Peter’s Correspondence on Mailing List B
Correspondent No 22
PETER: Hi Lord,
You wrote in response to my post to No 17 –
A brief summary of the method to achieve this freedom –
The key to freedom from the Human Condition is the unique capacity of the human brain to be aware of its own functioning. Human beings are thus capable of being aware of both what they are thinking and what they are feeling – the instinctual passions in operation. This ability is commonly known as self-awareness.
In recent decades, this capacity to be aware of our instinctually sourced feelings has been complemented by the scientific studies of the neuro-biology of the human brain that are heralding the beginning of an empirical understanding of the genetically-encoded instinctual passions. These scientific studies, firmly based on empirical observations, make nonsense of the traditional denial of the existence of instinctual animal passions in humans and the ancient belief that we are born ‘innocent’.
‘Self’-awareness is possible in human beings in that we have the ability to develop and cultivate an awareness of both the feelings arising from our social conditioning of beliefs, morals and ethics one has been instilled with since birth and the feelings and emotions that result from the chemical surges of the instinctual passions in operation. What one is ultimately attempting to do is to achieve a pure ‘self’-less state and this involves observing, investigating and eliminating ‘who’ one thinks one is and ‘who’ one feels oneself to be – a radical procedure, to say the least.
This particular aspect of awareness is not a natural phenomenon, nor one practiced on any of the traditional spiritual paths, and needs to be actively cultivated and persistently practiced in order to ensure success. As such, one needs to proceed with a bloody-minded persistence the likes of which one has not mustered before. To do so, one needs firstly to establish a simple, unswerving and primary aim in life – a sincere intent to become happy and harmless, as one experiences in a pure consciousness experience, for 24 hrs. a day, every day.
The method of becoming happy and harmless, 24 hrs. a day, every day, is both devastatingly simple and ruthlessly efficient. One needs to continually ask oneself the question ... ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ ...
The continuous asking of this question is the key to cultivating and developing ‘self’-awareness but it does require persistence and perseverance in order to ensure success. The essential method is to undertake a total investigation into anything that is preventing one from being happy and harmless now – after all, if one’s aim is to be happy then one needs to be happy now, not at some time in the future, nor some time in the past. The question to ask oneself is – ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ This moment is, after all, the only moment I can experience being happy.
Any emotion such as anger, frustration or boredom that is preventing my happiness now, has to be traced back to its cause – the exact incident, thought, expectation or disappointment. At the root of this emotion is inevitably found a socially-instilled moral, ethic or belief or a crude instinctual passion. This very action of awareness, investigation and understanding of these morals, ethics, beliefs and the animal instincts ‘in action’ and how they prevent one from being happy and harmless actually weakens their influence on one’s thoughts and behaviour. The process, if followed diligently and obsessively, will ultimately cause them to disappear completely. The idea of undertaking this process being, of course, to eliminate the cause of one’s unhappiness, or the cause of making others unhappy, so that one can experience life at the optimum, now. If one is happy now, then good. One can then ‘raise the bar’ to feeling very good, then excellent, then ... perfect.
The method soon presents success incrementally, as freedom from beliefs and instinctual passions is indeed a freedom that results in increased peace and harmony for oneself and in one’s relating with one’s fellow human beings. The method does bring up fear and resistance, because one is dismantling one’s very ‘self’, those very beliefs and passions one holds so dearly.
It sounds so simple, but very few people are even willing to take a small step along the way. Most people would seemingly like their life to be better, but faced with the prospect of actually having to do something themselves, or having to change the way they are, they soon sneak away, only to re-run the old ancient ‘tried and failed’ methods. Of course, the major fear is that it will work and ‘I’ will ‘be’ no more.
RESPONDENT: Peter, it sounds like you just reinvented the beginning stages of every existing Spiritual/Religious teaching ever conceived.
Lets see ... mindfulness to achieve presence in the moment ...
PETER: All Spiritual /Religious teachings emphasize mindfulness, watching or awareness as a way of disidentifying or dissociating from wrong, bad or Evil thoughts and feelings, so the practitioner can identify or associate with the right, good or Divine thoughts and feelings. This is what is known as adopting ethical codes – rights and wrongs – or moral values – goods and bads. There is no way a person who has followed spiritual/religious teachings to the point where they have convinced themselves that they are absolutely right, perfectly good and completely Divine would ever admit that I am upset, I am sad or I am fearful, let alone recognizing there is evil in ‘me’. The best they get to is ‘I felt anger arising’ but it was not the real ‘me’ – this is called denial and dissociation from one’s own feelings. The method I am proposing, should you care but to skim over it, is the opposite of this spiritual method of ‘self’-deceit. It is a thorough, ongoing, moment-to-moment, ‘self’-investigation of both the good and bad feelings that arise from the instinctual passions with the sincere intent to eliminate their insidious influence.
This is directly opposite to the spiritual/religious teachings where ‘I’ struggle to be mindlessly ‘present in the moment’ in a grim reality with the aim of becoming a grand and glorious ‘Me’ who feels eternally Present in a Greater Reality of ‘my’ own imagination. The method I have outlined is aimed at eliminating any ‘I’ or ‘me’ being present that inevitably prevents the always ever-present purity and perfection of this moment from becoming apparent.
RESPONDENT: ... disenfranchisement of the ego to remove attachment towards the objects of the relative field of existence ...
PETER: No. The method outlined is specifically designed to avoid the traditional spiritual practice of ‘disenfranchisement’, as in disassociation, and to ‘remove attachment’, as in becoming detached from the actual world of people, things and events where we human beings actually live.
RESPONDENT: ... awareness of the possibility for conscious evolution ...
PETER: No. The method outlined is specifically designed to focus one’s attention on the immediate possibility of being happy and harmless so as rid oneself of instinctual malice and sorrow and not trip out into some form of higher consciousness or altered states. The whole point is to get one’s head out of the clouds and come down-to-earth. One of the very first aspects of applying the method I have outlined would be to question one’s own utterly ‘self’-ish investment in believing that one’s consciousness is higher than others’.
This is why only a rare few will bother to read carefully what I write, contemplate upon it and start to be honestly aware of their feelings as they arise, for to do so is threatening to their highly valued spiritual identities. But to fail to do so is to miss out on the opportunity to deeply question and experientially investigate one’s own psyche in order to discover exactly what it is to be a human being on the planet.
RESPONDENT: ... taking any action in the relative field with this in mind ...
PETER: No. The method outlined is specifically designed to clean oneself up of both the good and bad feelings that arise from the instinctual passions such that an irrevocable change happens that results in peace in this lifetime, in the marketplace, in the world as-it-is and people-as-they. There is nothing relative about the actual world – it is tangible, palpable, vibrant, lively, ever-present, and happening this very moment.
RESPONDENT: Yep! You did it! You reinvented the prayer wheel! Congratulations! Harmony – Inspiration – Evolution – Bliss
PETER: I suggest you carefully read what is written rather than rewrite what is written so that it suits your old-world teachings and spiritual beliefs. Your carelessness hobbles you to the Tried and Failed methods of the ancient ones and prevents you from carefully considering the third alternative that is being offered. I do understand that you do not know what is being offered for it took me months and months of careful considered word for word reading and a good deal of thinking and nutting out to begin to understand. But the rewards of abandoning the Tried and Failed spiritual path and applying the method outlined has resulted in a freedom, peace and happiness that is beyond my wildest dreams. The result far surpasses anything offered or achieved in the spiritual world, for this freedom, peace and happiness is actual and eminently liveable in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are.
PETER: Hi Lord,
RESPONDENT No 00: I liked your congratulations to Peter for reinventing the Prayer Wheel.
RESPONDENT: Peter it sounds like you just reinvented the beginning stages of every existing Spiritual/Religious teaching ever conceived.
Mindfulness to achieve presence in the moment / Disenfranchisement of the ego / Awareness of the possibility for conscious evolution / Taking any action in the relative field with this in mind
RESPONDENT No 00: However I feel there is one element missing at the start. That is Clarity of Intention to use Andrew Cohen’s words where the intention is FREEDOM. I feel that the desire for freedom must be paramount to energize one’s progress on the path, even before the attention to mindfulness. The Dalai Lama’s primary advise to adherents is ‘Be Happy’. This is like Freedom. I imagine the flag of Freedom at the masthead of the ship that plies the spiritual waters. What do you think?
RESPONDENT: In all fairness to the teaching Peter has discovered the remark I made was supportive not derogatory.
PETER: I have not discovered a teaching. I am presenting the facts about the inherent and ongoing nonsense of human beings selfishly seeking liberation and immortality for their illusionary souls and pointing to the fact that an actual freedom from the Human Condition is now available for those who are interested.
RESPONDENT: All teachings that contain Truth seem to have certain basic commonalities.
PETER: Indeed, the much-venerated Truth is that there is life after death for the human spirit in an ‘other-world’ – a puerile myth common to all religions, both Eastern and Western. I don’t teach the Truth, for continuing to indulge in this belief means that the believer will readily sacrifice his or her chance for peace on earth in this lifetime for a spurious ultimate peace after death. As the Christians blatantly say ‘Rest in Peace’ or in the East the Truth is ‘the ultimate Nirvana is after the death of the body’.
RESPONDENT: It just appeared humorous to me that the methodologies that Peter is discovering seem to have the same basic tenants that all the higher spiritual teachings have.
PETER: I suggest you do more than skim and chuckle, and read more carefully what I write, for what is on offer is the antithesis of ‘higher spiritual teachings’.
RESPONDENT: Peter makes a very important point about attaching any kind of credit to teachers instead of the Truth of the teachings.
PETER: I truck not with the Truth, for the Truth is but a lie told over millennia and blindly believed by everyone. I say ‘everyone’, for scratch an agnostic and you will find an ‘I’ll wait and see’ fence-sitter. God is not dead, He/She/It is still very much alive and thriving, which is ridiculous given that He/She/It was nothing but a fear-filled fairy story to begin with.
RESPONDENT: Many organizations require subservience of some kind. There is a great difference between required subservience and the exercise of true surrender within a guru-disciple relationship.
PETER: If you are saying that disciples willingly surrender, I agree. Few people have the courage to stand on their own two feet and the lure of leaving it all up to, Big Daddy, God, Existence, the Teacher by proxy, etc. is legendary in the human species, as in ‘place your fate in the hands of the Lord’, ‘trust in me and have faith, my son’, ‘Bow down to the Buddha’, trust Existence’ ...
RESPONDENT: Many individuals with a glimpse of the sublime find themselves caught within the Egotism of their own authority.
PETER: It’s called the instinctive lust for power where I come from, and there is no more powerful feeling than feeling Immortal.
RESPONDENT: This leads them to use their authority to remain an authority and in the ensuing egotistical exercise the value of these individual’s teachings, which in many cases was very useful in the beginning, becomes a muddled ego-mish-mash.
PETER: In case you haven’t noticed, all teachers ultimately use the ancient teachings as their ultimate authority for there is no greater fear than the fear of God and no greater love than the love for God. What most people miss is the fact that if there is no fear of God, then the desperate need to love and revere God, or His/Her/Its earthly representative, disappears.
RESPONDENT: So I understand Peter’s frustration with the whole process.
PETER: I am not at all frustrated for I no longer believe in God or the whole ingratiating ‘ surrender and humble yourself before God’ business. There is not a skerrick of spiritual belief left in me.
RESPONDENT: However, it is not just the teachers who are responsible in these cases. Much of the time the students are at least as responsible.
PETER: There is a paramount unwritten commandment in all religious teachings that has been specifically developed to quell any questioning of the ongoing perennial failure of religion to produce the goods. It goes – ‘regularly and persistently blame the followers for not being good enough, but never, never, never, ever question, let alone blame the sacred teachings, for that is Blasphemy ... and it shall bring down the Wrath of God, or the mob, upon you’. Given that God is a myth, it is always left to the faithful mob do the job.
RESPONDENT: As soon as someone manifests some form of Divine Inspiration there are a host of people just waiting to credit that person. As if the person created something.
PETER: The Gurus and shaman have created an illusion of their own Divinity in a Greater Reality out of the illusion of Evil in a grim reality. If someone becomes completely deluded such that they are absolutely convinced they are Divine, then they are compelled to spread the message. Being a Saviour of Mankind is part and parcel of the grand delusion – not an optional extra.
RESPONDENT: It takes a very balanced person to insist that there is no ownership of Divine Inspiration, it is available to us all and the only real value a teaching has is whether or not other people find something that helps them on their path.
PETER: I guess what you are alluding to is true humility. I always find it kind of cute that someone who says they are God-realized, a Chosen One, Divinely Inspired or whatever, also somehow have the gall to claim to be humble while exacting humility out of their followers.
RESPONDENT: That is what a teaching is, a gift to us all, not a bargaining chip of authority.
PETER: This is the source of humility, that one should feel grateful to some Big Daddy, God, Existence, the Teacher by proxy, or whatever other name, for the Gift of feeling Divine and Immortal. The chance for peace on earth is readily sacrificed for the chance of ‘me’ receiving this sacred Gift.
PETER: What is now obvious is that transcending the ego is insufficient to realize a genuine freedom and an ending to the instinctual passions. It is obvious that freedom, perfection and purity are only possible in a completely ‘self’-less state – and a pure consciousness experience confirms this.
RESPONDENT: Since Peter did say this about freedom I think it would be fair to assume that any teaching he is utilizing has genuine freedom as a basic premise.
PETER: A genuine freedom, as opposed to what you are talking about, which is a spirit-ual freedom, i.e. an imaginary freedom for the illusionary spirit. Seeking a spirit-ual freedom is a cop-out from having to be here on earth as a flesh and blood mortal body.
RESPONDENT: The ‘clarity of intention’ you mentioned is to be found in the ‘this’ of Taking any action in the relative field with this in mind, ‘this’ being your goal.
PETER: And we all know that ‘this’ is usually written with a capital letter for you are talking of ‘This’ as in God, Big Daddy, Existence, or whatever other name.
RESPONDENT: It is true that the clearer an idea we have of our goal the more effective the results. The path is energized every time we perform an action with the knowledge it brings us closer to enlightenment.
PETER: Yes, my experience is if you want something you have to want it for yourself and desire it like all get out. Given that the spiritual goal is the Gift of Immortality, then the spiritual path is utterly selfish and ultimately Self-fulfilling. I know most are blind to this fact. It was only when I got close to, and briefly experienced the state of Enlightenment myself, did I realize the inherent power and loneliness of feeling God-like and began to have doubts.
It was then that I began to dare to question the hallowed and venerated state of Enlightenment itself.
PETER to No 5: Isn’t the actual so much more remarkable, breathtaking and vital than the imaginary grim fairy tales we have been taught?
There is no ‘Who’ running this universe and no helpless despairing ‘what’ that makes human malice and sorrow an unalterable fate. As is clearly evidenced in a Pure Consciousness Experience, this physical universe is perfect and pure for it is infinite and eternal - there is no outside to this universe and it is always happening now. In a PCE, it is abundantly clear that it is ‘me’ and ‘my’ feelings and passions that stand in the way of this purity and perfection being actualized in this flesh and blood body.
The ending of one’s own malice and sorrow is thus in one’s own hands ... and not in the hands of some imaginary ‘Who’.
Good, hey. It was the best news I had ever heard in my life.
RESPONDENT: It is not the ‘feelings and passions’ that stand in the way, it is the attachment to them, the ownership/possession of them that hinders us and causes us to say ‘I suffer’ instead of ‘this is suffering’.
PETER: By having no attachment, no ‘ownership/possession’ of your feelings and passions, when you feel angry, upset, pissed-off, peeved or annoyed at someone, then do you say it is not ‘me’ who is being angry, ‘this is just anger’. To disclaim your feeling of anger as not being ‘my’ anger may well suit your position, but the fact is you are still being angry at someone and that is malice where I come from. You may equally claim that your feeling of sorrow is not ‘my’ sorrow but it is still a feeling of sorrow, and when you share that sorrow with others you are but an active contributor to human sorrow on the planet.
We are taught this dissociative behaviour from very early childhood when we are rewarded and encouraged to be good and punished and discouraged from being bad. ‘I did good’, ‘I helped’, ‘I looked after ...’ are all claims we willingly make but we quickly find out it is best to say ‘It wasn’t me’, ‘I didn’t do it’, ‘It wasn’t my fault, it was ...’ when we do something bad. We learn to readily claim the good feelings and tender passions as ‘mine’ and quickly learn to disclaim ownership of, or even the very existence of, our bad feelings and savage passions. This social/religious conditioning applies equally to both sexes, to all human beings born in all cultures and instilled in all religious/spiritual morals and ethics.
In Eastern religions and philosophy this practice of suppression and non-attachment has been raised to a high art whereby one can, through assiduous practice, create a whole new, utterly dissociated, identity based solely on feeling Good-ness and God-ness. This process of becoming non-attached to feelings that are not desirable and identifying with the feelings that are considered desirable and are highly valued by our peers can lead to an Altered State of Consciousness whereby a mortal human being imagines and feels himself or herself to be above it all, as in Divine and Immortal.
In this sleight of hand, or more correctly spiritual sleight of mind, ‘me’ and my feelings get off scot-free and nothing actually happens except the whole sorry saga of eastern religion gets another pundit, another propagator, another sage revered for his puerile wisdom and parroted platitudes such as ‘it my is attachment to human suffering that is the problem’.
RESPONDENT: The separation feeds the ego by making the ‘I’ into what is important instead of the choice of how we act as to whether suffering is increased or decreased.
PETER: The whole approach of Eastern religion, and Buddhism in particular, is that being here on the planet is essential suffering and the quicker you can get out of being here the better. Thus the shamans and God-men have always isolated themselves from the suffering of the world and closeted themselves away in monasteries, ashrams, sanghas and the like. They then practiced turning inwards and separating from their own feelings of sorrow and solely identified with their good feelings and feelings of Godliness and Holiness. These beliefs and practices have never, and will never, eliminate suffering in the world, but those higher beings who have separated and detached themselves get to feel a lot better than those in the market place.
This act of separation was particularly evident in theocratic Buddhist Tibet where every family sent a son to the monastery to become a monk. The lamas and monks lived in splendid palaces surrounded by gold, silver and the finest of artworks, practiced their teachings, meditated and said their prayers, all supported and paid for by the rest of the ‘suffering’ population. The country had no army – one quarter of the population were busy praying for salvation and peace – so when the Chinese walked over the border, the Lamas fled, taking the gold with them and leaving the defenceless common folk who had suffered in supporting the Lamas to now suffer at the hands of their new masters.
The men of God have always been ‘above’ suffering, the priests have always bludged off others, the moral spiritual high ground has always been the safest ground because one can always blame someone else or something else for one’s own malice and sorrow rather than look at it in oneself.
The churches have forever blamed human suffering on bad spirits, evil, the Devil, money, materialism, empirical science, technological progress, the unaware, the unawake, the non-believers, the heathens, etc – anything but dare to admit that humans are blindly driven by self-survival instincts and passions.
These instinctual passions, humanity’s precious feelings, are the empirical source of malice and sorrow in human beings, and a way has now been pioneered to eliminate them. The churches, Gurus, shamans and God-men will all rile against this discovery for centuries to come, but the end result is inevitable – the ancient fantasies of good and evil, the Devil and God will eventually fade and die out to be replaced by a new non-instinctive-animal species of humans who no longer battle, feud and kill each other in a grim, senseless instinctual battle of survival, or pompously declare they are ‘above it all’ and are too busy praying for ‘inner peace’ to be at all bothered about what is going on ‘outside’.
RESPONDENT: When we choose to act to alleviate suffering whether it be our own or someone else’s everyone’s lot is improved.
PETER: I am talking of the elimination of suffering, not detaching from suffering so to alleviate one’s suffering as in reduce, lessen, diminish, relieve, ease, or palliate. All the churches and religions have been offering to alleviate the suffering of the poor, the flock, the sinners, the unawake, etc. for millennia, yet in the last century alone over 160 million humans died at the hands of other humans in wars and an estimated 40 million people killed themselves in suicides. It is clearly time for the pious head-in-the-clouds alleviators to stop practicing non-attachment from their own suffering and come down-to-earth and address the real cause of suffering within themselves.
I am well aware that this present generation of seekers of freedom, peace and happiness have already personally invested too heavily in Eastern spiritualism to consider turning around 180 degrees and head in the other direction but there will be some who care enough about peace on earth to get up out of their lotus positions and begin the business of making a real difference.
It is curious that the present fascination with Eastern religion was born out of the 60’s peace movement but has now degenerated over the decades into the utterly selfish pursuit of personal bliss and Fulfillment. When this thoughtless self-indulgent spiritual fascination wanes, the next generation of seekers will find something different on offer for them to get their teeth into – an ending to human malice and sorrow, peace on earth.
PETER: You posted this as a general post to the list, so I presume it is your teachings. I thought I would comment.
RESPONDENT: When you are dreaming and you wake up in your dream and realize you are dreaming and that everything that exists is a figment of your imagination, what do you do? How do you act in that dream world where nothing is real and you are accountable to no one but yourself? It is your dream and you discover whatever you want, whenever you want it.
There are no rules. No good or bad. Just you living in a dream, knowing it is a dream and there is only you. Nothing else. Everything is you. Everything is yours. No restrictions.
PETER: An excellent description of the spiritual delusion whereupon a human being becomes a God – the centre of it all, where only You exist and everything and everyone else is but Your creation. This is utter self-centredness, utter self-ishness taken to the extreme of solipsism. One’s personal self is diminished to such an extent that only a grand and glorious Impersonal Self exists.
RESPONDENT: What do you do? You walk about witnessing strange events. You have volition now, you have choice. You are no longer a distant observer. You are a participant. You go when and where you want to go. You do whatever you want to do.
You see suffering and lechery. Possessiveness and pain. You see great joy and friendship. You see love and selflessness. You see everything and you know that you made it all up for your own benefit. What do you do? How do you participate in all the things around you?
PETER: The existential dilemma of all God-men when they find themselves living in a dream-world of their own creation.
RESPONDENT: In this world of illusion you have only one venue, one method of existence: your actions.
PETER: The existential dilemma of all God-men when they find themselves a Divine and Immortal being still trapped within a flesh and blood body on the planet.
RESPONDENT: How do you act? Which action within all the realm of infinite possibility best expresses the Truth of who you are? You are free. There is no one and nothing else. Just you and a world of vast illusion that you create. What will you do? Will you be destructive? Will you love? Will you hate? Will you be weak? Will you be strong? Will you help the people you see, or crush them like bugs? You can do whatever you want. It is your dream. What will you do? How will you act? Who are you?
It seems that in all the infinite realm of possibility you have only one choice: to be who you are and act according to that Truth.
PETER: You nearly had me interested as to what you were going to do in a practical sense, but I see you have settled on the traditional ‘only choice’ – being who you really are i.e. God on earth, and to act according to that truth, i.e. act as if you are a God.
The Gods are so predictable – so impersonal, so Self-indulgent and so demanding of gratitude and adoration ... and equally capable of crushing people who they don’t like or want to dismiss. I have seen this supercilious behaviour in many God-men and Wannabes – it is an appalling arrogance, demeaning of others, malicious in its intent and has done immense harm and suffering to countless followers.
Divine passions are simply normal human passions freed of any sensible consideration, responsibility or moral limitations by a blinding act of delusion. The delusion of Divinity does not eliminate one’s personal malice and sorrow – it merely gives it a perverse God-like twist.
PETER: Hi Lord,
A further comment on your teachings about suffering –
RESPONDENT: ‘When we choose to act to alleviate suffering whether it be our own or someone else’s everyone’s lot is improved.’
RESPONDENT No 15: Except you cannot alleviate somebody else’s suffering ... and you wouldn’t try when you have full realization of what that suffering is (was) for.
RESPONDENT: Alleviation is not prevention.
PETER: Alleviation is neither prevention ... nor a cure for suffering. For, as No 15 correctly alludes to in Eastern religion, being here on earth as a human being is essential suffering. Once one realizes this, the aim is to fully realize that ‘who’ you Really Are is a bodiless spirit only, just passing through this earthly material plane of suffering. All religions accept that life on earth is suffering and believing in any religious or spiritual teaching is therefore to accept that it is not possible to eliminate human suffering.
Eliminating human suffering is not on the spiritual/religious agenda ... far from it.
RESPONDENT: We can alleviate someone else’s suffering ... and, in fact, realization leads us to a life wherein that is exactly what we do.
PETER: As a self-declared God-man perhaps you could explain exactly how you alleviate someone else’s problem? By telling them it is okay, there is a God who loves you and that God is me? This form of alleviation is both Self-perpetuating and suffering perpetuating.
RESPONDENT: Sufferings full brunt is borne only in separation.
PETER: Thus, when you realize that we are all one, one’s personal suffering is alleviated by knowledge that we all suffer together and it is part of God’s plan. Human suffering is, in fact, perpetuated by all spiritual teachings for without suffering there would be no need to alleviate it by the illusion of Union.
Human psychological and psychic suffering exists only in the individual and collective human psyche. When the psychological and psychic entity – ‘who’ I think and feel I am – ceases to exist there is an end to psychological and psychic suffering in this body.
RESPONDENT: By sharing the situation or doing what small thing we can do to assist someone struggling we allow them the opportunity to see that they are in fact not alone, and someone does care.
PETER: And the dispenser of this sharing is mightily loved and deeply appreciated for his or her sharing. In fact, the dispenser is only in business because there is suffering in the world. All religions and priests, Gurus and teachers only exist and flourish because there is suffering in the world. They have a vested interest in human suffering. Their fame, glory, support and income is derived from human suffering. Even now, when a way has been discovered to eliminate one’s own suffering and malice, these same pious God-men will be the most strident in riling against it.
RESPONDENT: We do this in a manner that does not interfere with the person’s experience.
PETER: On the contrary, the price demanded and received for this assistance is always gratitude, the deeper the better. To demand gratitude and love in return for compassion and empathy is the most insidious interference in another’s life.
RESPONDENT: ‘Sharing feeling’ is the meaning of the word compassion.
Indeed, compassion literally means sharing sorrow.
To maintain the sacred-ness of compassion as a human feeling is to perversely insists that no one is ever allowed to be free of suffering without being accused of being evil, unfeeling or callous towards others ‘less fortunate’. Misery and suffering is to remain forever locked in the human psyche by this mutual agreement to suffer together. Feeling compassion is but an attempt to alleviate the feeling of sorrow, exactly as love is an attempt to alleviate aggression, by a valiantly promoting and valuing the good instinctual emotions and repressing or transcending the bad emotions.
It is only by stepping out of the ‘real’ world’s agreement to mutual suffering and the ‘spiritual’ world’s sanctimonious and pious Divine compassion, that one can completely rid oneself of sorrow. Only when one stops ‘feeling’ compassion, empathy and pity, there is the direct opportunity available to actually do something about the wars, tortures, poverty and physical suffering of one’s fellow human beings – to stop actively contributing to human sorrow and facilitate an end to sorrow in oneself.
RESPONDENT No 6: Resistance is the No.1 enemy of change.
RESPONDENT: Resistance ... In a way all suffering is a form of resistance.
PETER: Is this the wisdom you would offer the rape victim, the child who has been abused, the tormented suicidal teenager, the terrorist hostage, the anguished hapless victim of senseless act of violence? That their suffering is due to a form of resistance? Resistance to God? Are they being somehow punished by God or were they born to suffer because of some bad karma in a previous life? Are they but cannon fodder in some perverse game plan by Existence which you, like countless others, have managed to see through and thus feel grateful to not have to play the game any more? Has it ever occurred to you that human malice and suffering might well have another cause – a more down to earth reason?
RESPONDENT: If we experience without judgement or predisposition then we have experience. Just experience.
PETER: But you already have a judgement – that suffering is a form of resistance (to God) – and a definite predisposition – to becoming God-realized – and then you have your experience – feeling God-realized. In fact, your judgement is so doctrinaire and your predisposition so complete that your resistance to change, or to consider anything new, is absolutely total. The church has fought change and progress tooth and nail for millennia and nowhere harder than in the East.
RESPONDENT: Only now. There are no timetables.
PETER: No, God never has a timetable for he is eternal. For Him there only is what IS and human suffering is accepted as an essential ingredient of HIS IS-ness.
RESPONDENT: There is no good or bad.
PETER: Is this the wisdom you would offer the rape victim, the child who has been abused, the tormented suicidal teenager, the terrorist hostage, the anguished hapless victim of senseless act of violence? This unequivocal and unyielding acceptance of the human condition is glorified as part of IS-ness. IS-ness obviously means turning a blind eye to human suffering.
RESPONDENT: There is just whatever is happening now. It falls to us to find out what this moment is offering us and make the most of it. In order to do this we free ourselves of expectation.
PETER: Except the spiritual path is littered with signs of expectation, beacons of Light beckon one on to God-realization, Gurus wax lyrical and the churches are full of expectation. Why else does one have faith, trust and hope, if not for some expectation?
RESPONDENT: One of my teachers worded it thus... ‘the three obstacles to the path are: self importance, habits, personal history’. You could just as easily say: ego, mindlessness (opposite of mindfulness), expectation (those we impose upon ourselves and those others impose upon us). We could address these things thusly. Ego we address by comprehending that life is an aspect of spirituality so ego becomes miniscule finding itself within a vast and unfathomable context (as opposed to the contemporary view that spirituality is an aspect of life).
PETER: Except that the miniscule ego finds itself within a vast, unknowing context that is grand, glorious and utterly self-gratifying. There is no greater feeling than to feel oneself Love, God, Impersonal or whatever other name. I know, for I have experienced the utter self-centredness of these affective experiences and know it to be 180 degrees opposite to the purity and perfection of a totally ‘self’-less experience.
The Eastern view that human life on earth is a transitory, secondary experience to one’s spirit-centric life is exactly why spiritual people never can be fully here on earth – sensately and sensually, intimately involved in this paradisiacal world of people, things and events.
RESPONDENT: Mindlessness we address by paying attention in the moment, to the moment, by looking at our situation and asking ourselves the question: What is this moment requiring or offering?
PETER: Again a rhetorical question that one already knows the answer to. Whenever a spiritual person asks a question they are never genuine, for they are already on the spiritual path and have clear unequivocal goals and desires – they want to get out of being here and go there and as soon as possible. Thus if I pay attention and I find myself in the real world, the aim is go inside and mindlessly find my real self, the Real Me.
RESPONDENT: Expectation we address by cultivating spontaneity and freedom within the context of Harmony. Another way to say this is we practice ‘unconditional acceptance’.
PETER: All spiritual people talk of ‘unconditional acceptance ’ of others but it is a classic doublespeak and hypocrisy for they talk of the masses, the ignorant, the householders, the lesser evolved, the lower consciousness, the evil, the heathens, the non-meditative, the unawake, those who suffer because of their bad karma, etc.
As for ‘unconditionally accepting’ oneself – now popularized as ‘accept yourself’, ‘love yourself’, ‘forgive yourself’, ‘empower yourself’ – this is merely a way of ignoring what you don’t like about yourself and disassociating from your unwanted feelings, emotions and behaviour. This includes ignoring the effect your feelings, emotions and behaviour have on other people.
Spiritual/religious ‘unconditional acceptance’ always means ‘conditional on my spiritual viewpoint’ – hence there is neither harmony nor Harmony – it is a myth, a fable, a fairy story. There is no harmony in the spiritual/religious world and never has been. So much so, that religious tolerance laws exist in most countries specifically to prevent religious people literally getting at each other’s throats.
Peace and harmony is only possible with the extinction of one’s instinctual passions. There is no other way – billions of humans have tried and failed.
I stopped being so arrogant thinking that I could succeed when so many had failed following the traditional path before me. T’was a mortal blow to my spiritual ego.
PETER: Just a comment on your teaching post entitled intelligence –
RESPONDENT: Intelligence... An aspect of mind that accesses memory and reason, and looks for patterns based on past experiences and programmed expectations to formulate a plan of action within the moment.
PETER: Human beings are remarkable among the animal species in that we have a large ‘modern’ brain or neo-cortex, capable of thinking, planning and reflecting, that envelops the primitive ‘lizard’ brain, the source of our animal instincts. Intelligence – the ability to think, plan, reflect and communicate – has resulted in the astounding development of the human species, from a grim and deadly fight for the survival of the species, to one of increasing safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure. This last century, in particular, has seen astounding advances made in agriculture, manufacturing, health, life expectancy, wealth, transport, information processing, instant and world-wide communications, social services and education. An increasing proportion of the human population is enjoying comfort, safety, leisure and pleasure the likes of which has never, ever, existed before.
Yet, despite the amazing technological advancements and organizational development of the human species on this planet, the Human Condition is still epitomized by two major factors – malice and sorrow. It is clearly time to tackle the problem of human malice and sorrow in the same intelligent manner that has bought so many other advances in the species. The ages old method of seeking spiritual ‘freedom’ and an end to malice and sorrow by praying to mythical Gods or inducing an Altered State of Consciousness whereby one feels oneself to be God, must now to be abandoned in favour of seeking an actual freedom from our genetic endowment of animal instinctual passions. Anything less is simply to repeat the abysmal failures of the past to bring an end to human violence and suffering.
RESPONDENT: Given this understanding we can see that the limitation of intelligence is that it requires accurate information and/or experiences that are not prejudiced by inhibitive expectations, or emotional agendas like avoidance or clinging.
PETER: Your initial understanding about intelligence is a demeaning put-down of human intelligence – the only intelligence known in the universe. This intelligence has an innate disposition towards beneficence, consideration and magnanimity whereas religiosity is a passionate belief system founded on the divisive concepts of Good and Evil, right and wrong, us and them. The only problem with intelligence is that it is hobbled by ‘self’-centred obsession and continually blighted by instinctual animal survival passions.
RESPONDENT: As to the question of the value of intelligence to the path of enlightenment it looks like we are back to ego and expectations as limiting factors to our effectiveness within the relative field of existence.
PETER: Well, you have said above that ‘intelligence ... requires accurate information and/or experiences that are not prejudiced by inhibitive expectations, or emotional agendas’.
Accurate information is sensate information – that which you can see, touch, smell, taste and hear – and factual information.
A discerning eye and ear is needed in order to ascertain what is fact and what is merely theory, postulation, concept, commonly agreed, belief, assumption, speculation, imagination, myth, wisdom, real or true. It is easy to see when one knows how to look.
Without having to interpret through one’s own belief system – an otherwise intelligent person is thus blind to the obvious – all facts are self-evidently clear. Start with a fact – a verifiable, objective actuality – as the base. Use it as a touchstone to test the actuality of whatever ‘truth’ one suspects to be a belief. Separate out facts from fiction; find out which part is demonstrably a fact. Anything else is fiction, an illusion.
Any belief is nonsensical. By its very nature a belief is not factually true ... otherwise it would not need to be believed to be true. A fact is obvious; it is out in the open, freely available for all to see as being true. To believe something to be true is to accept on trust that it is so. A fact does not have to be accepted on trust – a fact is candidly so. A fact is patently true, manifestly clear. A fact is what is ascertained sensately and thus demonstrably true.
A good working definition of intelligence is common sense – sense that can be verified by all. It was when I found myself increasingly having to abandon, or actively deny, my common sense in order to maintain my spiritual beliefs that my doubts began mounting to the point where I could deny them no longer. It was the beginning of the end of ‘me’ the believer.
RESPONDENT: The way we generally are conditioned to approach things in western society is to use intellectual methodology.
PETER: Whereas the way those in eastern society are conditioned to approach things is to use mindless dis-ingenuity? This platitude that divides the human experience into cold evil thoughts and warm other-wordly feelings does nothing but maintain and perpetuate the passionate battle twixt good and evil – it does nothing at all to eliminate it. The other version is to divide the world into the evil of materialism and the Goodness of spirituality, but this list seems to favour the traditional Eastern put-down of autonomous thinking, intelligence and common sense.
RESPONDENT: We do not seem to pay attention to the way things make us feel in a general overall type of assessment.
PETER: All human beings, be they conditioned by Eastern, or Western, philosophies and religions, are taught to deny their bad feelings and savage emotions and glorify their good feelings and tender emotions. This teaching, imbibed in the form of beliefs, morals and ethics prevents us from paying attention to the full range of our feelings and make an intelligent assessment as to how they prevent us from being happy and harmless.
A poster recently posted something that caught my eye because it typifies the fashionable Eastern approach to practicing a selective dissociating from one’s feelings –
This is called disassociating – having no relationship with one’s feelings, as in they are not mine – not my anger, not my boredom, not my frustration, not my fear, not my loneliness. Of course it is my bliss, my feeling of Light, my experience of Love, my gratitude, my empowerment, etc.
RESPONDENT: The way we tend to utilize emotion is in a very specific indulgent matter.
PETER: Indeed. It is how we are trained to deal with our feelings and emotions that arise from our instinctual animal passions. Ignore and sublimate the savage and pump up and identify with the tender. It generally does pretty well to by and large keep a lid on the worst indulgences of malice and sorrow although the Eastern idea of becoming God-on-earth does rather take indulging in desirable emotions to the extreme indulgence of Self-delusion.
RESPONDENT: Emotion is generally not considered to be sound ‘reasoning’ so it is devalued as an inspirational source except where it is deemed permissible by this intellectual society like when women relate or when artists engage their art.
PETER: Most of what human beings regard as entertainment is either violence or sorrowfulness. Most of our music tugs on the bitter-sweet heartstrings of sorrow, as do the so-called love songs. Most of the non-realistic art is driven by anger, frustration, rebellion and protest. Much of what passes for human relationship is a mutual sharing of sorrow, problems, despair and loneliness. Much of human ‘highs’ are temporary rapture and euphoria induced by shared mutual passions of religious, national or tribal nature and are underpinned by a basic ‘them and us’ dichotomy born of our instinctual passions.
That we are passionate feeling beings is upheld as our highest attribute whereas intelligence is mercilessly scorned and by none more fiercely than the vested Self-interest of the followers of Eastern churches.
RESPONDENT: One of the interesting things I am seeing regularly is the positive response by both women and men to sincere deep emotional connection on a day to day basis. People seem fed up with emotional disconnection and seem very ready to accept sincere emotional connection whenever it is offered to them in a non-threatening manner. What an exciting time to be alive!
PETER: I have lived for years in spiritual communes where this deep emotional connection was the very substance of an overwhelming feeling of connectedness. But of the thousands of such communes that have existed over the centuries, both in the East and the West, none have flourished, few have survived and those that have, eventually stagnated and fossilized. This type of intense psychic connection is only felt if there is a Higher focus or Greater purpose, most usually some charismatic leader. But when the leader dies – as they all do – the grand feelings quickly wither only to be kept alive by dogmatic fanatical purists or the emergence of yet more charismatic leaders.
I don’t mean to dampen your enthusiasm for seeking freedom peace and happiness, it’s just that you are looking for the solution where billions have looked – and nothing, absolutely nothing has changed. It is time to abandon fear-fuelled fantasies and self-aggrandizing affective experiences and tackle the real problem – ‘me’ and my instinctual ‘self’-centred passions.
RESPONDENT: We are on the cusp of great things for people and it is happening now. Look at this forum. Thirty years ago this would have been written off as a waste of time.
PETER: Thirty years ago the Net did not exist and it only exists because of the very intelligence you belittle and scorn as intellectualism. Thirty years ago the current fashion for Eastern spiritualism was almost unheard of in the city I lived in – now it is mainstream ideology vying only with the earth-spirit religion of environmentalism in popular appeal. What I find most exciting is the wealth of spiritual/religious information, experiences, teachings and teachers that are now accessible on the Net, such that anyone can now make an intelligent assessment as to what is being said, what is on offer, what is going on behind the facades, what doesn’t work and why not.
RESPONDENT: Now we have people, serious people, who are engaging themselves meaningfully in these discussions and it is acceptable to many people even if they do not participate as a valid endeavour.
PETER: Yes, I enjoy writing on a list that dares to question not only what is ego, but to question exactly what is the revered state of Enlightenment. It is a pleasure to dust of the musty old teachings, wisdoms and psittacisms of the past and apply a bit of non-affective intelligence, and practice a bit of non-selective attentiveness.
RESPONDENT No 6: Now, my question to whoever wants to answer is: Shouldn’t we go back someday to where ‘civilization’ is, I mean, where the ordinary life is? How much are we embracing the truth while we live ‘impeccably’ in a monastery and ignore the rest of the world? How much are we actually living this life while we stay away from any sort of relationships? Are we living life or just passing by it? No attachments ... except for the attachment to the monastery and its philosophy, correct? Yes, definitely impeccable behaviour.
And so what? What is the great contribution to the world if one is never coming back to it?
RESPONDENT: When we deny who we are we find discord as we struggle against the force of nature that has placed us where we are for the purpose of enlightenment.
PETER: The ‘force of nature’ – God by another name – has literally thousands of faces on earth. Those who are placed on earth for the purpose of enlightenment are those who follow Eastern Religions, perhaps a quarter of all the people on the planet. What is the fate of those born into monotheistic religions where it is deemed impossible to become God-realized for they passionately believe in the truth of a One and Only God and He/She/It lives in Heaven? Or were you just born especially chosen? How does your teaching explain this anomaly or do those unfortunates billions have to wait for another lifetime?
RESPONDENT: This is why the ancient Vedic teachings indicate that of the two lifestyles (recluse or householder) the recluse lifestyle is the longer path to enlightenment. The householder path, the path of direct engagement and experience when performed with devotion (non attachment) is the intensive course. How elating it was to discover this powerful teaching after years of refusing to deny my own common lifestyle and struggling to understand the value of changing diapers to the process of enlightenment.
PETER: I don’t seem to be able to find any mention of a two lifestyle approach in the Vedic teachings. In Hinduism, which grew out of the ancient Vedic teachings, three paths or means to salvation are generally accepted, though with differing emphasis according to the particular tradition: (1) the path of ritual or disinterested action (karma-marga); (2) the way of true knowledge (jnana-marga); and (3) the method of bhakti, or intense devotion to God. Are you confusing the ancient Vedic teachings with Buddhist teachings perhaps?
The ancient Vedic teachings are of a polytheistic sacrificial religion. Vedism involved the worship of numerous male divinities who were connected with the sky and natural phenomena. The priests who officiated at this worship were known as Brahmans. The complex Vedic ceremonies centred on the ritual sacrifice of animals and with the pressing and drinking of a sacred intoxicating liquor called soma. There is speculation that human sacrifice was also used, as it was common to most religions in ancient times. The god of highest rank was Indra, a warlike god who conquered innumerable human and demon enemies and vanquished the sun, among other epic feats. The Vedic teachings had many other lesser deities, among whom were gods, demigods, and demons. The ancient Vedic teachings are about as relevant to modern everyday life as smoke signals are to modern communication.
RESPONDENT: The achievement of excellence in service to others is usually best served by us fulfilling our dharmic duties whilst we address karmatic issues.
PETER: The principle of dharma, the religious and moral law governing individual conduct is inseparably entwined with the Hindu caste system that arose from the ancient ideological division of society into four classes – priests, warriors, agriculturists / traders and servants. Many, though not all, Hindus acknowledge the supremacy of the Brahman (priestly) class as the highest representative of religious purity and knowledge, and many support the notion that social and religious duties are differently determined according to birth and inherent ability. The idea of dharma, a duty or moral obligation of ritual, principle and strictures is a religious/ cultural imposition and restriction – the antithesis of an autonomous freedom.
I always found the principle of karma, the law whereby acts produce future good or bad results to be remarkably similar to the monotheist ‘You will rot in hell if you don’t ...’ admonition. The Eastern version is that you will remain trapped in the karmic wheel of endless rebirth into earthly suffering. This is just goodness maintained by the threat of damnation for one’s soul, or goodness rewarded by eternal life for one’s soul. Does this not mean that the ‘service to others’ that is espoused in religious teachings is ultimately ‘self’-serving – ‘I’ do it to escape from suffering and damnation and to feel sanctimonious and achieve salvation? This ‘service to others’ is hardly a free and extemporized consideration for one’s fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT: Since everything eventually causes us to discover what we need for our freedom there is no right or wrong way to proceed. The question becomes: Which methodology within the infinite realm of possibility will serve to discover enlightenment in my life in the most efficient way possible? The answer is to take the most intensive course we can handle that is conducive to Harmony within our lives. This naturally points us to experience our ordinary life in extraordinary ways.
PETER: I am always amazed that many spiritual teachers say there is no right and wrong way and then immediately proceed to point to a right and wrong way or a good and bad way. If everything eventually causes people to discover what they need for their freedom, why are you talking about the need to fulfill dharmic duties and address karmic issues? The very notion of dharma duties implies right and wrong, good and bad and this duty, or imposition, is maintained by the carrot and stick heavy-duty threat of karmic damnation or salvation. This duplicity of Eastern spiritual teachings is what prevents most seekers, who think they are into something new, from seeing that they but entrapped in nothing more than old-time religion.
RESPONDENT: We need not throw away our careers, our social state, or our possessions. We simply need to perceive these things in a way that does not lend itself to attachment.
PETER: No 6’s question was –
Your answer seems to be that you can live life but just don’t be attached to living life. This detachment or dissociation from actual life is the very issue she is addressing and all the priests have ever offered is keep being detached ... or else.
There are, in fact, three worlds – everyday grim reality of the real world, the impassioned fantasy of a Greater Reality of a spirit-ual world and the purity and perfection of the actual world. The first two are ‘self’-created – a product of social/ spiritual conditioning and the genetically-encoded animal survival instincts. The actual world is only experienced in pure consciousness experiences when the ‘self’ is temporarily absent, or as a permanent on-going experiencing when the ‘self’, both ego and soul, is eliminated entirely.
RESPONDENT: One of the things I find interesting about this is that we are potentially surrounded by highly realized people all the time. The expression of Divinity is found in the way people treat each other and the feelings of love and support they generate. That is the only reliable way to determine people’s evolutionary achievement.
PETER: If we take the actual behaviour of highly realized people as an expression of Divinity – the pinnacle of human evolutionary achievement – then it is obvious that humanity is in trouble and there will be no end to human malice and sorrow. All of the highly realized people have been found to be anything but perfect and anything but pure. The fact is that there is no harmony, no peace, no mutual agreement, no transparency, no equity, no consensus and no common viewpoint evident in the spiritual/religious world. At best there is a cobbled together feeling of oneness within individual groups and followings, which subsequently only leads to alienation from, and animosity to, other groups of human beings who don’t share the ideals and beliefs of your group or Guru/ God. The suffering and violence that this sense of moral superiority and mutual support within religious/ spiritual groups causes is legendary. The countless recriminations, persecutions, vitriolic conflicts and religious wars that are ever ongoing is testament to the Pandora’s Box of shared beliefs in Divine forces or the individual and selfish pursuit of Divine-realization. We humans now need to do better than this, and it is now possible, for a way has now been discovered to completely and utterly eliminate human malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: When we recognize the illusion of separation we have a vested interest in the attainment of everyone. When we recognize the Divine Harmony within all things we start offering it back that we might all recognize each other in the Divine Community we find ourselves within.
PETER: This statement does beg the question why. Why do religious/ spiritual priests and teachers always have a vested interest in ‘the attainment of everyone’? Why do they need support, followers, like-minded believers. Why do they seek to ensnare and convert others into their particular belief system and their particular group who feel unity and oneness? The only way the feeling of separation can be assuaged and the illusion of oneness can ever be actualized is if there was only one single dictatorial religious/ spiritual group empowered in the world. This competition for religious/ spiritual power has caused countless recriminations, persecutions, vitriolic conflicts and religious wars and even within particular groups there are most often numerous competing sub-cults and conflicting groups – anything but harmony and a lot of desperate feelings of separation and alienation. All religion sucks and the ideal of a Harmonious Divine Community is a myth. I know, for I have lived in spiritual communities for years and have experienced first hand the cult of the Guru and the subsequent formation of yet another competing religious group.
It is clearly time to abandon the fantasy and folly of escaping into Divine Communities and begin the business of eliminating our personal malice and sorrow such that we can ‘self’-lessly, sensuously and sensibly delight in the perfection and purity of the actual world. The first step on this new down-to-earth path to an actual freedom is to thoroughly and sensibly question the facticity and workability of religious/ spiritual belief and not settle for summary dismissals and puerile platitudes.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.