Selected Correspondence Peter
180 Degrees Opposite
(To be seeking spiritual freedom is to be going 180 degrees in the wrong direction)
PETER to Alan: After our conversation the other day, I have been musing a bit about the word freedom and what it means to most people.
Exemption or release from slavery or imprisonment; personal liberty. 2 The quality of being free from the control of fate or necessity; the power of self-determination attributed to the will. 3 The quality of being free or noble; nobility, generosity, liberality. 4 The state of being able to act without hindrance or restraint; liberty of action; the right of, to do.. 5 Exemption from a specific burden, charge, or service; an immunity. 6 Exemption from arbitrary, despotic, or autocratic control; independence; civil liberty. 7 Readiness or willingness to act. 8 The right of participating in the privileges attached to citizenship of a town or city (often given as an honour to distinguished people), or to membership of a company or trade. Also, the document or diploma conferring such freedom. b Foll. by of: unrestricted access to or use of. c The liberty or right to practise a trade; the fee paid for this. 9 Foll. by from. The state of not being affected by (a defect, disadvantage, etc.); exemption. 10 Orig., the overstepping of due customary bounds in speech or behaviour, undue familiarity. Now also, frankness, openness, familiarity; outspokenness. 11 Facility or ease in action or activity; absence of encumbrance. 12 Boldness or vigour of conception or execution. Oxford Dictionary
The dictionary provides a reasonably straightforward definition and for an actualist the pertinent section is freedom ‘from’, as in –
Thus a freedom from the human condition is ‘The state of not being affected by (a defect, disavantage, etc.), exemption’ , from the human condition. Given that the salient attributes of the human condition are malice and sorrow, a more pragmatic definition is an actual freedom from malice and sorrow.
Much confusion arises for the seeker of freedom, peace and happiness for the word freedom traditionally means something quite different. In spiritual terms, freedom means an escape from, or release from, something undesirable – life as-it-is, in the world as-it-is, right here and right now – and the discovery of, or realization of, a more desirable somewhere else – being ‘present’ in the spiritual world, anyplace but here and anytime but now. I am having a correspondence with an awakened spiritual teacher at the moment that well illustrates this difference –
There seems to be a very deep-set misunderstanding that arises even from the running of the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ for the traditional approach would be – am ‘I’ feeling safe and comfortable ‘inside’ this body despite what is happening in the rock-solid world ‘out there’? This approach to the question merely perpetuates the self as an entity that is separate from the actual world, it does nothing to actively demolish and break down the barriers that prevents one as a mortal flesh and blood body being fully immersed in and engaged in the business of doing what is happening, right here and now in the physical, rock-solid actual world. This actual freedom is 180 degrees opposite to the spiritual freedom which is the escape from being here, right now in this the only moment one can experience being alive.
An exchange I recently had with another correspondent illustrates a further aspect of spiritual belief about the actual physical world where we flesh and blood humans actually live –
Again this exchange illustrates that actualism lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction to spiritualism. I don’t seek an escape from being here, now in the actual world – I seek to break free from all that prevents me from being here. In the case above, to do this means breaking free of the spiritual belief that material comfort is the cause of our misery – a deeply cynical and perverse view of life on earth that merely perpetuates human suffering.
We were chatting the other day about the marked difference between being here, doing what is happening and the feeling of not being here that can cause a frustration with life as-it-is. The frustration with life as-it-is, right here and now, most often causes a passionate desire to be somewhere else which serves only to prevent one from being here. For an actualist, any period of time spent not being here is clearly a waste of time. Any time spent being bored, angry, pissed off, feeling sad, lack luster, annoyed, etc. is time wasted time lost from fully living this the only moment one can experience being alive. All of these ‘time-offs’ have to be explored and investigated and understood so as to prevent the same old ‘time-outs’ occurring in the future. It takes a bit of practice and a lot of effort and attention as to ‘how’ am I experiencing this moment of being alive, but pretty soon one gets the hang of it.
Soon one finds that a switch has been made from being resentful at having to be here to resenting and wanting to eliminate whatever it is that prevents one from being here.
Being a bit lazy, I’ll post another bit from a recent correspondence that illustrates this point –
There is a world of difference from the spiritual freedom of feeling that one is here, and actually being here. It does take a bloody-mindedness to continually break from the habit of lazing back into commonly held beliefs and resentments about the impossibility of life being easy in this actual world. The only way to do this is to actively investigate and understand all of the beliefs, morals, ethics, psittacisms, feelings and passions that actively conspire to prevent one’s freedom. Of course, given that these dearly-held attributes are all that ‘I’ am made of, this process is actually a process of ‘self’-immolation which is why it lacks popular appeal and is stubbornly refuted and objected to by spiritual escapists.
Just a post-script to add some clarity about being here as it applies during the process to becoming actually free from the human condition. At the beginning of the process the difference between the pure consciousness experience and normal life is so extreme that the PCE clearly is experienced as being another world. Given that ‘who one is’ is a fully developed psychological and psychic entity living in a psychological and psychic construct of real-world and spiritual world beliefs, the self-less experience of the actual world has to appear other-worldly when one returns to normal. The marked similarity between the actual world and the real world is the physicality of both, whereas the vast difference between the actual world and the spiritual world is the physicality of the actual world and the ethereality of the spiritual world.
This difference gives one the clue to where purity and perfection really lie – in the self-less state, and not in the self-realized state. With this knowledge as one’s touchstone one then sets about the business of actively demolishing one’s self, and this process, if undertaken with sincere intent, means that each time one experiences a PCE the marked and startling difference between the experience and normal is reduced in proportion to the work done in the mean time. This can initially be quite disconcerting for what one sets out to do was to go ‘there’ – to the world experienced in the PCE whereas what one in fact is experiencing is the diminishing of one’s self to the point where one is coming here to the actual world and to this actual moment. It’s cute stuff and absolutely fascinating to experience. I experienced it as a half-way point – a sort of turning around 180 degrees from wanting to escape from here to there to wanting to be here. This is a literal tearing away from humanity, from both grim reality and escapist Reality. Then, as I said to No 8 –
PETER: Hi Alan, hi Mark,
A post firstly about something Alan wrote that particularly ‘pricked up my ears’.
ALAN: And, to insert a quick ‘plug’ for the benefits of virtual freedom, even if one does not go all the way. At a time considered to be the most stressful there can be in a persons life – selling a house, selling (or closing) a business and a likely break up of a marriage – here I am, enjoying every moment and delighting in the experience of being alive – I thoroughly recommend it.
PETER: Yes, indeed – this is what it is all about. This is why we delve into beliefs, explore feelings and emotions, contemplate upon the Human Condition, and dare to be different. The practical, down-to-earth results in everyday living – for what else is there? The whole aim of the exercise is to become actually free of malice and sorrow – to become happy and harmless. And this is done incrementally, bit by bit, and the results come incrementally, bit by bit. The ‘events’, realizations, wobbles, etc. are then seen for what they are – interesting by-products of coming closer to a sensible and sensate experiencing of the ‘main event’ – that which is happening right now. There is no suffering on the path – anything that occurs in the head or heart is but the consequence of daring to devote oneself to becoming free. While the challenges may seem daunting on occasions, the rewards for stubborn persistence are abundantly apparent in the increased ease and delight in everyday life. It is this everyday happiness and harmlessness that gives one the confidence to pursue the unimaginable – the living of the Pure Consciousness Experience 24 hours a day, every day.
It reminds me that whenever I have written, or said to anyone, that one of the reasons I abandoned the spiritual world was ‘that I did not like how the ‘Enlightened Ones’ were with their women, I didn’t like their lifestyle, and I didn’t like how they were with each other! ’ – I have had no response. Sort of a blank look, as though – ‘What is he on about?’ The Divine Status of the Gurus apparently exempts them from regarding and treating their fellow human beings as exactly that – fellow human beings. This superior and ‘Holier than thou’ attitude also permeates into the minds and hearts of their disciples as they worship, idolize and attempt to emulate the Gurus. Why do humans persistently worship the elite few God-men as having achieved the pinnacle of human achievement yet persistently ignore their ‘personal’ lives and behaviour when ‘off stage’. There is no ‘on-stage’ and ‘off-stage’ in actualism, there is no divine life and secular life, there is no other place or other life – be a past life, a next life or a life beyond physical death.
Actualism is 180 degrees opposite to the spiritual escapism and, as such, I was delighted to read of your experiences, Alan. They accord with my own everyday experiences and are evidence of the success being reported by the handful involved at the moment.
Mark summed up the success he is having compared with his years in the spiritual world so well recently, and it is well worth repeating what he wrote –
This is written by someone with 20 years experience on the spiritual path – an experiential understanding of the significance of those three words, ‘fellow human beings’. Whomever you meet is simply a fellow human being – and one finds oneself increasingly regarding and treating others as such on the path to freedom from malice and sorrow.
Those three words – ‘fellow human beings’ – are the very key to peace on this planet and it will eventuate incrementally as more and more people have the experiential understanding that Mark has written of.
Other than spiritual and religious morality the ‘best’ that Humanity has come up with in order attempt to bring some semblance of ‘civilized’ behaviour to the planet is the ethical concept of Human Rights. Human Rights do naught but enshrine the differences and separateness in noble moral and ethical codes that are not only unliveable but actively perpetuate the continuation of division, conflict and war – an endless fight for one’s Rights, and the endless despair at having them ‘denied’ by others who are fighting for their Rights. One man’s God is but another man’s Devil. What is right for one is wrong for another. Justice for one means that someone else has to have revenge wrought upon him or her. Retaining one’s ‘heritage’ means retaining the prejudices, superstitions, ‘hurts’ and angers of one’s parents and tribe. The concept of Human Rights is a well-meaning, but futile, attempt to force human beings to try and stop the instinctual urge to kill each other. ‘Twill never bring peace and harmony.
So Mark, you have ‘hit the nail upon the head’ in your seeing through the failure of the ideals of Love and Compassion in the spiritual/religious world. It is, after all, no different to the love and compassion that continuously fails in the real world. All are but failed attempts to ‘keep the lid’ on the animal within us. The only way to peace and harmony is to get rid of the animal in us completely and Actual Freedom does just that.
Actual Freedom heralds the beginning of peace on earth for human beings, an end to the appalling suffering, violence, oppression, corruption and despair. An end to all the wars, ethnic cleansing, sectarian troubles, fights for Rights, revenges, genocides, repressions, rapes, murders and suicides. One at a time, we will step out of that real world and leave our ‘selves’ behind. Fear and aggression – the animal survival instincts of a dog-eat-dog world – are now redundant for modern human beings. They need to be eliminated in order that we can begin to treat each other as fellow human beings and not as ‘friends’ or ‘enemies’ in a perpetual battle for succour, security and survival.
It’s such a buzz to get to the bottom of what it is that ails the Human Condition.
To see that it is naught but the ‘self’-centred survival instinct that is at the root of sorrow and malice and to set about eliminating it in oneself.
PETER to No 18: Being free of the belief in an after-life, I am now free to actually be here, fully acknowledging the fact. <Snip> Having no belief in a past or future life enabled me to tackle the issue of my behaviour, my actions, my feelings and emotions, my experiences and, of course, my happiness, right now.
RESPONDENT: Yes. Of the many uncoveries Richard made, one that has been of tremendous import to me has been that nothing is mine . That this sensate body I had considered as mine, is in fact the universe experiencing itself as a human being, and it brings about many interesting perspectives. Without the claim of my behaviour, actions, feelings and emotions, experiences and, of course, happiness, one is free to tackle them NOW without referring to the past ‘me’. Now I’m beginning to see how my this, my that, has been feeding the beast, the idea of a separate selfish identity.
PETER: What I wrote is the opposite of what you are agreeing with – 180 degrees opposite. When I still had spiritual beliefs, I separated myself out from my behaviour, actions, feelings and emotions for I was a goody-two-shoes spiritual seeker. When I met Richard, I stopped pretending that my behaviour, actions, feelings and emotions were not mine. Then I discovered that I was, underneath the sugar-coating, both malicious and sorrowful. It was only by stopping this act of denial of splitting myself in two that I could accept the responsibility of cleaning myself up, so to speak. This splitting oneself in two, or creating a new identity, is what is known as dissociation, epitomized in spiritual belief by such phrases as ‘I am not my body’, ‘I am not my mind’, ‘I am not my feelings’, etc.
An actualist does not fall for the trap of merely pretending he or she is a flesh and blood body – adopting yet another identity or belief and thus ignoring or denying his or her unwanted or covered-up behaviour, actions, feelings and emotions. One doesn’t wave a magic wand by changing the name of things or learning a new language – the extinguishing of the instinctual passions that are ‘me’ at my core is the commitment of a life time.
As you said above, there are realizations everywhere at the moment about the stark differences between what spiritual people theorize about and how they actually are.
What I did was take my ‘self’ on – lock, stock and barrel, the lot, everything – and I will not stop until all of ‘me’ is extinguished, for only then will what is actual become apparent.
Just as an observation, to avoid confusion about what is being said and what is on offer on this list – I found that when I first read Richard’s writings I had to read a sentence two or three times in order to understand that what he was saying was not what I had assumed in my first reading. Then the next time I read the same section or sentence, it would well only take two readings to get the gist of what he was saying. The third time through sometimes heralded the beginning of an understanding of how radically different it was to what I had been taught or what I had believed to be true. But what kept pulling me back, despite my fears, to reading more and wanting to understand more was that actualism made sense – and I desperately wanted to be free of the Human Condition.
This business of becoming free of beliefs and instinctual passions means that the brain needs to be re-wired, re-programmed, and this is a purely physical process of breaking old synapses based on myths and beliefs and forging new one’s based on facts and actuality. This re-programming does take effort, time, attention, perseverance, intent, stubbornness, willingness, interest, vigour and ... a passionate desire to be free of malice and sorrow.
PETER: If the Gurus can’t put their money where their mouth is in their personal relationships it’s time for them to shut up.
RESPONDENT: Why is the credential of a relationship necessary? Are you suggesting you wouldn’t or couldn’t investigate actual reality with or learn with anyone who didn’t have a certifiably perfect relationship to support their ‘position’? Don’t we learn from everyone we are with at any moment? The ‘perfect’ as well as the rest of us? Doesn’t that put the person with a ‘perfect’ relationship in the role of Guru, higher than the rest? Teaching from above to below?
PETER: I see that Vineeto has sent you something already. I had such a delicious lunch downtown and a longish beach walk so when I got home I stretched out on the couch for a snooze to be awakened by the gentle tapping of Vineeto’s fingers on the keyboard. While strolling on the beach I did wonder if you had read both the journals as I think it would be useful and then you would have more background of what we are saying. It is radically different – 180 degrees in the opposite direction in fact. Everybody has got it wrong up until now and the proof is the greed, avarice, violence, sadness, sorrow and gloom that pervades humans’ thoughts and actions despite centuries of religious belief and adherence.
I dropped the idea of becoming enlightened the moment I realised that these Enlightened Beings and Gurus were nothing but the Gods of the Eastern religions. The Western Religions are generally monotheistic – a One Big God religion and as such the best we humans can do is obey His rules and worship him and we get to go to heaven after we die. They have Sainthood for the really good people or the chance to be Pope or the like, if you want. Now the Eastern religions are generally polytheistic which means they worship many Gods side by side. Also there is a strong tradition of Enlightened ones, Gurus or God-men who declare their God-ship while alive. They can be easily identified as they gather disciples, begin to teach and proclaim they know the Truth (...which can’t be spoken)! So to believe in Enlightenment is to believe in God and an afterlife.
The problem is now I have no religious tolerance at all. Whether it’s East or West, Pope or the Dalai Lama they have had sufficient time to bring paradise to earth and all we get are more religious wars and fights amid the cries of ‘let’s be tolerant of each other’s religious rights’. ‘Let’s all agree to tolerate the wars!!!’ Now if that isn’t lunacy I don’t know what is. Granted, until now it was the best escape from the Human condition possible. But there is an alternative – it is now possible treat each other as fellow human beings, to live together in peace and harmony, to experience the physical tangible sensual delight of the actual world as evidenced by the senses.
To completely eliminate any sorrow and malice from your thoughts and actions. I’ve said lately that if someone could see with these eyes the actual delight they would know what I mean, but, of course, everyone has them in their Peak Experience or PCE as Richard calls them. So if your still aiming to become Enlightened or wanting a Guru to believe in, I think you are on the wrong mailing list.
But if you want to discuss the possibility to become happy and harmless, if you want to free yourself of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow, and if you want to completely eradicate both the social identity you have been straitjacketed with, as well as the animal instincts that fill us with fear and drive us to violence – then I can maybe help as I’ve done it for myself. The great thing about this (poignantly perfect, in fact) is that you have to do it for yourself – I am (thank goodness) powerless and yet undeniably useful to those willing to give it a go. All you need is to make it the number one goal in your life. Set aside sufficient time and away you go! I personally felt I had nothing left to lose – which is the sub-title of my journal. So let me know what you think of the journals, I’ll be fascinated to hear.
PETER: You wrote to No 14 a note of such breathtaking duplicity that I am moved (as in ... up off the couch) to reply before all the spiritualists on this list start to declare Rajneesh and other similar God-men to be actually free from the Human Condition. Still people do believe that Jesus walked on water, that the planets influence their moods and the sun goes around the earth. It’s just that this list is about facts and actuality – and not fiction, hopeful imagination, wishful thinking, slippery re-interpretation, Ancient Wisdom or ‘Truth’.
RESPONDENT to No 14: I did not get this PCE stuff on this list in the beginning. I kept thinking about it for a while. For weeks I would get stuck on 2-3 experiences which stood out and seemed close to the way PCE was being described here. The first PCE happened to me after I did rigorous dynamic everyday for 2 months. This PCE happened 2 ½ years ago. I also noticed that for last 2 ½ years, I have always wanted to repeat that experience. I have had some much tinier ones but nothing compared to the first one.
Now I understand the whole thing about PCE. Osho created situations in which we could get PCEs and hence have a bench mark to work with. While Richard is asking us to remember a PCE, defined with a description, to take it as a bench mark.
PETER: It does seem a waste of all that thinking time to have come to the conclusion that there is a God after all, and that Rajneesh is your God. Still Humanity’s obsession with believing the fairy-tales of the God-men is both legendary and endemic and has been around for thousands of years. This is the very beginning of a new down-to-earth non-spiritual Actual Freedom and, as such, will not be for all. It does take a certain courage, tenacity, stubbornness and bloody-mindedness to strike off on one’s own to discover and investigate.
RESPONDENT: Dynamic meditation helped me get the first PCE and other Osho’s meditations helped me get consequent PCEs. That is a fact, take it or leave it.
PETER: What you said in your post was – ‘Osho created situations in which we could get PCEs and hence have a bench mark to work with’. What I pointed out was that Rajneesh aka Osho created situations in which his disciples could get Satoris – brief glimpses of an Altered State of Consciousness whereby one experiences oneself as Divine and Immortal, Spaceless and Timeless. Given that he has been dead 10 years he obviously knew nothing of what Richard is saying for it was only 7 years ago that Richard discovered a state that is beyond the delusion of Enlightenment. It was only 3 years ago that he used the term Pure Consciousness Experience to describe a self-less state that is devoid of any delusions of Divinity, Immortality, Divine Love and Divine Compassion. Even you had not heard the term PCE until a few months ago and obviously have difficulty in comprehending the fact that it is 180 degrees opposite to an ASC.
PETER to No 7: But to see Actual Freedom in spiritual terms and to see it as mere Guru-bashing is to miss the point entirely of what is being offered here on this List and in the writings. What is required of an actualist is to undertake a complete, thorough and clear-eyed examination of what it is that is being taught by these God-men and exactly why it has been, and still is, so seductively attractive. This process, if undertaken with scrupulous sincerity, will bring one to the realization that the whole of Ancient Wisdom is based upon various myths and imaginary fairy tale beliefs of life after death. This spirit-ual belief in an after-life is constantly fuelled and fired by the survival instincts and, as such, is a passionately held belief given credence by hormonally-charged hallucinations and delusionary states. ‘I’, the parasitic entity that dwells in the flesh and blood body, will do anything to survive, will actively and passionately do anything to stay in existence – anything to deny the fact of physical death. So passionate is this belief that millions, upon millions, upon millions of human beings have killed for, and died for, their own particular version of this spiritual belief. The very survival instinct within human beings is directly responsible for the continuous carnage of warfare on this planet – all pursuit of a fairy-tale of life after death for ‘me’ who lives inside this flesh and blood, physical, mortal body.
This is why one needs to read the words of the God-men and see for oneself exactly what is on offer, and exactly what has been delivered.
I got to musing a bit more about the reaction to my Journal, and to Richard’s Journal, and wondered at the lack of reaction evident in most. I remembered back to my first reading of Richard’s Journal and what my reactions were at the time.
Firstly, what he was saying made sense – it was obvious to me that everyone has got it wrong; everyone knows that because fear and aggression in the form of sorrow and malice are endemic on the planet. It took a bit of digging into both Richard’s writings and those of the Gurus to understand that what he was saying was brand spanking new and a quantum leap in the opposite direction to the spiritual. When a Guru says ‘everyone has got it wrong’, what he means is ‘everyone else has got it wrong and only I have got it Right, for I am the messenger of the Divine’. This shallow Guru-bashing then is passed off as ‘the real Truth, the only Path’, whereas what can initially appear as the Wisdom of the God-man is no more than his particular condemnation of the religions of other God-men. Merely to claim that others have got it wrong while blindly ignoring their own role in the on-going tragedy is both ignorance and denial, but then again, if one feels oneself to be God, one is undeniably deluded and absolutely blinded to any common sense.
Actual Freedom is a freedom from the insidious fairy-tales told by all the Gurus – no exceptions, no maybes, no ‘it’s only the same thing that everybody else is saying’. For me, this meant that I would have to desert my Master, not only being ungrateful but disloyal as well. It soon became obvious that this meant I would also have to desert Humanity – be a traitor to Humanity – to be ‘a rat deserting a sinking ship’, as Richard put it recently.
And the only way ‘out’ – to actually become free – was to do it, despite these values, ethics and morals that bound me to Humanity’s perpetual suffering and fighting. Once one begins to break these bonds and ties, to actualize one’s own freedom, one discovers that one has been instinctually programmed to be a member of the species, and to break with Humanity – the emotional-backed concept that binds the species together – necessitates an extinction of the these instincts in operation in this flesh and blood body. The ending of ‘my’ connection to Humanity is the ending of ‘me’.
So, even in the first weeks after reading Richard’s Journal, I knew what the consequences of my actions would be if I gave the path to Actual Freedom a ‘go’. But I had had enough experience to not get into the trap of believing what others said merely because it sounded ‘right’ – so I wanted some practical proof that Actual Freedom worked. In the beginning of the Richard’s Journal are the chapters on living together in peace and harmony, ending the battle of the sexes and unravelling the mystique of sex, and this is what I decided I would ‘cut my teeth on’ – to see if this would work. I simply acknowledged that what I, and every body else, had been doing didn’t work and would never work, and decided to actually try something new. Not just read, study and understand, but put it into practice and see if it worked. To see if I could live with one other person in peace and harmony and get to the bottom of the mess of human sexuality. Actualism is not a cerebral pastime nor a feeling-based escape from ‘reality’ – it is a full blooded commitment to expunging the alien entity within this flesh and blood body that prevents one being the universe experiencing itself as a human being. Anything less is chicken shit.
The spiritual path eternally promises, dreams and offers hope but it never has, and never can, deliver peace on earth. Actualism delivers the dream of peace that many humans sincerely seek and puts it into practice, but only for those willing to head in the opposite direction to the ‘Tried and Failed’. My friend who said I was living what Rajneesh taught was half-right in that I am living beyond the wildest dreams of Humanity. But I only do that because I abandoned the hackneyed spiritual Wisdom based on denial and ignorance, ‘back-tracked’ all the way out of the spiritual world and set off down the path of intrepid investigation in pursuit of common sense. The path that is 180 degrees in the opposite direction to that which every one else follows. The path that everyone says don’t go on or you will end up irresponsible, evil, insane, and a traitor to Humanity to boot! That is the meaning of everyone has got it 180 degrees wrong.
But the first thing one needs to do is find out whether you have been ‘sold a dummy’, or not. That was my first reaction to the idea that there is a third alternative to staying ‘normal’ or becoming ‘spiritual’ – ‘Does that mean I have been sold a dummy?’ But the only way to know that was to find out for myself. And to undertake that investigation is to go against one’s instinctual programming that binds one to being a member of the herd called Humanity.
The return for the effort is peace, on earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body. Peace is a simple, unambiguous term meaning actually free of malice and sorrow.
So, maybe this has been of use to you. I personally always find it useful to dig in and find out what the common objections to being happy and harmless are – in other words, what ‘my’ objections are – and then dare to look at the facts of what it is to be a human animal.
To explore, within one’s own psyche, the emotional passions of malice and sorrow and to investigate the commonly held beliefs that perpetuate their existence.
To discover the illusions, ‘within’ and ‘without’, will bring one – inevitably and inexorably – to one’s senses.
And then you get to find out the meaning of life.
And it’s the journey of a ‘life’-time.
PETER: I would like to comment on something you said to Richard as it is something that has confounded me about many of the correspondents that have come and gone on this mailing list over the years.
RESPONDENT: Sensible discussions lead to clarifications, not to fighting and withdrawal of one party.
PETER: Have you not noticed in your own experience that it requires all people involved in a discussion to be sensible in order for the discussion itself to be clarifying? There is a colloquial expression that goes something like ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink’.
RESPONDENT: Maybe it is the tenacity of the beliefs of the other person which lead to the final withdrawal and exasperation but is it too silly to consider that the conversational style might also be improved so as to not overwhelm the co-respondent with a barrage of cross-referencing, citations and lengthy arguments?
PETER: Have you not noticed in your own experience that if a person tenaciously holds to their beliefs regardless of the facts of the matter then no matter what anyone else says and no matter how it is said, that person inevitably ends up engaging in impassioned argumentation as to who is right and who is wrong – and that the sole reason for this is because of the innate tendency of all human beings to tenaciously hold on to their beliefs?
If you haven’t noticed this in your own experience then I suggest that you only need to take a clear look around you at the countless conflicts, large and small that are currently happening between human beings of all genders, in all cultures all over the planet and take note of the fact that these conflicts are invariably fought out over one belief or another.
If you do so you might well notice that beliefs are the bane of humankind.
RESPONDENT: I personally have found some of the arguments to become too involved for edification. Oft-times, there is also the sense in your words that ‘Admit first that you are wrong, only then we’ll proceed further.’ And in the effort to make the other admit that he is wrong, there is no stone that you’ll leave unturned.
PETER: Have you not noticed that there is a seemingly endless queue of people who come onto this mailing list seemingly with the sole intent of proving Richard to be wrong by insisting that they are right? Have you ever considered why this is so – why it is so vitally important for people to find fault with Richard’s report that it is possible to radically and irrevocable change human nature, to finally bring an end to human malice and to human sorrow?
Personally I never adopted this confrontational head-butting ‘I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong’ attitude to Richard’s report about what he has discovered, let alone indulge in ‘let’s-take-him-down-a-peg-or-two’ ad hominem attacks. What I did was sit down, listen and read and if necessary ask a few questions pertinent to me in order to ascertain whether or not what he was saying about the human condition made sense or not. When I had satisfied myself that it did make sense – the explanation that it is the genetically-encoded instinctual passions that give rise to human malice and sorrow and not some mythical Evil force was a significant factor in deciding this for me – I then set out to experientially discover how the human condition operated in me as ‘me’.
What followed was a flurry of admissions that I had got it wrong and through no fault of mine, I should add. The list of ‘I got it wrong’. was enormous to say the least.
I won’t go on as I think you have got my drift by now – I got it wrong in so many ways.
What attracted me to actualism in the first place was that I had an experiential understanding – garnered over many years of living in different places on the planet in different cultures – that something was wrong as well as an experiential understanding that no-one had or ever has had a workable solution. When I first met Richard the one thing that that stuck in mind was that he had said ‘Everone’s got it 180 degrees wrong’ – and the reason it struck a chord was that it explained why despite humankind’s best efforts to date wars and torture and rapes and murders and child abuse and corruption and the like still plague humankind … and why there is no end in sight in that nobody had yet come up with a pragmatic solution to ending the suffering that human beings inflict upon each other and upon themselves.
For whatever reason I wasn’t so arrogant as to see myself as being superior to, or different to, or separate from, the rest of humanity which is seemingly why I had few problems in admitting that I had got it wrong – that I had been sold a dummy, as Vineeto recently put it. And not only did I discover that I had got it wrong in so many ways but I was well pleased to discover that I had got it wrong. because each discovery meant that I became free of a particular belief I dearly held to be true and each of these freedoms moved me inexorably closer to being able to become free of the whole of the human condition.
Why other people have such difficulty in admitting that they have got it wrong, when they are obviously not content with their life as-it-is – else why be on this mailing list in the first place – is quite frankly beyond me.
PETER: … it was just that ‘I’ along with everyone else on the planet, and everyone else who has ever been on the planet, have got it 180 degrees wrong. What Richard’s discovery reveals is that there is no freedom to be had within the human condition – the answer lays in becoming free from the human condition in toto.
RESPONDENT: The latter is proving hard to come to terms with. Some days it seems self-evidently true. Other days it seems to be the work of a well-meaning madman, adopted by people with a proven track record of long-term devotion to causes that ultimately lead to disillusionment.
PETER: I guess the difference is that I understood what Richard meant when he said everyone has got it 180 degrees wrong – in that everyone has been searching for the meaning of life within the existing human condition, by way of either materialistic or spiritual pursuits – which then meant that I didn’t waste the opportunity that meeting Richard presented by indulging in knee-jerk reactions or wallowing around in doubt. Once my interest and my own enquiries established a prima facie case the next thing to do was obvious – give it a go.
As for Richard being ‘a well-meaning madman’, that was a definite attraction. And my ‘proven track record of long-term devotion to causes that ultimately lead to disillusionment’ apparently means that I have a far better experiential understanding of the inherent failures of spirituality than any of my peers.
RESPONDENT: Today’s ‘me’ says: I am not completely happy with life as I’m living it. There is nobody I would rather be than me, but it is still not good enough by a long shot. I’ve wracked my brains wondering whether there is some aspect of life within the ‘human condition’ that I have not tried yet, something I have not given a fair go. It seems there isn’t anything left. I’ve changed my attitudes, beliefs, social groups, relationships, countries, jobs, lifestyles, habits, self-images; and not just once. I think I’ve given life within the ‘human condition’ a fair go. The only way left is out. Whether actualism is the best way ‘out’, I’m still not completely sure.
PETER: Well, if you want to get ‘out’ of materialism, then there is mysticism, spiritualism or religion … and if you want to get ‘out’ of both then there is cynicism, nihilism and anarchism … or there is the radical solution, become actually free of the human condition in toto.
RESPONDENT: I waver between transcendence of the ‘human drama’ and elimination of the ‘human condition’. Sometimes transcendence of the ‘human drama’ seems like an ultimately ineffective mind game, which makes the complete elimination of the ‘human condition’ much more attractive. Then that, in turn, begins to seem unnecessarily drastic, like cutting off one’s own legs in order not to kick little old ladies.
PETER: It says a lot about the human condition that the idea of devoting one’s life to becoming happy and harmless is felt to be drastic. I remember the very idea of setting off down this path as being terrifying because I knew it was a path that only Richard had travelled before – that big psychic warning sign ‘Do not enter under any circumstance!’ was a dead give-away to me that actualism is something brand new in human history. (...)
RESPONDENT: I do see actualism as being fundamentally different from the rest, in that other teachings are all concerned with modifying the self in one way or another, rather than eliminating it altogether. And that is a big difference – whether or not one shares the goal. I’m still testing the waters in this respect.
PETER: A fundamental difference demands a fundamentally different approach to what one has been doing before – the sincerity to make a complete break from the past, the verve to make a 180 degree U-turn, and the gumption to head off in a completely new direction.
RESPONDENT: Actualists use the word ‘universe’ and spiritualists use the word ‘god’.
PETER: When actualists use the word universe they are referring to the physical universe – as in
whereas when spiritualists use the word God they are referring to a mythological non-physical Being or Life-force or Creative-Energy that supposedly has created, or is in charge of, or is running, or is permeating, the physical universe.
They are not the same thing – one is an actuality, the other is a fantasy.
RESPONDENT: Your word is more impersonal, more benign. You can’t say this is my universe and your universe like the wars over my god and yours.
PETER: Not one would assume that it is hard to argue or fight over a fact but human beings are prone to argue and fight over the silliest of things. I know I was before I stated to become attentive to my feelings.
RESPONDENT: Universe is a scientific term, god a religious, spiritual term.
PETER: Yes but not only are they different terms, they are different words that refer to different things – one being a fact, the other being a fantasy.
Words do have meanings – the word tree refers to something that is different to what the word sky means, exactly as the word universe means something different than the word God means – at least it did before the latter-day spiritualists collared the term universe and stuck a capital ‘U’ on it, thereby unilaterally anointing all matter with Divine status.
RESPONDENT: Your universe is benevolent and their god is benevolent.
PETER: I don’t know which God you are referring to but even as a kid I couldn’t understand that if there was a God, why he didn’t get off his throne come down and sorts things out and put a stop to all the misery and mayhem that human beings inflict on each other and themselves? I figured even then that if there was a God … then he was a very sick God indeed.
RESPONDENT: You say how could anyone believe that we are here to be miserable. So do they.
PETER: Au contraire. I often hear it said that ‘suffering is good for you’, ‘that you learn from suffering’, ‘that one grows stronger by suffering’ and so on. Even Buddhism, the flavour-of-the-decade Clayton’s religion – the religion that people take up when they don’t like religion – makes it clear that we are here to suffer, that life is fundamentally disappointment and suffering
RESPONDENT: You imply a purpose to life, so do they. You may have more in common with them than not.
RESPONDENT: My first impression was that the words on actualism pages are the best description of the human condition by far. Some of the statements seem so clear and to the point when compared with praxis of my social and individual living.
PETER: There is nothing mysterious or esoteric about the clarity expressed on the Actual Freedom Trust website. They are simply the result of some down-to-earth intelligent writing about the human condition by some fellow human beings who have freed themselves of the beliefs and passions that create and sustain the human condition of malice and sorrow.
What is extraordinary and magical is that the very process of freeing oneself from these beliefs and passions reveals that the long sought-after freedom, peace and tranquillity is already here and freely available when ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul are not strutting the stage as it were. But then again, everyone knows this for a fact as everyone has had glimpses of the perfection and purity of the actual world in their own ‘self’-less pure consciousness experiences at some stage in their life.
RESPONDENT: Problem is the ‘what if?...’ question, still lurking there. That is why I asked about Ian Stevenson. I hope this makes sense.
PETER: What you are saying makes complete sense to me for I was faced with the same conundrum some 5 years ago. I was fortunate to have been too sensitive to battle it out with others in the real world and too sincere to rise to the top of the spiritual heap and become yet another charlatan God-man in the spiritual world. Thus knowing by my own experience that both the real world and the spiritual world sucked, I felt I had nothing left to lose by trying something new, a fresh and totally different direction.
So I just turned around 180 degrees and started to question not only the spiritual teachers ... but the facticity of the sacred and holy teachings themselves. When I started to understand the inherent common sense in actualism I began to ask such questions as ‘What if there is nothing but this physical universe?’ ‘What if there is no outside to the universe, no other-worlds, ethereal or otherwise?’ ‘What if God does not exist at all?’ ‘What if there is no life after death, no reincarnation, no heaven, no hell?’ ‘What if death is the end, finish, kaput?’ ‘What if the cause of all the human animosity and misery is due to the fear, aggression, nurture and desire inherent in our instinctual passions, both the condemned and repressed savage passions and the lauded and revered tender passions?’ ‘What if everyone has got it wrong and the answer lies 180 degrees opposite to spiritual belief?’
I won’t go on, for you will have got my gist by now. I simply started to turn my ‘what ifs’ to questioning all of Humanity’s beliefs, fairy stories, sacred teachings, wisdoms and the like that have as their basic premise that one has only two options in life – battling it out in the grim reality of materialism or believing in the fairy-tale Greater Reality of a spiritual world.
When I got the hang of the fact that this very moment is the only moment I can experience being here, I then began to actively cultivate the habit of discovering why I was wasting this very moment by being unhappy, sad, annoyed at something someone else did, upset by what someone else said, angry at someone else, feeling sorry for myself, feeling lonely, etc. I became very observant of what it was that was preventing me from being happy, right now, right here, in the world as-it-is, with people as-they are.
So what I am suggesting is to question on two fronts – to investigate the human condition in general and investigate how it prevents you from being happy and harmless. This type of diligent intelligent observation and dispassionate awareness is not an easy business to cultivate as it involves actively questioning all of one’s social-spiritual programming and one’s animal-instinctual survival passions – the very stuff that ‘I’ am made of.
But once you get the hang of it, this persistent process of ‘self’-investigation and subsequent incremental ‘self’-elimination begins to make the business of being alive on this planet a thrilling and magical adventure for the first time in one’s life.
PETER to No 12: ... I’m wrong. I know I am wrong, you don’t need to keep telling me. I turned around 180 degrees from where everybody else is headed and went down the wrong path. I simply stopped ding the ‘right’ thing, being ‘right’ and insisting I was ‘right’. I put on my dunce’s hat, went back to school and unlearnt all that I had been told was right.
You are also very busy with the issue of me being a liar. Of course I am a liar from your perspective because what I am saying is not your truth, let alone the Truth. However by insisting I am wrong and a liar, you ignore the very point of actualism – it has nothing at all to do with the traditional, the ancient, the normal or the spiritual wisdom of what it is to be human. Actualism is radically different, it is diametrically opposite – it is a path never travelled before. It literally involves going where no man or woman has gone before – from a real-world perspective it is madness and from a spiritual world perspective it is a complete and utter rejection of everything spiritual.
Consequently I gave up the traditional well-worn spiritual path years ago. I no longer believe in animating spirits, Gods and Goddesses, ancient healings and esoteric medicines, divinations and prophecies, energies and auras, folk tales and legends, gurus and shamans, fairies and goblins, sacred sites and cosmic planes, chakras and pranas, telepathy and spiritualism, visions and entities, ESP and UFO’s, Chi Gong and Feng Shui, somas and souls, mysticism and meditation, rituals and rites, reincarnations and past lives, karmas and dharmas, other-worlds and other-dimensions, devils and demons and the like.
Then, when I was halfway ‘normal again’, halfway and no more, I then finished the job I half-started before I got sucked into the spirit-ual world – I got myself free from the clutches of the real world. Having done that, I found I had literally taken the wind out of my instinctual passions. I can’t remember the last time I got annoyed by something or someone, let alone angry. Sadness has passed so long ago I still am a bit taken aback at how people manage to complain about life and bitch about other people. But I’m getting used to the fact that being malicious and feeling sorrowful is what passes for ‘being normal’, whether it be in the real world or the spiritual world.
PETER to Gary: And finally, just a comment about the extent and influence of spiritual belief within the human condition. I have oft said that the real world and the spiritual world are so intertwined that it is almost impossible to separate them. Humanity literally drips with spirituality, be it the influence of recognized Eastern or Western religions, be it the Pantheism that drives the animal and earth worship of Environmentalism, be it the many and varied morals, ethics and spiritual values of differing tribal groups or be it the general overwhelming agreement that human beings are foremost feeling beings sharing a common spirit-ual linkage. Within the human condition there has been, up until now, only one alternative to being normal and that was to be a seeker on the spiritual path – which is why it is the dissatisfied-with-the-real-world, spiritual seekers who are the most likely be interested in actualism.
It is however important to understand that the newly discovered process of actualism is 180 degrees opposite to traditional spiritualism and that actualism requires a turning around and heading in the opposite direction from seeking a spiritual, ethereal freedom. Yet this does not mean that you head back into the real world and the debilitating cynicism of the Land of Lament – this turning around means you head straight for the actual world. And this is where the PCE becomes one’s goal or target – the desire to live the pure consciousness experience 24 hrs. a day everyday becomes the total focus for an actualist. If you look at the diagram we made, it becomes clear that someone who has been heading towards Enlightenment has to turn around and travel directly towards Actual Freedom and does not have to go back into everyday reality or real-world misery. I think this may be a useful thing to keep in mind during the process, lest you ever feel like you are becoming real-world normal again.
PETER: As a child I was able to see the folly of following One-God religions, if only for the fact that the quandary of which God was the True God and which Gods were false Gods has produced almost continuous religious wars and conflicts. Then I got sucked into following a Godman’s promise of joining a community or Sangha that would bring peace on earth. When the experiment failed, as was inevitable, I began to see that the famed spiritual path was nothing other than olde-time religion.
That quite simple realization, i.e. an acknowledgement of fact that shattered the belief I previously held to be a truth, was sufficient to begin the process of extracting myself from the spiritual world and its blatantly ‘self’-centred beliefs and truths.
GARY: Realizations still seem important to me.
PETER: The process of actualism is chock-a-block full of realizations. However, it is important to make a distinction between the realizations that happen in the process of actualism and the traditional Spiritual Realizations, which are better termed Revelations.
One of the clearest distinctions between the two is that for an actualist, at some stage, there is a realization that there is no life after death, that the belief is nought but a gigantic multifaceted fairy-story, whereas for a Spiritualist, at some stage, the realization is a heart-felt embrace of the belief in a spirit-world life after death for ‘me’ as a spirit-being, i.e. only ‘my’ body dies and ‘I’ am immortal.
PETER: To summarize these differences – Eastern spirituality is archaic and superstition based, actualism is contemporary and scientifically based,
RESPONDENT: Scientifically based? Being a scientist, I can’t say many scientists would agree.
PETER: In matters that concern the search for the meaning of life every person, no matter what their culture, gender, inclinations or indoctrinations, remain convinced that the only alternative to materialism is the archaic superstition-based wisdom of spiritualism.
PETER: Eastern spirituality dabbles in the superficial layer of the social identity, actualism tackles the fundamental issue of the instinctual identity,
RESPONDENT: Well I don’t take that at all from my readings from various sources. I take conditioning to mean all kinds of conditioning including that endowed by evolution.
PETER: I await the evidence from your various sources to substantiate your claim that the spiritual teachings tackle the fundamental issue of the instinctual identity and that they propose eliminating the instinctual passions that are part and parcel of the genetically-encoded survival program.
By the way, this survival program is not conditioning endowed by evolution over time – it is genetically encoded as an indivisible package in each and every human being born, i.e. it is not a progressive conditioning, it is an instantaneous condition. The instinctual program is the (human) condition and it is universal to every human being whereas social conditioning is individual in that it has slight cultural and gender variations.
Whilst you can fiddle with conditioning, and if you become a practicing actualist you can eliminate practically all of it – the only way to end the condition itself – as in, become free of the human condition – is to cease being an instinctually-driven ‘being’. (...)
PETER: You might notice that I am not focussing my ‘high powered linguistic microscope on tiny shades of meaning and become lost in the minutiae of stylistic differences’, but rather I am focussing on the broad and fundamental differences between spiritualism and actualism –
RESPONDENT: I still think it’s style over substance. You’re not very convincing.
PETER: I’m not trying to convince you of anything. It is you who have come to this list with a mission to convince the list members that actualism is nothing but a new style of spiritualism. I’m simply pointing out the fact that the evidence you offer in support of your case is not at all convincing and that the differences between actualism and spiritualism are differences of substance, not style.
I know well that this is difficult to grasp – it is not an easy thing to consider that there is something brand-new in human history – a discovery that draws a line across a whole field of human belief and endeavour and says ‘tried and failed’ – ‘time for a completely new approach’.
In the last few years I had to do a similar thing when I decided I wanted to stop being a pen-and-ink architect and become a silicon-chip architect, or stop being a Neanderthal architect and become a 21st. Century architect as I termed it. For a while I kept my drawing board whilst I tried to learn CAD but eventually I came to realize that the only way I could learn something new was by taking the plunge and throwing out my old drawing board. Since then I haven’t looked back and I am so glad I took the plunge, as it were.
RESPONDENT: The methods of Actualism offer interesting perspectives leading to the same freedom on offer elsewhere. The term ‘actual’ is just a re-branding.
PETER: Re-branded, hey. Okay, let’s take a walk down that way then.
Now presumably the reason that one would re-brand something would be to attract customers – put something old in a new wrapper, replete with a logo and some catchy words, put into motion an advertising program and sit back and wait for the gullible to take the bait. It’s a good theory and it’s what everybody else does but it only works if your product is the same as what everyone else is selling.
However, if your product is indeed different, then those who want the old product will eventually go back to the old product whilst those few who are genuinely looking for something that is different think themselves lucky that they have found something that is indeed new.
To give you a practical example, when I wrote my journal, Vineeto published it in paperback form with an eye-catching cover. I then took it to a local bookshop to see if they would stock it. One lady took a copy to read but gave it back to me saying that ‘while it was interesting … you are going too far’ – the ‘you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ objection. She realized that what I had written about was not spiritualism, but was something beyond spiritualism and she knew it was not for her customers. So much for re-branding.
This mailing list also puts paid to your proposition. Whilst we have those who persist in believing that actualism is re-branded spiritualism there is an increasing amount of contributors who report that, after a good deal of initial difficulty, they now understand that actualism is not re-branded spiritualism.
PETER: I thought to answer this post as well given that you have already dismissed Richard’s reply before he replied –
RESPONDENT: Here are some quotes from a book ‘Living Zen’ by Robert Linssen published in 1958 Grove Press. It makes for interesting reading in conjunction with the Actual Freedom website. There seems to be a remarkable similarity in concepts. No doubt Richard will focus his high powered linguistic microscope on tiny shades of meaning and become lost in the minutiae of stylistic differences. He will tell us that actual freedom from the human condition is not the same as Satori and that no Zen Master has ever trodden his path. I’m sure Richard will be able to invoke other schools of Zen thought that back up his objections but not all Zen is the same. Those of us who realise that language is inherently limited and noisy in meaning, especially in non-dualistic discussion, can broaden our focus and see remarkable similarities:
PETER: I see you are using the old ploy of offering up an argument whilst simultaneously denigrating the answerer – so much for having a sincere discussion. And just to add a little oomph to your stance you invoke the support of the royal ‘us’ – those whose focus is so broad that they blithely redefine the meaning of any words to suit their own purposes and fit their own beliefs – so much for having a sensible discussion.
I have tried to have sensible discussions with several Zen Buddhists and always found it to be an impossibility as their perch is so lofty that they can’t help but be condescending … and if one attempts to talk sensibly to them they retreat to a position of dismissing anything that is contrary to their beliefs by disparaging the very idea that having a clear-cut and meaningful conversation about such matters is at all possible – so much so that you can almost see the shutters go down.
RESPONDENT: The author uses the term ‘I-process’ to highlight the illusory character of identity, seemingly unchanging but borne of process.
PETER: It’s pertinent to point out that ancient Eastern spirituality teaches that the illusionary identity (‘I’ as ego only) is borne exclusively of the process of conditioning … whereas actualism establishes by observation and experimentation that the social/ instinctual identity (both ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul) is borne of the genetically-encoded instinctual passions.
To summarize these differences –
A world of difference.
RESPONDENT: Chapter XI Memory Habits and the Birth of the ‘I-process’
PETER: Not a word to be seen in this quote about the crucial role that the instinctual passions play in both forming and sustaining the parasitical entity that inhabits the flesh and blood body – rather the author says that ‘an entity has been built up on what was a simple impersonal non-individualized process of pure perception’. This is a clear reference to the notion that the identity, ‘a thinker’, is made up of memory accumulations aka conditioning and if one dis-identifies from this conditioning then the ‘pure perception’ (aka state of innocence) that we were supposedly born with will miraculously emerge.
The myth of Tabula Rasa, the belief we human beings born pure and innocent, flies in the face of overwhelming scientific and anecdotal evidence that all human beings are born with a genetically-encoded array of survival instincts – primary impulses that are passionate in nature and that are experienced as feelings and emotions. In other words ‘the thinker’, or ego-self is but the thin layer of icing on the cake of ‘the feeler’, the instinctual self – ‘me’ at my very core.
There is a vast difference between what the Sages believed and the facts of the matter.
This whole issue of instinctual passions was one of the things that really got me interested in actualism – I didn’t have to believe that the instinctual passions were genetically-encoded, I knew by my own experience that this was fact. I had children of my own and I had observed with my own eyes the emergence of unprovoked reflexive outbursts of antipathy as well as spontaneous bouts of sullenness, and I saw that this was common to all children. I could also clearly see the instinctual passions at work in adults and in humanity at large – indeed in the whole of the animal world, in all sentient creatures.
The final clincher came when I started to be attentive to the instinctual passions in action, in myself, in real-time – be it fear, aggression, nurture or desire. Both the obligation to believe and the impulse to dis-believe went out the window as I was confronted with the choice of continuing to believe what the Sages believed or rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck into the immediate task at hand of ridding myself of malice and sorrow – in other words, daring to be happy and harmless in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are.
RESPONDENT: Chapter XX Characteristics of Satori according to the Zen Masters Page 169:
PETER: And thus a delusion is born out of an illusion, for according to the Zen Masters, Satori ‘is realized in the heart of a pseudo-identity’ and ‘it’s very reality is drawn from infinite and impersonal source in the depths’ – in other words ‘me’ at my core. The subsequent ‘elimination of all thought, all imagery, all memory-automatism of the past’, results in an identity that is so aggrandized that it imagines itself to be infinite and impersonal and thus feels itself to be God-like. In short, this is narcissism writ large, albeit carefully masqueraded as humility so as to gain the plaudits of the masses.
You might notice that I am not focussing my ‘high powered linguistic microscope on tiny shades of meaning and become lost in the minutiae of stylistic differences’, but rather I am focussing on the broad and fundamental differences between spiritualism and actualism – in this case that spiritualism teaches the possibility of realizing that very reality of ‘me’ at my source is an ‘infinite and impersonal’ being, whereas actualism points out that ‘me’ at my core is an instinctive ‘being’ – a ‘being’ that will literally do anything, and believe anything, in order to survive.
RESPONDENT: This interesting quote is taken from Comedie Psychologique by the writer Carlo Suares, apparently without reference to Zen thought. It is reproduced in ‘Living Zen’, chapter XX, page 172:
PETER: A classic description, if ever there was one, of the extreme act of dissociation that is necessary for anyone who aspires to become ‘supremely conscious’ in order that they can realize that they are ‘the Eternal’.
You might notice that I’m not nit-picking words because the author has twice used phrases that unambiguously point to dissociation –
I’ll leave you to find out the difference between this quote that you offer as proof of the ‘remarkable similarity’ between spiritualism and actualism, and what actualism is about, after all it’s your presumption. All you need to do is go to the Actual Freedom home page, click on ‘How to Search the Web-site’, follow the instructions and type in the word ‘dissociation’. You will find a myriad of links that will reveal the unassailable gulf that exists between the spiritual practice of dissociation and the actualism method of becoming free of malice and sorrow in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are.
PETER: Secondly, Mr. Wren Lewis makes reference to what he terms a ‘psychological survival-system’, indicating that the survival-system is a mental process – and not a sequential process that is firstly physical, secondarily affective and only lastly cognitive.
RESPONDENT: Wren-Lewis doesn’t want to speculate on the origin of the psychological survival-system but you think you have it sussed.
PETER: Yep. And not only intellectually, but experientially as well. Unlike Mr. Wren-Lewis, I was interested enough to find out for myself the nuts and bolts of how the instinctual passions inevitably give rise to malice and sorrow and how they prevent the free operation of benign thinking and considerate action.
RESPONDENT: It’s only a mental process you say, always was, always will be, thus implicitly extending Wren-Lewis’s words into a domain that he doesn’t want to speculate in.
PETER: Your comment is a sure sign that you don’t read what I say. If you care to read again what I said you will see that I put mental (cognitive) last on the list and it’s a very poor last at that. The instinctual passions are passions and passions are affective in nature, they are not a mental process.
Have you ever heard the expression ‘I suddenly had a fit of rage’ or ‘I found myself in the grip of jealousy’ or ‘I instantly fell in love’ or ‘I fell into a pit of despair’ or ‘I was overwhelmed with grief’ or ‘I was immediately gripped by fear’, or ‘I wanted … with all my heart’. Contrary to what some men think – these are passionate reactions, not mental processes at work.
RESPONDENT: [It’s only a mental process you say, always was, always will be, thus implicitly extending Wren-Lewis’s words into a domain that he doesn’t want to speculate in.] Well if you can do that then so can I. The quote implies that the psychological survival-system is inherited somehow – perhaps it’s genetic and thus quite physical, affective and cognitive.
PETER: Your speculation only proves that you are as disinterested in finding out the facts as Mr. Wren-Lewis was.
PETER: Not only does he not understand how the survival-system operates, he has no idea how it is passed from one generation to the next and it has apparently never occurred to him that it originated in the human species because the survival-system is common to all sentient animals.
RESPONDENT: Yes. Very good. Perhaps you should contact John Wren-Lewis and further his thinking in this area. I’m sure he’d be sympathetic since you’re both thinking in the same direction, but you guys have gone further. No argument from me about that.
PETER: But that’s the whole thrust of your adversarial stance on this mailing list – it was the very reason you came to this list in the first place – you do argue with the fact that we have gone further than the spiritualists have gone.
You have done nothing but rile against the fact that someone has found something new in human history – something that takes the whole matter of the nature of human consciousness into a field that the revered ancient spiritualists had neither the wit, nor the interest, nor the daring to investigate.
PETER: So much for Mr. Wren Lewis’ thinking about the effects of instinctual survival passions – he is doing no more than trotting out the Eastern spiritual party line that thinking and conditioning ‘cuts off so-called normal human consciousness from its roots in that other, impersonal consciousness’, that which is also known as God by whatever name. I can only assume that this will be another of those quotes you offer in support of your stance but then don’t necessarily endorse?
RESPONDENT: Tut tut. You’ve falsely labelled me there. I printed this quote to show that others have been thinking up your tree. Same cat, different dogs barking.
PETER: Not the same cat at all. Mr. Wren-Lewis thinks that thought and human conditioning is the problem whereas actualism reveals that the problem is the genetically-encoded instinctual passions and the human condition itself.
RESPONDENT: This is one of the best posts I’ve read on this list so far. I’m butting in as some of this stuff dovetails with other threads I’ve been following. It really conveys some pragmatic aspects of AF, and that’s where I’m wrestling. I think the child-rearing example has plenty to chew on.
So, I’m not the only one who is not impressed with the human general state of affairs? Granted, the race is still incredibly young ... we’re measuring the age of ‘civilization’ in the thousands of years. It’s just so painfully obvious what we’re doing wrong, and how easy it would be to do it right.
PETER: I might suggest that if it were so easy then there would be peace on earth by now. The problem up until now is the instinctual notion of ‘we’ – the passionate bond that ties human beings together ensures that ‘we’ either sink together or tread water together. As such, ‘we’ will always get it wrong and the only way out of the mess is for individual members of the species to take unilateral action – to lead by practical example, to prove that it is possible to become actually free of malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: I’ve wondered in the past what the next stage of evolution would look like. Certainly the last big one was the development of some measure of self-awareness, perhaps the next is a refinement of that process, a la AF or similar.
PETER: The process of spiritual awareness is totally locked into and fixated with spiritualism. A thorough examination of the process of spiritual awareness will reveal it is a process unabashedly aimed at self-aggrandizing. Why else do those who succeed on the spiritual search end up feeling God-realized or God-like or a God or Goddess? So-called spiritual awareness is in fact a compulsive restriction of awareness in that sensate experience is avoided and sensible thinking is denied. Nowhere is this more obvious than those who sit in the lotus position meditating – retreating from the world of the senses, indulging in imaginary ‘inner’ fantasies and yet claiming they are being here.
The actualism method is not a refinement of the spiritual process of self-aggrandizement – the actualism method of ‘self’-awareness is the aimed diametrically opposite – at self-immolation. Or, to put it another way – the spiritual method aims to blow the balloon up, actualism aims to pop it. (...)
RESPONDENT: (...) The point is that, in my general experience, I have to muck about for some time in the very place I am trying to work through. There are no shortcuts, and when I do finally make a breakthrough, I look back in shock, and wonder ‘what was I thinking’? I think that’s why most voices I’m hearing in this list are of those who have a great deal of real world experience. Bill Maher said ‘There are things for adults, and there are things for children’. Don’t get them mixed up.
PETER: The whole point of actualism is to become happy and harmless in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are. It’s not about changing your wife or husband, your children, your boss, your neighbour or your living circumstances. It’s not about changing the morals or ethics or the social, political, educational or legal systems of the world. It’s not about stopping other people fighting or feuding, nor is it about saving or salving other people. Actualism is not about changing others – it’s about taking unilateral action and changing yourself, radically and irrevocably.
PETER to Gary: Last year I found myself designing a house that was completely foreign to what I would normally consider my style and yet I did the job I was paid to do without a glimmer of resentment or frustration. I did the best I could to give the client what she wanted in the way of style and used my experience and knowledge to ensure that she got best practical value for her money. It was a liberating exercise for me, for not only had I broken free of the values imposed by my vocational training but also of the belief that there is an intrinsic and absolute beauty. As there was no conflict at all between the client and myself, everyone won out of the situation. Peter to Gary, 20.1.2002
RESPONDENT: Effortless. I’ve had odd moments like that myself in my profession. I think it has something to do too with not being invested in any specific outcome, or its measure. Is this the same as the ‘flow’ we’ve read about?
PETER: There is ample evidence that everyone has experienced brief one-off experiences of perfection and purity, where there is no ‘I’ or ‘me’ present to muck things up. These experiences are commonly called peak experiences although Richard has used the more descriptive term pure consciousness experience (PCE) so as to distinguish these brief moments of ‘self’-lessness from the spiritually-polluted, totally-affective, entirely-imaginary altered states of consciousness (ASC) where an aggrandized ‘self’ claims the experience for his or her own glory.
However, my story was not told as a moral or ethical tale or an instance of wisdom such as the psittacism that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. The story I told was a practical example of the actualism method in action and as such the example falls into the reward-for-effort category. I did not miraculously have a temporary experience of being in the flow – what I was talking about was a pragmatic result of some four years of constantly working on eliminating malice and sorrow from my life. I did not set out to become free of beauty, I set out to become happy and harmless and one of the reoccurring times when I was not harmless was in occasional uncomfortable, difficult or even antagonistic interactions with my clients.
What I eventually tracked these feelings down to was that I had been programmed to regard beauty as an absolute value – something that ‘I’ thought and felt was worth fighting for or worth defending. When I saw that this old program stood in the way of harmonious interactions with my fellow human beings, it was clearly time to eradicate it from my life.
The result of this process was not a moral or ethical decision made based on what I should or shouldn’t do, or what was the right thing to do or what was wrong the wrong thing to do, because this would only mean that I was suppressing the feeling – in other words, kidding myself. The end result of this process was the experiential understanding that maintaining this old piece of programming would mean I was not harmless, and because being harmless is my numero uno goal in life, there was no way I could sustain the ideal or the passion-backed feeling of beauty.
The other discovery that happened when the feeling of beauty collapsed was that the feeling of ugliness collapsed along with it and as a consequence even more of the magic of actuality became apparent in my daily life.
PETER to Gary: I’ve noticed I’ve gotten into what could be described as a story telling mode, but my experience is that I have gleaned as much information from listening to Richard’s down-to-earth stories as I have from listening to or reading his Journal and his correspondence. In hindsight, the process of actualism for me firstly involved backtracking out of that great fantasy diversion that all seekers of freedom and peace have traditionally made – the spiritual path. Having got out of that mess, I then found myself back where I left off before I went up that track – making sense of and becoming free of the real-world. I had done a bit of it in my time before I became a spiritualist but I was emboldened and encouraged by Richard’s discovery to go all the way.
I guess that’s why I am writing more about day-to-day down-to-earth ‘real’-word issues with you, because once I got my head out of the spiritual clouds, these are what became my fascination. Peter to Gary, 20.1.2002
RESPONDENT: Stories can provide a non-linear mechanism of information conveyance in those cases where purely intellectual discourse fails (re Gary and I faith/belief). Despite our efforts to break free of our ingrained programs, we still have a socio-cultural language basis. The stories can often carry a lot of information in a very small package.
PETER: I don’t know what you mean by a ‘non-linear mechanism of information’. When I re-read my story, I thought it was reasonably straightforward but maybe the further explanation I gave will be of help in understanding it. I’m not trotting out a spiritual-type wisdom, spinning a mythical yarn or recounting moral tale – I told the story in order to relate my down-to-earth experiences of applying the actualism method to a fellow human being.
Spiritual teachings, both Eastern and Western, are awash with fairy-tale stories of mythical God-like figures and these fairy stories have been passed down and embellished over millennia. The whole point of spiritual stories is that they convey an affective feeling and not that they make intellectual sense, are factual or even relate to actual flesh and blood human beings.
I too am no fan of intellectual discourses but discussing and thinking about an issue in order to make sense of it is another matter entirely. It can take a good deal of effort to break the habits of spiritual indoctrination of thoughtless faithful acceptance – the ingrained ‘socio-cultural-language’ program as you called it – and to start to re-engage one’s brain and learn to think again.
If you take away the socio-cultural-language programming that disparages intellectual discourse you may well find a wealth of information in discussions on this list as well as on the Actual Freedom Trust website that will both facilitate a bare awareness and encourage clear thinking. Only by becoming aware of, and then making sense of, one’s own social and instinctual programming can one ever become free of the human condition.
RESPONDENT: I had meant to respond earlier to this post, but our area was hit with a nasty ice storm, which knocked out power (and internet access) over a large area for most of a week. It did afford the opportunity to experience instinctual fear, as tree limbs came crashing down on the roof repeatedly... that elicited a response that could only be from the lizard section of the brain. It was followed then by the fabricated worry response, which anticipated with dread the next limb. Anyways, it was an interesting (as in the Chinese curse?) observation of the whole range of fear responses.
PETER: Careful observation will reveal that the worry response emanating from instinctual fear is not fabricated – as in made-up or manufactured – but rather it is directly associated with the automatic instinctual response. The genetically programmed thoughtless instinctual response together with its immediate feeling aftermath, whether it lasts a few minutes or a few hours, are inseparable and any attempts to intellectually separate them can only result in dissociation.
I’ll just offer a comment on the matter of observation as it is relevant to all who have been attracted to Eastern spirituality or Eastern philosophy at some point in their lives. Vineeto and I have often discussed the fundamental differences between the Eastern practice of self-observation and the actualism practice of ‘self’-awareness as well as reflecting upon how difficult it was in the early days to stop being a dissociative observer and start becoming aware of exactly how I am experiencing this moment of being alive.
The fundamental difference between the two practices is due to the diametrically opposite intent of each of the practices – the aim of the spiritual practice is to cultivate a dissociated identity in order to avoid feeling the full range of instinctual passions, whereas the aim of actualism is to instigate radical change in order to become happy and harmless in the world-as-it-is, with people as-they-are.
Perhaps an example of how the actualism practice of ‘self’-awareness works in practice will serve to make this difference clear –
No philosophical umming and ahhing, no dissociating from unwanted feelings, no remaining aloof, no blaming others and so on – just the simple momentary awareness of the feelings that were preventing me from being happy coupled with an intense yearning to change in order to become actually harmless, come what may.
RESPONDENT: Back to the matter at hand...
That was perhaps a bit presumptuous of me. The reason was that my interpretation of these threads had taken a shift away from the actual subject matter: the common element seemed to me was something like ‘we’re telling No 38 something very simple, and he can’t get it through his thick head’.
This is certainly not the first time this has happened to me. I tend to play the devil’s advocate too freely, which is at least partly to deny responsibility for my own involvement in matters. One foot in the water as it were.
PETER: You are not alone in playing the devil’s advocate to the business of devoting one’s life to becoming happy and harmless. By far the bulk of the correspondence on the Actual Freedom Trust website are objectors.
RESPONDENT: OK, so I’ve heard your messages loud and clear and this is my distillation: I take very seriously the repeated admonishment by the AF crew to not take all this on faith, but to prove it to oneself by direct experience, using the proffered techniques. Since I have not done so unequivocally, my ambivalence manifests as agnosticism, or perhaps scepticism. And logically there’s nothing you can do or say to prove it to me, only point out the general direction to go. So, while these threads have been very interesting and educational, I think they’ve run their course, and it’s time for me to get back to some fundamentals for a while, in order to prove this to myself. Or at least until the next compelling subject pops up. I will be spending some time in contemplation of the material we’ve talked about as it is central to this work.
PETER: Sounds a very reasonable approach if only because it is what I did. It became very obvious to me early on that actualism was not a philosophy or a non-spiritual belief but that it was solely – and I do mean solely – a pragmatic do-it-yourself business.
You may find ‘the universe’ chapter in my journal a useful aid in your contemplations about the nature of the universe, not for its academic argumentation but rather for its common sense.
RESPONDENT: Or is my identity bullshitting me again?
PETER: Speaking personally, I never saw any sense at all in splitting ‘me’ and ‘my identity’ into two parts. I had tried that in my spiritual years and saw that it was a wank.
The actualism method – the sincere intent to become happy and harmless – will evince a ‘self’-awareness that then generates the necessary changes so that you incrementally become more happy and more harmless, in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are. It’s a profoundly simple scientific process – detect cause, eliminate cause (as in instigate the necessary change), eliminate effect.
PETER to No 1: Someone wrote the other day saying: ‘is this all you offer? – I do this all the time, and it is what the spiritual people teach anyway’. All you are is anti-Osho and I’m pissed that this is all you offer.’
No, the ‘offering’ is 180 degrees different to the spiritual.
The point of the spiritual question is to create a watcher, a spiritual identity who watches and is ‘unattached’ to the instinctually based feelings, emotions and driven behaviour. This watcher identity then ‘transcends’ the mortal flesh and blood human animal to become the immortal, divine soul (spirit, essence, atman, bundle of memories ..) and eventually, given sufficient delusion, one realises one’s destiny – to become God, or at One...
Because actual freedom lies diametrically opposite to the divine – it is down-to-earth, palpable, tangible, sensate, sensual, sensible, apparent, direct and ever-present in this very moment, in this very space – it is available to anyone and everyone. But it is not something that one ‘clips on’ to the spiritual, and that’s the rub for most people who fervently cling to their spiritual beliefs despite its failures and abysmal record in bringing anything even remotely resembling peace to this paradisiacal planet after thousands of years and billions of loving devotees.
And yet we dare not question the teachings for they are Sacred ... the very love, devotion and surrender demanded is the direct cause of the anger, resentment and hostility at those who dare to question – hence all the wars, tortures, repression, hostility, violence and animosity that exists between all followers of different Masters for millennia.
Now, to even acknowledge that in one’s ‘self’ could well be the beginning – a crack in the door – to questioning what is the most enormous ‘con’ in history.
I know how scary, and frightening, an activity daring to question to Teachings and the Teachers can be. Not only ones personal fears but some real consequences have to be faced – for me it was alienation and ostracism by former ‘friends’, no longer having the feelings of security and comfort that comes from belonging to a group, and losing the financial security that having the group as architectural clients offered.
There are also the atavistic fears, such that one feels one will incur the ‘wrath’ of the God’s, that you will be sent to hell, that the club of the Divine Ones will organize a personal and horrendously painful exorcism on me.
While the fears are real they eventually proved to be as illusory as the belief in God was. It is all just a fantasy played out in the head and the heart, but these fears have doomed humanity to the institutionalised insanity of religious and spiritual pursuits.
It would all be a joke of course, except for all the actual wars, rapes, tortures, suicides, loneliness, depression and sorrow in the world perpetuated by this fantasy of the head and heart.
The not insignificant side benefit of Actual Freedom, is that one becomes happy and harmless and thus ceases to be a contributor to the endemic malice and sorrow on the planet.
Still it’s early days ... or early centuries, but a start is being made on calling the bluff and bluster of the Gurus, and to writing of a third alternative to being normal or spiritual, mortal animal or immortal Divine.
PETER: And what I talk of is the actual world of purity and delight that we have all experienced in a pure consciousness experience – that world that is right under our noses when ‘I’ temporarily abdicate the throne. It is not a philosophy or something Richard has invented. This actual world is ever-present, but it is not a world that ‘I’ can experience, therefore ‘my’ demise is essential.
RESPONDENT: Yes, this is so. Osho has showed us the way all the time, some got it and some didn’t.
PETER: No. What I have said many times before, and is clearly obvious in Rajneesh’s discourses and the words of others that he lauds, is that he clearly points to an ‘inner world’, permanently accessed by a state of an altered state of consciousness (ASC) – Enlightenment.
RESPONDENT: You say you have found your actual world, not by the help of Osho, I have found my actual world, by the help of Osho, yet we convey the same with different words. What is amazing to me about how you and Vineeto share here on the list, is that you seem unable to understand if we don’t use your terminology.
PETER: No, we talk of two completely different things. You can be as ‘flexible’ as you want, or give your own meaning to the words I use, it does not alter the fact – we are talking of two completely different things.
Two very different experiences of two very different worlds.
PETER: Osho is very firmly in the Eastern spiritual philosophy part of humanity’s Wisdom. These ancient teachings all point to the belief that this paradisiacal planet and our flesh and blood bodies are an illusion, and that our souls will go ‘somewhere else’ after death.
RESPONDENT: Eastern or western, what does it matter? Osho may have said that our flesh and blood bodies are illusion, that our souls will go somewhere else. He has also contradicted this, as he has with about everything he has said. How can you believe such a man? There must be something else about the man, and it is.
PETER: Do I sense that we are beginning to differentiate what we are talking about by using words? When you say ‘That which is not of this world, but which the world is of, has no earthy preferences’, it is very clear to me that you talk of the spiritual world – whereas I am talking of an actual world – as earthy as the earth is. Or as salty as sex is, as I wrote to No 23.
RESPONDENT: Dute* – *Said in response to something that is so obvious to everyone ... or should be.
PETER: What I write of is not obvious to everyone as it is the first time, apart from Richard’s and Vineeto’s writings, that this has been said. It is therefore understandable that it is a struggle and an effort to accept something that is so strange and unknown. The only point of reference I had was the peak experience where I remembered that I had experienced the actual world free of a self – or of a god/creator to whom I felt gratitude, or of the seductive feeling of Love, Glory, or Oneness.
The purity, perfection, directness, sensual experience was so startling, so immediate, that it was astounding – yet all was calm, easy, carefree and delightful. I was the universe-experiencing-itself as a sensate, flesh and blood human being. (note – most definitely not ... Universe)
So, hope this explains things a bit more –
It took me months and months of reading and contemplating to begin to realize what Richard was saying, and how radically different it was to the spirit-ual concepts I had, but a fascination of investigating and discovering some thing new ... drove me on ... beyond my pride ...
PETER: Good to chat again, but we seem not to have advanced beyond the ‘crossing swords’ stage yet. I guess that, as you are ‘realized’ and live permanently in a state of Unconditional Love, we may never get ‘down dirty’ and talk about the more mundane things of life such as instinctual behaviour, fear and aggression, the physical senses, the physical universe, feeling, emotions, apperception, awareness, etc.
Still, let’s see where we get to this time –
RESPONDENT: Those who have not had the mystical experience would still think it can be described and discussed, for they are still in their heads, still proud of their cleverness. Of course it is not a transmission from ‘the Holy Men’, it is a realization of what is. It can best be described with hearty laughter. Do you understand hearty laughter?’
PETER: This seems to me not only woolly but a mere parroting of the words of others.
RESPONDENT: Of course, these are well-used words ... as are most words. Your judgement is also a well-used judgement.
PETER: Okay, try these words then –
Not ‘well-used words’, but fresh off the keyboard, and please do tell me who else has this sort of ‘well-used’ judgement? Where else have you read this?
Who else is saying this – or has ever said this?
I genuinely would be interested if you have heard this elsewhere as Richard, Vineeto and I have searched high and low through a lot of the voluminous ‘New-Age’ and all of the all-encompassing Ancient Wisdom. We have found no one who has challenged the Eastern spiritual and religious texts, let alone proposed that ... EVERYONE HAS GOT IT 180 DEGREES WRONG, EVERYONE.
But it does make sense – and it does explain why, after millions, if not billions, of devotees having diligently practiced the methods, surrendered, trusted, had faith and lived the teachings, that there is still not even a semblance of peace or harmony anywhere on this paradisiacal planet. Surely we can say the well-used words and well-used judgements of the Ancient Wise Men have failed, (or at least be subject to some intelligent scrutiny?)
RESPONDENT: I’m talking to you about what I experience when there are no thoughts! There is no female or male in witnessing just being! I have taken the time to read some of your long winded postings, and as far as I can see you are talking about spaces of the mind that you are experiencing whether that be body mind spaces or pure mind spaces and there is no difference really! Mind is mind! In witnessing, there is no-mind! I am in no way negating the intelligence of the mind, the mind is useful! I am saying there is being beyond it!
PETER: I am not denying your experiences at all. It is the aim of the spiritual world to locate the ‘being’ beyond mind. It is well documented. In the version you are following, with the Ramana Maharshi lineage, one discovers that one is That. In other lineages or paths one discovers one’s ‘original face’, the Source, Existence, Unconditional Love or whatever. Despite everyone’s insistence of having a personal realization or a having found ‘my’ truth, the experience in the Eastern no-mind tradition is a common feeling (an emotional backed thought) of Self aggrandizement – of being bigger, vaster, grander than one’s ordinary self.
It is indeed a wonderful state – it took Richard 11 years to dig his way out of his Altered State of Consciousness. I only had some briefer, but nevertheless telling experiences of this state, which is why I know very well what you are talking about.
But in the end it is only a feeling. There is no ‘other world’. There is no God. There is no ‘Universe’ as in ‘the Universe is taking care of me’. All these things are but phantoms of our imagination, given credence by the fairy tales passed down for millennia.
I see in your last post you have now become ‘the universe experiencing itself as a human being’. Is this some ‘miracle conversion’ perhaps? seeing you talk of seeing us as ‘like born again Christians’? Hallelujah ...!
Your experience is that you feel that you are ‘the Universe experiencing itself as a human being’ Polar opposites – 180 degrees opposite.
Despite your frantic insistence to the contrary, and now your twisting of words and wayward adopting of terminology – we are talking of two vastly different experiences.
The spiritual experience (ASC) is cerebral-affective and the PCE experience is sensate only.
The spiritual experience (ASC) gives credence to the psychic entity within the body resulting in Self-aggrandizement – to realise you are That, to become The Universe ... albeit temporarily trapped in a human body ... but when ‘your body’ dies ... then ‘you’ are freed!
The PCE is an experience when one realises that both the psychological and psychic entity stand in the road of one’s destiny – to be the physical universe experiencing itself as a human being ... when the entity dies ... then you are actually free!
Many, many people read what Richard, Vineeto and I are saying and all say it is the ‘same thing’ as the mystics have been saying. I was attracted to Richard initially on the same basis and it took me many months to understand the difference. I was, however, more attracted to the down-to-earthness of it. Things like being able to live with a woman in peace and harmony, sorting out sex, being happy and harmless...
JOURNALIST: Dear Peter,
Thanks very much for your letter and book. I haven’t read it all but I do think you have written your story quite well. The answers are never entirely what we think they will be, I agree with you there. But then that is the nature of a mature faith too. So maybe there is more overlap than you think.
Anyway, I won’t go on because you’ll think I’ve missed the point! Good luck with your freedom.
PETER: Thanks for your note back. At this stage I welcome any feedback. I note that you say you have a mature faith and I don’t doubt it. Most sincere seekers are driven to seek freedom from their own suffering and to find a solution to the appalling universal suffering of Humanity. I found that the tried and true beliefs needed questioning at least, because they haven’t produced the goods – an end to sorrow and malice in human beings. A paltry few rise Above It All to become saints or gurus or Gods, but fat lot of good it does the mere mortals left behind.
So, as you said in your letter, ‘the answers are never entirely what we think they will be’, and what I’m proposing is that they lie 180 degrees in the other direction. Unfortunately for those who believe in a heaven and hell, this direction can appear to be towards hell or evil or madness. But as the Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Good and Bad, the Truth are all nothing but beliefs, ideals, morals and ethics, then perhaps this imaginary hell is only a fantasy as well. Maybe then Human beings can stop needing to worship fictitious gods, following ancient Wisdom that is riddled with good and evil spirits and energies, and fight appalling wars with each other as to which God is the ‘only’ god or whose particular version of the Truth is the ‘only’ truth. Then this appalling scenario of suffering and sacrifice will end and we will come to our senses both figuratively and literally. To realise we are one species on the planet, that there are about 6 billion of us, that we already live in paradise, and begin the task of removing exactly what is in the road of us experiencing this paradise on earth, not in some hoped for after-life.
I found that I had been imbued with a very shonky set of beliefs, that made up ‘who’ I thought I was, and further that I was born with a set of animal instincts – fear, aggression, nurture and desire – that could drive me to revert to animal behaviour at any time. When cornered, or when push came to shove, I would be ready to kill and die for my beliefs and enjoy being malicious even to the point of wanting to kill someone. This realisation was shattering for me, for I realized that the source of malice and sorrow was in me and I was the only one who could rid myself of this alien being inside.
It’s no small thing to realize, as one has identified both the source of the problem and the direction in which the solution to the mystery of life lays. And then off I strolled on a most extra-ordinary journey to freedom as one journeys beyond belief and imagination and discovers the actual, factual, physically delightful universe, here, now as experienced by the senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell, thoughts – all clear and pure and perfect – the breeze on my legs, the bird calling outside, the hands tapping on the keyboard as I write to you. Life was meant to be easy, simple, direct, sensual, delightful and carefree.
Experiencing paradise on earth, here, now, before physical death is possible in my experience. But I’ve got off on one of my raves. I guess what I am saying is: I think it is high time for us all to sincerely begin to question the commonly-held belief in the existence of gods, spirits, energies, entities or aliens. The gods, after all, have promised so much and delivered so little! I just gave up waiting for Godot to sort out the mess I was.
PETER: He has something to write about that is invaluable for any who are sufficiently interested. The writings on the Actual Freedom Trust website probably total well over a million words and yet are but a drop in the ocean compared to the trillions and squillions of words parroting and trumpeting the ancient spiritual gooblygook.
G. G.: But no one reads all of them or his words.
PETER: No, all seekers of freedom peace and happiness are seduced by the ancient spiritual gooblygook for t’is sweet music to the soul and very, very few even bother to read spiritual words with a sensible clear eye for they are usually in-love with the whole fairy tale idea of spirituality.
G. G.: Are those your words? They seem old-fashioned and like Richard.
PETER: No they are my words typed on this very keyboard. If they do seem similar to Richard then it is due to the fact that we use consistent terms and that we are talking of the same thing. If they seem old-fashioned to you it may be due to obsession with style and not content.
PETER: Actual Freedom is a new third alternative that has only recently been pioneered and will appeal neither to fervent believers or cynical disgruntlites. To be interested one needs to have a burning dissatisfaction with one’s life as-it-is coupled with a healthy skepticism about the traditional spiritual path. I say scepticism deliberately for if one has sunk to the level of cynicism one may not have sufficient naiveté to even consider that it is possible to become actually free of the human condition. One definitely needs a pioneering spirit in order to reject the tried and failed and set off following the words and experiences of a madman and a handful of others. Stubbornness, bloody-mindedness and perseverance are other qualities that come to mind, but a burning dissatisfaction with your life as-it-is is the most essential.
By the way, the other reason no-one reads his words is that the few who read even a bit are unwilling to point others to the fact that a third alternative exists. You have at least read a bit of what he has written I take it. You even asked Richard if he would write something for your Web site, which he did, yet now I see you have taken it off a mere fortnight later.
When I serendipitously came across Richard three years ago, his writing only consisted of his Journal and I avidly read it front to back many times and I would dip into it whenever I deliberately made the time available. It took me months and months, often contemplating sentence by sentence, to even begin to understand the mind-bending enormity of the fact that everyone has got it wrong – everybody is looking 180 degrees in the wrong direction.
As I managed to free myself of my spiritual beliefs and became virtually free of malice and sorrow, I swapped my car for a computer and sat down to write a journal that described the process that I went through. I wanted to record it fresh in order that the excitement, passion and adventure did not get lost as my memory faded. It is written with unabashed fervour for this new third alternative, so you may find it inspiring.
I say ‘may’ deliberately for it has evoked zilch response from those people I gave it to read. It’s proved a popular failure in the spiritual world which I take as a sign that it must be good.
G. G.: Really – why?
PETER: I would have been suspicious if it was popular precisely because everyone has got it 180 degrees wrong. What is popular, fashionable or rebelled against is that which is within the human condition. What I write about is freedom from the human condition and ‘self’-immolation – not a popular subject in a ‘self’-possessed world.
PETER: As for, ‘you may also see where I am coming from’ – where I see you coming from is a position of back-peddling and I would only encourage you to keep doing it all the way totally out of the spiritual world. Most people think there are only two worlds – the real world or the spiritual world, but if one dares to step out of all illusion there is an actual physical-only world of purity and perfection and the evidence of this is the pure consciousness experience. It far exceeds Enlightenment for all the capricious feelings and unfulfilled promises of purity and perfection of the spiritual world are experienced as an actuality in a ‘self’-less state – a perfection and purity that is rock-solid, sensately experienced, touchable, visible, tasteable, smellable, audible, ever-present, each moment again.
RESPONDENT: Believe what you wish about what you think is ‘back-peddling’. It means nothing to me.
PETER: And yet you now seem to be ‘flexing your spiritual muscles’ on the mailing list a bit more by putting down other teachers since I made this comment. But then again, this could well be just a coincidence.
RESPONDENT: I have no problem with all you say about this rock-solid world. I too feel the same way. Except there is more to it than the surface, and it is just as real.
PETER: Aye indeed, for you do not live in this rock-solid world for you see it as merely the surface. Where you spend most of your time is in the spiritual world that you, and many others, believe underlays this rock-solid world. By holding any spiritual belief you can never be actually here in this physical rock-solid world of sensual delight, purity and perfection. I always find it kind of cute that spiritualists insist that they are here – in the actual world where we flesh and blood human beings live – whereas they are desperately trying to be ‘there’ in the spiritual world.
It’s good that you have made the distinction between where you live and where I live so crystal clear. You see I have an enormous yes to being right here, right now in the rock-solid physical actual world, whereas you have an enormous yes to being somewhere else in the spiritual world.
RESPONDENT: It was about 8 years later after looking ever deeper into it that I awoke one morning and from the time the eyes opened until they closed in sleep that night there took place a complete transformation of what was left of this being. The ego was dead, there was no god to take its place. It was clear that the very words we use to communicate were a symptom of an underlying illness of misidentification. That we had evolved in such a way as to turn everything into abstractions and rarely, if ever, saw what was real before our eyes.
PETER: To regard that which is physical, tangible, palpable, visible, touchable, smellable, eatable, audible as an illusion is a trick of the impassioned mind that requires enormous effort. In the East this effort requires the torturous abandonment of sensible thinking and common sense – giving rise to the term ego death and the emergence of what could well be termed soulism – a feeling-only state of delusion. The lost, lonely, frightened and very cunning psychological and psychic entity that is the self becomes the Self – cunningly feeling Oneness, Wholeness, Timeless and Spaceless. The Eastern pursuit of ‘Ego-death’ has proven to be a very tragic delusion, for one becomes completely dissociated from what is actual as evidenced by the senses. This means that one renounces the world, both real and actual and begins a process of turning away, turning in, letting go, withdrawing, disidentifying and finally complete dissociation aka Enlightenment. The reason I use the word tragic is that spiritual seekers – many of whom began the spiritual search to find a way to bring about peace on earth – have now been seduced into turning away from the endemic malice and sorrow in the physical world we human beings live in and now regard it as illusionary, not real. They regard the spiritual world as REAL, the normal world as a nightmare to be avoided and the actual physical world as a dream created in their own minds. .
The question I ran for a long time is ‘Has everyone got it 180 degrees wrong?’ The fact that all these theories of human existence on earth were cooked up thousands of years ago was the beginning of my doubts. The other thing I found as I contemplated on the question was that it started to explain an awful lot of things about why the spiritual path that didn’t work.
RESPONDENT: I do not regard the above as illusion. I totally enjoy all the wonder of this world.
PETER: Again a look at what you have said on this list might help clarify your position on what it is you sensately experience with your eyes, ears, smell, touch and taste and how you see all the fighting and suffering in the world–
So, you see all the fighting and suffering in the world as madness that we are dreaming and not as an illusion. Is this not the difference between seeing something as a dream and seeing something as an illusion splitting hairs? Do not both descriptions point to the fact that you regard the madness as unreal – i.e. not actual?
Again you clearly say that you see we are living in a dream.
Now you indicate that we ‘turn everything into abstractions’, yet another word that indicates that our perception of the world, prior to awakening, is unreal as in dreamlike/ abstract.
Again, prior to awakening, you had developed ‘the ability to abstract life’ – which presumable includes ‘all the wars, all hatred, all suffering’ – into ‘words pictures and concepts, etc.’. This abstraction is the result of the ego – as personal identity, as our image we have of ourselves or just conditioned thought – and when the ego disappears and we awaken, ‘all the wars, hatred and suffering’ are seen to be the result of the abstraction of our conditioned thought. This torturous explanation as to the reasons for human malice and sorrow leaves me lost for words – a rare occurrence, indeed.
So we can add ‘surface images’ to dreamlike and abstract as words used to describe the pre-awakened perception of the world, but you don’t regard it as an illusion. Hmmmm.
As for ‘I totally enjoy all the wonder of this world.’ you have also posted –
What you describe doesn’t seem to be an unconditional enjoyment and wonder. The main condition you place on your enjoyment is that you regard all ‘all wars, all hatred, all suffering’ as being just the result of a process of ‘conditioned thought’ – i.e. a dream/ abstraction/ surface image that merely goes on in the brain. This sounds awfully like dissociation to me. (...)
RESPONDENT: There had been within this being a very subtle sense that this was all somewhat spiritual. Then about a month ago the last vestige of that feeling fell through. It was like another deeper satori only this time it destroyed even that subtle sense of otherness. We are just life taking place. It is so profound and yet so very very simple. No one becomes enlightened. There is no one there to become enlightened. It is all a wonderful mystery, that shall always remain a mystery. It is joy beyond any thing the mind can conceive of and yet it is as simple as pure sound. There are no godmen or gods. There is just THIS. It is far more than any words can ever express, yet it is the nothing that is everything, yet never a thing. Get simple.
PETER: What you are describing is the process of dissociation from the ‘real’ world and its miseries and violence. Unfortunately one also dissociates even further from the actual physical world thus going even further away from the chance of peace on earth, in this lifetime as this flesh and blood body.
What I am saying seems pretty simple to me but I live in the actual world and not the spiritual world.
RESPONDENT: More nonsense. I am perfectly aware of the suffering going on it this world. As is all the members of this group who you keep telling as though you are the only one who sees this. I do not dissociate with the actual physical world. No awake person does. It is from seeing the need to bring about peace in this world that I do the little that I am able to point out where the real problem is.
PETER: Okay, again you seem to be engaging in petty shifty semantics –
To quote from your teachings on the list –
It is clear from the words you use that you are talking of disidentifying from ‘all suffering, hatred etc.’ that is going on in the actual physical world. No amount of bluster will blow away your words for they are accurate transcriptions copied from your posts to this list.
RESPONDENT: I really did enjoy that Web site. I will return to it many times in the future. It is very much like the one I have been building, in mind only so far, but I felt it may not do any good. I have the domain name for it already, which is Friends of Reality. If I get it done someday I will let you know. Maybe then you will see where I am really coming from.
PETER: You have written thousands of words to me and on the mailing list and you have failed to indicate that ‘where you are really coming from’ is anywhere other than your own unique and personal version of the traditional spiritual world. What I find most telling is that everyone who has Awakened from the nightmare or illusion of reality has declared ‘We are All One’ and yet they illustrated by their words and actions that they indeed retain a very personal and ego-centric view of Unity such that theirs is a distinctive and original version – different from others. This fact alone makes a mockery of the feeling that ‘We are All One’.
In actuality, all of the psychic world is seen for what it is – a fear-driven world of either doom and gloom reality typified by ‘Life’s a bitch and then you die’ or the phantasmagorical Reality of awakened souls awaiting their final release into Nirvana-land.
An actualist is concerned with peace on earth, in this lifetime and, as such, turns away from all psychological illusion and psychic delusions, no matter how seductive and powerful.
RESPONDENT: That it’s helpful with crossovers in the search for new insights, to take in information from all valid areas, including theoretical science etc. The great explorers and practical scientists have contributed to mankind, yes, but they were also quite limited in many aspects and TERRIBLE human beings in some cases, they were also very influenced by their cultures that were anything but civilized.
PETER: Ah, well now you are talking about something different, which is human behaviour. Are you saying we should look to mysticism for the solution to peace on earth – an actual ‘civilization’ of human beings rather than the current fragile veneer of civilization, liable to break down at any moment, in any place? Surely the mystics have had long enough to prove their case. Mysticism, spirituality and religion have proven to be rotten to their sacred core – both the teachers and the teachings.
RESPONDENT: For me the most important thing is human behaviour and how to make some sense of the way we live on this planet. Yes, I used to think that mysticism could be one of the keys to accomplish peace on earth but now I find I’m changing my mind. Now I see it as a very questionable endeavour which probably creates more confusion than a way out of the human predicament. But in my case it has at least been a stepping stone for further investigation into a more down to earth approach to life. I never really went for it 100%, fortunately, there was always something holding me back ... a reasonable doubt. I was never able to follow the path ‘blindly’ as Andrew suggested one should do, on his recent visit to Sweden. The idea was that once you’ve found your path you should stick to it at all costs, despite what the mind might tell us ... ha ha ... crazy isn’t it? By the way, Andrew always likes to tell people that they’re crazy. The Swedes are crazy because they get a bit depressed in the winter, Dutch people are crazy because they have too much personal freedom, the eccentric is crazy because he doesn’t fit the mould and is caught in his own mind. (I don’t know exactly what he means about the eccentric) ... etc. ... One can wonder where this need comes from, it could be that he has the need to justify himself ... isn’t the mystic eccentric by the way!? And often he states; ‘I feel like I’m crazy all the time ...’ maybe he should look into that ... hmmmm ...
PETER: I always find it cute that the straight people think the religious fanatics are crazy and the religious fanatics think the straights are crazy for not believing what they do. Personally I find all of humanity ‘insane’ so to speak – through no fault of anyone’s, by the way. The only thing that got me out of the mess was the fact that I ran into a man who found by experience that the spiritual world was institutionalized insanity and who has been classified by the straights as being clinically insane. When I discovered this I immediately thought his qualifications were impeccable and knew that his viewpoint would be 180 degrees different from everyone one else.
RESPONDENT: Peter, it sounds like you just reinvented the beginning stages of every existing Spiritual/Religious teaching ever conceived.
Lets see ... mindfulness to achieve presence in the moment ...
PETER: All Spiritual /Religious teachings emphasize mindfulness, watching or awareness as a way of disidentifying or dissociating from wrong, bad or Evil thoughts and feelings, so the practitioner can identify or associate with the right, good or Divine thoughts and feelings. This is what is known as adopting ethical codes – rights and wrongs – or moral values – goods and bads. There is no way a person who has followed spiritual/religious teachings to the point where they have convinced themselves that they are absolutely right, perfectly good and completely Divine would ever admit that I am upset, I am sad or I am fearful, let alone recognizing there is evil in ‘me’. The best they get to is ‘I felt anger arising’ but it was not the real ‘me’ – this is called denial and dissociation from one’s own feelings. The method I am proposing, should you care but to skim over it, is the opposite of this spiritual method of ‘self’-deceit. It is a thorough, ongoing, moment-to-moment, ‘self’-investigation of both the good and bad feelings that arise from the instinctual passions with the sincere intent to eliminate their insidious influence.
This is directly opposite to the spiritual/religious teachings where ‘I’ struggle to be mindlessly ‘present in the moment’ in a grim reality with the aim of becoming a grand and glorious ‘Me’ who feels eternally Present in a Greater Reality of ‘my’ own imagination. The method I have outlined is aimed at eliminating any ‘I’ or ‘me’ being present that inevitably prevents the always ever-present purity and perfection of this moment from becoming apparent.
RESPONDENT: ... disenfranchisement of the ego to remove attachment towards the objects of the relative field of existence ...
PETER: No. The method outlined is specifically designed to avoid the traditional spiritual practice of ‘disenfranchisement’, as in disassociation, and to ‘remove attachment’, as in becoming detached from the actual world of people, things and events where we human beings actually live.
RESPONDENT: ... awareness of the possibility for conscious evolution ...
PETER: No. The method outlined is specifically designed to focus one’s attention on the immediate possibility of being happy and harmless so as rid oneself of instinctual malice and sorrow and not trip out into some form of higher consciousness or altered states. The whole point is to get one’s head out of the clouds and come down-to-earth. One of the very first aspects of applying the method I have outlined would be to question one’s own utterly ‘self’-ish investment in believing that one’s consciousness is higher than others’.
This is why only a rare few will bother to read carefully what I write, contemplate upon it and start to be honestly aware of their feelings as they arise, for to do so is threatening to their highly valued spiritual identities. But to fail to do so is to miss out on the opportunity to deeply question and experientially investigate one’s own psyche in order to discover exactly what it is to be a human being on the planet.
RESPONDENT: ... taking any action in the relative field with this in mind ...
PETER: No. The method outlined is specifically designed to clean oneself up of both the good and bad feelings that arise from the instinctual passions such that an irrevocable change happens that results in peace in this lifetime, in the marketplace, in the world as-it-is and people-as-they. There is nothing relative about the actual world – it is tangible, palpable, vibrant, lively, ever-present, and happening this very moment.
RESPONDENT: Yep! You did it! You reinvented the prayer wheel! Congratulations! Harmony – Inspiration – Evolution – Bliss
PETER: I suggest you carefully read what is written rather than rewrite what is written so that it suits your old-world teachings and spiritual beliefs. Your carelessness hobbles you to the Tried and Failed methods of the ancient ones and prevents you from carefully considering the third alternative that is being offered. I do understand that you do not know what is being offered for it took me months and months of careful considered word for word reading and a good deal of thinking and nutting out to begin to understand. But the rewards of abandoning the Tried and Failed spiritual path and applying the method outlined has resulted in a freedom, peace and happiness that is beyond my wildest dreams. The result far surpasses anything offered or achieved in the spiritual world, for this freedom, peace and happiness is actual and eminently liveable in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.