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 Richard

Topics covered

Mailing list, sex * thought * summary of the stages of the journey to Actual Freedom, Virtual Freedom, PCE, ASC, ‘self’-sacrifice * dimwitticism, the thinker and the feeler, ‘I’, narcissism of Enlightened Ones, Rajneesh, leave your mind at the door ... * cunning entity, genetically programmed instinctual passions, LeDoux, instinctual memory, journey ‘in’ is to find one’s instinctual self, need to belong, sorrow, feeling of separateness, third alternative, exploring the nuts and bolts of Actual Freedom



PETER: Richard, Well done!

A mailing list hey ...

And I see in typical Webfashion that the subject is SEX... typical.

But it’s a great subject to discuss, explore, dig in to, understand but above all to do! Isn’t it astounding the amount of physical pleasure delight and downright fun we humans can have with sex. The smell, the touch of the skin, the penis, vagina, clitoris, breasts, nipples, buttocks, back, eyes ... all the senses on an escapade of pleasure ... And with another human being.

It’s such a direct experiencing of another – so direct and actual that it leaves what many attempt to obtain in Tantra for dead. I once had a very strong Tantric experience where, on reflection, I had an amazing orgasm accompanied by waves of Love and Bliss. I searched for years after for the same experience but it always eluded me. It appeared to be some elusive carrot on a string, forever to search for. Well what I have and experience in sex now far exceeds an elusive mirage. It is actual, sensual, and freely available. And the senses being free of churning feelings and emotions such as fear, guilt, comparison, love, duty, etc., are on full alert if you like. Fully here, firing on all cylinders, absolutely no limits to the amount of pleasure shared.

To have found an equally sexual other-sex human is indeed remarkable.

That there exists a state that is beyond Enlightenment and includes the free delightful enjoyment of sex is indeed proof of the perfection of the universe – as I experience it actually, here now, right this moment .. and again and again.

So I’m enjoying very much the mailing list and no doubt we will get to discuss many fascinating things apart from sex, but seeing everyone else was talking about it I just thought I’d get in my bit...


PETER: I mentioned the other day about radical thought and couldn’t remember where I had written it, but I found it so thought I would send it to you. It’s from the glossary for the second edition of my journal. The other news is a bookshop owner finally has had the courage to stock the journal. I was beginning to think that such is the reaction to the new and different, that none would take the risk. Good ... Hey. Let me know what you think of the definition.

thought — The action or process of thinking; mental activity; formation and arrangement of ideas in the mind. Also, the capacity for this. An act or product of thinking; something that one thinks or has thought; an idea, a notion; spec. one suggested or recalled to the mind, a reflection, a consideration. Oxford Dictionary

The human brain is the most sophisticated development of this extraordinary universe. Not only does it see, hear, smell, taste and touch with its nerve tentacles or sense stalks, but it can think, cognitize, reflect and communicate, and be aware of itself doing all these things. It also comes in a pretty neat body-packaging, able to move freely and easily and perform an amazing amount of dexterous activities. The prime activity of human animals that sets them apart from other animals is their ability to think and reflect. Unfortunately this same faculty is the source of so much suffering and angst given the insidious influence of animal instinctual passions sourced in the primitive reptilian section of the human brain.

Given our genetically inherited instinctual self is overlaid with an instilled social identity, so much of our thinking is self-centred producing a relentless avalanche of neurosis. These thoughts are most often backed up by emotional memories of past hurts, fears, doubts, aggression, etc. which produce chemical responses in the body, giving rise to deep feelings and passions which only further add to our confusion. This self-centred neurosis is identified in the East as the problem with humans but they attempt to eradicate only half of the problem. Eastern religions aim to eradicate the ego (who we think we are), while ignoring the soul (who we feel we are). The resultant attack on, or repression of, all thoughts and thinking (not just the self-centred neurosis) results in the complete denial of intelligent thought such as can be readily seen by the East’s lack of technological progress, appalling poverty, repression of women, theocratic empires, etc.

This attack on sensible thought is a traditional, ancient, spirit-ridden approach to what is essentially a neuro-biological problem. The spiritual search is a search for one’s roots and one’s original self which involves identifying with one’s primitive ‘self’ sourced in the amygdala – one’s soul or essential on-going instinctual genetic heritage. Having found, and become identified with, this ‘source’, one has found and identified with the ‘source of all’ – or God, by any other name. This backward-looking primitive approach is to favour, enhance and indulge in the instinctual passions, giving full reign to nurture and desire and translating them into the imaginary passions of Divine Love, Divine Compassion and Immortality. One transcends fear and aggression by regarding them as Evil or a ‘necessary’ temporal period of earthly suffering from which one is only ultimately freed after physical death.

This flight into myth and fantasy is but a discovery and cultivating of an ‘inner’ imaginary hiding place as a desperate attempt to escape from being factually aware of earthly human malice and sorrow that arises from the instinctual passions. It equates well with the childhood trick of huddling under the blankets and creating one’s own imaginary world, the only difference being the adult spiritualist’s ‘safe world’ exists solely in their heads and hearts – it has no place in actuality.

We now know that the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire are sourced in the primitive brain and are but the component parts of the single-pointed genetic programming instilled by blind nature purely in order to ensure the survival of the species. To continue to seek solace and succour in the ‘good’ half of the feelings arising from these animal passions while denying and transcending the other ‘bad’ half is to both deny intelligent thinking and modern empirical scientific research.

Given that God is but the figment of passionate imagination (a radical thought) then human beings’ only possibility of living in peace and harmony is intelligent, sensible, non-spirit-ridden, down-to-earth apperceptive thought (another radical thought). To date most people have trouble even considering one radical non-populist thought, let alone two in a row – still it’s early days. Actual Freedom Trust Glossary


PETER: Thought I would put on to the list a report of what we were talking of the other day, so the words are not lost and the experience can be shared with the other intrepid investigators into this new freedom.

I was wondering where to start, but I might try a little summary of the stages I have experienced so far on the journey to freedom.

It’s been two years now since we met and about 9 months since I finished writing my journal. If I could put it into phases I would say that the first 12 months were essentially making sense of being a normal human being, simultaneously ridding myself of malice and sorrow, as much as is possible, while still having a ‘self’ inside this body. The very act of making sense of the facts of the Human Condition as opposed to the beliefs forces one to change, to eliminate what is essentially learned and societal re-enforced behaviour.

This first process had two components – an intellectual understanding such that the fact of being a human being made sense, and this involved a rigorous, challenging, exciting and revealing investigation into the Human Condition and its bedrock of Ancient Wisdom. This is essentially the understanding of the non-spiritual nature of Actual Freedom. The second component was the practical day to day stuff (and what else is there anyway?) of what it is to be a human being – the theory into practice if you like. The experience that Actual Freedom is not a philosophy, not a theory, but a down-to-earth experience as a flesh and blood body. In my case this was demonstrated in the delights of living with a woman in peace, harmony and equity and the resultant revealing of the sheer fun of sex – the fire test, the proof of the pudding, if you like. If you can’t live with someone in peace then there is no hope for anyone else. One’s life gets better and better to the point of a sublime ease, carefree-ness and delight that was inconceivable 2 years ago. The actual experience is of coming to one’s senses. I have always had a cautious reluctance to state that there is a definable state called Virtual Freedom whereby one is virtually free of the Human Condition – a 99% state or the best one can do while still remaining a ‘self’.

I think that the point is that this state is not irreversible – unless there is a sincere intent and a desire to evince the best possible one could waver. It simply means I will be the best I can, and if one has had a peak experience then the best is glaringly obvious. So, throwing my caution to the wind – I would say that the last 12 months have been a stage of Virtual Freedom – the use of capital letters to indicate a definable state only. The next phase is to an Actual Freedom – the complete extinction of the psychological and psychic entity, in short the ‘me’ who I think and feel I am. There is no doubt that I am travelling a different path to the one you travelled, one that you have carefully mapped and explored with your companion at the time. Because of this your experiences of becoming Enlightened and clawing your way out are not relevant to my experiences. But the end result and aim is the same – an actual freedom from the Human Condition – a definitive and decisive release from, and extinction of, the alien entity inside this body. In trying to make sense of my different path and your two-stage extinction, I have had a cautious approach as the Rock of Enlightenment always looms large. Having seen and experienced the power-crazed God-men in action and the willingness of their desperate followers to surrender to them and worship them has proved a valuable, if sobering, experience. The other part is having experienced the seduction of an Altered State of Consciousness. As a consequence I have been well warned and well prepared.

Despite the fact of having had a substantial peak experience (PCE) some 15 years ago and a substantial experience of Divine Love (ASC) some 3 years ago there was still a piece missing. It all seemed to involve either a looking back into my past or sideways to your experiences and trying to draw a parallel. The other nagging issue was a feeling of the unfairness or even perversity of being born into the Human Condition, of being who I thought and felt I was, finding out it was a pretty rotten mess and then having to die, or self-immolate in order to be free. To do that in order to become Enlightened is one thing as one gets to have worshipping disciples, psychic power, fame and wealth – ‘Money for nothing and your chicks for free’ as I cheekily put it. Becoming God seems a not too bad reward for the effort involved – well on the face of it anyway, as long as you are not too discriminating. Of course, once you see the down-sides of Enlightenment, it very rapidly loses appeal – but at least ‘I’ am around to enjoy it.

But self-immolation, extinction, the end of me? And even the memory of a peak experience in the past and an intellectual clarity of the whole Human Condition including the delusion and appalling consequences still seemed to leave a slight gap, a wee doubt. Virtual Freedom had brought me to a position where it became obvious that ‘I’ could do no more to clean myself up, I seemingly had done all that ‘I’ could. Something more was needed, and – loh and behold – it came along.

The other morning a peak experience snuck up on me – after a particularly good ‘romp’ with Vineeto. It was one of particular clarity marked by a complete absence of any sense of ‘self’ or ‘being’ within my body. All was perfect and pure with a magical intensity that was palpable. Not merely static – a sense of the whole universe happening at this moment with a vibrancy that was sensately experienced.

I was quickly able to discern the fact that, if I had launched ‘myself’ into that experience, it would have rapidly changed to ‘me’ taking on the experience for ‘myself’. ‘I’ would have become that experience, ‘I’ would have become the experiencer of that pure and perfect immediate happening-ness of it all. ‘I’ would have become the experience of the universe happening. ‘I’ would have become the Universe – or at very least, at One with it. I could have taken that experience and translated or interpreted it for myself, as I had done in the past in an ASC whereby I became Divine Love.

However, this experience was different as ‘I’ was absent and I was able to be appreciatively aware of what was occurring. I was able to clearly see that there could be an almost instinctual grab to make the experience ‘mine’. If one follows the spiritual path, I was at the point of Enlightenment – ‘I’ only needed to jump in, boots and all, and away one goes – Divinity, Immortality, Oneness, Infinite, Timeless, Spaceless, Fearless, Blissful and the rest. All this, however, was apparent afterwards, on reflection.

What was obvious at the time was that it is the physical universe that is always present, eternal, infinite, pure and perfect – exquisitely and pristinely so. And that I, this flesh and blood body, is the intelligent bit that goes ‘Wow! – how extraordinary’. And I am the universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human being.

It is for this that I would willingly sacrifice my grubby ‘self’ for – no matter how ‘cleaned up’, no matter how good Virtual Freedom is, there is no comparison. For this ‘I’ will depart the scene and nothing else. This is what Enlightenment merely mimics, as a feeling, but with such appalling consequences of narcissism and Self-aggrandizement. The Enlightened Ones had and have feet of clay – to claim to ‘Be the Universe itself’ is an insanity on a incredulous scale and makes clear that whole business of God and God-men is nothing more than institutionalized insanity.

It is only with a sincere intent and a firm down-to-earth experience of Virtual Freedom – a period of coming to one’s senses both literally and figuratively – that it is possible to avoid the seduction and instinctual pull towards self-aggrandizement that Enlightenment offers. I would suspect that those who have stood at the door marked Enlightenment would gladly sacrifice their ‘normal’ mortal identity for the Glamour, Glory and Glitz of feeling like God. Similarly, as I experienced the infinitude, purity and perfection of the physical universe happening – the Actual World – ‘I’ gladly and willingly self-immolate for that perfection and purity to be evident as me, this flesh and blood body. I firmly experienced it as my destiny – an actual freedom from the Human Condition.

This PCE has confirmed for me that Actual Freedom as the only game to play in town. As I watch the sacrifices of countless people who fight for ‘freedom’ of their particular group, suffer themselves for the ‘betterment’ of others, who blindly sacrifice all in a vain attempt at ‘betterment’ for Humanity, this sacrifice is so much more sensible and valuable. And it seems to require no special heroics, no super-human qualities. It is but the inevitable and welcome consequence of sincere intent and a refusal to settle for second best. Let’s face it, the mountains have all been climbed, the continents discovered, technological discoveries, while still amazing, are a crowded field and awash with meta-physics. The human search for the beginning of time or the edge of the universe are as futile as the search for God. Wherever I looked the field was crowded – the chance of making a contribution, dwindling. The next challenge facing the human species is to rid ourselves of malice and sorrow – and a few days ago I glimpsed the ‘mountain top’ of the challenge. Of course, as I come off the peak experience I also realise the mountain top is here under my very nose, on earth at this moment – so I use the words ‘mountain top’ with a touch of poetic licence. So, after the PCE, it is obvious that my destiny lies beyond psychological and psychic self-immolation, that this event will be a definitive and decisive moment, that it is willingly and eagerly anticipated ... and that Enlightenment will be avoided. So, far from being an ‘unfair’ or ‘perverse’ exercise to cause a self-immolation or psychic death, it is the most exciting, amazing, wondrous, extraordinary journey possible for a human to make – a journey into one’s own psyche ... to the very end.

Good Hey!

So Richard ... put on ya’ dancing shoes...


PETER: G’day Richard,

RICHARD: Ha ... ‘dimwitticisms’, eh? Where will this all end ... the English language may never be the same again!

Also, I am reminded of something that you wrote on another Mailing List some time ago. Vis:

• [Peter]: On the spiritual path you will be admonished to leave your mind at the door, surrender your will, and trust your feelings. Peter, List C, No 27, 30.1.1999

PETER: Yes indeed, the English language may never be the same again – and a good thing too. I asked someone the other day ‘How are you?’ as one tends to do as an opening gambit in polite conversation and got the reply ‘Not too bad’. As you well know this is about the best that anyone can admit to in the common usage of language in the country where we live, but it is a reply that allows the conversation – or ‘sharing’ if it’s a spiritual exchange – to develop into the usual mutual exchange of problems, difficulties, worries and laments. For females the issues are often more personal, whereas males tend to be more ‘worldly’, as in work, politics and the like, but the communication is typically one of mutual agreement as to what a bitch life as a human being is. And the dimwitticisms from the dim-dark ages simply serve to give this view a divine stamp of approval. The mythical Mr. Buddha didn’t want to be here trapped in a physical body, Mr. Rajneesh ‘only visited this planet’ for a bit and couldn’t wait to get out of here, leaving only his ‘dream’ behind and Mr. Jesus was only here because he was put up to it by his father and had no choice in the matter.

RICHARD: I was sitting at the caff the other day, with a woman whom I have never met before, discussing life, the universe and what it is to be a human being living in the world as it is with people as they are. She listened intently and with interest to my story – she was not adversarial – and was seeking to comprehend what I was experiencing (she ran through a short list of the usual spiritual attributes to no avail) until she sat eyeing me reflectively.

‘I see’, she finally pronounced, ‘you don’t judge people’.

‘Goodness me’, quoth Richard, ‘I am as judgemental as all get-out ... surely you are not neutral on all the wars and murders and rapes and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse and sadness and loneliness and grief and depression and suicides are you? Do you not appraise people, things and events and come to a considered opinion as to what is a sensible course of action ... and what is silly?’

She sat a while longer, considering.

‘I feel there is no charge in you’, she said, ‘that is why it is okay to assess’.

‘What do you mean by ‘no charge’?’ ‘No emotions’. ‘Aye ... but more importantly, no identity that needs constant protection by those highly respected feelings’. Richard to Peter 8.9.1999

PETER: To skip on to your ‘conversation with a woman in a caff’ – and comment on a few bits that are relevant to my experiences.

Yes. The spiritual view is that ‘I’ as the thinker is the issue and then actively encourage ‘I’ as the feeler to run rampant. My experience when I started to run with the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ was that it was feelings that continually and relentlessly emerged as my experiencing. Thus ‘I’ needed to feel grateful for being here in order to transcend the underlying feeling of resentment at having to be here at all, and ‘I’ needed to feel love in order to bridge the gulf that ‘I’ as an alien entity feel exists between ‘me’ and other human beings. ‘I’ feel compassion for others as a way of being able to indulge my own feelings of sorrow and ‘I’ feel indignant when someone else suffers injustice as ‘I’ really like a good fight. ‘I’ am ever fearful of what others think of me or feel about me, ‘I’ am ever on guard, ‘I’ am ever ready to defend myself against having ‘my’ feelings hurt. ‘My’ ploys are many in the battle with others – confrontation, withdrawal, snide remarks, denial, a bit of undermining, a bit of cutting down to size, a bit of a whinge to someone else – ‘I’ can be as cunning as all get-out in these battles, if need be.

‘I’ readily believed in the spiritual beliefs and wallowed in the blissful feelings as a welcome escape from everyday reality and the promise of an after-life was poetry to ‘my’ ears and salve to ‘my’ heart. ‘I’ felt deep-down that there was no hope for Humanity and no hope for me, and from these feelings were born a desperate belief in an after-life as an escape from the despair of life on earth. The list goes on and on as ‘I’ fight it out for survival with others in a grim world, and ‘I’ will ultimately do anything to stay in existence. ‘I’ am rotten to the core – the combination of animal instinctual passions and an ability to think and reflect make the human animal not only malicious but cunningly malicious. This lethal combination allows the human species not only to wage wars, inflict genocide, rape, murder, torture and pillage to a scale unprecedented in any other animal species but allows for the psychic warfare and power battles, blatant denial, fantasy escapes, corruption, deception and deceit that is endemic in all human interactions.

It soon became obvious that freedom from being an identity – social and animal-instinctual – was the only way to get free of this constant emotional churning and the constant selfishness of indulging in denial and escapism.

RICHARD: ‘Then this is indeed Enlightenment’, she concluded, somewhat triumphantly.

‘When I say I have no identity whatsoever I mean it ... I am not God on Earth’. Richard to Peter 8.9.1999

PETER: It takes a blindness arising from love, devotion, trust and loyalty not to see the rampant narcissism of the Enlightened Ones. As Mr. Rajneesh declared himself –

[Mohan Rajneesh]: You must become a transformer; through you nature must become supernature; only then is there meaning, significance. Through you matter must become mind, mind must become supermind. Through you nature must reach to supernature; the lowest must become the highest. Only then there is significance – a felt significance. Then your life has a deep, deep significance. You are not worthless, you are not like dirt. You are a god. When you have moved through you the nature to the supernature, you have become a god. Patanjali is a god. You become a Master of Masters.’ Discourse Series – Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol. 2. Chapt. 7. The Obstacles to Meditation.

What unmitigated twaddle from the self-professed ‘Master of Masters’. Just to balance his super-view of himself and his Divine state I post the entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica for Rajneesh –

  • ‘also called OSHO and ACHARYA RAJNEESH, original name CHANDRA MOHAN JAIN (b. Dec. 11, 1931, central India – d. Jan. 19, 1990, Pune, India), Indian spiritual leader who preached an eclectic doctrine of Eastern mysticism, individual devotion, and sexual freedom while amassing vast personal wealth. He taught philosophy at Jabalpur University, where he received his B.A. degree (1955); he also attended the University of Sagar (M.A., 1957). He acquired the nickname Rajneesh and took the honorific Bhagwan (Hindi: ‘god’). After lecturing throughout India, he established an ashram (spiritual community) in Pune (Poona). By the early 1970s his charismatic style and his emphasis on spiritual freedom and sexual experimentation had attracted 200,000 devotees, many from Europe and the United States. In 1981 Rajneesh’s cult purchased a dilapidated ranch in Oregon, U.S., which became the site of Rajneeshpuram, a community of several thousand orange-robed disciples. Rajneesh was widely criticized by outsiders for his private security force and his ostentatious display of wealth. By 1985 many of his most trusted aides had abandoned the movement, which was under investigation for multiple felonies including arson, attempted murder, drug smuggling, and vote fraud in the nearby town of Antelope. In 1985 Rajneesh pleaded guilty to immigration fraud and was deported from the United States. He was refused entry by 21 countries before returning to Pune, where his ashram soon grew to 15,000 members. In later years he took the Buddhist title Osho and altered his teaching on unrestricted sexual activity because of his growing concern over AIDS.’ Encyclopaedia Britannica

... Sort of brings God down to earth a bit, hey. Or even more prosaically –

  • ‘Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh – (1931 – 1990) Indian spiritual Teacher and mystic who, at one time, headed large communities in Poona and Oregon. A former university academic, Rajneesh was recognized by some as an important philosopher whose discourses paralleled those of Krishnamurti. Rajneesh had particular appeal to a Western audience, and attracted controversy for encouraging his followers, or sannyasins, to free themselves from constricting moral codes. While he had been typecast as the ‘sex guru’ by the popular media, this description undervalues his achievements. The teachings of Rajneesh in fact encompass many religions, but he was not defined by any of them. He was an illuminating speaker on Zen, Taoism and Buddhism, Christianity and ancient Greek philosophy; and was also an advocate of bioenergy and modern bodywork therapies. Rajneesh was a prolific author and his many books include: The Book of the Secrets, The Empty Boat, The Hidden Harmony, Meditation: the Art of Ecstasy, Only One Sky, Returning to the Source, Roots and Wings, The Supreme Doctrine, My Way, The Way of the White Clouds and the Orange Book.’ The Dictionary of Mysticism by Nevill Drury

... And these men believe they are God on Earth. It would be a joke really, except for the fact that other people – would-be’s and wanna-be’s – insist on believing them and worshipping them as God-men. Of course, India is full to the brim with these nutters but a few of the English speaking Gurus were quick to jump on the Western bandwagon that rolled to the East in search of freedom, peace and happiness. 30 years on this search has ‘discovered’ disciplehood (surrender), religion (war), and meditation (either blessed out ... or freaked out). Many who sought something other than Religion and War turned their backs on Western Religion and real world values merely to end up believing in Eastern Religions and adopting ‘spiritual’ values. Out of the frying pan and into the fire ... The rest just gave up.

So, to return to your conversation with the woman –

RICHARD: ‘When I say I have no identity whatsoever I mean it ... I am not God on Earth’.

Puzzled silence.

‘I am a fellow human being ... with no instinctual passions nor the ‘self’ engendered thereby’.

Bewildered silence.

‘I am talking of the elimination of the instinctual animal ‘self’ that gives rise to the ‘we are all one’ psittacism’.

Astounded silence.

We may or may not meet again ... she works as a spiritual-group facilitator. Richard to Peter 8.9.1999

PETER: ‘We are all one’ is indeed one of the classic lines from the spiritual world and perhaps no other platitude more accurately illustrates the gulf between belief, feeling and imagination and what is fact, sensible and blindingly obvious on the other. ‘We are all one’ and yet ‘we’ continuously and instinctually fight and fear each other in a grim battle of survival. The passionate feeling that ‘we are all one’, engendered by belonging exclusively to one spiritual group or another, gives rise to feelings of elitism, separateness, isolationism, remoteness, seclusion, exclusivity, defensiveness, blind loyalty and blind faith, snobbery, false superiority, intolerance, etc. etc. – anything but ‘We are all one’. In fact the feeling is not ‘We are all one’ but rather ‘We are the Chosen Ones’, and for the Guru it is not ‘We are all one’ but it is the feeling that ‘I am the One’. What a phantasm the spiritual world is, and being ‘admonished to leave your mind at the door, surrender your will, and trust your feelings’ ensures that the followers remain unthinking, unquestioning and off in La-La land – anywhere but here in the actual world and anytime but now, this very moment of being alive.

All this nonsense, simply in order that ‘I’ as an identity can remain in existence – anything but a nobody, anything but a no-one, anything but cease to exist. This last 15 months since finishing my journal has been a period of becoming a nobody in society’s terms, a no-one in particular in terms of belonging to a group and a no-self in terms of being a feeling being that lives in fear and needs to fight for survival. As the feelings arising from the instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire diminish, being alive here, now becomes such a delicious, ambrosial experience that I am wont to lie about doing nothing, for simply being here is outstanding – and on top of it I occasionally get to do something. I have no objections at all to being here, in fact where else could I be, and where else would I want to be. I am going nowhere, I have come from nowhere, I don’t need to do anything, I am never bored, I have no plans, desires, ambitions. I have no idea what I will do for the rest of my days, nor do I worry – I simply need sufficient money to live. Money for rent, food and clothes and for the pleasures that I fit into the day as well.

Without the need to struggle to exist, and with no ‘me’ to defend, being here is indeed effortless. It requires no ‘me’ to be here for I am perpetually here anyway. ‘I’ play no part in pumping my heart, breathing, thinking, sleeping, eating, walking, seeing, hearing, smelling, touching – ‘I’ am but a dinosaurial-redundancy ... a passionate illusion, ripe for extinction.

My experiential answer to Willie Shakespeare’s famous question – ‘to be or not to be?’ is that being an identity, be it social or animal instinctual, is a bummer – whatever way one looks at it. As this ‘skin’ of identity falls away I am more able to be me, this flesh and blood body, having no relationship or continuity with ‘who’ I was when I started this process. One does indeed step out of the real world and into the actual world leaving one’s ‘self’ behind, as you put it so descriptively. There is yet to be a passionate act of extinction and more and more I have stopped waiting for it to happen – so perfect and easy has life become.

It’s a wonderful business – being alive in 1999!


PETER: I thought I would respond to a theme you were pursuing with Alan and relate it to my experiences lately. I seem to be having a good dig down deep into the instincts in the last months. My post to No 5 was about exploring aggression at an instinctual level and, no doubt, I could shuffle around a lot more exploring the emotions that arise from these instincts, but another aspect of my instinctual program is beginning to fascinate me. It relates to your comment to Alan –

Richard: If anything, ‘I’ came from ‘back there’ in the biological hereditary and very earthy past (hence all the atavistic fears when one starts to break free from all the cultural mores). Richard, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, Alan

The genetically programmed instincts one is born with are located in the primitive brain or amygdala and consist in part as a hard-wired quick response mechanism that pumps the body and brain with chemicals as a reaction to any perceived danger. The amygdala also has its own independent memory section that is evidenced as an emotional memory as distinct from one’s cognitive memory.

A bit from LeDoux will confirm the scientific evidence of this independent (unconscious is the term he uses) memory.

[Joseph LeDoux]: ‘A fundamental assumption in this work is that the brain has multiple memory systems, each devoted to different kinds of memory functions. For traumatic memory, two systems are particularly important. For example, if you return to the scene of an accident, you will be reminded of the accident and will remember where you were going, who you were with, and other details about the experience. These are explicit (conscious) memories mediated by the hippocampus and other aspects of the temporal lobe memory system. In addition, your blood pressure and heart rate may rise, you may begin to sweat, and your muscles may tighten up. These are implicit (unconscious) memories mediated by the amygdala and its neural connections. They are memories in the sense that they cause your body to respond in a particular way as a result of past experiences. The conscious memory of the past experience and the physiological responses elicited thus reflect the operation of two separate memory systems that operate in parallel. <snip>

Only by taking these systems apart in the brain have neuroscientists been able to figure out that these are different kinds of memory, rather than one memory with multiple forms of expression. <snip> Learning and responding to stimuli that warn of danger involves neural pathways that send information about the outside world to the amygdala, which determines the significance of the stimulus and triggers emotional responses, like freezing or fleeing, as well changes in the inner workings of the body’s organs and glands. <snip>

The implication of these findings is that early on (perhaps since dinosaurs ruled the earth, or even before) evolution hit upon a way of wiring the brain to produce responses that are likely to keep the organism alive in dangerous situations. The solution was so effective that it has not been messed with much, and works pretty much the same in rats and people, as well as many if not all other vertebrate animals. Evolution seems to have gone with an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ rule when it comes to the fear system of the brain.’ LeDoux Lab., Centre for Neural Science, New York University

So, in investigating one’s instinctual self – which is programmed into the amygdala – one is not only investigating the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, one inevitably encounters the instinctual ‘memory’ as well. LeDoux’s studies are seemingly primarily concerned with the emotional memories imprinted on to the amygdala’s memory since birth. Thus we have imprinted the traumatic incidents in life since birth and those fears instilled in us, largely by our parents, in the very early years before the development of our cognitive memory. There is also scientific evidence that the foetus is influenced by the flow of chemicals via the placenta which would allow for a pre-birth encoding of emotions.

But it is obvious from a study of animals that certain actions and behaviour patterns are not taught after birth but must be genetically pre-programmed in the instinctual memory. The reaching for, finding and suckling the nipple in mammals, the waddle to the ocean of baby turtles, the unlearned migration patterns of birds, etc. There are multitudinous examples of non-cognitive animals who exhibit quite sophisticated behaviour and ‘knowledge’ that is not learnt but must solely be due to a pre-coded memory that is genetically inherited.

Given that the human animal is the most advanced of the primates, it does beg the question as to how much pre-memory is genetically programmed in the human amygdala and therefore ‘set in the flesh’, as it were. Two of these pre-codings are vital in understanding the human psyche –‘who’ one thinks and feels one is.

Firstly, there is most obviously an instinctual sense of self-recognition, a faculty we share with our closet genetic cousins – apes and chimps both recognize ‘themselves’ in a mirror. This instinctual primal ‘self’ is made more sophisticated in humans, for the cognitive neo-cortex (the ‘conscious’ to use LeDoux’s term) is only capable of detecting the chemical flows of the amygdala (non-cognitive and ‘unconscious’), and these are ‘felt’ as basic passions or emotions and interpreted as feelings – ‘my’ feelings. Thus, we ‘feel’ this genetic instinctual programming to be ‘me’ at my core. This program thus gives every human being an instinctual self which is translated into a ‘real’ self that is both psychic – LeDoux’s ‘unconscious’ made obvious and real by the ensuing flow of chemicals from the amygdala – and psychological – interpreted as thoughts by the modern cognitive brain. (The modern brain is also taught much after birth – one’s social identity – but I’m interested in the deeper level at this stage.)

This explains that the spiritual journey ‘in’ is thus a journey to find one’s instinctual self – one’s roots, one’s original face, the Source, etc. If, on this inner journey, one ignores or denies the passions of aggression and fear and concentrates one’s attention on the passions of nurture and desire, one can shift one’s identity from the psychological thinking neo cortex – the ‘ego’ to use their term – and ‘become’, or associate with, or identify with, the good feelings of nurture and desire. This is a seductive and self-gratifying journey, for one is actively promoting the flow of chemicals that give rise to the good, pleasant, warm, light-headed, heart-full and ultimately ecstatic feelings. These flow of chemicals overwhelm the neo-cortex to such an extent that they become one’s primary experience, and the input of the physical world as perceived by the senses and the clear-thinking ability of the cognitive modern brain are both subjugated – or ‘transcended’ to use their term. One then ‘feels’ one has found one’s original ‘self’, which one has of course, though t’is all but a fantasy of one’s imagination.

I particularly remember when I first came across spiritual teachings, the mythology and poetry that alluded to this ‘inner’ world seemed to strike a deep cord with me – the tales of Ancient Wisdom ‘connected’ with this deep (unconscious) level which was a connection with the instinctual memory in the amygdala. I had ‘found’ someone who had the answers, was in touch with the Source, knew the meaning of life, the truth – I had come Home. I began a journey into the inner world of good feelings, made real by the ability to enhance the chemical flow of nurture and desire and dampen, suppress or ignore the feelings of aggression and fear. I was literally leaving the real world behind and seeking solace and succour in the spiritual world. I was thus forfeiting any chance of breaking free of my instinctual passions, in total, for a selfish bid for personal bliss and a permanent place in an imaginary ‘other world’ composed solely of chemically-supported blissful feelings.

Secondly, the other faculty I see as essentially pre-coded is an instinctual need to ‘belong’ to the herd – the herding instinct, as Vineeto puts it. It might seem banal and obvious given that humans, as a species, have perennially needed to maintain, at very least, a family grouping in order to ensure the survival of the species. Given that the human infant is helpless for such a long time compared with most other species, the immediate family group was the basic minimum need, and the chance of survival was considerably increased with larger and stronger groupings. This is an instinctual program that over-rides the individual’s own survival instincts for one is ultimately programmed to ensure survival of the species – not one’s own, as in self-preservation. Given that these involve more sophisticated programming than mere instantaneous ‘fight and flight’ reactions they must be encoded in the genetic memory of the amygdala, passed on from ‘way back there’, in the mists of time.

This instinct, implanted by blind nature to ensure the survival of the species, pumps the body with chemicals that induce the feeling of fear whenever one is straying too far away from the herd, abandoning other members of the family or group or being on one’s own. I remember particularly, in my early twenties, travelling across Europe and the Middle East on my way home from London and arriving at the border with Iran. I was turned away at an isolated border post as I didn’t have a visa and I was struck with a deep sense of panic, a feeling of utter loneliness. Looking back, it was as though I had gone too far striking off on my own and had hit the limit. This feeling of loneliness was to haunt me for many years – the image of becoming a lonely old man on a park bench, outcast and abandoned. It coincidentally was to prove one of the images that made me leap into the spiritual world with such gusto. I was to lose this fear later in life but living alone was always accompanied by a bitter-sweet feeling of loneliness. My major period of living alone was also the period when I began to have spiritual experiences, Satoris and an experience of Altered States of Consciousness aka Enlightenment.

From my investigations and experiences it is obvious that ‘who’ I think and feel I am – ‘me’ at the core – encompasses both a deep-set feeling of separateness from others and the world as perceived by the senses as well as a deep-set feeling of needing to ‘belong’.

This over-arching feeling of separateness – of being a ‘separate self’, who is forever yearning to ‘belong’ – is the root cause of sorrow in me and the all encompassing ‘ocean’ of human sorrow in the world.

The traditional approaches to these conflicting feelings has been either –

  • to make the best of one’s lot in life, promoting the good feelings and chemical flows as much as possible, being a good and moral real-world citizen, or
  • to throw one’s lot completely into the fanciful spirit-ual world, practicing ‘right-thinking’, ‘good-dreaming’ and ‘blissful feeling’. This transcending of the real world is a disassociation from the world-as-it-is. It involves identifying oneself with the instinctual passions of nurture and desire – the soul – and also satisfies the need to ‘belong’ with feelings of ‘Union’ and ‘Oneness’. It’s a very powerful instinctual lure, given substance and credence by the chemicals that flow from the amygdala. Most importantly, it not only maintains the instinctual self in existence but it also enhances it – ‘I’ become noble, grand, all-encompassing, all-powerful, rising above the world-as-it-is and people as-they-are – in short, Divine and Immortal.

Thankfully I’m pursuing a third alternative, which is the total elimination of my ‘self’ in total – the whole of the amygdala’s instinctual programming that gives rise to the animal passions. The startle, quick-scan function of the amygdala still operates as a physical safety function but the chemical surges that give rise to the emotions of fear, anger, nurture and desire have almost ceased to be of influence. I am left with a lot of shifting sensations in the head, neck, heart and belly that tell me something chemically is still happening but these very rarely translate into emotions or reactions.

I remember in the first few weeks of coming across Actual Freedom and realizing that to become actually free of the Human Condition would not only mean the ending of ‘me’ but also it would mean being a traitor to Humanity. To live without malice – to have no ‘me’ to defend and therefore no need to attack, no need to struggle to survive, achieve, be somebody – was to cop-out of the struggle. To live without sorrow – to not be sad, to not commiserate with others, to not seek consolation, to not wallow in self-pity or to pity others, to not play the game of ‘Oh what a miserable existence being a human being is’ – would be to be judged heart-less. And yet, here I am doing it and riding out the chemical surges that warn me – don’t do this, or else...! The thing that I have discovered is that there is no ‘or else...!’ As long as I don’t goad a fanatic, and I obey the laws of the land and sensibly avoid trouble, the world as-it-is is an eminently safe place – chock full of sensuous pleasure, delight. A life of consummate ease is readily and freely evident when one’s fears are seen for what they are.

I fully realize that this process has taken a considerable time – over 2 ½ years now – but I had to explore the nuts and bolts of it, finding out for myself. It’s a bit like when I first worked in an architect’s office after having studied the theory of design and building for 5 years. After 2 years of office work I gave up and ‘went building’ on building sites to find out what really happened in building. Same thing with Actual Freedom, but in this case a large part was unlearning the spiritual teachings and cynical view-point of the world as-it-is. To dare to consider that there is a third alternative to the human dilemma and then set off exploring it, on one’s own, has taken a while. I fully acknowledge your writings and guidance, Richard, and that my journey was only possible due to your efforts. What I do like is that I can explain the process, not in esoteric, poetic terms but in down-to-earth terms that fully concur with modern scientific studies and that can explain exactly why all past attempts at freedom have ended in narcissism.

It’s an extraordinary thing being a human being in 1999. It’s definitely not an experience to be missed.



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