people still have preferences - they are not all clones of each other - and also that although the experience is absolutely/ultimately perfect, there are is still a relative better&worse within that perfection, to wit:
RICHARD: Perhaps if I were to put it this way: if, upon ordering buttered toast at a café the waiter/waitress brings hot, golden-brown toast covered with butter just beginning to melt and drip, in contrast to bringing cold, charred-black toast covered with butter long-ago melted and now congealed, I would rate the former as being 10, on a scale of 1-10 and the latter as being 1 on the same scale … howsoever that is a relative scale as the very stuff of both the former and the latter, being the very stuff of infinitude itself, is incomparable (peerless).
Thus, in the ultimate sense, everything is perfect here in this actual world.
[Source: Mailing List 'D' Martin → Mailing List 'AF' Respondent No. 25 → Mailing List 'AF' Respondent No. 25]
So it’s still possible to ascertain the burnt toast with congealed butter as ‘bad’ and to therefore I don’t see why there couldn’t be the thought of “I wish this toast weren’t burnt” - all the while still experiencing immaculate perfection as an unalterable baseline.
As another example, while sitting in a restaurant with Richard & Vineeto in person many years ago, Vineeto asked the waiter to bring sugar for her tea (or something like this). The waiter left, came back a few minutes with something else, without the sugar, and she asked for the sugar again. A third time it happened, she asked for it again, then as the waiter was walking away she said something like “I don’t mean to be a bother, but I did ask twice…”
Incidentally when the waiter came back finally with the sugar he said “I asked twice also” haha, like the person in the restaurant didn’t give it to him either.
So in any case these types of thoughts or evaluations are possible when fully free, as Vineeto was at the time.
By and large, such thoughts do not occur any more.
Very occasionally, one can pop up out of nowhere, for a split second (barely long enough to be noticed) before disappearing into thin air (i.e. it does not create any subsequent thought, nor behavior, nor of course any feeling).
If there is any ‘reaction’ to that random thought being noticed, it’s one of hilarity. Something like: “where did that even come from lol”… “lol” being the important part. It’s seen as hilarious. Like a flying blue squirrel passing by at mach speed, never to be seen again. “What was that lol”. It feels like a dusty and forgotten neuronal circuit has been randomly reactivated somewhere, by a flying neutrino or something, without any kind of relation to the situation at hand.
Of course, it usually does have some kind of relation to the situation at hand: that which a feeling-being would have seen… that which the feeling-being who used to inhabit this body would have seen - which makes it all the more hilarious… because of it being obviously devoid of any relation to the actual situation at hand.
Thanks for the warm welcome, it is good to finally make the transition from spectator to participant here. I’ve never really done this type of communication on a consistent basis so I hope I do things right. I found my way here from the resources section on Alan’s site. There was a link to Slack and then there I saw that it was no longer active and there was a link to this.
What wonderfully useful responses! Thanks everyone…
“I”, in actualist parlance, am wearing extremely thin. The way you report experiencing thought as “… vague, insubstantial…” and disappearing “… quickly into thin air” is extremely similar to my current experience. This may have already been discussed ad nauseum here but I still feel moved to ask: how can you tell the difference between being almost basically actually free and actually basically actually free? (I hope that made sense). What’s the deal with this brain stem turning around physical phenomena? Did you go through that?
LOL Oops yes Actual Trust Freedom does sound a tad dumb.
Well regarding my experiences with PCEs and ASCs there were various but one very significant one in particular that led to this whole ‘unfolding’, if you will, that has eventually led me here. It was around 2017, 5 years into a very dysfunctional co-dependent marriage. This marriage, which is soon to officially end (been separated about a year), has been extremely destructive to the parasitic identity hitherto never given a second thought. I was the ‘passive’ element in the relationship, unable to impose or clearly define boundaries, so the ‘active’ element i.e. my wife, encroached and usurped all the power and left ‘me’ unable to even fantasise about what ‘I’ wanted. There was one incident that changed everything. There was yet another evening of whining and bickering about my family, it triggered a total yelling fit (non-aggressive, I was never aggressive… it was more of a desperate plea) that lasted almost two hours. I have always described it as two hours of yelling that ‘blew my mind’. When I came to my vision was fuzzy and I could make out police boots next to my face. I was taken away from my home to ‘maintain the peace’ and taken to a psych ward of the local hospital. I said I would check myself in, didn’t, and proceeded to walk to a local creek/bike track and walked from around 8pm til 4am the next day. During that walk I began to laugh as I replayed the various incidents over the years, not too dissimilar, I think from Geoffrey describing reactions to thoughts as being of hilarity. Around 4am, I felt a very palpable sense of ease, that feeling of a huge weight being lifted off your shoulders. At that time I turned my phone back on and saw a text from my wife where she apologised and asked me to please come home. I got home and smiled as the door was opened for me, without a word I made my way to bed.
When I awoke a short 4 hours later, everything, absolutely everything had a shimmering vibrant quality. I took a deep breath and could feel the glorious and sweet inflation and deflation of my lungs with such sensitivity. The sensations of colours, smells, textures of the bedroom, the taste in my mouth, everything, flooded into my body, pure and unfiltered by any identity within. As I proceeded to make breakfast for the kids, my wife and myself, I experienced what I would describe later as ‘having eyes at the back of my head’ (before ever seeing Richard’s description). The body was doing all this spontaneously on auto-pilot, there was no effort. The same happened with speech and thought. Sense data poured in and the body responded accordingly.
I functioned this way for about a month until ‘I’ came back to the scene, desperate not to lose this newfound ‘glory’. It led to a Google Search of the Century to find out what was happening to me. Lo and behold, I stumbled across many a spiritual website (I previously was a staunch ‘Maoist materialist’ who dabbled in Islam after a few identity crises ). None were relatable. Until I came across a page called ‘The Truth Contest’ (has anyone ever come across this?). This guy’s very intriguing at the time writing (he was dyslexic apparently), captivated me. He purported that all religions and ideologies are feeding the mind which is the enemy of mankind and that we needed to get back into our senses. The webmasters email was even ‘allthatyousense’. It was all about getting into your senses to experience True Life. There were a lot of things that ‘resonated’ (yes a pukeworthy word lol), and ‘I’ thought that by following these teachings I could perpetuate the amazing purity I was experiencing. The PCE subsequently devolved into an ASC with all the delusions of grandeur etc. We were now Prophets anonymously spreading the Truth online in order to feel high all the time (get Abundant Life). Life was still way cool, but the purity was lost and in came euphoria. People would think I was on drugs (I had never even tried marijuana by that time). In the end this attempt to synthesise the material and the spiritual led to its demise for me. It was definitely no third alternative, and the lack of purity in this ASC became evident.
It all came crashing down 6 months later when my mum said she would kill herself, which prompted me to drive almost 200km down an 80km road to get to her ‘in time’. When I got there I saw that she was fine and I ‘came to’.
Ever since, “I” have been “haunted” by the purity and perfection of that 3-4 week PCE back in 2017. It created the attitude of ‘not settling for second best’, the determination to refute the view that this life ‘is a vale of tears’ etc. My two children have only served to strengthen this determination, to think that they were brought into a malevolent or ambivalent universe won’t do. I experienced the perfection and purity which is the essential character of infinity and eternity. You can’t unsee that shit man. The veil’s been lifted.
So yeah a lot more happened since then but here I am now, wondering where I am in relation to an actual freedom from the human condition.
I hope that was not too long and/or irrelevant. Like I said I’m new to this kinda stuff.
Yes I’ve had about a handful each year since. Each normally lasting around 6-8 hours. They usually end with an internal dialogue of fear, “will I be able to carry out my duties in this state?”, “what if people think I’m crazy?”, “what will come of the relationship between my children and I?” And so on and so on…
Really can’t wait for the day “I” says goodbye for good…
Thanks for sharing @milito.paz. Super interesting and not irrelevant at all. Never heard of Truth Contest, but I did have a quick look and couldn’t really make out what it was about. But as I said, I really didn’t spend much time on it.
A month long PCE is not all that common. l can’t remember the last time I heard of someone having this apart from Pamela and perhaps Richard(?) But then my recall about these things on the AFT ain’t what it used to be. In any case, I do think it’s a very good sign, especially given you are continuing to have PCE’s currently.
What is your current practice? Are you using the actualism method?
What is your game plan? I’ll assume that you are probably interested in self-immolation, but just wanting to know your thoughts on this, how you intend to go about it, any concerns etc.
That’s cool. It probably would only serve to muddy the waters but was a significant text, for all its flaws, in my story. Some quotes that stuck were things like
"When you see the truth for the first time, it is what people call a peak moment, or a moment of clarity. You get a larger percentage of what each moment of life actually contains; you are filled with life. Your mind is the gatekeeper of life, and sometimes it lets a little true life in, but most of the time it does not."
These are diagrams the author of ‘The Present’, the ‘winning entry’ of the Truth Contest came up with to describe what the goal is
" The arrows represent life coming to you from all directions. The dotted line shows how your mind blocks most of the life coming to you. Without the mind blocking life, you receive all of life, true life, and reflect it all back out."
**"Center of the universe: When you experience life equally from all directions, you experience natural life, true life.You become the center of the universe, because that is what you truly are. The universe is infinite in all directions. No matter where you move, you always remain in the center.
You may be saying that this is a good way to look at it, but it is more than that, because it is the truth. It is the only true way to look at the big picture of life. When I walk, I am not just walking on the street. I am walking through the center of my own personal universe, and I don’t miss much of what comes to me."
"As the mind gets smaller, life gets bigger. As the mind shrinks, life expands. When the mind disappears completely, your perception of life becomes clear. Eventually, you will only think when you have to, which is not very often. You will be able to accept the present of life, no matter what is happening. You change into a new being, a spiritual being, and you become the present, the eternal NOW. We want to expand our life, not expand our minds as they did in the 1960’s. The more you live in the present, the more fulfilling life gets. Time will slow down; you will see the magic and wonder of life you saw as a child, and you will experience it without the ignorance and all the negative emotions of childhood." (kinda reminds me of Richard’s commentaries on innocence and how children are not innocent i.e. not free from instinctual passions)
"Don’t chase pleasure: What most truth seekers forget and need constant reminding of is that spiritual fulfillment is not to be confused with pleasure. You can feel crappy and even be suffering in great pain and be fulfilled. This is not heaven; there is pain here. Fulfillment is more than just pleasure. A woman in childbirth is in great pain, but fulfilled at the same time. People start out seeking truth and fulfillment, but end up chasing feelings of pleasure, and they get on the merry-go-round of physical life. You need to be in the center and just watch the wheels go ‘round, as John Lennon said in a song. Fulfillment is better than pleasure, and it is possible to have it forever. You can only have pleasure half the time and pay for it with an equal amount of pain, so you do not seek it. You seek only fulfillment, even if it does not always feel good, and it won’t. That is a tough thing to explain, and people have to discover what I am talking about for themselves. It is the goal, it is the Present,"
So yeah I guess you could call it run of the mill spiritualism, some have described it as rehashed Osho but there was a peculiarity, a mystique about it that, unfortunately in the absence of something better and more accurate (the AFT), only helped to prolong ‘my’ existence. It did all but extinguish ‘I’ the thinker but put ‘I’ the feeler on steroids. Not necessarily a bad thing, definitely progress but there was still heaps to do. Thus, here I am.
Yes from what I gather it isn’t very common. Thanks I certainly hope so. The duration of that one I cited really changed everything, it became a gold standard with which all methods, paths, systems, whatevers can be evaluated by. It did start an attitude not dissimilar to HAIETMOBA.
These are very important questions to me because I am more than probably interested in self-immolation, I’m desperate and convinced that it needs to happen. But I am a bit confused as to if there is anything to ‘do’. The longer I’m alive, the less I subscribe to agency/free will. Is there anything to ‘do’? I remember it being mentioned somewhere in Richard’s Journal that the universe decides when someone is ready to self-immolate. So do I just sit back and watch ‘my’ demise?
There are barely any beliefs, opinions, truths, identity markers etc. left. Just an irrational fear of dysfunctionality (kinda like when you’re high on weed and you’re paranoid about whether people in public will notice), some vanity closely linked to a waning lust and desire to be f***able together with shame for that being so. But these are all very subtle at the moment.
Any suggestions for someone on the verge? Please tip this bastard over into oblivion! Oh wait, “I” have to do that, right? Bummer
Hi @milito.paz , your description of your experience struck a major chord for me - I have had many similar experiences, from the relationship without boundaries to the mind-blowing PCE (in my case it was many shorter ones), to the dalliance into spirituality, to the eventual coming across the AFT.
It came at a fortuitous moment as well, as I have similarly been having relationship challenges and your post reminded me of what is possible - both on the ‘free’ side and the ‘very not free’ side. Thank you.
Doing the method, too, is an expression of ‘This is simply happening.’
Something that has blown my mind many times is that I’ve talked with many many people about PCEs and freedom, and it gets through to almost none of them. That’s very interesting. Why has it made sense to me? Why have I had memorable PCEs, and others haven’t? Why did I start practicing the method? Why am I still doing the method? Will I become free?
Ultimately it doesn’t matter - it is just what’s happening. But, similarly, with it just ‘being what’s happening,’ then once again I start doing the method again.
And remember… the method is just ‘enjoying & appreciating this moment of being alive,’ ‘rememorating and mimicking the PCE to the greatest degree possible,’ so it doesn’t have to look like anything particular.
It’s also not something that’s so dogmatic: basically what we have to work with is that Richard became free using this method, and then 6 or 7 other people have become free also using this method… it’s far from something you ‘have’ to do, and you’re welcome to experiment with it as you please, and just having heard that some other people have had success with it maybe you’ll want to pick it up… if you want to!
It’s also a bit of a ‘free-will-trick,’ in the sense that the ego (the one who ‘does things’) is a lie… the ego doesn’t add much at all, it’s just this false structure. You could do anything, you could do this, you could do that. But with that in mind… why not do the method? If you think self-immolation has validity? If you even just want to become a bit more free? And the strongest motivator of all: because you know that you’re easier to get along with when you’re more free.
I said something similar to Richard when I visited him in Ballina: “I have to do it.”
But that’s a miss as far as freedom goes, because ‘I have to’ is another way of saying ‘I’m feeling forced to,’ and there’s no freedom in that it all. It’s not loose, it’s not fun, it’s not peaceful. So ask yourself, can you approach all this in the same way you had your PCEs: it’s fun, it’s magical, you don’t have to do anything, you’re free to do this or that!
The best treatment for that fear of dysfunctionality is to keep going, have more stable experiences, and see that you can indeed take care of yourself, that the fear isn’t connected to anything. That can only come with experience (similar to the free will thing above, you can’t ‘skip ahead.’)
There is also advice scattered around the AFT and here on the actualism forums which you can search for. BTW @Miguel are the actualism forums google searchable?
Also I’ve made a small guide which you can have a look at here:
While you can’t force an actual freedom if ‘you’ are not ready to let go of the reins, you can nudge yourself in the right direction and see if you can allow it to happen sooner rather than later (or never)
Please tip this bastard over into oblivion! Oh wait, “I” have to do that, right?
Oh yes and in the meantime, in between PCE’s you practice the actualism method to the best of your ability - ‘consistently enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive’, investigating obstacles to enjoying and appreciating. You can also investigate what is keeping you from self-immolation. This is a fascinating process to be enjoyed as much as possible to - not something to be endured or cussed because self-immolation has not happened. It is this fascination that will pull you ‘out from control’ prior to self-immolation for a longer or shorter period.
Hey Henry, I really appreciate your thorough and considered response. I’m only replying now because I’ve reread it heaps of times and waited for it to ‘sink in’ so to speak. What you describe in this part of your response really hits the nail on the head. It is the realisation I have when I become too uptight. It really is fun and magical, it’s also really easy to forget this. Upwards and onwards I guess!
You’re darn right about needing to have more stable experiences. The purity of the actual can be so overwhelming that “I” tend to taint it with euphoria then, at least for that moment, all is lost and I need to start over again.
But yeah thanks again, really productive nudges in the right direction!
HI @milito.paz . This is such an unusual and inspiring turn of events, that I think you should move it to the “Milito.paz Journal” section. It helps all of us to hear various “entries” in to this space. Thanks for you generous sharing