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.
keep your hands in your pockets
VINEETO: For me to keep my hands in my pocket while neither repressing, nor expressing nor acting upon my feelings but allowing myself to feel the feeling in order that I could be attentive to the nature of the particular feeling whilst it is happening was extremely sensible advice. This allows me to put the feeling in a bind – it is like holding the feeling under a microscope rather than letting it go unobserved or letting it run rampant as is normally the case.
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.
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’.
Armchair philosophising/ psychologising
• [Richard]: ‘The latter advice relates to consciously experiencing whatever it is which is preventing happiness and harmlessness (less it all be but a detached/ disassociated intellectual exercise) … for example: [Richard]: ‘It is impossible for one to intelligently observe what is going on within if one does not at the same time acknowledge the occurrence of one’s various feeling-tones with attentiveness. This is especially true with the hostile and invidious emotions and passions (those that are hateful and fearful). In order to observe one’s own fear, for instance, one must admit to the fact that one is afraid. Nor can one examine one’s own depression, for another example, without acknowledging it fully. The same is true for irritation and agitation and frustration and all those other uncomfortable emotional and passionate moods. One cannot examine something fully if one is busy denying its existence’
- Affective Awareness
Attentiveness to the cause of diminished enjoyment and appreciation restores felicity/innocuity.
R: At the root itself, "you" are that feeling; whichever the feeling is, that’s what “you” are; right at the very root of everything ("I" am "my" feelings and "my" feelings are "me" is the way to look at it). The only way to completely and utterly get rid of feelings is to get rid of “yourself”, because it is one and the same thing. What the identity inside this body did all those years ago was, by being attentive to what was happening each moment again, got into the habit of feeling as happy and harmless as is humanly possible, which meant that the other feelings didn’t get a look-in. That’s the primary way that the whole method works.