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 Gary

Topics covered

Writing, walking the walk, No. 22’s madness, god-man of the list, benefit of discussions, only fools deny facts, PCE and sensibility, love, fully engaged, generalizable insights, instincts as BIOS, living together, commitment, intimacy, adventure of communication, actual / spiritual realizations, berating * free from spiritual belief, suffering, words alone, assertiveness/ autonomy, self-help Guru and a Self-realized Guru, dealing with emotions, ‘alternative’ medicine, on your own but not alone * only change oneself, blaming, no perfect circumstances, architecting without imagination, emotionally accept that which is intellectually unacceptable, shift in being with people



PETER: Hi Gary,

I thought I would get in another reply to you before I strip my computer down again. My glitch hasn’t gone away despite me renewing most of my hardware and re-formatting completely. The next thing is to strip it all down again and try again. The marvellous thing is that I have not got upset or frustrated throughout the whole business which is proof to me that it is possible to be virtually happy and harmless with people, things and events exactly as they are. At this stage in the process of actualism, ‘me’, who I think and feel I am, is so weakened that it is extremely rare that I get upset about the people, things and events that constitute this actual world we live in. Gone are the days of wanting to fit in or wanting to change people, things and events to suit ‘my’ whims and ‘my’ moods. There is nothing like pragmatic success to confirm that something works.

Something occurred to me to write to you about, and it is the business of writing. Often over the last three years since I wrote my journal I have been challenged with the comment ‘but you are not actually free yet’. Despite the fact that these challenges always came as a put-down from someone who hadn’t a clue what Actual Freedom was anyway, the question was nevertheless valid. Whenever this occurred or any other relevant and valid question arose, I would matter-of-factly re-evaluate what I was saying to check its authenticity and facticity, as well as run a check on own integrity.

What I always found was that I could authentically write of the experience of actuality and the actual world from my pure consciousness experiences and that I could write with integrity and expertise about the process of actualism simply by the fact that I actively was doing it and logging up down-to-earth success. Unless both of these factors are present, it is relatively easy to detect someone who is talking the talk rather than walking the walk, as the expression goes.

This is not to say, as I look back over my writing, that my experience, knowledge and expertise has not developed and that some of what I wrote in the past I would now rephrase in hindsight given the understanding I have now. But what I always wanted to do was document the lively process of actualism, warts and all so to speak, as it was happening because I knew it would be useful for anyone else wanting to become happy and harmless.


PETER: So, on to your post –

Having been full-on on the spiritual path for 17 years I had a few friends who either were either left limping along as church-going spiritualists or were still shopping in the spiritual supermarket. I naively thought they would be interested in actualism but the moment they realized it involved questioning their spiritual beliefs, their automatic self-defence mechanism cut in and when they realized it also involved effort and work it was way too much for their spiritual ego. I just refused to let this experience muzzle me, which is why I chose to write about my experiences rather than try and change other people.

GARY: I had a lively back-and-forth with some people about love and compassion recently. It provided an opportunity for me to investigate my own beliefs and feelings about love and compassion, as well as to determine how other people think about it. What I found was that I became rather exasperated or frustrated that either I couldn’t express what I was trying to say or that people didn’t want to hear what I was trying to say. This feeling of exasperation was a red flag to me that I was dealing with my own beliefs and feelings.

There is absolutely no reason why one ought to become frustrated or irritated about what someone else is saying unless it challenges or threatens some belief that they hold dear. And I think this is what was happening to me in the course of this correspondence.

PETER: Well said. My most recent experience of this was writing to No 22 and I was well pleased that I was neither frustrated nor irritated at all by the exchange. What did happen at one stage was that I got a glimpse of the utter madness of attempting to have a conversation with someone who denied even the physical existence of people, things and events and, as such, any attempt to even begin to discuss actualism is utterly futile. I experienced it as having my mind twisted around as I was confronted by someone who denied and negated every thing as no-thing, every fact presented as wrong thinking and every other human being as existing only as ‘behaviour’.

But, I find it kinda cute that the list has now attracted its own resident God-man.

GARY: I was trying to influence others, and when their opposition to what I was saying became even more determined (naturally so), I felt misunderstood and frustrated. I then commenced to ask myself why I was trying to influence others, questioned myself on my stake in the discussion, and investigated into my own deeper fears, conflicts, and doubts about love and compassion. Because I was deliberately questioning the emotion of love, and I was getting determined opposition from others, it really highlighted for me just how highly love is sought, coveted and valued by human beings. Love and compassion (and their allied emotions: pity, sympathy, empathy, etc) are really regarded to be the pinnacle, indeed the summit of all earthly dreams and hopes. To reject love is to be dead, according to what I heard these other people to be saying.

Since I have begun to investigate into these tender instincts, I have been able to see what a hold they have on Humanity, indeed what a hold they have on ‘me’. ‘I’ need love in order to confirm my existence. Without love, ‘I’ am nothing – I might as well be dead. Love, if I was following the thread of these conversations, is the do-all and end-all of earthly existence. Without it, life has no meaning, no reason. So, even though I was taking one side in the discussions, the discussions themselves were reflecting back to me the deep questions and doubts that I myself have on the topic in question.

PETER: In hindsight, in similar types of conversations I see I was simply presenting the fact that the much-vaunted feeling of love didn’t work because it has always failed to bring about peace between human beings. The same is evident with the revered spiritual feeling of unconditional love-for-all – it also has failed miserably in eventuating anything remotely resembling peace on earth. I was not presenting a viewpoint nor taking a side, I was simply stating a fact ... and offering an alternative.

But like you, these discussions did serve to make me look even deeper into ‘me’ than I would have had I not discussed these matters and been challenged. What I also found was that often people liked the discussions, provided they didn’t become too offended, because they rarely if ever talked about their feelings in such a way, rarely if ever sat back and reviewed how they lived their lives, what beliefs they held, in terms of what worked and what didn’t work and why not.

You may have noticed a peculiar twist in that if the person you are talking to takes a discussion about the human condition personally then they invariably become offended. If they don’t take it personally it is a sure sign they are dissociated in some way from their own complete range of feelings and beliefs that epitomize the human condition and the discussion usually trips along as a philosophical-type conversation with no depth at all.

GARY: It reminded me of the work situation that I was in and the allegation against me that I had ‘no compassion’. I found this somewhat disturbing, but probably only because I myself regard ‘compassion’ as essential to ‘me’, and that without it, I must be a total outcast. So I think the discussion with others about the quality of love and compassion was helpful to me in the following ways: it helped me to uncover some deeper feelings and beliefs that were lurking behind my outright denial of love and compassion; it further helped me to see that I was trying to use influence to persuade others of the ‘rightness’ of my arguments, which I would only do if they represented beliefs to me and not actualities.

PETER: It’s useful to remember that a fact is neither right nor wrong, good nor bad, fair or unfair, silly nor sensible – it is a fact.

A fact requires neither support nor defence and you don’t need to believe a fact for it to be so. The only thing you can do is ignore or deny a fact. I always figured that if someone else does so they are being silly, whereas if I ignore or deny a fact I am being a fool – and the last person I wanted to fool was me.


PETER: But this period of wanting to share my discovery of actualism was an invaluable experience – it taught me much about the human condition, which meant that it taught me much about ‘me’. Every time I heard an objection that was silly, I looked to see where I was being silly, and each time I could see another’s fears, I was en-couraged to look at whatever fear it was that was masking the next obvious move I needed to make towards becoming happy and harmless.

GARY: Yes, I find this to be a very good point. I don’t think I realized before experientially just how ardent humans are about the power of love. For one to say they are without love is to exclude themselves totally from the Human Condition. It arouses the most determined opposition from those who are the defenders of this exalted state. I found my recent dialogue, which started to devolve into a slugging match, to be an interesting ‘mirror’ in which to see ‘me’ reflected. And I think that that is essentially what you are saying here.

So, there is a fear of leaving love and compassion behind, because ‘I’ believe, indeed ‘I’ am founded and sustained by love. It is not a matter of denying or refuting love, because to deny or refute is just confirmation that it exists. No, the important thing seems to be seeing clearly that love stems from separation. Not just seeing this intellectually, but seeing it with that quality of apperception that leads to radical change.

PETER: A bit of an aside, but it may be useful to think about, for it strikes at the core of being happy and harmless in the world-as-it-is with people as-they-are.

You well know from your own PCE that a ‘self’-less experience is much more than being happy and harmless, but that eliminating all that prevents you from being happy and harmless is the work that ‘you’ have to do in order for ‘self’-immolation to become an inevitability.

You will further know from your PCE that being happy and harmless is not a matter of ‘me’ finding the perfect job, the perfect companion, the perfect place to live, etc. according to ‘my’ criteria or ‘my’ values.

When you fully grasp this fact you then can make whatever sensible decisions are needed to ensure that your living and working conditions are as easy and as comfortable as possible – and then look at the objections and emotions that arise that are preventing you from being happy and harmless at this moment in time, and in this place in space.

Being happy and harmless in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are, is ultimately only possible when there is no ‘me’ to take offence or ‘me’ to give offence.


PETER: In this way fear can be a signal for what change I am avoiding – remembering I am talking about something to look at and change in myself and not seeking the thrill of physical danger or the thrill of confronting someone else, as is common in the nonsense of ‘standing up for one’s rights’.

GARY: Excellent point. In my ‘self’-investigations, more and more I find I am able to investigate into the tender passions. This is a fascinating area of investigation. I had been doing a lot of investigation into fear, anger, doubt, etc. I agree with you that investigations into the ‘negative’ invidious passions is a relatively easy matter compared to the investigation of the ‘positive’ tender passions. I am seeing more and more the truth of this statement. It was my experience recently, in the context of resigning my job and, given that I was feeling lonely, desperate and in turmoil, that I craved love and validation from my partner. It was interesting to note that feelings of despair were followed by attempts to cling and depend on my partner for her continued love and assurance. I seemed to be veering back and forth between experiencing the depths of despair followed by desperate clinging to her. Whereas in the past I would have probably tried to stifle or suppress this movement back and forth, or become condemnatory to myself for acting ‘childish’, I found it most interesting to observe myself in action. At times I found it almost impossible not to give vent to these feelings, so strong they were. But at other times I found that I could observe myself, neither repressing nor expressing the feelings. Also, if one observes oneself carefully, in the midst of these ‘love storms’, one can really see the genesis of ‘crimes of passion’, the violence that results from love spurned. It’s powerful stuff.

PETER: When you realize and experience for yourself the full range of emotions we so fondly call love the tendency can be to withdraw or retreat. I know this tendency well, and I see it not only as a male thing but it is a common reaction to failure and emotional pain in all humans, no matter what gender. ‘Once bitten, twice shy’, sums up the common reaction that ultimately stalls and then stifles all human relationship. As I put it a touch poetically in the Glossary –

Peter: To live life as a ‘feeling being’ is to be forever tossed on a raging sea, hoping for an abatement to the storm. Finally, after a particularly fierce storm, one ties up in port to sit life out in safety or putters around in the shallows, so as not to face another storm again. The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary, Affective Feelings

Actualism is not about avoiding, withdrawing, hiding or suppressing. Actualism is not about becoming a hermit or a monk or a nun. Unless one is fully engaged in the world, unless one is fully prepared to investigate all of the major issues that prevent an actual intimacy with one’s fellow human beings, fundamental change is impossible.

It looks as though this is exactly what you are in the process of doing. I can only say that any efforts in this direction will not only bring you tangible reward but, of even more benefit, it means that less of ‘you’ is imposed upon others.


PETER: It soon became obvious that only by leaving behind what didn’t work, or what was a compromise, or what was a bondage, was I able to allow something better to become apparent. Or to put it bluntly – no change means no change.

The other thing I would like to say is that I have only a working knowledge of the human condition and the instinctual passions – it is by no means exhaustive and it is thin on scholarly substance. I tend to operate on the ‘I only need to know what I need to know to get the job at hand done’, so my investigations most usually only applied to what was relevant to me. I have no idea at all as wether what I am saying has any direct relevance to the person I am writing to. I have no insight ability as to how someone else’s psyche operates, what they are particularly thinking or feeling. As such, what I write is more generic – thus far the cumulative result of a handful of actualists’ self-inquiries and experiences – but it stands the test of scrutiny if one observes the broad operation of the human condition.

GARY: The study of one’s instinctual reactions is something totally new and unlike anything else I have encountered before. The instinctual basis of human behaviour is a much-neglected area of investigation, virtually untouched by modern psychology and other disciplines. But then, we are approaching it in ourselves, not as an academic matter but as a practical area of investigation, as the instincts underlie so much of human functioning that there is no possibility of realizing peace on earth without digging into them. I appreciate what you are saying in this passage because you are only sharing what you have learned for yourself, with no attempt to say it has direct relevance to anyone else. Then, the question remains: does one’s own investigation into their psyche have any relevance at all to other human beings?

If ‘I’ am humanity, and humanity is ‘me’, how generalizable are the insights and realizations that I have gotten from my own ‘self’-investigations? A little? A lot? If, for instance, I think I have gained some insights into how the instinct of fear operates in my own psyche, can I then generalize to any degree about how fear operates in other human beings? Perhaps one can only be an expert about their own life, and if needs be tell others what their own experience is, but leave it to the other to decide whether this observation or input is valid for them (?)

PETER: The basic underlying operating system of all human beings is identical, we all come with an identical genetically-encoded survival program, we all run on the same BIOS, as it were. The only minor variations that occur are in the overlaying operating system – the culturally variable program that constitutes our social identity. Once you begin to eliminate the overlaying operating system program the underlying instinctual program is very basic, very crude and common to all human beings.

My comments on my limited knowledge related more to the variations and foibles of various social programming, whereas my knowledge and understanding of the instinctual operating program is, at present, second to one.


PETER: What I discovered about my friendships was that the moment ‘I’ stopped maintaining them and cultivating them for my own self-ish purposes that the friend would also stop contacting me and the friend-ship would eventually sink because it needed two people, both constantly rowing, to keep it afloat. I started to see that everybody is busily engaged in living their friends’ lives and not their own. When I eventually saw this clearly, I stopped the insidious practice of seeking others out for emotional support – mutually agreeing how tough things are – or blaming others for the mess my life was in. This proved a turning point in my living with Vineeto, as I started to take total responsibility for my behaviour, feelings, moods and actions.

GARY: It has been my experience that ‘I’ need special friends for the validation and confirmation they give of ‘my’ existence. I am not a misanthrope. Neither am I a hermit.

I enjoy the company of other people, I enjoy talking to many different kinds of people, and I enjoy going out socially from time to time but I do not keep any ‘friends’ at the present time. I think my questioning of relationships of this sort really began with the suicide of my ‘best’ friend in 1989. It was a terrible shock, and the emotions which it engendered in me were not very pleasant. After that, I began to be much more selective in terms of having friends, but also I began pulling away from these kinds of exclusive relationships. I began to see that a ‘friendship’ in a way is a special kind of ‘love’ relationship, and in my experience at least, involves a considerable amount of dependency, possessiveness, jealousy, envy, guilt, etc.

I think you are right that people are engaged in living their friends’ lives and not their own. I have wondered if perhaps I were trying to insulate myself emotionally from the pain of being attached and related to someone in a close relationship and I think I am. I find the sticky mess of friendship too much to endure, and I neither want to experience the painful emotions related to having a friend nor the positive emotions of love and affection for another. Probably that makes me an ‘emotional cripple’ in some people’s eyes, but that has been my experience.

PETER: I found myself in a similar position after my third major live-together relationship with a woman came to an end. I clearly saw that I didn’t want to do it again only to suffer another failure, and to cause another woman to suffer because of my failure.

When I came across actualism, I wanted to get beyond the debilitations of being an ‘emotional cripple’, or the cruelty of being an ‘emotional crippler’. It was clear to me that the only way to do this was not to withdraw but to go fully into the business of friendship and one-on-one relationship so as to discover what the debilitating feelings of love are preventing from becoming apparent.

What I found was that underneath the surface layer of the feelings of love, and its co-emotion hate, lays a direct flesh and blood human being to flesh and blood human being intimacy that far surpasses the fickle conditional feelings of friendship and love. Turning away or withdrawing from this potentiality was not possible once I knew the quality of this intimacy that was evident in a pure consciousness experience.

This is why I went into my relationship with Vineeto with a 100% commitment, with none of the holding back I had always done before.

The same approach applied with other people I knew or met. It was not that I wanted to withdraw from people, I wanted to be able to experience the same intimacy with all my fellow human beings, no matter who they were, no matter what values or beliefs they held.

Actual Freedom is not about making the best of life within the human condition, ‘me’ choosing to be this and not that. Actual Freedom is about becoming free of the human condition and as such there is always a third option or choice available to the traditional approaches.

In writing this I am well aware how serendipitous it was that I had a companion who was equally willing to explore all of the ingrained beliefs and deep-seated emotions that constitute the ammunition for the on-going battle of the sexes. It can be rightly said that our success in living together in utter peace and harmony was made easier by this mutual agreement that each of us was willing to look at whatever it was in ourselves that prevented each from being happy and harmless. However, there is no reason why exploring the feelings of love cannot be done in any deeply-felt relationship because the process is identical – undertaking a personal commitment to become aware of, and actively explore, one’s own beliefs, morals, ethics, values, feelings and passions as they arise.


PETER: I simply gave up talking to people face to face about Actual Freedom and reverted to occasionally dropping in a bit of common sense into a conversation – a much less confronting exercise, although even this does appear to stir up some issues in some people. I tried writing on a few spiritual mailing lists and was cyber-executed from one and censored off another, so I do my writing on the Actual Freedom mailing list now, but as you will have noticed even this list has now attracted a few perfervid objectors to peace on earth.

GARY: Hmm ... interesting. I was not aware that you do not write to other lists anymore.

PETER: It does take time to write and I have always preferred quality to quantity, interest to disinterest, vitality to weariness, down-to-earthness to holier-than-thouness and talking common sense rather than exchanging hackneyed and rehashed platitudes. Which is why I particularly enjoy writing to you given that we are able to talk freely about any-thing at all.

GARY: What I found in my brief experience of writing to others recently was that, yes, it did seem to be stirring up some issues in others, but it was stirring up the same issues in me. I found it was a fascinating way of observing my own psyche in action, and to sharpen my own thinking about some things. I think in the future I am going to be a little more circumspect in what I say to others. I have noticed that when I involve myself in groups, cyber or otherwise, I tend to come in guns a-blazing. Perhaps for me this is some kind of defence mechanism in action – you know, the best defence is a good offence. I have sometimes jumped right into these things and offended other people, rather than trying to ease in gradually and observing etiquette (or nettiquette).

PETER: I do like the Net as a means of communicating. The very nature of writing brings out a clarity and conciseness that is not possible in the normal vagaries of casual conversation. The written word encourages a consistency of thinking, by its very nature it can expose contradictions and inconsistencies. On this mailing list particularly, it can lead to a common understanding of the facts of the human condition and can serve to eat away at and eventually demolish belief.

I am often aware that what I write is often repetitious but I know, for me, that repeated little incremental understandings would begin to prise a ‘crack in the door’ such that it would eventually swing open and I was able to have a realization about some fact or another. Often it was a different phrasing, a different way of putting something that would all of a sudden make something clear that before had been obtuse or unclear – or hidden by ‘my’ emotional reactions.

This type of conversation is such a pleasure and such an adventure, yet to others it is often boring and apparently even offensive in the extreme. The only alternative that would satisfy some would be to shut up, which would only mean that the chance to spread peace on earth would be stifled by the spiritual-ists. This is not an alternative that makes sense to me.

Whenever I wrote on mailing lists I always liked to be up-front about what I am writing about. I wanted to make it clear that what I was writing was both iconoclastic and brand new – not that many really listened or took the time to try and comprehend what was being said. I was, however, initially very taken aback that so many people took what I was saying personally, or Impersonally, and those who wrote to me became progressively desperate and silly in their denial and, if they persisted, ended up offended and often downright angry.

It was then that I remembered that once upon a time I too was so passionate about ‘my’ beliefs that I was even willing to kill, or be killed, in order to defend ‘my’ beliefs.


PETER: As a child I was able to see the folly of following One-God religions, if only for the fact that the quandary of which God was the True God and which Gods were false Gods has produced almost continuous religious wars and conflicts. Then I got sucked into following a Godman’s promise of joining a community or Sangha that would bring peace on earth. When the experiment failed, as was inevitable, I began to see that the famed spiritual path was nothing other than olde-time religion.

That quite simple realization, i.e. an acknowledgement of fact that shattered the belief I previously held to be a truth, was sufficient to begin the process of extracting myself from the spiritual world and its blatantly ‘self’-centred beliefs and truths.

GARY: Realizations still seem important to me.

PETER: The process of actualism is chock-a-block full of realizations. However, it is important to make a distinction between the realizations that happen in the process of actualism and the traditional Spiritual Realizations, which are better termed Revelations.

  • For an actualist a realization is an acknowledgement of a fact that shatters a belief that was previously held to be a truth.

  • For a Spiritualist a realization is the emotional embracing of a belief that then serves to obfuscate a fact that he/she did not want to acknowledge.

One of the clearest distinctions between the two is that for an actualist, at some stage, there is a realization that there is no life after death, that the belief is nought but a gigantic multifaceted fairy-story, whereas for a Spiritualist, at some stage, the realization is a heart-felt embrace of the belief in a spirit-world life after death for ‘me’ as a spirit-being, i.e. only ‘my’ body dies and ‘I’ am immortal.

GARY: One of the realizations I had recently, after all the business of quitting my job, was that spiritual values, or spiritual-type thinking still has a hold on me. I still have within me, probably from hundreds of thousands of years of conditioning, the tendency to think of myself as a flawed ‘sinner’, which results in considerable ‘self’-castigation and ‘self’-loathing. I thought I saw this rather clearly in operation when I was filled with ‘self’-recriminations and ‘self’-criticism after leaving the job. I measure myself to an impossible standard of perfection, and naturally do not measure up and then berate myself most strenuously. I literally flagellate myself. It is, I think, a hangover from my spiritual days. It is form of behaviour which characterizes spiritual believers who blame themselves when they do not measure up to the impossible standards of their chosen spiritual teachings. I observed myself doing the same thing with actualism. Turning it into some kind of Almighty system that I had to measure myself against, and then berating myself because I didn’t measure up. It is something that was quite literally operating in my own psyche and not something that I have picked up from actualism. This is, I think an important insight, and I have caught myself up to the same shenanigans from time to time since then and I am quicker on the uptake this time. So, I think I am still extricating myself from the spiritual world, even though I do not hold any blatant spiritual beliefs, I do still have spiritual-like thinking and behaviour which causes me to berate myself mercilessly. I’m about sick of it and want something better for myself.

PETER: I can assure you that what you are going through is par for the course for an actualist. It is not something I have written about much but it is something that everyone will go through in one way or another. I saw myself as being so perverse that I would never entertain doubt in all my spiritual years, turning a blind eye to all sorts of shenanigans and skulduggeries, and yet here I was, not prepared to give my all to becoming happy and harmless. I eventually came to recognize what an extraordinary level of gullibility is required to be a spiritual believer and what an extraordinary level of naiveté is required in order to deliberately set upon a course that leads to ‘self’-immolation. Always the memory of the potential of what is humanly possible – as I know from a pure consciousness experience – would serve to lift me out of any downward spirals.

The only solution to being continually consumed by these entrenched feelings is to make your own pure consciousness experience your focus, your objective. This way any dodgy comparison, insidious feelings of guilt and doubt and impractical notions of perfection are all seen for what they are – ‘me’ raising all sorts of objections to ‘my’ demise.

It is as though you attach a rope or mental thread to your PCE and use it as a guide to what is your touchstone or loadstar – the exemplary innocence of a ‘self’-less experience.

Until you are actually free from the human condition, the living of a pure consciousness experience 24 hrs. a day, everyday is ‘your’ goal, ‘your’ measure, ‘your’ standard ... and ‘your’ business to do.

This is what makes actualism – the business of becoming free of the human condition – the adventure of a lifetime.


GARY: I can well relate to your period of discipleship and the bizarreness of your complete immersion in the spiritual community. While perhaps I did not go to some of the extremes that you did, I can easily relate to the emotion of devotion, and unquestioning obedience of the Master, and the complete suspension of intelligent and critical thinking that goes along with being a religious and spiritual follower. And one can well see, given the reverence with which spiritual figures are treated, how Jonestown and Waco are possible, no ... not only possible, but almost inevitable. The descent into madness begins, I think, when one ties their fate with another – the spiritual leader – one develops a love for, an admiration of the one leading the spiritual community, and the die is cast when Cupid strikes his arrow into the heart because this type of love and veneration is lethal ... witness the many object lessons that the long and bloody history of religion have to show us. To tie one’s fate to any other human being is to be deluded ... and peace on earth can scarcely come to one so deluded. It may seem like I am bashing spirituality, but it is like a breath of fresh air to be free from all the ridiculous beliefs and practices which characterize the spiritual world. I still, at times, cannot believe my own complete foolishness in being sucked into it all, and I sometimes cannot believe that it was actually me that believed in all those nonsensical propositions. It is a wonderful experience – being free from the spiritual world, realizing that one need not suspend their own native intelligence for the sake of the apparent security of religious/ spiritual practice. I still am rather overjoyed that I am free from all of that.

PETER: Yes indeed. This alone is enough to send anyone tap dancing across the floor, particularly if it is a passing milestone on the way to becoming free of both the spiritual world and the real world.

I remember the feeling of freedom from spiritual belief as being very tangible – I walked taller in the world, as it were, my integrity restored. I remember thinking afterwards – what was all the fuss about? Why did I find it so difficult?

In hindsight, there were in fact two intertwined difficulties. One was ‘my’ passions involved in maintaining my beliefs – mainly pride and loyalty – and these passions then conspired to prevent me from clearly understanding what was on offer in actualism, a condition known as cognitive dissonance. My brain had been programmed so completely to accept that there were only two alternatives to human existence – grim reality and a Greater Reality – so much so that it was almost impossible to conceive that peace and freedom lay where no one had dared to look before. Right here, right now, on earth.

But the nagging explanation – ‘that everyone, up to now, has got it 180 degrees wrong’ – made such sense to me and explained so much of what was obviously senseless within the human condition, that I was inexorably drawn to investigate further.


GARY: So, Peter, I think I am finding the doing part very difficult. I seem to be spinning my wheels a lot fearing the consequences.

PETER: What I found essential was to always remember how far I had come, how much better my life was since I first started to focus my awareness on ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ Sometimes I would lose the plot but whenever I met other people, be they ‘spiritual’ or ‘normal’, I was reminded I no longer complained about the weather, I no longer got angry at others, I no longer put down other people, I no longer bitched about life or blamed other people for how or what I was feeling, etc.

The trick was to remember my down-to-earth successes whenever doubt started to set in, to crank up my YES to being here. It is almost as though one needs a blackboard with successes written on it, and you make a habit of wheeling it every now and then so as to make a calm dispassionate review of your successes in becoming happy and harmless.

In short, pat yourself on the back regularly.

GARY: Your advice, as usual, is sensible and balanced. I am doing much better now. I went through a particularly low spell, but I have learned a good deal about myself as a result of the process. My partner and I were talking yesterday about how much we have learned about each other having gone through this recently. It is incredible actually how much better my life is since I started to focus my awareness on being here. My ‘bad spells’, if I can call them that, while intense, are comparatively shorter in duration. For instance, it was a bold step to quit my job with no other prospects in sight, but it got me off my butt and doing something for myself rather than continue on in a mediocre situation, which I was unhappy about. I was able to rally myself relatively quickly and to apply myself with assiduity to what needed to be done. That in itself is a big success.

PETER: It is common wisdom that suffering is good for you, you get stronger from suffering, that you grow and learn by suffering, etc. By experiencing the bitter-sweet lure of feeling sad, by observing it in action in your life and sufficiently investigating the roots of sorrow and depression, you eventually come to realize that all you get from suffering is more suffering. The feeling of sorrow is a seemingly bottomless pit leading only to utter despair where the only way out of a living hell seems to be suicide.

Personally, I did not have to dredge this deep to cut the ties to sorrow but I did explore fear to its limits of dread and terror. It does seem that exploring and experiencing the extreme limits of some of the passions may come about on the path to becoming free of them, but as more information and experiences are logged up this may well be unnecessary for many who follow. I can remember after my dread and terror experience saying that I had done that and didn’t need to explore any further.

I have run the gamut of the passions from the Altered States of Consciousness experiences of God and heavenly realms to the dark night of the soul experiences of Evil and hellish realms and while both were interesting, to say the least, it is not necessary to have experienced the extremes of the human condition to know that the only sensible way out is to leave the impassioned imagination of both Good and Evil behind.


PETER: This business of becoming free of the human condition already feels tough enough at times but to beat yourself up for not succeeding simply means yet another moment of potential happiness and harmlessness has been squandered in ‘self’-indulgence. And again, this is not denial, because the next real thing to investigate, the next real issue to investigate, will come swanning in by itself.

In the market place, unlike the Monastery, Sangha or ‘inner’ cave, there is an ample supply of normal events and normal people to test one’s happiness and harmlessness.

GARY: Indeed. And this is one of the chief differences between actualism and spirituality’s ‘How to be in the world but not of it’, because in actualism there is no need for any allegiance to an exclusive group or clique, no identification of oneself being a member of any particular identifying belief system. One is free to be with people as-they-are, whatever their particular beliefs or religiosity or lack of religiosity. It seemed that when I was involved with a spiritual lifestyle, I was always looking for people who were friendly to my particular belief system, and I would befriend people based on whether or not their beliefs conformed to mine. In actualism, there is none of that, and one is free to have an actual intimacy with all people, regardless of where they are coming from. This is, as I think about it just now, one of the fundamental differences between actualism and so-called spiritual belief. As a spiritual believer, ‘I’ am dependent on the spiritual or the religious group for a continual reinforcement of my identity as a spiritual being or as a member of a spiritual community, and I seek this affiliation constantly as this reaffirms and supports ‘my’ existence. In actualism, one has to go it completely and totally alone, alone in the sense of depending on nothing else but one’s own common sense and intelligence as well as one’s own pure consciousness experiences as one’s guide.

Naturally, one can talk to others through the medium of this list, as well as read the readings, but there is no allegiance nor membership with a defining body of actualism ‘believers’. This further contributes to the dismantlement of the social identity because ‘I’ thrive on being a member of a group with certain defining beliefs. Without them, I experience first-hand that ‘I’ am nothing but a wayward social identity, an illusion, careering around in fear and confusion.

PETER: I always find it fascinating to think that I will never meet many of the people who write on this list face to face and that it is unnecessary. What needs to be conveyed about actualism and Actual Freedom can be conveyed by words alone. This fact in itself demolishes any Guru/disciple nonsense and the cosy insular-group syndrome. That way anyone who wants to gets to stand on his or her own two feet, any success is your own, earned by your efforts, and this fact then gives you the assuredness and confidence to proceed even further on the path to freedom.


GARY: Yes, I think I can see that my behaviour, which I am prone to severely castigate myself for, was little different than most people in a similar situation. When one’s ass is on the line, one can see many people kick into instinctually malicious, fearful, or aggressive behaviours. I think I am little different in this respect. Continued practice of actualism probably resulted in a situation where I was able to stand up for myself and assert my autonomy rather than remaining miserable and bringing my job home with me.

PETER: Autonomy I have as – ‘Independence, freedom from external control or influence; personal liberty’ Oxford Dictionary. My experience with becoming autonomous neither involved asserting my will, authority, views or values upon others, nor does it involve surrendering to others. It is useful to remember that actualism always involves a third alternative and if in a situation a decision is to be made or a choice is to be decided then, provided there is no emotion involved, a review of the facts will result in sensible and innocuous appropriate action.

GARY: I’m having a little difficulty seeing the difference between assertiveness and autonomy. Assertiveness is concerned with ‘me’ and ‘my rights’. Assertiveness is commonly described as a way of discharging angry feelings through sticking up for one’s rights in a situation. Autonomy, on the other hand, is something that one can practice without putting forward one’s beliefs or views or asserting one’s rights.

PETER: You have done a good job defining the difference between assertiveness and autonomy. I’ll just take the opportunity to follow up on this issue, as it is a good topic to explore.

The two common human reactions can be crudely summarized as fight or flight – assertiveness, standing up for ‘my’ rights, making ‘my’ point, demanding justice, etc. are in the fight category and being humble, surrendering ‘my’ will, being grateful, turning the other cheek, being a pacifist, etc. are reactions in the flight category. These typical reactions are prevalent both in the spiritual world and the real world and are socially instilled and/or instinctually programmed.

The one common denominator in all these reactions is that there is a ‘me’ involved – a ‘me’ who is strong or weak, a ‘me’ who is right or wrong, a ‘me’ who is good or bad, a ‘me’ who stands and fights or slinks away. The only way out of this seesawing emotional turmoil is to become autonomous – to become free of one’s own social and instinctual programming such that your being happy and harmless is independent of external influences and conditions.

Autonomy isn’t something that can be practiced because this only leads to feeling independent with its inherent qualities of feeling separate and feeling superior. Becoming autonomous is the inevitable result of becoming actually free of the shackles of the human condition.

Just as an aside to the issue of assertiveness, it is both interesting and informative to see the parallels between the psychologically-based movements aimed at establishing a strong and assertive self and the Eastern religious-based movements aimed at establishing a dissociated and superior self. The distinctions are seemingly nowhere more blurred than in the U.S. where the utter ‘self’-ishness and ‘self’-centred nature of both movements are so intermingled that every pursuit and every activity has the tag spiritual added to it.

There is really scant difference between a self-help Guru and a Self-realized Guru. Both make their living, and get their kudos, from appealing to deep-seated narcissistic urges within every human psyche.

GARY: I wonder if there is a stage that people go through where at first they do have emotional reactions to situations, and as they learn increasing autonomy, these emotional reactions get less and less. For instance, when I quit my job, there very definitely was a strong emotional reaction at first, but resigning the job in hindsight seemed like an intelligent thing to do under the circumstances, even though there was the definite emotional reaction at first. So, even though I was emotional at first, I think it was a move towards autonomy. It could have been done without the emotional reaction, I suppose, but I don’t seem to be yet to the point where I am free from emotions.

PETER: This topic relates to what I was saying above. The aim of actualism is not to suppress emotions but to become aware of them in order to explore them. If you aren’t aware of your feelings, emotions and passions it is impossible to explore them and experience them in action.

For men particularly, this is the essential first step – to stop suppressing, being cool, being strong, being rational, being logical, withdrawing or denying. It is essential for men firstly to get in touch with their feelings and then to learn to label both the tender and savage feelings. For women, the problem is usually to separate out and isolate one only of many feelings that may be chopping and changing at any time such that one feeling can be named and investigated.

It is interesting to note that both sexes have difficulty in identifying and putting a name to their feelings. Often the comment is that ‘I am worried about ...’ or ‘I am thinking about ...’ or ‘I don’t know ...’, but inevitably, if one is persistent, honest and discerning enough, there is a specific feeling running at the time. The ‘problem’ at work can be resentment or anger, the ‘thinking’ about someone can be annoyance at something they said or didn’t say, something they did or didn’t do. The ‘not knowing’ can be melancholy, boredom or listlessness or even withdrawing or dissociating from any feeling.

The chronic misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the crucial role feelings and passions play in the human psyche in action is why the ancients in the East taught that ‘the thinker’, aka ego, was the problem and thereby let ‘the feeler’, aka soul, off the hook completely. Feelings are most commonly expressed as emotion-backed thoughts and, as such, every one of our ‘self’-centred thoughts are really feelings and emotions arising from either our social programming or our brute instinctual passions.


PETER: Again that blackboard with successes written on the top, or however you want to see it, is invaluable. The bottom line is always if I stuffed up yesterday, or if I have been lost in some worry or overcome by some emotion, it was in the past – finished, gone. The success is that you have now discovered it and you can get back to feeling good or feeling excellent again. The trick is not to get down on yourself otherwise you are again missing out on experiencing this moment, the only moment you can experience of being alive, to the optimum.

GARY: Yes, this is the most sensible thing. Yesterday is gone and there is no sense getting down about what happened yesterday. Only this very vital moment of being alive, right now, is what counts. I notice the mind often drifting into morbid worry about something or other, projecting about some future event, or harkening back to tragic happenings in the past and hardening into the kind of cynicism you have often warned against. Quite often, if I am not feeling happy, it is because there is this back and forth motion between the past and the future. While I can see that evolutionarily there is some survival value in being able to intelligently anticipate and respond to possible future conditions, worry seems to be a case of the intelligent faculties of the mind out of joint. It accomplishes absolutely nothing. It is strange how we are often our own worst enemies in that regard.

PETER: It is of no use at all to beat yourself up if you miss the onset of a debilitating emotion or feeling and fall into the pits for hours or even days or feel pissed off at someone for hours or even days. The important thing is that you become aware of how you are experiencing this moment of being alive and if it is not optimum, get out of it, get back to feeling good and then crank it up to being excellent if you can.

GARY: Yes, this works very well. I have become much more aware, it seems, of cynicism, something that you have mentioned several times in recent posts. I sometimes find myself becoming quite cynical when observing the state of the world and ‘human nature’. For instance, watching the television news last night there was a brief spot on the Oklahoma City bombings. A small shrine was recently dedicated to victims of the ‘worst case of domestic terrorism the US has ever seen’. The news story mentioned that Timothy Vey, the convicted terrorist, is scheduled to be executed in May. Quite a few of the people whose loved ones were killed in the bombing have petitioned to be allowed to watch the execution. The state of Texas is even going to install close-circuit cameras so that they can watch the killer in his moment of death. Some of the victims’ families opined that they wish he would suffer more a more hideous and agonizing death so they can rejoice in his suffering, as they themselves have suffered through his deeds. Watching this story, I am astounded by the degree of the vengeful, retributive ‘eye for an eye’ mentality that exists in the world, and I can sometimes feel it hardening into cynicism, a definite form of unhappiness and sorrow that debilitates one and spoils the present moment. ‘What kind of world do we live in?’ is a question I often ask.

However, morbidity and cynicism over the state of humankind seems to be the very same mistake every one else is making, since it is wasting the precious purity of this eternal moment. Only this vital moment in time exists, and it is senseless to waste it in worry, anger, cynicism, or fear. Only continual and unrelenting awareness will reveal those states of mind and feelings, which interfere with this priceless moment, so that one can get back to being happy and harmless.

PETER: Whenever I found myself despairing at the human condition, a quick check revealed that I was on the only sensible path to bring an unequivocal end to human violence and suffering – to bring an end to it in me. I had spent years involved in trying to change others according to my whims and beliefs, supporting this group in its battle with that group, riling against ‘the system’, ‘the leaders’, etc. I had also spent years hiding from the world in various spiritual groups, following various spiritual teachings while dutifully poo-pooing the beliefs of others.

Fortunately this gave me enough hands-on experience to be able to acknowledge that neither of these solution work, in fact, all that happens is that malice and sorrow is forever perpetuated and peace on earth forever remains an unrealisable dream. This knowing-by-experience what doesn’t work gave me the surety to relentlessly pursue the third alternative to remaining normal or becoming spiritual, no matter what.


PETER: Emotions have a curious quality in that they colour and distort not only what is happening now but they also colour and distort what has happened recently. If sadness overwhelms us it seems as though our whole life has been miserable, if anger arises it seems as though it has always been there. This was hard to discern in myself initially but it was obvious whenever I talked to Vineeto in one of our end-of-day chats.

Sometimes she would say I have been feeling, say lacklustre, all day. I would ask her if she felt that when we were down in the village at the coffee shop and she would say ‘not then’. I would ask her how she was at work and she would say she was into her work and enjoying it. Eventually it emerged that the feeling had only recently emerged or had only briefly occurred but that it now felt as though it had been there all day.

GARY: Yes, I have noticed this too. These emotions, when one is the throes of them, seem to suck everything into them. Since practicing actualism, I have noticed that my emotions seem to be much more intense when I experience them, but definitely more short-lived. I am able to get back to being happy and harmless much more quickly. I noticed this happening yesterday – I was aware of feeling worried, and morbidly preoccupied – gloomy in fact. A moment’s reflection revealed when the state had started, the associated thoughts, what it felt like, and what is was doing to me. I simply concluded that it was silly to be feeling that way and spoiling a beautiful day, and I found myself getting back to being happy in relatively short order.

PETER: Yep. And you always know that if something keeps coming back again then it is time to sit down and really nut out and investigate exactly what is going on, what is the nature and substance of this re-occurring feeling or emotion. Ultimately, it is your own integrity that ensures the process of actualism is fail-safe.


PETER: Eventually I saw that my physical survival depended upon the ATM machine continuing to spit out enough printed pieces of paper when I put a plastic card into it for me to be able to afford to pay for food, clothing and shelter. Anything in excess to this basic requirement was then available to buy toys for leisure and pleasure. Thus, my only job was to ensure that the numbers on my receipt remained within sensible limits given the ebb and flow of expenditure.

GARY: It’s amazing the degree to which one can simplify their life to cover the basic contingencies. Since I quit my job, austerity measures have gone into effect. I’ve been out of work for a month now, unable to collect unemployment compensation because I quit my job, but I’m in good financial shape. For spending cash, I’ve been rolling up some of the coins I kept stashed about the house (I’ve got about a ton of these in various locations), reserving my bank account for emergencies. I did manage to land a job in pretty short order but I don’t officially start work for another 2 weeks or so, so I’m still on ‘vacation’.

PETER: I was talking to a New Dark Age healer the other day who was extolling the virtues of ‘alternative’ medicine. In claiming he was alternative, he blithely ignored the fact that he was practicing traditional ancient medicine – herbal infusions and potions, spirit-energy readings, etc. – while the last century has seen a phenomenal growth in new scientific-based medicine that has been instrumental in almost doubling human life expectancy and reducing the debilitating effects of disease and accident. As I am wont to occasionally, I pointed this fact out to him but he dismissed my comments by then riling against ‘the pressures of modern living’ and the value of alternative medicine in addressing these ‘evils’. I said that what I had done was deliberately eliminate stress from my life, noting that some years ago I had assured my doctor that I would not die of stress.

It is such an obvious thing to do – to simplify one’s life so as to reduce stress. Not only does one become physically healthier but by reducing the franticness and busy-ness of continually complicating what is simple, it makes it easier to set aside the necessary time to investigate the real causes of your malice and sorrow. Again be wary of the usual alternatives – deliberately engaging in battle to prove your warrior-worth or deliberately withdrawing form battle to prove your good-ness.

No need to add that the third alternative is the common sense approach – eliminate the ‘he’ or ‘she’ who feels stressed-out and/or seeks refuge in feeling blissed-out.


PETER: In comparison with learning to use a computer, becoming free of malice and sorrow is a much more difficult task requiring much more patience and perseverance, which is why it makes no sense to allow any glitches or misses that occur to blossom into something bigger than they are.

GARY: Yes indeed. Having access to these discussions is an invaluable help because without the encouragement and ability to compare notes with others one might easily despair and give up. Few people that I come into contact with in my day-to-day life seem to be interested in ‘becoming free from malice and sorrow’. Having an infusion of the energy and enthusiasm of others from time to time for the process of actualism is an invaluable aid, and it is what this mailing list was set up for.

PETER: You are on your own in this business of actualism, but you are not alone. Countless people have and are seeking peace on earth – an end to the appalling violence and senseless suffering that human beings continuously inflict on themselves and others. Many have even sheeted home the cause of violence and suffering to the animal instinctual passions while others have addressed the issue of the ‘self’-centredness, but all these efforts have failed to date simply because of the human obsession with the past. For some inexplicable reason humanity reveres the wisdom of shamans, witchdoctors and mystics and doggedly refuses to let go of the ancient fairy stories of good and evil spirits, Gods and demons and an ongoing life after death for the human spirit.

There are intrinsic fears to overcome in completely breaking free of spiritual belief , for the priests and God-men ultimately rule by peddling fear and superstition. But the stranglehold has now been conclusively broken and you and I and others are reaping the benefit not only from Richard’s discovery, but also from the cumulative efforts of many before who sought peace on earth.

You are on your own in this business of actualism, but you are certainly not alone.


PETER: I am going to do some radical snipping and make one reply from your two-part reply. I have been fairly absorbed in learning more of my CAD program on a couple of drawing jobs and we are moving to another flat soon, hence my slackness in replying to you lately. So just three bits that caught my eye in a brief skim down your two ‘actualism in the market place’ posts –


PETER: Actualism is not about avoiding, withdrawing, hiding or suppressing. Actualism is not about becoming a hermit or a monk or a nun. Unless one is fully engaged in the world, unless one is fully prepared to investigate all of the major issues that prevent an actual intimacy with one’s fellow human beings, fundamental change is impossible. <snip>

GARY: There are different levels of engagement with the world around you. Some people are very engaged, socially and politically. Some individuals are very engaged in civic activities, for instance. I am not. To people who lead more socially oriented lives, I would probably look somewhat like a hermit. But the critical thing is that I am not avoiding these things because I am afraid of them, simply because I prefer not to do these things.

PETER: What I came to understand very early on in the process of actualism is that there is no more fruitful contribution that I can make to my fellow human beings than to bring an end to malice and sorrow in this flesh and blood body. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is such an engaging activity that it eventually becomes a full-time activity, a complete life-obsession, if you like. There is ample opportunity to run the question in the normal interactions of everyday living and working without indulging in the ‘self’-sustaining and ‘self’-gratifying busy-ness of attempting to change others or save the world by fighting the latest fashionable evil that pops on the scene.

As one examines one’s own psyche and passions in action, the more one understands the Human Condition in action and the more one sees the futility of varying impassioned groups or individuals each ‘grabbing for the wheel’, attempting to steer Humanity this way or that – all convinced that they are right, that their way is best, that their truth is truer, that they have the answer.

The only person it is possible to change is oneself – blaming others for what I also do or feel or trying to change others according to my wiles and whims is a cop-out.

GARY: I have very much experienced the impetus to take on an activity because I would ordinarily avoid it. I think one needs to face and eliminate fears. And one cannot eliminate a fear if one is avoiding the object of the fear. By actually taking on the very thing that one is afraid of, one has an excellent opportunity to fully investigate whatever issue is preventing an intimacy with one’s fellows. To some extent, this very sort of thing occurred during my job search. I found myself charging into some career areas that ordinarily I would avoid because I have the interest and desire to find out what I have been avoiding. A confidence develops that one can eliminate fears in this way, by probing, questioning, and challenging oneself to go further all the time.

PETER: The only change I made to my work was to stop doing physical work on site and concentrate more on drawing work. I did lose much of my spiritual client base when I left the group I was involved with but a trickle does seem to be coming back from those who are more real-world oriented. It made sense to stay doing what I was trained to do as it offers the best return for time invested and I have a good deal of expertise and experience in the field. Another advantage was that I was confronted with changing myself in similar circumstances rather than change my circumstances. As you will have already discovered, no doubt, there is no such thing as perfect circumstances that suit ‘me’, for ‘I’ am the one who stands in the way of perfection.

I saw this very clearly in the year before I met Richard when I lived a perfect life with a good job, adequate money, nice flat, beachside location, delightful village, etc. – but, and it was a big BUT – I was neither happy nor harmless. Now I am doing exactly the same thing and living in almost identical circumstances and yet I now more and more experience the inherent safety and utter peacefulness, and the cornucopia of sensual pleasures and delightful comforts, of living an increasingly ‘self’-less existence.

To live a virtual freedom from the Human Condition is to live beyond my wildest dreams.


PETER: It does take time to write and I have always preferred quality to quantity, interest to disinterest, vitality to weariness, down-to-earthness to holier-than-thouness and talking common sense rather than exchanging hackneyed and rehashed platitudes. Which is why I particularly enjoy writing to you given that we are able to talk freely about any-thing at all.

GARY: I still find it absolutely fascinating to be writing to someone on the other side of the world and be able to compare notes about experiences which are to some extent universal to all humans. The potential of this medium is astounding. As you say, it does take time to write, and it does take time to respond to these posts, and I ordinarily go through cycles of interest and disinterest with it. Generally reading a post and allowing it to infiltrate my consciousness for awhile before responding, but working at it over several days in a slow, methodical way. And I must say that I find myself forming mental images of the people with whom I am talking, and these mental images crop up from time to time. It does seem to me, however, that the imaging process has gotten less and less and I am more concerned with the content of the post and responding genuinely and sensibly based on what is being written to me. Also there is the realization that one’s images probably have little or nothing to do with the actual flesh-and-blood person. Why is it that we form these images and why is it that they are important to us? One can see it happening with this Internet medium, but one also sees it happening in more personal, face-to-face interactions: one may make a friend, say, at work, and then one wonders about them, forms images of them, wondering about what they are really like, with their family, with their lover, etc. It clearly is an activity of the imagination.

PETER: It has been a fascinating to experience the demise of my imagination and it has been most evident in my work and in relating to other people. As an architect, it is taken for granted that the faculty of imagination is vital in the process of designing –

ImaginationThe action of imagining or forming mental images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses; the result of this process. Scheming or devising; a device, a plan, a plot; a fanciful project. Oxford Dictionary

I remember a particularly vivid experience of designing a building during a pure consciousness experience and observing my thinking during the process. Rather than having a pre-conceived imaginary idea of what the end result would be, I was able to develop and formulate a plan based on the physical constraints – client requirements, site, budget, orientation, layout, materials, construction, etc and include client preferences of appearance and style combined with a few of my personal quirks. A constant flow of ideas was proposed, tested, evaluated and either proceeded with or rejected as unworkable and this progression gradually led to a design that was then readied for client review.

There was a gradual building up of a plan from initial idea to final result – most definitely not a blinding flash of imagination that produced a mental image of the finished result. What this experience made clear was that the brain does its job extremely well when ‘I’ am absent from the process of thinking, when ‘I’ stop imagining that ‘I’ know best and when ‘I’ stop insisting that ‘my’ feelings are the most important thing on the planet.

Since this experience I have had the hands-on practical experience of more and more experiencing ‘me’ being absent in my work. It has been a daunting experience as all ‘my’ passions, professional pride, ‘my’ creativity, ‘my’ usefulness and worth has been relentlessly beaten out of me. Whenever I did experience the pain of becoming emotional about an issue with a client, I simply knew that ‘I’ was yet again objecting to what was happening and that I had something to investigate. Even when I was asked or instructed to do something that in my experience did not work, or was not the best solution, I came to see that emotionally objecting to the situation only served to make me unhappy and therefore most likely to sabotage the situation so as to seek revenge.

This relates to yet another of Richard’s questions that I recently mentioned to No 17 –

‘Can I emotionally accept that which is intellectually unacceptable?’ Peter to No 17, 26.2.2001

The experiential answer to this question is a constant in-your-face business in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are, and no more so than in the workplace. If it were not for the challenges that came up in my work these issues and these emotions would not have come to the surface to be investigated.


PETER: The process of actualism is chock-a-block full of realizations. However, it is important to make a distinction between the realizations that happen in the process of actualism and the traditional Spiritual Realizations, which are better termed Revelations.

  • For an actualist a realization is an acknowledgement of a fact that shatters a belief that was previously held to be a truth.

  • For a Spiritualist a realization is the emotional embracing of a belief that then serves to obfuscate a fact that he/she did not want to acknowledge.

One of the clearest distinctions between the two is that for an actualist, at some stage, there is a realization that there is no life after death, that the belief is nought but a gigantic multifaceted fairy-story, whereas for a Spiritualist, at some stage, the realization is a heart-felt embrace of the belief in a spirit-world life after death for ‘me’ as a spirit-being, i.e. only ‘my’ body dies and ‘I’ am immortal.

GARY: Death has lost most of its terrifying aspect to me. I would not say that there is absolutely no fear of death, but if there is, it is scarcely conscious. One can, I think, relate one’s own fear of dying to the fear of losing ‘loved ones’, people who one is close to. For instance, at times I realize I am quite attached to my partner and I would be utterly bereft were she to die and leave me ‘alone’. Then I realize that I am emotionally dependent on her, through the ties of love or sympathy, and that I don’t want her to die and that I could not bear to see her get ill or suffer. This then seems like an important realization for I am looking at what I am in relation to the people around me, and looking at what they mean to me. It is a rather sobering sort of reflection. There is that connection, I don’t know what to call it, ‘bond’ I suppose is a good word, that one forms to people throughout life – one’s parents, one’s children, one’s husband or wife. I think for me I fear their demise more than I fear my own. Picturing my own demise has little effect on me but sometimes I am filled with fear for the demise of these ‘loved ones’. In this connection, I am reminded of the important question that Richard posed in his Journal to himself of ‘What am I in relation to the people around me’ and how he kept this question burning in his consciousness for a long time. That question has repeatedly occurred to me over the course of looking at these emotional dependencies, these emotional ties of love or sympathy, even ties of antipathy or hatred, to family or ‘loved ones’. Could you perhaps explore with me what it has been like for you to examine your ties to people in your life through running this question? Do you find yourself forming ties to others? How can I use this question ‘What am I in relation...’ to further important understandings of ‘me’ so that ‘me’ can be ended? I think at this point I am going to end. I really would like to pursue this issue of one’s relationship with other people in one’s life. It may be interesting the kinds of fears that crop up as one begins the process of dismantling one’s identity. The fear, indeed the dread, of leaving everything and everyone, all the comfortable and familiar things that inhabit one’s ‘normal’ world is an interesting subject in its’ own right.

PETER: It does sound as though you are well on the way to discovering for yourself the answer to this question. Perhaps what I have written above about imagination, my work and my clients will also strike a note with you. Genuine, meaningful answers can only come experientially – in this case, can only come from your own experiences in relation to other people in your own life. This is why the writings of actualism, and actualists, only serve as a guide or map for your own journey, for your own investigations and discoveries.

I do however remember at one stage a definite shift or change became palpable – from resenting or blaming other people because they caused me to have feelings I didn’t want to have – to being appreciative of the people, things and events that bought up these feelings in me. Not grateful of but appreciative of, as in saying YES to the perfection of the actual world – in that people things and events always gives you the perfect opportunity to investigate the next thing needed to be investigated.

And if there is nothing to investigate, nothing going on, no churning thoughts or debilitating feelings, then it is probably a good time to take the time to lightly visually caress the world about you in order to experience the utter peacefulness of this very moment – to reap the well-earned rewards of ‘your’ efforts.

Good, hey.



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