Selected Correspondence Peter
RESPONDENT: Do the senses and thoughts of a successful actualist work together in perfect harmony with altruistic intent but with no desire attached to them?
PETER: Speaking as an actualist, I found that I had to put wanting to become happy and harmless above every other desire in my life – anything less than a 100% commitment only invites failure.
RESPONDENT: In my view altruism and egoism are not separate from each other, they are the two faces of the same coin, of the same archetype, like good/bad.
PETER: Whilst this may be your view, altruism is not a selfish action, else it is not altruism.
I also know from experience that altruism is an instinctive drive within human beings. When I first heard of my son’s death my first reaction was a gut reaction to swap places with him – to give my life in order that he could live again. This was a visceral gut-reaction and one that is well evidenced as being common to all parents when faced with similar situations. When I came to see the lifeless body in the coffin I again had an altruistic impulse and this time it was to devote my life to find a way to ending the angst that each and every successive generation has to go through in trying to make sense of the human condition we are all unwittingly born into. It was exactly this impulse that eventually lead me to accepting the challenge of following in Richard’s footsteps such that a way will be established for future generations to become free of the malice and sorrow endemic within the human condition.
RESPONDENT: As with any other archetype, this particular one is made of two opposites, one directed outwards and one inwards. Aggression/Fear and Nurture/Desire may be included in the same category. Altruism is measured by the person who receives it not by the one who gives. If I measure my altruism it may very well be in fact a measure of my disguised egoism (as in spiritual practice). These are my reactions, hope they are only thought reactions.
PETER: The altruistic desire to ‘self’-immolate obviously has nothing to do with egoism – it runs far, far deeper than that. Whilst those who have had children would readily relate to the innate human altruistic impulse, this whole enterprise is work in progress and each individual who devotes his or her life to becoming free of malice and sorrow will obviously do so only by accessing their own sincere intent to do so. In other words, the ball is in your court.
PETER: Your story has reminded me of the fact that it is this acknowledging of aggression in oneself that is the key to wanting to change irrevocably. If one only wants happiness for oneself then that is insufficient motive or intent to get stuck into the business of irrevocably changing oneself. It needs an altruistic motive rather than the mere self-gratification of being happy and that motive is to be actually peaceful – to do no harm to one’s fellow human beings, as in not instinctually feeling aggression towards others, not instinctually feeling sorrow for others, not being blindly driven to nurture others and not being blindly driven to desire power over others.
GARY: At first sight, when I read your words, I thought I have been awfully selfish, for the most part, thinking of myself and wanting happiness for only myself. But, looking a little more deeply into it, as I write it, I think I have been quite honest with myself for many years now and realized that there is little or no difference between myself and, for instance, the war criminals one hears about sometimes on the nightly news, the child abusers, the predatory criminals most people are afraid of, the suicides one hears of, the drug addicts and alcoholics, etc, etc.
And so, because I cannot adopt a superior attitude towards those who have ‘fallen’ into those baser passions, I realize that I have a responsibility to put an end to these things in myself, primarily, but also for the greater good of the people around me, my ‘loved ones’, my family, my community, and so on. So I think there is that altruistic motive there operative in me at this time and I think it can only gain momentum as I continue to experience the pure sensual delight that being alive is. I have heard and read about in the readings here that the combinative effects of the memory of the PCE, the demolishing of the self with its beliefs and values, the investigation at a deep level of the instinctual passions, and the pure intent to be happy and harmless is what brings this mutation about.
PETER: The stunning thing about actualism is the recognition that one’s instinctual passions are genetically-encoded by blind nature and understanding this simple fact can free one from the debilitating effects of guilt and shame, or pride and superciliousness. That is exactly why we talk of the Human Condition, i.e. that which is common to all, no matter what gender, tribe, age or religious belief. We all have no choice but to be born with instinctual animal passions but we now have a choice as to whether we want to continue denying the fact or go on attempting to suppress them, keep them under control, or imagine that we transcend the savage passions by solely identifying with the tender passions.
As for feeling selfish about wanting to be happy, when I first jumped on the actualism bandwagon I wanted to test out the method to see if I could live with a woman in peace and harmony – a desire that could be regarded as selfish. What I quickly discovered, if I can call 4 months quickly, was that in order for me to be happy I had to stop blaming Vineeto for making me unhappy and I had to stop trying to change her, as both actions were malevolent on my part, i.e. I was causing her to be unhappy. This is markedly different to her being unhappy through no fault of mine and I had to be very scrupulous and aware, not only of my actions, but also of my feelings and motivations.
My point is that on the path to Actual Freedom it is inevitable that altruism will soon crop up and eventually come to the fore, if one’s intent is pure. One experiences purity in the PCE where it is obvious that purity only exists when this flesh and blood body has no ‘I’ in the head or ‘me’ in the heart operating to muddy the waters. When in a ‘self’-less state both selfishness and altruism disappear to reveal an already existing purity and perfection that is me as this flesh and blood body only.
Until that happens permanently, wave the altruism flag, for my experience is that some people will be ready to condemn your ‘self’-investigations, ‘self’-obsession, lack of empathy, lack of sorrow, etc. as heartless and selfish in order to try to drag you back into Humanity and its ancient beliefs and values.
PETER: The actualism writings have broadened in scope somewhat to now include the recent scientific discoveries about the instinctual passions and we have even presented these schematically to make the neurobiological processes even clearer. However there is no reason why the whole approach could not be slanted in terms of freeing oneself from the normal neurotic and psychotic conditions that result from being an instinctually-driven socially-subjugated ‘self’. This is, of course, what is meant by ‘self’-immolation and the resulting elimination of instinctual malice and sorrow.
GARY: I remember when I approached actualism, Richard’s talk of ‘self-immolation’, extirpation, elimination, sacrificial offerings and such scared me out of my wits. It reminded me of the Nazis’ talk of the Final Solution and I would picture flaming bodies and torched cities.
PETER: I also balked a bit at the word ‘self’-immolation but a check on the word’s meaning set me on the right track.
The second definition makes sense as ‘for the sake of something else’ is peace on earth. Given that the ‘deliberate destruction or loss’ is the ending of ‘me’, it is no less daunting, or scary, but the perspective does shift from sinister totalitarianism to individual altruism.
GARY: (...) At any time recently when I am going through some troublesome emotion (and I regard all emotions to be troublesome, although they may not seem like it at the moment), I find it helpful to repeatedly remember that what I am going through, while it seems truly awful, is not actual. The emotions, emanating as they do from the primitive animal instincts, are chemical changes occurring in the physical body. They are located and have their origin in the primitive mid-brain region. When an emotion kicks in, it has definite physical correlates as in, for instance, the surge of adrenalin in anger or fear. These emotional reactions and the physical changes that occur in the body seem real but they are not actual.
PETER: Just a point here so as to make very clear the distinction between ‘seem real’, real, very real and actual. It may appear that I am nitpicking here but the continual failure to make this distinction clear is exactly why all previous attempts to bring an actual end to human animosity and misery have ended up dying in the bum.
Human emotions and passions are real in that they cause very real effects – all of the ongoing actual wars, murders, rapes, domestic violence, corruption, suicides and despair are the direct result of emotional reactions. There is a direct and irrefutable link – cause and effect.
However, to a spiritual person who has succeeded in dissociating from his or her own savage passions and emotions by regarding them as part and parcel of the ‘real’ world, any undesirable passions and emotions would only ‘seem real’, as in illusionary, and not Real or True. This is the spiritual process – the undesirable savage passions are ignored and dismissed while a new disassociated identity is created – the Real Me, totally Self-centred and myopically identified with the tender desirable emotions. As such, a spiritual person would say that emotional reactions only seem to be real, but that they not Real – a description that is cunningly close to your description and yet worlds apart.
For an actualist who has succeeded in diminishing the savage passions by the process of thorough investigation and incremental elimination, it is vitally important to remember that emotions and feelings are very real because they are the sole cause of all human misery and suffering. The only way to push on beyond the traditional ‘I’m okay – it’s only others who are needlessly fighting and suffering’ self-deception is to devote yourself totally to the altruistic goal of bringing an end to the actual malice and sorrow that ravages the human species.
And the only way to do that is by ‘self’-immolating in order that I, this flesh and body only, can delight in the ambrosial sensuousness of living in the actual world – for ‘I’ stand in the way of the already, always existing perfection and purity of the actual world from irrevocably becoming apparent. In short, ‘I’ am stopping peace on earth happening.
Eventually you start to get glimpses of the fact that I, this flesh and blood body, have always been here but I only have been playing a selfish and savage game of survival simply because everyone else insists that this is the way it is, because this is the way it is, because this is the way it has always been and this is the way it will always be’ ... and I fell for it hook, line and sinker.
The thrill of peace on earth always triumphs over any feeling of fear that ‘I’ might have at ‘my’ impending extinction.
PETER: You wrote in comment to something I wrote to No 13 –
GARY: This accords with my own recent bout of morbidness. I realized on some level, at least, that the grief was part and parcel of ‘my’ very identity – it is a large part of who I think ‘Gary’ is. It is a very old, familiar emotion that heralds to the early years of life, and perhaps goes back a good deal further. It is tied up with my mother’s tragic illness and subsequent devastating disability, the sadness and grief of a small child, along with all the sympathy and well-meaning endeavours of a number of relatives and close family friends, later worn as a kind of badge of honour and used to justify the most malicious actions, and by the age of 7, I am sure, became a very part of my personality and modus operandi in the world. To experience this grief again, unhindered by the social identity with its conceptions of what is right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate, and to be able to see the effect that this emotional state had on my close, live-in partner, along with its unspoken demand for attention, nurturance, as well as the imposition of my moods and emotions on another, and the hurt that this caused in her, was a revealing glimpse at ‘me’ – the passionate identity – going full blast.
It did not do to tell myself that I ‘should not’ feel this way, or be this way. No, it took much longer to sort it all out, but also to make the shift to a sensuous awareness of the feeling and emotion and what it felt like, as well as a forfeiture of the claim of uniqueness – that this grief was ‘my’ own, but rather, looking at it as human grief and sadness, and the effect that this emotion is having on this present-day world of people in their interconnectedness. As the shift came and happened, it seemed to be a short hop, skip, and jump to pulling myself up by my bootstraps and determining to pull myself out of the welter of sad emotions and get on with the business of living my life to the best of my ability – happy and harmless again.
It was not a wrenching experience, which would imply a kind of suppression or repression, but it was a shift easily made when I realized the futility of remaining a sorrowful and suffering person. So there it is: Just a few thoughts for now.
GARY: To experience this grief again, unhindered by the social identity with its conceptions of what is right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate, and to be able to see the effect that this emotional state had on my close, live-in partner, along with its unspoken demand for attention, nurturance, as well as the imposition of my moods and emotions on another, and the hurt that this caused in her, was a revealing glimpse at ‘me’ – the passionate identity – going full blast.
No, it took much longer to sort it all out, but also to make the shift to a sensuous awareness of the feeling and emotion and what it felt like, as well as a forfeiture of the claim of uniqueness – that this grief was ‘my’ own, but rather, looking at it as human grief and sadness, and the effect that this emotion is having on this present-day world of people in their interconnectedness.
PETER: What you make clear in your comment is that the primary motive for wanting to get off your bum – or out of the lotus position – and change yourself is care and consideration for the effects your moods and emotions, and subsequent behaviour, is having on others. I usually tend to forget to emphasize this aspect because for me it was a given. I was always interested in living in peace and harmony with others – in fact this was the major attraction in tripping off down the spiritual path with its promise of blissful communal living, consensus, co-operation, and the like.
When I discovered that spiritual communities are held together by a combination of mindless surrender and fanatical loyalty which only results in fear-ridden pious insularity from the rest of one’s fellow human beings, I bailed out and began to look for something that worked. When I came across actualism I settled on a practical goal – being able to at least live with at least one other person in peace and harmony and in order for this to work I came to realize that it was totally up to me to change – not the other person. As success came in the process of actualism, it then became very easy to broaden this aim to include others, be it family, work colleagues, acquaintances, and so on.
The instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire are sourced in the thoughtless automatic survival program that can readily be seen in operation in all animate life. This survival mechanism is seen at its crudest in the ‘what can eat me – what can I eat?’ reactions of all animals but some animal species also have altruistic tendencies solely in order to ensure the survival of their kin, and thus the species. This instinctual propensity for altruism or self-sacrifice can also be readily observed in the human animal species and, as such, can be personally experienced, particularly by those who have children or who have felt the instinctual urge to have children.
For an actualist it is essential not to remain ensnared by the crude totally self-centredness of the instinctual passions but to tap into and actively make use of the altruistic propensity that is genetically programmed in the human beings. Thus an actualist does not aim to become without feelings, emotions or passions but rather to actively diminish the malicious and sorrowful feelings whilst aiming to foster those that are felicitous and caring.
The crude survival instincts are genetically programmed solely to ensure the survival and propagation of vegetate and animal life, but the emergence of the unique combination of awareness and intelligence found in the human species has meant that this crude programming has been often consciously utilized for betterment of life on the planet.
The discovery of the actualism method takes the betterment of life on this planet to a new stage – the opportunity for individual members of the human species to eliminate their own blind and crude instinctual survival program, a program that is now not only redundant for survival but is also the direct cause of all of the malice and sorrow that typifies the human condition.
PETER: Hi Alan, hi Mark,
(...) 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 of 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. Its 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 Richard: This first process had two components – an intellectual understanding such that the fact of being a human being made sense, and this involved a rigorous, challenging, exciting and revealing investigation into the Human Condition and its bedrock of Ancient Wisdom. This is essentially the understanding of the non-spiritual nature of Actual Freedom. The second component was the practical day to day stuff (and what else is there anyway?) of what it is to be a human being – the theory into practice if you like. The experience that Actual Freedom is not a philosophy, not a theory, but a down-to-earth experience as a flesh and blood body. Peter to Richard, 25.2.1999
ALAN: Couldn’t agree more. The combination of the two is vital – and perhaps inevitable. Sort of convincing ‘me’ that it is possible, while experiencing its actuality.
PETER: Just to clarify my post. Up until now the only path to freedom has been a spiritual path to a spiritual freedom – the traditional path of denial, renunciation and transcendence leading to an Altered State of Consciousness known as Enlightenment. The path leads to There – another dimension, a metaphysical realm.
The aim of the path to Actual Freedom is to come here to the actual world. The actual world is that which is evidenced and apparent in the PCE or peak experience and that is where the path to Actual Freedom leads. The actual world is the world as-it-is, stripped of the veneer of reality or Reality that the ‘self’ or ‘Self’ layers over it.
However, as the aim is to come here and be happy and harmless, one always has an immediate goal and aim every moment – to be as happy and harmless as one can possibly be right now. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is the key to firstly ascertaining how one is doing relative to one’s aim in life and, if necessary, finding out what is inhibiting my happiness, in this moment. This gives ‘me’ something to do – ‘I’ clean myself up as much as possible by rigorously and remorselessly examining all the beliefs that constitute the Human Condition – all the truths and Truths that form my social identity, and the instinctual behavioural patterns that blindly run ‘me’. This process, if undertaken with a sincere intent, will inevitably lead to a state of Virtual Freedom. One then goes to bed in the evening knowing that one has had a perfect day, and knowing that tomorrow, without doubt, will also be a perfect day. Unless one is willing to contemplate being happy and harmless, free of malice and sorrow, 99% of the time – then forget the whole business. One is back aiming for some ‘pie in the sky’, some miracle event to ‘make it all better’. And the Sannyas list was an eye opener as far as that was concerned. When offered an alternative to ‘getting out of it’, such that being happy and harmless became one’s aim in life – none were interested in this aspect; peace on earth got a similar response, living with a companion in peace and harmony hardly raised a murmur. Nobody believes that it is possible to be happy and harmless in the world as-it-is, on earth, here, now, as a flesh and blood body. This is, after all, the core of Ancient Wisdom – the sacred and inviolate centre-piece of the Human Condition.
PETER to Richard: I have always had a cautious reluctance to state that there is a definable state called Virtual Freedom whereby one is virtually free of the Human Condition – a 99% state or the best one can do while still remaining a ‘self’. I think that the point is that this state is not irreversible – unless there is a sincere intent and a desire to evince the best possible one could waver. Peter to Richard, 25.2.1999
ALAN: I have always been a bit unsure what ‘Virtual Freedom’ is, so I read your comments with interest.
I have also read what Richard has written on this, though it is not something I consider of great importance – the fact that one’s life is improved and the knowledge of one’s ultimate goal (to experience the perfection and purity 24 hours of the day) are the important points for me. If this is ‘Virtual Freedom’ then fine – I’m enjoying it. One possible benefit of ‘Virtual Freedom’, I did discover, was that it threw ‘me’ into a blue funk, at one stage. ‘I’ wanted to know if ‘I’ had managed to achieve Virtual Freedom, was ‘I’ doing well, had you and Vineeto managed it and I hadn’t? Now, I could not care less – this is my life and what another is doing or achieving is of no consequence at all.
PETER: I guess my experience of talking to people on the Sannyas mailing list has tipped me into valuing Virtual Freedom more and more. It is another of the factors that makes the path to Actual Freedom so delightful, so delicious, such a wondrous culmination of ‘normal’ human existence. If one can’t or won’t contemplate living in a Virtual Freedom then an Actual Freedom will forever remain a ‘pie in the sky’, a spiritual-type, far-off, far-out freedom for those who persist with this outmoded way of thinking.
Virtual Freedom is available for everyone and anyone who has the sincere intent to be happy and harmless. If someone is not willing to make that level of ‘self’ sacrifice then any interest in an Actual Freedom would remain a purely cerebral exercise. That is what I meant by ‘two stages’ – you sort out what it is to be a human being – delve into the Human Condition and then you put what you discover into practice. If it is not put into practice demonstratively then one is fooling oneself – as is common practice on the spiritual path. An immediate aim for a Virtual Freedom will ensure one of sincere intent – any gross grubbiness, power plays or self deception will become painfully obvious to oneself and others.
Given the perfection and purity of the physical universe and its propensity to evolve to the best possible, it is no mere coincidence that a journal outlining the simplicity and down-to-earthness of Virtual Freedom is now available as a companion volume to Richard’s Journal. To ignore the obvious, the simple, the direct, the immediate in favour of always contemplating the future is to commit the mistakes of the past ‘tried and failed’ approaches. Not that there isn’t a future goal – Actual Freedom – but the practical and down-to-earth first essential step is the obtaining of and living in Virtual Freedom for a substantial period. The establishing of a base camp if you like.
One of the vital points about Virtual Freedom is that it gives one a realistic down-to-earth achievable aim. Virtual Freedom is an obtainable, realistic goal available for anyone – and is an essential step on the path to Actual Freedom. It seems to me that the traditional path has always put the Goal off into the future – some day I will, or maybe it will happen, or it’s too difficult, or .. With the firm knowledge that a Virtual Freedom is readily obtainable, the immediate and the actual becomes the focus, as this is, after all, the only moment I can experience of being alive – so if I’m not happy now then I have something to look at. Unlike the spiritual where one has only a ‘far off’ goal with a 0.0001% chance of success of achieving a permanent ASC, the path to Actual Freedom delivers the goods – one eliminates the impediments to one’s happiness incrementally and as such one has incremental success. The immediate and realistic aim being to get to the point where one goes to bed at night having had a perfect day and knowing tomorrow will be equally perfect. The ‘bar gets raised’ and tomorrow may well turn out to be even more perfect. This is not to deny that Actual Freedom is not the eventual aim – but ‘I’ have to do it and this is the way to do it. What ‘I’ can do is to become virtually free.
This is 180 degrees opposite to the spiritual path where going ‘There’ is the only goal and consequently one withdraws from any thoughts of happiness now, and certainly any mundane considerations such as being harmless, being in the world as-it-is, living with one’s companion in peace, harmony and equity, being sensible, questioning beliefs and investigating the facts, etc.
PETER: Hi Alan,
Well, things are hotting up over there in all departments by the sound of it.
ALAN: I spent much of yesterday reading various bits of Richard’s correspondence and contemplating on why ‘I’ should give up ‘my’ precious existence to achieve something which ‘I’ desperately want to achieve. So, in bed, early this morning ‘I’ dreamt that ‘I’ was going to do it – it was so simple – all that was necessary was to ‘go with it’. Not think my way, nor feel my way but just do it. I am unsure as to whether the events that followed were dreaming or awake or, more likely, drifting in between.
There was a ‘rush’, like going along with a river current, then a 100,000 volt shock through the body resulting in a spasm/seizure which lasted for seconds?, minutes? And during this a thought?, voice? of ‘just go with it’. I cannot accurately describe the physical sensations which occurred/followed. Later, fully awake, the realisation that ‘I’ cannot think, feel or dream ‘my’self into being here and all that is necessary is to let go, go with it – the only way to be here is to be here. It is just a matter of stepping through a curtain – out of the real world and into the actual world, leaving ‘my’self behind, as Richard put it – almost, almost. Now it is cold sweats and nausea/physical sickness – of course it could be something I ate!
PETER: Curiously enough, two nights ago I have had a very similar experience to the one you described. I had had my ‘devastating’ experience about a week before and had decided that the only way to become free was to do it – to continuously and relentlessly be here as much as possible – expunging all doubt, impatience, waiting, disappointment, hesitation, etc. The focus on being here in the actual world took my mind off the event to come – stopped me thinking about it and also stopped the feelings about it as well. I remember saying to Vineeto – ‘I’m just going to do it, not that I can do it, and the doing of it will be the end of ‘me’.’ I’m not meaning to be at all esoteric about this, and I can relate it to other incidents in my life when the deciding to do something was the end of the deciding phase and all its thinking and feeling and the start of the doing of it. Then one is so involved in the doing that one forgets the earlier ‘fuss’ and bother.
So, I had what I would describe as a normal week and went to bed one night and lay back after a romp with Vineeto, well contented with life. I didn’t go to sleep and lay for a long while, not thinking about anything in particular, when a tremendous rush of fear welled up. It was as though I was in great physical danger – which I was not at all. It was the kind of fear that overwhelms one in a life-threatening situation. It was not induced by ‘me’ thinking or feeling about death – quite the contrary. I remember thinking – ‘This is the fear when it comes and its here now.’
There was a ‘what to do now’, a touch of hesitancy, and the thought occurred that the only way I would go into that fear was as an act of self-sacrifice. I began to think of people who I knew and who I wished well of, and in that the fear subsided and I slipped off the intensity of the fear. But it left me with the confident surety that the key to the door is that it is ultimately an act of self-sacrifice in that moment. The decision to go forward, the impetus, can not be for ‘me’ as it is the ending of me. The only way I can see to over-ride the survival fear is to use another instinctual drive – the willingness to sacrifice myself for others.
Again this is not a passionate, put up affair. No heroism, no imagination – just a common sense ‘everybody wins’ situation. I get what I want and another human is free of the Human Condition. I say this because I know and have experienced the instinctual wiring to sacrifice myself for others. It was when I was told that my son had died, and in the initial few moments of intense grief the thought occurred ‘Why him and not me?’ I would have gladly and willingly given my life for his in that moment. If Mr. God have had boomed down from his white cloud – ‘Do you mean it?’ the answer would have been an unhesitating ‘Yes!’.
It was his death that got me into a passionate search for freedom in the first place, and I see that the self-sacrifice is the key to the door to freedom. Why else would you do it? The Enlightened Ones do it knowing full well that they are going to Bliss, Eternal Life and a good deal of Adulation. Theirs is not a ‘death’ but an Altered State of Consciousness – they die into the Glory to ‘become’ the Glory, surviving to wreak havoc with the hearts and minds of others. ‘Feet of clay’ is a good description.
I see this self-sacrifice as a down-to-earth practical use of one instinctual drive to overcome another. It’s simply a using of the tools available at the appropriate time. In the past year of living in Virtual Freedom, since I finished my Journal, I have become increasingly attuned not only with the operation of ‘me’ as a psychological and psychic entity, but also of the havoc and mayhem of the Human Condition in operation globally.
To finally realise that there is no solution to the Human Condition other than its eventual extinction and the superseding by a new species – actually freed from instinctually-sourced emotions and feelings.
The ending of ‘me’ will be another, not insignificant, step in that inevitable process.
As a footnote,
I would add that this clarity about the Human Condition has happened not by retreating or retiring from the world of people, things and events but by being fully involved and vitally interested in the fact of being a mortal, flesh and blood human being – here and now. Here – as in the actual world as perceived by the senses; and now – as in this very moment. In this way, one’s Virtual Freedom is ‘tested’ by full involvement, not falsely ‘sustained’ by avoidance or denial.
It is this very ‘boots and all’ involvement in the actual world that makes the act of self-sacrifice – as I see it and have experienced it – a sensible, obvious and necessary step.
I don’t say this lightly. I am usually very cautious about writing of ‘experiences’ as they can have an individual bent, vary in intensity or importance from one to another, but this issue of the ending of ‘me’ is useful to write of. I probably would have waited for more evidence but given that you have raised the issue, Alan, I was moved to write.
In talking to Richard, we kicked around the word ‘altruism’ for this self-sacrifice and, while I usually dislike ‘isms’, I think it fits. However, I know that Vineeto is not keen on its other emotional connotations and I would prefer to stick to self-sacrifice – as an instinctual program – to describe the ‘key to the door’.
Well, if I keep going the footnote will be bigger than the post itself. This is such a fascinating subject – and experience! I am sure we will write more about it. I know Mark is vitally interested in this very issue. So finish and get this away on the copper.
Peter to Alan: The very, very cunning quality of the self ensures that many people will gleefully and gullibly accept the spiritual teachings, deny the existence of the physical world, deny that they are a mortal flesh and blood, believe in their own immortality and fully indulge in the fantasy delusion that they are indeed God-on-earth. This is an act of utter selfishness, cunningly disguised as a noble sacrifice to a ‘higher cause’, yet exposed for the fraud it is when the few who succeed become Gods-on-earth, Saints, Masters, revered teachers and the like – to be feted, worshipped, adored, flattered and fawned by one’s fellow human beings.
The very, very cunning nature of the self is evident in the real world as hypocrisy, corruption, deceit, lies and denial. In spite of the constant pleas and extolling to obey society’s moral and ethical standards, human beings, when push comes to shove, inevitably revert to natural behaviour. Natural behaviour is instinctual behaviour – genetically programmed to ensure the survival of the species. The human species has been endowed with a self-survival program that almost inevitably over-rides the consideration of the survival of the group. Each human is instilled with a distinct individual self which is embellished by the ability to think and reflect into a substantive entity, an identity of psychological and psychic substance – ‘who’ we think and feel we are. It is obvious over time bargains and deals were done between groups of humans, be they biological family groups and/or tribal groups, and these eventually became formalized into particular sets of moral and ethical rules. These rules, instilled to ensure the group’s survival, became paramount over the genetically encoded, essentially individually selfish, survival program. This explanation of the human instinctual program accounts for the ongoing failure of human beings to live together in anything remotely resembling peace and harmony. An understanding of the instinctual passions in action also reveals the spiritual search for self-discovery and self-realization as nothing other than an instinctually-driven attempt at self-aggrandizement and a lust for personal psychic power over others.
There is, however, an innate quality in human beings that provides the key to the door, so to speak, the way out, the means to freedom from the instinctual passions. This quality is well described as altruism – ‘regard for others as a principle of action; unselfishness’ ... Oxford Dictionary. This quality needs to put under the microscope, examined carefully and fully understood lest one confuses it with blind instinctual passions and senseless societal values.
The instinct to nurture relentlessly drives many people to sacrifice their lives for offspring or family, only to feel resentment at the sacrifice. This is understandable for this self-sacrifice is a driven, automatic reaction, not a freely undertaken action.
The moral and ethical rules of society demand of its flock, as a principle, that they make certain sacrifices for the common good and enforce these rules by carrot and stick. Praise, acclaim and even adulation are showered on the overt do-gooders while those who err towards what is deemed bad and unacceptable are controlled by condemnation, ostracism, laws, lawyers, police and jails.
Thus one is either blindly driven, or forced ‘as a principle’ to sacrifice one’s life, for the good of others. One is neither naturally, as in genetic/instinctually, free nor does one feel free within the applied restrictions of one’s tribal group.
There is, however, ample evidence within the human species of acts of altruism that are neither blindly driven nor self-seeking of an earthly or heavenly reward. Many are spontaneous acts, such as those who risk their lives to save another or undertake unsolicited and impromptu acts of consideration for others – benevolence in action.
On the path to Actual Freedom it is this quality of altruism, or benevolence in action, that readily becomes more and more evident in one’s thoughts, behaviour and actions. This quality is startlingly different from the spiritual love and compassion – ‘I am God acting for the good of others less fortunate’ – and from being a goody two shoes in normal society with its subsequent rewards. Benevolence in action is free and spontaneous – there is nothing in it for ‘me’ at all, in fact, it only happens when ‘I’ am absent. However one can be observant of it happening and, in seeing its ‘self’-less purity and perfection, energize this quality of altruism to initiate the process of self-immolation in oneself.
The path to Actual Freedom is not at all attractive for there is nothing in it for ‘me’ – no phoenix arises from the ashes to claim the glory, no acclaim of adoring disciples, no wonderful overwhelming feelings, no fame, no recognition, no power – neither overt nor covert. Extinction is extinction. It is for this very reason that one needs a goodly dose of altruism.
In my experience there is yet another quality which may well be as important, if not more important, than altruism in evincing self-immolation. This quality is integrity –
Having experienced this integrity of innocence, benevolence and undividedness in pure consciousness experiences it then becomes a prime motivation to experience it 24 hrs. a day, every day. The absence of conflict, confusion, deceit and duplicity – the absence of both the social and instinctual entity that are in constant battle has to be experienced to be understood. One cannot understand it unless one experiences it although it certainly helps if one is prepared to risk rocking one’s boat. By digging into one’s self one is certainly much, much more likely to induce a pure consciousness experience. By doing nothing, one gets nothing in return. Unless one investigates, one never finds out. Unless one changes, one stays the same. Unless one is motivated by integrity then one will remain a very, very cunning entity either fighting it out in the ‘real’ world or travelling on the spiritual path of self-discovery seeking self-satisfaction and self-aggrandizement.
Being guided by integrity or being guided by sincere intent ensures that I will not deceive myself, that I will be honest with myself, that I will not settle for second best – that I will not stop until I live the pure consciousness experience, 24 hrs a day every day, until I am irrevocably free of the Human Condition.
Ah well. It was a bit of a rave again. I am trying to put into words my thoughts and experiences of the direct path to Actual freedom as opposed to Richard’s experience of travelling through the dementia of Enlightenment and out the other side. At the moment of self-immolation the instinctual and traditional urge to become a Saviour kicked in and it took him some 11 years to rid himself of the delusion. For ‘me’ there will be no fame, glory, glamour or glitz – simply extinction. T’is no wonder that denial is so endemic and integrity so scarce.
But for those willing to launch themselves on the path to Actual freedom the incremental rewards are such that one is driven on by success, integrity and naiveté. It does take a wee touch of courage to ditch the familiar old programming from the brain, to wipe the hard drive clean of all the old rotten corrupted programming but, as is evident in the pure consciousness experience, an actual freedom from the human condition in total is the inevitable result.
PETER: Just a little gossip from this side of the planet.
A most interesting development is that Richard’s reputation is beginning its inexorable spread in the spiritual world. He has started writing on another mailing list, the DeRuiter Mailing List. DeRuiter is the new kid on the block in the Guru business. In very-American style he manages to re-invent the mythical Mr. Jesus as a misunderstood, and obviously very misinterpreted and misreported, Enlightened One. The ‘spiritualization’ of Western One-God religions is fascinating to observe – the gall and the blatant two-faced denial of historical fact and record is quite breathtaking.
From the comments that are flying around on the DeRuiter and another associated list, Richard is becoming a figure of growing interest and controversy. The cat is amongst the pigeons and the feathers are flying. It’s good news for those willing to read and think and daring enough to investigate beyond the sacred ceiling that inhibits and limits the search for an actual freedom from the human condition. One hears a lot about a glass ceiling that inhibits women’s freedom to rise up the business ladder and the other day I heard the expression ‘concrete ceiling’ to describe a bureaucratic ceiling that inhibited a free investigation into corruption.
A similar ‘ceiling’ exists for anyone searching for freedom, peace and happiness. There is a sacred ceiling in operation, franticly maintained and policed by the Gurus, shamans and holy men and their followers. All sorts of tactics, threats, dimwitticisms and inanities are strutted out to enslave the spiritual searcher as a loyal suppliant and stop him or her from searching anywhere else.
As an example of this sacred ceiling in operation I came across one of the plethora of Mailing Lists devoted to spiritual enquiry and investigation the other day. They posted an introduction to the list that is atypical of the current state of the human search for freedom –
I joined another spiritual mailing list the other day that proudly trumpets ‘a spirit of open dialogue and inquiry’ and I was most interested to find that it was, in fact, a ‘moderated’ list. I waited a bit and read the usual spiritual ‘mutual admiration society’ in operation, complete with the usual humble pride and mindless parroting of the Master clearly evident in the posts. I was twigged to write when someone wrote in and very clearly and concisely described a Pure Consciousness Experience (or peak experience) that had seemingly followed the usual twist to become a full-on Altered State of Consciousness (or Satori). It proved a too-tempting opportunity for me to describe to a sincere seeker the difference between the two experiences and I will be curious to see the reaction from the List Moderator. There are two chances of it being posted – Buckley’s and none – but it is such good fun to poke another hole in the sacred ceiling. I already observe that Richard has put some whopping stress cracks in it and it won’t be long before some breaches are made by other intrepid pioneers.
A little reading of the experience of pioneers and first-timers in any field of human endeavour will reveal that one’s own instinctual fear and the fear of ostracization by one’s peers are among the major hurdles to overcome. All the pioneers who dared to break the shackles, who refused to kow-tow to ignorance and superstition, who broke from the herd, who found it impossible to compromise and live a second-rate life, who acted altruistically and not selfishly, had to overcome these hurdles. In our case the sacred ceiling has been breached by Richard but it is up to each of us to make our own journey to freedom. By doing nothing one remains a spectator, an interested by-stander or curious onlooker, but not a player in the game. To think one is free or to feel one is free is not an actual freedom. An actual freedom comes from action and change not thinking and feeling.
Many, many women were pioneers in women breaking free of the yoke of domesticity and their hard-won free access to education, business, government, law, professional work, sport, armed forces, etc. Each of those women did it by themselves, for themselves, yet many had altruistic motives as well. Each gained support from others doing it, each stood on the shoulders of those who went before, but each had to do it for themselves. What was an extraordinary upheaval and a hard slog has now largely succeeded in many parts of the world, and curiously it is religious dogma that is proving a final recalcitrant hurdle to progress in many countries. Even more curious is the female response of current stoking the fires of feminist religion as the Goddesses arise to do battle with the male Gods.
But I’m straying from the point, which is the role of pioneers in the search for an actual freedom, peace and happiness. The major force in resisting human change and progress has always been the shamans, priests and Popes, God-men and Gurus. Always they look backwards for the answers, desperately clinging to the musty trite and dogma of a long distant past. Always cleverly trying to be seen to move with the times, adapting their message, window dressing it to current fashion and demand. Thus we see the Western religions adopting trendy Eastern concepts and all religions adopting the Earth-as-God religion of the Environmentalists, the modern day worshippers of earth spirits. The foundation and driving force of all religious belief is fear – fear of death is transformed into a passionate belief in an after-life and fear of inevitable approaching death is transformed into a doomsday outlook and a desperate fear of the future and change. Consequently, any human progress in leisure, pleasure, comfort and safety have been fearfully resisted throughout history and any attempts at finding a genuine, actual freedom have been met by the sacred ceiling of spiritual and religious beliefs.
This sacred ceiling is as real as the ceiling facing women a century ago – they had to shed the shackles of their upbringing, they had to free themselves of the imposition of moral taboos and ethical rules and they had to run the gauntlet of the abuse and disapproval of others, thus breaking free of much of their instilled social identity. Secondly, they had to overcome their own instinctual fears and many risked much in their striving for freedom. Many did it as rebellion, many actively sought fame and notoriety, many riled merely for the sake of expressing their anger and frustration, but many just got on and did it anyway. When I was in England some 30 years ago, I remember meeting a woman who was in her 80’s who had been the first registered district nurse in Devon. She was a pioneer at a time when women were not in any of the professions and certainly not in an autonomous and responsible position in the community. Hearing her stories I was struck by both her integrity and her altruistic motives. She did it for herself and the fun and adventure of it, but she also did it to be of practical help to others and for the thrill of pioneering – being amongst the first, being at the forefront, the cutting edge. Hers was not a story that will be known, she was not famous, yet the women who have followed and emulated women like her were able to stand on her shoulders – follow in her footsteps.
It is exactly the same with becoming free of the human condition. There is a sacred ceiling that is being broken by pioneers and it will be broken only by people doing it, and the subsequent subversive spreading of the word that it is now possible. Those who firmly believe in the sacred believe the sacred ceiling to be actual, inviolate and impenetrable. For those who don’t believe it doesn’t exist – it is an illusion constructed by human beings themselves, given credence by ancient fear-ridden fairy stories and one’s own instinctual passions. How to break through? Make it your passion, your ambition, your goal, your work. Devote yourself fully to the task, ride upon the thrill of pioneering, take up the challenge and in my experience you will find altruism – right there with you, as an innate companion.
PETER to Alan: (...) Just a comment on something you wrote in your post that caught my attention. It’s something that is quite close to me – as close as the 50 or so unsold copies of Richard’s and Peter’s Journals that sit beside my computer ...
I can relate to what you are saying about writing when you say ‘when the words write themselves it is oh so easy.’ But I can’t relate to ‘I know I will write as well as Peter and Richard when I am free of the condition of being ‘human’’ because I am not yet free of the Human Condition. Writing was an issue for me quite often whenever I read Richard’s writing and recognized the unequivocal authority of someone who is writing from the ongoing experience of being utterly ‘self’-less, i.e. totally free of malice and sorrow.
When I came across Richard, tried out his method and found that it worked, I was inexorably drawn to try to write about Actual Freedom. I naively expected that it would be good news for my friends still struggling on the spiritual path or for those who had become disillusioned. Vineeto desktop-published my journal, Richard did his own, and Vineeto funded the printing of a limited run of both books in paperback form. I ended up giving away half my copies and Richard has managed to sell about half of his, hence the remaining that gather dust by my computer. My approach to writing was simply that there would be another Peter or Vineeto out there somewhere and that has been my approach ever since, despite the evident unpopularity of the topic. The surprising realization I soon became aware of after beginning to write was that I was essentially compelling myself to make sense of the Human Condition and how discovering how it operated in me. This is why I always would encourage anyone to write – I know of no better way to facilitate contemplation and encourage clarity. It also has the advantage of counteracting the billions of words of Ancient Wisdom that is ensnaring people into a life of denial and delusion, it communicates to others the bountiful benefits of actualism and points to the newly available possibility of an Actual Freedom from malice and sorrow.
T’is a win-win situation.
There was also another, no less important, motive. I came from some 17 years on the spiritual path where one was either free as in Enlightened, an awakened wannabe as in a teacher, or Enlightened as in an indisputable God-man. Once I recognized that the path to Actual Freedom had nothing to do with the traditional spiritual freedom, it became clear that a new form of communication was possible that had nothing to do with the demeaning humbleness that passes for communication in the Master-disciple system. We now have the opportunity to move beyond the traditional bowing down before some Guru or devotedly parroting some God-man’s wisdom whereby we can now ask sensible questions from an expert, an authority on the subject of both spiritual freedom and Actual Freedom. There is also a chance for those who are interested in freedom, peace and happiness to share their successes and failures, to ask questions and get answers, to make up their own mind free of emotional pressures, to move at their own pace ... or to bail out if it is not for them. For this type of discussion to eventuate I realized I had to be both an initiator and a contributor for it to be of benefit to me and others.
Again a win-win situation.
Further, there is the obviousness of having the courage to stick one’s head above the parapet, so to speak. What struck me was the fact that Richard has been daring enough to not only to be the first to become free of the Human Condition but to then go public with his finding. For this he has had to run the gauntlet of cyber abuse and ridicule, but if it were not for that fact that he did it, neither you nor I would be as happy or harmless as we are today and this forum would not exist. If it were not for the fact that Vineeto and I stuck our heads above the parapet by writing to the Sannyas mailing list, some who are reading these words would not be doing so. What others make of these words is purely their business but that we can talk of how to become free of malice and sorrow is an astounding development that is only possible via the World Wide Web. The benefit of the Net is that abuse from others is limited to swear words in capital letters or cyber-execution from mailing lists but one is tested nevertheless as to whether one takes offence – for if there is an emotional response it is a sure sign that there is a ‘me’ who takes offence and then ‘I’ have something to look at. This communicating with others also has the advantage of letting others know that there is now available a third alternative to either remaining normal or becoming spiritual.
Again a win-win situation.
Another point that comes to mind is that becoming free of the Human Condition is not a dispassionate affair – it is not about stripping one’s ‘self’ of emotions or making sense of the Human Condition such that one becomes a stripped-down clever cool ‘self’. The motivation to get beyond this stage has to be a ‘self’-less concern and consideration for one’s fellow human beings, such as is experienced in a pure consciousness experience. The utter futility and sheer pointlessness of human beings being instinctually driven to battle it out with each other in a fear-driven struggle for survival on this verdant and bountiful planet becomes startlingly evident ... and one is inexorably drawn to do something about the situation. You realize in a pure consciousness experience that the only thing possible to do is to ‘self’-immolate – to rid this flesh and blood body of the entity that is, by its very nature, malicious and sorrowful, that ‘I’ can only be a contributor to violence and suffering on the planet. You realize that this act is the only sensible and practical contribution you can make to peace on earth.
Thus the essential fuel for ‘self’-immolation is altruism – the instinctual passion to sacrifice oneself for the others. This passion has to be activated and cultivated as a burning desire, for it is the only fuel that can get you through when the other passions begin to diminish in Virtual Freedom and comfortable ‘normal’ threatens to set in. Personally, this passion has always proved too strong to sit on for too long – soon I find myself back writing again, sticking my neck out, taking another risk, saying yes to being here and playing this game of being alive.
So many people seem to be put off by any passion for freedom after their failures on the spiritual path but I fail to see how one can become free of the Human Condition unless it is a burning ‘self’-consuming passion. For me, one of the ways to both activate and cultivate this passion has been to write, both as a way of going beyond my comfort zone and of my fuelling my altruism. Also, I know that what I write about actualism and Actual Freedom will be of benefit to other actualists.
Again a win-win situation.
I am not suggesting that everyone needs to write a journal or needs to write on a mailing list, but some form of ‘coming out of the closet’ is essential, for that is, in essence, what becoming free of the Human Condition involves. The sensible and easy way to do this is to follow someone who has already done it and also to share one’s experiences, knowledge, successes and failures with others who are actively doing it. Richard did it by himself, as everyone else has to, but we now have the benefit of being able to have the support of others and to give support to others ... altruism in action, if you like.
Again a win-win situation.
So Alan, when you write –
ALAN: From the descriptions by you, Richard, Vineeto, Gary and others, extricating oneself from the beliefs of spiritualism is one of the most daunting tasks facing anyone starting on the road to an actual freedom. Sure, I had to investigate a few myself, but nothing like what you had to do. Of course the final discovery – that there is no-body or no-thing in charge of the universe – is the same for all and I acknowledge the achievement that you and other ‘spiritualists’ make in realising this fact.
PETER: (...) As I began to become fascinated with the workings of the human condition, both in its animal-instinctual roots and in its tribal-social perpetuation via childhood reward and punishment, I simultaneously started to become fascinated with the workings of ‘me’. How had ‘I’, as a social identity, been created? What particular morals, ethics, values, beliefs and psittacisms had been implanted by others and what morals, ethics, values, beliefs and psittacisms had I adopted as ‘mine’ simply because they appealed to me at the time or because they were part and parcel of some social group I aligned myself with?
This fascination lead me to actively investigate ‘I’, the controller – the social identity, the ‘good boy’, whose job when he grew up was not only to be a fit member of society but whose life-long responsibility was to constantly monitor, check and control – lest the dark side of ‘me’ should run amok. When I started to peel back the layers of social conditioning, I did indeed start to discover an instinctual ‘me’ – the raw animal ‘me’, programmed by blind nature to be nothing more than a seed-implanting, propagator of the species.
This raw animal ‘self’ may well have both savage and tender passions but these passions, whether they be selfishly ‘self’-protective or unselfishly species-protective, are neither intelligent nor are they benign. It is these raw animal survival instinctual passions, genetically-encoded by blind nature in every member of the human species, that warrant that human existence will forever remain a grim and senseless, human vs. human, battle for survival. By simple experiential observation of these animal passions in action in myself and in other animal species it becomes clear and explicit that to remain a slave to these passions makes it is impossible for me, this corporeal-only body, to ever be a happy body, let alone a harmless body.
But, as you noted, the beginning of this process of active ‘self’-discovery is the observation that there ‘is no-body or no-thing in charge of the universe’. If one really takes this observation fully on board, a wonder-full and utterly ‘self’-less experience can result whereby one directly experiences that there ‘is no-body or no-thing in charge of the universe .’ One then can unequivocally experience that the puerile ancient spirit-ridden beliefs about the universe – those that still pass for wisdom, even to this day – are nought but fear-filled fairy tales that should be confined to the dustbin of history. In such a pure consciousness experience of the infinitude of this physical-only universe and of its this-moment-only happening, it then becomes patently obvious what a folly it is to believe that all this magnificence was created by, or is controlled by, a some-body or a some-thing.
It is this temporary glimpse of ‘self’-less experience that then provides one’s life with substance, meaning, purpose, focus and direction and one then yearns to start the process of actively participating in the happening of this moment, for the first time in one’s life – and most definitely not as a dis-embodied observer, nor as a back-seat passenger. It becomes clear from such an experience that the way to do this is to ask oneself, each moment again, ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive? – for one will then focus one’s attention on how one is experiencing this very moment of being alive, the only moment one can experience.
The process of actualism itself then becomes rich in meaning, purpose and direction. The process of actualism can never be off in the future and there is never an opportunity lost in the past, for it is immediately happening the moment one asks oneself the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
What will inevitably come to light over time in this momentary investigation are all the morals, ethics, values, beliefs and psittacisms that constitute ‘me’ as a social identity and all of the instinctual passions that give substance to ‘me’ as an instinctual being. Thus by one’s own curiosity, one’s own attentiveness, one’s own investigations and one’s own experiences, one actively conspires in one’s own ‘self’-immolation.
But just to flag a warning –
This process of actualism is not effortless, for if it was the human condition would not still be exemplified by malice and sorrow. Millions of people have searched for a genuine freedom for thousands of years but the priests, shamans, wise men and Gurus have always taught, by carrot and stick, the effortless paths of devotion or surrender. It is because of this religious/spiritual conditioning that most of the people thus far who have been attracted to actualism, including those who have ‘seen the light’ and stopped their spiritual seeking, invariably cool themselves down when they realize that actualism is not an effortless path.
Effort is required in actualism and none more so than to begin the process. Once started, effort is still required to sustain it in the face of the occasional adversities as well as the persistent adversaries. The effort required is in no way super-human – it simply requires that you make becoming free of malice and sorrow the most important thing in your life and to not stop until the job is done.
To regard freedom from malice and sorrow as effortless is to demean the efforts of the countless human beings who have searched for, and are still searching for, a way to bring peace to this fair planet. That freedom should be effortless is one of the most insidious and deepest ingrained of all spiritual beliefs for one invariably imagines freedom to be one’s God-given right.
For an actualist it is essential to break free from the iron grip of ‘effortless’ belief, fully grasp the fact that there is ‘no-one or no-thing’ stopping one from being free, shout halleluiah, roll up one’s sleeves and become fully committed to making peace on earth a fact rather than a dream.
ALAN: And the last 9 months. I have posted little to this mailing list and have spent little time in reflective contemplation. Whether this is because all the discoveries have been made and, as I said to Vineeto, ‘I certainly have had a sense of, there is nothing new to write or report – and maybe that, in itself, is worth reporting’.
PETER: Personally, I find spending little time in reflective contemplation difficult to relate to because it is not my experience. Perhaps your meaning is different to mine so I will define what reflective contemplation means to me.
The ability to reflect is innate in all human beings. In animals, a primitive instinctual memory of past events is evident – a dog nuzzling up for food, a lion returning to a favourite hunting spot, a cat being wary in a place where it was attacked before. Humans have not only this primitive instinctual memory but also a reasonably detailed factual memory which, when combined with thinking, forms intelligence. The action of thinking without the ability to reflect would leave us unable to gain the practical benefit of life-experience – one would be not only immature but one would be unable to learn from one’s life experiences. Given that the aim of actualism is to be here in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are, reflective contemplation is an essential activity for an actualist.
ALAN: I think we mean the same thing by ‘reflective contemplation’. Perhaps I should have said ‘pure contemplation’, viz: –
PETER: Perhaps another way of putting it is that reflective contemplation is part of the work that ‘I’ do in order to investigate and eliminate the ‘human’ beliefs and ideals that actively conspire to prevent pure contemplation from happening.
PETER: Virtual freedom is by no means a permanent state, it is only a stepping stone on the path. To stop at any stage on the path is to risk losing all that one has gained from one’s hard work, but to push on requires a passionate dedication and obsession that can only be fuelled by altruism – the innate unselfishness that is programmed into all human beings as part of the survival instincts. When one takes the blind senselessness out of altruism then one’s ‘self’-sacrifice is made for peace on earth, not God or country. Actualism is about peace on earth – bringing an end to war, murder, rape, torture, domestic violence, corruption and child abuse.
ALAN: Interesting what you say about altruism in view of my last post to Vineeto. I disagree that it is unselfish, however. Surely most, if not all, altruistic acts are done to obtain recognition, praise and glory for being unselfish – LOL.
PETER: We may well be talking of different things for I was talking about the blind passion of altruism – an intrinsic aspect of the pre-programmed survival instinct in humans that is ultimately configured to ensure the survival of the species and not any particular individual. I can remember two distinct experiences of the overwhelming power of altruism and neither had anything to do with recognition, praise or glory.
The first occasion was clear-cut and concerned the death of my son. As soon as the first wave of grief subsided I was struck with an urge to sacrifice my own life if it would bring him back. This urge was so powerful that I have no doubt that I would have thrown the switch to make this happen if it were possible. He was the future and I was the past – he was the species’ future and I was merely its past – for ‘I’, as an instinctual animal, am genetically programmed to be northing other than a progenerator of the species. Thus my biological imperative to reproduce was completed and the blind urge to sacrifice my life in order that my offspring survived kicked in.
The second experience is somewhat less clear for the blind altruistic drive was clouded and complicated by my tribal-social conditioning. This relates to the life-threatening situation at the end of Rajneeshpuram in Oregon where I felt distinct urges to sacrifice my life in order that my God would survive. Given that I was living in one of his communes at the time and not at Rajneeshpuram and that the crisis passed without conflict, the experience was not as strong and as immediate as the first one. When taken to extremes, the simplistic altruistic impulse of species-first survival is so perverted by social conditioning that some humans will willingly even commit suicide for a cause, belief, ideal, principle, conviction or faith.
Altruism is evident in many forms and expressed in many ways in the human species. As you say, many acts that appear to be altruistic at first glance are very often done for totally self-serving reasons – to gain recognition, fame, praise and glory. But for each of these acts there are countless others that are unrecognised, unsung and mundane. We in the West would not be enjoying the current level of safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure were it not for altruism. Many people deliberately choose to devote their life’s work for the betterment of others, be they scientists, doctors, nurses, carers, engineers, inventors or the like, and the result of their efforts is literally breathtaking. One can debate the usefulness or ulterior motives of some people and some work but the fact remains that altruism is a powerful motivating force for betterment within the human species.
Given that actualism is about bringing an end to malice and sorrow in the human species, I fail to see how anyone would be prepared to devote their life to making it work without being motivated by altruism. Actualism and altruism go hand in glove – for unless one taps into the unselfish motivation of altruism one’s search for freedom is bound to remain self-motivated, as in spiritual freedom.
Speaking personally, two events stand out in my life that may well throw some light on the motivating power of altruism. I have written about both in my journal but they may well be worth repeating here.
The first was when I initially became attracted to Eastern spiritualism and I clearly remember that one of the major attractions for me was the notion of communal living – the proposition that a spiritual commune based on love and devotion would mean people living together in peace and harmony. And further that these communes would become working models to demonstrate what was possible, and that these communes would spread around the world and everybody would end up living in peace and harmony. Therefore my initial prime motivation in taking up Eastern spiritualism was altruistic – even though I was eventually to discover that my ulterior motive was completely selfish.
The other event was when my son died and I clearly remember standing beside his coffin and an urge welled up in me to find the answer to the mystery of why human life was so angst-ridden, so conflict-ridden and so unfulfilling that people needed to court danger for thrills or patiently wait until death before they are finally free of suffering. This urge to devote my life to finding a way to end human suffering was altruistic because I had the urge to do it for all the teenagers who suffer the angst of leaving the relative shelter of childhood and who are then confronted with a dog-eat-dog world that is bereft of answers to bring an end to the madness and horrors of the human condition. Immediately after this urge came a burning desire for freedom that was to herald the real beginning of my search for freedom but what is relevant is that the unselfishness of altruism kicked in before the selfishness of personal freedom.
As I am writing this other examples come to mind. When I first came across actualism I was particularly moved by the challenge – ‘If I can’t live with one other person in utter peace and harmony, then how can I ever expect there to be peace on earth’. It was altruism that made me stand up and be counted, to prove that it was possible for others because not only were my own relationships less than perfect, ridden with sad compromise, sullen withdrawal and testy conflicts but I knew by experience and observation that this was the norm. Nowhere did I see people living together in peace and harmony, quite the contrary, I saw compromise and conflict, so I decided to accept the challenge and prove that it was possible – come what may. The motivation to prove it is possible to live with another person in utter peace and harmony was altruistic because billions of people live in dysfunctional relationships, domestic violence, be it covert or overt, is rampant and child abuse is all too common.
And finally, it is altruism that serves one whilst on the path to freedom for if you take the blind senselessness out of altruism you are left with a pure unselfish intent. How this is evident in actualism is, as I wrote recently, that one invariably keeps becoming harmless slightly ahead of becoming happy in one’s priorities. Altruism, combined with integrity, also serves one to get over the instinctual narcissistic urge to become the next world teacher and it is altruism that then pushes one on to finally prove that actualism does work – that it is a fact that I can live in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are, totally bereft of any malice and sorrow whatsoever.
I do like exploring these issues because I have never so completely comprehended the extent to which the passion of altruism is interlinked with actualism – they do indeed go hand in glove. With the benefit of hindsight the connection is very clear, but I do note that it was not something I mentioned in my journal, so it was obviously not so apparent at the beginning of my explorations. I have mentioned effort many times in my journal but I may well make specific mention of altruism in a postscript given that it is what steers one in the completely opposite direction to the narcissism inherent in the spiritual path.
RESPONDENT: I was considering passion with some degree of reservation when I read your other post which included a bit more about it, in particular passion in the form of altruism.
Convincing ‘me’ to self-sacrifice for the benefit to oneself and others of a permanent PCE, would certainly carry more weight if I could get into full blown PCEs. At the moment I seem to be lingering at the edge with regular glimpses but nothing which could add depth to an altruistic passion. I feel at the present I will have to settle for desire and common sense.
PETER: To settle for a desire for freedom from malice and sorrow and to settle for a life lived by the measure of common sense is to be doing extraordinarily well. To linger at the edge of a pure consciousness experience with regular glimpses is to be doing doubly well. Of course, as success inevitably breeds confidence, you will inescapably be obliged by altruistic passion to ‘raise the bar’ yet again...
Altruism, for me, was evident when I started to become aware of how my malice and sorrow was causing suffering for those around me and usually those closer to me suffered most from my moods and my behaviour. It then became very clear I had to stop inflicting my ‘self’ on others – altruism in action.
RESPONDENT: An issue that I would like to discuss is the demand for attention as I am in the situation at the moment where my questioning is being constantly interrupted by demands of work and family plus the prospect of having to move into a new house. It does indeed seem that running the question can add its own difficulties to each moment. An example is trying to solve say a work related problem plus the increasing pain in the back of the head which makes it more difficult to work. What usually happens is that I put the question ‘How am I...’ aside for the moment and continue with solving the problem. What then happens is that ‘How am I...’ is forgotten for a period of time. The addition problem here is that ‘How am I...’ can at times seem to be a hindrance to what is necessary to support oneself and family.
My solution to this problem is to find appropriate moments to run the question where any difficulties I may come across do not encumber my ability to work.
PETER: When I came across Richard I remember thinking it was easy for someone whose family had grown up and who did not have to work for his income due to the fact he had a war service disability pension to become free from the human condition. What about someone who had to work, had a family, or lived in not so comfortable or safe circumstances? Was he talking about having to drop out of the world as-it-is and people as-they-are – exactly as those on the spiritual path have to do?
I was working building a house at the time and soon discovered that the hurly burly of the real world was exactly what was needed to provide me with the opportunities to test myself. I remember one situation at work where one particular person would continually cause me to be upset, so I used the situation to rid myself of all that was causing me to be upset. My motto was – ‘I was not going to let this person ruin my enjoyment of my time at work’. I was not going to try and change him, I was simply going to make it my business that he was not going to ‘get’ me. By neither repressing nor expressing my reactions and feelings, I was able to sort out the whys and whereabouts of my malice and sorrow in this situation and soon he gave up on me for he found that he couldn’t get at me, no matter how hard he tried.
This experience meant that I came to see that actualism works in any situation, for anyone, anywhere. In fact, for those who have been wafting along on the spiritual path and are interested in actualism, it is essential to get out of one’s (inner) cave – rejoin the world of people, things and events and be tested. Unless one tries out a theory and find it works it will always remain a theory or a belief or a philosophy.
So, if you spend the biggest proportion of your waking hours working, or with family members, then it is vitally important that you be happy and harmless in those moments. If you are involved in solving a problem at work and become frustrated, or you find yourself becoming upset by someone, then these are the immediate challenges. This is what ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ means in the hurly burly of family and work. I found that I didn’t have to run the words per se, but simply be aware whenever I was emotionally upset, which was a sign of malice, or I was feeling lacklustre, which was a sign of sorrow. The quicker I caught myself, the more likely I was able to trace the cause or event, the quicker I could get back to feeling good again. If I was fully involved in the doing of something, then so be it, jolly good. Actualism is such a simple business.
I do like it that you are finding and tackling the challenges of work and family. My experience is that if you have the desire to be happy and harmless, and the awareness to eliminate emotional passions to the extent that common sense can freely operate, you can literally do no wrong. The more ‘you’ are willing to step out of the way, in any circumstances and at any time, and dare to let the moment live you, the more the purity and perfection of the actual world is able to become apparent.
Each of the early actualists is pioneering slightly different aspects, with slightly different flavours as we are all from different social conditionings, differing nationalities, differing spiritual conditioning, different living circumstances, male and female gender, etc. Your lot seems work and family, in particular – good hey.
RESPONDENT: It’s all very well proposing peace on earth but where does the motivation for that come from?
PETER: Altruism, pure and simple. There is an innate disposition in the human species to sacrifice oneself for others, be it our child, our mate, our tribe or our God. This innate passion needs to be combined with the pure intent accessed from the pure consciousness experience, when ‘I’ am temporarily in abeyance, whereupon peace on earth is experienced to be already always here. Thus, it is clear that ‘I’ stand in the way of peace on earth being actualized and the only thing ‘I’ can do is ‘self’-immolate – an act of altruism.
RESPONDENT: There has to be some recognition in each of us that goodness can exist. If that’s not the case then we’re doomed.
PETER: After 17 years on the spiritual path fervently practicing goodness I had to admit that I still got annoyed, upset, peeved, sad, worried, that I blamed others and could not live with one other person in peace and harmony. What I did was stop turning away from the fact that goodness did not mean an end to malice and sorrow – I was simply ignoring my feelings, rising above them, disidentifying from them and becoming totally dissociated from them.
Human beings all accept the fact that they are doomed, as in ‘life’s a bitch and then you die’, which is why they pray to God for help, or try to become a God-on-earth, hoping for an ultimate peace and fulfillment in a spurious after-life. (...)
RESPONDENT: So Peter, I’m interested to know where your own passion for peace on earth comes from.
PETER: Altruism, pure and simply. A burning desire to see an end to the senseless wars, repression, torture, domestic violence, rapes, child abuse, corruption, murders, suicides, depression, loneliness, despair and spiritual fantasies in the world and the sincere intent to do the only thing ‘I’ can to contribute to peace on earth – ‘self’-immolate.
RESPONDENT: But, there is a path or way to become more than mere human and yet not reject one’s humanity.
PETER: (...) In order to be free of malice and sorrow we need to reject this perverse view as to what it is to be human – this overwhelming concept of a forever-suffering Humanity, instinctually and blindly driven to battle it out in grim and senseless and battle for survival, no matter how safe, comfortable, leisurable or pleasurable our lives become.
To do so, we need a radical new approach that goes far further than the mere transcendence of the ‘bad’ savage instinctual passions and selfishly pumping up the ‘good’ tender ones for this does not do the job. We each need to conduct a personal on-going investigation of the instinctual passions as they manifest moment to moment such that we are able to actuate a permanent irrevocable change in our behaviour towards our fellow human beings.
Few spiritual believers are prepared to make a deep investigation of their feelings, emotions and instinctual passions for they see that if they dare to question the spiritual ‘good’ feelings they will simply end up back in the ‘real’ world from which they have been desperately trying to escape. Some see that to question spiritual beliefs is to go towards the devil or evil while others see it as ending up in a sort of robotic catatonic state of non-feeling. What belies these fears is the PCE where the purity, perfection and benevolence of the actual world becomes magically apparent as having been here all the time ... if only ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul were not present to act as spoiler.
The incremental transition from being an emotional, feeling self to the free functioning of apperception and sensuous delight requires a sincere intent firmly based on the peak experience. Ridding oneself of the emotions arising from the instinctual passions is a shocking concept to human beings, an anathema to what we regard as our very human-ness. But therein lies the secret to becoming actually free from the human condition for those courageous enough to face the illusionary demons and dragons, and the objections of others, on the way.
Peace on earth does not lie beyond ego-death – the shift of identity from a personal self to the delusion of an impersonal self – as we now well know from examining the lives of the Enlightened Ones. Peace on earth lies beyond both psychological and psychic death – the extinction of both ego and soul, to use the common spiritual terms. It is something that many spiritual people know, including the Enlightened Ones, but few are willing to broach the topic for fear of losing their psychic power over others.
Thanks for your post, No 11. It is vital to examine these matters and, as you can see from the mailing list, few people are even willing to discuss these matters at any depth for fear of raising doubts about their faith and for fear of other’s reaction within the group.
RESPONDENT: Universal life, Oneness includes all dimensions of being, to try denying anything is to live in fear of it ... including your emotions.
PETER: I see you have reduced your position about peace on earth to a simple one-line statement. I do appreciate you clarifying your position.
By the term ‘Universal life, Oneness’ you are no doubt referring to a universal force, energy or unifying feeling – i.e. God by another name.
By the term ‘all dimensions of being’ you are no doubt referring to ‘all that is’ on the planet – including all the wars, rapes, murders, tortures, conflicts, poverty, tyranny, corruption, religious persecution, sadness, depression and suicides.
By the term ‘to try denying anything is to live in fear of it’ you are espousing the Eastern religious and philosophical view of acceptance of all that is. I don’t know if you have been to the East but this attitude of acceptance is typified by a shrug of the shoulders, a wobble of the head or a vague waving of the arms to indicate a helplessness at being able to do anything about one’s lot in life or to change anything. Acceptance runs deep in the East and includes the hapless and helpless concept of re-incarnation in an endless cycle of earthly suffering.
Your stated position about peace on earth can be summarized as – God is everything and we therefore should accept everything as it is and not try and change anything. What everyone misses when they take on Eastern belief is that this act of acceptance of the way things are includes denying that we humans are able do anything to change the way things are.
Acceptance always comes hand in glove with denial of the possibility of changing the way things are.
And as you said – ‘to try denying anything is to live in fear of it’. The fear of change runs deep in humans particularly when it involves radical and fundamental change. To accept all the wars, rapes, murders, tortures, conflicts, poverty, tyranny, corruption, religious persecution, sadness, depression and suicides as simply the way things are and thus deny the possibility that peace on earth is possible is a deeply cynical outlook on life.
A constant theme in your posts is your use of the statement that to ‘deny anything is to live in fear of it’. What got me off my bum and my head out of the clouds was that I stopped denying the fact that I was as mad and as bad as everyone else on the planet.
By taking this fully on board it became glaringly obvious to me that only a complete, utter and radical change would bring me peace on earth in this lifetime and the only thing stopping me was fear. And, as you know, complete utter and radical change is ‘self’-immolation and not the usual finding solace and succour in religious belief and spiritual experiences.
It’s enough to put the wind up anyone, really, but the rewards are commensurate with the fear faced, for actual peace on earth lies beyond psychological and psychic death.
RESPONDENT: In what way may caring about other people be ego-transcending or ego-supporting affair (or is there no contradiction at all)?
PETER: A psychological and psychic entity, the ‘self’, is imbued with tender and savage passions and is taught to be fixated by morals of good and bad and ethics of right and wrong and therefore all acts of caring, no matter how well-meaning, will ultimately be ‘self’-centred and selfish.
RESPONDENT: Sacrificing for others probably does little to erase the ego. Think of the mother who sets aside her own needs for those of her child.
PETER: Again two aspects operate – one’s social identity of morals, ethics and beliefs and the instinctual drives. Many parental acts of sacrifice for their children are accompanied by a feeling of resentment that often bubble to the surface in times of stress, or in later life when one has done one’s social and instinctual duty.
There is, however, a predisposition towards altruism in human beings that is at the core of many of these acts of sacrifice. It is this propensity that one can tap into if one wants to make the only sensible sacrifice possible in order to facilitate peace on earth – self’-sacrifice or ‘self’-immolation, as opposed to the religious/spiritual senseless and selfish action of killing their own bodies or the bodies of other spirits.
RESPONDENT: Any ‘good’ act can be ego-supporting and not necessarily ego-transcending. Living for others is an outcome of liberation, not necessarily a route to it.
PETER: All of the successful Gurus demand a lot from others rather than give to others. They demand love, loyalty, surrender and devotion. I used to think they gave a lot until I realized that without their followers giving continuously they would be mere mortals like the rest of us.
It takes enormous courage to question the tender passions and the Good, for we have been taught by our peers to believe that without these facets of ourselves we would run amok or become evil. But for those daring enough this very investigation is the key to the door that keeps us trapped within the human condition of malice and sorrow and the duality of Good and Evil.
RESPONDENT: What is that specific element in different kinds of spiritual practice that destroys ego? Keeps it under control? Makes it stronger and more insidious? Makes it our enemy? Makes it our friend on the spiritual path? Or does our Sadhana simply not change anything about ego having other priorities instead?
PETER: Spiritual jargon being as slippery, poetic and illusory as it is, I find the whole argument about ego a bit of a furphy. It is clear that a spiritual person who becomes God-realized or God-intoxicated, or whatever other name is used, has suffered a shift of identity. This can be described as the transcendence of the ego and the ascendance of the soul, but it is all so shrouded in mystique and confusion it is all much clearer if one calls a spade a spade, and calls it a change of identity.
RESPONDENT: You may have noticed that in Peter’s Sacred Tetrad of Founding Instincts (‘fear, aggression, nurture, and desire’) the one instinct he carefully avoided describing was the one that finally undid him – nurture.
PETER: When I started on the spiritual path my strongest motivation was nurture. I, like many others was attracted by the promise of peace on earth – the idea of living in communes in peace and harmony with others and proving by example that peace on earth was possible. After living in two failed communes, I was headed into yet another one when I found myself having to acknowledge that the spiritual movement was not about peace on earth. I saw that the search for Enlightenment is really driven by desire, and an utterly self-ish desire at that – to become ‘who’ I really feel myself to be, some form of eternal Being. The essential instinctual drive in eastern religion is desire for power and the desire for immortality – no matter how much it is dressed in a sugar coating of feelings of love for God and love for all. This realization that the Eastern spiritual path to Enlightenment is only about ‘me’ and ‘my’ glory, was shocking to my very core.
What I then did was crank up my naiveté once more and re-set my sights on my initial goals of peace on earth and being able to live with my fellow human beings in utter peace and harmony. This decision certainly ‘undid’ me from spiritual belief and the spirit-ual world. I highly recommend abandoning desire, stoking up one’s naiveté and cranking up some altruism for it is the path to purity and perfection.
RESPONDENT: But maybe you’re talking about the foundation for happiness first and foremost and not the actual experience. It would be very unrealistic, I think, to imagine perfection as constant sensatory bliss, if that’s the case then I surely see the need for mimicking life instead of actually living it. This could potentially be the ultimate delusion, a way to create a fairytale and not living in any world other than one’s own fantasy and imagination.
PETER: As I said, unless one is willing to contemplate being happy and being harmless, virtually free of malice and sorrow, 99% of the time – then forget the whole business. From your objections to my statement it is obvious that you find it impossible to contemplate that you, as-you-are, would be willing to sacrifice enough of your ‘self’ to even get to this state.
Do you think that a change as radical as becoming actually happy and harmless happens by some blinding flash of light, that it is an effortless achievement that requires that you do nothing? Even on the spiritual path those who have success build a foundation of spiritual experiences and assiduously practice transcendence. The same applies for any achievement or goal in the real world.
For anyone interested in becoming actually free of malice and sorrow, it is obvious that unless one is willing to contemplate being happy and being harmless, virtually free of malice and sorrow, 99% of the time – then forget the whole business.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.