Selected Correspondence Peter
RESPONDENT: I understand from your response (very considerate and useful by the way) that both you and Vineeto live in a virtual freedom from the human condition. It’s suggested that the process of living together with a partner who is also interested in becoming free may enhance the actual experiencing of the world. I’ve also considered lately such an alternative, but here the available girlfriends are more interested in the latest parties or fashion trends.
PETER: No. I have never suggested ‘that the process of living together with a partner who is also interested in becoming free may enhance the actual experiencing of the world’, nor is it suggested anywhere on the website.
Human sensate experiencing of the actual world is a function of the sense organs of human flesh and blood bodies and this experiencing is largely a common-to-all experience given that the human species has the same genetic makeup with the same sense organs. Whilst ever-so-slight variations may occur from individual to individual, the sensate experience of the matter that is the actual world is a common-to-all experience in that each and every bodies’ sense organs experiences the exact same actual world – the universe being universal.
Because of this over-arching commonality of sensate experience it is a delight to be able to swap notes as to the sensual experiencing of the actual world with a fellow human being who is equally capable of delighting in the sensuousness of the actual world. It is impossible to delight in the sensuous of the actual world if one is feeling resentful, aggrieved, annoyed, melancholic, detached, cynical, blissed-out and so on, and it is impossible to swap notes about the sensuousness of the actual world with a fellow human being who is feeling resentful, aggrieved, annoyed, melancholic, detached, cynical, blissed-out and so on.
In my case, living with a fellow human being who is virtually free of the debilitating feelings of malice and sorrow is an added bonus to my own ongoing experience of delight – it is not, as you imply, the reason I delight in being here. The sole reason I delight in being here is that I have, by my own efforts as an actualist, become virtually free of the feelings of malice and sorrow as well as the antidotal feelings of love and compassion – i.e. virtually free of feeling resentful, aggrieved, annoyed, melancholic, cynical, detached, blissed-out and so on.
Very, very rarely nowadays am I affected by the ungracious moods and emotional maladies of others such that it impinges on my feeling excellent or on my experiencing delight, so much so that I could live with any other person without inflicting any emotional demands upon them. The process of actualism is about ridding oneself of malice and sorrow – it is not about finding a companion who has rid themselves of malice and sorrow, or is in process of doing so, in order to attempt to live a vicarious happiness and a surrogate harmlessness by association.
At some seminal stage soon after meeting Vineeto, I realized that the only way I could live in peace and harmony with her was for me to clean myself up – for me to get my head out of the clouds and to get off my bum and set about ridding myself of my feelings of malice and my feelings of sorrow such that I didn’t deliberately or unwittingly continue to impose them upon her. When I realized that the only way I was ever going to be able to live with any of my fellow human beings in peace and harmony was for me to become happy and harmless, I set about the business of making it happen.
PETER: What actualism offers is a way of progressively dismantling ‘me’, the spoiler who stands in the way of the pure consciousness experiencing of being fully alive in the actual world. Actualism is not about dissociating from, or associating with, the grim reality of normal human experiencing. What is on offer is a third alternative – eliminating ‘who’ you think and feel you are and discovering what you are – but for this to happen work needs to be done to get from A to B. As you have probably gathered, the main point of my input regarding your reflections is to encourage you to more and more make your contemplations as down-to-earth as possible. This way you not only avoid the trap of spirituality but you will find yourself more and more coming to your senses, both literally and figuratively.
RESPONDENT: Thanks for your input, Peter. Down-to-earth is so much more fun than dissociation!
A thought I’ve been mulling lately… It seems that spiritual freedom takes the path of despair – while actual freedom takes the path of delight.
PETER: The very idea of spiritual freedom is totally dependent for its existence on the firmly entrenched belief that human existence on earth is essentially a suffering existence. In monotheistic religions this usually equates with being born in sin and the only means of salvation are feelings of repentance combined with a mind-numbing surrender to the authority of some mythical God. In Eastern religions a plethora of fairy tales of the essential misery of human existence abound and Buddhism, the fastest growing of the Eastern religions, is up front in its teachings about life on earth.
The Four Noble Truths of Buddha proclaim –
As can be seen from the first Noble Truth, the belief that life is fundamentally disappointment and suffering is fundamental to the Buddhist religion. If you don’t believe this first premise then the whole of Buddhist teachings can be seen for what it is – a moral and ethical teaching that does nothing but promote smug feelings of pious self-righteousness.
If you eliminate the belief that life is ‘fundamentally disappointment and suffering’ then you leave a very big hole in the belief in a God, by whatever name, and the belief in a life after death, by whatever tradition. And if you do the necessary work to eliminate not only the belief but the affective experience that life is ‘fundamentally disappointment and suffering’ then the whole frantic pursuit of a spiritual freedom can be seen for what it is – dissociation and self-aggrandizement run amok. And in this process of eliminating these beliefs and invidious feelings what increasingly becomes magically evident are feelings of delight and wonderment at being here, doing this business we call being alive.
RESPONDENT: This is starting to be fun :o)
PETER: If the Gurus can’t put their money where their mouth is in their personal relationships it’s time for them to shut up.
RESPONDENT: Why is the credential of a relationship necessary? Are you suggesting you wouldn’t or couldn’t investigate actual reality with or learn with anyone who didn’t have a certifiably perfect relationship to support their ‘position’? Don’t we learn from everyone we are with at any moment? The ‘perfect’ as well as the rest of us? Doesn’t that put the person with a ‘perfect’ relationship in the role of Guru, higher than the rest? Teaching from above to below?
PETER: I see that Vineeto has sent you something already. I had such a delicious lunch downtown and a longish beach walk so when I got home I stretched out on the couch for a snooze to be awakened by the gentle tapping of Vineeto’s fingers on the keyboard. While strolling on the beach I did wonder if you had read both the journals as I think it would be useful and then you would have more background of what we are saying. It is radically different – 180 degrees in the opposite direction in fact. Everybody has got it wrong up until now and the proof is the greed, avarice, violence, sadness, sorrow and gloom that pervades humans’ thoughts and actions despite centuries of religious belief and adherence.
I dropped the idea of becoming enlightened the moment I realised that these Enlightened Beings and Gurus were nothing but the Gods of the Eastern religions. The Western Religions are generally monotheistic – a One Big God religion and as such the best we humans can do is obey His rules and worship him and we get to go to heaven after we die. They have Sainthood for the really good people or the chance to be Pope or the like, if you want. Now the Eastern religions are generally polytheistic which means they worship many Gods side by side. Also there is a strong tradition of Enlightened ones, Gurus or God-men who declare their God-ship while alive. They can be easily identified as they gather disciples, begin to teach and proclaim they know the Truth (...which can’t be spoken)! So to believe in Enlightenment is to believe in God and an afterlife.
The problem is now I have no religious tolerance at all. Whether it’s East or West, Pope or the Dalai Lama they have had sufficient time to bring paradise to earth and all we get are more religious wars and fights amid the cries of ‘let’s be tolerant of each other’s religious rights’. ‘Let’s all agree to tolerate the wars!!!’ Now if that isn’t lunacy I don’t know what is. Granted, until now it was the best escape from the Human condition possible. But there is an alternative – it is now possible treat each other as fellow human beings, to live together in peace and harmony, to experience the physical tangible sensual delight of the actual world as evidenced by the senses.
To completely eliminate any sorrow and malice from your thoughts and actions. I’ve said lately that if someone could see with these eyes the actual delight they would know what I mean, but, of course, everyone has them in their Peak Experience or PCE as Richard calls them. So if your still aiming to become Enlightened or wanting a Guru to believe in, I think you are on the wrong mailing list.
But if you want to discuss the possibility to become happy and harmless, if you want to free yourself of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow, and if you want to completely eradicate both the social identity you have been straitjacketed with, as well as the animal instincts that fill us with fear and drive us to violence – then I can maybe help as I’ve done it for myself. The great thing about this (poignantly perfect, in fact) is that you have to do it for yourself – I am (thank goodness) powerless and yet undeniably useful to those willing to give it a go. All you need is to make it the number one goal in your life. Set aside sufficient time and away you go! I personally felt I had nothing left to lose – which is the sub-title of my journal. So let me know what you think of the journals, I’ll be fascinated to hear.
PETER to Richard: It’s been two years now since we met and about 9 months since I finished writing my journal. If I could put it into phases I would say that the first 12 months were essentially making sense of being a normal human being, simultaneously ridding myself of malice and sorrow, as much as is possible, while still having a ‘self’ inside this body. The very act of making sense of the facts of the Human Condition as opposed to the beliefs forces one to change, to eliminate what is essentially learned and societal reinforced behaviour.
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. In my case this was demonstrated in the delights of living with a woman in peace, harmony and equity and the resultant revealing of the sheer fun of sex – the fire test, the proof of the pudding, if you like. If you can’t live with someone in peace then there is no hope for anyone else. One’s life gets better and better to the point of a sublime ease, carefree-ness and delight that was inconceivable 2 years ago. The actual experience is of coming to one’s senses. 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. It simply means I will be the best I can, and if one has had a peak experience then the best is glaringly obvious. So, throwing my caution to the wind – I would say that the last 12 months have been a stage of Virtual Freedom – the use of capital letters to indicate a definable state only.
PETER to Richard: (...) Thankfully I’m pursuing a third alternative, which is the total elimination of my ‘self’ in total – the whole of the amygdala’s instinctual programming that gives rise to the animal passions. The startle, quick-scan function of the amygdala still operates as a physical safety function but the chemical surges that give rise to the emotions of fear, anger, nurture and desire have almost ceased to be of influence. I am left with a lot of shifting sensations in the head, neck, heart and belly that tell me something chemically is still happening but these very rarely translate into emotions or reactions.
I remember in the first few weeks of coming across Actual Freedom and realizing that to become actually free of the Human Condition would not only mean the ending of ‘me’ but also it would mean being a traitor to Humanity. To live without malice – to have no ‘me’ to defend and therefore no need to attack, no need to struggle to survive, achieve, be somebody – was to cop-out of the struggle. To live without sorrow – to not be sad, to not commiserate with others, to not seek consolation, to not wallow in self-pity or to pity others, to not play the game of ‘Oh what a miserable existence being a human being is’ – would be to be judged heart-less. And yet, here I am doing it and riding out the chemical surges that warn me – don’t do this, or else...! The thing that I have discovered is that there is no ‘or else...!’ As long as I don’t goad a fanatic, and I obey the laws of the land and sensibly avoid trouble, the world as-it-is is an eminently safe place – chock full of sensuous pleasure, delight. A life of consummate ease is readily and freely evident when one’s fears are seen for what they are.
I fully realize that this process has taken a considerable time – over 2 ½ years now – but I had to explore the nuts and bolts of it, finding out for myself. It’s a bit like when I first worked in an architect’s office after having studied the theory of design and building for 5 years. After 2 years of office work I gave up and ‘went building’ on building sites to find out what really happened in building. Same thing with Actual Freedom, but in this case a large part was unlearning the spiritual teachings and cynical view-point of the world as-it-is. To dare to consider that there is a third alternative to the human dilemma and then set off exploring it, on one’s own, has taken a while. I fully acknowledge your writings and guidance, Richard, and that my journey was only possible due to your efforts. What I do like is that I can explain the process, not in esoteric, poetic terms but in down-to-earth terms that fully concur with modern scientific studies and that can explain exactly why all past attempts at freedom have ended in narcissism.
PETER to Alan: You asked about being here... For me ‘How am I experiencing myself now?’ translates into the optimum when I am so here in this moment that there is no room for anything else – doubt, emotion, feeling, love, etc. I am fully engaged in and aware of what is happening. I am fully involved sensually in doing what is happening. No room for sitting back on the fence feeling or observing. Not to say that I am not considerate or sensible in my words or actions: they then become naturally appropriate to the situation. Then each moment is indeed delightful, sensual, immediate, apparent and obvious.
Occasionally I have pulses of fear race through as the audacity of living this way strikes a primordial chord – like a cosmic chorus of ‘how dare you ...’ thundering from somewhere, but lately I experience this as a good and thrilling sign. What a journey ... as one makes sense of the Human Condition and actively wills its demise in oneself.
PETER: Hi Alan, Good-day to you!
(...) It is delightful to read of your PCEs or peak experiences. For me the difference between a PCE and a Satori or Religious Experience is quite clear and describable. The Spiritual Experience as usually induced by meditation, the Master’s presence or some other trigger is accompanied by Heartful feelings of love or bliss or oneness. These experiences are sublime, seductive, ‘self’ gratifying and if persisted with can ultimately create that grand Self. There are few more pious than those who have tasted success and power on the spiritual path. The PCE on the other hand is sensual, sensate and lacking in any emotional baggage. There is no ‘self ‘ as an interpreter, sensor or spoiler. All is evidenced by the senses to be pure, perfect, delightful. And my intelligence is freed of any emotions and feelings – thoughts and thinking become benign clear and concise – free of malice and sorrow. This of course makes the need for morals, ethics, or any need for ‘self’ control redundant. With intelligence operating thus ‘I’ am seen for what ‘I’ am – the very cause of suffering and malice.
This physical universe of people, events and things are seen to be perfect and it is obvious that it is only what goes on in our heads – the disease called the Human Condition that is manifest in each of us as a separate, personal ‘self’ – that is the cause of the appalling malice and sorrow that humans exude. What has always been avoided up until now is the fact that what goes on in the heart is the real problem – the loves, loyalties, passions, ideals and beliefs that humans are willing to kill or die for. The problem lies in feelings and emotions and the PCE confirms this experientially.
That is why it is so good to write of these experiences – the ordinary everyday experiences when experienced by our senses free of emotions and feelings do indeed become extraordinary, clear, bright, gay, delightful, friendly, benign and, to use that wonderful word, ambrosial. Enlightenment lies in the opposite direction – in the world of spirits, gods, feelings and emotions. What a delight to come to my senses – what an achievement. It still seems unbelievable. I still keep pinching myself and checking out this new way of living but it is perfect, flawless, actual, and continually amazing.
PETER: Just a couple of points from your last post to Vineeto I would like to comment on and pass on my experience on the path to freedom.
ALAN: On my way to cash & carry this morning I was continuing to contemplate the realisation which I had about a fortnight ago – ‘I’ was all that was standing in the way of peace on earth. I suddenly realised (‘got’) that ‘I’ had to go in ‘my’ entirety to achieve actual freedom. Not almost all of ‘me’, not 99%, not just the beliefs, but every single smidgen of the personality which considered itself to be Alan.
PETER: (...) The other facet to the path to Actual Freedom – to the 99% stage – is that realisations are clearly seen for what they are, sudden and dramatic flashes or glimpses of a belief exposed as merely fictitious and not factual. These realisation have a feeling ‘high’ associated with it, as a sense of liberation and startling clarity is affectively interpreted and experienced. While extremely useful and ‘par for the course’, as beliefs are exposed and eliminated, it is what one does with the realization, what action or change is evinced, that is important and significant, not the realization itself, per se. One needs to be aware of realisation addiction, to put it bluntly, as one can spend an inordinate amount of time and effort looking or waiting for them and as such ‘not being here’. They are but curiosities and will eventually subside – to have had their day, exactly as will the rest of impassioned feelings and irrational imagination, if peace is one’s aim. A personal peace in the world-as-it-is, with people as-they-are, that is.
I wrote a bit in my journal about realisations that may be useful –
So Alan, hope this has some relevance to your current experiences and may be of some use.
It is a most fascinating business, this pioneering trail-blazing. The cute thing is we get to do it with absolutely no physical hardship – on the contrary, hedonism and physical delight abounds and abounds...
ALAN: And, to insert a quick ‘plug’ for the benefits of virtual freedom, even if one does not go all the way. At a time considered to be the most stressful there can be in a persons life – selling a house, selling (or closing) a business and a likely break up of a marriage – here I am, enjoying every moment and delighting in the experience of being alive – I thoroughly recommend it.
PETER: Yes, indeed – this is what it is all about. This is why we delve into beliefs, explore feelings and emotions, contemplate upon the Human Condition, and dare to be different. The practical, down-to-earth results in everyday living – for what else is there? The whole aim of the exercise is to become actually free of malice and sorrow – to become happy and harmless. And this is done incrementally, bit by bit, and the results come incrementally, bit by bit. The ‘events’, realizations, wobbles, etc. are then seen for what they are – interesting by-products of coming closer to a sensible and sensate experiencing of the ‘main event’ – that which is happening right now. There is no suffering on the path – anything that occurs in the head or heart is but the consequence of daring to devote oneself to becoming free. While the challenges may seem daunting on occasions, the rewards for stubborn persistence are abundantly apparent in the increased ease and delight in everyday life. It is this everyday happiness and harmlessness that gives one the confidence to pursue the unimaginable – the living of the Pure Consciousness Experience 24 hours a day, every day.
PETER to Alan: I always liked Richard’s description that people desperately put on rose-coloured glasses when looking at the real world, seeking relief in the feelings of gratitude, ‘higher consciousness’, beauty, goodness, love and compassion. In order to do this, they start with a view of the world as-it-is based on wearing grey-coloured glasses – the real world being a fearful place of resentment, ‘unconsciousness’, ugliness, evil, alienation and suffering. The solution is to dare to undertake a process that involves removing both the rose-coloured glasses and the grey-coloured glasses, and to see the actual world for what it is – perfect, pure, sensually abundant, benevolent and delightful. One then sees clearly that one’s social and spiritual / religious conditionings and beliefs actively conspire to paint and perpetuate a grim worldview. One then sets to, with gay abandon, on the path of exploring, investigating, scrutinizing, understanding, and eventually eliminating all that is not factual and actual. The act of doing so eliminates one’s social identity – one wipes one’s slate perfectly clean of all beliefs, morals, ethics and psittacisms. What one then discovers – hidden underneath – is one’s biological heritage – the primitive animal instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
PETER to Alan: I thought I would pen a letter to you about one of those ethical values that is so instilled in human beings that it not only clouds any common sense operating but also acts to forever lock malice and sorrow into the human psyche.
I often wonder what people make of the simple statement that one has a social identity that consists of all the morals, ethics, values and psittacisms that have been instilled by one’s peers in order to keep one ‘under control’ and to make one a ‘good’ citizen. It seems such a straight forward statement yet there is no discussion or questioning whatsoever regarding morals and ethics and their failure to stop the barbarous human warfare that rages on the planet between various tribal, religious or ethical groups. Despite the fact that countless well-meaning people have been following these pious morals and unliveable ethics there is still no end in sight to the sadness sorrow, depression and suicides. Having to live one’s life bound – as in bondage – to a set of morals and ethics is to be shackled to Humanity.
What twigged me to write was a conversation I had with a man recently about tolerance. It was one of those convivial evenings as we settled back after dinner at his beach-side house. We had bought a whole coral trout and some baste for the sunset barbeque meal, his wife had concocted a wonderful salad and he had provided some delicious soft Merlot wine. Vineeto and I, he and his wife contentedly lazed back after the particularly tasty meal, and their newly born baby slept in the corner after her meal at the breast. We started swapping life stories as one tends to do in good company and his wife began chatting to Vineeto about her upbringing as a Japanese and how she had come to leave Japan and ended up in Australia. She evidently was of mixed Japanese-Korean parents and, as such, was very much regarded as a second-class citizen in Japan – something which she didn’t take too kindly to. I then proceeded to explain to her some of the religious and ethnic divides that are rife below the surface in the country I grew up in at all levels of society.
It is fascinating to see the convoluted and twisted moral and ethical arguments that rage on the planet, combined with the convoluted and twisted forms of denial of the existence of instinctual animal passions in humans.
And to see, so clearly, that there are no moral or ethical solutions to the Human Condition but that they are, in fact, part of the problem.
So, the evening’s conversation backed away from a more in-depth exploration of any of these issues for the man was a good, well-meaning man, convinced that the values he held were right and good and if only everyone held the same values as he then everything would be okay. It is always kind of cute in those situations as no-one knows the full extent of my treason and iconoclasm – that I have gleefully abandoned fighting the good fight of Humanity. It was equally delightful to small-talk the early evening away with some fellow human beings for while it is possible for anyone to become free of the Human Condition it will only be for those desperate and daring enough to question the psittacisms that traditionally passed on as wisdom from those who have been here before us. Although the life he lives could be vastly easier, more safe, more comfortable and more leisurely than his father’s was he still does what his father did – battle against others for survival, and then blame others for being intolerant.
We all moved out to sit and watch the ocean for a while as there are few prettier sights than the light of a full moon glistening on the ocean. The innate peacefulness of the physical actual world is particularly palpable at moments like these and it was obvious why he had recently purchased this house. To him it offered the chance to grab some brief moments like this as a haven from the battle to exist that he fought in the real world. I didn’t spoil his moment by offering that I knew a way to get to the root cause of his battling and thus constantly access the already existing peacefulness that exists on this planet.
PETER: We are enjoying a delightful subtropical summers day here with a fresh ocean breeze enlivening the air. We have had a bit of rain lately so at night the moist air seems more able to carry the smells of the vegetation – frangipani, night jasmine and the flowering eucalypts to name a few. The town is packed full of holiday makers come to celebrate the new millennium. I always like the fact that I live year-round in a place that many people save all year-round to come here for a week or two, battling through the traffic to do so. Vineeto and I delight in strolling downtown from our flat in early evening for a coffee and to watch the scene. Many young backpackers come in to town all year round and combined with the locals and holidaymakers the town is awash with vibrant colour and frenetic activity.
PETER to Alan: We are coming off high summer here and the nights are a touch cooler. The sub-tropics offer such a wonderful climate. The warm air contains such moisture that my skin continuously feels as though it is moistened with oil and the tropical scents seem to permeate everywhere. At night we have all the windows open and the scents of night jasmine and frangipani waft in through the screens. The sensuous experience of the perfection of life is ever-present and abundant. We often stroll down through the village in early evening to sit overlooking the ocean and stop on the way back to have a cup of coffee and watch the activities of the locals and holiday makers.
I do find it astounding that human beings, for fear of change, for a belief in God by whatever name and a stubborn pride in their animal instinctual passions continue to wallow in malice and sorrow and fight it out with each other in a grim battle of survival.
ALAN: On further consideration I find that I have, indeed, been ‘burying my head in the sand’ over the last few weeks. Much as I have enjoyed what I have been doing, I was aware there was something ‘missing’, an incompleteness – and that ‘incompleteness’, I now find, was the ceasing to investigate and actualize what it is to be alive as this body, at this moment in time. It is so, so, easy and attractive to try to live a ‘normal’ life that one is easily seduced into ignoring what is possible.
PETER: My experience with trying to ‘look back over the last few weeks’ was that it was an impossible thing to do. I had the benefit of being with Vineeto and was therefore able to check on the accuracy and reliability of my memory of past experiences. Sometimes either one of us would say ‘I’ve felt ... for days now’ and the other would say ‘Well, yesterday you went to bed saying what a perfect day you had’, and ‘you had a really good time walking down town and you really enjoyed writing to ..., or playing on the computer’.
When the supposed memories were checked against the actual situation it may well have only been some little time ago that things turned but it felt like it had been for a long time. We are all programmed to be miserable, so much so that, given any opportunity we will even re-invent or re-interpret past events and memories into sad ones. That is why saying to yourself when you go to bed ‘I’ve had a good day, or and excellent day, or a perfect day’ is important. Even a log book or diary can be useful. One needs to actively affirm to oneself and record feeling good or being excellent or having a PCE. One needs to drag oneself out of misery by one’s bootstraps – actively and scientifically.
The trick is to get the feeling of lacklustre as soon as it comes and track the event that caused it. Dig around, investigate a bit and get back to feeling good as quickly as possible. Feeling good leaves few, if any, emotional memories and, as such, can feel like lacklustre to ‘me’ who thrives on strife, excitement, conflict, etc. and feels lacklustre or bored if there is nothing to fight for. The question is always ‘How am I experiencing this moment’ – the past is past, spilt milk, gone, finished, kaput, stuffed, no more, extinct, non-existent ...
My experience of feeling normal is that one is closer to the Pure Consciousness Experience than when one is feeling extraordinary. Feeling normal is the result of feeling good. It is the best one can do as an entity – it is finding magic and sensual delight in the ordinary things, events and people. Feeling normal is a healthy sign that one is not deluding oneself. Feeling normal is a healthy sign that one can go insane by ‘real world’ standards – becoming a nobody, not enjoying feeling sad, not feeling the need to fight to be here, having no need to belong to a group – and still function sensibly. This normal is neither the ‘real world’ normal – grim reality – nor the ‘spiritual world’ super-normal – a deluded fantasy. It takes persistence, patience and diligence to become free of both illusion and delusion and become a normal, sane flesh and blood human being free of the Human Condition. (...)
ALAN: As I write this, I am again entering that magical world of the PCE, this world where all is actual and I am the doing of what is happening. What joy, what delight! There is an overwhelming sense of ‘I’m back’ and an ongoing theme of ‘just do it’. I became aware of ‘me’ chattering – the constant ‘struggle’ to find a way, to do what is right, to try to live the perfection – and ‘I’ cannot do it. Everything is SO LOUD and so vibrant.
PETER: Yes indeed. In the PCE one’s senses are heightened to the extreme. For me the most outstanding change that happens is an all-round all-inclusive soft perception – a sensate-only awareness such that it is as though everything has been turned up or a filter has been removed. Sound becomes louder and distinctly separate, colours more vibrant and distinct, one almost swims through the air, food is a delicious fusion of varied tastes, sex is a sensual, intimate play, thinking is a fascinating freewheeling process – a softness and palpable friendliness pervades all around.
RESPONDENT: I am wondering if what you are talking here about is the investigation of emotions and feelings coming from the social norms by labelling them as sensible or silly? After labelling them, have you experimented by acting against your social norms (Acting against our religious / social conditionings and taboos to investigate the rush of emotions that follows such experiment, for example)? If so, did such action break through the psychological power of the norm and did it give you more encouragement to investigate them more deeply?
PETER: I think the first thing to be taken on board about actualism is that it is not about changing the world, it is about changing oneself. The traditional approach of people who see wrong or bad in the world is to join a crusade or revolutionary movement aimed at bringing about some sort of social, political or spiritual change to the world. Hence we have an enormous amount of angst, despair and vitriol generated by well-intentioned groups or movements clashing with other well-intentioned groups or movements, all determined that their way is the best, that they are right, or that theirs is the only way of doing things.
The traditional movements to change the world are passionately fuelled by people’s frustration at not feeling free to do what they want – of having to obey, and feeling straight-jacketed by, society’s morals, ethics and values translated into rules, laws and regulations. Thus one sees on television not only out and out warfare, terrorism, violent protests, etc., but even in so-called peaceful countries, there is a good deal of frustration, aggravation, annoyance and anger directed against the ‘government’ or various organizations for doing wrong thing or not getting it right. In the local community where I live there is an extraordinary amount of conflict, either overt or covert, as to the rights or wrongs of the actions of those with different beliefs or values and at the people employed to uphold the laws of the land.
A bit I wrote at the time of seeing the futility of attempting to rebel against or change the way the world is –
PETER: Hi Mark,
Just a note to you about nothing in particular. Good to read your posts. I am at present writing a bit on the Glossary for our web-site and wrote a piece on imagination which I thought I’d post off as it explains a bit about how, and why, we are as we are – i.e.. inflicted with such a pervasive belief that it is not only impossible but somehow ‘wrong’ to be happy. I recently observed a 1 year old baby for a few hours and it particularly struck me that her brain was still in a very formative stage. She had started to get some basic senses sorted out a bit – co-ordination, eating, touching and handling things, recognition, mobility, etc., but walking, talking, communicating, reflecting, contemplating, etc. were still to come. It was a bit like a computer yet to be programmed with the full software – only a few basic functions just working but yet to have a full input of data and as such incapable of any useful independent functioning. I wondered exactly what information she would receive in the coming years until she was able to leave the shelter and protection of her family and emerge into the world as an independent human. It became very apparent that what she was already being programmed with was an imaginary view of the world, rather than an actual view. (...)
So, when things get a bit rough, or a bit strange, or a bit weird, it is just that we are ‘wiping’ the computer back to the hard disk and wondering like hell whether we can keep operating. Well, experience shows that the whole system runs so, so, so much better without imagination, without beliefs, and without emotions. It is a bit of a weird thing to do because ‘you’ are, in fact, nothing other than this program that has been installed. It is all you have known yourself to be – except in the PCE, of course, when the programmed ‘you’ has a little glitch and crashes and Bingo – you, as flesh and blood body free of fear, aggression, malice and sorrow emerge for a peek into the actual world.
And all we are trying to do is dismantle the program installed in the brain that essentially says nothing more than ‘It is Impossible to be Happy and Harmless’. There is a lot of fine print, subtle nuances and silly nonsense but that is the core message of the installed program. What a cheeky delight to prove everyone wrong ...
RESPONDENT: Now about Richard’s method, he calls it ‘tried and tested’. If nobody objects, I would say, at least you, Vineeto and Alan have tried it sincerely. If success is to be defined by achieving Actual Freedom, then you have not succeeded by your own admission. I guess then it is Richard and maybe Vineeto and Alan. I do not know anybody else in the running. So, by my count, it is one definite success (Richard), two may-be-successes (Vineeto and Alan) one not succeeded yet (Peter).
PETER: If nobody objects? You’re free to indulge in whatever fantasies you want. Have you ‘placed’ yourself in the Freedom ranks yet, or are you happy to remain on the sidelines as a resident critic and ‘keeper of the score’? You could consider a move from ‘scorekeeper’ and ‘critic’ to participant, or would that be too radical a move? Is there a saying that goes something like ‘There are those who do and those who merely criticise?’
Given that you have been on the list for a while now I’ll let you in to some inner-circle secrets. Actual Freedom, as you already know is completely non-spiritual and is in fact a front for the I.H.S. (International Hedonists Society). The I.H.S. grew out of the N.H.S. which was established by M. Python, H. Wilson, T. Beatle and L.S.D in England in the 60’s. The Indian mystics M.A.Rijuana and M.E.D.Tation attracted many of the followers away but it is currently enjoying a clandestine revival using the A.F.T. as a front. The original N.H.S. charter extolling the virtues of H.H (Happiness and Harmlessness) was derailed by esoteric and meta-physical influences but is now firmly back on the rails, sailing full steam ahead, has a full tank of petrol, is soon to turn the corner and then you won’t see it for the dust of the mixed metaphors left in its wake. So, your interest could not have come at a better time for both the organization and yourself, as the revival is in full swing. You are definitely right about Richard – he is the genuine article. He has demonstrated an unswerving ability to remain totally happy and harmless despite the severe provocation of Web mailing lists and the abounding cynicism of ex. N.H.S. members. I did, however, manage to draw level with him for several hours at our last competition where, despite the extreme provocation of no less than 6 eager spiritual-ist volunteers, I managed to remain both happy and harmless. I almost had to apply some effort in the last 10 minutes but I managed it right to the end un-assisted. A deep breathe and I leaped up on the top step of the dais, arm in arm with Richard, claiming my share of the trophy. It’s definitely a tough business, this being happy and harmless – the training is gruelling, the opposition relentless and uncompromising, the social ostracising palpable – but the delicious slide into an anonymous, selfless happiness and harmlessness is delectably delightful.
RESPONDENT: Now I understand it’s not my business. Who am I that I try to change your understanding of him? Your understanding and mine are different. That’s all for me now. I don’t think you are on the wrong path. I just don’t know. So there is no bridge between us now.
PETER: When I first met Richard I had two things going for me. One was that I was beginning to question the gap between the ideals and promises of the spiritual world, and what was the down-to-earth results, both for me after 17 years of effort and for billions of others over a period of 5,000 years.
The second was that although the gulf between Richard and I was so enormous that I could not understand what he was saying about the actual world and actual freedom, I did remember a Pure Consciousness Experience – a glimpse of the actual world in which my ‘self’ in its entirety, both ego and soul, was temporarily absent. This proved to be the ‘bridge between us’ such that I could understand of what he was talking about. I described the PCE in my journal –
RESPONDENT: I want to say in the end that I like the phrase ‘How are you experiencing of being alive’ ... And the phrase ‘Happy and Harmless’.
PETER: Yes, the first is the method applied with pure intent and the second is the goal, and Actual Freedom is the result – unless you settle for Enlightenment, in which case you will settle for second best.
So, I’ve enjoyed our talks – peace is such a great subject to talk to anyone about.
PETER: I see that you are interested in the idea of peace and being happy and harmless yet you are not at all interested in Actual Freedom, the practical way to achieve both.
RESPONDENT: Yes, I agree with you about the above.
PETER: Which makes me wonder what you are doing on this list. I noticed the other day you wrote on the Sannyas list that you had joined the ‘Actual Freedom (does it sound nightmare?) mailing list’.
It’s such a fascinating thing to be a human being and make sense of the Human Condition. To look at the facts of the business of being here, and compare them to the story we have been told, the script we have had written for us, the fairy-tales we have been spun, the ‘truths’ we have been told are Absolutely True... ‘just trust me, have faith, and surrender to me and, ... one day, ... there will be a Golden Future’.
I gave up waiting for Godot, the Second Coming, the New Dawn, the New Millennium, the Apocalypse, the End, or the New Bhagwan ... who I see is the latest Guru on the block.
I know it is inconceivable to you that there is now a way to get out of all this mess – as it was to me at the start. But I was curious enough to find out for myself, and it seemed eminently sensible to investigate whether the things I believed to be ‘true’ were facts or not. Did they work and had they ever worked? What was actually being said, what was being promised? Had the promise been kept?
So, you are attempting the impossible to ‘try to bridge a gap’, or to use the local vernacular ... pissing into the wind. There is no such thing as a bridge between the Spiritual World and the Actual World. They are two separate, distinct dimensions. The spiritual world is other-worldly, ethereal, dreamy, affective, emotive, imaginative, idealistic, unrealistic, ever-hopeful, non-sensical, delusionary, spirit-ridden, mythical, mystical, shamanistic... The actual world is sensate, tactile, tangible, palpable, corporeal, material, sensual, obvious, factual, sensible, pure, perfect, peaceful, eternal, infinite, delightful, pleasurable, ambrosial, hedonistic and happening right this very moment, under our noses as it were.
RESPONDENT: Are you STILL happy? (Is there such a thing as being stuck on happiness – I think so).
PETER: Yes, it seems it is a permanent affliction by now, bordering on an inherent addiction. So commonplace is it in my life that it requires no effort, no excitement, no looking for it, no trying. It is a delight to be alive, there is a tangible, palpable underlying well-being – and I get to do enjoyable pleasurable things as a bonus. Those extras sensation-al activities such as eating delicious food, smelling and drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee, strolling through town or trolley-pushing through the supermarket, or a romp with Vineeto, tip the ever-present sensate pleasure of simply being alive over into rampant full blown hedonism. So ingrained is malice and sorrow in the Human Condition that the life I lead now would have been inconceivable to me 2 years ago, yet now it is the effortless norm. So much so, that I ‘take it for granted’ that I will have a perfect day when I get up in the morning. The ease comes from this very being able to ‘take it for granted’, for perfection is intrinsic to the actual world.
Now, in this new scenario, ‘I’ as a social identity am totally redundant and ‘me’ as an instinctual ‘self’, no more than an occasional whiff of nuisance. There is a final break yet to be made, an extinction, a self immolation, and it is one of the reasons I write on the list – to facilitate this end, to avoid being stuck where I am now.
I met a friend of ours lately who has had some inklings that Vineeto and I were ‘doing something different’ with our lives. We got chatting and I said that it was about being happy and harmless. She seemed interested but when I said this meant being free of malice and sorrow she seemed doubtful. When I asked her wouldn’t you want to be free of sorrow she said she really liked to feel sad occasionally. Unperturbed, I asked her about being free of malice and she said that she liked to get angry, to defend herself, to make her point. She said she wouldn’t have survived in her life without her anger. I asked if she had ever been in physical danger and she said no, she just wouldn’t have survived ... And so it was that the conversation rapidly moved on to the weather – (or El Nino as it is now called – all our weather forecasters here talk Spanish now – La clouda, Ill Stormo, coldo fronto, etc.)
PETER: Hi Everyone,
Just a bit more from the meta-physicians of mathematics, theoretical physics and cosmology. I thought I would post some quotes on the subject of infinity as they reveal much about the tortured imagination of the human mind. Imaginative flights of fantasy, such as we see in children’s fairy stories, are well documented, fervently believed in, passionately defended and financially well supported in the ‘adult’ worlds of science, religion and philosophy. Much convoluted and twisted thinking has gone into making up stories about ‘what lies beyond’ – whether it be beyond the stars in the physical world, or beyond death in the spiritual world. The theoretical scientists realm is supposedly that of the physical world but when they encounter infinity – the fact that this physical universe has no limit, no ‘outside’, no edges, nothing ‘beyond’ – they eagerly succumb to the spiritual or ethereal.
I remember, it was a stunning realization when I contemplated on the fact that the universe is infinite. No outside ... this is it. And I am nowhere in particular – there is no bottom left-hand corner in infinite space. And there is no room for God.
I had had previous glimpses of the infinitude of the universe while sleeping out at night in the desert when the stars alone were as bright as a coastal full moon night. Or the evening when we stopped to camp and sat out on deckchairs to watch the sunset. As the sun was setting to a huge golden-red ball I turned to see the moon rising behind me – an equal sized golden-red ball on the opposite horizon. What a sight, I didn’t know which way to look, such was the magnificence of it all.
The actual leaves any paltry imagination for dead. (...)
The more I read and understand Mr. Einstein, the more mystical and Guru-like he becomes.
It’s all mythical tales and wishful thinking of anywhere but here, and anytime but now. Anything to avoid the fact that we are mortal and that neither goodness nor Godness can make us happy and harmless. Anything to avoid the instinctually-sourced malice and sorrow of the Human Condition. Anything to avoid the fact that this is the only moment one can experience being alive. Anything to avoid being here and now in this very actual world, happening at this very moment.
What a waste to bury one’s head in the sand or in the clouds when what is actual is perfect, benign, delightful, magnificent, tangible, tactile, tasty, vibrant, alive, immediate and right here on this planet.
And it is the destiny of all committed actualists to experience this actuality 24 hrs. a day, every day. To sacrifice one’s self – to psychologically and psychically self-immolate, in order that the perfection and purity of the infinitude of the physical universe can become actualized in a human being.
In order that the universe can experience itself as a human being.
PETER to No 15: You said you had read my Journal and said I am saying what the Guru are saying. Well how about this bit on sex. Do the Gurus write like this?
Actual freedom or actualism is, of course, not merely a theory or philosophy but a new, down-to-earth non-spiritual path to freedom – an actual freedom from the Human Condition of malice and sorrow.
Now actual means it works. It means that given sufficient effort and intent that one can virtually eliminate sorrow and malice from the human body. This means in practical terms that one no longer suffers from feelings of sadness, melancholy, boredom, neediness, sympathy, empathy, despair or fear, let alone annoyance, offence, anger, revenge or violence. It is then possible by practical demonstration to live with a companion in total equity, delighting in freely and mutually enjoyed sex, discussion and physical intimacy. The physical pleasures build and build, as does the awareness of the immeasurable and limitless perfection and purity of it all, increasingly off the scales. One literally ‘buckles at the knees’ as the paltry attempts of the old ‘I’ to fearfully hang on wither in the helter skelter slide to freedom.
And all this is actual, sensate – as evidenced by the physical senses – not merely cerebral or affective. You know, things like the smell of a woman’s armpit during sex, the feel of the breast or bum, the way you can tease a nipple to hardness, the fresh unique journey that is each sexual encounter as a literal salubrious smorgasbord of sensuality unfolds as wave after wave of pleasure engulfs us both. To feel a woman as equally sexual such that you don’t know who is thrusting or who is wiggling or where you end and she begins. To ride wave after wave of pleasure of such intensity that ejaculation is but a side order, not the main meal. And after ... to lie back and chat about how it was for each of us, to compare notes, to discuss the nuances, pleasures, particularly delicious bits, or just to lay back in that state where all the cells of the body are sexually alive and tingling and drift off into a delicious half asleep state. To drift off entirely or to eventually surface and wobble to the shower where you realise that to have hot water on tap to pour over your body is a simple pleasure that rivals any. Then maybe a cup of freshly ground coffee and a post-coital cigarette, and wonder what other pleasures are next, and in what order they will come. Hedonism has got nothing on this. Freedom is this and much more, much more. Can’t I tease you into considering the possibility of living in paradise, here, now, on earth.
It is a paradise not only of physical pleasure as it also offers a stillness and purity wherein one is no longer driven by the instincts, where the mind is a perfectly clear and delightful and playful thing and the usual feelings of fear and aggression are replaced by a consuming sense of well being and benignity. And loneliness disappears as one immensely enjoys ones own company. Good Hey ...
So, unlike the other metaphysical and philosophical theories of freedom this one works and delivers and, as such, easily rebuffs charlatans and frauds. The proof is in the actual and in my experience if you can prove an end to malice and sorrow in equitable one-on-one companionship you have ‘put your money where your mouth is’. There is no greater test of fire than sexual freedom and equity, than for man and woman to live together in utter peace and harmony – not in theory but in practice.
The Gurus have failed to deliver, they have had their day. The old ancient, long dead ones have eschewed morals and ethical precepts for their followers who have fought horrendous wars as to the Rightness of their masters or own particular God’s vision. And as for the modern Gurus, I know them well to be pretenders. I have seen the despair that ravages their private lives and those around them. The chaos and duplicity of their personal lives, their sexuality, their treatment of women, the psychic powers and the entrapment, surrender and eventual total emotional dependency and enslavement of their disciples is but a sad useless re-run of all that has gone before. No wonder the spiritual or religious pursuits require bucket-loads of faith, trust and hope – it is needed in the face of its continual failure to produce the goods – peace on earth.
What I am saying to you is that Enlightenment is finished, now that Richard has exposed it from the ‘inside’. Discipleship and the Spiritual Path are also finished and Vineeto and I have exposed the fraud that it is nothing other than Eastern Religion masquerading in sheep’s clothing. So maybe, just maybe, it is worth while considering that everybody (including yourself) has got it 180 degrees wrong. Not just a bit wrong, but all wrong.
It can be an enormous blow to pride, particularly male pride – I know it was for me – but I am immensely pleased I let go of the ‘tried and failed’. I did however have to acknowledge I was neither happy nor harmless in order to even begin to become free of the crippling Wisdom of the Past. And then I got to be a pioneer on the path to actual freedom and I always liked to do a bit of pioneering occasionally, to dare to be authentic and original is such a hoot.
RESPONDENT: Who said that life was supposed to be easy!?
PETER: Who said life was not meant to be easy and why do you believe them?
Just because God said so or Siddhartha Gautama said so or some Johnny come lately God-man repeated it doesn’t mean it is true or True. Of course life was meant to be easy and we all know it except we live in fear of the wrath of God or the scorn of our peers.
The cute thing is once you stop believing in God you are free to stop believing that life was meant to be about suffering rightly. This then frees your senses to a literal smorgasbord of sensual delight that is on offer in this day and age on this cornucopian planet.
Life was meant to be easy – only a masochist would believe otherwise.
RESPONDENT: How did you come to that conclusion? I don’t know whether life is supposed to be easy or hard, a little bit of both could be ideal maybe. If everything was easy we might have a hard time appreciating the good times. To me it appears that we need challenges at least in some ways. Life is pretty beautiful today despite all the malice and sorrow, don’t you think? We can see the potential for a positive existence on earth, at least I can.. I must say that I have a fundamentally positive relationship to life even if we’re trying our best to destroy ourselves and the planet. I’m certainly not insisting that life HAS to be hard, a struggle for survival I mean. But I personally can’t see an existence on earth being PERFECTLY easy and effortless, that is utopia I think.
PETER: Utopia and more is evident in the PCE, in fact, it is from these experiences that the concepts of utopia and heaven on earth have arisen. These experiences have been interpreted as spiritual experiences and those who have genuinely had a permanent altered state of consciousness do indeed feel the world to be a beautiful dream. Thus they see those who suffer and fight as living in a dream from which they need to awaken.
In a PCE it is startlingly obvious that this verdant paradisiacal planet is perfect, pure and delightful and that my existence is easy and effortless because ‘I’ as neurotic thinker and ‘me’ as passionate feeler are absent. The avowed aim of an actualist is to live this state 24 hrs. a day, every day.
RESPONDENT: Living life is extremely challenging and what else could it be?
PETER: As humans, we are all subject to physical dangers, ill-health, accidents, earthquakes, floods, fires, etc. which can cause loss and pain. But to have, and actively indulge in, emotional suffering additional to the hardship is to compound the situation to such an extent that the resulting feelings are usually far worse than dealing with the facts of the situation. What impresses me is the extraordinary steps taken in wealthy, materialistic countries to not only reduce the hardship caused by physical dangers but to prevent them from happening in the first place. Early warning systems for fire, flood and storm, earthquake and storm proof buildings, emergency services, evacuation and relief plans, etc. all help to minimize and in many cases negate hardship, loss, injury and physical suffering.
RESPONDENT: Peter, sometimes I wonder why you have any need for the third alternative since you often praise our fantastic western society. But I guess it’s mainly to show the failures of the spiritual approach.
PETER: No, you misunderstand me. What I came to see was that ‘I’ was what was preventing me, this flesh and blood body, from delighting in the perfection and purity of this actual world. As such I stopped blaming external circumstances for making me unhappy or causing my sorrow. As such, I am able to be happy and harmless in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are. With common sense operating freely I have chosen a place to live that is both reasonable safe and sensually satisfying. If for some reason I found myself in different circumstances, less preferable, if you like, then I would still be happy and harmless. However, I sensibly prefer safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure any day.
RESPONDENT: I agree that these early warning systems etc. benefit us and are steps towards a more civilized way of living; life is precious and we should try to eliminate everything that can threaten us physically and hopefully even psychologically destructive influences in our society.
PETER: I don’t regard life as precious in any way. Most species have a capacity for multiplication that is astounding. The average human male ejaculation has the capacity to fertilize millions of eggs and the average female has an egg-producing capacity to birth each year and nowadays we expect each baby to survive. This is not preciousness but blind nature’s way of ensuring sufficient quantity purely for the species’ survival. There are an estimated 6 billion human beings on the planet and it is estimated that there are currently between 2 and 4.5 million individual animal and plant species on the planet. Perhaps voracious excess to the point of gratuitous gluttony would be a better way to describe the quantity, abundance and variety of life-forms on the planet.
RESPONDENT: I totally agree that we shall do everything to make life better for us in a materialistic way (for everybody, that is, not just in our part of the world). But is life going to be easy? More comfortable, yes, and less challenging from the point of view of survival. But isn’t the challenge of life always going to be there? Everybody still have to find out for themselves so there’s always going to be a winding road to some extent. If one is absolutely serious about life than I can’t really see that it’s going to be easy all the time. Even when one has found the meaning of life it isn’t necessarily going to be easier, certainly much, much more inspiring and ... ... let’s say happy. But that is your point, isn’t it, happiness equals ease? OK, I don’t want to take this too far since I agree with you that there’s no need to struggle in vain but that true happiness might just not look exactly the way we think it does. There’s not many to tell about it either, true happiness is certainly a rare jewel on earth.
PETER: In fact, it doesn’t exist for everyone is either a self or a Self (a person who believes and teaches that physical life on earth is essentially a suffering existence). As you acknowledged ‘ suffering on earth made perfect sense to me while in the spiritual camp ’. One cannot think or feel purity and perfection, it is beyond imagination and feeling – it has to be actually lived.
MODERATOR: The rejection of rigid religiosity for the purity of the ‘pure consciousness experience’ you are calling for has been the message of most of the world’s mystics – including those whose recognition of the complexity involved in actually doing so eventually led them to create doctrine, path and form to help others progress toward the goal.
PETER: Ah, I can see why I am still on the list. You think I am peddling some new variation of old time religion disguised as New Dark Age spirituality.
When I first came across the possibility of an actual freedom from malice and sorrow I thought it must have been a spiritual thing because only the spiritual people talked of freedom. It took me months until I began to understand that the traditional spiritual path offered a feeling of liberation for one’s spirit or soul before death prior to a final real liberation from earthly suffering after physical death. I see that some people on the list use the expression illusion of ‘self’ and others refer to the illusionary physical world which means what must be REAL is one’s spirit, soul, Self, Atman, Essence, Heart, etc. – a disembodied, non-physical entity. By concentrating on repressing sensible thought, denying the actual world as evidenced by the physical senses, and letting one’s impassioned feelings and imagination run riot a new detached, superior and holy entity is realized.
To get to this state of complete dissociation is for most a very complex and torturous process and only a rare few manage to pull it off completely. The level of denial of the physical world alone requires an extraordinary effort. To regard all that we see, hear, touch, feel, smell, eat and breathe to be illusionary requires a mind-bending act of astounding tortuousness. It is because of the complexity and difficulty involved that most mystics had to renounce the obvious pleasures and delights of the physical world and go off to caves, monasteries, ashrams, lone wanderings and indulge in often bizarre practices such as meditation, yoga, chanting, whirling, special diets, celibacy, etc. in order to strengthen their fantasies.
The ‘self’ (including all its cunning spiritual variations) is an illusion, not the physical, tangible, palpable physical world.
The simple test as to what is actual is to place a peg on the nose, place some Gaffer tape firmly across the mouth and wait 10 minutes. As you rip the tape from your mouth and gasp for breath you will have an experiential understanding of what is actual and what is illusionary.
When I had my altered states of consciousness experiences I couldn’t quite pull off the denial of the physical bit. Something always made me suss about the need for renunciation, the isolationism, the elitism, the head-in-the-cloud feelings. The grand and glorious feelings were sure seductive but thankfully I held on to my doubts and my common sense and didn’t trust my feelings.
If you can recall having a pure consciousness experience you would remember that there is not a skerrick of rigid religiosity nor slippery spirituality in it at all. It is an experience where there is no psychological or psychic entity whatsoever present in the flesh and blood body. There is no ‘I’ to feel glorious, to feel Oneness, to feel Divine, to feel Whole. There is no Love, God, Essence, Source, etc. that is the grand reason, plan, creation, essence, energy, life-force, etc. that gives the psychic entity in the body a grand and glorious place or part to play. In the pure consciousness experience there is no affective faculty, nor any capacity for imagination in operation. So vast, so perfect and so pure is this physical universe directly experienced by the body’s physical senses that the immediate becomes vibrant, alive, sensuous, tactile and actual. There is no feeling of separation, nor any feeling of unity for it is obvious and apparent that I am this body, made of the same stuff of the universe, live cells made from the union of sperm and egg, sustained by eating the stuff of the earth, swimming in and breathing the air of the earth, surrounded by stuff made from the earth – and when this body dies the stuff left goes back to the earth. Finish, kaput, finito, gone, extinct, stuffed, no more. Perfect.
Because a pure consciousness experience is a temporary ‘self’-less experience with no emotions or feelings operating whatsoever there is no emotional memory of the experience afterwards. As such it can be lost in the memory or can easily be dismissed as an aberration and not taken for what it is.
RESPONDENT: Sometimes the real test of a relationship isn’t so much being together but how does it end, if it does? And how free is it?
PETER: For me the main event is always here and now, which means if I am living with someone then I have no concern about when, how or if it will end. If I am not happy now, if I am annoyed, moody, discontent, out of it, lacklustre, sad or whatever then I am somewhere else but here and now, not doing what is happening in this moment of time. By fully taking on board the fact that this very moment is the only moment I can experience means that I have abandoned the idea of postponement. For me there is no end of this relationship for, if it happens, it is not happening now. The exquisiteness and sensual delight of being here, doing what is happening, means the ending of the idea that I am coming from somewhere or that I am going somewhere. Freedom lies in being absolutely locked into, and fully committed to this very moment of time – to fully embrace being a flesh and blood human being on this paradisiacal material earth.
PAUL LOWE: Choicelessness and Being Present
Go with the feelings, the intuition, not with the mind. That is choicelessness. All that I have said about choicelessness applies to presence as well. Presence is being in this moment with acceptance, including all the facts and disconnecting from them. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: Put so clearly, choicelessness is a choice made by one’s feelings, a decision solely based on the emotions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Deciding anything this way is guaranteed to produce an utterly selfish and self-centred result or decision, not the best decision, the most appropriate and most sensible. In deciding ‘not with the mind’, the spiritual claim of choicelessness can be best described as thoughtless and senseless, selfish decision making.
As for ‘being present’, it is clear that the Eastern religious philosophy is to ‘choicelessly’ accept and then disconnect from the facts – facts such as the physical body, one’s emotions and thoughts, one’s physical surroundings and other people, the fact of one’s mortality, etc. If being ‘present in this moment’ is so good then why would one want to disconnect from the facts that are evident in this moment. Why would there not be delight in thinking, delight in being conscious and alive as a flesh and blood human being, delight in this paradisiacal planet floating in this wondrous universe?
If this is not the case, in this moment, then why would one not want to do everything possible to evince delight, happiness and harmlessness? Why would one want to continue to practice denial, acceptance and ‘disconnecting’ as the East have done for millennia? The results of these religious practices are readily evident in the present cultures of the East, where poverty, corruption, duplicity, hypocrisy, repression, violence, arrogance and greed abound.
PAUL LOWE: We have a possibility now to disconnect from the past. The past is doomed to repeat itself because it is only capable of projecting itself on to an old familiar future. All thought that is based on the past and can only restrict future possibility. <Snip> The greatest intimacy lies in not knowing. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: (...) This vain attempt at intimacy by promoting the feelings that arise from the chemical surges of the instinctual passions of nurture and desire has always offered fickle and fleeting success at best. Feelings of love and hate, giving and selfishness, forgiveness and retribution, etc. come inseparable in pairs and the constant seesawing of emotions in human relating makes actual intimacy an impossibility. At best, a mutual compromise is reached, a set of peace-agreements is established as to ‘safe’ grounds, ‘space’, ‘separate lives’, secrets and deals. This way of living and relating is but a sad and sorry second best as to what is actually possible when the feelings arising from the instinctual animal passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire are absent. With no emotional or psychic ‘radar’, no intuition or suspicion, no ‘emotive sharing’ or fights to pump up excitement, no ‘late night bargains struck’, no wars and no ceasefires, no fear or aggression operating, a direct sensate intimacy is deliciously and palpably evident.
A bit from Peter’s Journal – Living Together may give a taste of what is actually possible –
P.S. the Love chapter is good to read for any who are interested in this subject.
PAUL LOWE: Your complaints are all on the surface of life. When you identify with problems – having a relationship, not having a relationship, money, work issues – you are not going to be happy. Even when you do feel happy, it usually does not last very long. When you are ready to drop to source, an experience even more expanded than ‘happy’ is available. The source is the one that is being aware of what is happening on the surface – but it is not being the surface. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: So, no chance to be happy on ‘the surface of life’. By surface of life he means the real world ‘outside’, as evidenced by the entity who is ‘inside’ looking out through the eyes, hearing through the ears, smelling through the nose, etc. To retreat further from the physical world by focusing on becoming detached and disassociated from the physical world as evidenced by the senses, only means one is becoming twice removed from the actual world. One more firmly identifies as ‘the one that is being aware’ rather than working to eliminate the ‘I’ who thinks and feels him or herself as being aware.
When there is no ‘I’ being aware, a bare awareness happens by itself which brings an easy, delightful and serendipitous ease to each moment. One can then makes any adjustments necessary to ensure that any remaining problems left over from one’s ‘self’-centred life are eliminated. These are usually few as, while on the path to Actual Freedom, one has changed so radically that most of these problems will have been sensibly tackled, addressed or eliminated. The path to Actual Freedom does require radical change and this, more often than not, requires a change in the practical circumstances of relationship, work, money, friends, etc.
PAUL LOWE: Having a preference for things to be the way you would like them to be is natural. But as soon as you make them a choice, you are in misery. The stream of life bumps up against your resistance. The resistance is not logical. Seeing it, being with it, allowing it will make it dissolve and then the stream of life can move on, unobstructed. You can feel the flow of life, you can feel the stream is carrying you if you do not hold on to the shore. You can let go of holding; nothing is safe, nothing is secure, nothing is predictable, but when you let yourself into the flow of life, you are very alive. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: If ‘having a preference for things to be the way you would like them to be is natural’ then why not pursue one’s natural preference to be the best one can be rather than ‘choicelessly’ choose the ancient pursuit of the super-natural? The traditional methods of dealing with, or avoiding, ‘behaviours that we would prefer to be different’ are twofold –
But there is now available a third alternative to either remaining ‘normal’ or becoming ‘spiritual’ – an actual freedom from the Human Condition of malice and sorrow has been pioneered.
As for ‘you can feel the flow of life, you can feel the stream is carrying you’, thus far there has been only two streams – the ordinary or the spiritual – with the difference being that those in the spiritual stream believe their stream carries on after physical death. Having put the fear of death aside by denying the fact of death and having accepted one’s ‘self’ as real and the actual world as illusionary, they swan along feeling free, unattached and disassociated from the body, mind and emotions, and feeling safe and secure in their belief in an afterlife.
As for ‘when you let yourself into the flow of life, you are very alive’, what should be said by those in the spiritual stream is they feel very alive, for in fact they have turned away from, and deliberately opted out of, the main event – that of being the physical universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human being in this moment of eternal time and this place in infinite space.
We are the only life forms we know of that can go ‘ooh, ahhh, yummy’; that can experience unmitigated delight; that can think, contemplate and reflect on life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. The only life form on this planet that has intelligence such that we can deliberately adapt to the changed circumstances and rid ourselves of behaviour that we would prefer not to have – the virulent animal instinctual passions of fear aggression, nurture and desire.
Provided of course, we humans don’t choose the traditional path of opting out of this physical actual world to live in a metaphysical mystical world – the imaginary ‘flow of life’ that exists no-where else but as thoughts in our heads and impassioned feelings in our hearts.
Which is why I am moved to write to de-bunk the fear-ridden religious beliefs and, in particular, the currently fashionable Eastern religious ethic of denial and the equally puerile moral of acceptance.
It’s just so silly to opt out of the actual world of sensate delight, purity and perfection and even more so at a time when an increasing number of human beings on the planet are experiencing unprecedented safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.