VINEETO: The phrase I would use now, in hindsight, for those ‘no-feelings’ of lack-lustre and listlessness is resentment of being here. Within the human condition there is a basic resentment of not wanting to be here, wanting to be somewhere else, waiting for something else to happen than what is happening now, as a basic attitude to life==, which is then reinforced by the various religious and spiritual conditioning that life on earth is essentially suffering and that the real life will only happen for the spirit after you die.
This resentment to being here, as this body, in the world-as-it-is with people-as-they-are, was what was responsible for my dull feelings, no-feelings, my listlessness, my boredom, my waiting for something else to happen, in short, it had permeated almost all experience of life in that it had cast a dulling shade over everything I experienced.
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.
RESPONDENT: For me, while it is easy (comparatively) to label and handle obvious feelings like anger, malice, compassion, hope, I find it more difficult to label not-so-apparent feelings. These feelings create a neither-happy-nor-sad kind of state. I remember you talked of dullness in one of your mails. But I find that this dullness or boredom is not the same every time it happens and it happens very frequently.
VINEETO: Yes, I can remember times of a ‘neither-happy-nor-sad kind of state’ and I recall talking to Alan about dullness and stuckness (and the two following letters). Although my dullness had varying qualities at different times, I could mostly sheet it home to a feeling of not wanting to be here, i.e. resentment for having to be here.
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 other kind of dullness or stuckness I would describe as an ostrich-behaviour – the result of my fear to investigate the particular belief or behaviour pattern that was under scrutiny at the time. Eventually such periods of procrastination grew shorter as I more and more stubbornly refused to spoil this unique present moment of being alive by not investigating the issue at hand.
And indeed each issue investigated, each belief discarded resulted in lifting an emotional weight off my shoulders and as a direct consequence, life has become easy and enjoyable. You could also say that ‘I’, the complainer, the controller, the moaner and groaner has all but left the stage.