Denial plus Acceptance = No Change
A Book Review by Peter
PETER: We were having a chat the other day about the amount of time and words we expend in demolishing spiritual belief. Surely we could simply write about what is new, factual and what works rather than bother about what is ancient, based on mythology, has been well tried and has failed.
But this demolition is no side issue, no sour grapes exposé, no mere berating of the ‘opposition’, for unless spiritual belief itself is eliminated one has no chance of becoming actually free of the Human Condition. Richard has taken years of painstaking investigation and effort to break through the stranglehold that the good instinctual passions have on Humanity and, as such, the new path has been forged but each who follow it have to follow by themselves.
Not all will go all the way to Actual Freedom, but there are enormous personal advantages to be had by being free of spiritual belief. One comes closer to what is actual, one comes closer to sensate-only experience, one is less internally affected and externally effected, and is less inclined to indulge in denial and acceptance. One is more likely to be considerate of one’s fellow human beings, not out of a desire to be good but out of a common sense awareness of the effects one’s thoughts, feelings and actions have on others. One will be more likely to want to change and some steps may be taken in this direction. Thus, the time and effort involved in demolishing spiritual belief is returned a thousand fold in one’s everyday life of instantaneous and intimate interactions with people, things and events.
For those with the necessary fortitude, diligence, patience and application a Virtual Freedom from the Human Condition is readily and easily obtainable and then one lives beyond one’s wildest dreams – to be virtually free of both malice and sorrow is a most estimable state.
So, back to Mr. Lowe and spiritual belief –
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Twelve Exciting Times
We are living in very interesting, potentially exciting times – more exciting than we realize – and whether this is a curse or a blessing depends on how we respond. We are in the midst of a quantum change. Throughout the ages people have been telling us, speaking of things that are going to happen, and we have not believed them. <Snip> When Jesus spoke of the changes he foresaw, we crucified him. We did something similar to Socrates and we burned many people at the stake who told us things we were not prepared to hear. This and all following quotes from: ‘In Each Moment. A new way to live’ by Paul Lowe Looking Glass Press 1998
PETER: Many, many teachers, Gurus and God-men have trumpeted this line for millennia – exciting times, prophecies coming to a head, a New Age, the coming again of a Long Dead God, redemption, salvation, etc. The Gurus and God-men and wannabe’s are still ‘speaking of things that are going to happen’ which does beg the question ... when? Paul puts ‘it’ down as happening in 2012, for some reason he neglects to explain. As for ‘we have not believed them’ ... why should we? They have left a litany of broken promises and false prophecies stretching back to the mists of time. And then we are supposed to believe the latest soothsayer who promises heaven and bliss while threatening hell and damnation ...?
Not only insanity but institutionalized insanity. A belief so commonly accepted that it can be packaged, advertised and blatantly sold as the Truth.
PAUL LOWE: The events that have been prophesied are starting to happen. Things that have not been considered to be ‘real’ in the past are now being commonly accepted. People on the leading edge of scientific exploration are beginning to realize this, and while many conventional scientists, particularly in the medical community, continue to resist, there are still many breakthroughs. For instance, on the European continent, homeopathy has become widely accepted, as well as other alternative healing methods.
PETER: Historically, the prophetic times of impending doom were always accompanied by a rise in the belief in psychic phenomena, a turning back to, and a revival of interest in ancient belief, mysticism, divination, superstition as well as a fear of, and deliberate obstruction of, factual, scientific and technological progress. This current New Dark Age is typical of many other periods in history and is made ‘exciting’ only by a foreboding of impending doom and the expectation of a New Age that is always nearly about to happen ... but always in the future.
When he talks of ‘breakthroughs’ what he really means are ‘U’-turns – turning back to the past. When he talks of ‘alternative healing methods’ he is talking of traditional methods – those practiced by the ancients. The spiritual world is a world in which everyone has got it 180 degrees wrong and it is blindingly obvious if one dares to look at it sensibly. The spiritual world is steeped in fear and superstition and is forever looking backwards in a futile and desperate search for meaning, security and identity.
PAUL LOWE: Physicists are postulating scientific theories that mystics have declared for centuries. But even these changes still belong to a mode of life that we have known for thousands of years. There is a shift coming that is far beyond anything we have imagined possible and that heralds the beginning of a totally new way of living.
PETER: Theoretical physicists, cosmologists and the like are merely postulating and parroting the traditional ancient theories that there is a creator for the universe and that there will be a cataclysmic end for the universe. They are as stubborn in their belief that the universe is not eternal and infinite as were the ancient mystics. The ancient mystics had a vested interest as their very livelihood, their reputation, power and cherished belief in an after-life was based on fostering and spreading these metaphysical theories. Ditto the theoretical scientists.
The promised ‘totally new way of living’ will presumably spawn yet more spiritual communities of devotees who vainly attempt to subjugate their naturally hostile and suspicious feelings towards each other by devoting and surrendering themselves to a ‘higher’ cause. How many of these communities attempting to practice a ‘totally new way of living’ have come and gone over the millennia? How many have stood the test of time? Are the surviving relics joyous harmonious places, totally free of crime, animosity, corruption, elitism, power struggles, etc? How many have become introverted, isolated and archaic institutions that act as hiding places for the fearful, the incapable and the insecure?
PAUL LOWE: Reality as we know it is melting down, changing, shifting far beyond what we have expected. <Snip> When something is found to be possible that was previously thought to be impossible, it suddenly starts to occur all over the world. In the past, we rarely heard of people who had experienced spontaneous healing from illnesses that were said to be terminal. Now, many people are having this experience. We used to hear only occasionally about anyone who had clinically died and been bought back to life. Many cases have now been documented and the people who have had this experience tell us that we will not die. Thousands of people are saying ‘We do not die when the body stops functioning.’ Of course, Zen and Hindu masters have been saying this for thousands of years. Bankai said ‘We are not born, we will not die.’
PETER: Ah, the miracles are happening to the true believers, consciousness is rising, the evidence is pouring in that God is with us, we are not alone, there is life after death, salvation is nigh! A brief reading of the history of religion will reveal that these promises, signs, omens and portents of a Golden Age dawning have been an ongoing and recurring beat-up. This same investigation will reveal that the shamans’ promised good times and signs of miracles are inevitably and inseparably accompanied by promises of evil, hell-fire and signs of doom and damnation.
‘Ya can’t have one without the other’ as the old song goes.
It is curious that Paul should quote Bankai and not Mr. Rajneesh who had ‘Never born, never died’ chiselled on his tombstone. Paul was a follower of Rajneesh for over 20 years that I know of, yet he makes no mention of him in his book.
PAUL LOWE: These things we are beginning to integrate into our everyday life. The structure as we know it is starting to collapse and the predictors say this, too, is part of the design. The book of Revelations states there will be plague, pestilence and famine, and that the weather will alter radically. The weather is changing all over the world – global warming, El Niño, La Niña are having radical effects on the climate. We have more indescribable and incurable illnesses than we ever had. Strange, virulent viruses are appearing regularly; epidemics are spreading. It is all happening. Everything is starting to shake. Deep down, we are beginning to recognize that what we have taken for granted is no longer secure.
PETER: Yep. What a fearful, doom-laden beat-up of human existence. He is not talking of the Human Condition here but is making out that the physical, material world in which we live is collapsing and becoming more horrific by the minute. The proof he offers is nothing more than fear-ridden theory and belief and the subsequent popularist doom and gloom embellishments. If you want to find theories and postulations about doom and gloom, it is not at all difficult – doom and gloom is rampant in the media, in all forms of entertainment, in the theoretical sciences, in environmentalism, conspiracy theories, anti-globalization movements, divinationists, etc. etc.
Don’t get me wrong here. For Humanity the past, present and foreseeable future is epitomized by malice and sorrow, war and suicide, doom and gloom, but to project this scenario on to the physical material actual world, as spiritual belief would have us do, is a leap of imagination that defies factual evidence to the contrary.
PAUL LOWE: The most significant shift, however, will not be with these material things. The greatest change will be in our experience of reality, in our consciousness and it is beginning to happen for many people all over the world.
PETER: Yep. There are a lot of people into denial and transcendence in the town where I live. The New Dark Ages are blossoming into a popular cultural fashion.
People everywhere are turning away, tuning out and going in.
PAUL LOWE: There really is no easy way to explain a shift in consciousness. It means that the person who is looking at reality, the one you are familiar with, the one you call ‘I’ is going to be different. The difference is not only occurring in what the ‘I’ sees and experiences, the fundamental ‘I’ itself is starting to change.
PETER: Oh, come on Paul. It is easy to explain and many, many people have explained it. The shift in consciousness is from being an ‘I’ who thinks and feels it is trapped inside a mortal flesh and blood body to becoming a ‘me’ who thinks and feels it is completely disassociated from reality and completely disembodied ... and therefore immortal.
A shift in consciousness is an imaginary, and impassioned, shift in identity.
PAUL LOWE: We do create our own lives. If you think and believe something strongly enough, it will happen.
PETER: Yep. If you think and believe something strongly enough you will imagine and feel that it has happened. It doesn’t mean it has actually happened but you sure get to feel it has.
PAUL LOWE: I am suggesting to you that any misery you are experiencing, without you realizing it, is being created by you. You do not need to create any more pain and you might never be unhappy again. That is truly possible. I am not saying it is likely to happen, but I am not ruling out the possibility. If I were to say that it is not possible, I would be adding to the human tendency to be closed to something unexpected that might, in fact, be possible. I know this could be true, but I am not suggesting you believe me; just stay open and allow for this possibility. Your life could change now – totally, utterly and completely.
PETER: The spiritual cliché of staying open. Stay open to the possibility. Never decide anything. Don’t have an opinion about anything – except what you believe, of course ,and then one needs to have faith, trust and true belief , in which case, one is anything but open.
There are few who are more closed to sensible thought and factual evidence than the spiritual believers. It is a necessity that they remained closed for if they didn’t they would be open enough be to scrutinize their passionately held belief ... and then the bovine faecal matter might hit the whirling blades – to pinch a Richard-expression.
PAUL LOWE: The entire structure we have based our lives upon is built on lies. Fundamental lies are of the following type: Governments will keep you safe, doctors will keep you healthy, psychiatrists will keep you happy and marriage will last forever. None of this is true. It is all based on a concept that we have created on planet Earth – the belief that life can be safe, secure and predictable. This concept is false. This thing we call safety does not exist anywhere in the universe.
PETER: Wrong in fact.
It is good to throw out fear-ridden beliefs and replace them with facts – one then gets to see that psychological and psychic fear only exists as part of our beliefs. Fear is a feeling, not a fact. When one stops the act of believing, psychological and psychic fear eventually withers away and one is left only with the chemical rushes. These chemicals can only be extinguished with the extinction of the instinctual self.
But if you want to get rid of psychological and psychic fear, get rid of belief – one then stops feeding fear and cuts it at its very roots. It’s an extraordinarily liberating experience ... to say the least.
PAUL LOWE: No matter how famous, no matter how wealthy or powerful, no one can have a life that is safe, secure and predictable. No one. Thousands of people die every day who were not expecting to die. They go to the doctor because they have indigestion and discover their bowels are ridden with cancer. There is no happiness based on the outside and there is no guarantee of happiness in the future.
PETER: ‘Life’s a bitch and then you die!’ – the essential human realization that epitomizes our deep-seated resentment. ‘I didn’t ask to be born!’ is another version. It is essential that this lamentable view of human existence is actively promoted by the shamans and God-men in order to promote their fairy-tale ‘better product’ which is ‘not of this world’.
PAUL LOWE: Jesus said ‘Take no thought of the morrow. Let the morrow take thought of itself.’ Be here, now. Do not go to your thoughts, for as soon as you think, you are in hell.
PETER: I remember writing to Sw. Deleeto on the Sannyas list –
PAUL LOWE: You are the one who knows you have a body, a mind and emotions. You are in a highly unstable vehicle. It gets set off by illogical things. It can get upset about the same thing again and again for its entire life. It never seems to learn. It is as though it has an allergy and when somebody says something it gets upset. No one was hurt, no one has damaged it; it just did not want to hear what was said, so it gets upset. It is not you who is upset. Your mind heard something and created a reaction in the body and the emotions. The essential you is the one who can watch the reaction. However, you forgot to watch, you get caught up in it and you think you are angry. You are not angry. The body, mind and emotions have become disturbed, chemicals have been released and there is nothing you can do about it.
PETER: Denial and disassociation abound.
What about saying – I am a highly unstable person. I get set off by illogical things. I can get upset about the same thing again and again for my entire life. I never seem to learn. Etc. An honest, simple, straightforward assessment of the situation one finds oneself in, no avoidance, no denial, no being a watcher, no cunning sideways shift.
It is only by not denying one’s feelings and actions and by not disassociating from them that one can begin to do something about them.
Only if you want to, of course.
PAUL LOWE: Take a moment to tune to yourself now. Forget what you have been reading and be with you. What are you feeling? What is going on with you right now? Let yourself be easy with this, because you do not have to change. <Snip> I am suggesting to you that you can be different right now. It is possible for you to shed your misery and allow your bliss. It is entirely up to you. Anything is possible. Anything.
PETER: A bit of guided imagination at the end of the chapter. Shed your bad feelings and pump up the good ones and ‘you do not have to change’.
No wonder spiritual belief is so, so appealing and so, so popular.
Well, this got a bit long No 5, but the fearful spiritual belief in doom and gloom is so endemic it needs a few facts presented to put the case for sensible thought and honest, straightforward assessment.
PETER: What a marathon book review. When I started I thought it might be two or three posts, but as it progressed there have been so many facets of spiritual belief that are valuable to expose as fraudulent and misleading and much that needs digging in to see what is really meant by a particular statement or concept. So, I have adopted the ‘do it once and do it thoroughly approach’ and nothing is more worthy of thorough scrutiny than spiritual belief – it has such a tenacious stranglehold on human beings.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Thirteen Beyond Choosing
The persistent experience of misery in life is not created by significant events or tragedies, but by our unconscious reactions to the ordinary, everyday incidents of our lives. One of the most common ways we lock ourselves up in life is through our attachment to wanting what we want. Practically everything in our lives is a desire. We may call it choice, yet that is often just another word for a demand. We go about our lives demanding the world be the way we want it.
PETER: Spiritual teachers – and psychiatrists and psychologists – make out the genetically-encoded instinctual passions to be ‘unconscious reactions’. For the spiritual believers the aim is to gain a higher consciousness – transcending the lower and the unconscious. For the psychiatrist and psychologist the aim is to reduce the worst excesses of unconscious reactions and to bring these reactions back within ‘normal’ socially-tolerable limits. Nobody is willing to call a spade a spade – ‘unconscious reactions’ are the animal instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. To even consider eliminating these passions is to contemplate eliminating both the supposed good passions as well as the more obvious bad passions – enough of a thought to send everyone scurrying for cover.
From his chapter opening we are heading into the spiritual furphy of choiceless awareness – denial and acceptance dressed up in a very appealing package.
PAUL LOWE: We create our own misery by resisting what is in front of us. A preference is different from a demand in that we recognize what we want without being attached to having it. Of course we would all prefer to be comfortable, but if that is not feasible in the circumstances, we can be as total as possible with things as they are.
PETER: To make a demand on a fellow human being, a situation, an event, a machine, etc. is plainly silly. One has preferences and one does what is necessary and appropriate to make one’s circumstances safe, comfortable and pleasurable. One soon finds that this requires so little effort that leisure comes waltzing through the door and then one finds oneself doing what is happening – a delicious ease and perfection pervades all, and before one knows it a Pure Consciousness Experience has crept up.
The interesting thing about Paul’s blanket statement is if one changes the topic of his example –
To accept everything in life is to avoid change and avoid the possibility of changing something that it is both desirable and feasible to change. In the past it has been universally accepted that it is neither desirable, let alone feasible, to eliminate the instinctual passions.
As an Actualist, merely accepting one’s lot in life because things are as they are is a cop-out. If a handful of people can be virtually free of the instinctual passions then anyone who is willing to change can do the same. If one person can be actually free of instinctual passions then it is possible for other intrepid adventurers.
PAUL LOWE: In the past, there was often little difference for me between losing a $100,000 investment or discovering a dirt mark on a sarong. It was the same thing, the same torture inside, the same desolation in not having what is desired. I have discovered that the way to unlock this self-inflicted pattern of torture is to be there with the feelings. You do not want the torture, so you keep running away from the distress. But it does not go away. The alternative is to be present and feel it, now, as it is happening. It is the same with jealousy or any feeling you do not want to experience. Be there and have the feeling even though you do not know how long it will last. When you do not avoid or energize the feelings by dwelling on them or making them important, they will start to fade away on their own.
PETER: On the surface of it, this can appear to be a reasonable approach to investigating and eliminating feelings, emotions and passions until you realize that this is not his Paul’s intention. What he is proposing and practicing is a way of transcending ‘any feeling you do not want to experience’. This is to remain snorkelling on the surface and looking at one’s feelings swimming beneath, as it were, while being present in the moment. The bad feelings start to fade away simply because one disassociates from them. They are still there but they are not you.
An Actualist is keen and willing to investigate the reason these feelings arise in the first place, what causes them, what is their make up, how do they function, what is the psychology, how and why do feelings change and how do they link together, when do the chemicals kick in and where do they function, what tricks does one use to either to control, repress or avoid, etc. Selective avoidance, maintaining ignorance and practicing acceptance and are useless tools if one wants to investigate, understand and eliminate feelings, emotions and passions from one’s life.
You will also notice that Paul is attempting to fade away ‘any feeling you do not want to experience’ and thereby enhance the feelings one wants to experience and identify with – such feeling states as being ‘beyond choosing’, being ‘present in this moment’, ‘living in the depths of ourselves’, ‘feeling bliss’, etc.
PAUL LOWE: When I think about my own spiritual journey, it has really never been about being ‘spiritual’. Finding peace has nothing to do with discovering other dimensions or becoming enlightened. It has been about being here in each moment and when I have gone unconscious, saying, ‘Oh – slipped up there,’ and beginning anew, right now, present in this moment, accepting what is.
PETER: I take it then that we can ignore Chapter One which is about ‘the source’, the Kingdom of God, the state of timelessness, enlightenment, the unformed. Chapter Two talks about a state beyond the state of the mind, an indescribable place of love, subconscious levels, varying levels of awareness. Chapter Three is about deeper levels of feeling, the cusp of a new dimension, dropping into being, a new level of freedom, another level of aliveness, etc. I won’t go on, but every chapter is littered with references to an other dimension, other than everyday reality. This is the whole point of spiritual belief and practice – to attain to an ‘other dimension’, other than the physical, and then to be ‘present’ in this ‘other dimension’ in each moment.
Nice try Paul, but maybe you should read what the words you have written. You may well be sincere in feeling that you are present, as in here, but in fact you are present, as in ‘there’, – another dimension called the spiritual world. And are you really saying you never aspired to the glamour and glory and power of enlightenment? Methinks you are stretching credibility and taking denial to a new level – a new dimension even – with your statement.
Your spiritual journey may not have started off being about spiritual other dimensions and enlightenment but you sure have ended up in the thick of it. I do understand, because my search for freedom, peace and happiness was not about other dimensions or enlightenment but if you tread the spiritual path you will end up in an other dimension trying to become enlightened. Par for the course, as they say. For me the wake-up call came when I found myself shouting Ya-Hoo to an empty chair and from then on it became increasingly difficult to maintain the lie that being on the spiritual path and all that it entails is anything other than being in an old-time religion. T’was a crippling blow to my pride to admit it and a long journey out of the religious world but once one sees and acknowledges it is all madness and delusion it is impossible to stay a believer.
The denial that abounds in the spiritual world is a most curious phenomena. It is as though the followers and devotees block out any idea or notion that they are in fact deep in religion and following religious belief – the very thing that many were trying to become free of when they left the ‘normal’ world. I have had occasion to say to many of the spiritual people that I had known from the past that it is so good to have left the spiritual path, and they all have said ‘Yes, for me too!’ ... and then proceeded to tell me they are sitting with a Guru, have just done a group or are heading off to the East to meditate or go to an Ashram. Is this denial in action or merely a severe case of cognitive dysfunction due to excessive exposure to Eastern religious belief? I am a curious.
PAUL LOWE: Someone told me that he once threw an expensive movie camera into a lake in a fury because it did not work the way he wanted. I have done similar things; most of us have. That energy comes and you explode. One day I started to be with that feeling and not act it out and eventually it started to fade. The preference is still there to have things the way I might want, but now there is no contraction when life does not happen as I would like it too. There is no choice, no demand. When we are ready to give up our demands we will find our freedom. If we want to be free and continue to insist on having what we want, we will never be free. We may say we want to be free, that we do not want the anger or the disturbance, but still, we continue to want what we want. We still want our way and the feeling of discontent will always flow from that demand, no matter how slight it may seem.
PETER: What you are describing is transcendence – a rising above the mundane, the physical, the earthly undesirable desires, bad or evil emotions, thoughts and actions.
– that transcends; surpassing or excelling others of its kind, supreme; beyond the range or grasp of human experience, reason, belief, etc. Formerly also, greatly superior to. b Of God: existing apart from, and not subject to the limitations of, the material universe. Oxford Dictionary
In transcendence the undesirable feelings are still there, for the instinctual passions are not challenged or questioned. One simply makes a deliberate choice, every moment again, to sublimate the bad feelings and enhance and identify with the good feelings. As you said above –
This is a deliberate choice, a discrimination, a demand, a judgement as to what is good and what is bad, wanting something the way you want it, being the way you want to be – transcendental. Transcendence is when one feels free of the bad feelings and thoughts, one feels free of the body and one feels free of earthly mortal existence – the last being the big bonus that ‘ordinary spirituality’ doesn’t want to trumpet too much lest it be seen as nothing other than old-time religion.
PAUL LOWE: We demand what we want, not what we need. Perhaps you may need to get upset even though it may feel uncomfortable. You may need to be upset so you can be with your distress and go deeper into it in order for it to complete itself. Something has been locked up inside you, probably having something to do with the past, and you have to keep opening to it in order to come to a place of balance.
PETER: Just a reminder that you stated in Chapter One –
It now seems you are justifying feeling and being angry in the typical psycho-therapy babble of ‘it needs to be expressed in order for it to be released’. Yet you yourself stated that this can be an endless process, given that it could include unlimited past-life experiences. The spiritual believer always has excuses for being angry – it is not ‘me’ being angry, I just need to share something with you, or in extreme cases of delusion, outbreaks are put down to Divine anger or even compassionate anger.
PAUL LOWE: Preferring it to be different is something else. Preference goes like this: ‘I prefer this to be different. However, it is the way it is and I’ll take care of it. What can’t be taken care of I accept’ Even ‘I accept’ is in the way. It simply is. That is the way it is.
PETER: It is the way it is. Acceptance goes – ‘It is the way it is because it is the way it is and it will always be this way because it has always been this way’. Or – ‘You can’t change Human Nature, so I’ll go off into the spiritual world and spiritual belief, exactly as everyone has done before.’
PAUL LOWE: Anything created out of the will, out of contraction and control, never produces an enduring sense of satisfaction and contentment. Rather, your meditation can be in each moment, being as sensitive and choiceless as possible. When you are present, you can sense a demand coming up in you because you can feel yourself contracting, you can feel the tension inside you. Catch it as early as you possible and then ask ‘Now what am I demanding or resisting?’ and just be there with it. Give yourself the experiment of going for your maximum potential with love and sensitivity, without demand or control. See if you can invite what you would most like in each moment and allow it to emerge without interference.
PETER: Ah, the last sentence makes a mockery of the advice offered in the previous ones. Surely inviting ‘what you most like’ is nothing other than making a judgement or choice as to what you like or don’t like and ‘inviting’ is but a soppy word for demand. When you say ‘allow it to emerge without interference’ I would remind you that you have also said directly above that the method you applied was ‘when I have gone unconscious, saying, ‘Oh – slipped up there’, and beginning anew’ which sounds very much like making a judgement or choice, deciding not to ‘be there with it’ and interfering such that you immediately get back control in order that you can feel transcendent or at your ‘maximum potential’.
The phrase ‘going for your maximum potential with love and sensitivity’ is worthy of comment for so many utterly selfish actions and so much malicious manipulation of others is done in the name of love that it beggars description. Practicing disassociation from one’s fellow human beings and dressing it in the name of love and sensitivity is a but a sleazy and smaltzy attempt to avoid the traditional increased loneliness and alienation that transcendence brings with it.
The enormous gap between what is written and said by spiritual people and what is practiced and realized in action is due to the blindness induced by self-centred spiritual belief.
To believe anything is to ignore, and be ignorant of, facts and sensibility. To passionately believe is to deliberately choose to ignore and be proud of being ignorant of facts and sensibility – a dangerous and volatile mix that readily leads to delusion and fanaticism.
It’s so good to get into the meat of the matter and sort out what it is that these ‘non-spiritual’ spiritual people are saying, where the contradictions, lies, anomalies, confusions, seductions, misinterpretations, twists, deceptions, illusions and delusions are. The transcribed words of Mr. Rajneesh, that most prolific of God-men, are a testimony to contradiction, deceit and deception – so much so that he was forced to make a Divine virtue out of the fact.
Shamans are magicians of the emotions, imagination and the psychic world, and their tricks, stories, tales and methods have been passed down from generation to generation. It is no easy or small thing to demolish the Eastern variety of religious belief – cunningness and slight of hand abounds. Even the use of the word spiritual has been slyly adopted to imply it is non-religious belief. Paul is now trying to imply a non-spirituality for his ‘ordinary spirituality’ but we Actualists shall have that phrase back, thank you.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Fourteen Alive With Silence
A time of silence is coming – a silence that is totally alive and radiant with acceptance and infuses everything we do. Such a sense of stillness and peace is already happening for many people.
PETER: A time of silence is not coming – the silence that you feel or sense is already always here. The physical universe is not frenetic or noisy as human beings normally perceive their existence to be. As a fearful and aggressive entity within the flesh and blood body, one’s perception is constantly overlaid with self-centred mental anguish and emotional turmoil, and one’s senses are ever on-guard in the on-going psychic battle with one’s fellow human beings. All this combines to form an inner turmoil and disturbance and an outer perception of a world full of frantic confusion, competitiveness and bewilderment. All of this ‘noise’ is solely due to an ‘I’ inside the body being aware, and the most salient feature of this awareness are fear and aggression.
In the PCE – a temporary experience of an absence of any psychological or psychic self within the body – it is startlingly obvious that the actual world of purity and perfection is silent, still and peaceful when this inner mental anguish and emotional turmoil ceases. The stillness and peace experienced in the PCE is neither a ‘sense of stillness’ that is a feeling interpretation of the actual by a ‘self’ practicing denial and acceptance, nor some self-gratifying feeling that ‘infuses everything we do’, but a direct sensate experience of the actual, physical and material world, as-it-is.
Many people have a sense of silence and stillness when in quiet places such as in the desert, on the ocean or while away from the city noise in the country, and sometimes these situations can result in a PCE where the inner ‘self’-generated noise ceases. Close observation during a PCE will confirm the fact that the actual world, while often alive with sound, has an intrinsic nature which is silent. There are local sounds, particular to specific locations, but what is eternal and infinite must also be silent. Similarly with movement – while there is local movement, particular to specific locations, but what is eternal and infinite must also be still and peaceful, yet it is by no means passive.
The Oxford dictionary definition of actualism is –
Given the abuse of the word real, we can drop realism from the definition, and given the common human experience of Pure Consciousness Experiences we can dispense with the word theory and define actualism as the experience that ‘nothing is merely passive’. Thus it is that in a PCE one’s sensate experience of sounds becomes direct and unfiltered – ‘everything becomes so loud’ was how Alan described it. This is not ‘me’ sensing sounds through the ears but the ears hearing sounds – a vastly different scenario. It is not ‘me’ sensing the silence but it is this flesh and blood body’s immediate, unmitigated and pure experience of the actual world of people, things and events – totally free of any ‘me’; the fearful, lost, lonely and very cunning entity that dwells inside the body.
There is a world of difference between evoking and maintaining ‘a sense of stillness and peace’, and directly experiencing the fact of stillness and peace that is the very nature of the physical universe.
PAUL LOWE: A time is coming when it will be appropriate to be much softer and more gentle with ourselves. If something goes out of balance, we can gently call it to the surface of our consciousness and be more accepting of ourselves rather than beating ourselves up.
PETER: This New Age spiritual approach is popularized as be ‘loving with yourself’, or even more blatantly as ‘love your self’. Others claim that what one needs to do is realize one’s true self , while yet others proclaim the need to become ‘self’-realized and then have the temerity to declare that it is a ‘self’-less state. Some talk of no-self, while others talk of a transcendence from self to Self. A plethora of conflicting advice is offered on the Guru circuit, but all have one thing in common – all methods and practices are self-perpetuating and self-nourishing. The only variation is the range from the mundane, popular ‘be gentle and accept your self’ to the more forthright and traditional exhortations of self-aggrandizement such as ‘realize you are God’, or That, or ‘the source’, etc.
When traditional Eastern religion is watered down to the mundane and ordinary, one is left with following Eastern morals and ethics that are disquietingly similar to Western religious morals and ethics. Some things are good, some bad, some right, some wrong and one blindly follows the herd while feeling smugly free of one’s old set of morals and ethics. Unfortunately, Eastern religions have made the principles of denial and acceptance into moral and ethical values both of which have only served to directly sabotage and subvert the human search for a genuine freedom, peace and happiness.
Which is why I am moved to write about denial and acceptance.
PAUL LOWE: Each part of you – your mind, your body, your feelings – has a consciousness and is complete in itself. If any part is distressed, it needs to be taken care of, loved back into balance, not blamed <Snip> Consider, instead, embracing the parts of you that feel out of balance, that are not functioning at their optimum. Only love heals. Unconditional love is capable of seeing the source of who we are; it does not get caught up in the behaviour. We all have behaviours that we would prefer to be different. Through our life experiences, unaware choices, our conditioning and life circumstances, we have developed these patterns. This behaviour needs not be condemned, it needs to be loved back into balance.
PETER: Wow, this is really tortured – three wayward consciousnesses that you, as the real consciousness, needs to keep in balance. Sounds definitely like a full-time awareness job, particularly as ‘we would prefer [these behaviours] to be different’. Why not follow one’s preferences and stop demanding that things be kept in balance? You said in the previous chapter it is good to have preferences and not demand that things be the way ‘we’ want them to be. Why give up on what one would prefer, just because everyone else believes it can’t be done? Why not work towards eliminating these undesirable behaviours, together with all these wayward consciousnesses?
This continual balancing act is what is considered normal for a human being and the maintaining control and balance appears to done by a little man, or woman, inside the head who is continually on-guard and adjusting the control levers. In the PCE, this ‘I’ as the thinker and controller is absent, as is ‘me’ the feeler, senser or intuitor of experiences. Controlling or keeping ‘in balance’ the behaviour that automatically ensues from the instinctual animal passions has been tried by human beings for thousands of years and has been found wanting as is evidenced by all the wars, rapes, murders, domestic violence, corruption, suicides, tortures, sorrow and despair that are still endemic on the planet.
Further, the gratuitous advice as to how to deal with ‘behaviours that we would prefer to be different’ is based on the premise that ‘through our life experiences, unaware choices, our conditioning and life circumstances, we have developed these patterns’. This is a parroting of the ancient Tabula Rasa theory that ignores and/or denies the empirically evidenced fact that human beings are born with a genetically-encoded set of virulent animal instinctual passions. Any modern teacher offering advice as to how to deal with ‘behaviours that we would prefer to be different’ who continues to deny or ignore this fact and continues to peddle the Tabula Rasa theory will find him or herself increasingly isolated and identified as a mere peddler of ancient belief.
PAUL LOWE: Having a preference for things to be the way you would like them to be is natural. But as soon as you make them a choice, you are in misery. The stream of life bumps up against your resistance. The resistance is not logical. Seeing it, being with it, allowing it will make it dissolve and then the stream of life can move on, unobstructed. You can feel the flow of life, you can feel the stream is carrying you if you do not hold on to the shore. You can let go of holding; nothing is safe, nothing is secure, nothing is predictable, but when you let yourself into the flow of life, you are very alive.
PETER: If ‘having a preference for things to be the way you would like them to be is natural’ then why not pursue one’s natural preference to be the best one can be rather than ‘choicelessly’ choose the ancient pursuit of the super-natural? The traditional methods of dealing with, or avoiding, ‘behaviours that we would prefer to be different’ are twofold –
But there is now available a third alternative to either remaining ‘normal’ or becoming ‘spiritual’ – an actual freedom from the Human Condition of malice and sorrow has been pioneered.
As for ‘you can feel the flow of life, you can feel the stream is carrying you’, thus far there has been only two streams – the ordinary or the spiritual – with the difference being that those in the spiritual stream believe their stream carries on after physical death. Having put the fear of death aside by denying the fact of death and having accepted one’s ‘self’ as real and the actual world as illusionary, they swan along feeling free, unattached and disassociated from the body, mind and emotions, and feeling safe and secure in their belief in an afterlife.
As for ‘when you let yourself into the flow of life, you are very alive’, what should be said by those in the spiritual stream is they feel very alive, for in fact they have turned away from, and deliberately opted out of, the main event – that of being the physical universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human being in this moment of eternal time and this place in infinite space.
We are the only life forms we know of that can go ‘ooh, ahhh, yummy’; that can experience unmitigated delight; that can think, contemplate and reflect on life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. The only life form on this planet that has intelligence such that we can deliberately adapt to the changed circumstances and rid ourselves of behaviour that we would prefer not to have – the virulent animal instinctual passions of fear aggression, nurture and desire.
Provided of course, we humans don’t choose the traditional path of opting out of this physical actual world to live in a metaphysical mystical world – the imaginary ‘flow of life’ that exists no-where else but as thoughts in our heads and impassioned feelings in our hearts.
Which is why I am moved to write to de-bunk the fear-ridden religious beliefs and, in particular, the currently fashionable Eastern religious ethic of denial and the equally puerile moral of acceptance.
It’s just so silly to opt out of the actual world of sensate delight, purity and perfection and even more so at a time when an increasing number of human beings on the planet are experiencing unprecedented safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Fifteen Waking Up – It’s Not What You Think
For forty years I have travelled all over the world, actively seeking freedom. I have gone down many paths, been with many acclaimed teachers and gurus and experimented with most known techniques for awakening. I have not seen anything work effectively. My conclusion is that nothing on the outside works. No method, no technique, no teaching in itself leads to freedom or awakening. <Snip>
Then suddenly one day, something did work for me. Something clicked and it was not because of anything I had been doing or not doing. What happened did not come from the outside. It was inside me. At the same time that I found it was from the inside, I also discovered that it was not the inside or outside – all distinctions had blurred. <Snip>
All our attempts to understand are something of a trip. I am using the word ‘trip’ to mean the efforts of someone to influence others to see reality in their way. But awakening is a pathless path; it is not about the way. Most people, groups and organizations are on some type of trip. There is the New Age, the spiritual, the guru trip and many others. Anything we follow, anything we think is going to move us to wake up or be free is a trip, a fixed idea in which we are invested. Any ideas we might be thinking about enlightenment are not true, because awakening is not about thinking. If we can think it, it is not that. <Snip>
It cannot be spoken. It is a state of being that is beyond description. But we have assigned it many names; peace, godliness, harmony, the source. It is there to be experienced when we give understanding. When we stop trying we discover it has been here all the time. <Snip>
When we truly give up it seems there is suddenly something – we could call it a universal consciousness. We disappear into the One.
If we do anything in order to wake up, even if we meditate to awaken, rather than for the fullness of the meditation, we are not accepting the way we are. We are indicating that we want to be better, to be different and we are rejecting how we are now. This is diametrically opposed to what is needed to realize this harmony. When we recognize and accept that ‘This Is It’ – the way we and everything is right now is all there is – we are on the threshold of our freedom.
PETER: Nothing new in this chapter at all. Ordinary spirituality is to accept and realize that how you are, and ‘who’ you are, right now, is okay. Eastern religion, the traditional source of modern spirituality, at least stretches one to realize that ‘who’ you are is an illusion, but it then goes off the rails to extol the believer into creating a new transcendental identity. The success rate of producing truly enlightened beings is estimated to be less than .0001% of those devotees who have trod the traditional spiritual path. Perhaps this appalling success rate is the reason that ordinary spirituality is so popular. There is no practice, no effort, no thinking, no need to change, no wanting to be better or different –
Well if you are happy with the way you are now, then fair enough, but what you are including in your acceptance is ‘the way everything is right now’. This ‘everything’ includes the Human Condition in its totality – all the wars, murder, rape, corruption, domestic violence, retribution, despair and suicide as well as all religious wars, crusades, tortures, persecutions, perversions, repression, recriminations, prejudices, retributions, pogroms, etc. Not only would spiritual belief have us accept that this is okay but it also proudly proclaims it is part of some grand master plan of ‘the source’.
The belief that we are perfect as-we-are is a gross misinterpretation of the fact that the physical universe is perfect as-it-is. One of the panellists on the TV program I mentioned above was asked ‘would there be evil in the universe if humans did not exist?’ and he said ‘No’. The interviewer did not ask the next obvious question – ‘would God exist in the universe if humans did not exist?’ but I thought it revealing that he could at least allude to the fact that evil is a human invention based on the animal passions of fear and aggression. Yet when asked directly later on he was unwilling to see, or admit to, evil or violent behaviour in himself. He acknowledged a fact yet denied it applied to him. We are every-ready to deny evil and violence in ourselves but ever-willing to acknowledge God and see good in ourselves. This phenomenon explains why all human beings who have had a glimpse of the perfection and purity of the physical universe as-it-is, then insist that they are perfect as-they-are. This is denial and acceptance in operation at its most cunning. This is ‘self’-centred, ‘self’-ish, ‘self’-deception in the extreme.
The pure Consciousness Experience is a direct experience of the purity and perfection of the actual world. Everything is seen and experienced to be already perfect as one is in a ‘self’-less state. To have briefly experienced this state and then, when returning to one’s normal state, declare that ‘I’ am perfect is a gross factual misinterpretation of the experience. This is, as Alan once stated, ‘a PCE gone wrong’ or rather a selfish claiming of the experience for one’s self.
One needs to be vigilant and scrupulously honest in one’s interpretation of a PCE. It is startlingly obvious in the PCE that it is a ‘self’-less state and also that it is a sensate-only experience. If one wants to claim this experience of perfection for oneself, one will end up believing the advice of those who say ‘you’ are perfect as ‘you’ are and nothing needs to be done – ‘the way we and everything is right now is all there is.’
An Actualist is scrupulously honest in interpreting the PCE and, when returning to his or her ‘normal’ state, sets about or resumes the process of ‘self-immolation, fuelled by having had the experience and equipped with a bit more information to work with. What stands between ‘me’ and the purity and perfection of the actual world is ‘me’ and this is experienced in the PCE. One’s intent then is permanent and irrevocable change, the antithesis of acceptance. It is not that one rejects how one is now but one knows that unless one has the unambiguous aim and relentless courage to be the best one can be while remaining a ‘self’ then ‘self’-immolation will be a dream – one will settle for acceptance.
The spiritual path leads 180 degrees in the opposite direction to the path to Actual freedom.
Denial and acceptance on the spiritual path leads to ‘self’-aggrandizement.
Acknowledging facts and activating change with pure intent on the path of Actual Freedom leads to ‘self’-immolation.
I’ll finish with some words on the search for freedom, peace and happiness from the Introduction to Actual Freedom. –
Nobody seems at all willing to question the primary role that affective feelings play in perpetuating human malice and sorrow. For most people it is inconceivable to live without battling or blaming someone or something, without feeling sad about something, let alone without sympathy, empathy, love and desire.
Thus it is that Humanity wallows in fear, aggression, nurture and desire and will continue to do so until sanity and sensibility manage to gain a substantial foothold.
PETER: Hi everyone,
Just in case anyone is reading and following these posts, the TV program I referred to in the last post is, in fact, mentioned in the beginning of this post. That’s what comes from writing two posts at once and adding to one just before I sent it off. Apologies for any confusion that may have resulted. So, here we go with No.19 in the series.
I watched a TV discussion program last evening where the topic was good and evil in human beings. There were four people, a journalist, a lawyer, an academic whose field of study was the Holocaust and another academic involved in behavioural studies. Not one of the people thought that they were evil, or could do an evil act. The journalist accused the government and leaders for being evil, the lawyer thought we should look within for moral and ethical guidance, the academic studying the Holocaust blamed the Nazis for the genocide and thought the Milgram experiments irrelevant to the situation and the other academic looked forward to the time when we would identify the gene of benevolence. All were in denial that they were personally capable of evil actions and all denied that humans are born with a passion for anger and violence.
It reminded me that denial is not exclusive to Eastern religion and philosophy. But to make denial into a virtuous ethic, and further to make acceptance into a pious moral, is to make ‘self’-centredness and ‘self’-righteousness into a religion. The Western religions tend to be monotheist, with one creationist, fire and brimstone, loving God, whereas Eastern Religions are much more appealing for they proffer the chance for you to feel you are that God or, in extreme cases of delusion, to become that God. And yet people keep insisting that spirituality is not a religion.
Another cute observation came from a TV program called ‘Spirituality in Hollywood’ in which a musician made the comment that religion is about choosing between heaven and hell, whereas spirituality is for those who have been to hell.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Sixteen Being Together – a Vision of the Possible
Many of us have dreamed of the possibilities of living together in communion – sharing, speaking and living in truth. I have a sense of what a community of all of us could be like. I invite you to join me in imagining this possibility. I see that we would be living in something similar to the tradition of a monastery or an ashram, where the priority is on moment-to-moment awareness. Unlike most ashrams though, instead of performing rituals or doing serious things, we would be living, having fun and playing – with awareness.
PETER: I find this chapter to be an interesting inclusion in the book as the author has had some 10 years experience, that I know of, living in an ashram whose rules and regulations, aspirations and dreams are almost word for word replicas of what is offered here. He was present at the time when Mr. Rajneesh’s great experiment failed and yet he offers nothing new or unique that might possibly avert similar disasters.
PAUL LOWE: The only way to go beyond the restrictions of how we have lived as human beings is to be responsible for ourselves, at every level. <Snip> As we operate out of responsibility there would be no processing, as such. Processing is what we do to avoid experiencing the moment. We would not put out anger or other negative emotions, nor would we hold anything inside. It entails disconnecting from anger, complaint, jealousy – from all the emotions. We are just with the disturbance or upset that is created inside.
PETER: The joining and living in a spiritual commune is an abdication of personal responsibility. One surrenders one’s will for the good of the group in the name of the greater good. It is also pertinent to observe that the emotions he is disconnecting from are not ‘all the emotions’, but are just the bad or ‘negative emotions’. To practice transcendence one simply disconnects from the negative or bad emotions and pumps up and identifies with the positive or good emotions.
PAUL LOWE: Meditation is the priority. <Snip> There is no fixed program, everything stays loose, so that if you feel to meditate at any time, if you feel the energy coming, you honour it in that moment. Regarding food, the diet would consist of live, uncooked foods and there is no meat. <Snip> The level of awareness is such that when you put a vase of flowers down, you know exactly where you are placing it. You look at the surface on which you are putting it and feel where it is appropriate to be placed. You are aware that the flowers, the vase and the table all have consciousness. You put things away in drawers consciously. You do everything with an inclusive awareness. You are aware of each other at all times.
PETER: Ah. In the previous chapter he said
And yet here he is proposing an ashram where ‘meditation is the priority.’ His level of awareness sounds like a horror story – a super-awareness that focuses on one’s physical actions rather than emotions and feelings. This is not an inclusive awareness but an exclusive awareness as one’s focus is narrowed to such an extent on the miniscule and largely irrelevant that one inevitably misses the main event – the ‘how’ of ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive.’ This hyper-awareness practice has been tried by millions of monks in monasteries, and sannyasins in ashrams, for millennia with zilch change resulting from the effort.
PAUL LOWE: There is no discipline from the outside. Everything comes from the inside, from consciousness. <Snip> Conscious, gentle reminders of our unconscious patterns are offered among us all about posture, about facial expressions, how we dress, tone of voice and any other habits. They are soft, supportive reminders, all of us are together in this.
PETER: To translate – One adheres to the moral and ethical codes that come from Eastern religious conditioning, and when they break down, or when one becomes ‘unconscious’, then the morals and ethics are consciously and gently reinforced by peer pressure. Sounds awfully like the ‘real world’ to me. This inner discipline is what is known as conscience – not consciousness. A conscience is instilled by parents, peers and society to keep its group members from running amok. Whether this is a Christian conscience, a Buddhist conscience or a Lowellian conscience is irrelevant. With a programmed conscience in operation, one feels guilty if one breaks the rules of the group ... ‘all of us are together in this’ ... and even more so if one dares to leave the group.
PAUL LOWE: We are disconnecting from competition, disconnecting from approval, disconnecting from the fear of disapproval. There is a total dissolving of all levels of authority. Everyone is taking responsibility. There are no morals, no taboos, no rules. There is only consciousness, sensitivity and appropriateness.
PETER: No. One’s personal position, and power, in this type of community is judged on loyalty, goodness, givingness, lovingness, etc. and the competition is usually fierce. One’s participation in this type of community is dependent on the approval or disapproval of one’s peers and, as such, the usual sucking up, power plays and manoeuvring are part and parcel of all spiritual communities. It is, of course, all nicely sugar-coated but scratch beneath the surface, or dare to take a clear-eyed look, and it is obvious that the Human Condition is sublimated not eliminated.
When these communities form there is a strict hierarchy of authority as they are centred around an ultimate authority – God or a living God-man. If it is a living God-man then his authority is direct, obvious and supreme, even if it is unspoken. The curious thing is that, while the God-man’s authority is supreme, his responsibility is nil for if anything goes wrong it is always the disciple’s fault for not being conscious enough, not being surrendered enough, not being loyal enough, not being aware enough, etc.
When the Guru or God-man dies then some other person rules the roost by assuming the mantle of being the earthly representative of the dead God and he or she usually usurps the God’s power by lineage, channelling, faithfully carrying on ‘the work’, etc. All of the members of these communities literally surrender and bow down to this ultimate authority and this act of sublimation forms the very glue of the community. One’s own interests are surrendered to a higher cause and one surrenders all responsibility for one’s own actions, so much so, that, when push comes to shove, one is even willing to kill or be killed in order to protect one’s God or Guru, or to protect their reputation.
As for ‘there are no morals, no taboos, no rules’ ... these communities inevitably abound with morals, taboos and rules which are all reinforced and maintained by one’s peers, albeit in a ‘conscious gentle’ way.
As for ‘there is only consciousness, sensitivity and appropriateness’ ... to be a member of any these exclusive communities is to deliberately disassociate oneself from the world as-it-is; from people, things and events in the ‘outside’ world. One becomes obsessively ‘self’-conscious and in order to balance this one is encouraged to adopt a ‘group’-consciousness, as in feeling at-one-with everyone else in the group. The exclusive feeling of oneness is born of this action. One’s consciousness becomes awash with emotion and feeling and one’s awareness is totally ‘self-centred to the point where one becomes a feeling entity only. One deliberately moves one’s identity from ‘who’ one thinks one is to ‘who’ one feels one is. To use the spiritual terms, one dissolves one’s ego and becomes one’s soul – ‘who’ you feel you really and truly are, deep down inside.
One also becomes cut-off, or insensitive to the world as-it-is, and to those who believe in another God than your beloved God. One does what is appropriate and loyally and faithfully obeys the particular set of morals, taboos and rules that the God-man establishes or that are embellished and amended after his death. I use the male gender in writing of the Gods for simplicity’s sake but the same applies to the followers of God-women, Guru-esses, Mothers, etc.
All religious communes suck, be they Eastern or Western. In the traditional form they were more like harsh prisons whereas nowadays it is fashionable to dress their image more as holiday camps.
Changing the packaging doesn’t change the content ... all religious communes suck. So much rubbish and twaddle is passed off as profound wisdom in spiritual belief, all in blatant denial of facts and the lessons of human experience. To read this wisdom is literally mind-boggling, which is, after all, the aim of anything spiritual.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Seventeen All the Way Home – To Ourselves
I have gotten where I am through ... the words that come to me are blessing, luck, coincidence and hard work. I do not know exactly how I got here. I do not actually know how this waking up has happened, but as a result, I see you as you really are.
PETER: This ‘I do not know exactly how I got here’ is common to those who have had Satori experiences or have gone the whole way into having a permanent Altered State of Consciousness. They have never understood the process because thinking and understanding is such a sacred no-no in Eastern religion. They really do senselessly follow their feelings and, as such, are often sincere in their ignorance of the process that got them there.
But I’m not ignorant of the spiritual process. It is blatantly obvious and easily understood.
PAUL LOWE: You do not see yourself as you really are. You see yourself through your damaged faculties, and consequently, you experienced yourself through your behaviour, not directly. <Snip> You are spirit and you are out of touch with this because you have been damaged. <Snip> You have a body that is out of balance, a mind that is in distress, emotions that are in turmoil, but all that has nothing to do with you. If you identify with them, you feel crippled and less than whole. But that is not you. <Snip> You do not need to identify with your emotions and behaviour. <Snip> When you identify with feelings or behaviours, you believe they are you and you tend to become either lost in them or to work on changing them. <Snip> You cannot change them; in fact, it is inappropriate to change any of it.
PETER: Cute that Paul says he doesn’t know how he got there but has described the process thoroughly and repeatedly throughout the book. Perhaps he is so identified with his good feelings and disconnected from his mind that he has never really thought about exactly what he is saying.
PAUL LOWE: All you need to do is become more aware of the part of you – the watcher – who is aware that you feel depressed, or whatever you are feeling. Then you can start to identify with the watcher and not the watched. <Snip> Do not bother focusing attention on your behaviour because it has nothing to do with you. It is important to be present and disconnect with all of that, even as you are functioning. Be there.
PETER: Every now and again he slips up and declares ‘Be there’ which is but an accurate description of the spiritual admonition of ‘be present’ or ‘be here in the spiritual world’ – which is anywhere but here and anytime but now, in the actual world of people, things and events.
PAUL LOWE: My experience is that many people are, in fact, beginning to disconnect from their behaviour. As you do, you realize that in one way nothing has changed. You are still doing many of the old patterns, yet in another way you now have some distance from your behaviour.
PETER: Yep. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
PAUL LOWE: When you drop into the source the you as you have known yourself to be is gone. You have no separate identification. <Snip> It can feel like death. Yet as the Bible says, ‘unless you die and be reborn...,’ until you are willing to let go of who you think you are, you are separate from the source.
PETER: A sure sign that Paul has not suffered from a complete Altered State of Consciousness or Awakening as he would have had an experience of death, not a feeling of death. An Altered State of Consciousness is exactly as it says – who you think you are dies and you become who you feel you are. One’s state of consciousness, or identity, is permanently altered. I say permanently – but Richard, in fact, went further than this and dissolved who he felt he was – a total extinction of ‘self’, an expurgation of all identity. It is extremely doubtful if others will follow his route given that the Glamour, Glory and Glitz of Enlightenment is such a seductive and blissfully ignorant state.
For an Actualist, the direct route to Actual Freedom is not the tortured path of the spiritual seeker but one follows a more direct, sensible path thereby avoiding the instinctual trap of a delusionary Altered State of Consciousness. The extinction of ‘who’ one thinks one is, and ‘who’ one feels one is, is the unabashed aim and inevitable destiny of the sincere Actualist.
I have looked through the remaining two chapters of the book and there is nothing there that Paul has not said already or that I have not commented on – so I will draw the ‘D + A = nc’ series to an end. It’s been great fun, an exercise that was well worth doing as the practice of denial and acceptance continually operates to actively prevent an actual peace from breaking out in human beings.
I recently came across an example of this denial in operation when I tried in vain to initiate a discussion about peace on earth on the Sannyasin Mailing List –
As you can see it was impossible to keep the subject on track as the veil of denial was quickly lowered and the usual spiritual counter attack clichés were wheeled out to avert any further discussion of the facts. That is why this book review was so useful as what is written (both Actualist and Spiritualist) can be compared, evaluated and contemplated upon and a sensible judgement be made as to the facticity of each alternative process.
It is good to make sense of both alternatives offered – both Spiritual Freedom and Actual Freedom, both ‘the peace that passeth all understanding’ and actual peace-on-earth.
Peter's Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.