Selected Correspondence Peter
GARY: In a recent post, No 8 wrote –
In reply, you wrote –
It’s a rather big foot, Peter, and I was wondering if you might like to reply. I called it the ‘sticking point’, because I feel there is a point that most of us get to when we are severely challenged and up against something that refuses to budge. Faced with an adversary who is intent on putting an end to your life at the point of a gun or some other equally potent weapon, it is interesting to speculate as to whether one would respond instinctually with a ‘kill or be killed’ mentality or whether something else would happen, something more akin to intelligence and common sense. Of course, I may be neglecting to recognize that common sense might dictate speedily dispatching the onerous adversary with a well placed shot. A kind of ‘putting him out of his misery’, as it were.
Pardon the gallows humour.
I am really quite surprised that you replied to me that you would not hesitate to respond ‘aggressively’. I can only conclude that since you told No 8 you put your foot in your mouth you feel you made a faux pas. Well, if it is a mistake, I don’t want to make too much of it. Perhaps the scenario I described of being faced with imminent loss of life by a violent opponent is where the rubber meets the road for an actualist. If one has thoroughly self-immolated, and as I am aware of no one who has achieved this feat save for Richard, I should think there would be no aggression involved at all. In other words, there would be no adrenalin rush, no fight-or-flight response, no desperate pleading for your life to be saved, no hair trigger ‘shoot first’ reaction, like in all the cowboy pictures we were raised on. With no fear on board the physiological organism, a fervent imagination leads me to two possible conclusions: 1.) one would be as ‘calm as a cucumber’ and able to defuse the most violent of confrontations, skilfully using the wastage of energy generated by the opponents’ wrath, or 2.) one would most likely perish and be quite unconcerned with it, as one is devoid of a sense of being a personal ‘I’ that needs defending. Rhetorical questions and speculations aside, few of us are actually faced with anything like this. Not to say that we might not be at some relatively near point in the future, if war breaks out, which, considering the history of world, is certainly possible. It is a wonderful distraction to consider these questions, but I don’t want to belabour the point. It is far more interesting and vital work to consider how to deal with the situations that are actually facing me than concoct a hypothetical situation to speculate about.
If you would care to respond, you might comment on whether or not you were caught unawares when you responded in that way by saying ‘aggressively’. It was a rather revealing remark, as I think we are all in that boat, unless of course we are in Actual Freedom.
PETER: It looks as though we have a crossed-post situation where I have answered most of the points you raised by answering your first post on the subject. At the moment I am quite busy working so I tend to be slow in my responses if the inbox gets full. I also like to respond in reasonable detail to questions raised which was another reason that I was attempting to pass on the longish piece of Sethism that No 8 posted, but it looks as though my attempt failed. You quoted No 8 –
Common to most spiritual/ religious teachings is the moral principle that everyone is responsible for their actions, whereas one only has to take a clear-eyed look at the sacred teachings to discover that this is not so in fact.
In monotheist religions the issue is very clear. There is one God only, usually a creator God, and everyone is ultimately judged by this Big Daddy who offers the carrot of a heavenly after-life, or the stick of a hellish after-life.
This threat of Divine punishment and the promise of Divine reward ultimately means that everyone is responsible only to God for his or her actions and to no-one else. Thus a mythical God becomes one’s ultimate authority and the beleaguered believers dance to the tune of their God as well as His or Her earthly representatives – the Popes, Bishops, priests, Gurus and God-men, pundits, teachers, etc. When my God is ‘The one and only God’ it means that all other Gods are impostors, fakes and competitors, and those who follow other Gods are therefore non-believers, heathens or barbarians.
This battle of the ‘I-am-the-one-and-only’ type Gods has meant that millions upon millions upon millions of impassioned believers have attacked, slaughtered, maimed, killed and tortured other human beings in thousands upon thousands of pogroms, missions, retributions cleansings, wars and crusades, that have gone on for at least 3,500 years of recorded history. This senseless violence, spawned of religious belief, is still on-going with no sign of abating as all the prayers for peace on earth to these self-same mythical Gods have curiously gone unanswered.
In the monotheist system violence and killing is not only condoned as in ‘I’m fighting for God’ or ‘I lay down my life for God’ but it is Glorified in that the very action of killing, or being killed, ‘for God’s sake’ is a guarantee of a glorious redemption and salvation for one’s immortal soul.
This action of deliberately surrendering one’s responsibility is predicated on believing in the ancient ignorant beliefs and superstitions of good and evil spirits, Forces or Beings as the underlying cause of the animal-instinctual savage and tender passions in operation in human beings. As such, to hold any skerrick of belief in any of the ‘I-am-the-one-and-only’ type Gods – by whatever name – is to renounce responsibility for one’s actions and ignore the fact that every flesh and blood human is automatically driven by instinctual animal passions. These passions arise from a genetically-encoded very crude program instilled by ‘blind’ nature purely in order to ensure the survival of the strongest (i.e. most brutish) of the species. Animal ‘evolution’ in action is not a pretty business ...
Last century, when the last world war after the ‘War to end all Wars’ finished and yet another (Cold) War developed with each side playing a game called MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction – many people who were desperate for peace on earth turned their backs on Western Religion and adopted Eastern ‘spirituality’ with open-hearts and lofty expectations. Given that any belief demands faith, trust, hope and unquestioning agreement, none bothered to stop and investigate the basic tenets of this ‘spiritual movement’ – Eastern religion and philosophy. The core belief that underpins Eastern religion and philosophy is that ‘who-one-truly-is’ is spirit only and one is most definitely not the body. To sustain this belief one needs to deny the body and its functions, as in ‘I am not the body, I am not the mind’, etc. This belief, if fully indulged, can lead to a state of solipsism:
which is the most extreme form of denial, pathological dissociation. This denial represents an abdication of any and all actions that ‘the body’ and ‘the mind’ happen to do for they are not ‘me’, they are but vessels for ‘my’ earthly journey or even ethereal manifestations of the real, substantive ‘Me’. This core belief in the East is most graphically seen in the teachings of Ramesh Balsekar and the wisdom and culture of Zen Buddhism.
A bit from Ramesh Balsekar which you may think of as extreme, but it is nothing other than a ‘tell it like it is’, unambiguous description of the deep-seated belief that ultimately prevents a spiritual believer for taking full responsibility for their malicious and sorrowful words, thoughts, feelings and behaviour –
The most telling expose of Zen Buddhism I have come across can be found at http://www.darkzen.com/ and, in the interests of brevity and non-repetition, I’ll let you follow it up if you are interested.
As a rough rule of thumb it is useful to bear in mind that when Western religions talk of peace they talk of ‘Rest in Peace’ as in peace after death. Peace on earth is usually only referred to when a day of reckoning happens and whichever of the ‘I-am-the-one-and-only’ type Gods returns to earth and saves His people and wipes out rest, usually in some horrific cataclysmic slaughter. When Eastern religions talk of peace they talk of ‘inner’ peace only – retreating ‘in’ to find one’s true self as a way to escape from the suffering of the material physical world. In this scenario earthly existence is seen as suffering, i.e. as earthly suffering is essential and end to it is neither desirable nor possible in this belief -system therefore peace on earth is not on the spiritual agenda. As such, to hold any skerrick of Eastern spiritual belief is to renounce the possibility of peace on earth for the utterly self’-ish feeling of ‘inner’ peace (Nirvana) and the promise of an eternal peace after death (Parinirvana).
I know that some people regard actualism as an endless repetitive denunciation of religion and spirituality but they miss the point entirely for one cannot begin to come to grips with instinctual aggression, let alone sorrow, while at the same time holding on to any religious/spiritual belief, whether it be Western or Eastern, Earth-bound or inter-Galactic.
Becoming aware of anger in oneself is a great start – acknowledgement is an essential first step in any cure. For those who have trod the Eastern spiritual path this step seems almost an impossibility for they have been so immersed in the practice of denial that the program has become both automatic and overwhelming. Not only did I have to take this step of abandoning the spiritual path, but then I came across the suppressed underlying Western-spiritual feelings of guilt and shame that shrouded, inhibited and crippled my common sense investigations of aggression and anger.
These investigations are not for the faint of heart, but the reward of an actual peace on earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body, is now, for the very first time, alluringly available ... and the tantalizing prospect that this could spread like a chain letter around the world over time is breathtaking in its implications.
RESPONDENT: When a feeling is given the label, ‘Sadness’, instead of me thinking, ‘I am sad’. Is this apperception or something else?
PETER: Well, as you write it, this is most definitely not apperception but is more likely dissociation.
If you notice that you are feeling sad, why not simply note that ‘I am feeling sad’? Saying ‘there is sadness happening’ rather than saying ‘I am feeling sad’ is equivalent to saying ‘my body is sick’ rather than saying ‘I am sick’. Whether one claims is ‘I am not my feelings’ or ‘I am not my body’, both are statements of dissociation.
I always like to take a clear-eyed look at the fundamental bottom line of any aspect of the human condition and Ramesh Balsekar’s teachings are a prime example of dissociation writ large –
RESPONDENT: My understanding of the way to nondual awareness is to ‘be here now’, in my body. I don’t care for nondual awareness anymore. I just want freedom. Would you say that ‘be here now’ in my body, equates to the effect of ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
PETER: No. Even in my very early days of actualism I understood that what actualism was on about was being happy and harmless, as this corporeal flesh and blood body only, right now in this perpetual moment, right here in this physical place. Actualism is totally upfront about this, which is apparently why so few have thus far been willing to be pioneers in this business.
RESPONDENT: If I one day have virtually no feelings or issues to get in the way, and the question ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is repeated without interruption, how do I prevent myself from becoming dissociated?
PETER: Well, Ramesh Balsekar has no feelings or issues that get in the way of his feeling pretty damn good because he is utterly dissociated from whatever God decides his ‘body/mind organism’ should or shouldn’t act. The way to avoid dissociation and dissociative states is simple – be upfront, at the start, about singularly devoting your life to being harmless as well as being happy.
RESPONDENT: This is my take on Richard’s instructions:
Is it correct?
PETER: Given the post I am responding to is somewhat dated now, I notice that No 21 has responded to a more recent question you asked about the actualism method and I particularly liked his response –
As someone who has written much of the much that has so far been written about the actualism method, I am reluctant to add yet more at this stage. In order to understand how the actualism method of becoming happy and harmless works in practice it is essential to firstly want to become happy and harmless so as to able to find out for oneself exactly what this entails in practice – then what has been written in the past, and is now currently being written by yet others, will act as an invaluable corroboration that one is indeed on the broad and bountiful path to an actual freedom from malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: You are just upset and angry because you haven’t found the peace you’ve been looking for. You don’t want to believe in spirituality anymore for personal reasons and so you are trying hard to make others feel just like you do. It’s very simple. You don’t need to complicate it. Stay in peace.
PETER: Well, your very first assumption about what I was writing was correct but this assumption about my motives is not. 50-50 is about right for intuition. (...)
As for ‘you are trying hard to make others feel (upset and angry) just like you do’ I will have to drop your rating down to one correct out of three assumptions. It is my experience that whenever I point out the fact that the ages-old spiritual search has lamentably failed to bring peace on earth, and point out why, many people feel upset and angry. They take any questioning of spiritual belief very personally and I see a direct connection between these reactions and all the upset and anger, conflict and war that exists between the many spiritual groups on the planet. For me, this was bought home most tellingly when I became aware that I was willing to fight others in order to defend my beloved teacher. In fact, I was willing to kill for, or die for, my beliefs and the depth of my feelings and the sheer insanity of my passion shocked me profoundly.
This depth of passion is instinctually sourced – all humans are instinctually programmed to be willing and eager to kill and die for anything we passionately hold in our hearts and thus believe to be our own. Any belief is non-sensical but when combined with spiritual passion and fervour it becomes distinctly dangerous, as the raw instinctual passions can be unleashed – particularly in the collective hysteria of a group when any individual commonsense is overwhelmed.
The other curious observation is that whenever these outbreaks of passion occur – as in the countless religious wars, persecutions, recriminations, repressions, ostracizations, retributions, perversions and conflicts – it is always the followers who are blamed and made to feel guilty whereas the dead God-men get off scot-free. It is never the fault of Jesus, Buddha, Rama, Moses, etc. – it is always the fault of the follower who has got the messages wrong or who is not following the true teachings.
The sacred golden rule, instilled in all religious/spiritual belief, is that it is always the fault of the follower and never the teachings nor the teacher. This rule is crucial to uphold and maintain at all costs, for the whole house of cards is built upon it. Thus protected by the golden rule the God-men can get away with literally anything – even murder, according to Mr. Balsekar.
What I did was turn my innate passion for freedom, peace and happiness and use it to search in a different direction to the ancient ones. I began looking in a fresh modern scientific way at what was the root cause of my sorrow, what was the root cause of my anger and what was standing in the way of my free enjoyment of the prolific sensual delights of this paradisiacal planet.
I would not have dared question the sacred spiritual beliefs nor say what I am saying publicly had I been born in any other period for I would have risked physical injury or death at the hands of the mob. No wonder very, very few ever dared to question the teachings, let alone the teacher. Thanks to the marvel of the Internet my risk is reduced to cyber-execution induced by mass appeal to the moderator.
To be able to have an open discussion about spirituality and peace on earth is no little event and is bound to cause upset and anger.
RESPONDENT: What is the relationship between ego and willpower?
PETER: The instinctual ‘self’ every human being is born with is pre-programmed with a set of defence and propagation instincts, namely fear, aggression, nurture and desire, which form a primary and automatic impulse and in most cases deep-seated emotions override the supposed free will of ‘who’ we think and feel we are. In spiritual practice one surrenders one’s will to a higher force, placing one’s life in gloried service to God – thus ‘it is not my will but Thy will’. For someone like Ramesh Balsekar this means that if he kills another human being it is perfectly okay ... for it is ‘God’s will’. By surrendering their will to God many people literally get away with murder.
Surrendering one’s will to God is a cop-out that instantly allows one off-the-hook from even acknowledging that one has instinctual passions – let alone begin investigating them, let alone consider eliminating them.
RESPONDENT: Between willpower and pride?
PETER: Any entity, either normal or spiritual, is instinctually and socially imbued with both willpower and pride. On the spiritual path one is encouraged to surrender one’s will to God and to cultivate one’s humility. There are none so proud than those who have humbly surrendered their will to God for they stand on the side of Good, Truth, Right and the Almighty, by whatever name.
RESPONDENT: So you did whatever you did for 15 years... What is the significance of comparing it with some who may have been 25 years or whatever I have been doing?? As I see it, this comparison does not follow logic. What about the millions of people who have never been Rajneeshees or Sannyasins. Do they then become the wise one by your equation and reasoning?
PETER: I have told you of my aims in being a Sannyasin, have written of my experiences and now put it out so others can abuse me freely because I have dared to question the Sacred beliefs and Ancient wisdom. I am always curious as to what others are searching for, do they have any aims in life, and if they are searching do they have a time frame or seek specific results and changes in themselves. The other curious thing that happens is because I ‘dare’ to question the existence of God, then I am seen as being either a Guru or a Devil. And this is despite the fact that I firmly state that Gods, Gurus, Devils and Demons dwell only in the passionate domain of human imagination. That it is all a gigantic fairy-tale, only made ‘real’ by the re-telling for millennia.
RESPONDENT: Here you also missed the comparing of being a Rajneeshee and a Sannyasin. You talk as though they are the same thing. But they are two distinctly different words. For me I found there to be a great difference between the two as I have been both. (currently, I function as a individual) But being a Rajneeshee is one who does as instructed, no responsibility, a drone, worker, whose value is found in being a part of the overall unit. Rajneeshees are who built the ranch.
PETER: I take it you weren’t at Rajneeshpuram. That was the time that Rajneesh first began to establish the religion with the name Rajneeshees.
RESPONDENT: Being a Sannyasin for me was/is about making choices. And the choices are taking personal responsibility or avoiding personal responsibility. Both are the available options, and still there are no guarantees of outcomes regardless of one’s choices.
PETER: So does this mean that it doesn’t matter what one does, it is all right anyway. I read a bit of Ramesh Balsekar the other day and he said it didn’t matter if you killed someone as it would have been God’s will anyway. I truck with none of this. I enjoy freely and sensibly exercising my will – no God’s will operates in this body.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.