Selected Correspondence Peter
PETER to Gary: I find it always useful to remember why spiritual belief and superstition have thus far cornered the market in the human search for freedom, peace and happiness. Once someone has had ‘the Truth’ personally revealed to them in an altered state of consciousness – or as appears to have happened in Goodall’s case, misinterpreted a PCE as an altered state of consciousness – they are bound by a combination of gratitude and their own inflated sense of self-worth to spread the word that, while earthly life is a bitch, there is really truly a God who loves you.
Speaking of earthly life’s a bitch, this brings me to the Dalai Lama, who recently visited this country. He did the usual celebrity tour, at one stage addressed a gathering of some 6,000 school children. His message to the young was that suffering was a necessary aspect of human earthly life, that it was the working through of karma accumulated from past lives and that materialism is the root cause of evil in the world. A national newspaper ran an article about the meeting entitled ‘The platitudes of the Dalai Lama’ pointing out the banality of his message of love and compassion and his total inability to make any sensible or pertinent comment on down-to-earth questions raised by the audience.
In taking all this in, I was struck by the fact that only some 30 years ago Eastern spiritualism was relatively new to the West, so much so that most who were interested needed to leave the West and travel to the East. Nowadays Eastern spiritualism is mainstream in the West, Western religions are reviving their mystical roots and absorbing Eastern spiritual concepts and Buddhism is reportedly the fastest growing religion in the West. It only goes to show the staying power of olde-time religions.
PETER: Just to add a finishing line to Mr. Otis’ Wisdom. The Mystics are notorious in appearing wise and leaving their solution unspoken, indicated with silence or one of those All-Knowing looks...
ALAN: An older student came to Otis and said, ‘I have been to see a great number of teachers and I have given up a great number of pleasures, I have fasted, been celibate and stayed awake nights seeking enlightenment. I have given up everything I was asked to give up and I have suffered, but I have not been enlightened. What should I do?’ Otis replied, ‘Give up suffering.’
PETER: ‘... and realise that you are God’ is the implied message.
And upon realising you are God, the personal feeling of suffering is magically transformed into compassion for others. Of course, since one is now full of the Divine, one feels Divine compassion for those poor sentient beings who are mere mortals and still suffering from the illusion that the body, mind and world are real. I always liked the Tibetan Buddhists who are so blatant about it. The Dalai Lama is venerated as the re-incarnation of ‘the Lord who looks down with compassion on the world of sentient beings’. He was the God-King of Tibet and all of the wealth and power of the country was located in the temples. This Theocracy ensured that the poor stayed poor, while temples – and dead Lamas – were coated in gold.
A genuine end to the feeling of suffering (sorrow) is also an end to the feeling of compassion. Sorrow and its noble companion, compassion are the very foundation of both Western and Eastern Religion. The whole concept of a spiritual world, another life, another realm is based on a denial of the very real suffering of human beings and are nothing but an imaginary escape from it’s consequences both personally and globally. One needs to make a distinction between the feeling of suffering and real suffering. Suffering in the world is real – there are actual wars, rapes, murders, tortures, domestic violence happening as I type these words. But to continue to believe the likes of the Mr. Otis’ of this world is to actively contribute to the continuation of real suffering. This not only maintains the whole religious-spiritual belief system with its resultant wars, persecutions, repressions, denial and duplicity but actively reinforces the whole concept of good and evil, right and wrong, passion and feeling, malice and sorrow – the prevailing Human Condition based on Ancient Wisdom.
The last thing Mr. Otis really wanted was an end to the feeling of suffering or real suffering for he would have no Wisdom, no students, no fame, no power, no need for Zen. No feeling of suffering – no need for the feeling of escape or the feeling of compassion with its implied Holy feeling of superiority.
I recently watched a TV program on Ladakh, and the Buddhist monks pray to the ‘spirits’ to bring a good harvest and to keep the wolves away, evoke the ‘good’ spirits for healing and give potions to drive out the ‘evil’ spirits from the sick and ill. This is their main business as shamans and medicine men and Mr. Buddha was a bit of a side issue. In the West we have merely taken on the Eastern shamans for a bit of feel-good or to feel compassion in order to offset the in-built feelings of malice and sorrow.
It’s so good to be getting free of all this – to come to one’s senses. To be able to live in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are. To be personally free of malice and sorrow – the root of all our emotions.
PETER: So your ‘new’ philosophy is based on acceptance of anger and suffering. What is new about it then? This is as good as it gets? No wonder people give up in despair or wish like hell for some better after-life. Surely you can offer something better than acceptance...it hasn’t worked up until now.
IRENE: The richness, the depth of each human feeling reveals the understanding of what it is to be a human being in such an empirical, intimate way that it is later instantly recognised in a fellow human being who is going through the same emotional, human experience and who can then be met by compassion, that very kind understanding that you will have enjoyed with another, not only when life was being particularly difficult or sad, but also when you wanted to share your utmost joy or love.
PETER: Compassion is, as per definition, an agreement to share pathos – share suffering. Do I recognise a touch of Buddhism in your philosophy? The Dalai Lama’s title means ‘the Lord who looks down (with compassion) on all sentient beings’ and despite the compassion of millions of Buddhists for thousands of years the East has appalling poverty, repression of women, corruption, violence, etc. Or maybe it is part of your philosophy that women suffer so much more than men, that suffering and being able to share your suffering is a noble human attribute. In this way I could be tempted to agree but then I would just fall in to the same old gender trap. Both genders are just playing out their instinctually assigned roles and both are sorrowful and malicious. To argue degrees and apportion blame is to miss (or avoid) the point.
RESPONDENT: The Dalai Lama comes to mind in this context as the top of the nowadays Spiritual Hierarchy. Although not having met him personally, I know that his spiritual authority is acknowledged by all lamas as such, which brings to mind a memory of a meeting in Amsterdam where I listened to a lama of which I don’t recall the name. He explained the meaning of the expression FULL is empty and empty is full, yet after a certain point one comes to realizes that full is full and empty is empty. Once that has been done one has understood/attained enlightenment. Indeed I experienced enlightenment for a few days.
PETER: Which only goes to prove that the only way to feel Godly is to abandon common sense, as in the spiritual saying ‘leave your mind at the door.’ Or in this case ‘empty your mind and feel FULL of your ‘self’.’
RESPONDENT: Also he mentioned that Buddha was long ago and if Buddha could do it then, it must be a piece of cake for us nowadays to reach that point in fact we should go much further and manage it to do it quicker. This I found rather encouraging and challenging so from that I conclude that even among genuine spiritual leaders there maybe a sense that the teachings are subject to doubt to produce the desired result.
PETER: The term ‘genuine spiritual teacher’ is oxymoronic given that spirits, be they good or evil, Godly or Demonic are but figments of one’s own imagination reinforced by one’s own cultural conditioning.
For some, the Jesus of Nazareth was the only Son of the only God while for others Gautama Siddhartha is a legendary figure of authority, and yet the only reports we have of either of them ever having existed as flesh and blood humans are contained within the hand-me-down fairy stories of those who believe the mythology to be genuine. This closed-loop, nature of the various cultures’ spiritual beliefs is so incestuous that it defies credibility.
The only way to maintain one’s own particular faith in lieu of credibility is to invent categories such as good and bad beliefs, right and wrong religions, genuine and false teachers, real Gods and phoney Gods, etc. This self-centred prejudice then necessitates the need to practice tolerance lest personal prejudices bubble over into anger and resentment and inter-faith rivalries, hostilities and violence break out. And on and on the cycle has been going for millennia, actively perpetuated by those who fervently believe in spirituality.
There is, in fact, nothing good at all that can be said about spiritualism.
RESPONDENT: From an AF perspective it is obvious that these monks are merely a result of a mixture of their religious/social condition and do not come to the point of questioning the issues that are touched at AF.
PETER: No, it is not ‘an AF perspective’ but a fact that someone who is brought up to be a Buddhist believes that Gautama Siddhartha actually existed as a person and that his supposed teachings are infallible. Likewise someone who is bought up to be a Christian believes that Jesus of Nazareth actually existed as a person and that his supposed teachings are infallible. Similarly, a Hindu will believe in the actual existence of all the Hindu Gods and Goddesses and their fairy-tale stories and accept them as being Wisdom.
Even as a child I thought the notion that there were so many competing Gods on the planet to be patently silly. I just got suckered into spirituality for want of being able to follow something better ... simply because the process of actualism hadn’t been discovered at the time.
RESPONDENT: Nevertheless, if one seeks enlightenment one might try to come in touch with the Dalai Lama as this spiritual source has not been corrupted unlike the present Neo or new age movement where all kinds of so called spiritual mumbo jumbo is being displayed, advertised or sold.
PETER: If you are saying the older the belief the better you are treading on very thin ice.
Tibetan Buddhism is steeped in primitivism, animism, evil, ignorance and fear. The Dalai Lama was both God and King to the Tibetan people and he lorded it over a superstition-ridden populace who mostly lived in abject poverty whilst the lamas lived a life of consummate luxury. All of the wealth of the country was drained into the coffers of the monasteries, so much so that the bodies of the dead head lamas were coated in gold.
The Lama-rama not only sucked the country dry, they left it utterly defenceless. When push came to shove, the God-King and his entourage took the money and fled, leaving his people to suffer their own fate. Tibetan Buddhism is arguably the most despotic of all the religions and the Dalai Lama is arguably the most hypocritical of the God-Kings.
Now if you are feeling offended by what I write, you may well ask would you have been offended if I had said the same thing about the Church of Rome and the Holy Father, the Pope. If not, then you may consider that passionately holding such a selective and subjective viewpoint is what fuels all of the religious wars that have ever been and are still being fought on this fair planet. The only sensible way to cease being culpable is to cease being prejudiced and the only way to do this is to stop believing in a God, in whatever form and by whatever name.
PETER: Hi everyone,
Another ‘new millennium’ message that is worth thinking about –
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s (the incarnated Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion, the Holy Lord, the Gentle Glory, the Compassionate, the Defender of the Faith, the Ocean of Wisdom, the Wish-fulfilling Gem) New Millennium Message
With Wisdom like that, let’s not hold our breathe for peace on earth. I saw him on television recently saying the next century should be the ‘century of dialogue’. Fighting with words instead of guns is obviously regarded as the best Humanity can hope to achieve in the next century. The letters to the editor page of the local newspaper where I live are increasingly full of vitriol, and most often from the ‘really-aware’ crowd. More and more people are turning to lawyers, courts and tribunals to fight others or seek retribution so the fashion for standing up for oneself, defending one’s rights – or sharing one’s truth – represents an escalation in malice, not a diminishing.
What happened in Tibet is a classic case of the ideal of non-violence in action. The Good and Holy Leader and his lackeys took the money and fled in the face of aggression, abandoning the ordinary people to their fate. The D.L went to seek shelter behind the Indian army, leaving those behind with no means to defend themselves. Pacifism is like hanging up a sign at the border saying please invade or a sign on your front door saying the doors open, help yourself...
To put one’s faith in the ideal of non-violence is to stubbornly remain in ignorance of the source of violence within the Human Condition. (...)
PETER: The Dalai Lama often cites a favourite inspirational verse, found in the writings of the renowned 8th century Buddhist saint Shantideva:
Sounds as though he would be out of a job if human suffering came to an end. It’s called ‘having a vested interest’ in supporting and maintaining human misery. No misery – no need for the Buddha of Compassion.
One of the most interesting aspects of the wide and wondrous path to Actual Freedom is the de-bunking of mythical heroes, both ancient and current. The Peter I was 3 years ago still held the spiritual Masters in awe, the great philosophers in reverence and unquestioningly accepted the theoretical scientists as being in touch with reality. It was only a matter of overcoming my trepidation, and laziness, in order to investigate the facts and sense of what the philosophers and theoretical scientists were proposing before they toppled from their ivory tower perches. The spiritual Masters were a different kettle of fish as in order to become free of spiritual belief, one needs to break free from the psychic power of the spiritual world.
There is most definitely an aura or psychic web that surrounds the Masters and God-men – this is the very source of their power. Underpinning this aura is an almost tangible and palpable fear that locks one in to unquestioning faith, unwavering belief and unswerving loyalty. All of the ancient texts offering salvation or redemption have parallel stories of eternal suffering or hellish realms for those who are non-believers. I remember passing through an intense phase of fear-induced dreams when one of the Masters I had ‘betrayed’ was hunting and chasing me all night long – to pull me back into the fold, ‘or else’.
Once one has seen a fairy tale to be nothing other than a fairy tale it is impossible to go back to believing, if one is at all sincere. Then it simply becomes a matter of riding out the storm and dreams are sometimes outlets for the storm to surface. Realizing these fears to be nothing other than chemically induced fantasies is the clue to keep going. I always figured that whatever emotion-backed thoughts went on in my head, or whatever emotional-backed sensations that occurred in the body, were real but not actual. What is actual is what I can sensately perceive – the rest is nonsense.
The business of not only leaving the fold of a particular spiritual Master but of leaving the whole spiritual world is not for the faint of heart. One can pass through some hellish psychic realms on the way to freedom. One needs to become free not only of mythical Gods and the beguiling Good, but free from the pernicious Devil and the awful Diabolical as well.
What a thrilling adventure – a journey into one’s own psyche is a journey into the human psyche for ‘I’ am Humanity and Humanity is ‘me’. And on the path the God-men and Gurus, Lamas and Popes, Geniuses and Heroes topple off their thrones like nine pins, to become mortal flesh and blood human beings merely suffering from an overdose of megalomaniacal dementia.
PETER: Personally, I enjoy being here and have no problem, should the need arise, in aggressively countering another’s obvious intent to destroy me. Obviously I would do all that was reasonable to avoid being in the situation in the first place, or get out of it with all the cunning I could muster, but if all else fails, to lay down and die for a moral principle is clearly silly.
GARY: I notice that you used the word ‘aggressively’ in talking about countering another’s obvious intent to destroy you. So it appears that this is the sticking point: one is still aggressive and falling prey to the instincts, is one not? I have variously tried to imagine what it must be like to be without fear, like Richard. It seems like a mostly futile enterprise, as the fact remains that I am fearful. But I should think that were one without fear, having extirpated the emotional faculty, one would not ‘aggresively’ respond to anything. There would be no need for aggression as intelligence and common sense would guide one as to what to do in any given situation.
PETER: Remember that we are talking of a hypothetical situation as I live in a reasonably ‘safe’ village in a ‘civilized’ country and do nothing that would provoke violence in a ‘reasonable’ person. And yet, if I were to be physically threatened I would firstly use whatever cunning I could to escape the situation but, if this failed, I would defend myself aggressively – as in forcefully, vigorously, robustly. If my life was being actually threatened and there was no avenue of escape, it would seem folly to defend myself in any other manner. And the extent and level of aggression would be appropriate to the situation. If it got to the stage of kill or be killed then there is no question as to who should live – the wanton attacker or the innocent victim – and this distinction is upheld in most legal systems.
I used the word aggressively quite deliberately for two reasons –
Firstly to highlight the fact that to be an actualist is to challenge all beliefs, morals, ethics, values, ideals, dreams and psittacisms. Many ‘good’ people hold to the ideal of pacifism – the fantasy that all we need for peace on earth to happen is for everyone to simply stop fighting all at once. These same well-meaning people generally live in countries with a reasonably effective system of armed police and punitive legal systems to maintain law and order and professional, sophisticated armies to defend their borders. In short, they can afford to pay for other human beings to defend them to the point of killing their attackers if necessary – their idealism of non-violence is ultimately based upon paying others to do their killing for them.
The arch-advocate of pacifism, the Dalai Lama, is the theocratic leader of Tibet but, when push came to shove and the Chinese invaded, he chose to take the gold and flee behind the protection of the Indian Army, leaving his people undefended and overrun. The history of human existence has been one of continuous attack and defence, vanquish and surrender, plunder and retribution, vengeance and revenge. In this senseless grim battle of survival the meek and mild are most often the first to suffer, for it is the ruthless and callous who invariably attempt to inherit the earth.
Pacifism is an ideal, a dream, a fantasy that makes no sense in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are. I would recommend Richard’s writings on selected topics on the subject of peace as he has more thoroughly researched the subject than I have and has had the direct experience of being in a war. There is no substitute for first-hand direct experience. The Peace chapter in my Journal may also be of interest. (...)
MODERATOR: Perhaps the greatest challenge for anyone who discovers the utter simplicity of the ‘PCE’ is to remain humble, to realize that, for all the ‘malice and sorrow’ that has been waged in the name of religion, at the heart of each tradition is a vast body of REAL wisdom about not only the ultimate fact of our essential non-dual nature, but about how a human being can come to realize and ultimately express that nature as themselves – an area about which all but those few perfected beings among us still have much to learn.
PETER: Anyone who has experienced a pure consciousness experience will know that there is no ‘I’ or ‘me’ to be either proud or humble. There is nothing but an overwhelming sensuousness, an astounding clarity of thought, a glaring obviousness and a sheer delight at being the physical universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human being. Pride and humility, good and evil, right and wrong, illusion or delusion, spirits and other worlds and spiritual searches are all seen as human inventions of ‘me’, the alien entity.. What is clearly seen is that human beings are still involved in a grim and desperate battle for survival fought out either covertly or overtly. The spiritual search, spiritual wisdom and all meta-physical ideas are clearly seen as escapist nonsense. With the knowledge gleaned from this ‘self’-less clarity, when one returns to normal one merrily sets about the task of ‘self’-immolation in order to live the pure consciousness experience 24 hrs’ a day, every day.
The actual becomes the seduction, not the synthetic.
As for your comment that ‘the greatest challenge is ... to remain humble’, we need to be clear about spiritual humbleness. Humbleness is just pride stood on its head. There are none so proud of their humbleness as the spiritual seekers. Humbleness is highly valued and prized as a virtue in all spiritual traditions for the follower is proud of being a humble follower and the God-man is humbled before his or her God. The Dalai Lama continuously claims to be a humble monk and is revered and admired for saying it. If he is sincere, why doesn’t he get down off his throne, throw of his Kingly and Godly mantles and be a humble monk. When I became aware of how proud I was to be a chosen one, how special it made me feel, how being humble was but a front for rampant pride, it was extraordinary revealing. What I was able to clearly see was that it was my pride that ensnared me in the spiritual world and this awareness made getting out so much easier.
As for our ‘essential non-dual nature’, I take it you are talking of the idea that we were born innocent, the ancient Tabula Rasa theory. The spiritual aim is then to return to our natural state of innocence – our true selves as we came into the world and before we were corrupted by evil. This is old-fashioned and out-of-date thinking that requires a blatant denial of modern empirical scientific research on the subject of human genetically encoded instinctual behaviour by Josef LeDoux and others. A sensible clear-eyed observation of the startlingly obvious similarities between human beings behaviour and that of other animals is further evidence of human instinctual behaviour. Most animal studies focus on the similarities of the passions of nurture and desire, but murder, rape, infanticide, warfare, cannibalism, sorrow, despair and suicide have all been documented in our closest genetic cousins, the chimps. Jane Goodall was shocked when discovering and documenting this behaviour and she has since backed away from further research. Other research on human behaviour that I personally found profoundly revealing were the studies by Stanley Morgan that clearly indicate ordinary human beings’ willingness to inflict pain on their fellow human beings. The results were so disturbing in their revelation of our human nature that any similar studies have been banned as being ‘unethical’.
As for our ‘non-dual’, ancient spiritual belief has it that we are a spirit trapped in a physical corporeal body in a physical material world and the only way to transcend this duality was to becomes spirit only, or pure being. This duality is most often expressed as material / spiritual or evil / divine for in ancient times the material world was imagined as evil and the spirit-ual world was felt to be divine. Anyone who has plumbed the depths of their ‘essential non-dual nature’ sees the terror, dread and the diabolical and goes for the divine feelings which does nothing but confirm, sustain and make very REAL the human invention of good and evil.
There is no good and evil in the actual world.
There are simply human beings who are still driven by their instinctual passions and rather than ditch the lot, they deny the ‘bad’ ones and pump up the ‘good’ ones like all get out. Better to ditch the lot and then one is aware that any ideas of duality, non-duality or even beyond non-duality are but figments of human imagination and not actual.
How long will we continue this denial of the central role that genetically-encoded instinctual passions have in causing human malice and sorrow?
And how long will people keep turning away from the facts and proudly indulging in utterly ‘self’-ish theories and beliefs?
What I did was keep asking questions until all of my beliefs were replaced by substantiated verifiable facts. I would not settle on anything if I only felt something to be right and true or because someone else said it was so. I kept asking myself questions until I removed all doubt from my life. It became obvious that if I had to trust, have faith, believe or hope that something was so then it was not a fact but merely a belief or a feeling. When I came across the radical proposition that there was a third alternative to remaining normal or becoming spiritual I ran with the question: ‘What if there isn’t a God, by whatever name?’
This question can easily lead people into despair and hopelessness but when combined with the question: ‘What if there is a way that I can actually rid myself of malice and sorrow’, a whole new exciting and challenging ball game opens up.
A marvellous opportunity is now available for any who are willing to face facts. No longer do we humans have to feel guilt or shame, pray to God for redemption or salvation, seek to escape from evil into an ‘inner’ world of isolation and feeling-only existence, no longer do we have to humble ourselves before God-men. Simply acknowledging the fact that our malice and sorrow results from an instinctual program instilled by blind nature in order to ensure the survival of the species is the first step towards becoming actually free of malice and sorrow. To continue to deny factual empirical evidence is to indulge in denial and this denial actively prevents your chance at experiencing peace on earth in this lifetime.
PETER to No 7: As for your comment that ‘the greatest challenge is ... to remain humble’, we need to be clear about spiritual humbleness. Humbleness is just pride stood on its head. There are none so proud of their humbleness as the spiritual seekers. Humbleness is highly valued and prized as a virtue in all spiritual traditions for the follower is proud of being a humble follower and the God-man is humbled before his or her God. The Dalai Lama continuously claims to be a humble monk and is revered and admired for saying it. If he is sincere, why doesn’t he get down off his throne, throw of his Kingly and Godly mantles and be a humble monk. Peter, List B, No 7, 24.5.2000
RESPONDENT: This seems to me to be a completely disrespectful and flippant dig at His Holiness the Dalai Lama and it really does nothing to serve your point.
PETER: Well, if you could get beyond your moral indignation and continually crying ‘unfair’ you might be able to see that the Dalai Lama’s hypocrisy in not being what he says he is, well illustrates my point. Show me an ex-God-man who got off his throne or podium, has forsaken his Holiness and happily settled down with his wife and kids in suburbia – then you would be making a valid point. I don’t have to bow down to God-men in humble respect for the whole idea of Gods and Goddesses is a myth.
Being an atheist and an actualist is wonderfully extraordinarily freeing.
RESPONDENT: But more troubling still is your argument that humility can be equated with pride. That the individual often corrupts that which is revealed in spiritual experience by making it their own is a valid point, one that you might discover is given tremendous focus by all the world’s traditions. I also appreciate your discovery of this movement within yourself as I have seen the same movement in my own experience. It is one of the biggest traps for the seeker. But that in absolutely no way means that it is forgone conclusion that pride is the true face of humility. To argue this is simply illogical and deeply cynical. It basically says humility is not possible. Where’s the common sense in this?
PETER: Of course feeling humble is possible. Billions of people on the planet practice and feel deep humility as they pray to or prostrate themselves before their imaginary Gods. Are not all seekers, followers and believers, encouraged, coerced and extolled to be more humble, more surrendered, more devoted? The more humble and the more surrendered the better, and the more proud one is of one’s humility – which is exactly my point. Given that feeling humble means
I eventually came to see it as a silly feeling to indulge in.
It eventually became beneath my dignity as an autonomous human being to feign humbleness by belittling myself to a mythical God or to a fellow human being who humbly declared he or she was God-realized or God-intoxicated.
RESPONDENT: Why not? I am awake, I harm nothing or no one. If everyone just lived that simply were would the wars and killing come from? It is true that the mind of the unenlightened is the same mind as the enlightened, except for the enlightened have awakened to a clear direct seeing the fact before our eyes.
PETER: Okay, let’s look at the facts before our eyes. The Dalai Lama is an avowed Buddhist who would claim that he would harm nothing and no one. He is a pacifist, which meant when someone invaded his country he fled. Now if everyone in the country you lived in was a pacifist it is like hanging out a sign – pleas invade – we won’t stop you. The Dalai Lama, now safe behind the protection of the Indian army is busily trying to get someone else to free his country. Pacifism is an unliveable ideal in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are. Do you not rely on the guns of the police and army for the privilege of feeling a pacifist? Would not it be more sensible to tackle the root cause of malice and sorrow – the instinctual animal passions in humans – rather than striding the moral high ground sprouting unliveable ethics that completely ignore the facts before our eyes.
The Enlightened not only cop-out from acknowledging any malice in themselves but they also cop-out from acknowledging sorrow in themselves. As you yourself stated Enlightenment means that one no longer identifies with one’s personal suffering but that one feels universal sorrow or compassion for others. This is easily seen in action whereby they continually rile against the unenlightened as the cause of wars and suffering. The excuse for this malevolence is that they feel compassion towards those who have yet to realize that the wars and killing is all a dream – created by their ego – from which they haven’t yet awakened.
RESPONDENT: There has been no one in my life who I let believe I was some high and mighty being because I was awake. I have had a problem with people who have tried to put me on a pedestal for just being awake. If I let them it would just be ego playing another game.
PETER: Why should people want to put you on a pedestal in the first place? Just what Guru-energy are you radiating? Is it you or your seductive message of dissociation from the symptoms of the animal instinctual passions in operation in humans? Do you find you have to be humble to put them off? Again your actions of putting yourself above Father Dionysus, Otto Kernberg and Ammachi on the list does seem to weaken your case for being an ordinary man. It must be a tricky business getting these balances just right.
RESPONDENT: No 6 asked why did it require courage to be one’s own self?
For all of the meditations and practices folks put themselves thru, it takes ‘courage’ to act accordingly in a world that doesn’t even believe in anything you are about. That is why so many who are ‘searching’ find themselves in monasteries, ashrams, caves, deserts, etc. There is a belief that there is no place in the world for spiritual pursuit, except in these prescribed areas.
PETER: To the contrary, the West has increasingly indulged in Eastern religion for some 40 odd years now to the point that it has now become mainstream. The bookstores are awash with spiritualism, Hollywood has embraced the New Dark Age, the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra are media stars, Oprah Winfrey ‘got’ spiritualism, etc. etc. In fact, many Gurus and teachers make a very good living from the current fashionable fascination with all things spiritual and mystical. Many people opt out of seeking power in the real world, only to seek power and authority in the spiritual world. Any power over another human being be it physical, psychological or psychic is the very antithesis of freedom.(...)
RESPONDENT: I may ‘fit in’ with the masses because I ‘looked and acted’ normally, however, my personal house would be in disorder ... guilt and fear would be behind my interactions with the world around me ... ego!
PETER: There are thousands and thousands of Eastern spiritual followers who have had some sort of awakening experience whereby they have had a glimpse of feeling Divine and have chosen to act as though they have risen above the masses and the earthly plane. Many are therapists, healers, group leaders, teachers, meditation leaders, etc. and their new act or identity well suits their professions. They learn to talk the talk, radiate the energy and tap into the psychic fears and desires of their clients and followers for their own Self-gratification and income.
RESPONDENT: If anyone wants to make an observation on what the difference makes on a physical level, look at how the Dalai Lama carries himself, his body movements, his facial expression, and compare them to the Pope.
PETER: Your assessment does seem superficial and no doubt biased by your passion for Eastern religion as opposed to Western religion. Curiously both men both hold similar positions within their religions. Both are theocrats, one of Vatican municipality, the other of a country he has fled, both are supported by ‘the masses’, both lived in idle Holy splendour surrounded by the finest riches of the country, both have humble servants, adoring followers and enormous unquestioning power over their administration and the masses in general, and both have been chosen by the high priests.
RESPONDENT: Truth is self evident when looked for honestly ... no excuses. Truth, when intentionally hidden, becomes heavy and burdensome.
PETER: The more one feels oneself to be Divine, the more one is burdened and obliged to spread the message. After all, one has discovered the Truth that we are not mortal grubby flesh and blood bodies, that there is no death, that this physical world is just an illusion and ‘who we really are’ is an Immortal Spirit. The problem is that this is purely a Self-centred realization for the realization is that ‘I’ am Divine and every thing, and every one else, is but an illusion. This inherent Self-centred nature of the experience is exactly why all of the Enlightened beings, why each claim they have a unique message, why they are apt to put down or criticize the Teachings of others and why they compete with each other for followers. This inherent Self-centredness of all spiritual experiences is the direct cause of all the disharmony and rivalry amongst the present crop of teachers and Gurus and all the ongoing religious conflicts and wars between the followers of Long Dead Gurus on the planet. This inherent Self-centredness applies whether one calls one’s new identity an Impersonal Self or a Self – it is still a Self-experience.
Purity and perfection can only be realized when both the personal self, as ego, and the instinctual self, as soul, are extinct, and this is clearly evidenced in a pure consciousness experience of the actual world.
RESPONDENT: Science can hold the same piousness and trapping that previous religions have.
PETER: Indeed. Theoretical sciences such as cosmology and quantum physics are steeped in spirituality and religion for they are trying to comprehend what created the universe, what is beyond the infinite universe, what existed prior to eternal time and what will exist after eternal time ceases. No wonder they keep coming up with same old fairy stories of God by whatever name and ‘other’-worlds by whatever name. When human beings think about things that they cannot see, touch, hear, smell or taste then the only option is to resort (is) to impassioned imagination – thought unfettered by common sense and direct sensate evidence. This imagination which is ‘self’-centred is ultimately obsessed by the fear of death giving rise to stories of after-lives in other-worlds which are but poetry and music for the soul.
RESPONDENT: The spirit is not practical.
PETER: The spirit, or Self, or ‘who’ we really feel we are deep down inside, is an identification with the tender-only aspects of the instinctual animal ‘self’ and this feeling-only identity is arrived at by repressing, controlling or dissociating from the savage passions. A bit from the Dalai Lama from a WIE interview describes this process very well –
This noble experiment has had 3,000 years to work and has failed to deliver the goods – there is no end to either malice or sorrow. This is obvious from his statement when he espouses the virtue of compassion, which is feeling sorrow for others – one’s personal feeling of sorrow is transformed into an impersonal sorrow for others. The Buddhist practice of praying for peace is a way of rising above the evil in one’s ‘self’ and shifting the blame on to those who are ignorant of the Divine knowledge ‘you’ have gained.
RESPONDENT: There is no test or empirical data on why I love or hate or fear.
PETER: Quite the contrary. Human beings are unique among the animal species in that we have a large ‘modern’ brain – the neo-cortex – capable of thinking, planning and reflecting which overlays the primitive reptilian brain – the amygdala – the source of the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Recent studies by LeDoux and others empirically confirm that the ‘quick and dirty’ instinctual, passionate responses of the primitive brain are primary and automatically over-ride the thoughtful, considered responses of the neo-cortex.
We are in fact genetically programmed to be driven, consumed or overwhelmed by the animal instinctual passions that give rise to malice and sorrow. Thus, in spite of all our best and well-meaning efforts to keep our malice and sorrow under control, we are but ‘animal’, at our very core.
LeDoux’s studies concern the relationship between the thalamus (relay centre), the amygdala (primitive brain/feelings) and the neo-cortex (modern brain/thoughts). The most significant fact of LeDoux’s experimentation is that the sensory input to the brain is split at the thalamus into two streams – one to the amygdala and one to the neo-cortex.
The input stream to the amygdala is significantly quicker – 12 milliseconds as opposed to 25 milliseconds to the neo-cortex. Also, less information goes to the amygdala – it operates as a quick primal scan to check for danger, or opportunity, which is why it is described as the ‘quick and dirty’ processing pathway.
This dual pathway not only results in automatic instinctual bodily responses but the amygdala also has a direct connection to the neo-cortex – i.e. we sensately experience the resultant chemical flow a split-second after the bodily reaction, causing us to ‘feel’ the instinctual response. This flow of chemicals, experienced in the neo-cortex, the heart and the ‘gut’, are the very palpable source of our instinctual emotions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.