Peter’s Correspondence on the Actual Freedom List
with Correspondent No 2
PETER to Alan: Recently I heard a lunatic defined as someone who continues to do something again and again despite the fact that it doesn’t work.
So things are going extraordinarily well. The numbers of people interested is growing exponentially as a confidence gathers as many can see that the practical benefits to themselves of becoming happy and the relief of becoming harmless to others. It does seem that the essential first step is for people to be honest enough to admit that they are not happy, whereas to admit that they are harmful to others is seemingly impossible. It is always the others fault or the fault of ‘society’ or the ‘system’.
P.S. – Heard this recently – ‘Between grief and nothing, I chose grief ...’ – some French philosopher whose name I missed. Sums it up really, the stubborn insistence on maintaining grief and sorrow as Noble human traits.
RESPONDENT: I have clearly identified that I am both a lunatic and an unhappy producer of suffering, and so your statements have attracted my full attention. I would like to read the Journals you describe. Are the HTML documents on your web site the same in content as the Journals you refer to?
PETER: Good to hear from you. The lunatic definition I heard from the chief executive of Continental Airlines who joined the company when it was well on its way to its third bankruptcy crisis and he was trying to change the ‘mind-set’ of the employees.
Both Journals are available in paperback ... mine for Au $25.00 and Richard’s for Au $29.95 (both plus postage). E-mail me a filled out order form if you are interested. Editors note: Nowadays it can be ordered via Paypal. My journal is identical with our web-site (where you can read it for free). Editors note: this promotional offer has now expired.
Richard’s web-site has three sample chapters of his Journal and the whole lot is available zipped for downloading for Aus$19.95 – see his site for details. The idea of printing them in paperback was to make them a bit more user friendly for those who like to settle back with a book in hand rather than look at a computer screen for hours. As I said in my journal, I found Richard’s Journal to be a priceless guide to freedom. Evidently I said after first reading it that it was the last book I needed to read! I ended up reading it dozens of times as the first reading was so overwhelming that it is impossible to take it all in – so shocking would be consequences if one could.
I found I would take it a bit at a time and use it as a touchstone to begin musing and contemplating a particular issue I was grappling with. To merely skim the surface is to miss the point – I found the deeper I delved the more insights and realisations I had and the changes which at first were merely intellectual eventually became experiential. In other words, the complete elimination of a dearly held belief of mine meant the actual elimination of that ‘bit’ of me, a step by step path to freedom. If done with intent and honesty the process is at first quite scary, fearful and can be accompanied by a few wobbles. But it soon becomes thrilling and eventually a total obsession and then your cruising. So good luck ... Hope this is useful.
I realised too late that you had sent your e-mail to me privately and I responded through the list. And that further I left your address on it. Sorry for my laxness and I hope I have not compromised your privacy: I’m new at this list game and have yet to learn the rules.
RESPONDENT: On a retreat this August I wrote the following: My room has a window facing an inner area of the complex; there is grass and a stand of three pine trees in the middle of it, just about straight out the window. It’s quite light in here with the curtains open, especially sitting here at the desk right in front of the window, stopping writing every now and then to look out at the sun on the grass and gleaming on the edges of some of the pine needles. The trees look like Ponderosa pines, but they aren’t, quite. There’s a big shady place under the stand of pine trees. I may go sit there sometime while I’m here.
The room is simple, with a small bed, one pillow, a sink, a tiny little open closet space about a foot wide. It adjoins a bathroom, shared by the man next door whose face I have yet to see but whose snoring I can hear most of the time when he’s sleeping. It doesn’t bother me in the least. The room is part of a long hallway of twenty rooms on either side of the hallway. There being rooms on both sides of the hall, it is very dark — there aren’t any windows. I have taken to leaving the door to my room wide open. It creates a beautiful trapezoid of natural light in the hallway. Could life be this way too? An open door on to a simple room. Light inside. Nothing to hide, keep, or hang on to? I am: what is happening in the present moment. I am pain in my knees and gurgling in my belly. I am desire and the thought of love. I am the robin hopping with a cricket in its beak and I am the wind blowing a wasp to and fro near the pine boughs, a secret in the sun. And I am memory and sadness, a wound as big as the world, filled with tears. And I am the joy of those tears. And I am my misdeeds, and I am their consequence. And I am readiness for death. And readiness for life. These are wonderful opportunities. Thank you.
PETER: Yes, I remember my days of meditating and going on retreats and the wonderful feelings induced. The heart full of love, the sittings, the silences, the fellow travellers. I once spent about $1000 to travel thousands of kilometres to spend 3 days with a particular Guru for a bit of bliss. But, of course, the problem was it was only a temporary relief from the ‘real’ world – the bliss was an antidote to suffering, the silence a relief to the neurosis, and the ‘loving’ company an escape from loneliness. It was totally dependant on the Guru’s ‘energy’ or that of the group and indeed was a getting out of it or rising above it into some ethereal other spiritual realm. All a figment of my imagination and as fickle and as impermanent as any other emotional state.
By the time I came across Richard I was ready to give the whole lot up, not only for the failure of the system but in seeing how these Gurus were as ordinary people. In the end they offered little to emulate and much to avoid. What really lit me up about what Richard was saying more than anything was the possibility that I could live with a woman in peace and harmony. It is a point that many spiritual seekers completely ignore, and indeed many scorn. Some have relationships based on them being the guru and their companion being a disciple or student but that to me is a complete sham and deceit.
Equity, peace and harmony is a more accurate description of what I have with Vineeto. If it is not possible to demonstrate as an actuality with one other person in my life I figured peace on earth would forever remain but a dream. And I have proved it, which is why I can say with utter confidence that it is now possible for anyone and everyone – should they want it. So it is good to see your interest in something non-spiritual and down to earth. Something actual rather than something imaginary. If the Gurus can’t put their money where their mouth is in their personal relationships it’s time for them to shut up.
Or better still it’s time for their followers to give up hoping and trusting that they will produce the goods – and I think peace on earth is a good basic goal. And peace at home is undoubtedly the first essential step. In breaking free of the all – enveloping spiritual mindset, a useful tool for me was to realise that just because everybody believes something doesn’t necessarily mean it is a fact. And becoming a detective in search of the facts is a fascinating activity – sort of like growing up and finding out for myself, rather than believing what I had been programmed to believe. It’s so good to be free of the need to go on retreats or meditate to find stillness, peace and contentment when I can now experience that right here, now.
It is effortlessly available right here in the actual world – it is the very nature of the physical universe.
PETER: If the Gurus can’t put their money where their mouth is in their personal relationships it’s time for them to shut up.
RESPONDENT: Why is the credential of a relationship necessary? Are you suggesting you wouldn’t or couldn’t investigate actual reality with or learn with anyone who didn’t have a certifiably perfect relationship to support their ‘position’? Don’t we learn from everyone we are with at any moment? The ‘perfect’ as well as the rest of us? Doesn’t that put the person with a ‘perfect’ relationship in the role of Guru, higher than the rest? Teaching from above to below?
PETER: I see that Vineeto has sent you something already. I had such a delicious lunch downtown and a longish beach walk so when I got home I stretched out on the couch for a snooze to be awakened by the gentle tapping of Vineeto’s fingers on the keyboard. While strolling on the beach I did wonder if you had read both the journals as I think it would be useful and then you would have more background of what we are saying. It is radically different – 180 degrees in the opposite direction in fact. Everybody has got it wrong up until now and the proof is the greed, avarice, violence, sadness, sorrow and gloom that pervades humans’ thoughts and actions despite centuries of religious belief and adherence.
I dropped the idea of becoming enlightened the moment I realised that these Enlightened Beings and Gurus were nothing but the Gods of the Eastern religions. The Western Religions are generally monotheistic – a One Big God religion and as such the best we humans can do is obey His rules and worship him and we get to go to heaven after we die. They have Sainthood for the really good people or the chance to be Pope or the like, if you want. Now the Eastern religions are generally polytheistic which means they worship many Gods side by side. Also there is a strong tradition of Enlightened ones, Gurus or God-men who declare their God-ship while alive. They can be easily identified as they gather disciples, begin to teach and proclaim they know the Truth (...which can’t be spoken)! So to believe in Enlightenment is to believe in God and an afterlife.
The problem is now I have no religious tolerance at all. Whether it’s East or West, Pope or the Dalai Lama they have had sufficient time to bring paradise to earth and all we get are more religious wars and fights amid the cries of ‘let’s be tolerant of each other’s religious rights’. ‘Let’s all agree to tolerate the wars!!!’ Now if that isn’t lunacy I don’t know what is. Granted, until now it was the best escape from the Human condition possible. But there is an alternative – it is now possible treat each other as fellow human beings, to live together in peace and harmony, to experience the physical tangible sensual delight of the actual world as evidenced by the senses.
To completely eliminate any sorrow and malice from your thoughts and actions. I’ve said lately that if someone could see with these eyes the actual delight they would know what I mean, but, of course, everyone has them in their Peak Experience or PCE as Richard calls them. So if your still aiming to become Enlightened or wanting a Guru to believe in, I think you are on the wrong mailing list.
But if you want to discuss the possibility to become happy and harmless, if you want to free yourself of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow, and if you want to completely eradicate both the social identity you have been straitjacketed with, as well as the animal instincts that fill us with fear and drive us to violence – then I can maybe help as I’ve done it for myself. The great thing about this (poignantly perfect, in fact) is that you have to do it for yourself – I am (thank goodness) powerless and yet undeniably useful to those willing to give it a go. All you need is to make it the number one goal in your life. Set aside sufficient time and away you go! I personally felt I had nothing left to lose – which is the sub-title of my journal. So let me know what you think of the journals, I’ll be fascinated to hear.
RESPONDENT: You are right, I haven’t had a chance to read what you’ve already written. I’m not lazy (lack of effort has never ever been one of my problems), just busy with other things and I find it so much more interesting, so much closer to reality, to have a dialogue with a person. But I intend to.
From what Vineeto said and your reply above, I think I’m beginning to hear what you are saying with the relationship thing – you mirror each other, deeply. All our most significant teachers do this. Doesn’t have to be a woman. I agree with you completely on religion. My opinion of religion is that it is all about ego. Religions provide structure (Gurus, beliefs, forms, etc.) for the ego to cling to in its fear-driven quest for the security that doesn’t exist. The only thing of any importance is how we relate to the present moment. The social identity you described is a major obstacle, a place that deserves the most attention. I am not free of sorrow, but I am pretty harmless these days. Plan to stay in touch. Thank you.
PETER: I note that what initially got your full attention, namely – the definition of a lunatic as someone who does the same thing again and again despite the fact that it doesn’t work and the stubborn insistence of human beings maintaining grief and sorrow as Noble human traits – you now seem to be dismissing. So I’ll be curious as to comments if you have time to follow it up and read more.
PETER: Good to hear from you again. Sounds as though you are beginning to make a few discoveries about the nature of the Human Condition. It’s a fascinating business finding out who we think and feel we are, dismantling the beliefs and discovering the facts.
RESPONDENT: A ring-necked lizard has been sunning itself on a rock, accompanied by lizardly calisthenics. It darted off a moment ago in some haste. Then the cat moved slowly into view, cautious, each paw tentative, blue gaze sweeping the rocky ground.
We would like to call what motivated that wise alert sunlit animal to flee ‘fear’ wouldn’t we? I suspect the animal’s awareness and reaction to danger was experienced without any sense of ‘Oh no, what should I do?’ that I associate with human psychological fear, but rather the alert, fully aware action of basic animal intelligence operating to preserve its functioning. An active, momentary knowing of what to do without the need to stop and consult any kind of map. Yes, the animal had ‘fear’ but it was fully experienced fear with no psychological overlay, just pure reaction as it needed to occur, nervous system fight or flight response activation, and boogey!
But who knows, maybe it was terrified.
PETER: At the moment I am writing a glossary of terms for a second edition of my journal so as to better understand the Human Condition as my investigations continue, so I’ll give you my bits on instincts and fear to date, which may be of use to your musings –
RESPONDENT: The other day I wasn’t feeling well and after a meeting here at the hospital as I stood up to leave, splitting headache, tremulous, I almost fainted, and when it was happening, I felt nothing like concern for myself, for someone who was sick, or anything like that.
What I felt was fear, not about my condition or possible damage to my physical self, but fear about having my weakness exposed to others, and what normally would call this fear is ‘embarrassment.’ This is simply the truth. That is the kind of a creature ‘I’ am – I don’t actually care for myself but only my appearance – am I safe? will they like me? – in the eyes of others. I recognize it as delusion.
PETER: I think this is particularly true for the male as we have been conditioned to hide or repress our feelings and the discovery of these feelings that emerge can be quite astounding. I discovered that the traditional spiritual way of regarding them as illusionary was no longer acceptable to me as I would no longer tolerate their presence as I found that not only did they cause my unhappiness but were the direct and real cause of all the violence and suffering in the world. The opportunity to actually do something about bringing peace to the planet is no small thing.
RESPONDENT: I’ve had the ‘PCEs’ Richard describes. Quite a few of them actually, this past year especially. Have seen in them that, in spite of what I usually believe, there is nothing to fear in the universe, that it is utterly and completely friendly, including death. And I have also recently realized that the only place in the world where there is cruelty – fear – and sadness is within myself. But I have a lot of both, especially the sadness. They are what got me looking.
Is there something else to be done besides pay attention to them? How is this identity dismantled?
PETER: In my experience, becoming curious, will lead to fascination, will lead to obsession, will be aided by serendipitous discoveries, will lead to the systematic dismantling to such an extent that one day the whole lot will collapse like a pack of cards. At the moment with me the whole lot is trembling and shaking. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is a far bigger and far more challenging question than ‘Why am ‘I’ here?’ or ‘What happens after death?’
So time for a bit of TV for me, I’ll send this off first.
PETER: I’m just butting in on your conversation with Vineeto as I see you are having difficulty with watching your feelings, moods, emotions, sadness, etc. and on the other hand wanting to do something about them. This is how I see it and it may be of use to you.
I see, you are a doctor, so imagine you are on safari and come across a tribe who have a disease that causes them to have fits of madness where for no apparent reason they fall in to rages of anger or fits of depression. They see it as normal as they have had this disease in the tribe for as long as they can remember. Everybody rallies around and looks after the tribe member until he recovers enough to resume his tribal role or in bad cases they have a special area for those who are too seriously afflicted. Strict control backed up by severe punishment is meted out to the others to keep them from at least not hurting other members of the tribe. The witchdoctor offered the advice that the disease was only ‘bad spirits’ that had overcome them and that they shouldn’t be too concerned about it, just keep an eye on it. Although the witchdoctor also had the disease he managed to cover it up by a trance like state he induced in himself with various methods. The healer offered some herbal or energy potions and they all prayed to their particular Gods in the hope the disease would just go away.
Seeing all this, you got out your lap-top and scooted around the Net for information and only came up with some treatments that all offered temporary and spasmodic relief for the symptoms but none offered a cure for the disease itself. Then you found someone who was claiming success in completely curing the condition. Would you tell them to keep doing what they were doing, just watching or praying, or would you tell them about this new cure. It always would seem to me in that situation they would have nothing left to lose – as everything else merely was coping with the symptoms. As an architect I would often come across problems in old buildings like leaky roofs, structural cracks etc. I always knew the best job was not just patch it up but to get in and eliminate the cause of the problem. Otherwise the symptoms just keep coming back again.
We Humans, it seems to me, all suffer from a disease called the Human Condition and a few of us claim a cure is now available. That people seem to want to stick with the tried and failed methods (accepting the disease and coping or watching the symptoms), without even considering this alternative, I find most curious. For me, I like the medicine – it sure works for me.
That’s what I liked about Richard when I met him – ‘you mean I can actually do something myself to cure myself of malice and sorrow? Well it’s not what everyone else says but what everyone else says doesn’t work’.
Well enough for now. Just thought I’d give you a practical example of the difference between watching a problem or doing something about it. I know I get confused when I get too much into the theory of it all – too many ‘I’s’ ‘me’s, souls, ego’s, consciousnesses, to make sense of some times.
So it’s goodnight from me ... ... maybe this is of use as a comment ... ...
RESPONDENT: And cheers to you. Thanks for the note. I was laughing out loud as I read down through it. Look, I can occasionally be open minded, not often, it usually takes pain, but I’m fortunate to have some, so maybe I’m willing. I need something along the lines of a direct demonstration of what you guys are talking about. Not theory. Something a scientist can relate to. Can we do an experiment? I’ll be a fully willing lab rat, try the medicine myself and share the results. I’ve done experiments with myself before. This can be another. But I’m an ignorant lab rat and I need instructions, preferably from the doctor who knows about the medicine, to help design the experiment, because I don’t know about this medicine. Is it possible for you to show me an example of this medicine you are talking about, so I can see how it works for myself and make it into something I don’t have to believe in?
I think we should take this slowly enough to make it quite clear, if this is possible.
PETER: Well you are interested in an experiment on yourself. I find it a bit strange as so far you all you seem to be doing is objecting to the diagnosis as to what is wrong, sing the praises of the existing remedies despite their failures or deny that there is even a problem in the first place. Richard has about 300,000 words on his web-site and rising daily, Vineeto and I deliberately wrote our ‘case studies’ of the down-to-earth applications, Alan is writing of his process and you are asking what to do. I find it harder to make it more clear but then again that is a little something to do each time I write. I can’t do more than that – it’s your disease and you get to be the doctor. That’s the way it is when you stop believing in Gods or following Gurus. You get all of the fun and end up beholden to no-one, i.e. FREE. Nobody can clean you up but you. All I can say is, in my experience it works.
I’m reminded of the lid of the Cabot’s paint tins which has a note that says ‘if all else fails read the instructions’. Maybe read some of the writings again and rather than try and pick fault, see if any things make sense to you and try starting there. You may already have an idea of what you would like to be free of in your life.
PETER: He responded with a short note to Vineeto:
RESPONDENT: I am going to unsubscribe from the list now, as I have read what I needed to read and seen what I needed to see. May visit again sometime. I find no fault with what you are doing and I wish you and Peter and Richard and Irene all the best.
May you be happy and free.
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