This hyphenated neologism – a term which includes being affectively aware in combination with, and as felt necessary thereby, being cognitively attentive (the Latin cum=with, together with, or along with, as in ‘a garage-cum-workshop’, for instance) – was coined in order to more readily reference an adroit technique which involves a keenly discriminative affective monitoring of the quality of mood plus the cognitive rectification of same, and as instigated responsively therefrom, so as to effect beneficial modification of one’s day-by-day temperament which, in the longer-term, brings about a benefactive transformation of disposition and/or character as well. Any necessity to be (cognitively) attentive only takes place on those occasions when/ where an otherwise ongoing (affective) enjoyment and appreciation diminishes – which attentiveness is initiated by that diminution in the quality of (affectively) enjoying and appreciating being alive/ being here, each moment again, come-what-may – and occurs less and less once one gets the knack of thus (affectively) monitoring one’s moment-to-moment mood and temperament via the increasingly subtle variations in that quality.
Your own best friend
R: It is good to cease doing that because only you live with yourself for the twenty four hours of the day. Everybody else comes and goes, but you remain, ever constant … for the rest of your life. I can not stress enough how important it is for you to be your own best friend. For then you get to know yourself – you are no longer against yourself. You can discover things about your own make-up: ‘Oh, isn’t that interesting’ or ‘I like that one’ or ‘I didn’t know I was carrying that’ or ‘I’m glad that one is out of the way’. Sometimes, of course, something can come back, three days, three weeks or three months later: ‘Goodness me, I thought I had eliminated that one’. See how vital it is that you are your own best ‘buddy’? You say: ‘Well, I thought I had dealt with that but never mind, I have another moment here, another chance’. This way you work with yourself, instead of in opposition. It is very important.
RICHARD: Being ‘alive’ is to be paying attention – exclusive attention – to this moment in time and this place in space. This attention becomes fascination … and fascination leads to reflective contemplation. Then – and only then – apperception can occur. —Richard’s Selected Correspondence On Contemplation
On-the-job real-time experiencing
If one asks oneself, each moment again, how one is experiencing this moment of being alive (which is the only moment one is ever alive) all will be revealed in due course, in the bright light of awareness, as one goes about one’s normal life. Moreover, all the instinctive drives, urges, impulses, compulsions, demands, pressures, cravings, yearnings, longings – all the instinctual passions which necessitate social conditioning in the first place – will be laid bare with the perspicacity born of pure intent and thus open for examination.
RICHARD: In attentiveness, there is an unbiased observing of the constant showing-up of the ‘reality’ within and is examining the feelings arising one after the other … and such attentiveness is the ending of its grip. Please note that last point: in attentiveness, there is an observance of the ‘reality’ within, and such attention is the end of its embrace … finish.
How am I experiencing this moment of being alive
[…] ‘The words ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ simply refer the make-up of the awareness-cum-attentiveness being applied … as distinct from, say, the buddhistic ‘mindfulness’ (which is another ball-game entirely).
Through the rigorous and persistent process of actualism, I slowly learnt to extend my attention beyond what I thought and felt, i.e. my ideals and passions, so as to become aware of the tangible effects that my thoughts, feelings and actions had on the people around me. I discovered more and more that feeling myself to be harmless and actually being harmless were two completely different things. This process of distinguishing between feeling and actuality is the key to actually becoming happy and harmless compared to merely feeling happy and harmless.
I found dullness and boredom one of the most common reactions to being alive when things weren’t going ‘my’ way – and they rarely ever did or that life wasn’t exciting, which it rarely was. In the process of actualism I recognized, however, that my habitual resentment towards the various facts of life, for instance having to work 🏢 for a living, bad weather, getting sick, etc, clearly prevented me from becoming happy and harmless. I discovered I could either indulge in ‘my’ resentment or pull myself up by my boot strings and break this insidious habit. As No 3 pointed out, it was indeed a matter of priority – and I chose sensuous attentiveness over ‘self’-indulgent apathy, happiness over resentment.
The way to deal with resentment in the actualism method is the same way you deal with all other feelings that interfere with you being happy and harmless – when paying attention to how you experience this moment of being alive, you notice it, then label it which helps you realise that it would be silly to carry on with it when you can instead enjoy being alive. With a steady increase in attentiveness the shift of resenting being here to appreciating being here becomes progressively easier until you finally kick the insidious habit of resentment altogether and delight in being alive for the simple reason that you are alive.
Being the doing of what is happening
RICHARD: The activity of attentiveness reminds one of why one is doing this: in actualism, one puts one’s attention on being here … now. When feelings cause one’s awareness to wander from actualism’s focus, it is attentiveness that reminds one that one’s mind is being manipulated … and why one is doing this happening called being alive. It is attentiveness that brings one back to the object of actualism: apperception.
[..] We were chatting the other day about the marked difference between being here, doing what is happening and the feeling of not being here that can cause a frustration with life as-it-is. The frustration with life as-it-is, right here and now, most often causes a passionate desire to be somewhere else which serves only to prevent one from being here. For an actualist, any period of time spent not being here is clearly a waste of time. Any time spent being bored, angry, pissed off, feeling sad, lack luster, annoyed, etc. is time wasted time lost from fully living this the only moment one can experience being alive. All of these ‘time-offs’ have to be explored and investigated and understood so as to prevent the same old ‘time-outs’ occurring in the future. It takes a bit of practice and a lot of effort and attention as to ‘how’ am I experiencing this moment of being alive, but pretty soon one gets the hang of it.
Once I recognized the silliness of this bad habit it was fairly easy to prevent it from reoccurring by applying an ongoing attentiveness as to how I was feeling each moment again. By doing so, I discovered that this basic resentment towards being here had various branches – one of them was that in most cases people, including me, have to work 🏢 for their livelihood. Once I stopped resenting the fact that I have to trade some of my time and expertise in exchange for tokens, which I then use for buying food, clothes, shelter and toys, my whole attitude towards and experience of work began to change. Not only is food a requisite, it is also a pleasure, not only are clothes a requisite, they provide warmth and comfort, not only is shelter a requisite, it provides comfort, cosiness and convenience and any money left over after purchasing necessities can purchase what toys I find interesting from the increasingly inexpensive and ever-widening array of adult toys.
PETER: [..] an essential first step is to take a long look at one’s own deeply-ingrained resentment at being born and having to be here. If one cares to break this habit of feeling resentful – and avoid the traditional antidotal trap of feeling gratitude to Someone or Something – the fact that one no longer feels resentful for being here disempowers the very driving force for one’s resentfulness towards one’s fellow human beings together with feelings such as anger, pity, jealousy and envy. The accompanying essential step is to stop focussing one’s attention on how you perceive, as in intuitively feel, others to be and to start paying exclusive attention to the only person whose feelings, intentions, sincerity and integrity you can know for certain – ‘me’.
- Affective Awareness
- Actualism Method