Peter’s Correspondence on Mailing List B
Correspondent No 2
PETER to No 1: Surely it’s time to consider a new non-spiritual, down-to earth, approach to becoming free of the human condition of malice and sorrow?
RESPONDENT: Could you simplify your question? I cannot tell whether you are seriously interested in ‘becoming free of the human condition of malice and sorrow’ or whether you are already convinced it is impossible.
PETER: My question was not a rhetorical one but a sincere question asked in a forum that promotes open dialogue and discussion. From my teenage years, as I gradually emerged from the sheltered existence of school and family, I was shocked to discover a world where people fought and killed each other with ruthless efficiency. One of my earliest shocking memories was seeing films of the aftermath of the WW2 concentration camps. This seemed like some dark evil history as I was living in a country largely free of overt violence. Later, my university days were gradually to fill with a wonderful optimism and naiveté as the sixties’ youth revolution gathered momentum. We were going to change the world! Socialism, peace on earth, love, sexual freedom, environmentalism – anything was possible to have or to change. From these heady days I developed a burgeoning interest in finding freedom, peace and happiness.
I marched to stop the Vietnam war, I poster-pasted to save the forests, I grooved to the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park in London, I hung around in Amsterdam, I travelled to the East, I became politically and socially concerned and involved. Remember John Lennon singing ‘Imagine’ or ‘Give Peace a Chance’, or watching Woodstock? We were going to change the world! And then it all started to fade a bit – and I gradually got lost in the ‘real world’, the daily business of wife, two kids and two cars. And then, when that comfortably-numb world crashed, I went through my ‘dark night of the soul’, and I was off to the East with thousands of others on the spiritual path, seduced and fired up by the promise of a New Man, Peace, Love, Utopia and an end to my personal suffering. I’ve thought about those times recently – what happened to the passion, the enthusiasm of those times?
In fact, the whole of the peace revolution of the sixties was simply sucked into the mystery, confusion and ‘mindlessness’ of the Eastern religions. The famed ‘spiritual path’, the Western pursuit and belief in Eastern religion and philosophy, has failed to deliver anything remotely resembling freedom, peace and happiness to humanity. Now that I look back it has failed because there was nothing new, different or original in it at all.
How could the solution lie in the well-tried so-called wisdom of the past? There would have been peace and happiness in the world by now if it worked – it has had at least 3,500 years to prove itself. As Ken Wilber wrote in an issue of ‘What Is Enlightenment’ of the success of Eastern religion –
(For those with a calculator it is 0.0000001 of the total population). This is a stunning figure to contemplate upon.
When I realized that I had simply moved from rejecting Western religious belief as meaningless fairy tale in my youth only to have landed myself in an Eastern religion in my middle years I was shocked. When I realized that millions upon millions upon millions of believers, meditators, devotees, monks and nuns had assiduously trod the spiritual path for thousands upon thousands of years in the East with so little result I was devastated. Eastern religious practice succeeds only in producing an elitist lineage of transcended God-men who then perpetuate their ancient stories, myths and fables to the next generation of gullible believers. I know the system well for I was a gullible believer for some 17 years and was dangerously close to becoming a God-man myself before the warning bells rang and my common sense reasserted itself. As I dug deeper in to spiritual belief I discovered that peace on earth is not even on the agenda of Eastern religions – life on earth is meant to be a suffering existence and it is an endless cycle of misery – it is deemed to be a necessary, essential and unchangeable part of some greater cosmic plan. This ‘necessary suffering’ is the human condition of malice and sorrow and includes all the wars, murders, rapes, tortures, domestic violence, despair and suicide.
Being vitally interested in peace on earth, I decided to question spirituality, the belief in God and the idea of life after death – to dare to question the sacred teachings.
As for – ‘or whether you are already convinced it is impossible (to become free of the human condition of malice and sorrow)’.
It is impossible to bring an end to human malice and sorrow whilst remaining trapped within the human condition and this includes being trapped within any of the multitudinous spiritual belief-systems or mind-sets. Surely 3,500 years of belief, trust faith and hope in Gods, Goddesses, Spirits, Sources, Higher Selfs, Essences, Creators, Doomsdays, Good and Evil, is long enough to declare that the experiment has failed.
Currently some 6 billion human beings are involved in a grim and desperate instinct-driven battle for survival on this planet. The human condition is typified by malice and sorrow and the man-made idyllic antidotes of love and compassion have failed to stem the carnage. It is well-documented that the last century was the bloodiest to date – over 160 million human beings died at the hands of their fellow human beings and over 40 million people killed themselves in suicides – and there is no end in sight. Religion, be it Eastern or Western, actively contributes to this carnage as is evidenced by the countless religious wars, persecutions, recriminations, repressions, ostracizations, denials, retributions, perversions and conflicts that are ever ongoing ... Eastern religion is particularly insidious for it deliberately promotes the practice of turning away and withdrawing from the physical world of people, things and events where we human beings actually live to a spirit-ual, meta-physical world, to an ‘inner’ private isolated world of furtive imagination and impassioned feelings.
So, I am vitally interested in ‘becoming free of the human condition of malice and sorrow’. Becoming free of the human condition of malice and sorrow is to actualize peace on earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body. It is impossible to become free of instinctual malice and sorrow whilst remaining trapped within the human condition, either battling it out in a grim world ‘normal’ reality or by escaping into an imaginary delusionary Greater Reality by practicing disassociation via denial and transcendence. In the spiritual world, any chance of an actual peace on earth is readily and eagerly forfeited for an imaginary peace after physical death ... or, for the rare few, the chance to become God-on-earth.
Which is why I asked the question for anybody who is interested in peace on earth, in this lifetime –
To do this, sincere seekers of freedom, peace and happiness would have to break through the sacred ceiling that traps them within the human condition. This daring to question the sacred and taking action to break free of ancient beliefs in Gods, God-men and Spirits is analogous to the pioneering women who have had to break through the glass ceiling of religious, social, moral and ethical restraints that bound them to the woodstove and the washing line.
Does that make the question ‘Surely it’s time to consider...’ clearer to you and do you understand why I was moved to ask it of myself? I did say to No 1 that this was a radical proposition, but spirituality (a belief in God, by whatever name) has had 3,5000 years to deliver the goods and has lamentably failed. There must be something that works and the evidence that peace on earth is possible is startlingly obvious in a pure consciousness experience when the ‘self’ – both as ego and as soul, both as thinker and feeler – is temporarily absent. The pure consciousness experience clearly indicates that peace on earth, an actual end to malice and sorrow, lies in total self-extinction, both ego and soul, not an ego death only, as in an altered state of consciousness.
To actualize peace on earth, one first needs to break through the sacred ceiling.
RESPONDENT: I can see now why I was uncertain where you were coming from in your previous post. As I read through this post I felt pulled between, on the one hand, your spark of revolutionary spirit to realize an end to conflict on earth and on the other a set of fixed ideas about the inadequacy of the spiritual approach to this dilemma.
PETER: By fixed ideas I presume you mean the fact that after 3,500 years of belief, trust, faith and hope in Gods, Goddesses, Spirits, Sources, Higher Selfs, Essences, Creators, Doomsdays, Good and Evil, we are still merely praying for peace on earth, while indulging in the fantasy that the only ‘true’ peace possible is after physical death. The human condition on earth is typified by malice and sorrow and the man-made idyllic antidotes of love and compassion have failed to stem the carnage. It is well-documented that the last century was the bloodiest to date – over 160 million human beings died at the hands of their fellow human beings and over 40 million people killed themselves in suicides – and there is no end in sight. Religion, be it Eastern or Western, actively contributes to this carnage as is evidenced by the countless religious wars, persecutions, recriminations, repressions, ostracizations, denials, retributions, perversions and conflicts that are ever ongoing ... Eastern religion is particularly insidious for it deliberately promotes the practice of turning away and withdrawing from the physical world of people, things and events where we human beings actually live to a spirit-ual, meta-physical world, to an ‘inner’ private isolated world of furtive imagination and impassioned feelings. These are not fixed ideas, these are facts.
Peace on earth is ultimately sacrificed by the utterly selfish pursuit of immortality for one’s soul – ‘who’ one feels one is as opposed to what one actually is, a mortal flesh and blood human being.
RESPONDENT: Hence I was confused as most of your post focused on the latter and covered the passion you claim for liberation of the human spirit.
PETER: No, you are still confused about what I said. It is the ‘passion for liberation of the human spirit’ – the fervent belief in an eternal, timeless, spaceless ie immortal spirit – that compounds and actively contributes to malice and sorrow on earth. Religion, be it Eastern or Western, actively contributes to this carnage as is evidenced by the countless religious wars, persecutions, recriminations, repressions, ostracizations, denials, retributions, perversions and conflicts that are ever ongoing ... Eastern religion is particularly insidious for it deliberately promotes the practice of turning away and withdrawing from the physical world of people, things and events where we human beings actually live to a spirit-ual, meta-physical world, to an ‘inner’ private isolated world of furtive imagination and impassioned feelings.
I have a vital interest to end the ‘passion for a liberation of the human spirit’ – manifest as the search for enlightenment – for it stands in the way of peace on earth.
RESPONDENT: I do not share your view that the spiritual approach to ending conflict and misery is what went wrong. In my own experience I see it is because of the reluctance of the individual to pay the price to live up to what was realized in the spiritual approach that is really why nothing fundamentally changes. Despite those rare few who are willing to live up to the demand of the spiritual approach and have inspired us to see it is possible to go through the ‘sacred ceiling’ most of us do not want to give up our selfishness to do so.
PETER: Now I am confused. ‘Those rare few who are willing to live up to the demand of the spiritual approach’ are the very ones who are ensnaring their gullible followers beneath the ‘sacred ceiling’. By sacred ceiling I do not mean the mythical transcendence between mortal human and the immortal Divine. Breaking the sacred ceiling is daring to question the sacred and taking action to break free of ancient beliefs in Gods, God-men and Spirits. It does not mean swapping or reaffirming one’s beliefs – merely rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It means getting out of, and breaking free of, the whole institutionalized insanity of the spiritual world, full stop. By sacred ceiling I mean the out-dated meta-physical belief in the immortal and Divine that prevents sincere seekers of freedom, peace and happiness from actualizing it, as this flesh and blood body only, here on this physical earth, where we human beings live.
RESPONDENT: I have just finished reading the new magazine on ‘What is Ego – friend or foe’ and in it there are at least 3 rare individuals who are interviewed who make your heart sing with the fire of their victory over malice and sorrow. It’s well worth reading.
PETER: I spent some 17 years on the spiritual path with both a singing heart (love) and a bleeding heart (compassion) but I had a brief pure consciousness experience where I saw, with shocking clarity, that I had been seduced into and was firmly entrapped in nothing other than an old time Religion, albeit the fashionable Eastern pantheistic version. It took me some years to tear myself away from the instinctual need to belong to a group and strike off on my own to search.
After six months of withdrawing from the world and indulging in intensive spiritual reading and meditating, I had a particularly overwhelming altered state of consciousness experience, or Satori, when I was walking along a beach experiencing being ‘pure love’. I was Love, and love for everything poured out of me. ‘Existence’ and I were one, and all was love. ‘I’, as I normally was, was definitely not there – ‘I’ had become pure love. Or, put another way, I had an experience of the ‘self’ becoming the ‘Self’. For me, I realized if I continued on this path I was doomed to become enlightened, yet another Saviour of mankind, another God-on-earth and that was enough to ring the alarm bells. Somehow I knew that this was not what I was after, as I wanted to be an ordinary human being, not an extraordinary divine spirit like the so-called Enlightened Ones. Besides, I had not met one of these gurus whose life I would like to emulate. I didn’t like how they were with their women, I didn’t like their lifestyle and I had seen too many ‘off stage’, as it were, as emotionally driven and devilishly cunning. I had also seen enough of their power and authority, with its subsequent demand of worship and adoration, to be dismayed at the thought that the Master-disciple system represented the pinnacle of human endeavour. There had to be something better.
There is a third alternative to remaining normal or becoming spiritual and it brings to an end the genetically-instilled instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Human malice and sorrow is a product of neuro-biological instinctual survival programming and not the result of a battle between good and evil spirits, not some perverse plan of a God by whatever name, or a necessary suffering prelude to an ultimate peace after physical death, in Heaven, Parinirvana or whatever other name.
I have repeated several sections from previous posts so as to avoid confusion for I mean what I say and I say what I mean. I am very deliberately being upfront and honest as what I am saying is both radically new and unabashedly iconoclastic. I know what I am talking of is inconceivable for it has nothing to do with the traditional spiritual path that seekers of freedom, peace and happiness have been conditioned to believe as being the Truth about human life on earth. In fact, the path to an actual freedom from malice and sorrow lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction to the tried and failed spiritual path.
What started me on this opposite path was accepting the down-to-earth challenge that if I couldn’t live with one other person in utter peace and harmony, equity and parity, 24 hrs. a day, every day, then life on earth was indeed a sick joke. I took the challenge and, together with my companion, proved it is possible.
There is a dare in pioneering a third alternative – both for its very newness and freshness and its sensuous down-to-earthness.
RESPONDENT: I have noticed that often I have the experience of feeling upset when I read your posts. Looking into my experience I see it is because you are attacking something that is the pinnacle of human consciousness and the most precious discovery anyone can realize.
PETER: Yes, No 6 wrote that I was trying hard to make people upset and angry and I mentioned that I had exactly the same feelings when I was immersed in the spiritual world and started to question my own beliefs. I also explained that these feelings and passions are instinctually sourced.
It is exactly because we humans have the ability to think and reflect that the instinctual passions can infiltrate our thinking and be experienced as feelings. In fact, a feeling is an emotional-backed thought. As such, we humans are automatically programmed for self-defence that we turn into a passion of ‘self’-defence. Thus we feel attacked when our beliefs are questioned for these beliefs form an integral part of ‘who’ we think and feel we are. We feel personally attacked for our social identity as a spiritual person is being questioned – thus the automatic ‘self’-survival instincts kick in.
Humans beings are unique among the animal species in that we instinctually react not only to physical danger but when ‘we’ feel either psychologically or psychically threatened, which is nearly all the time. The only psychological and psychic security we find is feeling secure within a group of like-minded people. The planet is full of these groups of humans all huddling together, defending themselves or attacking others, either overtly or covertly – currently some 6 billion people are involved in a grim and desperate battle for survival.
But this instinctual and habitual fearful behaviour is redundant in these modern times and those who are daring enough and willing enough to rid themselves of the instinctual passions will find themselves able to walk upright with impunity on this paradisiacal planet.
As for your second point –
Do you mean Eastern Enlightenment or spirituality in general? Either way, are you saying that all human beings should still believe in, and follow the wisdom of, those on the planet thousands of years ago who claim to have discovered the Truth about human existence on the planet? That what they discovered we should still hold to be sacred and inviolate? That despite the fact that human beings still slaughter each other in horrendous wars over which Truth is the only, true, real or right Truth, we should accept that the current human condition of malice and sorrow represents the pinnacle of human consciousness? That peace on earth is not possible?
I do understand the wonderful feelings and deep emotions that well up when one hears the Truth spoken by some God-man or woman, the blissful states that can be experienced and the altered states of consciousness that can be induced for I have experienced the full gamut over a period of 17 years. But the central message of the Truth – there is life after death and we are just ‘passing through’ before we go to a better place ‘somewhere else’ – is a fairy tale. When I was on the spiritual path it was the best on offer for it pointed to being able to achieve release or freedom for one’s self or soul while on earth, not in heaven. At least it offered succour and a chance to feel good.
But things have moved on, particularly in the last century, and a momentous breakthrough has been made in this last decade that makes the ancient search for a freedom for one’s spirit utterly second-rate. Many, many humans have attempted to break the stranglehold that ancient belief and mysticism has always held over the human search for freedom, peace and happiness and, the time being right, it has finally happened.
I was struck with the same reaction as you when I first came across this third alternative but, as I had some doubts about the spiritual path anyway, I was prepared to investigate further to see if what was proposed made sense.
RESPONDENT: In my own quest to make absolute sense out of being a human being I have had to discard many ideas and beliefs I had been convinced of. I am still discovering many more ideas along the way (some gross, some subtle) but I have discovered that REAL Freedom lies in the choice to suspend the belief that I already know what is true and to dare to find out what actually is true.
PETER: Do you follow your feelings when you ‘dare to find out what actually is true’ and do you find you have to suspend common sense and regard what is actual to be illusionary? For accuracy and clarity of communication I use the dictionary definition of the word actual – i.e. existing in fact as evidenced by the physical senses, in action or existence at this time, existing in act and not merely potentially or apparently. Actual is that which is palpable, tangible, tactile, corporeal, physical and material. It is that which can be experienced by the physical senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch only.
What I came to understand was that if I was on the Eastern spiritual ‘search’ then the path had only one direction and only one possible destination. It is, in fact, nonsense to call any spiritual path a search for the end discovery is predetermined depending on which culture or religious belief-system one is ‘searching’ in. Every religion has at their core a Truth, a written message from God or from his/her earthly representative that is ‘confirmed’ by an emotionally-fuelled experience to be the Truth as in a Satori, epiphany, awakening or realization. Seek (inside) and ye shall find God (by whatever name).
As a kid I could not understand that if there was such a thing as God, how come there were so many and how come everybody fought over whose God was the Right, True, Real or Only God. When I looked around with clear eyes I saw these same divisions and conflicts were abundantly evident in New Dark Age religions. It made me more than suss of the Truth.
RESPONDENT: The next trap I am discovering in this delicate process is then not to fix what I have discovered as true in this moment as necessarily being true in the next.
PETER: By this I take it that that you are following the spiritual psittacism that one’s life should always remain a continuous search and one should never discover.
The only way I am able to enjoy the safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure that I and many others experience is because of the efforts of those humans who have searched, questioned, experimented by trial and error and discovered something. The dissemination and implementation of these human discoveries is exactly what has bought human beings out of the Stone Age. Progress, moving forward, building upon what has gone before, seeking betterment – call it what you will. Why should we adopt a ‘delicate process’ of not fixing on what we have discovered in the search for peace on earth – a way to bring an end to human malice and sorrow. Could it be that the Great One’s don’t really have the answer and are hiding behind their great wisdom of ‘not knowing’ or of ‘knowing something so profound that it cannot be put into words’. These wise men proudly and defiantly proffer their ignorance as wisdom by offering such dimwitticisms as ‘The man that really knows doesn’t speak and the man that speaks doesn’t really know’.
There is a lot of puerile nonsense in Eastern ‘wisdom’ and it is rapidly beginning to be exposed as more and more people have unfettered access to the sacred ancient texts.
RESPONDENT: This really is demanding to pull off but being in the company of those who are committed to do it is the most ecstatic and fulfilling human experience I know and in this I have discovered this process actualizes the end of conflict and makes REAL the possibility of peace on Earth.
PETER: Personally, I found it impossible ‘to pull off’ the idea of not-knowing for I had to suspend commonsense – down-to-earth intelligence as opposed to rational or emotional thinking – and deny all that was actual, as evidenced by the physical senses. Ancient wisdom has it that thinking is the problem simply because they were in ignorance of the fact that it is the instinctual passions, manifest as feelings and emotions, that are the root cause of human malice and sorrow. They got it 180 degrees wrong but it is understandable for way back then they thought the earth was flat and populated by Demons, and the sky above a half-dome, populated by Gods.
However, if you have discovered that ‘this process (suspending the belief that I already know what is true) actualizes the end of conflict’, then no doubt you will be easily able to set aside your feelings of being upset and attacked so that we can continue our discussion about peace on earth.
I do like the Internet for the communication is by words and not feelings. Everyone is thus free to make their own judgement based on a sensible evaluation of what is written rather react on the basis of impassioned feelings. Goodness knows, in the good old days I would have been thrown out of the temple and stoned to boot.
Personally, I found it such good fun to investigate and explore my beliefs and feelings for therein lay the way to actualize peace on earth – the ending of all belief, illusion and delusion and the extinction of the instinctual passions. It is not easy or comfortable for it does stir up feelings and emotions that most regard as being best left alone but the results are both extraordinary and actual.
An actual freedom from instinctual malice and sorrow beats any synthetic feeling of freedom by a country mile.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.