Presented below is my informal description of the Actualism Method, emphasizing the “choice” aspect of it.
Every normal human being has the unrealized ability to choose to feel good. This ability remains unutilized only because of our normal dissociative awareness and disinterest.
The normal dissociative awareness is what makes us feel as if we “have” feelings, rather than be aware of the fact we are our feelings (see 'I' am 'my' feelings and 'my' feelings are 'me'). And because both the “haver” (split-self), and the “being had” feelings that it is trying to control, are one and the same, it results in one being powerless to effectuate any change in one’s mood. Hence, it is considered impossible to absolutely control one’s feelings.
Feelings and moods of course do not reliably change via conscious control. They do change, nevertheless, and there is an effective way to institute that change such that one is feeling good, as a baseline, 24x7. While “you” cannot control how “you” feel, it is “your” choice as to how “you” feel right now.
Step 0: Ramp up desire
Most people are not interested in feeling good 24x7. They’d rather experience the good feelings like love or wallow in the bad ones. This method will not work without sufficient interest in … being different to the other 7 billion people on the planet. Put simply, you are interested in being felicitous and being so right now; nothing else matters, because one is not gullible enough to readily regurgitate the hoary and borrowed wisdom of those-that-came-before (the most insidious of it all is the belief that “You can’t change human nature”).
RICHARD: Speaking personally, the ‘I’ that was pursued it like ‘he’ had never pursued anything before … ‘he’ made it the number one priority in ‘his’ life. ‘He’ was a married man, with four children, running ‘his’ own business, with a house mortgage to pay off and a car on hire purchase … in other words: normal. And all the while that ‘he’ pursued it, ‘he’ was working twelve-fourteen hour days, six-seven days a week … yet ‘his’ pursuit of peace-on-earth took absolute precedence over all other matters and dominated ‘his’ every moment (‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive’). I do not see how someone can become free of the human condition without becoming what one’s peers would call ‘obsessed’ (for that is how a 100% commitment is actively discouraged by others) and adopting instead a duplicitous ‘I will not pursue that which I desire’ attitude. It is unbelievably delicious to devote oneself wholeheartedly to such a valuable goal as peace-on-earth … one starts to feel ‘alive’ for the very first time. Such dedication (‘he’ called it the ‘boots and all’ approach at the time) makes one’s petty life worthwhile after all … ‘he’ went out in a blaze of glory.
Step 1: Undissociate yourself
The first step is to go past the normal dissociative awareness. Here are some signs of this everyday dissociation: fighting the feeling, denying it, wanting to get rid of it, and even blaming the situation or the people involved. There is an implicit discomfort in simply being those feelings. This is what must be addressed first.
In order to address it, you must begin by radically accepting it. Do the opposite. Fully-feel the feeling while not expressing it. Allow yourself to feel it. Do not resist it or push it away. Fully welcome it. Be that feeling … until you see, experientially, that “you” are “your” feelings and vice-versa (they are indistinguisable).
For eg., if you are feeling sad, arrive at a point where you are comfortable with being sad (i.e.: no longer trying to push it away); you will eventually discover and say to yourself: “I am sadness” (and not that I “have” a feeling of sadness).
Step 2: Unearth the causes
Once you have identified, fully accepted and realized that “you” are “sadness” itself (they are indistinguishable), for instance, the feeling can dissolve away eventually and one is back to feeling good.
However, if the feeling still remains (especially the case for recurring themes) - then the psychic scuba-diving business starts. Go “down”, as it were, in your psyche to unearth (i.e.: become aware of) the psychic contents that underly the sadness itself. Find out what is sustaining it. But remember, do it without resisting or pushing away the feeling – the sadness itself is put into a bind, while you do this psychic search-and-destroy mission. You may come across beliefs, expectations, complexes, entrenched habits so on and so forth. Become aware of them all. All of this is what “you” are made of. You are finding out how “you” tick. You may well find all of this to be a curious and a fascinating process, which fascination is essential for success to occur.
At one point, your intelligence will automatically notice how all of this is silly. Right then, that feeling of sadness (along with the unearthed parts and pieces of “you”) will begin to dissipate away, and it does so without any voluntary control. A (tacit/ intelligent) “choice” (or “decision”) is being made, and before you know it you are back to feeling good.