Denial plus Acceptance = No Change
A Book Review by Peter of
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Six Freedom and Joy – Right Here, Right Now
There is a state of being that has been described as ‘the peace that passeth all understanding’, the Tao, the Hidden Harmony. Closer to our own experience we tend to describe it as happiness, spirit, freedom, source or inner peace. Yet no word or phrase can really express the nature of this state. This and all following quotes from: ‘In Each Moment. A new way to live’ by Paul Lowe Looking Glass Press 1998
PETER: Yawn. The old Divine Experience that mere mortal humans cannot understand and that cannot be described in words. Feeling oneself to be Divine, the source, an immortal spirit or whatever is indeed a grand and overwhelming experience but many, many accounts exist describing the spiritual Altered States of Consciousness or the brief experience commonly called Satori.
PAUL LOWE: This indescribable state exists equally in everyone. It has been covered up by what we have been told is and is not possible. From this conditioning, we have created patterns of behaviour that have literally buried our essence, our joy and our spirit.
PETER: Here he adds a dash of ‘we are born innocent’ – the ancient Tabula Rasa theory – which is always music to the soul. It means that ‘I’ need to do nothing, that everything is okay with ‘me’, ‘I’ simply have to realize ‘I’ am That or ‘I’ am God.
PAUL LOWE: We have assumed there is something wrong with us and we have spent our lives attempting to put it right. In fact there is nothing wrong; all we need to do is become aware, in each moment, of the behavioural patterns with which we have covered our essential self.
PETER: So ‘in fact there is nothing wrong’ also includes all the wars, rapes, murders, domestic violence, corruption, tortures, despair, suicides, etc. If nothing is wrong then the Human Condition of malice and sorrow is okay with Paul. Nothing needs to change on the planet, for it is all the ‘outer world’ and, when full delusion sets in, it is all regarded as an illusion anyway. D+A = nc!
The use of awareness in the spiritual world is a total abuse of the word. To call practicing and becoming ‘disconnected’ from the physical world ‘awareness’ is an utter effrontery to intelligence. This is not awareness – this is to ignore, to deny, to encourage ‘not knowing’, to cut off, to turn away – the very antithesis of awareness.
Conscious, sensible, not ignorant, having knowledge, well-informed, responsive to conditions etc., informed about current developments. Oxford Dictionary.
If you hear a spiritually trained or influenced person (which is everyone) use the term awareness, what they are talking of is a selective, narrow, ‘self’-centred, ‘self’-serving viewpoint deliberately practiced in order to ignore and turn away from the Human Condition.
To practice ‘spiritual awareness’ is to guarantee a permanent exile from the actual world.
PAUL LOWE: When we are present to each moment we are on the path to ‘the indescribable’, to freedom. Much of the time we feel uncomfortable and we try to escape from this experience. We escape into our addictions, into alcohol, smoking, eating, anger, relationship conflicts or complaining. Working on ourselves can also be like a drug; it is what we do instead of being who we are, feeling what we feel. We can encourage ourselves to be who we truly are, to feel whatever we are feeling. There is no need to understand, nor to work on ourselves. All that is needed is simply to be ourselves. <Snip> We have forgotten, or lost touch with knowing, that we are spirit contained in body, mind and emotions – and not a body that possibly contains the essence of pure spirit. This is the realization that awaits us as we bring ourselves present to each moment. Paul Lowe ‘In Each Moment’
PETER: Which means we can still have ‘the behavioural patterns’ – anger, greed and lust, to mention the few quoted in the first chapter – but we can feel whatever we are feeling – that we are ‘the source’. Far better than feeling ourselves to be lost, lonely, frightened .... and mortal. The music for the soul is rising to symphonic crescendo ... Nothing to do, ‘I’ am okay, there is nothing wrong with ‘me’, it’s okay to be angry, greedy and lustful, ‘I’ am wonderful, ‘I’ am above it all, in fact ‘I’ feel like ‘I’ am God. I’ve left my old self behind so this must be a self-less state!
To bring your ‘self’ present to each moment is to invite the possibility of a Satori and the potential of an Altered State of Consciousness.
To leave your ‘self’ behind at this moment is to have a Pure Consciousness Experience, to actively work on cultivating a non-spiritual awareness will inevitably result in ‘self’ immolation and an Actual Freedom from the Human Condition.
PAUL LOWE: A life of freedom begins when we realize deep within ourselves that we are whole and complete just as we are. There is nothing to do, nothing to find, to see, to understand, to work on. There is no right way to be.
PETER: Following and revering the wisdom of the humans who lived thousands of years ago, who thought the world was flat, that the sky above and earth below were populated by good and evil spirits, is to deliberately remain unaware, insensitive, ignorant. Accepting the Human Condition as inviolate and turning one’s awareness ‘inside’, guarantees that one identifies with the ‘good’ part of one’s instinctual self and that nothing changes.
D + A = nc.
PAUL LOWE: Peace and fulfillment come from living in the depths of ourselves, sensitively, with awareness, in each moment.
PETER: Peace on earth is sacrificed for an utterly self-ish feeling of ‘inner’ peace, and sensible consideration of one’s fellow human beings is sacrificed for grandiose feelings of self-fulfillment, as in ... ‘I am God’.
Well, an interesting observation that came out of this chapter was the spiritual misuse and deliberate abuse of the word awareness.
We Actualists will claim the word back, thank you.
From The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary, for those who want to further pursue the investigation and understanding of awareness –
— being cognizant or conscious (of); informed. Oxford Dictionary
Peter: In common usage awareness refers to ‘I’ or ‘me’ being aware. The psychological and psychic entity within the body usurps the body’s senses, giving an apparent validity to its existence, and experienced as though ‘I’ see through the eyes, ‘I’ hear with the ears, ‘I’ smell with the nose, ‘I’ touch, ‘I’ think and ‘I’ am aware. ‘I’ experience myself as an alien in the world for ‘I’ am seemingly trapped within the body, feel isolated and disassociated from the world, and often yearn for freedom or release. Thus ‘normal’ awareness is typified by feelings of separation and alienation, fear and suspicion, resentment and aggression. With increasing life experience, disillusionment and disappointment, ‘I’ become cynical, resigned or accepting of ‘my’ lot in life, as any remaining naiveté is replaced with cunning self-interest.
This cunning selfishness is most prevalent in the spiritual practice of developing a higher form of ‘awareness’. This practice creates a disassociated higher entity, commonly known as ‘the watcher’, who then watches what ‘I’ feel, what ‘I’ think, what ‘I’ am aware of. This illusionary awareness of one’s ‘self’, if practiced assiduously can, on rare occasions, lead to a full-blown delusion or ASC whereby this watcher or Higher Self can imagine or ‘realize’ itself to be Divine and Immortal. Even if this Ultimate State is not reached, the practice and pretence of developing a new identity – the higher Self as opposed to the normal self – leads one further away from the possibility of developing a genuine awareness, bare of any ‘self’ whatsoever.
Thus far there have only been two alternatives –
There is now available a third alternative for those who seek a genuine freedom from the Human Condition in its totality – the elimination of both the self and Self. When one’s awareness is freed of the emotional and instinctual bondage created by the psychological and psychic entity, a bare awareness of the actual world-as-it-is becomes extravagantly obvious. This awareness is readily apparent in the pure consciousness experience, or PCE, when ‘I’ temporarily abdicate the role of being ‘the one who is aware’. The physical senses, freed of the limitations and restrictions of a fear-based interpreter, are heightened in the extreme. The brain, similarly freed of restrictions, is able to operate with immense clarity and ‘self’-awareness is replaced by apperception – the brain’s ability to be aware of itself. Actual Freedom Trust Glossary
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Seven Work – Is It Really Necessary?
‘When people ask me about the meaning of work, I ask myself, ‘At what level am I going to reply to this question?’ The way most people think about ‘work’ arises from their conditioning and that is usually based on a level of basic survival. I am not interested in that level any longer. <Snip> No attempts to understand or change anything at this level will ever succeed in a deep and enduring way. It is now time to shift from survival to fulfillment.
PETER: When one attains to a certain level of Guru-ship, and can convincingly sell the alluring dream of self-fulfillment, there are followers who are eager and willing to pay to provide for one’s basic survival. When a survival level is assured, one then aims to attract a greater following in order to attain a level of comfortable wealth. Once this level is reached the insatiable drive for fame and power really kick in and the desire to have the most followers, to be the best Guru soon overwhelms any remaining sanity and pretty soon we are talking of the desire to be the One and Only God-man. Franklin Jones, aka Da Free John, aka Adidas, is a prime case of this crazed level of megalomania run amok.
Fulfillment is an impossibility for a ‘self’ and even if one manages to become a ‘Self’, a deluded God-man or God-woman, enough is never enough. It was never enough for the Tibetan Lamas to feel themselves immortal – when they died they ensured their rotting corpses were coated in gold, provided by ordinary Tibetans. There is a local Guru I know who spends half the year travelling the world in order to spread his fame and gather more followers. I simply see him as a travelling salesman endlessly totting the globe, endlessly after more wealth, more adoration, and more power ... and he will never have enough.
The instinctual passion of desire is, by its very nature and programming, always insatiable.
PAUL LOWE: People tend to feel they have to struggle in life and work is frequently where the struggle is greatest. If people do not have difficulty, they often do not experience a self because they define themselves through struggle. <Snip> Although they usually are not aware of it, people want trouble. They want conflict. They want to fight because that is how they give meaning to life. Without the fight, without the struggle, they do not have a sense of who they are. What they could have is a sense of something far greater and more wonderful.
PETER: No. Human beings are genetically programmed to fight. To seek to escape in fantasy and imagination may feel ‘far greater and more wonderful’ but it is only fantasy and imagination.
PAUL LOWE: All we have is this moment – unconditionally. <Snip> Life is about expanding our consciousness and maturing through experience. There is no particular direction to this, because each of us is totally different, unique.
PETER: ‘Unconditionally’ means to accept the Human Condition as-it-is – in other words, that human beings are meant to suffer and fight for it is part of the overall game plan of ‘the source’. To unconditionally accept the Human Condition as-it-is, is to deny the possibility that flesh-and-blood human beings can ever be free of malice and sorrow. ‘It is the way it is because that’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s always been, so that’s the way it always will be’ – sad indictment of human existence on this paradisiacal planet.
As for ‘there is no particular direction’ to this ‘expanding our consciousness’, the direction has been well mapped for thousands of years and nothing different or unique has resulted. A God-man is a God-man, a religion is a religion, and the fights and feuds that go on between them are legendary and on-going. Nothing different, nothing unique, more of the same ... and nothing changed.
PAUL LOWE: Ask yourself ‘What am I doing and what am I doing it for?’ This is not the esoteric, ‘Who am I?’ It is a more practical, ‘Who am I in this moment. What is life about for me right now?’
PETER: The difference between the esoteric ‘Who am I?’ and the more practical ‘Who am I in this moment?’ totally escapes me. An Actualist asks the question ‘What am I?’ in order to find a practical, down-to-earth answer. Asking the spiritual question ‘Who am I?’ has always, and can only, lead to one answer – ‘I am God’.
Asking the question ‘Who am I in this moment’ leads to such inanities as ‘I am watching my ‘self’ be angry but it is not me being angry – it is only anger happening’. One begins to create a second entity – a ‘me’ who watches an ‘I’ being angry and who then begins to disassociate and disconnect from the bad or negative feelings, emotions and passions.
An Actualist remains firmly rooted in the facts that there are only two things in operation in this moment of being alive. There is the actual, physical flesh and blood body me – what I am – inside of which dwells a parasitical entity – the ‘me’ who I think and feel I am. By asking the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ one has the opportunity to discover and investigate, and incrementally eliminate, the alien entity who is causing me, the flesh and blood body, to feel sad, feel lonely, act violently, be cunning, be malicious, say something spiteful, feel resentful, etc. etc. These feelings, emotions and passions are real in that they are ruining my happiness and causing me to be harmful to my fellow human beings. It’s a simple business, nothing complicated.
There is a ‘what’ I am and there is a ‘who’ I am. No need to get your pronouns in a twist and no sense in continuing on with the spiritual deviousness of creating a third ‘I’ as the watcher. There is a cute little ‘Vineeto diagram’ that says it all.
PAUL LOWE: There are many depths of truth to explore. What is your truth about your relationship? What is your truth about your job, your fears, your longings? It is important to remember that the responses to these questions emerge out of each moment, and are not fixed, unchanging ‘truths’. Often when you register your truth deeply, you mature into a new level of being and your truth in the very next moment may be different.
PETER: So, by asking the question ‘Who am I in this moment?’ a mature response is – my ‘truth’ changes and may be different every moment. Sounds exactly like ‘normal’ life to me. Up one minute, down the next, angry one minute, happy the next, sad the next. And this understanding is purported to be from one who has ‘matured into a new level of being’.
No wonder people are still looking to the heavens for help if this is human wisdom at its best!
PAUL LOWE: Start being here in each moment. If you do not like the job you currently have, what job would you like? What do you want to do? What is your heart’s desire? <Snip> Put aside the mind and what people tell you is practical and realistic. Make yourself available to what you want and be open to the possibility of support to help you realize it, then see what happens. You may be amazed at what occurs. Go for what you really want.
PETER: In the previous chapter it was ‘life will take care of you; if you allow it, you will always get what you need.’ From above it was ‘I am not interested in that (basic survival) level any longer.’ And now comes the advice ‘Go for what you really want.’ When challenged as to the contradictions and nonsense of their gratuitous and fatuous advice the Gurus usually come out with ‘it is beyond the mind’ or it ‘passeth all understanding’. As such they have literally been getting away with murder.
PAUL LOWE: Life is about now and if it is not working now, it will never work. Out of this moment comes the next moment. And the next. <Snip> Life is here now and this now is totally unknown.
PETER: Surely if it is ‘not working now’ – as in being happy and harmless – then one has something to do to make it work? It would involve acknowledging there is a problem, as in ‘I am not happy’ or ‘I am causing harm to others’, and then finding a way to eliminate the problem in order that it does not re-occur.
The problem of human beings being afflicted by sorrow and malice is a software problem. The solution is to delete the software that is causing the glitches – get rid of the ‘not working’.
To give up and say ‘it will never work’ is to surrender, and to spiritually surrender is to surrender to ‘a something’ or ‘a someone’ who is greater than you. Then you are really in trouble.
As for, ‘Out of this moment comes the next moment. And the next’ – there is only this moment that one can sensately experience. There is only a seamless series of ‘this moment’ as is evidenced by the ticking of the clock. This is not wisdom, this is fact. There is no ‘out of this moment comes the next...’
As for, ‘Life is here now and this now is totally unknown’ – this moment is always ‘unknown’ to the entity that dwells within the flesh and blood body for ‘I’ am an illusion and this moment is actual. The psychological and psychic entity within the body usurps the body’s senses, giving an apparent validity to its existence, and everything is experienced as though ‘I’ see out through the eyes, ‘I’ hear through the ears, ‘I’ smell through the nose, ‘I’ touch, ‘I’ think and ‘I’ am aware. ‘I’ experience myself as an alien in the world for ‘I’ am seemingly trapped within the body, feel isolated and disassociated from the world, and often yearn for freedom or release.
Thus ‘normal’ awareness is typified by feelings of separation and alienation, fear and suspicion, resentment and aggression. The spiritual version is that there is another ‘I’, as awareness only, who is completely separate from both the flesh-and-blood-body and the ‘outside’ physical world, and who is therefore ‘free’ to dwell in an inner imaginary, eternal, spirit-ual world .
To make a virtue out of ‘not knowing’ and declaring that ‘this now is totally unknown’ is to perpetuate the fear-ridden ancient view of the physical world. To make ignorance a virtue and to continue to believe the ancient stories of a meta-physical world populated by Gods and Demons is a blatant stupidity. To retreat even further ‘inside’ in a desperate bid to feel ‘safe’ is to go 180 degrees away from the actual, physical, sensate, sensuous experience of this very moment hanging in eternal time and infinite space.
A relevant piece from the glossary to round off this post –
– At the present time or moment; under the present circumstances. In the time directly following on the present moment; immediately, at once. In the time directly preceding the present moment. ... Oxford Dictionary
PETER: I did sit back and wonder whether it was useful to continue, particularly as the book is largely repetitive, but every now and again a pearl emerges which gives me a fresh opportunity to say something, and present some facts about, Spiritual Wisdom.
The spiritual message is – don’t worry about changing anything, simple retreat from the physical outer world into your inner world of feelings. And this message is nothing other than a reinforcement of that all pervasive message, the mother of all beliefs – ‘You can’t change Human Nature’.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Eight Relating – An Invitation to Expand
One of the most significant changes that is happening on the planet is difficult to talk about because the mind does not want to hear it. We have been conditioned to believe that events on the outside control how we feel on the inside, which is not true. The changes that have the potential to transform our lives have to do with our inner world, with consciousness, not our attempts to change and control the people and things around us.
PETER: Difficult to talk about? I personally have been hearing these same words for over 20 years, and the message of transformation has been preached about, talked about, written about, and practiced for thousands of years. What do you think the millions of monks, saddhus and disciples have been doing all this time if not desperately trying for inner transformation? Does ‘potential’ have a use-by date? When can we demand results – as in ‘significant changes’? As for – ‘the mind does not want to hear it’ – the message of denial and personal transcendence is indeed anathema to common sense, but ... it is sweet music to the ‘soul’.
PAUL LOWE: However, your conditioning on this has been so pervasive that most of your life revolves around the belief that you are controlled by external events.
PETER: Spiritualism has it that we are ‘conditioned’ by evil and wrong thinking since birth, an adaptation of the root belief that humans are born innocent and then ‘possessed’ by evil spirits. The ‘conditioned-since-birth’ theory has been strengthened and given a false credence by Mr. Freud and others who combined their avid interest in Eastern philosophy with their studies of human behaviour and collared together some very unscientific theories. The denial of animal instinctual passions in humans is deep-set, ongoing and entwined not only as religion, but in all human thought, literature, philosophy and theoretical ‘sciences’.
PAUL LOWE: When something pleasant happens and you feel good, it is not the circumstances that make you feel that way. When the event takes place you say ‘yes’ – you expand and make yourself available to what is. The acceptance and the expansion produce the good feelings. When something unpleasant or unexpected happens, you say no to what is happening, and that contraction, not the incident itself, produces the bad feeling. It is never the event, but how you are with the event that creates your experience.
PETER: This is not a theoretical, philosophical critique. It is vitally important for an Actualist to understand precisely what is being said and to determine whether one is falling into the trap of denial and transcendence.
The trap goes like this –
When a good event happens then you accept it and practice an expansion of the good feelings. When an unpleasant event happens you feel bad but it is then you who are creating the bad feeling by not expanding yourself. To do this you need to deny that the event is causing the feeling and practice expanding, or ‘rising above’ the bad feeling. Thus you practice disassociation from any unpleasant events and the resulting bad feelings until you identify as someone who has transcended bad feelings and become a person who only has good feelings. This is ‘self’-aggrandizement – 180 degrees opposite to ‘self’-immolation.
PAUL LOWE: All this has to do with consciousness, not with particular incidents, and consciousness is the direction to which many of you are beginning to turn and explore.
PETER: What should be written is ‘All this has to do with my consciousness, not with particular incidents and my consciousness is the direction to which ‘I’ need to turn and explore.’ An utterly ‘self’-ish and ‘self’-centred approach to this actual world of people, things and events. So unaware and ignorant are the spiritualists that they don’t even recognize that whenever they use the word consciousness, what they are really saying is ‘me’ as soul or ‘who’ I feel I am.
The spiritual world is a world of ‘me’, ‘me’, ‘me’, ‘me’, and only ‘me’.
PAUL LOWE: There will always be something that upsets you, forever. This dimension is designed that way.
PETER: Ah, well. Not much use worrying about the actual physical world on this planet for it is ‘designed’ for humans to get angry at other human beings and to forever feel sad for being here. What a lamentable, pathetic and sadomasochistic design. And then, to top it all off, we are supposed to then feel grateful to the designer for our lot on earth, lest we further incur his or her wrath and anger.
PAUL LOWE: As a support in realizing whatever anger or resentment you may have with someone that you are ready to let fall away, consider this gentle active meditation: Are you carrying any anger or resentment; are you blaming someone for your pain? If you are, take a look at letting go. It is almost certain that the pain is hurting you more than them.
PETER: Wow! This is self-centredness in the extreme. What he is saying is – If you are angry or resentful towards someone then ... ‘it is almost certain that the pain is hurting you more than them.’ What about the person you are angry with or resentful towards? Whether this anger is physically or verbally expressed, or is just an unexpressed feeling, is this not still malice in operation? Is this not causing harm to another human being?
To inflict suffering on another human being and then declare that ‘it is hurting me more than it is hurting you’ is an abysmal and pathetic act of self-centred myopia. It may be an effective way of assuaging and letting go of one’s own feelings of guilt but, in fact, it is an act of breathtaking selfish denial.
PAUL LOWE: Let your side of it go. Feel your heart. Take a few minutes. As you look, you might find an intense feeling inside because in that incident you felt pain. You felt your aloneness, your unworthiness, your indignation. <Snip> Take a look at letting it all go now. Experiment with not holding on to it any longer and see how you feel.
PETER: One would have felt aloneness for the simple reason that humans are angry and resentful at those they are supposed to love. The instinctual passions of fear and aggression very often override the feelings of nurture and desire, most particularly when the initial chemical rushes decline with time and familiarity. By unworthiness, I take it, he means guilt for exhibiting such base feelings as anger and resentment despite our societal training to be good and repress these passions. By indignation, I take it, he means taking offence from what was done, said or thought by another human being to you.
Feelings are the bane of Humanity and it is time to be rid of the whole rotten lot, rather than practice these games that do nothing but indulge and gratify one’s ‘self’ as a transcendental being – who feels ‘above it all’.
It’s a bit like wading through a cesspool, ignoring the really bad and claiming the better pieces for oneself.
PAUL LOWE: One stage you may move through is forgiveness. Another stage is gratefulness.
PETER: By practicing forgiveness one then expands the feeling of compassion for those still concerned about and ‘attached to’ their anger and resentment – one then feels sorry for, and pity towards, those ‘less conscious’ than you.
From practicing gratitude comes the feeling that there is a something or someone that one needs to bow down and prostrate oneself before. Gratitude is a way of turning away from the ‘real’ world and pumping up feelings of unconditional love directed at an imaginary ‘source’. This love is unrequited for there is no chance of it being returned, and unconditional for there is no-one or no-thing to put conditions upon it. No wonder it is so popular – you get to feel good about loving nothing. Pity about the loyalty, jealousy, resentment, dependency, etc., that inevitably come with this love and gratitude ... and that cause the religious persecutions, discriminations, fanaticism, wars, etc.
PAUL LOWE: Somewhere inside ourselves we are all looking to let go, to finish with the unpleasant past. Then we can start again. Right now, you can start your life anew.
PETER: The spiritual Gurus preach that human anger, violence and aggression are the result of the inevitable conditioning of one’s pure soul since birth, that anger, violence and aggression are an unchangeable part of the ‘design of this dimension’, and that one can transcend these bad feelings simply by letting them go. Put even more bluntly – ‘acceptance and the expansion produce the good feelings.’ Good feelings can then be expanded into Grand feelings and Grand feelings can expand into ... ‘Oh God, I am feeling Good’ then ‘Oh good, I am feeling God’, and for the chosen few – ‘Oh God, I am God ... oh .. Very Good!’
Of course, this is the world of institutionalized insanity – the spiritual world – and, as such, it’s so easy to poke fun of. It would all be a joke except for the fact of the appalling human suffering and misery that is enshrined and perpetuated by the God-men and their followers.
Up until now the only escape from the real world has been into a world of fantasy – the spiritual world. There is, however, a third world, this actual world of purity and perfection that is inaccessible to the alien entity that dwells within the human flesh and blood body – ‘who’ you think and feel you are. The usurper, the impostor, the spoiler, the fake, the sham, the phoney, the charlatan, the fraud.
So, to recap a little on what is being revealed in this review:
An Actualist is careful and accurate in the use and meaning of words. For the spiritualist the misuse and disregard of words and avoiding sensible communication is necessary in order to get away with what they do. An Actualist does not play this game for one would then only be fooling oneself – a sad state of affairs indeed.
The wide and wondrous path to Actual Freedom is a search for what is genuine, sensible, down-to-earth, authentic, unadulterated, factual, verifiable and actual and, as such, involves the systematic observation, investigation and elimination of all that is false.
Which is why self-immolation is the inevitable result.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Nine When the Spirit Takes Over
Suggestion to the reader: The experience of this chapter can be deepened if you have it read to you while you close your eyes. <snip>
I invite you to join me in exploring the possibilities suggested in this reverie.
PETER: The classic way to listen to fairy stories is to close one’s eyes and imagine the story being told to you is real. It is a well-used device for instilling moral tales of good and evil in children, in hypnosis and psycho-therapy sessions, and in the spiritual world it is used in Satsangs, meditations, discourses, past-life recessions and the like. Closing one’s eyes is a way of cutting off the primary sensorial input and disassociating from the physical world, thereby allowing one to become more fully engaged in unfettered imagination – i.e. thinking totally unrelated to reality and therefore twice removed from actuality.
PAUL LOWE: Imagine that we are all together in a dimension that has no form. It is not material, it is pure spirit. There is no separation as we know it. We can all move in and out of each other. Then we hear about a dimension that has form, and something called ‘experience’, which we do not have in this unformed state. This dimension, we are told, is created of material, tangible substance. <snip> We are told that before we can enter the dimension called planet Earth we have to adopt a form that will enable us to touch things and be touched. We will still be free spirits but we will be contained in a structure. This structure consists of a body that can have sensations in the mind, in the emotions and at a physical level.
PETER: The fairy story begins. This story has been told for so many thousands of years that its original source is blurred in the mists of time. It would seem that both Eastern and Western religious fables share a common heritage in Middle Eastern God-stories. The basis of all religious belief is that ‘who’ we feel and think we are is a disembodied ‘spirit’ who has taken up temporary residency in the mortal flesh and blood body.
PAUL LOWE: We will not easily be able to drift out of this body and then back in. In this new dimension we will become attached to the form and the game will be finding a way to detach ourselves, in order to be free, while continuing to exist in this form.
PETER: ‘Detach’ is the important word here and the name of the spiritual game is to practice detachment. To imagine that one really is a spirit who can ‘drift out of this body and then back in’ is to imagine that one can survive the death of the body and go ‘somewhere else’ after death. ‘Ordinary spirituality’ is often careful to avoid directly mentioning the promise of life after death lest it be seen as ordinary religious pap, but the seductive lure is nevertheless there and the willingly gullible fall for the story, hook, line and sinker.
PAUL LOWE: When you take a form, it already has built-in programs. These programs have been inherited from parents, society and thousands of years of conditioning.
PETER: 180 degrees in the wrong direction! The spirit – ‘who’ you think and feel you are – is the program in the brain. This is easily observed in a new born infant which has a genetically encoded, but minimally developed, instinctual programming and one’s social programming begins later.
The spirit, the alien entity within the flesh and blood body, is the program, and all spirit-ual belief is part of this social programming. To get rid of the alien spirit one simply needs to get rid of both the societal and instinctual programming. One then becomes ‘what’ one is – a mortal flesh and blood body only, free of the illusion of being a spirit.
PAUL LOWE: The mind in this machine is untamed – wild. It has will and thinks thoughts on its own. Emotions can be disturbed at any time.
PETER: The spiritual people always think of themselves as being civilized or of having a higher consciousness – this feeling of superiority is the direct result of practicing transcendence. As a meta-physical ‘spirit’ only, one disassociates from, and transcends, the wild beast – the human animal body. Delusions of Divinity are the inevitable result of these spiritual practices.
PAUL LOWE: When you enter the machine, you are stuck there until you find a way out. <snip> As you enter the machine you forget who you are, that you are pure spirit. Yet it is possible to become conscious of the automatic parts of the machine and as you do, you move towards remembering who you really are, you move towards your freedom. <snip> Eventually you will be totally free within the machine; then it will start to balance itself. You and the machine will become one and you will be free to be here or to leave.
PETER: So, each and every spirit entering a human body perversely has their memory erased and has to suffer to the point where, in sheer desperation, they turn to the Ancient fairy stories and then realize it was all God’s sick joke. Having realized this they can then sit in their Ashrams, Satsangs, meditations, therapy groups and spiritual communities and feel superior to those who have not yet got the joke.
T’would all be a joke except for the fact that 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.
For an Actualist, a sincere interest in actualizing peace on earth is vital in order to prevent the seductive lure of ‘self’-aggrandizement and the instinctual lure of ‘self’-preservation from diverting him or her from the path to ‘self’-immolation.
PAUL LOWE: As you settle into this form you will probably find that this machine has a mind and it never stops. It thinks all the time. Without you doing the thinking, it keeps thinking on its own. It also has feelings and sensations in the body all on its own, that have nothing whatsoever to do with you. All you have to do is to be aware of being in there.
PETER: This ancient ignorance of the functioning of the human mind, and the source and makeup of one’s ‘self’, actively prevents one doing anything about the situation one finds oneself in as a human being on this planet.
Denial and transcendence undoubtedly lead to the feeling of freedom but the feeling of freedom is but a paltry substitute for an actual freedom from the Human Condition in toto.
Did you notice his last sentence – ‘All you have to do is to be aware of being in there’? When spiritual people talk of being ‘here’ they always mean ‘there’, as in – inside the body.
PAUL LOWE: You may notice that this machine can hear things; it picks up sounds outside of itself. It might have some pain or discomfort in the body. But remember, you are a visitor, you are simply noticing all this and watching the activity of the mind <snip> You are here, now. You are watching.
PETER: And we have the subtle word-slip from being ‘there’ to being ‘here’. One moment he was ‘there’ – the ethereal visitor, the spirit, the ‘watcher’, ‘aware of being in there’, meaning inside the flesh and blood body and the next minute he is claiming to be here.
‘There’ is an imaginary world and is most definitely not here in the physical, tangible, sensately experienced actual world.
Everyone has got it 180 degrees wrong. Everyone. Everyone who has sought freedom has sought to go ‘there’ – to the imaginary spirit-ual world.
The challenge is to come here to this actual world as experienced in the PCE. To be an Actualist is to be an adventurer, a pioneer, original, unique, a trail blazer, a forger of new ground, a breakaway.
PAUL LOWE: Remember you are the spirit in the machine – you are always watching. <snip> The machine has a life of its own. It is up to you to be conscious and present and not let it live you. <snip> The game is to be in the machine and feel free. <snip> You can start to remember who you really are, right now. You can start to come home.
PETER: To be ‘conscious and present’ there, in the body, is most definitely not to be sensately here in the actual world, as a flesh and blood body only. ‘The [spiritual] game is to be in the machine and feel free’ says it really all.
The game for an Actualist is to rid oneself of both the grim illusion of the real world and the divine delusion of the spiritual world. To take off one’s grey coloured glasses and to take off one’s rose coloured glasses.
Some sanity to finish this post, from the The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary –
— The action of imagining or forming mental images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses. Scheming or devising; a fanciful project. The faculty of fanciful thought. Oxford Dictionary
Peter: The human brain with its ability to cogitate, reflect and communicate is the only intelligence known to be currently manifest in the universe. These unique functions, when overlaid over the instinctual rudimentary ‘self’, produce in humans a much more sophisticated and complex self than in any other animal. Further, this individual self has been painfully aware not only of a ferocious world of wild animals and a harsh environment, but also of the fact that it could die or be killed at any moment. At some seminal moment in evolution, there began a faculty of fanciful thought, an escape from harsh reality and a retreat into the world of imagination. The sun became a thing of awe in the face of fear of darkness, the night skies and stars things of wonder in the face of the hell of life on earth. Thus the world of the heavens was to be eventually seen as populated by good and evil spirits, later to be personified as gods and goddesses, demons and devils. In the face of instinctual fear, humans escaped into a fanciful imaginary world that was to become so strong, so powerful, and so convincing as to be eventually accepted as being as real, and as substantial, as everyday reality.
Curiously, this world of imagination is not only confined to the spiritual world but is also rampant in all scientific communities as is evidenced by the meta-physical ruminations of theoretical physics, pure mathematics, psychology, anthropology, psychology, astronomy, etc. Various attempts have been made to crack through, or escape from, the stranglehold this imaginary psychic construct has over humanity, but all have failed to go all the way (up until now). This capacity for imagination is imbibed with mother’s milk – the first stories we are told, and therefore the first world view we have, is of an ‘other-world’ of fairy stories, fictionary romance, heroism, tales of good and evil – all totally imaginary and having no relevance to the physical, actual world of people, things and events in which we live.
We are, in fact, inducted into believing the imaginary world to be primary and real, and consequently to regard the physical, actual world as secondary and illusionary. This primary imaginary world includes both a ‘real’ world-view and its associated ‘spiritual’ world-view, neither of which are actual. This obsession with imagination, belief, trust, faith and hope offers a continuing haven of denial of the facts of the Human Condition and prevents us from getting up off our bums, or up from our lotus position, and taking the necessary action that will lead to the eventual elimination of malice and sorrow from this fair planet. The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary
What a grand adventure to prick the balloons of imagination and belief, illusion and delusion, and increasingly discover and experience the safe, benign, benevolent, perfect and pure, paradisiacal actual world that is happening, here and now.
PETER: It is getting a touch repetitive, but then again, so is Paul. His ‘great wisdom’ is so banal that he repeats the same message, chapter by chapter.
Given the process for an Actualist is to re-wire one’s brain it is essential to change the way one interprets the ‘spiritual message’ – to understand exactly what is being said rather than gloss over the content of the message. To remain passionately seduced by ancient belief and fear-driven imagination is an affront to one’s intelligence. Only by substituting fact for belief, that which can be sensately experienced for imagination, and common sense for affective feelings, can one begin to come to one’s senses both literally and figuratively.
But change does not come about without effort, work, diligence and perseverance – to both make one’s own investigations and discoveries, as well as reading what others have written of applying the method and experiencing the process of Actual Freedom. One’s progress and successes – or lack of – on the path to Actual Freedom are directly related to the time and effort devoted to these activities.
No effort = no change.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Ten Far More Than a Machine
Most of us spend our entire lives believing that our bodies, our minds and our emotions form who we are. We have forgotten that we are far more than the automatic machinery with which we have become identified. There is a part of us that is separate from the human machine. It is consciousness.
PETER: The common perception is that ‘I’ am consciousness – as in ‘I’ am who ‘I’ think and feel ‘I’ am.
The spiritual version is to take this illusionary entity, ‘I’ as consciousness, and turn it into a grand entity that is of ‘higher consciousness’ – disassociated from the physical, mortal body, disassociated from sensible thinking, enquiry and questioning, and disassociated from bad emotions, feelings and actions. This cultivating of another entity is formalized in many Eastern Religions by acts of renunciation, taking of vows, turning away from the temptations of the real world, adoption of robes and new names. The taking of Sannyas in Mr. Rajneesh’s religion is a prime example of adopting a new identity that many on this list will recognize.
PAUL LOWE: When someone around you is unpleasant, you quickly revert to an automatic pattern and you have a reaction from the survival level. The challenge is to be there, available to override this instantaneous conditioning.
PETER: By override is he implying suppressing, or does he mean override, as in ‘over’-ride, as in transcending?
PAUL LOWE: When you are present, listening to what that person is saying and aware of the effects it may have on your body, mind and emotions, you will come to realize that the one reacting is not you. You are the one who is aware of the effect and therefore, you do not have to react or suppress anything.
PETER: This is a clear and unambiguous description of the spiritual process. One does not eliminate one’s identity – one simply creates another identity – the ‘watcher’.
And as we know – to be a watcher is to be a wanker.
This new identity is clearly stated –
An Actualist would be vitally interested as to what form this ‘reacting’ takes. Does this ‘reacting’ mean I feel upset, I say something, I do something? Why am I reacting? What is this reacting doing to me and what is it doing to others around me? Why am I not happy and harmless in this moment? How can I eradicate this reacting? How can I be free of being upset, feeling offended, feeling or being malicious, feeling or being sorrowful? What needs to change? How do I need to change? ...
PAUL LOWE: You simply stand there, saying to yourself, ‘This person has said something that I find unpleasant to hear. My system is in panic; it is uncomfortable and it does not want to be uncomfortable, so instead it is becoming angry or shutting off. I am not going to support that reaction. I am going to be here. I am ready to experience this discomfort and not escape into the addictive pattern of anger or withdrawal.
PETER: By imagining oneself to be a dissociated watcher to all that is happening, any chance of a genuine sensible awareness as to what is actually happening in the situation is forfeited, any intelligent investigation is averted, any consideration of the effect of one’s reactions on others is avoided and any chance of understanding the Human Condition and the functioning of one’s own psyche is relinquished.
And another opportunity to change one’s reaction and behaviour is wasted ... not that change is on the spiritual menu.
PAUL LOWE: When a situation arises and you are not 100% present, you will react mechanically, like a computer that has been programmed from the past. Whether you react with a yes or no, this reaction is not originating in the purity of you. It comes from the part that is the robot. When you are present and unconditional with whatever the maximum potential of this moment may be, all the internal and external influences will be there, but they will have no real effect on you. When we stop avoiding and accept our experience, the sensations will be in the body, the mind, and the emotions but they will not be in the place that we will come to know as ourselves. We are beyond those things, yet we cannot make ourselves ‘go’ beyond them. Include the mind, the emotions and the body with acceptance and you are here and beyond them.
PETER: This is all good stuff for an Actualist! I think the expression is ‘grist for the mill’. And to think the God-men have the gall to claim they are in a ‘self’-less state when it is perfectly obvious that the spiritual process is designed to create another identity – the Self, the real ‘you’, the pure ‘you’, ‘the source’, etc.
His reference to ‘you are here and beyond them’ is a reluctant acknowledgement of the fact that while the spirit remains trapped within the body it has to accept its lot – until a final release when the body dies and then one can really go beyond. This is acknowledged in all Eastern religion whereby Enlightenment is seen as an experience of Nirvana, a prior state before final release into Parinirvana after death.
PAUL LOWE: You have been conditioned from the moment of your conception by things about which you have no idea – there are billions of influences. You will never be free of these and even if you could free yourself in this lifetime, what if there was a previous life and another one before that? The ‘work’ would never end. There is another way – disconnect from it all. You can allow the reactions, the feelings and the past to be there, yet you do not need to identify with any of it.
PETER: I am astounded when I meet spiritual people these days as to how little they understand of the Human Condition and how unwilling they are to do any ‘work’ in order to understand it. And when I read any spiritual writing, such as this book, I realize why. Believing in, and practicing, denial and acceptance combine to ensure that they will do nothing to evince any change in themselves. They only want to work on and indulge in their good feelings.
D + A = nc.
To finish off with a Actualist’s understanding of identity from The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary –
— The condition or fact of a person or thing being that specified unique person or thing, esp. as a continuous unchanging property throughout existence; the characteristics determining this; individuality, personality. Oxford Dictionary
Peter: Consists of two parts – the ego (who one thinks one is) and the soul (who one feels one’s self to be). This ‘unique’ identity is no more than the program of social conditioning that we are instilled with from birth onwards and which overlays our instinctually- programmed innate self. We then assume that we are unique individuals, but, in fact, we are forever bound both to society’s beliefs, morals and ethics and our instinctual animal passions. This dual bondage and the ensuing lack of freedom results in either rebellion against or resentful acceptance of one’s ‘lot in life’. Many people seek to escape from the bondage of ‘real’ world beliefs, morals and ethics and pursue the spiritual path of ‘freedom’ from everyday reality. For some .0001% of spiritual seekers an Altered State of Consciousness (aka Enlightenment) is achieved resulting in a delusionary shift of identity from mortal human to Immortal Divine. For the followers on the spiritual path the adoption of a new spiritual persona – an escape from everyday reality – suffices by imagining ‘mortal earthly life’ a necessary and acceptable passing phase on the way to a better ‘some-where else’, after death.
A personal down-to-earth view of identity –
The challenge facing modern modern humans is to rid themselves of all past identity in order to become free of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow. The first step is to rid oneself of one’s socially instilled identity – all the morals, ethics, values and psittacisms that bind one to be part of the traditional waring groups be they ethnic, tribal, religious, spiritual, social, ethical or political. Stripped of the illusion that the world is a grim place, and stripped of the delusion that there exists a meta-physical world, one is then able to tackle one’s animal instinctual heritage – the innate ‘being’ that is programmed by blind nature to survive at any cost. This program of fear, aggression, nurture and desire needs to be eliminated if one is to achieve one’s destiny – an actual freedom, the like of which has not been possible before.
The Human Condition is a transitory stage in the evolution from animal to human, and a method is now available for those who want to achieve freedom from the burden of being a sorrowful and malicious social identity and of being biologically bound to instinctual animal-survival passions. The ‘survival’ phase of human evolution is finishing – the challenge for humans now is to be happy and harmless. To be a pioneer in this process is to be both unique and individual and to evince an Actual Freedom is to be more free than a bird on the wing. The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary
So Paul has explained very clearly that practicing denial and acceptance and developing a spiritual watcher is but a cunning trick that does nothing but creates a new spiritual identity.
PETER: There must be literally thousands of books produced each year offering ‘new and unique’ insights into Eastern religion and philosophy but as Mr. Lowe is ‘one of the most highly trained spiritual teachers in the world’, as it says on the sleeve of his book, his expertise and experience in the field is considerable. It is, however, obvious from his writing that he is not yet fully deluded into believing himself to be God-on-earth as do Mohan Rajneesh, Franklin Jones, Antoinette Varner, Barry Long and the like. Because he has not totally flipped into a permanent Altered State of Consciousness, or suffered an identity shift, he is both willing and able to describe the spiritual process very well indeed. The fully Deluded Ones are much more careful to maintain an aura of mystique and majesty so as to enhance their absolute power and authority – an ‘ordinary’ spirituality is not sufficient for the truly Divine Beings.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Eleven The ‘I’ Is Not You
There is a place inside all of us which is empty and at the same time, full. It has no form, yet it is overflowing with energy. It is still, yet it is continuously moving, though this movement has no pattern. It simply is. Nothing goes on there, and yet everything is there, formlessly. Although this state is unnameable, we will call it ‘the source’. As with most people, you will probably live unaware of this source in your daily lives. You live in your ‘I’, which is full of mind activity that constantly measures and evaluates. <snip> Your sense of yourself revolves around that ‘I’ to such an extent that you believe it is you.
PETER: The last sentence points to the fact that the spiritual philosophy and, as such, a good deal of modern psychiatry, identifies the ‘self’ as an illusion. The ‘self’ is an illusion made substantial and real due to an ignorance of the facts of what it is to be a human being and a lack of a direct unfiltered experience of actuality. The traditional subversion in spirituality is to shift one’s identity from what they call ‘I’ as ego to ‘me’ as soul – the ‘place inside all of us which is empty and at the same time, full’. My experience is that this state is empty of thoughts of ‘I’ but full of feelings of ‘me’. This feeling of ‘place’ and its resulting feeling that one is connected to ‘the source’ – or that one is ‘the source’ – is even more fictional than the original fictional ‘I’.
The everyday-reality ‘I’ is an understandable illusion for we have, apart from brief glimpses of actuality in Pure Consciousness Experiences, no other way to interpret the fact that we are aware, conscious human beings. By the time our awareness develops in childhood there is already an ‘I’ being aware due to
The ancient fairy tale solution to feeling free of this everyday-reality ‘I’ was to develop an identity that paralleled and mimicked that of the ancient Gods. The only escape from everyday grim and mortal reality for many was – and still is – to aspire to either become a shaman thus evoking the power and authority of being God’s representative on earth, or to become a God-man or God-woman in one’s own right. It’s time to debunk the notion that this is anything other than an ancient escapist fairy tale – the best way that the ancients found to feel free of an everyday fearful ‘I’ and the everyday misery and grim reality of being part of the animal food chain.
PAUL LOWE: When you are identified with that ‘I’ you are in misery. The misery continues as long as this identification goes on. When you acknowledge it and then drop below that familiar sense of yourself into the unformed, you enter a realm where there is no ‘I’, where there is no separation.
PETER: One can see the confusion that results for those trying to clip on a bit of actualism on to Eastern philosophical and religious thinking. When he says ‘that familiar sense of yourself’ he is talking of one’s everyday, familiar identity. When he says ‘you enter a realm where there is no ‘I’’, he is talking of entering the spiritual world where the old ‘I’ is denied, but where the new ‘me’ comes to the fore and begins to flourish.
As an Actualist, I have tended to steer clear of getting involved in the confusion of the pronouns. There are in fact three I’s and only one is actual.
I much prefer to regard the psychological and psychic entity as being the genetic-instinctual and instilled-social programming in the brain that inhibits what is actual from being apparent. This way you can avoid all of the spiritual wanking, roll up your sleeves and get on with the task of becoming actually free of the Human Condition.
PAUL LOWE: We are told that we operate at 5 percent of our potential, and that small percentage is the ‘I’. Science maintains we experience only one billionth of reality and this is squeezed through that ‘I’, through the restriction of saying ‘this is good, that is bad; this is benefit, this is harm’. This is how we block the gate to the state that no one has ever been able to describe – the Tao, the Hidden Harmony, the Kingdom of God.
PETER: The mind boggles at the thought of the scientist with his reality-experiencing meter calibrated to one billion units. ‘Excuse me madam, could I just check your reality-experiencing level?’ Mr. Rajneesh was equally inept and devious in his clipping on a bit of theoretical science to his religious teachings in order to pretend that there was some factual basis to what he was teaching.
This is just plain silly nonsense but the next statement points directly to the harm that believing these fairy tales actually causes in perpetuating human malice and sorrow. By saying we operate ‘through the restriction of saying ‘this is good, that is bad; this is benefit, this is harm’ he makes a leap that both denies and negates sensible thought and, more significantly, any consideration of the effects that one’s actions have on one’s fellow human beings.
Judging a situation, event or action as good or bad, or right or wrong, is to make a judgement based on one’s social programming and one’s instinctual ‘self’-ish passions – but then to deny any sensible judgement based on what is beneficial and what is harmful to others is taking self-interest and self-centredness to the extreme. Those who follow religious beliefs, be they Eastern or Western, ultimately make no sensible judgement as to whether their beliefs, emotions and actions are harmful to others – and the religious world is full of such self-righteous behaviour. This self-righteous disregard for other human beings is the very reason that human history is a litany of religious wars, crusades, tortures, persecutions, perversions, repression, recriminations, prejudices, retributions, pogroms, etc!
For me, being involved in the Rajneesh religion at the time when the Rajneeshee-Christian conflict was coming to a head in Oregon in 1985 was ample proof that spiritual belief over-rides any consideration one may have about harming others. Like thousands of other Rajneeshees at the time I was willing to kill or die for my beliefs – not that I have found any who are willing to acknowledge it.
A spiritual person’s malice is harnessed in the fight for ‘good’ vs. ‘evil’ – or ‘my’ God vs. ‘your’ God – and fervent belief blinds one to the facts of what one is doing.
An Actualist is vitally interested in sensibly judging and actively investigating what harm his or her thoughts, emotions and actions are causing for one’s fellow human beings in order to become actually harmless.
The necessary first stage in this process is to stop the utterly selfish, self-centred and self-indulgent spiritual practice of denial and acceptance.
PAUL LOWE: The turmoil you live in is generated by the mind. The mind is the part that determines what is good and bad, what is right and wrong.
PETER: I wonder what ‘part’ determines that there is a source or a creator to the universe and that something survives the death of the body? Given there is no factual evidence for any of these fanciful thoughts and beliefs, could they not conceivably be generated by the mind as well? If evil and turmoil is generated by the mind, could not ‘the source’ and ‘the peace that passeth all understanding’ be a figment of imagination – none other than the impassioned thoughts of a recalcitrant soul?
But one thing is neither illusionary nor fanciful – the Human Condition of malice and sorrow. It is no illusion that over 160 million human beings died in wars in the last century and an estimated 40 million human beings killed themselves in suicidal despair.
Ancient Wisdom would have us believe that thinking is the source of ‘the turmoil we live in’ but we now know that it is our precious feelings that arise from the instinctual animal passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire that are the source of both our malice and our sorrow.
PAUL LOWE: Your complaints are all on the surface of life. When you identify with problems – having a relationship, not having a relationship, money, work issues – you are not going to be happy. Even when you do feel happy, it usually does not last very long. When you are ready to drop to source, an experience even more expanded than ‘happy’ is available. The source is the one that is being aware of what is happening on the surface – but it is not being the surface.
PETER: So, no chance to be happy on ‘the surface of life’. By surface of life he means the real world ‘outside’, as evidenced by the entity who is ‘inside’ looking out through the eyes, hearing through the ears, smelling through the nose, etc. To retreat further from the physical world by focusing on becoming detached and disassociated from the physical world as evidenced by the senses, only means one is becoming twice removed from the actual world. One more firmly identifies as ‘the one that is being aware’ rather than working to eliminate the ‘I’ who thinks and feels him or herself as being aware.
When there is no ‘I’ being aware, a bare awareness happens by itself which brings an easy, delightful and serendipitous ease to each moment. One can then makes any adjustments necessary to ensure that any remaining problems left over from one’s ‘self’-centred life are eliminated. These are usually few as, while on the path to Actual Freedom, one has changed so radically that most of these problems will have been sensibly tackled, addressed or eliminated. The path to Actual Freedom does require radical change and this, more often than not, requires a change in the practical circumstances of relationship, work, money, friends, etc.
Becoming actually happy and harmless does require change and, curiously enough, it is becoming harmless that requires the most radical change.
PAUL LOWE: In one way, whenever you start to look for your maximum potential, or whatever you want to call it, you have to be selfish. You have to follow life for yourself rather than according to what others have told you. On the other hand, if you become self-centred, you become really stuck.
PETER: From my experience on the path to Actual Freedom, the start is most definitely a period of introspection or a ‘psychic search and destroy mission’, as I termed it. One becomes, of necessity, ‘self’-obsessed but the aim is to find and eliminate the problem, not ignore it and create an even grander problem. ‘Looking under the bonnet’ is Vineeto’s metaphor and Richard likens it to ‘deep-sea diving’.
We Actualists can sometimes be a metaphoric lot.
I like Paul’s ‘if you become self-centred, you become really stuck’. Practicing denial and transcendence does lead to a total inability to see the facts of the situation – becoming really stuck on one’s beliefs. Humanity has been totally stuck on self-centred spiritual practice for millennia. Countless millions of monks and nuns, followers and devotees, sannyasins and saddhus, wannabe God-men and Goddesses have turned away and devoted their lives to Self-realization – the pursuit of self-aggrandizement.
Talk about stuck – human beings cling like limpets to their precious self-centred beliefs!
PAUL LOWE: It is all a matter of being present in each moment. Presence expands you. Being present is not thinking, yet it includes thinking; it is not feeling yet it includes feeling. It includes, it widens out, it holds all sounds, thoughts, feelings and sensations. Yet it is not any one of them. It includes everything. <Snip>. At your essence you are God. You are the ‘is-ness’. I was going to say you are valuable to the universe, but you cannot be valuable to the universe because you are the universe.
PETER: Ordinary spirituality is seemingly made ordinary by dropping the capital letters from ‘the Source’ and from ‘the Universe’. But changing the style doesn’t change the content of the message.
Given that the spiritual belief system encourages one to ignore the harm one does to others on ‘the surface of life’ ... a down-to-earth ‘Harmless’ from The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary
– Doing or causing no harm; inoffensive, innocuous. Free from guilt; innocent. Free from liability to punishment or payment for damages. Oxford Dictionary
Peter: A double whammy
in the dictionary, for if one causes no harm to others one is also free of the feeling of guilt. The ideal of pacifism is the best that humans have come up with as a collective ethic, but we still keep law and order in the world at the point of a gun after thousands of years of adherence to well-meaning ethics, morals, ideals and dreams. At the very core of the problem is the inability of even two people to live together in perfect peace and harmony, let alone a family, tribe or nation. But the perversity is that every human blames the other for the violence and is in complete denial of the aggressive instinct lurking deep inside themselves. In order to become completely and irrevocably harmless you, as you instinctually know and feel yourself to be, have to become extinct.
The path to becoming harmless involves the willingness to question and tackle the well-meaning ethics, morals, ideals and dreams that keep Humanity forever shackled to aggression and sorrow. As we grow in childhood years we are well imprinted with a sense of right and wrong, good and bad by our parents, teachers and peers. As we emerge into the world we became increasingly indoctrinated into believing and joining certain groups of people whose principles we agreed with. For many in this century the attraction was to socialism, peace, green and eventually spiritual groups. This, of course, meant that one then had to disagree and fight with the other groups representing opposing beliefs. And everybody is in one group or the other. As a consequence, in the world the Left fight the Right, Protestant fight Catholic, the poor fight the rich, Greenies fight the Greedies, Christians fight the Moslems, Democrats fight Communists, tribe fights tribe, the workers fight the bosses, men fight women, women fight men, and so on and on.
Good and right and true are words used by both sides in the arguments, fights and battles, but at the heart of it all that we human beings actually love to fight, blame and resent other human beings. A good example of this was evident in a TV show by Clive James called ‘A postcard from Chicago’. He was escorted through the Black ghettoes by a policeman who explained to him the gang warfare that continually raged. Boys as young as ten were initiated into a gang by breaking the law – robbing a store or mugging someone were typical acts. Eventually, to earn respect in the gang, the boy would have to kill someone and a random drive-by shooting was the popular method. The policeman went on to explain that the gang structure was essentially split into two major groups – ‘Folks’ and ‘People’. This grouping did not represent old tribal, ethnic or religious groupings but was an apparently arbitrary split, invented only in the last decades. After centuries of oppression and slavery gradually coming to an end for these people they have now invented new groupings in order to inflict hatred and violence on each other – the ‘Folks’ fought it out with the ‘People’.
The key to eliminating this violence, anger, revenge, retribution and aggression is to see it in ourselves, rather than avoid the issue by blaming others. After all – the first step to curing addictions such as alcoholism, is to admit you have the disease in the first place. At the very core of Human behaviour lies aggression and violence which, despite all the morals, ethics and good intentions, has not been eliminated after thousands of years of so called ‘civilization’. To remain a believer in these socially imbibed morals, values and ethics is to remain seeking a solution within the Human Condition and is to remain either one of the ‘Folks’ or one of the ‘People’ – a social identity.
Only after the work has been done in dismantling one’s social identity consisting of well-meaning but failed ethics, morals, ideals and dreams, does the opportunity then present itself to go all the way and eliminate one’s very sense of ‘self’complete with the survival instincts of fear and aggression. This radical step of ‘self’-immolation causes a mutation such that the survival instinct no longer plays havoc – no longer does one operate on survival mode and irrevocably bound to outbreaks of fear and aggression that threaten to, or actually do, over-ride any imposed ethics, morals.
And while I was in the H’s of the glossary, I came across this, which I thought would be fun to finish with
— doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the highest good; devotion to pleasure. Oxford Dictionary
Peter: Malice and sorrow are so endemic and intrinsic to the Human Condition that Hedonism has a very bad press. Anyone seen to be too happy, or indulging in pleasure is quickly bought back into the fold with comments like – ‘It won’t last’, ‘you’re just avoiding’ or ‘you’re just repressing’. Another line used is that ‘you don’t care for others’ as the sacred covenant of human compassion – an agreement to common suffering – is seen to be broken. For an actualist the breaking of this covenant, together with freeing oneself from a blighted Humanity, is an essential step to becoming free of malice and sorrow. To run the gauntlet of scorn is the lot of the pioneer and the scorn heaped on Hedonism is of the ‘sour grapes’ variety. The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary
Nothing like a bit of harmless hedonism, and I’m off for strawberries, blueberries and cream ... followed by ...
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