Quote from Lesswrong

Parking this here to investigate and ponder further later.

“There is an experience, the beginnings of which are described at the beginning of this post, which it feels accurate to describe as ‘being attacked by a hell realm.’ These experiences are something like Jhana, but for negative states. Tightly contracted attention on some aversive feeling tone in the body like helplessness, hopelessness, fear, separation/loneliness, disgust, etc.

A solution to these problems is to open the aperture of attention wider to include neutral objects (most of the sensorium at any given time) but this doesn’t feel available in the moment due to the threat of the fear object (tunnel vision etc.)

A bunch of contemplative practices are oriented around making this degree of freedom on the attentional aperture available at all times. When it isn’t directly available as an immediate move and all we have to work with are the contents themselves an analytical approach can be helpful.

The underlying assumption that powers the whole investigation is that emotions are strategies to orient the organism usefully under some model of the world, and that those emotions won’t be willing to pass until they’re satisfied that we’re actually dealing with the situation and not just pulling our usual bullshit of hand waving things we don’t like away.

This means investigating what the goal of the feeling is on the feeling’s own terms, and feeling a genuine sense of connection and care for whatever that goal is, since it is some positive experience it wants you to have. More here. Or in more epistemic terms, emotions are entangled with useful information in the environment, and your system has safeguards against you throwing out that information until it is satisfied you’ve actually updated. I could say more but it’s starting to feel like this could go in several directions so I’ll leave it for now, might add more later based on any feedback.”

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