Selected Correspondence Peter
RESPONDENT: I am fascinated by the idea that actualism uses some of the basic software elements of the ‘self’ (altruism and desire) and ... hocus-pocus: the ‘self’ vanishes provided there is a connection with the purity of the Universe.
RESPONDENT: But I also wonder whether desire and altruism also disappear together with fear, nurture, aggression, egoism and narcissism when the process is completed.
PETER: I can certainly affirm that all of the instinctual passions and their consequences disappear completely in a PCE, and from my own experience of living in a virtual freedom from the human condition for some 6 years now I can report that, whilst altruism is still a motivating force in my life, the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire have all but become ineffective … and from 7 years of close observation of Richard I can confirm that not a skerrick of them is observable in action in someone who is actually free of the human condition.
RESPONDENT: What specific desires have you lost along the way, if you can nominate just a few? Desire for me is the most shadowy item in the actualist bookstore.
PETER: This is what I wrote about instinctual desire in The Actual Freedom Trust Library –
Before I became an actualist, I had a good deal of experience of the failure of materialistic pursuits to bring me happiness, let alone allow me to be harmless. The instinctual passion of desire most prominently manifests as the desire for wealth and its associated power over others, the desire for fame and the adulation of others, the ceaseless accumulation of possessions and property always seemed paltry pursuits. Whilst I had previously found these pursuits wanting, as an actualist I have come to experientially understand the brutal and senseless instinctual passions that underpin these desires.
Once I came to experience raw instinctual survival fear and consequential aggression, the deep-seated emotions that arise from instinctual drive began to lose their affective power, so much so that I no longer harbour any moral or ethical objections to material wealth per se. Nowadays I am appreciative of the tangible benefits of the safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure that are the by-products of wealthy societies.
I have also had a good deal of experience of the failure of spiritual pursuits and I have already written about this extensively so I won’t go over the territory again, other than to say that I discovered the spiritual world to be an incestuous cesspool of self-gratification.
The most primal instinctual passion is the desire to procreate – to impregnate or be impregnated, depending on one’s gender. Of all of my investigations into the human instincts this has proved to be one of the most rewarding as not only have I succeeded in disempowering the brutish and senseless sexual drive such that I am now free to enjoy the sensual pleasures of sex but I have also freed others from my sexual predatoriness. In hindsight, the investigation into instinctual sexual desire has been one of the most fruitful aspects of my investigations into the instinctual passions as it has not only opened the door to being able to live in peace and harmony with my partner but it also help attune my senses to the myriad of sensual delights of everyday living.
One desire, however, still remains active and persistent and that is the desire to become actually free of the human condition.
RESPONDENT: And I’m not sure whether Richard is running on altruistic auto-pilot. For if he’s not on auto-pilot, then what motivates its actions? (based on your own experience of PCEs).
PETER: In a PCE, ‘me’ and ‘my’ instinctual passions are temporarily in abeyance. With the whole affective faculty temporarily inoperative, neither selfist nor altruistic feelings are present because everything is experienced as being utterly perfect in the actual world of the senses.
In a PCE, consideration for one’s fellow human beings is an effortless consequence of the total absence of instinctual malice and sorrow. This consideration is effortless in that it is not a product of any moral or ethical requisites whatsoever and nor is it a product of the tender half of the instinctual passions. And further this consideration is not passive in a PCE as one taps into the intrinsic benignity of the universe itself and as such, one literally wishes the best for each and every one of one’s fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT: How can my desire for freedom be strong and ‘deliver the desired results’ when it seems that that very desire often moves me away from experiencing this present moment? Comments are welcome.
PETER: The universal human desire for freedom is not an enemy, nor is it the cause of human misery, as the spiritualists would have us believe. The desire for freedom is based upon the experiential understanding that there is more to life than you normally experience. Whether you consciously remember these experiences or not – sometimes people find it difficult to remember their pure consciousness experiences – the disparity between these experiences of the perfection and purity of the actual world on one hand and your life as-it-is now on the other is the very source of the desire for freedom.
Thus far in human history, the shamans, gurus and Godmen have latched on to this innate human desire for freedom, peace and happiness and have cornered the market by peddling their alluring fairy tales of immortal souls and spirit worlds and seductive states of God-consciousness. However, in this newly emerging post-spiritual era, this sham can now be clearly seen for what it is – ancient superstitions and myths fabricated upon the urge for ‘self’-aggrandizement that is built into the animal instinctual survival program. Only when you come to fully understand the breathtaking scope of this scam are you able to finally free yourself from the spiritual platitudes and inanities that have squashed, crippled and perverted the human desire for freedom for millennia.
Then you are free to gaily crank up your own desire for a genuine freedom from malice and sorrow – free to roll up your sleeves and get stuck into the fascinating business of finding out exactly what is preventing you from being happy and harmless now.
And what a grand thing to do – to dare to head off on your own in a direction that is 180 degrees opposite to what everyone else accepts as being right and true – to experience that delicious feeling of committing yourself totally to your search for freedom, peace and happiness for the first time in your life.
RESPONDENT: A ring-necked lizard has been sunning itself on a rock, accompanied by lizardly calisthenics. It darted off a moment ago in some haste. Then the cat moved slowly into view, cautious, each paw tentative, blue gaze sweeping the rocky ground.
We would like to call what motivated that wise alert sunlit animal to flee ‘fear’ wouldn’t we? I suspect the animal’s awareness and reaction to danger was experienced without any sense of ‘Oh no, what should I do?’ that I associate with human psychological fear, but rather the alert, fully aware action of basic animal intelligence operating to preserve its functioning. An active, momentary knowing of what to do without the need to stop and consult any kind of map. Yes, the animal had ‘fear’ but it was fully experienced fear with no psychological overlay, just pure reaction as it needed to occur, nervous system fight or flight response activation, and boogey!
But who knows, maybe it was terrified.
PETER: At the moment I am writing a glossary of terms for a second edition of my journal so as to better understand the Human Condition as my investigations continue, so I’ll give you my bits on instincts and fear to date, which may be of use to your musings –
PETER to Richard: I think that the point is that this state of Virtual Freedom 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. The next phase is to an Actual Freedom – the complete extinction of the psychological and psychic entity, in short the ‘me’ who I think and feel I am. There is no doubt that I am travelling a different path to the one you travelled, one that you have carefully mapped and explored with your companion at the time. Because of this your experiences of becoming Enlightened and clawing your way out are not relevant to my experiences. But the end result and aim is the same – an actual freedom from the Human Condition – a definitive and decisive release from, and extinction of, the alien entity inside this body. In trying to make sense of my different path and your two-stage extinction, I have had a cautious approach as the Rock of Enlightenment always looms large. Having seen and experienced the power-crazed God-men in action and the willingness of there desperate followers to surrender to them and worship has proved a valuable, if sobering, experience. The other part is having experienced the seduction of an Altered State of Consciousness. As a consequence I have been well warned and well prepared.
Despite the fact of having had a substantial peak experience (PCE) some 15 years ago and a substantial experience of Divine Love (ASC) some 3 years ago there was still a piece missing. It all seemed to involve either a looking back into my past or sideways to your experiences and trying to draw a parallel. The other nagging issue was a feeling of the unfairness or even perversity of being born into the Human Condition, of being who I thought and felt I was, finding out it was a pretty rotten mess and then having to die, or self-immolate in order to be free. To do that in order to become Enlightened is one thing as one gets to have worshipping disciples, psychic power, fame and wealth – ‘Money for nothing and your chicks for free’ as I cheekily put it. Becoming God seems a not too bad reward for the effort involved – well on the face of it anyway, as long as you are not too discriminating. Of course, once you see the down-sides of Enlightenment, it very rapidly loses appeal – but at least ‘I’ am around to enjoy it.
But self-immolation, extinction, the end of me? And even the memory of a peak experience in the past and an intellectual clarity of the whole Human Condition including the delusion and appalling consequences still seemed to leave a slight gap, a wee doubt. Virtual Freedom had brought me to a position where it became obvious that ‘I’ could do no more to clean myself up, I seemingly had done all that ‘I’ could. Something more was needed, and – loh and behold – it came along.
PETER to Richard: ‘We are all one’ is indeed one of the classic lines from the spiritual world and perhaps no other platitude more accurately illustrates the gulf between belief, feeling and imagination and what is fact, sensible and blindingly obvious on the other. ‘We are all one’ and yet ‘we’ continuously and instinctually fight and fear each other in a grim battle of survival. The passionate feeling that ‘we are all one’, engendered by belonging exclusively to one spiritual group or another, gives rise to feelings of elitism, separateness, isolationism, remoteness, seclusion, exclusivity, defensiveness, blind loyalty and blind faith, snobbery, false superiority, intolerance, etc. etc. – anything but ‘We are all one’. In fact the feeling is not ‘We are all one’ but rather ‘We are the Chosen Ones’, and for the Guru it is not ‘We are all one’ but it is the feeling that ‘I am the One’. What a phantasm the spiritual world is, and being ‘admonished to leave your mind at the door, surrender your will, and trust your feelings’ ensures that the followers remain unthinking, unquestioning and off in La-La land – anywhere but here in the actual world and anytime but now, this very moment of being alive.
All this nonsense, simply in order that ‘I’ as an identity can remain in existence – anything but a nobody, anything but a no-one, anything but cease to exist. This last 15 months since finishing my journal has been a period of becoming a nobody in society’s terms, a no-one in particular in terms of belonging to a group and a no-self in terms of being a feeling being that lives in fear and needs to fight for survival. As the feelings arising from the instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire diminish, being alive here, now becomes such a delicious, ambrosial experience that I am wont to lie about doing nothing, for simply being here is outstanding – and on top of it I occasionally get to do something. I have no objections at all to being here, in fact where else could I be, and where else would I want to be. I am going nowhere, I have come from nowhere, I don’t need to do anything, I am never bored, I have no plans, desires, ambitions. I have no idea what I will do for the rest of my days, nor do I worry – I simply need sufficient money to live. Money for rent, food and clothes and for the pleasures that I fit into the day as well.
Without the need to struggle to exist, and with no ‘me’ to defend, being here is indeed effortless. It requires no ‘me’ to be here for I am perpetually here anyway. ‘I’ play no part in pumping my heart, breathing, thinking, sleeping, eating, walking, seeing, hearing, smelling, touching – ‘I’ am but a dinosaurial-redundancy ... a passionate illusion, ripe for extinction.
My experiential answer to Willie Shakespeare’s famous question – ‘to be or not to be?’ is that being an identity, be it social or animal instinctual, is a bummer – whatever way one looks at it. As this ‘skin’ of identity falls away I am more able to be me, this flesh and blood body, having no relationship or continuity with ‘who’ I was when I started this process. One does indeed step out of the real world and into the actual world leaving one’s ‘self’ behind, as you put it so descriptively. There is yet to be a passionate act of extinction and more and more I have stopped waiting for it to happen – so perfect and easy has life become.
PETER to Richard: Given that the human animal is the most advanced of the primates, it does beg the question as to how much pre-memory is genetically programmed in the human amygdala and therefore ‘set in the flesh’, as it were. Two of these pre-codings are vital in understanding the human psyche –‘who’ one thinks and feels one is.
Firstly, there is most obviously an instinctual sense of self-recognition, a faculty we share with our closet genetic cousins – apes and chimps both recognize ‘themselves’ in a mirror. This instinctual primal ‘self’ is made more sophisticated in humans, for the cognitive neo-cortex (the ‘conscious’ to use LeDoux’s term) is only capable of detecting the chemical flows of the amygdala (non-cognitive and ‘unconscious’), and these are ‘felt’ as basic passions or emotions and interpreted as feelings – ‘my’ feelings. Thus, we ‘feel’ this genetic instinctual programming to be ‘me’ at my core. This program thus gives every human being an instinctual self which is translated into a ‘real’ self that is both psychic – LeDoux’s ‘unconscious’ made obvious and real by the ensuing flow of chemicals from the amygdala – and psychological – interpreted as thoughts by the modern cognitive brain. (The modern brain is also taught much after birth – one’s social identity – but I’m interested in the deeper level at this stage.)
This explains that the spiritual journey ‘in’ is thus a journey to find one’s instinctual self – one’s roots, one’s original face, the Source, etc. If, on this inner journey, one ignores or denies the passions of aggression and fear and concentrates one’s attention on the passions of nurture and desire, one can shift one’s identity from the psychological thinking neo cortex – the ‘ego’ to use their term – and ‘become’, or associate with, or identify with, the good feelings of nurture and desire. This is a seductive and self-gratifying journey, for one is actively promoting the flow of chemicals that give rise to the good, pleasant, warm, light-headed, heart-full and ultimately ecstatic feelings. These flow of chemicals overwhelm the neo-cortex to such an extent that they become one’s primary experience, and the input of the physical world as perceived by the senses and the clear-thinking ability of the cognitive modern brain are both subjugated – or ‘transcended’ to use their term. One then ‘feels’ one has found one’s original ‘self’, which one has of course, though t’is all but a fantasy of one’s imagination.
I particularly remember when I first came across spiritual teachings, the mythology and poetry that alluded to this ‘inner’ world seemed to strike a deep cord with me – the tales of Ancient Wisdom ‘connected’ with this deep (unconscious) level which was a connection with the instinctual memory in the amygdala. I had ‘found’ someone who had the answers, was in touch with the Source, knew the meaning of life, the truth – I had come Home. I began a journey into the inner world of good feelings, made real by the ability to enhance the chemical flow of nurture and desire and dampen, suppress or ignore the feelings of aggression and fear. I was literally leaving the real world behind and seeking solace and succour in the spiritual world. I was thus forfeiting any chance of breaking free of my instinctual passions, in total, for a selfish bid for personal bliss and a permanent place in an imaginary ‘other world’ composed solely of chemically-supported blissful feelings.
Secondly, the other faculty I see as essentially pre-coded is an instinctual need to ‘belong’ to the herd – the herding instinct, as Vineeto puts it. It might seem banal and obvious given that humans, as a species, have perennially needed to maintain, at very least, a family grouping in order to ensure the survival of the species. Given that the human infant is helpless for such a long time compared with most other species, the immediate family group was the basic minimum need, and the chance of survival was considerably increased with larger and stronger groupings. This is an instinctual program that over-rides the individual’s own survival instincts for one is ultimately programmed to ensure survival of the species – not one’s own, as in self-preservation. Given that these involve more sophisticated programming than mere instantaneous ‘fight and flight’ reactions they must be encoded in the genetic memory of the amygdala, passed on from ‘way back there’, in the mists of time.
This instinct, implanted by blind nature to ensure the survival of the species, pumps the body with chemicals that induce the feeling of fear whenever one is straying too far away from the herd, abandoning other members of the family or group or being on one’s own. I remember particularly, in my early twenties, travelling across Europe and the Middle East on my way home from London and arriving at the border with Iran. I was turned away at an isolated border post as I didn’t have a visa and I was struck with a deep sense of panic, a feeling of utter loneliness. Looking back, it was as though I had gone too far striking off on my own and had hit the limit. This feeling of loneliness was to haunt me for many years – the image of becoming a lonely old man on a park bench, outcast and abandoned. It coincidentally was to prove one of the images that made me leap into the spiritual world with such gusto. I was to lose this fear later in life but living alone was always accompanied by a bitter-sweet feeling of loneliness. My major period of living alone was also the period when I began to have spiritual experiences, Satoris and an experience of Altered States of Consciousness aka Enlightenment.
From my investigations and experiences it is obvious that ‘who’ I think and feel I am – ‘me’ at the core – encompasses both a deep-set feeling of separateness from others and the world as perceived by the senses as well as a deep-set feeling of needing to ‘belong’.
This over-arching feeling of separateness – of being a ‘separate self’, who is forever yearning to ‘belong’ – is the root cause of sorrow in me and the all encompassing ‘ocean’ of human sorrow in the world.
PETER to Alan: 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...
PETER to Alan: The flesh and blood body which sees, hears, smells, touches, thinks, reflects and speaks as distinct from the psychological and psychic entity within (who I think and feel I am) that neurotically controls, is fearful and aggressive, feels lost and lonely, and desperately fears death.
Spiritual wisdom has it that the spirit or soul is real and the physical body/mind is but an illusion. The physical body is imagined as the seat of lustful carnal desire and the mind (ego) as the seat of selfish, evil, and non-divine thought. The soul, the imagined seat of the good feelings, is seen as the ‘spirit’ within the body, able to survive the death of the body. The spiritual solution to the human dilemma of malice and sorrow involves actively cultivating the soul – the ‘good’ feelings – into a distinct, superior, God-fantasizing identity. This new spiritual identity is then in total denial of, and transcendent to, the more unpleasant aspects of the body’s instinctual programming that produces lust, anger, despair, violence, fear and depression. To fantasize of a ‘good’ and immortal ‘spirit’ dwelling within an ‘evil’ and, very obviously, mortal body is to deny the fact of that humans actually are – instinctually-driven flesh and blood bodies, able to think and reflect.
The Human Condition that enslaves the human body in malice and sorrow is essentially a neuro-biological condition. It is firmly based on the formation of a social identity imposed over an instinctual based primitive self – installed by blind nature to ensure the species’ survival. It is only when we firmly face this fact, cease denying it, and cease believing the fantasy story of a spirit-world, can we sensibly get down to the business at hand – ridding ourselves of the neuro-biological instinctual programming of the human brain. When one does, one discovers that the instinctual programming is exactly analogous to software in a computer – it is nothing more than how the hardware of the brain has been programmed to operate and function, and being software, the whole lot can be disposed of, deleted, eradicated. What is discovered is that the human flesh and blood body, freed of the pernicious restriction of a personal, instinct-based ‘self’, is able to operate at its optimum, to its full potential – freed of malicious and sorrowful feelings.
In actualism, it is possible to eliminate the psychological and psychic entity such that one becomes this flesh and blood body only, wondering at the perfection and purity of the physical universe. All is then delightful, easy, carefree, serendipitous and perfect.’
PETER to Alan: After our conversation the other day, I have been musing a bit about the word freedom and what it means to most people.
Exemption or release from slavery or imprisonment; personal liberty. 2 The quality of being free from the control of fate or necessity; the power of self-determination attributed to the will. 3 The quality of being free or noble; nobility, generosity, liberality. 4 The state of being able to act without hindrance or restraint; liberty of action; the right of, to do.. 5 Exemption from a specific burden, charge, or service; an immunity. 6 Exemption from arbitrary, despotic, or autocratic control; independence; civil liberty. 7 Readiness or willingness to act. 8 The right of participating in the privileges attached to citizenship of a town or city (often given as an honour to distinguished people), or to membership of a company or trade. Also, the document or diploma conferring such freedom. b Foll. by of: unrestricted access to or use of. c The liberty or right to practise a trade; the fee paid for this. 9 Foll. by from. The state of not being affected by (a defect, disadvantage, etc.); exemption. 10 Orig., the overstepping of due customary bounds in speech or behaviour, undue familiarity. Now also, frankness, openness, familiarity; outspokenness. 11 Facility or ease in action or activity; absence of encumbrance. 12 Boldness or vigour of conception or execution. Oxford Dictionary
The dictionary provides a reasonably straightforward definition and for an actualist the pertinent section is freedom ‘from’, as in –
Thus a freedom from the human condition is ‘The state of not being affected by (a defect, disavantage, etc.), exemption’ , from the human condition. Given that the salient attributes of the human condition are malice and sorrow, a more pragmatic definition is an actual freedom from malice and sorrow.
Much confusion arises for the seeker of freedom, peace and happiness for the word freedom traditionally means something quite different. In spiritual terms, freedom means an escape from, or release from, something undesirable – life as-it-is, in the world as-it-is, right here and right now – and the discovery of, or realization of, a more desirable somewhere else – being ‘present’ in the spiritual world, anyplace but here and anytime but now. I am having a correspondence with an awakened spiritual teacher at the moment that well illustrates this difference –
There seems to be a very deep-set misunderstanding that arises even from the running of the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ for the traditional approach would be – am ‘I’ feeling safe and comfortable ‘inside’ this body despite what is happening in the rock-solid world ‘out there’? This approach to the question merely perpetuates the self as an entity that is separate from the actual world, it does nothing to actively demolish and break down the barriers that prevents one as a mortal flesh and blood body being fully immersed in and engaged in the business of doing what is happening, right here and now in the physical, rock-solid actual world. This actual freedom is 180 degrees opposite to the spiritual freedom which is the escape from being here, right now in this the only moment one can experience being alive.
An exchange I recently had with another correspondent illustrates a further aspect of spiritual belief about the actual physical world where we flesh and blood humans actually live –
Again this exchange illustrates that actualism lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction to spiritualism. I don’t seek an escape from being here, now in the actual world – I seek to break free from all that prevents me from being here. In the case above, to do this means breaking free of the spiritual belief that material comfort is the cause of our misery – a deeply cynical and perverse view of life on earth that merely perpetuates human suffering.
We were chatting the other day about the marked difference between being here, doing what is happening and the feeling of not being here that can cause a frustration with life as-it-is. The frustration with life as-it-is, right here and now, most often causes a passionate desire to be somewhere else which serves only to prevent one from being here. For an actualist, any period of time spent not being here is clearly a waste of time. Any time spent being bored, angry, pissed off, feeling sad, lack luster, annoyed, etc. is time wasted time lost from fully living this the only moment one can experience being alive. All of these ‘time-offs’ have to be explored and investigated and understood so as to prevent the same old ‘time-outs’ occurring in the future. It takes a bit of practice and a lot of effort and attention as to ‘how’ am I experiencing this moment of being alive, but pretty soon one gets the hang of it.
PETER: 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.
RESPONDENT: I agree that some of these emotions have their attractiveness but if that is weighed up against all the times one missed out on opportunities because of the negative effects of certain emotions then a strong argument can be made for sacrificing the ones that are found to be somehow enjoyable.
PETER: Yep. Tis writ large in the sacred texts of the ‘Human Condition’, sub-section ‘Human Attributes’ – ‘The faculty that distinguishes the human species from other animal species is our ability to feel. In short we are ‘feeling’ beings – take away our feelings and we are but animals or robots’. Of course, this sacred tenet was written in ancient times when the only chance of keeping fear and aggression in reasonable control was to emphasise nurture and desire. Thus it was that ‘good’ and ‘bad’, together with ‘right and wrong’, was chiselled in stone and written on rice paper as the morals and ethics of tribal groups. This was further reinforced by fairy-tales of Gods and Demons, good and bad spirits, and the power and influence of the shamans was set in concrete. To dare to question the Gods and the good was to tempt the Devil, invite the bad to run riot and invoke the wrath of the shamans.
All of this is based on primitive ignorance of modern human biological knowledge only evident this century. Human and animal behavioural studies combined with stunning genetic and neuro-biological knowledge has made the futility of sticking with Ancient and spirit-ual solutions patently obvious.
What we now know is that human beings have an instinctual program of fear, aggression, nurture and desire and that this is located in the hypothalamus primitive lizard brain. Its task is largely the regulation of stereotyped, or instinctive behaviour patterns and responses. In lower animals this response, sometimes known as ‘fight and flight’ is a simple response to sensorial input – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. In humans with our more complex brain, thought, memory, reflection and self-awareness this simple response becomes an emotional response – an emotion according to Mr. Oxford – Any of the natural instinctive affections of the mind.
Our treasured and dearly-held feelings are most commonly expressed as emotion-backed thoughts, firmly rooted in the ‘fight and flight’ instinct of fear and aggression. Hence we are ‘feeling’ beings – we live constantly with the feelings of fear and aggression implanted in us by ‘blind’ nature. (...)
If you think ‘a strong argument can be made for sacrificing the ones that are found to be somehow enjoyable’, do you realise that thinking like that, if actualized, could eventually lead to an end of religions and of religious wars – an end to malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: It is amazing how this human trap can be desirable, even after great suffering.
PETER: We do indeed love to suffer and to inflict suffering on others – our ‘entertainment’ is either sad ‘love’ stories and tales of suffering or ‘action’ and violence. We have turned suffering into a virtue and pleasure into a vice. All of the religious and spiritual texts point to the essential and unending human suffering on earth. It is understandable for they knew nought of instinctual programming, and life on earth was a ‘fight and flight’ business – a man eat man business – to put it in its brutal perspective. But it is 1999 after all, and the ‘sacred’ words of Jesus, Buddha and the likes can be seen for what they are – ancient spirit-ridden drivel of no relevance at all to the situation we – you and I, and the others on this list – now find ourselves in.
RESPONDENT: Yesterday when I was contemplating on ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’, I realized that I am not really understanding the word ‘experiencing’. What I was asking myself was, in fact, ‘How am I feeling in this moment of being alive’. This is so because I was always coming out with answers like ‘happy’ or ‘not happy’ or ‘gloomy’ etc. Which are all feelings.
PETER: Aye, indeed. And until ‘you’ leave the stage your experience of life will be an emotional, feeling interpretation of the actual. It can not be any other way – human beings are wired that way. The amygdala – the primitive lizard brain – is an organ that is designed as an early warning system to quickly scan the sensorial input for any real or perceived danger and react with fear and aggression. This constant ‘on-guardness’ can be seen in any of the animal species, and in the human animal it produces feelings of fear and aggression. The amygdala is also the source of instinctual nurture and desire producing feelings that again actively conspire to ruin our happiness. So it sounds as if you are starting to realize the primary role that feelings play in the Human Condition. ‘You’ as an entity, existing inside the flesh and blood body can only think or feel about the actual world, and the only direct experience possible is when you cease to exist – either temporarily in a PCE, virtually in Virtual Freedom or permanently in Actual Freedom.
RESPONDENT: I remember Osho once said that the reason people are trained to have good feelings is that so that they do not cause damage to other people. Or something like that.
PETER: Indeed. In ‘normal’ society we are socially trained to be good and have good feelings. As a back-up when the ‘good’ fails we have laws, lawyers, psychiatrists, police, fines, jails, armies, etc. to stop the ‘bad’ feelings from running amok. The spiritual solution is to pump up the good feelings to become divine feelings resulting in feelings of superiority, grandness, oneness and wholeness which, if practiced assiduously, leads to the feeling that one is indeed Divineness Itself.
By the way, Rajneesh aka Osho says ‘Unconsciousness is evil and consciousness is Divine’ which is nothing other than the Eastern version of Western morality of good and bad.
Good and bad (or conscious and unconscious) is as pathetic a division of instinctual passions as is right and wrong a pathetic division of social values. Human beings actually fight horrendous wars over these divisions. The initial stage of Actual Freedom involves investigating these socially and spiritually implanted morals and ethics in order to discover what lays beneath – the genetically implanted instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
PETER: Not at all. Following one’s intuition is to act the way you know, or feel, is right. I have been reviewing a book by a spiritual Guru who teaches following one’s intuition, listening to one’s inner dialogue, etc. and what this means is acting from one’s instinctual passions. Following one’s intuition simply is what everyone does and it means that everyone is instinctually driven to act aggressively and fearfully, blindly seeking a futile fulfillment and solace in nurture and desire.
As for pure intent, there is a glossary of terms on the Actual Freedom web-site that I compiled and Vineeto has collated relevant writings and correspondence – in order to avoid confusion, encourage contemplation and aid thinking about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. It was my next project after writing my journal, as it was apparent to me that my spiritual training had stifled enquiry and muddled words and thinking to such an extent that nothing made sense anymore. It is essential to first make sense of the Human Condition we find ourselves in as human beings in order to become actually free of it. Hence The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary – a common language or words firmly based on dictionary meanings in order to clearly communicate and share our experiences.
But one does have to read, and read, and read – it is a prerequisite for an actualist. When I first met Richard I took everything he was saying in spiritual terms for I knew nothing else and it was only by reading his journal over and over again that the penny started to drop and the sparks started to fly.
As it says on the Cabot’s paint tins – ‘If all else fails – read the instructions’.
RESPONDENT: Watching one’s self in action, then, is insightful, leading to permanent change.
PETER: No. It does bugger all. Denial plus acceptance equals no change. To be a watcher is to be a wanker.
RESPONDENT: If one acts a particular way long enough it become one’s actual nature, me thinks... one’s non-instinctual intelligent self in action no less.
PETER: There is no such thing as a ‘non-instinctual intelligent self’. It is a nonsense term, mere drivel, babble and squeak.
Every human being is born with a genetically encoded instinctual ‘self’, evident even in our closest genetic cousins, the chimps. To eliminate the instinctual passions is to eliminate this ‘self’ – ‘me’ as being. Humans with their ability to think and reflect overlay this instinctual ‘self’ with a psychological and psychic ‘self’ – ‘who’ we think we are and ‘who’ we feel we are. This alien entity that dwells within the flesh-and-blood-body, the ‘self’ in total, has to go in order for any human being to be intelligent and non-instinctual.
There are no short-cuts, no sleights of hand, no imaginary fixes, no fantasy escapes. All that has been tried and found wanting by millions of well-intentioned people for thousands of years.
Is it not time to try something new?
One of the many things you will lose is being relentlessly driven to ‘liking to hide in the group, to connect, to solve problems, to feel a part of a bigger picture, and therefore feel stronger, more important, more relevant’ – and won’t that be of significant benefit to you and others? You get to stand on your own two feet and you stop being a burden on others ... and the resulting freedom is palpable, tangible ... almost actual. Then you work on another issue, another feeling, another passion, and you whittle away at that one ... and freedom comes incrementally and then one day ...
Actual Freedom is about actively applying a method in order to induce change, not understanding a philosophy or terminology in order that one can ‘feel stronger, more important, more relevant’. Most people, I naively assume, are attracted to Actual Freedom because they are unhappy with themselves and their circumstances. It may be that the spiritual path has not ‘worked’ for them, they feel trapped, their life has no meaning, they yearn for freedom, etc. But a curious thing happens when they realize that Actual Freedom is about change. They become suddenly and miraculously ‘okay’ as they are ... or they disappear back to the tried and failed, or back to the real world.
Actual Freedom is about irrevocable and permanent change ... and that is the dare.
PETER to No 13: I do sometimes wonder if anyone does or ever will read what I write because all of it gets filed away on the Web-site and one can often count the weekly hits on one hand. Long ago it became obvious that I was writing for myself and for my enjoyment and if it was of use to someone else it was a bonus. I did enjoy the book review as it bought home to me the fact that making denial and acceptance into fashionable ethical and moral values and then aspiring to Transcendence is indeed institutionalized insanity. And how actual peace on earth is eagerly sacrificed by all those who indulge in self-centred spiritual belief.
I thought a bit about your comments about words, intent and talking to others and I found some pieces from my journal which may be relevant –
PAUL LOWE: From this vulnerable place, our awareness includes the other person but is not focused on them. We do not modify our behaviour to fit in with this other person. Rather we include them in our consciousness and allow modification to happen on its own. As this person comes into our awareness, our energy field adjusts without our having to do anything. When we are present in the moment, change happens on its own. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: From this inner world of vulnerability one then needs to project an image of love over people who come into one’s awareness. One frantically and desperately dons rose coloured glasses in order to see the world and other human beings in a good light. As one radiates love and acceptance a mutual imaginary feel-good atmosphere is created and this is particularly seen and felt in NDA spiritual gatherings. Everyone present at these gatherings adjusts their energy fields in order to feel part of the whole, to feel one with each other. This atmosphere is particularly strong in mass gatherings, or can be sometimes evoked on one’s own by imagination induced in meditation sessions. These feelings, arising from the conscious effort of expanding the good instinctual passions of nurture and desire, are notoriously fickle and this leads to the traditional spiritual complaint of how difficult it is to live in the ‘real’ world amongst ‘unconscious’ people.
Nothing changes at all in this process – the spiritual retreat from the ‘real’ world has been going on for tens of thousands of years, presumably since the first shaman went off on his own to live in a cave so as to better connect with the spirits and the spirit world. (...)
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: Classic New Dark Age double-speak. And this pearl of wisdom comes from someone who is presenting a fresh and unique re-interpretation of religious and philosophical ideas that are over 2,500 years old. To project these ancient ideas, thoughts, fantasies and fairytales into the current situation in which we now find ourselves is an act of appalling ignorance and desperation. The greatest delusion lies in actively promoting ignorance as a Virtue.
Of course, Mr. Lowe is talking of an intimacy with God – the greatest delusion. His recipe for human intimacy is to share one’s ‘inner dialogue’ – the emotive outpourings that are so common in spiritual groups and communities typify this therapeutic approach to sharing and togetherness.
To promote disconnecting from the facts and allowing ourselves to be ‘who we are, as we are’, i.e. an alien identity residing within the flesh and blood body, is to prevent intimacy and continue alienation, separateness, fear and suspicion. ‘Not knowing’ what the other entity is thinking or feeling promotes the continuation of intuition – the use of a form of ‘psychic radar’ to sense out the other person. To overcome this alienation the common cure is to promote the feelings of love, nurture and duty – a method of relating taught to every human being since birth. This obviously fails to ‘bridge the gap’ on a personal human level, so one is then encouraged to feel a universal or unconditional love – an unfocused love which leads to an even greater distance being formed between flesh and blood human beings as ‘holier than thou’ feelings always set in with fantasy.
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.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Seven Work – Is It Really Necessary?
‘When people ask me about the meaning of work, I ask myself, ‘At what level am I going to reply to this question?’ The way most people think about ‘work’ arises from their conditioning and that is usually based on a level of basic survival. I am not interested in that level any longer. <Snip> No attempts to understand or change anything at this level will ever succeed in a deep and enduring way. It is now time to shift from survival to fulfillment. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: When one attains to a certain level of Guru-ship, and can convincingly sell the alluring dream of self-fulfillment, there are followers who are eager and willing to pay to provide for one’s basic survival. When a survival level is assured, one then aims to attract a greater following in order to attain a level of comfortable wealth. Once this level is reached the insatiable drive for fame and power really kick in and the desire to have the most followers, to be the best Guru soon overwhelms any remaining sanity and pretty soon we are talking of the desire to be the One and Only God-man. Franklin Jones, aka Da Free John, aka Adidas, is a prime case of this crazed level of megalomania run amok.
Fulfillment is an impossibility for a ‘self’ and even if one manages to become a ‘Self’, a deluded God-man or God-woman, enough is never enough. It was never enough for the Tibetan Lamas to feel themselves immortal – when they died they ensured their rotting corpses were coated in gold, provided by ordinary Tibetans. There is a local Guru I know who spends half the year travelling the world in order to spread his fame and gather more followers. I simply see him as a travelling salesman endlessly totting the globe, endlessly after more wealth, more adoration, and more power ... and he will never have enough.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Thirteen Beyond Choosing
The persistent experience of misery in life is not created by significant events or tragedies, but by our unconscious reactions to the ordinary, everyday incidents of our lives. One of the most common ways we lock ourselves up in life is through our attachment to wanting what we want. Practically everything in our lives is a desire. We may call it choice, yet that is often just another word for a demand. We go about our lives demanding the world be the way we want it. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: Spiritual teachers – and psychiatrists and psychologists – make out the genetically-encoded instinctual passions to be ‘unconscious reactions’. For the spiritual believers the aim is to gain a higher consciousness – transcending the lower and the unconscious. For the psychiatrist and psychologist the aim is to reduce the worst excesses of unconscious reactions and to bring these reactions back within ‘normal’ socially-tolerable limits. Nobody is willing to call a spade a spade – ‘unconscious reactions’ are the animal instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. To even consider eliminating these passions is to contemplate eliminating both the supposed good passions as well as the more obvious bad passions – enough of a thought to send everyone scurrying for cover.
From his chapter opening we are heading into the spiritual furphy of choiceless awareness – denial and acceptance dressed up in a very appealing package. (...)
PAUL LOWE: In the past, there was often little difference for me between losing a $100,000 investment or discovering a dirt mark on a sarong. It was the same thing, the same torture inside, the same desolation in not having what is desired. I have discovered that the way to unlock this self-inflicted pattern of torture is to be there with the feelings. You do not want the torture, so you keep running away from the distress. But it does not go away. The alternative is to be present and feel it, now, as it is happening. It is the same with jealousy or any feeling you do not want to experience. Be there and have the feeling even though you do not know how long it will last. When you do not avoid or energize the feelings by dwelling on them or making them important, they will start to fade away on their own. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: On the surface of it, this can appear to be a reasonable approach to investigating and eliminating feelings, emotions and passions until you realize that this is not his Paul’s intention. What he is proposing and practicing is a way of transcending ‘any feeling you do not want to experience’. This is to remain snorkelling on the surface and looking at one’s feelings swimming beneath, as it were, while being present in the moment. The bad feelings start to fade away simply because one disassociates from them. They are still there but they are not you.
An Actualist is keen and willing to investigate the reason these feelings arise in the first place, what causes them, what is their make up, how do they function, what is the psychology, how and why do feelings change and how do they link together, when do the chemicals kick in and where do they function, what tricks does one use to either to control, repress or avoid, etc. Selective avoidance, maintaining ignorance and practicing acceptance and are useless tools if one wants to investigate, understand and eliminate feelings, emotions and passions from one’s life.
You will also notice that Paul is attempting to fade away ‘any feeling you do not want to experience’ and thereby enhance the feelings one wants to experience and identify with – such feeling states as being ‘beyond choosing’, being ‘present in this moment’, ‘living in the depths of ourselves’, ‘feeling bliss’, etc. (...)
PAUL LOWE: Someone told me that he once threw an expensive movie camera into a lake in a fury because it did not work the way he wanted. I have done similar things; most of us have. That energy comes and you explode. One day I started to be with that feeling and not act it out and eventually it started to fade. The preference is still there to have things the way I might want, but now there is no contraction when life does not happen as I would like it too. There is no choice, no demand. When we are ready to give up our demands we will find our freedom. If we want to be free and continue to insist on having what we want, we will never be free. We may say we want to be free, that we do not want the anger or the disturbance, but still, we continue to want what we want. We still want our way and the feeling of discontent will always flow from that demand, no matter how slight it may seem. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: What you are describing is transcendence – a rising above the mundane, the physical, the earthly undesirable desires, bad or evil emotions, thoughts and actions.
– that transcends; surpassing or excelling others of its kind, supreme; beyond the range or grasp of human experience, reason, belief, etc. Formerly also, greatly superior to. b Of God: existing apart from, and not subject to the limitations of, the material universe. Oxford Dictionary
In transcendence the undesirable feelings are still there, for the instinctual passions are not challenged or questioned. One simply makes a deliberate choice, every moment again, to sublimate the bad feelings and enhance and identify with the good feelings. As you said above –
This is a deliberate choice, a discrimination, a demand, a judgement as to what is good and what is bad, wanting something the way you want it, being the way you want to be – transcendental. Transcendence is when one feels free of the bad feelings and thoughts, one feels free of the body and one feels free of earthly mortal existence – the last being the big bonus that ‘ordinary spirituality’ doesn’t want to trumpet too much lest it be seen as nothing other than old-time religion.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Fifteen Waking Up – It’s Not What You Think (...)
PETER: (...) I’ll finish with some words on the search for freedom, peace and happiness from the Introduction to Actual Freedom. –
Nobody seems at all willing to question the primary role that affective feelings play in perpetuating human malice and sorrow. For most people it is inconceivable to live without battling or blaming someone or something, without feeling sad about something, let alone without sympathy, empathy, love and desire.
Thus it is that Humanity wallows in fear, aggression, nurture and desire and will continue to do so until sanity and sensibility manage to gain a substantial foothold.
PETER: We have had a good bit of de-bunking of the spiritual lately on the list, so I was interested to come across a piece on Awareness written by a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at California University. It indicates very clearly that spiritual concepts are not confined to those living in Ashrams or those following Gurus on the so-called spiritual path. The professions involved in studying the psyche, consciousness, human behaviour, brain functioning, etc. have a deep-seated and inherent spiritual viewpoint – after all they are studying the ‘spirit’, the ethereal entity that dwells within every human body. Jung and Freud, for example, were both steeped in Eastern mysticism, but then again, so is the whole of Western science and philosophy. Science and philosophy only emerged from the incestuous bosom of the church in Europe in the Middle Ages and, after some valiant attempts at independence, eventually came under the fashionable influence of Eastern religious thought in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
So, it’s useful to shine our torch on the ‘mainstream’ and see what is on offer in comparison with the words of the Gurus that can often be too easily dismissed as the more ‘lunatic fringe’ of Eastern spirituality.
It’s a fairly long piece, so I’ll break it up to comment on it as the Professor’s story unfolds –
Prof. A. DEIKMAN: Awareness = ‘I’
We seem to have numerous ‘I’s. There is the I of ‘I want’, the I of ‘I wrote a letter’, the I of ‘I am a psychiatrist’ or ‘I am thinking’. But there is another I that is basic, that underlies desires, activities and physical characteristics.All quotes from: Arthur Deikman, Journal of Consciousness Studies: http://www.imprint.co.uk/online/Deikman.html
PETER: So, very quickly we have located the psychological ‘I’, and he defines it well. It is beyond ‘desire’, and I assume he means physical desires such as food, warmth, comfort and sex (and hot showers), beyond ‘activities’ like going for a walk, shopping, having a chat or typing a letter, and beyond ‘physical characteristics’ such as the sensately evidenced, solid, verifiable, factual, active, vibrant, tangible, see-able, feel-able, smell-able, hear-able, down-to-earth, sensual, actual world, here in space and now in time. Beyond people, things and events.
Note also the dis-association from the process of thinking, as in: ‘I’ am not my thoughts. This is to completely negate what the brain does as its business. The brain thinks, just as heart pumps blood and the liver ‘livers’ (or filters the body’s wastes or whatever it does). What absolute nonsense to deny the brain and its functioning! Basically, the human body is a walking brain and sense organs. In fact, the brain and the sense organs are one – the eyes are the seeing stalks of the brain, the ears are hearing cones of the brain, the nose is the sniffing snout, the mouth its taster and the skin its direct interface as in touch and feel. The brain and body are one and part of the brain’s job is to think and reflect. It is the sole function that distinguishes the human animal from the rest of sentient beings. How do you deny all that and shut it all down?
Prof. A. DEIKMAN: Awareness
Awareness is something apart from, and different from, all that of which we are aware: thoughts, emotions, images, sensations, desires and memory. Awareness is the ground in which the mind’s contents manifest themselves; they appear in it and disappear once again. A Deikman, Awareness = ‘I’
PETER: The Professor goes on to confirm this being ‘apart from’ and being ‘different from’. This new ‘I’ ‘is apart from, and different from,’ anything the other ‘I’ thinks, feels, senses, sees, touches, remembers, desires, worries about, etc. It’s a pretty cosy little set-up, especially if one keeps one’s eyes closed and withdraws from the senses. Desires like sex have always proved a tough hurdle for the inner journeyers, and going out into the real world can often be a trial, particularly in the early days of cultivating this new ‘me’. The new, basic ‘I’ is the ‘ground’ in which all the mind’s contents appear – the thinking, reflecting and the brain’s sensory inputs that directly experience the physical world. Thus ‘I’ am neither my brain nor my body. This new ‘I’ is basic, prior and becoming more and more ‘real’, in direct proportion to the emphasis and kudos it is given.
Prof. A. DEIKMAN: You will notice that awareness continues as your thoughts come and go, as memories arise and replace each other, as desires emerge and fantasies develop, change and vanish. Now try and observe awareness. You cannot. Awareness cannot be made an object of observation because it is the very means whereby you can observe. A Deikman, Awareness = ‘I’
PETER: We have a further confirmation of awareness as being a separate ‘it’ – ‘it is the very means whereby one can observe’ – rather than simply a functioning of the brain itself. We have an almost complete separation of awareness, the new identity, from the flesh and blood mortal body and from the brain and its functioning of thought and reflection.
PETER to No. 7: 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, List B, No 7, 24.5.2000
RESPONDENT: Beautiful. I couldn’t agree more. But ultimately only through seeing the empirical evidence objectively will this statement serve the manifestation of peace and sanity.
PETER: Methinks seeing things ‘objectively’ is at the root of Buddhist philosophy. Objectively means –
On the face of it, being objective can sound reasonable until you note the words –
To see things objectively means one has to become an outside observer and not involved which fairly describes the Buddhist philosophy. By cool objective observation, practicing ‘right concentration and right action’, one lives one’s life in objective detachment and thus transcends desire and suffering. Where I come from, this is dissociation.
Give me subjective investigation any day. It does mean facing the facts of the human condition, both of the real world and the spiritual world, but the rewards are palpable, tangible and actual.
RESPONDENT: Where I am coming from will never be out-dated. It has been around forever because it is real. But few have seen it. You must have been into a Hindu spiritual teaching. They are always talking about this sort of thing, the higher teachings of Buddhists see the wonder and beauty in this world. It is not that the world is not real, it is the images that separate the human mind from that reality are illusion. No one I respect says to stop thinking. Just watch it and see what it tells you about the way you see the world and how the mind works. When one is just simply aware in the moment thinking can stop by itself. It is in those moments one can awaken to the real.
PETER: In other words, when thinking stops, awareness happens and one can awaken to the real. Therefore it is thinking that stands in the way of what is real being revealed. All Eastern spiritual practices, that ‘have been around forever’, point to this way of awakening to what is real, hence the emphasis on meditation, stilling the mind, practicing ‘right’ thinking and ‘right’ awareness to steer you away from the illusionary dreamlike, abstract images as well as the seductions of earthy sensual pleasure. Or, as you put it –
This ‘far more subtle view of the world’ does require that one shuts down or distorts sensible thinking and sensate perception in order to see ‘all wars, all hatred, all suffering’ that are actually happening to flesh and blood human beings as only images or believe that they are only caused by conditioned thoughts of the thinking mind.
As for ‘the higher teachings of Buddhists’ perhaps we could look to the source of these teachings. The essence of the Buddha’s teaching was said to be the Four Noble Truths:
No mention of ‘the wonder and beauty in this world’, quite the contrary. Like all spiritual teachings one needs to look at the fundamental principle upon which it is founded. In Buddha’s case his core principle upon which all his teachings are founded is that ‘life is fundamentally disappointment and suffering’. The ‘Noble Eightfold Path’ can then be seen quite clearly as a ‘right’ re-conditioning of the mind which is very similar to your teachings of
For someone whose declared position is that ‘I have never followed any Eastern religion or philosophy’ you do seem to make a habit of using Eastern religion and philosophy to support your case for peace on earth and your ‘non-religious’ philosophy does bear a very striking resemblance to that of Buddhism.
RESPONDENT: I’ve just been pointing out that the ego is a phantom and has no reality in itself. I have found that as the phantom is seen through the instinctual processes change.
PETER: But you will not question whether the other half of your self is equally illusionary. If the ego is illusionary, why can you not entertain the idea that the soul may well be illusionary as well?
As for the ‘instinctual processes change’, all evidence of the Enlightened state is that fear and aggression are sublimated but not eliminated – as you would know – and nurture and desire are given full, uninhibited reign such that people feel Divine Love and even God-realized.
RESPONDENT: What is our collective will? Do we even have one?
PETER: The collective will of the species is a will to survive as a species. Blind nature wires each species with an instinctual response mechanism in order to perpetuate the particular species. It is a very clumsy package and in many species it actually conspires, making survival difficult. The migratory patterns of many birds and animals are such as to cause the futile death of many. For humans these instinctual responses are fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
Fear and aggression are necessary to attack and defend against other animals that would kill or eat us. In the human species this includes to attack and defend against other humans in competition for territory, food, mating partners, etc.
Nurture is essentially the instinct to procreate, provide for, protect and pass on any knowledge, customs, morals, ethics and beliefs to the next generation.
Desire is the drive to survive – it translates into sexual conquest, power over others, and attaining the necessities of survival such as territory, food, offspring, and the protection of others. Played out by 5.8 billion humans these instinctual patterns combined with tribal conditioning results in the Human Condition as we see it in operation on the planet. This is what we humans agree we are, and we further believe that you can’t change human nature. So we all agree that we can’t change ourselves, so no one dares to try.
It is now possible to become free of the collective will. But it does take the courage to stand on one’s own two feet, to stop believing what others tell you as truths and start looking at facts. Then one discovers and sensately experiences the delight, ease, magic and perfection of the physical universe.
PETER: The Enlightened Ones, having found God and Love, are compulsively driven to spread their message and to gather their disciples. It is intrinsic that if one discovers the Truth then one is impelled to teach it. Truth does not exist without the teachings.
RESPONDENT: Is this true of all Enlightened Ones?
PETER: There are over 6.000 religions on the planet and nearly as many sub-groups all started by Enlightened Ones or Realised Ones. You can give me all the theories you want but this is the direct result of their teachings, ministries, prophesies, messages or communes. The factual evidence of the urge to spread the message.
RESPONDENT: Does not enlightenment purge compulsion?
PETER: There is no evidence of it, quite the contrary. All claim a Divine message, a Unity with God, and a desire to share their overflowing. If you are interested you could read Richard’s ‘A brief personal history’ for the inside story of Enlightenment. I take it from your willingness to even talk of these matters that you are not fully Enlightened but only Realised – so you may be curious about another option.
RESPONDENT: The mystical experience is universally identified as being something beyond sharing, so why would such a one engage in the futility of trying to teach what they learned from the experience?
PETER: I take it you are talking about sharing in the form of – spoken about sensibly with words that make sense then it is an obvious futility. The sharing that is usually practiced is in ‘being in the presence of’, sharing ‘energy’, as in an Ashram, Sangha, temple or the more widely practiced humble ‘sitting’.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.