What is your experience like of how you get back to neutral?

A lot to think about. I guess what I can say now immediately is that I don’t make much of a distinction between feeling neutral and feeling good. They are different points on the continuum of “not bad”, degrees of goodness or “not badness”.

I refrained from stating this explicitly to not take away from what might be a useful distinction for my other Actualist comrades :sunglasses:

I guess a big difference between good, neutral and bad is the clarity of seeing, the ability to use one’s intelligence to asses. This is severely affected when in the depths of emotion so I think this is way a different approach is used.

An extreme example would be EE or PCE where ones intelligence operates freely and most/all issues are immediately seen as silly.

Oh and also pure intent, when in the depths it is not available, up the felicitous ladder the connection is stronger.

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Ah for me it is huge :slight_smile: feeling good , even at a basic level, is when I’m back into the sweet expansive flow of the actualism method , back on the wide and wondrous path. I got “the edge” back into it and everything is swimming.

While neutral is just … neutral , nothing special , not into that flow yet - but very close !


You know on second thoughts I’m going to have to agree with you. I guess the reason I felt inclined to put it the way I did, is because in my practice and experience it’s such a small, fluid step from feeling neutral to feeling good, that I overlook it.

But I stand corrected. There is a big difference.


I have been thinking about your reflections. I think some of the problems/doubts you have with our testimonials/comments (and what may reveal about our problems/doubts with our own observations/experiences) may be due to several issues:

  • As with all discrete scales describing continuous processes such as those from, for example, “feeling overwhelmed” to “feeling excellent,” the changes between two successive states are more difficult to determine than between two states far apart.

  • In such continuous processes the boundary between one state and the other is often arbitrarily judged: someone may use “good” to describe the same state that qualitatively another describes with “neutral”. But, as I will detail next, on top of that the same person can label them differently according to what he/she felt immediately before, or according to what he/she is used to feel more habitually (habituation).

For example, your description of feeling good “is when I’m back into the sweet expansive flow of the actualism method, back on the wide and wondrous path. I got “the edge” back into it and everything is swimming”, I would not label it as a “basic level”, which I reserve for simply feeling good without felicitous feeling (what @geoffrey has recently called “ordinary feeling good”, to which any non-actualist can relate). In other words, your description on my scale would already correspond to having mixed felicitous feelings (and then it would not be “basic level”).

  • As in all psychological states and especially affective ones, their description is influenced by biases such as anchoring and hindsight: when one goes from feeling bad to a less bad state x, one may consider/label it “good” because of the unpleasantness of that previous state; when one goes from feeling good to the same -but now less good state- x, one may call it “neutral” because of the pleasantness of that previous state. That is, we may value/label differently two equal emotional moments/states, depending on how we felt before (or even after, retrospectively).

  • Also our labels change when our habitual state changes (habituation): I have often thought that many of my current so called “neutral” states are the states I considered “good” when I started AF, and many that now consider just good are the ones I considered very good then. It is because my habitual state then was much worse than it is now. Viewed from the opposite perspective, if I had been able to travel to the present day back then, I would have considered/labeled many of my current neutral states as “good”, and my current good ones as “very good”.

These are just reflections about the problems that labeling always involves and also of the relative usefulness of doing so beyond a certain point, and/or from a practical perspective. But let’s see if I can contribute something to your specific questions:

but as in that first post you wrote…

I assumed that you want to hear about experiences that were not reduced to “identify the trigger” and “see the silliness”, but more complex ones.

So that’s why I chose to report a type of experience in which I saw the trigger but “the thing to try first” failed indeed. I thought it was implicit that I could not ‘see the silliness’ in that experience and that I could not

Also, I think we all thought about reporting “back to neutral from feeling bad” due to the most common interpretation/experience of the “back to neutral” in the title of the topic, but mainly due to your intro:

That’s why I’m confused about your references in your last post, not anymore to “feeling bad, back to neutral”, as in:

That’s why the next reference again to “bad→neutral” seemed incompatible/confusing to me in relation to the above:

Now that I think of it better, I prefer not to lengthen this post by answering your other questions yet (they can always be addressed later, anyway).

Ah I see the disconnect.

Drawing from the simplified diagram… here is the ‘feeling bad’ part:


As you can see, there is no ‘identify the trigger’ step. That is, before identifying the trigger — the instruction is to get back to feeling neutral, first.

As Richard put it:

That is, as the chart faithfully conveys, before even trying to identify the trigger – – – get back to neutral, first.

So to re-state it, my question is:

  • When feeling bad, before you try to identify the trigger and see the silliness, what do you do to get to that step of feeling neutral (from where it is fruitful to identify the trigger and then see the silliness)?

My question doesn’t relate to difficulties with identifying the trigger or seeing the silliness etc… or what one does after one is ‘stuck’, i.e.:


Well you snipped out the relevant part :smiley:

The “Good → bad” header just indicates the step that comes before feeling bad, i.e. I was feeling good, and now I’m not – I’m feeling bad. And now I have to get back to neutral.

The “Good → neutral” header was to indicate the contrast – that if I was feeling good and now I’m neutral, I can go directly to identifying the trigger… while if I was feeling good and now I’m feeling bad, I have to get to neutral first.

I hope that clarifies the nature of my queries?

About the reflections at the start of your post, I think there is worthwhile stuff to discuss there, but perhaps better to get to the end of this thread first.

Oh and to address this, I see why no report would include a see the silliness approach if the reports were taking about the step after being ‘stuck’ (due to the aforementioned disconnect).

Where I was coming from with this observation is I wondered why the attempt wasn’t , after going from bad to neutral, to identify the trigger and see the silliness , but kept going to feeling good via a set it aside approach.

But if one was reporting a point after already ‘stuck’ then it makes sense why that was the case.

Thank you Claudiu and Miguel. I want to talk about my feelings for the past 2 days, which may belong under Journal section, but I will post it here also for I think it is relevant to this topic.

I have been feeling bad ( fear, unhappiness and a sense of dread at the bottom of the stomach) on and off for the last 2 days. When I go for the pce walks ( 2 times a day, morning and afternoon ,1+ hour each time - and mostly enjoy seeing the beautiful reflection of trees and the sky against the bottom of the pond rocks) , I can bring myself to feel happy and even maybe experience EE. But other times when I do HAIETMOBA, I came up with not feeling good, So this morning in bed between 4-7 a.m. I tried feeling it out, and told myself that I need to be able to face this [ fear, anxiety, unhappiness, dread] completely, so I am not running from it. In the mix of all this, I came across envy, for Geoffrey having gone snow boarding and having fun ( Freed and I am not). Then I told myself maybe, instead of concentrating on my feelings, I should “see that the whole problem is because of “me” my being” so I should concentrate on getting rid of “me”, instead of trying to get rid of my feelings – and I said maybe I am fooling myself and trying to get away from applying the method correctly ( judging myself ?) .

Leila is translating Richard’s article on man/woman relationship and states how one should shine a light on feelings and be exposed to them, I guess? I came up with the analogy of Us Humans having been exposed to hidden ( like Wifi ) feelings that we can not stand nor understand, we try to avoid them, hide them and run away from them. They scare us, make us uncomfortable and reactionary. Maybe only by staying in the hidden “Wifi Field” of were these feelings are generated and being able to tolerate the discomfort ( dread, hello Hennrrrrrry ), we might be able to discover or develop tolerance or eliminate the source of these Hidden Fields.

The reason I am writing all of these is that fear, unhappiness and dread has been a common theme in my life ( and I have such a rush of bad feelings in all my body writing this now). But maybe I need to face this.

I try to feel good by breathing exercise of { breathing in “feeling happy” , breathing out “feeling good” – this maybe a suggestion for @Andrew ? when he is feeling overwhelmed ), but maybe I am trying to paste feeling good on not feeling good?

To summarize, I am having a hard time feeling good ( ordinary feeling good). I feel so vulnerable and weak, that everything has to be good and no problems, no discomfort, no pain, no worries that then I can be relaxed. I am feeling some shame that I relate these feelings, but I can not control them, so I have decided to expose them and share them.

I feel a little better now, trying to Enjoy and Appreciate Experiencing the Universe ( my body and things around me), at this moment. And I think I do have sincere intent, otherwise I would not be thinking about this stuff all day, and wouldn’t be worried about not feeling good. Thanks for allowing this space for me.

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Next time, @FrankN, instead of repeating/copy-pasting a whole post (here or anywhere else) you can write an intro/few lines and then share a link to your Journal post (or any other post you want to avoid repeating/copy-pasting) -if you don’t know how, you can ask me in the category “Site feedback” or by private message and I’ll show you-.

Regarding your words, I found them very honest, trying to un-cover what you are feeling, because, yes: precisely in relation to this topic (the attempt to at least get back to neutral) and your report, is relevant and very useful the following @claudiu’s experience/advice from his first post:

I think you’re on the right path with looking at these ‘invisible wifi’ feelings, @FrankN.

So long as enjoying & appreciating is reserved for the PCE walks (I like that btw, good idea), then ‘I’ am ultimately safe because I still get to keep being ‘me,’ and any PCEs or other enjoyable experiences stay restricted to those walks.

What you want, is for that sense of freedom & enjoyment that you experience on the walks to expand into other parts of your life. That means moving the baseline on emotion in all parts of life.

I think there are a couple of different ways of approaching this issue, both with their benefits.

The first is that, attentiveness inherently weakens emotion/self. ‘Self’ does not want to be seen; it wants you to act. By not acting, and instead activating the greatest degree of fascinated interest you can in those moments, several interesting things happen: for the first time you get to see exactly what emotion/self consists of, giving you an opportunity to connect some interesting dots. And, with the fascinated attentiveness engaged, the emotion cannot last long. Just by watching it, neither expressing nor repressing, the emotion goes away pretty quickly.

The second would be dropping the emotion on purpose, getting back to feeling good (or neutral) using whatever method you can, and investigating it ‘from the outside’ via attentiveness, identify the trigger, sincere interest, and using your appraisal to determine the best way to be / thing to do in future similar situations.

I think that both of these are valid investigation and compliment eachother, perhaps a good way to go about it is try one or the other, whichever is most interesting to you at the moment, maybe even do the first and then the second directly after! And keep an eye on how it’s working, do more if you’re having success, make some tweaks or try again if not.

This is also a very relative game we’re playing here, and as more and more work is done and successes had, you will get better at it and gain greater and greater confidence.

For my own part, in the several years I have even had panic attacks where I now just watch what’s happening, watch my body and psyche do weird things, but there’s such a degree of interest and fascination occurring that I’m quite unbothered by the experience - in fact, I’ve benefitted from it because I just got an invaluable glimpse into ‘me’ at core.

It’s just another thing to enjoy, really… very strange!


How would that be different than psychotherapy ?

@Miguel i have to disagree with the above because the emotional states are perceived intuitively, and thus their status (neutral=neutral, good=good) remains the same regardless of other changing factors. On the intuitive level, neutral will always be neutral, good will always be good, excellent will always be excellent, because we intuit what we are experiencing.

Our external conditions may change, which is I’m guessing what you’re referring to, e.g. maybe less stomach gurgling when anxious, not having headaches all the time, more energy in the day, more clarity of mind…

But those intuitive categories remain the same, and are experienced the same (though - at different rates) all the way up to becoming free


Yes, I had thought about that objection/reflection. I think it could be summarized (correct me if I’m wrong): “The important thing is the status you give to a state in any given moment (even if influenced by x or y; even if you think different about it in the future, or what you would have thought about the same state in the past). Anything else is not relevant, and the diagram will work anyway”.

But I did not want to argue about the “true” status of a state, but to expose such reasonings/cognitive aspects as possible problems that may interfere with the communication, description, labeling and comprehension (even for ourselves, as I had said), of what we are observing and reporting to @claudiu (complicating his breakdown of the processes of what I understand he wants to investigate/achieve in certain parts of the diagram -or about the method itself-).

That’s why I give the example about our diffrences in the “basic level” of feeling good, etc.

But if those reasonings/cognitive aspects don’t interfere/affect descriptions, labelings and comprehension (even for ourselves, I repeat), good. I just would not dismiss them outright.


With that in mind @claudiu I would consider rewording that section, because the status is intuitively felt. Rather than something ‘I’ (the doer) give it, it is something the ‘beer’ is

Perhaps the language should be, it’s something that I attentively ‘recognize, intuit’ rather than something that is given as a status


The words that have helped me the most were when @claudiu was explaining feeling good on the Dharma Overground recently.

Basically, feeling good happens all the time naturally. It the everyday, normal feelings of being ok. I wish i had the direct quote, because it was well worded.

Basically, when someone asks “how are you?” and one responds “i am going well”, in that moment, one is generally “feeling good”.

It’s just a matter of getting used to the entry point being so non-dramatic. So, normal.

Feeling good is the everyday, multiple times a day, down to earth feeling of being ok. That is why it’s so difficult to enact for the neurotics amongst us; it’s a completely easy - “no way it can be that simple” - feeling.


I’m not familiar with psychotherapy so I can’t comment much :smiley: . But my understanding is the goal of psychotherapy is essentially to get you from being a person that is sad/unhappy/miserable in a debilitating/extreme way, to being a person that is sad/unhappy/miserable in an average way (ie to the degree people normally are). And not to be generally feeing good each moment again 24/7

Actualism’s innovation isn’t in acknowledging your feelings - plenty of people already know how to do that. It’s in using the tool of acknowledging your feelings - among others - to enjoy and appreciate being alive via at least a basic/ordinary feeling good each moment again 24/7, which one knows is possible due to being informed by pure intent what is humanly possible as experienced in a PCE (and one takes as a “seems possible” until one has such a PCE, via it making reasonable enough sense logically/rationally and/or seeing others’ reports at succeeding in doing so).

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You guys don’t stop to amaze, thank you Claudiu :slight_smile:

Can Claudiu or anyone else please elaborate on “among others” please

@FrankN I think what Claudiu means is that there are many tools one uses to assist with applying the method, the method itself being enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive, the tools include things like ;

  • Investigation
  • Nipping in the bud
  • Neither express nor repress
  • Keep hands in pockets
  • Tracing back to find the trigger
  • Seeing the silliness of feeling bad
  • Fully acknowledging one’s feelings

Basically they are all the things that as an Actualists you are likely to use in order to enable feeling good, but in itself those things are not the method.


4 me, when i remember to and can talk my self into employing it, the . . . release back to non-negativity seems to occur fairly automagically upon its noticing

however, it seems to me upon introspection that this may be due to an . . . internal conviction that has arisen from close self observation that almost ALWAYS any uncomfortable feeling is due to a story (interpretation of events) in concept-space that i have been/am “listening to” (believe, have accepted as true by default, without evaluation)

so usually these days, the majority of any negativity seems to dissipate upon re-remembering that, rather than deeply investigating the root “cause” of the specific “insult”

BUT, i think deeply investigating the deep root for a specific causal-chain “behind” any particular uncomfortable event may help it unwind for good whereas NOT doing so - only contenting myself that the majority of the noticeable negativity has fled - may simply put it off FOR NOW and allow for its return where re-cognizing the root thoroughly may “eradicate” it (and its neighbors) and any un-recognized, un-noted, perhaps-deferred negativity as well

man that seems like it took a lot more words than it shoulda :slight_smile:

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