Peter’s Correspondence on the Actual Freedom List
PETER: Hi Alan,
I always like the way that a situation, a meeting with someone or some words will twig a particular understanding of some part of the Human Condition. Each such understanding is invaluable, a gold nugget for an actualist, and needs not to be glossed over or fritted away. It is only by musing over these discoveries, contemplating upon them and milking them for all they are worth that one can ‘re-wire’ the brain, reprogram it to delete its instinctual and social programming. It is this very programming that has ensured, until now, only two options for every human being – either a real life of malice and sorrow or a spiritual life of malice and sorrow with the additional programming of denial and transcendence.
The other day I was watching a news report of the current peace talks between Israel and Syria and an Israeli expert was being interviewed. He said peace with Syria was difficult because ‘we don’t know and trust the Syrians’. He said, ‘peace with the Palestinians was easier because we have conquered the Palestinians’. A brief scan through my knowledge of history suggested that his observation could be applied to all peace deals and peace treaties. For peace to reign, one side must be victorious over the other and, as such, these peace deals are in fact surrender deals. These treaties set out the terms of surrender and the other side ‘naturally’ builds up resentment and anger in order to do battle again, be it overt or covert. The battle inevitably resumes, if not with guns then with words or feelings of resentment that are inbred as a social conditioning in each tribal member. Many current conflicts have their roots in conflicts that are hundreds or thousands of years old – so much for the promise to forgive and forget and the ideal that ‘we are all one’ and that one day there will be peace.
I further remembered how this exact same scenario forms the basis of all human relating – battle, victor / loser, surrender, withdrawal, ‘peace’ deal, resentment, plotting either overt or covert revenge, picking a time when other is vulnerable, strike back, battle, victor / loser ... What Vineeto and I did was stop battling in our relationship and begin an investigation as to why the battle of the sexes exists in the first place. One can do this with every other relationship until the desire, the need and the will to battle withers and eventually dies. It is only by stopping and changing that something else can happen, otherwise what is, and always has been, will continue.
Every discovery and insight into the Human Condition is useless unless one applies it with honesty and sincerity to how one is living one’s own life, for unless one is actually free of the Human Condition, one is not exempt. As we know, one can easily feel free but it is in the ‘push comes to shove’ moments that one is tested. It is in these moments that the instinctual passions will always over-ride the good, the well-meaning and the rational. It is when jealousy rages to violence that the sexual instinct and associated nurture – the emotion that humans fondly call love – is shown as nothing other than a powerful and blind animal instinctual passion. It is when one’s spiritual beliefs are questioned that the raw instinctual fear of death will arise and cause one to act in ways that are both desperate and insane. When one is threatened with ostracism or isolation from the security of whatever group or relationship one feels one belongs to, that one literally will do anything to avoid being an outsider or on one’s own.
The chemical surges that cause us to automatically feel and act fearful, nurturing, aggressive and desirous are primary, ‘quick and dirty’, thoughtless and instinctual-emotional and, as such, ultimately uncontrollable by moral and ethical training or by denial and imaginary transcendence. These chemical surges that arise from the instinctual passions are most definitely not an illusion that one can deny or pretend that one has overcome them – they are very real – readily measurable in response times, sourced from a particular location in the physical brain and empirically observable in action. It was only when this chemical flow ceased that Richard became actually free of the Human Condition. To quote Richard from the ‘Introduction to Actual Freedom’ –
An actualist will not skip over the ‘however’, for in that one word is the key to the difference between an actual freedom and an illusionary freedom from the Human Condition.
In the past, the feeling of freedom was the best on offer – feeling ‘above it all’ was better than feeling ‘part of the rest’ – but it did nothing to stop anyone from being driven by the instinctual passions. In fact, to follow the spiritual path was but to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. The religious wars, the spiritual perversions of celibacy and Tantric teachings, the teachings of suffering, doom, evil and fear, the battle of the religions and God-men for ever more numbers and ever more power, the ongoing humiliation of human beings prostrating themselves before mythical Gods and humbug God-men – all this attest to the institutionalized insanity of any and all spiritual belief-systems.
These ancient beliefs do nothing but cloud over, divert, deflect, distract, sidetrack, compound and ultimately cause one to turn away from the only sensible human freedom – a freedom for human beings to stop instinctually behaving like animals and treating each other like animals.
Well, all that came out of one little news report about a ‘peace’ negotiation to stop two groups of humans waging war against each other. Good to sheet it back home and see where one is ‘waging war’ oneself and to see what I can actually do about peace on earth.
No 13 wrote recently that ‘The actual revolutions start here as a matter of course each time a new wonder manifests itself into consciousness or a physical sensation. I can only help myself each moment again. I can only partake of all that is on offer.’ [endquote].
Being pragmatic I would say that ‘the actual re-programming of one’s brain – the deleting of one’s social and instinctual programming – can only start and continue by investigating each time that a new feeling manifests itself and prevents me from being happy and harmless.’
These thoughtful investigations can be so revealing, so insightful, so blindingly obvious that synapses in the brain can snap, clarity can result and behaviour can be changed and – provided ‘I’ don’t claim the credit – PCEs can result.
Ah well, Alan, this has turned into another of my raves, but life continually presents one with serendipitous opportunities to study the Human Condition, to see it in operation as one’s ‘self’ ... and countless reasons to be actually free of the lot.
And I do enjoy writing about the Human Condition.
By the way, the local NDA spiritual magazine is publishing my ‘Austradamus’s New Millennium Predictions’ article. I find it bewildering that they could laugh at their spiritual beliefs in such a way – have they no integrity at all?
PETER: I do like the way opportunities to investigate the Human Condition in action pop up in one’s life. I have written mostly about the spiritual world recently but a social gathering recently reminded me again of the ‘real world’ that I had all but left behind when I was lured on to the spiritual path.
It was a timely reminder of what I had noted in a recent post –
The gathering was of a group of normal people and not the peace, love and brown rice types that have been my social scene since my early thirties. What was an eye-opener was the rawness of the malice and sorrow, untempered by spiritual morality and ethical niceties. Not that it was better or worse, it was just less sugar-coated and less cunningly disguised. It was fascinating to see that most of the conversation was a whinge and a whine about something, opening with the usual complaints about the weather as delicious sub-tropical rainstorms were swirling about outside during the evening. The lamenting very quickly moved on to complaints about local politics and soon got into malicious comments about other groups and other people who were evidently making their lives miserable in some way or another. Malice, sorrow, sad story, blame, hard done by, tough times, gripe, things are getting worse, it’s difficult, bitch, grievance, pet hate, ..... on and on it went all night. It was like a toned down Monty Python sketch but it made clear that the real world is really the ‘Land of Lament’, as Richard so aptly calls it. It is literally awash in sorrow and it is always someone else’s fault, which is malice in action.
It’s all so easy to see malice and sorrow in action in others, as entertainment, as humour, as news, as gossip, as ‘causes’, as social issues, etc.
‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ simply gives one the opportunity to see malice and sorrow in action in oneself and to do something about it.
What a wonderful, ruthlessly efficient way to become happy and harmless. The fact that there is much vitriolic reaction to actualism and stubborn resistance to being happy and harmless is proof of the stranglehold that malice and sorrow have on human beings.
What an extraordinary thing to devote one’s life to becoming happy and harmless, not as a feeling but as an actuality.
This was just a short note to balance the investigations into both real world and spiritual world beliefs that is essential in order to become free of the Human Condition. While spiritual seekers are on the wrong track heading in the wrong direction, at least they tend do have some degree of dissatisfaction with the real world and some expectation of something more to human existence than malice and sorrow.
PETER: Good to hear from you after your break and to hear of your experiences. This list offers such an invaluable opportunities to be able to swap stories and compare notes about our discoveries and investigations.
ALAN: I have been very busy doing nothing – it is amazing how much there is to enjoy and marvel at when one has nothing in particular to do – such as the mass of rooks which have just passed by on their early morning flight from their roosts to, presumably their feeding grounds for the day.
PETER: Doing nothing really well is a not inconsiderable achievement, to say the least. For human beings it is an impossibility – it goes completely against the grain of all our programming – that life must have meaning, that one must struggle, that life is a journey, that one must contribute, do one’s bit, be useful, be creative, etc.
A friend who also does nothing really well is often advised by others to ‘get a life’, but given the emotional suffering and frenetic neurosis she sees in others’ lives she is increasingly being deterred from being part of the ‘real’ world insanity and increasingly emboldened and seduced to step out of it.
ALAN: On further consideration I find that I have, indeed, been ‘burying my head in the sand’ over the last few weeks. Much as I have enjoyed what I have been doing, I was aware there was something ‘missing’, an incompleteness – and that ‘incompleteness’, I now find, was the ceasing to investigate and actualize what it is to be alive as this body, at this moment in time. It is so, so, easy and attractive to try to live a ‘normal’ life that one is easily seduced into ignoring what is possible.
PETER: My experience with trying to ‘look back over the last few weeks’ was that it was an impossible thing to do. I had the benefit of being with Vineeto and was therefore able to check on the accuracy and reliability of my memory of past experiences. Sometimes either one of us would say ‘I’ve felt ... for days now’ and the other would say ‘Well, yesterday you went to bed saying what a perfect day you had’, and ‘you had a really good time walking down town and you really enjoyed writing to ..., or playing on the computer’.
When the supposed memories were checked against the actual situation it may well have only been some little time ago that things turned but it felt like it had been for a long time. We are all programmed to be miserable, so much so that, given any opportunity we will even re-invent or re-interpret past events and memories into sad ones. That is why saying to yourself when you go to bed ‘I’ve had a good day, or and excellent day, or a perfect day’ is important. Even a log book or diary can be useful. One needs to actively affirm to oneself and record feeling good or being excellent or having a PCE. One needs to drag oneself out of misery by one’s bootstraps – actively and scientifically.
The trick is to get the feeling of lacklustre as soon as it comes and track the event that caused it. Dig around, investigate a bit and get back to feeling good as quickly as possible. Feeling good leaves few, if any, emotional memories and, as such, can feel like lacklustre to ‘me’ who thrives on strife, excitement, conflict, etc. and feels lacklustre or bored if there is nothing to fight for. The question is always ‘How am I experiencing this moment’ – the past is past, spilt milk, gone, finished, kaput, stuffed, no more, extinct, non-existent ...
My experience of feeling normal is that one is closer to the Pure Consciousness Experience than when one is feeling extraordinary. Feeling normal is the result of feeling good. It is the best one can do as an entity – it is finding magic and sensual delight in the ordinary things, events and people. Feeling normal is a healthy sign that one is not deluding oneself. Feeling normal is a healthy sign that one can go insane by ‘real world’ standards – becoming a nobody, not enjoying feeling sad, not feeling the need to fight to be here, having no need to belong to a group – and still function sensibly. This normal is neither the ‘real world’ normal – grim reality – nor the ‘spiritual world’ super-normal – a deluded fantasy. It takes persistence, patience and diligence to become free of both illusion and delusion and become a normal, sane flesh and blood human being free of the Human Condition.
ALAN: And yet, all the time, running in the background, was this nagging doubt, the niggling thought – ‘this is not what it was meant to be’. What I have been doing, the last few weeks, is wanting to ‘belong’. It is hard work, very hard work, to go against the tide of ‘humanity’, to turn one’s back on all that one knows and loves, to ‘boldly go where no man (except Richard) has gone before’.
PETER: Again from my experience, at the start of the path to Actual Freedom, the difference between the PCE and ‘normal’ experience are black and white, startlingly different. The further one progresses on the path this difference diminishes as one’s very ‘self’ is incrementally diminished by the very process. For an actualist, the trick is always, when one is experiencing a PCE, not to sit back and go ‘wow’ but root around a bit to see what it is that one needs to do when the ‘normal’ state re-establishes and ‘I’ resume control. This then gives ‘me’ something to do and then ‘I’ experiment with, and implement, ways to remove what is causing me to be unhappy and causing harm or ripples to other people. In my experience the causing harm or ripples is the most easily avoided and most life-changing to implement. It’s what the spiritual avoid by transcendence and what the actualist will tackle with sincere intent.
The PCE thus becomes one’s standard to achieve by stubborn bloody minded effort, rather than a state to achieve by grace of something or other. This means that one cleans oneself up as much as possible – this is the work to be done. And this involves change, not just superficially but fundamentally. A way to look at it is – ‘I’ got myself into this mess and ‘I’ need to clean up the mess and ‘get off stage’ in order that I as this flesh and blood body can be here. This is ‘my’ job and there are no short cuts and no quick fixes.
ALAN: As I write this, I am again entering that magical world of the PCE, this world where all is actual and I am the doing of what is happening. What joy, what delight! There is an overwhelming sense of ‘I’m back’ and an ongoing theme of ‘just do it’. I became aware of ‘me’ chattering – the constant ‘struggle’ to find a way, to do what is right, to try to live the perfection – and ‘I’ cannot do it. Everything is SO LOUD and so vibrant.
PETER: Yes indeed. In the PCE one’s senses are heightened to the extreme. For me the most outstanding change that happens is an all-round all-inclusive soft perception – a sensate-only awareness such that it is as though everything has been turned up or a filter has been removed. Sound becomes louder and distinctly separate, colours more vibrant and distinct, one almost swims through the air, food is a delicious fusion of varied tastes, sex is a sensual, intimate play, thinking is a fascinating freewheeling process – a softness and palpable friendliness pervades all around.
And the more one has of these PCEs, and the more work one has done to diminish one’s ‘self’, the more normal and liveable they become.
ALAN: After the above experience, I went out for a long walk. It was such a wonderful, bright, crisp, winter’s morning, that I just had to be part of it, Several miles later, my deliberations had led to no further conclusion, except this overwhelming sense of ‘just do it’. Evidence shows that, for the last ten days, I have again been ‘sticking my head in the sand’. The tearful episodes have abated, but the ‘sparkle’, the joie de vivre, has again been missing. No one said it was going to be easy – do I have the necessary intestinal fortitude to proceed. Time will tell – or, I could ‘just do it’ as ‘seen’ in that PCE – it is that simple.
The phrase I particularly find relevant is – ‘glancing lightly with caressing eyes’. Normally people associate the idea of awareness as being ‘on-guard’ – looking out intensely through the eyes, listening intently with the ears, etc. Spiritual people associate awareness as cutting off from the physical senses, disassociating from the world and focusing one’s attention ‘inside’ on what they are feeling and thinking. What is being described here is the third alternative.
In the early months on the path to Actual Freedom I was intensely involved in what I was feeling and thinking – ‘a psychic search-and-destroy mission’ was how I termed it. This introspection was not selective as to the good and bad feelings as is the spiritual practice but was concerned with all emotion-backed thoughts and all passions. I was determined to eliminate all that was in the road and stopping me being happy and harmless, and sincere intent is vital in this stage of the process. This process fairly rapidly bought on a state of Virtual Freedom – being virtually happy and virtually harmless.
What was then necessary was to abandon control, and abandon any notions I had of a ‘me’ being aware and simply let awareness happen by itself. This awareness is not ‘me’ being aware for this only serves to keep ‘me’ in existence. This is not an outer intense ‘on-guard’ awareness for this wariness only serves to keep the instinctual ‘me’ in existence as a fearful guarding entity. Naiveté is vital in this stage of the process, but beware of being gullible for the world is still as-it-is and people are still as-they-are – it is only me who is changing. It still necessitates keeping my wits about me and making a few practical adjustments now and again, but the emotions have all but disappeared from what would have been tumultuous events not so long ago.
Thus it is that more and more I can look with soft eyes at a friendly world, let my guard down, relax my defences, give up being in control and I, as this flesh and blood body, can be here in this actual world where I have always been.
Alan, I don’t know how relevant that is to your experience but it took Vineeto and I both months and months to get past the ‘looking back over the past weeks’ syndrome and I think it is something that is going to be par for the course for anyone on the path. It is the last fling of a habitual program of ‘me’ who delights in wallowing in past memories, even more so when nothing much is emotionally happening ... but it is a tenacious bugger. And feeling normal can feel as if something has gone wrong until one realizes that what we call life is actually a seamless flow of experiencing this moment – and any activity one is doing in this moment is normal. Eating is normal, typing is normal, sleeping is normal, going for a stroll is normal, sex is normal. It is how one is experiencing this moment of being alive that is of vital significance to an actualist.
Of course, once you know and understand and can empirically observe something, the illusion disappears and another ‘wheel falls off the cart’.
As you can see I’m trying to keep up with Vineeto’s metaphor rate – it’s a little competition that I always lag behind.
Ain’t life grand ...
P.S. The Actual Freedom Trust CD is on hold at the moment as we are waiting for the next generation CD writer to come on to the market and demand is not overwhelming, to say the least. The fact that the Introduction is on the Web-site took the urgency out of the exercise. By the way, I would like any feedback you have about content/ style/ length / topics covered/ etc.
PPS If anyone else reading would like to buy a CD containing the whole Web-site, both Journals, the Introduction as a PowerPoint Slideshow and a Actual Freedom Trust Screensaver let me know, as we may then be motivated by demand to spend some money and get off our bums. (Editor’s note: The screensaver is no longer available due to its incompatibility with Windows 8)
PETER: I thought I would send you a copy of a letter I sent to the authors of a local satirical magazine. It was evidently a one-off effort and it took the piss out of the local Guru scene, seemingly both Rajneeshee and other NDA religions. Since then there has been a bit of a stir and even the local rag, the Echo, posted a little editorial comment last week which said –
Subsequently, this week’s paper included a statement from the authors aimed at clarifying their position and intention. It was this statement that moved me to write to the authors, as a number of inaccuracies were apparent. Herein the letter –
Well Alan, it’s such good fun to keep these guys on their toes, otherwise they get so sloppy and confused about their beliefs, morals and ethics.
PETER: I was writing to someone earlier today, and an understanding emerged that I thought to post to you. It’s about fact and belief and change.
I had posted a piece about the Milgram Experiments that was, for me, a key to my understanding of human malice.
The whole issue simply becomes one of freeing oneself from belief itself, thus freeing oneself from the chemical backed illusion that is ‘me’.
P.S. This exchange will be in the latest correspondence soon as ‘Peter to Publishers of a Local New Age Magazine’. It’s a classic case study of denial and acceptance in action. A very serendipitous exchange coming immediately after the book review as it has.
PETER: Just a note to reassure myself that I can still write. I have been busy re-inventing myself, yet again – this time as a CAD architect and not a pen and paper architect. I have been learning a Computer Aided Drafting program for the past fortnight and it’s an amazing process. What was a familiar hands-on craft for me, now becomes a mouse-clicking computer operation. In the first learning stage, what would take me ten minutes to draw by drawing board took me ten hours by computer. After 2 weeks the ratio is down from 1 to 60 to 1 to 10 so I am well pleased. In a few months I can see myself being productive time-wise and I will be a cyber age architect rather than an industrial age architect.
Initially, I had some resistance to changing – at age 51 who wants to go back to kindergarten again, and I could well have struggled through in old-style until the pension kicked in. But I figured I had the computer and what the heck. It is so easy to miss the opportunity to move and change. It is an amazing and thorough change because none of my drawing manual skills are applicable, CAD is a totally different process. When I was considering buying a program I talked to an architect friend who said he went through 12 months of hell learning and obviously was still suffering from the experience. For me, the fascination of doing the same thing totally differently – reinventing my profession – was the prevailing experience. What can I do and how does it work?
I was reminded as I undertook this change how difficult it is for many people to change.
Some people are tempted to some form of change in their lives, some rebel against their upbringing, some swap religious beliefs, some swap partners, some move countries, some change jobs, etc. These forced changes are usually knee-jerk, emotion-driven reactions to particular circumstances, are painful transitions, and are very rarely fundamentally life changing. Much of the old patterns and habits are retained with the new partner, job, country or religious belief. The essential set-in-concrete personality they have formed by puberty remains intact and unchanged, the only difference being that any residual naiveté is replaced by a deep cynicism at having to cope with change or conform to changing societal restrictions. No wonder the option of escaping even further into an inner world of denial and imagination is so attractive to these people.
I was recently watching a TV program on a group undertaking a spiritual pilgrimage and a woman involved was interviewed. She was asked about the experience and she said that some things ‘bothered’ her – the crowds, her treatment as a woman, etc. – but she said ‘I’m not going to let it bother me’. A simple everyday statement of stoic denial and repression, but she also obviously had a passionate investment, for this was for her a profound spiritual experience and she was determined to let nothing spoil it for her. I remembered back to my spiritual times when I actively practiced to cut off from all things that were upsetting, ‘bothering’ or worrying. One was meant not to be bothered, to be above these petty concerns, one was not meant to have doubts about the teaching, or the teacher, or the organization for one was taught and extolled to have faith, loyalty and trust.
Thus it was that I actively practiced denial and transcendence – new tricks to add to the denial and repression of ‘bothersome’ feelings and emotions that I had been taught as a child. Transcendence is such a wonderfully seductive option, for one gets to swan along, literally with one’s head in the clouds, literally above it all. The real world problems of money, relationship, corruption and greed, and the feelings of anger, sorrow and melancholy were still around but ‘I’ was not part of it. The ‘real’ world became a tolerable nuisance – I was not going to let it bother me – the new spiritual ‘me’.
Three and a half years ago I was faced with the opportunity of fully abandoning the real world and, armed with a stunning Satori experience, I was about to fully enter the spiritual world but doubt and common sense prevented me. Then I met Richard who offered a simple solution to the problem of ‘being bothered by things’. By applying a simple method it is possible to eliminate ‘being bothered’ – be it anger, sorrow, melancholy, being blindly and instinctually driven to non-sensical actions, feeling bound by societal restrictions, morals, ethics and beliefs, etc. In short, to become actually free of the Human Condition, in total. The price to be paid is total and irrevocable change – ‘self’-immolation – but the lure of an adventure off the beaten, well-worn, track was irresistible. The other attraction was that this was not a philosophy, as in theory, nor a feel-good, head in the clouds, transcendence but a down-to-earth practical way of living, free of malice and sorrow, in the actual world, as-it-is, with people as-they-are.
Which brings me back to change and my current phase of changing yet again. Change becomes infectious after a while. One needs only to try a bit and test out the consequences. When the sky doesn’t fall in, when one’s worst fears are not realized, when life gets even better, one starts to get the hang of it. Pretty soon one is not even initiating change – one is simply not resisting what is happening. Then one finds one is doing what is happening, free of fear and then you find a whole new world opening up – the actual world. In this world, ‘I’ and ‘me’ are increasingly seen as a phantom, an illusion, an echo of the past that will soon have had its day for it has no strength, no validity, no actuality.
The starting point was ‘who’ I was at the start of this process needed the incentive, the initiative, the burning discontent to consider the need to change irrevocably and then the courage to overcome the fear of change. Nowadays change, as in my current swap from industrial age architect to cyber age architect is still challenging and at times difficult but it is neither fearful nor resented – quite the contrary.
A lot of fear-ridden nonsense is written and spoken about change, particularly in these New Dark Ages. It is fascinating to have seen what has happened to those youths of the Sixties who trumpeted change and revolution and who now desperately cling to ancient spiritual belief and trot out the morals, ethics and psittacism of Long Dead Masters, be they Eastern or Western. They have dutifully fulfilled their societal role of instilling unliveable failed morals and ethics in their children and the Human Condition is yet again perpetuated.
Fear indeed rules the human world and, as a consequence, intelligence action is constantly hobbled. T’is so good to be free of the shackles of instinctual fear.
So, that’s what I have been doing for a while now and will probably be doing for a few months more. It became obvious to me that if I was to continue doing architectural work, then I was going to do it well – which means being up-to-date and not lagging behind like a Neanderthal.
We are coming off high summer here and the nights are a touch cooler. The sub-tropics offer such a wonderful climate. The warm air contains such moisture that my skin continuously feels as though it is moistened with oil and the tropical scents seem to permeate everywhere. At night we have all the windows open and the scents of night jasmine and frangipani waft in through the screens. The sensuous experience of the perfection of life is ever-present and abundant. We often stroll down through the village in early evening to sit overlooking the ocean and stop on the way back to have a cup of coffee and watch the activities of the locals and holiday makers.
I do find it astounding that human beings, for fear of change, for a belief in God by whatever name and a stubborn pride in their animal instinctual passions continue to wallow in malice and sorrow and fight it out with each other in a grim battle of survival.
PETER: I have been musing yet again on the question of denial and what I wrote to you the other day –
Peter to Alan, 19.3.2000
So prolific is denial in the Human Condition that it deserves a bit more rooting around to find the real source of it. As you well know, the most prevalent self-defence mechanism evident in any correspondence we have had about the Human Condition, is one of breathtaking denial. This is the dominant response to any attempted slightly in-depth discussion or exchange, be it with Richard, Vineeto or myself. This denial is what moved me off my bum to dig in to Paul Lowe’s book, and further investigate the denial that is enshrined in the teachings of Eastern religion and philosophy. A useful exercise in itself, and great fun to do, but the response to such uncovering of the lies, trickery and deceptions of the spiritual path is inevitably one of even more denial. ‘So what’, ‘it’s got nothing to do with me’, ‘I’m not on the spiritual path’, ‘My Guru tells the Truth’, ‘it’s about the feeling around the Gurus not the facts’ are typical responses. There have been countless times when I have said to someone what a relief it is to have abandoned the spiritual world and the spiritual person I have been talking to say they agree and nod their head. Two recent examples was a woman who had just arrived in town after being in the Himalayas meditating for 3 years, the other who had just produced a magazine attacking the members of his sect for not being loyal to his spiritual master. And yet both denied they were spiritual in any way! Whenever religions are exposed for the puerile nonsense they are it’s always someone else’s religion, or the person is not part of a religion, or they simply slink away.
This denial is so common a response that I now regard it as par for the course. Ah, here comes the denial phase and anyone initially interested disappears over the hill with their tails between their legs. Richard has found a few hard-nosed spiritual teachers and spiritual intellectuals – those with the most investment – who have stuck around to defend their beliefs but their defence gets sillier and sillier as time goes on and more beliefs are debunked as more facts are presented.
But, of course, there is something deeper beneath this façade of denial. One of the major barriers is pride. To admit one is merely following a fashionable belief, mouthing a psittacism, senselessly following the herd, being the marionette who one was taught to be, and robotically behaving exactly how one’s peers demand, is a crushing blow, particularly to the proudly humble spiritual devotee. The other factor that operates to reinforce denial, as you have noted, is the desperate need to belong to the group and the spiritual believers form a very large, safe and increasingly popular group in humanity.
So I see pride and fear operating and these were certainly issues that I had to tackle in acknowledging the failure of the spiritual path to deliver anything remotely resembling freedom, peace and happiness. Digging a little deeper is to get to the core of one’s being and to come across one’s essential nature – the instinctual self. Richard uses the phrase ‘lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning’ to describe the psychological and psychic entity that ‘I’ am. Lost, lonely and frightened are qualities that many will admit to, and it is indeed the tacit acknowledgement of this that brings many people to the spiritual path in the first place. These qualities also provide the fuel for many to give the spiritual path 100% effort.
The very, very cunning quality of the self ensures that many people will gleefully and gullibly accept the spiritual teachings, deny the existence of the physical world, deny that they are a mortal flesh and blood, believe in their own immortality and fully indulge in the fantasy delusion that they are indeed God-on-earth. This is an act of utter selfishness, cunningly disguised as a noble sacrifice to a ‘higher cause’, yet exposed for the fraud it is when the few who succeed become Gods-on-earth, Saints, Masters, revered teachers and the like – to be feted, worshipped, adored, flattered and fawned by one’s fellow human beings.
The very, very cunning nature of the self is evident in the real world as hypocrisy, corruption, deceit, lies and denial. In spite of the constant pleas and extolling to obey society’s moral and ethical standards, human beings, when push comes to shove, inevitably revert to natural behaviour. Natural behaviour is instinctual behaviour – genetically programmed to ensure the survival of the species. The human species has been endowed with a self-survival program that almost inevitably over-rides the consideration of the survival of the group. Each human is instilled with a distinct individual self which is embellished by the ability to think and reflect into a substantive entity, an identity of psychological and psychic substance – ‘who’ we think and feel we are. It is obvious over time bargains and deals were done between groups of humans, be they biological family groups and/or tribal groups, and these eventually became formalized into particular sets of moral and ethical rules. These rules, instilled to ensure the group’s survival, became paramount over the genetically encoded, essentially individually selfish, survival program. This explanation of the human instinctual program accounts for the ongoing failure of human beings to live together in anything remotely resembling peace and harmony. An understanding of the instinctual passions in action also reveals the spiritual search for self-discovery and self-realization as nothing other than an instinctually-driven attempt at self-aggrandizement and a lust for personal psychic power over others.
There is, however, an innate quality in human beings that provides the key to the door, so to speak, the way out, the means to freedom from the instinctual passions. This quality is well described as altruism – ‘regard for others as a principle of action; unselfishness’ ... Oxford Dictionary. This quality needs to put under the microscope, examined carefully and fully understood lest one confuses it with blind instinctual passions and senseless societal values.
The instinct to nurture relentlessly drives many people to sacrifice their lives for offspring or family, only to feel resentment at the sacrifice. This is understandable for this self-sacrifice is a driven, automatic reaction, not a freely undertaken action.
The moral and ethical rules of society demand of its flock, as a principle, that they make certain sacrifices for the common good and enforce these rules by carrot and stick. Praise, acclaim and even adulation are showered on the overt do-gooders while those who err towards what is deemed bad and unacceptable are controlled by condemnation, ostracism, laws, lawyers, police and jails.
Thus one is either blindly driven, or forced ‘as a principle’ to sacrifice one’s life, for the good of others. One is neither naturally, as in genetic/instinctually, free nor does one feel free within the applied restrictions of one’s tribal group.
There is, however, ample evidence within the human species of acts of altruism that are neither blindly driven nor self-seeking of an earthly or heavenly reward. Many are spontaneous acts, such as those who risk their lives to save another or undertake unsolicited and impromptu acts of consideration for others – benevolence in action.
On the path to Actual Freedom it is this quality of altruism, or benevolence in action, that readily becomes more and more evident in one’s thoughts, behaviour and actions. This quality is startlingly different from the spiritual love and compassion – ‘I am God acting for the good of others less fortunate’ – and from being a goody two shoes in normal society with its subsequent rewards. Benevolence in action is free and spontaneous – there is nothing in it for ‘me’ at all, in fact, it only happens when ‘I’ am absent. However one can be observant of it happening and, in seeing its ‘self’-less purity and perfection, energize this quality of altruism to initiate the process of self-immolation in oneself.
The path to Actual Freedom is not at all attractive for there is nothing in it for ‘me’ – no phoenix arises from the ashes to claim the glory, no acclaim of adoring disciples, no wonderful overwhelming feelings, no fame, no recognition, no power – neither overt nor covert. Extinction is extinction. It is for this very reason that one needs a goodly dose of altruism.
In my experience there is yet another quality which may well be as important, if not more important, than altruism in evincing self-immolation. This quality is integrity –
Having experienced this integrity of innocence, benevolence and undividedness in pure consciousness experiences it then becomes a prime motivation to experience it 24 hrs. a day, every day. The absence of conflict, confusion, deceit and duplicity – the absence of both the social and instinctual entity that are in constant battle has to be experienced to be understood. One cannot understand it unless one experiences it although it certainly helps if one is prepared to risk rocking one’s boat. By digging into one’s self one is certainly much, much more likely to induce a pure consciousness experience. By doing nothing, one gets nothing in return. Unless one investigates, one never finds out. Unless one changes, one stays the same. Unless one is motivated by integrity then one will remain a very, very cunning entity either fighting it out in the ‘real’ world or travelling on the spiritual path of self-discovery seeking self-satisfaction and self-aggrandizement.
Being guided by integrity or being guided by sincere intent ensures that I will not deceive myself, that I will be honest with myself, that I will not settle for second best – that I will not stop until I live the pure consciousness experience, 24 hrs a day every day, until I am irrevocably free of the Human Condition.
Ah well. It was a bit of a rave again. I am trying to put into words my thoughts and experiences of the direct path to Actual freedom as opposed to Richard’s experience of travelling through the dementia of Enlightenment and out the other side. At the moment of self-immolation the instinctual and traditional urge to become a Saviour kicked in and it took him some 11 years to rid himself of the delusion. For ‘me’ there will be no fame, glory, glamour or glitz – simply extinction. T’is no wonder that denial is so endemic and integrity so scarce.
But for those willing to launch themselves on the path to Actual freedom the incremental rewards are such that one is driven on by success, integrity and naiveté. It does take a wee touch of courage to ditch the familiar old programming from the brain, to wipe the hard drive clean of all the old rotten corrupted programming but, as is evident in the pure consciousness experience, an actual freedom from the human condition in total is the inevitable result.
PETER: Just a little gossip from this side of the planet.
A most interesting development is that Richard’s reputation is beginning its inexorable spread in the spiritual world. He has started writing on another mailing list, the DeRuiter Mailing List. DeRuiter is the new kid on the block in the Guru business. In very-American style he manages to re-invent the mythical Mr. Jesus as a misunderstood, and obviously very misinterpreted and misreported, Enlightened One. The ‘spiritualization’ of Western One-God religions is fascinating to observe – the gall and the blatant two-faced denial of historical fact and record is quite breathtaking.
From the comments that are flying around on the DeRuiter and another associated list, Richard is becoming a figure of growing interest and controversy. The cat is amongst the pigeons and the feathers are flying. It’s good news for those willing to read and think and daring enough to investigate beyond the sacred ceiling that inhibits and limits the search for an actual freedom from the human condition. One hears a lot about a glass ceiling that inhibits women’s freedom to rise up the business ladder and the other day I heard the expression ‘concrete ceiling’ to describe a bureaucratic ceiling that inhibited a free investigation into corruption.
A similar ‘ceiling’ exists for anyone searching for freedom, peace and happiness. There is a sacred ceiling in operation, franticly maintained and policed by the Gurus, shamans and holy men and their followers. All sorts of tactics, threats, dimwitticisms and inanities are strutted out to enslave the spiritual searcher as a loyal suppliant and stop him or her from searching anywhere else.
As an example of this sacred ceiling in operation I came across one of the plethora of Mailing Lists devoted to spiritual enquiry and investigation the other day. They posted an introduction to the list that is atypical of the current state of the human search for freedom –
I joined another spiritual mailing list the other day that proudly trumpets ‘a spirit of open dialogue and inquiry’ and I was most interested to find that it was, in fact, a ‘moderated’ list. I waited a bit and read the usual spiritual ‘mutual admiration society’ in operation, complete with the usual humble pride and mindless parroting of the Master clearly evident in the posts. I was twigged to write when someone wrote in and very clearly and concisely described a Pure Consciousness Experience (or peak experience) that had seemingly followed the usual twist to become a full-on Altered State of Consciousness (or Satori). It proved a too-tempting opportunity for me to describe to a sincere seeker the difference between the two experiences and I will be curious to see the reaction from the List Moderator. There are two chances of it being posted – Buckley’s and none – but it is such good fun to poke another hole in the sacred ceiling. I already observe that Richard has put some whopping stress cracks in it and it won’t be long before some breaches are made by other intrepid pioneers.
A little reading of the experience of pioneers and first-timers in any field of human endeavour will reveal that one’s own instinctual fear and the fear of ostracization by one’s peers are among the major hurdles to overcome. All the pioneers who dared to break the shackles, who refused to kow-tow to ignorance and superstition, who broke from the herd, who found it impossible to compromise and live a second-rate life, who acted altruistically and not selfishly, had to overcome these hurdles. In our case the sacred ceiling has been breached by Richard but it is up to each of us to make our own journey to freedom. By doing nothing one remains a spectator, an interested by-stander or curious onlooker, but not a player in the game. To think one is free or to feel one is free is not an actual freedom. An actual freedom comes from action and change not thinking and feeling.
Many, many women were pioneers in women breaking free of the yoke of domesticity and their hard-won free access to education, business, government, law, professional work, sport, armed forces, etc. Each of those women did it by themselves, for themselves, yet many had altruistic motives as well. Each gained support from others doing it, each stood on the shoulders of those who went before, but each had to do it for themselves. What was an extraordinary upheaval and a hard slog has now largely succeeded in many parts of the world, and curiously it is religious dogma that is proving a final recalcitrant hurdle to progress in many countries. Even more curious is the female response of current stoking the fires of feminist religion as the Goddesses arise to do battle with the male Gods.
But I’m straying from the point, which is the role of pioneers in the search for an actual freedom, peace and happiness. The major force in resisting human change and progress has always been the shamans, priests and Popes, God-men and Gurus. Always they look backwards for the answers, desperately clinging to the musty trite and dogma of a long distant past. Always cleverly trying to be seen to move with the times, adapting their message, window dressing it to current fashion and demand. Thus we see the Western religions adopting trendy Eastern concepts and all religions adopting the Earth-as-God religion of the Environmentalists, the modern day worshippers of earth spirits. The foundation and driving force of all religious belief is fear – fear of death is transformed into a passionate belief in an after-life and fear of inevitable approaching death is transformed into a doomsday outlook and a desperate fear of the future and change. Consequently, any human progress in leisure, pleasure, comfort and safety have been fearfully resisted throughout history and any attempts at finding a genuine, actual freedom have been met by the sacred ceiling of spiritual and religious beliefs.
This sacred ceiling is as real as the ceiling facing women a century ago – they had to shed the shackles of their upbringing, they had to free themselves of the imposition of moral taboos and ethical rules and they had to run the gauntlet of the abuse and disapproval of others, thus breaking free of much of their instilled social identity. Secondly, they had to overcome their own instinctual fears and many risked much in their striving for freedom. Many did it as rebellion, many actively sought fame and notoriety, many riled merely for the sake of expressing their anger and frustration, but many just got on and did it anyway. When I was in England some 30 years ago, I remember meeting a woman who was in her 80’s who had been the first registered district nurse in Devon. She was a pioneer at a time when women were not in any of the professions and certainly not in an autonomous and responsible position in the community. Hearing her stories I was struck by both her integrity and her altruistic motives. She did it for herself and the fun and adventure of it, but she also did it to be of practical help to others and for the thrill of pioneering – being amongst the first, being at the forefront, the cutting edge. Hers was not a story that will be known, she was not famous, yet the women who have followed and emulated women like her were able to stand on her shoulders – follow in her footsteps.
It is exactly the same with becoming free of the human condition. There is a sacred ceiling that is being broken by pioneers and it will be broken only by people doing it, and the subsequent subversive spreading of the word that it is now possible. Those who firmly believe in the sacred believe the sacred ceiling to be actual, inviolate and impenetrable. For those who don’t believe it doesn’t exist – it is an illusion constructed by human beings themselves, given credence by ancient fear-ridden fairy stories and one’s own instinctual passions. How to break through? Make it your passion, your ambition, your goal, your work. Devote yourself fully to the task, ride upon the thrill of pioneering, take up the challenge and in my experience you will find altruism – right there with you, as an innate companion.
Ah, Alan. Another rave. I met someone the other day who had read my Journal. There is a copy that is limping around the local spiritual community and his comment was that my life ‘didn’t sound all that great’. I was curious until I discovered that he was one of the few spiritual seekers who were honest enough to say he wanted to become Enlightened. As such, a life free of the psychic power of being a Guru would have been most unappealing for him – no glamour, glory and glitz, ...‘no money for nothing and your chicks for free’. Just a life of carefree sensual pleasure, delightful companionship, ease and comfort. Vineeto and I sometimes look at each other in utter bewilderment that so many people raise so many trite objections to being happy and harmless, free of malice and sorrow. We sit here knowing that the sacred ceiling is in fact an illusion, and are oft moved to the pleasure of trying to tease other people to at least dare to stick their head through the ceiling and experience the actual world of utter perfection.
Well, enough teasing for now – time to put my feet up and surf the channels for a bit of the Human Condition as it is played out on TV.
PETER: Just a follow up to my last post. Soon after posting it I came across the following article which is relevant to the ever shifting chameleonic nature of religious belief.
I wrote in the post –
And the article from Brittanica.com –
Peter Bebergal, special to Britannica.com.
The other bit I found relevant was
And I had written –
It’s so easy to write about the sacred ceiling because all one needs to do is present facts and then beliefs simply wilt away, a bit like when you stick a pin in a balloon.
The other snippet I found interesting was the following item
A perfect example of the religion of Environmentalism being more far concerned about Mother Earth and the Earth Spirits than about human beings. Perhaps we will have a demand for recyclable bullets and low emissions guns.
It’s a strange, strange world.
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.