Please note that Peter’s correspondence below was written by the feeling-being ‘Peter’ while ‘he’ lived in a pragmatic (methodological), still-in-control/same-way-of-being Virtual Freedom before becoming actually free.

Peter’s Correspondence on the Actual Freedom List

with Correspondent No 34

Topics covered

To sense life through the senses is not the same as the direct experience of the senses, I began to look for the differences between actualism and spiritualism rather than skim over the disparities in a vain attempt to fit them both into the same basket, I came to understand that Actual Freedom is all that the spiritualists have been seeking for millennia ... but much, much more * you imagine actualism is another form of spiritual belief, actualism is not a sit-back-and-soak-up-the-words poetic philosophy, I find it hard to think how much worse human beings could treat their fellow human beings, in the most recent flair-up of a religious conflict no one is daring to question the immediate cause – human beings desperately hanging on to and defending ancient puerile religious and spiritual beliefs, for an actualist these regular flare-ups present a potent opportunity to study the human condition




You wrote, apparently with a question about something I wrote –

[Peter]: ‘Yes indeed. To sense life through the senses is not the same as the direct experience of the senses.’ ( Peter, Selected Correspondence, Zen)


PETER: Just for clarity, I will put the snippet into the context it was written. I was responding to a quote from Alan Watts that was posted on the mailing list I was subscribed to at the time.

[Alan Watts]: In a certain sense Zen is feeling life instead of feeling something about life. Alan Watts

[Peter]: It is another of those poems that clearly point to the spiritual path as being a feeling path to an ‘inner world’. One becomes a ‘watcher’, ‘feeling’ one’s way in the world and as such is cut off from the direct sensate experience of the actual world that is ever-present – under our very noses.

To ‘feel’ life is not the same as fully living life, exactly as ‘thinking’ about life is not the same as fully living life. To be actually here is to be here in this moment of time, which is the only moment one can experience anyway. <snip>

[Co-Respondent]: You have good point, in general, but in this particular case the word to FEEL = to SENSE as used in this poem.

[Peter]: Yes indeed. To sense life through the senses is not the same as the direct experience of the senses. The aim in practicing zazen is that logical, analytic thinking should be suspended, as should all desires, attachments, and judgments, leaving the mind in a state of relaxed attention. Particularly sought after virtues include mental tranquillity, fearlessness, and spontaneity. This all is mind training such that the new Zen-persona has a particular way of seeing or sensing the world. At its core there is much self discipline and the creation of a ‘watcher’.

[Co-Respondent]: I don’t think that Zen practitioners are encouraged to be emotional (loving)!

[Peter]: Indeed it hard to find any mention of love in Eastern Teachings – it seems to be only a modern Western adaptation. Eastern religion and philosophy place great emphasis on suffering and compassion, and love is not even mentioned. In the East, what we interpret as ‘love’, is actually devotion, sublimation and surrender to whatever God or Master has the power to transmit the Teachings. Peter, List C, No 13, 24.1.1999

The description I always liked that best describes what I was saying – ‘To sense life through the senses is not the same as the direct experience of the senses’ is from Richard. If you can set aside your aversion to my quoting Richard’s words, you may well relate to his description of the difference between sensing life through the senses and having a direct sensate experience.

It is from the Glossary, ‘Pure Consciousness Experience’ and it is Richards writing –

Richard: A PCE is when one’s sense of identity temporarily vacates the throne and apperception occurs. Apperception is the mind’s perception of itself ... it is a pure awareness. Normally the mind perceives through the senses and sorts the data received according to its predilection; but the mind itself remains unperceived ... it is taken to be unknowable. Apperception is when the ‘thinker’ and the ‘feeler’ is not and an unmediated awareness occurs. The pure consciousness experience is as if one has eyes in the back of one’s head; there is a three hundred and sixty degree awareness and all is self-evidently clear.

This is knowing by direct experience, un-moderated by any ‘self’ whatsoever. One is able to see that ‘I’ and ‘me’ have been standing in the way of the perfection and purity that is the essential character of this moment of being here becoming apparent. Here a solid and irrefutable native intelligence can operate freely because the ‘thinker’ and the ‘feeler’ is in abeyance. One is the universe’s experience of itself as a human being ... after all, the very stuff this body is made of is the very stuff of the universe. There is no ‘outside’ to the perfection of the universe to come from; one only thought and felt that one was a separate identity.

Apperception is something that brings the facticity born out of a direct experience of the actual. Then what one is (‘what’ not ‘who’) is these sense organs in operation: this seeing is me, this hearing is me, this tasting is me, this touching is me, this smelling is me, and this thinking is me. Whereas ‘I’, the identity, am inside the body: looking out through ‘my’ eyes as if looking out through a window, listening through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting through ‘my’ tongue, touching through ‘my’ skin, smelling through ‘my’ nose, and thinking through ‘my’ brain.

Of course ‘I’ must feel isolated, alienated, alone and lonely, for ‘I’ am cut off from the magnificence of the actual world – the world as-it-is – by ‘my’ very presence. Actual Freedom Trust Library, PCE

The last two sentences in particular is the description I was referring to. This description of normal experiencing, feeling and thinking was something I could readily and easily relate to back when I was ‘normal’. The conciseness of the description told me much about why I had an unquenchable thirst for freedom ... and also why it was not, and could never be, quenched by searching on the spiritual path.

As well as this, Richard’s description of the perfection and purity of the actual world struck a deep chord – it was as if I knew what he was talking about. I eventually remembered a pure consciousness experience that I had had a few years earlier in my life and then the penny dropped as it were. I had had my own direct experience of the actual world that Richard was talking about, but I had dismissed it at the time as a drug experience, not knowing that it was possible to live that experience drug-free.

Perhaps this explanation will throw some light on your confusion.

I can remember the early months of my interest in actualism as not being easy at all. Because of my spiritual indoctrination and training I naturally thought of actualism in spiritual terms but there gradually came a slow dawning that something was different. I then started to make a deliberate attempt to put my spiritual preconceptions aside and to carefully read what was written and take it at face value. I began to look for, and take notice of, the differences between actualism and spiritualism rather than skim over the disparities in a vain attempt to fit them both into the same basket. This careful and painstaking discernment eventually bore fruit and it gave me the key to being able to more and more come to understand the distinction between actual freedom and spiritual freedom.

I came to understand that Actual Freedom is all that the spiritualists have been seeking for millennia ... but much, much more. Whilst Spiritual Freedom is imaginary, affective and absolutely other-worldly, Actual Freedom is actual, sensual and utterly down-to-earth. A world of difference, in fact.


PETER: I thought I would pen a comment to something you posted to No 13 recently as I found the topic pertinent to current events in the world we live in.

[Respondent No 13]: OK ... do you get, (and cause), less emotional discord now than say 3 years ago? Are you both completely happy and harmless in the marketplace?

[Respondent]: Just sounds like ‘being a nice person’, which a significant majority of adults do. Is that really all you think actual freedom is?

I did find it somewhat presumptuous of you to come on this list and tell actualists what actual freedom is, based on a superficial skimming of the web-site which was lately more aimed at picking fault rather than trying to understand what is on offer. The root of your misunderstanding of actualism is patently obvious when one looks at a few of your other comments to this list –

[Respondent]: Actualism’s elimination of the social and instinctual selves is identical with the elimination of the commanding self, which is what the Sufis do. (The real ones, not the dress-up-and-run-round-in-circles ones). Respondent to Richard 28.8.2001

This unambiguous statement indicates that you believe actualism to be identical to Sufism, i.e. you imagine actualism is another form of spiritual belief. This misconception explains your comment to No. 13 because no-where in any of the ancient spiritual or religious texts is there any mention of being happy and harmless in the market place. No wonder there is no peace between human beings and never has been when spiritualists scorn being happy and harmless in the market place as somehow being beneath their lofty and noble other-worldly aspirations.

[Respondent]: I actually think actualism is probably the best thing since sliced bread, so if your metaphor is implying that Richard is trying to ‘suck people in’ then I’d disagree. However, Peter and Vineeto want to be sucked in, have sucked themselves in, and are trying (very unsuccessfully) to suck others in. Respondent to No 12 3.9.2001

From this comment it is clear that you see actualism as a sit-back-and-soak-up-the-words poetic philosophy in the same league as the countless spiritual teachings that masquerade as Truths. In order to make such a comment you have had to either ignore or deny the fact that writ large all through the actualism writings is the constant advertising of a practical do it yourself method – a method specifically designed to enable anyone with sufficient motivation to become free of the human condition.

That few are so far willing to allow themselves to become ‘sucked in’ to using this method is indicative of the stranglehold that passionate other-worldly beliefs have over down-to-earth common sense. Few are as yet are willing to acknowledge what is patently clear in the world as-it-is – that it is high time human beings stopped believing in Gods and devils, good and evil spirits and such like, and get on with business of becoming happy and harmless. If you read the objections of correspondents on The Actual Freedom Trust website, you will be aware of the fact that you are safely ensconced amongst the many.

How do you know someone is a spiritualist? Spiritualists are not at all interested in being here in the first place – let alone in being happy and harmless

[Respondent]: Actualism is not new or original. It has been done before. Just not with your branding and delivery systems. This site is just the best presentation in the best medium for these times. And before someone says ‘it’s not been done before, Richard is the one-and-only, and if it had been done before we’d have peace on earth’ – if you think that history as it’s been is bad (wars, etc.), just think how much worse it would have been without those people who have done it before. Respondent to Richard 28.8.2001

Personally, I find it hard to think how much worse human beings could treat their fellow human beings. For a start, the amount of bloodshed, torment, anguish and suffering that religious and spiritual belief has caused, and is still causing, in the world beggars description. Words like horror, repulsion and repugnance fail to convey the full extent of the carnage that has been wrought, and is still being wrought, in the name of the followers of some make-believe God against the followers of some other make-believe God.

And what is the best the pious God-fearing priests and followers have to offer as a solution to ending this on-going savagery – religious tolerance. Not an end to the madness, but a rehash of the same old failed message of ‘be tolerant towards those who hold different religious or spiritual beliefs than you do’. Nowhere does one hear a clear and unambiguous voice declaring that it is archaic and inane religious and spiritual belief itself that is the very cause of so much human conflict, animosity, misery and suffering and that it is high time to abandon such beliefs to the scrap heap of history. Blame is always laid at the feet of the believers who are either too fervent in their belief or not fervent enough – but nobody is willing to question the efficacy of the sacred teachings themselves.

I have been fascinated to observe and contemplate upon the machinations that are occurring in the most recent flair-up of a religious conflict that has been ongoing for some two thousand years. There is a wealth of information to be had about the human condition simply by observing and thinking clearly about what is happening. There is also a salient opportunity to check on one’s own emotional reactions so as to ascertain where one is hooked, by one’s own social programming. in to feeling anger, sorrow, despair, fear, piousness, aloofness, or whatever

Whilst it has been convenient to lay the blame for the latest outbreak on religious extremism or fanaticism, it is pertinent to note that no one is daring to question the immediate cause – human beings desperately hanging on to and defending ancient puerile religious and spiritual beliefs. The conflict has raised a welter of conflicting moral and ethical issues and opinions which, with the benefit of modern worldwide communications, we are clearly able to see and hear, as it is happening, as the war unfolds.

A bewildering amount of opinion is being offered as to who is right and who is wrong, who is good and who is bad, who has God on their side, who is to blame, etc – and all of it is nothing other than points of view or emotional reactions that differ depending on upon the proponent’s personal religious or spiritual beliefs, which country or ethnic group they belong to, which side they favour, who they think is right, their degree of patriotism, their political predilections, etc.

Thus not only is the cause of the current flair up obvious – religious and spiritual beliefs – but the moral and ethical conflicts and quandaries that are also stirred up can be clearly seen as insolvable. In the face of what is obviously a fearful situation for many, the pat solution is to pray to one’s God, which does nought but add the fuel of passionate belief to the fire. The followers of Eastern religions, given that none of their particular Gods or God-men is currently involved in the conflict, generally adopt a pious and cynical fence-sitting role, all the while frantically denying the very religiosity of their own dearly held spiritual beliefs.

I have pondered for a few days now about the conflict, trying to follow the moral and ethical debates and found I have no opinion one way or another. There is no right or wrong, there are no good guys or bad guys per se – it is simply a battle of mythical ethereal Gods being fought out, not in some fairy tale other-world, but here on this verdant planet amongst fellow human beings. One can clearly see the stranglehold that spiritual and religious belief holds over human beings when one sees that people are willing to kill and maim other people in the name of their beliefs and yet no-one dares to questions the need to hold spiritual and religious beliefs in the first place. And given how passionately people hold their religious and spiritual beliefs and to what lengths they are willing to go to defend them, this conflict, and those other conflicts like it, will go on for as long as human beings believe in Gods.

And underneath all the superficial feuding over religious/spiritual beliefs can be felt a bloodlust for violence and revenge that is both animal and instinctual in its roots. What is clear from the deep-seated passions that are being stirred up in the current outbreak of anarchy and mayhem is not only a reflex instinctive fervour for violence and revenge but also a morbid fixation with sorrow, grief, despair and fear. When push comes to shove, the raw instinctual passions in humans invariably come to the surface and currently the world is awash with them.


For an actualist these regular flare-ups present a potent opportunity to study the human condition ... with the ‘lid off’, as it were. One only needs to turn on the television, soak up as much information as possible, and observe beliefs, morals, ethics, values, attitudes, feelings, emotions and passions in action ... as well as be able to feel these reactions as they arise in oneself. As you become aware of your own beliefs, morals, ethics, values, feelings and passions, as and when they arise, you begin to understand the nature and extent – the very nitty gritty, if you like – of your own social and instinctual programming. You start to both understand, and directly experience, the role that one’s own social conditioning plays in fostering and maintaining human animosity and suffering as well as be able to understand, and directly experience, the underlying passions that are the very root of human malice and sorrow.

Being an actualist means one is pragmatic about people as-they-are and the world as-it-is. An actualist does not waste time or opportunity by looking for band-aid solutions within the mayhem of the human condition ... for it is clear there are none to be found. The human condition is a self-sustaining closed loop in that it is perpetuated by clinging to and lauding archaic beliefs, come-what-may, and it is continually ennobled by clinging to and lauding the animal instinctual passions, no matter how horrific the outcome.


PETER: But to get back to your own spiritual belief about those LDG’s (Long Dead Gurus) who promulgate the archaic beliefs and ancient wisdoms that humanity so unquestioningly reveres –

[Respondent]: ... if you think that history as it’s been is bad (wars, etc.), just think how much worse it would have been without those people who have done it before. Respondent to Richard 28.8.2001

I would be interested as to your comments about how much worse you think religious wars and spiritual conflicts should be before human beings come to their senses and start to question the veracity of spiritual beliefs and ancient wisdoms?



Actual Freedom List Index

Peter’s Writings and Correspondence

Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer and Use Restrictions and Guarantee of Authenticity