Pure Consciousness Experiences
I remember the first time I experienced being the senses only during a PCE. There was no identity as ‘I’ thinking or ‘me’ feeling ... simply this body ambling across a grassy field in the early-morning light. A million dew-drenched spider-webs danced a sparkling delight over the verdant vista and a question that had been running for some weeks became experientially answered: without the senses I would not know that I exist as this flesh and blood body. And further to this: I was the senses and the senses were me. With this came an awareness of being conscious – apperception – rather than ‘I’ being aware of ‘me’ being conscious. Richard
I had arranged with my partner at the time to spend a weekend in a holiday house by the foreshore of a large salt-water lake. We arranged a comfortable picnic spot by the lake and, as I strolled off by myself, a pure consciousness experience crept up on me. I remember walking in the shallow water and marvelling at my magical fairy-tale-like surroundings. A vast blue sky overhead with an ever-changing array of wispy white clouds. The sun glistens on the tiny ripples of water washing gently over my feet. The sensual feel of the mud oozing between my toes as they sink into the muddy beach. Huge pelicans glide overhead and I liken them to the jumbo jets of the bird world as they come in to land on the water some distance out. The sun on my skin is warming me through and through, the breeze is ruffling my hair and tingling my forearms, and the water is cooling on my feet. It is so good to be alive, my senses bristling and everything is perfect. Absolutely no objections to being here – pure delight!
After a while I turn to my partner who is sitting in the shade beneath a wonderfully gnarled and ancient tree on the lake’s edge. There sits a fellow human being to whom I have no ‘relationship’. Any past or future disappears; she and I are simply here together, experiencing these perfect moments. The past five years that I have known her, with all the memories of good and bad times, simply do not exist. It is just delightful that she is here with me, and I do not even have any thoughts of ‘our’ future. In short, everything is perfect, always has been, and always will be. It is an experience of actual freedom where I, as this body only, am able to experience with my physical senses the perfection and purity of the physical universe, free of the psychological and psychic entity within. And also free of the delusion that it is all the work of some mythical maker to whom I owe gratitude for my being here. I am actually here, in the physical universe and enjoying every moment of it. Peter
Yesterday I had the first really clear and unequivocal PCE since starting with this ... previously, I had had what I call ‘mini-PCEs’. They lasted only very brief periods of time, say an hour or so, and I wasn’t really sure it was a PCE. Yesterday, however, I had no doubt at all about the experience, as it accorded in all details with what I have read about PCEs ... I had some trouble at work ... some old fears of mine concerning work, authority, success, etc. came up for me. I found myself in some turmoil about these issues and, investigating deeper into it, I once again saw the futility of a feeling-based life, a so-called ‘normal’ life of sorrow, malice, nurture, and desire ... I wrote in my journal to myself what I would do to bring about peace-on-earth, for myself and others. A little later, I sat in my chair and was still for quite awhile. The PCE experience started there and continued for the rest of the day, at times most vividly, at other times diminishing somewhat, but always lustrous, vibrant, and rich. One of the things I noticed most strongly was the intensity of sensation – the clearness and brilliance of colours, and the ability to hear every little sound around me ... at a gravel pit ... I saw a stone popping out of the ground that had some interesting features to it. I ran my hand along the exposed top of it and it felt to be alive. Similarly, the texture and surface of the stone appeared to be actually a living thing. It reminded me of psychedelic drug experiences I had when I was younger, except that it was natural and uncontaminated by any emotions of fright, fear, doubt, etc. Later on we went to the supermarket to do the week’s shopping.
Another thing I noticed about the experience was how any object, even the most ordinary and mundane, instantly had become amazingly interesting and wonderful to look at.
Everything I looked at had a life of its own. Everything appeared fresh and new.
Everywhere I looked there were sensual delights to behold. Another thing was that there was some kind of very pleasurable sensation located near the solar plexus region. I find this difficult to convey but it was a very satisfying visceral sensation. I shall have to, in future, see what I can notice about it ... I found that I could refresh the experience by running the ‘How am I ...’ question and by increased attentiveness to the feelings that contaminated the experience. A couple of times, the experience would come back in full bloom in all its lustrousness. The PCE stands out in such dramatic contrast to ordinary, every-day perception and sensation ... another key feature of the experience – no affective element, no feelings, no disturbance whatsoever – there was nothing that could disturb the experience, take anything away from it, or detract from it. In other words, there was no feeling ‘me’ to spoil the experience. How amazing. Gary
In my first peak experience (PCE), I saw the perfection with my bodily senses, as this body. The cloud of ‘human’ superstition was momentarily lifted; no Authority, no Power, no Love and no Faith was playing a role in this perfection ... for there was no need for them. There was no lack, no want, no desires, no longing whatsoever. I saw that they only belonged inside ‘me’, as a psychological entity, and ‘my’ world-view. Nothing was wrong anywhere in this physical, earthly perfection. All what had ever been thwarting this wondrous purity, were ‘my’ ‘human’ misconceptions and prejudices. I saw instantly that I, as this body, was actually meant to live like this all the time ... like all people could. This perfection of the universe itself has never ordained that human life should be playing an exceptional role of imperfection and ignominy. There is no outside to perfection. This whole planet is perfectly situated in this infinite universe which is characteristically propelled to the best it can grow into. ‘One of my peak experiences happened on the fore-shore. All of a sudden, unpremeditated, ‘I’ and ‘my’ world-view had disappeared and an immediate intimacy became apparent. Although I had lived in this village before and had grown very fond of it and its residents, there had always been a distance between me and other people, which had to be bridged by temporary feelings of love and affection which were never satisfying for long. Now a shift in seeing had occurred, and looking at the people around me, I noticed that the distance between me and others had miraculously vanished. Not only between me and other people but equally between me and the trees, me and the houses on the boulevard, even between me and the ocean. Nowhere was there a boundary. Another dimension had taken its place, which I initially experienced as a closeness closer than my own heartbeat, yet it was certainly not love for all or oneness with everything. It was another paradigm than the one in which the opposites play their major role ... and to depict it I needed another vocabulary than words like distant and close, separation and oneness.
Opposites can only be used when there is a stationary benchmark to judge them by. When ‘I’, the standard from which everything was measured, ceased to be, a pure appraisal of the situation could take place. I saw everybody, including me as-this-body, and everything else, in its own proper place ... and nothing was wrong in any way. ‘The atmosphere of the peak experience, which I can best describe as the peace that supports everything from underneath, is the calm that makes undeniably clear that all is well after all. All is still and at rest, but not as the result of sitting in silence or being static. An all pervading and utterly pure atmosphere makes everything at once understood. It differs from intellectual understanding even though this is not precluded from it and can be activated in a crystal clear way, if so chosen. This is seeing the world as-it-is in all its wondrous grandeur. With grandeur I mean the vastness of all diversities happening simultaneously.
The most outstanding thing is the ordinariness of it all, normally so easily overlooked and drowned by plans, schemes and dreams usually attracting so much attention. Here is no need for ‘me’ and ‘my’ problems, ‘me’ and ‘my’ solutions. ‘I’ only make that which does not need improvement unnecessarily complicated for oneself and all concerned. Everything is simply correct, perfectly harmonized according to only what is happening; no thing, no sound, no person is out of place. To think otherwise would take time away from here as-it-is. I cannot possibly object to any of what is going on, because I have no reason to do so ... all is achieved already when ‘I’ as a separate on-looker, am no longer keeping myself apart from this actuality. ‘Many people have experienced this peace in moments of exquisitely ordinary perfection; the ‘normal’ and ordinary things – like sitting at the table, walking in the street, doing the dishes – have all of a sudden taken on a glance, a shine of immense purity that surpasses the culturally determined aesthetics and the self’s feeling of beauty. This perfection is completely immune to emotions and thoughts, the ‘normal’ arbiters used for judging the quality of one’s life. This is a pure consciousness experience, which Richard calls apperception. Apperception is when ‘I’ cease perceiving and perception happens of itself ... which the brain with its sense organs is patently capable of doing. And as for the feelings – the emotions and passions – the concept of bonding, belonging and relationship simply cannot be applied, not even with my partner, as there is nobody inside to do the relating. This perfect intimacy is everywhere at once, not generated somewhere specific and then diffused to other locations as is the case with love. Previous Companion, Richard’s Journal
What had started off one evening as ‘a roaming in the vast chambers of my mind’, psychic experiences and an expanded state of consciousness suddenly took a turn from ‘inner reality’ to actuality. It happened when Peter looked at me and said ‘hello, how are you doing?’ I popped out of my inner world of feelings and imagination and, questioning the very validity of all I felt and thought, entered the world beyond beliefs and feelings – the actual world. Here was another human being, a flesh-and-blood person without any particular identity and he wanted to talk to me. And here I was, also a flesh-and-blood person without a particular identity, sitting on an old couch and curious to talk to this man that I was meeting for the first time.
I had never met the actual Peter; I had only related to him through the curtain of my expectations and classifications, through the filter of my social identity, through the grey or rose-coloured glasses of my ‘self’. What was initially a shocking surprise quickly turned into fascination and delight to have discovered something so simple and so pure – actual intimacy with another person and the perfection of the actual world. Here we were, two human beings, meeting for the first time, without past or future. No grand feelings, in fact, no feelings at all, but the pleasure of mutual undivided attention as to what the other is going to say next...
All my churning questions from the weeks before as to what was right and what was wrong had disappeared from my tortured head and heart; the experience of the moment was all that mattered. In the course of the evening and the following night, insight upon insight occurred as the edifice of my beliefs system tumbled – the actual world, the world beyond belief opened up. Unbeknown to me it had been here all the time, a world where everything was simply obvious, perfect, pure, delightful, actual, factual and ‘wysiwyg’ (what you see is what you get). No deeper meaning, no God, no soul, no philosophy – meaning and significance abounds when living this moment without the burden of the ‘self’.
This pure consciousness experience became my reference point for what I wanted to achieve. It was also an essential reference point to understand what Richard was saying and writing. After all, this actual world is the very world he is living in all the time, and my PCE had just demonstrated how this world is usually tucked away behind the normal/spiritual worldview. Vineeto
The other day I had a pure consciousness experience where I understood once again that the Human Condition of malice and sorrow is indeed the particular flavour of human beings on planet Earth. I experienced a broadened awareness that gave me an overview of planet Earth floating in space, observing all that is going on and seeing its common flavour of humanity, whatever the place, race, gender or age. Human beings, by their very nature are inflicted with the genetically-encoded instincts that produce malice and sorrow. They pervade every thought and action, are the fuel for every emotion and passion and make ‘life a bitch and then you die’. The social identity and the instinctual ‘self’ are intrinsic to and a result of the evolution that took place on this fair planet, the third rock from the Sun, in the Milky way galaxy, in the infinite universe. Yet now the evolution has reached a point where humans can free themselves from the now unnecessary ‘appendix’ of the social identity and the animal survival instincts. What serendipity! Vineeto
I had quite the astounding PCE yesterday and I’d like to share it with y’all! The actual experiencing of unadulterated consciousness drove home many understandings which I want to share.
It happened as I was walking home from the subway. As I got out of the deep and dark subway tunnels, ascending the staircase to the outside, I realized it was an astonishingly beautiful day! The sun was bright and warm and everything looked delightful in its light.
I said on Friday that I was going to go into work on Saturday, yet it was obvious now that that wasn’t happening, so I texted my boss to inform him I’d be coming in on Sunday, instead, which put that worry to rest right away. Then, when walking along a small park (just a tiny one between two streets) as was my usual route, I looked into the park and remarked to myself how awesome it looked! So I doubled back a bit and stepped into the park, instead.
The PCE came on sometime from that point to when I exited the park a few minutes later. I simply really took notice of what was going on and was simply enjoying it all. I noticed some motion to my right, stopped suddenly to take a look, and there was a squirrel! I got a bit closer without scaring it away and managed to take a look. I wondered that I hadn’t seen a squirrel in forever. Its heart was beating so fast. At first it seemed timid but then it looked up at me and sort of stood on its hind legs. I think it wanted food.
I moved on, taking particular note of how awesome the trees looked. What ensued was a really brilliant interplay of me noticing something with delight, then me reacting to it/contemplating it with delight, then doing something else with delight, etc., all because it was just delightful. Like I stopped at the crosswalk and I had a red light. So I looked around to see if there were cars coming, and they weren’t. So then I started walking across. Then a car came and started turning left onto the road I was crossing, so I bolted the rest of the way, with no fear at all, almost just because it was fun, but also so I wouldn’t get run over. Then I decided to stand to the left of a parking meter instead of the right, when waiting to cross the other street, because I was curious how that looked. (...)
The ‘WOW’ factor was definitely there. And this ‘WOW’ factor definitely comes from the identity. Unbidden thoughts arising of like ‘wow this is just so amazing!’ I was now at a point where I could choose to go either way. I noticed that thoughts were totally unnecessary, and that indeed I was enjoying myself the most when thoughts were not occurring. This is because they were feeling-fueled thoughts, spinning around about ‘me’, ‘me’, ‘me’. Whereas I could simply enjoy life without the thoughts. All the decisions I made when I described the crosswalk experience were made without thoughts at all, just a direct appraisal of the situation, though of course I understood exactly what was going on and why and I can now put it into words. But it was totally pointless to put what was already going on and being understood into thoughts and then go on thinking about it. That would have just ended the PCE. And I could choose to go either way! I chose to keep experiencing the PCE.
Here’s where I realized ‘I’ cannot tell whether ‘I’ am in abeyance by feeling it out. The feeling function only works when ‘I’ am fully there, not in abeyance. Trying to feel whether ‘I’ am in abeyance (i.e. whether a PCE is happening) only results in ‘me’ coming back (i.e. the PCE ending). A pure consciousness experience is experienced apperceptively. That’s how non-feeling consciousness works. And it’s so delightful!
So, I successfully crossed both streets and was now on the final sidewalk before getting into my apartment building. I was truly having a blast. It was so incredibly simple! Here’s where more understanding started flowing, as a direct result of that experience, and that’s part of how I know it was a PCE.
First of all, it was excessively obvious that a PCE is a factual occurrence and that ‘I’ as a feeling-being play no part in it, because that’s exactly what was happening and I was experiencing it! There was also an immediate recognition in the veracity of the words on the AFT. It’s not a belief system. Rather, the words on the AFT site accurately describe this factual occurrence. Richard described it first, then other people understood and experienced what the words described and then described it as well, which descriptions are unsurprisingly consistent because they are describing the same factual occurrence. It was also clear that really actualism is all about the PCE. That is how I want to experience life 24/7. There’s an unshakeable confidence that results from PCEs, and for me, from this one in particular, so much so that even though now ‘I’ am here and a PCE is not occurring, I have the confidence that the actual world exists and ‘I’ know that that is my destination.
Actualism is great because it provides all the information you need to understand the PCE fully. If this experience happened to me without any exposure to actualism, I would not have gotten the same out of it. I wouldn’t know what to make of it after-the-fact, I would forget it, I wouldn’t see all the implications, etc. But now I do. Finally, people can now combine their ability to reason intelligently with their natural ability to apperceive, with the ultimate result being an actual freedom!
I was having the time of my life, walking along on that final sidewalk. ‘Me’ and all ‘my’ desires and fears and addictions and problems and whatever was totally gone. There was no need to do anything to correct for ‘me’ because there were no problems in the first place. Truly amazing! And it was so *easy* and simple to just be there.
This was a seriously jam-packed PCE (in real-world terms... the experience of it was of utter carefreeness (not carelessness)), but I’m not done yet! At this point, I decided to notice the purity of the actual world more, to let it in a bit more. And then the purity really started to shine through. As the purity became more apparent there was a thought (probably from the abeyant identity, much like the WOW factor), that the level of purity this experience was bringing made everything up to that point, delightful as it was, pale by comparison.
Richard told me that back in the day, he would have multiple PCEs a day, but that they had different flavours. Some of them had a more ‘meaning-of-life’ flavour, and he said those are the ones that ‘he’ tended to shy away from, as being too much. That’s exactly what happened to me here. That purity was bringing with it the experience of the meaning of life, but it was just too much at that point, so ‘I’ shied away from it and came back. (...)
‘I’ am not wasting this PCE. I’ve derived newfound confidence from it and the memory of it isn’t going anywhere. I think up till now I’ve done a good job of extricating myself from the spiritual mess I had gotten myself into and re-integrating back into the real world, which is a lot better by comparison, but now it’s time for me to really arrange ‘my’ matters to make ‘my’ life much more conducive to becoming actually free.
I had a few glimpses today of some interesting and amazing things about the actual world. I was listening to music and tried to activate delight, soon the music wasn’t happening in ‘my’ head but was out there in the world, what followed after was that the music was still happening outside of me but there was no more inside/outside, it felt totally intimate. Then it got better and better, I started contemplating and soon I was experiencing the stillness that Richard speaks of. The music was actually happening now, but it was totally still as in coming from nowhere and going nowhere and I was the experience of it.
The experience of stillness was actually very profound and gave this security that I can’t explain very well. Also shortly before that I had a quick glimpse of infinity and it was very thrilling to the point that I pulled back, my whole body was tingling. Anyway the things just kinda kept unfolding and soon the best part presented itself. It actually was like a nice surprise or a gift or something, I saw what the actual world is like and that it is a perfect, benevolent place. This melted away any resentment I had at that moment. Also whereas before all these ideas of perfection etc were more intellectual now they were seen like no joke its actually perfect!
Also I had an experience which relates to the altruism that Richard speaks of but I’m not sure. Basically as all these brief but amazing glimpses were happening waves of fear would come and go, I tried to investigate that fear and all of a sudden with the experience of perfection in one hand and with the fear preventing the experience of perfection on the other hand, I saw how selfish it was. ‘I’ was actively preventing peace on earth because of ‘my’ instinctual thoughtless ways.
Then something interesting happened. I tried to figure out how to move beyond that instinctive fear which meant kinda giving my ‘self’ up, and I saw that the way to do it was to completely let go of controls and let that purity live me. At that moment it got kinda weird because I realised that since I am no different from the physical universe and thus that purity then allowing the perfection to live me meant kinda being what I actually am anyway. I am the physical universe experiencing itself as a sensate human being thus when ‘I’ go, all that is left is the pure intent. So the experience was kinda like becoming that pure intent. This is all getting really interesting, the thought that I could live in that state 24/7 is unbelievable and it would be such a waste of a life not to experience that. Also I can see that being that purity means dedication to peace on earth also. Its like they go hand in hand, the perfection and purity automatically bestows benevolence. Respondent No. 00K, List D, 17.2.2014
Had a PCE today... it was clear that no amount of imagination is comparable with this actual world. I could see the long sidewalk I was walking much further than I see usually, and the three dimensional purview was amazing.
My vision and enjoyment was unimpeded by any worry-full identity... it is clear that the actual space I perceived was more than any of the imagination. The identity is clearly seen to be non-existing in actuality, and its activity is nothing compared to the actual stuff that is happening all around me. It was a jamais vu... everything is fresh and quite interesting: nothing boring. It was like being a tourist in my own neighbourhood.
The experience was a direct result of my understanding that the identity is a non-physical, spiritual entity. The ‘me’ though appearing real, is actually a non-physical and insubstantial: a result of the instinctual passions, a passionate construction. I could for the first time separate the ‘me’ from the physical: I could see how the imaginary overlaid the actual.
Understanding led me to take the ‘me’ less seriously: after all, it is not actual. Later I could sense the atavistic nature of the ‘me’ running wayward.
It is also clear that the pure consciousness can become permanent only if the ‘me’ sacrifices itself for this cause. If the centre doesn’t dissolve willingly, there is no chance. And I don’t see that it should take forever, having to understand one after the other...
I think it is important to separate the ‘affective’ from the ‘sensate’ ... the ‘me’ can cover the actual and appear to be actual ... it is never the ‘flesh and blood body’ but an affective spirit. No amount of pretence or wish can make the ‘me’ actual ... only by ending, it can enable the actual. List AF No 33
Last summer I was walking along a country road outside the town where I live. In a field I found two perfect fresh specimens of amanita psilocybin. Chewed thoughtfully, walked and waited. After about 30 minutes I felt a few nasty physical sensations: a buzzing in my head and a bit of anxiety in my guts. I hurried along the track feeling uneasy and restless, sweating and whatnot. Then, all of a sudden, literally in a moment, all traces of anxiety dropped away completely, and it was as if I had walked through an invisible membrane into a bubble of perfection. Absolutely nothing had changed. The fields, mountains, trees, sky, clouds, all stood before me in their sparkling, pristine glory. There was no ‘emotion’, but there was a pure sensation of joy that made me grin from ear to ear.
I must still have had some sense of identity because at one point I wondered: where am I? I knew that I was walking on a country road outside town, but when I tried to precisely locate myself in relation to the river and the town, found I could not. I could not hold an abstract map in my mind at all. But it didn’t matter in the slightest. Where am I? I’m here! The whole question of where ‘here’ is only makes sense in relation to where somewhere else is, and what’s the point of that?
For the next couple of hours I strolled along, drifting in and out of this bubble of perfection, feeling absolutely fine and carefree. There was no trace of ‘mysticism’ or ‘spirituality’ about it; just enjoyment of being present in a perfect bubble of real time and real space and real things.
Richard: ... Only I would not say ‘... into a bubble of perfection’ but rather ‘out of a bubble of imperfection’ – as there is only perfection in actuality – nor ‘being present in a perfect bubble of real time and real space and real things’ but rather ‘being just here, right now, in actual space and actual time as actual form’ (and thus out of the bubble of real time, real space, and real things) ... but I can comprehend that from a real-world perspective it looks to be the other way around.
Yeah, that’s a better way of putting it.
Something else that accompanied the experience of passing through this ‘invisible membrane’ was a peculiar sense that I’d entered into a new ‘day’. Hard to describe, but you probably know exactly what I mean. I knew perfectly well it was the same day that I’d set out for my morning walk, but the ‘me’ who had set out for a walk that morning seemed to be aeons ago (metaphorically, not literally) – an artefact of a different time altogether. (But there was no loss of common sense. I knew it was still ‘today’). List AF No 60
Was looking out the window across the valley looking at the sunlight shining through the trees when I happened to notice one particularly brilliant dew drop sparkling amidst the leaves and branches of a bottlebrush tree. I was gazing at the purity and brilliance of the light, and just quietly reflecting on how some people are moved to pay millions of dollars to possess such a thing. I thought – not for the first time – how silly that is, considering there are millions of ‘diamonds’ out there, if only we choose to look. We can’t possess them – but who needs to? So there I was, just quietly reflecting on the scene for who knows how long, oblivious to the passing of time, until eventually I consciously noticed the ‘magical, fairytale-like quality’ of the scene. The light was golden, every little swaying movement of the trees just emphasised the stillness. There was an utterly brilliant clarity and peace, and every object (trees, branches, leaves in this case) seemed to be like exclamations of clarity and perfection. When I recognised it as an incipient PCE, the momentary recognition caused some ripples of ‘me’ to reappear, but again it settled down into pellucid clarity. I don’t know how much time passed by the clock; it couldn’t have been long, but there was no sense of fleetingness – this was eternity. It also struck me that infinitude has nothing to do with size. It’s not like an experience of an immensity so great that it conveys the feeling / sense / intuition of limitlessness; rather, it’s the recognition that: this is it – there’s nothing else but this, anywhere, everywhere, this is what’s actually here; there can’t be any outside to it. (I realise how lame this sounds in words, but I can’t do any better right now, and don’t really need to).
Prior to this, I had been reflecting on just how possible it is to enjoy life all the time, regardless of circumstances, just by seeing through and rejecting each and every reason for being unhappy and/or inflicting oneself upon others. It is indeed possible. It only requires me to agree, and allow it. (I have been surprised lately by how much trouble this possibility has caused me, and how much resistance I’ve had to the idea of it over the years. That resistance has worn itself out now). No 60, Yahoo Mailing List, 19.3.2008
There is an increase in sensory clarity, especially visual acuity. Along with this increase in clarity there is a ‘purity’ in everything one perceives. The words ‘immaculate’, ‘perfect’, ‘pure’ capture it quite well; everything is wonderful. Strangely, though, the word ‘beautiful’ does not apply. There is no (felt) affect whatsoever. The purity of perception (and the marvellousness of what is perceived) goes beyond affect, leaving only pure, calm wonder. It’s sensory delight without any emotional resonance at all.
The sensory delight I’m talking about is not the usual kind of sensuousness/ sensuality that one enjoys in an ordinary state. Rather than being ‘pleasurable’, it is appreciation of the perfection that seems to be inherent in what one is perceiving, which leads to enjoyment of a very different kind. This is quite extraordinary. There is a sensation of softness in the air, which has a pellucid, jelly-like quality (metaphorically speaking).
I’m reminded of something you once wrote about the eyes ‘lightly caressing’, as if one is seeing from the front of the eyeball. I also remember you saying ‘nothing dirty can get in’, and that’s exactly the way it is. Objects that would seem drab, dirty, sullied, soiled in ‘reality’ are immaculate in themselves; any ‘dirtiness’ is overlaid by ‘me’. List AF No 60, 21.5.2004
A shiver up the spine, a crinkling, tightening sensation at the back of the head, another shiver up the spine and suddenly I am this moment living me, I am the doing of what is happening. I realize it is not possible to ‘understand’ phrases like these, they have to be lived, experienced, and when one is living this moment, it is so, so, obvious. There is nothing difficult or complicated about being ‘here’, for we are all ‘here’. There is nothing to do, except doing it – and I file away another question, which springs into my mind and which might be of future use if ‘I’ get troublesome – ‘what is happening that I am the doing of?’ My senses are increased a hundredfold, a thousand fold, the whole of my body is ‘jangling’ with nerve endings experiencing a constant influx of sensations. Everything sounds so loud. The obviousness of perfection lies all around. It is just such a delight to be here as this body, with the enormous array of sensory input, which is almost overpowering, yet so simple. There is nothing complicated here, in this moment. There is an overwhelming sense of ‘rightness’ – an ease of just being here – this is how life was meant to be, everything is perfect and nothing can possibly go ‘wrong’. I actually am the universe experiencing itself and what else can I be – wow!! Alan
In the ASC I could only gape in (psychological) wordless wonder at vast, empty (psychological) space. Asleep, there was only vast empty (psychological) space – no dreams. Awake, my attention was riveted to the vast empty (psychological) space in my head. I could think and function but I was awestruck (very impressed with – hint, hint) by the vast empty space. But a vast empty psychological space is still psychological space (a self) and still creates a feeling/distance barrier.
In the PCEs this emotion/ feeling distance barrier (the self) dissolved and affected the way I (physically) experienced time, space and objects. In the PCEs the security or confidence instilled by (physical) location in eternal time and infinite space is unmistakable. Everything exists in an absolute stillness and deep purity. Visually, the contrast of light and dark is heightened, colours are richer. Hearing is unrestricted, sounds are welcome. I could feel the nubbly fabric of the chair on my skin and I remember thinking I was in forbidden territory, that I was breaking a big taboo because everything was so easy and o.k. So those are the differences as I experienced them.
As for the kind of impression left by a PCE – yes it is enormous. When the invisible boundary drops away, everything looks bigger and closer and the world is deeply pure in all infinite directions and the unshakeable stillness of it always having been, always being, and always going to be here and now makes me immediately, wonderfully and finally (as in for all time), Home Free.
You asked me to elaborate on the ambience of ‘Home Free’ in a PCE. Well, even though it reads sequentially this is not in any order. I notice the disappearance of some invisible barrier, which makes everything seamless, no dirty distance between me and everything else. I notice that load off the nervous system we talked about which has to do with feeling pressured for time somehow, as being the weight and force of believing I am responsible, of being charged with knowing how it is supposed to happen and making it happen. But with that gone I feel so here, so relaxed and aware. Time is one big, long eternal moment of stillness. All the time in the universe is available for me to operate in.
There is a purity penetrating everything and the very air in the room looks clearer and purer. And without me knowing what is supposed to happen, I do not know what is going to happen so in about two seconds life has turned into such a gas! All of a sudden life is physical ease in a huge, magic, endless wonderland that is, pure, still and miraculously my home. And I am off the hook. I don’t ‘have’ to do anything so my activity, or just sitting there, is playful. Whatever I do and wherever I go is or would be agreeable. I don’t have to ‘work’.
There is a flavour of intrigue or taboo or something in there, too. But maybe that’s affect coming in at the end, or now that I look at it, maybe that’s the feeling of power and cunning ‘ I’ get by being able to stand in the way of actuality. Ooo, that’s sick. AF No 50
I recently remembered a PCE, which was helpful because before this I could only go on how much practical sense actualism made, and take other’s word for it that this grand experience was possible. Thus I was unable to connect with ‘pure intent’ and unable to have a marker to compare various other experiences by. The distinct quality in the experience for me was not having to look into my surroundings – no piercing awareness of it was necessary, because, as I have heard described before, there was absolutely no distance between what I saw and my eyes. The experience occurred during a boring lecture, in a bland, almost empty lecture-hall, and it all made no difference because all I saw was fascinating. I have no recollection of other sensory experiences, hearing, feeling, and such though, and I do not have a distinct memory of what type of thoughts were occurring, or whether ‘I’ was there. But nevertheless, it was good enough for me. List AF No 55
I was sitting on the porch at the front of my parents’ house just enjoying the morning sun and contemplating things that I can’t recall now. Thinking and contemplation lead me to a ‘pop’ and for a few seconds the world seemed absolutely perfect. Everything was perfectly ordered and as it should be, nothing was lacking, not even my presence. If I can recall correctly, the world seemed very harmless and every object was a pleasure to the eye, most probably because ‘I’ wasn’t there. ...
What I do remember is the pure and utter benign perfection of that few seconds. I vaguely remember smiling at this experience, at the wonder of the actual, physical world, and the intimacy betwixt my body and the world. List AF No 6
Richard : I am pleased to read that you had a PCE – one experience is worth thousands of the words explaining actualism – as all that has been written is then self-evidently factual and plain to view.
If you could provide a written description of what occurred whilst it is still fresh it would be appreciated as we are gradually building up a data-base of various people’s descriptions of their PCEs so that someone new to the website can gain an understanding about what is being referred to when that phrase is used.
This is because the PCE is central to comprehending what an actual freedom from the human condition is.
I actually had two! On PCE 1 I started off furious! I was tired of the way this guy was acting at work and fed up that my bosses weren’t doing anything about it. When I asked how I was experiencing this moment, my answer was that I was enraged! I went on with my soap opera, recycling it in my head for a few minutes, and then decided to get off the train I had been riding. I was committed to one thing! Peace! My intention was that I would sit down and not resume my commute to work until I was truly at peace!
I know you and others have talked of this being possible regardless of external circumstances, or illness, whether your alone, unloved etc. Pretty much everything that society gives you the allowance to walk around being pissed at! ‘I’m going to sit on this bench till I’m fine!’ It was to be a small step towards the larger goal of a lifetime of living happily and at peace. Next I began to look around at various objects in the environment. I just looked without any labelling that something was a bench, or a woman, or a bird. Next I heard sounds without identifying what they were.
I felt body sensations with the only commentary being a subtle noticing of pressures, of heat and cold. I smelled the air and felt that bench against my ‘tushy ‘(just having some fun with my PCE). I left my mind and came back to my senses!!! I stopped ‘putting on [name deleted]’, and I giggled and giggled some more, and I smirked and I knew. In a most grounded delight, I realized everything was fine! Actually everything was just dandy!! You could have called me any name in the book! You could have thrown me in jail. You could have done anything you wanted. Everything was all right, and yet nothing was any different in the world. ‘I never arrived at work that day.’ I realized on this journey ‘I’ was never going to arrive! Thankfully!
The second one was during a lightning storm. I walked along and just looked at the sky while of course taking the necessary safety precautions. I became enthralled at the majesty of nature. I was very quiet inside. There was a pervasive stillness. There was certainly no effort on my part to effect any change or have some phenomenon occur. This allowing of life and sensory awareness with no editorial comment seemed what elicited ‘my disappearance.’
There would ensue certain thought streams after awhile, yet I know what you mean by perfection. Things just are. If ‘I’ don’t editorialize how things ought to be, they are perfect. List AF No 32
After my last post about a few issues I was ‘agonizing’ over – especially ‘family ties’ and the issue of ‘aloneness,’ I had a great sense of relief after investigating my beliefs about belonging to my family of origin – multiple issues arose along with fears of isolation, alienation, etc. After experiencing some insight as to the emotions involved, deciding to drop identification with them, I began to feel a lightness.
That lightness continued to swell until early evening, until while driving home after dinner, I began to really ‘get into’ ‘this present moment.’ As I drove, I watched the trees sway in the wind, until all of a sudden it did actually seem like the ‘trees were swaying in me.’ The most defining part of the experience was that time seemed to slow down – I began to notice each and every detail – virtually effortlessly. There was virtually perfect calm. I did notice some ‘issues’ that I normally ‘struggle’ with, but they didn’t have their normal strength. The ‘strongest’ part of the experience probably lasted only about 15 seconds – it seemed like I had been taken into another world, though it was obviously the same world, but yet it was in sharp detail that I hadn’t completely noticed before. And it did have a benevolence about it. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed by the wonder of it all, which may be what brought the most intense part to an end – but the calm and ‘presentness’ lasted the rest of the evening and a bit into the morning.
Right now, I’m somewhere in between, as there is obviously more self left to whittle away at. But it is so wonderful to finally get a taste of what a virtual freedom can be – it’s wonder, it’s ‘certainty’, which needs no prop of certainty. It’s obvious to me now that there is no other way for me to live. In the PCE – fulfilment is in every moment.
P.S. I remember Richard talking about fear being a gateway to intimacy. I think I’m starting to understand that now. Apparently, when fear levels reach their peak – we suddenly get determined to make a radical break from our normal defences, which can propel one directly into this present moment.
I can also confirm from my experiences that the little ‘noisy chap in the head’ settles down tremendously when in virtual freedom. When one is focussed on the senses – thought becomes superfluous at times. Yet when thought is functioning – it’s clarity is much improved.
One other thing I noticed during this whole experience is how the self normally experiences the world in a delayed fashion. It seemed as if there was the ‘pure’ experience that certainly didn’t need thought to operate. Then shortly after that, there would be the ‘feeling’ of the experience, then shortly thereafter, thinking can begin to reflect on the experience. I don’t know if this is of much importance, but what I began to notice is when I was going away from the ‘purest’ part of the experience, I began to be pulled into the ‘memory’ of any particular moment, rather the moment itself – and that the normal experience of the self seems like it constantly lives in the memory of each moment, rather than the moment itself – which then divides consciousness. In other words, the reason why we don’t normally ‘pay complete attention’ to this moment is that the self is too busy processing the memory of the moment and has to keep jumping back into the moment time and time again to begin processing all over again. List AF No 37
last week, I had my first PCE after starting to read this website.
I had been playing with a friend’s niece and nephew all afternoon and evening, when all of a sudden, while sitting in the sitting room with them at night, something ‘popped’ and I could hear and see and feel and just generally perceive with amazing clarity. my friend’s nephew was speaking to me, and mid-sentence, I wasn’t only listening to just the words he was saying, but could hear the tones and timbres in his voice and the slight echo it had from all around the room. I saw the shadows on the wall cast by the lighting, and and the colours and shades were so vibrant and bright, not bright in a ‘more lighting’ way, but in a ‘more clear’ way.
My skin felt so ‘close’ and immediate, and I noticed the way it felt (rather than just feeling it as a weight). And where before I was feeling happy and light-hearted, I no longer felt that – I didn’t feel whatsoever!
‘Empty-hearted’ might be the best way to put it. there was no separation between a ‘me’ that could feel and anything else, and in this was such a purity, for lack of better word. being alive felt so real. I was also aware of this happening and recognised what it was, and it was funny. I described the experience as it was happening to the kids (‘wow I can really hear you, before I wasn’t really listening somehow’ and ‘wow everything looks so amazing, its all right here’) and they thought it was pretty funny too but that I was being awful weird.
I’d had PCE's in the past, spontaneous ones brought about by drug use, meditation, sometimes just everyday circumstances, but there were also too many ASC’s that blocked a clear recollection.
Every time I tried to think about a PCE, I would just have too many affective responses and it wouldn’t get anywhere. this was the first out and out clear PCE.
I really understand now why the felicitous feelings are to be maximised. in the past, before reading the actual freedom site, I had felt frustrated because I thought anything within the realm of a self would just be a lame imitation of the pure experience and that wouldn’t help anything.
And even after reading the site I had doubts but thought it was worth doing anyway because it did sound right, and I had nothing to lose. But now I really know that the felicitous feelings are worthwhile in and of themselves, and now I also see how, while only being an imitation, they are related to and really do lead to the PCE.
Thank you very much. Tarin
The last week or so I have been going for walks around the neighbourhood at lunch time. I have been trying to replicate an experience I had a long time ago ... about 7 years ago, when pursuing spiritual enlightenment, I was walking to uni (a 50 minute walk) and contemplating the idea that I was ‘one with everything’ around me ... one with the tree, one with this passing truck, one with this letterbox, etc.
After about 20 minutes of this all of a sudden – pop – something changed in a big way.
But here’s the thing. I’ve been wracking my brain, and reading everything I can on the website, to try to decipher if it was an ASC or a PCE. But I cannot work it out, so I’m wondering if anyone can shed some light upon the matter? Perhaps something in my description will ring a bell somewhere out there. Basically, there wasn’t any sense of love or particular oneness ... it was weird, and not what I expected to experience, which is why I didn’t think it was really samadhi at the time. But to take a phrase I’ve read on the website somewhere, it did have a fairytale quality to it ... it was like I was transported into another dimension, except I was still right here.
Everything had this magical quality to it, and also everything seemed to make sense ... I recall thinking ‘of course!!’, though I wasn’t really sure what was so obvious ... it was just that there wasn’t anything that needed answering, everything just made sense all of a sudden. Then I suspect, if it was a PCE, my identity may have come rushing in because I think tears came to my eyes at the beauty of what I was seeing. But then it all faded, lasting maybe 20 seconds in all. I’m not sure why I never really tried to make it happen again. I probably tried briefly but then gave up. At the time I was more interested in answers than really achieving anything. I wanted to know the meaning of life. List AF No 21
Yesterday night, after having smoked a joint and while listening to some music, I was suddenly my senses... there was such clarity and a vast silence inside that I could see clearly that the identity is like a weed which poisons every experience with its own agenda, and which, like a parasite occupies the space inside my body.
There was such freedom from all concern, it was amazing. I wasn’t tripped out, I was clearly observing what was happening, and it was as if a load had been lifted.
Then I understood that only experiential knowing can act as a catalyst for total commitment to being free. No 71, 10.8.2005
Back in about 1980 I did a stint in the woods ... in the National Forests for a couple years. I spent almost all my time in the wilderness at that time. On a sunny afternoon, in the backyard of where I was living at the foot of a mountain ... I had a blanket out doing my yoga exercises when this happened ... the phenomenon of suddenly trembling and the mind spinning towards dizziness and potential unconsciousness ... I just stared at my hands. They kept vibrating and with a shimmery essence – and when I looked up – suddenly I could see every leaf on every tree, every blade of grass, all the bugs and grains of dirt, every bird on every single branch, in a 180 degree circumference all around my head, all at the same time, all at once. It was beyond incredible. At the time, I was not seeking that enlightenment; in fact it freaked me out forever. And – I do not know the ‘intellectual jargon’ either eastern or western; just that it gave me a unique perspective on this life. Now that I know the possibilities, how can I just ruminate on analysis? List A No 25
Went to New England last month – there is a lighthouse and a small parking area out on a peninsula – sitting there in the car – two geese flew from left to right across the front of the car about 20 feet out and 20 feet or so above the water – about eye level. As I remember afterward – there was no time – just the geese flying – their dark eyes, beautiful and wonderful – along with a verbal WOW from me – but I wasn’t there – just this timeless happening.
My guess is the mind relaxes and doesn’t think so much. The point is that I – the ‘you’ referred to by J. Krishnamurti – remembered it. The experience was all – I wasn’t engrossed in the experience at the time – I really wasn’t there. Only afterward did I (thought) reflect on it. This was a one of a kind experience for me. I can’t explain the realness of it to anyone and don’t try (you’re an exception because you understand). The timelessness of it was astounding (after it was over) and me not being there can’t be described. The experience does make it easier to see in the moment the emptiness of everything. However, nothing has ever been as real as that timeless time. List A No 2
I am writing because I wanted to say that I feel your experiences mirror my own, so I would like confirmation. Although I was only ‘there’ for I think a few minutes (quite difficult to gauge given that time is somehow compressed), I would describe it as complete immersion in the prime substance and mind. I must say here that the experience came after a swift coming to terms with life as something filled with hopelessness, suffering and samsaric purposelessness, something that rather than be ruled by, I felt compelled to remove myself from with, once decided, the suddenness of a knife thrust.
I could hear the moving of the ripples, the glorious blue constantly wavering was somehow closer to my face than had I been an inch away from it. The light reflecting off the water was everywhere and I could see it was travelling, see its speed. The insects were audible in the minutest detail – as if I had acquired the hearing of a bat. The realization that the ‘I’ that I employed to go about in the world was absent, a mere illusion, was quite a shock for obvious reasons. In a way I think I tried to invite it in as there was a fear about moving in the world without a distinct ‘I’.
I remember looking at that ‘I’ just before I left this garden of Eden as something so alien to the real me, something with absolutely no connection to what I am, a completely lost, forsaken, deluded, ignorant false entity that had taken over my life for 22 years at that point and was about to conquer me again. Just before I took the final leap into this Realm (fully thinking I would find only death, once my inner world of samsara was extinguished) I actually heard within a rush of many what seemed to be spirits spurring me on to go for it, as if it was the only thing truly worth doing, which indeed it is.
People should not innately have to suffer the constant cyclic pain of attachments that forever bear no solid fruit, and thoughts that merely lead one in meaningless perpetual circles. I felt that me as a person was not deserving of that fate either now, before, or any longer, and I was prepared to sacrifice all I had if that’s what was required, even if it meant death, I wasn’t content to lead a dishonest life of subservience to unfulfilling desires. List A No 17
Richard, would like to relate a quite remarkable experience from this morning. I woke up a little earlier than I wanted to let my little dog outside. Deciding I wasn’t ready to be up yet, went back to bed. As I often do first thing in the morning, I was lying in bed just allowing whatever comes up to come up. At some point I noticed that I was experiencing in an unusual way. How can I put this? My awareness was crystal clear, very direct, present. There was nothing mediating between experience and the awareness of experience. I noticed that this immediacy was very different from how ‘I’ normally experience. There was no overlay of feeling filtering experience. It was just very direct with nothing in between. The absence of feeling was not in any way a dullness. In fact the absence of the feeling layer seemed to be directly responsible for the sparkling directness of what I was experiencing.
I started noticing the sound of the morning birds. Again, not quite sure how to say it, but it was though I was hearing with my ears most directly, without any interpretive faculty in between the sound and my hearing of it. The absence of the feeling layer or filter was the most remarkable thing. Again, my experience was direct, so much more direct than my usual experience. I felt amazingly free, but there was no feeling of joyousness or exultation, not gratitude or bliss. In fact, I didn’t feel free. I simply was free.
You’ve said something like nothing ‘dirty’ can enter into apperceptiveness. Clean was the word that kept coming to mind. This was a clean, direct experience. At one point, though I was never asleep, I had a momentary dream image of a van speeding towards me. Instantly my body reacted with an adrenaline rush, which immediately subsided when the ‘danger’ had passed. This seemed like a natural occurrence that ‘I’ was never caught up in. It was like a demonstration of the body’s capacity to respond to danger when necessary and then release the response when the danger had passed. There was an aliveness that not only wasn’t dependent on the feeling filter, but was infinitely more apparent without it. I remember thinking that this way of experiencing really was the best. I thought this must be what Richard is talking about. I want to add that I know what it is to be emotionally neutral. This was not neutrality. This was simply what’s there when the whole affective layer is peeled away.
The whole interval lasted more than an hour. Afterwards I could recall moments in the past when I had had similar experiences, but nowhere near the duration, and certainly not with the same clarity. Well, what can I say but wow! I’m assuming this is what you mean by a pure consciousness experience. Richard, General Correspondence No 9
About three months ago, at the beginning of the spring in Philadelphia area, I was at one of my favourite places, a local lake. I have been going to this lake for about 4 years. I experienced a PCE which seemed to have lasted much longer than the previous ones, or at least I thought so. So that day I was enjoying watching the trees across the lake on the other side and was walking on this side along the lake shore. I was at peace with myself and everything around me. I could hear engines of all the different cars and the buses passing by. I could hear them clearly and distinctly. And my capacity to do that increased from pretty much zero to hundreds. The leaves on the trees were lot more colourful than usual, the bricks on the old hospital building were brighter and distinct from the grout in between them. I was observing all of these things but did not care for a particular item under observation. And many of these things happened pretty much at the same time, actually in a continuous stream one after another.
Oh, the clay pots which held the plants were lustrous and so were the moss growth on the outside of those pots. In addition, I could see each of those tiny ‘blades’ on the moss clearly. There were lots of people on the street but I was not looking at them individually but instead collectively. In fact, I did not want to focus at them, I kind of looked towards the horizon but not really. On a normal day, I like to watch all the young nubile women, at their beautiful faces, at their round breasts, but not that day. I just wanted to sort of look towards the horizon. In addition, there was plain wholesome happiness, not the feeling of happiness which I get after a ‘pat on the back’ from a fellow scientist, but simple wholesome happiness without any worries and everything was just great. There was no Euphoria, Bliss, Ecstasy or Rapture. There was no Love, Compassion, Beauty or Wholeness.
Then I started noticing the plastic bags and small boxes lying in the water. I have observed changes at the lake since the officials have allowed commercial boating. There are more people fishing in the last two years and hence there is more trash lying around than it used to be 4 years ago. Sometime later I decided to pick them out of water and started taking them to a trash can. As I was doing this something happened and I started thinking of forming a group of people who should clean this place. One thought led to another and I was thinking of this quite excitedly and in big terms and was thinking what we could achieve. But at the same time, I noticed my joy of just being there was diminishing. I do not remember when but may be sometime later on or just then, the thought occurred: ‘oh, that is what Richard says about ‘devolving’ of a PCE’. I also thought of Osho saying: ‘beware of the mind it comes in from various directions’. By the way, I have never been an activist of any kind let alone of cleaning-up-the-environment kind, yet that day I almost became one. Richard, General Correspondence No 2/5
About 13 times in my life, in the past 3 years, I would wake up from sleep in the morning and before the mind kick-started I would be overwhelmed with the absolute aliveness around me. The stillness. The joy felt deep, deep, deep within – the joy of Being Alive. That I exist! It was like a revelation – I exist! I Exist! How amazing! What a miracle! I exist!!!!! I Am!! Each cell of my body was full of aliveness. And as quickly and spontaneously and uninvited it came, it left. The ‘me’ wanted to snatch the experience for itself and own it. Possess it. It is so strange to me, that, when it happens, it's so obvious, so clearly the case, you know you can’t lose it – and the second you think that, it's gone. It is like trying to grab a handful of water. Rob
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